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personal

Travelogue: Winston-Salem Pt. 3 – Stopping for BBQ

Hot damn, yeah!

We woke up relatively late to meet the Firecracker’s BIL and sister at a North Carolina BBQ joint called Lexington Barbecue.

Her: You’ll like it if you prefer dry rub to sauces.
Me: I like all types of BBQ.
Her: This is authentic southern BBQ!

I actually ended getting the fish.

BIL: Lemme get this straight, you come to a Carolina BBQ place and you get…fish?!
Me: I’m just gonna eat some of [the Firecracker’s] food – she never finishes.

Turns out she did.

BUT her niece didn’t want any of her food, so I ate that.

After we left, I took some pics outside when I heard a fella called out to me…

Him: Hey! Hey, man! You want some real pictures, come on into the smoker.
Me: Hot damn, yeah!

He was the pitmaster and also just a prince of a fella.

So were the two gents working back there as well.

The pitmaster pulled a piece of pork right outta the smoker and handed it to me.

Him: Whaddya think?
Me: (eating it) Jesus, that’s good.

We closed out the day having dinner with the Firecracker’s immediate family at the AirBnB that her sister was staying at.

The next day, we celebrated Easter and then headed back home but not before seeing an old friend.

I’ll tell you that part next, if you’re interested.

Location: A sunny playground, trying to not get hit by a baseball
Mood: irritated
Music: mountains, slowly they’ll arise before our eyes (Spotify)
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Fixing the kid’s cracked tooth

Getting screwed by Biden

While I generally like that the boy takes after me in most regards, there are some things that I wish he wouldn’t.

Just like I did in May of last year, my kid cracked his tooth a while ago in his BJJ class and we went to the dentist for a cleaning and general checkup, but I wasn’t expecting to repair his tooth during this particular visit.

In any case, I had earmarked 15 minutes of buffer to make sure we made his appointment.

What I didn’t factor in was that President Biden was gonna be in the Upper West Side that day.

Holy cow, what a mess.

Gotta think that Biden was crossing at W 79th because we were stuck there for a while before we decided to try out the subway.

Luckily, that was still running.

So, we were late when we arrived.

Unlike the last several times I went to this dentist, they were actually much more well run such that we were seen only 30 minutes after our scheduled time, instead of the usual hour/90-minutes.

This was an improvement.

However, unlike when the kid went to his regular dentist, this one didn’t give him any laughing gas to do his cleaning.

He wasn’t thrilled but he was still a trooper.

But, we weren’t done.

Her: You know your son’s tooth is cracked, yes?
Me: I am aware.
Her: Do you want to fix it?
Me: I dunno. We only scheduled the cleaning. He still has to make his Chinese class.
Her: Oh, you’ll be done in 15 minutes. I would do it because it’s only going to get worse; it won’t get better if we don’t fix it.

We left with only five minutes to spare but this time, the train let us down because it skipped our stop.

So, we had to run to his class and ended up being 20 minutes late.

It was a pretty exhausting day, but I’m glad that the kid’s tooth is taken care of.

Hopefully, we can go another year before he needs to get his teeth looked at again.

Firecracker: You know you’re supposed to go every six months, right?
Me: Nah, we’ll be fine.
Her: Logan Lo!
Me: Fiiine, I’ll consider it.

Location: the kid’s BJJ gym, telling him he has to wear his mouthguard
Mood: beat tired
Music: White teeth teens are up for it (Spotify)
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Run-of-the-mill Calamities

Everything keeps breaking down

I was rolling with my buddy Cruise the other day when I felt this sharp pain in my left foot and looked down, horrified to see my middle toe bent 90 degrees…in the wrong direction.

Holy shit! I said.

I’d put that pain at a solid 5, if 1 was nuthin and 10 was the worse pain in my life.

Without even thinking, I reached over and yanked it back into place, which shot my pain level up to a 10 but only for a second before it dropped down to a managable 2.

So, this whole week, I’ve been hobbling around with my toes taped up.

But it’s not just me, the kid’s been dealing with his own foot pain lately.

We went to an indoor gym the other day – something I’ll tell you about later – and he spent hours running around the place.

Figure he musta gotten a blister from all the activities so we were both hobbling around for a bit.

On a larger level, things in the building have been a mess too.

Things keeps breaking around the building so I gotta find people to come in and fix them.

To make matters worse, the hot water for the whole building completely stopped for some reason.

Only after the plumbers arrived did we figure out that it was the boiler’s mixing valve – which mixes the 212-degree water with city tap water to get hot water for our building – that called it quits.

After a full day of waiting around and some five hours of work, we finally had hot water again.

The kid helped out too, since I had to be in the basement, he was the one that measured the temps for us in the bathroom.

Him: It’s 130 degrees, dad!
Me: That’s too much, lemme know when it’s less.
Him: (two minutes later) It’s 129 degrees now!
Me: (laughing) OK, that’s only marginally helpful, kid. I meant like 120 or less?
Him: Oh, you shoulda said that.
Me: Fair. That’s on me.

On a macro level, the manhole cover a few blocks south of my pad blew off completely because of some fire under Amsterdam Avenue.

Smoke and firemen were everywhere.

Now, this happened just south of the Jewish Community Center (JCC) and everyone just heard this loud but muffled BOOM.

I’m pretty certain I’m not the only person that thought the worst.

But it wasn’t terrorism, just the run-of-the-mill calamities that NYC always has.

Which, in this day and age, is probably the best we can hope for.

Location: earlier, at a Halloween party that we’ve been going to for the past four years now
Mood: not salty
Music: hold onto me, cause I’m a little unsteady (Spotify)

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personal

Having all the parts

On the regular

The last few people I’ve dated, including the Firecracker, have been on the shorter side, which I find amusing.

Me: Man, you’re tiny. You’re like half a person.
Her: No, I’m not! I’m a whole person – I have all the parts.

I have most of my parts, but I’ve been worried about how some of them have been functioning lately – mainly my eyes.

My eyesight has been getting progressively worse since I got kicked in the head the night I covered class.

Rang up the doc that I saw a few weeks back and he told me to stop by his office again this past weekend.

One thing that I really like about him is that he runs a tight ship. Within 30 minutes of my arriving he, was already wrapping up the visit.

Him: Everything looks good, your retina is solid, and you just have a touch of cataracts.
Me: So why does everything look blurry?
Him: Ah, well, you’re developing monovision. That’s when one eye sees distance and one eye sees up close. Your right eye is now essentially for reading while your left eye is for seeing things far away.
Me: Whoa, that’s wild. Because I got kicked in the head?
Him: (nodding) But it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Most people have to have surgery to get that, but you now have it naturally. I have it naturally myself and it’s why I don’t need glasses.

All-in-all, it was a relief.

It’s still weird to walk around and have things so blurry alla time. But he says that I have to practice looking at things far away with my right eye and reading with my left eye.

How hard can that be?

One thing that I found interesting was that, when I first met the doctor, I barely knew the Firecracker.

Now, I’d spent the last two months seeing/chatting with her on the regular.

Funny how life works.

Location: a small room, watching her eat an apple pie in her bed
Mood: wondering if I should eat an apple pie in my bed
Music: I’ve lost more than a heart could take (Spotify)
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Super(glue)cuts

Another accident

Had a lotta plans this past weekend but, like mosta my plans, they didn’t turn out – at all – like I expected.

Not all of it was bad, but it certainly started out looking that way.

Suppose the main thing that happened was that I took a knee to my forehead at the gym and tore open a cut above my eye.

It wasn’t super deep but there was a ton of blood, which is pretty typical for facial cuts. People were telling me to head out to get stitches but I’d been here a few times before.

I quickly took a shower, cleaned the wound with alcohol, had my buddy Kevin run out to get some Krazy Glue, and got to work.

I’ve been using Super/Krazy Glue to stitch myself up for years. It works best on cuts that aren’t super deep and aren’t jagged – my particular cut hit these two criteria.

Laid down on a workout bench and had Chad and Katrina wash their hands – Chad’s dealt with things like draining cauliflower ears a buncha times and Katrina works at a dentist office so they seemed like the best choices.

Chad used two hands to squeeze the cut together and Katrina basically just glued my wound shut.

It took three tries but they stopped the bleeding and I avoided a trip to the ER/urgent care.

This is what it looked like immediately after they finished:

The last bits of the glue came off today and this is what I looked like a few hours ago – the cut healed perfectly and better than if I’d had stiches because there’s no additional scarring due to the stitches:

While that part turned out well, it all meant that I couldn’t head to the gym as much as I woulda normally while the kid was away.

So, I did a lotta baking, including making some bar-type cookies that I tried to cut using Alison’s old pizza wheel cutter.

Just like with the wine glass the other day, the handle snapped in my hand as I was using it and THE BLADE WENT RIGHT TOWARDS MY EYE.

Luckily, it turned somehow so I got slapped in the face with the side of the blade.

Seriously, my luck is something else.

Although, there was some good to getting injured as it meant that I could do other fun things instead of heading to the gym.

Her: You free on Friday?
Me: I am now.

I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow or something.

Location: NJ, getting my treasure
Mood: full, for once
Music: I try, I try, I really do (Spotify)
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What’s the margin of error?

I try and have a scheduled life to avoid things like this

Me: (holding stomach) Just wanna let you know, there’s a 35-40% chance I’m going to be sick on you.
Him: What’s the margin of error?
Me: 5%.
Him: That’s still less than 50%. I’ll take my chances!

With how my schedule is involved, most days I have to eat and drink at very specific times. In the mornings, I have something at 8:30AM, again at 10AM and then not again until 3PM.

The reason for the gap is that I try to hit the gym three days a week in the middle of the day while also trying not to have something in my mouth or hand while I’m talking to clients during the other hours.

Every once in a while, I’ll have a long winded client or something that makes me miss my window. The other day, I missed it, but also already had a huge mess of bacon and eggs. So I downed it all with strong coffee and hit the gym.

Ultimately, nothing ended up happening although there were times I came close.

Vigorous exercise, the smell of dude in a sweaty gym, the heat, plus that breakfast was … ill-advised.

And I regularly work with the same guy so he, unfortunately has to deal with all my little eccentricities.

Me: Did you just buy that shirt?
Him: Yeah, I forgot to bring another clean shirt with me today and I know how you are about that kind of stuff.
Me: God, thank you.

Location: finishing up breakfast two
Mood: tired of summer
Music: Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
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Repetition is the Mother of Skill

Perfect practice makes perfect

First ice cream of spring 2013!

Hope you had a nice holiday if you celebrated anything.

Saturday was beautiful so the wife and took a walk around the hood; it was warm enough for some ice cream. Spent Sunday contemplating my religion.

Saturday night, though, went to teach my fencing class.

A long time ago, there was this fella that had been taking the class for a lot longer than me but I would regularly beat. It was because he was always interested in learning the latest esoteric move and some secret technique while I just worked on the basics.

And the reason was simple: Repetition is the mother of skill –  I had fewer tools to work with but the tools I had I knew well and practiced regularly. He never spent enough time on the basics to really get good at them.

To which I have to clarify the following: That saying that Practice makes perfect is yet another one of those sayings that are only partially true. The actual saying is Perfect practice makes perfect.

Thought about that on Saturday when my old instructor came back to lead the class and reminded me how much of a student I still am. I think he landed four strikes for every one of mine.

And so went home afterward and surely annoyed my wife as I waved a stick around in the middle of the night, going: One, two, three…

Location: in a Monday
Mood: pensive
Music: Too late for the young gun I said This is the year of the knife
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The guys in your corner

Life’s easier with people on your side

Was doing work when I got a text from my buddy Thor telling me he had a fight the next day. He’s probably the only guy I get to practice my crappy German with so I said yes.

Him: Hey buddy, do you maybe have some time tomorrow to take some pics?
Me: Maybe – where and when?

The next night, was walking down an empty Jerome Avenue looking for a fight ring.

Pretty soon, walked into a Bronx gym that smelled like old sweat and violence.

Found Thor and the coaches and waited around for the other fella – who ended up being a no show. But the guys just ended up looking for another fighter to fight and found one.

The only issue was that he was ranked two levels higher than my buddy (white vs. purple).

But Thor was game so it was on.

Just like all of the other fights, it was a lotta waiting around before they finally got down to scrapping. I stood in his corner with his coaches to film it.

Thor ultimately lost but we were proud that he held his own.

It’s ok, we all lose at some point.

And we all lose our very last fight. It’s our fate.

But along the way, it’s nice to have people in your corner – people on you side.

As for me, if I get to choose which corner to be in, I choose to to be in the one with the people that, when that bell rings – regardless of the what or who they’re up against – take a deep a breath, knuckle-up, and roll.

Him: Thanks for coming. It means a lot to me.
Me: You did great – it was against a purple! That’s something. Get ready for the next one – let’s go...

Mood: proud
Music: on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs
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Flip-flopping is a marketing term

Making informed decisions based upon new information is not a bad thing

While I’m glad that Obama won the election, I’m tired to hearing that Romney was/is a flip-flopper. I disliked his disengenous changing of positions, but the term flip-flopping is a nonsense marketing word like pink slime to push an agenda. It’s the difference between insect-vomit and honey.

George W. Bush refused to change his stance on anything, despite all evidence to the contrary. This is a summarily bad thing.

Thought of this because my friend Alexandra recently sent me this article and it, in turn, made me think of Fujifilm and Kodak.

For those of you too young to know, the two were bitter, bitter rivals in the photo film market. When the world went digital, Fuji saw the writing on the wall and – despite film still being very popular at that time – took a hit early to develop new technologies.

Kodak did not, instead staying the course despite all evidence to the contrary, trying to squeeze every penny from their dying business model.

As of yesterday, Kodak is trying to reinvent itself by selling its only asset, its patent portfolio.

Fuji, meanwhile, changed course and came up with products like the astoundingly advanced Fuji F1, which is potentially a game-changing, stylish camera.

Let me mention that I met Alexandra at my wrasslin class.

A decade ago, I took Judo with this instructor that thought very little of the now popular jiujitsu. Instead, he taught us very traditional judo.

My current jiujitsu coach is the exact opposite, not only teaching us very modern moves, but inventing some of his own, such as the Rat Guard, which I use and love.

He and I talk about that old Judo instructor from time to time.

The funny thing is: they’re both the same person.

He saw the world was changing and changed with it. One of his students is one of the top-ranked fighters in the city, precisely because he saw the direction of the world.

Change is inevitable. The ones that survive and flourish are the ones that change.

Me: You know that thing that I do that annoys you?
Her: You’re going to have to be a lot more specific than that.

The wife is blogging a lot more, which – because it’s a food blog – involves me stuffing my face a lot more as well. She just made a vat of Sage and Brown Butter popcorn so I’ve been eating that non-stop.

Her blog is doing better than mine. I cannot have this.

Must sabotage while still getting the benefit of food.

———-

The article Alexendra sent me, BTW, is about traditional book publishing. I think it’s dying because the world is changing how it consumes books.

Speaking of consuming books…

The Men Made of Stone - Logan Lo
Location: getting ready for meetings, lots of them
Mood: sore
Music: makes it so hard to stay But nothing lasts forever
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We’re ok, but it’s been surreal

Hurricane Sandy was much more than we anticipated

The Ansonia aka 666 Park Avenue against a cloudy night skyWe were/are amongst the very lucky in my little town as we have heat, hot water, and electricity. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the rest of the city; a number of my friends have lost electricity.

We’re on a subway line that has some of the more extensive flooding so we’re stuck here for a while; moreover HG’s office is completely without power so there’s no real sense in her getting to work even if she could.

Also, my family is (very thankfully) fine but her parents had a tree fall on their house and no electricity.

A few friends of mine have to still go to work because the city workers want them to go so that means multiple bus transfers.

Lived here in NYC my entire life and I’ve never seen anything quite like this. Irene last year was a whole lotta nuthin. This is a whole lotta something.

It’s interesting but it’s the immigrants that are keeping this city humming. The Southeast Asian cabbies, the East African Domino pizza guys, the Korean deli owners, the Chinese restaurant owners, etc.

From what my friends told me, some of them were working the entire time the hurricane hit. Crazy.

Would write more but I’m off to my physical therapist who somehow made it into work and is ready to work on my knee.

I’ll be back.

@logan607 on Twitter
Oh, I’m finally on Twitter if anyone cares: @Logan607

Location: getting dressed
Mood: thankful
Music: We’re as safe as houses, as safe as mother’s milk
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