jackshoegazer: (Quantum/Paradox)
I've already gotten rid of three DVDs through SwapaDVD.com.  Now I just have to find some DVDs I want that are listed.  The nice thing is that you can add things to a wish list and as soon as they're available, they send you an email to alert you.

Work was a bear today.  You can read about one bit of it, my run in with a junkie in pink fleece, in [profile] jackstaxi.

Afterwards, I came home and made dinner; garlic mashed potatoes, honey carrots, and Italian-seasoned, breaded tofu.  Simple, hearty, and good.  Then I got caught up on my flist and comments while Jacquelyn crocheted and Ethan read some George R.R. Martin.

When my grandmother died a few years ago, many of the family members requested copies of all her recipes, since she was an excellent cook and one-time pastry chef.  My uncle Rick was put in charge of this grand task and finally, today, he emails everyone one recipe - her homemade barbecue sauce.  Here it is, for your edification:

Gramma Parker's Barbecue Sauce

Dice the following:
  • 1/2 bushel tomatoes
  • 2 bundles celery
  • 5 green peppers
  • 5 large onions
Mix with:
  • 4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 pint cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp salt
Boil slowly until thick; about 4 hours. 1/2 hour before done, add:
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 2 tsp nutmeg

I want her homemade potato chip recipe.  I remember those were amazing.  Even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apple juice poured from a carton.  She was an amazing grandmother, so everything she made tasted like magic.
jackshoegazer: (Cab/Taxi)
It has snowed almost every day that I've worked in the past two weeks.  The last decade or so has been pretty mild.  In 1998 it didn't snow until New Year's Eve.  Last year, we didn't get snow for Generic Solstice-Derivative Gift Exchange Ritual a.k.a. Christmas.  This has been a "traditional" Wisconsin winter - a lot of snow.  I don't think we got this much all of last year.  In general, I love it.  It's beautiful.

If my job wasn't driving, that would be great, but eight-plus hours of non-stop driving on icy, unplowed roads is a wee bit stressful.  I also have to drive the sedans, which are rear-wheel drive and thus fishtail all over the place.  Today, it was more like piloting a motorboat than driving.  Especially going up hills, which are a massive gamble, not knowing if you'll be going fast enough to get up the hill, or going too fast and hit someone, or slide into a car on the side of the road, or someone else doing all those things to me.  This is the easiest job in the world, but on bad-weather days, my nerves are shot by the end of the day.

On the bright side, people are usually so grateful that someone is willing to drive through this mess, that they tip me very well.  I got several compliments on my excellent driving and control during skids.  Go me.

(x-posted to [profile] jackstaxi)
jackshoegazer: (Jack/Tongue)
I've recently started working Saturdays, during the UW Badger football games which, for lack of a better word, or rather, for lack of a more perfect word, are insane.  People come in from all over the state, and out-of-state for these games - not to mention a majority of the 40,000 UW students who all descend upon the area surrounding the stadium and clog the streets and parking lots with red and rowdy drunken antics.

Driving them around is great.  Trying to not run them over when they drunkenly cross the street against the light, yeah, not so fun.  The tips are great (I usually make three times the tips I make on a regular weekday) and the energy of a massive celebration is infectious.  I wish there was a home game every Saturday.  Ok, almost.

Yesterday, after work, Jacquelyn and I went to the Great Dane and quickly devoured some three-alarm buffalo wings and the Bard's Sampler, which consisted of skewers of marinated and grilled jumbo shrimp around homemade chorizo sausage, served with an assortment of fresh mozzarella and vegetables.  We drank quite a bit of their crop-circle wheat beer, which is probably my favorite beer of all time.  We had to hurry because we had to be at  The Bartell to see Art at 8:00.

It is a required performance for my Drama class and tomorrow I have to write a critique of the play.  My teacher was the director for this show and I have to say it was really well done.  The play, from what the interwebz tell me, is widely accepted as excellent, and the actors were intense and genuine.  The theatre was small, only 72 seats, so it was hard to be disconnected and objective, being so close to the actors.  This works to its advantage because the play revolves around three friends, discussing an all-white painting.  The setting is primarily one character's apartment, so there isn't a lot of action or scene changes to grab your attention.  The actors really needed you to be close and involved as an audience member.

Afterwards, we grabbed a piece of cake and a latte at Michaelangelo's just before catching the last bus home.  Almost every person we saw on the way home was arguing or ranting into a cell phone.  We decided there must be something in the air, or in the stars and when we got off the bus, there were something like five or six police cars at the house just down the street from us.  It was hard to tell what was going on because no one seemed to be out.  Odd indeed.

After four months of bicycling at the very least, thirteen miles a day, four days a week, plus whatever I do on my days off, I have finally started to lose weight.  Ten pounds so far.  I haven't really altered my diet at all ( not that my diet is really bad or anything), so this all seems to be stemming purely from an increase in physical activity.  Another advantage is that I've also stopped getting as many headaches and it's a lot easier to get up in the morning.  I actually feel kind of odd, like I'm forgetting something, if I don't get out and bicycle at least once a day.  The best advantage, methinks, is that I now have zero transportation costs.  I get a free bus pass through school and I bike, so I actually spend nothing to get around.  My mobility is a little limited, but I think it's definitely worth it to not know what the gas price is.  Oh yes, I've been car-free for over a year now.

I was feeling good and skinny today and snapped a photo this morning:

Okay, I'm off to bed, dear reader.  Tomorrow is a long day or reading, writing, cleaning, and procrastinating.
jackshoegazer: (Cab Driver)
P.S.  I've updated [profile] jackstaxi.
jackshoegazer: (Cab Driver)
I have made a separate journal for my taxicab adventures.  Follow my crazy exploits and wacky customers at [profile] jackstaxi.

I'm not shutting this journal down.  Here, you will still find everything you know and love.  My cabbie stories will just be at [profile] jackstaxi.
jackshoegazer: (Friday the 13th)
The sole purpose of this post is so I can use this new icon, which I made from a grainy camera-phone photo while I was sitting in the bus stop after work yesterday on the most feared and dreaded Friday the 13th.  Perhaps as I write, an alternate purpose will arise, that some gold may be found after sifting through the river sediment of my errant verbosity.

Or something like that.

I had a lot of nice conversations while driving my taxi today.  There was the old woman who I picked up at the hospital.  She'd had a heart attack on Tuesday and was finally going home.  She used to pick cotton in the south when she was a kid, then spent most of her life in the ghettos of Chicago, and now lives just outside Madison.  She said she loves to just sit outside and listen to the birds chirp because she could never do that in Chicago.  Besides it being unsafe to be outdoors, she said the only time she could hear birds was at three in the morning, in the tiny lull between post-bar time and when the early commuters started.  Otherwise, all day and all night, the only thing she could hear was sirens and gunshots, dogs barking and people arguing.  She loves how clean everything is here, that people have jobs and work here, that there aren't gangsters and junkies and prostitutes in every alley and street corner.  Rural Wisconsin must seem like Heaven or a dream comparatively.

Mostly we talked about the Bible and the End Times.  She seemed utterly ecstatic that my name was Jeremy, a Bible name.  I had mentioned how I'd heard that because of last week's cold snap, South Carolina had lost almost its entire peach crop and she started in on how God is punishing us, that there will be plagues and food shortages, the Four Horsemen, one of which is Pestilence.  I told her how these extreme temperatures and weather patterns were symptoms of global warming and she added, that it's man-made problems manifesting God's will and God is punishing us for our abuse, that the Earth is like a living being with a disease and the Horsemen of the Apocalypse are like antibodies come to cleanse away the problem, namely us.

When she got out of the taxi, she pointed at me with a big smile on her face and told me to keep my eyes open, keep watching for the signs.
jackshoegazer: (Cab Driver)
Good afternoon dear Reader,

He was confused or merely indecisive, but he couldn't decide whether the stale winter air escaped through the windows in a stampede or if the new spring wind charged through the windows like a raging army come to slaughter the dark and deformed monsters of stagnation.  Either way, the breeze simultaneously held the breath of new life and growth and the mulch stink of death and it made him sleepy and reminiscent, or merely ponderous.  As I said, he was confused, or merely indecisive.

No, I don't always write about myself in the third person, but here it felt necessary.  Or perhaps I just wanted to.  Like I said, I'm confused, or merely indecisive.

Being a cabbie is like being a limo driver, only the car is smaller and the clientele is usually of a lower class.  However, I am gaining the belief they are much more interesting. 

This week I met a girl with no arms, who signed her credit card slip with her feet and her handfootwriting was better than most people's hand-penmanship. 

I met an aging hippie who used to travel the country helping organize unions for striking workers.  He told me if I ever chose to get into journalism, his good friend is the editor of a newspaper here and could get me an in.

The man I picked up from the AIDS Support Network used to be a millionaire, teach political science at Brown, had a stroke, went bankrupt and now lives in a one-room apartment and watches TV, living off ramen and hot dogs.  He says it's a better life and he loves it.

There was also the older black man who told me he thinks the white judges and politicians in this country are all secret KKK members, that slavery never really ended, that the whites have been terrorizing the blacks here much longer than our War on Terror has been focused on Islam, and that a black man will never be president because a white supremacist will assassinate them first.

He was great fun to talk to.  Seriously.  We got into a good mutual rant about how impossible it is to live on minimum wage and how the idea of a service economy is nothing but indentured servitude all over again.

Yesterday I had to take a woman back to her hotel so she could get her things and pick up her car, just so she could go right back to the hospital, because her husband had a heart attack that morning.  She was nervous and skittish.  She didn't say much at all.

That's enough cab stories, don't you think?  I get a nice cross-section of human life every day.  It's like living a thousand lives per week, but only for a moment each.  Like Quantum Leap on methamphetamines, only I don't have to right historical wrongs.  Just listen to their stories, like the neighborhood bartender.

Soon, I will write to you about walking through crowds, the first days of spring, social anxiety, psychic shells, Jack's hoe-gazing, my immersion into liberal radio programs, jazz on Satudays, and what I've made for dinner recently.  Or not.  After all, I am confused, or merely indecisive.
jackshoegazer: (#23 Madison Lighting)
My life as a cabbie has officially begun.  Maybe I should watch Taxi Driver.

My orientation began with a brief history of the company, which in turn lends a strange hidden history of Madison.

Apparently cabbie-speak doesn't evolve much or keep up with the times.  Bars, restaurants and hospitals are commonly referred to with names they haven't been for twenty years.  Or even names they were never called, like the street the cabbies call Ho Chi Mihn Trail because the city tried to rename it in the 70's but it never went through.  There is even a "Lost City", a neighborhood that was planned, a few streets laid down and a some houses built when the University annexed the whole surrounding area for its Arboretum.

My first trainer was an old retired man who'd never trained anyone before.  As I got in the taxi that morning, he said to me, "Now why in the hell you want to drive a taxi for?"  Before I could answer he said, "Whatever reason, it sure beats the hell out of work."    He was bleary-eyed, explaining that he'd been up late working as an election official.  Prior to his manifestation as a cab driver, he'd worked as a carpenter for dozens and dozens of years.  He told me crazy stories about being in Vietnam and smoking pot in the Emerald Triangle of Oregon and northern California, his friends making the best creole food in New Orleans, tales of his father, the tail-gunner who was a P.O.W. in World War II.  He drove like a maniac and swore like a sailor (even though he was a Marine.)

My second trainer was the polar-opposite in terms of temperament.  He was slow and relaxed, enjoyed driving the old ladies three blocks to their doctor appointments.  In a way, he reminded me of a goofy hybrid of the old man from Fraggle Rock and Nickelodeon's Mr. Wizard.  Apparently he is one of the three or four drivers who have Ph.D's, (and several more drivers who are working on theirs.)  His handwriting was indecipherable which led me to wonder if perhaps bad penmanship is the symptom of a doctorate, or perhaps a psychological disposition toward getting a doctorate, or perhaps universities should require penmanship or calligraphy courses in order to graduate.

The last trainer was the most professional so far, which I found odd since his side job is improv comedy.  He was in the Chad Vader series that have recently gotten much attention on teh interwebs.  In fact, in the plot line of Chad Vader, Chad (the less-famous brother of Darth Vader) has left the Empire Market and has gone on to cab driving.  So yes, dear readers, I work with Chad Vader.  Sort of.  We had some "It's a Small World After All" moments when we realized we both knew the guys from The Dead Alewives.  We talked about serendipitous girlfriends and the women-are-crazy/men-are-stupid paradigm and what it's like to grow old and hit those weird mile markers of age (I turn 30 this summer and he turned 40 last week.)

I have one more training shift before they let me out on my own, driving around Madison with my new iPod (a gift from Jacquelyn.)  No total weirdos yet, no drunks or pimps.  A girl from Los Angeles going to pick up a prescription, a lot of people going to the hospital.  I picked up an old black woman who moved in slow-motion at a psychiatric clinic and three Hispanic men at the bus station going to catch another bus down to Chicago.  They had so much luggage we could barely fit it in the cavernous trunk of the cab.  One complained to the other that he shouldn't have bought the whole mall for his wife and kids.  The other man brushed him off with a glowing smile, saying "Whatever, they're totally worth it."

Jacquelyn has had the flu which massive migraine.  Ethan is here this weekend as well.  I'm going to prepare dinner for them while they play Knights of the Old Republic II on the 360.  Later on I have to make a St. Patrick's Day-themed rave flyer called "Corned Beef and Cabbage."  There is also a blizzard on the way.  Do I even need to say, "My, how strange things are!"?

No, I didn't really think so.
jackshoegazer: (Bad Ugly Sleepiness)
Because this veil it has been lifted, my eyes are wet with clarity.
The world is a flurry,
A rambled, ransacked fury,
Disproportionate in length, desperate in breadth,
Base, mundane, with a squeaky, polished shine.
All surface, no depth,
No meaning but what we make,
Like a cake with no birthdays
Anniversaries or holidays to celebrate.
This is my last night as a vampire, my last night as a moonchild.  My last night of lunacy.  At least this particular brand of 3rd shift lunacy.

Starting tomorrow, which is really today, I am free from the confines of my employer for the next six days.  On May 3rd, I return to work as a creature of the sun, a child of Sol.  During the interval, I must finish packing, move, buy and move new furniture, and dance with the devil in the pale moon light.

Oh shite, who let Meatloaf in there?

My dear Jacquelyn has gotten sick again, this time contracting the stomach bug that my roommate was suffering from this past weekend.  I, again, am the sole survivor, somehow naturally immune to the spreading affliction that plagues my home like zombies after a meteor landing.  I played the role of good boyfriend, took care of her between fits of napping, went to the store to get the medicinal staples of stomach issues, saltines and ginger ale.

I have to make up for all the times I’m a crabby, grouchy bastard.

There was so much I wanted to say before I started typing and now it’s gone the way of the Studebaker.  Only found as reproductions in the back lots of movie studios for period pictures.  Of course that analogy doesn’t quite link up because that would mean that the rest of this post could be found in Los Angeles.

Which I can assure you, it cannot.

I finished The World According to Garp last night.  It was quite good, though it was no Owen Meany.  Owen really meant something to me, I’ve come to realize.  While Garp was in a way, more biographically parallel to myself, Owen fulfilled that profound human need to connect to something bigger than ourselves, the belief, the desperate, dangerous need to believe that our lives have direction and purpose.

When we lost Owen, we lost that purpose, a perfect loop, a perfect chain, the joy and sorrow of something beautifully burning out.  The absolute divine ecstasy that can only be found when one has completely exhausted one’s potential, completed one’s orbit.

Which is our purpose, after all.
Sometimes I think,
All we really want -
Our heart’s desire
Our soul’s entire
Plan, plot, scheme, and dream
Is to get home.
But like the factory
Of dear Mr. Wonka,
One must go forward to get back
Endlessly, endlessly
A never-ending track
That winds and whines and dines
To eternity and back
Veil to veil
A bigger picture
A better love
A deeper depth
To be and become
What we were in the beginning,

Charles Baker Hennington was a humorless man who did not writhe in desire at his peripheral notoriety.
There is nothing left but sleep in my veins, a dumb, thumping pulse I write to suppress.
The people talking around me are driving me crazy.  I can’t write when they’re talking.  I can rarely write with television, movies or music playing.  I think I finally understand the writer’s need for solitude.  Which, of course, doesn’t explain J.K. Rowling who writes the Harry Potter books mostly in a café.

Each unto their own.  Life.  Path.  Orbit.  Spark.
The sleep falls like a curtain.  Some light still comes in.
I’ve seen the day of your awakening, boy, and it’s coming soon.
jackshoegazer: (Default)
Tonight I forgot the power cord for the laptop, and thus I cannot recharge the battery here at work.  Thus, I have a mere two hours and thirty-three minutes before I am computer-less.  I have just finished the only book I brought to read, George R.R. Martin's A Clash of Kings, and thus I have nothing to do.  Rather than attempting to watch a movie in the mean time, I will do some writing.  This will be my first attempt at writing a LiveJournal post offline.  And perhaps I will write some fiction or poetry while I'm at it.  Who can say? Hmm?

There is nothing
but a vacuum hum
and a buzz
a rumble
in my ears as I write
try as I might
to create a titillating
which ever escapes me
in my cube of doom.

I realize now the folly of the unprepared, the unplanned.  Without the internet, I am helpless, my mind clean and ready, primed and pumped, but missing the key little details I've told myself I need but to look up.  My, how the ethereal connections, the information floating in the nether regions of the universe elude me when I am without a modem.  Why does my brain taunt me with these thoughts; that if only I knew how, I could attune my feeble grey matter into these invisible caches of knowledge?

For now it will suffice that I merely encode these mumbled ramblings, perhaps unedited into the bowels of LiveJournal; my failings strung up like fallen heroes, paraded before people, shame and honor reduced and scattered amongst the stars.

Alas, this is my finish, the last I will write tonight.  Fearless is the man who is megalomaniacal enough to assume that others wish to read what he has written.  But that's not true.  It's a facade and we all fall for it.


jackshoegazer: (Winter Neu Artsy Twine)
I have always excelled in the artistic realms. Shortly before I graduated high school, I was offered a partial scholarship to an art school in New Mexico. I thought, "Hey, I'm good at art, I'll go to art school!"
The Whole Sorid Tale... )
jackshoegazer: (Default)
I'm sitting in the downtown Madison Public Library, using a large and bouncy keyboard on a monitor with a resolution big enough for Helen Keller to read. I think I could read what I'm typing here from my house in Watertown.

For some reason I can't fathom, I've agreed to come into work on my day off, but only for a few hours. This means I'll be in Madison from this past Tuesday night until Monday morning. These excursions are getting longer and longer and I can only imagine where they'll lead.

Part of the reason I stayed in Madison is because my front tire decided that it should take after my father and most of my uncles and develop male-pattern balding, leaving hairs a.k.a. thick strands of tire, trailing behind my car. So off to the repair shop I go. If you're ever in the Madison area, go to Broadway Tire on Broadway in Monona. I just got 2 used tires, in quite good condition, installed, balanced, mounted and all that jazz, for $57.00. They're seriously the best EVAR! Seriously.

I'm fighting off a case of the sniffles and everyone seems to be sick right now. I got two parking tickets in two days and my best friend isn't talking to me for reasons I can't begin to fathom or at least, he won't tell me. One would think that this crap would bring me down, but nooooo, I feel great, an in a great mood, so bad luck be damned. Curse nor hex will have effect on me, for my mighty energy repels all attacks.

And with that silly metaphysical note, I will leave you, but first, I must shew you something. Now, is it my imagination, or is this McDonald's ad from the 70's a little on the politically-incorrect side? Maybe it's just me, but this seems sort of.. wrong...

When you're looking for a different place to have dinner, check out McDonald's. You don't have to get dressed up, there's no tipping and kids love it.

jackshoegazer: (Default)
As I reluctantly arrived at work last night, and began my nightly ritual of retrieving my headset and getting my break schedule, I was surprised to find out that I was not on the schedule.

How could this be?

Apparently, I had asked off for this week for a trip to Vermont with Jacquelyn, but had later changed the dates to early November instead. The scheduler at work apparently forgot to put me back on the schedule for October. Sooo...

I get an extra week of vacation! I told them I would come in if I was needed though. Aren't I nice?

With the Halloween flyers out and Jacque in Minnesota this weekend, I will have the time and opportunity to get back to editing The Book, which has been floundering due to you know, lightning strikes and multiple graphics projects, plus work and travel. Finally. I can feel it screaming with angsty rebellion, "Let me out! I'm going to take over the world!"

I have to be the good parent and hurry up and push my baby out of the nest so it can fly on its own.

(Wish it luck.)
jackshoegazer: (Default)
Ah, consciousness! Welcome oh glorious light of being!

Or something like that.

I've just eaten a left-over sandwich which I had forgotten had jalapeños in it. Ah, hothothothothot! So, then comes the Leine's BerryWeiss. Oooh, that's much better. And now, I'm calm.

Now that school has started (for everyone except me, seemingly) and I am off vacation finally, times are tight. More so, time is tight.

I may not see Jacquelyn for a week or more. That is le suck. Things couldn't really be going much better with her. It's so odd; we seem to have fallen into the middle years of a long-term relationship. We somehow bypassed all that getting-to-know-you, walking-on-eggshell beginnings and moved right into that comfortable, almost domestically cohabitative stage. Yet, we've managed to keep a good hold on that hot, intense energy of a new relationship. Hmmm, odd indeed.

Work is busy and overtime is abundant. However, I was so tired last night that I left early. I was falling asleep and I'll be in less trouble for leaving before the end of my shift than I would be for sleeping during a call.

If gas prices keep up like this, I can't afford to keep commuting to Madison. Which would then require me to either A) move to Madison (which I can't afford) or B) get a job here (which I couldn't afford the pay-cut.) Damned if you do...

I've finished the hard edit of the Book, and now I need to free time to enter the changes into the digital copy. After that, it's publisher time. I'm about a third of the way done, so the submission date is rapidly approaching. Egad!

And to close, I'd like to officially apologize to those of you in the Anti-Snobby-Clothes-Brigade. I beg for your forgiveness. My name is Jeremy. [Audience in unison: Hi, Jeremy.] I bought a pair of Abercrombie & Fitch jeans. *sobs* And they fit great. God, I swear, I didn't know they were when I bought them! How can you ever forgive me??! This is almost as bad as when I bought that scarf from the GAP last year.

That was tongue-in-cheek, if you will. I'm long over my clothing prejudices. Cool, comfortable, cheap, and not in that particular order, are my sole requirements for fashion these days.
jackshoegazer: (Default)
So, yeah, those movie reviews are still coming, I think. I drank a bottle of wine during Ocean's Twelve, which means I was so drunk I didn't even finish Sideways. You might get a review and a half. Maybe.

I am now in proud possession of four Bright Eyes albums. Lately, I have been on a steady diet of the Dresden Dolls, Modest Mouse, and Bright Eyes. I feel a thread connecting them all and I've yet to pinpoint what it is exactly. I'm working on it.

Another reason the South sucks: Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment. So they moved the plant to Canada.

Sounds good. I want to move to Canada.

I interviewed for a promotion at work. It went well, as far as I can tell. I was very forward and honest rather than the common tactic of telling them what they want to hear. I'll let you know if this strategy works or not.

You'll have to pardon me, I'm not feeling terribly verbose today. I am lacking in grand analogies and train wrecks of adjectives and metaphors.

I want to dance on the head of a pin. Is this an exclusive province of angels? If so, I have a lot of work to do.

Today the sun gave me the impression that it was really a black hole. It looked like any ordinary sun, hanging like Kilroy on the horizon, yet it said, "I'm a black hole."

Identity crisis?


jackshoegazer: (Default)

February 2012

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