19-Jul-2000 (Wed)

I don't understand electricity.

I didn't take notes, so here's what I can remember of the meeting we had yesterday with our electrician and the folks we're buying our lights from. (If you were watching the webcam yesterday, this was the meeting where I kept resting my head on the table and looking like I might be about to cry.)

Apparently some people think the way you decide how much electricity your building needs is that you take the maximal power consumption of every device in the building and add it together. When you do that for the sound system and lights that we were planning to get, plus refrigerators and so on, you get a figure something like a jillion watts. The club does not currently have a jillion watts. It currently has, lets say, a quarter jillion watts. Which they tell me is not enough.

Everyone seems less than compelled by my handy existence proof where I point out that there's been a club in this building for the last two-plus decades, and not only was it Really Fucking Loud, but also they had the music and lights on at the same time! Everyone just laughs when I point this out and look at me like, "how naïve."

So our electrician keeps talking about upgrading the power. Well, apparently PG&E can't provide the jillion watts we need to this block (or something like that.) What we need is a jillion watts of "three phase power" (and I have no idea what that means) and what we have is some smaller number of watts of blah-blah-mumble power, which as far as I can tell, it two wires of X and one wire of Y-less-than-X, where that third wire is unusable. Or something. Like I said, I don't understand how this works.

Then there was some discussion of converting one into another, and all we'd have to do for that would be to build a transformer vault, that is, find a car-sized space in the club where we can put a concrete bunker into which we can put a giant carcinogenic humming noisemaker, and that should only cost between $50,000 and $70,000. This would fall firmly into the category of "Things That Are Not Going To Happen."

So tomorrow our electrician is meeting someone from PG&E at the club to try and convince her that they actually can provide us will the jillion mumbles we need, but I gather that even if they agreed that they could, it would involve replacing transformers and mogrifying the frotzes, and that would cost us megabucks and take a year anyway, so we're not gonna be doing that, so why were we talking about it again?

Anyway, I guess the next step is going to be to get the sound and lights folks to come up with a plan for what we can do in here with the power that we have, because it seems clear to me that getting more power into this building is just not feasable.

Barry said, "if the answer is that with what we have, our sound and light system has to be a boom-box and two maglites, then just tell us that." Nobody but me found that funny.

I don't know how much of this is reality and how much of this is crap. Do these lights actually need more power than the existing lights (which, again, demonstrably work) or is this some absurd overly-literal interpretation of the building code?

I mean, we passed our electrical inspection with the old sound and lights, to get our permits! The city inspector didn't bat an eye at that stuff, he just made us take down the extension cords and put up more emergency lights.

What have I gotten myself in to?

In other news, we're ready to start broadcasting music, as soon as we get one of our servers into our ISP's colocation facility. I was supposed to drive it down there today, but my friend who runs the ISP isn't answering his phone, so, uh, I guess I'm not.

Oh, and Alexis got us a good deal on some subwoofers. We were just going to have our existing subs re-coned, but these new ones aren't much more expensive than the repairs were going to be, and they're in better shape. They're also smaller, which will make installation easier (they're going under the stage, and the smaller they are, the easier it will be to isolate the stage from vibration and feedback.)

So what do you folks think of the webcam? Is RealVideo working well? Do you like it being a plugin on the page, or should it just be a link to an external player? Should we also have a 1994-slideshow-style updated-every-30-seconds JPEG version as well?

(I thought this post was pretty funny.)


We now have streaming audio!

I was able to hook up with my friend at our ISP (meer.net, they rock) this evening after all, and put one of our servers in colo. So now we can make our MP3 streams available to the whole wide world. Have at it, and let me know if you run in to any problems...

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