In the bag with me

What I pack when I travel

What's in my bag when I travel
No real post today – instead, I’m going to point you over to an interview I did with my friend Channy about my trip to Europe a little while back.

Click here: http://naturalselectionnyc.com/in-the-bag-with-logan-lo/

She has an cool series about what people pack when they travel and she interviewed me back when.

Think it’s interesting because I find what I pack to be rather mundane but everyone else seems to be much more compelling – suppose that’s just how it is. Things are always more interesting on the other side.

In any case, take a look and leave a comment or two.

Now, wonder what you pack you travel…

Location: back to the gym shortly
Mood: rested
Music: waiting on a slow boat to China, want to sail away to the sun
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A copy of a copy of a copy

My insomnia’s much better these days

Mannequin heads
There’s this weird thing with insomnia: Everyone that has it seems to try and top someone else that has it with stories of how bad theirs is.

I think that some are resistant to getting better – at least at some level – because that would be an admission that it’s not actually that bad.

I can admit that was definitely me in my 20s and most of my 30s. Wore my insomnia like a badge of honor. It made me miserable but also let me do things that most people couldn’t because I felt I had 13 months a year to get things done, while other people had only 12.

But, at 41, I’m starting to realize the costs. Mainly that I just don’t remember things that well for most of that time.

Wrote in my private diary almost a decade ago this line from Fight Club that goes: With insomnia, nothing’s real. Everything is far away. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy.

There are outlines but nothing is distinct.

I meet people who are kinda familiar from that period but mostly not. I remember things, kinda.

You know, I remember buying my apartment but not really. It’s like someone else bought it and I watched it happen on TV and left the room a buncha times.

Happy to say that my worst nights of insomnia these days are about on par with my regular nights of insomnia. Most weeks, manage to sleep pretty well. Had some insomnia the other day but still managed to get five hours of sleep.

Much better these days.

It’s like when I got HD television for the first time and realized that I’d been watching a fuzzy picture in black and white all these years.

Wish it was clearer, though, all of my fuzzy yesterdays.

Mood: better
Music: early morning yesterday, I was up before the dawn
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Genetic Fallacies and the Citibank Building

Listening’s a lot harder when your ego’s on the line

Citibank Building in Manhattan 3

Him: I don’t understand what happened.
Me: Maybe there’s a reason why they went with someone else.

That’s a picture of the Citibank building here in Manhattan. I took it along with the picture below in March of last year for another entry.

About a month after I took it, read this article that said that the building was ridiculously flawed.

How ridiculous? There was a 1-in-16 year chance that the entire building would come tumbling down with a strong wind.

That’s pretty ridiculous.

But the weirdest thing about how this all unfolded was that a female college student from NJ figured out it was flawed, tracked down the lead engineer, and contacted him to tell him that his design was fatally flawed.

And despite haven’t any number of reasons to not listen to her, he did.

Then, as Hurricane Eva was barreling down onto the East Coast in 1978, NYC and these engineers all secretly fixed the problem. All without most of the city finding out. In fact, most people didn’t learn about it until 1995.

Citibank Building in Manhattan 1

I thought of this recently when a colleague of mine was wondering why he lost a major account. I knew why. So I told him.

There’s this illogical argument called a genetic fallacy, where you don’t want to believe something that someone says because of the person saying it.

The engineer could have sneered at any one of the things about the person contacting him: her sex, where she was from, her age, her experience, etc.

But he didn’t. Because he was smart enough to realize she was right. That’s something I still find really amazing.

People wanna have any number of reasons they believe what they believe. Even if it’s not true.

Him: (later, upset) What do you know? You’re a lawyer, not a psychologist.
Me: This is true. But what I said is also true.

Location: midtown east
Mood: tired but super happy
Music: You’ve got the talkin’ down, just not the listening
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Black suit and a white shirt

It’s the right tone for a wrong day

Black suit and watch
I bought another suit a while ago. My tailor isn’t in the US so it takes a few months to reach me.

Got it because my old black suit was looking worn. And the reason I need another solid jet black suit is because I seem to at an age where I’m going to funerals and memorials a lot more than anyone might want.

Not that anyone ever wants to go to them.

Have a memorial coming up next week for my buddy Bobbie and the suit arrived in time for that. Unfortunately, sad events don’t follow anyone’s timeline.

About two years ago, went to a funeral for my buddy’s mom.

Then, unexpectedly, had to go to one for his brother just last week. It seems terribly cruel for such misery to visited upon anyone, let alone someone so young.

In any case, my suit arrived the very next day. I found that odd.

Writer Neil Gaiman said in one of his books:

I wore a black suit and a white shirt, a black tie and black shoes, all polished and shiny: clothes that normally would make me feel uncomfortable, as if I were in a stolen uniform, or pretending to be an adult. Today they gave me comfort of a kind. I was wearing the right clothes for a hard day.

I agree with that.

For me, a black suit is comforting in it’s own way. It strikes the right, somber tone for a very wrong day.

Me: I’m so sorry, man.

Location: last week, upstate
Mood: hopeful
Music: Sometimes it seems like lately I just don’t know
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Bad luck is better than worse luck

You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from

Fire in the UWS
A few days ago, rented a car to go that birthday party and also pick up a buddy from the airport.

Unfortunately, the tiny compact car I’d reserved had a dead battery.

So I called up the car rental company and told them that they needed to get me a replacement.

Customer Care: I’m so sorry about that! The only thing we have is an SUV. Do you want that? No additional charge.
Me: Sure, I’ll take anything. I just gotta go.

After losing about twenty minutes, the wife and I were on our way.

But during this time, the snow began to fall. It was only supposed to be an inch or so but it was clear that it’d be more.

A lot more.

Me: We gotta go.
Her: OK, let’s start saying our goodbyes.

Not long after arriving, we were back on the road. Had to call up my buddy and say we weren’t coming to get him.

Thankfully, we had that larger car so getting back home wasn’t all that bad.

This writer named Cormac McCarthy once said that, You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.

The thing is, it’s rare to actually realize that this is the case. This was one of those rare times.

But really, you could go through your whole life thinking you had terrible luck while, in reality, you’re far better off than if you had gotten what you wanted in the first place.

Moon in the daytime

Alternatively, you could always try and see the positive, however, small, of everything that’s ever happened to you.

This poet warrior – and I think that it’s telling he was a poet and warrior – named Mizuta Masahide once had a poem that went:

Since my house burned down
I now own a better view
of the rising moon

But there’s an even shorter translation I prefer. I told you about it once. It goes:

Barn’s burnt down —
now
I can see the moon.

Location: last night, shoveling all that damn snow
Mood: thoughtful
Music: She is running to stand still
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Bookending

I’m in a funny place, mentally

Child's Birthday Cake
February’s over and it’s been heady.

It was strange in that there were two children’s birthday parties and one death. The children are young: one’s my nephew, who turned one; the other, my niece, who turned two. The death was that of a college buddy about my age, 43.

It was the first time I’d been to any child’s birthday party since I was a kid. And the death was the first time someone I knew well, who was my age, passed.

In any case, my nephew’s birthday party was in Queens, my niece’s was in NJ. It was bitterly cold both days. The kind where every inhale burns the inside of your lungs.

And for the one in NJ, got the added bonus of being caught in a snowstorm so that meant a slow crawl home.

All that traveling gives a fella time to think.

Thought mainly of the bookending of life in these events: Two children starting their journey in the world, one young man finishing his.

Wonder how the children will spend the time they’ll have; wonder how I’ll spend the time I have left.

Clock in West Village, NYC

Oddly, my brother called me last night talking about that very subject.

Told him that I’m pretty content with my life. Wish I had more scratch and less injuries, but, on the whole, I don’t have a ton to complain about. After all, I won the lottery where it really counts.

But I’m turning 42 in less than two months, which makes me think about my own life more and more. I suppose I’ll tell you about that some day.

Of course, it’s all time and tide. We just don’t know what either will bring us.

But, I hope good things.

Man at the birthday party: Have a safe trip home, old man.
Me: (leaving) That’s just cruel.

Children's cupcakes (purple)

Location: yesterday, crawling to the Lincoln Tunnel
Mood: thoughtful
Music: away from you, it froze me deep inside. So come back
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Goodbye, Bobby

A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own.

Clock in Upper West Side, NYC
An old friend of mine passed last week.

He was the first person I ever met in college. Met him outside of the dorms queuing for one thing or another. He was from Virginia.

Never met an Asian kid from Virginia before. At that point, I’d never really been out of the City. Don’t think I’d even been to the Bronx or Staten Island yet.

We became pretty good friends through the years. Bombed my econ class because a group of us were playing cards late into the night.

Ended up going to the same law school, just at different times. We also ended up living in the same neighborhood so we constantly either met up or ran into each other.

But in 2001 we had an argument and stopped talking. It wasn’t a terrible argument, per se. Just the kind where both people’re irritated enough to stop talking for a while.

Your typical super-important argument about nuthin.

We met up a few years later at a wedding where I was a groomsman and he was the best men.

Me: Hey, your tie’s crooked. (fixing it)
Him: Ah, thanks. I was worried it’d be weird between us.

We sat at the same table, and were pleasant. We said we’d reconnect again but never got around to it.

That’s the thing with old ghosts; you always run into them in the big City. Figured I’d just run into him again one day, like I do the rest of the world. And we’d be cool again.

But I never did. Now, I never will.

Every time someone dies, I think of that Thomas Mann quote, A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own.

Right now, I’m on an email list filled with names I’ve not seen in years.

Some people are heading down to the funeral, some are sending flowers. My friends and I are sending an arrangement.

Can’t really imagine what his parents are going through. Don’t want to. When I heard he died, after the initial shock wore off, I thought of my own parents. I’d never want them to have to go through that.

What a thing to bear.

I wish I did actually give him a call. Or he gave me one. Or we did run into each other like people do here.

Life gets in the way. That is, until it gets out of the way.

I’ll add my not meeting up with him to my list of ten thousand regrets.

Goodbye, man. I’m so sorry to hear that you left us.

Me: Why would it be weird? We had an argument. People have arguments. We should meet up some time.
Him: Sure, that sounds good.

Location: in my head, back in college
Mood: sad
Music: Yesterday I got so old, it made me want to cry
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Unsettled

All you need is one thing off to leave you unsettled

Woman walking dog in snow in UWS, NYC
It’s been a long and strange week.

Said in the past that all of your life’s problems can be divided up into health, wealth, and relationships. You just need one of those to go wrong and it doesn’t matter how well the other two are going, you are unhappy.

In a similar sense, you have a rhythm to your day; all you need is one thing to be off-kilter and you’re unsettled.

The loss of my computer meant that I had to build a new one. Yes, I know that I can buy one cheaper and faster, but when you roll your own, you get the exact tool that fits your needs – and that’s what a computer is for me, a tool for my work.

In any case, after building it for a few days, a key component went bad and I had to take the whole thing apart. Right now, I’m waiting for a replacement part to come in.

This, in turn, has led to my home office being a constant mess, and me having to work on my a backup laptop or another computer, which leaves me further unsettled.

Then we had an unfortunate incident with a drunken house guest, which didn’t help matters.

So, unsettled.

This has been a very unsettled week.

Which is not to say that it’s been all bad.

Me: Hey, remember that project I’ve been bidding on? I got it!
Her: Whoa, that’s great news!

West 72nd Street and Broadway

With work getting busier, I’m thinking of cutting down the blog writing and focusing more on short things like Twitter and Instagram.

More on that later, I’ve gotta jet.

Location: Long Island, shortly
Mood: weary
Music: You were my best four years
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Wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili

It’s been pretty cold here

Wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili.Photo credit: leitesculinaria.com

I’m writing this as I wait for a plumber to come and look at a pipe in my building. It’s so cold here that there’s a chunk of ice in an insulated pipe here in my apartment.

Supposed to be at a meeting at 11AM but instead, I’m sitting here as the temperature in the house slowly drops.

Tried to stay indoors as much as possible this past week or so but I had to head out for a number of things. During one of those things yesterday, I smashed my cell phone.

Again.

This time, though, there’s not gonna be a replacement. So irritated with myself.

Things just keep on breaking around me. Don’t think that electronics and I were meant to get along.

In any case, do you know just how cold is it here? It’s so cold that I’ve run through all the chili that was supposed to last me until March.

There’s a myth that gunfighter Kit Carson’s last words were: Wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili. They weren’t, it was actually, Goodbye, friends. Adios, compadres.

But regardless, I can appreciate the sentiment.

While walking around in sub-zero temperatures yesterday, all I could think was, I’d rather be home with the wife and a hot bowl of red.

And if this plumber doesn’t show up soon, those may be my last thoughts as well.

Brrrrrrrrrrr!

Location: in my apartment, waiting
Mood: turning into an icicle
Music: Cold is the color of crystal the snow light
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Picking up the pieces we break

Ended up with a completely jacked computer

Asus ET2700 disassembled
Part of the reason I splurged on the new desk because – on the days that I work at home – I spend almost the entire day sitting there.

So if I’m going to spend money on anything, it should be a nice work space.

Similarly, a few years ago, I bought myself a really sweet computer. It was a single piece computer with a touchscreen; essentially, it was like having a 27″ table computer to work on. I loved that thing and it made working that much nicer.

Last week, I decided to upgrade the processor for a slight step up in power. I installed it during the mess of building out my desk and everything else and ended up blowing out my computer.

Complete black screen of death. There seems to be a string of completely destroyed computers in my life.

Meanwhile, I had a portfolio of work due to client so I had to do that on my office computer or my actual 10″ tablet (which is as fun as a root canal) while rushing back to (a) finish building out my home office and (b) trying to salvage my machine.

tl;dr: The furniture is essentially assembled but my computer has given up the ghost. So my physical and digital states are both a mess right now.

I ended up buying a set of parts – essentially, this exact list of components – to build myself a dual-booting Windows/Macintosh system.

This has been a really expensive and tiring few weeks. Hopefully, after I’m done, I’ll be happy I did it.

As always, it’s about making it to the other side.

 

Location: in the midst of computer and furniture parts
Mood: still so tired
Music: in the strangest places, picking up the pieces we break
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