Broken glass

My roommate smashed her water bottle on the road because she put it on top of her car and forgot about it. She was paranoid that the glass shards would get stuck in her tire, so I tried to get every last drop of the tiny pieces in the pockets of the asphalt. She rolled back with her car, and I inspected her tires as my index finger spouted blood. I wiped in on a box and threw it away.

The next morning, I heard a crash from the kitchen at 6:30 a.m. Lily had knocked over her mason jar, but she was unashamed, purring and galloping around the house like she was proud that she had caused a ruckus. With no broom to our name, I wet a paper towel and wiped the floor so every last fleck was stuck to its fibers and lived safely in the garbage. A new red cut on my hand.

Later, intrigued by the proximity of the two shatterings, I asked my roommate how she would analyze the situation. She said that it was the universe testing her to see how easily she can pick up her broken pieces and move on. “What did you think it was?” I told her it was a bad omen, and she put her fingers to her temples and said, “Cancel, clear, cancel, clear, cancel, clear.”

I wanted to say that it was a metaphor for me having to pick up other people’s messes and moving on. It’s funny how self-absorbed we both are.

Part 2! Best Tracks of 2012 (or How Music Got Me Through the Year)

Part 2 is finally here! Here’s the last of my best of 2012 playlist. Now that it’s Februany February, you can say I’m officially behind on this stuff. But who cares? You have Miguel, Cat Power and Ellie Goulding singing to you from years past! Quit complaining!

Here are my 11 through 6 picks if you need them first.

5. Miguel – “Adorn”

Probably the height of the year. Miguel came into the newsroom at MTV and played for us. Miguel. At my job!

Anyway, Miguel is first male celebrity crush since John Mayer from his Heavier Things era. It’s been a long time since a celebrity/singer/songwriter actually tugged on my heartstrings, but the second Miguel (allegedly) made eye contact with me again at a Brooklyn show, I was sold. His Kaleidoscope Dreams album is filled with sensual jams, some that he produced himself. Miguel just wants to make you feel special, singing lyrics like “let my love adorn you.” Guys, Miguel just wants me to feel loved and pretty and ugghhhh…. amazing. Anyway. He came to my work to do a special performance for our “Big and Best of 2012″ live stream. He was in the newsroom! And he was singing to us! This pretty much solidified the fact that I love my job.

4. Grimes – “Oblivion”

Really, I could pick any song off Grimes’ <i>Visions</i> and say that it was my jam. Since “Oblivion” was the most popular single, I’ll just go with that one. The song, however dark the lyrics are, just made me dance in my dorm room in Townhouse 331. In between researching Beethoven’s insatiability and Debussy’s musical paintings for my senior project, I’d flick on the “Oblivion” music video and try to dance like Grimes… which isn’t really that hard. Listening to Grimes gave me a break from all the boring readings I was doing, but it didn’t let me forget about the complexity of music. She has a lot going on, so I’d try to dissect the different loops she was using and pick apart the bouncy synths from the bass and her light, baby voice.

3. Alex Winston – “Sister Wife”

I didn’t see Alex Winston on many end-of 2012 lists – probably because her 2012 album’s music was mostly released in 2011 and 2010. Nevertheless, her music re-emerged from EPs to her first album. “Sister Wife” was a weekly staple on my roommates’ radio show, and I always heard it blaring from their rooms. It’s such a strange song… and it has an equally strange music video. But geez, it’s excellent. Alex Winston knows good pop music.

2. Grizzly Bear – “Yet Again”

Oh, I was so homesick in October. I missed the colorful trees and the smell of dirt and the non-polluted autumn breeze. I missed watching the black maple turn to bright yellow on our street (it’s always the first to change). And every time I listened to “Yet Again” or “Sleeping Ute,” I started researching ways to get to the Adirondacks. Maybe I could take the train for a weekend, stay at a bed and breakfast, go for a hike in the woods — anything to get me closer to the life I was used to at home.

1. Fiona Apple – “Every Single Night”

My favorite night of the year was when Pete got me tickets to see Fiona Apple, my favorite. I sang along to every word, and although I couldn’t dance (everyone was sitting — stupid), I made up this move where I swooped my head back and forth and slapped Pete’s thigh repeatedly (sorry). So attractive. I loved when Fiona played new songs from her album, which was out that day. One of those was was “Every Single Night,” which I had been listening to routinely the month before graduation. As I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life, updating my resume, getting on the one-way street to a career, I was feeling a bunch of different things. I related to all of this song’s lyrics — from fighting with my conscious to wanting to fully absorb every single feeling I was going through, and not just powering through like a robot. Of course, Fiona Apple put it more eloquently.

Best Tracks of 2012 (or How Music Got Me Through the Year)

Even though we’re already 17 days into the New Year, it’s not late to do a “Best of” list. 2012 saw some pretty BIG changes for me. A senior thesis, a graduation, a big move, a new job and there were so many new songs to get me through all of it. Here’s my Best of 2012, and how each track kept me moving forward. (listen while you read!)

11. Flume – “Sintra”

Before I even knew who the young Australian producer was, Pete slipped his debut album and EP onto my iPhone. Running along 58th Street, passing 10th Ave, 13th, New Utrecht and back, Flume’s “Sintra” gave me something upbeat and exotic to listen to while I explored new territory. I moved 600 miles from Holland, N.Y., to Brooklyn at the end of the summer. Pete and I landed in a Chinese neighborhood on the edge of Borough Park. I passed the Hasids tending to their perfectly preened front lawns and jumped over the plastic-bag tumbleweeds on the sidewalk. I saw old Italian couples hobbling arm-in-arm, mothers barreling at me with giant carriages and toddlers  weaving in and out of foot traffic. I’d never seen so much activity in my neighborhood, and somehow, the song’s mousy loops, unsynchronized beats and synths (like an eerie owl hooting a counter-melody) fit the mood.

10. How to Dress Well – “Ocean Floor for Everything”

It’s easy for music critics to choose “& It Was U” when picking their favorite song off How to Dress Well’s Total Loss. It’s the fastest! But the real art comes through in Tom Krell’s slow jams and reflective tunes. “Ocean Floor for Everything” not only reminds me of transcending my internship at The Buffalo News, but naturally, it reminds me of Krell’s last song at Public Assembly in June. Standing in complete silence, we crowded in to hear his soul spill out. It was the one moment of pure concentration I had before my Monday morning job interview at MTV, smoothing out the rest of the weekend and delivering me to Times Square with calmness and confidence.

9. Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”

This song reminds me of being sad. After all, not all of 2012 was happy. To be honest, my long-distance relationship was making me depressed and despite having awesome roommates and friends, I sometimes felt alone. Strangely enough, I came to the song via Alexi Wasser and not its ties to Fleet Foxes. I watched Aubrey Plaza eat flowers, smash boomboxes and choke Alexi over and over again in this video, thinking about reckless mourning and I-don’t-give-a-fuck mentality. Because some things hurt. And sometimes, sitting alone in your room listening to songs about graveyards helps you wallow in your misery until it passes.

8. Animal Collective – “Today’s Supernatural”

You have to understand, I listened to Merriweather Post Pavilion almost every weekend during my first internship in NYC. Exploring SoHo? “In the Flowers.” Walking to the NYU dining hall for a veggie wrap? “My Girls.” Lying in the grass at Washington Square Park? “Also Frightened.” I know, it was 2011, and the album came out in 2009. I was a little behind. Nevertheless, when I heard Animal Collective was coming out with new stuff just as I was making a permanent transition to New York in 2012, I couldn’t wait for what they’d come up with. Well over three years later, the group came up with Centipede Hz, which didn’t exactly get great reviews, but I loved this single. Its hectic raucousness echoed the city’s energy, so I played it on repeat, sitting at my desk at work, amping me up for what my new job had in store.

7. Ellie Goulding – “Anything Could Happen”

OMG. I had gotten my first assignment from MTV News – a concert recap! I was seeing Ellie Goulding at much smaller venue than Terminal 5, where I saw her last year, and it made all the difference. Tien and I got to see Ellie up close and watch her work out on a giant drum and sing songs off her new album. There was space to move, drinks were cheaper and it seemed like only the true fans were there. It was a perfect concert for an artist I had kind of forgotten about for a few months. Prepping for the concert and subsequent article, I jammed to Halcyon again and again, lounging on my bed hours before the concert. I couldn’t believe I was jumping out of my copy-editing hole into writing… and for MTV News! Anything could happen!

6. Cat Power – “Ruin”

“Bitchin’, complain’ when people ain’t got shit to eat.” Editing the world news in Buffalo gave me a scope of what was going on around the globe. And a lot of it wasn’t pretty — sunken cruise ships, Syrian war, bombs, crashes, civil unrest — all the stuff we are sometimes sheltered to. There was the local news too — DUI deaths, fatal shootings, stabbings, political turmoil. Luckily, I was removed from all those situations, but others weren’t so lucky. News hit home when my mom’s job was threatened after our school district fell under financial trouble and closed a school. Another member of my graduating class died; he was stabbed in his sleep. But yet, here I was in the newsroom, writing headlines for these stories, summing up the content with my words. I was really lucky to be mostly untouched by the nasty stuff going on, and I developed a positive attitude to deal with all the sad stories I had to edit. But other employees were cynical, which is really easy to be in the news business. We had just switched to a new content management system and most of the racket around the newsroom as crotchety complaining coming from the old vets. “How do you save?” “This don’t make any fucking sense.” “This is lunacy!” It was rather dramatic compared to all the other shit in the world.

So when I had down time in between stories, I listened to Cat Power’s new direction with “Ruin” from her awesome Sun album. It kept me level-headed. Stuff is a lot worse outside the Buffalo newsroom and outside my life. And I had to be thankful for the life that I have.

See you later for my top five! Until now, take a listen to my 11 – 6 Spotify playlist. I’ll add five more tracks to it soon!

Autumn in the city

I might need to change the title of my blog.

Summer in the city: it means heat. Sticky, grimy heat. Thick air. Sweat. But air-conditioning. So much air-conditioning. Too. Much. AC.

The AC in stores and corporate buildings and my office is almost too much. My legs reveal blotchy white spots and tiny goosebumps gather on my arms, wispy hairs raised from each one. I need a blanket. Should’ve dressed warmer but who needs pants in 90-degree Times Square? Better to dress in layers.

My black cardigan stretched from an M to a L, its sleeves hanging under my arms like flappy wings or an old woman’s flab. There’s a hole in the middle of the back and a few mini stitches from the first time my sister tried to sew it shut. Nevertheless, it’s black, it’s SFW, and it goes with everything. I’ve gotten use out of it.

But I should retire it soon.

You know why? Because yesterday, when I descended the escalator through the arctic corridor of the Viacom building on Broadway, I evaluated the crowd in Times Square. The sun shone down on them as usual, giving them sun-streaked photos (resulting in multiple retakes). But their hair flew, paper tumbled and women winced as a gust blew through the square.

I pushed through the revolving door (scrounging up the last of my body’s energy), expecting the relief of NYC heat. Shivering, I emerged on the street, but instead of getting wrapped in stuffy, warm air, the wind seeped through my sweater. My sweater, thin from two summers of AC, couldn’t even protect me from this New York change.

Autumn’s begun, and it’s completely new to me.

Newspaper vs. Newswire

This post comes prompted by my sister, who is working at a band camp this summer and still has time to check my blog to see if I’ve written anything new.

I’m on Month #2 at The Buffalo News, working nights and weekends. The newsroom has switched over to a new system, so not only am I confused, but everyone else is. It’s certainly an adventure, but I’m reminded every day how fortunate I am to be at this paper. I was worried that this internship might be a little like last summer’s – sitting at a desk all day reading business copy.

Here’s a list of things that are different:

  • First, the lighting isn’t as bright, which may or may not be a good thing. The air quality – well, it’s kind of dank.
  • I’m reading local news, national news, book reviews, event coverage, concert previews, politics, music reviews, consumer reports, etc. Such a great variety!
  • There’s an actual deadline. With the newswire, our deadline was always “now.” This summer, our deadline is 10:30 p.m., so the intensity builds the half an hour before.
  • There’s another intern on the copy desk! Last summer, I was the only one. I like it because we’re going through the same stuff. We lunch together a lot.
  • The copy desk features a “cast of characters,” which is actually a self-proclaimed title. A former intern advised me of this before I started, but I brushed it off because I thought, “Well, everyone’s a character.” Now I definitely know what he meant.
  • The vocab? Much more extensive. I’ll post later with new words. Probably.

Anyway, I love interning.

I had my 22nd birthday Wednesday, and my friends took me to The Chocolate Bar in Buffalo to celebrate. They spoiled me. Here’s me with my chocolate mint martini:

chocolate bar buffalo ny chocolate mint martini

Courtesy of my friend Olivia

Hopefully, I’ll be blogging more to keep you up to date. Sorry for the hiatus!

Back in the game

Well, here I am, back in the swing of things, copy editing like a maniac. Unlike last summer where my subject matter was a little more technical, I’m coming across new things every day. Here are fun things I’ve learned just from doing my job in the past two weeks:

Sleeping Sea Bird

Look at him go!

  • Sea birds can fly while half-asleep. All they have to do is lock the bones in their wings so they can soar effortlessly.
  • This is comforting: 58.6 percent of interns get hired full-time, according to 2011 data.
  • Keep an eye on granola while baking. It burns easily. I learned this from experience after getting inspired by a story.

Those are just some randoms. I hope this job will make me better at Jeopardy! It’s my life-long goal to get better at answering Jeopardy! questions than my dad.

Also, I’m coming across so many new vocab words. I’m tempted to restart the ‘Word of the Day‘ feature of this blog, but I don’t want to bore you. Here are a few good ones:

  • ennui – boredom, dissatisfaction
  • ebullient – cheerful, full of energy
  • mellifluous – smooth, rich, flow
  • eponymous – related to a name
  • interred – entomb, bury in earth or sea
  • chorister – member of choir
  • onus – burden, obligation, blame
  • cognoscenti – (plural) people having expert knowledge in a field

These reporters have great vocabularies! Let’s just say that Merriam and Webster are my two new best friends.

Today was my first day working as a post-grad

I started my copy editing internship at The Buffalo News today. Despite getting all frazzled while driving in the morning traffic, I was ecstatic to be there. It was so cool seeing reporters I had previously known only from headshots. Being in the newsroom and feeling like I belonged in it made me smile. A lot. In fact, my face started to hurt from all the smiling I did.

I filled out paperwork, took a tour and got trained on the software — no reading yet, but they promised to put me to work tomorrow. So far, I’m thrilled. I was so thrilled that I went home, I took a photo with this promotional stuffed animal I got in 9th grade.

Emilee Lindner


P.S. I suppose my blog name still applies. I’m going to be spending my time in the city this summer… just not THE city.