Siner Says

A blog about journalism, food, shoes and other random thoughts — essentially, a way to casually exercise my writing muscles. If you’re looking for my actual radio work, see my on-air portfolio.

18 cities in 18 months

Sunny, lush city streets — they make me happy anywhere. This one's in D.C.

Sunny, lush city streets — they make me happy anywhere. This one’s in D.C.

I apologize to my throngs of avid followers (hi, Mom and Dad!) for the delay in my blog postings. In my hiatus, I’ve left one coastline with headlines for another coastline with headlines — kind of. I know D.C. isn’t right on the coast, but for the sake of keeping my blog’s name consistent, it is.

This particular 2,500-mile life change was the epitome, the pinnacle, the culmination of my past year and a half. In those 18 months, I’ve had the crazy fortune to spend time in 18 major international cities.* That means I’ve seen 18 different microcosms of humanity — sometimes for a few hours, sometimes for a few months — which is probably good fodder for a book or something if I had some great life lesson to take away from it all. I don’t, really, but here’s the closest thing to what I’ve got.Read More »18 cities in 18 months

So many street tacos, so little time

Street tacos in an unmarked van? Count me in.

Street tacos in an unmarked van? Count me in.

Ah, street tacos, how I love thee.

As I start packing up my room here, I’m feeling nostalgic about Los Angeles. I’ll miss the ocean, with the lush canyons beside them and the mountains further east. I’ll miss the fact that I never have to look at the weather because it’s always between 70 and 80 and always sunny. I’ll miss the sun, too — I think I’ve genuinely been happier here because of it. I’ve never felt so consistently content, and I think the constant Vitamin D has a lot to do with it.

I’ll miss sitting on my bed with both windows open, with sunlight and a breeze floating in: my happy place.

I’ll miss Little Tokyo, the Japanese enclave a few blocks from my work, with its green tea-flavored pastries and sushi shops and a supermarket full of interesting things. I’ll miss the blocks of Jewish grocery stores and restaurants down the street from my house, with Hebrew letters and “glatt kosher” labeled in front. I’ll miss the LA Times — the people I work with are incredibly funny and talented, and they make me feel like they have accepted me as one of them.

But most of all, I’ll miss street tacos.Read More »So many street tacos, so little time

True to fashion

This is a story about these shoes. But first, we're going to get into some deep psychoanalysis.

This is a story about these shoes. But first, we’re going to get into some deep psychoanalysis.

Without realizing it, and maybe without even wanting to, my mother passed along a value of frugality in clothing from a young age. Most of my clothes in grade school and middle school came from hand-me-downs that her friends with older daughters passed along. Perhaps she’s embarrassed that I’m telling the Internet about this, but I’m not ashamed to say that I loved it. Nothing was more exciting than to open a box of clothes, breathe in exotic laundry detergent and unpack a whole new wardrobe.

And in many ways, those hand-me-down boxes have shaped me into who I am today.Read More »True to fashion

The fat-free, taste-free yogurt rant

I’ve been thinking a lot about a huge number of things recently, including but not limited to: what I want to do with my life; career-building vs. relationships; location vs. family; ideals vs. money; pointless wedding traditions; the role of religion in my life; the coverage of Trayvon Martin protests; the prevalence of understated sexism; working mothers. That’s just a smattering of Things That Bounce Around in Emily’s Brain (TTBAEB).

But most of those things are too personal and will have to wait for private conversations. Thus, I will resort to an old stand-by among TTBAEB for my blog this week. And that, my friends, is my yogurt rant.Read More »The fat-free, taste-free yogurt rant

How to talk to a journalist

Look, a printing press! I’m not out of a job yet!

If my blog was a dinner party, well, you’d all be invited, of course. I’d serve up some California wine and avocados. And I would insist that you not ask me questions about the limited lifespan of print media and/or the corruption of “lame-stream” media in general, because, hey, I’m your host, so you shouldn’t stress me out.

But this isn’t a dinner party, at least not one where I can serve you wine and guac, and therefore I encourage questions about the future and purpose of my career — as long as they’re respectful and openminded. After all, if you never ask questions, how are you going to become a more enlightened citizen (which is, coincidentally, the whole point of my career in journalism)?

One thing I’ve noticed since graduating with a degree in journalism  is that a lot of people are cynical about the role of the media and pity my impending irrelevance. One man I met yesterday compared my dying career choice to that of a train engineer. Read More »How to talk to a journalist

Such great heights

The Times building and downtown

The Times building in the foreground, skyscrapers in the background. View from the 27th floor of City Hall.

Newspaper copy editors work in the afternoons and evenings, after the reporters turn in their work. I was apprehensive about the unusual hours, but I’ve found that I kind of love them. I get up early, open my windows to the bright California sun, and begin my day’s adventure with a kind of energy I just don’t have after work. It’s a great schedule for exploring.

I am, at heart, an explorer. Whether I’m in Central Illinois or the country’s second-largest city, I want to find the hidden gems, try new restaurants, figure out the lay of the land. One day before work, I stopped by the L.A. City Hall, because I had heard rumors about a free overlook of the city at the top of the building. Sure enough, they let me through security and to the 27th floor, where I had a 360-degree view of downtown L.A. and its surrounding neighborhoods – and the mountains in the background. (Could California be more beautiful?)Read More »Such great heights

What do copy editors dream of?

It’s been almost two weeks since my last post, and part of the lag is because it was hard to choose one thing to focus on — a good problem to have, I suppose. My life has been uncharacteristically exciting, what with driving across two-thirds of the country, starting a new internship and adjusting to life in a new and really, really big city.

Probably the coolest moment of my journey so far, though, was when my new roommate took my friends and me to see the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, right by the Santa Monica Pier. After driving 3,000+ miles west, this was it: There was nowhere left to go.

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean

“Go west, young (wo)man.”

Read More »What do copy editors dream of?

My life in bags

Today, I went through the arduous process that is the bane of so many late-teen-and-twenty-somethings’ existence: packing. (Second only, perhaps, to unpacking.) We are constantly in a flux, in and out of college semesters and internships. Within the past year, I’ve packed and unpacked my life six times.

I can imagine it’s similar to the process of filling out taxes, once you become a real adult with a stable income and tax write-offs and dependents. It’s so tedious — taxing, if you will — yet you really can’t avoid it. You just can’t. Unless you want to end up in Los Angeles without clothes for the summer, or in big-time debt to the IRS, respectively.

Anyway, I didn’t want to end up in Los Angeles without clothes for the summer, so, after a few hours of covering my head with a pillow, my preferred form of therapy, I faced my obligations and packed up. On Friday, I will begin a 30-hour road trip from Chicago to Los Angeles, with pit stops in Denver and Vegas.

Read More »My life in bags