Two Months

On Nov 21, I had vague plans to play guitars with my friend Jason and my other friend Dan. Jason and Dan weren’t very familiar with each other at the time. The day prior, at Goldman Sachs, Dan walked over to the deli where I was slicing corned beef and asked me what was going on. I told Dan that my friend Jason was available to jam the next day. I asked him if he could join. Dan told me that he liked the idea of the three of us getting together and playing guitars. He was available to do that because like me, he had Nov 21st off. In addition to the guitar playing, made food plans. We were going to make a big-ass tray of deviled eggs. I was really excited. But on Nov 21, Dan was off the face of the Earth- not answering any texts or calls. Jason thought we were supposed to meet much earlier…or later, but just not when I thought we were supposed to meet. Nothing happened. The next day at work, Dan said “My phone wasn’t working, I just thought you guys would just show up.”

If this is your first time at SFSF, it’s important to remember that the little boutique grocery store where I work was bought by the major Wall ST firm, Goldman Sachs. Economists have called it a desperate move for a flailing company. Some feel that the purchase of a little foodie store in Somerville, MA is a sure sign of the end. Important thing is, any reference to Goldman’s is where I work. And  it’s important that when you envision Goldman Sachs, that you don’t picture any glamorous high rise in Manhattan. I work in a deli. The building has one real floor and a basement with a low ceiling where I routinely bump my head on pipes before the caffeine is flowing properly through my veins. People laugh if they’re lucky enough to see me bump my head and they see a little cloud of dust sparked by the collision.

Jason and Dan are both really good at playing guitar. (Good in this context means at least a whole lot better than me.) I was excited for them to jam together. What was supposed to happen was, they were to realize that they were long-lost musical brothers, and form a band wherein I was allowed to play simple bass. (I deluded myself into believing that they would benefit from being restricted to playing around my vast deficiencies on the bass. So the band would benefit as a whole. That all helped bolster my excitement.)

This blog is celebrating its Two-Month Anniversary. It was launched on Nov 21.

What happened was I felt sorry for myself for choosing to pick up the bass at age 27. I chose the wrong passion. I’ve determined this a few times over the past year. I sat at my desk with my hands behind my head, staring at the computer. I thought about a couple things I could write about. Back in those autumnal days I’d been thinking of a movie I saw a long time ago called We Were Soldiers and I decided that I didn’t like it. From what I recalled. So I went to the nearest Blog Website and set up SFSF. I wrote two reviews of movies that I vaguely remembered or hadn’t seen entirely. Though what I labored over the most was the About section. Maybe that was because I had no idea what this blog was about other than I better start freaking having things for people to read before I’m 30.

Almost a month later, on December 17, Sarah C. wrote her first masterpiece. She was added, I’ll admit, because I was a little nervous. It sounds silly to say she was added largely for legitimacy reasons, but yeah, she was.  The important thing is Sarah C’s a good writer and she’s here to stay; as far as I’m concerned this blog mess is 50% hers.

Sarah C. is not to be confused with Sarah Beaumont. That did happen a couple times. People said things to me like “Sarah Beaumont writes for the blog?” Sarah Beaumont does not write for the blog but she has read most things and given great feedback, and is a fine person. I like to call her The Beau. Sarah C. is The Biz. I know another Sarah whom I like to call The Boz.

Good Little Foot Soldiers

The latest Internet sex scandal involves New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan. From the first word of this post, to the moment I push the publish button, there will be seven more scandals. Anyhow, as Sports Illustrated pointed out, the scandal involved Ryan’s freaking wife. So big deal. But it involved feet. That’s funny. He’s a big man. OK, he’s a fat man. He is. He is a fat, middle-aged man and he likes feet. That’s all funny. On the subway today, I saw the cover of the Boston Metro Newspaper. I saw Ryan’s big imperfect face surrounded by feet. In a single sentence, the headline made a reference to Ryan’s sex scandal while opining that the Patriots were going to win the playoff game vs the Jets. I can’t remember what it was. It wasn’t “Pat’s gotta strong foothold over the Jets.” Nope. Um…maybe it was “Pats gonna make Ryan try to take his foot out of his mouth…or his wife’s mouth…or his wife’s foot out of his…” I don’t know.

Here’s a video of Patriots little wideout that could, Wes Welker, saying “foot” more times than usual for a typical post-game or post-practice interview.

Video means Welker makes my short list of pro athletes I would want to hang out with. Short list includes by-the-way (and I know this lacks relevance): And it isn’t complete:

Shaq (basketball)
Eric Byrnes (baseball)
Khalil Greene (baseball, retired?)
Charles Barkley (basketball, retired)
John Kruk (baseball, retired)

Note, in my opinion players who aren’t married to the game of baseball don’t fit in in Boston. Manny Ramirez created serious tension in New England when he played here. He was perhaps the best player in baseball, but he wasn’t all business in his approach to the GAME of baseball. For instance, during the 2007 MLB playoffs, Manny was scorned for not being sad enough after a loss to the Cleveland Indians. The loss put the Red Sox on the brink of elimination. Manny had an attitude that seems natural for a player who was secure in his considerable talent though still at the mercy of a game HEAVILY reliant on luck. He was criticized for not being fully invested.

“Why should we panic?” he said. “We’ve got a great team.
[If] it doesn’t happen, so who cares? There’s always next year. It’s not like it’s the end of the world.”

Hold on now, THAT’S TRUE- Everything he said. Manny hit many home runs for the Red sox after that. They won the world series after he said that. That year.

“Red Sox” nation didn’t exist before Manny got to Boston. You know what existed? Empty seats and mediocrity. New England doesn’t like to talk about that though. They like to talk about Pedroia and Youkilis being gamers. Getting dirty uniforms and whatnot. Manny is arguably the greatest hitter of the modern era and as he smashed lasers around Fenway for 8 years, he knew dirty uniforms had nothing to do with it. He played a game for millions of dollars a year. He played a game that consisted of lots of standing around in the grass, lots of sitting around on a bench, and lots of hitting little white balls. He knew it was absurd and he didn’t pretend it wasn’t.

Manny was born in the Dominican republic. He grew up in Washington Heights at the northern tip of Manhattan. Safe to say had he not played big league baseball, he, his family, and most of his friends would be financially less fortunate than yours. With a bat, he can hit a ball hard, and that changed everything. That’s gotta be weird. It makes sense that a relative outsider might not treat it all so seriously. I’m sure Manny has seen a Dominican-born valet park a BMW owned by a Newton-born man in a 1000 dollar suit topped off with a Red-Sox hat. And I’m sure he’s seen some genuine East Coast class-separation and condescension loud and clear. The talent that separates worship from condescension probably gave him pause and it should us. Dirty uniform players like Pedroia and Youkilis would likely never be hungry (like the literal definition of hungry- no food) had their baseball dreams not come true. It’s easier for them to to be all life-and-death about baseball when life and death is in a different context. For many American athletes (and non-athletes) “Death” is not making the team.

Oh, the cover of the Metro is “Why the Pats will de-FEET the Jets.” Here is a link to a story about it.




This is Aaron eating cereal


Couple things- I can’t indent. I don’t know why. In the past I feared that anxiety, fear of failure, lack of direction, or lack of talent would prevent me from ever writing anything. Never in my wildest dreams did I think indentation would be a hurdle…so paragraphs are separated by spaces now, and aren’t indented. Not going to talk about it further. It’s a blast here at SFSF.

Just as unimportant, there is a picture of me in this masterpiece for no particular reason. Well, it’s the first picture of me. Sarah and I are having professional portraits done on Wednesday by Anne Geddes. That’ll also be the day we record a 4-hour long radio show. It’s going to be about two train operators. And a three-legged dog.

“SOOOOO, I don’t know what to do because I sent it in on Friday and the deadline is the 2nd, which is Sunday, which is kind of stupid-”

I don’t know what she’s talking about.

“I over-nighted the application. Cost me sixty dollars. It should be there by the time-”

Oh yeah, OK, so Thea’s talking about college applications. She’s applying to different masters writing programs throughout the country. Why is she talking to me about this?

Ben is about ten feet behind Thea, stocking the produce section. His early morning movements have an economy to them. He looks at the world as if he were a newborn. He places cabbage and lettuce into the produce stand with motions that resemble a baby sitting in a bassinet. He slowly lifts his arms up and down, getting used to his new body. He looks at his hands as if they are doing something completely alien.

“-over-nighted it on Thursday, I spent sixty dollars OK? not thirty-”

My coffee is sitting on the counter by my deli register. I haven’t drank a bit of it yet. I need to get ice from the machine in the basement to turn my coffee into iced coffee. I still don’t get why she’s telling me about her application issues…oh yeah- “Your application to UW?” Thea and I both lived in Seattle, so we share that. Plus we’re writers I guess. I think that’s why she’s telling me about this stuff. “When’s the deadline?”

“The 2nd. The deadline comes while they’re out but it will be there for them on Monday when they get back in.  But like the deadline-”

Thea’s wearing the shirt that I made fun of her for wearing.  I made fun of her about a month ago and I haven’t seen her wear it since. I thought she opened the door for scorn and whatnot because she first observed the hideousness of what looks like a man’s horizontally striped, Reagan era polo shirt- something a 17 year old pothead purchases at The Goodwill. That day, she admitted that her shirt was old and ugly, so I agreed and told her it didn’t look very flattering on her. Plus, we’re at work, we all wear old, ugly clothes. Her shirt just looked particularly old and ugly. Saying that was a mistake. I felt like it was OK, because I was just adding to the pile. Natalia Herzigovina, the manager, gave her shit about the shirt too- I think. But like I said, it was a mistake.

“SO…don’t know what to do…kinda worried.”

I used to mock statements such as “Not before I have my coffee.” I don’t know why she’s talking to me about the application process. I tended to focus on the possesive my when I made fun of people and their relationships with coffee.

“You’re looking at my shirt aren’t you? I know you hate my shirt.”

“Nope.” Ben looks manufactured. He is tan, slim, and slightly taller than average. He is good-looking. He has a black beard. It’s about the same length and thickness as the hair on his head- very short. In the mornings he’s more like a robot that was just rebooted, not an infant. He makes careful, inquisitive arm movement toward the produce stand. Ben Calls me Delington because I work in the deli.

“-So what should I do?”

This is unreal, she’s asking me for advice now.“When’s the deadline?”

“The 2nd. The deadline occurs while they’re away, on vacation with their happy little families eating turkey and stuffing and ham.  It will be waiting for them when they get back to the office on Monday.”

Ben is a mobile wax figure. His hair and beard never vary in appearance. Delington is maybe my 24th nickname. “Call them.”

“Well, what if I call them and it’s like I’m sealing my fate, I’m highlighting my application as being late and right then and there they deny me? What if that’s how I find out I don’t get in? Right then and there.”

I need to get to that ice machine in the basement. I have to bend over every time I walk down the century-old basement stairs. I suppose this is because the building was designed and built by Oompa Loompas. The stairs are not level.  Pretty sure that I’ll slip one day while bent over in a not-very-balanced position on the not-very-level stairs. And I’m pretty sure that I’ll fall face first onto the cement floor and knock out all of my teeth.

“What should I do?”

“I don’t know. Don’t call them? Just wait or something? Go in there with guns blazing?”

“What should I do, really?”

“I don’t know. Why are you asking me? Why are you asking me! I didn’t finish college! Undergrad! I’m irresponsible! My girlfriend had to walk me through the application process over the phone! I attempted to transfer from a JUNIOR COLLEGE. I applied online and we got it in at like 11:59 pm, one minute before the deadline! I swear! I’m the last person you should talk to! Undergrad! …and guess what? I never went! I got in, and never went! I’m a college drop-out! I am not responsible! IRRRRRResponsible!”


Ben acknowledges me suddenly, “Nice talk Delington.”

57 YR Old Man In A Poodle Skirt

This was written (mostly) in 2005. American Idol was rated TV-G at the time and I objected to that.

The show posts a G rating, signifying it is a family show.  Shows with the TV-PG rating suggest parents should guide their children while watching to reassure them that the world won’t end when they see violence or hear profanity. It’s easy to give a PG rating to a show with violence.  Violence and profanity are easy to spot. The censors have lists of things that need to be rated accordingly or otherwise disallowed. Gun fire = TV-PG; Blood = TV-MA; Vagina = Sorry, Nice Try. AmIdol has a G rating because the censors have a hard time spotting the material that requires discretion. (And this isn’t much of a surprise. I mean, we’re talking about people who are paid to watch and assign ratings to TV shows. We’re probably talking about full-on rejects here. I read a book about the financial system, and I learned that the people who work at the ratings agencies- the agencies that determine whether a bond is good or bad- I learned that those people are imbeciles, that they couldn’t get jobs at real Wall Street Firms, where the real money is. I’m guessing that censors had difficulty landing real entertainment jobs.) <— all that being said, I work in a deli. I’m the deli guy at Goldman Sachs.

American Idol holds huge preliminary tryouts at large wide-open venues (normally stadiums) in the cities in which they film the first episodes to air. Producers choose the best and the worst at these preliminary tryouts. The best are serious contenders; the worst are to be sent before Simon Cowell where he will attempt to pop their delusion bubble. Funny thing is, he will pretend that the delusional contestant wasn’t picked for the sole purpose of a nationally televised reality-check. Even better, the check is going to be given by music industry insiders. The entertainment value here lies in the distance between Simon and friends and the delusional contestants. It’s like ten feet but it’s really like worlds apart and that ten feet is going to be as close as it gets for the delusional.  Simon will act as if this is the contestant’s first tryout. Simon will say “you suck” and feign disgust that this person wasted his and the show’s valuable time. Simon won’t acknowledge that this delusional, unpaid contestant was actually playing an integral role in the proven money-making AmIdol formula. Money making, merely money making? I’m leaving it to the reader to insert better words and phrases that capture AmIdol’s decade-long money printing machine into the comment section of this post.

I don’t have much of a problem with AmIdol’s exploitation of the delusional. It’s the reason I watch the show. It makes me feel better. I feel that I’m somewhat delusional and dreamy, and watching talentless contestants attempt to sing on a national stage makes me feel more emotionally stable. I laugh hard, and so does the rest of the family. It’s wrong, but there are greater injustices.

I don’t watch the show when they go to Hollywood and the real competition starts, because I’m not into singers that don’t even try to write songs. I don’t get the lack of effort, or lack of desire to really be heard. Can an artist really communicate anything when he or she is limited to singing songs written by others? They attach their voice to another song and by, oh, shit, going an octave higher than Rod Stewart, are they really saying anything? What is going on there? We don’t really hear a voice when we watch American Idol. We hear “I want to be famous.”

So as I watch the first part of the season, questions arise as I see contestants crying as they walk off the stage- sometimes escorted by security- exploitation time OVER. What kind of parents allows their son or daughter to become so delusional?  What sort of childhood produces this crazy behavior? Did that girl just say she hears voices?  Is this newly rejected contestant really going to walk directly to the street and beg for money as he says he is?  We question the contestant’s self-awareness: “That 57 yr old man in a poodle skirt doesn’t honestly think he stands a chance, does he? He’s  got to know that he sucks!” And I wonder, just as an eight-year old needs to be comforted after a scene of brutal violence; won’t he or she need guidance upon seeing a schizophrenic American Idol contestant?

American Idol doesn’t explore any of these questions; as soon as the laughs are through, it’s on to the next contestant. Oh, and this one is mind blowing…ly good! We go to commercial break with a quick peak of a beautiful 17 year old girl singing Killing me Softly and we see Paula just melt in her chair. We forget about the last girl, the one who was escorted off the stage while doing jumping jacks cuz she thought a display of athleticism was going to sway the judges. No actually, we don’t forget that. How can we forget that? It’s CRAZY.

I don’t have a problem with the show being on air, or the fact that it’s watched more than any other show. I do have a problem with the G rating. Because the show is f*******cked up. Every time I watch the beginning of an AmIdol season, I think to myself, “This is entertaining, but my kids aren’t going to watch this.” My kids are gonna watch Goodfellas before they watch AmIdol.

There’s a song by Blink 182 about a high school kid who gets invited over to a pretty girl’s house to hang out. It’s supposedly based on a true story. The boy thinks the girl might like him so he peddles his bike to her house as fast as he can. When he gets there, the girl and her friend await him with a garden hose in the front yard. They spray him with the hose.

I believe this isn’t much different from what American Idol does with its joke contestants.  The only difference is the girls in the song are more forgivable because of their youth. American Idol is grown up people making money by spraying others with insults and demonic laughter. Never questioning where the delusional singers came from or where they’re going. To me that’s rated R. Or at least rated “So Aaron Jr., we’re gonna have a little talk now.”

For us to live any other way was nuts. Uh, to us, those goody-good people who worked shitty jobs for bum paychecks and took the subway to work every day, and worried about their bills, were dead. I mean they were suckers. They had no balls. If we wanted something we just took it. If anyone complained twice they got hit so bad, believe me, they never complained again.

-Henry Hill, Goodfellas

My friend Made A Rockin’ Christmas song; I’m Going To Ramble

My grandma is in the hospital. I just talked to my Grandpa he and told me that Audrey Litchfield will hopefully be released today.

I’ve never seen my Grandma angry. I know that when my Dad was a kid, their house was THE house. It was the neighborhood house where all the kids hung around and felt at home.

When all her kids grew my Grandma worked at Macy’s to help save for retirement.

Before I go into New England, and say a thing or two about the water, I just want to apologize for my pedestrian sea-faring vocabulary. When I went back east the summer before sixth grade, my Grandparents drove me from their house in Rhode Island to Boston. We walked the freedom trail, which led to the USS Constitution. We stood at the dock in silence for a second until I said “Yup… that’s a nice boat.” My Grandpa began laughing immediately. The Constitution is not a boat, folks. It’s a ship.

That summer, I stayed at my grandparent’s house in Barrington, RI for two weeks. My cousin Allison, also ten at the time, came along. It was one of my favorite childhood vacations. Honestly, it was the childhood vacation. It was the vacation I fell in love with New England and told myself I was going to move there someday. My Grandparents were in their early sixties. Lately, I’ve grown to appreciate how lucky I was to grow up with such young parents, and relatively young Grandparents (all of mine are still alive. I’m 29.) On this vacation, my Grandpa Litchfield took me out on a rubber boat with a little outboard motor. We carried it to the shore of the Narragansett bay and spent the day on the water. We brought a cooler with soda and sandwiches that my Grandma made. I’m sure that on that day he told me that the two greatest days in the life of boat ownership are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. (In addition to the rubber thing, he owned a real boat) He probably told me that hard work pays off. He probably told me to keep a positive mental attitude. He probably told me as the clouds quickly drifted overhead that if I did’t like the weather in New England, I should just stick around a bit longer.

I love my Grandparents. I love my Grandma Audrey. I call the Grandparents on my mother’s side “Mom” and “Pop.” I call Mom and Pop’s daughters by their first names- Mari,  Megan, and Shanna. Growing up, I saw them more frequently than the opposite-coast aunts and uncles from my Dad’s side. During my New England visit, My Grandma was quick to inform me that my father’s siblings were my uncle Bobby, and my auntie Robin. My uncle Chris and my auntie Sarah.

On that vacation to Rhode Island, Allison and I were alone in the house for a brief time while Grandma and Grandpa were out. As we watched Grandma’s car pull up the driveway we decided it would be funny to scare her. Allison and I positioned ourselves behind furniture and shout-whispered commands to each other. Then one of us gravely suggested that maybe this wasn’t a good idea. Grandma was in fact our Grandma, and that meant she was old. What if we gave her a heart attack? We abruptly abandoned the plans.

As Grandma walked in, we heard her laughing at us. Heart attack. She’d heard us suggest that we might spark a cardiac arrest by startling her. The idea that her little grandchildren could give her a heart attack was absurd. She hadn’t been in the hospital in nearly thirty years- when her last child was born, and she wasn’t going to go back for almost another 20.

Merry Christmas, and get well Grandma.  Now here’s a band new Christmas song from my pal Jason Reyes.


Sort Of

Natalie Portman said “sort of” about three times in a one-minute span the other day.  I was listening as she talked about her new ballerina movie on NPR.  I thought perhaps she could use other words and phrases to describe her dancer film.

That’s what the dictionary says that Sort Of means somewhat or rather, though Natalie used in in a capacity that isn’t yet listed in the dictionary.

“Sort of” is now often used in casual conversation when someone is trying to describe something and maybe not confident in their ability to convey.

Example:  “Ballet sort of forces you to do things that your body sort of isn’t able to do?”

“Sort Of” statements like that begin sounding like one is in fact describing something, but then the person “sort of” loses confidence and throws in the towel with respect to describing anything. The “Sort Of” sentence basically ends sounding like a question- as if the describer is asking the asker if what’s being descibed is making any sense, whatsoever. Example:

“-that your body…sort of…isn’t able to do?”

Portman’s use of sort of stood out to me because I’d heard another Harvard grad who used sort of in casual conversation (Interesting note: I almost finished the sentence I’m in the middle of right now as follows: “…another Harvard grad who used “sort of” in casual conversation KIND OF often. Basically I’m a huge idiot) quite often.

So when I heard Natalie Portman say “sort of” 3 times in 1 minute, I thought of Becky Lou, the girl I met at a gay bar the first month I lived in Boston, who’d also graduated from Harvard- and get this, you’re not gonna believe this-Becky Lou had NAT PORTMAN for a lab partner. Where they perhaps developed a sort of constricted, elitist, I’m-real-smart-and-have-lots-of-positive-reinforcement-from-home-but-maybe-I’m-not-like-as-brilliant-as-I-think-I-am vernacular.

Which brings me to the sentence I thought of while cleaning the bathroom, (Yeah, I know it’s my week in the rotation, but um, ladies, maybe coulda cleaned up after you HAIR-CUT hmm? Conspicuous timing in the cleaning rotation for the HAIRCUT.) …So the sentence I thought of while squeezing the trigger of the tub cleasner along to the beat of TEMPTATION by New Order was this: “Hmmm, maybe shake up the vocab a little bit, HARRRR-VARRRRD?” The prior sentence made me step down off the fence and into the yard belonging to “Yeah, it’s worthy.”

Notes about this Post:

  1. In speech and writing I use empty words and idioms quite regularly. Examples: Maybe. Kind of. Quite. Very. Probably even “sort of” FAIRLY often.
  2. I recognize that Portman might have been nervous when she was talking to the NPR guy. And what’s with the high standard? She didn’t get a degree in English, so I could probably relax a bit with respect to this topic.
  3. I also recognize that Portman is hotter than sin and were I to encounter her in public I might say something like this:

“Hey, umm, Natalie Cole, I mean Portman geez ur hotter than sin Um hey I saw you in um The Professional which was like so cool wow ur like on the beautiful side of beautiful- I also saw you on that show- I think it was like a reality TV cooking sort of thing or was it like  a fashion model thing or wait, was it both?  Oh, no, it was Jessica Alba, oh yeah, they like made dresses for JessAlba and she wore the dress of the winning fashion contestant- oh and yeah, she looked so much hotter than Heidi Klum. I DON’T LIKE Heidi Klum she bugs me- anyway Jessica Alba was hotter than sin too geez OH YEAH DUH, you were on that cooking show, and you were (probably still are) vegan so they had to make you vegan food which was like challenging and whatnot – anyway um, I sort of… have a crush on you?- I hate my life I mean what’s the point?- Yeah so I love you let’s get married- but seriously what’s the point? I’m 29 and I slice meat for a living-

Reviews: Movies that I saw a long time ago and/or vaguely remember.

We Were Soldiers

After he enjoyed Lethal Weapon glory but before he suffered international admonition, Mel Gibson played a Vietnam Colonel. The movie begins with typical lightheartedness. A scene shows Greg Kinnear and other “wild animal” soldiers playing baseball with beer cans, I think.  I remember the point is to show that Greg, (best actor in this movie) is a free spirit. Perhaps he doesn’t belong in the army, doesn’t like rules and stuff.  I’m not positive that the players in this expository baseball game pitch and hit beer cans instead of baseballs, but the point is to show rowdiness, and fun. Lots of shirts off. Yelling and loud laughter.  A Credence song probably blaring, and Credence is good.

So still cheery, sunny, and safe at home in a USA army base, we watch as movers move books into Mel Gibson’s new house.  Two privates or otherwise low-ranking boyish soldiers note that the new Colonel must be smart cuz of the books. This shows that Mel isn’t your ordinary stupid army person I suppose.  I remember this movie sucking because Kerri Russell…you know what? that’s enough.  Chris Klein is in it.  He sucks. It sucks.

This Movie, I Only Caught The End

A LOOONG time ago, when I was maybe 14, I turned on the TV and caught the last five minutes of a movie that consisted of messages left on answering machines.  Shots would show the answering machines and the empty rooms they were housed in.  For instance, one setting would be of an answering machine on a nice wood desk in an office of a nice home.  The shot would show the desk and behind it, a sliding glass door with the curtain drawn, exposing beautiful Southern-Californian foliage. I can’t remember what was said in the messages but I remember them as bittersweet and nostalgic.  Perhaps a female’s voice mentioned characters and places I would have been familiar with had I watched the first two hours of the film.  Perhaps Cindy called and left a message that she was eating lunch at Highland Kitchen when she saw Luzy and Stevo.  And they looked so lovely!  Another answering machine might have been in a darker setting, like clearly a single and wealthy male-  A shadowy apartment with expensive but cold looking furniture.  A bit of sadness in the voicemail left on this machine.  Maybe it’s Dale, and it’s the third time he’s called.  Maybe he nervously laughs after he asks “We still friends Stevo?”  Maybe there’s an invitation for Stevo to go to lunch at Highland Kitchen.

If not cold, rich, and single Stevo’s apartment, most of the answering machine shots showed sunshine and greenery out the windows and sliding doors and whatnot.  It was very late-80’s/early-90’s and it was very LA.  Birds of Paradise and Ice Plant were definitely on display. Birds of Paradise existed before 1985 and after 1993, but I feel like they were very much in their prime in the late-80’s/early-90’s.  I think the Brat Pack should consist of Emilio Estavez, Rob Lowe, Everyone that was ever in a John Hughes movie, and a Bird of Paradise plant. This movie, the name of which I’m unaware of, is probably better than We Were Soldiers.