This is me rambling, at least

I can’t sleep. That’s right, I said it. It’s half past one o’clock in the morning, and I am announcing that stupid old Insomnia has visited me once more. I thought I had rid myself from his awful, testing grasp…but it seems as though he has me again. I can only hope this is temporary.

So, here I sit. I have two of my many pillows (apparently you can never have too many) supporting my back and to tell the truth, I am losing feeling in my buttocks… not that you needed to know that.

We watched Hoarders until 11, and instead of continuing to watch another episode about some person named Chris who still had baby toys from when her seventeen-year-old daughter was a baby, I decided to retire and headed upstairs with the ‘rents. I arrived at my doorstep (if you can call the carpet leading into one’s bedroom a doorstep) and thought excitedly hey! I can play Kingdom Hearts until the wee hours of the morning! which was soon halted by the book hanging out on my nightstand. Not to mention the dog that had taken up residence on my bed; that was distracting, too.

I forgot all about KH and picked up the book. A friend had remembered to bring it in for me along with one of the counterparts to it, so I picked up reading where I had left off before I hastily put the book down to get to play practice earlier in the evening. I picked up Crank (which I have already read – and last time I read it in once sitting) but after awhile found it to be rather depressing, so I put it down to succumb to the sleep I had been evading. At this point, it was 11:48 PM.

Now, nearly two hours later, after tossing and turning and turning the temperature on my heated blanket down, I have given up on the hopes of maybe catching some shut-eye tonight. Maybe I can get some writing done tonight seeing as how I have three stories for one newspaper due tomorrow (Wednesday) and three more stories that I promised for a different newspaper that I can get done anytime I’d like, but I’d like that anytime to be soon. Piling up on top of this unnecessary stress I put myself through due to my habit of procrastination, I have 118 lines to memorize in the play we’re working on, 4 different National Honors Society forms to pass out to 4 (or maybe it was 5…I can’t remember this early in the AM) different teachers/adults AND an essay due for NHS on top of that. 5 paragraphs in ABC paragraph format that concern me and are all about me. How boring. I don’t even know where to begin. Maybe I’ll print this off and hand it in – this is me, is it not? Me rambling, at least.

I’ve always found that I am a night owl and always get inspired once the sun goes down. Tonight is no exception. While I was tossing and turning and turning and tossing, I was having several brainstorms, but didn’t feel like reaching over to the stack of Post-Its I always keep handy on my nightstand (specifically for those late-night ideas) to write them down. I remember them crystal clear.

  1. Banned-AIDS “Together we can make it so we can say we’ve banned AIDS. Donate your extra bandages and maybe throw in a dollar or two. The littlest contribution can help fix the boo-boos and fight against AIDS in African countries like Uganda.”
  2. Mention how mom has had three different jobs in the last four years and now has one that she likes. Coincidentally, she got the job while she was in college study Public Relations. She holds the position of a PR Specialist.
  3. Picture caption should read “Emily greatly resembles her mother, Nancy, who handled being a mother, helping to provide for her family and attending college classes to earn her Masters Degree all at once.”

Yep, that’s all. Don’t try to wrap your mind around how those three ideas might connect, because they definitely don’t (well, 2 and 3 do). They are very different ideas for two very different things that I’m working on at the moment. Hopefully I can get everything done that I need to be done by the end of this week with flying colors. It would help if I got some sleep, but tomorrow I’ll be loopy, tired and fun…and maybe I can take a nap when I get home from school. Wait…maybe not. I have too much shit to do.

XX is greater than XY (My latest NeXt article)

Take out your iPod, select the “Music” option and click on “Artists.” Scroll on through from A to Z and count the number of bands that are composed of only males. Male-fronted bands probably make up the majority, correct? It might interest you to know that some females in this world can rock harder than the opposite sex.

The three female-fronted bands that nearly everyone in the teenage crowd has heard of are Flyleaf, Paramore and Evanescence, but there are plenty more out there in this world that are none too popular. While Lacey, Hayley and Amy Lee’s voices are indeed beautiful, there are other gorgeous female voices that deserve just as much attention.

A few bands that fans of Paramore might enjoy are: Hey Monday (of West Palm Beach, Fla.), Damone (from Waltham, Mass.), The Material (which started out in San Diego, Calif.), and New Years Day (of Anaheim, Calif.). Cassadee Pope of Hey Monday and Noelle LeBlanc from Damone are sure to gain more fame in the next few years with their voices leading the way.

Colleen D’Agostino of The Material has a beautifully clear voice that is irresistible. One might think that a female singer changes the gender of a band’s fans, but both Roi Elam from The Material and Ashley Costello of New Years Day disagree: “I don’t really think so,” said Elam, “I see an equal amount of guys and girls at our shows.”

“Nooo … not at all, and I was surprised by that,” exclaimed Costello. “When we play I see just as many guys in the crowd as I see girls. It’s really cute.” New Years Day has often been described as the female version of Fall Out Boy. Yes, here and there a likeness is detected, but New Years Day is a band all its own. “I feel like a lot of people took more notice of us because there was a girl singer, but it’s also very hard,” said Costello. “There are so many guy-fronted bands that I feel sometimes the female-fronted band gets pigeon-holed and maybe a label won’t look at us.”

Many people are skeptical of females being in rock bands, but listen to some New Years Day, and let Ashley change your mind in “Temecula Sunrise” or “My Sweet Unvalentine.”

Pretty close to one another in your iPod should be two bands: Fireflight from Eustis, Fla., and Flyleaf of Texas. Both bands are Christian rock, bordering on metal, and are led by females who know what they are doing.

The lyrics that Dawn Richardson and Lacey Mosley sing are powerful and attuned to God. “We all contribute our own parts and help each other to improve upon each other’s suggestions,” said Dawn. “Both Justin [guitarist/ background vocalist Justin Cox] and I work on the lyrics but I am the main lyricist, I imagine me being a girl does affect the way I write…” Nobody would think Flyleaf and Fireflight are all about God, but listening to their lyrics very carefully can help you realize just how much their faith influences the artists in these bands. “We write about what we have gone through in our lives and how God’s love has brought us through,” said Richardson.

Think the farthest thing from the music made by Flyleaf and Fireflight and you have a band called Save Ferris from Orange County, Calif. Although they are no longer together, their deliciously quirky sound and clever lyrics do not fail to entertain. Check out “Under 21” or their cover of “Come On Eileen” (originally by Dexy’s Midnight Runners) and enjoy some ska. Monique Powell is now a solo artist, but her voice was perfect for the likes of Save Ferris.

Ask me: who is the exact opposite of Save Ferris? I will think about it for a second before I reply with one word: Kittie. Don’t let their adorable name fool you — this is a cat you do not want to cross paths with.

Kittie strikes me as the female version of Slipknot — Morgan Lander attacking the listeners with her voice. After many changes over the years, currently rounding out this all-female quartet are Mercedes Lander on drums/vocals/piano, Tara McLeod on guitar, and Ivy Vujic playing bass. Originating in Ontario, Kittie has been around for years, putting many a CD out. Check out “What I Always Wanted” or “Paperdoll” and behold the scarily musical meow that is Kittie.

From Amy Lee to Dawn Richardson, Ashley Costello to Morgan Lander, some females can really rock. So put away the Avenged Sevenfold or Metallica CD and go try something different and new. Found on my iPod is a playlist called “Female-fronted bands.” Maybe you should create one as well, and drag all of the music from these bands onto your iPod.

Also worth listening to: Within Temptation, Garbage, Automatic Loveletter, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 1997, Meg & Dia, The Donnas, Be Your Own Pet, Letters to Cleo, The Morning Of, Veruca Salt, Lacuna Coil and The Veronicas.

“Being the only girl in a band is awesome. It has just as many pros as it has cons. I’m always protected, but then again I am always picked on by them. It’s like a little sister-big brother relationship,” said Ashley Costello.

Emily Steves is a sophomore at Gowanda

Visiting the bro

For the past two summers, my eldest brother has been writing for The Chautauquan Daily newspaper that is distributed by little paper boys all across The Chautauqua Institution. Other than the snobby, old rich people, I actually would not mind living there.

Last summer we visited him at his job and went on a walk all around one side of the Institution. The sky started dropping raindrops (of course), but we kept going, letting our two dogs pull us along by their leashes. Despite the horrible weather, I found every aspect of the Institution absolutely gorgeous.

This year we visited again, walking along on the red brick and gazing in awe at some of the beautiful old homes. Again, it started raining while we were there. At first I braved the rain, letting the hood of my hoodie soak up the wetness, but then it became too much for me to handle. My dad gave me the umbrella he had been holding for me, and I put it up, instantly relieved by the dryness. Everywhere we looked, there were pretty houses and beautiful mansions. We passed a few houses that were erected this past winter of ’08; houses that didn’t even exist when we visited last year.

The snobby people that live there ignored us, so we ignored them. We walked and walked and walked, looking left and right at the architecture. We passed the Opera house and visited the Rain Garden outside of the theater building. We visited the Amphitheater again and listened to the Chautauqua Choir for a little while. I still find the Amphitheater amazing.

If I lived in the Institution, I would want to own a small cottage near the lake, overlooking the water. I would walk and ride my bike everywhere, and would go to the Amphitheater daily. Maybe I would try going to the Opera, but I would probably end up covering my ears and running out.

Our visits there have been pleasant – despite the heavy rainfall. Hopefully some Sunday we will go there WITHOUT rain following behind us.