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Archive for March, 2008

Loser Skywalker Vs. Darth Weinstein

Posted by evankessler on March 28, 2008

In the case that you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks or if you’re of the select few that hasn’t been scouring the web 24/7 for all of the Star Wars-themed news you can find (we’ll assume the former), you may be unaware of the current feud going on between a group of Couch Jedis and The Weinstein Company, which happens to be the group responsible for the release of the Star Wars nerd-themed love-letter Fanboys..

Well, let me quickly bring you up to speed.  It seems that last summer a whole bunch of Star Wars devotees got their underoos all urine- soaked when they caught a rough cut of the film Fanboys at the Star Wars Celebrations in both London and Los Angeles. Let me tell you they loved it so much it got a standing ovation, which is a surefire sign that a movie is Oscar-worthy.

However, they got all upset when they found out recently that the term rough cut actually ended up meaning rough cut and the movie changed from a heart warming tale about a ” group of Star Wars fans who travel to Skywalker Ranch to steal an early copy of Episode I: The Phantom Menace so their friend can see it before he dies of cancer,” to a film about a bunch of die hard fans who go on a road trip to break in to Skywalker Ranch, just because they want to see the movie a few months early with no mention of the cancer plot.  The Superfans have since vowed to boycott the film and anything bearing the Weinstein’s name due to the plot change.

While I understand their dismay at hearing that the film they loved so dearly got changed from their original viewing, I have to take issue with the naivete of these Star Wars supernerds.  My first issue is that I question whether or not these people are the least bit familiar with the Hollywood machine.  Have they never heard of rewrites or re-shoots before?  Why should something that they hold dear be immune to the Hollywood process?  Maybe if they’d actually watched films like The Player or The Big Picture rather than re-watching The Ewok Adventure for the 800th time they’d have some semblance of understanding of how the film industry works.

My other issue is that these superfans are so adamant about just how awful the other version obviously is, without having actually seen it. Let’s pretend for a second that the only thing more important than being the first in line for the first showing of any new superhero or sci-fi release to a superfan is the health of his/her friends.  You mean to tell me the film plot is only valid if someone has a disease as the reason to drive the plot? The only reason a fan would go to Skywalker ranch is because he has Cancer and hence the new plot is utterly unbelievable because Star Wars fans are the most pure of heart people in the world? Right, next you’re going to tell me Revenge Of The Nerds would’ve been a lot better if instead of going on a midnight panty raid to the Pi’s house, Booger Presley gave a rousing speech about his battle with hemophilia in it’s stead.

I know what you think Fanboys, you think this film is about you…but it’s not about you.  This is the furthest thing from a based on a true story biopic about your life, though you seem to think it’s the closest you’ll ever get, so now it’s personal. The film is actually about a bunch of kids who try to get a copy of Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace before it comes out by going to the Skywalker Ranch…Did you do that?  Most likely you didn’t.

I think Star Wars fans are guilty of a little anger displacement.  Instead of being mad at the Weinstein Company, maybe they should be angry at George Lucas for the three lousy prequels he made you waste your money on.

Pathetically, on the day this post goes up…outraged Star Wars fans will be protesting in theaters in both New York and LA against the changes made by “Darth Weinstein”…right as if there’s nothing else important in the world going on to protest.

P.S.  I also thing naming all of your enemies Darth something is pretty lazy and uncreative.

(note: the previous article originally appeared as part of the New York Film Academy blog.  The web address has since been taken down…so I decided to make it live here)

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Jesus’ Cousin

Posted by evankessler on March 26, 2008


In recent news, researchers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society wasted a shit ton of time, and most likely a shit ton of money researching the family trees of the current crop of presidential candidates to make sure they were definitely related to a bunch of celebrities and past presidents. When their findings were exposed in a shit ton of publications, it was revealed that if you went far back enough, John McCain, Hillary Clinton , and Barack Obama were related to some seriously famous and prestigious personages of historical and celebratical (that’s celebrity-related to the word police) importance. After pressing their heads together for nearly 36 months genealogical researchers were able to surmise that not only was Hillary Clinton related to Bill Clinton in some roundabout marriage related way, but she was also related to such bigwigs as Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Alanis Morrissette, Celine Dion, Camilla Parker-Bowles and Jack Kerouac. I wonder if she can sing the lyrics to “Ironic”, “My Heart Will Go On” and “La Isla Bonita” while reciting On The Road.

Now Mrs. Clinton wasn’t the only candidate with impressive lineage. Democratic almost-frontrunner Barack Obama seems to have statesmanship coursing through his veins. Not only does this guy have the potential to be the first black president, but he’s got some dead and even living white presidents cheering on his DNA as well. His distant cousins include President George W. Bush (natch) , George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, Harry S. Truman and James Madison . Some of his other cousins include Vice President Dick Cheney, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and Civil War General Robert E. Lee. Though to be honest a lot of this dormant DNA could resurface and cause some serious self-loathing. I mean half of those guys hated black people. I think the fact that he’s related to Brad Pitt though will cancel out all of the hate and essentially lead to a Hillary/Obama -Jolie Relative/Pitt Relative democratic ticket.

While Obama and Clinton were both busy bringing their famous relatives to the big election dance, the best Republican Nominee John McCain could do was first lady Laura Bush. This is sure to hurt his chances when Novermber rolls around. I mean what kind of ammunition will McCain have when the critical debate question of “who is the most famous person you’re related to?” is unleashed. It’s sure to be a brutal embarassment.

With all of the ancestral admiration hanging in the balance, I thought it would be of great service if I went the same route as Hilary, Barack, and Mr. McCain and traced my ancestry back to some seriously famous people. As a result, I contacted the good folks of Ancestry.com and implored them to “wow me.” Luckily for myself and you the reader, they came up with some mind blowing results that are exclusive to all evankessler.com readers. Is everyone ready to find out the impressive lineage from which Evan Kessler has descended? I knew you would be…Let’s take a look.

Jesus- This one goes without saying…we’re both Jews…and we both love football

Haile Selassie- The Rastafari messiah himself. I suppose I could see that…though I totally don’t smoke weed, but everyone thinks I do. Maybe that’s where I get that.

Hallie Kate Eisenberg– This doesn’t really make sense since I totally hate Pepsi.

Robert Guillaume- I used to love the show Benson.

Eric Clapton- He’s only passed down the white guy genes, not the guitar playing ones.

Well, that does it for this trip down relative row. If you want to know who you’re related to that’s famous, I suggest running for president or starting your own website and asking Ancestry.com to trace your lineage. I’m sure you’ll come up with some fascinating stuff.

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20,000: A Stroll Down Memory Lane

Posted by evankessler on March 25, 2008

Often times a valued friend or total stranger (usually the latter) will come up to me and say, “I like your website, but I miss the old EvanKessler.com.” If I don’t feel inclined to bludgeon them to death with a blunt object (this is the usual result with a male protester…I’m a lot more tender and lenient with the ladies) I reply by saying something along the lines of “Yeah, I know. That was fun, but this one is a lot easier to update.” We then take some time to reminisce about the olden days where my web address was ruled by postings rendered in Microsoft Word. We fondly recall the testimonial page, the eye-blurrying blue font, and the general simplicity of the days of yore; way back when hosting a website only cost a nickel and Woolly Mammoths roamed the desert helping the Egyptians build the pyramids.

Admittedly, it had been a while since I looked back fondly on those days past. However, this Monday morning when EvanKessler.com passed the 20,000 hits mark in just under four years of existence on the Internet(that’s nearly 14 hits a day!) it created cause for me to pause and reflect on just how far this site has come.

Yes, if you were to type EvanKessler.com into your web Browser sometime in 2004 (when Bush was still President) you might be greeted with something like this:

Yes, I know it’s been quite some time since you’ve probably seen me without a beard, but pinch yourself…because you’re in a time machine of sorts called the Internet and you’re going to have to get used to getting tripped out.

Anyway, after being greeted with said lovely introductory photo, you would probably happen upon the explanation of why I started this website.
If you asked me now, I’d probably say something completely different like, “I wanted 20,000 people to read a site about me by March 2008 to read my daily thoughts and by god I’ve done it…I am somebody to 14 people a day (mostly me at different computers during the early days, telling people to check out my website).”

Back then if you somehow managed to make it past the front page without dying of laughter or feeling suitably informed you could check out my blog section, which did not allow for comments since it was just a word document that I uploaded every night from my computer to an FTP. How quaint! I recommend clicking below to remember or perhaps see for the first time what the average EvanKessler.com post consisted of.


Wasn’t that wonderful? I knew you’d have fun. Yes. The old EvanKessler.com was chock full of options with links, a store (that still exists by the way…ahem), the guerrilla interview page (transferred to blogspot minus one interview), a guestbook, as well as a message board…and while the comments on both the guestbook and message board were severely lacking in interest. I compiled my own section of interesting comments on the site sent to me via email in a testimonials section designed to stroke my ego on a continual basis. You’ll find that section housed below in it’s entirety thanks to the miracle of three separate image captures. Re-live the magic.


Oh, how I miss having my ego stroked. Luckily, this is now up on this site so I can continually visit it and feel good about myself and what I’ve accomplished. So, do I miss the old EvanKessler.com? On cold winter nights when the mood is just right and it’s warm lean body isn’t lying next to me, sure I do. Am I better off without all of the uploading and fidgeting around the way I used to? You betcha. In any case, I’d like to thank everyone for being around and contributing to the first 20,000 hits. Here’s hoping you’ll be around for 20,000 more, but in preferably less time. Do your best, okay? Daddy needs cash…buy some shirts or something.

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He Is Risen

Posted by evankessler on March 24, 2008

When I used to live on Bleecker Street, I lived next door to a tiny community church. At Christmas they would raise a banner that said, “A savior is born” or something to that effect. When it was Easter they would switch that banner with one that read “He Is Risen”. I think it was that particular banner, that on a windy day, became unfastened and repeatedly whipped into the upstairs window of my apartment, shattering glass all over my roommate’s floor. Seeing as my roommate was out and I didn’t want him to arrive home and step all over shards of glass…I cleaned the room. However, I couldn’t help but think this was a sign. Jesus was punishing my roommates and I by proving that he had risen by thrashing the banner, the embodiment of his “rising”, against the window of our heathen abode, therefore keeping us unsafe from whichever natural element he felt unleashing upon our unguarded fortress of sin.

Fortunately, almost two years have passed since I’ve moved from that apartment and I’m not sure if the United States Postal Service has passed my address on to Jesus. I hope he still thinks I live on Bleecker Street or St. John’s Place. Either way, I can’t say I felt his wrath this past weekend. However, if he is aware of my whereabouts, he may have been more delighted in the merriment I endured in his name over the past few days as there were plenty of Jesus-centric activities….or at least Easter -centric activities afoot.

Good Friday evening saw me venture out to Williamsburg where I partook in an Easter Egg dye-athon at the apartment of my married-with-child friends John and Zerna K, or as their more affectionately known, Jerna. I had originally thought this was going to be a family affair with mother, father, and daughter all dyeing eggs with a friendly crew. However, within 30 minutes of my arrival it became abundantly clear that this was an adults (if you could call us that ) only egg party. After 3o minutes of their daughter playing playing with animals and pronouncing the word “frog” as if it were a certain expletive that started with F and ended with K, anyone below the age of three was put to bed. The adults consisting of myself, Lauren H, Kishore, Miller, Suli, Andrea P, Zerna, and John partook in some alcoholic beverages and some enjoyably hilarious conversation.

John Discovers The Least Effective Way To Order Pizza

John decided that he would order pizza for his guests, but rather than just simply phone it in he attempted to use the technology provided on the world wide interweb as he thought it would be quicker. It was about fifteen minutes into his tinkering that he finally got to the ordering part…unfortunately the order never made it to his apartment and we ended up calling in an order that finally made it by 11:10pm, around two and a half hours after our original order.

The Spread

In the meantime the lot of us got down to egg dying business in the kitchen. Jerna had pulled out all of the stops. They had letters we could put on our eggs, crayons to color with, and several other utensils for decoration. I wasn’t getting too fancy. I was just dipping my egg in the various dyes and drawing on them with crayons. I didn’t have a set plan I just sort of did whatever I felt like doing at that particular moment and the results were okay. I think Lauren made an egg with a 69 on it, Suli dipped his eggs in various colors indiscriminantly at first as a result of his color blindness, whereas Andrea seemed to be putting in maximum effort and care with each egg she colored. Miller began to begin every sentence with “ex” words and turning them into “eggs” words which was horribly lame, but semi-funny. I think I stopped the trend by talking about “t-eggs-t messages”. Yes, this was a class operation and the results of our egg dye-off were stellar. Towards the end of our “eggs-travaganza” (damn you Miller) Nina and Dmitry showed up and began to cook some Russian foods and help with the eggs.

Andrea Styles Her Egg Accordingly

Creativity Runs Rampant

The Result of Creativity Running Rampant

When 11:10 struck, Kayvalyn walked in the door almost the same time as the pizza arrived. We had a few slices of pizza each, but Lauren and I had to take off for other outings in the city. Unfortunately, we never found out which egg one the best in show, but we had other places to go and other people to see.

After splitting a cab into Manhattan, I ended up at Shoolbred’s on 2nd Avenue where I met my old friends Betsy and Noelle from the VH1 days. My former office neighbors, now inhabitants of the West Coast were in good spirits and our conversation certainly reflected it. We were all quite taken by the bar, a newcomer to the East Village that really classed up the neighborhood as far as drinking establishments go. Also present at the drink-athon were Betsy’s old roommates Brandi and MT, who I had certainly not seen in a while, as well as their friend Kevin who was a new face. We mostly got along famously to the wee hours of the morning.

Just Like Old Times With Noelle and Betsy

There was a guy that Betsy and Noelle kind of knew named Tai, who felt the need to explain to us why he was named Tai (his parents were hippies). In my estimation there’s names you don’t give kids, because if you do they’re almost certain to grow up as frat-tastic douchebags. They are as follows: Brad, Chad, Kip, Chip, Chet, Ty, Tai, Tad, JP, AJ, EJ, BJ, DJ. If I have kids ever, I will certainly know to stay away from these names and you should take note of them as well…and if you have anything to add, please share. There are really probably a few I left out but you get the point.

In any case, a few of the other revelers headed out to Bleecker Bar, but seeing as we weren’t in the mood to party hop we stayed at Shoolbred’s until around 3am. Tai was gone by then as were his tales of a hippie upbringing. I hopped in a cab and headed back for Brooklyn whilst engaging in some fun drunken phone conversation with Stephy P in LA.

I woke up relatively early the next morning for someone who hadn’t fallen asleep until 4am. I was up and around at 10:30am. Content not to waste the day, I headed to Postmark Cafe to get some writing done. Unfortunately after a twenty minute stroll to my destination I was met with locked doors. Rather than quit my quest to do something productive I headed to the less favorable environs of the Tea Lounge. Upon entering the behemoth bohemian establishment, I was immediately turned off by the ungodly serpent-like queue for coffee and tea. Instead, I headed straight for home and largely wasted the day.

At 2pm my brother texted me to tell me he was coming to Park Slope in what would probably be an hour. Rather than head to the gym or start any productive endeavors I decided to engage in a little spring cleaning prior to his arrival. One hour of waiting turned into two hours. It was 4:30pm when he finally showed up and we grabbed an early bird dinner at Press 195 before parting ways. Luckily, we hadn’t wasted too much time and I was able to get a little workout in at the gym prior to my evening activity.

At around 9:30pm I headed out with Mike H, Bassett, and Renga to Brian D’s birthday party at Dram Bar. Mike spent the entire way there on the phone with Maureen in LA. Meanwhile, Renga called Maureen while Bassett and I texted her to get off the phone with Mike just to be annoying. It was funny, but probably one of those you had to be there and involved things.

Dram Shop was a pretty decent looking space, lots of flatscreen TV’s with the NCAA tournament playing on them, along with shuffleboard and a billiards table as well as a bar with a fine wood finish. None of us had been there before, so we just took in the scenery and made small talk with Brian’s friends at first. Andrew Morton met us there after a few minutes and we had a pretty easygoing crew hanging out. The bar itself was a weird amalgam of people that wasn’t very desirable. There was an old couple that we labeled Arianna Huffington and David Geffen, that looked like they were on a first date and later began making out at the bar. There was another older dude with dreadlocks that provided conversation fodder as well. It didn’t actually end up being a late night. We only hung around until a little after midnight as we were all kind of beat and we had a big day ahead of us on Sunday due to the resurrection of someone else’s lord. I stopped for a slice of pizza on the way home and got a good 9 hours of sleep to prepare for the long Sunday afternoon.

Sunday began with a flurry of activity as Renga and Bassett were preparing the kitchen for Easter dinner. I was on dish rinsing duty and not much else though I did buy some wine for the occasion. Pretty soon all hands were on deck. Gearhart made a bruschetta, Dan and his sister Emma came by to start making the appe pieand set up the alcoholic punch situation. I was showered, dressed and ready to go by 2pm and that’s around when we started drinking. People started arriving and began to partake in deviled eggs and bruschetta, as well as the punch. We were on our way to our own little slice of Sunday heaven.

The Table

My Table Setting

My Jew on Easter Come Hither Look
Jesus’ American Apple Pie

As soon as Kelly R arrived our assemblage of resurrection rejoicers headed to Prospect Park for a kite flying expedition. We had several kites, though I didn’t fly any of them. The majority of the flying was done by Renga, Dan, Eric, and Bassett. One little british boy in the park was captivated by Bassett’s kite and so she let him do a little flying as his parents watched on. It was a fun outing. Unfortunately, there were a few kite casualties as the Eagle that Eric was flying met an early doom.

Laura And Kelly Help A Child Fly His First Kite

After abourt an hour in the park we went back to our Union Street abode for dinnertime. Everyone who made food really outdid themselves. The steak marinade was perfect and to be outside watching them grill was a happy reminder of warmer days to come. Eric’s salad was perfect mixture of color’s and textures. The greenbeans and potatoes were equally tasty. It was definitely one of the better meals we had since I’ve lived at my current apartment. Needless to say we were all stuffed but continued onto dessert.

Now That’s What I Call Salad!
Pete Grilling Meat

Kelly & Eric Pose For A Photo

Laura and Andrew Pose For an 80’s Album Cover

Let’s Eat!

The Lauras had done a masterful job of keeping the meal artful by making Lemon Sorbet and serving it inside a lemon. Following that as a palate cleanser we ate Emma’s Apple pie with home made Cinammon Ice Cream on top.

This Cleansed My Palate

This May Have Been The Best Apple Pie Ever

Eric and Kelly Pin an Easter Bonnet on Bassett

Greg Shows The Reverse Finger

Dan And Laura All Set To Call It A Day

It was completely delicious…and the best Easter meal I had ever had…not that I have had a lot, but it would still rank up there. We spent the rest of the evening hanging out and finishing off our wine. People started to file out around 11pm and I pretty much called it a weekend…with my stomach filled I went up to my room and relaxed in bed listening to Hank Williams sing…”Praise the lord, I saw the light.”

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The Dork Days of March, Part Two- URETHRA!

Posted by evankessler on March 21, 2008

Ladies and gentleman, I’ve just finished a three and a half hour long twenty-five round fantasy baseball draft and boy are my arms tired…you know, from drafting the baseball men. In any case, I’ve completely neglected every other single aspect of my life over that period of time for the sole purpose of turning my team, Urethra Franklin, from a pretender to a contender in my head to head league.

So how did it go? Well, my first instinct is to say I have no idea. My early strategy was to go after the power categories in the 1st couple of rounds by picking two power packing 3rd basemen in Miguel Cabrera and Ryan Braun, but that strategy went out the window pretty early on when I grabbed a pitcher in the 3rd round. From then on I pretty much relied on a recipe which utilized the rankings they had on the draft website as well as a pinch of the rankings from the ESPN Fantasy baseball preview. Hopefully, that mixture is enough to catapult me from Fantasy baseball zero to fantasy baseball hero.

“…that Evan Kessler was a hee-ro…”

I can just picture Wilford Brimley’s character in The 1979 film The China Syndrome saying, ” Evan Kessler wasn’t a lunatic for sitting through that baseball draft, he’s was a hee-ro! Evan Kessler was a hee-ro” but hopefully it wouldn’t be said after I was shot for trying to prevent a meltdown at a Nuclear power plant. You know what, maybe I am a lunatic for spending three and a half hours in an online draft, but there were eleven other people involved so I’m not totally alone in that. You might as well call the thousands upon thousands of other Fantasy baseball players across this great nation crazy too. Go ahead, I dare you…or you can be brave and call them heroes (but not edible ones).

Either way, I did what I did so that at some point in the next six months, maybe just maybe, Urethra Franklin might earn a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Is that so wrong?

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The Dork Days of March, Part One

Posted by evankessler on March 20, 2008


There’s a certain feeling in the air, maybe like it’s getting warmer or something. I can’t put my finger on it. Is the grass getting greener? Can you hear birds chirping? Are those leaves growing back? Was that the crack of a bat I heard? Oh wait, I know what it is…It’s spring!

Ah yes, with the flowers getting set to burst into full bloom and we prepare to show off that which we’ve been bundling up under multiple layers for the last several months, we can all take solace in knowing that baseball season is finally upon us. After a noticeable absence of Fantasy Sports, the time has come once again to indulge myself in the dorkiest of pastimes, Fantasy Baseball and perhaps the dorkiest of events…The Fantasy Baseball draft.

Indeed, this evening ten men from lands as widespread as Denver, San Francisco, New York and London got together in a chat room of sorts to conduct an online draft in which they ultimately decided which twenty-one players they would root for over the next six months. The event took one hour and seventeen minutes and featured precious little trash talk, which is the opposite of what is supposed to happen. However, seeing as I’m only acquainted with two other members of my league, there is less of a temptation to do so.

Commencing at 9:30pm, with the second overall pick The Seamen (that’s my team name but I may change it yet) landed coveted New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes. In the 21st round, I closed out the proceedings by haphazardly settling on Detroit Tigers 2nd baseman Placido Polanco to complete my squad. A bevy of players that no one reading this site really cares about were selected in between. Some will succeed, some will shock, and some will certainly suck. Some might not even make it as team members for the entire season. One thing’s for sure it’s all very dorky yet impossibly entertaining to my masculine sensibilities. Oh, and one more thing…the process will repeat tomorrow as I draft for my other team, Urethra Franklin, in yet another league.

Let the nerdiness begin. Play ball!

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Miami Nice

Posted by evankessler on March 13, 2008


We’re barely halfway into the month of March yet I feel like enough has happened over the past eleven days to provide enough blog fodder for a three month span. Perhaps I’m overstating things a bit, but it’s not often I spend part of one week in three different cities in separate regions of the Continental United States. Sure, I enjoy traveling, but I’d hardly be pegged as a frequent flier. If you were to list my travel record since my jaunts to Las Vegas and Costa Rica in the Spring of 2005, you’d see I’ve more or less been a homebody for the past two years, save for a pair of less than eventful outings in the Fort Lauderdale region of Florida.

The tide is beginning to turn though and I seem to be getting a set of road wheels, sky miles, and sea legs all at the same time. This weekend the latest adventure in the life of the newest Kessler family jetsetter took place in Miami, Florida. The funny part is that after my grandfather passed away several months ago I had written somewhere that I didn’t see myself ever actively trying to enter the state of Florida again for the simple reason that I found it to be devoid of anything living or breathing. I didn’t use those exact words, but that’s what I more or less meant.

However, several weeks ago when my editor for JoshSpear.com asked if I would like to go to Miami to represent the site at a Sony press event…I half-heartedly lunged at the chance. I figured a few free days in a nice hotel in a town where I didn’t know anyone would provide an excellent chance for me to focus and get some valuable writing done. Plus, if I was lucky I could take some of my free time and head on over to the World Chess Hall of Fame. Fortunately, it didn’t go down like that at all.

I woke up early Saturday morning after staying in on a rainy Friday night, all packed up with new gear, ready to take Miami by storm. As my car service drove me towards JFK I stared out the window as we cruised down Atlantic Avenue taking notice of streets I had never before taken notice of. For instance, until this particular moment I was not aware that there was an Alabama Avenue that intersected with Atlantic Avenue. Who knew you could get a quick geography lesson on your way to the airport?

Like most instances I travel to the aiport, I end up giving myself entirely too much time. This time I would wait nearly an hour and thirty minutes before boarding my flight. However, I always figure it’s better to be safe than sorry or early rather than miss your flight. A nervous energy began building up inside of me with every second that flight time drew nearer. Normally I expend all of that nervous energy the night before a flight as my mind dances around visions of fiery air collisions and prevents me from catching any semblance of normal nighttime rest. However, this was a different nervous energy. I slept without worry the night before, but once at the airport the fact that I was walking into a situation where I essentially had no idea what I was doing or really any of the details of my impending trip put me ill at ease.

Once I sat down on the airplane my mind was distracted by a marathon baby screaming session that didn’t seem to abate for a good twenty-five minutes. This would have been less irritable had we managed to take to the air on time, but as our flight was delayed for a slight period due to the inclement weather, I began to suspect that by the end of the day I would spend entirely too much time in the company of the world’s pre-eminent baby bawler.

After about an hour and a half delay we finally took off. I spent the majority of my flight stealing glances at the girl on the other side of the aisle who looked like a good friend of my old roommate Rob. I figured that if she had known me she would have said something so I didn’t have to make first contact. I also heard her speak at one point. Her strange accent quashed any chance she could have been who I thought she was. I sort of let it go, but part of me still suspected that I knew this girl somehow and I would occasionally still glance over apparently unconvinced that there was no common link. I didn’t feel like blurting out a clichéd, “Do I know you?” and eventually the plane landed and we both got off and went our separate ways, though there was never really any togetherness in the situation I suppose.

Once I exited the baggage claim I was met by a representative holding a binder reading “DIME Press trip” which was exactly what I was there for. I was led to a swanky limo which took me to an even swankier hotel, The Biltmore, an historic accommodation nestled in the palm tree-laden land of Coral Gables, Florida.

Biltmore is Beautiful

 

 

Upon entry I was given an envelope housing my trip itinerary, and then moved over to the front desk to check in. The first event of the trip was to be a barbecue on the back lawn at 7:30pm. It was just around 5pm when I arrived so I had time to settle in to my room, iron some clothes and shower up for BBQ time. The shower was absolutely delightful. The water presssure was at blast through your back strength, which conjured up memories of the anything but low flow showerhead in my mom’s house that had recently gone the way of the dodo. The next best thing was the two kinds of soap. I made sure to use both the regular soap and the exfoliant soap, because you only live once.

After nearly flooding my bathroom and drying off, I put on one of my fancy new shirts from Thursday’s shopping spree and hit the barbecue scene. The first people I met were Clay, Jonny, and Eric. We made quick introductions and named the sites we worked for, save for Jonny who was working in cahoots with the people in charge of the event. I didn’t quite remember either their names or their sites right off the bat and had to have a refresher course later on, but they seemed like good guys and were just as unsure as to why they were there as I was. Knowing that, I was immediately comfortable.

We had a beer and some small talk before advancing to the generous barbecue featuring chicken, ribs, shrimp, and steak amongst other things and we sat at a table across from some fellow invitees from Italy but didn’t make much conversation with them. Jonny also unveiled some clues as to what we’d be doing on the trip, though our itinerary had spelled out the majority of the plans, he would give us the actual details. Our next day would be spent at a commercial shoot for the latest line of Sony Digital imaging projects that would feature an entire city street engulfed in foam, which we would then cover on our respective sites.

Despite the warm food and the warm locale there was quite a chill in the Coral Gables night air. My long sleeve shirt did little to deter my teeth from chattering. At that point we took the party inside and sat around a table getting to know each other. I introduced myself to Stephy from PSFK as Jonny had mentioned someone from that site was going to be at the event and seeing as I had a friend working for that site as well, I thought we might have some common acquaintances. While our common acquaintances were nil we seemed to hit it off. Actually the lot of us pretty much got along famously. We powered through plenty of awkward conversation topics, probably at my insistence, including John Travolta’s cha-cha related contract requirements and I met some pretty great people, like Ola from Sweden,Ruth from England and Michelle, Aisling, and Olivia from Ireland.

After several hours of lively getting to know you chit-chat the clock struck one A.M. before eventually springing forward an hour and we headed for bed. We had a presser in the conference room at 10am with three of the guys responsible for the ad, prior to actually going to the shoot…so being alert for the morning seemed somewhat important.

The next morning a good portion of us met for a breakfast buffet to fill up before our mini-junket…making several return trips to the buffet for astonishingly tasty fresh fruit. You know what they say about those Florida Oranges. They’re from Florida, and they’re orange.

When buffet time came to a close we found our way to a hidden nook of the hotel where our meeting was taking place and settled in like we were at a elementary school dance. Boys on one side, girls on the other. I felt entirely unprofessional in this setting as two of my colleagues at my table had cameras that were leaps and bounds beyond my point and shoot and they also carried voice recorders. I just jotted some notes down and enjoyed the show. The show as it turns out was pretty exciting. The shoot site was going to have the world’s biggest foam machine on site, capable of producing up to two million gallons of foam per minute or filling up an entire olympic-sized swimming pool in 24 seconds. Hot damn! This was going to be a site to behold.

From the conference area we took a little downtime making our own large bubbles from a bucket on the back lawn before loading up on a bus for lunch at an Italian place in downtown Miami whose name escapes me…but regardless of where we were I was amazed by the comfort level of this newly formed ragtag bunch of journalists and Sony digital imaging representatives. We seemed to have quite the rapport and were getting along famously.

Foam Swirls Through The Miami Sky

 

 

The lovefest continued as we pulled up on set on Miami Avenue between NW1st and 2nd streets. We all clamored with our respective camera equipment to get good shots of the foam filled action as extras roamed around the sudsy locales snapping away on their Sony equipment as cameras captured their every move filled with wonderment and discovery. There was a lot of that going on behind the cameras as well. To see an entire block filled with foam is certainly not something you see every day and I had no doubt in my mind that the commercial would come out looking fantastic.

People Wandering Around In Foam Taking Pictures

 

 

SNAFU: Situation Normal All Foamed Up (that was just awful)

 

 

After the actors broke for lunch we had our own foam fun, taking turns taking pictures of each other frolicking amongst the bubbles. Everyone got into the act and just seemed to revert to a childlike state of merriment. Hey, bubbles are fun, can you blame us?


Stephy and Michele Foam Frolic

 

 

Those who live in glass houses should throw foam

 

 

I can totally juggle foam

 

 

Foam is Fun For Children of All Ages and Nationalities!

 

 

We spent about an hour or two on set and even talked to the director a bit before making a move for the hotel. There we split up for a bit and took naps or did work. I wrote a thing or two for JoshSpear.com, before showering and meeting up with Clay, Aisling, Stephy, and Michele by the pool for a drink before our fancy group dinner at Barton G.

When our rowdy bunch arrived at the aforementioned restaurant there was a bevy of steaming cocktails with chocolate monkeys hanging from the from the rim or should I say limb of the glass (I should probably say rim). These concoctions were certainly worthy of capturing in a photo or three, as were the rest of the culinary creations at this particular establishment, the most thrilling of which were the main courses and the desserts. One of the props from one of said main course became a mascot for the rest of the trip. Jonny bestowed the name Dave upon him, whereas Stephy referred to him as Cluck-Cluck, though I always prefer giving animals people names over onomatopoeia.

Drinks are fun for people of all nationalities,
but only
if they’re above that nation’s legal drinking age.

 

 

Firedogs love RibsFilet Mignon goes Moo
That Ice Cream is on Fire! Get Help!

 

 

Despite a rather filling meal the night didn’t end there. A large portion of the group, myself included, descended upon the popular Miami night spot, Nikki Beach. If we were going to spend a couple of days in a town as lively as Miami, we were going to do it right. And let me tell you we did it right until at least 3:30. Or that’s when Eric, Jonny, and I left for the hotel. It was a good time and all but if we had to sit through another horrendous dance remix of a Bon Jovi song we might’ve had to off a spiky-haired tight-shirted Dolphins fan. Several of the girls actually ended up staying until 6am and one of the other guys in the group didn’t make it home in time to participate in Monday’s outing.

Outside Nikki Beach

 

 

Inside Nikki Beach
Getting Into The Groove

 

 

Irish Michele with Fashionable Evan

 

 

Ola’s A Dude Hanging Out

 

 

Normally I think it’s never a good idea to enjoy a late night of drinking and then go on a boat the next morning, but the Ocean Breeze catamaran we embarked on the next morning after our club jaunt was quite alright. It was steady sailing all the way on Biscayne Bay. The oddest part about the boat ride was that one of the guys in charge of the boat tour insisted on constantly telling us about how big the Key Biscayne tennis tournament was. According to him it was the 5th most important tennis tournament in the world next to the four grand slams. While that may be true, it didn’t seem important enough to repeat ad nauseum.

My Attempt At An Artistic Photograph…Notice the Horizon and all of the lines ‘n’ stuff

 

 

At Bay

Eventually our cruising along came to a halt and the boat dropped anchor near a sandbar area, which signaled the perfect time to unveil the catered lunch and allow anyone who wanted to take a swim, the chance. We were also taken out on a separate speedboat by a guy with a special Nike Speedboat racing glove to feel the 90 MPH wind whipping into our face. I was on the first go around with Stephy, Michele and Ruth. The boat stayed anchored at the sandbar until everyone else had their turn on the speedboat, then it headed back into the harbor.

SPEEDBOAT!

 

 

SPEEDBOAT GLOVE!

From there we got on the party bus where we were en route to trade one boat for another. There was a new stranger on the bus who just started giving us a history lesson about the Miccosukee Indians of South Florida. It took me a couple of seconds to realize that he was talking to us, but seeing as I like history, I was interested in his lesson about the sovereign Miccosukee nation inside the state of Florida. Why was he telling us this? Because we were headed towards Miccosukee land in the Everglades for an airboat tour of the region.

Jonny, Stephy, and Dave en Route to the Miccosukee Nation

 

 

Our tour would be given by Johnny Tigertail, a legendary Miccosukee Indian who possessed the talent to communicate with alligators and wear a pretty sweet jacket with hundreds of images of deer all over it. Stephy and I considered asking Johnny where we could get one, but I figured that maybe we should wait to see if they had them in the gift shop afterwards. The group split up onto three airboats, but Clay, Jonny, Stephy, myself and some of the Germans had the pleasure of riding with the Johnny Tigertail.
As we blazed through the sawgrass of the Everglades I had two movies going through my head. The first one that I considered briefly was Adaptation. I thought about the Orchid searching scenes in the movie in an area that resembled that of which we were in. The second film that crossed my mind was Police Academy 5: Mission to Miami, specifically the parts where the wacky bunch of cops speed through the everglades on an Airboat to rescue Lassard and Harris, and when Hightower wrestles a gator to save Captain Harris from almost certain doom. I was hoping we wouldn’t need Hightower on this outing…but who needs Hightower when you have Johnny Tigertail.
Johnny Tigertail (Action Figure Available This Fall)
Pretty Much Choking A Baby Alligator

 

 

The first airboat stop we made took us to a little island where the Miccosukee had turtles and baby alligators. They showed us a small variety of snapping turtles and soft shelled turtles. We also took some pictures holding the baby gators and took a look at their wild boar.

A Big Nasty Snapping Turtle

The 2nd stop was an area that more closely resembled an outdoor cafeteria with picnic tables, but was sort of like a 2nd home for our friend JT. He pointed out the open bedroom on the right side that was basically a roof, with something to sleep on under it. That wasn’t as exciting as the turtles and gators, but the next stop was the real deal as we swept across the reeds to reach an Island inhabitated by a couple of gators. We all stood on a walkway but Johnny went onto the ground to exhibit his talent for gator calling. He made a sound that I don’t think any of us had the ability to mimic, though I could try but I suspect it would get horribly annoying. He managed to call out a ten foot long female gator along with her massive seventeen foot long mate and get right up close to them while talking to the group. It was truly an excellent display of man at one with nature. We were all rightfully impressed.

Behold The Fearsome Alligator

 

 

Johnny Tigertail Has No Fear…The Alligator is His Friend

 

 

That pretty much put an end to our pretty damned interesting Miccosukee experience. We headed back to the hotel for a smidgen of free time, which I spent writing a few posts for other projects. Our group was to reconvene at 8pm for one more voluntary dinner outing. This time it would be our good time crew minus the Italians and Germans taking South Beach by force or by a fashionably late dinnertime.

For our final evening experience our lively bunch hopped on our mini bus a little after 8pm and made straight for the heart of South Beach, stopping just in front of our dinner destination, Mango’s Island Cafe. I’m not quite sure exactly where Ruth from Sony heard about this place, but rumor has it it was recommended by the not so straight (not that there’s anything wrong with that) waiter the night before at Barton G’s. We were greeted at the door by a girl in a leopard print bikini top and bottom that left little to the imagination and her cut (I’m not misspelling cute) male counterpart, sporting a sleeveless form fitting leopard print top that certainly didn’t leave much about his muscle tone to the imagination.

Upon entering we noticed a girl dancing in the round wearing something similar to the hostess and shaking her ass with not anything I would exactly refer to as grace. We were led past that area and sat down near the back of the main room of the restaurant. While my back was to the stage I had no problem seeing the entertainment as their was a huge screen that took up then majority of the back wall projecting all of the dancing action. This was possibly the tackiest, yet oddly enjoyable restaurant I’d ever been at. Okay, so maybe that’s going a little too far, but I certainly got a kick out of the forced sexiness of the entire situation. The menus were even lined inside and out with photos of half naked sexy people, though oddly on the front cover amidst all of that sex appeal was a photo of four children, strategically placed in order to inject some wholesome family appeal into the atmosphere.

That’s One Sexy Menu!

 

 

I’d venture to say that this strategy didn’t work, but there was certainly something for everyone. When the men got up on stage, Stephy, Olivia, Michele, and Aisling ran to get a get a close up glimpse of the semi-choreographed shirtless action…and they say men are sex crazed. None of us ogled any of the girls on stage…maybe that was because they weren’t our type or maybe because it was on a huge screen in the back, but we didn’t make any efforts to gaze upon the unenthusiastically dancing forbidden fruit.

The meal itself was okay. It wasn’t as decorative as the food the previous evening, but more or less straightforward cuisine. Some people ate burgers or ribs. I figured if I was at a Cuban restaurant I should at least have something Cuban, so I ordered a chicken dish with plantains, rice and beans that wasn’t bad, but wasn’t anything special either. Rather than stick around for dessert, which is what we would’ve done anywhere else during the rest of the trip, we instead took a walk to grab one last drink at the Delano Hotel.

Sipping on a Heineken inside the Delano

 

 

On our way to the Delano we passed by the Italians eating at a nice outdoor restaurant. They caught up with us on our way over to the hotel, which was a little bit of a walk but really only a couple of blocks away. The Delano was pretty much the nicest bar I’d ever been to. I think it’s beyond me to describe it. You really just have to go there once and experience it. Aside from the cavernous well-designed interior, the outside has a swank pool set up with beds surrounding the water’s perimeter. We hung out at the bar for what amounted to one drink. At one point I was going through my pictures and one of the Italian guys, who seemed to have a habit of being a bit of a lurker had his hand on my back and was leaning on me in a non-drunk way as I went through the pictures on my camera. I didn’t want to say anything despite his consistent firm grip on my shoulder. I waited it out until he finally walked away, which was maybe two or three minutes, but felt like a lifetime. Stephy was staring at me the whole time because we had previously had a conversation about the particular fellow’s hovering, uncomfortable nature.

Poolside At The Delano
These Beds Were Made For Lounging

 

 

 

 

Ola and Stephy Enjoy a Drink In The Pool

Having already experienced far too many highlights over the previous couple of days, the group decided that it was best we not stay out for more cocktails. We called it a night as I hopped into a cab with Jonny and Michele for the trip back to the Biltmore and my final night sleeping on the most comfortable bed ever. It is my hope that one day I will be the richest person ever so that I might live in that hotel…or at least buy that bed. Who am I kidding? I just want to be rich enough to buy a Tempurpedic bed.

Tuesday morning came just like that and I was saddened. I woke up around 8:30 to head down for an early breakfast and get some work done. I ran into Clay who was reading his paper and enjoying the buffet. He had an earlier flight and had to be out by 10:30…I was supposed to be out by Noon and hadn’t packed, so we both seemed to think it best if we just hammered out a meal and got out of dodge. However, towards the end of our meal Michele showed up, followed by Aisling, Ola, Stephy, and Nikolai (I think that was his name) from Denmark. Clay left before I did as I’m never one to walk away from a good crowd. I waited around til about 10:30 before I took my leave of the group, feeling sad that the trip was over. Stephy remarked that it felt like the last day of summer camp. Having gone through that experience many a time, I couldn’t agree more. But like those long summers I spent in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, all good things have to come to an end.

The Last Breakfast

 

 

I was packed and ready five minutes before noon having knocked out a bit of work. Ola and I shared a limo together. I was being dropped at the airport and he was renting a Harley Davidson so that he could drive down to Key West, which is an infinitely cooler thing to do than sit in a cramped space for four and half hours next to a woman that won’t get out of the way so you can get in and out of your window seat, forcing you to step over her, which is exactly how it went down during my hour and a half delay and subsequent three hour flight home. Oh well, I guess it’s good to be home, but I could’ve certainly used a few more days.

 

 

p.s. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Sony’s DIME division. You’re the best.

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Evan Versus The Volcano

Posted by evankessler on March 7, 2008


Facing an impending trip to Miami on Saturday and a chance to hobnob with professionals while representing JoshSpear.com, I decided that it was time Evan Kessler got a little image upgrade. For the last year or so my brother has been harping on my appearance, insisting that I purchase at least some new sneakers and a new light jacket so that I would appear slightly less slovenly. Over the last couple of months he’s been saying that he would go with me to assure of a proper wardrobe upgrade. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for me, my brother has been off gallivanting in Europe for the past month for work and hasn’t had the time to help me seem up to the latest trends.

That all changed today after I met him for lunch at Bread in Little Italy. Upon finishing our meal we hit the shops like a bunch of Sex & The City crazed tourists eager to eat up all of the New York City fashion we could get our paws on. Actually, now that I think of it, it was more like that scene from Joe Versus the Volcano when after Lloyd Bridges hires Joe Banks to jump into the Volcano on Waponi Wu, Joe goes on a shopping spree where money is no object with his limo driver as his guide to the finer things. For all intents and purposes my brother played the Ossie Davis to my Tom Hanks and we managed to hit a few shops and snag some upscale clothing items.

The most important order of business and arguably the only important thing to me was new sneakers. My Saucony sneakers were bordering on beyond ratty as the tread was completely worn down, making them quite the liability in any precipitation. We stopped in a sneaker store called Clientele that seemed to have a very limited supply of sneakers despite this being their main attraction. After a swift look around nothing really struck my fancy and we moved on to a store called label that was thankfully having a half off sale as the clothes were already too expensive for my taste but not so for my brother’s.

Upon entering the store he went immediately to the clothing rack and picked out a black button down shirt and told me to try it on. My initial skepticism was washed away when I checked it out in the mirror…pretty smooth. He then found a jacket and told me to try it on. Again, not too bad. My purchases added up to a stout $180 but the cashier accidentally rung it up $100 higher and forgot to put the jacket in the bag. This problem was quickly remedied and we moved on to another store that was too rich for my blood.

Five minutes into our time at that store I was in the dressing room with a constant stream of new things to try on flowing into my half exposed dressing room. There were curtains to keep invaders, but they met in the middle and left a space open for potential voyeurs who enjoy watching people who look like me without their clothes on, change. Fortunately, I wasn’t taking off my pants or anything so that was fine. Exiting the third store I had accumulated three more shirts with a reasonably hefty price tag.

On our way to get sneakers we stopped in a pet fish store on Delancey that my brother termed “The best fish store in the City”. I don’t see why we went in since we weren’t planning on buying any fish, but whilst in the store my brother received a call from my mom. It seemed that this clothing outing had been planned all along by the two of them. It was a joint effort by my family to make me more fashionable. Sort of like something people contact Bravo about so they can get their loved ones on a TV show and get them fashion help at the same time. My mom was playing the Lloyd Bridges role all along…supporting the entire operation.

We said goodbye to the fish store soon enough and went back to the wardrobe business. We went to a store called Reed Space on Orchard and got right down to the sneaker nitty gritty. My brother basically told me to try a pair of Nikes on and I did. The next thing I knew I was buying them. Ten minutes later we were in a vintage store buying shoes on the cheap at my brother’s whim. We could’ve ran the entire pants gamut as well, but I was tired of shopping and he had work to do. Plus, I don’t think in good conscience I could’ve spent any more cash. I’m going to need some left over for a few days in Miami. Just about the only thing I didn’t come out of today owning, aside from a new pair of jeans, is a new set of travel trunks that make for excellent flotation devices at sea in case Meg Ryan and I end up there at the end of the trip.

In any case, if you see a stylish dude walking around that looks a little like Evan Kessler, It just might be. If you’re not sure…just ask for a business card. I had those made up today too.

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Canton Can’t Wait

Posted by evankessler on March 6, 2008

I’m writing this from my apartment in Brooklyn, New York having safely arrived home after my second seven hour drive in three days. To say I’m tired is an understatement, but as I’ve not shared any of the details from my trip, I figured I should do a little spreading of personal anecdotes

Tuesday morning I awoke to the sound of rain pounding against the pavement outside my room at the Red Roof Inn in North Canton, Ohio. It was a perfect day to spend indoors, but rather than sit in my hotel room all day, I jumped in my trusty ’98 Honda Civic and made my way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The drive to the shrine celebrating my favorite sport took nearly ten whole minutes. It was one of the easiest sets of directions I have ever had to follow. Getting anywhere in the Canton area seemed pretty basic. Most driving instructions started with Get on 77 South, get off the exit, make a left…and you’re there. Just like that, I had made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

There Was I

When I arrived I was extremely indecisive about my parking spot. The spot I originally picked seemed too far away from the entrance so I decided to go a whole row closer, but when I got out of the car I noticed that the license plate of the car next to me read CPAHOF, leaving me to believe that I was in a reserved spot for Hall of Fame Employees. I went back in my car and started to drive to another spot, but just before settling in I noticed that I was next to two more cars with “HOF” on their plates. I finally settled on a different spot near a small mound of snow and made a move for the warmth that only being inside or sitting in my car with the heat on could provide. I chose the former.

Once inside I paid for my ticket and it was recommended that I start my tour of the museum with the First Century of Pro Football rotunda. Before ascending the ramp upstairs I was greeted by a bronze statue of Jim Thorpe, legendary athlete, former Canton Bulldog and one of the driving force sbehind the formation of the NFL.

My Name Is Jim Thorpe, Welcome to The Pro Football Hall of Fame

As I began to get acquainted with the early days of the game an entire 6th grade class stormed the premises, barely paying any attention to the artifacts but remarking that the wax likenesses of some of the players like Red Grange were life like. Their teachers seemed to want their students to study but were also seemingly only casually interested. As enamored as I am with the game football, I ‘m not really sure that the history of Pro Football is a proper topic for a class field trip. I wondered if Canton had any natural history or art museums. Though in fairness, the more I looked through the early years of pro football the more I saw that it was centered around the Eastern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania area…so in essence, I guess they were learning about the history of the area they called home.

It took me a good hour or so to get through the First Century, looking at everything from an early helmet used in the 1890’s to the boot used by half-footed Kicker Tom Dempsey to kick his record 63-yard field goal. There was so many fascinating artifacts and so much to read about them. I came out feeling like I learned a ton about why Canton, Ohio made sense for a location for the Hall and about the general history of the league.

Earmuffs + Fake Nose= Helmet

Next it was off to “Pro Football Today” where there was display for each current team along with notes and facts about their history. There were also jersey’s and cleats worn by some of the players from their record breaking moments of 2007. Strangely though, there was no mention in the entire museum save for the gift shop of the Giants recent victory in the Super Bowl, even on their team display. You’d think a shrine to a sport would be up to date on it’s latest champion.

Me Looking Dumb By The Giants Display

Nearby the Giants display, there was a jersey from the Green Bay Packers Quarterback Brett Favre that he had worn while breaking a passing record this year. I was standing in front of this jersey when I heard someone down the hall trumpet that the veteran QB had just announced his retirement making for quite the interesting coincidence.

The Retired One

Also interesting was the inordinate amount of people looking for more information on the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was as if they suddenly sprouted up as the favorite team of middle America. People seemed disappointed that there wasn’t enough Jaguars memorabilia. However, this is certainly justified as the team has only been around since 1995.

From the NFL Today it was into the actual Hall of Fame, an impressive room hosting busts of every inductee since the opening of the museum. I looked for all of the Giants players and some of my other favorites. The John Madden one seemed to be larger than most of the other ones maybe he just has a huge head.

Giants Founder Tim Mara

If Bronze Ditka was playing the Patriots in the Super Bowl, What would be the score?

I continued on through the museum through a history of African Americans in Football and a room boasting artifacts from the induction ceremonies when I finally happened on the Super Bowl room. Not even in the Super Bowl room did they have anything that referenced the Giants victory over the Patriots just one month prior.

Super Bowl Room

From there it was the NFL gameday experience where I sat all alone in a theater seating fifty people. The film they showed brought me from preaseason all the way to the super bowl. However when the movie shifted from preseason to the regualr season the entire theater literally shifted to another screen. I was slightly startled by the initial jerk of the platform, but I calmed down quickly once I realized what was happening.

After my Imax-ish experience it was off to the interactive NFL experience portion where I tested my prowess as a pigskin passer. I thought it would be a more high teck setup to test my QB ability but the pass target looked like something you’d see at a carnival. I expected if I threw a complete pass someone would come out and give me a stuffed bear. However, no one was watching any of the displays, it was a DIY situation with no supervision. I wondered if there was more staff interaction on the weekends.

Fresh off a 4 for 20 passing performance I headed to the QB1 coach display where I failed miserably at guessing what play the Oakland Raiders would pick next on each successive play. Oh well, maybe I’m not as great a strategist as I thought. That pretty much brought my NFL Experience to a close. I got myself a shirt in the gift shop and called it a day, nearly 6 hours after it began, give or take.

From there I went back to my hotel and settled in for the night, going out only for some eats at the Ruby Tuesday’s for a second straight night. This time I ws refreshed to hear the bartender talking about Brett Favre’s retirment and April’s NFL Draft. The people who live in the town that houses the Pro Football Hall of Fame should be football crazy.

This morning I woke up not to the pitter of raindrops but to a blinding white glare of snowfall peering through my window shades. I looked out the window to see my car covered in a thin layer of white. I was initially worried that I wouldn’t be able to leave town, but by 9am the snow had gone to bother another town and I hit the road for home.

Luckily, I didn’t catch up with the precipitation, it had gone further north and my ride was smooth sailing. My trusty honda civic ferried me across the Ohio state line, the entire width of
Northern Pennsylvania, a bit of New Jersey and into Rockland County, New York in the span of nearly seven hours, and bringing my mileage total to just over 960 for the last few days.

Stay tuned…Miami’s next.

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Hard Travelin’

Posted by evankessler on March 4, 2008


I’ve been havin’ some hard travelin’, I thought you know
I’ve been hittin’ some hard travelin’ way down the road
I’ve been havin’ some hard travelin’, hard ramblin’, hard gamblin’
I’ve been havin’ some hard travelin’, Lord

That’s right, EvanKessler.com has made it safely to Canton, Ohio in search of the the Pro Football Hall of Fame. To say it’s been an eventful trip so far would be quite the overstatement. I pulled into the North Canton, Red Roof Inn at around 4:30pm. I spent a good 7 hours and 15 minutes on the road after leaving Rockland County at 9:15am, however, the trip was shorter than that as I accidentally made a rong turn early in my trails that took me a good 20 minutes out of the way and the 2o minutes it took to get back would have landed me in Canton somewhere around 3:45. None of that really mattered though, as long as I made it to my destination.

In all honesty, once I hit the road the journey wasn’t all that harrowing. It was more or less a straight line through Pennsylvania all the way to the town our 3rd assassinated President William J. McKinley called home (at one point). I went through towns such as East Stroudsburg and State College. I passed signs for Punxsutawney and nearly got off to investigate, but I carried on through Youngstown and thought of the Bruce Springsteen song of the same name. Despite not listening to Youngstown as I drove through Youngstown, which was actually the most daunting traffic situation of the entire trip, I made it through 111 songs on my iPod and I sang nearly every one of them aloud save for the few that I zoned out on as I was trying to figure out whether or not I was on the right path. That spell included a brief portion of R.E.M’s Automatic For The People, but the rest was pretty much clear sailing. There was one portion when I wasn’t sure if I should keep following 80 West or continue straight on what was supposed to be 76 West. There was no sign for 76 West but I kept on the road anyway and was rewarded handsomely when I saw the Stark County Bridge trumpeting the county’s shining landmark.

I’m Not Sure This Is Called The Stark County Bridge But If You See It Up Close It Has Football Stuff All Over The Structure

Arriving at my destination was nearly as simple as driving to a friend’s house when you first got your car. I pretty much knew where I was going, all of the directions after my first hiccup were pretty much second nature. It was “go straight for 450 miles and make 2 rights and you’ll be at your hotel. You can’t really get any easier than that.

Once I got here it was another story. I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I was in the market for a fantasy baseball magazine so I went to the mall that was more or less adjacent to my hotel. However, they didn’t have a bookstore or any place to acquire magazines. I walked around aimlessly through a few strip malls hoping to run into a bookstore or a pharmacy as I had come down with a headache from staring at the road and the sun which was setting in the west as I drove in that direction. Ultimately, I settled down at Ruby Tuesday’s and grabbed dinner and a beer. I asked around what there was to do in downtown Canton seeing as I was in the North part of town but everyone I asked advised against making a stop in the part of town unadorned by a directional, insisting that it was too ghetto. Rather than take my chances in a strange town where I had been warned by it’s inhabitants of it’s indesirability, I chose to wander to the gas station convenience store to purchase necessities such as a paper, pen, and fantasy baseball magazine which I had never seen before in any of the New York newstands. The entirely of the rest of my evening was spend nerding out and enjoying the confines of the Red Roof Inn. Thus, day one of Hard Travellin’ came to an end. Tomorrow…Football!

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