2011 – Who ready? I’m ready.

Two years ago, said that my feet were pointed home. It’s been quite a slog, what with the economy and all the drama the past several years.

Said it lotsa times that all of your troubles can be neatly packed into health, wealth, & relationships.

Lemme add to that with a quote from a clergyman named Edward Everett who said, “Never bear more than one trouble at a time. Some people bear three kinds – all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have.” It’s hard, to be right here, right now.

Think for the past several years, been bearing all three types of all three times at once. Think I spent the last two years mentally unloading as much as possible to just concentrate on the troublesa right now – which, admittedly, isn’t much. This is a good thing.

There was this study called The Fox Farm Experiment where they found that if you stress dogs out about their survival they began to look more and more like wolves/foxes; and it happened hella fast.

Think that’s true for us too. When we bear all three types and of all three times at once, we turn greyer and more vicious. It’s just a survival thing, I think, and probably a necessary thing. But who wants to be greyer and vicious forever?

About two years ago, sat down and mapped out where I wanted to be – did it in this entry, even though there’s no explicit mention of it. See, y’can’t get to where you wanna be if y’don’t know where you’re going, yeah? Even through all the muck and mire, kept following that map and ended up starting the ascent earlier this year.

Just wanna keep on track for 2011.

To that end, spent the last few days refining my map for 2011 – suppose I’ll tell you about it soon enough. For now, lemme say, I’m excited for us.

It’s stupid, really – December 31st is an arbitrary day and essentially no different than any other. But we say it’s different, yeah? What we say of things in our heads make them real or not. Makes us wolves or men. So we say that 12/31’s when we reset and try something new, great or small.

Who ready? I’m ready. You ready?

Location: 2010
Mood: excited
Music: Came to party till I can’t no more Celebrate cuz that’s all I know
YASYCTAI: Make a new map (120 mins/3 pts)
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NYC Blizzard of 2010 / Books I read in 2010

Snow storm in NYC

Him: “Streetsmart?” That’s what stupid people say when they don’t like to read or know anything about anything.

Did you have a nice holiday? Hope you did. Didn’t do much myself, just saw the folks and ate my weight in Chinese good. Nuthin beats homemade food, yeah?

Just got in from shoveling a ton of snow in the UWS. About two feet of drifts where I am. NYC’s pretty for about 20 minutes in times like this. Then everything turns grey and icy.

Since I’m working from home today, figured that I’d read. Don’t think I ever told you but I’m a business book reviewer for the New York Journal of Books. Read twenty-one books for them in 2010:

  1. The Power Formula for Linkedin Success
  2. Smarter, Faster, Cheaper: Non-Boring, Fluff-Free Strategies for Marketing and Promoting Your Business
  3. Euphemania: Our Love Affair with Euphemisms
  4. Never Get a “Real” Job: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business, and Not Go Broke
  5. SuperFreakonomics, Illustrated Edition
  6. Comebacks at Work: Using Conversation to Master Confrontation
  7. The Referral Engine
  8. Rework <- Excellent book
  9. How the Mighty Fall . . . And Why Some Companies Never Give In <- ditto
  10. The Law (in Plain English) for Photographers
  11. The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers
  12. Mastering the VC Game
  13. Design Is How It Works
  14. Linchpin
  15. The Wisdom of Bees: What the Hive Can Teach Business about Leadership, Efficiency, and Growth
  16. The New Rules of Marketing and PR
  17. The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics
  18. Living Trusts for Everyone: Why a Will Is Not the Way to Avoid Probate, Protect Heirs, and Settle Estates
  19. Legal Guide for the Visual Artist
  20. How to Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave False Trails, and Vanish Without a Trace
  21. Free: The Future of a Radical Price <- ditto

Probably read about 25 books total this year. Use to read a lot more but I’ve been sleeping better so that’s gone down a bit.

Did you read any good books this year?

Location: my warm living room
Mood: cozy
Music: She looks around There are snowflakes on the ground
YASYCTAI: Stay in if you’re in NYC. It’s horrid out. (24 hrs/0.5 pt)
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Getting together with friends

427 Shelby Cobra

Me: Dude, we’ve known each other almost 20 years.
Him: Crazy, right? S’funny when you start talking about time in decades.

Met up with a buncha buddies the other night; random get together over cheap wings, rum, and beer(s). They all went to Cornell but they never hung out with each other. Goes back to my theory that your friends’re mirrors to some aspect of you. Bryson’s my fighting buddy, Paul’s my wingman, and Ricky’s fellow entrepreneur – check out his nysteals.

Onea them once said to me that he liked meeting my friends cause, “You’re not a douchebag, so you don’t have douchebag friends” – which is just another waya saying my mirror theory, I suppose.

Almost four years ago, wrote about this story my pastor likes to tell.

JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and a third writer were all close friends and when the third writer died (Charles Williams?), CS Lewis said something along the lines of “When he died, I thought, ‘at least I’ll have more of JRR, but in fact I had less,’” meaning that, when the third friend died, CS Lewis found that the third friend brought out things in Tolkien that CS couldn’t.

It’s true. Eacha those guys all draw out some different side to my personality. It’s why it’s always interesting when y’get a group of completely unrelated friends together and see what happens. We all hung out for over three hours on a weekday night without a moment of awkward silence.

On a distantly related note, my liver’s not speaking to me this week.

Location: getting ready for work at my pad
Mood: accomplished
Music: Good times, bad times, give me some of that
YASYCTAI: Get a small group of friends together just to see what happens. (three hours/2 pts)
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Forgive or Relive

427 Shelby Cobra
(c) someone else

Me: Naja, Vielen Dank für Ihren Besuch.
Her: Frohe Weihnachten!

Went to church last night. It’s always nice to hear carols around this time of year. An old woman stopped by and asked me about the church – we chatted a bit when I noticed her accent. Turns out she’s from Germany so said a few words to her. Forgotten a lotta it.

Once told someone that if I remembered everything I once knew, I’d be the smartest person I’d ever met. Then again, if we didn’t forget stuff, life’d be hell. Blessed are the forgetful, yeah?

There’s an acquaintance of mine that seems obsessed with a mutual friend. They broke up a while ago but she hates him with a passion. Thing’s that I know this fella pretty well and he’s a good guy. To hear him tell it, it just didn’t work out; to hear her tell it, he was the devil spawn – but for no real reason.

From everything she’s ever said, he was, at most, just inattentive at times. They only dated a few months.

His biggest crime is perhaps that he just never thinks of her. There’s never a mention of her at all unless I bring it up, at which point, he’s always happy to hear that she’s doing well. On her side, she somehow construes every success he has in some negative term – and he’s quite successful.

The mark of an adult, I think, is to realize that some things just don’t work out. For a long time, wanted a 1967 Shelby Cobra. But it’s not really a car for NY winters – or a family. It’s not appropriate for me any longer, if it ever was.

This is not to say that she doesn’t honestly have a reason to be upset. But it’s killing her and doing nuthin to him. So what’s the pointa the poison?

This fella named Alan Paton once said that, When a deep injury is done us, we never recover until we forgive. And I once said that I used to wanna call the ex to tell her that I survived the blow. But stopped caring enough ages ago to ever bother.

Anywho, the acquaintance doesn’t read my blog but wanna tell her the next time I see her that she’s saying a lot more with her hate than she ever said said otherwise. ‘Tis the season and all that jazz, y’know?

Me: Well then, thanks for vising us.
Her: Happy Christmas!

Location: last night, singing Joy to the world on Broadway
Mood: relaxed
Music: Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
YASYCTAI: Forgive and forget already, we’ll all tired of hearing you rant. (1 second/3 pts)
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Getting the annual physical

42nd Street and Fifth Avenue sign
Her: I found a coat I like!
Me: (laughing) Imagine, by this time next year, you’ll have both a new coat and a new husband.
Her: Yes. (pause) But I’ll have a new coat!

Went to the doc’s and got stuck with a lotta needles; funny thing was that another nurse stopped by the house earlier that day to draw some blood. Also got the flu shot too just for kicks. Don’t really have a problem with needles but the pinprick they gave me to run some tests “hurt like the dickens.”

Nurse: No one’s ever said that to me.
Me: (rubbing finger) Really? Cause it does…

Afterward, treated myself to a donut. Didn’t have whole wheat so just got a blueberry with a large cuppa coffee.

The doc’s not a fan of my continuing to do what I do, but he says that as long as I don’t actually compete – where someone is trying to do me grevious bodily harm – should be ok. He does want to me to get a buncha x-rays, which he says’s justa precaution.

Man, want another donut now…

Location: yest, opening up and saying “ahhhh” on Amsterdam
Mood: rushed
Music: was counting on you but now I know you’re just a first class fool
YASYCTAI: Time for that annual physical. (120 mins/1.5 pts)
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The Revenge of the Nerds

Man on New York City Subway
Me: Shazam?! He’s like Superman. Like he was an imitation of Superman but now he’s not.
Her: So you expect me to know about some fake Superman?
Me: It’s Shazam!
Her: (shaking head) You’re the only person in America who knows who he is.
Me: He’s Shazam!

Two major things happened this past week:

  1. Slept for 9.5 hours. Straight. Without waking up once (ok, maybe once, but that’s it),
  2. Realized that I cannot change the past.

Both happened on the same night.

Years ago, I secretly decided to compete in mixed-martial arts. Wasn’t planning on telling anyone, was just planning on doing it. But a serious injury derailed that. So spent the next ten years recuperating and being pretty bitter about the whole thing. During that time, people who were my equals, like Bryson, became my betters.

John McCain called the sport human cock-fighting. But he’s wrong. To paraphrase my wrestling coach, it’s not about violence for violence’s sake. It’s strategy, skill, and reasoning overcoming violence. It’s a very nerd-oriented spot.

Am too old to compete professionally. But heard that Al Bundy started rolling in his 40s and’s now a blackbelt; the instructor of the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world only started when he was 29. Rolling for rolling’s sake.

Seeing the doc tomorrow for the ok, and then am gonna see if I can at least train (kinda) hard again. Feel my teeth again.

———-

Met up with Tess/Clara and my friend Tony for a cup of coffee and a plate of cheese in the meatpacking district. We all keep changing but it’s nice to have people that pop in and out of our venn diagrams as we do it.

As an aside, told Tess that onea my favourite books is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, although it’s a girl’s book. She thought it was odd that I’d identify one book as a girl’s book. Never thought it about it much but I do think that some books are written with girls in mind, some with boys, some for businessmen, etc.

More interesting to me is how people see and hear things in the world. We all have our map of the world.

Location: still hopefully Croxley later
Mood: ambitious
Music: All is calm, all is bright
YASYCTAI: Push-up time. 50? (10 mins/1 pt)
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Aerelon: No one that was born poor wants to stay poor

Mona Lisa on a NYC Building

1983
Me: Why do I have to know what a salad fork looks like?
Him: (exasperated) Because, one day you’ll sit down with people that have a fork for salads and you’ll need to know which one to use. Now’s what’s that?
Me: Soup spoon.
Him: (beaming) Yes, soup spoon. That’s right. Good.

Thanks for taking the time to write a comment or email. Found it all really interesting the very different views people had. It’s funny but minorities & native-New Yorkers saw one thing (the second exchange) while non-minorities & non-New Yorkers pretty uniformly saw another (the first exchange).

As I wrote, that was the entire conversation; she never even bothered to respond. And rather than deal with any of the points I made, she sniffed, “Ugh, Logan, ugh! Privileged sentiments bore me.”

Like Nietzxche said, “Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.” She’s so smugly certain she’s right, she has no need to respond to new information.

Switching gears, you can always tells someone that used to be fat. They lumber. They walk as if they still carry the weight.

When I did lose the weight, onea of first things I did was ask my mom to buy me a nice sweater. She brought me to Alexander’s and I picked out a grey sweater from a bin. Got it big just in case I got fat again.

Wore that sweater proudly cause I got it at a department store. At the time, we didn’t usually get our clothes from a department store. When I told Grace in school about it, she laughed and said that only poor people shopped at Alexander’s and that I probably got it from the bargain bin. So I put the sweater away and only wore it at home.

It took me years to unlearn how to walk like fat person. Just like it took me years so that people didn’t immediately say, “You sound like you’re from Queens.” And years to know that what other people think of me is nonea my business.

Still, gotta admit that “privileged sentiments” made me pause. But not for reasons y’might think.

That I don’t sound like someone born to penniless immigrant parents outside an industrial park in Queens, New York, I take as a particular compliment. No one that was born poor idealizes it, only rich folk that have no clue.

Take it as a testimony to those parents who made sure, even though we grew up with halfa nuthin, we still got a proper upbringing – jia1jiao4. They taught me manners, how to love reading, and how to figure out which one was the salad fork.

“Privileged sentiments” – gotta tell my mom. She’ll take that as a particular compliment too.

And now, geekiness:

Location: hopefully Croxley later
Mood: lethargic
Music: You got the talking down, just not the listening
YASYCTAI: Seriously, stop idealizing things you know nuthin about. NYC in 1993 is hardly NYC when it was gritty. Try five years earlier on for size. (2 mins/1 pt)
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Privileged nights in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Le Parker Meridien, NYC

Lobby of Le Parker Meridien, NYC

So, Le Parker Meridien was pretty nice. They were giving away two tix to Paris and called out the name of the firm first – my firm. Told my boss that I hoped it was me and then he won.

Thought that was pretty funny. I ended up winning a candle holder. It’s better than spending a buck to win a buck, I suppose.

The next night, had dinner with the lawyer that represented the first Guantanamo Bay defendant. Was a pretty eye opening dinner. Not at liberty to give away much but the facts are that the government had five years to prep against this lawyer with really only two people helping him. The government brought up 260 charges and only one stuck.

Makes one wonder how strong the government case was to begin with.

———-

Below is an actual conversation, verbatim, on my previous post with a female friend – not HG.

If you’ve read me for a while, I’d like to know your thoughts on the conversation? Note, it was a public conversation so she expressly wanted this read. Specifically, how do I come across to you and how does she come across to you?

I’ll give you my thoughts next time.

Her: I’m one of those people who miss the old NYC. I moved here in ’93 and there was a real sense that anyone could move here and create whatever life they wanted. No way does that still exist. I think when people say NYC isn’t what it used to be, what they are trying to get at is the diversity back then meant NYC was open to anyone. It’s not about grit being cool. It’s about a city that had a place for everyone, regardless of class. That’s just not true anymore.
Me: Heya! I think that, in that regard, NYC’s an even better place now that it was back then. We have a mayor that’s expressly pro art, with major art install oftions all over the city. Moreover, its safer and more tolerant here than ever. We still have places for everyone: artists, businessmen and – surprising even to me – families. I would never have considered raising a family in the UWS or Battery Park before and now it’s an option.
Her: Ugh, Logan, ugh! Privileged sentiments bore me.
Me: (I’m) perplexed. Are you saying I’m the privileged one?

That is the entire conversation.

Location: In my warm room
Mood: Still kinda irritated
Music: Who cares if you disagree? You are not me
YASYCTAI: Tell me what you think of that. (2 mins/0.5 pts)
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NYC isn’t what it used to be. Thankfully.

Times Square, NYC on a summer night

Her: You know, when you go out, you don’t need to eat everything they give you.
Me: (staring blankly)
Her: (sighing) Nevermind…

It’s holiday party time. Got client events at fancy hotels, steakhouses, ballrooms, and hidden bars on tap this time around. This week, heading to Le Parker Meridien.

Not sure if it beats all-you-can-eat wings and pitcher beer but I’ll find out. Should probably hit the gym. Later.

———-

People who aren’t from here often comment about how they miss the “grit” and “coolness” of NYC in the 80s and 90s.

Cannot tell you how much that annoys me.

For anyone that grew up here during that time, no one misses it. It’s one thing if you come to city as if you’re a tourist at the zoo and get to go home to a nice colonial in the suburbs. It’s another if you have to walk by hookers and over bums to get home off Times Square.

People talk about NYC my home when it was a hell-hole back in the 70s-90s as if it was a movie and y’can just turn it off when you’re done. Lemme tell you that being a fat, awkward, minority nerd during that time was unpleasant.

Very unpleasant.

If you wanna see an idealized NYC where you’re safe walking down the street but can still oogle the seediness without smelling the urine or taking knee to the gut off 14th street, rent a film.

You don’t see me driving to your lawn in Connecticut saying, “This is so sterile and safe – but bears and wolves, now that’d be cool. Oooh, imagine if there was one chasing someone right now! Not us, of course. Or anyone we love. Someone else. Maybe a fat Chinese guy with glasses reading Sherlock Holmes.”

Location: Looking out a rainy window
Mood: irritated
Music: Good times never seem so good – so good, so good, so good
YASYCTAI: Stop idealizing things and be grateful for what you got. (2 mins/1 pt)
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