Archive for March, 2013

More Camden video, with apologies to my dad!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 31, 2013 by sethdellinger

Sorry, Dad.  This city just fires my engines.  You guys have to check this video out, it’s like another planet!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 29, 2013 by sethdellinger

My Third Favorite Song of All-Time

Posted in 100 Favorite Songs with tags , , on March 27, 2013 by sethdellinger

I will probably die alone.  Like, in the typical sense that phrase conjures: no wife, no kids, no standard genetic legacy.  Sure, I have always had plenty of great friends and family, and hopefully still will when my final ticket gets punched, but I’ll still be shuffling off the mortal coil “alone”, for what it’s worth.

Remaining a single and childless (so far as I’m aware) man was a decision I made gradually over the last ten years, and, make no mistake about it, it has absolutely been a decision I consciously made.  Now, I really don’t understand myself well enough to know what about my inner workings makes me a happier, more satisfied man when I’m not beholden to a woman or needy children of my own, but there can be no mistake about it: I am not meant for relationships.  Not only am I better off this way, but any woman unfortunate enough to get swept up in my path is now much better off this way.  Please, forget about commenting something like “You still have lots of time!” or “You just need to meet the right woman!”  No, I don’t, and No, I won’t.  I’m not “normal”.  I might seem kinda normal because I don’t have facial tattoos and I have a pretty normal job and I don’t get arrested or paint mermaids on my car, but trust me, I aint normal.  But, one thing I am, is generally really happy.  So there’s that.

But all that being what it is, doesn’t mean this decision and reality doesn’t, on the rarest of occasion, make me sad.  I remember my younger days, and being in love, and part of a unit of two; that is a very special feeling.  I miss that elevated sensation of existence.  But more so than anything, I am saddened by this reality when I consider what life will be like once my parents are gone, and half of my friends and maybe even some of the women I loved when I was younger, when they are dead, too.  And then maybe I will get some terrible nameless disease, and I will be laying there in a hospital bed, in pain and afraid of the end, and nobody will be there to watch me die.  Can there be a much worse thought in all the world?

“What Sarah Said” by Death Cab For Cutie addresses this fear in such a pitch-perfect fashion, I am often emotionally afraid to listen to it.  Of course it is masterful, just as an artifact of such a talented band, but beyond that, it is an emotional juggernaut that should be preserved for whatever species populates our planet after us.

Lyricist Ben Gibbard spends almost all of the song describing a hospital waiting room, while interspersing the description with nuggets of intensely insightful wisdom:  “And it came to me then, that every plan is a tiny prayer to Father Time.”

“And I knew that you were a truth I would rather lose than to have never lain beside at all.”

“It stung like a violent wind, that our memories depend on a faulty camera in our mind.”

And then, after building up such a heartfelt picture of someone waiting in a hospital for a loved one who is obviously in very bad health and probably close to dying, Gibbard’s narrator suddenly says that what he’s actually thinking about is “what Sarah said” (there is no mention of a Sarah before or after)…what Sarah said, apparently, is “Love is watching someone die.”

Let that sink in for a second.

And he closes the song with a repition of this refrain, that, due to my feelings I talked about up above, moves me beyond belief: “So, who’s going to watch you die?”

“What Sarah Said” by Death Cab For Cutie

And it came to me then
that every plan is a tiny prayer to Father Time,
as I stared at my shoes
in the ICU that reeked of piss and 409.
And I rationed my breaths
as I said to myself
that I’d already taken too much today.
As each descending peak on the LCD
took you a little farther away from me.

Amongst the vending machines
and year-old magazines
in a place where we only say goodbye,
it stung like a violent wind
that our memories depend
on a faulty camera in our minds.
But I knew that you were a truth
I would rather lose
than to have never lain beside at all.
And I looked around
at all the eyes on the ground
as the TV entertained itself.

‘Cause there’s no comfort in the waiting room.
Just nervous pacers bracing for bad news.
And then the nurse comes round
and everyone will lift their heads,
but I’m thinking of what Sarah said,
that “Love is watching someone die”.

So, who’s going to watch you die?

Self-Portraits in Cities

Posted in Photography with tags on March 27, 2013 by sethdellinger

It’s been awhile since there was a new entry, but I’m especially fond of this one!  And remember, click a photo, then when it re-load, click it again for a full-screen version…I vainly recommend this because I think a few of these pictures are some of my best!

024

Wilmington, Delaware

 

philly

 

Philadelphia, PA

 

atlantic city

 

Atlantic City, NJ

 

pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA

 

erie

Erie, PA

 

cleveland

Cleveland, OH

 

buffalo

 

Buffalo, NY

My Fourth Favorite Song of All-Time

Posted in 100 Favorite Songs on March 26, 2013 by sethdellinger

I can’t help it that many of the songs at the top of my list are going to be about death, or something just as serious and kind of sad.  I like my art and entertainment pretty serious, typically.  I like to be moved about the largest, most important elements of my existence.  I don’t care how pompous it sounds: I like songs that make me feel connected to the universe, and make my life feel as big as Jupiter.

I wasn’t sure I liked “Hospital Beds” by Hey Rosetta! the first time I heard it.  It seemed kind of sleepy, kind of average, kind of blah.  It is the last song on their debut album, Plan Your Escape, an album I like very much, so I ended up hearing the song frequently, and I noticed the musical buildup, finally, before I even noticed the lyrics.  The sleepiness I had noticed at first is firmly replaced in the song’s second half by a clearly heartfelt, heart-wrenching crescendo.  So then, I listened to words.

I’ve never had someone very close to me die, and definitely not while they were in a hospital bed, but that doesn’t stop this song from fucking me up.  When you think about someone dying there amid all that machinery, all those beeps and wheezes and in the fluorescent lighting in the huge building, one can be struck by the distance such a demise carries us from our basic humanity, from our core existence in our skin, with just ourselves.  And then, while thinking about all that machinery to die around, one can maybe ruminate for a few minutes about just how much of our lives we now spend draped in gadgetry, surrounded by plastic and screens, checking up on things we never cared about before, having forgotten about our own selves.  In the words of “Hospital Beds” (written by lyricist Tim Baker), “I’ve been swathed in inventions ever since I ventured into the light, but I’m leaving empty, with just my sacrifice.”  And then the musical buildup happens, and I feel like, in that riff, that gnarl, that thud, that I might just curl up and die, too, someday, carried to whatever is beyond in a song that’s bigger than Jupiter.

“Hospital Beds” by Hey Rosetta!

When I’m dying,
promise compliance,
and carry my body
up over the fence
and lay me on the moss,
we’ll hide my spirit from the gods,
and when they come looking
we’ll by laying in the park.

I don’t want wires.
I know they’re trying
to bring me back,
but no more plastic,
I’ve had my piles of all that.
I’ve been swathed in inventions
ever since I ventured into the light,
but I’m leaving empty
with just my sacrifice.

Cause you sacrifice
all of your life.
And when you die,
is that alright?
And when you’re bathed in light,
and when your body bursts wide open,
will you start to cry?
Not because you die,
but because you die
still hoping?

Posted in Photography, Uncategorized with tags , on March 22, 2013 by sethdellinger

garden

My 5th Favorite Song of All-Time

Posted in 100 Favorite Songs with tags on March 15, 2013 by sethdellinger

Click here to see an explanation of this list.

Click here to read all previous entries on this list.

And let’s have a look at everything that has come before:

100.  “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something
99.  “Jack & Diane” by John Mellencamp
98.  “Hotel California” by The Eagles
97.  “American Pie” by Don McLean
96.  “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson
95.  “Nuthin’ but a G Thang” by Dr. Dre
94.  “Bushwick Blues” by Delta Spirit
93.  “For the Workforce, Drowning” by Thursday
92.  “Fish Heads” by Barnes and Barnes
91.  “Shimmer” by Fuel
90.  “Rubber Biscuit” by the Blues Brothers
89.  “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals
88.  “Asleep at the Wheel” by Working For a Nuclear-Free City
87.  “There’s an Arc” by Hey Rosetta!
86.  “Steam Engine” by My Morning Jacket
85.  “Scenario” by A Tribe Called Quest
84.  “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane
83.  “Fits” by Stone Gossard
82.  “Spring Flight to the Land of Fire” by The Cape May
81. “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by The Postal Service
80.  “Sober” by Tool
79.  “Dream is Collapsing” by Hans Zimmer
78.  “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road?” by The Beatles
77.  “In This Light and on This Evening” by Editors
76.  “Lemonworld” by The National
75.  “Twin Peaks Theme” by Angelo Badalamente
74.  “A Comet Appears” by The Shins
73.  “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” by The Decemberists
72.  “Pepper” by Butthole Surfers
71.  “Life Wasted” by Pearl Jam
70.  “Jetstream” by Doves
69.  “Trieste” by Gifts From Enola
68.  “Oh My God” by Kaiser Chiefs
67.  “The Righteous Path” by Drive-By Truckers
66.  “Innocence” by The Airborne Toxic Event
65.  “There, There” by Radiohead
64.  “Ants Marching” by Dave Matthews Band
63.  “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen
62.  “The Best of What’s Around” by Dave Matthews Band
61.  “Old Man” by Neil Young
60.  “Cumbersome” by Seven Mary Three
59.  “Knocked Up” by Kings of Leon
58.  “Machine Head” by Bush
57.  “Peaches” by Presidents of the United States of America
56.  “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones
55.  “Fell on Black Days” by Soundgarden
54.  “The New Year” by Death Cab for Cutie
53.  “Call Me Al” by Paul Simon
52.  “Real Muthaphuckin’ Gs” by Eazy E
51..  “Evening Kitchen” by Band of Horses
50.  “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” by Primitive Radio Gods
49.  “Top Drawer” by Man Man
48.  “Locomotive Breath” by Jethro Tull
47.  “We Used to Vacation” by Cold War Kids
46.  “Easy Money” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
45.  “Two-fifty” by Chris Walla
44.  “I’ve Got a Feeling” by The Beatles
43.  “Another Pilot” by Hey Rosetta!
42.  “Revelate” by The Frames
41.  “Wise Up” by Aimee Mann
40.  “Sample in a Jar” by Phish
39.  “Spitting Venom” by Modest Mouse
38.  “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow” by Nice & Smooth
37.  “I Shall Be Released” by The Band
36.  “When I Fall” by Barenaked Ladies
35.  “East Hastings” by Godspeed You! Black Emperor
34.  “Terrible Love” by The National
33.  “Jolene” by Dolly Parton
32.  “Sometime Around Midnight” by The Airborne Toxic Event
31.  “This Train Revised” by Indigo Girls
30.  “Mad World” by Gary Jules
29.  “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes
28.  “Once in a Lifetime” by The Talking Heads
27.  “Growing Old is Getting Old” by Silversun Pickups
26.  “Brian and Robert” by Phish
25.  “Is There a Ghost?” by Band of Horses
24.  “Be Safe” by The Cribs
23.  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland
22.  “Ashes in the Fall” by Rage Against the Machine
21.  “We Laugh Indoors” by Death Cab For Cutie
20.  “Dondante” by My Morning Jacket

19.  “We Used to Wait” by Arcade Fire

18.  “Oceans of Envy” by Seven Mary Three

17.  “This is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan

16.  “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

15.  “What a Good Boy” by Barenaked Ladies

14.  “Styrofoam Plates” by Death Cab For Cutie

13.  “Hard to Imagine” by Pearl Jam

12.  “Everything In Its Right Place” by Radiohead

11.  “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles

10.  “Rattlesnake” by LIVE

9.  “Honey of Generation” by Seven Mary Three

8.  “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire

7.  “Rearviewmirror” by Pearl Jam

6.  “White, Discussion” by LIVE

and my 5th favorite song of all-time is:

“Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles

It may not be one of The Beatles’ more uplifting, anthemic, or emotional songs, but it is by far their most brilliantly-written (I fall very much in the Paul camp, when it comes to songwriting.  Paul is a genuine poet.  John was a great songwriter).  Here, Paul takes an unflinching and sorrowful look here at the human condition, and finds we are alone, and sad, and probably darning socks in the night.  Not a happy song by any means, but the product of a genuine artistic vision, which The Beatles were certainly under no obligation to produce at this point in their career.

No songwriter has ever been able to say as much, as interestingly, with as few words as Paul does here.  Eleanor “waits by the window/ wearing the face that she keeps/ in a jar by the door./ Who is it for?”  You’ve almost got the content of an entire novel there.  And it rhymes.  Pure amazeballs.

And there is an unspoken story that the characters we are introduced to create.  Eleanor and Father McKenzie are, probably, both affiliated with the same church, maybe even both live on the grounds.  Why are they lonely?  Have they ever considered each other as companions?  Is it the cosmic joke that two people are so lonely, so close together?  And what is Paul saying about religion here (writers of Paul’s caliber don’t choose settings by accident)?

Eleanor Rigby

Ah, look at all the lonely people!

Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice
in the church where a wedding has been.

Lives in a dream

Waits at the window,
wearing the face that she keeps
in a jar by the door.
Who is it for?

All the lonely people,
where do they all come from?
All the lonely people,
where do they all belong?

Father Mckenzie writing the words
of a sermon that no one will hear.
No one comes near.
Look at him working,
darning his socks in the night
when there’s nobody there.
What does he care?

All the lonely people,
where do they all come from?
All the lonely people,
where do they all belong?

Ah, look at all the lonely people!

Eleanor Rigby died in the church
and was buried along with her name.
Nobody came.
Father Mckenzie wiping the dirt from his hands
as he walks from the grave.

No one was saved

All the lonely people (ah, look at all the lonely people),
where do they all come from?
All the lonely people (ah, look at all the lonely people),
where do they all belong?

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