A Story, on the West Side

Seeing the blue sky again

It’s been a super busy week with work and life.

This past weekend, the kid had his first “school party” without me.

Basically, the PTA threw a party where the parents dropped off their kids so the kids could spend three hours running around the school, playing games and dancing and such.

The kid was so thrilled, I was excited for him. But he’s growing up way too fast.

Him: You’ll really let me go?
Me: Of course.
Him: You’re the best dad, ever!
Me: You’re not wrong.

The Firecracker and I took the opportunity to grab a drink around the way at a local bar called Jake’s Dilemma.

Her: You got carded! The night’s already off to a good start. (later) Look at us, out at a bar without the kids.
Me: It definitely feels weird.

Because we were both actively dating when we met, she and I chat about dating in NYC in general and our recent history.

Me: …so, that was the end of that.
Her: Well, compared to my last date, you’re definitely an upgrade.
Me: (laughing) I would hope so.
Her: Oh yeah, it’s like moving up from a Pinto to a Ferrari.

If nuthin else, she’s good for my ego.

The next day, the kid went to a Holi festival at the Seaport and I grabbed him over at Lincoln Center before heading back downtown.

Me: See that brown building over there? This entire place used to be fulla buildings exactly like that. But you can actually see exactly what it used to look like before it became Lincoln Center.
Her: Where?
Me: The original West Side Story. It was shot when this was all residential walk-up housing. They literally bulldozed the entire neighborhood the day after shooting stopped.

The kid and I met up with the Firecracker and her kid to come with me to the Surgeon’s place for a little party after his Holi party.

Me: They live in a converted department store. The ceilings are like 15 feet tall.
Her: I can’t wait to see it!

She was impressed.

The surgeon made rum cocktails while I cooked up some Korean pork dishes that I got from H Mart near the gym.

Her kid was a huge hit with the Surgeon’s daughters. It was nice that everyone got along well.

His brother, Steel, had another engagement but everyone there was really cool. We met the most interesting fella who worked at Google…

His Wife: (proudly) He invented Chrome.
Me: Wait, for real?!
Him: (sheepishly) Yeah. I led the team that wrote Firefox and Google hired me to write Chrome for them.
Me: Oh man, I have so many questions. (later) BTW, lemme tell you about this hack that happened to me because of Chrome…

It was super late when we all left.

The next day, we all met up with the ABFF and her kids as well and everyone seemed to get along well there too.

Her: Shoot, I don’t have any alcohol.
Me: It’s like you don’t even know me.

I feel like my life’s been on hold for years now.

I either didn’t go out or went to things solo. It’s nice to have a companion that wants to do things with me.

You know, the scaffolding on my block came down and I can see the blue sky again.

The last time I saw the blue sky around my pad, Alison was still alive and we were waiting for the boy to come.

I’ve been in shadow ever since.

So, it’s nice to see the sun and sky again.

It’s been so long that I’d forgotten what it looked like.

Location: yesterday, looking at the sun from my son’s room
Mood: ruminating
Music: I can see the bright blue skies now (Spotify)
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Hurt you so badly

Better off now

After the night out with the Firecracker and her friend, neither of us could make it to the Frenchman’s karaoke thingy the next day.

Me: (next morning) I think I’m still drunk.
Her: I need a Tylenol.
Me: Why are we even awake?!

But we were scheduled to meet up with her sister and her sister’s fella, both of whom lived across the street from her.

We ended up meeting up at a bar for an afternoon drink, not too far from the tiki bar we were the night before.

The Firecracker and I each got a rum and diet coke – plus wings for me – while they got beers and a huge pretzel for their kid, which made me think of Germany.

Her sister and fella were super cool and grabbed the bill, which was super nice of them.

Afterward, I was hungry for more wings, so we spent a solid 45 minutes walking around the hood looking for more wings, which I ultimately found.

A young couple were arguing – well, the fella was being yelled at by his girl – and the girl asked me what I thought.

Her: (turning to me) What do you think?! Am I right or is he?
Me: I’m just trying to get some wings here, lady…
Her: No, no, no, is he right or am I?
Me: (shaking head) I can’t say. I can say that communication isn’t what you’re saying but what he’s hearing. And he – and everyone else here – is just hearing you yell at him, kid.

There’s a lot more to this story but I’ll end it here.

The next day, I went out to NJ to get the boy from my in-laws.

MIL: We’re having pasta, salad, and garlic bread.
Me: I’m not saying no to any of that.

He went out with his guitar to practice and bringing it back was a bit of a pain, but worth it because he had plenty of time to practice.

As you might imagine, the Firecracker and I chat quite a bit now.

I find it odd because the weird commonality of the women I met after Alison have all had very sad stories to tell.

Wonder if it’s something about me that either attracts people with sad stories or perhaps they feel safe because I have my own – obscenely – sad stories.

Perhaps it’s a bit of both.

Me: I’m sorry.
Her: Nothing to be sorry about. I’m better off now.
Me: (shaking head) I’m sorry the world hurt you so badly, Firecracker.
Her: (nodding) I’m sorry the world hurt you so badly, Lo.
Me: Yeah…

Location: this afternoon, Blue Bottle with the pastor, disagreeing about cruising
Mood: contemplative
Music: this should be a crime and I’m ready to do the time (Spotify)
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Whatever, whenever

No dental, but we’re working on it

We had another all-day shoot for Scenic Fights the other day.

Pez showed up at my pad mad early to help watch the kiddo. The morning was an unmitigated disaster because I left TWO of the shirts we needed for the shoot at the gym. So the three of us piled into a cab heading to Paxibellum.

The cabbie forgot to switch on the meter and started cursing.

I was gonna say something but the kid was there so I just handed the driver $15 and he shut up. Then he drove us down to see Chad at a diner local to him.

Me: (to son) What do you want?
Him: Pancakes!
Me: Big surprise there.
Chad: What are you getting, Logan?
Me: (shrugging) Chili, what else?
Chad: For breakfast?! You’re gonna be running to the bathroom.
Me: Nah, I’m a man. (laughing) Seriously, though. I remember my mom telling me as a kid that she thought it was odd that Americans have food that they only eat at certain times. We grew up eating whatever, whenever.

The shoot itself went pretty well. Hopefully, you’ll see the fruits of that coming up later.

We actually got a sponsor so Chad and I shot our first commercial, which you’ll see in the next few months.

Me: We’re selling out! This is everything our forefathers dreamed of!
Him: (laughing) We need to sell out more.
Me: Yeah, we’re not in this for the mental masturbation, man.

Our Punisher breakdown just came out and – in 12 hours – we hit 10,000 views and 320 comments. Not too shabby.

I rarely put up – in fact, I don’t think I ever have – a picture of myself as the main pic but I liked how this one looks so I figured, eh, screw it.

Her: So, what do you do?
Me: Violence, darling.
Her: (laughing) How’s that?
Me: No dental but we’re working on it.

Location: home all day, doing physical therapy
Mood: back-and-forth
Music: My heart is broken and broken and broken and broken (Spotify)
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A New York French Bistro and a Connecticut Italian Pizzeria

You’re normal

Was chatting with the blond banker the other day.

Her: Did you just get out of a long-term relationship?
Me: Yeah, how’d you know?
Her: You’re normal.
Me: Most guys aren’t?
Her: (laughing)

Man, is she gonna be disappointed. Or impressed. It can go either way.

Had dinner with another blonde on Alison’s birthday.

Was debating whether or not to go but, in the end, I decided to do it. After all, the alternative was just me drinking alone in my apartment; the boy had a sleepover with his sitter because I knew I’d be self-medicating.

We ended up heading to a French Bistro around the way. It was cool, we sat in these bubble-enclosed tables and it was oddly secluded and private, considering that we were surrounded by people.

I arrived first and she showed up just a few minutes later.

Me: Whoa, you look great.
Her: (laughs) Thanks.

We ended up ordering mussels, ribs, and escargot.

The last time I had escargot was May 18th, 2008. The girl in this entry was Alison. She didn’t remember meeting me. I didn’t mind because Mouse didn’t remember meeting me either.

It’s weird, but I pride myself on being the Grey Man most of the time.

We figured we’d just order more food as necessary.

Her: Do you wanna see me eat this whole thing?
Me: Nah, I wanna still find you attractive afterward.

The mussels came with fries but, because I was trying to be good, I asked for a salad instead. They brought both.

Waiter: Do you want to keep the fries?
Me: (sighing) Yes.

We also ordered an Old-Fashioned for me, a French Martini for her, and then, split a Chocolate Martini. She was really great company.

Afterward, we went to the Arthouse Hotel for some more drinks.

I ordered a daiquiri and she had an amaretto sour. The bartender said that both weren’t on the menu but that he’d whip them up for us.

I saw him taste each one (with a single-use straw) so I knew they were going to be good.

It was pretty empty so we had the whole place to ourselves.

Her: I loved someone once.
Me: Was it love or something a lot like love?
Her: I’m not sure any more. I thought it was then. How can you tell?
Me: Time, I guess. I don’t think you ever really fall out of true love.

The drinks were so good, in fact, that just before we left, I commended him on them. He beamed from ear-to-ear. Random kindness from strangers is always a good thing.

Before we left, we sat on the couch in the bar and chatted a bit more before stopping by my pad for more rum and conversation.

It was just past midnight when she called an Uber to head home.

Me: Thanks for the company. I had a great night.
Her: Me too.

The next day, I had a business meeting in Connecticut with my buddy Thor. We’re potentially doing a little bit of work together on a project. Potentially.

I was still hungover when I boarded the train but he met me at the station.

Me: I need protein and coffee. Do you have like a protein bar at home?
Him: I have coffee and I’ll make you some eggs.

What he made me was a killer frittata, which I inhaled. After the coffee and food, we got down to brass tacks.

It was just before four when we finished up.

I offered to pick us up dinner and he brought me to a pizza joint.

Him: The pizza in Connecticut is probably better than the pizza in NYC.
Me: You’re dead to me now.

It was delicious OR I just thought it was because it was the first time I’d had pizza in over three months.

Figured that, since I ate the fries the night before, in for a penny, in for a pound.

I made the train with five minutes to spare, got home, showered, and just as I finished getting dressed, the boy and his sitter walked in the door.

Him: Papa! I went to Coney Island and had a Nathan’s hot dog!
Me: (laughing) Let’s get grandma on Skype and you can tell us both all about it.

Chad and I’ve been busy shooting more Scenic Fights stuff.

Subscribe and like the videos so I can quit my non-existent day job.

Location: earlier today, wondering where we were
Mood: conflicted
Music: if I could I’d change but you were that one that wanted this (Spotify)
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Being scared and being brave

Aren’t mutually exclusive

The boy’s not been feeling well so I had to cancel/rearrange a lotta my weekend plans.

Him: Are you mad?
Me: I’m not mad, I’m worried, there’s a difference.
Him: (apprehensive) Is this going to hurt?
Me: It’s gonna feel uncomfortable but, no, it won’t hurt.
Him: (begins to cry)
Me: No. Stop crying. I need you to be brave.
Him: But, I’m scared.
Me: Being scared and being brave aren’t mutually exclusive, kid. You have to be scared to be brave, otherwise, you’re just nuts. You’re not nuts are you? (he shakes head) Good. Be brave. You get points in life for being brave.

I think he’s ok. We’ll see.

Should note that I felt a lot more scared myself than I let on. A kid needs confidence that everything will be ok, even if you don’t necessarily feel that yourself.

Goddamn, being a parent is often…difficult. Being a single parent is that much worse.

On that note, I was scrambling to find coverage for him recently and I needed someone I could trust with him, especially since he wasn’t feeling well, so I reached out to Pez.

She was a doll and came by on on Monday to watch him so I could get some things done.

Chad swung by as well to make sure it was all handled; it’s nice knowing I have people that care.

Unfortunately, it appears that the boy hijacked Pez’s phone as evidenced by the above video grab…

All-in-all, I bailed on three women this past weekend but managed to see a blond banker for some Korean BBQ.

Decided that I’m only going to eat Korean BBQ when I go out from now on because it’s just so easy to stay keto/paleo without doing anything special. I’m a solid 153 right now, three pounds from my ideal weight.

Anywho, meeting up with people is just interesting to see what life out in the world is like.

After all, my regular friends all have some aspects that mirror me, whereas strangers provide glimpses into lives I know nothing about.

The blond banker told me that another guy asked her out and she had already agreed to meet him when he – without first having met her, just based on her looks alone – asked her to come move in with him and he would also cover all her bills.

Seriously, how shallow – and I say this as an alleged shallow, selfish, womanizing, narcissist – are people these days?

Her: It was kind of a cool offer but, meet a girl first, you know?
Me: Well, my son and I’ll take him up on his offer if he’s still looking.
Her: (laughing) You and your son want to live with him?
Me: If he’s paying all my bills and giving us free room and board, sure. Plus I cook. I don’t clean though.

Seriously, thank god for the average frustrated chump. They make grey men like me look amazeballs.

Her: (texting me later on that night and sending the below) Thanks for dinner! I think I was actually very nice to this guy.

Me: Please, for the love of god, please let me [share this].
Her: LOL! As long as you don’t [leave any identifying information], go for it.

Location: my blue bathroom, asking if he’s ok
Mood: so very entertained
Music: I would never break this promise (Spotify)
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Leveling up

Of course

Him: Hey
Me: Hola! How are you?
Him: Doing well! I’m in the city now. Thought you might have time.

I got a text the other day from a friend-of-a-friend and was without the boy so the next thing you know, I’m downtown near my buddy Pac’s place and getting some Vietnamese food and discussing some business.

Me: Do you want to get a drink?
Him: Sure.

We go next door to Whiskey Tavern, an old haunt of mine where I met one of the schoolteachers, and it’s packed so we head over to Pier A instead.

Struck up a conversation with the girlie sitting next to me.

Me: Sorry, are you Asian?
Her: I’m half. My last name’s Godwin.
Me: (later) I have to ask, how old are you?
Her: 23.
Me: Of course you are.
Her: How old are you?
Me: You’ll have to guess,.
Her: 29?
Me: I’m so not. But it was a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Godwin.

We bounced up to Ferns in the East Village where we met up with several of his co-workers.

Him: How do I only work a couple of days a week?
Me: (shrugging) Have the people you love die and leave you money. Trust me, I’d rather be in your shoes than mine. (shaking head) Sorry, that went dark. I should go.

I politely made my leave with my buddy and his friends.

Me: It was a pleasure meeting you all. (put on my red leather jacket)
Her: Whoa, Logan – you just seriously leveled up!
Me: (laughing) Wait, you haven’t seen the lining yet.

I bought the jacket when Alison got pregnant with the boy and we were close to giving birth. It was a present to myself; custom made with a custom lining.

Never wore it until six months after my dad passed. By then, I was so tired of black.

In any case, I left because I wanted to see someone.

Me: How about the hooka place near Solas?
Her: OK.

The waiter there recognized me immediately – a red leather jacket does come in handy – and we had a few drinks.

Afterwards, we headed over to a local Japanese udon shop, Udon West.

Me: Hungry?
Her: Starving! But I’m a pescatarian.
Me: (nodding) Of course you are.

It was late by the time she and I headed over to my place.

Her: We’re just friends, you know.
Me: Heavens, of course.

There’s more but that’s all I wanted to tell you for now.

The thing about living in Manhattan is that there always seems to be something to distract you from everything, right around the corner.

I could use some distractions.

Location: earlier today, playing volleyball with a balloon and the boy
Mood: thoughtful
Music: you’re the only reason I go downtown on the weekend

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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Finding comedy when you can

Caught a cold

Empty NYC #2 subway car, 2014
I’m sick.

Was on the edge of a cold for a few days but the body decided to just take it all the way there yesterday.

It’s probably just as well, I need to just spend a few days resting the shoulder, which is still wonky.

Unfortunately, had to wake up this morning an cancel meetings I had lined up for the rest of the week.

As a byproduct of my being 41, a number of my clients these days were originally friends of mine. This leads to some interesting conversations.

Me: Can we reschedule for next Monday, 10AM?
Him: Can’t that’s prime bathroom time.
Me: (laughing) I’ve never had to reschedule a meeting because of … prime bathroom time.
Him: …that you know about!
Me: Can I use this in my blog?
Him: Sure, just don’t use my name.
Me: OK, Jon (not his real name…or is it?)

The key to life, I think, is to take the comedy you come across in life and enjoy it.

Which seems harder and harder these days, seeing as there seems to be so much unspeakable evil in the world.

Location: should be the bed
Mood: sick
Music: cradle your head in your hands and breathe, just breathe

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A night out with some college buddies

Met up with some friends I’ve known for 23 years

Signs at Jongro BBQ in NYC
Last night I said goodbye to an old friend, which is a post for next week maybe. And then said hello to eight college buddies for our semi-regular meetup.

We met up at Korean restaurant called Jongro BBQ that I’d not been to before.

We picked the coldest night of the week to do it but it turned out for the best since most of the joint was empty.

Brrrrr

It’s fashioned like an old time Korean village complete with signposts and a bike that we all debated if we should try to ride.

Bicycle

Gar: Well, let’s order first. Should we get some steak or ribs? Or maybe some steak tartare?
Me: Yes.

Steak at Jongro BBQ in NYC
We also had some unaged, unfiltered rice wine that looked like soymilk and served in chilled metal bowls. Delicious.

Drinks at Jongro BBQ in NYC

Ox: What do you think?
Me: I like any alcohol I can get in a plastic bottle.
SJ: And with a twist-off cap!

Afterwards, we ended up playing something they called credit card roulette. We all put our credit cards into a bag and the waiter picked out four of them; the four he picked didn’t have to pay while the other four picked up the tab. I was on the losing side.

Credit Card Roulette

Me: Dammit!
Ox: Looks like all the lawyers have to pick up the tab.
Me: Nobody likes lawyers.
SJ: At least you’re not Cappy, he had to pick up the tab himself last time.

Steak at Jongro BBQ in NYC

Afterward we caught some drinks over at a nearby bar.

Me: (to waiter) Seven Old Fashions with rye and a martini. Do you need to write it down?
SJ: (laughing) Yeah, Logan, he needs to write down, “Seven Old Fashions with rye and a martini.”

Old Fashioned

After the drinks came, we settled into more more conversations. We’d all known each other 23 some odd years, which boggles my mind.

Ox: You know, my wife and I read your blog on occasion.
Duck: Yeah, I read it too sometimes.
Me: Ah, thanks. I always wonder if anyone reads it.
Gar: Man, you have some opinions!
Me: I am nothing if not opinionated. Then again, what do I know?

I had an early morning phone conference so one of the guys and I headed over to the west side to catch the train uptown.

Jeffe: It was good seeing everyone. We should do it more often.
Me: More than every six years at least. Good seeing you man, get home safe.

Location: in front of computer screens
Mood: chilly
Music: I’m a part of your circle of friends

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Survival of the strongest

Most people misunderstand the phrase, Survival of the fittest

Fishes off Bermuda Docks

Been meaning to post this for a while.

My coach just forwarded an article by a Ph.D named Dr. Rhadi Ferguson about who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman. You can hear the author read it in his own words here.

Now I agree with almost everything the doctor says with one major exception. He says:

In battles the strongest guy does not [always] (sic) win, nor (does) the fittest, but the one that has those qualities and is the smartest.

With all due respect to Dr. Ferguson, he gets what everyone gets wrong about the term “Survival of the fittest.”

If I say to you the words, “Survival of the fittest,” what do you hear?

Dr. Ferguson – and most people – invariably people hear, “Survival of the strongest.” They define fittest as being physically fit.

But this is an issue of logical equivocation: The meaning of “fit” in this phrase doesn’t mean physically fit, but appropriate to the situation.

In that sense, then, the actual meaning is the opposite of what most people think.

The phrase: Survival of the fittest, means: Survival of the most appropriate.

If you were locked in a smoke-filled room having a 3-foot window with a small girl, a strongman, and a billionaire, while the girl is the weakest, the poorest, and the most inexperienced, she will most likely survive because she is the most fit – the most appropriate – for survival in that situation.

I think that’s why I have so many interests; I wanna have the broadest skill set possible for any situation that arises. One of my goals for 2015 is to dust off some skills I had that were once pretty good and sharpen then up.

Tank in Staten Island

Speaking of 2015 and having skills, I started the year, as usual, by making a huge pot of chili and by fixing some technology around the house.

We were originally planning on heading out for dinner but the weekend was rainy and my shoulder was killing me.

Her: (canceling a dinner reservation) Open Table will be so mad at me for canceling that reservation.
Me: You know that OpenTable isn’t sentient, right?

 

2015. Maybe this will be our year.

Homemade Chili

One more nerdy pet peeve of mine; people seem to think that Darwin coined the phrase, but he didn’t.

A fella named Herb Spencer, who read Darwin’s work, came up with the term. Darwin used the term himself five years after On Species came out.

OK, now I’m done.

Location: at my desk again
Mood: hopeful
Music: You can get along if you try to be strong

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A long and strange day

Doctors appointments, holiday parties, and violence

Scrubs at the doc's

Saw three doctors yesterday.

My day started at 5:30AM with a colonoscopy scheduled for 9AM. This meant a night of disgustingness the night before and then more of the same that morning.

Once I arrived, got right to work.

Doctor: I’m going to give you some anesthesia. It’ll feel like you had some wine. Do you want red or white?
Me: White. I’m more of a rum runner though.
Him: Rum we don’t have. See you in a little bit, Mr. Lo.

Woke up feeling pretty groggy. Got a Starburst afterward so there was that.

After I got home, got dressed and headed over to a completely different doctor’s office for an MRI for my shoulder. Turns out I have a torn infraspinatus in my left shoulder.

Doctor: Do you have any other questions?
Me: About life?
Her: (laughing) I don’t know if I’m qualified to answer all questions on life.

There was another doctor I saw but that’s a different matter. Then it was off to my office for our holiday party.

Having not eaten much in the last few days, devoured my weight in kosher sushi and pasta – an odd mix but perfect for a guy like me.

Co-Worker: You’re here? After seeing the doctor?
Me: THREE doctors. But I never miss a workday when there’s food involved.

Finally, headed out to teach my fencing class. Didn’t make it to bed until about midnight.

All-in-all a long and weird day that I’m glad is over.

Hope you have a much quieter, less eventful, and doctor-free next few days, folks.

Welcome to Greenwich Village NYC 2014

Location: home, resting
Mood: hungry
Music: Could we have kippers for breakfast?

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