Yearly Archives: 2004

Phishing over the weekend

This past weekend, I went to Alpine Valley to see Phish.  I saw them Saturday night (6/26/04)… It is supposed to be their last show at Alpine, and from the looks of the crowd, people believed it.  I haven’t seen lines of cars waiting to pull into the lots like that before.  They were about a mile or more long (in both directions) on highway 43, near Bowers road.  So, rather than sit in line like chumps… we figured that we would find a “shortcut.”  Basically, this involved us taking some back roads, weaving underneath the highway…. and ultimately we came out at the intersection of bowers road and the road to the parking lots.. we probably saved about two or more hours of waiting in line.


I sort of knew it was a bad sign when I saw people looking for tickets along the highway.  Getting into the parking lot showed similar results… many many people with their fingers in the air, looking for tickets.  When we pulled into our “spot,” the attendant mentioned that there were 36,000 people who attended the previous night’s performance and that there were already that many people in the lots.  Not including the numbers still waiting in their car lines…  Also, the attendants gave up on attempting to park the cars in the normal rows (with big distances between cars) and instead just parked the cars tightly together.  So… I spent a good portion of the day walking around looking for a ticket.  Heh… Kristina, Ryan’s girlfriend, was even offering rim jobs for a ticket 😉  I was ready to sit in the parking lot for the entire show when all of a sudden one of the guys I was with offered his ticket from the night before…


I went to the show with a friend and some people that he knew.  There were two people (Brandon and Scottie) from Colorado who Ryan (the friend I knew) met the night before.  Apparently the needed a place to stay Friday night and Ryan or one of the guys (his neighbors) he was with offered a spot in their place.  So Brandon and Scottie drove with us to the show on Saturday.  Anyway… Scottie found his ticket (printed from the web) from the night before and said that it was worth a shot.


I took the ticket to the first gate that we came to, and was promptly turned away… they used scanning machines to verify the ticket, and noticed that it was for the previous day.  So naturally, I turned around and went to another gate.  This time, the corrals were pretty much empty, so I had my pick of who I wanted to turn me away.  I decided to go with the guy with the mustache, for some reason.  I walked up to him, not paying attention to the ground, and handed him my ticket.  As he scanned my ticket, he noticed that I was wearing sandals and advised me not to step in the glass beneath my feet… meanwhile, the machine probably told him that it was a Friday ticket, but out of luck, he was pre-occupied telling me about the glass and didn’t look at the machine.  So, he said “have a good show” and I pretty much floated beyond him into the venue.  I was able to find Ryan, and the other people we came with, right away and we found our spot just before the show started…   


I’ll omit the exact details of that kickass show, but if you’re interested in the setlist, head here.  Otherwise, go grab the soundboards


Taxi politics

I found out that running a taxi isn’t as easy as it looks.  Apparently, there is corruption amongst the cab drivers and dispatch.  I was talking with a driver who didn’t seem to work for the company that I called but was more of a contracted driver… he managed to get to where I was waiting within 10 minutes… and that was from across town, or so he said.  He was saying that dispatch gives out the high profile fares ($80 or more) to their own company’s cars.  Meanwhile, he gets shit fares for less than $20, usually…


Apparently cab drivers need to pay “rent” to the company.  The company owns a license allowing the drivers to operate.  In order to legally operate, cab drivers either need to have their own license or be affiliated with a company that owns a license.  I was told that a license typically costs around $100k, so the typical cab driver can’t just go solo and purchase one.  In fact, the guy that I talked to had a partner so that their car is driven 24 hours… He said that rent is costing his car around $600 a month right now, but he thinks that the owner of the cab company is attempting a cab company monopoly… so he figures that once the guy gets that, rent will be $1000 or more…


Now, this is where the interesting part comes in… I didn’t tell the company where I was going, so after about $10 accumulated, the driver made it look as though he dropped me off, via the computer.  He had a modification done to his car that disconnects the central computer from the fare meter, at the flip of a switch.  So, he flicked the switch (allowing the meter to continue to run) while dispatch thought that he dropped me off… At this point, negotiations started and the “flat-rate” could be worked out.  Since I was paying in cash, everything worked out and I’m sure he pocketed the majority of the fare. 


So, back to how the owner of the cab company (American cabs, I think) is attempting a cab company monopoly in Milwaukee.  The guy started a company called Yellow Cab of Milwaukee.  This competes directly with Yellow Cab (a different company based in Milwaukee).  The ad is on the same page as the original Yellow Cab ad, but it is above it and twice as big.  Basically, he’s hoping that people looking for Yellow Cab will pick his (out of confusion) over the other one.  I did…  Now the cabbie that I rode with figures that eventually the owner of the cab company will be able to just buy out Yellow Cab… At that point, the competition in the city is pretty much gone…


Interestingly enough… because of this, I will hopefully never see the driver again.  I will continue to support Yellow Cab instead of this new conglomerate wanna be. 

.Net (dotnet) RSS / Atom libraries

I don’t know why these libraries where so hard to find, but alas… here they are.  There is a project called RSS.Net offering support for RSS versions: 0.90, 0.91, 0.92, 1.0, and 2.x.  Also, there is a project called Atom.Net that supports Atom 0.3.  They are very useful for reading/writing feeds.  Also, both are open source and have excellent licenses, so if they don’t suite your needs specifically… hack away…

Gmail here I come…

Sweet… I got a Gmail account.  Apparently Marcie thought that my email, relating GMail to a taco, was worthwhile enough to convince Ryan Greg to give me an invite.  So, thanks to both people for hooking me up!  I suppose, I could post my experiences as I get used to it over time… My GMail address is jgeurts AT gmail DOT com

Btw, if you’re curious what my email to Marcie looked like… here you go:


Hey Marcie…

If GMail were a taco, I would eat it… or, if I could wrap a tortilla around it, I’d call it a burrito and still eat it


Hope that helps


Back from Vegas

Ok, so here is the 20,000 ft overview of what happened in Vegas.  To sum it up, that town is like a playground for adults… I wouldn’t bring kids there, unless you want them to be exposed to sin early on.  Yes there are things for families to do, but shit… bring them to Disney World, a place meant for that sort of thing.


We got into Vegas around 10:30 or 11:00 Thursday morning.  It actually worked out pretty good, since the majority of the people arrived around the same time.  From the airport, we hopped a shuttle (should have taken a cab) to the hotel.  We stayed at Treasure Island, or as they try to pull off a new image, TI.  Apparently the abbreviation is cooler than the full name.  Anyway, we were able to check into our rooms right away, which sort of surprised us.  The next couple hours were split between sitting in the pool and gambling. 


Later that night, we met up with a friend (Johnny Lee) and went out for dinner.  We had reservations at the VooDoo Café & Lounge at the Rio.  It was an ok dinner, etc, but was good to get all of us together for a meal.  Actually, this is the only picture of the trip that I have, unfortunately.  The view of the strip was nice from the 50th floor, however.  So we hung out for an extra drink or two at the outside bar on the 51st floor.  Afterwards, we went to a couple bars in search of where to go for the night.  We ended up going to Rain in the Palms casino.  That place was a blast and I would definitely recommend it.  The room is like a big circle with a circle dance floor in the middle.  There are different levels/floors/balconies around the edge of the club.  They also have a huge ceiling structure above the main dance floor, which among other things, shoots fire.  It was a very cool thing to watch.  So we spent the majority of the night there until we were asked to leave (details omitted) around 3am or so.  From there, we went to a club called Drais in Barbary Coast.  It has a lounge atmosphere and is definitely a hotspot to go after hours.  We got a reserved table and the night seemed to pass by nicely.  By the time I wandered out of there, it was sunny again. 


Friday started a little later and more sporadic… at this point, my sleep habits pretty much turned into random naps.  I slept for a few hours, went to the pool, slept, gambled, etc… I’m pretty sure that food & drinks were involved somewhere in there.  So, the night approached us and we decided to go to the Hard Rock casino and hang out at the circle bar for a little while.  That’s a very cool bar, and if you feel like gambling, it’s within an arms reach.  We chose to go to a club called Ice around 11 or 12… Since we were with so many guys (around 15 or so), we figured that the only way to get into this place was to just buy a table.  So, we got a table (3 bottle minimum @ $250 a bottle) and proceeded to enjoy the night.  The night gets somewhat blurry from here, but I ended up meeting a couple girls from Tampa.  One, Stephanie, was really cool and damn sexy… we pretty much talked (about what?) for the majority of the night and had some drinks and shots together.  The party moved back to Drais again due to another prompt exit (again, details omitted).  I didn’t stay that long (it was more dawn than pure daylight when we left), but still managed to have a good time.


Saturday was much the same as Friday and involved a lot of sitting at the pool, drinking, and gambling… I felt “not so myself” for most of the day, and only managed to each a half of sub for dinner… That night, we went out to Hard Rock again and Johnny tried to get us into the club there.  Apparently there was a Maxim party, though, so even though Johnny knew someone, it was closed doors.  We did end up meeting up with the Tampa girls again, so that was nice.  The girls went to Rain, and well… since we are less than welcome there, I decided to go take a nap.  I ended up waking up around 4:30 or 5 and going out to meet up with everyone.  They were just hanging out at Barbary Coast, in the casino part.  I have to say that my motivation to go out on Saturday was pretty minimal.  Apparently the lack of sleep and the immense drinking took a toll.  I did, however, find out that Stephanie’s last name is Noriega and that she is a sorority girl (TriDelta).  She is definitely a cool girl, and if I get a chance to see her again, that would be great.


So that’s about it… Sunday sucked due to having a flight at 9:00am, but what can ya do…. I have other stories related to this trip, but I suppose some things should stay in Vegas.  Anyway, I’m looking forward to my next Vegas experience, that’s for sure. 


Doing what I can…

I told my friend Steve that I would help him with anything that I could for Havalah.  One of the little things that he said that annoyed him was the fact that Havalah’s website did not come up #1 on Google.  So I told him that I would write a short post about her in hopes that at a minimum, the Google ranking goes up. 


Steve and Kristen’s beautiful baby, Havalah, has a disease called biliary atresia and is awaiting a liver transplant.  It is basically a lack of bile ducts inside and outside the liver.  More information can be found here.


There is a fundraising effort going on, so if you feel as though you want to help, there is an answer.  Outside of that, if you would like to find out more, please visit the website devoted to Havalah Elizabeth Wotruba Kolb.