Take another little piece of...
All in all, it's just another brick in the wall...

I'm on the nightrain, ready to crash and burn...

Very early this morning, something like 2 or 3 a.m., I woke up for whatever reason. All of a sudden, I heard a train whistle outside.

Living as close to the tracks (no jokes about right or wrong side, okay?) as we do, we're used to hearing the normal sounds that one would expect from a train. However, the city we live in has a noise ordinance that states, unless they are crossing an at-grade intersection or they see someone or something on the tracks, they are not allowed to blow their whistles between like 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Many towns with train tracks have similar ordinances.

But this train clearly was not crossing an at-grade street intersection as there are none within a few miles in either direction of where we live and it could not have been an object on the tracks because it was blowing its whistle in short bursts constantly for 10 minutes and the sound was not moving. It was like listening to a car alarm that was programmed to sound like a train.

I'm sure many cities cannot actually enforce noise ordinances with regard to trains as they are moving quite fast and I can't imagine a code enforcement officer trying to jump the train to issue a ticket. But can't something be done? It's not easy to fall asleep when you have this whistle bleating for so damn long that early in the morning. Part of me believed the engineer was intentionally screwing with us.

Don't get me wrong, I love trains and I realize how central they are to our economy here and in other countries. But this was a bit nuts. I seriously wanted to go out there and shove the whistle up the engineer's ass.

Some time ago, I entered a contest over on Banal Leakage and I won!

I won a major prize (name the reference)!

Actually, it was the best thing a guy like me could win... free music in the form of a $10 gift card to iTunes.

Well, as they say, easy come, easy go. I used it this morning to buy Sonic Youth's new album, Eternal. And I wanted to thank Marty for helping me start my Thursday on a great, er, note (pun intended).


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Ugh, you should imagine me and Billy on our first few nights after moving in together. First we realized there was a streetlamp directly level with our third-floor bedroom window. That was before we'd even thought to purchase blinds or curtains. Second, we are on a fairly busy (but narrow) street with bus traffic, so every time someone tries to parallel park, people are honking. Sometimes the bus drivers just lay on the horn for several minutes at a time. We LOVE that. Then there are ice cream trucks with their incessant chiming, people screaming at each other, Bollywood music blasting, and car alarms that don't shut off for hours. And as if that wasn't enough, we are just two miles from Laguardia Airport, so we have air traffic every 90 seconds or so as planes come in to land. At first Billy used to say he had dreams where he was this really huge giant who would scoop up all the buses and cars and throw them into buildings. Now we're just deaf and we can sleep through just about everything - except, probably, crickets chirping on a quiet country road.

Kevin Spencer

Ha. I was also a winner and I used Mr Mankins' generosity to purchase Orbital's In Sides ;-)


Car alarms too. You know, the ones that go one forever and then some? Just take the damn car!

If you should ever shove the whistle up the train engineer's posterior, please let us know.


OK, I have had these stupid birds waking me and Jen up at 4-4:30 every morning for the past two months. I feel your pain. Your reference was to the leg/lamp in A Christmas Story.

Call me ASAP too, I got questions!


The train whistle at that hour is uncalled for. While I love trains, unless some drunk guy parked himself on the tracks, tone it down many notches.

And you are most welcome. The pure randomness of how 3 people with names that start with 'K' won was purely, uh... random.

Good to see the $10 went towards something cool (as it appears it did with Kevin Spencer, too). Kim emailed me and told me she was a new iTunes user and was anxious to purchase some songs for her running.


Not that I've ever lived in quite that urban an area, but even after you've become accustomed to the normal sounds of a suburban existence, the lack of sound at night in rural areas is VERY disconcerting.


If a drunk guy parked himself on the rails at that hour, he deserves whatever's coming to him. I did find it funny that you had a K-K-K of winners going there. I can't believe Kim finally caved and started an iTunes account! Can't imagine why she hasn't admitted that to me yet. ;-)


Yes, the K-K-K was a bit spooky, but then it for a prize, so I thought it was just a coincidence.

As for the "major prize" reference, I want to say it's from "A Christmas Story" but that was a "major award"

And love me the GnR song reference of today's blog post. Now listening to that song.

Sybil Law

We live close to train tracks, too, and come to think of it, I never hear the whistle at night. Huh. Is it weird I've never even thought of that before?
Everyone already answered your question. I was too late, as usual!
Love Sonic youth.


Oh man. I hope you were able to fall back asleep. Waking up in the middle of the night like that is really disruptive! I keep getting up at 3:00 am to use the bathroom each night and it is really messing with me (I get up at 4:30 am, so I don't get much sleep after that!).


We live on a road where the track separates us from industry on the other side in the form of mechanic's shops, sign shops, and a demolition business. Sometimes the Demo guys will get there early and start up their trucks. The hum of 5 huge engines at 5 am is just a total snooze kill.


Ohhhhh, that sounds like a good one.


I beg someone to take the damn car.


Oh the birds. Yeah, we get those too. Can't the damn things be programmed to only chirp a couple hours past sunrise? Yes, A Christmas Story. And I'll call you on my way home.


That's right, it's "major award." Dammit. I knew I'd screw it up. And that's one of my fave GnR songs.


You're never too late.


I did finally fall back asleep, but it wasn't easy.


You definitely need to look into reporting this to a code enforcement team. 5 a.m. is ridiculous.

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