Familiar unfamiliar territory

Finding me

BrightBea: You were by my place? You could have called.
Me: Honestly, how does anyone find me? I didn’t give you my last name.
Her: A girl’s gotta be careful.

I’ve spent the last several 4ths of July by my lonesome for reasons that aren’t important.

This year may be different but it’s hard to tell at the moment.

I’m in familiar unfamiliar territory, again.

Speaking of people reading my blog.

Lviv: You didn’t tell me that you went to see your ex.
Me: We don’t owe each other anything, yet. (later) Wait, I thought besides me you were seeing an economist and a male stripper something.
Her: Ex male stripper, who’s an ex. The economist wanted to hang out more, but I wasn’t feeling him. I like him as a friend.
Me: I need to start making a list.

Neither of us have plans for the 4th so maybe we’ll randomly run into each other somewhere on the Upper West Side?

Maybe.

On that note,

Mouse: I did quite enjoy that you managed to include in (our conversation) the part about a shipment of toothbrushes.
Me: (laughing) I honestly didn’t think anything of them until you mentioned it. I suppose that’s subconscious?

When I’m single I have more house guests for a variety of reasons, all of which revolve around my being centrally located in Manhattan.

Don’t read too much into it.

Mainly because, a rule I’ve always had is that: If you stay over, you get a toothbrush – with a choice of colour – and some sorta brekkie.

Before I met Alison, I bought three 12-packs of toothbrushes and went through two plus a couple here and there.

It might surprise you that some toothbrush conversations were quite sad, as odd as that sounds.

As for brekkie, that’s just to be polite.

Since we’re talking about food – Pac’s been making food videos. That’s his latest.

Do me a favour and like the video and subscribe? I need one of my friends to hit it big so I can borrow money.

Toothbrushes don’t grow on trees you know.

Podcast Version
Location: Morningside Heights, looking at stuff in the prepared food aisle
Mood: hopeful
Music: Ain’t I the best you had? (Spotify)

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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Rolling around the city

Picnics and eating out

Forgot to mention that last week, my law firm met up over at Carl Schurz Park at East End Avenue and 84th street to have a picnic and catch up.

Him: How have you been?
Me: Immune. You?

It was good to see everyone. As an aside, I’m meeting a lot of people from a particular European nation these days.

Her: I’m from there.
Me: Well, of course you are.

My buddy handed me a bottled negroni, which was delicious. Probably shouldn’t have drank the whole thing.

Him: Are you ok to get home?
Me: We’re about to find out.

And then today, I met up with my buddy Robinson to roll for the first time in ages.

While I’m immune, the others have their own stories.

Him: How did you do?
Me: I didn’t die, so…well?

It was fun and exhausting rolling for the first time in ages.

Afterward, I wanted Vietnamese food but the restaurant was in the sun. So we just went to an American joint.

I got a salad. I regret my life’s choices. But we also got a crapton of alcohol.

Me: I think this is the first time another human being has served me food with utensils in months.
Everyone: Me too.

The salad was clearly not enough so I ordered more food.

Afterward, the waiter came and did shots with us.

Him: It’s not good tequila, but it’s free.
Me: If it’s free tequila, homie, it’s good tequila.

I was supposed to meet someone for a walk tonight but she’s a back-burner so I bailed.

Her: Wait, you just drank a lot and now aren’t coming?
Me: In my defense, I did tell you that I’m an awful person. But I’m an *honest*, awful person.

She did not find that amusing.

So, I went home and spoke to some people before crashing early and calling it a day/night.

It was a good one. A really good one. I don’t think I can say that very often.

Being hung up on and blocked by someone, notwithstanding…

Location: Queens, ordering more food
Mood: good?
Music: The house don’t fall when the bones are good (Spotify)
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Clinically or…?

Bike Mechanics, fight commentators, and rum drinkers

Me: (shrugging) Everyone’s got their front-runners and back-burners. If I’m your back-burner, I’m fine with that. Kinda prefer it right now, actually.
BrightBea: God, who says that? Are you insane?!
Me: You mean clinically or…?

Chad came by the other day to help me assemble a bicycle. It’s a ridiculously long story that I’ll summarize as follows:

      • I bought a used Dahon Matrix – also in Brooklyn – to install an iMortor (sic) 3.0 electric wheel. It didn’t fit.
      • After dremeling it and widening the fork, the fork broke.
      • So we got another fork. No love; still didn’t fit.
      • During this whole time, Chad’s discovering he likes biking. To wit, I sell him the Dahon Matrix and buy a used Dahon Espresso that he picked up for me from Staten Island.
      • Because that bike had v-brakes and not disc brakes, the electric wheel fit perfectly.
      • But then we had to install brand new brakes to make it work.
      • And then a bike rack to hold the kid, which is why I started this process in the first place.
      • Plus safety lights and stuff.
      • This whole adventure took a few months. And we’re not done yet. But, we’re close. When I finally get it completed, I’ll take some pics and show you.

I’m thinking that, if this goes well, we should make business cards that read:

Logan and Chad: Bike mechanics, fight commentators, and rum drinkers

Only two of those three statements are functionally accurate.

Her: Why do you prefer it?
Me: People aren’t ready for me and what I can do.
Her: What can you do?
Me: Oooh, you haven’t earned that. Yet. You might.
Her: (laughs)

Speaking of rum, two tenants moved out today and gave me a bottle of rum. They’re probably two of my favourite ones. The tenants, that is.

But I get it; no point in paying Manhattan rents if you’re working from home alla time.

Me: Wow, I’m touched. Man, I’m so sad you two are moving out. We have to keep in touch!

The crazy thing is that I dropped the glass bottle coming down the steps and it BOUNCED on two concrete steps before it landed in an extremely gross and putrid city puddle.

But, it survived relatively unscathed.

There’s a life lesson there, somewhere. The power of rum, perhaps?

Podcast Version
Location: 48th Street and Riverside Park
Mood: curious
Music: you freeze up like winter season in June (Spotify)
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Batman, rabbits, deer…

…and bright red leather jackets

Chuck: Nice (bright red leather) jacket.
Me: Oh, thanks. I had it made years ago. Finally started wearing it again.
Him: Do they make it for men?
Me: Evidently not!

Batman was once asked why he wore a bright yellow bat on his chest.

The lawyer in me knows it was done for trademark reasons but the writers came up with a rather ingenious reason; because criminals would aim for his protected chest rather than his unprotected head.

That’s something straight outta nature.

If you look at some rabbits and deer, they have bright, white tails. So, when they’re chased by predators, they’re easily seen and chased.

That is, until they turn. Then the pursuer loses sight of the bright white tracker and, by extension, the prey.

Told a buddy of mine recently that a large part of life is separating signal from noise. What’s important and what’s merely misdirection?

I think I’ve been paying attention to distractions more than anything for the past while.

But, since I’ve recovered from COVID, it’s like someone turned up the volume and brightness on my life again because I see things so much more clearly than before.

On the flip side, as I see things more clearly, I miss the boy all that much more.

Oh, he graduated this week from Pre4K! It was far more emotional for me than I’d expected.

Which, I suppose, I should’ve expected.

Son: Will you come see me? I miss you.
Me: Then I’ll see you soon. I just can’t rent a car right now.
Him: You could take a train. Or get a ride with Auntie. I know! You could take a bus.
Me: (laughing) Don’t worry, I’ll get to you. Papa’ll find a way.

Oh, Chad and I have a new Scenic Fights Video up – this time, Chad’s breaking down the Jiu Jitsu in Donnie Yen’s Special ID.

Podcast Version
Location: home, looking up train schedules
Mood: homesick
Music: doesn’t matter how you get to me, just get to me (Spotify)
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There’re only two types of people in the world

Hoi polloi

Podcast Version

Assuming, arguendo, that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, who are you spending your 27,000 days with?

If that’s too complex a question, then who are you spending quarantine with?

Are they wildly successful, dangerous, hyper-intelligent people? Or the regular hoi polloi? There’s nuthin wrong with average people, per se, except that average people tend to just make you average.

Who you spend time with is why you sit where you sit and someone else sits where they sit.

Ideally, you want to be able to sit at any table you want.

Years ago, I realized that I was hanging out with people that weren’t going anywhere with their lives. Most were fine, they were looking to get into some middle-level white collar job, make six-figures in some name-brand firm, and provide a good life for themselves and their kids.

Nuthin wrong with that.

But, at the time, I wanted to be amazing. And I took a hard look at the people that I spent the most amount of time with. I wanted:

      • friends that were wildly successful, physically (Health)
      • friends that were wildly successful, financially (Wealth)
      • friends that were wildly successful, socially (Relationships)

So, I got rid of the dead weight and added on people that could help me be who I knew I could be.

The thing is, I genuinely like and appreciate alla these friends. But, you gotta care about someone, why not have it be someone that’s at the top of their game?

Pac joked once that I have a need to be a mentor and that’s not wholly accurate. What I have is an internal desire for equity; to wit, I feel a need to pay it forward.

Chad’s been coming by lately and teaching me BJJ; in return for a much lower hourly rate, I help him understand finances.

Me: …and that’s compound investing.
Him: (quiet) Wow. I never knew that. I’m blown away.
Me: (nodding) To paraphrase Denzel: There’re only two types of people in the world. The trained and the untrained. Be trained.

I met someone else, who lives in the middle of nowhere Brooklyn, recently whom I teach more general things about relationships and health.

Me: Try to eat mainly protein, fat, and fiber and stay outta the sun.
Her: Why?
Me: Do you know Shaquille O’Neal?
Her: Of course, why?
Me: He’s one year older than I am. I’m 47.
Her: (surprised)
Me: (nodding) Try to eat mainly protein, fat, and fiber and stay outta the sun. Here’s a vocabulary book I read as a kid. It’ll help you with your career when the world starts again.

Podcast Version
Location: Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn
Mood: ambitious
Music: Don’t want to sing mad songs anymore (Spotify)
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Mixed Signals

Don’t give up your back

Just a little distraction from the state of affairs in the world right now.

(Earlier in May)

Him: Where are you right now?
Me: In my head again.
Him: Past, present, or future?
Me: Past. Like always.
Him: You’ve gotta shake that off, Logan. Life is forward.
Me: Fear is forward.

I didn’t drink at all for the past few days. Mainly because I’ve been taking painkillers like popcorn causea my foot and now knee (long story).

But, it’s allowed me to think a lot more clearly. Plus, I’ve had some help from some old, and unexpected, friends.

One was the Sexologist/Jill McDevitt who posted this picture recently.

Life’s been giving me a lotta mixed-signals lately and her pic helped me decide which one to listen to. It helped that I saw it after the 24th.

Oh, if you were ever wondering, she got hitched to a really nice fella and they moved on over to sunny California.

At a time when she was struggling, Jill still managed to send Alison and me a little something to help us back when Alison was sick.

Anyone that was kind to my family, I owe a debt to.

Jill’s always been one of the kindest people I’ve had the good fortune to meet. You can keep up with her here.

The other is an old, but younger, friend of mine, who found out a few things about me recently.

Me: I could teach you stuff but it’ll make you different. People don’t like different. So, you have to learn to hide a lotta things.
Him: I already see how different everything is now. Things make more sense. I want to understand.
Me: (nodding) Then I’ll help you understand. But be careful. Understanding things doesn’t always make things better, it can make some things worse. Ignorance does have it’s benefits. But I’ll show you, if you really want. And if, one day, you find out something terrible about me, I hope you remember that I told you that I’d done terrible things before and forgive me. (sighing) Everyone wants to be forgiven for the shitty things they’ve done.

The last was the old friend from above.

Him: What is it you always say, Logan? “Don’t give up your back?” If you’re in the past, what are you doing but giving up your back?
Me: It’s the same old story. Trying to figure out what’s signal and what’s noise.

Podcast Version
Location: home, icing my knee
Mood: hungry
Music: here we are and we’re still counting stars (Spotify)
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Iceland has no mosquitoes

Organizing knives

Me: HOLY SHIT!
Him: Hey, hey, easy, easy, it’s just me.

Iceland’s the only developed place on the planet with no mosquitoes. It’s a quirk of time, luck, fate, and position that brought them to that unique distinction.

In a lotta ways, we’re no different. I tell people that we’re only given about 27,000 days total here. It’s not enough time. What we do with those days makes us who we are – slowly, inexorably, irreversibly.

Minute changes in our life make us who we are until we’re calcified, one way or another.

This was a long and strange weekend, which I’m still trying to sort out in my head. But, by the time you read this, it’ll be June. So, my head’s a lot clearer.

I don’t feel as rough as I have lately, but I also don’t really feel like myself. I’m changing again. I feel it. And I have some new old friends to come with.

On that note, for the second time in less than a year, I opened a door to find someone sitting on my white couch, waiting for me.

This time, though, I’d actually given him the key back when I had COVID. In fact, I went through alla the people that have access to my apartment and got rid of everyone who shouldn’t have a key and kept those that should.

You’d be surprised at how many people I trust with this – and who.

(years ago)
Alison: Logan! Why did I find a knife taped to the back of the toilet?!
Me: Oh, I have, uh, knives hidden everywhere in the house?
Her: What. Is. Wrong with you?
Me: Ok, take a seat. It all started when I brought a yoghurt to kindergarten and Sister Mary…

One thing that I did this past weekend was finally find all the knives I’ve always had hidden around the house.

This was kismet.

Me: (putting on a shirt) Dude, you’re lucky I reorganized alla my knives. Did you shut the door immediately when you came in? I’ve got two mosquitoes somewhere in the house.
Him: Oh man, then I’m screwed, they love me.
Me: So, what happened last night that brought you here today?
Him: Oh man, it was a crazy night. So…
Me: Wait, let’s get some coffee first. You know where that is.

On a slightly more serious note, another one of my buddies is concerned about looters because they hit just a block from his pad.

That whole situation is something else that I’m trying to sort out in my head.  Everything.

As for my buddy, he and wife are both trained and armed, though.

So, I’m not quite as worried for him.

 

Note: If you and your child have been to my house, they were always hidden no lower than my chest, so your kids were never in harm’s way.

Podcast Version
Location: my room, surrounded by sharp instruments
Mood: sober since the 25th; until he showed up, that is…
Music: no one listens to me (Spotify)
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A litmus test

Under Pressure

Him: I didn’t realize how broken it all made you. You know, you don’t have to be a high-functioning alcoholic.
Me: That’s like saying you don’t have to eat cake. I *want* to eat cake. If nuthin else, I’m a good cautionary tale.
Him: Well, you’ve become something else to me now.
Me: And what’s that?
Him: (thinking) The standard by which I measure another person’s decency. How people treat a guy that lost the person he loved most in the world, his father, and his career all in one shot tells me everything I need to know about him/her. I think you’ve earned some kindness from people.
Me: Great. That’s what I’ve become: (sighing) A cautionary tale and a litmus test. I just need to know that I’ve earned some rum.
Him: At least that. You’ve earned at least that. Fuck everyone else.

Eight years ago, Alison gave me a bottle of Ron Zacapa XO Rum just because.

There was just a little bit left when she got sick and I refused to have any more. When I found the bottle late last year, the cork had deteriorated and I had to transfer it to another bottle. It was one of my most special things.

Before she exited my venn diagram, I asked Mouse to share the last glass with me because I felt she earned it, unlike some weird rando, but she declined. Which is fine.

So, yesterday, a friend stopped by and we had it together in honor of Alison’s birthday, along with a lot more rum.

Speaking of randos, I met someone that also had COVID antibodies at Pier 64 today as I tried to clear my head and sober up for some meetings.

Me: It’s like we have superpowers!
Her: (laughing) Kinda!
Me: Well, since we just met, I suppose we should keep to safe topics like politics and religion, yeah?

I hide my real face well, I think. I work well under pressure.

Fake it till you make it, right?

Podcast Version: A litmus test
Location: my empty apartment, with no rum
Mood: disgustingly sober
Music: Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn. Why? (Spotify)
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It’s something

Rolling around my apartment

You’ll be seeing my coach Chad in this blog a lot while we’re on lockdown for two simple reasons: (1) We’re both totally alone, and (2) we both miss doing what we do.

Him: I’m 180 right now.
Me: I’m 155, but I’ve definitely traded muscle for fat. Do you wanna come over and roll? I’m dying to roll. Plus, I’m 99.9% sure that I can’t give you COVID. No promises though.
Him: (thinking) Let’s do it.

Honestly, having the COVID antibodies is maxing out my social card in really unexpected ways. I digress.

He’s easing into actual and virtual privates and cut me an amazeball deal for the first couple of lessons since I’m his first private student post pandemic.

It’s always good to be first.

I went down via the Hudson River Greenway to get him a helmet and sunglasses so he could rent a Citibike.

He’d never done it before. While we were getting his bike, Chad turned around.

Him: Hey, look!

It was an old gym buddy of ours that was just jogging to get a workout in. We chatted for a bit before we headed up to my pad.

It was a beautiful day and he’d never ridden a bike in the city before so I led the way and showed him a few sights too. Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.

Him: Man, that was awesome.

Once we got in, we got cleaned up and I laid out the mats. They’re the kid’s mats but he’s not here and we’re pretty desperate.

As soon as they were down, Chad immediately got down on them and started rolling around.

I had to laugh. Like I told him, in a world where bullshit is the norm, the truth is refreshing; he was like a kid in a candy store. He’d not been on a mat in almost two months.

Me: You’re like Aquaman back in the water for the first time in months.
Him: (rolling upside-down) Oh man, this feels so good.

We rolled for only a little bit; maybe just over an hour? My knee was bothering, as usual, and I easily ran out of breath.

Me: While I’m cooking, can you clean the mats? You know what a germaphobe I am.
Him: No problem.

We then devoured two large bowls (each) of pasta. Afterward, I lent him a bike to head back down so he didn’t have to rent another Citibike.

Me: We’ll do this again when the weather’s good?
Him: For sure.

It’s not our normal routine but, it’s something.

I suppose right now, “it’s something,” is a far better than a whole lotta nuthin.

Me: Man, I’m glad we did this; I was gonna be a chubster for sure. Not that anyone would see it.
Him: Yeah, but still, this is great.


Admin edit:

Chad Andrew Vaźquez and I have gotten some feedback about our training – from people concerned about our safety and those around us, which we appreciate – and I wanted to address it.

Yes, we understand that my having the antibodies is not dispositive that I’m immune, but it’s a calculated risk and one that the country is currently relying on since a vaccine isn’t ready for at least a year. Yet all states – including NY and CA – are slowly opening again.

In for a penny, in for a pound, I say: Either having the antibodies confers *some* safety, so we open things up carefully, or they don’t, and we stay in lockdown.

Chad and I are picking what the (reasonable) leaders are picking.

Note that he’s *only* actually rolling with me, as I’ve documented antibodies, and offering virtual privates (via video) to others. Neither he nor I are around any high-risk groups and we continue with the standard social distancing protocols out there.

/edit

 

Podcast Version: It’s Something
Location: my empty apartment, which had company for just a bit
Mood: exhausted
Music: Busy doing damage, instead of repairing you and I (Spotify)
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Lunch by the river

Noticing things

Me: Yo, what are you up to? I can’t do any more work and I’m going stir crazy here.
Him: Screw it, come on by. Do you have any extra gloves and masks?

I’ve been trying to catch up on work, but it’s hard being here with the sheer emptiness of it all. I miss the boy terribly.

So, like I said in my previous entries, I hopped onto my scooter and zipped down from the UWS to the LES to take Chad out to eat.

Here’s a quickie vid on what it’s like out there.

It was honestly the perfect day to be out and about. It took me twice as long to get there as it should’ve because I kept stopping to take pictures or video. Once I finally got there, we tried to figure out what was for lunch.

As you know, I’m a sucker for a gyro, so that’s what I got.

He got a gyro burger, which makes no sense to me but he’s an adult so…

Me: OK, where we going, man?
Him: It’s a nice day, we can eat by the river.

My lungs are mostly ok but, honestly, walking those few blocks was difficult. Not necessarily bad, but noticeably not normal.

This thing is truly a bear. Being audited while you’re trying not to die is a new experience, lemme tell ya.

And I’ve had a lotta shitty experiences.

We finally got to the river and it was just perfect. More people were out than probably should’ve been but definitely less than the normal crowd. It was nice to be in society again.

And the food was so good that we both agreed not to speak for five minutes as we enjoyed it shoveled it into our pieholes.

Afterward, we chatted for a bit when I locked eyes with one of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen in my life. She was stupid attractive.

Me: Hi there.
Her: (laughs) Hi!

Chad commented that I should have spoken to her more.

Him: Whoa, she was hot and that was a huge smile she gave you, why don’t you talk to her?
Me: (laughing) How do you know she had a huge smile?
Him: (puzzled) What? I saw.
Me: (nodding) OK. Yes, she was beautiful, and, yes, that was a big smile she gave me. But here’s what I noticed….
Him: (afterwards) Oh, that’s really interesting. I never thought about that.
Me: I have my rules. I always have my rules.
Him: (shaking head) I don’t get it but, ok. Man…

It’s a little party trick of mine; noticing little things and trying to make sense of what they mean. Hopefully correctly.

All my senses have been dulled for so long but I feel a little bit of the old me from so long ago.

After a bit, we headed back to his place but stopped off at a local bodega.

Me: Hard seltzer. I’m secure in my manhood. Do it?
Him: (laughing) Sure.
Me: Oooooh, mango…

We kept some good social distancing in his tiny pad.

Honestly, it was good to see and speak to another human being again. I didn’t realize just how cruel and harsh solitary confinement is. And this is nuthin compared to that.

Me: Well, I guess I should go.
Him: Are you ok to get home?
Me:  (getting up) Well, we’re about to find out.

Podcast Version: Lunch by the River
Location: a few days ago, the John V. Lindsay East River Park
Mood: hungry
Music: I notice every single thing, that’s ever happening (Spotify)
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