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I’m a somewhat trustworthy person

Key Lime Pies rock

Him: You seem like a somewhat trustworthy person. Would you mind if I drop off a set of house keys for you to mind while we’re in Australia? Not for any specific purpose, just a precaution.
Me: Sure. Completely unrelated, but where do you keep your valuables and large bills?
Him: [The wife] would say the cats.
Me: What are their resale value? Again, just making conversation here.
Him: I am having second thoughts.
Me: Fair. I can’t fault you there.

My buddy and his family went off to a place called “Australia” – which is a real place, evidently – for the summer and asked me to hold onto a set of keys for him JIC.

The below is what he tossed over my gate.

The joke’s on him when he realizes that I’ve rented his apartment out to a lovely Asian family for half of what he’s currently paying.


On a different matter entirely, the Firecracker and I’ve been staying local for the most part but since the kids are both away, we’ve been just streaming films and eating at local bars.

The beauty of day-drinking is that we can both kinda work so long as we have an internet connection.

Although the use of the term, “work,” is loose, at best.

Another thing we have in common is that neither of us cook a lot during the summer as it’s so damn hot.

So, we just eat a lotta prepared food or food that we just need to assemble, like sandwiches or this killer caprese I made the other day.

We’re both pretty simple people that like simple things.

Case-in-point:

Me: I don’t think I’ve ever had a key lime pie.
Her: Really!? We have to get you one, then.
Me: Won’t argue with you there.

Oh, and Key Lime Pies rock.

Should get a bigger one next time.

Location: my apartment, wishing I had some pie
Mood: sneezy
Music: Ain’t it such a good life that we live (Spotify)
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Husbands are six-times more likely to leave

Shannon deserved better

Me: Her dying has fucked me up.
Her: I can tell. (later) This is a perfect example of you not understanding people. This doesn’t surprise me.

Didn’t know Jenny Wilder, Maggie Malene, Kris Witherspoon, Brenda Walsh, Rene Mosier, or Prue Halliwell.

But I did see Heather Duke in Heathers on a date in high school. Don’t remember the date much but I liked Heathers enough to watch it again on video.

That pretty much encapsulates all I know about Shannon Doherty.

Well, that and the fact that she died of cancer.

(c) Creative Commons

Was still surprised when she died, though.

Somehow, I thought, with her wealth and connections, she’d pull through. She was just two years older than me.

But I read this news article that took my breath away, which was titled, Shannen Doherty’s divorce from Kurt Iswarienko was finalized one day before her death.

That led me down an awful rabbit hole, where I ended up reading this article: Men Leave: Separation And Divorce Far More Common When The Wife Is The Patient

That pretty much says it all; evidently, if a wife gets cancer a husband is six times more likely to leave than the other way around.

Put another way, if a husband gets sick, the wife is six times more likely to stay and help while the husband is six times more likely to peace out if the wife gets sick.

What. The. Fuck.

That made me so mad that I couldn’t sleep. The inequity of it all.

Because I remember – so clearly – how much physical and emotional pain Alison was in with her cancer and her treatments.

I remember her daily struggles and I remember all these medical people acting as if I was some angel because I stayed with her.

Always thought it was fucked up how many times it was mentioned – to the point that I got irritated and would simply change the subject.

Learned later that when women get brain cancer, their husbands usually leave:

One study from 2009 found the strongest predictor for separation or divorce for patients with brain cancer was whether or not the sick person was a woman. That same study showed that men were seven times more likely to leave their partner than the other way around if one of them got brain cancer.

I stayed for one reason alone, which was that she was my wife. We were a team. Sickness and in health and all that shit. That was the deal. And I knew, in my heart-of-hearts, that she would have done the exact same for me.

She would never have left me.

And it never once occurred to me to leave her. How could I? She needed me. Plus, she was my wife, and I loved her.

Full stop.

I’ve seen this firsthand.

Have a scumbag relative that cheated on his wife and divorced her while she had cancer.

I have zero to do with him and plan on having zero to do with him ever again.

And Newt Gingrich divorced his first wife Jackie when she had uterine cancer and his third wife Callista after she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

All this to say nuthin of Trump and his multiple marriages, rapes, and affairs.

Party of family values, folks.

What a fucking joke.

Think the reason this whole thing bothered me so much is that I knew how much Alison suffered with her cancer and the thought that someone out there in Alison’s situation has to deal with her same horror AND also have to deal with the pain of being tossed like a piece of garbage by the person she pledged her life to makes my blood boil.

Yet another reason why I think the less I have to do with people, the better.

I didn’t know Shannon at all but, man, no one deserves having to deal with the hassle and heartbreak of a divorce while facing death.

Oh, and regarding her ex-husband, fuck that guy.

Location: Zepplin Hall with a relative and the Firecracker
Mood: angry and sooooooo drunk
Music: Some’ll win, some will lose. Some are born to sing the blues (Spotify)
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A (Food) Tour of Flushing, NY Pt 2

Dessert time

After we ate our fill, it was time for dessert and the Frenchman’s daughter was in the mood for some shave ice.

So, we walked over to a joint called Flower and Dessert and got something there.

I told the ladies that they should probably just order one single one because I knew it was gonna be HUGE but they ended up ordering two because everything looked so good.

Can’t really blame them AND I also got to have some so it was really win-win.

Still, even with the five of us, there was still a ton left from the two dishes we got.

While they were delicious, I gotta say, I was a tad disappointed that it was really just shaved ice cream and not the classic shave ice that I grew up eating while in Asia.

By this point, we were all pretty beat – after all, we’d been eating for close to three hours straight.

But the Frenchman’s wife wanted to stop by Soy Bean Chan for some sweet dessert tofu to take home.

Of course, I had to have some as well.

Shoulda taken a pic of Soy Bean Chan’s place, which is a small tofu stall and then also a florist shop. It’s essentially about 100 feet from that woman holding the tray below.

We went back to the mall where we parked the car and the ladies all went shopping while the Frenchman and I went to Gong Cha and had a lightly sweetened peach green tea.

Me: You want something?
Him: No thanks, I’m totally sugared out.
Me: Even if it’s lightly sweetened?
Him: Nope. Completely sugared out.

I get it.

I don’t usually consume anywhere close the amount of carbs I consumed that day.

After alla that, he and I went to the ridonk huge Skyfoods Asian supermarket at the mall – the ladies took over where we were at the tea shop – and I stocked up on a buncha things like fresh lychee and tofu.

Although I did skip getting any frog legs.

Afterward, we piled into the car and drove past Willets Point to head home.

Me: If you came here 10 years ago, you’d see what it was like in Queens/NYC 100 years ago, because it was the last place in the five boroughs that didn’t have paved roads or a sewer system.
Her: How come?
Me: This was all salt-of-the-earth Queens people that ran automobile shops and junkyards here. The soil was super contaminated so they didn’t bother to develop it for years.

They only started developing it in earnest in 2018.

In any case, the Frenchman was nice enough to drive us alla way back to our pad, which was totally in the opposite direction of where he needed to be.

Me: That was super cool of him – door-to-door service!
Her: Absolutely, they’re great. (pause) It’s barely 5PM but I just wanna go to bed.
Me: But…we still gotta eat dinner, though…

Location: Dive 75 with a pretty lady
Mood: more injured and annoyed
Music: We can make it if we try (Spotify)
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A (Food) Tour of Flushing, NY Pt 1

Eating our way through Flushing, Queens

The Frenchman and I were chatting the other day about maybe heading to Flushing for some food.

Him: Sunday? Interestingly, I will have a car from the previous day’s rental.
Me: What I’m reading is that you’re offering us a ride. We accept. Thank you.
Him: If you come to us first! But sure.
Me: I was mostly joking but…heck yeah.

So, early on Sunday morning, the Firecracker and I found ourselves on the Upper East Side, where the Frenchman and his family gave us a lift to my childhood stomping grounds.

It was mainly a food tour and, honestly, no Flushing Food Tour worth its salt doesn’t have White Bear as part of it.

So, that’s where we started.

We got the classic Number 6, which looks spicy but isn’t really at all.

Unlike other dumpling spots that pan-fry, these guys use super thin dough and boil them so they’re much more delicate.

After that, the Frenchman’s kid wanted something to drink, as did the Firecracker, so we went to TenRen Tea for that.

Me: When I was a kid, this place was mainly known as a traditional Chinese medicine shop but now it’s known more by the kids for their bubble tea.
Her: Oh, I want a Thai Iced Tea then.

After that, we went to the World Mall Food Court where everyone got something different.

The Firecracker wanted Taiwanese food, while I went with a teriyaki chix dish…

…while the Frenchman and his family got noodles and more dumplings.

Now, I’d been meaning to upgrade my scanner for a while and my brother told me that he gave my mom a high-end Epson FF-640 that she wasn’t using so my mom swung by to drop that off with me.

Wish I took a picture with her, but I forgot.

Her: I put it in this red roller for you. Make sure you don’t forget it!
Me: I promise I won’t!
Her: (later) Did you forget it?
Me: (laughing) I’m 51! I didn’t forget it!

Once a parent, always a parent, I suppose.

I’ll wrap this up in the next entry.

Also, I’m super hungry again.

Location: earlier today, a dive bar with a pineapple cider
Mood: still injured
Music: wish that I could be a kid in the summer (Spotify)
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I’m the healthiest unhealthy person

Proving my point

Me: Did you grow up with a Good Humor or Mr. Softie?
Her: Neither. Just some guy in truck selling ice cream.
Me: That sounds like a child abduction plot.
Her: (rolling eyes) It was just a guy in a white truck.
Me: You’re kinda proving my point here.

It’s been so hot around here lately that I don’t want to really do anything but that’s not fair for the Firecracker, who’s young and wants to actually go out and enjoy life.

Me? I’m loathe to leave the pad unless strictly required.

We were gonna go on another cruise, or even head to Taiwan for the summer but stuff happened to change our plans, which is a post for another time.

So, like I said in my last entry, we compromise by just getting drinks and food around the way.

Ergo, we’ve been hitting up different bars in the hood, including our usual place for frozen drinks with umbrellas…

…local Chinese joint with awesome happy hours…

…and fried carbs.

Plus, a bar with great burgers and games.

All-in-all, it’s not a bad way to spend a summer – hot chick, great air conditioning, and greasy bar food.

Her: Burgers aren’t really my thing.
Me: God, the kid and I love burgers. I could eat them every day. Well, I supposed I’d have to balance it out with a salad every other day.
Her: I’m glad you recognize that.
Me: Yeah. I’m the healthiest unhealthy person you know.

Location: My childhood neighborhood with the Firecracker and the Frenchman and his family
Mood: injured
Music: don’t know why sometimes we seem so apart (Spotify)
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Crawdads, and…

…fish that tastes like chicken

The kid’s been away for a little while and I miss him terribly.

But it does mean that I have time to do things that are generally too low-priority to actually do – like really check out the new H-Mart that opened a few blocks from my pad.

This is the exciting middle-aged life I live.

Her: I have to give it to Asians for creating a better soup spoon.
Me: I’ve always felt that – glad you agree.

Although not everything was a winner.

Her: OK, explain that to me?
Me: Not sure if I can. It looks like it’s a fish cake, that states like hot/spicy chicken, in the shape of a hot dog, packaged in a plastic cylinder.
Her: Yep, that’s what I got as well.

And the Firecracker and I got to do things around the hood, like have beer and wings over by my local dive bar.

Me: I think I was 24 years old when I first came here. The wings got a lot more expensive but it’s also a lot nicer now.
Her: That’s cool, that you have places that you regularly go to after all these years.

Oh, and also check out things like concerts – I found another video that I forgot to put up last week from the Matchbox 20 concert.

Of course, I’m still counting the days until the kid comes back.

Me: So, what did you do today?
Him: I went swimming in the creek! And do you know what I saw?
Me: No, what?
Him: Crawdads! They’re like little lobsters.
Me: (laughing) I’m not unaware. Don’t let them pinch you.
Him: (seriously) Oh, definitely.

Location: shooting more videos for Scenic Fights
Mood: tired
Music: Maybe it’s time to come home (Spotify)
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Back on the West Side

Fireworks for the Firecracker

Me: When I was a kid, ice cream was like two dollars.
Her: That was like 50 years ago!
Me: I wasn’t getting ice cream when I was one year old!
Her: Fine, that was 40 years ago.
Me: Still, 40 years in a long time.
Her: Yeah – 40 years ago, you were your dad’s remote control.

The Firecracker wanted to see the fireworks display – she’s really into stuff like that – and it was back on the west side of Manhattan for the first time in a decade, so she convinced me to go with her.

I don’t like crowds and the last time I saw the fireworks near my pad was 12 years ago.

Me: You really wanna see this?
Her: Cm’on – fireworks for the Firecracker!
Me: Fiiinne.

We ended up sitting next to the nice couple from San Diego visiting their Ph.d candidate son at Columbia.

Originally, we didn’t think we’d have a good view, but it ended up being pretty good after all.

Her: Thanks for coming, I know it wasn’t your thing.
Me: That’s fine, you wanted to see them.
Her: Did you enjoy it?
Me: It was fine. I just came for the company.
Her: Aww, thanks Logan Lo.
Me: Anytime. (thinking) Maybe we’ll skip next year?
Her: We’ll see.

Location: shooting more videos for Scenic Fights
Mood: tired
Music: I hit the wall. Crash! Boom! Bang! That’s the call, that’s the game (Spotify)
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A Bohemian Dinner Rapsody

Not having an internal monologue

For some 18 months, I’d been trying to get a triple date lined up with Bryson and his wife, The Frenchman and his wife, and me and the Firecracker.

Bryson and the Frenchman were friends first, with the Frenchman being a white belt in BJJ when Bryson was a purple belt.

But, because life gets in the way, Bryson’s now a brown belt (4th level) but the Frenchman’s a black belt (5th level) and I’m still – laughably after over 20 years on-and-off – a blue (2nd level).

Like I said, life gets in the way.

Only found out through social media that they knew each other and, after we got together last time around, we’d been trying to do it again with no luck.

This past week, we’d finally arranged something – or so we thought.

Bryson: Hey guys I did not read the calendar right. We are [away next week after all]. We can do this Thursday or Friday.
Me: I’m putting this on your list.
Frenchman: Argh…that’s July 4th…sorry got a plan already.
Me: Is tomorrow out?
Bryson: We can do tomorrow.
Frenchman: Tomorrow 6:30-7pm would be the earliest.
Me: Wait, that works for us as well. 7PM tomorrow?
Frenchman: Oh, wow it’s happening.

So, after months of trying to plan something, we just randomly decided to meet up around the Frenchman’s pad within 24 hours.

The Firecracker suggested Bohemian Spirit as she knows I like Slavic food and the other fellas were game so off we went.

The Firecracker and I got there first.

Me: Oh man, this place is super cute.
Her: I figured you’d want to be able to take pics.
Me: (later, to waitress) Hey, do the chairs on the wall/ceiling mean something?
Waitress: (laughing) It means my boss was bored during COVID.

After a while, everyone else showed up.

While the Firecracker had met the Frenchman’s wife, Tess, before, and briefly met Bryson’s wife, Nikki, the two wives hadn’t met each other yet.

But, since everyone’s so chill, we all fell into a really easy conversation pretty quickly.

The food was killer to boot.

Me: Did you know that about 30% – or something – of people don’t have an internal monologue?
Frenchman: Wait, what does that mean? You have conversations with yourselves?
Firecracker: What? You don’t?
Me: You don’t talk to yourself?!
Nikki: I don’t talk to myself either.
Me: Whoa, is that 30%?
Firecracker: Your math is off.
Me: Asians are not known for their math skills.

Turns out that the Frenchman – and possibly Nikki but she was sitting farther from me – don’t have internal monologues.

Evidently, he thinks in images and concepts but doesn’t actually have a conversation with himself.

This was a pretty hot-button topic for us to end out the night but that’s more their story than mine, so I’ll stop here.

The Firecracker and I were stupid full, and she suggested that we walk home from the Upper East Side to the Upper West Side.

Her: It’s just like a mile. We can do that easy.
Me: Fine, but you’ll have to protect me if someone attacks us.

Can’t remember the last time that I walked across the park at night.

It was nice.

Actually, the whole evening was nice.

I’d do it again. Although, hopefully, earlier than 18 months.

Location: at another bar, limiting myself to a single burger
Mood: hot
Music: Will you let me go? بِسْمِ ٱللَّٰهِ! (Spotify)
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Hanging with Andy, Rob, and the Firecracker, Pt 2

Worth the trip

Both the Firecracker and I really enjoyed seeing Andy Grammer in concert, but the crowd was clearly mainly there for Matchbox Twenty.

Me?

Her: (after my fourth plate of food) You know there’s a concert going on?
Me: (in between bites) Didn’t notice.

Seriously, though, they were both excellent – if you can catch them both live, they’re worth the trip.

After the concert, we made our way home when I related to her an observation.

Me: I’m the only person of colour here!
Her: No, that’s not true. (pointing) There’s one, and there’s another…
Me: This is still the whitest concert I’ve ever been to.
Her: (laughing) You’ve never been to a Kid Rock concert.

No plans to see one either.

This was honestly one of the best concerts I’d ever been to because I really liked both the opening and main acts.

Me: I woulda seen both of them separately for that amount of money.
Her: Well, if nothing else, you ate that much in food. You had FIVE plates of food!
Me: Your jealousy is palpable.

We actually got back to the city somewhat early.

Me: Do you wanna get a drink?
Her: Sure!

So, we popped into the Emerald Inn for a quick cranberry and vodka (I was just starting to get sick).

Her: Did you have a good night?
Me: Andy Grammer, Matchbox Twenty, unlimited food, and a nightcap with a hot blonde to end the evening? I’d say so.
Her: (beaming) Same.

Location: about to have some Slavic food
Mood: less sick
Music: I’m hopeless, I’m bleeding and broken, though I’ve never spoken (Spotify)
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Hanging with Andy, Rob, and the Firecracker, Pt 1

Seeing a concert

Me: Can’t on Thursday. I’m catching Matchbox 20 with the Firecracker.
Brother: Matchbox 20? Shouldn’t they be at least Matchbox 50 by now?

The last major music concert I went to was 16 years ago with Alison at the Prudential Center, just a year after it first opened.

That’s because there aren’t a ton of artists I’d wanna see in exchange for the hassle of getting to and from a concert.

I’m fully embracing my inner crotchety-old-man.

When I first met the Firecracker, told her that Matchbox Twenty / Rob Thomas and Andy Grammer were the only people that I’d see but that list has grown somewhat to also include:

But that girl pays attention.

She told me that Andy Grammer was opening up for Matchbox Twenty at the Prudential Center the other day, and she got us tickets.

Her: AND…I got us seats with unlimited food!
Me: What?!
Her: Yup!

See, Matchbox Twenty and Rob Thomas’s Streetcorner Symphany was on repeat during my first breakup with the Reporter.

And after Alison got sick, his song Her Diamonds would always make me cry.

Ergo, I was super jazzed to see them both on this double-header.

So, last Thursday, we headed out to see him from Manhattan…

…but ended up taking the wrong PATH train in NJ, so we had to hitch an Uber.

Her: I don’t wanna miss Andy Grammer!
Me: (waving hand) Nah, they never start on time.

He started right on time.

Opens mouth. Inserts foot.

As soon as we walked in, we heard him playing Fine by Me, one of our favourite songs.

But, while the Firecracker was anxious to get seated to enjoy the concert, I had other priorities.

She wasn’t joking about the unlimited food.

Ended up getting five plates of food and four full cups of drinks before the night was over.

Six plates if you count that the Firecracker got us dessert at the end.

Andy: I’m like the golden retriever of music and I’m ok with that.

Anywho, getting back to the concert, I particularly like Andy Grammar, not just because I enjoy his music, but also because he and I seem to share a similar point of view when it comes to our art.

His music routinely gets criticized because its relentlessly upbeat.

Yet, I don’t have an issue with that because, what is life if not a tragedy fulla joy?

We can focus on the tragedy part or the joy part.

In any case, I just missed seeing Andy in concert a while ago with RE Mike a couplea years back, so this was a chance to finally get to see him perform.

He didn’t disappoint.

Her: Man, he’s so good, live!
Me: He really is! (getting up to get more food)
Her: You’re getting more food? You’re missing the entire concert.
Me: The food’s not gonna eat itself!

I’ll wrap this up in the next entry.

Location: sick at my desk
Mood: see above
Music: I know it’s hard to remember sometimes but you gotta keep your head up (Spotify)
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