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Category Archives: writing

A new year post on the actual day. Go me.

Happy new year, people of the interwebs! OK, so I missed New Year’s day for some of you. I know. I’m the worst at thinking in a timely fashion for other time zones. Please forgive me, other time zones. Here is a photo of Dumbcat looking pensive to make up for my transgression.

Hapey Noo Yere, peeple of bloge. I had a birfday this weeke adn am nowe fifeteene. In humaene yeers that is 76 yeers old. I shoulde reetire.

Hapey Noo Yere, peeple of bloge. I had a birfday this weeke adn am nowe fifeteene. In humaene yeers that is 76 yeers old. I shoulde reetire and get soceel securtee so Momee can stay homee and pet my furrs all the dayys.

A couple weeks ago at work, one of my most favorite coworkers (there are a lot of them…I kind of work with the best people in all the land) and I were talking about blogging. Here, I’ll give you our conversation. If he happens to read this (and I suppose he might, the internet’s a very small place sometimes), apologies in advance for stealing your words and putting them on the internets for all to read, one of my most favorite coworkers whose name I will not put on the blog because I’m about 99% sure it would embarrass the pants right off of you and I enjoy you so much I would never want to do that to you. Plus, also, workplace harassment, yo, I can’t be taking work-people’s pants off. I think there’s a seminar or something about that.

I seriously just snorted orange soda up my nose at this. This was NOT the image I went looking for, but look at the chick's face. It's like she's oblivious to the butt-groping. Or she's looking at a really funny kitten-GIF. Or maybe she just really likes the groping, I don't even know. Either way, it is my best thing of the day.

I seriously just snorted orange soda up my nose at this. This was NOT the image I went looking for, but look at the chick’s face. It’s like she’s oblivious to the butt-groping. Or she’s looking at a really funny kitten-GIF. Or maybe she just really likes the groping, I don’t even know. Either way, it is my best thing of the day.

Impressive Reporter Coworker: So I noticed the other day you’re a tweetaholic. You have over 20,000 tweets!
Me: Oh. Yeah. I used to tweet a lot. I don’t do that anymore.
IRC: Why?
Me: Oh, kind of a long story. I used to blog? And then tweet a lot, kind of in relation to that? I kind of fell out of practice.
IRC: You had a blog?
Me: Yeah. I kind of still do, I guess, but it just sits there.
IRC: What was it about?
Me: Um. Mostly me ranting about some things and making fun of other things? Also I talked about zoos a lot.

By the way, this happened a couple months ago in Syracuse. I like it because it looks like I Munchausen-by-Proxyed my penguin-baby and have gone cheerfully insane.

By the way, this happened a couple months ago in Syracuse. I like it because it looks like I Munchausen-by-proxyed my penguin-baby and have gone cheerfully insane.

IRC: And people would read it?
Me: Heh. Yeah. Lots of people would read it. I won some awards. And I met amazing people. And I went to Finland last year. Got to stay with people I met through blogging, actually. It was fantastic.
IRC: So…what happened?

And I didn’t have an answer for him. Not really.

What happened? Oh, I don’t know. Life, I guess. Andreas and I have spent copious amounts of time discussing that. Priorities change. Things change. People come in and out of your life. Moods rise and fall. Jobs come and go. I can most sincerely say that the person I was three and a half years ago when I started blogging isn’t the person I am now. I think back on that person and she seems like a complete stranger to me. It’s not that I’m embarrassed of her; it’s that I don’t know her at all, and I don’t know how I ever was her. I have a record that I was, I can look back on old posts and I know I wrote them, but as for remembering it, it’s kind of fuzzy. Too much water under the bridge.

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking…and I realize there’s this itchy little part of me that wants to start writing again, and writing more. Otherwise I’m going to probably self-destruct.

I’m not juvenile enough to think resolutions ever stick. The first day of the year always seems so shiny and new, doesn’t it? Like you can accomplish anything. Like you have 365 days of newness (ooh, 366 this year, yeah?) to tackle and make your own. But I don’t know about you…but every resolution I’ve ever made has fizzled around February once you realize “oh, look, this shiny new year is very much like last year, what are the odds, yo.”

Instead, I’m going to be kind to myself, and promise myself I’ll do things that are good for me – and writing’s good for me. So writing here? Good for me. Writing poetry, essays, maybe even some short fiction? Good for me. And it’s good for my mind, because I need it to stop being so itchy. An itchy mind never did anyone any good.

(Side note: I have an amazing job, and every now and then I get to write. I got to write part of an article – FOR THE ACTUAL PAPER! – a couple months ago, and then got asked to write a LONG article for one of our related publications. A three-page article about traveling to Albany and all the things you can do there. It’s not online yet – will be eventually, and then you can read it, if you’re so inclined – but long story short, I get to write for work. I also get to do our social media, copyedit, proofread, and sometimes there’s totally a STOP THE PRESSES! moment with late-breaking news which makes me jump around in my chair because I feel like I’m in a 40s film with very impressive fedoras. My coworkers are fantastic, because they’ve totally accepted me even though I’m the biggest goofball. And I can say, with 100% certainty, I’ve never had a job where I can be more myself, and where I’ve felt more immediately at home with the people, than this one. Ever. When you can completely dork out about something three days in and no one even bats an eye? You have won employment.)

Sometimes I like to imagine that I'm in "His Girl Friday" only there's a lot less sexism (and also a lot fewer typewriters, ashtrays, and, sadly, fedoras.)

Sometimes I like to imagine that I’m in “His Girl Friday” only there’s a lot less sexism (and also a lot fewer typewriters, ashtrays, and, sadly, fedoras.)

I’m kind of rambling, here.

Anyway: I have a couple of people I’m going to encourage to blog, and they’re going to, in turn, encourage ME to blog, this year, so we’re responsible to one another as well as being cheerleady. And this will, hopefully, stop the brain-itching and get me back writing and being creative.

Happy New Year, internets. I hope your 2014s weren’t as fraught with weirdness as mine was (and most people I know had a TERRIBLE 2014, what’s going on, 2014, why were you so cursed?) and your 2015 looks like 366 (or 365, sorry, people of other time zones, I really meant to do this earlier in the day but I was too busy painting a unicorn head to go over my new fireplace…YES THAT IS REALLY A THING I DID TODAY, WHY ARE YOU ASKING) new and shiny days of awesome that you can tackle and wrestle into submission and make yours, all yours.

This is my unicorn head that is hanging over my fireplace. I don't have a name for him yet, but I'm leaning toward Reginald von Sparklenstein.

This is my new unicorn head that is hanging over my fireplace. I don’t have a name for him yet, but I’m leaning toward Baron Reginald von Sparklenstein.

Much love to your shiny little new-year faces. *smooch*

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Where do we go from here?

I know. You’re probably wondering, what has happened to Amy? Is she dead? Has she forgotten about us? Does she think she is too good for us? IS SHE TOO GOOD FOR HER HOME?!?!? 

Nothing this shocking, my little tater tots. Nothing this gossip-worthy at all. The answer’s a lot more mundane, promise. 

Total and complete case of what seems to be some sort of writer’s block. Well, no. Not WRITER’S block, per se: blogger’s block, I guess.

I have nothing whatsoever to write about. Nothing in my head; no ideas to write about; nothing at all noteworthy in my life to share. I’ll sit down to write something for you all and nothing at all comes to mind. 

I have plenty of things to write about in other arenas; I can email/text my friends all day long, I can write about books, I can review plays, I can write poetry, I can do work-related writing. None of this has suffered at all. 

But when I sit down to write HERE…nope. Nada. Nothing big, nothing small, nothing at all. (That was strangely Dr. Seussian, no?) Not even a little post making fun of a ridiculous thing I read in the news. Nothing seems right and nothing seems worth the bother. 

I have three posts planned for next week, possible four; I know exactly what they’ll be about, so that’s something. I have ideas for five posts for December. I’m working on a separate project that’s writing related that I can share sometime in the next couple of weeks. Other than that? Don’t know. Might be a few more posts, depending on what comes across my radar that I think needs to be shared; might not. 

But AMY! What does this MEAN? Are you OK? 

Here’s the funniest thing? I’m just about as ok as I’ve been since I started writing here. So I have to wonder if this was my free therapy, and maybe at the moment, I don’t need it as much? Not really sure. I’m more stressed about the fact that I’m randomly letting the interwebs down than I am about not having a multitude of words at my beck and call. (Now, if I didn’t have any words at ALL, like, to say or email or use at WORK, I’d be worried. But they’re still there. They’re just not there for the blogging, is all.) 

ALL THE WORDS! Except when I sit down to blog.

ALL THE WORDS! Except when I sit down to blog.

As for what it means? Well, it means the updates here are going to come less frequently. I’m not leaving altogether; I like it here too much to run away like Brave Sir Robin.

I like the community we’ve made here, and I like the things that blogging’s brought into my life (and the people.) Blogging’s become such an innate part of who I am that it seems so strange to not be doing it. But another thing is – I’ve kind of (against my better judgment) developed some sort of a life. With actual people in it. People who want to see me! And do things with me! And add to that my part-time jobs, and the time I’d like to spend with myself just recharging, reading or watching endless episodes of Catfish (sincerely, WHO SENDS SOMEONE THEY DON’T KNOW THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, I CAN’T EVEN) and planning for the holidays and and and…the endless hours I used to spend blogging seem…sort of decadent, to me. Like something from long-ago. I don’t know where I found the time, and I don’t know that I’ll ever have that kind of time again, or that drive, or all those pretty, pretty words, all lined up at my beck and call, ready to make you laugh, or cry, depending on the day. 

See, Nev and Max know how shocking "Catfish" can be and HOW IMPORTANT IT IS I WATCH EVERY LAST EPISODE, DAMMIT.

See, Max and Nev know how shocking “Catfish” can be and HOW IMPORTANT IT IS I WATCH EVERY LAST EPISODE, DAMMIT.

I will, of course, still be around. I will still be reading and commenting on blogs; I will still be lurking on Twitter and Facebook (I’ve become just terrible about tweeting and Facebookery; I think they’re things I need to get back into practice of, but, again, there are all those episodes of Catfish to watch.) I will still be updating social media here and there. You know how to reach me, should you feel the need to do so. I’m not DYING. I’m just going to not be around HERE as much. 

I suppose we could see it as an “absence makes the heart grow fonder” thing, right? “Oh! THERE IS A NEW LUCY’S FOOTBALL POST! It is a FRABJOUS day! CALLOO CALLAY!” Right? Right. 

And there are things to look forward to. You will get all the bloggery come next spring; you’re all coming with me to the land of Finns, because tickets have been purchased for my grand European adventure to visit my beloved Andreas and his most wonderful family.

Look at Andreas' beautiful islands I will be visiting! I AM SO EXCITED!!!

Look at Andreas’ beautiful islands I will be visiting! I AM SO EXCITED!!!

Plans are being made as we speak for this. I will be spending two weeks on the continent of Yerp, adventuring and chatting and traveling and eating fancy foreign foods and using my hard-won new Swedish vocabulary. Ready? I will share it with you. “Hej.” I CAN NOW SAY HI IN SWEDISH. I know you’re impressed. You really should be. Even better: “hej” is pronounced “hey” so it’s SUPER-hard to remember, I mean, seriously. I will also be in a couple of other countries while I am there and I think you’ll need to hear all about those, too. I mean, it’s not like I can’t share that with you guys. Who better to represent Merka in Yerp than me, I ask you? I will be the MOST excited. (Side note: Andreas says Finns are a very stoic people, and my natural ebullience will make them think I am either mentally ill or on the drugs. I CANNOT WAIT TO GO TO A COUNTRY WHERE PEOPLE THINK THAT, JUST BY BEING ME, I AM MENTALLY ILL OR ON THE DRUGS, YOU GUYS!) There is a little countdown clock thingy on the right over there so I can look at it and grin about how close it’s getting. Less than 200 days to go, now! 

So really, I’m just here using all the words to tell you I have no words and you won’t be seeing me so much, which seems a very confusing thing to do to you all. Sorry about that. 

I’ll be around, here and there, which makes me sound like I’m watching you like Sting or Santa or a stalker (those are very alliterative, whoo.) Love your faces, and thank you for being here, you know? You’re the best part of the bloggery. Most sincerely.


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!


Kicking the bucket list

I don’t believe in bucket lists. 

OK, back up. I believe they EXIST. And the idea of them is valid. I think it’s nice for some people to have a list of goals to progress toward; things that, if done, would make them happy. 

The idea of a bucket list, however, is creepy on one level and flawed on another. 

Creepy on the level that, once you’ve crossed everything on your list off, you’re ready for death, apparently. I saw the movie with that sassy Jack Nicholson. I know the score. You skydive, you climb a mountain, you make up with your estranged daughter and then you can die with a clean conscience and I need like a whole BOX of tissues because my ALLERGIES, damn, you know? 

DAMN YOU NICHOLSON!

DAMN YOU NICHOLSON!

Flawed in that the bucket list overlooks where, I believe, your true joy lives. 

Let’s say your bucket list has things on it like “visit Rome” and “walk along the Pacific coast” and “sing karaoke in a dive bar” or something. Sure, you can do those things. They’ll probably be fun, too. 

But I don’t know about you guys, but me? If I build something up in my mind too much, it reaches untouchable status. I make up mind-stories about it. And those castles in the air are SO ELABORATE that once I actually do the thing, it can’t live up to the story I’ve spun about it. Sometimes it still does, but sometimes I’m disappointed because, say, I’d imagined that once I got to Paris, I’d have a torrid Parisian love affair and really it was rainy and overpriced and the people sneered at my pitiful attempts at high-school français, you know? 

No love pour moi dans le city d'amour, non non non!

No love pour moi dans le city d’amour, non non non!

My best memories, my most bucket-listy memories, are the ones I didn’t plan. They’re the ones that I didn’t write on a list and didn’t expect to happen and didn’t check off when I was done, but that stay with me; the ones that glow warm inside me, the ones that I have folded and tucked away and when I revisit them they’re golden and they’re the kind of memories I’ll revisit when I’m really bucket-trending, (hopefully) many years from now. 

Watching fireworks over the Brooklyn Bridge. 

Being completely alone at the South Street Seaport, eating breakfast on a bench, reading the paper, watching the city wake up around me. 

Walking around a museum in Rouen with my headphones on, experiencing art and music at once, feeling at once both very adult and very young. 

Waking up for the first time with Dumbcat sleeping on my pillow, when he became brave enough to creep out from under the bed, and having him headbutt me in a tentative “you are mine now?” way. 

Holding my nephew for the first time, and having him scowl up at me, and knowing I’d do anything for this kid, and that I always would, for the rest of my life. That this kid I’d just met absolutely owned me. 

These aren’t things I planned. I didn’t write these things on a list; I didn’t say, “man, someday I really want to do the 4th of July in the City” and then work toward that goal. A few days before the 4th that year, my then-roommate said, “why don’t you come with me and the boyfriend to the City for our annual 4th thing we do?” and I was like “yes, that sounds like an adventure” so I did. Bam. I didn’t plan on going to Rouen; it was a last-minute decision when I was in Paris, and the museum was just there, and I had a few hours to kill before my train back to gay Paree. 

This is a lot of buildup to the main event, here. 

I did a non-bucket-list bucket-list thing last night. And I glowed like a little potbellied stove with the unplanned wonder of it. I’m still glowing the next day. I can’t imagine I won’t always be. 

Some (typically Amy-lengthy) background: 

I got assigned the review of Ghost the Musical this month. I remember being a fan of this movie back in the day. The jaded lady I am now thinks it’s a little cheesy. But I can still appreciate that its heart is in the right place. And I do so like “Unchained Melody.” And Demi Moore’s haircut was fierce. 

GHOOOOOST! Aw, this was a nice movie, right? Kind of, in a cheesy 90s way.

GHOOOOOST! Aw, this was a nice movie, right? Kind of, in a cheesy 90s way.

(Dad still can’t watch it. The black hell-ghosties scare him too much. “Those scary bastards!” he calls them, and has to leave the room. Dad’s not a fan of scary things.) 

So apparently someone in the UK made Ghost into a musical, which came to New York last year, and closed after 4 months, and now it’s on tour. We’re the first stop on the tour, actually, which is super-cool. The show’s been teching here for three weeks. We’re on the Wikipedia page for it and everything. And remember I met the lead girl when I was having lunch with David on Sunday? Yep. 

So friend N. (who doubles as Boss N. during work hours – having a boss who is also your friend? Total win) and I went to see Ghost the Musical last night. (Well, that’d be your Tuesday night, I suppose.) 

I’d heard mixed things going in. I knew it’d be tech-heavy (there are a lot of effects when your lead character spends 85% of the show dead) and that there had been some issues; the early reviews from people I knew were good, but the people I knew were biased in one way or another, so I took them with a grain of salt. (I try to go into shows I’m reviewing with as little prior knowledge as I can. I think it’s only fair. I mean, there’s baggage we go in with that we can’t ditch, but you don’t need to add traincases and hatboxes to that baggage, you know?) 

Effects like this happened. PEOPLE WALKED THROUGH DOORS. Only not really. IT'S THE MAGIC OF THEE-AY-TAH.

Effects like this happened. PEOPLE WALKED THROUGH DOORS. Only not really. IT’S THE MAGIC OF THEE-AY-TAH.

So N. and I settled in for the show. 

I realized about 15 minutes in I was not going to be able to give this show a good review. 

Now listen. I’m usually the sunshine and rainbows reviewer. Some of the reviewers in the area are often very negative. I’m usually not. I’m pretty easy to please. Honestly, the hardest part of this job for me is finding theaters I’ve never been to before when my GPS is being a dick and finding thesaurusy ways to say “amazing job.” 

The show was too tech-heavy. The plot was put to the side to concentrate on “ZOMG LOOK AT THIS EFFECT WE CAN DO!” The actors weren’t fantastic. (Luckily, the girl I’d met with David? One of the two watchable people onstage. WHEW.) The writing was TERRIBLE. The songs weren’t good. The band was too loud. Someone had the bright idea to have lights the wattage of the sun shining right AT the audience; it got so bad that a., I felt as if I was involuntarily trapped in a tanning booth and b. there was one whole song I covered my eyes for because OUCH and I was pretty sure I would need my retinas for driving home.  There was a random parasol being wielded in one number. There was a rapping Dr. Seuss ninja. Sam yelled “Mollyyyyyy!” much in the style of Rocky calling for Adrian. There was much too much use of projections; at one point, it got so silly I got the cry-giggles and N. was all “I CANNOT EVEN LOOK AT YOU OR I WILL LAUGH” so we studiously ignored one another. “Unchained Melody” was sung (poorly) like a BILLION DAMN TIMES. Once it was sob-sung while projections of a screaming Sam were all over the background. I can’t even. CAN. NOT. EVEN. 

This is Ninja Dr. Seuss, also known as "subway ghost."

This is Ninja Dr. Seuss, also known as “subway ghost.”

(This makes me sound like I was being obnoxious-loud. I promise I wasn’t. I’m a good theater-goer. I held in my noises to the point of almost exploding my eyeballs.) 

At intermission N. said, “You know what’s the worst?” and I said, “That there’s an Act II?” and we giggled all over again. 

This is not the bucket-listy thing, just in case you’re wondering. Not even a little. 

So a couple of weeks ago, the reviewers found out that the review date for Ghost the Musical had changed. It was supposed to be on opening night, Saturday, so that’s what we planned, with a run-date for the review in the paper of Monday, giving readers 5 days to see the show, if they were so inclined. The venue changed the review date due to it being so tech-heavy (it happens) so the review date was Tuesday. The show closes Friday. It usually takes two days for a review to post; mine wouldn’t post until Thursday, giving readers only two days to decide whether or not to see the show. 

My editor contacted me on Monday, concerned about the lateness of the review and that it would be useless to our readers. Could I file that night, as soon as I get home, so it could get in the Wednesday paper? (Usually our deadline is 1pm the following day.) 

Well, I always file the same night, for two reasons. One, because I have a terrible memory, so I like to write when it’s fresh in my mind, and two, because I (almost) always have to work the next day, so the night of is the only time I have to write. I wrote back to her and assured her it would be filed that night and to expect it by midnight. 

“In order to make the next day’s paper, it has to be filed by 11,” she said. 

Eek. 

“The show’s out at 10, and it takes me a half-hour to get home,” I said. “It usually takes me 45 minutes to an hour to write a review. I can try, but I can’t guarantee anything.” 

She wrote right back. 

“What if I had someone let you in the building, and you wrote it at the Gazette?” 

ZOMG ZOMG ZOMG 

See, the Gazette’s about 5-10 minutes or so from the theater. So I could get to work faster. 

But ALSO? 

IT IS A REAL NEWSROOM. 

I WOULD GET TO GO INTO A REAL NIGHTTIME NEWSROOM AT A REAL PAPER. 

I did not take this. I found this online. But this is totally what it looked like.

I did not take this. I found this online. But this is totally what it looked like.

I’ve been in three different television newsrooms. One on the NBC tour, one on a tour of our local NBC affiliate when I was a counselor at summer camp upstate as a teenager, and one when I interviewed to work at a news station (not on-camera, something in the office, and I didn’t get it. Sigh.) 

Television. Whatever. Fine. But NEWSPAPERS? You GUYS. You KNOW how keen I am on newspapers. I love them more than is even LOGICAL. And as a freelancer I NEVER get to GO to the BUILDING! I emailed all my people all “ZOMG Z!O!M!G! I need a fedora! And a press pass! EXTRA EXTRA I’M WITH THE PRESS I AM FANCY!!!1!!” 

Then I tried to be all professional emailing my editor back all, “Yes, that would work, thank you so much, cheerio, wot wot.” 

(She also was all, “I hope you have a laptop. And here’s our wireless password.” I WAS ONE OF THE ELITE, BABY!) 

So after the show, I did something I HATE (I think it’s so rude, seriously, but I needed those extra ten minutes) and I got up the MINUTE the curtain call started and ran out to get to the car to get over to the building to write the review. My normal top-secret easy-enter-easy-leave parking lot totally got found out and now is barricaded, so I had to park like a billion miles away and THAT was a bother. So I had to hoof it to the car. Also the show started late. And intermission ran late. So I was later than 10 even getting OUT of there, even leaving the MINUTE curtain call started. N. and I zipped up the aisle and of COURSE I got behind some old man who was all putt putt putt and N. was all “important lady coming through! REVIEW TO BE WRITTEN, PEOPLE!” but it didn’t even faze him. Kept on a’puttin’ along. Sigh. 

Race-walked to the car. Got in the car. GPSed the Gazette. ZOOMED to the Gazette. Almost missed the building because it didn’t have a sign by the street but it looked so newspapery that I was like, “This MUST be it.” IT WAS! 

Called the guy who was supposed to let me in. Waited in the dark outside A REAL LIVE NEWSPAPER. Imagined what the guy letting me in would look like. Decided probably Cary Grant. Rumply suit. Tired but ruggedly handsome. 

Yowza. YOWZA.

Yowza. YOWZA.

Not really Cary Grant, but I got the tired part right. He was a very nice man. 

“I AM AT A NEWSPAPER,” I said. 

“Yes,” he said, looking at me like I might be a looney. 

“How COOL is this?” I said. 

“Not so cool if this is your job every night,” he replied. 

“Oh, I don’t know. I can’t imagine that this would ever get old. NEWSPAPER!” I said. There may or may not have been jazz hands. He kind of laughed. I don’t think he quite knew what to make of me. No one does, really. When you’re faced with the full-on force of this kind of enthusiasm, you either go with the flow or it blows you away, really. Choose go with the flow. It’s a hell of a lot more fun. 

So he brought me upstairs and was all, “Let’s get you a desk and a computer” and I was like “DUDE I HAVE A LAPTOP AND THE SECRET CODE” and he was all, “Um.” And I said, “Ha. Wifi password, I have it” and he was like “’kay, let’s get you a desk, then, here you go, I’m right over here, come get me if you need me” and I WAS IN A NEWSROOM. 

Now, by the time all this happened, it was 10:30. I had to write a review in 30 minutes. Also, my laptop takes a long time to turn on, and I WANTED TO LOOK AROUND THE NEWSROOM BECAUSE YOU GUYS, NEWSROOM. 

But I had to write the review. I’d written the basic frame, like, show title/run dates/cost/etc. so I just had to write 500 words about it and I was DONE. Luckily, a bad review’s easier to write than a good one. 

I wrote like the wind, you guys. Any idea when I finished editing and proofreading that bad boy (and also I emailed three people just to say, “I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO MENTION I AM EMAILING YOU FROM THE GAZETTE I AM GEEKING OUT ZOMG?!?!”) 

10:49. I hit save at 10:49. I emailed it to the proper address where it goes at 10:51. 

I wrote that sucker in NINETEEN MINUTES.

I then surreptitiously peered around to report back to you about a real live newsroom. (I couldn’t take photos like I wanted because there were SO MANY PEOPLE IN THERE.) 

There are a ton of cubes and desks with computers. Not typewriters, but it is 2013. Everyone has all the fun flair on their desks like wacky stuffed animals and bumper stickers. It is all gray and industrial carpetinged. It is very busy, even that late. There are a lot of windows. There is a police scanner at one chick’s desk, I assume so they can write about or go to emergencies that are newsworthy. No one was wearing a fedora (sadtimes.) One lady said, “I’m going to add three sentences to this copy” and that made me smile because COPY is totally a newspaper term and I WAS IN THE KNOW!

Everyone was sleepy but also very alert at the same time and you could feel all the history and newspaperiness. Like, if a story happened, you could tell all these people would like RUMBLE into action like BEARS COME OUT OF HIBERNATION. I just sat there and thought about all the history of these people, and how this job went back and back and BACK, and what a proud job it was, to be someone who reports the news, who tells the people what’s happening, and I got all sniffly that I was IN THE NEWSROOM and then I was like “dumbass, you have to go to work tomorrow, yo, you need to get HOME” so I went over to the guy’s desk who let me in and made sure my article arrived to the place it was supposed to go (it did) and we joked a little bit about how bad the show was and he gave me quick directions to get out of the mazey newsroom and to the elevators and then I was leaving the newsroom. GOODBYE NEWSROOM. 

In my head, it was totally black and white and looked like this, by the way.

In my head, it was totally black and white and looked like this, by the way.

You guys. YOU GUYS. I want to work in a newsroom. Don’t you think I would be the best at this? Why do I have to be in love with a dying profession? Sigh. 

Then I drove home and the GPS hates Schenectady and was all TURN HERE and it was a one-way street and tried to get me killed. DAMMIT GPS YOU STOP THAT. So then I was driving through all these little towns with the knowledge I totally just got to be in a real live newsroom all bright in my chest and I kept grinning recklessly about it. 

And today I am SO SO TIRED because I couldn’t get to sleep because SUPER-EXCITED and Dad and I had this conversation:

Dad: You’re just like Jimmy Johnson.
Amy: Am I? Who’s that? Someone super-famous at writing?
Dad: Yes. He worked with Spiderman.
Amy: What? He did? Jimmy Johnson?
Dad: EXTRA EXTRA! Remember? With the hat? He was like a cub reporter. But not a BEAR cub.
Amy: No, I don’t…do you mean Jimmy Olsen?
Dad: Yes, that’s what I said.
Amy: He worked with Superman.
Dad: They’re all the same person. You can’t see their faces.
Amy: You can see Superman’s face.
Dad: Whoa, that’s a really good scoop, there, Jimmy Johnson. 

SUPERMAN'S PAL! Look at this cuckoo-bananas comic, yo.

SUPERMAN’S PAL! Look at this cuckoo-bananas comic, yo.

Usually you have to pay to read my reviews, and I can’t guarantee you won’t have to pay to read this by the time this posts, but as of THIS VERY MINUTE, the review I spent NINETEEN WHOLE MINUTES writing is FREE on the Gazette site (due to technical problems on their end, all their stuff is free until they fix the site) so you can actually read one of my reviews in its native environment where it belongs. I KNOW! (And in case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t write the title, the guy who let me in the building did. It makes me laugh. It’s a very good title.) 

Sometimes it seems like I’m living this weird velvet-rope high life. I assure you most of the time it’s me, the cat, and a plastic tumbler of grape Koolaid. 

Bucket list, my ass. I’ll keep blundering into these kickass situations. With my jazz-hands. Who needs a damn list when you’ve got shit like THIS going on, I ask you?


Behaving badly elsewhere

I know, I know. I didn’t blog today. I’ll freely admit why. I got home last night and I was lazy and didn’t feel like it, so instead I screwed around on the internet and watched trash television.

I KNOW! Sometimes I do that. It’s a thing.

Mostly, I was exhausted because on Sunday, I wrote FIVE POSTS. I know! FIVE! It was an epic day of writing, and when I was done, my hands were tired and I think I kind of ran out of words in my head and was pointing at things and grunting rather than using my words like a big girl, because I no longer had any left.

However: the five posts that I wrote (she says humbly) were pretty awesome.

There are three book reviews coming up over the next little while, you got the post yesterday, and then there was a post on Insatiable Booksluts today.

Now, I know some of you saw it, so you can just kick back and grin that you were first-responders. But some of you didn’t, so I wanted to give you the chance to check it out.

Backstory: Susie posted a rant about authors who sign her up for newsletters without her say-so recently.

One of the commenters got pissed. Well, at least I think he did. His grammar’s pretty suspect. But it seems to denote pissiness.

SO pissed, in fact, he called us a VERY BAD WORD.

What word? The eff-word? No. Bitches? Nope. WHORES? Not even. Gasp – SLUTS? Nah.

YOU GUYS, HE DROPPED THE C-BOMB.

Yep. Right there in our comments. Like he took a shit on our nice rug. (That rug really tied the room together.)

Then he was all, “All the best” at the end, like that mitigated the fact he’d (ZOMG SHOCK! ZOMG HORROR!) called us…*whispers*…cunts.

Now, listen. Some blogs might erase that comment. Some blogs might just not reply to it. Some blogs might say something snippy in response, and move on.

Dude. We’re the Insatiable Booksluts. Think we’re going to let that turd just sit there on our pretty rug?

Nope.

Just a heads-up about this – there’s not a single one of us offended by this. Which I have to assume was his intention. “I’ll call ’em cunts!” he gleefully hissed in his parents’ basement over a 2-liter of Mountain Dew. “That’ll get ’em! THEY’LL CRY! THAT’S WHAT GIRLS DO!”

Yeah. We totally cried, if by “crying,” you meant “mocked him mercilessly on Twitter, then moved to Facebook, then to Facebook chat, where we shot the shit for hours and laughed to stomach-crampery about the whole thing.”

These are ma ladiez, yo.

So today, my response to Mitch, the Cunt Whisperer, hit Insatiable Booksluts.

It seems to have been well-received, if the stats, comments, tweets, and Facebook shares are any indication. (Seriously, you guys, my phone blew UP today. It’s very hard to keep your Lady Workperson face on when your phone keeps flashing things like “HA HA CUNTINESS!” I mean, I DID it, but I kept grinning like a lunatic. Come to think of it, I always do that over there, it’s when I’m NOT grinning like a lunatic people think there’s something wrong with me, so…take what you will from that.)

I do not think that was Mitch’s intention. Shit, sorry that blew up in your face, Mitch. That’s what happens when you shit on our carpeting, though.

So if you’d like to see me get all cussy (both the words “cunt” and “twat” are used, so if you’re anti-naughtiness, probably don’t pop on over) and check out some EPIC pie-charts and one kick-ass line graph, I highly recommend clicking on over to the post.

Here, I’ll give you a little taste. Like a playground drugpusher, I am.

“Now, I know it’s going to shock you a little, as I’m a Cunt and all, but I also have a brain. I know most Cunts don’t, as the having of vaginas precludes the use of our brain-areas. We’re much too busy thinking of lady-thoughts, like cooking. Baby-making. Pretty things like cross-stitch and crochet and scrapbooking. I’m not saying I DON’T think of those things (I mean, it’s my pesky double-X chromosomes, how can I not?) but I can ALSO think of OTHER things. I’m multitasky as shit.”

I’ll be back soon (tomorrow? Thursday? I do not know, I have lots of things on lots of burners at the moment, and I’m trying not to start a fire) but until then, please check this out. I think you’ll enjoy.

(The comments are kind of the best part, you guys.)

Big old smooches to you all. Hope you’re having the best day.

And remember: you might get the urge to troll someone’s blog…but when you do, you really do open yourself up (no pun intended, given the topic of this post) for mockery. Just something to keep in your brain-area when you’re mulling various forms of douchebaggery.


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