the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Disappearing Video

I’m a cross between my mother and father.   My mother is optimistic, friendly, and efficient.   My late father was sarcastic, contemplative, overly-emotional, and somewhat negative.    I bounce back between my mother’s pollyannish attitude and my father’s cynicism, and for most of my life, this counterbalance in my brain has worked OK.

I think a positive attitude keep you happy and healthy, so I try to lean towards my mother’s direction, although I am stuck with my father’s chromosome.   I am not an advocate of those self-help books like “The Secret” that say positive thoughts are EVERYTHING.    I’ve seen too many happy people run over by a bus.     I do believe that your thoughts can help temper how you view the world.   We all have a soundtrack playing in our head that colors the action in front of us.   We’ve seen those YouTube videos where someone adds a new soundtrack to “The Shining” and makes it seem like a kid’s movie.   When I was in film school, I was blown away by the power of post-production.   So much of the emotional content is developed afterwards — in the sound, the cutting, the music.   This is where the director manipulates you into seeing things the way he wants you to see them.  POV is everything.

Point of view works the same in positive and negative thinking.   A butterfly comes into the house through the patio door.  Positive woman: “Oh look, a beautiful butterfly has visited us.   That must mean good luck!”   Negative guy: “Get that freakin’ insect out of here! Is there a hole in the screen AGAIN?!”

In my last post, I wrote about being discovered by old friends on Facebook during an inopportune moment in my life.

“Why couldn’t they find me on a day when I just got a promotion or a book deal?! ” I thought.

Of course, this is my father talking — the negative side.   I assume — wrongly — that everyone is doing wonderful, except me, and that all my old classmates, now smiling cheerfully on Facebook, are wondering what happened to me — (he’s living in the same apartment?!  he’s not with his wife?!)  — the guy who once gave the inspirational VALEDVICTORIAN SPEECH at our elementary school graduation, comparing our future to the NASA space program, with all of us reaching higher and higher in our goals and aspirations, until one day, we would meet again, all of us successful and happy, hand in hand with our spouses, watching OUR children graduate from their elementary school in 2009, at P.S. 1, the first elementary school on the outpost of Mars!

I was a nerdy kid.

My mother, the positive one, would say, “Perfect. What a wonderful time to reconnect with old friends!”

Negative is bad because it screws up the neurons in your brain and you start to see signs all around you that the world is against you, or laughing at you.   The black cat was MEANT for you.   It crossed the street, right in front of you, for a reason.   A positive person might not even notice the cat, or if it was black.   They would be too busy smiling at everyone passing by and enjoying the nice weather, even if the weather was crappy.  That’s what my mother would do.

I try hard to emulate my mother.

Today, I receive an email about the first ever blog proposal online!  Some male blogger was going to propose to a female blogger ONLINE!   I was invited to leave a link to one of my blog posts that related to love or marriage.  I thought it was a great idea and wanted to participate.  I love people falling in love.   I wanted to tell them that I love LOVE too.

I added a link from 2006.

At the time, I was in Los Angeles and Sophia was working on a movie in New York.   It was our anniversary.  I made my first (and only) video for the blog, where I recreated our first dance from our wedding while dancing with a mop.

Today, I started getting links from the proposal blog, and comments that read, “Where’s the video?” “No video” and “Where is it?”

“That’s weird,” I said to myself as I went to the post and clicked on the YouTube video that I had posted two years ago.

I received this message:

“This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by a third party.”

Now the only logical explanation is that the Andrew Sisters’ “Bei Mir Bist Du Schon,” the song we used for our first dance at the wedding, was playing in the background as I did my dancing with the mop, and someone from (the record company?) found this was a violation, which is odd, considering all the illegal crap that gets put on YouTube.

A negative person might see this as symbolic, like that black cat, or the broken mirror, as if YouTube was trying to send me a message that was more personal, less about the Andrew Sisters, and more about my marriage and my life.   Why else would this personal expression of love for my wife just go POOF, and disappear from the blogosphere?

“This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by a third party.”

Where is it?  What did YouTube do with it?   Is YouTube trying to tell me something?

I choose to go my mother’s route, the positive way, and just laugh at the irony.   I also have a copy of this video on my computer in Los Angeles, so try all you want, YouTube, but you cannot erase memories (or backups).


  1. the slackmistress

    I think a healthy does of optimism & pessimism is A Good Thing.

    Also, Will ( proposed to me via blog over two years ago. And even that wasn’t the first blog proposal, ever!

    Let us know if you make it back to town!

  2. chez beziat

    I’m waiting to read about the first break-up via Twitter. Surely that’s happened or will soon happen.

    Whatever mix of positive and negative creates your entertaining and thought-provoking words, I’d say it’s worthy of note.

  3. sassy

    I really liked this post Neil, and the conflict – I guess I’m going through a lot of that myself lately. Facebook is a funny place, you meet up with people you haven’t seen in years, sometimes decades, they say things on your profile that make you cringe, smile, realize they don’t get anything, or they do. Anyway, it’s all you, in pieces. Somehow I’m having a hard time putting the pieces todether.

    Uh, mmm, this coffee tastes really good!


  4. Musing

    I was an optimistic person for the first forty years of my life. Now, not so much. I hope it won’t take another four decades for that to swing round again.

    And, darn, YouTube won’t let me see the video! Ever try veoh?

  5. kenju

    I can’t see the video either.

    “Positive woman: “Oh look, a beautiful butterfly has visited us. That must mean good luck!” Negative guy: “Get that freakin’ insect out of here! Is there a hole in the screen AGAIN?!”

    You have just described me (positive) and my husband (negative)! That’s the story of our lives. :-/

    You do well to emulate your mother, Neil, positivity is important!

  6. teahouseblossom

    The memories are always downloadable in the minds of the people to whom the video was meaningful. Youtube can never touch that. Ever!

  7. sizzle

    I loved that video. So romantic.

    I think it’s best to err on the side of positivity because honestly, what do you have to lose by looking at the bright side?

  8. 3boys1mommy

    I *was* a nerdy kid? 😉

    I don’t like the tone of any of these posts Neil, they’re starting to make me sad. Always remember,

    “Luck is believing you’re lucky.”- Me (or Tennessee Williams depending on who you ask)

  9. Chris Hoke

    Aw, Neil. Don’t you knwo that you’re a wonderful person who inspires joy-joy feelings in others?

    Also, when YouTube does things like this to you, I hope you lets loose with a mighty “WE WAS ROBBED!” like I do. Then I go and listen to Ahmad’s classic “Back In The Day”.

    Oh yes. Soothes the pain.

  10. Lola/Laura

    I MUST see the video! This one doesn’t work either. Bastids!

    You are really good at going right down to the bone, Neil. It’s brave.

  11. Chris

    I bet film school was interesting. As a child I felt like my experiences in church were manipulated by the music, dimming of the lights at certain times, all so we could “feel the Spirit”.

    Negative is bad. I agree. But it happens, and it’s real. I just try not to hang out there too long.

    Facebook drama and cliques have been giving me stress lately. God. I think you’re wise to lean towards your mother’s direction.

    I’d love to see the video…

  12. Neil

    I thought it was pretty rude of YouTube to just make it disappear. It is still my property I thought… shouldn’t I be able to get the copy I uploaded back?

  13. margalit

    Damn, I wanted to see you dance with a mop! I’m kinda like you, I have very negative parts of me, and really pollyannish parts of me. I’m the Rebecca of Damian’s Farm, if you get my drift.

    Now, on to reality. The first blog proposal was indeed Slackmistress and The Boy, and the second was on Pioneer Woman a couple of weeks ago. Of those I know about.

    The first twitter breakup was this week, when Jennifer Aniston broke up with John Mayer due to his twitter obsession.

    Aren’t I just a fountain of information? Heh!

  14. 180/360

    i agree, this is a classic case of irony.

  15. Annie

    I think being positive is the way to go, but not just positive, but happy. No one can be positive all the time, but one can try.

  16. Lola/Laura

    you could upload directly to your blog.

  17. V-Grrrl

    I think the mop’s agent demanded it be taken down.

  18. V-Grrrl

    P.S. I still remember the first time you posted it. Damn, you and I go WAY back, though not back far enough for me to have heard your valedictory address from elementary school.

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