Clearing my mind with pie

About par for course

My life’s been pretty crazy for just over a month now.

To recap, it all started going downhill when I got slammed onto my neck (twice), then immediately broke out in hives, which went away, but then a mouse appeared in my bedroom.

Because of the mouse, I tore my room apart, which meant it looked like hell, which was further discomforting.

While this was happening, my harddrive failed, which meant I started scrambling to fix it.

Once that was fixed, I ended up slicing open my finger, so I rang my brother to bitch.

And in the middle of my conversation with my brother bitching about my life, hackers came in, took all my passwords, and then reposted it for the world to see.

So, yeah, about par for course.

After two more weeks of madness, I think I’m finally on top of the latest hack. Or at least good enough to meet a friend for lunch.

Her: I’m gonna get the tuna melt. Although they always put in like three cans of tuna.
Me: (puzzled) On what planet is that a bad thing? Y’know, I never think to order a tuna melt but I always want one after I see it. Next time…

Also, because things were calming down, but not yet calm, I stopped and did what I always do when I need to clear my mind: Cook.

Or, in this case, bake.

See, the boy – like all kids – loves carbs. But I refuse to buy him prepacked, highly processed things like cookies and other sweets. Because of this, I usually have to bake. Often.

Oatmeal cookies, almond flour chocolate cakes, etc.

This time around, I found a buncha premade nut crusts so I made some organic, high-fiber, high-(good)fat pumpkin pies.

Four, to be exact.

They were so good that we – mainly I – ended up eating three of them and I finally remembered to take a picture of one of the finished pies when there was just over a half of it left.

While I love cooking for the boy, I gotta admit that I miss cooking for someone that’s not in second grade.

It’s funny what you miss.

Now, these are the kinda problems I wanna go back to.

Then again, there’s always tomorrow.

Location: home, after another all day shoot, wondering if I should have some pie
Mood: sick
Music: had a one-way ticket to a place where all the demons go (Spotify)
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Jealous all the time, Pt 2

Found my wedding ring

Him: I came across some of your blog entries. It was unexpected.
Me: (nodding) I get that a lot. But we are what we constantly do and I always wrote. You surprised me as well. And I’m not often surprised. Hence, my being here. It seems that we all have our secret lives…and skills.

The Frenchman and his wife are also highly successful in their professional lives, like my friends around the way or the NFL Player.

Him: [My wife] runs the entire division.
Me: God, I wanna marry rich. Send me your rich, hot friends.
Him: (laughs) I might have someone for you.
Me: You should know, [I’m very shallow.]
Him: (laughs again)

There’s something about fighting that makes people struggle and scuffle in all areas of their lives. He’s not the first highly successful, highly dangerous person I’ve met in my life.

He reminded me of an old friend of mine. Quiet, highly educated, well-spoken, and well-dressed, but completely inured to violence.

Completely.

Him: (pointing over to someone at the bar) I know, what it will feel like if that man and I fought. I know how it would end, without knowing anything about him.
Me: If I had to fight you – or any grappler – I’d have to slit your wrists as soon as I could. I can’t allow you to grab me.
Him: (smiles) [You thought this through].
Me: I’ve survived this long by thinking things through.

In any ways, this craziness was a nice respite from the other craziness in my life.

He caught a cab home past midnight. We’d chatted for over four hours. It’s strange talking to my peers again.

Spent so much time talking to people so much younger than me for so long that it was like I was wearing old clothes that – surprisingly – still fit.

Him: I know you have close friends and a support network but if you ever feel down, don’t hesitate to ping me.
Me: I appreciate that, and the company and conversation tonight. These are the questions people of our age ask: Why are we here? And are we leaving the world better off than when we arrived? I don’t know the answer to either but am hopeful, for some reason.

I’m stupid like that.

And I don’t have many close friends on purpose. People are…difficult.


Walked home to my empty apartment, which was sparkling clean because the housekeeper was there earlier.

She found my wedding ring. I’d lost it ages ago but Alison never cared. She knew I was her fella; we were happy with just the other as company.

Friday nights were always our favourite.

It’s funny, the wedding ring never mattered to either of us, just the marriage itself.

Was actually holding it in my hand, thinking about my possible pasts again, when The Frenchman reached out to me earlier that night.

In any case, after I got back, I sat down and poured myself a drink and wished I asked him for his friend’s name that died from the brain cancer to give him a toast.

Instead, I just cheered Alison and my dad and downed it and half the bottle by myself in my empty apartment – the boy was away.

This is after four drinks with The Frenchman.

Woke up the next morning on my couch, still in my clothes. The ring was on the table.

Someone once asked if I was jealous of her bestie that recently had a baby with his wife.

She said it to break my heart but the joke was on her because you can’t break what’s already broken.

It was the strangest question because I thought the answer was obvious.

Of course I am, I said. I’m jealous all the fucking time.

Location: that night, with an empty bottle of rum on the table and an empty me on the couch
Mood: muddle-headed again
Music: I’m your walking disaster, keep on dragging me from self-pity, poor me (Spotify)
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Jealous all the time, Pt 1

The Grey Men

The kid got his first stripe in BJJ recently. He was thrilled. As was I.

Him: Papa, papa, look!
Me: That’s awesome! I’m proud of you.
Him: (beams)

Didn’t vote for the first time in…dunno how long. Although, not for lack of trying. We went to two and almost three places but I wasn’t to be found.

I’m disappearing, it seems. Maybe that’s for the best.

I miss when I was a grey man and no one knew me and what I could do.

As for the boy, he’ll have secrets of his own, someday.

Had lots of plans this past weekend but everything fell through because of everything I told you. And some stuff I haven’t.

Every time I think I’m outta the woods, I find out I’m not.

Was planning on just working on cleaning up my digital life the entire weekend when I got a message from a fella that goes to my gym.

Him: Let’s try to grab a drink soon!
Me: I’m dealing with some craziness now that’s a bit hard to explain. (thinking) Oh wait, what are you doing tonight? You’re in Manhattan, yes?
Him: Yup! Let meet after I have dinner – closer to 8 works?

Told you once that no one knew that I did weapons work – for close to two decades no less – because I did it for me. It only came out because Alison died and I stopped caring and did Scenic Fights.

While I’m proud of what we do, and the fellas are great, a part of me regrets that decision. For many reasons.

In any case, this fella, we’ll call him The Frenchman, has been coming to Paxibellum’s kali class for about a year. He and his wife slip in, do their thing, and slip out.

Through Facebook, I found out that he knew Bryson and I was shocked that he’s a black belt from his school.

For those of you not in the life, that’s a really big deal. And it’s from a world-renowned academy, no less.

So, I was looking forward to finding out more about him at at my local dive bar, where he had wine and I stuck to hard seltzers and beers.

Me: You’re like me, a grey man. You have skills that you don’t talk about, I like that.
Him: (laughing) Yes. I do these things for myself, there’s no reason for anyone else to know.
Me: (nodding) Same. You’re a grappler that wants to learn weapons. I’m a weapons person that wants to learn grappling.
Him: What else do you do?
Me: (laughing) You first.

We ended up chatting for about three hours there but then it started getting loud so we went to a much nicer joint where we stayed past midnight.

That place was much louder.

He was curious about Scenic Fights, the gym, what I do…and Alison.

Me: Sorry, I didn’t expect there to be a band playing tonight.
Him: It’s fine. Tell me about your wife.
Me: Where to begin?
Him: We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want.
Me: (shrugging) I always like talking about her. I just tend to cry when I do.

It turns out that one of his best friends also died of brain cancer. How sad and wild.

He lived a lot longer than Alison, though.

I was oddly jealous about that, which, admittedly, is a super fucked-up thing to think.

Then again, I’m pretty fucked up.

But it’s late, so I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow.

Location: home, with way too much alcohol, weapons, and sweets about
Mood: rough
Music: The rest of the world was black and white (Spotify)
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Halloween 2022

Kindness in the world

The hits keep coming. Thought I was out of the woods (again) when my messaging apps started to be targeted.

Lost all my messages with Alison, Gradgirl, everyone.

It’s been exhausting. As soon as I patch one thing, something new breaks. Part of me wonders if they just want to drive me insane.

It may be working.

Before COVID, the (humongous) building next to us would invite the kid and me over to celebrate.

We had friends in the building and were friends with the staff, but this one older fella there always made sure we got an invite, just in case our friends or the staff didn’t invite us.

Just found out that he’s the condo president there.

I remain touched by all the kindness in the world.

Him: Can you come?
Me: Can we? We’re flattered we’re even invited!
Him: Of course you’re invited, you’re my guests!

The kid and my friend’s kid don’t really hang out much beyond this one sweet Halloween tradition, just because of scheduling and life, but the mom remarked:

Her: It’s funny, they never really see each other but when they do, it’s like no time has passed at all.
Me: (laughing) I suppose that’s how it is with good friends.

He had a grand time. And got waaaaaay too many sweets. That’s him as the fireman.

The president and our friends invited us to stay for the party afterward and it was nice, just sitting back and seeing the kid be a kid.

Although, to be fair, I did eat my fill of shrimp, pasta, and sausage and peppers.

The ABFF also invited us to go hang out with them like last year and I had some invites to things as well but I was too wrapped up in all the madness to do much beyond just let the kid play and try to be present for him.

Maybe next year, I’ll do something for myself.

It’s been ages since I went out for Halloween.

Location: my couch, with an empty bottle of rum on the table
Mood: concerned
Music: a sweet load of sugar-coated cherry pie (Spotify)
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Logan607 – Important message

Let it burn

Spent the week cleaning out alla my tech. Earlier, I was getting several hundred emails a day about new logins and signups to things I never signed up for. As the days went on, this got fewer and fewer.

Even had time to hit up the gym where I ran into these fellas…

By last night, I thought I was in the clear so I just tried to get some sleep.

But then my phone dinged and I checked. I’d gotten about six emails, all with the same header:

Logan607 – Important message

The thing is the body of the email was…all my passwords.

Like, ALL of them.

400+ passwords, plus a screenshot of my computer, plus a ransom demand.


Here’s the kicker: They not only emailed it to all my email addresses – past and present, they emailed them to Alison’s email address, several of my relatives, my ex-girlfriend, my business partner, my brother, AND a girl I went on a single date with months ago.

Her: I don’t think we’re right for each other.
Me: Shame. Well, pleasure meeting you. Good luck on that dissertation, Janet.
Her: It’s Jane.
Me: (nodding) Yes.

It’s madness. I was pretty freaked out, I gotta say.

BUT, I had already taken something to help me sleep and it was kicking in hard for better or worse.

When I woke up the next day, I scrambled to get the kid to class and get back home to deal with the issue. Nothing made sense.

If they were gonna blackmail me, why blow out my Facebook and IG immediately? Why ask for a money demand in the same email where they blasted every single password I possessed to some 50+ people?

It seems less and less that it’s really about the money and more to make my life miserable – which, they accomplished. In spades.

So, the only question is how they gained access to everything.

There are only three people who have had regular access to my apartment since COVID and two are not on speaking terms with me and the third is…missing.

But, to be fair, (at least with one of the three) it seems less likely that it was something purposeful and more likely that someone may have social engineered information out of them.

In the end, though, the damage is done.

Spent six hours today, re-doing 400+ passwords and wiping two more computers – bringing the total number of systems I’ve wiped in my tiny apartment to a whopping 11 computers.

Why I have 11 computers for myself and a child is whole ‘nother matter….

Him: There’s a positive to all of this, you know.
Me: And what’s that?
Him: You’re even more prepared than you were last year.
Me: Great. It’s cold comfort.
Him: It’s cold comfort now. It’ll warm up the next time this happens.
Me: Jesus Christ…why does there have to be a next time?
Him: (shrugging) Because, you’re Logan. Shit happens to you because you’re involved in the world.
Me: That was my first mistake. Fuck the world. Let it burn.

Location: my bedroom desk, surrounded by computer parts, equipment, and weapons
Mood: pissed and exhausted
Music: Who the fuck are you? (Spotify)
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There will be blood

My psychopath

Me: Dude, you wouldn’t believe the week I’ve been having.
Him: Well, what’s going on?
Me: First of all, I’m covered in blood. Second of al…what the hell?! I GOTTA GO!

Been insanely busy trying to re-secure my digital life and letting almost everything else fall by the wayside.

After the first massive hack attack, I definitely made things a lot safer – this time, I didn’t lose any money (yet), certainly not six-figures like last time.

But I did lose things that I didn’t realize mattered to me as much as they did, particularly my FB account, for reasons I already told you about.

Oddly enough, I was having the most rotten day just before everything went down.

Was literally on the phone with my brother at that moment because I found out some troubling things about…stuff.

So, to take my mind offa things, I started cooking…and massively sliced open my finger while cutting up some chix.

There was blood everywhere. Legit, everywhere.

Once I finally got things under control, I called my brother and was in the middle of telling him the awful luck I’ve been having lately when my phone started exploding with emails.

You see, it seems that when hackers get ahold of your information and want to start draining your financial accounts and also buy stuff from online stores like Amazon and eBay, they first sign you up to thousands – *thousands* of email lists so that you get an avalanche of emails and can’t see warning and order confirmation emails.

Like I always say, I only have the kinda luck no one wants.

Him: For type of access, it had to be someone that knew at least one login credential from your computers.
Me: Yeah. (nodding) I know.

On a slightly less stressful note, prior to alla this, the kid’s been having this one loose tooth that just wouldn’t come out.

For months. I told him for weeks that he had to wiggle it or we’d have to go to the dentist.

Again. For another $800.

Out of frustration, I told him that, if he pulled it out, then I would get him 16 Handles, an ice cream joint south of me.

Dammed if this kid didn’t immediately shove his whole hand into his mouth and furiously start twisting and pulling it like a psychopath.

He managed to yank it out that night.

He pulled it out and proudly showed me as blood came outta his mouth, onto his shirt, and he smiled proudly.

Him: 16 Handles?!
Me: (laughing) A deal’s a deal, kid. Let’s go.

Six weeks I’ve been waiting for this tooth to come out and he gets it out in a day. He asked to buy the doorman next door an ice cream too. Who was I to say no?

He just saved me $790.

Well, he just saved the hackers $790.

Man, I got a lotta things to do…

Location: my dining room table, surrounded by computer parts, equipment, and weapons
Mood: pissed
Music: They all hate me, because of my crime (Spotify)
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What belongs

What doesn’t, and where to put it all.

It’s been a surreal few days. The hives are gone but I’ve been in my head a lot and not sleeping, which started because I found a mouse in my apartment for the first time in three years.

And, in my bedroom, no less.

So, I tore the place apart trying to find out where it came from to plug up the hole. But this meant coming across a lotta old things – physically and metaphysically – that I wasn’t really prepared to deal with.

Mainly, I was looking to figure out what still belongs in my house, what doesn’t, and where to put it all.

In the middle of it all, I got hacked…again.

Lost my FB account that I had ever since Nadi set it up for me years ago.

The most painful thing there is that I used it to manage Alison’s old FB page. I also lost all the messages I had with her and other people that mattered to me.

Been struggling to get on top of all that and my accounts keep getting broken into.

The oddest thing is that there’s a level of malice that wasn’t present the last time around.

This time, they didn’t even try to access my friends account for any type of con, instead, within 10 minutes of them controlling my FB account, they put up stuff so egregious that I was permanently blacklisted.

In 10 mins.

There’s (a lot) more, but I’m still trying to salvage my accounts. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Him: It sounds like someone’s trying to hurt you.
Me: It does. I can only think of two people that have that level of hatred for me.

On another topic entirely, I worked for years with a woman named Tess – so long that I was there when she divorced her first husband and married her second.

We used to speak a few times a week for years but stopped after Alison got sick, and I stopped working.

She rang me out of the blue because she’s going through another divorce and wanted a friendly ear to listen.

Her: How have you been?
Me: Some good days, some bad days. You?
Her: Same.

We spoke for a while, and she told me what was going on with her. A friend of hers had come across Alison’s story on FB back in the day and asked her about me and Alison.

Her: I told her that you used to date a lot but that you spoke differently about Alison. I could tell you loved her right away.
Me: Yeah. I set her apart.
Her: I’m so sorry about what happened to her.
Me: So am I.

Tess said that she was talking to a therapist, and I told her that I thought it was an excellent idea and told her about my own.

Honestly think that everyone should talk to a professional to deal with all the things bouncing around our heads.

Didn’t originally like my therapist all that much, but the past few sessions have been really insightful and really made me think about where I am in my life.

I suppose, just like the stuff in my room, I’m just looking to figure out what belongs in my head, what doesn’t, and where to put it all.

Don’t even know where I belong.

Except with the boy. He’s the only thing keeping me from going starkers right now.

Location: my phone, for days, trying to clear my name and accounts
Mood: rough and close to crazy
Music: mouse inside my brain (Spotify)
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Mexican in Hoboken

What’s the best place?

Headed out to NJ a few times (again) to meet up with people for random reasons. Nothing I want to talk about now.

Well, except for the one time when I met up with my sister-in-law to bring the kid out to a kid’s festival.

Unfortunately, the organizers of it completely flaked, which was new to us. But not to them, evidently.

Worker: They just didn’t show up.
Me: You’re kidding!
Him: Sorry. This happened before.

But at least they put out a pumpkin patch, so all wasn’t lost.

We also ended up going for a walk.

When Alison and I got married, we actually only wanted to have a single party – not wedding – for our friends.

Unfortunately, that morphed into three different parties with three different groups of people.

One of them was for Alison’s extended family, which we did at Amanda’s in Hoboken.

We walked by there that day, and just like when the kid and I walked past the Maritime Hotel, I found my brain back a few years.

Her: We should go.
Me: Yeah…

We ended up walking further down. The kid was in the mood for Mexican so we ended up at a restaurant I’d not been to before.

Him: I want guacamole!
Me: You got it.

My SIL and I ended up having some killer food and some margaritas before we left.

Because my SIL is the kid’s aunt, she does aunt things, like get the boy things I wouldn’t get him.

Like a Magic 8-Ball.

To say this kid was thrilled about this is like saying water’s wet.

We parted ways right after Alison’s old block in Hoboken. I got stuck in my head again for a bit.

But I managed to pull myself out before it got too bad.

Me: Did you have a good time?
Him: Yeah! (looking at Magic 8-Ball) “What’s the best place in New York?”
Me: That’s not how it…
Him: “Ask again later.”
Me: Nevermind.

The day wasn’t what we thought it’d be, but it was still nice.

Kinda like my life in general.

Location: my pad, slicing open my finger, which is less than ideal
Mood: sad
Music: Let me show you how a day in my brain goes (Spotify)
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Normal / Not Normal

Doing the best I can

There’s a joke I love that goes:

A genie appears before a man and says, I’ll give you half-a-million dollars, but only on the condition that the person you hate most in the world gets a million dollars.

And the fella goes, That doesn’t make any sense. Why wouldn’t I want one-and-a-half million dollars?

For the past three weeks or so, I’ve been breaking out into these insane hives every night, to the point I was literally ripping my skin off, cancelling dates, and not leaving my house.

The above pic is me on a good night. My sheets were bloody in the mornings.

It sometimes happened in the daytime as well, but for sure happened at night, for some reason. Without fail.

It, finally, started spreading on my face last week, which was terrifying.

Blamed it on a million things, including a rando date I went on right before things started going south.

[Note to self: Send flowers to said rando.]

But I had a wild talk with my therapist that honestly blew my mind.

Her: You don’t find this interesting? How you’re – right now – dealing with the two things that hurt the last two major women in your life?
Me: What do you mean?
Her: Well, you had a talk with Mouse in your car where you finally – after years of poor communication – understand why she’s so upset with you and you suddenly develop these hives that you’ve never had. And they’re debilitating. Then, that following weekend, you probably suffered a brain injury (concussion). The first one is Mouse’s painful life situation, and the second one is Alison’s – obviously, both to a much lesser degree than each. You’ve been struggling with both ever since.
Me: Wait, do you think I wanted to get tossed onto my head or develop hives?
Her: (shaking head) No, of course not, but it happened. I don’t think you wanted any of this, for them or for you. But, again, it happened. I just find it interesting. Don’t you? (later, gently) You have a relatively recent pattern of trying to save people you care about and failing, and then blaming yourself for that failure.
Me: (laughing) I have a friend that calls me “Captain Save A-Ho.” He means it as a joke but he says he does think I try to help people long after I should stop.
Her: (nodding) You need to be ok with the fact you tried your best. With Alison, with your Dad, with Mouse, you did the best you could with [what life gave all of you].
Me: Life is a non-linear system.
Her: You didn’t give any of their suffering to them. Life gave it to them. And you. Even though none of you deserved any of it.
Me: Oh…I’m sorry…we went over our time.
Her: (shaking head) That’s ok, Logan. (picking up her papers) Be nicer to yourself. You didn’t want any of this, any more than any of them wanted what happened to them. Thank you for today. I’ll see you next week.
Me: (nodding) Thanks, doc. See you next week.

I shit you not, the hives stopped that day. 

Not sure if it was coincidence or what. Slept like a brick for 10 hours and woke up with my skin totally normal and feeling…normal.

Well, as normal as a fella like me gets.

Location: my pad, writing this, sans hives
Mood: normal?
Music: Why do you want me? (Spotify)
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Crashing the party, Pt 2

Making new friends

So, there we are, two-and-a-half hours early to this birthday party and we’re just out at the park next to Chelsea Piers. I feel awful that I screwed the time up so badly for this kid.

Luckily, I had a cream cheese bagel and several oranges with me, so I give him that so at least he’s not hungry.

That killed ten minutes.

Me: Should we go home?
Him: (getting up and walking away) Nah. I’ll make some new friends.

And he does.

He literally crashes another – complete stranger’s – birthday party and becomes the most popular kid there.

This is him in the middle of the party playing with a ball.

Later on, he convinces the birthday boy to climb a tree with him and then the entire party of kids are up in this tree, singing Encanto songs.

He spends the time hanging out with them – and hanging off branches of that tree – and is soon literally leading them around the park with alla these rando ideas he has.

My buddy Steele wrote me…

When it was finally time for the party, I asked the kid…

Me: Do you want to get that kid’s number?
Him: Nah, let’s go to the party.

We do and he has a blast – 42 kids and twice that number of parents were there.

There was a plate of sandwiches there and I ate six of them because I gave the kid all the food earlier.

Him: You’re eating the tuna fish? You don’t think that’s a bad idea?
Me: (shaking head) I trust the system.

Of course, the kid sat next to the birthday girl.

Later on, we head to a much smaller party with just the family. I felt honored we were invited.

Me: Mind if I have a cup of water?
Her: Oh, just help yourself. Cups are there, you know that. You’re family!

Good friends are gold, really.

Me: (leaving late at night) Did you have a fun day?
Him: (sleepily) Yes, papa. Can I go to sleep now?
Me: (nodding)

Long story, but I was chatting with a girl we’ll call the Aerialist, who is different from the Acrobat, I know, my life is very strange – she’s really a builderer but that word just sounds weird.

Her: [This is] the most expensive gin and soda I’ve ever purchased.
Me: Well, now you have to tell me how much.
Her: $21, $25 with tip.
Me: Jesus Christ, did you get a massage with that?

She left today in a rainstorm for a trip to Spain and it got me thinking of when I was last there. A decade ago.

Also thought of the Pretty Cake Decorator for the first time in years. This was one of her favourite songs. Told her we’d take a holiday in Spain one day. We never did.

She married the guy after me; they have two cute kids now. I was happy she found her person.

Everything seems like lifetimes ago.

Suppose it all was.

Location: my pad, cancelling another date because I found a mouse in my house
Mood: still annoyed with these hives
Music: Man, it’s a miracle that she’s not living up in a tree (Spotify)
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