Me: The problem is that you’re homeless and a stranger in a strange land. You’re not valued by him and never will be. But your friends and family are here. Her: I can’t afford to live in NYC any more, Logan. I don’t have a job and I’m not 20 anymore. Me: Plenty of people – your parents and mine – came here with less and spoke even shittier English than you… Her: (laughs) Me: …they all survived. They all thrived. It’s time.
A dear friend of mine, who moved away to be with the man of her dreams suddenly found herself in a nightmare.
She gave up everything – her home, her friends, her family, and her job, to be with this fella.
That’s her story to tell so I’ll end that part here.
But I told her things that I never told anyone.
Never told you either.
Because I not only lost both my families in 2017, but I also lost my career.
Never told you, but when I lectured in Malaga, over a decade ago, my topic was the right of publicity versus the right of privacy.
With the rise of computational power, we’re rapidly coming to a point where we don’t need an actual actor or singer but merely their likeness to create art. And that will open up a whole new world of possibilities, both for good and bad. – Logan
Watched one lawyer talk about it, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t angry and jealous – because the focus of my entire practice was going to be about the intersection of the rights of publicity and privacy.
I knew a decade ago that this current AI crisis was coming and I wanted to be at the forefront of it all.
Her: Holy shit, you were ahead of the curve, Logan! Me: Yeah, by over a decade. I’m gonna be honest with you, I threw myself a pity party last week thinking that coulda been me.
That fucking cancer took almost everything from Alison and me.
12 years of work, poof. Gone.
I’m still a lawyer but I’m not…that lawyer anymore.
Me: I’m not making light of your situation. It’s gonna be shitty and hard. But I just want you to know that you can survive this. You can survive this blow. Because, somehow, I did. Her: (silence then laughing) I can’t believe I’m saying this but you’re making a lotta sense. Me: (laughing) I’m as surprised as you are. (pause) Listen, X, it’s done. That place isn’t your home, not anymore. But here, you matter to a lotta people. Me included. Her: (sighing) OK, Logan. Lemme think about it. Me: Do that. It’s time to come home.
This time, though, he was so the Firecracker, the kid, and I went down to Chinatown to grab some food and headed to the Surgeon’s pad for another get-together.
Steel cooked everything…
…while the Surgeon made some mixed drinks.
Him: Do you want rum or som- Me: Rum! Him: (laughing) No surprise there.
The Firecracker was a big hit with Steel’s wife.
Her: We love her!!! I am keeping her!
The Firecracker and I tried to limit our drinking and we did an ok job. It was hard because the surgeon does mix some killer drinks.
He and Steel own a few bars in the city.
Firecracker: Wait, I’ve been to that place. That’s yours? Steel: Yup. Which one? Her: There’s more than one? The uptown one? Him: Oh, we have another one downtown. Me: We’ll head out there onea these days.
We did, however, eat continuously since we arrived. Especially since there was a ton of sushi for the adults, alla Chinese food I brought, and pizza for the kids.
Me: I want a slice of pizza. Him: What about the carbs? Me: I already ate so much sushi that I figure that I’m in it.
Speaking of carbs, the Surgeon’s wife pulled out a whole stack of Klondike bars. I’d not had one since I was a kid so I took one.
The next day, I hosted one of the kid’s classmates and then brought the two of them to another class outing at a playground near me.
I’m looking forward to spending the summer hanging out with kid and maybe having the Firecracker for company.
My summers have been pretty sad lately.
I need to change that.
Location: the Barnes & Noble on the UWS, realizing they blocked all the windows so people wouldn’t sit on the sills anymore
Mood: hungry and dreaming of apple pie
Music: The skies are wide open (Spotify) Subscribe! Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
Her: (finishes singing a song and turns to look at me) Do you think I’m weird? Me: (nodding) Oh, yeah. Totally. Her: Oh… Me: (laughing) You’re adorkable!
This past weekend, I had a few things really stop me in my tracks. None were what you might call, “good,” but neither were they “terrible.”
They were, however, things that made me radically reassess my life and look at things very differently.
All three are gonna mean that my life is gonna change drastically and I’m not sure how it’ll all shake out.
The smallest of the three – and the only one I can really tell you about – is that the Firecracker and I got into our first real big fight but it was really about nuthin.
Honestly though, most fights are about nuthin, if you think about it in the grand scheme of things.
In any case, my takeaway, though, was her style of fighting. It worked well with my style of fighting such that the whole things – while arduous – was over and done by the evening. That’s a net positive.
I suppose, in life, you gotta take all the net positives you can.
The other two events I’m still sorting it all out in my head. But really big changes are ahead for the Lo family, lemme tell ya.
Ultimately, though, I’m trying to go back to my old mindset from a decade ago and accepting the world as it is, not as I wish it to be.
It’s funny, suppose I started upgrading my OS ages ago but it got interrupted with alla the tragedies.
It never stopped loading into my brain, though.
It’s still loading now, I think.
At least there was lots of music all weekend, between the Firecracker and my son singing.
This is his latest – Emily, another parent from his school, thinks he would rock the talent show. He says he’s too shy.
I dunno, I think he’d be pretty good.
Him: (sadly) Do I have to do it? Me: Only if you want, kid. Him: Oh. OK. I don’t want to. Too many people. Me: Maybe someday. Him: (nodding) Maybe.
Her: I’m sorry about your wife. Me: So am I. All my gods look like her. Her: What does that mean? Me: Nuthin. (brightening) Let’s play a game…
It’s the first day of 2023.
I’m writing this on a computer that I first built when Alison was still alive and upgraded repeatedly, such that there’s nuthin left of the original computer, just like I talked about in my Ship of Theseus.
One thing that I did after the hack was to upgrade the operating system of that computer from Windows 10 to Windows 11, something I did with great reluctance.
Still working through the pros and cons of that, but I note that I went through Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 on this machine before finally arriving here.
Just like the philosophical exercise of the Ship of Theseus, the question remains if there’s anything left of the original computer that I originally built all those years ago.
Speaking of philsophy, this blog has, more than anything, been my own personal repository of how I see the world, kinda like Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations.
Suppose my operating system has always been based on German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who was introduced to me in my 20s by the Devil.
One of my earliest blog entries spoke about a quote that served me well my entire life: With increased intelligence comes increased capacity for pain.
When Alison, my dad, and another relative got sick – all at the same time – and I essentially gave up my career(s) to try (and fail) to save them, then lost Gradgirl and Mouse, I think that the truth of that statement is why I’m here writing you now.
Schopenhauer’s worldview was that life is, at its core, suffering.
Life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom. – Arthur Schopenhauer
At no point in this blog – through all the highs and lows – did my baseline OS change; it was always run on some variant of Schopenhauer.
And you know my feeling about those who’s worldview never changes. I can’t be a hypocrite.
All this, despite the fact that some baseline beliefs of his contradicted directly with my own heart’s desire.
For example, I’ve always wanted family and family, by definition, requires children. Yet Schopenhauer, like my billionaire buddy, feels that “Bearing children into this world is like carrying wood into a burning house.”
Schopenhauer, as the base operating system of my life, was ill-equipped to deal with the overwhelming sadness and despair of it all, for various reasons.
For example, Schopenhauer’s world view of Wille zum Leben respected love like one respects a dangerous animal, but it doesn’t deal with love, which I both respect and submit to.
To Schopenhauer, love is an illogical means to an important end: The extension of our very species.
I understand that but, having loved and lost in the profound ways I have, I think it’s an idealized version of what humans are actually capable of.
While it’d be nice to live a life purely pragmatically, the way humans are designed, it’s not practical. Because emotions exist and aren’t going away.
I need an OS that reflects that reality.
The Devil’s gone from my life and, while I appreciate all that he’s shown me in the world, the OS he helped build for me doesn’t work with who I am now, especially given all that’s happened.
Moreover, I want more for my son. Assuming that Schopenhauer was correct, and our universe is only what we experience through our mental facilities – our operating system – then I plan on giving my son the best one I can.
After close to 30 years of working on myself, I think that answer lies in Stoicism. Not “stoicism” with a lower-case “s,” rather the full philosophy of Zeno, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca.
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts. – Marcus Aurelius
I don’t think, at all, that Schopenhauer was wrong, or that the last three decades of my life were wasted. Rather, I think that it’s served its purpose for what I needed for that time and that version of me. Now, I have a new purpose – the boy – and that requires a new way of thinking.
We suffer more often in imagination than in reality. – Seneca
It’s still early yet in all this. Just like it’s early in the new year.
But I spent the last month reexamining my life and need to discard the things that aren’t working for me anymore, if they ever did, and find things that do work.
Don’t think you’ll notice any drastic changes here, per se. Just little things for myself as I try to give myself and – by extension, the boy – the tools I’ll need to be the best version of myself.
Man conquers the world by conquering himself. – Zeno
I’m still me, but I wonder how much of who and what I am/was is still there or if I’m a completely new being altogether, just like this computer I type alla this out on.
On that note, let’s start the new year off with a song.
This is by a young woman named King Princess that my brother introduced to me a little while ago.
Can’t put my finger on it, but it always makes me dream that my life might be better than it is.
Maybe it’s the line that goes, “I will keep on waiting for your love,” which goes directly against Schopenhauer’s distant respect of the concept of love.
Because love’s not only something I respect, but also something I want – to both give and receive – so it’s worthy of patience and time.
Even if it never comes my way again.
Here’s to 2023 and changing for the better.
Her: (surprised) Why did you do that? Me: (shrugging) Seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Her: (laughing) OK. (pause) You can do it again.
I feel compelled to tell you that he’s six in this video, which I cannot express how proud of him I am.
Speaking of my son, he’s been taking swimming classes all year, hopefully to avoid something like what happened over the summer.
But I figure that you don’t wanna just see grainy vids of my kid.
The other big part of my life is the gym, so heading there, I see some pretty interesting things, I gotta say.
Here’s a quick sampling of a busker in Times Square, albeit from last May.
Actually, there are quite a number of buskers all over the city.
These are some at Union Square in September, just a couple of blocks from Paxibellum.
As for non-musical things, there was also the time that I left the gym and caught this sight; it doesn’t look like much but what’s happening is that water is coming out of an upper floor window onto the streets below.
This means that either a pipe broke or someone left their water on in their apartment, filling that apartment with water so high that it went over the window and onto the floor below.
I’m gonna guess that the lower floor apartments and businesses were not happy that day. You can hear sirens going off in the distance
There are a ton more videos but I figure I’d just toss these up.
Now, I was torn with ending this entry with either this symbolic store display in the UWS which – if it’s 3AM and you’re two sheets to the wind – is goddamn fascinating…
…OR posting this of my son at B&H Photo, where I went to get a small server for my apartment after the last major hack.
He was enthralled by the very modern-yet-old-timey interior conveyer belt system.
Here’s hoping that 2023 is better than the past few years.
Him: What will you do for New Year’s? Me: I’ll dream of my family. Him: That’s boring! Me: (laughing) Not to me, kid. Not to me.
Years ago, I had a young blonde in my apartment and we ordered some food. We’re actually still FB friends, which I find sweet, but that’s neither here nor there.
In any case, I gave her the only bowl and utensils I had and I used the plastic stuff the food came with.
Her: Wait, you only have one bowl? Me: (shrugging) I only have one me.
It was because my ex took everything else and I hadn’t yet gotten around to replacing it all yet.
Fast forward some 14 years later and I’m watching Hawkeye with someone else and we get to this scene:
Me: I said almost that exact same thing years ago! Her: Really? No… Me: It’s true. And I have receipts. But, I’ll show them to you some other time.
In some ways, that’s why it’s so odd for me to be a single father – I always either had someone in my life as a romantic partner or I was completely alone.
I never, ever – in a million years – imagined I’d be raising a kid all by my lonesome. It’s that whole imposter syndrome thing.
I’ve had some jaw-dropping success in my life as well as some truly shocking failures.
I hope – more than anything – that I get this one thing right, and it’s part of the former.
Editors note: In that entry above (and here), I’d just come back from Baltimore and my ex, whom I lived with, moved out while I was away and took everything – the bed, the utensils, all the plates and cups…AND the shower curtain.
I still remember sitting in my completely empty apartment and wondering if this was the lowest point of my life.
God, I was so young and dumb back then. I had no idea how much more down life could go.
She left me the couch, the TV, the microwave, a spatula, one cup, one plate, and a handful of random takeout items.
Took a video of it and posted it on a site that long since disappeared – and so did all my videos.
Shame, it was a hilarious video. That whole moment, in hindsight, was hilarious.
I had no idea how much more down life could go before rock-bottom.
Man, still can’t believe she didn’t leave me the shower curtain…
I get a lotta flak for this blog and I often toy with the idea of just stopping. That’s part of why I took a week off not that long ago.
On the one hand, I do wonder who, if anyone, read this. But then something like that Hawkeye scene happens and I’m glad I have it.
Or someone writes me something heartfelt and sweet, like Suz did recently, or someone from my gym class surprises me and tells me that she’s a reader.
Her: Logan, your last blog entry was so good. I thought I was going to cry. Me: Wait, you read my blog? Her: (shrugging) Yeah. You write so well. Me: Oh man, thanks. I was just thinking about stopping… Her: Don’t. It’s honest. It’s so honest. People like the honesty.
So, I continue to put things out into the aether, and hope that someone gets something from it besides just me.
Been bringing the kid to tests for a little while and speaking with other parents. Literally, every time I speak to another parent, I find out something I feel I shoulda known.
Gonna condense about five or six different conversations into just three for clarity.
Her: (breathless) Were you stuck on the train getting here too? I was worried we’d miss our test slot. Me: Oh, I live right down the block. We kinda rolled outta bed and ended up here. Her: You live right down the block?! We came here from Staten Island! Me: Staten Island?! Why?! Her: (confused) Anderson’s the gifted and talented school for the entire city. People from as far away as the Long Island border commute into the city for hours to get in. It’s like Stuyvesant or Bronx Science for middle schoolers. You didn’t know this? Me: (slowly) Yes?
For a different test:
Him: If we make it in, we’d sell our home in Douglaston and try to squeeze the four of us into a one-bedroom in the area. Me: You’d move here just for a music school? Him: (puzzled) Special Music School is the only free music school in the city, maybe even the state. The lessons are valued at $10,000, per year, per student. AND it has the highest academic rankings in the city because they only accept 24 students a year so – even though it’s a music school – they were ranked number one out of every school in the city for common core, three years in a row. Me: Wait, it’s ranked even better than Anderson, PS 87, and PS 199? Her: For grades K-to-3, yes. Each child is essentially privately tutored for 12 years. You didn’t know this? Me: Yes? (laughing) Now I feel I shoulda prepared him for these tests. I bought my place decades ago and kids weren’t on my mind at all. (later) My wife would have known this but she passed away a little while back. Her: Oh! I’m so sorry to hear that. Me: I’m sorry to say that.
Then it got weird:
Her: Sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear your other conversation. Are you single? Me: (amused) According to Facebook, yes. But it’s complicated. Why? Her: My cousin’s single and she’s an educator working with special needs kids. She’s always dreamed of living in the Upper West Side. Me: (laughing) I’m both flattered and slightly insulted. Her: (quickly) Don’t be! Your son’s adorable and I love your jacket! Me: Good to know…
On the topic of interpersonal relationships, with my last entry, my female friend admits that she might be catching feelings for one of the two guys that she’s seeing.
Her: I dunno if I’m ready to jump into anything serious just yet but… Me: Is he on your side? Her: What does that mean? Me: (thinking) When we first started dating, Alison’s best male friend once said something rude about me. I think he loved her. She told him to knock it off. He did it again one day on the phone, so she hung up on him, blocked his number, and stopped hanging out with him. Her: Whoa! Me: (laughing) Yeah. The kicker’s that I didn’t know for months. She just handled it totally on her own, I wasn’t involved at all. When I asked her about whatever happened to him, she just said, “He said something rude about you.” That was it. When I found out about it later, I figured she was my person and we married just a year later. Her: That’s really cool. Me: (nodding) If you find hidden kindnesses and love – meaning he’s secretly on your side – then, bam, you’re done. Take it and go. Unfortunately, if you find out he’s secretly not on your side…you’re still done. Just not in a good way. Either way, you’re done, though.
Him: Another drink? Me: Thanks, but I can’t. Got an early morning tomorrow. Him: I thought the kid was away. Me: He is. I’m in court tomorrow morning.
Sorry for the lack of posts.
Took on some work a little while ago and it all came to a head this past week regarding three court cases; and I’m only a lawyer in one of them. In the other, I wear my other professional hat, and in yet another, I’m the petitioner, representing myself.
Submitted my legal memorandum to one client this past Wednesday after working on it for several months. Then, that same day, met up with another client in court downtown and happened to have my own case in the same courtroom with the same judge.
Turns out that there were several errors in my paperwork – not in any of the others. I suppose, when you’re your own lawyer, you’re less exacting.
That’s what I tell myself.
Guessing that the weight of what was going on must have shown on my face. Cause this stern judge admonished me for the errors and then looked at my ashen face and brightened a bit (only a bit) and said, “It’ll be ok, counselor. It’s gonna be ok.”
Then he signed my OSC and suddenly a lot of things were different in my life. And different for the boy. All with the stroke of a pen.
The judge also signed an order for my client, who’s also a good friend of mine. The path of his life just changed along with mine. And we walked out of the courtroom different men than the ones who walked in a few hours earlier.
Buddy: Thanks, I’m not sure I woulda done this if you didn’t help. Me: Well, I wouldn’t have done it if you didn’t do it, so…same. Thanks.
Afterward, we met up with my buddy Pac…and Mouse, for some Vietnamese food.
Me: (getting up) Can we talk for a sec? Mouse: (hesitates) OK. Me: (privately) Thanks for coming. It really means a lot to me. Her: I didn’t come just for you, they’re my friends too. Me: I know. (nodding) I’m still glad you came.
Pac: Is lunch on you, Logan? Me: (thinking) Well, considering the three of you are the only people I consider that I actually mentor, sure. Him: I was only kidding! Me: It’s fine. (taking out wallet) I want to do it.
The picture way above is with my buddy from around the way. He’s a writer and he and I talked about the craft. It felt almost normal.