Looking for silver linings

Got injured again so I’m trying to make the best of it
Columbus Circle before the rain

Me: (what I thought): Oh this won’t be good.
Me: (what I actually said): F________________!!!!!!!!!!

Well, it looks like I’ll have more time to blog the next few weeks since I’m going to be stuck in bed for a while.

Whenever we get a new guy in our gym, there’s a part of me that’s slightly worried because my worst – worst – injuries are from newbies.

11 years ago, I first joined a judo gym and this new guy walked in off the street and put me in what’s called a kimura. He then promptly tore my supraspinatus, which left me in traction for about six years.

Then a guy in my fencing class, after a month, disarmed me – in drilling – by tearing the sword from my hand and left my right wrist messed up for about 18 months.

Finally, there was that girl that went for an old injury despite being told not to go for it.

I think it has something to do with wanting to win. I’ve never been injured – or close to injured – by any of the older students. They want to win too but they’ve got control and know that if they really wanted to, they could win. So they don’t need to.

Yesterday, a new guy in the class did a pretty violent throw, which didn’t actually work, but did manage to completely jack up my knee.

For a second there, thought it was gonna be horrible insteada just really not good.

So now I’m sitting here writing to you with a brace and ice around my knee.

Still, for every negative, there’s usually some small positive.

This fella named Bill “Superfoot” Wall ofce has an impressive history – 21 fights, 20 wins, 1 draw, 0 losses. But he won this as a kickboxer after he was sidelined in a judo injury. Moreover, he learned to have a devastating left kick because he couldn’t use his right leg.

After my judo injury, took up fencing to fix my arm.

Then because of the injury in the right arm, I learned how to fence with my left. And I…am not left-handed.

So when I wrassle, my go to move is this – admittedly ridiculous looking – thing called a rubber guard. But I’m only proficient at it with my left leg because you need your right arm for it. In fact, just this past weekend, managed to put it on with my right leg only to realize it was completely unnatural. And it was unsuccessful.

Well, my left leg’s the one that’s jacked-up right now. So now I don’t think I can do it there for a while.

My brother, the doc, thinks it’s just a nasty sprain, as does my coach. But I’m out for a few weeks to a month.

In the meanwhile, suppose I’ll blog, work, and figure out how to start using my right leg for stuff. I also happen to be right-handed but left-footed for kicks so I can’t do that anymore either.

Note to self: Dude, you’re almost 40!

Rats.

Me: Do we still have that blue icepack?
Her: Maybe if you respected the organization of the freezer and didn’t just throw things in there, you’d know.
Me: Even when I’m injured, huh?
Her: (laughing) Let me get it for you.

Location: bed, looking at my purple knee
Mood: irritated
Music: well time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister
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It doesn’t take much to feel rich

Luxury comes from the little things in life
Classic NYC Coffee Shop

Me: So I bought some bathroom tissue.
Her: Do we need any?
Me: Well, no. But they were on sale – 48 rolls for $23.
Her: You bought 48 rolls!?
Me: Well, actually it’s looks like I bought two orders, so 96. (thinking) I could cancel one order.
Her: (laughing)
Me: I’ll cancel one order.

It’s not a bad trade – I get to smell nice all the time, she gets bulk commodities.

Told her recently about how, during grade school, there was always this huge garbage bag fulla pretzels during lunch.

These were big, soft, doughy kinds you get on the street corner except they were cold and soggy.

For $0.25, you could get one after lunch. Usually didn’t have a quarter to buy one but one kid named Scott always bought one. Realized one day that he bought it in lieu of lunch altogether.

I think this is the first time I told any one that. Figured my family didn’t have any scratch either so why rat him out?

In any case, recall that my mom gave me a quarter once so I bought one. It was wet, soggy and dense. But I loved it. I felt rich.

There’s this scene in one of my favourite books where a mother is asked why she pours a cuppa joe for her kid if her kid never drinks it.

The mom replies that they don’t have much of anything. But she can afford to give her kid one cup of cheap coffee to dump down the sink.

Said once that I have more clothes than anyone else I know.

Just got another custom made suit. When I put it on, I immediately remembered the pretzel and laughed. Felt silly. Then I gave my mom a call.

Funny how the mind works, yeah?

“There was a special Nolan idea about the coffee. It was their one great luxury. Mama made a big potful each morning and reheated it for dinner and supper and it got stronger as the day wore on. It was an awful lot of water and very little coffee but Mama put a lump of chicory in it which made it taste strong and bitter. Each one was allowed three cups a day with milk. Other times you could help yourself to a cup of black coffee anytime you felt like it. Sometimes when you had nothing at all and it was raining and you were alone in the flat, it was wonderful to know that you could have something even though it was only a cup of black and bitter coffee.

Neeley and Francie loved coffee but seldom drank it. Today, as usual, Neeley let his coffee stand black and ate his condensed milk spread on bread. He sipped a little of the black coffee for the sake of formality. Mama poured out Francie’s coffee and put the milk in it even though she knew that the child wouldn’t drink it.

Francie loved the smell of coffee and the way it was hot. As she ate her bread and meat, she kept one hand curved about the cup enjoying its warmth. From time to time, she’d smell the bitter sweetness of it. That was better than drinking it. At the end of the meal, it went down the sink.

Mama had two sisters, Sissy and Evy, who came to the flat often. Every time they saw the coffee thrown away, they gave Mama a lecture about wasting things.

Mama explained: ‘Francie is entitled to one cup each meal like the rest. If it makes her feel better to throw it away rather than to drink it, all right. I think it’s good that people like us can waste something once in a while and get the feeling of how it would be to have lots of money and not have to worry about scrounging.’

This queer point of view satisfied Mama and pleased Francie. It was one of the links between the ground-down poor and the wasteful rich. The girl felt that even if she had less than anybody in Williamsburg, somehow she had more. She was richer because she had something to waste. She ate her sugar bun slowly, reluctant to have done with its sweet taste, while the coffee got ice-cold. Regally, she poured it down the sink drain feeling casually extravagant.”

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Location: downtown in just a bit
Mood: groggy
Music: waiting At the counter For the man To pour the coffee
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Chinatowns and the Space Shuttle

Why does every major American city have a Chinatown?

When I was traveling around Europe once, had the idea of stopping at every Chinatown I could find and having the beef with broccoli there – yes, I know it’s not traditionally Chinese but, then again, neither am I.

In any case, went to the one in Paris, London, and (kinda) Berlin and Hamburg. None in Malaga.

This writer for Freakanomics wrote that every large American city he likes has a Chinatown. The reason, it turns out, is because in history, it marked a stage in development where a city was large enough to require a railroad. And back in the day, when you wanted a railroad built, you called the Chinese.

Instant Chinatown.

It’s all of these unexpected consequences that I find so interesting in life. Like when the British became a superpower by using copper-plating on their ships instead of plain wood.

It used to mark a point in development of nations when they headed to space.

In 2004, the Cassini spacecraft went to Saturn and the Today show had Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on. Matt Lauer asked him how America could justify a $3.3 billion dollar mission such as that.

Dr. Tyson replied, “First of all, it’s $3.3 billion divided by 12 – it’s a 12 year mission. Now we have the real number: less than $300 million per year. Hmmm…$300 million. American spend more than that per year on lip balm.”

Right now, we spend less than 0.5 of a penny out of every dollar on space.

Think it it’s a direct consequence that we stopped trying to go to space that America’s fallen behind in science and math. People like Matt Lauer see the dollar figure and fixate on that, not seeing the jobs created, the side technologies (like microwaves and the Dustbuster), and all of the inspiration for nerdy kids like myself.

By now you’ve seen a million pics of the space shuttle making like LL Cool J and going back to Cali. As a kid growing up in the era of the space shuttle, it’s remarkably sad to me.

At this rate, we’ll have to head to China and build Americantowns.

Suppose I’ll have to go there to get a traditional American Beef with Broccoli.

Location: about to go to the post office
Mood: nostalgic
Music: I’ll soon be back again, that’s what I said in China
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Attraction is not a choice

You can’t choose who you find attractive

I’m honestly not trying to be controversial to get readers but it is interesting to note that my last post and some of the ones before that have garnered more comments and emails than usual.

This fella named David DeAngelo is a fairly well-known pickup artist that once said that Attraction isn’t a choice. I think know that this is true.

And of course someone will mention pedophilia and incest but both are different scenarios – in the former, it’s not between two two consenting adults and in the latter, there’re biological implications on top of the societal and legal ones.

Got another email from a female friend who tells me that she has a guy buddy she hangs out with all the time and they share a lot in common – she’s just not attracted to him.

I hear that story a million times from both men and women. People often find themselves in the friend zone where the other party goes, I don’t know why, I’m just not attracted to him/her.

It’s because you have little to no say in the matter. Either you are or are not attracted to another person and there’s little you can do about it.

However, I did get one comment in my last post where my very loyal reader Paolina (who has an amazing photography blog) wrote:

Dating someone from a different race/nationality is completely different from dating someone from a different age range. On a very shallow perspective, what do you think of a 60 year man dating a 20 year old? I’m sure that thought would’ve touched a nerve on a lot of women. Most of us would’ve probably thought you were a dirty, old man trying to score an clueless, immature chick or something to that effect. But again, nobody knows the whole story and as mentioned, it is none of our business. I always say, whatever floats your boat, buddy

OK, I have to admit that that has merit.

However, the girl is an adult in that situation and telling her that she’s doing something stupid – which she probably is – is indeed her own adult choice.

And what is life if not making our stupid choices and living them. The other thing is that there should be someone in her venn diagram that does know her and know the situation that can and should tell her what’s what.

All education is expensive. Some far more than others.

———-

For those of you that never click the comments – or leave comments (damn you all) I do get some of the best ones.

For my reader Paul, I hope you don’t mind that I put this up – tell me if you do.

He commented about my poor hair and clothing choices by saying: First off, you had excellent hair and clothing choices. I know.

Here’s my pic from that older entry 17 Again.

Here’s his pic.

That literally made me laugh out loud.

And this is just one of a million reasons why I can never run for president.

Location: behind a deadline and running to catch it
Mood: guess what? crazy busy
Music: crossed the sea to find a brother
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Living your own life is hard enough

Everyone has an opinion as to how someone else should live their lives

Me: And what do you want?
Him: It doesn’t matter what I want. My father wants me to marry a Korean girl.
Me: If he wants a Korean girl so much, he should marry one.

So an interesting subset of my post from last week on writing a dating profile was communication from about four different women noting that on the profile, I was 39 years old, looking for women that were 25-30.

What none of them seemed to realize was: in order for me to get that screengrab of my profile, I had to log into my old profile, which I did last week – at 39 years of age.

I’d not touched that profile since September 2008 – when I was 35. The site merely updated my age to 39 when I logged in in August 2012.

But here’s the thing: Even if I was 39, looking for women that are 25-30, isn’t that my business?

In other words, suppose I told someone I was attracted to black women. How revolting would it be if someone said, Logan! You’re a Chinese-American man. You should be ashamed of yourself, trying to date a black woman.

An actual message from someone except the person said I was a “39-year-old man” and instead of “black woman,” she said, “25 year old.”

Let’s take it a step further.

Suppose I said, I was looking for a black man. Sudden people get incensed one way or another.

The thing is my wife and I would probably have had issues 30 years ago with us being a mixed-race couple.

Why does everyone have an opinion as to what one adult finds attractive in another adult?

More mind-boggling, why do people think their opinions matter to anyone but themselves?

And when did they learn that their opinions are better than someone else’s opinions?

I know Asians that think I’ve “sold-out” by marrying out of my race. In fact, I was one of those people in my teens.

But I was a stupid kid – as evidenced by my admittedly poor clothing and hair choices. These are adults writing this.

Perhaps the most powerful thing I’ve ever learned in my life isn’t a fencing or a wrestling move, but rather this: What other people think of me is none of my business.

The moment you believe that statement – not just know it intellectually but truly believe it – you are separate from everyone else in the world.

You gain a membership into a cadre of thinkers and dreamers that live their lives in the world but unaffected by the world.

And it cuts both way: What you think of someone else is none of their business.

Then again, if someone isn’t living their own life, perhaps you should say something.

Me: Living one’s own life is hard enough. Doesn’t your father get tired of living your life too?
Him: (laughing) He means well.
Me: I’m sure he does. But – and this is admittedly none of my business – long after he’s gone, you’ll be stuck with the choices he makes for you. Your father lives his life. Your mother lives hers. You should live yours, yeah?

Location: in front of a cuppa joe and Mamma Lo’s carrot cake
Mood: you guessed it, crazy busy
Music: picture the scene, filming and screening, dreaming of me
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Chris Gethard and being kind for no reason

It’s easy to be cruel for no reason; it’s just as easy to be kind

Actually, that same day I saw the foozball table from my last entry, I was in Chinatown earlier. Was starving so I popped into a dive that had 20 dumplings for $4. That was great. Not so great was the fact that I went to the gym not more than 20 minutes later.

Me: I don’t feel so hot.
Him: Do you think it mighta been the 20 dumplings you just ate?
Me: (thinking) Nah…
Him: (knees me in stomach)
Me: C’mon!

———-

As you know, I was very fat as a kid.

5′ 3″ 185 pounds fat. 44 inch waist at 13 years old fat. Hella fat.

Then at 15, lost all the weight and – comparatively speaking to what I used to look like – looked pretty good. Was also a lot smarter than most people my age due to the fact I had zero friends and studied all the time.

So I was thin, smart, and not so bad looking. Combined with years of getting bullied, I became just a rotten teenager. Arrogant and mean. And I was that way for a while. But that’s a story for another time.

In any case, I see what happened to me as the interwebs as that on a massive, global scale. Where the powerless and nobodies can become superstars. And it’s cliched how quickly people can become cruel for no reason when given the opportunity.

It wasn’t until much later in life that I realized that anyone can be unkind; that’s easy. Ellen DeGeneres said that most comedy is based on getting a laugh at someone else’s expense. Think that’s true.

A reader once wrote me that he thought my blog was the most “un-ranty” one he reads. Suppose that’s because, I realized that I got lucky in life. And my comedy, if any, is at my expense.

Anywho, I bring this all up cause my brother just sent me a link to a comedian named Chris Gethard who wrote a long, heart-felt message to an anonymous fan that felt suicidal. I enjoyed it for a number of reasons – one of which is that it talks about suicide, which I think more people should do. The other of which is that it was kind.

Say it all the time: Thank goodness for the good souls.

Location: a yellow bed
Mood: still crazy busy
Music: cannot reach a pen for me to draw the line
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I’ll probably say the same thing every year

Another September 11th – everything changes and everything stays the same

On the way to my gym class the other day, ran across a young boy, his mom, and an older fella playing on a foosball table at Herald Square. Motioned to the mother, holding Syd, if I could take a picture of them. She hesitated but I smiled and she smiled and nodded.

Another day in the big city.

———-

Recently, a fella called in a bomb scare because he wanted to get back at his current girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend. He’d evidently posted pictures on Facebook – post-breakup – of her in compromising positions.

In any case, the guy that made the call got arrested, and the ex-boyfriend got arrested also cause it turned out he had outstanding warrants against him.

It just goes to prove my theory that your friends – and those you surround yourself with – mirror you.

Me: So she went from dating an obvious douchebag to dating another douchebag.
Her: Yes. The shaded part of the venn diagram for all of them would read, “Douchebag.”

———-

Got a lotta comments and emails regarding my post about writing a good dating profile but: (a) I’m swamped with work and (b) tomorrow is September 11th so I’m feeling a bit pensive. I’ll just address everything at the end of this week or some time next week?

On the topic of September 11th, it’s now been over a decade. Seems hard to believe. Suppose I’ll say the same thing every year.

Which makes sense, cause I’m pretty sure I’ll feel the same around this time, every year.

On a much lighter note, however, my wife Alison has started her own blog called Pure Provender on my second favourite topic: food.

Location: all over the map today
Mood: crazy busy and slightly sad
Music: you’re like a paper aeroplane that never seems to land
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Why is that even a choice?

How I spent my Labour Day 2012

Got a number of interesting emails and comments on my last post. I’ll write the follow up at some point soon. Let me know if you ended up using any of my tips.

BTW, if you Google other posts on how to write dating profiles, the “tips” are mostly sophomorically inane – be nice, smile, etc. Everyone thinks that because they’ve gone out on ten or 15 dates, they can give advice on it. I wonder how many of them they’ve actually done the disappointing and been the disappointed time-and-time again.

It’s not as easy as one might think; constantly being the dumper and the dumpee.

———-

Spent mosta the weekend trying to fix one of my computers.

There’s this scene – either from Family Guy or SNL or something like that – where a man is playing with a dial. On that dial is a series of gradients such as “warm,” “hot,” “hotter ‘n hell,” “hotter than the sun,” etc.

So one guy flips it to the top selection and then screams in pain, Why is that even a choice?! Why does it go so high!?

In Windows, there’s a selection to turn a disk into something called a “dynamic disk.” It’s literally a 1/2 second choice. In any case, if you do it to your main drive, it becomes a doorstop. Later I read that it can be done to any drive but the main drive.

That’s how I spent 95% of my holiday weekend, trying to fix it.

Was not able to fix it.

The other 5% of my weekend was spent seeing friends. One was a friend of the wife’s who stopped by.

The other was that old law school buddy of mine that I ran into downtown a few years back. She invited me to a party recently and – while I turn down invitations now – said yes cause she was one of the people in law school I actually liked.

Went to their home out in Hoboken, which was amazingly nice. Brought her a bottle of rum (of course) as a housewarming gift and met a buncha people I didn’t know. Spoke to one woman about her dating life.

Me: There’s no such thing as a line.
Her: Of course there is, like “Are you a runner? Because you were just running through my mind.”
Me: There’s no such thing as a line because if you want to talk to him, you just end up talking to him, regardless of what he says. And if you don’t nuthin he says will make a difference. A bunch of people have said, “Oh that’s just a line.”
Her: And what do you say?
Me: (shrugging) I just say, You’re talking to me, aren’t you?

———-

Went home to see the wife, who surprised me earlier with a bottle of Ron Zacapa XO Rum.

Her: You were having a rough week, so I thought you’d like a nice bottle of rum.
Me: (beaming) You’re the best wife ever!

Location: my humid room
Mood: busy
Music: I’d never make it through without you around
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