the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Month: June 2008 (Page 2 of 3)

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade

I met Sarah from Sad and Beautiful World in Coney Island today for the Mermaid Parade.  We walked around in the extreme heat and took photos… and ate hot dogs.  I was a total dweeb because I wore a preppy, button-down shirt… to the beach.  I think I am turning into my father, who used to wear a suit and tie to a baseball game.   This time, I blame YOU.  You’re the ones who told me I should dress better in New York than Los Angeles.  I’m lucky I haven’t bought a Nehru jacket.  I would have fainted from a heat stroke.

But, for some reason, the girls at the beach, many who were wearing the shells for bikini tops lke Ariel from the Little Mermaid, seemed to dig the button-down shirt look I was wearing!  Perhaps it was better than the tight Speedos that some of the other men were wearing.   Brooklyn men are NOT shy.

Hi, Sarah!

A Movie, Popcorn, and a Bed

I was complaining to someone on Twitter a few days ago that I might use my time on my own as a “bachelor” to do a few of the things that I missed in my youth.  I have a long list of missed opportunities, many of which — had I accomplished them – would have given me more confidence and helped me gain the important social skills that create success.

My life might be different if I followed a different path.  I was a late bloomer.  I have a friend who was married with child by the time I had an opportunity (and the nerve) to touch some serious boobie.  I didn’t go to my prom.  I wasn’t in a fraternity.  I’ve never been to a toga party.  I’ve never drank so much warm beer from a keg that I passed out on the floor (what fun!)  I’ve never had sex with a complete stranger.  I’ve never kissed a girl at lookout point.  I’ve never streaked through campus.  I’ve never been to a drive-in. 

And I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to a drive-in movie!

Luckily, Marilyn told me about a way where I can do ALL of these AT ONCE.  So, forget flying to San Francisco for BlogHer.  Next month, I am flying to Monte Vista, Colorado to stay several nights at the Best Western Kelloff’s Movie Manor Motor Inn on U.S. Highway 160.

KELLOFF’S BEST WESTERN MOVIE MANOR IS THE WORLD’S ONLY MOVIE MOTEL! Our Inn offers a unique concept in accommodations. Your room faces a giant outdoor movie screen and sound is piped into your room.

This summer if you want to see a movie on a big screen, but don’t want to get out of bed, then plan a stay at the Best Western Movie Manor Motor Inn. The Movie Manor provides rooms with speakers and a large picture window that faces a drive-in theatre screen. If you want snacks, mosey on over to our snack bar for popcorn, pop, candy and all sorts of goodies.

Can you imagine how innovative this is?  It is a motel built around a DRIVE-IN!  You can have a toga party IN YOUR ROOM (sheets included with motel stay), get food and a few KEGS for the wild party from the snack bar, and then kick everyone out of the room before movie time — except for the hottest babe, hopefully a complete stranger!  Then, it is just two of you, snuggling in bed, still in your togas, getting all passionate as you watch some bad movie playing outside your window at the drive-in. 

And you don’t even have to drive her to a motel afterwards!  You’re already there!

Then my life will be complete, and I can stop going to therapy.

The Comments Section

a review of this blog from Secret Lake Diaries:

Citizen of the Month – a blog by Neil, a writer in LA, who is recovering from a breakup with his lady love.  His humorous blog is about his life and thoughts.  The really interesting thing to me in this blog is the comments section.  There is a strong, and seemingly close knit, community of readers that have a dynamic discussion in the comments section of each post. That, my friends, is where the true magic of this blog lies.  I am so envious! They are having a ball.

Awww… how nice. 




Well, screw you all. 

Conversation at BlogHer 08:

Mommyblogger1:  “Don’t you just love Dooce?”

Mommyblogger2:  “She is such an amazing writer!  She should a thousand book deals.”

Mommyblogger1:  “I just wish I had a quarter of the talent of “The Pioneer Woman.”  And those amazing contests.  Did you see that she recently offered some ipod-thingy as a prize and got 10,000 comments?”

Mommyblogger2:  “She deserves it.  Every one of them.  Her writing and photography are superb.”

Mommyblogger1:  “Have you ever read “Citizen of the Month?””

Mommyblogger2:  “You mean the “Talking Penis” guy?  He seems very immature and he frequently says “there” instead of “their.”  It is lazy writing.   Been like this ever since Sophia stopped editing his posts  I think “she” was the brains behind the whole operation.”

Mommyblogger1:  “Forget his uneven posts.  And I heard his penis isn’t all it is cracked up to be.  Just a little gossip from someone who had an “video-cam” conversation with him.  Besides, no one goes to his blog to READ the posts.  Ha ha, that would be silly.  He’s just writes the same things over and over again.  Jews, Sophia, his mother, and tits.  If you see him anywhere here at BlogHer, I say run the other way. ”

Mommyblogger2:  “So why do people go to his blog?”


The July 4th BBQ

Yes, diversity.  We all love it.  But mostly when your “group” is in the majority and the “others” agree to do everything your way.  But once the Latinos want to speak Spanish, the Jews grumble about nativity scenes on public property, or men demand to speak at BlogHer, you know there’s going to be trouble.

Growing up, my Queens apartment building was mostly filled with Jews who moved from Brooklyn and the Bronx to the “greener” pastures of Queens.  Queens is connected to Long Island, so it was sort of moving to the suburbs, but still close enough to take the subway to work.  Most of these families were working class.  The Jewish children went to Hebrew school, although most of the parents weren’t religious.  I used to return from Hebrew school at night, scolding my parents for not doing the right Jewish rituals, such as lighting the Friday night shabbos candles.  My mother always had the same excuse –“I forgot.”

Today, the building has a wider assortment of residents.  While there is still a large percentage of Jews, these are different than types than before – Russians, Israelis, and the Orthodox.  I’m surprised by how many Russians are living here now.  Just when I’m trying to get Sophia out of my mind, all I hear is Russian in the elevator every day. 

There are also many black, Chinese, Indian, and Pakistani families.

Although the apartment building is a Mitchell-Lama middle class housing, sort of a fancy “project” — it is a co-op where tenant own their apartments, even though when the tenants leave, they don’t make any real profit from it.  The co-op is run by elected Board of Directors.  My father was on the Board of Directors for many years, and used to tell us stories of the infighting among the elected “officials.”  It was my first introduction to politics.  Every single issue about the apartment building resulted in an enormous fight between the tenants, matters such as where to put the garbage can  to the amount of the Christmas bonuses given to the “porters.”  When one board of director would get angry at another one, he would inevitably start a hate campaign, travelling to each floor of the co-op and slipping an “anonymous” letter under each door, accusing this person of some evil deed.  And there was some crookedness going on.  Many of the board members were tradesmen or salesmen.  One of them happened to sell washing machines.  Guess who became the supplier of the apartment buildings washing machines in the laundry room?

My father always complained about the Board of Directors, but every year he would run again for office.  I was his campaign manager.  I would type a letter up for him (even as a twelve year old I was quoting “Profiles of Courage”), Xerox hundreds, and then slide the propaganda under each door.  Even though he said he hated the Board, he obviously loved it.  Finally, after twenty years on the Board — when I was in college, — he was kicked out of office.  They wanted some fresh blood.  I remember him being very hurt.

Now, these were the days when the majority of the tenants were all Jewish.  One group — a lot of infighting.  Imagine what it is like now, when there are twenty different ethnic groups.

About a month ago, the Board of Directors had an idea to bring the building together:  have a July 4th BBQ in the back of the building, near “the benches.”  It sounded like a good idea.  However, one of the Board Members reminded everyone that many of the Orthodox religious families were kosher, so the Board decided to only buy kosher meat.  Soon, the board received a letter signed by several of the families that were “Glatt Kosher.”  This is a more super-stringent kosher that is followed by those who are even MORE orthodox than the Orthodox.  Even I had to look up exactly what made something “glatt kosher” —

For meat to be kosher, it must come from a kosher animal and be slaughtered in a kosher way. For meat to be glatt kosher, in addition to the two above conditions, the meat must also come from an animal with adhesion-free or smooth lungs.

The word glatt means smooth in Yiddish. In Jewish Law, the term glatt is used to refer to the lungs of animals. After the animal is slaughtered, the animal is opened and examined to determine whether the lungs are smooth. If defects on the lungs are found, the meat is considered treif (torn, mortally injured, non-kosher). If the lungs are found to be defect-free or smooth, the meat is considered to be glatt kosher.

While the term glatt technically means the lungs of the kosher and kosher-slaughtered animal were smooth, the term is often used colloquially to imply a higher standard of kashrut, similar to the term mehadrin.

Furthermore, even though only meat can be technically glatt kosher, the term is often loosely used today to refer to non-meat items. Many suppliers of glatt kosher items will refer to all their products at glatt kosher. So one may find fish with the same glatt kosher sticker as used on meat being sold one aisle over. In addition, many suppliers of glatt kosher meat will refer to their whole service as glatt kosher. So there are glatt kosher caterers, restaurants and stores.

Got it?

Surprisingly, the Glatt Kosher tenants mostly pissed off the non-religious Jewish tenants, because to make sure it was glatt kosher the building would have to buy the food from a glatt kosher deli and the price would be twice as much — all for a few families. 

The story doesn’t end there.  As I mentioned, this apartment building is now more diverse than in the past.  The Jewish tenants don’t run the show anymore. All of a sudden, the Indian and Muslim tenants were bringing up their OWN dietary issues.  Shouldn’t the food also be halal?  Will beef be served? 

The Board of Directors arranged for a special meeting to discuss this issue.  They convened in their war room.

To cap it off, after the recent death of a tenant, her son from Vermont took over the apartment.   He seems like a nice guy — he has a long beard and is into yoga and meditation.  He follows this local guru named Sri Chinoy, who believes in health through running races (!), and he went to the Board of Directors and insisted on a vegetarian BBQ.

The BBQ has been canceled.

Important update:   Just heard from someone in the elevator that there is a last-moment attempt to revive the BBQ by changing the food plan to sandwiches that are made at a glatt kosher and halal SUBWAY.

The Internet Smog Check Station is Now Open

I’ve seen other bloggers coming up with gimmicks to get you offline, such as “Don’t Blog Day” and other nonsense.  The point of these special days is to make you go outside and smell the fresh air, maybe even do something “green,” like get you to water a tree.

This post is not about the environment.  Let someone else write about that.  Go outside and spray pesticides if you want.  I’m not concerned about the health of our planet right now as much as I am about the mental health of those on the blogosphere. 

Including myself. 

I first wrote about this “Internet Smog Check” a month ago.  I had just brought in my car for the yearly test, as is required in California.  I wondered if I should also test myself once a year — making sure that the internet wasn’t turning me into a crazy person?  I wanted to prove to myself that all this virtual “smog” from this online world wasn’t affecting my brain, and my soul.   Sure, I had fallen in love with 28 different women in a six month’s period, and had taken photos of myself bare-chested, parading around in the bathroom, desperately crying for attention.  But, it could have been worse.  I have never ONCE sent anyone a photo of my private parts.  I didn’t embarrass my family… too much.  I’d engaged in pleasant, but nonsensical, conversations with people of all races and religions without ever resorting to ethnic slurs like “Whitey,” “China Doll” or “Yarmulke Head.” 

Clearly, I am normal.

But shouldn’t I test myself at least once a year to make sure I don’t have a small addiction to the internet?  I thought about this for a day or two, and then dropped the idea completely.

On Sunday, I was in Manhattan, walking around aimlessly, window-shopping.  I had an appointment with some friends later that afternoon.  At a certain point, I stopped in at some ritzy coffee bar on Lexington Avenue.  As I was drinking my coffee, I watched as some Hunter College student was reading her Gmail on her Macbook.  I could feel the energy and jealousy build up in my body.

“I want to check my email!” I screamed to myself.

My mind drifted to a state of worry and yearning. 

“I wonder if anyone wrote me an email today?  I wonder how many people wrote comments on my blog?  I wonder if one of the comments is stuck in the spam block and the blogger is going to be pissed at me, thinking I erased it?”

Sadly, I am too cheap right now to own a blackberry.  I use my phone… as a phone.  So I had no access to the internet like some of you junkies who walk around checking your email every five seconds.

After my cup of coffee, I kept on walking, still thinking about the virtual life that was going on in my parallel universe — this online world that was suddenly more real and exciting to me than walking around Manhattan.  Sure the girls looked very pretty as they left the Guggenheim Museum, but not ONE of them took off her bra and threw it at me!  Don’t these girls know who I am?!  Don’t they read any blogs?!  Women online are so much more… uh, EASY…

I hoped that I would stumble upon an “Internet Cafe.”  Did they still exist?   Here I was in the middle of NYC — a city with thousands of things to do — and my mind was pondering what Schmutzie wrote on her blog today.  That’s right — some blogger from Saskatchewan!  F**king Saskatchewan.  That place would not even make a dot on that “New York” map/view of the world.  If I had asked a passing New Yorker to tell me about Saskatchewan, one would answer —

“Isn’t that the bridge that goes to Jersey?”

My mind drifted further —

“I wonder if Finn is on Facebook chat.  I wonder what Mr. Lady is bitching about on Twitter.” 

I walked past a Kinko’s/Fed Ex/whatever it is called now.  Bingo!  They had a “business center” where you can pay six dollars every ten seconds to go online on one of their germ-covered PCs.

So, I did.   The Kinko’s PC quickly grabbed my VISA card.   I then promptly spent the financial equivalent of a decent lunch on the Upper East Side to spend ten minutes on the Citizen of the Month administration page and delete three spams about “sex nostradamus sexy video.”

It was then that I accepted my internet addiction. 

I asked my, “Could I go offline for 24 hours without jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge?” 

I answered, “I’m not sure!”

I tried a test run on Twitter yesterday, and let me tell you — it was hard.  I rushed back online as soon as I could, and blabbed to everyone how superior I was to their addicted, flabby asses.  That was, until some hotshot noticed from my profile that I had only left Twitter for 23 hours!  Jerk.

The uber-talented Secret Agent Josephine made these badges.  Normally, bloggers want the masses to use their “badges” because of the link love.  I am a bit of an idiot who forgets about these rules, because I am going to make it SO difficult for ANY OF YOU to get one of these badges.  In fact, I bet only 1% of those reading this right now will ever be allowed to have one.

In order to get one of these beautiful badges, you must stay OFFLINE for a full day — from when you wake up in the morning to the next morning 24 hours later.  No email.  No blogging.  No Google.  If you need the internet for work, tough.  If you go online to check your bank statement, you screwed up.  It is that hard.  No pussies allowed.

If you don’t want to put up the badge, no problem. 

How do you get a badge?  You email me, telling me exactly what you did all day, proving to me that you did not go online ONCE during that 24 hour period. 

Only then can you announce to the rest of the blogosphere that you are not a addict who needs help.

And believe me, most of you NEED help.

Now, excuse me while I catch up with your blogs on my feed reader.  You are my crack.

Update:  Read this:  Would you quit interacting on the internet for ten million dollars?

Childhood Clues to My Adult Personality

I was dependent on women from an early age.

This print has been hanging over our TV for decades.  I used to stare at this women for hours.  Since it was painted by Marc Chagall, I assume that this woman is supposed to be a Russian Jewish woman with dark hair and big, round breasts, probably very similar to that of… holy s**t!

WTF am I doing in this photo?

When Sophia first saw me trying to use a coupon at Olive Garden, she asked me, “Is your whole family so frugal?”  I told her that our couch was wrapped in plastic for decades (see the couch in the first photo), so today it is still in perfect condition.  The lamp is the original, too.   Does Architectural Digest ever make it to Queens?

Saturday Night’s Alright for Writing

My mother flew to Seattle this morning, en route to her Alaskan cruise.  Today, I had the house to myself.  I slept and went on Facebook. 

Luckily, I left a message on Facebook telling anyone to scold me if they saw me online, and luckily Miguelina told me to get my ass off Facebook.  She must be one good mother, because I listened.  Thanks, Miguelina.  I don’t want to use the internet as a crutch for real life.  I do have friends in town and was going “to the city” tonight, but it started to rain and thunder like crazy, so I stayed home.  I ran to the window to watch, like a cat jumping on the window ledge, because the weather is so rarely dramatic in Los Angeles. 

The Queens neighborhood where my mother lives is a hodgepodge of every ethnic group imaginable.  My apartment building has a large Jewish population.  Our terrace looks out over a mosque, where some religious imman broadcasts his prayers.  Guys speaking in Arabic ignore the guys speaking in Hebrew who ignore the guys speaking Chinese.  When I mentioned this melting pot on Twitter, I naturally got the obvious response from the NPR crowd, “Oh, what lovely diversity!”  It made me chuckle.  I mean it is is cool, but hey — WHY aren’t you moving to this neighborhood?!”  The place is overly chaotic, and small ethnic cafes are not the types of places you sit for two hours with your laptop and write your screenplay.  This isn’t Starbucks country.  I already showed you last time I was home how half of the stores on the street have been shut down by some greedy developer. 

On the other hand, being in this neighborhood is great for story-telling.  I do not have to go anywhere to find amusing stories to tell.  I just have to go into the elevator.  Now I know why New Yorkers seem funnier than Angelenos.  The suburban atmosphere of Los Angeles allows you to get the hell away from other annoying people.  In a dense urban area, you are stuck, especially if you live in an apartment building.  You can’t hide in the car all the time.  At some point, you have to get into the elevator with another person.

I rarely run into old friends in Los Angeles.  It is too spread out.   Yesterday, I went downstairs to the supermarket (which by chance, is the most unorganized and poorly run supermarket ever created), to buy some ice cream.  Some woman in her sixties came over to me and said, “Hello, Neil.”  I recognized her, but from where… I wasn’t sure. 

“Holy shit,” I said to myself.  “It is Mrs. Weisselfeiffer, my KINDERGARTEN teacher!” 

How the hell did she recognize me?  Do all schoolteachers have memories that go back… decades?  She is retired now and volunteers at a gift shop where the profits go to Cerebral Palsy. 

“How are you doing” she asked. 

“OK,” I lied.

Two days ago, I went into McDonald’s to “write.”   There is one right across the street.    I remember when they first built the McDonald’s, years ago when I was a child.  There was a big outcry, much like people complain when Walmart comes to town.  My apartment building and McDonald’s have an especially bad relationship.  Our building even tried to stop them, saying it would bring a “bad element” into the neighborhood.  I remember this being an uncomfortable conversation because this “bad element” was code for the black gang members from a nearby “welfare” housing project.  The more liberal members of the apartment building’s “board of directors” did not want to be considered “racist,” even though they probably knew that the worrywarts were right  — crime WOULD rise by having a 24-hour McDonald’s across the stree.  In the past,  Jews who lived in the outer boroughs were always put in an awkward position.  They tended to be the more liberal than the other “white” ethnic groups in the city, so when the city wanted to find a place for low-income housing, they built in a Jewish neighborhood.  The city would never do this in a Irish or Italian neighborhood, because then there would ethnic warfare.  The Jews kvetched and then moved to Florida.

Eventually, McDonald’s was built.  Corporations always win.  Sadly, crime did get worse, but never as bad as imagined.  Even gang members just want to have their Big Macs when they come to McDonald’s.  Or maybe they just get too tired to mug people after eating all those carbs.

The bigger problem was the traffic.  Cars were whizzing all over the place and the annoying drive-in speakers were keeping people up at night.  Our apartment building complained again.  Finally Ronald McDonald sent a nice message back to us:  “Fuck You.”  McDonald’s did block their traffic from going onto our street, but they went much further in a passive-aggressive manner that even I was shocked about.  They put a gate up around the whole block, only allowing access from the other side of the street, without even leaving an opening.  Of course, the bus stop was outside McDonald’s, so residents of my apartment building now had to walk an extra block,  completely around the fence, just to get to the bus stop.

McDonald’s takes no prisoners.

Twenty years later, the fence is still there, but residents have accepted McDonald’s as a member of the community.  At least, at McDonald’s, the signs are in English, and not in Russian, Chinese, Hebrew, or Arabic.  In a funny way, the recent immigrants have helped bond the ethnic groups of my childhood.  When I was a child, the fighting was always between whites, blacks, and Puerto Ricans.  Jews were afraid of blacks.  Blacks were pissed at Jews.

Now, these same three ethnic groups sit around McDonald’s together and talk about the old neighborhood — like old friends.  They make fun of the real outsiders:  the weirdly-dressed Indians and the Pakistanis.

“I bet you they are hiding Bin Ladin at the taxi service!” said the middle-aged black guy to the middle-aged Jewish guy, referring to the local “car service” located under the mosque. 

My mother used this mysterious car service just this morning to go to Kennedy airport.  A brand new limo pulled up, driven by a tall Arabic man with a long beard, wearing what looked like a white Nehru jacket.  But they drive fast.

The only reason I go to this McDonald’s is because it is air-conditioned.  It is the worst run fast-food restaurant I have ever seen.  (Are you seeing a common threat about the local establishments here?)  Has anyone learned customer service in the outer boroughs?

The staff is extremely show and uncaring.  The manager, a short Indian woman, seems completely over her head.  Even ordering a cup of coffee takes twenty minutes.

On Wednesday, I went into McDonald’s for a cup of coffee.  It was my first time out of the house since coming here.  I waited in line for ten minutes.  The customers, mostly blue-collar workers, were getting angry.  Some were even shouting. 

“Let’s get this fucking line moving!” said one. 

The guy in front of me was a thirty-something black man wearing a janitor’s outfit.  He ordered a double cheeseburger, and gave the cashier, a gorgeous black high school student, a five dollar bill.  You could tell that this girl thought Mickey D’s was beneath her, and that she would rather be modeling on TV.  She gave the janitor twenty nickels for one of the dollars in his change.

“What the hell is this?”  he asked.

“I have no more bills.”

“I don’t want twenty nickels.”


“Sorry?  That’s not good enough.  I’m the customer.”

“Please sir.  People are waiting.  Next!”

I was next, but I wasn’t sure what to do.  This customer was looking so angry, I was concerned he might take out a gun.

“Hold on, my friend,” he said to me, addressing me like we were long-time buddies.  “You know I’m right, don’t you?  I worked in Burger King for three years.  I know I was only doing maintenance at the time, but I knew more than anyone who worked there.  I know the policy.  The customer is always right.  Tell her!”

“Uh… he does have a point.” I muttered to the student/future model behind the counter.  “Maybe someone else can give you a dollar bill.”

She scowled at me.  I was regretting leaving the house.

“Let me speak to the manager!” shouted my new janitor friend.  A hundred “fucks” and “shits” could be heard from everyone on line.

The short Indian manager woman came over.  She looked scared and angry, but mostly resentful from being taken away from her job of running back and forth doing nothing.

“I would like to have a dollar bill and not twenty nickels,” demanded the janitor.

The manager did not like how she was being spoken to.  She ignored him, turning to the cashier/model.

“What seems to be the problem, Nadine?”

“I don’t have any more bills.”

“I understand.”

She looked directly at the janitor.

“I’m sorry.  She doesn’t have any more bills.   Next!”

I’ve seen where bosses try to support their employees, but this was insane.  Why was she being so stubborn?  Couldn’t she get some bills from another cashier?  What type of McDonald’s was this?  Did she not want to be seen as “giving in” to her customers?  Is this the policy in Queens?  No wonder why customer service is so lousy around her.

Soon, the janitor gave up.

“Bitch!” he screamed at the manager. 

As I finally ordered my coffee, I saw him sitting at a table with two strangers, both women, telling them the story of the twenty nickels.  He tried to ask them out on dates, and the women promply left to go to another table.

I began to wonder if I was missing the full story here.   As if, I had just started to watch “Lost” at episode six.

When I returned home, I noticed that another drama was brewing.  There were notices in the lobby and in every elevator.  My mother told me the story:

A tenant’s father died in the building.  The tenant is Jewish.  As is the tradition, after the funeral, the bereaved sits “shiva” for a week.  Every religion must have something similar.  You go over to the person’s house, bring some food, and give your condolences. When you live in an apartment building, you tend to visit even if you don’t know the person very well, just out of respect. 

Anyway, apparently someone visited the bereaved man and notice that he was a bit of a pat rack.  He had piles of old newspapers in the corner.  This visitor gave her condolences, then promptly went down to the management office and told them that this “tenant’s house was filthy.”  A few days later, his apartment was investigated.

Normally, after sitting shiva, the bereaved puts up notices in the lobby and elevators thanking their fellow residents for stopping in.  I know when my father died, so many people came over that it made me feel like we were living in a community.  We all come together when there is sadness. 

This tenant put up his thank you notice.  It had a twist.

“I would like to thank all my neighbors who came to visit me during my bereavement period.  I appreciate all the kind things that you said, and the food that you brought me.  You are very good neighbors.  I especially want to thank the nice neighbor who went to the manager and said my apartment was dirty.  You’re an asshole.”

I’m beginning to understand myself better by going back to my roots.  People are crazy here!

It’s really raining hard now.  I just took some photos from my terrace.  It is Saturday night.  My mood has become more melancholy.

A couple of nights ago, I wrote the following when I was feeling lonely.  I didn’t want to publish it, thinking there was really no point to sharing it with you.  But I’m actually feeling much better today.  I finally spoke to Sophia on the phone.  I told her the funny stories about the neighborhood.  Tomorrow, I’m visiting a friend.  I’m hoping to meet some bloggers while I am here.  Maybe I’ll go to Cringe next month.  I’ve always wanted to see that.

Oh, and if you are a mommyblogger who is celebrating father’s day with your husband — remember to treat him right tomorrow.  You know what I mean. 

Here’s what I wrote a few days ago.  I’m doing it for Jane, who likes to hear about the soap opera —

My God.  It’s going to be difficult to express how much I miss touching a woman.  I know this sounds crazy.  Of course, I’m talking about Sophia, but I’m also not talking about Sophia.  We haven’t been all cuddly for a while, so I’m not sure where this is coming from. Please don’t go “aww” or “hugs.”  I’m glad I left the house.  I’m doing fine.  I like being alone. I just didn’t expect this feeling of yearning to take hold of me in a mere three days of leaving.  Are men really this weak?  I’ve never had this feeling before.  I find it interesting.  I’m normally a “cold” personality, more sarcastic than wearing my heart on my sleeve.  Lately, I’m experiencing those intense emotions you read about in poems in college — like the poetry of Yeats — the stuff I mocked as old-fashioned and melodramatic.

I can actually feel her arm, the way it is soft, and smell her one-of-a-kind scent from here.

This is not about sex.  Even tough I am thinking of sexy things, too.  Like feeling a woman’s nipple harden.  Or kissing.  Jesus.  I need to just write this down. 

I am having withdrawal symptoms. 

Maybe I’ll take a shower.  That will help.  Or take a walk.  Or go have a slice of pizza.  On Twitter this morning, I wrote that I felt like a woman on PMS.  But that isn’t accurate.  My body is shaking inside.  Have I always been so anxious?  It feels as if I just went cold turkey off of some heavy narcotic I’ve been using for years.

I’m thinking of caressing my mother’s arm.  This is creepy.

I know I shouldn’t publish this.  There is no purpose to it.  It is not entertaining. 

If I do publish it, take it with a grain of salt.  It is just a passing moment.  I will better after my slice of pizza. 

Why am I advertising my emotional connection to Sophia?  How is this going to help me move on?  Or get me a date?  I am such an idiot, always doing the wrong thing.

Sigh.  Sharing too much again.

Moral of post:  Lately, I’ve been feeling such raw, intense emotions, like an internal f**king in the rain-soaked alley way of the soul, that all I can do is just stand back, watch, and admire it.  And take notes. 

I’m sorry this is such a long post.  I’m sure I broke some blogging rule.

Case: Clothes

Author Tom Wolfe

It shouldn’t surprise you that I spend so much time online.  I can make myself seem interesting just by using the written word, and before you know it, women are throwing me their virtual bras at me.

In the real world, very few people on line at McDonald’s want to hear me read my latest blog post to them.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  I even tried giving away free Happy Meals.  Not one woman takes off her bra.

I fit into this online world.  A clever line is worth a lot.   It is the online equivalent of driving a Ferrari into the valet stand at a Beverly Hills bistro.  And online, you don’t even have to tip.

As much as web designers tell you about the importance of “blog design,” none of us read a blog because of the looks.  We would read a good blog published on a plain white page.

I like this word-based system.  I have fun conversations with men and women of all races and ages, from twenty-something to seventy.  Even when I see your photo on flickr, I rarely think about you in physical terms.  Your words come first.  If you write sexy, you come off as sexy.  I mean, I’m not going to lie.  I do notice what people look like.  Some of you are so gorgeous!  I just don’t think about it that much or treat anyone better because of it.   I’m mean – great – you have amazing boobs — but I’m not going to be touching them, so what’s the point?  I’m going to spend more time hanging with the regular-looking gal who turns me on with her jokes.  I’m more likely to describe you as “that mommyblogger” or “that bitch from Wisconsin” rather than “skinny” or “fat” or “Latino”

Unfortunately, things change in the real world.   You are not going to be as impressed with me when you see me wearing two different socks and I forgot to zip my fly.  I’m not even going to bring up the half-shaven off chest hair.  The first thing we notice when meeting someone is how the person looks.  Before they even open their mouth, we’ve created a whole history for this person. 

After posting about the Nehru jacket, I spent a while reading “The Sartorialist.”  I found the comments fascinating.  Some entries had a hundred comments, each commenter “reading” the photo, infusing the subject with life and meaning.   Commenters seemed to “understand” the people in the photos from what they looked like, especially from what  the clothes “say.”   Readers discuss the personal lives of these online subjects — their inner confidence, their life history, and even their moral character.  All from one photo!  I was half-hoping that someone would write in that they had played a joke — and dressed up a homeless woman as a chic woman in Brooklyn.  Someone even wrote that they want to be “best friends” with a young female subject wearing a green blouse.  For the most part, the subjects are young, good-looking model types.  Don’t ugly people ever dress in interesting clothes?  Or are they too afraid of standing out?  I think I can understand that.  I’ve spent most of my life wearing clothes that would make me fit in.

I did find one older woman in one of the photos.  Everyone loved her.  They wanted her to be their grandmother.   Check out the comments.  I showed the photo to my mother.  Even my mother fell in love with her natural “style” and the fact that she kept her gray hair.  I have a feeling that this woman could probably have been both Clinton and Obama just by appearing in this photo!

(via The Sartorialist)

Call me Scrooge, but I was wondering if this was a nice woman.   How do we know she’s not an asshole?  Because of her clothes? 

Why bother getting a Master’s degree when you can better spend your money buying some interesting clothes?   Or does the Master’s degree enable you to AFFORD these clothes?  

Of course, I picked the wrong Master’s degree.

I don’t spend too much time thinking about my blog design because YOU don’t seem to judge me on it.  Would you like me to have a flashier, Dooce-like blog design?  Would that make my blog seem classier? 

In the real world, it is clear that you ARE judged by what you wear.  People make incredible assumptions about a person’s character and position in society.

It makes me think, that as a writer, I should spend more attention to what my characters wear.  I should also spend more attention to what I wear, especially here in New York.  I might actually have to think about matching my socks.

Question:  Make believe that you meet me for the first time.  You don’t know me at all.  You’ve never read my blog.  I am wearing a Nehru jacket.  Do you “read” anything into this?

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Things Every Man Should Do Before He Dies — #6 Buy a Drink for a Woman in a Bar

The Nehru Jacket

If you met me, you wouldn’t think I am very fashionable.  I write.  I blog.  I go Target.  wear jeans and a t-shirt.  I go to the theater or a concert every now and then, but LA isn’t a very dress-up type of town.  I would be more fashion-conscious if I lived in New York.  Walking around New York is a little bit of theater, and it is fun to costume yourself.

I like sportsjackets.  I think I look good in them.  Sadly, I never wear them.  I like the jacket, but I hate wearing ties.  Because of this, I am attracted to this jacket I saw online – the Nehru Jacket.   I’m not sure what it is about this jacket, but it draws me in, telling me that I need to wear it.

via The Sartorialist

I’ve never seen a real live person wearing a Nehru jacket.  OK, maybe some Indian guy wearing traditional white garb that is similar in style.  To most people, the Nehru jacket is an outdated fad from the 1960’s.

The Nehru jacket has an interesting history:

The Nehru jacket is a hip-length tailored coat for men or women, with a stand-up or “mandarin” collar, and modeled on the South Asian achkan or sherwani, an apparel worn by Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India from 1947 to 1964. However, unlike the achkan, which falls somewhere below the knees of the wearer, the Nehru jacket is not only shorter, but also, in all respects other than the collar, resembles the suit jacket.

The apparel was created in India in the 1940s as Band Gale Ka Coat (Hindi/Urdu: “Closed Neck Coat”) and has been popular on the subcontinent since, especially as the top half of a suit worn on formal occasions. It began to be marketed as the Nehru jacket in the West in the mid-1960s; it was briefly popular there in the late 1960s and early 1970s, its popularity spurred by growing awareness of foreign cultures, by the minimalism of the Mod lifestyle, and, in particular, by the Monkees and the Beatles, who popularized the garment.

Did you know that The Beatles wore Nehru jackets for their famous Shea Stadium performance of 1965?

Sammy Davis Jr. owned 200 Nehru jackets.

Alas, the popularity of the Nehru jacket lasted only a few years.  By the late 1960s, the fad was over and the Nehru jacket fell into obscurity.

In the mid-1970s’s,  Johnny Carson was commissioned to wear Nehru jackets on his show, in the hopes of making them popular again, but it was too late.  Fashion had moved on.   The disco years were here.

More recently, the fashion was mocked when it was worn by Dr. Evil in Austin Powers.

I think the Nehru jacket is pretty cool.  Maybe I should try to find one in a vintage clothing store while I’m in New York.  Chicks will dig it.


Normal guy who is A-OK

I need to take a deep breathe and make sure this blog does not fly off the tracks.   I’ve only been away from Sophia for two days.  We haven’t spoken yet, but I’m sure we will at some point this week.  I am not losing it.  I AM living with my mother, but it isn’t a Bates Motel type of thing where I “think” I am living with my mother.  In fact, here’s my mother to tell you herself —

Neil’s Mother:  Yes, I am Neil’s mother.  Despite what you may think, my son is a completely normal and well-adjusted man.   Don’t judge him by his irrational blog.  Even his penis jokes are mostly done in good humor.  But since we are on that subject, let me tell you, if it is anything like what his father had, any woman will be very lucky….

Neil:  Uh, thank you, Mom.

Neil’s Mother:  And I bet you he kisses well too!

Neil:  Enough, Mom.

I just want to reiterate.   I am a completely normal, stable, and confident person.  I do not intend to spill out my guts to you every night on my blog.   Life is going on.  I am writing this wonderful screenplay.  The sun is shining.   Everything is A-OK.

Have a nice day.


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