Archive for July, 2009

Satisfied With Myself and the Rest of the World

Posted in My Poetry with tags on July 31, 2009 by sethdellinger

I was standing at the urinal
at the Valley Forge rest stop
when a guy beside me asked,
How are things?

For a moment
I wondered if he was gay
but I’ve never been approached
by anyone gay, and it seemed
a pretty prosaic question
for someone on the make.

So I just told him Fine.
He said, I mean
how are things–really?
as if the world
were too terrible a place
for anyone to say fine
and mean it. I said
I live in a nice town,
driving to a nice city,
with a great friend,
and the sun is out.
So honestly, things
couldn’t be better.

The guy passed me again
while I was waiting in line
for the ATM, and he said
You really mean it,
don’t you?
and I nodded,
satisfied with myself
and the rest of the world.


Nothing Adds Up

Posted in Rant/ Rave with tags , on July 31, 2009 by sethdellinger

You can buy so much stuff around here. And you don’t need too much money. It’s only 3 bucks for some delicious Pepperidge Farm cookies; they look like they should cost more, but really, they’re still normal-person cookies.

If you have an extra two bucks, you can buy a useless balsa-wood box that you could keep, maybe, three Polaroids in, or some pens. Everyone has two extra bucks.

How about a case of Red Bull? It’s only 20 bucks. That’s a lot of Red Bull. That’s a lot of energy. Who doesn’t have 20 extra bucks? C’mon, live a little. What are you saving it for?

Oh looky here. REO Speedwagon’s greatest hits. CDs are so cheap nowadays. You can get this one in cheap-ass cardboard packaging with no liner notes for 6 bucks. It would cost you more than that to download these songs. Why not? 6 bucks won’t drain the coffers; that’s the price of a Big Mac. Buy the CD; what have you got to lose?

I know you want this M.R. Ducks t-shirt. You’d look so good in it. It’s a cotton/poly blend. It’s 20% off. How can you resist it? It’s so clever. You know what they say: you can’t take it with you.

Look at all this stuff you could buy. None of it costs anything. Nothing adds up. C’mon. You’ll feel better.

Gratitude Through ‘Life Wasted’

Posted in Memoir with tags , , , , , on July 30, 2009 by sethdellinger

It was a longer than normal day at work.  I haven’t slept well the past few nights, nor eaten properly.  I am driving home hopped up on caffeine, majorly.  My body is weak, tired, shaking a little.  But it is sunny, and I am headed home, and everything is pretty close to being almost perfect.  I riffle through the CDs in my console.  I come up with Pearl Jam’s newest album, which is self-titled but affectionately referred to as The Avocado Album.  I slide it into the CD player, which eats it like it does any other CD.  The first track, Life Wasted, begins to play.  The opening riff is monstrous, thunderous, and somehow sparse.

Bum-bum-dumdum, Bum-ba-dumdum!

Then the drum and bass kick in:

BUM-BUM-DUMDUN (wuaa!), BUM-BA-DUMDUM!

I know before Eddie even sings a word that somehow I am now hearing this song for the first time. Months ago, when the CD first came out, I knew I had a connection to this song, as most people probably feel. Anyone who is through something, on the other side of something, who is doing good or feeling better, probably feels a connection to this song.  I’ve used a quote from it as my MySpace headline more than once.   Maybe it’s just that there are so many Pearl Jam songs that are already personal to me, so many that I’ve internalized, that for awhile there wasn’t room for one more Big One, one more emotional juggernaut for me to process.  But today, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, that opening riff hit me square in the gut like a dead fish on the poop deck, and I knew I was in for a ride. He started singing, and I started to sing with him, loud and with more gusto that I expected:

You’re always saying that there’s something wrong. I’m starting to believe that was your plan all along.  Death came around, forced to hear it’s song. And know tomorrow can’t be depended on…

It’s seven years ago. Younger me sits by a fire, a bonfire of sorts, in the yard of some tiny cabin in some vast woods.  I’m by myself on a makeshift bench formed by a log and two large rocks.  In the cabin, 50 yards away in the darkness, loud thumping rap music is playing and the kids from work are dancing.  Some of them are probably making out.  The stars are out in force but I can barely see them.  My head spins wildly, like the amusement park rides I’ve always been too scared to get on.  I’m wondering where all my money went.  I got a 600 dollar paycheck just three days ago, and upon opening my wallet at the liquor store this afternoon, found only a twenty.  And I cashed the whole thing–there’s none in the bank.  I had enough for a bottle of gin and a pack of smokes.  After the party tonight, I’ll be distinctly fucked.  Nobody wanders over to sit next to me and chat, because I turned into “Wolfman” an hour ago.  I snipe at everybody who comes near, or tell them there’s no God, or their shirt is ugly, or they’re fat, or whatever I deem to be wrong with them.  I drink my gin and coke and my stolen wine coolers like they were Gatorade and wander off into a meadow, where I pass out wondering where my money went and why women don’t jump at the chance to sleep with me the way they used to.

I’ve seen the home inside your head, all locked doors and unmade beds.  Open sores unattended.  Let me say just once that–

It’s eight years ago.  Younger me is crouched alongside the house I’m sharing with a married couple.  It’s somewhere around 2 AM, and it’s raining.  It’s not pouring–this isn’t a movie, after all–it’s just drizzling.  But it’s cold.  It’s that barely-autumn part of autumn, where it wants to be summer during the day and winter at night, and fools like me refuse to change from shorts to pants.  I have no idea why I’m not inside.  Maybe I’m locked out and maybe I’m not.  I’m drinking the cooking wine my friends kept in the bottom cabinet, beside the dishwasher.  It’s salty as hell; it tastes like flavored tears.  Even for someone in my desperate position, I must drink slowly or risk vomiting.  It’s a small bottle–probably two liters, but it takes me over an hour to finish it, chain-smoking menthol cigarettes and, yes, singing Pearl Jam tunes.  When it’s finally empty, I find I’m not even buzzed.  But I managed to keep the shakes away, and somehow (and somewhere) fall asleep for an evening of listless, dark-dread dreams.

I have faced it, a life wasted! I’m never going back again!
I escaped it, a life wasted! I’m never going back again!
I have tasted a life wasted! I’m never going back again!

It’s seven years ago. The alcoholic girl I am dating has stood me up again.  I don’t even like her that much, but it’s fun to have a girlfriend after all these years without one, and especially nice that she doesn’t even look at me funny, no matter how much I drink, and she lets me fuck her no matter how drunk I am.  We made plans to meet at 2 PM at Nell’s Supermarket, because she has to drop her sister off there for work.  I prepared for the evening by waking up at 11, showering, dressing and getting thoroughly drunk.  Swaying and stinking I left my Dad’s house and drove the 20 minutes to meet her.  At 2:30 I already know she’s not coming, but I keep hope alive by getting the ready-made gin and coke out of my car.  I’ve always got one in there, in a McDonald’s Super Sized soda cup.  I replenish it every time I go home, so it’s always full.  It’s a sunny winter day and the sun sets early.  The black flat pavement cools like a huge ice pack.  I wander around in the dark, sipping my drink and smoking, looking in people’s cars, admiring the red Exit sign glow in the closed banks, talking to some local skateboarders about God-knows-what.  I pass out in my driver’s seat around 7 PM.  I awake, with no saliva in my mouth and an intense need to pee, at 3 AM.  I drive back to Dad’s house and pee in the lawn.

The world awaits just up the stairs…leave the pain for someone else. There’s nothing back there for you to find…or was it you, you left behind?

It’s a little over six years ago.  It’s my first morning waking up in rehab.  It’s a strange, glowy feeling.  I need a drink, that much is clear.  I also can’t seem to move.  It’s about 18 hours since I had a drink, which is much longer than I’ve gone over the past year.  The shaking is bad.  The fever is worse.  And yet, I am not afraid, because here I am safe.  Here I cannot get it.  Here they will make me whole.
It’s a 3 bed room, but I am alone in it.  The other 2 beds lay undisturbed, made up with precision like a hotel bed.  My blinds are drawn but sun beats through them, is hot and sticky like summer, although it’s December.  Shadows of people move across the window, they laugh and blow smoke out of their mouths.  I wish I could join them out there, but am afraid.  I’m afraid I won’t ever be able to move again, I’m afraid I won’t fit in, I’m afraid they won’t identify with me, I’m afraid they’ll call me short and laugh, I’m afraid I won’t know what to do.  I’m afraid I’ll want to drink for the rest of my life, always and forever, without ceasing.  I’m afraid everyone will know that about me.

You’re always saying you’re too weak to be strong.  You’re harder on yourself than just about anyone.  Why swim the channel just to get this far?  Halfway there, why would you turn around?

It’s six years ago.  This is to be my last day living with my mother.  It was a nice, idyllic half-year stay in the countryside of New Jersey.  Almost a second childhood.  Her home, like her, a womb.  Her three silent cats who seemed to know I was nursing back to health.  The sun-drenched linoleum floors while I had the place to myself, shiny like a summer lake.  I watched the years final snow melt from my bedroom window and watched Spring inundate the thirsty world with water, and green, and everywhere insects.  I gained real weight and shaved everyday, ate candy like I meant it and apples, too.  I wrote so many poems about so many things, my mind surprised by time and clarity.  I cried with joy and sadness as I drove away, toward home, toward my boyhood town, to see if I could now do it this time.  To try to live on my own without fear.

Darkness comes in waves.  Tell me, why invite it to stay?  You’re warm with negativity, yes, comfort is an energy, but why let the sad song play?

It’s three years ago.  I’m moving the last of my boxes into my my first very-own apartment, the first place that I will live totally by myself.  It’s a nice, wood-panelled place with a pretty big living room and off-street parking.  I’m not worried about affording it, or about being alone, or fitting in or being able to do the next right thing.  I walk into the bathroom, looking at the sink and the mirror.  My sink and mirror.  I just stand and stare, because I can’t believe I have my own sink and my own mirror.

I have faced it, a life wasted! I’m never going back again!
Oh I escaped it, a life wasted! I’m never going back again!
Having tasted a life wasted, I’m never going back again!
Oh I erased it, a life wasted! I’m never going back again!

Seven Mary Three in Reading

Posted in Concert/ Events, Rant/ Rave with tags , , on July 28, 2009 by sethdellinger

A few things here about an upcoming Seven Mary Three show.

First:  I just bought a ticket to a Seven Mary three show on Friday, August 14th, at The Silo in Reading, PA.  I bought it from TicketsNow, which is a subsidiary of Ticketmaster, but is is not Ticketmaster.  The convenience charge was four dollars, which brought my total for the ticket to twenty six dollars. How awesome is that in this day and age????

Second:  I welcome anyone who might want to come to this to buy a ticket and tag along with me.  I’ll drive.  Caveat:  there are three opening bands, and they all fall into the “hardcore” genre (oddly, since 7m3 is anything but).  I’ve checked them all out on MySpace and they’re not, like, devil music, or super-tempo, like Pantera or anything.  They’re quite listenable, and I kinda liked one of them (Seventh Corvus, who call themselves hardcore but sounded more like Dashboard Confessional mixed with O.A.R.).  After listening to them, I decided it would be worth it.  And they’re all local bands, so chances are over 50% of the crowd will be there to see 7m3.

Third: If any of you are in the mood for a cheap dose of live music, but are largely unfamiliar with 7m3 outside of “Cumbersome”, I have just created a rockin’ mix disc which I would be happy to get to you if you aren’t sure you want to come.  Adrienne, I’m dropping yours in the mail tomorrow.

Also, is it possible to sleep on your head wrong?  Cause I think I did last night.

Seth’s Summer Movie Scorecard

Posted in Rant/ Rave with tags , , on July 27, 2009 by sethdellinger

So far:

Wolverine: 3 out of 5

Star Trek: 4 out of 5

Terminator Salvation: 4 out of 5

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian: 4 out of 5

Drag Me to Hell: 5 out of 5

Land of the Lost: 2 out of 5

Year One: 4 out of 5

Bruno: 3 out of 5

Public Enemies: 3 out of 5

Things That Are True Facts and Beyond Dispute

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 27, 2009 by sethdellinger

Nobody understands the economic concept of “futures”.

Chinese food delivery men are the nicest delivery men.

Stephen King’s best days are behind him.

The best Stephen King film adaptation is “The Shawshank Redemption”.  The best horror film adaption of King’s is “Misery”, unless you categorize that as Suspense, in which case the best horror adaptation is “It”.

The best color is green.

Foreign money always looks weird.

Vinyl is better than CDs.

Daylight Savings Time is stupid.

Ten things that are “masterpieces”:

1. Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Oddysey”.
2. Tupac’s “Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.”
3. Dave Eggers’ “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”
4. Carnivale
5. Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs”
6. Roy Thomas’ 1992 run on Dr. Strange
7. Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself
8. Picasso’s “Guernica”
9. Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”
10. Any “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live featuring Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon

Ten things often mistaken for “masterpieces”.

1. Stanely Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove”
2. Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”
3. Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections”
4. Twin Peaks
5. Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction”
6. Chris Claremont’s Days of Future Past
7. Allen Ginsberg’s Howl
8. Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”
9. August Wilson’s “Fences”
10. Gilda Radner on “Weekend Update”

Cherry is by far the best wood for furniture.

Al Gore would have made a fine president.

Philip Larkin is the best British poet ever.

Pink Floyd does have a masterpiece, and it is of course “Echoes”.

Three languages that are attractive:
1. French
2. English
3. Russian

Amnesia would not be fun.

Pooping is fun.

The best ending of any book ever is the last page of The Grapes of Wrath.

Nobody really likes cigars.

Ticketmaster really is evil.

G is the most pleasing chord.

Anyone can golf.

Maya Angelou is a terrible poet.

One pair of new socks is better than three new shirts.

The best “indie rock” song ever written is Death Cab For Cutie’s “What Sarah Said”.

David Lynch movies don’t make sense, and it isn’t admirable, either.  Even “Dune”.

Sleeping more than 9 hours is bad.  So is less than 5.

Haircuts are a waste of money.

The five best Johnny Depp movies are, in order:

1. Dead Man
2. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
3. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
4. The Libertine
5. From Hell

Are We All Big Brother?

Posted in Concert/ Events, Photography with tags , , , , on July 26, 2009 by sethdellinger

A few days ago, I quite accidentally, and with no little surprise, saw myself on YouTube.  I was wasting a few minutes before bed by looking up video of concerts I had been to, because watching video from a show you were at is both very fun, and very surreal.  I looked up footage from the Presidents of the United States of America show I attended a few months back, in Lancaster, with my friend Mary.  We had been in the front row, so the last thing I expected to see was us.  Well. lo and behold, the only video from that show was taken from behind the stage, and Mary and I are quite visible up front.  Here is the video.  Mary and I are pretty much directly in front of the lead singer, Chris Balew.  She’s the one with the blonde hair, pulled up, wearing a blue semi-V-neck top.  I’m next to her, quite obviously unimpressed with the show.

The shock of seeing this got me to thinking: how many places was I visible on the internet, without even knowing about it?

This is a more difficult search to undertake than you think.  I started with concerts and events, as it is a specific place and time which can be pinpointed and searched for, and where video and photographs were almost certianly being taken.  However, my penchant for being in the front row disqualifies me for most YouTube concert videos, which are normally taken by people behind the front row, focusing on the act.  The Presidents show was quite a fluke.

However, I did hit minor pay dirt when searching for images from the recent Explosions in the Sky concert Mary and I attended in Central Park.  Here is a picture from a website called Brooklyn Vegan.  Mary can be seen on the far right of the photograph; she’s out of focus, but it’s definitely her.  I was to her left, so I’m not in the picture, although you can see my white t-shirt and half of my head.

15

What is amazing is, if you go to the full article on Brooklyn Vegan, which is here, and page down and look at all the photos there, you’ll see it’s kinda amazing that Mary and I are not visible in a clear-as-day, professional photograph on that website.  There are photos of just about everyone in the front row except for us.  And how many of those people know their pictures are there?   Sure, this has always happened, to an extent, with background photos in newspapers and other print media, but with the explosion of content which is the internet, it must be happening alot more often, and people probably know about it alot less.

I found one more image of myself (and once again, Mary) during my admittedly short-lived search. Here is a photo collage of Constantines, who were the opening band for Explosions in the Sky.  Mary and I can first be seen in the fifth photo.  I am the last front-row spectator able to be seen before the rest are obscured by a keyboard; I’m wearing a white t-shirt.  Mary can be seen to my right, once again recognizable by her blonde hair.  Once you’ve gotten a bearing for where we are, we can be seen a handful of more times throughout the collage.

Now, these are, of course, small, almost unnoticable examples.  If I had shown you that Constantines video collage, you would not have known I was there.  But, where else am I on the internet that I’m not thinking to look?  Was someone taking pictures at the Newville Fountain Festival last month–the small-town, blip-on-the-radar event that the world doesn’t care about?  Maybe they were, and maybe my face is emblazoned on some website of an artist who specializes in photographs of small town celebrations.  Or someone just taking pictures on the street.  Or maybe someone was taking pictures of airport departures the last time I got off an airplane.  And there are almost certainly more of me at concerts; I got exhausted looking after only half an hour, and there’s a whole lotta internet out there.

The question is, do I care?  Or should I care? And should you care?

I have no idea.  What do you think?

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