A Night at the MOMA, DUMBO, and Solas Pt1: Running into a Starry Night

We could spend all day here

Me: You wanna do [the MOMA on] Friday?
Her: Definitely! MOMA is on my list of places to go. I’ve never been.

RE Mike reminded me that the MOMA had UNIQLO NYC Nights on Fridays and also invited us to a thingy in DUMBO right afterward.

Couldn’t remember the last time I’d been there, so I was looking forward to going.

Mainly wanted to see any Lichtensteins they had since I like pop art.

There’s a story there, but I’ll save it for some other time.

Unfortunately, they only had one small piece, but it was still nice.

I also wanted to check out the Mondrian pieces.

Me: In the 60s, people used to wear Mondrian dresses.
Her: Ah, when you were a kid. I can picture it.
Me: (grumble)

She was thrilled to see some of the Picasso pieces they had…

…and we both really liked the Warhol.

And, we were both really happy to see Monet’s Water Lillies in real life.

Her: Whoa! I had no idea how big it was.
Me: Me neither – that thing’s huge!
Her: I could spend all day here.

This isn’t Water Lillies – that’s a series of paintings and they are HUGE.

Unfortunately, we had to run to head out to DUMBO and started to look for the exit.

But, along the way, we saw a huge crowd of people.

Me: Wait…is that Starry Night?
Her: It is! We’ve got to see it!

I’d never seen a real Van Gogh up close and Starry Night was always my fave of alla his pieces.

Plus, it was the centerpiece of my lecture in Paris, and it was while discussing that, that someone stood up and started haranguing me in the middle of my lecutre.

But that’s really neither here nor there.

It was really wild to see the actual painting that I’d seen my entire life and in my studies.

We left the MOMA feeling pretty glad we went.

But we had an entire night ahead of us.

I’ll tell you all about it in the next couplea entries.

Location: the gym for the first time in a few days
Mood: busy waiting for the new school year
Music: Now I think I know, what you tried to say to me (Spotify)
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My idea of a perfect night

Met up with her cousin

Her: Do you wanna meet her?
Me: Sure! What about Chinese food in Chinatown?

The Firecracker’s cousin was in town for a few days so we decided to meet up with her.

Ever since the cruise, I’ve been wanting nuthin but Asian food. Don’t get me wrong – unlimited gyros and shrimp will always be a winner for me, but I just can’t go that long without having some real Asian food.

So, she agreed to meet us downtown at Golden Unicorn.

Firecracker: Should Logan just order?
Cousin: Sure, I’ll eat anything.
Me: Sweeet! OK, where to begin…

Ended up ordering all the classics, including Beef with Broccoli, which is not at all an authentic Chinese dish but it’s still something that I love.

Afterward, we headed to Whiskey Tavern for a drink but it was packed and super loud.

Me: I know – there’s a new bar south of us that I’ve been dying to try out: The Wallace Lounge.
Firecracker: Oh yeah! Let’s do that.
Cousin: I’m down for anything.

Before we knew it, we were in the oak-walled bar when the singer walked by in a slinky red dress.

Me: I think I know her.

It turns out, it was my friend Isabel, whom I’ve seen all up and down the Upper West Side.

Her cousin seemed to really enjoy being out and about in a laid-back kinda joint. We ended up just chatting for the rest of the evening before calling it a night.

Her: Did you have a good time?
Me: Sure! You cousin was nice and now we’re back at a reasonable hour.
Her: You’re so old, Lo.
Me: A nice night out with nice people, good food, great drinks, a live singer, and in bed and asleep before 11PM? That’s my idea of a perfect night.

Location: the gym for the first time in a few days
Mood: busy waiting for the new school year
Music: It’s so good to see you, you look very nice (Spotify)
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Beer, Dumplings, and a Concert in Alphabet City

Exploding Cans

My fridge’s been acting up again; this time, it gets waaaaaay too cold in the regular area.

Late the other night, the Firecracker and I heard this loud but muffled bang. Couldn’t figure it out until the next morning when I opened the fridge and found the below.

It froze two cans of soda both of which burst open but this one had the top blown clear off.

The Surgeon’s wife is actually a musician and she was part of a concert in Tompkins Square Park the other day.

Me: It’s in Alphabet City.
Boy: What’s Alphabet City?
Me: It was a place that was super dangerous when I was a kid but I guess we’re going to a concert there now.

It’s true. When I was a kid, there were places you went to get killed: Alphabet City and Long Island City were two of those places.

But the Surgeon’s kids were there and they just had a grand time.

Although, the boy and I ended up getting eaten alive by mosquitos.

Her: I’ve never had it happen when I wasn’t the one that was bitten the most.
Me: Great. (thinking) Maybe they were just in the mood for Chinese.
Her: (laughing) Maybe.

Afterward, we were all in the mood for Chinese, so I walked to Dumpling Man and ordered like $60 worth of dumplings.

It was a nice family run restaurant.

We also got a ton of beer.

Me: Shoot, we don’t have a bottle opener.
Steel: (laughing) I’m wearing Reefs, so I always have a bottle opener.
Firecracker: That’s wild!

Can’t tell you how nice it was to be in park on a sunny with friends, the kids, great food, and beer opened by a sandal.

You can’t put a price on things like that.

Afterward, we took the long walk back to Union Square.

Along the way, we walked past the first place Alison and I had dinner together, Horus Cafe.

It was the one where she teased and called me dumb.

Me: I went with your mommy.
Son: Really?
Me: It was a long time ago.
Him: Where was I?
Me: Not yet here. It was before you were born.
Him: Oh. We can come back here someday.
Me: I’d like that, kid.

Location: A street fair on Amsterdam and 79th
Mood: beat-down
Music: The truth in all my lies, the blue to all my skies (Spotify)
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A Burger and a Pool

Pak invited us out to a little thing he was having with his friends. His pad out in NJ has a pool so I brought the boy to go for a swim.

The boy and I were at my gym and I thought we had plenty of time to get out to NJ but there were alla these train delays so we RAN to catch the bus to NJ with just two minutes to spare.

While running to the right bus, the Firecracker met up with us.

Her: (laughing) I heard some weird slapping sound and I realized it was the two of you with your slippers, running.
Me: (breathless) We try to make an appearance.

We got there a bit late so everyone else was winding down but it was fine as the boy wanted to go swimming anywho.

Him: There are so many bees.
Me: Those are yellowjackets.
Him: Is that better?
Me: No.

I was so busy with the kid that I forgot to take pics. But trust me when I tell you that he had a grand time.

Told Pak and his girl about our cruise.

Me: There’s even a ship with a go-kart track.
Pak: Get outta here.
Me: Legit. Here. (show him a video)

Afterward, we went to Mitsuwa for – what else – more food…

Me: We come alla way here and you just want McDonalds?
Boy: Yes!
Me: (sighing) Fiiiine.

…before we went home.

It was a pretty nice day except we got devoured by mosquitos, which is exactly what happened the next day when we went on an impromptu trip to see the surgeon’s wife in concert.

But I’ll tell you about that in the next entry.

Location: The Wallace with the Firecracker and her cousin
Mood: slightly sotted
Music: I’m soaking up the good times now (Spotify)
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Doing the best we can

All the good and nonea the bad

Just a random story; in the middle of our vacation, it seems a small fire broke out somewhere on the ship.

I was pretty alarmed and went to make sure everything was ok.

Ultimately, I found a buncha crew members taking off their fire protective gear, which made me feel a lot better.

That’s pretty much the end of our summer vacation.

But I just wanna leave you with one word of advice: On a Disney cruise, don’t order the green whiskey drink they have.

It’s so bad, I returned it.

And you know that I never return food and drink.

Her: Return it.
Me: I don’t do that.
Her: Well, then drink it.
Me: (sighing) I’ll return it.

Him: (singing) Dadadadada…chicken butt.
Me: Legit kid, where are you learning alla this stuff?
Him: I just made it up!
Me: Great…

The relaxation of our vacation seems long gone as I get the kid ready for school.

When I was a kid, summer vacation seemed like it lasted forever during most of it but towards the end, I recall that I always felt it was too short.

I’m gonna guess that our summer vacations were very different – yours and mine.

And, certainly, mine were pretty different from my kid’s because this summer he’s been on:

      • Two vacations requiring a plane.
      • One cruise.
      • Two camps.


My summers, for the most part, involved me being the library from sunup to sundown.

That is, if we weren’t going on a family trip to Taiwan to see relatives.

As I got older, like my early teens, we went on more vacations because my parents both started making some money.

But that was much later in my life, I think.

I was mentioning to the Firecracker that I felt my parents did the best they could do but they weren’t perfect – what parent is?

Me: I’d like to take all the good and helpful things my parents did and give them to the kid but not all the stuff that didn’t work for us, [my siblings and me].
Her: Sure, I think that’s what every parent wants.
Me: Yeah. I remember my friend Somena saying to me years ago that it’s tricky, how much of our past to take with us to our future. It’s even trickier as a parent.
Her: That’s for sure, Lo.

Here’s hoping I don’t mess the kid up too much.

Location: NJ, having lamb with the kid
Mood: hungry
Music: Mama, come here. Approach, appear. And Daddy, I’m alone (Spotify)
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Travelogue: Mexico 2023 Pt 4 – Ruined Ruins

We almost got stranded in Mexico

There were a lotta fun activities on the ship for the kids but every so often – besides eating and catching up on some reading – there was something that I really liked.

Like the baby race.

I’m honestly embarrassed how hard I laughed at it all.

And, while the food wasn’t quite as good as I had on the NCL and Celebrity ships I had in the past, did manage to eat my weight in shrimp and snow crab every day for lunch.

Her: You’re not eating anything else?
Me: God, why would I? Maybe a salad, though…

And, while we didn’t get a chance to get onto a glass-bottom boat, we did get to go on one excursion in Mexico in Cozumel…

…to see some Mayan ruins, which was incredibly cool.

For the most part, the trip was fun for everyone; no major fights or anything of the sort.

Honestly, after my past few relationships, it’s kinda shocking to just have a fight/argument-free vacation. It was…refreshing.

Which is not to say it was perfect.

The kid and I got into a tiff because he disobeyed me about something and put himself into a lotta danger AND we almost missed our bus getting back to the ship.

Which, of course, woulda ruined our trip entirely as that meant we might have missed the ships sailing home.

The tour operator was not messing around when he said he’d have to leave us behind if we weren’t back on the bus in time because they actually left a family of four that were sitting in front of us on the bus behind.

So, I read him the riot act once we got back to the ship.

Me: You gotta make better decisions, kid.
Him: OK, papa. I’m really sorry.

Honestly, that unpleasantness aside, I’m really not sure a kid could ask for more when it comes to a nice vacation.

Besides the parties, there were fireworks on the ship – twice!

Room service dessert…

…and a pirate night.

Ultimately, the kid didn’t wanna leave the ship and asked if we could come back again the following year.

Me: Well, if you pay for it, for sure. But we may need to wait a little while before we can come again.
Him: But we can do it again, someday?
Me: Sure. Someday, kid.

Him: Promise?
Me: Promise.

Back to the real world in the next entry, folks.

Location: Alphabet City, having some dumplings in a playground
Mood: fat
Music: I don’t wanna leave but I got places I wanna be (Spotify)
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Travelogue: Mexico 2023 Pt 3 – Hot Diggity Dog!

A pit stop in the Bahamas

Him: I wanna go to the Kid’s Club again.
Me: OK, I’ll bring you there after dinner.
Him: Hot Diggity Dog!

I’d cruised on a number of other ships before, but this was the first time on Disney.

Friend: You like cruising just because you can read? You can read anywhere!
Me: It’s not the same.

It’s true. There’s nothing like reading a book, looking up, and seeing the above.

Now, I get while cruising isn’t for everyone – the expanse of the sea can be overwhelming at times.

But I – very much – like the idea of being cut off from the internet and everyone else to do simple things like spend time with the kid and just…read.

Suppose we never leave our childhood too far behind.

While I did once go on a cruise that had a hot dog stand, this particular ship had a shawarma/gyro station, which was much preferred.

Him: What are you gonna have for dessert, papa?
Me: A gyro.
Him: (sighs) You’re so silly.

While that was a draw, the main appeal of it to me was the “Kid’s Club,” where the kids could go to have some fun with their peers, and I could have some time to myself and the Firecracker.

This was actually my dessert…more than once.

It was really awesome as a single parent, especially because – by the end of the trip – the boy had a deeper sense of autonomy.

Actually, we both had a deeper sense of his autonomy as he would go to many of the events himself or the Firecracker’s kid.

Considering that he’s gonna be able to self-dismiss at school in a couplea years, this was a good thing.

Still, it’s wild to see him grow up so quickly.

A little too quickly.

Me: Tomorrow, we have an excursion.
Him: Yeah, baby!
Me: Where are you learning this stuff?!

We stopped at the Bahamas where we were supposed to go on a glass-bottom boat but, like that time in St. Martin, it was cancelled because of the weather.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go, because that crazy storm Hillary that ended up slamming into California made itself, and its friends, known where we were in the Bahamas.

So, we just spent time on the beach.

Which, honestly, wasn’t a bad way to spend a day.

I cautioned the boy that he had to be covered in sunscreen or he’d get sunburned.

Evidently, I was so focused on him that I forgot – completely – to put it on myself. I got sunburned so badly that my face blistered.

Her: I burn all the time but… I’ve never seen anyone blister like that before.
Me: Well, it’s been a while since it happened to me but, here we are.

I wasn’t miserable for the remainder of the trip but I coulda been better.

The alcohol helped.

We ended up having to run to the ship because it started to thunderstorm but everything turned out fine.

Him: I can’t wait to get back home…I mean the ship!
Me: (laughing) I know what you meant, kid.

Location: on the phone with NYC, trying to understand alla my taxes
Mood: grumpy
Music: He must have somewhere that he’s going (Spotify)
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Travelogue: Mexico 2023 Pt 2 – Oh yeah, baby!

Mexico by way of Miami

The Firecracker’s kid and my kid didn’t know the other was going on the trip and we both managed to keep the surprise for a while.

The Firecracker told her kid before they reached the airport but I waited until the kid was there to tell him what was going on.

Him: I thought you said we were going on a Disney cruise with them next year.
Me: I did…but that doesn’t mean we can’t go this year as well.
Him: Hey…!

The truth is that it’s unlikely we can do something like this every year, what with budgeting and all, but it was nice to surprise him with something where he would have a friend.

Oh, this was the very first cruise where I didn’t leave outta NYC or NJ; we had to get to Miami first, hence, the airport.

The trip there was pretty uneventful, however, I had a bit of panic when I thought I forgot to pack all of his chargers

Turned out that TSA simply moved them to a different compartment of my obscenely large bookbag.

We spent the night in a Miami hotel room, but not before we had a quick dinner at Chili’s.

Me: I don’t want to risk us getting sick before the trip.
Her: Absolutely.

Our server was from Queens, NY, which was a nice touch.

The night was rough because we were right by a canal and people in yachts kept playing their obnoxiously loud dance music until at least 4AM.

I musta gotten no more than three hours of sleep.

We arrived on the ship the next day; the Firecracker and her kid had been on the exact ship before so they told my son everything they could about it.

The kid, being so young, still wasn’t convinced he’d have fun.

Him: There’s a water slide? ON the ship?
Me: Yup!
Him: Oh yeah, baby!

Told him that, if he first ate some fruit and/or vegetables, I’d be somewhat lenient with him on the trip when it came to his food choices.

I can pretty much sum up alla our food conversations like this:

Him: I want a burger and fries.
Me: OK, as long as you have a salad or some fruit first.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I think he musta had burgers for 9 outta 10 of the meals the whole trip.

I can’t say the same as we ate everything.

Seriously, everything.

But this is getting long so I’ll tell you more in the next entry.

Location: 5AM, cleaning up buckets of vomit because the kid ate something questionable
Mood: grossed-out
Music: Can we still pretend when the summer ends? (Spotify)
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Travelogue: Mexico 2023 Pt 1

First Class and With Children

Robert Benchley once said, “In America, there are two classes of travel: First class, and with children.”

Well, I recently traveled with two kids, and it wasn’t awful.

See, the boy’s seven, soon to be eight.

My MILs taken him across the country to see his cousins, my BIL, at least twice now, maybe three times? And my SIL’s taken him to a few beach vacations, while the ABFF’s taken him away to some upstate pool parties.

Me? Well, with the exception of heading to see my buddies in other states for BBQs, Legoland, and Great Wolf Lodge, I feel that I’ve not really taken him away any place significant in all these years.

When I first met the Firecracker, she mentioned that she and her kid were gonna head to a Disney Cruise.

Her: Have you ever been?
Me: Cruising? Yeah, I love cruising.
Her: What about a Disney cruise?
Me: Never had a kid when I went cruising a lot so, def not.
Her: You should do it. It’s great – the kids go to a private party, and you get some adult alone time.
Me: Sold!

Within a week of our meeting, she told me all the details about her cruise and invited me to maybe go with her.

Me: (laughing) What if we don’t get along and my kid and I book the trip?
Her: It’s big enough for us to completely avoid each other.
Me: These are compelling points.

I actually had a friend of my sister’s hold a cabin for me two doors down from her cabin. Because…well, hope springs eternal. And I had a good feeling about her.

Obvs if it didn’t work out, I woulda just cancelled the hold. But we clearly got along so well that I ended up telling her a few months after we were dating that I did that.

Her: You did? You’re coming?
Me: Looks that way.
Her: Yay! This will be great.
Me: That’s the thing with relationships: The difference between romantic and stalker is just whether or not the person’s into the romantic stalker.
Her: That is so true.

So, the kid and I took a trip to Miami – and some other places – with the Firecracker and her kid the other day.

I’ll tell you all about it.

Location: bed, waiting until noon to leave
Mood: headachy
Music: we talk about life but I wanna live it (Spotify)
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Decisions are processes, not events


Me: Man, this coffee is great…wait, what time is it?
Her: (checking watch) 3:23?
Me: Dammit!

When we were out in Long Island, the Firecracker and I chatted about being parents, which we usually do.

The most important thing for me, as a parent, is to teach the kid how to think critically think.

Again, how to think, not what to think.

The recent Titanic sub disaster made me think a lot about smart people making terrible decisions.

James Cameron, the director of the film Titanic – and an amateur sub enthusiast himself – said that he knew exactly what happened to the sub before alla the details were even out.

It’s easy to call the CEO’s decisions things like stupid and moronic but it’s a lot more complex, and dangerous, than that.

Because people seem to look at decisions like singular events:

      • I decided to go to law school.
      • I decided to have waffles for brekkie.

But they’re not that at all: All decisions are the cumulation of processes in our heads:

      • I decided to go to law school because my dad wanted me to and I didn’t feel I was ready to stop learning yet. And each of those two reasons had many reasons beneath that; my dad felt that lawyers and doctors were the best professions that two children of immigrants could have. Plus, I spent my life alone with books, so I wanted to find a way to continue that.
      • I do occasionally have waffles for breakfast, but only when I haven’t had carbs in a while so I’m in a relative deficit of carbs and can “afford,” to splurge on something like waffles. But if I do that, I then have to be in the gym for two consecutive days.

Sometimes these processes happen in the blink of an eye, sometimes, these decisions take weeks, months, or even years to fully happen.

The CEO most likely made a series of smaller poor decisions based on various cognitive biases that he had – the worst decision being to use carbon fiber for the hull instead of metal – ultimately resulting in the disaster.

What I’m hoping to give this kid are good tools to process each step of any decision as best as he can.

Which is not, at all, to say that it’s or I’m perfect.

I’ve made some terrible decisions in life; decisions that I still ruminate on late in the night when I can’t sleep.

And I try to figure out which tool I ignored, disregarded, or am simply missing.

For example, I have a rule where I never have coffee/caffeine after 3PM.

But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve disregarded that rule for one reason or another – societal pressure, sunk cost bias, confirmation bias, optimism bias, overconfidence, etc – with disastrous results.

My son will make bad decisions in life. That’s what people do and that’s part of how we learn.

I just hope that (a) they’re not decisions that he can’t change later on and (b) he continually makes more good decisions than bad ones, and (c) he gets better at making good decisions as he ages.

I’m still working on alla that myself.

Me: I guess I’ll just toss it. Seems like such a waste.
Her: Do you want to be up all night?
Me: (sigh) Fair. What a shame…

Location: bed, waiting until noon to leave
Mood: headachy
Music: Feel the heat increase and my mind’s racing (Spotify)
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