Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

5 things this cover story I wrote says about me as a worker

In Blog on February 13, 2013 at 12:17 pm
This is a still from "Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu,” a Tollywood comedy of which I understood, like, four lines of dialogue total. Still courtesy of AMC Theatres.

This is a still from “Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu,” a Tollywood comedy of which I understood, like, four lines of dialogue total. Still courtesy of AMC Theatres.

When I was 20 — not as newly minted to the age as I am right now to 22 but still pretty shiny — I laughed about freelancing.

To me, freelancing was a blanket term for unemployed-but-I’m-a-free-spirit-so-I-get-work-when-I-can-but-really-I-should-be-a-full-time-worker-and-also-I’m-not-lazy-it’s-just-this-economy — hm, the way I remember it contained far less political commentary, but the shadow of that sentiment existed.

I began my rite of passage as a freelancer in December, and the largest vegetable of my labor dropped today. It takes the form of this cover story I wrote for Folio Weekly, an alt weekly of which I’m fond and have been for, you know, years.

Anyway, I decided to break down some of my process of this piece and comment on what different skills I had to engage, to make it all work. Because, on job applications, “strong verbal and communication skills” fails to fully encompass the routine of producing written content.

In no particular order, I’ve come up with:

1. I meet deadlines really well.
Much of the joy I got from working on this story came from the two editors with whom I worked. I had a deadline set weeks in advance that allowed to form a complete story, off of which we edited, mended, reworked and further developed as time went on.

2. I’m ace at having phone calls and emails returned — mostly.
There are occasions in the story that I note I didn’t hear back from a source, but, for the most part, I have one of those hey-I’m-not-a-terrible-journalist-let’s-have-a-conversation personalities. That also really encouraged me. In features and enterprise, much of the success of a piece relies on the ability to make a connection with the folks you’re interviewing. One source I pursued for a month returned my call just as I almost hit “Send” on my final draft. Now that’s a testament to my persistence.

3. I don’t load sentences with gobbledygook, for clarity, but hold on to creativity.
One of my writing flares is extensive use of em dashes, which a classmate in Advanced Reporting sophomore year inferred may be a little too extensive. But creative use of punctuation is a great way to hold to your distinct voice in pieces in which you’re largely aiming to be disinterested. I exercised most of my bogus diction when I reviewed a musical in January, which those editors thankfully had me change. It more closely fitted an overly chatty high schooler’s newsblog writing than a more tightly knit alt weekly. (I stole “gobbledygook” as a descriptor for hyper-stylized writing from this interview with Diablo Cody, whom everyone knows I admire.)

4. I’m a level-10 AP stylist.
Speaking of gobbledygook banter. … But really! Even though each publication uses its own guide for style, I crafted this story entirely in AP style and noticed that, throughout the process, my editors shifted it into a style that matched their product. I never had a note that said, “Translate this to AP style,” which is a type of note for which I built a reputation during my three and a half years of editing.

5. I’m willing.
Lastly, I’m simply willing. I’m willing to take on a story out of my comfort range of story length. I’m willing to take on a story outside of my comfort range of source count. I’m willing to take on a story that’s going to cost $30.25 in ticket sales. I’m willing to experience something that I’ve never experienced before and did not understand at all. I’m willing to stop using repetition, at this point.


25 Songs I Listened to in 2012

In Blog on December 31, 2012 at 2:26 pm

You may have missed my post from last year. Let’s just jump on this one, so we can quickly jump out of 2012.

1. “I Want to be Well” by Sufjan Stevens Image

I played this Sufjan track loud and probably disturbed those around me. It’s a great one that sends you dancing — and somehow not crying — as, with Sufjan, I sing “I want to be well/ I want to be well/ I want to be well/ I want to be well.” And who deny the dude’s even-louder yelling of “I’m not f—– around”?! It gives the song character.

Image2. “I Will Go Anywhere With You” by Julia Nunes

My travel song for my travel summer. I drove myself to Orlando, Gainesville and Nashville with little notice to those around me because, well, I had to get out of my hometown, folks. Sure, traveling songs are a penny a pound or whatever, but my knees weakened at “Looking down/ As fly/ Over the Rochester skyline.” Sometimes, I’d replace “Rochester” with my hometown while singing out loud and, of course, by myself.

Image3. “Pyramids” by Frank Ocean

I spent a while trying to find a Channel Orange ditty I loved more than the others, but I found it quickly this summer with “Pyramids.” Not only does this epic song’s movements make me cheerful, it simply is a chill track. I loved playing it for my friends and encouraging them to love it as much as I do. And who could not be obsessed with the live — albeit abridged — version on SNL?! John Mayer playing the guitar solo and arcade games surrounding the players? Splendid.

4. “Laments” by Hop Along

Nothing’s gonna make yah yell and feel like Hop Along. Frances reproduced this song with a more electric song to fit the rest of Get Disowned for this summer and year favorite. Besides the gorgeous descriptions and lyrics that go over your head but you know are perfect, I couldn’t help but jump up and down screaming “A song for the sad ones/ Who say they’ll marry, they guess” in 2012.

5. “Some Nights” by fun.

My absolutely favorite 2012 song. A bit annoyed when it first got radio play, I grew to accept that this meant others knew the song as well as I did and loved it, too. The Some Nights album kept me company in a way an album hasn’t in a while. And the best thing about the album and its eponymous track is that it’s empowering — even it’s sadder songs. Many sad records bring you down, but I always loved how, through all of “Some Nights”’s lyrics’ longing, I felt like a champion.  The verse after my own heart: “That is it, guys/ That is all/ Five minutes in, and I’m bored again/ 10 years of this/ I’m not sure, if anybody understands/ This one is not for the folks at home/ Sorry to leave, Mom, I had to go/ Who the f— wants to die alone/ All dried up in the desert sun?”

6. “Runaway Love” by Diamond Rings

So happy Lizzie clued me into Diamond Rings as 2012 descended into 2013. This song makes you just wanna don nail polish and makeup and not care about who’s around to look at yah. Trust me. There’s a childish feeling in this glam rock track and the album that includes it, but that youthfulness mixes into the ‘80s feel we all love, and, somehow, I feel like I always came out on top. I’m not even sure what that means. And that’s what Diamond Rings does to yah! Makes you feel ambiguous about EVERYTHING. But at least I remained unambiguous about four things: “I wanna be the light to your dark/ I wanna shine like gold/ I wanna burn my name in your heart/ I wanna lose control.”

7. “Spitting Image” by Freelance Whales

Doris gets to sing this track from the groovy band’s sophomore album. This ditty sets my flying, especially whenever she croons “We all seem to have/ Big plans.” There’s nothing truer about 2012, and I feel like two major staples of it were me listening to everyone’s big plans and my needing to have big plans. But all I really need to is to listen to Freelance Whales. Let’s be honest.

8. “Switzerland” by The Last Bison

I almost left this one off the list! A true summer favorite, I craved this folk track and looked to it for my folks fix in a year of pop, pop and more pop. The chorus gets yah, with “Oh/ Oh, Switzerland/ You’ve taken ‘way my breath now/ Once again.” I never want to be sure about whether they family’s achin’ for the country or a person, but the heart in this one beat to my one’s tune.

9. “Apartment” by Gospel Music

A very simple song that I kept singing to myself many times this year, whenever visiting a friend’s place. “In my apartment/ The drinks are cheap/ In my apartment/ I’ll be your barkeep.” I can’t help but love such twee lyrics, and it’s not fair to except any different from me!

10. “I Can Lift a Car” by Walk the Moon

Another song that perfectly explains my 2012, with an ironic twist that’s better than lime. I first heard this one when I saw the Ohio boys live, and I immediately wanted it all up in and around my ears. This was playing, whether I was cognizant of it or not, during every moment this year in which everyone wanted to hear me say “All by myself/ All by myself/ I can lift a car up/ All by myself.”

11. “212” by Azealia Banks

A hip-hop favorite from this year’s hip-hop breakthrough princess, I loved “212” for all of its raunchiness and its vices. Introducing friends to this song was as hilarious as it was during my introduction. And, like, it’s just an important 2012 track, I’d say. Nothing started a night off like “Hey/ I can be the answer.”

12. “Video Games” by Lana Del Rey

People may make fun of me for this one, but I simply cannot care because whether I first liked “Video Games” ironically does not compare to how much I enjoy it unironically. I replayed this track over and over one Sunday — probably the day after she appeared on SNL with one of my heroes, Daniel Radcliffe — because you know why?! “This is my idea of fun/ Playin’ video games.”

13. “Mary (Alternate)” by Yellow Ostrich

This is a go-to sad song and undoubtedly my favorite effort from Yellow Ostrich. Its musical simplicity at the beginning brews so wonderfully in the lyrics. And then when that horn starts goin’, I just lose it. Sometimes, you just need simple lyrics like “Everything turns around” to cheer yah up. Or, you know, at least empathize with you.

14. “Dilettante” by St. Vincent

This dirty, dirty track wonderfully rolls around in its own muck of Annie Clark’s unashamed fingers. I found this song over the summer, when Lizzie and Will covered it, and I had no idea that something could be so murky. Sure, I may now say some other St. Vincent tracks are my “favorite” over this one, but this led me down Vincent St. with the grimiest of hands. And with the suttiest of voices, I sing to you, “You’re like a party I heard through a wall/ Invite me.”

15. “Love Will Save Your Soul” by Grouplove

“Walkin’ down the streets, man/ You’re so bold” is the best lyric to depict how I wanted someone to describe in 2012. Between all the street style and menswear blogs and walking down city blocks and through campus this year brought me, I gotta throw it at Grouplove for making a pop track that enters in an alt rock fashion.

16. “Houseboat Babies” by Reptar

I’m not sure if Reptar’s stellar name or the lead singer’s I-just-don’t-have-any-of-those-to-give-yah voice keeps me so adhered to Reptar. In this song, I love the music that accompanies the chants of “Can you feel it?/ Yes, I can feel it!” Everything Reptar creates makes you feel odd, excited and crazy. And what’s the point of listening to music this year, if you don’t feel all of those things concurrently?

17. “Punching in a Dream” by The Naked and Famous the-naked-and-famous-passive-me-aggressive-you

One to which I owe much of my year, this one kept me excited from 2011 and propelled me throughout 2012 in the moments I needed it most desperately: namely, the spring semester. I mean, what privileged college student does not want to say, “Wait/ I don’t ever wanna be here”?!

18. “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers

Sure, a generic choice for 2012 and as obvious as “Some Nights,” but, like fun.’s wonderful wonder, I was a-blastin’ this long before its radio play. Much like some others on this list, I may LIKE other songs on this album MORE than “Ho Hey,” but, for a while, “Ho Hey” was all I wanted and needed in life. And its alluring “I belong with you/ You belong with me/ You’re my sweetheart” begs for replay after replay.

19. “World News” by Local Natives

A song that features lyrics about sitting in traffic and listening to NPR because everything on the radio is less appealing has to be one of my favorite tracks to listen to in 2012. And it is. I’m slowly realizing the other songs on this album merit just as much of my attention, but with all of its do do do-do-do dos, “World News” was all my world knew was all my world needed to know of Local Natives.

20. “The Socialites” by Dirty Projectors

It took me a while to get into Swing Lo Magellan because I couldn’t get over this song. I’m now obsessed with the whole song and, AS SO MANY OTHERS ON THIS LIST AT THIS POINT, may not consider this my favorite song anymore. But still, it’s ubiquity and constant replaying in my summer and fall this year always made me agree with this sentiment: “I’m glad/ They’re the ones on the other/ Side of the glass.”

21. “The Wilhelm Scream” by James Blake 

My sitting-in-Lizzie’s-car-as-we-drive-to-and-from-Orlando track is almost impossible to listen to during the day. And, somehow, I’m writing about its influence this year during the daytime and not struggling TOO much. While its lyrics are fine enough, nothing catches me in this song’s net as much as its music — music for which I can’t even turn into onomatopoeia.

220px-GrizzlyBearShields22. “A Simple Answer” by Grizzly Bear

Why didn’t I love Grizzly Bear before 2012? Because “Two Weeks” only lightly covered my taste buds for the full flavor of Shields.  I feel like I unknowingly waited so long for this album, and this is my favorite track. And I like that others like “Yet Again,” which is, yes, INCREDIBLE, but it seems my theme is year is longer length. And, for length, and piano goodness, and how Dan and Ed sing, this is my A+ Grizzly Bear track. “And it calls you back to mind/ At once/ At last.”

23. “Eyes Wide Open” by Gotye

Largely tucked away for the larger part of 2012, I absolutely adored this Gotye track. It was my running song, and it propelled me through an awkward time more than any other song I discovered this year — and up until that point in time, I guess. A line of the second verse that I always mouthed through gasps while running: “And the saddest thing/ Is all of this could’ve been avoided.” Of course, sung in the way that only Gotye can.

24. “Fairytale of Hogwarts” by The Caradoc Dearborns

I RECENTLY, as in IN THIS MONTH, as in AS A RESULT FROM NOT CLOSELY READING THE LINER NOTES, learned that this one from my pal The Caradoc Dearborns is a parody of the carol, “Fairytale of New York.” But that, folks, fails to subtract from its utter greatness. I’ve written about this one on this blog before, so I shan’t repeat the repeatable, “And the toads of Alfonso’s random choir/ Were croaking Christmas jams/ And HP was being Jesus/ Like a bamf.”

25. “Your Eyes” by Bombay Bicycle Club

Ah, at last, a song that caught me and held me there and then let me go and then was all, naw, kid, I need you back. Is there a lyric in this track that isn’t perfect? Well, let’s tie this whole year up in its messy, busy, hilarious, rewarding and somehow still very unfulfilling bow: “I would promise all I could/ And think about it afterward.”

NEED TO MENTIONS: I can’t leave without expressing my whole-hearted love for the following songs and their musicians, among others I’ve most certainly forgotten to include: “The A Team” by Ed Sheeran, “Airbag” by Radiohead, “Everything Has Changed” by Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, “Thought of You” by Justin Bieber, “Rooftop” by Personnes, “1996” by The Wombats, “Madness” by Muse, “Swim” by Surfer Blood, “Kind of Love” by Ardie Collins and “I’m Not Your Girlfriend” by Lizzie Russo.

GUILT-FREE, TOP 40 THREE: “One More Night” by Maroon 5, “Give Your Heart a Break” by Demi Lovato and “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars

1. “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep” by Bombay Bicycle Club (From the Orlando show in October. So much dancing.)
2. “I Can Lift a Car” by Walk the Moon (I mentioned it earlier! So good. Nick with those drumsticks, yo.)
3. “Lesson in Love” by Neon Trees (Frontman Tyler Glenn was hunched over the entire time while singing this song. Mad passion. Mad props.)
4. “Miranda” by Surfer Blood
5. “Automobile” by Gospel Music
6. “Evanna” by The Caradoc Dearborns (Heard it live in Nashville, y’all.)
7. “Radar Detector” by Darwin Deez (Definitely too early in the set list but a show favorite nonetheless.)
8. “Backbend” by Antique Animals (An ol’ Great Working favorite repurposed for Joe Shuck’s latest outfit.)

FULL ALBUMS: Never Trust a Happy Song by Grouplove, Shields by Grizzly Bear, A Caradoc Dearborns Christmas by The Caradoc Dearborns, Body Faucet by Repar, Free Dimensional by Diamond Rings, Diluvia by Freelance Whales, Channel Orange by Frank Ocean, Age of Adz by Sufjan Stevens, Settle Down by Julia Nunes, How to Get to Heaven from Jacksonville, FL by Gospel Music, Walk the Moon by Walk the Moon, The Lumineers by The Lumineers, James Blake by James Blake, Every Kingdom by Ben Howard, A Different Kind of Fix by Bombay Bicycle Club, Swing Lo Magellan by Dirty Projectors, Some Nights by fun., Get Disowned by Hop Along, Believe by Justin Bieber, Red by Taylor Swift and Tigers Jaw by Tigers Jaw

Remember: This list is of the stream-of-conscious variety, and ordering these by level of enjoyment and sentiment would be difficult and boring. And, of course, not all of the ditties and records in this blog post dropped in 2012.


A casual purchase

In Blog on September 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm

In my dream, I was meeting Harry Potter cast members who didn’t actually exist, popping Skittle after Skittle into my intangible throat and quenching my nonexistent thirst with Sprite.

I turned over in my bed, opened my eyes and said: “I should probably tweet about that dream.”

As a restless person does, I kept rolling around and found that, without the context, a 140-character summation of my dream and linking it to the importance of today would not be beneficial for any involved parties.

So I treated life like a normal Thursday.

That is until I hopped in my car earlier than I normally would on a Thursday, given the schedule I’ve kept since the semester started in late August.

I clicked on some music and told myself: “It really hasn’t hit me, yet.”

Then I’m in sort-of traffic, and The Caradoc Dearborns is crooning through my car’s speakers.

Tom has these brilliant songs on the recently released “A Caradoc Dearborns Christmas” album, and I particularly am in love with “Fairytale of Hogwarts.”

It’s, of course, probably too early to listen to Christmas songs, even of the wizard rock variety, but, to me, that gives me even more reason to sing and celebrate.

Anyway, by the time I’m in traffic, I realize it’s all too much, and the tears well up in my eyes.

To further torture myself, I flipped to a song that I first heard when he played it for Laura, Jake and me, when I visited them in Nashville in early August.

And then I started thinking of all the friends I’ve made and experiences I’ve enjoyed because a woman once ended the first sentence of her first novel with “thank you very much.”

By this point, I’ve resolved to singing some of the wizard rock classics without the accompanying music.

Nearing the bookstore, I know exactly what I’m going to tweet.

I look at my face in the rear-view mirror and witness salt deposits trailing down my cheek from the corner of my left eye.

Now outside of the bookstore, I resolve to reading tweets — and sending some out, too.

I imagine what the display will look like. Will there be a huge sign? Will there even be a display? What will my reaction be?

As I push through the first set of doors, I see the red cover and, as theatrically as you could expect from someone like me, gasp in excitement.

I snag a copy and race to the check-out line. With whom was I competing?

I wasn’t competing with anyone, of course.

I was living an experience that I knew I’d remember and that I wanted to be decidedly memorable.

No, no one reached for the same copy as I did. No, there was no line of Rowling fans waiting to celebrate the release with me.

I was alone, with just enough cash to afford the book at a discounted price, and no one was making mark of who I was or what I was doing or that we had a common interest.

And I thought I could control myself with the reading.

I thought I would prioritize my life and use the novel as a treat. After all, I won’t obtain any true reading time until Saturday afternoon. So there truly wasn’t any hurry — especially if I planned on avoiding social media until the book’s completion.

But I did it. I read. And I’m loving it.

I also love the connection that even seeing a book cover can evoke in people. I had four great reactions today, and I hope for things like that, whenever I purchase a book one minute after it goes on sale.

I won’t detail how far I’ve gotten in the novel, but I assure you, it’s not too far.

I’d just like to avoid any wow-you-read-incredibly-slowly or how-could-you-ever-put-it-down comments.

But now that I’ve made it through a busy day and indulged in a little Internet, I think it’s time to return to Pagford.

I just wanted you all to know that, in coming days and weeks, I hope to return here and other Internet spaces more often, as well.

Especially once I’ve finished reading J.K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy.”

Life of an Academic

In Blog on May 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm

I spent a bit of today after I got home from my internship being productive.

I updated my LinkedIn profile and filled out my weekly progress reports for my internship class.

I reflected — to myself, of course — about how great it was to feel less pressure now that the GRE’s over and because I lack a Summer A class.

I’ve just been internin’ and then filling out my duties at the paper/station(s)/website. And, between all that, I’ve had so much free time.

Last Monday, I posted a video called “My Parents Didn’t Send Me to College to Become an Academic.”

I’m so happy that video’s out in the world. Ever since reading The Marriage Plot, all I can think about is the life of an academic.

This video gives you some insight into the thought process of an academic life versus a professional life — as seen through me, of course. I also touch on some ideology in it, but I didn’t let myself delve too much into that.

That can be for another time or never at all.

Alive and Unwatched

In Blog on May 6, 2012 at 8:39 pm

I’ve been indulging in Daily Grace videos all day, and I ain’t mad at myself for it.

I think it’s incredible how she can make five videos a week and somehow still remain sane and, of course, hilarious.

I’m sure it being the source of her ability to, you know, eat and pay rent plays a tiny role.

As much as YouTube is a fun hobby, I doubt I could ever do it full time. And, even for the creators whose content suits an audience that doesn’t include me, I can respect that people get to make it their primary source of income and a way to fully support four-children families.

But none of this is new. The video I posted yesterday is new, though.

Oh, it didn’t show up on your subscription list? This could’ve been due to the feature on YouTube’s homepage for users that gives the choice of viewing just “Highlights” of subscriptions or “Everything.”

The conversation about this feature has appeared numerous times on Tumblr recently, and Kayley found that, mainly, it’s only useful to click “Everything” when a subscription uploads multiple videos.

Well, that was the mistake I made. I uploaded two videos yesterday, a main video called “Print Isn’t Dead” and an unlisted video that I recorded in March — a response to Margaret’s tagging me (and subsequently Sarah’s and Laura’s).

I originally was going to upload the tagged video on Thursday or Friday as unlisted, but I didn’t get around to editing until Saturday morning. Mainly because I was finishing up my reading of The Marriage Plot.

In any case, the new video’s up, regardless, and, as always, available for discussion.

In life news, I start my summer internship tomorrow. I’m excited to build up my graphic design portfolio for the inevitable page designer/copy editor jobs for which I’ll start applying in the fall.

I mean, someone’s gotta know AP style AND be overly handy with InDesign, don’tcha think?

‘The Marriage Plot’

In Blog on May 3, 2012 at 9:49 pm

I’ve just finished reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot.

The book captivates anyone who calls themselves collegiate, and you learn a lot about English literature, religion and even biology.

The Virgin Suicides‘ penner and winner of the Pulitzer Prize thanks to Middlesex narrates in a richer way than the attempting-at-disinterested-which-turns-into-resentment in Suicides.

Reading it felt like an ego stroke to the laureates of English classes past, but I still enjoyed references to some of the stuff I’ve been reading in class — Barthes, even Mother Courage and Her Children.

It made it even more surreal that we read Suicides this semester — and reading an author I’ve studied’s writings about authors I’ve studied is simply surreal.

But the lucid, flavorful narration doesn’t detract from the story about, as harsh as it sounds, fairly privileged Brown grads trying to figure out life after undergraduate studies.

And, for me, this read couldn’t be any more relevant to my life.

I’ve had fun looming on the future while reading this one over the past several days.

Now I gotta read The Art of Fielding next because, you know, typographical covers are super in right now, so the books bound to them have to be just as incredible.

At least this proved more than true for The Marriage Plot.

Quick Thoughts on Video Blogging

In Blog on April 18, 2012 at 11:59 am

Every time I upload a video to my YouTube channel, I always ask myself why I don’t do it more often.

Making videos has always been this strange hobby of mine that I shared with a person here or there who may or may not have fully understood.

For a long while, I was embarrassed of my interest in watching people I didn’t know talk to cameras, make short films and inspire me to be like them.

In 2010, I met so many of the people I watched for more than a year and friends I’d met online and talked to nightly throughout the summer.

Through my time, I’ve garnered a beautiful audience of intelligent, supportive people who appreciate what I do.

When you follow through with a video idea — for me, at least — you take a bit of yourself and somehow edit it together to make it coherent, intelligible. And then you throw it on this website and hope that the people who see it will understand, will connect, will give you feedback.

I’m always going to fear that someone’s going to dislike something about these weird things I put online. But I just thoroughly appreciate everyone who’s been super nice over the past — wow — three years.

And with that, I give you my recent video, which I uploaded Sunday, April 15. I want to give personal hugs to everyone who tweeted at me, you encouraging lot. And the super, brilliant folks who commented, you’re the literal best.

An Inspired Column

In Blog on February 12, 2012 at 9:37 pm

As a journalist, you’re supposed to be able to write anytime within the 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. spectrum.

I’m a bit nervous as how I’m going to make it as a daily or online journalist because I think the best kinds of writing comes from being inspired.

Lately, I’ve loved the work the staff at my university’s newspaper has been doing. We’ve seriously been killing it this semester — from pre-debate, debate and post-debate coverage to the couple of other papers that didn’t mention the nationally spotlighted event.

I haven’t felt this proud to work at the paper since my freshman year.

As the well-seasoned — or as I described in a class, old and decrepit — member of the crew, I’ve worked with myriad personalities, and I’ve spent countless Tuesday nights in the same office until weird times in the morning grinding out the news for our student population.

And, in the past, there are always a few standout issues and some ones that completely flopped. But this semester, we haven’t flopped, and I don’t think we’re going to.

We’ve developed a new system that converges all the departments in the student media to the real benefit of each outlet. I’ve been enjoying the news broadcasts more, and our print publications have been outstanding and Pacemaker-worthy. The radio station continues to flourish, and the digital team is adding members to make it more diverse and well-staffed.

With that level of inspiration and energy, I’ve enjoyed working this semester, and needless to say, I’ve been inspired.

After a conversation with a couple of my fellow staffers about a column in the Feb. 6 New York Times, I decided to write a rebuttal — and not just write a rebuttal but totally kill it.

So, I’m here to share the product of that inspiration: a column I wrote about why Facebook users shouldn’t except compensation for their use of the website.

Make sure to read Nick Bilton’s original column before reading mine, for added context. You can read my rebuttal here.

I really hope we can all continue to work in a way that produces our best work. I loved every day of working on the paper my freshman year, and I’ve gotten that love back again. Sure, this year means more meetings and time spent in the office than ever before, but it’s all beneficial to a great print product of which I have been proud weekly since our Jan. 4 issue.

And I think if I keep working on something of which I’m proud weekly, I’ll be able to churn out an inspired piece of work weekly and — who knows? — maybe daily, too. In some form or another.

5 Influential Black Men in My Life

In Blog on February 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I’d hope that I’d be one of the first to tell yah that race is a socially constructed concept to which we should all not pay attention.

But lately, I’ve been reflecting on what makes people different. In one of my English classes, we talked about subjectivity and how we are not unique selves because the construct of uniqueness comes from what we subject uniqueness to mean.

I think I got that right, and I understand it may be confusing.

Confusing philosophical-literary principles aside, while I always like to pretend I don’t identify with any word about levels of melanin or, I don’t know, chromosome counts, I always allow myself a moment in February to reflect on Black History Month.

Growing up, I disliked hip-hop and spent most of my primary years at a suburban private school. To be direct, I had very few black heroes and influences.

I’m not entirely sure this is a complete shame. I surely looked up to my family and relatives, and I think I enjoyed Michael Jackson and Whoopi Goldberg. As I grew a little older, I entertained the idea of Tiger Woods.

But it’s great to be a point in my life in which I can pinpoint the types of people who look like I do, whom society subjects the same kind of ideas and stereotypes that it subjects onto me.

And with that, I give you five of my most-influential black male figures, in no particular order. Of course, there’s always Lee Daniels, Steve McQueen, Geoffrey Fletcher, and I could go on, as well as all of the women out there who are influential, but I wanted to narrow the focus on an already-narrow topic.

1. Alfie Enoch
You can ask anyone who knows me well, and they will tell you that I want to be Dean Thomas almost more than I want to be Ryan. When I understood the concept of Dean Thomas and that Alfie Enoch played him — at the tender age of 11 — he instantly became someone to whom I looked up. Until recently, I’d only seen Alfie in the eight Harry Potter films, but that’s 10 years of, I guess, idolization. Sure, I’ve idolized most of the cast since 2001 and 2002, but I’ve given Alfie a unique sort of idolization. He’s not an online presence, and the only reason I can recite all of his lines in the films is because they are so few. But I just know he’s excellent, and I enjoy that I look up to him. He recently appeared in a hilarious sketch short with Lavendar Brown actress Jessie Cave, which had me — as you can surely expect — dying inside.

2. Alvin Brown
My city’s mayor has to be one of the most influential people in my life and in the lives of all people who look like I do. He’s the first black mayor in our buckle-of-the-Bible-Belt city. He gets out in the community way more than any previous mayor I can remember. He appears on the First Coast Connect morning public radio newsshow frequently. Most times, host Melissa Ross has him on as a guest, but one time I was listening and he called in to the show to participate in the conversation. Incredible. Most recently, I giddily said, “Hey, mayor!” when I walked by him on campus on the night of the CNN debate.

3. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett
Curtis from “Misfits,” Nathan Stewart-Jarrett has great fashion and great acting skills. I’ve been watching the show since freshman year, so I’ve known of NSJ for nearly three years. I like that I can admire him just for being a celebrity figure. I have no emotional attachment, as with Alfie and Harry Potter, and no proximal attachment, as with the mayor. He always looks great in magazines and interviews, and I just want to dress like him and have everyone think I’m British — and a star on “Misfits.”

4. Donald Glover
I mean, of course this guy’s influential. I’ve only known about Donald Glover since watching “Community” in 2009, but I feel as though I’ve grown up with his character, Troy Barnes. I’ve also been diggin’ Childish Gambino as any culture-savvy individual out there. As he already presents in his lyrics, he raps about the things I would rap about — well, not about all of the women in his life, obviously — and drops references about things I like — “Invader Zim,”  “Freaks and Geeks” and, of course, “Juno.” He samples Adele, flirts with Rashida Jones, and I’ve seen him perform live. He’s an emblem to the very underrepresented group of folks that is raised-in-the-suburbs, nerdy black guys. And, of course, that’s a demographic with which I can closely identify.

5. Barack Obama
I’m assuming the tritest on this list, but I really don’t think you can be an impressionable person who looks like I do without idolizing Barack Obama. Although trite, how could he ever not be one of the most influential public figures out there? I know members of different political backgrounds will argue over the effectiveness of our president, but I think that he accomplished what he has accomplished is incredible. Yes, he was the first-ever black president of the U.S., but he was also the first-ever black candidate for the presidency for any party. Even without “making history,” he was “making history.” Also, his wife is the coolest first lady ever. Although, I know some will contest that she falls second to Jackie O.

25 Songs I Listened to in 2011

In Blog on December 31, 2011 at 12:05 am

There are all these end-of-the-year lists, and I feel like I haven’t seen all of the movies or read all of the books I would want to, if I ever wanted to make a list of those things. But during my nostalgia-filled 2011, I realized that I remember my school years and calendar years through songs.

Not that my music taste is impeccable, but it is my own. So, I wanted to immortalized the songs I enjoyed screaming at the top of my lungs throughout the year. Admittedly, most of them come from August until December 2011 because, you know, that’s how my memory works.

Oh, and I want to note that I chose one song by one artist I greatly enjoyed this year. Sure, I could stuff whole albums in here (a list of which follows this one), but I think the individual song is important, too. And a couple of these came out in years before 2011. And one of these I could argue as a 2010 song, but you’ll find out why I had to add it to this list.

In the order in which I thought of them:

1. Remain Nameless by Florence + the Machine
“I wish to remain nameless/ And live without shame/ ‘Cause what’s in a name?/ I still remain the same.” Oh, man, with those lyrics, Flo, how could I not feel exactly like I felt in middle and high school? For the kid who never really budged in big ways but constantly varied in small ones, this song, like this album, helped my get over (read: bask in) my youthful nostalgia. I guess high school’s youthful now. The whole album, “Ceremonials,” loads itself with wonderful tracks that, admittedly, took me a while to get into. But, boy, once you do. You find this track and its predecessor. And then you realize Flo and her crew are totally brilliant. For more nostalgia-related lyrics, see “Shake It Out”: “I’ve been a fool, and I’ve been blind/ I can never leave the past behind.” One day I will, Flo, but that day didn’t come in 2011.

2. Frankenstein by Tokyo Police Club
“So tell me/ You’re coming with us/ Tonight at 10/ An A+.” What precise lyrics to depict what I wanted out of 2011 but never got. I sat in a parking lot and listened to this song over and over with An in what must’ve been February. What a perfect afternoon. After seeing this band with her in January, with only an RAC remix of “Be Calm” on my iTunes that popped in there maybe in 2008, I had no idea how much I’d love Toronto’s pop boys. I spent so much of 2011 obsessing over this band. It’s a good’un and gives me all of those memories of high school that I never actually had. The track, like the band, truly supersedes an A+.

3. Short Bursts by We Were Promised Jetpacks
Lizzie introduced me to these Scottish guys early in the year. And I spent much of the Spring 2011 semester loving them. While this might not be what I consider my favorite track, it’s pretty much up there. I have close memories of just going crazy over this song during the summer. I even made a goofy graphic relating one of its lyrics to “Doctor Who”: “Your silence/ Is bearable/ But only in short bursts/ And then it becomes/ Uncomfortable.” I appreciate WWPJ’s role in my 2011 — making me feel edgier than probably necessary.

4.The Brush-Off by LizzieRadio
Speaking of my best friend Lizzie, this has to be the best track she wrote all year. I love it, she loves it, the entire Internet loves it. The entire Internet being our friends and her subscribers but whatever. Definitely one of those fall 2011 songs, I’ll never forget when she sung it to me sans guitar as she, Raquel and CeCe were going back to the former’s place after a fun evening. This is one of those songs where I’m all like, “Yeah, everyone needs to hear this.” You know why? Because “This is a hopeful song/ That travels throughout my lungs/ And burrows deeply in your head/ And I hope/ It bursts both your eardrums.”

5. Someone Like You by Adele
OK, it came down to either “Turning Tables” or this one. While the former reminds me of my friend Emily for some weird reason, I think the cultural phenomenon this song became, long after I heard it for the first time in February, just allows it to go on this list. I’m not original here, but I love this song. There! I said it! And I’m OK with saying it! It’s our love song. It’s how I felt about 2010 being so rocky and 2011 being so great. It’s how I felt when I got over a certain crush after that certain crush found a certain boyfriend and how I kinda felt a couple nights ago, what?, what I found out another certain crush has — but may or may not still have! — a certain boyfriend. “Never mind/ I’ll find/ Someone like you.” Right? Like. It’s perfect. We sung this song at Greg’s SNL style by total accident. What a song that so many know and can sing collectively. Thank you, Adele, for writing an anthem for love and heartbreak for 2011. I love you for it. We all love you for it.

6. Waste by Foster the People
Oh, speaking of 2011 anthems. I love “Pumped Up Kicks,” I really do! But, like! I don’t listen to Top 40 radio all to often, so it’s still my summer pop anthem! You know? But I’m talking about “Waste.” Oh, gosh. What a song. This track. This track. It’s one of those you hear while walking around that outdoor mall, and everything just sounds like a beautiful relationship. A relationship with the lamp-laden, street-y night. A relationship like that, juxtaposed to Foster the People’s hometown California beaches. “You know, it’s funny/ How freedom/ Can make us feel contained.” Gosh, Mark. With those lyrics and everything that is “Houdini,” how will I ever not think of 2011 without thinking of you and Other Mark and Cubbie? Thanks for feeling my earholes with this one. And thank you for that memory I have of me and my three friends skipping down the beach singing “Pumped Up Kicks” at the end of the summer.

7. After the Storm by Mumford and Sons
OK, OK! This should be No. 25! Because, if this list were an actual playlist that you would give someone and say, “Here! I love you, but you drive me crazy, and this makes me think of 2011 and of how you broke my heart!” it would go last. But this is a stream-of-consciousness list I concocted either several nights ago or a week or something ago. So, this is where we stand. Gawrsh, this track. I feel like it’s just hidden in “Sigh No More” and awaits for someone to find it and love it. And I do. And it helped me quite a bit with Things in 2011. So, thank you, Marcus, for making this song exist in my life and in my 2011. “Love will not break your heart/ But dismiss your fears.” I waited out all of high school and a year and a half of college before that time came.

8. I Saw Water by Tigers Jaw
Right now, I’m listening to “Distress Signal,” but I super duperly enjoy “I Saw Water.” It’s one of those rock tracks by young’uns that make you happy to be alive. It makes you happy that you made it through middle and high school. It’s another one of those I wish had grown up with me, but I’m super pleased to have found it this year. I love Scranton’s punkers pouring their hearts out to me. “I felt lighter/ I impressed her.” With a couplet like that, how can I not connect with my 2006 self? Thanks, Tigers Jaw.

9. Anna Sun by Walk the Moon
I can’t even lie here: I have a crush on Walk the Moon. How can you not?! Maybe I am more infatuated with this song. It’s the party anthem of 2011 that I feel like few people know about. It’s what I imagine what those Greek life kids hear when they’re up to their shenanigans and what every young person feels as he or she parades around town with nothing to do. “Anna Sun” makes me feel cooler than I should. It makes me feel cooler than the people in high school I looked up to. This song only stuck to one of my friends, Rhianna, but that’s OK. It’s our track. We can text it to each other, and no one will know why we love it so much. The couplet “Wait for summertime/ Wait for summertime” perfectly accentuates how I felt all Fall semester while in my folks’ home. I hope I can relive the afternoons and nights I danced around to this ditty in my house and room, in the summer of 2012. But, of course, with the knowledge that this’ll always be a 2011 track for me. Thanks, Walk the Moon, for a song for boring-town kids with big-town dreams.

10. King of the Rodeo by Kings of Leon
I spent most of 2011 passionately connecting with “Aha Shake Heartbreak.” If you can believe it, I missed it during its original runyear sometime in high school! I didn’t even know Kings of Leon made music until “Use Somebody”! That’s kinda bad, ain’t it? If the South produced one good thing, it’s the Kings of Leon. How can anyone, like, not from the South enjoy them as much as us down here could and should? While it’s not my favorite track from ‘Aha Shake,’ it’s just too good to pass up. I mean, going with my recent obsession of couplets, it has one of the best timeless couplets of all time: “Let the good times roll/ Let the good times roll.” And since 2011 pleased me, I can say I let the good times roll.

11. Towers by Bon Iver
Whatever! I only just heard this song maybe two weeks ago! I’m not one of those obsessively-talking-about-how-great-Bon-Iver-is freaks! I enjoy Bon Iver! But this is the first record I heard from the band! Now let me talk about this track! It’s incredible! But really, I am in love with the electric guitar, and “Towers” just gives me that visual of a gray winter sky — with mountains! duh! — and all you can hear is that electric guitar riff at the beginning of the song. For miles. “Well, you’re standing on my sternum/ Don’t you climb down, darling.” I don’t even really get that, but it’s something I want to be able to say one day. Maybe?

Freaks and Geeks by Childish Gambino
Of COURSE Childish Gambino had to make this list. I only knew one of his tracks in 2010, so all that I’ve obsessively played have made its way into my earspace in 2011. Suburban hip-hop like Childish Gambino is something that I need more of. But I guess it ends with D. Glover. Also, I wanted Hoodie Allen on this list, but, well, I replaced the next track for it. So, here’s to 2011’s hip-hop. Oh, and Watsky. “My clique should be canceled/ Freaks and geeks.”

13. Under Cover of Darkness by The Strokes
Now THIS is the track that makes me feel totally fine with wearing my high-top black Converse shoes with shorts and a cardigan. I am THAT kid, and it’s because I listen to The Strokes. Oh, man, this song reminds me of Orlando. This is my Orlando song. And I took many trips than usual to Orlando in 2011, and I can’t even imagine 2011 straight without a memory from Orlando. I almost left this song off the list! What a disservice to myself that would’ve been! “I’ll wait for you/ Will you wait for me, too?” Thanks to this song, I had some confidence I didn’t know existed in me. And I explored that confidence in 2011. Glad it helped me breakaway from the guy I was in 2010.

14. We’re Cheap Already by Driftless Pony Club
I have the best music video idea for this track, and I just want to MAKE it, right NOW. Anyway, this song, from 2011’s “Buckminster,” must be the best song from DFTBA’s 2011 releases and its releases, like, ever. It’s kinda nerdy without being at all overpowering, and it feels like 2011 should feel like. It’s got that electric, and it’s got that guitar and drums. Who could not love the boys’ interjection of “But I don’t smoke!” after a lyric about cigarettes? This is the one I had to turn all the way up in my car and on my computer during 2011. Did that make for safe dancing choices? No. I may have overheated several times while listening to this song. But the image of Craig raising his arms during the chant “I went to sleep/ I went to sleep/ About an hour ago” at Playlist Live gives me chills. And that’s one of the top images of 2011 that I saw firsthand.

15. Charlie Brown by Coldplay
All I’m gonna say for this one is, “LIGHT A FIRE WITHOUT A SPARK/ LIGHT A FIRE, A FLAME IN MY HEART/ WE’LL RUN WILD/ WE’LL BE GLOWING IN THE DARK.” Anyone who has “Mylo Xyloto” in his or her car and HASN’T screamed this lyric at the top of his or her lungs is missing out on one of the best reasons to be alive and listening to music in 2011. Seriously. Who cares if you like or don’t like Coldplay? Well, everyone should like Coldplay because everyone has a soul, and WHO CARES IF YOU THINK THEY’RE CHEESY, Chris Martin and the boys make you FEEL — not just some of the things but ALL of the THINGS. I want everyone in the world to hear “Charlie Brown.” I want to see Coldplay live around people who love this song as much as I do, and we’ll sing that part together, and we’ll feel so many emotions at once, and nothing could top that moment. Seriously.

16. In Circles by Skyway Flyer
Aww, this pop ditty. I love it. I love it, OK?! I can like Skyway Flyer AND Bon Iver! It’s what makes me human! But I’m sure everyone who I lost after Coldplay does not beat the number of folks who left after Skyway Flyer. Whatever, Jason’s cool, and his music is always catchy and well-produced. I just love the chorus: “We’re running around/ In circles now/ There’s nowhere left/ For us in town.” It’s one of those images in which you and your crew or, whatever, special someone, have just exhausted all of your city’s fun choices for an afternoon or night. And you wind up doing the same thing but still enjoying one another — or, you know, each other’s — company. I also have a fun(ny)/ annoyingly cute idea for a music video to this song. I’m so glad I listened to this one in 2011 and not 2010. I needed a good pop break many times during the first half of this year.

17. The Weapon by Harry and the Potters
OK, this is the one I said I listened to in 2010 and loved in 2010 and probably would’ve made my 2010 list, but it just IS 2011! Holy crap, how many times did I listen to this song throughout the summer? In July alone? During the week of LeakyCon alone? And how many times did I see it LIVE during that week? Twice. TWICE! I saw this song live TWICE. The first time at my very first Harry and the Potters show at a downtown library in Orlando and the second time at LeakyCon sans voice. I listened to this song over and over again in my car on the way to and from my internship on the LeakyCon 2009 live album. I’m listening to that recording now. It’s that song that makes me feel not so bad for being a loser and loving Harry Potter as much as I do. Which is so much! It’s too much! I can’t leave 2011 without reflecting on the overabundance of Harry Potter love I spread on Twitter throughout the summer and year. Besides ties to the best series of books and films of all time, the more secular bit of this song that gets me every time is the in-unison “LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE/ LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.” I just remember holding my friends and screaming that over and over again. Ah, 2011, apparently the year I understood love.

18. Our Most Brilliant Friends by Slow Club
I think all year I knew this would be my New Year’s reflection track. I can’t even imagine getting through Spring semester without it. This is another one of those that I wouldn’t want to keep for myself. Like, “The Weapon”: I think anyone who, like, doesn’t know what Mugglenet is shouldn’t listen to that song. But I think everyone with a pulse should listen and love “Our Most Brilliant Friends.” Along the lines of middle and high school nostalgia, all my friends were of the brilliant type — thank you, academic magnet program, it’s the perfect party song that just has guitar and some fun-but-not-really-overbearing percussion. Without being to racy, I just want to scream “Your body looks good tonight!” with such a large group of Slow Club fans. Or by myself in a crowded room and not apologize for it. OH! It’s worth mentioning that this track is my favorite off “Yeah So.” Just because it means so much and is so good.

19. Cannonball Coming by Ryan Seiler
Although this song and album didn’t stick with me throughout 2011’s entirety, I can’t deny all of those nights in which I fell to asleep listening to it. I might assert that “And We Sing” is my favorite song on the album, but “Cannonball Coming” is the second-best con song of all time — I mean, Lizzie’s “Real Tonight” from 2010 tops all, but I’m 100 percent biased. After a con-filled year of Playlist Live, LeakyCon and VidCon, it would be a shame to not nod toward this song. Note: I actually took this out in favor of The Stokes track, but my lists didn’t match up, and I took out Hoodie’s track for this song. So, subconsciously, I couldn’t trade hip-hop for feelings. That is just so typically me. Wow, quoting Britney Spears. My credibility at this point is definitely 1 percent. But really. I miss everyone I can’t see all the time, and for them, on 2012’s eve’s eve, I raise a glass: “To God/ To friends/ I hope I see you again.”

20. Lines by Tom Milsom
If you have heard of “Explorers 6,” we must clearly be in the same Tumblr circle. This song makes me its addict just with its opening boops and beeps. You may not have to agree with Tom Milsom on EVERYTHING, but you have to agree that he makes good, addicting music. I once called him lo-fi, he calls himself no-fi, he doesn’t really like “Doctor Who” that much. Sci-fi. But anyway, all attempts at my suburban hip-hop aside, “Lines” gives me all the happy. It’s just a bit of well-composed music that I think needs the attention Milsom wants it — and the record — to have. I also think there couldn’t be a video for this song that would be, like, perfect. I mean, I don’t think just any ol’ YouTuber could make the video. Maybe Mitchell Davis. He directed a YACHT music video. WHAT?! I know, crazy. Anyway, back to “Lines.” Milsom exemplifies his masterful word play, and it’s easy to memorize the lyrics once you realize he’s not saying the same words, but almost all of the lines kinda almost rhyme. What? Sorry, I’m enjoying the song too much to give that technique the proper literary device. But back to “Lines.” For a song that clocks in 6:27, it’s one of those that feels long when you’re just listening and Tumbling and nothing really doing anything-ing, but goes by in two minutes when you’re writing a paper or something homework-related. Also, the last line of lyric is always relevant in my life: “A lonely editorial can never hurt/ And only time will tell.” Oh, the couplets.

21. The Concept by Teenage Fanclub
Man! “Lines” is the last song on my list that’s actually on my iTunes. WHY IS THAT?! Anyway, we all know I love “Young Adult,” and I’m thankful for that movie for introducing me to this song. I found this ’90s alt rock track while perusing all things the Internet would give me for “Young Adult” in November. It’s a great early ’90s anthem to love. And, like, I would’ve totally jammed out to this song as an early-’90s teen had I been a teen in the early ’90s. Yah dig? The “Young Adult” soundtrack and individual songs from it helped me realize that, like, what I think of the ’90s and what my peers think of the ’90s is actually ’90s youth culture. It’s not just ’90s culture in the bag. And, to be even more precise, it’s more like late-’90s youth culture. But if you slap ’90s on it, there’s a 100 percent chance that I will love it. So, I fell in love with this track. And ran around singing “I didn’t want to hurt you/ OHHHH YEAAAAH.” And felt proud for being maybe the only 20-year-old I know who’s infatuated with this song. I need to convince my friends why it’s so good! I need to convince my friends that Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody and the actors in their movies and the musicians who make up their soundtracks are all ACTUAL geniuses — and go-tos for cultural advice.

22. Mouthful of Diamonds by Phantogram
That melody. That’s what nighttime in 2011, specifically the first four months of 2011, sounded like. Exactly like that. “And troubles/ Are on the rise ’cause in your disguise.” I’m sad that I could only listen to this song in that context, and, because of that, it is a song inherent to 2011. It is 2011. Every good memory about the first bit of 2011 could play over the this song — except the weekend that is Playlist Live, of course, but I’ve detailed songs ad nauseam that soundtracked that weekend. Back to “Mouthful of Diamonds.” It was always this song. Going back to it. Waiting for it to play. Being ready for it when it did.

23. Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye
We all love this song! And for a good period, we replayed this song over and over and over again. And it was great! It was a good time! This track kept us going! We all felt at least one of its lyrics! My choice favorite: “You said that you could let it go/ And that I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know.” By the way, a certain someone recorded a FANTASTIC cover of this song, which another certain someone is nearly done editing. Boy, that was a while ago, but September, baby, this song’s for you.

24.Bad Day by Darwin Deez
I had to switch out a Black Keys track for this one because I’ve honestly listened to this one more than I have that one. Oh. And it’s just so good. Sure, it came out before 2011, but I only just heard of Darwin Deez and this song a couple of months ago! And it is everything that the end of 2011 is. Fun story: I played this song over and over again one morning, the morning in which I had possibly my worst day in 2011, definitely my worst day from, like, May until December. I couldn’t unlock my knee, and I don’t know if that’s the right term, but I had to eventually go to the emergency room, and it just wasn’t happy Jan. So, I tried to make that as vague as possible. But because of that horrible day, I let “Bad Day” stay on this list. “And every day oughtta be a bad day for you.” Luckily, every day in 2011 wasn’t entirely bad.

25. Lotus Flower by Radiohead
I’ve only just reconnected with this song in the past month! Or so! Maybe month and a half! I adore it! It’s fantastic! I only just fell into Radiohead in summer 2010, so most Radiohead songs have a chance of being 2010 or later songs for the rest of my life. Which is fine! Because I have plenty of songs by artists not as renowned as Radiohead to fill up 1999-2009! “Slowly we unfold/ As lotus flowers.” A perfect song to fall asleep to or to maybe wake up to or to just listen to during some last-minute essay-writing. SNL caused my reconnection with this track that I first heard accompanied with Thom Yorke’s fantastic dancing, and I’m so glad SNL did that for me.

NEED TO MENTIONS: I lovedlovedlovedloved “Lonely Boy” by The Black Keys, “The Fear” by Ben Howard, “James Franco” by Hoodie Allen, “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn, “Chase the Stratosphere” by Cooper/Ardie Collins, “Sprout and the Bean” by Joanna Newsom, “Under Your Spell” by College, “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi, “Furr” by Blitzen Trapper, “Courtyard Apocalypse” by Alexandre Desplat, “I Don’t Want Love” by The Antlers and “Friday” by Rebecca Black in 2011. Decide for yourself if I like the last one on the list ironically or not.

GUILT-FREE TOP 40 THREE: “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj, “Everything” by Pitbull and “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5.

1. “Say You Like Me” by We the Kings (July and October performances)
2. “Count the Shadows” by Chameleon Circuit (Liam Dryden jumping across the stage at VidCon at one point was artful and perfect)
3. “Smells Like Harry Potter” by Harry and the Potter (Evanna Lynch playing bass at LeakyCon. ‘Nough said)
4. “Top Five” by Tokyo Police Club (I distinctly remember thinking the song was incredible upon hearing “I think I’d like to own a motorbike” in January)
5. “Rolling in the Deep” by Childish Gambino (I mean, the whole October set was great, but I’m choosing this because it was fantastic and involved tons of clapping)
6. “We’re Cheap Already” by Driftless Pony Club (I can’t remember if it played it at VidCon, but I’m, of course, referring to the Playlist Live performance in March. The whole set was great quality, though.)
7. “The Weapon” by Harry and the Potters (OK! It’s on here twice! But, like, the performance at the Orlando Public Library in July was beautiful and moving and touching and incredible)
8. “Stay Awake” by Julia Nunes (A track which COULD be on the 2011 list, but WILL be on the 2012 list. At least some song from her February 2012 release will be. I’m referring to the VidCon performance here.)
9. “Real Tonight” by LizzieRadio (Like, one of the many times she played this at VidCon. It was perfect every time, but my favorite may or may not be the night in which Luke Conard was mad we were playing music in the hotel room late at night, and she played it for him upon his request. Not that he knows who she is but because he wanted to hear someone play the guitar that was keeping him and Ingrid awake. Sorry for the noise, L and I, but at least you heard a great performance.)
10. “First Impressions” by J. B. Dazen (One of my VidCon roomies! Steve wasn’t there to hear his theme song, but that almost everyone in the small-but-like-not-all-THAT-tiny crowd knew and sung along to the song warmed my heart so much. I loved VidCon. Clearly.)
11. “The View From the Afternoon” by Arctic Monkeys (October performance at the HardRock Cafe in Orlando! I thought ‘Dancefloor’ would steal it for me until Alex and crew came back for the last time with that unexpected “AND SHE WON’T BE SURPRIIIISED,” which, coincidentally, was one of my favorite surprises of 2011.)

FULL ALBUMS: “Torches” by Foster the People, “Ceremonials” by Florence + the Machine, “Acoustic Songs for You: An EP” by LizzieRadio, “Champ” by Tokyo Police Club, “Buckminster” by Driftless Pony Club, “21” by Adele, “Bon Iver” by Bon Iver, “The Ego Pueblo EP” by The Caradoc Dearborns, “Mylo Xyloto” by Coldplay, “Live at the Leaky Cauldron” by Various Wrockers, “Expert” by Driftless Pony Club, “Top Secret Pockett” by The Great Working, “Aha Shake Heartbreak” by Kings of Leon, “These Four Walls” by We Were Promised Jetpacks, “Sigh No More” by Mumford and Sons, “Yeah So” by Slow Club, “Into the Wind” by Ryan Seiler and “Skyway Flyer” by Skyway Flyer

Remember: This list is of the stream-of-conscious variety, and ordering these by level of enjoyment and sentiment would be difficult and boring. And, of course, not all of the ditties and records in this blog post dropped in 2011.