That entry was a long time ago – I had just started seeing Alison then – and when I wrote that, my working at Times Square was almost a decade before that.
Well, when I went to see that Broadway show with the Firecracker, I showed her my old office.
Me: See that building there? I worked there for years. Had a perfect view of Times Square back then. And I lived just four blocks from work. I could wake up at 9:10 for a 9:30 meeting. Her: I’m so jealous! I can’t imagine that.
I can’t either, actually. That was almost three decades ago.
Did you know that, Cleopatra’s reign (ending 30 BCE) is closer to today, about 2,050 years, than to the construction of the pyramids, which were probably built about 2630 BCE, or 2,600 years before she started ruling Egypt?
In other words, when Cleopatra was born, the pyramids were already 2,600 years old/ancient.
In some ways, I look around the city and feel that about myself.
People think that I’m old with life experiences but they have no idea how old I actually am and how many different lives I’ve led.
Me: Hello, hot blonde. Her: Hello, handsome old Chinese man. Me: The “old” was really not necessary. Her: But accurate!
I’ve said repeatedly that my major goal for the boy is teaching him critical thinking.
Unfortunately, the recent (massive) hurricanes and flooding happening here in the US – and abroad – around has made me reassess the contours of that.
I recently decided that critical thinking is secondary to a more basic skill: Issue spotting – which is determining if there’s even a problem in the first place.
Came to this realization seeing how many people I know in life that deny climate change.
As an aside, all self-identify as Republicans and many have a religious bent, which makes me feel all the more foolish for ever voting republican and ever being religious at all.
In any case, back in law school, I remember that everyone is taught two basic skills:
Issue spotting, and then
It’s always in that order because all law school exams – especially the bar exam – essentially tests on both whereby, if you’re unable to spot the issue in the first place, your chance of correctly answering the question is nil.
This is where I’m finding we are as a society; half of the people are concerned about answering the issue, whereas the other half denies that an issue even exists, often pointing to one lone dissenter and ending the argument there for them.
There’s no ability to critically think about a solution because people can’t even see that there’s a problem that needs solving.
This is terrifying, on so many levels.
And it’s happening everywhere and all at once.
Me: You don’t think it’s an issue that you’re 35 years old and have nothing saved for retirement? Him: (puzzled) Retirement is like 30 years away; I have plenty of time. Me: JFC…sit down. I need to explain a lotta things to you.
Just a random story; in the middle of our vacation, it seems a small fire broke out somewhere on the ship.
I was pretty alarmed and went to make sure everything was ok.
Ultimately, I found a buncha crew members taking off their fire protective gear, which made me feel a lot better.
That’s pretty much the end of our summer vacation.
But I just wanna leave you with one word of advice: On a Disney cruise, don’t order the green whiskey drink they have.
It’s so bad, I returned it.
And you know that I never return food and drink.
Her: Return it. Me: I don’t do that. Her: Well, then drink it. Me: (sighing) I’ll return it.
Him: (singing) Dadadadada…chicken butt. Me: Legit kid, where are you learning alla this stuff? Him: I just made it up! Me: Great…
The relaxation of our vacation seems long gone as I get the kid ready for school.
When I was a kid, summer vacation seemed like it lasted forever during most of it but towards the end, I recall that I always felt it was too short.
I’m gonna guess that our summer vacations were very different – yours and mine.
And, certainly, mine were pretty different from my kid’s because this summer he’s been on:
Two vacations requiring a plane.
My summers, for the most part, involved me being the library from sunup to sundown.
That is, if we weren’t going on a family trip to Taiwan to see relatives.
As I got older, like my early teens, we went on more vacations because my parents both started making some money.
But that was much later in my life, I think.
I was mentioning to the Firecracker that I felt my parents did the best they could do but they weren’t perfect – what parent is?
Me: I’d like to take all the good and helpful things my parents did and give them to the kid but not all the stuff that didn’t work for us, [my siblings and me]. Her: Sure, I think that’s what every parent wants. Me: Yeah. I remember my friend Somena saying to me years ago that it’s tricky, how much of our past to take with us to our future. It’s even trickier as a parent. Her: That’s for sure, Lo.
After we finished our coffee, we drove by this once-small mall that I used to go to – it expanded quite a bit over the last few years.
Me: When I used to come here, there were only two stores. Now look at it. Her: Wow, it’s definitely not two stores anymore.
She wanted to get some decorations for her place for the coming holidays.
Her: I always wanted the space and money to have holiday decorations for all the holidays. Me: That’s tough to do anywhere, let alone Manhattan. Her: Oooh, look! Halloween decorations!
Afterward, we went to have dinner with my mom’s best friend, her daughter, Mary, and her daughter’s boyfriend.
I met Mary when she was like two years old, and she and my sister were great friends. Her dad, Nick, passed away a few years ago and I told you about him.
Actually, ran into her once years ago not too far from my pad and she got to meet my son, but he was maybe two years old himself at the time.
In any case, my mom’s best friend had been wanting to see my son for a while so we went to have dinner at her house.
We were supposed to order food in, but Mary’s mom had clearly spent all day cooking because there was so much killer food, including appetizers of meatballs that my kid devoured.
Me: Your mom was a major reason why I was fat. Mary: What?! You can’t blame my mom for that. Me: I loved everything she ever made, have zero self-control, and can’t take personal responsibility for my actions.
The kid actually ate so many of the meatballs that he didn’t want dinner, which I kinda figured.
The Firecracker and everyone got along just swimmingly, which I knew they would.
Mary said I helped her with her SATs, which I vaguely remember, but it seems like lifetimes ago.
Afterward, we all talked about how we met.
Me: I can’t stand the apps but it’s a part of modern life now. Mary’s Boyfriend: I didn’t mind the apps that much. Me: I do have to say that you meet people that you’d never meet otherwise.
I think it’s amazing that my mom and her best friend met and kept in touch all these years.
When my dad died, she was a constant source of comfort and the same was true when Nick died.
Find it pretty adorable that these two immigrant women who speak broken English found each other and have been in each other’s lives for all this time.
Prob for the best; I’m not sure a lotta people would go to McDonald’s to order a hot dog.
I saw The Flash when it came out because he was always one of my favourite superheroes – mainly because super speed is the only power I think really matters.
That’s an entry for another day, I suppose.
But, while I don’t think it deserved to be as maligned as much as it has been, I wanted to tell you why I think the movie failed.
As a comic book nerd, I always gravitated more towards DC comics than Marvel comics, even though I really liked both.
See, Marvel likes to ground its characters in realism – the teenage Peter Parker trying to make ends meet while dealing with massive guilt, the alcoholic Tony Stark, the rage-filled, revenge-seeking Frank Castle, etc.
Comparatively, DC heroes are like otherworldly gods – Superman is essentially a god from the heavens, The Flash is as fast and mercurial as Mercury, Wonder Woman is a goddess.
The thing about these gods, though, is that they are innately good, and – more than anything – bastions of hope.
Me: Did you like Man of Steel? Him: No, because he killed Zod. Snyder doesn’t understand Superman never kills. He doesn’t understand that Batman doesn’t use guns. He doesn’t understand what makes them…them. DC Comics are all about hope. But Synder’s film have no joy, no hope. It’s all spectacle without heart.
And that, I think, is why The Flash bombed.
It’s one of the saddest and darkest superhero films out there; everyone and everything is disposable. Heroes are introduced merely to die. No one and nothing matters.
Look, don’t get me wrong, I understand that tragedy is a part of life.
Fuck, if anyone’s life is a tragedy, it’s mine (albeit, fulla joy).
Plus, there’s nuthin wrong with a cinematic tragedy; but kids trying to see their fave hero on the big screen – especially a DC-based one – want the good guys to win.
Evil to be overcome. Good to prevail.
Goddammit, I thought my own tragedy wouldn’t actually be one. Thought we would prevail. But I was wrong.
In any case, just like you don’t go to McDonalds for a hot dog, you don’t go to a DC based film to leave feeling hopeless.
And that – not just the bad CGI (which I didn’t hate) and the foibles of the main actor – is why I think the movie failed.
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.
I went to college in Cornell, which has some of the most Asians of any school, about 1 outta 5.
Anywho, my college girlfriend was Korean but went to a different college entirely.
One day, I was walking home when I saw a young woman that had her very distinct gait and I swore it was her.
As I got closer, it turns out it was her – she’d left school early to come up to my college to surprise me.
There’s a software company I’ve been following for the past year because it has a rather unique business model; its software aggregates data and then makes predictions based on the data it’s gathered.
Since the Ukraine war has happened, Palantir has been offering its services to Ukraine and I believe it’s Palantir and the western armaments – versus just the weaponry itself – which is why Ukraine has been punching above its weight so consistently.
This is not at all to take away from the sheer bravery and discipline of the Ukrainians.
But it tracks with what I’ve always believed: The most dangerous people/things are not always the strongest but the ones with the most intelligence.
If that were not the case, it’d be people in zoo cages and lions walking free with the keys instead of the other way around.
With this data, Palantir can figure out which are enemy movements – to such specificity as which platoon and commander – and can predict what these enemy troops are most likely to do and offer the Ukrainians the most likely scenario that will happen.
The Ukrainians can then act accordingly.
In that way, Palantir can recognize enemy troop movements similar to how I could tell from a vast distance that it was my then girlfriend and not some other person.
The data I collected – the visual recognition of her particular gait – allowed me to realize that my then-girlfriend was visiting me, without her telling me she was there.
Similarly, Palantir takes what it knows about people/troops and figures out who they are by their unique traits – like a gait.
With that, they make warfare akin to a deadly recipe except that if you do steps 1-16 correctly you’ll end up with mass enemy casualties instead of a soufflé.
I’m conflicted on this point.
Obviously, the Russians are the aggressors here and for everyone not a Republican, clearly the bad guys here.
As a child of the original Terminator films and the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, it makes me uneasy how very good Palantir is at what it does.
On the flip side, it’s trading at $16.42 today, off its three-year high of $35.18.
I’m nothing if not a ruthless capitalist – with a sentimental streak.
On a much lighter note, with both of our kids away, the Firecracker and I are doing basic couple things like grabbing drinks around the way and watching reality TV and cooking shows.
Although I suspect that, while we’re both watching the same program, we’re experiencing them differently.
Her: (watching TV) Serves you right, lady! Your hubris went…pluberis. Me: (shakes head) Her: (turning to me, apologetically) I tried to abort halfway through but I was already committed to it. Me: This has got to go into the blog. You brought this onto yourself.
Location: my basement, trying to figure out why the lights won’t turn on. The circuit breaker tripped
Music: This world can be so cold (Spotify) Subscribe! Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
Dentist: (70 minutes late) Sorry to keep you waiting. What’s going on? Me: I still have a lot of pain in that tooth you repaired last week. Her: Let me see. (peers closely, runs some tests) The problem is that the crack was so close to your nerve. Let me drill down the tooth a bit and see if that helps. (40 seconds later) Bite down and tell me how that feels. Me: (complies) No pain! Her: (laughs) OK, you’re all done then.
So, repairing my tooth took two visits, $120 of copay, almost six hours of total time, and 40 seconds to fix the initial repair.
That seems on brand for me.
Her: My hair smells like smoke now. Yuck! Me: Well, you are “The Firecracker.” Her: (laughs) Please use that in the blog.
If you’re not from NYC, then you may or may not know that there are these MASSIVE wildfires – 150 to be exact – burning in Canada, with their smoke hitting NYC and hard.
Yesterday, the boy’s school had a pizza party in the school yard when the boy started screaming something and pointing at the sky; right after he started, the rest of his friends joined in.
What were they pointing at, at 6PM? The sun, which looked like an orange fireball.
This picture really doesn’t do it justice.
Everything was normal until about then, when he started coughing and I did as well and a thick smog came down on top of us with the whole yard smelling like a campfire.
We quickly left and went home – this is what it looked like at 6:48 last night.
The next morning, this is what it looked like in the Upper West Side.
Made the kid wear two masks to school while I wore an N95 mask.
I’m heading away with the Firecracker and the kid this week so I figured I should hit up the gym while I could, so off I went.
When I got there, I was already breathing heavily. This is what it looked like when I arrived.
Chad had, smartly, kept the windows and doors shut and the ACs running so we were able to get in a good workout.
But after just three rolls, I was completely spent and left.
Union Square looked like the first or second circle of hell – this is it at 1:49PM.
Hightailed it home to grab the kid from school.
Normally, I try to spend at least an hour outside with him so he gets some fresh air and exercise but there was no fresh air to be had.
I – like almost all of the other parents – quickly grabbed the kid and headed home.
Kept him indoors until it was time for his afterschool, took the bus there (we usually walk), took the train back alone, then did the same thing again 90 minutes later when his class was done.
Both he and I felt pretty run-down the entire day. I had an itchy throat and eyes while he kept complaining his chest and stomach hurt.
Hopefully, by the time you read this, things are much better.