You get to decide

World Class

For the handful of readers that’ve been reading me since the beginning, I started this blog because I was dating this fairly well-known reporter and we broke up.

I thought I loved her, the way 20-somethings think love is like.

We had moments when I thought we might get back together but it wasn’t really what either of us really wanted. It wasn’t really her fault, I wasn’t a great boyfriend to her.

The ex, back when I was young and had a lotta hair.

I wanted Alison and I spent the next two years looking for her. When I met her, I was a lot nicer to her than the reporter because she was what I actually wanted.

Alison was everything I ever really wanted, actually. But that’s neither here nor there.

I mentioned to a friend that Jeff Bezos went to Princeton to study theoretical physics. The problem was that he was good at it.

Just like I was a good boyfriend to the reporter. I just wasn’t a great boyfriend to her. And Jeff Bezos wasn’t a great theoretical physicist.

The day Jeff Bezos realized that he was only ever going to be a good theoretical physicist was the day he started to become something great.

Asked another friend if he recognized anyone from the that picture you see above.

Him: Not really.
Me: Look at the fella in the middle. In the red sequins. That’s Dr. Dre.
Him: Holy shit!

Dr. Dre was part of a boy band called World Class Wreckin’ Cru (along with DJ Yella) and they sang funk. But WCWC was only ever going to ok – good-enough.

And Dre wanted to be great. He’s almost a billionaire right now. Even if you didn’t like NWA, or The Chronic, you probably like Beats headphones.

I told two people today that their setbacks might be setting them up for what they were really meant to be. Who they were really meant to be.

After all, you can’t shoot an arrow unless you draw it back first.

Alison’s favourite author was F. Scott Fitzgerald who once said: There are no second acts in American lives.

I always loved Alison and always hated Fitzgerald. Onea the reasons is that quote, which is fulla shit.

Him: I’ve been thinking a lot about who I used to be and I don’t want to be that guy anyone. I don’t think I can be.
Me: Good. This is your chance to be the person you know you can be. You get to decide what your life is like.

I only got to live the life I always wanted for five days.

But, I suppose that there are people out there that didn’t even get that.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Podcast Version
Location: early this morning, having some rum with my coffee
Mood: not well
Music: On silver stars I wish and wish and wish (Spotify)

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The Shot Queen

It all started with a war

Well over a decade ago, my cousin, Ras, just graduated college and was wondering what to do with herself.

I remember telling her that most people don’t think about lifestyle but, for me, that’s the most important thing: How do you want your life to be? Do you want to wake up early or late? Be in an office or work from home? Work a little seven days a week or do a hard five and have your weekends?

I just had that same conversation with Chad today, in fact, but that’s a story for another time.

My cousin, however, took my advice and took on a profession related to mine, which meant a ton of tests over the years. She just took the latest one just a few days ago.

Since she’d helped me with a project recently, I told her to hit Mouse and me up when she finished.

Ras: That was sooooo stressful! Meet you at your place?
Me: Come on up!

Can’t speak for the rest of Manhattan but my hood’s definitely waking up from COVID; the three of us waited around for over half-an-hour to get some food around the way.

Did I ever tell you that it was Ras that introduced Mouse and me? That’s neither here nor there but I figured I should mention it.

I suspect that she had no idea that we’d ever get together. Then again, Mouse and I had no idea either.

In any case, we finally got seated, served, and started shoveling food into our pie holes.

And drink.

Me: There’s something about day drinking that I love.
Mouse: Who doesn’t love day drinking?
Ras: I can’t finish my food, do one of you…
Me: (takes food starts eating)
Ras: I guess you want it, Logan.

Afterward, we went to a Japanese restaurant where I bought them all three rounds of drinks and some oysters.

We  had the whole joint to ourselves.

And I told them some stories.

Me: You know, Uncle Jay told me stories about our family. Did you know for hundreds of years, no Lo was allowed to marry anyone with the last name Wei?
Ras: Really? Why?
Me: OK, it all started with a war and we chose the wrong side…

The bartender was impressed enough by how much we were pounding that he bought us a round of shots.

Me: It doesn’t feel right if there isn’t a round of shots when Ras is around.
Ras: Well, I am the Shot Queen.

Actually, I dunno if the bartender realized that it was the second time he bought me a round of drinks.

After that, we were all two sheets to the wind. Yet, Ras somehow made it home across the river and then met up with more of her friends that night for dinner.

Mouse: I don’t know how that girl does it. I’ve gotta take a nap.
Me: These are good life choices we’re making.
Her: Shhhh. Sleep.

Podcast Version
Location: early this morning, injuring my back in LIC
Mood: injured
Music: You put your hand on top of my hand (Spotify)

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The unexamined life

Building walls

Back when I was still focused on Alison, there was a young man named Rich who was just enamored with Trump.

Him: He wants to build a wall, protect the workers here.
Me: But most people don’t come into the US in a way where a wall would work.

It turns out that, the wall had been conceived by two consultants “to get Trump to remember to talk about immigration.”

Put another way, it wasn’t meant to ever be a literal thing, it was just meant as a shorthand to keep someone as jawdroppingly stupid as Trump on the right page to have something to talk about with immigration.

But he took it and ran with it.

Even though it didn’t make any sense. Even thought it didn’t do what it was ostensibly meant to do – keep out immigrants – it did what it was really meant to do, which was keep Trump talking about immigration.

You’ll note that he never mentions it or the wall anymore. But I digress.

I got into a FB tiff with a friend because I told her that rent regulation didn’t work. Because it doesn’t.

Do you know why rent regulation was invented? It was invented to stop an emergency: To keep WWII veterans from coming back and getting price gouged.

That was the emergency.

Do you know of any other 75-year-old emergencies? Kinda really stretches the concept of an “emergency,” yeah?

Rent regulation goes against basic economic principles: If you take away 45% of the supply – NYC is roughly 45% rent-regulated – then the remaining 55% becomes astronomically high. It makes it so that the people lucky enough to get it, get cheap rent, while everyone else subsidizes them.

After all, non-market income doesn’t change the fact that everything else – utilities, taxes, mortgages – is a market expense.

Study after study shows that rent regulation doesn’t work.

Just like study after study shows the wall won’t work.

I mentioned this and she wrote back, “So, you just want to fuck the poor, Logan?”

Rich, when I told him the wall won’t work said, “So, you just want to steal jobs from Americans to give to criminals?”

I said once that I live by some basic rules: Is it true? seems like such a stupid one.

And yet, it’s the one that people mess up the most, I think.

My female friend wants to believe that rent regulation works and if I don’t believe that, I must want to “fuck the poor.”

Rich wants to believe that the wall works, and if I don’t believe that, I must want “to steal jobs from Americans to give to criminals.”

Funny thing is that they both defriended me.

That’s what happens if you don’t ask yourself that simple basic question: Is it true?

The less you ask that question, the more you find things that are actually true, repulsive.

The truth becomes grotesque.

When you live an unexamined life, you start becoming part of the world’s problems.

You build walls, to protect the comforting untrue things from the repulsive true things. And people just become another ugly thing you don’t want to see.

Eh, I don’t blame them.

I find myself grotesque and I’d defriend me too if I had the chance.

Podcast Version
Location: still in this fucking house
Mood: homesick
Music: I was just guessing at numbers and figures (Spotify)

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All the Wrong Ghosts

Keys

Johnny called me the other day. I didn’t pick up.

I called the Devil the other day. He didn’t pick up.

All the wrong ghosts haunt me.

Movie: “You have 212 more supplicants to see you.”
Me: (to wife) That’s why we have judges – they act on the king’s behalf because the king couldn’t possib…
Alison: I have to write down everything you tell me while watching movies and television and call it, Stuff my husband tells me during movies and television.

Did you ever wonder why “movie trailers,” are called that, even though they come before the movie?

Or why the Three Musketeers candy bar is called that, when it’s one single bar?

The former is because the trailer used to trail the main film but no one stuck around to watch them, so they switched it.

The latter’s because it used to be three different candy bars – chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry – until just after WWII when it cost too much to make all three flavours.

The thing is that these things just stick around, long after they make any sense to anyone.

In this post, I wrote about putting up a key holder for Alison and me. I never put up a picture of it because I was worried about someone being able to duplicate our keys from the picture so I never did.

But, after the gate incident with Pac, I replaced my locks, so it’s a moot point.

I took that picture up above with Alison on June 6, 2014 and told her that her spot would always be the first hook.

She hung up her keys at the end of October, 2015 and never took them down again. They’re still there now. If you ever come over, those are her keys.

I never touch them.

I always tell myself that this is the year I’ll take them down but I can’t bring myself to do it. Which makes no sense, I know.

But, neither do trailers or single chocolate bars called Three Musketeers.

It’ll be November soon. I’ll be drinking again then.

Who am I kidding? I’ve already started. Because.

Podcast Version
Location: this fucking house
Mood: not good
Music: Tell me you love me, come back and haunt me (Spotify)

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A Kettle of Hawks

Predators versus Prey

The last time I went to see the boy, there were these huge birds of prey in the back yard picking at the carcass of a deer.

Mother-in-law: City boy, you should go out and take a look.

So, off I went with my son.

I told the boy to be quiet so as not to scare off the kettle of hawks that were all around it. He obliged, in a manner of speaking – he was silent but also ran about like a madman so the birds flew off to nearby branches.

Presently, I brought the boy back in and went in for a closer look. I managed to see a bit more but they flew off nonetheless. It smelled like death.

When I went back in, my sister-in-law asked me if I saw anything.

Me: Not really, I think I scared them off.
Her: I wonder if they thought you were were hunting them.
Me: Probably, I have the eyes of a predator.
Her: What does that mean?
Me: All humans do. Our eyes are in front of us, so we can pinpoint things and hunt them down. Prey – deer, rabbits, etc – they have their eyes on the side of the heads so they can see animals like us coming.

Part of the reason I never mentioned the knife stuff – beyond calling it “fencing,” all this time, which isn’t strictly incorrect – was because most people are far removed from what we actually are: Animals.

Clothed animals, but animals nonetheless.

We’re predators. We’re meant to stalk and hunt things. That’s what we were created for. It’s neither a good nor a bad thing, it’s merely a thing.

Just like where our eyes are. We don’t think about it much – you probably never have – it’s just where they are.

Me: Guard up, boy.
Son: Do I have to?
Me: Yes.
Him: Why?
Me: Because this is what we do. Guard up.

And yet, I wonder what would happen if we had to be predators again? Some of us would do fine, I think. Most of us would struggle.

Although, truth be told, I honestly don’t know know how I would do if I had to fend completely for myself, for myriad reasons.

Me: Ouch!
Mouse: You stubbed your toe again?!
Me: (nodding in pain)
Her: Man, when you’re a klutz, you get hurt. When I’m a klutz, you get hurt…
Me: Still…can’t…talk…

Speaking of knife stuff, here’s the latest episode of Scenic Fights, Fight Scene Breakdown – the duel scene from The Man from Nowhere.

Podcast Version
Location: staying away from my damnable coffee table that’s trying to kill me
Mood: only ok
Music: just send me that ambulance (Spotify)

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Conversations with Mouse

Zima, Cool Ranch Doritos, and Tommy Lee Jones

Mouse tried to rip my lower leg off this past weekend. She almost succeeded.

Chad: I could make her a world-champion. Dude, I think she’s the most talented person I’ve ever trained.
Me: Thanks for teaching my erstwhile girlfriend how to kill me.

Spent most of the weekend working on projects but I did manage to see her, Chad, Cho, and some other friends here and there. Chad wanted to watch 1917, so we rented it. It was pretty depressing.

Me: Thanks for the film suggestion. Do you want to slap me and kick her in the face now?
Him: Nah, I think I’ve done enough.

Curt also stopped by for random board games one night. We were doing Scattergories and the category was: Birds that begin with the letter “G.”

Him: What the hell’s a “Great Auk?”
Me: It’s a large, flightless, extinct bird.
Him: You can’t just put “Great” in front of a bird and say it starts with, “G!”
Me: OK Google, what’s a Great Auk?
Machine: According to Wikipedia, “The great auk is a species of flightless alcid that became extinct in the mid-19th century. It was the only modern species in the genus Pinguinus.”
Him: OK, stop, stop. Just take it.

But really, the best conversations of the weekend were with Mouse.

Her: What’s a Zima?
Me: You don’t know what a Zima is?
Her: Is it an old person thing?
Me: (long pause) Yes. (later) It’s essentially a clear beer.
Her: (puzzled) Why don’t you just drink beer?
Me: (nodding slowly) Yup.

Although she’s not wrong about me being crazy old. I’m forgetting everything:

Her: Send me that recipe in a text.
Me: OK. (sends Mouse a text, then hears her text chime on her phone) Oh, you just got a text!
Her: (confused) Wait, that’s you right?
Me: No, it’s your phone.
Her: No, YOU just sent me a text.
Me: What. Is. Wrong. With. Me?!

It’s been a recurring theme. For example, we also saw The Hunted for a future episode of Scenic Fights, Fight Scene Breakdown.

Me: Do you know who Tommy Lee Jones’s roommate was in college?
Her: Well, considering how old he is, you?
Me:  (nodding slowly)

Although she has her own issues:

Her: I think that killing people is like eating Cool Ranch Doritos.
Me: How so?
Her: Once you start, it’s hard to stop.
Me: I don’t know where to start with this.

…plus between her, the kid, and me, I’m not sure how we’d make enough money to survive together.

For example, just tonight for dinner, she ate two 1/2 pound burgers, a whole head of lettuce, a hot dog, a bag of chips, an avocado, some chocolate, a cup of coffee and a cup of tea…

Me: If we ever end up together is this what’s waiting for me?
Her: Waiting for you? This is happening right now. This is happening.

Well, certainly, something’s happening.

Podcast Version
Location: home, helping a tenant fix her faucet
Mood: amused
Music: I know I talk too much (Spotify)

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Overcorrecting

If you say so

Of course, on the day I went to see my son, the teacher was reading the class a story about a fish looking for his mom. Because, of course.

It’s the first video I’m posting with his voice, if you’re interested in hearing it.

Boy: Can I have a pretzel?
Me: What have you done to earn a pretzel?
Him: I dunno. (thinking) I love you?
Me: (reaching for pretzels) Man, I am so easily manipulated.
Him: Manipulated!

When I first learned to drive, and now when I wrestle, I tended to overcorrect. Things that need to go, say, 5 degrees to the left, I go 15.

Do you remember the Minority Report with Tom Cruise?

There’s a scene where Cruise’s character sits in the dark by himself and watches videos of his son and his wife. He no longer had them, you see.

I remember watching that scene and feeling so sad about it. Enough that 18 years later I recall it, having recalled little else about the film.

I told you that I don’t have too many videos of Alison; almost none, in fact. She hated being recorded.

Of course, I have videos of her immediately after she got sick. One in particular I’ve never seen and don’t think I ever will. I wouldn’t survive it, I don’t think.

But that’s a memory for me and my lonely nights.

In any case, she asked that I try not to put pictures or videos up of her on this blog so I didn’t. I wish I did.

I wish I took so many more pictures and videos of her. God, she was beautiful.

I probably take too many pictures of the boy and people I care about these days. I’m definitely overcorrecting. But I don’t care.

As the years go on, these little bits of digital ink are all I have left of some people and moments. I’ll take them.

Him: I miss mommy.
Me: I do too. All the time. She was my best friend.

Just got back from seeing him. The hope is that he can safely go back to school part-time next semester and that this country’ll have an actual plan of trying to deal with this goddamn virus.

He still gets sad whenever I leave and I tell myself that this is a good thing but it’s hard. Everything’s harder than it should be.

Him: I could wave to you from the front door.
Me: It’s too dark. You wouldn’t see me. Stay here.
Him: (sadly) If you say so, papa.
Me: I do. I’ll be back soon. I promise
Him: (nods, cries)
Me: Really. I promise.

Podcast Version
Location: home, looking at pictures of people I’ll always love
Mood: lonely
Music: Don’t come and go like you do. (Spotify)

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We *all* have problems, Logan

Good luck and good day

Me: You want some Sriracha?
Chad: (covers his entire meal with it).
Mouse: That’s a lot of Sriracha!
Me: I’ve made him into a man now, Mouse.
Chad: (nods, doesn’t stop eating)

People keep calling me to help out with these projects and I take what work I feel I’m a right fit for or if I want to help someone out.

You know that I don’t advertise? Been working for myself for over two decades and I’ve never advertised anything ever beyond this blog, I suppose. Maybe a few things, here and there.

Huy Fong, the makers of Sriracha also never advertised. They got by purely on their reputation. Must be an Asian thing.

Anywho, a lawyer buddy of mine asked me to help out with a client so, as a favour to him, I reached out to her and sent her what I could do and what I would charge.

Her: That seems excessive for a few pages of paper.
Me: I couldn’t agree more. You can probably find someone much cheaper with the New York Country Bar Association. You can ring up a lovely woman named Hannah there at 212-267-6646, ext. 217 to find someone else.
Her: Wait, but…
Me: 212-267-6646, ext. 217. Hannah. With two H’s and two N’s. Good luck and good day, madam.

I know what I’m worth and I don’t have the time or interest in convincing anyone of my value.

On that note, last week was one of my busier work weeks in a while.

On the flip side, I can also remember sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. Of course, that was before everything in my life turned to shit.

Speaking of sitting at home, like I said earlier, Chad broke his foot but he’s a teacher by nature, so he’s definitely going stir crazy locked in his pad.

And Cho just got a new whip.

So, I offered for them to come by – along with Mouse – and roll in exchange for some food and entertainment.

And on a random weekday night, they were here.

We were all grateful for the lesson and I think Chad was grateful to just be on a mat again. He literally walked in – or hobbled in – and lay on the mat for a moment and sighed.

Just like the first time he came over.

After our lesson, he asked if we had any questions.

Me: About what you just taught or life?
Chad: We don’t have that much time, Logan.
Me: Well, I’ve got a lot going on.
Him: We all have problems, Logan!
Me: You don’t have to yell.

Pro tip: If you see a bottle of Lao Gan Ma Crispy Chili, buy it. You’ll be ahead of the curve. Trust me on this.

It’ll be the next big thing.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier today, trying to break an arm
Mood: tired
Music: I don’t want somebody like you (Spotify)
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Father-to-Father

He’d be 82

It woulda been my dad’s 82nd birthday this week.

The saddest, most unnerving thing about losing a parent is that you always think that you can pick up the phone and call them. But you can’t.

A cousin I was super close with lost his dad this week too. Another uncle from my dad’s generation, gone.

It’s tough. That cousin and I used to talk all the time but we lost touch after Alison got sick. What can you say? What can you do?

Him: They told me that if I went to see him, I’d have to go to quarantine for 14 days. He wouldn’t last 14 days.
Me: So, what did you do?
Him: I asked them what would happen if I broke quarantine and they said I’d be fined $20,000USD and tossed in jail. I told them I was ok with that.

Being a father now, I understand my father in ways I never did when he was alive.

We fought so much when he was alive, but I never once doubted that he loved me and I don’t think he ever doubted that I loved him.

I’m sure the boy and I will fight, it’s what fathers and sons do. But I hope he knows I love him.

Ah, man…

I wish I could have spoken to my dad as a father speaking to another father. That woulda been so cool.

That woulda been so fucking cool.

Me: I’d pay that. To see my dad again? I pay that in a heartbeat.
Him: Yeah…

Podcast Version
Location: my apartment, hunting heel hooks with her and two others
Mood: awful
Music: the baggage in my heart is still so dark (Spotify)
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Herding cats

Nothing is, I suppose

Been working on alla these projects of mine. Some for scratch, most not.

For example, I’ve been heading out to Queens early in the AM to meet up with a buncha guys to roll around every once in a while.

See, I’ve been trying to keep as busy as possible because I’ve been missing the boy something awful.

He just biked by himself the other day. When I was in another state.

It’s less than ideal.

And when I’m not thinking of him, I’m thinking of Alison. Or Mouse. Or my old life lives.

Suppose we’re are all just prisoners here of our own devices.

I’d just finished a project when Chad hit me and some friends up, outta the blue, via a messaging app.

Him: What’s up everyone? Cho and I are getting dinner later today and then look at the sunset together if he’s lucky. We’re doing Flushing.
Cho: I’m driving.
Pac: I can meet you guys in Flushing.
Mouse: (later) Reading this chat is like trying to herd cats.

I needed the distraction.

Me: I’m in.

And I hopped on my scooter to meet up with Cho around my old offices and we went off to pick up Chad downtown and Mouse in Brooklyn. It was a 90 odyssey.

Mouse: Since you all came to pick me up, I brought some homemade dumplings to tie everyone over.
Chad: Sweeeeeet!
Cho: Sorry, no eating in the car.
Chad: Dammit!

We ended up meeting Pac at the same restaurant that Mouse and I met him at over a year earlier. I wanted to go see my mom and sis since we were there but I figured it wasn’t fair to make everyone go out of their way.

I chatted up one of the greeters there for a buddy of mine.

Me: It’s too bad you’re not single, Sophie. He’s a catch.
Her: You remembered my name!
Me: Of course, darling. It’s what I do. But enough about me, tell me about this fella you’re seeing.

We ate. We drank. And then had some complex carbs.

It was a good night and a good distraction.

I went home and tried to get some sleep but instead pulled up pictures and videos of my family.

I’m grateful for my friends, really. But it’s not the same as family.

Nothing is, I suppose.

Podcast Version
Location: in front of my computer, non-stop
Mood: focused
Music: I had to find the passage back to the place I was before (Spotify)
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