the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Viva La iPod


I was playing Texas Hold-em Poker with Sophia and my mother when we got a little confused over what the dealer button meant.

"Go check out the ‘World Series of Poker’ I have recorded on TV," Sophia said.  "They explain it prety well."

I went to the living room to check out Sophia’s Tivo, which is not really a Tivo, but a Replay TV, but I always call it a Tivo, like some people always call a Pepsi a Coke, which must annoy the hell out of executives at Pepsico.  In fact, I sometimes go to Burger King and specifically ask for a Coke just to hear the beleaguered girl taking the order say for the thousandth time that day "We don’t have Coke.  Is Pepsi OK?"  So, yes, I do have a passive-aggressive streak.

When I got to the Tivo — I mean Replay TV, I noticed that Sophia had been taping every Texas Hold ’em show on TV. These poker shows have clearly taken over from the designing shows as the new flavor of the day.  There are poker games on Bravo, GSN, ESPN, and even the Travel Channel.  If there’s an excuse for a poker series, they’ll find one.  "Next on CSPAN:  Congressmen who love Texas Hold ’em Poker."

Now I understood why Sophia was winning every game.   At first, I thought she had just looked stupid wearing those sunglasses and that hooded sweatshirt, but now I see she was imitating the poker "masters"  — and intimidating us.

"Sophia, I’m having some trouble finding the show you wanted me to look at."

"It’s called ‘World Series of Poker."

"You have 2005, 2004, 2002, and 1998."

"Just pick any one."

I couldn’t figure out this Replay TV box.  I had to call Sophia for her assistance.

"What’s the matter with you?  You used to be so good with electronic things."

She was right.  After we started playing poker again, I lost interest.  I couldn’t stop thinking about what she said.  I quickly went "all in" and lost all my chips.   I started to head upstairs.

"Where are you going?" asked my mother.

"To the bedroom to sulk and ponder my life."

I sat on the bed and thought about the past.   At one time, people used to come to me to fix their computers.  But no more.  Now they always go to some fifteen year old cousin. 

Somewhere along the line, I lost interest in technology.  Perhaps it was the time several years ago when I started having sex on a regular basis.  Honestly, if you have a woman to play with, isn’t that enough to occupy you for the rest of your life?  Do you really need a Blackberry? 

I still use an old-fashioned CRT monitor.  My cellphone is clunky.  I do not own an iPod.  I’ve never touched an X-Box

But blogging has changed everything.   Many of my readers depend on me to keep them in touch with the latest and greatest, the hottest and the trendiest.  Some of you get all of your news from blogs, some of you are shut-ins on medication.  I have a responsibility to the community. 

So later this week, from Thursday to Sunday, rather than blabbing on about my usual mundane subjects, I will be attending The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.  This is an enormous show that takes over the city as companies showcase the coolest gadgets coming out in 2006.   And Citizen of the Month will be blogging from the show floor.  There will be other bloggers there, including many from big time blogs. But only at Citizen of the Month will you get a unique perspective — from someone who knows absolutely nothing about the subject. 

If you have any questions on what’s hot in consumer electronics, please ask me and I’ll be sure to get you a wrong answer.

Oh, by the way, I will be doing other things in Las Vegas other than attending this fascinating conference.  I will try my hand — for the very first time — playing real life Texas Hold ’em Poker.  Sophia even gave me this Hanukkah gift for me to wear at the table, so I can look like all the other professionals.   

(photo taken by Sophia on her cool, gadgety Nokia phone)


  1. cruisin-mom

    With that shirt on Neil?…there’ll be no time for blogging OR electronics…women won’t be able to resist you.

  2. Tatyana

    Ahem-ahem – Cruising, wrong article of closing; but you’re right about irresistability. Unless…

    N, is that a lighter depiction next to cards? Looks kinda scary Bobbit-like – with that snapping function at the ready.

    Let’s clarify: you stopped playing with electronic toys as soon as being able laying your hands on a living breathing woman. So if now you’ve got interested in the gadgets again, does it follow that women don’t interest you anymore?

  3. Pearl

    Cruisin-mom, I think those are pajama bottoms with a drawstring waist. So I think Neil will be asking the babes around him, “Win, lose or DRAW?” I guess he’s hoping they’ll DRAW!
    (sorry, Neil, for talking behind your back here)

  4. Tatyana

    Darn, no spell-check! That should’ve been “clothing”, not “closing”!

  5. MA

    Nice pants.

  6. cruisin-mom

    oops, sorry, it was dark and early here! Or maybe I knew it was just too much for my brain to think about Neil in those draw string pants.

  7. better safe than sorry

    i rely on my kids to teach me anything to do with anything electronic. i have no idea how to do anything with my blog, the person that has helped me the most is a 13 year old girl.
    are you really going to wear a table cloth in vegas? my 14 year old son taught his 10 year old sister how to play poker last summer, i still have no idea how to play that either. i don’t know whether he would wear a tablecloth or not though.

  8. Melissa


  9. ashbloem

    I appreciate the perspective that only you will be able to give us from the CES. I am looking forward to all kinds of misinformation I will be able to in turn disseminate amongst my friends. You’re the best, Neil!

  10. Merujo

    I used to love going to CES and Comdex out in Vegas! I took delegations from the former Soviet Union to these shows. We gave a name to all the fun swag you can grab from each vendor: Hi-Bye! Since most of my guys didn’t speak more than a few words of English, I told them that, if they wanted one of the vendor freebies, to just go up, say, “Hi!”, snag the swag, and say, “Bye!”

    I still call freebie swag “Hi-Bye.”

    Have fun! Go see the Amazing Johnathan at the Sahara. He’s great.

  11. Pauly D

    Replay TV, huh?

    You do realize that now that you’ve admitted to having one you will either be put on the TiVo blacklist or start getting harrassed by Replay TV haters, right?

    I’m just sayin’…

  12. zoozan

    I would love to meet Sophie

  13. Edgy Mama

    Like em, Neil. They’re sure to be a hit with the gambling chicks.

  14. claire

    Wear those and your stategy can be to seem as if you’re sleeping at the table. Good times ahead, I’m sure.

  15. Nelumbo

    Make sure you check out the video iPod and explain to me why everyone is obsessed with it. Why watch a movie on a 2 inch screen? My gadjet guy just had to have a video iPod, but he can’t explain why.

  16. Charming, but single

    Neil, I know this post wasn’t really about calling all Coke-like products (like Pepsi) “Coke,” but I’d like to throw my two cents in on that issue.

    Where I’m from (in the South), we call any sort of soft drink a Coke. Even drinks that you wouldn’t mistake for Coke, like Dr. Pepper. Even diet drinks. Even drinks that aren’t brown, like 7Up. If it is carbonated or kind of fizzy and not alcoholic, it is a Coke.

    If you came to my house and I wanted to offer you a soft drink (which I wouldn’t, because I keep a supply of beer, vodka and wine on hand for such occasions, but that’s beside the point) I would ask, “Neil, do you want a Coke?”

    If you said “Yes.” I would say, “What kind? I have Coke, Diet Coke with Lime and Sierra Mist.”

    And you would look at me like I was crazy. But I’m not. I’m just Southern.

  17. Neil

    Charming, I’ve heard about that. It’s one of those things that make southerners so damn attractive.

  18. Charming, but single

    That and the Confederate Flags on the bumpers of our pick-up trucks, right? ;p

    (I am so totally joking. Like I’d drive a truck.)

  19. cruisin-mom

    Sophia…could you get him a shirt to match? (help me out…I thought I was so cool making the 1st comment of the day)

  20. Danny

    I can’t wait to hear about all the cool stuff I can’t afford! I can so relate to that shift from computer maven to owner of a “Gadgetry of the 1990s” museum exhibit. But one thing you really have to get is an iPod, one of the greatest inventions ever. (Of course mine is from first generation and a total dinosaur.) I also wondered about the new video ones, why on earth anyone would want to watch a video on such a tiny screen, and then I went into the Apple Store at the Grove last week and started playing with one. I want it, I want it, I want it! (But not until my current iPod bites the dust.)

    Speaking of technology, my one complaint about “Citizen of the Month” is the inability to “preview” a comment. Yours is the only blog I’ve ever seen that doesn’t have that feature. Do you WANT us to make mistakes? Is that what you’re saying?

  21. Leesa

    Charming, that’s so right. I’m from Texas and we say coke for everything too. Then, what kind of coke you want is a whole different story 🙂

  22. communicatrix

    Ass. Now I suppose you will be completely unavailable to help me port c-trix to its new home this weekend. Well, just for that, I’m pushing it off an extra week.

    But fair’s fair, and a trade’s a trade: when do you want me to come over and blow on your dice?

  23. anne arkham

    Neil, you do know that CES has a huge porn section, don’t you? I expect to read posts written by both you and your penis.

  24. Neil

    Danny, I’ll look into that preview thing. Although I get some good laughs at all the spelling mistakes.

    Anne, I actually think the whole adult film industry is there the same weekend having their convention. Would you believe me if I told you I have never seen a real pornographic movie other than the nonsense they show on Cinemax, which always makes me fall asleep. For some reason, all those fake boobs make me think of firm pillows…

  25. The Moviequill

    ‘Honestly, if you have a woman to play with, isn’t that enough to occupy you for the rest of your life?’…forget the Blackberry for sure but trust me, you still need a vibrating pager..Happy New Year

  26. anonymous city girl

    lucky ducky!
    have fun.
    and remember, what happens in VEGAS, stays in VEGAS.

  27. M

    You’ve never touched an X-box? That’s a shame…. especially because you were married….

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