Upgrading my OS

I like it when we play 1950

Her: I’m sorry about your wife.
Me: So am I. All my gods look like her.
Her: What does that mean?
Me: Nuthin. (brightening) Let’s play a game…

It’s the first day of 2023.

I’m writing this on a computer that I first built when Alison was still alive and upgraded repeatedly, such that there’s nuthin left of the original computer, just like I talked about in my Ship of Theseus.

One thing that I did after the hack was to upgrade the operating system of that computer from Windows 10 to Windows 11, something I did with great reluctance.

Still working through the pros and cons of that, but I note that I went through Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 on this machine before finally arriving here.

Just like the philosophical exercise of the Ship of Theseus, the question remains if there’s anything left of the original computer that I originally built all those years ago.

Speaking of philsophy, this blog has, more than anything, been my own personal repository of how I see the world, kinda like Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations.

Suppose my operating system has always been based on German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who was introduced to me in my 20s by the Devil.

One of my earliest blog entries spoke about a quote that served me well my entire life: With increased intelligence comes increased capacity for pain.

When Alison, my dad, and another relative got sick – all at the same time – and I essentially gave up my career(s) to try (and fail) to save them, then lost Gradgirl and Mouse, I think that the truth of that statement is why I’m here writing you now.

Schopenhauer’s worldview was that life is, at its core, suffering.

Life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom. – Arthur Schopenhauer

At no point in this blog – through all the highs and lows – did my baseline OS change; it was always run on some variant of Schopenhauer.

And you know my feeling about those who’s worldview never changes. I can’t be a hypocrite.

All this, despite the fact that some baseline beliefs of his contradicted directly with my own heart’s desire.

For example, I’ve always wanted family and family, by definition, requires children. Yet Schopenhauer, like my billionaire buddy, feels that “Bearing children into this world is like carrying wood into a burning house.”

Schopenhauer, as the base operating system of my life, was ill-equipped to deal with the overwhelming sadness and despair of it all, for various reasons.

For example, Schopenhauer’s world view of Wille zum Leben respected love like one respects a dangerous animal, but it doesn’t deal with love, which I both respect and submit to.

To Schopenhauer, love is an illogical means to an important end: The extension of our very species.

I understand that but, having loved and lost in the profound ways I have, I think it’s an idealized version of what humans are actually capable of.

While it’d be nice to live a life purely pragmatically, the way humans are designed, it’s not practical. Because emotions exist and aren’t going away.

I need an OS that reflects that reality.

The Devil’s gone from my life and, while I appreciate all that he’s shown me in the world, the OS he helped build for me doesn’t work with who I am now, especially given all that’s happened.

Moreover, I want more for my son. Assuming that Schopenhauer was correct, and our universe is only what we experience through our mental facilities – our operating system – then I plan on giving my son the best one I can.

After close to 30 years of working on myself, I think that answer lies in Stoicism. Not “stoicism” with a lower-case “s,” rather the full philosophy of Zeno, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca.

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts. – Marcus Aurelius

I don’t think, at all, that Schopenhauer was wrong, or that the last three decades of my life were wasted. Rather, I think that it’s served its purpose for what I needed for that time and that version of me. Now, I have a new purpose – the boy – and that requires a new way of thinking.

We suffer more often in imagination than in reality. – Seneca

It’s still early yet in all this. Just like it’s early in the new year.

But I spent the last month reexamining my life and need to discard the things that aren’t working for me anymore, if they ever did, and find things that do work.

Don’t think you’ll notice any drastic changes here, per se. Just little things for myself as I try to give myself and – by extension, the boy – the tools I’ll need to be the best version of myself.

Man conquers the world by conquering himself. – Zeno

I’m still me, but I wonder how much of who and what I am/was is still there or if I’m a completely new being altogether, just like this computer I type alla this out on.

On that note, let’s start the new year off with a song.

This is by a young woman named King Princess that my brother introduced to me a little while ago.

Can’t put my finger on it, but it always makes me dream that my life might be better than it is.

Maybe it’s the line that goes, “I will keep on waiting for your love,” which goes directly against Schopenhauer’s distant respect of the concept of love.

Because love’s not only something I respect, but also something I want – to both give and receive – so it’s worthy of patience and time.

Even if it never comes my way again.

Here’s to 2023 and changing for the better.

Her: (surprised) Why did you do that?
Me: (shrugging) Seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
Her: (laughing) OK. (pause) You can do it again.

Location: in the first hours of 2023, on W 97, wondering if we should sell our apartments and move to NJ
Mood: new(ish)
Music: I love it when you try to save me
(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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Precisely the opposite

Weapons are force multipliers

For those of you that have been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed a recurring theme, which is, What does it mean to be human?

It seems like a silly question but we’re all essentially imperfect; physically, mentally, and emotionally, we’re all lacking in something that makes us fully realized human beings.

On that note, I had an interesting exchange with a young visitor at the gym the other day.

Him: I never knew that there was such a thing like knife and stick fighting, I just thought people picked these things up and used them.
Me: All fighting is skill-based. Some require more skill than others. The argument against weapons fighting is that it’s unnatural, because we’re not always armed, and I think that’s precisely the opposite of reality.
Him: What do you mean?
Me: It’s empty-hand fighting that’s unnatural; the nature of being human is that we use tools.

Imagine you’re alone in your home and you hear a noise in your living room. Do you just saunter out to check things out or do you grab a bat, stick, or lamp first?

Or, google any uprising and lemme know how many unarmed people you see? Or any mob action, including the January 6th riot – how many people are completely unarmed?

The nature of human violence is that we want something – anything – in our hands, in times of stress. Because we all instinctively know that weapons are force multipliers.

Fighting someone without any type of weapon is unnatural, precisely the opposite of what most people think.

And that’s why I think everyone should have some weapons training.

Here’s the kicker: If you’re unarmed, you don’t get to decide if you’re in a weapons fight or not. Only the armed person gets to decide that.

On a somewhat related point, we had to cancel the children’s classes at our gym because the kid’s coach we were using got an offer we couldn’t match.

So, I signed up the boy to the local gym around me.

I’m probably a bit biased but…man, he’s so damn cute, I can’t stand it.

This is in addition to alla his other afterschool activities like swimming. He’s the lime green blur in the photo below.

Trying to get into the new rhythm of the school year. One unexpectedly sad thing I realized was that every year for the past three years is that I’m the only emergency contact for him.

I had someone as a second contact when he was pre-4K but that was a long time ago.

It’s annoying, these little heartaches that randomly crop up.

On a much happier note, while I was there at the gym signing the kid up for his new class, this young man – very excitedly – waved to me:

Him: I’m so sorry, but are you Logan Lo?
Me: (laughing) Yes! Do you watch Scenic Fights?
Him: YES! I’m a subscriber! This is so cool!
Me: For me too!

I’m a solid D-list celebrity at this point, now.

Eh, I’ll take it.

Location: out in the village with RE Mike
Mood: concerned
Music: I can’t do this again, do this again (Spotify)
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Dreaming of Revenge

A deadly diaspora

More thoughts on Ukraine: Do you remember when I went to Boston and wrote about the Irish?

Did you know that there are seven times more Irish in America than there are in Ireland? Legit.

There’s a new world coming – again, provided these fuckers don’t blow it up first – and it’s going to be a diaspora of Ukrainians who aren’t going to forget who and what did this to them took their home from them.

Like, the Irish aren’t forgetting about the famine anytime soon. And the Jews aren’t forgetting about the Holocaust anytime soon.

And, as I’ve said before, if cancer was a person, there is nothing on earth that would stop me from getting to him/her after what it did to my family. Nothing.

I’m beyond incensed over what’s happening in Ukraine and I’m 100% Chinese.

I can only imagine the hatred and dreams of revenge that young Ukrainian men and women are feeling right now.

I wrote a novel once that you can buy on Amazon if you’re so inclined. In it, I opened the book with a quote from artist Paul Gauguin:

Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.

Knowing as many Ukrainians as I do, I don’t see them forgetting who and what did this to them who took their home from them.

I don’t think the Russian government/Putin fully realize how many of these young men, women, and children now dream of revenge. That’s not a good thing for them.

Her: Did you read about…?
Me: I did.
Her: Wait, you didn’t even hear what I was going to say.
Me: If it’s about the war, I did. I most definitely did and wish I didn’t.

I made the kid some duck confit again – the first time around, he kinda liked it. Well, he liked it with the rice at least.

This time around, a lot less so.

Him: Why can’t we just have McDonalds?

Now, here’s the kicker – I said the exact same thing to my dad ages ago.

See, when I was his age, my dad owned a Japanese restaurant and food that he couldn’t sell and would go bad, he’d bring home for us.

So, we had sushi constantly and lobster and crab pretty regularly. I remember him telling us that we would regret this when we got older and he was totally right.

Me: OK, if I gave you some barbeque sauce from McDonalds to dip the duck into would you…
Him: Yes! I want that.

Ah, it’s moments like this I wish my dad were here so I could tell him about the boy. And that he was right. About so much. And that I miss him terribly.

Now, I want some sushi. Or more duck. Or even McDonalds.

I’m just hungry, yo. That, and I like to eat my feelings.

Speaking of eating my feelings, Daisy’s back. Kinda.

It’s a long story and hard to explain.

I’ll try and sort it all out for you at some point. Really, I’m trying to sort it all out for me, but I’ll tell you all about it if I do.

Location: at the gym, getting repeatedly strangled by Pez and Erin
Mood: so, so, so hungry
Music: Home Sweet Home (Spotify)
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The Mouse that Roared

Punching above our weight classes

My son’s eczema seems to be getting progressively worse and it’s alarming.

I’ve, unfortunately, had a lotta experience in watching someone I care about suffer from it. Watching my son trying to deal with it is just awful.

It was originally just a small patch on his back but now it covers large amounts of his body and he’s always asking me to scratch him.

Him: Stop, stop!
Me: Why?
Him: I have to scratch. (does so) I’m sorry I keep stopping.
Me: (shaking head) Don’t apologize for that. I’m sorry you’re uncomfortable.

I’ve now spent a small fortune on ointments, creams, and bath additions as well reading up on any number of things that are supposed to ameliorate things, with limited effectiveness.

Oddly, oatmeal seems to help matters, at least according to what I’ve been reading and what I know.

So, in addition to giving this kid regular oatmeal baths, which he tends to enjoy save for his annoyance with taking baths in general, I’ve been baking him oatmeal cookies and feeding him bowls of oatmeal like there’s no tomorrow.

The hope is that, once summer arrives, he’ll do much better.

In the meantime, I’m spending waaaay too much time reading up on the matter and feeling for everyone that has to deal with this nonsense.

On an unrelated point, and very separate from the horrors that we’re watching unfold in Ukraine, I’ve been thinking a lot about the novel, The Mouse That Roared.

I last read it when I was in grade school, maybe, so I’m sure I’ll get some of the details wrong, but it’s essentially the satirical story of a tiny nation that decides to start a war with the US in the hopes of losing and having the US rebuild them, stronger and better.

The kicker, however, is that they win and have no idea what to do after they’ve won.

It’s a bit like the Joker’s speech in The Dark Knight where Joker tells Two-Face that he’s just a dog chasing cars.

I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it.

Just like the British were unprepared for America winning the Revolutionary War, the Soviets were beaten by the Finns in WWII – fighting on skis of all things – the Koreans thrashed the Japanese Empire in 1592, and modern America was essentially beaten by Vietnam, I wonder if Ukraine has a chance to not just claw back its original territory from Russia but also regain Crimea and any other regions that Russia annexed.

If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that it’s difficult to adequately gauge the effects of (a) motivation, (b) home court advantage, and (c) luck on expected outcomes.

Let’s hope the Ukrainians continue to punch (way) above their weight.

And FWIW, I’m pretty sure the Ukrainians can figure out what to do if they do get back what’s rightfully theirs.

On a completely unrelated matter, we finally have a new Scenic Fights video up, this time regarding Atomic Blonde.

Give it a go?

I’m not sure what I’m doing in that still above…

Location: 7PM, the kitchen, making duck confit for a six-year old that wants McDonalds
Mood: irritated that I have to compete against McDonalds
Music: Remedy, running through the red lights (Spotify)
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Everybody wants to rule the world

That must be nice

When my dad dropped me off at college, he gave me a hug and told me loved me before he left.

My suitemate – who was also Chinese – marveled at that.

Him: I don’t think my dad ever told me that he loved me.
Me: Really?
Him: Yeah. It’s not a really Chinese thing to do. Was he born here?
Me: (laughing) No, not at all.
Him: Oh. (quiet) That must be nice.

When I was a really young adult, I went to this rooftop party and chatted with this pretty girl. I suppose to impress her, I hopped onto the parapet while we were speaking.

Decades later, I still remember her eyes widening in horror. “Dude, we’re like 20 stories up! Get down from there!”

I remember laughing and hopping back down but then glancing over and realizing just how stupid that was. It was a straight drop down onto the Manhattan pavement.

The rest of the night was a disaster as I fully absorbed the what-if of that whole scenario.

The war in Ukraine eats at me for any number of reasons, least of which is the inequity of everything. These people were literally just living their lives when some douchebag decided to start murdering people, including pregnant women and unborn children.

And therein lies my own personal nexus with the matter.

Unlike Russia, which has been called the world’s gas station, Ukraine has a number of industries that the world relies upon. One major shadow industry they have is surrogacy:

It’s one of the only countries in the world where you can legally pay someone to have your own biological child.

For reasons we don’t need to get into now – although I’m sure you can guess – since 2021, I’ve been heavily researching surrogacy. To the point where I got one of my Russian speaking friends to speak to an agency about costs and procedures.

Fast forward to now. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of day/week/month-old infants whose biological parents are probably emotional wrecks knowing that their child – possibly their only chance to ever have a child ever – is being kept alive by nurses that are literally risking their lives just to keep them somewhat alive.

Man, Putin is really a special kinda motherfucker. Women really should rule the world.

It’s heartbreaking and maddening and yet another thing that pulls me away from the golden mean.

Just like the what-if of my parapet jump comes out of nowhere from time-to-time to haunt me, I’m haunted by the what-if I sent one of my only chances to have another biological child of mine and Alison’s to a warzone?

Would I try to get her, somehow? Or stay here to take care of the boy and not risk leaving him alone in the world?

Would she roam the world wondering who her parents were? Would she even be alive? Would people be nice to her? Would she be nice to people? Would she know she had a brother? Would she know I loved her?

Would she have Alison’s laugh?

 

 

Shit.

Him: Why are they doing that?
Me: I don’t know. I suppose everybody wants to rule the world.
Him: Do you?
Me: (thinking) If only to keep you safe. (later) I love you, you know?
Him: (laughing) I know.

Location: earlier tonight, just off West End Avenue and W. 79th Street, waiting
Mood: so conflicted
Music: It’s my own design, it’s my own remorse (Spotify)
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Opinion: Understanding the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian Conflict

It’s about the money

I interrupt my usual talk about nuthin to discuss yet another topic I know very little about. As you read this, please keep in mind that I’m basically a stay-at-home dad that owns a gym so everything I’m about to say is most likely nonsense.

Just like everyone else in the world, I think I’m right, though.


In 2015, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.”

This was echoed recently by Harvard economist Jason Furman who went further to say Russia’s economy is “incredibly unimportant in the global economy except for oil and gas….[i]t’s basically a big gas station.

What Putin is selling to the world right now, however, isn’t gas but the following story: The Ukrainians are essentially Russian and he’s just trying to unify them and protect them.

I call bullshit. But hold that thought.

(c) Wikipedia

Let’s turn to 1931 Japan for a hot second.

See, that’s when Japan sought to create the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (GEACPS) by saying that, “[w]e’re all Asian. We need to unite against white people. We’re gonna do that by taking over everyone so we can adequately protect you all.”

Sound familiar?

Under the banner of GEACPS, Japan did all manners of incredibly fucked-up shit.

But, according to Washington Post reporter Daniel Yergin, this was all bullshit – of course – it was for something a lot simpler: Oil.

Japan had – and has – zero oil and realized that it needed to invade other countries to acquire oil, hence all the GEACPS bullshit.

Things hit a massive bump when Japan invaded China in 1937, freaking out the US and causing the US to freeze all oil sales to Japan on August 1st, 1941. This action, plus the freezing of Japanese assets the month prior in July of 1941, directly caused the Asian Theatre portion of World War II.

 

Back to today, 2022.

Here, we have the same situation in reverse; Russia isn’t in need of energy – in this case, gas not oil – it has too much of it. And nuthin else. That’s all it has. Think of the last Russian car, jeans, movie, you purchased. I’m guessing you can’t.

All they have is a shitton of gas but, lucky for them, the world could use that.

But, just like most things in the world, it’s not the product itself that’s the issue, it’s the getting of the product to the consumer’s hands that’s the issue.

(c) Wikipedia

That’s why you’ve probably read about the Nord 2 pipeline; that’s this big-ass pipe Russia’s been building for the past ten years or so to get its gas to Germany and the rest of Europe.

But how’s Russia been able to get its gas to Europe for the past ten years while they’re building this damn thing?

BAM! Ukraine, baby.

Well, Ukraine and Belarus. But Belarus is essentially Russia. Check out the map below.

(c) Wikipedia

Here’s where things get nuts. Well, nuttier.

See, Ukraine and Russia worked out a deal where Russia would pay it for transport of gas from Russia via those red lines you see above. Irritating for a fella like Putin but business is business, right?

Except in 2009, Ukraine was accused of skimmin a little off the top for themselves. The facts, on both sides, were a little muddy but kinda irrelevant: Putin believed that they were stealing gas and that was when things really started heating up between the two countries, ending up where we are today.


I’m a New Yorker. There’s one thing you learn early on in NY; you don’t mess around with organized crime. And you sure as hell don’t interfere in the money-making ventures of organized crime.

But imagine a mob that ran a country and only had one single thing of value (albeit a shitton of that one thing) and (a) you were responsible for distribution of that thing to their biggest customer and (b) you were thought to have skimmed a little off the top?

Well, if you know anything about Bugsy Siegal and/or watched Casino, you know how well that worked out.

A poster of the film Casino. Distributed by Universal Pictures

I’m, not-at-all, blaming the Ukraine for this mess. They’re just trying to get paid for use of their land and the people of Ukraine are just trying to live.

They’ve been at war for years now, with Ukraine having battle-hardened soldiers ready to fight.

But Russia’s still bigger in every sense of the word and they’re betting that it’s easier, and cheaper, to take over the Ukraine a la Belarus than keep paying Ukraine.

What NATO has to do is convince them that the economic cost of trying to take over the Ukraine is gonna cost a lot more than just paying them rent.

Hence alla the sanctions.

It’s anyone’s guess if they can do that.

Russia is willing to start WWIII under the same pretenses of Japan in WWII. Probably with the same disastrous results.

None of this is good. And it’s gonna get a lot worse before it gets better.

Location: earlier today, wondering if we should move to Montana
Mood: concerned
Music: Man, I had a dreadful flight (Spotify)
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Women don’t get that luxury, Logan

Horror and a buncha random texts

Lately, my life’s been a whirlwind of things, almost all bad. Don’t even know where to start.

Since my injury in October, I’ve been to physical therapy for months. Finally got cleared to go back on the mats – without a brace – about two weeks ago.

Well, earlier this week, stepped onto the mats and someone I was sparring with got hold of my ankle and torqued it so hard that one girl said she heard it across the room.

She was so concerned that she wrote me, which was super sweet. We have some solid people in our gym.

(In our gym’s defense, this was a visitor and not one of our normal guys.)

It happened in a flash; I didn’t have a chance to tap. In terms of pain, it was just slightly less than the time I popped my ACL.

Regardless, after four months of being in rehab, two weeks of limited normalcy, I’m right back to where I started in October and injured again.

It’s less than ideal.

HEI saw my post and, like a million people I know, is dealing with her own health issues, so she shot me this.

There’s definitely something in the air.

Me: No! My LEFT hand. You have to hold my LEFT hand.
Him: But why?
Me: Because…because I need my right hand free.

I’ve been in my head a lot lately for a number of reasons I’m still trying to sort out.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to think clearly about anything what with the rising lunacy of the city.

The recent horrific and senseless killings of Christina Yuna Lee and Michelle Go – both Asian women – has my female and Asian friends on high alert.

I’m already stressed walking around with my kid when I’m relatively healthy. Being injured all these months have made matters worse. This latest injury, all the more so.

Plus, I feel bad for the kid because he’s too young to understand.

Although I recently met up with a young woman and her nine-year-old daughter and the topic of Christina Yuna Lee came up.

Maybe I shouldn’t keep him for knowing the world as it really is.

Daughter: Who was that (Christina Yuna Lee)?
Me: A woman, who got hurt.
Woman: (correcting me to her daughter) No. She was killed. She was killed by a stranger.
Me: (later) Don’t you think she’s a little young to know about these types of horrors?
Woman: (shaking her head) Girls don’t get that luxury of not knowing these things, Logan. Women don’t get that luxury.

I get that, I suppose, as much as a guy can get that.

Everything’s a horror these days but I forget that horror comes in layers of more horror.

Him: Are you mad to me?
Me: (shaking head) No, I’m sorry. Papa’s foot hurts and I’m just…frustrated.
Him: If I could, I’d carry you!
Me: (smiling) I know you would, kid. I know you would. Here, take my hand. My left hand. My other left, kid.


A babysitter I recently hired shot me this text and I was both flattered and somewhat creeped out.

This happens to me with some regularity so I can only imagine what a woman’s life must be like.

Actually, TBH, I’d rather not.

Location: waiting for the subway elevator
Mood: a bad mix
Music: wish that I could go back and say, “Hey, now or never” (Spotify)
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Three people, independently

Another of my many life rules

What do coffee, tea, and chocolate have in common?

      • Coffee comes from relatively tall trees originating from a region called Kaffa in Ethiopia, Africa.
      • Tea, meanwhile, comes from an evergreen shrub in East Asia.
      • Chocolate, finally, comes from the relatively short cacao tree from South/Central America.

They’re really completely different species of vegetation that have absolutely nuthin – nuthin – in common with each other.

Yet, somehow, each plant, completely independently of each other, somehow figured out how to make the below chemical compound as a means of self-protection from animals that might eat it:

(c) Someone else

Caffeine.

I always found that remarkable. That three, completely unrelated organisms (they’re literally on different continents), can come to the same logical conclusion: Creating the chemical compound of caffeine will help it survive – and potentially flourish – somehow.

It musta worked because they all started this potentially millions of years ago, and are still doing it now, to this day.

I developed my own life rule  from this rando bit of knowledge.

Case in point, a little while ago, I was unkind to a fella at the gym I was going to at the time. Three people that I like and respect told me that I was in wrong.

So, I found the guy, sat him down, and apologized for how I treated him and he was pretty receptive to it. We now chat regularly and he actually joined Paxibellum.

Told you repeatedly: I’m not a good person.

It’s one of my many life rules that I keep for myself to similarly survive and, hopefully, flourish:

If three people, independently, tell me something, it must be true.

And the same rule works in the contrapositive:

If something is not true, then three people would not independently tell me about it.

I’ve been doing a lotta self-reflection with my therapist lately and just spoke to her today.

Me: What do you think, in your honest professional opinion? Am I a narcissist?
Her: (thinking) The hallmark of narcissism is a lack of empathy, but I don’t see that at all. You tried to help your father, your wife, your ex, Chad, etc, because you empathize with their struggles.
Me: And the rest? Am I irredeemable for all the things that I’ve done?
Her: I don’t think so. I see someone who went through – and is still going through – a lot of trauma but trying to be better for his son and those around him. I mean, you’re talking to me, after all.  It’s the people that never bother trying to be better that end up staying the same.

Location: earlier today, the Metal Park
Mood: trying
Music: I don’t want to dream about the things that I used to be (Spotify)
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I was right. Yay.

What do you expect?

The boy’s been away for a bit so I could concentrate on the gym and some things I’ve let slide since the theft.

Did manage to see my buddy Jonny for dinner along with Chad. He’s a fun fella and also a partner in the gym.

That’s us at the same place that Gymgirl/Mouse took me to when she graduated and my buddies and I went to before everything went to shit.

In any case, the three of us spent the day doing manual labour. Interestingly, Jonny solved a problem that’s been vexing Chad and me for a while now; it wasn’t as thorny as the sacrifice rod, but still…vexing.

Him: See, you shoulda called me immediately, what with my greater intellect.
Me: That was our first mistake. But what do you expect? We’re Americans. Trump was our president for the last four years.

Also managed to speak to another woman I dated a while ago. She was one of the women that broke the trust covenant with me.

Her: I could never trust you again.
Me: Why is that?
Her: (shrugging) Because I would never know if you were with me because you wanted to be with me or if you wanted to get back at me.

The thing is that I knew this. In fact, I told you about this ten years ago.

It’s weird but it’s part of why I want the boy to read, because, when you read –  unlike when do things like watch TV or videos – you get layers of understanding and complexities you’d never get in a million years otherwise.

There’s this scene in The Godfather book that’s not in the film – dunno why the director kept cutting out these important scenes.

Michael kills his brother-in-law, Carlo, and his wife Kay secretly leaves him. Mike’s brother tries to stop her but she says she can’t stay because she can’t be with a man that can’t forgive.

Mike’s brother says something like, even if Michael truly, truly forgave Carlo, Carlo still “had to be killed. Because treachery can’t be forgiven. Michael could have forgiven it, but people never forgive themselves and so they would always be dangerous….[Michael] loves his sister. But he would be shirking his duty to you and his children, to his whole family, to me and my family, if he let…Carlo go free. They would have been a danger to us all, all our lives.”

And that’s when I truly  understood everything: I forgave her for what she did, but she never forgave herself and could never believe that I forgave her.

She would always think I was plotting to hurt her out of revenge.

It’s why treachery is the ninth and last circle of hell: It destroys things so utterly and completely.

In other words, I was right. Yay.

Cancer and other fucked up shit like that notwithstanding, we all live the lives we create for ourselves and each other.

And here we are.


The boy’s away and won’t be back for a few weeks. This is him in my kali class. It’s funny, but he’s reminiscent of my friend’s dog, dontcha think?

Albeit much cuter, IMHO.

Location: earlier today, being told to buy solvent from a movie star
Mood: hungry
Music: Stops counting the crimes and lays down its pride (Spotify)
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