We love death more than you love life

At the very least, they’re honest about that

Polished concrete floor

A few years back, had to replace a large section of floor and was given a number of options like ceramic tile, wood, etc.

One guy suggested stained polished concrete, which we chose because of its versatility.

The guy that installed it said that he worked with concrete because it’s one of the oldest, strongest, more durable construction materials out there.

We stained it a leather brown, polished it to high gloss, and sealed it with wax. Everyone that comes by always asks about it.

It cost me about half of what it would have cost to put in anything else because, while the labor costs were the same or more (for the specialized knowledge), the raw material is just so cheap.

60 pounds of concrete costs $3.00 here in Manhattan. Three dollars.

And everything’s more expensive in Manhattan.

Recently, I’ve had a number of heated discussions with well-meaning but staggeringly ill-informed people regarding the current Israel/Gaza strife and lately, I’ve just been asking one question:

Where are the bomb shelters in Gaza?

There are at least 30 tunnels – at a cost of $30 million and  at least 1,780 rockets (all fired). Where are the bomb shelters?

There answer is that there are none. There is nothing to protect the people of Gaza by the ersatz government of Gaza because that’s not how Hamas sees the role of government.

But no one says it better than Hamas themselves:

We are a people that love death for the sake of Allah as much as our enemies love life.

That is their slogan. Their motto. Their trademark.

And the trademark lawyer in me cynically thinks, “Well, at the very least, they’re honest about that.”

Location: the interstate
Mood: cynical
Music: A spray of stars hit the screen As the 10th impact shimmered
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Stuff around the hood

There’s a lot going on this summer in the UWS

Filming TV Show Gotham in UWS

It appears that I may have injured myself a lot more than I thought. A week after I first got hurt, my injury hasn’t gotten better. So I – reluctantly – called up the doc today.

Receptionist: Have you been here before.
Me: Oh yeah. I know the doc as a betting man.

Punch Card for Parties

Prior to getting injured though, stopped by this gathering near my home of some friends where I had a really bad, cloyingly-sweet pina colada.

Her: How is it?
Me: Terrible. Do you want to try some?

The fun thing about this group of friends is that they’re incredibly organized with their gatherings, complete with save-the-date announcements, back-up plans, directions, AND a punch card.

I’ve only been invited once. I may not be invited again.

Me: …and that’s what I think about that.
Him: (silence)
Me: I like to meet new people by discussing religion and politics.
Him: You should add calculus to that.
Me: I’ll consider it.

Japanese Food at TenZan

It’s been too hot to cook so the wife and I went over to the local sushi joint. There are two other shows being shot around us right now in addition to Gotham so we’re constantly trying to get past crowds of people. A picture I took made it into the local blog, West Side Rag.

Filming TV Show Gotham in NYC

And then we worked our way home.

Her: I can’t get full.
Me: I can’t either. Let me see what’s in the fridge.

Location: home again, with an ice pack again
Mood: old again
Music: see what these old broken things What these old wings can do
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Conversations with the wife and politics

Putin knew what he was working with

New York Historical Society - Old Police Equipment

Felt rough all week; my leg was swollen like a sausage and I was under the weather. So I stayed home one day, put on my most comfortable, ratty tee-shirt and what can only be described as capris for men.

I’m not (terribly) proud.

The wife saw me puttering around and pulled me close, nuzzled me, and gave me a kiss. She then pulled away and looked me deeply in my eyes.

“You look like a homeless person,” she said.

———-
On a more somber note, the news is full of what’s going on in Israel and Ukraine. On the former, it’s a complex subject and one I’m not qualified to address, although I have my own particular views on the matter.

On the latter, however, I read with interest how Putin is publicly shocked at what’s gone on despite being actively involved in the unrest in Ukraine since the first day. Which immediately recalled to mind a story I once told you years ago.

Putin’s been working with murderous thugs for years and he’s suddenly surprised when they start acting like murderous thugs.

He knew what he was working with when he started.

Location: home, with an ice pack
Mood: old
Music: Tell my wife I love her very much (she knows!)
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They’re always filming something here

They’re shooting Gotham in my neighborhood

Gotham Television Show Shooting in NYC

Since we’re on the topic of talking about the city and real life, there’s always a movie or television shoot going on somewhere.

It does get to be a bit annoying to have a million people milling about and blocking traffic for essentially entertainment purposes when you actually have some place to be.

The other night, an entire block near my house was lit up bright as day in the middle of the night for a scene from Gotham and I had to walk all the way around the other side to just cross the street.

That picture above was taken at maybe midnight but a crane with the brightest light I’d ever seen lit up the whole block.

P1070846

And outside my window this morning there were three scouts laying out shots for something else for what seemed like hour. I finally had to ask them to leave, which they were nice enough to do.

But still I have to admit that I’m always jazzed when I see someplace I recognize on the big or little screen.

Suppose it’s just like everything else in life, you want the results of things without having to put in the effort to have them done.

Me: Fellas, my desk is right there, do you mind keeping it down?
Him: Oh, sorry, sorry, we were working on a shoot.
Me: (laughing) I guessed that part.

Location: Queens, shortly
Mood: busy
Music: Hypocrites. You’re all here for the very same reason.
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Stephen Colbert and the good ole days

Depth of character goes deeper than an accent

Graffiti covered wall NYC 2013

Stephen Colbert was born in Tennessee had a southern accent growing up. He realized that having it was a detriment to how he wanted to be seen in life and worked to get rid of it.

I realized something similar when I went to college in 1990 and met non-New Yorkers.

That year, New York City was the murder capital of the United State. Here are the murder and assault rates when I was a teenager.

And the little slice of the world I called home had one of the sharpest increases in murder and violence in 1988, two years before the height. It wasn’t Bed-Stuy, but it sure as heck wasn’t Stamford, Connecticut.

As I’ve said a number of times before, it’s always someone invariably not from NYC that pines for the good ole days of “gritty” New York. I figure they imagine it from reruns of The Cosby Show or Fame.

Waiting room in doctor's office

Lately, though, I’ve been having strangers tell me that I must have lived an easy life growing up. And my roll my eyes as they try to impress me with the the time they were once mugged outside a suburban mall.

I grew up carrying two wallets, just so I could still have some scratch to get home when I did get mugged. Still do when I travel.

Everyone is so quick to judge others based on how they speak or appear, which reminds me of that quote: We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

Anyway, Stephen Colbert lost most of his family in an airline crash when he was 10, which is more horrific than anything I could ever imagine – or ever want to.

But you’d never know it from how he is or how he speaks because he controls how people see him so well.

Most people assume that, because the depth of their character only goes as far as their accent, the same must be true of everyone else. I don’t talk like the poor son of a fish monger so I must not have been one.

Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Him: It’s one thing to grow up in a rough area, it’s another thing to stay there.
Me: Why would we stay there if we didn’t have to? No one who was born poor wants to stay poor. It’s not like you see on TV.

Location: start of a new summer workweek
Mood: amused
Music: Wait for the day when I can save face and come to a happy home.
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Log Cabin Waiting Room

Waiting in rooms

Waiting room in doctor's office

Nurse: Take off your shirt and the doctor will be with you shortly.
Me: Ok.
Female Doctor: (enters the room later) Mr. Lo?
Me: Yup. I like to be shirtless when I meet people for the first time in office settings.
Her: And I like to make first meetings as awkward as possible.
Me: So, we both got what we wanted.

Had to visit another doc yesterday, nothing serious like last time – I hope.

The weird thing about this office was the decor. It was styled like a log cabin in the middle of Manhattan.

Just realized now that my doctor is a hipster.

Afterward, walked back as slowly as possible because of the heat.

As a whole, summer is a slower time for me; judges are away, clients are away, etc.

This summer’s very different. Not that I’m really complaining since the eat-what-you-kill lifestyle means you stay busy when you can.

It’s better to be busy than to be waiting around for work, I suppose. Off to another meeting.

Him: Great news, we’re finally ready to move on …
Me: (interrupting) Sorry, I’m completely booked up.

Location: in front of my desk, editing
Mood: heated
Music: Kiss them for me, I may find myself delayed
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Ironing things out

A quiet 4th of July Weekend

Burger at Arte Cafe in NYC
After work on Friday, met up with my friend Johnny. He just bought a bunch of hotels in San Francisco and NYC. We roll in very different circles these days.

But he’s reaching an age where he’s wondering if it was all worth it. He’s always traveling the world, far from family and friends.

Him: I think I’m gonna retire in the next five years, when I turn 50. Maybe do volunteer work in Africa. Be by myself and figure a few things out
Me: You’d probably learn more about yourself by being around friends and family. Your friends mirror what’s important to you. After all, iron sharpens iron.

All this talk of family reminded me that I should see my own so I headed out on Saturday to see my pop as my mom was traveling.

And then on Sunday, the wife and I went to Central Park with her sister to go to a picnic with my wrasslin coach. Unfortunately, spotty reception and mixed messages thwarted us.

Her: Didn’t you figure all this out before we left the house?
Me: (…) No? (thinking) What am I gonna do with all this cole slaw?

So we just grabbed lunch around the way. Got my usual burger, which is all I really ask for over the 4th.

Afterward, headed home to get some work done.

It was a quiet holiday weekend for us, just how we wanted it.

Location: Midtown, shortly
Mood: relaxed
Music: Many days fell away with nothing to show
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Playing Hooky

A cancelled appointment means ducking into a theatre

Under Manhattan Bridge

Was downtown the other day on a nice spring day. Ended up walking under the Manhattan Bridge.

It was pretty deserted where I was so I had some time to my thoughts.

Ended up walking past a model shoot and thought that they must be burning up as the midday sun hit high noon.

66th Street AMC Theatre

A client cancelled a meeting on me the other day so I was trying to figure out what I should put in its place: Another meeting? Catch up on some reading? Organize some files?

But then I thought, I’d not seen a movie as a matinee in ages so I decided to play hooky and catch a flick. Hoofed it over a local theatre and caught X-Men: Days of Future Past.

It was glorious.

AMC Theatre

There were only three other people in the entire theatre, the air conditioning was no joke, and the film was pretty good.

As I thought when I was downtown, there’s something luxurious about solitude in the big city. It’s hard finding room to be left alone.

Afterward, went home feeling like a billionaire. That is, until I got the chime that told me to get back to work.

Him: Where were you?
Me: Important meeting. Couldn’t wait. So, I reviewed your papers…

AMC Theatre

Location: Midtown, shortly
Mood: relaxed
Music: Finding new ways to be awed each minute
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A bit of taco from TacoBite

Hanging out in the hood

TacoBite food truck in NYC

The thing about returning from a vacation is that, within a few days, the effects of it are pretty much gone. I’m already back in the thick of work.

We’ve since returned to our healthful eating after our cruise. Not that she ever stopped.

Healthful Meal

Me: Do you think you have enough liquids there?

Still, the weather’s been really nice here in NYC, especially the past few days so we took a walk in the neighborhood to pick up a rug, which we lugged home.

Afterward, the lunch truck TacoBite was in the area so I got a burrito and she got two tacos. Pretty amazing stuff. Wish I had some right now.

Everyone thinks of Times Square or some place downtown as quintessentially Manhattan. For me, my little slice of the Big City is about as close to a small town as one can get in the heart of Manhattan.

Her: It’s nice to be on vacation, but it’s also good to be home.
Me: Yes. Although I miss having someone else find us stuff to eat.

Tacos from TacoBite.com

Location: soon to be in Chinatown
Mood: pensive
Music: I was just a skinny lad, never knew no good from bad
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Travelogue: A Walk in Bermuda

Pictures from a Bermudan Walk

Old man fishing in Bermuda

Her: Let’s take a walk along the abandoned Railroad Trail.
Me: OK.

We decided that, for some exercise and local flavor, we would walk to some railroad tracks to explore the town.

In hindsight, this was not a good idea considering there was zero cloud cover that day. Also, Bermuda – as a country – does not seem to believe in sidewalks.

Started off well, as we walked along Freeport Drive where we saw all these drawings of ship insignias.

I Googled for more info, but couldn’t find anything additional. Here’s the wife with Italian and Irish insignias.

Pointing at the Italian and Irish

After almost falling off a four-foot tall wall onto the roadway , made our way to the Royal Navy Cemetery.

Royal Navy Cemetery in Bermuda

Past some quiet and deserted spots.

Bermuda waters and park

Her: Look at that sign!
Me: That’ll be us soon.
Her: Speak for yourself.

Sign outside the Lefroy Retirement Home in Bermuda

Me: I’m beat, let’s stop for a bit.

Stone table and bench in Bermuda

We saw a fisherman sitting high on a bridge doing his thing.

Fisherman crouching alone on a bridge, fishing.

Was getting really burned so we stopped by a local clothing shop and picked up a hat for me.

Start of the Bermuda Railway Trail

After what seemed like hours, we finally reached the trail but by then we were beat so were only on it for a half-mile or so before we looked for a bus to head back.

We caught it right as the school children were getting out of class so it was packed.
Map of our walk in Bermuda

A quick 30 minutes later, we were back in our air conditioned room.

Me: Man, I’m brown, bald, and burnt.
Her: But you’re my brown, bald, and burnt guy.

Location: the middle of Manhattan
Mood: busy again
Music: for you. Baby, I’m not moving on
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The musings of an insomnia-plagued writer in the city that never sleeps.

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