We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are

We reveal a lot more of ourselves than we realize

Got injured in my ribs about two weeks ago so I’ve not been wrassln for a bit. Went back for the first time on Monday and it seemed fine. When class is over, we all stand in line to be dismissed.

While standing there, I realized I couldn’t breathe right as I couldn’t get my diaphragm to move. Things started to get get wonky and the next thing I knew I was on the floor.

Ended up being fine but the funny thing is that as it was happening, the first thing I thought was, “If you end up in the hospital again, the wife is totally not gonna let you wrassle or fence any more. Don’t hit your head going down!”

Being married really changes how you look at the world.

———-

Regarding my post from last week about mixed-race couples, someone I only kinda know on FB contacted me. We ended up chatting about China in general:

Him: Have you even been to China before?
Me: Actually yes, several times, in fact.
Him: As a tourist I bet.
Me: Nope, I was there on business.
Him: I bet you just saw all the tourist sites and had pictures of yourself eating dumplings.
Me: Neither, I didn’t have time to see anything, I was pressed for deadlines the entire time. And I don’t think I had any dumplings while I was there; in fact, I don’t even think I have pictures. And why pick on dumplings? What they’d ever do to you?

He finally ended up saying that, because I had a Caucasian wife and that must mean I don’t find Asian women attractive.

Him: It points to a lot of self-hatred.
Me: That’s a pretty big leap. OK, do you think Brad Pitt’s a good looking guy?
Him: (pause) I guess so.
Me: I do too. But if he asked you out right now, what would you say?
Him: I’m not gay .
Me: Nor am I. But, what you’re saying is that you find him attractive, just not in that way. You have preferences.
Him: It’s not the same thing!
Me: Why? Are you saying one’s natural and one’s unnatural? We all like what we like. Attraction is not a choice.

That’s when I realized it was all a waste of my time.

This woman named Anais Nin once said that, We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

Her: He thinks you hate being Chinese? You love being Chinese!
Me: I know! We’re lovely and have the best dumplings.
Her: Well, those are just Chinese ravioli.

Location: not the gym
Mood: hungry
Music: sailed to Hong Kong harbour, the winds were warmer then
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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
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Hoplophobia

One of the rarest fears in the world is the fear of weapons

Don’t understand many things. Such as how the universe can constantly be expanding. Or the meaning of life.

Or how some people like Victoria Soto find the courage to give up their lives to protect others, while some others can do nothing but stand by the sides and point.

One of the rarest phobias is hoplophobia – the fear of weapons. It’s so rare that this is probably the first time you’ve ever heard of it.

Don’t understand that.

If you should fear one thing, it’s something that spits 800 bullets a minute.

In an ironic twist, the exact same thing that happened here with Sandy Hook happened on the same day in China. There, not one person – child or otherwise – was killed. The only difference between the two events was the lethality of the weapon used: in China, it was a knife, in America it was a gun.

There are 310,000,000 non-military guns right now in America – those are nine digits. Why do we need even one more?

Because it’s in the Constitution?
So is slavery.

Because it’s tradition?
So was the aforementioned slavery and lack of women’s suffrage.

Because we need to protect ourselves from the government?
The government has stealth bombers and nuclear weapons. That’s laughable. I’m writing this on the most powerful weapon against oppressive government and this has been proven repeatedly through history both very old and recent.

So why then do we continue to add to that 310 million figure? Let’s be honest here:

It’s so people that love guns can continue to have them and the gun manufacturers that make a buck it from it can continue to do so.

This, I understand even less.

And I’m not discounting the need to discuss mental illness – I’m all for discussing mental illness – but it’s not a binary thing. It’s not (a) deal with mental illness or (b) have less guns. It’s both.

Been very ranty lately. I’m usually not. But I’ve repeated a quote on FB that I feel bears repeating ad nauseam:

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything. – Albert Einstein

Victoria Soto gave her life to do something. The least we can do is ask of those that profess to represent us to do something about this beside talk.

Beside trade hot breath and lies.

People on my Facebook page were upset because I wrote that “I am shocked at how little anything shocks me any more.”

  • 310 million guns already, more being produced.
  • Mental illness as a stigma rather than a health issue that needs to be dealt with.
  • The Snookification of fame – where it doesn’t matter how or why you become famous, but merely that you get famous.

How is this – honestly – shocking to anyone? In 2012 alone we had sixteen (16!) mass shootings.

Don’t understand why more people don’t have hoplophobia and I don’t understand how any one can honestly be shocked by this.

Angry, upset, heartbroken, furious, livid, despondent – these words I can understand.

But shocked? Shocked?

I seriously doubt anyone is truly shocked that something like this happened.

———-

Here are 10 Arguments that Gun Advocates Make and Why They’re Wrong.

Location: my head
Mood: disappointed
Music: There is no music today.
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An Open Letter to Christine Quinn Regarding Chick-fil-A

New York City from Hoboken

Dear Speaker Quinn;

First of all, congratulations on your recent nuptials! Having just been married myself, I was told that my life would be the same but completely different afterward. I find that to be true.

However, I write this letter to discuss something less pleasant – which is this whole Chick-fil-A matter. Frankly, I don’t like where it’s going politically.

Specifically, you recently sent a letter to the NYU President, which you wrote on government stationary and opened with the words: “I write as the Speaker of the NYC Council.” In that letter you asked the President to break a legal agreement NYU signed with a corporation who’s view you term “repugnant.”

This comes on the heels of similar letters by the mayors of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco that have threatened to treat Chick-fil-A differently than any other person and organization for no other reason than that you find them “repugnant.”

While I too find them repugnant, as a citizen – and a minority – I also find this all even more unsettling.

A while back, I wrote about this judge 100 years ago named Stephen Johnson Field that hated the Chinese. Absolutely hated them. While sitting on the bench, he was called to judge the constitutionality of the Pigtail Ordinance. Without getting into the specifics of the law, suffice it to say that it was meant to make life hell for a group of people he personally despised.

In other words, he found us repugnant.

I’ve always found this odd because we’re a lovely people but that’s neither here nor there.

In any case, everyone expected him to uphold the law precisely because they knew his personal opinion. He did not. Instead, he struck down the law as unconstitutional.

His reason was simple: As much as he hated the Chinese, he respected the letter of the law more.

His office trumped his personal opinions.

A more recent example is the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. You stood with Mayor Bloomberg when he said that cancellation of the mosque would be a “sad day.” I assume because, in that instance, the party singled out you felt personal sympathy with AND it was on the right side of the law.

Here, you don’t feel personal sympathy with Chick-fil-A yet, like the mosque, it is on the right side of the law.

In both examples, the law is clear: An organization cannot be discriminated against because of its beliefs.

Speaker Quinn, integrity means that one is the same person in public as one is in private. It requires consistency.

It demands that if you defend the constitution for a white person you must defend the constitution for a Chinese person.

The judge in the Pigtail Ordinance, while racist, had integrity. 100 years later, that means something.

I humbly submit that you’re letting your personal feelings interfere with your respect for the law. It’s easy to defend the defenseless and sympathetic; it’s harder to defend those that you personally find repugnant.

  • The law allows a mosque to rent a space without concern that the government does not like its opinions.
  • The law allows a corporation to rent a space without concern that the government does not like its  opinions.

As a life-long New Yorker, I admit had conflicted feelings about having a mosque so close to where 9/11 happened. But in the end, the law is the law. And in the end, I supported it being there.

I would not want someone saying that I cannot live someplace because I am a Christian, or Chinese-American, or terribly clumsy.

I support citizens boycotting Chick-fil-A. I support citizens marching. I support citizens ripping them to shreds online.

But I draw the line at government telling us that its opinions supersede the law.

It’s dangerous when government officials use their positions of power to further their own personal agendas. To think otherwise sets a dangerous precedent.

History has shown, time-and-time again, that a world ruled by someone’s personal opinion is not a safe place for Chinese, gay, black, Jewish, Muslim, disabled people to live.

Imagine a world where Michele Bachmann’s personal opinion ruled it.

We put up with opinions that are different than ours – even repugnant to us – because it’s what we do. The word is “tolerance.”

One doesn’t tolerate things, people, and opinions one finds lovely. One tolerates things, people, and opinions one finds repugnant. It’s what we do.

Sincerely,

Logan Lo

Location: in front of my first cuppa joe for the day
Mood: curious
Music: if everybody looked the same we’d get tired of looking at each other
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My Experience with Kirkus Indie Book Reviews

Did not have a pleasant experience with Kirkus

For those of you that don’t know, Kirkus Reviews was a book review magazine known for having very harsh reviewers, rarely giving a positive review to anything.

In 2004, they launched a service whereby someone could pay for an honest review. In theory, this sounds great because it fulfills a need; few ebooks by unknown authors are given a chance to be read by a reputable house.

Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to help them enough financially and they announced that they would close at the end of 2009. However, a man from the Indiana Pacers swooped in and saved them so that they were able to continue their business model (as Kirkus Indie Reviews).

That’s the backstory.

A few months back, I wrote this post which I can tell you now was about Kirkus Reviews.

I sent them The Men Made of Stone, because: A real artist ships, otherwise you’re just a nutcase with a notebook. Putting my money where my mouth is, requested a review.

And as I said, I got a scathing review of the first 30 pages of my story. Almost half the review – 102 out of 304 words – is spent talking about a minor character that’s killed on page 24 out of a 296 page book.

The hero of the book is given 13 words in the review and called a “minor character” by the editor. The antagonist wasn’t mentioned at all.

That’s like writing a review of Hamlet and saying it’s about the witty banter between Bernardo and Francisco and some punk kid named Hamlet. With no mention of Claudius.

Put another way, that’s writing a book review on The Godfather and saying that it revolves around Bonasera and Fredo.

And if you don’t know read crime thrillers to know what that means, that’s fine, because neither did the Kirkus reviewer, who called the story “completely unrealistic.”

But just like The Godfather, The Men Made of Stone, while fiction, is a roman a clef; the scenes that the reviewer said could not have happened, actually happened.

In any case, I exchanged emails with the editor and asked him to just refund my money, which he refused to do. He essentially said, “We’re Kirkus, our reviewers are anonymous and you can’t do anything about it.”

After countless emails back and forth, I just opened a complaint with the credit card company, printed up the emails we had, and sent in my side of the story.

After about three months, my credit card company said that after hearing from Kirkus and reading everything, they decided that Kirkus Reviews did not, in fact, provide what they were supposed to provide: an honest review by a qualified reviewer who read my book.

Logan: 1
Kirkus: 0

Now, logic would say I should just pocket my returned funds and keep quiet.

But it was never about the money. It was about the unfairness of it all. I can brook a lot but I can’t put up with bullies. If I didn’t just get a refund, I woulda just gone to court.

Moreover, I believe in my story and my editors. Enough to write this entry.

For those ebook writers that ask, “Is a Kirkus Review worth it?” For me at least, the answer is no.

I’m not saying that this is going to be your experience with Kirkus – but it is my experience. Moreover, my opinion is that in order to make money at that model, you have to churn quantity. Assuming an average reading speed of 250 words a minute, skimming is an attractive option. Since it’s anonymous, all the more so. As I neither get paid nor am anonymous in my reviews, I know of what I speak.

So take this post as you will.

Kirkus Editor: I’d hope you could appreciate the subjective nature of reviews. [If you go to court, you’ll lose].
Me: Your review make it seem as if my book is about a guy named C and a guy named TT. My position is simple – that is not what my book’s about. I’ll take my chances. Thanks.

———-

I did get a positive review on the San Francisco Book Review but more on that next week. Or just read it for yourself:

The Men Made of Stone - Logan Lo
 

Location: getting dressed for work
Mood: vindicated
Music: takes more than what you got to frighten me
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Then kunckle up and swing

UWS NYC

Her: (watching the tourists at 30 Rock) It’s funny. People come all the way here to see our town.
Me: Yeah. It’s not notice things when we live here.

Had a date night with the wife; we don’t do it often enough but it’s nice when we get around to it. Went to the same place we went around last year.

Afterward, we took a nice stroll back home. It’s good, being tourists in your own city.

———-

Work’s finally slowed down a bit, for better or for worse. Had some time to work on some other projects of mine.

NYer Lionel Trilling once said, “Our culture peculiarly honors the act of blaming, which it takes as the sign of virtue and intellect.” I add that to that old Chateaubriand quote, “You are not superior just because you see the world in an odious light.”

Just don’t get why people think negativism equals reasoned intellect. If anything, unsupported criticism just makes you look like a churl. And a douchebag.

There’s this company with the following business model: for a fee – they’ll read your book and write an honest review of it. So I put my money where my mouth is and requested one.

What I got in return was a scathing review, which was disappointing. But then I read the review closely, noticed some odd things. The reviewer:

  1. only mentioned the hero in one sentence
  2. didn’t mention the antagonist – at all
  3. didn’t mention anything that happened after page 30.
  4. didn’t mention any themes (revenge, loyalty, etc) or really anything of substance
  5. instead focused a third of the review on a single minor scene (on page 24) out of 276 pages.

That’s when I realized that this guy just skimmed it, dashed off a review, and took my dough. There’s nuthin honest about that.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, saw that the reviewer, amongst other things:

  • doesn’t understand how to use a colon
  • doesn’t know the difference between “blonde” and “blond,”
  • doesn’t know how to spell “plot lines.”

There’s more, but that’s enough for now. And that’s when I went from being disappointed to feeling ripped-off.

So I actually contacted an editor and told him that I’m not just some disappointed author, I’m someone that reviews books regularly. And I know the difference between a real book review is and a slap-dash quickie dollar.

And I posited this simple question to the editor: “Do you and your company stand by this review?”

  • If he doesn’t, I want my money back.
  • If he does, I’ll print the review here and let you decide if it’s a valid review.

Should note that when I write a book review, my name is on it. I own it, good or bad. In this blog, on FB, at the NYJB, at Lawline. I own what I put out into the world and I stand by it.

Here’s an anonymous review from someone that clearly doesn’t understand basic rules of English, who didn’t read my book, and tells me it’s no good.

If you read me regularly, you know that I can handle lively debate or a fair disagreement. What I can’t stand is horses__t and bullies.

It’s like that time that guy ran out and said he would drop me. Remember thinking, You must not know ’bout me.

Told that guy to knuckle up and swing because I knew something he didn’t: I was qualified for the task at hand.

As he sulked away, he and I both knew he was not similarly situated.

And now, it appears we’ve arrived at a similar junction.

 

Location: yesterday, celebrating Easter
Mood: offended
Music: “Do you believe what you’re sayin’?” Yeah right now, but not that often.
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2012 Project 1 – MMA in NYS

MMAinNYS

The above is onea my pet projects.

Did y’know that in Utah, drinks can be served but not seen until the customers get them. This means, no joke, that alcohol must be poured behind a curtain in a bar so the buyer can’t see the alcohol being poured.

Is that pure idiocy or what?

It’s onea those laws I like to call: laws cause someone’s got an opinion. Supposedly, it’s because it’s protecting someone. But really, it’s making a value judgement as to how Person A was brought up against how Person B was brought up.

Mixed-Martial Arts is something I enjoy as a spectator. It’s simultaneously one of the oldest and newest sports in the world and available on BROADCAST television, meaning you can turn on any old set in America and catch a match.

But you can’t go to a live event in NYS. In fact, if you hold or participate in a live event, you can go to jail. All this cause one guy thinks it’s wrong.

Lemme put it another way: someone could go to jail because someone else has an opinion on something that is totally legal in 45 other states. If you cross the river to New Jersey you’re an athlete; if you don’t, you’re a criminal. Moreover, each of the sports that make up MMA is totally legal in NYS but if you combine them, it becomes illegal.

Does any of that sound right to you?

It doesn’t sound right to me. It makes me want to ask what’s real and what’s for sale. In a time of dire economic striats, should even a penny be lost to another man’s opinion?

As a rule, I don’t suffer bullies well. But bullies, coupled with idiocy is beyond the pale. It’s offensive to me. It should be offensive to you too.

Sign our petition and say something.

Location: about to have breakfast with the wife
Mood: offended
Music: Don’t give me that do goody good bull____
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What you think is true, what you hope is true, and what is actually true

An apartment in the UWS, NYC

Had a really interesting few days.

Firstly, randomly walked by a buncha workers and tossed them few hundred to paint my apartment. Totally spur of the moment. Looks great.

Anywho, dunno if I ever told you but I’ve had a real estate broker’s license since I was like 19. Some years, used it a lot; other years, not at all. Just rented a place less than 24 hours after the first showing. About half the people I showed it to said that the unit looked just like the pictures in my ad and that it was accurately described.

Which brings me to my other occupation; I work for a litigator who recently told me that, A Few Good Men jokes aside, the truth is the most powerful thing in a courtroom.

If all of my random dating has taught me anything, it’s that people sense and want truth. They crave it.

They know, on some level, what’s true and what’s for sale.

Which then brings me to an issue I’m having with one of my oldest and dearest friends. He’s got two email addresses, one personal, one work. He’s asked that I use one over the other for work related matters, which I’ve obliged.

However, the issue’s that emails to that address are never answered in a timely manner – in fact there have been several times where he’s dropped the ball completely. So another email has to be sent saying, “Did you get my email?” which also goes unread resulting in a phone call. Thus a one-minute question becomes a long drawn out affair.

After the very last time he promised me that he’d set up a forward to make sure he gets emails. And again it happens. So I told him that I’d never send another email to that address.

Now he’s upset with me.

Which’s odd, cause he takes no responsibility for failing to follow-through, it’s my fault that I now, a year later, refuse to write him there any more. He’s essentially saying, “All those other times I said that I’d read them? I was totally not being honest with myself or you. But this time? This time, I’m gonna read them.”

But there’s a difference between the lies you tell yourself, wishful thinking without action, and the truth.

Put another way: there’s a difference between what you think is true, what you hope is true, and what is actually true.

The three are not the same.

———-

My oldest and closest friend turns 40 today. I wish you courage.

Cause with courage, coupled with hope and a dash of empathy, you’ve got mosta what you need to get through this life unbroken.

Friends, cold hard cash, and rum do not hurt either.

So I guess what I’m really saying is that I wish you courage, hope, empathy, friends, cold-hard cash and rum.

Actually, rum will help with most of the above.

Lemme revise my thought then; I wish you rum.

Happy getting one-year-older-but-also-one-year-better day!

 

Location: sitting next to Diego
Mood: less busy, finally
Music: Come listen to my truest thoughts, my truest feelings
YASYCTAI: Pick up a new book; how are you on your reading schedule? (2 days/1 pt)
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Everyone’s got an opinion on something

View of Bryant Park Grill, NYC

The thing about the wired everything’s that everyone’s got an opinion that they feel’s crucially important for people to hear. Won’t lie, I’ve got my own opinions about the world. But the thing is that I know my opinion’s merely my own; for the most part, this here blog’s for me and my own purposes.

I mean, who am I to tell people what to do?

But you have people like this nutcase in Norway who kill 92+ people (mostly unarmed kids) cause he’s a got a goddamned opinion that he thinks is more than just that, an opinion. He wants his opinion to rule over others.

The need to feel important, to matter, is an overwhelming one for someone that feels that they somehow are.

The people that’re certain they’re right, that only they hold the keys to the kingdom, are the ones that make me the most worried.

———-

It’s been hot here in the big city. 100 degrees in the shade hot. It’s hard to stay focused when all I wanna do’s lie down in some air conditioned room.

Been writing a lot. Forced myself to put down my manuscript to work on something else. This fella named Paul Valery once said that A poem is never finished, only abandoned. Think the same is true of any writing.

I was just thinking the other day that

 

Location: a dark room, trying to stay cool
Mood: productive
Music: you went back to what you knew
YASYCTAI: Try to get motivated in this weather. It’s not easy. (24 hours/1 pt)
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Justice isn’t blind, she chooses not to see / Don’t go to law school

Portrait of justice in the Musée du Barreau in Paris

To continue my odd fixation on things that have that have an air of truth but no real truth to them, y’know that saying, Justice is blind?

That’s completely wrong.

Not only is it completely wrong, it completely misses the point. Justice is not blind, she chooses not see.

Look at every statue, every portrait, and you’ll see she wears a blindfold. For example, the picture above is from the Musée du Barreau in Paris. Blindfold.

She has the ability to see, to judge with her eyes, but instead, she judges with her ears; listening to the facts and deciding. The problem with most things in life is that most people judge far too quickly on far too superficial data. Judgment without processing any true information is the key to injustice. Taking it all in and changing one’s mind in light of new information should never be a bad thing.

On an unrelated point, an election year is coming. Let’s see what’s for sale.

———-

On the topic of lawyers and law school, don’t go to law school. First of all, when I went, the job market was crazy-good; now it’s crazy-bad.

But if that’s not enough, don’t go cause you could start Facebook instead.

In fact, I started Facebook in 1999. Well, I started a website that let you post pictures, leave comments, write stuff, etc, called “cobaltblue.com.” But it never really took off causa a number of boneheaded moves on my part and cause I was going to law school.

While I do love the law and my particular field of it, there’s a sense that my life might have been radically different if I had never gone. Perhaps it woulda been far worse, or far better. Never know.

Think that law school’s a honeypot; it’s a place that many people go cause they haven’t figured stuff out yet. It’s one thing to spend three years of life and $150K if you’ve been dying to be a lawyer your whole; quite another if you’re just trying to be “safe.”

Especially cause it’s not safe.

With my love of my practice, I still mighta gone knowing what I know now. Not sure.

If you’re thinking of going back to school just cause you’ve got no other idea, consider paying back the aether instead. If you’re lucky, you’ll change the world and make a mint while you do it.

Just remember to hire me when you need some legal advice.

The above may potentially be seen as advertising for a real estate attorney in Chicago per NY Rule 7.3(a)(1). See what a pain being a lawyer is? Imagine you’re just writing something for your blog, which no one reads, cept maybe your mom hoping that this time, someone will see the genius that is her progeny, but no, mom, only you think that) and you’ve got to throw up a disclaimer. A disclaimer! It’s the height of ridiculousness. Between my mom and me, and occasionally Heartgirl out of pity, I’ve got three readers. And yet…disclaimer. I should have just stuck to building networks. Are you still reading this? If so, I’m thinking of killing the livejournal.com portion of the blog and just doing this at my regular loganlo.com blog. What do you think? Again, not that anyone reads either of them (mom, there’s no need to write a comment as “anonymous” as I’ll know it’s you. I’m fine, although under the weather; married life is great and the the house is spotless). Also, I’m contemplating selling canvas prints of my photos do you think there’s a market for them? What if I include a recipe for chili? Ok, I’ll stop now. Don’t go to law school.

Location: getting dressed for work while hoping not to pass out
Mood: really sick
Music: everybody’s got a price, I wonder how they sleep at night
YASYCTAI: Don’t waste your time, you have less than you think. (time/3 pts)
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