Laraha, Valencia, Curaçao, and Superman

Nurture versus Nature or Superman the Shoe Salesman

Nighttime Shot of Malaga Spain
After the Boston bombings, there were a number of people I knew that immediately spouted their conspiracy theories. And several of them argued that Americans somehow brought this upon themselves.

Of course, they are Americans but hold themselves separate and superior from the rest of us. Which is odd because several of them stopped formal education at high school.

The most recent events in London made me think of the whole nature versus nurture argument.

And oranges.

And Superman.

Because there’s this orange from Spain called the Valencia orange that’s supposed to amazingly delicious and sweet. They were hybridized in America from orange trees in Valencia, which in turn came from India.
Valencia Orange, picture from Wikipedia

Those same trees were planted on the island of Curaçao, where the soil there caused these delicious, sweet, bright orange, oranges to transform – on their own – into small, bitter, green, “oranges.” They turned into the Laraha fruit.

These fruit are so bitter that it’s said that goats on the island would rather starve to death than eat them.

Let me stop for a second and paraphrase a joke that I heard once, which says that: If Krypton never exploded and Kal-El/Superman stayed on the planet, what if he became a shoe salesman?

After all, he’s only Superman because he came here; home he would have been Al Bundy.

As the son of recent immigrants, I wonder about my possible pasts: what if we never came here from Taiwan? Who would I be, what would I be? It’s pure dumb luck, my lot in this world.

Turning back to the recent events of England, it was odd hearing the attackers speak clear British English. Is there some inherent glitch in people like this or is a unique combination of nature and nurture. I’m guessing that’s the case.

Wonder what these people’s  lives would had been had they not gone to the UK. And what then?

I’ve no answer.

Suppose not everything that heads off to distant lands become better with time, like rum.

Location: heading to the gym
Mood: muggy
Music: Who killed tangerine? The prettiest girl I’ve ever seen
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Insomnia and a day of meetings on tap

Another sleepless night

Had a bunch of things I wanted to write about but a particularly bad bout of insomnia this week has made it so that everything’s hazy. A copy of a copy of a copy.

Last night a car alarm kept my entire building awake as well so that was beyond irritating. Wanted to go outside with a sledgehammer.

Now I’ve got to slap myself awake and prep for a day of meetings from 11AM to 7:30PM. No fun.

In some ways, NYC and I are in an abusive relationship. She treats me terribly but her charms are enough that I stay. Some of us are just nighthawks, I suppose.

Apparently Billy Joel feels the same way too; check out this vid with him and a random Vanderbuilt college kid named Michael Pollock that wants to play the piano with him.

Here’s the thing: If you never ask, there’s zero chance you’ll get what you want. The risk one takes by opening the mouth and asking changes everything.

Everything good comes from the asking. Michael Pollock asked to play and Joel said yes.

Guess it’s time for another meeting.

Why yes, I will have another cup of coffee…

Mood: ex-fricken-hausted
Music: so easy livin’ day by day Out of touch with the rhythm and blues
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John Fairfax killed a shark too

The limits of our imagination are the limits of our world

Bagpipes

When we meet people, we often describe them by what they do – like The Accountant, or The Schoolteacher.

Suppose it’s because we’re all know by what we do. If that’s the case, then, we can choose what it is we are.

I think that people that meet me in one part of my life are surprised by the other parts. Those that know me as a fencing instructor are probably surprised I’m a lawyer. My real estate clients are probably surprised I write.

The thing is that – I feel – the more someone respects me for being a lawyer, the less they believe I can fence.

There’s something about people that find it impossible to believe that someone can excel at two things. Let alone three, or more.

This fella named John Fairfax once rowed across the Atlantic by himself in two months. Since that was pretty well-documented, no one had a problem believing that he did that.

The problem happened when he said that during his trip, a giant mako shark attacked him so he killed it with a knife.

A reporter with the Miami Herald scoffed at this part of the story, which so pissed Fairfax off that Fairfax rented a boat, poured fish blood into the water, waited for a shark to come, killed that shark, then dragged the shark’s dead body to the steps of the Miami Herald and dumped it there.

The moral of the story is people scoff all of time when they meet someone who does something out of their own view of the world. It’s like that saying I love: A frog in a well knows nothing of the ocean.

My buddy Johnny was the guy that first taught me how to fight – I mean really taught me. He just bought a $19 million building in midtown Manhattan. My wrasslin coach also has an Ivy League Ph.D in Japanese history.

People find it hard to believe things they feel they couldn’t do. Their world is limited by their own beliefs in their own abilities.

In other words, their understanding of the world is limited by their imagination.

It’s hard to constantly stretch our imagination as we get older but I try. It helps having friends that dream too.

With nods to Michel Gondry, I’m not a very good sleeper.

But I dream a lot.

Mood: amused
Music: should have said long ago: You don’t know me
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Our first Christmas tree

Remember the small but personally important things

Sick again. It always happens when I’ve got a million deadlines and zero sleep.

In one week, was midtown, downtown, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem,  and Spanish Harlem. Was kinda in a daze for mosta it.

Most things are due this Friday so there’s a small chance this may be the only post of the week.

Then again, do my best work under pressure. At least that’s what I tell myself.


We did manage to pick up a tree at – of all place – our local bodega. Also picked up some lights at the local drugstore and soon had our first Xmas tree.

Me: Now it feels like Christmas.

Suppose that’s one of the main reasons I keep writing this blog – and I’m one of the few that still do. Cause it forces me to write down the small but personally significant things.

Especially since I’ve been so drugged out on cough medicine and lack of sleep, it took me a few moments to notice something was wrong when I returned home from a client over the weekend.

Me: Ah, the tree…wait, why’s the tree in the sink?
Her: Long story.

Have said that the time between Thanksgiving and Xmas is my favourite time of year. Am hoping that I’ll be able to enjoy some of it soon.

Off again…

Location: another day, another meeting
Mood: sick
Music: I went to see the doctor. I’d come down with the blues.
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If I were a betting man?

You get bonuses to go with every painful thing that happens to you

Saint Clair Cemin's 40 foot stainless steel sculpture at 57th Street and Broadway.After some more serious pain in my left leg and the acceptance of the fact that it wasn’t actually getting better, went to the doctor.

Didn’t actually have to wait all that long before this young doctor came in and examined me.

He pulled and pushed my leg in all sorts of different ways that were pretty violent but, oddly, didn’t hurt that much. Then he sent me in for an X-Ray and then finally wrapped up everything by saying that I had to get an MRI to rule out any damage to meniscus.

But there was a pause in his voice that worried me. Been to enough hospitals to recognize it.

Doctor: …just bring this to the front desk and they’ll order up the MRI for you.
Me: Will I need surgery?
Doctor: Well, it’s hard to say without an MRI and…
Me: (interrupting) What if you were a betting man, Doc? What would you say my chances were that I needed surgery then?
Doctor: (slight laugh) If I were a betting man? (turning somber) If I were a betting man, I’d say 90%. There’s definitely some damage there.

Took a deep breath and then went out to the front desk and then made it home.

The thing with bad events is that, not only do you get the bad event, you get bonuses.

The bad event here is that I got injured and now have to get surgery.

The bonuses here are that now I’m unable to work out, which means I’m unable to sleep. So in addition to the discomfort in my leg, there’s the return of the insomnia. Last night was the first night.

It’s only 8:41 AM and I’m already dreading tonight.

Also had to turn down some work in Brooklyn as I can’t make it out that far.

Finally, I’ve recently been dealing with a crisis of faith for unrelated reasons.

Not been the best week so far.

Well, there’s always tomorrow.

Location: a chair
Mood: concerned
Music: if we are wise We know that there’s always tomorrow
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Pride comes before a fall

Right-Handed and Proud!

Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC

Have not been having a good week.

A byproduct of this is that my insomnia’s back. At least with the advent of tablet computing, I can just read quietly in bed and hopefully fall asleep.

Last night, read that the leader of the anti-Semitic party in Hungary learned he was Jewish.

And parta why I read that was because the Olympics are over. I understand the prideful screaming and cheering there. These are people that just worked for years at a certain skill and have finally achieved something few in the world could.

I get that.

However, got a number of friends that are extremely proud to be Chinese, Irish, black, whatever. One even has a tattoo to this effect. This I don’t get quite as much.

Cause they didn’t do anything to achieve that. Me for example, I’m Chinese. Specifically, from the Luo River in the Bing province. I like being Chinese – after all, we’re a lovely people.

But the question I always think to my friends was, If you were born, say, a Bermudian, would you be equally proud of that? Would you join the Bermudian Day parade, get a tattoo that says, “Bermudian and proud?”

Suspect they would. Which just kinda shows how silly it is. It’s all just sheer stupid luck.

This always gets Chinese people that don’t know me furious cause they say that without this pride, I must be ashamed I’m Chinese. Which, again, makes zero sense to me. I’m Chinese(-American). I’m also right-handed. I don’t get a tattoo that says, “Right-handed and proud” cause it’s merely what I am.

Got an issue with people that are prideful of things they had nuthin to do with. And sometimes, they take this pride to extremes like that guy in Hungary. And then they look idiotic when they realize how easily facts can change.

Him: The greatest fighter in the world was Chinese!
Me: He was one of the greatest fighters in the world cause he worked hard at it and was naturally gifted. Plus Bruce Lee was 1/4 Caucasian.

Location: waiting by the phone
Mood: unhappy
Music: I’ve had a s__t day, you’ve had a s__t day
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Sleepy Logan and Bachelor Cooking


Last night was particularly rough in terms of the insomnia.

Don’t write much about it any more because if I did, this blog would be one endless post about my not being able to sleep peppered with occasional mentions of rum, wrasslin, fencing, and dropping something. Managed to get about three hours of sleep last night with a client meeting this morning at 9:30.

And I think I’m coming down with something.

When I was younger, used to get a lot done when I couldn’t sleep. Had a separate persona I called Sleepy Logan who did all sortsa stuff for me.

For example, on more than one occasion, I’d wake up and there’d be a pot of chili sitting on my stove and I’d think, “Ah, Sleepy Logan made some chili.” Amongst other things, he’d also learned German, organized my books by colour, and renamed my files to “subject – year.month.day.”

Now I just lie still and hope to catch just a little more sleep.

I’m told it’s the better way to go but on nights like last night, wonder if it’s just not better for Sleepy Logan to visit.

———-

On a somewhat related point, my brother asked me about the old Bachelor Cooking episodes Rain and I did and realized they weren’t up any longer. So I’m reposting episode one. Rain’s probably got a better quality version somewhere.

Partly because of this video, made a concerted effort not to talk so much with my hands.

It’s not been all that successful. Even less so when I get no sleep.

Location: somewhere between kinda awake and kinda asleep
Mood: exhausted
Music: nothing to do waiting for the sun to rise
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No sleep till the job’s done

Me: (to waitress) I’ll have a acai caipirinha.
Nadi: (to waitress) Put an umbrella in it?
Me: Please don’t.
Her: Logan, it’s a purple drink.

Been crazy busy lately. Did manage to find time to meet up with my old co-workers again this past Monday, which is always fun.

Last night, gave another lecture on the law. Despite my being pretty much exhausted, thought it went pretty well. That is until the wife started cracking up at home.

Her: You know that Beastie Boy reference you made?
Me: Yeah?
Her: You called MCA, AMC.
Me: Oh for pete’s sake…

That’s onea the dangers of doing all that I do with as little sleep as I usually get. That lecture’s gonna be up for a long time and I’ll forever be that guy that made a Beastie Boy reference and then got the name wrong.

Ended up at the Harvard Club in midtown where the other speaker bought me a drink. Didn’t have any good rums on deck so I had a Macall ofn on the rocks. Was good but nuthin beats my rum – with or without an umbrella.

Got home to some really terrific news but that’s a post for another time.

As for now, no sleep till Brooklyn the job’s done.

Location: getting dressed for work
Mood: exanimate
Music: born and bred in Brooklyn, the USA. They call me Adam Yauch, but I’m MCA.
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Travelogue Malaga Day 4 & 5

Food and drink on a balcony on the AC Hotel overlooking, Malaga, Spain

That was a non-alcoholic beer. No, I have no explanation for it.

2012.04.16

Me: Your batteries are low. You should always be charging something.
Her: If you had an autobiography, you should call it that.
Me: What was the other I said that you said would be a good title for me?
Her: “I’m full of ham and other late night confessions.”

We wake up later than we thought we would but this is because, after four days, I finally get six uninterrupted hours of sleep. I wake up and see that my hands are steady once again.

We walk out the door and head over to the cathedral, which is on the next block.

The tours are closed so we pay for a viewing of their replica of the Shroud of Turin. Yes, it’s a replica. But it was the only way to see the inside of the church.

They tell us not to take pictures and I say that I won’t take pictures of the exhibit. And I don’t take pictures of the exhibit.

The cathedral in Malaga, Spain

We end up going to another tapas place.

Her: OK, this is nice.
Me: (looking up) I’ll stand guard for birds.

We order almost exactly what we had the other day but this time, it was without bird poop.

The tapas, it turns out, are much better without bird poop. Good advice for life in general.

Street scene in Malaga, Spain

2012.04.17
We wake up early and pick up food at the local bakery again. It’s so early that they don’t have much prepared so I wait for them to make me a sandwich.

A few hours later, we’re in a cab to the airport, and soon on a flight back to Dublin. We get off and I’m starving so we pick up some food at the food court.

Airport in Malaga, Spain

More accurately, I pick up some food at the food court but soon regret my, admittedly, random choices.

Me: Perhaps having a burger, fries, yoghurt, dates, coffee, and an errant cashew right before a transatlantic flight wasn’t the best idea.
Her: You think?

We eventually make it onto our flight home and I spend a little time writing these entries.

It’s late when the plane lands at JFK. We forget that customs is always a bear. But eventually that’s over and a really nice hack gets us home relatively fast.

Some 18 hours after we begin our trip home, we get home.

Her: We’re home!
Me: Sweet! Let me check on Harold.

Harold is obviously upset we went away as he says nothing and he gives me the silent treatment even now.

Still, that aside, it’s good to be home. And now, work.

Woman on balcony in Malaga, Spain
Horses and carriages in Malaga, Spain
Logan Lo, in Malaga, Spain

Location: home, getting dressed for the office
Mood: busy
Music: took what they offered me To set me free
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Travelogue Malaga Day 3 / All food, all the time

Two cups of Café con leche and a pain au chocolat in Malaga, Spain

2012.04.15

We both wake up just in time for a tour of the Picasso museum. Rather, once again, she wakes up and I get up.

The museum is very interesting, actually. No pics though. As we wend our way around these beautiful objects, I’m reminded of something Lorne Michaels once said, Sadly, talent and character do not often reside in the same person.

Afterward, we go out to eat where we order a traditional meal of tapas. In Malaga, they always give you a basket of bread but never any butter or oil to go with it. Find this a bit odd but HG is less concerned. Things are going fairly well until a bird decides to poop on the table in front of HG; in the pic below the crime happens between the bread and the wine.

She is displeased. Thus ends lunch.

Beer, bread, and wine in Malaga, Spain

We go back to the hotel and I actually get some sleep for once. When we wake up, we head out and explore the city a bit. As the rain begins to fall, we end up at a traditional market where people look at me funny cause I’m taking pics of where they pick up their dinner.

Ducking into a café when the rain picks up, we have two café con leche and split a pan du de chocolate as an old man asks us if we want lottery tickets. In light of our recent luck with them, we decline and like the man yesterday, he exclaims, Such a shame!

Eventually, we walk over to try and see the cathedral, but it’s already closed. So we take cover in a doorway and keep our eyes out for birds.

When the weather lets up, we make our ways to the ruins of the Moorish castle, Alcazaba and then the 2300 year old ruins of the Roman arena I saw yesterday.

Her: It’s pretty amazing that people in Europe get to have things like this all over the place.
Me: It really is.

Wine and a mojito in Malaga, Spain

We then we head over and get some libations: she orders a glass of white wine, I order a Mojito.

Her: I can’t believe you’re eating all the mint.
Me: It’s like a drink and a salad all at once.

Soon, we find our way to a restaurant for a proper dinner. I decide on something called a Migas and ask HG to ask the waiter what it is.

Him: Um, maybe he should pick something else.
Her: Why, what is it? (the waiter begins to explain when HG thinks and says) Actually, it doesn’t matter. He’ll eat anything.

It’s pretty good, if not very greasy. She orders the paella and can’t finish that so I eat that as well.

A Migas meal in Malaga, Spain

We take a walk back to the hotel and end up watching “500 Days of Summer” – a film we’ve both been avoiding for a while.

Turned out to be pretty realistic; people, especially men, have been told by Hollywood what love is all about. And real love’s nuthin like what you see in moving pictures. We enjoy it.

We then try to sleep but the noise outside on a Saturday night is indescribably loud.

As I get up and head to the bathroom, I steady myself against the sink. The hand shaking continues.

It’s been a while since my insomnia’s been so bad and for a moment, I despair a bit, thinking maybe it’s back again as it was.

But then remind myself that I’m traveling. Running my hands under the cold water, I look up and see a terribly old-looking man staring back at me.

A butcher in the market of Malaga, Spain
A church in Malaga, Spain

Location: my apartment, looking for more food
Mood: busy
Music: night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
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