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Revenge is Also Best Served Cold

Allan, a friend of mine in college, was in a neverending battle with the folks who lived in the dorm room adjacent to his. I never knew the specific dispute, but it was probably noise-related--his room and theirs shared a wall through which sound passed unimpeded.

One evening I stopped by Allan's place as I headed off-campus. He and his neighbors had just had some sort of altercation, and he was livid as a consequence. Before we left he cued up the following track on his CD player and hit play. Then he turned the speakers around so they faced the shared wall, turned the volume up to 8, and set the stereo on "repeat track". "Okay," he said, "let's go."

When we returned several hours later, the music was off and his door was broken.

Posted on June 03, 2009 to Storytelling


Also: makes a great ringtone!

Posted by: Matthew Baldwin on June 3, 2009 7:25 PM

Now I want some milk. Why is that?

Posted by: A Random Guy at a Grenade Factory on June 3, 2009 8:38 PM

I was just telling my kids about that cd. I have to find it for them. "I heard a sound, I turned around, I turned around and saw the thing that made the sound." Or something.

Posted by: Andree on June 3, 2009 9:48 PM

What makes it even better is that the appropriate response is "LEEEAAAAVE ME ALOOOONE LEAVE ME ALONE".

Posted by: Todd on June 4, 2009 12:04 AM

When I was in college, my roommate had a similar dispute with a person who resided one floor below him, whom I will call "Horatio." Unfortunately for Horatio, both rooms bordered on an air shaft that extended from the basement to the roof.

My roommate drilled a hole in the shaft, lowered a small speaker from a reel-to-reel tape player (this was way back in the early '60's),hid the tape player in the bottom drawer of his dresser, which he had shooved against the shaft, and played the following loop over and over:

"Horatio flies ... tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet!"

Like clockwork, within several minutes Horatio would be seen running up and down the corridors of each of the floors trying to find the source of this sound. Fortunately for my roommate, the distortion and echoes created by the air shaft made it hard to pinpoint.

Horatio left school that year, and my roommate flunked out. But both contributed immensely to my practical education ... or maybe it was my education of practical jokes.

Posted by: Ol' Philosophizer on June 4, 2009 3:03 AM

I did something similar once, but with 'shoehorn with teeth'. It's much more annoying.

Posted by: Bryan Rankin on June 4, 2009 4:05 AM

A million years ago when I was in high school, I had a neighbor who used to blast her gangsta rap so loud it would shake the walls. To get her back I'd blast "The Imperial Attack" from the Star Wars soundtrack back at her. I wish I had "milk" song instead

Posted by: AlyGatr on June 4, 2009 4:58 AM

Agree with Todd. Would also add my love of TMBG's "Spider!"

Posted by: megan on June 4, 2009 5:16 AM

Or "Nine Piece Chicken Dinner" by The Beastie Boys.

Posted by: Jamie on June 4, 2009 6:29 AM

My roommates and I had a similar war in college with a neighbor. The song of choice? "I'm too sexy".

I'm not (extremely) proud to say that we won.

Posted by: susannah on June 4, 2009 6:34 AM

Morning Musume's "Love Factory" also does the trick. It's pure evil though, so I only pull it out when my neighbors start spanking each other too loudly on Saturday mornings.

Posted by: Kristina on June 4, 2009 7:23 AM


Posted by: Anonymous on June 4, 2009 8:14 AM

In my experience, the theme from Mortal Kombat worked pretty well.

Posted by: jstar on June 4, 2009 8:48 AM

A friend and I had a college radio show at 2am, during which we could play pretty much whatever we wanted. We did an all-"Mr. Roboto" show once, where that song was played over and over for two hours, with Russ reading the liner notes from the "Kilroy was Here" rock opera between takes. The show was taped and used as a fraternity initiation hazing tool.

Posted by: John I on June 4, 2009 10:55 AM

I had a similar experience in college, Freshman year. My neighbor in the dorm would leave her TV on, volume up, and leave her room with the door locked. This was back before cable TV was widely available, so she was picking up broadcast stations. I bought an RF jammer kit from Heathkit, soldered the thing together, and then sat next door and tuned in whatever channel she was watching (I could tell I had the correct channel when I heard the volume cut out). When I heard her cursing and fiddling with the TV I'd let up for a while. She could also get a little relief by changing channels, but it wouldn't take me long to tune that one in on the jammer. Good for hours of fun.

Posted by: Pat on June 4, 2009 4:01 PM

I've heard that Van Halen's "Panama" is one that is actually used in standoff situations by SWAT teams. You might be able to stand it the first, say, 5 times and then all of the sudden you're on the ground crying, begging for the 'please pass the milk please' song

Posted by: giddy girlie on June 4, 2009 4:37 PM

I did the same EXACT thing with Track 1 for Jesus Christ Superstar.

Duplex apartment, and our unti controlled the power for the entire building.

Building manager was out for the night too. They moved soon after that.

hee hee

Posted by: operagal on June 4, 2009 4:48 PM

For me it was the guy in the room next door with "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey on repeat. I liked the song before that.

Posted by: Sooner on June 4, 2009 6:53 PM

A co-worker of mine has a great story about his biker neighbours. He lived in a nice little suburban neighbourhood and all was well until the guy across the street got fried on something and put "Born in the USA" on full blast... on repeat... for 12hrs. It was hot and no one had AC so closing the windows was not an option for anyone, and no one would tell the guy to turn it off (even at 3am) because he and his posse were scary biker dudes.

The funniest part was that at 3am it went off for about 10 minutes or so and my buddy was just collapsing with relief - then the guy came to, realized what was up, and the blessed silence was shattered ... again... with "Booooorrrrnrnnn in the UUUU-EHHHSSSSS-EHHHHH... I was Booooorrrrnrnnn in the UUUU-EHHHSSSSS-EHHHHH... ".

Lol. He told it better. Added bonus? This is in Canada :)

Posted by: Greg on June 5, 2009 10:45 AM

By far the best track to do this with: "Let Me Be Your Hog" by Weird Al Yankovich

Let me be your hog
Let me be your hog, now
I said baby baby baby baby

--record skips, and repeat

Posted by: mincus on June 7, 2009 4:52 PM

Nobody needs milk that bad. Nobody.

Posted by: Darren Prime on June 7, 2009 8:12 PM

Can't imagine what would've compelled someone to break down his door...

Posted by: Lene on June 8, 2009 8:39 PM

I used to live in a building with thin walls, and a high turnover of apartments. Usually when someone moved in, it took them a couple times of playing music and then having someone knock on their door for them to get "ooh, okay, gotta be careful of the noise level." But once in a blue moon people either didn't get it or didn't care.

Once someone who moved in below me was one of the ones who didn't care -- and so every so often they'd play French techno. With a heavy bass. Which they cranked up. To the point that things in my apartment shook. And they ignored people who knocked on their doors.

One night, when I was suffering upstairs while trying to watch a jiggling TV, I finally snapped. I took my stereo speakers, pointed them directly at the floor, and blasted the HELL out of "Man of Constant Sorrow" from the "O Brother where Art Thou" soundtrack, and proceeded to dance along to it, stomping my feet and beating time with a spoon and a pot.

Playing it twice was all it took.

Posted by: Kim W. on June 9, 2009 1:14 AM

If you ever find yourself on the short end of this confrontation, go for their circuit breaker. Out west, they are usually on the outside of the house.

Just switching the power off for a moment will most likely stop the milk requests.

If they are home, it makes a hell of an impression.

Posted by: Rob Cockerham on June 10, 2009 12:13 AM

Really? I find "Please pass the milk, please..." to be oddly soothing. But I think 15 or 20 plays of "Panama" or "Mr. Roboto" would probably do it.

Posted by: The Pop View on June 10, 2009 12:17 PM

I had a crazy housemate in SF who, infuriated by the house adjacent to ours with the endless barbeques and drunken frat boys, one day turned his speakers out the windows and blasted Hitler's Speech from the movie Triumph of the Will... this of course only increased the hilarity of the partygoers below who in unison gave him the Hitler salute and drove him into more of a frenzy, and I presume, eventual madness. I got out of that nuthouse shortly thereafter.

Posted by: Dratski on June 12, 2009 12:20 PM

Well, SURE his door was broken and the song was no longer playing...but did he even bother to check if they left him some milk?

Posted by: Luminous Muse on June 12, 2009 8:27 PM

I have GOT to use that tactic (and song) on my upstairs apartment neighbor.

ps: Matthew, can I call you from jail for bail money afterward?

Posted by: Michael on June 12, 2009 8:38 PM

I wish I'd had a balls to have done something like this with a noisy neighbor I had. Of course, I wouldn't want to have to replace a broken door but wow!

Posted by: Grace on June 14, 2009 8:23 AM

Where did he get that track? That's so obnoxious. Good though!

Posted by: Lucynda Riley on June 14, 2009 1:14 PM

I have a friend who had the same deal with their split-house neighbors. Before he went on vacation, he bought a set of those speakers that can emit super low-frequency sound that is inaudible but makes your skin crawl. He left 'em on, up against the wall, for two weeks.

I'd think of it, but I wouldn't actually DO it... Ha!

Posted by: Emma Carlson on June 15, 2009 8:49 AM

I used to have a neighbor who played "I saw the sign" by Ace of Bass in the backyard over and over AND OVER AGAIN all summer long.

He wan't trying to be a jerk, he was just clueless (and had really bad taste in music)

But then again, he put his dead dog in my trash bin, so I suppose Ace of Bass was the lesser of his weirdness.

Posted by: bonnie on June 16, 2009 10:36 AM

"Please pass the milk, please.""Please pass the milk, please.""Please pass the milk, please.""Please pass the milk, please.""Please pass the milk, please.""Please pass the milk, please.""Please pass the milk, please.""Please pass the milk, please.""Please pass the milk, please.""Please pass the milk, please.""Please pass the milk, please.""Please pass the milk, please.""Please pass the milk, please.""Please pass the milk, please."

@_@... so evil. Why didn't I think of doing this to my older brother so long ago? (oh, yeah. I was a nicer person then. -_-;)

Posted by: AngelicDirt on June 18, 2009 8:49 AM

If anyone is interested, its from the song "Fingertips" by They Might Be Giants on the album Apollo 18. Good, weird album.

Posted by: LGKBufu on June 18, 2009 1:51 PM

LMFAO!! that's hilarious. I'm gonna have to try this with my noisy neighbors. Hope they don't bust down my door though. xD

Posted by: Jenny on June 26, 2009 5:02 PM

That's nothing.

When I was living in my undergrad dorms, one morning I woke up, went to class, and came back to my dorm in a short-half day. As it was 11;30, I thought it would be a great time to listen to some tunes- not too loudly, but loud enough that I could hear the music from my bedroom as I cleaned the dorm I shared with 6 other boys(yucky).

As it turned out, the girl above me- who was actually my friend- partied until like 9am and had just gone to sleep. So she was hearing my music, and called down to others in my dorm to please have my not-so-loud music turned down. Of course, her requests were denied. Why should I suffer for her irresponsibility? When she sent when of her dormmates to turn my music down- I heard the volume decrease from the living room- I knew something had to happen.

So I opened up my sound effects CD. Put it on 'plane landing.' And turned the volume all the way up, to like 20. Needless to say it was INCREDIBLY loud, and everyone in the entire dorm heard it (three floors, two six person dorm on each floor).

From that point on, I was able to listen to music at a relatively normal volume any time I wanted to during the day.

Posted by: calickizzle on June 28, 2009 5:11 PM

Astonishingly, Apple is equipped to sell you that track, like every other track from Apollo 18, in ringtone form:

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewArtist?id=149020 (iTunes link)

Posted by: Nat on June 28, 2009 6:25 PM

Too bad he didn't turn it up to 11.

Posted by: Jack on July 3, 2009 8:56 AM

Hey, Yeti, did you go on another bender? How about some updates to this here blog?

I know, I know, it's free and all that. But your insights are good stuff, and I miss 'em.

Posted by: Dave on July 6, 2009 9:27 AM

Holy Smokes! We ALMOST had a new post there, for a moment, and on dear ole Sarah, no less!

Posted by: Mario on July 8, 2009 9:02 AM