Proud of the work we do

Korean BBQ at home

My boiler’s been acting up again – I had an emergency appointment the other day because there wasn’t any water in it.

A boiler without water can crack so I shut the whole thing down and called up our old boiler guy, who sent us someone within two hours.

Within three hours, we were back on track.

So, not horrible but not great either.

The Firecracker’s sister and fella live just a few blocks south of us, so we had a kinda pre-thanksgiving get-together with them and their kid.

Because of the Frenchman and his wife’s amazing food the other night, we did our own version of Korean BBQ.

They brought over drinks.

Her: You’re not supposed to eat the cranberries!
Me: (grimacing) Ooooh, waaay too late.

We ate our fill of food and then decided to play a round of Codenames, with couple-vs-couple.

Her: Three [is the clue]. Two words.
Me: (after getting only one word) I’m stumped as to what the second word is. (after the game) OK, which other one was three?
Her: “Trip.”
Me: “Trip?!” Are you on drugs? How is “three” the clue for “trip!?”
Her: “Triple!”
Me: It said “trip,” not “triple.” No one would get that.
BIL: Well, I saw it.
Sister: Yeah, I did too.
Me: (grumble) You’re all clearly insane.

After a few rounds of that, we decided to up the ante a bit with the Firecracker’s BIL and me versus the Firecracker and her sister.

The Firecracker and her sister won both rounds BUT only by a single point.

Me: I’m not sure this is really a huge win. After all, you two have know each other more than 30 years while he and I only met like four months ago.
Her: But we still beat you.
Him: By a much smaller margin than I would have expected.
Sister: But we still won.

It was a fun night.

We’ll most likely do it again.

Oh, the kid got his first new belt in BJJ. I was thrilled.

Him: Are you proud of me?
Me: Of course I am, kid. But more importantly, are you proud of yourself?
Him: Yes. I worked really hard.
Me: Then that’s the most important thing. You gotta be proud of the work you do in life.

Location: Earlier tonight, the Bronx, looking at trains.
Mood: exhausted
Music: gonna twist your game, raise the stakes (Spotify)
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His First Concert

We’ll see

There’s a band that my kid likes called Kidz Bop – really, it’s just random kids that sing clean covers of current and older pop songs.

While walking past the Beacon Theatre the other day, the kid noticed that they were gonna play in town this month.

Him: Can we go, can we go?!
Me: Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know.
Me: We’ll see.


I figured that I’d let the Firecracker be the deciding vote. If she and her kid didn’t wanna go, I wasn’t gonna go – the tickets were at least $120 each so it was a pricey gift for them.

Her: I’m not sure [my kid] will wanna go, BUT we can try.
Me: Really?
Her: Sure! This will be the first concert for both of them.

Considering how much fun they had on the Disney cruise – including the live music – I figured we’d be ok.

Once we made it into the theatre, the kid bounded up the steps. He was so excited.

We settled into our seats and I figured that we would have room to stretch out.

Her: Oh, no – this whole thing was sold out pretty quickly.
Me: You’re kidding me.
Her: Nope. Some people really love their kids.
Me: Seems that way.

She was right; the whole joint was packed – there wasn’t an empty seat in the house, including on the main Orchestra level, which I think was going for at least $400 a ticket.


Well, my kid was thrilled; her kid was pretty bored by the whole thing. He’s not really into music but he was definitely a good sport about it all.

But my kid was dancing and singing in the aisles – that’s him in the middle singing his little heart out.

Me? I was a little less enthused.

But, at the end of the day, he had a blast. And I think the Firecracker’s son, while not nearly as interested, enjoyed the next experience.

Him: Aw, why does it have to end?
Me: All good things must end.
Him: Is that true?
Me: Unfortunately, yes. But that’s a good thing, because it makes you value these kinda things.
Him: I guess. (thinking) Can we go again next year?
Me: We’ll see, kid. We’ll see.

Location: My kitchen, making turkey stock
Mood: busy
Music: Last Friday night, yeah, we danced on tabletops (Spotify)
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Date night!

A stellar night

Me: I just realized that the kid has a party tonight from 6:30 to 9PM, do you wanna…
Her: Date night!

A few months ago, I got an email from my kid’s school on a Monday that there was a movie night they were having that week. Figured that I had plenty of time for it so I didn’t bother buying a ticket until Thursday but, by then, everything was already sold out.

Had to scramble and write several parents to see if anyone had a spare tix. After a few hours of trying, managed to snag one from my friend Debbie – told myself that the NEXT time the kid’s school was having a party, I’d buy the ticket immediately.

Well, that happened a coupla weeks ago and I totally forgot that the kid had his school party this past Friday.

Turns out, he did too.

Him: There’s a party tonight? Whose birthday is it?
Me: (laughing) It’s not a birthday party, kid. It’s your school.
Him: Really!? Yay!

I happened to already be dressed up in a suit for work, so I dropped off the kid and met up with the Firecracker at a joint I’d never been to before and not far from the kid’s school.

Told her I was in a suit so she showed up dressed to the nines as well.

Me: Whoa!
Her: You like?
Me: Heck, yeah! You look amazeballs!

We stayed there for a while, playing a game of question and answer, but soon…

Me: I’m hungry.
Her: It’s past your (eating) time (for intermittent fasting).
Me: (shrugging) I’m drinking so I’m already breaking it.

Was really in the mood for sushi so we ended up an Asian restaurant not too far from the first bar.

We got more drinks…

…and I got a plate of deep-fried shrimp.

Afterward, we went together to pick up the kid.

Me: I’m still in the mood for sushi.
Her: You want to stop by a restaurant?
Me: Nah, I’ll just pick up some from [the local supermarket].

So, I did just that and ate even more.

When it comes to parenting, that’s what I’d call a stellar night.



Location: late this afternoon, the Irish Hunger Memorial
Mood: sore
Music: How I hate to spend the evening on my own (Spotify)
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A Birthday and Halloween Party

Plus, another ferry ride

We went out to Brooklyn again the other day – it was raining cats and dogs. We were there for the Surgeon’s kids’ birthday party.

They had it at the Ferox Ninja Park in Brooklyn and it was HUGE.

I was in a pretty foul mood as I didn’t expect to have to walk as far as I did and do as many transfers via train as I did but I already promised the kids that we would do it, so we did.

Once we arrived, I just sat down and shoveled food into my pie hole.

Steele: (putting food in front of us) Here. Eat.
Me: We can’t be the only ones eating, man!
Her: As if that ever stopped you before.
Me: Fair.

The kids had a grand time and were a complete sweaty mess afterward.

We were only scheduled to be there for two hours but since it was so rainy and there wasn’t a party after ours, we ended up staying almost four hours before the staff – very politely – told us we were over time.

So, we all went our separate ways.

Didn’t wanna do all the walking we did to keep transferring trains so, for the second time in a month or so, we all took the ferry back to the city.

Her: It’ll take twice as long.
Me: But no walking and the kids wanna ride the ferry.
Her: OK, that works.

Soon, we found ourselves back on the ferry.

The kid and I got into a tiff because he randomly decided to hop onto my bag, spilling food everywhere.

Me: Jesus Christ, kid! Why did you do that?
Him: I dunno.
Me: I told you before, you better have a good reason for anything you do, because everything you do has consequences. (sighing)

But alls well that ended well.

We got home and both kids crashed pretty hard.

Then we went to the next-door building’s Halloween party.

The building next door has invited the kid and me every year since Alison died and I’m always grateful for their kindness.

This year, I asked the building president if I could invite the Firecracker and her kid.

Him: Of course! The more the merrier.
Me: I just don’t to take advantage.
Him: You’re not! Come on by! The kids’ll have a great time.
Me: Thank you!

We went trick-or-treating with my friends Wendy and Andrew while I chatted up the fella that I met at the other party in the park.

After all the candy and activities, we were ready for a break.

But there’s always something going on in the Big City.

Location: In my head again for a bit
Mood: worn-down
Music: Old habits don’t diе (even though you know deep down you don’t want them to) (Spotify)
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Both the light and the dark always come

Building roller-coasters

Just finished Pax, by Tom Holland – the book that the NFL Player gave us all for his bday party.

Man, if you thought Game of Thrones/Wheel of Time was messed up, fiction’s got nuthin on what the Romans were all about.

Life in Rome was dark, oftentimes. Very dark.

On a much cheerier side of dark, however, Halloween’s happening soon.

While I love seeing the kid dress up, it’s also a reminder that holiday season is right around the corner, which has its own darkness for me.

But I’m trying to be positive this year.

It doesn’t hurt that the Firecracker’s around and offers her own positivity around here.

Her: I made a flourless chocolate cake. Do you want some?
Me: Yes, please!
Her: You can come by and pick it up when you’re ready.

And the kid’s always doing something that brings me joy.

This past weekend, the Firecracker, her kid, me, and my kid spent a lazy Saturday sitting out in a playground for a kid’s party, drinking sodas and eating carbs.

Gotta say, I think that I engage with the world a lot just because I have to with the kid.

And sometimes, he gives me joy in the most unexpected but simple ways.

Him: Papa?
Me: Yeah, kid?
Him: I made something. Can I show it to you?
Me: I dunno, I’ve got a ton of…
Him: (disappointed) It’s ok…
Me: Wait. I’ll finish up and you can show me in five minutes. Is that ok?
Him: (happily) Yes! Oooooh, I can’t wait to show you! I built a roller-coaster!
Me: (laughing) I can’t wait to see it.

Location: Earlier tonight, a ferry from Greenpoint to Manhattan
Mood: so beat
Music: If you’re not ready yet, I’ll wait – cause when it’s good it’s great (Spotify)

Critical thinking isn’t the most important thing

It’s issue spotting

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:

      1. Issue spotting, and then
      2. issue solving.

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.

Location: my stoop, chatting with a friend that stopped by to check up on me
Mood: beyond busy
Music: don’t overthink it – like all my problems, I don’t have one (Spotify)
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Doing the best we can

All the good and nonea the bad

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.
      • One cruise.
      • Two camps.


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.

Here’s hoping I don’t mess the kid up too much.

Location: NJ, having lamb with the kid
Mood: hungry
Music: Mama, come here. Approach, appear. And Daddy, I’m alone (Spotify)
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Decisions are processes, not events


Me: Man, this coffee is great…wait, what time is it?
Her: (checking watch) 3:23?
Me: Dammit!

When we were out in Long Island, the Firecracker and I chatted about being parents, which we usually do.

The most important thing for me, as a parent, is to teach the kid how to think critically think.

Again, how to think, not what to think.

The recent Titanic sub disaster made me think a lot about smart people making terrible decisions.

James Cameron, the director of the film Titanic – and an amateur sub enthusiast himself – said that he knew exactly what happened to the sub before alla the details were even out.

It’s easy to call the CEO’s decisions things like stupid and moronic but it’s a lot more complex, and dangerous, than that.

Because people seem to look at decisions like singular events:

      • I decided to go to law school.
      • I decided to have waffles for brekkie.

But they’re not that at all: All decisions are the cumulation of processes in our heads:

      • I decided to go to law school because my dad wanted me to and I didn’t feel I was ready to stop learning yet. And each of those two reasons had many reasons beneath that; my dad felt that lawyers and doctors were the best professions that two children of immigrants could have. Plus, I spent my life alone with books, so I wanted to find a way to continue that.
      • I do occasionally have waffles for breakfast, but only when I haven’t had carbs in a while so I’m in a relative deficit of carbs and can “afford,” to splurge on something like waffles. But if I do that, I then have to be in the gym for two consecutive days.

Sometimes these processes happen in the blink of an eye, sometimes, these decisions take weeks, months, or even years to fully happen.

The CEO most likely made a series of smaller poor decisions based on various cognitive biases that he had – the worst decision being to use carbon fiber for the hull instead of metal – ultimately resulting in the disaster.

What I’m hoping to give this kid are good tools to process each step of any decision as best as he can.

Which is not, at all, to say that it’s or I’m perfect.

I’ve made some terrible decisions in life; decisions that I still ruminate on late in the night when I can’t sleep.

And I try to figure out which tool I ignored, disregarded, or am simply missing.

For example, I have a rule where I never have coffee/caffeine after 3PM.

But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve disregarded that rule for one reason or another – societal pressure, sunk cost bias, confirmation bias, optimism bias, overconfidence, etc – with disastrous results.

My son will make bad decisions in life. That’s what people do and that’s part of how we learn.

I just hope that (a) they’re not decisions that he can’t change later on and (b) he continually makes more good decisions than bad ones, and (c) he gets better at making good decisions as he ages.

I’m still working on alla that myself.

Me: I guess I’ll just toss it. Seems like such a waste.
Her: Do you want to be up all night?
Me: (sigh) Fair. What a shame…

Location: bed, waiting until noon to leave
Mood: headachy
Music: Feel the heat increase and my mind’s racing (Spotify)
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Wanting a Bahn Mi

Been growing mushrooms

Her: I want a banh mi.
Me: I want to banh *you* right now.
Her: (laughs)

Was in the mood for Vietnamese the other day so the lady and I hit up the local joint.

I’d not eaten inside the place in years because of COVID so it was weird sitting inside at a table.

So weird what normalcy feels like these days.

We got a pork belly sandwich with two coffees. She wanted to treat so I agreed.

The coffee was great – I’ve always liked Cafe Du Monde’s Chicory Coffee, which is what some of my fave Vietnamese joints serve but it’s definitely an acquired taste.

This place had a whole wall of the stuff.

I shoulda taken a pic. Next time.

Me: God, that sandwich was so ridonk good.
Her: Do you want another one?
Me: I *want* another one but I won’t get another one. I’m 50. I gotta start trying to eat a little less.

Try, being the operative word here.

Been on a weird kick of growing my own mushrooms lately, for both health and food in general.

Mainly Lion’s Mane because (a) it has a consistency and look that’s pretty similar to lobster, which is wild, and (b) it’s been linked to good brain health, and oyster mushrooms.

As the kid gets older, I’m always thinking of ways to keep him and his brain protected.

To wit, the blue and pink oyster mushrooms are part of a science project that is both fascinating and delicious; the lion’s mane I’ve been growing myself from some I got at a local famer’s market near the gym.

The hope is that he just gets used to things in his life – like turmeric, mushrooms, and green tea – that are overall protective of his health.

Of course, he likes none of it now but the hope is that he will someday as he gets older.

Him: (makes a face) No. I don’t like it.
Me: Welp, you tried it and I appreciate that. You might like it in the future.
Him: If you say so….

Location: earlier today, chatting with my therapist at a white desk
Mood: hungry
Music: I was starving when I met you (Spotify)
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First bully

Finishing a fight

Her: I’m a fan of all of your different personalities. (thinking) Wait, that’s not true, there is one Logan I’m not a fan of.
Me: Which one?
Her: The one that cuts like a knife. Not a fan of that one.

Most of my life these days is being a dad.

Her: Would you ever be a [lawyer/martial arts instructor/network analyst/etc] again?
Me: (thinking) I’m happy with my quiet life being Mr. Mom.

But I felt my old self come back for a fleeting moment the other day when, after school, the boy ran to me crying with blood going down his face and shirt.

He said an older girl kicked him in the face.

Saw red for a moment but calmed down as best I could. The girl – a teenager – saw me and took off running. So, I cleaned him up and brought him to his scheduled Chinese class.

But then another parent wrote me to tell me that the girl had come back.

So, I went back to the schoolyard to speak to her. The lawyer in me told me to record the whole thing so I did that.

I found them so simple and stupid.

I think I hate kids. Except my own, that is.

The girl told me that my kid started it by kicking a ball towards them and she kicked the ball back at him and knocked out his tooth.

My son later insisted that this was false, she kicked him directly in the face.

I should mention right now that it was a baby tooth, which is part of the reason I decided not to escalate this.

She said she was protecting her friend, who was a boy, vastly overweight, and the same height as me. This annoyed me.

Me: You understand he’s seven, right? You’re a lot older than him just like I’m a lot older than you.
Her: (stares blankly)
Me: You really should be embarrassed with yourselves, picking on a seven year old.

Admittedly, there was a part of me that wanted to beat the snot outta all of them.

But I can only imagine the papers the next day.

This is my typical lunch when I’m in a playground waiting for the kid to finish up playing.

Spoke to my MIL, who told me that I did everything right.

It honestly didn’t feel that way. But I suppose she’s right.

Spoke to the kid afterward.

Me: What were you thinking kicking a ball at kids *that* much bigger than you?
Him: (shrugging) I don’t know.
Me: Here’s the thing: If anyone hits you, you have my absolute permission to hit them back. But it cuts both way, kid. You threw a ball at them, they had a right to defend themselves. I’ll never get mad at you for finishing a fight, but I will get mad at you for starting one.
Him: Are you mad now?
Me: (shaking head) I’m not happy but, no, I’m not mad. I’m just glad you’re ok. Let’s not get into another fight for another seven years – at least – ok?
Him: OK. (thinking) You promised me ice cream if I lost a tooth.
Me: (laughing) I did. A deal’s a deal, right kid?
Him: (smiling his now gap-toothed smile) Yeah!

Location: this morning, running down to Chinatown to get some food and a haircut before grabbing the kid for jits
Mood: less annoyed
Music: She’s so good with her stiletto, you don’t even see the blade (Spotify)
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