It’s not that bad

Running into friends

As I was saying, while Mouse, Chad and I were eating at our usual Vietnamese joint, I locked eyes with this tall fella walking by with a buddy of his that seemed familiar, even though we were both wearing masks.

Him: Logan?
Me: John?

It was actually a buddy of mine from my old judo class out in Queens. The last time we rolled together was just around 9/11. At the time, I was living in the boy’s room, before Abbie. That’s one of the few pics I have of it from back then.

Man, was I a mess before Alison.

In any case, John was in high school then; he now had grey hair.

Me: (turning to Chad) This is actually my coach, Chad. Chad, this is John, he’s a purple belt…
John: I’m a brown, actually. (laughs)
Me: Damn, nice! Sorry.
John: (to Chad) We saw your ears and figured you were a fighter.

The two of them started to chat about our old coach. I stayed out of it since I got it all outta my system but it was interesting to see these two strangers trade very similar notes.

I do remember that I asked my old coach once how he was so ok with his less-than-stellar reputation. He said he was fine with it so I don’t have any compunction telling you.

I wonder what my reputation is like. Like, what do you think of me?

In some ways, I don’t care, in others, I care a great deal. Like my professional life – I care greatly what people say about me and my work product.

Because I don’t advertise at all and I also haven’t had a salary in close to 20 years; it’s always been eating what I kill. And that’s 100% dependent on reputation.

My personal life, I care about my reputation far less so. I’m probably making it all up anyway.

Can’t tell you how many people tell me that I shouldn’t write this blog. But it’s for me. To remember what I want to remember and keep myself honest about what happens in my life.

I suppose I’m rambling again. Anywho, John had to run because he was eating at Playa Betty’s and his table was ready.

Me: Oh, that place is great for kids but the food’s terrible.
Mouse: Why would you say that, Logan?!
Me: (stammering) Uh, uh, well, it’s it’s not that bad…
Everyone: (shakes heads)

Podcast Version
Location: in front of my computer, all day
Mood: busy again
Music: I’m anti-everything, but you (Spotify)
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Sweet Dreams

I’m sorry

Luciano’s mom reached out to me over the weekend and filled me in on some more information.

I didn’t know what to say. What does one say, but, “I’m sorry?”

The truth is, you want to say, “I’m sorry that the world is so fucked up and people like Luciano and Alison are gone but shit-heads like Trump and his progeny still exist. There’s no God and if there is one, he’s a giant asshole and he can go fuck himself.”

But in the end, all you can ever say is, “I’m sorry,” and hope it’s enough.

Speaking of which…

Me: I guess I should take these letters off.
Chad: Do you want me to help?
Me: No. I’ll do it myself. Just…distract me will you?
Him: Sure, I’ll do a dance. (thinking) You should take a picture.
Me: (starting the process) I already did, but thanks.
Him: I’m sorry, Logan.
Me: (nodding)

When Alison moved in, she wanted to paint the boy’s room but I convinced her not to. It was too much trouble, I said. We had already agreed on painting the master bedroom and living room so she relented on what was the guest room.

I kept the paint cans for those two rooms, 11 years after Alison and I got them.

It’s hard letting things go.

The boy’s room, though, was painted by a lovely girl name Abbie in September of 2004, almost exactly 16 years ago. That was the last time it was painted. Abbie painted it when patterns were all the rage but it now made the room look dated.

To the point that, when Mouse lived here, she also asked to paint it, and I said no again. This time for a slightly different reason.

You see, Alison and I put up these stickers that read, “Sweet Dreams.” It was just a random idea that Alison had and she surprised me with the lettering. I still remember her, pregnant and carefully measuring and adjusting the words so that they would be perfect. Which they were – perfectly balanced and exactly in the center of the crib.

That was her in a nutshell.

Now, she always had meant for them to be temporary but once she died, I couldn’t bear the thought of taking them down.

But the boy’s growing up. And he should have a room that he can have for the next 16 years if he wanted, not the room Abbie wanted 16 years ago.

So, this past Sunday, I took the lettering down with Chad. Then Mouse came by and the three of us painted the whole thing.

While we were waiting for it to dry, we went out for food.

Me: Are you two tired of Vietnamese yet?
Them: Nope, not yet.

We ran into an old friend of mine while we were out but I suppose that’s an entry for another time.

Then we came back and we marveled at the room.

Neither of them had ever painted before. It wasn’t perfect but we were happy with it afterward – we didn’t do any of the molding as I figured we’d do that some other time.

But it was good. I think Alison would have liked it.

Hopefully, the boy will.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier today, at 84th, asking for Ariel
Mood: much better
Music: Hold your head up, keep your head up, (Spotify)
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Goodnight, Luciano

I don’t understand why

Haven’t heard from the Devil in months. That worries me because he’s one of the few people in the world I think of as a friend.

How odd, to have a friend you call the Devil.

We’re friends because we see the world in the same way.

Me: Why me?
Him: (shrugging) Because you can separate signal from noise.
Me: So?
Him: As you get older, you’ll realize that most people can’t.

On July 14th, I felt compelled to reach out to this fella named Luciano Anthony.

What a name. Picture a super-built, really good-looking guy that was brilliant and you’d be picturing Luciano. He looked like a dude named Luciano Anthony.

(I also just found out that he went by Luciano Bianco as well – I only ever knew him as Luciano Anthony).

We were never close but he always said hi to me at the gym and was never anything but the nicest fella. He was covered in tats so I immediately made some judgments about him. All wrong.

He had a masters degree in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins and worked as a science engineer. He did woodwork on the side.

Quiet and thoughtful, he was a beast on the mats. I remembered that I liked rolling with him because he always kept his gear clean.

Anywho, Luciano posted something random that night. It seemed out of sorts for what I knew of him.

I’m so fucking clever, you see.

So, I wrote him. I was probably drinking.

He was struggling with some demons. As a friend of the Devil, I know demons. In fact, I knew these particular demons he was struggling with. They’re old hated companions of mine as well.

Him:  (afterwards) Sorry if that’s too straightforward. Don’t have much family or friends so I tend to word vomit.
Me: No. That’s fine. When I say I understand, I really do. And more.

The last thing I said to him was, “I get it. If you’re in heed [sic] of someone to vent to, lemme know.”

That was it. Even though I knew something was wrong, I thought, I did my part. I reached out. I patted myself on the back. And I went back to my life. And I didn’t reach out to him again.

He killed himself exactly a week later. I didn’t know until today.

In ironies of ironies, I just wrote about depression and suicide in my last entry.

In the past four years, I’ve known six – now seven – people that died; I loved two of them completely. Luciano was the only one that took his own life.

I knew there was something wrong but I didn’t follow-up.

I get it. What could I have done? With him, with Alison? But what’s the point of hearing signal if nothing changes, if it doesn’t make a fucking difference anyway?

His mom posted that he died on Facebook. That’s how I found out. Fucking hell. No parent should have to do anything like that.

Like I said, a mother’s love for her child is like nothing else.

I think the same thing I always think whenever I hear about someone as good and as talented as Luciano dying – doubly so when it’s suicide – why?

For all my cleverness, I’ll never understand why. I suppose I don’t really want to. He was only 29. To me, that’s just a kid. What a fucking waste of a good soul.

Goodnight, Luciano. I’m so sorry you suffered and felt like you had to go.

I hope you found your peace.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish.

Podcast Link
Location: Pier 84, talking about Luciano with Chad
Mood: not good
Music: Didn’t get to sleep that night till the morning came (Spotify)
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The Call of the Void

Marley’s Chains

Co-Worker: I thought you were afraid of heights.
Me: I am. Kinda.
Her: Well, you seem fine.
Me: I hide it well.

I’m afraid of heights.

But not in the way you might imagine. There’s particular type of suicidal thought called the “Call of the Void” where, at a very high height, some people feel an incredible urge to jump, even though they don’t wanna.

It’s part of the original siren’s song.

When I was younger, I avoided open heights on the reg because the urge was so strong. It’s part of why I lived in basements and ground floors for essentially my entire life.

This fella named Rudolf Diesel invented the, well, diesel engine. But, he was so convinced that it would be failure that he killed himself. He jumped from a ship into the sea, unable to resist his siren’s song.

Not soon after he killed himself, his engine became the standard of Europe and of most of the trucks here in the US. If only he ignored the song for just a little bit longer.

I’m not – at all – suicidal right now. But I remember hearing my siren’s song a lot, throughout the years. It was partly Diesel’s story that kept me from jumping.

The idea that, maybe it’ll be somehow  ok if I hold out for just a little bit longer, keeps me going.

I bring this up because I saw a buddy recently and he was in a funk.

Him: It was like the start of a depression. But, not depression.
Me: I call that “bummed.” It’s a feeling of general boredom, sadness, and hopelessness all in one. I feel it too. You have to be careful it doesn’t snowball into a full depression.
Him: Yeah. I feel it.

Funny, I always feel it, like Jacob Marley’s chains.

Link by link, and yard by yard…

Podcast Link
Location: outside, feeling the sun on my face, if just for a bit
Mood: So. Damn. Hot.
Music: It’s like a part of me must love it (Spotify)
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Bodies to get over bodies

I understand

Last week was weird, but not terrible. First of all, there was a new contestant that I’ve been putting off for a while.

Me: I’m sorry, I can’t make this week either. Too much happening.
Her: If you don’t want to meet up with me, just say so.
Me: I think what’s more accurate is that, I want to meet up with you; just not enough to break the inertia.
Her: You’re an asshole.
Me: So, I’ve been told.

Because of everything going on, I also didn’t get a chance to meet up with ML but we did speak on the phone.

Me: You shouldn’t trust anyone, including me.
Her: Why?
Me: For me? Because I use bodies to get over bodies. It’s not a good thing. But, it is what I do.
Her: What if a body doesn’t want to be just a body?
Me: This is America; everyone has the right to say “no.” But you won’t. Cause I’m the best you have.
Her: You’re so arrogant.
Me: To be precise, I’m awful. But, I’m honestly awful, because I’ll tell you the truth, even if you don’t wanna hear it.

She insisted on coming by for a “talk” afterward.

Me: You really don’t need to come here.
Her: It’s fine. (later) I’m guessing you know what I’m going to say but…I don’t think we’re right for each other.
Me: OK, I can see that.
Her: Wait, that’s it? You don’t want to know why?
Me: If you want to tell me, that’s fine. I’ll listen. But, either way, I understand.
Her: (leaning forward) Are you sure, Logan? You understand? (kisses me)
Me: (pulling back) Wait, what just happened here?

I suppose we woulda spoken more except that’s when the cable guy finally showed up and so she left. I think she exited my Venn Diagram or I exited hers.

Although, I suppose, that’s a distinction without a difference.

The following day, Lviv came by with sushi, which we had to eat in the kid’s room because it was the only one with a working air conditioner.

She grossly underestimated how much I eat but that’s neither here nor there.

Her: I don’t think we’re right for each other.
Me: (nodding) I’m hearing that a lot. I understand.

We ended up taking a walk afterward and came back to mine, when she got a phone call.

Her: (The other guy I like) is in the neighborhood.
Me: You should go with him. Or go home. But, you can’t stay here.
Her: Why not?
Me: It’s for the best. He’s more your fella than me. It’s fine. I use people to pass the time, and people use me to pass the time. That’s the deal.

I suppose I’m ok with everyone exiting my Venn Diagram because they were all non-starters for one reason or another.

The next day, I was in a car with a female friend, who ran a red light and almost killed me.

Me: Red light, RED LIGHT, REDLIGHT!!!!
Her: OMG, sorry!
Me: Well, I’m awake now.

After all that, I did end the week with one really sweet conversation, though. You see, I made a last-minute trip to see the boy and we spent the day together before I tucked him into bed.

Him: Be safe, papa. (starting to cry) I’m free tomorrow morning. If you’re free tomorrow morning too, you can call me.
Me: (smiling) I think I’ll be free.
Him: Good night. I love you.
Me: Mommy and I both love you so much, kiddo. Get some sleep.

Podcast Version
Location: my oven-like apartment
Mood: tired
Music: Baby, it’s okay if I’m still the best you had (Spotify)
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About Naya

Being a feminist

I’m pausing my usual nuthin to talk about a celebrity.

The last celebrity death I wrote about was George Michael. Today, it’s about Naya Rivera, who died earlier this month.

I’m writing because I assume that not everyone who reads this blog keeps up with television actresses – or 80s pop singers for that matter.

But Rivera deserves a mention for reasons you’ll soon understand.

All evidence seems to point to the fact that she and her son went swimming on an unmoored boat. Rivera probably realized that the boat was slipping away from her and made a choice – a mother’s choice.

She swam after that boat, carrying her son. She musta used all her strength to (a) get to the boat, and (b) get her wet, exhausted four-year old son onto it.

My kid’s four-years old. He’s heavy as it is; I can’t imagine how heavy he’d be wet and tired.

Yet, this lady got her son back onto the boat. It’s apparent that she used the last of her strength to get him to safety because, according to her son, he saw her disappear under the surface of the water.

Think about that.

She was close enough to him that he could see her die. There’s no way she wanted that but she had no strength left.

Alison and I used to watch Glee from time-to-time, but I don’t know anything about Miss Rivera except how she died. I gotta say, that’s enough. She died saving someone she loved more than herself.

That tells me everything I need to know about her. She died her child’s guard. There is no greater love than that.

I said it before, A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things, and crushes down, remorselessly, all that stands in its path.

Since we’re on the topic, I was asked once if I considered myself a feminist. I never thought about it, really.

I’m definitely not chivalrous because that’s just a bullshit way to say that (a) you’re gonna treat someone differently because they do or do not have a particular organ, and (b) that women are weak and need a man’s help. Fuck that.

Alison was the toughest person – man, woman, or child – I have ever met.

You would not believe the shit that Alison went through to stay with her son. And she did so with complete and utter stoicism.

I find Trump supporters particularly distasteful because they support such a weak, whiny, shadow of a man. Like, shut the fuck up you big whiny crybaby. Jesus Christ, don’t you ever get tired of whining?

Alison’s pinky was tougher than Captain Bone-Spurs entire corpulent gross body. And Alison’s mom and then my mom are the second and third toughest people – not women, people – I know. Mouse is up there too.

Women give birth. Women suffer unbelievably for their family and children. For a man to have anything but a profound respect for women, celebrity or otherwise, is to just admit that they are weak, fragile, bone-spur nothings.

If that means I’m a feminist, sure. If nuthin else, this blog is all about me being a fan of women, which I find ridiculous that I even need to point out.

But we’re living in a time when stupid is full-on run amok, so there you go.

Anywho, I wanted you to know that Rivera died, not as a celebrity, but as mother trying – and succeeding – to save her child.

That’s a life worth remembering. That lady was tough as shit, actress, celebrity, or whatever. Tough. As. Shit.

OK, back to the usual nonsense next week.

Podcast Version
Location: my slightly less-hot apartment
Mood: humbled
Music: She is the best thing that’s ever been mine (Spotify)
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When it rains, it pours

Future reference

After my disastrous week last week, one would think that my week would improve.

But, dear reader, you know that my luck is always of the stripe you don’t want.

Case-in-point, I had a young lady here the other night.

Her: I like the heat, but this is ridiculous. (looking at thermometer) It’s 88 degrees in here!
Me: I think my AC may be broken.
Her: No kidding…

Turns out that BOTH my ACs – which I just got when Alison was sick to keep her comfortable – aren’t working. So, I spent today trying to schedule someone to come in and just happened to get someone in tomorrow.

But, in the middle of scheduling it, my internet goes out. Turns out my physical cable’s bad, so I stop scheduling the AC repair so I can schedule the cable company to come in tomorrow.

As I pull up my calendar, I also realize that I’ve got workmen here tomorrow to repair part of my building’s brick wall.

Finally, it’s supposed to thunderstorm tomorrow so I may also find out if my flooding issue is actually fixed.

For serious, home ownership isn’t at all what it’s cracked up to be.

Like I said, when it rains, it pours.

Me: Dessert?
Lviv: What no tea?
Me: I didn’t know you wanted any.
Her: I don’t think you’re really dating that many people from my country as you say. There’s no such thing as dessert without tea or coffee for us.
Me: I’ll file that away for future reference.

Podcast Version
Location: my 92 degree apartment
Mood: still exhausted, man
Music: I’m tryna fix this damage, yeah (Spotify)
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If you want something done…

…get a busy person to do it

There’s a saying I like that goes something like, If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.

The day after furiously bailing water because of the flooding and then wiping stuff down, I was physically drained but my network had been giving me intermittent problems. So, I figured, since I was exhausted, I should just take care of that too.

To wit, I converted my traditional router set up to a mesh-router setup. It took six hours because it turns out that TWO of the three units I got were defective.

Me: (at midnight) So, what do I do now?
Customer Service: We’ll send you out two replacement ones today.
Me: Sweeeeet.

Surprisingly, I managed to get an old unit working again so, with two mesh units running, I crashed hard.

Woke up the next day and looked over at my computer case.

It was this cool glass and metal case called the Phanteks Evolv Shift ITX (this is the mesh version which isn’t as cool looking) but it was just slightly larger than I needed, at an internal capacity of 22 liters. So, a while ago, I got the 19.9 liter Cougar QBX case instead – much plainer looking but also much smaller.

I painted the front cherry red just cause I like pretty things.

Beer in hand, I gutted the Evolv and shoved everything – literally and figuratively – into the QBX.

Then, if all that weren’t enough, I needed to get some sandbags as a hedge against the thunderstorm that we’re supposed to be getting in tomorrow and Mouse just happened to in the area with a van earlier last week.

Me: Wait, can you drive me over to Amsterdam and 74th?
Her: Sure, get in.

Ended up getting ten 50-pound bags of sand and hauled them back to my pad.

Then, just today – in 95 degree weather – I put that quarter ton of sand into 14 sandbags and laid those out, installed an autosensing water pump, as well as a 50 gallon water barrel – molded into a tasteful white planter, of course.

Like I said, I like pretty things.

Speaking of pretty things, Mouse came by to roll with Chad and me over the weekend and, afterward, I treated myself to a film with her as a small reward.

Me: I saw this movie in theatres when it came out. You were negative 3 years old .
Mouse: Did it cost a penny?

I really should stop watching films with other people and just watch them alone.

Note that if you’re at all interested in SFFPCs, there’s a  Reddit thread I just found today on the topic.

Podcast Version
Location: today, my back yard, filling bags of sand for what seemed like forever
Mood: exhausted, man, exhausted
Music: you can take me home (Spotify)
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Why do you have to ruin everything, Logan?

My apartment flooded

Last week was one of the craziest weeks in my life.

First of all, my apartment flooded. See, I live on the ground floor of a townhouse in Manhattan and, prior to my buying it, my pad would flood every so often.

But once I bought it, my buddy and I spent the first few months trying to figure out how to solve the issue. We did.

For well over 15 years, it’s never flooded. Not even close. Then, last Thursday – during that crazy freak thunderstorm – it did. Worse than I’d ever seen it before.

Four sets of plumbers later, it turns out that a rock somehow got into our system. The plumber wasn’t able to remove it but did manage to blast out all the debris around the rock so that the water would/could flow freely again.

At some point next summer, I’m gonna have to have someone cut into my wall, cut out a piece of pipe, remove the rock, replace the pipe, replace the wall, and get the whole thing repainted.

Home ownership isn’t at all what it’s all cracked up to be.

That’s only part of the week but no sense in telling you everything all at once.

On a different point entirely, it was Lviv’s birthday the other day so I invited her over to eat – Vietnamese again because I honestly don’t think there’s anything better when the weather’s hot.

Also got her a small cake/huge cupcake.

All-in-all, it was pretty nice. Well, that is until we settled down to watch a film.

Her: Oh, look at the swans.
Me: I think they’re ducks
Her: Why do you have to ruin everything, Logan?!

For what it’s worth, I assume no one ever means, “duck.”

Podcast Version
Location: my empty apartment, post Mouse and Chad eating all the food
Mood: exhausted
Music: You tell me I won’t ever change so I just say nothing (Spotify)
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Heartgirl was Queen of my Heart

Except in reverse

Speaking of sad stories, I finally told Lviv mine before she went home for a bit.

Her: Can I ask what happened yet?
Me: I suppose you earned my sad stories. I’ll need some rum. (deep breath)
Her: (later) I’m sorry, Logan.
Me: Yeah, so am I.
Her: (wipes eyes) Man, I need a drink now.
Me: Yeah.
Her: I’m glad she had you.
Me: Yeah. (sighing) Lucky her. She was Queen of my Heart and I was her guard.

Lviv’s heart is in NYC but her home’s somewhere else.

I understand that all too well, except in reverse.

I took that pic of Alison/Heartgirl the second night I ever met her. Told her that, if she was my Ship in the Night Girl, I’d marry her someday. I never said that to anyone.

She laughed. But she was.

She had the most beautiful green eyes and happy laugh.

There’s no sin I wouldn’t commit to see and hear them again.

Podcast Version
Location: my hot, hot, home
Mood: drunk
Music: Your love is a secret I’m hoping, dreaming, dying to keep (Spotify)
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