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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I’d be ok with that

We know our own

This is a video of my son on Xmas morning. He was a bit excited.

Cappy came by with his wife and two kids, like he said,  to drop off a ridic amount of clothes and toys for the boy.

Cappy: Heads up! Planning on stopping by your place Saturday enroute upstate so we can drop off some more clothes and books.
Me: Thanks for thinking of us!

It was nice seeing them, even if it was just for a moment. We’ve known each other since we were 16.

On that note, I had dinner with a friend the other night. He told me that when 2020 started, he was worried about his future. But, in many ways, 2020 was one of the best years – if not the best year – of his life.

Him: I feel like I’m seeing the world for the first time, on my own terms.
Me: Picture Athens. And other parts of Greece. There are statues everywhere. What colour are they?
Him: White?
Me: They’re white now. But when people were contemporaries of them, they were all coloured. We see what they look like now, not what they were originally. That’s the thing: People will look at you and think this is how you’ve always been, when it’s what you made yourself.

It’s like that story I told you about the colour of the sun.

We don’t see the full picture of what someone or something is. Only what makes it through to us.

I told him that the person he knows now as Logan, wasn’t the person that Alison knew. It wasn’t the person that my other friends knew. I’d changed so much throughout the years.

Or, rather, the years changed me so much. In some ways for the better, in some ways not. Not at all.

Every once in a while, I remember who I used to be, the life I used to lead. Before Alison. With Alison.

I’ve been thinking of an old friend of mine who’s not on any social media and he just disappeared after 2019.

He was someone that saw me and helped me change. I suppose I wonder where he is because certain people bring out certain things in us that only they can bring out.

He remembers me when I was…colourful. I miss being colourful, at times. This is what I looked like when we met.

Minus the colour.

Him: Most people live their lives of quiet desperation, Logan.
Me: And you?
Him: I live my life without anything or anyone controlling me. I could leave in an hour and be in a tuk-tuk in Cambodia tomorrow and no one and nothing would stop me.
Me: The girl I’m seeing…
Him: (laughs) Heartgirl?
Me: (nodding) Heartgirl. I’d go where ever she was.
Him: What happened to Dresden and Berlin, Logan? I know you. You’d never be happy with just one girl.
Me: I would be. With the right girl I’d be happy. I’d give everything up for my person. Dresden and Berlin are just cities. She could be my person.
Him: She would control you. Love controls people. The moment someone controls you, you wouldn’t be safe.
Me: I’d be okay with that.

He was right about not being safe.

I suppose demons know their own.

Location: home, with daiquiris
Mood: very drunk
Music: my past now, like my house, was always made of glass (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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IOQ: Indicators of Quality

Zippers, Steak, or Chicken?

The rest of the weekend was pretty quiet. Mouse started a new job so, even over the weekend, she was busy with one thing or another. Still, we did have a pretty nice weekend until she had to head back home.

Nice being a relative term.

Her: I was looking through some of our chats and…we sound psychotic.
Me: What do you mean?
Her: Because in between texts, I guess we end up seeing or talking to each other. Like, one set of texts is like, “I hate you, I never want to talk to you ever again!” and the next is like, “Do you want steak or chicken for dinner?”
Me: Did we decide on steak of chicken?

A buddy of mine is looking to upgrade his wardrobe over Black Friday and I told him that, while I do have the occasional name-brand product, I almost never purchase anything based on names.

Instead, I look for (a) clothes that fit me well that are (b) made of quality materials. I told him that I figure out the latter through indicators of quality.

Stupidly simple, just like my three-step life algorithm, but you’d be surprised how many people mess this up too.

For example, whenever I buy clothes that have zippers on them, I look for YKK zippers. This is because YKK makes really, really good zippers that cost more than regular zippers.

So when I see two things that I like equally well, but one has a YKK zipper, I usually end up buying the YKK one.

See, I figure that, if a company cares enough to use higher quality zippers, they probably care about the details like stitching and fabric weave. It’s the little things that matter to me.

Cause it’s the little things that are indicators of quality.

Ditto for shoes. I look for full- or top-grain “leather uppers,” which are essentially real leather shoes, versus “man-made uppers,” which are basically plastic shoes. The brand rarely makes a difference to me.

My sneakers are almost always cloth so I can toss them in the washer on the reg. I can’t remember the last time I spent more than $30 for a pair of sneakers.

Someone just stopped me the other day to ask me where I got my powder blue ones from. I told him, honestly, on eBay.

The most expensive things I wear on the regular – I rarely wear my suits anymore – are my three no-name but bespoke leather jackets.

I picked the lining, the leather, and the color for alla them. Most importantly, for me, is that the sleeves and waist are tailored because I’ve got a pretty slim waist (pro) and short T-Rex arms (con).

And the one I like the most is my red one because it has white pick stitching.

Nobody notices this kinda stuff, but I do.

That’s the thing: As I get older, I find myself caring a lot less about things that other people notice and a lot more about things that I notice.

Man, I’m so bummed I ripped the sleeve on it.

Speaking of noticing things…

Me: Your hair is crazy!
Mouse: Yeah, it’s crazy like the 80s so it must remind you of your childhood.
Me: It kinda does.

Location: home, trying to get my apartment above 30% humidity
Mood: excited to see my son
Music: In her eyes I see the sea (Spotify)
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You get to decide

World Class

For the handful of readers that’ve been reading me since the beginning, I started this blog because I was dating this fairly well-known reporter and we broke up.

I thought I loved her, the way 20-somethings think love is like.

We had moments when I thought we might get back together but it wasn’t really what either of us really wanted. It wasn’t really her fault, I wasn’t a great boyfriend to her.

The ex, back when I was young and had a lotta hair.

I wanted Alison and I spent the next two years looking for her. When I met her, I was a lot nicer to her than the reporter because she was what I actually wanted.

Alison was everything I ever really wanted, actually. But that’s neither here nor there.

I mentioned to a friend that Jeff Bezos went to Princeton to study theoretical physics. The problem was that he was good at it.

Just like I was a good boyfriend to the reporter. I just wasn’t a great boyfriend to her. And Jeff Bezos wasn’t a great theoretical physicist.

The day Jeff Bezos realized that he was only ever going to be a good theoretical physicist was the day he started to become something great.

Asked another friend if he recognized anyone from the that picture you see above.

Him: Not really.
Me: Look at the fella in the middle. In the red sequins. That’s Dr. Dre.
Him: Holy shit!

Dr. Dre was part of a boy band called World Class Wreckin’ Cru (along with DJ Yella) and they sang funk. But WCWC was only ever going to ok – good-enough.

And Dre wanted to be great. He’s almost a billionaire right now. Even if you didn’t like NWA, or The Chronic, you probably like Beats headphones.

I told two people today that their setbacks might be setting them up for what they were really meant to be. Who they were really meant to be.

After all, you can’t shoot an arrow unless you draw it back first.

Alison’s favourite author was F. Scott Fitzgerald who once said: There are no second acts in American lives.

I always loved Alison and always hated Fitzgerald. Onea the reasons is that quote, which is fulla shit.

Him: I’ve been thinking a lot about who I used to be and I don’t want to be that guy anyone. I don’t think I can be.
Me: Good. This is your chance to be the person you know you can be. You get to decide what your life is like.

I only got to live the life I always wanted for five days.

But, I suppose that there are people out there that didn’t even get that.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Podcast Version
Location: early this morning, having some rum with my coffee
Mood: not well
Music: On silver stars I wish and wish and wish (Spotify)

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The unexamined life

Building walls

Back when I was still focused on Alison, there was a young man named Rich who was just enamored with Trump.

Him: He wants to build a wall, protect the workers here.
Me: But most people don’t come into the US in a way where a wall would work.

It turns out that, the wall had been conceived by two consultants “to get Trump to remember to talk about immigration.”

Put another way, it wasn’t meant to ever be a literal thing, it was just meant as a shorthand to keep someone as jawdroppingly stupid as Trump on the right page to have something to talk about with immigration.

But he took it and ran with it.

Even though it didn’t make any sense. Even thought it didn’t do what it was ostensibly meant to do – keep out immigrants – it did what it was really meant to do, which was keep Trump talking about immigration.

You’ll note that he never mentions it or the wall anymore. But I digress.

I got into a FB tiff with a friend because I told her that rent regulation didn’t work. Because it doesn’t.

Do you know why rent regulation was invented? It was invented to stop an emergency: To keep WWII veterans from coming back and getting price gouged.

That was the emergency.

Do you know of any other 75-year-old emergencies? Kinda really stretches the concept of an “emergency,” yeah?

Rent regulation goes against basic economic principles: If you take away 45% of the supply – NYC is roughly 45% rent-regulated – then the remaining 55% becomes astronomically high. It makes it so that the people lucky enough to get it, get cheap rent, while everyone else subsidizes them.

After all, non-market income doesn’t change the fact that everything else – utilities, taxes, mortgages – is a market expense.

Study after study shows that rent regulation doesn’t work.

Just like study after study shows the wall won’t work.

I mentioned this and she wrote back, “So, you just want to fuck the poor, Logan?”

Rich, when I told him the wall won’t work said, “So, you just want to steal jobs from Americans to give to criminals?”

I said once that I live by some basic rules: Is it true? seems like such a stupid one.

And yet, it’s the one that people mess up the most, I think.

My female friend wants to believe that rent regulation works and if I don’t believe that, I must want to “fuck the poor.”

Rich wants to believe that the wall works, and if I don’t believe that, I must want “to steal jobs from Americans to give to criminals.”

Funny thing is that they both defriended me.

That’s what happens if you don’t ask yourself that simple basic question: Is it true?

The less you ask that question, the more you find things that are actually true, repulsive.

The truth becomes grotesque.

When you live an unexamined life, you start becoming part of the world’s problems.

You build walls, to protect the comforting untrue things from the repulsive true things. And people just become another ugly thing you don’t want to see.

Eh, I don’t blame them.

I find myself grotesque and I’d defriend me too if I had the chance.

Podcast Version
Location: still in this fucking house
Mood: homesick
Music: I was just guessing at numbers and figures (Spotify)

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All the Wrong Ghosts

Keys

Johnny called me the other day. I didn’t pick up.

I called the Devil the other day. He didn’t pick up.

All the wrong ghosts haunt me.

Movie: “You have 212 more supplicants to see you.”
Me: (to wife) That’s why we have judges – they act on the king’s behalf because the king couldn’t possib…
Alison: I have to write down everything you tell me while watching movies and television and call it, Stuff my husband tells me during movies and television.

Did you ever wonder why “movie trailers,” are called that, even though they come before the movie?

Or why the Three Musketeers candy bar is called that, when it’s one single bar?

The former is because the trailer used to trail the main film but no one stuck around to watch them, so they switched it.

The latter’s because it used to be three different candy bars – chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry – until just after WWII when it cost too much to make all three flavours.

The thing is that these things just stick around, long after they make any sense to anyone.

In this post, I wrote about putting up a key holder for Alison and me. I never put up a picture of it because I was worried about someone being able to duplicate our keys from the picture so I never did.

But, after the gate incident with Pac, I replaced my locks, so it’s a moot point.

I took that picture up above with Alison on June 6, 2014 and told her that her spot would always be the first hook.

She hung up her keys at the end of October, 2015 and never took them down again. They’re still there now. If you ever come over, those are her keys.

I never touch them.

I always tell myself that this is the year I’ll take them down but I can’t bring myself to do it. Which makes no sense, I know.

But, neither do trailers or single chocolate bars called Three Musketeers.

It’ll be November soon. I’ll be drinking again then.

Who am I kidding? I’ve already started. Because.

Podcast Version
Location: this fucking house
Mood: not good
Music: Tell me you love me, come back and haunt me (Spotify)

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A Kettle of Hawks

Predators versus Prey

The last time I went to see the boy, there were these huge birds of prey in the back yard picking at the carcass of a deer.

Mother-in-law: City boy, you should go out and take a look.

So, off I went with my son.

I told the boy to be quiet so as not to scare off the kettle of hawks that were all around it. He obliged, in a manner of speaking – he was silent but also ran about like a madman so the birds flew off to nearby branches.

Presently, I brought the boy back in and went in for a closer look. I managed to see a bit more but they flew off nonetheless. It smelled like death.

When I went back in, my sister-in-law asked me if I saw anything.

Me: Not really, I think I scared them off.
Her: I wonder if they thought you were were hunting them.
Me: Probably, I have the eyes of a predator.
Her: What does that mean?
Me: All humans do. Our eyes are in front of us, so we can pinpoint things and hunt them down. Prey – deer, rabbits, etc – they have their eyes on the side of the heads so they can see animals like us coming.

Part of the reason I never mentioned the knife stuff – beyond calling it “fencing,” all this time, which isn’t strictly incorrect – was because most people are far removed from what we actually are: Animals.

Clothed animals, but animals nonetheless.

We’re predators. We’re meant to stalk and hunt things. That’s what we were created for. It’s neither a good nor a bad thing, it’s merely a thing.

Just like where our eyes are. We don’t think about it much – you probably never have – it’s just where they are.

Me: Guard up, boy.
Son: Do I have to?
Me: Yes.
Him: Why?
Me: Because this is what we do. Guard up.

And yet, I wonder what would happen if we had to be predators again? Some of us would do fine, I think. Most of us would struggle.

Although, truth be told, I honestly don’t know know how I would do if I had to fend completely for myself, for myriad reasons.

Me: Ouch!
Mouse: You stubbed your toe again?!
Me: (nodding in pain)
Her: Man, when you’re a klutz, you get hurt. When I’m a klutz, you get hurt…
Me: Still…can’t…talk…

Speaking of knife stuff, here’s the latest episode of Scenic Fights, Fight Scene Breakdown – the duel scene from The Man from Nowhere.

Podcast Version
Location: staying away from my damnable coffee table that’s trying to kill me
Mood: only ok
Music: just send me that ambulance (Spotify)

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McDonald’s Wars

Pan con tomate

Back when I still ate bread, Alison would make some pan con tomate for us every so often. The first time she ever did, I told her to grab a loaf from the bakery around the way.

Me: Make sure it’s one that has condensation on the plastic.
Her: What? Why?

There are things that I do that might not make any sense to you if you just heard it. But it does to me. Like not letting my kid play tug-of-war, for example. Or avoiding any country that doesn’t have a McDonald’s.

Not because I want to eat McDonald’s – which, let’s admit it, I do – but because the existence of a McDonald’s indicates a relative level of economic and social stability.

In fact, there’s an interesting and related fact: No two countries that have a McDonald’s have ever been at war with each other.

It’s like that M&Ms story I told you about; on the surface, some things I do seem silly, or downright stupid to people that don’t understand why I do what I do. But, I don’t generally care enough to explain myself.

    • I don’t go to doctors that wear ties.
    • I don’t like waiters that don’t write things down.
    • I won’t be friends with someone that cheats on their significant other.
    • I won’t debate anyone that leads with a logical fallacy.
    • I won’t start static with anyone with funny looking ears.

These are just some of the hundreds of random rules I live by that I don’t generally say out loud but keep in my head. Some just keep me from wasting time. Others keep me safe.

I met someone a little while back and she was super attractive, nice, etc.

But she was 20 minutes late and didn’t mention it. At all. At best, that means that she’s rude. At worst, it means that she has no concept of time management. And time is something that we’re all losing at a rate of 24 hours a day.

I’m running outta time to run out of.

Anywho, there are things in the world that I’m seeing that are setting off massive alarms in my head and I hope I’m wrong.

Which isn’t a huge stretch, I’m wrong a lot.

Here, though, I really hope I’m wrong…

Me: It’s an indication of freshness. When it’s old, there’s no condensation because it sat out long enough for it to evaporate. But, if there is condensation – even if it’s cool –  you know it was still recently baked because the condensation didn’t have time to evaporate.

Alison’s pan con tomate
1 loaf of crusty french bread, halved, lengthwise
3 tbsp EVOO
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
four medium plum tomatoes, cored
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

    • Take the halved loaf and brush it with the EVOO, you’ll have some left.
    • Cut the bread again, so that it’ll fit into your broiler and put it aside.
    • Take the tomatoes and, using a box grater, carefully gate the tomatoes on the side with the biggest holes until you’re left with skin. Toss out the tomato skins.
    • Mix in the garlic and some grinds of black pepper.
    • Put the bread in the broiler on high for two mins or so, should be lightly toasted.
    • Take it out and spoon the tomato mixture over the bread and drizzle what’s left of the EVOO over it. Sprinkle salt over the top.
    • Wait a minute or two before eating; the bread needs just a bit to soak up the tomato juices.

I made that from memory so I hope it’s right. Haven’t had that since the last time she made it for me.

Don’t think I will again.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier today, getting a flu shot from a guy without a tie
Mood: worried
Music: I can be so damn crazy but I know you like it (Spotify)
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