Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fuckin' Indian Food

Finally, something blogworthy...

Tonight should have been a normal, boring night in the life of Kid Dynamite.

Like most other nights, I arrived home to an eagerly wagging tail, courtesy of Oscar,

and we went to the dog run for an hour. Oscar took three dumps, humped a few bitches, and ran like a maniac around the gravel enclosure.

We came home and rested, watching Monday's CSI:Miami, before Mrs. Dynamite finally arrived home at 8pm.

"What do you want to eat?" I was fucking starving.

"Believe it or not, I could do Indian tonight," she replied, which was odd, as Mrs. D is not a big Indian fan. However, since we'd had Thai last night, and I wasn't in the mood for Chinese, I was more than happy to lob in the immediate standard Indian order to my go-to guy at Ghandi Cafe:

1 Nan
1 Onion Kulcha
1 Chicken Tikka Masala (Mrs. D)
1 Lamb Sagwala (KD)

Being a veteran, I ask the guy on the other end of the phone, "How long will it be?"

"Turrty meenuts sir," he assures me, and I hang up and set the table.

I killed some time on the computer reading Pauly's epic trip report of the 2006 Bash at the Boathouse, and by 9:05, foodless, I was fully TILTED. I hit "redial" and politely inquired as to the status of my order.

The guy told me something about a "problem with the bike," (the place is only 5 blocks away) apologized and told me it would be 5 minutes.

Again, savvy consumer that I am, I said, "Will it be 5 minutes? or 25 minutes?" Don't try to bluff me MOTHERFUCKER - Do You Know Who the Fuck I Am?

"Five meeenoots sir," he assured me, and I hung up.

At 9:25, I was steaming enough to dump a full buy in with A-Q unimproved on the flop, and I called back, no longer as polite, basically saying "Where is my fucking food?" The dude now tells me that the delivery guy left 5 minutes ago, and that it would be there in 1 or 2 minutes.

Since I know this place is maybe a 2 minute bike ride away, I decide to go sit on my front steps and wait for him. I mentally mark 9:30 as the cutoff time, after which I'm going to refuse to take delivery of the food.

9:30 rolls around - no food. I storm inside, telling Mrs. Dynamite "I'm going to get pizza - when the fucking food comes, tell him he's too late and sent it back."

Mrs. Dynamite, not one to crave confrontation, immediately retorts, "I'll go get the pizza," and she takes off.

At 9:35, the doorbell rings. I make the guy wait for 2 minutes before I buzz him in. As I'm doing so, Mrs. Dynamite calls with the pizza report, and I tell her to wait a minute, as I'm dealing with the delivery guy.

It's an Indian kid who can't be much more than 16 years old, well dressed, as Ghandi Cafe's delivery men always have style.

I tried to stay calm: "Are you going to give me a discount or something? I ordered this NINETY minutes ago," I began. He looked at me, exasperated, and replied merely, "Sir," as he gave me a helpless look.

"Look, I order from you guys a lot, and I like your food, but this is ridiculous," I threw him a compliment to keep it friendly. "I can't be sitting here all night waiting for the food, and I will not tolerate being lied to on the phone. At 8:05, the guy told me 30 minutes. At 9:05, he told me 5 minutes. At 9:25, he told me you already left, and you didn't get here until 9:40. I know you're only 5 minutes away. Not for nothing, but I can't eat Indian food at 9:30pm."

The kid continues to give me an exasperated look, and makes no move like he's gonna comp me the meal. I am torn because I know if I devour the food at 9:30, I'll be running to the toilet at 2:30 am trying to make it into the bathroom before my ass explodes. On the other hand, I'm starving.

"Listen," I tell him, "Will you please just make sure you tell your boss what I said, and have him call me if he wants to talk to me about it?" More blank stares and exasperated look.

"Wait - you don't speak English - do you?" It finally hits me. He shakes his head "no," and now I can only laugh. I even tipped the kid - hey, I'm not a total dick, I know it's not his fault.

I went back inside and called the restaurant, getting the boss on the phone, who was very apologetic, telling me that the delivery guy had his bike stolen up on 18th street. I insisted that all he had to do was tell me the truth, and that I could handle ordering from somewhere else if he told me it would take an hour and a half, which was a much better scenario for everyone involved than his people stringing me along all night. He agreed, and promised to comp my next meal. Freeeeeeeeeeeroll!

Now, complaining about food and food service is not something I do often, as it always involves the classic fear of "they're gonna spit in my food." Yeah, it's possible the guy spits in my food the next time, but I'm hopeful he won't, as I used my international diplomacy skills to politely and effectively explain myself.

Mrs. Dynamite wondered aloud if that was the same delivery guy who got his bike stolen, and what he must think of America: "What a country - they steal my bike, then some guy spends 5 minutes yelling at me and I have no clue what he's talking about. Where are the streets paved with gold? And this is my first day. Oy vey."

Here's the best thing about Ghandi Cafe: the "review" snippets they have on their menu from actual user comments - I am not making this up:

"...I'd say the biryani is a big soggy, but other than that, thumbs aloft!"
"... Not the best Indian food I have had, but one of the better ones in NY."

Talk about rave reviews!!!

Awaiting the gastrointestinal effects of a late Indian dinner,

Saturday, September 16, 2006

In Your Head

I love Humberto Brenes. In a heterosexual poker fan kinda way. Humberto is a complete fucking lunatic, always good humored, and still manages to get into his opponents' heads.

Contrast this to Eric Molina, who is a complete fucking cocksucker. Eric Molina is the definition of doucheball: a 21 year old punk who has zero class, and has the potential to ruin the game of poker. Former New York City poker staple Shaniac wrote about his run-in with Molina, which was also shown this week on ESPN's Main Event broadcast. Here's the thing: it's one thing to talk trash to an opponent, event to bait him while you're in a hand, but Molina is the first guy I've ever seen who blatantly taunts opponents when he eliminates them!

What a classless little fuck. I was on TILT just watching him on tv! I was seriously worried that if I found myself at the table with him, I'd punch him in the face. I can handle trash talk, but if Molina busted me, and then told me "terrible call," as I got up to shake the hands of the other players at the table (which he did to at least two opponents in this week's broadcast) - he'd better be ready to rumble. Leave it at the table: don't taunt a guy after you've already eliminated him!

Prahlad "Spirit Rock / Mahatma" Friedman chose a different needling tact - very calmly, quietly, and persistently getting deep inside Jeffrey Lisandro's head by repeatedly suggesting that Lisandro had failed to post his 5,000 ante, and that the player next to Lisandro, Dustin Holmes has posted the ante twice. Prahlad refused to drop the subject, nonchalantly bringing it up 3 times over the next 3 hands, and then telling Lisandro that Lisandro was trying to "rob" Holmes of 5k, and that "Frankly Sir, I don't trust you." Lisandro went ballistic, threatening to "take his head off," as Prahlad coolly plead his case to the floorman, with his hands in the air making the "I didn't do anything motion." Now THAT is how you effectively get in someone's head: you don't have to taunt them and bash them repeatedly like Molina. It turns out that Prahlad was wrong about the ante too!

I also thought Jamie Gold did a great job keeping his cool when he got into a bigger dick contest with Molina during a hand, which ended with Molina saying "fuck" and Gold immediately pouncing with "PENALTY!" as he called the floor and was successful in imposing a penalty on the young dickeater.

As for the actual poker, I'm absolutely stunned by how bad the level of play is. Never mind the maniacal Dmitri Nobles, granted, you can't judge a player soley by the plays ESPN shows him making, but the amount of dead money is absolutely staggering, which is also why it's so fucking hard to survive these days: you simply cannot avoid putting your chips at risk against these internet/homegame maniacs.

The most shocking double-doucheball play this week benefited Erik Friberg, who open raised with KK, and was re-raised by TT. Doucheball2 cold called the re-raise from the BB with AK, and Friberg immediately moved all-in, for a larger-than-pot-sized re-re-raise. Doucheball1 thought for about 5 seconds before calling with his TT, and Doucheball2 thought for the same amount of time before calling with AK! Friberg tripled up, and rolled on to the final table.

Finally, what's up with players thinking that "gambling" is the object of poker? Molina repeatedly stated that he was a gambler, as if it was the most important trait in a poker player, and showed off for the cameras as he called an opponent's all-in blind preflop. In a previous hand, Lisandro moved all in with the nuts on the turn against his opponent's two pair. His opponent thought for 20 seconds, and said "Well, I came to gamble," as he called off all his chips and lost. It's one thing to call with two pair and run into the nuts, but it's the "gamble" philosophy that seems to be firmly ingrained in the World Poker Tour generation - they don't realize that a normal poker tournament is not like the final TV table of a WPT event.

Lisandro said it best: "You came to gamble, I came to win!"

until next time,

Monday, September 11, 2006

I Remember

September 11th 2001

I remember what I was wearing - this horrible blue shortsleeve Van Heusen shirt - my boss still makes fun of me every time I wear it: "Do you work for the post office?"

I remember the first call I got about the World Trade Center. Alex called me and told me there was a bomb at the WTC.

I remember Eddie's scumbag client immediately selling 400,000 MDY's, and then buying them back a few minutes later when the news came that it wasn't a bomb, but "just a plane."

I remember Jeff, a pilot, turning to me and telling me that it's impossible to accidentally hit the World Trade Center with a plane.

I remember Jeff S. crying out in horror when the second plane hit.

I remember the order I had on my desk: it was a small order from Van Kampen - and I remember yelling at Sean, one of my salesmen. "Fuck this Sean - we're not doing this order - we're leaving." I remember his reply: "We'll do whatever the exchange does."

I remember Ralph saying that he heard there were as many as 10 hijacked planes, and I remember his genuine concern for his employees.
I remember The Towers falling. It was perhaps the only thing more impossible than the planes hitting The Towers in the first place.

I remember not knowing where to go - not wanting to go to Grand Central, so eventually a bunch of us walked up to Ryan's future in-law's apartment.

I remember bumping into Sid, who I'd worked with 3 years earlier and not seen since. I remember what I said to him: "Fucked up huh?" What else could you say?

I remember sitting at Ryan's, glued to the TV, running to crane our heads skyward each time we heard jet engines - not knowing that fighter pilots were patrolling Manhattan.

I remember what I got to eat: chicken fingers from a nearby deli - they sucked.

I remember people rushing to withdraw cash from the ATM's.

I remember deciding to finally go home, taking Metro North with Tom - we had to go to Whiteplains because the trains weren't running on our line. I remember what we talked about on the train ride - which was jam packed, standing room only like a subway: we wondered how the terrorists had managed to plant bombs, demolition style, in the World Trade Center - we couldn't believe that they could crumble like that otherwise.

I remember the newspapers the next day. The 60-sigma images of the planes crashing into the towers. Simple impossible to imagine or describe.

I remember Tom having to go pick up the car of a friend who died in the attack. He had to pick it up from the train station and bring it home to the friend's widow. I think he did this more than once.

I remember walking around aimlessly for the next two days - no job to go to, no real way to go help at Ground Zero. I remember downtown Rye being shutdown because of a bomb scare at a bank. The downtown was made up of about 6 banks, and my apartment was above 3 of them.

I remember lying in bed at night as CNN had a camera on the Empire State Building, reporting that it had been evacuated, afraid to turn off the television, for fear of seeing a pile of rubble when I turned it back on.

I remember calling my friend Ara, who was out at Chatham on the Cape - in his parents' house, which is as close to a paradise sanctuary as I could get. I had to get away. I remember my boss calling my cell phone, and telling me they needed me back. I remember telling him that I wasn't coming back - I was going to Boston to see my family after I left the cape. I remember him telling me "You do what you think is right," which was his way of reminding me that he needed and wanted me back. I remember telling him, "I'm going to Boston. Bye."

I remember when the market opened after several days. I was sitting on Ara's couch, in front of a big bay window looking out onto the beach. I remember the Fed slashing interest rates, and the chain emails that went around explaining how if everyone "in an act of Patriotism" bought 10 shares of their favorite stock, then stocks would be fine.

I remember the funerals at Saint Patrick's Cathedral. Every week - a massive procession of police and firemen. Bagpipes. I still cry when I hear bagpipes - but I think I've always done that.

I remember how I felt somehow cheated that no one I had known personally had died - and how angry I was at myself for feeling like that.

I remember the first time I played soccer with my current team: it was in December I think, on the rooftop of the parking garage at Pier 40, looking down toward the hole left by the WTC. I pulled my hamstring of course.

I remember the first time I went running down the West Side Highway after the attacks. Coming to the bend in the path where the World Trade Center should have dominated the skyline. And being brought to tears by the empty space. I remember then realizing how absolutely massive the hole in the SKY was.

I can't forget these things, and I don't want to. Wishing something never happened and wanting to forget that it happened are two different things. I am quite certain I will never forget the events of September 11th, 2001, and I value those memories, as unpleasant as they are.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

5 Years Later

I was in New York City on September 11th, 2001. A few days later I wrote the message below, which I republish here, unedited.


Let me start by saying that since I am not at work, I have not seen any emails which have already been sent regarding this subject, but I wanted to share my long,rambling thoughts/feeling/ stream of consciousness on the matter.

Forgive the spelling errors, I am typing quickly. My view may be different than most in that a) I was in NYC (52nd street, right next to Rockefeller center) and I work on a trading floor, where information spreads instantly. In this case, we were preparing for the beginning of the trading day, when my desk actually had the first call on the tragedy, from one of our brokers in New Jersey whose office looks across the WTC (World Trade Center). He called and said the WTC had just been bombed. Our reaction was, of course, "no way", and we turned to NBC, which was just developing the coverage. An interesting note is how Wall Street reacts - terrorism, of course, is bad for everyone, so the S&P 500 futures, which trade before 9:30 am, immediately plummeted. Word soon came that it was not a bomb, but a plane, and, as if there was a sense of relief, the futures rallied back to the level they were at before the initial announcement -as if the world was saying "oh, it was just a plane, a tragic accident."

My boss, who is a pilot, turns to me and says "You cannot accidentaly hit the WTC - you can see it from 50 miles away. You have to try really hard to steer into it. This is intentional." Now, as the whole world is watching this incredible display, I am feeling a sense of surrealism, yes, it is tragic for a plane to hit the WTC, but life will go on. Suddenly there was an explosion in the second WTC tower, and I can only attempt to describe the atmosphere on the trading floor - I put my head in my hands and rubbed tears from my eyes - there's no doubt at all - this is obviously not an accident.

The indescribable feeling is that we are the USA - we are invincible, we do not know the feeling of being under attack - but we are now undoubtedly being attacked - by our own hijacked planes. Whispers spread that there are as many as 18 planes missing... Then news hits that the Pentagon has been hit by a plane...Shock - the Pentagon - isn't the Pentagon the CENTER of our national intelligence - isn't it supposed to be invincible? holy shit - we are really under attack.. I called my parents in the Boston suburbs (they are both teachers) - they were pleasantly unaware of the occurrences of the past hour - and I told them to stay away from Boston - I'm fearing that terrorists are going to crash multiple planes into our biggest cities- NY, DC are already hit - what's next? Chicago,Boston, S.F?

I called my fiance in Stamford,and begged her to get in her car and drive. "Where to?" she asked me - "West" I told her.. .away from any city. At work, many of us, including myself, live in Westchester - where were we going to go? - there was no way out of the city - no sense going to Grand Central- another possible target - perhaps to a friend's house in the city? Why not stay here - we shouldn't be a target. "We're right in midtown - right in Rockefeller Center" someone mentions.... hmmmm....

We called our offices in Chicago and San Fran, telling them to get the hell out of there, and I tried desperately to reach my friends in Boston, but was unable.. Cell phone circuits were jammed, land lines were jammed....Watching the two WTC towers, with gaping holes pouring black smoke out of them, I could only think of one thing - Armageddon - the movie - this looked JUST like Hollywood - so much so that I fear it desensitizes us... When I got home I put in my DVD of Armageddon and skipped to the scene where meteors hit NYC - if any of you have the DVD or VCR tape - go do this right now - the end of the scene, where they pan out and show the skyline, with the two towers, gashed by meteors, will strike you as horrifyingly prophetic... Deja Vu. Still, the feeling of being under a terrorist attack cannot compare with watching live on national tv as the WTC towers collapsed one by one -I must dwell on this point because I know that those of you who are not in or around NYC will not feel the same impact of this as New Yorkers do - but the WTC towers ARE NewYork, the skyline, the center of symbolic and ACTUAL commerce and finance, the symbol of American power(which of course is why they were targeted).

The towers were built to withstand the force of a Boeing727 flying into them - at the time, that was the biggest plane in the sky.... The way the towers crumbled, like an imploded building, made us all certain that there were bombs in the building - but a bomb in the lobby, even the size of the Oklahoma City bomb, would not bring down the WTC. Is it possible that the building was lined with bombs... It seems now that there were in fact no bombs, that the building simply could not stand the force of the plane embedded in it - again, perhaps my lack of engineering skill disadvantages me here, but I could not believe that the planes were still in the building, that the building had actually withstood the force of the plane, and the plane had not come out the other side.

When Oklahoma City was bombed, it was tragic, but it didn't hit home for me at all - it had no impact on my life -I read about it for a few weeks in Newsweek, saw horrifying death tolls, but was really, as most of you probably were, entirely distanced from it. This time, I have customers, brokers, friends, friends of friends, spouses of coworkers who all work in that building.. My bank is in that building... My brokerage account is in that building... I go to get Broadway tickets in that building.... As we are watching the footage on TV, I ask the guy across from me, "Chris -who else is in that building - Lehman? Merrill?" Chris says "My wife." - try to imagine how that hits you.

A kid who just started last week at work sat and stared at the TV, silently.. Lee, who works in the same office as I do later told me that the kid's father is a Fire Chief... Wow... My life, and the lives of all my coworkers, and everyone in NYC is forever changed, but the fascinating thing is that when I made it home to the suburbs, in Rye, the impact is so much less, and my fiancee who works in Stamford, CT, is at work today. I can't believe they have work - but when I think again, I realize that their lives may not be as affected, and I worry that I know now what it feels like when you think people don't care because they are not affected... But what do I expect? do I want people to walk around crying all day? I break out into sporadic tears, but I don't expect or want people to make a lifestyle out of mourning...I don't know....

A friend of Anya's was supposed to fly home from Newark to S.F. yesterday morning... That is one of the flights that was hijacked... she decided to stay another day in New Jersey... wow. Another of her friends was flying from Newark to Orlando - her flight took off, then immediately turned around and landed back in Newark....

How about those videos, from all different angles of the planes crashing into the towers - I hope to whatever powers may be that none of us will ever see an image like that in our lifetimes. Dead center, not slicing the sides, but barreling right into the WTC...Horrifying.. As Dan Rather began his national newscast"September 11'th, 2001, a day that none of us will forget for the rest of our lives." The scariest thought is that reports appear to show that the hijackers had little more than knives as weapons... To think that you can destroy NYC with knives, and some incredible planning... I don't think that people don't care, I hope I'm not misinterpreted, this event is unprecedented - unlike Pearl Harbor, unlike the Civil War (I don't know why people compare it to the Civil War when talking about the worst moment in American history) - this is the single worst moment in US history, and for that reason will not be glossed over, but I can't help thinking that Non-New Yorkers will not understand.

I tried to donate blood today, but the blood drive told me that they had so many donors that they were out of blood bags, and they were out of refrigeration space, and that Mayor Giuliani had asked them to stop drawing blood, since they had received so much supply, they had no place to put it yet. They simply took my name and phone number and told me they would call me. Driving home, I heard a girl call in on the radio who said that a classmate of hers got an email from his father that said "Son, a plane just crashed into the building two floors above me. I love you and I'll see you in heaven"... I can't even type that without crying.

I hope that all of you, and all of your friends and families are safe, and that we will all be able to get over this event, but I am fairly certain that my life,and the lives of all New Yorkers will be forever altered.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Young Guns

Sig and I were walking home today, west down 49th street. Outside of the NBC studios, there are some photographers snapping pictures of someone, who is surrounded by a tiny group of fans - he's signing autographs.

"What's going on here?" I ponder to Sig, as I try to figure out who it is.
"TWENTY FOUR!" Sig is all over it - as Jack Bauer himself is standing there, signing autographs. He's not as short as people claim - about five-eight, but he's really skinny.

"Jack Bauer in the FLESH!" I blurt out, "What's up, Emilio?" but not quite loud enough for him to hear... Pause right there... Re-read the previous sentence.

Before I can realize my mistake, I'm off on a tangent with Sig about why Charlie Sheen isn't here with his brother, and how Charlie Sheen has the brain capacity to rival Paris Hilton. It's not until I get on the subway that I realize: KEIFER SUTHERLAND IS NOT EMILIO ESTEVEZ. Holy Crap. Of course everyone knows Keifer is Jack "Do you know who the fuck I am?" Bauer, but I think I had them melded in my brain from the Young Guns days, where, incidentally, it was Estevez who was the star.

I spent the remainder of my subway ride pondering what I would have said to Keifer if I got the chance to talk to him...

*shouting* "PUT THE PEN DOWN JACK! SLOWLY! DO IT NOW!" he probably doesn't get a lot of that thrown back at him...

"What does E-cuth look like without makeup on?" I wonder if he has a father-daughter relationship with her on set... Would he know who I meant if I said "E-cuth"?

I realized, however, that the best possible thing I could have possibly done was calmly walk up to him and say, "Hey Mr. Estevez - I'm a huge fan." Talk about implied tilt odds. I mean - do you think Keifer ever gets mistaken for Emilio Estevez? Would he go all Jack Bauer on me, ranting "Look kid, Emilio was top dog in Young Guns, but that was nineteen-eighty-fucking-eight! I won a motherfuckin' Emmy this year! Do you think Emilio won shit for Repo Man or Men at Work?"

Would he go into a rage and revert to a British accent, yelling at me for being an ignorant American? Would he smile and laugh, thinking I was a plant for Howard Stern, and clearly joking? Would he take it as a complement? We'll never know.

ahhh... woulda coulda shoulda.

until next time,