Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Me Home Again!

In Japan they have a saying "Ame-otoko" or "Ame-onna" meaning a guy or girl, respectively, who always seems to bring the rain.

I must be a Hurricane Guy.
14 months ago, almost to the day, I landed in LaGuardia Airport to move to New York, and the very next day, a hurricane came for the first time in 50 years.
13 months later, I moved into my second apartment, here in Astoria.
I wanted to show you the evolution of my new place, but first let me say:
Two days after Sandy, I am FINE, everyone I know, in fact is fine. The footage is devastating to watch, but I've been working to cover it for the last two days and about 20% of NYC is without power, the trains haven't run since Sunday, and the running water in my house is brownish, but I still have running water, electricity, internet, and life will slowly return to "normal" over the next few days.

Speaking of my house:
I moved in just over a month ago.
 It's still a work in progress, but I think it's doing pretty well now. I even had my first house party!
Anyway, less talk, more photos, and some more at the end about the Hurricane Sandy.
The New Place (freshly remodeled)

The New Place (freshly remodeled)

The New Place (freshly remodeled)

After a couple trips to IKEA, it was time to get started with power drill from Zach and power juice from the Wendy's uncle Kevin!

Bed complete, but more to go (right)

Isse put the fold-out to good use before returning to Hiroshima
New fold out sofa!

Everything starting to come together! 

Living room decorated, but it's missing something...

Oh yeah! Now we're talking! Collapsible beer pong table! 

Getting ready for my first house party with snacks and a new rolly-shelf w/wine rack!

Look at that sofa comfortably seating 5, with room for more! Good investment, for good friends.

Being a ninja and losing at beer pong are both exhausting! 
As promised, here are some hurricane-related photos. Yesterday I drove a reporter and cameraman all over Lower Manhattan where the power is totally gone (except Battery Park, oddly), and it was pretty tense driving down the West Side Highway and through the city with NO TRAFFIC LIGHTS (Robots, for my South African readers...

Crazy, right? 

If you click to enlarge this image, you can see the crane that got blown backwards, up the street from my office.
Setting up for a live shot from the roof

So you see everyone, I'm still doing great! Thanks to all of you who were worried, but rest assured, all is well, and the worst is past!

(Famous last words, right?)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

RNC, DNC, it's all the same to me.

I would love to tell you all about the Republican National Convention and Democratic Convention.
After all, I had the rare opportunity to attend both!

But let's be honest, the pictures are way more satisfying than the story.

These conventions used to be the stuff of hard-core journalism and things-going-on.
Now they are just over-scripted wastes of money with security that would make George Orwell's imagination run bend over and accept his probe.


Having many democrat friends, you all might be thinking "Well Romney is terrible, so the RNC must have the worst!" But Florida was gorgeous, despite the threat of a hurricane whose name I've already forgotten, the weather wasn't bad, the people were very nice, and the a lot of the CBS people were staying at the same hotel and having mini-parties in the lobby whenever we got back from long days work! For my part, I proposed a story on social media being used by both campaigns and worked hard with my team to produce that story, which aired for almost 7 minutes in Japan, so that was rewarding.

The biggest untold story from the RNC was many of the delegates supporting Ron Paul being denied their right to take their seats on the floor and cast their districts' votes, and the one traditionally normal convention act of attempting to introduce a minority report to address the subject was coldly, and blatantly ignored by the chairman. I got to see Ron Paul when he showed up, and talk to delegates who wanted him as their nominee and he had much more, and more diverse, support than the U.S. media bothered to mention.

While I didn't see any sort of real democracy, I did get to see John Voight several times; Sam Donaldson, Geraldo Rivera, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry, and other famous so-and-sos, most of whom were close enough to reach out and touch their old, pallid skin, but of course, I didn't.
I was more pleased to see the Daily Show's news team walking the same halls, and Samantha Bee even shot me a smile when we happened to make eye contact.


Now the DNC in North Carolina wasn't all bad either. Again, there was no sign of democracy. The only time I saw them vote on anything other than reporting their delegations' presidential nominee (which was obviously Obama, unopposed), it was to introduce some polarizing, faintly anti-Islamic mention of God back into their charter; and after re-voting three times and never receiving the required two-thirds verbal "Aye", the chairman passed it anyway.

I also met a Wisconsin super delegate, one late night, getting back to my hotel. He stumbled up looking for a cigarette and when no one produced one, he called us "half-breeds". This rather youngish, portly chap was also stuffed like a sausage into an expensive suit, and in the conversation to follow, I jokingly suggested he should have cast his vote for Romney just for giggles, to which he replied: "I didn't even go. I was out having a steak". When a CBS colleague asked how he managed to become a delegate, he bragged shamelessly that he "successfully oppressed enough people". No joke.
Just remember democrats, that's one of "yours", so if you think it's enough to be "progressive" and vote democrat, you are ignoring larger systematic problems with our democratic republic.

Again, I saw some famous folks, but I guess the coolest hob-hobnobbing I can brag of was chatting for bit with Mo Rocca when we ended up elbow-to-elbow in a crowded elevator! He is exactly as kind and friendly as you would probably imagine, and since then I've noticed he's been working a lot for CBS this morning, at Studio 57, here in the same building I work every day. Maybe I'll get to see him again?
I also got to grab coffee with former Yamaguchi CIR Hozumi, who supplied our crew with the invaluable restaurant info that kept my crew eating authentic Japanese bentos throughout the trip (which even in Charlotte, is no small favor!) If you're reading, ご馳走様でした!

And to end the trip, I had to drive to another city in North Carolina where an Osprey made an emergency landing, but that ended up earning us exclusive footage! Bonus!

Standard apologies for my infrequent bloggies. But I know have so many good stories and photos in the bank that it shouldn't take long to type up another!

Tune in next time for news (and pictures) of my new apartment! ...or my September full of celebrities. Both are in that bank I spoke of...

Ladies and gentlemen, Mini-Michelle Obama