Naked Chinese Man

Scattergories

In addition to the health issues that Mouse’s mentioned in her blog, she’s also been dealing with some other issues that were out of both of our wheelhouses.

Luckily, we had a friend Hawk that knew what to do and helped point us in the right direction.

As a thank you, we got him a fine bottle of rum and invited him and his girl over for some food this past weekend.

Him: I’m essentially a pescatarian.
Me: I am so sorry to hear that.

Mouse picked up a side of salmon and I made this super easy AIP salmon dish that was honestly delicious. While I did that, Mouse helped me cleanup the pad.

Mouse: I didn’t know what to do with a lot of it so I just put it on your desk.
Me: Makes sense. That’s where it’d probably end up anyway. Thanks for helping!
Her: (laughing) Well, thanks for cooking.

Hawk and his girl H came by with two bottles of wine and we all had a fine dinner. I think.

H: He told me how old you were; I didn’t believe it.
Me: I literally look for any excuse to take off my clothes. I’ll take them off now.
Her: (laughs)
Me: No really, I’m serious.

Afterward, we settled down for some board games.

Her: We like Scattergories.
Me: Oh, that was one of Alison’s games. We always meant to play it. I suppose tonight’s as good a night as any.

Mouse and I dug it up and we played it. I could see why Alison liked it. She always loved word games like that and Boggle. Essentially, you have to make up lists of things that begin with random letters.

For “N,” one clue was, “Things you find in a home.”

I just thought of something when the buzzer went off.

Him: What were you going to say?
Me: I was going to take off my clothes so I could write, “Naked Chinese man,” but I ran outta time.

It was a fun night. In some ways, it made me miss the boy more. I want all my friends to meet him because he’s such a joy.

Soon, I hope.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier today, near Penn Station, cleaning off my blood
Mood: ouch
Music: just another lonely night (Spotify)
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That was REALLY unexpected

Moments of passion

Me: What are you gonna do when I have hot female fans?
Her: What do you mean, “start?”
Me: (laughing) I’ll take the compliment and the one you gave yourself.

In my last entry, I wrote, “By the time you read this entry, I should have 100,000 views on that video,” referring to the video below.

That was five days ago. It was released on September 7, 2019 and I wrote that entry on September 3, 2020, so it took 361 days to hit 100,000 views.

As of today, September 8th, 2020, it hit over half a million – 539,240 views as of this exact moment I’m writing this. That means it somehow got 439,240 additional views in five days.

That’s insane. I honestly don’t have any rhyme or reason for it, but you know me, I’ll take any weekday win I can get.

On a much more mundane note, I spent a good part of Labor Day weekend working but Mouse stayed over for part of it.

I swear my memory is getting worse and worse these days.

Case in point, I tossed a book off the sofa to the floor so she had a place to sit.  No more than 10 minutes later, I asked her if she saw it.

Mouse: It was cast aside in a moment of passion!
Me: What? Really?
Her: No. Are you serious? It’s right there.
Me: Jeez, what is wrong with me?!

While she was here, she asked me for some legal advice, so I gave her my honest opinion.

Her: Oh, you get a kiss for that.
Me: Man, law school was totally worth it.

Actually, we were both pretty busy with work and personal matters but we did manage to head downtown via the Hudson River Greenway again.

Coincidentally, we ended up riding right past Lviv’s place.

Besides that excursion, we didn’t really do much else, although I did cook a ton because she’s been on this new diet for her health.

She’d never seen The Amazing Race so we randomly picked a season and started watching it.

She got really into it, which I expected, since she’s such an adrenaline junkie, which isn’t my thing at all.

I suppose that’s a major reason why we broke up in the first place.

Well, that and things like this conversation.

Her: Whenever I see white suburban moms, I think of you.
Me: I would be offended if that weren’t accurate.

Podcast Version
Location: in front of my computer from dawn to dusk
Mood: busy
Music: I’m such a stalker, a watcher, a psychopath (Spotify)
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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Grief-Stricken

Chuck and Chad(wick)

Chuck, Cho, Chad, and Mouse came by on Friday to wish Chuck a safe trip back home.

Me: Well, I already spent thousands this month on my apartment and health so I figured, “Why not blow another $150 on a smokeless grill? What difference’s 150 bucks at this point?”
Chad: Makes sense.
Me: We should invite Chuck over for a last BBQ in NYC.
Him: Let’s do it.

For anyone that’s been to my pad before, they know that the air circulation is low-to-nonexistent. No matter what I try to pan-grill, my smoke alarm goes off and it’s a sauna most days of the year.

I’d gotten the grill a while ago and decided to christen it and wish Chuck a farewell at the same time.

We picked up burgers, kielbasa, kraut, cole slaw, roasted veggies, potato pancakes, and drinks around the way, bringing them back and grilling everything up. We were supposed to start around 5:30.

Mouse: (walking in at 7PM) Wait, you haven’t started eating yet?
Me: We started a bit late.
Her: I can see that.

After we were done eating, we watched an episode of a food channel, an episode of hot ones, and then got down to serious matters, like board games.

We started with SpotIt

Chad: My morale’s deflated.
Me: I gotta put that in the blog.

…before moving onto Exploding Kittens

Everyone: How could you have that many defuse cards and still lose, Logan?
Me: It’s a gift, really.

Chuck: I’m going to throw a hairy potato at you. And not one of the cards.

…and finishing up with the classic, Pictionary.

Guess what this is and click it to read the URL of it to see if you’re right (Chuck figured it out)

Note that we were all two-sheets-to-the-wind – except for Cho – because he was the only one driving. Which is why I found the following exchange so amusing:

Mouse: (drawing)
Cho: What is that? An eye?
Her: (nods)
Him: Eye circle?
Her: (shakes head)
Him: Eye globe?
Her: (eyes wild and wide, stabs picture)
Him: Eyeball?
Her: YES! It’s an eyeball! EYE GLOBE?! EYE CIRCLE?! WTF is an EYE GLOBE, CHO?!

Chad was laughing hysterically when he glanced at his phone and suddenly turned sober. “Oh, no!” he said.

Him: Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer. He was 43.
Me: What? (taking out phone, reading) Um, I need a second, fellas.

I went into the back room, sat down, and just cried. That’s how it works, you see. That’s how grief works.

One minute with you’re with your fave girlie and good friends, and the next minute you’re in the back pulling up pictures of people you know you love and that you’ll never see again and an actor that you never knew.

You never know when life’s gonna hit that grief button. But when it does, holy shit…

I always knew the word, “grief-stricken,” but I never truly appreciated the etymological brilliance of the word until that moment.

It’s actually so perfect with how it works as a word, you are literally stricken – hit, bludgeoned, injured, wounded, struck – with grief.

That’s what grief-stricken means. Grief hits you like a fucking baseball bat, and you’re left gasping for air.

I was literally laughing one moment and trying to cry as quietly as I could the next. That’s what grief-stricken means.

As for Chadwick, that’s a whole different matter that I need to work through.

Chad: (leaning in) I’m sorry, brother, I wasn’t thinking.
Me: (shaking head) Why are you sorry? It wasn’t you that took her from me.

Podcast Version
Location: alone in my apartment
Mood: Friday, grief-stricken
Music: Sooner or later in life, the things you love you loose (Spotify)
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The beach, a bike ride, friends, and food

Lots and lots of food

I did have a really nice weekend, though. All things considered.

Mouse came by on Saturday and stayed over until Tuesday – for a very NYC reason.

Me: I’m pretty sure you don’t have to move your car until Tuesday.
Her: Are you sure? Double-check.
Me: (later) Yup, you’re good until Tuesday.
Her: Yay! Let’s eat.

I was mainly looking for distractions so, if there’s one thing that girl is good at, it’s distractions.

Her: If the weather’s nice tomorrow do you wanna go to the beach?
Me: Sure, but I think the weather might conspire against us.

It didn’t, so off we went.

She admonished me more than a few times to remember to bring sunscreen. Naturally, that’s the one thing I forgot. So, I ended up walking over an hour looking for some.

Me: (sighing) Finally found some sunscreen. And beer.
Mouse: Did you get lost?
Me: You don’t even wanna know….

Because of Mouse’s health issues, she’s essentially been a vegetarian for more than a half-a-year now? That went away recently so we spent most of the time being gluttons.

Her: I’m eating everything.
Me: Well, I’m still fasting.
Her: I’m eating everything!

We ended up eating, amongst other things, some of Steel’s fish, some Korean bulgogi, several heart-attack sandwiches, and fried chicken. Of course.

The next day, we went down the Hudson River Greenway, me on the electric bike, her on the scooter.

Her: This reminds me of California.
Me: Yeah, that seems like ages ago.
Her: I wanna go to a cafe.
Me: There’s one coming up.

We sat down and she treated me to a diet coke while she had a coffee with what can only be described as a diabetes-inducing amount of sugar.

She left for work on Tuesday and I met up with Chuck and Chad afterward, like I said.

Lviv dropped me a line today too, just to see how I’m doing.

These researchers once did a study about dairy cows and noted that they were happy in the sense that they avoided pain. Pain avoidance and happiness are remarkably similar.

I think that’s true for most animals, us included.

I have to say that avoiding the pain this past weekend made me feel something close to happiness. The company helped, for sure.

And now, I can feel a little bit of relief until the holidays, at least.

Me: Thanks for coming this weekend; you’ve never missed any of these terrible anniversaries and I’m grateful for that. Thank you.
Her: I’m glad I got to spend the weekend with you. Good night, Logan.
Me: Good night, Mouse.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier today, a bike shop and a cable company
Mood: exhausted
Music: Let’s conquer the percentages (Spotify)
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Three old friends

Subscribe to my Spotify Playlist

Me: I’m running out the door to pick up some stuff from a friend. This scooter’s really paying for itself these days.
Paul: Wear a helmet! Seriously. People are animals. My wife’s convinced drivers will stop but…wear a helmet!

Got three random messages from old friends recently; people that used to be in this blog a lot more before Alison died.

I think I stopped seeing everyone from my old life because they all knew and loved her. But, I’m slowly getting back in touch with then.

Or, they with me.

The friend I was seeing was Steel. I can’t believe it was seven years ago when he called me to tell me that he caught some striped bass.

I remember Alison thought it was cool that a friend would randomly call me to give me fish.

Anywho, he did again earlier this week so off I went to the Upper East Side.

Like me, he’s a dad of a young child. You need to know this for context.

Steel: Wait, where’s your helmet?
Me: Holy cow, I can’t believe I forgot to wear one. I literally just told a buddy of mine that I always wear a helmet.
Him: (laughing) I was shocked to see you – out of all people – show up without one.

I was actually planning on picking up some fried chicken but, because I didn’t have a helmet, I decided to just go home.

The next day, Gio called me. He left his firm with his boss and the two of them, plus two others, decided to try their luck on their own. They opened up shop at Columbus Circle, not too far from my pad.

Gio: Yeah, we were planning ton his since before the pandemic but, it looks like 95% of our old clients are coming with us.
Me: Damn, nice. I tell everyone that any company can be good in good times, only great companies can be good in bad times.
Him: (laughs) Nice scooter, BTW. I think I have the exact same one. But, I haven’t ridden it yet. I’m in the office by 8AM and I don’t leave until midnight.
Me: I remember those days. I think they’re long past now.

The three year anniversary of my dad’s death is on Monday so I think I’ll be checking out for a bit.

Come back on Tuesday, won’t you?

Oh, in the meantime, my brother suggested that I make my Spotify Blog Playlist public so click here or above for it.

I’ll add the songs that I put into this blog as well as songs from past entries so it’ll continually grow.

I have a pretty broad taste in music so there’s bound to be something you’ll love. Or hate.

Bound to be…

Podcast Version
Location: this week, all over town
Mood: nostalgic
Music: All of the mazes and the madness in my mind (Spotify)
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But wait, there’s more

Good having friends

After the plumbers left, I rang up my neighbor Vic, who’s helped me many times in the past – including when my radiator cracked and Alison was sick – to talk about patching up the massive holes the plumbers left.

The problem is that, while getting him, I got locked out of my apartment. Of course.

More accurately, the lock wouldn’t unlock because the casing around the lock was completely snapped off.

You see, when the firemen came to deal with the gas from Pac, they seriously weakened the housing for my lock, to the point that, when I locked my gate, the screws that kept the lock in place weren’t attached to anything; the metal itself had been crowbared open.

Anywho, I was locked out of my home for close to an hour until I finally managed to get the gate open by repeatedly trying to jiggle the lock back – somewhat – into place.

I couldn’t get in touch with Vic, so I called up another workman around the way.

Me: How much do you think a gate like this would cost to replace?
Workman: Easily a thousand dollars; these are all custom made. Your best bet is to find a welder but even that’ll be expensive with COVID.
Me: You’re fulla good news.
Him: (shrugs)

So, between the flooding, the broken AC, the continued flooding, the fall, the doctor’s visit, the jackhammering, and now the gate, this has been a decidedly annoying and expensive few weeks.

Now, I had been continuing to pay my gym fees during COVID because the owner’s such a good guy and he and his wife have been nuthin but super generous with me.

But, after all of the expenses piling up, I finally had to stop paying.

Me: Hey brother – I’m sorry to do this but I have to stop payments. Got hit with a flood that wiped me out.
Owner: Shit, sorry to hear about the flood! I’ve suspended your membership. Thanks for sticking with us for as long as you have.
Me: Dude, I was hoping to stick with you guys until you reopened. It’s been a rough few weeks.

Of course, my life’s been far, far worse. So, I suppose everything’s relative.

Plus, it’s good having friends like the gym owner and Vic on your side.

Vic: I can do that for you. And I’ll see if I can find a welder for you to try to fix the gate. Maybe a week after next?
Me: Man, you rock. For sure.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier today, seeing Gio at Columbus Circle
Mood: drained (of money)
Music: Please come to save me from myself again (Spotify)
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Sweet Dreams

I’m sorry

Luciano’s mom reached out to me over the weekend and filled me in on some more information.

I didn’t know what to say. What does one say, but, “I’m sorry?”

The truth is, you want to say, “I’m sorry that the world is so fucked up and people like Luciano and Alison are gone but shit-heads like Trump and his progeny still exist. There’s no God and if there is one, he’s a giant asshole and he can go fuck himself.”

But in the end, all you can ever say is, “I’m sorry,” and hope it’s enough.

Speaking of which…

Me: I guess I should take these letters off.
Chad: Do you want me to help?
Me: No. I’ll do it myself. Just…distract me will you?
Him: Sure, I’ll do a dance. (thinking) You should take a picture.
Me: (starting the process) I already did, but thanks.
Him: I’m sorry, Logan.
Me: (nodding)

When Alison moved in, she wanted to paint the boy’s room but I convinced her not to. It was too much trouble, I said. We had already agreed on painting the master bedroom and living room so she relented on what was the guest room.

I kept the paint cans for those two rooms, 11 years after Alison and I got them.

It’s hard letting things go.

The boy’s room, though, was painted by a lovely girl name Abbie in September of 2004, almost exactly 16 years ago. That was the last time it was painted. Abbie painted it when patterns were all the rage but it now made the room look dated.

To the point that, when Mouse lived here, she also asked to paint it, and I said no again. This time for a slightly different reason.

You see, Alison and I put up these stickers that read, “Sweet Dreams.” It was just a random idea that Alison had and she surprised me with the lettering. I still remember her, pregnant and carefully measuring and adjusting the words so that they would be perfect. Which they were – perfectly balanced and exactly in the center of the crib.

That was her in a nutshell.

Now, she always had meant for them to be temporary but once she died, I couldn’t bear the thought of taking them down.

But the boy’s growing up. And he should have a room that he can have for the next 16 years if he wanted, not the room Abbie wanted 16 years ago.

So, this past Sunday, I took the lettering down with Chad. Then Mouse came by and the three of us painted the whole thing.

While we were waiting for it to dry, we went out for food.

Me: Are you two tired of Vietnamese yet?
Them: Nope, not yet.

We ran into an old friend of mine while we were out but I suppose that’s an entry for another time.

Then we came back and we marveled at the room.

Neither of them had ever painted before. It wasn’t perfect but we were happy with it afterward – we didn’t do any of the molding as I figured we’d do that some other time.

But it was good. I think Alison would have liked it.

Hopefully, the boy will.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier today, at 84th, asking for Ariel
Mood: much better
Music: Hold your head up, keep your head up, (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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Owing a debt

Mother is the name of God

Podcast Version

Him: Why do you stay in contact with her and people like him?
Me: I owe them a debt. Anyone that shows a kindness to my family, I owe a debt.

My head’s quiet again.

That’s more than I can say about the state of the nation, what with a pandemic, murder hornets, cannibal rats, state-sponsored murder, and now race riots.

The thing is: I get it. As my buddy from my gym said, you never get over the anger. And what’s the anger all about? Inequity.

It’s bullshit that Alison died so young, so close to her dream of finally – finally – getting a family. Bullshit.

I said earlier that I couldn’t watch the whole video. I stopped when Floyd cried out for his mother.

That broke my heart. As a regular, run-of-the-mill-normal human being, it broke my heart. That someone could die for no fucking reason whatsoever.

And what crushed it to powder was the thought that in the darkest moments of his life, my son will cry out for me. Because he didn’t know Alison.

And I’m half the person she was. You see, Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of children.

Except for mine, that is. Fuckballs.

I counted the days. Alison lived exactly 13,893 days. HALF of what she was promised. What we were promised. The inequity makes my blood boil.

Alison and George are gone now, for no good reason whatsoever. So, I understand the rage.

But there’s another facet to the rage. And that’s the debt.

In 1847 – after the Trail of Tears – the Choctaw heard about the starving Irish during their potato famine and somehow, managed to scrape together and send $170 (about $5,000 today) to help these people strangers.

For every bit of inequity – where one isn’t given what one’s owed – there’s a flip side. There’s grace; that’s when you’re given something you didn’t earn.

When Alison was sick, the grace I saw, humbled me. To those people that helped us, my family owes them a debt. That’s it.

We owe them a debt.

The Choctaw owed the Irish no debt but they paid a value to someone in need. And 173 years later, the descendants of those with the debt paid back some of it.

I think I hold a special place of contempt in my heart for those in mixed-race relationships – particularly white male and Asian female relationships – where the white male doesn’t realize the debt he owes the African-American community.

Like the the officer that murdered Mr. Floyd, who is married to a Laotian woman.

That officer doesn’t realize the debt his family owes to the black community, that was regularly lynched for just looking at a white woman, and had to go to court to gain us all the right to marry any one of any race we wanted.

I was able to legally marry Alison because a white man named Loving – of all things – wanted to marry a black woman, named Mildred. My family would not exist but for Mildred and Loving. The debt every interracial couple owes to them cannot be overstated.

If you’re white and in a mixed-race relationship and you don’t feel any rage over what happened to Mr. Floyd and don’t recognize the debt you owe to that community then I gotta point it out to you now.

You owe them a debt.

But rage against inequity works both ways.

Chauvin’s wife just announced that she was divorcing him.

Podcast Version
Location: 95th and Broadway
Mood: angry
Music: so sick of being so lonely; miss all my family (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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