A firecracker is not a fireworks show.

by on January 3, 2011 · 29 comments

in Ocean Beach, The Widder Curry

3:30am – January 1, 2011

What in the world is the insomniac doing awake at this time in the morning? Is it because the pain in her two torn rotator cuffs are keeping her awake? Is it because the wind is so loud that she cannot sleep? Is it because the surf is so high that it is beating up against the cliffs making it hard to sleep? The answer to those questions are a resounding “NO”! Then why is she awake?

I’ll tell you why. Because there are a – – h – – – – in the neighborhood that do not know that fire crackers are illegal in Ocean Beach. Roman Candles, M-80’s, poppers, etc. are all illegal. The same people that probably don’t own dogs; dogs that are petrified by the loud noises; dogs that have been around gunfire; dogs that have super-sensitive ears that become very scared around the noise and look for a hiding place.

Since 7:13pm I have been trying to soothe my 10 year old Golden Retriever. That is the first time he heard the noises from outside. He tried jumping into the bathtub and hiding; he tried getting under the bed; he tried getting into any open closet; he has paced and paced and paced to get away to no avail. He is used to the LEGAL firework shows coming from Sea World; the Ocean Beach pier; the San Diego Bay barges. He is even used to the fireworks show coming from the Padre Stadium as well as Qualcomm, but he is not used to the high pitched scream of the Rockets – even though they might have a “red glare.” And the little “poppers” that pop endlessly 10-15 times before stopping only to have new ones lit again.

Or the loud M-80’s that people light next to the cliffs so they can hear the echo from the acoustical water ways. (Even those make my ears ache.)

Why must the neighbors feel that it is necessary to shoot off these illegal firecrackers? Sea World started their show early on New Years Eve. Other places throughout San Diego had legal shows. And those shows stopped shortly after midnight.

I remember a long time ago when I was teaching 6th grade in Chula Vista. (Yeah – a lonnnnggg time ago) and a wonderful student – Johnny – was getting ready to go into Jr. High after he was promoted from my class in June. On the 4th of July he and his family were shooting off firecrackers from their Woodlawn home when Johnny didn’t release the firecracker in time. He lost 3 fingers and his ambition to be a baseball player. And that was when firecrackers were not illegal. I often wonder what happened to him because he left our school to go to the Jr. High, and I never heard about him again. (Except to be told that he lost a great deal of blood; that his fingers were blown up so badly they couldn’t be reattached and he was in the hospital.)

My adult daughter told me this morning that she went to a party last night and they lit firecrackers and it was fun! She was somewhat angry that we never allowed firecrackers to be lit even though we were camping in Mexico where it was allowed. But even with her group last night they stopped shooting off the firecrackers – not to be confused with “fireworks” – shortly after midnight.

In OB, I started writing this at 3:30am and firecrackers are still being shot off. Buddy is beside himself. His tail is between his legs; he is trembling; his heart is racing and I am worried about him. Without apologizing for my thoughts, if what it takes to stop the noise means that someone else might have to have his fingers blown off, let me be the first to offer a match!

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

OBWarZone January 3, 2011 at 10:21 am

WHAT DOES YOUR DOG DO EVERY NIGHT FOR THE SEA WORLD SHOW? WHAT ABOUT THE AIRPLANES? I am surprised the RAG post this piece. It’s a dog, deal with it. I love my four legged friends, but it was NYE & this is a bit crazy. Dog owners need to realize that this comes with the territory of owning an animal. Move out to the country if you don’t like sounds. Better tell EMT and FIRE to shut their sirens off when they roll down your street. After all, we don’t want to disturb Rover.

And this??
“Without apologizing for my thoughts, if what it takes to stop the noise means that someone else might have to have his fingers blown off, let me be the first to offer a match!”



judi January 3, 2011 at 11:20 am

obwarzone – are you for real? You think that because the calendar flips over a page that it is ok to disturb the peace by shooting off illegal firecrackers at 3:30 in the morning? I have a match I’d be glad to lend you! Judi


annagrace January 3, 2011 at 11:25 am

Judi- I envisioned you sitting in a walk in closet with Buddy next to you in the wee hours of the morning. I don’t think that it is unreasonable to expect people to put a lid on the noise making before midnight. Hope you both get a nap today!


OBWarZone January 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Judi, it’s not just about fireworks. See a portion your insomnia article below. Seems like you have an issue with any noise after midnight, including the waves crashing, night herons, police helicopters, car alarms and more. A place like Jamul or Valley Center seem to be what you are looking for.

“Maybe, if I am lucky, I can go two hours without waking, but that is usually not the case. No…I am looking for the elusive “all nighter.” You know, the full night sleep without the blasted helicopters waking me up as they search the seas for drug runners, or illegals.

I mean a full night sleep without someone’s security alarm beeping when they go out to their car to retrieve something at 2:00am. I don’t understand why the bartender neighbor down the street MUST have his stereo blaring when he comes home from work night – no morning – after morning.

Sometimes the wonderful sound of the waves crashing on the cliffs wakes me up. Or how about the seabirds excitingly calling to their friends when a school of bait fish are spotted near the shoreline. The night herons are wonderful examples of “spreading the word.”



judi January 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Wow! OB War Zone – quoting my own articles back to me is sincere flattery. You must be a man. The firecracker article WAS just about firecrackers. I did not complain about other things in the article. I am concerned that a poor dog might have a heart attack and die because of the stupid ILLEGAL antics of the people living around me. Look at Frank’s answer – dogs in OB go crazy on this night – and on the 4th of July. I am not complaining about Sea World’s fireworks, although I am very concerned that they are polluting the environment to the point that when it is finally realized it will be too late. Dogs have very sensitive hearing and unnecessary noise – illegal at that – should be addressed by the powers that be also.

As far as offering you a match; if you are willing to set off illegal fireworks at 3:30 in the morning, the least I can do is offer you a match. If you are going to “hurt” my dog, I sure as hell am going to hope that you get hurt too! I will be glad to give you a whole box of matches, as long as you shoot those Roman Candles away from my dog! In fact, I have all sizes of matches – maybe you would even like to do what the neighbor did last year, and light the fuse of the Roman Candle and then toss it in the storm drain across the street. You sound like you have a rather healthy imagination – try to guess what that sounded like – EACH OF THE 3 TIMES HE DID IT! I am not complaining about the normal, natural noises of Ocean Beach. I LOVE to hear the night herons – even when they lived in the pine tree right outside of my window and did two things with regularity – pooped and talked. I didn’t take the tree down – it blew down – maybe it got tired of being talked to all night. I love the sound of the surf; the wind through the trees; and yes, I would love to have a full night sleep without the noises that WAKE ME up – not the ones that put me to sleep. (Read: police helicopters chasing after the drug runners).

And Annagrace – Buddy and I did sit in our walk-in closet to get away from the noise, except he still heard it and only stayed a few minutes! I thought it was rather cozy, myself!


OBWarZone January 3, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I must be a man because I remembered your other article & posted a quote? That makes sense.

I don’t own any fireworks & don’t plan on it. I was being a bit sarcastic as well. Your talk of people hurting your dog and hopes of those who do getting hurt is a bit out there if you ask me. Your dog won’t have a heart attack because of a few firecrackers. I love folks who treat dogs like they are their actual children, and not a pet. Tell Buddy to “be a man” & grow a pair.

Yes, this was about firecrackers. Your other story was about every other sound in OB @ night. Between the two articles, you confirm that you are annoyed by urban noise, yet you decide to live here. Sorry, you can’t only have your “natural sounds” if you live in OB.



OBWarZone January 3, 2011 at 2:39 pm



judi January 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm

No…..you must be a man because you use “chicken-wire logic.”


OBWarZone January 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm


Obviously you have your own agenda. I like to poke here and there, & stir the pot on the OB RAG. No hard feelings. People are entitled to their own opinions. I’m done here. Best Wishes. Happy New Year. Cheers!

Yours Truly,
Chicken Wire


Frank Gormlie January 3, 2011 at 12:45 pm

It’s known throughout OB that on July 4th during the fireworks, dogs go crazy. Many run away and the next day there are “lost dog” signs up all around OB. I had an elderly neighbor for awhile that would go around just before the fireworks were set to go off and warn her neighbors to get their dogs inside.

My main old beef used to be with SeaWorld and their fireworks going off at 10pm during the week while I was trying to get my daughter to go to sleep. If the winds were right, it would sound like a literal invasion happening right at our shores.

Firecrackers have been around a long time and they aren’t going away any time soon, but setting them off at 3:30 am? That’s too much.


OBWarZone January 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm

agreed, 3:30 am is too much. But so is offering us match to blow our fingers off .


Frank Gormlie January 3, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I think Judi was being sarcastic, you know that sarcasm that springs up when you’re royally annoyed.


OBWarZone January 3, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I know. But I picked up some roman candles & was looking forward to scoring some free matches.


Abby January 3, 2011 at 12:47 pm

As annoying as it can be at times, I try to see the noise as the price I pay to live here.

I could always move to a quieter (and much cheaper) area, but it’s worth it to me to live somewhere as vibrant and wonderful as OB.


OBWarZone January 3, 2011 at 1:18 pm

this. /\/\/\


JPinSD January 3, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I’m more annoyed with all the illegal dog crap on the sidewalks. And, I might add that this happens at all hours….Owners please pick up after them!


OBWarZone January 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Maybe we can turn the crap into some sort of firecracker. Win Win


Abby January 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm

On the sidewalks? I’m putting in a security camera to catch the jerks who keep letting their dogs go in my driveway and yard!


Sarah January 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Dog poop? Y’all must live in the NICE section of OB. I’d like to get someone to scoop the people poop around my place.


judi January 5, 2011 at 5:16 pm

I thought about you today, Sarah, as Buddy and I were taking our daily walk. I passed a house that had a very pretty dark teal -colored bag on the lawn of the house we were passing. Filled with dog poop. Pretty classy, huh?

Ya know – picking it up and bagging it and leaving it is not much different than not picking it up at all!


Abby January 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I’m turning the hose on the next one I catch on my property. The owner that is, not the dog!


Wankabankalank January 3, 2011 at 6:47 pm

The fireworks align perfectly w/ Americans love for battles, warzones, the war hero & the celebration of patriotic aggression. Here in La Mesa we can hear Sea World’s ridiculous display; it’s time to protest that racket. Everyone in OB should simply protest the fireworks displays. Everyone except the following:
Those who agreed w/ the Supreme Court stopping the vote counting in the 2000 presidential election
Those who actually think the U.S. military is stationed in Afghanistan to save the people from the Taliban
Those who listen to Rush Limbaugh
Those who listen to Laura S. on the radio
Those who think the Torrey Pine tree is leaning to the right
Those who think Israel has a right to defend itself by killing people delivering food to Gaza
Those who think AT&T, Diebold, & Blackwater are reputable companies
If I keep going, it will only leave that guy who panhandles money right by the Starbucks.


Leigh January 3, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Judi – I agree with you, for whatever it’s worth. Firecrackers – or any intentional loud noise – late at night is just rude. I will, for the purposes of this post, disregard the dogs (though I have quite a few and would be upset myself if someone were doing something rude – and illegal – and scaring them at 3 am). The fact is, there are people who are trying, justifiably and not unreasonably, to SLEEP at that hour. There are your run of the mill average people, middle aged women and men who (much like myself) might not be as thrilled by firecrackers or heavy metal or your motercycle as you are. There are your babies and children, your little old women and men, people who are ill, those who work odd hours and might need to get up at 5 am on New Year’s Day to go to work. The fact that it is a holiday doesn’t give people the right to infringe on others’ – and firecrackers at 2:30 or 3:00 am is an infringement.


BillRayDrums January 5, 2011 at 12:26 am

Just saw the dog thread and thought I’d share.

Today (well yesterday) some person had their dog parked outside South Beach. I came around the corner and walked past the dog. It was a young pup and it jumped up and grabbed my coat with it’s mouth. Of course I stopped and then the dog grabbed my shirt. OK!

So I get this mutt off me and then the damn thing just full ON launched into my “junk”; gots me a toothmark to prove it too. (ouch)

Of course I let the owners know of their dog’s behavioral problem and also told South Beach management. The owner was apologetic in the sense of say… a recording engineer who accidentally sends a 1k tone into your headphones at +105db (e.g. a very loud piercing frequency) and utters the token “Oh, sorry”.

Wasn’t worried so much about myself as I was about a kid.


OBWarZone January 5, 2011 at 11:28 am

What about dog owners who let their dogs bark? A sound of a dog barking, depending on your location, could be as loud as 100 decibels. Some cities limit continuous barking to 10 minutes during the day and five minutes after 10 p.m. or the owner would be subject to a $250 fine. Talk about a – – h – – – -s.


judi January 5, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Thank goodness we agree on something! I call the police when a dog barks for a long time. It tells me that the dog is being neglected. And….it disturbs me, no matter what time of the day.

Billy Ray – what a scary situation. What if you were a child? What, if anything did the dog owner do?


Alissa January 5, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Your opinions were definitely moving for me (I am a dog lover), and someone losing fingers is definitely not okay. I also agree that that noise should cease after 10pm (or at least 1am on New Years). But I bfireworks fondly. In fact I remember shooting off (my parents) bottle rockets as a child right here in my little back yard. I was born in Ocean Beach and often refer to it as the unofficial ‘bottle rocket capital of the world’. So give you puppy lots of hugs and kisses, take some deep breathes…tis the land of OB.


Abby January 6, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I have to say, New Years was last week, and people are still lighting off fire crackers.


Sarah January 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I’ll trade your firecrackers for the creep on the seawall with the Vuvuzela…


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