Another side of me

Hiding who we really are

I like Greek myths because they spoke something to the young me. They still do.

In one myth, Apollo once swore to his half-mortal son that he would do anything he wanted because he loved him. So his son said that he wanted to see Apollo as he truly was.

Apollo, the sun god, knew that no mortal – even a half-deity – could look directly at him and survive. But he promised his son.

Promises are serious business. Perhaps moreso between fathers and sons.

So Apollo put on his darkest attire and his smallest rays and let his son see him as he truly was.

The son didn’t survive.

Suppose that Apollo hoped that the son would survive for the obvious reason but also because, hiding who you truly are is lonely.

There are parts of me that I only allude to or don’t mention at all. Not to you, not to anyone. There are things about me that friends I’ve known for over 20 years don’t know about me.

I’m not trying to hide anything per se. I just like to keep some parts of my private life private, whenever possible. Because I don’t think one group is ready to see me the way another group sees me.

Him: I didn’t know that about you.
Me: (shrugging) I know. It’s just part of who I am.

I don’t fit neatly into many boxes.

Suppose it’s related to my quest to satisfy the three things that Cellini said made a well-rounded man: Art, violence, and philosophy.

After all, we all have our three lives: Public, private, and secret.

It’s odd, in some ways, you are my reeds; things I tell my secrets to, but only in passing. It’d be nice to have someone that I could show all the parts of me to but it’s never happened. It’s come close, but never actually happened.

Doubt if it ever will – or if we’re even designed for such a thing.

CPK: It’s funny, we’ve known each other for years, but this is the first time we’ve ever spoken.
Me: I prefer it that way. Everyone has their sad stories, although some are sadder than others.

Still, every once in a while, I let people see some other facet of me, like when I told you about the GDPR lecture I gave last year, which I suppose goes into the philosophy section.

Or like in this video below, which is solidly in the violence category. I don’t think I’ve ever shown you this side of me:

On an un/related note, my coach Chad – the fella in the video with me – and I both legally changed our names the other day. Which is odd because we’re both on this video above with our old names.

He’s now Chad Andrew Vaźquez and I’m…well, I’m sure you’ll figure it out someday but you can just keep calling me Logan Lo here and in the videos moving forward.

After all, change takes time. I’ll tell you in time.

Speaking of time, 18 years ago I thought I saw the most horrific thing I’d ever see.

I was wrong.

Life has an endless supply of horrors, which itself, is horrifying.

Location: under a highway, trying to get away from a woman
Mood: conflicted
Music: been waiting for you for the whole week

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Goodnight, Fouad

That’s what friends are for

I’ve known this fella Fouad Youssef, for well over a dozen years. You’re literally looking at the best picture I have of him with me because someone else took it.

He had the distinction of meeting every women I was ever somewhat serious with – every single one.

This was happenstance; you see, he was the bouncer at Solas and saw both the people I brought there and the people I met there.

Was literally there every weekend for years and spent countless special nights there. He was the one that flipped me upside down in this entry here over a decade ago.

We talked a lot over those dozen years. About his life and mine.

Man, did he love his kids. Don’t think we ever talked without him bringing them up once he had them. His eyes lit up when I showed him my boy.

Him: Being a father, a parent. That’s everything.
Me: I get it now. It’s amazing.
Him: (reaching for his phone to show me pictures)

He died yesterday. He was the person I mentioned here. Fucking cancer.  He was just a bit older than me. His kids are so young.

Our mutual friend, KF – who also lost his love to cancer – and I both agree that at least he’s at peace now. It was awful what the cancer did to him. What it does to people. KF sent me a picture and I had to sit down to catch my breath.

I’m at an age where I say goodbye to people and it’s forever – in the infinite time/space sense of “forever.”

All goodbyes are sad, but the forever ones just gut you.

Fouad wasn’t a close friend but he was someone like Leigh – someone that I saw often and happily. He was part of the fabric of my regular life.

And that piece of fabric is now gone. You notice when there’s a chunk of fabric missing from anything. I’m missing all these major chunks and feel as if my life is in tatters.

I feel emptier knowing that he’s not in this world. No man is an island and all that.

It hit me a lot harder than I thought it would, mainly because I knew what his family was going through. I relived it.

I felt so terribly sad and lonely at that moment that I called a few people to chat but got no answer.

Suppose that’s how grief works. You call out but never get an answer.

Him: You’ll be ok, Logan.
Me: How do you know?
Him: (shrugging) Because you’re always ok. You’re tough.
Me: I don’t know if that’s true. But thanks for always listening.
Him: Of course. That’s what friends are for.

Location: Last night, with friends ignoring monsters with foolishness, like trying to spot it
Mood: gutted again
Music: Please say honestly, you won’t give up on me

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That’s because I am

Extremely positive thoughts

It’s funny; every time I go through a bad breakup, I feel the need to be social but not serious.

After my last breakup, I always only hung out with women where I knew nothing could happen. Suppose it’s something related to what Caligirl said.

I’m not quite ready to actively date right now, because I know what dating’s like and what I’m like.

Him: Why don’t you turn it on?
Me: When most people turn it on, it’s like trying to drink out of a garden hose. When I turn it on, it’s like trying to drink out of a fire hose. It’s just my nature .
Him: What’s wrong with that?
Me: My rule was always to try and leave people better off having met me than not. That was a lotta people. But not everyone. I don’t like having to tell someone that I’m not their fella. I didn’t like hurting people. Plus, it’s shit out there.

What I’m more interested in is being part of society again: Dinner parties, art exhibits, ridic crazy parties with RE Mike, etc.

To this end, I rang up two women that I just barely knew.

Me: I want you know that I always have two rules for my female social friends: (a) I will never hit on you and (b) I will try to help you out with any dude you’re interested in when we’re out and about. I’ve never broken those two rules, ever.
Faye: Those rules sound great! I am newly single as of a week ago so I just want friends

There was another girl that we’ll call Anne just turned 21 that’s a gym buddy of mine so I took her out for drinks.

We all ended up at Solas with some of my buddies until late at night and then moved to a hooka bar where I refused to have any hooka.

Me: My dad just died from lung cancer so, no. (thinking) Man, I’m a downer out and about. Let’s drink.

While I didn’t hit on either of them, my friends – one in particular – had no such problem.

Him: (hands her his phone) Faye, why don’t you go and punch your number and name into it and I’ll give you a ring one of these days.
Faye: (laughs, does so)

Faye and Anne came back to mine. I offered for Anne to stay over.

Me: Your safe as houses here if you wanna crash. You’d get brekkie and a toothbrush.
Her: You’re great! But I think I can get back ok.
Me: Then I’ll walk you to the subway.

After she left, Faye and I sat on the stoop and chatted as she waited for a car.

Her: Thanks for inviting me out. I had a great time. You and your friends are fun.
Me: Thanks. We try.

I gave her a hug and walked the five steps into my apartment. I remember sitting on that stoop with another girl 20 years ago but that’s a story for another time.

I haven’t really been alone for … well over a decade? Maybe longer than that.

I’m kinda looking forward to being single and social. And being a dad to this awesome kid.

My life’s on repeat, although, there are some nuanced changes.

Somehow, I always survive… even when I don’t wanna.

Which is not to say that there aren’t some unexpected pleasantries here and there.

Her: What are your thoughts on nerdy but hot brunettes?
Me: I have extremely positive thoughts on nerdy but hot brunettes.
Her: Oh, I always thought you were into blondes. My friend thinks you’re cute.
Me: Well, that’s because I am.


On a completely different note, this was in both the Men’s and Women’s bathrooms of where we went.

No one could figure out how this would work.

Location: the DMV…all day
Mood: okay
Music: nobody ever did it like me

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In the hospital again

No one else

Him: My tummy hurts. (cries)

My Labor Day began with a massive scare. Without getting into details, something happened that made my heart leap to my throat.

Me: Are you ok?
Him: No. (shakes head) No.

My pediatrician actually just closed her office so I couldn’t call her. Instead, I rang up my brother, who told me to take him to the ER in the morning, and another pediatrician buddy – Bryson’s wife – who told me:

Her: It’s probably nothing. (pause) But it could be intussusception – telescoping of gut. This has to be ruled out. I would bring him to the ER. Right now.

With two doctors telling me to get to the hospital, I was out the door in a shot. Or, I tried to, at the very least.

Him: No! I don’t feel well. I want to stay home.

I had never wanted to have another human being with me so much as that moment – with the exception of the last time I went to the ER with him.

With that, I ran about the house like a madman – getting him dressed, grabbing a car seat, etc. I think I tripped at least twice.

With one hand holding a baby car seat and my phone, and the other holding him, I stood on the corner of my block at midnight (I think) waiting for a stranger to bring us to the only hospital north of 42nd Street that I’ve not yet been to.

The boy, by his lonesome. He was a bit frightened.

After waiting hours, we were finally seen and cleared.

Doctor: We could run some more tests if you want, but I’m fairly certain it’s something viral that will pass his system at some point. It might take a while, but as long as you keep him hydrated and keep an eye on him, he should be fine.
Me: (relieved) Thanks, doc.
Him: Thanks, doc!!

I do note that he was a big hit with the nurses. He sang Love yourself to them.

Blue-Eyed Nurse: OMG, he’s made our night!

Then they finally let us go. And the experience made me feel relieved and yet terribly sad and lonely for reasons too complex for me to get into.

I think I stared at him the entire ride down.

Before we left, someone wished us good luck.

Me: I don’t…I don’t have the kind of luck that people want.
Green-Eyed Nurse: I don’t know anything about that, Mr. Lo. (gently) But he’s not you. He’s your little boy but he’s not you. He’ll be ok.
Me: (nodding) Thank you.
Her: I know about his mother. (pause) Is there anyo…
Me: No. (shaking head) It’s just me and him.

Location: The other night, 168th Street and Broadway
Mood: heartbroken
Music: I didn’t want anyone thinking I still care

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Afraid of the dark

Landslides take us down

Me: I forgot the anniversary of dad’s death.
Brother: I forgot too – until you brought it up.
Me: I feel guilty about that. I feel guilty about everything.

It was the anniversary of my dad’s death this past weekend. I actually went on a hike in Long Island to clear my head that day and somehow forgot it.

It’s a terrible thing, but when you lose someone you love that deeply, you can’t really think of them. You do everything in your power not to think of them.

And yet, late at night, I do. I don’t wanna. Because that gnawing anger and sense of loss is too much to bear and that’s when the insomnia creeps back in.

Two friends from the gym each gave me something to help me forget and sleep, and each worked for a while. But I ran out of one and the other ran out on me. And I’m left with … me.

I get how people become alcoholics or drug addicts. Pain is a difficult thing to bear in prolonged capacity. You blunt it however you can.

Used to be afraid of the dark because I thought I might not be alone when the lights were off.

Now I’m afraid of the dark because I am alone when the lights are off.

Ain’t that a kick in the head?

At least, though, you can scream out, “What the fuck?!” as loudly and as often as you want.

So there’s that.

Him: Why? He would never want to you to feel guilty about that. He’d want you to remember how he lived. Not how he died.

Wonder if my son will think I’m a good dad. Hope so.

Didn’t realize how much my dad musta wanted everything for us and how much it musta killed him that he couldn’t get us much when we were kids.

But he loved us. That was enough. Love’s enough, sometimes.

I get that now.

I get a lotta things now. The past few years have been a landslide of things I didn’t wanna know but now know.

The thing is, landslides take us down and bury us if we’re not careful.

So I struggle for breath.

It’s been over eight years of death, loss, and pain. And I still struggle for breath.

Location: chatting with a new friend on an orange chair
Mood: WTF
Music: Can I handle the seasons of my life?

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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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