the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: superstitions

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).

Very Superstitious, Writing’s On the Wall


Despite my love for the arts, I have more respect for science.  It will be science that will eventually find a cure for cancer, not the latest novel by Nick Hornby.   Yesterday, I stepped into San Diego’s science museum in Balboa Park.  They had all these cool hands-on exhibits for kids.  Most interesting was a new exhibit about pendulums.  I really didn’t understand what was going on scientifically, although some smart-ass kid tried to explain it to me.  I ended up pushing him away so I could play with the pendulums myself.  Was I ever like this annoying kid? 

I hate when politicians get involved in science.  You rarely hear me talk about politics, mostly because I find both Democratic and Republican women sexy, so I like to play it safe (although I’ve never dated an Independent and I’ve always wanted to).  The only thing that really gets my goat is when religious nutcases want to teach "Creationism" in public schools.  Another insanity is not wanting to use stem cells for scientific research. 

In case I’m making my liberal pals too happy, I disagree with those PETA nuts who don’t want us to do science experiments on rats.  Yeah, I’ve seen Planet of the Apes.  I know what the future holds for us — the animals rule. But rats are rats!

Because I believe in science, I don’t believe in superstitions.  Sophia thinks our relationship may have had problems because I’m a Pisces and we’re supposedly not compatible in some book called "Love Signs."   I’m not afraid of black cats, broken mirrors, or staying on the 13th floor.  Sophia and I were married on October 13th (uh-oh).

Sophia’s Russian family introduced me to a whole new set of weird superstitions.  If anyone leaves the house, and then immediately goes back in because they forgot something — you have to go look in the mirror before you go out again.  Maybe Tatyana can explain this one to me.  In the beginning, I refused to get involved in this weird superstition, but then I realized that her family would not go out with me if I didn’t look at myself in the mirror.  So, I never forget things at home when I’m with them.

The only superstition that I seem to have an irrational fear of is walking under a ladder.  A couple of days ago I was in Borders bookstore and I was standing near one of those rolling ladders they use to climb up to get a book on a top shelf.  I wanted to go past it in order to grab a book.  I could have easily walked under it, but I caved in and slid the ladder all the way down to the other side.  Why tempt the fates and walk under the ladder.  Who knows?  Maybe just then, 1000 copies of James Joyce’s "Ulysses" would have fallen on my head, crushing me.

Hopefully, I’ll be back in Los Angeles on Saturday, knock on wood.

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