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Posts Tagged ‘July 4th’

As American As Apple Pie

Posted by evankessler on July 8, 2009

Despite the words gracing the title screen, there was no apple pie to be had this past weekend, but that didn’t make it any less American.  The arrival of Independence Day weekend boasted an opportunistic array of good time revelry steeped in Patriotism and marinated in beer.  As most of the local working folk had Friday off on account of the holiday, the games were able to begin at a reasonable daylight hour on July 3rd. The celebratory mood wasn’t necessarily due to the fact that if you were to cut one of our arms open, you might just find red, white and blue dripping out; rather it was the 30th birthday of my roommate…one Laura B.

Laura had originally been unaware of the festivities that awaited her on her special day, but due to a certain lack of alertness about the general nature of birthday surprises, she began the day fully cognisant of the fact that she would spend a portion of her evening at the Brooklyn Cyclones game.  Aside from that, the day was a blank slate with a big baseball diamond in the middle of it.

Prior to leaving Park Slope and heading for the amusing confines of Coney Island a few of us sat on the stoop waiting for a special signal to finally head deeper into Brooklyn.  Myself, Eric G, Andy, Jessica,  Laura B, and Kelly R just hung out in the hot summer sun in the hopes we could take off soon.  I, personally had no idea what it was that would trigger the beginning of our birthday jamboree.  I assumed we were waiting for someone to show up before we could take off.  I didn’t want to guess though as there was obviously some surprise that I was not privy to in the planning of the birthday event.  At some point Laura inquired as to what we were waiting for.  Just that moment a car in front of us pulled a U-turn and settled into a parking spot just in front of our stoop.  Someone (I think Kelly)  jokingly commented that the car was exactly what we were waiting for.  Little did we know, but this was the actual truth.

From an open window came the words, “hey Laura.”  The words were uttered by Laura’s friend Erin’s mother in the front seat.  Erin, her mother, and her father exited the vehicle and proceeded to greet the party.  Laura’s college friend had made the trip for the special day from the distant land of Danbury, Connecticut; a far cry from Park Slope.

Just like that we hit the road.  Kelly, Laura, Erin, and I hopped aboard the 7th Avenue Q towards Coney Island.  I flaunted Laura’s Brooklyn Cyclones foam fan finger the whold way down in anticipation of some dynamite Single A class baseball from some minor-league Mets.  We were a joyful squad if there ever was won.  Laura was glowing with anticipation at what the rest of the night held, and we were happy to be apart of it.

We got off the train at Stillwell and Surf and Kelly led the way to our first stop, a bar on the boardwalk the name of which escapes me.  Upon entry Laura was greeted by a rousing ovation from her friends.  Andrew M, Matt, Judy T, Maureen, Stephen, Andy, Eric, Renga, Mike H, Dan, Dan’s sister Emma, Robin, and more folks too numerous to recall them all.  The merrymaking began with Coney Island lagers and Renga dispensing gift bags to party participants.  Mine had a panch, a snickers, a map of Coney Island, a USA necklace and some vampire teeth. Score!

Next on the agenda was the blowing out of the birthday candles.  For that portion of the afternoon/early evening we were going to need something cakey.  Luckily, there were an array of cupcakes from Renga and a fantastic cookie cake, which was made by Eric.

Laura Makes A Wish

Laura Makes A Wish

After doing her part to extinguish the 30 flames atop soft and sweet treats; Renga made the birthday girl read the message on one of the set of cupcakes.  It read, “You’re throwing out the first pitch!”  Laura immediately kind of freaked out in a fun and totally natural manner. I was instantly jealous.  My roommate was going to throw out the first pitch at a minor league baseball game.  It’s not that I’ve ever had that dream before, but it seemed like a perfectly awesome thing to do on your birthday.  I immediately wanted someone to tell me that I’d be doing the same thing in November.  Alas, there is no baseball in November.  Que sera sera.

This day, however, was not about me.  It was about Laura.  If she wasn’t in a great mood already from being surrounded by her best friends, the first pitch thing may have put her over the top.  I wanted to coach her and show her how to pitch in the off-chance she needed my assistance, but then again, I’ve never been a pitcher.  The closest I’ve come to being a hurler was in my ten visits to Dorney Park as a camper (and then counselor) at Camp Westmont.  I used to play the speed pitch game where if you correctly guessed the speed of your third pitch; you’d win the helmet of your choice and then whilst wearing it people would repeatedly pound the top of your head repeating the mantra emblazoned in small letters on the back, “THIS IS NOT A PROTECTIVE HELMET!”  Ah, Those were the days.

So anyway, after grabbing a few beers at the boardwalk bar (and a slight torrential sunshower) we went for a bit of a walk ourselves as our birthday balloon-toting birthday girl led the way.  A few minutes into our stroll we lost her inside the amusment park as she split with Maureen and Laura to get a fake tattoo.

The lot of us were getting a bit worried.  We were supposed to be at the Keyspan Park at 5:30pm and we had lost Laura.  We didn’t want to be late to grab our tickets and we didn’t want her to be so late that they wouldn’t let her throw out the first pitch.  Rather than wait for them, the majority of us headed to the park and hoped they’d be on time.  We looped around to the front entrance of the stadium via the boardwalk and hung out at the entrance in front of the blood drive van.  I briefly put in my vampire choppers and planned to leap unannounced into the plasma collecting vehicle demanding their entire stock, but I decided against it.

Several more fans of Baseball and Bassett met us at the front gate to the stadium;  Trish, Patrick, and Brian among them.  We had a full motley crew of ‘Clones fans ready to root to our heart’s content.  Filing in in an orderly fashion we scanned the stadium for our seats, but first set about collecting our free hats that came with the special deal we had partaken in, not to mention the fact that it was also Jersey pillow night.  This was either an all-inclusive steal or highway robbery.  Our money bought us one free beer, a free hat, and a free dog; not to mention the opportunity for the afore-mentioned first pitch for our newly-minted 30-year-old [Editor’s note: actually, it was three days before she turned 30]. It didn’t really matter though.  We were so completely psyched for the first pitch that all of the peripherals were gravy.

Scenic Keyspan Park

Scenic Keyspan Park

There was a brief period after picking up our snazzy new Cyclones caps that we took to our seats, but with the prospect of Laura’s minor league pitching debut at hand, we chose to line up behind home plate to get as close as we could for the big moment.

'Clones Fever: Catch It!

'Clones Fever: Catch It!

When the time came we were parked directly behind the dish.  Laura was not the only one however, throwing out the first pitch.  Apparently two other people had arranged for the honor.  They saved the best for last though. Once the first two pitchers had gone, our excitement level was certainly palpable when the announcer was about to trumpet Laura’s name and the fact that she was celebrating her 30th birthday.  One problem though, instead of announcing Laura B’s name, he announced Renga’s.  The rest of the evening we congratulated Laura as if she was the other Laura celebrating her 30th year.  I don’t think this got old. Despite the misidentification, Laura pounded a heater right  into Pitcher Darin Gorski’s strike zone or something like that.  Why the pitcher was catching, I have no idea.

Not A Belly-Itcher

Not A Belly-Itcher

Back in our seats we caught quite the outstanding amateur contest.  It was a hard fought match from start to finish; the kind that really makes you appreciate our national pastime. The Brooklyn Cyclones were engaged in a hard fought battle with the Tri-City Valley Cats.  We weren’t sure which three cities they were from, but we think Troy and Schenectady were involved.  Whenever they were at bat I kept yelling for them to go back to Utica, Ithaca, Rome, or wherever they were from.  Minor league games are fun to heckle at.

A Bidding War Over The Rockford Peaches and Racine Belles Would Ensue

A Bidding War Over The Rockford Peaches and Racine Belles Would Ensue

Maureen Maintains Her Brooklyn Pride Despite Living on The Left Coast

Maureen Maintains Her Brooklyn Pride Despite Living on The Left Coast

The game was tight the whole way.  Both teams scored a run in the 2nd inning.  Tri-City took the lead in the 6th, but the ‘Clones pulled it out in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the 9th thanks to big time hitting and ultimately the heroic bat of pinch hitter Nick Santomauro.

Dan's All Too Effective Rally Cap-Jersey Pillow Combination

Dan's All Too Effective Rally Cap-Jersey Pillow Combination

Clutch Performer Nick Santomauro

Clutch Performer Nick Santomauro

The vibe after leaving the game was an ecstatic one.  We felt as though we had witnessed one of the more exciting games in Cyclones history and it lifted our already high spirits.  On the way out, we were handed tickets to have a go at the speed pitch booth, only the radar gun was broken.  It didn’t matter though, I was jonesing to throw a few pitches after Laura’s big moment.  I got the lead out with a few slowballs through strike zone.  It was somewhat therapeutic and a bit of an adrenaline rush at the same time.  I was ready to continue partying as was the rest of the crowd.

We certainly didn’t slow down as we made our way through the site of the next day’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, past a big load of horse crap, all the way to our surfside sanctuary Beer Island.  Beer Island is a beach-themed Coney Island bar that looks like it could exist in Daytona Beach or Paradise Island, save for the Port-o-john’s.

The Mgical Land of Beer Island

The Mgical Land of Beer Island

Our party found two tables to place together and the revelry continued at our Coney Island paradise.  Classic rock blasted throughout our surroundings, but eventually it was eclipsed by the din of fireworks being released over the confines of Keyspan Park.  The pyrotechnic splendor was visible over the horizon and we soaked in the sparks and a few more drinks before deciding it was time to head back to the neighborhood and keep it going in The Slope.

Matt, Andrew, Mike, Brian, and I headed back on the Subway and made for the Union Street abode before heading out for a night-cap with most of the rest of the crew at High Dive (a.k.a. the bar formerly known as The Lighthouse Tavern).  The night didn’t end there.  Some of the crowd had dispersed after finishing one or two beers, but a group of us headed back to the house to put a cap on top of our night cap.  Laura and I partook in some of the Bailey’s I had acquired on my trip to England and before heading off to bed we took in some of my new DVD of The State.  The last part fell out of favor very quickly as the letter “Z” seemed to be catching up with everyone.

We had partied all the way through to the Fourth of July and the next morning shouldn’t have been as easy as it was.  Thankfully after plenty of rest, I was able to sidle out of bed in relative comfort, prepared for a big day of BBQ.  It was around 2:40 when I started to walk towards Kishore’s to commence the celebration of this great nation’s 233rd anniversary of Independence.  I figured it would take a while to grab some food and beer and walk all the way over to Fort Greene.  I was partially right, but I was still the first person to arrive on site.

It was a little after 3pm.  The party was supposed to start at 3.  I know that my friends are usually fashionably late, but it seemed like such a shame on such a beautiful day to have to really get the party started when the sun was on the downside of it’s daily cycle.  I was content to sit in the yard by myself even if no one was around to enjoy it with me.  Kishore, Jeni and Pat were inside preparing food and I hung out in the garden drinking a beer and texting people.  Soon enough though I was rescued from boredom by Jason and Kayvalyn, who seated themselves at the table and started the day’s conversation.  Little by litle the floodgates of visitors opened: Rich, Suli, Lauren, Rosario, Ajay, Morwin, Miller with half of the population of NYC Ron Paul supporters, and so on.  It was now officially a party.

The Beginnings of A Good TIme

The Beginnings of A Good TIme

The only problem with this celebration of America however, was the music.  Kishore had put on a playlist of lounge-y electronica, and Indie DJ music that seemed best suited for a nighttime lounge.  This was America’s day not smooth euro DJ day.  Normally, I wouldn’t raise a stink about someone else’s music, since I’m more than sympathetic with the idea of wanting your own music to play at your house.  Any other day, I would’ve been fine with the selections, but this was the 4th of July.  It’s the day you’re supposed to hear Toby Keith, Bruce Springsteen and Boston.  It’s the day to rock out, with your Red, White and Blue cock out.  I tried to put on Bruce’s Born in the USA album but was quickly rebuffed after two or three songs.  Ajay was supporting my efforts to patriotize the party, but the host certainly was not.  I made another brief stab at things with “More Than A Feeling” but once the song ended, my mix was given the boot Toby Keith style.

Ajay Approves of The Boss and Boston

Ajay Approves of The Boss and Boston

The music went back to soothing, sexy lounge style for awhile and I sank into a bit of boredom.  Ajay, Suli, and myself kept discussing how America had to win out musically in this party.  A little while passed when I finally made a last stand stronger than that of General George Custer.  My mix finally hit the airwaves and the people at the party were proud to be Americans whether or not they were born in this land.

Snappin' Along to American Tunes

Snappin' Along to American Tunes

From then on the party felt a helluva a lot more lively.  The conversation seemed more sprightly and the good times rolled.  I filled up on meat and beer relatively early in the night, but I kept drinking beer anyway.  I didn’t get drunk, but I felt relaxed as the night skies rolled in and the music ceased being patriotic again.  I didn’t mind though as the new music fit the nighttime mood just fine.  We didn’t get to see any fireworks, save for the few who went inside to catch the televised explosions, but that generally seemed all right by us.

Morwin and Jason in Sparklerz '09!

Morwin and Jason in Sparklerz '09!

The crowd slowly dwindled down throughout the evening, there were a few unexpected arrivals as Andrea and Enisha eventually joined the crowd and subsequently left.  It was rather late when we filed out.  Suli, Rich, and I were among the first to arrive and some of the last to leave.

Sunday was none too productive.  I think I did some reading adn some wandering, but that was about it.  If there was anything momentous about the day I do not remember it.  I think I went for a walk and grabbed a slice of pizza and that’s about it.  I was resigned to letting any potential excitement slide by the wayside for one day.  I had had enough patriotic fun for a few days.  When the next weekend rolled around, I would almost certainly still be an American.

Posted in baseball, BBQ, birthdays, Brooklyn, holiday, New York Mets, Patriotism, Weekend Recap | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Happy July 4th

Posted by evankessler on July 4, 2009

Happy July 4th for those Born and not born in the USA.  We beat those limey Brit bastards…well, not in 1812…but whatever.

Remember, don’t kill any yellow men.  Just because the Boss had to do it, doesn’t mean you do.  You’re not fighting off any Viet Cong at Khe San.  Alright, stay cool rockin’ daddies in the USA and enjoy your independence for a few more weeks.

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God Bless The U.S.A.

Posted by evankessler on July 4, 2008

Happy July 4th everyone.  I’d like to say a few words about this great country of ours, but sometimes words aren’t powerful enough.  Sometimes you need lasers to accompany those words.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the laser equipment to make a kick ass laser light show that says just how much I love this land, but luckily I don’t need it, as the folks at Audio Visual Imagineering have done a wonderful job getting those sentiments across without my guidance.  However, I would appreciate that if in the future, those same folks at Audio Visual Imagineering need to get any sentiments across, they would seek out my guidance before putting something like this together.  I’ll let them off the hook this one time as they’ve done a pretty wonderful job relaying just how wonderful this country is with a combinations of laser visuals and song.  Anyway, without further ado, Audio Visual Imagineering’s presentation of “God Bless The U.S.A.” laser module.  Happy 232nd Birthday America!

Posted in holiday, music, Patriotism, technology, visual art, YouTube | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Lights, Camera, Patriotism!

Posted by evankessler on July 6, 2007

Well, it has certainly been an eventful first week at the new home office of EvanKessler.com and IfIBlogit.com (and about 5 other blogs). At the end of my previous post I had said that I would definitely be posting during this week but I had not expected to follow up on that promise so late into the game. My original plan was to lay off the drink for most of the week. However, I seemed to neglect the fact that sometime during the week I would have to take time out from sobriety to celebrate the 231st Anniversary of the birth of The United States of America. Surely, that would involve imbibing the King of Beers for The King of Democratic Republics. I did think it would be relatively easy to avoid the workingman’s nectar (my new euphemism for beer that I just came up with) on Monday and Tuesday as I certainly had my fair share of work to finish from the previous week, not to mention the fact that there was much to be done in terms of setting up my living space in my new apartment.

As I prepared to hunker down in the name of productivity mid-Monday afternoon, an astonishing thing happened. My phone rang. On the other end, sounding as if she were in the next room, was my good friend Linnea. You may recall Linnea from posts way back in February of 2005. Look it up, it’ll be a hoot. Anyway, Linnea and I have known each other since our first grade class in 1985 when human rights violations were not part of the curriculum but were nonetheless a hard lesson learned at Lime Kiln Elementary School. Two and a half years ago we had our first get together (we got drunk, and we went to The Gates together) in probably 8 or 9 years and have kept in touch since. I’ve even become fast friends with her sister as a result. Anyway, Linnea called me and wouldn’t you know it, she was in town and wanted to hang out that very night. I raced through as much work as I could, nearly finishing it before showering and rushing to the West Village where I met Linnea and her father at One If By Land, Two If By Sea.

I Chose This Picture of Me and Linnea because It Looks Like I May Have Done Something Funny Beforehand

It’s funny to think you’ve known someone for so many years and never met either of their parents but here I was knowing Linnea since we were about 6 and meeting her father for the first time. They finished up their drinks as I arrived and both said their goodbyes to everyone at the bar. They had apparently heard everyone’s life story in the span of a few short drinks. I learned with 10 seconds of leaving the restaurant that the pianist was a germaphobe. Apparently Linnea had tried to shake her hand and was met with discomfort and denial.

From One if By Land, Two If By Sea we hopped a cab to Tribeca. Linnea’s father was extremely eager to show us around as if neither of us had spend any time in the city. I think we barely made it through any personal conversation as he kept interrupting wanting to show us a new restaurant. To his defense, I’d never spent any time in his view of the city as he kept taking us to upscale restaurants to have a look around and maybe or maybe not stop in for a drink. We must’ve entered and exited 4 restaurants before settling on a place. However, it wasn’t done in a finicky, “I don’t want to go here way”. It was a more measured, “I love your bar/restaurant you have a great place, give me your card so I can take clients here” way, that didn’t leave us feeling guilty when we walked back outside past the maitre’d without spending a dime.

We finally settled down for a drink at bar of the Tribeca Grill. Linnea’s father generously paid for my drink and I thinkfully nursed my Hoegaarden whilst eating trail mix. We were met by Linnea’s father’s girlfriend Suzanne who was also quite pleasant and enjoyable to talk to. We enjoyed a vegetable tempura appetizer before heading off on the hunt for another place to delight our palate. We stopped at one bar that just didn’t seem like the right vibe. Despite the classy exterior, they were blasting Pearl Jam’s “Rearview Mirror” which was just not suitable to our situation. After walking a little further up we came across a restaurant called Turks and Frogs. We entered with caution but the decor was quite nice and Linnea’s father questioned the owner a bit and and we sat down to order appetizers and a drink. There was a bit of a touristy element to our patronage as we were at a Turkish restaurant and when ordering our drinks I asked for a Turkish Beer, Suzanne asked for a Turkish wine, and Linnea’s father asked for a Turkish liquor. It was as if none of us wanted to find out what the drinks were called as long as we were doing something authentically Turkish. I never found out what kind of beer I had but I know it was Turkish. Anyway, we ordered a few appetizers and a few desserts. The place had some of the best hummus I’ve ever had. It was a top notch restaurant and would certainly go back there again.

After our Turkish excursion we had one more place to go. Linnea’s father was going on about a place that had the best Fried Artichoke. I for one was not aware that Fried Artichoke was a dish but I was just going with the flow, so I went for it. Several minutes later we found ourselves at Giorgone where we would sample the delectable Fried Artichoke as well as a pizza topped with prosciutto. Everything was absolutely delicious. Giorgione proved to be the end of our Culinary tour of Tribeca but I was thankful as I felt as though I received a primer on some of the City’s culinary treasures. From there we went to Suzanne’s apartment for a few minutes and then I walked Linnea and her father to their car and saw them off as they headed back to Rockland. It had been quite the whirlwind for a Monday night. I headed back to Brooklyn via train and was ready to hit the sack.

Tuesday was all about finishing the work I had put off. I spent the majority of my day finishing up my notes from the previous week’s shoots. I had finished by the evening but was having internet problems which made it difficult to send out. Tuesday evening was to be another night on the town. Since Wednesday was July 4th everyone was around to go out on Tuesday. As I was finishing up my work in my room. Andrew Morton and Bassett were tying one on downstairs while talking to our other new roommate Matt. When I finally made it downstairs after a shower Andrew was on his way to being three sheets to the wind via a tumbler of gin and tonic while Bassett used a little more moderation. After a couple of beers and some time on the porch we (Bassett, Andrew, and Mike H) headed out to Union Hall but ultimately decided on the Lighthouse where we got a table outdoors and basked in the warmth of a summer night. I bought everyone drinks but ended up drinking Andrew’s as we kicked back and conversed under the Brooklyn sky. We only stayed for a bit as we were back home before midnight.

I woke up early the morning of Independence Day and used my freedom from the working week to go to the Tea Lounge to send out my work notes using their Internet connection. I spent a great deal of the afternoon loitering around the apartment while Laura R and Bassett made a patriotic 4th of July cake. At around 4:30 a group of us including Laura R, Dan F, Bassett, Andrew Morton, Kelly R, and myself headed down to Montero’s on Atlantic Ave for it’s 60th Anniversary bash and for July 4th festivities. They had Burgers, Dogs, and of course…us (which also came to include about 4 or 5 of Dan’s friends as well as Brian D). Upon getting to the bar I rushed to the jukebox to make sure there were appropriate patriotic selections playing. I played the Beach Boys, “Surfin’ USA”, The Pointer Sisters “Jump”, Chicago’s “Look Away”, David Allen Coe’s “You Never Even Called Me By My Name”, Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of The Red White And Blue” and Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re An American Band” amongst other classics. One things for sure, they were all American tunes and the bar rocked accordingly and patriotically.

Bassett is a “FAN” of the U.S. of A

Andrew does his best Sean Penn impresson

The AmeriDan Dream

After a while at Montero’s we shifted the party over to Floyd where we partook in more Kings of Beers and ate our American cake so lovingly prepared by my new roommates. We also played some murder mystery game very briefly but apparently we didn’t have enough people to make it exciting.

“We’ll Put A Boot In Yer Ass, It’s The American Way”

We went from cake and booze and Floyd to crackle and boom by the water to watch the Fireworks. We made it down near the water as the rain drizzled down on us though not intrusively so. We found a nice open lot which we soon ended up being booted out of on account of it being private property. No matter, we just moved a little further down the road to watch the spectacle that was the fireworks display over the East River. However, I do have to take issue with the length of the light display since it tends to get boring after a few minutes. I think I would be perfectly content with that whole grand finale section just being the entire show. That would be fine with me. That entire 25 minute build up of two things exploding in the air one after another gets kind of tedious. It’d be more exciting if they did 8 minutes of that and 5 minutes of massive explosive hysteria. Oh well, you can’t win ’em all. And because you can’t you drink, and that’s how we closed our night…we had a beer at Floyd before heading back home to bed. Some folks had to work the next morning…but not me.

Hopefully The Apocalypse is Just As Colorful

Laura and Dan in “ooh…aaah” mode

There’s Always Fireworks When These Two Get Together

Kelly Stares Down A Light Show While Not Worrying About Home Delivery

I woke up this day after our 231st anniversary of our great nation with no big plans. I wanted to go to Target to get some things for my new room as well as an outfit for a white party we are having at my new apartment this weekend. Other than that I still had some odds and ends floating around my room to put away and I wanted to suss out the cable situation in my room. These are things you have to do when you move into a new place. I didn’t do everything I had and the day remained largely uneventful save for the ridiculous white outfit I bought from Marshall’s and for the arrival of my new beard trimmer that I bought on Amazon.com. Perhaps I’ll review the beard trimmer on my New in My Apartment blog. I was going to head to the Lighthouse to watch the Met game tonight but the rain put a damper on that plan. Oh well, one sober night out of seven ain’t bad…oh wait, it kind of is.

Posted in drinking, old friends | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »