All sheen and no substance

Bet

Me: Sit down to eat your orange.
Boy: Why?
Me: I don’t want you to run around and choke on it.
Him: (rolling eyes) That’s never happened!

Don’t think things in the past are dispositive of things in the future, but I do think that they show probability.

Case in point, a month ago, wrote about the Empress Dowager and how the political corruption seemed eerily reminiscent of what’s going on in Ukraine now.

Back then, China’s navy – called the Beiyang Fleet – was supposed to be the largest fleet in Asia and the 8th in the world at the time.

According to all reports, it looked awe-inspiring.

But the basic purpose of a navy is to fight battles on the sea and, in this regard, it was all show. Because all the stuff you don’t see – ammunition, navigation tools, even basic training – was all lacking.

In other words, the Beiyang Feet was all sheen and no substance.

So, it seems the same with the Russian military machine.

Visually, its military looked formidable with modern looking tanks and such, but the less showy but equally important stuff was/is lacking.

Simple stuff like basic training, communication equipment, even navigation tools were all missing, which could explain how alla these career politicians like Putin could afford $700 million yachts.

Russian pilots are using store-bought GPS taped to their dashboards to navigate and Russian leaders are shooting their own wounded troops because they don’t have the basic medical supplies needed to save them.

And therein lies the problem with corruption, it hollows-out things of value from the inside so that everything looks good but it’s all for show.

Like I said, I don’t think things in the past are dispositive of things in the future, but I do think that they show probability.

Me: Past performance is no indication of future results. Sit down, eat your orange, and then you can play.
Him: Fiiiiine.

Me: Totally random but I’m gonna be taking my kid to Central Park on the east side on my bike today at around 5:30 or so if you’re out and about and want to randomly run into us.
Her: OMG, that sounds like so much fun!

Been biking around the city with the boy and we ended up on the East Side at some random playground not too far from the Counselor.

While we were there, the kid made friends with a little girl and they were having a pretty good time when I asked him to come over to do something for me.

He did and, presently, the little girl came over, put her hands on her hips, and exclaimed, “What’s going on here?! What’s taking you so long?”

That part made me laugh.

Counselor: I like her style.
Me: I can see the type of woman he’ll attract [in the future].
Her: Might run in the family.

It turns out that, of course, Heidi ended up going to Paris.

What’s with everyone heading to Paris, randomly?

Then again, I was actually planning on heading to Paris myself a few years back for some reasons that you wouldn’t believe if I told you.

I’m not even sure I believe it myself.

I laughed as I wrote this line because, man, I’ve been pretty starkers the past few years, lemme tell ya…

Pac: “Spam” stands for “specially proceed army meat.”
Me: Nope. It stands for “spiced ham.”
Him: Bet.
Me: $20 bucks says I’m not.
Tom: (looking it up) It stands for “spiced ham.”

As I said, I’ve been really busy lately, especially with Scenic Fights.

But, completely unrelated to it, Pac came by late two nights ago for me to fix up his laptop.

It was try number two, since the first time, we didn’t have the right items due to alla Apple’s proprietary nonsense.

We ended up trying to fix it for hours, without success. The thing about Pac is that he’s a man of his word. Without even asking, he Venmoed me $20 because of the Spam bet.

So, I told him I’d keep trying to fix his computer until it was done. It’s a gift for his dad, you see.

I know all about wanting to do stuff for people you care about.

Especially, when it comes to your parents.

And people that are more substance than sheen – like people that follow through with their commitments – get from me the most valuable thing I got besides the kid: My time.

Location: earlier tonight, just off Union Square, trying to rip off a friend’s lower leg
Mood: slightly less crazy
Music: Un peu naïve mais pas trop Pour ne jamais perdre la tête (Spotify)
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What gets wetter the more it dries?

Unseeing things

Him: What gets wetter the more it dries?
Me: A towel.
Him: Correct!

It’s been a weird week, which sounds about right. Like always, I need to sort it all out.

Her: I just want to be normal and boring: A job that I sort of hate, two kids that have too many activities, and a husband that knows that when I make a certain favorite dinner of his, it’s my silent I Love You.
Me: Let me get the kid down and I’ll give you a quick ring. 
Her: Not best time to speak.
Me: OK, then we’ll try at some point. I’m sorry things are so hard.
Her: Thank you. I feel like you understand better than anyone else
Me: Like I said, grief and I are old friends. Take care of yourself.

For all the other single parents out there, I honestly don’t know how you do it. I’m tired all the damn time. Him getting COVID and missing a week of school didn’t help matters.

Still, I’m grateful that his COVID experience was radically different than mine. He was happy as a clam and at full energy levels.

Him: What was the tallest mountain in the world before Mount Everest was discovered?
Me: Hmm, I don’t know.
Him: Mount Everest!
Me: Clever…

He’s so full of energy and curiosity that it’s hard to manage. But I’m trying to see the world as he does – full of wonder and mysteries to be solved.

Him: (walking outside with me) How does water get into our apartment?
Me: (stopping) Do you see that wooden barrel on the top of that building? Ok there are two pipes inside, one small pipe that sends water up to the barrel. The second pipe is bigger and…
Him: (later) There are wooden barrel everywhere, papa!
Me: That’s called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon; once you see something, you can’t unsee it.

Therein lies my problem with life. I’ve seen way too much. I know too much.

As much as I’d like to unsee things, most times I can’t. Which is why I value the ability to forget so much.

I spend a lotta my time actively trying to forget things and people. To survive everything I’ve survived, I have to leave so many things I once loved in the past.

Man, to be like this kid and see the world for the first time. To get a do-over.

Him: What are those lines in the street for?
Me: It’s so the cars don’t hit each other. They’re called “lanes,” and people try to stay in them to keep everyone else safe.

I’m not sure how I could possibly be more jaded. Shit, the entire month of May is a reminder of things I’ve lost and try to forget.

Him: What do you have to break to use?
Me: Eggs.
Him: Correct!

As much as I take care of the boy, the boy takes care of me as well.

I can be coldly dispassionate about things but, with children, that’s not healthy. So, I find myself trying to be in the moment with him as much as I can – with optimism and joy, which is pretty much him in a nutshell.

Him: What has four legs, is green and brown, and would hurt you if it fell off of a tree?
Me: (thinking) I don’t know.
Him: A pool table!
Me: (laughing) Well, that’s just silly.
Him: (giggling) I know! A pool table!

I know he doesn’t know that I’m faking it.

But I worry that, someday, he will.

See, while I know a shitton of nonsense, people escape me.

I don’t get people. While I’m great with people, I don’t understand people.

That’s a whole entry in itself.

In some ways, I’m great with the kid because I talk to him the way I talk to most of the world, for better or worse.

Few people get my full dispassionate cerebration, otherwise, I’d just be alone again, like I was when I was a kid.

Him: What eats apples and books?
Me: A bookworm!
Him: Correct!

I remember watching Dexter with Alison in Bermuda and wondering if she made the connection that both that character and I (to a much lesser degree) fake so much of being normal.

If she did, she never let on.

Suppose, in the end, it didn’t matter.

As for the kid, all I really want is for this kid to be better, and happier, than I. At the very least, I hope and expect that he’ll get along with people as well as I do but he’ll understand them in a way I don’t think I ever will.

If wishes were horses, yeah?

Him: What building has the most stories?
Me: A library!
Him: You’re good at these, papa!
Me: (nodding) I spent a lot of my life thinking, kiddo. A lot of time alone with my thoughts. Something that I hope you won’t have to do.

Location: the basement of my brain again
Mood: dreading Mother’s Day
Music: Are we out of the woods yet? (Spotify)
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Grief and I are old friends

Falling in love, repeatedly

The boy’s away for spring break so I’ve been catching up with people when I can.

Before he left, though, I went to his school for career day.

Me: OK, so I have few jobs I do. I’m a lawyer, I run a building, I own part of a gym, and I teach people how to fight. Which one do you…?
Kids: Fight!

That made me laugh. The boy looked so happy and proud of me, I coulda burst.

This fella – don’t remember who – once said that you don’t just love your kids, you fall in love with them. I’ll add to that: Repeatedly.

Gotta say, that’s spot on.

Him: Thanks for coming, papa!
Me: Sure. Thanks for being glad I came, kid.

 

Met someone recently that I’ll call Heidi. In many ways, she reminds me of Daisy; dealing with a lotta things, ranging from simple heartache to some serious horrors.

Her: It’s sweet that you’ll listen to a stranger. I’m sorry I’m crying.
Me: After my wife died, strangers listened to me. So, I figured I’d pay it forward. And you should never apologize to anyone for your honest emotions.
Her: Whatever happened with the last girl?
Me: (shrugging) We were awful to each other, in our own ways. I suppose –  not that it’s an excuse – that we were both trying to survive. Which is what you’re trying to do now: Whatever you need to do to survive.
Her: That’s the first helpful thing anyone’s told me.
Me: Unfortunately, grief and I are old friends.

Saw the Acrobat, briefly and I’ll just keep the details of that to myself. We’re both unmoored in the world, but for very different reasons.

I suspect we’re all looking for home, but she’s a leaf in the wind and I’m a ship on the waves.

Because of that, what we want for ourselves are two very different ideas of home.

Sunday, it was my birthday.

I’m 40-freaking-nine. I cannot believe it.

Him: Honestly, you’re like a vampire, Logan. I don’t think you’ve aged a day in the two decades I’ve known you.
Me: I always believed that I just aged slower than other people, for a buncha reasons. (thinking) But the last six years aged me more than any other time in my life, I think. So, I’m catching up.

Of course, I did the traditional Chinese breakfast of cooking a six-pound pork shoulder overnight and waking up early to make a Cuban Sandwich for myself with an overly sweet, hot cuppa joe.

Birthday brekkie of champions.

Her: You spent your birthday alone? (laughing) You need better friends. I would have taken you out.
Me: I know. I appreciate that. It’s fine. I’m not sure how good company I’d be, anywho.

My birthday always falls around Easter but this time it fell on Easter. I remembered that Alison made a whole weekend of plans for me once and we caught the Easter parade too.

This year, I wanted to see it alone.

But I didn’t quite make it – partly because Heidi called me, and partly because, I hit the grief button because Heidi called me and I couldn’t.

I was doing so well.

Maybe next year.

Location: home, baking four dozen high-protein chocolate chip cookies for him
Mood: allergic to life
Music: you are flowing like a river, washing right over my soul (Spotify)
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Dreaming of Revenge

A deadly diaspora

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.

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

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

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

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

This time around, a lot less so.

Him: Why can’t we just have McDonalds?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a long story and hard to explain.

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

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

Punching above our weight classes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give it a go?

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

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

That must be nice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And therein lies my own personal nexus with the matter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would she have Alison’s laugh?

 

 

Shit.

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

Location: earlier tonight, just off West End Avenue and W. 79th Street, waiting
Mood: so conflicted
Music: It’s my own design, it’s my own remorse (Spotify)
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Women don’t get that luxury, Logan

Horror and a buncha random texts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s less than ideal.

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

There’s definitely something in the air.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Actually, TBH, I’d rather not.

Location: waiting for the subway elevator
Mood: a bad mix
Music: wish that I could go back and say, “Hey, now or never” (Spotify)
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A Strange & Complicated Evening Pt 2: Putting on the Mask

Afraid of Yesterday

Me: Technically, any woman I meet is your competition and any man you meet is mine.
Her: (laughing) Oh, Logan…they’re not my competition.
Me: Fair.

It turns out the Counselor was in the same hospital, the same building, the same floor – the same wing – that Alison was during the early part of her illness.

Of course.

Felt that same feeling of “this can’t possibly be real,” that I felt for most/all of her sickness that I hadn’t felt in a really long time. It was an unwelcome but familiar feeling.

Dunno why but, I decided to go see the Counselor and – as if by auto-pilot – made my way from the gym to the Upper East Side.

That’s not true. I do know why I went to see her. There were two reasons, in fact, but more on that later.

Visiting hours were long closed but I managed to convince the guard to let me in after a solid 15 minutes of chatting with her. The truth is a powerful thing and I think the guard knew it would be good for the Counselor (and me) if I made it upstairs.

When I walked into the hospital, I was greeted with the same view that I first saw the day I first went there with Alison in that goddamn ambulance.

It was just missing the Christmas tree.

I walked past the same everything that I did all those years ago and tried to keep it together as I maneuvered my way past several security guards, nurses, and various support staff, alla whom noted that I didn’t have a Visitors Pass a solid hour after visiting hours ended.

I was clearly not supposed to be there. I suppose a bright red leather jacket doesn’t help matters.

But, after all that, I finally made it to her room and walked in.

As always, during times like this, I put on my mask: I pushed all that doubt to the side of my mouth, straightened my back, took a deep breath, put on a big smile, and walked in to see a set of pretty eyes.

Me: This is a terrible date venue you picked, I gotta say.

I settled onto the windowsill and looked out across the river to see the exact same view I saw all those years ago.

Me: (staring out) These windows don’t open all the way, you know?
Her: I didn’t.
Me: (nodding) Yeah. I tried to jump out of them years ago and I found that out.

It got a little darker than that but I was there to try to cheer her up, not bring her down.

As comedy relief, her roommate would let out a hacking cough (non-COVID related) every so often while we were in a deep conversation, which doesn’t sound funny but it was such an odd situation that it was.

There’s more, quite a bit more, but most of that’s her story and not mine to tell, as always.

I’ll just tell you that she’s probably going to be fine.

I was glad I went. Can’t remember the last time someone was that happy to see me. Forgot what it was like to have some kindness. That was probably the most attractive thing about her.

Her: It was sweet of you to come.
Me: (shaking head) No, not at all. I just wanted to make sure you were ok. You should get some rest.

So, that’s the first reason I went. Honestly couldn’t tell you if she was more grateful that I went or if I was more grateful that she let me see her.

The second reason, though, was that I’ve been forcing myself to not think of Alison for…years now. Think I knew that, if I went to that hospital, I’d be forced to think of her and remember her.

And I wanted that.

As I made my way downstairs, everything came rushing back at me at once. The smell of the place, the feeling of dread, it hit me as I felt as if it was December of 2015 all over again. Like it was yesterday.

By the time I got to the ground floor, I went straight to the same bathroom that I threw up in twice before over Alison and did it once again.

Honestly, though, after I cleaned myself off and left, I felt better.

I remembered Alison. I remembered that version of me; the one that was a new father, trying desperately to save his wife he loved more than anything.

Not knowing that they were all already fucked.

My gift, if you will, is to forget. It’s a survival mechanism and part of why I have this blog; because I know I’ll forget things. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here right now.

After all, fear is forward, no one is afraid of yesterday.

I walked outside, hopped a cab home, and was neck-deep in my thoughts when the Acrobat called.

Her: How was your night?
Me: You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.

It was a short convo. I was worried about the Counselor, which sounds silly as she’s a stranger to me. But she didn’t deserve anything that had happened to her.

After a while, I shot a text to my mother-in-law asking if she was awake and she replied yes.

So, I rang her and told her what happened.

Me: I try so hard to forget Alison. And I feel guilty about that. But I just wanted you to know that…I loved her so much, mom. (deep breath) I loved her so much.
Her: (gently) I know, Logan. Try to get some rest.

Location: just north of Solas, being tossed out like garbage
Mood: don’t even know how to begin to tell you
Music: I’m gonna need somebody (Spotify)
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PSA: The seed and the soil

That’s on you

Him: Oh, have you met Logan? He runs a gym downtown.
Me: Technically, I’m still a lawyer and part-owner of a gym downtown.
Her: How did that happen?
Me: Very quickly, actually.

The hits just keep coming. My buddy Mark – a fellow Cornell grad – just had kidney surgery to remove a cancerous growth. While digging around, they found another cancerous growth on the other kidney.

That’s three people I know with life-threatening illnesses.

People think it’s strange that I’m in the gym four days a week but I know people there even more.

And these are *highly* successful people, including a world-famous actor, a billionaire, and a former NFL player/Fortune 500 CEO, amongst others.

Curt is someone else that’s in the gym six days a week and he’s a personal trainer that told me the following:

Logan, you have to lift weights now because if you don’t, you’ll have to lift weights later.

It’s true. I missed PT for personal reasons today but now, I’m in it. Cannot wait for summer.

Some lady’s gonna have a fine summer, lemme tell ya…

Her: I’m better looking as a woman than you are as a man.
Me: (laughing) You think so?
Her: With this chest and this booty?
Me: Fair. I suppose we’ll see.

On that note, like I’ve said repeatedly, alla your life’s problems can be divided up into health, wealth, and relationships.

Outta those three, health is the one that gets the most short-shrift.

But if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s something that I know all too well: Life is nasty, brutish, and short.

So, if the best bulwark against cancer, age, and injury is good diet and exercise, dunno why everyone doesn’t do it. It’s the fountain of youth.

I should know.

Her: You’re semi-retired? How old are you?!
Me: Oh, we’re playing the game. How old do you think I am?
Her: 32?
Me: (laughing)
Her: No? 38?
Me: (laughing more)

Did you know that Taco Bell has a Taco Lover’s Pass? It’s 30 days of free tacos for $10. Of course I bought one the day it came out. I’ve literally eaten 2-10 tacos a day for two weeks straight now.

But I balance it out with: (a) nuts, oatmeal, salads, or fish for my other meals and, (b) a lotta home-cooked meals, and (c) a ton of time at my gym, Paxibellum.

Look you’re gonna have to pay the price for the things you do at some point. I’d rather pay it now on my terms, than later on someone/something else’s terms.

The basic concept of cancer can be summed up in one phrase: The seed and the soil.

We ALL have cancer cells in our bodies – that’s the seed with our bodies being the soil.

      • If you take strong seeds and toss them onto rocky sand, they probably won’t sprout.
      • If you take crappy seeds and toss them into the most fertile land, ditto.

Your goal in health should be reduce the health of the seeds while making your body as inhospitable to those seeds as possible.

Luckily diet and exercise takes care of both.

Note that shitty luck has a hand in this. Alison had a superb diet and was an athlete all her life, which is part of why it was so gut-wrenching for me to watch her suffer and die.

But, in the end, that’s the one thing you can’t do anything about. You might as well affect what you can, when you can.

You need to reduce the amount of cancer cells in your body as much as possible and that’s done via diet and exercise.

Some turmeric spiced pork loin I made with some homemade veggie soup to balance out the month of Taco Bell.

Gonna leave this kinda heavy post with something funny my son said today as we headed to my gym; note that he’s just in first grade, which makes this all the more funny.

Me: We’re late!
Him: I’m already ready! That’s on you!

That made me laugh like you wouldn’t believe.

God, I love that rug rat.

Location: today, getting stabbed on W 18th Street
Mood: frick’n freezing, yo!
Music: What a thing, to be human (Spotify)
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And I pay it

The keys to the kingdom

My son’s memory is pretty insane. My SIL and I once went to a parking deck and I thought we parked the car on the fourth floor, my SIL on the 3rd, and my son thought we parked on the second.

Me: There’s no way [it’s on the second floor].
Him: It was the second.
Her: That’s impossible.
Him: (10 minutes later) I tooooooold you!
Her: How is that possible?
Me: I have no idea. He’s ridic.

This past Friday, I completely forgot that he was due for his second shot but got an email reminder. I quickly had to cancel a bunch of plans and reschedule things to make this appointment.

Her: How could you forget your son’s appointment?
Me: Lady, you wouldn’t believe the stuff I’m forgetting these days. I’ll make it up to you.

Picked the boy up from school and, after his music lesson, sat him down and put my hands gently on his shoulders:

Me: OK, kid. I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we’re having dinner together and you can have anything you wan…
Him: McDonalds!!
Me: (laughing) OK, a deal’s a deal. We’ll get McDonalds. (deep breath) OK, the bad news is…
Him: More bad news? I’m already getting a shot!
Me: Wait, how did you know that?
Him: It’s the 3rd. I’m getting it at 6PM tonight.
Me: Whoa…that’s…whoa…

Legit, he remembered something that was mentioned in passing by the nurse, after he’d gotten both the flu and COVID shots. Crazy.

He didn’t even wince when he got stuck, let alone cry.

Me: Are you ok? Did it hurt?
Him: (shrugging) Not really. Can I have candy?
Me: Heck, yeah!

This is not to say that alla my conversations this weekend were easy. A buddy of mine asked to meet up.

Him: We need to talk.
Me: Do I need to be armed for this conversation?
Him: I hope not.
Me: Fair. (taking a seat) What’s going on?

It was unpleasant but not altogether bad. It was half about me and half about another buddy of ours.

Me: People like him never understood the power of these tools. [Our buddy] who mocked [the three-step apology] thinks it’s a joke, but you see its power now.
Him: It’s gold. It’s amazing.
Me: (nodding) And that’s why he’ll never be as good as you, in health, wealth, or relationships. None of them will. Because they think all these things I do are an inconsequential joke. But you know – you’ve seen – that these are the keys to the kingdom.
Him: I know I owe you a debt for these things.
Me: (shaking head) That’s where you’re wrong. You don’t owe me a debt; I’m repaying a debt I owe you. You gave me something I wasn’t entitled to, that put me in your debt. And I pay it.
Him: I appreciate that. (later) I see your rage and I’m sorry because I know where it comes from. But…
Me: (interrupting) I know. I’m well-aware…

The next day, I had a young new sitter come by to take care of the kid while I ran a seminar at Paxibellum given by the big man in my system, Tuhon Bill McGrath of Pekiti Tirsia International.

It was the first of what I had hoped would be regular guest seminars at the gym. We were packed to the seams with attendees, which was impressive…

Attendee 1: I remember reading, “Logan Lo,” and I thought, where do I know that name from? And then I remembered: You’re the Scenic Fights guy! I’ve seen every video!
Me: (laughing) That’s great. Thanks for the support.
Him: How long have you been doing this for?
Me: 17 years?
Him: What? How old are you!?
Me: Ah, we’re playing the game…

…but, Chad and I are making more moves with the gym that we didn’t anticipate – some annoying but some really quite cool and unexpected.

I’ll tell you all about them when and if they happen.

Attendee 2: I just want to say that I’m a big fan of Scenic Fights.
Attendee 3: (overhearing) Me too!
Me: And here I thought it was all just my mom leaving comments. Thanks, fellas.

Afterward, Bill and I took a walk back to his car.

Me: I never got a chance to say, “Thank you,” for all the kindness and support you’ve all shown me after everything went down.
Him: We’re old school, Logan. We try to take care of each other.
Me: I appreciate that, sir. I really do. Thank you.

Location: earlier tonight, looking for ice for my wrist
Mood: grateful
Music: yeah, that’s my kid / did I leave a better life for the rest? (Spotify)
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