Everyone needs a magic drawer

My kinda weekend

The kid and I had quite the weekend.

On Friday, he went to watch The Super Mario Brothers movie with his school – we originally didn’t have tickets but one of his friend’s mom’s, Debbie, had a spare ticket for us.

Me: AWESOME! What’s your venmo?
Her: No, don’t worry about it.
Me: You’re the worst. (laughing) But seriously, thank you so much.

Now, I was supposed to host a birthday party for Pac at Solas but NYC got the most rain it’s ever had so I had to cancel just so I could watch my basement and make sure it didn’t flood.

We had some water come in but nothing serious – a far cry from what had happened previously.

Still, I wasn’t taking any chances so I just spent the entire night watching my pipes and basement like a hawk.

The next day, the Firecracker brought her kid and mine to the Transit Museum in the morning so I could catch up on some work.

Later on that evening, we all went to the Surgeon’s pad – but the Surgeon was in Chicago so we just hung out with his wife and their two kids.

Her: Mexican? Rice and beans never disappoint 😊
Me: OK! The kid loves putting together tacos and such – basically, everything spread out and everyone puts on what they like.

So that’s what we ended up doing.

Because it was just us three adults, we spent the night just chatting, stuffing ourselves silly with tacos, and drinking everything they had.

Her: Just help yourself to anything in the [alcohol] drawer.
Firecracker: (looking at it) This is a magic drawer!
Me: Can we open the prosecco?
Her: Yes! That thing takes up so much room, enjoy it.
Me: Done!

Just between the Firecracker and me, we had:

        • An entire bottle of prosecco
        • Three 20oz cans of beer
        • Three cans of hard kombucha

We got to know the Surgeon’s wife better; she’s a professional musician and I found out that she toured with an artist that both the Firecracker and I liked.

Me: You toured with Bright Eyes!? That’s so cool.
Her: Yup! I’m actually in one of his music videos (pulls it up)
Me: That’s wild!My fave song from him is I Believe in Symmetry.
Her: You know him? That’s so great!
Firecracker: Of course! I listened to him in my emo days.

Despite the copious amounts of alcohol, we all had, we were only lightly buzzed by the time we wrapped up – which is good because several stations on our line were still closed because of the flooding.

Then, the next day, the kid went to an indoor playground in LIC with his sitter while I worked, and then I made lamb for everyone for dinner.

It was a pretty quiet weekend where the kid had a grand time, even despite all the rain – exactly what I wanted.

Massive flooding notwithstanding.

Location: a playground bench with the two boys watching Marcus Samuelsson play with his kid.
Mood: busy
Music: On silver stars I wish and wish and wish (Spotify)

Being ancient

Running into old ghosts and possible pasts

Told you once that I used to work on Times Square.

That entry was a long time ago – I had just started seeing Alison then – and when I wrote that, my working at Times Square was almost a decade before that.

Well, when I went to see that Broadway show with the Firecracker, I showed her my old office.

Me: See that building there? I worked there for years. Had a perfect view of Times Square back then. And I lived just four blocks from work. I could wake up at 9:10 for a 9:30 meeting.
Her: I’m so jealous! I can’t imagine that.

I can’t either, actually. That was almost three decades ago.

Did you know that, Cleopatra’s reign (ending 30 BCE) is closer to today, about 2,050 years, than to the construction of the pyramids, which were probably built about 2630 BCE, or 2,600 years before she started ruling Egypt?

In other words, when Cleopatra was born, the pyramids were already 2,600 years old/ancient.

In some ways, I look around the city and feel that about myself.

People think that I’m old with life experiences but they have no idea how old I actually am and how many different lives I’ve led.

Alla them here, in the Big City.

For example, while waiting in line to watch Merrily We Roll Along, I pointed out the Belasco Theatre.

Me: I took my bar review class there.
Her: Right there? In the theatre?
Me: (nodding) Yup. It was like a solid month, five days a week, for eight hours a day.

That’s the thing about living in the same place for five decades. There are old ghosts everywhere.

Everything reminds me of some possible past, whether I want it to or not.

Location: home, realizing I forgot to get the kid tickets to a show. He’ll be so bummed.
Mood: disappointed
Music: drop your drink, then they bring you more (Spotify)
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Caught “Merrily We Roll Along”

Not great

Her: That was…
Me: …not great.

The Firecracker invited me to catch Merrily We Roll Along with two of her favourite actors, Daniel Radcliffe and Jonathan Groff.

The singing by both actors – and the cast – was pretty impressive.

And that’s pretty much the best thing I can say about it.

The story itself was pretty bad, plus it went in reverse chronology, which was very annoying and confusing, finally, none of the characters were…good.

Jonathan Groff’s character was a habitual cheater and wholly unreliable.

Daniel Radcliffe’s character was stubborn and inflexible and kind of a scold.

The main female character, played by Lindsay Mendez, had an unrequited love for Groff’s character for some 20 years.

20 years!

You just felt pity for her character. There’s a lot more I wanna say about this part but I suppose I’ll wait for the next entry.

All-in-all, there was no one really worth rooting for, which was the biggest issue. It’s tough watching something for some three hours and just not caring about anyone involved.

Honestly dunno why Radcliffe and Groff even agreed to do it because the musical was panned way back in 1981 when it first came out and alla the issues that people had with it – like telling the story backward – was annoying and confusing then, annoying and confusing now.

Felt bad for the Firecracker. She’d been looking forward to the show for weeks now.

Her: This is the first time I went to a show and it was a bad.
Me: (shrugging) Well, you gotta expect the occasional dud.
Her: I guess… Did you have a good time?
Me: Of course – we had a night out, I broke my fast, and I got to spend the evening with the prettiest girl in the joint. That’s a win in my book.
Her: (smiles) Aw, Lo…

Location: helping a tenant wrap up his wet garbage in front of the pad
Mood: fat and tired
Music: Put on your best shirt, I can’t miss another night like this (Spotify)
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Obscure Facts and a Birthday Dinner

16 Million Views

Firecracker: Did you know that the guy that invented the single-rotor helicopter only flew it once and then immediately gave it to Henry Ford? It’s still in the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan now.
Me: I did not!
Her: (laughing) OK, your turn. Tell me an obscure fact.
Me: (thinking) Did you know that no shark makes a single sound? Outta like 500 species, not a single shark has an organ that is capable of making a sound of any sort.
Her: No! Who knew?

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I love an obscure fact.

I’ve not been on Scenic Fights for a while because I’ve been so busy with life and travel.

But that’s gonna change soon enough because we’ve got shoots lined up for the coming weeks and I’m back filming.

You might find it strange but, in my head, I think of myself as a writer and a lawyer – amongst other things – but the world now seems to know me as a weapons guy.

The thing I find funny is that who I really am is just an obscure fact to the world at large.

Suppose that’s just how life is.

Me: Me. I knew.
Her: (rolling eyes) You are so full of yourself, Logan Lo.

Speaking of Scenic Fights, one of my videos hit 16,720,000 views.

That just blows my mind.

Went to my in-laws the other day to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday.

I’d never actually taken her out for her birthday, but the stars all lined up, so I got a chance to, which I’m glad I for.

Father-in-law: I’m thinking of getting a new car.
Me: Ooooh, get a black leather interior so you can leave it to me afterward.
MIL: (laughing) Why do you think you’ll get it? If anyone’s getting it, I am.
Me: That’s fine, I’ll take your car afterward.

Obviously, I’m joking. They’re such great part of the kid’s life, and mine.

Hope they stick around for a while.

Speaking of sticking around for a while, had to take the long way around at the train station for the train back home becaues it was being fixed up.

It looked pretty rough, but I found myself admiring the repair work to the old broken-down station trying to get a few more years of usefulness outta it.

I can relate.

Location: in the pouring rain, headed home to see the Firecracker
Mood: hungry, as always
Music: Terra Titanic, verloren im Meer. SOS kommt nie an (Spotify)
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Emotionally is a different matter

Intellectually, I know

My buddy Ricky stopped by my pad the other day because he was in the neighborhood…

Me: The Firecracker baked cookies, you want one?
Him: Sure! (later) Is that real milk [in the coffee]?
Me: Shoot, yes. I shoulda thought about that.

…and Bryson gave me a ring to see how I was doing. I’m guessing they read up on my mom and wanted to make sure we were all ok.

Bryson: Dude, next time, before you rent a car, gimme a call. I’m happy to pick you up and get you to your mom.
Me: Thanks, man. I appreciate that. But, what’s going on with you?
Him: Nah, man, I didn’t call to talk about me, I called to check in on you.

I’m grateful for old friends that check in with me to make sure that I’m ok.

Speaking of being ok, I’ve been seeing a therapist for some time now.

She asked me this past week the details of what happened with Alison.

Me: Oh, I thought I told you.
Her: You only told me that she died and your struggles with everything. You never told me the details.

So, I did.

About halfway through it all, I realized that she was crying. By the time I wasdone, she was pretty emotional – well, as emotional as a professional can get.

Her: (drying her eyes) That’s a lot for you to have dealt with.
Me: She dealt with more.
Her: Well, thank you for sharing with me. And you should be kinder to yourself.

Told her that I felt guilty that I was alive and got to spend alla this time with the kid and she didn’t.

She only got to hold him once.

Just writing that sentence fills me with both sadness, anger, guilt, and a bevy of other emotions I can’t fully express with my limited vocabulary.

Her: There’s useful guilt and useless guilt.
Me: (nodding) I know. Intellectually, I know. Emotionally is a different matter.

Such a different matter.

Location: In my head again for a bit
Mood: worn-down
Music: My mind, it likes replaying my regrets all night. My pain, I hide (Spotify)
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Critical thinking isn’t the most important thing

It’s issue spotting

Me: Hello, hot blonde.
Her: Hello, handsome old Chinese man.
Me: The “old” was really not necessary.
Her: But accurate!

I’ve said repeatedly that my major goal for the boy is teaching him critical thinking.

Unfortunately, the recent (massive) hurricanes and flooding happening here in the US – and abroad – around has made me reassess the contours of that.

I recently decided that critical thinking is secondary to a more basic skill: Issue spotting – which is determining if there’s even a problem in the first place.

Came to this realization seeing how many people I know in life that deny climate change.

As an aside, all self-identify as Republicans and many have a religious bent, which makes me feel all the more foolish for ever voting republican and ever being religious at all.

In any case, back in law school, I remember that everyone is taught two basic skills:

      1. Issue spotting, and then
      2. issue solving.

It’s always in that order because all law school exams – especially the bar exam – essentially tests on both whereby, if you’re unable to spot the issue in the first place, your chance of correctly answering the question is nil.

This is where I’m finding we are as a society; half of the people are concerned about answering the issue, whereas the other half denies that an issue even exists, often pointing to one lone dissenter and ending the argument there for them.

There’s no ability to critically think about a solution because people can’t even see that there’s a problem that needs solving.

This is terrifying, on so many levels.

And it’s happening everywhere and all at once.

Me: You don’t think it’s an issue that you’re 35 years old and have nothing saved for retirement?
Him: (puzzled) Retirement is like 30 years away; I have plenty of time.
Me: JFC…sit down. I need to explain a lotta things to you.

Location: my stoop, chatting with a friend that stopped by to check up on me
Mood: beyond busy
Music: don’t overthink it – like all my problems, I don’t have one (Spotify)
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Coming in threes?

School again

Him: I’m a little worried.
Me: That’s normal. Everything’ll be fine.
Him: You promise?
Me: Yup. Promise.

The kid started school recently. The Firecracker was sweet enough to make that sign for him you see above.

Her: (beaming) AND, I laminated it too.
Me: You’re the best!

He was anxious the day before and I tried my best to reassure him, but I get it.

Still, he left school that first day with nothing but smiles.

Here’s hoping it’s another good year.

Alison would be so proud.

Speaking of Alison, when things went down with her, they also went down with my dad, and my cousin.

Both my dad and she died within 90 days of each other from cancers they never should’ve had: Alison passed from a cancer that generally kills old Caucasian men, my dad from lung cancer despite never smoking nor having any reason to get it.

This past weekend, in the span of 24 hours, my mom fell and took a nasty hit to her head, an uncle got into a terrible car accident (but survived), and another uncle up and died.

All within 24 hours.

People keep saying to me that bad news comes in threes and I do my best to chalk that up to pure superstition.

Still, it’s very odd and sad that it’s bearing out.

So, this past weekend, I dropped everything and rented a car for four hours to see my mom for 20 mins.

Man, NYC is the only place where it takes 90 minutes to drive 14 miles.

My mom’s ok, btw. She’s just very worried about everyone else.

Oh, and I detest people that use other people’s tragedies to garner sympathy for themselves – when Alison and my dad got sick, so many people lamented how concerned they were on social media and did jack shit for us.

The situation with my uncles is very sad but the grief is mainly borne by their immediate families and not me.

I always say that I don’t like to tell other people’s stories, only my own, so I’ll leave the details of everything to them.

Like my mom, I’m sad for them and worried for everyone left.

To end on a lighter note, I’d been on the hunt for purple (fleshed) potatoes for a few weeks now and stopped by a local Asian grocery for literally 6 minutes – because that’s all the time I had before I had to return the car – to see if they had some.

But they didn’t and I didn’t have enough time to go to any other stores.

The kid did make a new friend, though.

Location: shooting Scenic Fights all damn day
Mood: panicked, not about the elbow
Music: our tragedy binds what our ignorance hides – we all wind up here together (Spotify)
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My 18 Year-Old Toilet from Hell

Believing it

I think people move a lot in NYC – or in general.

Like, the Firecracker’s moved six times in the last decade.

Me: Wild.
Her: Yup.

My college buddy and I moved into my current apartment waaaay back in 1996, but we ended up buying it in 2004, which is still almost 20 years ago.

Been here ever since.

Anywho, in November of 2004, we gutted one of the bathrooms ourselves and hired a contractor to fix it up, including putting in a new toilet and vanity.

We ended up buying the Kohler Rialto K-3386 for $349, which is roughly $19 a year, amortized across these 18 some years.

Now, the seat on that bad boy cracked so I decided to just swap it out – the first time since it was installed in 2004.

Welp, that started a long journey that ended up with my getting rid of the entire toilet.

See, the reason we got this toilet was because it was the absolute smallest toilet you could buy that was still mass produced.

BUT, because it’s so small, it had a special mechanism to attach the lid to the toilet. I did not realize this until it was too late.

Evidently, I’m not the only one.

I’m living in an interesting period of my life right now in that I’m aware that I won’t be here forever.

After all, Everybody knows they are going to die, but no one really believes it.

Figure that, at some point, this pad will be the boy’s and I wanna limit his frustration.

Was gonna buy the kit to replace the toilet but, having read up horror stories of people doing all that only to crack their decades old toilet, I just decided to toss the whole thing.

Enter my buddy Wally who said he would do it for free.

Him: Just the hands-on experience is enough.
Me: Absolutely not!

I’m frequently surprised how many really lovely people I’ve met in my life, and he’s one of them, for sure.

So, last weekend, he and I discovered just how gross removing a 20 year old toilet could be.

Yes, this is super gross looking – that’s what bits of wax ring looks like over a flange after 20 something years.

One thing that we did was remove the old wax ring that seals the gap between the flooring and the toilet.

Him: Sorry, I got some on the floor.
Me: Dude, no need to apologize, this stuff is getting everywhere.

What shoulda been like a two-hour project, turned out to be four hours because so much had rusted in place and needed replacing.

And at least three hours trying to clean up the ridonk mess. Ridonk.

Buuuuut, afterward, this is what my bathroom looked like.

It’s a slightly longer toilet – 27.5″ from the wall versus 25.5″ but it’s now dual flush and is probably gonna be good until I’m 70.

I’m aware the flaps are up on the bolt for the seat. Too lazy to retake this picture.

Then it’s the kid’s problem, not mine.

Boy: That’s so cool!
Me: Glad you think so, kid.
Him: I’m gonna watch YouTube.
Me: (sighing) Yup.

It’s fate after almost 20 years of loyal service – oh, the ignominy!

Location: the kid’s BJJ class, watching him take an elbow to the face (accidentally)
Mood: panicked, not about the elbow
Music: I’ll be back home one day, before long (Spotify)
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A Night at the MOMA, DUMBO, and Solas Pt3

Being a world-class jerk

It was a pretty hot night for alla our activities but the Firecracker’s kid and my own were starting school soon, so we figured we’d make the most of our last summer weekend sans kids.

After our tiff at the Time Out Market, we probably were a little more subdued than we woulda preferred but it was what it was.

Leaving DUMBO was a maze; we ended up going several blocks outta our way in the wrong direction before we finally made it back on track.

We finally hopped the train, but it was the wrong one. Still, it meant that we could talk a bit.

Her: You can be a world-class jerk sometimes.
Me: Sorry about that.

We had everything sorted out by the time we got to where we needed to be, though.

It’d been a while since I saw my buddy at his bar; he was one of the first of my friends to ever meet the Firecracker.

It’s always nice catching up with the people there. Kimo, the bouncer, just came back from Egypt.

Her: It’s one of my dreams to visit there.
Him: You two should go there; you’d live like kings.
Me: What about the political climate?
Him: (shrugging) You’d never notice anything was off. You’re tourists; the country lives on tourists. You’ll be fine…

We ordered a few drinks but the Firecracker’s always pretty popular with bartenders, who got her some free drinks.

And, it seems she’s pretty popular with the patrons too – every time I walked away, I came back and some new guy was hitting on her.

Her: I love this place – I feel like a queen!
Me: (grumble)

The bartender poured us a round of tequila shots, which was super nice of him, BUT the Firecracker and tequila didn’t really get along, so I took her shot.

Then my buddy showed up and gave us both big hugs and we caught up.

Me: How are the dating apps treating you?
Him: They keep crashing! I’m fine in real life.
Me: You can do both!

Afterward, he got us a few rounds of shots as well. By the end of the night, I was two sheets to the wind.

We finally started home late – well, late for us, anywho.

Thus ended our summer.

The kids both started school that week but that’s a wholly different entry, entirely.

Location: the kid’s school, waiting on line for him and getting devoured by mosquitoes
Mood: ridonk busy
Music: All night long, went to every bar, underneath the stars (Spotify)
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A Night at the MOMA, DUMBO, and Solas Pt2

Spending the kids’ college funds

As much as we wanted to stay at the MOMA all night, we had other things to do.

RE Mike sent us an invite to head to Time Out Market but he wasn’t gonna be able to join.

Her: One of these days, I’ll actually meet him.
Me: If you’re lucky!

We walked over to Rockefeller Center to hop the train there down to DUMO.

But not before first getting the Firecracker a bottle of water.

Her: Guess how much this bottle was, Lo. $4!
Me: Well, there goes the kid’s college fund.

It wasn’t long before we made our way there, though.

The walls were lined with more modern pop art than we’d seen at the MOMA, so that was a nice artistic addenda to our evening.

Neither she nor I had ever been to the Time Out Market.

We just got some drinks and sat down to enjoy the weather and the night.

Didn’t realize I captured two helicopters at once in this shot.

Which is not to say things were perfect, as we found ourselves in an argument over something totally random.

I think both of us were probably equally at fault here.

She might disagree.

Now, we had planned to end the night in the East Village by Solas but we were thinking that maybe we were just both hangry.

So, we went downstairs and ordered the first thing we both agreed on.

Her: What did you think?
Me: It was good. Not $50 good, but good.

We were both kinda beat but I hadn’t seen my buddy from Solas in a while so we headed there next.

Location: a wet playground with two tired boys
Mood: hangry, again
Music: Cheap wine in public places, good friends and bad locations (Spotify)
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