Rise Against

Rise Against

An Unforgettable Performance
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I see so many people together singing and dancing, and believe me that makes me happy. Because we all know: Not every day is okay and not every night is okay. Some days are better than others, some nights are better than others. But if you made it here tonight. If you made it here with us tonight that’s because you survived whatever the world threw at you! -Tim McIlrath, Lead Singer for Rise Against

I had never known a true concert experience until I had the privilege of seeing one of my favorite current bands perform.

On Friday, October 6th I headed up to Asbury Park with my godfather in great anticipation to see our mutually favorite band, Rise Against, perform. The venue was far from us but we had an entertaining conversation on the way up which made the trip go rather quickly.

The venue was probably one of the best for a group like Rise Against. It was an outdoor venue that was practically on the beach. The sound wasn't muted at all, since we were outside, in fact it probably added volume as the band performed. Of course, I was near a speaker so that might have misled me!

The group was amazing, and they sounded just as good as their records and they had a good mixture of content. Some popular tracks, some newer tracks followed by quite a few moving speeches by the lead singer, Tim McIlrath. When the band first came out, I couldn't help but be worried Tim was a singer who rarely interacted with his audience because he went from one song to the next, but that was not the case after about 3 killer songs. He was very charismatic and fun to watch. Although I'll admit that some of my favorite parts were watching Tim and lead guitarist Zach Blair jam out on their guitars during the amazing solos.

Their lighting shows accompanying the songs were amazing as well. They had various different lighting effects going on throughout and I thought it looked really awesome the whole time, it also made recording videos super awesome because they were all bright, rather than the typical low lights. I can only imagine how hot the band must have been under those lights.

I will say the crowd was the most violent concert crowd I've ever been in, which I think is what led to my true concert experience. There were no seats, we were all in the pit and it was a very traditional pit with crowd surfers galore! I got cluncked on the head at least three times, two people almost fell on top of me and I witnessed a very violent fist fight in the middle of the crowd. I was really overwhelmed because that is not my preferred scene, although it was definitely worth it and I wouldn't change a thing.


After all the build up and the wait for Rise Against, I'm glad it ended up being such amazing show. I'm really glad I had the pleasure of seeing them perform and I'll be looking out for the next time they come to town. Definitely one of the best live bands I've heard.



Cover Image Credit: Sam Shirk

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Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

"April Kepner... you're not average"
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I'll admit from the first time we were introduced to April in Season 6, I didn't like her so much. I mean we hated the "Mercy Westers" in the first place, so how could we see the potential in the annoying, know-it-all resident that was trying to compete with our beloved Lexie Grey.

But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.


We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Quotes That Will Remind You What Life Is Really About

“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.”
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Sometimes you just need a reminder that everything happens for a reason, and the struggles you are going through now are only temporary. We are all human and we all belong. We aren't perfect, we make mistakes, but that's all a part of being alive. Here are some quotes in case you forget:

1. In case you forget that we are in a nation founded by immigrants

“Maybe you weren’t born here, but you found this empty shell and you made it your home”

-Avatar Aang (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

“I am human, so nothing human is foreign to me”

- Terence

2. Failure only brings you closer to perfection

“It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all in which case, you fail by default.”

-J.K. Rowling

“The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried.”

-Stephen McCranie

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same."

-Colin R. Davis

3. For all the writers out there, keep writing

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

-Ernest Hemingway

“We see with the eyes, but we see with the brain as well, and seeing with the brain is often called imagination.”

-Oliver Sacks

4. The future isn’t everything. Don’t forget to enjoy today

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

-J.K Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

5. Remember… don’t be petty

“There are many who pretend to despise and belittle, that which is beyond their reach.”

-Aesop

6. Our faults are what make us unique

“We are more than the parts that form us.”

-Patrick Rothfuss

"You can be wild and still be very wise."

-Yoko Ono

7. Keep an open mind

“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”

-Harper Lee (To Kill A Mockingbird)

8. Remember to be kind

"Where there is kindness, there is goodness, and where there is goodness, there is magic."

-Fairy Godmother (Cinderella)

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

-Dalai Lama

9. Be the change you want to see in the world

“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.”

-Maya Angelou

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch without doing anything.”

-Albert Einstein

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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