Archive for the real life Category

Posted in real life with tags , on October 16, 2017 by sethdellinger

I did a thing.

5k

Protected: I Am Out of Goodwill Puns, Here’s an Entry About Work

Posted in real life with tags , on October 12, 2017 by sethdellinger

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Fall Work, Ashcan, 5k, and Sandra Bland

Posted in real life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2017 by sethdellinger

1.

Winter is coming and I hate winter.  But I am coming around a little more to the idea of liking fall.  For most of my life, I’ve been staunchly against fall, citing the fact that it is a sad harbinger of winter, and the end of summer, and the season where everything dies.  But the past few years I’ve started to feel I’ve just been repeating what I’ve always said, instead of being honest about my changing views.  Fall is kind of nice.  I like wearing longer pants and hoodies.  I like crunchy yellow leaves.  So yeah, another example of allowing myself to evolve here.  Granted not on any sort of major topic, but I wanted to make it public: sure, I like fall.

2.

Work is going terrific!!! I am back to working in Harrisburg and no longer doing my crazy commute.  I work (approximately) 8am-4pm Monday-Friday.  I’m having a blast!  I’ll have a more detailed password-protected blog about it within the next week, but I wanted to give that quick update.

3.

My favorite painting of all time is John Sloan’s “Sixth Avenue and Thirtieth Street”.  The reasons are many.  First, Sloan is my favorite painter overall: his pioneering “ashcan” style–which denotes his muted color pallet, a brush technique that was representational but bordered on abstract, and choice of subject matter–speaks to me and to my view of the world.  This painting in particular (which I’ve included below) hits me on a gut level.  The titular streets are in the “tenderloin” district of New York City, which is another way of saying the poor or “slum” area.  In this work, Sloan chooses to show us this area in broad daylight at a busy intersection.  We are looking at a corner business that is perhaps of some disrepute–a brothel or perhaps a burlesque theater?  There are some finely dressed folks around, but they are not the same kind you’d find down by Central Park.  The focus of the scene is on a woman in distress; she is in nightclothes and carries a pail, is obviously upset.  Most scholars of this painting suggest this woman is drunk and is emotional.  The passersby–especially the two finely-clad young women nearby who could not be more different than the drunk woman–look on with judgement and perhaps even amusement, but no one in the scene seems to have empathy or concern for this woman.

There is a lot more that could be discussed about the painting.  Sloan did not waste a centimeter of the canvas (a quick for instance–Sloan’s decision to place the drunk woman at the bottom of the canvas, rather than center her, leaving him space to paint lots of sky, whereas he could have provided more surrounding context of the city instead; an interesting topic of discussion, that one).

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4.

I have made some mention on Facebook that I have begun running, and even signed up for my first 5k (this coming Saturday)! I’m super excited but also currently undergoing a substantial amount of worry as, just 3 days ago I did my longest outdoor run yet and have had some very minor signs of some stress fractures in my shins the past few nights.  Now, these symptoms are very minor and it is 100% possible I am inventing them.  Any way you slice it, I am running the 5K this Saturday and will keep training this week on elliptical machines to avoid high impact work, and should probably know after the 5k (because my body will tell me) if I have to take a break from running and maybe evaluate my running style, etc, moving forward.  But I want to be a runner super bad so even if I have to take a significant break and make some adjustments, I’m on it.  On a side note, the running has really been a key factor in helping me get close to my goal weight: before the weekend I was 144 (goal is 140)…the weekend saw a lot of eating so I’ll know where I’m at when the dust clears on Tuesday :)

5.

Police kill innocent black people with an alarming frequency.  You don’t have to eat animals or their secretions in this day and age.  America should be a country that welcomes immigrants.  Respect women’s reproductive rights and the rights of their bodies.  Resist any and all attempts to make our culture white, male-oriented–including the language you use.  Climate change is real. There is no need to wear wool or leather in this day and age.  Do whatever you want when The Star-Spangled Banner is playing, including eating food, walking to the bathroom, keeping your hat on (I mean really) or sitting or kneeling.  Fund art programs, NPR, Meals on Wheels, and Planned Parenthood.  Oh, and in Major League Baseball, the designated hitter rule continues to be an absolute scourge.

145

Posted in real life with tags on October 1, 2017 by sethdellinger

Weighed in at 145 pounds this morning, with a goal of 140.  Feeling pretty good!  I’m a little unhappy about the fact that I can’t do much strength training, due to my recent Carpal Tunnel surgery, so it is affecting how the fat is burning away from me–I have a little more belly than I have at 145 before.  But all in all–I am in a really good place (we ate out twice today though–I will not be 145 tomorrow!)

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For Benji, Forever Ago

Posted in real life with tags , , , on September 13, 2017 by sethdellinger

I never envisioned it ending that way, Benji.  Not in that small, fluorescent-lit room, on the floor there, by the diagram posters of canine mouths and the end table covered in year-old magazines.  I don’t know how I pictured it, but it wasn’t there.  I’m so happy I was able to be there with you for it though–although truth be told, I’d have liked to have been anywhere else.

So that was how it ended for you.  The culmination of your significant sixteen years of life experience,  all your moves and joys and sadnesses and all the people you knew and everything you smelled–all the stuff that was you drew up into itself and stopped, right then, in that tiny room.

I’ve had thoughts like this before, Benji.  When my grandma died, she was there in a hospital bed (I wasn’t there, I didn’t see her.  I have regret! I have guilt!) surrounded by, I suppose, pillows, blankets, and unending medical gadgets (one of my favorite songwriters put is perfectly in saying that, as we die in hospitals, we are “swathed in inventions”.  How terrible!).  And that is where her story ended, many miles from where it started, after years of toiling away, gasping for it all, forming and nurturing relationships, it petered out right there in that adjustable-back bed, probably drinking through enormous straws.  When it ends, typically, it just fades out, like the last drips through a garden hose, and practically everything you’ve done just blinks out along with you.  We have lots of grandma’s stuff, but the things she thought, or felt, or knew–those stopped right there, swathed in inventions.

It’s difficult for me to imagine that you had a mother, Benji, but I suppose you must have.  A biological mother, of the dog variety.  You were born on an island in Hawaii, which is so, so very far from here.  I’ve typically thought of your story as starting in the animal rescue that Karla found you in when you were about seven months old, but certainly, for you, your story started before then.  I strain to imagine the circumstances of your birth.  Were you born in an alley in a city?  Or as part of a litter that “belonged” to someone, and they gave you away?  Or were you born in a wild part of that tropical paradise, under some sunny palm tree copse, shadow-dappled, to a gorgeous pure-bred Basenji mother who couldn’t take care of you and your nine siblings?  Your genesis will sadly always be hidden from us; it was locked away from us behind the barrier of language.  How terrible, I say!  How terrible.

When someone dies, I picture their life like a long, squiggly line, moving this way and that, to and fro.  Not just geographically, but up and down as fortune favors or frowns on you, as things go good or bad, as you love or hate, are happy or sad, as you move across the globe, or spend all day in the living room, life is long (it aint short, it’s long!) and the line moves all around as you collect all these vivid experiences, and then, suddenly, there’s a big dot where it ends, on the floor next to magazines.

What was it all for, Benji?  Why did you do it all?  Why go through all the immense machinations just to drip out like drops from a hose, like everyone else?  Well, not to be too dramatic, but I gotta tell you, I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to figure out the answer to that question.  Almost everything I’ve written has been an attempt to get to that (I’ve never told anyone this, out of embarrassment, but when I write, I think to myself that I am trying to “crack open the shell of the world and see what’s inside”.  Isn’t that dreadfully pretentious? And now I’ve gone and told everyone), and all my favorite art and media is mostly more sad or deadly serious than most people prefer (my father-in-law and I joke about my predilection for “feel-bad movies”); I am always listening to music and looking for the answer, reading books and looking for the answer, watching films and looking for the answer.  And Benji, I do think I’ve found it, and here’s what I would have told you if I could have, through the barrier of language:

There is legitimately no reason or meaning to life.  Isn’t that awful? But really, it is quite obvious.  How could it not be so?  We are just little squirmy critters scampering over the surface of a fantastic planet.  We are summoned forth from the void by the power of biology, and once summoned, have to complete the maze until the very end.  That’s about it.  Dreadful.

But, Benji, there is good news! In the absence of any “reason” for living from outside of ourselves, we are free to conjure our own.  And that’s what I have really spent all these years trying to figure out.  If there’s no real meaning or reason for all this, what is the right one to create?  And that, too, seems obvious:

Bring joy.  Be joyous.  Spread joy to those around you and find joy for yourself.  We are but squiggly little creatures on this planet just once, and I lied earlier when I said life was long, it’s short, it’s short!  And its hard, my goodness this life we live from beginning to wherever it ends for us is so damn hard, all you can do is try to find some joy, to bring some joy into your house, to spread that large multi-colored burst whenever, wherever you can, as often as you can.  It’s not easy to do, Benji, because life will discourage it, but hey: it’s all we’ve got.

The best news yet, Benji, is that you were terrific at this.  To the last, you smiled, despite all that life had thrown at you.  You smiled your smile and wanted to be right in the middle of the action, all the time, and love us all up, and prance around feeling the carpet or the grass under your paws, angling your head up to the sun like the vaulted Hawaiian king you absolutely were.   So, I say (too little, too late), thank you.  There is never too much joy.  Someday my line will stop at a big dot somewhere, and until I get there, I want to soak up as much of the joy as I can, and I aspire to spread it around like you did.

Joy.  That’s the answer, right Benji?  It has to be.  We can make it be the answer.  Because other than that, there is only one fact in life: it ends.

He Likes Sunbathing

Posted in Rant/ Rave, real life with tags , , , , on September 5, 2017 by sethdellinger

Today, Boy and I went to the pool in our development for some late summer swimming. The water was freezing, but the company was terrific, and the sun was shining. After about half an hour we took a break and sat on a bench eating some snacks. Suddenly, something hit me in the chest with a thud. I was shocked and bewildered, and quickly realized it was in fact the largest fly I have ever seen. I guess it is what they call a horsefly, although I have no idea what it scientifically is called. This fly, which after running right into my chest circled around Boy and I for a few minutes, was, hands down, one of the largest insects I have ever seen. It landed on us occasionally, and I swear it was the size of a small rodent. When it landed on you, it had true heft, you could feel its weight on you. I won’t deny being a little creeped out, and I did continually wave it away from me, but naturally, the thought of ending this thing’s life never crossed my mind. Why in the world would it?

After a few minutes of this fly circling around us, it became evident that we were not the first people at the pool to have noticed it, and now a lot of eyes were trained on us, watching us deal with it. A few minutes after it encountered us, it landed on the concrete sidewalk about ten feet away from us. One of the local girls who was also at the pool, probably about ten years old, sat a few feet away from it, staring at it in disgust. She held in one of her hands a flip-flop. She looked at me, assuming that I would be in league with her on this, and she said to me, I hate flies, and she inched toward it raising the flip flop. I said in a calm tone, It’s not hurting anything, leave it alone. What I said must not have registered very much, as it is an unusual stance about insects so it usually washes over people at first. She continued to advance on it and raised the flip flop higher and repeated her statement, I hate flies. Before she got any further I said in a sharper, more urgent tone, It’s not going to hurt you. Please don’t kill it. 

Before I tell any more of this story, I think it is important to note that I am in no way telling this story to get kudos for saving this fly’s life. Asking people around us not to senselessly kill animals who are minding their own business is, in my opinion, the very least we can do, and is not something we deserve kudos for but is in fact a moral obligation. That being said, I will continue the story.

The interesting thing is that when I pleaded for her to not kill it, you could see some sort of flash of recognition across her face. It is probably likely that in her life she had never heard anyone plead for the life of an insect. And although she was about ten years old, which in the grand scheme of how we form our worldview is actually rather old, she is still young enough that simple truths like that can penetrate in ways that the psyches of older people don’t allow. A second after I pleaded for the insect’s life, and the flash of recognition happened to her, she looked at me and gave a little smile, looked back at the fly, and almost seemed to look at it with affection. After a few more seconds, she looked at me and said, He’s sunbathing! He likes sunning, doesn’t he? I said, he probably does.

Boy–who of course is no stranger to this rhetoric and is fully on the “don’t kill insects” team–none-the-less wasn’t so sure about my authority on this particular issue. “How you know it likes suntanning?” He asked me. I don’t, I said. But I bet it does, most people do. And then, looking at the girl again, I said, But one thing I do know is, it doesn’t want to die. Nothing wants to die.

The girl walked away, and over the next few minutes I heard snippets of her conversation with her friends, and she kept saying, The fly like suntanning, the fly likes sunning.  Kids are so receptive to these simple ideas, which almost certainly means they are universal truths that we are born with and culture shoos us away from.

The argument I always come back to in any sort of discussion about veganism, animal liberation, animal rights, etc etc, is that things don’t want to die. People can talk about humane conditions or slaughter, humans being natural carnivores, or even justify eating certain creatures of the sea because they lack certain elements of a nervous system, but sentient beings don’t want to die. Things want to live. Even insects. Even worms. Animals want to live.

Posted in Photography, real life with tags , , on August 8, 2017 by sethdellinger

zzz

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