Halloween 2019

Particular Street

I’d meant to post this a while ago but life kept getting in the way.

Do you remember that story that I told you about Alison taking one last October walk before she gave birth in 2015?

I accidentally found myself there with the boy, right before Halloween.

After I accepted being there – part of me wanted to just take the long way around – I told him all about how much Alison loved walking down it.

Him: (surprised) Mommy was here?
Me: Yup. She loved this street.

It was the first time I’d been there since just before he was born.

Handled it pretty well, I think, all things considered. Although the boy has a way with words that seem to cut me even though he doesn’t mean to.

Him: Will she come back in a 100 years?
Me: No. She won’t.
Him: Because she’s in heaven?
Me: If there is a heaven, you can bet she’s there.
Him: (thinking) Maybe she’s with your papa.
Me: (nodding, laughing) I would think so.

And the holidays begin…

Location: right near Central Park
Mood: sick?
Music: I have often walked down the street before
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Another side of me

Hiding who we really are

I like Greek myths because they spoke something to the young me. They still do.

In one myth, Apollo once swore to his half-mortal son that he would do anything he wanted because he loved him. So his son said that he wanted to see Apollo as he truly was.

Apollo, the sun god, knew that no mortal – even a half-deity – could look directly at him and survive. But he promised his son.

Promises are serious business. Perhaps moreso between fathers and sons.

So Apollo put on his darkest attire and his smallest rays and let his son see him as he truly was.

The son didn’t survive.

Suppose that Apollo hoped that the son would survive for the obvious reason but also because, hiding who you truly are is lonely.

There are parts of me that I only allude to or don’t mention at all. Not to you, not to anyone. There are things about me that friends I’ve known for over 20 years don’t know about me.

I’m not trying to hide anything per se. I just like to keep some parts of my private life private, whenever possible. Because I don’t think one group is ready to see me the way another group sees me.

Him: I didn’t know that about you.
Me: (shrugging) I know. It’s just part of who I am.

I don’t fit neatly into many boxes.

Suppose it’s related to my quest to satisfy the three things that Cellini said made a well-rounded man: Art, violence, and philosophy.

After all, we all have our three lives: Public, private, and secret.

It’s odd, in some ways, you are my reeds; things I tell my secrets to, but only in passing. It’d be nice to have someone that I could show all the parts of me to but it’s never happened. It’s come close, but never actually happened.

Doubt if it ever will – or if we’re even designed for such a thing.

CPK: It’s funny, we’ve known each other for years, but this is the first time we’ve ever spoken.
Me: I prefer it that way. Everyone has their sad stories, although some are sadder than others.

Still, every once in a while, I let people see some other facet of me, like when I told you about the GDPR lecture I gave last year, which I suppose goes into the philosophy section.

Or like in this video below, which is solidly in the violence category. I don’t think I’ve ever shown you this side of me:

On an un/related note, my coach Chad – the fella in the video with me – and I both legally changed our names the other day. Which is odd because we’re both on this video above with our old names.

He’s now Chad Andrew Vaźquez and I’m…well, I’m sure you’ll figure it out someday but you can just keep calling me Logan Lo here and in the videos moving forward.

After all, change takes time. I’ll tell you in time.

Speaking of time, 18 years ago I thought I saw the most horrific thing I’d ever see.

I was wrong.

Life has an endless supply of horrors, which itself, is horrifying.

Location: under a highway, trying to get away from a woman
Mood: conflicted
Music: been waiting for you for the whole week

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Every dozen years or so

Captain RedStar

I’m always surprised who reads my blog. But I’m realizing that people don’t fully know that these entries tend to lag my real life.

Mouse and I are seeing each other regularly but things are still decidedly complicated.

Which leads to this conversation, as my buddy thought I was upset with her:

Pac: Mouse is coming. Don’t be a b___h.
Me: What am I, nine? It’s fine. Plus, you know I always like to see her.

We were heading out to crash an acquaintance’s birthday party. He had it at the Bohemian Beer Garden – which I last went to almost exactly a dozen years ago with two friends, one of whom I’ll tell you about below.

Bought two pitchers of beer for $40. You don’t get that in Manhattan.

I should go there every dozen years or so. It’s a fun time.

Afterward, we stopped by the SVL Bar for some killer Greek food because we were in Astoria, which is known for it’s Greek food.

Cashier: Do you eat a lot?
Me: Uh, yeah.
Her: Then you should get the party platter.
Me: Done. (later) It’s on me, fellas. Just eat.

Then we went to another bar where Mouse bought drinks for us and we saw the Shevchenko vs Carmouche fight.

It was midnight when we called it.

Me: Are you coming by mine afterward for a drink?
Her: (thinking) Yes.
Me: You know I’m crazy about you and I’m gonna make a pass at you, right?
Her: Yes.
Me: OK.

I met Kirk Akahoshi in real life and on LiveJournal ages ago, when he was still Captain Redstar.

He’s the fella in the black. He’s younger than me. I was…33/34 in that pic?

He moved out to Cali a while ago, started a business, met a nice girlie, and got hitched.

He also got Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Which is horrifying enough so I’ll stop here, lest I cheapen the whole matter.

But I’ve been following him and another good friend of mine that ALSO has Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.

Man, cancer hits anyone, anywhere, any age. Don’t think you’re safe, man. You’re not. No one’s safe.

It’s all just shitty luck and tears.

I’ll tell you about my other friend in a bit; still processing it all.

In the meanwhile, if you have a buck to spare, consider shooting it Kirk’s way.

Location: this past weekend, Brighton Beach
Mood: hard to describe
Music: If you make it all wrong, then I’ll make it all right

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My entire life

I was…

  • 6 when I had my first memory – it was about food (yoghurt) – and Alison was born.
  • 7 when I went to the hospital for a fever – imagine how smart I’d be if I never had it?
  • 8 when I had my first, of thousands, of gyros. Battlestar Galatica 1980 just aired.
  • 9 when I first saw the building that my father would eventually die in.
  • 10 when I killed something for the first time with my grandma, a chicken.
  • 11 when I read the book 1984.
  • 13 when my best friend left for college (long story). I lost 50 pounds and stopped being fat.
  • 14 when I learned how to drive with my dad and got my first job, a busboy.
  • 15 when I first noticed a girl that noticed me back. She said I was cute. No one that didn’t give birth to me ever said that to me before her. It was on the same block where I just had AYCE Korean food.
  • 16 when I had my first kiss with a girl that had a punk haircut. I was just awful to her.
      • As an aside, when I was in my mid-20s, I drove by her house and randomly decided to see if she was home. She was. I put on an apron and chopped up a ginormous chocolate bar into chips while she baked cookies. She kissed me on my cheek when I left and told me she forgave me. Never saw or heard from her again. Word is that she’s married in Colorado now and raises horses.
  • 17 when I got my first car and Mouse was born.
  • 18 when I started writing for serious.
  • 19 when the insomnia started for serious.
  • 20 when I got my first real job where I had a desk.
  • 21 when I started my own business. I still have it even now and it’s (usually) my primary source of income.
  • 22 when I started doing club work and met demons that looked human. Beat out PriceWaterhouse and IBM for a Madison Ave project that paid for my rent (and my landlord’s Ducati) for two years in one shot.
  • 23 when I went to law school with the scratch from the clubs and biz.
    • (23-25 didn’t exist because: Working and in law school)
  • 26 when I started in a law firm and stopped doing club work. Was 26.5 when I left and joined a Fortune 500 company. Passed the bar on the first try.
  • 27 when I got my first raise and promotion.
  • 28 when I flew around the world and some assholes flew fucking planes into my goddamn city. I also told someone that loved me that I didn’t love her and that I was sorry. She left my side of the country.
  • 29 when I left my only salaried job, met a German tourist at a dive bar, traveled around Europe with her, broke up, and started doing what I do now. These were busy years.
  • 30 when I met the first person I thought I loved. I was mistaken.
  • just 31 when I bought the pad I live in now with Harold and the boy.
  • 32 when I saw my grandparents for the last time because I always thought I’d have time.  We always think we’ll have time.
  • 33 when the woman I lived with left and I thought it was the lowest point of my life. I was mistaken. Again.
  • 34 wrote that a frog in a well knows nothing of the ocean. Been thinking of this a lot lately for reasons I’ll tell you about onea these days.
Me at 30

Between this entry you’re reading now, and the rest of my blog, you essentially have the sum of my life on your screen.

What a meaningless life I’ve lived before 2015.

But I know I’ve changed the course of some people’s lives and that of their families. I think at least two but I hope more –  cause no man’s an island – but I’d be ok if it were just two.

Speaking of two, I look at my little family of two and think to myself that I’m actually happy.

Because I love this kid and I have a purpose again. To make him into something Cellini might recognize. To teach him how to fight monsters. To let him know he’s so loved.

It’s not quite the family I’ve always wanted but he’s still the best thing I’ve got.

Me: What did you see today?
Him: Thunderbirds!
Me: (quizzically) A thunderbolt?
Him: No. (enunciating) A thun…der..bir..d.
Me: Ah, gotcha. “Thunderbird.” Man, Manhattan’s got it all, huh?

Location: earlier today, Riverside Park
Mood: relieved
Music: Give me a paper and a pen so I can write about my life of sin

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Butterfly or man?

Unexpected places

Him: Are you alive, Logan?
Me: Biologically? Yes. I respirate, ambulate, defecate, urinate, and – occasionally – fornicate. But everything’s a copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy again. (looking at my hand) And my goddamn hands won’t stop shaking.

This fella named Zhuangzi once wrote that he had a dream that he was a butterfly dreaming he was a man.

For the rest of his life, he wondered if he was a man dreaming he was a butterfly, or whether he was a butterfly, dreaming he was a man.

Between that story and the that line about everything being a copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy is how I’d describe functioning recently.

I use “functioning” loosely. Dunno what real and what’s for sale.

The last two months have been rough but the last week has been absolutely surreal. I’ll tell you about what I can when I can.

However, some things are clearer in my head than they’ve been in a while, which I think is probably a good thing.

I once said that all of your life’s problems can be divided up into health, wealth, and relationships.

If one goes south, you’re a wreck. Two, you need to stop everything and right the ship. Three…you need help.

All three came down on me in the past 10 days in unexpected ways. Very unexpected ways.

But help comes from unexpected places too.

Fiction

Him: Here. (hands me cash)
Me: That’s a lot more than the gig required. Honestly, the kid coulda handled it himself. (thinking) If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were trying give me some pity scratch.
Him: (slight smile)That doesn’t sound like me. But I do think I owe you like $5K.
Me: That you earned. (thinking) Someone’s been breaking into alla my accounts. Is it you?
Him: I’m old school. You know I don’t do tech. (shaking head) I’m a businessman now. For everything you think of me…. Look, we were kids. I’m sorry.
Me: A chick I met at a party once told me that I hurt people and I laughed and said, “If I’m honest, how can I hurt anyone?” But I get it now. Everyone’s sorry for the awful things they do to others. I know I am. (laughing) You know, at this point in time, you may be the only friend that knows who I really am and stuck around?
Him: What’re you saying?
Me: I’m saying I  hope this isn’t a long con, man. I’m rough. I need sleep. I need scratch. I just wanna forget everyone and everything but the boy.
Him: You already got fucked by the world. For what it’s worth, I betrayed you when you were up. You have rules? I have fucking rules too. I don’t kick a man when he’s down. And you – friend – are the most down motherfucker I know. Like you said, it’s all just time and chance. We’re not kids anymore, hustling nickels and dimes. (sighing) Keep the money. Get some sleep, Logan.

/Fiction

Location: nightmareland, still
Mood: so exhausted
Music: It couldn’t be a dream, cause too real it all seems

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Taking a shower with a Mouse

All Cast of Amontillado-like

It was my anniversary recently.

Gymgirl: I’m sorry, it must be bittersweet.
Me: No, just bitter.

It sucked. That’s all I have to say about it.

There’s a mouse in my house.

The last time there was a mouse here, it was almost a decade ago. At the time, I’d trapped it in my bathroom and told Alison about it afterward. I remember that moment well.

This time, heard something in my utility closet and opened it to find that it chewed through every single thing it could in my pantry. I easily threw out $100 worth of food and there was sugar everywhere because it went through a huge bag of baking supplies.

We didn’t find it so, after spending most of the night looking for it, I decided to just call it and take a shower.

And while taking said shower, looked looked up at my shower curtain (which is made of a dimpled cloth) and there was the mouse looking right at me.

Right. At. Me. Eye level.

Mouse! I yelled and the Gymgirl came running over.

I told her to seal up the door with packaging tape to trap it and myself in the bathroom (they can easily slip under doors).

I then proceeded to chase it around my tiny, tiny bathroom with a rolled-up magazine.

The problem is my damn busted arm; I couldn’t move fast enough to get it and the mouse snuck into the space between my sink cabinet and the wall. So I sealed it up, all Cast of Amontillado-like.

It gets crazier; the Gymgirl noticed its tail sticking out from the side of the cabinet so we taped it there – but after a day, we felt bad and released its tail.

As far as we know, it’s still stuck behind the cabinet.

We set up what we hope is a one way tunnel out through a trap. Fingers crossed it works.

Me: Well, this has been quite a night.
Her: Do you want a drink?
Me: (nodding) Sheyeah.

Location: yesterday and tonight, stuck in my tiny bathroom with mice
Mood: discomforted
Music: take it for what it is. Go on and take it, for what it isn’t
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Still waiting for my real life to begin

More funny, more smart

Me: I think I’m the more funny one.
Her: “More funny?” Well, you’re certainly not the “more smart” one of the two of us.

It’s been one of the coolest summers I can recall – which is a blessing for a guy like me.

But at the tail end, the heat decided to return and rear its ugly head. I’ve been moving at quarter speed since Friday.

Speaking of which, it was a holiday, hence my not posting the other day. Didn’t do much except for catch up on some personal reading and some work here and there.

I have friends that are constantly doing…stuff. They’re traveling places, seeing shows, having parties – doing stuff.

In the summer, even the cool one we just had, find it hard to motivate myself to be as active.

Suppose that’s why I can’t wait for fall to come, because I think I’m my real self. My year begins in September.

Which reminds me of something I wrote years ago; I’m 41 and still waiting for my real life to begin.

I wonder if one ever feels like it actually has.

Or will I wake up and old(er) man, blink, and realize I’ve missed it all?

Angel at Columbus Circle, NYC

Location: middle of my life
Mood: hopeful
Music: On a clear day I can see, see for a long way
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The broken and the baked

A tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards, broken things, and deep fried foods


Headed out to Queens yesterday to see another doctor.

Ended up grabbing lunch with my brother, who’s in town for the week. The thing about the two of us, and my sister, is that we have pretty strong stomachs, which I think is direct result of us growing up poor. My parents tried their best to give us a rounded diet but we essentially ate anything we could get our hands on.

Him: (picking at fish) This is terrible. Do you want to try it?
Me: No! (thinking) On second thought…

There’re all these dishes that are the result of poor people taking scraps and making something amazing out of them: oxtail soup, collard greens, liverwurst, broiled bone marrow, and fried rotten tofu (as seen above).

People are no different from the food they make.

In Game of Thrones, Tyrion Lannister says, I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards and broken things.

I think I’m similar, for similar reasons.

Some of the most broken things in the world aren’t easily seen as such. A good tailored suit can cover up almost anything.

But I suppose that if you had some device that could look and see what we look like on the inside, I’d be a patchwork of duct tape, splints, and glue. All baked in steady childhood of beans, canned tuna, caned ham, white rice, and slightly stale bread.

I have a tender spot for those of people patched together and baked in a similar way.

My brother’s a doctor and I’m a lawyer, but there are few things that give us as much simple pleasure as eating at a local dive.

If I meet people like us in the world, I’ll ask if they want to grab a $5 meal at the local dive around the way.

And if they’re members of my tribe, they’ll have no problem sitting down to a meal complete with plastic forks and sticky condiment bottles.

Me: We probably shouldn’t have eaten all that.
Him: Yep. (standing up) I’m going to get some caffeine.
Me: Good call.

Location: snowed in again
Mood: full
Music: I can’t be free from all of the things that I used to be
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Hoping we don’t go back to the good old days

Anyone missing the old NYC didn’t live in the old NYC

Me: Do you want me to slice that for you?
Her: Why?
Me: Cutting bagels are the among the most dangerous household activities.
Her: (getting knife) You’re the clumsiest person I know.
Me: This is true.

Finished up a slate of projects for a client recently and immediately got more work in. There’s no real happy balance with my type of work, it’s either feast or famine.

The professor was in town but we each only had an hour or so, so we caught up in basement of Grand Central.

Me: Y’know, I have no childhood reference for this place. I figured if I came here back then, I’d get shanked.
Him: Yeah.

The people that dream of the good old days of NYC never had to live here back then. I have the feeling they’re the same people that like to rubberneck at car wrecks or watch nature shows when the impala gets killed by the lioness.

Great entertainment if you’re the lioness or the one in a safe car. Not so much if you’re the impala.

Running down my list of friends who were born and raised here, the professor is in Pittsburgh, another buddy is in Hawaii, another one in Cali, another one in Connecticut.

The City takes its toll on you over a lifetime.

I bring this up because I was concerned about our new mayor. The last time we had a mayor like him, the city was a cesspool.

But his recent choice of our old Chief Bratton has allayed my fears, somewhat. Only somewhat.

For me, I can only wait.

Because there really isn’t anywhere like New York.

 

Location: in front of all these computer screens
Mood: tired
Music: I know, I know, I know you ain’t the one to play the game.
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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
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