The worst day I’ve had in a while

Google will replace a cracked Nexus 5 screen for free

Cracked Nexus 5 Screen

Was out in Brooklyn meeting a client in the summer heat two days ago. Got mixed up and ended up being 20 minutes late – and I’m rarely late. Not a good start to a rough meeting.

Grabbed a bus to avoid walking in the heat and, when it lurched, heard a crack in my back pocket. My less-than-six-months-old Google Nexus 5 just bit the dust.

Then I got home and got confirmation that I lost my biggest and oldest client; they hired an in-house counsel. All-in-all, a rough day.

But then I saw more headlines for ISIS and the poor fella that they killed.

And my friend – who works for a non-profit – told me that he just received an email.

It seems that, because of the ebola epidemic, prices for food and other staple items are skyrocketing. The people he works with in Sierra Leone  – who are a very, very proud people – were asking for a slight and temporary stipend to be able to afford food to feed their family.

How much were they asking for?

$20 extra. For the month.

Suddenly, I felt really ridiculous about my worst day.

It got even more ridiculous as I found out that, 17 hours prior to my cracking my Nexus phone, Reddit just released that Google Play would replace any cracked Nexus phone purchased through them for free.

20 minutes after I called Google, got an email that a new phone would be shipped to me free of charge in a week.

I’ve said a few times now that all emotional pain comes when your expectation of reality doesn’t match reality.

I’ve also said that I’ve got no complaints. I’ve got my people, my pad, my poison, and my person.

Couldn’t really wish for much more.

Google Red Nexus 5 replacement

While writing this, UPS came by with my replacement phone. In less than 24 hours. Amazing.

———–

The following are charities that work in Ebola-afflicted countries and all have three or four stars from Charity Navigator. Skip your morning coffee, send them a fivver, and feel good about the rest of your day.

Location: NYC, where there’s no ebola
Mood: so grateful
Music: Hold on, hold on, we’ve got the lights dear
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

From the Archives: Safe, Grace, and Mercy

Sal, a letter, and the difference between Grace and Mercy


My best friend’s granddad is a fella named Sal. He and his family have always been kind to me. I remember we once discussed Dean Martin. Good ole Dino. Good ole Sal.

Sal just passed yesterday so I’ve got to dust off my black suit and say goodbye. I’m sad, not so much for him, because he lived a good and long life, but for those he left behind.

After all, A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own.

I wanted to write more but I think I said it best already in the two posts below.

Safe
I thought of my own grandma when I heard the news. We were close because she lived in Taiwan and I’m an insomniac. When I was up at 3AM, I had someone to speak to. After she passed, when  3AM rolled around, found myself just sitting in the dark by my lonely. So I wrote her this letter.

 

Grace and Mercy
And in that entry, talked about the difference between grace and mercy. One is when you get the good things you don’t deserve; the other is when you don’t get the bad things you do deserve. You can read which one is which here.

Back on Monday.

Location: in front of my closet
Mood: sad
Music: don’t remind me to forget
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Core belief 4: There’s no such thing as willpower

There’s only varying degrees of what you actually want

Just wrote two large checks to the government. It’s because, those that live in an eat-what-you-kill life here in the US, have to send in what they think are going to be the taxes every three months.

It’s a bit annoying and sometimes stressful because (a) you have to make educated guesses and (b) you have to be ready to write those checks.

Mentioned this to a buddy the other day and he said that I must have a lot of willpower to not spend the money. Likewise, when I mentioned to someone else that I was once super fat, she too remarked that I must have a lot of willpower

So, I figured now was a good time to present another core belief of mine to you: There’s no such thing as willpower.

It doesn’t exist.

What does exist are value judgments as to the relative worth of things.

For example, when I was a fat kid – whether I realized it or not – I was making a choice of choosing the pleasure of chocolate cake over the discomfort of being teased; the pleasure of sitting on a couch watching television versus the discomfort of exercise.

In other words, I was getting something out of being fat that was worth more to me than not being fat.

It was only when I went to junior high school, where there was a pretty girl named Eve, that it flipped. Suddenly, it being fat wasn’t worth the cost to me.

Isn’t it always about a girl?

In any case, had a co-worker of mine, years ago, who just complained about the work he did all the time.

He was offered a promotion and he declined, saying that he was worried no one else could do the job as well as he could. Everyone else thought this was so noble, but I realized that he was getting something out of his current job that was worth more than the higher title, more than the additional income, more than the additional responsibilities.

He liked to complain.

He was getting more out of being able to complain than he would have gotten out of all the other things.

Should note that I never did summon the courage to ask Eve out. Just as well.

There are few people who can actually put up with my idiosyncrasies.

Me: (dropping something) CRASH!
Her: I’m really worried about your ability, as a rational person, to hold onto things.

 

Core belief 3: You are what you decide to be
Core belief 2: You’re not who you could be because of the lies you tell yourself<
Core belief 1: I’ll judge you for what you do but never for what you are

Location: the start of a new week in an old chair
Mood: sore
Music: like a dream, make me feel crazy
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Everyone believes very easily whatever he fears or desires

There’s a difference between real knowledge and junk food knowledge

I find Facebook and other social media to be a really enlightening look into the lives and workings of people I kinda know.

Not a day goes by when I don’t think about a quote from poet Jean De la Fontaine, who said that Everyone believes very easily whatever he fears or desires.

Every morning, I know that there will be a conspiracy theory from at least a dozen people on my list about how the NSA is trying to read my email to my mom, Monsanto secretly controls the world, or we’re all about to die from ______.

There’s also going to be the conservative rant from someone that says that Obama is ready to take all our guns and force us into hospitals next Thursday and the liberal rant that says that if we ignore the world’s problems, the world’s problems will ignore us.

More interesting to me is how often people mistake junk food intelligence for actual intelligence. They mistake some kernel of data for a self-proving fact, knowledge for intelligence.

The issue for me isn’t the spread of seriously questionable “knowledge.” It isn’t the childish simplification of seriously complex situations. It isn’t even the almost pathological willful ignorance.

It’s the fact that these people are bores.

Good god, stop being such a bore. It’s exhausting.

And it’s akin to walking around with spinach in your teeth and refusing to get rid of it. See the video below.

So why do I bother keeping them on? Because the danger is becoming one of them. To exclude opinions not in line with my own because I find them so ridiculous. It’s ignoring the balanced meal for the Happy Meal. After all, convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

Moreover, who am I to say anything?

Me: (putting on shoes) I’m heading up to Harlem.
Her: Why?
Me: It’s the only place with a KFC.
Her: You’re going all the way to Harlem to go to KFC?
Me: (thinking) Yes.

Location: heading to the gym shortly
Mood: enjoying the fall-like temps again
Music: Sometimes I wish I could Calm the storm
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

We make 15 decisions a day

To relieve stress, you should try to make less than 15 decisions a day


Read once somewhere that people can make 15 decisions a day. That sounds about right.

In fact, I’ll take it one step further, the fact that:

  1. we can only make 15 decisions a day and
  2. must make 15 decisions a day,

…leads to the stress in our lives. Because sometimes we have to make more. And we’re not really equipped/built to do so.

IMHO, that’s the real reason that we miss childhood; back then, someone else made the decisions for us.

While still young, we fought to make more of those 15 decisions, and then as we got older still, we found we had to make those decisions.

Well, that was dumb.

English: Decisions Decisions (Horton, Point or...
English: Decisions Decisions (Horton, Point or Green) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bearing this in mind, a few years back, I tried to minimize the number of decisions I had to make on a daily basis.

You know why you have rules? You have rules so you don’t have to think because you’ve already thought about it before.

That’s why I have rules and a schedule. It minimizes the discrete decisions I have to make each.

  • Is it Monday? That’s when I usually have client meetings and phone calls.
  • It it Tuesday? I pop over and see my parents in midday and have my fencing class at night.

When the weather’s cool, I wear a suit because it’s easy. I don’t wear a tie even though I have more ties than pretty much anyone I know. One less decision to make.

The problem with this whole plan is when I have a new decision to make. Usually labour over it for a while before I make a decision. But once I do, I try as best as I can not to go back.

After all, we all wanna keep going forward don’t we? I’d like to, anywho.

Location: it’s Wednesday, so that means more meetings and the gym
Mood: steamy
Music: It’s a beautiful bright day outside the door.
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with

We become like the five people we spend the most time with


This fella named Jim Rohm, whom I’ve mentioned before, said something once that is the inverse of what I believe.

I believe that our friends mirror some quality of us. After all, people become our friends precisely because they see some part of the world we see.

For example, I don’t have any rabid football fans as friends because I’m not a rabid football friend.

Most of my friends are rum-swilling, chili- and gyro-eating, ambitious nerds because I’m a rum-swilling, chili- and gyro-eating, ambitious nerd. It’s my tribe.

But Jim Rohn said that we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with.

We become like the five people we spend the most time with.

I think this is true too and yet another reason why I end up cutting so many people out of my life – because I want to be around people that point me in the direction I want to go.

Wanna be at least half as good a writer as my writer friend, at least half as a wrestler as my coach, at least half as good a lawyer as my boss, at least half as good a fencer…

Oh, you get the point.

I have 11,680 days left. I want them to matter.

Looking at the silliness I call my life, had five tickets to give out. Think I’ve chosen wisely.

You?

Location: caught in rain again, dammit
Mood: wet again
Music: I’ll admit I’m just the same as I was
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

 

Logan’s 40

Joy inevitably comes

The Grace Building in NYC

Like you, I was glued to the television watching the bombings in Boston.

The first thought that came to mind were words I can’t print here, but they rhymed with “mothers that drive trucks.”

My second was: The people that point and the people that run in. Around every tragedy, you will find the people that point and the people that run in.

The people that point are the ones that use a tragedy to push their own personal agendas: Religious, political, or simply, look at me because I will be different than all the others because I need to be noticed.

Regarding this pointing, on FB I had a two guys talk about all the people that die in Afghanistan and that it somehow means we shouldn’t mourn the people here. But that was pretty much the extent of it.

How many did you have? Make note of those people. Those are the ones that want, desperately, to be heard.

Regarding the people that run in, that was on full display that day as Patton Oswalt eloquently noted. It gives me some hope for our kind. I hope he’s right that that the people that run in outnumber the others. The ones that harm. The ones that point.

Today, I’m 40.

Had this whole long rant about being so old and creaky but instead, let me simply sum it up by saying this: I’m old and I’ve seen a lot more things than I’ve ever wanted to see.

The world is an ugly place. But it is made bearable by the good souls. The ones that bring us grace and mercy.

The fact that I’ve only had two really stomach turning posts on FB since this thing happened is a small indicator, I think, that I’ve managed to have more good souls than not in my corner of the world.

Years ago, wrote about Bernard Malamud who said that Life is a tragedy full of joy.

Having been on this planet for 40 short and long years, I’ve learned that tragedy inevitably comes, but the joy also comes.

And so I wait for the joy. Hope you do as well.

And like every year on (or close to) my birthday, I ask you to wish me a happy birthday, all of you bastards that read me and never say anything.

Here’s my stupid mug at almost 40. I would have taken one recently but I’ve been beat.

Logan Lo

Location: with family in my slice of the world
Mood: hopeful
Music: Don’t you keep me waiting for that day
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Growing into one’s self

Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong

Tree in the West Village

Me: Winston Churchill once said that, “Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.”
Him: Well that’s the thing, isn’t it? (thinking) “If they grow at all?”

Had lunch with my coach the other day and we were discussing this kid in our class. He’s one of the only teenagers we have and we all look out for him for various reasons. The life of a bullied child is a lonely one.

As luck would have it, tomorrow is Winston Churchill day so I thought the quote fitting.

Remember that scene in Forrest Gump where Forrest truly runs for the first time and realizes that the heavy, metal braces that held him back as a child let him run faster and longer than anyone else as an adult?

It made him antifragile.

Without belaboring the point, there were times when I was younger that I didn’t think I’d make it to adulthood.

I’m glad I stuck around because Churchill was right; I’m stronger because of my childhood rather than despite it.

Me: What are your thoughts on dive bars with wings?
Claire: I feel hugely positive about dive bars and wings.

Thought of that again as I had dinner with my friend Claire the other night. She said that she had a friend that grew into himself after college. I think that’s a good way to put it.

The lucky never realize they are lucky until it’s too late.

I should mention that while Claire, who moved here from LA, and I have written and chatted to each other for years, this was the first time we actually met in person.

Her: I’m glad you’re as nice in real life as you are over email.
Me: (laughing) I try to set the bar really low.

Life is made more bearable by the good souls.

As for the kid in our class, I hope he makes it past these hard times. If he can, I hope he’s the better for it.

As for me, my childhood seems farther and farther away these days. I’m turning 40 next week.

Still trying to process my thoughts on that.

Location: last night, my fave dive bars
Mood: sleepy
Music: I was a lonely soul but that’s the old me
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Repetition is the Mother of Skill

Perfect practice makes perfect

First ice cream of spring 2013!

Hope you had a nice holiday if you celebrated anything.

Saturday was beautiful so the wife and took a walk around the hood; it was warm enough for some ice cream. Spent Sunday contemplating my religion.

Saturday night, though, went to teach my fencing class.

A long time ago, there was this fella that had been taking the class for a lot longer than me but I would regularly beat. It was because he was always interested in learning the latest esoteric move and some secret technique while I just worked on the basics.

And the reason was simple: Repetition is the mother of skill –  I had fewer tools to work with but the tools I had I knew well and practiced regularly. He never spent enough time on the basics to really get good at them.

To which I have to clarify the following: That saying that Practice makes perfect is yet another one of those sayings that are only partially true. The actual saying is Perfect practice makes perfect.

Thought about that on Saturday when my old instructor came back to lead the class and reminded me how much of a student I still am. I think he landed four strikes for every one of mine.

And so went home afterward and surely annoyed my wife as I waved a stick around in the middle of the night, going: One, two, three…

Location: in a Monday
Mood: pensive
Music: Too late for the young gun I said This is the year of the knife
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The history of Rum is the history of us (U.S.)

Why do I drink aged rum?

Liquor storefront in NYC

Consider this my ode to aged rum.

Merriam-Webster defines distillation as the process of purifying a liquid by successive evaporation and condensation.

Removal through fire and heat, if you will, of all that is not the essence of something.

  • Brandy is the purified essence of wine.
  • Whiskey is the purified essence of beer.*

And rum? Well, the French call traditional rum, ruhm industrial for a very particular reason.

Rum is made of industrial waste. It is the distilled essence of industrial waste, then.

It’s made from molasses, the waste byproduct of sugar manufacturing. It was the leftover, black soupy crap that gummed up the works of the sugar machines. An annoyance at best.

You couldn’t give the stuff away.

But people discovered that you could ferment it and distill it and get a drink so terrible that it could kill the devil himself, so they called it Kill-Devil.

Later, as all good marketers do, it was re-branded to Rum and it stuck.

Now the rum that most people drink is essentially like moonshine.

It’s only a step or two above the Kill-Devil stuff they made back in the day. However, if you took a barrel that was burned on the inside – to kill bacteria and germs – put rum in that barrel, and then put that barrel on a ship bound for distant lands, it becomes something more.

It ages. It mellows. It becomes the best version of itself.

Crack open a bottle of aged rum and it’s something completely different from its roots.

I drink aged rum because I like how it tastes. And because I imagine I’m a pirate. And because one can drink buckets of the stuff and not have a hangover.

But it’s also because it’s like finding your people.

You like someone initially because of some small connection but as you delve further, you find you’re more similar than different.

I like to think of aged rum like me: Thoroughly American – despite outward appearances – with a sense of history, descended from people no one wanted, bound for distant shores, rough and crude in my youth and better with time.

And, with time, I’m hoping I’ll be better still.

Glass of aged rum

*For some additional reading on rum, pick up a copy of  And a Bottle of Rum by Wayne Curtis – it was he who pointed out the Brandy/Whiskey/Rum distinction. Great book and it comes with rum recipes (!)

While you’re at it, pick up a bottle of Cruzan Single-Barrel Rum and have it on the rocks with a thick slice of orange that you partially squeezed into a whiskey glass.

If you close your eyes, you can just about imagine sunnier shores.

Location: about to run to the gym
Mood: finally rested
Music: if you’re right, you’ll agree, here’s coming a better version of me
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Enhanced by Zemanta