Meant to put up a video of the kid doing a takedown in BJJ in my last entry but I didn’t have the video edited for that so here it is now:
In any case, after the party, we hightailed it to New Jersey to see the in-laws – my MIL ended up making meatloaf and she and I ended up chatting about the time that Alison and she both made the ATK meatloaf.
Her: That one turned out really well. Me: After all these years, I still remember it.
Sorry. I get lost in my head and my memories sometimes.
Left that night to get home and get some work done. On the way home, I heard someone call out my name.
It turned out to be the ABFF’s sister, who just happened to be heading back into the city on the exact same train as me.
The boy’s away all week for his mid-winter break so that gives me time to work and work on things that I need to focus on.
Before I dropped him off, though, we had a lotta activities together.
One thing is that he’s been enjoying his BJJ classes more after I essentially forced him to spar. Initially, he didn’t wanna do it.
Him: I’m just gonna lose. They’re better than me. Me: I, honestly, don’t care if you win or lose. I care if you try or not. It goes like this: (1) I need you to try, (2) If you fail, you have to try again, and (3) if you win, that’s great, but 1 and 2 are much more important. Him: So, you don’t care if I lose? Me: (shaking head) I care if you give up before you even start. Winning is great, but trying – that’s what’s important to papa.
So, after his very first roll – which he won – he’s been loving the sparring aspect to it. That’s been wonderful.
Afterward, the Firecracker and her son came by for a pizza playdate; she actually brought stuff for the kids to make pizza and they participated in some culinary arts.
Her: I dated a guy for nine months, and he never met my son. Me: Why not? Her: (shrugging) I guess I didn’t think he was my guy. Me: Works for me.
Let’s be honest, the kids could work on their symmetry and pizza-making skills BUT, I suppose that’s not the point of the whole exercise.
They left late, and both kids wanted to hang out longer but it was waaay past everyone’s bedtimes, including my own.
Me: So, what did you think of them? The boy: They’re nice. More than nice. I like them. Me: Good, maybe we’ll do that again.
In hindsight, pizza was probably not the best idea, because the very next day, we went to a pizza party for one of the kid’s friends around the way.
Do you remember when I told you that the kid was playing with this one girl for a while and that girl told him that she didn’t want to play with him anymore so he just turned around and met another girl named Sandy?
Well, some two years later, Sandy and the kid are still friends and she just turned 8 the other day and invited us to Chelsea Piers to do some ice skating.
Here’s the thing: The kid’s never been ice skating before. So, Sandy and her family essentially invited us to experience the kid’s very first time ice skating.
For some reason, I found that both sweet and fascinating – it’s so interesting to me that I get to experience another human being experiencing something for the first time.
In any case, he was literally falling down for the entire hour. But, goddamn if that kid didn’t smile, struggle to his feet, and try again.
Honestly, I was so proud of this kid. He didn’t cry once.
I do admit I laughed a lot more than I should, but he was so unsinkable, I didn’t feel awful about myself.
Me: So, what did you think of ice skating? Him: I liked it! (thinking) But I wasn’t very good at it. Me: (shaking head) That doesn’t matter. What matters is that you tried, and you kept getting up even though you kept falling. Are you proud of yourself? Him: Yes! Me: I am too.
Afterward, I spoke to Sandy’s dad…
Me: you asked me to drink the wine so you wouldn’t have to take it home. I just wanna say, I did as you asked. Him: (laughing) Did you really? Me: I did. Because I’m a good friend, that’s why. I do as asked.
It was a pretty insanely cold weekend this past weekend.
6 degrees was the low on both Friday and Saturday with Sunday having a high of 48 degrees, which was all pretty absurd.
Oddly, the gym was bursting at the seams on the coldest day of the week.
Didn’t expect that at all.
Sunday, I found out that my buddy, Grace, was holding a passport registration thingy in Flushing so I decided to (a) support her and (b) take care of getting the kid a passport.
Figured it’d be win-win. I was wrong.
First of all, the 7 train, which we use to get out there, wasn’t running so we had to transfer a few times to get to where it was.
Then when we showed up, the line was around the block. Literally.
We stood there for a solid hour.
The kid tried to entertain himself as best he could.
Ultimately, it didn’t move so we ended up just bailing.
I’m seeing my college friends this weekend for a 90s-themed dinner, so I decided to get a cheap haircut while we were in Flushing and also see my fam.
The kid was a riot over at the hair salon – the following was all in my crappy Chinese.
Her: He said, “thank you,” in Chinese! Me: That’s about all he can say. Her: It’s a start. Can I give him a piece of candy? Me: Sure! He’ll love that. Her: It’s doesn’t matter what kind of kid it is, they all love sweets, don’t they? Me: Looks that way. But he does like to eat.
Afterward, I went to see my mom and sister.
They both cooked and I ate until I was beyond stuffed.
Him: Are you kidding? That’s the best. You have a built in playdate! Me: I dunno. Him: Expand your horizons! You have a kid, why shouldn’t she?
Only two people I’ve ever dated met the kid.
Personally, I think that the more good souls the kid meets, the better, but I understand her point of view, which is that she doesn’t want her kid to get super attached to a fella only to have him disappear.
She dated a few people before me but no one ever met her kid.
But my own kid and I had a weekend class thingy just a few blocks from her house.
Me: Do you have any interest in randomly running into me and my son on Saturday at 2:45 in the park? Her: Maybe? Me: Works for me.
Already had a full morning with the kid, and then the gym, and then this kid’s party thingy, and then a party with some other friends of mine so I was already packed to the gills.
After the gym, we were running late so I brought the kid to the local McD’s around the corner.
Me: I’ve failed as a parent. (later) We’ll be at [the park] by 2:30 but I’m sure we’ll message beforehand. Her: I’m positive you’ll message me before then. Me: Don’t be so sure! You think I like you *that* much? Her: Yup.
30 minutes later, I’m in the park and I see her come in with her son. She sits down and we “introduce” ourselves. After a little while, our kids start to interact.
It’s really quite cool, I must say.
We were out there in freezing cold for a solid two hours – I think some of the other parents were wondering what was going on.
Afterward, the kid and I walked them halfway home before heading to our last destination of the day.
Me: (holding out hand) It was lovely meeting you, Ms. Firecracker, and you too Little Firecracker. Her: (taking hand) Nice meeting you Logan Lo, and you as well.
And then the boy and I went on our final adventure for the day but I’ll tell you about that tomorrow or something.
My normal modus operandi when I meet someone I really like is to immediately find 2-5 other people to date, if I’m not already seeing anyone else, so that I’m not obsessing over one person.
That’s served me well for decades. After all, I’m aware of how a lotta things work, particularly myself.
But I’m still upgrading my OS and trying to do things differently.
In fact, for the first time, I went the other way around, in a manner of speaking.
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.
I feel compelled to tell you that he’s six in this video, which I cannot express how proud of him I am.
Speaking of my son, he’s been taking swimming classes all year, hopefully to avoid something like what happened over the summer.
But I figure that you don’t wanna just see grainy vids of my kid.
The other big part of my life is the gym, so heading there, I see some pretty interesting things, I gotta say.
Here’s a quick sampling of a busker in Times Square, albeit from last May.
Actually, there are quite a number of buskers all over the city.
These are some at Union Square in September, just a couple of blocks from Paxibellum.
As for non-musical things, there was also the time that I left the gym and caught this sight; it doesn’t look like much but what’s happening is that water is coming out of an upper floor window onto the streets below.
This means that either a pipe broke or someone left their water on in their apartment, filling that apartment with water so high that it went over the window and onto the floor below.
I’m gonna guess that the lower floor apartments and businesses were not happy that day. You can hear sirens going off in the distance
There are a ton more videos but I figure I’d just toss these up.
Now, I was torn with ending this entry with either this symbolic store display in the UWS which – if it’s 3AM and you’re two sheets to the wind – is goddamn fascinating…
…OR posting this of my son at B&H Photo, where I went to get a small server for my apartment after the last major hack.
He was enthralled by the very modern-yet-old-timey interior conveyer belt system.
Here’s hoping that 2023 is better than the past few years.
Him: What will you do for New Year’s? Me: I’ll dream of my family. Him: That’s boring! Me: (laughing) Not to me, kid. Not to me.
There were a buncha things I’d been meaning to read/watch, including this one documentary called Fish & Men, which I found interesting.
Read the kid a book that my sister-in-law bought us years ago with a single dad and his son. Gotta say, it almost made me cry.
But I was surprised when the boy started to cry.
Me: Why are you crying? Him: I don’t know…I miss mommy. Me: (nodding) We can stop. How about a hug? Him: (nodding) Me: Sweeeeeet, cm’ere you…
I woulda stayed over longer but the heat stopped in my building and I’m the only one that understands how to work the boiler.
Me: OK, with the data you now know: There’s no heat in the downstairs units, but heat in the upstairs units, what can you conclude from this data, kid? Him: (thinking) The heat is stuck on the top and can’t come down. Me: (laughing) That’s not bad, actually. It’s something like that.
It’s weird, up until a month ago, the kid and I were the only males in the building; a fella just moved into one of the units but the rest of the building is all X-chromosomes who were decidedly cold.
So, I left a lot earlier than I planned because (a) I didn’t want them freezing in the single digits but (b) I also didn’t want my pipes freezing.
Because heat and pressure are closely linked, I had to increase the temp of everything to increase the pressure enough to force all the accumulated cold water in the radiators down the pipes but not so much that the whole thing…explodes.
Dying wasn’t high on my list of to-dos this holiday season (this time) so I kept a pretty close eye on the pressure gagues.
In the end, managed to fix it in just a couple of hours, so that was good and rewarded myself with some Korean soju that I had in the house.
All-in-all, it was a pretty nice Xmas, as my Xmases go.
Hopefully yours involved less fixing boilers and metal shards in your food and more time with your loved ones.
Him: I wish you could stay. Me: People need me to help them. We always try to help if we can, right? Him: I guess. Me: I’ll see you again before you know it, kid.