Archive for internet

Can It Be True? I’m Getting Rid of My DVDs.

Posted in real life, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 6, 2016 by sethdellinger

Last night I went out into our garage and brought in three large boxes.  In those boxes were hundreds–maybe close to six hundred–DVDs and Blu-ray discs.  I sat down with the contents of these boxes and divided them into two piles–“sell” and “keep”.  About two-thirds ended up in the “sell” pile.  Now, I didn’t do this because we are destitute and hard-up for cash.  I had just finally come to the realization that carting around that much physical baggage, representing movies that would be practically impossible for me to watch, was no longer a viable act.  (of note, these were simply the “garage” DVDs, the ones we couldn’t fit in the house.  I currently have no plans to get rid of the “house DVDs”).

I bring this up mainly because some of you may know I have continued to be a staunch advocate of physical media well into the digital age (I am a heavy user of digital media but have not abandoned the physical product like many have) and it feels significant to purge myself of all these DVDs.  The fact is, even without options like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and cable television, I would still be hard pressed to find the time to watch even a fraction of these movies.  Many of them are movies I truly love dearly, but when one has hundreds and hundreds of movies they love dearly, well…reality must be faced at some point.  Also, from a practical standpoint, these movies are tucked away in huge boxes in a garage.  The few times I’ve had a desire to watch one of them, the desire left after considering it for about ten seconds.  They’re just too difficult to get to.

Like many people, as the DVD age dawned, I delighted at the prospect of building a “film library”, and spent the next decade feverishly spending all my extra cash to own every movie I liked more than just a little bit.  Collecting DVDs became almost its own, separate pastime, mildly divorced from the pure love of film.  As I was single and childless most of this time, the extra room in my apartments made a perfect storage space for expanding Wal-Mart bookshelves full of DVDs, which I organized in many different ways over the years–sometimes alphabetically, sometimes by genre, with special sections for my favorite filmmakers and TV shows on DVD.  I kept going and going well beyond what was practical–I long ago lost the ability to even watch a tiny fraction of what I owned, often not even knowing for sure if I did own a certain film.

I became a completist of the highest order.  I loved the first three Todd Solondz films (I don’t love them anymore) and when I disliked his fourth and fifth films, I bought the DVDs anyway, to round out the Solondz section on my shelf (I can’t wait to not own “Palindromes” anymore!).  I bought every Stanley Kubrick film (these went in the “keep” pile) then had to buy “Eyes Wide Shut” again after they put out an unrated version.  At some point I began buying every movie made about a comic book superhero, because when I was REALLY into comic books as a young kid, I would have killed to see these movies–nevermind that I only liked about a quarter of them.  My superhero DVD collection grew to over 50, despite my actual ambivalence to the genre, out of some misguided favor to my younger self.  I mean, I own “Barb Wire” and BOTH “Judge Dredd” films.  But not for much longer.

It is, in plenty of ways, sad to see them go.  It was an impressive collection (people often say the DVDs in our living room are a lot of DVDs, which always makes me smile, as they’re about ten percent of the collection) and represented not just tons of money, but plenty of time and effort.  I’m also sad to, in some small way, be throwing in the towel on DVDs.  But I am definitely not abandoning them completely–with the “keep” pile from last night and the discs that were already inside the house, I’m sure we still have close to 300 movies in a physical format–and it’s hard to imagine saying goodbye to those.  And although purchasing new discs will be rare, I have no plans to stop for good.  My addiction to the Criterion Collection continues, and after seeing their slate for 2016, I anticipate buying three or four new ones this year.  I bought “Room” on Bu-Ray last month and have “The Revenant” pre-ordered.  As I get passionate about new movies, some will be added to the collection, but much slower than before, of course.

As far as other media: I stream a lot of music (but I use Tidal, which pays artists more than other streaming services.  I also use Pandora, but mostly to stream classical and jazz by people who are dead) but I still buy CDs, albeit at about 10% of the rate I did even three years ago.  I’ll probably buy nine or ten CDs in 2016.  I buy lots of vinyl–a combination of old music that’s freshly pressed (think brand-new factory sealed Beatles records), brand new music (the new Emily Wells album) and used vinyl out of dusty bins (just got The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Jazz Impressions of New York” at the local used record joint).

I read all my books, magazines, and newspapers on paper, although the Kindle ads in the New York Times Book Review make me a little itchy for one.

We currently have active subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, as well as Comcast cable…it’s an embarrassment of riches, to be sure, especially since our available TV-watching time is pretty low.  And most nights I just watch re-runs of “Shark Tank” on CNBC, anyway.  Can’t get enough Mark Cuban, I guess.

 

Jamboree

Posted in Rant/ Rave with tags , , , , on November 3, 2015 by sethdellinger

1.  Here are some questions I would like answers to:  obviously there is a bone in your nose, because it is able to break.  But skulls never have a nose bone, just a hole where the nose was.  What’s going on with that?  What is an electric acoustic guitar?  I mean I get the basic concept, but still.  When you cast a shadow, it is because your body is blocking light rays, but your shadow isn’t pitch dark; some light is still landing there; what mechanism is at play there?  Why can’t beggars be choosers?  Why do I love Furbys so much?  What the heck is fire?

2.  Ever since I became a vegetarian, I’ve noticed (at least on social media) a fair amount of mildly confusing hostility toward us.  Now I know that, like any subculture of people, there is a vocal minority that will actually make unprompted attempts to make meat-eaters feel bad, recruit people to the cause, etc (which honestly I say more power to them, it’s an important issue), but most of us just quietly eat our vegetables and say very little about it; what we do say is because this is an important part of our lives that we are passionate about; how odd to think we should be passionate about how we eat but remain silent about it.

So why do some people get so upset at vegetarians when most of us are largely leaving you alone?  And when most of us bite our tongues at the myriad, countless, terribly unimaginative pro-bacon posts that float around?  It is inconceivable that someone would be made to feel bad for voicing a pro-meat agenda, but those of us who are passionate about the lives of animals are made to feel like voicing our opinion would be indelicate?  The answer seems obvious.

Most people know, at their core, that eating meat is wrong.  Even if their conscious mind firmly believes there is nothing wrong with eating the carcasses of butchered creatures, deep down, at core, they know.  In our modern world, with all the options available to us, the wholesale slaughter and consumption of literally countless beings is radically unnecessary and a moral evil, and this fact resides in most of you.  So while I initially recoil every time one of my friends posts a completely unprompted anti-vegetarian meme, I recover quickly, secure in the knowledge they’ve done so because they wish, deep within themselves, they had the courage to act on what they know to be true.

3.  Let’s talk about sports for a minute; but more to the point, let’s talk about language and sports.  Even more specifically, let’s talk about “clinch”.

Now, in English at large there are quite a few ways to define exactly when one has “clinched” something.  It can mean to settle or finalize, but also to assure oneself of future reward.  In American sports, for many many years, it has meant strictly the latter; that an individual or a team had passed a mathematical hurdle in order to be assured of a reward–typically a playoff berth, but more rarely something like a batting title or a similar individual achievement.

In decades past, the word would be used something like this by a sports announcer:

“And with one more strike, the Padres will win their third game of the best-of-five series, thereby clinching their appearance in next week’s League Championship Series!”.  As in, with this win, they now are assured of moving forward.  They have WON this series, and have CLINCHED an appearance in the next round of the playoffs.

Then, a few years ago, I was watching one of the championships of the major American sports–I don’t remember which–when moments after the winning team won and had just begun their celebration, the announcer said something like this: “And with that, the winning team has clinched the championship!”

I knew it sounded wrong but it took me a few seconds to suss out why.  Really, they clinched it?  To my understanding, they won it.  Clinching implies it has secured further games.  There is nothing after the championship.  The season is over.  There is no longer anything to clinch.  They won the championship.  Nobody ever clinches a championship.  When did they clinch it, in the half a second from when the buzzer started to sound until it was done sounding?  Let’s end this madness, please!

4.

I know, intellectually, that humankind did not have anywhere close to the technology to put a person on the moon until right up until the moment we did so.  In fact, it was almost a miracle we were able to pull it off when we did it.  But it has always struck me as odd–and this is a really challenging thought to put into words so bear with me–that over the long and storied history of humanity, that somebody didn’t get there almost by accident at some point.

OK, let me pull it back a little bit.  Thinking about early Mount Everest climbing, the accepted knowledge is that Sir Edmund Hilary and his Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, were the first human beings to summit the mountain.  And for all we know, they were.  It’s certainly not easy to get up there, and there’s no discernible survivalist reason to do so.  But human history is long, and there have been billions and billions of people walking over the surface of this planet well before we started keeping track of what we all were doing.  It seems to me the likelihood that some human being, at some point in deep history, for reasons completely unknowable to us, once trod upon that summit before Sir Edmund Hilary’s DNA was a glint in an amoeba’s eye.

Now it is harder to make a case for people having gone to the moon in ancient history.  I’m not some conspiracy theorist or quack, I’m just playing the numbers game (but without actual numbers).  While I will go out on a limb and say it is LIKELY a human summited Everest somewhere in the deep past, I will only say that it seems totally feasible that someone got to the moon at some point.

How?  I have no idea.  Some rudimentary capsule on top of a vast amount of explosives?  I really don’t have a working theory.  It does seem to me that if some human in history worked out a way to get to the moon, they probably didn’t arrive alive or live very long once they got there.

Just imagine, though.  Imagine we go back to the moon someday with more time and means to explore it.  Imagine an astronaut is walking down an embankment in a crater.  She sees a small cave tucked into an alcove.  As she approaches to explore, she sees footprints!  Closer still, sitting in dirt on the windless surface, a tattered copy of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”.  She hesitates before entering the cave.  What a story this would make!

And for you smarty-pants out there, I know lunar soil is called regolith, but that would have really ruined the pacing there.

The Scent of Bitter Almonds, and etc, etc.

Posted in Rant/ Rave, Snippet with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2014 by sethdellinger

1.  Nothing says “I’m a boring person” quite like posting pictures of your alcoholic beverage to Facebook.  Seriously.  You went out to a bar or club and you think the interesting thing that is supposed to happen is the drink itself?  Uninteresting, repetitive pictures of the person you’re with, or even another selfie, are more interesting than a beverage in a glass.  We’ve got the whole internet, and you want us to look at a beverage.

2.  I’ve brought this up before, but I just have to keep digging at this one.  Why are there two kinds of screws and screw drivers, ie flat head and Philips head?  I’m not over here like, meh, there should only be one kind! I am confident there are very good reasons for there being multiple kinds of screws, but I just for the life of me can’t figure out what those reasons are.  Anyone with any insight, please comment!

3.  War is terrible, but man, for a nation so young, we’ve had two very interesting wars!  I’ll be damned if the Revolution and the Civil War aren’t two of the most amazing stories ever told.

4.  With Philip Seymour Hoffman dead, the greatest actor of this generation (ie the generation currently the correct age to play the most interesting parts in the kind of films that get made the majority of the time) is James Franco.  Discuss.

5.  I get pretty tired of taking the trash out.  I mean, we really just have to keep doing this?

6.  Look at this picture of my dad and sister on vacation in Brigantine, NJ in 1980.  What’s not to love about this picture?  I want to sit on a porch listening to that radio, wearing those socks, next to a child dressed like that:

blarg4

7.  I recently asked a few friends of mine which baseball team they would like, if they had only to consider the teams uniforms/ colors and logo.  Where you grew up and your previous loyalty should be not considered.  I got a few interesting answers—Billhanna said the Astros, which was a damned good answer.  My answer?  The Marlins or Blue Jays.

8.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez died this week.  He is one of my (and many others’) favorite novelists.  His most famous book is “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, which I love, but my favorite book of his is “Love in the Time of Cholera”, a book about a man who is obsessed/in love with one woman for his whole life, and dedicates his whole life to being with her.  It sounds creepy, and at times, it is, but what I love so much about it is that it is the only work of art in any medium that I have ever encountered that treats the obsessive side of love with the tender and insightful kind of care that most people reserve for “romantic” love.  It is a game-changer of a book.  Here is the first sentence from that book: “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”

9.  I understand you didn’t ask for my postcard or letter in the mail, and I understand, in this day and age, you’re not really sure how to respond to such antiquities.  I really don’t care too much.  Ideally you’d send a letter back, but I’m not expecting that.  You can ignore it.  That’s fine, you didn’t ask for it.  You can text me a response, which is the main thing people do, and that’s fine, if a bit gaudy.  But please, please…don’t post a picture of it on Facebook.

10.  What about this?

 

37 of the Worst Oatmeal Beers

Posted in Philly Journal, Prose with tags , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2014 by sethdellinger

What is up with this trend of inane lists on the internet that have a purposefully odd and senseless amount of items in them?  38 Things White People Don’t Know or 16 Ways I Blew My Marriage or The 42 Most Haunted Places in Ireland.  When they first started popping up, I just assumed the list makers had gotten lazy and didn’t feel like making a list that made it to an even number, but it soon became obvious photo 2that the trend was too prevalent and too consistent to be an accident or a product of laziness.  Something about this odd-number list is a draw to readers–or at least a proven click generator–and I just can’t figure out why.  Why would an oddly numbered list prove to be more attractive to a reader?  Is it just a curiosity thing?  Maybe the number itself jumps off the screen at you more, because our brains are trained to scan past numbers we see all the time, like 10, 20, etc?  No matter the cause, it should surprise nobody that this annoys the shit out of me.  I like my lists nice and tidy with rounded numbers, you know, like you were kind of trying.  And photo 1don’t get me started on the silly, needless lists that this tactic has caused to pop up on my news feed.  Sigh.  I really do kinda hate the internet.  But it’s definitely a love-hate kinda hate.

I still have yet to be able to find any information about those piers in my video on my previous blog.  Of course, I’m just Googling.  Does a more in-depth way of researching things still exist?  Does going to a library and…I don’t know, doing something there increase my likelihood of figuring something like this out?  I mean, not everything is on the internet, believe it or not,photo 3 but I seem to have lost the ability or the know-how to do any research aside from internet searches.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m really good at internet searches, but still…

Sometimes in life you say something, maybe just a few words, a sentence, and you regret saying it.  Even twenty years later, you regret it, and maybe you regret it for the rest of your life.  Because saying something is an action, and maybe something you said hurt somebody, and somewhere deep inside us we know that some things do last forever.  And you wish you hadn’t hurt that person.  You wish you hadn’t said or done the thing.  People love to talk about not having regret, but you do.  You have regret because you’re a human being and having 027regrets is as much an ingrained part of the human experience as pooping, or stretching in the morning, or hating the Pittsburgh Penguins.  You can get into some stupid language game like well to me regret means blah blah blah, but I don’t, I just use experiences to blah blah blah.  Whatever.  Stop watching daytime TV.  Life aint tidy.  Own your regret.

I’m sure glad I stopped drinking before this whole “craft beer” thing started happening.  I certainly would not like these sludgy beasts.  Oatmeal beer and wheaty stuff and dark beers with bits of rice floating in them, or whatever.  Of course, I am sure that many people are constantly forced to pretend to like these things by a photo 4hipsterish peer pressure.  I can tell just by looking at these bottles that these “micro-brews” (once you’re bringing science into beer, you’ve probably lost the plot) are like beer syrup.  They probably make Guinness look like Coors Light.  No thanks.  Thank you, sobriety!

Here is me, looking at The Signer:

004

 

The Light From Everywhere

Posted in Memoir, Prose with tags , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2014 by sethdellinger

A long time ago, what must be over 10 years ago now, I was a man just recovering from alcoholism—a long bout of sickness— and the first few weeks and months were filled with a special kind of freedom.  But aside from all the weighty big topics that came up in such a time, I also was just able to start discovering the internet. It had been there during my drinking but it wasn’t something I had much interest in or capacity to utilize. My very first blog was on some sort of AOL blogging community.  I loved everything about it. I loved that I could write was on my mind, and write whatever I wanted to say, however I wanted to say it, and some people would actually read it! This is back before everyone was doing it (and way before everybody stopped doing it!) But of course, basically still nobody was reading. Anyway, one of the first entries I ever wrote was called “The light from everywhere, the light from nowhere”. It had just snowed the first snow of the year, which must have been 2004. I was in love with a woman at that point in time who was a pain in the ass, but I was in love with her anyway. That night, as the snow was coming down, I drove her home to where she lived on the side of a mountain, and in the cold snowy wind, we shared a kiss on her doorstep. I wrote a lovely blog entry about it on that AOL website, which has long since been erased by the great internet gods. I wish I could remember most of it, or  that I had saved it somewhere, because I know even now it was a doozy.  I talked about that ambient light which those of us who live in wintry states are very familiar with, which seems to slowly take over the nighttime in the first few hours after a snowfall, seemingly coming from nowhere and everywhere all at once.  And then I made an analogy between this light, which I had just seen that night for the first time in my sobriety, and the slow sneaky way that love overtakes a person. It was a really great piece of writing. Well, I am a 10 years older old fart now, and a little more cynical. Still happy as a clam, but I kind of hate snow, and I don’t plan on falling in love anytime soon. I often think of that blog entry when I see the light from everywhere. Tonight, as a big nor’easter blew into Philadelphia, I had already done all the outside things I needed to do for the day, and was just planning on settling in for the night, putting on my sweatpants and maybe putting in my DVD of “Picnic at Hanging Rock”, and eating some rice and drinking some diet soda. But as I got up to go to the bathroom and walked past the front door, I saw the light from everywhere and the light from nowhere, and I was drawn outside. I can’t re-create for you the magic of that first blog entry 10 years ago, but I did take some video, and I was feeling pretty good about the world:

Philly Journal, 12/5/13

Posted in Philly Journal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2013 by sethdellinger

I present to you, my video tour of my house and surrounding neighborhood!  As well as me wearing every Philly-sports-themed Santa hat I own (someone find me a 76ers one).  Yes, that is toothpaste in the corner of my mouth in the intro.  I’m not the sort of man to re-shoot it just because of that, though.

 

 

 

Young Blood

Posted in Concert/ Events, Philly Journal, Rant/ Rave with tags , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by sethdellinger

1. Let’s talk a little bit about Facebook, and/ or any other online social media you’d like to apply this to: my Facebook page is not a magical realm of free speech and considered debate.  It (as well as, obviously, my blog.  Hey, you want a blog too, you can get one!) is a place where I put the stuff that I already think.  Sometimes, that stuff is “I like Triscuits”, but other times it might be “We need stricter gun control in this country, because guns and people kill people.”  Those are my opinions, and I didn’t get them from numbskulls like you, I got them from the world, and my observations of it.  Now, you are of course more than free to have your own opinions, and even ones that are different than mine, but these people that seem to think that everything needs debated all the time, and that you need to listen to all sides of a debate! are mistaken for a few reasons.  Yes, debate is healthy and necessary, but I don’t spend all my time online, nor do my opinions get formed or forged there.  By the time I’ve “statused” an opinion, I’ve read about, watched something about it, talked to a human being in person about it, observed something about it, etc.  I communicate things via social networks that I already think.  Now, you may ask, what’s wrong with even more debate?  And my answer to you is, nothing is wrong with more debate, but not Facebook debate.  Facebook debate sucks.  Nobody is ever swayed by anything said online, it makes me hate you, it reveals your lack of grasp of the English language, it wastes my time, and makes people who like each other say things they regret.  Just don’t bother.  And then, the topper, is when since it is after all MY Facebook page, I delete the contrary comments so as to avoid the debate, the person notices I’ve deleted the comments and wants to get all high-and-mighty as though I am oppressing their free speech or quashing some important, vital public discourse.  Listen Chachi, this aint Meet the Press, you aren’t the Op-Ed page, and Facebook isn’t housed in the National Archive. Step off my status, Anthony Scalia, I already know what the fuck I think.

2.  I just saw “Gravity” in the movie theater.  This was a fantastic experience.  Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about to become my “favorite” movie, but it is very unlike anything else I’ve ever seen in a movie theater.  It is an experience.  I don’t want to oversell it here, but listen, this thing has GOT to be seen on a big screen, in 3D, if you want to grasp what the whole point of the endeavor is.  Do it.  Go.  Soon.

3.  As you may know, for many years, I was a very vocal opponent of professional sports.  I thought they are a nuisance distraction from what is generally important in the world.  I thought the energy and attention that followers of sports devote to them was a drain on other places they could be placing that attention, such as government and world affairs, the fine arts, the world of science, and the great story of human history.  Guess what?  I still absolutely think that is true.  There isn’t really any getting around it: professional sports are, by-and-large, a great waste of time by otherwise fantastic cultures.  It’s just that at some point a few years ago, I made a conscious decision to drink the Kool-Aid.  I now follow sports like a 70s housewife followed soap operas; all-too aware of their impotence in the world, but completely invested regardless.  And it is through that lens and with those caveats that I now say this: why the fuck do some of you people make a conscious decision to have “your” team be a team that is nowhere near you?  Like someone from Pennsylvania, with no connection to Colorado, being a Denver Broncos fan (hey! We have two pretty neat football teams in our very own state!) or someone from California being a Green Bay Packers fan (again…THREE serviceable teams in that particular state).  Now, I hear what you’re out there saying: But Seth, didn’t you just say that sports were essentially meaningless?  Didn’t you compare them to soap operas?  If so, isn’t my choice to follow the Vancouver Canucks just like preferring “General Hospital” over “One Life to Live”?  Well, that’s a pretty good point, but you’re wrong.  One of the few socially relevant and culturally significant facets sports do afford us is the ability to help define our regional cultures, bring us temporarily and intensely together as citizens of a common area, form loose bonds out of otherwise unrelated people, and energize regions and cities with not only economic growth and civic pride, but a kind of localized patriotism which, even though it arises from games that in reality mean nothing, it serves to define us as people from a certain place, with a certain history and tradition.  Once you have bought into this artificial but nonetheless powerful facade, you become part of the tapestry of the history of a place and culture.  And you want to go and just…like some team colors?  For a team that is from a place you’ve never been, and which you know next-to-nothing about??? That is NOT like choosing one soap opera over another, it’s like watching static on a screen while “Gone With the Wind” is on the other channel.  Put some meaning into your meaningless sport, I don’t care how long you’ve “liked” the Yankees.

4.  My buddy Kyle knows a girl who is in a band called The Colourist, and it turns out, they might actually be on the cusp of being a legit famous band!  (how do we know they are going to be famous? You have seen them in a commercial! This commercial!) They are currently on tour opening for a band called The Naked and Famous, which is a band that is currently enjoying a fair amount of stardom, at least on the “indie rock” scene.  Anyway, Kyle, knowing my penchant for concert-going and thinking one or both bands might be down my alley, asked his friend who is in The Colourist (her name is Maya) if she could put me on the guest list for their upcoming show in Philly at the Trocadero, and she did!  So tomorrow night, I get to go see a rock show for free! Yay!  Now, I have not been able to really familiarize myself all that much with the material of either band, but the listening I have done, I like but don’t love.  Both bands do make, generally, the kind of music I like, but they seem to draw a bit more from pop influences than usually suits my taste, but again, I haven’t listened too much.  But I certainly like them enough to go see them play!  Thanks again for the hookup, Kyle!

Here are the songs I have liked most so far from The Colourist as well as The Naked and Famous:

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