A poor imitation of myself

My own sense of self

Me: If, one day, you find out something horrible about me, I hope that you’ll remember that I was a good friend to you.
Him: How bad?
Me: Not murder or rape bad. But bad. I never said I was a good person. I like to think that I’m a good friend, though.

My friends wonder why I keep certain people in my life. I suppose it’s because – despite their faults – they’ve always been good and loyal to me. For the most part.

Told this to one of the people I mentor. Because, I think, he holds me in high esteem. And that worries me. Cause I’ve made so many mistakes in my life.

Do you know what Charlie Chaplin, Hugh Jackman, Adele, and Bryan Cranston all have in common? They’re all poor imitations of themselves.

For example, Charlie Chaplin entered into a Charlie Chaplin look-a-like competition. He came in 20th place. Same with the rest of them – you can click the links to read their stories.

There’s this line from Elton John’s Rocketman that goes, “I’m not the man you think I am at home.” That’s kinda how I look at myself these days.

You see, I realized that Mouse saw the worst parts of me and still stuck around for over 18 months. Spoke to her about it recently:

Me: Why did you stay so long?
Her: I was hoping. Then I stopped hoping.

It’s almost like I’m waking up from a nightmare and realized how crazy everything made me. How crazy I was.

Mouse sees me as this terrible version of myself and I can’t really blame her because – at best – I was a poor imitation of myself, of who I thought I was. At worst, I was exactly who she thought I was.

But maybe I can be better. I’d like to be better.

Fucking cancer took so much from me. Even my own sense of self.

I’d like to be the best version of myself again. For Mouse, for myself, for the boy.

I suppose, even if I come in 20th, at least that’ll be closer to who I thought I was versus who I actually was after everything went to hell.

Another friend/mentee:

Him: You’re the strongest guy I know, Logan.
Me: Sheyeah, I’m a goddamn rock. (shaking head) I’m not sure if you’re saying that seriously or not.
Him: I’m dead serious. I dunno many people that coulda gone through what you went through and be ok.
Me: That’s the thing: Am I OK? I think I am now, but I’m not sure. And that’s what’s scary.

Location: this afternoon, the 17th floor of 1 New York Plaza
Mood: regretful
Music: I think it’s gonna be a long long time

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Every dozen years or so

Captain RedStar

I’m always surprised who reads my blog. But I’m realizing that people don’t fully know that these entries tend to lag my real life.

Mouse and I are seeing each other regularly but things are still decidedly complicated.

Which leads to this conversation, as my buddy thought I was upset with her:

Pac: Mouse is coming. Don’t be a b___h.
Me: What am I, nine? It’s fine. Plus, you know I always like to see her.

We were heading out to crash an acquaintance’s birthday party. He had it at the Bohemian Beer Garden – which I last went to almost exactly a dozen years ago with two friends, one of whom I’ll tell you about below.

Bought two pitchers of beer for $40. You don’t get that in Manhattan.

I should go there every dozen years or so. It’s a fun time.

Afterward, we stopped by the SVL Bar for some killer Greek food because we were in Astoria, which is known for it’s Greek food.

Cashier: Do you eat a lot?
Me: Uh, yeah.
Her: Then you should get the party platter.
Me: Done. (later) It’s on me, fellas. Just eat.

Then we went to another bar where Mouse bought drinks for us and we saw the Shevchenko vs Carmouche fight.

It was midnight when we called it.

Me: Are you coming by mine afterward for a drink?
Her: (thinking) Yes.
Me: You know I’m crazy about you and I’m gonna make a pass at you, right?
Her: Yes.
Me: OK.

I met Kirk Akahoshi in real life and on LiveJournal ages ago, when he was still Captain Redstar.

He’s the fella in the black. He’s younger than me. I was…33/34 in that pic?

He moved out to Cali a while ago, started a business, met a nice girlie, and got hitched.

He also got Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Which is horrifying enough so I’ll stop here, lest I cheapen the whole matter.

But I’ve been following him and another good friend of mine that ALSO has Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.

Man, cancer hits anyone, anywhere, any age. Don’t think you’re safe, man. You’re not. No one’s safe.

It’s all just shitty luck and tears.

I’ll tell you about my other friend in a bit; still processing it all.

In the meanwhile, if you have a buck to spare, consider shooting it Kirk’s way.

Location: this past weekend, Brighton Beach
Mood: hard to describe
Music: If you make it all wrong, then I’ll make it all right

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On probation

Hoping I’ll do better

Exactly 37 minutes after Mouse asked me to come downtown, I found myself shaking hands with her boss. Mouse whispered in my ear:

Her: She’s one year younger than you.
Me: (nodding slowly) Great…

She ordered me an Old Fashioned and I barely got to start it when her coworker pulled me aside and we went outside to chat.

Coworker: You know, she really cares about you.
Me: The feeling’s mutual. She’s just super mad at me. Justifiably so, to a good extent.
Her: She is super mad. You weren’t very nice to her. But I’m still on your side.
Me: Why?
Her: (shrugging) She said that you made her who she is and I can tell she’s still hoping you’ll be better. If you want to be with her, you have to be nicer to her. Do better, Logan.
Me: (nodding) I’m trying. She met me at a weird and awful time.

We went back into the bar and Mouse sat next to me and asked:

Her: Why are you such a jerky-jerk?
Me: Like I said, you met me…
Her: (waves hand, rolls eyes) I know, I know. (later) My friends and family can’t stand you…
Me: I figured.
Her: …except for Co-Worker – which I don’t get at all – maybe Chai, and kinda Twin. You don’t listen to anyone. It’d be different if you’d just listen sometimes. (later) It’s crap out there. Since we broke up, I’ve met a block of wood and was set up with a puppy. (sighs) If you’d just listen…

We bounced from topic-to-topic before it was time to go.

She ended up drinking way too much so I brought her back to my place and put her in my guest bed, but not before plying her with copious amounts of water.

When she woke up the next day.

Her: (groan) What happened last night?
Me: You said lots of rando stuff.
Her: (worried) Did I do or say anything I shouldn’t have in front of my boss?
Me: (laughing) No. I don’t think so. How do you feel?
Her: Not great.
Me: Sorry. In any case, brekkie? I’ve been making a lotta shakshuka lately but with bacon.
Her: Dunno what that is but sure.

Interestingly, not too long after that, we met up with our coach and a group of buddies for some AYCE Korean food downtown.

Afterward, some of them came by my pad afterward for some drinks and board games. Then it was just Mouse and me.

There’s more but that’s all you need to know for now.

Location: Home with Ros and the boy
Mood: hopeful
Music: make them know that you’re with me

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A date with her in a blackout

Send me your location

As I mentioned earlier, Mouse and I saw each other over the blackout. We were originally going to get a bite to eat downtown and then hit up Solas again but the trains stopped at Times Square.

Me: Wanna walk to Koreatown?
Mouse: Sure.

The next thing you know, we’re in a private room in restaurant near the gym.

Her: This is so cool!
Me: (nodding) Yeah, but I’m starving.

We ended up getting mostly full there and then heading to the same bar we went to once before with some other friends.

In hindsight, I shoulda taken the opportunity to speak to her about things but I assumed she didn’t want to talk.

Evidently, I’m not good at reading her cues. Working on it.

Fast forward to this past week when she messaged me.

Her: Where are you?
Me: Just got back from the gym, why?
Her: I’m out with coworkers and my boss wants to meet you. Wanna come by?
Me: Right now? (thinking) Send me your location.
Her: Yes. Fraunces Tavern. Downtown.

Less than four minutes later, I was on a downtown train to see her, her co-workers, and her boss.

It was pretty interesting but this is getting long so I’ll tell you about it in the next entry.

In the meantime, here’s a vid I made for her blog but she can’t post videos for some reason so I’m posting it here.

It’s from when we went axe-throwing. She’s pretty good.

Location: earlier today, a children’s library with the kid
Mood: tired
Music: just need the time and place to come through

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The 9th Step

I think that’s who you really are

Me: You met me at a strange and awful time in my life.
Her: You keep saying that.
Me: In some ways you never met me. Who I actually am. You only ever met me all f____d-up.

Alcoholics Anonymous has a 12-Step program where Step 9 is apologizing to all the people that you’ve wronged.

In some ways, since the 4th of July, I’ve been trying to do something like that.

People that grow up with zero friends seem to fall into two camps: The ones that learn to do ok by themselves or the ones desperate for companionship.

I’m definitely  more the former than latter. All the times that I said that I set Alison apart, the obvious question is how did I treat everyone else?

For better or worse, most people I’ve met in life were/are disposable.

There’s something about being social and glib that there’s always another interaction around the way, another new relationship just with a wink and a smile.

I’m better than most at shallow relationships; slightly more than half of the people I dated between 33 and 35 are still on good terms with me.

After Alison died, I went into full pickup mode and met a number of women. A total of zero are friendly with me. Well, one still kinda talks to me.

Don’t remember much of that time except the pain, guilt, and insomnia. Everything hurt. Everything was agony. Women and alcohol were a great salve. But somewhere along the line, I think I was just awful to everyone.

It’s hard to be nice to people when you’re in agony. And I hid it so well that I suppose that people kinda forgot that I was clinging onto life.

It sounds like I’m making excuses for myself and perhaps I am, to an extent, but I’m also just trying to let you know maybe why I was as I was.

I contacted about six people, including my brother and sister-in-law whom I stopped interacting with for various reasons; only my brother and sister-in-law responded.

Well, they responded and so did Mouse. But not the way I’d hoped.

Mouse: No. (shakes head) I think that’s who you really are, Logan.

Location: home, alone with the boy
Mood: thoughtful
Music: I need direction to perfection, no no no no, help me out

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It’s gonna be ok

Suddenly, everything’s different

Him: Another drink?
Me: Thanks, but I can’t. Got an early morning tomorrow.
Him: I thought the kid was away.
Me: He is. I’m in court tomorrow morning.

Sorry for the lack of posts.

Took on some work a little while ago and it all came to a head this past week regarding three court cases; and I’m only a lawyer in one of them. In the other, I wear my other professional hat, and in yet another, I’m the petitioner, representing myself.

Been almost five years since I was last in court.

Submitted my legal memorandum to one client this past Wednesday after working on it for several months. Then, that same day, met up with another client in court downtown and happened to have my own case in the same courtroom with the same judge.

Turns out that there were several errors in my paperwork – not in any of the others. I suppose, when you’re your own lawyer, you’re less exacting.

That’s what I tell myself.

Guessing that the weight of what was going on must have shown on my face. Cause this stern judge admonished me for the errors and then looked at my ashen face and brightened a bit (only a bit) and said, “It’ll be ok, counselor. It’s gonna be ok.”

Then he signed my OSC and suddenly a lot of things were different in my life. And different for the boy. All with the stroke of a pen.

The judge also signed an order for my client, who’s also a good friend of mine. The path of his life just changed along with mine. And we walked out of the courtroom different men than the ones who walked in a few hours earlier.

Buddy: Thanks, I’m not sure I woulda done this if you didn’t help.
Me: Well, I wouldn’t have done it if you didn’t do it, so…same. Thanks.

Afterward, we met up with my buddy Pac…and Mouse, for some Vietnamese food.

Me: (getting up) Can we talk for a sec?
Mouse: (hesitates) OK.
Me: (privately) Thanks for coming. It really means a lot to me.
Her: I didn’t come just for you, they’re my friends too.
Me: I know. (nodding) I’m still glad you came.

Afterward…

Pac: Is lunch on you, Logan?
Me: (thinking) Well, considering the three of you are the only people I consider that I actually mentor, sure.
Him: I was only kidding!
Me: It’s fine. (taking out wallet) I want to do it.

The picture way above is with my buddy from around the way. He’s a writer and he and I talked about the craft. It felt almost normal.

And the drink was in the hotel I once stayed at with Alison when it was called Nylo but it’s now The Arthouse Hotel.

Everything changes around here. Sometimes I hate that. Sometimes, that’s for the best.

Suppose time will tell which is which with this massive change I made in our lives.

Location: home, telling someone that I’m sorry
Mood: hopeful
Music: more than worth it

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My entire life

I was…

  • 6 when I had my first memory – it was about food (yoghurt) – and Alison was born.
  • 7 when I went to the hospital for a fever – imagine how smart I’d be if I never had it?
  • 8 when I had my first, of thousands, of gyros. Battlestar Galatica 1980 just aired.
  • 9 when I first saw the building that my father would eventually die in.
  • 10 when I killed something for the first time with my grandma, a chicken.
  • 11 when I read the book 1984.
  • 13 when my best friend left for college (long story). I lost 50 pounds and stopped being fat.
  • 14 when I learned how to drive with my dad and got my first job, a busboy.
  • 15 when I first noticed a girl that noticed me back. She said I was cute. No one that didn’t give birth to me ever said that to me before her. It was on the same block where I just had AYCE Korean food.
  • 16 when I had my first kiss with a girl that had a punk haircut. I was just awful to her.
      • As an aside, when I was in my mid-20s, I drove by her house and randomly decided to see if she was home. She was. I put on an apron and chopped up a ginormous chocolate bar into chips while she baked cookies. She kissed me on my cheek when I left and told me she forgave me. Never saw or heard from her again. Word is that she’s married in Colorado now and raises horses.
  • 17 when I got my first car and Mouse was born.
  • 18 when I started writing for serious.
  • 19 when the insomnia started for serious.
  • 20 when I got my first real job where I had a desk.
  • 21 when I started my own business. I still have it even now and it’s (usually) my primary source of income.
  • 22 when I started doing club work and met demons that looked human. Beat out PriceWaterhouse and IBM for a Madison Ave project that paid for my rent (and my landlord’s Ducati) for two years in one shot.
  • 23 when I went to law school with the scratch from the clubs and biz.
    • (23-25 didn’t exist because: Working and in law school)
  • 26 when I started in a law firm and stopped doing club work. Was 26.5 when I left and joined a Fortune 500 company. Passed the bar on the first try.
  • 27 when I got my first raise and promotion.
  • 28 when I flew around the world and some assholes flew fucking planes into my goddamn city. I also told someone that loved me that I didn’t love her and that I was sorry. She left my side of the country.
  • 29 when I left my only salaried job, met a German tourist at a dive bar, traveled around Europe with her, broke up, and started doing what I do now. These were busy years.
  • 30 when I met the first person I thought I loved. I was mistaken.
  • just 31 when I bought the pad I live in now with Harold and the boy.
  • 32 when I saw my grandparents for the last time because I always thought I’d have time.  We always think we’ll have time.
  • 33 when the woman I lived with left and I thought it was the lowest point of my life. I was mistaken. Again.
  • 34 wrote that a frog in a well knows nothing of the ocean. Been thinking of this a lot lately for reasons I’ll tell you about onea these days.
Me at 30

Between this entry you’re reading now, and the rest of my blog, you essentially have the sum of my life on your screen.

What a meaningless life I’ve lived before 2015.

But I know I’ve changed the course of some people’s lives and that of their families. I think at least two but I hope more –  cause no man’s an island – but I’d be ok if it were just two.

Speaking of two, I look at my little family of two and think to myself that I’m actually happy.

Because I love this kid and I have a purpose again. To make him into something Cellini might recognize. To teach him how to fight monsters. To let him know he’s so loved.

It’s not quite the family I’ve always wanted but he’s still the best thing I’ve got.

Me: What did you see today?
Him: Thunderbirds!
Me: (quizzically) A thunderbolt?
Him: No. (enunciating) A thun…der..bir..d.
Me: Ah, gotcha. “Thunderbird.” Man, Manhattan’s got it all, huh?

Location: earlier today, Riverside Park
Mood: relieved
Music: Give me a paper and a pen so I can write about my life of sin

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Grief can be fatal

The boy’s first picture

If there was a single moment that captured everything about my cleaning out Alison’s closet, it was when I found her Filofax, opened it, and something fluttered out.

For those of you that didn’t know her personally, this was a rarity. Because she was the single most organized and clean person I knew. Nothing fluttered out of anything when she was here because she always put everything away where it belonged.

But what fluttered out was a sonogram of the boy. Our first picture of him.

I remember walking into the room one day and catching her staring at it with a look of such love. Realize now that she musta taken out that sonogram a million times to just stare at her son.

Several friends and acquaintances have recently had babies. While I’m thrilled for them, it reminds me how much we’ve lost.

And I don’t think anyone except a mother could truly understand what must have gone through her mind when she was told she had cancer and would die.

Do you know the very first fucking thing she said to me was? Not about herself or even the cancer. It was,

I won’t see him grow up?

She cried for 24 hours straight after that. I didn’t think a body could cry so much. It was only five days after he was born. Fuck all.

Goddammit. Just typing that hit the pain button full-on and I’m trying not to be a basketcase.

So I put away the photo and try to not think about my most aching possible past.


Just watch the first four minutes. It’s worth it.

I’m putting stuff away cause, unchecked, grief can definitely be fatal. If not for Mouse and the boy, I wouldn’t be here.

In the past 45 days or so, a number of people that have been experiencing grief have reached out to me, exactly as I did to Leigh’s husband when Alison died. And like him, I’ve been trying to help as much as I can.

It’s hard. Cause I gotta dredge up things I’d rather not. But people like Leigh’s husband did that for me so I gotta do my part.

The thing is, you don’t know true grief until you feel it yourself.

And, while I wish you wouldn’t, you will, cause there’s nuthin you love that you won’t lose someday.

If you’re lucky, your grief will only be a small fraction of mine, which – trust me – is a blessing.

In fact one fella I spoke to whose wife died of cancer and left him with two boys told me, “Wow, I wouldn’t think it possible that someone had it worse; but you two’ve had it worse. I’m sorry.”

It’s a shitty achievement we’ve unlocked and one that I wished we didn’t, but, then again, I wish for a lotta things.

In any case, whenever I speak to someone about their grief, I’m reminded of the kid that said that I shoulda moved on after a year. As the video notes, you never move on; you move forward.

Evilly, I used to wish that she’d feel my grief for herself – like I said, I’m not a good person – but I was different then.

Now I just feel pity for her cause she’s just a dumb kid that’s never dealt with it. For better or worse, she will feel it one day, and I don’t think she’s equipped to deal with it.

I barely was. I barely am.

Now, I did promise Alison that I’d be here to take care of her son.

I didn’t mean it then. But I do now. I do. Really. Although there are moments that take your breath away, and not in the good way.

Me: Goodnight, kiddo.
Boy: Mommy’s sick.
Me: What?
Him: She’s sick. She died. She won’t get better.
Me: (dumbstruck)
Him: I love mommy. But she died.
Me: (fuck me) Get some sleep.


As I was writing this, one of the two people I still mentor called me to tell me that he’s worried about cancer with his aunt that raised him.

Man, it really is the emperor of all maladies.

Location: Earlier today, midtown, wishing I had an electric scooter
Mood: thoughtful
Music: in your shirt, the pain it really hurts

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Messrs Everman, Cellini, and Vaźques

Unicorns: Artist, warrior, philosopher, and businessman

Her: Every father wants his son to be something. Do you know what you want him to be?

A buddy of mine named Vaźques stopped by the other day for some Cuban food and we chatted for a bit about the path of his life. He’s younger than me; and with that youth comes an open future.

I asked him if he played a musical instrument and he said no. Told him to consider it cause there was a fella named Cellini once said that a well-rounded man is an artist, warrior, and philosopher.

I’d personally add to that “businessman” but that’s just me.

In any case, I’d read about Cellini in seventh grade in social studies while discussing tank warfare (odd thing to remember, I know). Decided then I wanted to be that and spent the next 34 years trying.

The gold standard, IMHO, is a fella named Everman who was:

      • The guitar player for Nirvana and the base-player for Soundgarden and OLD.
      • A US Army Ranger and Green Beret
      • An Ivy League graduate with a degree in philosophy with Columbia university; he’s currently pursuing his masters degree in Military history.

I meet tons of dangerous people in my personal and professional life. They are clearly dangerous – they wear their lethality clearly and conspicuously, like scorpions. I’m only marginally impressed.

I also meet tons of hyper intelligent people in my personal and professional life. They talk about the latest million-dollar deal they just closed on or their latest cool project. Again, marginally impressed.

Finally, there is a small group of people I know that seek understanding over rote knowledge. A very small group. These people impress me a bit more, but only a bit.

At least they think of the cascading consequences of all their actions.

But there’s this incredible minority of people like Messrs Everman and Cellini that have achieved what I think encompasses what a man – or woman – should strive to be.

A man named Danaher – whom I met when he was a bouncer and I was a club promoter – and the Devil I consider as one of these people as well with both of them fulfilling that fourth requirement of “businessman.”

These are the real unicorns. To be in their presence is humbling because, in my mind, they understand what’s valuable and what’s just a waste of time.

We’re all given 24 hours, every day. It’s what they do with those hours that separates them from everyone else.

Honestly,  my children can be anything they want to be. Doctor, plumber, race car driver, whatever. As long as they are those three four things first.

As long as he’s a unicorn.

Me: Yes.

Location: the basement of my brain…plotting
Mood: ambitious
Music: could have stayed for more.
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More Random Conversations

Clearly, a better choice

Saw Mouse three times this past week including over the blackout we had over the weekend. More on that later, I suppose.

Nuthin’s changed so you’re not missing much.

Me: More food or alcohol?
Her: Alcohol.
Me: Done.

Continuing from my last post, friends I’ve not seen in ages have been reappearing in my life. The Professor, for example, was in town to give a lecture.

Me: You’re taking forever to finish your drink.
Him: I drink 5cc’s of liquor every five minutes.
Me: I see. Well, afterwards, we can discuss how the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman, nor truly an empire.
Him: That was an interesting non sequitor.
Me: (shrugging) No more so than your drinking my rum at a rate of 5cc’s per five minutes.

Been hanging out with some new friends as well. A buddy of mine has a very different take on dating than I do:

Him: Your rules are insane, man.
Me: Everyone has criteria.
Him: (shrugging) Not me. I figure one outta seven will be attractive enough to date but when it comes to ______ everything goes. When I had my own apartment, I’d just meet someone, go back to my place and ________, _______, and _______. Afterward, I might ________ but sometimes I just ________ ________ or she’ll ________. Either way, she’d ______ or _____ and I’d just _____ and it’d be fine. Although there was this one time this woman and I _______ and she ______. The next day, my buddy was like what’s that on your ______ and it was her ________.  (laughing) That was crazy.
Me: (standing up) OK, you need to stand in the middle of my pad and not touch anything. My kid lives here. I need to burn everything you *did* touch and then take a shower. And you should get checked out.
Him: Eh, I’m fine. Probably.
Me: (walking to the bathroom) I’m going to take a shower now. Don’t. Touch. Anything. I’m serious.

But some of the best moments in my entire life have also been happening lately and I’m always excited to see what else in store for the two of us.

Me: When you grow up, do you want to be like papa?
Him: No, I wanna be a pirate.
Me: Clearly, that’s a better choice.
Him: Then I wanna be a monkey.
Me: (nodding) Again, better choice.

Great song; weird video. Not sure if I like it but Asian dude’s the lead so I gotta support.

Location: earlier, the Oculus
Mood: rested, almost ready
Music: I’m right back where I started

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