the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: TequilaCon

There Are More Black People on American Idol than in the Entire City of Portland


1)  There are more black people on American Idol than in the entire city of Portland.  

I like Portland.  It looks like an Edward Hopper painting, a little dark and depressed.  The city is chock full of old neon signs and from the outside, the city seems like it hasn’t changed in fifty years (although the old tannery is now a trendy bistro)…. but maybe the city has TOO much of a 1950’s feel.   I’ve never seen so many white faces in my life.  On Thursday night, we went to a jazz club that Ellen Bloom recommended called Jimmy Mak’s and saw one black guy, the sax player in a fifteen piece band.  That’s ONE black guy in a Jazz Band, in a Jazz Club, in an entire city, in four days!

2)  We’ve met Portland’s finest bloggers.

Lani and Patry (photo stolen from Lani because mine was too dark)

After meeting the charming Chantel at Tequilacon, we made it a mission to meet other Portland bloggers.  We had dinner with blogging friend Alexandra (who baked us some delicious cake) and then attended a literary salon at the home of the uber-talented writer/illustrator Lani.   The meeting was in honor of Cape Cod-based blogger Patry, who is on tour promoting her first novel, The Liar’s Club.   It was inspirational hearing Patry talk about her book, which I can’t wait to read.  Laini also talked about her forthcoming book, Faeries of Dreamdark.   It was wonderful hearing about the successes of fellow bloggers!  (Yeah, right.  I hate them!)

3)  It is official.  Sophia has the “X” factor.

I drive as slow as an old woman.  Sophia drives like a Nascar racer.  She was stopped TWICE by the Oregon highway patrol, but both times she was let go WITH just a WARNING!   Why does that never happen to me?

4)  Sophia and I are punching each other.

Danny’s daughter, Leah, taught us a driving game that is more current than “Geography.”  I forget what it is called, but you basically can punch the other person whenever you see a Volkswagen Beetle.  The score so far:  Sophia – 7, Neil – 3.

5)  High culture — feh!


We’re currently staying in Ashland, Oregon, which is a cute little town in the Southern part of the state.  We’re staying at this offbeat hundred-year old hotel that looks like something out of “The Shining.”  The main excitement in town is that it is the home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.    So, what did we see at the Shakespeare festival?  A bad Tom Stoppard farce.  However, tonight, there is Shakespeare playing at the Shakespeare festival , but we are choosing to go to the Oregon Cabaret Theater to see some dumb little musical called “Men on Ice,” about a fishing hole in Milwaukee.

6)  Water.

We’ve seen a lot of water — the ocean, lakes,rivers and creeks.  Being a Pisces, I should like water, but Sophia is the one who’s always dragging me to drive an hour and a half to see some creek.  We had a long discussion today, and decided that rivers and creeks are the coolest of all bodies of water.

7)  Soap Opera to Go.


Sophia and I keep up with “All My Children” via our nifty “Hava” machine plugged into our DVR at home.

8)  We’re not done yet.

Tomorrow, we are off to San Francisco — and meeting more bloggers.


Jessica, Sophia, Neil

Neil and Hilly

Yes, Tequilacon is over.   I got to meet a whole lot of amazing bloggers.

Yes, Sophia was there.

Yes, everyone liked her more than me. 

There was alcohol.  There was stick-on tatoos.  Sophia received a tattoo of a tiger on her cleavage.  Bloggers forgot my name.

The event took place in a converted school that is now a trendy hotel/bar.  It is not surprising that I reverted back to my elementary school days — I was intimidated by the girls and enjoyed hanging out with the boys.   It was an honor to meet such cool guys as Dave, Karl, Dustin, Mad William, Vahid, and others.  I was even shocked that my long-time evil nemesis, Brandon of the the defunct One Child Left Behind, is actually a sweet, interesting guy.

The girls were another problem.   In one room were gathered some of the most gorgeous, glamorous, and intelligent women of the blogosphere — Jenny, Jessica, Postmodern Sass, Hilly, Ms. Sizzle, Jill, Kimberly, Adena, Stacy, Communicatrix, Sibyl, Chantel, and others.  Without one glass of tequila, I was getting drunk on the sensuous scent of female bloggers’ pheremones.  Luckily, this being a former school, there was a shower in the men’s room!  Three or four times during the evening, I had to slip away from the group and take a quick cold shower to enable me to continue chatting with others without me drooling like a crazed lecher.

I know it sounds a little ridiculous to some of you to drive all the way to Portland to meet a few bloggers, but it was totally worth it.    I can’t wait to meet the rest of YOU.

My one concern about meeting a blogger is that it makes it difficult to go back to reading his blog, which is a pale imitation of the real three-dimensional person.  It almost makes reading his blog irrelevant.   So, while it was great meeting all of you last night, I think it is only appropriate to now delete you from my blogroll.  Thanks…

Our Upcoming Drive to Portand


First up, thanks for all those birthday greetings for Sophia.   She was tickled pink.   Yesterday, we saw a concert by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans.  We ate French crepes in the morning and Indian Tandoori at night. 

But there was ONE little problem.  Remember, yesterday, I wrote a whole post about how important it was to make an elaborate toast for the birthday girl.  And how important it was to make this toast with some sort of alcoholic drink.   So, I waited all day to make this toast until we were at dinner, not realizing that I made reservations at a Halal Indian Restaurant, which means they were Muslim and didn’t have alcohol!   Luckily Danny plied us with champagne when we stopped over at his house after dinner.  To top it all, he baked a birthday cake for Sophia!

What we are looking forward to during our upcoming road trip to Portland to meet some bloggers:

Neil:  Tillamook Cheese Tour


Sophia:  The Redwoods —

(thanks, Psychomom!)


A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Brokeback Birthday

Six “Weird” Things You Don’t Know About Me


  1. I live with a woman that I am separated from!
  2. I am travelling all the way to Portland, Oregon next month just to spend ONE NIGHT meeting a bunch of bloggers I hardly know!
  3. I am DRIVING all the way to Portland, a FIFTEEN HOUR trip!
  4. I am driving to Portland WITH this woman that I am separated from!
  5. I am driving to Portland without any real plans, other than taking 4-5 days to drive up the coast, and stopping at both Napa, California for some wine and Tilamook, Oregon for some cheese!
  6. Oh, and I LOVE naked women!

Totally weird!

Let’s see… who else is on the way to and in Portland? — Dagny, Leese, Buzzgirl, Jurgen, Chantel, Alexandra., etc. I’m sure this is exactly what Sophia wants to do on her vacation — watch me talk about blogging with some more bloggers!

Update: I just read this over again, and the proximity of my naked women joke and the mention of several female bloggers might wrongly give the impression that I want to see these bloggers “naked” as I am driving up towards Portland. That is far from the truth. Well, I mean, if I actually got to see another woman naked, it’s not that I wouldn’t enjoy it, but that isn’t my main reason for mentioning these specific bloggers. Maybe what I meant to say was that I enjoy seeing women “naked” in the sense of knowing a person’s “inner truth,” like a naked “soul.” Eh, maybe I should just stop now before I make things worse —

Those Dancing Feet


On Saturday, writer and blogger Billy Mermit is offering a seminar at UCLA titled "Exploring the Core Elements of Storytelling in Film and Fiction." which will deal with the similarities and differences of "story" in movies and literature.   It sounds like an exciting seminar.  While thinking about the subject matter last night, it occurred to me that one difference is obvious — the writer of fiction must use the written word to convey EVERYTHING, while a filmmaker has many tools, such as visuals and music to manipulate the audience.   We all know the cliche "a picture is worth a thousand words."   One glance of a movie actor can equal  ten pages of description.   Visual content seems to always do a better job in capturing our attention.  As an example — yesterday, I spent a good amount of time writing my "sexology" post.  I spent one minute uploading the photo of the "penis bed."   Can you guess which was talked about twice as much in the comments?

Some of you are amazingly good writers.  You convey all of your emotions and information through Words.  You create imagery and poetry through the English language.  

I’m a lazy writer.  Words frequently fail me.  That’s why I reach for every trick in the book — photos, songs, cheap sex jokes.

Some of my favorite blogger-writers are meeting in New York this weekend for TequilaCon 06.  I’ve been excited about this event for over a month.  Even though I already have an airline ticket, I unfortunately needed to cancel my trip, since I have some pressing matters I need to deal with in Los Angeles. 

I am very disappointed about not going to New York this weekend and meeting some of you.   I hope those who attend will think of me as there in spirit.  I hope everyone has a great time in New York.  I wish I could better communicate my emotions to you, but, as usual, I can’t find the words.  So, I guess I’ll need another way of showing you my love — through the magic of tap dancing.


I rip off my clothes to reveal a tuxedo underneath.  Sophia throws me a top hat and cane.   I jump on top of my bed.  The entire bed levitates and a staircase folds out in front of me, covered with flickering lights  A neon "New York City Skyline" descends in the background.  I start to SING:

Come and meet those dancing feet,
On the avenue I’m taking you to,
Forty-Second Street.
Hear the beat of dancing feet,
It’s the song I love the melody of,
Forty-Second Street.

Tap Tap Tap Tap
Tap Tap Tap Tap
Tap Tap
Tap Tap
Tap Tap Tap Tap Tap Tap Tap Tap
Tap Tap Tap Tap 

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