Frenemies

(ish)

I have a group of people that I can only call my frenemies. The Devil’s one although, that’s…in flux, for a variety of reasons.

Another is the guy in this entry. I sued him and won(ish) – we settled but mainly on my terms.

For the next seven years or so, we became friendly(ish).

I’d stop by over every few months or so and trade stories with him over coffee. We had our flareups but he knew what I was capable of and I knew the same for him.  So, we were kinda like Russia and the US; in a polite, Cold War type of existence.

He ended up retiring and the guy that took over and I went almost started a hot war over something recently. But a mutual party stepped in yesterday morning.

Friend: You should meet him. He wants to talk.
Me: Sorry you’re in the middle of this. Let’s see where this goes.

I don’t like meeting people in their environment. It gives them too much advantage. But he needed me more than I needed him so off I went.

Him: What can we do to work this out? My guys mean well.
Me: They mean well to you, because you pay them. They don’t mean s__t to me. Here’s what I want…
Him: I can do that. (takes out papers) Now, here’s what I want…
Me: (later) I can do that. (thinking) I’m starting to like you. Your predecessor was a frenemy of mine and I miss having coffee with him. Are you down to have a fella like me as a frenemy?
Him: (laughs) I’d love it. (holds out hand)
Me: (takes it) I’ll give you my official response on Friday but I’ll tell you now that I’ll let you do this thing. Ask your predecessor, my word is all you need.
Him: Good. You know my daughter’s a lawyer too? I’m surrounded by them.
Me:  So am I. Hell-of-a-thing. That means we’ll continue to be polite to each other, yeah? Lawsuits are expensive. Coffee’s cheaper. I’ll come by in a month with the latter. You can tell me then how you take it.

I find that the people that give me trouble make me better at what I do. Lincoln was known to surround himself with rivals. I don’t go that far.

But I do collect valuable people. His predecessor was one, as is he.

It’s better to have valuable open adversaries than useless disloyal friends.

Location: earlier today, a new office
Mood: dull and vicious
Music: feel it really…sinking in

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Sorry, Wrong Meeting

What wins I can get

Been working for and with startups since I was in my late teens. Some of them became huge entities, others pretty big deals. Most, however, fizzled out with little-to-nothing to show for themselves.

Many of them paid me in stock options or some form of equities. You see, I remember reading about Robert X. Cringley as a kid and was determined not to make the same mistake he did – passing up the opportunity to be on the ground floor of a major world player.

Although, I kinda did that when I turned down being an early employee of Cnet to go to law school. But that’s neither here nor there.

In any case, a legal client of mine just got acquired by a public entity which means that I actually have stock in a company that’s worth something. It’s nothing huge, at all.

Still, it’s something new and a win. I’ll take any weekday wins I can get.

Her: What does this mean?
Me: It means that I can get that monthly Metrocard I’ve been saving up for.

Speaking of lawyers, been talking to a whole slew of them lately, for a variety of reasons.

Him: Nope, he’s still a republican, despite everything. He’s been one for 30 years, he’s not changing now.
Me: Do you know what the definition of “stubborn” is?
Him: I think so?
Me: It’s, “Not changing course despite good arguments or reasons to do so.” That’s the difference between [your client] and us [lawyers]. We don’t waste our time on a losing issue. 
Him: (joking) Unless they pay full-freight, which he kinda does. And all lawyers are grey. That’s why people hate us.
Me: (nodding) I’m nuthin if not the grey man. Speaking of hate, did you ever watch The Jeffersons when you were a kid? 
Him: I know of it, never really watched it, though.
Me: There was an episode called Sorry, Wrong Meeting. George is at a meeting fulla white racists and one of them gets a heart attack. George hates them but decides he can’t let the guy die so he gives the guy CPR and saves his life. When the guy comes to and realizes that it was a black person that saved his life, he tells his son: “You should have let me die.” Whenever I hear the word ‘stubborn,’ I think of that. They’ll die before they just let their petty nonsense go and have a peaceful life. Your client’s no different from the farmers going bankrupt but continuing to vote for Trump.
Him: Thank god for that! We’d starve if not for people like them. (laughing) You know, the animal most closely associated with stubbornness is an ass?
Me: (nodding) Maybe that’s why they sit where they sit and we sit where we sit.

Was planning to surprise Gradgirl this past weekend in Paris when I realized neither of us are the people we once were, which is probably a good thing, all things considered.

Need to listen to that voice in my head more often.

Location: home, asking her how the boy did today
Mood: ambitious
Music: I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you

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Adding a pail to the buckets

3.5 buckets

Him: I think I had an anxiety attack today.
Me: Over what?
Him: My future.

Been chatting with two people almost daily now for the past few weeks – both are younger than me, wending their way through life.

Remember when I told you how friendships are made? Well, I find that happening to me more often than one might expect for a misanthrope like myself.

Was chatting with this one fella that I met years ago but we never really talked. We recently got thrown in together for a project – which is exploding in the most spectacular way, but that’s another story for another day – and have now been chatting on the reg.

Him: Even though this went to hell, I feel like we connected. Shoot the s__t?
Me: Cool. Lemme know when you wanna try some rum.
Him: Oh, there’re lots of questions I have to ask you.
Me: Clearly, I have no idea WTF I’m doing. You should ask someone else.
Him: LMAO – I meant about you, homie.
Me: What’s there to know? I like rum and gyros. I love my kid and my family. I never lie because I suck at it. I enjoy pickup and building s__t. I’ve never opened my vault. I’m into kind women that are hot. You can’t get more simple than a fella like me.

I said dozens of times that alla your problems can fall into three categories; well, I’ve edited that somewhat. Every action we perform can be categorized into furthering one of 3.5 pursuits – I call them buckets just because I like the imagery:

        • Health
        • Wealth
        • Relationships
          • Pleasure, or avoidance of pain (this is more a pail than a bucket)

The first three are additive. Focusing on them adds, at a minimum, to that bucket and your overall life.

If you focus on health, you’re that much stronger – health-wise – after whatever activity you did to focus on it.  You might also get a bump up in wealth and relationships if you chose the right one.

Ditto for the other two buckets.

Pleasure is simply that, pleasure. Note that the avoidance of pain is a type of pleasure – that’s why it’s so easy to procrastinate.

The last one is a pail versus a bucket because it’s not truly additive and, oftentimes, subtracts from the other two: It gives you momentary happiness at the cost of health, wealth, and relationships.

Which is not to say you shouldn’t do it. But it’s like dessert or a small reward after a hard day. They should be used sparingly.

It’s mental masturbation.

I’m not against masturbation or anything pleasurable done purely for pleasure’s sake. But every minute you spend on pleasure, is a minute you’re not spending pushing the ball forward on the other three.

Moreover, if you spend too much time on personal pleasure, it’s a turnoff for people around you. Because we gravitate to useful people and the more you push the ball forward in each of the three main buckets, the more useful you become to the world.

Anywho, I mentioned this to the first fella, recently.

Me: Anxiety is the fear of the hypothetical. So allay your fears: Run through the list. Are you where you wanna be with the three buckets? And are you overdoing it on the pleasure-pail?

We did it together as an exercise.

        • Health – yes. Dude’s in phenomenal shape and works out, easily, three hours a day.
        • Relationships – yes. Good friends and family support. Is there when you need him and others are there for him when he needs them. As it pertains to the opposite sex…well, he’s killing it.
        • Wealth – could be better, but he’s on the right track and getting better each day.

Him: Thanks, that’s useful.
Me: I’m nuthin if not useful.
Him: I want you know I really appreciate your…
Me: (interrupting) We’re friends. Friendship is symbiotic. Trust me, I’ll need your help one day. Probably soon. And it’s gonna involve a crapton of rum.
..

Location: 11:30AM, talking with a buncha lawyers, doing lawyer stuff
Mood: productive
Music: how do you always seem to know just when to call?

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I sit where I sit and you sit where you sit

Lowe alley

When Alison passed, I made a conscious decision to not see old friends. They all knew Alison to varying degrees and I didn’t want to be reminded of her. Of the life I lost.

Also, I was planning on hurting myself. So I didn’t want them to be in more pain if I did.

Instead, I started hanging out with my gym friends and other people that knew only distantly.

Figured that if I was gonna go, they’d all get over it pretty quickly.

The diseased mind is pretty diseased.

I’m much better now.

Interestingly, I’m now legitimately friends with a lotta of these people, whom I thought of as just scaffolding. Most of them are far younger than me, so they ask me for advice and I give it when I think I have something useful to say.

Then put it all away in the vault. Unless I put it up in this here blog.

A woman I know is seeing two fellas, both of whom don’t want anything serious, as she says as well. But she thinks that one of them is developing feelings for her.

Her: So, should I stop seeing him?
Me: No. You’re not a stalker.
Her: What does that mean?
Me: It means that you’re not trying to read his mind. He said he wants it casual and to see other people. You have to take that at face value.
Her: I get the feeling…
Me: (interrupting) Stop. Don’t say what dude stalkers and rapists say. Things like, “I know she really wants me. She’s just being coy.” Or whatever. When people tell you what they want – or don’t want – you should believe them. People tell you what they’re all about if you listen.

After she left I started thinking that I should take my own advice when an old friend contacted me.

Him: How’s the kid?
Me: He’s good. Just waiting for him to be old enough to make some scratch and start pulling his own weight around here.
Him: (laughs) You becoming a tiger mom?
Me: No. But he’s the best parts of me and Alison. He could be someone.
Him: You coulda been someone. You chose to be like everyone else.
Me: I chose to have quiet life with the woman I loved and a kid or two if we were lucky. We weren’t. That’s why you sit where you sit and I sit where I sit.
Him: Didn’t you once say, We make our own luck in this world?
Me: I did. Before I realized that everything I touch turns to shit.
Him: Not everything. (thinking) And maybe that’s what he’ll want: A normal life.
Me: If he does, I hope he gets it. One of us should. I’d rather it be him anywho. I’d bear it all, if I knew he’d be ok. Alison too. She said if she knew that what she was going through was taking pain from him, she’d do a million times over.
Him: (sighs, nods) Yeah.

Location: meeting up with Joe and boy on 61st
Mood: nostalgic
Music: I’ve forgotten my past. I am only a mask, just a pretender
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Until you notice them changing

Twice in a row

Her: Do you want to buy some raffle tickets? Only a dollar each!
Me: I don’t have the kinda luck that people want. But what the hell, I’ll support. Gimme five.
Her: You never know, Logan.

Went to the holiday party for my gym the other day. One of the owners – the wife of main coach/owner – asked if I wanted to buy some raffle tickets. So, I bought five just to support.

She started pulling out tickets and the first two tickets were…mine.

Her: If I didn’t pull the tickets myself, I woulda thought something was fixed too.

To make matters worse, I inadvertently took the two best prizes.

Woman-in-the-crowd: What?! Boo! You can’t win twice in a row.
Me: Evidently, that’s not true.

Felt guilty about that so returned one of the two – a water bottle – the following week; was hoping to exchange it for a tee-shirt. No go so far, which is fine since they’re both friends of mine and have always treated me much better than warranted.

If you’re ever in town and want to check out a great fighting gym, check out Evolution, which is my home-away-from-home.

I’m usually there when the boy’s in school. Trying to avoid the inevitable.

Owner of the gym: What I like to do is pull up pictures of people I went to high school with. That makes me feel a lot better.
Me: That’s the only reason I come here.

Went to my friends around the way for new year’s again.

Me: You know, I met (your husband) the first day he started work there.
Her: Oh, that means you’ve known him 20 years.
Me: What? No, that can’t be…holy cow.
Him: Yup. 20 years.
Me: Now I need that drink…

It’s becoming a mini-tradition for me. The kid really loves going there, which is an added bonus.

And he even made it until midnight before, rapidly, crashing.

Son: (on the way home) Is it January yet?
Me: It just became January.
Him: It still feels like December.
Me: I know. Sometimes, you don’t really notice things changing until you notice them changing.
Him (sleepily) OK, papa.

Location: yesterday, on the phone with a client
Mood: tired
Music: I got issues but you got them too
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Travelogue: Bahamas 2019 Pt 3

A Wedding or My day with Pac

While Mouse was off doing her own thing, Pac and I decided to explore the island. The first thing we did was hit up the local KFC. Of course.

Me: Should we get a large order of fried chicken and then hit up the Greek place next door for a gyro?
Him: I didn’t come to the Bahamas for Greek food.
Me: We didn’t come here for KFC either!

Afterward, I went to the local supermarket for some fruit and soda.

Me: Do you want some oranges?
Him: I can’t think of food. I’m too stuffed.
Me: You’ll regret this later.

We met up with Mouse and some other people for dinner and drinks.

The next day, Pac and I went out again to try another fish fry, this time, right under the bridge.

Waitress: Do you each want a fish or split one?
Me: I’m not…
Him: (interrupting) We each want one.
Me: There you go.

Me: God, I’m so full, that was huge.
Him: We shoulda done this the first day.

The next day was the wedding itself.

The weather was just perfect. I’d tell you more but that part is their story, not mine.

Afterward, came the party.

Romance was in the air.

The next day, Mouse took me out for some all-you-can-eat.

Me: How is it? Worth it?
Pac: Worth it. They have oxtail and mutton curry.

And then it was time to go home.

Pac: I’m ready to go home, have a green smoothie, and make out with my girl.
Me: I just wanna see my kid.
Him: What should I get her? Chocolate and wine?
Mouse: No girl is gonna be upset getting chocolate and wine.
Me: Good to know…

Location: the boy’s room, surrounded by toys
Mood: worried
Music: We’ll hit the coast on the late night
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Travelogue: Bahamas 2019 Pt 2

All glory

After the hectic travel day, the next few days were us all enjoying Atlantis,…

…then looking for relatively affordable food, and catching some rays.

We eventually hit up the water park. If you watch closely, you can see Mouse in all her glory.

Not going to lie, I watch that on repeat and laugh each time.

This was one of the tamer slides. It was fun being on them again.

We managed to hit up the beach some.

It took a few tries to get the shot below. Tough job, but the things we do for art.

There was a reception for the bride-and-groom-to-be so we had to head back eventually to get ready to go.

We may have had a drink or two before we left.

Me: How is it?
Her: Awful. (continues drinking out of the bottle)
Me: (nodding) Lemme have it when you’re done?

But we managed to clean ourselves up enough to be presentable.

Friends from the gym, and my kali class, were there.

It was really nice seeing everyone out and about in a different environment.

There was an open bar so we probably drank a bit more than we should have. But it was still a really cool night.

Her: (concerned) What?
Me: Nothing – you look really great.
Her: (smiles) Thanks, you too.
Me: (rolling eyes) Well, I always look good…
Her: (laughs, pushes me)

Gonna re-watch that video above now, so I’ll tell you more tomorrow or something.

Location: earlier this week, NJ
Mood: nostalgic
Music: I hate to hear that you won’t come home
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Travelogue: Bahamas 2019 Pt 1

A wedding in the Bahamas

My cousin got married in the Bahamas the other day. So Mouse, Pac, and a lotta our friends took a plane to see her get hitched. I ran late.

Pac: I’m like 15 min away.
Me: I’m 35-40 mins out.
Mouse: LOL. Y’all better run.

Turns out that we needn’t have worried as we were on the tarmac for over 90 minutes because of the weather.

But we finally took off.

Me: (moving tray) Here, you can lie down.
Her: How?
Me: You’re like 4 foot 2. You just lie down.
Her: (thinks, lies down)

A few hours later, we landed in sunny Nassau. The three of us immediately stopped off at a Fish Fry. Because that’s what we do.

Me: I’m hangry. How long will the fish curry take?
Waitress: An hour? Get the fried fish, it’s faster.
Me: Fried fish it is.

 

Me: Frozen drinks?
Mouse: I’ll buy them for us.

Everything was closed by the time we got to the hotel but Mouse snuck into a hot tub and gave us a ring to join her.

Afterward, we went to a local joint called Anthony’s and had some more fried food.

Not a bad way to spend a cold winter’s day.

I had come here once before with Alison and there were moments that were less than ideal on this trip.

That’s all I wanted to say about that.

Location: not the Bahamas, that’s for sure
Mood: cold
Music: Tell me, is this the part when
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A Christening in NJ

Across the river from my pad

My buddy Steele had a christening for his son so Mouse, the kid, and I went over to NJ one weekend to celebrate with them.

We picked him up from school so we had to change him in the middle of the Port Authority.

We ended up getting there a bit early so we went to a small playground pretty much looking at my apartment across the river.

Me: It’s nice here. I wouldn’t mind living someplace like this.

Afterward, we walked over to Waterside restaurant and settled into our seats. I remembered going to Steele’s wedding ages ago. I sat next to the same people that I sat next to then.

It was all rather surreal.

On the positive side, once again, I made the fool’s choice of filling up on the appetizers before the main course.

Me: Dammit, we did the rookie mistake again.
Her: Speak for yourself. I’m picking shrimp over everything else, always.

Although we did partake of some dessert.

Plus, for the kiddos, there was an insane table of candy. I might’ve accidentally left the boy’s box of candy there.

My sister-in-law, who lives near the restaurant, came and took the boy for a sleepover, allowing Mouse and me to drink to excess.

Mouse: Let’s get our faces painted!
Me: I’ll support your getting your face painted.
Her: Fiiiine…

It was a really great night.

There’s more because Steele and his entire family were very involved with Alison and our lives but that’s all I wanted to say about that.

Him: Thanks for coming.
Me: Thanks for having me. I’ve been…better.
Him: (nods)

Location: earlier today, a dance studio above a supermarket
Mood: embarrassed
Music: we’re torn, torn, torn apart
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The bouncer

It’s been busy

Mouse and I’ve been doing a lotta things these days.

She was nice enough to watch the boy while Chad and I filmed another one of our Fight Scene Breakdowns for Scenic Fights.

Here are the last two, because I don’t think I’ve posted them in a while. This one was mine regarding Under Seige.

While this one was Chad’s on Redeemer:

The guys that film us are pretty cool and talented but I really have to thank my own instructor, Agapito Gonzalaz, for letting me do this.

I wouldn’t do it if he wasn’t ok with it. Also, his instructor, Bill McGrath, has been supportive as well so I wanna thank them both.

The Scenic Fight guys put me down as a “knife expert,” which I definitely don’t think is the case. But I suppose it’s more compelling than, “slightly above average knife guy.”

I’m lucky in that I’ve had such amazing instructors in my life. Chad’s actually my BJJ instructor and, as you can tell by the videos, he’s ridic talented.

But I try to show him a thing or two when I can.

Me: Wanna come out and do some pickup with me and Mouse?
Him: Sure

As a recovering womanizer, I’m pretty good at talking to anyone but it took me months to work up the courage to speak to a stranger. Chad, however, may be a natural.

Chad: Welp, I gotta do this. (stands up)
Me: Wait. Do what?

Before I knew it, he walked up to the two prettiest women at the bar and chatted them up. This is after he spoke to a table of strangers.

Me: (after) Damn, I’m impressed. How did it go?
Chad: Don’t be. It was pretty good but then her friend kept pulling her away.
Mouse: Ah, you met the bouncer.
Him: The what?
Her: The bouncer. It’s the bouncer’s job to get rid of guys. You should always chat her up first. Next time, I can get rid of her for you.

I’m not really sure I’m even needed these days.

Location: home with the boy. Oh, how I’ve missed him.
Mood: conflicted
Music: I really need somebody to call my own
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