Logan’s 51

Soon, I’ll be 60 years old

Me: I have all the wisdom and finances of someone older but I look much younger.
Her: True…and thank god you’re nerdy. I couldn’t be with someone cool.
Me: Yeah, I…wait, what?

I’m 51 now. What a kick in the head.

It’s weird, wishing to be 40.

But it’s still better than the alternative.

The Firecracker baked me a low-carb cupcake with cream cheese frosting based on a recipe from my sister.

And she also bought me a bánh mì, which was my major carb splurge, although that I had with a super low-carb beer.

And my son played this song for me.

Thought you’d enjoy it.

7 Years

by Lukas Graham

Once, I was seven years old, my mama told me
“Go make yourself some friends, or you’ll be lonely”
Once, I was seven years old.

It was a big-big world, but we thought we were bigger
Pushing each other to the limits, we were learning quicker
By 11, smoking herb and drinking burning liquor
Never rich, so we were out to make that steady figure.

Once, I was 11 years old, my daddy told me
“Go get yourself a wife, or you’ll be lonely”
Once, I was 11 years old

I always had that dream like my daddy before me
So I started writing songs, I started writing stories
Something about the glory just always seemed to bore me
‘Cause only those I really love will ever really know me

Once, I was 20 years old, my story got told
Before the morning sun, when life was lonely
Once, I was 20 years old

I only see my goals, I don’t believe in failure
‘Cause I know the smallest voices, they can make it major
I got my boys with me, at least those in favor
And if we don’t meet before I leave, I hope I’ll see you later

Once, I was 20 years old, my story got told
I was writing ’bout everything, I saw before me
Once, I was 20 years old

Soon, we’ll be 30 years old, our songs have been sold
We’ve traveled around the world, and we’re still roaming
Soon, we’ll be 30 years old

I’m still learning about life, my woman brought children for me
So, I can sing them all my songs, and I can tell them stories
Most of my boys are with me, some are still out seeking glory
And some I had to leave behind, my brother, I’m still sorry

Soon, I’ll be 60 years old, my daddy got 61
Remember life and then your life becomes a better one
I made the man so happy when I wrote a letter once
I hope my children come and visit, once or twice a month

Soon, I’ll be 60 years old, will I think the world is cold?
Or will I have a lot of children who can warm me?
Soon, I’ll be 60 years old.

Soon, I’ll be 60 years old, will I think the world is cold?
Or will I have a lot of children who can hold me?
Soon, I’ll be 60 years old

Once, I was seven years old, my mama told me
“Go make yourself some friends, or you’ll be lonely”
Once, I was seven years old
Once, I was seven years old

Here’s the original if you’re at all interested.

He found this song all by his lonesome.

It’s kinda wild, learning things from him instead of the other way around.

Suppose that’s where he and I are headed.

Don’t mind in the least.

Now, wish me a happy birthday, alla you bastards that read me but never say nuthin…

Location: hanging out with my son, my brother, and the Firecracker for my bday
Mood: content
Music: Soon, I’ll be 60 years old, will I think the world is cold? (Spotify)
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My stressful day…

…at the Hotel California

I write words and my brother writes music.

Years ago, he wrote me something while I was struggling. Dunno if I ever shared it with you.

I’d forgotten all about it because he sent it to me when I was still pretty muddle-headed but it came up between us, recently and I wanted to share.

He took words from my blog and put them to some electronica music he composed and called it: Logan’s Stressful Day.

In any case, here is below.

I definitely don’t have much musical talent – certainly nuthin like my mom and brother.

But it’s nice that my kid has it as well.

He’s actually going to be in the school talent show and he just started playing Hotel California recently – here’s his audition for it.

Just keep in mind that’s he’s only eight…

I joke with friends that I’m still hoping that he’ll be a surgeon or doctor versus a performer.

But in the end, I suppose I just want him happy and productive.

Although I do have some personal preferences.

Teacher: Your son (programmed) a game that my other students want to play. He has talent there.
Me: Great! I’ll take programmer, surgeon, or lawyer.
Her: (laughing) I’m sure one of those will happen.
Me: That’s the hope!

Location: my room, getting ready for a trip down south
Mood: injured
Music: And still those voices are calling from far away (Spotify)
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Gonna be a spry 92

That’s what I tell myself

My friends rented out the entire association, so we had the run of things.

The kids went upstairs to the animal/game room; I think I had seen it briefly once ages ago.

As for me, I was mainly interested in shoveling as much food as I humanly could into my piehole.

But as soon as I finished one thing, other things came out, so I probably definitely overindulged.

The Surgeon’s mom gave a really nice speech towards the end.

The Firecracker and I chatted about it in between my aforementioned stuffing of le face.

Firecracker: Can you imagine your baby boy turning 50?
Me: Not at all.
Her: You probably won’t even be alive then – although I probably will be.
Me: I’ll be a spry 92!
Her: (rolls eyes)

We woulda stayed longer but the rain was really coming down and I had an all-day shoot with the Scenic fights guys the very next day so we left before a lotta the other people.

The kid: Do we have to go?
Me: It’s late AND it’s gonna be daylight savings so you’re gonna go to bed like at midnight tonight as it is.
Him: (eyes open in wonderment) Really?! Wow, that’s so late.
Me: (nodding) Yup, and that’s why we gotta leave.

The very next day – with less than four hours sleep – I had an all-day Scenic Fights shoot.

Things didn’t go exactly as planned and I’m now running from the law.

I suppose that’s neither here nor there.

Location: earlier today, watching my son do a hip-throw and then take side control to mount
Mood: busy
Music: I’m lucky I’ve got good people helpin’ me out (Spotify)
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Turning 50 at the Downtown Association

Maybe. Someday.

Her: Wow, this place is beautiful.
Me: (nodding) Yeah. (thinking) This is the first time I’ve been back in like 13 years.

The surgeon turned 50 the other night so the kid, the Firecracker, and I all got dressed up and headed south to the Downtown Association to celebrate.

It was raining cats and dogs when we left the house.

I was actually a member there briefly in 2011 and I mentioned it in passing before.

Then things started going off the rails with me and Alison so that was just one of a million things that changed in my life.

Walking back in, I was shocked how little it had changed in all this time; I suppose that’s part of the allure of places like that.

The Boy: This bathroom is bigger than our apartment!
Me: You’re not wrong, kid.

He’s not wrong.

The party was mostly relatives and close friends so I was touched that I was included in the count.

The Firecracker had a good time as well, chatting with someone else in her profession.

Her: She knew she wanted to work internationally early on. I thought about it, myself.
Me: Maybe we’ll do that someday.
Her: Maybe. Someday.

One of the people I knew there has known the Surgeon for 44 years.

Me: When did you meet him?
Him: (laughing) When I was seven!
Me: (shaking head in amazement) Man, the oldest friend I have, I’ve known since I was 16 (the Professor).

The kid had a blast as he’s been hanging with Steele and the Surgeon’s kids for years now.

The Surgeon hired a magician and the kids were enthralled.

The Boy: How did he do that?! I was looking right at it.
Me: (laughing) You got me…

Of course, the kid was pretty interested in the food as well, because he’s my kid.

Then again, I was pretty interested in the food as well.

Me: OK, I gotta ask you something. At your wedding, I overate all the appetizers – after all, you had an entire table of lobsters – so, should I…?
Steele: (laughing) The [passed hors d’overs] are the appetizers and the main courses are [over there].
Me: Oh man, glad I asked.

The open bar was a nice touch as well.

There’s more but this entry’s getting long so I’ll write more tomorrow.

Location: Earlier today, two different guitar stores, trying to fix a broken Fender knockoff for the kid
Mood: exhausted
Music: Everyone tells me I’m crazy. Well maybe, well maybe I am (Spotify)
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Physical education and spite

Oh, yeah

I raise my son like my parents raised me – after all, it’s all I know.

But the one thing that I do differently is to give the boy a sense that physical education is as important as a mental one.

Now, my dad swam every single day for at least 90 minutes a day, for years.

Yet, he never emphasized physical fitness to me, something that I picked up myself after getting beaten up one-too-many times.

On that note, the boy’s really been excelling at his swimming lately.

And he also got his first stripe on his new belt.

Him: Are you proud of me?
Me: Super proud! But more importantly, are you proud of yourself?
Him: Yes!
Me: Good – because that’s really the most important thing.

As for me, I need to work out a lot more because I keep finding myself out and about.

The Frenchman and Bryson swung by my hood the other night, so we hit up my local dive bar and caught each other up on what been going down.

Him: How is deep fried cauliflower any better than French fries?
Me: Because it’s deep-fried cauliflower!
Both of them: (shake their heads)

I also filled in the Frenchman on why I pick my particular types of physical activities.

Frenchman: Wait, is that why you do BJJ?
Me: Yup! Bryson said I was too much a germaphobe to ever do anything like BJJ.
Bryson: So, Logan’s been doing BJJ all these years purely to prove me wrong.
Me: My level of petty spite is pretty spectacular.
Frenchman: And you’re really a germaphobe?
Bryson and me: (nodding) Oh, yeah.

Hey, it works is all I’m say’n…

Location: filming Scenic Fights all day at Paxibellum
Mood: exhausted
Music: I’m just gonna keep on dreaming’ of the way it used to be (Spotify)
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Our cancelled check that we existed

A cannonball in Vienna

Me: You know what I realized about that musical we saw, Merrily We Roll Along?
Her: What?
Me: It annoyed me that they told the story backwards but I just realized that’s how I…well, people…look at life as adults. Backwards. I’m at an age where everything in my life I look at in reverse.

A decade ago – man, time flies – I told you the story of Tyre, Alexander the Great, and the Elvis Barbershop.

In a nutshell, I’m always interested in how things from the distant past still affect us to this day.

When I was in Vienna, one thing I really wanted to see was St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which broke ground 887 years ago on 1137.

The Firecracker and I visited it early in our trip to Vienna.

If you’ve never thought of Vienna, or know anything about it, you should know that the city changed the course of history in 1663.

See, that year, the Ottoman Turks laid seige to the city in the Battle of Vienna and came pretty close to conquering the city.

If they did, Europe as we know it would probably have been Muslim instead of Christian, meaning the US would have been Muslim as well.

But the Ottman Turks failed in their conquest so Europe remained, for better or worse, Christian.

The crazy thing is that 341 years after that battle, there are still remnants of the siege lodged in the very wall of the cathedral: A Turkish cannonball remains fixed in time and space on the south wall of the building.

I’m always interested in things from our – distant – past that affect our current lives.

As I try to raise this boy, I think back on my own life and childhood and how I felt and thought about things.

I see life so much more through the eyes of my parents, particularly my dad, and I understand him more.

Don’t fully agree with alla the things he did but I get why he did so much of what he did.

This lady named Mignon McLaughlin once said, The past is strapped to our backs. We do not have to see it; we can always feel it.

That’s true. I always feel my parents and my past around in the things I say and do.

The kid doesn’t really understand how much of me was made by them and how much of what he thinks I’m giving him, actually come from them.

Ms. McLaughlin was right about our pasts always being there, but – sometimes, though – we can see it as well as feel it.

Back in 2008, told you that someone said that our kids are our receipts. The proof that we existed.

So, the kid is our receipt.

He’s the cancelled check that says that Alison and I were here, and that we did something good at least once.

Him: What are you thinking about, papa?
Me: You.
Him: (laughing) But I’m right here.
Me: (nodding) So you are…and I’m so happy you are.

Location: all day today, shooting Scenic Fights with the fellas on 18th Street
Mood: full
Music: I’m just gonna keep on dreaming’ of the way it used to be (Spotify)
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Fixing the kid’s cracked tooth

Getting screwed by Biden

While I generally like that the boy takes after me in most regards, there are some things that I wish he wouldn’t.

Just like I did in May of last year, my kid cracked his tooth a while ago in his BJJ class and we went to the dentist for a cleaning and general checkup, but I wasn’t expecting to repair his tooth during this particular visit.

In any case, I had earmarked 15 minutes of buffer to make sure we made his appointment.

What I didn’t factor in was that President Biden was gonna be in the Upper West Side that day.

Holy cow, what a mess.

Gotta think that Biden was crossing at W 79th because we were stuck there for a while before we decided to try out the subway.

Luckily, that was still running.

So, we were late when we arrived.

Unlike the last several times I went to this dentist, they were actually much more well run such that we were seen only 30 minutes after our scheduled time, instead of the usual hour/90-minutes.

This was an improvement.

However, unlike when the kid went to his regular dentist, this one didn’t give him any laughing gas to do his cleaning.

He wasn’t thrilled but he was still a trooper.

But, we weren’t done.

Her: You know your son’s tooth is cracked, yes?
Me: I am aware.
Her: Do you want to fix it?
Me: I dunno. We only scheduled the cleaning. He still has to make his Chinese class.
Her: Oh, you’ll be done in 15 minutes. I would do it because it’s only going to get worse; it won’t get better if we don’t fix it.

We left with only five minutes to spare but this time, the train let us down because it skipped our stop.

So, we had to run to his class and ended up being 20 minutes late.

It was a pretty exhausting day, but I’m glad that the kid’s tooth is taken care of.

Hopefully, we can go another year before he needs to get his teeth looked at again.

Firecracker: You know you’re supposed to go every six months, right?
Me: Nah, we’ll be fine.
Her: Logan Lo!
Me: Fiiine, I’ll consider it.

Location: the kid’s BJJ gym, telling him he has to wear his mouthguard
Mood: beat tired
Music: White teeth teens are up for it (Spotify)
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Trampolining in Brooklyn

Zero nutritional value

The Surgeon dropped me a line the other day. He was bringing his kids to an Urban Air in Brooklyn.

So, bright and early this past weekend, the Firecracker and I, plus both kids, woke up early and headed out to meet up with them.

Because we were up so early, the subway as a whole was pretty empty.

It took a solid 90 minutes from the pad to the place because of alla the subway delays et al.

When we finally arrived, the joint was pretty empty as well.

Took one look at the food options and offered to make a food run since I saw alla these delicious looking delis and bodegas everywhere.

Stepping into one, I ordered a buncha breakfast burritos – the Firecracker wanted bacon in hers but the resta us wanted chorizo.

Him: Why chorizo instead of bacon?
Me: (shrugging) I’m a man.

The kids played for hours.

Legit, hours. From 11:30 to 3:30.

By the time it was 1PM, the joint was packed.

The kids got hungry so some of the other parents ended up picking up food for them.

Me: There’s like zero nutritional value here, kid.
Him: That’s ok.
Me: Is it?

We were there enough that I had time to make another food run for ourselves.

Me: How about a Cuban?
Him: I won’t say no to a Cuban.
Me: Who would really?

Turns out the Firecracker as she’s not a fan of pickles.

Me: What are you, a communist?

One of the kids started saying they wanted to head home so the Surgeon pulled out the big guns.

Him: How about some dipping dots?

That bought us another 30 mins or so.

But only 30 mins or so.

It’s fine. Everyone got their fill of food and fun and we took the train home.

Later on that night, the kid and just had fruit and yoghurt for dinner because we ate so poorly all day.

Let’s see what next weekend brings.

Location: an hour ago, a bar on the UWS with Thor and the NFL Player having an Old Fashioned
Mood: sotted
Music: everywhere we go shout it loud with the crowd everybody knows (Spotify)
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Driving into the Year of the Dragon

It’s Chinese New Year soon

Her: Wait, you’ve never been to a Sonic Drive-In?
Me: I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a drive-in, period.
Her: Well, let’s do that then.

Had to pick up the kid from NJ the other day and the Firecracker wanted to get outta the house, so she came along.

She’d met my mother-in-law a while ago but this was the first time she met my father-in-law.

It was all pretty surreal.

But everyone is so nice that it was nice.

I’d wanted to take the Firecracker to Rutt’s Hut for a ripper but then the above conversation happened – plus we were right by a Sonic – so off we went.

Unfortunately, there were only two people working that day, so we had to go through the drive-in and eat in the car.

Thought the kid would find it more entertaining but…no.

Him: This is it? We’re eating in the car? This is so weird.
Me: Yeah, I can’t remember the last time I ate in a car. Musta been when I was in college?
Her: That was what, like 50 years ago? (laughing) I used to eat in my car all the time.
Me: Really? Why?
Her: (shrugging) Going to college and working three jobs means eating whereever and whenever you can.

It was pretty good. Then again, I’m pretty easy.

The Year of the Rabbit is almost over and the year of the Dragon is about to begin.

Ever since COVID happened, I’ve not been able to see my mom for Lunar New Year.

She and my dad – like most Chinese – always thought that it was important for family to be together.

I noticed that, after my dad died, she stopped bringing it up, so I told her that I’d come this year.

But she just told me not to come since the house will be a mess.

See, my sister started a house project and it involved most of my – and my brother’s – childhood crap getting tossed.

Which I understand. But that also means that it’s gonna be another year away from her and my family for the holiday.

Her: I’m sorry. The house will be too much of a mess and…I have so much to do.
Me: But it’s Chinese New Year.
Her: I know, but…we can do it next year. You’re not mad at me, are you?

It’s fine I guess, I already told my buddy Annabel that I’d bring the kid – and the Firecracker – to Chinese New Year by her again.

The plan was to see my family first and then head to Annabel’s thing afterward, but I suppose it’s all for the best since it would be cutting things pretty close anywho.

Plus, I just got invited earlier this week to my buddy Gar’s 50th but I can’t find a sitter for the kid so late.

It’s nice having so many great people to potentially see for the holiday.

Still, I hope I’ll have a chance to spend Chinese New Year with my mom next year.

Every year that goes by, I worry that I’ll lose her and I’m not sure I can handle losing anyone else for quite a while.

Me: Mad? No mom, of course not. I just…it’s Chinese New Year is all. (sighing) I miss dad.
Her: (gently) Of course you do. We all do. We can do it next year.

Location: Earlier tonight, stubbing my dislocated toe at dinner and seeing stars
Mood: ruminative
Music: I dream of a place called home (Spotify)
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How you do anything…

…is how you do everything

My trip to Austria highlighted the fact that my life is very different now than when I was younger.

For one, the only real luggage I have is not one, but two garment bags – the first being the red one I brought all over the world for close to the past 30 years.

Still works great, btw.

The second is in the form of a shoulder bag.

The reason both are garment bags is because, in my youth, couldn’t imagine a scenario where I wouldn’t need a suit, or at least a nice dress shirt, when I traveled.

This time around, I had nonea those things and the rolling garment bag left a lot to be desired.

The Firecracker’s stuff didn’t fit it all that great and there was a lotta wasted space because of how it’s configured.

So, I started looking for luggage.

Jesus christ, are there a lotta options out there.

To narrow things down, I started only looking at luggage that had “YKK” zippers on them because that’s an indicator of quality to me.

What I noticed was that they were, by-and-large, about 20-30% more than luggage that didn’t have – or didn’t state that they had – YKK zippers.

This just supported my decision to buy one from that group because of another saying I like:

How do you do anything is how you do everything.

In other words, if a company cares enough to spend the extra money to use YKK zippers in their luggage, they probably care enough to do other things right and more thoughtfully.

Obviously, like all sayings, there are exceptions to it but it’s generally true, for the most part.

Been telling the kid things like this now that he’s getting older and can understand such things.

And this particular saying is pretty applicable to him because of his personality.

    • On the positive side, the kid is relentlessly upbeat and excitable.
    • On the negative side, because of his joie de vivre, he tends to rush at things and not really focus when he needs to.

So, I’ve been trying to tell him to slow down, which is hard for a kid like him.

It’s a work in progress.

Him: Done!
Me: That was fast. Lemme see…OK, well, you got every single thing wrong here.
Him: What?! I added up everything and checked my answer.
Me: Yes, I see that. Your math is right, but the instructions said round your answer to the nearest 10. You didn’t do that. So, yes, you got all the *math* right in all eight of them, but you got the *answers* wrong in all eight of them.
Him: That’s not fair!
Me: Listen carefully, kid: Life’s not fair. Accept that and your life will be better than most people. Now, slow down. Notice things. If you do that, you’ll be different from most of the world.
Him: What if I don’t wanna be different?
Me: Look, if you’re different, you can be irreplaceable. And if you’re irreplaceable…your life will be better still. And that’s all I want for you. Slow down.

This is the one I got.

I like red.

Location: 18th Street, getting floored because of my dislocated toe
Mood: ouchie
Music: Yeah, I want that red velvet (Spotify)
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