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Caliente en Coney

Posted by evankessler on July 20, 2010

These are the temperatures that try men’s souls. 90, 93, 87…when accompanied by a soup-like humidity and the promise of no escape or air conditioning they could prove to be the ruin of many a weekend.  The oppressive swelter blankets the body like an ill-advised trip to the sauna in a wool sweater. Fun and heat exhaustion seem to be mutually exclusive ideas at this point, but the reward for magnetizing the seemingly alien concepts with three days action-packed activity ends up being all the more gratifying when successfully carried out.

The center for much of this weekend’s polar attraction was a real freak magnet, Coney Island. Dotted with mysterious, fascinating beings of all shapes and sizes and all walks of life; at times a living, breathing, hypnotic train wreck; At other times a vast expanse shrouded in the promise of  undiscovered thrill and uncharted territory that often accompanies the exploration of a tomb of ancient relics.  Or maybe it simply served the purpose of alcohol central for those looking to relax and have a good time.

The latter was certainly the case on Friday afternoon as I traveled due South via the Q line from the 7th avenue Station in a race against time and my good friend Matt who had himself hopped aboard the F train at a similar time to reach Coney Island to get his 30th birthday proceedings off to an early start.

My determination to win the race to our meeting point hit an early snag when the Subway came to a 10-minute standstill at the Prospect Park stop due to some sort of emergency at the next station. I still had faith that I would arrive before or at the same time as Matt, but I had replaced my competitive edge with a more patient disposition. Besides, upon my arrival I was going to stop at Nathan’s and get a hot dog and cheese fries before high tailing it to the rendezvous point at the ever-so-famous Ruby’s Bar  & Grill on the boardwalk. It had all the makings of a classic day at Coney Island.

Midway through making my Nathan’s order at the corner of Stillwell and Surf, Matt called to notify me that he had won this time. I didn’t gracefully accept defeat. I held that we were at least tied because I had stopped at a convenience store and at Nathan’s since I’d been there. We called it a draw and I met him two minutes later with Cheese Fries in hand having gulped down my dog with onions and ketchup along the way.

I grabbed two Ruby’s Ambers at $7 a piece for myself and the birthday boy and started out our Friday afternoon working our way towards potential mental imbalance that goes with excessive heat and the dehydrating nature of too much alcohol. In a matter of minutes our party grew bigger to include Matt’s sister Brooke and their mutual friend Jackie. Having a taste for something other than beer they decided to break in the day’s festivities with a Vodka Tonic only to discover that the surly female bartender had more or less given them vodka on ice with a splash of tonic.  Their request for an accompanying lime was met with a harsh rejoinder of “no fruit.”  So there they sat, drinking their Vodka and ice as Matt and I enjoyed our tasty brews watching the crowd of summer beachgoers parade up and down the boardwalk.  The only thing missing was Matt’s wife Jenny who had unfortunately come down with the flu.  We remarked that as a nutritionist she’d probably be busy handing her card out to the nutritionally challenged majority who proudly flaunted their spare tires like baby kangaroos popping out of pouches, revealing them as offspring ripe for the tanning.

The crowd grew bigger yet and stayed true to the old adage, “the more the merrier.” Aleks, Marie, Abbi, Drew, Natalie, Jeff, Alix all came out early to celebrate before the evening’s main event, a baseball game featuring the Cyclones of Brooklyn as they took on the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

The game itself was not the main event, rather it was the fact that our good friend Matt would be tossing out the first pitch on account of it being his birthday. Seeing as Matt, like myself was a lifetime Met fan he was thrilled to be throwing out the first pitch for their minor league affiliate and still even more thrilled to get the chance to meet their manager, Wally Backman, a pivotal member of the ’86 Amazins.

Brooke, Matt, and Jackie enjoy a few sips of Shapely Piña Coladas

As we sat and sipped our drinks Matt ran through his scenarios while drinking a Pina Colada through a red tube shaped like a lady with curves in all the right places, figuring out what he would say to Wally. I maintained that I didn’t think there would be a chance  he’d get to meet him, but he would never know until he went down there.

Matt and Marie split off from us at 6:15pm so he could prepare for his pitch. It was actually pretty endearing. Matt had his glove and was desperately yearning for a few practice pitches even though he had no ball. We sat around for a few more minutes until Marie sent a text message giving us our marching orders to head for MCU Park.

As we rounded the side of the stadium we heard an announcement about a first pitch being thrown out by someone else. Determined not to miss Matt’s pitch as it was pretty much the sole reason this idea was chosen for his birthday party, I broke into a bit of a jog to get into the stadium on time and what do you know…as I descended the steps behind home plate shortly after my entrance, this is what I saw:

Matt Slings It Right Down the Pipe...But A Little High

The rest of the game was kind of an enjoyable breeze. Our party grew bigger to include 25 plus people including but not limited to Arby, Sam, Chris, Pete, Zak and Emma. The ‘Clones jumped out to an early lead off a home run in the third by their shortstop Nieves and held on to win 2-1.  For a good portion of the game Marie and Abbi had picked a favorite player they thought was cute. Unfortunately, we soon found out it had been the wrong guy and they quickly switched their allegiances from 2nd Baseman Rylan Sandoval to 1st Baseman Jeff Flagg.

A 'Clones Victory

There was no need for rally caps, but we did have nice new hats courtesy of our birthday deal with the Cyclones that also included a free beer and a free hot dog. With game in hand and a few beers in our bellies we left the ballpark satisfied as the skies opened up to highlight that Coney Island summer tradition of Friday Night Fireworks.


Once the light show died down I was trying to push everyone to an evening at the vaunted Beer Island but there was a slight push to go towards another more storied landmark in the Wonder Wheel. Abbi was pushing it and I was sort of dead set against it on account that there would probably be a line and I kind of had to go to the bathroom, but as we drew closer I found myself entranced by the old-fashioned amusement.  I gave in, forked over $6 and just like that was in line for the shaky section.

This Way to the Wonder Wheel!

We Prefer to be Swingers

Which is Not Immune to Certain Dangers

I rode in a car with Matt’s sister Brooke, Marie, and Aleks. The swinging section was not what I had expected at all. I thought it would just be kind of dangly.  Instead it was on a track that purposely dipped you on an incline and back like the tamest of roller coasters. It was a surprise not only to me, as Matt’s sister was certainly not thrilled by this wrinkle and let out her fair share of reactive noises. Still, it was a fun experience that not everyone in the party had partaken in.

...But the View!

The rest of the crowd had sidled up to the sauna-like bar at Ruby’s that was undoubtedly 15 degrees warmer than the outside seating area.

After watching an obese women in a bikini act a fool in front of a young crowd who made her the chief entertainment in Ruby’s unadvertised freakshow, I retreated outside to the more calm confines of the boardwalk making relaxed chatter and generally enjoying myself amongst the company. Matt enjoyed his first corn dog and then we pretty much packed up for the Slope.

Matt Sizes Up His Nitrate Popsicle

The last survivors of the evening ended up being Matt, Myself, Arby, and Samantha. The latter two didn’t last long as Matt and I had one more beer at Bar 4 before calling it a more-than-successful evening.

As I headed home towards my apartment I had the urge to tackle a protective stomach coating from Smiling Pizza on 7th avenue. I ordered up a slice and was immediately greeted by an excited declaration of my own name, “Evan!”  I looked to my right at the person who had ordered a slice just before me. There stood my good friend Ryan from my days at Ramapo High School.  It was a holy crap kind of moment, but good to see him after what had probably been 10 years.

We talked for a bit outside before I reached into my pocket to exchange numbers only to realize that there was nothing in my pocket with which to exchange numbers. I was phone-less. Fortunately, I knew I had my phone on the train and must have left it at Bar 4. We both walked to Bar 4 where my phone lay conveniently between 2 couch cushions. Crisis averted, old friend’s phone number received, evening over.

The next day I woke up at my own leisure and casually went about my business for the first few hours of my day. There had been some talk the previous few days via email about possibly making a trip to Coney Island to check out the Village Voice’s annual Siren Festival. Jason and Kayvalyn were really the only ones who expressed interest, but I didn’t have anything else to do that day and thought Coney Island might be fun to do again.

We met up around 2:30pm on the 7th avenue Q Platform only to have to wait 40 more minutes for the train to come. Our first move upon arriving back on the Isle of Coney was for beer. The concert organizers were doing it a bit different this year. Those in need of alcoholic refreshment were confined to an alcohol pen under the guise of being a beer garden. It was not the way to drink, but we each had 2 drink tickets each so we were sort of forced to use them, though we did so at separate times and separate stages so as to not spend too much time in one place. First we sat in the pen listening to what I think was Ponytail.

Beer Pen Blues

Not content to stand amongst the crowd, we sought out the variety at hand opting to cross the boardwalk and plunge feet first into the bay.  The only problem with this was that the beach was so densely populated that actually reaching the water was a bit of a labor, but one that was certainly well worth it. Once we came to the waterfront we were amazed by tightly packed masses in the water that extended far beyond our area of the beach. It was a sight that not even a well-positioned photograph could say a thousand words about. The visceral experience was far more valuable.

The Beach-going Masses

Happy Feet

Happy People

There were so many characters around us on the beach and all seemed to be having a blast as they cooled off from the intense heat. It was also an interesting perspective from which to take in the sites beyond the boardwalk in the other direction. They Cyclone and Wonder Wheel formed a playful, aging skyline that stood as a proud testament to Coney Island’s lasting recreational appeal.

The Wonder Wheel was Really Just an Excuse to Get a Photo of This Weird Skinny Guy

The Cyclone in the Distance

Having just cooled off a bit, we weren’t ready to throw ourselves into the roasting pit known as the main stage beer pen. Instead, we made a b-line to check out the view of the stage from Luna Park.  Rather than hang around with a clear view of the stage Jason, Kayvalyn and I took advantage of being in the middle of all of that updated amusement. There were a few ride options that interested us, but none more than the Air Race that gave willing participants the opportunity to spend a few minutes hanging upside down in an airplane.

It's a Bird, It's a Plane...OK Yeah, It's a Plane

There was something perfect about gliding and dipping upside down through the air listening to the poppy sounds of the Pains of Being Pure of Heart. It seemed an atmospheric ideal and I for one felt a bit of a thrill upon my exit from the ride. It beat standing around watching a band. On our way out of Luna Park we happened upon a carnival game where two weeks ago my roommate Laura and I had won little animals with Mets logos emblazoned on them.  Those bears/weasels were still there but on top of those there stood the creepiest game prize I had ever seen.

"Show Me on the Doll Where Mr. Jackson Touched You"

Leaving Luna Park we decided to catch some more Siren Bands. I think we caught the end of the Pains of Being Pure of Heart while enjoying another brew in the barricaded drinking region. While talking to Jason and Kayvalyn I noticed my friend Summer off in the distance and said a quick hello, but once beer was done, we had more exploring to do.

Our Surf Avenue travels took us into another familiar site which I had never before taken the opportunity to explore, the home of the El Dorado bumper cars. Well, that sounded like fun. Jason, Kayvalyn and I bought our tickets and lined up for a bit of bumper bashing, though we figured the blinking lights and constant beats threatened to give an employee or two one helluva headache or recurring seizures. Lights and music overload mixed with a childlike propensity to create mayhem behind the wheel made for a smashing good time if a brief one. I didn’t have time to pick out a fellow bumper car rider to punish mercilessly with my reckless driving habits.

All of that excitement was enough to make you hungry, so we settled on some tasty tacos on the boardwalk.

Real Mexican Tacos Indeed


As I marveled over the Chorizo taco from some place that advertised “Real Mexican Tacos” Jason or Kayvalyn noticed a group of hipsters just sprawled across the middle of the boardwalk as hordes of people were forced to avoid their selfish lounging. We repeatedly exclaimed in an increasingly incredulous tone how much we were not fans of these clowns causing a bottleneck on the boardwalk. Jason took matters somewhat into his own hands, walking up to them to snap photos of their general obnoxiousness. At one point a strange old lady poked herself in and eventually myself and Kayvalyn posed with them as well. I think they started to understand towards the end the more than obvious intent of our actions.

Our culinary adventure didn’t end with tacos and boardwalk hipsters. Prior to making our way back to the Stillwell stage we stopped for some dippin’ dots. Now I had previously heard of dippin’ dots and have heard many people exclaim about them as a vital ice cream experience of many a person’s childhood; I however had never experienced the magic of dippin’ dots. I have to say, I do prefer regular ice cream. Dippin’ dots were ok, but nothing special.


Finally, our evening at Coney Island came to a close as we took in a few minutes of the Holy Fuck performance from the side of the stage. We all agreed that they sounded really good, but we also wanted to beat the throng of thousands to the subway station.  We chose not to stay too much longer.


Upon my arrival at home that evening my roommate Laura was having dinner with our former roommate Laura and her family. I was treated to a lovely desert and a few beers thanks to the welcoming crowd. Someone had also bought a wine called Red Cat that featured a cat in a hot tub, with a smitten kitten in the background pining over said sexy red cat. The smitten kitten was especially hilarious because the cleavage on display in her  dress somewhat hinted that said cartoon kitten might be sporting some feline implants.

Red Cat: The Perfect Wine for Hot Tubbing with Kittens in Heat

So how did the wine taste, you ask? Let’s just say it was a red wine for those who like their red wine as sweet as life. And life so far this weekend had been particularly sweet.  Fortunately, I had one more day to go.

Sunday was not so much  a day rich in uncharted adventure as it was anchored firmly in the promise of a relaxing outing with friends.  My friend Enisha’s former roommate Julie was having a Bastille Day party a few days after the holiday celebrating French Independence.  I was slightly vexed over which accoutrements would be appropriate for the festivities.

My original thought was to swing by the supermarket and pick up some frozen French fries from Ore-Ida, the most french of our frozen food corporations. Then I remembered that the party was to be within spitting range of a McDonald’s and resigned myself to the task of buying a few helpings of large fries and delivering them in a greasy paper bag.

Before I could make that move official, I made a mini beer run to the supermarket where I happened on La Premiére Biére Française also known as Kronenbourg 1664. After stocking up on a classy French brew, my curious nature led me to the frozen foods section in search for Ore-Ida products.  Before I could stock up on frozen fries I happened upon another gem perfect for the celebration, Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza. Perfect.

The Perfect Bastille Day Accoutrements

I was on the early side to the party, per usual, but I joined the fray out back on the deck making appropriate conversation about Whit Stillman movies as one of the girls at the party had just auditioned for one.

While enjoying my Kronenbourg 1664, I also partook in the delicious array of fine foods prepared by our wonderful french host who had apparently been slaving over a hot stove for the better part of the last day and a half. The Pulled Pork and Vietnamese Meatball Sandwiches were no doubt the culinary highlights of the afternoon along with some sort of Dijon Mustard and sliced tomato pizza.

There were few familiar faces in the early going but soon the back deck was populated by Jason, Kayvalyn, Pete W, and Morwin. I made new friends with Serena, Jessica, Patricia, Pete’s friend Jeff and Jimena, the latter of which I had seen on several occasions but never really had the pleasure of making her acquaintance. There was plenty of warmth emanating from new friendships to go along with the somewhat unbearable heat. Luckily there was refuge to be sought in the central air conditioning of Julie’s apartment.

The original plan had been to move the festivities down to Smith Street for their Bastille Day Street Fair, but as the day grew on til it bordered the evening we saw that this would be a futile effort. Instead a few of us went to Woodwork down the street for a few beers.

For the last few hours Pete had been talking up the burger at Cornelius and although I had been stuffed full of food both french and not-so-French, all of that meat-centric conversation had my taste buds watering. So, the weekend came to a close with burger in hand as Morwin, Jimena, Pete, and myself savored the last taste of the perfect couple of summer days.


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Pakistan Knows How To Party

Posted by evankessler on June 1, 2009

Arriving home from my trip to Britain late Thursday night/Early Friday morning I found myself none too eager to take on a high octane pace for the weekend.  I perceived that my Friday evening would be very uninvolved and probably include putting something adhesive on my backside so that it would stay firmly entrenched on a couch as I enjoyed one of my three Netflix options in the dark and soothing squalor of my living space.

This did not happen.  As I went through the work motions at my computer during the day, I received a g-chat message from Deb M asking if I’d be attending her former roommate Londa and her twin sister Layla’s birthday celebration that evening.  Unsure of what my answer should be, due to my present state of exhaustion, I asked Jess S what she thought.  In truth, I didn’t need to ask this, I knew here answer would be yes, but I was just searching for more motivation than I currently had.

With that, my evening plans were set.  I spent the early part of Friday evening at the gym and watching the Mets game before heading into the city with Jess to a pub called Dublin in the border area between the West Village and the Meat Packing district.  Londa and Layla had reserved a backroom at the bar from 9:30pm onwards.  I said mostly brief hellos to the birthday girls and more or less spent the rest of my evening conversing with Deb M and Jess at a table, eventually making room for Jess’s boyfriend Ari and his friend who had just come from the Grizzly Bear show at Town Hall.

Jess, Deb and I  Do Our Best Impression of A 3-Headed Monster

Jess, Deb and I Do Our Best Impression of A 3-Headed Monster

Towards the end of the night I was introduced to someone who was also from Rockland.  I think his name was Quaku…I could be totally wrong, but it was loud and I couldn’t hear very well.  He insisted he knew me somehow and we played one of those “let’s name people we know in Rockland” games.  This revealed that we indeed had a few acquainatances in common.  Through the conversation I learned that some of our mutual semi-acquaintances were doing quite well.  One person was the guitar player for the SNL band and another had a band that opened for the Jonas Brothers.  This made me laugh.  A band fronted by a 30-year old playing for tweens.  I’m sure he’s making plenty of money though.

Anyway, that’s where the night ended as the Park Slope contingent was headed back to Brooklyn and I happily went along, as I wasn’t really in the mood to stay out drinking.

The next morning saw some initial laziness. There was a big evening ahead and I was just generally still feeling a bit worn out from my travels.  I was none too motivated to do much.  I basically sat around watching TV until it was time to spring into action for my afternoon/evening activity.  At 4:15 I arrived at Jayvalyn’s apartment dressed to the eights.  If I was wearing a tie I would’ve been dressed to the nines, but instead I was only wearing my suit sans neck appendage for our trip to Long Island for Ahmad and Erika’s engagement party.  Had it been their wedding, I would’ve knotted up.

To tell the truth I was a bit surprised by the request to dress formally for an engagement party, but having heard that we would be attending what was partially a ‘mungni’ or a large pakistani engagement party, I decided not to buck the trend with Jeans and a t-shirt.

A Large Estate on Long Island

A Large Estate on Long Island

By the time I arrived via car with Jayvalyn, Jes, and Kishore at the lavish estate of Ahmad’s aunt in the St. James, I was glad I had gone more dressed up, but slightly embarrassed that I hadn’t worn a tie. Everyone was very nicely dressed in either traditional Pakistani garb or sharp suits.  I quickly got over my slight embarrassment and headed for the beer and food.  I was absolutely starving having barely eaten all day.  There was a tantalizing spread of what I thought were dinner entrees.  After saying my hellos to Ahmad, Erika, Rich, Lina, Maya, Rob, Rob M, Morwin, Abdullah, Suli, Andrea, Flosario and Tony amongst others,  I partook in the wide variety of traditional foods, very few of which I knew what they were.  Everything was utterly foreign to me, but when I tasted each dish they proved overwhelmingly delicious.  I even went back for seconds.

Somewhere around my 2nd dish of food there was a bit of a commotion going on around the entrance.  Apparently the engagement ceremony was started.  Music began to blast and out walked the groom to be preceded by a slew of his  brother and friends sporting white scarves and dancing gleefully.  Included in this group were, Abdullah, Rich, Suli, and Rob M.  Morwin, Jason, Kishore and Tony held an awning (I guess is what I would call it) over Ahmad’s head as he approached and left him as he got to his chair.  As evidenced by the video below.

Next it was the bride-t0-be’s turn.  Erika walked out in similar fashion.  I’d describe it, but the video below will probably just work better than any explanation I could give.  Ah, the power of visual stimuli.

Finally, with the bride and groom to be in their places it was now time for the choreographed dances.  I stood there in awe and thought to myself.  If this was just the engagement party, imagine how crazy the wedding is going to be?

As the choreographed dances drew to a close the remained of those in attendance were pulled in to dance and partake in the merriment of the occasion.  The most striking part of the party were all of the bright colors of people’s outfits amidst the green grass of the backyard.  It was a hell of a lot more color than I think I’m used to seeing on a normal afternoon in the city and all of that color was constantly in motion making for a lively affair.

The Still Unwed Couple Enjoys Their First Dance of The Evening

The Still Unwed Couple Enjoys Their First Dance of The Evening

As the evening wore on there were even more choreographed dances and much to my surprise more food.  I hadn’t anticipated that when I went back for a 2nd plate of what I thought were entrees.  Apparently that was just the hors d’oeuvres round.  The real meal consisted of even great tasting delights that were just as mysterious as the last round, though they were more enigmatic this go ’round due to the fact that the sun had gone down and I was eating in the dark.  There was also a tasty dessert round with a certain dish which I don’t remember the name of that Ahmad told me was his favorite.  It was quite delicious and I wish I had taken pictures.

One of the funnier episodes of the night occurred while Abdullah had been DJing and left one of his mixes on for awhile.  The lyrics to one of the songs were overtly sexual and kept being repeated.  So anyone was within relative proximity to the speakers kept hearing something related to certain female genitalia at this joyous family affair.  Oops.  Oh well, I don’t think it ended being a big issue, just a small hiccup in an overwhelmingly enjoyable night.

I ended up leaving relatively early at around 10:30pm because I was able to grab a ride home back to Brooklyn with Lauren, her dad, and Rosario.  Afterwards I had the slight sting of regret that I should have stayed and at least had some of the cake, which was painstakingly baked by one of Ahmad’s relatives over the course of a week.  It had an ornate decoration of flowers that were very carefully put together and looked as though it would be mouth wateringly sumptious.  That being said, I had eaten entirely too much during the cocktail hour and dinner and was completely stuffed and therefore sleepy.  By the time I got home I was absolutely thrilled to go to sleep even though it was relatively early for a Saturday night.

Sunday was another beautiful early summer day.  The weather was in the high 70’s/low 80’s and a group of us gathered in the park for a period of  relaxation that lasted around five hours in which we tossed several different pigskins around, played fetch with dogs, and had a few snacks amidst plentiful conversation.  Another banner weekend, in the life of a Brooklynite.

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No Party In The Desert

Posted by evankessler on May 6, 2009

After a blazing hot summer-like weekend to close out April, things cooled off quite a handsome amount last weekend.  Shorts were briefly sent back in storage as temperatures plummeted into the high 50’s and everyone more or less wondered where the super happy fun park weather went.

This self-contained blogging apparatus didn’t exactly have the most eventful weekend, due to somewhat damp and cool conditions, but things started off promising and maintained a relaxing pace all the way through…and there was a derby.  Friday was cause for celebration as Andrea P celebrated hitting the big 3-0 in style.  I took the subway into the city around 8:45, despite VP Joe Biden’s mass transport warnings.  I have to admit, everyone on the train looked beat down and full of suffering as they could’ve been carrying some sort of disease that may or may not have swine flu…and the two who did not were young ladies dressed loosely enough to cause me to ascertain that they might also be candidates for a disease of another ilk…if you know what I mean.

I met a bunch of my friends including the birthday girl at around 9:45pm at Jadis where a slew of folks had been enjoying a dinner and fancy wine type get together in the early evening after-work hours.  I decided to stroll in fashionably late as to avoid taking part in a hefty bill situation opting to miss out on the heaps of champagne in favor of a few Stellas from the bar.

There was plenty of discussion afoot of our hopefully upcoming video project which is currently on the QT even though people reading this might know something about it and there was also a heaping helping of action film discussion spearheaded by Ajay, Suli, Andy, and Jason.  The main topics in that discussion were the Transformers movie, the Star Trek movie, and GI Joe…all hitting theaters this summer.  I have to say, I am excited for GI Joe as I had an odd animated attraction to The Baroness as a child.

From our cozy beginnings we made way for a hot and  happy underground conclusion to the evening, spending the last several hours dancing to the straight up rock and soul sounds at Home Sweet Home.  This was the 2nd time I had been to said establishment in nearly a month and it was even more entertaining and energetic than the last.  The largest difference in going this time around is that the elevated dance floor had been removed, which is probably for the better since it was a bit of a hazard having people onthe closely cramped riser fall on top of those one foot below them.  Either way, shoes were shuffling and body parts were twisting and turning all around to the great soundtrack.  When the night ended I had danced and sweated up a storm, which I know is highly unlike me…but the music was that good.

The Birthday Girl Mid-Dance Move

The Birthday Girl Mid-Dance Move

Lina Wants Peace On The Dancefloor

Lina Wants Peace On The Dancefloor

Saturday morning there was no plan.  I knew the Kentucky Derby was that day, but that was about it.  I was tired from a late evening the night before and really had no motivation to conquer the world.  It was mostly overcast with slight periods of sunnyness at a semi-pleasant…but slightly cool 62 degrees.  At around 1:30 or so I decided to take on the outside world for a brief spell and work myself down to the OTB on 5th ave and 14th street to place a bet on what I thought could be a winning horse for the derby.

After picking up a NY Post to read their assessment, I lined up amongst the most obvious crowd of degenerate gamblers, who in their steadfast dedication to the thoroughbred had obviously built up quite a hatred for the tellers who had handed them one too many a ticket for a losing exacta.  There were mutterings about how slow each teller was and how all of the people in there for the derby didn’t know how to bet and were obviously affecting their ability to bet on the 4th race at Yonkers and the 6th at Meadowlands on time.  Old men who had most likely pissed their life savings in this place yet came back everyday to salvage some rent money or enough for a few beers, but really knew how to pick a winner scurried about.  The audible field was a sea of haggard mumbles and I thought to myself that this might be an interesting place to spend a day.  Sure, I liked Atlantic City, which was it’s own cesspool of negative currency sadness…but this was probably the end all be all of degeneracy and it was oddly appealing. I sort of wanted to hang around, but had no knowledge of any of the other races…though it’s not as if I would have picked winners based on that knowledge.  I just go by names and so the name that sounded like the derby winner to me was “Desert Party.”  I could almost hear it now reverberating through the speakers on my TV “…and down the stretch they come Desert Party takes the inside and stretches his lead to two lengths.  He’s got a few challengers, but looks to be widening the gap…And it’s Desert Party by two lengths to win the derby!”  At 15-1, that all had a nice ring…so I place my $5 bet with my dream scenario floating around in my brain.  I also placed a $5 one for Arby on Friesan Fire.  That wasn’t a bad name either but it had 9-2 odds and not so great payday potential.

Before returning home with my potential I.O.U. from OTB, I stopped by 7-11 in the hopes of grabbing a cherry slurpee.  Unfortunately, the sad look on the fat eleven year old’s face attempting to drain the icy treat into his super-sized cup told me that wouldn’t be happening.  So instead of having a tasty cool beverage to enjoy as I strolled on the sunny side of the street, I was empty handed.

I didn’t head straight home after that, I swung by Jenny P’s place to pick up a notebook I had left over there on Monday and then accompanied her all the way to 7th ave and 9th street to latch onto Robert, with whom she was going shoe shopping with.  From there, I stopped at Louie G’s for some ice cream to satisfy my cool treat fix and eased on down the road back to my abode to catch the beginning of the Mets game.

I didn’t spend too long by my lonesome enjoying baseball.  At 6pm, I headed over to watch the end of the game and the  Derby with Arby and Steph with a 6-pack of tallboys in hand.  Once the gates opened and the jockeys did their jockeying and horseys did their thing that horsey’s do when they’re getting whipped and steered or whatever happens down there, things looked promising.  At first I didn’t hear the words “Desert Party” very often but then at around the midway point I caught wind that my 15-1 champ was pacing himself in 4th place primed for a stretch explosion.  Unfortunately, another horse got into colossal spring seemingly coming from all the way back.  Mine That Bird weaved his way through the equine competition and won by well over a nose.  My ticket was worthless.  I wanted to go commiserate with my beaten down brethren at the OTB but that would’ve been too far of a walk.  Instead I continued drinking with Arby and Steph and continued watching the baseball game.

There Would Be No Partying In The Desert on This Evening

There Would Be No Partying In The Desert on This Evening

From our sporty perch in Arby’s apartment we moved the weekend festivities to La Taqueria for some delicious nachos, tacos, and ice cold beers with the helping hand of our lovely bartender Kayla.  The tacos were tasty while the nachos were disappointingly soggy, but I was hungry for them anyway.  We drank our fill and the time flew.  Before we knew it it was 11pm.  So much for making any night moves, it was time for bed.

I woke up pretty early on Sunday, kind of unaware of the fact that I had passed out on the early side for the weekend.  The majority of my final day of the weekend was spent inside, deterred from tackling the outside world because the outside world was wet and wholly unappealing.  Rain persisted throughout the day and the chair in my room got a work out if supporting my smallish expanse can be deemed a workout.  The weather’s been more or less crummy ever since… but there’s always next weekend to look forward to.  C’mon mother nature, give us some sun…and maybe add a little more heat in there this time around.

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Heart Warming Sales

Posted by evankessler on November 13, 2008

Yesterday I had the cockles of my heart warmed and the contents of my wallet padded when my wonderful friend Jess S. alerted me of a birthday surprise that was unceremoniously thwarted Friday evening by the unreliable demons of the UPS monster.

Apparently Jess had plotted to arrive with Anna M and her brother in official gear from the not-so-profitable EvanKessler.com shop as a testament to my commercial powers and our lasting friendship.  Unfortunately, UPS kept playing games with their delivery by misinforming them as to when the product was to be delivered, transforming a masterful plan into an utterly moot scheme.

Just One of Many Shirts You Can By At The EvanKessler.com Official Store!

Just One of Many Shirts You Can By At The EvanKessler.com Official Store!

To me though, it was not a meaningless gesture, it was the ultimate display of genuine warmth and affection.  And it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  So even though it’s a bit belated I wanted to thank her and everyone who showed up on Friday to my 30th birthday extravaganza.  It was truly an event that I will not be forgetting anytime soon.

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Courtesy of The Red, White, and Blue

Posted by evankessler on July 8, 2008

(sing the following to the first minute and a half to Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of The Red, White and Blue”)

American Girls and American Guys Got Together This Weekend With Some Indians and Thais

There were even Pakistanis there

We don’t discriminate

So we could marinate steak to talk about as something we ate.

We threw on those charcoals and piled them up high

There was asparagus in butter… and lemon ready on the side

There were Dips…and veggies…and different kinds of meats… to grill up and enjoy on this day we had free.

We sat on people’s roofs and in their yards in the back

We joked around a lot but we never played hacky sack

Soon as we got hungry and ready to dine

Yeah we lit up that grill, it was the 4th of July.

Uncle Sam put our name at the top of his list

To enjoy a hearty meal without raising a fist

We had a few beers it really was swell

To hear mother freedom ringin’ her dinner bell

In this land she made just for me and you

Brought to you Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue


Wow, now if you have never heard that Toby Keith song…You’d have no idea what I was trying to do there. Anyway, this weekend was the 4th of July as evidenced by that little lyrical re-imagining of one of the most patriotic songs ever, minus the “boot in yer ass”, plus the date being July 7th it would only be natural for me to be recapping the 4th of July weekend now.

However, with most of America having the Friday the 4th off, the weekend began in earnest on July 3rd. And in keeping with the spirit of pretty much the entire summer so far…faced with pleasant weather, there was BBQing to be done. Our Thursday night BBQ outing took place at Kishore’s yet again…and yet again I was one of the early guests to arrive. Actually, this time I was the first arriving slightly after the advertised time of 6pm. People slowly began to arrive though and Kishore and I were joined by Andrea, Andy, Ajay, Enisha, Kayvalyn, Rich,Suli, Jeff, Morwin, Lauren, Ahmad, Erika, Lauren, and Rosario to pretty much round out the crew and send the evening off to a roaring success.

Before we coasted into the evening activity though, there was food to be prepared. Andrea and I created burgers from scratch using our magical ability to conjure meat, pepper, garlic, jalapenos. and other assorted flavorings. There was also corn, steak, chicken, and plenty of chips. Once the festivities moved outside the conversation turned to Bryan Adams for one reason or another and I set up my iPod to play “Everything I Do, I Do It For You” but Rich spoiled the fun by shutting it off even though Andrea and Andy were sharing and intimate moment reminiscing over junior high dance steps.

A Traditional Array of BBQ Meat-age

As the sky grew dark the conversation became intensely focused on figuring out the long standing puzzle of how the hell everyone in our group of friends actually knew each other. Apparently Andy had taken upon himself to create a flow chart more or less explaining the connections. It was a master work if I have ever seen one. He might end up taking a Nobel Prize if he ever proves it to be correct.

Andy And His Masterwork

From heated conversation emerged a heated competition in the form of a game of quarters. Most of the party went inside to partake in drinking game hi-jinks of the kind that I continually refuse to partake in. It’s not that I don’t like fun. I just don’t like drinking competitively and vomiting. I consider myself to be a man of leisure, not a savage combatant in matters of the gullet. Anyway, the evening eventually ended. Someone ended up vomiting as a result of the game and Kayvalyn and I ended up walked towards our area of Brooklyn together sometime around 1:30am.

The next morning, was July 4th. I woke up around 11am. John and Zerna were having early BBQ festivities at their Williamsburg abode but I was a little slow getting up. I made plans to meet at Kishore’s place at 1pm, but before making it over there I decided I would go online and download some American songs. I only ended up actually getting two, Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” and Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band”. Fresh off my patriotic music triumphs I made my way over to Kishore’s so that I could get in his automobile along with Kayvalyn, Enisha and Andy and travel to our point of BBQing. It was a while before we actually left on account that not everyone showed up at 1pm…but I didn’t really expect them to.

When we arrived at John and Zerna’s there was already a fine display being worked out but we left to go pick up some additional goods from the grocery store in the way of beer and tonic (not to mix together). From then on the party was in full swing as Baby Lea partied in the splashed around in her kiddie pool…the older kids stood around in the sand pit and Rich, John and Kishore did their fair share of grilling. I even put on my two American songs, though they didn’t get the enthusiast response I was hoping for.

Miller and His Un-American Beer

When Miller arrived I chided him for bringing unAmerican beer (Corona) on our nation’s big day. He was also reading a book about an Austrian Trade Theory. Methinks Miller is plotting something.

It wouldn’t have been a BBQ in Williamsburg without a bit of hipster sport and wouldn’t you know it, we brought a long a badminton net so that everyone could bang the ol’ shuttlecock around. After about two and a half hours of John and Zerna’s action…our group, largely consisting of the previous evening’s crowd made a move for their other forth of July festivities.

Knockin’ The Shuttlecock Around

4th of July Crew#1 As Amurrican As Apple Pie

I jumped on the G train back to the slope and in what seemed like no time I had arrived at Goody and Chris’s 4th of July Rockin’ eve. I can’t really say it was all that different from the last BBQ I had been there for other than it didn’t really rain this time around. It was still an excellent time with fine folks like Josh R, Chris M, Hope, Reva, Katie, and of course our hosts Chris and Goody amongst others. I’d say the highlight of the evening was towards the end when we engaged in a game of pin the tail on Rob’s window or the picture of “The Donkey” that was on Rob’s window. I was the reluctant first contestant and though I don’t think I came close I was a sport of a guinea pig. The evening ended without really taking in any fireworks but that didn’t make in any less American. As long as one can eat meat and drink budweiser, it’s a July 4th worth remembering.

Hope and Chris M…All-American…All The Time

Oh…I’ll Pin The Tail On That Donkey

A Donkey Unscathed

Saturday morning felt a lot like Sunday…and with obvious reason. It was already the third day of the weekend and with two consecutive days of drinking under my belt I was plenty exhausted. I could’ve spent the entire day in bed, but rather than operate for 24 hours without a purpose, I spent the majority of the morning and afternoon fixing my living space in preparation for the birthday celebrations for my roommate Laura B. Not that anyone would be lviing it up in my room, it was just that we were having guests over and I thought my slavenly appearance ought not to be accompanied by a room that resembled that compost room on the Death Star in Star Wars, so I did my best Rosie The Robot impression and picked up what amounted to an awful mess.

It was around 6:30pm when the crowd began to roll in and a lively bunch it was. Andrew Morton, Renga, Trish, Kelly, Mike H, Greg C, Pete F, Stephen and Katie H were all on hand for the festivities. We had all done our part in making the festivities edibles. Mike helped prepare the Pork Loin, Laura made the guac, Renga and kelly made sidedishes and other folks brought on the alcohol. Before we dove headfirst into the meal, we need to get ourselves suitably lubricated with alcohol and so we used Danny Devito’s Limoncello margerita recipe and got our drink on. Renga also made a punch with ground up strawberries that was delicious.

The Birthday Girl Concocts on Danny Devito’s Limoncello Margaritas

With alcoholic beverages in tow and the meal yet to come…the piece de resistance made it’s debut appearance. Renga had made Laura’s birthday cake…It was a buttcake… and it just may have been one of the greatest cakes of all time in both appearance and taste.

The cake was fashioned out of brownies, rice krispy treats, and frosting to account for the skin color and thong decorations. It was pretty much a work of art. I can’t really say enough about it so I won’t. I’ll just let the picture do the talking.

Behold The Buttcake

After our heart meal of Pork, Potatoes and various sides we all gathered in Laura’s room for some film viewing. The original plan was to screen a movie on Dan’s projector but Dan never made it because he spent all day repairing the door in his apartment that had been knocked off when it was broken into merely hours before. Luckily for Dan, he had installed video camera a few days before and actually caught the intruder/thief on tape and busted him, but alas he never made it in time for buttcake and to take in an episode of the classing early 90’s TV show: MST3K as they viewed the cult film Manos: The Hands of Fate. Well, a few of the folks watching were too drunk to enjoy and fell asleep, but the majority of us spent the entire hour plus laughing our asses off and going back for buttcake seconds.

It was an evening full of simple pleasures…alcohol, laughter, and buttcake. It came to a relatively early end around midnight but several of the revelers decided to keep their buzz alive by hitting up the bars…but not me…and not Andrew…and not Bassett. We called it an evening as we had certainly celebrated enough.

Sunday pretty closely resembled the early part of Saturday save for cleaning. Not a lot of activity…mostly hungover…blah…blah…blah. Renga and Andrew came over around 7pm and along with Mike and Matt we gathered to watch the downfall of American culture that is VH1’s “I Love Money.” That’s how the weekend ended…and we liked it…and if you don’t…we’ll put a boot in yer ass…it’s the American way!

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Hiccup! The Musical

Posted by evankessler on May 27, 2008

A foul plague descended upon the body of one Evan Kessler this Memorial Day weekend. It was not one the famed ten plagues, but alas it is mentioned in the title of this here post. It all began Friday night, a night that seemed to be just your average Friday night at the beginning of the summer. In the early going I (the aforementioned Evan Kessler) gathered at the new bar, Barrette, on Vanderbilt Avenue with Andrea, Enisha and the one they call Kishore to partake in some outdoor drinking. After two tasty lagers, the one they call Kishore and I headed to the MET foods store and purchased a variety of groceries.

At around 6:30pm a few friends gathered together at the home of the one they call Kishore with barbecue and beer on the brain. The first to arrive was Suli followed by Lauren H which soon gave way to a bigger crowd that consisted of Jeff, Jason, Kayvalyn, Nina, Dmitry, Ahmad, Erika, and Rosario. The fire got going rather soon and just like that there was food on the grill and people were ready to inhale some meaty goodness. I can’t speak to the extent of the riveting conversation, but I think it was ample and pleasant and mostly non accusatory.

Meaty Goodness

Then it happened…sometime in between my 4th beer, my 2nd spicy italian sausage (no entendre) and my 2nd attempt at Poison’s “Talk Dirty To Me” on Guitar Hero my body function became all twisted and I began to hiccup about every 40 seconds on average. I was only slightly phased by this at first as it sort of went with the territory of getting drunk. While the majority of the party continued to play a game of quarters, myself, Jason, and Enisha continued on with guitar hero undaunted, but as the night drew to a close sometime around 1am my hiccups continued on.

For Those About To Rock…Jason’s Not Playing That Song

“At The Drive In…In The Old Man’s (hiccup) Ford”

When I arrived home I fell asleep rather easily with hiccups in tow. As I awoke on Saturday morning, the 1st full day of the three day Memorial day weekend, my first breath was met with a funny breath, a intense internal muscular motion and an accompanying sound, “hiccup,” it said. Confounded, I attempted to drink some water in the hopes that this might quell the minor plague. It did not. I decided that I should go for a walk and that maybe the fresh air would do me good.

As I began to shuffle down Union Street my body still jerking irregularly every 40 seconds or so, I received a call from Andrew Morton. He was running or more appropriately, walking some errands and asked if I wanted to come with. Determined to walk off my affliction, I decided that I would accompany him. Together we walked all the way to Lowe’s on 2nd avenue and 14th street which is way off my radar. It’s as distant a land as Narnia to little British children in a book…though Lowe’s unfortunately contained no talking lions, but I figured maybe the air would be different down in that part of town and put a clamp on my hiccup valve…or maybe they had hiccup valve clamps in the same section where they had their other hardware type clamps. Alas, they did not.

From Lowe’s, Andrew and I made our way up to 5th avenue. We decided that food was a good idea since neither of us had eaten yet. We stopped into Albanese Pizza, a pizza place I had yet to sample. I ordered the Pizza Alla Vodka and the Grandma Slice and a ginger ale. Andrew and I sat down and began to rehash our disgust over Indiana Jones and other summer movie matters and about 4 minutes into the meal-versation, I noticed something…Albanese Pizza is the cure for the hiccups. Rejoice!

Feeling a tinge of victory, the two of us proudly made our way to Barnes & Noble to celebrate the only way we know how, browse through books and then leave. Though, to be fair, Andrew bought a book about the making of Indiana Jones, proudly upping his dork level, even though I did so admire his purchase.

That’s where we split off. Andrew went home to enjoy his new purchase and I went home to prepare for my evening of revelry. For that evening, I was invited to participate the in the birthday festivities for my boss, Josh. Although I wasn’t sure I whom I would be hobnobbing with, I thought I should look and feel my best…so I lazed out for the next few hours. Unfortunately, some time around 5:30, there it was again…”hiccup,” even more pronounced…bigger, badder, meaner….”hiccup”. I could not contain my disdain for the error in my body’s basic function. It was a cruel trick played on me by the lord himself. Had he smote me for being such a poor follower of the Torah? Was I the most heathen of sinners? Maybe…but I didn’t get a straight answer when I begged the lord to tell me. I guess that means there is no god and we are all at the mercy of our bodily functions.

As I pondered the meaning and the embarrassment that would surely be cause later by these persistent breathing gaffes, I made all efforts to make them go away. Laura Bassett told me to drink ten consecutive sips of water, swallowing them all, and then inhaling ten more times and letting out a large exhale. Much to my surprise this worked. Hallelujah. Way to go Bassett!

Unfortunately, I was no Helen Keller to Bassett’s Miracle worker Annie Sullivan routine. The hiccups reappeared an hour later as I readied to take Manhattan by, “hiccup,” storm. However, in a last ditch attempt, I followed some more of Bassett’s home remedy solutions attempting the “spoonful of sugar” trick twice to no avail, as well as the previous victorious solution.

My head slung low and defeat, but bobbing up and down with ongoing spasms, I set out for Manhattan on the subway. Hiccuping along on the F train. As I sat nervously praying for an internal cease fire the woman next to me asked, “hiccups?”. My response, “yeah they’ve been plaguing me all day.” To which she quipped “I was just making sure you weren’t going to throw up.” At this point I assured her I was not about to vomit all over her…but just then…and amazing thing happened. One minute passed….Two minutes passed…Three minutes passed…nothing. I was once again hiccup free. Had the random conversation startled them out of me or was the sugar method just beginning to kick in? It didn’t matter…the hiccups seemed a thing of the past.

As I arrived at the party for my boss on the Lower East Side, I had an overwhelming wave of relief, but also an inkling of caution. Could I hold of these foul symptoms for the rest of the night? Were they gone for good? Only time would tell. I dug into the party with aplomb, chatting it up with partygoers and settling into a long hiccup free conversation with the birthday boy’s old friend Maryann, a Montessori School teacher from Connecticut. I could identify easily with her seeing as I went to Montessori School for a year as a child and knew what the deal was. Though I’m aware most people don’t like talking to their jobs we eventually got onto other things. The drinks flowed and the conversation went for a good portion of the night.

Sometime near the 11:30 hour though, that foul temptress “hiccup” reared it’s ugly head and once again took control of my esophageal muscle function…or whatever muscle it has to do with. They were upon me yet again. Though they seemed less daunting because I was embroiled in conversation and I figured they would go away. Eventually, we sat down and joined some other folks at the party. One of which shares a last name with the purveyor of this site, though I was confident we had no relation. Despite the confidence being rewarded me and the Kessler in question took a fascination with each other’s nominal similarity and riffed on that for awhile.

Random Kesslers Unite

I think it was a little after midnight when another partygoer, Ben, and I attempted to get people to move matters to a local bar. Unfortunately we had no takers and ended up at Max Fish, “hiccup”, for one more beer. I arrived had home still smarting from my bout with the hiccups but hoped that a little more rest would not allow this Memorial day weekend to be in vain.

I woke up at 6:22 am on Sunday morning, “hiccup”. Now, this is where it gets kind of gross…but only for a brief spell. There was a feeling that some food may have been lodged in my esophagus. This is what I perceived had been causing the hiccup. In my attempt to purge myself of the blockage I made my way to the bathroom and stuck my finger down my throat repeatedly. “Hooah…drip…drop…hiccup”…. Damn! “Hooah…drip…drop…hiccup. Damn…I guess that won’t do.” As I rid myself of what I thought to be causing this vexing problem I had an intense burning in my throat and chest area. Having just vomited out a thin dark brown liquid that I assumed was bile or stomach acid…I was in a bit of a panic. I wondered whether or not the emergency room was the most valid option for the next few minutes.

However, just then I came to the realization that this felt a lot like a more intense version of heartburn/acid reflux I had previously encountered. Luckily, I still had a roll of antacid tablets in my room and surmised that it would probably be a good time to use them. Upon the deployment of two Tums, the burning eased to just below a simmer and the pain more or less subsided, but one thing remained constant, “hiccup.” Ugh…this was going to be a long day.

My plan for Saturday had been to go to Rockland County with Suli for Joe D’s BBQ in the Burbs. However, I had to make sure that I’d be alright to make it the entire trip without feeling the need to vomit out more disgusting discharges. Despite an original negative diagnosis on Plan A, I decided it was too beautiful a day to let it go to waste laying in bed flailing about with every involuntary muscle contraction. Instead I would flail about in Suli’s car and in a deck chair in Joe’s backyard…and if crisis should strike, Joe’s house was only seven houses down from my house, so if I felt ill, I could just go to the old bedroom and crash out.

As I took the train over to Williamsburg, my fits continued…still as frequently as they started…nearly every 40 seconds or so, give or take. Part of me was wishing for a miracle like the one that had happened the day before. A curious stranger would ask if I was going to vomit on them, I’d say no and my hiccups would vanish into the ether. Unfortunately, no such strangers took even a passing interest in the noises or minor gyrations being made by my body. It was one of those trips that everyone minded their own business, and I can’t say I didn’t prefer it that way…but maybe just maybe the cure to the hiccups was someone caring whether or not your hiccups would be cured…like that woman on the train the day before. Oh well, I guess I wouldn’t know.

I met Suli by his car around 2:30 in the afternoon. I explained to him the situation. He jokingly remarked that listening to me with the hiccups all car ride would be annoying. Nonetheless, we made our move in the car towards Pomona, my affliction still audible. By this time the repeated muscular motion had also become a tad bit painful. Throughout the ride I took sips of water and tried to cure my disease with multiple home remedies that I had already attempted. At one point while I was attempting Bassett’s method that had worked on me the previous day, Suli asked me if I watched “The Wire”…I was in the middle of inhaling ten times so I couldn’t answer but began to crack up. I thought the infusion of laughter and break from my regular breathing pattern might help things. My hiccups seemed to skip a beat…but forty seconds later there they were again.

Rather than give up, I pressed on with the Bassett method and finished my ten breaths as Suli asked if I watched “30 Rock”. Luckily, I had finished before breaking into laughter, because from that point on my hiccups went on hiatus for a bit.

Soon after that we arrived at Joe’s place and I was feeling a little tentative about drinking. Instead I sat drinking cups of water as I sat around with several foreign and several familiar faces enjoying chips, dips, and conversation. I have to admit, I really had no part in the conversation, partially because I was concentrating on my breathing like a mom going into labor while coincidentally sitting next to someone who was eight months pregnant, but also because I had no idea what any of the conversation was about. People were talking about recent Rockland things and Rockland people and places that I did not frequent because i don’t live there anymore. It felt bizarre…but I was more concerned about letting loose once again.


Maybe an hour or so had passed since my hiccups had been gone and seeing as though I was at a barbecue, I thought it would be safe to nurse one beer. I was wrong. I had nearly finished the one beer in hand and was about ready to enjoy a tasty burger and dog when lo and behold my enemy emerged from it’s cave beyond my throat, “hiccup. Jesus Christ!” That was the last beer I drank all day. Water was the only drink on my menu.

A little later on after Suli and I arrived Joe’s friend Katie arrived with her daughter Frankie. A bunch of went out into the yard and started playing catch. Frankie then came and joined us as we threw around the frisbee. The multiple games of catch, “hiccup”, soon gave way to wiffleball with the little girl being the common teammate on both sides. She had boundless energy and quite the affinity for swinging the bat. However, after awhile Suli, Joe, and I opted out and one of the other BBQ-ers, Chris stayed put for batting practice.

Exhausting Outdoor Activity

My problem more or less persisted throughout the day until sometime around 8pm. Joe and Suli had just finished playing hide and seek with Frankie and I was the next victim on the child entertainment hit list. It’s not like she was a difficult little girl, so it wasn’t as much of a chore as I’m making it sound, but I was sort of physically exhausted from my bout with myself that I would’ve rather stayed put. If anything I thought I would just feel worse after running around, but after approximately five rounds of hide and go seek and fifteen more minutes of batting practice, I suddenly noticed that I wasn’t doing something….

Ah….it was a pleasurable ride home when Suli and I left probably around 9pm. The simple act of sitting in a car without the hiccups felt enjoyable. To be honest though, my throat felt a bit raw from all of the muscular strife. When Suli pulled up to my corner in Brooklyn, I decided to reward myself with an ice cream cone to celebrate the latest cessation of obnoxious muscular motion. Tasti-D was sweet. Getting home to relax was sweeter. The next day was memorial day and I’d be in tip top shape to get my BBQ on one more time. The weekend would be salvaged.

To soothe my raw throat I went down to the kitchen to make myself some chamomile tea. I reached up to the cupboard to search for the teabag when suddenly…”hiccup…Jesus Christ…what the crap!” Cue Laura Bassett…”How was your day? How are the hiccups?”…”ugh, they just came back.”

The rest of the evening I sat in my room hiccuping away. I called my mom to see if she had any home remedies and pondered going to the emergency room after reading a passage in webMD that read:

Hiccups that last longer than 48 hours are called persistent hiccups. Hiccups that last longer than a month are called intractable hiccups. While very rare, intractable hiccups can cause exhaustion, lack of sleep, and weight loss. Both persistent and intractable hiccups may be a sign of a more serious health problem and must be checked by a doctor.

There are many known causes of persistent or intractable hiccups, including:

  • Central nervous system problems, such as cancer, infections, stroke, or injury.
  • Problems with the chemical processes that take place in the body (metabolic problems), such as decreased kidney function or hyperventilation.
  • Irritation of the nerves in the head, neck, and chest (vagus or phrenic nerve).
  • Anesthesia or surgery.
  • Mental health problems.

Well, none of that sounded very good to me, “hiccup”. However, I decided against the emergency room because sitting in a room with sick people for seven hours sounded none to appealing. Instead, I took my mom’s advice, took a benadryl and went to sleep.

The next morning felt like a miracle of sorts. There was nary a sound except my breathing and occasional burping…oh…and when I spoke that made a sound too. I still wasn’t feeling completely right. My diaphragm or whatever muscle it was that had constantly been moving for 48 hours was exhausted and my throat still felt absolutely raw. I spoke softly and cautiously and drank nothing but water for the early portion of the day.

At around 3pm I met up with Arby and headed over to Abbi’s Memorial Day BBQ. I had resigned myself to not drinking after the events of the previous day, but I was open to trying a beer. The BBQ itself was quite a whirlwind of activity but my activity was mostly contained to a small gust of said whirlwind that centered around the lone table. I spent most of the day conversing with Arby, Marie, Abbie,Jenny, Felecia, Robert, and the latter two’s new roommate Megan. Despite my presence, I was still not in tip top shape. Each bite of meat I partook in seemed to be bring twinges of pain while making it down my esophagus. I was hungry but also cautious. Drinking brought discomfort as well. While the hiccups had yet to re-emerge I was wary of continue activity to bring it back. However, sometimes all the fun of a memorial day BBQ can be enough to induce a little daring…though not a helluva lot when extreme discomfort is the price.

Sometime around 5pm I started with beer one. An hour or two later after no ill effects beer two was taken care of…though some uncomfortableness and fear of the H-word lingered. I was all set to call it quits on the drinking front when close to our exit at around 10:30pm I was offered a glass of wine and being the idiot I am I took it and tempted fate a little more. I was also annoying urged to attempt trying the hula hoop despite my urging that I wasn’t really feeling well. However when an entire party with your “good friend” as the ring-leader is telling you to try the hula hoop you look like an asshole the longer you hold out, no matter what your reason. So, after my half assed attempt at the hula hoop that took a long drawn out urging to induce, not only did I look like a total asshole, I felt like one too.

As a group of four or us, consisting of myself, Arby, Robert, and Megan, walked home…I was still not really feeling comfortable about the things happening inside my body not related to the reproductive system or hula hooping. However, at the urging of Arby, and much to my chagrin the group decided to go into the Park Slope Ale House for a night cap. Arby bought everybody two rounds of vodka sodas for a night cap and despite my attempts to not further tempt fate and deter everyone from accepting his attempts to prolong the evening, drunk people don’t listen to reason and once again, I was put in the position of looking like an asshole if I didn’t accept this offer. I begrudgingly partook in the nightcap because I have no willpower and had about a drink and a half before we all left the bar to go home.

I went home fully expecting the hiccups to re-emerge as I attempted to write a post for the Trendliest. However, my sleepiness took hold and rather than wait for the dreaded contraction to happen, I just went to sleep. When I woke up Tuesday morning the body of Evan Kessler felt as good as new…or at least a little worse than it’s normal self, sans-hiccups.

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Posted by evankessler on November 6, 2007

Well, it took a little while but I’m finally recovered enough from this weekend to get my recap on. Three consecutive days of celebration is enough to put even the most accustomed of drinkers in a trance-like state. That being said, it wasn’t as harrowing as it sounds. Friday night was spent in the usual fashion. The team of usual revelers were stationed at the Lighthouse Tavern for what seemed like the umpteenth consecutive Friday. It wasn’t necessarily a memorable evening but there was comfort in the surrounding company as Arby, Thea, Heather, and Filler made up our little group. It was by no means a reckless night of booze intake, more of a casual meeting of the minds and gullets at the local watering hole. My evening was pretty brief in comparison to my usual marathon stints at said location. I had returned to my apartment a little after midnight. I didn’t want to overdo it seeing as I would be celebrating my 29th birthday in the big city on Saturday night.

When I returned home I crashed in on Laura Bassett and Jenny’s room. They had a friend visiting for Jenny’s bridal shower, so I hung out for a few minutes before retiring to my room for what was originally going to be sleep but what ended up being a game or two of Madden before drifting off to slumberland.

Saturday was really a nothing day. I don’t really recall anything important happening during the day. I had vowed to get some writing done only I kept distracting myself with the garden of internet-ly delights, not to mention a detour to Press 195 to have lunch with Andrew Morton. Afterwards it was more general wasting of time while prior to heading into the city for my birthday celebration at Drop Off Service.

At 8:45 pm Heather arrived at my front door. The plan was to leave by 9pm but we stood waiting for Thea until around 9:15. This was a tad bit annoying but not the worst thing in the world. I didn’t want to be the type of douchebag who arrives fashionably late to their own party. I always hate when people do that. I also hate to be at the mercy of other people when i want to be somewhere but sometimes there’s no helping that. I arrived at Drop Off Service at 9:45, 15 minutes late and was immediately greeted by Renga, Andrew, Dan, and Morwin. I think my brother and his girlfriend Kelly were next, followed by Suli. From that point on the attendees got a little fuzzy. Not that I don’t remember who was there just the order. Probably Rich and Lina were next but I suppose it doesn’t really matter. There was an excellent turnout and a big group of people that I didn’t expect to see but was more than happy to converse with. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to talk to everyone but I guess that’s sort of normal when you invite a lot of people to hang out with you over the course of several hours. The bar was packed and I had a good time celebrating my birthday. I also received the lovely gift of beef jerky from Rich Mai. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving. I’m not sure what time I ended up leaving but it was in a cab with Jason and Kayvalyn and maybe Andy. I’m not sure if I said goodbye to anyone but I was super drunk…but that’s what’s supposed to happen if it’s your birthday and you’re not married with several kids. I also think someone you like is supposed to at least make out with you but that never happens (woe is me).

The next morning, my actual 29th birthday, I awoke and the first thing I saw was my two remotes placed perfectly perpendicular to each other, directly next to my head. It seemed an oddly symmetrical site next to the rest of my room which more closely resembled a drunken war zone with clothes strewn about everywhere. Much to my surprise I had barely any indication of being hungover. There might of been a slight fog, but it didn’t last more than a few minutes. I had very little indication of hunger yet I still called Arby and asked if he wanted to get breakfast. He didn’t so I just grabbed a bagel and started watching football. However, I could care less about the Jets and Redskins game. I thought I should go outside but it took me until 3pm to mobilize. I headed over to Katey and Reva’s apartment for Katey’s birthday party already in progress. I stopped in, had a bowl of chili…chatted it up with a bunch of Syracuse folks including Marty, Deirdre, Jason, and Alice. I did not stick around for long because I was going to go to the Lighthouse to meet Arby and Filler, plus I felt sort of lame going to someone else’s birthday party on my own birthday.

At the Lighthouse it was strictly football watching with the added perk of free birthday drinks thanks to Tommy in all her gracious owner-ness. The Pats and Colts game truly lived up to the hype and was certainly an entertaining affair. I sat next to Arby, Filler and Drew who we were acquainted with through our friend Marie and another guy Damien who I’m not sure how we knew but I wen’t with it. We were joined by Thea in the 4th quarter. I hadn’t planned on staying later than the Pats game but one thing led to another and all of the sudden the Eagles and Cowboys were playing. Arby had left because he had an early morning ahead and it was Thea, Heather, Damien, and I left sitting there making extremely politically incorrect comments while Drew obsessed over the Eagles humiliating defeat. He would eventually devolve into a bout of drunken air guitar and complete obliviousness over Heather’s constant suggestions that he should go home. I mean he was playing air guitar to Avril Lavigne in an non-ironic manner. If that’s not the signal for it being time to go because you’ve had a few too many, then I don’t know what is.

There was also a little episode with two annoying douchebaggy patrons smoking an illegal substance outside the front door of the bar which was quickly quashed by Heather, which only served to create more drama from said patrons. Rather than just leave as Heather had requested one of the patrons insisted that he at least get a hug or kiss from Heather. She proudly stood her ground and the douchebags finally went on their way, much to the relief of this patron. It was 2am when I finally realized that holy shit it was 2am. That meant quitting time. It was no longer my birthday and I should be getting to sleep. Thea, Damien and I made for the door and I headed straight home.

Upon my arrival at home, I spied several desserts with my name on them…literally. Three of my roommates had bought me baked goods for ingestion on my birthday. Rather than eat all three I chose the cupcake with the candle in it, provided courtesy of my roommate Trish. I put the other two desserts in the refrigerator and lit the candle on the cupcake then made a wish for my 29th year on this planet while promptly extinguishing the flame with my breath. Here’s to another year.

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White People

Posted by evankessler on July 9, 2007

It was a wonderful weekend for celebration. Fresh on the heels of the July 4th Celebration of the previous week, July 6 through July 8th was certainly no time to relax. It was a chance the keep the party going til one was forced into the boiling cauldron of the working week once more on Monday. Luckily for me I had been off all of last week. I even had the chance to do a post during the week which was something I haven’t been accustomed to lately. Lucky for you you won’t have to read through an entire week recap and we can just pick up where we left off…Friday July 6th.

My early Friday was spent generally wandering around my house and trying to get a better Internet reception while searching Craigslist for a Wii. After proving unsuccessful at that endeavor, my new roommate Matt and I headed over to Marshall’s, where the previous day I had bought a pair of white shorts, a white and purple Sean John shirt, and an oversized white shirt with silver rolled up 100 dollar bills emblazoned over the shirt’s entire area. I had decided to return the Sean John shirt as the 100 dollar bills shirt was quite literally and figuratively “the money”. It would constitute half of my outfit for a white party I was throwing with my roommates in honor of Bassett’s birthday. Anyway, Matt and I went to Marshall’s. He was buying a white outfit and I was returning a shirt. We went in the store and I waited on the return line where I was preceded by two women with their 2 screaming kids. These children were all someone would need t0 win an argument in favor of halting all forms of procreation. From the moment I first stood behind them in line to the minute I split off to a particular cashier the children (at least 30 minutes) they shouted a constant stream of “I want a snack” and “I want to go” mixed with incessant crying for no reason. It was brutal. I’m throughly convinced that a great invention for shopping malls would be child lockers. You put $2 in the machine and a door opens up and your child is in a room with airholes and a TV showing Barney The Purple Dinosaur or whatever shows kids like these days. It’s a can’t miss idea and I’m sure the Japanese are already working on this.

Marshall’s ended up not being completely satisfactory for Matt’s shopping needs so we ended up heading to Old Navy to complete his look. Fortunately, we came across white flip flops for $2.50 each which certainly completed my all white ensemble. Matt got the same flip flops but nothing else. Apparently he had white shorts at home and Old Navy had not provided other satisfactory clothing options. The Flip-flops were a good get though.

From Marshalls we returned home and bided our time till our respective evening activities. Bassett, Jenny C, and Laura R went to Red Hook for dinner for Bassett’s actual birthday but I had other plans. It was my good friend Suli’s birthday and I was going to have to make the trip to Williamsburg to celebrate it. I had planned on leaving with Jason, Kayvalyn, and Kishore sometime around 10. Unfortunately, not everyone was as ready as I was or had been sitting around doing nothing all day so it wasn’t until a little after 11pm that we finally met up for Kishore to drive us to Suli’s party at Union Pool.

We arrived at the bar soon after we left from Prospect Heights and it was a lot less crowded than we thought it would be. Suli was at the door greeting people. Once inside there were many more familiar faces including, Erika G, Eric L, Joe D, Eve D, Nicole, Rich, Lina, Lauren H, John C, John K, Shayan, Ed, and a cast of many others. It was a fun gathering of good people banding together for a common cause. Beer and well drinks flowed as if they were the Tigris and Euphrates although not into one another. Towards the end of the evening many people gravitated to a fair that was across the street. I gravitated back to Rich and Lina’s where I met up with Jason, Kayvalyn and Kishore before going home to my new abode at around 2am.

Joe, Myself, Suli and some of Rich’s head

Nicole in the Process of Ripping off Half of Eric’s Face

The next morning I awoke and there was a palpable excitement in the air and in the house. It was the day of the big White Party for Bassett’s birthday and all of the roommates chipped in to prepare a bevy of white foods (powdered donuts, white pretzels, cauliflower, ranch dressing) along with some colored foods (kebabs, various dips, chips) though they were mostly segregated. I added to the wide array of choice culinary concoctions with my first foray into making white sangria or sangria of any kind for that matter. All it took was some white wine, club soda, and assorted fruits and voila, we had ourselves some sangria.

The White Food Table

The Colored Food Table

At around 2:30 most of the party preparation was done and we had some downtime. Laura R and Mike went to Marshall’s an American Apparel to seek out appropriate attire while the rest of showered up and donned our diddiest duds. The first folks arrived at around 4:30 and Jenny C showed them around our place whilst the rest of us fine tuned our individual details. Moments later I came downstairs in Pristine Pimpin Playa Uniform. Bassett aided my cause by supplying me with a little bling.

East AND West Coast…You know What I’m Sayin’ Yo

After Jenny’s friends and her fiancé showed up they were followed by Andrew Morton, Kelly R and from that moment on there was a steady stream of folks in white attire. My old roommate John even made it. Matt also had three of friends show up and I had coincidentally worked with two of them on my latest project. It’s a small world after all. The party was littered with the usual suspects. Stephen, Katie, Pat H, Pete F, and a couple of other people I had seen before but did not know so well. It was really a fun gathering and I had fun playing my hip hop persona Tumultuos whose debut album T is For Tumultuous drops 7/17/07.

This White Guy Showed Up To Our Party

More White People: Mike H, Kelly R and Laura R

Later in the evening the mood shifted as we switched from a hip hop soundtrack to a heavy 80’s theme. Rather than here P.Diddy and the Family we were listening to Survivor, Journey, Chicago and whoever sings that Karate Kid Theme. I even did some slow dancing with Jenny C but I’m not sure to what song as I had had plenty to drink by that point. As the night wore on I moved on to beer and was very happily buzzed. Towards the end of the night we were visited by Arby, Marie and Filler who brought Robert and Felicia in tow. We watched the Mets pull out an extra inning victory over the Astros and resumed drinking on the porch before deciding to head in so as to not inconvenience the neighbors’ sleep patterns.

My White Roommate Jenny

Tumultuous and The White Birthday Birthday Girl

That eventually led to the party closing up shop and me heading up to my room with Rich, Filler and Felicia as they had not been over since I moved in and hadn’t seen my living quarters. We hung out and joked around for awhile. Filler enjoyed putting my Li’l Evan Kessler Puppet under my covers and placing my Mr. Hankey toy under the covers so that it would look like Li’l Evan Kessler had something big going on downstairs. Oh how we laughed because we were drunk but soon the laughter would die down and everyone would leave to go home.

I thankfully passed out until late Sunday morning when myself and the other roommates cleaned up the porch. It’s nice having 6 people to help clean up a relatively small space. From cleanup duty I took a nap and eventually woke up to meet Arby and walk over to Filler’s to grill meat and watch the Mets lose to the Astros. The game sucked but at least our stomachs were full. While we watched the game Arby showed off his iPhone which I kept borrowing to install bizarre cities such as Akron, Ohio and Thunder Bay, Ontario on his weather update feature. On our walk back to our respective apartments we had a brief detour at the lighthouse…or at least I did, he could still be there for all I know. I spent the rest of the evening feeling full. I also watched part of the film “El Topo” with Matt and his friend but the DVD kept skipping which is fine since I don’t know if I was in the mood to watch a movie for 2 hours. After that, I sat down to track more Wii’s and write this post. And now I’m going to go to sleep because I have to work tomorrow. I never know how to end these things.

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Oh Say Can You C…

Posted by evankessler on December 8, 2006

Oh Say Can You See This Postage Stamp of Francis Scott Key?

I know, I know, two patriotic post titles in a row, sorry for that. Can I help it if that I’m up to the letter C on my iPodyssey and the letter lends itself so well to American values. Consider this…The most sacred document in all of the land is the (C)onstitution. In football, the (C)owboys are known as America’s team. The (C).I.A protects us from those who seek to challenge our American value system. Coincidence? I think not. In closing, you can’t spell America without the letter C.

In any case, let’s get down to why we’re really here. As you may or may not know, I’m on an alphabetical adventure from the first song to the last in my 20 gig 2nd or 3rd generation (not quite sure) iPod. Today began with a little rock ‘n’ roll from Hole with “Celebrity Skin” and shifted immediately into low gear on my walk to the subway with Nick Drake’s “Cello Song”. Now I like the Nick Drake and all but normally I’m just never in the mood for him. I like the song that inspired me to check him out (Clem Snide’s “Nick Drake Tape”) more than I like any actual Nick Drake song. His songs always just seem to hit on my iPod when I’m in a good mood and completely slow me down.

When I finally hopped aboard the Q train ( I can’t wait for when I’m up to the Q songs and riding the Q Train) the mood went from somber to celebratory with J. Geils Band’s “Centerfold”. I had completely forgot about the odd 80’s pop gems living on my iPod. Sometimes they pop up and give me a nice kick in the ass, which was all well and good until it was followed up by two versions of Beth Orton’s Central Reservation which brought the mood down. Also, on my subway ride in I started reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Deadeye Dick which I really did not want to put down once I got to work. I think reading through it will be quite a breeze. But we’re not here to talk about reading. As we all know, reading is fundamental but listening is critical and continue to listen, I did.

I tell you it was quite the day for doubles after a day where I scarcely heard the same song twice thursday really caught me off guard. By lunchtime I’d already heard three sets of double’s including “Changed The Locks” by both Lucinda Williams and Kasey Chambers, “Chinatown” by Luna, followed immediately by Clem Snide’s “Chinese Baby”.

As I jumped on the subway around 6:55 Ben Lee’s “Close I’ve Come” popped on followed by two songs called “Close The Door” that could not have been more different. The first was by Clem Snide, the second, Idlewild. Upon arriving in Brooklyn I was treated to two consecutive songs titled Cocaine Blues, one by Johnny Cash and one by Townes Van Zandt, again not the same song. Doubles were everywhere.

My goal after exiting the train at the 7th avenue stop on the F was to get to Mack and Del’s apartment where my roommate Marty was having his 28th Birthday dinner. I grabbed a bottle of wine and a scratch off lottery card for a present and 75 Songs after the day had ended I finally reached my destination as well as Audioslave’s “Cochise”.

The C’s would not all end there…sure no music would be playing on my iPod but our evening party plan consisted of 3 C’s: Chicken, Charades, and Cake. If I had made it to D on my iPod I suppose I would have just mentioned that we had (D)inner. You know, whatever’s a convenient coincidence.

Thursday’s Favorites: “Cemetery Row” (The Minus 5), “Centre For Holy Wars” (New Pornographers), “Change The World” (Nellie McKay), “Changed The Locks” (2 versions Kasey Chambers/Lucinda Williams”, “Chattanooga Sugar Babe” (Johnny Cash), “Chickamauga” (Uncle Tupelo), “Chinatown” (Luna), “Chivalry” (Mekons), “Christine’s Tune” (The Flying Burrito Brothers), “Cigarettes and Violets” (Jesse Malin), “Cigarettes Will Kill You” (Ben Lee), “Cinco De Mayo” (Liz Phair), “Circle” (Edie Brickell & New Bohemians), “Citi Soleil” (Afghan Whigs), “Clementine” (The Decemberists), “Close To Me” (The Cure), “Coahuila” (Old 97’s).

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Bo-Brother, Where art thou?

Posted by evankessler on December 6, 2006

Well, it looks like the previous days calculations were wrong. 54 songs later and I’m still stuck in the B’s. Seems that I discounted the alphabetic clout of the Br combination. To be honest, I basically forgot that it existed. I figured that after the Bo songs I’d go straight to Bu. I suppose that was quite moronic of me, not that it has had any ill effects on my existence. I was just caught a little off guard, that’s all.

The day began where yesterday left off, with “Bought for A Song”, a catchy pop number by masters of the catchy pop tune, Fountains of Wayne. It was followed by that master of depression Conor Oberst, with “Bowl of Oranges”. The Bow songs were not over yet as I had to wade through both Outkast’s “Bowtie” and the “Bowtie (postlude)”. A few “box” songs followed and that turned into 8 “boy” songs highlighted by (I’m not up to the ‘by’ songs yet) the Cure’s “Boy’s Don’t Cry”.

The listening day was also riddled with threepeats. I’m not sure but that phrase may have been coined by either the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Pistons, or Chicago Bulls. In any case I had three consecutive listenings of Public Enemy’s “Bring Tha Noize”, some with Anthrax, some without. This was immediately followed by three versions by Pavement’s “Brink of the Clouds”, the first being from Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain; the latter 2 were from the recently released Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels edition. After my way home from work, on the way back to Brooklyn I heard three consecutive songs named “Brooklyn”. The two versions of Jesse Malin’s song were split up by Mos Def’s unrelated track. I would call it a shocking coincidence that I was listening to songs called Brooklyn as I headed to Brooklyn but seeing as I spent a large portion of my time there my coincidence alarm remained with the snooze bar firmly pressed down.

The day ended with three straight “Brother” songs, the last of which was Death Cab For Cutie’s “Brothers on a Hotel Bed” and after a day that seemed like it lasted a week I wanted nothing more to be laying in bed…sans brother. However, before I could do that it was off to Union Hall for a birthday celebration for Jason C. whose initials handily work out to be that same as Jesus Christ’s though I don’t compare them. Jesus probably wasn’t as good of an illustrator as Jason is. In any case, it was a mellow gathering with lovely people including Deirdre, Marty, Josh R, Rob G, Liz S, Katey H, Mackenzie, Del, Adam A, and Erica E. The music in the bar reminded me a tad bit of my ipod seeing as it was a mix of New Pornographers, Wilco, and Old 97’s and secretly I wished I could be burning through more songs, but the beer quickly alleviated those desires. After all, there’ll be plenty of time for that tomorrow because tomorrow is in fact, another day.

Tuesday’s Best: “Boys Don’t Cry” (The Cure), “Boys On The Radio” (Hole), “Box Full of Letters” (Wilco), “Brain Damage” (Blake Babies), “Breakin’ The Law” (New Pornographers), “Breath” (Pearl Jam), “Breed” (Nirvana), “Brick” (Ben Folds Five), “Brilliant Mistake” (Elvis Costello), “Bring Tha Noize” (Public Enemy w/Anthrax), “Brinsley” (Noise Addict), “Brooklyn” (Jesse Malin).

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