the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Month: February 2009 (Page 2 of 2)

My Mother’s Bad Yoga Instructor

Danny from “Jew Eat Yet” asked me a question, and since it was a lengthy one, I will paraphrase it for you, “What the hell are YOU, a full-blooded American male, going to a blogging conference for WOMEN?”

The answer is simple. I don’t think in terms of gender. We are all individuals with passions that are unrelated to our chromosomes. This does not mean there aren’t difference between the sexes. Anyone man who has ever spent a weekend with a weepy, irrational, hysterical, overemotional woman who needs more “hug time” knows exactly what I am talking about. Also, as a believer in the literal truth of the Bible, man is always first. We were on Earth first, so it is natural that we should be the dominant sex.

As ordained by religion and the natural order, women must follow two ironclad rules in their relationships with men —

1) Women must always have an orgasm, or at least fake it well enough for the man to feel he did a job well done, so he can go to sleep feeling like he is “the Man,” and brag to his friends at work the next day.

2) Women must ALWAYS take care of men when they get sick, and expect nothing in return. Men can build skyscrapers and blow up cities, but they are not trained to care for themselves when the dreaded cold-bug hits.

It has been a sad week in Queens. For the last two days, I – a man – have been home alone with a cold, and it should shame women worldwide. My previous two caretakers, Sophia and my mother, were both unavailable, enjoying the sun in Redondo Beach, CA and Boca Raton, FL.

“I’m sick, Sophia,” I said on the phone.

“Sorry, Neilochka. I got a Russian Dialect coaching job with “Heroes” and have to make it to the studio. Bye-Bye!”

I tried my mother.

“Mom, I’m sick.”

“Make yourself some soup.”

“What do you mean — “make” the soup?”

“I can’t talk now. I’m playing mah jongg, and then I have my yoga class, and then there is a show at the center with ABBA imitators! Take care of yourself. Bye!”

Clearly, these two should have their “women licences” revoked. But I will have the last laugh, because God is a MAN, and he works in mysterious ways.

Anyway, since I am trying to promote myself as an EXPERT storyteller, I figure I should tell you some sort of story, so I don’t undermine my own brand name.

Here is a story that my mother told me about her weekly yoga class that takes place at the clubhouse in her retirement village. Please note — this is my mother’s story, not mine, so don’t judge the quality of the tale by your usual high standards.

My mother’s yoga class meets in the clubhouse. There are about 25 women, from ages sixty to eighty. The instructor is a young yoga instructor in her twenties who has a regular gig at a studio. Although she has modified her sessions to be more appropriate for seniors, she doesn’t seem to be very comfortable with older people. In fact, she makes the common mistake of treating seniors like they are children in grade school.

Some of the women have cellphones, such as my mother, and the instructor makes everyone put their phones on a table in the front of the room, turned off, so the ringing doesn’t ruin the meditative mood of yoga. The instructor considers the atmosphere of the room so essential that she has told the class that if a student’s phone rings, “she will have to leave and not return to the class for the rest of the year.”

“That’s pretty harsh,” I told my mother.

“She’s very serious about her yoga,” answered my mother. “She knows a lot.”

I have no idea how my mother can judge this instructor as “knowing a lot” since my mother has no experience with yoga at all, but I didn’t say anything, and let my mother continue with her story.

Last week, while the class was doing some relaxing yoga position, and gentle music was playing, one of the phones on the table started to ring and vibrate. The tall, skinny yoga instructor jumped up, her bones shaking with anger.

“Who’s phone is that ringing?” she asked, pointing a long finger at a flip Nokia sitting on the table.

No one answered. The women in the class, sitting in the dimly-lighted room, looked side to side, waiting for the culprit to come forward, but no one volunteered. Was the owner of the ringing phone afraid of being booted from class? Were the others covering her ass? Would the seniors stand in solidarity, announcing that the phone belonged to “them all” and that they would not be intimidated by this jerk?

If this was a cartoon, steam would be rising from the yoga instructor’s head (which is not a very good sign about yoga’s effectiveness in making you a calmer person).

“Do none of you have the dignity to step forward and tell the truth? Surely ONE of you must know who OWNS that phone?”

The instructor flipped on all the lights to glare into each woman’s eyes, searching for the truth like Jack Bauer involved in an interrogation.

“If none of you have the moral fiber to come forward and be a real person – I am cancelling today’s class. All of you. Leave. Class is cancelled today!”

The women started to leave. An Orthodox Jewish woman, the oldest in the class, picked up the flip Nokia. Everyone turned to her. The instructor shoved her face within inches of the culprit.

“What is wrong with you? Why didn’t you admit that this was your phone ringing?”

“Huh? I can’t hear very well…” she answered.

Her phone started ringing again.

“My son just gave it to my this weekend. I don’t even know how to turn it off!”

My mother, who just figured out to turn off her own phone, showed the woman how to press the button to turn the phone off, and then the rest of the class left yoga for the day.

A Lesson in Storytelling

Yesterday, on Citizen of the Month, I talked about the importance of storytelling in blogging, and brought up that idea of a storytelling session at BlogHer. (you can sign up to attend or present during this session over here)

I hope this idea that bloggers are writers doesn’t scare anyone off. There are quite a few bloggers who don’t want to consider themselves writers, because then they will get writer’s block, always comparing their little slices of life to the “bigger, dramatic” stories of literature, stories like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Grapes of Wrath, or Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Having your husband lose the remote control of your Playstation is just not as dramatic as turning into a cockroach or fighting a giant octopus under the sea.

Of course, we all have our dramatic moments to write about. Life-changing moments always happen in our lives — births, deaths, divorces, but not every day, and as writers, we can’t sit around waiting for some big event to occur while we post photos of our cats everyday on our blogs. I mean, we could, and many of you actually do, but it doesn’t make for exciting blog reading, and there is little chance that you will ever end up on Dooce’s blogroll.

The truth is, even a “nothing” story can be improved with story structure. Most of my story ideas usually suck. But if you stick with, a story usually develops. Let’s analyze today’s blog post AS I WRITE IT, hoping that it will be a learning tool.

Now at this point, I have no idea what I am going to write about, but I am hoping some story will come to me from the muses above, which I will then structure into something mildly coherent. It doesn’t always work, so bear with me.

Nothing of interest happened to me today. I’m not just saying that to get your sympathy just in case this post is really bad. I really mean it. It was so hot in my apartment in Queens today. The radiator is blasting, and there is no manual control, so I was even forced to turn on the air conditioning for a half hour! In the winter! The heat makes me groggy. I did a little writing, with the emphasis on the word little, and slept half of the afternoon. I spoke to my mother on the phone. I ate a tomato. That is my day. What the hell kind of story can I write about with that lame material?

Let’s start at the beginning.

Main character:



A little horny. A little frugal. Is that my full character? Of course not! But those two traits will be emphasized today because it will help me create a coherent story.

Beginning of Story:

Earlier today, I did leave the house. I went downstairs to the “compactor room” where we bring our cans and bottles for recycling. It is a no-no to throw these items down the incinerator chute, and the management says so in screaming red fonts on every door to every incinerator chute on every floor. There are even more rules to follow on the door of the compactor room.


A few months ago, down in the lobby, someone started a simple, but brilliant idea in a little alcove across from the compactor room. Rather than throwing away some old books, the tenant left them on one of the several empty shelves in the alcove. Within days, everyone noticed this, and the concept took off. This tiny nook has become the apartment building’s open-access library.


Tenants bring books, tenants take books. There are currently over a hundred books in our make-shift library. A pile of magazines has also developed, as varied as the interests of the building’s tenants, from Glamour to Golf to Jewish Philosophy. Whenever I bring down my recycling, I rifle through the pile of magazines, looking for something interesting to read, say in the bathroom.

(This is where the frugal characteristic comes to play, so my taking of one of the magazines in the story is not just a random act, but a logical extension of the fact that I would never actually buy these magazines)

Today, I found the March 2009 issue of Marie Claire. I don’t know too much about the magazine, but I have heard a couple of mommybloggers saying that it is their favorite women’s magazine. Well, to be more truthful, there were three hot women on the cover, so I figured I would check out the magazine.

(This is where the horniness element comes into play, further pushing the story along)

Middle of Story:

Now that the premise has been set up — Neilochka, a frugal horny guy picks up a free used copy of next month’s Marie Claire, it is time to expand on the theme.

This middle section of the story — the second act in dramatic terms — is the one that always causes writer’s block. What happens now? What does Neilochka do with the magazine? Does he play with himself? Nah, that gimmick is overused on this blog and is too OBVIOUS! Does he get into a fight with the original owner of the magazine who didn’t really leave it for others in the library, but accidentally dropped it on the lobby floor, and now accuses Neilochka of theft, and calls the police on him? That would be an EXCELLENT plot twist, and I might have gone in that direction if I was trying to be fictional, but I’m trying to stick with the real-life facts here to prove a point.

The truth is — nothing really happens in the real life second act of my story, other than me skimming through this very boring magazine, which is mostly filled with advertisements of anorexic young models selling stuff. But do you notice that I am using an old writing trick called “misdirection?” Writers use misdirection when their plot is so THIN, that they have to fill in the space with something unrelated to capture your interest. So, since I didn’t play with myself or get into a fist-fight over the magazine with another tenant, I am just blabbing on and on about anorexic models and other subjects, hoping that you won’t notice that nothing of interest is really going on. Sometimes, you just have to go with the inferior material and push it forward. TV shows do it all the time. That’s why TV shows always have guest stars showing up in their weakest episodes. Whenever a sitcom story is getting boring, some producer will say, “Let’s bring in Drew Carey or Mary Tyler Moore or one of the Jonas Brothers as a guest star so the audience won’t notice that this episode is boring as hell!”

Now that I have wasted some time with misdirection, I revert back to the story. Clever right?

OK, smack in the middle of Marie Claire magazine was an interview with a hip new all-girl rock band currently playing gigs in NY and LA. What caught my eye was that the girls were all wearing short skirts… and their bras. Apparently they are a rock group called The Vassarettes. In the interview, they talk about the importance of rocking the house while just wearing their bras, and being the first “bra band.”


Emily: “It’s totally empowering and liberating being up there onstage with nothing holding us back. It’s girl power times a million.

Kai Elle: “It means girls rule!”

Erin: “It means it’s cool for women to thrash.”

Alexa: “It means giving everything you’ve got and leaving nothing onstage.”

I was pretty impressed with the confidence of these brash young rockers. I also assumed that they were fairly bright and were called the Vassarettes because they met at Vassar College. Did this rock band idea come out of a project they were working on in their Feminist Studies class?

I actually have some good stories to tell about Vassar. There was this one girl… But I will leave this story for another day. Remember this rule! Don’t burn yourself out with each story. When you get a new idea while writing your current post, jot it down and use it on a rainy day!

The End of Story:

Let’s recap.

Beginning of Story – Neilochka, a frugal horny guy picks up a free used copy of next month’s Marie Claire magazine.

Middle of Story — Neilochka is bored by dull magazine until he sees four chicks in their bras and his eyes widen, until The Vassrettes bring up old memories, like a misty fog, as he remembers a smiling buxom young woman from Vassar College, much like the aging King Lear once thought back to his youthful encounters at the end of Shakespeare’s tragedy.

A good finale should always contain a big twist, that thrusts the story into an entirely new direction, creating excitement and drama for the audience. Think of every thriller you have ever seen in the movies. “Oh no, the killer isn’t the drug addict, it is really HIS MORMON SCHOOLTEACHER WIFE!”

A good blog post should have this same type of dramatic twist. In this case, I googled The Vassarettes in order to see the video of them performing their terrible pseudo-Spice Girls song in their bras.

Never in my life have I actually been turned OFF by women in their bras. The whole gimmick was just stupid. This spurred me on to do some more research, and I discovered that this “band” was not formed in the dorms of Vassar, but was created as a promotional gimmick for a brand of bra called “Vassarette.” Apparently this bra company, which is a Vanity Fair brand, is trying to sex up their image to compete with Victoria’s Secret.

This is the surprise twist. OK, it is not the biggest surprise in the world, but remember we are writing a blog post, not Crime and Punishment, so get off my case! I didn’t say this was going to be a GREAT post, just a post from crappy material.

And like in any good story, this twist should have a profound effect on our protagonist, in this case – Neilochka.

Up until now, we have known only two basic things about Neilochka — he is frugal and takes free magazines, and he is horny and likes to look at women in their bras. Now, towards the end of the story, it is time to create a more fully-developed character, showing his arc and character growth. Neilochka is not just frugal and horny. We now discover a new side to his personality. He is also cranky and opinionated, and he especially hates it when marketers and advertisers try to manipulate their consumers with stupid ideas like creating a girl band playing rock music in their bras, and promoting it as “empowerment.”

It is the time for the finale!

Tensions rise as the hero and villain meet on the battlefield. There is Neilochka, the David, with a tiny little blog without ads, and zilch power in society. The villain, the Goliath, is like any bad guy in any James Bond movie, or Madame Defarge in “Tale of Two Cities” a demonic figure, relentless in her goal to dominate the world. The Vassarette Bra company and her henchmen — the Vanity Fair Brand, Style Network, and Marie Claire Magazine — all want to pollute our airwaves with awful girl bands playing shitty rock music in their bras. And only ONE MAN can stop them. Neilochka! But how? With the only true weapon any blogger has at his disposal — sarcasm.

Neilochka would like to introduce you to his own hard rockin’ boy band, direct from JAPAN that perform their totally empowering music while only wearing cock rings, making the Vassarettes look silly in comparison.



(OK, maybe nothing can save this story, but I tried)


A Room of Our Own, Take Two

Last week, I tested an idea for BlogHer’s Room of Your Own, and most of you gave it a thumbs down and booted it off as fast as Jason Alexander’s last sitcom.

You can call me a lot of names, but I am not a quitter. I have another idea.

First, let me remind you what this “Room of Your Own” is about —

Since BlogHer programmed panels typically feature universal topics discussed by diverse voices, the Room of Your Own sessions are the perfect place to dig deeper into any one corner of the blogosphere…its particular challenges, triumphs, concerns, issues. You can lead a discussion alone, or bring a panel of interesting speakers. There will be two full tracks (or 12 individual sessions) reserved for Room of Your Own sessions.

The Room of Your Own tracks are designed to provide BlogHer conference attendees with one more way to customize their own conference experience and contribute in a meaningful way. You must be a registered attendee of BlogHer ’09 to present a Room of Your Own session at the conference.

This year we’re launching a new way to submit, track and improve on Room of Your Own suggestions. Using one of the polling capabilities of our fabulous Drupal interface you will now be able to submit your idea, peruse other people’s ideas, indicate which panels you’d attend, and even indicate which of the panels that others have proposed you would love to join forces with and speak on too!

As I looked over the official schedule, as well as the Room of Your Own submissions, I was surprised at the amount of topics on marketing, monetization, and niche blogging. If I am paying money for a blogging conference, and I consider blogging to be writing, wouldn’t it be nice to have some discussion on… writing? And by writing, I mean the “storytelling” that we all do every day when we are not sucking up to each other or being comment whores.

Proposal Idea:


Personal bloggers are always saying that they are JUST bloggers, NOT “writers,” but guess what? — if you are stringing words into coherent sentences and publishing your stories online, you are a writer. And if content is king, as they say, why do you spend so much time worrying about marketing and promoting your blog, and so little time developing your craft?

This session will try to recapture some of those heady, half-drunken, freshman year discussions that you used to have in your college dorm while in your PJs, as we discuss the principles of storytelling, and how they are fundamentally the same in Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, The Adventures of Curious George, and your own mommyblog.

This session won’t be about about getting an agent or being published. It will be about appreciating blogging, and seeing it as a new chapter in the long tradition of storytelling. Think of yourself as a modern Scheherazade who must come up with 1001 amazing and adventurous Arabian Blog Posts in order to remain alive!

YOU are the author of your own blog. Are you the main character? What is the point of view of this character? On life? On relationships? On writing? How do you want to be perceived by the reader? Are your secondary characters, your family and friends in your life story, presented as three-dimensional personas? Does each blog post require a beginning, middle, and end? Should you be loyal to the facts or is it better to embellish your stories in order to reach a higher truth?

And learn a top secret: Why the best bloggers learn their craft from watching… soap operas?!

Join like-minded writers and bloggers who want to explore their literary side as we discuss the most important aspect of the blogging experience — storytelling.


I haven’t yet submitted this yet, because first I wanted to get your opinion first, being that type of insecure person. Is it written too pretentiously? Anything I should edit out? Would you attend? Would you like to join forces and speak on the subject too? I already received some interest from the cool and creative Amy of Doobleh-vay. And most importantly, will moderating this session help me meet some of the brainier women at the conference?

Idea submitted. Feel free to add your name to the list if you wish to participate in any way. Still making list of supposed best pizza in Chicago, where the BlogHer conference is being held this year, although I am very doubtful that it can compete with the pizza of New York.

Twittering From a Chinese Restaurant As Billy Joel Plays

It’s nine oclock on a Saturday
The regular crowd Twitters on
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Eating his soup and wonton

He says, son, that’s the iphone, right, isn’t it?
I read about it in the news
Sure, its hip and it’s cute but for me it’s all moot
Since I wear such an older man’s shoes

La la la, de de da
La la, de de da da da

Write me a post, you’re the blogger man
Write me a post tonight
We’re all in the mood for a storyline
And you’re sitting in Hunan Delight

Now Chen at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my eggrolls for free
And he always serves me and he refills my tea
But there’s someplace that he’d rather be
He says, Neil, I believe this is killing me.
As he serves me my moo goo gai pan
I know I can do online marketing
If I just moved myself to San Fran

Oh, la la la, de de da
La la, de de da da da

Now Raj is a unemployed novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he’s talkin’ with his sis, who’s still on her thesis
And probably will be for life

And the waitress is studying medicine
As the old man examines my phone
Yes, we’re all in a restaurant called loneliness
But it’s better than eatin’ alone

Write me a post, you’re the blogger man
Write me a post tonight
Well, were all in the mood for a storyline
And you’re sitting in Hunan Delight


Another lazy night. I was on the phone for two hours today about a project I am working on. I hope it doesn’t fall through.

I didn’t feel like cooking. I’m in the Dominican Diner down the block, writing this in longhand in one of those Mead Composition notebooks from grade school. Who needs anything fancier? They’re the best. I’m not in the mood for adventurous eating tonight, like they specialty – oxtail stew. I ordered a veggie burger (deluxe!) with fries, and a cup of coffee. Some people don’t enjoy eating out by themselves. I do. Although I usually bring a Mead Composition notebook along to amuse myself, like right now, where I am writing this stream of consciousness post to annoy you.

When I look out the window onto Kissena Boulevard, I can see that there is still snow on the ground, although it is now mostly slush. The diner is half empty and the staff is watching American Idol on the big-screen TV hanging on the far wall, to the right of the entrance to the kitchen. Usually, there is international soccer playing on the TV, but tonight is apparently American Idol night. Everyone on the staff seems to love American Idol. They are laughing hysterically at some nasty comment by Simon.

I just switched to the other side of my booth, just in case I decide to watch American Idol later on Tivo. I was getting distracted by the TV, and I didn’t want to learn who was being thrown out of the Kodak Theater, their dreams crushed, and returned to their miserable lives as checkout girls. Why does Ryan Seacrest call it the “legendary Kodak Theater?” It was only built a few years ago! The Chinese Theater, as disappointing as it is to every tourist who comes to see Humphrey Bogart’s footprint, is somewhat “legendary.” The Kodak Theater is in a new mall. Everyone in LA knows that.

Anyway, I’m in New York now. Stop talking about LA.

I am more comfortable having turned my back to the TV and American Idol. I cannot hear what is going on with the judges anyway, because the owners also have a CD of Dominican music blasting, and the speaker is near my table. I am not complaining. I love this music. I come here for the music. I find it beautiful and comforting. The owner must be a romantic guy, or Dominicans must be a sentimental nation, because all of their songs seem to be love. How do I know this? Even though I cannot understand most of the lyrics, despite years of high school Spanish, every song lyric contains the word “corazon,” which I know means “heart.” I’m glad the songs are in Spanish. If I could understand the lyrics fully, I would probably dismiss the songs as pap, like a corny love country music love ballad, but since I can only decipher the “corazon” part of the lyrics, I imagine the content to be extremely emotional, like a Shakespeare love sonnet. I feel like each song cuts right through all the bullshit, and hits the mark, like Cupid’s arrow, right where it counts — in the corazon! I think this is why foreign movies seem so much classier to pseudo-cultured New Yorkers than Hollywood nonsense. You don’t hear the lame dialogue, so it seems more poetic. Someone French, who goes to see a French movie and understand what everyone is speaking, knows that the film is just as crappy as any American one.

I’m now eating my veggie burger. The waitress is very pretty. I do not know her name. I should ask. The veggie burger is homemade, not frozen. I like that. The one thing I don’t like about the veggie burger is the bun. When I pile the lettuce and tomato and ketchup on top of the veggie burger (the lettuce and tomato come with the Deluxe!), the weak bun cannot withstand the pressure because of some structural deficiency, and the burger always falls out of the bun, like Lindsay Lohan having a nipple slip.

Why am I eating a veggie burger rather than a regular burger? Good question. It is because I had a slice of pizza earlier, and I want to be good to my corazon (high cholesterol). But I do have good news. My cholesterol, the bad DL (the HDL?) went all the way down, thanks to my friendly cholesterol pills. That is why I rushed and had that slice of pizza before it went up again.

My blood test to find out about my cholesterol was on Monday afternoon at my mother’s doctor. My mother was bugging me to see if the cholesterol pills were working, even though the visit would cost me money, because my coverage is still with an HMO back in California. In order to get an accurate reading, the doctor’s assistant told me that I shouldn’t eat for 24 hours before the test. You would think he could have given me a morning appointment. But no. I had to sit around until 4PM starving, like it was Yom Kippur, all for a measly two-second stab in the arm with a needle. Around 1PM, I was feeling lethargic from the lack of food, and I couldn’t concentrate on writing or even wasting time on Twitter. My blood sugar has plummeted. I decided to take a one hour nap. I turned the alarm on my iphone, and went to bed.

As I curled up, the wind and snow blowing against he window, my mind drifted from thoughts of food – pizza, bagels, ice cream, tuna melts – to a dream I had the previous night, when I was in a threesome with two of the waitresses from the Dominican Diner.

“Te amo,” said one of the girls, whispering in my ear.

“Mi Corazon,” said the other as she climbed on top of me.

Dominican music played in the bedroom. I started to do what came naturally to any man daydreaming about a threesome with two Dominican waitresses. The bed start to rotate and rock.

(Hold on. The waitress who is riding me in the fantasy is now pouring me another cup of coffee. I thank her, very politely. OK, I am now back –)

— as I caress her perfect breasts and kiss the second waitress and the first waitress sighs with pleasure and an old Linda Ronstadt song now plays, the Mariachi music —

(Wait a second. I’m screwing up. I need to constant remind myself that I am not in LA. There are no mariachis here. These are Dominican women who are taking me, intense women with powerful thighs, rich and fertile as the Cibao valley and as sweet tasting as the sugar from Llano Costero del Caribe.)

— and there I was, as hard and proud and tall as the pine forests of La Pelona, my heart beating faster, like a drum in a fast paced merengue. My corazon.

And then I remembered my corazon — my blood test! Back to reality, to the daydreaming man in bed alone. If I couldn’t eat for twenty four hours to get an accurate account of my cholesterol, does this mean I can’t do OTHER things that may cause any changes to the chemical structure of my body? Will my readings come out all wrong?

Will my mother’s doctor call me the next day and say, “Your blood test for your cholesterol was inconsistent. I thought my assistant told you not to eat for 24 hours.”

“I didn’t eat.”

“Well, something caused this chemical reaction in your body about a hour or so before the appointment that ruined the cholestrol test. Did you drink anything? Juice? Water?”


“Well, the only thing I can think is — did you have sex?”

“Uh, not exactly.”

“Don’t you know that you are NOT supposed to do that right before a blood test!”

“Actually, I didn’t know that.”

“It affects the cholesterol levels. I called your mother and told her that we will have to re-schedule the blood test. I’ll have to charge you again.”

“You called my mother?”

“Well, she’s actually my patient, not you.”

“And what did you tell her?”

“I told her the truth. I’m a medical doctor. I told her I didn’t know for certain, but chances are that an hour or so before the blood test, you were blah blah blahing in the apartment like a crazed monkey.”

“I wasn’t like a crazed monkey. And hey, that doesn’t sound like something a REAL medical professional would say. In fact, this who conversation sounds like total bullshit.”

“That’s because your veggie burger is falling apart in your hands as you are trying to write this, and you are not very good at mult-tasking. And let’s be honest, Neil. I wasn’t the one who stopped what he was doing because he was worried that it MIGHT affect his blood test!”

“What are you doing, Doctor? You’re screwing up the conversation by having an inconsistent literary “voice.” You’re making this post too complicated and hard to follow. Let’s return to the story.”


“So, anyway, DOCTOR, when can I reschedule?”

“I can see you next Wednesday at 5PM. Do not eat for 24 hours. And definitely do not do any blah blah blahing like a sex fiend. There is more to life than thinking about pussy. Don’t you care about your heart? Your corazon?”

“Mi corazon. Just like they sing about in Dominican songs. I do care about mi corazon. Mi corazon yearns for someone who truly understands mi corazon.”

“Ah yes, corazon. Love. There is nothing more to life than that”

OK, veggie burger is done. I’m done. No dessert. I’ll leave a good good tip for the waitress.

A Room of My Own?

I mentioned that I am attending BlogHer, the woman’s blogging conference, for the first time this year in July. It is in Chicago. As I was reading through the conference agenda on their website, I noticed that besides the scheduled seminars, they have a sideshow titled “A Room of Your Own,” where participants can present their own focused topic in special sessions.

“Since BlogHer programmed panels typically feature universal topics discussed by diverse voices, the Room of Your Own sessions are the perfect place to dig deeper into any one corner of the blogosphere…its particular challenges, triumphs, concerns, issues. You can lead a discussion alone, or bring a panel of interesting speakers. There will be two full tracks (or 12 individual sessions) reserved for Room of Your Own sessions.”

Several of my blogging friends have submitted a session proposal, so go vote for them if it sounds interesting. They are all cool, smart people —

When Your Family is Your Blogstalker/Troll — SueBob

The Men of BlogHer — Avitable

Women and Humor — The Bloggess

How Much Info is TMI? — Miss Britt

Women of Color and Marketing — Heather B, Chookooloonks, and Mocha Momma

Long time readers of this blog know that I am obsessed with one day being a blogging big shot, to have all eyes on me, much like Indiana Jones was gazed upon by all the college girls in the opening scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (if you don’t know the scene, it is right after the big action sequence, when he returns to his job as college professor).

Maybe this is my shot. To create my room of my own. But WTF would I talk about? WTF do I know? WTF is my specialty? WTF room would I like to attend myself?

I haven’t submitted it yet, but I am playing with this idea:

Topic: “Why Going to Blogging Conferences Could Be Dangerous To Your Creativity”

Most blogging advice that is presented at blogging conferences is about solving common problems. However, if everyone follows the same solutions, all of our blogs will become exactly the same, and the only true winner is the one who presented the advice.

That is why Jane Austen or Dante never went to a blogging conference.

This room is not about answers, but questions. Questions only you can answer for yourself. The more you question everything you hear at Blogher, and what you believe about “blogging,” the richer your blog and writing will become. Questioning what you hear will also better equip you for learning at a blogging conference. Rather than just consuming information, you will asking questions.

“What is your agenda? Why are you equipped to advise me? Why do I need more readers? How does this type of blogging help or hurt the community at large? Is obsessing over monetizing my blog smart or selfish? Are there ways to make blogging “fairer” and more inclusive? Is blogging really writing? How can I be nicer to others? Should I be nicer to others? Are you nice to others? Wouldn’t I be happier if I quit blogging?”

This room will present no answers. It will help you clarify you questions, make you more neurotic, and make you feel uneasy about your role in the blogging community.

And because of that, you will become a better blogger.

What do you think? Would only crazy people attend this?

Citizen of the Month: Super Bowl Edition

Today is the big game. I didn’t know who was playing in it until yesterday. I didn’t even know Arizona had a football team. But I don’t like to feel left out of the excitement, so I had to come up with a reason to pick one team over the other, and root for them. I figured the best way to pick a favorite was to base it on the first image that came to my mind when visualizing Pittsburgh and Arizona.



Go Steelers!

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