Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Redondo Beach

Watching the Fishermen

I’m not a fan of the ocean.  It is too big, vast, dark, and scary.  The tide will come in and swallow you up like a shark.  But I am a Pisces.  Two fishes swimming in opposite directions.  I am drawn to the water.  The grubby little pier in Redondo Harbor is so small that it feels like it belongs in some run-down New England seaside resort that has seen better days.  Hollywood is far away.  The celebrities go to Malibu, the tourists to Santa Monica.  I like to watch the lazy fisherman, who spend the day dreaming of nothing, and catching even less, waiting for the sun to set.

View Single Women in Redondo Beach

Lately, when I open my Yahoo Mail, I get this advertisement. I know personalized online advertisements have been around for awhile, but what makes Yahoo! think I am looking for a woman in Redondo Beach. Have I mentioned this to any of you in my emails? Does Yahoo! know more about me than I know myself?

Another issue. Why does Yahoo! restrict me to women in Redondo Beach? Why not Hermosa Beach, which is only a few blocks away? Or what about Los Angeles proper? Does Match.com and Yahoo! think I am so lazy that I will only talk with women who live in a three mile radius from my home in tiny Redondo Beach? I DO have a car. Has Match.com become a site for singles without cars? I’m not sure I want to date a woman without a car. Before you know it, I’ll be taking this car-less woman to the grocery store and the airport, and Sophia will be pissed that I am being “used.”

These women (personally picked for me) are also too young for me. Obviously Match.com on Yahoo! is run by a man, who assumes that every man fantasizes about a fresh-faced twenty-something, still unaware of the bitter world outside of the college dorm. OK, maybe they DO know something. I never got to sleep with a twenty-three year old the first time around! Maybe I’m just a late bloomer! I needed an extra decade or so to become socialized and learn about the existence of that “clitoris” thing.

But I think I’m still hip enough to date a twenty-something. I read MamaPop. I know the current scene. In fact, I was just wondering when the new Michael Jackson album is coming out.

Next on my mind — who are these single women living in Redondo Beach? And why have I never run into one of them at the beach or supermarket?

livelife3728 looks a little sleazy, like she would give you a BJ on the first date, even if you insisted that you didn’t want one. That scares me. I know it is wrong to stereotype from one photo, but that’s life. You get that one shot to date me, and then it is over. It’s called Branding. And livelife3728 needs to get a new stylist; her hair looks greasy.

iceblue0925 is even more terrifying. Her face says: stalker. I don’t mean a person who uses the name of a grade school classmate as a ATM card password. I mean a person who leaves a dead cat in your mailbox if you don’t return her calls.

I would cross sunny9790 off the list because of her ugly hat. Ladies… men like to see your hair AND your eyes. Wearing a hat that covers both in a photo on a dating site is a major FAIL. It makes us wonder if you are hiding something. Like a Phantom of the Opera face. And apparently you have to join up and pay match.com on Yahoo! if you want to see a full photo of each woman, with the cleavage, which is the REAL deciding factor for most men.

My favorite of the single women of Redondo Beach is probably virgodoc96. I like brunettes.

1) (virgodoc96) Virgos and Pisces work well together.

2) (virgodoc96) She is apparently a doctor, so I know she can at least afford her own car.

3) (virgodoc96) She was born in 1996, which makes her… hmmm… jeez, she can be my daughter!

OK, now let’s be real here. I suspect that none of these girls live in Redondo Beach, and are merely a part of a collection of stock photos. If I lived in Toledo, Ohio, and went onto my Yahoo Mail, I would get a similar advertisment that read “View Single Women in Toledo” with the exact same headshots, right?

Then again, am I wrong, or does allaboutpink21 have a very specific look in her eyes that says, ” I want you, Neilochka! Right now!”

A Merry Yarn of Whale-Watching

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Aye matey, ye be wantin’ to hear this here tale, this merry yarn. Twas a year ago when I got my noggin a thinkin’ that since I’m a livin’ the life o’ California, I should get myself on the high seas o’ the Pacific with my feisty wench, Sophia, and see me some whale-watching, as is done around these parts around March.

So, off we join the other sea scumming tourists, land lubbers every one o’ them, on the vessel named “Rip-off” that took off from the Port o’ Redondo. The salty dog chugged its way to the deeper waters, the slowest schooner I’ve ever sighted, the journey as thrillin’ as tradin’ shots of warm grog or pissin’ off the poop deck. Well, me hearties, me tried to amuse himself by feeling the rockin’ of the scurvy, rat-infested ship, imagining a lovin’ moment with me buxom beauty down in the bilge.

“C’mere me beauty,” ye said to Sophia, me eyes gazin’ at her treasure chest, “Me hornpipe is itchin’ to play a tune.”

After she shot me down like a barnacle scraped off o’ rudder, me turned to the slimy captain o’ the vessel and said, ” Ahoy, mate. We’ve been on the seas for three hours and nary a whale. Arr. when will we finally see one?”

“Gar, don’t get your spyglass all filled with the doubloon, mate.” Me promise ye with the cold steel of my hook hand that we’ll see a member of the whale family. As Cap’n of this here good ship, me GUARANTEE that ye see a beauty of a whale, or ye get your coins returned.”

“Guaranteed? Our money returned? That offer is brave of ye. I’ll be expecting my booty if you don’t deliver, ye scallywag.”

“Return ye to the port bow, ye whoreson rat, and fix ye gaze upon the seas. I feel a whale due North.”

I returned to my pretty lass, who was lookin’ as bored as a salted herring.

“Avast, me proud beauty. No need to shiver ye timbers. The honest Cap’n GUARANTEES a whale sighting, or our precious coins are returned as fast as a pin in me britches!”

“Pin in his britches. Pin in his britches.” yelled the parrot on Sophia’s fetchin’ shoulder. “Brwaack, Neilochka’s not fast. Neilochka’s not fast. It takes him ten minutes to take off o’ wench’s brassiere.”

“F***in’ parrot,” me mumbled.

Another hour passed, and me lovely lass began to feel as sick as a scabbard full o’ lice sittin’ in Davy Jones Locker. Cap’n Wastin’ Time finally turned his pirate ship around and set sail back to Port o’ Redondo.

“All is good.” I told me Sophia.

My buxom beauty was in no mood for lovin’. “Ya scurvy cur who ortin’ t’ be keel hauled! This was the worst whale-watching trip ever!”

“At least we will get our booty returned,” ye replied.

Suddenly, the Cap’n lets out a loud roar. “Weight anchor! Hoist the mizzen!! Batten down yer hatches. Thar she blows! Thar she blows!”

Every scurvy rat on deck ran portside to see the spectacle. But it was nothin’ more than a dolphin jumpin’ out of the water and makin’ the sounds of a gin-drinkin’ mate three sheets to the wind.

“Skuttle me, Skipper,” I said, laughin’. “But that’s o’ dolphin, not o’ whale.”

“Sorry, mate. But if ye knew ye science, ye’d know that whales and dolphins are the same family!”

“What about ye GUARANTEE?”

“Read the small print on ye ticket, matey. It says “money back if ye don’t see a member of the whale “family.”

And then the Cap’n laughed a laugh so loud and hearty that it must have woken Blackbeard himself sleepin’ on the zenith of the moon.

“Sucker. Sucker.” said Sophia’s parrot. “Brwaack!”

Proposition This!

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It’s election time in California again, which means a last minute barrage of commercials and telephone calls, all aimed at confusing the voter. So far, my favorite TV ads are for Tony “The Tiger” Strickland, who is running for California State Controller.  I don’t know much about him except that he always runs around looking active and has the nickname of “the Tiger,” which he wants to hammer into your brain by actually putting in a ROAR at the end of his commerical (as if he was selling some sugary Kellogg’s cereal). 

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Look at this guy.  Does he look like a tiger to you?  Or is this what his son calls him on the miniature golf course?

Frankly, I want a State Controller who is sitting at his desk working on the budget problems of the state.  Did I really want a state controller who spends most of his time rushing through hallways, passing off notes to his multi-ethnic assistants?

From now on, I will be Neil “the Leopard” Kramer:

“Neil “the Leopard” Kramer. He is a blogger! But you will never see him actually blogging. Watch as he passes by his Russian-born separated wife as he goes downstairs to the kitchen to make her breakfast!  See him as he smiles and chats it up with the African-American check-out girl at Ralph’s Supermarket.  Look how fast he walks. Watch as a multi-ethnic group of coffee drinkers nod and smile as “the Leopard” zips into Starbucks to buy a “fully-caffeinated” cup of coffee.  Admire “the Leopard’s” virility as he checks out the lovely female Chinese-American’s ass as she pours the coffee.”

Aw, who am I kidding? Tony “the Tiger” Strickland’s political ad was effective, because he is the only candidate I now remember!  I don’t even know what party he belongs to, but I am voting for him.

The one cool thing about voting in Redondo Beach is that voters in my area actually vote in someone’s LIVING ROOM! That’s right. I have no idea why we don’t vote in a school or someplace normal, but no — we wait in line outside someone’s apartment. You can even look into the resident’s kitchen as you are voting!

California usually has dozens of confusing propositions on the ballot about all sorts of issues, from taxing cigarettes to building roads. Being the liberal sort, I usually vote for DOING things with little regard to how California is actually going to pay for it, but there is one issue that I am changing my view on spending, and that is Education. Every year, I vote on allocating MORE money for MORE schools, MORE textbooks, SMALLER classes. Every year, I am told how important education is the success of California.

But are all these propositions I vote in actually working?

After years of more money for education — may I present to you the address of my voting place, as listed on every single one of my CA VOTING GUIDES, including the official one:

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A Year Ago in Citizen of the Month: Modern Politics

Sophia, Thinking of You at Dinner

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Hail the Returning Hero

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Neilochka returning to Redondo Beach with all his worldly possessions.

I’ve played Texas Hold-em a few times now, and I’m surprisingly good at it.  I used to play a lot of cards with my grandmother so I feel comfortable with card games.  I also think I have a good instinct for when to bluff and when to go all in.

It’s a good instinct to have in real life as well.

Today was a good time to make a play.  I decided to move back to Redondo Beach (for now), which is a few miles south of Los Angeles proper, not far from LAX.

I never really liked the “bachelor pad” I’ve been living in since I separated from Sophia.  It’s a sublet with a dirty carpet, tiny kitchen, and unfriendly neighbors.  So, today I’m starting to move out — back to Sophia’s place. 

Don’t get too excited. 

I’m only staying here for the two months that she is gone.  We decided it is a waste of money to pay two rents (and besides, Sophia wants me to water her plants and tape “All My Children” for her).

For the future — let’s see what the cards have to say in a few weeks. 

But for now, as they like to say in my part of the town, surf’s up!

Now, here’s a gratuitous shot of women in bikinis who, if they wanted to, can easily beat the shit out of me.  (As if you really believe that I would sit out in the hot sun to watch a volleyball game on a crowded beach, even if they do include women in bikinis.  That’s why they invented TV).

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A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Full of Emoticons

Double Entendres and Croissants

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I had the cold first.  Then, I went over to Sophia to get some TLC, and got her sick.  So, by the end of the week, we were both miserable.

Friday, I took some pills and ventured out, mostly because I was excited to meet two bloggers coming to town from San Francisco — Kristy of She Just Walks Around With It and Ish of The Original Pawns of Comedy.  I really enjoyed meeting them and talking about blogging, writing, comedy, and all sorts of things.  We had lunch in Hermosa Beach and then took a walk on the beach right up to the waves. 

Being with people new to the area helped me look at LA in a new way.  I complain about living in Los Angeles a lot, but there is something to be said for living right by the beach, even if I sometimes feel like a fish-out-of-water in the beach culture — with the surfer dudes, the professional volleyball girls, and the ubiquitous fish tacos.

On Saturday, Sophia and I, still under the weather, spent most of the day inside, watching TV.  We especially enjoyed watching old game shows on the Game Show Network.  The highlight of the day was "The Newlywed Game," especially when Bob Eubanks asked the "wives" this question:

"Which of the following game show titles best describes your husband’s behavior lately in the whoopie department?"

A)  Concentration
B)  Make Me Laugh
C)  Beat the Clock

I thought I would have some fun with Sophia and ask her to play along.

"So, what’s your answer?"

"Whoopie meaning sex, right?"

"Yes.  So, which game show title best describes your husband’s behavior?  Concentration?  Make Me Laugh? Or Beat the Clock?"

"I never heard of any of those shows."

"They’re old shows.  Just pick one."

"I don’t know them.  Can I pick one I do know?"

"Sure."

"Wheel of Fortune."

"Wheel of Fortune doesn’t make sense."

"Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"

"Millionaire doesn’t really work either.  It only works if it’s a double entendre."

"Millionaire could be a double entendre.  Like "My husband is worth a million bucks in the sack, or should I phone a friend?.""

"But it’s supposed to be funny.  It should be something making fun of the man’s inadequacy."

"Ok, if you insist.  How about, "My husband’s lovemaking is so blah, that every time we make whoopie, there’s a "Family Feud.""  That’s not bad.  Or my husband is so boring in the bedroom, he’s the ultimate "Hollywood Square."  Or "Let’s just say that when I make whoopie with my husband, the words "Weakest Link" always come to mind."   Better now?"

"OK, OK, I get it.  Let’s watch something else."

On Sunday, Sophia and I spent most of the day like Saturday — watching TV.

At some point, I got lustful feelings and tried to get flirty with the sniffling Sophia, who responded by hitting me in the head with a tissue box.  Sophia promptly fell asleep and I started watching one of those poker shows on TV. 

It was a high-stakes tournament going on at the Aviation Club in Paris.  There was a lot of excitement in the air.  As the players battled each other with their cards and chips, some ordered drinks from an attractive waitress.   Not that this was unusual for a casino.  But I was very surprised when one player asked to be brought a croissant.

A croissant!

How French I thought!  He’s playing for a million dollars, but still has time for a croissant!  I’ve always been fascinated by the French.  Their culture.  Their art.  Their wine.  Their beautiful woman.  My all-time favorite movie director is Frenchman Eric Rohmer.   One of my greatest joys with this blog is that I actually have readers in France.  I’m not sure how they found me, but I’m glad they did.  Like a lot of Americans, I was pissed at the French government’s siding with the Iraqis a couple of years ago, but I never went so far as to change the name of my French toast to Freedom toast. 

And what is more French than a croissant? 

Suddenly, my lustful feelings became focused on French baked goods.  I had a deep yearning for a croissant that just had to be satisfied.  I threw on my clothes and headed for the supermarket. 

But Vons Supermarket proved to be a big disappointment.   Their store brand of croissants looked awful.   A true croissant is much like a perfect bagel — there must be a perfectly modulated juxtaposition between the toughness of the exterior and the softness of the interior.   Vons Supermarket’s croissants looked like cut pieces of cardboard.

But now I had a problem?  Where the hell am I going to find a good croissant in Redondo Beach — where Tito’s Taco Shack is considered fine cuisine?  Luckily, I was able to find a foodie friend at home, who directed me to a bakery in Hermosa Beach.

An hour later, I returned home, holding a bag with two croissants, one for me and one for Sophia.   I thought about the intense pleasure that eating this croissant would give me — like a night of passion in Paris with the most beautiful French woman.

"Why do you go out for croissants?" asked Sophia.

"It was like inspiration.  I heard player in a poker tournament in Paris ask to be brought a croissant."

"No one asks for a croissant in the middle of a poker tournament."

"In France, they do.  You just don’t understand the French.  They have a lust for life.  When they want a croissant, they get a croissant."

"Let me see."

The game was still on Sophia’s Tivo.  She zoomed back to the exact moment I was talking about.   She started laughing.

"He didn’t say "croissant!"" said Sophia, who happens to speak French.   "He said "troi cents!"  He was asking another player if he had "troi cents" — three hundred [thousand] in chips."

"Oh," I said, feeling like an idiot.

We ate the croissants anyway.  Sophia loved hers, but it just wasn’t the same for me.

When I’m Sixty-Four

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Just in case you don’t believe that I’m living the ultimate Hollywood life, I went to a big red-carpet premiere last night.   Yes, Sophia got us free tickets to the opening night of "The Fab Four" at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.  "The Fab Four" are Beatles impersonators.  No, actually, "Beatlemania" was first.  So, they are more accurately impersonators of the impersonators of the Beatles.  Surprisingly, they weren’t half-bad.  It was almost as if I was there seeing the original "Beatlemania." 

I’m pretty tired today and don’t feel much like blogging.   So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to introduce you to my impersonator, who will be taking over my duties today.

Neil Impersonator:  Hello, everyone.

Neil:  They’re all yours.

Neil Impersonator:  What do I write about?

Neil:  Just any shit.  They don’t care.

Neil Impersonator:  Give me a hint.  I’m really a florist by profession.   I don’t write much.

Neil:  Write about the show last night.

Neil Impersonator:  I didn’t even see it.

Neil:  Here’s the Playbill.

Neil Impersonator:  (leafing through the Playbill)  Look at all these ads — AARP, assisted living…

Neil:  Remember it is the Beatles.   Can you believe it’s been 40 years.  Most of the audience was 65 years old.  It was great seeing them screaming to "Revolution."

Neil Impersonator:  What’s this ad for with this smiling white-haired couple?  What’s "Reverse Mortgages?"

Neil:  I didn’t know either.  I had to ask Sophia.   Basically you give up your house to this "mortgage" company and they pay you every month to help you with the essentials. 

Neil Impersonator:  And what happens to the house?

Neil:  Apparently, when you die, they keep it.

Neil Impersonator:  What if you die the next day?

Neil:  Tough.  It’s a gamble.  Sounds pretty stupid to me.  The ad looks like it preys on the fears of older people.

Neil Impersonator:  So, this company is basically waiting for you to die.  Then, they celebrate because they just took your house.

Neil:  Exactly.  You think John Lennon would approve?

Neil Impersonator:  I don’t think a John Lennon impersonator of an impersonator would approve. 

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