Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Hey, it does work

"So how did a nuclear engineer and programmer get in the BBQ business?" "And what's this 'Neon John' stuff?"

I get that a lot. The latter is easy. My hobby business is making neon signs. I signed back on the web in about 1995 with that nick and have stuck with it ever since.

The former is more interesting. Ten years in and I'm not sure I still know completely. Has to do with burnout, a fire, a little "hey, why don't we try this?" Anyway, here I am, "Purveyor of Porcine Paradise".

My old net.friends will recognize this, of course. For everyone else, hang on, this is going to be interesting. In addition to the restaurant and neon, I'm heavily involved at the moment with RV camping, rebuilding a little electric car known as the CitiCar, learning web programming and....

Speaking of my restaurant, I'll be writing about it from time to time. No, not ad copy but interesting "things". I've learned that in this business one meets some of the most fascinating people AND some of the lowest of lives. I've been threatening to write a book. I'll probably just write a blog.

My joint is located just on the edge of the bad part of town (aren't all BBQ joints worth their hickory wood?) There's a soup kitchen on the next block over. I see some strange stuff. Like the butt-scrounging bum, for instance. This ought to set the tone of this blog for times to come!

I don't allow smoking in my place. Indeed, I'd rather there be no smoking on my end of town. In addition to the signs ("If you're smoking then you better be on the pit") I have these fancy and expensive ashtrays at the side of each entrance door. Subtle hint, eh? Problem is, we have this bum (no, not "homeless", BUM) who manages to make his way past the restaurant 2 or 3 times a day to harvest the used butts.

Now to me, sticking a used butt in yer mouth is about as filthy and disgusting a thing a person can do, at least with his clothes on. Nonetheless, in the full sense of charitableness, I would turn my head, and hope my customers do too, and let him scavenge were it not for one little thing. He paws the rest of the ashtray's contents onto the ground each time he drifts by. We get tired of the broom brigade plus it encourages other smoker.slobs to toss their butts on the pile. It was
hard enough to train 'em to use the ashtray in the first place!

So we (my crew and I) are sitting around a couple of days ago talking about possible solutions when an idea dawned. Actually several ideas had already pre-dawned but none were legal. I have this huge can of bear spray under the cash register. Think "pepper spray on steroids". Strong enough to stop a bear in his tracks. The idea that floated out of this mass of creativity was to apply a little bear spray to some butts and put them on prominent display inside each 'tray. Same theory as the "No Go" spray that is supposed to keep dogs from peeing where they shouldn't.
Hasn't worked for my mom but you get the picture.

The first thought was to soak the tobacco with the stuff but I decided that this might impact his lungs enough that he couldn't get job after this exercise wakes him up. (ya, right.....) I decided on the filter.

I have this gas mask that I use when making hot sauce. I put that thing on and dribbled a little bear spray on the filters and my crew fought over who would get to put them out.

Right on time he made his rounds. The result? Well, I could kick myself for not having thought of the handicam. Everyone thought he was lame but I swear he could dance on Broadway, given his moves. The job? Well, we're right across the street from the unemployment office and I'm quite positive I saw him loping off in the other direction. I'm also quite sure he hasn't been back.

Just another exciting day in the restaurant biz. Of course, I could be making this stuff up....


Sound check

ER, I guess "typing check". TESTING 1 2 3 TESTING. HELLO, is this thing on?