the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: meme

Thursday is Blog Appreciation Day

local newspaper on Mount Everest

Summer is coming to an end, and fall brings in new emotions.  I just had a wonderful weekend meeting some bloggers in San Diego.  So, I’m feeling all sentimental about blogging – 

Isn’t it amazing that you can interact with others — and in such an intimate way — even when that other person lives half the country away in Pittsburgh?  Or half the world away in Mauritus?

That’s why Thursday is Blog Appreciation Day!

What is Blog Appreciation Day?

The idea formed as I drove home from San Diego.  As I was on the 5 Freeway, I started getting sleepy.  Maybe it was all that champagne at brunch!  I got off the freeway to grab a cup of coffee.  I ended up in some small beach town between San Diego and Orange County.  

As I drank my coffee in a small coffee shop, I perused through the local “free” newspaper.  In it, was a feature titled “Around the World.”  The column was all about local residents who submitted pictures of themselves while travelling.  In the photos, they were holding up their rinky-dink local paper in some faraway location, whether it be Chicago or China.   I started laughing, not because I was making fun of the concept, but because they do the EXACT SAME THING in the Redondo Beach local paper.   And I thought this was just a Redondo Beach gimmick!   How naive of me.  Do they do this in all small town newspapers? 

local newspaper in Morocco

This small town gesture is easy to make fun of.  After all, you don’t see people showing off their copies of The New York Times in exotic places:

 “Look at me!  The New York Times actually went to China!”

But, in reality, I found the gesture rather heartwarming.  By taking a photo of yourself holding the HOMETOWN paper in front of the Eiffel Tower, you’re sending a strong message to those back at home:  “Hey look, we are part of the world community.  You can actually read this rinky-dink Redondo Beach newspaper in Paris!”

I’ll admit it –  I get a real kick knowing that someone actually reads my stupid blog in places like Fort Lauderdale, Florida  and Sydney, Australia!  How cool is that?  And I’m sure you feel the same way about your blog. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to actually SEE you home page in one of these places, just like you enjoy seeing someone holding up your local newspaper in Bombay?

That is where Blog Appreciation Day comes in.  Anyone who asks for it in today’s comments, will get a digital photograph emailed to them on Thursday.  The photo will be of HIS or HER blog taken from my actual MONITOR in LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.   Show your friends and family!  Amaze your children!  Feel good about what you do.   Look how you’ve made an impact thousands of miles away.

That is what Blog Appreciation Day is all about.  You can finally say, “Hey, someone actually reads my dumb blog all the way in California.  And, look — I have photographic PROOF!”

The only thing I ask in return is that if you ask for a digital photo, you pass the gesture on to the next blogger.  You need to make a photograph of another blogger’s blog and email it to them — perhaps some blogger who has done something meaningful for you, even if you have never met. 

Show a friendly blogger how their blog is appreciated, even in a faraway land.

Remember, Blog Appreciation Day is this Thursday, August 24th. 

Would you like a photo of your blog?

Fitena’s blog (written in Mauritius) on my monitor in Los Angeles

Another example:  Sophia sent me this for Kapgar in Chicago.  Notice Sophia ultra-chic New York highlights in her hair.


A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  TV is for Babies

Know Thyself…Very Little


In the early days of my blogging "career," I was jealous of those who were asked by another blogger to do a "meme."   I used to ask myself:

"Why wasn’t I asked to do a "meme?"  Am I so unloved?  Doesn’t anyone want to learn more about me?"

I was ecstatic when I got  my first meme.  Finally, somebody cared!

Until then, I never had trouble writing a post.  But with the meme, I stared at the screen for an hour.  It was difficult for me to do.  It was like writing an essay for college admissions.

Since then, I’ve been offered other memes.   I’m hoping no one has noticed that I never actually do them.  I’ve only done that first one.  I hope you don’t think me snobbish, as if I’m too proud to answer your question about what type of underwear I wear.  I love reading your memes.  I love learning more about you.  But when I try to do one, I just break out in hives.

I’ve thought about my reasons, and I’ve concluded that I have a "fear of memes."   I’m afraid of memes because they require that I answer questions about myself.  

And in all honesty, I don’t know myself very well.

Here are some typical meme questions:

What is my favorite movie?  It really depends on my mood or who I’m watching it with.  Sometimes I watch a movie I thought I loved, like Star Wars, and the movie seems incredibly cheesy.

If I were a fruit, which fruit would I be?  Do any of you actually think about this shit?  I may have once harbored a fantasy of fucking the Chiquita Banana lady, but I’ve never dreamt about being the banana.

What’s in your bedroom closet?  I stuff my closet with dirty laundry.  I never open the doors.

Maybe I need to force myself to do these memes.  Maybe they will make me understand myself better.  Maybe I can use these memes as a cheap way to get some therapy.

A few years back, I did see a therapist.   It was, in fact, Sophia’s therapist.  At the time, Sophia was seeing Doris, a sixty-ish woman, a former schoolteacher, who always wore tweed, which is odd-looking in Los Angeles.  Sophia suggested that I see my own therapist.  I told her that I had no idea on how to find a therapist.  Soon, Sophia was seeing Doris on Tuesday and I was visiting Doris on Wednesday. 

Seeing the same therapist was a disaster.   Sophia and I would complain about each other to Doris, and then press this poor women to tell us what the other one had said behind his/her back.

"Whatever Sophia told you, was a lie," I used to tell Doris.

Our arguments at home grew more intense:

"I don’t care what you say.  Doris told me that I shouldn’t cave in to you.  That’s I’m too passive with you."

"Oh, well, Doris told me that I should stand my ground.  And that you manipulate me with your guilt."

"Why don’t we just call Doris and find out who’s lying?!"

Eventually, Doris said our arrangement wasn’t working.  She dumped me, since Sophia was her client before I was.   Doris suggested that I see her son-in-law, Josh, who just graduated from UCLA and was doing his "required hours" to become a licensed therapist.

My time with Josh was worse than with Doris.   I was his very first client.   He looked twenty years old.  I had this feeling that he had never been on a date before.  How was he going to give me any marital advice?

Like many inexperienced people trying to fake it, he overcompensated by doing everything by the book.  He sat there silently and wrote notes, like he must have seen therapists do in the movies.  I would get so bored just talking to him, like I was on a really bad date.  Sometimes, I would try to coax him into conversation:

"Surely you’ve had this same problem with women.  Right, Josh?"

He always gave the same stock answer.

"We’re here to talk about you, not me."

Because I did all the talking, I became anxious that I wasn’t interesting enough for him.  On the way to his office, I would jot down little notes and jokes, hoping that I would somehow amuse him.  But he never smiled.

One day, I was in an Italian restaurant in Westwood, and I saw Josh, eating alone at his table.  I started going over to say hello, but he turned away from me, ignoring me.  Later, he explained that it wasn’t a good policy for a therapist to interact with a client out of the office. 

Gradually, I began to question the sanity of my own therapist, especially after I found out that he was visiting a therapist himself five times a week.  Not only that, but it was a lot of work to come up with new material to entertain him all the time.

I hope this gives you some insight into why I have a problem doing those memes.   The questions are too difficult for me.  I just never had a good therapist and still don’t know who I am. 

But please continue sending them my way.  I really do appreciate it — even if I never do them.

My First Meme


Hilary was kind enough to "tag" me with my first "meme."  Did I say that right – tag and meme? 

10 years ago:   I was reading scripts and manuscripts for HBO.  I would work at home.  My mind was turning to mush.  I felt so isolated that I would go to Ralph’s supermarket every day just to talk to the checkout girl.  On weekends, I went with my friend, Hiroshi, to bars in Hollywood.  We would stand around, not talking to anyone else.    We both were students at USC Film School, so we were movie-obsessed.  Since we weren’t meeting any women, we would argue about movies.  Afterwards, we would go to Canter’s Deli for coffee and cake.  We would argue about the movies some more.

5 years ago:   Sophia and I spent all July pitching a romantic comedy to Disney.  We pitched it to five different executives.  We kept on changing it slightly to make it more “outrageous,” as one development person suggested.   Finally, we had the opportunity to pitch it to a vice president.  I remember practicing in front of the mirror half the night.  The next day, we drove to Burbank and the pitch went very well.  “Terrific,” the executive said.  “But we already have something just like it.” 

1 year ago:   Last July, Sophia and I took a trip to Bakersfield, California.  Why?  Because we had never been there.   And you know what?  There’s really not much there.

Yesterday:   I wish I had a more interesting “yesterday,” but I don’t.  I worked on a Flash project at home.  I sent an IM to Hilary.   I checked my stats and saw that I had been linked by a Finnish website.  I used Babelfish to translate the site and it read like nonsense.  Sophia called, angry at my “Ménage a Trois” post

Sophia:   “All you got out of our marriage was that… you learned about women?!

I apologized.  I said I would change it if she wanted me to.  I then found out that she was also upset about the post about our walk.

Sophia:  “You said that I walk 2 1/2 hours one way and then 2 1/2 hours back?”

Me:  “OK, I exaggerated a bit.”

Sophia:  “Your exaggeration makes me sound like a crazy person!  Who walks so much?  And what type of ice cream place is at LAX”  

Me:  "We were in El Segundo.  I thought people might not know El Segundo, so I wrote LAX.

Sophia:  El Segundo is not LAX.  What… were we walking on the runway?

Don’t you love women?  I know I do.   (NOTE:  Just read this a few hours later and I think this post might put me in hot water with Sophia again.   Luckily, since we’re not living together, she can’t kick me out of the bedroom tonight and make me sleep on the couch.  Tonight, I’ll be in my own apartment — sleeping on my own couch!)

I made a salad for dinner.  I went to a meeting of LA Flash in Santa Monica.   I watched “Beauty and the Geek” on Tivo.   Before I went to sleep, I tried to fix my kitchen sink because it was dripping.

Today:   I woke up and put on the news.  I was upset about the bombings  in London.  My sink was still dripping.  I went to Starbucks, where I am writing this right now.   Tonight, I’m going to some play in Hollywood, but I don’t remember the name of it.

Tomorrow:  What am I – a psychic?

5 snacks I enjoy:   bananas, dates, bagels, green tea ice cream, dark chocolate

5 bands that I know the lyrics of MOST of their songs:   The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, The Talking Heads, Cake

5 things I would do with $100,000,000:  travel around the world, buy a house for me (and for Sophia, my parents, and Sophia’s parents), help out friends, buy a Mac, eat at the best sushi bars

5 locations I’d like to run away to:  Paris, London, Florence, Vermont, Central Park

5 bad habits I have:  I say “like” too much, I sometimes pick my nose in the car, I tap my foot while waiting, I find it hard to say “no” to other people, I worry

5 things I like doing:  Going to the theater, going to the movies, listening to music, reading, taking off my clothes when I get home.

5 things I would never wear:  a toupee, colored contact lenses, polyester socks, a thong, a t-shirt that reads “I’m with Stupid.”

5 TV shows I like:  The Simpsons, 24, Lost, American Idol, All My Children

5 Movies I like:  Best Years of Our Lives, Le Rayon Vert, Dog Day Afternoon, Tootsie, Babe

5 famous people I’d like to meet:   Charles Dickens, Woody Allen, Eleanor Roosevelt, Moses, Cole Porter

5 biggest joys at the moment:   The fact that Sophia and I still get along, my parents, interacting with others through “Citizen of the Month,” being friends with guys I met in kindergarten and hearing about their lives, still having my hair.

5 favorite toys:  Tivo, laptop, cellphone, “Citizen of the Month,” my hair.

According to the rules, I need to "tag" other people.  I have no idea if they are interested — especially since it is a bit like a homework assignment and there’s a lot of news coming from London — but here’s a try.  Maybe it’ll even give people a break from the news:    Leese, Joel, TWM, Todd, and Alley.

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