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Fuddy Duddy

A bar, a shoot, and some chix

We had to shoot Scenic Fights again this past weekend so I took the kid out to NJ earlier that week.

That also meant that the Firecracker and I had time to hit up our local dive bar and have a cheap drink or four.

Me: Why are they so loud?!
Her: Oh, stop being an old fuddy-duddy.
Me: What?! I *AM* an old fuddy-duddy!

As for the shoot itself, it was tiring but fun, as usual.

We’ve really hit our stride, I think.

Me: Wait, did we get 9,000 new subscribers in four days?
Him: Well, we got 19,000 new subscribers in two weeks.
Me: Damn, any particular reason why?
Him: (shrugging) Nope. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing.
Me: Works for me.

Afterward, I decided to splurge some calories on some fried chix.

Me: I could do a salad again or we can be bad and I get a bucket of chix?
Her: Let’s get chicken. 🤤
Me: I was testing you to see if you would be a good partner and tell me not to do it. You failed!
Her: (laughing) Sorry! We can eat it with a salad.
Me: No, seriously, I’ll get some chix.

Ended up heading to Jollibee for the third time in my life.

I need some self-control.

Location: earlier today, Broadway in front of a clothing store, asking a homeless person if they needed socks
Mood: full of fried chix
Music: gathering my strength to push on through (Spotify)
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Our cancelled check that we existed

A cannonball in Vienna

Me: You know what I realized about that musical we saw, Merrily We Roll Along?
Her: What?
Me: It annoyed me that they told the story backwards but I just realized that’s how I…well, people…look at life as adults. Backwards. I’m at an age where everything in my life I look at in reverse.

A decade ago – man, time flies – I told you the story of Tyre, Alexander the Great, and the Elvis Barbershop.

In a nutshell, I’m always interested in how things from the distant past still affect us to this day.

When I was in Vienna, one thing I really wanted to see was St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which broke ground 887 years ago on 1137.

The Firecracker and I visited it early in our trip to Vienna.

If you’ve never thought of Vienna, or know anything about it, you should know that the city changed the course of history in 1663.

See, that year, the Ottoman Turks laid seige to the city in the Battle of Vienna and came pretty close to conquering the city.

If they did, Europe as we know it would probably have been Muslim instead of Christian, meaning the US would have been Muslim as well.

But the Ottman Turks failed in their conquest so Europe remained, for better or worse, Christian.

The crazy thing is that 341 years after that battle, there are still remnants of the siege lodged in the very wall of the cathedral: A Turkish cannonball remains fixed in time and space on the south wall of the building.

I’m always interested in things from our – distant – past that affect our current lives.

As I try to raise this boy, I think back on my own life and childhood and how I felt and thought about things.

I see life so much more through the eyes of my parents, particularly my dad, and I understand him more.

Don’t fully agree with alla the things he did but I get why he did so much of what he did.

This lady named Mignon McLaughlin once said, The past is strapped to our backs. We do not have to see it; we can always feel it.

That’s true. I always feel my parents and my past around in the things I say and do.

The kid doesn’t really understand how much of me was made by them and how much of what he thinks I’m giving him, actually come from them.

Ms. McLaughlin was right about our pasts always being there, but – sometimes, though – we can see it as well as feel it.

Back in 2008, told you that someone said that our kids are our receipts. The proof that we existed.

So, the kid is our receipt.

He’s the cancelled check that says that Alison and I were here, and that we did something good at least once.

Him: What are you thinking about, papa?
Me: You.
Him: (laughing) But I’m right here.
Me: (nodding) So you are…and I’m so happy you are.

Location: all day today, shooting Scenic Fights with the fellas on 18th Street
Mood: full
Music: I’m just gonna keep on dreaming’ of the way it used to be (Spotify)
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Eating the kids’ food at Chelsea Piers

Imposing

Of course, we’re not the only people with an active social life.

Almost exactly three years ago, my son was spending alla his time with this older girl named Annie that told him one day that she didn’t want to play with him any more.

Of course, I was worried about him.

Me: Are you ok that Annie didn’t want to play with you?
Him: (nodding) I’ll meet someone else. (later) This is Sandy, papa, she lives on West 74th.
Me: (laughing) Hello Sandy who lives on West 74th. Why don’t you two play and I’ll watch your scooters?

Welp, Sandy turned nine the other day and, just like last year, celebrated at Chelsea Piers.

Think it’s sweet that the two have remained friends all these years, even though they don’t have many friends in common and go to different schools.

Then again, perhaps he’ll always be this socially ok and will always be able to meet new people while keeping old friends.

Ended up chatting with several people I’ve met before at other events.

Friend: I feel bad because I’m eating all the kids’ food.
Me: Wait, there’s more food?
Him: Yeah, over there. (points) That’s for the adults.
Me: I say we stick here and eat the kids’ food. It’s better.
Him: (laughs, nods)
Me: But the drinks are definitely adult.

Sandy’s uncle had to run back to our hood to pick up some forgotten goodies for the other kiddos so I offered to go with him.

Now, Sandy’s mom teased that I shoulda brought the Firecracker.

Me: I didn’t wanna impose.
Her: I put you down party of four to include her and her kid! You should have brought her.
Me: Clearly, I don’t pay attention to stuff.

So, I asked the Firecracker if she could stop by their building and grab the stuff from their doormen and she did.

Before we knew it, we were all hanging out at Chelsea Piers.

When I came back, I searched for my son and someone laughed and pointed at the floor of one of the bowling lanes.

In the middle of all the cacophony was my son, sitting in the middle of everything, eating some cake.

That’s my boy.

Him: Where were you?!
Me: I had to help Sandy’s family with something.
Him: You didn’t tell me.
Me: I figured you were in good hands and wouldn’t even notice that I left for a few minutes.
Him: Next time, you have to tell me when you leave.
Me: Will do, kiddo.

I love him so.

Location: a dive bar, having $1 wings and $5 well drinks. It was glorious.
Mood: sotted
Music: Wе can chill, it could still be dynamite (Spotify)
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A Birthday Dinner in Columbus Circle

Amusing our bouches

The Firecracker and I had a low-key St. Valentine’s Day because the NFL Player and I were planning on taking Thor out to dinner at a fancy restaurant later on in the week to celebrate Thor’s birthday.

We were late getting out the door but made it there right on time.

Thor was there first and waved us over and I introduced them the two of them.

Him: (to Firecracker) So great to finally meet you!
Her: Same!
Me: I’m here too, you know.

We ordered some drinks but then the NFL Player and his wife showed up.

NFL: The Maitre’d and I are old friends. They’re moving us to a better spot.
His Wife: We eat here a lot.
Thor: Nice to have that kinda pull.

Shoulda taken a pic of where we were seated – it was grand – but I was too busy enjoying my drink(s).

It was a really nice time. Everyone was super cool.

We got to talking about our old gym and how disappointed we were with everything there.

Chad’s definitely a better teacher and better fit for the three of us.

The waiter brought over an amuse-bouche, courtesy of the Maitre’d.

But I was starving so the Firecracker and I shared the tomahawk steak you see above – she’d never had one before.

Her: That thing is huge!
Me: That’s what she said.
Her: (rolls her eyes)

While the Firecracker was away, everyone at the table told me I should lock down her down.

NFL Player’s Wife: She seems really lovely.
Me: Wait, I’m a pretty good catch too!
Table: (laughs)
Me: (grumble)

After dinner, we surprised Thor with some cakes.

But Thor and I wanted something different for dessert.

Me: Welp, if I’m having carbs, I want more onion rings.
Her: For dessert?!
Me: You do you, and I’ll do me.
Thor: It’s fine, I’m gonna have some bone marrow and wine.
Me: See?

We stayed out a lot longer than we should have but it was a nice mid-week adventure.

Me: (on the walk home) I’m gonna be having salads and oatmeal all week to make up for what just happened.
Her: (nodding) Oh, yeah, same…

Location: On top of my refrigerator, looking at a huge crack and some mold
Mood: so hungry
Music: tell me it’s gonna be fine I need a little luck tonight (Spotify)
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Valentine’s Day 2024 with the Firecracker

Deserving the full

Took the Firecracker out for a St. Valentine’s Day dinner the other night.

We went to the same place that Thor and The NFL Player and I went the other night because we were actually gonna meet up with the two of them again later on in the week at a fancy restaurant but that’s another entry.

Me: The bartender makes the most amazing drinks.
Her: OK, I’ll try the basil gimlet.

But the waiter heard her wrong and gave her a double Basil Hayden instead.

That was pretty funny – but the bartender quickly fixed that.

It’s the green drink in the picture below.

Now, I actually ordered the exact same food.

Which makes sense, because I like what I like.

And I like the Firecracker.

She likes me too, evidently.

Me: Why specifically?
Her: (thinking) I think because you pay attention to things.

…although she does have plenty of reason not to.

Me: Yeah, I’m always aware of the little things. Because the little things matter. And I’ll do [that thing I’ve been promising to do for you].
Her: (smiles) I’m not in a rush. I know I can depend on you.
Me: I just don’t like to do things half-assed. You deserve full ass.
Her: (laughs) Thanks?
Me: Yeah. (nodding) Full-ass or nuthin for you.

Location: earlier today, waiting between Newark and Journal Square for the train to move
Mood: stuffed
Music: We go together like a party in summer (Spotify)
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Everyone’s a tough guy

You never know

So, this fella was sitting across from the kid and vaping so I asked him, politely, if he would stop.

He said a few rude things to me at which point I asked the Firecracker if she’d be ok with my fighting him.

After more of the guy mouthing off, the kid started crying.

Me: Stop crying.
Him: What if you get hurt?
Me: I told you before, we don’t ever start fights. But if someone else wants to fight, sometimes we gotta. You can’t just let people hurt you without trying to protect yourself.

As we got off, this older lady took my hand.

Her: Be careful. I know people like that. You could get hurt.
Me: Thanks, ma’am. But I think I’ll be ok.
Her: You never know.
Me: (laughing) Yeah. You never know. One of us will have a bad day. But I don’t think it’ll be me.

Of course, the guy disappeared.

Like I said, everyone’s a tough guy until it’s time to actually be tough.

But the Firecracker and I were out to eat the other night for St. Valentine’s Day and she told me that she and the kid talked after the whole thing.

The kid: I was so mad at him for almost getting in a fight. I already don’t have a mom and he coulda made it so I don’t have a dad.
Her: Do you think your papa would do anything to put himself at risk?
Him: Well, it was stupid. All over some dumb guy. It was all so dumb.
Her: You dad loves you. He’s gonna make sure he’s around a long time.

Felt awful.

Her: (later with just me) You know, it’s not just you anymore. You’ve got to think about him.
Me: I think about him alla time. (thinking) But you’re right.
Her: It’s done. Just remember that he needs you here.
Me: Will do.

The irony of the whole thing is that I so rarely get into these types of situations on my own. I always tell people to walk away from rando confrontations.

Still, when it involves the kid (or the Firecracker) I get overly protective, I suppose.

But he’s right; he’s lost enough in the world.

I’ll try and do better for him.

Location: off to dinner with the Firecracker, Thor, and the NFL Player
Mood: peckish
Music: wherever, doesn’t matter, I follow you anywhere you go (Spotify)
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Chinese New Year 2024

A year later

Me: (to Firecracker) Can I fight him?
Her: Don’t. It’s not worth it.
Me: OK. But if I have to, I’m gonna have to hurt him.

The Firecracker’s kid was away with her ex so I invited her to join my kid and me to Annabel and her husband John’s annual Chinese New Year party.

Her: Should I wear red?
Me: You don’t have to but a lotta people do.
Her: I swear, Logan Lo, if I’m the only person there not wearing red…
Me: *I’m* not wearing red…well, except for the leather jacket.
Her: I swear…

She reminded me that our kids met the year before on Chinese New Year; she remembered because I told her I wouldn’t be around that night as I was heading to Annabel’s.

Always find relationships so interesting – and how time changes things.

We took the train to Penn Station and then hopped a cross town bus to see them.

Again, being centrally located has its perks.

As soon as we walked in, there was a crowd of people making dumplings, so we washed our hands and joined them to make some for everyone.

That is, until the first batch came out to eat.

That was when I stopped the production component of the evening and switched over to the consumption component.

There was also a ton of traditional Chinese veggies, which I appreciated.

Think I mighta eaten half of the pickled bamboo shoots which are the the white things in the small bowl below, between the black wood ears and the wine bottles.

Afterwards, the parents gave out red envelopes and we were told to sit down for the kids to come up to us and wish us a Happy New Year.

One British boy walked right up to me and put his face less than an inch from mine, which was a bit startling and his dad yelled out, with a proper British accent, “Personal space! Give him some personal space!”

It was pretty funny. You had to be there.

The kid collected like $38 dollars or something.

Me: Great! I get 10%
Him: Dad!
Me: (shrugging) I don’t make the rules, kid.

I actually handed out $2 bills, including to the Firecracker’s kid and niece on other days.

The Firecracker’s BIL commented that they would be more impressive if kids were used to seeing other bills.

That actually didn’t occur to me: the fact that $2 bills are no more/less special than any other bill because people just don’t use that much cash anymore.

Afterward, we took the train home.

On the way back, I almost came to blows with this loudmouth, but everyone’s a tough guy until it’s time to actually be a tough guy.

But that’s a story for another time.

Location: off to dinner with the Firecracker
Mood: hangry
Music: knew I’d figure it out some day (Spotify)
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Centrally located

I’m the guy

Her: I am a little sassy.
Me: Well, that I could do with out.
Her: (laughs)

Because the Firecracker grew up with green grass and shade, while she likes living in the big city, if she had her druthers, she’d rather live in the suburbs than the Upper Best Side.

I get the appeal.

But being centrally located has its definite perks.

For example, met up with the Pastor the other day for a cuppa joe.

Him: Confirming 11 today?
Me: Yup! The usual place, still?
Him: Yes. see you soon!

It was easy – he popped by my local cafe, we met up and chatted for a bit and then I went back to do some kali with someone over zoom.

You can’t do stuff like that in suburbs quite as easily, I don’t think.

Well, the zoom stuff yes but you get my point.

Also met up with the NFL Player and my buddy Thor for a drink and some food in the area.

One of my favourite joints in the area, Friedman’s, moved just a block east and I’d not yet gone there.

Both of them had shoulder surgery not too long ago so we just caught up.

Me: Are you two sure you don’t need a lazy but brilliant attorney who will never show up to work? Because I know a guy.
Him: We’re all set there.
Me: It’s me. The guy is me. I’m the guy.
Both: (laugh)

Like I said, it’s nice being centrally located.

Me: That was really good food and excellent drinks.
Him: Not the wine though, the wine was terrible.
Me: Wouldn’t know; not a wine drinker.
Him: Next time, we’ll get the girls out.
Me: For sure.

Location: my bedroom, getting a trim from the Firecracker
Mood: cough-y
Music: Don’t listen to a word I say (Spotify)
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Fixing the kid’s cracked tooth

Getting screwed by Biden

While I generally like that the boy takes after me in most regards, there are some things that I wish he wouldn’t.

Just like I did in May of last year, my kid cracked his tooth a while ago in his BJJ class and we went to the dentist for a cleaning and general checkup, but I wasn’t expecting to repair his tooth during this particular visit.

In any case, I had earmarked 15 minutes of buffer to make sure we made his appointment.

What I didn’t factor in was that President Biden was gonna be in the Upper West Side that day.

Holy cow, what a mess.

Gotta think that Biden was crossing at W 79th because we were stuck there for a while before we decided to try out the subway.

Luckily, that was still running.

So, we were late when we arrived.

Unlike the last several times I went to this dentist, they were actually much more well run such that we were seen only 30 minutes after our scheduled time, instead of the usual hour/90-minutes.

This was an improvement.

However, unlike when the kid went to his regular dentist, this one didn’t give him any laughing gas to do his cleaning.

He wasn’t thrilled but he was still a trooper.

But, we weren’t done.

Her: You know your son’s tooth is cracked, yes?
Me: I am aware.
Her: Do you want to fix it?
Me: I dunno. We only scheduled the cleaning. He still has to make his Chinese class.
Her: Oh, you’ll be done in 15 minutes. I would do it because it’s only going to get worse; it won’t get better if we don’t fix it.

We left with only five minutes to spare but this time, the train let us down because it skipped our stop.

So, we had to run to his class and ended up being 20 minutes late.

It was a pretty exhausting day, but I’m glad that the kid’s tooth is taken care of.

Hopefully, we can go another year before he needs to get his teeth looked at again.

Firecracker: You know you’re supposed to go every six months, right?
Me: Nah, we’ll be fine.
Her: Logan Lo!
Me: Fiiine, I’ll consider it.

Location: the kid’s BJJ gym, telling him he has to wear his mouthguard
Mood: beat tired
Music: White teeth teens are up for it (Spotify)
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Trampolining in Brooklyn

Zero nutritional value

The Surgeon dropped me a line the other day. He was bringing his kids to an Urban Air in Brooklyn.

So, bright and early this past weekend, the Firecracker and I, plus both kids, woke up early and headed out to meet up with them.

Because we were up so early, the subway as a whole was pretty empty.

It took a solid 90 minutes from the pad to the place because of alla the subway delays et al.

When we finally arrived, the joint was pretty empty as well.

Took one look at the food options and offered to make a food run since I saw alla these delicious looking delis and bodegas everywhere.

Stepping into one, I ordered a buncha breakfast burritos – the Firecracker wanted bacon in hers but the resta us wanted chorizo.

Him: Why chorizo instead of bacon?
Me: (shrugging) I’m a man.

The kids played for hours.

Legit, hours. From 11:30 to 3:30.

By the time it was 1PM, the joint was packed.

The kids got hungry so some of the other parents ended up picking up food for them.

Me: There’s like zero nutritional value here, kid.
Him: That’s ok.
Me: Is it?

We were there enough that I had time to make another food run for ourselves.

Me: How about a Cuban?
Him: I won’t say no to a Cuban.
Me: Who would really?

Turns out the Firecracker as she’s not a fan of pickles.

Me: What are you, a communist?

One of the kids started saying they wanted to head home so the Surgeon pulled out the big guns.

Him: How about some dipping dots?

That bought us another 30 mins or so.

But only 30 mins or so.

It’s fine. Everyone got their fill of food and fun and we took the train home.

Later on that night, the kid and just had fruit and yoghurt for dinner because we ate so poorly all day.

Let’s see what next weekend brings.

Location: an hour ago, a bar on the UWS with Thor and the NFL Player having an Old Fashioned
Mood: sotted
Music: everywhere we go shout it loud with the crowd everybody knows (Spotify)
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