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Archive for January, 2008


Posted by evankessler on January 31, 2008

Last night, several dudes and I (you might even call us total pussies) entered theater 5 at Regal Cinemas Union Square to see Rambo. An hour and a half later (give or take, probably take) when we emerged from the theater, we were men (or at least no longer total pussies). We’d never been in the shit before and after being transported to Burma through the eyes of John Rambo, we were in the thick of it. There was little room for talk, only action. Blood and guts were everywhere, limbs separated from bodies, heads exploded, bodies sliced in half by a single bullet. When the dust settled and the bullets stopped flying, we stood alone with John Rambo and some Christian missionaries from Colorado, proud to be Americans. I don’t know if we get to play Burma in the next World Cup, but if we do, I hope they play Rambo on the Jumbotron the entire way through just to show those Burmese pussies that we Americans don’t fuck around.

p.s. No Burmese people were harmed in the writing of this post.

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McCain vs. Huckabee…You Decide!

Posted by evankessler on January 25, 2008

It’s not very often I cover political discussion on this here site, but in light of Sylvester Stallone’s recent decision to endorse John McCain that has sent shockwaves through the American Political stratosphere, I thought I would leave it up to the readers to decide whether or not Mike Huckabee or John McCain is the more suitable Republican candidate. While I’d love to include Mitt Romney in the debate, the fact of the matter is that he doesn’t have an 80’s (or 90’s) action star endorsing him the same way Huckabee has Chuck Norris and McCain has Sly. Now if Steven Seagal or even Jeff “The Perfect Weapon” Speakman were to chime in with their support, that might be an entirely new story altogether, but seeing as Seagal is off following the path of the bodhisattva and has not let his preference be known in the political arena and nobody really knows who Jeff Speakman is, my feeling is that it will come down to these two candidates.

That being said, I do not believe on making my decision on which Republican candidate to endorse based on their policies regarding health care, gay marriage, Iraq, stem cell research, or even taxes. I’m basing my vote on sheer firepower. While it is almost certain that Stallone (McCain) has a higher body count, Chuck Norris (Huckabee) has taken out more people with the sheer force of his mighty fists. Frankly, I don’t see why Norris doesn’t side with McCain based soley on his Vietnam based experiences in Missing in Action II: The Beginning, but politics have always been somewhat of a mystery to me.

In any case, I’m still completely undecided as to who to endorse. So what I’m going to do is post two clips and allow my readers to decide which of the two endorsing action stars is more badass. The one who garners the most votes will receive the prestigious EvanKessler.com endorsement, which is almost as respected as that of the New York Times.

So without any further ado, I ask you…





Remember Super Tuesday is just around the corner…vote early and often.

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I’m Still Excited!

Posted by evankessler on January 23, 2008

I know it’s been three days since the Giants victory over Green Bay but my excitement leading up to Super Bowl XLII has yet to abate and while I probably won’t post about it every day, I’m going to have a hard time figuring out what to do with myself until February 3rd rolls around.

To satisfy my excited nature I’m posting more football themed fun on EvanKessler.com. Don’t hate me.


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Super Bowl Bound!

Posted by evankessler on January 21, 2008

The New York Giants defeated the Green Bay Packers last night to advance to Super Bowl XLII. Rather than writing out all of the details, I figured I’d just leave it to Prince Akeem to do my dirty work.

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The Jessica Simpson Jinx?

Posted by evankessler on January 14, 2008

Cheer Up Jessica…It’s Not Your Fault

As a life long New York Giants fan, I can’t help but feel that all of the media attention directed at Tony Romo’s relationship with Jessica Simpson has served to cheapen yesterday’s New York Giants NFC Divisional Playoff victory over the Cowboys of Dallas. Let me state unequivocally that the Dallas Cowboys were not a victim of the Jessica Simpson jinx , just as the New England Patriots have not been the beneficiaries of the Gisele Bündchen boost.

No one all season has mentioned that Tom Brady was having the perfect season and dating the perfect girl, so why should there be any correlation between Tony Romo making some on the field decisions that were not so bright and his dating of a girl that is not exactly the brainiest of the bunch? Had Brady not achieved a perfect season before because Bridget Moynahan wasn’t perfect enough? In our celebrity-driven culture, it seems that a rugged, strategic battle of wills such as a playoff football game has fallen victim to the need for a storyline, even that which is not relevant to the game itself. How many of the other players involved in the game do you think have girlfriends or wives that they might have slept with during the week? There are no paparazzi outside Eli Manning’s window because his girlfriend doesn’t have a platinum album…and is anybody even curious who Jason Witten was staying with in Mexico?

The Cowboys lost for one simple reason; they did not come up with plays when they had to. Players like the all talk and no action Patrick Crayton dropped the ball on a pivotal 3rd down and even though Tony Romo did miss a wide open Terrell Owens for an easy TD, I’d be hard pressed to find any reason to blame his girlfriend, unless the stadium PA operators were blasting one her dreadful bubble gum tunes over the sound system at that very moment.

The Cowboys came to play, but so did the Giants…and in the end someone had to be declared the winner. This time the contest fell in the Giants favor, not because of a buxom blonde with marginal musical material…but simply because the fat lady sang and ultimately the Giants defense had prevented Dallas from reaching the end zone one last time.

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There’s No F-U-N in Funeral?

Posted by evankessler on January 14, 2008

The title is not meant to suggest that I actually had fun at my Grandfather’s funeral. When I returned home to Rockland County on Wednesday evening with my brother in tow, I was not really looking forward to the potential of an overly emotional family reunion. However, when we arrived home to my home in Pomona via the taxi we caught at the bus stop, we were greeted by a surprisingly together group in relatively good spirits, considering the reason we were all gathered together. My brother and I entered the house to find my mother and my Aunt Melanie, along with my Uncle Alan’s fiancee Veronika setting up the dining room for a family dinner. My stepdad came in the door next and minutes later my cousin Erika, along with my uncle Alan walked through the door with a vast array of Chinese cuisine from our favorite local restaurant of that ilk. M

We sat down at the table and had a general pleasant conversation filled with a lot of laughter (mostly at the expense of my Uncle Alan) and general inappropriateness from my brother. He was recounting the story of his model shoot earlier in the day and felt it necessary to impart that the model whom he had shot had the biggest breasts on a 16 year old model he had ever seen. I’m sure this is information that everyone wanted to know…especially the female half of the table. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of information he is willing to share without taking the time to consider his audience. My uncle Doug showed up an hour into the meal and joined in the conversation as if he didn’t miss a beat.

The rest of Wednesday evening was spent catching up with my family as it had probably been close to two years since I had seen my Aunt Melanie, cousin Erika and Uncle Doug. I always seem to enjoy seeing my mom’s sister since we always seem to find the same things funny. I should probably go out to California and visit her since I have so much damn free time. Now only if I had the money. It had been even longer since seeing my Uncle Alan and his fiance, possibly more than than six years. Perhaps, I should go to Arizona too. Besides seeing my family there was another positives to being home in Rockland. Seeing as I was in the midst on my two week on-the-wagon, no drinking streak, being in the suburbs and not being within walking distance of a bar was going to knock a few days off of my required sobriety streak without a problem.

I woke up bright and early Thursday morning, around 8:30. My brother was sleeping on my lower pull out bed. He recommended sleeping another half hour, but I sprung out of bed to get an early start as I knew there’d be plenty of people showering and we had to be out of the house by 10:15am to drive to the funeral. When I walked downstairs, and saw the California contingent (Aunt Melanie, Uncle Doug, Cousin Erika) along with my stepdad enjoying breakfast. I partook in some Rice Krispies that my Uncle Alan had asked for them to buy for breakfast. However, he was staying at a neighbors house so he was not present at breakfast yet.

Shortly after my breakfast had been finished Alan and his fiance arrived to grab some pre-funeral food. Alan grasped the box of Rice Krispies and was dismayed that it was nearly empty. He whined that there was barely enough left for him to make a bowl and seemed resigned to begrudgingly have a tiny bowl of rice krispies even though his damned relatives didn’t think to save him any.

Little did he know, or did I know, my Aunt, his younger sister, had played a trick on him, emptying out the majority of the box into a tupperware container. Alan failed to see the humor in this as he failed to see the humor in other situations over his 3 days in New York. It was funny to me and just about everyone else though.

At 10:15 we left in 2 cars to the Gates of Zion cemetery, where my Father and Grandmother were both buried, and what was to be the final resting place for my Grandfather. The car I rode in with Alan and Veronika was the 2nd to arrive at the site. Alan’s daughter, my cousin Michele arrived before us with her boyfriend Jeff and my 2nd cousin Liz and Aunt Silvia (my grandmother’s sister?). We were soon followed by my mother and the rest of the group. The first order of business was to put rocks on the gravestones of our loved ones who had already been buried. I’m not exactly sure of the meaning of this ritual but I’ve been engaging in that tradition for the last 16 years or so, so there’s no reason to stop now.

Rather than have the ceremony in the indoor worship area we elected to have the rabbi speak outside next to the plot because we didn’t really have ample pall bearers and because it was actually kind of nice outside. When it was time to take the casket out of the Hearse, it was almost a disaster. The guys from the funeral service and cemetery seemed to have trouble handling the casket and almost dropped it. However, my Uncle’s fiance’ was quick on her feet to help them put it on the gurney thingy.

Now I’m not a huge fan of my religion or any religion for that matter, but the Rabbi that officiated over the ceremony was fantastic. She was very soft spoken and had a certain reassuring quality to her voice that was almost pleasant to listen to. I don’t know if I should feel guilty about this, but I actually enjoyed the funeral. There was a sense of warmth that came over me as my Grandfather’s coffin was lowered (though with some difficutly) into the ground alongside the woman whom he spent the majority of his years. They were together again and it just seemed right.

Following the part where the coffin was placed 6 feet below the surface, was the cover it in dirt portion. After mom, her siblings, and my brother shoveled dirt over the wooden box containing the body of my grandfather I did my duty. I was followed by the majority of the 18 remaining mourners on hand. However, the aim at this point was to cover the casket and since we all could do so with one or two scoops, I went back for 2nds. However, it would take awhile. My cousin’s boyfriend was right in front of me shoveling away. He didn’t do just one or two…he must’ve shoveled 15 or 20 times. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to prove to my cousin or uncle his dedication to our family or if he just really liked shoveling. I kept expecting him to put the shovel down but he kept going. Finally, he stopped and then I managed to get a few decent shovels in but I don’t think I got more in than that guy…though I did go for a bit.

When the shoveling was complete we all headed back to my family’s home in Pomona and partook in a little mourning lunchtime. There was an array of bagles with various spreads and cold cuts, lots of cookies, and very little healthy fare. We sat around the house discussing general family stuff and getting reacquainted and just enjoying each others company. We even took a few family photos, the best one being below.

An array of Parises, Kesslers, Streeters, and Petersons

The next few days were pretty similar. The lot of us barely left the house. We sat around while people visited and offered their condolences. Most of the conversation seemed upbeat. We passed around my Grandfather’s bronze star and read the accompanying commendations printed on tissue paper and dated in the 1940’s. There were a lot of good memories and a fair share of conversations not about the events of the past few weeks. I talked enough about my book idea that now I have to follow through with it, or else plenty of people are going to be very disappointed…including myself.

My brother left after the funeral on Friday; My uncle Alan and his girlfriend onFriday afternoon and myAunt Melanie and Uncle Doug left early saturday morning. My cousin Erika and I were the last two immediate family members left at my mom’s house and we left Saturday afternoon.

I arrived back home in Brooklyn just before the beginning of the first Saturday NFL divisional playoff game. I could’ve gone to the local bar or attempted to see if anyone wanted to watch the game but my initial instinct was to not go out because I didn’t want to be around alcohol. Instead I went to the gym and watched some of the Packers-Seahawks game as Rockland County native Ryan Grant ran all over the Seahawks in the Snow and led the Packers to a 42-20 win. I almost met up with Thea for the 2nd game but ended up just watching at home as the Pats dismantled the Jaguars 31-20.

Sunday morning I woke up at 10am, relatively anxious to watch the Giants battle the Cowboys in the NFC Divisional playoffs. Unfortunately, I had to sit through the Chargers-Colts game first. I sat in my desk chair until the late 3rd quarter when I decided to meet Heather and Thea at the Lighthouse, even though I told them I wasn’t drinking. I was worried when I got there that they would force alcohol on me and I would fold in my quest to go 2 weeks without the booze. However, when I arrived the bar owner, Tommy announced to me that I wasn’t allowed to drink. She was surprisingly on board with me being on the wagon. This made my bar stay much easier.

I watched on as the Chargers pulled out an upset victory against the defending champs setting up an AFC Chapmpionship game at Foxboro against the Patriots. When the game ended I had several minutes to bite my nails out of anxiety and anticipation for the Giants -Cowboys game.
When that game began I was all systems go. I pretty much ignored everyone around me and intently zoned out on the game. It was completely thrilled when Amani Toomer scored a touchdown, but not exactly enthused once the Cowboys went ahead 14-7 with less then a minute left in the 1st half. Luckily, that was short lived, as Eli Manning marched the Giants to the End Zone for another Toomer TD, to tie the game before the halftime gun sounded.

I was feeling good but not exactly optimistic, but the Giants managed to step up
and outscored the Cowboys 7-3 in the 2nd half thanks to a good RW McQuarters punt return and a Brandon Jacobs Touchdown run. RW McQuarters also came up big on the final Dallas offensive play intercepting Tony Romo to clinch the game. With the Giants win, they are now slated to face the Green Bay Packers as their final obstacle en route to Super Bowl XLII. I’m not overly optimistic about their chances on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, but they have won 9 in a row on the road so there’s always that. Even if they do lose next week, my favorite football team has certainly exceeded my expectations. By my estimation, their season has already been a huge success…and as Sunday comes to a close, I am smiling.

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David Paris 1921-2008

Posted by evankessler on January 7, 2008

At 12:23pm this afternoon I received a call from my mother at a Florida Hospital informing me of the passing of my Grandfather, David Paris. This wasn’t an unexpected occurrence as we had been more or less waiting for the other shoe to drop over the past few days, though I figured not mentioning it lent an air of optimism to the situation.

Before anyone gets to wishing their condolences and saying “I’m sorry”, I have to let on that I am not a big fan of the “I’m sorry”, response to someone’s passing as it implies fault and unless you were a doctor in the situation then you’re free and clear of blame. Someone should come up with an new way to lend condolences because every time I hear, “I’m sorry” it makes me cringe.

To be honest, I don’t think there’s anything to be sorry for or sad about in this situation. 86 years is a long time to live and judging by what I know of David Paris’s 86 years on this earth, it was a pretty charmed existence from his modest upbringings in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn to his golden years in Sunrise, Florida. Everything David Paris wanted to do, he did… with the support of his beautiful, kind, and loving wife, my grandmother, Sara.

In the 1940’s he served as an officer in WWII and after returning from duty he and my grandmother had they had 3 children. Not content to stop there he opened up a grocery store and bought up property in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. All three of his children went on to college and get married and provide him with six wonderful grandchildren.

Most older folks who retire to Florida do so to relax, but when Dave and Sara moved their operation from Sheepshead Bay to Florida in the 1980’s there was no slowing down They went dancing nearly every night and played golf throughout the day. My grandfather would DJ a lot of events at his Sunrise Lakes community and around town. Together with my grandmother they knew everyone and everyone knew them. They even got work on a cruise ship teaching people how to dance.

Still with all of the dancing and golf this wasn’t enough. My grandfather was completely involved in the political ongoings of his community serving many terms as the president of his “Phase” and was embroiled in many a controversy reminiscent of a specific Seinfeld episode. I actually remember seeing the specific Seinfeld Episode in question and laughing uncontrollably at the dead on portrayal of retirement community politics that I had experienced through my grandfather’s ramblings.

When my grandmother passed away in 2001 it was a severe blow to us all, but mostly to my grandfather. He had lost his dancing partner of more than 50 years…(they had met at a dance studio). I remember the day of her memorial service and how the temple wasn’t big enough to hold all of the mourners who came that day. He spent the last 6 plus years looking for someone suitable enough, not to fill her shoes but maybe just to occupy her shoes for a little while, but inside we all knew this was impossible.

The last time I saw my grandfather was two months ago, I had gone down to visit him over Veteran’s day weekend. He had told me that he was working on his life story. I was very eager to read it. He had divided his life into chapters. Chapter 1-Childhood. Chapter 2- The War Years, Chapter 3- After the war, Chapter 4-Florida. As I read through these chapters, each about a paragraph, save for the war years, the facts and order were a bit jumbled. I tried to help him rewrite them and make sense out the order. I never really got to help him finish but in the end, I don’t think the most important story is necessary told in the words you leave behind…well for some people it is, but not for him…his story is best told by the amount of people he touched, each with their own story to tell.

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Super Bowl

Posted by evankessler on January 7, 2008

The plan this weekend was to do nothing and maybe watch some football. It didn’t quite happen like that. After all of the alcoholic indulgence over New Years Eve my plan was to be “on the wagon” for the next two weeks. It didn’t quite work out that way but my one indiscretion in the name of Jack and Coke on Thursday evening was not of my choosing. I had gone to meet a friend who had called me in the late evening hours to meet her at the Lighthouse. She sounded a bit upset. I took this as meaning that something was wrong or had happened so I figured that maybe I should join her. When I arrived she was drunk, and not necessarily in the need of a helping hand.

I did not order any booze based beverages throughout the entire evening. I merely sat and enjoyed the company savoring several glasses of water while an unruly bunch of idiots waxed philosophical about that evening’s Iowa Caucuses.

Soon one of the other bartenders arrived with what amounted to the cavalry to get his drink on. I was just about ready to leave at this point as it was much later than I had planned on staying out. The clock was reading somewhere around 1am. When I returned to my chair, Adam, my friendly neighborhood bartender placed a Jack and Coke in front of me, though fully aware that I was on the wagon that week. I deflected his gift, but after several minutes of deliberation in my own head, I came to the conclusion that it was rude to refuse a free drink from your favorite bartender and reluctantly partook of the poison. There would be no 2nd helping though, as I went home straight after and called it a night.

Friday I was completely resigned to sitting in my house and watching Robin Williams movies, but earlier in the day my friend Thea told me I was eating pizza with her and watching TV. Who was I to argue? A little after 7:30pm I went over to her place and ate 3 slices of Onion and Meatball pizza. Our next move was to go to Barnes & Noble where we perused potential literary purchases, but having made a recent book purchase I decided against buying one of those “urban novels” so I would look funny riding the train. There was a book made up of IM conversation that Thea wanted me to buy but I vehemently resisted. After she purchased her selections we settled in at the cafe and had some tea without alcohol before heading back to her apartment to watch TV before calling it a night. I got home at 1am after 2 episodes of America’s Next Top Model.

Saturday morning it was so far so good in regards to my do nothing game plan. I ate breakfast and played Madden ’08. I stopped about an hour before the first NFL Wild Card playoff game was suppposed to come on. As I was finishing up my Wii fun, my roommate Laura told me that a bunch of our friends and roommates were going to Melody Lanes for some hardcore bowling action. I had quite the dilemma on my hands…playoff football or bowling?

Normally my man instincts would point me towards playoff football but I was none too excited for the Washington-Seattle Matchup that evening. Instead, I erred on the side of fun. And Fun it was as 14 of us showed up at the lanes to roll up some good times.

We probably waited about 45 minutes before getting our two lanes but once we got our bowling shoes we were ready to go.

Bassett’s Bowling Shoes

We’ve Got A Lot of Balls

Maureen and Laura Put on Their Game Faces

It was quite the bowlathon if you ask me. Gary’s Angels (Renga, Dan, Andrew, Pete, Robin, and Myself) squared off against Split Decision (Maureen, Bassett, Pat, Stephen, Matt, and Ryan). We all picked pseudonyms to bowl under. I chose “Gary” since it’s such a versatile name and sounds like the name of a bowler. Other pseudonyms were Obama, Sparkle, The Unibowler, The Lord, Tancredo, Rocky, Huckabee, Ace, Pete (for Renga) and 2Pete (for actual Pete). But the names weren’t as important as the winners. For instance, in the 1st game I was the winner. I think I bowled a 141 to 2Pete’s 136. In the 2nd Game 2Pete edged me out 118 to 110.

Victory Is Sweet

Bowltry In Motion: The Unibowler

Anyway, Pete2 and I wereboth on the same team, so that was more important, because it helped the far superior Gary’s Angels triumph twice over Split Decision who are just really awful bowlers and if they ever show their faces around the Melody Lanes again will probably be embarrassed when we spank them again. Of course we couldn’t have done it without the tools below.

The Ball (I used)

The Hammer

The Katie (Did Not Play)

The Dan

The Beer (Which I Didn’t Drink)

The Bowling Buffett or Bowlfet

Yes even though not everyone played everyone had a good time as evidenced below, but the bowling party could not last forever.

Fresh from rolling the stones down the ol’ hardwood the group reconvened at the ol’ apartment. The plan was to have a nice homecooked dinner. However, I was under the impression it was a dinner for the bowling buddies and roomies. Several minutes after Bassett began preparing our post rolling repast, a party seemingly broke out. All of the sudden there were 20 plus people in the kitchen and little room to maneuver with the dining room tables.

Despite the large crowd we had a lovely well prepared meal of Penne alla vodka and garlic bread thanks to the talented Laura Bassett, but after that all bets were off…or on. Suddenly the gathering resembled a college basement party with 8 guys playing diced in the corner and screaming their heads off when they hit on a 6 or something. It became rather unpleasant. I went upstairs to check the score of the Jags and Steelers game to escape all of ridiculousness. Bassett managed to quell the din with her attempt to hold a pub style quiz in the kitchen. We made it through 5 rounds with my team consisting of myself, Andrew, Dan, Renga, and Mike in the lead before a new dice game sprouted.

From that point on I was unenthused. It might have helped if I was drunk but the dice game seemed to not appeal to half of the party anyway. I went into Bassett’s room with some of the other revelers and played some catchprase until the party started to empty out. I was relieved when everyone was gone and I could finally go to sleep.

Sunday morning came and it felt like Christmas Day. The New York Giants were in the playoffs and today was their day to shine. I was a little pessimistic heading in…feeling like the glass was 1/4 empty as far as their chances to beat the Tampa Bay Bucs in their NFC Wild Card game, but all in all I felt alright.

The game began at 1pm and the feeling in the pit of my stomach as the Bucs went up 7-0 and held the Giants to -2 total yards in the first quarter was definitely not a good one. My gut eased up though as Eli Manning took control and led the Giants to 24 consecutive points en route to a 24-14 victory. Next up…the Dallas Cowboys. I say, bring ’em on.

The rest of Sunday was spent in the sweaty confines of the gym and the comfort of my home watching the wild card round come to a close…and with that so did my weekend.

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It’s 2008, Now Lose Some Weight

Posted by evankessler on January 4, 2008

I partied like there was no tomorrow from December 29, 2007 until January 1, 2008. When tomorrow finally came on January 2nd, I stepped on the scale and noticed that my weight had reached the highest point it had been in my entire life. It was time to take action…but what exactly was the proper course of action. I pondered my options and while exercise seemed like the most practical course of action, perhaps there was no harm in exploring a quick fix.

The TV stations were littered with ads for products like Hydroxycut which apparently had the ability to give you ripped abs just by taking pills. I didn’t catch what the side effects were, but I imagined they would probably be along the lines of imminent death, rashes, constant sweating and erectile dysfunction. Despite the fact that they offered the first month free and my money back if I wasn’t satisfied, the prospect of dying or resembling Alex P. Keaton in the diet pills episode of “Family Ties” was none too appealing.

The next option that popped into my head was bulimia. That seemed to get people thin according to the tabloids. However, I was all too familiar with the effects of bulimia thanks to the episode of “Diff’rent Strokes” when Kimberly, played by Dana Plato, keeps puking up her meals in the Drummond bathroom, “What you pukin’ up Kimberly”. Being bulimic didn’t get Kimberly anywhere as evidenced by the actress that played her is now dead.

With Bulimia crossed off of the list, I explored my options with Anorexia Nervosa. While I was examining this option it was still morning and I hadn’t eaten and having eaten entirely too much the day before I wasn’t hungry at all. The situation was starting to play out beautifully in favor of becoming anorexic. However, several hours later, as I wandered into the kitchen I felt a rush of hunger. Peering into the cupboard I noticed an unfinished box of cereal I had previously purchased and thrust my hand inside for a taste. It was so tasty that I couldn’t imagine giving up food in favor of, well, no food. Anorexia was then crossed off my list.

Feeling defeated at finding a quick fix option and not having the money for liposuction, I came back to the old tried and true, exercise. But how could I exercise? Obviously there are many ways for people to exercise but there is only one way for me to exercise and that’s at a gym. Sure for some people it’s easy to go running around the park over rugged terrain, over the river and through the woods, and be in perfect shape by the time they get to grandmother’s house, but I’m no outdoorsman. I require the cool comfort of a well maintained fitness club.
A treadmill moving under my feet, really gets my feet a movin’ and the sweat a drippin’. When I’m in that fitness club I can burn calories with the best of them. There’s nothing like a few minutes on the elliptical to make a man feel like a man.

That being said, I chose the closest gym there is…right across(or a litte down the street and diagonal) the street from the ol’ abode. Whenever I leave my home I’m reminded, “Hey, maybe you should go to the gym instead of getting 9 beers tonight.” I call that the voice of reason. The voice of reason also says, here’s to a fitter, healthier EvanKessler.com in 2008!

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Posted by evankessler on January 2, 2008

Happy New Year everyone! I trust you all had as good a time as I did ringing in 2008. I’ll tell you all about it in a minute, but before I do that, I’d like to announce that with the dawn of a new year comes the dawn of a new era in EvanKessler.com lore. What era is that you ask? Well, look above this paragraph, it’s the dawn of the video era! Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to regularly post video blogs, but if I should happen to capture something exciting with my sweet new Canon Powershot 750 (more details to come on that purchase) I certainly may feel inclined to display it on this here site.

The exciting clip above is the ball dropping on the roof of Dan F’s apartment in Bushwick followed by celebratory and probably a somewhat dangerous fireworks display. It was an absurdly entertaining way to get the party started in 2008! I can only hope the rest of the year is as explosive as this clip.

Before I get ahead myself, it’s probably necessary to take a few steps back to get the full scope of the past few days leading into the events of Monday Night/Tuesday Morning. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend going all out the few days prior to the monster gala that is New Year’s Eve but in the days leading up, there just seemed to be a non-stop party going on.

The weekend began inconspicuously enough. I spent Friday night in the confines of my apartment taking up space and watching TV, content to make that the norm for my pre-Auld Lang Syne singing days. I woke up at a reasonable hour the next morning and was greeted by a phone call from Andrew Morton asking if I wanted to meet him at the Tea Lounge just so we could both work on our respective writing projects. Andrew has been a champion of the coffeehouse writing circuit while I usually prefer the peace and quiet of isolated surroundings. My previous excursions to the Tea Lounge on Union Street to tend to my literary pursuits had been met by blaring avante-jazz and what I will refer to as active children. Thses are not what I deem to be conducive surroundings to creativity.

Despite my prior experiences I decided to give a shot. Otherwise I most certainly would’ve spent all day in bed , contributing a real lived in stench to my bedroom. I packed up my laptop and walked about a block to the lounge where Andrew was seated in the back counter working on one of his specific projects. I sat at the Galaga-Ms. Pac Man game table next to him and set up my station but not before getting a refreshing cup of green tea to clear my mind or speed up my metabolism.

Fortunately the music was not too invasive. It was actually an enjoyable soundtrack of Blondie’s Greatest Hits. I got right to work and was able to knock a few pages before leaving after two large cups of tea. Andrew had left before me due to his uneasiness regarding the behavior of the strange woman sitting on his opposite side. I was immune to her weirdness as I was in somewhat of a zone with regards to the work that was occupying my attentions.

So inspired was I by my abilitiy to get things done, that I decided to consciously set off a chain reaction of productivity. Over the last few weeks I had just decided to write whenever I had time and had avoided creating a schedule for myself. This was not working, I needed to set time aside. My first step in achieving this was the purchase of a calendar. I went to Barnes & Noble and sat before the calendar rack with a semi-important choice to make. Which calendar was the right one. I narrowed it down to Tractors, Antique Maps, The Baseball Hall of Fame, or the traditionally testosterone directed realm of the Whores calendar. Ultimately, the first choice was the best and so my wall is now adorned with Tractors. I also stopped at a hardware store and picked up corkboard for my wall. Unfortunately, the corkboard didn’t so much as stick to my wall.

Upon my return I proudly hung my calendar on my wall and headed out to the Lighthouse Tavern to catch the New York Giants regular season finale in what was essentially a meaningless game to them against the undefeated New England Patriots. I got there a bit early but was was met by Thea B and together we witnessed one helluva football game. There was a horribly annoying Pats fan next to me the entire time who enjoyed pointing out obvious rules as if I was a completely ignorant fan. At one point while trying to sound smart he mentioned that New England Patriots and the New York Giants had a lot in common due to the fact that neither of them play in the city they are named for. I waited him to finish his faux intellectual rambling to point out that at least the Giants play in the New York Metropolitan area and really are only about 15 minutes from the city they are named after and that the Patriots have the entire region of New England in their name, so they’re not at all alike. Further illustrating my point by saying that the Patriots could play in New Hampshire or Maine and still be playing within New England and so they were not alike at all. When I finished speaking the embarrassed patron declared that he would not speak for the rest of the game. I put up no resistance to his kindly offer and was glad to have gained his silence, though he did blurt out the occasional moronic comment throughout the remainder of the game.

That being said, The Giants and Pats battled it out for nearly 60 minutes with the Patriots erasing a 12 point deficit to complete their perfect regular season. Despite the fact that the Giants lost, they came out of the game looking like a team hitting its stride and a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs, even while losing three players to injury.

Fresh from polishing off a few beers and watching the game with Thea and the annoying Mr. Idiot Superfan, I headed down to Southpaw to catch my friends in the Cold Hands Collective, who luckily had a late start time of 12:15am. There was a pretty great crowd with most of the familiar faces. Lina, Rich, Ahmad, Erika, Siska, Abdullah, Miller, Suli, Ajay, Asha, Kishore, Morwin, Maya, Rob, Galeit, Nina and Dmitry (?).

Andy and Galeit, Kickin’ It Hip Hop Style

There was a lot of talk about New Year’s because Kishore was having a party. I wanted to go but I knew of another party at my Dan F’s house and I didn’t want to miss that since I had missed his previous bash. I was thinking about flipping a coin to decide but the decision didn’t have to be made right away as it was still 2 days away. The task at hand was the Cold Hands Show so I just focused on that as I’m not really a plan ahead kind of guy.

Cold Hands Collective In Action

Normally when I go to my friend’s shows I like to take a ton of pictures but my camera had been malfunctioning since my last outing a week or so ago. When I would push the zoom button the camera would shut off and sometimes it would do that when I was taking a picture. It was completely annoying but I did manage to get a few snaps off. The rest of the time I just sat back and enjoyed another solid Cold Hands Show at Southpaw, though I felt sort of panicked with my camera crapping out just days before New Years. After the show I had a drink or two and then walked our friend Galeit, who was in town from LA, back to her sister’s as it was on the way to my place and then called it a night.

When I arrived home I knocked on Bassett’s door to say hello since her light was on. I opened the door to find not one but 4 lasses. Bassett’s friends from North Carolina were in town visiting for New Year’s and I guess I had forgotten. However, that didn’t stop me from drunkenly recounting my evening and making fast friends by sharing my chocolate covered peanuts. I was introduced to Tracey, Rachel, Jess, and Gina though I don’t think I got their names straight until the next evening.

The next morning when I awoke my first order of business was clear. I was going to go to J&R Music world. I would buy a new camera for the New Year’s festivities and whatever came before and after. I hopped the 2 train to downtown manhattan and in no time I was at my destination buying a camera and asking no questions. I didn’t want to deal with salespeople, I knew what my price range was and thanks to reading a little blurb on CNET, I knew the Canon Powershot 75o was the camera for me.

Upon arriving home I uploaded the camera software which actually enabled me to get some video files off my other camera that had been stuck there for about 9 months. I even uploaded some stuff from the A Camp show I went to at Union Hall to a previous post. I’m telling you, EvanKessler.com is more than video capable now.

The first shot with My New Camera and the end of the line for this trooper.

I didn’t spend much more time at home that day as there was a big karaoke gathering at Japas 38 in Manhattan. I had almost gone there earlier in the week for a party with Kishore’s work people but the weather had been horrendous and I was greatly deterred. The weather was slightly better tonight and I would know more people there. My roommate Mike and I were the first ones there so we sat in a room by ourselves until his coworker Abby showed up. There were 4 or5 of us to begin but the crowd soon ballooned and we all got our sing on. Dan F, Renga, Pete, Maureen, and a essentially all of the people who had been at Pete’s surprise party several weeks before were there, plus Bassett and her North Carolina friends. I did my part singing Lisa Loeb’s “Stay”, Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like The Wolf”, Lionel Richie’s “Hello” and Maureen and I brought the house down with a duet on Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds”. I took a lot of photos of the event but I accidentally erased them, so that’s certainly unfortunate.

After our 3 hours of karaoke the party moved down to Iggy’s on the Lower East Side. It felt like we were going at it pretty hard for the night before New Years. Perhaps, we were just building up some stamina for the long night ahead, but either way it was a fantastic evening. Most of my time at Iggy’s was spent getting to know Bassett’s buddies from below the Mason-Dixon. The conversation and the beer flowed and when we got home so did the Z’s.

New Year’s eve morning began with a nice big pancake breakfast conjured up by the ladies in the house…or most of them. I sat around the table waiting for things to happen and for food to be in front of me. I had a few pancakes and some bacon and that pretty much did it for me. The rest of my day was spent languishing in my own lazyness. Preparing for the great big storm of New Year’s Eve ahead. I thought about my options and rather than flip a coin I just chose to go to Dan’s because of how jealous I was after not going to his last party. I hoped none of my other friends would be mad at me for not going to Kishore’s, but that would just be stupid if they were. In a perfect world all of my friends would exist and perfect harmony and always hang out.

As I sat around wasting space and using the interweb meaningless pursuits like playing Scrabble on Facebox, I was talking to Thea who said she didn’t have anything to do for New Year’s so I invited her to tag along. I didn’t really do anything else until 7pm when I finally jumped in the shower to get ready for the evening. Bassett and her friends got back from their day seeing Spamalot and various other tourist type things and by about 8:45 we were ready to go. We needed 3 cars to take our large group to Dan’s in Bushwick. None of us really knew where we were going but we got there anyway.

Dan: The Classiest Host I Know

When we arrived at Dan’s abode on Troutman Street, there was no answer as we knocked on his door. He finally answered wearing a tuxedo and a top hat. The house was decorated with balloons on the low ceiling with the strings hanging down like a vine maze. There was a nice spread of cheese and crackers and various party snacks not to mention ample bubbly and a fridge full of beer. This party certainly had promise.

The excitement gradually built as time went by. Everyone was getting anxious for the new year by the time 11pm rolled around. People were also sufficiently buzzed by that point. Soon after people were being ushered to the roof one at a time via ladder for the big moment. Dan and Renga and made a ball to drop at midnight and Dan had a flagpole on his roof. This was going to be something. Prior to midnight, people were testing fireworks. This seemed like a very bad idea and I was slightly worried about mishaps. However, once the midnight hour approached my focus shifted to being supplied with champagne in time to drink in the New Year.

Who’s Having More Fun Than Kelly?

Then it happened, the countdown, 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1….HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
Fireworks shot off into the air, people sang garbled versions of “Auld Lang Syne”, Champagne flowed like the waters of the mighty Allegheny River, sparklers were lit, people generally rejoiced. It was a glorious moment and we wanted to relive it. So we did.

7 minutes after we had first experienced it, the countdown began again…10…9….8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1 Happy New Year! The partygoers had collectively willed it to be the year 2009, 365 days, 23 hours and 53 minutes too early, but we were all the more excited for it.

Sparklers are Sweet

But So Are Me and My Roommate Laura Bassett

Laura Renga: Raises Her Arms in Victory at the Defeat of 2007

Pete and Maureen: Dance Fever ’08

More Cowbell

Thea in Front of The Best of 2007 Wall

After a few more minutes celebrating on the roof we made our way back down again since that’s where all of the alcohol and musical entertainment was. People made out, wrote on the best of 2007 wall, Dance Fever 2008 took effect, there were even a few early passout casualties but it was a raucous, rockin’ even. Dan our more than suitable host went through several costume changes. First came the gorilla outfit….eventually he was shirtless.

Gorilla Dan with Jessica and Rachael

The evening raged on til the week hours. It was just before 5am when we headed back to our section of Brooklyn. It was truly a great evening. I a great time hanging with Dan, Renga, Maureen, Pete, Bassett, Mike H, Thea, Patrick, Jessica, Rachael, Tracey, Kelly, Gina, Brian, Andrew, Ed and Krissy and all of the damn fun people at the party whose names I don’t feel like listing.

And That’s Pretty Much When We Knew It Was Over

I did not wake up the next morning…It was the afternoon. 2:40 P.M. precisely, and not a moment too soon as we had plans for a 4pm brunch at Stone Park with a large portion of the crew from the party including Bassett, Jessica, Tracey, Rachael, Gina, Pete, Maureen, Renga, Dan, Katie F, her dude, Patrick, and I think just Andrew who showed up later . Everyone left without me though as I was in the shower, but that didn’t matter since it was going to take a while to seat about 13 of us. The brunch itself was fun but uneventful and by the time we got out it was dark outside. Rather than go over to Patrick’s house to watch TV afterwards, I decided to go home and crawl into sweatpants and rest.

Minutes after arriving the North Carolina crew came home and I got lured into playing the board game life, which is surprisingly fun. It was maybe made more fun because I was absolutely kicking ass and probably having the best run of one liners that I’ve ever had in my life. I ended up drawing the Police officer career, and getting a crappy shack-like house and the lowest salary, but I eventually worked my way up to the highest and so there was an endless stream of dirty cop jokes to be made. I also favored flaunting my wealth by announcing to the other players when I had reached the million dollar mark. In the end I had also won a Nobel Peace Price and a Pulitzer.

What Being Good At Life Looks Like

After our game of life ended we engaged in enthralling matches of both regular catchphrase and dirty catchphrase. I was glad to have stayed home and in a way, ease in to January 2nd. The last few days had been pure madness…I wonder if this is shades of what’s to come. Well, I guess will have to ride out 2008 to find out.

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