Button, Button

Our experience on Obamacare


When I was a kid in the 80s, they brought back The Twilight Zone.

One of the stories, called Button, Button, taught me a valuable lesson about empathy; so much so that it stayed with me for some 30 years.

It was about a couple that was given a box by a stranger. On the box was a button. If they pressed the button, they’d get $200,000 but someone – whom they didn’t know – would die.

After a lotta struggle, the wife ultimately pushes the button. The next day, the stranger returns, gives them $200,000 and takes the box back.

When they ask what happens next, the stranger says that he’ll give the box, and the same offer, to someone else – someone that they don’t know.

No one’s asked me but I’m sure people are wondering: “What are you doing with all the money you’ve raised?” It’s only fair I answer it.

Originally, we weren’t sure how much our original insurance was going to pay towards Alison’s treatment. Her cancer was on the aggressive side of aggressive. The only “lucky” thing about our situation was that we were already on the platinum level of Obamacare, which essentially meant that we pay 10% and insurance pays 90%.

It has been a godsend to us. At last count, Alison’s 2016 cost of care was around $2.8 million dollars. Without the Affordable Care Act, Nathan and I would be bankrupt and Alison would be dead. It’s that simple.

But we’re not and she’s not, thanks to the ACA and everyone’s generosity.

With what’s left of our money, we’re paying for normal expenses – mortgage, food, bills – some experimental drugs, physical and occupational therapy, and exploring future options, like a potential cancer vaccine in Germany.

Mainly, though, we’re saving up to see what happens with the ACA. So we’re watching the news daily to see what unfolds.

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about #Trump Regrets and how so many people are regretting voting for Trump because they realize that things like their meals and lives are jeopardy.

Yet, it’s hard for me to feel very sorry for them.

It’s like the box. They knew someone would suffer. That someone – like Alison – might die. And they were ok with that, until they realized that the person that would die might be them.

Her: What will they do if they lose their insurance?
Me: They’ll die the same way they lived: Never knowing that when you save someone else, you save yourself. It’s a shame for a million reasons.

\’

Location: about to start some more PT
Mood: fighting the schadenfreude
Music: Give my love to the future of the humankind
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Bermuda 2011

Cloudy day in Bermuda

Me: Do you wanna…?
Her: It’s Monday, Logan.
Me: Television it is.

Went with the wife for a quick trip to Bermuda last week. Normally when I go someplace, there’s usually some travelogue to go with it.

This time, however, the entirety of the excursion can be summed up as follows:

  • sleep
  • eat
  • beach
  • read
  • watch Dexter
  • watch Game of Thrones
  • rum

Repeat. It was pretty cloudy and rainy the whole time but that was fine with me as it gave me an excuse to just sit inside with a drink and read.

Parta what makes the trip so relaxing is the forced lack of net access. Have to remember that.

Going to the Caribbean is like going to the Mecca of rum. Came back with almost half a suitcase worth of the stuff. Gonna need it with the way the economy’s heading.

Piña colada in Bermuda

A few days before going, met up with Hazel and Gio for some drinks – it was like back when we were all single. To prep for my trip, ordered a Piña colada and the bartender insisted on putting a pink umbrella in it.

Him: That’s a manly pink umbrella.
Me: It’s not complete until I drink it with my pinky out.

Now it’s Monday and I’m back to work. Still got sand in my bag. Dunno if that’s a good or bad thing.

Beach sand in Bermuda
Logan Lo

 

Location: back in my apartment
Mood: content
Music: don’t have time I’ve still got sand in my shoes
YASYCTAI: Take a week off. (7 days/1 pt)
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Twilight Heat

Location: my new Montreal Apartment, cleaning and unpacking. The Montreal movers I hired did a grat job, so my work is almost done.
Mood: contented
Music: “Come down now,” but we’ll stay I’ve tried my best to leave


Her
: So what did the guy choose?

My mind plays movies and television shows for me all of time cause, probably like you, I was raised by the cathode ray as much as anything else.

William Shatner was in this episode of the Twilight Zone where he was on his honeymoon but was afraid to leave cause a mechanical doll kept telling them they couldn’t. And he got it in his head that it was right.

Thought about that this week and that scene in Heat where the lead can get it all – the girl, the money, the life, everything – if only he’d leave his old life behind. Just walk away from everything. But a need to equalize something kept pulling him to stay.

The woman that stole all of my coin was seen this past week in NYC.

And like that mechanical doll, the Devil rang me up and told me what I had to do.

Told him that I just wanted to walk away from it all and he said I couldn’t.

Do you know, exactly, what a billion is? A billion is a thousand million or 1,000,000,000. Lehman brothers lost 613,000,000,000 dollars. Kinda puts my six-figures to shame.

Then again, it was my six-figures. One does get tired of having just chili and rum for dinner all of time.

It’s just the cards I’ve been dealt. And sometimes, y’gotta take your cards and let fate deal with the resta it all.

Don’t let anyone fool you, everything comes at a price. And, I’ve learned, if you let a thought bounce around in your head long enough, it’ll drive you mad. Quite literally. Better to let it go.

Besides, who’re we kidding? I love having chili and rum for dinner.

Me: He went back and shot the guy.
Her: (waiting) And? Then what happened?
Me: He lost everything he wanted – everything he really wanted.
Her: I don’t think it’s worth it.
Me: (smiling) Yeah, me neither.


YASYCTAI
: Isn’t it hard to let things go. But y’gotta sometimes. For your own sanity. (apparently 36 years/3 pts)

Vacation

Location: the rents for the holiday
Mood: ready
Music: My city or mountains Stay with me

Caribbean beach

It’s 20090125. My vacation’s over. Got some rest. Happy Chinese New Year.

Chicken crossing the road in the Caribbean

It’s 20090124. Pulled into port early. Too tired and dead to walk so I hop a cab to my pad with enough rum to supply a navy. It’s 22 degrees. Water Harold. Say Hi to George. They’re silent but I think they missed me. 212 emails. Damn email. Wrestle. Stumble to a party at Gio’s where I meet a 22 year old French girl. No lie, ask Paul. But I’ve the girlie I want most so smile politely and stumble home. Just before I go, see a buddy get her digits. Someone’s always playing the game.

It’s 20090122/23. Spend two days at sea. Which sounds like a chore but there’s this German saying that goes, Gutes Gespraech kuerzt den Weg. Season 1 of Dexter doesn’t hurt either.

Chicken crossing the road in the Caribbean

It’s 20090121. Arrive in Tortola. It’s 84 degrees. Not much to see so after 45 minutes, walk back. Another day, another sandy beach, but learned why the chicken crossed the road, and almost bought this. Didn’t. Got some sun on a deck before we headed home. Over dinner, Heartgirl and I discuss religion. Wanted to tell her that Blaise Pascal once said that Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. Didn’t get the chance. But it’s true and a good quote, so I’m telling you.

Piña colada and Rum Punch in the Caribbean

It’s 20090120. Arrive in St. Martin to go SNUBA-ing. Didn’t cause the diver said visibility sucked; cool dude – most guys woulda taken our dough and taken us for a ride. So we had three rum drinks, a Clara and an argument instead. No little umbrellas, though. Crashed the Hilton beach by the sea where I got crashed into some rocks by the sea.

It’s 20090118. Arrive in Antigua. Not much to see, so after 15 minutes, walk back. If I ever did drugs, this would be my place. But I don’t; I do rum. Note to self: See a rum factory. Another day, another sandy beach. Got a new camera a while ago. Sorry. Meant to introduce her: Clara. Learned to play 500 Rummy and taught Heartgirl how to play ChoDaiDi.

NCL Gem in St. Thomas Caribbean

It’s 20090117. Arrive in St. Thomas. It’s 76 degrees. The waters are a blue that you can only imagine. They’ve mobile service there so I ring up my brother who’s trying to figure out his love life. Someone’s always playing the game. 37 emails. Damn email. Sit by the salty sea and watch the elusive NJ Hoochie Mama perform her mating dance. The target NJ Guido isn’t impressed and takes flight.

It’s 20090115/16. Spend two days at sea. We wake up every morning at 6AM, have breakfast (carbs), work out, and eat a second breakfast (protein). There’s this saying that goes: Good conversation shortens the travel. Sounds better in German. Found out today that, round where we left yesterday, a pilot landed a plane on the water. Good. NYC deserves some win.

Deck of the cruise ship leaving the UWS docks

It’s 20090114. Water Harold. Say Bye to George. They’re silent but I think they’ll miss me. Zero out my emails. Damn email. Too awake and alive to take a cab so I walk to the docks on the UWS with my bags in tow, dreaming of rum drinks with little umbrellas. It’s 17 degrees.

It’s 20090113. My vacation begins tomorrow. Hope I get some rest.

Sunset over Hobboken

YASYCTAI: Couldn’t read anyone’s posts while I was gone. Tell me what I missed. (10 mins/0.5 pts)

Hustling in Seville

Location: yest, all over midtown
Mood: restless
Music: see video below


Her
: (patting me on head) That’s my old man.

Spent the day trying to nail down meetings for scratch. Was almost a complete failure but I saw Heartgirl for some caffeine so that made the day go a little better.

When I was 23, managed to convince a company named Wall Street Equities to hire me over IBM and Anderson Consulting to set up 75 NASDAQ certified computers. Did it on time and under budget. They referred me to Tiffany’s, Ziff-Davis, Holland&Holland;, NatWest and a buncha other clients.

Last big tech client was Brassring.com for the Washington Post; hooked up a network with 50 nodes for them on Madison. I was…26, maybe?

Whenever some VP would walk in, they’d ask who was in charge and the old Italian consultants I subcontracted’d point at me and say, That Chinese kid. Made me laugh.

Somehow, became an old man. Still hustling though. Suppose things never change.

S’ok – (a) getting older is better than the alternative and (b) my brain still works the same way.

Her: We could catch an opera.
Me: That’s all in Italian, I don’t understand Italian.
Her: That’s not true, some are in German.
Me: (thinking) Can we see an opera that only plays songs from Looney Toons? Y’know…Barber of Seville, Flight of the Bumblebee, Ride of the Valkyries?
Her: (mute silence)

Me: I’ll take that as a No

YASYCTAI: Hustle. Cause if you want it, you gotta hustle. (time/2 pts)

Guernica

 

Stopped by a friend’s house midday in Queens cause I was around the hood but he was out so his wife and I caught up. She wants to fix me up with some of her doctor friends.

I’m not sure she knows what she’s getting them into.

———-

Picasso’s Guernica is probably one of the most famous paintings of suffering out there. Buddhism says that suffering comes from the uncontrollable. Either externally, such as in the painting, or internally, when we try to control the uncontrollable.

I believe that.

On a related note, man, I wish I could fall asleep.

Of course, there is no great tragedy without some small gain(s): I’m completely caught up on Lost and BSG, can now do all my sabre strikes with my left hand and have made a month’s worth of chili.

I’m thinking of brushing up my German or teaching myself Arabic or something. I dunno. I’d rather sleep.

Location: 21:00 yest, thrust, parry, thrust on the UWS
Mood: tired
Music: The old man said to me Said don’t always take life so seriously

McGuffins, Caterpillars and Pepe le Pew

I’m a bit like Pepe le Pew

With nods to a friend.

According to Hitchcock, a guy on a train sees something above and asks another dude what it is.

Guy2: It’s a McGuffin. It’s used to catch lions in Scotland.

Guy1: There’re aren’t any lions in Scotland.

Guy2: Well then, a McGuffin’s nuthin at all.

Used in stories or film, a McGuffin’s just a device that the characters place meaning onto to move the story along, like in Ronin where they’re all chasing after some briefcase but we never find out why it’s important. It’s just important cause they made it important.

With the exception of health and family, I submit that a lot of what you put your heart and soul with, it’s nuthin at all. A lot of what I put my heart and soul into is nuthin at all.

At the end of the cartoon above, the characters are the same; the situation’s the same. The only thing that’s changed is each character’s perception of reality. But, man, that’s everything, that’s the whole nut, yeah?

Heard once that, On the day he thought he died, the caterpillar turned into a butterfly. It’s dorky, overly sentimental and hopeful. Like me.

Speaking of which, y’know, I pretty much am Pepe le Pew when I’m out and about. And ’bout as successful.

It’s ok, I have fun…Bonjour Week-end! Où sont les filles?

Location: home
Mood: beat tired
Music: tell your white knight that he’s handsome in hindsight

Dressing for success

Location: 03:00 yest, bumping into a friend on Broadway
Mood: mischievous
Music: Again and again and again, I think I will break but I mend

Me: Oh for…why would you ask that now?
Her: Well, you have low, or no, creepiness factor and you dress well. A girl’s gotta know.
Me: I would think by now, you’d have figured it out.
Her: You could be bi.
Me: Oh for…

Been doing the online dating thing. Four months ago, it was about 90% RL and 10% online, then it flipped (please don’t search for me, that’s just stalkerish and weird). Lately, it’s about 50/50.

Dating in general is tiring – the constant hellos and goodbyes. But like most things, on the net it happens faster; the disappointing and disappointments zip by and I don’t even have time to register them. Still meeting lots of pescatarians. Don’t ask.

This weekend, I took a break. Friday, stayed in, cooked, and watched a Law & Order marathon. Saturday fenced and then Paul and I saw CaptainRedStar and crew. Ran into L – twice in a week. Bumped into each other earlier Tuesday at Candyfiend‘s party. We’re always so busy.

On another point entirely, decided to act and dress my age. There’s a story there, but it’s for next time. Guess I gotta start shopping at the Gap or something.

The other part’s harder – how does a 34 year-old act?

Scurry

Location: in front of the tube, with a Coors Light
Mood: better
Music: Hielten sich fuer schlaue Leute

Hey, for everyone that volunteered for my project, apologies I’ve been out of touch. Things are nuts. I’ll follow up soon, gimme a bit.

———-

Up and out at 7AM. Worry, worry, super scurry. Finally stopped at 9PM. Hate, hate, hate. Tired. Too tired to go home so I went to see the rents. Ate lunch at 9:30PM.

Was beat but my dad said, Let’s watch a little more of The War. So tired but I said, OK. It’s not like I sleep.

In the middle of part three, where the Marines were at Tarawa, he asked me to pause it. He said, “Y’know why I came here? To America? Because if I was born just 10 years earlier, I would have had to kill Americans. I would’ve had to hurt this country I love so much. But I was lucky. I just missed all that. I wanted to go to America. I said I would be brave because I was lucky.”

I don’t know why but that made total sense to me. It made my day slightly less craptastic.

Midnight. Guess it’s time for dinner.

I’m a hazard to myself / Fiona / The War

Location: on my family couch watching the tube
Mood: slightly poisoned
Music: always in a fight cuz I can’t do nothin right

I almost accidentally killed myself this Christmas.

See, I spent the weekend moving stuff into my new office and wrestled on Saturday. My neck was killing me. So, at the rents, I popped about four tabs of naproxen. Then at night, I took about four tabs of Tylenol PM. I woke up the next morning and popped two more tabs of naproxen cause my neck was still busted.

BUT it turns out my mom actually ran out of naproxen and put Tylenol into the naproxen bottle for reasons she doesn’t remember. So I took 5000mg ((4+4+2)*500mg) of Tylenol within six hours – a potentially lethal dose. Luckily, my brother realized this before I took any more.

Man, I’m my own worst enemy.

———-

Fiona and I aren’t right for each other. It’s not her fault – as usual, it’s mostly me. My hands shake so much that I’m only able to use about 10% of my night shots. She’s already gone.

I need another camera with an anti-shake feature like this, but fast. The pictures I take remind me that the things I write about really happened.

———-

I’m watching The War with my father and brother. Crazy isn’t it? To see how close we are to angels and animals at the same time. I forgot to breathe more than a few times.

Seems like some things never change.

Dunno why, but I find it appropriate for the holidays.