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Cambodia/Thailand Day 14-16: One Wild Night In Bangkok

Posted by evankessler on January 9, 2009

Two weeks in Southeast Asia are mercifully (or mercilessly depending on who you ask) coming to an end.  Though the accompanying feeling is a bittersweet one, I’m excited to return to playoff football, but not so excited for freezing weather and snow.  Funny how I always liked the winter, but the returning home to icicles and ice cold has lost some of it’s appeal thanks to a fortnight in a more comfortable climate in the midst of a deep freeze in the United States.

I certainly am not heading home feeling unfulfilled as each day seemed to provide a new, unexpected, and unique experience, solely for the reason that you were doing something you’d never done before with each passing second.  The last three days were no different in that respect.

Andy, Jeff, Morwin and myself closed out our stay in Cambodia on Wednesday night with an authentic Khmer meal at the Angkor Palm restaurant on Pub Street.  For those of you not familiar with the Angkor Palm, it was named Siem Reap’s best restaurant of 2006 by a publication.

A Tasty Khmer Dish

Lok Lak: A Tasty Khmer Dish

Not content to end our evening there Morwin, Jeff and I had a beer at a Mexican restaurant as more Cambodian children attempted to peddle their wares while showing off their high IQs. One child tried to sell books by wowing us with his U.S. knowledge.

“Washing-tone Dee-See is the Ca-pee-tal of the United States…I know how many people live there.”

“How many?”

“Three hundred and five mill-ee-on minus three, because you are here.”

We had to give him credit for that one, but we still weren’t buying his travel guides.  We really had no use at this point.  Another girl drew up a tic-tac-toe game and told Jeff that if she won he would have to buy some of her bracelets and that if he won she would leave us alone.  We egged Jeff on saying that he should be confident enough to beat a little kid in tic-tag-toe, but he didn’t take the bait.   Neither did I for that matter, as she briefly tried to lure me into her game of deceit.

On our way home from getting the one drink, we walked to the market and bought some Cambodian souvenirs and subsequently found ourselves in a commerce filled alley where we happened upon a particularly disturbing postcard to send to our friend Suli.

With that it was bedtime.  Our time in Siem Reap was drawing to a close, but our flight out wasn’t until 1:45 the next afternoon. The next morning we all went out to a delicious breakfast at a place called The Soup Dragon and stopped at the market one last time for additional souvenir-age.   I bought two traditional Cambodian scarves (Krami) from the same woman I’d bought shirts from the previous evening.

One Appropriately Disturbing Postcard Coming Right Up!

One Appropriately Disturbing Postcard Coming Right Up!

Post-market we stopped by the postcard shop to mail out our disturbing postcard and returned to the Guesthouse to get our gear together and check out.  We saw our tuk-tuk driver Phearom , who apparently told Andy that he and Jhom had made up after the previous evening’s controversy.  All’s well that ends well, though not quite.

Before leaving for the Airport we got into a long and heated argument with the manager of our lodging over a broken toilet seat in our room, which he maintained we had broken.  We had certainly not broken it, it was more than cracked in half when we took the room days earlier.  In all fairness, we probably should have reported it after the first night, but in my haste to go out that evening had forgotten.  After that I just figured it wasn’t worth complaining over since a large number of the country’s inhabitants squat over a hole instead of  sitting on a toilet.  It felt like a petty complaint to make, but in the end a slightly costly one as the argument brought out stubborness in both sides and Jeff played the hero by quashing the issue with a $10 handout to the manager for a seat that wasn’t worth $2.  On the plus side, we were able to make it to the airport on time and leave Cambodia.

The flight from Siem Reap to Bangkok was rather uneventful unless you count the fact that pre-takeoff and post landing were marked by the cheerful din of Christmas music blasting through the cabin speakers of our Bangkok Airways jet liner. It seems like it’s always Christmas in Thailand…or at least from Novemver to February.  The flight itself was another hop, skip and jump and we arrived back in Thailand around 3pm with plenty of the day to waste.  But before we did so, we had to get to our hostel, downtown in the Silom area.  That was a bit of a mini-adventure as our driver overshot a bit and passed the road where it was.   We did manage to get there, however, with very little additional interference.

Once checked in at the ultramodern (at least if the shared bathrooms were any indication) Lub*D hostel, the four of us went for a walk in our neighborhood in search of food.  We found a bustling alley with several vendors who offered seating. Andy was somehow able to bargain the price of his Pad Thai down to about 60 Baht.  We knew you could bargain for the price of goods, but a meal?

After grabbing a bite, we made back for the hostel, me a bit slower than everyone else as I was still hobbled by my bum tendon.  We sat around and made a few phone calls with Jason and Kayvalyn before arriving at a plan to meet at the night market.

At around 7:30 or 8 we headed over to the Lumphini Night Bazaar, where I had spent a portion of my first evening in Bangkok, nearly two weeks prior with Kayvalyn’s cousin and the husband wife duo of Andy and Tracy.  This time we met up with the newlywed Jayvalyn, Jason’s parents, and his sister Gina.

We walked around for a few hours gathering up some final gift items before returning home; t-shirts, scarves, and what-not.  One of the booths had two tiny monkeys hopping around.  It was a markedly different experience from my previous go round.  I saw much more than just the t-shirt section.  We also stopped at the food court where I helped polish off a small tower of Chang.

Li'l Monkey In Action

Li'l Monkey In Action

It's Never Not Chang Time!

It's Never Not Chang Time!

Leaving behind the commerce-hungry commoners at the Night Market, we opted to make our next stop a high-class one.  Jason and Kayvalyn took the group to Sirocco, the rooftop bar on the 64th floor of Bangkok’s State Tower, offering exquisite views of the city and beer ranging in price from $9-$12.  I’m not quite sure what the other spirits cost as I didn’t sample them.

The View From Top of the World in Bangkok

Sirocco: The View From Top of the World in Bangkok

Andy Enjoying His Time On Top

Andy Enjoying His Time On Top

Our time hobnobbing in a swank setting was short but sweet. We certainly stopped to smell the fresh air and admire the impressive view from above the Bangkok Skyline, even taking a few photos along the way although as I understood it picture taking was not exactly permitted.

With the experience of how the upper-echelon of Thai society spend their evenings under our belt, we quickly brought ourselves back to the ground floor reserved for the proletariat, whisking ourselves away to a less pricey neighborhood. I don’t quite remember what the street we went to was, or what the bar was called, but Kayvalyn announced that it was the area she used to haunt during her high school career. We all took a seat and enjoyed a drink or two as the DJ blasted dance music and the live drummer beat along.

Just A Few Friends Enjoying Some Drinks in Bangkok

Just A Few Friends Enjoying Some Drinks in Bangkok

At one point Jason’s dad came up to me telling me that he though he saw a good looking girl at the front of the club and that he thought I should talk to her.  I had only seen one other person in said bar that wasn’t staff  and it looked like a woman, but Morwin had previously tagged her as a ladyboy.  I told this to Jason’s dad and with that he went outside and checked.  He promptly reported back saying that he was talking about the girl working at the door and that he didn’t think she was a ladyboy.  This didn’t exactly inflate my courage.  Instead, I just told him that I thought he was referring to someone else and went on drinking.

It was getting pretty late, too late for Jason’s parents and sister .  They soon turned in and we moved on to look for more Bangkok nightlife excitement. We walked further down the alley looking for another bar and after a fruitless perusal we made for another lively alley. Our first turn ended up being the gay alley.  We knew this from all of the pride flags and the fact that there were guys as far as the eye could see.

Next Kayvalyn led us over to the Phatpong road or, if you will (and you will), Bangkok’s infamous red-light district.  As we walked down the road a man followed us trying to sell us on the idea of going to his club, but instead our first stop was a place with a live band.  Before I could grab a beer and enjoy the music, a trip to the bathroom was in order for a light sprinkle.  The last thing I expected in this place was a men’s room attendant, but there he stood.  Mind you I didn’t see any mints , but there was a tip tray and he did turn on the water.

Once my hands were washed and toweled off, said attendant swiftly grabbed my arms in a somewhat friendly yet surprisingly dominating manner as I had never been manhandled by a men’s room attendant before.  He proceeded to crack my neck in two directions and my back by giving me  what amounted to a bearhug.  Strangely relieved and simultaneously confused at what had just occurred, I tipped the attendant 40 baht and walked out.

As I returned to the bar to find my friends, the band leaped into a  cover of “Jump Around”, which seemed alternately odd and amusing, yet definitely entertaining. Before I knew it, I was putting my drink down unfinished and following the rush of our crowd led by it’s most recent bride and the man who had been haranguing us earlier towards the bar across the alley, sporting the name “Pussy Collection.”

I Ain't Lyin'

I Ain't Lyin'

I don’t think you have to guess twice what sort of bar a place called “Pussy Collection” in Bangkok’s red-light district is.  Just in case you can’t it’s a strip bar where sexual favors are frequently given in exchange for money.  Upon entry we were immediately sat in a corner and charged around 450 baht for entry and our first beer.  As soon as my backside was against cushion, one of the stripper/prostitutes sidled up beside me.  She began to kiss my cheek and attempt to seduce me into paying for some sort of favor which she used a hand motion in concert with a tongue in her cheek to make abundantly clear in any language, just what favor she was proposing.

I didn’t get many a clear look at my assailant as I was trying to avoid giving any indication that I might be interested in her services.  She was probably the best looking girl in the bunch as most of the ladies seemed haggard at best, though one or two were semi-attractive maybe.  Overall, I found the women in Cambodia to be impossibly more attractive than those in Thailand.

Anyway, my “Pussy Collection”  saga continued as this persistent semi-vixen continued to attempt to work her magic on me, showing me her breasts and taking great care to tempt the occurrence of an erection by stroking over said area of my pants and grabbing it several times, all of this in plain sight of my friends. It was awkward to say the least.

Alongside My New Best Friend.  Not Referring To Jeff

Alongside My New Best Friend. Not Referring To Jeff

Kayvalyn repeatedly looked over with concern asking, “Are you okay?” and pleading with the willing party, “be gentle, he’s innocent.” Frankly, I was a bit insulted by this notion of utter innocence, but not to the point where I’d do something to prove just the opposite.  I cherish my body parts and would prefer if they didn’t fall off at the behest of getting my pride hurt in front a Thai hooker.  I don’t want people I know to look at me as the guy who got serviced in Bangkok or their friend with chronic Gonorrhea.

At one point, our lovable, ever-persistent Miss Harlot started to get handsy with the outside of my pants pocket after she had been hounding me to buy a beer or buy her a beer.  I’m not exactly sure what she meant. Not wanting to know what might’ve happened if I gave her 100 Baht, I didn’t take the bait.  But as she fondled my pocket, she felt what might ahve been some paper currency.  I felt what she felt and was confident it was probably a few receipts.  I was half-right.  There was one receipt and one 100 Cambodian Riel note.  She grabbed the latter and flaunted it and took it for her own as if it was some sort of bounty.  I didn’t care in the least seeing as 4000 Riel is the equivalent of one U.S. dollar.  She made away with about 2.5 cents.

We sat around the club for a bit longer hoping to maybe see a famous Ping-Pong show, but to no avail.  We did however see a few beer bottles opened by the lady nether region.  They weren’t just cracking it open either. Bottle caps whizzed past our heads with some velocity.

The lady of my night stayed by my side kissing my cheek a while longer hoping to coax some monetary reward.  At one point  she managed to slide an almond sliver or something into the side of my mouth with hers without me even opening my mouth intentionally for it.  I think I was saying something to one of my friends at the other end when she slipped them in.  It was fairly odd, but all relatively harmless fun.  The club soon closed down and our group filed out.  As I made for the door, I was hugged by two ladies, who slipped me the club card and despite my apparently irresistible nature or the fact that maybe they pegged me as an easy mark, I continued out the door.

Our night amid the seedy red hue and marquees promoting talented female body parts was not over just yet.  We made one more stop at a place called King’s Camelot where it was less about the ladies pressing you with their flesh and more about showing off their goods on stage so you could pick which one you might desire for boom boom. Thankfully, I didn’t attract any focus at that more crowded establishment.  I was a ghost, but I think Andy and Jeff got showered with a good deal of attention.  To tell the truth though, I did sort of miss it.  It was more fun and odd to be someone’s center of attention even in such a house of ill repute. We weren’t at that bar for too long.  It was around 3am when we made it back to the hostel.  Andy and Jeff wanted to stay out later, but Andy had to leave for the airport in less than three hours to go back home, a fact that he didn’t seem to grasp.

The next morning I awoke at 9:30am feeling quite the haze of hangover.  I had a bit of a continental breakfast at the hostel to fight off the effects.  To conquer the issue completely, Morwin and I took a walk to Health Land for a final turn at a traditional two-hour Thai Massage for the low, low price of $13.  It took a while to actually reach the spa, as we thought we were looking for the same one we had been to earlier in the trip, when in actuality the hostel had given us directions to a closer Health Land.

At 1pm we finally stumbled upon the right place, which was even nicer than the one we had been to two weeks before.  The massage while still as through, seemed to induce more pain that the last time, though it still seemed to iron out the kinks just as effectively.  Morwin didn’t feel the same about his as his masseuse left him with a bit of a limp.

When the massage ended my body was absolutely exhausted.  I just wanted to collapse.  Morwin and I headed back to the hostel, where we made a few calls and got in touch with Ken, who had arrived in from Chiang Mai earlier in the morning.  He met up with us at 4pm and we found ourselves a spot to eat down the road.

I was ready to fall asleep while we were eating, but held off slumber for a subsequent walk to show Ken where we had all gone out the previous evening, but in the daylight. Ken soon split off and I wanted nothing more than to go to bed…That’s pretty much what I spent my last night in Bangkok doing.  My body famished, I had one last meal of stir-fried Morning Glory, before shuffling off to my room early, in preparation for my flight.

I’d love to have gone out with a bang instead of a whimper, but there were plenty of good times between the bookends to last me quite a while…and plenty more to be had on the solid, yet slippery ground  of New York City.

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The Story of The Last Couple of Weeks

Posted by evankessler on September 17, 2007

Judging by the lone comment on the last post, this recap is going to bring great relief to some folks…or at least to one person. I haven’t had a full on recap since before labor day and a lot has happened since then. I can take you all the way back to August 31st when I was preparing to go all the way north to Ithaca, New York for the wedding of our close family friend Eric W to Bryna, his girlfriend of eleven years. Seeing as I had to go home on Saturday, September 1st to drive up to Central New York, I was none too keen on going out late the night before. However, I had been invited to a party by my brother, hosted by my former colleagues at XYZ.TV. They had founded a new venture called Naked Ping Pong Club which they run out of their loft. It’s every Friday, and I’m not really sure what the guidelines are for an invitation.In any case, I arrived with a 6-pack of beer and arrived not sure exactly what to expect, though I envisioned a party filled with lots of attractive model-type girls and trendy downtown folks. Upon arriving, my notions would prove to be correct. I slid in and made the rounds with the folks I knew. The one thing I didn’t actually expect was the seriousness of the Ping Pong. Apparently some of the best players in the country were on hand.

I watched on as serious table tennis was being played and wandered aimlessly a bit until I happened upon my brother who was hanging out with a few models. I think I assimilated into the scene rather well and had an easy time conversing. I normally don’t feel at home in such situations but there was a level of familiarity with the hosts and people seemed to have a genuine interest in what I had to say. Franck, one of the hosts, and one of the fampions of the Costner blog had asked me how the blog was going. He tried to encourage me to move on from Costner since he had already emailed me, though at this point I had not received any pictures. I assured him I would not until we achieved our goal since that was the entire point of the blog. I think Franck’s girlfriend was trying to give me ideas for posts as well. I had also came up with an idea for a book in the previous two days so that was on my mind. I was really excited to talk about it. I won’t talk about it here until I actually decide to write it. Either way, I was fitting in with the beautiful people and drinking my fair share. There’s really not much more to this tale other than the fact that we all drank and had a good time and my brother took plenty of sweet pictures of me. Like the one below with Madeline. I’m pretty sure that’s her name, it’s been a couple of weeks and I’m feeling forgetful, though she was an absolute delight to talk to.

The next morning I awoke in a hungover state but I high tailed it over to the Port Authority as I’d be meeting my brother to take the bus to Suffern, New York, where we’d be picked up by my mother en route to Ithaca, New York.

The car ride to Ithaca was a bit torturous. We seemed to stop every hour on the hour. There seemed to be no interest of making good time. Our first stop was The Roscoe Diner. The Roscoe Diner is famous for being a diner on the way to many a New York college. Whenever I’ve driven north on Route 17 with my mother, she always recommends we stop at the Roscoe Diner at about exit 93. However, when I’m alone I’ve always preferred the Wendy’s at exit 84 in Deposit, NY. In any case, my lunch was horrible and it was back in the car. Nothing will make you feel like you’re 7 years old again like riding in the backseat with your family on a road trip. My mother allowed me to play my music, however at a barely audible level. I almost had to imagine the playlist I had made. Our 2nd stop was 9 exits later at the aforementioned Deposit exit so my brother could use the bathroom at the aforementioned Wendy’s. Our trip was moving at a snail’s pace.

Rather than head straight to Ithaca, my mother and stepfather wanted to drive to Corning Glass Museum. This meant more time in the car. My brother and I were going stir crazy in the back and we stopped in Horseheads, New York where there was a monument to a General James Clinton and General John Sullivan who had fought of some “savage Indians”just so we could stretch out.

From Horseheads it was off too Corning where we parked our car and took a shuttle bus 3 feet to Corning Glass Museum. The museum itself was okay, but having felt a bit hung over, I wasn’t really in the mood to stare at glass sculptures with my mom. I wandered away on my own while my mom and Irwin stared at the contemporary tiffany glass fixtures. I was more interested in the more historic samples. I looked at a display of an ancient Egyptian glass kiln.
As I browsed through the glass time line I was alerted to the fact that Christ was born in 6 B.C. I’m not exactly sure how that’s possible but seeing as it was on a timeline at a museum , I took it as fact. Someday someone will have to explain that to me though I have my own theory.

After an hour looking at glass, it was time to look through glass again as we got back in the car and completed our drive to Ithaca. We arrived in time for the rehearsal dinner BBQ and photo DVD viewing. There were also several good speeches. There were plenty of familiar faces that I’m not going to name off here but the groom was there, his brothers and their wives, his parents, and many other familiar faces from Rockland County.

After the festivities as all of the young folk waited to hit the Cornell bars, the old folk whooped it up on the piano singing golden oldies. My mom belted out the hits of her youth with a slew of other newly minted senior citizens (that sounds mean but it’s not meant to be). We young folk watched on amazement as they were whisked back to a simpler time when they wondered if they would meet someone really keen at the sockhop.

While they continued their trip down memory lane, my brother and I hopped in some dude’s Porsche for trip to the college booze strip. There we met up with the other youngish wedding revelers and hit up 3 Cornell bars before hopping a cab back home. We probably were out until at least 2am.

The Brothers Kessler Reveling In The Ithaca Evening

The next day I was wiped out and spent the majority of my morning missing breakfast with my eyes closed and my head on my pillow. We had some time to kill before the wedding so myself and the family went for some local food and a walk around some campus stores before heading to the art museum and one of those gorges that Ithaca is so well known for.

When we arrived back at the hotel it was time for a little nap before the wedding. I guess I can skip that detail since the most important part is the wedding. I would describe it but I’m not much for describing pretty things on account of the fact that I’m not sure if I possess a heart. It was very lovely though and there was a bit of comedy when the too young flower girl wouldn’t do her duty properly. Her mother had to go get her and carry her down the aisle. Other than that the ceremony went off without a hitch. The bride and groom both said “I do’s” or in this case their “with this ring you are consecrated unto me’s” and then it was off to the party.

Eric and Bryna- Wedded Bliss in Action
(photo taken by Greg Kessler)

There was drinking, dancing, hanging out. I spent a good deal of time talking to my friend Craig K who’s wedding I had attended in July. I ate a steak but not a lobster tail. My brother was entirely too drunk and at the end of the party was running around with flowers he had taken off the tables and throwing them everywhere. Afterwards we hung out in the Tennis cabana and drank and when we went back to our room my brother was going on one of those super drunk “how amazing everything is” rants that is pretty foreign to our relationship. I was pretty frightened.

The next morning we woke up hell bent on eating breakfast and getting back to New York City as soon as possible. The ride back was pretty irritating since I had felt like I had been stuck in a car all weekend which was partially true. We stopped off at a 50’s diner in Monticello, New York near the race track, which was thankfully the only time we stopped on the ride back. I was back home in Brooklyn by 5 or 6pm. When I arrived home my roommates were having a small labor day Barbecue during which I kept taking several trips upstairs to check my Fantasy team score. At around 7:30pm I decided to check my yahoo mail. Sitting at the top of my inbox was an email from a name I didn’t recognize. I would’ve normally just deleted it as spam, but at the last second I spied the subject line which read:

Pictures of your site with Kevin

Upon first glance I just thought it was someone who read the “If I Blog It They Will Come” site and was going to tell me that we hoped we could achieve our goal. However, I noticed that there was a rather large attachment. Upon further inspection, my heart began to race and a wide grin was tattoed on my countenance. We had done it. The site that began over 7 months ago as an idea that was just so stupid it could work, had achieved it’s goal. I went over to Andrew Morton who was sitting on my back deck and prodded at him as he was in conversation. I said something along the lines of “congratulations” and “guess while I’m smiling”. It took a while for me to spell it out for him but as soon as I did, I showed him the photos and we were as giddy as could be. I brought down my computer and showed my roommates who were all extremely excited. From there Andrew and I, with the help of Dana G got to work on our “SUCCESS!!!” post. This was quite the momentous occasion. We were overwhelmed so it took a little bit to get the post just right. When it was done Andrew went home and I went out to Union Hall with Arby to celebrate with one drink.

The next morning I woke up feeling fantastic. I had a 11 o’clock call time for work, so I woke up at 8am and posted the pictures on our blog. I also sent out a couple of emails to a couple of blogs to spread the word of our success. I didn’t have a chance to see it hit the blogosphere until later. There was a 4 hour break from shoots and I finally settled down at a internet cafe on Bleecker Street. I checked my stats and saw that the hits were somewhere in the 4,000 range for the day. Since then the site has garnered about 35,500 hits. That’s about 2 and a half times the amount of hits this site has gotten in three and a half years. The last two weeks kind of seem like a blur after that. A Brazillian blog asked to interview me and for me to send a picture of myself looking at their blog. I complied but I’m not sure if they ever got around to posting it. Oh well, I can’t read Portugese anyway. I wouldn’t mind being big in Brazil though. I’ve always wanted to go there.

Other than all of the hubbub with the website my life has been immersed in a fog comprised of reality TV shoots, fashion week, and writing notes pertaining to those events. I had a scant few minutes to myself leading into the weekend that followed Labor day. Friday night I had a late shoot and ended up at the Park Slope Ale House where I met Marty, Mac, Dell, Rob, Austin and several other people for Mac and Del’s moving away party. I really needed a drink at that point. The next day was a little out of hand as I met up with Mike S, Joe D, Rich M, Andrew G, and Matt D, along with one other person for Matt C’s bachelor party. That night consisted of a major amount of gluttony and a minor amount of unrequited lust. The result was a little bit of a hangover and a substantial dent in my bank account. It’s crazy how much money I’ve spent this summer on other people’s weddings in terms of gifts, bachelor parties and hotel rooms. At this rate I’m not sure I’ll ever get married so I’d like to petition every couple whose wedding I’ve attended this summer to give me a $300 gift for my birthday this year…preferably cash, that way I can buy a new macbook and maybe a fancy new iPod.

Married People….My Birthday is November 4th

The day after the bachelor party was a momentous occasion as it was the first Sunday of the 2007 football season. Arby and I wandered on down to the Lighthouse Tavern to catch all the action. Being members of the Lighthouse Tavern fantasy league we were privy to drink and wing specials. There was a hoard of people outside the bar when we arrived but no line. When the bar opened 5 minutes before kickoff, we slipped in and grabbed two seats at the bar. We watched the Pats destroy the Jets and the Packers conquer the Eagles. Ah, Football was upon us. After the early games, I went home to rest before the big Sunday evening event, which was the Giants vs. The Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Arby and I reconvened with special guest Filler. We watched Eli Manning light up the Cowboys defense. Unfortunately, Tony Romo lit up the Giants defense even more so in a high scoring 45-35 Dallas Cowboy victory. I hate those last three words.

Just like that the week was upon us again. Work was in high gear from Monday to Wednesday. However, our show wrapped on Wednesday and as a result I am currently unemployed. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t busy. I was about 4 days behind on my work notes so I worked diligently to catch up. The wrap party for our show was Friday and plenty of fun was had as cast and crew alike got their drink on.

Making a dumb drunk face with Cameraman Steve S.

Gavin is shocked that it’s all over.

We were wrapping up production to the wee hours of the morning. We eventually got some beers at a deli and walked over to our production coordinator Joyce’s where the revelry continued. And our friend Joe passed out so we took pictures. We stopped just shy of writing on his face with sharpies but we’re nicer than that.A few of us caught a cab to Brooklyn together and called it a night sometime around 3am,

Joe was so excited he fell asleep.

The next day I was hurting a tad bit. It took all I had to rally myself to finish my final edit notes for the show. I spent most of the day in bed. However, it was a special Saturday since we had a visitor in town at my Union Street abode. The visitor in question was my link to my current home, Maureen H, former VH1 co-worker and in my top 5 of most favorite people ever. I eventually made it out of my room to say hello to my long lost LA transplanted pal. She was in town for her brother’s wedding the following weekend so we would have plenty of time to catch up, but nonetheless we engaged in some immediate catching up as myself, Bassett, Andrew Morton, and Maureen went to Stone Park for dinner. Maureen was a little loopy from being jet lagged and was in top comedic form. In ways it felt like she’d never been gone as she didn’t miss a beat. Upon entering the hostess seemed like she didn’t want to seat us on account of they needed our table by 8pm. It was 6pm when we walked in so they really had nothing to worry about. They sat us near the back and we had a merry time back there. We were going to try to make our meal last as close to 8pm just to make them sweat but we couldn’t, and we didn’t really want to. So after a great meal and some excellent dessert we headed out the door.

Just as we headed out the door a child no taller than two and a half feet tall came running down 5th Avenue towards us. Maureen let out a scream as if he were a 7 foot tall, knife wielding maniac…the result was immediate fit of laughter from our entire party. We began to walk towards Union Hall but we had to stop so Maureen could regain her composure.

Maureen regaining her composure

We went to Union Hall in the hopes of getting some Bocce in but the courts were taken. Instead we settled for making forced conversation as though we were on a reality show such The Hills. Each sentence would begin with the stating of a potential plot point…”So Maureen, I heard you’re in a fight with Andrew, what’s going on with that?”. We laughed and laughed and then I left because I had to recharge my batteries for an evening on the Manhattan town.

I headed into Manhattan at around 10:15 on Saturday night for Jess S and Katie K’s birthday party at Iggy’s. The bar itself was packed. I think a good majority of the people there were there for the party. It was a friendly yet tight gathering. I spent the majority of the evening speaking with Carrie and Sarah M and there were cameo appearances from familiar faces from the VH1 days, such as Gino T, Jennie F, and Tom R. It was a pretty good time and I think we closed down the bar. I got home at 5am and went straight to bed.With Birthday Girl Jess S and Sarah M.

I pretty much spent my entire Sunday recovering in bed and watching the Giants get pummeled by the Green Bay Packers. It’s gonna be a long season New York Football. Luckily, my Fantasy Football team won today. Alright, all caught up…happy now? I sure am.

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The Pitfalls of Success

Posted by evankessler on September 6, 2007

I’d like to take this moment to apologize to the regular readers of EvanKessler.com who have been expecting a weekend recap of my labor day weekend over the past few days. Due to a hectic work schedule and the culmination of the long journey that was the “If I Blog It They Will Come”, I’ve been unable to uphold to my obligation to my own personal musings and meanderings.

Now if Kevin Costner would only look at this blog.

Once I finally get around to posting it, it will probably be called, “Ithaca is Weddings” playing on the “Ithaca is Gorges” slogan but making a lot less sense. It will feature pictures from a family weekend in Central New York at the wedding of a life long friend to his mate of 11 years, as well as photos from a ping pong party the day before the trip. I know the anticipation is killing you, but for now it’s back to work.

Posted in Kevin Costner, Weddings, work | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Clydesdales, Colts, and Bears…Oh my!

Posted by evankessler on February 5, 2007

So it’s been a few days since I’ve paid deference to the blog that bears my name. Rest assured I am back and I won’t neglect you again, or at least very often. It just felt like I was leading an all out attempt to saturate the blogosphere with the word of Evan Kessler and I needed a break. Plus, since last Wednesday night, Thursday morning I have been immersed in a steady stream of alcohol fueled evenings. Actually, I wouldn’t say a steady stream, but I have gone out drinking every night since my last post.

Thursday during the day I went into the city to meet up with Franck and Jonathan who I had worked with on the Soap Opera quite some time ago. I resumed my iPodyssey as I went into the city to meet them, starting off with Johnny Cash’s “Memories Are Made Of This”. On my ride on my walk to the subway I encountered two forms of “Mercury”, one from Counting Crows and one from Kathleen Edwards. I have to say that when that Counting Crows song came out on the album Recovering Satellites, it was one of those songs I had to replay over and over again. I think it’s all been downhill for Adam Duritz and company since that album. However, I’m sure there’s a few gems on the newer albums but I’m not so familiar with them. There are certain bands you can only listen to one or two albums before you just get tired of them. That was Counting Crows for me, but I can still listen to that Recovering The Satellites album anyday.

Enough about the Counting Crows. I made it over to Franck and Jonathan’s loft on Greenwich St. They had just finished up their documentary on Jonathan’s father and were taking around to universities. The night before they had just come back from North Carolina. I think they showed it to students at Duke. Franck showed me a little presentation they had put together based on the Duke visit. While we were talking something quite hilarious was going on in the background. Franck and Jon’s roommate Bill was taking ping pong lessons. He’s training in the hopes of being in the next Olympics (completely serious). It was enjoyable to watch his foreign trainer drill him with an endless supply of orange balls procured from a large dispenser. The apartment was flooded with ping pong projectiles. Luckily, nobody was tripping all over them. It was quite amusing to watch. I wish I had my camera with me for that.

I spent about an hour at the loft before setting out to meet my brother all the way over on the Lower East side. My brother told me he’d be back at his place by 4pm, and it was 3:20 so that meant I had 40 minutes to make it over to his place. We almost timed it perfectly as he was a little late. We didn’t do much, we just sat and watched some super old Kung-Fu movies he had on DVD, the kind that used to be on WPIX-11 on Saturdays and Sundays when we were kids. There’s nothing more entertaining then a poorly translated and overdubbed kung-fu movie. My brother had an Asian friend over who was marvelling at the asinine translations. Maybe it was just a bad script.

After heading to my brother’s I went uptown to meet up with some people from my last job for someone’s going away party. First I had to kill some time at Borders before the bar event began. I wandered around Borders engaged in my iPodyssey and feigning interest in certain travel books and magazines. When my iPody made it to Wilco’s “Misunderstood” I decided I would head over to the bar. However, as it ended the live version came on and I decided that i would wait til the middle of it to go to the bar, which was a half block away. I made it to the bar, Stout, at around 6:50, to find a packed house of white-collar cronies downing Coronas and tequilas. However, no one from my party was present…for about 45 seconds. Soon the going away group surrounded me and we greeted one another. The person who was leaving was off to either Malaysia or Indonesia for some hard hitting journalistic TV action and the lot of us drank like we would never see him or anyone else ever again. I’m not sure how many Clydesdale endorsed Budweisers I imbibed, but it was certainly many.

Alas, there was more room for one more. At a late hour, say between 12:30 and 2, myself, Sarah L, and 2 other folks who I don’t quite remember since I drank like I was trying to rival Bukowski, headed downtown to Botanica. Right as we exited the cab I ran into Zak and Marie L who graciously invited me out the next evening in Brooklyn. It was quite the coincidence. After one budweiser and one ill conceived shot of tequila, it was time to call it a night.

When I arrived home, I made the impressive effort to fill my stomach with foody goodness from the friendly folks at the 5th avenue deli in Park Slope. They should be Sainted over there.

I awoke on Friday ready to be active and take on the day. Unfortunately, my brain and body did not follow that recourse and I pretty much sat the day away monitoring the success of If I Blog It and thinking of new angles to tackle our task from. Amazingly, I discovered that the NBC news website and local affilliates had picked up the story of our blog on their sites in a nice little entertainment slideshow. We were officially national news, but in a strange hidden way that only people who were clicking and searching deep into the annals of NBC would find. Nonetheless, I found this to be most exciting.

I’m not sure where else I went on Friday during the day, but I walked somewhere to get something and fought my way on the iPodyssey from Wilco’s “Misunderstood” to Wilco’s “Monday”. Maybe I went to the gym. Probably not though, I think I just went for a walk to not feel so lazy. Oh wait, nevermind, before dinner I went to the video store and didn’t rent anything. After eating dinner, I headed out to meet Zak and Marie, amongst many others at Commonwealth. My friend Rob M also met us. While there we engaged in many a conversation. Most importantly we tried to figure out the significance of Indianapolis as a City since that’s where the then AFC Champs were from. We were curious as to the cultural contribution of that region. Pittsburgh is the Steel City. Chicago is the Windy City. Heck, even Cincinatti is the Queen City (not that we know what that means) but what’s the significance of Indianapolis, and don’t give us that Indy 500 crap. There had to be something there to make it a commerce center. It didn’t just spring up for no reason. I’d go to wikipedia and check it out but I haven’t trusted that site since it told me that Elvis Presley’s father was a well-known male prostitute. Overall, Friday was a good deal of fun and I didn’t get too drunk. I maintained a reasonable level buzz.

I woke up Saturday with no plans for the daytime and I glued myself to the couch cushions once again. There was a Scrubs marathon on so Marty and I did not complain. Anyway, I knew that the evening had something in store. My friend Amy G just finished her dissertation and wanted to go out drinking after 2 plus years of non-stop hard work.

I didn’t make it out of the apartment officially until 10:55pm. I don’t count my run for food as official. I made it to Fontana’s at the same time Amy did around 11:30pm. She was with a couple of friends from school. They were not very talkative. When we got in the bar I tried to strike up conversation but I don’t think they liked me, probably because I wasn’t a banker. Okay, that’s not fair. Everyone doesn’t have to like me but not making casual conversation just reaks of a lack of effort and I have no respect for that. Anyway, Amy kept exclaiming that she was so excited to be out, and I would be too if I had been kept from youthful society by 200 plus pages of Psychological theory for a couple of years. It was good to hang out with her but I was kind of bored, not on her account. The bar was just too crowded and I couldn’t really hear anybody, which makes it more difficult if you only know one person there.

Most of my time was spent zoning out on the Kung Fu movie projected on the screen while downing two or three budweisers. I was trying to figure out what the movie was, as it was actually pretty cool and quite hilarious at times. Upon further post-bar research it was determined to be Kung Fu Hustle. Anyway, I wasn’t at the bar for too late. I think I made it home around 2:30am. Quite a short night out if you ask me. I didn’t mind though. I wasn’t really in the mood to drink or for a crazy night. Plus, there was more fun to be had on Sunday as a Super Bowl party was on the docket.

Today during the day was pretty much status quo. Relaxation before being forced to expand my stomach to 10 times its normal size due to the massive quantities of junk food that I was to inhale on this Super Bowl Sunday.

I finally headed out of the apartment around 4:50pm with my iPod in hand. The iPodyssey was resumed with Wilco’s “Monday” as I went to the grocery store for chips and dip. There seemed to be precious little amounts of regular potato chips. They were mostly hidden in specialized nooks of non-snack aisles which I found to be curious. I felt like I was searching for the final item on Supermarket Sweep. Eventually, I caught up with the Wise chips and made my way to Andy and Jason’s Super Bowl bash. The weather was far too cold for me to be travelling with a wet mop on my head. On my way there I had blazed through two versions of the Pixies “Monkey Gone To Heaven” and Luna’s “Moon Palace”. I finally arrived to the tune of Cat Power’s cover of Uncle Tupelo’s “Moonshiner” with my earphones slightly frozen to my wet hair.

I was one of the first to show up to the party save for the people who lived there and Kayvalyn but the friends slowly trickled in. Lauren H, Rich, Lina, Suli, Kishore, Rob M, Summer, Aaron, Andrea, and Dmitry all eventually made the scene and the food was plentiful as evidenced below.

Lauren made Salami rolls which, nobody could agree which nobody really liked but didn’t like. They were just a strange creation consisting of salami with a pickle and cream cheese all rolled up. I only had one and called it a day on those. Also, during the game I thought it would be fun to take pictures of the game as it played on the wall via projector. Here are the results:

Hey Look Everyone…Super Bowl XLI on CBS!

Rex Grossman, where he belonged, on the ground.

Was that foot in bounds on that interception…methinks so.

There’s more where that came from. My overall impression of the game was that it was an above average Super Bowl. Chicago was in it most of the game until Rex Grossman screwed it up towards the end. However, I fully expected that. I had been rooting for Colts since I didn’t want to hear the words “Rex Grossman Super Bowl MVP”. Though, I really don’t think Peyton Manning was the clear choice. I would’ve probably given that honor to either Joseph Addai or Dominic Rhodes. They need the Cadillac more than Manning does.

Peyton Manning, Questionable Super Bowl MVP with Coach Tony Dungy

Peyton Manning, Questionable Super Bowl MVP’s Car

After the game, a few of us hung around and watched some of the show “Criminal Minds” which had billed tonight’s show as the “best episode ever”. If that was the best episode ever than it’s no wonder I don’t watch that show. It might have been the most poorly written episode ever or the most poorly acted episode ever but that’s hardly a selling point, I suppose.

Fifteen minutes later I took a commercial break as my cue to leave. I hiked through the cold back to my Park Slope abode listening to the end of Cat Power’s “Moonshiners” and 3 subsequent Uncle Tupelo versions, two of which were from the same but on different albums. I walked back into my apartment as the first few notes Rilo Kiley’s “More Adventurous”, ending the weekend’s iPodyssey 71 songs after it began. That’s a nice dent for a few days of relative inactivity. I’ll try to go deeper this week but for now, it’s goodnight.

Weekend iPodyssey Favorites: Counting Crows “Mercury”, Marvin Gaye “Mercy Mercy Me”, Luna “Mermaid Eyes”, Liz Phair “Mesmerizing”, The Police “Message In A Bottle”, Clem Snide “Messiah Complex Blues”, Lucinda Williams “Metal Firecracker”, Cat Power “Metal Heart”, The Beatles “Michelle”, Rolling Stones “Midnight Rambler”, The Shins “Mine’s Not A High Horse”, That Dog “Minneapolis”, Pulp “Mis-shapes”, New Pornographers “Miss Teen Wordpower”, Idlewild “Mistake Pageant”, Wilco “Misunderstood”, Earl Pickens “Moll”, Clem Snide “Moment In The Sun”, Aimee Mann “Momentum”, Pixies “Monkey Gone To Heaven”, Cat Power & Uncle Tupelo “Moonshiner”.

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