Me: …I mainly take it to sleep. Him: I felt that in college you used to look down on us because we [did it recreationally]. Me: (laughing) Oh no, I looked down on you for a whole buncha reasons. But at least now, I’ve learned that [self-medication] is glorious.
Afterward, Ox and I took the longer walk to Times Square to burn off somea what we ate, before Ox broke off to see his wife.
Me: It was so good seeing you, man. Him: Yeah, we should do this again soon. Me: For sure, brother. For sure.
I kept walking home, though, but I suppose that’s another entry altogether.
Her: I’m sorry about your wife. Me: So am I. All my gods look like her. Her: What does that mean? Me: Nuthin. (brightening) Let’s play a game…
It’s the first day of 2023.
I’m writing this on a computer that I first built when Alison was still alive and upgraded repeatedly, such that there’s nuthin left of the original computer, just like I talked about in my Ship of Theseus.
One thing that I did after the hack was to upgrade the operating system of that computer from Windows 10 to Windows 11, something I did with great reluctance.
Still working through the pros and cons of that, but I note that I went through Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 on this machine before finally arriving here.
Just like the philosophical exercise of the Ship of Theseus, the question remains if there’s anything left of the original computer that I originally built all those years ago.
Speaking of philsophy, this blog has, more than anything, been my own personal repository of how I see the world, kinda like Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations.
Suppose my operating system has always been based on German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who was introduced to me in my 20s by the Devil.
One of my earliest blog entries spoke about a quote that served me well my entire life: With increased intelligence comes increased capacity for pain.
When Alison, my dad, and another relative got sick – all at the same time – and I essentially gave up my career(s) to try (and fail) to save them, then lost Gradgirl and Mouse, I think that the truth of that statement is why I’m here writing you now.
Schopenhauer’s worldview was that life is, at its core, suffering.
Life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom. – Arthur Schopenhauer
At no point in this blog – through all the highs and lows – did my baseline OS change; it was always run on some variant of Schopenhauer.
And you know my feeling about those who’s worldview never changes. I can’t be a hypocrite.
All this, despite the fact that some baseline beliefs of his contradicted directly with my own heart’s desire.
For example, I’ve always wanted family and family, by definition, requires children. Yet Schopenhauer, like my billionaire buddy, feels that “Bearing children into this world is like carrying wood into a burning house.”
Schopenhauer, as the base operating system of my life, was ill-equipped to deal with the overwhelming sadness and despair of it all, for various reasons.
For example, Schopenhauer’s world view of Wille zum Leben respected love like one respects a dangerous animal, but it doesn’t deal with love, which I both respect and submit to.
To Schopenhauer, love is an illogical means to an important end: The extension of our very species.
I understand that but, having loved and lost in the profound ways I have, I think it’s an idealized version of what humans are actually capable of.
While it’d be nice to live a life purely pragmatically, the way humans are designed, it’s not practical. Because emotions exist and aren’t going away.
I need an OS that reflects that reality.
The Devil’s gone from my life and, while I appreciate all that he’s shown me in the world, the OS he helped build for me doesn’t work with who I am now, especially given all that’s happened.
Moreover, I want more for my son. Assuming that Schopenhauer was correct, and our universe is only what we experience through our mental facilities – our operating system – then I plan on giving my son the best one I can.
After close to 30 years of working on myself, I think that answer lies in Stoicism. Not “stoicism” with a lower-case “s,” rather the full philosophy of Zeno, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca.
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts. – Marcus Aurelius
I don’t think, at all, that Schopenhauer was wrong, or that the last three decades of my life were wasted. Rather, I think that it’s served its purpose for what I needed for that time and that version of me. Now, I have a new purpose – the boy – and that requires a new way of thinking.
We suffer more often in imagination than in reality. – Seneca
It’s still early yet in all this. Just like it’s early in the new year.
But I spent the last month reexamining my life and need to discard the things that aren’t working for me anymore, if they ever did, and find things that do work.
Don’t think you’ll notice any drastic changes here, per se. Just little things for myself as I try to give myself and – by extension, the boy – the tools I’ll need to be the best version of myself.
Man conquers the world by conquering himself. – Zeno
I’m still me, but I wonder how much of who and what I am/was is still there or if I’m a completely new being altogether, just like this computer I type alla this out on.
On that note, let’s start the new year off with a song.
This is by a young woman named King Princess that my brother introduced to me a little while ago.
Can’t put my finger on it, but it always makes me dream that my life might be better than it is.
Maybe it’s the line that goes, “I will keep on waiting for your love,” which goes directly against Schopenhauer’s distant respect of the concept of love.
Because love’s not only something I respect, but also something I want – to both give and receive – so it’s worthy of patience and time.
Even if it never comes my way again.
Here’s to 2023 and changing for the better.
Her: (surprised) Why did you do that? Me: (shrugging) Seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Her: (laughing) OK. (pause) You can do it again.
I feel compelled to tell you that he’s six in this video, which I cannot express how proud of him I am.
Speaking of my son, he’s been taking swimming classes all year, hopefully to avoid something like what happened over the summer.
But I figure that you don’t wanna just see grainy vids of my kid.
The other big part of my life is the gym, so heading there, I see some pretty interesting things, I gotta say.
Here’s a quick sampling of a busker in Times Square, albeit from last May.
Actually, there are quite a number of buskers all over the city.
These are some at Union Square in September, just a couple of blocks from Paxibellum.
As for non-musical things, there was also the time that I left the gym and caught this sight; it doesn’t look like much but what’s happening is that water is coming out of an upper floor window onto the streets below.
This means that either a pipe broke or someone left their water on in their apartment, filling that apartment with water so high that it went over the window and onto the floor below.
I’m gonna guess that the lower floor apartments and businesses were not happy that day. You can hear sirens going off in the distance
There are a ton more videos but I figure I’d just toss these up.
Now, I was torn with ending this entry with either this symbolic store display in the UWS which – if it’s 3AM and you’re two sheets to the wind – is goddamn fascinating…
…OR posting this of my son at B&H Photo, where I went to get a small server for my apartment after the last major hack.
He was enthralled by the very modern-yet-old-timey interior conveyer belt system.
Here’s hoping that 2023 is better than the past few years.
Him: What will you do for New Year’s? Me: I’ll dream of my family. Him: That’s boring! Me: (laughing) Not to me, kid. Not to me.
My son’s eczema seems to be getting progressively worse and it’s alarming.
I’ve, unfortunately, had a lotta experience in watching someone I care about suffer from it. Watching my son trying to deal with it is just awful.
It was originally just a small patch on his back but now it covers large amounts of his body and he’s always asking me to scratch him.
Him: Stop, stop! Me: Why? Him: I have to scratch. (does so) I’m sorry I keep stopping. Me: (shaking head) Don’t apologize for that. I’m sorry you’re uncomfortable.
I’ve now spent a small fortune on ointments, creams, and bath additions as well reading up on any number of things that are supposed to ameliorate things, with limited effectiveness.
Oddly, oatmeal seems to help matters, at least according to what I’ve been reading and what I know.
So, in addition to giving this kid regular oatmeal baths, which he tends to enjoy save for his annoyance with taking baths in general, I’ve been baking him oatmeal cookies and feeding him bowls of oatmeal like there’s no tomorrow.
The hope is that, once summer arrives, he’ll do much better.
In the meantime, I’m spending waaaay too much time reading up on the matter and feeling for everyone that has to deal with this nonsense.
On an unrelated point, and very separate from the horrors that we’re watching unfold in Ukraine, I’ve been thinking a lot about the novel, The Mouse That Roared.
I last read it when I was in grade school, maybe, so I’m sure I’ll get some of the details wrong, but it’s essentially the satirical story of a tiny nation that decides to start a war with the US in the hopes of losing and having the US rebuild them, stronger and better.
The kicker, however, is that they win and have no idea what to do after they’ve won.
It’s a bit like the Joker’s speech in The Dark Knight where Joker tells Two-Face that he’s just a dog chasing cars.
I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it.
Just like the British were unprepared for America winning the Revolutionary War, the Soviets were beaten by the Finns in WWII – fighting on skis of all things – the Koreans thrashed the Japanese Empire in 1592, and modern America was essentially beaten by Vietnam, I wonder if Ukraine has a chance to not just claw back its original territory from Russia but also regain Crimea and any other regions that Russia annexed.
If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that it’s difficult to adequately gauge the effects of (a) motivation, (b) home court advantage, and (c) luck on expected outcomes.
Let’s hope the Ukrainians continue to punch (way) above their weight.
And FWIW, I’m pretty sure the Ukrainians can figure out what to do if they do get back what’s rightfully theirs.
On a completely unrelated matter, we finally have a new Scenic Fights video up, this time regarding Atomic Blonde.
Give it a go?
I’m not sure what I’m doing in that still above…
Location: 7PM, the kitchen, making duck confit for a six-year old that wants McDonalds
Mood: irritated that I have to compete against McDonalds
Music: Remedy, running through the red lights (Spotify) Subscribe! Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
Her: Here. You want some? Me: No, I’m good, darling. Her: (laughing) I thought you were a lawyer, not a cop. Me: It’s not that. I’m only have two modes: Way too much or not at all.
Decades ago, I was in a club called Club USA for work when I was called upstairs to chat with the big mucky-muck.
There was a mirrored platter – maybe it was just a mirror, I don’t remember – with a mountain of cocaine on it. They motioned for me to sit down and the fella that called me upstairs handed me a rolled-up piece of paper.
Me: No, I’m good. Him: What are you, a cop? Me: No. I had some earlier and I don’t wanna overdo it.
That was a bald-faced lie, I was just scared.
The clubs were always swimming in drugs but I never took any because I was a club producer not a club consumer. But I was certain I’d be seen as what I thought myself to be: A fake and a poser.
After what seemed to be forever, the main guy looked at me and…
Him: (slowly nodding) Never had one of you say no. It’s good to know your limits, kid. So, what’s your offer?
And that was the start of my twenties in NYC, which were pretty nuts. Too bad I didn’t have a blog back then.
Funny thing is, a fella joined my gym earlier this week and brought up Rain, who did have a blog during that crazy time.
Him: …I was part of all that. Like AsianAvenue. Me: (laughing) Do you remember Rain? Him: Wait, you’re Logan from Bachelor Cooking? Me: That was a lifetime ago, but yeah.
Thought about that because I got an invite to a party thrown by my friends around the way.
Last time, it was me and the Gymgirl at The Time Warner Center. This time, it was me and the kid on an entire floor at the Park Hyatt.
As soon as we walked in, we saw RE Mike and his wife, Maggie.
Her: OMG, that’s your son? He’s so big now! He’s adorable. Me: It’s good, because I’m required by law to keep him another 11 years.
It was a great night – the kid sang all the songs and danced up a storm – well, until people took note of a little kid singing along to all the current pop songs.
Her: How does he know all these songs? Me: Heck if I know, he just does.
Then he just wrapped his arms around me and asked to go back the table.
But he spent most of the night with Maggie and all the other women I knew there at the party.
Which is just as well, because I’m worried that he might be developing a gambling habit.
The funny thing is that my buddy from around the way, me, and RE Mike used to head out on the town together and hit up the clubs.
Speaking of friends, my friend Sue wrote me recently, noting that she was sad she was getting older.
Me: I get it but I appreciate the luxury of being able to get old at all. As you know, I know too many that don’t have that. So try to be grateful that I can get old at all. Her: You’re right, that’s something to be thankful for.
Every day is a gift. And these gifts are even better when they’re with good and old friends.
Me: Thanks for always including us. We so appreciate it. Her: Of course. We love you both.
For someone that doesn’t like to be social, lately, I’ve been more social than I intended.
Her: I can stop by with some wine. Me: I’m not a wine drinker. Her: But I am. Keep me company.
The gym’s been closed for the past few days to do some construction but on the last day we were open, my buddy Miller and I grabbed a cup of joe afterward.
Me: I think I have PTSD from everything that went down. Him: (laughing) Dude, you’re the poster child for PTSD.
He told me I should try meditating to try to deal with the insomnia and intrusive thoughts.
It’s hard to quiet my racing mind but I did it because I promised I would, and I always keep my promises.
Besides, it was nice that he cared. Can’t say it was life-changing but I’ll try to keep it up.
Afterward, had dinner with a new friend.
That weekend, met up with a buddy of mine in Chinatown with our kids. We were playing phone tag for a while so it was good we finally got together.
He’s about six-foot-three so his kid, despite being a year younger than mine, was exactly the same height.
Him: What did you expect? You’re not gonna raise a basketball player. Me: How dare you!
Brought everyone to the same Cantonese BBQ place that Chad and I go to before our Scenic Fights shoots. As always, I thought I ordered too much, but we ended up killing everything.
Him: I’m in contract for a condo on the UES. $3.2 million, plus I gotta cover all the transfer taxes and both attorneys. Me: Jesus Christ, that’s a lotta scratch. And that was fast too. Him: (laughing) Been looking for over a decade, figured it was time to just do it. It’s pushing our budget but it had to be done. There are only 80 units in the whole building and they were selling out fast. Oh, they have a pool so you two should come by. Me: You’ll regret saying that.
Afterward, we brought the kids to get some dessert. It was nice that they got along so well.
We then headed out to see my mom. This is my son running down a hill to see her.
It was sweet.
While he hung out with his cousins, I met up with another buddy of mine who just got a new whip.
Him: I totally overpaid. For what I paid for this, I coulda gotten a BMW last year. Damn supply-chain issues. Me: Had I known it’d be like this, I woulda kept my ride instead of giving it away.
He was in a mood because his girl’s dad didn’t approve of him because he wasn’t born into wealth, even though he had a great job and loved the dude’s daughter.
I told him about Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) by Bruce Springsteen. The song tells a story about a fella that loves a girl but the family hates him because he’s a musician.
In it, Springsteen sings these, somewhat arrogant but, great lines that go:
I want to be your man Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny But now you’re sad, your mama’s mad And your papa says he knows that I don’t (have any money) Whoa, your papa says he knows (that I don’t have any money) Well, tell him this is his last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance Because the record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance.
Me: What can you do but live your best life? Years ago, I uploaded this to YouTube because Alison and I talked about what being a success meant. (played the above video for him) That’s pretty much the only thing I’ve ever uploaded to YouTube prior to Scenic Fights. But that’s my definition right there. Him: I’m not there yet. Me: You will be. The best revenge is to have a successful, happy life. With his daughter.
Afterward, he drove me back to the kid and my family, but not before I grabbed Burger King for the kids.
I ordered so much food that they needed four people to put it together.
There’s a lot more to that story but nothing you’d be interested in hearing.
The kid was pooped by the time we went home.
Him: Can we do all that again? Me: Sure. Be the type of person that people want to hang out with, and you’ll always have people asking you to do just that. Him: (sleepily) OK, papa.
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.
But it ended up being fine. We headed first to the restaurant.
Her: We should leave a tip. Me: It’s all taken care of. Her: We don’t leave a tip?! Me: It’s all taken care of. Trust me on this.
Again, I don’t think I ever taken out my wallet a single time for anything that RE Mike’s ever invited me in all these years.
RE Mike and our buddy around the way both showed up to say hi during dinner and they accidentally took my jacket, which led to me hunting them down all night – a harder task when there’s an open bar involved.
Speaking of which, afterward we went to the bar…
…then a club…
…then a show…
…then more bars…
…before ending the night at a diner on the ship.
Her: God, that was the worst sausage ever. Me: It was definitely the wurst. (no one thought that was funny, but I still entertain myself, no end)
I was thrilled to hang out with both my SIL and Mouse at the same time. It made me think of all my possible pasts – for better or worse – all night.
Told Mouse to be herself that night because of her last entry in her blog.
Always hated when people were cruel to Mouse, although I’m sure she’ll point out that we were cruel to each other.
The last face she makes in the video below is essentially how she looks at me whenever we’re fighting.
Later on at home that night, I had a dream. In it, a woman that I didn’t know called me and told me that an old friend of mine was looking for me.
Me: Why doesn’t he call me himself? Her: You know him. He said you’d understand and that he needed your help. Me: (thinking) No, he didn’t. Her: What do you mean? Me: Because, he would never say that. Demons in the night know their own.
It’s not been a great 48 hours of parenting around these parts.
The snowstorm – and the lack of scaffolding – meant that I was constantly shoveling and adjusting the boiler so that my tenants didn’t freeze or boil. And ensure that the boiler didn’t explode.
But this was the first snow that the boy and I were sharing together, in a meaningful way, so I wanted to go out and enjoy it with him. Luckily, Cappy and his wife dropped off this great snow outfit for him so we could brave the snow. Once we got to the park, however, I realized that we didn’t have a sled and most/all the other kids did.
Him: Do we have a sled? Me: I’m sorry, kiddo. I totally forgot to get one. Him: Oh. (sadly) That’s ok. Maybe you can buy one? Me: I’ll do that as soon as we get home.
Gotta tell you, that ripped me up. He just sat and stared at all the other kids having fun. And I felt like shit.
Tried my best to keep him happy and made him some hot chocolate when we got back, which he enjoyed. Then I called up every store around me trying to get a sled. They were all sold out. So, I bought one via Amazon but the earliest it would arrive was Saturday.
Him: Will the snow be gone by then? Me: I’m not sure. Him: Hopefully not. Me: Yes. Hopefully not.
It was a pretty sleepless night.
The ABFF, though, randomly called me the next day to tell me that she was going out to the park and that she had an innertube.
So my sitter took him so I could catch up on some work and I went to pick him up after dinner.
Him: I was on a sled for the first time today! It’s so much fun! Me: I bet it was!
While the kids all played, I caught up with the ABFF and her sister.
ABFF: What’s up with you and Mouse? Me: That’s a whole story right there. Her: Well, she’s great. You two should figure something out.
It was late when we finally left.
Him: I wish I could stay there. At home, it’s just you and me. Me: (coughing) I’m sorry it’s just me. Him: I wish there was someone else. Me: Someday, maybe? Him: (sighing) It’s just the two of us. I wish mommy was here. Me: This is our stop. Let’s go.
Broke my intermittent fasting when I put the kid down and picked up a drink or three.
Like I said, it’s not been a great 48 hours of parenting around these parts.
I don’t want him to be a sad kid. It’s the last thing Alison woulda wanted. Then again, neither of us wanted any of this.