Archive for Carlisle

Batmen

Posted in Memoir, Uncategorized with tags , on December 23, 2015 by sethdellinger

After walking up the one flight of warped, uneven stairs, I put my key in the heavy, peeling-paint white door and swing it open.  My roommate, Cory, will certainly be asleep—it’s very late at night and he works in the morning, Monday through Friday. As expected,  the apartment is darkened except the small, dim light right inside the door, which we keep on when one of us has written a new message on the dry-erase board hanging in the entryway.  I sit my bag down and turn with interest to read the message Cory has left me.

I don’t know what the creature is under the salad bowl in the center of the living room floor, but it really freaked me out.  I had to go to bed.  We’ll deal with it in the morning.

 This, of course, has me very curious.  I enter the living room, with its sloped, bent floors, its walls with quarter-sized cracks running diagonally down them, and its trodden-flat beige carpet, and I flick on the large overhead light.  Sure enough, there in the center of the floor, is Cory’s frosted Pyrex large salad bowl, upside down—the way you would sit it to capture something underneath.  At first glance it appears to be just that—a salad bowl sitting upside down.  But as I approach it and look closer, it becomes obvious that something is definitely alive under there.  The salad bowl is frosted, so details can not be clearly made out, but a small creature—the size of a large mouse—is loping around the outside of the bowl, following it as if in an orbit, or like a dog on a chain circles the axis of the chain’s spike in the ground.  Except it isn’t moving like a normal animal; it isn’t scurrying like a mouse or prancing along like a robin.  No, it is moving in calculated fits-and-starts, rhythmically chugging from one stop to the next start, as well as seeming to lower its whole body at each stop, and then lift up again when it next moved.  It slouches along like some demon beast.

I am freaked out.

I kneel on the floor and get my head closer to the bowl (after about ten minutes of circling the bowl and considering waking Cory up—I mean really, he couldn’t have left more explanation on the dry-erase board???? Sorry if you’re reading this, Cory, but seriously) and study the thing’s movements.  It is quite bizarre and unlike anything I’d every really seen.  However, finally, after many minutes of studying its movements, I come to a final conclusion that would prove to be the truth:  it is a bat.

I go to my tiny, blue-carpeted, single-windowed bedroom and look for something I could slide underneath the salad bowl.  This proves more difficult than you might imagine, to find something thin enough to slide under but large enough to hold the entire bowl, and also something I don’t mind having a bat on top of (this last requirement takes, for instance, my Pearl Jam vinyls out of the running).  Finally, I take my wall calendar down off the wall, return to the living room, and attempt to slide the calendar under the bowl and the bat.

This is not easy.  The bat is not keen on getting on top of the calendar; it resists this activity greatly.  A few times, I am afraid I am going to break its leg (or its wing—it is impossible to tell exactly what part if its body I am hitting through the frosted glass).  I rip the calendar in half down the middle and use both pieces to come at the bat from two sides—a maneuver that requires much practice, as I also have to hold the bowl down to prevent the bat from escaping.  After what seems half an hour, I finally manage to get the bat and the bowl firmly on top of the calendar.

Now I have the task of walking this entire apparatus out to the roof.  One of the neatest aspects of this apartment is that my bedroom opens directly onto a long, flat roof that extends about 50 yards outside the back of my door, and no one else has access to this roof.  I have my own private, large patio, essentially.  Many, many fun times were are up here.

After carefully finagling my way out there with the bat, I take the whole shebang as far out as I can take it and sat it down.  Now I become concerned.  I don’t want to just take the salad bowl off; the bat is probably angry and confused and could end up flying right at my face.  I go back into the apartment and retrieve one of my golf clubs (an iron) and returne to the bowl on the roof.  Standing as far back as I can, I slide the golf club under the bowl and flip it over, immediately dropping the club and running like hell all the way back into my bedroom.  I don”t return to look at the bowl and calendar for at least an hour.  By then, the bat is gone.  We leave the bowl and calendar sit out there for at least a week.

Philly Journal, 6/21

Posted in Philly Journal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2012 by sethdellinger

Erie seems like a dream.  What was that?  Where was I?  Was that me, doing those things, being those places, thinking those things?

I moved there on what was, essentially, a lark.  I made a decision what seemed spontaeously to live my life without a plan, to roam, to live for experiences rather than goals.  As such, the suddenness of it, the supposed meaningless of it, now makes the experience seem, just two days removed from it, like some sort of fever dream, a shadow glanced in a forest.  I lived there for almost excactly two years, but it somehow manages to feel simultaneously like 2 days and 2 decades.

I’m incredibly glad I did it.  I loved my time there and, despite how cliche it sounds, I learned a lot about myself.  In my 30s, I found myself continuing to evolve and change (not in all positive ways, mind you) and, ultimately, “find myself”.  I used to think that saying was meaningless, but now I think it means something.

So, all that happened in Erie, but somehow it still feels like I dreamt it, or even just imagined it.  Here I sit in my mother’s living room in New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia, where I have moved at this stage in my life to continue what I began with the move to Erie: living for experiences and not goals.  But I remember, like yesterday, when my friend Michael (that’s the female Michael, yo) and I moved all my stuff into my apartment in Erie.  There is, to my perception, zero difference between that day and literal yesterday.  Here’s a picture from that day:

And then a picture from yestrday morning:

It’s like the time in between was about the lessons learned and the self-discovery, but in the final analysis, like no time passed whatsoever.  The strangest thing is that I haven’t simply moved back into my apartment in Carlisle, PA.  The absence of my life before Erie is the most concrete evidence that time has moved.

Tonight will be my second night here in Mantua.  Most of my stuff is now put away, or at least the boxes are in the appropriate rooms.  I’ve spent some quality time with my mom and nephews (the sis and I are having a spa day next week.  Not really.  But I would, if somebody else paid for it.  Speaking of my sister, read her writing on this site, she’s amazing!).  This afternoon I ventured “out” for the first time by myself.  I pretty much just found my new Planet Fitness, but my excitement over the, frankly, ordinary stuff in the general area where I live confirms my suspicion that I am actually too easily entertained.  I drove around thinking to myself, look at all these supermarkets I can go into and That looks like a cute Radio Shack.  Even crappy, useless chain retail seem, to me, like terra incognita. 

And I haven’t even thought about actually going into Philly yet.  And have I mentioned New York City is only two hours away?  And I get to live with this fucking cat?

My YouTube videos with over 1,000 views

Posted in Snippet, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2012 by sethdellinger

As I was laboriously and tediously uploading yet another pretentious video to YouTube this morning, I thought for the first time in a long time to take stock of how many folks have viewed my large and eclectic library of uploads.  Turns out, there’s not many surprises.  Most of my videos don’t get seen more than the few dozen times they get clicked on when I initially post and “advertise” them on social media.  But a select few have gained some traction and are being seen by strangers on at least a semi-regular basis.  Now, most of these “successful” videos are music-related and of interest to only the target audience.  And it’s pretty easy to get views this way.  Some of them I knew would be of use to a fan base, because I made them because I personally noticed their absence on YouTube.  But a few of these were genuine surprises.  Here they are, in ascending order:

1.  “Two-Fifty” by Chris Walla
Views:  1,021

By far my favorite song by the lead guitarist of Death Cab for Cutie’s solo work, I slapped this little video together when I noticed almost none of his solo songs were on YouTube.  If you dig it (or are curious about my photograph selection) sit tight…it just might be making an appearance soon on my 100 Songs list.

2.  “Black Friday in Erie”
Views: 
1,178

This was one of the two larger surprises for me.  But history has taught me one thing:  videos with the word “Black Friday” and a specific town in them are recipes for getting hits from searches.

3.  “Knot Comes Loose” by My Morning Jacket

Views:  1,316

I knew exactly what I was doing when I chose this song to record at this concert.  You may have guessed that I am the type of man who watches A LOT of video of his favorite bands performing live.  So I just happened to know that there was ZERO video of My Morning Jacket playing “Knot Comes Loose”, as far as I knew, anywhere on the internet.  That is because it is a very rare live song.  So when I recognized the first few chords, I started taping.  And this is still the only video of it to have surfaced, although the sound quality is regrettably sub-par (most amateur recording devices don’t like being so close to enormous speakers), I anticipate this one to keep gaining a few hundred views a month for the foreseeable future, as any YouTube search for the song live results in my video being the top return.

4.  “A Walk Across the McBride Viaduct”

Views:  1,561

This was BY FAR my biggest surprise.  I had watched the view count for awhile after originally posting it (following this blog entry…and I’ll now offer an unspecified prize for anyone who can identify what movie the quote in the song I use comes from…NO GOOGLING, we’re on the honor system here, folks), as I was aware there was no other video online of the viaduct post-closure, and it being such a hot-button topic in this city, I thought some folks might be looking for some video.  But in the weeks following it’s posting, it hovered at about 20 views, and I never looked again, until now.  Now mind you, in the YouTube universe, all these numbers are TINY, but 1.500 is a lot bigger than 20.  The viaduct pops up as headline news about once every three months, so I imagine searches for it come in spurts.

5.  “St. Peter’s Cathedral” by Death Cab For Cutie

Views:  2,667

This one was a no-brainer.  I posted it shortly after their newest album came out.  There were already plenty of posted versions of the studio track, but none had scrolling lyrics like mine does.  As per usual, I didn’t post this to try to get views or win some sort of popularity contest, it’s just the video I wanted and nobody had made it yet.  Videos like this are not any sort of “artistic endeavor”, you can slap one together in 20 minutes (I do try to make the lyric scrolling pace with the music and be visually appealing without being obnoxious, which is more than I can say for lots of the practitioners of the form.)  This one’s view count will keep climbing, pretty much forever.

6.  “Black Friday ’09, Wal-Mart, 5am”

Views:  6,348

I knew this one was huge, because I watched it take off in the few days after I first posted it.  I got about 2,000 hits that week, and gets about 2,000 hits every year now, the week or two following Black Friday.  It’s certainly not because of how awesome the video is, it’s just because a YouTube search for “Black Friday Carlisle” turns this up in the top 3 or 4 results.  And while Carlisle, PA is not metropolis, I imagine lots of people, following the big day, do searches for their specific area.  A YouTube search for “Black Friday Carlisle Wal Mart” returns my video as the #1 result.  My buddy Burke makes a nice appearance here.

Posted in Snippet with tags , , , , , , on February 14, 2012 by sethdellinger

From this week’s TIME magazine:

$25:  cost of purchasing Plan B., the morning-after pill, from a vending machine at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania;  it’s the only known such machine in the U.S.

OK, I thought it was cool when we made Saturday Night Live, but TIME magazine!  And last year, Carlisle High School was in TIME!  (remember, for having sheep mow their grass?)

All the static in my attic shoots down my side nerve.

Posted in Rant/ Rave, Snippet, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 18, 2011 by sethdellinger

I struggle with knowing myself.  I try to be a very self-aware human being, understanding any changes I am going through, my motivations, the way I treat other people.  For most of my adult life (or at least my P.S. life [Post-Sobriety]) I have thought I was pretty good at it.  But lately it’s become more and more clear that that was a foolish, illusory notion.  I have only a glancing understanding of what powers me.  The only thing I am sure of is that I am complicated–not simple–and that my motivations and desires are a shifting, fluid grab-bag.  Go figure.

Dear NFL:  I am a somewhat new convert to enjoying your game and your league.  I can still be won over for life, or lost.  I understand your reasons behind your complicated system for which games get televised in which markets.  I get it and I approve; however, I think sometimes you need to just televise the really desired games.  This season, you’ve got a fantastic story in Tim Tebow.  The drama and storybook quality of it has helped reel me in to your league even more this year, but I’ve only been able to follow it via highlight reels, newspapers, and talk radio.  Not a single Denver Broncos game has been broadcast in my area (unless there was a Monday or Thursday game, in which case, I had to work, but still…not a single Sunday game).  Now today, they are playing the Patriots in a game I would very much like to see.   When you’ve got a golden soap-opera opportunity like this one, you should capitalize on it, not make me watch Bengals vs. Rams.  A glance at the games being televised in my area today reveals nary a single game of interest, either nationally or locally.  I understand you want me to GO to the game, but shouldn’t you, secondarily, at least want me to watch?

I note often (in conversation at least, perhaps not online) how surprised I constantly am by how drastically my likes and dislikes are changing over time, as this strange process of aging continues.  There are obvious things such as my taste in music and movies (which is changing more than my public persona admits to; probably my favorite discovery this year has been this).   But even bigger things are changing;  nothing like my basic philosophical outlooks, but here’s a big one:  this year, I don’t really hate winter.  Previously, hating winter has been a large part of the public image I present to the world, and much like any time these large blocks change, I’ve been hesitant to admit to it publicly (people like keeping you the same in their minds), but I can’t deny it any longer.  I am kind of enjoying the frigid darkness.  I’m curious to see if it lasts.

The title of this entry is just a line from a Pearl Jam song that I was listening to today.  It has no significance.

My hometown (OK, my second hometown) of Carlisle, PA is home to something known as the Carlisle Indian School.  In Carlisle, there is a sense of pride concerning our place in history, as the Indian School is indeed more than a footnote in our national history.  It is just recently that I’ve begun to fully comprehend the vile, evil nature of what our nation did with the Carlisle school and other “Indian schools” that came after it.  So I just want to put it out there, now, that I am no longer proud of the Carlisle Indian School.

When I’m really attracted to a woman, I can be viscerally affected by even her handwriting.

 

You Would Not Survive a Vacation Like This

Posted in Concert/ Events, Erie Journal, Memoir, Photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2011 by sethdellinger

So.  That was a pretty insane trip home (and lots of other places).  I’m not even sure where to begin.  This may end up being a ridiculously long and disjointed blog entry.  I apologize in advance.  If it ends up not being extremely long and disjointed, I will come back and delete this intro, and you will never read it.

First, I should like to thank my family (Dad, Mom, Sister) for their various forms of hospitality and much-needed displays of unconditional love.  Yay human spirit and the familial bond!  I feel pretty damn good about my family.  You guys rule!  And thank you to all my friends who made me feel as if I never moved away.  I am blessed beyond belief with deep, intense, loyal friendships!  In addition, a big frowny face to those who I had to miss on this trip (most notably, loyal blog reader and renowned Muse, Cory.  Little does she know, my next trip home is going to be so all about her, she will have to call the cops on me. And the truly lovely Mercedes, whom I am unabashedly smitten with.   Also, on-again-off-again blog reader Tiff, who I had *promised* a certain something to…well, next time, ok???).  I was stretched a little thin to do and see everything and everyone I wanted, but it was fairly satisfying nonetheless.

My Zany Itinerary

Let me just show you the zaniness of where I’ve been the last week and a half.  I am going to include tomorrow, as I go to Pittsburgh tomorrow for a work seminar.  Here’s where I was, for the most part, the last ten days:

3/25: Erie, PA/ Carlisle, PA
3/26: Carlisle, PA/ Asbury Pary, NJ
3/27: Mantua, NJ
3/28: Brooklyn, NY/ Newark, NJ
3/29: Manhattan, NY/ Mantua, NJ
3/30: Mantua, NJ/ Carlisle, PA
3/31: Carlisle, PA
4/1: Carlisle, PA
4/2: Carlisle, PA/ Erie, PA
4/3: Erie, PA
4/4: Pittsburgh, PA
4/5: Pittsburgh, PA/ Erie, PA

And I aint even tired yet.  Bring. It. On.

My Newville Tour

Early on in my trip, I had a little extra time to kill early in the morning, and I drove into Newville (the small town I grew up in) and walked around the town for the first time in many years (I have been there plenty as of late, but not actually walked around).  I took some pictures of major landmarks in my life, also making sure to get a few pictures of some of the places that have played large parts in some of my blog entries.  Here is a bit of a pictorial tour of Newville:

My first house, 66 Big Spring Avenue. My bedroom was the top two windows on the right of the picture.

The big enchilada….the childhood home.  Most famously portrayed in this blog entry right here.

I have been trying to upload the famous picture of my mother and I admiring my grandmother’s garden, but I am having some trouble, so here is a link to that picture on Facebook. And here is a picture of that back yard area today:

One of my most popular blog entries ever was “The Fruit that Ate Itself“, about me being bullied in a local church yard.  I snapped some pics of that area in current day:

The church yard itself.

The line of trees is where the dreaded swingset and slide had been.

The Senior Center where the "fight" ended. Those are the bushes I flew through in the climactic moment.

If you’ve read my blog entry “Down the Rabbit Hole“, you may be interested to see this cellar door on one of my childhood neighbor’s homes:

OK, so just a few more pics here, but not related to any previous blog, just some Seth-historic stuff:

The very spot where I got on a school bus for the very first time.

This was my corner when I was a crossign guard.

Friendies

I had almost too much fun with friendies to try to sum things up here.  I’ll hit some highlights:

I surprised Kate with my presence not once but twice, and she lost.  her.  shit. each time.  First, Michael and I surprised her at her house:

It was also on this visit that this picture of Michael happened:

A few days later, I was strolling through Carlisle wasting a few minutes before picking up another friend, when I came across Kate and her family at the local eatery The Green Room.  As I was leaving them I took this pic of Kate, her husband Matt, and their son Dylan:

Let me just take this moment to say, as I was strolling around Carlisle that night, I was struck by just how freaking cool of a town it is.  Those of you who still live there, please do not take it for granted.  First, it is totally adorable.  And such a great pedestrian town!  And for a relatively small town in central Pennsylvania, it is arts-friendly.  Open mic nights, free music, poetry readings, public displays of photography, and on and on, are quite common.  The area known as the square and the surrounding blocks are humming with a vibrant intellectual life (not to mention some fantastic cuisine).  Please partake of what the gem of a town has to offer!

My brief time with Burke was spent in some fairly intense conversation that may, in fact, make me think about my life differently.  Oh, and Johnny Depp is a fucking sellout.

I spent some truly hilarious time with Jenny.  Jenny is quickly becoming a Major Friend.  (if her name is unfamiliar to you, this was the last woman to be an “official girlfriend”…and if my hunch is true– that I am a lifetime bachelor– she may go down in the history books as the last woman to be an official Seth girlfriend…what a distinction!).  Anyway, I sure do love this woman.  She has the special ability to make me laugh until I am worried about my health…without saying anything. She has a non-verbal humor akin to Kramer.  She can just look at me and I lose my shit.  Here we are, loving life:

Of course, you know I saw Michael, and it resulted in a moment of hilarity that I am pretty sure you “had to be there” for, but we decided that Merle Haggard had at one point recorded the “classic” song “You’re Gonna Make Daddy Fart (and Momma Aint Gonna Be Happy)”.  I still laugh when I type that.

Mary and I had one helluva time trying to find parking in downtown Harrisburg—notable because it’s usually not THAT hard.  Sure, those few blocks in the very center of town are tough, but we were unable to find ANY spots on the street ANYWHERE.  When we finally did park (in a garage) we ended up just hanging around Strawberry Square , when in fact we had intended to go to the Susquehanna Art Museum. I’m still not sure in the least how this distraction occurred, but we had a blast.  But the major news from this venture is that Mary has OK’d some photographs of herself!  You may or may not know that pictures of Mary are quite rare.  She just hates pictures of herself, and of course I love taking pictures of people, so this is a friction.  Plus, she really is one of the most exquisite women in existence, so I always feel as though the world in general is being deprived of some joy by the absence of Mary pictures.  When I take a Mary picture, I have to show her, wheneupon she then either insists on immediate deletion, OKs the picture for my own personal collection but not anyone else’s eyes, or (the most rare) OKs a picture for online distribution.  So here, lucky world, are 4 new Mary pictures:

That's the back of Mary's head in the lower right.

Staying at Dad’s

It is with much chagrin that I realize I did not take a single picture of my papa and me on this trip. *sad face*  Nonetheless, I must say, spending time with my dad just gets more and more pleasant as the two of us age.  It never stops surprising me how we continue to grow into friends (while he retains his essential papa-ness).  He is one cool dude and we somehow never run out of things to talk about.

This also marked the first time in recent memory that I have stayed at Dad’s for multiple days without my sister also being there.  In this sense it was entirely unique.  The last time I stayed at my dad’s by myself for more than one night was way back when I was still drinking and on-again, off-again living there.  So this was new, and really, really great.  In a lot of ways, it felt like a true homecoming, learning how that house and I interact when I’m a grown-up, and sober, and left all alone with it.  Turns out we get along just fine.  And I sleep magnificently in my old bedroom.  But it’s tough getting used to that shower again.

Hey Rosetta!

I’m gonna really have to shrink down the Hey Rosetta! story, or I’ll be here all day.  So, in summary:

Here are pictures from Paul and I’s show in Asbury Park, NJ.  It was a fantastic time, both Paul-wise (Paul, thanks for helping me see that not all my close friends have to be women!) and band-wise.  Really, one of the more satisfying concert-going experiences I’ve had.

Then, I made an audible call and went to see them by myself twice more over the next three days, in New York City (more on NYC later).  Long story short, I ended up basically knowing the band.  But they started talking to me. I suppose when you are a band that is really famous and successful in Canada, and then you come to the states and are playing bars where most of the people are ignoring you, and there is a short fat guy with gray hair jumping around and screaming your lyrics, when he shows up to your NEXT show in a different state, it is worth taking note.  So as I was taking this picture of the chalk board advertising their show in Brooklyn, a few of the band members were walking out of the bar and saw me and introduced themselves.

Because shows like this entail a lot of waiting around (if you insist, like I do, on front row) in small bars with no “backstage” area for bands, as well as lots of changing-out of gear between bands (not to mention trips to very small bathrooms), the two shows in New York would prove extremely fertile ground for me talking to the band.  This went way beyond my previous “thank you, your music has meant so much to me” that I’ve been able to give other bands.  This was basically a getting-to-know-you situation.  Specifically cellist Romesh Thavanathan, lead guitarist Adam Hogan, and violinist Kinley Dowling spoke quite a bit to me and I was definitely on a first-name basis with them by the end of my second New York show, and I’d had a chance to speak to every member of this six-piece band.  Certainly, this was fairly incredible, but also….in some ways, not as great as you’d think.  Parts of this experience were awkward.  I may blog more about this at some point, just because it was pretty intriguing (ever have your favorite band watch you as they are playing?)  But don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  It was an amazing experience.  Here is a video I took of “Red Song” at Union Hall in Park Slope, Brooklyn, followed by a few select pictures of the New York shows:

I also managed to snag handwritten setlists off the stage two of the three nights.  Here are scans of the setlists:

So now, for the benefit of probably just myself and maybe Paul, here is some Hey Rosetta! setlist discussion:  on the first setlist shown, Bandages was skipped.  On the second shown (from my thrid concert, Manhattan) ‘Bandages’ and ‘Red Heart’ were swapped in position (as were the two songs where a swap is indicated, ‘Yer Spring’ and ‘Welcome’…and talk about a way to open a show!  “Lions For Scottie” into “Welcome”!)  Here are all three setlists for shows I went to this tour:

Asbury Park, NJ

1.  New Goodbye
2.  Yer Spring
3.  New Glass
4.  Bricks
5.  Another Pilot
6.  There’s an Arc
7.  Seeds
8.  Red Heart

Brooklyn, NY
(reconstructed via this photograph)

1.  New Goodbye
2.  Yer Spring
3.  New Glass
4.  Bricks
5.  Another Pilot
6.  There’s an Arc
7.  Welcome
8.  Red Song
9.  We Made a Pact
10.  Seeds
11.  Red Heart
12. A Thousand Suns*

*’Bandages’ is on the setlist in the 12 spot, but ‘A Thousand Suns’ was played.

Manhattan, NY

1.  Lions For Scottie
2.  Welcome
3.  Yer Spring
4.  New Glass
5.  Yer Fall
6.  There’s an Arc
7.  I’ve Been Asleep For a Long, Long Time
8.  Holy Shit
9.  New Sum
10.  Seeds
11.  New Goodbye

Encore:

1.  Bandages
2.  Red Heart

And now, for the record, the sum total of Hey Rosetta! songs I’ve seen, including the two acoustic shows I saw last year:

1.  Red Heart–5 times
2.  Bricks–4 times
3.  I’ve Been Asleep For a Long, Long Time–3 times
4.  Lions for Scottie–3 times
5.  Bandages–3 times
6.  New Goodbye–3 times
7.  Yer Spring–3 times
8.  New Glass–3 times
9.  There’s an Arc–3 times
10.  Seeds–3 times
11.  Seventeen–2 times
12.  Red Song–2 times
13.  We Made a Pact–2 times
14.  Another Pilot–2 times
15.  Welcome–2 times
16.  A Thousand Suns–1 time
17.  Yer Fall–1 time
18.  Holy Shit–1 time
19.  New Sum–1 time

Mom’s/ Sisters

So my mom now lives with my sister, which makes visiting everybody much easier!  It was quite nice to see everybody all at once!  In the same breath, however, I must admit it made me feel as though I did a poor job of paying ample attention to everyone.  When you are seeing a gaggle of loved ones all at once for the first time in a long time, it can be a strain to give equal time.  I think specifically of the nephews, who I love uncontrollably but whom I was not able to give the sort of attention they are accustomed to receiving from me.  When it came down to it, my mom and my sister were the center of my focus (not to mention the antics of Pumpkin Latte).  Don’t get me wrong, I had a lovely time!  I guess I’m just feeling some guilt, cause those boys worked up a good amount of anticipation for my arrival and I almost certainly dissapointed.  That being said, the time with Momma and Sis was marvelous. LOTS of laughs, and a new momma/ son tradition: I claim her and I are going to do the Jumble together, and then I end up freaking out over how amazing she is at it, while I add absolutely nothing to the process (she really is amazing at the Jumble).  Also, I “T”d my sister, which always rules.  A brief but incredibly heartwarming time.  Some select pics:

Sister and Pumpkin Latte, as she was taking their picture

Sis, Me, Mom

New York

The New York trip is another thing I shall have to gloss over, or I’ll be writing this blog entry until next week.  I did what I typically do: I drive right into the city, pay a thousand dollars to park, and just walk around.  I usually have very little plan other than one or two fairly simple goals.  This trip’s goals: see sunrise from inside Central Park, and buy a New York Times from a newsstand and read the whole thing from inside a midtown Manhattan Starbucks during the morning commute hours.  I’m not sure why I wanted to do these things, but once the goals were in my mind, I could not seem to let them go.  I accomplished both, and although being in Central Park during sunrise was magical, it was not easy to get any great pictures of the event, due to the vast amount of:

a) Tall trees, and
b) skyscrapers

These things blocked the view of the actual sunrise rather effectively, but feeling the world come alive from within the park was quite joyous.  Here is the best picture I got of the sunrise:

I spent almost two hours in the Starbucks, enjoying my latte and an incredible issue of the NYT.  I suppose for a moment I felt as hip as I’ve always suspected I am.  It was a quality time.

I spent the rest of the day wandering around, taking pictures, eating, even napping briefly in the tranquil section of Central Park known as the Woodlands.  I also visited, for the first time, the Central Park Zoo, which was a lovely treat.  Here is some video I took of the Sea Lions being fed (and putting on a little show) followed by some pictures:

Sunset, Brooklyn

Me in Central Park

Some Things I Learned

1.  8 months is not long enough to forget how to get around (but it IS long enough to cause some occasional navigation confusion)

2.  When you are a single man in your 30s who moves away from everyone he knows and doesn’t visit home for 8 months, a surprising amount of people from all demographics will just straight-up ask you about your sex life.  This is fodder for an entire blog entry at some point that will be in the form of a “rant”.  FYI, nobody need worry about my sex life, mkay?

3.  You may think where you live is boring, but leave it for a little while and then come back; you may just find it’s really cool.

4.  There are really hot ladies everywhere.

5.  Don’t tell people you got fat.  You may think it will make your fatness less awkward, but it makes it moreso.

6.  Things change.  Buildings get knocked down, businesses change their name, streets get re-directed.  Accept these things as a natural course of existence. (reminds me of a Hey Rosetta! song:  “The schools that we went to have all been closed./ And all of my teachers are dead, I suppose.”)

7.  You can walk further than you think you can.

8.  If you move and your sports allegiances change a little bit, you can just kinda keep that to yourself on your first few visits home.

9.  As you leave places you have stayed for just a day or two, remember to gather all your various “chargers”.  We have a lot of chargers in this day and age.

10.  Family and friends really are the best things in the world, even if saying so sounds cheesy and cliche.  Fuck it, it’s true!

I Almost Forgot…

Today is my 8 year sobriety anniversary!  The original purpose of this vacation was for me to have off and see my loved ones leading up to the big day.  (I just have to complete my anniversary tradition of watching “Dark Days” on the anniversary itself)  So…yay me!  But also…yay you!  Thanks everybody for putting up with my horribleness when I was horrible, and then helping me live such a satisfying and fantastic life in my sobriety!  What a treat, to be able to celebrate the week leading up to it in the way I did.  And how neat is it that I almost forgot today was the day???  That must mean life is pretty good.  I love you, everybody!

Ten Mini-Memoirs

Posted in Memoir with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2011 by sethdellinger

1.  The first concert I ever went to was 80s superstar Tiffany.  I remember being very excited, despite not really knowing who she was or what was going on.  I went with my mother and my sister; it was at The Forum in Harrisburg.  This is one of those memories that consists of just a few details and sensory portraits. Bright, colorful lights.  Standing on the cushioned chair.  So many people. 

2.  I’ve always thought that somehow I got my love of Dr. Pepper from my Grandma Allie, though I do not know where this belief comes from.  I have never seen her drink it, not does she ever have any at her house.  But I have a flash of a memory:  my family, on vacation in Ocean City, Maryland.  Grandma and I, somehow, are alone in the hotel room.  I am very young.  We are sitting at the dining room table together, discussing (to my memory) two things:  how much my allowance is, and Dr. Pepper.  On the table with us is a sweating, lovely crimson 2 liter bottle of Dr. Pepper.  This small, insignificant memory has forever welded Grandma Allie and Dr. Pepper together for me.

3.  I lost my virginity in the Subaru Legacy station wagon that had been passed down to me from my mother, on a dirt road in the far, far out country of Perry County, Pennsylvania, at the age of 16.  The rap album Regulate by Warren G. was playing, and I was 16 years old.  The car smelled of vanilla car air freshener.  I had one of those tree-shaped air fresheners hanging from the volume knob of the radio.  I used a green condom, for reasons unknown.

4.  My dad and I used to go to Harrisburg Senators games all the time.  They are the minor league baseball team for that city.  I remember very little of the games themselves.  What I remember most is the arrival and the departure, but especially the departure.  We’d usually leave early if the result was clear, so we walked past all the seated fans, then out to a largely empty parking lot.  Then, inside Dad’s car, he’d tune into the AM station broadcasting the Senator’s game.  The combination of drying sweat, kicking-in air conditioning, the calming sounds of a radio-broadcasted baseball game, and often gloaming sunset light—well, things don’t get much better than that, at any age, I dare say.

5.  I went on a vacation to Vermont with my friend Brock’s family, when Brock and I were teenagers.  At the time, it seemed like a pretty boring vacation, compared to my family’s beach vacations.  We stayed at a sleepy lake town called Lake Rescue, in a very posh cabin.  It all must have been very expensive.  Nowadays, it’s just the kind of vacation I’d like to take—grilling delicious meat on the stained-oak deck overlooking the sun setting over the lake, lazy days canoeing, hiking the flat trails, falling asleep to the sound of ducks diving for food.  At the time, though, Brock and I were miserably bored, though we did invent a sport called Twizzling, the rules of which I have long since forgotten.

6.  My first real drink of alcohol—other than a few sips of champagne at somebody’s wedding sometime—was what the kids call a “40” (a 40-ounce bottle of Malt Liquor) and a few Zimas.  I was 16.  It was at the apartment of an adult who I did not know, but who knew one of my friends.  He supplied us the alcohol.  We just sat around, consuming, and it was frankly a little boring.  I didn’t feel much.  After completing my allotment of Zimas, I asked the adult friend-of-a-friend if he could go back to the bar (which was just across the street) and buy me “a beer”, which I thought might put me over some sort of edge.  I didn’t know you couldn’t just buy one can of beer, and I got laughed at.  I wouldn’t have my “a-ha moment” with alcohol until the second time I drank it, though I usually combine these two stories for a more powerful “alcoholic’s first drink” story, but that version is not true.  The bar where the adult frind-of-a-friend bought the alcohol went out of business and recently became a pizza shop, less than a block from my last apartment in Carlisle.  I used to go there for pizza all the time.

7.  I have had sex in the projection room of a movie theater.

8.  While I have never been a grade-A athlete, there were, for a time, things I excelled at, though none of them were of any use to me in organized sports.  I was very good at gym class type things, like floor hockey.  At my high school, we played a lot of a specific type of dodgeball called “bombardment”, and I was freaking amazing at bombardment.  Two years running, it was offered as a ‘club’ (a fun class of your choosing you had once a week) and I took it, along with my more athletically-skewing pals.  We were on a team called the Pussycats, and we dominated for the entire two years it was offered as a club, winning all 4 championships (2 a year).  The only thing is, the first championship we won, I cheated.  I had been hit by a ball, and no one saw it, and I didn’t tell anyone, and I was the last man standing for our team.  So if I’d have been honest, we would have lost.

9.  I once saw my sister fly over the handlebars of her ten-speed bike after she tried jumping a hill I had urged her to jump, and it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life.  I thought she’d die!

10.  My father and I went golfing once, and little did we know that the water in the golf course’s drinking fountains actually had a high level of fecal matter in it.  It was a very hot day, and we drank a lot of it.  The next day, my mother, myself, and my grandma Cohick went to see WWF Live in Hershey.  On the way there, I ate (and swallowed) an entire pack of grape bugglegum.  Halfway through the show, I got very ill, and once we got home, I vomited and kept on vomiting for what seemed days (I think, in fact, it was days).  It wasn’t until later that we pieced together what all happened, after a class-action lawsuit was brought against the golf course.  To this day, I cannot chew grape bubblegum.

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