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Archive for May, 2007

We Won’t Back Down

Posted by evankessler on May 24, 2007


Well, it was another day of ankle nursing on the Evan Kessler.com front but when the night hit all couch sitting duties were brushed aside in favor of the ultimate evening activity…The Pub Quiz.

Once again, our crew consisted only of two, myself and Andrew Morton. Andrew had come up with our team name prior to meeting up. We were to be Abe Lincoln And The Heartbreakers. As soon as I heard this name I was immediately in favor of it. Sure we’ve got a boatload of other names we’re dying to use but you can never have too many Pub Quiz team names.

When we arrived at the Black Sheep Pub to partake around 8:20 all of the tables were taken. We regrettably took seats at the bar and were all but resigned to this being our spot for the evening when out of nowhere a couple got up from their table. We rushed over to grab it. Yes, we would be quizzing it in the comfort of our very own table. Andrew and I were very antsy for the pub quiz to begin. I had read the Wednesday New York Times and was sure I knew the answers to 10 possible questions. Unfortunately, my studying only paid off in two instances.

Abe Lincoln and the Heartbreakers got off to an extremely slow start tallying only one correct answer in round 1. Our spirits immediately dropped after the challenging array of questions. We only scored 1 in that round because I had read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and there was a questions about The Golem. Things started to look up in Round 2 as we took care of quizness sweeping all 5 answers ranging from certain World War 1 personalities to The New Michael Moore movie.

Round three saw us getting back on the roller coster as we failed to conjure up answers for where Krispy Kreme’s are made and which candy item had $250,000 worth stolen in the past month at one location. We did however know that Tinky Winky was purple and that Cicadas are a very noisy bug that come out by the millions ever several years. Only 2 right answers in Round 3.

The questions seemed to get harder and harder and we only garnered one right answer in round 4 because we knew that Joan Jett was in The Runaways. This was turning out to be a shameful outing but if we were doing this bad no one could really be doing much better. Round 5 was nearly as difficult but we managed to get 2 right to bring our half time total to 11, a fire cry from our previous 1st half high of 18.

When the scores were announced I think we ended up only being in 4th or 5th place. Our deficit was certainly surmountable and Andrew and I turned on the “nothing to lose-balls to the wall mindset”. We had yet to get any theme rounds or multiple choice rounds and I think that hurt us a little bit.

Rounds 6 and 7 saw a marked improvement as we got 3 out of 5 questions in each of those rounds including andrew knowing that Kublai Khan was the ruler of China who was visited by Marco Polo and my educated guess as to which alcohols constitute a Long Island Iced Tea. I suppose now I can be a bartender.

The tide really started to turn for Abe Lincoln and the Heartbreakers with Round 8 being the first theme round. It was announced that it was an all star wars round so I calmly handed the answer sheet to Andrew and focused my attention on the Met game being projected on the back wall of the bar. 2 minutes and 5 questions later we had a perfect round. We were feeling a little better about our chances, but to be honest the Star Wars round was kind of easy. I sort of wished they had asked more difficult questions that weren’t common knowledge to most non-Star Wars nerds.

Round 9 presented many obstacles in the form of difficult questions but somehow we managed to sweep that to. Andrew made an educated guess that Shirley Temple Black was the U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic in the late 80’s and early 90’s and somehow he knew that Ian Fleming wrote “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. I on the other hand knew that Teddy Roosevelt was responsible for the Panama Canal. I’m not exactly sure what the other questions were but their answers as written on the paper in front of me were 3 and B.

As round 10 rolled around we had the feeling that we might be in this thing even though we were pretty sure we weren’t. Another sweep would’ve been nice but instead we could only figure out that taxicabs were being replaced by hybrids (question 1) and Jack, Janet, and Chrissy were the original roommates on Three’s Company. When all was said and done a tie was announced for 3rd place but we were not one of the teams competing. Upon the reading of the final scores Abe Lincoln and The Heartbreakers had finished tied for 5th. Not exactly the finish we were looking for, but you can’t win ’em all. We’re gunning for the top spot next time. Fellow quiz contestants beware.

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Doctorly Advice

Posted by evankessler on May 23, 2007


You may recall last Thursday when I told you about my nagging ankle injury. Well after Monday’s late weekend recap post I finally went and did something about it. I ventured into Manhattan (mostly because I don’t want to choose a new Brooklyn doctor) limping towards my Doctor’s office on Park Avenue (I’m all class) for a diagnosis on my aching lower left extremity.

To be honest, at this point the pain had subsided a bit from the previous few days. I even walked around on it a bit on Sunday and while there was a little pain, I was mostly dealing with a feeling of discomfort in my ankle area. A brief visit to my doctor had unveiled two possible diagnoses. He thought that there might be a fracture of sorts, so he recommended that I get an X-ray. He also had a suspicion that I might have Plantar Fasciitis. Neither of those options sounded very appealing seeing as I was starting a new job soon that would require plenty of being on my feet. Also Plantar Fasciitis is just ugly sounding. He also recommended I see a podiatrist. Unfortunately by the time my appointment was over I had no time to go do either of those things. Instead, my doctor armed me with trial packets of the anti-Inflammatory drug Celebrex and sent me on my way for the evening.

Upon leaving my doctor’s office I foolishly continued to walk on my injury all the way up to Bryant Park where I engaged in some reading until a little after 6pm when the sun had decided to disappear behind a building thereby denying me warm sunlight to bask in while I read. At this point I headed uptown as I had plans to meet with my friend Jaime W. It had probably been since Thanksgiving time when I last saw her and earlier the week before she had asked when I was coming to her apartment to see her new dog Wallace, a poodle labrador mix. This was the time I had chosen, and so I hobbled uptown with a little help from the 1 train.

I arrived a bit early and dragged myself to a liquor store for some wine to bring my host. Jaime was a little late (or I was still a little early) but I didn’t mind as I sat nearby her apartment reading until she arrived home. We went up to her apartment and upon entering I saw her big furry poodle-labrador in the kitchen. I can’t say I knew what A poodle labrador mix would look like but if I were to venture a guess in my imagination this probably would’ve been close to what I would’ve come up with. It had the curly white hair of a poodle without the ugly face. I generally just think poodles are ugly, but Wallace had more of a labrador personality. He was very well behaved and Jaime felt inclined to show me how well trained the dog was. I was certainly impressed. Jaime’s always has had a way with animals so it was no surprise that her pooch was so well behaved.

Jaime and I sat down for a few glasses of wine and discussed our impending high school reunion and our jobs for a bit. Her fiancee came home somewhere into our 2nd glass of wine, but we were hungry and he had already eaten so we made for the Westside Tavern for a good pub dinner. Afterward, I went back up for a few minutes but it was getting late and I was on the Upper West Side, which is no place for a Brooklynite to be so late at night.

I arrived home in Brooklyn somewhere close to 11 and watched the Daily Show and Colbert before deciding to doze off early. I had plans to go to both the X-Ray center and the Podiatrist on Tuesday so I was going to have to wake up early. Before doing so I did some research on Plantar Fasciitis. It sounded none too appealing, but also not horribly menacing. Having read about it, I was afraid I had it even though the exact symptoms didn’t sound right.

8am rolled around and I was quite disappointed, having originally planned to wake up at 8:45am this morning. However, there was quite a bit of pain emanating from my ankle area. My first move was to try and go back to sleep for a bit. My next move was to find the anti-inflammatory drug my doctor had given me and take it.

Celebrex is a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAIDS).

Q:What is the most important information I should know about medicines called Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)?

A: “NSAID medicines may increase the chance of a heart atack or stroke that can lead to death. “

Sounds to me like the risk of taking this NSAID might outweigh the benefits but what the hell, you only live once even if it is abbreviated by a dosage of celebrex. Luckily for me, life went on. I dosed myself with Celebrex and headed into the city for a sweet, sweet X-ray.

When I arrived at the X-ray center there was only one other person in the waiting room. They saw me right away and took three X-rays of my foot that our now conveniently stored in my bedroom. Thankfully they put great care to put that X-ray pad on my lap so my balls wouldn’t get X-rayed to death. Just like that I was done. I headed down the street to the Podiatrist who was nearby. However, just as I started to make my way I got a call back from the X-ray center. This frightened me. I thought something was deathly wrong. I cautiously made my way back, hobbling slightly less as I suppose the Celebrex had kicked in and not in the way which I felt my heart was about to stop. Though if I had received bad news it might’ve. It turns out they just needed to take two more x-rays as the ace bandage on my ankle had obscured the x-ray a bit. It turned out to be no big deal. No fracture. I was going to be okay, though they did notice an irregularity that was not bothering me so they felt no need to do anything about it.

After my X-ray adventure it was off to the podiatrist for an 11;30am appointment. I hadn’t been this busy before noon in god knows how long. The Podiatrist was a different story. I sat in the Podiatrist’s chair for what seemed like an eternity before anyone came to talk to me. However, once he did the solution was simple. I had a strained tendon and Senor Podiatrico gave me a tape job to stablilize the tendon which he told me to keep on for 3 days. It is both of our hope that this alleviates the problem. Though it’s probably a stronger hope of mine that it alleviates the problem since he stands to make more money if I come back. However, this guy seemed to be in the foot business for the right reasons and I shouldn’t project my rage at the capitalist system towards him. Plus, I my foot felt much better after the visit.

Not much to report after the doctor visits. I made my way home with surprisingly less discomfort and spent the majority of the rest of my day keeping off my feet. I suppose I’ll do much of the same tomorrow until the pub quiz rolls around. Cross your fingers. Andrew Morton and I are poised to take the championship once again while everyone else is out watching Lost like a bunch of nerd-bags.

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500 a.ka. The End

Posted by evankessler on May 11, 2007

To anyone keeping track this is the 500th post in EvanKessler.com history and even more appropriately the final entry of the iPodyssey. I’m almost at a loss for words during this dual landmark but I must keep my composure. It was my original inkling that I would not finish the iPodyssey tonight despite last night’s promise that my musical journey would reach it’s end today. When I first stepped outside today around 3pm, I was immediately skeptical due to the overcast skies and chill in the air from the breeze. I stepped out of my apartment to the tune of PJ Harvey’s “You Said Something” almost positive that I would head back inside in a matter of minutes negating the imminent termination of my quest. Instead I pressed on to the Tea Lounge where I had, the previous day, purchased a green lemon iced tea. I again purchased the same beverage and continued to the bench outside Louie G’s ice cream on 5th and Union to do some reading and some iPodyssey.

While reading Sarah Vowell’s “Take The Cannoli” I made it all the way to Ben Folds Five’s “Your Redneck Past” before calling it quits for the afternoon on the iPodyssey. That was 32 songs for the whole afternoon. I only had seven songs left in order to finish my nearly 6 month journey known as the iPodyssey. I was rather antsy as I cooked for myself in my apartment later on in the evening with my iPod blaring from the kitchen speakers. I told my roommate Marty to be ready with my Camera should my iPodyssey come to an end while I was cooking my Steak Teriyaki dinner. I would certainly want a photo of where I was at the time my historic journey ended. Cooking my feast only lasted until David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” which was not to be the end of my iPodyssey. I still had three songs to go. Fortunately, I could follow through on my promise to finish the iPodyssey on Thursday because my day was not over. I headed out to Manhattan to see Cold Hands Collective to play at the Slipper Room. Several minutes into my walk to the subway I had blazed through Beck’s “Ziplock Bag”, R.E.M’s “Zither” and Pavement’s “Zurich Is Stained” to put an end to the iPodyssey. I was on the corner of 5th and Dean at the moment “Zurich is Stained” ended. I just had to document the conclusion of a monumental task, so I took these pictures.

Me, Seconds After Finishting the iPodyssey on the Corner of 5th and Dean

What I Saw As I Finished The iPodyssey

My immediate response to finishing the iPodyssey was to put my iPod on shuffle and revel in the difference of shuffle and the alphabetical nature with which I’ve been enjoying my music for the past six months.

Here’s is what my first 8 shuffle songs in 6 months looked like:

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals “A Kiss Before I Go”
Beck – “Asshole”
Beastie Boys “What Comes Around”
Earl Pickens and The Black Mountain Marauders- “Midnight, High Noon”
Fiona Apple- “Parting Gift”
The Streets “The Irony Of It All”
Ryan Adams- “This House It Not For Sale”
The White Stripes “Jimmy The Exploder”

It’s not the most diverse sampling but at no point in my listening did I feel like skipping a track. I think ultimately the iPodyssey taught me about patience. It’s sort of a wonder that in my first bout of shuffling I had no desire to skip. I more or less had a “que sera sera” outlook on the upcoming tracks.

Anyway, I met up with the Cold Hands Folks as well as Rob M, Morwin, Nina, and several other folks at The Slipper Room for an immensely enjoyable show and night of drinks. I would expound on the activities but I am somewhat exhausted from my milestone studded evening. I’m thankful that I’ve reached this point but am a little bit perplexed as to where things go from here. Will I be fulfilled shuffling songs or will I long to keep it sequential? Who knows? All I know is that there’s a big load off of my shoulders now that this is over. I didn’t think it possible that I would make it through but as god is my witness, the task is complete. I’d like to thank everyone who made this possible and by everyone I mean myself and the folks at Apple for making the iPod. You’ve truly been an inspiration.

Here’s A Photo of the Cold Hands Collective Performing at The Slipper Room

Another Photo of Cold Hands Collective performing at The Slipper Room

It seems kind of lame just to end this here but I really am exhausted. I just want to revel in my small but important victory over technology, knowing full well that so very few people have overcome this alphabetical obstacle that I have labored to remove from my path for such a substantial period. I’ve conquered letters A thru Z. What else is there for me to do? Surely, you have a feasible answer…or maybe you don’t.

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Shocking Report: The Good News

Posted by evankessler on May 10, 2007


I’m aware that the length of time between posts is starting to make each new post akin to that of a weekend recap. Though given the time of the week this one is taking place, one might be inclinded to say it’s a Midweek recap. So go ahead…call it a midweek recap… To say the last few days have been eventful would, I suppose, be an understatement. Maybe it would be an overstatement. Perhaps, your definition of eventful is slightly more busy than mine and might also rely heartily on your definition of the word “understatement”. In any case, the past few days have been eventful and of a rather fortuitous nature.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been mentioning outings into the city, calling some of them business and some of them errands. Some actually were errands and some were actually job interviews. On this beautiful Monday past, to begin the week, I ventured into the city for an actual errand run. I was originally tempted to just stay in bed the entire day due to the fact that I had not slept a wink the previous evening on account of feeling ill. However, the weather was too nice for me to avoid the sun altogether and after an hour nap after writing my daily Costner post, I set sail for the city with my iPod in hand starting my Monday journey at The Roots “Without A Doubt” and racing through the W’s passing by songs about Wondering, Wonderwalls, Words, Work and “The World At Large”. My trip to the city wasn’t prolonged by many events just a simple in and out deal and I arrived home to the cheers of the live concert crowd at Madison Garden at the beginning of Johnny Cash’s “Wreck of The Old 97”. I didn’t get much past the crowd noise prior to putting a stop to the Monday iPodysssey leg.

The rest of the evening seemed to be status quo as far as Mondays tend to go. I had a bowl of cereal for dinner since I wasn’t particularly struck by the hungries and I watched 24, which just seems to be getting more and more ridiculous by the second. Well, at least there’s only 2 more episodes. Free at last! Free at last! My Monday nights will be free at last! After another hour of audacious plot twisting, I went to my room to browse the interweb while my roommates while my roommates watched Heroes, which I have no interest in. Upon arriving back at my room I noticed my cell phone vibrating with a voice message notice. When I checked the call log I noticed a West Coast phone number. This was a call I had been waiting for. I had interviewed with an L.A. based production company the previous week for an AP position on a New York based reality show. I immediately returned their call and learned the delightful news, that I had a new job! My mood was transformed from annoyance (from the pathetic episode of 24 to absolute giddyness. Evan Kessler is back on the job…but not for another few weeks until it starts up.

I was absolutely delighted that my morning would not be filled with job hunting and resumé sending. That was a good thing too since the temperature was to be in the mid-70’s and enjoying the sunny weather would be preferral to perusing the interweb indoors in a windowless room. Yes sir and or ma’am, I was in a good mood heading to sleep that night. I went to bed with my hands folded behind my head and ready to drift off to dreamland. While in that blissful dreamland I felt a surge coming through to my hand. I don’t recall what I was dreaming about but the surge did not feel at all relevant. It felt electric. Somehow I was able to determine within my dream that the feeling was based on an occurrence in the actual real world of my bedroom and I was able to rouse myself from my sleep and not a moment too soon. You see, the one electrical outlet in my room is behind the head of my bed and since I have no headboard my extremities are ripe candidates to shake hands with voltage should I feel the need to extend them far enough and I had apparently felt that need this evening in my sleep.

Luckily for me there was no damage sustained. I think there was a little mark that has since disappeared but it must not have been an extreme voltage situation. I was sufficiently freaked out thinking that after such a good day it would have been ironic to accidentally commit suicide in my sleep via electrocution. After pondering a 3am room rearrangement I decided that I’d sleep with my head on the opposite side of the bed for the rest of the evening. The task of finding a safer spot for my bed would have to wait until the next morning or at least until a time when I wasn’t so tired.

Tuesday Morning, I awoke safely, not having had anymore sleep accidents. I was ready to start what effectively was a three week vacation since my new job wouldn’t be starting until the end of May. After the daily Costner post I headed out with my iPod in hand to wander around the neighborhood. My Tuesday iPodyssey began at Johnny Cash’s “Wreck of The Old 97”. Coincidentally, I was wearing my Old 97’s (they were named after that song and I swear I didn’t even think about it before putting it on) band shirt. I walked all the way to Connecticut Muffin on 7th and 1st Streeet and got myself an iced green tea. Unfortunately, there were no spots for me on the bench so I walked all the way to 5th and Union where I sat outside in the blazing sun in front of Louie G’s Ice Cream shop and read my latest book, Sarah Vowell’s Take The Cannoli.

During my sitting streak I welcomed and said goodbye to the 5 songs X-section of the iPodyssey which began with Liz Phair’s “X-Ray Man” and ended with the Magnetic Fields “Xylophone”. The Magnetic Fields also began the Y-section with “Yeah, Oh Yeah”. After a few more Y songs I made for home. There’s only so much sun one can take in per afternoon. I walked through the door to the sound of Radiohead’s “You”, which was as good a place to stop as any since it seemed to be the beginning of a very long section in which a particular word dominated.

The rest of my Tuesday was rather relaxed. After spending some time futzing around my apartment I decided to cook myself some teriyaki chicken for dinner, so I ventured out to the Key Food for supplies. Several minutes later it was cooking time and I resumed the iPodyssey all the way to Yo La Tengo’s “You Can Have it All” which is where my iPod was when I was done cooking. The next 4 to 5 hours were spent couching it in favor of baseball on the idiot box. At around 11:46pm, Arby sent me an IM asking if I wanted to get a drink. Seeing as I had no plans for the next morning I felt I could be up for a few. We met 10 minutes later at The Lighthouse amidst several barstools, one bartender, a bar owner, and no one else. It was a quiet night in The Slope indeed. Three drinks later we called it a night. I went to sleep with my head nowhere near the light socket once again.

Wednesday Morning felt eerily similar to Tuesday. No responsibility save for a Costner post and striking beautiful weather outside once again. I got the blogging out of the way quickly and then high tailed it to Target. Of course I brought my iPod with me. There’s no way I’m not taking that thing with me everywhere seeing as the end of the iPodyssey is so near I can taste it. I resumed at Yo La Tengo’s “You Can Have It All” as I tossed my baseball up in the air to myself never once losing it in the bright sunlight as I walked down the street. Before I knew it I was at Target in the familiar sock aisle. I made a quick study of my options, made my sock selection and promptly paid. Just like that I was out the door, heading back for some more relaxed reading in front of Louie G’s. This time I got my Tea from the Tea Lounge on Union St between 6th and 7th Avenues. I have to say, I most certainly discovered a new favorite coffee/tea joint…maybe. One visit isn’t enough to call something your favorite, though the Green/Lemon Iced Tea was quite the satisfactory beverage.

I sat, reading on a bench outside of Louie G’s until 3:05pm when it was time to go back to my apartment and watch the Mets-Giants game. My Wednesday iPod journey stopped when I got in my apartment at PJ Harvey’s “You Said Something” with a mere 39 songs left on the iPodyssey. Mark my words, the iPodyssey ends Thursday.

Wednesday had already felt productive enough with my trip to target, the reading, and the baseball watching, but Wednesday night also held fun in the palm of it’s hand. Wednesday night is Pub Quiz Night twice a month and while the regular crew has not been making a priority out of it, that didn’t stop Andrew Morton and I from putting our theoretical cards on the table. We arrived at the Black Sheep Pub a determined twosome. After discussing previous favorite quiz team names we settled on “Please Escher Don’t Hurt ‘Em” (like instead of MC Hammer we were referring to MC Escher for those of you who have no idea what we are talking about). We did come up with some good new quiz names though. We added “Full Court Breasts” and “Steenburgen” (as in actress Mary Steenburger, we think it sounds like a 70’s metal band name) to the mix. There was some discussion of “Ted Dancin’ ” but that joke might rely on the name to be too visual to get.

Anyway, Andrew and I were encouraged after our last championship showing with the two of us and Katie nearly a month ago. We were not afraid of the other pesky teams. Besides, quiz night was substantially less crowded than usual and damn those other teams with 4 people. We’re smart cats. “Please Escher Don’t Hurt ‘Em” got off to a mediocre start in the first 3 rounds answering 8 out of 15 correctly including questions about French Prime Ministers, The View, and Tom Hanks Movies. However, the heat was turned up as we swept both rounds 4 and 5, the latter of which was all about film theme songs (don’t waste our time, really). We were sitting pretty at the halfway point tied with two other teams with 18 correct answers.

We had a dogfight on our hands but we were brimming with confidence. Our next two rounds we managed to muster 8 out of 10 possible correct answers, which was way better than the 5 or 6 we had perceived as the right answer. Apparently we know a thing or two about Nazi Generals, Slavic Capitals, Mountain Ranges and Green Day. God bless quiz question diversity. Unfortunately round 8 so us fall back to earth with 2 correct answers, one of which I had learned from Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen the previous evening during the Mets broadcast (and it wasn’t sports related). Knowledge comes from the strangest places.

Andrew and I were slightly discouraged by the 2-round but we knew we still had a shot at taking home the big bucks. Luckily, for us in round 9 I was able to use my knowledge of “Dora The Explorer” that I gained this passover to our advantage and Andrew relied on his knowledge of Wicca to score us a 4. It was down to one final round, but it wouldn’t be easy. We were at 32 and while that might have been enough in other weeks, it might not be enough today. Luckily Andrew new enough about Birth Control and Michael Jackson and we scored a 3. One of the answers in the round was Candace Bergen but we realized that after we handed in our sheet and couldn’t get it back. Oh well, this was the moment of truth. Could a team of two wipeout an entire bar? Well, almost. It was a tie.

We had tied with a team of 4 with 35 correct answers and it was time for a tie-breaker. The final question. If you were to make a fence that stretched the entire U.S.-Mexico border, how many feet long would it be…the closest team wins. I knew I had to figure out how many feet are in a mile and just multiply it by 3,000 or something like that. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how many feet were in a mile. My final answer was 4,740,000. Unfortunately, I was about 5,000,000 feet short and the other team was a bit closer. Andrew and I finished in 2nd place but we weren’t ashamed. We came to realize that we can probably contend for the money every time from now on and as a team of two split the winnings. We were both $14 richer tonight and pretty happy about it. We’re willing to take on more partners though, the more the merrier. It’s just that if no one wants to join us, well then more money for us. And with the end of quiz night, effectively came the end of Wednesday.

Lots going on Thursday, The End of The Ipodyssey, Cold Hands Collective at The Slipper Room on the LES. There’ll be plenty more to talk about tomorrow night…maybe…if I don’t just fall asleep after coming home…stay tuned.

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Battle of The Bands

Posted by evankessler on May 3, 2007


Just once I’d like the term “Battle of the Bands” to fall victim to a literal interpretation. Imagine the blood splaterring as lead singers were smashed across the face with guitar necks and drummers were impaled on their splintered wooden sticks. Sometimes I think this would make for a more interesting event than that which is usually comprised of a couple of poorly prepared and unfortunately encouraged jam bands and thrash metal outfits with horrific timing and even more repulsive lyrics.

However, tonight’s Battle of The Bands at Columbia University was an exception to the rule. Why was I attending a battle of the Bands up at Columbia University? The answer was as simple as Free Entry, Free Booze, Free Food and of course Free Entertainment courtesy my friends in the Cold Hands Collective. I was completely unaware of this potential treat earlier in the week as Ahmad Saeed’s email had fallen into my Spam folder never to be found again. It wasn’t until Tuesday night at Andrea P’s birthday event that I was notified of said event.

I was a little hesitant to make my way all the way up north to the heralded Ivy league campus but the lure of food, folks, and fun proved too great. After a day which featured a previous excursion into the city for business reasons and some iPodyssey action up to the Cure song “Why Can’t I Be With You”, I headed to catch the 2 train on Flatbush Avenue so that I might eventually find my way to Lerner Hall on 115th St and Broadway, where Cold Hands Collective would be playing at the CUBOTB or Columbia University Battle of The Bands. As I turned on my iPod after talking to my mother on the phone on my way to the subway station, I noticed a glaring problem. I had once again erased all of the songs on my iPod. Crap. For the third time in the span of my iPodyssey I was without music. I had all of my music backed up on my computer but it would do me no good since I was not heading back home and I had quite the lengthy subway ride ahead of me. If only I had the common sense to bring my book with me.

The trip up to the Columbia campus took about an hour from my apartment in Park Slope and a torturous hour at that sans-music. When I got out I found myself in front of Lerner Hall but was not sure of which entrance I was to enter through as there was a theatre with a name that was not that of which I was told the event was being held. I patrolled the area but didn’t look into the obvious option which was entering the grassy campus area. I called Rich M and he told me that was the way to go. Sure enough, I discovered a vast area of greenery which was quite the breathtaking landscape as far as cityscapes go. I thought to myself that I was in a delightful area that must soon be used as a reading and relaxation destination. Hopefully I wouldn’t need a Columbia ID to enter said area.

After I was done fawning over the area of greenery I headed into Lerner Hall where I encountered Rich and the rest of the Cold Hands fellows including Ahmad, Abdullah, Anand, Ajay, and Miller. There was free pizza but the beer had not begun being distributed so I settled for a water and a slice. We were also joined by Andy S, Morwin, Jamie S, Kayvalyn, Jason, Andrea, Shayan, and other folks who I don’t feel like recalling right now. The event was supposed to begin at 8pm but it was a lot closer to 9pm when the first band came on (I think). The first band was a light jazz instrumental trio that made me feel as if I was stuck in an elevator with that Michael Bublé guy. There weren’t any words to the songs but one of the songs was called “Taste My Dog” which we handily translated to “Suck My Balls”. We’re very mature.

When we were finished being soothed there was a lengthy pause for the next band to set up. The second band was called Baby Pool and while I’m not a huge fan of the name, I don’t think it’s awful. The band itself was quite good. They had an accordion player, a glockenspiel, a keyboard player, a cellist, and a drummer. It made for an musically interesting mix that would’ve sounded just right had it not been for the subpar sound mix. This was starting to seem like a thinking person’s battle of the bands.

The next band was somewhat of a letdown. I don’t remember what their name was but after the inventiveness of the previous band their blend of rock seemed generic and a tad bit whiny. The evening was flying by and I was less and less enthused as the bands prior to Cold Hands went on.

There was one more band left before our friends took stage. They were called The Recovery and their balding lead singer had loads of energy. He bounced around like a madman somewhat reminiscent of Out of Time era Michael Stipe. You have to watch footage of them performing “Losing My Religion” on SNL from that time to know what I’m talking about. Anyway, they sound like a blend of The Shins and Toad the Wet Sprocket, though to be honest I wasn’t listening that intently, but just in passing that’s what they sounded like.

Soon enough they were off the stage and Cold Hands Collective promptly set up. Our group of friends made towards the stage. We were the only people who stood up front to see one of the bands perform. Everyone else just sat through the majority of the other performances. As usual, we showed our appreciation for our friend’s musical talents by getting up in their faces and dancing around. It was a short, but solid set. Andy took video of the event with his classy video camera and I took a few photos.

When all was said we had another beer and waited for the announcement to be made. The finally tally had Cold Hands and the band who played before them tied in 1st place. Baby Pool got 2nd. I think the smooth jazz folks got last. We hung around for a bit and talked with one of the delightful members of Baby Pool who told us they were playing Freddy’s Backroom on Friday which just so happens to be down the road from me. Unfortunately and Fortunately, I’ll be at Earl Pickens’ CD release party at the Sidewalk Cafe on Friday. Que sera sera.

When we left the event it was a little after Midnight. Jason, Kayvalyn, Andy, Summer, and Myself squeezed into a cab all the way back to brooklyn and I walked home from a mutual exit point. It was quite the night out on the town and the day wasn’t too bad either.

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Ipodyssey Monday -Wednesday Talking Heads “What A Day That Was”- The Cure “Why Can’t I Be With You”

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