Saturday, November 24, 2007

Writer's Block

Been having trouble writing posts.
Seems like even when I have ideas I want to write about I have trouble putting it down into words. So to help facilitate my writing bit by bit, I'll probably start posting some basketball and football picks beginning tomorrow.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Boston Market comes through in the clutch

With the CFA exam coming up in less than 10 days and me not having even gone through all my lecture DVDs, I decided it was best for me to stay home and try to study for Thanksgiving. So after I refused my generous friends' offer to join them for two Thanksgiving dinners up in Boston, I was left with no plans for today.

So at about noontime I went over to the Boston Market just 4 blocks away from me and ordered a family Thanksgiving meal to get me through the day. I usually don't go to Boston Market because the rotisserie chickens at the nearby Peruvian place are both cheaper and better. But I figured Boston Market was my best shot for turkey on Thanksgiving. For $28 plus tax, I got a pound and a half of turkey breast, 3 large sides, and cornbread. I think the turkey breast was poached as it was so juicy and tender. I wouldn't imagine that possible with roasted or rotisserie turkey no matter what brine was used. For my 3 sides I got mashed potatoes, stuffing, and corn. The stuffing was very nice and simple, with aromatics and the celery left crunchy for texture.

The only things that I minded were the wait in line (there were 30 people in front of me and by the time I was halfway up the line there was another 20 people behind me), the fact that I had to pay extra for gravy (gravy didn't come with the meal), and that no utensils were provided. But besides those minor inconveniences, I ended up with a great turkey day after all food-wise, though there will be no leftovers for the day after. Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

New England Patriots and the Elite

I absolutely HATE the fact that there are still so many people hating on the New England Patriots for "running up the score" and having "poor sportsmanship". I have many non-PC views on things like this and I don't feel the need to rant about those here. But there are three quick points I want to make.

1. The New England Patriots really is the elite team in the NFL right now and by definition, being the best means that there is separation between the team and the average person. I think that is why there are many people who don't understand and appreciate what the Patriots are doing. I've read too many stories and forum posts about how the Patriots' blowouts are not enjoyable to watch. If you are a real fan of the game, then the Patriots' near perfect execution should be fun to watch. I love a good underdog story as much as anyone, but what I really hate is mediocrity. If a game is a blowout because one team is awful, I agree that's horrible to watch. But two mediocre teams playing a close game isn't entertaining to watch either. That means people just watch for the results and have no understanding or appreciation of the game.

2. Why do people think that the Patriots are showing poor sportsmanship? They are playing hard all the way through and that to me is real sportsmanship. Poor sportsmanship is when a team stops playing hard because they are out of the game. I watch Iron Chef every now and then and I see challengers who are just completely outclassed. The judges aren't particularly fond of their food while raving about the Iron Chef's food. Does that mean the Iron Chef should hold back so as not to run up the score? Of course not. They are searching for perfection every meal they make.

3. Which brings me to my last point. It seems to me that the number of people who are jealous of real talent and perfection way outnumber the people who admire that talent. In a world where too many people struggle to achieve mediocrity, a person who's trying to achieve perfection becomes the odd man out. One of the TV shows that I watch, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, illustrates this point exactly. I have been lucky enough to play with and against world class bridge players, poker players, and traders. Instead of whining about how badly they beat me, I watch in awe at the level of execution that they have reached in their respective disciplines.

"I respect hard work. I admire talent." -me

Sunday, November 11, 2007

RDT (Random Daily Thought)

Why does it seem to me that "ditzy" only applies to cute girls?
People will say things like "Jessica Simpson is ditzy" or "that ditzy blonde" (implies a cute blonde?) while I never hear anyone say "ditzy fat chick". It's usually "that dumb fat chick".

Ditzy actually has a dictionary meaning of being flighty or absentminded, not just plain stupid. Yet it seems to me people only use it when they want to talk about how dumb a girl is (I certainly never hear it used to describe a guy) without being "insulting" or "offensive".

Is there something I'm missing? Are there other adjectives that we now use in the same way?

I'm back

Haven't posted in a while because I've been really busy.
For some reason I decided to apply for the CFA level 1 and after having slacked off for a couple months, I have less than 3 weeks to try to pass this thing. Wish me luck.
In addition to studying for this, I also began trading again, this time with my own capital contribution. The market is still very volatile and I don't think I'd seen Nasdaq down 100 intraday before. I'd barely gotten back into it a few days when I started feeling the rush again. The last 3 days (not including Friday) I traded all day from 940am to 7pm, which I haven't done in a long time. Usually I don't leave my seat at all when I'm this addicted to trading, so I don't eat and don't go to the gym. I pretty much just sit there.
Now that I'm back trading again, I might write some posts regarding trading or the market.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Week of Indulgence

This has been a hard week for me and so I've kinda fallen off the diet and allowed myself to indulge a little to keep my spirits up. Here are a few of my favorite indulgences.

Donovan's Pub in Woodside

Traditional Irish pub in the largely Irish neighborhood of Woodside where they know how to pour Guiness and serve up the most consistently great burger I've had in NYC. Located three blocks from the Woodside stop on the 7 train, it also happens to be across the street from my doctor's, so I always indulge in a burger right after I get any bloodwork done. A meaty, juicy half-pound burger with sauteed onions (ask for fried onions on your burger) done perfectly medium rare with nice crisp fries and a pint of Guiness cost $15 including tax and tip. In the bar area, they offer Monday Night Football specials of half-priced burgers, 20 cent buffalo wings, and $3-4 bud and stella draughts.

Becco (

What I consider to be the best bargain in Manhattan in terms of food and value. Their specialty is a $21 pasta trio where they serve to you at your table unlimited refills of 3 pastas that change daily. It also comes with your choice of a caesar salad or an antipasto which has a great assortment of vegetables and fish. Usually of the 3 pastas, one of them will be in a traditional tomato and basil sauce and another will be made using wheat pasta. When I went last week, they had mushroom ravioli in a truffle butter and sage sauce, penne in a tomato and basil sauce, and wheat fettucine bolognese, where you can find actual shredded pieces of veal, not just random ground veal. Besides the pasta trio, other great values on the menu include the dessert sampler for $6 per person and their back page wine list where every bottle of wine (there's about 40+ on there) is $25 each.
The atmosphere is nice and quiet upstairs, while the downstairs eating and bar areas tend to be hustling and bustling most of the time. For larger parties you'll likely need a reservation, but it's easier after 8pm when the pre-theater crowd is off to their shows.

Houston's (

This one doesn't come off as much for good value when you have a $16 sandwich for lunch. However, the sandwich is huge and pretty much perfect. Houston's, which is a national chain, provides a really nice classy business lunch atmosphere with perfect lighting, comfortable booths and sofas, and great food. On the menu there's a specific note about no cell phones in the dining room.
If I'm there alone, I will either get the fish sandwich (perfectly seasoned fillet with fresh lettuce, onion, tomato, and pickles on a very robust sesame seed bun) or the prime rib french dip sandwich (prime rib with jus on the side). The sandwiches come with nice, really thin shoestring fries and I think their ketchup is homemade. When I'm with company I always make sure to get the spinach dip as well.