Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Questions on my Mind

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As someone who loved going to school, September was my favorite month.  I would buy new clothes, a new notebook, new pens.  It was a new beginning.  Maybe because the Jewish New Year was also usually early in September, it always felt more like "the new year" than January 1.  It was a time to take stock of yourself and to think about the future. 

Lately, my mind has been flooded with random questions.  At times, I feel bogged down with all these thoughts.   Then I realized — what am I worrying about — I am a blogger!  I now know other bloggers.  Let me put my concerns on their shoulders and have them worry for me!

You’re a motley crew — some married, some single, some young, some old, some straight, some gay, some liberal, some conservative, some Americans, some foreigners, some just plain crazy.  If I just throw out some odd things on my mind, maybe someone will have an answer to one or more of the questions, and help me ease my mind.   Feel free to do the same on your blog, because I’d love to help you answer your own burning questions about life.

1.   Sometimes I forget my grammar while blogging, like where to put the apostrophe.    Does anyone recommend that popular book on puncutation,  Eats, Shoots, and Leaves?

2.   I haven’t smoked pot since I was fifteen years old.  If I wanted to try it with Sophia, where do adults buy pot?

3.   Has anyone actually found a new job by using Monster.com or Hot Jobs?

4.   When you work as a freelance editor or designer, how much money do you ask up front?

5.   Do you read other blogs one by one, or do you use an aggregator like Bloglines?

6.   Now that I’m a bachelor again, is there a good website for simple, easy recipes for meals for one person?

7.   Can I consider Heinz ketchup a vegetable?

8.   Would it be smart to buy a hybrid car now or wait until the technology is perfected?

9.   Are there any vitamins that you consider essential to take every day for your health?

10.  What is your favorite hotel to stay in at Las Vegas?

11.  What is the best time to visit Paris?

12.  Which is a good ski resort to go to for someone who has never skied before?

13.  What is the best oatmeal?

14.  If I want to buy a gift for my friend’s 8 month old baby, would I buy the clothes to fit now or the next size up so he’ll grow into it? 

15.  If I were swimming at Santa Monica Beach and I saw a shark, what would be the first thing I would do?

16.  Are those new N-routers for wireless internet really any faster?

17.  Are those ‘natural light’ lamps that they sell at ‘The Sharper Image’ a waste of money?

18.  Does anyone actually have an ergonomically correct computer set-up?

19.  What type of flowers do women like to get on a date?

20.  Do you feel guilty if you do an illegal download of a song?

21.  How do people dust in those hard to reach places?

22.  How do you motivate yourself to go to the gym three times a week?

23.  With so many books out there, how do you choose what book to read next?

24.  Should I contact my former agent and think about writing for TV again, or should I try something new?

25.  If Sophia and I divorce and start dating other people, will they be uncomfortable if we are still good friends?

26.  If I lie outside on my terrace naked,  would I actually put sunscreen on my penis?

27.  If I took a potential job offer in New York, would I miss my car and a bigger apartment for 1/2 the price?

28.  After a job interview, do you send a thank you note in the mail or an email?

29.  Is Direct TV really cheaper than cable?

30.  Will I ever be able to buy a home in California or should I move somewhere else?

31.  Is a mojito as good as they say?

32.  I’ve never had a one-night stand.   When I am older, will I regret never having this experience?

71 Comments

  1. Woah. So many answers.
    1. Eats, shoots, and leaves is an excellent book. If only because then you know you’re not the only grammar neurotic out there.
    3. I certainly hope so.
    5. Both
    11. Any. All. It depends if you want to visit quietly or be absorbed in the hustle and bustle of our fair capital.
    15. Die?

  2. MOJITOS ARE BOMB ASS. I need to go back and read the rest, my beloved Cuban concoction jumped out at me and I had to respond.

  3. 5. I’m techno-dumb and don’t even use blogroll. I go to all the links on my link list one by one. Not every day though.
    10. Monte Carlo.
    13. The kind that serve at the Ritz with some kinda brown sugar/brulee-ish crust on top.
    14. Next size up. They grow like weeds and its nice to have bigger things on hand for later.
    19. Anything but roses, use your imagination.
    20. Not a bit but I don’t do it much anymore anyway.
    23. I ask R for the least boring books in his boring ass book collection. I recently hit on a good one: Robert Tanenbaum.
    24. Whatever makes you the money, honey.
    28. Always by hand.
    32. Cheap sex, who needs it?

  4. By the time I reached #24 I was crying! Re the last one – you must have had one just your memory is shot you old fart!

    J.

  5. 5. I use bloglines.
    10. I hate Vegas.
    11. June, for the weather, though it’s very crowded. April is very wet.
    14. Ask your friend what size or buy one size up.
    19. No flowers unless she has somewhere to put them–say if you pick her up at her house. Roses are classic, but anything will do. Creativity points for wildflowers.
    23. I have book group with one very opinionated member.
    25. Some will be uncomfortable, but then you know who to eliminate.
    27. Depends how much you love NY. I wouldn’t miss it, but I don’t own a car now and I like small apartments.
    28. It’s better to send a thank you via email than not at all, but in the mail is best.
    31. Yes, mojitos are very good.
    32. I have the same question.

  6. 11. May, a little rain, a little sun, and not as many tourists.
    19. Lillies
    25. they will pretend to be cool with it, but be secretly paranoid.
    26. Yes
    28. Mail. Way classier
    31. Mojitos are great, but a bitch to make, be sure to tip the bartender well when you order one.
    32. One night stands are fun at a certain age, if you didn’t do it then, there’s no point now. But I’d be lyingif I said you’re not missing out.

  7. 1. I haven’t read it, but my friend highly recommends it.

    2. Pot sucks. It’s unpredictable and boring. Have several martinis!

    3. No.

    5. One by one.

    6. Epicurious.com

    7. Nope. But it’s tasty.

    8. If there’s a time to be less reliant on gasoline, it’s now…

    25. Good chance of them being uncomfortable. My girlfriend of nearly three years is still iffy about my friendship with my last girlfriend.

    27. New York rules. But yeah, you’ll miss having SPACE.

    28. Email. Snail mail is too slow, and if they’re in a hurry to hire someone the last bit of gratitude from you might arrive too late.

    31. Meh. They’re okay, although in New York they’re overpriced.

    32. You’re single. It’s never too late. And yes, you may regret it, but somehow I think you’ll manage to carry on bravely with the rest of your life.

  8. 1. Sometimes I forget my grammar while blogging, like where to put the apostrophe. Does anyone recommend that popular book on puncutation, Eats, Shoots, and Leaves? Yes, and blogging makes it easy to forget.

    2. I haven’t smoked pot since I was fifteen years old. If I wanted to try it with Sophia, where do adults buy pot? Been quite a while for me, but I’m guessing you have friends who can hook you up.

    3. Has anyone actually found a new job by using Monster.com or Hot Jobs? Yes, Monster led to my current day job, but that was over five years ago.

    4. When you work as a freelance editor or designer, how much money do you ask up front? How good are you?

    5. Do you read other blogs one by one, or do you use an aggregator like Bloglines? One-by-one, but it’s starting to take a lot of time.

    6. Now that I’m a bachelor again, is there a good website for simple, easy recipes for meals for one person? Gotta be a blog. Is there a decent blog search tool?

    7. Can I consider Heinz ketchup a vegetable? According to the Orange County Children’s Home Society (food police for daycare), yes.

    8. Would it be smart to buy a hybrid car now or wait until the technology is perfected? I’d wait — pricey and not always the mpg advertised. And they don’t have a convertible.

    9. Are there any vitamins that you consider essential to take every day for your health? I take mutli-vitamins daily, except I forget a lot.

    10. What is your favorite hotel to stay in at Las Vegas? Marriott Suites, but then I’m no Vegas guy.

    11. What is the best time to visit Paris? Fall — weather pleasant, less tourists.

    12. Which is a good ski resort to go to for someone who has never skied before? Ski Butler in Kentucky.

    13. What is the best oatmeal? I only know Quaker Oats.

    14. If I want to buy a gift for my friend’s 8 month year old baby, would I buy the clothes to fit now or the next size up so he’ll grow into it? Next size up — best chance they’ll get use out of it.

    15. If I were swimming at Santa Monica Beach and I saw a shark, what would be the first thing I would do? Get out of the water, but yell “shark” as a courtesy to other swimmers.

    16. Are those new N-routers for wireless internet really any faster? Haven’t tried but am intrigued.

    17. Are those ‘natural light’ lamps that they sell at ‘The Sharper Image’ a waste of money? Some swear by them, but I suspect placebo.

    18. Does anyone actually have an ergonomically correct computer set-up? Just the keyboard.

    19. What type of flowers do women like to get on a date? Any are good, but don’t until you’ve been out a few times.

    20. Do you feel guilty if you do an illegal download of a song? Sometimes, but now I don’t do it thanks to iTunes.

    21. How do people dust in those hard to reach places? Electrical devices.

    22. How do you motivate yourself to go to the gym three times a week? Haven’t done it lately, and I even set up a nice little gym at home. It’s a habit, like smoking.

    23. With so many books out there, how do you choose what book to read next? I own about 100 I haven’t read, so I just grab what’s nearest.

    24. Should I contact my former agent and think about writing for TV again, or should I try something new? Why not? Beats starving off spec scripts.

    25. If Sophia and I divorce and start dating other people, will they be uncomfortable if we are still good friends? I would be, but everybody’s different.

    26. If I lie outside on my terrace naked, would I actually put sunscreen on my penis? I once burned my ass this way, so yes, be careful.

    27. If I took a potential job offer in New York, would I miss my car and a bigger apartment for 1/2 the price? Different world, different mindset, no worries.

    28. After a job interview, do you send a thank you note in the mail or an email? Email, if at all.

    29. Is Direct TV really cheaper than cable? For single-person viewing, yes, but for my multi-TV household it didn’t work out.

    30. Will I ever be able to buy a home in California or should I move somewhere else? Negative amortization loans, but you better hurry.

    31. Is a mojito as good as they say? No idea.

    32. I’ve never had a one-night stand. When I am older, will I regret never having this experience? Yes, we all need a little strange.

  9. 1. punc/tu/a/tion questions? ask me!!!

    4. I get paid hourly for my freelance work. As the work is done for U.S. publishers, and I live in Canada, I get paid hourly in U.S. DOLLARS! (I like that.)

    5. I scan my computer margins where I’ve listed all my favorites; I just scan up and down 20 times a day and open them at will.

    11. As the song says, “…Paris in the springtime.”

    14. Don’t even buy the next size. But for a 24-month-old. Hopefully you’ll remain friends so that you actually get to see the boy wearing the clothing when he’s a toddler.

    19. mixed bouquet; a single rose; a single gerbera daisy or a handful of them

    21. They don’t, and hope that people won’t notice. (or pay the cleaning lady $13/hour to do it for you!)

    23. I link to several publishers’ sites and book-related sites.

    26. I’m guessing a fig leaf ought to do the trick.

  10. 3. – I found my current job on monster.com…but I also hate this job, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!

    8. – Go Hybrid ASAP, especially at $3/gallon, who can afford that?!?

    19. – Women like all flowers! Except dead ones.

    20. – I don’t feel guilty, because they make more money in one day than I make in a year.

    23. – I pick the ones with the pretty pictures and less than one sentence on each page! – hehe j/k I’m bad at picking books.

    28. – It depends on the company culture. I’ve done mail and email thank yous.

    29. – Direct TV is horrible if you live near an airport. We get interferrence everytime a plane flys overhead

    31. – mojitos are great!

    (I like this idea…I may have to steal it in the future!)

  11. Wow, Neil! I’m actually going to answer these questions as best I can on my blog. That gets me out of having to think of a post today. Thanks!

    http://tinyurl.com/abj99

  12. 1. Remember that the author is British. Their punctuation sometimes differs from American punctuation.

    10. The Golden Nugget is old school Vegas. I liked being the youngesst person by 20 years the very first time I visited in 2002. Now, it’s full of young hipsters and it’s fun.

    19. Good for for thinking about flowers. Go with whatever you like. It’s the thought that counts.

    24. I think that you should. You’re awfully funny and it would be fun to “know” someone who does this for a living. There are so many TV shows that you could improve, Neil.

  13. 14. If the baby is only 8 months old, that means you should buy an outfit that’s 18 months. 🙂 Never buy it to fit now.

  14. 3. Unskilled labour, probably. Other than that, I highly doubt it.
    5. one by one
    8. I would definately wait, as we are going to run out of fossil fuel, and then hybrids will be as ineffectual as all the rest… however, if you need to buy a new car anyway, it might be worth it.
    9. iron
    15. probably cry and poop yourself?
    20. Yes and no. I figure Bono can cry into his millions of dollars, but small independant rock bands deserve the album sales.
    21. Easy. I don’t.
    28. I reccomend an email that day and a phone call a week later.

  15. 18. My husband — when he worked for a law firm – hired someone to come in and set up his desk ergonomically. He said it made it all the difference in the world. I write on the floor of my kids room while they fall asleep, or at the dinner table, or wherever.

    32. No.

  16. 1. Grammar books are a good thing-I dont use them myself; nuns drilled the rules into me as a child. Given that this particular order of nuns was chock full of old timers who thought Vatican II was a convention of devil worshippers, the drill used was one of those old manual ones. Still, the ability to hang clothes from my temples has proven useful over the years.

    2. Haven’t a clue. I stopped using when Mom found my brother’s bong in my room.

    3. Nope.

    4. A lot.

    5. One by one; I lack imagination.

    6. Food Network. Check out Racheal Ray’s Thirty minute meals. Now that I think about it they should rename that channel, given that it’s all Racheal all the time these days.

    7. If you want to, it’s a free country, after all.

    8. Wait for the technology to be perfected; the price will have gone down by then.

    9. All of them.

    10. I’ve never been to Las Vegas, but I think I’d stay in that pyramid shaped one. There’s just something about garishly conspicuous consumption that I like.

    11. Whenever the French aren’t there.

    12. Hawaii.

    13. Quaker Oats; is there any other kind?

    14. Clothes that fit now. Buy clothes the kid can grow into and the next thing you know the parents will be hitting you up for money to help send the kid to college. Long term planning for this kid’s future is not your job.

    15. Shit yourself; it’s what I would do.

    16. No clue.

    17. I’ve never heard of selling a natural light. I was under the impression that sunlight and moonlight were free, unless someone’s going to tell me that the price has gone up because of that damn hurricane.

    18. No.

    19. Expensive ones.

    20. No.

    21. They don’t.

    22. I don’t.

    23. I just read about the subjects I want to know about; I’m sure there are people who find tomes about Sumerian plumbing or the sexual practices of central New Guinean cannibals endlessly fascinating; I am not one of them.

    24. Did you like writing for television? If not, then why are you doing this? Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I do this. Then stop doing it

    25. Are you kidding? They will be INCREDIBLY uncomfortable!

    26. Yes. You think it doesnt sunburn? And remember, if you take longer than five seconds to apply the sunscreen then you are not applying sunscreen, you are playing with yourself in an area where someone might see you. Wear something, even if it’s just a newspaper.

    27. Yes.

    28. If you want to; I never did, but then again, I’m a civil servant.

    29. Depends on where you live, I think.

    30. No, it’s a dream, Neal; give it up.

    31. I dont drink, so I am the wrong one to say.

    32. You will, but there’s always streptomyacin to help you get over it.

  17. 3) I work for a headhunting firm and we use both Monster and Hotjobs to look for people. If you need tips on how to effectively use it (as opposed to just posting your resume and searching through jbos) let me know, I’ll go through it with you. However, you being a writer, there are other places where you could search and post your resume. Have you tried http://creativehotlist.com? That’s where we look for writers and graphic design type people.

    4) Do not come up with a figure on your own. You might overshoot and price yourself out of the job, or you might short-change yourself. Ask them what they think your services are worth. If you’re not feeling that brave you can ask them what their budget is and tell them you’ll think about what you can do to work within their means. Puts the ball on your court.

    8) You can now drive your hybrid car alone on the carpool lane in California.

    19) Carnations. Thoughtful but safe gesture — doesn’t carry the same pressure/weight/implications that roses usually come with.

    28) Email, but only if you’ve been given a card at the interview.

  18. 11. The weather is pretty mild in Paris, even in the winter, so I’d say any month except August when they are no Parisians! (Everyone complains that it rains so much in the winter, and I’m like, listen, I lived in Chicago, YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WINTER).

  19. I would like to address your DIRECTV question.

    Just like there is a Santa Claus, Neil, there is a cheap package via DirecTV that you can order that will save you money off your normal cable bill.

    Let’s assume for a second here that you have cable. You have the basic extended cable with the 600 channels and the HGTV and the CNNs and the Nickelodeons and the Cartoon Networks. You also have the couple of HBOs because you can’t miss your Larry David or your Jeremy Piven. You are probably paying about $78 dollars a month. You also have this cable available on as many TVs as you want for the price.

    If you were to switch to DIRECTV with the same setup, it would cost you $54 (about a $24 dollar difference in savings) that you can have hooked up to ONE TV. Now, as someone said before, when you start adding TVs you have to pay for the extra DIRECTV boxes… But over a year….

    If you’re saving $24 dollars a month, that’s over $300 dollars a year you’re saving. And if the two extra DIRECTV boxes cost you $50 each, you’re still saving $200 bucks a year after the fact, which you can then use to pay a hooker for that one-night stand you’ve never had.

    Two birds, my friend.

    Two birds.

  20. 2)ask a 15 year old

  21. Wow. Those are a lot of questions. Good ones too. I may borrow this for a post of my own because I need some advice too!

    2. I have never smoked pot, but my mother manages to get it from her neighbors if that helps…

    8. I would wait until the gov’t gives a tax break to people who buy more energy efficient cars…

    10. I liked the Aladdin…

    19. I always liked orange roses…something a little different.

    26. That’s really your choice, but I think it would be smart to put some on there–it might feel nice at the same time!

    32. Consider yourself lucky and smart. They aren’t fun for either party. No matter how good it may sound in a noisy bar at 2am….

  22. Longest Comment Ever!

    1. Sometimes I forget my grammar while blogging, like where to put the apostrophe. Does anyone recommend that popular book on puncutation, Eats, Shoots, and Leaves?
    I still use my Holt Grammar book

    2. I haven’t smoked pot since I was fifteen years old. If I wanted to try it with Sophia, where do adults buy pot?
    Post that?! What are you a narc?!

    3. Has anyone actually found a new job by using Monster.com or Hot Jobs?
    Monster has worked for both my uncle and me (once I rewrote his resume).

    4. When you work as a freelance editor or designer, how much money do you ask up front?
    Not enough.

    5. Do you read other blogs one by one, or do you use an aggregator like Bloglines?
    What’s a blogline?

    6. Now that I’m a bachelor again, is there a good website for simple, easy recipes for meals for one person?
    ?

    7. Can I consider Heinz ketchup a vegetable?
    Has too much sugar anyway.

    8. Would it be smart to buy a hybrid car now or wait until the technology is perfected?
    Phillycarshare.com uses them… they seem to work just dandy from a passenger pov… then again I have always been one for function over form when it comes to cars.

    9. Are there any vitamins that you consider essential to take every day for your health?
    I don’t take vitamins, but I drink a lot of OJ with calcium and potassium.

    10. What is your favorite hotel to stay in at Las Vegas?
    Monte Carlo… it’s quieter and smaller than the others, but still very posh.

    11. What is the best time to visit Paris?
    Never been.. have to defer to Big Daddy on this one..
    Till April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom
    Holiday tables under the trees
    April in Paris, this is a feeling
    That no one can ever reprise

    12. Which is a good ski resort to go to for someone who has never skied before?
    I have good memories of skiing as a kid at Big Boulder and Camel Back in the PA Pocono’s.

    13. What is the best oatmeal?
    I like “Old Fashion Irish Oatmeal”.

    14. If I want to buy a gift for my friend’s 8 month year old baby, would I buy the clothes to fit now or the next size up so he’ll grow into it?
    My rule of thumb is to buy the clothes that are marked 6 months older than the kid is now and appropriate for the weather (where the kid is) 3 months from now. Has worked so far, and so much better than when I use to walk into kids stores and say, “she’s about this big”, while holding my hands apart.

    15. If I were swimming at Santa Monica Beach and I saw a shark, what would be the first thing I would do?
    Can’t help you there… the sharks and I have an agreement… they don’t come in my house, I don’t go in theirs. It’s worked so far.

    16. Are those new N-routers for wireless internet really any faster?
    What’s an N-router???

    17. Are those ‘natural light’ lamps that they sell at ‘The Sharper Image’ a waste of money?
    Everything at “The Sharper Image” is a waste of money… except the massage chair.

    18. Does anyone actually have an ergonomically correct computer set-up?
    Does my bed count if I have lots and lots of pillow and put the lap top on top of a bunch of books to its at the right height?

    19. What type of flowers do women like to get on a date?
    I like Gerber Daisies.

    20. Do you feel guilty if you do an illegal download of a song?
    Never done it.

    21. How do people dust in those hard to reach places?
    How hard to reach?

    22. How do you motivate yourself to go to the gym three times a week?
    Spend time with someone who will see you naked 4 days a week.

    23. With so many books out there, how do you choose what book to read next?
    I’ve been pretty lucky with just checking out http://www.bookcrossing.com so far for some really cool stuff… and it’s free.

    24. Should I contact my former agent and think about writing for TV again, or should I try something new?
    If you aren’t happy with what you are doing now, maybe you have been away from TV writing to see it with new eyes again.

    25. If Sophia and I divorce and start dating other people, will they be uncomfortable if we are still good friends?
    Do you really want to hear my POV? Cause I’ll tell you.

    26. If I lie outside on my terrace naked, would I actually put sunscreen on my penis?
    If I had a penis, I would. (must.resist.dirty.comment.).

    27. If I took a potential job offer in New York, would I miss my car and a bigger apartment for 1/2 the price?
    I have been in Philly for 6 years now. I sold my car the day I moved and went from a big suburban house to a studio apartment. No regrets ever!

    28. After a job interview, do you send a thank you note in the mail or an email?
    Mail. I usually have 2 addressed and stamped while I am at the interview, ask for a card of anyone I met. Go to the closest coffee shop, finish the letters with personal touches and pop them right into the mail. Invest in good stationery.

    29. Is Direct TV really cheaper than cable?
    No cable… Netflix baby!

    30. Will I ever be able to buy a home in California or should I move somewhere else?
    Do you want to be in California for at least the next 10 years?

    31. Is a mojito as good as they say?
    Yes. As long as they use real mint and muddle it with the sugar long enough. It takes time to make a good mojito.

    32. I’ve never had a one-night stand. When I am older, will I regret never having this experience?
    Going to have to decide that one for yourself.

  23. Wow! You’re getting a lot of answers! You’re probably more confused now than ever, Neil! That’s what happens to me, anyway. I’ll ask for other’s ideas/opinions, then they all run the gammut (sp?) and I’m more confused than when I started! LOL

    I will say a few things that jumped out at me:

    #5 – I just go down my blogroll. I’m an aggregator dummy.

    #8 – I say move to the beach, ditch the car, and buy yourself a beach cruiser bicycle. You can then find a great writing job thru monster.com and your employer will have their limo come pick you up when they need you in the office. (but mostly you’ll just telecommute) Otherwise, you can wear yellow (and other bright colors) everyday and go barefoot as you cruise around town on your bike.

    #19. I don’t think I’ve gotten flowers for a “date” – except maybe the old single rose type thing. But for special occasions or events, I’ve received Iris’s and Lilies and those were nice because they were different. I think Iris’s are beautiful. Go for the unusual, I say.

    21. I don’t dust in the easy to reach places, either, so there!

    31. Of course, Mojito’s are the bomb!!! And not that difficult to make at home, y’know. Go get yourself one!

    32. That’s it! YOU”VE got to be the one to go out there and grab any woman off the street – we don’t care who – ply her with mojitos, take her all over town in your beach cruiser, and sleep with her so you can blog about it – IN DETAIL!!! We want to know all about Neil’s one night stand! :))

  24. 14. If I want to buy a gift for my friend’s 8 month year old baby, would I buy the clothes to fit now or the next size up so he’ll grow into it?

    I’d be afraid that if I bought clothes for the baby to wear at an older age, the kid might die, and then the parents would be left with this baby suit they’d never have to use, and damnit, it’d be my fault!

  25. And tulips are nice too.

    But flowers are a kinda hit and miss… depending on what your doing, where your meeting, she may have to drag them around all night from place to place.

  26. 2. Same place you bought it before…a high school.
    6. http://www.frozenfoodsection.com
    7. Under the Reagan administration, the USDA counted ketchup as a serving of vegetables for school lunch nutrition guidelines.
    8. The technology works. Future improvements will just boost fuel efficiency further.
    11. When you are married and otherwise not getting laid.
    12. Mammoth is actually good for beginners, but Big Bear isn’t half bad at that level either.
    13. The oatmeal kind.
    15. Speaking for myself, I’d wonder how it was still alive in the SM Bay. You really don’t need to worry about this Neil.
    17. EVERYTHING at The Sharper Image is a waste of money. That’s why they are so successful.
    22. I motivate myself to surf, swim and run about 5 times a week by knowing that I am not paying someone to play indoors on some torture device.
    25. To be blunt, your friendship will probably get in the way of future relationships.
    26. I highly recommend sunscreen.
    28. Email. Then again, my job search is counted in years.
    30. Wait two years. The CA real estate market will get crushed once China completely floats their currency next yera.
    32. I’m not a fan of them. But like anything you haven’t tried, you’ll wonder if you haven’t done it.

  27. #2-I have NO idea…#5-what is bloglines? #9-Flintstones, of course! #12-Schweitzer, Idaho #26-sunburned penis..I’m thinking, OUCH.

  28. For those who don’t know, Bloglines is a an online free service where you can add all the blogs you read and read them in one long “Newspaper,” but you still need to click on it to read the comments.

    http://www.bloglines.com/

  29. holy! okay, some answers…in no particular order and i am not numbering them to correspond to your questions…come to new york, mojitos ARE really that good, and ketchup is not a vegetable.

  30. neil: i have NO answers for you. none. not one.

  31. I recommend skipping the suncreen — you never know what chemicals are in those things, and dick-flesh is mighty thin. But you’ve still got to protect the little fella from the sun. So slip a sweatsock over him. Looks silly, will make the chicks laugh. But once they laugh, they’re yours.

    BTW, if you make a good pot connection, let me know about it via email, OK?

  32. Are non-bloggers asked, too?

    I’ll restrict myself to a few I can consult professionally on.

    Flowers: something neutral, with no smell, price-wise mid-range : she might have an allergy to a particular smell (so please, no lilies), and no carnations (they’re the cheapest). And one flower-of-each bouquets make very negative impressions (I can go in length here). Flowers send particular message, so be careful what you’re giving; I second somebody’s suggestion of presenting flowers only after few dates so you have an idea about her style – is she a romantic? roses; – is she a minimalist? dozen gerberas and no greens; does she like expensive opulent stuff? big complex arrangement with lots of greens and filler.

    Ergonomic workstation. Are we talking furniture set up or computer? If former, 100% ergonomic station pays off. Key words: lumbar support.
    Comment section’s too small for expanded lecture, but if you want your desk designed for you perfectly, e-mail me, we’ll talk.

  33. heinz ketchup is SUPER for a veggie sub

    I have found a job using monster.com

    directv Rocks and yes it is cheaper…unless you steal cable. 😀

  34. By the way, here’s a question for you:

    Why don’t you have a hitcounter on your blog?
    You get INSANE traffic, Neil!!! I think you need to start counting it all up! 🙂

  35. 1. Eh. It’s fine, nothing special.

    3. I got my first interview with my company, in a different section, from a job posting on Monster.com. I did not get it, but I liked the company. I fit better in my current section anyway.

    5. One by one.

    6. Get How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, because everything in there is easy and awesome. Freeze the extra or make half.

    7. If the government does for the purpose of school lunches, so can you.

    8. Hybrid technology’s pretty good now. A few years ago I would have said wait.

    11. April. It’s a song and everything.

    12. Mammoth.

    13. McCann’s Irish Steel Cut.

    14. Next size up. Or get him a really annoying video.

    17. If you have seasonal affective disorder, no. If you are a normal person, yes.

    19. You should find out before the date. Personally, I like colorful tulips.

    20. Not if it’s not available on iTunes.

    22. Pay for a personal trainer, and don’t ignore your self-loathing.

    23. Whatever strikes my fancy immediately before I get on a plane.

    25. Yes.

    28. All important communication these days takes place by e-mail. No one reads their post mail anymore.

    30. Stay. The crash is coming.

  36. 1. I actually use the book, Woe Is I
    2. The two times we have imbibed it was given to us by friends.
    3. No and as an office manager, I never looked there.
    4. *Shrug* How much do you ask up front for anything…
    5. One by one…not technically savvy enough to have Bloglines.
    6. *Shrug* I don’t cook.
    7. Not unless you’re Reagan and/or attached to the dietary council for grade schools.
    8. Can you afford one now?
    9. B complex for PMS. Iron for anemia. Calcium for bones but hey, I’m a chick.
    10. Don’t like Vegas.
    11. My husband went in Feb. 2002 for 3 weeks and it was cold.
    12. Not Vermont (icey), not Colorado (straight down), try Big Bear or Mammoth.
    13. Quaker all the way but not instant.
    14. Two-three sizes up.
    15. Swim faster.
    16. See #5
    17. Is anything at ‘The Sharper Image’ not a waste of money?
    18. Ha! Oh, wait, I have to rest, my wrists are acting up again…
    19. Anything but roses unless it’s Valentine’s Day. My favorite are gerber daisies or calla lilies, both last a week in a vase.
    20. See #5.
    21. Swiffer notwithstanding. They don’t
    22. I do pilates to a DVD at home.
    23. I close my eyes, spin around and point at my overflowing book shelf
    24. You’ve had an agent? You’ve written for TV? I’m impressed.
    25. Some will and those are the ones you dump. Good friends are hard to find at our age (see your own previous post on the subject of friends).
    26. Yes, yes, yes, unless you want to be out of commission while you wait for it to peel.
    27. Yes, but there are disadvantages and advantages to everything in life.
    28. Don’t send a thank you until they offer you the job. It’s sucky-uppy and you don’t want to start that!
    29. For me as one TV user, yes
    30. I did, I don’t see why you won’t be able to…
    31. Never had one, but I like the way they smell
    32. Regret is an interesting mind space…

  37. my take on some of your questions-

    everything at the sharper image is a waste of money, just open the blinds for natural light.

    girls like flowers but not cliches. steer clear of pre-made bouquets with too much baby’s breath. that’s all i can say on that.

    i feel so guilty about illegally downloading, i don’t do it. (but i sure let other people do it and copy me the cds. i am a hypocrite.)

    one night stands are over-rated. kind of like the prom. live without regret and seek out good, meaningful sex that isn’t a fluke.

    to many of your questions, the answer is “swiffer”.

    if you divorced and your new mates were uncomfortable, it’d be a clear indication to keep searching.

    the likelihood is very slim that you can afford to buy a home in CA. unless you move to nowheresville, CA. or win the lottery.

    …i am so overwhelmed with all these questions, i think i must go lie down…

  38. 1. Eats, Shoots & Leaves is well worth reading. It was like going to a support group for grammar snobs. Beware that English conventions may vary slightly from American ones (e.g. the use of a comma in a list and the placement of quotation marks).

    19. Go with unconventional flowers. I like irises, daffodils, or gerber daisies, but the point is creativity is very important! Carnations say you’re cheap and men who bring them are best avoided.

    22. Gym/Excercise motivation: I signed up to run a 10K. The thought of finishing after a 75 year old lady was surprisingly motivating.

  39. Neil – I shall be taking your advice and responding to your questions on my blog
    It looks like you are getting quite a lot of responses – hopefully you are still looking for some anwers 🙂

  40. Is this a test? I don’t like tests. If I don’t answer any of your questions, will you still come visit me?

  41. I’m overwhelmed by all these thoughtful responses. You are all so smart. I don’t know why everyone isn’t doing this. It is much better than asking family members for advice and having them ask you a million questions like “Why would you…” “How would you…” “When would you…” and “Your terrace naked?”

    In case anyone wondered, I am opening two “windows” in order to read the question and the answers together.

    And I will start to resolve my concerns one by one, starting with #31. Tonight I will try a mojito!

  42. Will you also be resolving #32 after you resolve #31?? 😛

  43. Let’s just say, I’ll avoid —

    26) going on the terrace

    –this weekend, just in case.

  44. Ask for Apple Mojito. The best.
    At least here.

  45. Wow, this sure got a lot of responses! I almost feel like mine is unnecessary. Almost.

    1. I have that book. I love it.
    6. Subscribe to some cooking magazines. Chicks dig that.
    7. No
    11. Anytime
    14. Buy toys instead.
    19. Wildflowers
    20. No
    24. Yes, so we can say we know a television writer.
    28. Email, things move too fast these days. By the time they get your mail they will have hired someone else.
    31. Yes
    32. Yes

  46. 2. Inevitably someone at a party has Pot. Ask them.
    3. Yes, I did. The one I had before the one I have now. I stayed for 1.5 years. My boss was nuts.
    7. Yes, but not part of your daily food pyramid.
    11. The Spring!
    13. Quaker oats or that one they sell at Trader Joe’s.
    14. Next size up, always!
    17. Yes, everything from The Sharper Image is waste of money.
    19. Wild flowers. Not those lame carnations they have at Safeway.
    20. Yes, but I still do it because I am cheap.
    21. I hired a housecleaner. I guess I am not that cheap…
    23. Friend recommendations.
    25. Depends on the new persons level of insecurity or jealousy.
    28. YES
    29. DirecTV sucks
    30. Move to Boise, Idaho, apaprently its becoming the new LA.
    31. Mojitos are gross. Parlsey in tap water.
    32. Overrated.

  47. I forgot to mention something about #28. As a Staffing Consultant (glorified recruiter), I feel an email is sufficient after the interview. Although I like it when I get cards because I put them up around my office. It’s best to check in about the interview a week or so later and then just wait for a call. Don’t be pesty and call alot. Craigslist is also a good place to look for work and I highly recommend joining user groups and networking in person. Most folks find jobs that way (almost all of mine, except the Monster job noted above were found that way) But as a recruiter, I’m a networking nut…so…

  48. What is an “8 month year old baby?” That one threw me off. Well, that, and knowing that you might put sunscreen on your penis. I need to get that image out of my head!

  49. Also, I’m a single teacher and I bought a house in SoCal (granted, it’s in the IE, but whatever). If I can do it, you can too!

  50. Megan — fixed the typo. It’s funny that onlly you noticed. Good teacher! And for the second part, don’t tell me you’ve never gone sunbathing? I wasn’t sure who else to ask the question — the pharmacist at Rite-Aid?

    Now, let’s see… you’re a smart, single woman with a nice house…

  51. I was born in Boise, Idaho, all of my siblings are there and if you show up with a CA plate, god help you….p.s. Boise being the new LA is kind of a stretch anyway….

  52. #6 I do all my recipe shopping at Kraft.com

    #26 Sunscreen, yes, that’s a very sensitive area.

    #32 Why do the majority of women have negative comments about 1 night stands? Wrong guy? Too much to drink? Or they just don’t want to admit it? Personally, if you’re sober and find someone that’s really hot, why not? If you’re not looking into a LTR, then sex is sex. Some do with, and some do without! And the rest of them are afraid to admit to what really goes on! 😉

  53. 3. Found my current one through Monster.com

    5. Without Bloglines there’s no way I could keep up.

    6. CookingForEngineers.com

    9. I take a multivitamin/mineral with sustained release, full-spectrum essential fatty acids, and extra cal/mag/zinc

    15. Punch it in the fucking face!

    22. Five to six times, thank you… And I do it by looking at the blob of fat on my abdomen – Highly motivating

    28. Both

    30. Wait for the bubble to burst like we are, then pounce on a foreclosure

  54. So many questions. Feels like a sign-in form for a dating Web site. Still, for what it’s worth:

    2) If trying pot and getting it from friends in the form of a rolled cigarette, be sure to confirm that it is not honey oil (I think that’s the term). I damn near died by making this mistake. I was splayed on a bed with the room spinning for what feels like a week (though was only a night). And I still don’t know what the hell “honey oil” is. As for where you buy it … buggered if I know.

    12) I live in Canada, in Alberta, close to mountains and skiing. Still, I can’t help you with your skiing question. Could never understand the attraction of sliding down hills on sticks. But they tell me Banff is nice for this sort of thing. (Note: please don’t feed the bears.)

    31) Can’t speak to this other than to say it doesn’t sound like my kind of drink. I’ll stick to a standard gin martini and/or scotch. (Though, although no longer the drink of the day, I do like a Cosmopolitan occasionally, but only if I make it. Everyone else gets it wrong.)

  55. 1. No–it will show you only British grammar, and she admits to not following all the rules herself, so what’s the point?

    2. I always figured I’d ask a former student if the need arose. . .

    3. No.

    5. One by one

    6. Go to Rachael Ray’s section on the foodnetwork.com page–most of her ideas are for 2-4 people, but they keep well or you can 1/2 them. And they only take 30 minutes. . .or so.

    7. If it’s good enough for Nancy Reagan, it’s good enough for you.

    10. Bellagio or New York,New York

    13. McCann’s Irish Oats

    14. If it’s for the upcoming season (fall/winter) this size; if it’s a summer outfit, two sizes up so he gets maximum wear out of it.

    19. Anything but red roses. Red roses are hackneyed.

    21. I have a woman from Brazil who does that for me once every two weeks.

    22. I do my best imitation of my mother criticizing my weight.

    23. Judge them by their covers

    25. Depends entirely on the “other people”

    26. It would seem advisable

    28. Both.

    29. Direct TV sucks. All those ads about losing the signal when the dog sneezes are 100% true.

    31. Yes.

  56. Number 23, your question about choosing books, was near and dear to me and prompted a rant, Choosing what to read. For what it’s worth, I posted it on my blog rather than clutter this place. (Summary – I hate thick books.)

  57. Go to Big Bear as a beginner skiier. It’s easy and close to LA.

    I think Fish Oil is a good vitamin to take every day.

    You could buy a house if you moved anywhere besides cali, NYC or Hawaii.

    I send snail-mail thank you notes and often I’ve seen them posted in the office of my interviewer after I got the job.

  58. I live in Montana…CA and TX plates EVERYWHERE. I also see alot in Idaho too.

  59. Thanks for the typo fix; the former editor in me reared her ugly head. (But, I noticed you spelled “onlly” with a double l.)

    You forgot to add cute. I’m a smart, single teacher who owns her own home, who happens to be very cute. How the hell am I still single? Oh, that’s right: men suck. 😉

  60. 9. I got a check-up from a very competent doctor about a month ago, and he recommended B Complex, Fish Oil and, oddly, Centrum Silver (I’m 27). Dunno if that was me-specific, though.

    20. No. This is because I only download two types of songs:
    a) Songs by bands with which I am unfamiliar. I only download a few songs, just to see if they’re any good, and if they are, I buy the album.
    b) Songs I wouldn’t be able to purchase: demos, unreleased live tracks, unavailable b-sides, etc.

    If I were downloading for free in lieu of buying, I’d be a thief, and I’d feel like a jerk for it. That may make me a bit of a hypocrite, though. There’ve been a couple of instances when I found that I only liked the band’s one hit sound, and found the others to be rubbish, but I keep listening to my illegally downloaded version of the one I like. So, in that case, I should probably go out and buy the single.

    Eh, screw it; I’m unemployed.

  61. Wow, 61 comments! That’s pretty impressive.

    I have one question regarding #2: why would you want to smoke pot with your ex? Shouldn’t you be focused on having great adventures with new girls? Not to be rude or anything, but if she’s your ex, then maybe you should be thinking about moving on. If I’m way out of line, I apologize!

  62. Ned — thanks for your honest answer about illegal downloads.

    WHL — the most impressive thing is that people are basically nice. That really made me feel better after this week of sadness on TV. And your question about new adventures is the number one thing on my mind, so I’m glad you asked.

    Although, if I would use pot after so many years, I think I might feel more comfortable trying it with someone I know for a while like Sophia, just in case I act silly and embarrass myself by singing old Pink Floyd songs. That is if my allergies don’t make me cough out the smoke the minute I inhale..

  63. Dude, this is so totally an excellent meme. Unfortunately, I have such a tiny blog-readership I fear my q’s will go unanswer-ed. As for yours…

    1. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves is quite good. Not a primer, mind you–a good read, though.

    2. Find friends who are really, really into music. As in, new music. As is, stuff you actually have to leave your house to hear.

    4. None. I’m an asshole. Don’t follow in my footsteps.

    5. Yes.

    7. No.

    8. Wait. Unless you can convert to 100% electric or only keep a car a year or two, it’s not worth it.

    9. B’s & C. I highly recommend the Freeda family of vits.

    10. Hahahahaha. Clearly, you have not read my Vegas posts.

    11. Early summer.

    12. Aspen. Beautiful, all levels, lots of other stuff to do. Where I (as a kid) really learned to ski.

    13. Steel-cut oats. Accept no imitations.

    14. Next size, unless it’s a preemie or you are a very good guesser.

    19. None. That’s really gay.

    20. Yes.

    21. Dyson with extendo-hose (boyfriend’s) or broomstick with rag-wrap (my little shithole).

    22. Hahahahahaha!

    23. Gravitational pull.

    24. Wait–should you throw yourself off a cliff into a vat of acid or…what was the other choice again?

    25. Not if you (a) really are and (b) have really found the right person.

    26. If it’s direct sun for a long time, you sure as shit better.

    27. If you have to ask…

    28. Snail mail. So much classier.

    29. Yes, god-fucking-dammit. Landlord won’t let me get it.

    30. Maybe. If a house is that important, move, though. Priorities, baby.

    31. Enh.

    32. Depends on who you didn’t have the one-night-stand with.

  64. Do I win something for being the 65th comment?

  65. You’ll have to leave 5 more first, Pauly D, http://www.citizenofthemonth.com/2005/08/22/she-exists/ got 70.

    Neil, how was the mojito?

  66. Hey Neil, been thinking about your response to WHL and your subsequent rumination about getting high with someone you don’t know as well…the stigma of singing Pink Floyd songs and all, I think it would be cool if you DID do that with someone new, risk is very sexy….

  67. Maria, are you suggesting we dust off that old bong of yours and meet under the Hollywood sign?

  68. Once again, thanks everyone for your response!

  69. 2. Drop wistful hints about your desire to try a very small amount of pot in various discussions with other adults, preferably those at one or two degrees of separation from your social circle. Someone will know where to get it.

    32. Yes, sorry. If you are like most men you will regret every single variety of sexual adventure you did not have.

  70. Hey NEil for the food try this site. It has worked wonders for me and I have this great recipe for a salad and salad dressing that only takes 10 minutes if you want it.

    Recipes

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