Being scared and being brave

Aren’t mutually exclusive

The boy’s not been feeling well so I had to cancel/rearrange a lotta my weekend plans.

Him: Are you mad?
Me: I’m not mad, I’m worried, there’s a difference.
Him: (apprehensive) Is this going to hurt?
Me: It’s gonna feel uncomfortable but, no, it won’t hurt.
Him: (begins to cry)
Me: No. Stop crying. I need you to be brave.
Him: But, I’m scared.
Me: Being scared and being brave aren’t mutually exclusive, kid. You have to be scared to be brave, otherwise, you’re just nuts. You’re not nuts are you? (he shakes head) Good. Be brave. You get points in life for being brave.

I think he’s ok. We’ll see.

Should note that I felt a lot more scared myself than I let on. A kid needs confidence that everything will be ok, even if you don’t necessarily feel that yourself.

Goddamn, being a parent is often…difficult. Being a single parent is that much worse.

On that note, I was scrambling to find coverage for him recently and I needed someone I could trust with him, especially since he wasn’t feeling well, so I reached out to Pez.

She was a doll and came by on on Monday to watch him so I could get some things done.

Chad swung by as well to make sure it was all handled; it’s nice knowing I have people that care.

Unfortunately, it appears that the boy hijacked Pez’s phone as evidenced by the above video grab…

All-in-all, I bailed on three women this past weekend but managed to see a blond banker for some Korean BBQ.

Decided that I’m only going to eat Korean BBQ when I go out from now on because it’s just so easy to stay keto/paleo without doing anything special. I’m a solid 153 right now, three pounds from my ideal weight.

Anywho, meeting up with people is just interesting to see what life out in the world is like.

After all, my regular friends all have some aspects that mirror me, whereas strangers provide glimpses into lives I know nothing about.

The blond banker told me that another guy asked her out and she had already agreed to meet him when he – without first having met her, just based on her looks alone – asked her to come move in with him and he would also cover all her bills.

Seriously, how shallow – and I say this as an alleged shallow, selfish, womanizing, narcissist – are people these days?

Her: It was kind of a cool offer but, meet a girl first, you know?
Me: Well, my son and I’ll take him up on his offer if he’s still looking.
Her: (laughing) You and your son want to live with him?
Me: If he’s paying all my bills and giving us free room and board, sure. Plus I cook. I don’t clean though.

Seriously, thank god for the average frustrated chump. They make grey men like me look amazeballs.

Her: (texting me later on that night and sending the below) Thanks for dinner! I think I was actually very nice to this guy.

Me: Please, for the love of god, please let me [share this].
Her: LOL! As long as you don’t [leave any identifying information], go for it.

Location: my blue bathroom, asking if he’s ok
Mood: so very entertained
Music: I would never break this promise (Spotify)
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Breaking my own heart

Kicked outta bed

Recently, there’s been a spate of just awful news coming out about Asians getting brutally assaulted in NYC. But  I was surprised to get a phone call about one such assault that I just read about.

Her: I need some help. Is there a good time I can call you?

Turns out that she was called to be a trustee for this woman that died from her injuries from one of these beatings and wanted my legal advice. I told her that I couldn’t technically offer legal advice but I would help if I could.

After all, I don’t know where I would be myself if people didn’t try and help Alison and me.

Me: Sure. We can chat now. Let me get my headset.

I started my son in a Chinese class not too far from my house. It was oddly nerve-wracking for me but the teacher made me feel at ease.

Her: You don’t speak to your son in Chinese at home?
Me: Lady, *I* can barely speak Chinese.
Her: Well, I have to say, I’ve never met a child that didn’t speak Chinese that was so … social. He literally walked in like he knew everyone here.
Me: Yeah, that sounds like him.
Her: Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it. (laughing) Oh, during the kitchen portion, while we were pretending to make a sandwich, he made an actual one and ate it.
Me: Oh yeah, that’s definitely my kid. Sorry about that.

Note that everyone’s been calling me, not the other way around.

I point this out only because I find it funny how literally no one contacts me in the past year due to COVID but since the day I wrote that I got the vaccine, the floodgates open.

On that note, My buddy Mas stopped by to catch up and bring me out to lunch. We’ve known each other since forever.

Me: Do you talk to anyone else from back in the day?
Him: Nope, just you.
Me: I think we’re the only ones that, pretty much, look the same as we did 20 years ago.
Him: I think I look better actually. I’ve been on the carnivore diet – essentially just meat and fat with leafy greens. No carbs.
Me: Jesus. That’s even harder core than me.

He was there on the night I met Alison. Dunno if I ever told you that.

The blurry pic below is the only one I could find of Mas and me from that night – he’s in the lower right hand-corner.

It was almost exactly 13 years ago, April 7, 2008. I was just about to turn 35. It was a little after midnight when this pic was taken and I had just made out with the blonde behind me.

30 minutes later, I had her number and was walking out the door, when I met Alison McCarthy right before 1AM. She was walking in with her date, Tall Scott, but asked me to stay.

Instead, I left, but not before telling her that we’d have beautiful children someday. All these years, later, I was right about that.

Well, fuck me. I think I just broke my own goddamn heart.

Speaking of eating out with friends, someone I dated once dropped me a line unexpectedly and invited me out to dinner.

I’m super busy with life and the kid these days but it’s hard to say no to people that are just nice to you, like Mas and her. In this world, I think nice is underrated.

It helps that she’s a hot, grey-eyed, busty blonde that’s the same age as I was in the pic above, but you get my drift.

God, I’m so shallow.

Honestly, I judge alla these people that wanna hang out with a shallow, selfish, womanizing narcissist like me.

Speaking of hanging out with a fella like me, a chat with a green-eyed nurse I had recently proves that, again, I’m not – at all – equipped to deal with modern love.

Me: You know, you’re the second girl I know that had someone slap them in the face while fooling around. When did this become a thing?
Her: Did she kick him out of bed, smash his phone against the wall, and tell him to never fucking call her again?
Me: No idea. But that’s kinda hot (quickly) what you did, not what he did. (laughing) I can assure you that that’s not my thing.
Her: So, what’s your thing?
Me: You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. No girl ever does.
Her: Try me.
Me: I will. But not tonight.

Location: earlier today, asking the doorman if I was in the right place
Mood: hopeful
Music: I like the way your heart works, not cold like the others (Spotify)
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I want to have an argument

We’re about to find out

Her: How spicy is Sundubu-jjigae?
Me: We’re about to find out.

We’d just left the studio and she was ok but I was still really hungry. Since she’s on a mostly meat-diet, we ended up heading over to a Korean joint in Billyburg.

As for the answer to her question above, it turns out – at least for her – pretty spicy. Luckily, we also got some sashimi and some Korean tacos in honor of Pac.

We asked the waitress to take a picture of us and she tried her best. This is the best shot of the lot that she took.

At least she was very nice.

Afterward, we headed home. As we pulled up in front of my pad, she asked me if we could have an argument.

Me: OK.
Her: Look, I’m ok with things not being defined but I’m impressed how long you can be with things not being defined.
Me: Like you said, we seem to get along better when we’re not together.

It was raining so hard in NYC that night that we got a tornado warning. Which kinda matched what was going on inside her whip.

But, all-in-all, it was nice actually, chatting arguing with her under the stormy rain.

Sometimes you need a little rain to clear things up.

Afterward, I thanked her for the ride and all the company.

Me: It’s getting late, you should head home.
Her: Yeah.
Me: So, where are we now?
Her: I guess I’ll just see you later on this week.
Me: That’d be nice. See you then.

And then I went home and sat on my white couch thinking about all my possible pasts again.

It was actually wasn’t just my conversation with Mouse that got me thinking, but also a conversation Chad and I had in between shoots.

It reminded me of something I wrote just before Alison got sick.

Me: You know…my life is nuthin at all like what I thought it would five years ago. Or ever. Everything’s such a mess. It’s hard not to think about what could have been.
Him: I know this isn’t what you wanted, but you’re doing the best you can. If nothing else, your son will think he’s got a cool dad.
Me: I hope so. That’s one of the main reasons I’m doing this. I hope you’re right.

Location: home, waiting out the storm
Mood: hopeful
Music: I know, somewhere deep in my soul, that love never lasts (Spotify)

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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

All the Wrong Ghosts

Keys

Johnny called me the other day. I didn’t pick up.

I called the Devil the other day. He didn’t pick up.

All the wrong ghosts haunt me.

Movie: “You have 212 more supplicants to see you.”
Me: (to wife) That’s why we have judges – they act on the king’s behalf because the king couldn’t possib…
Alison: I have to write down everything you tell me while watching movies and television and call it, Stuff my husband tells me during movies and television.

Did you ever wonder why “movie trailers,” are called that, even though they come before the movie?

Or why the Three Musketeers candy bar is called that, when it’s one single bar?

The former is because the trailer used to trail the main film but no one stuck around to watch them, so they switched it.

The latter’s because it used to be three different candy bars – chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry – until just after WWII when it cost too much to make all three flavours.

The thing is that these things just stick around, long after they make any sense to anyone.

In this post, I wrote about putting up a key holder for Alison and me. I never put up a picture of it because I was worried about someone being able to duplicate our keys from the picture so I never did.

But, after the gate incident with Pac, I replaced my locks, so it’s a moot point.

I took that picture up above with Alison on June 6, 2014 and told her that her spot would always be the first hook.

She hung up her keys at the end of October, 2015 and never took them down again. They’re still there now. If you ever come over, those are her keys.

I never touch them.

I always tell myself that this is the year I’ll take them down but I can’t bring myself to do it. Which makes no sense, I know.

But, neither do trailers or single chocolate bars called Three Musketeers.

It’ll be November soon. I’ll be drinking again then.

Who am I kidding? I’ve already started. Because.

Podcast Version
Location: this fucking house
Mood: not good
Music: Tell me you love me, come back and haunt me (Spotify)

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Don’t let damaged people damage you

Do you want a report?

Lviv’s still looking for her person.

Her: This 47 year-old hit on me the other day. People that are 47 look super old.
Me: Wait, I’m 47.
Her: (scoffing) You don’t look THAT old.

ML also dropped me a line. Some guy was super upset he got rejected by her so he wrote her this nasty, nasty email. I find that disappointing.

Me: There are lots of damaged people in the world. Don’t let their damage damage you.
Her: Thank you for that.

Dating’s rough in general and doesn’t get any easier as you get older. On that note, I also got a ring from the ABFF yesterday.

ABFF: One guy wrote me and asked me how my weekend was. I was like, “Do you want a report?!”
Me: Maybe he was just trying to be nice?
Her: Look, Logan, I’m just trying to keep rapists and murderers away from my kids…
Me: Jeez! That should be a general life goal, irrespective of kids.
Her: …and I agree with you 100% on “LOLs.” Like, what are you, a balloon? It’s hard meeting someone normal in their 40s.
Me: Wait, there’re normal guys in their 40s. I’m in my 40s.
Her: Nope. I’m not doing this backhanded compliment thing with you where you get to brag that you look great for your age.
Me: Well, that’s disappointing.

I think the pandemic’s getting on the nerves of single people. A buddy of mine’s getting tired of being cooped up so he’s been hitting on randos he meets on the streets. It reminded me of a conversation I had once.

OK, many times.

Her: Sorry, I have a boyfriend.
Me: Well, good thing I’m gay then.
Her: (laughs)

Interestingly, Lviv, Mouse, and the ABFF are all at career – and personal – crossroads.

After Mouse drove me back to my pad from the Scenic Fights shoot, I invited her to come in to eat and watch a flick.

Mouse: No. I have a headache. Man, that’s the first time I’ve ever used that excuse before.
Me: I literally just asked if you wanted to eat and watch a flick.
Her: Sorry, still trying to get a handle on all my heath things. OK, I’ll come in. We can spin the wheel of misfortune! See where we end up.
Me: Always good to be positive.

We ended up watching a completely innocuous rom-com called Love, Guaranteed. I’m always a sucker for a good passable rom-com.

While very trite, I did like that that they made this guy who was an avowed womanizer a good person. The women he met, he didn’t end up with but they all thought he was generally a good and decent guy.

In that respect, I thought it was rather unique. Also, they had a the main female character drive a Karmann Ghia.

Me: I used to want one so bad. But they don’t run fast.
Mouse: Perfect, neither do you.
Me: So glad you decided to come in, Mouse…

Podcast Version
Location: this morning, getting pressured in LIC
Mood: busy
Music: save all your dirtiest jokes for me (Spotify)
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I’m not saying no

Another Scenic Fights shoot

Chad and I met up early this past Saturday to shoot some more episodes of our Scenic Fights show.

Him: Wake that sexy ass up!
Me: You don’t own me.
Him: Well, I own some shares.

I’ve been on a strict low-carb diet for the past several weeks but I figured we needed all the energy we could muster for a five-hour shoot.

We tried to find a Vietnamese joint open early in the morning that had seating but found nuthin. So, we ended up at a soup dumpling place neither of us had ever been to.

Me: I think I ordered us too much food.
Him: Oh, I’m finishing this.

Mouse offered to pick us up and drive us to the shoot because she happened to be in the city.

Me: You really don’t have to.
Her: I put on makeup. I’m picking you two up.
Me: (to Chad) She’s picking us up at Mott and Canal.
Him: See, this is where a bright red leather jacket comes in handy.

We ended up at the studio train on time.

Mouse only stayed for a bit before she had to jet. But not before she insisted on running out and getting some makeup for me because I’d scratched my face.

Her: Look, I know you. It honestly doesn’t bother me that much but I know it’ll drive you crazy for years to come if I don’t fix it.
Me: Fiiiine. Do it.

The shoot was long and we only did two outta the five scenes we planned on, mainly because of all the noise from the street while we were shooting.

Director: You both did a great job. Well, Chad did…
Me: You’re all against me.

Afterward, Chad and I got some tortas at a local cafe before Mouse came back to pick us up.

Him: Are you sure you two aren’t…
Me: (interrupting) You know as much as I know. Besides, I’m not saying no to a hot chick driving us around town and putting makeup on me. Wait…

Podcast Version
Location: this past Saturday, the armpit of Queens
Mood: carbed-out
Music: What could’ve happened if we kept going? (Spotify)
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Three old friends

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Me: I’m running out the door to pick up some stuff from a friend. This scooter’s really paying for itself these days.
Paul: Wear a helmet! Seriously. People are animals. My wife’s convinced drivers will stop but…wear a helmet!

Got three random messages from old friends recently; people that used to be in this blog a lot more before Alison died.

I think I stopped seeing everyone from my old life because they all knew and loved her. But, I’m slowly getting back in touch with then.

Or, they with me.

The friend I was seeing was Steel. I can’t believe it was seven years ago when he called me to tell me that he caught some striped bass.

I remember Alison thought it was cool that a friend would randomly call me to give me fish.

Anywho, he did again earlier this week so off I went to the Upper East Side.

Like me, he’s a dad of a young child. You need to know this for context.

Steel: Wait, where’s your helmet?
Me: Holy cow, I can’t believe I forgot to wear one. I literally just told a buddy of mine that I always wear a helmet.
Him: (laughing) I was shocked to see you – out of all people – show up without one.

I was actually planning on picking up some fried chicken but, because I didn’t have a helmet, I decided to just go home.

The next day, Gio called me. He left his firm with his boss and the two of them, plus two others, decided to try their luck on their own. They opened up shop at Columbus Circle, not too far from my pad.

Gio: Yeah, we were planning ton his since before the pandemic but, it looks like 95% of our old clients are coming with us.
Me: Damn, nice. I tell everyone that any company can be good in good times, only great companies can be good in bad times.
Him: (laughs) Nice scooter, BTW. I think I have the exact same one. But, I haven’t ridden it yet. I’m in the office by 8AM and I don’t leave until midnight.
Me: I remember those days. I think they’re long past now.

The three year anniversary of my dad’s death is on Monday so I think I’ll be checking out for a bit.

Come back on Tuesday, won’t you?

Oh, in the meantime, my brother suggested that I make my Spotify Blog Playlist public so click here or above for it.

I’ll add the songs that I put into this blog as well as songs from past entries so it’ll continually grow.

I have a pretty broad taste in music so there’s bound to be something you’ll love. Or hate.

Bound to be…

Podcast Version
Location: this week, all over town
Mood: nostalgic
Music: All of the mazes and the madness in my mind (Spotify)
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Familiar unfamiliar territory

Finding me

BrightBea: You were by my place? You could have called.
Me: Honestly, how does anyone find me? I didn’t give you my last name.
Her: A girl’s gotta be careful.

I’ve spent the last several 4ths of July by my lonesome for reasons that aren’t important.

This year may be different but it’s hard to tell at the moment.

I’m in familiar unfamiliar territory, again.

Speaking of people reading my blog.

Lviv: You didn’t tell me that you went to see your ex.
Me: We don’t owe each other anything, yet. (later) Wait, I thought besides me you were seeing an economist and a male stripper something.
Her: Ex male stripper, who’s an ex. The economist wanted to hang out more, but I wasn’t feeling him. I like him as a friend.
Me: I need to start making a list.

Neither of us have plans for the 4th so maybe we’ll randomly run into each other somewhere on the Upper West Side?

Maybe.

On that note,

Mouse: I did quite enjoy that you managed to include in (our conversation) the part about a shipment of toothbrushes.
Me: (laughing) I honestly didn’t think anything of them until you mentioned it. I suppose that’s subconscious?

When I’m single I have more house guests for a variety of reasons, all of which revolve around my being centrally located in Manhattan.

Don’t read too much into it.

Mainly because, a rule I’ve always had is that: If you stay over, you get a toothbrush – with a choice of colour – and some sorta brekkie.

Before I met Alison, I bought three 12-packs of toothbrushes and went through two plus a couple here and there.

It might surprise you that some toothbrush conversations were quite sad, as odd as that sounds.

As for brekkie, that’s just to be polite.

Since we’re talking about food – Pac’s been making food videos. That’s his latest.

Do me a favour and like the video and subscribe? I need one of my friends to hit it big so I can borrow money.

Toothbrushes don’t grow on trees you know.

Podcast Version
Location: Morningside Heights, looking at stuff in the prepared food aisle
Mood: hopeful
Music: Ain’t I the best you had? (Spotify)

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A litmus test

Under Pressure

Him: I didn’t realize how broken it all made you. You know, you don’t have to be a high-functioning alcoholic.
Me: That’s like saying you don’t have to eat cake. I *want* to eat cake. If nuthin else, I’m a good cautionary tale.
Him: Well, you’ve become something else to me now.
Me: And what’s that?
Him: (thinking) The standard by which I measure another person’s decency. How people treat a guy that lost the person he loved most in the world, his father, and his career all in one shot tells me everything I need to know about him/her. I think you’ve earned some kindness from people.
Me: Great. That’s what I’ve become: (sighing) A cautionary tale and a litmus test. I just need to know that I’ve earned some rum.
Him: At least that. You’ve earned at least that. Fuck everyone else.

Eight years ago, Alison gave me a bottle of Ron Zacapa XO Rum just because.

There was just a little bit left when she got sick and I refused to have any more. When I found the bottle late last year, the cork had deteriorated and I had to transfer it to another bottle. It was one of my most special things.

Before she exited my venn diagram, I asked Mouse to share the last glass with me because I felt she earned it, unlike some weird rando, but she declined. Which is fine.

So, yesterday, a friend stopped by and we had it together in honor of Alison’s birthday, along with a lot more rum.

Speaking of randos, I met someone that also had COVID antibodies at Pier 64 today as I tried to clear my head and sober up for some meetings.

Me: It’s like we have superpowers!
Her: (laughing) Kinda!
Me: Well, since we just met, I suppose we should keep to safe topics like politics and religion, yeah?

I hide my real face well, I think. I work well under pressure.

Fake it till you make it, right?

Podcast Version: A litmus test
Location: my empty apartment, with no rum
Mood: disgustingly sober
Music: Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn. Why? (Spotify)
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Trading our sad stories

One man’s search continues

I saw my son the other day. I wore a long-sleeve shirt over my shirt, pants over my pants, a hat, and gloves. The only thing exposed were my eyes. I didn’t want to chance getting my in-laws sick.

My sister-in-law picked me up from the train.

Her: You’re being ridiculous, you know.
Me: Nope! If your parents are getting sick, it’ll be causea you, not causea me.

I didn’t tell my son that I was going to see him so it would be a surprise. When I finally saw him, I wouldn’t let him hug me until I got cleaned up. Then I practically tackled him.

It was the first time I touched him in well over a month. After a minute or so, he finally demanded I let him go.

Him: (laughing) Stop! Stop!
Me: Never!

It’s been raining a lot lately so when the sun broke out the other day, I continued my quest for deep-fried chicken. Kinda.

This is what I tool around with, BTW:

I went up Central Park West to West 96th Street and then across the park to 5th Avenue. Normally, there would be crowds in front of the Museum of Natural History but it was completely empty.

Made my way to 103rd Street and  Lexington. The thing is, I was actually heading to the White Castle on West 103rd Street and 1st Avenue.

I know, I know. I need help.

Now, I was going east-bound on a west-bound street when I found myself in front of this store: Texas Chicken & Burgers.

Well, I thought, this is kismet. I should try and stick to my low-carb, high-fat/protein diet anywho.

So, in I went and I bought an assortment of a dozen pieces of fried chix.

Treasure in hand, I went home.

Definitely the worst of the lot compared to KFC and Popeyes.

Good god, I’m now gonna be known as a connoisseur of deep-fried fowl fast food.

Seriously though: Kentucky>Texas.

Not because the Kentucky governor’s a democrat but I’m sure that doesn’t hurt.

Found out that I’ve got the COVID-19 antibodies for sure.

Because of this, I met a grey-eyed writer from Bensonhurst. In some ways, she’s my normal type, in others not so much; I always felt purely artsy people were a bit weird.

But she has potential. I suppose that’s all you can ask for in the world right now.

Her: Do you mind if I ask what happened?
Me: We only just met. (pause) Let’s not trade our sad stories just yet. There’ll be time enough for that. 

Podcast Version: Trading our Sad Stories
Location: my empty apartment, which feels a bit emptier
Mood: can’t look at another piece of fried chicken
Music: Just wanna go home (Spotify)
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