the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

BlogHer ’11 Recap

This year, my experience with the BlogHer conference was all about the individual conversations and connections.  Held in beautiful, sunny San Diego, the conference was as mellow and inviting as the host city.   The weekend gave me an opportunity to meet up with some of my closest friends, and bond with a few of my personal idols of the blogosphere.


In the Lobby, by Starbucks, Thursday Night

I am sitting at a table, drinking coffee.  My head is tiled down, my face reflected on my iPhone screen.  I am on Twitter, avoiding real people.

An attractive, confident woman approaches, her hand outstretched.

“Hi there, just wanted to say hello.  Love your instagram photos.”

“Hi. uh, do we know each other?”

“I’m Ree.”


“The Pioneer Woman.”

I stand up, being polite.

“Oh, wow.  The Pioneer Woman,” I say.   “You’re big….”

I pause for a moment, slowing down my thought process.

“…I don’t mean big in size.  I mean big in popularity,  It would be stupid to call a woman “big” at a woman’s conference, knowing how body image problems is such an issue nowadays. Even though, quite frankly, I like a woman with a little meat on her. Some curves.  Again, I’m not saying you are too thin. You are naturally thin. You look great.”

It was time to change the topic of the conversation.

“Oh, my friend Diane invited me for dinner recently and she tried out one of your recipes from your blog!”

“Which recipe?”

“I don’t remember.  But she didn’t have any rice in the house, so she substituted Ritz crackers, and it came out awful.  But of course, that isn’t your fault.”


Another awkward pause.   She extends her hand again.

“Uh, well, it was great meeting you, Neil.”

“Yes.  See you at your session.  I’m looking forward to it.”

“It is over already.”

“Oh.  OK, take care.”


Outside the Lobby, by the Valet, Thursday Night

I pass by “The Bloggess,” one of the funniest women online.  She is sitting on a bench, her suitcase standing in front of her.  I seem a whole lot more excited to see her, than vice versa.

“Hey, it’s Jenny, the famous Bloggess!”

“Uh, hello, Neil.”

I point at the suitcase.

“Where you going?”

“I’m going home early.  I’m exhausted after the People’s Party.”

“I can imagine.  Hey, when is the book coming out?  I’m so excited.”

“I’m not sure yet.”

“Why don’t you sent me an advanced copy?  I’d love to read it.”

Jenny pauses for a moment.

“My publisher decided not to send out advanced copies,” she says.

“You mean when the book comes out, you want me to BUY the book?  It’s going to be like $25 dollars in stores!”

“That’s how much books cost, Neil.”

“C’mon, Jenny.   Surely your old blogging friends will get a reader’s copy in the mail.”

“No, sorry.”

“Not even Laura?”

“Well, Laura read it already.  But she’s more of a real friend than a blogging friend.”

“What is this shit? I’m not going to pay $25 bucks on your book when I can read your blog for free.”

“The book is going to be very different than the blog.  It is about my real life.”

“I see.  So the plan was to put your shitty superficial material online, and then force us to buy your f*cking book?”

“Well, I do have a family to feed.”

“You’ve changed, Jenny.  You come off as a sweet cutesy Texan mom, but you are a fucking shark.  I bet Willian Shatner was part of your marketing plan all along.”

You know, f*ck you , little man.  I could destroy you in a second with my Twitter followers.

“Suck my c*ck, Jenny.”

“Yeah, I already saw your tiny c*ck in that photo you sent me last year. Don’t make me laugh.  Be happy I didn’t put it on Flickr.”

“Go to hell.”


In the Hallway, Convention Center, Friday Afternoon

I sit on the floor, in the corner by the men’s room, hidden from view, playing on Twitter rather than talking to real people, as usual.

Tanis, the Redneck Mommy, notices me.  She is one of my favorites from Twitter.   She approaches, a smile on her face.

“Hi, Neil.”

I don’t bother to look up from my iPhone screen, trying to show my disapproval.

“Well, LOOK who’s coming to talk to me TWO DAYS after the conference has started.”

“I’ve been busy, Neil.”

“Oh yeah, BUSY chatting with Backpacking Dad.”

“You are such a passive aggressive asshole.  Maybe if you didn’t hide in the corner like a p*ssy”

“You know my Klout score is higher than his.”

“Not everything is about Klout scores,” she says.  “I’ve been friends with him a lot longer than you.”

“You know, I was just talking with Jenny the Bloggess, and we both agree that your blog has gone downhill. You used to be funny, but you’ve LOST IT.”

“Bullshit.  She would never say that.   And by the way, she showed me the photo of your tiny dick.  Pathetic.”

“Have a nice conference, fake “redneck” with your expensive iPad2 and expensive shoes!”

Tanis walks off.  After a moment, I tweet her with an apology.


Expo, Convention Center, Saturday Afternoon

I reluctantly enter the expo center, crowded with companies selling products and women with overflowing swag bags.  It is chaotic and I feel an anxiety attack coming on.   I pass by the large booth sponsored by Hillcrest Farms lunch meats.  There is a staff of smiling young spokespeople manning the booth, all with the energetic look of  cheerleaders from a Midwestern high school.  A blonde young man of about 25, with the whitest of teeth, beckons me over to the booth.

“Hello, would you like to try a Hillcrest Farms sandwich, made of only the freshest ingredients?”

There are two silver trays on a display table, with signs reading turkey and ham.   There are only 4″ sandwiches on the ham tray.

“You only have ham?”

“The turkey is out.”

“Eh.  Don’t like ham.”

The spokesguy doesn’t give up easily.

“Our ham is USDA…” he continues.

“Nah, it is just a weird thing of mine,” I explain.  “I’m not kosher, but for some reason I don’t like the look of ham.  I’ll eat pork if it is hidden in a Chinese soup, or bacon, but ham just seems so goyish.”


“Not kosher.”

“Kosher what?”

“It’s a Jewish thing.”

The spokesguy cups his hands in joy.

“Ooh.  I’ve never met a Jew before.

“No?  Where are you from?” I ask.


“Is that where Hillcrest Farms is located?”

“No.  I don’t know where they are located.   Just got this job online at   But it’s so cool meeting a Jewish person.”

“Thanks,” I sheepishly reply.

“I appreciate you because Jesus was Jewish too.”

“Yes, he was.  He probably wouldn’t eat Hillcrest Farms anything.”

“He wouldn’t?”

“No, Hillcrest Farms isn’t kosher.”

“You mean Jesus wouldn’t be promoting Hillcrest Farms?”

“Probably not.”

“Holy Lord of Lords.” cries the spokesguy.  “Should I quit?  What would Jesus do?”

“Well, take it easy.  This is just a job.  I’m sure Jesus will understand.  You have a family?”

“A wife and two kids.”

“So, you are doing good.,” trying to ease his guilt.  “You are helping your family.”

“I always heard that Jews are smart. Are you a rabbi?”

“No, just a blogger.”

The spokesguy looks down at the badge on my shirt to read my name.

“Bless you, uh, Citizen of the Month.  It was as if Jesus himself spoke through you.”

I notice that the other spokespeople are handing out bags filled with swag to the other attendees that are passing by.

“Can I have one of those Hillcrest Farms bags?”

“Oh, sorry. I was told I can only give our swag bags to moms who fit our demographic audience of 25-35.  But nice to meet you, Jewish man.”


SeaView Room, Marriot Hotel, Aiming Low Party, Saturday Night

I’m on the patio with seven of the most prominent Daddy Bloggers.  We stand in a circle of brotherhood, each drinking a beer.  It is so great to finally bond with men.  I spend way too much time chatting with women online, and although I love my female friends, there are issues and choices that are unique to our gender.

A young female coupon blogger walks by, wearing high heels and short skirt.

Jake:  “She’s a 10.”

Sean:   “Nah.  Only a 7.5.”

Another woman passes, on her way to the Latina party.

Sean:   “Now SHE’S a 10.”

Afro-Dad:  “What?!”

Sean:  “I’m a Latino. I like big asses.”

I look over at the Latino woman.

Neil:   “Forget her. She’s crazy. I know. I once sent her a photo of my c*ck and she went nuts.”

Warren, a Mormon father of six,  is mesmerized by one of the HOT keynote speakers.

Warren:  “Man, can you imagine taking her on that Sabra Hummus sponsored appetizer table right now.”

Jake:   “So, any of you guys get lucky yet?”

We all look around, embarrassed with our lack of success.

Stephan:   “Not me. Brought the ball and chain along.  And my stupid step-kids.”

Stephan gives me a caring nod, and pats my arm in a paternal manner.

Stephan:  “Take my advice, Neil.  If you ever get remarried, don’t marry a chick with young kids.  It’ll ruin your life.”

Neil:   “C’mon, Stephan.  You’re a lucky man.  Susan has a great rack.”

Stephan:  “I’ll give you that.  But she’s like a helicopter, always hovering around. And she has a spidey-sense when it comes to me f*cking other women at work.  She just knows.”

Jake:  “Women know that shit.”

Warren:  “You see all the sex toys the women got from Eden’s Fantasies this year in their swag bags?  No wonder we ain’t getting lucky.”

Neil:  “Exactly.  Why bother with us when the women can just go to their rooms and use vibrators on each other.”

Sean:  “It’s a sad commentary on modern technology.   Some things ARE better old school.”

Jake:  “Damn right.  No vibrator, even the most technologically advanced, will ever replace our real life hard-ons!”

Neil:  “You said it, brother.  I love you guys.”

We all have a group hug.  I have finally found my “tribe.”

Austin Mom of Twins, well-know with all the men for her “Boobie-fest” October photos, goes to the bar for a drink.

Afro-Dad:   “Whoa.   There’s “Austin Mom of Twins.”  I’d like to hit her stat counter, if you know what I mean.”

Truth Quotient:  12%  (Honestly, it was a great experience, and loved speaking with so many intelligent, passionate, and funny women… and men.  Believe me, I’m not sure you want to read my heartfelt, overly-emotional authentic reaction to meeting so many cool people during the last few days, because it would just sound very corny).


  1. Lisa Rae @ smacksy

    I don’t care what anyone else says, I love you, Neil.

  2. blaugra

    Holy shit. This wins for funniest/funnest post-#blogher11, um, post!

  3. Backpacking Dad

    Truth Quotient 0%, fucker. My Klout eats yours for breakfast!

  4. Kristien

    This was hilarious. (And now I can use it retrospectively as an excuse as to why I didn’t chat with you longer than 30 seconds.)

    • Kristine

      Ohhh, look at me, misspelling my name like a fucking champ.

  5. Sizzle

    I like tongue in cheek. 🙂

  6. Yuliya

    Read this completely terrified that you would mention me. Thank you for not.

  7. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    I didn’t even read your tweets.

  8. Danny

    This has to be the best post ever written about BlogHer. I can’t imagine ever attending that event but I remain fascinated by it for some reason. Some of the session titles sounded like a joke, though. Do some of those folks take themselves just a teench too seriously? (Not your readers, of course!)

  9. Jen O.

    ::spitake:: Best BlogHer recap ever. I wish it were all true.

  10. Afro-Dad

    I totally hit that stat counter after you left.

  11. Otir

    Hilarious, as always.

    You should try and do one corny post, some day.

  12. Alexandra

    I loved meeting you at the VOTY reception on the terrace Friday night.

    You’re a nice man, Neil.

    And that’s why I’m going to follow your blog.

    Thanks for being nice.

  13. tracy@sellabitmum

    Okay, truly the best recap ever. Meeting you was lovely at the Cheeseburger soiree. You wear a bag-crown like the royalty you are.

  14. Chaka T

    You are hilarious.

  15. Sarah

    I laughed out loud, I did.

    Best recap ever.

  16. Bridget

    Maybe I would have come back if I had known was going to be like *this*. 🙂

  17. alejna

    Thanks for this, Neil. I couldn’t make it to Blogher this year, but this was the next best thing.

  18. anna ~ random handprints

    agree with alejna, totally feel like i was there now. thanks you. and i totally would’ve have liked to have met you and a few of those other people you mentioned, too.

  19. Karl

    This is the recap I was waiting for, and it’d be hard to top it. Glad you had a good time, Neil. Wish I’d been there to hang.

  20. Nancy P

    too damn funny. I think I just peed my pants a little bit!

  21. Maura

    You know, I was going to be all pissed that you edited me out of that first scene, but you made me laugh so I forgive you. 😉

    Fantastic post.

  22. The Muskrat

    I remember some of these conversations well. Bunch o’ bitches.

  23. kim/reluctant renovator

    Nice talking to you at the last five minutes of the People’s Party and the first three of Queerosphere.

  24. Scary Mommy

    I believe this is my favorite BlogHer post, ever. Lovely to see you again, even for two seconds.

  25. gorillabuns

    when did i miss your penis pic? have i been away that long?

  26. Robin

    Read this more than once. Loved it. 🙂

  27. Missives From Suburbia

    I hate to be cliche, but that was the best BlogHer post ever.

  28. Momo Fali

    Hmm…I actually know some goyish bloggers.

  29. MrsLaLa

    Well said!

  30. Redneck Mommy

    Well since my Klout score kicks both yours and Burns ass, I figure you both should kneel before me.

    Also, my blog will never go downhill. It’s hard to go any further down than the bottom of the barrel I’ve always liked to keep it at. Try not to get jealous.

    *Happy to have seen you. Again. Fucking stalker.*

  31. Mamacita

    I had this crazy dream where I saw you in the foyer and we talked for a few minutes.
    –Chopped Liver

    P.S. Just kidding. I still love you.

  32. Kyran

    What?? I didn’t make the recap? And here I thought we’d had a “moment!”

    Ah well, it was fantastic to finally meet you in person anyway. Let’s do it all again soon. xoxo

  33. Lisa

    So awesome! It was great to hang out with you!

  34. Magpie

    I love the Jew meets ham bit. Well, the whole thing really, and you.

  35. Tina

    Glad you didn’t mention the body images discussion from Aiming Low or the fact that every time you saw me I was pretty much alone. Also, I never got that pic.

  36. Rene Foran

    This is the shit, Neil.
    I’m serious.
    Bless You, Citizen Of The Month

  37. Ltripler

    I met you for 3 seconds on Saturday night but am so glad you gave me a card b/c you are so my people. As a fellow east coaster, you humor and dry wit is very much appreciated. Tomorrow when I wake up in LA LA land I will remember that Neil is out there and will make me laugh again.

  38. allie

    You must keep deleting all the comments disagreeing with the cheesy compliments from the other commenters.

  39. tracy @mamacreates

    After all those goddamned photos of half-empty fucking cocktail glasses plastered all over Instagram this weekend, this post was a sweet reprieve.

    Except now I’m all heartbroken & shit, because while I’m a future divorcee (is that spelled right? what a cheesy fucking word), I have a young daughter, which means we could never be involved.


  40. Andrea

    Your post makes me want to buy Blogher ’12 tickets NOW. Too funny!

    • subWOW

      Buy it Andrea. And we will promise Neil that we will flash him.

  41. Always Home and Uncool

    Wait. You’re Jewish?

  42. Joann Woolley

    This blogosphere thing is still all new to me – first BlogHer too – not sure how I found ur post, probably twitter – and I was first mortified at the conversations – then laughing as it sunk in that this could not have possibly been true. Always good to have a little satire.

  43. tracey - justanothermommy

    It’s always the slightly awkward Jew that has the nastiest mind, isn’t it?

    You’re lucky that I appreciate an awkward, nasty mind.

    Thanks for pretending to know who the hell I was. 🙂

  44. slouchy

    Never met a Jew?

    I don’t buy it. But maybe that’s the Jew in me. I knew it had to come out sometime. My grandpa would be proud.

    • Neil

      10% true.

  45. Roxanna

    “But nice to meet you, Jewish man.”

    You are hilarious, Neil.

    • Neil

      Missed seeing you, R.

  46. Angella

    Best. Recap. EVER.

    Glad I got to see you!

    • Neil

      You were the first one I met. Crossing the street. I owe you a meal in NY.

  47. Jessica

    you were way nicer to me than the Bloggess wtf? I’m not popular enough?

    • Neil

      Pretty much.

  48. Christina

    What? You didn’t see the Flash Mob?

  49. the mombshell

    They were giving away vibrators at BlogHer!?! Fuck! -stomps off-

  50. Laurie

    I let you touch my arm and I didn’t make it. Jerk. 🙂

  51. subWOW

    WTF Neil? You sexteet everybody but me?!

  52. Julie

    Neil, that was awesome.

    • Neil

      Missed you this year!

  53. Jill Introspectre

    You bastard. You’ve made me want to attend a BlogHer conference just to see what kind of crazy shit you make up about me afterward. Curse my vanity and your addictive sense of humor.

  54. Twenty Four At Heart

    Fine … just FINE. You spend all your time with me at BlogHer and then talk about The Pioneer Woman in your post. Hmmmmph. I guess I know where I stand!

    : )

    • Neil

      you aren’t that big…. yet.

  55. Anarka

    I just found your blog like ten minutes ago and found myself quite enjoying your writing. I was going along all “ooh, this is good writing! Ha! Hilarious! This is fab–” And then I spotted the Hillshire Farms demographic and everything turned into hyperventilating and trying to come to terms with my mortality. It turned into more wine and “HOW DID I END UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE 25-35 DEMOGRAPHIC?!”

    So I offer my deepest apologies for turning what is a totally hilarious post into excessive drinking and worrying about my lost youth!

  56. Deer Baby

    Hilarious. Would love to see the reaction if you read this out at VOTY next year. Maybe people could come visit you in the urinals? The queue would stretch round the block.

  57. TwoBusy

    You couldn’t put it on the internet if it wasn’t true.

  58. The Culture Mom

    Great post – my favorite about BlogHer by far, as well. It’s hard to know what’s fiction/fact here, but I don’t mind. I’m sure there’s truth in most things you write, right? I’d like to parody some of the conversations I had, but I don’t have the guts like you do.

    On a side note, I actually got a few cracks about being a Jew at Blogher. Living in NY, I’m certainly not used to it. I guess that’s why I started a group callled BlogherYentas. You should come next year.

  59. Jenny, Bloggess

    Honestly, it was like you’d recorded our entire conversation. You left out the part where we settled our beef in a duel with jack-knives.

    Total lack of integrity, Neil.

  60. Heather

    I love your recaps. Really.

    It was nice “seeing” you Sunday afternoon. I would have walked over but the kids were ready to go.

    Hillshire Farms doesn’t realize how many bloggers who read you are in their demographic. 😉

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