the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Sophia’s Favorite New Technology


I haven’t written too much about it, but I’m pretty nervous about what happens when Sophia returns. Living apart, we were able to live in limbo land. Now that I’m here at her place, it is closer to “make it or break it” time.

Sometimes I wonder if we had kids, whether it would all be easier. We would have some external force keeping us together besides just “love.” Or even if we had some beloved pet that we dote on. The closest we have to a “third party” that we share in is watching “All My Children.”

I’ve written about “All My Children” in the past — about how Sophia turned me onto it. One of our special rituals at home is to take off our clothes, jump into bed together — and watch that day’s AMC on the Tivo.  Of course, as in most things, Sophia controls the remote control.  (editor’s note:  This does not mean sex — we started watching AMC in bed, so it became a tradition.  And the taking off of the clothes is mostly for practical reasons.  Who gets into bed in their dirty clothes?)

Even when we separated, we still spoke every day about the latest dumb plot twist, or just how bad Susan Lucci is as an actress.

While I’m stuck woman-less here in LA, Sophia has a bigger dilemma — how does she keep up with AMC? Her TV has bad reception and she has no access to a VCR.

At first, I tried to describe each episode over the phone, even doing dramatic reenactments of Tad and Dixie.

Tad: Tell me, Dixie, do you kill Doctor Madden?

Dixie: How can you ask me that, Tad? Don’t all the years we were married mean anything to you?

Tad: What about your affair with David Hayward?

Dixie: You drove me into his arms. If only you would have trusted me.

Tad: Blah blah blah (as we see David Hayward standing in the doorway, listening in as every soap opera character always does)

Obviously, my reenactment just wasn’t good enough for Sophia, especially with my New Yawk accent. So, I tried something new to please my demanding wife, much as I used to do in the bedroom a long long time ago. This time, I transferred each episode to my computer then uploaded them to Sophia via the internet. It was a OK idea, but the daily four hour process was not very efficient, and wrecked havoc on my blog reading.

Luckily, modern technology came to the rescue!

Sophia convinced me to get a Hava ($249 online). As they say on their website:

“HAVA is the New Wireless solution for high quality home viewing, multicasting and remote viewing. Watch your TV on a PC anywhere in your house up to 300 feet from your HAVA Box or transmit and watch video anywhere in the world via the internet.”

Basically, you take this small box and plug it it into your TV or Tivo. It then wirelessly sends your TV signal to the internet. The only other thing I had to buy was a faster “G” routers for forty dollars, because my older “B” router couldn’t handle the streaming.

Once it was set-up, Sophia could watch her TV at Redondo Beach on her laptop in Manhattan. All she needed was a password to get access. Even better, she has a virtual “remote control” to do everything she can do here — pause, delete, record, etc.  I can actually sit in Redondo Beach and watch her change the channels from NY!

Sophia must have been so excited playing with the TV because this morning I suddenly saw it jumping by itself from channel to channel, I saw every button on Tivo pressed.  For a second, I forgot about the Hava and thought that a ghost had taken over!

Pretty cool. Does this mean we’re all soon going to be watching “American Idol” in our local Starbucks? Or watching that Yankees game on our TV in Brookyn while in Paris?

After I returned home last night, I called Sophia and was happy to hear that she hadn’t watched “All My Children” yet.  Sophia put on her Hava, then we both took off our clothes, got into our respective beds in different cities, and watched yesterday’s “All My Children” at the exact same time. It was just like being together. Sophia even controlled the remote control.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Dr. Phil’s Son Engaged to Playboy Triplet


  1. Nance

    I am full of questions: What is the benefit of simultaneous nude viewing of AMC? Do you actually get…er…aroused by a soap opera? Do you and Sophia also IM during your Hava-nude viewing of AMC so that you can still communicate during long-distance naked soap watching? Have you already made a list of devious clothing-optional uses for the Hava once Sophia returns? Am I now out of hyphens?

  2. Neil

    We only watch All My Children in bed.  For regular shows like “Lost” and “24,” it is better to be downstairs, fully clothed, and watch it on the big screen TV.

  3. AWE

    Doesn’t that still eat up your bandwith?

  4. Neil

    Awe — I’m not a highly technical person, so I don’t know how much bandwidth it is using. But, so far I haven’t noticed any difference in my internet speed while Sophia watches TV — although Sophia had to reboot once or twice because her laptop seemed to “get clogged up.” But I guess that is something I should check out.  Maybe I would shut off the Hava if that is the case when I’m not using it.  Supposedly, they are soon going to have the ability to plug the Hava into the router through an ethernet cord rather than wirelessly, so the streaming will even be faster.

  5. Dana

    Gees, Neil. AMC: 1) You just want to snog Erika. Or Kendall? Babe? 2)It’s David HAYWARD, not HAYWORTH! BTW, I love me a dark, maniacal drug-concocting-villain-turned-unexpected dad-of-a-trailer-girl-named-Babe.

    I watch on Fridays, when or if I actually can. (No Tivo or Hava here. I thought it was Chava.) AMC’s one of those shows you can watch just once a year for twenty years and get the whole gist of, as if you’d never left. Anticipating the writing, the scene breaks, and the actors’ facial expressions–while it would only take a neanderthal to succeed–yields a great sense of accomplishment. The cheesiest things ever to happen on the show truly have taken place recently. When they brought Dixie back from the dead, it really took the cake. (What is this, the third time Tad and Dixie have “reunited”?) And they had that idiotic tornado and no one knew Dixie was in the rubble . . . and then, after everyone recovered, she was sneaking around and listening behind doors completely undetected for weeks. And, oh, yeah, name a kid “Spike” and sweat over who Spike’s father is. (Wasn’t Spike the name of Snoopy’s puppy farm brother?) And have you noticed the bizarre camera work lately? My mom-in-law’s videos are better than that. Someone has a caffeine or worse problem and needs rehab referral. Even my nine-year old noticed it. “What is wrong with that shaky camera? Mom, I could be an INTERN and do a better job than that!”

    But now that you’ve mentioned it, we’ve clearly gotta getta Hava.

  6. Neil

    Yes, Dana, Hava is a weird name. My mother already made the obligatory “Hava Nagila” joke.   But I think it is supposed to be a word from India.  And thank you for the correct spelling of David Hayward. 

  7. mrs mogul

    ALL MY CHILDREN I GREW UP WITH! My mom used to watch it when it was black and white. That’s where I got the idea to make my Barbies have sex.

    Susan Lucci is a fab actress, I mean those fake tears at 60 are incredibly realistic looking!

  8. deezee

    This is just too funny. The ever expanding nuances of Neil and Sophia…

    Uh, and as far as having a kid keep you two together, that’s a brilliant idea. Just ask me and my ex-husband (and our son.) 😉

  9. Jody

    Kids are not a solution to a troubled relationship. How can anyone expect a child to correct lack of communication, differences in listening skills or general dissatisfaction with the direction of an adult relationship. Children learn to be happy, safe and secure from their parents not the other way around. I know Neil was only joking about the kid part.

    On a less serious note – why is AMC the only show reserved for the bedroom? Is there something about seeing sex in the afternoon on the small screen versus on the big screen TV?

  10. wendy

    I’m way behind…I just got wireless so I can blog from bed…As for All my we use to call it…snooze… but Lucci is sure holding up…How old is she..80??

  11. better safe than sorry

    kids do not keep a marriage together, i think they actually could break one up with the stress. now a dog on the other hand, maybe you could surprise her with a puppy?

  12. Tara

    There is nothing better than watching TV or a movie in bed – of course, naked is preferable.

    Don’t you wonder how much Havas will cost in 5 years or if they’ll be obsolete by then? Technology is amazing.

  13. rach

    how sentimental are you?????? That’s cute

  14. D-Nice

    Wow! Who knew that technology would make it possible for someone on the other side of the country – or the world for that matter – to change the channel for you!!!! What a trip…and why does Sophia get to hold the remote control anyway??

  15. trouble

    Gosh, Neil, this post made me so sad. Marriage can be so hard at times, and the endings are always tragic. Two kids wasn’t even enough glue to keep my ex and me together. Though, I will say we’d have split up far earlier if we hadn’t had them.

  16. Dagny

    Thank you for giving me yet another toy to dream about. First I have to get a laptop though. Good thing I already have a G router though.

    As for the naked viewing, I suspect that it must have been the Talking Penis’s idea.

  17. Elisabeth

    Neil – Are you, by any chance, turning into a technology whore in front of our very eyes?

    Just when I was contemplating Tivo, I’m already behind, because I’ve never heard of Hava.

  18. Danny

    Looks like Hava aka Chavele doesn’t work on Macs. Grrrrrrrr…

    I object to your dissing of La Lucci. Compared to half the actors on that show, she’s Bernhardt, Garbo, and Streep combined. I can’t decide who’s the worst: Julia, Jamie, Colby, Ryan, or Derrick Frye. Here’s an “All My Children” rule: murder a beloved character and you will probably go free with a slap on the wrist. But kill a crazed maniac who deserves to die a thousand deaths and the police will go after you with a vengeance and send you to the electric chair. I just don’t get it. Sophia should storm the studios while she’s in New York and demand better writers (I can think of one separated husband-and-wife team who would be perfect…)

  19. Hilly

    OMG, I think I had a mini orgasm from tech-overload. I thought that Tivo was the best invention ever but this HAVA? Wow!

    Don’t feel bad; I’m a respectable woman and I watch General Hospital…..were I to ever try to explain the plot, people would stare at me as if I am crazy.

  20. Janet

    I never heard of Hava before, but I just started looking in to Slingbox. Anything to fuel the media frenzied addiction!

  21. Rach2


    Here is a side by side comparison of screenshots of both hava & sling.

  22. plain jane

    Ok Neil, you are just trying to make people jealous. Many of your fans already comment on how you and Sophia get along and share more than many “not separated” couples. Now you have to show off that you share a ritual and closeness while at opposite ends of the continent.

    As for me, I’m rooting for you and Sophia. Life is short, life is lonely, and it is nice to have a companion along the way.

  23. Neil

    Thanks Rach2 — i’d love to learn if anyone has used any of these machines?

  24. Brooke

    Wow, I thought my life sucked.

  25. Deborah

    That’s too damn cute!

  26. Nelumbo

    Well now your life is becoming a soap opera. This is starting to sound more “open marraige” rather than a “trial seperation” to me? What doyou think the correct term is?

  27. ms. sizzle

    any way that gets you two naked in bed together is good, no? i think so! 🙂

  28. Viscountess of Funk

    I haven’t been blogging on your site long enough to totally understand the Neil/Sophia dynamic (as in why you’re apart, etc) but you two obviously adore each other. Is there any chance it will work out for the two of you?

  29. Neil

    Viscountess — Yes, if they write us into the plot of “All My Children” as Erica Kane’s long-lost, bickering but loving, cousins from Pigeon Hollow.

  30. Fitena

    We have two TVs at home. One’s image is screwd and the other’s sound is ad bad bad. We switch them both on: lower the sound of one and watch the image on the other!  I hear TV in bedrooms is a love killer. True?


  31. ams

    That sounds like my idea of heaven!!!!

  32. deannie

    I hope that anything that gets you naked in bed with a woman who also happens to be your wife would be a good thing.

    Divorce is truly a lonely path.


  33. e.

    The boyfriend and I are moving in together over the next month (I’m a slow mover, I need a lot of overlap between leases so I can adjust to the change..). To this new household, we are each bringing ourselves, our books, and one cat a piece. In order to make it a more blended home, we are planning to purchase and raise and dote on one betta fish and various electronic gadgets. Maybe not so much on the raising of electronics, but you know. So perhaps the Hava will be the glue that you idly wished children or a pet could be 😉

  34. modigli

    cute post, Neil! Well done. 😉

  35. ExpatJane

    Being a girl, I read it and thought “awwwww, how cute”. Being a tech geek, I read it and thought “oh, how cool”.

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