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Cartwheel Racing

Posted by evankessler on March 30, 2009


Lights, camera, action! were the keywords this weekend as Team Film Geniot got together to partake in the 24 hour film race put on by FilmRacing.com.  Having participated before our solid team knew what to expect, a full day of strenuous and fast paced film putting together.  Our group originally gathered on Wednesday evening at Jason S’s office to discuss possible ideas for our short film even though we had not yet been fed the official topic and the action we would have to incorporate into our film.  We came up with a lot of great ideas and probably some bad ones, but we were pretty excited to get the chance to put all of our talents in a box, shake them up, and see what we came up with.

Prior to receiving the crucial details to the filmmaking process at 10pm on Friday I had a brief dinner with my mom, my stepfather, and my cousin Erika in town from Indiana.  There’s not really much to say about it other than we were participating in that Dine-In Brooklyn week, so we enjoyed a tasty meal at Sette before I rushed back home to catch the first half of Syracuse’s Sweet 16 loss to Oklahoma.

At around 8:30pm, I headed to the 7th avenue Q station to take the train to Andy’s place, where our group was meeting up.  Coincidentally, taking the train at the same time were 3 other members of the team, Jason, Kayvalyn and Andrea.  We only travelled 2 stops further into Brooklyn, but we experienced one of the more annoying subway rides ever as the girl behind us was successfully rehearsing the art of annoyance.  She kept making the loudest squealingest screaming sound while joking around with her male friend.  She emitted brain piercing wails and screeches much to the chagrin of a large majority of the commuters in our car.  Luckily, we weren’t going that far and eventually escaped.

When we got to Andy’s place Morwin and Suli had already been on hand.   We sat on the couch making conversation and watching Syracuse being soundly defeated before the vital information arrived in Andy’s email.  The New York Film race was about to begin.  Our film had to use a theme of “breaking the rules” and had to incorporate the action of “clinking of glass”.

Waiting To Begin The Creative Process

Waiting To Begin The Creative Process

More Creative Anticipation

More Creative Anticipation

We fiddled with some of our older ideas, but the ones we got through never ended up fitting right.  Rather early in our discussions someone brought up the idea of using Morwin’s pizza place and I think I might have said that we should use it as a front for a business.  I think then Jason or Andy came up with an idea for a travel documentary and everything just took shape from there.  We didn’t want to rely on outside actors so I fell into the role as the host of the travel show and despite the fact that Suli, Jason, Andrea, and I had all previously discussed writing together, Jason just started typing the script on his computer and within minutes had come up with some really wonderful ideas.  There was no bickering or hard feelings about roles we wanted to play, it was a cohesive team effort.

After figuring out the story and the characters Andrea decided that she would have to style my hair and do wardrobe for my character.  We went into Andy’s room and picked out a button down shirt and a necklace.  I was also equipped with a backpack and a camera with a strap around my neck.  Voila!  A travel sh0w host was born.  We quickly got all the scripts printed out and discussed the props we needed.  We quite illegally stuffed entirely too many people into Suli’s RAV4 and made a few stops to pick up props before heading off to Schmook’s in Greenpoint.

A Good Example of An Automobile Travel Safety Hazard

A Good Example of An Automobile Travel Safety Hazard

We picked up Enisha along the way, because we thought we’d need man on the street interviews or some extras for the shoot.  When we got to Schmook’s we were met by Rich and Lina who came from a theme party, the theme of which escapes me.  Anyway, we took a little bit to set up, but we were extremely fortunate to have a great location and the proprietor on hand to make us a couple of pizzas with which we could shoot, as well as a real working oven.

During our little run of errands Andrea had picked up some of her stylist tools and was hell bent on making me look like the travel host she wanted me to look like.  I was fine with that as I was sort of already getting into character.  She put a bunch of hairspray and other stuff in my hair.  I have to admit, I liked the attention of being on camera talent.

Andrea Makes Me Look Like A Star

Andrea Makes Me Look Like A Star

We began filming probably close to 2am.  We shot pretty steadily until sunrise.  It was hard to keep up energy and Kayvalyn and Enisha got a lot of quality sleeping in there.  Everyone was really cooperative even though we didn’t get around to using some of them in a convenient time frame.  Our big goal was to get Morwin’s scene’s done since he had already done us enough of a solid by letting us use his place, the least we could do is get him out at a reasonable time which probably ended up being 5am.  We got the most out of all of our friends on hand though…and at around 6:20 we had finish most of principal photography save for the show’s intro which required me outside walking around Greenpoint and spewing a lot of bull about the neighborhood’s history and the history of the particular pizza joint we were entering.

It was during this time that Andrea and I came up with the host’s name, Chris Cartwheel.  I’m not really sure why it was so funny.  Maybe we were a little stir crazy after filming so long, but it seemed to work well, and it ended up giving us the strongest parts of the short, namely, the theme song and the open graphic.  The shoot ended around 7:30am give or take.  I think I was home by 8am.

It was a long night and I got a few hours of sleep before I had to head back to Andy’s at 5:30 to check out the edited version of the piece.  It was really funny, but unfortunately it was too long.  It had to be 3 and a half minutes and we had come in at 6 minutes and 30 seconds.  A lot would have to be cut out before handing the piece in at 10pm.  Ultimately, it got done, but a lot of great moments ended up being cut out.  Hopefully, there is a directors cut.    In any case, if you’d like to see “Lights Camera Cartwheel! with Chris Cartwheel” then I suggest you click here.

The rest of the evening after getting the film turned in was relatively quiet.  Jason, Andrea, and I met up with Kayvalyn and Enisha and went back to Jayvalyn’s place where we ate an awesome dinner and watched Synechdoche, New York.  If you’re not in the mood for a heavy and confusing movie, then I don’t suggest watching it.  However, if you are in the mood to be deep and analytical, then it’s a treat.  It really depends how you’re feeling I suppose.

Sunday I woke up early and met with my brother, cousin, and uncle in Midtown East as my uncle in from Arizona was driving us all to Rockland where we had to do the unveiling for my Grandfather’s headstone and have passover dinner.  It was certainly an early date for Passover, but my mom is going to be away for it this year and since a good deal of my family was in town she wanted to have a big family get together.  It all went off without a hitch, except for the fact that right when we wanted to leave to go back to the city there was a serious hailstorm with huge chunks storming down.  It was a brief semi-apocalyptic even that was actually quite entertaining.

I didn’t get home til around 10:30pm and by that time I had missed the live online draft of my other Fantasy Baseball team, which I was fine with.  I trusted my autorankings and was rewarded, but it wasn’t half as rewarding as the enthralling experience of making yet another film with my friends.  I hope we do another one soon, whether or not there’s a film contest to win.

Posted in entertainment, family, Fantasy Baseball, filmmaking, hosting, Weekend Recap | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Dork Days of September

Posted by evankessler on September 4, 2008

The circle of life.  As one sport winds down it’s season another one begins anew.  With summer in the books and the 2008 baseball regular season nearing it’s end with Urethra Franklin (my fantasy baseball team) firmly entrenched in a first round playoff battle, it’s time to make a new start…or two new starts.

The past two days have been filled with extreme pragmatism in determining the direction of these fresh foundations as I spent both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings attending to the needs of not one but two teams in two separate fantasy football leagues.

Tuesday’s festivities took place at The Lighthouse Tavern as a largely unfamiliar cluster of owners took to the bar’s backroom to draft the squad which they will count on to carry them to the pantheon of Fantasy Football greatness for the 2008 season.  I was in the fortunate position of drafting third for my team The New Clear Hollow Cost (if you think really hard you can figure out what they were called last year) and thus was confident my first three pics would be of high caliber.  Seated with Adam, his girlfriend Kelly, and Cory; familiar faces from last year’s proceedings, I rattled off my first three picks.  Brian Westbrook, Braylon Edwards, Reggie Bush.  In the past, I would’ve never picked someone such as Brian Westbrook a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, hated rivals of my beloved New York Giants…but this is a business and when it’s business time this GM picks the best player around

Hated Philadelphia Eagle, Beloved Member of The New Clear Hollow Cost

Brian Westbrook: Hated Philadelphia Eagle, Beloved Member of The New Clear Hollow Cost

I was quite pleased with myself the way the proceedings were going until I reached a crucial decision in the fourth round.  Debating the merits of two running backs,  Julius Jones vs. Thomas Jones, and having not read enough on either of their teams the previous two days I picked the former, a crucial error as Julius Jones would be splitting his workload with two other players.  Round 5 resumed business as usual as I scooped up Green Bay Wide Receiver Greg Jennings.  While I’m not exactly thrilled with my two quarterbacks, I’d say the rest of the affair, while lengthy, went off without incident.  I may have even picked a sleeper to compensate for my earlier mistake in a certain Baltimore Ravens Running Back.  Only time will tell if I was redeemed and it’s certainly a long season.

Wednesday evening was quite a different story.  Curled up on my couch with the horribly disturbing and distracting Republican national convention playing in the background, I sat with my computer and my cheatsheets not typing in a lot of idle chatter in the draft room, simply trying to select the very best players to make up the team I affectionately and hilariously (at least I think it’s hilarious) named Who Favre-ted?  I was not blessed with the best order as I was given the eight selection and often found the players I planned on picking were gone by the time it was my turn.  I was however fortunate to score some reasonably big names in the first ten rounds, the biggest victory being St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson lasting until the eighth spot.  Hallelujah.

Steven Jackson

Who Favre-ted?: Steven Jackson

Somewhere in there though I was quite distracted by the TV goings on as the douchebag Republican delegation started chanting “Drill Baby Drill!” in response to a call for more offshore drilling to decrease dependency on foreign resources.  I thought to myself, this is a sensitive environmental issue that requires real discussion, it’s not as if you’re cheering for the fucking mindless Go Cornhuskers Go chant to score a touchdown.  Drill baby drill?  Really?

Anyway, I think I sort of lost my concentration at this point but ended up with a decent draft here too.  Again, it is a long season and every little bit of information and the results of all of the non-scientific research relied upon are subject to change on a dime.  Half of these guys probably won’t be on my team by year’s end…but for 5 shining hours over two days, I spent my precious time selecting them to be part of my elite few.

Are you ready for some football?  I am.

Posted in Fantasy Baseball, Fantasy Football, Football, Park Slope, Patriotism, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Dork Days of March, Part Two- URETHRA!

Posted by evankessler on March 21, 2008

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

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

“…that Evan Kessler was a hee-ro…”

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

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

Posted in Fantasy Baseball | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Dork Days of March, Part One

Posted by evankessler on March 20, 2008

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

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

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

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

Let the nerdiness begin. Play ball!

Posted in Fantasy Baseball | Leave a Comment »

Hard Travelin’

Posted by evankessler on March 4, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Fantasy Baseball, Football, Travel | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Where Art Thou?

Posted by evankessler on April 18, 2007

I hope you don’t think I would write a weekend recap and then abandon you for the rest of the week. I’m just not that kind of guy. But you know that. In all honesty, I haven’t been that busy but I’ve been exceedingly tired for no apparent reason. However, since we last spoke I have been out of the house and I suppose that’s a plus.

I woke up Monday morning in a panic, completely unsure about what to write about on “If I Blog It They Will Come“. Luckily, I had watched Field of Dreams several days before and was able to piece something together. After I woke up with a bit of blogging and green tea I made the move to Manhattan to run some errands. I resumed my iPodyssey beginning with Interpol’s “Untitled” as I walk towards the subway. By the time I had jumped on the Q train towards Manhattan I had completed 2 of the other 3 “Untitled”. The first was a by Neutral Milk Hotel and the 2nd just a bunch of bird sounds from PJ Harvey’s Uh Huh Her. I had started into the third one by Rilo Kiley just before the train arrived. I was well on my way to the V’s and by the time I arrived in Manhattan I had already been treated to Golden Smog’s “V”. Three of the next five songs in the V-section were by the Old 97’s followed by two consecutive Fountains of Wayne songs about Valleys. I headed back to Brooklyn as the latter began. I didn’t stick around in Manhattan too long as the rain was certainly coming down and it was not wander around weather. Furthermore, I didn’t get my book wet, as I had not brought a bag to keep it dry, nor was I carrying an umbrella because I hate umbrellas. They are constantly breaking and I think they should be free. There should be a take one leave one basket of umbrellas at every public place.

Anyway, I was reading my book in the subway and happily continuing my iPodyssey. I read the following statement in Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything:

Any adaptive change that occurs in one area of the bacteraial universe can spread to any other. It’s rather as if a human could go to an insect to get the necessary genetic coding to sprout wings or walk on ceilings

Almost immediately after reading my eyes slowly scanned up the floor to the opening subway doors and half expected to see a replicant of Jeff Goldblum in The Fly, so much so that I even half flinched at a woman’s stroller once I saw it’s thin black piping attaching to the wheels. After my insect scare it was clear sailing on the train. I arrived back in my apartment to the opening notes of Wilco’s “Via Chicago” and that’s where my iPodyssey ended for the evening. I was going to try to get my former roommate Ellen to go with me to the Lighthouse to watch the Met game. Unfortunately, the game was rained out and I spent the evening watching 24 and sitting around.

I woke up early in the afternoon on Tuesday after a bit of a sleepless Monday night. Again I had to rush out a Costner post. This one though unleashed a bold new initiative. I vowed that if enough people answered the “If I Blog It They Will Come” reader poll in favor of me taking a trip to Dyersville, Iowa to the Field of Dreams, that I would comply with their wishes and make a pilgrimage 1000 miles to the place Ray Kinsella first heard the phrase “If you build it he will come” and where Ray Liotta emerged from a cornfield in the guise of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. It’s kind of a big risk if people actually do it, but I think I’d get great material out of it. I was pondering it last night before going to sleep and I think I might be able to make a memoir, novel, or documentary out of it. It may be the sort of kick in the ass I need…or maybe not.

After getting the post in order I met up with Arby and got some lunch at Blink 182. Arby wanted to get a drink afterwards but Union Hall hadn’t opened yet and I was kind of against an early alcoholic beverage since it would’ve left me precious little time to get ready for my evening. I’d be heading into Manhattan for an art show at the Abrons Art Center on Grand Street which had on display a piece by my friend Jasky Raju who passed away almost 2 years ago today. I was given the task of mobilizing the troops to attend since I was the first one who knew about it. The curator who knew Jasky did not have contact with his friends and found me via a google search for his name. By no small coincidence she was led to this here website. Yet another instance of EvanKessler.com helping people, though admittedly they are few and far between.

I left my apartment around 5:45 for the show. I brough my iPod with me and made it from Wilco’s “Via Chicago” to Ben Folds Five’s “Video” as I arrived at the Abrons Center. I half expected to see my old camp counselor Mitch Abrons there just because of his last name. I thought maybe it was his center, but alas it was not. The first person I saw there was Morwin, but the crowd grew. Rich M, Nina, Dmitry, Jaime S, Ajay, Shayan, Ahmad, Bora and Rob M all showed. Some arrived at the very last minute but at least they were there. Jasky had one piece in a glass case but the Arts Center was way too crowded to actually make your way through to see it. You had to wait for your window where all of the people in front of the case would part their proverbial Red Sea. Most of the time we just sat around on a couple of benches near the door of the Arts Center. We were all about to go get dinner together at around 8pm when the party basically disentegrated.

It ended up being myself, Morwin, his friend Steve, Nina, Dmitry, Rob M, Jaime S and her boyfriend Aaron (?) going to get Chinese food at a family style restaurant on Allen St. between Grand and Delancey. I forgot what it was called but I enjoyed messing with people’s meals by using the lazy susan to make sure there sauces were as far away from their meals as possible.
I left the gathering around 9:40 after deciding I didn’t feel like staying out for more drinks after dinner. I was not in the mood for the alcoholic beverages. I headed straight back to my Brooklyn abode and resume my iPodyssey on “Video” taking it all the way to Bob Dylan’s “Visions of Johanna” before my battery ran out of gas on my way home.

That was basically it for the evening. The rest of my night was once again spent monitoring my fantasy team until the last out of the night. One of my relievers picked up a save, leaving the “Met Offensive” in prime condition to beat “An Inconveniently Dominating Sports-team (AIDS)” before the week is over.

iPodyssey Favorites for Monday-Tuesday:
Neutral Milk Hotel “Untitled”, Bill Withers “Use Me Up”, Stephen Malkmus “Us”, Golden Smog “V”, Stephen Malkmus “Vague Space”, Old 97’s “Valentine” (2 versions), Catatonia “Valerian”, Old 97’s “Valium Waltz”, Fountains of Wayne “Valley Winter Song”, Loretta Lynn “Van Lear Rose”, Stephen Malkmus “Vanessa From Queens”, Pixies “Velouria”, The Verve “Velvet Morning”, Elvis Costello “Veronica”, Magnetic Fields “Very Funny”, Wilco “Via Chicago” (2 versions), Old 97’s “Victoria”, Aimee Mann “Video”, Minus 5 “View From Below”

Posted in Fantasy Baseball, Kevin Costner | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by evankessler on April 4, 2007

It’s been an eventful or uneventful couple of days depending on how you feel about the the act of upholding religious traditions. It was a rather quiet stay in the suburbs aside from the It was also a good time for familial arguments and misunderstandings. Though I suppose that sort of thing is commonplace when people return home and are confronted with the fact that they’ll be under the same roof with their parents once again, if only for a few days. There was a good reason for a get together though, since it was Passover and it was time to break matzah and celebrate being led out of Egypt. Dayenu!

Despite the apparent reason for my stay, the majority of my time at home was spent taking in baseball, as Sunday night when I arrived was the start of the baseball season…but you knew that since I talked about it on Sunday night/Monday morning.

I woke up Monday morning, around noon and partook in some Oatmeal so lovingly prepared by my mother, though I added some bananas, brown sugar and walnuts. The rest of my day was spent watching baseball, looking for work, and monitoring my Fantasy Baseball teams (all named Met Offensive). Aside from the maternal requests to wash the potatoes and help make charoset, the latter or which I enjoyed, I was pretty sloth-like throughout the day. Though I did manage to get in a Costner Post and get through 8 songs on the iPodyssey from Ryan Adams’ “Thank You Louise” to Aimee Mann’s “That’s When I Knew This Story Would Break My Heart”, which just so happened to be the 4000th song on the iPodyssey. At the rate I’m going this thing is coming to a close, which will be just fine with me because there are certain songs I’ve been dying to hear for months that I’ve already passed on my musical journey.

I also had the opportunity to participate in such Seder readiness games like “Clean the Silverware” and “Make Sure the Glasses Aren’t Streaky Even Though They Look Fine and No One Will Care Because The Light In The Dining Room is Out So No One Will Be Able To See The Aformentioned Streaks”. Once I finished those tasks it was back to baseball and the Met Offensive.

At around 4:45 pm I jumped in the shower with the planet’s strongest water pressure (this shower scoffs at the notion of low flow heads, emitting on average 200 gallons of water per second blasting your body clean into the tile at the back of the shower) in preparation for the Seder dinner. Our close family friends whom we usually share the holiday with were coming over though the lineup card was not exactly the same as the previous several years. This year myself, my mother, and Irwin (my brother is in Germany or somewhere foreign) were joined as usual by Rhona and Stuart and one of their three sons David. David was accompanied by his lovely wife Missy and their 19 month old daughter Alexandra who I had only seen when she was but a few months old and quite stationary.

When the doorbell rang, nay, was knocked on Rhona, Stuart, David, Missy, and Alexandra were all standing there. I didn’t expect to see Alexandra standing because I wasn’t aware that she was at the standing age. I’m not even sure what age kids are suppose to be able to stand at, but apparently it’s well before 19 months because she had the standing and walking thing down. Alexandra also had the staring thing down and for the first several minutes she did not avert her eyes from my direction. Now, I’m kind of a sell professed child hater, but when it’s your friend’s child you can’t help but be fascinated. I didn’t make googly eyes or obnoxious sounds at his child. I can never bring myself to do that but I did get a laugh out of the staring contest we were engaged in.

At one point Missy gave my mom a gift and said something along the lines of “since you don’t have any grandchildren here’s a gift”. I don’t think that’s exactly what she said but all of the sudden I thought to myself, “and not anytime soon” while at the same time I was kind of aware how much my mom was probably jealous of her friends who have grandkids, I am nowhere near the point where I can be making babies. I was extremely impressed though at little Alex as she didn’t cry or whine. Sure she asked for her mommy and daddy but that seeemed more because her vocabulary hadn’t been expanded beyond a certain extent yet, though later on in the night I was made aware that she knew numbers, snails, buses, and Dora The Explorer characters amongst other things.

The seder meal was the usual mockery of the Jewish religion as we only went through half of it. We got through all of the important parts: the ten plagues, the story of passover, two cups of wine, singing dayenu, eating Irwin’s homemade horseradish and my Charoset. We never made it to Elijah’s cup since the meal got in the way. I’m sure Elijah had enough wine that night anyway. If you went around to every seder in the world and drank a cup of wine you’d certainly be candidate for alcohol poisoning, prophet or not.

The meal itself was chock full of good eats. There was Matzo Ball Soup, brisket, chicken, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, vegetable kugel, roasted potatoes, and probably some other stuff that I was too full to partake in. The conversation was fun and Stuart told his usual gambling anecdotes about his trips to Foxwoods. I did steal away for periodic trips to check my fantasy team on my computer but I did so covertly under the guise of a trip to the bathroom. I am most certainly a sports dork.

After the meal I sat with David and Alex as they watched an episode of Dora The Explorer on demand. David told me of the horrors of having to watch the same episode sometimes 3 or 4 times in one morning nevermind how many times that meant watching that same episode in the span of a week. Nothing like learning through repetition. I’ll take Sesame Street over that Dora show anytime but then again, I’m not 19 months old anymore.

When the episode was over we headed back into the dining room for dessert. I enjoyed some chamomile tea and fancy macaroons unlike the ones that come in the jar from supermarket. They were much better than the ones I currently have in my apartment that I’ve been snacking. on. The party broke up at around 9:03, just in time to catch the beginning of 24. I contemplated doing a running diary of the show just then but I didn’t want to face constant questions from my mother as to what I might be doing. Also, I didn’ do one the previous week and might be giving up on them altogether since it seems a little silly to not do it one week and then do it the next. That being said, the show is getting more and more ridiculous and when the President was awakened from a coma to stop an uneccesary nuclear attack on a foreign country only to decide later on in the episode that he should go through with it, it seemed like the writers are trying to keep things interesting by making the events more and more ludicrous. My bullshit threshold has almost been surpassed. I mean this guy was dying an hour and a half ago, attached to tubes and all of the sudden he’s in the White House making decisions. I think they should have held him out at least two more hours of real time before he got dressed like the president again…but maybe that’s just me. After 24 ended I did some more Fantasy watching and finally went to sleep a little after 1am.

I woke up this morning (Tuesday) at 11:45am. I didn’t even try to keep kosher for passover and had some Oatmeal. I don’t think that confines to the laws of Judaism but I’m not really sure. McCann’s Irish Oats have most certainly not been blessed by a Rabbi or even a Rabbinical student. Oh well, I would’ve screwed it up later anyway with a slice of pizza or a sandwich or something. After breakfast, I was determined to finish another Costner post before I made my way back to Brooklyn. It was an important day as it was our 50th post in our mission to get Kevin Costner to visit, “If I Blog It They Will Come” and send in a photo of himself doing so.

My mom drove me to the bus stop in Suffern in time for the 3pm bus to the Port Authority. The bus came at 3pm with a sign that read “Port Jervis” but was broken. I got on and resumed my iPodyssey at song 4000, Aimee Mann’s “That’s When I Knew This Story Would Break My Heart” and I also resumed reading my book, Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything”. It was just under 2 hours door to door as I arrived at around 4:45 to the tune of Pulp’s “This is Hardcore”. At around 6pm I reheated some Passover leftovers and watched TV. The Matzo Ball soup was as good as I remembered it.

At 8pm I had a meeting with Andy and the rest of the crew for the movie that we’re making for the 12 hour film festival this weekend. I headed over to Andy’s place with iPod in hand once again, listening to Pulp…The only people at the meeting were myself and Andy as Kayvalyn, Jason, Lauren, and Rich could not be present. Despite the minimal presence, I would certainly consider the meeting or brainstorming session very useful. I’m certainly looking forward to making some movie magic this weekend. You can look forward to viewing it once we’re done with it….if we indeed want to share it with you. I got home a little before 10pm with Kasey Chambers singing to me about “This Mountain”.

I sat down in the living room with Marty and watched the Mets as well as some Daily Show and Colbert. All in all, I’d say it was a pretty complete last couple of days. I’m damn tired and still full of the Jew food.

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Dear Mr. Fantasy

Posted by evankessler on March 28, 2007

Hello Baseball fans…or people who have no interest in Baseball whatsoever. Sorry to have kept you waiting for the latest EvanKessler.com update. I know you were all eagerly awaiting my 24 running diary on Tuesday morning and were probably heartbroken when you were welcomed by my weekend recap, which you had no doubt read the day before. I hope you accept my apology but a new day has come and with it, a new post.

The reason I didn’t get to my 24 diary on Monday was simply because I did not watch that evening’s installment of the Jack Bauer Power Hour. Instead I was embroiled in a marathon Fantasy Baseball draft on CBS Sportsline. The draft was not a previously planned event. I was having a rather run of the mill unemployed Monday afternoon when Arby sent me and IM asking if I’d be interested in joining his fantasy baseball league that was having it’s draft that evening, since someone had dropped out. I took almost a millisecond to accept his invitation. I’m a sucker for competitive sport-type things that don’t require any running or physical exertion. The draft was to be held a little after 8pm so I had plenty of time to read my Fantasy Baseball magazine and go engage in some physical activity at the gym.

I left my apartment for the First Time on Monday at 4:30pm with my iPod in hand and headed to my no frills local gym while listening to Pavement’s “Stray Fire”. The entire outing only lasted about 40 plus minutes or 14 songs. I stepped off the elliptical while listening to Stealers’ Wheel “Stuck in the Middle with You”. Just as I began descending the steep steps with my wobbly legs to the lower level of the gym I heard the lyrics “…and I’m wonderin’ how I’ll get down those stairs”. Talk about a coincidence. The fitness experience came to a close as I walked back into my apartment to the tune of Bob Dylan’s “Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again” and showered up in preparation to sit on my ass for several hours. I made sure I wouldn’t starve through the proceedings by picking up a sandwich from Blink 182.

At around 8:30pm I was ready to select the first player for my team “Met Offensive”, a name derived from combining the name of my favorite baseball team (The Mets) with the name of an event from the Vietnam War (Tet Offensive). With the 4th overall pick in the draft I secured Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard. My team was finally done drafting 4 hours later as I selected Detroit Tigers Outfielder, Curtis Granderson, to join my motley roster or Major League Misfits. The draft was an exhausting process that left me in no mood to post anything, but somehow I mustered up the energy to do some reading before dozing off to sleep.

Met Offensive Anchor Ryan Howard

I woke up this morning (Tuesday) on precious little sleep, but I had to muster up enough energy to make it into the city and run some errands. I reinstituted my iPodyssey to the tune of “Stuck Inside of Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again” and headed towards the subway. I made it through one more “Stuck” song and a slew of “Stupid” ones as I took a great train ride over the river and through Manhattan to the Upper West Side. It was a beautiful day and I was certainly moved to do some wandering as the temperatures reached the 70’s. It was a therapeutic sensation to bask in the sunlight. Weight seemed to drop off my shoulders as the sun shone down on them and believe me there was a lot of weight with all of this unemployment business.

While waiting for my subway back to Brooklyn I noticed a family of tourists most likely from West Virginia. How did I know they were from West Virginia? Well, they were all wearing West Virginia University sweatshirts. At this point, my life as a New York City inhabitant flashed before my eyes and I came to the odd realization that probably the most common uniform for the average American family visiting New York City is that of the gear of their local University of which sports team they are mighty proud. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered tourists clad in their Ohio State, Indiana, or Nebraska gear as a show of hometown pride abroad.

In any case, not that it was a big deal, it was just a strange thing that occurred to me. It would be akin to me visiting Texas and making sure I wore a shirt that said “New York” in bold letters everywhere I went. Not that New Yorkers don’t do that…I just think we’re less likely to.

With that observation out of the way, I made my way back home on the good ol’ B train. I arrived back in Brooklyn and after a string of “Sugar”-y songs emerged from the subway with the sounds of “Summer” filling my ears. It was quite appropriate as I walked on the sunny side of the street to the tune of Kathleen Edwards “Summer Long” and The Kings of Convenience “Summer on the Westhill”. As I walked through the door Death Cab’s “Summer Skin” was coming to an end. I was ready to conquer the rest of the day and apply for more and more employment when, much to my chagrin, my internet was once again failing.

We had made an appointment with the cable company for between 12 and 4 but I was restless. I sat around killing time until a little after 2pm when Marty suggested that he would wait for the Cable guy and that I should go to Gorilla Coffee. I heeded his advice and off to the Coffee shop I went. I got a iced chai latte and set up my computer at one of the tables. I began to do research and write out the latest Costner post. When that was done, I scanned my email and craigslist for possible employment opportunities. However, I found the environment to be terribly intrusive as two guys next to me yelled about the map that was above me and to the left. I had my headphones on but could not avoid their continuous racket. Luckily, a little after that Marty sent me an IM and notified me that the Internet along with the Cable had been revived at home.

At that moment I headed straight for home and plopped myself down on the coach to enjoy the wireless Internet in a comfortable, relaxed setting. I had to prepare for a second consecutive evening of dorkiness as I was to draft yet another Fantasy Baseball team. This time it was for the league that I had expected to be in all along. For the past several years I’ve taken part in my friend Werner’s league and although he moved to Colorado, the league still continues. The only difference is that the draft had to be later on account of the time difference.

I took the next several hours to pre-rank my players so that I wouldn’t be scrambling throughout the draft to see who to pick next. I also made myself a nice dinner consisting of flank steak, broccoli, and brown rice and burned through 5 songs on my iPodyssey while I cooked. (Death Cab’s “Summer Skin” to The Magnetic Fields “The Sun Goes Down and The World Goes Dancing”. I even got some TV time in and watched last night’s episodes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report which I had missed due to last night’s selection marathon.

My only hope was that tonight the Baseball gods would be merciful and that instead of a draft where each pick was without a time limit, the rounds would speed by like life so often does, in the blink of an eye. When 9:30pm rolled around I was seated my computer ready to draft a new team, also named “Met Offensive” (I just want somebody to get it). This time I had the 2nd pick in the draft and went with New York Mets Shortstop José Reyes. It felt nice to get a Met in the lineup with my 1st pick so I didn’t have to change the team name. Forty-Five minutes later in round 21 I was selecting Kansas City Royals 3rd Baseman Mark Teahen to round out my roster. Compared to the previous evening, tonight’s picking process was pretty painless. I’m not sure if my team is any good but at least the hard part is over with. Now my one goal is to WIN, WIN, WIN…as I unleash my own Met Offensive on unsuspecting opponents.

Reyes of Light

So there you have it. That’s pretty much how I’ve spent the last two days in a magical FantasyBaseball Land. Now I must get back to reality…and what a harsh reality it is.

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Paintin’ The Park Tan

Posted by evankessler on June 12, 2006

Sunday night has rolled around once again and I am utterly exhausted. This weekend has been filled with things to do. Actually, that’s not exactly true, I’ve done three things this weekend and all three of those things have been time consuming. In last weekend’s recap I proclaimed that I would be back on the drinking train this week, but that declaration didn’t truly manifest itself until this weekend. True, on Wednesday I did get drinks with Jill M at the Village Tavern for our usual evening of conversation over goldfish and the ale of our choice, but the alcohol monster wasn’t present nearly as often as I thought it would be. When the summer comes around it seems like a fact of life that you’ll be drinking with your friends every night. Luckily for my finances I didn’t take up residency at a watering hole for the majority of the week. Unfortunately, when the weekend hit it was a free for all of sorts, which is really bad since I haven’t worked a temp job in weeks and there were no job interviews to provide a hint of hope that my slump is coming to an end. This chapter in my life is getting increasingly more difficult to write an end to with each passing day. However, on nights such as this past Friday, when surrounded by friends, the strain feels a little less and my facial expression tends to suggest that all is right with the world.

So where did I go on Friday night? Well folks, I spent some time in my new home borough of Brooklyn, though not in Park Slope. Instead it was off to Williamsburg for an evening of hip-hop hysteria with the Cold Hands Collective at Grand Central Bar. Much to my surprise, when I entered the bar it had undergone somewhat of a metamorphosis from run down neighborhood bar to nicer neighborhood bar with free pizza. They did quite the job and when I looked at the jukebox I noticed that it was basically my dream jukebox with everything from Clem Snide to Otis Redding. I guess it wasn’t that important to the evening, as I had gone there to see Cold Hands. Usually the band attracts a much bigger crowd of friends and fans but for some reason the audience seemed dramatically less than the normal outing. Besides the band the bar patrons included Lauren H, Victor, Sam T, Dmitry, Lina, Maya, Potts, and I’m not really sure whom else. There were probably a couple more people that I knew and some people that Abdullah knew from Philly or something. It was a shame the crowd was so small because they played a pretty good show. I also got plenty of compliments on my Evan Kessler & His Only 2 Friends Shirt. I even got a shout out during the set, which I guess isn’t weird. One thing that perturbed me about the evening at Grand Central bar was that no matter how many beers I got, I didn’t get any on the house. I mean I probably bought at least 6 beers. That, my friends, is a subpar buyback policy, unless the bartender just didn’t like me. After the show we went back to Grand St. to Ahmad, Rich, Dmitry, and Victor’s apartment. We’re not going to have many more nights there since they’ll all be moving out soon. We sat around there for awhile but I had to wake up early Saturday morning and I knew I had to get some sleep. I probably didn’t make it home til around 4am, give or take, with a bagel and iced tea in hand to combat the impending hangover.

My phone alarm went off at 8:45am Saturday morning. I was not happy but I had to wake up because today was the day I was going to paint my new bedroom in my new apartment. After a push of the snooze button I was up several minutes later only to hit snooze again. Thinking I would wake up 10 minutes later. Apparently, I had shut off the alarm completely and would not be awakened until my mother called at 10:15 to alert me that she was down the street in her car. I told her I had to take a shower and that she should take her time. My head was pulsating with the after effects of the previous evening but the pain wasn’t too horrible. The shower did a good job of alleviating some of the hurt and then a sip of green tea gave me some fuel to conquer the task at hand.

We arrived shortly thereafter at my apartment in Brooklyn to get our paint on. The first step was to move the bed and put tarp over everything. After that, it was time to paint above the molding as well as the ceiling. Seeing as I am very short, painting the ceiling was no easy task. My mom is shorter so I was the only go to option on this one. Most of it was done from my tiptoes while applying uneven pressure via a roller on a long stick. This took quite sometime. At around 5pm we stepped out from a bite to eat at a mediocre gourmet café and then went in to finish the job on the walls. My mom kept talking about how they got a tan color that was similar to the color of my roommate Marty’s wall but when we opened the can of paint it resembled the exact color currently on the wall we were about to paint. My mom and step dad had mixed two colors to find the perfect color for my wall only to come up with the exact color that was already on my wall. We didn’t let this mishap deter us from our task. We took to the walls with determination to put a new coat of the same color on my wall. My mom kept bringing up how it was the same color as if the fact that she was talking about it was going to change the color. At first it seemed like she mentioned it every four seconds but after about a half hour her mentions grew further apart. As I painted the wall I could not tell the difference between where I had just painted and the parts that needed paint applied. After awhile it became easier to tell since the new coat certainly appeared cleaner. All in all I was glad that my mom had volunteered to help me paint and drove down all of the materials from home.

When PaintFest 2006 ended at around 8:15, I was dropped off in Manhattan. I just wanted to stay home and catch up on sleep but I had plans to go to drink with Anna M. and friends as Anna is going to Tunisia for work. She is doing a shoot for the history channel. Here’s where not having a job sucks. I immediately become spiteful towards people who have jobs in the field where I want to be working. Especially because I see no reason as to why I am not getting the same opportunities. It’s not their fault I’m not getting work so I should not be so spiteful. I originally didn’t want to go because I thought I would have to hear people talk about work and I would just feel like crap. However, I sucked it up and went because my friends would be there and seeing friends is a better way to pass the time than sitting at home alone. Kevin Macalester might be inclined to disagree but unless your thwarting would be thieves than it’s just no fun. So, off I went to 11th St. Bar and caught up with Anna, Deb M, Jennie F, Tom R, Maureen, and Pete. I mostly enjoyed myself. I invented a back story with Tom that we both went to high school together in Wantucket (Go Wantucket Cougars!) and that we were on the State Championship Football team. Tom had 2 interceptions in the game. Maureen busted open our lie as she saw through our attempt to combine the towns of Wantaugh and Pawtucket into one super town. After a while at 11th street bar a couple of us went over to Luca Lounge where we met up with Giselle R and had one more drink. I split off after that drink because I was tired. Though I ran into said crew as I exited a pizza place. They had left Luca Lounge in favor of Solas on 9th Street. While I was tempted to rejoin the fray, I just really wanted to sleep.

…And sleep I did. I woke up around 12:15 this morning and really didn’t do much. I wanted to go to the gym but couldn’t find my mesh gym shorts, which was really frustrating. I settled for taking a walk around downtown, though I still really wanted to sleep. I came back in time for Mets watching laziness, as I hadn’t sat and watched a full game for at least three days. The Mets absolutely pounded the Diamondbacks but as I kept track of my Fantasy Team (Chico Escuela) via Yahoo StatTracker ™ I noticed my team drop from 5th place to 9th place in one fell swoop. My fantasy hopes are flagging. This has not been a good week for my hopes in general. Let’s hope the coming week is better.

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Another Day, Another Dinner

Posted by evankessler on March 31, 2006

Holy Crap. I’ve gone out to dinner 3 out of the last 4 nights. My wallet can’t take the strain, though to be honest the last two combined did not reach the cost of the first and for that I am thankful.

Before I get to the Thursday birthday dinner, let’s look back on Wednesday. Well, first off I had a job logging for Real Simple TV. It sort of felt degrading but I needed the work. I don’t enjoy logging. I used to do it as a PA and in fact on the timesheet I filled out I had to fill it out my position as PA. It felt like quite a step down or more specifically two steps down. After pseudo-work on Wednesday I returned home to participate in my Fantasy Baseball draft. For the last 3 years I’ve been engaging in a Fantasy Baseball league with my high school friend Werner, and his college friends. I usually pay $40 to enter and wind up in 2nd to last place every year, due in part, largely to my lack of overall knowledge on the subject of baseball statistics. While I love baseball, the only information I’ve stored on the subject is that I am a lifelong New York Mets fan and that I will gladly keep track of them The rest of the league is largely a mystery. I did it again, I was typing the word “mystery” and Elvis Costello started singing “The Mystery Dance” just as I began to type. That was a crazy coincidence. Anyway, my baseball knowledge is lacking compared to that of my football expertise. Not that I am unparalleled in all things football, I just follow the sport closer. Anyway, I drafted my team using a complex system involving my fantasy baseball guidebook. I merely followed the rankings in the book and whatever highest ranked player was still available was chosen by me. I hope this process worked, though I admittedly had to throw the process out the window once I came to the conclusion that several positions I had to fill would be lacking if I continued the aforementioned strategy. I’m not sure how my team is going to end up, but I’m pretty sure I will not win the league, but I will hold out hope until I sink far in the standings somewhere around midseason. Truth be told, I’m just happy to have two New York Mets on my team.

Today, I woke up with the task of drafting my fantasy baseball team (Chico Escuela) behind me, so I could turn to more important tasks of logging tapes for money. When I finished that around 6pm I dropped my stuff off at home and headed to Heartland Brewery in the Empire State Building for Kristin Ertel’s 26th (?) birthday. There I met Kristin, David, Jill M, Ghazalle, Ana, Bill E, and Kristin’s friend from home whose name escapes me. I had a buffalo steak because I had never eaten buffalo before, though to be honest it tasted like normal steak to me. We had some appetizers and some beers. Afterwards we went to Lit though it took a while to get a cab since we were at one of main tourist attractions in the world (The Empire State Building) and we weren’t the only ones looking for transportation from that point. We eventually had to walk a block but Kristin and David took a pedicab downtown. When we got to Lit I was kind of bored. The music was too loud and I didn’t really feel involved in the conversation. This isn’t anybody’s fault I just was kind of tired and felt a little out of the loop by that point. At the bar I ran into fellow former VH1er Dustin who was there with some friends. We seem to run into each other every two months at different watering holes. After 2 beers, we all went our separate ways. Overall, I had a good time but I’ll be glad to see these birthday dinners stop for a while. There may be one or two next week, maybe more. Maybe I can work more next week so I won’t feel so bad spending the money. Whatever, I’m not complaining. Activity is good, because let’s face it, inactivity has been downright depressing the past few months. I’m glad spring has sprung.

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