17-Apr-2005 (Sun)
Wherein the tagger rant is presented once more.

You wouldn't believe (or maybe you would) how many colossally impractical Rube Goldberg suggestions I got about that TV business. You're all a bunch of dorks.

So, it's time for the bi-annual tagging rant again.

A couple months ago, yet another shit-worm vandal carved his fancy pirate name all over the men's bathroom: in foot high letters on the mirror, and all over the tile walls. We replaced the mirror the next day, but it took us another two months to find someone able and willing to replace the tile. (One or two tiles we can do ourselves, but to essentially re-tile a whole wall, it's nice to have someone who actually knows what they're doing.)

I was going to show you some pictures of the damage, but I figure that our needle-dicked friend might just consider that a victory condition, and you know, that'd be bad. So instead, here's what the repairs-in-progress look like:

This piece of human debris cost me $2,500 in repairs.

Every time this happens, I ask the guys, "so, remind me why we're still doing hiphop events?" (This shit doesn't happen exclusively at hiphop events, but mostly.) The answer, of course, is that the rich suburban white kids love their hiphop. It turns out that most of those events would still be profitable even if we had to re-tile the bathrooms weekly.

The most frustrating part, though, is that we don't. Most of the damage to the club goes un-fixed for a long time, largely due to our inability to find people to actually do the work. So these events come with this big hidden cost that is not reflected on the balance sheet: essentially we're selling off our fixtures and not replacing them. "We made $X, we spent $Y, and oh, we'll also throw in a bathroom stall door and three faucets, no charge."

Some nights, we've even stationed someone in the bathrooms. That's right, a full shift's worth of salary just to have security stand there and prevent the children from writing on the walls. It's cheaper than fixing it.

There were a few less traumatic changes this week, too: we finally filled in the gaps under the stage stairs. They used to have blue plastic in them (that was left over from the Old DNA, actually) but it was pretty crappy looking, and mostly kicked in; it also served as a hard-to-clean trash graveyard. So now they're just solid wood, painted black. Also, some of the side wall panels are now painted white instead of black, the idea being that it'll make it easier to do projections on them.

Come see Amish Rake Fight & Micronaut on tuesday. Please stop fucking up my bathroom. That is all.

46 Responses:

  1. Gouging tile and mirror takes pressure; install simple pressure sensing mats behind the tile and mirror and if it is a prolonged pressure auto alert the gnomes.

    On day perhaps club bathrooms will be grown entirely out of synthetic diamond.

    • zwol says:

      "Warning: Writing graffiti on these walls will induce a chemical spray causing blindness. -- City Board of Health"

    • baconmonkey says:

      why not just install land mines under each tile.
      Sure, we'd lose a few drunks who can't stand up without leaning on the walls, but once an example is made, the problem will go away. I mean, a bottle of bleach and some rubber gloves cost a lot less than $2500.

    • xed_geek says:

      That would be expensive to do (you'd have to re-tile the entire bathroom). Maybe put it just in strategic spots and it could work. But I think that all you have to do is catch a few of them and then use their forehead to remove the damaged tile from the wall and the problem will go away.

      • kfringe says:

        You forget that there is an infinite supply of morons. The problem may be reduced, but it will not go away.

      • jwz says:

        We never catch them. There are too many of them and too few of us. If we ever do catch one, he's getting arrested; I'm totally pressing charges. Even if the court costs are 10x what the repairs would cost, it'll be worth every penny just to drag the shitworm through some judicial hell. I look forward to this possibility with Mr. Burns-like glee.

    • ntang says:

      Well, I dunno about synthetic diamond, but I've been in some bathrooms where every flat surface was basically made of (well, covered with I suppose) sheets of metal. It was done for aesthetic reasons, but I'm sure was also pretty durable and easy to clean. Assuming they were properly attached, it'd be awfully difficult to pry up, although it could get scratched up. Presumably the scratches could be burnished off, though, without needing to replace the wall, and the industrial look seems like it'd fit the club pretty well.

      I'm sure it's expensive to install, but at $2500 a pop to replace the tiles, it'd probably pay for itself after a few repair jobs.

      • mattallen says:

        My vote is with the metal walls idea. $20 buys you a grinder for the stuff that doesn't wash off.

      • xenogram says:

        It'd look like the inside of a milk vat. What bothers me is that I can't decide whether that would be a good or a bad thing.

      • ammonoid says:

        I've seen 100% metal elevators scratched up to hell w/ tagging. Metal doesn't help - they just press harder.

        • ntang says:

          Well, sure, except that if it's a reasonably thick sheet of metal, you can just burnish or grind or whatever the scratches out, since I'm assuming no one is bringing the sort of equipment needed to actually puncture the steel lining.

          • mcsmurf says:

            btw: In some train stations of the subway some morons even use fire to fix their tagging even more on the wall (jump over the rails, tag, fire, jump away before train comes).

          • ammonoid says:

            Yeah, you could buff it out, but that brings you back to the same problem that he's got now - having to spend a lot of money to fix tagging. Making everything metal would just change the nature of the repair work from tile repair dude to metal repair dude.

            • ntang says:

              I've never done it, but is it really hard to just buff out some metal like that? Yeah, you need to spend some money on some tools... once... and then you just spend an hour or two grinding away the worst of it. Anything you get is going to take -some- maintenance, right? At least it'll be easy to clean and maintaining it won't require ripping out sections of the wall and re-tiling it.

              But hey, it makes sense to me, doesn't have to make sense to everyone. ;)

            • ilcylic says:

              Right, but lots of the guys that work the DNA know how to use an angle grinder with a flap disk sanding wheel. And even if they don't, well, it's a hell of a lot easier to learn than tile work.

              -Ogre

          • ilcylic says:

            That's it. The DNA bathrooms need to be covered in quarter inch plate.

            -Ogre

    • phygelus says:

      Pressure sensitive materials are tricky.

      On the other hand, for solid pieces that are getting gouged or scratched like the mirrors (and maybe even the tile depending on how the mortar and back wall conducts sound) you could use acoustic emissions setup like they use to monitor/test nuclear reactors and airframes and boilers and such.

      The idea basically is that cracks produce all this high-frequency noise which is relatively easy to run through a high-pass filter (in practice fancier filters) and discriminate from other acoustic events.

      Yeah, it'd be a real science fair project, but it would basically involve a tiny microphone glued (beeswax is conventional for this application) to a corner, and a small box of fancy op-amp filters, and I for one would think it was fun stuff...

  2. xenogram says:

    Abandoning any pretence at miguided helpfulness,and going straight for absurdity...

    * Get those frightening japanese toilets with hands, only you swap the hands for boxing gloves or spining blades. That'll teach them to go to the toilet.

    * Alternatively, you could paint everything in one colour, and keep a bucket of paint close at hand for the following morning. I suggest lime green or coral pink.

    * Or instead on having a guard in the toilet, you could put them outside with a metal detector. As well as being clumsier, this would have added benefit of fighting terrorism. Perhaps you should fingerprint and photograph people at the door?

    * Or you could put a sysadmin in the toilet, and lock all the cubicles. Everytime somebody wants to go, he can patiently explain to them that that's a security risk, and that they really want to use the urinal instead.

    * Or you could take the opposite approach, and put the toilets right out in the nightclub without any locks or even cubicles. If anybody complains, tell them that the nightclub is optimised for maximum connectivity.

    * Adopt the big brother approach and install (fake or real) cameras right thoughout the toilets, along with humourous instructional iconographs (seeing that this is a particular talent of yours and you'll probably get a laugh out of it). Spend much too much of your precious leasure time programing a system that uses IR to spot occupied cubicles and plays recorded big-brotheresque sound samples at them from hidden loudspeakers encouraging them to hurry up.

    * Install on of those robo-dump things to encourage patrons not to stick around in the toilets. Or you could pipe in the special bland jazz that they play in cafes at really high volume. Or you could install TVs (yes, TVs!) playing televangelist programs.

    OK, out of stupid ideas.

    • The on-campus pub at my University seriously took out the toilet cubicle walls for a good 6 months. It did not stop drunk guys from taking a dump in front of everybody, let me tell you.

      Lesson? Don't go to on campus pubs.

      • xed_geek says:

        One of the on-campus bathrooms became a known sex spot. The solution: Remove all doors to cubicles. The result: Spectators. Didn't really slow it down but made for some interesting moments..

    • luminalflux says:

      Big-brother cameras that feed the tv's.

  3. jesus_x says:

    I can understand why it's so profitable. It's just such a shame the little fuckers are such vandals. I'd raise ticket prices those nights (prorated for the expected audience) to cover the cost of the security in the bathrooms. And tell the douchebags it's because their little friends like to redecorate your bathrooms on your dime.

    As for the TVs, I still say put an ad in the newspaper. The people who will have the TVs you want (old manual TVs that still work) are the same type to read the classified sections of the paper (old cheap people who will sell their TV for $50). Of course, I'm still a dork...

  4. kfringe says:

    Isn't there any way to have some fun with this?

    Maybe you could auction off the tagged tile on ebay. Call it the autograph of an unknown celebrity. See what you can get as a bid.

    Maybe there's a good government art grant in this. You can throw all of the damaged bathroom fixtures into a giant heap. Call it "Man's Ambition." There should be at least ten grand and a showing in that. The ebay auction could be held afterward. Special bonus points are available if it gets put on public display in a park or courthouse.

    Maybe whichever fellow gets to be your Official Shithouse Goon for the evening could also be the Official Toilet Paper Sales Representative. Twenty dollars per sheet: Folding is advised, wadding contraindicated.

    The right solution is to ignore the fun, jack up the door price for the risky events, and write off [most of] humanity as a completely lost cause.

  5. mark242 says:

    Change from prevention-mode to encouragement. Put up matte-black painted plywood walls, and have silver water-soluble ink pen connected to chains next to each stall. Once a month, take a garden-variety tile cleaner to the porcelain and metal, and repaint the walls. Yeah, people will steal the pens, but I bet your costs will drop, and you will have a new source of entertainment, a la lj-latest. The key here is water-soluble.

    • kfringe says:

      Wow. That's good thinking. I applaud your creativity and realistic outlook, but I am horrified beyond imagining by the idea that they should use a garden variety cleaning agent once a month.

      Are you insane? Are you mad? Are you actually trying to brew the world's next super plague? I'm sure that they already have customers who claim to catch things from their toilet seats. It they start cleaning the shithouse once a month, the customers will be complaining about getting caught by the toilet seats. And "garden variety?" Unless you mean some Vietnam War surplus napalm, you're nuts. Tilex ain't gonna cut it.

    • jwz says:

      That would be an AWESOME idea -- in some alternate universe where I thought it was acceptable for my bathrooms to always look like this:

      Maybe we could also put out place mats with crayons and crosswords! Yeah!

      • xenogram says:

        Poisoned crayons.

      • karlshea says:

        There's actually a coffee shop right by me (www.nodecoffee.com) that just repaints the walls every 6 months. They encourage drawing on them. It actually doesn't end up looking like that picture, and there's some incredibly clever things that get written on the walls.

        However, this is a coffee shop near a college campus. So I bet the result would be different with drunk whiny white suburban kids at a hiphop event.

        Maybe temporary black-painted wood to cover most of the tile? At least if they fuck it up it's just plywood. Just cut it out to fit around most of the fixtures?

        • fo0bar says:

          Hah, I love the logo for that coffee shop, and the fact that it's open 24 hours. The only ones that I know of in Reno are the casino "coffee shops", which are really just general cafes, and 1 of the 50,000 Starbucks in the city.

      • mark242 says:

        I don't get it; you're more of a DJ Jazzy Jeff man, then?

  6. The best part about posting a comment in your blog is the feeling of guilt that comes afterwards. :)

  7. vordark says:

    While I have no constructive comments, I would like to say that I feel very sad that you can't have nice things.

  8. krick says:

    When I was in college, I worked at a nuclear plant. There'a a part of the plant that is outside of containment called the RCA (radiologically controlled area). This entire area was painted with some sort of "epoxy" paint to make it easier to decontaminate. It was completely smooth and non-porous. From what I remember, markers and paint wouldn't stick to it either.

    You should get some of this epoxy paint and cover everything.

    • gadlen says:

      Here's a $50 answer to "tell me about anti-graffiti coatings."

      http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=436793

      Of course, all of these coatings are expensive and can only be used on hard objects... and I suspect that none of them work well against a dirt-bag, a car key, and a little elbow grease.

      Do you really think my "directional TV remote" idea is way too Rube? [frown]

  9. fantasygoat says:

    I love how you never learn - you ask the nerd collective for ideas, get the insane, nonsensical and completely predictable nerd ramblings in response, wonder why you ever asked in the first place, then a short while later, repeat. No matter how hard you try, you can't escape your own nerd myopia! Oh the delicious irony!

    But then, life on the internet just wouldn't be the same without jwzrants. You suffer for my amusement.

    • I would have liked that comment a lot better were it posted from GNU/Linux.

    • jwz says:

      See, there's where you made the same mistake as everyone else -- just because I'm talking doesn't mean I'm asking for your opinion! Nowhere in that post did I ask for advice from the dorkosphere.

      • fantasygoat says:

        But you know that no nerd can possibly resist offering his opinion, no matter how unwanted it is or how many times you tell them you don't care. It's number three on the list of tell-tale signs, right after "lame beard" and "inept with females".

  10. rasp_utin says:

    Remember, it could always be worse. For instance, there's the club we played last night... a nice enough venue, actually very cool gear/factory/chain murals on the walls and shiny panels of chrome diamond tread attached to the wall behind the stage. However, the men's bathroom...

    Exhibit A
    Exhibit B
    Exhibit C

    You have to think that they started out fighting this stuff, only to eventually gave up altogether. "Ok, they won the restroom territory, but we're holding the mainland."

  11. kyronfive says:

    I have nothing to say other than i am completely shocked that you actually have to pay security to watch the bathrooms. Some people are fucking animals.

  12. ilcylic says:

    Make plywood wall coverings that you can put up temporarily for hip hop events?

    -Ogre