Geez, it’s like I don’t even have to try. Ben’s getting a beer and a water, up at the beer stand. We’re gonna split both. Man, there are ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE HERE. Townies, hippies, preppies. Me & Benny. They’re all outcasts. We’re all outcasts. Functioning. The townies will return to their towns. The preppies will go back up the North Shore and the hippies will go back to saving the world. But everyone’s here for themselves today. Dancing with themselves. They’ve all been in the shit and they’re all bonding over this band that has been in the shit. I think I might be getting it. Pain, escape. Ben’s coming back with water and an aluminum Coors Light can. Gotta go, Ben’s tappin’ me on the shoulder. New spot.
I told Ben he was in charge, before the ingestion. He’s been here before. We went down to a new spot, closer to the stage. Ben told me this is about when it starts getting good. When it gets dark. A girl was freaking out. She was telling us that she threw up on the grass. Ben and I were just trying to sit down. I saw the vomit. We sat in front of it. It was fine, I didn’t smell it or anything. She was so emotional. She pointed to her vomit, again and again. I was okay but she wasn’t and it was making Ben and me not okay. She wouldn’t shut up. You’re in charge I told Ben. We left. But it was a good spot. We got real quiet. I began wondering if I was gonna be okay. I was real quiet. We walked to a new spot where a huge man asked us if we saw his watch. It wasn’t a great spot, way off stage right. Too close to the walkway. The man kept asking if we’d seen his watch. I really didn’t want to help look for his watch in the dark. I did some courtesy looking. Does he think we stole the watch? Jesus, we didn’t steal the watch. Why am I afraid of everything these days? Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain. This man is scary. Ben, maybe we should go.
We moved up a few feet on the grass. It’s still not the best spot. I think I’m gonna be okay. The girl was so emotional about the vomit! She needed to relax.
Take charge, I told Ben, regarding the vomit. Ben’s got me. But who’s lookin out for Ben? I should ask him how he’s doing. What if he loses it? So what if he’s been here before? It’s okay. It’s real quiet. I’ll be good. I’ll keep close. I should ask him how he’s doing. He’s right there. I’ll do the little things that nobody sees. My horoscope says I’ve been behind the scenes for quite a while. That’s right. I have been. I was taking care of them when they thought they were taking care of me. The little things…I should ask Ben how he’s going.
…Howwwwww you doing? He asks. The tension burst and words flew out of my mouth like water through a dam-
IwasjustthinkingtheSAME THING! Iwasgonnaskyouthe SAME QUESTION! &IwasthinkingabouthowIwasgonnarespondtothatquestion! Whew, I was thinking of all these ways to ask you and things I was going to say. That’s funny man, that’s crazy. It’s all good.
We’re both okay. It’s intermission. Time to go to the bathroom.
Intermission is kind of scary. People everywhere. Like a sea, basically, flowing on the asphalt river. Gotta stick with Ben. We’re gonna pee then we’re gonna get another water and a beer- to split. The bathroom’s crazy. We just go in and out, and the first one done waits right out front. I was done first. Man people everywhere. Where’s Ben? I’m changing tenses, gotta go back and fix that later. But maybe not. This is happening right now. AARON. It’s Joe the bartender. AARON! TELL ME HOW I KNEW I WAS GOING TO SEE AARON LYNCHFIELD WHEN I WALKED OUT OF THAT BATHROOM? Is he serious? Did that thought really pop into his head, that he was gonna see me? That’s weird. My football coach called me Lynchfield. His son asked me why I played. I was no good, why did I even play? Where’s Benny? Joe the bartender is like 40. He worked at Tremont. He was boyish, like me. I’M COMING BACK TO TREMONT! I’LL BE BARTENDING, BROTHER! PAPAGAYO! MAN! YOU WERE RIGHT! THE PLACE IS A TRAIN WRECK! Oh nice. Yeah, cool, we have this new manager at Tremont. I don’t know why Andy hired her. She’s from Tip Of The Top or something. I don’t know. But she, she tried to tell me what words to use when I talk to tables. She told me not to say “folks.” You don’t tell me what words to use. You can tell me a lot, but you don’t tell me what fuckin words to use. Where’s Ben? WELL I’LL SEE YOU BACK AT TREMONT, A-RON! WHEW! I KNEW I’D SEE THAT KID WHEN I WALKED OUT OF THAT BATHROOM!
There’s a new documentary out. Mike Myers from Saturday Night Live made it. It’s about this guy who worked with Jimmy Hendrix. A producer. He knew everyone who was cool back then. He helped them out. He told Jimmy to get business cards. Jimmy was like “What? What the fuck is a business card?” This guy, he was a protector of the artists- that’s what Mike Myers said. I should tell Ben we should watch that documentary. Does Ben wanna know that he’s a protector? Maybe he doesn’t want to hear it. But he’s crucial. Maybe it will make him proud. He should be proud.
He taps me on the shoulder again. Time to go.
Trying to give the people what they want which seems to be just me being me and not caring much. Like what I did today. Like how I used to write in my journal.
Today I went to work. 4th day in a row, yesterday was a double. I mean I shouldn’t be complaining because I could’ve gone to bed sooner rather than hanging out with pals, but it’s the weekend and Louis was in town and everyone loves Louis. True or false: It was an interesting weekend. So anyway I worked a lot and hung out with pals. Double Sunday. Another brunch today, because it’s a Monday holiday. I’m a crybaby but the point is I was very tired this morning and I worked brunch into mid-day and I got through it. My horoscope say that things are gonna pick up. I have to do a good job cuz I rescinded a two-week notice (essentially done that like three times in the past few years.) So I had to do a good job and-
The girl at table 23, she was Austrian and the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Unbelievable. Table 23 drank so much. Like maybe I should have cut them off- yeah right. They were there forever, after I changed out of my pajamas and well into mid-day. You know the dream would be that table 23 finishes and I get to leave and we all leave at the same time and just have an amazing time walking around the city but yeah right.
We all left at the same time. We did.
I have to give myself an hour to get there. Rolled out of bed at about 7:41. No shower. Setting up at 9:00. Staff meal, then it begins. I always felt really nervous when I was first hired and I still get a little nervous now because I have issues. Table 23 came in for pajama brunch. A Filipino guy about 30, a cute girl about 24, and the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen in my life from Austria. And they drank a lot and stayed waaaaay after the rush. I changed out of my pajamas and into the black shirt and jeans after we 86’d brunch. They moved to the patio (table 6) and got more drunk.
I left with them. We went to a bar but I only had ten bucks. I lost my card a few weeks ago but I only sent in for a new one last week. Still waiting. I left my card in the atm machine. We don’t get cash, our tips come in a check. I’ve probably done the leave-card-in-atm thing about 20 times in my life. Between 10 and 20 times. Table 23 had to pay for me. I’m not in the habit of really having my shit together. I went to work with a Ten in my wallet and no access to the bank (Memorial Day) and these people who tipped me well bought me a drink at another bar. And a burrito. The guy who goes to the bathroom when the bill comes. Pathetic. I’m going to take them all out. I can afford it. Highland Kitchen. I feel like shit. I explained things to them. I’ve never seen anything like that Austrian girl in my life. My horoscope acknowledged that it’s been rough. She showed me a picture on her phone. A little puggish dog. She told me she had a boyfriend. I didn’t ask or anything, I mean we talked about a lot of things. I think it was a Pug in the photo. She had a boyfriend. She and her brother had put a Post-It note on its rear that read (In Austrian) “I stink because of my asshole.” Something to that effect. Never seen anything like that before in my life.
100 Words on Work
A while back I gave myself an assignment to write 100 words. I barely remember doing it but I found it in my notebook today. I should mention that this was written while I was working a former job.
Only because I couldn’t think of anything else to write about. Because it sucks, it’s like prison, hell, waiting on people. I can do better than coffee shops, I can find a whole new, degrading, condescending, hell. The restaurant industry.
Drinks, alcohol, neat, double. Hell. On the rocks. Behind you. Stick with me, okay? Behind you. Hell. Faster. Faster. What’s going on right now? Where are we at? What’s the scoop? Do you know the table numbers? Go Pats, okay? Come here. I love you. Alright, have fun over there. Go Pats. Son of a bitch is leaving.
Dogs On Walks In The South End
SFSF Film Review: The Wolf of Wall Street
The Wolf Of Wall Street was pretty good, but not amazing. For a Scorsese film, I was a slightly disappointed.
I wasn’t surprised though because I’m used to Scorsese’s rise-and-fall formula. Even in his best movies, the falls tend to drag on. I haven’t seen Raging Bull, which is blaspheme, but I have seen Goodfellas, which was a magical experience when I first watched it. A typical film enthusiast has his or her own canon of movies that have at most been life-changing or at least genre-transcendent.
Goodfellas is one of those films for me. I saw it during my early-20’s enlightenment, a period in which I heartily consumed Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson films. I would give Goodfellas a 9 out of 10, one point away from perfection because of its long, unneccessary ending. Despite that, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Robert Deniro, and brilliant scenes solidify ‘Fellas’ place high atop American Cinema. The steadicam shot of Liotta walking into a restaurant through the back is amazing. And Then He Kissed Me by The Crystals is the soundtrack while Liotta, bursting with cool, escorts his wife past a dozen admirers. That long shot has been imitated and worshipped by aspiring directors for over 20 years. There’s also a scene where Liotta’s Henry Hill and Pesci’s character are met at dawn by Henry’s mother-in-law after a night of partying. At the doorway of her daughter’s home she screams, “WHATS AMATTA WITH YOU HENRY????” while hitting him with a rolled-up newspaper. Liotta just looks at her silently for a second before bursting into laughter and turning around to head back to the car with Pesci, who mockingly repeats, “WHATS AMATTA WITH YOU??? WHAT’S AMATTA WITH YOU HENRY???”
Scorsese is a brilliant director of scenes and actors. When you watch Goodfellas for the first time, you might get a tiny bit antsy as hour three approaches, but it’s okay, because you know that you’ve witnessed something truly great. It’s like being exhausted at the end of a hike or something, a good kind of tired.
Scorsese admitted that the beloved film The Departed was his only movie with a plot, which is interesting because he didn’t write it. The Departed was a remake of a Hong Kong film from a few years prior. So he subtly admits to his weakness, which I think is a lack narrative cohesion. He’s not bad at all, but when you compare him to the best, other story tellers weave tighter, more coherent plots.
The Wolf of Wall Street is very entertaining. Leo DiCaprio never disappoints. He’s really invested in the character of Jordan Belfort and he’s perfectly cast. Only an extraordinarily talented, self-assured actor at the top of his game can play a role like this convincingly, and Leo does. Jonah hill is funny as Leo’s right-hand-man. There is a lot of nudity in the film, male and female. Lots of drugs and fancy cars. Also, midget exploitation. The film does a service by showing Wall Street absurdity to the masses. In one scene, Leo’s character begins to explain to the camera what it is that he’s doing -whom he’s taking advantage of and how- only to stop himself short and assume we don’t want to hear it, presumably because a film can only do so much.
There were a couple of edits in Wolf that didn’t seem professional to me. I noticed a shot or two where voice-over dubbing was a bit obvious. Nothing too glaring, but when everyone on the set is supposed to be the best at what they do, it’s kind of odd. Goodfellas has scenes of greatness, while Wolf’s scenes are merely good- and to me, when you couple that with Scorsese’s trademark 3-hour length and predictable story arc, it creeps a little closer to mediocrity. Near the end of Wolf, I wasn’t experiencing that feel-good exhaustion that I referenced earlier.
Somewhere between the middle and end of Wolf, there’s a scene where Leo & company are at sea during a massive storm. Aboard his beautiful, beached yacht in Italy, Belfort learns that there’s a problem with the gobs of money he’s stashed in Switzerland and he has only 24 hours to solve it. Despite severe weather warnings, Leo stubbornly ships out in a desperate attempt to secure his Swiss-housed savings. Within a few hours conditions get pretty nasty. There is screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Scorsese wanted excess, and the viewer gets it. Had Wolf been directed by someone else, Leo could have once again died at sea, ending the film there. Instead, it trudges on into a depressing and unnecessary descent, where the viewer is left feeling like he’s been beaten up. Maybe that was intended.
The Wolf Of Wall Street is merely good- meaning it’s better than most of the junk that’s out there- but it isn’t near Scorsese’s best and it doesn’t deserve to win Best Picture. I give it 6 out of 10.
-If you want to read an entertaining book that chronicles the same era on Wall Street with insight beyond DiCaprio’s chopped monologues, I recommend Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis.
Stat Brief for 2/11/14
Last week, when I wrote the latest Stat Brief, I thought to myself: Maybe it’d be nice to write a brief every Tuesday night from The Wine Cellar. Giving myself a weekly gig seemed proper. Working within the confines of a 5.5 hour shift where I’m interrupted by the occasional customer (The door ping pulls me off the computer in the back) is good for me. In between the lines you read I might be bullshitting a wine suggestion, but more often I default to telling the Harvard grad students and alums that I work only once a week and that I know nothing about wine-
“-a really nice Frenchman came in and told me these two wines are excellent. His wife loves them. Malbecs are all the rage apparently.” They’re often bewildered and annoyed by my ignorance and apathy.
A couple of hours ago I began by writing about Michael Schumacher- only to give up because none of my readers know who he is. Schumacher is a German-born former Formula 1 race car driver. Beginning in the mid 90’s, Schumacher was the best for almost a decade, winning 7 championships for Ferrari. He is a fan favorite and a living legend.
Sadly, on December 29th the 45-year-old crashed into a rock while skiing and he’s been in a coma ever since. About a dozen pings ago here at The Cellar, I stalled a bit, knowing that the 25 SFSF readers in existence don’t know Michael Schumacher. It’s been reported that his wife talks to him every day to wake him out of his coma. I almost gave up on the weekly entry thing. Despite that, SFSF trudges on, and hopes Michael makes a full recovery.
On a more positive note, SFSF’s own Sarah Cadorette has a poem up on Bostonglow.org. Read it here, like it, and like it on facebook. She’s going places.
Which brings us to everyone’s favorite thing about SFSF- the search engine terms. The nice thing about writing a brief once a week is that WordPress tallies the terms daily, weekly, and monthly. So I can click on the weekly option for immediate results of the terms over the past seven days.
So, only two people stumbled onto the blog via search engine since the last brief. The terms were: speed skate bulge and online dating in other countries. I love keeping with the Olympic theme for the second week in a row! Read the original Online Dating here.
Oh, yeah, this kid popped into the store and spoke with me, he must have been about four years old. I rang up his father while the child waited outside with his mom. Dad made for the exit while I began the next transaction. I heard some chatting at the door for a few seconds before the kid emerged from outside-
CHILD (interrupting transaction): Can I ask you a question sir?
ME: Go for it.
FATHER: I don’t think he’s gonna be able to help you out pal.
CHILD: Did you like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
ME: Yeah, I did, a little. I liked Raphael.
Stat Brief 2014
Yo, Aaron here. Every Tuesday night I work at The Wine Cellar on Mass Ave. Or Cellar Wines. I don’t know the official name. All I know is I work here because my fiance works at The Garden at The Cellar next door. It’s all owned by the same person. Her name is Marilyn and she’s very nice.
I haven’t checked the stats in a while or briefed my readers on anything… until now:
-Someone found the world-famous blog here by typing “Speed skating podium bulge” into a search bar. Also, the blog has had some bumps in readership. I had a conversation with my little brother Nicholas out in California, it went like this:
NICK: Hey, I told my friend to read your blog and she said that she’d already seen it because her professor had shown it to the class.
ME: Can you elaborate?
NICK: She’s a former stripper, her name is Antonia Crane. The college is UCSD.
Anyway, more news:
-The Seattle Seahawks won The Superbowl.
-We’re not allowed to watch movies by Woody Allen anymore.
-More snow in Boston tonight, BUTTON UP or STAY INSIDE.
-We are the Universe. We’re all the Sun and the Earth. We’re all God and everything at once and everything is beautiful. Aliens exist, but they aren’t threatening. They’re also God. You can do or be anything you want unless you die first. Though you can’t really fly without assistance. Death is a part of life and it pays to be nice. That’s all fact, myriad studies prove. Everything I write is subject to the most intense peer-review.
I apologize for the lack of production lately, aside from grade-school drawings and things I write on the receipt paper at the restaurant. On second thought, to whom do I owe this apology? This blog is free.
The Other Two Are In The Car
Water. Water for now please. Just water thank you. Waters. How about a round of waters? WATERS FOR THE TABLE! Water with lemon. Just a water with lemon please. Just a water with lime. Do you have Sweet & Low? Just water for now. Waters. Water- no ice. Oh, I said water with NO ICE please. Do you have straws? I think I’m okay with just water for now.
It’s ice. It’s ALL ice. He’s pouring more ice into my ice. Does he put gel in the front of his hair there? I think he hates us. He hates us. He’s scared. He LOOKS scared. He’s not comfortable, he’s not fluid. Look at him. I could use some more water. He’s GOT to put gel or moose or SOME-THING in his hair for it to curl like that. He’s awkward. 30? 32? No-no, NOT 26. EXCUSE ME, can I get more- thankyou- and can I um, have a side of SOUR CREAM please? Oh, and hon, you made a mistake here. It’s OOOOOO-KAY, but I just think you should know that you made a mistake. You brought be a CABERNAY sauvignon. I said CHARDONNAY, remember honey? No I don’t think he’s STUPID, he’s just kind of doofy. I think he just doesn’t GET IT, you know? There are people like us, and there are people like him.