Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Month: December 2007 (page 1 of 3)

My Last Day of 2007 “Thank You’s”

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looking back… 

Thank you, Tamar, for “buying” me in that charity blogger auction back in January.

Thank you, dear readers, for believing my version of the story about the purple bathrobe from college.

Thank you, all those who participated in the Valentine’s Day Emergency Hotline.

Thank you, the Times of London, for mentioning my humble blog.

Thank you, all those who convinced Sophia to “allow” me to blog during our road trip to Portland.

Thank you, Sophia, Danny, and everyone else who made this year’s birthday in March the best birthday I’ve ever had.

Thank you, those who showed us such a great time in San Francisco and Portland.

Thank you, all who came to the support of Sophia during her scary breast cancer surgeries this Spring.

Thank you for not abandoning my blog during the month I obsessed over the music of ABBA.

Thank you for your supporting my mission to save the small pigeon on my patio.

Thank you, for continuing to love me, despite my constant complaining about BlogHer, insulting Portland’s lack of diversity, falling asleep at classical concerts, sending cartoon images of my Penis to female bloggers, turning Irving Berlin into a foul-mouthed sex addict, and being so cheap that I buy ninety-nine cent shoelaces.

Thank you, kind souls, for your advice in helping me plan to achieve my lifelong dream — 50 States, 50 Women.  (someday!)

Thank you for your support as I took the big step this Fall and finally started therapy.

Thank you for participating in the Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair and the Blogger Online Christmahanukwanzaakah Concert.

Thank you, everyone, for making me laugh… and think… and sometimes, cry.

Thank you, Wendy, for our fabulous night out in Los Angeles seeing Wicked.

Thank you, Charming but Single, Finn, Brooke, SAJ, OMSH, Deanna, 180/360, Ash, Alissa, Ms. Sizzle, Pam, Schmutzie, V-Grrrl, Ninja Poodles, Heather B, Erin, Crazy Aunt Purl, Jessica, Dagney, Jurgen Nation, Nabbalicious, Whoorl, LVGurl, Psychotoddler, Leese, Pearl, and everyone else I had long personal conversations with this year online.

Thank you to all the wonderful people I met for the first time this year, such as everyone involved with Leahpeah’s Bloggers Live.

Thank you to all of the female bloggers I fell in love with this year (at least in my mind), even if it was only for a day.

Thank you, everyone, for allowing me to follow your lives on your blogs.

Thank you for letting me be your “friend” on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you for letting me ogle you photos on Flickr and say things to myself like “Holy crap, who would have thought that some dull mommyblogger was so f***ing HOT!”

2007 was a stressful year for me, as it was for many of you.  There were illnesses and deaths in our midst.  I know of at least five bloggers who got divorced or separated this year.  Luckily, joy and happiness is always around the corner.  Some of you got married.  Some got promotions at work.  I even know one blogger who had her first orgasm in seven years!  What could be more hopeful than that?!

I hope 2008 is a wonderful year for all of readers of Citizen of the Month, filled with happiness, love, kindness… and of course… many, many orgasms.

My Fifth Grade Diary

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A few months ago, I attended a reading of bloggers and writers reading from their teenage diaries. All of the participants were women. After the show, there was some discussion about diaries and gender. It seemed that every women had kept a personal diary in their youth, but hardly any men. Is this why women feel so comfortable blogging?

I told everyone that I never kept a diary. Writing for me was geared more for fiction than for self-exploration. So, you can imagine my surprise today when I found a diary in the back of my closet! I completely forgot about it. I wrote it in the fifth grade. Unfortunately, I lost interest in writing the diary after one month. I started it in January and ended it in February.

I’m not sure it is interesting to anyone, but what the hell — here’s the first week of entries. I found the second entry the most intriguing, for obvious reasons.

January 2nd

Today I went back to school. The day passed quickly. Today for some reason our teacher, Mrs. Mattis, brought 4 books, like pamphlets, called “What Should I Tell My Daughter.” It was about sex on the girls side. When I was home my Mom and a little bit of my Dad were bugging me about sex. All day my feet were killing me because of growing pains.

January 3rd

Today was a normal day. A rumor which was not true was that I showed my penis to my classmate, Freya. it started off with Tracey then went so forth. But many others have been having this trouble. My Hebrew school, regular friend, and ringolevio classmate said “Our class is the sexiest class in the school.” He’s right. My seat was changed from between Debbie and Freya to between Subha and Robert S. (Snipple). Larry was between Subha and Robert S. Now, he’s between Debbie and Freya. They all love each other.

January 4th

Today it was a normal school day. At gym we had dancing. Our class has more boys than girls so some boys doubled-up as a girl. I was one of them. A boy named Steven (spiderman) said to Barry (Eggy) who was dancing with a girl named Jamie, “Dancing with your girlfriend?” I was astonished when Barry said, “At least I can afford one.” Then me and Barry (Eggy) came home. I got a 100 in spelling.

January 5th

When I woke up this morning, I felt lousy. The day passed along slowly. At gym, I played like a zombie. One event, in gym, was when a girl named Sandra tagged her own man. A boy named Steven, who wants everything perfect, said to her, “Don’t tag your own man.” She thought he said “old man” not “own man.” She started to cry because her father died on my birthday. After school, I went to the eye doctor. My eyes got worse and I need new glasses.

January 6th

There’s been a problem. The lock on the diary just broke. I don’t even have time to write. I’m on the history committee on Mexico with Subha and Mahaan in school. Me and Mom bet on the first one who curses, yells or gets mad has to give the other person $1.00. Grandma came in 4th Place in a Reader’s Digest lottery. Mom says it’s a hoax. I say it’s true. I walked to school with a person I know but don’t know his name. At school, I helped a new girl named Sheri with math. The teacher told me to.

The Christmas Day Broadcast of the 2007 Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert

Merry Christmas!

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Neilochka: Help me, I’m Jewish! Why am I on this weird guy’s lap?

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Santa Claus: Now listen very carefully, young Jewish Neilochka. One day, you will have a “blog.” I know you don’t know what that means right now. But you will. Right before Christmas, you should have a Holiday Concert right ON THE BLOG. Take my word for it. Chicks REALLY dig guys who throw Holiday concerts!

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Have a wonderful day filled with love and joy. No Christmas is complete with music. So, if you haven’t checked it out yet, why not listen (or listen again) to some of your blogging friends creating some special Holiday memories?!

The 2007 Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert

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Have a wonderful Christmas day. Good health and happiness to your families. See you at the movies, fellow Jews!

The Family Nose

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In the last couple of days, there have been several comments on this blog about Sophia looking like my mother.  That’s just crazy!   Sophia and my mother look nothing alike.   Why would anyone marry someone who looked like his mother?  That would mean… that this person wanted to… that…  I just can’t even put the words together because it is so unspeakable.

Whatever.

Sophia and my mother don’t look anything alike.   Really.   None of us think it is true.   If anyone looks like my mother, it is me.    The proof is in the photo on top, taken at the Dominican coffee shop where we ate breakfast this morning.

More Finds in the Closet

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Here is a photo of my parents on a date at the Luau 400, a famous New York Tiki-bar that is long closed.

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The Luau 400 (Polynesian), at 400 E. 57th St., is another example of what we think the South Seas should be like. To enhance the atmosphere, owner Harry Bloomfield has employed all his theatrical skill to present tropical trees, waterfalls, and exotic birds as a background for the sloe-eyed waitresses, ukulele players, etc. A favorite with show people, especially for private parties, and one of the last ports of call for upper East Side theatregoers on the way home.

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brochure photos from Critiki

My mother didn’t really remember much about the evening. Hopefully, it wasn’t as bad as my first date with Sophia.

When I searched for Luau 400, I discovered that there are Tiki bar collectors out there. A Luau 400 “mug” can fetch as much as $170! Unfortunately, my mother didn’t have any tiki mugs in the house.

But all is not lost! Look what I found in the back of my closet!

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I apologize to my mother for saying that she gave all my baseball cards away. I apologize to my cousin for saying that he became a millionaire selling my baseball cards on E-bay. I am RICH. Hank Aaron! Pete Rose! Roberto Clemente! Ha Ha, you suckers have to go back to work after the holidays. I’m ready to rule the world with my millions! (well, actually the most valuable card, the Roberto Clemente (with added crayon-colored uniform), is only worth $45 dollars mint-condition, so I will only rule the world for a few days until I am poor again).

Portrait of a Blogger as a Young Man

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I promised my mother that I would throw out some things that have been in my closet for years, but it is impossible.  How can I choose what to toss?   Who knows? — one day I might be called on to perform some brain surgery on a sick neighbor and I’ll need to practice on that old Operation! game board.  It was fun going through old school reports and yearbooks.  I found personal papers and writings that I haven’t seen in years. 

These two writing pieces made me chuckle.  I would have been a terrific grade school blogger!

Me!  by Neil Kramer
(This is part of a journal written in elementary school.  There were photos attached, but were missing.)

It was a nice but cold day on March 7th.  Then at 2:38 AM, a spectacular thing happened.  I WAS BORN.  This is me, Neil Scott Kramer, at four months old.  The hands holding me belong to my baba (as I used to call my mother at four months old).  Birth notices were sent out to relatives and friends about ME, like the one above.  I took this photo of my mother and father.  I take many pictures.  That’s only one of my hobbies.  Others I have are coins, stamps, comics, and magazine collections.  Astrology — I like it!  I am a Pisces.  My mother is a Libra.  My father is a Gemini.  I LOVE TV!

Here is picture of ME in school.  Look at the 4th Row, 3rd Person from the left in Mrs. Mattis’s class in P.S. 154, in Flushing, in Queens, in NYC, in NY, in the USA, in North America, in this world, EARTH.

An interesting fact about me! – 18 1/2 million call the New York/New Jersey area their home.  And without me, it would be ONE LESS!

Clearly, my literary brilliance came through at an early age.  Unfortunately, once I became a Freshman in college, my writing turned pretentious and filled with sexual cliches, much as it still is today.

Sue by Neil Kramer
(a story written in a Freshman “Creative Writing” Class at Columbia)

I’m sitting on the top of the balustrade that separates Central Park from the adjacent sidewalk that I face, waiting, hoping that Sue will pass.  Although she is nowhere in sight, many other lovely girls pass me by, and since today is a hot July day, which prompts these beauties to sail right in front of my eyes in various stages of semi-undress, the sporadic wafts of warm, summer air gently fluttering the fashionable, soft, cotton fabric of the females blouses into a massage of their protruding breasts, the wait is not unpleasant.

A young couple exits the movie theater across the street.  The female (25, perhaps?) wears the tight green shorts that Boy Scouts usually wear.  I wonder what effect the movie had on this couple.  I know that the film is about a love affair between two Resistance members, and the war’s toll on their lives.  Max Horkheimer, the Marxist intellectual of the Frankfurt School of Philosophy, said that art is the only proletariat spirit left in my generation’s lifetime.  Great art should make the persons appreciating art to strive to reach this ideal, that of making the world a better place to live.

“Do you think this has happened to that couple?”  I ask myself.

I laugh. 

WTF?  Max Horkheimer, who the hell was he?  And who is Sue?  There are several more pages of this short story/political manifesto, but you couldn’t pay me enough to publish the rest. 

Now, continue on with your repressive, advertiser-driven blogs, you fools, those of you who bow before the false idols of capitalism and Technorati, while I, a modern-day Max Horkheimer, lead on with my blog revolution!

I laugh.

On the Wall in Queens

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Luck is Getting Three Chopsticks

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Today, on the second day of my New York trip, I felt my luck changing.  Why?  Because we went out for sushi and when I opened my package of wooden chopsticks, there were three individual chopsticks inside.  Now getting three chopsticks seems as useless as three shoelaces in one package, but the waitress said that in her seven years of waitressing, she never saw this happen before, and said it was “for good luck.”

It is important to work hard and take chances, but let’s be honest with ourselves — there’s a lot of luck involved in life.    Sometimes, we just find ourselves in the right place at the right time.  I know there are some of you that think that everything is dependent on some “secret” or that God actually cares if you win the big game, but that’s insulting to the important concept of “LUCK.” 

Getting three chopsticks is pure luck. 

Unlucky is paying fifty bucks to take a romantic buggy ride through Central Park and getting stuck with a driver who spends the whole trip gossiping on her phone with her girlfriend from Brooklyn. 

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Unlucky is getting a modeling job where you have to sit around Rockefeller Center in your underwear… in late December.

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Unlucky is coming to New York to take a photo of your family in front of the “big tree,” not realizing that 1000 other families are also there, blocking your view.

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We had a nice day, so we were lucky.

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Feeling a Little Blue

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Sophia, Flushing

I enjoy getting comments which read “Oh, Neil, that was so funny. You made me morning.” I like them so much, I hate bringing up times when I’m feeling a little down. I’ve only been in New York for one day, and while I should be absolutely joyous, I’m feeling sort of blue. I’m not sure if it is the bleak sky, the cold, or just missing therapy this week. Even seeing my Mom and eating the perfect bagels hasn’t broken me out of the rut.

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Bagels, Flushing

My screenplay pitch is still on the backburner while the writer’s strike continues. It is hard convincing yourself that you have the “greatest comedy story ever written” for more than a month before you start having doubts. There are a couple of big expense concerns coming up, and thinking about money makes me anxious.

On Monday, at LAX, we had a hour to kill before our flight, so I watched travelers running around, catching fights. It is big world out there, with so many countries and cities I want to see. Will I get to visit everywhere I want? Will I have the time? The money? Today, I found my old stamp collection in my closet. I had organized all of my international stamps into little envelopes titled France, India, Madagascar, etc. I must have been around ten years old. Some of the countries on the list, mostly African ones, don’t even exist anymore! I’m sure I dreamed of traveling to all of these places one day. Now, I’m less sure of myself. Maybe I won’t ever get to Madagascar after all! And that would be sad. Time is moving too fast.

Time also plays games with the mind. Although my mother had done a great job in redecorating the apartment in the last year, the memory of my father is still strong. Everywhere you look, there is a part of him, from his collection of slides he took in the army or massive collection of ties. His essence is here. While it is nice that his presence is felt, it is sad that he is not here in person.

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A familiar view from my old room while lying on the bed

I’m glad Sophia came along to New York. She’s always fun (except for the traveling by plane part where she brings too much luggage). Still, we are theoretically moving closer to the date when I will move out of the house. We both think it would be good to take a break and have some alone time. My therapist didn’t even think it was a good idea to travel to New York together, but what fun would it be without her? Sophia is sleeping right now, and I’m feeling all sorts of emotional ups and downs about our future.

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The confusion over our relationship has created problems for my sex life and my dreams are becoming more anxiety-ridden by the day. Last night, I combined all my fears about writing, Hollywood, and sex in to one big stew of bizarre dreaming:

In the dream, I had just spoken to this movie producer on the phone. The writer’s guild strike was still going on, so my pitch was postponed again. I needed to quickly make more money, so I looked in the newspaper. I ended up getting a job with a CSI crime unit. I was hired to be a special “closer.” My daily assignment: I would go down on a female suspect, and from her taste, I would learn all these facts about her. “She’s 32, runs two miles a day, and loves Cheerios,” I would say to the police captain as I lifted my head up from between her thighs. “She’s a graduate of Princeton with a B.A. in Religion and she is lying about hitting her husband over the head with that baseball bat.” My authority was never questioned and this Princeton religious studies graduate was thrown in jail for committing murder. Rather than feeling good about myself, I fretted about my “interrogation.” I had the nagging feeling that I tasted her incorrectly and put the wrong woman behind bars.

After this dream, I woke up with a terrible headache. And now there’s two more weeks without therapy! God help us all.

Tomorrow, we’re going to MOCA, and maybe meeting Tamar of Mining Nuggets for coffee (that is if she’s not afraid of me after hearing about my dream). Email me if you live in New York and know of some cool things going on or restaurants that you love.

Off to Visit Mom

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How many suitcases are we bringing to New York?  (Remember, Sophia is coming with me.  And she is a woman.  A woman with a lot of shoes.  A woman who isn’t sure what shoes to wear in the snow.  A woman who dragged me along for four hours shopping in department stores for boots, but ended up not liking anything.  Are Uggs waterproof?  What do YOU wear in the snow?)

The person who first guesses most accurately how many pieces of luggage we are bringing to New York for a two and a half week visit will win — get this — a $1000 dollar gift certificate from my favorite retailer, Buyy.com! (that is Buyy.com, not Buy.com, you idiots).  Ha Ha Ha, I love when my own blog post makes me laugh.

Now, bring on the NY bagels!

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