3/10: hey there delilah

If you don’t recognize this face, maybe you’ll recognize this song.

Years ago in Chicago, Tom Higgenson met Delilah DiCrescenzo at a party and promptly fell in love with her, despite the fact that she had a boyfriend. He told her he’d write a song to win her over and then he did—well, he wrote the song, at least.

He and his band, The Plain White Ts (RANDOM TANGENT: band names like this annoy me for some reason, it’s just so…schticky? Like, I bet one or all of the members of this band own a keyboard necktie that they wear ironically), spent years performing and building a fan base and “Hey There Delilah” became a crowd favorite. Eventually, the song was nominated for a Grammy.

And Delilah?

She kept dating the boyfriend she had when she first met Tom (they’re still dating now) and let the song gain popularity, living her life anonymously and training to compete in the Olympics. Oh yeah, she’s an elite athlete and her event is probably one of the most grueling and ridiculous events in track and field. This is what she does for 3000 meters:

You know who else steeplechases?

HORSES. Big, brawny horses.

Delilah didn’t make the Olympic team in 2008 but she’s still training and will probably try to qualify again next year. Training for her means traveling around the world and doing STEEPLECHASES.

STEEPLECHASES!

Sorry, this event just has me in awe of human beings. People can just do that? Regularly?!

Delilah competed in the Ivy League for Columbia University in New York and had done pretty well but was not enough of a standout to land sponsorships post-college. So, she ran off and on for a couple of months, then moved back home to Chicago where she figured she was pretty much done with running. Then she got a phone call from the Kenyan runner Isaya Okiwaya. He wanted to coach her and like anyone worth admiring she said yes to the new opportunity.

Having a coach allowed her to have financial support for lodging and traveling for races (not to mention biweekly massages—we should all be so lucky to have someone pay for that) but she wasn’t actually getting paid to run. During this time she was not only training, traveling and running, but working full-time at a marketing and advertising firm. This girl understands the side hustle.

After one year and one third place finish in the steeplechase at the 2006 Outdoor Nationals, Delilah decided to commit to her running full-time, crossed her fingers and moved out of the city. That year she trained full-time and worked as an assistant track and cross-country coach at Bryn Mawr. It paid off when she won the 6K title at the USA Track and Field National Club Cross Country Championship.

In 2009, she became a member of the US Track & Field team, where she was able to travel to Amman, Jordan and compete for the United States at the World Cross Country Championships. In 2010, she was inducted into Columbia University’s Athletics Hall of Fame, where she is now studying to get her master’s in Sports Management. She also works as a part-time assistant for the cross-country and track & field team there. Remember what I said about the side hustle? She does not quit!

Delilah is one of only two American athletes sponsored by PUMA, which is such a sweet fact when you consider how close she came to giving it all up after college. As for the song? She says she doesn’t get asked about it much now, a fact that she’s fine with. It was fun and flattering, she says, but she’d like her running to dominate the conversation now, please and thank you.

I think it will. Easily.

If you’re intrigued by Delilah, PUMA is hosting a video series tracking her training in a short web series. I don’t think any video is longer than three-and-a-half minutes and new episodes are uploaded every Monday.

There It Is

Sometimes, when I’m feeling overwhelmed by Google Reader and my vision blurs staring at pages and pages of words, I refocus for a moment and I’m hit by Zan McQuade.

“I keep thinking I need to write it all down while I’m still here. Everything. Every last inch of curb and gutter stench. Every single person that passes me on the street.

And so I write this moment…

The focus that comes from free writing is tantamount to what you gain from free time. I have always felt that my most thoughtful moments come during the two-hour drive home from school and the blissfully (and so not green) long showers I indulge in when my roommates aren’t around to witness my waste.

It’s there that I’m able to flashback, or forward, for a while. Sometimes these moments take me to a conversation I had that day, other times its imagined conversations in the future or little moments or phrases that I’m able to bloat with meaning. After I arrive at my destination or run out of hot water I’m almost scared by the amount of time that has passed. It always feels as though those moments of introspection have aged me so much, as if my wrinkly hands will now be permanent.

I ran my hands underneath a stream of water for a few minutes to see if those wrinkles that appear distort the little swirls of me at my fingertips and they don’t.

Do you know why your fingers do that when you’ve been in water too long? It’s an adaptation. The wrinkles act as treads for the water, allowing a better grip in wet conditions. It’s a way for us to increase our sense of touch.

To pause and reflect on a moment, to write it out and appreciate it–every aspect of it–is to increase your awareness. You can’t capture it all, there’s no point in doing that, but in the next moment, when you’re just experiencing it, you’ll feel it all. A runner who can’t catch her breath won’t be running long and a writer who doesn’t stop to appreciate what’s around her won’t have much to write, or see. Everyone needs a moment to themselves, to gain some tread and a better sense. Every moment spent with yourself is a good one.

“The pause makes you think the song will end. And then the song isn’t really over, so you’re relieved. But then the song does actually end, because every song ends, obviously, and THAT. TIME. THE. END. IS. FOR. REAL.”

10 American Women More Interesting than The Duchess of Cambridge

As you may or may not know, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are currently on a tour of North America. They’ve spent X (I’m not going to bother looking up the actual amount) of days touring Canada and will spend X amount of days in the United States.

The official twitter page for The Duke and Duchess, Clarence House, sent out an unintentionally hilarious tweet Friday morning saying: “…the next stop for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is California, to strengthen US and UK ties”

LOLOLOLOLOL to strengthen US and UK ties. Calm down, Clarence House, it’s Los Angeles and WE’RE ALL FINE.

According to People magazine they’re staying at the British Consul-General’s LA residence—where Helena Bonham Carter and Tom Hooper have stayed—and they’ll be attending a BAFTA event where Jennifer Lopez is also a guest. Also, something something the Beckhams something something (probably).

Strengthening ties, yo!

They’ll be doing some very basic political things too, like shaking hands or whatever. I don’t know. I’m not Clarence House. I’m just a person!

I am not anti-William and Kate. I like weddings. I like wedding stories. I like pretty dresses/hats/things. I like them! I can seamlessly turn any conversation into a discussion of Kate Middleton’s outfits—which are very rarely interesting and almost never impressive to me but that’s a whole ‘nother post (that I will not be writing) (ps, her formal gowns are ALWAYS killer though, she always looks great in color, she always wins Spring Fling Queen). And no duh she’s pretty and no duh they look great together. But that’s not saying much about them individually. Besides I just like nice celebrities—which is what they are: celebrities.

I mean, the royal family basically does nothing, right? They’re just kind of royal in name and get money from their government and sometimes go on tours where they’re able to attract attention to certain causes in provinces they represent—which is great. But basically, they’re on Welfare and just happen to have ancestors who paid off their houses and left them a bevy of family heirlooms in the form of precious jewels and crowns.

Please correct me if I’m wrong.

On Thursday morning I was eating breakfast on campus before I had to go to work and I was feeling pretty proud of myself for consciously watching one of the millions of flat screens in the dining area tuned to CNN.

They talked about Casey Anthony and the final space shuttle mission for two seconds apiece then cut to a way too long segment about the royals and their tour of Canada.

It reminded me of when Paris Hilton’s popularity was at its apex and it seemed like there was some secret law that mandated that every news outlet talk about her every five minutes of every day.

Here I was thinking we couldn’t talk about truly great people because news networks had to fill their daily quotas of namedropping Real Housewives and Kardashians, but no! We have time to talk about the “Royal Couple” so that theory is false. I was/am annoyed because there are other people we can fawn over and we never do.

Did you know that for the first time in eleven years the Today Show did not interview the Newbery and Caldecott Award winners? Do you know who they interviewed instead? Some tangerine from Jersey.

So, instead of waiting for someone to write about people who I’d like to know more about, I’m just going to write about them. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself, yadda yadda, et cetera et cetera, the end.

I know there are way more than ten American women more interesting than The Duchess of Cambridge, but writing about more than ten seemed like overkill and less than that seemed neglectful. The ten I chose come from a variety of backgrounds, represent multiple races and political beliefs and here’s a hint at the first woman: if you can’t take her out tonight, try another day.

you’re not obliged to swallow anything you despise

If I can…

  1. Set and a keep a budget for three months …then I can
  2.  Spend a quiet weekend at a bed and breakfast…in order to
  3. See The Shins perform live

These are goals #1, 13 and 9 on my ever-expanding life list.

I’ve written about The Shins a few times but never more succinctly than I did in this post:

I was first introduced to The Shins by myself (how congratulatory) while I wandered through the CD aisles of the (Salina Public) library.  Intuition, probably.  I was collecting CDs to check out when I saw this great album art, which ended up being The Shins’ Chutes too Narrow.  I burned the tracks to my computer and I was absolutely hooked.  Then, Garden State came out and Sam mentioned this “life changing” song by The Shins, which I assumed would be off my pirated album.  When the music began to play, I realized I was wrong and there was more glorious Shins music out there that I wasn’t listening to/letting change my life.  The shame!

Because to be honest, something clicked within me the first time I heard those opening chords to “Kissing the Lipless” and the melodic close to the album, “Those To Come,” which lulled me to sleep many a night and sometimes, still does.  I was never the same and just to be really dramatic, maybe I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the understanding I gained through James Mercer’s lyrics.  Yeah, let’s take it that far.

The next CD I pirated was Oh, Inverted World which proceeded to both up my fleeting indie cred and change my life.  What a great two-for!

I was a bona fide Shins fan; I downloaded songs from the Know Your Onion and Fighting in a Sack EPs and I waited in anticipation for their 2007 release of Wincing the Night Away.  At the time, I was convinced I would one day be a music journalist for The Rolling Stone so I subscribed to the magazine and took their album ratings as second only to God.  When they put the Wincing the Night Away review on the cover of the music section, complete with cartoon sketchings, I knew it was going to be another life changing album by The Shins.

I bought this album, which means a lot in the world of Bea.  I listened to it on repeat from beginning to end and I felt it and it was one of those divine moments I assume Taylor Swift fan feels when they claim that she “sings about their life.”  James Mercer was singing about everyone’s lives, ranging from the outcast high school girls in “Phantom Limb” to the lovers discovering their intertwined lives as destiny in “Sea Legs” to the other lover moving on in “Turn on Me.”

I will never, ever lose any of the love I feel for The Shins and for that album.  Seriously, “Girl Sailor” reflects my life more accurately than any Hannah Montana-Cyrus or Taylor Swift song could ever do for me, and it was written by a man twenty years my senior.  Which may be a weird testament to my personality, or, more likely, is a testament to the greatness of his lyrics.  Or, most likely both.

The Shins stopped touring as The Shins in 2009 and I assumed they never would again, especially when the lineup changed and James Mercer pulled a Jack White and formed his own (really awesome) band. But I never took that goal off my list.

In April of this year I was scrolling through their not-updated-with-actual-Shins-news-since-2007 website when I saw the announcement that they would be performing at Outside Lands in San Francisco this August.

I decided I was going almost immediately, before realizing that I somehow had already made unbreakable plans for that exact weekend.

Seriously.

Then I heard about Popped! in Philadelphia.

When I started on 43 Things two summers ago, I made attending a music festival one of my goals. I set a few rules, like festival duration, how far away it could be and the minimum amount of acts I would be seeing. Even though that goal was accomplished last year, those rules still stand and Popped! meets all of them.

I’ve got Bing travel alerts set on flights from Kansas City to Philly and I’m cruising Air B’n’B in my free time and just like James Murphy said (what is it with guys need James in indie bands that I love?): This is happening. LIVE.

A Tale of Two Hipsters

At least twice in my academic life I have been assigned to read Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and both times I never finished (or in the second case, never started) because I find Dickens tedious.

What? HE GOT PAID BY THE WORD AND I CAN TELL.

But I can’t deny the epicness (not a word, I know) of the first lines of that book.

For my high school graduation, my sister gave me a fantastic card with a cartoon graduate standing at a podium reciting the lines: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” And ain’t that the truth!

There have also been times when after doing something for someone else (like not restarting a movie on Netflix instant-watch when I feel like it because a friend whom I let use my account is only half way through it) when I think: “It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done…” Because apparently I don’t do things nicer than not disrupting someone’s movie progress, or maybe I do, but this just feels like such a kind thing to do for someone else, you know? But anyway, very good, Dickens. Very good.

I’m taking a fiction writing class this summer because I always feel more creative when I’m not letting school stress me out (well, la di da, who would have thought?) and because my first story was all kinds of depressing and focused on telling the beginnings and ending of a doomed marriage and family, I felt it was only fair that I attempt to give my classmates something funny to read.

And thus, “A Tale of Two Hipsters” was born. Well, not “and thus” because I wrote scenes for two other stories before deciding I wanted to write a blind date story about two out-of-touch vegan, hipsters in 2008.

We’re still in the birthing process and it’s wholly first draft status at this point, but that’s where the fun lies.

Mazel Tov and Happy 4th!

A Tale of Two Hipsters

change the message

TIME, collector of lists, pictures and news, posted a countdown of the Top 10 Controversial Music Videos last week. Among them were Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” (great karaoke song, by the way), Rihanna’s new “Man Down” and Eminem’s “Stan.”

“Smack my B—- Up”, a title that is so terribly simple–and simply terrible–that it sounds like it came from a Lifetime movie, is number three on the list–one spot behind M.I.A’s “Born Free” video from last year. “Born Free” was banned from most websites and networks for its graphic nature—and rightly so. It redeems itself because of its overall message against genocide and racial profiling. That being said, watching it once was enough for me and even though the graphic murder in it was fictional, that didn’t make it any less disturbing. If you have not seen it, on behalf of your eyes, I say thank you.

Out of the ten songs, over half were misogynistic and all were either made in the 21st century or the end of the 20th century. That is pathetic and disappointing in a number of ways.

Kind of like Tracy Morgan–who makes my skin crawl. Kind of like Donald Glover and his gratuitous rape jokes. Kind of like anyone who feels like being born with a certain gender, race or sexual orientation makes them inherently better than anyone else. Kind of like the fact that our government helps perpetuate some of those thoughts by not extending equal rights to all its citizens.

Chris Kelly's comments during last night's debate

It’s been said before, but no one ever won a civil rights battle by staying silent.

Let my friends get married already.

starting to get addicted to…

You know that saying “Once on your lips, forever on your hips”? That’s the way I feel about celebrity gossip.

Not literally, of course. I don’t think talking about Justin Beiber will give you thunder thighs (but maybe you should stop talking about him anyway, just in case). I think talking about him or investing any time into knowing personal facts about his life will stick with you and find a way to permeate other areas of your life in which it doesn’t belong. But let’s be honest, errant gossip about teenagers or anyone you don’t know doesn’t really belong in your life.*

For instance, I know way too much about Jennifer Aniston.

I know she drinks Smart Water, is dating Justin Theroux (whoever that is), has dated John Mayer, is the daughter of Victor (real name John Aniston) from Day’s of Our Lives (my favorite fact about her!) and is divorced from Brad Pitt.

There are numerous ways I could have written that last fact: had her husband stolen from her by Angelina Jolie, as if he were a possession; was betrayed by her husband, Brad Pitt, for the bombshell Angelina Jolie –as if I actually know anything about the state of Brad and Jen’s marriage at that time; et cetera, et cetera.

The point is: I know too much. We all know too much.

I know so much that I have formed a theory about Jennifer Aniston.

America, or specifically, the American press, will never grow tired of/feel satisfied with Jennifer Aniston’s life  until she is married to a billionaire Greek shipping magnate, being photographed with that assthat hair and that smile off the coast of Mykonos while we deal with unyielding hot or cold weather and expanding waistlines stateside. Because we are obsessed with subscribing emotions to her and our own versions of happy endings for her, regardless of what her happy ending might be. Because she already gave us a happy ending once. Because we’re great with beginnings but can’t deal with the endings that we get. Because we’re still obsessed with her fairy tale.

The idea of happy endings, misrepresented beginnings and unexpected conclusions all lead to my current addiction. I’m starting to get a teensy, tin bit obsessed/addicted to Mia Farrow, by way of Woody Allen (I know, I know)

A letter from Mia to her stepdaughter, Nancy Sinatra:

My children are a continuous joy. The latest is Soon-Yi (aged 6, 7 or 8 — we’re saying 7). She’s from Korea — was found abandoned in the streets of Seoul — with rickets, malnutrition — even her finger nails had fallen off, she had lice and sores everywhere. Now she speaks English and is learning to read, write, play piano, dance ballet & ride a horse. She is also learning that people can be believed in and even loved. These are golden times and I am aware of that every single second.

After reading this TIME article from 1992, I’m really feeling a Jennifer/Brad/Angelina vibe from Woody and Mia, in that the press portrayed them as the perfect love story and of course they were spectacularly wrong about that, at least in the end.

 

Mia’s humanitarian goals and status as “the betrayed” makes her both Angelina and Jennifer.

Her ethereal, whimsical nature is something worth looking up to, even if it’s just on the surface.

“I get it now; I didn’t get it then. That life is about losing and about doing it as gracefully as possible…and enjoying everything in between.”

I get it now.

I get it now.

 

*That is an unintentionally misleading statement. I also don’t think gossip concerning people you do know belongs anywhere in your life. But, if we’re being honest here (and I’m always being honest here) my psyche is stuck in constant turmoil between being Cady Heron Before and Cady Heron after. It’s a process.

 

 

 

 

 

how I learned… I was basically addicted to the Internet

Rocket Science was started as a time capsule for future introspection. During those first 365 days I wasn’t really writing to remember, I was writing to find a point.

How I Learned is “a monthly series of writers, storytellers, comedians, bloggers and performers” sharing stories of wisdom found and gained.


It happens every fourth Wednesday in Brooklyn, and although the website doesn’t post transcripts, they share pictures from each reading and they always share the topic beforehand.

Some of my favorite prompts include: How I learned … I was basically in love with you, there might be some issues (stories about therapy), to inhale (stories about drugs), to live on the road (stories of travel), and my favorite: what everyone else already knew.


Even though I have yet to write one of these narratives, they inspire me to spend time reflecting on my own stories and stories that I’ve been told.

How I Learned serves as an extension of my own introspection and I can pretty much guarantee that one of these days, I will write a post about something I have learned. Not that I don’t already do that…


I can’t help but be addicted to anything that throws a little wisdom my way.

All images by Jon Boulier and gleefully stolen from How I Learned. GO THERE NOW!

I don’t f—ing care if you like it!

I will save my scathing review of Bridesmaids for a different day, when I have a clear head and a bullet point of specific problems that need to be addressed in terms of storyline and character development within that film.

Until then, I have to say I liked it which is pretty pathetic.

It’s pathetic because in a time when a five-year old can learn and restate random facts about the Earth and the Universe, we are still congratulating ourselves on realizing universal facts that should no longer need clarification.

Like: the sun is hot and women can be funny.

Which one of these would you put on a movie poster then congratulate yourself about?

Hopefully neither, because they are both so obvious and should already be a part of your basic understanding of, well, everything that stating them again would just be redundant and a bit foolish to you.

The marketing campaign for Bridesmaids is so congratulatory—as if someone is doing Kristen Wiig a favor by allowing her to write and star in a feature film directed by a man who is most famous for directing a specific brand of comedy (whatttt uuuup awkward teenage boys and men suffering from arrested developpppmeeenttttt).

FILM EXEC: Hey, want to make a film starring ONLY females (because we’re going to market the —- out of the fact that it’s NO BOYZ ALLOWED!!1) that is comedic in the same way that Superbad, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and etc. were funny?

KRISTEN: That is exactly my writing and comedy style. I would be happy to try to expand your brand by not actually expanding your brand at all!1!! And etc.

I don’t imagine Kristen putting up a fight because no matter how limiting the scope may seem, that is an awesome lead and it would be ridiculous for anyone to not take that.

I would take that! I would take anything! I would rewrite Herbie: Fully Loaded as a coming of age story about high school lesbians driving lesbian, enchanted cars if Judd Apatow asked me to (Judd, if you want me to do that, I am available).

“Chick flicks can be FUNNY” the Bridesmaids poster proudly proclaims in giant pink letters.

This is the part where my brain jumbles and I want to descend into a fit of curse words and hair pulling and maybe a few ?!??! for good measure because if any words should be on the poster for this film it should be “YOU’RE WELCOME.”

Because, thank you, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumulo for writing a comedy starring females that will do well at the box office this weekend. Thank you for doing it and opening yourself up to the opportunity of doing it again—and better. And, oh man the next comedy you write better be better because what I saw tonight was such a first draft. You can make something better than that and you will.

But, what do I know? I’m the only person in the universe who didn’t like The Hangover (and predicted that he was on the roof—sorry! It’s not a spoiler if it was popular two years ago and you still haven’t seen it).

Any film that lets girls see themselves outside of the “girl-box” is a good film. Kudos you, Wiig–even if the only instance of you being outside of the “girl-box” was writing it and starring in it (because boy oh boy oh boy was your character trapped in that box–get her out of there, it’s roomy out here!)

By the way, Kristen: I’m totally okay with sharing writing credits on the new Herbie if you want to work with me.

“I get worried for young girls sometimes; I want them to feel that they can be sassy and full and weird and geeky and smart and independent, and not so withered and shriveled.”-Amy Poehler