Travelogue: Los Angeles 2018, Day 1a

Not a great start

Me: I gotta say, your problem-solving abilities never cease to amaze me.
Gymgirl: I’m great under pressure. It’s regular life where I’m a disaster.
Me: This is true.

The Gymgirl and I headed out to California to see my brother for the holidays. It was kinda last minute cause she had some vacation time to use up and I always wanted to see my brother over the holidays because he’s often away from family then.

We left pretty early with the kid from NYC to Newark in order to meet up with my mother-in-law out in NJ so the kid could spend the holidays with her and Alison’s family.

This ended up being a good choice because, with alla our attention focused on the kid…we left our bags on the train.

Her: Wait, where are our bags?
Me: Holy @#$@balls! (turning back towards train)
Her: (turning to the boy) Ignore that. Papa’s doing stuff. Let’s go get something to read over there.

When I say our bags, I mean all our clothes, three computers (long story), my fanciest camera with my fanciest lens, plus our Xmas gifts for each other.

The Gymgirl sprang to action and immediately got in contact with the station manager at the train terminus.


Gymgirl: OK, here’s what we’re going to do – you’re going to get the kid to your mother-in-law and get on the plane. I’m going to head down to Trenton and either get a later flight tonight or book at hotel, get a car, and get a flight tomorrow.
Me: That doesn’t make any sense, why should you do that versus me?
Her: I’m the one that suggested we put them on the top rack instead of keeping them on us. Plus, you need to get the kid to your MIL and it’s weird if I stay over with your brother while you run around.

Ultimately, I got the kid where he needed to be and got on the plane to see my brother. The Gymgirl was off to fix things. It was all nuts.

Spent the flight wondering if the entire trip was ruined.

Guy sitting next to me: Sorry, there’s no room in the overhead.
Me: (shrugging) No worries, I got nuthin to put there.

Location: back in NYC
Mood: tired
Music: the sky is a hazy shade of winter
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Logan discusses philosophy with toddlers

Making Choices

Me: (over dinner) It’s getting late. You can either take a bath and no TV, or take a shower and watch TV.
Boy: I want both.
Me: You have to choose.
Him: I don’t wanna choose.
Me: (putting down fork and leaning in) One day, you’ll wonder what life is all about. It’s this: Being alive means making choices. Only things that are alive can make choices; it’s what defines life.
Gymgirl: (laughing) I should write a book called, Logan discusses philosophy with toddlers.

The boy is getting bigger and smarter – he can count to 40 and can read about 70 words. And he’s always the happiest kid in the room.

I keep wondering what life for him would be like if Alison was still here. I don’t doubt it would be better, what I do wonder is if I’m doing a good enough job on my own – even with the help of the Gymgirl, Alison’s parents, my sister, and my mom.

It’s almost Christmas. So everything is simultaneously bright and dark. I’m trying to choose the former when I can but it’s never quite so easy.

Still, I’m here because I serve a purpose. I’ll stay until that purpose is over.

The requirement that one must choose is one of the taxes we gotta pay for being alright.

Me: (picking up fork and shrugging) Life is making choices. The sooner he learns this, the better off he’ll be.

Location: in an argument
Mood: sad
Music: oh, we’ll be a sight to see, back in the high life again
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Game nights

Trying to enjoy the holidays

The boy went to The New York Historical Society the other day for a children’s event. I couldn’t go with him. Cause it was the last museum that Alison and I went to together.

And we drove past it every time we went to the goddamn hospital.

Me: Did you have a good time?
Him: (nods enthusiastically)
Me: Good. I’m glad. I’ll go with you someday. Just not…now.
Him: (nods enthusiastically) OK, papa!

On a more upbeat note, been trying to enjoy the holidays however I can.

Some friends came by the pad for a game night. We were supposed to play some online games but my cousin and her fella were backed up with work and had to bail so we resorted to the usual board games with the usual bunch.

We ended up playing the following:

Good Cop, Bad Cop
Cards Against Humanity
Code Names

I’d usually include some conversation from a night like this but most of it isn’t PG so just lemme say that it was a lotta fun.

Me: We need to have a podcast called: Deep Questions, with Chad Blake.
Cuba: Do it!
Blake: What? I have a lotta questions.

Speaking of fun, went to my buddy’s birthday party at Panca in the West Village;  it’s a Peruvian restaurant owned by a Chinese dude downtown. Food was amazing.

The last time I went to his birthday party, Alison was there with me. I had a moment right before we walked in but RE Mike was there just at that moment so that pulled me outta my head.

In fact, the Gymgirl and my friends made the night so much better than I expected it would be.

I suppose that’s the thing about good friends/souls. They make life bearable.

Gymgirl: I’m gonna ask them if they have peanut butter for you.
Me: What? Don’t do that.
Her: I’m doing it.

She asked. They didn’t. Was still touched she tried.

Location: in front of SuckerPunch with the Gymgirl
Mood: rested
Music: You’ve got to take what’s due
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Serving singles and single servings

Put up the Christmas tree, finally

Put up my Christmas tree the other day. It was a lot better and a lot worse than I imagined it would be. Taking out all the ornaments was the most difficult part.

The one Alison and I loved most is one of me, her, and the kid. That’s the one I couldn’t bear to see.

Me: We were supposed to buy each other an ornament once a year. We only did it from 2013 to 2017. And never again.
Gymgirl: I’m sorry, Logan.
Me: Can you hang them for me? Is that ok?
Her: Of course. (takes them) I’ll be careful.

I keep them under my bed. Because if I have to run out of the house for some reason, I can easily grab them. They’re the most valuable things I own, you see.

The thing with having dated so much is that I run into old ghosts all the time. It’s an occupational hazard.

Saw a woman I met years ago while going downtown the other day. She’s tall and beautiful so she’s hard to miss.

We spent an entire evening chatting and telling each other volumes of our lives and never exchanged numbers. Don’t remember her name.

All I remember was that she was unbearably sad and that I entertained her all night. I think we didn’t exchange anything because we both knew we weren’t each others person but we had that night.

I’ve had lots of single serving relationships in my life.

If I had the energy, I wish I could tell her that I understood now that you never really overcome the blow. You just keep trying to.

She disappeared onto the N train heading downtown and I took the R train to where I needed to be. When I got there, I  heard about another young lady that took her life.

Sometimes, you overcome the blow and sometimes the blow overcomes you.

God, I hate the holidays so.

Location: in front of the tree
Mood: sad
Music: We were young, we were beautiful
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Random conversations with the Gymgirl and my son

Gymgirl: Man, you look good.
Me: I was just thinking the same thing.
Her: (smiles)
Me:…I do look good.

Feeling a bit run down cause the boy is waking me up at all hours of the night for no real reason.

Need to get some rest cause the Gymgirl and I are traveling together again, which reminded me of a conversation we had while we were staying at that hotel in Boston and I had forgotten to pack some earplugs for the trip:

Hotel representative: (on phone) Yes, Gymgirl’s an elite member, we’ll send that right up.
Me: Great, thanks! (turning to Gymgirl) You’re brilliant! Cm’here…
(5 seconds pass)
Hotel representative: (on phone) Um, I’m still here. You guys didn’t hang up.
Gymgirl: (bursting out laughing) Write this down for your blog!

Speaking of conversations of the inappropriate stripe, I used to say goddammit a lot for obvious reasons. But the kid was copying me so I stopped. The stopping has helped to a limited degree.

Me: Say, “Oh, fiddlesticks!”
Him: Oh, fiddlesticks!
Me: Great!
Him: (10 minutes later) Goddammit.
Me: Noooooooo! Fiddlesticks!! Fiddlesticks!
Him: (laughs) That’s funny.

A very limited degree.

He’s been staying over my sisters or mother-in-law’s at least half the weekends so hopefully that’ll help.

Gymgirl: We’re keeping him this weekend, right?
Me: Well, legally, I have to keep him for the next 16 years.

Still, the hope is that – at least linguistically – we’re all a good influence on him moving forward.

Gymgirl: OK, dude, I’ll be ready in five minutes.
Me: You’re sticking with “dude,” huh?
Her: Yeah, dude.

Well, that’s the hope, at least…

Location: my desk in the bedroom
Mood: tired
Music: no, there’s nothing not to love about me
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Only go up(side down)

Visiting inVisibleNY

Him: Every restaurant is all you can eat if you keep paying.

I’m continuing to sleep well so I’m gonna try and enjoy it for as long as I can.

Might’ve mentioned that I met the Gymgirl through my cousin so we see her and her fella a lot these days.

She has her own Friendsgiving get-together with her high school friends once a year and invited us along out in Long Island, which was fun. One of her friend quipped the above.

Later on that weekend, the Gymgirl told me about #inVisibleNY, which is/was a pop-up art installation in SoHo.

So we hopped the train, went down to Chinatown so I could get a cheap haircut and walked over to it. It was designed like a cell phone repair shop but didn’t actually fix phones; they just had these cool scenes where you could go in and take pics.

The young lady at the front desk played a very dour and irritated clerk but she was really quite nice.

Woman at desk: Are you really here to fix a phone?
Gymgirl: No.
Her: Great! (hands us a token) Have fun!

We actually did have a lotta fun.

Although most of our fun is really the conversations we have with each other.

“Fun” is a relative term.

Me: I don’t want your mom to hate me.
Her: Oh, don’t worry…she already does.
Me: Waitwhatnow?
Her: (dismissively) Look at it this way: You can only go up.

Of course, we know, there’s always room for more down.

Location: yesterday morning, running outdoors in slippers with a pecan pie
Mood: productive
Music: I have loved you like a fool
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Computers and peanut butter

Things could be so much better

Me: I want to have some dessert but I need peanut butter to eat with it.
Pac: !#$#, I don’t have peanut butter. !@#$!#$, !@#$!#$!#! $!@#$!!
Friend: Hey, I think I have some peanut butter in my purse.
Me: Wait, whanow…?

I hack most things in my life, cause lots of things can be improved upon.

Case-in-point: Whenever I eat something sweet, I eat (a crapton of) peanut butter with it because peanut butter (a) has a low glycemic index of 14, which modulates the overall impact of other, more unhealthy foods because of its density of protein, fat, and fiber, and (b) it does so more inexpensively and conveniently than other options.

At the Friendsgiving, we had our choice of ice cream, Magnolia cupcakes, and pumpkin pie for dessert.

I had all three and was hoping for some peanut butter to go along with it but Pac didn’t have any. However, my friend had some in her purse, which I was both appreciative of and pleasantly surprised by.

Clearly, I need to keep these friends or get a purse.

As suddenly as it came again, the insomnia went away again. Well, the worst of it, anywho. There are reasons why but that’s a post for another time.

This woman wrote this amazing comic where she perfectly described her anxiety and depression; when they went away, she felt an incredible need to be productive.

Replace anxiety with depression with insomnia, and that’s how I feel.

Still sad and pensive but clearer-headed than I’ve been in a while. I feel my teeth again, you see.

Put on a suit, my fave cufflinks, went to the office, met with some clients, made a crapton of phone calls, negotiated a few deals, and then hit the gym.

Giving another lecture in January to boot.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to this as well; I keep a tiny computer in my living room to record television and stream videos and the fan noise on it – which has always been a dull hum in my head all these years – is now driving me nuts.

Under load, it sounds like a hair dryer. No joke.

Imagine that: A hairdryer just running constantly in your living room.

So – even though I knew it’d throw off my sleep – after the kid went down, I googled how to fix it and found a guy that put in a replacement fan.

Once I got a replacement fan, I cracked open the computer, ripped out the old fan, spliced the wires from the old interface to my new fan, zip-tied it all back together, and shoehorned the whole thing into a universal junction box.

When I have some more time, I’m planning on either 3D printing a proper case for it, or using a Dremel to cut open the old case like the OP did and make that work.

Anywho, I then drilled a large access hole into the back of my media console and strung it all through. It went from sounding like a hair-dryer to not sounding like anything at all. Nothing. Dead quiet.

Unfortunately, I may have kick-started my insomnia again. Spent the other night editing a buncha videos for my coach.

Eh, worth it. It feels good, getting stuff done.

Location: in the living room, enjoying the silence
Mood: accomplished
Music: Vows are spoken to be broken
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Nights out and Friendsgiving

In it, but not part of it

The Gymgirl and I went out to one of her co-worker’s birthday parties.

Girl there: I think you’re the same age as my dad.
Me: He must be awesome.

It was at this Italian joint in Little Italy called Pugliao, which I’d been to twice before. Super loud music and average food but it was fun enough.

A little while after that, my eating group went over to Pac’s place in Queens for a Friendsigiving celebration. Spak managed to turn off the gas at his own pad and also cook some killer food.

I made some traditional Chinese Thanksgiving guacamole while my friend Halfman made some mac n cheese and cornbread but these pics are all from Pac:

Him: If you’re gonna post this in your blog, gratuitously mentioning that I’m single would be dope.
Me: Done. Also, do people still use the word, “dope?”

I’ve been trying to balance my nights at home and out-and-about.

The weather’s getting cold and dark and I don’t want to do much but stay home and do stuff around the house. Try to sleep.

But the holidays are when people invite you places and I’ve got a full social card again.

Work’s picking up again, too. Like before.

My friends the Halfmen drove me and the kid home. He put on Uptight and kid sang most of the song.

When he got to the line that goes, She says, “Baby, everything is alright,” I broke down a little but recovered quickly enough that I don’t think the kid or the others saw.

I feel like I’m faking so much; being involved in the world but only enough to get by.

I’m in it, but not part of it.

Well, not part of the things that don’t really matter, at least.

Me: We’re home!
Boy: I like being home.
Me: There’s no place like it, right kid?
Him: (laughs, sings)

Location: home with the boy
Mood: full
Music: Blow all my friendships to sit in hell with you
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Everything has a place

Most things, anyway

Her: I don’t think that there’s a way to keep those monitors on the desk safely, Logan.
Me: (looking at them) Dammit. You’re right.

I’ve not been sleeping again.

My last entry, wrote about how well I’d been sleeping. I took this new med and it was, like all the other times, a miracle drug. Was able to sleep like a brick for six or seven hours a night for almost three weeks.

And then it just stopped. Like all the other times.

Of course, there are other things involved. Last week was three years after Alison first collapsed.

That went even worse than I imagined it would for a number of reasons that we don’t need to get into now.

And then a comment from a dear friend from the mother’s group made me re-analyze the pad.

See, Alison and I set up one room as a nursery/home office. To this end, there were two huge 27″ monitors in the front room that wasn’t a danger to the kid when he wasn’t walking around.

But he is now. And grabbing everything.

So, with the Gymgirl’s help, I moved Alison’s old desk from our bedroom to the office and vice-versa. I kept it together as best I could but I think the Gymgirl noticed all the sighing.

Gymgirl: You ok?
Me: Yeah.

It’s hard. And to top it all off, the Gymgirl and I are also not really communicating.

It’s like she speaks Russian and I speak Chinese and we can’t make ourselves understood to the other. Ironically, I’m actually one of her few boyfriends that speaks English well.


But we can’t seem to get through to each other. Which also makes me sad because when we do actually communicate, it’s amazing.

Gymgirl: Tell me about her.
Me: You don’t mind?
Her: Never. What was the most special thing about her?
Me: She organized my home by giving everything a place. She had a place for everything: pillows, tape, forks, everything had a place in the world. And now, I wonder where things are. Where I am in it all?
Her: Maybe I can help.

I suppose that will work out however it’s supposed to.

In any case, remember when I told you that this used to be my favourite time of year?

How long ago that seems.

Everything’s different and I wish it wasn’t.

Location: A white desk in a pastel bedroom.
Mood: tired. so tired.
Music: I don’t like walking around this old and empty house
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Dear Nate… 003: Rain happens

Bearing the weight

Boy: Papa, it’s raining.

Dear Nate;

As I write this, you sleep in your room. You’re almost three. I’ve written you twice before. I should write you more.

I’ve been sleeping better lately. I dream a lot but I’m a terrible sleeper. Your mother didn’t have this problem. I hope, in this regard, you take after her.

There are things that I hope you’ll take from me, and things I hope you’ll take from her.

The most important thing I want you to take from both us is the ability to bear the weight of the world.

If you ever read through this blog, I want you to tell you two things:

  1. Papa probably made up most of it; and,
  2. I talk about bearing things, quite a bit.

I always thought I could bear more pain – emotional and otherwise – than most. Then I met your mother.

She was, and remains, the bravest and strongest person I’ve ever known. I’ve never met anyone who bore as much as she did.

I hope never to meet another, because to watch it is soul-crushing.

The first time your mother and I spoke on the phone, she was unkind to me. But she immediately called me to apologize and ask how she could make it better.

I told her, “You get points in life for being brave.” I think I loved her at that moment. There is nothing more attractive than bravery.

You’ll meet a lot of people in this life that have all the trappings of bravery: They yell the loudest, act the craziest, threaten the most. They are many things, but they are not brave.

The truth is, we are made in our sleep and by our lonely. Bravery is quiet and happens when no one looks or notices.

And bravery requires you to bear things you don’t wanna: Disappointment, pain, ridicule, and loss.

We’ve lost so much, you and I.

There will be times when you can’t bear it any more and you’ll want to cry.

I want you to remember that rain happens when clouds can’t bear the weight they carry.

Likewise, tears happen when people can’t bear the weight they carry. So put it down and cry for a bit.

It’s ok to cry. Papa cries a lot when no one looks or notices. Papa carries a lotta weight, you see.

Anyway, once you’re done crying, you pick up the weight again. Because life is nothing if not bearing the weight of the world.

The world will teach you things like anger, greed, hatred, and cruelty. I’m sorry for that. I’m so sorry. I wish so many things were different.

But here – in the four walls of our small Manhattan apartment – I’ll try and teach you curiosity, patience, and kindness. With those things and bravery, you’ll be able to bear the world.

And always remember that you get points in life for being brave.



Me: Yes. The clouds can’t bear the weight anymore. But it’s ok. They will again and then it’ll be sunny again.
Him: Sunny again… I like the sun. (thinking) Papa doesn’t like the sun.
Me: (laughing) That’s not wrong.

Dear Nate… 001
Dear Nate… 002: Wait and wish

Location: home with the boy
Mood: heartbroken
Music: I love you oh so well
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