Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: recap

2014 Online Recap

January

In January, I visited my friend, Veronica, in Virginia.

virginia

I wrote the first of many 2014 posts about my favorite topic, going to therapy.

Defense Mechanism,

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February

In February, a freeze came over New York City and much of the East Coast.

freeze

It felt like an big accomplishment to sweep aside my fear of self-promotion to expand my photo “store.”

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March

In March, I increased my productivity by working in the library, which worked very well until I realized the library had internet service.

library

I wrote about a breakthrough in therapy that happened when I needed to ask for the wifi password at a coffee shop.

The Password

On my birthday, there is a near-accident while trying to take a nude photo of myself with my iPhone.

The Story of the Birthday Selfie

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April

In April I attended the 50th Anniversary celebration of the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Park.

unisphere

I wrote about life in my apartment building in Queens, including this “scary” tale of apartment living.

Doorbell at 3AM

April brought an unexpected viral hit, a collaborative parody of a now obscure independent film titled “American Blogger.”

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May

On Mother’s Day, I participated in Listen to Your Mother at Symphony Space, NYC. It was a wonderful working with so many other talented storytellers.

LTYM

The Kindergarten Show

I also posted a video of my piece, titled “Glass Half-Full.”

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June

In June, I attended a fun 1920’s era garden party on Governor’s Island.

ferry

I struggled with the fact that my special relationship I had with Juli in New Zealand had come to an end.

Three Months Later

I tried shopping therapy to cheer myself up, crowdsourcing on Facebook for weeks about which jeans I should buy.

Which Levis Jeans Makes My Ass Look the Best?

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July

July brought the big 10th anniversary conference of Blogher in San Jose. I was honored to c0-present a Pathfinder session on Visual Storytelling. I also got to hang out with my friend JC Little in Los Angeles.

blogher

Blogher ’14

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August

I had a wonderful time at BlogHer, but I didn’t hear much that was inspirational about blogging. The excitement has moved to other venues — social media and more traditional outlets, where there was a better chance to been seen, heard, and read. I had seem my own traffic take a dive. So, I decided to change things up, and started to write short fictional pieces based on New York City photos.

steps

Fictional Characters of New York #1

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September

In September, I traveled to Nova Scotia to attend Kate Inglis’ Shed Photography Workshop. I had the best time there. I learned so much about photography from Kate and the other participants.  I also got to spend quality time with some of my favorite online friends from Canada.

halifax

Kate’s Shed Photography Workshop

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October

In October, I toured the Ford Foundation and other interesting NYC buildings during the Open House New York Weekend.

window

By now, my readers were familiar with my therapy-oriented posts.

M or N

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November

In November, I socialized way more frequently.  Jana from Georgia came to visit, and I attended  an art gallery opening with two visiting friends from Canada.

art

By the end of the year, there was one undisputed fact about my writing — readers were much more interested in hearing about my mother than myself.

Mom, are you a Feminist?

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December

In December, most of my energy online went to “producing” the Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert, which mostly involved reminding others over and over again on the deadline! Despite several who have never learned to read instructions, it was a huge success.

christmas

The Ninth Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert

It was a pretty good year.    Thank you for your friendship.   Happy New Year.

A Year in Recap: 2011


Have a Happy New Year!

Written on December 27, 2011 at 9PM, via iPhone —

Well, I guess it is that time of year again when we all write our 2011 yearly recaps.

Let me just say for the record, that 2011 ROCKED MY SOCKS OFF!

I know some of you downers are going to write blog posts complaining about your year.  “Boo-hoo, my year sucked.”  “My poor hubby lost his job.”  “My cat died.”  “My father is in a coma.”  Hey, if you want to be negative, that’s your problem.  It doesn’t mean that I have to hang around letting your sour grapes pucker my mouth.

2011 was the greatest year of my life.

Of course, even the best of years has its ups and downs.

After my three novels were published in February 2011, sudden fame and fortune proved to be overwhelming.  In my post “Do You Really Love Me?” I wrote —

“People who previously ignored me, or unfollowed me on Twitter, suddenly wanted to be my best friend.  Do they like me for being awesome, or am I only awesome because I am so successful?  Being so successful is confusing!  Eh, why let it bother me?  As long as they love me, right?  And I love being me because I am so successful!  That’s what is MOST important!”

In March 2011, I explored the sudden explosion of good fortune in my love life, in my very popular post, “24 Hour F*cking” —

“F*cking three women a night, while the ultimate male fantasy, is actually — in reality — quite tiring.  If I knew this, I would have spent more time in the gym.  After f*cking the second woman, I just wanted to relax and watch the Daily Show.  But I didn’t want any hurt feelings, so I went down on the third woman to give her an orgasm.  The next day, I slept until noon.”

I got to travel a lot in 2011, and that was very exciting.  In April 2011, I did a month-long tour of the Middle East, thanks to the aftermath of a small little blog post I wrote on March 15, 2011.  As we all know, it is the little posts that garner the most attention.  But never in a million years did I expect my quickly written post, “The Hot Muslim Chick,” to become such an international hit, with 26 million page views —

“I’ll have a shwarma sandwich,” I told the owner of the Flushing, Queens cafe.  A large sign was on the wall that read “Halal” in bright red letters.  Under the sign sat a woman with bright green eyes.  She looked up from her falafel plate, directly at me, and I was immediately smitten.”

Not only was this post a literary success, and got my name in the New York Times, but the political repercussions were astounding.  I wrote about what happened in a follow-up post two weeks later, titled, “Blogging IS a Radical Act!” —

“How influential was my blog post?  You all know the answer.  Because of my storytelling in that post, Al-Qaeda decided to change their goals, deciding that terrorism was evil and that they would rather help orphaned pets be adopted by good homes across the Middle East.  The Arab world and Israel finally accepted peace, as the President of Egypt said, “because we were all swayed by the passions of the two lovers in Neilochka’s blog post.”  Even the Pope said the story was his inspiration for his world-famous “Easter Sermon” in which he stated, “Gay marriage is OK with me.  And you know what, I’ll admit it too — I’m gay.”

Of course, 2011 had a few sad moments — well not really sad, only slightly more bittersweet than some of the other events.  My mother decided to stay in Boca Raton rather than returning to New York in the spring of 2011.  While I knew I would miss her gentle smile if she stayed in Florida, I supported her political aspirations.  After all, she was always there for me.  I wrote about this heart-warming mother-son moment in my April 2011 post, “Madam Governor” —

“There were tears in my eyes during the swearing-in ceremony of my mother as the next governor of the State of Florida.  It was so delightful that all of her friends from Century Village came to the post inaugural ball, where they were entertained by Tom Jones — not the imitation Tom Jones that performed for them in 2010 — but the actual Tom Jones, direct from Las Vegas!   Oh yeah, she also moved the State Capitol to Fort Lauderdale, correctly arguing that “what kind of New York Jew wants to live in a goyish place like Tallahasse? Let’s just move the freakin’ capitol to South Florida!”

Was I just lucky in 2011?  I’m sure that is what many of you think.  But I don’t believe in luck.  I believe my success this year was due to the vision board that I created before the year began.  I revealed many of my “success” secrets in my May 2011 post, “Why I am So Awesome” —

“At the end of last year, in December, I wrote a post inspired by a Reverb prompt in which I was asked to come up with one word to associate with the upcoming year.  I chose the word,”Money.”

And “Money” it has been… all year.

After monetizing my blog, I realized that I was a complete idiot for not having advertising on my blog for the previous six years.  I was under the impression that ad networks paid very little, but this isn’t the case when your blog is as popular as mine.  I don’t like to brag, and I know that talking about money makes some people jealous, but let’s just say, depending on my taxes this year, we are talking about my blog making somewhere in the $3,000,000 range.  Not bad for one year’s work, right? And this is not including all the free flights, conferences, meals, and theater tickets that come with the territory of being such an influential player.

All because of my vision board and my ONE WORD.”

I went to several blogging conferences, and spoke at most of them.  I was on the fence about going to BlogHer again this year, and I probably would have NOT gone if Elisa and Lisa didn’t ask me to be the final keynote speaker, offering me a $500,000 speaking fee.

I wrote about my experiences at this year’s BlogHer in August 2011 in “BlogHer ’11” —

“Despite my initial reservations, I’m glad I went to BlogHer in San Diego.  I got to see so many old friends.  San Diego is perfect, the Mexican food is great, and I f*cked so many women this weekend, I hardly remember who was who.  Please — f I f*cked you, but never gave you a “I F*cked Neil from Citizen of the Month at BlogHer,” t-shirt, please DM me on Twitter, and I will have one of my assistants mail you one ASAP).”

2011 was also the year where Sophia and I finally resolved most of our issues.  In September 2011, she remarried, and I attended her wedding, which I wrote about in one of my most touching posts, “Sophia Wears White, Again.”

“Sophia’s new husband is a nice young Jewish man named Marc Zuckerberg, who runs the social media company, Facebook.  I was her maid of honor at the wedding, and got to wear my red dress again.  Not only is Sophia now completely financially secure, but her new husband thought my red dress was so cool, he gave me a 25% share of his company for being “such a joker.”

I was impressed to learn more about his company, Facebook.  Can you believe that he has been reading my status updates for years, not even knowing who I was, calling them “hilarious,” and the best updates EVER written!

My new book, “Neil Kramer’s Facebook Updates,” will be published by Random House next year.  I probably shouldn’t be telling you this but I met with Tom Cruise this afternoon for lunch.  He is very interested in playing me in the movie version.

I am such a lucky guy, aren’t I?”

Of course, no year is complete on Citizen of the Month without the big holiday concert, in which I give back to all the “little guys” in the blogging community.  This year, the concert was all sparkly and new, with a fabulous new name, “The Sixth Annual XBOX KINECT Blogger Christmalhijrahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert!”  It was the most profitable concert yet, thanks to me charging $1000 for each concert submission and a $25 virtual ticket price to view the concert ($15 dollars for live-streaming via the IPhone).

Thanks to XBox Kinect, I was proud of all the money I collected for charity, with 10% of all of the profits from the concert going to one of my favorite political causes, “The Re-elect Elaine Kramer for Florida Governor in 2015”

Can you see why 2011 was so awesome?  I wish it could never end!

I want to thank everyone who make 2011 such a great year for me, including the losers who are still kvetching about “their bad year.”  My advice to you: learn to get over yourselves!

Maggie Dammit, I miss you.  Come back to blogging!  Tanis, you rock!  I guess my blog did become more popular than yours after all.  Ha Ha!  Thanks for not taking it personally.  Kate, loved the pirate sequel.  I’m sorry your agent dropped you when she decided to become my agent instead.  Still love ya, babe!

I want to thank all my readers.  I hope it was OK that I was too busy all year to read any of your blogs this year, but let’s be honest — does it really matter?

Special thanks to all the women I f*cked this year.  I may not remember your names, but you will always be in my heart.

Tomorrow night, I’m flying down to Florida by private jet with Marc and Sophia Lansky Kramer Zuckerberg for a mega New Year’s party at the new Governor’s mansion in Fort Lauderdale, dubbed the Kosher Camelot.  I won’t be online much until 2012.

I can’t believe how much time I spent on Twitter in 2010.  I was such a loser back then.  Like they say, what a difference a year makes!

Happy New Year!   I love you, all!

One Word


David’s “The Anger of Achilles”

I’ve been upset the last few nights, sleepless over something rather innocuous — a writing prompt that I saw on someone’s blog:

“Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word.   Explain why you’re choosing that word.”

I saw a few of the responses from other writers, many which were about commercial success, accomplishment, or internal transformation towards a healthtier lifestyle or mindset.

When I tried to truthfully come up with my one word, all I could come up were words like illness, death, frustration, and loss.

This made me angry.  So much so, that I haven’t blogged in five days, not knowing what to do with this odd feeling sitting in my gut.  I’m not comfortable with the emotion of anger.  I’m also hosting The 2010 Blogger Christmalhijrahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert on December 15, and I was fearful of creating a negative vibe on this blog.   After all, what type of Holiday concert impresario feels, of all things, like a Scrooge?

Don’t get me wrong.  I love working with you on the concert.  Hearing your voices gives me immense joy.  But my negativity was scaring me.

Many of my friends are believers in positive thinking.   I tried to re-frame my relation to my past year by changing my one word to something more uplifting.   Rather than seeing 2010 as a year of death (both of my in-laws), I decided to use the word “strength.”  Sophia and I endured the year, despite the long hospital visits, the changing of the bed sheets, the decisions made, and the funerals attended.  I was “strong” enough to make it through the year in one piece, despite marital woes and graying hair.  It just seemed an insult to the memory of those that passed, to interpret the year in a positive light.

All year, I have been obsessed with the popularization of the word “branding.”  Perhaps branding should be the entire internet’s choice of one word to represents 2010.  While there are different interpretations of what this word “branding” means, I see it as more appropriate for consumer products like print cartridges than the world of living, breathing, human beings.   Once we sell ourselves like soap,  we are forced to be unrealistically upbeat, “inspirational,” and photoshopped.  I just cannot “market” 2010 as “strength,” even to myself.

So what should be my one word?  I’m afraid of telling you that 2010 — to me — was mostly about “death” and “anger.”  I know that sounds harsh, and it is embarrassing to admit.   We tout authenticity and honesty, but I have a feeling that we mostly day that to sell our seminars.

There is no post more symbolic to me on this theme than my very first post of 2010, written on January 3, 2010, titled “The Incident in the Car.”  I was still in New York at the time, not aware of what my year was going to present to me.  I decided to start my new blogging year with more focus on writing, more like a memoir, hoping to give my readers a fuller view of my life experiences.  Without my fanfare, I spun a small memory piece about high school-angst.  This short post caused a storm of outrage against me, with total strangers coming to my blog accusing me of crimes akin to kidnapping the Lindbergh baby.  I was also unfollowed on Twitter by several bloggers, including some who later touted “authenticity.”  Others were quick to comment on that day because of the “buzz,” but never once showed up on my blog for the rest of my difficult year, more concerned with a completely minor event from decades ago than anything to do with my current life.

Was I wrong to bring up this somewhat dramatized tale of overheated teenage frustration and insensitivity, especially to an audience of women?  In terms of blogging and branding, probably YES, that is if I see my blog’s goal as primarily a PR tool.

When I look back over my archives, I get angry over the experiences of my last year.  It wasn’t a good year, and maybe it is too soon to learn any “positive lessons.”

I tossed and turned the last few nights, not sure whether to talk about my negative emotions.  I was worried that you will brand me as “Neilochka, the angry guy,” or “Neilochka, the one associated with dead people.”  The biggest danger to this increasingly online world is that we easily mix up words and images with action and intent.  If I write a fantasy post about sleeping with ten women, you can not really judge my real-life actions, just my rather bizarre mind.  Even in my most lurid fantasies, I am always polite, even serving breakfast the next morning to all ten of these women.   If you want to judge me solely on my writing, that is your prerogative, just as it is your right to publicly praise another writer, when you know that he is — in reality — sending pornographic photos to all of your friends.  We live in a bizarre world where image is more important reality.

We should remember — as writers — that the first great book, if not the very first book of Western Civilization is Homer’s Illiad.  And the very first word of that book is “menis” — anger.

Menis means “anger, wrath, rage,” and the menis referred to here is specifically that of Achilles, the hero of the Iliad, Homer’s epic poem about the Trojan War. Achilles is enraged at Agamemnon, the leader of the Greek army, for taking one of Achilles’ hard-won prizes, a slave girl, Briseis; moreover, menis is what the entire Greek army is feeling, as the Iliad is set in the tenth year of the Trojan War. The Greeks have been away from home for all those years and are restless and uneasy about the outcome of the war, and about whether they will ever return hom; their rage simmers just below. Achilles’ anger over his slighted honor is so great that he almost kills Agamemnon and is stopped only when Athena, the goddess of wisdom, pulls him by the hair and stops him.

What I like about ancient literature, including the Greeks and the Hebrew Bible, is that the  writers don’t sugar coat human experience.  There is death and joy standing side by side, like Achilles and Agamemnon.   Anger and celebration.  War and love.  Writing is not only an imitation of a glossy Martha Stewart magazine.

I’m not the best person to be pontificating about writing the full range of human emotion.  I’m mostly a light, funny writer.  That is a large part of my personality.  But I would hate to shy away from dealing with my three-dimensional life, because I would be judged, or it didn’t fit my “brand.”

Which brings me back to the Holiday Concert.  I’ve been hosting this concert for five years, and this is the first year where I feel a bit disconnected.  I am trying hard to reconnect with my Holiday Spirit.  But it doesn’t really matter.  I enjoy participating, and I love to see YOUR  joy.

If I can attempt to be inspirational for a moment, I would like this year’s concert to be able to embrace our inner Scrooges.   Not everyone has large extended families, or colorful Christmas trees in their homes.  Christmas can also be a lonely time for many.  Why should we hide these feelings? I prefer — at least this year — to take my inspiration from Homer’s Illiad rather than some internet guru.  In Homer’s world, anger and frustration were allowed.  Anger is even the honor of being the first word.  As I reflect on 2010, it will be impossible for me to solely focus on joy, even during the concert.  I will be a bit of a Scrooge.  Shit happens.  There will be those that we have lost.  Opportunities missed.  Friendships broken.  We should be able to celebrate the good — and mourn at the same time, not hiding the “negativity” in the a locked closet like a batty uncle, but embracing it as the stuff that makes us human, like the Greeks would, soldiers away from home at war, restless and uneasy with the future.

Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word — Anger.

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