One month later

I can’t recall a month in my life that could possibly be happier than the one I just lived. Robby and I have been nearly inseparable for a month now, and I’ve loved every minute of it.

We’ve been together 11 times in the past 11 days. We see each other at least once a day, no matter what day it is. We do something different everyday, too, and we never have a plan. He comes over or I go over to his house and we just do whatever. It’s as simple as that. There is no prep time to take into account. We’ve watched a million movies, played a million games and had a million conversations. Last night, we walked my dogs and visited my grandparents before he watched me dominate in Guitar Hero in our “rumpus room.”

I’m always thinking about him and always get ideas for things to do for him. I got a great idea today while we were in Target after we went to the movies to see The Crazies (it was okay…just a little gory, but I had Robby there to protect me), but couldn’t tell him what it was. When he asked to know, I simply shook my head and said “you’ll find out soon enough!” He also has something he’s saving for today to celebrate one happy month together, and I cannot wait to see what’s in store!

We have so many plans. This week, we’re going four-wheeling with his dad (who is awesome) and in the very near future we’re going to go on camping trips with both his family and then mine. Summer will be great as long as he can come over everyday. We’ll spend the first month of vacation looking forward to those Yankees games in Cleveland we’re going to in late July with his dad, my dad and possibly one of my brothers.

Which reminds me of another thing. Our school’s baseball teams haven’t had a single game yet, but I’ve already seen Robby play baseball twice. The other day after track practice, I headed over to the baseball field and watched him play for an hour without him knowing. I saw his dad too, but neither of them knew I was there. When I went into the JV dugout to say goodbye to him, the look on his face was one I’ll never forget. When he told his dad later that I had been there, his reply was: “why didn’t she come over and see me?!?!?” That’s when I knew, once again, that I’ve got it good.

Right now I’m listening to my playlist of songs that remind me of him. I just can’t get enough. I’m pretty sure he fell asleep, because he was supposed to call me at one o’clock, but that’s okay. We have a whole day stretching out ahead of us once I get my research paper done today. I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll see each other. I love that.

For everything there is a season

It was like greeting an old friend as soon as my feet found the pavement. The snow had melted just enough and the air seemed balmy in all its glory of forty degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve always found it amazing just how different forty degrees can be, depending on the perspective you’re taking. When the seasons change from summer to fall, 40 degrees seems like the coldest temperature on earth. But, when the winter chill backs off a bit and lets in some of that 40-degree air, it’s as if spring has come early. It’s the same temperature and yet, it’s different.

I had considered making up a quick playlist of songs I could listen to while I ran, but I opted to leave my iPods at home, instead. The birds sang as I left the cul-de-sac I have lived on my whole life and let my legs carry me out to the main road and down the hill. I was surprised at how good I felt and let that carry me through the pain as muscles were put back into use after remaining dormant for nearly two months. The pain gave me something to think about and something to distract me from the mountain of homework I had to do and the hardships I had been dealing with on a regular basis.

When I was running, I didn’t have to feel anything but the pain from the exertion I was putting my body through. When I thought about it hard enough, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, but if I just let my mind wander and let my legs do my thinking for me, nothing really mattered. I ran by a business that owes my dad money and considered trashing it. But, I didn’t. I kept running and made my way toward the hill that stood menacingly in the not-so-distant distance.

My energy deteriorated once I reached the top, but I kept on running. I reached my halfway mark and kept going. I thought about how natural it is for me to run and how effortless it can be once I am in good shape to do it. I thought about the summer and how the three of us took part of this same route in an effort to be in shape for cross-country season. I thought about how fast the time goes and how it doesn’t make sense to try and cherish every moment. If you’re too busy cherishing, you’re not living. You’re just trying to keep it in your memory forever. A memory should be something you remember effortlessly, not something you save onto the desktop in your brain so you can click on it and wait for it to load.

I decided against taking a shortcut and instead went the whole way around and back to my street. I took a left, ran down to the green Pennysaver box and then took a right, thinking in my head about that last 200m that I face with every race I run on the track. I ran halfway up my slushy driveway and then bent over to catch my breath. I always do this, and then I bend my knees carefully before reaching my full height (5’2″ if you were wondering) and then walking around a little bit, my hands over my head.

I entered through the side garage door, made my way through the traffic blocking my way to the house door (sleds, snowshoes, etc) and shed my running sneakers (New Balance this year – a brand I never really gave a chance until over the summer), grabbed my already-full glass of water off of our butcher block-esque island and downed it in a second.

My ears stung from the cold and my breathing was wheezy with each inhale and exhale I made.

“How’d you feel?” my dad asked.

“All right,” I replied. “I started out too fast and was dead by the end, but it felt good to run. I’m gonna go lay down now.”

I entered the family room and plopped onto our brand-new couch to catch my wheezy breaths. After thirty minutes passed without my daddy turning on the TV, I went upstairs and grabbed The Lovely Bones and continued reading from where I had left off right before daddy had picked me up at the school just barely an hour previously. We sat there, father and daughter, reading our books of choice: his a Yankee book that someone had gotten him and mine a novel that had been made into yet another movie based off of a book. He wore one of his many pairs of $0.99 reading glasses and I wore the sweat and dirt of a girl who had almost made it through one of the toughest weeks of her sixteen years of living, and was coming out on the other side unscathed and perfectly fine.

At 4 o’clock, I tossed my book down and ran the shower upstairs in the bathroom that all of my brothers had vacated and bestowed unto me (we painted it a light brown and pretty light blue and got rid of the old Mickey Mouse theme that had previously reigned).

Before shedding my clothing, I focused on the length of my hair in the mirror. Back in ninth grade, it was a shock of bright-red curls. Now, it’s back to its normal color (brown/blond/red depending on the season and amount of sun received), though the curls have been kept (I have not dyed my hair since November 2008). I’ve decided that I want it to be long for when I take my senior pictures. I thought to myself Oh yeah, it will be long enough by the summer after this one!

And then it hit me.

I will be taking my senior pictures this summer. It’s crazy just how much time flies and how one change in your thoughts can create a chain-reaction of changes throughout your entire mind. At the moment, I am halfway through my junior year of high school. In June, I will sing in the Chamber Choir and watch some of my best friends ever don those white and blue robes and graduate from our little sliver of the universe and move on to bigger (and better) things. This hit me hard because I realized that I haven’t exactly enjoyed my high school experience that much. In recent months, Misery had taken over my entire being and forced me to look at everything pessimistically. But now, happy little Emily is back, and she plans on staying happy and little until she is forced to grow up in a year and a half.

Someday monkey won’t play piano song

If you don’t already know, I am a huge fan of The Beatles. Listening to their music is like traveling back in time. I can Imagine myself wearing bell bottom pants and listening to their records with friends. I would probably have had crazy curly hippie hair that makes me look like I’m a Dizzy Miss Lizzy. I really should have been a kid back when my parents were kids. I probably would have fit in better.

When I’m making dinner or cleaning the kitchen, what do I do? I click on my playlist called “Oldies” and Let It Be. Mixed in with The Beatles (A LOT of The Beatles) is Cheap Trick, Foreigner, The Knack, REO Speedwagon, Simon & Garfunkel, Styx, Supertramp, Triumph and Yes. This collection of Oldies is NOTHING compared to what I have up in my room. I have piles and piles of old records that I dug up from our basement. Instead of make-up on the shelf at my mirror table-thing, I have a row of probably 50-100 records (and they are organized in alphabetical order, of course!). All of these are the ones I listen to. There are even more beneath this shelf in my record player’s box. Those are the ones I have yet to let my ears listen to. It’s getting better all the time.

Before I listened to this music, I knew absolutely nothing about it. So, when I was little and watched an episode of The Powerpuff Girls (which I have on tape) entitled “Meet The Beat-Alls,” the only reference to The Beatles that I recognized was when Blossom yelled out “Hey, Jude!” Now I watch that episode and pick up on nearly every Beatles reference hidden inside. My favorite one? When Mojo Jojo robs the bank with The Beat-Alls and says “Give me money – that’s, what I want.”

The references are endless. Nearly every Beatles song is incorporated somehow. “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends,” “Michelle,” “Hello Goodbye,” “Nowhere Man” and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” are only a few of the many mentioned. When I was little I didn’t quite appreciate the genius behind this episode of The Powerpuff Girls. I am finally able to totally and completely recognize and decipher every hint.

All I need is love, and I absolutely love The Beatles. I wish I could have had the opportunity to see them live in concert. Here is part of that episode:

Here is the whole episode for people that won’t recognize the references:

We get it! You kissed a girl and you liked it

Katy Perry.

When I first heard her hit “I Kissed A Girl,” I thought, hey, this isn’t bad. It’s actually kind of funny. Then I heard it again. And again. And again. And again. Everytime I turned on the radio. Every single time I flipped to Playlist. Everywhere I turned, people were singing it. I took it off my iPod after having it on there for less than a week. Goodbye, Katy.

I have not listened to her full CD, but the ones I have heard have not brought pleasure to my ears. Namely “Ur So Gay.” Honestly?!? HONESTLY?!?!? I disliked it right away because of the spelling of “you’re,” but then the song was horrible as well. It was mostly the lyrics that really pissed me off.

I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf
While jacking off listening to Mozart
You bitch and moan about LA
Wishing you were in the rain reading Hemingway
You don’t eat meat
And drive electrical cars
You’re so indie rock it’s almost an art
You need SPF 45 just to stay alive

You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like boys
You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like
No you don’t even like…

…and that’s not even the whole song.

Listen, I’m not all about gay rights or anything, but this song and these lyrics are so awful! There are plenty more creative people with meaningful lyrics that deserve what she has and more. Sure, she may be homophobic, but that does not mean she has to profess her dislike of the gay population to the whole world. I mean, c’mon! She kissed a girl! Should she not be sick with herself?

She got famous with the most meaningless song on the planet, became even more famous with her other meaningless songs, and now her music is sung by young girls across the country? What’s wrong here?

I hate the little onesie things that she wears for concerts. I watched her performance on MTV one night, and her voice was even worse than her lyrics. She’s like one of those Disney kids where you can tell just how much technology has interfered with their “talent.” (‘Cause for some reason every Disney kid has to sing as well – that’s another thing I get pissed about.)

I respected her at first. I thought “I Kissed A Girl” was neat because it was different; no other artist I know of would ever come up with something so bizarre. Now it’s old, and she’s trying to use another single off of her album (the soft song on the album) to show her vulnerable side. Well, I don’t see it. Keep kissing girls and telling people that they don’t even like… PENIS. (Seriously, look up those “Ur So Gay” lyrics and you’ll know what I am talking about.)

Emily out.

No, Miley. I don’t ever wish to be a “Fly On The Wall”

I feel like ranting. Hope you’re ready for this.

I just viewed Miley Cyrus’s video for “Fly On The Wall.” Now, I didn’t mean to watch it, I was perfectly happy with the 3OH!3 video that was before it, but I cannot control the playlist on Playlist. Though I wish I could, sadly I cannot.

She is so annoying. I hate all of these pop artists that think they are hot shit and stuff. They think that absolutely everyone loves them, even though quite a few people obviously don’t. Another example is Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable.” Now, I respect Beyonce more than Miley, but the whole “I could have another you in a minute” really cheesed me off. Yes, Beyonce, now we know that you are a whore and like it. Good for you! Now shut up.

Anyway, back to Miley.

It just feels like the perfect time to rant about her again. Remember my post from over the summer? Ha… well, here’s more.

I didn’t mind her when she first appeared out of nowhere. I watched Hannah Montana every once in awhile and kind of liked it. After some time, she definitely didn’t grow on me. SpongeBob did, but she didn’t. After the whole Vanity Fair fiasco all I remember thinking is “ew.” I never was a fan of hers, but after the magazine thing, I didn’t care for her at all. Here she is, this role model on Disney Channel for all of these young kids that love and adore her, and then she has to do something like that. Gross.

Her voice is awful, I don’t think she’s that pretty, and her chipmunk teeth annoy the hell out of me. The part in the music video when the “paparazzis” start dancing really got to me. She’s just standing there with her mouth part way open and her teeth sticking out. Very attractive. She’s obviously trying to break free of “cute little Miley” and trying to be “bad ass Miley.” It’s not working. All of these Disney people seem to think they have to prove that they aren’t as “goody goody” as they seem. It’s starting to get a little annoying, to tell you the truth.

I feel bad for all of the young kids that look up to this Miley character. Pretty soon they’ll be wearing really tight jeans and throwing their hair about in an attempt to be like Miley, who tries to be sexy. She’s a little older than I am, but she is acting like she’s in her twenties. If being a “Fly On The Wall” means having to listen to stupid gossip and hair products and clothes and shoes, well, I hope they see me and swat me. Or…I could buzz around her head and annoy the hell out of her. Yes, that sounds much better. In the meantime, I’ll stick with only ONE “Fly On The Wall.” Instead of watching Miley’s horrible video, go read the book Fly On The Wall by e. lockhart. It’s far better than any song Miley will ever sing. (Attempt to sing…)

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

School

It seems to me like summer never even happened. Now that I am in the day-to-day “school” routine, everything is back to normal. My iPod (PANDORA!!!) sings me the song I picked out the night before at around 5:45 every morning, and then I wait for the playlist to run out before I get up (usually around 6:20). I get up, take a shower, eat breakfast (well, drink some coffee to prevent future headaches), and wash my face before I let my hair down and mess around with it. I walk out the door wearing some crazy outfit (today it is a pair of crazy colored Bermuda shorts, brown high top Chucks with pink shoelaces, a red Hollister 3/4 polo and a white tank top underneath – I know! Hollister! *gasp!*).

School is just okay. Being a sophomore is definitely different. I open up the day with band, then either English or Earth Science for eighty minutes, lunch (yes, at ten o’clock in the morning), Spanish (which has been simple so far because the regular teacher is out sick and our substitute does not know a single word of the language), Global (my teacher is hilarious!) and then Chamber Choir. After Chamber Choir comes either a study hall (where I am right now) or PE. Then, the dreaded Geometry. I have found it easier to focus this year in math. I already got a 100% on our first test, and was the only student to receive said grade (YES! I put it on the fridge! xD).