Evan Kessler Dot Com

The Home of the Brave

Clever Olympic Allusion

Posted by evankessler on August 12, 2008

WIth the Olympics beginning this weekend in Beijing, I was tempted to title this post something along the lines of “Going For The Gold”, “Weekend Olympiad”, “No-Lympics”, “Faux-lympiad” or even “Beer-jing 2008”. Instead I erred on the side of the above title because frankly, all of those seemed lame.

The prospect of the opening ceremonies hanging in the air on Friday, I spent the early portion of the afternoon at the movies not thinking of pole vaults or synchronized diving. I went to see the 2pm showing of Pineapple Express starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, a film which I had been anticipating since seeing the preview a couple of months before. Having been a fan of most of the other work in the series Seth Rogen/Judd Apatow collaborations I was ready for a surefire, laugh-a-second gutbuster. When I left the theater I didn’t end up needing to get my abdomen stitched up, but I had still enjoyed myself nonetheless. The film was good in that it wasn’t filled with a lot of downtime and the characters were constantly on the move, save for an evening spent in the woods. If I were comparing it to Superbad, Knocked Up, and The 40-Year Old Virgin, I’d have to say I liked those three films better based on the realistic natures of most of their situations…but despite the entire plot of Pineapple Express seeming a little far fetched it nonetheless was a nice way of transplanting my lazy tendencies from the inside of my apartment to a semi-social atmosphere that involved popcorn.

Leaving the theater at just after 4pm, I had three and a half hours with which to entertain myself or muck about until 7:30pm when I was to head over to Jenny and Filler’s to watch the opening ceremonies.

Now normally I don’t care about the Olympics. The whole entire thing seems just a little suspect to me. The idea of pretending I’m interested in sports that I’m not interested in for a span of 16 days under the ruse of fervent faux-nationalism has little appeal to me as an excuse for a good time. While I certainly felt no different about the festive ribbon cutting of Beijing 2008, I was none too in the mood to go all out on a Friday night. Since I had been invited to partake in the festivities with people I enjoy hanging out with, it seemed like a natural choice to head over to experience the proceedings with Matt, Jenny, Robert, Marie, and Aleks.

I arrived a little after the affair had began as there was going to be an international feast for our gathering and I had to pick up something. I chose to supply Chinese dumplings and Argentinian wine to go along with the assorted cheeses, risotto, guacamole, and other tasty what-nots. As soon as I assumed my position on the couch with my plate of international treats, I joined in the hilarious comment fest. While the lot of us were hypnotized by one of the more remarkable televised visual displays in recent memory, there was a steady stream of jokes that might feel at home in the most politically incorrect of comic’s routine. I think I specifically made a joke or two about foot-binding and mathematical prowess that I in no way should be proud of.

At one point we were so entranced by the intricate routine of the ceremony that I remarked that I wouldn’t be surprised that while the entire world was transfixed on this ceremony China was using it as a diversion to mount Nuclear attacks on all of its enemies. The repeated cutaways to President Bush also prompted their fair share of funny comments and impersonations, especially when he was spotted checking his watch.

Perhaps, the most enjoyable part of the procession, at least to me, was when all of the countries came on in alphabetical order. The thing I like about it is that you get to see all of the countries you didn’t even know existed. I had to look up Nauru on Wikipedia. I also like seeing all of the pretty girl athletes.

Hey There Team Sweden...Come Here Often?

The thing mostly everyone else seemed to like about it was the outfits that all of the countries were wearing. I’m not much of a fashion plate, but I think we all unanimously agreed that Team Hungary was horrendously dressed.

The Fashionable Hungarian Olympic Squad

The entire spectacle ran about four and a half hours and was a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be. Towards the end when China came in led by Yao Ming and a young earthquake hero survivor; Marie kept commenting on wanting to adopt the young lad…many jokes followed…some of them involving human rights violations. When the first torch bearer entered the arena, Xu Haifeng, I made a bit of an immature comment making fun of his name because it sounded like “Chu Have fun?” to which I remarked…”yeah, I had a pretty good time.” Oh, how the international stage allows ignorance to flourish when people are confronted with the unfamiliar.

In any case…the torch was lit after a the final torch bearer flitted along the perimeter of the stadium suspended by wires and just like that…”let the games begin!” The games had began but my night was coming to a close. Robert and I walked towards our section of Park Slope and I went to bed close to 3am after watching some bad tv before sleepytime.

Saturday, I thought I had a semi-full day of activity in front of me. I was going to go to Williamsburg for John and Zerna’s anniversary picnic, followed by my friend Janet’s band’s performance. I spent the early part of the afternoon at the Tea Lounge listening to music blare louder than my headphones and doing a little writing. At around 4:30pm I met Kishore at Smoke Joint in Fort Greene to pick up some food and head over in his car to the picnic.

As we made our way towards the park, I spoke on the phone with Jeff P who also was thinking about going to Janet’s show. Unfortunately, he alerted me that the show was taking place prior to the picnic and we had missed it. I felt like a moron. I had repeatedly been hinting to Janet that I would go see her band and this was the second time in two weeks I had mixed up the times. I put my schedule miscue behind me because that’s all I could do. I had a new plan in place for the evening. It was picnic…and whatever comes next.

Kishore and I arrived first at the park at Kent and N.7th in Williamsburg. None of our friends were in sight. After a brief walk around John, Zerna, and Lea showed up in a car with heaps of picnic goods. Suli was right behind on his bike and just like that a picnic began. We grabbed two tables and set up shop. The crowd gradually got bigger, Lauren, her boyfriend, Ajay, Javalyn, Enisha, Morwin, Jeff, and Andy all joined in.

Picnic In The Concrete Jungle

One of the interesting points of the afternoon was the period in which we were all sampling the “magic fruit” pill. Kishore had brought these pills that you dissolve on your tongue that make everything sour taste sweet. So after doing my part, I went straight for the lemon…which tasted like the sweetest glass of lemonade ever. I moved onto Granny Smith Apples, and limes…all which were super sweet. After twenty minutes the sweetness wore off but it was quite an interesting taste experience.

Mmm....Sugary Sweet Lemon

Somewhere towards the end of our picnic something really strange happened. A flood of cop cars and ambulances rushed into the park towards the waterfront. No one really knew what was going on, but since everyone thinks tragedy and train wrecks are so captivating, the majority of the park-goers rushed to see what was going on. Myself along with Zerna and a few other people were content to not gaze at whatever horrible occurrence had befallen some unlucky person. Instead I took more joy in watching Lea play with Lauren’s motorcycle helmet as she shoved her stuffed rabbit through Lauren’s mask.

And That Goes In There...

With nowhere else to go after and oh so much food and evening left over, we decided to move the party. Our first choice was the local beer garden, but after realizing it was much too crowded we moved the proceedings to John and Zerna’s apartment…lost Morwin and gained Andrea (?). The rest of the evening was more or less making fun of each other and drinking. I had only planned on staying out until 11pm on account I had a family get together the next morning but I didn’t leave until 1:30 when Jason, Kayvalyn, Enisha, Andrea, and I got a car back to our area.

I woke up at 8:30 Sunday morning on five hours of sleep. My mom showed up at my doorstep around 10:15pm…and just like that I was off. Our plan for Sunday was to look at the New York City Waterfalls art installation with my brother and then go see a David Byrne installation at an old ferry building on the river. First my mom, Irwin, and I went down to the water on the Brooklyn side where we could see two of the falls. I was none too impressed. The waterfalls just looked like water falling out from pipes. It wasn’t particularly attractive or eye catching; no more than water spewing out of a sewage treatment plant or leaking out from a storm drain. I think Irwin liked it, but it just seemed like a gimmick to me. Irwin asked me if I had seen the Gates. I told him I had but that was a lot more visual. This was too far away and really just not captivating at all.

We went over to Manhattan and picked up my brother, driving to the South Street Seaport for the view from there. I could see the two other falls from where we sat for brunch. I had the same reaction as I had from the Brooklyn side, “eh.”

What's The Big Friggin' Deal?

After brunch we walked down to the David Byrne “Playing The Building” exhibit at the Battery Maritime Building. The exhibit was actually really interesting. It consisted of an organ with it’s keys hooked up by a series of cables and tubes to various whistles, metal beams, pillars, heating pipes and water pipes to create atonal musical arrangements based on the visitors use of the keys. There was a line of about twenty people eagerly awaiting their turn their surroundings into a avant-noise masterpiece. I didn’t really have a need to do so, but my mom waited on line and took her turn on the keys. I filmed it on my camera…but I don’t feel like going through the download process now, so I’ll do it a bit later.

Mom Plays The Building

After our time at the David Byrne exhibit, we dropped my brother off at his apartment and I headed back to Rockland with my family. Upon returning home I went over to my friend Jessica’s house, where her parents were having a bit of a BBQ for her, her fiancé, her brother Matt, his wife, Jaime W, and her husband Andrew. Upon arriving I was greeted by two dogs, Sampson and Archie…and then I got to say hi to Jess who was stopping by Rockland on her way down to Miami, where she and Mike will be moving for one year. After sitting down, we watched some Olympics and then moved the festivities outside to partake in a tasty array of hot dogs, beef, chicken, salad, and finally desserts. It was kind of a brief get together, but I was exhausted and not really in the mood to do anything. It was kind of an ideal activity though. Food folks and fun as McDonald’s used to advertise.

Jess Embraces Archie

Powdered Donut Ice Cream Pineapple Grape Surprise

When I arrived home I was nearly in a food coma. Some of that may have had to do with my powdered donut ice cream pineapple grape surprise, but a lot of it had to do with a long day. I joined my mom and Irwin in some Olympic excitement and put my weekend to an end shortly thereafter.

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