Thursday, April 30, 2009

Coming Back To School?

As of right now I have no idea what I'm doing with school. I personally don't think I'm in the right mindset to be attending college. I have no motivation to do anything right now. All I want to do is work, which I can't do right because I'm at school. It's difficult for me to understand that I have to put effort into school because this essentially determines the rest of my life. When I was younger I never thought that I'd live to see the age of 18, only because I couldn't picture it in my head (yes I was a morbid child). The same is going on right now. I can't picture myself getting all A's in school, getting my own house, paying all my bills, and having a job that I will go to every day for the rest of my life. I'm not really prepared to see that happen quite yet.

Since I don't know what I'm doing I think that it would be best for me to go to North Shore Community College because I think that my mother is wasting her money keeping me at Salem State. I'd be more than happy to pay a lot less for classes at NSCC to get all of the English, Math, ect out of the way so I can focus on my major of Psychology at a later point in time. So I can put all of my effort into what I really want to do. I've always wanted to help people out in the line of work I chose because I don't think anything else is really worth it. I've always had an interest in people who need help, or are damaged in some way (shows through past friendships, believe me).

Right now I feel like I need to get a full time job and take the next year off of school so I can get some perspective as well as get some motivation to do well in school. I do work over the summer at Safety Insurance 40 hours a week but I also asked my boss to keep his eye open for any full time positions after the summer. I'd love to work there for a year and save up some money before I go back to school full time. Also, after working for a year full time I think that I will want to go back to school more just so I won't have to be working. A lot of people say not to take a year off because you'll never want to go back. The exact opposite is going to happen with me. I don't like my life to be going in the same direction for too long, I like new things. I'll be so eager to go back to school after a year of working that I think I will do amazing in school. Right now I am just kind of lost and don't know where to start, which is why I'm having such a hard time in school. I guess we'll see what happens.

American Idol

There are only a few weeks left in the craze that is "American Idol." Unfortunately, since this show started many years ago I have been an addict. Since watching this show I personally believe that only a few worth buying artists have come out of it, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, & Chris Daughtry (who now has a band named "Daughtry"). Now, it is a true fact that whoever wins obviously isn't going to automatically go into mainstream music, they go off in their own direction. Which is probably why many people haven't heard from winners such as Taylor Hicks recently. This season, I believe, has many possibilities for a winner and out of the top 5, I think they will all end up getting a record deal.

Since the beginning of this season, there was a lot of talent that was brought to the table, more than any other season before it. The top 5 now I could see every contestant being crowned "Our American Idol." I'd like to focus on just a few of my favorites to not drag this out as long as it could be dragged out. First is Allison. Allison just turned 17 and has talent that I would never expect in a 17 year old. She is so young and has a lot of road ahead of her to pave and I thinks she will be very successful in the future. (I did try to find a video of one of her performances but I think that Idol requesting that they be taken down from YouTube because all of them seem to be removed.)

The other person I wanted to talk about was Adam Lambert. I have been a huge fan of Adam's since day 1. Not just because he is absolutely amazing at singing but I feel that he has more to offer than a lot of the other contestants. He is one of the first openly gay men to be on American Idol, and I don't think it is effecting his votes at all. There are numerous pictures online of him kissing other boys, being in musicals, dressing up in drag, ect. The fact of the matter is, the boy can sing and that is what this competition is about. I think he could be a very good example for a lot of young boys across America who are struggling with their sexuality. Also, those who are "homophobic" might take a good look at Adam and say, "I don't have to agree with his lifestyle but I can respect him as a person." The video I chose for Adam is from a few weeks ago. I almost fell off my chair when I heard he was going to be singing "Mad World" because it is definitely on my top 10 favorite songs ever. And frankly, I like his version better. Hah :] I do not own this video.

Photobucket Image Hosting

It is definitely true that I love Adam but I'm not particularly sure that I would want him to win the "American Idol title." A few seasons ago when Chris Daughtry was on, I wanted him to win. When he got voted off I literally cried. But then I realized that he was much better off NOT winning. What I've noticed (especially with Kelly Clarkson) is that the winners of Idol are contracted with the American Idol record label. Anything that they want to do on their record they need to have approved by the label. Something that might make the label look bad, they won't allow. I feel that Adam is a lot like Chris in the matter of being unique. Adam would be better off under a different contract with a lot of creative input. So yes, it would be nice to see him win and I would like it, but I think he would be better off with a different label, and I feel that he won't have a problem finding one.

Allison and Adam are the two I chose to cover in this particular blog post but like I said before I believe that all of the top 5 contestants are very talented in their own way and have proven to ME that they are very worthy of winning. It's all in the votes I suppose.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Britney Concert

The Monday over vacation was a day that I have been looking forward to for months, Britney Spears Concert. I have gotten into many arguments with people about Britney and how they think she's a horrible artist and she doesn't deserve to have a record, ect ect. Ever since her first single came out I have been a huge Britney fan. In middle school (can't really remember how old I was) my mom's best friend won tickets to a Britney concert and asked if we would like to go. Me, my mom and her two friends all went and they weren't into it at all. All the way home I had to listen to each one of them back and forth bitching about how she can't dance and she was lip syncing. I sat in the backseat the happiest person ever. Personally, I don't think she's a bad dancer at all. And yes I will admit she was lip syncing, but I don't really care :]! Ever since then I've been dying to go to another Britney concert and when my best friend, Kenny, told me that she was going to have her "comeback tour" I almost died. He got presale tickets and we thought that our seats were pretty decent. I also found out that my other friends, Holly and Greg would be attending as well so we all decided that we would go in together.

When Monday came, I was so overly excited I barely slept the night before. After Kenny got out of work we met up with Holly and Greg and were on our way to the train station. The concert didn't start until 8 and we got there about an hour and a half early. Unlike most of the concerts I go to, it wasn't general admission so there was no need for us to be there that early but better early than late. We sat at North Station and people watched (my favorite thing to do). I concluded that the four of us were the general consensis of the concert: girls and their gay best friends. That, and also girls who dragged their boyfriends who looked like they wanted to kill themselves. You could pick them out because they were the ones that either had their excited girlfriend clung to his side with excitement while he looked mortified, or the drunk guy with his girlfriend clung to his side with excitement while he looked like he was going to pass out. Either way it was enjoy able. After waiting around for a while Kenny and I decided to take a walk to the bathroom. On my way there I saw this really tall kid and his friend (friend/gay friend combo) swinging around backstage passes. For a whole minute I contemplated the reprocussions of punching each one of them in the face and stealing them so Kenny and I could get backstage. Alas, my better judgement prevailed, as always, and I let them walk by me but not without giving them an evil glare. Purchasing backstage passes was an option for Kenny and I. We would have gotten backstage passes along with general admission seats (right upfront) for $600. I am currently unemployed and the $150 I paid for the seats we had was a stretch for me so we layed low this time around.

Finally they opened the doors and everyone screamed, and that just made me want to permenantly stick my fingers in my ears. I don't understand why when doors open, people scream. I open a door every day and I don't scream every time it happens. Its just obnoxious. Since Kenny and I had lounge seats we bypassed most of the lines going in through a different way than everyone else. We went up one escelator and if anyone has been to the "Bank North Garden" (or whatever name they're calling it these days), you know that as you walk around you can see through the doorways onto the stage. Well we were walking around and I stated, "Ohhh mann this seats are wicked close I wish we were sitting here," and Kenny agreed. On our way up to the 3rd floor I stopped and asked one of the people who worked there where we should be headed. He told us to turn around because our seats were right behind us. I almost had a heartattack. I literally jumped for joy (but made it a point to not scream). Our seats were perfect. I couldn't have asked for anything better, and for $150 I shouldn't have expected anything less.

The Pussycat Dolls were touring with Britney so they came on first. Now I'm not the biggest Pussycat Dolls fan but they're alright. I would have much rathered Lady GaGa who was supposed to be on the tour. They pranced around like the skanks they are and sung their songs, it was enjoyable. After them, while they were setting up for Britney they had members of the Big Apple Circus come out and do lots of crazy stuff. It was a lot better than sitting there for a halfhour if not more waiting around, which is what happens at most concerts.

Now, I'm not going to go through every single detail of the concert (which I would love to do but it would take way to long) so I'll just go through some good parts. First of all, the opening video they played was very cool. It was Perez Hilton all dressed up in a clown-ish costume introducing her. I had pretty high expectations for her performance in general, but she blew me away. Contrary to popular belief, I think she is an awesome dancer. None of this "VMA" dancing crap. She looked totally hot as well. You could tell she really prepared for this tour. During one of her costume changes I was shocked that going along with one of her video transitions, Marilyn Manson was playing. THIS was infact my favorite part of the concert. I found the video to be very interesting and different, very un-Britney-like. But it worked well. The only complaint I had about it was her song choices. Obviously, I'm a fan of any Britney song but I felt that she could have left out a lot of songs and added different ones. She totally avoided the majority of my favorites, but Britney singing ANY of her songs is better than her singing NONE of her songs ;]

On the way home from the concert my friend Greg and I got into a little fight about if she was actually singing or not. She is mostly known for lip syncing but I personally don't think she was the whole time. It was clear that she was singing to a backtrack. With all her dancing around she has to get out of breath so I'm assuming she sung and then lip synced other parts which I don't have a problem with. One of the main reasons I definately support my theory now is because if you were to youtube videos from the concert you can hear the backtrack along with her singing because obviously her singing isn't EXACTLY on cue with the backtrack. To everyone who doesn't like Britney BECAUSE they think she lip syncs, I think that's just mean. She has awesome music and isn't the only one that does that every so often. All in all the concert was a complete success and if this doesn't get her back in people's good grace than I don't know what will!

I've taken it upon myself to (as usual) put some videos in with this blog. The first is of the transition video that I was talking about. The last two are part of her performances. I usually like to try and find ones from the stop that I was at but all of the videos from Boston were shaky and/or all you could hear was the person who was recording singing. And the last one is the video they played right before the encore. Enjoy :]

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thoughts Triggered By Something More

After a lot of pondering about what I want to do with the rest of my life I finally decided that I wanted to be a psychologist. I've always wanted to do something that would help people in some way. I can't picture myself doing something that didn't help someone else, someplace, even in the slightest bit. I've always, weirdly enough, been attracted to people who need to be fixed in some way. My mind works in a very different way from a lot of people, I can take a problem or situation and break it down so that its easy for me to understand and solve. Also, in high school I took a psychology class and I found it to be one of the most interesting things ever. It put a lot of things into perspective for me and I learned a lot about myself. This semester at Salem State I took "Intro to Psych" and although it is almost the same as high school, it is a lot more in depth.

Like I said before I learned a lot about myself just from high school psychology and every time I walk into my new psych class I learn even more. About a week and a half ago we started to talk about Pavlov's dog. Now, as anyone can tell you from Peabody High, Pavlov & his dog is the only thing 99.9% of people who took the class remember. This time in class, we went more indepth and started talking about how Pavlov's discovery can be related to our own lives. For anyone who doesn't know what Pavlov did I'll let you know in the shortest explaination I can: Pavlov had a dog and he would set the dog up next to a bowl. He would ring a bell and then give the dog food. After a while of doing that he rang the bell but didn't give the dog food. He realized that eventhough he didn't feed the dog, the dog still salivated. It showed that after a while the dog got used to getting food whenever the bell was rang so it became something that happened without the dog actually thinking about it. After talking about Pavlov my professor gave us some examples of the situation and one of them was, "A man who used to do cocaine in his younger days hears a certain song and he gets the same euphoric feeling again." He also said that most people will subconsiously notice it, but not really make it a big deal. That tiny little sentence explained so much of my life it was actually very scary.

The first thing I will start out with is smoking. I smoke cigarettes 24/7 and when I'm driving in a car or just in a car in general it is a lot worse. I greatly enjoy driving around and listening to music whether it be by myself or with friends. Never the less, when I'm listening to certain songs I immediately reach for a cigarette. It's kind of like Pavlov's dog. There are between 20-30 songs that I almost always listen to and I'm always smoking a cigarette when I do. When one of them comes on and I don't have a cigarette in my hand I feel incomplete without one. My mind relates smoking a cigarette to certan songs. About a month ago I kind of realized what I was doing but never could figure out why I was doing it. It completely blew my mind after I found out that there was a real explaination for what was going on with me.

Not only is it with cigarettes and music, but events in my life and music. I deal with things in my own way like everyone else does. It usually has to do with me working my thoughts out while listening to music. There are certain events in my life that I relate to particular songs. Whether it be fighting with one of my friends, or relationship issues, ect ect. Every song has a certain place in my mind and heart. Whenever one of those songs plays I'm aware of what is going on around me but my mind is going back to whatever situation I was in when I listened to that song. For example: "Heard the World" by OAR reminds me of last summer driving around with my friends just having a good time. It doesn't seem like a big deal at all, but it is all the emotions that come along with it that really get to me. (Like I've said in previous blog posts, its easy for people to tell where my head is or where I want it to be depending on what music I listen to.)

I found this to be a very interesting subject and I really wanted to maybe let other people know about this to see if they can catch themselves in one of these moments. Everytime it happens to me now I'm totally aware of what's going on and it's nice to just have an explaination to it. That is another reason why I like taking psychology. Not only do I learn how to help other people and read them (better than I already can now!), but it also gives me answers for my own life! :]

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

(Music Review): Thrash Welcomes Female Lead Singer :]

I was contemplating what to write about this week. Since nothing life altering, thought provoking and/or entertaining at all happened to me this week I thought I'd do another music review. I then thought for a few hours about what I was going to do. In the end it only seemed reasonable for me to do this band because I want to share them with the world!

Light This City is a band that I don't really expect anyone to know because well, I had to introduce my friends to them. What is so special about the band you ask... female lead singer. At this point I'm expecting you all to laugh and go, "Uhhh, there are lead singers who are females in so many bands." This is true, but how many females do you know who are lead in a metal/hardcore band... very few! For some reason I love hardcore bands who have female lead singers because I find it different. When I think hardcore/thrash/metal, I think of it as a "guy band" world. These female led bands are pushing their way in and frankly doing the job better if you ask me.

There isn't a lot of background I can actually give you on the band just because they are not very well known and their myspace seems to be their only source of information, which happens to have no biography! What I can tell you is their band consists of Laura Nichol (vocals), Ryan Hansen (guitar), Brian Forbes (guitar), Jon Frost (bass), and Ben Murray (drums). The band started in 2002 and has since released 4 CDs. The most I know about the band is that Laura has a daughter who is between 8 and 10 years old. She goes on tour with them a lot and usually sells merch at their table. Adorable.

I have seen Light This City two times before, once in Florida and once in Worchester. The first time was kind of a blur. It was in an indoor skatepark that was about 500 degrees inside so my friends and I were going in and out constantly. The second time I saw them was much better. My friend Sandra and I went to the Palladium and definately had the best spot in the house, front and center. I almost got guitar whipped about a million times but it was so worth it. Afterwards we met Laura (lead singer) as well as all of the other bands that were there. That always tops off a concert for me, meeting the bands. I feel that its always nice to let them know how much you appreciate their music and let them know that their hardwork is also appreciated. Especially to a band that isn't mainstream and selling millions and millions of records. (Thought I'd throw a few pictures in):

My favorite song by Light This City doesn't have a music video for it so I pondered for a very long time about whether I should put up just the song or pick a different song that had a music video. In the end I decided I'd rather put up a song that has a video because I like to see how the band performs and stuff like that. If there's one thing that I have learned, it is that when I play any of their songs for someone they don't believe that it is a female. It sounds absolutely nothing like a female and thats part of the reason they're so badass... enjoy :]

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Slipknot Tour / Music Review

On February 6, 2008 my friend Tori and I attended the 2009 Slipknot tour. Along with Slipknot, Trivium and Coheed & Cambria were also tagging along. To start this off, I have personally not been an avid Slipknot follower since ohhh I don't know maybe the end of Freshman year in high school. Tori got two tickets from her boyfriend for Christmas because she loves Coheed & Cambria and asked if I'd like to go along. I listen to Coheed when I'm really really in the mood and Trivium hasn't been on the top of my "to listen to" list for a very long time just like Slipknot. But I'm Alyssa and I love going to concerts of any kind so I said I'd go. That and also Tori had not been to a concert since the Backstreet Boys back in the day with her mother. Now I feel that it is safe to say that a Slipknot concert and a BSB concert are two COMPLETELY different things and I didn't want her to get killed (and I love Tori so I'd go anyplace with her :]).

When we arrived in Lowell at the Tsongas arena the concert had already started. We got into the arena about 10 mins late due to traffic eventhough we left Peabody around 5 (concert started at 7). I assumed early on that Trivium would be the first to go on and alas I was correct. The only time I ever saw Trivium live was at the Familly Values Tour in 2007 (year is questionable). They were all drunk off their asses and terrible. I watched them for a total of 10 minutes tops and then left to go to a different stage. I guess that was when I kind of lost respect for them. From past concert experiences I'm well prepared to get myself and whoever I'm with to the front of the huge, sweaty, disgusting crowd. We worked our way pretty much to the front left side of the stage and Tori said she wanted to get closer to the middle for Coheed. TIP TO ANY CONCERT GO-ERS; If there's a band you want to be upfront for, make sure you work your way up during the band before. Once that band gets off everyone who was only there to see them will start to spread away and that's when you make your move. So we chilled out and watched Trivium, who were not drunk this time and actually put on an awesome show. As soon as they got off stage we worked our way to the middle and were successful, about two rows back give or take a person or two. With our luck though, we got stuck next to a complete TOOL in a Slipknot mask, whom I felt the urge to smack repeatedly, but did not dispite my best judgement.

I have seen Coheed before at Warped Tour 2007 (once again year is questionable) where I was in the back just paying attention to a few songs. From what I could remember they were pretty good. If anyone listens to them, they're aware that some of their songs are very, very long. For this tour, they cut huge chunks of their songs out to fit more into their set. They don't have the best stage presense but its not like they can jump around and headbang to their music. [Updated Feb. 12: More people put up videos from the concert so I'm adding this video of Coheed in !!]

During about maybe their second to last song I grabbed Tori and asked her if after Coheed she wanted to head out and sit in some seats for Slipknot because, personally, I did not want to be stuck in that crowd when they came on (see, people move when they're done seeing who they want to see). When it comes to concerts I'm pretty good at handling myself with crowd surfers, pushers, and moshpits. The only thing with Slipknot fans is this, they are CRAZY. I've been to my share of hardcore/crazy shows and pretty much, you don't get in my way. I can't count how many times I've woken up the morning after a concert and couldn't even shower because of all the bruises on me. For some reason Slipknot fans make me wicked nervous, probably because I know that without a doubt all of them are exactly like me and don't care who gets in their way, you'll get hit. That as well as most of them are 10x bigger than me with huge muscles. If I were to get hit, I know I'd be down for the count. Like I said before I've been to my share of concerts, and I've been to harder ones than Slipknot, but at other shows people are nice. You get hit, often they apologize or just give you that "I'm sorry" look especially if you are a girl. In my own experince, the majority of people I have met who are very into Slipknot, are assholes. They have no reguard for anyone and don't have a problem beating someone until they pass out. That is just my own personal view and/or opinion. Tori agreed that we should probably get out after the set so, after Coheed's last song we pushed our way through possibly hundreds of people to find some seats.

Since it was general admission (aka, you can sit / stand wherever you find a place) it was easy for us to find some good seats close to the stage off to the side. After a while of sitting there and waiting for the crew to get the set up, Tori turned to me and just flat out said, "I want to crowd surf, it looks like so much fun." I was hesitant at first because Matt (Tori's BF) would probably murder the two of us if anything happened to her (or me for that matter). But, Tori's old enough to make her own decisions so I agreed to helping her get up. We walked back down to the floor and went to the back. We found two pretty big guys and I asked them if they would help me get her up. They kind of looked at eachother and one of them went, "Really?" and we just responded, "Yes please." I grabbed Toris waist and they helped her up the rest of the way. I really wish I got it on tape because it was awesome but by the time I thought of it she was too far gone and I couldn't see her anymore. Only after a few minutes, she came back and said it was awesome. I'm glad she went through with it and got the experience. :]

We went back to our seats and waited a little while longer. I will say straight up that neither of us were as pumped as everyone else that Slipknot was up next. We both were debating on whether to stay for them or not but before we left home we decided we might as well if we were going to be there anyway. For anyone who is not familiar with Slipknot I'll give you a bit of background. They started around 1995 and are now considered a "nu-metal" band. The band consists of 9 members and each wears a different mask. The masks are what sets each apart, and what their are mainly known for. Everyone in the band has their own "main duties", I guess you could call it, to the band. Some members do, however, contribute more than one of their talents. For example, band member Shawn "Clown" Crahan plays custom percussion as well as backing vocals (there are two members that play custom percussion and they are awesome). Their most recent album, "All Hope Is Gone" dropped in 2008 and got them their first gold record. They have been nominated for 7 Grammy awards and in 2006 after 5 previous nominations won for "Best Metal Performance" with their song Before I Forget. They were also nominated in 2009 for the same category.

As soon as all the lights when down, every single hand went up in that crowd and it was like a rush. I turned to Tori and said, "I'm actually WICKED pumped right now." And she agreed. In my own opinion even the worst band can put on a good live show, its all about the fans and how the crowd is feeling. When Slipknot came out I think they just stood on stage for a good 5 minutes, just stood there. They're very aware that their fains love them and frankly I think they could have just stood on stage and not played any music and everyone would have thought it was awesome. Anywho, they started playing and their stage presense is almost like one I've never seen before. Everyone had so much energy and they just loved what they were doing. I want to describe the stage set-up and everything that was going on but I can't. You would never get the effect by me just describing it. So, I took the liberty to go onto YouTube (obviously) and find a video. Now this is not in any way my video. This was taken the night before our tour stop by someone who I don't know. Where this person is sitting was pretty much where we were only they're a bit farther back. The title of the video is "Slipknot Sucks" but ignore it. Haha. Also, the audio isn't the best quality just because its a concert and everything is totally loud. If you can't stand listening to it, then just take the sound off. The point is to see the stage and everything that is going on around it. What I mainly want to point out, which was my favorite part of everything, is the two percussionists, one on the way left and one on the way right.the one on the left (closest) has a set that isn't totally held to the ground. Numerous times throughout the show he got ontop of the set and rocked it back and forth. I don't think it shows that in this video. The other set is on kind of a turn table. It goes up and down and spins. Also, on the front there is a TV and on the side there is a camera. The TV shows what the camera picks up, which I personally thought was really really cool. (Warning; If you do decide to listen to it, there may be some hearable profanity so prepare youself.)

Alright, now that that is over with.... :] Tori and I were both exhausted and didn't end up staying for the entire set. I heard my favorite song of theirs and so did she so we were both satisfied. We up and left I'd say about a half hour before the concert was over, and avoided traffic completely which is a good thing. I hate sitting in traffic after a long concert when all you want to do is take a shower and be in bed. Overall, I found the night to be greatly enjoyable. I always wanted to go to a Slipknot concert because I heard they put on a good show, and I'd say good is an understatement.
I also wanted to take this blog post to do a little music review. After reading all of that I don't think the video needs much of an intro. Anything I was going to say about Slipknot would have been said someplace in the text above. The song I picked is called Duality because it is my favorite song by them. There is some explicit language so once again prepare youself & enjoy! :]

Thursday, February 5, 2009

(Music Review): My Life Would Suck Without You

I thought that along with my blog posts about Salem State, I'd try and enlighten people's lives with what I do best; giving my opinion. Music & movies are two of my absolute favorite things and I don't know what I'd do without them. As of right now I'm planning on focusing most of my energy on music. I feel that a lot of people around me always stick to one, genre of music. Personally, I listen to everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything. My friend Joelle and I were actually just talking and she said she was watching TV and someone said something along the lines of, "Never question the songs that are on someone's iPod..." She then continued to say, "If a therapist ever went through your iPod, they wouldn't know what to make of it." (Thank you Joelle). I used to be all about the mainstream/radio and never opened my eyes to how many different kinds of music there actually are. My mind has never/will never be a one track mind, and I enjoy more than anything in the world to discover new things. That's when I started bringing into my mix hardcore, underground rap, techno, country, ect ect. You name it, I bet I have it.

The purpose of these weekly blogs is to hopefully introduce everyone to something a little different. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't. As always, if you don't like it I'd love to hear why and if you do the same thing.

I thought I would start out simple this week with Kelly Clarkson (I don't want to scare everyone off too quickly). Now if you haven't heard of Kelly Clarkson, you seriously live under a rock. Possibly the most talented artist to ever come from American Idol in its many seasons (with Carrie Underwood right at her heels, as well as Chris Daughtry eventhough he wasn't crowned "American Idol"). After waiting about two years I thought she would never come out with anything new. The last I heard about her she was having problems agreeing with her producers & managers about her song choices to put on her record. They were trying to make her do something she didn't want to, and she wouldn't stand for it (GO KELLY WOO!). But, to my extreme happiness, I went on iTunes about a week ago and what do you know, Kelly Clarkson has a new single. If this song is any preview of what the whole album is going to be, I will be first in line to grab it. I'm assuming I will have to fight for that first spot since it has made the biggest jump on the Billboard Hot 100 from #97 to #1. (This is the second time she has done this. Her first single "A Moment Like This" moved from #51 to #1.) Reference:

Hope you enjoy :]

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Commuting to Salem State College

Since Salem State is a city over from where I currently reside, it is only logical that I commute. To go on a slight rant, I cannot for the life of me understand why people from Peabody, Beverly, Lynn, ect. feel that they need to live at Salem State. I of all people understand wanting to be on your own and not living at your house but to me it is completely unreasonable. If you and/or your parents are going to pay for you to live away from home go to a school that is far away. The only thing you are getting out of living at Salem State is debt and a bit more freedom than you usually would. If anyone can give me a a good reason to live on campus I'd love to hear it. I have my reasons why I hate commuting (which will be covered within the next few paragraphs) but I'd rather that than wasting all that money.

ANYWAY, commuting to SSC is the most reasonable for me. The reason I didn't go away to school was so I didn't have to pay to live on campus and save myself a couple thousand dollars a year. The first and by far most important thing that is needed to keep in mind when commuting to Salem State is, know where the good parking is. I quickly learned after the first few weeks of the first semester that if I was planning on getting to class in time I needed to devise a plan, a plan that would get me a parking spot and leave other students wishing they had my idea. Any class of 9am or earleir I got onto campus atleast an hour early. I did have one class on South Campus which I got to atleast an hour and 15 mins early because it was an 8am class. One day at around 12 midnight I actually went to South just to check out how many parking spots are filled my residents. Not to my surprise, more than half of the lot was full. By around 12/1 in the afternoon, it is a lot easier to find a spot on South as well as any other place you would like to park because the smarter kids take the early classes to get them out of the way. Another thing that seemed to work for me last semester was car pooling with my friend. Although it was only once a week that we were on campus at the same times it was much easier for us to get parking and be to class on time when we went together (that and the fact that she motivated me to actually go to class). Bottom line: Commuters, have more than one plan for parking as well as time to find that perfect spot!!

Although there are downsides to commuting, there are a lot of upsides as well. Ever been on campus all day and all you've wanted to do was just get away for a while? Well, I don't live on campus so I'm not stuck there. I go to class and then get to leave. I think if I did live on campus I would go completely out of my mind because I'd be around it all the time. I know that most of my friends that live on campus don't have their cars with them either. If I didn't have my car I don't know what I'd do with myself. It limits your freedom even more.

Personally, it's difficult to say if living on a school campus (not just Salem State, any campus) would be bareable for me but now laying down some commuter likes/dislikes, I've realized that I'm actually kind of happy I don't live on campus. It would be nice to not have to find a parking spot everyday but then again I feel like I have a lot more freedom than many people that do live there.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quit Work... Focus on School?

Since the age of 15 I have been employed. I've always somehow found a way to balance school and work although, school was barely a problem in high school. So it’s very weird to not have a job for the first time in about three to four years.

The first job I ever had was an interesting one, New England Meat Market. It is a family owned store and pretty much a butchery that focuses on Greek and Portuguese foods. I am neither Greek nor Portuguese but everyone I worked with was, and I feel like it opened me up to a whole new culture. I learned to like different foods and got educated in the background of each. Although I had my complaints about working there, overall it wasn't a totally horrible job. I loved the friends I made and learned a lot about dealing with people in the work area. One of the most important things I feel that I got out of working at NEMM was learning how to keep my mouth shut as much as I want to say something.

After about two years of working at New England Meat Market I felt like it was time for a change. I get easily bored when my life is going in the same direction for too long and try to make it more interesting. I got a second job at Gainsboro Studios. They do most of the senior pictures around the area: Beverly, Peabody, some Salem students, Bishop Fenwick, ect. It was fun because I got to look at all the senior pictures of my friends who graduated before me and then when it came to my senior year I got to look at all of my friends' pictures as well as people I didn't like. It is a relatively relaxing job. I just put some pictures together, listen to music and text. While working at Gainsboro I realized that I wasn't happy at New England Meat Market anymore so I quit there and picked up some extra hours at Gainsboro.

Last summer my aunt got me another job in Boston at Safety Insurance so I could save up some money. I worked a regular day 8 to 5 Monday through Friday. I had new respect for people who worked in an office 40 hours a week. Although I got paid extremely well and loved everyone I worked with, my summer was cut very short. It was hard to go out after work every day when I had to get up at around 5 am the next day to get ready to go to work. The weekends were something I counted down the hours to every Monday.

When school started I had to leave Safety Insurance because I wouldn't have time to go in 40 hours a week.I still had my job at Gainsboro but I wasn't making enough money to pay for gas, insurance, and still afford to go out on weekends. My best friend Kenny had worked at a place called Christian Book Distributors for an extremely long time and his father is extremely high up in the company. I've always wanted to work there so I felt that this was my opportunity to get a job there. My friend Sandra and I went together to have an interview. She got hired; I didn't even make it to the actual interview process. Before you could be interviewed you needed to go through a spelling test and a typing test. I'm not a horrible speller and I can type like a crazy woman. So, Kenny's father asked the department head what happened and they messed up my grading for my test. With a lot of luck and help I got an interview and ultimately got a job. My job started in October as a seasonal worker. Right before Christmas, seasonal employees were evaluated based on a certain criteria and some were kept and some were let go. I was lucky enough to keep my job while I watched all the rest of my friends walk out the door. I was told that there would be another evaluation mid-January and to keep up my good work. When that next evaluation came, many seasonal employees were let go once again. As far as I know myself and only about three others were kept. At this point I was feeling pretty good about myself and getting closer to having a stable job. If I made it through yet another evaluation I would be offered a permanent job.

Only a few days after I was told I was going to be kept, my parents sat me down and discussed how they thought that my job was getting in the way of my school work. The more I looked at the situation I realized work was part of the reason I did so terrible in school last semester. After being at school all day then working all night, by the time I got home I had no energy to do homework. With much regret, this past Tuesday I talked to my boss and told her that I would be giving my two weeks to focus more on my school work. She completely understood and was glad I was going to try harder and school.

After I quit, I felt like a huge weight was lifted off of me because I didn't have to worry about balancing school work and work but the more I think about it the more I feel like it’s going to be extremely weird not working as much. I do still have my job at Gainsboro so that I can be making some money. My Gainsboro schedule is a lot more flexible and they aren't relying on me every day to be there and if I need time to do school work I can take the time. As opposed to working at CBD where it is necessary to be there on time everyday because everyone worked as a team. The next few months is going to be interesting, but I'm hoping not having a job is going to allow me to do better in my classes.


On March 4, 1990 the world was graced with the birth of me. I was the first child to my parents and apparently was supposed to be a boy. To my parent's dismay I was a girl. They already had a name picked out, William, and clearly that would not work for me. So after a few days of deciding they came up with the name Alyssa, Alyssa Ruth to be exact. Little did they know that Alyssa Ruth along with my last name MacDonald would cause me extreme problems through out elementary school, 1) because my middle name was a name for an 80 year old and 2) my initials are officially ARM. To this day I still hate telling people my middle name in fear that they will put all three names together and say the one word I hate the most, "ARM!?!"

When I was about three years old I moved to Peabody, MA from Everett, MA. We moved into a larger house to make room for my soon-to-be younger brother. (And if you were wondering, he was supposed to be a girl and when they realized he was a boy named him William. Though, I still am not sure if they were completely right about him being a boy....). After moving to Peabody, I went to preschool at a church (which I now blame for my hatred of any religion). My elementary school was one where me and my three friends (whom i met in preschool) owned the school. We were feared, and followed by just about everyone. You could say we were the "Mean Girls" only about ten years younger. The four of us did everything together, including CCD (which I also blame for my hatred of religion). I also met my best friend in elementary school, kindergarden to be exact. His name is Kenny and it all started when we sat at the same table. Kenny was completely in love with me (haha, I hope he reads this) and even suggested the name "Alyssa" to his mother for the name of his little sitter. To this day we are still best friends. We have a special friendship that we never expect anyone to understand, but it works for us. Elementary school was a simpler time.

In middle school most of my friends and I fell apart. It was the first time in my life that I realized friends are not always forever and it was something I soon realized was going to be a part of life. For the most part middle school was completely boring except for the few fights I would get into every now and then (one even ending in the cops coming to my house and forever leaving me scared to death of authority figures). That was the last fight I got into in middle school, and from that point forward anything I did that was wrong, I was sure to cover up for it.

I went to high school at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School where a met a good chunk of my friends I hangout with now. I will admit high school taught me a lot about myself, as well as made me hate almost every person I come in contact with. Ever since I was younger, I always hung out with the "older crowd" because before I lived in Peabody all my friends were older. I was very mature at a young age, and high school just shows you all the people who still aren't mature. I could rant for HOURS about ever single person in my high school that needed to get over themselves and grow up. Maybe one day I will, it would make an amazing book. It wasn't just the students that were obnoxious, it was the teachers as well. I rarely found a teacher that I got along with and agreed with. As much as every teacher, dean, and principal in my school thought they knew everything that was going on in the school. Little did they know people were dealing drugs in the bathroom, skipping classes, and leaving campus without anyone ever noticing. Needless to say, I got away with leaving campus/skipping class numerous times and was never caught, eventhough apparently the place was "locked down." On June 8, 2008 I graduated from PVMHS along with 420 or-so other students. Although for four years I hated being there, on that day I was a bit sad to be leaving a place a spent so much of my time at, and watching all of my friends go off to college.

In September 2008 I started my journey through college at Salem State, much to my dismay. I'm living at my house going to a school pretty much in my backyard. I feel as if I've worked for years to get into a good school away from home and it was all for nothing. Although I did get accepted into all of the schools I applied to Salem State was the most reasonably priced. Now in my second semester I'm learning to accept the fact that I'm stuck here for a while and planning on working my butt off to get out. Last semester I slacked off more than I should have but now that I realize if I work hard enough I could possibly move on to better things, I'm trying as hard as I can.

How did I turn out in the long run you may be wondering? Well, I've grown up a lot in the past few years and learned who my real friends are. I'm extremely opinionated but I know how to take different opinions and take them into consideration. I absolutely love video games and anything computer related. My music of choice is varied depending on my mood. People who know me really well know that if we're in my car, depending on the songs I put on its easy to tell how I'm feeling. I watch as many movies as possible and love to just sit around and talk about them with the rest of my friends. I'm not the most liked person around because I am what a lot of people would call "a bitch" but that's just because most people don't like to hear the truth, or aren't used to someone being as blunt as I am. My humor is over the top sarcastic which is part of the reason I'm not everyone's favorite person... they just don't get it. Overall, if you take the chance to know me I'm a very good hearted person and I care a great deal about my friends. It just takes some time to get used to me.