Logan Cooks: Sets off smoke alarms / Working out makes you smarter

Rainy night on the UWS in NYC,NY

Thanks for welcoming the wife to the blog yesterday. On the heels of her cooking, I tried to make kale chips yesterday and set off every smoke alarm in the house.

Everything in the pad smells vaguely of brush fire.

———-

Had an interesting talk the other day with someone about how I find the time to work out as often as I do.

For me, the constant working out has less to do with things like fitness and health and more to do with just keeping my insomnia at bay.

It was my buddy Steele – who gets up at the crack of dawn five days a week to hit the gym – who impressed upon me how important fatigue is for good sleep.

Turns out that there’s an added benefit that it actually makes you smarter.

For more than a decade, [experts] have been gathering evidence of the beneficial relationship between exercise and brainpower. But the newest findings make it clear that this isn’t just a relationship; it is the relationship.

Like sleep, however, I may be singularly resistant to its benefits.

Her: Hello?
Me: It’s me. I want to start by saying that I’m fine. I may have burned something in the oven and filled the entire apartment with smoke. It’s freezing in the house because I had to open all the windows.
Her: Could you try not to be dead when I get home?
Me: Unrelated to this episode, that’s essentially my day-to-day goal.

Location: getting ready to hit the gym
Mood: focused
Music: Give me the food and let me grow
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Alli Cooks: A Simple Saturday Dinner

Beet chips before baking

Hi everyone – HG here (aka Alli Lo)  Nice to “meet” all of Logan’s readers! The husband has graciously allowed me to use his blog in order to chronicle my newest adventure: cooking!

My kitchen has finally become more than just that room where I make PB&J sandwiches. Seriously, though I do plan to actually use my stove on a more regular basis primarily due to:

  1. my unsatisfactory cholesterol levels;
  2. the hope that I can alleviate the negative physiological effects of work stress by consuming healthier (ed: see note below) food rather than copious amounts of pinot noir; and
  3. a recommendation by my brother-in-law to check out Eat to Live for the diet’s overall health benefits. Logan is the principle cook in the house, but I thought it would be fun to document some of my meals.

ETL recommends a diet consisting primarily of fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes, limited nuts and wheat, and very little to no animal products and processed foods. I try to follow this diet as much as possible during the week; however, I generally incorporate lean meats and eggs into my weekend meals to accommodate Logan as well as my carnivore tendencies.

Also, you’d have to pry café con leche and Fage yogurt out of my cold dead hands so I allow myself 1-2 servings of dairy each week.

I’m by no means a foodie and am still mastering the basics so my meals generally involve simple preparation of whole foods.

On to the first entry!

First dinner

Saturday Dinner

  • Chicken Breast with Mushrooms, Shallots, and Tomatoes
  • Lentil Soup
  • Baked Beet Chips
  • Salad of Romaine Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Kalamata Olives

The chicken breast was actually a leftover from dinner out on Friday. I sauteed mushrooms, shallots, and tomatoes with a touch of olive oil, garlic, oregano, and basil to top the chicken. Refreshing the doggy bag with fresh ingredients was a great time-saver as Saturday was too nice a day to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

The beet chips and lentil soup are from my new “Power Foods” cookbook. For the soup, just combine 1.5 cups green lentils, 4 carrots sliced 1/2-inch thick, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and 6 cups water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and let simmer for 45 minutes. Before serving, squeeze in a bit of lemon juice.

This soup is a piece of cake (oh cake…I love cake…I miss cake…chocolate cake…coconut cake…cake frosting…okay, I’m back. On a great note the garcinia cambogia results are truly remarkable, I can truly feel better, like my skin is present).

For a one-dish meal the next day, you can pour the leftover lentil mixture over a protein pasta like Barilla Plus.

———-

editorial  note:
I may be the only person on the planet that cares but technically, food’s healthful for you; if food is healthy for you, that means it does push-up and sprints just to be healthy for you.

On an unrelated point, still don’t understand why I had no friends in high school.

location: in bed, watching Dancing with the Stars
mood: shut it, Logan
music: but I won’t stop and falter
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If left to my own devices, my only expenses would be…

JFK in NYC

HG: Logan?
Me: Yeah?
HG: I never thought I’d ever say these words in my life but: Could you please stop swinging wooden swords around the house?

Things have returned (mostly) back to normal. I’m sleeping my usual five hours a night again and I’m back in the swing of things. (Literally – ha ha! Ok, I’ll stop now).

It’s a pretty amazing time to be alive right now; still don’t have my flying car but I got my Dick Tracy Two-Way watch in the form of my iPhone, amongst other things.

A recent survey put New York City as the 47th most expensive place to live in the world – a huge drop from 7th, which is a good thing.

I live pretty inexpensively myself as my favourite forms of entertainment are free – the web and walks. If left to my own devices, my only expenses would be rum, chili, gyros, coffee, my mortgage, the gym, laundry, and my tailor.

That was actually a longer list than I expected.

What about you?

———-

HG cooked over the weekend and documented it.

So, as an added side benefit, she’ll actually be making a food post tomorrow (and perhaps again on Thursday) if you’re interested.

And then back to the usual nuthin on Wednesday.

Location: desk, getting ready to walk in the rain
Mood: pensive
Music: And I may do something I might regret the next day
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Travelogue Malaga Day 4 & 5

Food and drink on a balcony on the AC Hotel overlooking, Malaga, Spain

That was a non-alcoholic beer. No, I have no explanation for it.

2012.04.16

Me: Your batteries are low. You should always be charging something.
Her: If you had an autobiography, you should call it that.
Me: What was the other I said that you said would be a good title for me?
Her: “I’m full of ham and other late night confessions.”

We wake up later than we thought we would but this is because, after four days, I finally get six uninterrupted hours of sleep. I wake up and see that my hands are steady once again.

We walk out the door and head over to the cathedral, which is on the next block.

The tours are closed so we pay for a viewing of their replica of the Shroud of Turin. Yes, it’s a replica. But it was the only way to see the inside of the church.

They tell us not to take pictures and I say that I won’t take pictures of the exhibit. And I don’t take pictures of the exhibit.

The cathedral in Malaga, Spain

We end up going to another tapas place.

Her: OK, this is nice.
Me: (looking up) I’ll stand guard for birds.

We order almost exactly what we had the other day but this time, it was without bird poop.

The tapas, it turns out, are much better without bird poop. Good advice for life in general.

Street scene in Malaga, Spain

2012.04.17
We wake up early and pick up food at the local bakery again. It’s so early that they don’t have much prepared so I wait for them to make me a sandwich.

A few hours later, we’re in a cab to the airport, and soon on a flight back to Dublin. We get off and I’m starving so we pick up some food at the food court.

Airport in Malaga, Spain

More accurately, I pick up some food at the food court but soon regret my, admittedly, random choices.

Me: Perhaps having a burger, fries, yoghurt, dates, coffee, and an errant cashew right before a transatlantic flight wasn’t the best idea.
Her: You think?

We eventually make it onto our flight home and I spend a little time writing these entries.

It’s late when the plane lands at JFK. We forget that customs is always a bear. But eventually that’s over and a really nice hack gets us home relatively fast.

Some 18 hours after we begin our trip home, we get home.

Her: We’re home!
Me: Sweet! Let me check on Harold.

Harold is obviously upset we went away as he says nothing and he gives me the silent treatment even now.

Still, that aside, it’s good to be home. And now, work.

Woman on balcony in Malaga, Spain
Horses and carriages in Malaga, Spain
Logan Lo, in Malaga, Spain

Location: home, getting dressed for the office
Mood: busy
Music: took what they offered me To set me free
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Travelogue Malaga Day 3 / All food, all the time

Two cups of Café con leche and a pain au chocolat in Malaga, Spain

2012.04.15

We both wake up just in time for a tour of the Picasso museum. Rather, once again, she wakes up and I get up.

The museum is very interesting, actually. No pics though. As we wend our way around these beautiful objects, I’m reminded of something Lorne Michaels once said, Sadly, talent and character do not often reside in the same person.

Afterward, we go out to eat where we order a traditional meal of tapas. In Malaga, they always give you a basket of bread but never any butter or oil to go with it. Find this a bit odd but HG is less concerned. Things are going fairly well until a bird decides to poop on the table in front of HG; in the pic below the crime happens between the bread and the wine.

She is displeased. Thus ends lunch.

Beer, bread, and wine in Malaga, Spain

We go back to the hotel and I actually get some sleep for once. When we wake up, we head out and explore the city a bit. As the rain begins to fall, we end up at a traditional market where people look at me funny cause I’m taking pics of where they pick up their dinner.

Ducking into a café when the rain picks up, we have two café con leche and split a pan du de chocolate as an old man asks us if we want lottery tickets. In light of our recent luck with them, we decline and like the man yesterday, he exclaims, Such a shame!

Eventually, we walk over to try and see the cathedral, but it’s already closed. So we take cover in a doorway and keep our eyes out for birds.

When the weather lets up, we make our ways to the ruins of the Moorish castle, Alcazaba and then the 2300 year old ruins of the Roman arena I saw yesterday.

Her: It’s pretty amazing that people in Europe get to have things like this all over the place.
Me: It really is.

Wine and a mojito in Malaga, Spain

We then we head over and get some libations: she orders a glass of white wine, I order a Mojito.

Her: I can’t believe you’re eating all the mint.
Me: It’s like a drink and a salad all at once.

Soon, we find our way to a restaurant for a proper dinner. I decide on something called a Migas and ask HG to ask the waiter what it is.

Him: Um, maybe he should pick something else.
Her: Why, what is it? (the waiter begins to explain when HG thinks and says) Actually, it doesn’t matter. He’ll eat anything.

It’s pretty good, if not very greasy. She orders the paella and can’t finish that so I eat that as well.

A Migas meal in Malaga, Spain

We take a walk back to the hotel and end up watching “500 Days of Summer” – a film we’ve both been avoiding for a while.

Turned out to be pretty realistic; people, especially men, have been told by Hollywood what love is all about. And real love’s nuthin like what you see in moving pictures. We enjoy it.

We then try to sleep but the noise outside on a Saturday night is indescribably loud.

As I get up and head to the bathroom, I steady myself against the sink. The hand shaking continues.

It’s been a while since my insomnia’s been so bad and for a moment, I despair a bit, thinking maybe it’s back again as it was.

But then remind myself that I’m traveling. Running my hands under the cold water, I look up and see a terribly old-looking man staring back at me.

A butcher in the market of Malaga, Spain
A church in Malaga, Spain

Location: my apartment, looking for more food
Mood: busy
Music: night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
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Travelogue Malaga Day 2

Malaga, Spain

2012.04.14

We wake up an hour before the conference starts. More accurately, HG wakes up and I get up.

She runs out and grabs us two cups of joe, some bread, and a sandwich for me while I get dressed and quickly go over my presentation. Wolf it all down before dashing out the door.

Sandwich in Malaga, Spain

I hoof it over to the Picasso Museum but promptly get lost. An Australian bartender sets me on my way.

Him: It’s over there, between those two buildings.
Me: The alley?
Him: (laughs) That’s a street, mate; alleys you can barely squeeze into here.

A few stressful minutes later,  run into several people that heard me speak last year before I settle into an orange chair in the rear.

Her: Mr. Lo! How are you? (later) Hopefully it’s not as exciting as it was last year when that woman yelled at you.
Me: It wasn’t so bad; at least everyone remembers me.

Cause of technical difficulties, we break for coffee early. During the intermission, a reporter asks if she can interview me. After I nod, she asks about my presentation.

Me: Technology has changed so much recently, especially since I was a kid, and probably the same for most people. For example, how old are you?
Her: um, 21.
Me: Well, I don’t have any examples for you then.

After several other presentations, it’s finally my turn.

Me: The First Amendment – Freedom of Speech – is what Americans are known for. Well, that and McDonalds.

Silence. Complete and utter silence.Then five seconds later, laughter.

I forget that they’re translating what I say into French and Spanish. Relieved, I continue and my jokes elicit the polite laughter I’m expecting. Soon, I smile and finish on time. No one screams at me.

Afterward, we’re at lunch where I end up sitting with some Germans.

Her: You taught yourself German because you couldn’t sleep? Why?
Me: Why not?

Food in Malaga, Spain

Waiters come with small sandwiches and olives. The olives are terribly bitter so I have a sandwich. It’s great – Spanish ham and a soft cheese.

So I have another. It’s blue cheese and tuna. I almost gag so I put it off to the side. Taking a bite of another, it’s different fish and cheese sandwich. Again, I almost gag.

Server: Beer?
Me: Please!

Soon, I have a pile of half-eaten sandwiches on my plate and decide that bitter olives aren’t so bad after all. We Americans are so spoiled when it comes to food.

Bellies full, we head back to the conference but not before I realize that we were just noshing about 100 feet from a 2,000 year old Roman Theater.

The Roman Theater in Malaga, Spain

Back inside, stay for the other American to finish her speech as a sign of solidarity but then I can’t stay awake for the second half of the presentations so I head back to the hotel to rest.

End up working on a few things instead of resting before I run back to the conference hall for drinks.

Outside, several wine tables are set up and I have a glass of white. Then a glass of red. Then a glass of a dessert wine.

Sommelier: What do you normally drink?
Me: Rum.
Him: Such a shame; we have none.
Me: That really is a shame.

Afterward, take a meandering walk back to the hotel as I take in the sights. There’s something beautiful everywhere.

Sculpture in Malaga, Spain

The Spanish have this habit of having dinner at 10PM so they invite HG and me out to eat. Tell them it’s too late for us but, as luck would have it, I run across them as I head home. They insist I come in for a bite but I tell them I can’t as I give them a rueful nod.

After a pleasant night, have an agonizing night as I don’t sleep for more than an hour.

When I wake up, I look down at my hands and notice they’re shaking again.

Dammit.

Malaga, Spain

Location: getting ready for work at home
Mood: groggy
Music: Get sucked in and stuck in late nights
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Logan’s 39 / Travelogue Malaga Day 1

Malaga, Spain

It’s my birthday.

And like always, say something, all of you bastards that read me but never say anything.

Logan Lo at the AC Hotel in Malaga, Spain

2012.04.13

Me: Did we check the stove was off?
Her: Go check.
Me: I put on my shoes already.
Her: (shakes head and slips off shoes)

HG and I go on our first airplane trip together. As i did in Paris last year, I’m speaking about intellectual property issues and video games in Malaga, Spain.

We’re out the door, on the AirTrain, and in the airport in less than an hour. Except for one minor hiccup, we make it to the plane without issue.

Me: Shoot, I can’t find my ticket or passport.
TSA Agent: Sir, you just put them into your back pocket.
Me: I knew that.

Soon we’re in our chairs in the sky and I start taking things from HG’s bag of snacks.

Her: Didn’t you say we didn’t need to bring that? And now you’re going to eat it all in the beginning of our trip.
Me: If you weren’t here, I would strap this on my face like a feed bag.

Six hours and one tiny can of Diet Coke later, we arrive in Ireland for a two-hour layover at around midnight. We have the airport to ourselves.

Airport in Dublin, Ireland

Announcement: last call for Amsterdam.
Me: We should blow this thing and go to Amsterdam. (thinking) We could smoke pot.
Her: You’ve never smoked pot before.
Me: I’m away. I’d smoke a pot.
Her: (laughing) The fact you just said “a pot” makes me think it’s not for you.

Ended up heading to Malaga anyway.

We finally get to board our connecting flight. As I can never sleep, read the entirety of Digital Wars during the layover and half the flight to Spain.

About 18 hours we walk outta our door in NYC, we walk into our door in Malaga.

We drop off our bags and we notice that we have a balcony so I get a beer from the mini-bar and look over the city.

Overlooking Malaga, Spain

We both try to crash for a bit but I don’t get much rest. It’s only 1PM there so four hours later, we get up in search of food and a SIM card and we find both on the same block.

The organizer of the event meets us for a chat in the hotel lobby but we’re fading fast so we politely make it short.

Unfortunately, it’s a sleepless night cause Spaniards have dinner at 10PM and we’re essentially in the Times Square of Malaga.

It’s been almost 30 hours and I’ve gotten five hours of sleep.

The conference’s tomorrow.

Overlooking Malaga, Spain
Having a beer on a balcony in Malaga, Spain

Location: finally back home
Mood: another year older
Music: Just give me credit, I’m just sitting on the shelf
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Burn all them bridges down, to the ground, cause I won’t be coming this way again

UWS NYC

Him: So – y’think you’re back on your feet finally?
Me: (thinking) Yeah. I do.
Him: Good. (raises a weapon) Let’s go.
Me: (laughing and raising my sword) En garde.

Been spending my days with my nose to the grind and working like mad. Spending nights with my favourite person.

An old friend of mine crossed my mind today. We had some good times but he ended up being a different person; I’m sure he thinks the same of me. But in the end – like so many others – that relationship wasn’t worth the time and effort.

Thought about all of people that have come in and out of Venn Diagram. The people and relationships I cut, the boats and bridges I’ve burned.

They say never burn any bridges, but I say sometimes you gotta burn all them bridges down, to the ground, cause you won’t be coming this way again.

And the bridges and people I got left earned their spot in my life as I hope I’ve in theirs.

Got my pad, my people, my poison, and my person. I’m sickeningly content.

And boy, have I got stories to tell you. I’ll tell you one Wednesday tomorrow.

Me: I’m good at convincing people to do things they wouldn’t want to do normally.
Her: Well, you convinced me to marry you.

Location: AC Hotel lobby in Malaga, Spain
Mood: thoughtful
Music: I’ve got friends and they’ve got my back
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Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy

Him: Think I’ll bring my wife here for some wings and beer.
Me: (surprised) Your wife’ll eat wings and drink beer? She’s so health conscious.
Him: (laughing) I think you have a misunderstanding of what we’re like.

Met up with two buddies to discuss some business ideas the other night. Found it useful cause we all have our core competencies and the other two didn’t know each other – also bringing together disparate groups of friends is always interesting.

One guy’s a former athlete that’s trained world-champions so it was fun to sit and eat greasy food with him and chat about business.

Speaking of eating stuff, back on the topic of BLBT (aka Pink Slime), turns out that it contains a total of 0.02 grams ammonia per 100 grams of meat.

According to the previous link, that’s lower than what found in peanut butter (0.049), mayo (0.041), and onions (0.027) – at least in the 1970s when this report was made.

Whenever I hear about something that’s suddenly a huge scandal and we’re supposed to be immensely concerned, I always wonder what’s real and what’s for sale?

More and more, it’s the nightly news and internet news that’s for sale, clamoring for our attention – regardless of the cost. This means entire companies shutting down and people losing their jobs in this economic time. Just so we tune in tonight.

Comedian Louis CK hit it on the head when he said, Everything is amazing right now and nobody’s happy. Think it’s partly cause people are always telling us we shouldn’t be.

Now I want a burger.

Location: surrounded by clothes
Mood: excited
Music: Hey, kids – look at this, it’s the fall of the world’s own optimist
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Then kunckle up and swing

UWS NYC

Her: (watching the tourists at 30 Rock) It’s funny. People come all the way here to see our town.
Me: Yeah. It’s not notice things when we live here.

Had a date night with the wife; we don’t do it often enough but it’s nice when we get around to it. Went to the same place we went around last year.

Afterward, we took a nice stroll back home. It’s good, being tourists in your own city.

———-

Work’s finally slowed down a bit, for better or for worse. Had some time to work on some other projects of mine.

NYer Lionel Trilling once said, “Our culture peculiarly honors the act of blaming, which it takes as the sign of virtue and intellect.” I add that to that old Chateaubriand quote, “You are not superior just because you see the world in an odious light.”

Just don’t get why people think negativism equals reasoned intellect. If anything, unsupported criticism just makes you look like a churl. And a douchebag.

There’s this company with the following business model: for a fee – they’ll read your book and write an honest review of it. So I put my money where my mouth is and requested one.

What I got in return was a scathing review, which was disappointing. But then I read the review closely, noticed some odd things. The reviewer:

  1. only mentioned the hero in one sentence
  2. didn’t mention the antagonist – at all
  3. didn’t mention anything that happened after page 30.
  4. didn’t mention any themes (revenge, loyalty, etc) or really anything of substance
  5. instead focused a third of the review on a single minor scene (on page 24) out of 276 pages.

That’s when I realized that this guy just skimmed it, dashed off a review, and took my dough. There’s nuthin honest about that.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, saw that the reviewer, amongst other things:

  • doesn’t understand how to use a colon
  • doesn’t know the difference between “blonde” and “blond,”
  • doesn’t know how to spell “plot lines.”

There’s more, but that’s enough for now. And that’s when I went from being disappointed to feeling ripped-off.

So I actually contacted an editor and told him that I’m not just some disappointed author, I’m someone that reviews books regularly. And I know the difference between a real book review is and a slap-dash quickie dollar.

And I posited this simple question to the editor: “Do you and your company stand by this review?”

  • If he doesn’t, I want my money back.
  • If he does, I’ll print the review here and let you decide if it’s a valid review.

Should note that when I write a book review, my name is on it. I own it, good or bad. In this blog, on FB, at the NYJB, at Lawline. I own what I put out into the world and I stand by it.

Here’s an anonymous review from someone that clearly doesn’t understand basic rules of English, who didn’t read my book, and tells me it’s no good.

If you read me regularly, you know that I can handle lively debate or a fair disagreement. What I can’t stand is horses__t and bullies.

It’s like that time that guy ran out and said he would drop me. Remember thinking, You must not know ’bout me.

Told that guy to knuckle up and swing because I knew something he didn’t: I was qualified for the task at hand.

As he sulked away, he and I both knew he was not similarly situated.

And now, it appears we’ve arrived at a similar junction.

 

Location: yesterday, celebrating Easter
Mood: offended
Music: “Do you believe what you’re sayin’?” Yeah right now, but not that often.
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