2012 Year in Review / Hands and Fists

One part of the body has two names, depending on how it’s held

The hand/fist is the one part of your body that has two completely different names depending on how it’s positioned.

In 2012, an article was published by The Journal of Experimental Biology noted that our fists are the human equivalent of a cat’s claws or a snake’s fangs – weapons created when needed and put away when not.

Other primates cannot make a true fist, whereby the hand is fully closed without any gap so as to create a small mass of force four times more powerful than if it were not shut.

If you think about it, we use one primarily to nurture and create and the other primarily to punish and destroy.

The hand holds other hands to cross the street, to hold pen to write, to reach out and help.

The fist is thrown in anger, clenches a gun to shoot, extends a knife to slash.

Yes, occasionally a hand can slap and a fist can sculpt but work with me here.

I bring this up as a lead to my 2012 year in review.

For me, it started off in January with me thinking that I cannot stop. In 2012, I didn’t really.

Then came February and I finally published my book, The Men Made of Stone, and gave a few lectures. It was also when I read about people that they say wouldn’t hurt a fly. But that’s never true is it?

In March I said that we are who we are because of to whom we are born.

Then I took off for Malaga, Spain with my wife – whom I finally said was named Alison – in April to give a lecture.

In May, I got a bike from a dirt scooter pro and went to a funeral and thought about the things that no one can take away from us.

Ended up on my knees again in June with clenched fists and someone offered me a hand. Also started teaching my fencing class.

Read about yet another shooting in July and wondered why we are so violent.

Went on another trip in August, this time in the other direction to LA.

Then got injured in September and had the operation to fix that injury in October. Managed to write a pretty well-read article on online dating while I was healing up.

Hobbled to a wedding in November but not before voting Democrat for the first time ever.

Finally, was horrified, but not shocked, in December.

Throughout this year – like all my years, I suppose – been able to split my life between the hands and the fists. While I’m grateful for my dumb luck, wish the times with my fists were less; neither clenched with rage nor sadness.

As for 2013, I hope for myself – as I do you – that you’ll have far more experiences that involve your hands than your fists.

Check that; I hope that for us, regardless of the year.

OK, see you next year! (That joke never gets old…)

Location: at the end of a sad year
Mood: hopeful
Music: What are you doing, New Year’s Eve?
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Alton Brown’s Coq au Vin

The one where I make a chicken fricassee from Good Eats

Since this was our first Xmas with just the two of us, we both decided to cook. She made some amazing Orange and Ricotta Pancakes for breakfast – which I’m sure she’ll put up in her blog – and, as I said in my last entry, I made the Coq au Vin recipe from Alton Brown’s Good Eats for dinner.

Her: You sure you don’t want to just relax?
Me: Cooking is how I relax.

Should mention that a lot of people don’t realize that recipes often don’t work. I’ve found that America’s Test Kitchen and Good Eats recipes always seem to work.

It took a bit longer than I expected only because ever since I got food poisoning last year, I’m constantly washing and sanitizing everything. If my kitchen were a NYC restaurant, I’m pretty sure we’d get a solid A rating.

We ended up taking a ton of pictures but since I don’t wanna overwhelm your screen, figured I’d just put up a handful of them.

It’s a bummer but I couldn’t take pics of the chicken itself as I was preparing it because I was afraid to touch anything.

Actually, to be totally honest, she took most of the pics. But she let me put them up.

OK, that’s pretty much it for pictures.

Dinner was pretty good, if I do say so myself. We had it with a nice Malbec blend called The Waxed Bat, which was killer.

Afterward, she made dessert, which I’ll tell you about in another entry. Then we sat down to play Crazy Eights, a card game, accompanied with a Bocce Ball for her and some rum on the rocks for me.

It was pretty much a perfect Christmas although it was a bit strange not seeing the family for the day. Well, I did speak to my mom on the phone.

Me: …and I cooked dinner.
Mom: But she made breakfast and dessert? That’s so nice.
Me: Yes, but I cooked the main meal.
Her: You’re so lucky.
Me: I am but again, I did cook the entire dinner.
Her: She’s so nice to do all that.
Me: I COOKED…nevermind…

Location: home
Mood: stuffed
Music: I am a poor boy too, I have no gift to bring
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Given or Chosen

Holidays are for family, both kinds

Was working until 9PM on Sunday because I said that I’d take Christmas Eve and Christmas off.

When I saw the wife, she was in the middle of watching the Sound of Music so I sat down with her for the second half.

Don’t think I’ve seen it since I was a kid.

Her: Christoper Plummer makes my heart go a-flutter.
Me: I don’t blame you, he’s dreamy.

Not really sure why it’s a Christmas movie but it seems to be around this time of year. Maybe because it has to do with family and so much of the holidays have to do with family.

Partly because of my work schedule and partly because of other things, we decided to celebrate Christmas on our own instead of seeing our respective families.

She going to bake while I’m going to make Alton Brown’s Coq au Vin for dinner. I’ll take some pics of the before and after – I’ve made it before and it’s turned out well but it’s been a while and I’m using much better wine and ingredients this time around.

Whatever you’re doing, hope it’s with family – whether that’s that’s the family you’ve been given or the family you’ve chosen.

As always, if you read the same book as me, Happy Christmas!

And if you don’t, Happy Holidays!

Location: home
Mood: hopeful
Music: somewhere in my wicked, miserable past There must have been a moment of truth
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No one’s every really on schedule

At best we’re all just close to schedule

We all end up on our knees at some point in our lives. And there’s there’s something about ending up there that involves shock.

While I’m not shocked that an event happened to the world at large, for those people that went through it and are continuing to deal with it, there’s nothing but shock.

There’s no words of solace one can give. Certainly not a tired lawyer in the upper west side that’s currently wearing two mismatched socks.

But I can tell you that I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that you have to bear it.

I’m sorry that we as a society have failed to do the most basic of what a society’s supposed to do, which is to protect the weak and innocent.

I hope one day that if you don’t find happiness again, you will find peace.

As for me, I return to my usual nonsense about nuthin, Monday.

I know it can never be usual ever again for anyone that’s personally gone through something like this.

But I hope – we all do – that somehow life gets close to usual for you someday.

There’s a quote I love from Chuck Palahniuk, who said, It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness.

The actual name of this blog is On (or Close to) Schedule.

But that’s just a joke between us, isn’t it?

No one’s ever really on schedule.

At best, we’re all just close to schedule.

I hope, more than you know, that you get close to schedule again too.

Location: Harlem
Mood: disappointed
Music: There’ll be music again next week. Just not yet.
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One of the rarest fears in the world is the fear of weapons

Don’t understand many things. Such as how the universe can constantly be expanding. Or the meaning of life.

Or how some people like Victoria Soto find the courage to give up their lives to protect others, while some others can do nothing but stand by the sides and point.

One of the rarest phobias is hoplophobia – the fear of weapons. It’s so rare that this is probably the first time you’ve ever heard of it.

Don’t understand that.

If you should fear one thing, it’s something that spits 800 bullets a minute.

In an ironic twist, the exact same thing that happened here with Sandy Hook happened on the same day in China. There, not one person – child or otherwise – was killed. The only difference between the two events was the lethality of the weapon used: in China, it was a knife, in America it was a gun.

There are 310,000,000 non-military guns right now in America – those are nine digits. Why do we need even one more?

Because it’s in the Constitution?
So is slavery.

Because it’s tradition?
So was the aforementioned slavery and lack of women’s suffrage.

Because we need to protect ourselves from the government?
The government has stealth bombers and nuclear weapons. That’s laughable. I’m writing this on the most powerful weapon against oppressive government and this has been proven repeatedly through history both very old and recent.

So why then do we continue to add to that 310 million figure? Let’s be honest here:

It’s so people that love guns can continue to have them and the gun manufacturers that make a buck it from it can continue to do so.

This, I understand even less.

And I’m not discounting the need to discuss mental illness – I’m all for discussing mental illness – but it’s not a binary thing. It’s not (a) deal with mental illness or (b) have less guns. It’s both.

Been very ranty lately. I’m usually not. But I’ve repeated a quote on FB that I feel bears repeating ad nauseam:

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything. – Albert Einstein

Victoria Soto gave her life to do something. The least we can do is ask of those that profess to represent us to do something about this beside talk.

Beside trade hot breath and lies.

People on my Facebook page were upset because I wrote that “I am shocked at how little anything shocks me any more.”

  • 310 million guns already, more being produced.
  • Mental illness as a stigma rather than a health issue that needs to be dealt with.
  • The Snookification of fame – where it doesn’t matter how or why you become famous, but merely that you get famous.

How is this – honestly – shocking to anyone? In 2012 alone we had sixteen (16!) mass shootings.

Don’t understand why more people don’t have hoplophobia and I don’t understand how any one can honestly be shocked by this.

Angry, upset, heartbroken, furious, livid, despondent – these words I can understand.

But shocked? Shocked?

I seriously doubt anyone is truly shocked that something like this happened.


Here are 10 Arguments that Gun Advocates Make and Why They’re Wrong.

Location: my head
Mood: disappointed
Music: There is no music today.
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Truth is like gold

You don’t grow it, you wash away all that’s not gold

I’m in a pretty enviable position in life where, for the most part, get to cherry pick my clients. If I don’t like a client, I don’t take their work.

However, my issue’s that I have to work with support staff of other parties that I don’t necessarily like to deal with. As I get older, find that my tolerance for total horses__t gets lower and lower.

Recently got into a heated argument with someone that was plainly wrong on the law.

I find the more explaining one has to do, the less likely what’s being said is the truth. After a few hours of wasting time, just had to get on with my life and told her such.

The worst lies in the world, I think, are the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves.

Female: (irritated) Who you do think you are? I’m trying to help.
Me: I think I’m the guy that’s right here. And miss, are you trying to help our mutual client or yourself?

Leo Tolstoy once said that, Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.

Man, I miss wrasslin. It’s gross, sweaty, stinky, and gross (did I say that?)

But it’s also pure. If something doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. You can’t explain it away, you can’t cover it up.

You can always land a lucky punch in boxing, you can’t land a lucky clinch or armbar.

And as gross as wrasslin is, it’s less gross than the often piles of horses__t I find I have to wade through sometimes.

Location: getting dressed for another meeting
Mood: still sick
Music: Caught ya red handed in the biscuit tin
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Our first Christmas tree

Remember the small but personally important things

Sick again. It always happens when I’ve got a million deadlines and zero sleep.

In one week, was midtown, downtown, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem,  and Spanish Harlem. Was kinda in a daze for mosta it.

Most things are due this Friday so there’s a small chance this may be the only post of the week.

Then again, do my best work under pressure. At least that’s what I tell myself.

We did manage to pick up a tree at – of all place – our local bodega. Also picked up some lights at the local drugstore and soon had our first Xmas tree.

Me: Now it feels like Christmas.

Suppose that’s one of the main reasons I keep writing this blog – and I’m one of the few that still do. Cause it forces me to write down the small but personally significant things.

Especially since I’ve been so drugged out on cough medicine and lack of sleep, it took me a few moments to notice something was wrong when I returned home from a client over the weekend.

Me: Ah, the tree…wait, why’s the tree in the sink?
Her: Long story.

Have said that the time between Thanksgiving and Xmas is my favourite time of year. Am hoping that I’ll be able to enjoy some of it soon.

Off again…

Location: another day, another meeting
Mood: sick
Music: I went to see the doctor. I’d come down with the blues.
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Our reputations bring us places

Sometimes these places have no rum but endless vodka and ill-thought out plans

Our reputations carry us places – hopefully places we want to go, which is not always the case. And you build a reputation just like you build anything else in your life.

When I was single, had a reputation of never saying no to an invite and that’s served me well; met my wife this way and lots of other interesting people.

Back then, found myself randomly at the Rainbow Room meeting Tina Fey or running repeatedly into a French waitress at Hiro or just ending up on a rooftop somewhere.

After I got married, stopped having that reputation – mainly because it’s tiring and little beats being at home seeing what’s on Netflix with your favourite person.

But I still get the random call from time-to-time. Monday it was from my old buddy, Mas.

Him: There’s a black tie banquet at Cirpriani’s downtown tonight, you’re on the guest list.
Me: Do I have to wear a tie?
Him: It’s supposed to be tuxedo, so please wear tie
Me: Fine, fine – but if I see someone without a tie there, it’s coming off!
Him: Deal

An hour later, I’m having a Double-Cross vodka martini – hold everything but the vodka – and trying to chat with Maya Lin.

It’s vodka, BTW, because of their lack of any aged rums; told the bartender they should consider adding some.

After my buddy and his friends show up, it’s a blur of vodka (now giving up all pretensions and just having it on the rocks), appetizers, speeches, and handshakes.

In the middle of it, get a call from a client.

Her: …12 projects. All due this quarter.
Me (what I wanted to say): All due this quarter?! That’s crazy. There’s only three weeks left and I’ve got eight projects already due by year’s end, which is really December 21st because of Xmas falling on a Tuesday this month. I’m flattered you thought of me, but I can’t possibly.
Me: (what I actually said): Sure.

Finished up the night by thanking my friends for the invite and headed home to the aforementioned favourite person.

Her: How was it?
Me: No good rum but otherwise, really nice. Let me tell you who I met…

Woke up the next day with 250MB of pdf files in my email. My email crashed because of the volume of scans.

Slept 3 hours last night. Off to start project nine of the month.

Goodbye sleep, I’ll see you in January.

Location: off to another meeting
Mood: whoa
Music: down on Delancey, Hey remember that time
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Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy

Something about a freezer full of chili makes me happy

The Professor was in town and came by last Friday for an early breakfast. He took a quick look at my leg while he was here.

Him: Well, now’s a good chance for you to get some definition into those flabby and amorphous legs of yours.
Me: Did you just come into my house, drink my coffee, eat my food and call my legs flabby and amorphous?!
Him: Yup.

In actuality, I’ve been working them out every day. And – here’s the big thing:

I can bend my bad leg 155 degrees as of the weekend.

It hurts like hell when I do it, but I can do it. 45 days after my surgery, I can essentially kick my own butt. Very happy about this. I read the forskolin review this weekend and I think I might try it, anything to cut down my cellulite.


Her: I hate going to work.
Me: You totally should have married someone rich.
Her: I know!

My workload, the injury, and the medical bills – which are piling up even with insurance – is not helping my sleep. Been up several nights this past week thinking of all sorts of things.

As a small positive, recently read an article by the Atlantic entitled The Case for Drinking as Much Coffee as You Like, which is as self-explanatory an article title as one can hope for.

Was feeling good enough to make a vat of chili so between the freezer full of frozen chili, the 155 degree bend, and the license to drink as much coffee as I can handle, it’s not been a bad weekend.

OK, Monday…let’s go…

Location: getting ready to take a walk
Mood: hard to say
Music: let’s go all have a beer ‘Cause everybody loves an accident
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