Tuesday, July 27, 2010

- Oh Ke$ha

I generally consider myself too cool for Top 40 radio. I mean I have all my street cred as a legit hippie, with my Bonnaroo experiences, trek to the last Phish show in VT, numerous Widespread Panic shows, and heck, I've even seen the surviving members of the Grateful Dead perform in a lot of their reincarnations. I, as a point of principle, will not buy a concert ticket to see any performer that does the same set list in city after city. I have been obsessed with classic rock since my junior year of highschool and have amassed a lot of useless trivia about bands, their lead singers, and song inspirations. I read Rolling Stone with more devotion than any religious text. So what I'm saying is, Top 40 radio with its line up of repeated songs every 1-2 hours, usually just makes me bristle.

Until recently. Until Ke$ha.

I did not want to like Ke$ha. I mean, she seriously spells her name with a $ instead of an S. The first time I heard her single Tik Tok on the radio I thought it was a joke - like one of those parody songs that DJ's make up because I could not take the lyrics seriously, or her sing/talk style - which lets face it, involves very little talent. Plus, the title is blatantly spelled wrong! Rewarding bad grammar and spelling is the leading cause of the decline of our language! Already convinced that she, along with her music, embodied everything that was wrong with the younger generation...imagine how much it irritated me to hear young girls singing her song constantly. A seven year old's mouth is no place for lyrics about brushing your teeth with a bottle of jack, trying to get a little bit tipsy, and not having any cares because you have plenty of beer for the night. It just made me feel dirty - like somehow I was responsible for this horrible music because I like Jack with ginger, and for me sometimes a fridge full of beer = little to no worries. And now I'm on a huge guilt trip about the state of our society and it's all Ke$ha's fault.

Now at this point of my general disdain for all things Ke$ha, she was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. SNL, one of my longest lasting true loves...I felt like I'd been cheated on. What were you thinking Lorne? And because sing/talking is NOT a talent she's just terrible live. But (and it's a BUT) she sang a new single: Your Love is My Drug. I recognized the catchiness, but even then I had no idea the feelings I would develop for that song.

This song has thoroughly taken advantage of my current smitten state. It is in heavy rotation, but I've yet to tire of it. Every time I hear it I must sing all the lyrics. I must smile. I must remember the 891734081562340192735 reasons why I am smitten. I feel the need to praise Ke$ha and her songwriting abilities. As if I'm not wearing my heart on my sleeve enough these days, when this song is on, it has to be pretty obvious how I'm feeling. And instead of hating her all over again for doing this to me, I'm too much of a happy, mushy mess to even care.

So yeah, this is my song of this summer. This is the one that in like 5 years I'll hear and be hit with a wave of emotion as all of the memories of what I've done and felt this summer come crashing back. If you would have told me this a month or two ago I would have slapped you and insisted that you're the one that needs some rehab, not me. Now, I'm not so sure.

And don't even get me started on the state of music videos these days...as someone whose third parent was MTV and music videos I'm just insulted at what's happened here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

- Nostalgia

Back when I was an MS student there was a great group of people that also started programs, or were in the middle of them at that time. These people made grad school sting less. We were all involved in the Food Science Club, but we also did a bunch of stuff on our own. We went out to gay and straight bars, left school to have 2-3 hour lunches, celebrated milestones together in a big way, and had so many ridiculous inside jokes we probably had our own language.

And one by one, those people all graduated and moved on. Some were just around for MS degrees so their time was always destined to be short, and others were finishing up their Ph.D.'s when I was starting. In a sense, I am the last one standing. Every day I miss these people who helped shape my graduate school experience and make times in my life fun that otherwise could have been dismal.

After they left I retreated to myself. I know that I did. Because I didn't want new friends. There was not another Meggles, or Joshie, or Klausey, or Baby Jeb, or Iris, or Yessica, or Megan, or Drew. I didn't want anyone to take their place - and even if I did I didn't feel that there were people worthy to fill their shoes. When I say I was sad these people left, I mean it. I seriously cried during or after these goodbyes. The thought of continuing on without them was sometimes too much to bear - it would paralyze me in this "What am I going to do without them?" way.

Which may sound dramatic because these people were just leaving. Moving elsewhere. It wasn't like I'd never see or talk to them again. But sometimes when things change so drastically, in your head it's the same thing. Megan and Drew were the last to leave about 6 months ago. At that time I was nearly dying trying to prepare myself for my Oral Prelim. I came to school. I worked in the lab frantically. I went home. I had dinner. I hung out on the couch with Emma. I went to bed. The only way this routine changed was to babysit, or hang out with Greg.

But when the end of April rolled around I realized that I had accomplished everything I'd spent the last 4 months stressing over - and it was time to start celebrating. So I went out. With people I knew from school but didn't really know. And I learned that I liked these people. It was like I'd spent enough time mourning the phsyical loss of these friends - I'd been through the 5 stages and I was ready to "move on". I could finally recognize that there were others that had something to offer. That even though I missed all of these people and things would never be the same, that didn't mean that they couldn't be good, or even great. So I started a weekly happy hour. It was small at first but then it grew - and we forged stronger friendships. We made other plans to fill our spare time. The cycle started all over again.

And now I will be one of the first to leave in a few short months. How full circle we've come.

But what really got me thinking about all of this was a picture Drew sent me last week. He emailed it and all the title said was "Remember Me?" and this was the picture inside:
Meet Manny T. A manatee we fashioned out of an uncannily shaped sweetpotato. We made him for the departmental pumpkin carving contest - and while the pumpkin had no special carving other than the viewing window which allowed you to see Manny T in his natural environment - that pumpkin won first place. And yes the pumpkin is awesome. But what it also reminds me of is the week that we spent thinking about that pumpkin, all of the other ideas we had that were just ridiculous and how much time we took away from working to come up with something. How we decided to put swedish fish in there and they got all bloated and gross, and how many bamboo skewers it took for us to prop him up in that position so that he was "floating" in the water. It makes me think of the pumpkin we did the following year and all of the good times in between.

I went to dinner with Drew and Megan last week and I realized something that I've known for a long time but never get tired of "re-discovering". Good friends are good friends no matter what. You don't have to maintain those relationships because there is a basis that will never go away. No matter how far away you move or how different your lives are - some things in life will inevitably change, but some things will always stay the same.