Picking up the pieces we break

Ended up with a completely jacked computer

Asus ET2700 disassembled
Part of the reason I splurged on the new desk because – on the days that I work at home – I spend almost the entire day sitting there.

So if I’m going to spend money on anything, it should be a nice work space.

Similarly, a few years ago, I bought myself a really sweet computer. It was a single piece computer with a touchscreen; essentially, it was like having a 27″ table computer to work on. I loved that thing and it made working that much nicer.

Last week, I decided to upgrade the processor for a slight step up in power. I installed it during the mess of building out my desk and everything else and ended up blowing out my computer.

Complete black screen of death. There seems to be a string of completely destroyed computers in my life.

Meanwhile, I had a portfolio of work due to client so I had to do that on my office computer or my actual 10″ tablet (which is as fun as a root canal) while rushing back to (a) finish building out my home office and (b) trying to salvage my machine.

tl;dr: The furniture is essentially assembled but my computer has given up the ghost. So my physical and digital states are both a mess right now.

I ended up buying a set of parts – essentially, this exact list of components – to build myself a dual-booting Windows/Macintosh system.

This has been a really expensive and tiring few weeks. Hopefully, after I’m done, I’ll be happy I did it.

As always, it’s about making it to the other side.

 

Location: in the midst of computer and furniture parts
Mood: still so tired
Music: in the strangest places, picking up the pieces we break
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Stretches of boredom and high anxiety

Was a busy week last week

Protests in NYC near Rockefeller Center 2014.12.03

It seems that the closer I get to the finish line, the farther away it gets. Thought I’d be done this Wednesday with everything but some new things just cropped up.

Last week, though, was a whirlwind of work. Had to stay later in the office than I wanted to to talk to a new client. Caught the bus home.

At least I started to, but then protestors surrounded us and filled the streets so we couldn’t move. Ended up leaving that bus you see up there and finding another way back to the pad.

Federal Court in Brooklyn

Friday I was in Brooklyn Federal Court. I’m rarely in court and even more rarely in Federal court.

The difference between State Court and Federal Court is like the difference between a burger and prime rib; they’re both good, but one is usually more impressive.

Really got into it with the opposing lawyer.

Him: You said it was noon when in fact it was after noon.
Me: That’s a distinction without a difference. It has zero bearing on the issue at hand. The fact it’s important to you, doesn’t mean it’s actually important.

Oddly, though, he thanked me afterward for being courteous. The way I look at it, I don’t need to be a douchebag if I’m right. And I was right.

If I can sum up court, it would be as follows: long stretches of boredom with periods of high – extremely high – anxiety.

At least I got to break for lunch and have a spinach pie at Siggy’s.

Camden Plaza

The weekend was markedly better.

Saw my brother and also celebrated my friend’s birthday with the wife. Really nice group of people. Had a killer steak (speaking of steaks…) and some top shelf booze.

Him: What did you order?
Me: An old fashioned with rye. (turning to waitress) Make that two.

Have some food pics, of course, but I figure I’ll post that some other time.

Back Room at Tessa, NYC UWS

Birthday Cake

Location: close, so close, to the finish
Mood: anxious
Music: It’s been awhile since I’ve been stylin’ in just my jacket and my jeans

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Focusing on the finish line with Lillian

Finishing up with some work soon

NYC subway door entrance

For those of you that celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope it was a nice one.

Didn’t do much, myself – went home that day to see the fam and came back that day. Trying to get a handle on all this work I have.

I see the finish line, though.

Friday is the last of the largest projects I have with some smaller ones wrapping up in the middle of December.

Been working on this portfolio of stuff for the past five or six weeks. I’m pretty mentally drained.

Being so close, though, seems to make time stretch out longer. I think it’s because I start focusing on the finish line instead of the work itself.

Ever hear of this lady named Lillian Alling?

Seems she came here to NYC from Russia when she was a kid and, in 1927, decided she had enough of the Big Apple – something I wrestle with myself – and the rest of America. So she decided to go home.

But she had no scratch and no means to get there.

Unbelievably, she decided to walk back to Russia. From New York. Her feet were her only carriage.

She walked from NYC to Chicago, then through Canada. The last record of her was in 1929, when she was Nome, Alaska.

Seems she was there trying to get someone to give her a boat ride across the Bering Strait, where I assume we was gonna continue to walk until she got home.

Dunno if she made it.

I do know, however, that she probably made it that far by just focusing on the individual task at hand, which was putting one foot in front of the other.

And not dying, I suppose.

Which brings me back to my tasks at hand. Trying to focus but I just want it to be Christmas already, and my work to be done.

It’s hard to stop staring, once you see it. The finish line.

Wonder if Lillian ever got to see home, or if she died with her feet facing home.

In my head, I like to think she made it home.

Mussels at Arte Cafe in NYC, UWS

On the flip side, my brother’s in town with his new girl and he took me out to eat twice – well, him once and his girl once.

One of the times was Shake Shack. Some of the best burgers on the planet – unfortunately, everyone seems to know that so that’s why I almost never got even though it’s only a few minutes from home.

I really gotta stop thinking of food all the time.

Shake Shack burger and fries in UWS

Location: Jersey
Mood: anxious
Music: My feet is my only carriage, so I’ve got to push on through
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Waiting for the chime that tells me to get back to work

Either insanely busy or not-at-all and little in-between

Her: Do you want some ice cream?
Me: Nah, I’m good. (five minutes later) Actually, that looks pretty good, can I have a few bites of your…
Her: Touch it and I’ll kick you in the face.

Finished up with this massive project last week so I’ve had a bit of downtime again.

With how my work is structured, I’m usually either insanely busy or not at all. There’s scant in-between.

I’m also at a age/position in my work life where I don’t actually have to show up anywhere as long as the work’s done. It’s a plus of being 40, I suppose.

Because of that, it takes me a little while to get used to having time to myself; feel almost guilty that I’m not doing something work related.

But then as I finally get used to downtime, I’ll get an email from a client that goes, Logan! Hey, I have a question for you.

Still, for the next three days at least, my plans are meeting up with a friend for drinks, working on some rapier/dagger fencing, some wrasslin, and a stack of magazines.

All the while, I’m listening for that sound that my computer makes when that email inevitably comes in telling me to get back to work.

!Ding!

Location: my apartment, waiting for it
Mood: rested
Music: Maggie advances to the final. Who knew that she had the goods?
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Our first Christmas tree

Remember the small but personally important things

Sick again. It always happens when I’ve got a million deadlines and zero sleep.

In one week, was midtown, downtown, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem,  and Spanish Harlem. Was kinda in a daze for mosta it.

Most things are due this Friday so there’s a small chance this may be the only post of the week.

Then again, do my best work under pressure. At least that’s what I tell myself.


We did manage to pick up a tree at – of all place – our local bodega. Also picked up some lights at the local drugstore and soon had our first Xmas tree.

Me: Now it feels like Christmas.

Suppose that’s one of the main reasons I keep writing this blog – and I’m one of the few that still do. Cause it forces me to write down the small but personally significant things.

Especially since I’ve been so drugged out on cough medicine and lack of sleep, it took me a few moments to notice something was wrong when I returned home from a client over the weekend.

Me: Ah, the tree…wait, why’s the tree in the sink?
Her: Long story.

Have said that the time between Thanksgiving and Xmas is my favourite time of year. Am hoping that I’ll be able to enjoy some of it soon.

Off again…

Location: another day, another meeting
Mood: sick
Music: I went to see the doctor. I’d come down with the blues.
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Pushing all that doubt

Rainy day on the UWS in New York City

Her: I’m so excited! The Museum of Math is going to be open soon; it’s right next to The Museum of Sex.
Me: Great! I’m only good at one of those things.

A big part of my eat-what-you-kill life’s writing proposals for certain gigs. Afterwards, ship them off and write more or work while I wait. Usually both.

Back in they day, used to get one outta two back. Then from 2009 to 2011, it was more like one outta four or five would come back. No fun.

In the past three months, sent out maybe 16? About seven came back, which was good but then last week, eight more came in with only one outstanding.

Up to my eyeballs in work.

This has both it’s good points and bad: the good being scratch, which is always welcome; the bad being that all of my projects have to take a backseat.

Have y’ever watched any of those nature shows where this group of impalas’re just grazing in Africa next to a buncha lions? Then all hell breaks loose when the lions go after the impalas?

Regardless of outcome, at some point, the lions are back to chilling and the impalas go back to grazing.

There’s some innate ability of animals to compartmentalize their fear of the hypothetical; at some point, think that humans lost that and I’m no different.

It’s always the same. In my line of work, there’re days when when the seconds drag and days that the hours fly by.

When it’s the former, y’wonder if you should have  taken that cushy job downtown.

It’s not easy, to push all that doubt to the side of your mouth.

Doesn’t matter, got no time to philosophize. Got deadlines.

Location: The NY City Bar
Mood: sick
Music: We brave bee stings and all
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At least it was a nice day for a drive

UWS church in NYC

It’s been a really busy week and it’s barely Wednesday

The thing with what I do is I send out proposals all of time and hope that one of them sticks. Had about five things out and didn’t hear anything so I continued with all my projects and personal tasks.

Then they all came through, which is good for scratch but not good for being able to much of anything else. Think I finally was able to shut off my brain at around 3AM

Spent yesterday all over Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. My damn lying GPS just made it worse.

At least it was a nice day for a drive.

Location: surrounded by papers
Mood: busy
Music: you don’t live downtown no more And everything must come and go
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Mussels in a white-wine reduction > Powerpoint presentation

Mussels in white wine sauce

Wrote this long thing about my 9/11/2001 but I’m not in the mood yet to post it. Maybe next year?

That’s all I’ll say on the topic to spare you the 9/11 overload.

———-

Been prepping for another lecture; this one I’m giving downtown in front of a lotta US attorneys tomorrow. Should really post somea the videos when I’m done but then I figured it’d just put you to sleep.

HG and I went on two dates recently, both at nice local taverns – PJ Clarke’s and PD O’Hurley’s. No particular reason, the weather’s just cooled down enough so that going outside is bearable. Reminded us of when we were still dating. New York City’s a bit wasted on us since we’re so blase to it. Trying to fight that.

Dunno if I ever told you, but I don’t cook in the summertime. Almost not at all. Too hot.

But the weather’s cooled down lots so I made some mussels in a white wine reduction – was trying to recreate a dish we both had and enjoyed on onea our dates.

It was good, not great. Too much alcohol left in the pot gave it a bit too much sting in the backa the throat. Did reduce down the sauce after we had all of the mussels the next day; poured it on some angel hair pasta and it was killer.

Will have to make more soon. For now, though, gotta make a Powerpoint presentation. Not nearly as much fun.

 

Location: the desk, working
Mood: hopeful
Music: just different faces, different names, get me out of here
YASYCTAI: What’s due this week? Get it done earlier. (120 mins/0.5 pts)
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Stupid on different subjects

Street lamp in Byrant Park, in NYC

Me: Niggardly is a Scottish word meaning “cheap.”
Him: Nope, it’s Scandinavian. (gets dictionary)
Me: Dammit! I hate being wrong…

The weather’s been great in the city since Irene. Calm, cool, dry – it actually feels a lot more like early fall than anything else. Suppose I should enjoy it.

No time to do that today, though. Gotta be in court – although this time it’s not for me but a client. When it comes to court cases and clients, I usually play a supporting role behind the scenes. This time, though, sitting front and center. For a guy that doesn’t litigate, this’s always interesting.

Dunno how people get anything done in hot climates; always feel lethargic and slow in the summertime. But the second it feels like fall, it’s like the year’s begun.

Like to teach myself something every year. Twain said that we are all stupid, just on different subjects. That’s true – I hate not knowing something.

Dunno if I told you but this year, I decided to learn calculus. No real reason except I never did. But then I thought I should do something a bit more practical so I turned back doing some tech studies.

Funny isn’t it? The whole time I was in school, dreamed of being outta it. Now that I’m outta it, dream of being in it (especially in the fall). It’s the human condition to blunt the sharp points of our memories.

Enough armchair philosophy, got an important date with an adult in a robe.

Ed note: Niggardly is completely unrelated to the racial slur – which it merely sounds like – the pejorative comes from Spanish/Portuguese noun negro.

 

Location: heading downtown
Mood: busy
Music: hell ya blew trial and tha judge gave you 25 with an L
YASYCTAI: What are you learning this year? (two semesters/1.5 pts)
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Why I bought the HP Touchpad; Doing the Opposite Thing

HP Touchpad review pictures

Spent the last couple of days trying to land the HP Touchpad. In fact, immediately upon returning from my trip, started the process – that’s how we dorks roll. For those of you that don’t know/have a real life, HP spent $1.8 billion to buy the operating system for the Touchpad, started selling it like three months ago, and then abruptly dropped the whole thing.

Ended up ordering like 18 of them knowing that most would get cancelled, which they did; right now, I’m scheduled to get about three of them and this may change.

The question, of course, is Why would I buy the HP Touchpad when I already have an iPad?

The answer is that, as a $599 iPad competitor, there’s no question that it’s simply not as good and not worth the money. As a $150 colour eBook reader, that’s a completely different story. Since I use my iPad 99.9999% of the time as a PDF and ebook reader, most of it’s functionality is wasted.

So I’m thinking of just selling the iPad and using the HP Touchpad as a stopgap device until the iPad 3, or even the iPad 4, comes out.

The other reason to get it, however, is to hack it to run the Android operating system in a year or so. From everything I’ve read the OS on the tablet (webOS) is excellent. The problem is that there just aren’t enough apps for it. For the next year, the built in Kindle App and Facebook app – the only tablet Facebook app from what I’ve read – coupled with the built in ebook reader and 50GB of cloud storage for life, should make it a worthwhile stopgap device for me for the next 18 and by then, a stable Android os hack should be floating around.

It’s coming in a week or so, so I’ll post details as it comes about.

End unabashed dweeb.

Red plastic down near Canal Street, NYC

Me: OK, I’m ready.
Her: Do you have your swim trunks?
Me: No.
Her: Do you have your hat?
Me: No.
Her: Do you have your sunglasses?
Me: No.
Her: (Shakes head)
Me: I’ll go pack those right now.

Now that the vacation’s over, it’s back to work.

Met up with my old business buddy for some good Irish stout. He owns Cruisedirect.com, which just got listed in the Inc 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in America. That puts his biz in the top 1% of all businesses in the country.

Did y’know that the Empire State Building was built in the middle of the great depression? There’s this saying that Any company can be good in good times, only great companies can be good in bad times. Sometimes, doing the opposite thing of the rest of the world’s the way to go.

Getting itch to start something up again and I’ve got a few ideas percolating.

We’ll see how it goes.

———-

Just for laughs, Google the words “Intellectual Property NYC” and then click “videos” on the left-hand side.

What do you see where you are?

Location: prepping for some business
Mood: ambitious
Music: don’t you worry, it could be so sweet
YASYCTAI: Be brave when others are wary; wary when others are brave. (lifetime/3 pts)
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