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05 July 2004 @ 12:50 pm
Some 4th  
Hope everyone had a nice 4th! For us, it was all kinds of wacky fun, with a few brushes with the law mixed in. Oh, where do I start?

Well, the day began tamely enough. As I mentioned before, I invited Mihoko over for the evening. I picked her up from the mall (I can't believe the mall was actually open), and we went mini-golfing with Nick and Jeff from there. After that, we had dinner at my house (Mom made Iranian food, w00t), then headed to Nick's for the fireworks. Literally and figuratively.

Nick and Jeff love fireworks. They look forward to this time of year specificially for the chance to light things that make pretty explosions, and they drive many hours and spend hundreds of dollars for the privilege. There's a problem, however... fireworks are illegal in our fine, anally conservative state. mqstout was questioning me about this, so I got clarification: yes, it's legal to sell fireworks in PA, just as long as you take them out of the state thereafter. That's why you sometimes see fireworks warehouses when you cross the state line. Other than that, you're only allowed to possess and/or light off sparklers, snakes, and fountains. Not that that stops them or anything. Nope, every year they faithfully make the pilgrimage to the holy Warehouse in Ohio, Great Supplier of All Things Pyrotechnic, and come home with stuff that truly humbles the neighbors.

Speaking of the neighbors, they'd never had a problem with us lighting stuff in the backyard. In fact, they invite people over, sit out on their decks, and watch the show, applauding the ones they really like. It's good fun for all- 'til this year.

After Jeff finished inviting over half a dozen people I'd never met before, we got down to business and were having a good time. You could hear four or five other "shows" going on around us, too, in other neighborhoods. Pennsylvanians like fireworks. Eventually, however, we see this huge strobe light pointing downhill at us. I had no idea what it was- it wasn't until people started saying, "Cut it out! The cops are here!" that I got a clue. Apparently, The Man was cracking down on amateur firework displays this year. The cop who stopped at our house was actually pretty nice. He didn't do anything other than warn us that, if someone called and complained, he'd have to come back and write us up, and he didn't want to have to do that.

I'll step aside for a moment to rant. I think legislation crafted in the name of "safety" is ridiculous. It's one thing to have laws saying that you can't sell something that you know is defective, but deceive people into believing is safe. It's another thing entirely to say that you can't sell or use something that, when used properly, hurts no one and lets people have a good time. And ironically, in this case the "good time" is a celebration of our freedom. "But fireworks are dangerous!" whine the detractors. Well, so are scissors, lawnmowers, electrical outlets- hell, ANYTHING improperly used has the potential to seriously fuck you up. So, is placing bans on these things really a solution? How about we ask people to be responsible for their own safety, instead of having the government play babysitter? That's novel...

Anyway, after the cop left, my future mother-in-law (FMIL) suggested that we head down toward the nearby lake to light off the rest of our stuff. My future father-in-law (FFIL... whoa that's my dad's name if you sound it out) agreed to drive out and sit at the side of the road some ways down from Nick's neighborhood, and call us if he saw a cop car coming. And if he did, we'd all know where to run.

So we went to the lake, and the second thing genius-boy Jeff lights off is a Toot and Twirl. I dunno if you've ever seen one of these things in action, but it's bright, it's big, and it's really damned noisy. We were laughing about how, if that wasn't a big ol' figurative middle finger to the police, nothing was, when we hear someone shout from across the street, "CUT THAT OUT! THAT'S TOO CLOSE TO MY HOUSE!"

Let me stress that: across the street. And we were in the middle of a clearing, about a football field's distance away. At first we thought he was kidding- the neighbors like to do that sometimes. Then we all shut up when he realized he was serious: half out of being startled, half out of being dumbfounded by the sheer stupidity of it all. Those fireworks couldn't even ignite the grass upon which they rested, and he was worried about his house a hundred freaking yards away?

Still, we were worried about cops, so we trudged on home to take our chances lighting the rest there. In the backyard. MUCH closer to Nick's house than we ever were to that other guy's house. We're all standing around in Nick's yard when we start seeing fireworks back down where the lake is. It was a 500-gram repeater, pretty impressive stuff. At first I thought one of the other neighbors had lit it off in support of us. Then, as the glow of each burst illuminated the ground, we all see Jeff running back toward Nick's yard like a mofo. I'm sure it lost a lot in the translation, but that was one of the most hysterical things I'd ever seen. Jeff said later that for him it was like the invasion of Normandy, and he was running away as shells were exploding all around him, but he was also trying to look back behind to see because hey, that was a $50 firework.

When he got back, Nick asked him why he'd done that.
"I thought you said to light off one more down there!" he replied.
"No, I said, bring it back here so we can light it off!"
"... Oh."
I think subconsciously, Jeff wanted to light it down there just to piss off the unreasonable neighbor. So much for the retaliatory escapade.

We didn't stay outside much longer, because we kept worrying about the cops. But that worry, that element of danger, somehow made the whole experience more fun. Nick and Jeff have decided to go down to that angry neighbor's house sometime today to explain that his house was never in any danger, and that they've been doing this for years and don't flaunt safety precautions. We'll see how that goes.

If you actually made it down this far, you deserve some sort of reward, but I can't think of one... leave a comment and pester me for one, and I'll try to wrassle up something.
 
 
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: More Ayumi Hamasaki
 
 
 
though she be but little, she is fiercegolden_d on July 5th, 2004 01:19 pm (UTC)
Pester! Pester! Pesterpesterpester!

^_^

What, don't you people in Pittsburgh have fireworks displays put on by like the city and such? Or is it just more fun to light them off yourselves?
Miusherimiusheri on July 5th, 2004 02:07 pm (UTC)
Woo-hoooo! =D Now I gotta think of a suitable reward...

What, don't you people in Pittsburgh have fireworks displays put on by like the city and such? Or is it just more fun to light them off yourselves?

Well, yes and yes! ^_^* There's a big display downtown at the Point and several smaller ones in the suburbs, but they're a pain to get to, and watching the downtown one on TV is no fun. It's a lot more entertaining to light them yourself. =)

I'm sure Philly has a big celebration, too. What's it like?
though she be but little, she is fiercegolden_d on July 5th, 2004 03:07 pm (UTC)
It's a lot more entertaining to light them yourself.

I've never tried - there are people who set them off in our neighborhood, but it's kind of hard in rowhouses where no one has much of a yard.

I'm sure Philly has a big celebration, too. What's it like?

Let me see... I know there are fireworks down at Penn's Landing (the waterfront), and of course there are fireworks across the Delaware in Camden. Then there are the fireworks on the Parkway in front of the art museum...I think that's it for the city, and of course they do fireworks at the stadium for a few days before the 4th. Then there are the fireworks in Narberth and Upper Darby - the suburbs which are convenient to us.

Somewhere, in one of my notebooks, I have a four-month outdated letter to you, bitching all about things which are now since resolved. Alas.
Miusherimiusheri on July 6th, 2004 05:03 am (UTC)
Somewhere, in one of my notebooks, I have a four-month outdated letter to you, bitching all about things which are now since resolved. Alas.


LOL... it happens! ^_^
mqstout on July 5th, 2004 06:06 pm (UTC)
It's more fun to light them yourselves.

Plus... Gov't shouldn't be doing such things on their own! It's a waste of public funds.
though she be but little, she is fiercegolden_d on July 5th, 2004 06:11 pm (UTC)
Heh. Hey, I'd rather the money got spent on fireworks than decorating the mayor's office or something.
mqstout on July 5th, 2004 06:43 pm (UTC)
I'd rather you keep your money!
though she be but little, she is fiercegolden_d on July 5th, 2004 06:53 pm (UTC)
Well, it's not my money, technically... I've yet to endure the joy of taxes. ^_^ Heh.
mqstout on July 5th, 2004 07:34 pm (UTC)
Sales taxes?

OK.

I'd rather treat someone to dinner than everyone to a single spark in a firework!
though she be but little, she is fiercegolden_d on July 5th, 2004 07:45 pm (UTC)
Taxes in general, I think, if it's city money paying for the fireworks - which it is. And I, being 17 and without any income whatsoever, don't have to give the city and the IRS any of my nonexistent money.

And I'd rather get treated to dinner with the amount money spent on fireworks displays like that! Hehe.
Miusherimiusheri on July 6th, 2004 05:05 am (UTC)
And I'd rather get treated to dinner with the amount money spent on fireworks displays like that! Hehe.

Someone joked about how Jeff could've just lit his $50 bill on fire and waved it around a bit for the same effect... I, personally, wouldn't spend so much on fireworks either, but it's their money, and that's what makes them happy, so it's all good to me.
mqstout on July 5th, 2004 06:10 pm (UTC)
We need to hang out, damn it! Do you like wine? If so, I'll make sure to save these wines I bought today to share with you. They're whites... (Read my DJ for details.)

Hey, in NY, even -sparklers- are illegal! Plus, of course 'The Man' is going to crack down on fireworks displays now. People are adequately in tune with daily oppressions they never felt before, but the super-patriotism-spark that would have had them protest about Independence Day [NB: I _hate_ it when people refer to it only as the date, ignoring its reason.] festivities restructions have subceded. And, with bloated government spendings and general economic disaster causing huge needs for extra funds, what a better way to generate it with nice new fines, in the noble name of safety at that?
Miusherimiusheri on July 6th, 2004 05:10 am (UTC)
Yes, we do need to hang out! I miss getting to talk to you on a regular basis =( Would you like to come out to the South Hills sometime?

I'm not too big on wine, honestly. I dilute it, and even then I can only have a few sips before I'm sick of it. Blasphemous, I know ;) But thanks for offering!

As far as the government, I guess we just need to stick it out 'til the Great Libertarian Coup... (Whoops! Forget you saw that, people)
mqstout on July 11th, 2004 12:20 pm (UTC)
I guess you did reply. Odd, LJ never sent me an email for this one.

Aww, well. I'll bring the one bottle anyway. It's a cheap sweet white. And if you don't like it, well, maybe I'll just finish it alone. ;) How about Nick?

Sure, South Hills is fine. Easiest for me is usually to 51C to Century 3 and use that as a pick-up point, though you said you usually are closest to the T so, yeah. Fridays are best for me lately...
Miusherimiusheri on July 11th, 2004 01:01 pm (UTC)
Nick is pretty strictly non-alcohol, but he makes an exception for wine because of the health benefits. I'm sure he'll try a sip or two, though like me, he doesn't usually polish off a glass. ^_^ Thanks for offering, it sounds like fun!

Yeah, Century III is actually a bit of a drive for us- nothing major, but a lot more driving compared to the T locations. South Hills Village mall is ten minutes from my house, and the end of the Library line (I think they're calling it Library Station these days, though all the signs call it Simmons) is ten minutes from Nick's house, so you have your pick. ;) Though, if my email ever makes it out to you (like I said, my account's been really screwy lately), you'll notice that we'll be in Oakland at the end of July, and I also plan to attend Josh's farewell gathering on the 23rd. =)