Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Happy Birthday Citizen of the Month!

Neil with his stuff four days before his b-day (he's going on a road trip):

I've been in on an interesting surprise for Neil aka the witty mind and penis behind Citizen of the Month. You see, it's his birthday and he's quite the social blogger it seems. His wife, love and "post fodder", Sophia, put a plan together where she contacted all of the people somehow connected with Neil to set up a surprise birthday onslaught. I was immediately in because, wow, what a sweet thing to do. Plus, he'd be so surprised getting gifts and greetings from all over.

It's been said before, but Sophia is a keeper.

This is the email she sent out to everyone. Like I said, there was no way I couldn't participate. It's just such a cute idea. Plus, if you want steal it, this makes it easier as the plan is right here.
This is Sophia, Neil’s frequent post fodder, among other things.
If you’re getting this email, you’re probably one of the many readers of his Citizen Of The Month blog.

Neil has been entertaining us for almost two years now. He gave us the 2006 Christmahanukwanzaakah Concert, Thank Your First Commenter Day and now - Mister Valentine’s Day, among other funny, touching, thought-provoking and silly posts.

I thought that maybe we can all give him something in return - an unforgettable birthday, if you’re game. Neil’s birthday is on March 7, and if you would like to surprise him: send him a note, a trinket, a lottery ticket, a greeting card, a gift, a joke, a plasma TV, a picture, a book, a membership, a song – I have a plan.

I have conspired with our friend Danny, from the Jew Eat Yet? blog, to have everything sent to his address.

This will only work if we all keep it on the down low. I know it’s tempting to tell Neil that something “is coming,” or warn him of a surprise, but PLEASE, PLEASE, if you have such an urge – don’t do it! There is already a number of people involved in this “conspiracy” and it will just ruin everything. Also, please don’t mention his birthday in your comments or emails, because he’s a smart cookie, as you know, and he’ll figure that something’s up.
To add to this surprise Colleen aka the Communicatrix organized a blog carnival for Neil's birthday. If you're not sure what blog carnivals are. It's where a bunch of bloggers get together to write on one subject. Then all of the posts are linked in one place. Here is the Wikipedia entry on it: Blog Carnivals. It's quite interesting when it's done right because the topic can be on anything and it's fun to read various interpretations, stories or takes on a particular subject.

This is her invite into the 2007 Citizen of the Month Blogger Carnival Birthday Conspiracy. The official title is "First Annual Carnival of Neilochka." "Neilochka" is his Technorati handle if you're wondering:
Greetings, all.

Because I am insane and because I love Neil Kramer, Citizen of this and Every Month, I have agreed to take on the fool's errand of organizing the First Annual Carnival of Neilochka, set to run on Neil's birthday, March 7th.

If you have been living under a blog-sized rock and do not know what a carnival is, here's a definition from (where else?) wikipedia:

Since I have never been in a carnival, much less run one, I'm kind of winging this. But as I understand it, everyone posts a little something on their blogs, and then the host (that would be me) aggregates the links on hers. This will also be a one-stop carnival, unless someone is crazy enough to do it more than once. (Haha. That's a good one, Colleen.)

Anyway, we are trying to keep this a secret, and since Neil is an especially vigilant reader/commenter, this is going to make our jobs harder. But not impossible!

At first I thought we could backdate posts, but they'll still show up in an RSS feed and tip Neil off. So what you'll have to do is figure out the URL of the permalink in advance of uploading it, send it to me so I can compile the digest, then set it to post at some time Neil might be asleep: say, 3am PST on March the 7th. This should be fairly simple in most types of blog software, since there's a system each one has for creating permalinks, and since most of them will let you upload for scheduled publication. If you're totally clueless and have no smart geek friends who can help, let me know, and I'll see what I can do. (Alternately, if you are a smarty-pants, let me know in case someone comes for help and I can't help them!)

I know, I know--it's a pain in the keister. But think of all Neilochka has done for you! Or...I don't know. How fun it'll be.

So as I see it, the steps are these:

1. Write a post dedicated to Neil. A poem, silly anecdote, weepy story, whatever. Maybe an explanation of why you love Neilochka (or lovingly hate him). Maybe an explanation of the gift you sent him, if you sent one. Just make sure it's Neil-centric.

2. Upload the sucker to your blog, scheduled to post on March 7th around 3am Pacific Standard Time.

3. Send me the URL of the scheduled post (ie, the future permalink) NO LATER than Wednesday, February 28.

4. I will compile the responses in a hugely long carnival-type post and post on March 7, and send a copy of the link to this list to you on March 7 for those of you who don't already read me religiously.

Thaaaaaat's pretty much it. If anyone has any other suggestions or questions, fire away. But please send to me and don't copy all these other people, or life will get ridiculous and I will run screaming into the night and then where will Neilochka and his carnival be, huh?

Okay! Have at it, kids! And remember...

I gotta say it's just crazy, in a good way.

I had a great time picking out a gift for Neil. I don't think he's gotten mine yet because I mailed it late and they're off on a road trip. So I'll update this with what I got him after he gets back.

So Neil, in spite of the fact that:
  1. I have a horrible cold
  2. This cold is so bad that I fell asleep on the subway today en route to my first day of class (yes, I missed my first class. I did wake up, however, feeling much better, but I was majorly embarassed once I realized I slept from one side of Seoul to the other.)
  3. I did make it to my second class of the day to find out that it has 400 pages of reading a week (not too intimidating for me as it's law school all over again, but still...ugh)
  4. It started snowing heavily this evening and that makes it even colder.
  5. I'm just a stressed out camper now :(
I'm a fighter, or I'm just completely crazy. I hauled ass home to throw this blog together to wish you all the best on your birthday! Your blog has made me laugh out loud so many times.*

So anyway, thanks for the laughs Neil! And, most importantly, Happy Birthday from ExpatJane!

Oh and Communicatrix, I PAID someone to pack that for me.

I was amazed at his skill, but realized that was going to be a pain to unpack. I'm sure nothing broke, so it was well worth it. Next time, however, I'm going to videotape it because it was amazing to see him make a box from scratch and attend to every little detail.

*I discoved Citizen of the Month when I first registered my own blog on

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