Aposematism

Red and Yellow

Me: I think you’re off starting next Monday
Him: I’m off starting this Monday, papa.
Me: Well…that’s suboptimal.

Thought the boy’s Spring break began April 5th. I was incorrect.

Annnnd…shitballs. Here’s Pez watching the kiddo because I was in a pinch.

Her: You have the cutest kid!
Me: Thank you – you’re the best!

Earlier this week, I did some legal work that beat 96% odds.

Him: You did good work, Logan.
Me: No, I didn’t do good work. I won with 4% odds, that’s not good; that’s fucking fantastic. I did fucking fantastic work. They weren’t ready for me.

Because the kid was off, we went up to Connecticut to see a buddy of mine so the boy could have a playdate with his daughter.

While I was there, I took a picture of myself looking very out of place in my usual red leather jacket and the woods.

I always had this bright yellow/orange jacket – that picture below was taken by the Green-Eyed Schoolteacher back in 2007 – but when Alison got first got pregnant in 2011, I had my tailor make me a bright red leather jacket as a celebration.

It took a few months to get to me and, by then, we already lost that child. That was the start of our hell, which only ended six years later when she died. It was complete bullshit.

I never wore it while she was here and only rarely wore the other jacket during that whole time. Instead, I wore my beat up dark red leather jacket – that’s me when I was in Prague twenty-five years ago – and my other rando stuff.

I told a buddy of mine that most of the world lives an unexamined life. If anything, I examine the world around me a little too closely.

Why do I think the way I do?
Why do I dress the way I do?
Why does this matter to me?
What does this mean?

When Alison died, I wore only black for the first six months. I wore only black because I saw only black.

And then I realized that I had to reenter the world, as much as I didn’t want to. But after that, I put on my red leather jacket and wore it out for the first time. It’s pretty much my daily driver now, although I do break out the yellow/orange jacket on occasion.

There’s this thing called “aposematism,” which comes from the Greek ἀπό apo “away” and σῆμα sēma “sign.”

Aposematism, then, is “a sign to stay away.”

Basically, dangerous things are often brightly coloured, with the most dangerous things either red or yellow/orange against black.

      • Black Widow (red against black)
      • Yellowjacket (yellow/orange against black)
      • Murder Hornets (yellow/orange against black)
      • Monarch butterflies (orange against black)
      • Pitohui (red against black)
      • Poison Dart Frogs (blue, red, and/or black)

Just to name a few.

I wear bright red and yellow against black because I’m a lawyer with two decades of experience that teaches knife fighting in his spare time.

There are other reasons but that’s all I wanna share right now.

Most people, subconsciously, get that a guy doesn’t wear a bright yellow/orange or red leather jacket unless he can.

Although not everyone uses the sense god gave them. On the way to one Scenic Fights shoot, I had this conversation:

Him: You want to start some shit?
Me: I think I do, homie.

Subtlety only gets you so far sometimes.

Although, to be fair, I also paid extra to have a paisley print put into the red jacket and artwork to line my yellow/orange one.

I thought it made them look prettier. 

Location: home
Mood: pretty
Music: Ooh-ooh-ooh, that’s my violet (Spotify)

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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Memories of a chocolate teapot

Seeing the world but once

Me: What’s wrong?
Him: Annie doesn’t want to play with me. Can we go?
Me: OK, let’s go to another playground.

I’ve noticed something interesting about the kids that my son is closest to – they’re all hapas like him.

Dunno if this is some subconscious thing or because there are so many hapas running around the Upper West Side.

This lady named Louise Glueck once said, “We look at the world once, in childhood. The rest is memory.”

I couldn’t agree with that statement more. I think that, by the time we’re 14 or so, we know the broad contours of what we like and we don’t like.

For example, there was this little girl named Christine that I used to hang out with all the time growing up. We were both maybe six or seven, way before any real rational emotion was possible, but all I knew was that I loved hanging out with her.

She was blond with coloured eyes. Just like Alison.

I tell my friends to always be careful that they aren’t controlled by their 14 year-old impulses. But sometimes, you can’t help it – I’m no different.

In any case, the way I look at it, I have nine years to shape this kid’s perception of the world and I feel I’m already running outta time.

As much as possible, I try to have him the see the world for what it is – both the good and the bad – rather than what someone else wants him to see, what’s for sale.

The things he values now, he’ll value the rest of his life so I try for him to value things that are innately valuable. Those things that cannot be taken from you, like skills and kindness.

Because, in some way, we’re all prisoners of our 14 year-old selves.

Him: Isn’t that cool?
Me: It’s about as useful as a chocolate teapot.
Him: (laughing) What does that mean?
Me: Think about it, kid. It’ll come to you.

Then again, he may just be fine.

After all, he’s not just my kid, he’s Alison’s too. And maybe he won’t be quite as lonely as I was, growing up.

Me: Are you ok that Annie didn’t want to play with you?
Him: (nodding) I’ll meet someone else. (later) This is Sandy, papa, she lives on West 74th.
Me: (laughing) Hello Sandy who lives on West 74th. Why don’t you two play and I’ll watch your scooters?

Location: earlier today, watching some scooters by some stone elephants
Mood: hopeful
Music: All you got to do is blink your eyes and the years go by like that (Spotify)
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Snyder’s Justice League is about family

You should watch it

I was never a true fan of Zack Snyder’s version of the Man of Steel but I did think he had his moments.

But, after the fanboy disappointment that was the theatrical release of The Justice League, I figured what Zack had in mind had to be better.

So, I’ve been quietly waiting all this time for the Snyder cut of the film and I saw it this past Friday.

It was amazing. The whole time I was watching it, I kept saying exactly that: This is amazing.

My brother was at my place while Chad and I watched it and this is essentially how we looked for four hours.

Him: This is amazing.
Me: (five minutes later) This is amazing.

It’s supposed to be 90% different than the theatrical release and I gotta say, that number is accurate: It’s a completely different film.

Snyder left the production after the suicide of his daughter Autumn, which is such a horrible thing to even contemplate that I wish I could just gloss that fact over and not think about it.

But that’s impossible. Her death, forced her parents – Snyder’s wife was heavily involved in the film as well – to just bail.

And I get it. When Alison died, nothing mattered. I had zero capacity to do anything beyond merely function, drink, and womanize.

Still, at some point, we either get on with living or we get on with dying.

I did the former and so did Snyder.

These pics are all from when I went to ComicCon back in 2017.

Interestingly, the film is as much about family as it is about superheroes.

      • The Flash is trying to save his father.
      • Cyborg is trying to forgive his father and deal with the loss of his mother.
      • Aquaman is trying to know his mother and see his father.
      • Wonder Woman is trying make up for leaving her mother.
      • Superman is trying to live up to the aspirations of both sets of parents, biological and adopted.
      • And Batman…well, he’s all about his parents.

For all the amazing special effects and the thrill of seeing my childhood heroes in a worthy live-action film, it had a far more heart than I was expecting.

Honestly, it’s worth four hours of your time if you haven’t seen it.

I saw it on the night that I normally go to kali but, because of the gout, I could only stay for half-an-hour.

It’s a shame, because my buddy Panda stopped by. He, and another buddy, Thor, both have gout and they told me the same thing: I needed to drink copious amounts of water.

So I did that, and the next day, felt markedly better.

So good, in fact, that I went to roll in Brooklyn, which ended up being both a good idea and a terrible idea, terrible because I thought I almost killed someone.

But that’s a story for tomorrow.

Location: earlier today, baking for the kid
Mood: thoughtful
Music: Sometimes I think this world’s too much, all the hurt, all the hate (Spotify)
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We can breathe together

How’d it all go?

That post I wrote about years about about the grief button remains the truest thing about grief I know.

This past weekend was busy, tiring, and fun. Oh, so much fun.

Chad, who’s normally pretty funny, was messing up the shoot for everyone because he was just full-on hilarious.

Me: (to the director) You gotta leave if you can’t stop laughing.
Him: (though tears) I gotta, yeah. I gotta.

Hopefully, some of the insanely funny things he said will come across the videos.

And Mouse and I have been getting along better than we have in a while. Plus the kid’s been adorbs.

All-in-all, I’ve been doing pretty well. That is, until I did my taxes.

You see, Alison did our taxes because she was a math whiz. And when she got sick, I did them, as best I could. Been doing them ever since.

I just finished them up before our weekend shoot when I remembered that our tax software was linked up to Alison’s email addy so I signed in and…nuthin.

Evidently, Yahoo erases ALL YOUR FUCKING EMAIL if you don’t log on for a while. Which I didn’t. She had that email since she was a kid.

Everything that made her life hers, digitally, was there. Because she lived before texts and FB but after email so the bulk of her digital life – as it were – was on that.

Gone.

That gutted me.

But then I spoke to her mother and we both agreed that, because I never read her emails in the four years since she left, I never would have. And I have no business reading it because those were for her and not for the kid or me.

That brought me some peace. Still, it was a rough day/night.

Then today – the very next day – I got a phone call from my very last client that I did work for back in 2015 before Alison went into the hospital.

Him: I had a question I wanted to ask you so I hope you don’t mind my calling. Hey, how’d it all go your first child? Boy or girl? How’s momma?
Me: … I’m…outside right now him, actually. Can I call you back?
Him: (confused) Oh, sure. Sure. We’ll catch up later.

And it’s like I stepped on the grief button and just stood on it. Grief-stricken.

It hit me all at once. I remembered.

I remembered Alison telling me to take that one last gig because we would both be busy raising the kid for the first 60 days and we’d need the money.

Little did we know just how fucked up the first 60 548 days of the kid’s life would be.

My uncle, my other uncle, Nick, Kirk, my dad, Fouad, Luciano, I remembered them all at once today, vis-a-vis Alison. And it was too much to bear.

For just a moment, I felt the awful emptiness that I felt after Alison left.

I stood there with the most insane impostor syndrome feeling you could imagine.

The fuck are you doing, Logan? You’re not a dad, you can barely raise a houseplant. And you’re trying to raise a kid without her? Are you mad?

So, I just crumpled into the same park bench that Alison and I walked by a million times but never sat at because we never had a kid that needed watching on that goddamn park bench.

Him: Papa, papa, can I…wait, what happened?
Me: I…I hit something and it hurts. So, I had to sit down.
Him: Was it your foot? (I nod) I’m sorry it hurts.
Me: (deep breath) Thanks, kid. You go play. Papa needs to just breathe through it.
Him: I’ll stay with you. We can breathe together! (starts breathing deeply)
Me: OK. Thank you.

Location: Back in the basement of my brain, again
Mood: like the song below
Music: Shit, you’re a mess, you’re a mess, good God, you’re a mess (Spotify)
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Goldfish are limited to the size of their bowl 2

Be Better

Close to a decade ago, I wrote this entry about how goldfish are only small because of the bowls we put them in. Without being in a small bowl, they can grow up to enormous sizes.

Case in point, just the other day, a nine-pound goldfish was found in a lake. They figured that someone didn’t wanna keep it anymore but also couldn’t just flush it down the toilet so they tossed it into Oak Grove Lake in Greenville, South Carolina. Without any constraints, it just grew to a massive size.

I was talking to a buddy of mine the other night and he told me that cut out a raft of friends. Mainly because they didn’t like the fact that he was changing.

As he was telling me this, I remembered Johnny and alla the other friends that I cut loose throughout the years. That same time that I cut him loose, I cut a mutual friend of ours loose too.

He had accused me of trying to ruin his business but I told him that I was a seasoned lawyer; if I wanted him shut down, he’d be shut down.

Me: I found it insulting that he thought I would try to shut him down and fail versus actually have him shut down.
Him: (laughing) That’s funny. What happened next?
Me: I told him the truth –  that his punishment was that he didn’t get to hang out with me. That’s punishment enough.

They were all holding me back in one way or another and I couldn’t have that. I couldn’t allow that.

Life limits you enough; you don’t need those around you holding you down too.

My friend’s bummed that he had to cut them out but I think we both knew he had to.

After all, we’re the average of the five people that we spend the most time with and these people – all good guys – just didn’t see the world the way he did. It’s as simple and complex as that, because your friends mirror you.

Your friends have to grow with you or you’re left with only two unpleasant options:

      1. Not grow.
      2. Outgrow them.

He picked the latter.

The ending of any relationship is sad, the more meaningful the relationships are, the sadder the ending is. I should know.

Me: You ok?
Him: I think so. I feel free, I don’t want to go back to the way I was.
Me: And you shouldn’t want to. Trying to be better than you were yesterday isn’t something you should ever be ashamed of.

Location: today, being threatened with a linguini
Mood: better
Music: tell myself to be better and I just can’t help but hope (Spotify)
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A Non-Linear System

Checking in

One of my oldest and dearest friends called me the other day.

Me: What’s up? How’ve you been?
Him: (laughing) OK. I heard about your uncle and your anniversary and I wanted to check in on you.
Me: Thanks man, it’s been a rough few weeks.
Him: I know, that’s why I’m calling. (later) I should mention that I was in the ER two weeks ago. They’re still not 100% what happened but I was there for five days.
Me: Holy shitballs, what happened?
Him: I was feeling pain in my stomach like crazy so I went to the ER and told the attendant that I was in a tremendous amount of pain. Like a 7 or 8. He said, “You don’t look like you’re in a lot of pain.”
Me: What did you say?
Him: I told him, “That’s cause I’m not a whiney-ass bitch.”
Me: (laughing) Yeah, that sounds like you.

A large dose of antibiotics cleared him out enough that they didn’t have to cut him open. But he’s gotta go back for more tests.

Him: I didn’t wanna tell you because…
Me: Dude, the past two weeks, I was a whiney-ass bitch. It’s good you didn’t tell me. I absolutely wouldn’t have handled it well.
Him: (quietly) Then I’m glad I didn’t tell you.

He’s been through his own stuff. He’s one of the people that I told you lost his mother recently. He understands grief.

Me: The fucked up thing is that, unlike most people, I understand that life is a non-linear system. I get that. Bad things happen and the life you expect isn’t promised you. But…I never expected my life – and Alison’s – to be quite so non-linear.
Him: It is a non-linear system, yeah. But we have some things like our family and good friends.
Me: You know, if there is a god, he fucking hates us. Or maybe he’s just a racist asshole.
Him: (laughing) Maybe, Logan. Maybe.

Location: today, walking with a friend in the sun, looking for Joe
Mood: non-linear
Music: ah shit, am I winner yet? (Spotify)
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Party of Two

How real it seems

It was a surreal weekend just because my pipes were banging like no tomorrow so I couldn’t get any good sleep.

A random tenant ringing my doorbell in the middle of the night to complain about the laws of thermodynamics didn’t help matters.

Me: It’s a closed system so that that with every rise in temperature, there’s a commensurate rise in pressure. We have to be below X pounds per square inch, which we are right now.
Her: (irritated) What happens if the pressures goes above that level?
Me: The boiler explodes and we all die, either from the explosion itself, or the subsequent collapse of the building. I’m going back inside now.

Saturday morning, met up with a whole raft of buddies for an early morning roll at a friend’s place. Pez and her fella came and I rolled with her. She came to win.

Her: (catches me in an armbar)
Me: Don’t do it – I have a child!
Her: (laughs) Like I care.

The same fella that gave me a lift last time gave me a lift back this time but only to the station, cause I felt bad. I went past Lviv’s joint; she’s actually moving back home permanently so she’s been hitting me up to see how I’m doing.

Her: I just had this weird thought on my walk that every husband has been rejected by some other chick in the past.
Me: I have this similar thing that’s part of a joke I heard: “For every girl you meet, someone out there is thinking, “Man, not my problem any more.”

Mouse missed the kid so she came by on Sunday to spend about an hour with him; it gave me a chance to dash off to the supermarket to prep for the snowstorm that’s coming.

There’s something about being a single parent in the city that I find so anxiety-producing. If something happened to me, the kid would have to find a way to get in touch with someone.

Me: Did you have fun?
Him: Yes! We had silly time and serious time. (thinking) I love her.
Me: I understand that.

Speaking of anxiety-producing, a woman I met the other day who has a kid the same age as mine wrote me to tell me that her sitter got COVID.

Her: It wasn’t good, was it?
Me: You don’t want it, lemme tell ya.

That made me revisit this entry I wrote about my getting COVID last year. Man, I felt so lonely and scared that time. Literally thought I was going to die.

I reread that part where Alison visited me in a fevered dream and it made me cry. Because I remembered how real it seemed.

Did I tell you that I wrote out a goodbye letter to the kid on my phone while I was on the floor? I looked at it recently and it was sad and disjointed. I was thinking of cleaning it up and posting it here. Maybe.

Mouse wrote once that she felt that I came across as lonely in terms of friends but that’s not at all what I feel. I feel lonely in terms of family. It’s hard, being a party of two.

Him: Is anyone coming by for dinner?
Me: No, it’s just me. Is that ok?
Him: Yes! Can I have some ice cream for dessert?
Me: (laughing) So close, kid. So close. Have an orange.
Him: (sadly) OK, if you say so.

Location: home
Mood: exhausted
Music: my heart says, follow through (Spotify)

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Too little is better than too much

We know our own

We had a gas scare in the area that meant we were waiting for an all-clear for a while so I brought him with me to the supermarket.

I dunno why I’m unable to talk to him like he’s a kid. I just…can’t. I’ve never been around kids before.

Him: What does it mean that a banana’s not ripe?
Me: An unripe banana has large molecules called oligosaccharides which are too big to digest. When a banana ripens, those oligosaccharides break down into simpler glucose molecules that you can digest, which manifest as the brown dots on the skin, which – as you can see – are not there.
Him: What happens if you eat something that’s not ripe?
Me: Bad things, kiddo. Bad stomach things.
Him: Oh. Ok, papa.

As I write this out, all I can think is, “Hopefully, he’ll have friends.” Then again, I didn’t growing up and I turned out fine.

Fine(ish).

Mostly fine.

Alison thought I was great, albeit with a giant, giant head.

Speaking of friends, I’ve been helping a buddy with a new hobby; something that I used to do years ago but just stopped doing for a variety of reasons. But he loves it. He gave me a buzz today.

Him: I met one of our kind today.
Me: Get outta here. How?
Him: At the gym. I was just making small talk and I mentioned what I do in my spare time.
Me: And what did he say?
Him: (laughing) He said demons know their own.

On that note, my only friend in that life’s been MIA since COVID. Wanna know the crazy thing? I don’t even know his real name after 20 years.

How’s that for a kick in the head?

Finally, a girl I’ll call Curls is going to start teaching the kid to fight. I’ve been chatting with a ton of people – including two of the highest ranking people in kali – about how to train this boy to be safe.

And the grand poo-bah told me: Remember too little training is better than too much at that age.

He’s the main man so I took his word to heart. Plus, I think the kid’ll have more fun with Curls and Chad than me.

Between the friends and family, I wonder if I’m better with people around or not.

After all, men go crazy in congregations,…

Location: home, making steak for my son, who’d rather have a bologna sandwich
Mood: tired
Music: …they only get better one by one. (Spotify)
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Remember who survives

Dissected and discussed

Him: What’s wrong?
Me: Papa’s seen things like this before, and it’s…it’s never good.
Him: Are you scared?

We were doing his math problems when I stopped and watched the news.

Copyright AP

When 9/11 went down, I remember almost every minute of it. I called my brother and woke him up, much to his annoyance. But that annoyance turned to horror and disgust once he and I slowly realized what was happening.

Together, on the phone, our worlds changed. I was glad to have shared that moment with him.

Copyright AP

I felt that today watching the television with my son. That disgust and horror, knowing that I was watching history unfold with him – something that will be dissected and discussed for years, decades, centuries to come.

And he and I saw it together.

And yet, for all the lessons of history, it’s always the mindless mob that repeats it, again, and again, and again.

Copyright AP

But, I was glad to have shared this with my family. Just as I was glad to share the horrors of 9-11 with my brother.

I feel I owe this boy all the knowledge I’ve accumulated in my otherwise unremarkable life. That’s the debt I owe him as his father, what all good parents owe their children.

It’s sad, the lesson I gave him today was one that I was hoping I wouldn’t have to tell him until years from now. But I suppose he saw the unease on my face.

Me: I’m concerned. There’s a difference. Lions are bigger and stronger then people. So are bears and…giraffes (Editor’s note: I wasn’t ready for this conversation, giraffes were the only big thing I could think of besides whales – I shoulda said whales). But people are always the most dangerous because we can out think alla them. The smarter you are, the safer you are. Remember that. Remember who survives. The intelligent survive.

Copyright AP

Location: home, watching the tube like it was porn. Which I suppose it is.
Mood: horrified
Music:
Do you believe in what you see?
(Spotify)
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Meant to be

You should have picked 7

Me: That’s me in Germany.
Him: You look exactly the same. What are you a vampire?!
Me: (laughing) Here, take this belt, it’s too big for me.
Him: I think I like that (mustard) colour.
Me: Good. Basic black is for basic bitches.

I’ve got a small group of people that I mentor. I remember being young and not knowing a thing about anything, really.

My first seismic shift happened when I met my first real girlfriend. As a poor kid from Queens, she was the daughter of a connected restaurateur. Our first date, she brought me to a restaurant at Rockefeller Center where a burger was $20 (a fortune at the time).

She also gave me a Fendi automatic watch for Xmas when I was 17. She basically taught me how to dress. She was pure evil, but she changed me for the better in many regards.

Then, when I was college, I met Buckley who first me taught me about computer and networks. That was life-altering. I just wished him a happy birthday tonight.

Him: Thanks! It’s the end of my 48th trip around the sun. I’m thankful that we’re still on this ride together
Me: Jesus Christ. I met you when we were teenagers. Welp, the world is definitely better with you in it, homie.

Cappy made sure I had a place to live and helped me make life-long friends that I still consider my safe-harbor. He just called me too.

Him: We’ll stop by on the 26th with clothes for the boy.
Me: I’ll be here.

I also met Joe who let me crash in his pad off Times Square for $300 a month. Yup, you read that right. We were roomies for years after college and he taught me how real New Yorkers lived in Manhattan. A woman I met and chat with regularly last year is best friends with his ex-wife. What a small world.

While in Manhattan, I met Bobby, Johnny, and the Devil, who introduced me to the clubs and the colorful side of NYC life.  They also taught me how to dress and walk into an expensive restaurant and not feel out of place. All three are gone for my life now. I only miss one of them and hope he’s still alive.

I dated the doctor, who got me into this building, and worked with me to buy it – along with her mom. We all actually still talk because we’re part of the same tribe.

I met my old boss at CNET, Kirk, who taught me sales and tech and why a naturally aspirated straight-6 engine is so cool. I also met Jim there, who threw me into the legal tech fire and got me meeting with CEOs and fighting fortune 100 companies (I won).

After everything went down with Alison, he sent me on a trip to Bermuda.

My boss, whom I just chatted with today as well, taught me how to be a better lawyer, far beyond anything I learned in law school. He also sued my biggest frenemy for me ages ago. We won that too.

Paul and Will helped me end up with Alison. I just saw Paul today.

Me: Man, that hair’s still wild.
Him: Yeah, I gotta see a barber somehow.

And, of course, there was Alison herself. All the blog entries from her first appearance to this one was her influencing my life. She still does; she reminds me what I’m worth.

People try to convince me that I’m not worth all that much, but she thought I was just tops.

On that note, a touchstone of my life has always been to leave people better off having met me than not. Those people left me better off; most by coming into it, some by coming in and leaving.

The hope is that I can help some people figure out who they were meant to be.

And then maybe I can take my lessons and help the one I love most in the world become who he’s meant to be.

Him: I picked 11.
Me: You shoulda picked 7. Because that’s the most likely number with two dice.
Him: Can I go now?
Me: (laughs) Sure.

Location: home, dreaming of family
Mood: hopeful
Music: They say through time I’ll find some healing but the clock goes slow (Spotify)
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