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personal

Naked hope

Wait for it

Her: It’s gonna overflow!
Me: It’ll be fine.
Her: It’s gonna overflow! We should get something.
Me: It’ll be fine.
Her: (momentarily) It didn’t overflow! You were right.
Me: I was just hoping.

This qualifies as middle-aged excitement.

And I always tell myself that things will be ok, even when I have no idea if they will be.

It’s just naked hope.

All these decades later, it’s still just naked hope and I still don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.

For reasons that we don’t need to get into, had to leave my gym recently and join another one.

All-in-all, it’s fine because there are so many great schools in the city, I was able to join another one less than 48 hours later but it’s a bummer that I had to say goodbye to alla my friends from my old spot.

I also have a lotta really seasoned BJJ people to coach me while I make the transition, like Bryson, Giph, and the Frenchman, who’s a black belt himself.

Speaking of the Frenchman, he headed up my way and we – the kid, the Firecracker, him, and me – all grabbed some food around the way.

Because it’s May, and I hate May, been eating a lotta Greek, Japanese, and Chinese food because that’s comfort food for me.

Although I do try to slip in a salad or two here and there since beach weather is coming up.

Have to lose about 5-8 pounds from alla my traveling and eating, but I’m already down about three pounds with the new gym.

Another Mother’s Day and Alison’s birthday down.

Just need to make it to June and then past August and I can breathe a little easier until next May.

Location: my old gym earlier today, shooting some Scenic Fights stuff
Mood: sleep-deprived
Music: Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear (Spotify)
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I’m sure she knows

Honest and for true

This entry is out of order; back to the regular nuthin in the next entry.

The Firecracker’s dad came into town this weekend and we met up with him on Saturday for a kid’s birthday party.

It was fine for the most part but then a parent snapped at my kid when he tried to break a piñata with his foot when it fell down – like an 8 year old kid understands why whacking a piece of cardboard with a stick is ok but kicking it isn’t – and destroyed him in front of all the other kids.

It pretty much set the mood for the rest of the weekend for us.

He’d never cried at a birthday party before and, of course, it had to happen during the weekend of Mother’s Day and his mom’s birthday.

Obviously, there’s no way for the other parent to have known that.

But I hoped that, as a parent, she woulda known that people’s brains don’t fully develop until they’re 25. She was yelling at a kid for being a happy and excited kid.

At least he was and then he very much not.

If it wasn’t for the fact that she couldn’t have known and that she was a mom, I woulda been arrested.

Still, he was fine after a spell because I raised him to be resilient, but – man – I was steamed.

Him: She said I did it on purpose, but I didn’t. I was trying to help. (sadly) I’m the worst kid.
Me: Don’t ever say that. She doesn’t know you at all. You’re the best kid mom or I could ever ask for.
Him: Really?
Me: Honest and for true.

We then went to have dinner with the Firecracker’s family at a local taco joint that I’d been to before and then called it a night.

The next morning, despite it being Mother’s Day, the Firecracker got up bright and early to make her family and us a killer brekkie with a baked blueberry and apple oatmeal dish and a baked fritatta with feta and bacon.

The oatmeal bar

My kid liked it so much, he asked for seconds of everything and also asked for more the next day.

God, I love that kid – he’s just like me where we eat our feelings.

We all chatted at my place for hours until we had to meet up with the ABFF for dinner and to remember Alison.

The Firecracker and her kid came along.

The ABFF, her sister, and kids were beyond great.

We ordered a crap ton of Chinese food and, just like in years past, we decorated balloons for Alison.

This was probably the worst birthday/Mother’s Day yet for the kid because he feels the loss now.

Being humiliated and yelled at a birthday party probably didn’t help matters.

It was the hardest one for me for a while because it hit the kid so hard.

Him: (looking up at the ballon) How do we know she’ll get it?
Me: We hope.
Him: (nodding) I hope she knows I miss her.
Me: She knows. I’m sure she knows

Location: home, fulla dumplings and other carbs
Mood: livid
Music: I try to say goodbye and I choke (Spotify)
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Come with me

The emperor of all maladies

Her: I like room temperature soda.
Me: I only realized now that I’m dating a psychopath.

Not been sleeping well for a while now. It’s a long story.

Been thinking about Alison and my dad a lot lately for a whole buncha reasons we don’t need to get into, but one small reason is Princess Kate.

The fact that she and King Charles both have cancer should be a wake up call to everyone for a simple reason:

If two people that have the best of everything – healthcare, food, trainers, etc. – can get cancer, anyone can.

You definitely can.

In the 1970s, a fella you never heard of named Kotaku Wamura was the mayor of a Japanese town you never heard of, Fudai.

When Warmura was a kid in 1933, he saw a tsunami kill 439 people in Fudai and made a kid’s promise to himself – he would prevent this from ever happening to Fudai ever again.

When he became mayor in 1970, through sheer force of will, he convinced the town to erect a 51-foot-high gate as a public works project.

He, and his supporters were mocked mercilessly as fools.

Fast forward some 40+ years to the Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011, which I wrote about before, and killed over 19,000 people and destroyed at least 45 towns and cities.

Except Fudai.

Because of one person, almost nothing happened to the town. One unfortunate man died, and their port was nearly destroyed.

But the village and almost all its people were almost completely unscathed.

Not a day goes by without someone saying something chiding about what I eat, how I live, or what I do.

“You eat that much peanut butter?”
“Sardines? Fish, out of a can?! Disgusting!”
“Do you really need to roll around with sweaty men every day?”
“That’s a little extreme, don’t you think?”

Essentially, the argument I hear is always something that starts with, “Everyone…”

“Everyone eats carbs, Logan.”
“Everyone microwaves plastics, Logan.”
“Everyone eats late, Logan.”

Yeah, and everyone is getting cancer – greater than 1 outta 3 these days: If you’re a dude, the chance is 41%, a woman, the chance is 39%.

That is fucking insane.

Something is fucked in our lives and we’re all dying of cancer. I dunno what it is but I’m trying to go where science is telling me to go.

And I still might get it because the odds are shit.

But I’m gonna do everything I can to try to avoid it if possible.

You should too.

Wamura died in 1997 at age 88 and never saw that he was right. But he was right.

And I think I’m right here; just like Wamura didn’t know when the next tsunami would be, he knew it would come eventually just like I know cancer will touch alla us at some point if it hasn’t already.

Cancer doesn’t give a shit if you’re a king, a princess, a new mother, or a nobody.

It’s here to end – or at least massively fuck up – your life, if you don’t do something about it.

I’m not the one that’s living an extreme life, IMHO.

To me, the people living an extreme life are the ones that know that there’s a close to 50/50 chance at getting the emperor of all maladies and doing nuthin meaningful about it.

Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina, getting sugared-out
Mood: baffled
Music: I had to rock the boat so I could ride the wave (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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All lives end; all hearts are broken

Caring is not an advantage

Met up with my friend the other night.

Her: He’s telling me to not fight and he’ll promise to give me the apartment.
Me: He broke the trust covenant where he stood in front of alla your friends and said he’d love you until one of you were dead. You’re both alive, which makes him a liar.
Her: So, what do I do?
Me: When someone breaks the trust covenant, you can never trust anything he or she says. What should you do? Stop trusting him first. Everything else comes second.

That’s pretty much alla her story that I feel comfortable telling you since it’s her story to tell.

So, I’ll end that part here.

When all is said and done, the price of love is heartache.

After all, what is grief if not love with no place to go?

While grief and loss with horror and death is generally worse, loss is still loss and grief is still grief.

Ergo, I do understand that she struggles, even though her loss is very different from mine.

In Sherlock, Mycroft Holmes says something to his younger brother Sherlock who, compared to Mycroft, is the more emotional of the two.

Mycroft said, All lives end; all hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage.

Often think that Mycroft’s not wrong. There’s no advantage in caring about people, in fact, it’s a disadvantage to care.

And yet, we’re all programmed to do so.

Sometimes I think it’s a glitch in our programming and other times, I don’t.

Just wish that, sometimes, I didn’t feel all the things I do as deeply as I do.

But this is the price to be human so I pay it, hoping that I can afford it for as long as I can.

Her: (wiping her eyes) I’m sorry. I don’t mean to cry.
Me: Don’t apologize for your genuine emotion. I’m always just a bad memory from crying myself.

Location: a playground with the Steeles and the Firecracker, eating 20 cheeseburgers and having a diet coke
Mood: pensive
Music: Is this something I should be letting go? (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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Square-jawed

Tough food=tough people?

Still waiting to get my ceiling repaired.

BUT the leaking seems to have stopped so I’ll take that as a win.

The Firecracker accidentally made butter the other day while whipping up heavy cream.

Her: Sorry about that! I thought it was cold enough.
Me: It’s fine – we now have homemade butter!

I’m definitely a fan of homemade stuff, regardless of how it happens.

On that note, a buddy of mine started chewing this jaw strenghtener lately.

Human faces seemed to have been shaped by two major things: (a) violence and (b) the type of food we eat.

The classic angular face for both men and women is innately attractive to us because it’s a sign of vitality and strength so when we meet people with soft faces and jaws, it seems “wrong” to us, but we can’t exactly explain how.

That’s why it’s a compliment is to call a man “square-jawed,” and not “round-jawed.”

(c) Someone else

Unfortunately, as the years go on, more and more people will start having these softer features because we:

    1. avoid violence as a whole, and
    2. eat more-and-more ultra-processed foods and a hallmark of ultra-processed foods are that they’re not gritty – as they take out all the fiber – and not tough.

Think applesauce versus a tough piece of steak or nuts.

Was telling the Firecracker that the danger here is that the baseline level of what is “soft,” should be, say, the level of well-cooked chicken but, because of things like whitebread and applesauce, the floor is much lower.

This, in turn, means that what was once considered “soft” is now considered tough because the curve changed.

I’m always fighting the boy to eat more real food; to wit, minimally processed foods like whole raw nuts and fresh fruit.

No less than four of his friends cannot eat normal – non-ultra processed – foods at all.

I know at least one adult who can’t eat something unless a machine made it.

So far, the boy’s been good about listening to me when it comes to food but I’m worried that his peers will convince him that “normal” means “ultra-processed” while actual real food is strange.

What a world we live in these days.

Parenting means that there’s a never-ending litany of things to be concerned about.

Him: Can I have more cucumbers?
Me: You can have all the cucumbers you want, kid.
Him: But we don’t have that much.
Me: I’ll get more. You can always eat as many vegetables as you want and if we run out, I’ll get more, don’t you worry.

Location: A dive bar with Bryson and the Frenchman, enjoying $5 mixed drinks of questionable quality.
Mood: fatty-fat-fat
Music: I find that old habits don’t die (Spotify)
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I eat shadows

and do other things with rainbows

An old friend of mine reached out to me the other day.

Her: I thought of you. I thought, “If Logan could survive everything he survived, I can survive this.”
Me: (nodding) You totally can. Even when we don’t wanna survive things, we do. We’re meant to struggle and scuffle until we’re breathless and weak.
Her: (sadly) I trusted him. I can’t believe that he did this. I keep wondering if I…
Me: You didn’t do anything wrong. This is a him problem, not a you problem.
Her: But…he’s my life.
Me: You lived a solid 32 years without knowing he existed. How could someone you’ve known seven outta 38 years be your entire life?
Her: (sighing) You’re right. I know you’re right. (laughing) When did you get so smart?
Me: Sometime in the mid-90s I think.
Her: It still amazes us that you’re still here.
Me: It amazes me too. Somehow, I’ve learned to eat shadows and shit rainbows.
Her: (laughs, takes a deep breath, then sighs)

Location: looking for a Level 4 ballistic plate in a playground
Mood: irritated
Music: Running from your bad decisions (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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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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