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Date night in Chinatown

An early dinner at Nom Wah

The kids were away and, like I said, I’ve been hankering for Chinese, Japanese, and Greek food lately.

Me: We may end up going to Big Wong. I’ll figure it out once I get there.
Her: Soup dumplings are always a good idea
Me: (in Chinatown) There’s zero line at Nom Wah!

For those of you not from NYC, Nom Wah Tea Parlor is one of the very first Chinese dim sum restaurants in America, opened in 1920.

The children of the last generation of owners decided to update the marketing to include social media but not update much else and it’s worked; there are tons of videos about it like this one from Bon Appetit:

Or this one from Munchies:

Or this one from PBS:

Alla this attention means that there’s always a line going around the block.

I’ve been in this little town for 45 years and I’ve never gone in, actually.

But the other day we lucked out and there was zero line and we got superstar seating.

Her: This is what happens when you eat like an old man at 5:30PM.
Me: But…no line!

We were both starving so we ordered a ton of food…

…really, so much food.

We managed to eat almost everything – so good.

Afterward, we had some wine and beer that we slowly enjoyed while chatting when a waiter came up to us and said that there were lots of people waiting; sure enough, there was a long line that went to the neighboring street.

So, we left and, because the kids were away, we headed to a speakeasy that was hidden behind a coke machine called The Basement.

Since it was still early, we easily got a seat…

…and ordered some drinks, which were excellent but…

…she was mainly interested in the kettle corn they gave us.

Her: Ask for more.
Me: Me? Why don’t you ask for more?
Her: Oh, I will.

She’s wasn’t lying.

Her: Do you wanna play some beer pong?
Me: I’m beat, I just wanna sit.
Her: You’re no fun.
Me: Accurate.

Her: We’ll be home and in bed by 10PM.
Me: I know. It’s glorious.

It really was.

Location: earlier today, coughing up a pollen-infused lung on 77th
Mood: hopeful
Music: deep down in my heart, there’s a hole (Spotify)
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Jury Duty 2024

Family around the way

When it comes to legal work, I’m essentially a pencil pusher.

Rarely, if ever, head into court.

In fact, the last time I went to court was five years ago for myself, my son, and former buddy of mine.

This time, I had jury duty, so I woke up cray early one days and headed off to courts downtown.

It was a madhouse down there because of Trump’s trials. The line to get in stretched around the block.

And there were protestors and counter-protestors, which meant at cacophony of chants and yelling.

After a few hours, I was excused, mainly because of my unfortunate situation.

Her: I’m sorry to hear about your wife.
Me: I’m sorry to tell you about it.
Her: (nodding and folding my letter) You’ll be called again in two years.
Me: Then I’ll see you in two years then.

Because the Firecracker’s sister and BIL live in the area, we’re often running into them here and there.

Just the other day, we ran into them while walking past a bar and just joined them.

The Firecracker’s lucky that she lives in the same neighborhood as someone in her immediate family.

I’d like to randomly run into family around the way too, if I could.

But I suppose I’ll just settle for some day-drinking.

Which I’ll need after this past weekend’s nonsense.

Location: a playground, avoiding pigeon poop
Mood: sneezy from the pollen
Music: Yeah, it might go sideways (Spotify)
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Caught “The Heart of Rock and Roll”

Nectarines

Her: Nectarines.
Me: Nectarines?! Nectarines are the oatmeal raisin cookie of the fruit world; no one picks up a nectarine hoping it’s a nectarine. Everyone hopes it’s peach and accept it’s a nectarine – just like people think it’s a chocolate chip cookie and accept it’s actually an oatmeal raisin cookie.
Her: (shaking head) Nope! Not me, I prefer nectarines.
Me: And just how long have you been a communist?
Her: A long time, apparently.

Right after we got back from LA, RE Mike invited us to one of the opening nights of the new musical, The Heart of Rock and Roll, which was with songs by Huey Lewis and the News.

I grew up listening to Huey, so I was looking forward to it; the last musical he got us into was pretty fun, so I expected the same.

This time, we got four tix so the Firecracker’s sister and BIL could come.

Of course, because it was RE Mike, the tix were great seats and comped.

While we were waiting for them on the line, we saw this reality show being filmed with a classic checkered cab.

You can see in the pic below the little camera attached to the rear trunk – the larger fella to the left to the cab kept people moving as the young lady did her bit and “hailed” the cab.

Me: There’s always something going on in the big city.
Her: Seriously.

When we finally got in, the Firecracker’s sister and BIL immediately bought everyone drinks, which we definitely appreciated, and then we saw the show.

Honestly, I’m a sucker for a optimistic and upbeat show. Life is sad enough as it to go out to be entertained with a lotta sadness and downbeats.

Me: This is so much better than the last musical we saw.
Her: Which one was that?
Firecracker: Merrily we roll along – neither of us really enjoyed it.

This was just a lot more mindless and fun. Which was what we were all in the mood for.

Me: What’d you all think?
Them: We liked it!

I need more mindless fun in my life.

Or even just mindlessness in general.

I’m in my head too much these days.

Location: Back in the Big Apple, wanting a gyro
Mood: busy again
Music: I want a new drug one that does what it should (Spotify)
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2600Hz and a Filet Mignon

Significant but unknown

The NFL Player and my buddy Thor took the Firecracker and myself out to Porterhouse for my birthday again.

Him: I assume you’ll have an Old Fashioned with Rye.
Me: I like what I like.

This time, everyone came with their significant others, which was nice.

We all chatted about the earthquake and the eclipse…

…amongst other things.

Him: Logan always has some random fact.
Me: This is true. Did you know that, when I was a kid, Cap’n Crunch gave away a plastic whistle that oscillated at exactly 2,600Hz, which was the exact frequency of NYC payphones so that if you blew one before a call, you could make free calls anywhere in the world? [ED: I misspoke, it was the frequency for all AT&T phones, not just NYC, because they ran a monopoly on pay phones across the country].
Her: How do you remember all this stuff?
Me: (shrugging) I don’t get out much.

As that article I linked above notes, Apple – and the iPhone you’re most likely reading this upon – would not have existed but for the existence of that whistle.

I love these kinda significant but often unknown stories.

In any case, the dinner, and the conversation, was great, as usual.

The NFL Player and his wife went to Africa and showed us pics. It was all pretty cool.

The people sitting in the table next to us were also having a birthday celebration, so there were lots of rounds of, “Happy Birthday.”

Like I said before, there are worse ways to turn 51.

Let’s see how this decade goes.

Location: Crenshaw, Los Angeles
Mood: hungry and annoyed
Music: She wore a raspberry beret, the kind you find in a secondhand store (Spotify)
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I finally understand

Just one day

I was in my local supermarket when I ran into one of the cashiers, Lucy, in the produce section.

Her: (walking up to me holding a cup of coffee and put it down) I understand now. About your wife. My…my husband died.
Me: What?! Good god, I’m so sorry.
Her: (nodding) He was sick for a while. I thought he would be ok but…he didn’t let me know how bad it was.
Me: (putting down groceries and giving her a hug) I’m so sorry. We’re never ready, are we?
Her: (shaking head) No. I didn’t think he would go.

I went home, got a red envelope, stuffed a few bucks into it and went back to give it to her.

Her: No, no, I’m fine, really.
Me: (gently) I’m sure you’re fine. This is just for lunch. Make sure you eat, ok?
Her: (taking it) OK. Thank you.
Me: I wanna tell you that it’ll be ok. It won’t be. But you have to keep telling yourself that it will be. After a while, it’ll be kinda ok.

The rest is her story to tell but I was in my own head for a while after that.

Then, I was walking with the kid and he turned to me said the most profound thing:

Flowers may bloom again, but a person never has the chance to be young again.

Assume he learned it in Chinese class (花有重开日,人无再少年) because he certainly never learned it from me.

But then…

Him: Flowers come back. Why can’t mommy come back?
Me: I dunno. I dunno.
Him: I wish she would come back. Just once. Just for a day, even. (trailing off). She can’t come back, not even for one day? Just one day?
Me: Man, if only, kid. If only…

That was a hard walk.

We have hard walks, sometimes.

My kid’s a lot more mature than other kids his age. Sometimes, I think of him like he’s a little man.

Dunno if this is a good thing or not. I’m thinking not.

Wish he was just a kid without alla this weight on him.

It’s too much weight for a little kid like him to carry.

Don’t want a little man. Not yet.

Just want him to be a little kid for a little bit longer.

Location: On West End Avenue, finding myself at a loss for words
Mood: contemplative
Music: been gone far too long (Spotify)
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Sunday in Greenpoint

Searching for burgers

Her: What about that truck?
Me: (squinting) It looks like they have “respect, compassion, caring, and kindness,” but no burgers.

It was raining cats and dogs for part of the weekend and the other part was cold, so we met up with the Surgeon and Steele to head over to the Ferox Ninja Park in Brooklyn so the kid could get some exercise.

The Firecracker had to level up with some coffee first, though.

As soon as we arrived, I was hungry and started my quest for food.

We thought there was a food truck across from the park but it ended up being a volunteer group’s truck instead.

So, despite my wanting a burger for brekkie, we ended up heading to Compton’s Sandwich Shop instead and ordering a buncha breakfast wraps.

Me: Can you put bacon in them?
Him: Which one?
Me: All of them?

They ended up not doing that so I went back to say something. The manager apologized profusely and comped up like four kombucha drinks, which was nice.

Afterward, the kids spent the next three hours playing like crazy.

I, of course, got hungry again.

Him: Burgers?
Me: I’ve been wanting a burger all day – heck yeah!

We ended up ordering from this joint called Jubilee Marketplace in Greenpoint which is pretty well-known for amazingly good $2.50 burgers.

Think of small shake shack burgers.

Me: How many did you order?
Him: 20?
Me: Good call.

We ate 19 of them on a park bench in the chilly sun.

There was one left after we devoured them, and I took that one home for the kid for dinner.

All in all, not a bad way to spend the day.

Location: a musical with my son this morning by Ajna
Mood: angry
Music: I’m all messed up, I’m so out of line (Spotify)
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Bumping into Teddy in the Big City

Tough leaving

The kid’s electric guitar has been on the fritz lately so I brought it into this mega-music store here in NYC called Sam Ash, which was located at 333 W. 34th Street here in Manhattan.

When I was a little kid, I remember going with my brother to the one in Queens, so I was kinda looking forward to being in one again – I’d not been since I was like 12.

But when I walked in, there were “Going Out of Business” signs everywhere.

Manager: (seeing me holding a guitar) Sorry, man, we don’t do repairs anymore. We’re…
Me: Going outta business, I see. That stinks, sorry.
Him: It’s fine. Head down to 30th Street Guitar.
Me: I assume it’s on 30th Street?
Him: You would think – it’s on 27th.

So, off I went.

It was right by my old gym, which reminded me of my old life but that’s for me, I suppose.

The guys at 30th Street were also super cool and told me to come back later on in the day, so I went to get some work done and then hit the gym.

Walking around the city, I found myself in front of Teddy Roosevelt’s birthplace on 28 E 20th St, New York, NY.

I’ve always admired him but after Alison died, even more so because he and I, unfortunately, shared some awful life experiences.

Then I headed to the gym where I got my ass handed to me as always and then walked out to see some amazing artwork.

Been daydreaming of the other side and elsewhere again.

But there’s something to be said about living in a town where you can just go about your daily business and end up, randomly, running across the birthplace of a US president, maybe an artshow, and maybe an impromptu concert.

Yeah, it’s tough to leave the big city.

Location: giving HR advice over brunch with two children and two blondes
Mood: tired
Music: Destiny is calling me, open up my eager eyes (Spotify)
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Gonna be a spry 92

That’s what I tell myself

My friends rented out the entire association, so we had the run of things.

The kids went upstairs to the animal/game room; I think I had seen it briefly once ages ago.

As for me, I was mainly interested in shoveling as much food as I humanly could into my piehole.

But as soon as I finished one thing, other things came out, so I probably definitely overindulged.

The Surgeon’s mom gave a really nice speech towards the end.

The Firecracker and I chatted about it in between my aforementioned stuffing of le face.

Firecracker: Can you imagine your baby boy turning 50?
Me: Not at all.
Her: You probably won’t even be alive then – although I probably will be.
Me: I’ll be a spry 92!
Her: (rolls eyes)

We woulda stayed longer but the rain was really coming down and I had an all-day shoot with the Scenic fights guys the very next day so we left before a lotta the other people.

The kid: Do we have to go?
Me: It’s late AND it’s gonna be daylight savings so you’re gonna go to bed like at midnight tonight as it is.
Him: (eyes open in wonderment) Really?! Wow, that’s so late.
Me: (nodding) Yup, and that’s why we gotta leave.

The very next day – with less than four hours sleep – I had an all-day Scenic Fights shoot.

Things didn’t go exactly as planned and I’m now running from the law.

I suppose that’s neither here nor there.

Location: earlier today, watching my son do a hip-throw and then take side control to mount
Mood: busy
Music: I’m lucky I’ve got good people helpin’ me out (Spotify)
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Turning 50 at the Downtown Association

Maybe. Someday.

Her: Wow, this place is beautiful.
Me: (nodding) Yeah. (thinking) This is the first time I’ve been back in like 13 years.

The surgeon turned 50 the other night so the kid, the Firecracker, and I all got dressed up and headed south to the Downtown Association to celebrate.

It was raining cats and dogs when we left the house.

I was actually a member there briefly in 2011 and I mentioned it in passing before.

Then things started going off the rails with me and Alison so that was just one of a million things that changed in my life.

Walking back in, I was shocked how little it had changed in all this time; I suppose that’s part of the allure of places like that.

The Boy: This bathroom is bigger than our apartment!
Me: You’re not wrong, kid.

He’s not wrong.

The party was mostly relatives and close friends so I was touched that I was included in the count.

The Firecracker had a good time as well, chatting with someone else in her profession.

Her: She knew she wanted to work internationally early on. I thought about it, myself.
Me: Maybe we’ll do that someday.
Her: Maybe. Someday.

One of the people I knew there has known the Surgeon for 44 years.

Me: When did you meet him?
Him: (laughing) When I was seven!
Me: (shaking head in amazement) Man, the oldest friend I have, I’ve known since I was 16 (the Professor).

The kid had a blast as he’s been hanging with Steele and the Surgeon’s kids for years now.

The Surgeon hired a magician and the kids were enthralled.

The Boy: How did he do that?! I was looking right at it.
Me: (laughing) You got me…

Of course, the kid was pretty interested in the food as well, because he’s my kid.

Then again, I was pretty interested in the food as well.

Me: OK, I gotta ask you something. At your wedding, I overate all the appetizers – after all, you had an entire table of lobsters – so, should I…?
Steele: (laughing) The [passed hors d’overs] are the appetizers and the main courses are [over there].
Me: Oh man, glad I asked.

The open bar was a nice touch as well.

There’s more but this entry’s getting long so I’ll write more tomorrow.

Location: Earlier today, two different guitar stores, trying to fix a broken Fender knockoff for the kid
Mood: exhausted
Music: Everyone tells me I’m crazy. Well maybe, well maybe I am (Spotify)
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Swimming in the UES

Definitely a winner

Me: This is amazing!
Him: Yeah, well, I probably paid more than double what I would anywhere else just for the amenities.
Me: I’m not gonna lie, I’m definitely gonna try and take advantage of this.

My buddy Steele’s been living in the same apartment for well over a decade-and-a-half, which for his wife and him was fine but when their kid arrived, their apartment rapidly shrunk.

They spent a solid few years looking around for a suitable replacement but homes are tricky things because it’s gotta fill one’s need for the time being as well for the future.

But they managed to find a place with some crazy amenities so the Firecracker, her kid, my kid, and I all went out into the pouring raining this past Saturday to go check it out.

Him: Do you want a tour?
Me: Heck, yeah!

He wasn’t kidding when he said that the place had amenities.

They had a gym…

…a library……a lounge…

…a dance studio…

…a spa…

…and a pool.

The kid: We’re going swimming!?
Me: Yup! Looks that way.

The three boys spent a solid three hours in the pool while Steele made everyone cocktails.

So. Many. Cocktails.

Oh, they also had a theater room too. The Firecracker got the porters and doormen to try, unsuccessfully, to put on Scenic Fights.

Doorman: Wait, I think I’m already a subscriber.
The Kid: Papa, he’s a fan!
Me: (laughs) That’s great! I’m always worried that it’s mostly just my mom subscribing under different names and accounts.

Afterward, we ordered from Dave’s Hot Chicken and stuffed ourselves silly before we started heading home.

Because of alla Steele’s serious drinks, after we got back, both the Firecracker and I crashed hard; the kids crashed hard because they spent so many hours swimming.

So, as rainy weekends go, this was definitely a winner.

Him: What are we doing next weekend?
Me: You’ll just have to wait and see, kiddo.

Location: earlier today, a karaoke joint on West 32nd with the kid and alla his classmates.
Mood: beat
Music: gettin’ drunk in the mansions with you and you look so classy (Spotify)
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