Sunday, June 14, 2009

Family Home Evening at the Drive-in Theater

This last Monday we went to the one drive-in theater in Tucson--the De Anza. In nearly three years in Tucson, it was just the second time our family has gone to the drive-in theater. As long as you have a moderately good movie at the drive-in, the ambiance will make up for the rest. In our case, we watched Up and Earth. With the back of our van facing the big screen, we took the back seat out and placed it behind the van. While Debs and I sat on the seat, our two girls sat in their car seats or lay in the back of the van with their pillows and blankets. Erik slept for a good part of the first movie, which allowed us to actually watch and enjoy it. With our four pound tub of Redvines licorice, a few bags of microwave popcorn, and some water, we had a very enjoyable evening.

On the downside, the battery to our vehicle died halfway through the second feature, and we had to wait until it was over for another viewer to come help us jump start it. In the past I have recommended using earplugs when going to watch a NASCAR, now I'm going to make a few suggestions about going to a drive-in theater. Take jumper cables--almost nobody has them in their cars these days and good luck finding an employee at the drive-in theater after they close concessions. Also, you might want to turn your vehicle on for a few minutes between features. Or you could just take a radio or walkman powered by batteries.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rolling with the Punches

Well, I have held this post for a few weeks trying to decide if I should publish it to the Internet or not, due to its somewhat pessimistic tone, but I finally decided to do it anyway. So here goes!

The last three years that our family has lived in Tucson has been a learning experience for our family. During our first couple years we had a window broken out of our car and a bike stolen. Since March of this year, the crime and vandalism on our street and neighborhood, which generally seems to be very quiet, has shot through the roof. When I returned from a conference held in El Paso, Texas, I found our car had been egged. A little while later someone came during the night and smashed the windows on four cars parked along our street. Fortunately, our car was passed over this time. Graffiti has also become much more visible in the area. The stop sign at the end of the street was recently sprayed over, as were some telephone and electrical boxes. Some brick walls to a nearby church and a house were also tagged. Fortunately, those were cleaned by the church and resident almost immediately. While my wife and I have always been cognizant of the high crime rate in Tucson--made abundantly clear by the regular flyovers made over the surrounding neighborhoods by the police helicopter with its spotlight on, we are clearly concerned with how quickly it has grown in our neighborhood. To make matters worse, Debs discovered this last week that one of her little-used credit cards was stolen and used. Most people we speak to in Tucson have been victims of one crime or another over the last couple of years. Those that seem to escape them generally are in the more affluent areas to the north and east.

So what's the solution. Do you have to live in a gated community with cameras and a security guard to escape the stupidity of some teenager that was raised poorly? Do you have to lock everything not bolted down to keep drug addicts or "opportunists" from walking away with it to make a quick buck?

If that's the answer, I'm not sure what we would decide to do. Yes, we would like to escape as much as possible the dishonest and immoral practices of a growing segment of society, but at the same time, at what point are you overdoing it? At what point do you become so isolationist that you are no longer an influence for good in society?