Evan Kessler Dot Com

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Posts Tagged ‘Miami’

Brilliant Idea #807: The Sandwich Shop

Posted by evankessler on August 6, 2010

I have a lot of brilliant ideas. Ask me some time, I’ll share some of them with you. The latest stroke of genius inspired by some form of secular divinity came about the other day as I was wandering the streets of Brooklyn trying to conjure up a clever name for my 2010 Fantasy Football league team.

Pop cultural references were being batted around my cranium, largely failing to adhere themselves to the center of my brain that derives pleasure from subtle and not-so-subtle wordplay. Somewhere in the flurry of politically incorrect sports references grew a gem of subtle hilarity not at all related to the sports world, instead referencing one of the more beloved televised cultural landmarks of the 1980’s- Miami Vice.

The name in question was Crockett & Subs.

Perfect Sandwich Pitchmen

Initially, I didn’t think of Crockett & Subs as anything beyond a great name for a fantasy football team, provided I could find a photo of Don Johnson eating a sandwich to use as my team logo; but the more I thought about it it became painfully obvious that Crockett & Subs might be the best name for a sandwich shop in the history of the world.

The success of this newly thought out culinary venture would depend on two things:

1) The finest quality ingredients

2) Location, Location, Location.

Now, the first part of that equation goes without saying. Who aspires to open an eatery with the lowest quality ingredients that isn’t opening a Taco Bell franchise? So really the only area left to focus is on the place of business. Now in order for Crockett & Subs to be a profitable business it would have to be located:

a) in Miami

b) Any town named Crockett in the USA

c) Universal Studios Theme Parks

Option b is quickly cut out of the equation because the irony and hilarity might be totally lost on someone living in a town like Crockett, TX. So clearly, in order to be appreciated to its fullest extend it must exist in either Miami or Universal Studios.

Universal Studios is less of an appealing option due to the fact that amusement park food is usually over-priced and is not really focused on quality and craftsmanship.

This leaves the final option of Miami as the most natural location for a Crockett & Subs location. Now, I’d be all for moving my operation down to Miami and starting up this fine business if there weren’t two glaring obstacles:

1) I don’t have the capital.

2) I consider the state of Florida to be the most god forsaken place on the planet Earth.

But who knows, if the right pieces come together and if I ever decide that getting my house blown over by a hurricane on a yearly basis isn’t so bad, I might just start this baby up.

Who knows? Maybe I’d even let Philip Michael Thomas work there, but only on the condition he’d let me call him “Subs” the entire time.

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Miami Nice

Posted by evankessler on March 13, 2008

We’re barely halfway into the month of March yet I feel like enough has happened over the past eleven days to provide enough blog fodder for a three month span. Perhaps I’m overstating things a bit, but it’s not often I spend part of one week in three different cities in separate regions of the Continental United States. Sure, I enjoy traveling, but I’d hardly be pegged as a frequent flier. If you were to list my travel record since my jaunts to Las Vegas and Costa Rica in the Spring of 2005, you’d see I’ve more or less been a homebody for the past two years, save for a pair of less than eventful outings in the Fort Lauderdale region of Florida.

The tide is beginning to turn though and I seem to be getting a set of road wheels, sky miles, and sea legs all at the same time. This weekend the latest adventure in the life of the newest Kessler family jetsetter took place in Miami, Florida. The funny part is that after my grandfather passed away several months ago I had written somewhere that I didn’t see myself ever actively trying to enter the state of Florida again for the simple reason that I found it to be devoid of anything living or breathing. I didn’t use those exact words, but that’s what I more or less meant.

However, several weeks ago when my editor for JoshSpear.com asked if I would like to go to Miami to represent the site at a Sony press event…I half-heartedly lunged at the chance. I figured a few free days in a nice hotel in a town where I didn’t know anyone would provide an excellent chance for me to focus and get some valuable writing done. Plus, if I was lucky I could take some of my free time and head on over to the World Chess Hall of Fame. Fortunately, it didn’t go down like that at all.

I woke up early Saturday morning after staying in on a rainy Friday night, all packed up with new gear, ready to take Miami by storm. As my car service drove me towards JFK I stared out the window as we cruised down Atlantic Avenue taking notice of streets I had never before taken notice of. For instance, until this particular moment I was not aware that there was an Alabama Avenue that intersected with Atlantic Avenue. Who knew you could get a quick geography lesson on your way to the airport?

Like most instances I travel to the aiport, I end up giving myself entirely too much time. This time I would wait nearly an hour and thirty minutes before boarding my flight. However, I always figure it’s better to be safe than sorry or early rather than miss your flight. A nervous energy began building up inside of me with every second that flight time drew nearer. Normally I expend all of that nervous energy the night before a flight as my mind dances around visions of fiery air collisions and prevents me from catching any semblance of normal nighttime rest. However, this was a different nervous energy. I slept without worry the night before, but once at the airport the fact that I was walking into a situation where I essentially had no idea what I was doing or really any of the details of my impending trip put me ill at ease.

Once I sat down on the airplane my mind was distracted by a marathon baby screaming session that didn’t seem to abate for a good twenty-five minutes. This would have been less irritable had we managed to take to the air on time, but as our flight was delayed for a slight period due to the inclement weather, I began to suspect that by the end of the day I would spend entirely too much time in the company of the world’s pre-eminent baby bawler.

After about an hour and a half delay we finally took off. I spent the majority of my flight stealing glances at the girl on the other side of the aisle who looked like a good friend of my old roommate Rob. I figured that if she had known me she would have said something so I didn’t have to make first contact. I also heard her speak at one point. Her strange accent quashed any chance she could have been who I thought she was. I sort of let it go, but part of me still suspected that I knew this girl somehow and I would occasionally still glance over apparently unconvinced that there was no common link. I didn’t feel like blurting out a clichéd, “Do I know you?” and eventually the plane landed and we both got off and went our separate ways, though there was never really any togetherness in the situation I suppose.

Once I exited the baggage claim I was met by a representative holding a binder reading “DIME Press trip” which was exactly what I was there for. I was led to a swanky limo which took me to an even swankier hotel, The Biltmore, an historic accommodation nestled in the palm tree-laden land of Coral Gables, Florida.

Biltmore is Beautiful



Upon entry I was given an envelope housing my trip itinerary, and then moved over to the front desk to check in. The first event of the trip was to be a barbecue on the back lawn at 7:30pm. It was just around 5pm when I arrived so I had time to settle in to my room, iron some clothes and shower up for BBQ time. The shower was absolutely delightful. The water presssure was at blast through your back strength, which conjured up memories of the anything but low flow showerhead in my mom’s house that had recently gone the way of the dodo. The next best thing was the two kinds of soap. I made sure to use both the regular soap and the exfoliant soap, because you only live once.

After nearly flooding my bathroom and drying off, I put on one of my fancy new shirts from Thursday’s shopping spree and hit the barbecue scene. The first people I met were Clay, Jonny, and Eric. We made quick introductions and named the sites we worked for, save for Jonny who was working in cahoots with the people in charge of the event. I didn’t quite remember either their names or their sites right off the bat and had to have a refresher course later on, but they seemed like good guys and were just as unsure as to why they were there as I was. Knowing that, I was immediately comfortable.

We had a beer and some small talk before advancing to the generous barbecue featuring chicken, ribs, shrimp, and steak amongst other things and we sat at a table across from some fellow invitees from Italy but didn’t make much conversation with them. Jonny also unveiled some clues as to what we’d be doing on the trip, though our itinerary had spelled out the majority of the plans, he would give us the actual details. Our next day would be spent at a commercial shoot for the latest line of Sony Digital imaging projects that would feature an entire city street engulfed in foam, which we would then cover on our respective sites.

Despite the warm food and the warm locale there was quite a chill in the Coral Gables night air. My long sleeve shirt did little to deter my teeth from chattering. At that point we took the party inside and sat around a table getting to know each other. I introduced myself to Stephy from PSFK as Jonny had mentioned someone from that site was going to be at the event and seeing as I had a friend working for that site as well, I thought we might have some common acquaintances. While our common acquaintances were nil we seemed to hit it off. Actually the lot of us pretty much got along famously. We powered through plenty of awkward conversation topics, probably at my insistence, including John Travolta’s cha-cha related contract requirements and I met some pretty great people, like Ola from Sweden,Ruth from England and Michelle, Aisling, and Olivia from Ireland.

After several hours of lively getting to know you chit-chat the clock struck one A.M. before eventually springing forward an hour and we headed for bed. We had a presser in the conference room at 10am with three of the guys responsible for the ad, prior to actually going to the shoot…so being alert for the morning seemed somewhat important.

The next morning a good portion of us met for a breakfast buffet to fill up before our mini-junket…making several return trips to the buffet for astonishingly tasty fresh fruit. You know what they say about those Florida Oranges. They’re from Florida, and they’re orange.

When buffet time came to a close we found our way to a hidden nook of the hotel where our meeting was taking place and settled in like we were at a elementary school dance. Boys on one side, girls on the other. I felt entirely unprofessional in this setting as two of my colleagues at my table had cameras that were leaps and bounds beyond my point and shoot and they also carried voice recorders. I just jotted some notes down and enjoyed the show. The show as it turns out was pretty exciting. The shoot site was going to have the world’s biggest foam machine on site, capable of producing up to two million gallons of foam per minute or filling up an entire olympic-sized swimming pool in 24 seconds. Hot damn! This was going to be a site to behold.

From the conference area we took a little downtime making our own large bubbles from a bucket on the back lawn before loading up on a bus for lunch at an Italian place in downtown Miami whose name escapes me…but regardless of where we were I was amazed by the comfort level of this newly formed ragtag bunch of journalists and Sony digital imaging representatives. We seemed to have quite the rapport and were getting along famously.

Foam Swirls Through The Miami Sky



The lovefest continued as we pulled up on set on Miami Avenue between NW1st and 2nd streets. We all clamored with our respective camera equipment to get good shots of the foam filled action as extras roamed around the sudsy locales snapping away on their Sony equipment as cameras captured their every move filled with wonderment and discovery. There was a lot of that going on behind the cameras as well. To see an entire block filled with foam is certainly not something you see every day and I had no doubt in my mind that the commercial would come out looking fantastic.

People Wandering Around In Foam Taking Pictures



SNAFU: Situation Normal All Foamed Up (that was just awful)



After the actors broke for lunch we had our own foam fun, taking turns taking pictures of each other frolicking amongst the bubbles. Everyone got into the act and just seemed to revert to a childlike state of merriment. Hey, bubbles are fun, can you blame us?

Stephy and Michele Foam Frolic



Those who live in glass houses should throw foam



I can totally juggle foam



Foam is Fun For Children of All Ages and Nationalities!



We spent about an hour or two on set and even talked to the director a bit before making a move for the hotel. There we split up for a bit and took naps or did work. I wrote a thing or two for JoshSpear.com, before showering and meeting up with Clay, Aisling, Stephy, and Michele by the pool for a drink before our fancy group dinner at Barton G.

When our rowdy bunch arrived at the aforementioned restaurant there was a bevy of steaming cocktails with chocolate monkeys hanging from the from the rim or should I say limb of the glass (I should probably say rim). These concoctions were certainly worthy of capturing in a photo or three, as were the rest of the culinary creations at this particular establishment, the most thrilling of which were the main courses and the desserts. One of the props from one of said main course became a mascot for the rest of the trip. Jonny bestowed the name Dave upon him, whereas Stephy referred to him as Cluck-Cluck, though I always prefer giving animals people names over onomatopoeia.

Drinks are fun for people of all nationalities,
but only
if they’re above that nation’s legal drinking age.



Firedogs love RibsFilet Mignon goes Moo
That Ice Cream is on Fire! Get Help!



Despite a rather filling meal the night didn’t end there. A large portion of the group, myself included, descended upon the popular Miami night spot, Nikki Beach. If we were going to spend a couple of days in a town as lively as Miami, we were going to do it right. And let me tell you we did it right until at least 3:30. Or that’s when Eric, Jonny, and I left for the hotel. It was a good time and all but if we had to sit through another horrendous dance remix of a Bon Jovi song we might’ve had to off a spiky-haired tight-shirted Dolphins fan. Several of the girls actually ended up staying until 6am and one of the other guys in the group didn’t make it home in time to participate in Monday’s outing.

Outside Nikki Beach



Inside Nikki Beach
Getting Into The Groove



Irish Michele with Fashionable Evan



Ola’s A Dude Hanging Out



Normally I think it’s never a good idea to enjoy a late night of drinking and then go on a boat the next morning, but the Ocean Breeze catamaran we embarked on the next morning after our club jaunt was quite alright. It was steady sailing all the way on Biscayne Bay. The oddest part about the boat ride was that one of the guys in charge of the boat tour insisted on constantly telling us about how big the Key Biscayne tennis tournament was. According to him it was the 5th most important tennis tournament in the world next to the four grand slams. While that may be true, it didn’t seem important enough to repeat ad nauseum.

My Attempt At An Artistic Photograph…Notice the Horizon and all of the lines ‘n’ stuff



At Bay

Eventually our cruising along came to a halt and the boat dropped anchor near a sandbar area, which signaled the perfect time to unveil the catered lunch and allow anyone who wanted to take a swim, the chance. We were also taken out on a separate speedboat by a guy with a special Nike Speedboat racing glove to feel the 90 MPH wind whipping into our face. I was on the first go around with Stephy, Michele and Ruth. The boat stayed anchored at the sandbar until everyone else had their turn on the speedboat, then it headed back into the harbor.





From there we got on the party bus where we were en route to trade one boat for another. There was a new stranger on the bus who just started giving us a history lesson about the Miccosukee Indians of South Florida. It took me a couple of seconds to realize that he was talking to us, but seeing as I like history, I was interested in his lesson about the sovereign Miccosukee nation inside the state of Florida. Why was he telling us this? Because we were headed towards Miccosukee land in the Everglades for an airboat tour of the region.

Jonny, Stephy, and Dave en Route to the Miccosukee Nation



Our tour would be given by Johnny Tigertail, a legendary Miccosukee Indian who possessed the talent to communicate with alligators and wear a pretty sweet jacket with hundreds of images of deer all over it. Stephy and I considered asking Johnny where we could get one, but I figured that maybe we should wait to see if they had them in the gift shop afterwards. The group split up onto three airboats, but Clay, Jonny, Stephy, myself and some of the Germans had the pleasure of riding with the Johnny Tigertail.
As we blazed through the sawgrass of the Everglades I had two movies going through my head. The first one that I considered briefly was Adaptation. I thought about the Orchid searching scenes in the movie in an area that resembled that of which we were in. The second film that crossed my mind was Police Academy 5: Mission to Miami, specifically the parts where the wacky bunch of cops speed through the everglades on an Airboat to rescue Lassard and Harris, and when Hightower wrestles a gator to save Captain Harris from almost certain doom. I was hoping we wouldn’t need Hightower on this outing…but who needs Hightower when you have Johnny Tigertail.
Johnny Tigertail (Action Figure Available This Fall)
Pretty Much Choking A Baby Alligator



The first airboat stop we made took us to a little island where the Miccosukee had turtles and baby alligators. They showed us a small variety of snapping turtles and soft shelled turtles. We also took some pictures holding the baby gators and took a look at their wild boar.

A Big Nasty Snapping Turtle

The 2nd stop was an area that more closely resembled an outdoor cafeteria with picnic tables, but was sort of like a 2nd home for our friend JT. He pointed out the open bedroom on the right side that was basically a roof, with something to sleep on under it. That wasn’t as exciting as the turtles and gators, but the next stop was the real deal as we swept across the reeds to reach an Island inhabitated by a couple of gators. We all stood on a walkway but Johnny went onto the ground to exhibit his talent for gator calling. He made a sound that I don’t think any of us had the ability to mimic, though I could try but I suspect it would get horribly annoying. He managed to call out a ten foot long female gator along with her massive seventeen foot long mate and get right up close to them while talking to the group. It was truly an excellent display of man at one with nature. We were all rightfully impressed.

Behold The Fearsome Alligator



Johnny Tigertail Has No Fear…The Alligator is His Friend



That pretty much put an end to our pretty damned interesting Miccosukee experience. We headed back to the hotel for a smidgen of free time, which I spent writing a few posts for other projects. Our group was to reconvene at 8pm for one more voluntary dinner outing. This time it would be our good time crew minus the Italians and Germans taking South Beach by force or by a fashionably late dinnertime.

For our final evening experience our lively bunch hopped on our mini bus a little after 8pm and made straight for the heart of South Beach, stopping just in front of our dinner destination, Mango’s Island Cafe. I’m not quite sure exactly where Ruth from Sony heard about this place, but rumor has it it was recommended by the not so straight (not that there’s anything wrong with that) waiter the night before at Barton G’s. We were greeted at the door by a girl in a leopard print bikini top and bottom that left little to the imagination and her cut (I’m not misspelling cute) male counterpart, sporting a sleeveless form fitting leopard print top that certainly didn’t leave much about his muscle tone to the imagination.

Upon entering we noticed a girl dancing in the round wearing something similar to the hostess and shaking her ass with not anything I would exactly refer to as grace. We were led past that area and sat down near the back of the main room of the restaurant. While my back was to the stage I had no problem seeing the entertainment as their was a huge screen that took up then majority of the back wall projecting all of the dancing action. This was possibly the tackiest, yet oddly enjoyable restaurant I’d ever been at. Okay, so maybe that’s going a little too far, but I certainly got a kick out of the forced sexiness of the entire situation. The menus were even lined inside and out with photos of half naked sexy people, though oddly on the front cover amidst all of that sex appeal was a photo of four children, strategically placed in order to inject some wholesome family appeal into the atmosphere.

That’s One Sexy Menu!



I’d venture to say that this strategy didn’t work, but there was certainly something for everyone. When the men got up on stage, Stephy, Olivia, Michele, and Aisling ran to get a get a close up glimpse of the semi-choreographed shirtless action…and they say men are sex crazed. None of us ogled any of the girls on stage…maybe that was because they weren’t our type or maybe because it was on a huge screen in the back, but we didn’t make any efforts to gaze upon the unenthusiastically dancing forbidden fruit.

The meal itself was okay. It wasn’t as decorative as the food the previous evening, but more or less straightforward cuisine. Some people ate burgers or ribs. I figured if I was at a Cuban restaurant I should at least have something Cuban, so I ordered a chicken dish with plantains, rice and beans that wasn’t bad, but wasn’t anything special either. Rather than stick around for dessert, which is what we would’ve done anywhere else during the rest of the trip, we instead took a walk to grab one last drink at the Delano Hotel.

Sipping on a Heineken inside the Delano



On our way to the Delano we passed by the Italians eating at a nice outdoor restaurant. They caught up with us on our way over to the hotel, which was a little bit of a walk but really only a couple of blocks away. The Delano was pretty much the nicest bar I’d ever been to. I think it’s beyond me to describe it. You really just have to go there once and experience it. Aside from the cavernous well-designed interior, the outside has a swank pool set up with beds surrounding the water’s perimeter. We hung out at the bar for what amounted to one drink. At one point I was going through my pictures and one of the Italian guys, who seemed to have a habit of being a bit of a lurker had his hand on my back and was leaning on me in a non-drunk way as I went through the pictures on my camera. I didn’t want to say anything despite his consistent firm grip on my shoulder. I waited it out until he finally walked away, which was maybe two or three minutes, but felt like a lifetime. Stephy was staring at me the whole time because we had previously had a conversation about the particular fellow’s hovering, uncomfortable nature.

Poolside At The Delano
These Beds Were Made For Lounging





Ola and Stephy Enjoy a Drink In The Pool

Having already experienced far too many highlights over the previous couple of days, the group decided that it was best we not stay out for more cocktails. We called it a night as I hopped into a cab with Jonny and Michele for the trip back to the Biltmore and my final night sleeping on the most comfortable bed ever. It is my hope that one day I will be the richest person ever so that I might live in that hotel…or at least buy that bed. Who am I kidding? I just want to be rich enough to buy a Tempurpedic bed.

Tuesday morning came just like that and I was saddened. I woke up around 8:30 to head down for an early breakfast and get some work done. I ran into Clay who was reading his paper and enjoying the buffet. He had an earlier flight and had to be out by 10:30…I was supposed to be out by Noon and hadn’t packed, so we both seemed to think it best if we just hammered out a meal and got out of dodge. However, towards the end of our meal Michele showed up, followed by Aisling, Ola, Stephy, and Nikolai (I think that was his name) from Denmark. Clay left before I did as I’m never one to walk away from a good crowd. I waited around til about 10:30 before I took my leave of the group, feeling sad that the trip was over. Stephy remarked that it felt like the last day of summer camp. Having gone through that experience many a time, I couldn’t agree more. But like those long summers I spent in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, all good things have to come to an end.

The Last Breakfast



I was packed and ready five minutes before noon having knocked out a bit of work. Ola and I shared a limo together. I was being dropped at the airport and he was renting a Harley Davidson so that he could drive down to Key West, which is an infinitely cooler thing to do than sit in a cramped space for four and half hours next to a woman that won’t get out of the way so you can get in and out of your window seat, forcing you to step over her, which is exactly how it went down during my hour and a half delay and subsequent three hour flight home. Oh well, I guess it’s good to be home, but I could’ve certainly used a few more days.



p.s. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Sony’s DIME division. You’re the best.

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Evan Versus The Volcano

Posted by evankessler on March 7, 2008

Facing an impending trip to Miami on Saturday and a chance to hobnob with professionals while representing JoshSpear.com, I decided that it was time Evan Kessler got a little image upgrade. For the last year or so my brother has been harping on my appearance, insisting that I purchase at least some new sneakers and a new light jacket so that I would appear slightly less slovenly. Over the last couple of months he’s been saying that he would go with me to assure of a proper wardrobe upgrade. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for me, my brother has been off gallivanting in Europe for the past month for work and hasn’t had the time to help me seem up to the latest trends.

That all changed today after I met him for lunch at Bread in Little Italy. Upon finishing our meal we hit the shops like a bunch of Sex & The City crazed tourists eager to eat up all of the New York City fashion we could get our paws on. Actually, now that I think of it, it was more like that scene from Joe Versus the Volcano when after Lloyd Bridges hires Joe Banks to jump into the Volcano on Waponi Wu, Joe goes on a shopping spree where money is no object with his limo driver as his guide to the finer things. For all intents and purposes my brother played the Ossie Davis to my Tom Hanks and we managed to hit a few shops and snag some upscale clothing items.

The most important order of business and arguably the only important thing to me was new sneakers. My Saucony sneakers were bordering on beyond ratty as the tread was completely worn down, making them quite the liability in any precipitation. We stopped in a sneaker store called Clientele that seemed to have a very limited supply of sneakers despite this being their main attraction. After a swift look around nothing really struck my fancy and we moved on to a store called label that was thankfully having a half off sale as the clothes were already too expensive for my taste but not so for my brother’s.

Upon entering the store he went immediately to the clothing rack and picked out a black button down shirt and told me to try it on. My initial skepticism was washed away when I checked it out in the mirror…pretty smooth. He then found a jacket and told me to try it on. Again, not too bad. My purchases added up to a stout $180 but the cashier accidentally rung it up $100 higher and forgot to put the jacket in the bag. This problem was quickly remedied and we moved on to another store that was too rich for my blood.

Five minutes into our time at that store I was in the dressing room with a constant stream of new things to try on flowing into my half exposed dressing room. There were curtains to keep invaders, but they met in the middle and left a space open for potential voyeurs who enjoy watching people who look like me without their clothes on, change. Fortunately, I wasn’t taking off my pants or anything so that was fine. Exiting the third store I had accumulated three more shirts with a reasonably hefty price tag.

On our way to get sneakers we stopped in a pet fish store on Delancey that my brother termed “The best fish store in the City”. I don’t see why we went in since we weren’t planning on buying any fish, but whilst in the store my brother received a call from my mom. It seemed that this clothing outing had been planned all along by the two of them. It was a joint effort by my family to make me more fashionable. Sort of like something people contact Bravo about so they can get their loved ones on a TV show and get them fashion help at the same time. My mom was playing the Lloyd Bridges role all along…supporting the entire operation.

We said goodbye to the fish store soon enough and went back to the wardrobe business. We went to a store called Reed Space on Orchard and got right down to the sneaker nitty gritty. My brother basically told me to try a pair of Nikes on and I did. The next thing I knew I was buying them. Ten minutes later we were in a vintage store buying shoes on the cheap at my brother’s whim. We could’ve ran the entire pants gamut as well, but I was tired of shopping and he had work to do. Plus, I don’t think in good conscience I could’ve spent any more cash. I’m going to need some left over for a few days in Miami. Just about the only thing I didn’t come out of today owning, aside from a new pair of jeans, is a new set of travel trunks that make for excellent flotation devices at sea in case Meg Ryan and I end up there at the end of the trip.

In any case, if you see a stylish dude walking around that looks a little like Evan Kessler, It just might be. If you’re not sure…just ask for a business card. I had those made up today too.

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Travelin’ Man

Posted by evankessler on February 29, 2008

At the beginning of next week, the proprietor of this here blog will be a travelin’ man. EvanKessler.com is literally hitting the road! On Monday, March 3rd, I will embark on a 450 plus mile trek to Canton, Ohio to visit The Pro Football Hall of Fame. If you have to ask why, then you’re obviously not in the know, but I will say that my travel fever has been spurred on by the though of pursuing my dreams with stars in my eyes and the prospect of sleeping on an uncomfortable bed at a cheap motel and Spectravision.

It’ll be a brief trip to the heart of the Buckeye State in the middle of a Presidential Primary brouhaha, but my hope is that it’ll be a fruitful one. The only downside to making the trek 450 miles west of my hometown is that I’ll be driving…by myself. Oh and the other bad part is that I’ll be all alone in a strange town for two days. Other than that I plan to make the most of it. I’m sure I’ll be spending plenty of time tethered to a desk writing to my heart’s content, but I also intend to take a gander at Downtown Canton, grab a beer, and check to see if they have a Chinatown.

Upon my return to New York City late on Wedenesday evening or early Thursday morning, I will have precious little time to gather my thoughts and do my laundry, because just like that, sometime on saturday I”ll be magically whisked off to Miami to partake an event as a representative of JoshSpear.com. Hopefully I’ll have a moment to myself to check out the World Chess Hall of Fame. This just in, now begins my life as a jetsetter. I think I need new clothes if I’m going to fit in.

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Costa Rica- Miami- New York Day 10-11 The Long Way Home

Posted by evankessler on June 26, 2005

That’s right, the vacation blog has been extended one day because the vacation was extended past it’s initial end date by 12 hours. The story of the journey home is a harrowing one. It’s a tale involving Canadian girls, machetes, hammocks, flight delays, airline incompetence, alcohol and vouchers.

When I last left you I was waiting for my shuttle to the airport. My flight was leaving at 1:48pm Costa Rican time and I arrived at the airport at Noon to find an extremely long and slow moving check in line. It was so slow I was worried I was going to miss my plane. As time wasted away, I grew more nervous about the fate of my flight arrangements. I had moved about halfway through the line when we learned that the flight would not take off until 3:15pm Costa Rica time, which was troubling to me because I knew that meant the plane would not land until around 8:15pm (EST) in Miami and my connecting flight was scheduled to leave for JFK at 8:40pm (EST). I knew I would be cutting it close. When I finally got to check in, I was informed that there was no way I could make my connecting flight as I would have to go through customs in Miami before heading to my connecting gate. The airline representative presented me with vouchers for free lunch at the airport, a free hotel room in Miami and free dinner and breakfast at the hotel to go along with a ticket reservation on the 8:15am flight to JFK.

I thought that things could be worse. A night in a decent Miami hotel wouldn’t be so bad. Meanwhile, a girl at the counter next to me had gotten her bags stolen just at the airport and the American Airlines people kept saying it wasn’t their problem, which it really wasn’t but they could’ve been more helpful.

I walked towards my gate slightly annoyed and sat down for a minute soon deciding to use my $10 lunch voucher. There was much to choose from in the way of crappy American fast food. The food court had Papa John’s, Schlotzky’s Deli, Burger King, and Church’s Chicken. I chose a deli sandwich and got the wrong one but ate it anyway. It wasn’t bad.

Having finished my hearty meal,  I hauled my stuff over to the gate (puerta 4B) and sat down next to some lovely Canadian girls. I became fast friends with Danielle and Amy from Windsor, Ontario. We would spend many hours in the airport hanging out together waiting for our plane to take off. I got to talking with them and learned that Amy had bought a Machete for her boyfriend. I was not aware that you could bring a Machete back through customs even if it was in your carry on bags. Ironically, later that night Amy would have trouble getting her hammock on the plane as the flight attendant said they were restricted from being carry-ons because they could be used as weapons. I’d like to be privy to that meeting where they decide that hammocks are weapons.

Friendly Canadians Amy and Danielle

Anyway, Danielle and I talked a lot as well. She was leaving Canada to teach English in Korea. She also wanted me to send her some of my pictures because she didn’t get enough nature photos and liked what I showed her. Danielle also proposed a game where Amy and I listed our pet peeves and whoever had more won. I don’t remember if we actually won anything for having more, but apparently I won the game. I also let Danielle write a faux journal entry for my wait in the airport. I was having a great time with them and it felt like being stuck in the airport together we were on an accelerated getting to know you curve. They also encouraged me to start drinking with them as we began to realize that we would be at the airport indefinitely. It’s somewhat ironic that two of my favorite people I met on the trip, were met on the way out of Costa Rica.

Time wore on and we kept getting more and more invalid excuses for why we weren’t leaving San Jose. First they said that a part was broken and a bunch of mechanic looking guys walked by. I maintained that they were actors hired by the airline to pretend they were doing something. Next, they said that the crew had been on too long and needed to be replaced so we had to get another crew to fly and man the plane. Then, I heard something about bad weather in Miami. Then actual bad weather set in in San Jose.

We kept getting the run around but we got a dinner voucher to somewhat appease our anger. We made the best out of things as Danielle, Amy and I figured it was sort of useless to complain at this point as pretty much the entire gate was complaining so we just hung out and got some dinner. One of the guys at our gate who was talking to us before came by freaking out that his bag had been stolen at the gate while he was sleeping, but he eventually found it somewhere.

We all ate dinner at Papa John’s and then went to the smoking lounge bar that had a karaoke video playing classic late 60’s and early 70’s songs. We had a couple of beers there but we decided it smelled too smoky to hang out in. For the next few hours we just wasted away waiting for the plane to finally board which it did around 10pm Costa Rica time and we finally took off 9 hours after our originally scheduled time.

Sleepy Canadian

By the time we got to Miami it was 3am EST and all of our vouchers were utterly useless. They gave us a $5 voucher for breakfast, which was somewhat absurd since you can’t really get anything at an airport for that little money. We had to go through customs and check-in for our connecting flights. After checking in it was around 4:30 or 5. I split off with Danielle and Amy at this point as our gates were seemingly far apart.  My ticket read Gate D40 and they were in E-something. When I made it to D40 the sign read “DEPARTING FOR LOS ANGELES” then I read the departures screen and saw my JFK flight listed as “GATE E6”; another case of Airline incompetence. As I walked over to E6 I came across Danielle and Amy in E2 and sat with them til 7am. I said goodbye again and waited to board my flight.

Thankfully, my flight to JFK boarded on time and I was in the airport by about 10:50am, nearly 12 hours after the original time I was supposed to be there. I was completely exhausted. I took the Super Shuttle home and arrived around 12:30 to find the apartment immaculate but still having a certain large hole in our ceiling. It was so clean that I thought we had been robbed. I did not let this trouble me as all I wanted to do was pass out for a short while.

I headed out of my apartment at 6:30pm with no real desire to leave my couch but I really wanted to go see The New Pornographers at Prospect Park for Celebrate Brooklyn! I met up with Maureen Hoban at her house in Park Slope, which had a hilarious model of the Eiffel Tower with a picture of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise on it. It was part of their float for the Mermaid Parade earlier in the day.

I got burritos with her and her housemates before heading off to the concert. We arrived just before the band went on. We sat pretty far in the back as it was very crowded so it was hard to see the concert, but they are such a good band that I enjoyed the music. I’ll have a better chance to see them when they play Webster Hall in a couple of months. Anyway, It’s late and I’m feeling under the weather so this is where the travelogue ends. Two of my fingers are falling asleep. Stay tuned for the Costa Rica photo album.



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