the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Cliquish Blog Post About Other Bloggers I Like

(Leah, I’m stealing this photo you took to give
others a false sense of my sophistication. )

On Friday night, I saw the musical “Wicked” at the Pantages Theater with Wendy from Quiet About Alot of Things.    Although Wendy lives in Colorado, she grew up in Pasadena, and came to town for her high school reunion. 

Although I didn’t find Wicked’s music that memorable, the story was fantastic.  It is based on a novel by Gregory Maguire, and is a revisionist re-telling of “The Wizard of Oz.  The Wicked Witch is the moral heroine, the Good Witch is a bimbo, and the Wizard of Oz is a selfish, power-hungry tyrant.  It all works perfectly and makes you feel as if the Judy Garland movie is nothing more than a propaganda film.  I’m a big fan of the Wizard of Oz, but I always felt there was something sinister about the Wizard, especially the way he hid behind his curtain.

Do bloggers hide behind curtains?   I love meeting bloggers because I get to see them without the smoke and mirrors of their blog posts.  I don’t suggest that we are sinister behind the scenes, but that we can only show a representation of ourselves in our writing.   Most of us hide behind curtains, even in real life.  Part of the reason I’m in therapy now is that I’m trying to peek behind MY OWN curtain.  I think we sometimes would rather see our own superficial self-image than confront who we really are inside.

If I read someone’s work, I usually get a sense of their character from the page.  What is surprising is how much MORE the person is in real life, as if the real Wizard has just stepped out from behind his curtain.

I talked a little bit about this with Wendy because I visualized her to be slightly different than she turned out to be.  On the page, she is very introspective, and she writes very evocative, sensual poetry.  I imagined her as a pretty, but somber Poetess, perhaps someone who wears a lot of black.  I did not expect a feisty dynamo of a woman jumping out of her rental convertible, her hair flying in the wind, someone who relaxes at home by showjumping horses competitively!  Which one is the real HER?  Probably BOTH of them!   She is a MOMMY and a WIFE and an ATHLETE and a POET.  I really enjoyed hearing her stories.  I might write “spicy” stories on my blog, but believe me — there are some who have actually LIVED them!  (I’m not going to mention anyone’s name, Wendy, and ruin their innocent reputation)

On Saturday night, a group of bloggers got together in LA to welcome the very cool Heather B from No Pasa Nada, who was visiting California.   She seems to know everyone in the blogosphere.  I’ve met Leah and Abigail before, and they are both really wonderful people.   Leah — who organized the LA Bloggers Live  group — always seems to be working on some new creative project.  Here is her new Leahpeah Store!    She took some nice photos of our meeting, like the one on top.   I recently kicked Abigail’s ass on Facebook’s Scrabble.   Next time, I need to be a little more careful because her confidence is strong after winning five thousand dollars on a game show.

I didn’t know Heather from Nabbalicious until recently.   Her photography is terrific.  I expected her to be very chic and artsy in person, but I didn’t expect her to be a little… klutzy, in a sexy, Lucille Ball kind of way.  She walked around all night at the Grove and the crowded Farmer’s Market with this beautiful, expensive camera around her neck, looking very professional, but she also had a habit of poking random strangers in the back with with her zoom lens.   Now, that’s sort of goofy, but hot. 

Sophia liked this photo that Heather took of me.   

Probably, my biggest surprise of the evening was Joe, Leah’s husband.   First of all, I tend to avoid talking to men when there are four beautiful women around.  The first time I met him, I was under the impression that his blog was mostly about PHP code, which is about exciting to me as… well, PHP code.   But I was totally wrong.   Joe’s been blogging before “blogging” was even a word.  Even though there is a lot of tech stuff on his blog, there is also a good amount of heart-felt personal stuff, including recent posts about his mother and her health.  His blog is also the perfect place to sneak a view of what Leah looked like in 2002.

The next blogger I’m scheduled to see in person is Laurie of Crazy Aunt Purl.  She starts her book tour on Thursday, October 11th at the Barnes and Nobel at the Grove at 7:30 PM, right across from the restaurant where I met the other bloggers.   When we passed the bookstore, I told Heather B. about Laurie’s book signing.  Heather spoke about Laurie’s amazing writing talent, and how popular she is with her readers.   I had to laugh to myself because if I had known about Laurie’s popularity, I would have feared approaching her, much like Dorothy meeting the scary Wizard of Oz.  Instead, the first time I accidentally came to her blog I noticed a photo of the Farmer’s Market, where she is involved in Stitch N’ Bitch.  I emailed her, excited to see this location in a photo, because it is one of my favorite places in LA.  After she responded, I immediately started to flirt with her, as I tend to do, making mention of some sexy boots she was wearing.  At first, I didn’t even bother to read her blog.  Who wants to read a blog about knitting and cats?  Is there anything more girly?  However, once I started reading her blog, I realized that Laurie had a lot more to say underneath it all.  She doesn’t just write about knitting.  She has a unique way of combining humor and emotion, so you laugh while getting a glimpse behind the “curtains” of her personality.   I remember thinking to myself, “This blog should be more popular because it is so good.  I really should tell people about it,” imagining a shy woman who is writing just for herself and her cats.   And then I noticed she was getting like 300 comments a day.   Oops.

(Laurie, no need for any thank you for this public service announcement about your book tour, but I wouldn’t mind a photo of you wearing those boots for my personal collection  — and please write my name as “Hot Stuff” when you sign my copy of your book tomorrow)


  1. laurie

    Neil, you’re too kind! And it’s on the 11th, not the 13th (note from Neil — fixed it!). You know we actually had a crazy-cat-lady scare early on in the planning stages because I thought the friday night thing in Houston was on Friday the 13th and I would not do it. People in publishing do not think things such as this are funny. Then we discovered Friday was the 12th. I am not diva-like at all but Lord have mercy, I was not about to get on a plane on Friday the 13th! Just logic, really.

    See you on Thursday, hot stuff.

    I am nervous.

  2. DCChick1

    if you liked the Wicked Story you should read the book (SOO much was left out) and his other ones are great as well. He has a sequel book out for Wicked, called Son of a Witch. And there are three other stories based on Classics with a spin; Cinderella, Snow White and Alice in Wonderland.

    All are spectacularly wonderful!

  3. nabbalicious

    Hahaha! Chic and artsy? Yeeeeah…glad I could dispel that notion for you! Should I even be allowed to carry that camera? Yeesh. But I will take being klutzy in a “sexy Lucille Ball kind of way.” It’s the best way, methinks. Unless one was on the receiving end of my zoom lens. They probably wouldn’t agree.

    LOVED meeting you, Neil. You’re every bit as nice and funny as I expected you to be! Whenever you want to hang again and/or if you guys are in Long Beach, just holla and I’ll show up! Possibly stumbling and tripping!

  4. DCChick1

    ps. I promise Maguire didn’t pay me to say that. 🙂

  5. sizzle

    such great bloggers! it’s fun to meet the “real live” version of the people we come to care about on line. i felt that way when i met you. 🙂

    i’m going to make a point of seeing laurie when she’s here in seattle. i’m a fan!

  6. wendy

    Laurie, I think you are channeling me..My birthday is on Oct 13..yes last year FRI the 13th….You have some thing to say about it..come on..bring It!!!

    As for my hair flying…I tend to swallow bugs..when the tops down…just for full disclosure!

    And INNOCENT + REPUTATION have not been a wording combo used often…to describe me..or any one I’ve really known..hum.

    Smoke and Mirrors should be my middle name. instead it is Lea. Go figure.

    Speakin of smoke.. you look pretty smokin in that hat shot…They really do your face justice!

    It’s a good face!

  7. Scarlet

    I have only met one blogger, I think.

  8. MammaLoves

    We had a little blogger get together here in Northern VA last night. I’m actually afraid to see the photos. Cause I’m way sexier in my head.

    PS–I’ve only received one of the promised three comments. Get crackin’!!

  9. Heather B.

    It was so great to finally meet you. The Grove and the Farmer’s Market are now two of my favorite LA spots. Hell, I should just move there.

  10. Ellen Bloom

    What?!? You were at my local Original Farmers Market and The Grove and did NOT invite me? What were you thinking?

    See you at Laurie’s book-signing. Beware, the place will be full of knitters with needles. Watch your back, etc.

  11. Atomic Bombshell

    Eventually you and I will have to meet, since we have no excuse not to, as we live nearby. No more of that “I just missed you by ten minutes” stuff.

  12. Neil

    I’m going to let you make your own interpretation to this, but Sophia and I were married on October 13th.

  13. psychomom

    Neil, please give Laurie a big wet kiss and a hug for me (you owe me).

    I’m so jealous to be missing out on all the LA Blogging fun!

    Nice hat.

  14. Neil

    Psychomom — OK, but I’m blaming you if I get slapped. I know Southerners are very formal.

  15. PocketCT

    Wow Neil you look dapper!

  16. TamiW

    Hey Neil,
    I tagged you for the “8 Random Things” meme on my blog.
    🙂 Tami

  17. Neil

    Tami — Uh-oh.

  18. cruisin-mom

    Neil, one of these days I’ll meet you for beignets (New orleans “donuts”) at Farmer’s Market

  19. Neil

    Cruisin — OK, no more playing games with you anymore. Therapy has taught me that. How long has it been? I want you to write a date and time right here in the comments so there’s no backing out.

  20. helen

    Neil, thanks for dropping by my blog. You’ve no idea how orgasmic it is I see you comment. You do know you have that effect on me, right? You don’t? Now you know. 😛

    I’m glad you had a swell time with other bloggers. As for me, I’ve always hesitant about meeting bloggers in real life. I don’t know if it’s because I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed or they will be disappointed at me. 😛

    Yeah, come out of the curtain more. Show us more pics. Love it. 🙂

  21. Neil

    Helen — no one ever gets disappointed. Only pleasantly surprised that the blogger actually walks and talks and looks less photoshopped as in his photos.

  22. Not Fainthearted

    Neil, Please give Laurie a ginormous hug and kiss from me too! I’m going to miss her stop at the Maul of America as that is the night Mr. Hockey is taking me to the Guthrie.

    Just so you know, I’m secretly hoping my corporate boss “makes” me facilitate training in L.A. so I can meet YOU.

    Oh. And nice hat.

  23. 180/360

    I hope that I get to meet the great Wizard of COTM one day!

    I don’t think I hide behind any blogging veil, and I can only hope that my character in person comes off better than on my blog.

    You should visit LVGurl and I sometime here in Vegas. We’ll show you a mighty fine time. 😉

  24. helen

    Yeap, exactly… less photoshopped. I’ve have to come clean about my airbrushed cleavage and taut abs. 😛

  25. V-Grrrl

    I bought SIX copies of Laurie’s book. Wouldn’t I love to have them autographed! Laurie, it’s time for an international tour. Come to Brussels! I’ll let you hold my cat.

  26. cruisin-mom

    Christ Neil…such pressure. Okay, fine…weekdays work for you? Morning, afternoon, evening?

  27. churlita

    Neil, I still think you should go on a blog tour and meet bloggers outside of LA too. Iowa isn’t THAT far away…

  28. Neil

    Cruisin’ — ha ha… my therapist was right. Being a little assertive does get things done. We’re gonna have a date and time by this weekend…

  29. steppingoverthejunk

    my exhusband took my 4 and 6 year old to Wicked. They have nightmares about the flying monkeys. And it confirms how retarded he is. Me, I want to see it though. Gosh, you know so many bloggers! I am meeting my first in a few weeks! Finally!

  30. Lisa

    Seriously you didn’t like the music from Wicked? (Let me point out that I liked Wicked before it got all cool, okay?)

    I’ve actually never met any bloggers in real life before… but it’d be really interesting.

  31. Paul

    I adore Wicked. The Musical is superb and the book is very different but equally fantastic .. if a tad see through in his political message.

  32. leahpeah

    dude, you know you look that sophisticated all the dang time.

  33. Stacey

    I love the hat.

  34. Di

    I think I write skinny … sigh.

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