Category Archives: work

When it rains, it pours. And I never remember my umbrella.

The universe has a funny way of loading a lot on you all at once and then saying, “‘kay, I’m going to leave you to figure this out…good luck with that” and then taking off to traipse through the celestial flowers or whatever the universe does on its day off.

2014, so far, has been the year of both getting my ass kicked and kicking ass back. Gigantic highs and huge old lows.

I went to the land of the Finns…

Where I was amazed by the fact that you could TOUCH LEMURS (well, illegally, but still, it wasn't like anyone stopped you...)

Where I was amazed by the fact that you could TOUCH LEMURS (well, illegally, but still, it wasn’t like anyone stopped you…)

...and I got to see this in really real person...

…and I got to see this in really real person…

...and I got to hang out with my most favorite little Finnish girl in the whole world...

…and I got to hang out with my most favorite little Finnish girl in the whole world…

...and Andreas evilly tried to poison everyone with windshield washer fluid in a Coke bottle...

…and Andreas evilly tried to poison everyone with windshield washer fluid in a Coke bottle…

...and I got to sleep with this guy...

…and I got to sleep with this guy…

...this lovely lady...

…this lovely lady…

...and the two most perfect red pups in all the world.

…and the two most perfect red pups in all the world.

Then things kind of went to shit once I got home…in a nutshell, I was let go from an amazing job and all-too-quickly took a job that was offered, mostly out of fear of not having one. To say it was a nightmare is to speak a little too well of what went on at that job. But, professional grown-up ladies don’t badmouth places of employment, right? Right.

I put up with what I think can correctly be called Emotional Abusetown for four months, and then quit. Without a backup plan. Because sometimes you need to run. I mean, come on, Kenny Rogers taught me that when I was a wee Amy, right? I’m still not sure when to hold ‘em or fold ‘em, but I am VERY good at knowing when to run. Even when it doesn’t seem like a good idea because you won’t have health insurance in your life on the lam.

However, the universe (good old universe) decided maybe I didn’t have ENOUGH going on, so threw in the MOST EPIC CURVEBALL.

It said a lot about Emotional Abusetown that after three days there, I started jobhunting again. I applied near, and when nothing seemed to be coming of it, I applied far. And I decided to stretch a little for the kinds of jobs I wanted, not just settle for the kinds of jobs I could do, but wouldn’t be all that soul-enhancing. What the hell, right?

So when I got a call from a newspaper wanting me to do a phone interview in the middle of the day one day, I looked around for the hidden cameras. People like me didn’t get calls from newspapers, right? Unless it was a person wanting them to SUBSCRIBE to the newspaper.

Over a few weeks, I actually got calls from TWO newspapers. I had multiple phone interviews and one full-day in-person interview. (Yes, you read that right. The interview was – withour the slightest bit of hyperbole – six and a half hours long. It was almost an entire workday. And I did work, too. It was as if I was actually working for quite a bit of the day.)

Hey, guess what?

Both papers hired me.

One paid so little I couldn’t afford to take the job without taking another job (at least part-time, if not close to full-time) to make ends meet. It would have been a very good job. It was a reporter position for my hometown paper, the paper I read growing up that taught me to love newsprint. But it’s a very small town, and a small-town newspaper can’t afford to pay much. I said no, but sadly.

The other paid better, but not as much as I’m used to making. There was a lot of thinking involved. When the editor called with the job offer and explained that, in order to get me to say yes, he’d moved some things around and added on some extra things here and there just to bump up the bottom line…well. How can you say no to that?

So of course I said yes. I am their newest copy editor, and will also be doing some social media, and maybe some writing and reviewing, if the need arises.

Thing is…the really HARD thing is…

…the job is here.

You know I love it here in the Capital District. It’s home, and it’s been home for 12 years (12 years this weekend, actually – I moved here Labor Day weekend 2002.) My heart is here. That’s never happened anywhere I’ve lived, this sense of pride and ownership of place. I’m completely at home here. I feel very safe here.

But, around the time I got back from my adventure overseas, I’d started to get the itch.

Do you get this? This itch that something’s off, and something needs to change? It’s not something small, like, something that can be fixed by going out and buying a new outfit or a getting a kicky haircut (although those itches happen, too, sometimes.) This is a bigger itch, where you don’t feel comfortable in your skin, and something BIG needs to change. I used to get this quite often, which was ok, because when I was younger, I changed jobs or apartments or cities on the regular. But it seems you don’t outgrow the itch. It still shows up out of nowhere and starts bumping around your head like a fly made stupid with autumn.

I thought that finding a new job would satisfy it, and it would – it will. But the universe is, if anything, a trickster. So the universe said, “Sure! Here’s a new job. The new job is, actually, a job you’ve been dreaming of for, oh, only your whole LIFE. But here’s the catch – you have to move three hours away to a town where you only know one person and that you’ve never been in for more than half an hour. Also, the winters are kind of cuckoo-bananas. So, how are you going to handle THAT?”

I’m handling that by spending the last week packing everything I own…

This is my living room right now. Say hello to Mount St. Amy. It's insurmountable.

This is my living room right now. Say hello to Mount St. Amy. It’s insurmountable. Believe me, Dumbcat has tried. And failed.

…cancelling all my utilities, apartment-hunting, saying goodbye to people, quitting my two part-time jobs, sleeping too little, fretting too much, trying to get Dumbcat to understand I will NOT be leaving him behind so he doesn’t have to cling to me like a remora, and getting ready to leave my home for my new town.

I somehow had the best luck in the world and found the perfect apartment with the very first one I saw – really close to work, in a nice area, wood floors, fireplace, a ton of space, a yard, a porch…and only a wee bit more than I’m paying now. And the new landlord seems delightful. She gave it to me almost immediately, even though other people had applied. I think she knew it was a me-place as much as I did. It has good vibes. And it’s almost 100 years old! I have old-building love. Always have.

The town is about a third of the size of where I live now, but has a lot of history and is well-appointed – lots of shopping, lots of green space, beautiful old buildings, a zoo(!). Two of my most beloved people live within an hour of my new place, so I’ll get to see them more often, and I’m an hour closer to my family.

And, it all comes down to this: I’m ready for a grand adventure.

This is a job I’ll love, and dammit, I’ll be GOOD at this. The apartment is great. I don’t have anything I can’t leave here – I love it, but it’s not like I have family I can’t uproot, or something along those lines. I’m ripe for a change, and when better to make one?

In two days, my family will show up with trucks and trailers and such and we will have a day of MUCH physical labor…and by the end of it, I will be the newest resident of Watertown, NY, with a new job waiting for me just a few days later.

*deep breaths*

It all happens at once, or not at all…I guess I got the all at once this year.

Onward and upward.

(P.S. – apparently, it pays to be a grammar nerd. GO ME!)

 

About these ads

Help solve a very important mystery! Win valuable prizes! (There are no prizes.)

We all like mysteries, right? Sure we do. They’re like the best.

Want to help solve a mystery that happened at work today? I’d tell you there was a prize involved, but there’s no prize. Other than you can feel really proud of yourself that you solved a mystery, I suppose. Like, I’m sure Scooby-Doo and Shaggy feel pretty good about themselves when they unmask Old Man McGillicutty as the Coalpit Ghost or whatever. You, too, could feel proud of yourself like a stoner and his strangely oversized speaking dog!

Doesn't he look so self-congratulatory? Sure he does.

Doesn’t he look so self-congratulatory? Sure he does.

First, let me set the scene.

Oh, disclaimer: this story’s kind of gross. Just a warning.

So at work today, I had to use the facilities. In our office, we have the following for ladies’ bathrooms on my floor: a large bathroom in the lobby, with four stalls; a smaller bathroom in our actual office, with two stalls; and a unisex bathroom that’s really for the men, but we can use it too, right next to the smaller bathroom. There are also bathrooms on the second floor and the first floor, but we don’t use those much. Why would we? If you need to use the elevator to get to the bathroom, that’s too far.

I was in the lobby area anyway, getting water (hence the needing to pee – I drink a LOT of water at work) and went into the big bathroom. I went into a stall that a woman had just come out of.

“Hmm,” thought I. “This stall sure smells like poo.”

So I turned around and there, on the toilet, ALL OVER THE TOILET, was all the poo.

But it was in the WEIRDEST PLACE EVER. Like, it was in a place poo had no reason to be.

Don't piss off the toilet. No pun intended.

Don’t piss off the toilet. No pun intended.

I tried to draw you a photo of where the poo was, but my computer is NOT playing nice tonight. Probably too upset I’m writing a post about bathrooms. Anyway. Pretend you’re sitting on a toilet and you put your legs together and then put your calves back against the bowl. It’d be the front part of the bowl, facing you as you enter the stall. The outside part. NOWHERE NEAR WHERE A BUM GOES.

That’s where the poo was. All over there. SO MUCH POO.

So I was like, oh. Oh, WTF is this poo. But a woman had just come out of that stall. What if she was the pooper? And she was still in there washing her hands. So I stood in there as far from the poo bowl as I could and when she left I ran out and into the furthest stall from that stall as I could get only GUESS WHAT.

Totally poo, totally in the same place, TOTALLY ALL OVER THAT BOWL TOO.

OMG YOU GUYS WHAT THE HELL.

We needed caution tape in that bathroom. Like bigtime.

We needed caution tape in that bathroom. Like bigtime.

The middle two stalls were poo-free so I peed super-fast and got out (OMG YES I TOTALLY WASHED MY HANDS THAT PLACE WAS GERM CENTRAL) even though those two middle stalls have wonky doorlocks and you’ll be peeing and all of a sudden the door opens and you’re like oh no now you can see my hoo-hoo so no one ever uses those two.

Later in the day I had to pee again (I seriously drink a lot of water) and went into the small bathroom closer to my desk because, well, I wasn’t in the mood for all that poo. So I went into the stall and was all, aaahh, no poo, until I looked down and ZOMG YOU GUYS.

There was totally poo on the floor between the two stalls. Like, someone squatted and took a poo on the floor of the bathroom.

I was seriously flabbergasted at this development in the poo situation.

So I then washed up AGAIN super-fast and got out of there and looked for my boss because I was all, “Amy, you’ve got to report this poo thing” and she was at lunch so I told my coworker and she was like, “SERIOUSLY? I do not know what to say at this particular point in time” and I had to agree because listen, we work at a REALLY NICE PLACE! and we decided that emailing the facilities guy was probably the best move so I did and he emailed back “Thanks ~” and I don’t know what the tilde was for. Flair, maybe. Possibly because this was the actual email I sent him: “Hi: There is fecal matter all over two of the four toilet bowls in the women’s bathroom in the third floor lobby and someone defecated on the floor of the women’s bathroom near the copy room. I know. I am so sorry. We’re all sitting up here wondering what is wrong with the world. Thank you!”

But he never showed up and the poo abided. All day, actually.

And because we are children, we made poo jokes and giggled about the poo ALL AFTERNOON LONG. We made jokes about “doing our duty” and giving Depends out as Secret Santa gifts and all of the men in the office (there aren’t many of them) went in the women’s bathroom all giggly because they were expecting to see, I don’t know, pillowfights and tampons in there, or something, and one of them took a cell phone photo of the poo and they were all “WE CAN SOLVE THIS MYSTERY!”

They decided the toilet overflowed and deposited the poo there, but there was no water on the floor. We shot down that theory quickly.

I told my parents about this, and Dad got VERY SHOUTY. “That is the FIRST SIGN OF A DISGRUNTLED EMPLOYEE!” he shouted. “You stay vigiliant. STAY VIGILANT! There’s some sort of name for people who save their poo in plastic bags and put it places at work and also smear it all over. I don’t know what that name is, but the next step is bringing in an Uzi and killing all their coworkers. You should get pepper spray and scope out your exits.”

STAY VIGILANT, YO!

STAY VIGILANT, YO!

“That seems like a bit of an overreaction to the poo situation, Dad,” I replied.

Mom’s answer was just, “That is gross. Why would you tell me such a gross thing? One time I saw toilet paper on the floor of our bathroom. I couldn’t go in there ALL DAY.”

“That seems a bit of an overreaction to the toilet paper situation, Mom,” I replied.

So! Now it’s your turn, intrepid blog readers. What are your thoughts on the Office Pooper? Are the two poo-areas connected, or just separate things altogether? Is there any way poo could have gotten on the front of the toilet like that, or was someone purposely being smeary? How, exactly, did someone get poo on the floor of the toilet nowhere near the bowl? AND WHY?

There are no prizes for this mystery-solving, but you could add it to a resumé, if you wanted. SKILLS: Totally Badass Mystery Solving (Poo-Related)

I know. You had no idea when you clicked on today’s post you’d be a gumshoe. Or that there’d be so much poop involved.

Get to solvin’, little bloggonians. This mystery’s not going to solve itself. (Or clean itself. I’m so hoping the janitors come in tonight. Good gracious. I’m so disgusted with my office right now.)


Things you (accidentally) learn at a work retreat

I am home from retreating. Sometimes, the best part of going away is coming home. I am comfy on my couch with a VERY relieved Dumbcat hugging my leg in a very “ZOMG DO NOT EVER LEAVE ME AGAIN, MOM” way and DUDE, I was only gone for 28 hours, YOU CAN HANDLE THIS. Silly boy. I’m predicting a night of the cat sleeping wrapped around my face like one of those facehugger alien thingies, only furrier and a lot more likely to give me hairballs.

This would work for a cat, right?

This would work for a cat, right?

Things I learned at the retreat:

  • I am terrible at retreats
  • At one point, I was the person in a group with the “weirdest hobby” and that hobby was writing, which I guess is weird
  • Huh, I had no idea that was weird
  • I guess I’ve been weird for a really, really long time
  • Like, longer than I even KNEW I was weird
  • People really, really dig free alcohol at work functions
  • Like, more than you could possibly imagine
  • I’m completely serious, as in, to the point of falling and vomiting and screaming until 3am
  • It is very hard to sleep when the walls of your hotel room are thin and people are drunk-screaming til 3am
  • You can take a shower, but you still hear the screaming over the shower water
  • Even though I am terrible at work retreats, my team still won “most creative presentation” and I totally won team MVP
  • Are you cheering for me right now? Maybe you didn’t hear me. I WAS VOTED TEAM MVP. This is super-impressive, right? Right.
  • There were improv games, but no trust falls
  • Although people did fall, but because of drunkenness, not trustfulness, although I suppose drunkenness is a KIND of trustfulness
  • The food was supposed to be award-winning, but we wondered if the prize it won was the booby prize
  • Except the desserts, the desserts rocked our worlds like hardcore
  • If you watch Silver Linings Playbook because you don’t want to go to the drunken bacchanal bonfire you will cry all over your face
  • Seriously, how is Jennifer Lawrence so damn luminescent
  • Also, Bradley Cooper has the prettiest eyes ever
  • Once you’ve cried all over your face and you leave your room people think you’ve been having a nervous breakdown
  • Just ignore them, they’re all drunk anyway
  • And then the next day when they’re all green and swaying in the breakfast room you can eat your bacon all obnoxiously to see if you can make them vomit
  • Because secretly you are kind of evil
  • And that’s really ok
  • Because, as mentioned, it is obnoxious to keep people up until 3am by screaming in the lobby
  • Especially when you are at a work retreat and not at Cabo on Spring Break
  • The food for our final meal was bean quesadillas and bean soup and slaw and those are all heavily geared toward gas production so we decided to skip lunch because that’d be one long car-ride of farty
  • I’m telling you, people. FARTY. No one likes that.

These are all important things to have learned, right? What’s that? They’re not what I was there to learn?

Oh. Crap.

Sorry, work retreat.

SORRY.

I am totally the worst.


Retreat! Retreat!

I am off for a most grand adventure today. Or maybe something terrible. Time will tell, I suppose.

A couple months ago, my office decided that the employees deserved to go on a company retreat like the directors go on every now and then. So it was announced that we would go on a totally volunteer-basis company retreat in the fall.

If you GO on this retreat, you get to go to a conference center in the woods, by a lake, in the mountains. Andreas informed me this is likely where one is indoctrinated into a cult, but he warned me too late. I had already signed up.

Pretty, yeah? Are those cult members I see in the distance?

Pretty, yeah? Are those cult members I see in the distance?

See, if you go, you don’t have to get there until 11am the first day, and then you get to leave at noon the second day, AND THEY PAY YOU FOR BOTH DAYS. Like, they pay you the WHOLE DAY’S WAGES for both days. Plus, I like the woods and lakes and mountains. And there’s an award-winning restaurant on premises that feeds us. And we get to stay in a hotel room, and I’m totally obsessed with hotel rooms because crisp sheets and little shampoos and I feel like I’m fancy. (No joke; when people I love travel, they know to send me photos of their hotel rooms. I am completely enamored with hotel rooms. When I was little, that was my best part of taking family trips. Also, I used to be obsessed with vending machines. Dad knew to bring all the change because the first thing we did after I checked out every inch of the hotel room was go to the vending machine and look at ALL THAT SNACK FOOD and then pick some out and watch it drop down and giggle and giggle. Dad actually asked me when I told him about this trip, “Do you think there will be a vending machine? Make sure you bring some change.” I had to sadly tell him that vending machines have lost their appeal for me as I got older and there were vending machines all over the place and they weren’t as white-whaley as they were when I was a little girl. As you can see by this aside, I have always been easily charmed by small, stupid things.)

So soon I will hit the road and meet friend A. and we will make the long drive to the mountains and start retreating.

Things they had better not do at this retreat:

TRUST FALLS (I don’t trust anyone enough to fall backward and assume they’ll catch me)

IMPROV GAMES (had my fill of those in college theater classes, thanks)

BONDING EXERCISES WHERE YOU TELL SECRETS (nope, my secrets go to the grave with me)

ANYTHING WHERE I AM PUT ON THE SPOT AND EXPECTED TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING BRILLIANT (I get brain freeze and can’t perform under pressure like that…probably I need company-retreat Viagra)

We were also promised a bonfire and smores at one point, which I may or may not participate in. It’s cold here. I don’t know that I want to hang out in the wilderness all chilly. There was also the rumor of much free alcohol. If people think getting drunk with coworkers is a good idea, they are wrong. Why do people always think that’s a good idea? It is not. They are foolish to think it is. The only thing that leads to is weird looks in the copyroom the next day, yo. Get your shit together.

Per this photo, we may also do ghost hunting. What is HAPPENING here? Good grief.

Per this photo, we may also do ghost hunting. What is HAPPENING here? Good grief.

I’m totally bringing all the technology because I checked the website and the place has wifi and if things get weird I’m going to be all “cough cough need to get some sleep not feeling well” and head to my room and play around on the interwebs. I can only be social for so long.

If you never hear from me again, just assume I’ve been eaten by a bear. Or that no one caught me when we did that damn trust fall and they put my body in the lake.


Mom always told me my big mouth would get me in trouble someday.

“When a man gives his opinion, he’s a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she’s a bitch.” –Bette Davis

This week, I was VERY controversial.

I met with friends for dinner early in the week. When I arrived, J. said “I don’t know, should we be having dinner with such a controversial person?” and I was all, “Whaaa?” and they all giggled and then got serious faces because they assumed I’d heard and now they were tasked with letting me know what was up.

Heard what, you may ask? What exactly WAS up?

Well! Apparently, I angered some people with a review I wrote a couple of weeks ago. Angered them enough that I got two – count ‘em, two – letters to the editor written about me, and a comment on the review itself, and a private message on Facebook.

Whoo! Look at me go! Angering people all OVER the region!

A little background, I suppose, is in order.

I went to the show. It starred some of the area’s best actors. The kind of actors that, when you say their names around here, people take notice. The set was gorgeous. The costumes were perfect. The acting was quite good; the direction couldn’t be faulted.

That having been said, it was the second-worst show I’ve seen all year. And I’ve seen a LOT of shows.

It was the show itself that was the problem. It was extremely dated; it had very little to do with anything contemporary, so it was very hard to relate to. It was abnormally long; almost three hours, including intermission. It was extremely talky; a good hour could have been cut from that script and not sacrificed a single bit of the action. Sorry – “action.” That needs ironic air-quotes. Nothing that could be described as action happened in this show. Like, at all. It was painful. I wanted to leave at intermission but I was getting paid to review it so that wasn’t an option.

VERY close to me during Act II. Not quite, but almost.

VERY close to me during Act II. Not quite, but almost.

I’m not saying I need, like, a shoot-out scene or a huge sex scene or anything. (Well, not EVERY time.) But something needs to HAPPEN, dammit. And nothing happened in this play. There were some scenes that I think were supposed to be shocking, but they were just yawn-inducing. Maybe they were shocking in the 30s when this was written, I don’t know. The characters were written so flimsily and ridiculously that only a couple of them were at all believable.

It was a TERRIBLE show. It wasn’t terribly acted, directed, set designed, or costumed (or even lit or sound designed); it was just a poorly-chosen show, and poorly-written, and it was so hard to watch.

Now, I realize this is just my opinion…and you know what they say about opinions, right? Yep. Just like…elbows. Yeah, that’s it. Elbows. Everyone has one. (Or two, really, if you’re going with the elbow thing.) Thing is, I get paid for my opinion.

I don’t like to be mean. I really think there’s something to be celebrated in every piece of work, no matter how much I dislike it. I wrote a review saying how much I liked and admired the actors, set, and costumes; I even gave the director kudos (although I did say he could have cut some of the script, for our sake.) I did, however, excoriate the script. Listen, I’ve read a lot of plays. I have a decent handle on what’s out there; I have a somewhat informed opinion. That’s why the paper hired me, and not some yahoo who’s never been to the theater before.

I ended the review with the following, which I think I can share without being fired for sharing something that you’re all supposed to pay for:

“It’s a shame that, with such powerful actors on stage, their talent is being wasted in such a lackluster play. With so many shows in the area currently in production, audiences are — and I say this with regret, as these actors alone are worth the ticket price — advised to give this one a pass.”

I’ve ended a number of reviews with a similar sentiment (as have other area reviewers) – either that I recommend the show, or I don’t. It’s usually clear, from my review, whether or not I actually SAY I recommend it or not, whether or not I do. (I think that’s the point of a review, isn’t it?)

Apparently, it’s this last paragraph that upset people.

The comment on the review said they “felt (my) review was unfair-especially your final comment” because it “probably kept many people from attending.”

The first letter to the editor said the author took “exception to one of (my) comments” because “(e)veryone has the right to their own opinion; however, to come out and tell people not to see a show is going too far. People should be able to read a review if they need to, and decide for themselves…a comment (like this is) hurtful and detrimental to the company.”

The other letter to the editor said (in short; it was a VERY long letter) “Amy…advises potential patrons to give it a pass. I disagree with that.” (She then went on and on about how flawed the script was, but that the show was so relatable, and then broke down my review point by point to say why she was right in her opinion and I was wrong.)

Oh, and I also got a private message from an aquaintance on Facebook, asking me to explain myself – why did I advise people to not attend a show he’d PERSONALLY enjoyed very much?

OK. Here’s the thing.

First: I didn’t write that review to hurt anyone. I actually went out of my way to NOT hurt anyone. The only one at fault was whoever chose the show, and a lot of factors go into choosing a show. I’m not going to pick those apart; I wasn’t part of that selection process.

I stand by that last paragraph. I couldn’t recommend the show. (And I’m not naming names, but I spoke to a number of theater friends who saw the show over the couple weeks it was playing. Not a single one recommended it, either. And I got thanks – thanks for writing a review of a terrible show in such a way that it highlighted the positive, and didn’t hurt anyone. I take their praise over these letters any day. They matter to me. A great deal. These letters? Meh.)

When you read a review – a movie review, a theater review, a book review – do you read it thinking it’s an encyclopedia entry? Or do you (as you should) read it thinking it’s the author’s opinion, and when you see/read what’s being reviewed, your opinion might differ? As it’s an opinion? And what worked for one person might not work for another?

As I said, I’ve said “I do recommend this show” or “I don’t recommend this show” before. As have other reviewers. (And I don’t want to play the sexism card, here, but I’ve seen a lot more Letters to the Editor/mean comments on the reviews written by the female reviewers in the area than on the reviews of the male reviewers – and there are two, maybe three, female reviewers in the WHOLE AREA and, oh, I don’t know, maybe a dozen or more male reviewers – I just have to think that maybe men having opinions, that’s ok, but women? GAH WHAT DO STUPID CHICKS KNOW WITH THEIR STUPID CHICK BRAINS.) I don’t see anyone complaining when I DO recommend a show. So I’m allowed to recommend a show – because that INCREASES their box office – but I can’t NOT recommend a show, because that would DECREASE their box office. Because people are JUST THAT STUPID. They will read my review and walk, all zombie-like, to the theater…or they will STAY FAR AWAY.

Listen. I worked at a local theater for 8 years. We weathered both good and bad reviews. Did they have an effect our box office? Sometimes, yes. An excellent review got more people in; a bad review did tend to keep some people away. But that’s just the way the game is played. Sometimes the reviewer has an axe to grind; sometimes the reviewer only likes comedies or dramas; sometimes the reviewer is just extremely negative all the time; sometimes you luck out, and the reviewer loves the show, and you read it and you just grin. It’s just a review, in the grand scheme of things, really. It’s a quick flame of either helpful or hurtful.

But these letters and comments and private messages…

Listen, people. It was my opinion. As I say, I stand by this opinion. If I had it to do all over again? I’d write it exactly the same. (And, just so you know, my editor read that review, and ran it exactly as I wrote it. She had no problem with it, either.) Amy the reviewer couldn’t recommend that show; Amy the PERSON couldn’t recommend that show. If I’d just seen it for fun, I wouldn’t have recommended it to people. To be honest, I texted a friend while the show was in intermission who I knew was trying to find a way to squeeze it into his schedule with “DO NOT SEE THIS. DO NOT DO THIS TO YOURSELF. TALK TO YOU MORE ABOUT IT WHEN I SEE YOU ON MONDAY. DO NOT DO NOT DOOOO NOOOOOT.” And that was Amy the person, not Amy the reviewer.

I could have left that last paragraph out. Sure I could have. Thing is? Not to be too horn-tooty, people, but I’m a decent writer, and from the rest of the review, you’d know exactly where I stood. I came out and said I couldn’t recommend the show, but without saying it, I said it all through the rest of the review. That last paragraph was really just a summation of what came before. Take umbrage with it if you must, but the rest of the review said the same thing. Also? If you want a rainbows and sunshine review, and the show’s not (in my, as stated, OPINION) good? You’re not getting that from me. I don’t lie. Even if I have people I care about in the show, which has happened in the past. I will not lie in my reviews. It’s a promise I made to myself when I started, and it’s a promise I have vowed to keep to myself. I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the eye if there was something published in the paper I didn’t 100% stand behind.

And, much as I have the right to my opinion, those people all have a right to theirs. I’m so very glad they enjoyed the show; I have to say I can’t exactly understand HOW they did, but I do understand that everyone’s respective cranks are turned in different ways, and this show turned theirs, and it left mine completely frozen in place. (THE CRANK IS NOT A EUPHEMISM.)

However: I do believe I’m completely in the right, as a reviewer, to say IN THE REVIEW that I recommend or don’t recommend a show. How this affects your ticket sales is not on my shoulders. As a friend who will not be named said when I told him this story: “If you don’t want bad reviews? STOP PRODUCING CRAP.”

Also, I’m pretty sure once you start getting hate mail, you’ve totally made it, right? I’m a wicked big deal now, yo. Look out, world, I’m like the next Michiko Kakutani. It’s only upward from here. Today hate mail, tomorrow LETTER BOMBS. Whoo-hoo!


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