the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Mark Your Calendars


My father was super-organized — actually very anal. I wasn’t crazy about this part of his personality. I found it rigid. When September would arrive, he would arrange his “Fall-Winter Season” to a T, knowing exactly what he was doing every weekend until April hit, when he would start his new season. He subscribed to several theaters, so he knew he had show tickets ahead of time. If we went on a trip, he bought the tickets months ago.

I rebelled and became an unorganized mess. Now that I’m older, I can finally see some good in his organizational skills. By planning early, he avoided much of the hair-pulling later on. What he sacrificed in spontaneity, he gained in actually getting things done.

The upcoming Holiday season is an important one here on Citizen of the Month. There are some traditions that have become as important to me as making out with non-Jewish girls under the Christmas mistletoe. The holidays take planning, so I would like to conjure up the spirit of my father for help.

Neilochka’s Father (from heaven) : What do you need, Neil?

Neilochka: Hi, Dad. What’s up?

Neilochka’s Father: Not much. Working.

Neilochka: You’re working in heaven?

Neilochka’s Father: Someone has to organize God’s calendar. You’d think for God he would have a better planning system. No wonder why the world is so screwed up.

Neilochka: Good luck with that.

Neilochka’s Father: I hear you want to arrange your “Fall-Winter Blogging Season?”

Neilochka: Right.

Neilochka’s Father: Well, these events require your reader’s participation, so you should get their feedback first, just to make sure that you have enough people on board.

Neilochka: Good idea. I have no problem dropping a holiday tradition here on Citizen of the Month or starting another one.

Neilochka’s Father: Could you hold on a minute, please!

Neilochka: Sure.

Neilochka’s Father: No, not you, Neil. God. He is the most impatient God I’ve ever met.

This is what we came up with:

Tentative Fall-Winter Blogging Season on Citizen of the Month

(feel free to participate or not — or tell me if the idea sucks or if Facebook now does it better)

November 21, 2007The THIRD Annual “Thank Your First Commenter Day”

What is Thanksgiving? Turkey, stuffing, family, and saying thank you — to your FIRST commenter on your blog. This year, I’m going to be saying thank you to my third commenter.

Read more about Thank Your First Commenter Day here and here. Does it still sound good to you?

December 4th, 2007The FIRST Annual Blogger Arts and Crafts Show

I just had this idea today. I know a lot of you sell your artwork, photography, and crafts online at Etsy or Cafepress. What about an art show where you can each submit a sample of your work to me — and then we all can see how talented you are? I thought the first week of December would be a good time, because maybe someone will follow the link and buy a Holiday gift from your store. I require no commission for having this hip art show. Your only payment for entering the show is that you email with a note saying that the photo of me in that hat from yesterday’s post is “truly HOT.” Oh, and wear black. Virtual cheese and wine will be served.

December 20, 2007The SECOND Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Holiday Concert

This was a major success last year. You can still hear some of the beautiful performances from last year online. Can we get new bloggers to perform this year? Will there be more videos this year? Can we top ourselves? Will we get a song for Kwanzaa this year?

Read more about the Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Holiday Concert here and here.

February 14, 2008The SECOND Annual Valentine’s Day Emergency Hotline

This was a big disappointment, a sophomore slump, despite the good intentions. Some of us spent all day online, waiting to help the lovelorn, but few felt comfortable enough getting Valentine’s love from a stranger. I probably should drop this one from the schedule, but you know what — I’m a ROMANTIC — and this concept will be reworked and retooled by February. I believe everybody online should get a little lovin’ on Valentine’s Day even if you are unattached (and none of that bullshit about “I love myself.”)

Read more about The Valentine’s Day Emergency Hotline here.

March 7, 2008The SECOND Annual Blog Appreciation Day

I totally blew this one off this year. It was supposed to be back in August, but I just wasn’t in the mood. Instead, this will be the capper of the Fall/Winter season I don’t need anyone to participate in this event other than me, as I will take photos of your blogs on my computer from home — in appreciation, and to prove to you that I actually read your blog… well, at least that once. I chose my birthday for symbolic reasons — this year, I will celebrate you!

Read more about Blog Appreciation Day here and here.

Any suggestions on any of this? Should I drop something from the calendar? Should I actually start writing real posts again?

Oh, and yes, I am still commenting like I promised a few days ago. I will get there.

And, Sophia, I promise, this is the last blogging post of the week.


  1. sizzle

    oooh i so love to mark my calendar!

    i think maybe this year i will send in a performance…

    and maybe we will need to have Blog Crush Day #2 this year. will get back to you on that!

  2. wendy

    good luck with that.

  3. 180/360

    I like some of those ideas! But it is definitely an ambitious calendar… 😉

  4. teahouseblossom

    Hey, Neil..definitely sign me up for the Valentine’s Day event this year. I’ll try to be better than last year, when somehow my internet crapped out for most of that day and I couldn’t get on during my appointed time. I still feel guilty and terrible. It’s the Asian guilt coupled with the Catholic guilt. It’s a great idea, and you should definitely continue it. I’ll try not to let you down this year!

  5. Bre

    I do so appreciate planning ahead! 🙂

  6. plain jane

    Of course your calendar is a girlie calendar.

  7. gorillabuns

    i need reminders. will you please send me reminders?

  8. better safe than sorry

    i’m a multi tasker and thrive on being organized, otherwise i feel overwhelmed.
    i think they all sound wonderful, participation blogs are an ideal way to get to know more about your readers and yourself included.
    even though i’ve got my love with my husband and kids, i still dropped by the valentine blog, cuz who can’t use a compliment to make them feel good about themselves!

  9. Pearl

    Are you going to send reminders or I am going to have transcribe some of that?

  10. Too Much Hand

    I’m a celebrator of Kwanhanamas, but will consider changing my annual holiday for you Neil.

  11. Not Fainthearted

    Sounds great to me. You’re doing one of the things you do best around here (getting us all involved.) I LOVE the art crawl idea….maybe I’m just in the art crawl mood but I think that one is going to be fun.

    And I’ve been planning my Christmahanukwanzaakah song since last year!!!

  12. fringes

    Last year on Valentine’s Day when other bloggers were holding their love fests, I hosted a share how you lost your virginity day. It was billed as anti-valentine for those who felt crapped on by the lovebug. So maybe you can have two IM sessions offered: one for those who’d like someone to talk with about love that day and one for those who need to drown in their own tears.

    Also, at my son’s school, Valentine’s Day is now Friendship Day. Another good suggestion…

  13. Neil

    Fringes — But then we’re going to be leaving out those who are still virgins! There’s always someone left out. I mean, not my usual readers, who seem to have to have had sex in planes and ferris wheels, but someone more innocent.

  14. fringes

    There is always someone left out, yes. Let the virgins sing in the Christmahanukwanzaakah festival.

  15. V-Grrrl

    I’d drop the Thank Your First Commenter Day, mostly because, I have no idea who my first commenter was and I’m over it.

    Instead of confessing how you lost your virginity, why not have people write posts about their first crushes or the one that got away? Everyone has those stories.

    And I liked when you played matchmaker. Very Jewish. And I hooked up with Wendy, my soul sistah in Colorado. At least I think that’s how Wendy and I met…

    Hey, maybe instead of thank your first commenter, we could do, thank Neil for the hookups we made in your comments section. I’ve made some great pals here at COM.

    Yada, yada, yada.

  16. Neil

    V-Grrl — I forgot about the Matchmaker. That was my favorite too. Maybe I should drop “Thank Your First Commenter” and Valentine’s Day, since they seem to be the least interesting, and bring back the yenta the matchmaker.

    You see, this is why you need to make plans early.

  17. lizardek

    I’m planning on participating in the Christhanukwanzaamaskah festival, just as soon as I learn how to spell it.

  18. helen

    Good luck. 🙂

    I always tell myself don’t schedule anything. Not until I have a PDA. Since I still cannot afford a good decent PDA, I can still live in chaotic bliss. 🙂

  19. tiff

    So, the host doesn’t WANT the old bloggers back in the chorus line? IS this what I’m reading?

    So sad now, for I was planning on yanking the ol’ heartstrings with some horrific maudlin holiday tune, perfect for getting drunk to while staring at the forlorn empty stocking hung by the chimney.

    Oh my yes. But now, no. Sigh.

  20. Caron

    The virtual art crawl idea is way cool. I’m in. You might just inspire me to my tinsel tree up this year. Maybe.

  21. Neil

    Tiff — Of course not. I expect the experienced entertainers to perform and show the ropes to the newbies.

  22. tiff

    Hooray!! This is excellent news!

  23. Di

    Wow, your dad slipped into your body and is working through you. This is stunning!

    I’m not sure that I’m rebelling so much as … I had a fever convulsion when I was a baby and think that maybe I blew a few important circuits. I think chaos will remain my middle name … first and last too actually.

    I’d like to come by and play though. Here’s to me noting down your calendar

  24. communicatrix

    When do I have to break up with The BF in order to qualify for the V-day Hotline?

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