25-Jun-2000 (Sun)

Last week we borrowed a hazer to try out. A hazer is like a smoke machine, but it puts out a constant stream of thin mist, instead of putting out a huge, thick plume for a few seconds, then sitting idle for ten or fifteen minutes, as most smoke machines do. We were interested in seeing how this thing worked because it supposedly used water vapor instead of the greasy oil that smoke machines use. But it turns out that it's ``water based,'' meaning, ``there's still nasty crap in it that leaves a film on things and will probably cause your children to be born with gills.''

It did fill the room pretty nicely, though, and it was less nasty than the smoke machine we have. I'm not sure it was that much better to justify the price of replacing the existing machine, though.

It was very, very nice to see this place actually looking light a nightclub again! To test out the hazer, we re-hung the Trackspots and set them on music-reactive mode (so that they'd work without a light board.) Once we added smoke and loud music, this place was fairly convincing! Having seen this place with the lights on for so long, I was beginning to forget just how much you can get away with in the dark...

Last week, Morrisa started painting the walls in the upstairs lounge. They're going to be various layered shades of blue. It's looking pretty good...

We also got house lights installed, so that we can actually light up the building by flipping a switch next to the front door, instead of stumbling around in the dark and plugging in work lights all over the place.

One of the VA Linux servers arrived. Man, this machine is fast! Mark and I spent a long time trying to get RealEncoder working on it, so that we can start webcasting. This was a huge hassle, because the folks at Real aren't exactly keeping current with the Linux releases... Apparently RealEncoder hasn't been updated since Red Hat 5.2 came out, so it doesn't work on Red Hat 6.2 at all. But it will run on Red Hat 6.0 if you install a patch (and if you figure out how to install that patch properly, since the instructions lie.) ``Quality is job 1.1a.''

Anyway, we finally got it working, so as I'm typing this, sitting in the club's office, I'm looking at a RealPlayer window that is showing me what's going on out in the main room! This is fun. There seems to be about a ten second delay, which isn't quite long enough for me to wave at the camera and then run back here in time to see myself.

I'm working on getting this video stream sent to a high capacity server right now; it's not quite there yet (sounds like my firewall is getting in the way) but some time in the next few days, you ought to be able to come to this site and see us having meetings and talking on the phone! Ah, the glamour, the pathos. This will actually be interesting once construction begins. I'll bet you're wondering when that's going to be. I'll bet I want to know that even more than you do.

We have an appointment with a mechanical engineer this week, who is the person our architect has to hire to fill in the details on the plans for soundproofing the roof, and redoing the ventilation (since we're going to be walling up the front windows, we're going to need to duct air in from elsewhere. Ducts are cool, I like ducts.)

(Speaking of the firewall, its ancient motherboard flaked out the other day, and it wouldn't boot any more, so Mark and I wasted some more time performing brain transplants on it, and trying to scavenge together enough parts from the spares-slash-art-projects pile to make one good machine. Mark Welch is my hero. Without his help, I would surely have gone mad by now, dealing with all these pesky machines.)

So, as I was bicycling home from the club on saturday night at around 1AM, one question kept recurring, and that was, ``what's with the women in the cowboy hats?'' In six blocks I must have seen a dozen waifish women in cowboy hats and PVC pants. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but the sheer numbers were impressive. I must have missed the memo on this one.

A second recurring question was, ``dude, do you think that yelling taxi at the top of your lungs is really going to help? You're standing in the middle of the street. He sees you and he doesn't care.''