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personal

Come with me

The emperor of all maladies

Her: I like room temperature soda.
Me: I only realized now that I’m dating a psychopath.

Not been sleeping well for a while now. It’s a long story.

Been thinking about Alison and my dad a lot lately for a whole buncha reasons we don’t need to get into, but one small reason is Princess Kate.

The fact that she and King Charles both have cancer should be a wake up call to everyone for a simple reason:

If two people that have the best of everything – healthcare, food, trainers, etc. – can get cancer, anyone can.

You definitely can.

In the 1970s, a fella you never heard of named Kotaku Wamura was the mayor of a Japanese town you never heard of, Fudai.

When Warmura was a kid in 1933, he saw a tsunami kill 439 people in Fudai and made a kid’s promise to himself – he would prevent this from ever happening to Fudai ever again.

When he became mayor in 1970, through sheer force of will, he convinced the town to erect a 51-foot-high gate as a public works project.

He, and his supporters were mocked mercilessly as fools.

Fast forward some 40+ years to the Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011, which I wrote about before, and killed over 19,000 people and destroyed at least 45 towns and cities.

Except Fudai.

Because of one person, almost nothing happened to the town. One unfortunate man died, and their port was nearly destroyed.

But the village and almost all its people were almost completely unscathed.

Not a day goes by without someone saying something chiding about what I eat, how I live, or what I do.

“You eat that much peanut butter?”
“Sardines? Fish, out of a can?! Disgusting!”
“Do you really need to roll around with sweaty men every day?”
“That’s a little extreme, don’t you think?”

Essentially, the argument I hear is always something that starts with, “Everyone…”

“Everyone eats carbs, Logan.”
“Everyone microwaves plastics, Logan.”
“Everyone eats late, Logan.”

Yeah, and everyone is getting cancer – greater than 1 outta 3 these days: If you’re a dude, the chance is 41%, a woman, the chance is 39%.

That is fucking insane.

Something is fucked in our lives and we’re all dying of cancer. I dunno what it is but I’m trying to go where science is telling me to go.

And I still might get it because the odds are shit.

But I’m gonna do everything I can to try to avoid it if possible.

You should too.

Wamura died in 1997 at age 88 and never saw that he was right. But he was right.

And I think I’m right here; just like Wamura didn’t know when the next tsunami would be, he knew it would come eventually just like I know cancer will touch alla us at some point if it hasn’t already.

Cancer doesn’t give a shit if you’re a king, a princess, a new mother, or a nobody.

It’s here to end – or at least massively fuck up – your life, if you don’t do something about it.

I’m not the one that’s living an extreme life, IMHO.

To me, the people living an extreme life are the ones that know that there’s a close to 50/50 chance at getting the emperor of all maladies and doing nuthin meaningful about it.

Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina, getting sugared-out
Mood: baffled
Music: I had to rock the boat so I could ride the wave (Spotify)
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personal

All lives end; all hearts are broken

Caring is not an advantage

Met up with my friend the other night.

Her: He’s telling me to not fight and he’ll promise to give me the apartment.
Me: He broke the trust covenant where he stood in front of alla your friends and said he’d love you until one of you were dead. You’re both alive, which makes him a liar.
Her: So, what do I do?
Me: When someone breaks the trust covenant, you can never trust anything he or she says. What should you do? Stop trusting him first. Everything else comes second.

That’s pretty much alla her story that I feel comfortable telling you since it’s her story to tell.

So, I’ll end that part here.

When all is said and done, the price of love is heartache.

After all, what is grief if not love with no place to go?

While grief and loss with horror and death is generally worse, loss is still loss and grief is still grief.

Ergo, I do understand that she struggles, even though her loss is very different from mine.

In Sherlock, Mycroft Holmes says something to his younger brother Sherlock who, compared to Mycroft, is the more emotional of the two.

Mycroft said, All lives end; all hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage.

Often think that Mycroft’s not wrong. There’s no advantage in caring about people, in fact, it’s a disadvantage to care.

And yet, we’re all programmed to do so.

Sometimes I think it’s a glitch in our programming and other times, I don’t.

Just wish that, sometimes, I didn’t feel all the things I do as deeply as I do.

But this is the price to be human so I pay it, hoping that I can afford it for as long as I can.

Her: (wiping her eyes) I’m sorry. I don’t mean to cry.
Me: Don’t apologize for your genuine emotion. I’m always just a bad memory from crying myself.

Location: a playground with the Steeles and the Firecracker, eating 20 cheeseburgers and having a diet coke
Mood: pensive
Music: Is this something I should be letting go? (Spotify)
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Square-jawed

Tough food=tough people?

Still waiting to get my ceiling repaired.

BUT the leaking seems to have stopped so I’ll take that as a win.

The Firecracker accidentally made butter the other day while whipping up heavy cream.

Her: Sorry about that! I thought it was cold enough.
Me: It’s fine – we now have homemade butter!

I’m definitely a fan of homemade stuff, regardless of how it happens.

On that note, a buddy of mine started chewing this jaw strenghtener lately.

Human faces seemed to have been shaped by two major things: (a) violence and (b) the type of food we eat.

The classic angular face for both men and women is innately attractive to us because it’s a sign of vitality and strength so when we meet people with soft faces and jaws, it seems “wrong” to us, but we can’t exactly explain how.

That’s why it’s a compliment is to call a man “square-jawed,” and not “round-jawed.”

(c) Someone else

Unfortunately, as the years go on, more and more people will start having these softer features because we:

    1. avoid violence as a whole, and
    2. eat more-and-more ultra-processed foods and a hallmark of ultra-processed foods are that they’re not gritty – as they take out all the fiber – and not tough.

Think applesauce versus a tough piece of steak or nuts.

Was telling the Firecracker that the danger here is that the baseline level of what is “soft,” should be, say, the level of well-cooked chicken but, because of things like whitebread and applesauce, the floor is much lower.

This, in turn, means that what was once considered “soft” is now considered tough because the curve changed.

I’m always fighting the boy to eat more real food; to wit, minimally processed foods like whole raw nuts and fresh fruit.

No less than four of his friends cannot eat normal – non-ultra processed – foods at all.

I know at least one adult who can’t eat something unless a machine made it.

So far, the boy’s been good about listening to me when it comes to food but I’m worried that his peers will convince him that “normal” means “ultra-processed” while actual real food is strange.

What a world we live in these days.

Parenting means that there’s a never-ending litany of things to be concerned about.

Him: Can I have more cucumbers?
Me: You can have all the cucumbers you want, kid.
Him: But we don’t have that much.
Me: I’ll get more. You can always eat as many vegetables as you want and if we run out, I’ll get more, don’t you worry.

Location: A dive bar with Bryson and the Frenchman, enjoying $5 mixed drinks of questionable quality.
Mood: fatty-fat-fat
Music: I find that old habits don’t die (Spotify)
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personal

I eat shadows

and do other things with rainbows

An old friend of mine reached out to me the other day.

Her: I thought of you. I thought, “If Logan could survive everything he survived, I can survive this.”
Me: (nodding) You totally can. Even when we don’t wanna survive things, we do. We’re meant to struggle and scuffle until we’re breathless and weak.
Her: (sadly) I trusted him. I can’t believe that he did this. I keep wondering if I…
Me: You didn’t do anything wrong. This is a him problem, not a you problem.
Her: But…he’s my life.
Me: You lived a solid 32 years without knowing he existed. How could someone you’ve known seven outta 38 years be your entire life?
Her: (sighing) You’re right. I know you’re right. (laughing) When did you get so smart?
Me: Sometime in the mid-90s I think.
Her: It still amazes us that you’re still here.
Me: It amazes me too. Somehow, I’ve learned to eat shadows and shit rainbows.
Her: (laughs, takes a deep breath, then sighs)

Location: looking for a Level 4 ballistic plate in a playground
Mood: irritated
Music: Running from your bad decisions (Spotify)
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How you do anything…

…is how you do everything

My trip to Austria highlighted the fact that my life is very different now than when I was younger.

For one, the only real luggage I have is not one, but two garment bags – the first being the red one I brought all over the world for close to the past 30 years.

Still works great, btw.

The second is in the form of a shoulder bag.

The reason both are garment bags is because, in my youth, couldn’t imagine a scenario where I wouldn’t need a suit, or at least a nice dress shirt, when I traveled.

This time around, I had nonea those things and the rolling garment bag left a lot to be desired.

The Firecracker’s stuff didn’t fit it all that great and there was a lotta wasted space because of how it’s configured.

So, I started looking for luggage.

Jesus christ, are there a lotta options out there.

To narrow things down, I started only looking at luggage that had “YKK” zippers on them because that’s an indicator of quality to me.

What I noticed was that they were, by-and-large, about 20-30% more than luggage that didn’t have – or didn’t state that they had – YKK zippers.

This just supported my decision to buy one from that group because of another saying I like:

How do you do anything is how you do everything.

In other words, if a company cares enough to spend the extra money to use YKK zippers in their luggage, they probably care enough to do other things right and more thoughtfully.

Obviously, like all sayings, there are exceptions to it but it’s generally true, for the most part.

Been telling the kid things like this now that he’s getting older and can understand such things.

And this particular saying is pretty applicable to him because of his personality.

    • On the positive side, the kid is relentlessly upbeat and excitable.
    • On the negative side, because of his joie de vivre, he tends to rush at things and not really focus when he needs to.

So, I’ve been trying to tell him to slow down, which is hard for a kid like him.

It’s a work in progress.

Him: Done!
Me: That was fast. Lemme see…OK, well, you got every single thing wrong here.
Him: What?! I added up everything and checked my answer.
Me: Yes, I see that. Your math is right, but the instructions said round your answer to the nearest 10. You didn’t do that. So, yes, you got all the *math* right in all eight of them, but you got the *answers* wrong in all eight of them.
Him: That’s not fair!
Me: Listen carefully, kid: Life’s not fair. Accept that and your life will be better than most people. Now, slow down. Notice things. If you do that, you’ll be different from most of the world.
Him: What if I don’t wanna be different?
Me: Look, if you’re different, you can be irreplaceable. And if you’re irreplaceable…your life will be better still. And that’s all I want for you. Slow down.

This is the one I got.

I like red.

Location: 18th Street, getting floored because of my dislocated toe
Mood: ouchie
Music: Yeah, I want that red velvet (Spotify)
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Trying to not be heated

Fiddling

The kid started swimming lessons again.

He seems to be enjoying himself.

While he’s doing great, I’ve been sick lately.

Spent most of the week in bed but one thing I had to do was crack open my computer because it was randomly shutting down.

Figured the CPU was overheating so I slapped on a Noctua heatsink and fan, which seems to have fixed the problem.

Speaking of overheating, evidently, the idea that humans are, on average 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is a relatively modern conclusion.

The very latest health research seems to indicate that the new average is about a degree cooler at between 97.5 and 97.9 degrees Fahrenheit.

At least since 2019, I’ve been averaging about 97.3 degrees but lately, I’ve been drifting even lower – above is what it was this morning.

There seems to be two major theories for this:

    1. People are larger now, which generally results in lower body temperature, and/or
    2. People are just less chronically inflamed.

Can’t speak for the world-at-large but I gotta think that my lower temps are because I’ve lowered my overall inflammation since I wasn’t super big to begin with.

When Alison first got sick, I did a baseline reading for myself and found that I was consistently around 97.9 degrees but, since her illness, I spent a good amount of time and energy trying to reduce my inflammation overall, resulting in temps I wrote above.

This past week, I’ve been ridonk sick with some weird cold. Mainly fatigue and coughing but my temps maxed out at 99.6 degrees.

Kept wondering if I had a fever.

Technically speaking, a fever is anything above 100.4 degree Fahrenheit.

But the question is is, if I’m a full degree lower than normal, is a fever now something above 99.4 degrees?

In any case, I’m better today; the last four days were spent in bed but today I felt well enough to cook for the kid – the Firecracker spent most of the week cooking for him.

As the years go on, more and more people ask me how I stay so young looking.

Obviously, genetics have a lot to do with it. So does the fact that I’ve been on a diet for 36+ years.

But, in terms of recent changes I’ve made, that’s all been focused on my reducing my systemic inflammation to try and combat cancer.

The unexpected benefit is that I think I’m literally slowing down my aging even more.

In any case, reducing my inflammation means:

Just like my computer shutting down when it overheated, I think that people don’t realize just how damaging being inflamed – thus, over-heated – is for their overall health.

These are the kinda things I think about when I’m sick.

Her: How’s the patient?
Me: Blargh.
Her: Are you resting? No computer fiddling?
Me: There might be some fiddling going on.

Location: home, making a rasher of bacon because I’m cranky and it’s easy
Mood: see above
Music: they always say, “Don’t it always seem to go'” (Spotify)
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personal

Just wear a hat

That doesn’t make any real sense

The mayor office announced congestion pricing the other day.

There were more cops than protestors but I suppose that’s a good thing.

At least everyone was dressed warmly – it’s been brick around here, lately.

If I told you that I opened up a can of coke and was shocked that no soda came out anywhere but the hole on top, you would think I was just being strange.

Obviously, if I opened a can of soda, the only place any soda would come out of would be the hole I created when I opened the can, yeah?

Conversely, if I didn’t open the can of soda, no soda would come out.

All this seems elementary, no?

But what if I said to you something like, “You should wear a hat because most of your body heat comes from your head?”

To me, it sounds precisely the same as if I said, “Most soda comes outta the can from the hole you made.”

Do you know why most of your body heat comes off your head when your head’s not covered?

Because: Your head’s not covered and the rest of your body is.

Like, if you go out into a wintery day, fully dressed, including gloves and boots – guess where most of your body heat would escape?

That’s right: Your head. Because it’s not covered and the rest of your body is.

So, it’s technically true that, “Most of your body heat comes from your head.”

But that’s super misleading.

It has the air of truth but only a little bit of actual truth to it.

It’s more accurate to say, “Heat’s gonna escape from your head because that’s the part of your body that’s not covered up.”

This has driven me mad for decades.

DECADES!

Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

Location: next door, having my third plate of shrimp and checking out heavy machinery
Mood: warm
Music: Baby, you can steal my sheets (Spotify)
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Purple (Potato) Eater

Unlimited food and Listerine

Me: 10 mins to next train!
Her: Boo!

Been on a different quest lately, this time to find purple sweet potatoes – that is to say, purple fleshed sweet potatoes, versus just purple skinned sweet potatoes.

I’d been searching for it for a while now, including at various green markets throughout the city, but it’s almost always the purple skinned but white fleshed variety.

With that said, after leaving the gym this past Saturday, it was a 10-minute wait until the next train, so I decided to look around for paw-paws.

No paw-paws were to be found BUT I came across this tiny little sign on a small table with purple potatoes and grabbed a few pounds of it.

With that in hand, I decided to continue looking for the paw-paws when I came across some Adirondak Blue potatoes from Cornell University.

Me: Are these sweet potatoes or just regular potatoes?
Him: Just regular ones. (long pause) Except they’re purple.
Me: Noted.

These I’d never heard of, so I picked up some of these as well.

Him: I dunno. One out of ten?
Me: (shaking head) No, man. It’s one outta three.
Him: GTFOH.
Me: (shaking head) For real, man.

Alison’s sickness has had a profound effect on me as a parent.

The reason why I’ve been searching for things like purple sweet potatoes is their amazing health benefits – particularly because those that eat it as a staple carbohydrate often life to 100.

I cannot tell you how many times during a week that I meet people that think that I live a particularly rigorous life, when it comes to diet and exercise but what is now normal for most Americans.

But the normal American diet and lifestyle means that one outta three people will get cancer in their lifetime.

That’s just insane. That means, outta a group of a dozen friends FOUR will get cancer in their life.

So, I do what I can so that the kid’s lifestyle is as anti-cancer as I can make it.

Nuthin’s guaranteed in life but I’m trying to do whatever I can to make this kid’s life better.

He’s my treasure, after all.

Hopefully, his seeing me drink predominately green tea and eat things like purple sweet potatoes and head to the gym four times a week will have a lasting effect on his own choices.

That is, of course, if they actually like it.

Me: What do you think?
Him: (makes a face) I don’t like it.
Me: (to Firecracker) What about you? What do you think?
Her: I dunno. It has an aftertaste of…Listerine?
Me: Wha?! I don’t taste that all. You’re crazy. (much later) OK, I taste it now.
Her: See! I told you! Listerine!
Me: (grumble) Lemme think about this…

The kid(s) have been talking about going on another cruise non-stop.

Honestly, I kinda wanna retire completely just so I can go on cruises indefinitely.

Great views, unlimited food, exotic locales, unlimited food, instant vacations, unlimited food…

Really, what more could one ask for?

Location: this evening, sitting on at playground, hearing a teacher at a French school talk about the wild horses in Chincoteague, Virginia
Mood: sore
Music: It’s a hunger that never ends, it’s an urge you can’t comprehend (Spotify)
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Emotionally is a different matter

Intellectually, I know

My buddy Ricky stopped by my pad the other day because he was in the neighborhood…

Me: The Firecracker baked cookies, you want one?
Him: Sure! (later) Is that real milk [in the coffee]?
Me: Shoot, yes. I shoulda thought about that.

…and Bryson gave me a ring to see how I was doing. I’m guessing they read up on my mom and wanted to make sure we were all ok.

Bryson: Dude, next time, before you rent a car, gimme a call. I’m happy to pick you up and get you to your mom.
Me: Thanks, man. I appreciate that. But, what’s going on with you?
Him: Nah, man, I didn’t call to talk about me, I called to check in on you.

I’m grateful for old friends that check in with me to make sure that I’m ok.

Speaking of being ok, I’ve been seeing a therapist for some time now.

She asked me this past week the details of what happened with Alison.

Me: Oh, I thought I told you.
Her: You only told me that she died and your struggles with everything. You never told me the details.

So, I did.

About halfway through it all, I realized that she was crying. By the time I wasdone, she was pretty emotional – well, as emotional as a professional can get.

Her: (drying her eyes) That’s a lot for you to have dealt with.
Me: She dealt with more.
Her: Well, thank you for sharing with me. And you should be kinder to yourself.

Told her that I felt guilty that I was alive and got to spend alla this time with the kid and she didn’t.

She only got to hold him once.

Just writing that sentence fills me with both sadness, anger, guilt, and a bevy of other emotions I can’t fully express with my limited vocabulary.

Her: There’s useful guilt and useless guilt.
Me: (nodding) I know. Intellectually, I know. Emotionally is a different matter.

Such a different matter.

Location: In my head again for a bit
Mood: worn-down
Music: My mind, it likes replaying my regrets all night. My pain, I hide (Spotify)
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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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