I assume you all realize how much we like Halloween around these parts. Well, this year we decided to celebrate Halloween again, roughly six months out of phase. Ladies and Gentlemen, we invite you to get infected with...

SEE!  The Shambling Horrors of the Unliving!
GASP!  As they perform Acts of Cabaret guaranteed to Astound!
JOIN!  The Ranks of the Undead! -- with a Zombie Makeover courtesy of our Professional Zombifiers!
TAX!  Your big juicy creative brain and come in costume (zombie or otherwise) for our Fabulous Cash Prize Costume Contest!
DANCE!  To Ghoulish Rock & Roll from DJs Melting Girl & Miz Margo!
Brought to you by the scienticians of Zombie Pinups, Spectacular Spectacular, and, of course, the Almighty Power of RADIATION!
saturday - SATURDAY - saturday
April 24, 2004

9pm - 3am.
$10 in costume;
$15 without.

We sent someone dressed as a zombie down to Death Guild tonight to flyer for this (how cool is that?), and I went down there hoping to get some photos, but by the time I got there, he had run out of flyers and shambled off in search of braaaaains.

Once again it becomes clear that my one purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others. Here's all the shit that has gone wrong in the last two weeks:

  • Barry and Alexis finally nagged me into opening up access to our mail server to the outside world so that they can check their mail from home. I installed a POP3-over-SSL server, and it worked great with Mozilla and OSX Mail, but it took a week to figure out how to make it work with Eudora. (Someone please euthanize Eudora, thanks.)

  • Before opening up that port to the outside world, I installed a more recent OS on mail server, to avoid the last two years' worth of kernel bugs. I did the install on a new drive in a spare machine. That took 2+ full days.

  • When I swapped the new drive into the old box, its power supply chose that moment to up and die.

  • While we were distracted by that, the disk in the (completely unrelated) kiosk server up and died.

  • Fortunately, I had a backup. Unfortunately, the CD holding that backup had become unreadable some time in the last two years.

  • After reinstalling the kiosk server (3+ days), we still can't figure out how to re-build a working kernel for the particular kiosk that drives the video switcher. Consequently, the webcasts have been on one static shot for quite some time.

  • Concurrent with all this, we're trying (with little success) to figure out how to get a replacement or my money back for the robo-camera that I bought last month. Yeah, the honeymoon is over. Turns out, this camera loses track of its preset positions every couple of days. When you tell it "position 5", meaning, "point at the stage", instead it points at the back wall, until you re-enter all the positions manually.

    Aiming itself at saved positions is like, the one and only function of a camera like this, right?

    Returning it is apparently greatly complicated by the fact that two weeks after I (thought I had) gotten it working, I threw away the box.

If I could send a message back in time to myself, to before we opened this place, that message would be, "do not allow any computer in your club more complicated than a non-electric cash register. In fact, consider not having telephones."

But I wouldn't have listened, because I'm a dumbass.

Don't forget: ZOMBIE DNA this Saturday! I watched the rehearsal, and the show is going to be hilarious.

To nobody's great surprise, the proposal to move San Francisco's last call time from 2am to 4am was shot down by the State Assembly yesterday. According to John Wood of SFLNC:

The SFLNC is disappointed to announce that AB 2433, state legislation to allow for a later last call in San Francisco, failed to make it out of committee at the State Assembly, effectively killing any chance of passage this year.

While San Francisco officials were heavily in support of the bill, statewide anti-alcohol groups lined up against AB 2433, claiming that it would lead inevitably to later last call in other parts of the State. [...]

In addition, testimony from a mother of a person killed by a drunk driver clearly made the legislators uncomfortable in voting for the legislation. [...] Many democratic legislators left the room after the Mother Against Drunk Drivers testimony and did not vote, so there were not enough votes to move the bill out of committee.

So it was killed by the "if we can save just one child, won't it all have been worth it?" argument that prohibitionists of all stripes have been using for centuries. Well, maybe next year (though I'm not holding my breath.)

Our online ticket sales have been working out reasonably well, but the way address verification works sure is a confusing mess. We keep having people trying to buy tickets and finding that their bank has the wrong address on file (or the wrong zip code, or something) and so the address verification fails. When this happens, they try to buy tickets six times in a row, it doesn't work, and then finally they call their bank to find out what's up. The bank phone-monkey oh-so-helpfully tells them that their credit card was charged six times, and they angrily call us demanding we give them their money back.

The problem with this is that we don't have their money! They were never charged. Probably the phone-monkey said something like "your card was authorized for $20 six times", but phone-monkey helpfully doesn't bother to explain the difference between "authorized" and "charged", and the customer understandably freaks out.

It's just such an amazingly stupid system. When you place an order, the bank does this:

    1. Verify that sufficient funds are available.

    2. If so, place a "hold" on the amount of the transaction. (This doesn't take the money out of your account, it just reserves it. Banks call this "authorization".)

    3. Check that the address you entered matches;

    4. If the address matched, then transfer the money from your account to our account. (This is where your card is actually charged; banks call this "capture".)

    5. If the address did not match, then release the "hold" on the funds that was made in step 2.

Ok, what's wrong with this picture? Well, the first thing that's wrong is, why the hell do they hold the money before validating the address?? That's just insane!

Oh, but it gets better: because apparently some (many? most?) banks don't bother with step 5 at all. That's right, if you typo the address, they don't cancel the "authorization", so that money is in limbo until it times out. It's still in your account (it hasn't been transferred to anybody) but it's unavailable to you until the hold expires, which can take anywhere from a day to a couple of weeks, depending on the bank.

Combine this egregious design with the fearmongering being spread by incommunicative bank phone-monkeys, and you end up with unhappy customers thinking we're ripping them off. It's just great.

Banks are dumb.