Archive for CoryW.

Speed Dial

Posted in Memoir with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2014 by sethdellinger

Just a few minutes ago, I went into my basement searching for a specific book which I had not heretofore been keeping upstairs.  I had no idea where it was.  While searching for it, I opened a bunch of boxes that I probably hadn’t properly explored in years…stuff I just keep lugging with me from move to move.  In one, I came across an old cigar box that I had entirely forgotten about.  This is it:



This box is the earliest version of boxes I have today, in which I keep just about everything…tickets, programs, invitations, etc.  Well there were things in this cigar box that just blew me away!  Things I have ZERO memory of keeping, and I have no idea what made me think of keeping them at the time, but now they are incredible to see…old paychecks, school class schedules, appointment cards, etc. (And, paul, I found the ticket stubs to the two Seven Mary Three shows we saw together!)  Anyway, most of it will be only interesting to me, but I might post some of it here from time to time, as it suits me.  But this one thing seemed worth posting now.  Here is the little card that was on the phone in my bedroom in high school that showed what I had set as speed dials…I couldn’t help but post this and then tag the people who appear on it (those who I am in contact with on Facebook)…what an interesting snapshot of an era for me.  And how interesting that I had the movies on speed dial even then (it’s hard to read, but #8 says “Movies”) And my grandma? (number “zero” says “Gram A.”)


Like a Guilty Chimney

Posted in Memoir with tags , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2012 by sethdellinger

I was meandering around my apartment a few days ago, terribly close to feeling, for one split second, bored.  It was terrifying;  there is, for me, almost no worse sensation, and I’ve been successful for years in avoiding it.  To head it off, I walked over to one of my more neglected bookshelves and started nosing through books from my distant past.

I was almost immediately confronted with an unexpected sight: my own handwriting, on the inside cover of a book.  And then the memory came flooding back:  during a sizeable period of my 20s, I did a lot of writing inside of books.

First, I like to write things, as readers of my blog know.  And I’m not referring to the creative writing aspect of my interests, I mean I just like to write.  Even now, I fill notebooks with meaningless lists and jibber-jabber.  I’ve always been a writer-downer.  But during my mid-twenties—after I began drinking very seriously as an alcoholic but before my life became a miserable unlivable mess—I went through a period of two or three years when a majority of my nights were spent at friends’ houses, or friends of friends’ houses, or the house of a friend’s out-of-town grandparents, or a house a co-worker was house-sitting.  It wasn’t an unhappy time, just a time of listless drifting, half-hearted partying, and a fair amount of depravity.

For the majority of this time period, my faithful companion was a backpack, in which I kept my alcohol (White Tavern Gin, half gallon, almost always), clothes and/or toiletries if I had any, cigarettes, and whatever book I was currently reading.  This was quite often all I had with me in foreign homes.  And I often found myself the only person awake in these places.  Granted, as an alcoholic, there was a lot of sleeping in my life, but you’d also be surprised how drunk a practiced alcoholic can get after a few years of really going at it.  And so it was on many, many occasions, I found myself in homes where I felt slightly uncomfortable, often the only person awake very late at night, in complete silence for whatever reason (don’t wake the parents/wife, can’t figure out how to turn the TV on, cable bill didn’t get paid, or just plain no TV or stero to be found, etc), and after some time, I’d become largely too drunk to actually read the book I had with me.  This is when I started writing inside my books—because they were the only thing I could find to write on, and I had little else to do.

Not everything I found on my bookshelf was a great example of these writings.  Sometimes it was just me leaving these little markings for my future self, a little flag saying, “Hey!  You liked this part!”  I think it’s cute and optimistic.  Here is a “flag” from my copy of Joseph Heller’s “Catch 22”:

(clicking on any of the photos, and then click it again when it re-loads, to see the full-size scan)

And here’s another one not quite from lonely drunken nights, but from a golden era in a relationship I had with a marvelous woman named Cory.  We both took turns reading stories in the “Collected Short Stories” of Ray Bradbury.  We devised a coding system in the table of contents.  (there are 6 pages like this):

Now, for some of the “lonely night” book scribbling.  Here is a poem I wrote inside my “Selected Poems” of E.E. Cummings (a book I must have owned for almost 20 years now, and I still consult nearly every month, but I didn’t know this poem was in the back of it until I checked for this blog entry).  The text of the poem is this:

Richard Simmons is a terrible man.
He seems to be more happy than
a lazy sleeping noiseless cat
which doesn’t mind being fat.

Some incomprehensible blabber from the back cover of Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”.  It looks like academic notation, although I never had to read it for school:

From C.S. Lewis’ “The Problem of Pain”.  Also, there’s a phone number (I came across a lot of phone number’s written in books; this was before the cell phone).  Anyone recognize the number?

For a time, I stayed in the basement of some friends of mine.  This basement had zero entertainment modules in it…no television, radio, whatnot…in fact, it barely had light in it.  But it did contain, most of the time, thousands of dollars in musical equipment:  full drum kit, multiple guitars, 4-track recorders and all sorts of other gadgets and whirlygigs I never understood.  That’s because this basement was the de facto practice space of a band called Post Vintage (one of my friends who lived at this place was the bassist), and let me tell you, I loved this band.  Not just because my friend was in it or because I lived in their practice room, but because they ruled!  (listen to their stuff here; they’re unfortunately no longer active.)

Anyway, this is all a very long way of telling you that, apparently, one night in this dark, quiet basement, I decided to write the lyrics to their song “Next at Seven” inside the front cover of my copy of Sylvia Plath’s “Collected Poems”.  “Next at Seven”‘s lyrics are by Dave Peifer, whose solo work (as Isotope) can be heard here.

Anyway, this one kind of shocked me.  I have no memory of doing this.  Although I do distinctly recall having my Plath phase at the same time I lived in the basement here.  Not, largely, a very happy time in my life.

But here, for me, is the one that really tickled me.  A drunken poem (I can always tell when something I wrote was composed while intoxicated) inside the cover of Gregory Corso’s “Mindfield”.  Corso is (I think he’s still alive) a Beat poet who I liked very much back then but not so much now.  His poetry is also markedly different than the poem I wrote inside his book, which I think it interesting.  But what’s most interesting to me is that I really like this drunken poem I wrote.  That is very rare.  I wrote like shit when I was drunk.  But this one really seems to capture the whole feeling and environment I’ve descibed to you from this time period of my life:  being the only person, awake and drunk in a house that I am unfamiliar with, and the subtext of sorrow and addiction I was feeling.  This is the poem:

Upon finding myself too drunk to read
and too severed to cavort
with folks
I resign to my own posturing
amongst myselves
amidst sleeping zombie-me’s.

Twirling in this foreign apartment
thier slumbering noses
reflect the television screen
and I cannot find my shoes.

Like a guilty chimney I sit still.

My Friend Paul

Posted in Memoir, Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2012 by sethdellinger

My homeslice Paul and I just had a public tiff on my blog.  Which sucks, because there aren’t many people in this life more important to me than Paul is, so I thought maybe I’d write a blog about our friendship.  Although it should be noted that we do have a nice history of being little bitches to each other and arguing about stupid shit, but that was mostly over a decade ago, while we were cooking together at the same restaurant, probably sleep-deprived and hung-over, but still.  We fight.

I’m sure I knew who Paul was before he knew who I was.  Why?  Because he played football for my high school.  He was a year ahead of me, and we weren’t within light years of each other’s social groups.  I wasn’t extremely aware of him, but I was aware of him.  Years later, I’d frequently have dreams that I’d been transported back to high school (with all of my intervening memories and experiences intact) and I’d seek out Paul, who, when I found him, had also been transported with his memory intact.  And so there we were, in high school, finally knowing each other.  They were weird dreams.

In the months following high school, I became a regular at the restaurant Paul worked at.  I frequented it late at night with my friend Jeremy and his girlfriend Cory (who I would later coup d-etat away from him); Jeremy had known Paul in high school, so Paul would come visit our table.  I remember being suspicious, because Jeremy had been the star of the soccer team, and here was this Paul guy, also an athlete.  And Cory, although she didn’t attend our high school, was the captain of her cheerleading squad.  I suspected I might soon find myself on the outside.  I know you’ve all seen pictures of me in wrestling or baseball uniforms, but I assure you, I was no athlete.

Fate is a fickle broad.  Before I knew what was happening, suddenly, I worked at that restaurant, too, and before long, I was a cook there, too, and before long, I was working overnights in the kitchen with Paul, too.  And (long story short here) we ended up going to the same college and being roommates and having the same group of college friends.  Paul and I had quite rapidly become insperable, the kind of friends that when you show up somewhere alone, people always ask you where the other one is;  although how that sort of thing happens is beyond me.  All these years later, it just seems natural that Paul and I are hetero-lifemates, but back then, it didn’t seem so simple.  Paul and I are quite different men (as good friends often are).  We share some simliar interests, but actually have more differences than similarities.  And not just the surface items like, he’s into sports and I’m not, or I’m into poetry and he’s not, as these differences are what can make a friendship keep ticking over the years (the male friends I do have whose interests most align with mine, I mostly don’t care for all that much, and I just keep them around because I might need them some day…for what, I have no idea).  But Paul and I’s differences seemed a bit deeper than that to me.  Mostly, he was a good soul and I was a bad one.

Now, he’ll probably want to argue with that, and he certainly could make a case for it.  After all, we were damn young, and drunk and tired pretty much ceaselessly, and in college, and—dare I say it—completely captivating to the opposite gender.  Neither of us were perfect young men.  But in Paul, one could see the seed of a quality adult, and a man who could discern right from wrong (even if he still sometimes chose to ignore that distinction), and how to be honest, and forthright, and helpful.

I, on the other hand, was a total shit.  It was probably obvious fairly early on that, while a whole bunch of us were partying constantly, I was the only one who couldn’t have stopped if I tried.  And no matter what you believe about how much I am to blame for that addiction, the fact is that being a drunk is not often accompanied by positive personality traits.  All those positive traits I listed above for Paul, think of their opposites, and apply them to the me of back then.

But somehow, we fit together.  We picked up some company on the way (“Nature Boy” Chris Davey, Burke “Testudo” Bowen, Heidi “Heidi” Dagen, “Mello” Cory Kelso, “Sultry” Joel Holtry, and quite a few others) and within a year of meeting Paul, I suddenly had a brand new group of friends and a new lifestyle, the old high school chums all-but forgotten.  And this was just in time, of course, for my descent into serious alcoholic oblivion.

There are lots of people to thank for how they handled my alcoholism and for what they did to help me, but as far as my friends go, nobody can really get more credit than Paul, a fact I’ve never really told him (fuck!  I’m crying now!).  Paul never made me feel like I was a bad person because I was unable to stop drinking.  He always seemed to understand that it was like any other addiction; for instance, his own reliance on cigarettes.  Now, he never said that to me, but his actions and the way he treated me suggest he thought that way.  He never told me I needed to stop, or slow down (that might sound reckless to you, but it’s my philosophy that “intevention” methodologies are counteractive.  Making somebody feel like shit never chased an addiction out of their skin, a philosophy my parents also seemed to share, which is another big reason I think I’m alive today);  when I would, on rare occasions, talk to him about my addiction and my fear relating to it (being in the grip of an addiction to a mind-altering substance is absolutely terrifying), he was understanding and helpful, never demeaning or judgmental, but forthright and honest in ways that showed a maturity and understanding that I’m not sure I could master even now, at age 34.

I still remember the day I decided—firmly, absolutely—that I could get sober, and that I would go to rehab and attempt to live the rest of my life and not die ASAP. I was at the apartment of Paul and his girlfriend at the time, Shelley.  I was drinking, but I wasn’t sad, I was just talking to them about being addicted, and how much it sucked.  I’ll never be sure which one of them said it first, but someone said, “Why don’t you just go to rehab?”, and they said it so…normally.  Like it was just something you could do, if you wanted.  Now, obviously the time was right, and there were plenty of other factors and people that contributed to that moment in time, but I said, “OK.  I’m going to!”  And I got the phone book and called a rehab and reserved a bed, that very afternoon, and then called my mom and dad (by then, that was two seperate phone calls) and told them “I’m going to rehab“.  It would be close to a year by the time I celebrated my final sobriety date of April 3rd, but that afternoon in Paul’s apartment stands out as the beginning of the beginning.  And he’s been so beautifully understanding and intuitive in regards to my sobriety.  He was my first friend to order an alcoholic beverage when out to dinner with me;  it was time, I was OK with it, and he just knew.  He knew that at that point I’d prefer him to do what he’d normally do.  It was more important to me that I not feel like the freak.  He was the first friend of mine who seemed to understand that I hadn’t really changed; sure, I had always been known as the guy who drinks all the time, but the core me was the same and now more me than before; the diseased filter had simply been removed.  Many friends felt the need to treat me, for a few years, like a kid who had just barely recovered from Leukemia.  Paul seemed to know that was unnecessary, and just kept treating me like the same guy from before, only without a drink in my hand.

I would love (really, I would) to just keep writing and writing and tell tons of little stories from our lives together.  Paul and I have lots of great stories.  But maybe I’ll just hit some highlights (and maybe there will be more blogs like this in the future…I feel as though I could write a book.  Tonight.  In two hours.  But anyway, the highlights):

—Paul and I share an intense love for two bands: Seven Mary Three and Hey Rosetta!  And these loves mark two distinct eras in our lives: college (7m3) and now (HR).  In an intereting twist, the first TWO times I saw both these bands, it was Paul and I together (along with others).  And these were amazing experiences that have shaped my idea of how concert-going should feel: like you are touching the hand of god.  It rarely is that good, but it is an ideal to strive for.  In many other ways, Paul and I’s musical tastes diverge, but they align where it counts. (hey Paul…the trip to see 7m3 in York…remember D’Marco Farr?  And please always remember, I called the opener in DC (“Peel”), and also, remember that fancy restaurant you picked for us to eat at in Ithaca, NY, the night we saw Hey Rosetta!?  That night was the beginning of my ongoing love affair with the Americano.  But I now drink them iced.)

–The Chair of Good and Evil.  Paul and I found a horrid, ratty, falling-apart recliner by a dumpster when we lived in college.  For reasons unbeknownst to us, we took it into our dorm room.  It really was a horrible chair.  It’s existence to us was more of a joke than anything else.  We wrote all over it in magic marker.  Quotes from movies, things we said all the time, lines from 7m3 songs (“A little motivation goes a long way down, down, down.”)  I somehow got the chair to my dad’s house for a year or two after college, but I’m sure it’s long gone by now.

–Remember that dorm room I mentioned? Yeah, we got kicked out of it.

–“Circus Midgets Ate My Balls”.  That’s all I’m saying about that.

–Movies we watched dozens or even hundreds of times together, even if they weren’t that good:  “Friday”, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, “The Borrowers“, “Mallrats”.

–The first time I visted Paul after I got sober and moved to New Jersey, we played golf and I beat him.  Which is the only time I can remember beating him at anything other than MarioKart.  So I bring it up here again, even 8 years later.  The gloating continues.

–I had the disctinct pleasure of giving the toast at Paul’s wedding to his fantastic wife, Liz.  I have never felt more honored in my life, and that honor continues to this day.

–Paul is a big Baltimore Orioles fan, so for his “bachelor party”, fellow Paul bud “Mello” Cory Kelso and I took him to an Orioles game, making the odd fact true: the last major league baseball game I attended was a Baltimore Orioles game.

–Mr. Turnpike, Nature Boy, and the Wise Guy (Man) in the Back Seat

–Ham on Both Ends

–Aint got me on tape.

I love you, Paul.  You continue to be the model for the type of man I want to be.  Thank you for being part of my life (and helping to save it).

L-R, Paul, Me, Davey (code names: Mr. Turnpike, Wise Guy in the Back Seat, Nature Boy)

Davey, me, and Paul, the first time we ever saw Hey Rosetta!, in Ithaca, NY.

Picture of Paul on the day I beat him at golf. He sucked that day.

My 91st Favorite Song of All-Time

Posted in 100 Favorite Songs with tags , , , , on January 25, 2012 by sethdellinger

My 91st favorite song of all-time is:

“Shimmer” by Fuel

I’ve had the pleasure of having been in love once with a really amazing woman (this one) who, once we broke up, became (really!) one of my best friends.  Now, during that transition time, we had some rocky moments (mostly, I was a damn mess) but we worked through it because, I think, we somehow knew that we’d always have a connection, even if it wasn’t romantic.  And so it came to pass that we may be one of the few couples in the world to have an unofficial “we’re broken up” song, “Shimmer” bu Fuel.  I remember first noticing that we were kind of both singing it to each other when we took a trip to Florida, only a few months after our breakup.  Every time I hear it, I’m there, in that balmy, humid Southern night, in a ramshackle pickup truck outside a convenience store, waiting for her racist uncle to buy us a case of beer, singing the saddest song in the world to a woman I still loved, one way or another.

Posted in Snippet with tags , , on April 22, 2011 by sethdellinger

A text message conversation between Cory and I from a few days ago (mature content advisory):

Cory:  I just took off my tank top n found a dime in my cleavage…umm, WTF???

Me:  Ha!  Don’t question the universe.  Accept its gifts.  Like last week, I found a corn chip in my belly button.  I said grace and ate that shiznit.

Cory:  Score!  Navel chips n titty cash!!!  I checked my vagina, but there was no money in there.

Me:  That sucks.  Not even a strawberry Ring Pop?

Cory:  Nope, all that was in there was a happy meal toy, some paper clips,  and my 1997 tax forms.  Boring.

Me:  Boring?  That depends on whether I already have that happy meal toy.  On a similar note, I just found a can of Jolt cola in my rectum.

Cory:  Nice!  Make sure u open it slow, its probably shaken up.  Trust me, I know from experience.

Me:  Good call.  Especially since I just got done riding a mechanical bull.

One of Cory and Seth’s Favorite Poems

Posted in Seth's Favorite Poems (by other people) with tags , , , on November 23, 2010 by sethdellinger

After having a lovely phone conversation with Cory tonight, wherein we spoke at some length about our favorite poems, we ended up reminiscing about a shared favorite of ours, “sometimes i am alive because with” by E.E. Cummings, and I agreed to post it here on my blog today, but I thought I’d make it a special one-time “Cory and Seth’s Favorite Poems” entry (unless, of course, we ever realize we have more dual favorites to share!).  So anyway, this poem is freakin’ amazing:

“sometimes i am alive because with”
by E.E. Cummings

sometimes i am alive because with
me her alert treelike body sleeps
which i will feel slowly sharpening
becoming distinct with love slowly,
who in my shoulder sinks sweetly teeth
until we shall attain the Springsmelling
intense large togethercoloured instant

the moment pleasantly frightful

when, her mouth suddenly rising, wholly
begins with mine fiercely to fool
(and from my thighs which shrug and pant
a murdering rain leapingly reaches the
upward singular deepest flower which she
carries in a gesture of her hips)

The blog post where I mention everyone I know who already has an existing “tag” on my blog, so I can tag them again and insert a useful or ridiculous link to them.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2010 by sethdellinger

1.  Oh hi, billhanna.  I see you ‘liked’ goatees on Facebook yesterday.  Our adversarial relationship about facial hair will continue to the grave.  THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

  2.  Anyone who knows Tasha, check out the link, she just got a radical new haircut!  I love it!

3.  I have quite few friends who are talented musicians—one of them is the great Bootney Lee (real name Ryan Straub).  I double-dare you to click on the link and check his music out.

4.  Guess who I’m going to see next month, as the three of us meet up in central New York for a Hey Rosetta! show???  Well that would be none other than my life-long buddies Paul and Davey!  (he’s Chris Davey, but we call him Davey).  This is going to be exceptional as it’s been a few years since we were together, all 3 of us.  And did I mention it’s a Hey Rosetta show???  I still haven’t seen them live–the shows I was supposed to go to awhile back had to be skipped because life is like that.  I am uber pumped for this!

5.  It has been way too long since I tagged my friend Amanda.  I mean that just like it sounds, too. 

6.  You know who rules?  My mom!  She just quit smoking!!! Raise the roof!

7.  I’m still tickled pink about the Doctor Strange drinking glass that Tony Magni gave me as a going away present when I moved to Erie.  Thanks Tony! 

8.  My friend Denise has a very under-appreciated photo blog.  Click to link to check it out!!!  She’s way talented!

9.  The lovely Sarah P. has just had a baby! Huzzah!  She doesn’t have any sort of online presence so I’ve linked to a picture of Big Ben, which is in England, which is where I met her!

10.  My dad is one cool mofo.  What’s my evidence?  Every single day I become more and more like him, and I am most definitely one cool mofo.  Dad, we are some cool dudes!

11.  I tag Ron all  the damn time, I aint saying anything about him!

12.  Big days for my buddy Burke, who has just started going back to school while also remaining a steadfast David Hasselhoff fan.  Kudos, wanker!

13.  I could probably talk about Mary all day, but I’m pretty sure she’d friend-disown me.  She dislikes scrutiny.

14.  My dear, dear friend Michael (that’s a lady named Michael) sent me the most lovely letter in the mail yesterday.  She sure is a freaking great friend!!  It was quite touching, it brought a tear to my eye.  Everyone should have a friend like Michael!

15.  California buddy Kyle is finally off the unemployment and working at a bank!!! Yay Kyle!  Now:  no more excuses for sneaking into movies, you heathen!

16.  My freaking cool-as-shit sister just got a job working at a law firm!  What what!  Dellingers can do anything!!!  Click the link to read her badass blog!

17.  Also in the world of talented musician friends of mine:  Duane, who records under the name DreamlandNoise.  Click the link for just a small sampling of his superb “space funk”.

18.  What to say about my girl Cory? She recently moved back to central PA, like, RIGHT after I left it.  *frown face*  She’s just the shiznit in every way, and is quite a talented artist.  I’ve linked to some of her art but you might not be able to see it if you’re not FB friends with her.  Which would be your loss.

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