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Friday, May 30, 2008


The biggest event in Fairbanks since the Pope and Ronald Reagan were in town on the same day...

...and all I have is one humorous (i.e. Lame) story that I shouldn't even tell. Every person outside of Alaska will misunderstand, and Alaskans who have never interacted with elderly natives will also misunderstand.

Of course I would be referring to the Elton John concert....


I spent a couple hours recounting this story in blog form... and I decided it was better left untold. There's just too much room to misunderstand the picture I am trying to paint.

It was a "clash of cultures" story between elderly (very elderly) natives and western culture.

It involved Elton John, sexual orientation, and their native language, which I don't understand at all.

But what the hell. It's my blog and I'm at least going to leave this place-holder, because if I ever come back and am reminded of this story I may again laugh until I cry.

BTW. Was told by everyone who had seen it that Elton John still puts on a great show.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What a crappy night. I just couldn't catch a break pushing hack. I told one of my passengers that I felt like a truck driver who was behind a fleet of Winnebagos driving 40 mph in a 55 zone. As soon as I passed a few Winnebagos I hit a hill and they went back around me.

I did come out of it with this one story, but I'll warn you... so far only myself and the dispatcher find it to be funny.

Picked up this mother and child at 4:30 a.m. "We only have $12, but can you take us (for a $25 ride)? Please, sir. We have to get out of here, there is just too much drama. This woman went crazy and my daughter doesn't need to be around that."

It was such a bad night that I could hardly turn down an actual paying fare, even if they only had half the money. Besides, I am much more understanding if a passenger tells me they are short on the cab fare at the beginning of the ride than at the end of the ride. Besides that, mother was showing some good cleavage.

"Yeah, I guess. Hop in."

I didn't even have a chance to call in the trip before the dispatcher called me. "Did you pick up a woman and a girl?"

"Why yes, I did."

"Don't go anywhere. The police need to talk to them."

Great. Not only do they not have enough money to cover the fare, I'm going to get tied up with the police. The police take their sweet time.

I pulled over. "Sorry ladies. We need to wait a minute. What happened anyway?"

"Why?! Why?!"

"Didn't you just hear the dispatcher?"

"No. What did he say."

"He said the police need to talk to you. What happened when that woman went crazy, anyway?"

"What woman?"

"You said someone was going crazy in there."

"I never said that."

Call me slow, but it was at that point the light came on that this woman had not been completely truthful with me.

"We need to go."

"Sorry ma'am. We need to wait. You should probably put on your seat belt. The police are doing the whole 'Click it or Ticket' campaign this weekend." (That link is worth clicking on. I wouldn't steer you wrong.)

"Seat belt?"

"Yes. You should probably put it on before the police get here."

"Police? We need to go. Come on, honey."

They got out of the cab and started hoofing it down the street. At that point it should have been all over. End of story. But no, I had to try and look out for another cab driver.

I called the dispatcher and told him what happened. I was watching in my rear view mirror when a driver from the other company passed me heading towards the girl and her mother. I only caught a glimpse of the other driver, but he was driving the Lincoln. A guy named Joe has been driving the Lincoln lately. I don't really like Joe, but Joe isn't going anywhere. He will be a cabdriver in Fairbanks until he dies. I figured "what goes around comes around", so I spun around in the street to warn Joe that this lady did not have enough money and he would need to deal with the police if he gave them a ride.

It wasn't Joe. It was a new guy.

The woman was standing in the street trying to flag down the other taxi. The other driver apparently thought I was racing him to pick her up. He got there first. I pulled up alongside him. At first he wouldn't acknowledge me. When he finally did roll down his window to talk he had a big ol' shit-eating-grin as if he wanted to say, "The woman with the cleavage got into my cab, sucka. You are SOL."

The look was priceless. I just wanted to warn him. He thought he got one over on me.

By then there was a cop car coming from each direction, at a high rate of speed.

"The police need to talk to those two." Just then both cops turned their lights on. "You have a nice day."

I told the dispatcher what had happened. I called it poetic justice. The dispatcher said, "It's a child custody dispute. He's gonna be tied up with the police for a while."

And he was.


"Lick it or Sticket" link originally appeared in my former neighbor's blog Wilder By Far. He's moved to Texas, but his blog is still as funny as ever.

Friday, May 23, 2008


My only movie review, and a very narrow movie review at that: IRON MAN

Up front: I don't watch many movies. In my opinion, for the last couple decades almost everything to come out of Hollywood has been crap and block-buster special-effects movies are the worst. The last good movies to have relied heavily on special effect were the original Star Wars movies.

Don't e-e-even get me started on The Matrix.... unadulterated crap... possibly the worst movie ever, in my opinion. But, yes, the effects were cool.

Took the kids to see a movie earlier in the week. There were no kid movies playing. Everything was either R, PG-13, Speed Racer, or Narnia. Earlier in the week I had talked to different people in the taxi who had seen Narnia, all thought it was a bit violent for young children (mine are 7 and 8). I had heard a couple radio reviews of Speed Racer and had talked to some people who had seen it. Everyone panned it, so Speed Racer was out of the question.

Iron Man is rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and brief suggestive content. Didn't sound too bad. The kids wanted to see it. I figured, what the hey, and took them. I figured we could walk out if it was too bad.

I hesitated to pay to see Iron Man, as I said, I find most movies that rely heavily on special effects to be utter crap. Most movies of the genre are simply tools for movie studios to impress audiences with bigger 'splosions or cool computer animation. The plot/script is an afterthought if it is not completely forgotten in most big-budget, special-effects movies and I find most to be unwatchable.

The makers of Iron Man did an excellent job of using special effects to compliment the movie and to move the story forward. There were some cool effects and big 'splosions but they did not seem gratuitous to the storyline.

Gratuitous special effects, to coin a phrase.... Hmmmmm... I kinda like that term.

Good movie. Not a great movie, but a good movie. However, it may be the best big-budget super-hero movie that I have ever seen, remembering that I don't have the patience to sit through more than 15 minutes of most super hero movies.

When it appears on television I will probably make it a point to see Iron Man again. It was quite refreshing. I will probably pay to see the next movie in the series.

Oh, and the kids liked it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Celebrity Gamer Nerd Guy

I've never heard of Rich Sommer. Now I might just have to watch for him.

Thanks to Brian at The Tao of Gaming for pointing out this video.

For perspective: Rich has 147 games in what looks to be a pretty good boardgame collection. He obviously knows his way around the game store.

I have 140-something unplayed boardgames, and at least 400 total.

Kudos to Rich for coming out of the closet.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go see when Mad Men is on.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Fer cryin' out loud


I am soooooo tired of this story: Soldier shoots Koran.

The PRESIDENT of the US feels the need to apologize for this?

Let's get a Koran and meet up at the Borough firing range. Who's with me?

The inaugural Shoot-a-Koran-For-Peace day. 2008

I liken this to the President of France apologizing for some dimwit frog who burned the US flag.

Like that will ever happen.


Apples and Oranges. Settle it once and for all...

Which is hotter?

100 degrees in the shade


Sarah Palin

Monday, May 19, 2008


Note to self....

Dude's name: Dave

Catan on Thursday night.

Needed to get that in writing before the ink on the back of my hand wore off.

Friday, May 16, 2008


I wonder... wa wa wa wa wonder... why... why why why why

At this point everyone is wondering why Hillary Clinton is still in the Presidential race.

Is she planning to pull a rabbit out of a hat at the convention?

Does she have more dirt on Obama that she hopes will become news and sway the super delegates? Perhaps she is confident that her allegation that Obama was a drug-dealer in college will gain momentum?

Can she just not admit defeat?

After spending some time pondering this in the recent past I wonder: Is she trying to position herself to challenge Harry Reid for the position of Senate Majority Leader?

Perhaps that is what this is all about?

She certainly has more balls than the current pansy holding the post.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


File this under "personal"

Maaaaaaan. This is the first winter that winter really got to me in Alaska.

If I didn't get 10 hours of sleep every night I was just no damn good for anything. Actually, since I work nights make that "10 hours of sleep every day."

Now that it is not getting dark at night, I'm good with 4 or 5 hours of sleep every day. Actually, I've been much better since early March when we hit 8 hours of daylight every day.

Maaaaan, I'm here to tell ya', that was a rough couple months from December to February.

I never really took SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) seriously, but after experiencing it myself, I have more pity for sufferers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Best tip ever?

Sooooooo, I didn't quite come to a complete stop and was pulled over by the Airport Police....

Picked up these two guys at Pikes to take to the airport. That's about a $1.50 trip. Had quite a while to talk to them while we were waiting for the cop to finish writing the ticket. Turns out they were workers from the North Slope (Prudhoe Bay for you outsiders) on their way home to the Lower 48. They had a long lay-over in Fairbanks and left the airport to have a few drinks at the bar while they were waiting.

They were both quite drunk and very irate. Not at me, but at the cop. I wasn't mad, I get a ticket about every 2 years and it had been about 2 1/2 years since my last ticket, I knew I was due. I also know that the Airport Police are hardasses, and I should have known better than not come to a complete stop for several seconds around the airport.

$100 ticket for failure to stop at a posted stop sign. Plus, we had to wait several more minutes while the cop checked the VIN number against the registration and some other BS.

When we got to the airport I told them not to worry about the fare. "Sorry about the delay. This trip is on me."

They were having none of that.

"No. Don't worry about it guys. Just let me give you a free ride. It's not a problem."

"F- that. Here's $50. That should be pay half the ticket."

Indeed it did.

Thank you again, guys.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Who in the world has time to write this?

Must be a prisoner.

Someone left a fifty pound comment on a previous post. Don't exactly know what it is about. Rants about numerous subjects, though.

Sounds like an Obama supporter. Possibly his spiritual advisor.

Here's the link: http://andgames.blogspot.com/2008/05/simple-boardgame-epiphany.html

Scroll to the comments at the end. I actually copied, pasted, and re-posted the rant at the bottom in the off chance that the original poster deleted his comments.

The fourth comment is the one I am alluding to. The fifth comment is my re-post.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


A qwik one

Told a single mother who had absolutely no control over her kids that I would give her a free ride... if she would let me spank her kids.

After I blurted the words I expected to be reprimanded at some level. So far nothing has happened.


The Ballad of Stinky Pete

Got a call to pick up at the emergency room.

Walked into the ER. It was for Stinky Pete.

Now, every cabdriver in town may not know Stinky Pete by name, but when you mention his address, every cabdriver in town will respond with, "Damn that boy stinks."

Pete is.... shall we say.... mildly mentally ill... and in my opinion... what doctors call... a drug seeker. He is pushing 50 years old and he still lives with his mother. He frequently calls cabs to go to the ER for... seemingly self-inflicted injuries. I have picked him up at the ER a couple times just to have to listen to a tirade about how the doctor only gave him one Vicodin and a prescription for Motrin, "I told them one Vicodin doesn't touch my pain. I need at least three every four hours!"

When Pete gets drunk he is a damn baby. Often a bartender will have to help him out to the cab, or he will feign being too weak to open the door. I caught on a long time ago and I don't let Stinky Pete get away with any of that nonsense. When I walked into the ER Pete was sitting in a wheel chair acting too weak to walk. "Can I get a little help here?!?!

"Pete, if you can't walk out to the cab how do you expect to walk up the stairs to your house?"

"I can walk up the stairs to my house, there is a hand rail."

"I ain't carrying you into the house, Pete. If you can't walk out to the cab you can wait in the emergency room."

"I can get to my door. I just need a little help to the cab."

"Pete, get off your ass and walk. I'm giving you one minute, then I'm turning the meter on."

Wouldn't you know, some nice-guy civilian started pushing Pete's wheelchair out the door.

"STOP! Right there. Turn the wheelchair around and let him walk."

Pete realized he was as close as he was going to get to the cab unaided and jumped up and limped to the cab. He pretended to have a lot of difficulty getting into the cab because of some fake leg pain.

"Meter's on."

He sat down without a problem.

Within about 1 second the stench got to me.

"Can you roll the windows up. It is cold in here."


"All I got is these shorts and a t-shirt. I'm cold."

"We're not rolling the windows up. You stink."

"Well, the hot water in the shower..."

"Put a cork in it. You always stink, Pete. Tonight it is exceptionally bad."

After that I had a quiet, but olfactory-offensive trip to Stinky Pete's house.

Pete got out of the cab and walked to his home without any difficulty.

An hour or so later I found myself back in the neighborhood of the hospital. I stopped in to tell the security guard, "After I got Stinky into the cab I realized I probably could have got $5 from everyone in the emergency room to take him off your hands."

The security guard laughed and said, "I would have kicked in $5 to see him leave. Damn that boy stinks."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


For absolutely no reason at all...

...I would like to say that I love rockabilly music and intruduce you the blog of another Fairbanks cabdriver even though he doesn't feature any rockabilly music http://arcticghetto.blogspot.com/. No cab stories, but I strongly suggest that you flood his blog with requests for Fairbanks cab stories... and rockabilly music.

Now, back to that rockabilly music... damn I love this song.

Heeeeere's BR-549

I should point out that Greg drives for a different cab company. That company is more straight-laced. For example, they don't refer to the corner of 23rd and Wilson as "Perry's Crackhouse". Even so, I'm sure he's got some good stories, he just needs to be badgered.

I should further point out that apparently Perry got himself a scanner and objects to the term "Perry's Crackhouse". I hesitate to post the entire story for fear that it would disturb my wife, but Perry met me on the street with a gun the other day after I cleared a trip at "Perry's Crackhouse."

For the time being I'll assume Perry doesn't have internet access at the crackhouse. If he has internet access, I think it is safe to assume he's not reading cab blogs. More likely he is viewing porno.

If I don't report back it would be an indication he is monitoring cab blogs.

I'm sure even Perry would agree that rockabilly music rocks.


Simple Boardgame Epiphany

A realization came to me as I was re-reading the rules to Hamburgum. Before I go there let me step back a month or so ago.

Played Midgard a few weeks back. Didn't care for the game at the time and haven't thought too much more about it since, but in the last few days as I was refreshing my memory on the rules of Hamburgum I began to ponder Midgard.

Despite a card drafting mechanism and some other chrome, Midgard is most frequently described as an area control game, and it is. The thing about Midgard that turned me off is that there are just too many ways to score victory points. Seems as though every possible move will score some points. With more play I am sure the balance and tactical reasoning for scoring points in different ways would get easier, but the game just isn't good enough for me to invest time into learning the intricacies of the game.

Hamburgum, on the other hand, has a couple different things going on. On one hand you need to score points to win the game, but on the other hand you need to earn money to build things which will earn you more money so that you can spend the money to earn victory points. Although there are many things you can do on your turn you need to divide your time between earning VPs and earning income.

I find having these two competing goals in a game makes for a more interesting game, as opposed to having multiple ways to score points.

Puerto Rico, the highest ranked game of all time amongst boardgame enthusiasts, clearly has these two competing elements. One needs to earn victory points to win the game, but you can't do it without money, and money is scarce.

El Grande, the grand daddy of area control games and the sixth highest ranked game, requires players to balance the placing of control tokens on the board to score points, with the challenge of getting control tokens into supply so they are available to be placed on the board. Different mechanisms, but in this regard they are similar to the competing interests of earning money and scoring points in Puerto Rico.

My favorite game, Tigris and Euphrates, requires players to earn victory points in four different categories, each category is distinct from the others with the final score not being the cumulative amount. Again, different mechanism, but similar effect.

Power Grid, another favorite of mine, and the second highest rated game amongst boardgame enthusiasts, has a number of competing goals for each player. One must supply power to numerous cities in order to win the game, but to get there one needs to balance income, upgrade power plants, buy fuel for the power plants, as well as build transmission lines, all the while being mindful of turn order and one's position in it. Power Grid isn't a game of earning victory points, it is a game of timing and positioning yourself for the endgame, but again, players need to juggle multiple considerations to achieve victory.

Analyzing a game to determine the most efficient way to score points amongst a myriad of ways to score points is usually just not fun for me. In my opinion, this type of game design is much better suited to two player games, such as Twilight Struggle. Although this is my opinion, I find I am unable to find suitable reasons to explain why it is better suited to two-player games. Perhaps it simply boils down to personal preference.

In Midgard all of a player's options seemed to either matter very little in the overall scheme, or be obvious. I don't doubt that with more play strategies would become apparent, and points could be eked out with knowledge of the subtlety of play.

With over 300 games in my collection vying for table time I can't justify numerous plays to find optimal strategies in average games, and games with many ways to score VP tend to be average games.

I find the internal struggle to balance victory points with the mechanism to earn victory points to be much more interesting than analyzing the optimal way to earn victory points. Don't know why, but in my case this revelation is certainly true.

Monday, May 05, 2008


Awkward pauses

Me: Where do you need to go?

Passenger: I need to go to (such and such an address). Sorry for the short ride. I'd walk if it wasn't raining.

Me: No problem. I'm just glad it isn't snowing.

Passenger: Amen, brother.

Me: So how are you doing tonight?

Passenger: I was doing all right until I talked to my ex. She is tramping around like a bitch in heat. BLAH BLAH BLAH (I've heard it all before, I'm starting to tune out) BLAH BLAH BLAH And then the bitch says "I'm a better mother than anyone in your family, including your dumb-ass sister"....... My sister died last month.
Me: At least it's not snowing.

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