the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Month: February 2008 (Page 2 of 2)

Outdone by My Mother

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The bad thing about having insecurities is that you always looking at the external world, comparing yourself to others.   Today I skipped all blog posts that were about romantic Valentine’s Days.  Was I happy for these lucky bloggers and their contentment with their significant others?  Of course I… oh, who am I fooling.  Bastards.

No matter whatever good happens, a truly negative person only sees that the next person is better off.  I told a friend from film school that I have been taking with this producer about some story idea.  He reminded me about our mega-successful friend who is directing a film with Nicolas Cage.  Jerk.

Thank God for mothers.  Whatever you do, they always put you first.   A mother always makes her son feel like a Prince.   Today I was talking to my mother about my interview post.  She is astounded that so many people have gotten involved. 

“And who’s interviewing YOU?”  she asked.

“Oh, I don’t know.  I’ll probably just put my name at the bottom of the list and let it be random like everyone else.”

“That’s nice.” she said, in her sweet voice.  “I’m being interviewed tomorrow, too.”

“Oh yeah?” I said, laughing.  “Who’s interviewing you?  The Flushing chapter of Hadassah?”

“No, tomorrow, a woman is coming to interview me at work.  From “The New Yorker” magazine.”

“The New Yorker?!”  You’re joking.”

“Why would I be joking.”

“No offense, Mom, but why would “The New Yorker” — one of the most prestigious magazines out there — want to interview you?”

“Well, maybe you need to re-read your “interview” post again where you say that “everybody” is a “somebody.”

The story: 

My mother has worked for one company her entire life, starting the job before she was even married.   It is the literary book publisher of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.  Although she isn’t an editor or someone with much decision making power, she has been working there since the days when the company had just a handful of employees, lead by the firm’s founder, Roger W. Straus.   Since then, the company has published twenty-one Nobel Prizes winners in literature. Knut Hamsun, Hermann Hesse, T. S. Eliot, Pär Lagerkvist, François Mauriac, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Salvatore Quasimodo, Nelly Sachs, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Pablo Neruda, Eugenio Montale, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Czeslaw Milosz, Elias Canetti, William Golding, Wole Soyinka, Joseph Brodsky, Camilo José Cela, Nadine Gordimer, Derek Walcott, and Seamus Heaney.

With most of the original staff having either passed away or retired, my MOTHER is now apparently the longest-active employee of the famous company.  She has seen the rise and fall of authors and agents, the birth of the mega book stores, the changes in book publishing, and the inevitable growth of the conglomerates eating up the independents.  And The New Yorker wants to ask her a few questions for some general interest article on the firm and book publishing!

Perfect.  I’m going to be interviewed by some dumb random blogger, while my MOTHER is going to be interviewed by The New Yorker!   (Mom, remember to tell her about the blog!  “Citizen of the Month”)

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:   A Merry Tale of Whale Watching

The Last Few Days

Valentine’s Day has always been tough for us.   The pressure of Valentine’s Day, with all the hullabaloo and candy-giving, makes us question our already unsteady relationship.  How can we ever live up to the romantic images on those Hallmark cards? 

Sophia and I got into a fight on the night before Valentine’s Day.   I went to find somewhere else to sleep.   I felt uncomfortable calling up a friend, so I drove to the nearest Holiday Inn to see if they had any availability.  All the rooms were booked except for the “Honeymoon Suite” with a Jacuzzi for $250 dollars.  See: Irony.  I was too tired to keep on driving, so I went back home and parked my car in the driveway, exactly where I started.  I went into the backseat, curled up, and decided to go to sleep, using my sweater as a pillow.  I had always heard of people sleeping in their car.  Hey, it was almost cool – like I was in a rock band!   I was woken up a few hours later by the metallic sounds of a torrential rain storm pounding on the roof of the car.  I felt like I was stuck in a car wash that had been taken over by HAL from 2001.  It was noisy, the rain and wind shaking the car.  I don’t know how I did it, but I fell asleep again.

In the morning, I woke up.  Have any of you ever opened your eyes in the morning and realized that you were sleeping in the back seat of your car?  If you have, you will understand how I felt.  I stumbled out of the car, my legs all stiff and asleep.  Standing a few feet away was my next door neighbor, a well-dressed attorney in her business suit, heading for her Lexus.  I stuck my head back into the car, moving my hands back and forth, making believe that she just caught me “cleaning out the back seat” of the car.

“Good Morning, Lindsay,” I said.

“Hello, Neil.” she said, sternly. 

I’m not sure I fooled her – at all.

I walked over to Starbucks, where I peed and washed my face, like a homeless man, feeling like Starbucks Inc. owed me for all those overpriced lattes.  A few hours later, I headed to Beverly Hills for a meeting with a Hollywood producer!   The meeting went well.  Maybe he mistook the “fire in my eyes” for my bloodshot look from sleeping in the car.

I’ve been in a hotel since then.  

Why am I telling you all this?  I probably shouldn’t be.  I have all these new, wonderful people coming here to read interviews, so it is a bit uncomfortable airing my dirty laundry, but as every blogger knows, a personal blog is about both the good and bad of life.  We’ve all been there, and I am inspired by the openness of many of you.

I love Sophia.   We have some problems.  Some of you have been reading about us for three years now.  We both attend therapy, but are finding it difficult to fix things.  Maybe living together while “separated” is not the answer.

Who’s at fault here?   Well,  you would hear very different stories depending on who told the tale, but basically we are both responsible for our own marriage. 

Today is Sophia’s birthday.   She’s probably upset.  I hope I get to see her later, but if I don’t, I hope she does something fun to celebrate her special day.  Please wish Sophia a happy birthday.  She’s a big part of this blog and I know many of you care about her.  

Happy birthday, Sophia.

My Wii Story

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Have you guys tried Wii yet? It is totally different than any other video game. It is so much, much more! Here is my Wii story and how I got involved with the nice people at Nintendo —

I was IM-ing with a great blogging friend of mine, bragging about the 400 comments I have on that”interview” post. I know it isn’t polite to “toot one’s own horn,” but I was really feeling like someone special.

“That’s great,” said my friend. “But you realize that a blogger like Ree from “Confessions of a Pioneer Women” gets 3000 comments on some of her posts!

“3000! My God. I’m so glad for her!” I said, lying.

My friend then told me that on the particular post where she received 3000 comments, she gave away a Wii to a lucky reader in a contest. Apparently Nintendo was creating relationships with several hip sites popular with women. I think it’s great when companies explore new ways to market their products.

“I need to get on this Wii thing for MY readers,” I said, knowing the demographic of my readership, and how they would respond positively to this unique opportunity.

Now, as you know, I have this problem with putting ads on my blog, but a contest is something very different. I am a people pleaser, and nothing would make me happier than getting one of YOU a free Wii. Of course, the 3000 comments wouldn’t be bad either. Talk about a sure-fire opening line at a bar.

I contacted the Nintendo company, and I was surprised that they knew EXACTLY who I was. Apparently, they have done their research on the movers and shakers in the blogosphere.

“You’re the interview guy,” said Marci, the Nintendo marketing executive on the phone. “We know you have a large female readership.”

“Yes I do. They love me.” I said, laughing at my own immodesty.

“We’d very much like for you to do a Wii contest on your blog. We can offer you a Wii for one of your lucky readers, as well as a free Wii for you to use and enjoy.”

“That’s great. I know Sophia has been anxious to try this Guitar Hero she’s been hearing about.”

“Perfect. I’ll email you the marketing copy for the post.”

“What marketing copy?”

“Well, you can write any Wii story you’d like, and do any contest you’d like, but we’d like you to use our new catchphrase, “Wii makes you feel more alive!””

“Wii makes you feel more alive!?”

“Exactly.”

“Uh, I know it probably isn’t my place to say this, but that’s sort of boring. Don’t you think?”

“Well, our marketing department thinks…”

“Marketing department?! Ha Ha. Listen, I know you’re in marketing yourself, and I respect that, but I consider myself a “writer.” I think I can come up with something better suited to my blog.”

“Like what, for instance?”

“Well, how about this — I think this is funny, but “realistic” — “Playing with your Wii is even better than playing with your wee-wee.”

“That’s ridiculous. I don’t even understand…”

“Well, I’m using wee-wee as a playful name for a “c*ck.””

“I know what a wee-wee is, but it doesn’t seem very appropriate for Nintendo to use that as a promotional…”

“I think it will appeal to a lot of men. What I’m trying to express is — “Why sit around jerking off to porn when you can be playing virtual tennis on your Wii?””

“Wow, uh, I really don’t know what to say, I’ve worked in marketing for many years, and, to be frank, talking about masturbation isn’t… and…even if it was… we’re trying to appeal mostly to your female readers.”

“My FEMALE readers?! Hell, they masturbate more than the men! They’re masturbating ALL THE TIME. I think that’s why half of them READ my blog!   You should read THEIR blogs:  every other post is about some new vibrator!  I can only imagine what they’re doing when they come to Citizen of the Month!”

“Well, even so, your campaign wouldn’t make sense since… uh, women don’t have a wee-wee.”

“That’s true. But, wait… I have another idea. This will appeal more to the women. We get a photo of a French woman, and she lying on her bed with her hand between her legs, fantasizing, and she’s going, “Oui…Oui…, and THEN we use the catchphrase, “Playing with your Wii is even better than… Oui… Oui…””

Click.

“Hello? Hello? Marci? Are you there?”

Can you believe it? She hung up on me! What the hell is wrong with Nintendo? You give them some good ideas, and they are too “corporate” to think outside of the box. Well, screw them. Who needs a dumb Wii anyway!

Announcing, Neilochka’s contest to win a 2-1 coupon to the Olive Garden. The 3000th commenter wins!

(for gullible newcomers — truth quotient: .05%)

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Money

Send a Kiss

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With Valentine’s Day coming up, I’d like to talk about kissing.  One of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned about life is this — women like kissing.   I’m not a natural kisser.  I’m have a feeling that most men are not born kissers.  In my younger days, the kissing was just an excuse to set the clock into motion before my hands came out to feel the woman up.   Who wants to be stuck at “first base!”  If you told your friends that you kissed a girl, you got a big yawn in return.  But if you touched her BOOBIES — then you were a hero!    Even now, at night, deep in sleep, when my mind is at the most open and aware, I rarely have a vivid dream about me KISSING a woman, if you get what I mean.  Well, kissing may be involved, but it isn’t the main goal of the exercise, if you get what I mean.

Even after many years of marriage, I’m not the greatest kisser.   Ask Sophia.   This is very difficult for me to admit to the general public, but I think it is important to make other men feel comfortable with themselves and their less than stellar kissing abilities.   If I can admit it, so can you, Mr. Blogging Guy.  Together we can learn to study and improve, and make our women happier.  My biggest problem is that I’ve never perfected the whole kissing and breathing at the same time.  After a bit, I need air.  Maybe if I fix my deviated septum, then I can breathe better through my nose.  It’s sad, really.  I’ve tried to make up for my less-than stellar kissing in many ways, but it always comes back to the kissing.  Is there a class at UCLA?  I have a feeling that my admitting the truth about my kissing may lose me some important female readership, but I think it is important to keep this blog honest. 

Blogging has only made the situation worse.  I’ve IMed with many women, and have heard countless stories of how important a first kiss can be in making your decision to date someone.  Some of you even REJECT a perfectly good man because of a mediocre peck on the cheek.  You can apparently tell tons of information from the locking of lips:  how good he will be in bed, his earning potential, his social security number, and even what your children will look like.

I have one single blogging friend who likes to tell me the intimate details of her dating life.  She IMed me this morning, telling me about this amazing date she went on last night. 

“I had two orgasms.” she said.

‘Wow.  Did you stay over at his place?”

“No, this was outside the movie theater.”

“You had sex outside the movie theater?!”

“No, silly.  We were kissing.”

“You had TWO orgasms by kissing him?!”

“He’s a really good KISSER!”

Jeez.  Even my Penis was depressed hearing this news.  He likes to believe that he is always the main attraction.

I do remember that, as a teenager, I practiced kissing by making out with my arm, sticking my tongue into the pores and slobbering all over the elbows, until my ARM got fed up and threw me off, saying she’d had enough of my wimpy kisses.

Lucky, the digital age offers a new way to kiss a woman — and a place to live and learn.  It is called Facebook.  Over the past few days, I’ve been getting all sorts of messages that women want me to “Kiss Them.”  And who I am to say no?  So, this morning,  I downloaded this “Send a Kiss” application, all ready to give some hot babes a few orgasms through my virtual kisses.

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A few hours later, my bad kissing karma remains — even online.  How the f**k do you use this application?  Am I too old, or stupid?  Am I supposed to be sending a kiss or asking for a kiss?  Do I HAVE to send kisses to “twenty of my friends?”   What is the difference between kissme, most kissed, kisslog, kiss fortune cookie, and kiss crushes?  When did kissing become so complicated?

Maybe I need to first practice on my virtual arm.

Happy Chinese New Year

From “Learn Chinese” —

Lǐ nǚshì nín hǎo. Rènshi nǐ hěn gāo xìng.
Hello, Madam Li. Very pleased to meet you.

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in rat years tend to be leaders, pioneers, and conquerors. They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking.

Happy New Year to all the charming, passionate, charismatic, practical, and hardworking Chinese and Chinese-American babes who read this blog! Oh yeah, and the Chinese guys, too.

She Knows All

Besides my new part time jobs of running an interview empire and amusing my therapist with my blog posts, I’ve been working with a writing partner on some screenplay ideas to pitch to a producer.    Last night, my writing partner was over at my house, and we were getting hungry. It was around seven o’clock and Sophia said she was going to be at the gym until nine o’clock. 

“Let’s not wait for her.  Let’s go eat.” 

I took him to one of the many fast food Japanese places nearby.

Half into our meal, the woman from behind the counter came over to our table.

“Are you Neil?” she asked.

“Yes.” I said, confused.

“Your wife is on the phone.”

I went to the front counter where the owner gave me the phone.

“Sophia?”  I asked.

“You forgot your phone at home.”

“What?… how did you know I was here?”

“I just figured that this is where you would take him.  I called up and asked to speak to the tall customer with messy hair and glasses.”

“What’s the matter?”

“Nothing.  I’m just leaving early and wanted you to order me some sushi.  I’ll be there in a few minutes”

“You called for that?!  I still don’t get it.  There are hundreds of restaurants I could have gone to.  How did you know I was here?”

Twenty minutes later, Sophia was sitting with us and telling us a story about the time she lived in Israel.   She needed to ask her boyfriend a question.  Unfortunately, he was in the Israeli Army at the time, at some top-secret camp in the desert.  Sophia made a few calls and inquiries.  A few hours later a member of the Israeli Army ran to Sophia’s boyfriend, who was in the middle of doing military exercises.    The soldier was carrying a cranked-up military telephone in the middle of the desert. 

“It’s your girlfriend,” he said.

Attention, U.S. Government — I think we need to put Sophia on the job of finding Bin Laden.

I Wish I Was a Sexologist

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Actual email I received yesterday from a legitmate television producer:

Neil,

Are you a certified sexologist? I’m doing a show where I need an expert, and you appear to be perfect.

P

Huh?  The only explanation was that he read this NSFW post that I wrote almost two years ago, when I was still perfecting the craft of blogging.

My email back to the producer:

P —

I’m not “certified” under California or New York law, or anywhere else to be honest, but I enjoy sex, and give unwanted advice all the time on my blog, so in that way, I’m perfect.  My wife wouldn’t say I’m an “expert” either, although I try my best!

thanks,

Neil Kramer

Unfortunately, he wrote back and said that he could only use an expert with a certified sexologist degree.  Snob!  Like having a sexology degree means anything.   Then again, if I had known that I could have had a television career being a sexologist, I wouldn’t have wasted all that time on my useless English degree!  And unlike the girls in my Columbia “Chaucer and Medieval Lit” seminar, I bet you the babes in Oral Sex 101 actually do put out!

Say Hello to Brenda, My Therapist

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Hi, Brenda.   If it is Tuesday afternoon, this means that we are just sitting down at your computer and looking at my blog together for the first time.   This was the idea, right?  That you, as my therapist, might better understand me by exploring the world of my writing online. 

(Say hello to Brenda)

Subjects to discuss:  the ups and downs of my relationship with Sophia, being passive/being assertive, being co-dependent, my insecurity and fear of success, and my neurotic need to be people-pleasing.

I have plenty of posts on all of these subjects.

And if you start reading my archives, I want to apologize for the one post a few months ago where I said that an hour therapy session being only fifty minutes was a major rip-off.   I understand that you use those extra ten minutes to write notes (or catch the end of Oprah). 

That was a joke.   I wasn’t being passive-aggressive.   Really.   You’re great.  

Will We Reach 300 Interviews?

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I hate to make this blog ALL Interviews ALL the time, especially when I just put up such a fabulous post of passive-aggressive spam poetry, but I have been getting quite a few questions via email about the Great Interview Experiment.  I was going to just email everyone involved, but I figured just writing a post was easier.  So, let me make just one last public announcement.  Don’t think of this as a real post, but as a informational one.   (hey, it’s like my first ad!)   I’d like to keep the blog focused on the usual nonsense.   Sophia, my Talking Penis, my mother, my therapist, and the other usual blog characters are getting jealous.

That said, I hope you’re getting to read some of the interviews.   If I forget to add you to the “completed” list, just tell me.  I have a feeling that the one person getting the most out of this is … ME.  I love being introduced to new people and learning more about old friends.   I even emailed a few of you telling her how much closer I felt to you after learning more about your life.  I’ve been “blogging” with some of you for the longest time, and was always too shy to ask you about basic biographical stuff!   Now, I have someone else doing the dirty work.

If you forget who you are supposed to interview, I keep on updating the list.  I know a few of you have to drop out because of time constraints (or giving birth!).  Please email me (at neilochka at yahoo) or just contact the other two people in your interview “chain.”   If you are stuck without an interviewer or interviewee, or if they haven’t gotten back to you within a week, email me and I’ll give you new partners.  If there are some of you who would like to INTERVIEW someone, but not be interviewed yourself, please email me or comment, because we will probably need a few pitch-hitters.  Remember, I can just keep the interview process going, so you can always join up at some future time.

I hope everyone is having fun, and feeling like you are part of a community (even if it is a community of self-obsessed ego-maniacal nudniks who love themselves too much)

To join the Great Interview Experiment, sign up in the comments of the original post, not here.  Thanks.

Hello, Look This Site, and F*ck Yourself

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Spam (my added * — because my mother requested)

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Three Cute Birds

Hello, Look This Site, and F*ck Yourself
by Neil Kramer aka Neilochka

Hello, Look This Site, and F*ck Yourself
Were three little birds perched upon my shelf
And depending on my mood that day
I’d point at one and have her say
Hello,” if I was full of glee
And sipping my mornin’ cup of tea
Look this site!” when insecure
And hidden behind my double door
But little birdie number three
I kept behind a lock and key
I’d only use on special days
To special people who deserve the praise
Hello, Look This Site, and F*ck Yourself
Were three little birds perched upon my shelf.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthTraditionalists (I completely forgot about this handwriting “meme” from last year!)

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