Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I loaded a Mom and her four kids at the MGM the other night...

...they were going out to Sam's Town. If you don't know, Sam's Town is located out on Boulder Highway & Flamingo. It's right by the Silver Bowl if you know where that is. The Dead played some hot shows out there back in the stadium tour days, UNLV wins a football game there every other sesquicentennial. It's about a $25 cab ride from the strip. Anyway, the mom and one of the little girls sat up front with me, the other three in the backseat. Somewhere along our conversation the lady made some off the cuff referral to something crazy she had seen the night before while out on the Strip with her friends. Well, I too have seen some crazy things I thought, so I said that she should divulge the story. I like to hear stories too. Besides, you can't give me that buildup and then not deliver. Right? She laughed and replied saying that she would, but the kids were in the car so she couldn't. It wasn't appropriate. Fair enough. I can respect that. A moment of silence passed and the very next thing out of her mouth took me up until now to fully appreciate the hypocrisy:

Is it ok if I smoke in your cab?

Monday, March 24, 2008

My first blog entry eva!

...I can't believe I'm doing this right now. Lol. You see what I did right there? I used an "LOL". All of the great authors of our time use those. Everyone knows this.

First off I wanted to say thanks for all of the responses. The people have spoken. It's great for me to hear what you guys really think. It's refreshing. I'd like to address some of the comments now if I may.

Yes Dr. Pauly, you'll find ample amounts of Phish references on this site. I drop them all the time. Some more subtle than others. Actually I drop vague references about all kinds of things. I love the idea that only a select few will get something. When you are one of those that gets it, you feel like your in some special club or something. As I said, I had no intentions of contemplating quiting prior to the Christmas story, but after it was finally done, it felt like how the boys said they felt about Big Cypress.

The advertising thing....Have been very much against it from the outset. This much is known. More recently though I've been hearing a lot more how dumb I am by not having ads. Maybe so. This thing was never about making money though. That said, if it gets to a point where I am actually passing up decent money by not monetizing this thing I may just have to take that plunge. I mean there is a point where you do actually do become a dumb ass. I just can't believe we are anywhere close to it. As far as the "tip your cabbie" thing: I've seen those on a few other cabbie blogs and I have nothing against them, I just personally find it in poor taste. I compare this to the guy who hangs a picture of his kids right next to the meter. It's like, c'mon bro, we know why you do that. It's cheap. I don't like to ask for things like that. The internet is a different medium however, and assuming people actually did tip their driver from time to time, it's a hell of an idea, it's just not my style.

ellopez said: "and whether you think they are interesting or not, they are interesting to me..."

This is an idea that I think all bloggers have to tackle. I don't think it's possible to be a good story teller without having a good sense as to what someone is or isn't going to find interesting. However it is no easy task. In fact, it appears I may have failed in this regard. I simply lived by the rule before that if I was going to err it would be on the side of saying nothing. What's that saying? "Better to say nothing and be thought a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt". Something like that. But, now as it's been shown, it may be time to hang loose a little bit.

Eric/Esub said: "Maybe you're talking about your own personal expectations, but I know I don't read new stories hoping it one will be better than the previous, I'm just hoping for something new..."

Well I wasn't at the time but it has since become clear that I actually was unknowingly, talking about my own personal expectations. Strange. As you and a few others have pointed out, you never thought of it in terms of the new one needing to be better than the last one. Apparently that only existed in my mind.

However I stopped you on the "new" for a reason. This one is a little less subjective. Reason being that through my time hacking, I've had many incidents that are so similar, that after you tell it once it's hard to make a similar version of it different enough to warrant another story. I've found that people who can't pay, and really any story involving tips fall into this category. They are all kind of the same.

Speaking of tips, perhaps you noticed already but I seldom even mention them. And rarely, if ever(?)complain about a lack of them. From the onset, I didn't want to come across as the complainer guy. (This is also why I avoided all the cabbie issues and the business bullshit) For many reasons, but mostly because it's just not entertaining in my opinion. Nobody cares if I got shafted on a tip. I don't even care, why the fuck would you? This kind of goes back to the TaxiCab Confessions show and the "between the doors" storytelling concept. That said, I do have some good tip stories that I am going to share at some point I think.

David said: "Glad to see you found your muse again."

I for one am not really into Greek Mythology but I suppose that's as good a word as any. The fact is, that I only write well when the mood strikes. This whole LVCC jazz odyssey thing is going to challenge this problem immensely I have little doubt.

Tom said: "I enjoy reading your blog because you are a good writer.... So I am pretty sure whatever topics you choose will be worth reading."

This kind of goes after another idea I had from the start which was...I wanted to take an outstanding event, and try and make it better with good writing. Not start with something dull, and try and make it interesting with good writing. In reality I think it might simply come back to capability. Which I'm not sure that I have. I mean, if you can take something uninteresting, and make it interesting simply with good writing, than you're a helluva writer I'd say.

Christina said:"You know, I've heard exactly the opposite advice about blogging: Write every day, even if it's just to say that you have nothing to write about."

I would agree with the writing everyday...publishing everyday is another beast entirely I think. Obviously, this represents the opposite of my blog being thus far.

highonpoker said: "Andrew, I started reading your blog a month or so ago, from the beginning. I read a couple of stories a day and print out a bunch to read on my train ride home. I recently read the story about the 2hr. 30min. wedding trip and liked it so much I printed it out for my wife. She read it on her commute and sent me a text message, "I want more cabbie stories!""

Awesome. Somebody telling me a story like this, that they got something from something here...that means a lot thank you. The image of a person, on the other side of the country, sitting in a train on their way to work. This person presumably hating life because they ARE on their way to work. But they are not. They are completely transported by an otherwise meaningless tale about a cab driver that helped a couple get married in Vegas. Nothing else in their mind. Just this story.....That sort of thing is light years better than any monthly ad-sense check I could be receiving.

And I guess I can say that because I can relate. I read a lot in the cab, and sometimes when it's really good, and the story is just right, and the words are just right, and the mood is just right you're kind of transported into this other world. Even if it's only for a second or two. I actually have a word for it. I call it, "the moment". These moments in life, are few are far between. The moment, and the search for it, are the reason myself and millions of others like sports, the reason you go to concerts, and the reason you read. You won't experience one every time. In fact, you seldom will. But I've found that these are the best places to find them. Unless of course you're lucky enough to find love. Then you're bound to have a few....

Lucky327 said: "Seems like the more readers one gets, the more one worries about what they owe the reader."

Certainly seems like a natural progression. When I started I didn't have any readers so this wasn't a problem. But yeah, I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like I owed something to readers. Of course, I don't. But I feel that way anyway.

..and that was a copy're loud and clear over here good buddy.

Lastly I wanted to address an idea that was expressed via email.

Sully said: "One thing to consider is perhaps expanding what constitutes "your" stories. How would you feel about incorporating some interesting stories of your fellow cab drivers? I don't want you to go James Frey on us but, seeing as how the blog is about "Las Vegas Cabbies," I don't think it would be disingenuous to go this route."

I'll try and explain to you guys what I tried to explain to Sully. Although he was the first to bring it up here, this is not a new idea. This was mentioned about two years before the blog was even started, when I was just passing the stories on to e-friends. One of those people brought it up (sorry can't remember who). It's a great idea though. I've thought about it many times and dismissed it every time. There are many reasons for this...

The main one I will cite here is anonymity. Believe it or not, none of my co-workers are aware of this blog. I never told a soul about it. Save a few message boards the stories were getting posted on, my email contact list and whomever I handed a business card to, I never told anyone about the blog. I purposely wanted to remain anonymous at the yard and on the road in general. For many reasons. Mainly because I think I can write better like that. The idea of posting something and then a whole bunch of people at the yard asking me about it the next day irks me. I think for me, being lost in the crowd lends itself to being an honest teller.

That said, my anonymous days are numbered. I've already been outed once. Three months ago, by my boss of all people. Thankfully he seemed cool about it. In this vein you may have noticed that I have removed one of the few pictures on this blog and the crash videos also. These efforts are futile because it won't be long until the cat is out of the bag. To date, the desire to remain private makes it hard to ask other drivers to contribute stories. And I don't want to steal shit that I've overheard or whatever. That said, I had a "sit down" with the boss who outed me before two days ago. I requested the meeting specifically to discuss this blog and any potential problems I may run into from the companies perspective during the new LVCC free-form jazz odyssey approach. Plus I wanted to see if he had told anyone. ...The specifics of that meeting will be the topic of my next post so we'll save that.

I will say to close on this for now however, I have heard and overheard some really great fuckin stories over the years that I've thought many times that I would love to tell. I mean, a few tweaks here and there and there could be some quality stuff around here.

And always keep in mind folks that we're in the midst of a free-form jazz odyssey here. Sometimes it is going to suck. It just won't be right for some reason. The groove, it won't be happening. But there are other times. Sometimes the bass and the drums are going to get hooked up and the band is going to be so hot, the lights just perfect, and the buzz just beautiful. Hell, we may even have a moment or two.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I've received some emails recently from readers trying to figure out if I plan on continuing this thing I've started here. First off, let me say I appreciate you taking the time to inquire about the status of this thing. Personally I think that speaks volumes about what we've been able to accomplish here so far. And it's flattering to say the least. Fans were not really a potential byproduct that I had considered when I started this thing. So allow me to dispel any thoughts that I've given this thing up, in fact quite the opposite is true.

However much like Trey said about Big Cypress, when I finally got that Christmas story done it did kind of feel like the whole blog was done. From the onset, I had no intentions of that being the case. But I feel like the wave that is this blog had been building and building, higher and higher, finally crashing into the shore with the completion of that story. Part of me felt like I am unable to "top" that story, and if that's true than what's the point of going on? After I finished it it just felt like a natural time to stop, although I've never had or have any conscious plans to.

That said I am thinking of taking things in a completely different direction. I've been brainstorming a lot lately and have many ideas that I'd like to try and execute at some point or another. But before I start there, I wanted to try and get some feedback from you guys.

Basically what I'm thinking is this: Let's make this blog, an actual blog. What once was merely just an archive for my cab adventures could become much much more. Of course, I would still include the notable cabbie adventures as they occurred but other possible cab related topics could include things such as:

-Prior cab stories that were omitted for content. A "from the cutting room floor" of sorts
-Day to day happenings in the cab world. (Otherwise undeserving of their own story)
-General Cab driver concerns and all things pertaining to the business itself.
-Stories about tips or lack thereof.
-One Liners. Generally just quick quips that I use in the cab all the time and they generally kill. However they really have no place in a story. None that I have yet found anyway
-General Las Vegas information/concerns/issues

...and even broader still

-General societal issues. (Actually had planned another site for these but am now thinking I should just add them here)
-Tales of my existence prior to cab driving, life story of sorts, anything else I've experienced that was funny or interesting. (I really hate this idea, but it is just that)
-Anything pop culture related. (I'll probably point out that Ashlee Simpson doesn't know what the terms "sharp" and "flat" mean early and often)

..These are just a few of the ideas, unfortunately I take issue with most all of them for various reasons. I mean, I've had some of these thoughts for a while and generally dismiss them as bad ideas. Here's why:

From the beginning I really wanted to make every story/post a strong one. I'd often choose saying nothing over saying something if I had concerns if it would work or not. A long time ago a reader named Eric commented: "...One of the few blogs I actually read since most blogs are done by self important assholes instead of people with interesting stories to tell." This was a comment that has really stuck with me, and thank you Eric for that, mostly because that's exactly what I was trying to do. I mean, I read a lot of blogs myself and it just seems that many bloggers fall into the pitfall of either feeling like they should or are supposed to blog about something, or to Eric' point, are just people who like to hear themselves talk. I remember reading a post on a blog once where the first sentence read something like: "Well nothing really interesting has happened lately..." It's like, dude, the first thing that you decide to tell me is that you have nothing interesting to say? Am I really expected to continue reading? These are things I consciously try to avoid and only posting the best of events as I saw them was how I attempted to do that. Initially I tried to loosely model this blog after the HBO Taxicab Confessions show. If you think about that show, the only thing you get to see is from the time that door opens and a passenger gets in to the time they get out. Nothing else. And you know what? That's all that's interesting in my opinion. That's all that should be interesting. The main attraction is the person in the backseat. Nothing more, nothing less.

That said this really isn't a blog at all is it? At least to date. It's a memoir. I think it might be high time to turn this thing upside down. And I'd like to know what you guys think about this. Or even better if there are topics you would like to see covered we can try that too. I'm really just brainstorming right now. Any ideas are good ones.

My only fears are simply that broadening the scope might be synonymous with lowering the standard. Furthermore I also fear that by saying a lot more it's only a matter of time before I'll say something completely moronic or self incriminating. Nonetheless I think I'm ready to play some jazz. What do you think?

...and all this on the day this blog achieved 100,000 unique visits (and just short of 200,000 page views). A very big thank you to all of you out there that for some reason or another, find this voice entertaining. So far I have not made a dime off of this en devour, save a few very generous gratuities from readers who managed to track me down while they were in town (and huge props and thanks to you guys you know who you are). And for the record I am perfectly fine with that. In fact that is by design. My payment was received when you finished reading this....

Cheers - Andrew