Hey, remember this thing?
That's the transformer inside the big gray box hanging just inside the front door. It takes the stupid "delta" power that PG&E feeds us and turns the useless 208v leg into 120v, from which we run all of the dimmer packs for the stage lighting.
Well, apparently it has been making burning electrical smells and is about to explode and kill us all, so it has to be replaced this week. That's $4,000 I didn't expect to be spending.
Now I'm just an unfrozen caveman, but I kinda think that any big steel box that costs four thousand fucking dollars should last more than ten years. Especially when it's a glorified wall wart! Geez.
The new transformer is installed. Our electrician doesn't know why the old one failed, but the best theory I've heard so far is that someone peed in it. Yeah, it's on the ceiling, 8' off the ground right inside the front door, but do you think that would stop them? Me neither.
It took our electrician (pictured above, in full-on Mad Scientist mode) quite a while to install it, because even though the new one has exactly the same ratings as the old one, it was 10% larger and weighed 500 pounds instead of 400. Also the wires are twice as thick. Presumably some regulations have changed some time in the last ten years... They had to actually disassemble its case, cut several inches of steel off the top, and re-attach the lid in order to make it fit in the old space. That second picture up there is of them trying to find a way to lever it off of the lift and onto the shelf. Good times.
Let's hope this one lasts longer, because if the next revision is even larger and heavier, we're gonna have a problem.
Best crowd banter: "Hey, the last time we played here, you had this fog machine that smelled like bacon. So if we could have a lot more fog, and if you could make it smell like bacon, that'd be awesome."
I've never noticed our fog juice smelling like bacon, but our crack kitchen staff got right on that and made them a big plate of bacon, which the band then handed out to the audience.
Mayor Newsom vetoed the alcohol tax today. He only needed to do that because it (just barely) passed the Board of Supervisors. So this means your drink prices aren't in immediate danger of increasing.
This whole process was frustrating in a very typical way. Roughly once a week for a month, I would get a panicky email from the CMAC folks imploring me to get as many people as possible to show up to the Board of Supervisors meeting... only to find out, after that meeting, that for one political or procedural reason or another, discussion of the tax had been postponed another week. This kind of thing is really, really common, and makes me hesitant to put out the call for people to show up to things like this, because someone only needs to get burned like that once before they stop listening to future requests, and I might really need them to show up some day. The infrastructure of politics seems almost custom-designed to lull you into crying wolf, causing the public to disengage... Conspiracy? Or something far stupider? You decide.
Anyway, the alcohol tax is dead, yay. Not to worry, though, Marin Institute shill Supervisor Chiu is still hawking this idiotic idea of a "promoter permit". The magical fantasy here is that if some gangbanger talked a naive restaurant owner into letting them use their venue for a teen-crack-and-guns party, that A) said gangbanger would have registered with the city first, and B) anyone would have noticed or cared. In other words, if only there was a law, then venue operators who didn't do their due diligence in checking out the people they chose to partner with would somehow magically be protected from their own incompetence?
The only way to make something like this actually work would be basically the same as requiring every venue to apply for a single-event permit for every single event. This would require a vast city infrastructure to support it, and where would the money come from? Permit fees, I guess. So I'd be expected to pay hundreds of dollars each night in the vague hope that somewhere in the middle of this, a miracle would happen that prevented bad venue operators from working with troublemaking promoters. Yeah, ok.
It's just such a pinheaded idea that I can't believe it's still getting press. I guess Chiu needs a crusade to make people think he's useful, though.
The cops are also making noise again about requiring clubs to install video cameras and metal detectors, because if there's anything that could possibly make the nightlife of this city more attractive, it's making it feel more like a trip through the security line at the airport. Barry was quoted in that article:
"If there is an event where I believe I might need a metal detector, I will choose to not book that event," Synoground said. "How often are there assaults at the Giants games? But we don't say, 'Gosh, we should have metal detectors at the Giants game.' That would be horrific PR."
I wish all these people would just go away. I'm sure there are some lovely small towns in the Midwest or the South that would appreciate their careful, parental ministrations.
Beer distributors oppose Prop. 19
On Sept. 7, the California Beer & Beverage Distributors trade association gave $10,000 to a committee opposing Proposition 19, the measure that would change state law to legalize pot and allow it to be taxed and regulated.
"Unless the beer distributors in California have suddenly developed a philosophical opposition to the use of intoxicating substances, the motivation behind this contribution is clear," Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in statement. "Plain and simple, the alcohol industry is trying to kill the competition. Their mission is to drive people to drink".
You stay classy, beer distributors.
Recently I have been tweaking the layout of the calendar to make it more readable on phones and in in various window sizes. Let me know if I broke anything...