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Clever Olympic Allusion

Posted by evankessler on August 12, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey There Team Sweden...Come Here Often?

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

The Fashionable Hungarian Olympic Squad

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

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

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

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

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

Picnic In The Concrete Jungle

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

Mmm....Sugary Sweet Lemon

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

And That Goes In There...

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

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

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

What's The Big Friggin' Deal?

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

Mom Plays The Building

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

Jess Embraces Archie

Powdered Donut Ice Cream Pineapple Grape Surprise

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

Posted in art, BBQ, Brooklyn, drinking, old friends, Rockland County, Weekend Recap | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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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Why Is This Week Different From All Other Weeks?

Posted by evankessler on April 14, 2006

Well for one it’s the first week in a long time that I’ve hung around my family for two whole days in a row. That has to be some sort of record. However, there are several more reasons that it is different. It’s probably the first time I’ve been to a Broadway show in 10 or so years and it has also brought us the beginning of the Passover (Pesach) holiday. It’s a shame with all of that going on I haven’t managed to make even a dollar through my store or from working.

Tuesday during the day (wow, no seque, eh?) I did some wandering around as well as Met game watching before meeting my family at Joe Allen for some Pre-theater dinner on 46th street. The meal was okay if unremarkable but there was much anticipation in the air prior to venturing into the critically lauded Broadway producton of Spamalot. I tend to be skeptical of most adaptations or remade productions, as well as movies or shows that everyone raves about, so I was extremely apprehensive heading into the Monty Python and The Holy Grail based Spamalot. As I walked through the doors to the theatre I saw the Broadway tourist machine spring into motion. There was any number of Spamalot related products; original cast recordings, programs, and shirts. Though I was pleased to see the acknowledgement of the plays origin on the souvenir table, as there were Monty Python live DVD’s and a Monty Python documentary. Perhaps my favorite item was the Killer Rabbit stuffed animal. It may have been the best piece of Broadway merchandising and though skeptical of what awaited me I let out an amused chuckle.

Now, to be honest I’m not a fan of Broadway musicals. I’ve always abhorred people breaking out into song for no good reason. There are very few instances in which I find an inspired burst into song to be acceptable. The first acceptable instance is while I’m in the shower. I’ve given myself that license. Probably the only other acceptable musical outburst has to do with South Park episodes or movies. Team America: World Police and South Park Bigger, Longer, and Uncut contain some of the most memorable songs to date. However, on stage outbursts about forbidden love and dancing children are things I wish to avoid at all costs. As the show began, a historian came out to describe Middle Ages England, which led to a performance of a song about Finland, loosely derived from a similar song on one of the Monty Python comedy albums but adapted to be even more silly for the stage. Normally, if anything is changed from the way I originally remembered it I am immediately bothered, but I did not feel irked in the least. Instead, I felt an odd mixture of amusement, delight, and relief that told me everything was going to be okay, and it was. I was aware that they probably could not have adapted Monty Python And The Holy Grail as it was to the stage and they changed it around enough to make me feel like I was seeing something familiar yet fresh. It seemed as though a large portion of the musical aimed at taking the piss out of Broadway and the institution of the Broadway Musical. Nothing seemed sacred as the traditional Broadway love ballad was lampooned, heroic masculine knights came out of the closet, obscenities were unleashed in front of children, and it was declared “you can’t make it to Broadway if you don’t have any Jews.” During the song which contained the latter sentiment, I wondered how many Midwestern people in the audience who may have never met a Jew felt awkward about laughing.

Though some of my favorite moments of the movie did not make it into the production I was glad to see the Prince Herbert in the tower scene as well as “The Knights who say Ni” amongst other scenes. By the end of the show I was smiling and glad I made it out to the theatre for such an event. Who knows, maybe I’ll make it back there in another 10 years or so.

After the play, my brother went to some benefit thingy and I went with my mom and Step-dad in the car back to Rockland County (that’s where all of The Rock comes from) for Passover. The Seder was Wednesday and what would be the point of taking a train home the next day if I didn’t have any work on Wednesday. Hey, free ride. Forty-Five minutes later we were home and my house was freezing. I don’t know what it is, but my mom likes to keep the house on ice. I think I saw my breath at some point while watching TV.

Wednesday morning came after a lovely ten-hour sleep on my lovely comfy childhood bed. This came after a three hour Monday night sleep. I was thankful for the extra time. Crankiness would’ve been the order of the day had my mother woken me up at some ungodly hour. My day in Rockland was spent doing more job perusal on the Internet. So really it was no different from my life at my apartment. The highlight of my day was when my mom sent me to the Stop ‘n’ Shop to pick up some missing seder ingredients. The highlight of that highlight was when I was walking in the supermarket and realized that the aisle the candles I had to get were in was called the “Super Savings Spot”. It seemed as though I was living out a scene in a movie about suburban boredom as I mindlessly trolled down the fluorescent-lit aisles with floors so clean you could eat off looking for macaroons and chocolate matzos. Though to be fair, those items were in the special Passover aisle, not the” Super Savings Spot”. Okay, wait when I said the “Super Savings Spot” was the highlight of my trip home but really it was the actual ride to and from the Supermarket. There’s no better place to listen to music than your car when you are alone. On my way home from the Stop ‘n’ Shop (formerly Grand Union throughout my childhood) I blasted the new Loose Fur album while driving through the curvy mountainous neighborhood with the windows down. It was one of those all time great feelings that I miss but I feel that if I were living somewhere that such an occurrence was commonplace, it would somehow mean less.

At around 6:30 pm the Seder gathering commenced. Longtime family friends Rhona, Stuart, Camille, Jack, and Nerissa joined us. As usual we only made it through the halfway point of the Seder. We only ever make it to the 2nd cup of wine, which is when you’re supposed to eat the meal. What a meal it was though, Turkey, Brisket, Matzo Ball Soup, Sweet Potatoes, grilled mix vegetables. It was a vast array of delicious food. Afterwards we’re either too stuffed or too uninterested in continuing. We left out the tradition where you’re supposed to open the door for Elijah the Prophet to come in and drink a cup of wine that you leave out for him. We left the cup out for him; we just didn’t let him in. I’m sure Elijah didn’t have a problem finding other Jews in the neighborhood. He probably got drunk before he got to our door and decided he’s call it a night anyway. We sat down and had a nice dessert and soon after everyone left. I drove my car back into the city with my brother while listening to the Minus 5 album. Really the best place to sit and listen to a new album is on a long car drive, or at least a car drive that can last an entire album. You can really figure out if you like an album or not in that time. If you start skipping songs right off the bat, maybe it’s not such a good album. Anyway, that was Seder day.

I woke up this morning, Thursday, at around 9:45am and no calls for work came in. I did a little job hunt but then decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and do a little reading in Washington Square Park for an hour. I’ve got about 70 pages left in A Confederacy of Dunces. I thought I’d finish it before and it’s not that I’m reading slow but sometimes I’m taking a couple of days between going back to it. I am really enjoying it though and I’m excited to be nearing the end since I really am not sure where it could be going. Well that’s not completely true, I see a convergence of characters but the outcome remains a mystery to me and I think that really makes a difference between good literature and crappy literature.

When I got back from the park I sat down to watch the Mets game. I don’t know what to say, the Mets are awesome. I may end up talking about the Mets every day. I know that might bore everyone to death but I was watching the game and I just kept thinking, “I can’t believe how good the Mets are! They just keep getting hits and scoring runs! This is awesome!” Cross your fingers and hope it continues.

I was about to go to the gym at 4:30 when my roommate Ellen came home with beer and her friends Lindsey, Kiera, and J.R. came over. That took care of the rest of the night mostly. When they left and Ellen went to bed I got a drink with Kristin E at Marie’s Crisis. Note to self: Stop drinking so much and go to the gym tomorrow. You’ll probably feel better.

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The Fruits of My Seder

Posted by evankessler on April 24, 2005

Get it. It’s like a take on the phrase the fruits of my labor by I replaced the word labor with Seder because it’s Passover. I guess I shouldn’t have to explain everything like that. Anyway, it was generally a fruitless weekend. Friday night I just plain didn’t feel like going out. I was feeling full from the previous nights culinary adventure and therefore unmotivated. Besides that, many of my friends had already headed home for their Passover Seders at home. I decided that I would leave the next morning on the train from Hoboken.

This weekend last year I was getting excited to go to the NFL draft with Arby at Madison Square Garden and this year I would miss the excitement of watching TV for 7 hours waiting to see each team draft a player out of college every 15 minutes starting at noon on Saturday. That was fine by me, since the Giants only had 4 picks this year spread out over 2 days. Although, my curiosity got the better of me several times during my time in Rockland and I had to run over to the TV to check if the Giants had picked yet during our Jewish tradition. I think I could’ve phrased that last line better. Anyway, it was an interesting get together. Our guests included Rhona and Stuart Wolk who we basically do every holiday with, although their kids were absent seeing as they were all with their significant others’ families. Rhona’s Brother, Jack, came with his family, (Wife – Camile, Son- Mark, Daughter-Nerissa) who are also at all most of our major family holidays as well. Jack also bought his mother and father in law which was different. It’s strange having someone else’s extended family at your seder, not that it bothered me it was just strange. My mother also invited her friend Janelle and her fiancée Mike. I’m not quite sure how my mom knows Mike and Janelle seeing as they are all of 27 years old. I think the story goes something along the lines of she taught in my mom’s school before she decided she didn’t want to be a teacher anymore. I guess I forgot to mention my brother was there to. Fine, you’re caught up on the attendees of my Seder. How exciting for you.

Normally we only get halfway through the Seder, eat our meal and never get back to it. My mom was determined the full way on this one. We all read our parts through the Haggadah, with my mom making sure she sang all of the songs. We got to the meal rather quickly but we didn’t skip anything I don’t think. The meal was delicious with Matzo balls soup, brisket, turkey, vegetables, some sweet potato apple thing, bitter herbs, charoset, and more food than I can remember. We always have good meals due to the fact that Rhona, my mom, Irwin and Camille are pretty excellent cooks. Actually Camille’s mom made a very spicy Broccoli Rabe, which I rather enjoyed. Here’s where I would put a picture of the food if I had taken any.

After the meal we left the Seder table for some relaxing conversation of which I really had nothing to contribute. Greg was talking about models and Stuart and Irwin were talking about real estate. I went upstairs into my room because I had a feeling that there was something I needed to bring back. Though I didn’t come across what I needed to bring back I did come across a picture of the time in 6th grade when I went with my GATE (Gifted And Talented Education) group to meet the President George Bush (the first one) and Mikhail Gorbachev in New York. It was really wonderful and they didn’t mind that we were jumping all over them. They were really pretty nice guys for a bunch of power hungry world leaders.

GLASNOST: Even though President Bush got a little testy about people hanging
over him he was a good sport and Gorbachev, forget about it, that guy loved us.

I also came across my 1st grade class picture. Good stuff. It reflected a simpler time before all of the previously mentioned human rights violations took place in that class. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, do a search for the word “violation” or “Haitians” or “rug” on this page.

I was a total babe magnet in the 1st grade, Can you guess which one is me?
Oh, and by the way three of these people are my friendsters.

Anyway, I just wanted an excuse to put those pictures up. After discovering the pictures in my room I went back down for the dessert portion of the Seder. And this is the part that really gets me. My mom wants us to finish the tradition of the Seder, which we never do but in finishing that tradition she shows no regard for the tradition. What do I mean? Well, the last part of the Seder calls for two more cups of wine. Seeing as we were at dessert though my mom, who made such a big deal about keeping with tradition, suggests that we just substitute the cups of wine with cups of coffee. (Just like the coffee we had in the desert when we were escaping Egypt) This is coming from the same person who insists we go to temple for Yom Kippur, but then rushes out to leave after an hour. Religion at your convenience is hardly religious. That’s not to say I’m arguing, I’m just pointing out the hypocrisy on display. In keeping with tradition I poured whoever wanted some more wine to partake in the tradition. That’s not to say I’m a traditionalist, but if we’re going to pretend to be, let’s not do half assed pretending. So we ate a dessert that consisted of Macaroons, fruit, and a really great chocolate cake my mom made without flour that is kosher for Passover.
Overall it was a long, and pretty decent meal. It was fun despite the abnormal wealth of unfamiliar faces. Though I wouldn’t necessarily consider 4 people a wealth of people. Afterwards, Greg showed everyone the pictures he took from the wedding of Rhona and Stuart’s son Jon that we attended several weeks ago (see 3/27/05 blog). Everyone stood around the couch looking at a slide show on Greg’s computer. Everyone was staring like it was the first time they’d seen moving pictures, even though they weren’t moving. It was a funny sight though, everyone gathered around Greg’s computer as if it were Prometheus introducing fire. When the slideshow ended, we said our goodbyes and Janelle and Mike gave us a lift into the city in the pouring rain, which was extremely nice of them.

This morning I woke up with no agenda and it was a little cool outside so I didn’t really look to have a plan. I did some spring- cleaning since my previous efforts at doing so had been undone so quickly. I suspect I will have to give my room another once over in the tidying up department in another week or two because we hope to have a spring barbecue sometime soon. I also went to the Pita Pit today, which just opened this weekend around the corner from me. It was one of my favorite places to get food back in Syracuse and now it’s in my very own neighborhood next to the new independent movie theater which I’m also extremely excited about. Tonight, I don’t have much else planned except I have to watch 24 before the new episode tonight. I was going to put an entry tonight with that recap but perhaps its too late for that seeing as it aired last week. I’ll just update you on all of the 24 happenings tomorrow night, as if you care. Okay, I think that’s enough. I hope you had a good weekend. I can’t believe I was actually able to write this much about mine.

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