My Thoughts on "The One I Love"

one-i-love2 "The One I Love" is an independent film that only has three actors but contains five characters. Intrigued or confused? That's exactly how this psychological thriller will make you feel. Directed by Charlie McDowell and starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss, this film will have your brain trying to piece the puzzle together and thinking "WTF is going on?"

The film starts off with Ethan and Sophie at their marriage therapy session. Their lost connection in their relationship is evident and their disagreements continue to move toward the opposite ends of the spectrum as the therapy session goes on. The therapist advises them to go on a weekend getaway trip to this large secluded estate in Ojai. The couple agrees and that's where most of the story takes place. This seems like a regular romantic drama? WRONG. This is when sh*t gets real.

If you're looking for something cerebral and out-of-this-world to watch on Netflix, I recommend this film.

SPOILER ALERT

On the first night there, Ethan and Sophie relaxes by smoking weed. Sophie decides to check out the guest house and while there, Ethan appears without wearing his usual glasses. He seduces Sophie and eventually they make love.

Ethan suggests that they sleep in the guest house so Sophie goes back to the main house to grab her clothes. On her way to the bedroom she sees Ethan suddenly on the couch fast asleep. Sophie thinks it's a joke at first but Ethan is genuinely confused. He denies having sex with Sophie and claims that he has been on the couch the whole time. Sophie doesn't believe him and blames Ethan for ruining their night.

The next morning, Ethan wakes up to the aroma of bacon and eggs. Sophie is seen cooking for him and acting like a docile housewife. Sophie usully hates it when Ethan eats bacon so Ethan is utterly confused. He goes upstairs and finds Sophie coming out from the bathroom. Whoa. The film just got freaky. Ethan drags Sophie back to the kitchen but the bacon and eggs are gone. The aroma of the bacon disappears as if it never existed. How is that possible? Everyone knows that the smell of bacon lingers on. Who the hell was that woman in the kitchen?

We gradually realize that Ethan and Sophie are meeting each other's doppelganger when they walk into the guest house on their own. The doppelgangers are idealized versions of the spouses. It turns out the doppelgangers aren't able to leave the house and they are trapped on the estate. The question of what/who the hell are the doppelgangers comes to mind. Are they robots? Spirits? Hallucinations?

The doppelgangers are revealed to be the previous couple who the therapist sent to the retreat. The couple somehow had their identities removed and were replaced with Ethan's and Sophie's identities. The film doesn't go into detail about this and doesn't explain who the therapist really is, which sucks because that's what I was wondering the whole time. It seemed like they were in Twilight Zone.

In the beginning, I thought that the doppelgangers were suppose to help rekindle the lost romance between Ethan and Sophie but the plot uncover that they have their own agenda. Their purpose is to force Ethan and Sophie to fall out of love so they can escape and Ethan and Sophie will be trapped until the next troubling couple comes to the estate. The cycle will start all over again.

Sophie spends more time with Fake-Ethan and eventually falls in love with him. Fake-Ethan in return falls in love with Sophie. This encourages Fake-Sophie to conspire against him and help Ethan get Sophie back. Fake-Sophie distracts Fake-Ethan so Ethan can convince Sophie that what's going on is crazy and the doppelgangers are trying to kill their marriage! However, Fake-Ethan barges in and tells Sophie to run away with him. Sophie freezes up so Fake-Ethan runs off by himself and tries to escape until this weird invisible force stuns him. WTF. 

The two Sophies run over and one of the Sophies looks down at Fake-Ethan. The other smiles at Ethan so he picks the smiling Sophie to escape. The ending is ambiguous. The director leaves it up to us to decide if it's the real Sophie or the fake Sophie that runs off with Ethan. I believe he took Fake-Sophie because back at their home, "Sophie" offers to cook him bacon and eggs. Now, only Fake-Sophie would do that for Ethan. Another reason why it's Fake-Sophie is becuase of how her makeup is done. There is a subtle difference between the makeup of the two Sophies. You can tell that Fake-Sophie wears more makeup and her face is brighter.

Some people can disagree by debating that maybe Sophie decided to change for Ethan because she loves him. I doubt that, especially the split-second look of horror on Ethan's face when Fake-Sophie offered to cook him bacon and eggs. Just from his expression, even Ethan doesn't think that Sophie would change herself for him because she doesn't love him anymore! Sophie even said it herself of how she plans to stay at the estate. We don't know if Fake-Sophie loves Ethan but she took the chance to escape her twisted destiny.

The acting is superb. I love the on-screen chemistry between Moss and Duplass. They were able to portray the differences between the real and fake couple really well. I can't believe Sophie chose Fake-Ethan. She got sucked into her fantasy of the "perfect Ethan" and Ethan settled for an appealing version of Sophie. It is tragic that their marriage is left in ruins.

Beware of doppelgangers!

 

I Bartended for 40 Hours in 3 Days

GovBall NYC Sometimes money makes me do crazy things -- especially when I'm trying to save up for a nice camera. However, any sane person would never in his/her right mind take up on a bartending gig that makes you work for 14 hours for 3 days straight. The trade-off was to go to Governors Ball. It sounded like a good deal at the time: Get paid while listening to free live music. *Cue music* This is when I put on my shades and strut down thinking I'm so cool.

Anyway, I found out about this gig through my bartending school. They posted it on Facebook and it said, "Are you ready to have some fun and make some bank?!!!" Hell yea, I was ready to make some bank! I immediately emailed the staffing agency with "ABC Bartending School" in the subject line because the grads from there get first priority. See -- there are perks of going to a bartending school!

I got an email from FSH staffing agency a week later about the gig. I went in for an interview two days later. It was more like an orientation. The worker from the agency said that the hours were from 9:30am to 12:00am from June 5th to June 7th. I thought I misheard, but I heard someone gasp. I guess I heard right. Gosh, those were crazy hours. The interview was one on one and it was super quick. The woman skimmed through my resume, took a picture of my bartending certificate and hired me on the spot. She said that I'd be the bartender for "VIP 2." Nice. I liked the sound of VIP. I couldn't help but imagine this: Make It Rain. Hehe. I texted my boyfriend and friends the news. They were excited for me which made me more hyped!

On Friday, June 5th, I woke up at 6:00am so I could get to Randall's Island before 9:30am. I like to get to work early -- especially on my first day. I'm glad I got there early because it took a long time to find out where the VIP 2 tent was at. The woman in charge from the staffing agency gave the other bartenders and I the wrong directions to our tent. We ended up getting lost so we asked the people in charge of the event where the VIP 2 tent was, but they gave us the wrong directions too! It turned out that they thought that VIP 2 meant something else. I swear we were walking around in circles for at least an hour trying to pinpoint the exact location of the infamous VIP 2 tent.

When we finally found VIP 2, we saw that the other bartenders and barbacks were already there setting up. That was fast. It turned out that they had trouble finding the tent too. We introduced ourselves and got right to work. I looked around my team whom I would be working with for the next 3 days. They seemed cool and nice. They were older than me and seemed more experienced. There were two sections at the bar. One section was for the beer & liquor and the other section was for the specialty cocktails, which I decided to work at. Two bartenders joined my section. One of them is a film student at NYU. We clicked instantly since I'm also a filmmaker.

I enjoyed mixing the cocktails and making it look pretty with fruity garnishes and sweet/salty rims. The customers appreciated the effort so they tipped more. There were two different types of pours at Governors Ball. The one shot pour was called a "Governors Pour" and the double shot pout was called a "President Pour." The "President Pour" was the more popular choice. It was obvious that people wanted to get faded on all three days. We made amazing sales and tips. It was so good that a notification from the Breadcrumb software on the iPad said, "Good job!" Whoaaa. That's kind of cool. What a nice surprise! I was so proud of us.

I had a pretty good team. We devised a conducive strategy on how to serve the customers as fast as possible. There were three of us and one iPad so one of the bartenders was also the cashier. She would repeat the order to the other bartender and the other bartender would make the drink. I would be in charge of serving the customers on the second line and then direct them to the cashier to pay. Our strategy worked well. We were efficient and fast. Teamwork was important because there was always a crowd of thirsty VIPs. These "rush" periods would last for hours. It was tiring but I loved it. I felt a wave of accomplishment once the rush was over.

The best is always saved for last! Before the night was over, we cleaned up quickly so we could go watch some of the performances. On the first day, I was able to watch DRAKE and on the second day I saw DEADMAU5. Oh my goodness. It was so awesome!!! Drake sounded amazing, live. Deadmau5 had a big illuminating light show that disrupted the power on the island! The power flickered on and of at the bar. I thought it was part of the show. It was a night to remember, that's for sure.

A word of advice: Check the weather in advance. If it's going to rain, wear rainboots or inexpensive shoes because they will get muddy. I ended up treading around in my muddy Converses.

Since the hours were long, I felt like I'd been working there for a week and it seemed like Randall's Island was my new habitat. It was weird. I felt like I've known my co-workers for a week and I haven't seen my boyfriend for a week. Every night on my way to leave Randall's Island, I would see the banner that said, "It was all a dream." I laughed everytime I saw that. Those words made my time there seem surreal. I could've been dreaming.

At the end of each night, my co-worker and I walked across the RFK Triborough bridge to get to 125th street in Harlem because the buses would rarely come at that time. Therefore, a lot of people from the festival had to walk across the bridge to get to the subway. There would be a seemingly endless line of drunk and half-sober people walking across the bridge. It looked like a protest. I thought it was hilarious. It was the "march for music," -- the march of a lifetime.

Bartending at Governors Ball was a fun and rewarding experience that I'll never forget. Actually, there will be another music festival this weekend. It's called the Farmborough Music Festival and it's also held at Randall's Island. It's all about country music (hence the name). Yeehaw! Sadly, country music isn't my cup of tea, but that's alright because I know I will have fun regardless. I will keep you updated!

Peace out for now,

missnyowl xx

My First Bartending Job

"Fake it until you make it." That was something my co-workers and I went by at my first bartending job. I pretended I was an experienced bartender while my co-workers pretended they knew how to make cocktails. As long as the customers were happy, we were okay. That state of mind can only lasts so long. My first bartending job was at this Korean restaurant/bar in Flushing, Queens. The Craigslist ad said they were specifically looking for Chinese workers. I am a Taiwanese-Chinese American. I seemed like a good fit for the job, ethnically. When I went to the interview, I mentioned to the boss that I was a certified bartender and I knew how to make cocktails. I showed him my certificate and he seemed impressed. Thank you ABC Bartending school! He hired me on the spot and told me to come in for training the next day.

On my first day of training, I was told that I had to chat up the customers. Being shy and nervous at the time, I forced myself to appear talkative and gregarious to the weird and normal customers. I tried to put myself out there for the sake of the tips! One of the customers offered to buy me a drink but I politely rejected it because I prefer to be sober. Work usually end at 4am but the manager let me leave at 12am that day.

I got really excited to actually make the cocktails I learned from bartending school. I would persuade the customers to order certain cocktails so I could practice. It was either a hit or miss. Since most of the customers were men, they didn't prefer the fruity cocktails I made some did. They gave me good suggestions on how to improve my drinks for different kinds of patrons. Thank you to the customers who enthusiastically tried my cocktails! I was the only young bartender there who knew how to make cocktails. My knowledge of cocktails gave me an advantage at work but sometimes when there are women – there is competition.

One night Kay,* the bar manager told the customer in Korean that I didn't have any experience in making cocktails. Kay said, "I can make better drinks because I have experience at work. People who learned from school doesn't have experience so they don't know much." Ouch. She flamed me, alright. The customer got excited. Who doesn't want to see a competition between girls? "Let us see who can make the better Long Island Iced Tea," he said. I smirked. "Okay!" I smiled at Kay and let her make her drink first. She mixed Jack Daniels, sour mix and coke together. The customer tasted it and liked it. I wasn't surprised that he liked it. He was basically just drinking Jack and Coke.

It was my turn. "Watch and learn," I muttered. I poured vodka, rum, gin, tequila, triple sec, and sour mix into the shaker. I did a little dance while I shook the shaker and topped it off with coke. Voila! A Long Island Iced Tea. The customer tried it and said, "Oh, this one has more flavor. I really like it! The other one just tastes like Jack and Coke." The winner was... Moi, of course. I looked at Kay and flipped my hair. Kidding. I shrugged my shoulders and said nothing. I wasn't going to rub it in her face because it would cause tension. I kept quiet and told the customers that we just have different styles of making drinks.

The talk of the Long Island Iced Tea seemed to be popular at that restaurant. It was so popular that my co-worker, June* (early 40s) told the customers the most craziest thing I have ever heard. She used to bartend at TGIF and said that, "TGIF created the Long Island Iced Tea." Any sane human being would think that what she said was a bunch of baloney. The customer shook his head as she walked away. "You know that's not true," I told the customer. "Oh yea, I know," he chuckled. I was hoping for some co-workers who I could learn from but instead I was working with – for the lack of better words – "unexpected personalities."

I learned how to deal with my co-workers nonetheless. "Play nice and they will do the same." The boss was weird though. He reminded me of Santa Claus but without the white beard and white skin. He wore glasses that framed his dark beady eyes. The boss would drive me home since I didn't live far from the restaurant. He was funny at times but made inappropriate comments that sent shivers down my spine.

He allowed the bartenders to drink with the customers. My co-worker, Paige* constantly took shots with the customers. She seemed innocent and shy but once the alcohol hits her bloodstream, she would turn wild. She looks petite but acts like a fierce lion. Paige and I became good friends at work. She had good tolerance and controlled how much she drank. She said, "it helps time go faster and it keeps the customers happy." Later on, I learned that those words were sadly true.

As an employee and co-worker there, I learned to just smile and take whatever baloney was thrown at me. It wasn't the idea experience I had in mind but it did improve my bartending and people skills. I still laugh at the silly moments I shared with my fellow "bartenders." Oh yes, the "fake it until you make it" motto could only push one so far.  I knew I had A LOT more to learn and experience. This was just the beginning.

Names have been changed*

How I Started Out as a Bartender in NYC

How I Started Out as a bartender pic A year ago I didn't know that Johnnie Walker was Scotch. I had no idea about Hennessy or Jameson. Even worse – I didn't know how to use a cork screw. It seemed hopeless for me to be a bartender but I needed money since I was a broke art student and I heard that bartending could be a lucrative part-time job. I thought, "I'm young and bold (when the sun goes down) so WHY NOT be a bartender?! I also thought it was a cool gig to hold down – something to brag to my friends when we're drinking. "By the way, I can totally make a Cosmo for you."

It was the summer of 2014 and my spring semester had just ended. I was only 20 when I decided to enroll in ABC Bartending school on West 35th st. and 8th ave. Before my first class I went on YouTube to watch some videos about alcohol and how to make some cocktails so I wouldn't look clueless in class. The videos helped a bit but it didn't prepare me for the surprise I was in for.

When I walked in, there were about 8 people in the class. Half of them registered for the 1 week, 8 hours a day course where you can get certified within a week. I signed up for the 2 weeks, 4 hours a day course. It was about $395 for the 2 weeks. There was no way I was going to memorize a ton of cocktails in a week. Definitely not.

The first thing we learned was how to set up the bar. "That was easy," I thought. Then the instructor gave us this huge packet of cocktail recipes, information about beer, wine, different glasses, etc. Damn. I was overwhelmed. I looked at the guy next to me who flipped through the pages as if it was a flipbook. I swear his eyebrows shot up so quickly and stayed in the same position that I was able to count the frown lines on his forehead. It turned out that he was a banker but he hated his job so he quit. Go figure.

There were all different kinds of people in my class. The ages ranged from 18 to 70 years old. The 70-year-old grandpa was so nice. At the end of the 2 week course, he brought us a "Harvey Wallbanger" cake which was inspired by the "Harvey Wallbanger" drink. A "Harvey Wallbanger" is basically a Screwdriver with a float of Galliano, an Italian vanilla flavored liqueur. OH MY GOODNESS. As you can imagine, the cake was a slice of heaven.

A word of advice: You must memorize the new drinks you learn on the day of, or else you will fall behind in class the next day.

Everyday we learned how to make new cocktails and I realized that if I didn't memorize the cocktails on the day of, new cocktails would be added onto the list each day and soon the list would get bigger and bigger until it would get too stressful to memorize all the cocktails at the same time. That's exactly what the banker did. I saw him struggling in class and because he didn't memorize the recipes, he kept on flipping through his book which slowed him down.

For two weeks, I practiced on my speed and memorization. That is the foundation of good bartending. You have to be fast and memorize A LOT of stuff. In class we would practice making new cocktails everyday and then the instructor would time us. It was a lot of fun! They used food coloring for the different alcohol. Sometimes the color of the drink would be off but you get the point.

I felt SOOO proud and happy when I passed the test and got my bartending license. I was one step closer to being a bartender! For the people out there who say that you don't need to go to bartending school to be a bartender – they're right. You don't need a bartending license. However, I didn't mind taking the classes and it was a way for me to learn without getting yelled at by managers or customers. Haha. I also met new people who I still keep in contact as of today. Honestly, if you have the time and money, it doesn't hurt to go to bartending school.

A few weeks later I got my first job as a bartender at a small Korean restaurant in Queens. I thought it was ironic that the other bartenders there didn't know how to make cocktails, but the customers mostly ordered draft beer and shots so it didn't matter that much. It was the perfect place for me to experiment and make mistakes. Haha.

Find out in my next post on how I learned to deal with the customers, my co-workers and boss at my first bartending job.

Peace out for now,

missnyowl xx