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Alissa's Blog

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Random musings.

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Help a band teacher

Hello! My sister has started an online fundraiser to purchase supplies for her band students because her school doesn't have the money to pay for them.

I wanted to share it with you all in case you'd like to donate to support the cause — anything helps! If you use the promo code "liftoff" during checkout today, your donation wll be matched by the fundraising website.


I don't think many people realize how many teachers in the U.S. use their own money to purchase supplies, especially for elective classes like music and art that are seen as "non-essential" compared to the others. On average, they spend about $600/year on their own supplies, and it's worse in schools with lower-income students like the one where she teaches, according to the most recent survey from nonprofit adoptaclassroom.org.


No, I promise, I didn't get hacked... :P

I just wanted to put out a little PSA for anyone who has student debt or a mortgage and a smartphone (which, let's be real, is pretty much everyone in the U.S.) about a free app that I've been playing that awards daily cash prizes to pay student loan payments and mortgages. It's called Givling and it's picking up steam. Check out this Business Insider story. You get one free play per day, meaning you can win money every day without paying anything.

If you want to play, join using my invite code and you get a second free play on your first day: AW972977

Currently 10 people are in a funding queue to have $50,000 of their loans paid off. Once those are paid, another 10 will enter the queue, four selected randomly. Queue people can also get $25,000 toward a mortgage if they don't have any student debt. Let me know if you decide to join and what you think of it. Good luck! :happy:


Newport Music Hall concert review

(This is already posted on GDA with awesome photos by @MooreClick, but I wanted to post it here for those of you who are solely GDCers and for my own easy access. Enjoy! :))


After a two-year break from touring, Green Day was clearly itching to get back on the road. And in case anyone doubted it, Billie Joe Armstrong made it known early Monday night at the band’s first promotional show for Revolution Radio, its new album that releases Oct. 7.

 “You know what sucks? Taking time off of playing music. It’s hard,” he said, just a few songs into the setlist, gazing out and smiling at the eager, sold-out crowd inside Columbus, Ohio’s Newport Music Hall.

“Look at this fucking place. Look at this. We’re back.”

Cheers and applause erupted. Yes, they're back — in every sense of the word.

Despite the hiatus, and after recovering from an illness that led them to postpone tour dates last week, the band thankfully didn’t appear weary or out-of-practice. In about two hours, they ripped through a 25-song setlist with no frills but all the high-energy antics of an arena show. The intimate feeling of seeing the orchestrated chaos just a few feet from your face is almost indescribable. From the second row of the 1,700-person venue, I could see all the tiny details usually only spotted in professionally shot videos: the beads of sweat rolling down their faces; Billie Joe’s quirky starred-and-striped socks; an adorable message, “Hello Again!”, scribbled in silver marker on the front of Mike Dirnt’s black sleeveless vest.

Monday night’s set opened with new singles “Bang Bang” and “Revolution Radio” performed live for the first time, in that order. It’s a thrilling one-two punch that’s hard to top. The songs sounded just as good live as in the studio, if not better, as the band fed off the enthusiasm of a crowd that already had the lyrics memorized. The two songs blended in seamlessly with an otherwise greatest-hits-heavy setlist dominated by singles from American Idiot and Dookie. The show mostly followed Green Day’s tried-and-true formula for live shows, peppered with a few pleasant surprises in-between, including the return of “Scattered” and “Hitchin’ a Ride” from Nimrod and Kerplunk’s “2000 Light Years Away” and “Christie Road.” Billie Joe even sang a few lines from the trilogy’s “Nuclear Family” during the bridge of “Scattered” and looked quite amused with himself during the seconds-long medley.

Many fans, myself included, were initially surprised the setlist wasn’t filled with deep cuts from the past or more new songs from their upcoming album. But as the show continued on, with little deviation from what longtime fans have come to expect from a Green Day concert, I focused less on the songs’ rarity and more on enjoying the performance. This show, I realized, wasn’t meant to be like the last club show I attended, at the House of Blues in Cleveland, the night before the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. It wasn’t a nostalgic trip down memory lane. It was, it seemed, about looking forward to the future and getting back into a groove to prepare for a lengthy world tour that's likely in the works.

From my spot in the pit, in front of Mike, the crowd was nothing like the House of Blues, either. For me, that was a good thing. There were fewer crowd surfers, fewer angsty fans clobbering each other to get a closer spot and few, if any, moments where I felt overwhelmed, at-risk or exhausted. Due to a strict policy that prohibited cell phone recordings of the show (which some fans, unsurprisingly, disregarded anyway), there were also fewer people blocking others’ views to get shots for YouTube. At first, I thought the policy was bogus, but in hindsight, I appreciate it. At my first Green Day show, in Pittsburgh in 2013, I spent more time fending off a violent girl who was desperate for YouTube footage than enjoying the music. Here, everyone seemed more focused on having a good time than anything else. The crowd wasn't dead by any means, but my experience with it was tamer and more controlled this time around.

The band was having a blast, too, and that was evident by the smiles that never left Billie Joe and Mike’s faces and their frequent laughter. I couldn’t see Tré Cool much from my spot in the pit, but I did catch him chuckling a few times, too. During “Minority,” Mike planted a kiss on Billie Joe’s cheek. Billie Joe playfully bantered with the crowd during “Hitchin’ a Ride” and joined saxophone player Jason Freese on a harmonica during “King for a Day.” The pink bunny made its return in the preshow. The show was filled with good, genuine fun and emotion.

Mainly for those reasons, I was really bummed to see Revolution Radio’s third single, "Still Breathing," was listed on Monday’s setlist but not played. The recently released song, which alludes to dealing with addiction, epitomizes the message of moving forward and positivity that Monday’s show seemed to symbolize. Because the band delayed its tour a week, it’s possible the song was scrapped because isn’t ready to be performed live yet, but I hope it’s added to the setlist soon. I could easily see it becoming a crowd favorite and it’s a song full of raw emotion that clearly resonates with the band, too.

Given the political nature of Revolution Radio’s titular track, it came as no surprise that Billie Joe devoted a little show time to political talk, too. He joked about the presidential debate occurring that night and encouraged people to vote and "bring sanity back" into political discussions. He also mentioned it was fitting to kick off the tour in Ohio’s capital city, presumably because it’s a swing state that heavily influences elections. Personally, I also found it fitting that the band debuted the song “Revolution Radio” in Columbus because the city has recently sparked several Black Lives Matter protests, following a fatal police shooting of a 13-year-old black robbery suspect this month. A similar protest in New York inspired Billie Joe to write the song. Just moments before the concert doors opened Monday, a protest formed (unrelated to the concert) and prompted police to shut down a portion of the street adjacent to the concert venue. An eerie coincidence and a powerful reminder of the song's relevance.

The show closed with two acoustic songs, “Ordinary World,” Revolution Radio’s beautiful, but simple closer, and the classic “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” "Ordinary World," written for a namesake movie starring Billie Joe that releases Oct. 14, didn’t receive nearly the same reaction as the fast-paced new songs, but those who were familiar with it, including me, seemed to appreciate hearing it.

A friend of mine and longtime Green Day fan attended the show with me, and on our drive home, he mentioned how differently the band, especially Billie Joe, presented itself compared to recordings of shows he’s watched in the past, such as fan videos and Bullet in a Bible. Since, at this point, I’m a bit jaded to the band’s criticism, I assumed he was being critical. The statement that followed surprised me.

“He just seemed… happy. Really aware and appreciative of what was going on.”

I think that’s a message any fan who criticized the show’s setlist could learn from. Just appreciating the moment. One such instance that really struck me Monday was during the performance of “Waiting,” listening to the lyrics referencing the “dawning of a new era,” while the stage lights faded into a soft white glow around the band. It just seemed so fitting. Revolution Radio releases in just nine days. Its supporting tour, and Green Day’s newest era, is just getting started.

If Monday’s show is any indicator of what to expect, I can’t wait to see what it brings us.


A Previously Published Ode to GDC

I’m surrounded by idiots.

In fact, I’m one too. You could call us a loving family, spanning the country and the globe.

I haven’t even met a fraction of the group, but we’re connected by two things: an Internet connection and our love of a trio of pop-punk rockers known as Green Day.

I didn’t realize how much the Internet had shrunk the world until a friend suggested I join a forum called Green Day Community a few years ago.

One of the band’s largest fan sites, The Green Day Authority, operates the forum. It’s populated by thousands of members of the official Idiot Club (I thought it was named after the 2004 album “American Idiot,” but apparently that's not entirely true) and by even more self-declared idiots.

I’ll admit I was initially skeptic of joining. Although recent studies suggest one-fifth of Americans use online forums, meeting and talking with strangers on the Internet is still generally frowned upon by most people.

But after a little prodding — and a springtime announcement that the band will release a trilogy of albums within the next year — I finally started posting on the forum.

It’s safe to say I’m hooked. Although my stats aren’t nearly as impressive as the forum’s veteran members, I’ve had a great time connecting with fellow fans as we await the first album’s release date.

In the process, I’ve become immersed in the dynamics of Internet communities. The topic surfaces occasionally in a social media class I’m taking at the University, but reading about the culture is entirely different than living it.

The diverse population of Green Day Community intrigues me. It’s filled to the brim with fascinating, unique people — the creative graphic artist, the fledgling fan, the punk-rocking parent, the sarcastic troll — who all meet to discuss something they’re passionate about.

Whether you’re looking to talk to someone about your hatred of worn-out “Wake Me Up When September Ends” jokes or your unexplainable attraction to a man who can apply eyeliner more skillfully than you, you’ll find someone willing to listen.

And when news breaks, you can share the excitement within seconds with a group who understands exactly how you feel.

I experienced this first-hand last week when Green Day announced dates for a United States tour starting in November. For the first time since 2005, the band will stop in Cleveland.

Wednesday morning I sat alongside a forum-friend-turned-real-life-friend who also lives in Bowling Green as we purchased pre-sale tickets. Shaking off nervous jitters, we aptly blared “Panic Song,” a lesser-known tune, and celebrated with a victory breakfast after securing our spots.

A group of at least 10 of us plan to camp out in Cleveland the morning before the show, braving harsh winter weather for a chance to nab a front row spot in the pit.

To say I’m excited is an understatement. With enthusiastic real-life and forum friends joining me — and my fiancé, who clearly has no idea what he’s getting into — how can I not be excited to see the band live for the first time?

After reading Facebook updates, tweets and forum posts from fellow fans, I can tell they’re excited too. They’re also grateful for the amazing community sharing their excitement — a group that ensures you will never go to a concert alone and you never have to feel odd about your obsession.

Many people ask me how long I’ve been a Green Day fan. They’re surprised when I answer with “about eight years” because before I joined the forum, I was never really vocal about it. I foolishly didn’t think anyone shared the same feelings.

Boy, was I wrong. In the “real world,” I’m a minority. I accept that many people don’t share my taste in music and probably never will.

But Green Day Community has taught me that no matter your passion, others share it. By using the Internet, finding those people is easier than ever.

So start searching. Find your niche community online, no matter what it is — a pet, a hobby, a band, a gadget, a profession — because it’s out there.

After all, I found mine.

Green Day Community’s members are caring, creative and confident. They debunk any preconceived opinions I had about Internet communities.

They make me proud to be an American Idiot.

Featured in The BG News, Bowling Green State University's campus newspaper, Sept. 18, 2012... which is why the mentioned Cleveland concert adventure never actually happened, but instead was relocated to Pittsburgh. </3