Scaffolding and seasons

Like the finger pointing to the moon

Me: We should have a chat at some point soon.
Him: That sounds serious
Me: (shrugging) It’s not to me, but it might be to you.

In Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee said, “It is like the finger pointing to the moon…”

He was paraphrasing the Shurangama Sutra, where the Buddha noted that, if someone points to the moon, don’t just look at the finger, because you’ll either:

      1. Miss the moon, or
      2. Think the finger is the moon

Got into an argument with someone recently and I said something in passing over the length of argument.

Found out from someone else that he mistook the passing remark as the crux of the argument. He mistook the finger for the moon.

Me: Wait, what…?! (rolling eyes) Oh for f___’s sake…THAT was his takeaway?

At some point, it’s meaningless trying to communicate to some people because you’re speaking English and they’re speaking Martian.

 

The boy’s birthday is coming up and I’ve been looking at all the people I’ve collected since he was born and everything went to hell.

Some people I’ve met have changed the path of my life, others have merely come and gone from my Venn Diagram, although I’m grateful for the experience, good or ill.

Boy: (in front of Grey’s Papaya on 72nd) The scaffolding. It’s gone. It looks different.
Me: Yes. Scaffolding is only supposed to be there a little while and then you take it down.
Him: Why?
Me: The building needed help for a while. And now it’s ok again.

Some people in your life are permanent while others are only seasons.

Figuring which ones are which, that’s the difficult part, I guess.

Location: earlier this morning, listening to the boy read to his class
Mood: nostalgic
Music: They say people in your life are seasons

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What you’re willing to show them

The things we see and don’t see

Her: I don’t believe you. Prove it.

Been super busy with a few projects that I’ll tell you about in due time.

Actually found out that only one of my legal lectures is still up as they retire them after three years.

Still, on the one remaining one I’ve got, I have over 1,000 4.5 star ratings from other lawyers. So that was nice to see.

Do you remember when I told you that the sun isn’t yellow, it’s white – just like all other stars?

Likewise, the sky is actually purple and blue, we just see it as blue.

Mentioned to someone that I was a lawyer once a while ago and she didn’t believe me at all.

It was strange. Remember being oddly offended by that but now I realize that I’m partly to blame cause people see what they want to see, yes. But they also see what you’re willing to show them.

Lately, I’ve been running into issues with how people – friends, acquaintances, strangers – view me. Partly because of the legal and weapons videos, partly because it’s just come up.

In the past, been pretty good at hiding a lot of my life but I’m at an age where I just don’t give a damn anymore. So that’s been interesting.

Then again, we don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

I have been spending time with one young lady that seems to see me in a mostly positive light. Mostly.

Her: Okay, boo boo.
Me: Did you just call me “boo boo?”
Her: No, boo boo.

Location: an hour ago, on a motorcycle
Mood: ambivalent
Music: you got to leave and I have to be me

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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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A poor imitation of myself

My own sense of self

Me: If, one day, you find out something horrible about me, I hope that you’ll remember that I was a good friend to you.
Him: How bad?
Me: Not murder or rape bad. But bad. I never said I was a good person. I like to think that I’m a good friend, though.

My friends wonder why I keep certain people in my life. I suppose it’s because – despite their faults – they’ve always been good and loyal to me. For the most part.

Told this to one of the people I mentor. Because, I think, he holds me in high esteem. And that worries me. Cause I’ve made so many mistakes in my life.

Do you know what Charlie Chaplin, Hugh Jackman, Adele, and Bryan Cranston all have in common? They’re all poor imitations of themselves.

For example, Charlie Chaplin entered into a Charlie Chaplin look-a-like competition. He came in 20th place. Same with the rest of them – you can click the links to read their stories.

There’s this line from Elton John’s Rocketman that goes, “I’m not the man you think I am at home.” That’s kinda how I look at myself these days.

You see, I realized that Mouse saw the worst parts of me and still stuck around for over 18 months. Spoke to her about it recently:

Me: Why did you stay so long?
Her: I was hoping. Then I stopped hoping.

It’s almost like I’m waking up from a nightmare and realized how crazy everything made me. How crazy I was.

Mouse sees me as this terrible version of myself and I can’t really blame her because – at best – I was a poor imitation of myself, of who I thought I was. At worst, I was exactly who she thought I was.

But maybe I can be better. I’d like to be better.

Fucking cancer took so much from me. Even my own sense of self.

I’d like to be the best version of myself again. For Mouse, for myself, for the boy.

I suppose, even if I come in 20th, at least that’ll be closer to who I thought I was versus who I actually was after everything went to hell.

Another friend/mentee:

Him: You’re the strongest guy I know, Logan.
Me: Sheyeah, I’m a goddamn rock. (shaking head) I’m not sure if you’re saying that seriously or not.
Him: I’m dead serious. I dunno many people that coulda gone through what you went through and be ok.
Me: That’s the thing: Am I OK? I think I am now, but I’m not sure. And that’s what’s scary.

Location: this afternoon, the 17th floor of 1 New York Plaza
Mood: regretful
Music: I think it’s gonna be a long long time

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Rolling Stones gather no Confirmation Bias

Everyone believes very easily whatever he fears or desires

Buskers at 50th St Subway Station NYC
While I enjoy Kanye West as an artist, as a human being, he seems like a lout.

So when a posting came up on Facebook that said that he did another douchebag thing, I shared it only to find out later it wasn’t true.

The thing is, I assume he’s a douchebag so when I read something that proves it, I immediately believe it.

What irritated me most about that was that I should’ve known better.

One of the few things I remember from my first year in Prof. Maas‘ Psych 101 Class – waaaaaay back in 1990 – was the idea of confirmation bias, which essentially echoes poet Jean De la Fontaine idea that Everyone believes very easily whatever he fears or desires.

So when the Rolling Stone article about the UVA rape case was found to be completely false over the weekend, I thought of Prof. Maas and De la Fontaine again.

Rolling Stone and the authors wanted to believe that colleges are a hotbed of rape and misbehavior and found evidence to prove their position.

Only they didn’t. Instead, they just made it harder for genuine rape cases to be believed.

I see it every single day on Facebook. People that have evidence that aspartame and tilapia will kill you, Obama is a secret Muslim, and that jet fuel cannot melt steel.

It’s a daily thing – and something I perpetuated myself with Kayne West, because I wanted to believe he’s a douchebag and found evidence to support this, even when I didn’t.

Beliefs are dangerous things and they cloud judgement, even from those that should know better.

Still, it’s better to appreciate this with the smaller, insignificant things, than to realize it with bigger, more meaningful things. Just ask Rolling Stone magazine.

 

Location: in midtown later at midday for some afternoon cognac
Mood: hopeful
Music: People around gotta find something to say now

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Robinson Crusoe died wishing he was on the island

Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us

Home on an island in Bermuda
In my spare time, I’ve been writing a break-up book. Figured it’s the logical extension of the other two dating books I wrote

One thing I truly believe is to try to distance yourself from the pain of the breakup – or any pain, really – and try to appreciate the good things that come out of it.

While I don’t believe in that old saw that “everything happens for a reason,” I do believe what this poet named James Russell Lowell said:

Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or by the handle.

I started blogging during a really bad period of my life. But during that period, I had some pretty fun nights, met some incredible people – some of whom are among my best friends today – and, of course, met my favorite person.

And during that time, I listened to songs from singers like KT Tunstall, Camera Obscura, and Imoegen Heap; now, whenever I hear anything from them, I’m reminded of that time. And I look back on it fondly.

Did you know that Robinson Crusoe was based on a real guy? He was a fella named Alexander Selkirk that ended up alone on an island for four years and four months. After he was rescued, he became a multimillionaire and celebrity.

But he realized that that time alone ended up being some of the best times in his life. He died wishing that he was back on his islands with his goats and his thoughts.

In fact, when he could live anywhere in the world, he lived in a cave by himself for a bit. And one of his last thoughts was, I am now worth 800 Pounds, but shall never be so happy, as when I was not worth a Farthing.

Now, this isn’t like my usual rambling post so much as it is a letter to a friend to whom I say this:

Most people handle life as they do bad weather: they wait for it to stop.

Don’t be most people, because you’re not most people.

Try to enjoy these difficult times while you can, as odd as that might sound. Because it’s only just for now and it’ll be over before you know it.

In any case, I’m always (not so secretly) on your side.

Location: back to the gym again
Mood: content
Music: that time of year, leave all our hopelessness aside

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Black suit and a white shirt

It’s the right tone for a wrong day

Black suit and watch
I bought another suit a while ago. My tailor isn’t in the US so it takes a few months to reach me.

Got it because my old black suit was looking worn. And the reason I need another solid jet black suit is because I seem to at an age where I’m going to funerals and memorials a lot more than anyone might want.

Not that anyone ever wants to go to them.

Have a memorial coming up next week for my buddy Bobbie and the suit arrived in time for that. Unfortunately, sad events don’t follow anyone’s timeline.

About two years ago, went to a funeral for my buddy’s mom.

Then, unexpectedly, had to go to one for his brother just last week. It seems terribly cruel for such misery to visited upon anyone, let alone someone so young.

In any case, my suit arrived the very next day. I found that odd.

Writer Neil Gaiman said in one of his books:

I wore a black suit and a white shirt, a black tie and black shoes, all polished and shiny: clothes that normally would make me feel uncomfortable, as if I were in a stolen uniform, or pretending to be an adult. Today they gave me comfort of a kind. I was wearing the right clothes for a hard day.

I agree with that.

For me, a black suit is comforting in it’s own way. It strikes the right, somber tone for a very wrong day.

Me: I’m so sorry, man.

Location: last week, upstate
Mood: hopeful
Music: Sometimes it seems like lately I just don’t know

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Bad luck is better than worse luck

You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from

Fire in the UWS
A few days ago, rented a car to go that birthday party and also pick up a buddy from the airport.

Unfortunately, the tiny compact car I’d reserved had a dead battery.

So I called up the car rental company and told them that they needed to get me a replacement.

Customer Care: I’m so sorry about that! The only thing we have is an SUV. Do you want that? No additional charge.
Me: Sure, I’ll take anything. I just gotta go.

After losing about twenty minutes, the wife and I were on our way.

But during this time, the snow began to fall. It was only supposed to be an inch or so but it was clear that it’d be more.

A lot more.

Me: We gotta go.
Her: OK, let’s start saying our goodbyes.

Not long after arriving, we were back on the road. Had to call up my buddy and say we weren’t coming to get him.

Thankfully, we had that larger car so getting back home wasn’t all that bad.

This writer named Cormac McCarthy once said that, You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.

The thing is, it’s rare to actually realize that this is the case. This was one of those rare times.

But really, you could go through your whole life thinking you had terrible luck while, in reality, you’re far better off than if you had gotten what you wanted in the first place.

Moon in the daytime

Alternatively, you could always try and see the positive, however, small, of everything that’s ever happened to you.

This poet warrior – and I think that it’s telling he was a poet and warrior – named Mizuta Masahide once had a poem that went:

Since my house burned down
I now own a better view
of the rising moon

But there’s an even shorter translation I prefer. I told you about it once. It goes:

Barn’s burnt down —
now
I can see the moon.

Location: last night, shoveling all that damn snow
Mood: thoughtful
Music: She is running to stand still

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Bookending

I’m in a funny place, mentally

Child's Birthday Cake
February’s over and it’s been heady.

It was strange in that there were two children’s birthday parties and one death. The children are young: one’s my nephew, who turned one; the other, my niece, who turned two. The death was that of a college buddy about my age, 43.

It was the first time I’d been to any child’s birthday party since I was a kid. And the death was the first time someone I knew well, who was my age, passed.

In any case, my nephew’s birthday party was in Queens, my niece’s was in NJ. It was bitterly cold both days. The kind where every inhale burns the inside of your lungs.

And for the one in NJ, got the added bonus of being caught in a snowstorm so that meant a slow crawl home.

All that traveling gives a fella time to think.

Thought mainly of the bookending of life in these events: Two children starting their journey in the world, one young man finishing his.

Wonder how the children will spend the time they’ll have; wonder how I’ll spend the time I have left.

Clock in West Village, NYC

Oddly, my brother called me last night talking about that very subject.

Told him that I’m pretty content with my life. Wish I had more scratch and less injuries, but, on the whole, I don’t have a ton to complain about. After all, I won the lottery where it really counts.

But I’m turning 42 in less than two months, which makes me think about my own life more and more. I suppose I’ll tell you about that some day.

Of course, it’s all time and tide. We just don’t know what either will bring us.

But, I hope good things.

Man at the birthday party: Have a safe trip home, old man.
Me: (leaving) That’s just cruel.

Children's cupcakes (purple)

Location: yesterday, crawling to the Lincoln Tunnel
Mood: thoughtful
Music: away from you, it froze me deep inside. So come back

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Kill what you eat

If you’re willing to eat meat, you should be willing to kill it

Me: The best part of a chicken is the back.
Him: (disgusted) I’m not eating that.
Me: More for me.

My parents grew up in a time and place where they’ve each had to kill something to eat, my mother in particular.

When I was little kid, I went to Taiwan to see her mother, my grandma, who showed me how to properly kill a chicken. I saw this chicken walking around one moment and decapitated the next. She then proceeded to butcher it in the alley behind the house, careful not to nick any of the intestines.

Her: You’ll wreck it, otherwise. Do it wrong and you’ll get poop everywhere.
Me: Poop?
Her: Poop. Everywhere.

She did all this while smoking a cigarette, which is neither here nor there – just comically funny to me.

In any case, I saw the above video a few days ago; a friend put it up. It bothers me. People who have no problem buying sausage and a visceral reaction to seeing a pig being “slaughtered” for that sausage.

That strikes me as wrong.

If you’re gonna eat something, you should be able to accept that you’re about to eat something that was once a living, breathing animal.

It part of the reason why I find just tossing away food of any type, particularly meat, troubling.

That was once a living thing. Living things should be treated with respect.

Halal Gyro food in NYC

Location: last night, 7PM, watching the game at a buddy’s
Mood: sore
Music: Gonna hunt you like an, an, an, an, an, animal

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