Monday, November 28, 2005

This is freaking hilarious

Ok, maybe my quirky sense of humor is showing here, but....

Tiki Bar TV

Need Quicktime.

You actually need ITunes for episode 10A (outtakes from 10).

Oh, and despite the disclaimer, the first episode is worth watching.

Thanks to camiimac for the heads up on this.

C4/\/\1, U R 2 fr34x1n c001 R0TFLM40

Almost a Month

It has been pointed out to me by my lovely spouse that I haven't posted to this blog in almost a month.

Actually, I didn't really need it pointed out to me. I knew that -- but it was motivation, nonetheless. Life has gotten a bit busier and you know... sometimes the day to day stuff doesn't seem too important....

But... in the imortal words of John Lennon (who wrote quite a few):

Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans
which has been kind of the deal behind this blog. You write the little things down that happen over time and then you can look back and see what you've been up to. As can others.

So, where to begin.... um .. a month ago, we were talking about unfriendly neighbors. Well that's settled down, and frankly, there is some dispute on which neighbor it was -- so we're just going to drop it.

My parents' 50th wedding anniversary party went off pretty much hitchless. Maybe that's a bad choice of words, as it's the 50th anniversary of them getting hitched ;-)

We had a dinner. All of Mom's brothers and sisters showed up. Uncle Eddie showed up with his wife Pat -- and Aunt Pat California Florida WOULD have been there if she weren't layed out recovering from chemotherapy. Damned cancer doesn't have any respect for anything, does it? She called my cell phone to talk to Mom and Dad during the party, though.

Went back and hung out at Joel & Dawn's that night with cousin Dawn and her husband Marty. Played pool in the basement. Drank stuff. Talked. The usual.

Next morning my brother Chris said Mass at St. Mary's Assumption (Society of St. Pius X Church) and Mom and Dad re-made their vows afterward. Then there was a brunch at the School (the old Queen of the Holy Rosary school) with all of the church people and all the relatives.

It was a really big deal for Mom. I think it was a really big deal for all her siblings as well. It was so nice to see all of them again. Several of them went out to Mom and Dad's and stayed overnight (the Mathis' were kind enough to offer their house down the road) and Bettie and Mary stayed until Thursday.

It was a big deal for Dad, too, but he's not one to gush.

Kevin went and picked up Mom-in-Law for Thanksgiving. It was a dream come true for her -- getting to spend 16 hours alone (and that's just in the car) with her grandson. Brian's done it before, but this was Kevin's first trip. Kevin really enjoyed it. "Grammy", as they call her, had lots of old stories to tell.... the kind it's good for grandkids to hear.

We've had some great correspondence with Brian... his digital camera has come in handy, and he's had several missions where he gets to get involved with Iraqi village children and some of their parents. Speaking of that, I started a new blog last night... -- I have more to put out there, be patient, it's coming in the next few days. I only have one story out there.

He actually called and talked to us (Me, Vicki, and Grammy) for about an hour on Wednesday.

We had gone to Kristin's last basketball game the night before -- she coaches one of the JV girls basketball teams at the school where she teaches. They lost, but hey, they played well. Well, at least in the first game.

Thanksgiving was a small one for us. We typically have more people -- but Ken did come for dinner which gave us a good opportunity to take a family shot for Brian.

We still have a LOT of turkey left over.

I had ordered the ingredients for an Irish Red Ale to make for Thanksgiving as Ryan wanted some to serve... he and Scott (a friend of his) ended up doing the brewing while I was at Mom and Dad's anniversary party. It was a double batch, so we split it, 5 gallons apiece. It's good.

I think Ryan wants an imperial stout for Christmas so we need to get down on that.

I also made shrub for Christmas, and we drank some of the cider for Thanksgiving. It was very dry. Had to add honey.

Thinking about buying a DVR.... stay tuned.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Unfriendly Neighbors

So yesterday on my way home I went to the bank. When I turned back out on the street I got behind a police car and I ended up following it... all the way home.

It parked in the street across from our house. I went around it into our driveway and got changed to go out with Brian's finance and her family. I looked out and there was a second police car across the street, talking to my two neighbors across the street.

High crimes and misdemeanors? I decided to go see what was up.

My neighbors were out talking after getting home from work, having a beer and wiping down Daryl's truck in the circle drive off our street that goes in front of the three houses across the street from us. Apparently somebody had called the police, saying that there were two guys "drinking out in the street" and they were afraid they might "get in a car and drive somewhere" (presumably intoxicated).

The police showed up, probably expecting drunken people staggering in the middle of the street generally being rude and disturbing the peace -- maybe even posing a danger to the neighborhood. What they found was two neighbors who had just gotten home from work sharing a beer in a circle drive off of the main street, well out of traffic on our cul de sac. And probably on Homeowner's Association property rather than city property, but this hasn't been verified yet.

Now we've been socializing with our neighbors since we moved in. I think it's a good thing. Part of what's wrong with America today is that we don't know our neighbors. We don't have the social bonds we once had. We don't look after one another, we don't know one another, and we are, as a result, generally less polite than we once were as a society.

This socializing often involves beer or other adult beverages.

We are not rowdy. We're not loud. We're polite, considerate people. Our mamas raised us right.

However, there is a city Open Container ordinance, and technically one can not have an adult beverage in an open container on public property, which includes sidewalks and streets. Apparently the people who complained said we were always carrying alcohol across the street to each others houses as well. I'm almost positive this law was put into place to give police a tool with which to ticket people who are disturbing the peace. I seriously doubt it was ever intended to keep me from popping open a beer in my yard and walking across the street to socialize harmlessly with my neighbor. And generally, that's not the way it is enforced, either, because most neighbors understand that and the police generally won't go out looking for it if nobody's complained. I think that was the assumption when the ordinance was passed.

The police warned my neighbors about the ordinance and moved on.

But I got to thinking, who would have complained and why? And there is one set of neighbors that sprang immediately to mind. They are renters. When they moved in, we tried inviting them to join us in our little social gatherings, and they neither politely or impolitely declined. At first, we could talk to the mariarch and she seemed a little standoffish but not downright unfriendly. We'd wave, and they'd nod, or we'd say "hi" and they'd say "hi" back.

Ultimately, they were a huge improvement over the previous neighbors who had fairly frequent late night visits from people who had no respect for others who may be sleeping in a neighborhood. However, one irritating thing about these new neighbors is that they would often come home late at night and park ( our bedroom is in the front of the house) with their bass-intensive music blaring, permeating our bedroom and waking us up. They'd even sit there and listen until the last song was over. We never said anything to them.

On weekends, the daughter and her son would often clean and wash their car with their bass-intensive music blaring on their "Kicker®" type car system. You could hear it all the way to the back of our house, and our windows and doors were closed. Not only was it irritating, but my wife was trying to watch TV and went out and asked them to turn it down and they did. We thought that was the end of that.

Within the next week or so we noticed that they would not look at us. We'd say "hello" and they wouldn't look up or even acknowledge our presence. At first we thought "well, maybe they just had a bad day".... but this has continued to this day.

After a few weeks we also connected the dots and noticed that they weren't playing their music loud anymore, when they came home at night or when they were washing their car. So we figured maybe somebody had called the police on them for disturbing the peace and that they may have assumed it was us. Which it wasn't, but I don't blame whoever did if that is indeed the case. What they were doing was rude, selfish, and anti-social. And also against the city noise ordinance.

So I figure this was a retaliation call. Well, fine. They want to play that way, we will have to stick to the letter of the law and see if they continue to harass us. Mean time, we will continue to be polite. I'm sure they want us to get ruffled -- give them a feeling of power. Well, I'm not gonna do that for them.

This is clearly a case of someone using a law for a purpose it was never intended to be used for, but must be enforced on demand because that's the way it was written. When laws like this are written, it is assumed that common sense and discretion will prevail, but a disgruntled neighbor can use it to harrass his or her neighbors if they want to. That's wrong.