Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Kate Gets Old, Becomes Reflective

I turned 25 today. If you want to get technical about it, I turned 25 about an hour ago. It is snowing here, as it was in Connecticut that night. Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter today, just as he did in 1985. Actually, just as he does most years. Honestly, Phil can suck it-- there are much better groundhogs out there. No, not you, Staten Island Chuck, but keep fighting the good fight.

Speaking of Essex Ed, how convenient was that for my parents? If there's a freaking parade for your kid's date of birth, do you really need to throw an elaborate party? When we moved to Annapolis, people didn't believe us when we tried to explain the concept of a Groundhog Day parade. "No really, it's great. Everyone stands on Main Street, and you bang pots and pans to call the groundhog, and then they bring out the giant costumed groundhog and when it's over they place him in the middle of the rotary at the top of the street!" What part of that doesn't sound completely believable?

People make a big deal about turning 25. "Ooooh, quarter-life crisis!" Really? I don't know. It clearly helps that I have a definite idea of my trajectory for the next couple years (grad school/poverty). But I figure I balance that out by maintaining my heading on the crazy cat lady track (minus cats). Nevertheless, I see no particular need for an existential crisis.

Furthermore, I think the whole quarter-life thing is a little presumptuous. I'm a science nerd, and I get excited about advances in medicine, and I work out and try to consume more vegetables than beer (not hard--I've gotten really boring lately). But honestly, I am pretty sure I am not going to live to 100, so the whole quarter-life ship has sailed. [Note: I will retract this statement in 10.5 years when my grammy turns 100.]

But I guess 25 is kind of a legit milestone. As my roommate so astutely and depressingly put it, I am now a member of the 25-40 demographic grouping, which I think means I have to eschew ironically cheering "WOOOOOO, COOOOLLLLLLLLEGE!" in favor of sincerely cheering "Hooray, fiber!"

Even my parents seem to consider it a milestone, rewarding my existence with delicious dinners when Mommy Lew was in town for the weekend, some sweet bling, and a terrifying (read: AWESOME) groundhog puppet which you can see in some of the pictures of the Essex parade (I very narrowly escaped receiving one of those groundhog hats). Which got me trying to think of the most memorable birthday presents I have received. Don't jump all over me-- it's an interesting exercise trying to figure out what has stuck with you over the course of your lifetime. Aside from a few conspicuous consumption-type items I won't describe in detail, I came up with the following:

Age 21: My pearls. I'm from Connecticut-- what do you want from me?

Age 16: Driver's ed with Sal. Memorable not necessarily in a good way ("I've seen some pretty bad things happen when somebody turns away from the skid").

Age 6: Part I: Ice skating lessons at the Naval Academy. Part II: Stitches.

Age 4: I think this is the first birthday I remember, which might color my recollection, but I am pretty sure it is the defending champion in terms of joy. My parents made me a beanbag toss... thing. If you can't figure out what I'm talking about, you should probably step away from your computer and go play with a ball or a stick or something. Anyway, my dad built it, and my mom made the beanbags, and it was Scuffy the Tugboat themed, which is to say amazing. AND on top of that, my Uncle Brian brought this Sesame Street foil balloon, with which I believe I became irrationally obsessed. Anne and I volleyed with it for probably the better part of a week until we had beaten all the helium out of it, at which point my mom flattened it and put it up on our bedroom wall. Seriously, best balloon ever.

And to think that then I got to go to the parade for my birthday.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Kate's Grammy Post-Game Report

I would like to say three things about the Grammys. Especially since the television coverage was clearly an attempt to turn it into some kind of three-way death match of Gaga v. Beyonce v. Taylor Swift.

1. I am a Gaga believer. I stand by my original assertion that "Just Dance" has some questionable lyrics, and I think her subsequent work proves that she was not giving it her best in terms of the extent of the crazy in that video. But I understand that she had to suck us in with something catchy and ease into the truly bizarre outfits. And now, brilliance. She showed up as a walking homage to cotton candy and/or rhythm gymnastics. From there she went on to channel Marilyn Manson as the Wizard of Oz and got thrown into a machine that spit her out soiled and accompanied by ELTON. The last outfit was possibly the least bizarre, which is saying something. It reminded me of this terrible song I sang at chorus regionals in high school-- there was this part that involved the altos sort of chanting "lightning lightning lightning." Anyway, she is wacky and awesome and really a talented vocalist.

Sidebar: Do you think her head ever hurts from all the head dresses? Do you ever want to take an afternoon off from being a performance artist? You know, hang out in your sweatpants, watch your DVR'ed Real Housewives, not spend an hour hairspraying your hair until it's a helmet?

2. Beyonce has some pipes. I mean, daaaaamn (that was two syllables, in case you were unsure). She is legit talented. Which is why the army of storm troopers that accompanied her to the stage during her performance baffled me. I get that divas like a posse, but that seemed like overkill, especially when you are up against someone who specializes in performance art, i.e. strategic bizarro shenanigans. The following (abridged) conversation occurred between my sister and me during B's performance:

Is the Beyonce infantry going to face off against Gaga Laboratories?

I feel like everyone's trying to unleash their inner Gaga.

I mean, she's killing it, but the storm troopers are a little suspect.

Maybe they'll do something interesting?

Tase an audience member?

3. Taylor Swift. I have been grumbling about her for a while--after she was on SNL, after I watched a whole thirty seconds of the Hope for Haiti telethon (No, I am not heartless. I already gave to Partners in Health and there was not enough George Clooney to sustain my attention). But now, it is abundantly clear that even though she seems like a sweet person who was sincerely excited just to be nominated and gracious in victory, even though I salute her as a tall girl, even though her songs appeal to many, many people, girl cannot sing. At least not in any key that I can listen to without cringing.

Suggestion: Taylor Swift/Kanye collaboration. Seriously. Can you imagine the publicity they would get? It would be INSANE. And more important to me, he could Auto-Tune that shit.