the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Month: September 2005 (Page 2 of 3)

Be My Editor


I’d like to thank Sophia for all the help she gives me with this blog.  Besides being my ex, Sophia also is my editor, spell-checker, and grammar-checker (and watches over those posts where I mention her like a hawk — uh, Sophia, I mean a caring, beautiful woman).   This week, she’s taken on the role of my public relations manager. 

It all started a few days ago.  I had just written a post where I tried to hypnotize fellow blogger Brooke into sending me compromising photos of herself.  Very few of you saw this post because after I published it, I immediately received a phone call from Sophia.

"What kind of idiotic post is that?"

"I see.  A little jealous of my "special relationship" with Brooke?"

"Yeah, right."

"So, what’s the problem?"

"Neilochka, you’re not an eighteen year old keeping a blog to impress four friends.  You already have a couple of gray hairs coming out of your ears.  You need to think of it as a "calling card" for your writing.  You need to be a little more professional."

"And what does that mean?"

"Don’t be too in-groupie.   What if some big-shot editor comes by today?  He’s not going to know who Brooke is.  He’s just going to leave your site."

"I thought everyone knew Brooke."

"Sorry.  I know she’s popular, but…"

"OK, I see your point."

"And a few other things…"


"I know you love it… but stop flirting so much.   And don’t write every week about your penis."

"Not write about my penis?  That’s like asking me to never mention my best friend again!"

"In the real world, if you wanted to write for a magazine —  you can’t just write about anything you want.  You’d have to pitch a whole bunch of ideas and the EDITOR would decide what you should write.  Sometimes, they might assign you a stupid topic that you have absolutely NO INTEREST in."


"That’s right.   It could be an article on the history of paper clips and you would have to write it to get paid."

"You want me to write about things I have NO INTEREST in?"

"Of course not.  Though, come to think of it, maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all.  For practice."

As usual, Sophia is right.  Did you know that "Sophia" means wisdom in Greek?  I spent the next few days thinking about what Sophia said.  Maybe it is time to think of myself as more of a professional.  Maybe I should use this blog NOT for writing nonsense, but as a "calling card."

But, how can I prove to the BIG SHOT editors of New York that I can pitch story ideas and listen to the decision of my superiors?

Hey, I got it!  Why not EXPLOIT my readers again?  They have nothing better to do.

OK, here’s the deal.  YOU ARE MY EDITORS.  I will now pitch you SIX story ideas.  You will pick one (the most votes win).  Sometime next week, I will write this story.  You can pick it apart.  After I re-write it, you can hire me or fire me.   Sort of like "The Apprentice."

Sophia will then be proud of me and make me dinner.


1)   I will go to the Scientology Center HQ in Hollywood and go on a "tour" of their L. Ron Hubbard museum.

2)  I will visit a psychic and palm reader for the first time in my life and see what she has to say.

3)  I will eat in Burger King all three meals for one day and report back.

4)  I will go to the racetrack and bet $20 on the #3 horse in the  third race.

5)  I will try some ointment on myself that I see advertised in Maxim magazine that says makes your penis  feel "fuller." (had to throw this one in)

6)  I will write about the history of paper clips.


Anonymous Sources


Like everyone else, I get most of my reading done in the bathroom.  

First up was Psychology Today.  I was half-way through reading a cliched article about how cohabitation is bad, when I read this sentence:

"Charles, a 44-year old New Yorker (who asked that his name be changed) admits that in his 30s, he almost married a live-in girlfriend of three years for reasons having little to do with love."

Bored, I started thinking about Charles himself.   Why didn’t he give his real name?  Who is this guy?  How did the writer find this guy?  Did he just happen to perfectly exemplify the point the writer wanted to make?  Is this "Charles" her personal friend or did she meet him on the street?  Or does he even exist? 

Let’s make believe I want to branch out into writing articles for magazines or newspapers.  Let’s say I want to write an article on adults who love… say… Curious George books  (I’m looking at one on my bookshelf).   Where am I going to find people to quote?  How do I find someone who will tell me "I love Curious George."

Well, I do know this guy from college who used to have a Curious George keychain.  I guess I could call him up and ask him if I can quote him.   What if he doesn’t want me to use his name?  I guess I could change it to "Roger."

Or, to make it really easy on me — I can just make up a person:

Roger (his name changed), a stockbroker in New York, admits that he loves Curious George to this day, even carrying a Curious George keychain.

But that would get me fired, right?   Maybe that’s why I’m not writing articles.

Anyway, while I was still in the bathroom, I tossed aside the Psychology Today (does anyone remember when it used to be an legitimate magazine?) and opened up the New York Observer.  I love to keep up with the latest trends in New York. I started reading this article about how blue-eyed men were the flavor of the day in Manhattan, and tons of men were getting blue-colored contact lenses.   "How intriguing!" I thought.  But, then I reached this quote:

"I think blue eyes, on an unconscious level, create an impression of being sincere and trustworthy," said one 32-year-old female writer who pleaded anonymity, still nursing wounds inflicted by one blue-eyed bastard.

What’s this?  Another anonymous person who just happens to prove the writer’s point?   Is this luck or coincidence?

Looking to learn more, I asked Jill (not her real name), the 34-year-old editor-in-chief of a popular New York magazine, who told me that part of the writer’s job is finding people to quote.

"Interesting," I answered.  "And do you think I would be suitable for writing a freelance article for some big magazine."

"Absolutely," said Jill (not her real name).  "I’ve been reading your amazing blog and think you would be perfect for many assignments.  Hell, if there was an opening in my magazine, I would make you editor right now.  I would recommend you to any EMPLOYER out there.  Have you thought of working in TV again?  There’s more money in that."

Jill (not her real name) had a point. 

I decided to ask Trevor (fake name also), a 41-year-old TV producer of three top rated shows.   Trevor (fake name) was extemely excited to talk with me:

"Neil, you would perfect for so many shows.  You have such a creative mind.  I love that weird relationship you made up with that Sophia character."

"Well, she’s not exactly a character.  I mean she is a character.  But she is real.  We did get married seven years ago.  She does exist."

"And all that stuff about you being separated and still being friends.  That is so funny… sitcom stuff.   That’s all made up, right?"

"Actually, it’s true.

"Oh.  Well, then it’s pretty sad.  That’s too bad."

"Uh… what about the job you were going to give me?"

"Forget it.  You’re too much of a downer for sitcoms.  And I’m sure Jill (not her real name) agrees that you’re not right for magazines, either."

"You can’t do that or say that.  I made you both up.  You’re fake characters in a stupid blog.  You aren’t even a real editor-in-chief or a producer."

"Sorry.  Didn’t you ever hear of characters taking on a life of their own?  Now, please leave the office.  We have a lunch appointment with Brooke Shields at the Polo Lounge."

When I’m Sixty-Four


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. 

Sophia Made Me Gay


When I read online dating sites, I always see singles looking for someone with the exact similar interests.  Why?  When I meet someone, I want to meet someone with different interests.  I already have my interests.  Who wants to go out with himself, even if the sex is good? 

I like to learn new stuff.   When I first met Sophia, I used to laugh at two of her main interests —  now I’m totally into them on my own.   They are — and I can hear the gaydar going off all across America — "All My Children" and Professional Figure Skating.

Like most prime-time TV watchers, I always thought of soap operas as second-tier entertainment, produced to sell Tide Detergent to housewives.  I remember some girls watching "General Hospital," back in high school, but I never heard of a straight man watching a soap opera. 

As a writer, I also pooh-poohed the supposed absurd stories of soap operas, the ones they would parody on Saturday Night Live, of evil twins and amnesia and people coming back from "the dead."  But then I started watching it with Sophia.  She’s been watching All My Children for years.  And I started getting into it.  For seven years, we watched it every night.  And now that I’m on my own, I still Tivo it every day.  Most of my conversations with Sophia on the phone still begin with, "Did you see ‘All My Children’ today? 

Of course, I realize that most of the plotlines are silly and I’m usually laughing at the bad acting.  But that’s part of the fun.  I probaby could also develop a drinking game for guessing the exact moment when one character accidentally "overhears" some secret or walks into a room just at the most inopportune time.

All in all, the writing is pretty good and I would definitely recommend watching some soaps to my screenwriting friends.   There is a lot of skill used in keeping a viewer involved in a subplot for six months.  I think I also like the fact that everyone in Pine Valley seems to have had sex or been married to each other, and they are still friends.  If only life was so easy.

Currently, the big subplot is about the return of Dixie, Tad’s wife.  But is she Dixie or really Di Kirby, her half-sister, fooling everyone?  And will Babe, Dixie’s ex-daughter-in-law learn the truth and expose her, winning back the trust of J.R., Dixie’s son, and the heart of Jamie, Babe’s ex-boyfriend and brother of J.R.?   Got it?

It took a good deal more convincing to get me interested in Figure Skating.  Before Sophia, the only time I ever watched figure skating was during the Olympics, and other than Michelle Kwan and Dorothy Hamill, I couldn’t name another skater.  Sophia watched every championship on TV, but it usually bored me.  Then, one year, for her birthday, I took her to the week-long U.S. Championships in Salt Lake City.   It was pretty amazing seeing these athletes up close.  And Michelle Kwan was pretty beautiful to watch.  I learned about all the categories and levels of figure skating.  We sat with a group of women (groupies, more accurately) who travelled the world going from one competition to another, similar to Deadheads following the Grateful Dead.  They were fun and knowledgeable, although they sometimes made me feel uncomfortable when they talked about some 16 year old Junior Male Champion’s "nice ass."

After Salt Lake, we went to a few other championships, including those in Vancouver, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.  In 2003 we went to the World  Figure Skating Championship In Washington D.C., where we saw the best in the world.  Seeing the Chinese skating pair of Xue Shen and Honbo Zhao was one of the most thrilling sports moments I’d ever seen.  They got a ten minute standing ovation. 

Sophia, being Russian, especially enjoyed the artistry of the Russian skaters, particularly Evgeni Plushenko.

We tried to root for the Jewish skaters, but unfortunately former skating champion Michael Weiss is one of the least ilikeable skaters in America.    However, when at the World Champinship, we started seeing flags of different countries being displayed during the competition, Sophia (who lived in Israel for several years) dragged me all across Washington D.C. until we found what we were looking for in Union Station to support Israeli Ice Dancers Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhnovski:


All My Children?  Figure Skating?  I know… gay stuff.   I’m not even going to start telling you about my large CD collection of show tunes.   Thank God I have those  Dolce & Gabbana  pants from the last post, because no one would ever mistake me for being gay when I wear those.

Fall Fashion

My new Los Angeles blogging pal, Sanora, at Bad Maria has a problem.  Her husband and she have been invited to a catered BBQ on Sunday, and the invitation says "California Casual attire."   She’s a pretty down-to-earth gal, and is worried about what that means. 

Does anyone know what "California" casual means? Is it one step up from casual or since we all wear jeans for the most part, one step down? I’m very confused by the term and if they were closer friends, I would call them up and say "what would be appropriate attire for this little catered BBQ soiree?" But I want to appear like hubby and I are down with all the frou-frou terminology and can show up, correctly attired, when invited.

Can anyone from California give her some advice?

I offered her some help, but she rejected me, saying I was too "trendy" for her.   The truth is I’m a real trendsetter when it comes to fashion, always wearing the latest Fall fashion that I see at New York’s Fashion Week. 

In fact, Sophia and I will be attending the same BBQ as Sanora, and we already bought some new hip clothes for the event.  We each bought two outfits.  Any advice on which is better for an outdoor BBQ?







By the way, on my second outfit, I’m not sure about that chain hanging from the pocket.  What do you think?   Also,  can anyone recommend a good bikini wax place near West Hollywood?

Thanks for all your help!

(photos via Rachel, Jennifer, and Elisa)

Jessica Alba Sex Video Revealed!


(Dave Matthews’ "Crash" plays in the background)

Jessica:  Take me, Bead Necklace…

Bead Necklace:  I love when you touch me… there.


Jessica:  You certainly are BIG… Bead Necklace.

Bead Necklace:  I’m sorry my loft is such a mess.

Jessica:  Your place could use a makeover, Bead Necklace.  Like actually putting your door on its hinges.  But you are so hot.


Jessica:  I love the way you caress me, Bead Necklace…
Bead Necklace:  Shhh… don’t talk…


Jessica:  That was amazing, Bead Necklace.   You really know how to satisfy a woman.

Bead Necklace:  You mind if I go outside for a smoke?

Jessica:  You’re not going to keep that videotape of our lovemaking, are you, Bead Necklace?

Bead Necklace: (LAUGHING)  Of course not.  

(via Jessica Alba in Entertainment  Weekly)

My First Attempt at Looting


Today, the lights went out in Los Angeles.  There was a major power outage.  It affected more than 1/2 the city.  Everything went off, including Dreamhost, my web host.  That’s why my website was down half the day.  I was at home on my computer when it happened.  With no internet access or TV, I needed something to occupy my mind.  I figured that this was a good opportunity to try my hand at looting.

I shaved, put on a new shirt I bought on Saturday at Nordstrom, and ran into the street excitedly.  I ran to Wilshire Boulevard, but was disappointed when I didn’t see any other looters.  Frankly I was hoping for more of a “social” event.  And here I was wearing a new shirt for nothing.

I was going to back down from the looting experience, but then I told myself, “Sometimes you just gotta do things by yourself.”

My first decision:  What to loot?

I noticed that I was standing in front of a Cingular store.   I became indecisive about whether it was worth the effort.  I’m already with Cingular and their service is terrible.  Do I really want the hassle of looting the place just to get another Cingular-only compatible phone?

I ran across the street to IHOP.  I love their Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity signature breakfast (although I usually substitue tomatoes for the sausages).   But today I was less interested in food than I was of their Coca-Cola dispenser.  Imagine how cool it would be to have one during a party in your house. 

“Hello, Neil” said the waitress in front. 

Damn it.  It was Sheryl, the cute waitress I always flirt with when I order my breakfast special.  How can I ever ask her out on a date if she knows I’m a looter?

“Nice shirt.  Is it new?”  she asked me.

“Uh… I have to go.  I left my wallet at home.”  I said, as I ran out embarrassed.

I decided to go to a place where no one knows me.  I ran up the block — to Staples.  I love all sorts of pens and notebooks.  I could even use a new stapler.  But then I noticed that they were building a flashy new Office Depot right across the street. 

“That’s mean of Office Depot,” I thought.  “That’s really going to hurt Staples’ business.”

I decided against Staples, feeling guilty about their sudden competition.

Next up — Starbucks.  Finally, a place I hate.  A place that deserves to be looted by me.  After all, how much money have I’ve wasted there on lattes?  I ran into Starbucks #342334 and immediately went to that side display where they sell their wares.

“Putamayo World Music CDs?  Have one already.  Coffee mug for the car?  The one I have is fine.  The board game “Cranium?”  Played it once and it was terribly boring.   I’d steal some coffee beans, but then I’d have to make the stuff at home and I’m just too lazy to do that.  It’s so much easier just to come to Starbucks and buy a cup of coffee.”

Just then, the lights went on.  That’s it.  I missed my oppoortunity.  Just like always.  I bought a cappuccino and sat down to read the Los Angeles Times Calendar section.   

Love Songs


When I was a kid going to sleepaway camp, I had a counselor named Mike.  Although I visualize him as being an adult, he was probably 16 years old.  One night, he came back to the bunk, all happy.  He had spent the evening making out with some female counselor.  He gathered all the  guys in the bunk together and imparted this wisdom that I still remember today:

"If you want to get a girl into your bed, you put on "The Best of Bread" on your tape player."

A few years later, the basketball coach of our synagogue basketball team told us this in the locker room:

"If you want to get a Jewish girl to sleep with you, play "James Taylor:  Greatest Hits" on your stereo."

In high school, I went with my friend Bobby and his uncle to a Mets game.  During the seventh inning stretch, Bobby, who was black, told me:

"If you want to do it with a black girl, you need to play "The Very Best of Marvin Gaye" on your boombox."

Bobby’s uncle overheard him and disagreed:

"Bobby, you are too young to know shit.   You want to screw a classy black woman, you put on "John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.""

In college, the R.A. on my Freshman dorm floor, told me how to score with the college girls.

"If you want to get laid by a rich Barnard girl, you need to play Rimsky-Korsakov’s "Sheherazade" on your CD player"

When I told my roommate, he called the R.A. an old fart.

"The key is Depeche Mode’s "Music for the Masses." "  If you hear that playing, stay out of the room."

In film school, I worked as a sound operator when the Puerto Rican camera operator educated me on his culture:

"You want to get a Puerto Rican woman on top of you?   Play  Marc Anthony’s "Desde Un Principio.""

As I organize my iTunes collection, I wonder if I need to add anything to my list of essential music…?

« Older posts Newer posts »
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial