That entry was a long time ago – I had just started seeing Alison then – and when I wrote that, my working at Times Square was almost a decade before that.
Well, when I went to see that Broadway show with the Firecracker, I showed her my old office.
Me: See that building there? I worked there for years. Had a perfect view of Times Square back then. And I lived just four blocks from work. I could wake up at 9:10 for a 9:30 meeting. Her: I’m so jealous! I can’t imagine that.
I can’t either, actually. That was almost three decades ago.
Did you know that, Cleopatra’s reign (ending 30 BCE) is closer to today, about 2,050 years, than to the construction of the pyramids, which were probably built about 2630 BCE, or 2,600 years before she started ruling Egypt?
In other words, when Cleopatra was born, the pyramids were already 2,600 years old/ancient.
In some ways, I look around the city and feel that about myself.
People think that I’m old with life experiences but they have no idea how old I actually am and how many different lives I’ve led.
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…
Last Thursday was hot and steamy in the city. If I had the option, I woulda stayed home all day.
But I didn’t have that option because my buddy Hen Z – who’s a Paxibellum student of both kali and BJJ – invited me to come to the premier of a short video about a group that he started, called the:
“Dragon Combat Club, a grassroots self-defense organization formed in the wake of brutal anti-Asian attacks. The film they made explores community solidarity, self-expression, and the fundamental right to be safe.”
So, at 7PM last week, made my way down to 87 Lafayette St, which actually turned out to be an abandoned Fire Station, number 31.
There, I ran into my buddies Katrina and Prin – both of whom take kali and BJJ at Paxibellum as well.
It was weird, I felt like a mini-celebrity because I met so many people that knew me from Scenic Fights.
Him: Hi! Are you…? Me: (holding out hand) Logan, nice to meet you. Him: I’ve seen all your videos!
Which makes sense because Scenic Fights and I were part of the germination of the concept of using weapons for self-defense.
I’d been watching Hen and his group grow from an idea to its current status as a community-based organization and I’m glad he’s doing it to try and be a positive influence for the Asian-American community.
The video itself was pretty cool, and relatively short – I’ve linked to it below and think it’s worth the 10 minutes that it runs.
For some reason, though, the organizers cut the fans for a solid 15 minutes or so in the beginning and the air conditioners weren’t doing much at all.
I was melting during that time and couldn’t really cool down much, even after they turned the fans back on.
Still, it was a good experience and one I’m glad to have been a part of, however ancillarily.
Speaking of Scenic Fights, this is a wild thing to wrap my head around, but it turns out that, just on YouTube, we’ve had over 101 million – 101 MILLION– views.
That’s full-on nuts.
Then again, I really do believe what I wrote below in my IG account:
Prob for the best; I’m not sure a lotta people would go to McDonald’s to order a hot dog.
I saw The Flash when it came out because he was always one of my favourite superheroes – mainly because super speed is the only power I think really matters.
That’s an entry for another day, I suppose.
But, while I don’t think it deserved to be as maligned as much as it has been, I wanted to tell you why I think the movie failed.
As a comic book nerd, I always gravitated more towards DC comics than Marvel comics, even though I really liked both.
See, Marvel likes to ground its characters in realism – the teenage Peter Parker trying to make ends meet while dealing with massive guilt, the alcoholic Tony Stark, the rage-filled, revenge-seeking Frank Castle, etc.
Comparatively, DC heroes are like otherworldly gods – Superman is essentially a god from the heavens, The Flash is as fast and mercurial as Mercury, Wonder Woman is a goddess.
The thing about these gods, though, is that they are innately good, and – more than anything – bastions of hope.
Me: Did you like Man of Steel? Him: No, because he killed Zod. Snyder doesn’t understand Superman never kills. He doesn’t understand that Batman doesn’t use guns. He doesn’t understand what makes them…them. DC Comics are all about hope. But Synder’s film have no joy, no hope. It’s all spectacle without heart.
And that, I think, is why The Flash bombed.
It’s one of the saddest and darkest superhero films out there; everyone and everything is disposable. Heroes are introduced merely to die. No one and nothing matters.
Look, don’t get me wrong, I understand that tragedy is a part of life.
Fuck, if anyone’s life is a tragedy, it’s mine (albeit, fulla joy).
Plus, there’s nuthin wrong with a cinematic tragedy; but kids trying to see their fave hero on the big screen – especially a DC-based one – want the good guys to win.
Evil to be overcome. Good to prevail.
Goddammit, I thought my own tragedy wouldn’t actually be one. Thought we would prevail. But I was wrong.
In any case, just like you don’t go to McDonalds for a hot dog, you don’t go to a DC based film to leave feeling hopeless.
And that – not just the bad CGI (which I didn’t hate) and the foibles of the main actor – is why I think the movie failed.
Me: The problem is that you’re homeless and a stranger in a strange land. You’re not valued by him and never will be. But your friends and family are here. Her: I can’t afford to live in NYC any more, Logan. I don’t have a job and I’m not 20 anymore. Me: Plenty of people – your parents and mine – came here with less and spoke even shittier English than you… Her: (laughs) Me: …they all survived. They all thrived. It’s time.
A dear friend of mine, who moved away to be with the man of her dreams suddenly found herself in a nightmare.
She gave up everything – her home, her friends, her family, and her job, to be with this fella.
That’s her story to tell so I’ll end that part here.
But I told her things that I never told anyone.
Never told you either.
Because I not only lost both my families in 2017, but I also lost my career.
Never told you, but when I lectured in Malaga, over a decade ago, my topic was the right of publicity versus the right of privacy.
With the rise of computational power, we’re rapidly coming to a point where we don’t need an actual actor or singer but merely their likeness to create art. And that will open up a whole new world of possibilities, both for good and bad. – Logan
Watched one lawyer talk about it, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t angry and jealous – because the focus of my entire practice was going to be about the intersection of the rights of publicity and privacy.
I knew a decade ago that this current AI crisis was coming and I wanted to be at the forefront of it all.
Her: Holy shit, you were ahead of the curve, Logan! Me: Yeah, by over a decade. I’m gonna be honest with you, I threw myself a pity party last week thinking that coulda been me.
That fucking cancer took almost everything from Alison and me.
12 years of work, poof. Gone.
I’m still a lawyer but I’m not…that lawyer anymore.
Me: I’m not making light of your situation. It’s gonna be shitty and hard. But I just want you to know that you can survive this. You can survive this blow. Because, somehow, I did. Her: (silence then laughing) I can’t believe I’m saying this but you’re making a lotta sense. Me: (laughing) I’m as surprised as you are. (pause) Listen, X, it’s done. That place isn’t your home, not anymore. But here, you matter to a lotta people. Me included. Her: (sighing) OK, Logan. Lemme think about it. Me: Do that. It’s time to come home.
I went to college in Cornell, which has some of the most Asians of any school, about 1 outta 5.
Anywho, my college girlfriend was Korean but went to a different college entirely.
One day, I was walking home when I saw a young woman that had her very distinct gait and I swore it was her.
As I got closer, it turns out it was her – she’d left school early to come up to my college to surprise me.
There’s a software company I’ve been following for the past year because it has a rather unique business model; its software aggregates data and then makes predictions based on the data it’s gathered.
Since the Ukraine war has happened, Palantir has been offering its services to Ukraine and I believe it’s Palantir and the western armaments – versus just the weaponry itself – which is why Ukraine has been punching above its weight so consistently.
This is not at all to take away from the sheer bravery and discipline of the Ukrainians.
But it tracks with what I’ve always believed: The most dangerous people/things are not always the strongest but the ones with the most intelligence.
If that were not the case, it’d be people in zoo cages and lions walking free with the keys instead of the other way around.
With this data, Palantir can figure out which are enemy movements – to such specificity as which platoon and commander – and can predict what these enemy troops are most likely to do and offer the Ukrainians the most likely scenario that will happen.
The Ukrainians can then act accordingly.
In that way, Palantir can recognize enemy troop movements similar to how I could tell from a vast distance that it was my then girlfriend and not some other person.
The data I collected – the visual recognition of her particular gait – allowed me to realize that my then-girlfriend was visiting me, without her telling me she was there.
Similarly, Palantir takes what it knows about people/troops and figures out who they are by their unique traits – like a gait.
With that, they make warfare akin to a deadly recipe except that if you do steps 1-16 correctly you’ll end up with mass enemy casualties instead of a soufflé.
I’m conflicted on this point.
Obviously, the Russians are the aggressors here and for everyone not a Republican, clearly the bad guys here.
As a child of the original Terminator films and the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, it makes me uneasy how very good Palantir is at what it does.
On the flip side, it’s trading at $16.42 today, off its three-year high of $35.18.
I’m nothing if not a ruthless capitalist – with a sentimental streak.
On a much lighter note, with both of our kids away, the Firecracker and I are doing basic couple things like grabbing drinks around the way and watching reality TV and cooking shows.
Although I suspect that, while we’re both watching the same program, we’re experiencing them differently.
Her: (watching TV) Serves you right, lady! Your hubris went…pluberis. Me: (shakes head) Her: (turning to me, apologetically) I tried to abort halfway through but I was already committed to it. Me: This has got to go into the blog. You brought this onto yourself.
Location: my basement, trying to figure out why the lights won’t turn on. The circuit breaker tripped
Music: This world can be so cold (Spotify) Subscribe! Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
Me: What makes a proctologist decide to be a proctologist? I mean they have to look at assholes all day. Firecracker: (shrugging) I’m sure that you lawyers deal with just as many, if not more, assholes every day. Me: Fair.
I find the Firecracker pretty funny, mainly with her earnestness in life.
Because the funniest things come from a place of honesty.
There’s something refreshing about having someone that is relentlessly upbeat and positive, especially considering my recent past.
With that said, I’m not the only one whose life seems on the upswing.
Ran into a friend of mine the other day who was with someone new. Afterward, she and I chatted about it.
Me: I didn’t realize you and [your ex] broke up. Was there any particular thing? Her: (thinking) It was weird. I told him – straight-up – things like, “Could you let me know if you’re running late, “or “Could you drop me a line to make sure I got home OK?” Nothing. Ever. Me: That’s weird. Her: Yeah. Basically, that relationship was: “He knew what I wanted but he never did it.” Me: Jesus Christ, can I relate to that…
Of course, for every person whose life is getting better, there’s gotta be at least one person whose life is getting worse.
Or two – see, two friends of mine just announced that they were divorcing each other. I didn’t wanna pry but it seemed that things mainly come down to issues in communication.
Have you ever actually read the story of the Little Mermaid? The original story is…dark. Waaaaay, dark.
Essentially, the mermaid saved this prince’s life but couldn’t speak so the prince thought some other chick saved his life and married her, and she died.
Think the loneliest people in the world are the ones that aren’t actually mute but can’t communicate.
Then again, some things might be best left unsaid.
Me: Can you do me a favour? Her: Sure, what? Me: Can you walk on my back? I’ve had a rough day at the gym. Her: (laughs) Sure! Me: (10 minutes later, groaning) OMG, hurt me, call me names, make me write bad checks! Her: Umm… you…Mad Hatter! Me: (laughing hysterically) MAD HATTER?! Her: That’s all I could come up with! Now write me some bad checks!
I feel like I’m finally past my lemon days, maybe? That’s the hope, anywho.
A young girl: [Your son] says you’re a fighter. Me: Heavens! Now, do I look like a fighter, little miss? Her: (laughs) Noooo! Me: Well, there you go. I’m just a lawyer. And his dad. Son: (afterward, annoyed) Why didn’t you say you’re a fighter?! Me: Because I’m not, I’m someone that can fight but I’m not a fighter. There’s a difference. Him: Papa! Me: (shrugging) Besides, no one needs to know what we do in our private lives, kid. I want you to learn something here: People don’t look like they really are inside. Our insides don’t often match our outsides, for better for worse. The less people know about what you can do, the better. Him: Then why do you spend so much time [learning how to fight]? Me: Because…sometimes you have to show people what you can do.
This girl named Betty was running to catch a train about a 100 years ago when her science teacher saw her.
The science teacher was also the running coach of the school and never saw anyone run that fast – and he was the coach!
So, he convinced her to run for him and soon, she found herself in the 1928 Olympics at just 16 years old, breaking a whole buncha records.
Almost 100 years later, she remains the youngest athlete to win an Olympic 100-meter gold.
That’s not the most remarkable thing about her, though.
Just three years later, in 1931, she was in a plane crash where she was so messed up that they were sure she was dead. They didn’t send her to the hospital, they sent her to the morgue.
Luckily the undertaker realized she was alive and she, somehow, survived.
Unfortunately, the doctors said she’d never walk again, let alone race again. She spent six months in a wheelchair and didn’t walk normally for two whole years.
But she somehow did walk again and then run again – and she actually ran in the 1946 summer Olympics against the heavily-favoured Germans in the relay race.
The kicker is that she beat them.
The thing is, if you pull up a picture of Betty Robinson, she just looks like any other chick from that time.
You’d never know she was a beast in her lane.
I’ve met so many people in my half-century here. But the ones I always value the most, are the ones with their secret lives that no one would ever suspect.
I’ve met beasts that you wouldn’t believe.
Suppose I hope this for my son, for him to have secrets that keep him safe and happy until and unless he has to show the world what he can do.
Son: So, you do fight, right, papa? Me: Not if I can help it, kid. Remember that, too.
Speaking of meeting up with people, I met up with the Firecracker for drinks the other day at a place that a buddy from my gym told me he loves that’s all decked out as if it were still the Victorian age.
Super cool and ornate, plus it’s right around the gym.
I’d been walking past it for months without realizing what was inside.
Just like with people, the City has alla these hidden secrets that I like finding out about.
Then again, I usually tell you about them when I find about them, so we can share the secret, yeah?