There's also a small gallery of the Codeword opening night. It is such a relief to finally have that place open, but we still have so much left to do. We were deeply into triage by the time we opened: my mantra was, "If X wasn't done, would we delay opening just for that? Then let's do X later." Still, I think it's coming together pretty nicely.
In the last couple of weeks, we've hired 20 people... and 13 of those still work here. So, you know, if you're looking for restaurant shifts...
This morning's game of Bureaucrat Signature Whack-a-Mole did not go exceptionally well. We passed our final-final-final health inspection, after a few adjustments, and our contractor did actually manage to fill up all the signature slots on the bingo card, but after that, you need Planning to sign the card certifying that it has been signed ("This is your receipt for your husband... and this is my receipt for your receipt.") But they want to do that on site instead of letting us come to their office, so we needed to make an appointment for that... and it was already 4pm so everyone had already gone home.
Oh, and Wednesday is fucking Veterans' Day, so the entire government is shut down.
So lack of one signature cost us two days of business.
Oh, and ABC is still jerking us around too. That paperwork they got on Friday? Absolutely zero progress on that on Monday, or Tuesday, and now Wednesday. Who knows what Thursday will bring.
Anyhow, hope springs eternal, and we have rescheduled our Tuesday Sequence opening party for Thursday instead.
I don't regret setting this somewhat ambitious opening date, though, because I am very confident that if I had set the opening date at two weeks from now, our bureaucrats would still have found a way to make everything take several days longer than that.
We did make a beta pizza in the new oven tonight, though. It was good. Our kitchen works. Yay.
Today much running around was done, many forms were filled, many permit-fee checks were written... We had our final fire inspection, and we learned that while last week we had what we were told was our final-final health inspection, we have to have our final-final-final health inspection tomorrow. And to do that, the 27 B Stroke Six has to be stamped, and the receipt initialed, before 9:30 AM. But we can only pick up the 27 B Stroke 6 after 8 AM, and the people who have to do the signing and stamping are not available after 8:30 AM. And are four floors away. So that's going to be fun.
We are told that the ABC paperwork made its way from San Francisco to Sacramento on Friday, so something "should" have happened today, but we don't get to learn whether that is the case until some time tomorrow.
And, the distributors aren't allowed to deliver to us without the ABC permit, so we may be hooking up all the kegs mere minutes before pouring them.
So maybe we'll be open Tuesday evening like we've been telling everyone? Or maybe we won't be open for days. Who can tell.
We had a couple of inspections today that went ok, and our contractor had to spend two days running back and forth to various city offices filling out paperwork -- the kind of thing that we could have done weeks ago had they not sprung this information on us at the last minute, like they always do. The pattern is always, we say, "Ok, we're done!" and only at that point does the bureaucrat wake up and finally tell you all the crap they actually require.
So, tomorrow, Friday, we (hopefully) have our (hopefully) final inspection, but -- to the surprise of absolutely nobody -- ABC is screwing us. See, our liquor license has to be signed by three different people, and then sent off to Sacramento for the final sacrament of a stamp, and while those three people sit in the same office -- literally within spitting distance of each other -- one of them was on vacation for two weeks, so absolutely nothing happened in the meantime. But they assure us that the second or third signature "ought" to all be affixed by Friday, which means that Sacramento "ought" to have it by Monday, and they "should" be able to take care of that on Monday. Or Tuesday. Or, you know, some time soon.
I mean, we only started the process on this license eight months ago. What kind of break-neck speed do I expect?
Maybe as a last resort, we'll open and be dry on Tuesday, but uggggghhh how stupid is that?
I am really tired of paying rent on an empty room.
Anyway, it's really looking like a kitchen in there now! And the second photo is first light on our new pizza oven.
Back over at DNA Lounge, there have been a few minor bar adjustments. We just replaced the bar under the stairs (as it was kind of falling apart) with a new one with a snazzy custom steel top that matches our other bars. The downside to this is that the old bar had a section of the bar top with a groove worn into it that I'm pretty sure I personally wore into it with my forearm, since that's where I always used to lean before Jared abandoned us for Sunny Portland. And now that's gone.
And finally, some recently-added photo galleries:
At least I hope so. There's some chance that there will be delays that cause us to miss it, but setting deadlines is how you motivate people to get things done, or at least give you straight answers.
Go over and kick the tires on the new website, ok? Check out that sweet WebGL animation of the logo. You can spin it with the mouse!
There's a calendar, and tickets are on sale for our first event, and all the usual stuff. Obviously it's all the same code as the DNA Lounge site, just with different imagery and colors, but let me know if you come across anything that doesn't seem to be working right.
Apparently this photograph of one of our ATMs is hanging on the wall of a gallery on Valencia, and can be yours for only $135:
Now at first I thought that was pretty funny. I mean, not as funny as that guy who hung up unaltered copies of other peoples' Instagram photos and sold them for $100,000 each, but still pretty funny. But then I noticed the title that the (let's say) artist had given this photo: "Irony is Dead."
Seriously? Seriously? Dead? What the hell are you talking about? That is irony at it's MOST LIVELY, my friend. I think even Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke would agree.
I hope someone takes a screen shot of this blog post and puts a frame around it. I'll bet you could get $136 for that. I mean, depending on the quality of the frame, obviously.
People lose their minds when their phones run out of juice, and then they ask bartenders to let them plug their phone in behind the bar, and don't understand why we always say no. "But you don't have to do it for everybody, just for meeee!"
It's common at festivals these days for there to be lockers that have chargers inside of them, and I spent about a minute pondering how hard it would be to build one of those when I realized that was just making a whole new set of problems like left-behind phones and lost keys.
So instead, we're now selling DNA-branded cell phone chargers at coat check! Twelve bucks.
I don't know how high-quality the batteries or the cables are, since (like most microchips) they are constructed primarily from sadness and the bone marrow of Chinese prisoners, but I can definitely guarantee you that it's the cheapest phone charger between you and your car.
You know there's also a 40-outlet power strip under the customer side of the Pizza bar, right? I'm not sure most people have noticed that that's there.
Progress over at Codeword is moving along. Look, we have walls, glass and a hood. The shiny white stuff on the wall is the plastic covering the stainless steel back wall of the kitchen. The ductwork for the hood has not quite reached the roof yet (it goes four stories up and is installed with a terrifying Bosun's chair) but the roof fans are installed.
We had to abort our plan to put the walk-in fridge in the light well. It was just going to take too long and cost too much money. (Those windows above are looking through the light well where the fridge was going to go.) Pro tip: Any time you find yourself embarking on a project that requires you to hire a structural engineer: don't. He's going to completely fuck you by drawing something that cannot sanely be constructed in this or any universe, and even if it could be, will cost more than literally the entire rest of the project. "Out of an abundance of caution." If you are very very lucky you will realize how dire the situation is in time to move to Plan B. Or Plan C.
So the walk-in is going out back, in the alley, where it is smaller and far less convenient. Oh well.
HEY! Are you and artist / designer who would like to make gig posters for us? We are currently short of people to do so. We don't pay a lot -- usually $50 each, maybe more if you're particularly amazing and/or easy to work with.
Allow me to ramble on a bit about gig posters.
So here's the horrible thing about them: usually, for a touring act, the band's agent will send us an "ad mat" to use as the poster, which is typically the headliner's album cover, or a crappy head-shot of the folks in the band, with "THE [BLAH BLAH] TOUR" in 72 point type on top, and a white rectangle at the bottom for us to scribble our name and date into. And the "BLAH BLAH" part is neither the name of the band nor the name of the album, so nobody can possibly know why the fuck it says that or what you're talking about. (That part is just so dumb and very closely related to my earlier rant about band bios. )
And then we say, "Hey, so how about we make our own flyer for that show instead?", and usually the agent says, "No, for the entrails spilled by my oracle predict that we will sell more records if every show on the tour uses this crappy-assed, forgettable artwork instead of something unique that a fan might actually care about."
But, sometimes they don't say that, and we spend some of our show budget on posters and flyers specific to the show. Sometimes we print a few of those posters to sell, but not often, because people basically never buy them. But we usually get the band to sign one and hang it on the wall in the restaurant, and that's nice.
I pretty much never hang up ad mats, because they suck. Lemme give you some examples.
Anyway, that's why we don't pay a lot for poster art: we don't make any money from it, we have something crappy and yet barely-good-enough that we can use for free, and it's like pulling teeth to get the agent to agree to let us do something nicer anyway. But it's cool, so we do it when we can.
Three or four years ago I attended a panel at SXSW about gig posters, and the guys on the panel told a beautiful fairy tale. They told us that the way all those amazing, unique screen-printed posters being exhibited and sold at Flatstock (the poster art show / marketplace that happens at SXSW) was this: that the venue got permission, then the artist made posters for the gig, and the artist got paid by selling those posters at the gig, and to their own clientele after the fact, online. That sounded like such a nice story, because it means that everyone gets paid but I don't have to do the paying. But we've yet to find anyone who actually works that way. Usually it's been: "You pay be $500, give me three months notice, and if it also happens to be one of my favorite bands I'll consider it." So, yeah, that doesn't really work.
Anyway, moving on. Here's a funny recent email exchange with one of our promoters:
I had a mother call and have me cancel a ticket for this show that her daughter was not supposed to charge.
She will probably try and get in anyway, and she has a confirmation code but she will not be on the list. Don't be fooled. Her name is [REDACTED].
Thanks, Barry. We'll tell her to steal cash from her mom's purse instead next time.
And finally, as is traditional, some photos:
I am absolutely amazed at how well our Cyberdelia: 20 Years of Hackers party went! Honestly, it was a somewhat last-minute idea: I knew the anniversary was coming up, and we had an open Friday within a week of it, so I sent a three-line email to the usual suspects saying, "Hey, let's throw a Hackers anniversary party, with a movie screening and a costume contest. Oh, and let's build skate ramps."
I thought 150 people were going to show up and we were going to have to cancel the costume contest because the only person in costume was gonna be me. But no! Not only did lots of people dress up, but the damned thing sold out! We also sold all of our table service booths, which usually only happens on New Year's Eve!
The skate ramps -- which, in case you didn't notice, were painted with Wipeout power-ups -- were the most contentious part, but I'm happy to report that A) nobody broke their face, and B) that was because it was so crowded that nobody could really do a lot of skating.
At the last minute, my crew tried to talk me out of building the skate ramps, on the grounds of them being difficult, expensive, dangerous and just a monumentally stupid idea, and they probably would have succeeded if I hadn't just read Steve Albini's screed on punk and capitalism that morning. "A bakery opens because a guy wants to make bread." Why are we here? We are here to do shit like building skate ramps down the stairs.
We had some inspired prizes for the costume contest, if I do say so myself. We included some blu-rays of the movie (donated by our similarly Hackers-obsessed friends at Adafruit), but I also trolled eBay for some great stuff. We had an original Hackers press kit, some original posters, a stack of issues of 2600 from 1995/6, and the best part, the first prize winner walked away with a stack of the books discussed in the movie: The Green Book, International UNIX Environments; The Orange Book, Computer Security Criteria DOD Standards; The Pink Book, Guide to IBM PCs; The Devil Book, Unix Bible, The Dragon Book, Compiler Design; and the Ugly Red Book That Doesn't Fit on the Shelf, NSA Trusted Networks. So he's all set up to learn some things and become Nineties Elite.
So obviously we're going to do it again. Stay tuned. We will probably do a different movie next time, but the conceit will still be that you are watching that movie before partying at the club Cyberdelia as depicted in Hackers, and the music will be mid-nineties electronica. So basically we're hoping to make Cyberdelia be our irregularly-scheduled "Nineties" party. Lots of people have thrown nineties parties, but those folks all seem to think that that means Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys and similar top 40 nonsense. I don't go to those parties because that's not the nineties I gave a shit about: the nineties dance music I remember was Fluke, Chemical Brothers, Orbital, FSOL and Photek. And I guess some of you agree.
In Codeword news: I don't have any very interesting photos from the last few weeks, but the windows are in, the stainless steel on the walls behind the kitchen is nearly done, and basically things are pretty close to being finished -- except for our HVAC system (the kitchen hood, and the two runs of ductwork that have to go four stories up to the roof). That subcontractor is being a huge flake and is probably going to be the weakest link who delays our opening date by weeks. Hooray.
Plus, a lot of Bootie (I believe the proper collective noun for that is a "buttload"):