Thursday, September 27, 2012

Job Hunting Pet Peeves I Don't Think I Covered, DVD Censorship & Liberal Christians a.k.a.

Man, I have a TON of rants in me to write. I'll have to do another installment of appalling Craig's List ads soon, there's the upcoming trip to Comic Con, starting another year at Monday Night Law and general trying to catch up on things.

There's also been the recent plague of illness in my house & my husband's choosing to spend the day in our living room cloaked in darkness (and it was a sunny day). I can't do that during the day, even if I'm a little sick unless I got no sleep the night before. He had a headache but I can't function like that so I had to sit elsewhere & fire up the laptop.

From time to time, I do occasionally look into paying positions I see posted online that I might be qualified to do & aren't from mega-corporations. Oftentimes, I inquire about the job. I do this for multiple reasons:

A) My career, background & skills aren't typical. My film company work was set up specifically for me & my career ambitions. I also tended to get more work in things as a result of good service in jobs I had. Plus, if you put everything I've ever done or even have done recently in one resume, that resume would be a tome. No one would read it.

B) As a business owner, I'm all about efficiency. Even if I weren't one, I'm still concerned about it as a lawyer and steward of time. If you have a very competitive atmosphere, don't appreciate people's hard work & offer zero advancement or reward opportunities for good work, why do I want to bother dealing with you? If you require weekend work, why do I want to bother? If you engage in needless dog & pony shows and never tell anyone the truth, why would I want to bother?

C) I'm not the typical attorney & the typical legal environment is not for me. I also notice that people who claim not to offer these typical environments & want someone who isn't a typical stereotype are outright liars. Like anyone with a brain, I believe actions speak much louder than words.

I judge people & their businesses based on my interactions with them. You can even read here about businesses I thought did job searching well along with those who royally fuck it up. In fact, I start judging you when I read your ad.

If I see misspellings, you announce irrelevant information about a protected category, put in duties that lawyers don't actually perform or duties the person you're seeking to do can't legally perform them (like law students committing unauthorized practice of law) or you're asking for some very shitty job terms (like full time internships or $40K a year for a lawyer with 5 years experience & a demand to see a law school transcript), I will bypass you & may even ball you out for being a moron, an exploiter or God knows what else that's tarnishing MY name & MY field since you're purporting to represent it.

So when you have questions about an ad, don't you hate it when you ask questions & the person either doesn't bother giving answers or insists that you submit your resume & cover letter without knowing ANYTHING?

That outright pisses me off since I do explain why I'm asking questions.

Personally, I welcome people to ask me questions if they might not quite fit for a job my company posts. If you want to be paid for a non-paying position, I don't want you interviewing me & my CEO to then drop that on us when we're about to give you an offer.

I also don't want to send my materials someplace where they will just go in the garbage b/c the hiring person or HR rep is a small minded asshole who won't bother considering anyone with a legal license to do that particular role, even if they say they are not seeking a career there & don't mind doing it.

Nor am I working for a company that doesn't belong to me & isn't in the entertainment industry as an attorney for $35K a year. That is exploitation and sorry, not interested in being a slave to anyone. I usually ask for a salary range so I can get an idea of what the prospective employer's expectations are & list what I have made in the past to set a foundation for what will or won't be acceptable to me. If you can't meet that, lower your standards or find someone with less experience.

One is going to suffer: take your pick.

Unlike some people, I can take care of myself & don't need to be anyone's slave or victim. I didn't put up with that at my high school retail job so I sure won't do it when I'm about to hit the 5 year mark in admission to 2 states as a lawyer.

I also don't want to deal with yet another person who's going to pull a disappearing act. If you're not serious & can't commit to things, don't waste my time.

The reason I'm asking questions is to avoid wasting OUR time. That includes YOUR time. If you are too dumb to get this concept, then you have no business being an HR person or in any management position in a business. If you can't even say "I'll ask & get back to you," if you don't know the answer then you have shown me that your employer is probably a badly managed business I want nothing to do with.

If you're a CEO or head of the company & you do this, you have insured that I will stay far away from your business & warn people I know not to work with you since you have no concept of efficiency or time management.

Another huge pet peeve (particularly on Craig's List): demands to get MY resume and materials with MY personal information when the ad poster gives you ZERO information about themselves, not even listing a company name.

First off, slick, I have an increasing public profile. I'm on IMDB & last I checked, my LinkedIn profile was the first result when you Googled my name. I'm not a "Jane Smith" or someone with a super common name. There are significant safety & professional reasons for me not to give out my personal information to total strangers who I know NOTHING about.

If you're reading this blog for the first time, you should know that people in the entertainment industry DO get harassed by the general public. Not just actors but people who are higher ups in production companies or work in casting offices & other areas where random people will want to be your buddy b/c of your job. We don't want you asking us to read your script, audition your sister for acting work, meet famous people, or anything else that tends to come up when you work in this industry & random people find out about it.

There's also the more sinister side with stalkers & haters trying to stop people's careers, particularly for actors & anyone working in front of the camera.

You get information about me at MY leisure, not because you Googled me before ever talking to me. You might even find things that are illegal for you to consider in the hiring process.

Second, how is it fair to expect people to give you blood samples when you can't even give your company name in your ad for someone to research? There are scammers out there & lawyers especially have to watch out for them. It's about gotten to the point where I'll need to start asking to see financial reports before I work with an employer due to some of the experiences I've had. Even the appearance of shadiness is bad for a lawyer to work in, regardless of the employer.

I deserve the right to vet you just as you should get to vet me to verify what I say. If you refuse to give an equal exchange of information, I'm not dealing with you. How do I know YOU are legit & not just another scammer?

Some people could totally use a lesson in "treat others as you'd want to be treated." Would these chuckleheads give out their personal life stories to ads with zero information? Would they hand over all their details for some job they might not even find suitable for them due to salary, company fit, hours, unrealistic expectations, etc.? If you own a business & you wouldn't do this, then maybe you should NOT be expecting strangers to do such things.

I also heard that the next season of Tiny Toon Adventures is finally coming out but they've decided to leave off an episode where the characters were drinking to be cool & that was apparently aired only once. Apparently, Warner Bros has ignored the fact that the kids who watched this show are now ADULTS who can make their OWN choices on things & will most likely be buying this set instead of little kids who never saw it, never heard of it and very likely didn't watch it.

I feel like we should boycott the set in protest or complain about it someplace. Considering they've had plans for eons to release the Censored 11 (which I've talked about before), the same principles should apply here. Allegedly, people complained about that episode but who are we talking about? Old people who watched it ages ago? Parents who are too damn lazy to skip the episode or, gee, PARENT for a change & say "no" to their kids?

If kids have been exposed to online porn, Prince's '80s catalog, racially offensive cartoons in the '40s and '50s and even a Spike Lee movie or two, then why in the hell is Warner Bros censoring this DVD set that will be bought by adults?!?! You know, the people who have the disposable income to PAY for it. As I recall, I'm sure this set will be at least $30 if not more. That's not exactly easy money for a child to get & again, do these children pay rent or own their own homes? Do they not have PARENTS who would say "No you can't buy that," if they have an issue with this episode being included?

I hate the "we must protect the childrens" argument (misspelled on purpose) just as much as I hate the tradition argument. It's NOT my job or that of any entertainment company, performer or creative to shelter your little babies from real life. That's YOUR job, parents!

You notice the real parents never go around demanding this of creative types. It's time they & everyone else stood up to these breeding bullies & told them to shove it up their collective asses while perhaps getting Social Services involved to take those children out of such an abusive situation. Yes, expecting everyone else to parent for you is emotional abuse against your kids (that is neglect, after all) as well as little Hitler behavior that will probably get you taken out sooner or later when you piss off the wrong person. I think "unfit" is a perfect adjective for that kind of parent.

Lastly, meet some Christians who aren't assholes. Apparently, they are called liberal Christians. They also exist in one of the last places most of you would expect to find them: Oklahoma! Everyone describes that region as a bastion of intolerance, homophobia and right-wing Christian fundies who want to create the Christian Taliban in this country.

Guess those people would be wrong. Rev. Lance Schmitz & Faithful America sound like some good folks to deal with. Bravo, Reverend for calling the owners of Hobby Lobby on their bullshit.

In case you are not aware, Hobby Lobby is a crafts store owned by the Green family. The Green family is a pack of fundie Christians & we all know what fundie Christians are like; in case you don't, they're much like radical Muslims in their adherence to the concept of "my way or the highway." There's no room for moderation or fairness to people who are different with fundies; that's why they are "fundies," after all. Otherwise, they'd be moderates or mainstream Christians.

Hobby Lobby is suing the government over the Affordable Health Care Act, which means employers have to cover contraceptives. Their beef is that "it should not be forced to provide workers with health insurance that covers the morning-after and week-after pills." They claim covering this violates their religious beliefs.

The Green family apparently wishes to tell its employees how to live their personal lives & force any females working there to carry babies they don't want. This Rev. Schmitz said that not only should these assholes not get to use religion to deny women access to birth control but that they need to stay out of women's reproductive decisions since the issue is about contraceptives, not abortion as the fundies claim they are.

Look, fundies & anti-choicers: you lose all credibility with me and any rational thinking person when you dare to ban access to contraceptives while also banning abortion & cutting welfare. You get one or the other. You are NOT going to stop people from having sex & if you think you get to tell ME what to do, then you will be in for a bloody, vicious and no holds barred fight. Just as YOU have the right to wait until you get married to have sex or use it only when you want to have babies, I also have the right to do what I want to in my own life & make my own decisions free from you assholes telling ME what to do.

Do you hear me or anyone else who is pro-choice telling YOU to get an abortion? Are any of us telling YOU to have sex or when to have it? Until you do, you DON'T get to use your religious beliefs to order me around! Beliefs, I might add, that I DO NOT share, support or give any credence to. If I'm not telling you as a grown up what to do, then you don't get to tell me what to do either.

Otherwise, you'd better be ready to go back to the days when women were property, couldn't enter into legally valid contracts (meaning no more student loan obligations from women) & men were liable for anything their women did i.e. wives & daughters. You DO know what they say about there being nothing worse than a scorned woman, don't you?

I think their lawyer is totally lying when he says his clients aren't trying to suppress women or respect the beliefs of people who are different. Classic CYA stuff since they know if they admit to being medieval cretins, people will slam them. If there was one of these stores in my area, I would totally boycott. Heck you could probably also find this family's information & tell them off on this as you want.

How is this different from Chick-Fil-A, you may ask? Well, in the Chick-Fil-A situation the owner wasn't trying to deny insurance coverage or rights to gay employees nor denying them jobs or telling them to harass gay patrons. If they were doing that, as I said before, it would be a different story.

So, see not all Christians are jerks or micromanaging assholes. I told you so! The parishioners of this pastor's church should be proud since he is exemplifying true Christianity & I'll bet would make sure anyone who came to his church, regardless of race, orientation or beliefs, feel welcome. If more Christians were like these folks, we'd have fewer problems in the world. I'm glad more are standing up to the intolerant fundies who make religion look awful.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tradition for Tradition's Sake: How Stupid!

So you've read about how my husband has a faux union, right? If you haven't, well pretty much any employee who works for NYC except maybe the MTA has a faux union (as I learned recently). He told me that when this union next had a meeting, he'd be showing up.

No sooner than he gets notification of it (which is incredibly short notice in lawyer/film exec land) being next week that he decides not to go.

Here's where I think there's some conspiracy here: it's at 7:45 p.m. at an area of NYC that is in a transit dead zone. You have to take 2 buses from the nearest subway stop in Flushing to get to the location. I've spoken before in this blog about how I feel the location of this meeting is a deliberate attempt to avoid accountability to the membership for the shitty behavior this union engages in (that is, ZERO advocacy).

Are we aware that ALL the librarians are now forced to work until 7 p.m.? Oh, and it takes 1 hour & 12 minutes to get there from my neighborhood where there are 2 library branches.

My husband pointed out this time issue in the private union social media area where some hot shot claimed that 7:45 meant 8 p.m. I want him to point out to this pinhead that it doesn't do shit for the people working at these 2 libraries in my neighborhood. That tells me that they're trying to freeze out the majority of people in this system.

Maybe some of my husband's co-workers are weak willed, spineless & stupid (in fact, I know some of them fit one or more of these categories as one of them was stupid enough to think she could try & censor ME of all people; don't think you won't be getting yours, Little Bitch). But guess what? I'm NOT stupid! My husband isn't stupid either. Nor are a good chunk of his co-workers, some of whom aren't little bitches to the system.

I asked my husband why he's nice to these fuckers who are supposed to be his "representatives." He doesn't work for them! They are not his bosses! They work FOR him & all his co-workers. They need to stop rolling over & be effective advocates. I swear, if I encountered them as a business owner I would laugh my ass off. I told my husband that I will happily pay money to someone in this faux union to get in their faces & not back down.

One justification these people offered for keeping the no strike clause was "tradition," claiming some of the clauses have been in the contract since the '60s.

Well, you know slavery was legal for hundreds of years as well. Should we bring THAT back? How about exempting members of Congress from insider trading laws? The lack of stock market regulation before the stock market crash that caused the Great Depression? What about continuing to deny marriage rights to gay people or having no regulation on our foods? Maybe we should also bring back child labor since that was tradition for centuries before modern times!

Tradition is the shittiest argument for doing anything, if you ask me. Using "tradition" as your argument for doing something or not doing it just means "I'm too much of a lazy & fat fuck to do this differently. I'm also too small minded to bother giving your idea any speck of credence, even though you're probably right."

Just because something is a tradition doesn't mean it's right, fair, useful or efficient. Times change, people change, communities change. Some "traditions" should be extinguished permanently. We don't have afternoon tea anymore, do we? Women aren't property & we don't have segregated bathrooms anymore.

Don't tell me you do something because of tradition. Tell me you do it out of respect or because a policy is sound, efficient, etc. I'm sure if you were alive during segregation you'd have been an anti-integrationist since integration was violating tradition. We can't have that! Oh, God forbid your stupid tradition isn't allowed to be used as an excuse to engage in hate crimes.

Whaa, whaa! Look how sympathetic I am to you & your "tradition." Nope, I'm not a religious follower in case you really wondered. Growing up in a religious family & seeing hypocrisy all the time tends to disillusion you from religion. Working with a would-be lobbyist who is trying to get clergy members to help him who tells you he has to engage in legalized bribery to get them to do anything instead of them being willing to do anything b/c it's "right" or the "Christian" thing to do hardens that cynicism.

If anything, people like Romney or Ryan or Akin are doing more to create atheists & agnostics than any atheist or agnostic leader ever could. I'm sure they're also helping build the ranks of the Satanists, pagans and followers of other religions the Christians hate.

The next time Todd Akin says something stupid, I'm tempted to mail a tube of super glue to his offices & enclosing a note suggesting he use that on his lips since they look so dull on TV. This happened on a episode of Designing Women with Susanne gluing her lips shut to where she couldn't talk. How I wish it would happen to him and all the other nutjobs that have taken over the Republican party.

Speaking of other stupid traditions, it's very fucking stupid to only vote for the white guy because all the other presidents have been white guys. If you're voting for people based on this, why don't you at least vote for the best looking white guy? What attractive ones have been there other than JFK? I mean, a good contingent of the population doesn't vote with their brains or based on a candidate's intelligence (if they did, people like Akin would never be in public office) so why aren't they voting for the pretty boys?!

If I ever got thrust into politics in some way (since I have gotten thrust into many things in my time since I opened my mouth to object to something or point out the shortcomings so why should politics be any different), I would go toe to toe with any of my so called "prettiest" local representatives. I know I could win that contest hands down. I'd also want to win the "loudest, scariest bitch" contest. That would be one I'd wear with pride & let's face it, you're not going to beat a natural redhead at that one.

Oh, and another time "tradition" is used as an argument to do something? Fraternity & sorority hazing. Do we find that acceptable? How many news stories do you see & hear about how horrible it is? How many TV movies have portrayed the evils of Greek life with hazing as a starring role or outspoken co-star?

My chapter didn't do it. Let's face it: if they had I & most of the members would have left and I'd have ended up doing bad things to any tormentor; I tend to be vindictive & hold grudges that last a lifetime. I also go for the jugular so think of messing with me like you would messing with a tiger or other wild animal that kills humans.

So, in sum if you're in favor of doing something because it's "tradition" then you must also favor hazing, slavery, no rights for women, no food safety standards & child labor. After all, a tradition is a tradition is a tradition. If you don't examine your own for rational purpose when someone suggests change, then you are at best an idiot & at worst an animal who should be put down with some well placed bullets.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

So What's Stopping You?

This is what I've asked myself lately. In particular, I've asked myself that when it comes to a paying day gig.

My husband got me into the show Bar Rescue. For those who haven't seen it, it's about this guy named Jon Taffer who comes in and attempts to save failing bars on the brink of closing. I like his no-nonsense, no bullshit attitude. It's much like mine. Some of the owners & people you see him deal with on this show are something else.

They went to one restaurant (the pirate one) whose staff reminded me of how some of my husband's acquaintances would run a restaurant if they had the money to get one. They're hard core gamers: live action, going to conventions, the whole nine yards. I see them having a similar disregard for business concerns & customers to their establishment. The pirate people were extremely hard core in the whole pirate thing & dismissive of customer wishes or concerns.

My husband actually took the extra step of reading Yelp reviews on the places featured on this show. Apparently, many of them went back to their old ways & the owners didn't learn shit. Many of the businesses are now listed as "closed."

This sort of thing pisses me off since if I had the means to have my own restaurant/hospitality business, I'd do a far better job than these assholes who apparently have more money or more pride than common sense. In the most recent episode (sorry if I'm spoiling things for anyone), the owner actually rehired a manager who admitted on camera to stealing from him!

What the fuck is wrong with you if you would rehire a thief? If I'd been that owner, I'd have called the cops on that guy immediately & had him blackballed from my industry. This after my husband got done breaking the thief's hand or making him miserable in some other way. If you did that in the entertainment business, I guarantee you'd get blackballed.

If you did that as a lawyer, you'd be disbarred & maybe even sent to jail for embezzlement.

I've also noticed lately job ads where companies were seeking writers and the like. I looked at the profile of one start-up owner & he's got a JD. If feels like a lot of businesses are started by lawyers. I saw a wingwoman company, a writing start-up, all sorts of things.

So if all these lawyers & JDs can start these non-legal businesses, I ask myself this post's title. I think pretty much any unemployed lawyer should ask themselves the same question.

I think with me, it's more trying to have my current business get funding. And you know what? If my business had funding, we'd do a far better job in our affairs than many of these dumbass owners. We sure wouldn't be harboring thieves or letting our employees be disrespectful to people coming in to help us (as an ex-bartender at this restaurant was to Jon Taffer without anyone telling her to shut up; I'm glad Jon Taffer pretty much did what I would have done in the same situation). Since that's my dream & my passion, it's not hard for me to stick with it. More people are even viewing it as a viable business. I even got a professional pass to this year's Comic Con in NYC (which I'll be doing a post on when I go since it will be my first time going) & am getting a custom shirt with my company's logo to wear for a day of it (my husband's idea; he's getting one as well).

My concern is finding a way to use my skills & talents to get a paying day gig that I get some autonomy in. It's more like needing to not only know what I want to do but how to execute it without spending money & where I can make money.

Just so you know, if you're a lawyer you have much more knowledge than you think you do. If you worked in customer service for a bunch of years, you know more than you think. If you had a nightmare job, you know how not to treat people.

I started at my company having no knowledge of what I was doing so I believe anyone who's gotten a law license can learn new things. We have technology & the Internet today; if you're smart & motivated, you can do lots of things. As a friend of mine would say "No excuses!" I say "No bullshit!" You have to live your own life & if you're going to be miserable, you will be the person who suffers most from that one. YOU have to live inside your own head; I don't.

Oh, and if some employer is too stupid to get that concept then they don't deserve your time, blood, sweat or talent. However, I do like this CEO's sentiment and back it up 100%. I have never objected to profiting off the stupidity of others. Hell, many industries wouldn't exist if someone wasn't profiting off consumers' stupidity. Who'd ever buy a luxury brand product? Who'd pay crazy prices for drinks in a bar? Who would buy artwork? As long as nothing illegal is going on, business owners shouldn't feel any qualms about taking money from stupid people. As a matter of fact, I'd like to see Edina Monsoon's (of Absolutely Fabulous) taxing suggestion come into play: "How about a stupidity tax?! Just tax the stupid people!" It would save me & many people I know a fortune.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Don't Eat Before Going on A Chocolate Tour, Educating New Lawyers & Other Musings

Oh, who the hell am I kidding. This entire blog is my musings! These are just going to cover more of what I've done recently.

First off, my book review for Hello Kitty Must Die was just published in the latest NYCLA newsletter (the New York County Lawyer). Go to page 14 to read it. That whole nearly missing my train did actually happen when I was reading this book. I was reading the book as my train had stopped & realized that we were at the stop I needed to get off at to catch my next train. It was one of those "Oh, shit" moments though I could have gotten to my stop if I'd missed that one. It just would have been more annoying to get to that freelance gig. I was actually early in the book when that happened.

Oh, and what you're thinking is happening in the first chapter is totally happening. That reference will either fly right over your head or make you laugh your ass off like I did after writing it. I like to think this particular selection for a book review is unique since it's not the sort of book that only lawyers would want to read. It also is anything but bland or boring.

Perhaps this is yet another example of why I should not teach since I'd be making things interesting by picking the books where sex, violence, all the "forbidden" but captivating stuff happens. I believe history & many things in general come alive if you can relate them to people's real life, day to day experience. I know I was never interested in classes or discussions that didn't have some of the zeitgeist of today in them. Translation: make things relate to ME & my life if you want me to care about your subject. Passion also never hurts.

Speaking of passion, I went to the law student's welcoming reception yesterday at City Bar in an official capacity. Apparently despite my doing nothing for the ending of my term in the Entertainment Committee this year, I'm still on the membership roster. My purpose in going was to be honest & show that City Bar is not a place where stuffiness has to rule. It may be the majority opinion but that's not to say you can't make bar associations fit you if you aren't the stereotype. If I've managed to get some acceptance with these bar associations & make them fit ME, what's to stop anyone else from doing the same thing?

After all, I got thrown into the mix by nomination; I didn't seek things out so I do have a legit argument for demanding acceptance for who I am.

It seems my approach was a good one since I had law students & grads talking to me and asking me insightful questions. I was honest since first off, I'm not a shill & if you want me to be one you'll have to pay me and I'll have to at least be neutral about your cause. If I'm violently opposed to your cause/purpose/mission, there's not enough money in the world for me to lie about it. You can at best buy my silence but that does not make a good shill. I also noticed people walking up to me as I spoke to one or two people; maybe I was that interesting?

Second, a friend of mine is forming a new bar association & I did see some disaffected folk. I made a specific mention to one person who approached me & totally struck me as just the sort of person we could appeal to.

Third, I told people things I'd have liked to know when I came in as a new lawyer. I really didn't have mentoring & still feel like the only mentoring I'm really going to get will be through my own methods via committee (since I've never met one person who's doing every single thing I'm doing & has the same status with folk).

Finally, I'm just not a liar. I would hate someone doing that to me so I believe in not lying to folk who didn't start trouble or cause problems with me. Those people deserve the benefit of the doubt & my honesty.

For my own committee, I touted networking since that's something I've found useful. When you're one of the youngest members someplace & you're asked about an attorney in an area different from yours while in a committee with many established attorneys (way more established than you) who are in those different areas, you can start seeking referrals. I've even referred people from this committee when asked about an area that I knew someone in the committee did. Because of them being in the committee & my mostly dealing with creative types, I figure the folk I recommend are at least receptive to creative people and won't be assholes to them.

Point blank, if I like you & remember you for a certain area that comes up in conversation you're likely to get a potential client from me. I've done this for Twitter followers as well so if you follow me on Twitter & are tolerant of my views (or at least my 1st Amendment right to speak), that puts you ahead in my book. Being an ass to me means you won't be getting a referral & I'll steer folk away from you if it comes up in conversation.

I figured the networking angle would be effective since the people being there obviously had some interest in it, everyone wants to network (at least if you've got a brain, you do) & newer attorneys definitely need to be doing it. If you're a business owner, you absolutely must do it or get a partner who is willing to do it or you're going to fail. Even the established ones have to adapt with the times, have backups for if people retire, die, etc. Contacts also come in handy for vetting (which you do a lot of in entertainment).

Plus, I like the fact that being on that committee is an informal means to meet people & earn their respect without having to be a Rhodes Scholar on an issue.

Today, I had that make-up day for the chocolate tour. Oh, my God! It was worth it. It was through Celebrity Planet & this thing is typically booked through forever & a day but last week's tour guide was kind enough to reschedule me for a close date.

A big part of this tour is samples & getting desserts from places you'd normally have to wait in long lines for (such as Magnolia Bakery, which is apparently well know from Sex & the City; I watched it with my former friend in NC in blocks & couldn't tell you what episode anything in NYC was featured since I had to forget things from there to do writing, not to mention the whole negative association with the former friend).

Normally, this tour is $50 per person but I got a discounted rate through Living Social (you've got to love those deal websites when the vendor takes the voucher & isn't a dick). Deal websites = a frugal person's best friend.

As part of the tour, you get chocolate samples & dessert samples. We were getting free cupcakes from Magnolia & figured they might be tiny, specifically smaller samples than what you'd normally get.

Oh, no. These were HUGE, FULL cupcakes. Chocolate with chocolate buttercream icing. They were good. No, not just good. Incredibly fucking good!! However, eating my cupcake did make me full. We also got free cookies at Milk & Cookies (again expected a small portion). Nope, we got still warm double chocolate chip cookies that were also incredibly fucking good. I had to eat mine gradually as we were going to the next stop.

After that, it became the pig tour for me. Also got the best cannoli in NYC (literally, this bakery's chef beat Bobby Flay in a cooking throw down). You can find this at Pasticceria Bruno in the Village.

On top of chocolate pieces from super fancy chocolate (and we're talking quality, meaning it's very filling), I'm still full as I write this at 10 at night. Only a little hunger is peeking through. Imagine if I'd gone last week after eating lunch before hand. I'd have died & the experience would have been wasted on me.

We also got a special bonus in our tour: while at a different site, we met a woman who's family owned the space downstairs. Since we were on the tour & had lots of samples of sea salt chocolate (which I also like & our tour guide said she could have some), she offered to give us a tour to the backyard gardens in the building. I took pictures & our tour guide said it was the first time he's ever gotten to see any. The steps are just very narrow & I had to watch my head to get down there. Getting that glimpse of old NYC was a great added highlight.

While on this tour, I also got a flyer for yet another sample sale right in Soho so after the tour ended I stopped by there. I saw one item I'm a maybe on since I actually could use it but I'm not wild about the price (less than $100) & don't know if it's something I ought to go for or not. I asked the sales person how long they were going to be there but she didn't know. I tried on some things to try & get my size in Calvin Klein so I'd know for ordering purposes (apparently, I'm also a 2 there).

This was actually my first food tour ever & my first walking tour. Some great hints for tours:

1. They aren't just for tourists. Most of my group lived in NYC, Jersey or the surrounding area. I wasn't aware of some of these places so now I have resources to get food or find recommendations for others. I collected business cards so I would remember addresses though I'm also going to write online reviews (since I had the food, I can technically do that).

2. You probably won't enjoy a chocolate tour unless you're a chocoholic or at least the type who can't have too much chocolate in life. I might not be able to eat tons of chocolate in a sitting but I don't think I'd ever get sick of it & never want to see it again. After all, I'm a former Godiva employee & didn't get sick of chocolate after working there. Nor did I get fat from it; I think my weight stayed the same.

3. Don't eat before you go!!! My stomach was growling but I had a few Wheat Thins before leaving the house. This was just the right amount of food & that was as I was rushing out to try to get to the train so I wouldn't miss the rescheduled tour.

4. Wear your comfortable shoes if it's a walking tour. We did a lot of walking & I am definitely feeling it still.

5. Finally, if it's sunny out & you're in the sun wear some sunblock (especially if you burn like I do). That probably saved me from killer sunburn today.

I definitely feel like I got my money's worth here. Go if you can.