swashbuckling in the garden state

Crowded waters during Hans’ annual pirate canoe race this past weekend. We were rolling about 14 people deep, with 7 canoes. In the foreground, that’s Bella with the patriotic Fourth of July hat, and John standing in the water.

One core element is the obtaining and stealing of “booty” along the way, which can result in flipped canoes. Generally these items are silver or gold, though there have been exceptions.

I hadn’t been on this particular creek/river before; I believe it’s the Mullica River in the Pine Barrens, NJ.

At this moment, the globe mounted to the front of PJ & John’s canoe exploded.

We saw a few animals over the course of two days, including three snakes, this praying mantis, frogs, and turtles. We heard an owl but couldn’t spot it, and were bombarded by biting flies while in the canoes (which may be preferable to mosquitoes, though they don’t seem to mind repellant with DEET in it).

This year we incorporated camping, so we were all carrying a little more gear than normal, and there was more incentive to keep ones’ canoe from flipping — whether from attempted sabotage or ramming into underwater logs. (The aforementioned globe is still intact here, allegedly for waterway navigation).

Several areas contained a great number of carnivorous plants, such as this pitcher plant. I hadn’t seen such a concentration of different carnivorous plants in one place in the wild before.

Back at the Hesselein house in Allentown, NJ, the boys had amassed a few hundred dollars worth of fireworks from across the border in Pennsylvania. It made for a great Fourth of July display of mortars and rockets — from the wimpier “Texas Pop Rockets” to the more impressive “Restricted Airspace” and leading up to the massive “Dragon’s Fury” series of explosions, with beefed-up Roman candles in between.

The sun setting after we got back home to Brooklyn, looking over the Prospect Expressway. Thanks to Mr. Appalachia & Alison for the ride.


Seattle Brad happened to be in town some of last week, and he, Jenn, and I ran into Big Joseph and Greenpoint Brad, all en route to Nowhere Bar in the East Village, where we bumped into Ari and some other friends. $2 beers.

Heard during the past week in NYC:

“Recently I’ve been photocopying twenty-dollar bills and leaving them on the sidewalk, and just watching people. I’ve probably done it 5-8 times a day for the past 4 days or so.”

– high school kid in a rotisserie chicken restaurant on DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn.

“As soon as my lawsuit pays out, I’m going to move to San Francisco. My friend says you can buy a great place for fifty, [or] sixty thousand dollars out there.”

George, who lives around the corner from Jenn and I, and is generally on his stoop about 80% of the time we walk or ride by.

a veritable grab bag of opportunity

Each year, Hans hosts a pirate canoe race, through barely-navigable creeks in Allentown, New Jersey. You may recall last year’s: “Indecent Exposure on the High Seas.

Sarah makes her way towards the highway. This year’s adventure differed from last year in amount of canoes (perhaps doubled) and the depth of the water (much shallower this time), but certainly still a blast.

Lucille, a fashion designer visiting from Paris, shows off a bumblebee, while Jenn and Laura look on.

The one rule of the day was to not allow Giardia-filled creek water into your beer.

Alison (far left) and others.

2 Matts, Franck, Leslie, and Laura.


PJ takes it pretty seriously, reflecting for a moment.