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$20 to go…

Posted in Driving Basics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2011 by HackingVegas

First call of a VERY slow morning was a no go. Normally I get pissed when that happens but this time it turned out to be the best call I’ve had in a while.

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I pull up to this little dive bar in North Las Vegas where I pick up at least ten times a week. They never go far but a ride is a ride. The bartender pokes his head out and asks me to give him a minute and he’ll get the guy out soon. It was slow that morning so I sat and waited.

Soon the door flew open and a guy comes stumbling out. He holds the railing on the walkway heading to the cab. As the rail ends he makes a leap of faith toward the cab and falls up against it. He opens the door and leans in asking in a the most slurred drunken voice I’ve heard in a while, “how much does it cost NOT to go home?” I said, “I don’t know, if you want to give me $10 for wasting my time that would be cool”. He said, “no problem” and reaches in his wallet and started digging for the money. The bartender was standing behind him the whole time and tells him, “NO, you’re cut off. If you think you’re going to stay here you’re paying him $20 or I’m not letting you back in”. The guy got pissed and had a few choice words for the bartender but promptly handed me a $20 bill.

He then told the bartender to take him back in and stop being a jackass.

Off they went and so did I with the meter shorted but my pocket a little fatter. So if anyone is ever wondering how much it costs to not go home, it’s now $20 if you call my cab.

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I’m Back… I think…

Posted in Random Info with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2011 by HackingVegas

I’ve been avoiding writing a new post for some reason. Life has been a little crazy with the family, work and just life in general, as my Twitter followers may know, but enough is enough. Here is something I found while looking up some pics for my next post.  Guess what it is without going to the blog I got it from

Spontaneous Hack

Posted in Crazy Families, Home life, Kids, Random Info with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2011 by HackingVegas

I’ve been bringing you guys into my home life more over the last few weeks and here I go with another peek into what it’s like on my days off.

On Friday I normally take time trying to work on the house for a few hours and then rush off to my oldest son’s baseball practice. This normally takes us late into the night. This last Friday we got a day off and planned to enjoy a night free relaxing around the house and catching up on TV.  Around 7:45 I noticed that @JohnnyLasVegas (John Quinn, Executive Director of Casino Marketing at the Monte Carlo Las Vegas Resort and Casino)  Tweeted

At first I just blew it off and kept going through my Twitter Timeline. It would be fun but The Wife and I have been sick and I didn’t think it would be a good idea.  Then I remembered that she has a Bucket List on her blog at Thypolar Life Uncensored. One of the things she wants to do is take our kids to a show one by one. She’s taken our daughter and still needs to take the boys. Our youngest has been a fan of the JabbaWockeez from the second he watched them do their first routine on Americas Best Dance Crew. So I scrolled back and read it to The Wife. I asked if she wanted to run down to see if we could get them and she could take our youngest.  She thought about it for a minute and we were off.

We all got dressed and ran out the door. On the way down I made sure he still had the tickets.

We Rush up to the Monte Carlo hotel and I run in. We Got a Hint Saying:
 Him: You couldn’t be more right Mike RT “@MonteCarloSales: Hint…go to a bar @JohnnyLasVegas @jabbawockeez @montecarlovegas
So I hit the first bar I could think of, “The Pub” and didn’t know where to look so I asked
So I started going up to every guy that had a goatee and asking them if they were Johnny.  I got a few quick no’s and then  one guy replied with
No, But I can be”
then another replied,
“No but I’ll help you find my Johnny”.
I quickly kept going and pleaded for help
He must have felt bad
I ran over there and met with him. He was very cool and lived up to his offer.
I then ran out and called for the wife and youngest to come and get them. I walked them to the show and then walked around the casino looking for a good machine to keep me company.  I ended up turning $100 into $200 and before I knew it the show was over.  On the way to the car The youngest tried to be cool and simply said, “It was cool”. That lasted until we hit the car. as soon as the door shut he couldn’t stop talking about it.
When they sat down the had great seats
Before the show began, a Jabbawokee  snuck up behind the boy and scared him. That made his night. As the show started, the wife said that a perm-a-grin was plastered on the boy’s face.  As Far as the show goes, the wife said “it was the best show she has seen in a long time”. I urge you to got to The Wifes Posts to read about the show. and her side if this story.
I can’t thank @JohnnyLasVegas and @montecarlovegas enough for making my youngest son’s night and helping my wife check another thing off of her bucket list. It means the world to me.
My apologies to John if this isn’t the review of the show that you were expecting. The review of the JABBAWOCKEEZ show at The Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino was written by my wife who attended the show and can be found on her blog in todays post “Crossing It Off The List”

Birthday Hack

Posted in Driving Basics, Home life, Random Info with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2011 by HackingVegas

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I’m coming out of my birthday weekend and the wife was determined to make it a fun one. She spent a lot of time figuring out what we are going to do. She made sure to clear my calendar for Friday night and Saturday. So on Wednesday when I started coming down with a bug I didn’t want to say anything. That night did me in though. We stayed late after our oldest son’s baseball practice so I could pitch to him while he worked on his batting stance. Thursday morning I woke up really not feeling well. I chalked it up to getting old and went on with my day. That night I found myself at the pharmacy getting sinus meds so I could sleep.

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Friday morning the wife was nice enough to let me sleep in and god I needed it. I woke up around 11am or so. I can’t remember the last time that happened. On the down side I felt like a Mack truck just ran me over and then backed up for good measures. I stumbled out of the bedroom and downed my pot of coffee with a handful of meds hoping this would help before the night came. I really wanted to go out and enjoy a fun packed night.

After doing the days running around, we came home to get ready. We fed the kids and the wife took me out to sushi. Krazy Sushi has the best selection of gluten-free sushi in town. The owners have been good to us from day one of going there. After the wife wheeled me out, we started toward The Tropicana Hotel. They have been re-doing the entire property and added an exhibit/show. “The Mob Experience” is a very cool walk through tribute to Vegas history and the mob. That’s where we were going.

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After getting to the hotel and walking down the steep stair case, we get our mob names. I was the Grim Reaper and the wife was Kid Twist. We had these badges that gave the rooms our info as we went though the first half. Unfortunately, this part was a disaster. It could’ve been awesome with a little more attention to detail. It felt like this was a temporary feature that was set up in a circus tent somewhere. The actors were disorganized and had a hard time interacting with us. The automated parts were not timed properly and started talking before we walked in the rooms. Doors that seemed like they should be closed were left open causing sound from one room to drown out the other room you were trying to listen to. Luckily, I was able to look past all of this and take in all the great info they were showing us.

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The second half of the exhibit was spectacular. Like a moment frozen in time, you walk into room after room of amazing artifacts and information galore. If you are a fan of the mob, Hollywood mob movies, or history at all, this is well worth the money. Finishing the experience with a shocking end to it all, I would recommend this to fans. If they work on the first half, they may have a hit for a larger audience.

After The Mob Experience, we walked around the Aria before heading downtown. We jumped in the car and that was the end. I couldn’t go on. I tried, I really tried. I wanted to go down the zipline on Fremont Street so bad but knew I wouldn’t have enjoyed it the way I felt. So despite the urge to want to push forward I threw in the towel.

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We were homeward bound and decided drinking at home would help everything. I poured my vodka and grapefruit and drank the sickness to the ground. I woke up Saturday feeling more human and decided it was going to be a birthday sitting in front of the TV and doing nothing else. It was the best birthday ever.

Absinthe Anyone?

Posted in Home life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2011 by HackingVegas

I get a lot of questions as a hack and some of them I just don’t have a simple answer to. The top two questions asked that have the hardest answers are:

1) Where is the best place to eat.
And
2) What is the best show in town.

I always have to give a long winded multi answer response. As far as food goes it depends on what you like. If you like Italian it’s Battista’s. Steaks? then it’s Golden Steer or THE Steak House at Circus Circus, and so on and so forth. When I respond to the question about the shows it’s a similar response. The only real difference is I have to narrow down the types of shows they like. Every once on a while I get asked what my favorite show is and my reponce has always been a list depending on the type of show. I’m happy to say this is no longer the case. While the food response will still be the same, I now have a favorite show.

The other night the wife and I went out on a much needed date. We saw the adds for a new show at Caesars Palace called Absinthe. New York Times called it “Cirque Channeled Through Rocky Horror.” Well the wife and I love both types of shows and thought it would be fun. I got the tickets and then we watched the trailer online. I don’t know who Absinthe hired to put that together but damn they should be fired. After watching the trailer we had second thoughts about the show. It looked like an amateur variety show and a waste of an evening. But despite that, we went.

The Absinthe Beer Garden opened a few hours before the first show and stayed open through the second. We went to the second show and got there about 15 minutes before it had started. A line was already formed to get in so we got in line. I noticed the bar line was short and went to grab a few drinks for us. The bartender had the heaviest pour I’ve had from a strip bartender. It was hands down the best drinks we’ve had while on the strip. We made our way into a small round tent that had wood floors and folding chair general seating that surrounded a small circular stage. After sitting we found ourselves surrounded by six freaky looking characters perched over each walkway. The lighting was dim and set the mood perfectly. A single table dressed the stage and had a few alcohol based products to put the cherry on top of it all. By the time the show started you had no choice but to be ready for anything.

The first act set the tone with an acrobat performing with chairs that were taken from right under the audiences rear ends. He transitioned us to a fairy who was lowered to the stage from the ceiling to perform a seductive song while disrobing to panties and pasties. It was done very tastefully for a show that was all in all rounchy fun.

After the opening act, “The Gazillionaire Speigeltent”, the host was introduced. Speigeltent was a character beyond words. He brought comic relief to the extreme. If you have any insecurities about yourself, I don’t recommend sitting in the first 6 rows. Otherwise, just enjoy the antics.

Without giving the whole show away, I have compiled a few pictures to give you an idea of what you’ll see.

 

By the end of Absinthe my sides and face hurt from laughing so hard for over an hour and a half. This show is only $69.00 and well worth every cent. For all you theatre buffs out there like myself, you’ll appreciate the fact they use old fashion rigging with actual flymasters for all of their ariel acts.

So next time you’re in my cab and ask “what’s your favorite show?”, expect me to highly recommend Absinthe in the Caesars Palace courtyard. (that is unless you’re up tight)

 

Now I’m Pissed

Posted in Driving Basics, Law Enforcement with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2011 by HackingVegas

I’m pissed! I’m so pissed right now that I paused my podcast to type this up and the wife can confirm that I don’t like falling behind on my podcasts. What could have possibly pissed me off to this point? Well let me tell you.

This morning I’m sitting at the Circus Circus hotel and I watch at least 4 groups come out and get in the taxi line. As I go to pull up the doorman helps them over to a shuttle bus sitting 10 feet from the taxi line. I blow it off thinking that they were just confused and got in the wrong line. I finally get a fare and go on with my day. It’s really slow today so I stay on the strip trying to make the time go by. A few hours later I pull onto The Cosmopolitan and get to the front kind of quick for how slow it is. Then, as I’m called up by the door man to load. I see a total of 8 people in line that are clearly divided into 3 groups.

I get out of my cab to help load the bags when the doorman takes the first group to a shuttle waiting about 10 feet away. I found that odd but then started helping the next group. While loading the bags the doorman comes back and helps with the last bag. But as he grabs it he asks if the group would rather take “the very nice shuttle for only $6 per person.” I stop talking to one of the guys and turn to the doorman. I feel my face getting red and my blood start to boil. Before saying a word I take a breath and remind myself that the doorman may not know.

See about a year or two ago, limo drivers were paying the doormen to pull out good fares from the cab lines and load them into limos. They were making up all kinds of stories to do this. We were told it was illegal for them to do so and we needed to call and report it to the taxi authority. I know at least 2 doormen were fired over this and even though it happens still, it’s not happening while the guests are in line.

So I let the door man know what he was doing is wrong and that doormen were getting on trouble for doing that in the past. He apologized and told the guests to get in the cab and enjoy the day. He then called over the head guy on the floor and informed him. The shuttle was gone by the time I got back. So doorman at The Cosmopolitan, you’re one of the good ones.

Now here is where the steam comes out the ears and flames come with every breath. After dropping off I decide to call the taxi authority about this. It had been a while since I’ve seen this happen so I should let them know. The dispatcher picks up and I let him know what happened. I asked if they are still needing names and plate numbers. When I’m done, I hear him laughing. Oh I’m pissed. This Taxi Authority is our “Police” and they are suppose to be there for us. Why is he laughing? When he’s done he says that’s not what they handle. They only deal with taxi issues. I let him know this is a taxi issue and they use to deal with this all the time. He blew me off and then said that they have never taken calls about this and I didn’t know what I was talking about. At this point I feel my heart racing and my blood boiling. I’m just about to go off but I bite my tongue and explain that I’ve called a few times about this and that I know of a doorman even being fired. He again tells me I don’t know what I’m talking about and says “if there is nothing I need from him he’s just going to go.” Oh shit. I cant even see straight I’m so mad.

I hang up and start remembering every reason I hate this job. I have my ups and downs but for some reason when I deal with the taxi authority it’s always bad even when I’m the victom (I’ll share that story soon).  I’m not use to being treated the way hacks are treated out here and I wish we had a stronger voice. But when our unions suck and most of the drivers are too afraid to speak up because they know they will lose their jobs, it’s hard to make things change. Those of us that have the skills to change careers make too good of money to just up and leave without it impacting our families. So deal with the shit and move on.

I pulled this off a website ran by a Las Vegas Cab Driver:

      

 

This website/forum is operated by a Las Vegas Taxi Driver who wishes to remain anonymous. Unfortunately due to the corrupt nature of the Las Vegas Taxi Industry, agents of change must remain anonymous for fear of severe repercussions. History has shown most who speak out are run out of the business altogether.  The drivers need a voice, and this website is one of those.

 

So now that I’ve vented, I will take my two days off and head back in Sunday hoping for a better day. What a way to end the work week.

A Cab Drivers Voice

Posted in Driving Basics, Law Enforcement, Random Info, Touching Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2011 by HackingVegas

I recently wrote a post titled “F The B”  that struck a chord with me. It got me thinking about my industry and made me angry. I have my wife proof all my posts and when she finished “F That B” she asked me something I haven’t thought about in a while.

Wife: please tell me you reported this?
Me: I wish I could’ve but it goes no where.
Wife: what are you talking about, why wouldn’t it go anywhere?
Me: trust me, been here done that, I’m over it.

This conversation really made me think and it made me mad. I’m not this kind of person. I’m the kind of person that calls in every drunk driver, stops at most traffic accidents where help is not already there (I use to work in the medical field and try to help when I can), and help people in need within reason. So why have I changed my ways? Why is, “It’s a waste of time”, my first thought? I started thinking and I think I figured it out.

I remember the first time I reached out to try to help someone who was in need after I had started to drive a cab. It was about three months after I started and I had picked up a single male from the airport who was going to the Stratosphere Hotel. On the way there I started in on my normal chit chat. He was in from Kentucky and said he was wanting to find his friends while he was in town. I asked where they were staying and got an answer I never in a million years expected, “They’re dead”. A calm silence filled the car. I had no clue what to say. I’m a trained critical incident counselor and found myself speechless. So I did the one thing I could think of. I listened.

He started telling me about his plan while in Vegas and how he had even told people at home. He said they just laughed it off and told him,”you need this break so enjoy your time out there”. The details started pouring out. He came to town with a backpack that was full of every dollar to his name. He booked a room at the hotel for a week and after checking in, he was going to hit the tables. He was going to play the tables until he had nothing but $100 left. When he got down to his “goal” he planned to eat a “nice meal” and go find his friends. I asked how he planned to find his friends and he came back with a detailed explanation.

First I plan to rig a rope to the ceiling of the room. I then plan to dangle there until I see them. But if the ceiling is too low, I will find a way to fly off the tower. One way or another I will find them and life will go on.

Once again I didn’t know what to say. I started with the basics and I asked if he had thought about getting help from the VA. He said he doesn’t want their help and that he believed that they are the reason he feels this way. They took his friends so why would they want to help him. I then asked if I could take him to a place that was not a part of the military to try and get him some help. He refused.  I took the last few minutes to try to talk him down but had no response.  I was wishing that I could just take him to the hospital or somewhere for help, but as a driver it is against the law for me to take a fare anywhere other than where they want to go. I could be charged with kidnapping and much more. So I pull up to the hotel and let him out.  I then call over the bellman and let him know what he was telling me. I get blown off and move on to security with the same response.  I then call my supervisor and fill him in on what I had just been told and once again got the blow off.  Not knowing what else to do, I called the Taxi Authority and they said I need to let the hotel know and that it was all that I could do.

I was upset. Everywhere I turned I got the same response and felt helpless.  I sat there for a few minutes and finally just went back to work. I felt like shit the rest of the day. The next few days I tried to find out what happened to him and see if the hotel had any issues with guests. I got no where and finally had to just push it out of my mind.  I had a few more situations similar to this and time after time I got the same response. I have developed a mind-set over the last few years to just let things go. I am just a driver and all I have to do is get someone from point A to point B. I only help when I’m asked to.

I still have a hard time with this and I know this fare will always be in the back of my mind. I wish there was a way to make changes in the industry. Give me your thoughts and let me know what you would do.

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