Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Frustrated Obama at United Nations?

I'm going to do something I've never done before on my humble, embarrassingly casual blog, and introduce an unintentional-guest writer.
As you may know, I am covering the United Nations General Assembly currently, and my friend, formerly a fellow television news producer in our D.C. bureau, shared his thoughts after hearing President Obama's speech this morning. The content was insightful, not to mention well-written, I just had to share it with you.

And so, as editor and photographer only, I give you:

Not the best photo thanks to the odd lighting above them, but I took this just before the President's speech. - 9/24/2014

A Frustrated Obama at United Nations?

Graham Nelson  
Freelance Writer/Producer
804-335-5709 | @jetgrahamradio|

Obama started speaking at 10:13 AM and finished at 10:52 AM, making his speech 39 minutes long. I may have been the only one able to watch it all, so I give my impressions. 

It was not a speech full of concrete details and proposals. As expected, Obama addressed three topics: Russia, Ebola, and the terrorist threat in Syria and Iraq. His message on these topics was not so surprising. I would sum them up as: we must stop all of them.  

What did surprise me was a pessimistic tone throughout his speech. He spoke about the "failure of the international system." He used the words "undertow of instability." "Swamp." "Outbreak." At multiple points, he seemed frustrated -- scolding and lecturing other countries, particularly in the Middle East, and attempting to speak directly to youth populations.

To me, this was not "hope and change" Obama. This was "we hope YOU change" Obama.  

Obama was subdued on the Asia/Pacific. He did not mention China by name when "insisting" that all nations resolve territorial disputes peacefully, consistent with international law. I suspect America feels too stretched at the moment to move much in the Asia/Pacific. 

The same is true of Iran, which Obama treated fairly kindly. He called it, merely, the "Iranian nuclear issue." Not crisis. Not pursuit of nuclear weapons. Clearly, he feels he needs their help on ISIS. 

On ISIS, he pledged to degrade and dismantle their network and called them a lot of bad names -- "network of death" was the best one. But he also called on governments in the region, and Islamic religious leaders, to disavow violent interpretations of Islam and using armed proxies to solve conflicts.

On a side note, he went off script on Israel briefly. He noted that "it's something for Israelis to consider" that many Israelis have given up the pursuit of peace. 

In very direct language, Obama accused Russia of eroding world and UN values. 
I would have to ask Elliot whether this is his normal language now. I was very surprised by it!! Things have changed so much in two years between the US and Russia: Obama and Medvedev used to eat hamburgers together in DC! 

Lastly, it was interesting that Obama felt the need to mention events in Ferguson, MO. Perhaps this has undermined US standing more than I thought. 

Editor's note!!
This last comment on Ferguson really is how Graham's email ended, and is particularly timely. Not only did I just (finally) post about my experience and impressions from going to Ferguson, Missouri, last night, there was a return to violent protesting there, which may in fact be the reason the presdient chose to touch on it.

Next, I'd like to share with you my colleague and current D.C. news producer's reaction for further insight and context. Without any further delay, please read on!:

Elliot Waldman
Japanese Television News Producer, Washington D.C.

Good thoughts Graham, thanks! I interpreted Obama’s strongly negative language as reflective of the administration’s desire to project a clear-eyed understanding of danger. One of the most persistent criticisms that has dogged Obama’s foreign policy pretty much since day one has been the perception of inaction. No doubt, part of this is due to the fact that his predecessor was so active in combating real and perceived/inflated threats with big flashy military interventions. Obama can’t help but seem timid in comparison, and his opponents take full advantage of this by incessantly beating their war drums to the delight of the media. Plus, his manner and style are that of a calm and collected professor, which lends credence to the criticism that he doesn’t take seriously Putin’s neo-imperial machinations or the full extent of Islamic extremism.

Now, at a critical time when Obama is seeking a mandate from the international community as well as his domestic constituents for another multi-year military effort in the Middle East, the last thing he wants to do is project an air of sanguinity (sic). Last year, dogged by the NSA scandal, Obama was on defense, trying to play the role of conciliator while trying to make the case that the US still has a strong and constructive role to play in the world. (Remember how much play Rousseff got for her blistering attack on mass surveillance? Compare that with this year.) Now he’s in full offense mode, essentially telling the world that it’s put up or shut up time.

On a different note, I was also surprised by the relatively long section on Ferguson. Perhaps other countries’ accusations of hypocrisy over that incident stung more than we imagined?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Even Japan Went to Ferguson

I want to talk to you about two aspects of the news in Ferguson, Missouri.

The first part deals with the nuts-and-bolts of foreign news coverage of the event and the challenges therein:

People have a very a-la-carte opinion of "the media".
While covering the rally marking one-month-in to the Occupy Wall Street Movement at Foley Square, live no less, an angry protester shot a dirty glance at my team, shouting "Where were you a month ago?" I started covering the Occupy Wall Street movement from Week Two, keep in mind my target audience is Japan, and I feel my network, TBS, was one of - if not the first in Japan to report it as international news. I can't remember now whether I bothered to set the person straight, but in the grand scale of things, I doubt it would have mattered.
Fast forward 3 years.

From the moment it became national news, I kept a close watch on the reaction to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri . My office debated daily whether it was "time to go".
Similar to OWS, after about one week, the first night of a city-imposed curfew in Ferguson turned violent, and I was on a plane the next morning.
Seated behind me on the plane were two colleagues from another Japanese television network, Fuji. This confirmed our own sense of timing, and we found out later, our two networks were the first to deem the situation as needing the on-scene presence of a reporter to accurately report the situation to the Japanese viewing public.

In the days that followed, the other networks hurried out, playing catch-up, and covering oddly minute aspects of he movement, so as not to appear lacking in their coverage. I have learned this is part of the nature of "being second", in television news.

Interestingly, despite all of the Japanese media covering many different events and perspectives, I noticed, all networks avoided explaining the phrase "Hands up, Don't shoot" - a mantra and rallying call throughout the city of Ferguson. Although we and a few others mentioned "Don't Shoot", I believe no one wanted to attempt translating "Hands up". Surely putting your hands up is understood world-wide as a symbol of surrender, but the phrase in this context stumped everyone. Were the protesters using "Hands up!" as a command, or describing Michael Brown's reportedly final act? Do the words serve as a patronizing reminder to police, or some combination of the three? I find it fascinating, and an argument that most people never contemplate, simply because we assume collectively these four, simple words are mutually understood. Are they really?

Regardless, "the media" faces many challenges "the public" never bother to consider. Show up late, and "where was the media while..." becomes the new headline. Show up immediately, and face ridicule for "ambulance chasing" or not respecting the privacy of a people in mourning.
Meanwhile the rest of the nation, or world, screams for more info, and want to hear comments from victims and their friends and family. The ambulance-chasing, victim-interviewing ridicule is two-fold, by the way. Some members of the community my shout it, but the hardest part is hearing it from the voice in your own head. I have interviewed and spoke with parents of Sandy Hook children on the day of the shooting, and Boston Marathon amputees. I hate tracking them down, and asking for their time and comments, and I hate that I have to, but when they do agree to speak on camera, I hope it benefits the world and the story. I am not thinking about ratings or advertising.

Second is my whole take on what I experienced by being there:

My crew assembled that Sunday just in time to make it to the Greater Grace Church, where a rally was being held. The guests in attendance ranged from prominent local religious figures, to Jesse Jackson and Keke Palmer, Broadway's first, black actress to play Cinderella. The speakers included Martin Luther King III, the lawyer of Michael Brown's parents, who also attended, but were understandably silent, and the main speaker, Rev. Al Sharpton.

Sharpton explained that he was contacted by Michael Brown's grandfather and asked to give a voice to their family's injustice. He made no excuses about exploiting the tragedy to promote larger matters of concern, such as civil rights, and political neglect of black neighborhoods. He even went as far as saying "Where are Jeb Bush and Hilary Clinton? If they want to go to the White House, first they've gotta come to our house!" asking why future presidential hopefuls weren't weighing in on the incident. Overall, I felt he was still respectful of the family and their loss, but it was a uncomfortable balancing act of respect-paying and stirring the crowd to rally, and he was clearly practiced and comfortable, which did not sit right with me.

For the rest of the day, we went to the site of the shooting, we had to park at a nearby drugstore that had one glass door boarded up after it was broken in the first riot, and walk down the main street, because the police had closed it to traffic. There was a steady parade of protesters coming and going passed boarded up businesses with "OPEN" spray-painted on particle board.

The closed road meant that people often walked in the street, although cars of those who live in the neighborhood were still allowed in and out.The atmosphere was that of a bloc party, but without any plan or events, people who wanted to show their support by showing up, ended up inventing ways to pass the time while they were there. People were barbecuing in the street and in the parking lot of the gas station that was burned down in the riot. We were offered hot dogs and bottled water by one man. The occasional car rolled by honking their horn, blasting hip hop, sometime people hung out of open car doors and windows, or stood in truck beds or through an open sun roof.people would spontaneously begin chanting "Hands up, Don't shoot", or "No justice, No peace" - I heard one man on CNN later saying the phrase is actually "know justice, know peace", but I did not get the sense that the people saying it that day knew that either. There was a line of state police, mostly white, present, but they stood and watched the circus silently.
The place where Michael was shot had two small memorials and the stream of people who came were mostly calm & quiet. 
Police having a bit of a stand-off with local residents as they searched the area.
After filming our report, we went back to our hotel to edit and file. We planned to return to the area an hour before the curfew started to film if any riots happened. I had just started eating my chicken salad and transcribing soundbites when we heard from AP that the rioting had already begun. It was only around 9:30pm, but we jumped in the van and tried to get back. By the time we got there the perimeter was sealed off by police who were very on edge. they held shotguns and barked orders, and even after getting permission to enter, they would not let us get an inch closer until they confirmed it themselves on their radio.  We went through this three times, so by the time we actually got in, most of the protesters were gone and the police were searching houses for someone who had fired a gun.
The streets did look like a war zone though. The police had cleared a path through a pile of bricks protesters had dumped on the street to try to block their military-style vehicles. Tear gas canisters and litter were strewn about as well. I was prepared to taste my first dose of tear-gas, but instead all I smelled were some drunk people peeing near where we parked.

We stayed in the parking lot of the nearby Target, until 1am - the only place press was allowed after the curfew, and finished sending our footage to Tokyo, before heading back to the hotel. 

The next morning we returned for one more look and shockingly, it was a very different scene. Perhaps it being Monday played the biggest role, but the street was no longer closed, and as a main road, the traffic seemed to clear out most of the protesters and unruly behavior. Garbage trucks inched up and down the streets, which even by 9am were completely free of bricks, trash, or other traces of the preceding night. CNN had moved into the same gas station which was now free of BBQ grills, low-riders, and most of the protesters who crowded it the day before. Jesse Jackson stood at the site of the shooting, talking to a small group of people.

While the issue continues, we had covered it to the extent we felt Japanese people needed to know. Our report was four minutes long, which I'll tell you is relatively long for a news piece, and I was very satisfied with our final piece, but more importantly, I'm glad we went, and even happier that I got to be there on the ground and form my own opinion. I don't have a link to share with you because it timed-out, but if you see this soon, you can watch our follow-up story on Body Cameras I just filmed in New Jersey below:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Moved Again!

Lived in the "old apartment" for 18 months.
Moving is never easy, but this time it was definitely worth it!
Poor Samus, had to go to the vet for her rabies shot, now this?!
About half of my worldly possessions
Lemme take a #SELFIE...
I love the chaotic potential of a new room.

Starting to take shape. Samus was happy to have her rug and "Fortress of Cat-itude".
Wide-shot with the massage chair and wine rack
Here's the view of Manhattan and the Triboro Bridge from my new rooftop! 
I have roommates now, and although I found them on Craigslist, we realized fairly quickly that we shared mutual friends! By meeting up with them and "closing the gap" I also met the other people who fall into the same category. So, in essence, my new apartment actually came with new friends!

In addition to my roommates, Samus got a roomie too!
This is Luna! She doesn't like Samus so much.

Even though the kitties aren't best buddies even two months in, I still have my hopes for them! Luna is sweet to me though, and she doesn't meow so much as squeek. Cute!
New friends helping to break in my beer pong table in our spare room. 
As I just mentioned, I have been here for two months now, and despite lots of business and personal travel during those first two months, my roommates have been amazing! They look after Samus while I'm gone and threw me a welcome party when I came back from my first trip to Toronto! They really made me feel at home and like a member of the family. I even met both sets of their parents... so I guess you can say things are getting pretty serious! Haha.
 (For my family, that's a reference to the comedy, Napoleon Dynamite)

Fresh from Canadia and enjoying the party!

My roommate Pete, messing with my new-friend-Gio

My roommates are so awesome, they even surprised me with a cupcake and sang happy birthday to me at midnight!
So this is the spare room. If you ever get an invite to stay over, that sofa is a fold out and there's a mini-fridge of beer behind the door!!
Here's another selfie from last Sunday. I threw a USA World Cup match viewing party. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

This just in: My beard

Well... I done did it now. I went and made my own report. Start to finish. And by finish I mean, "presenting
my story live on national, network television in Japan". As you can see, it aried 5:25 in the morning, but after that it also aired on our cable, news channel numerous times throughout the day!
I did everything myself, as much as any story can be, but I sitll couldn't have done this without the help and support of my colleagues. The story is about how popular beards are in America/New York, and what effects that has created.

You can see it here, in Japanese of course, so here is my translation. with one note added about how insanely nervous I was under my beard!

Yagi-san: It's time for "Catch the World" from our JNN foreign bureaus. Today is Greg in New York. Greg?

Me: Good morning! I want to tell you about a popular fashion trend here in America. Any idea what that might be? It's this: (rubs beard)

Yagi-san: Do you mean your beard?

Me: That’s right. Recently, you see more people with beards.  I went to Brooklyn where beards are especially popular, and as you can see, it's a wash of guys with beards, more than half! This started with a prostate cancer awareness campaign (Mo-vember), where you don't shave for a month. Popular actors, sports stars and more started growing beards, and having a beard came to be thought of as manly.
Yagi-san, what do you think of guys with beards?

Yagi-san: Well, I wouldn't mind if they took care of it and it suits them.

Me: Indeed! I also asked the women here what they though:

And what do you prefer?
GF: Beard. All the way. It’s pretty hot
(Boyfriend says “YES!”)

GF w/dog
It’s just, he looks much younger. He’s still a cutey, but yeah… I like it like this.

Husband and wife
He looks good with it! I think it goes with the hair and has kind of a Richard Gere look to it, a little bit, so that’s fine.

Me: So it seems beards are popular in women's opinion as well. 
(At this point, I completely blanked on what came next. I really didn't want to look at my script while on camera, and once I did, I realized, I didn't even know where on the paper to look! You might notice I kind of laughed at myself on camera, but I found my place and carried on.)
However, there are some men who can't grow proper beards, right? In fact, there is a surprising surgery that has grown in popularity

This is Jose, 27 years old. Jose can only grow a little facial hair, so he has come to a plastic surgery clinic for a procedure:

                 The more you think about it, the more you notice it, the more you look at yourself in the                        mirror and compare yourself to other people and, yeah, complain about it.

Me: This plastic surgeon is well known for facial hair implants, and demand for his procedures has been growing. 5 years ago, he was doing 4 or 5 a month, but now that number has grown to around 15 times a month!

Yagi-san: I'm not really clear on how the beard is actually implanted?

Me: With the doctor and Jose's permission, I went inside the operating room:

                 "This is the operating room, where a beard implant procedure is starting"

First, laying on his stomach, hair is taken from the back of the head, down to the root. Next, they numb Jose’s face and the doctor chooses where to place the hairs.
The doctor makes tiny incisions, and the recently removed hairs are inserted one-by-one. This time Jose received 765 hair transplants and took around 6 hours total. The doctor said back of the head and face heals up after about 3 days and the roots remain in the face. After about 9 months the hair begins growing like a normal beard. Jose said he couldn’t smile because of the anesthesia, but he was very happy.

Yagi-san: Wow, they say fashion requires patience, but that looked painful, and it takes 9 months? It really shows you how popular beards have become.

Me: Yes. Here in New York where there's a beard-boom, you can also find places open like this: This is a "beard spa". The shave beards, style them, and you can even get skin treatments for your face.

                John Rivera, barber: It’s cool. It’s the trend right now, what’s “in” right now, is to have                 a beard that’s kept really nice.

      Me: How's it feel?
      Miguel: It feels good, actually. Like a million bucks! Haha.

This is the first time beards have become popular again since the 70s, and for now the trend shows no sign of going away. That’s all from me, in New York

Saturday, April 19, 2014

My first (Foreign) N. American Country

Believe it or not, I have never been to Central America or Canada; never, that is, until I went to Toronto this month! This was only my second foreign business trip, the first being another sports story in Argentina, and thanks to some awesome friends who live there, I squeezed a great time into what might have been an all-business... well... business trip!
Due to a huge earthquake in Chile, I ended up flying solo to meet a different team to cover Japanese pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka's, first official game pitching for the New York Yankees against the Toronto Blue Jays.

For dinner we checked out Real Sports, a huge sports bar and restaurant with seductively dressed waitresses, and one TV screen larger than some movie theater screens I've paid for. The big wall of TVs was controlled by an all-powerful DJ with light and sound affects who switches between sports games and music when every channel is showing commercials. Basically, an amazing pace to watch sports.

Naturally, I ordered the first thing that said "Canada" and "IPA"from the drink menu, and I Alexander Keith's is what came out. I was disappointed to find it was more akin to an English IPA, malty with - I'm guessing, a rather low IBU. I am not calling this a bad beer; it just wasn't what I prefer.
But any excitement lost over the beer was completely overshadowed by my first authentic poutine! Poutine is french fries, cheese curds and gravy and Canadians go on and on about how good, and how unsatisfactory poutine outside Canada, is. I can now now say with experience: Canadians, I get it. You are right. I had a "Canadian burger" too, but by then I was so full, I could barely eat half.
After dinner and some prep work for the next day, two friends from my Hiroshima days, one Japanese, one Canadian, met me up and took me out for a drink! Both friends had individually hung out with me in New York City, so being able to see them on their turf, and while on a business trip, made it extra special! The bar we chose was The Friar and Firkin, a nice bar with fun decorations. This time I did find a deliciously hoppy Canadian IPL called "Hops & Bolts". I really enjoyed seeing them, but we had all worked long days, so after a drink and some fine conversation, we said our farewells. When did we become so responsible!?! Haha.
「Friar and Firkin」というパッブで一杯飲みながら

The next morning, I actually got up extra early to meet another friend, Tom, for coffee. I hadn't seen or heard from Tom in several years, so there was a lot of catching up to do. Tom is one of a number of my Canadian friends who have such a good heart, I want to do an anthropological study of Canadian to see what they're doing so right. We chatted as long as time allowed, and then we were both of to work.

That day, I worked about two days worth as the rain alternated between a dusting and visibility-impairing, but while the hours were long, my team were very used to working together, which left me with mostly driving, logistics, and food. I didn't mind that one bit though, and I did chip in with the actual news producing, too. 

The cool thing about the Blue Jays, besides their logo, is their baseball stadium has a fully retractable roof! Something they chose not to do this cold, windy, rainy night. I can't imagine what playing baseball must be like without any trouble from the elements, but I'm guessing the players didn't mind! While Tanaka pitched, we headed back to the Real Sports bar to interview customers watching the game on that monster screen and my three-day, all-access pass went almost completely to waste. Oh well. 

By the time we wrapped up for the day, I found myself making midnight dinner reservations at a Chinatown hole-in-wall restaurant with sky-high ratings on Google Maps (my secret weapon in choosing food locations). The joint looked like a scene from a movie that serves as a front for a back-house illegal gambling ring, but the food was legit!!!
Here's the restaurant, in case you want to go. Kom Jug Yuen. The portions are big, prices cheap, food is great, and the server: weird. He really loves his Heinekin. It's imported, from Netherlands, he repeatedly reminded us as he drank the last can in the shop. He actually declined to sell it to us, so he could drink it! 

My hotel, right by the ballpark and CN Tower, which looked great at night, was also located on the harbor front and next to a great-looking microbrewery I never had time to try. 
Although I have talked a lot more about beer in this post than previously, (spoiler, I have one more beer to tell you about!) because I was driving for the crew this entire trip, I drank very little.

I have one more friend to brag about too! Another Canadian who I've known since studying in Japan in college (9 years ago, ack!) took me out to breakfast my last morning in Canada to a place called Fran's. I guess by now you can guess what I have to say: Great food, great company, and I'm super grateful for the chance to catch up with an old friend after so many years. We figured out the last time we had met was in Japan, six years before, in Kobe!

My colleagues wanted to make one last stop for lunch before flying home, and chose a place in the Distillery District, which during the U.S. prohibition was the largest alcohol manufacturer in North America. Now a mere shadow of that former glory, the remaining buildings have been remodeled into a sort of shopping mall with lots of arts and craft shops, another microbrewery (Seriously Toronto, I'm impressed with all the craft beer! Next time I need to actually drink it!), a small sake brewery(!), and our destination: Pure Spirits Oyster House.  

After eating way too much seafood, I dropped my crew off for their flight, returned the rental car, and waited for my flight back to NYC. That's where I tried that last beer I promised, a delicious IPA from the Great Lakes Brewery. As you can tell by the name, I felt it was the appropriate end to my first trip to Canada.
Here are a couple parting images from Toronto:
Yup, that's Captain America promoting the new movie, and frozen yogurt, in Canada. Amazing...

Another fun fact about Toronto, their biggest cab company is called... BECK! It was oddly comforting seeing my name everywhere I drove.

So Canada was great, eh!? Hope you enjoyed reading. Of course I had to pick up a souvenir, and what better than this? Until next time, friends!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Micro-Blog Boston Strong

I had my own Boston Strong moment, on this, the one-year anniversary of the attack in marathon spectators and subsequent attack on the psyche and safety of the entire town. 

Last night I few to Boston, while sick, barely able to ignore the chills, sneezes and coughing up yellow cement. 
I still managed to handle logistics, research, plan, stakeout, interview in the rain, transcribe, rough edit, and feed to Tokyo the following story for their final cut. If you wanted to know what a television news producer does, this is it, and I don't forget, of course, I couldn't have done it alone.

Now, just over 24 hours later, I am back in New York (where, by the way, it's SNOWING?!?), and glad to be one closer to my bed and much needed rest, but my thoughts are still with Boston. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Cold

This has been the worst winter I've ever experienced. There was the snow, the ice, the wind, but worst of all was just, simply, the cold. 
The following are some pics I've snapped over the last few months.
It's finally getting nicer, but we still have a few days in the low-30s that keep sneaking in.
March has already come in like a lion. Here's hoping it really does go out like a lamb!
The only truly theft-proof bike lock. 盗難の心配はないでしょう!

One Sunday, my buddy jokingly texted me about snowboarding in Astoria Park, but when I responded "Let's do it!" be stepped up and an hour later we were carving out trails and dodging sledding toddlers!
The next week a baseball player for the Japan league was locked up on domestic violence charges, so I was suddenly flown down to Miami to cover it! It was great to be warm, and in a place where I had so many chances to practice my Spanish. The irony was I missed two of my Spanish classes and the news itself was barely a step above the level of "paparazzi", so I left feeling unsatisfied, despite over half-a-minute of footage I filmed myself airing multiple times on Japanese national TV!
The flight to Miami was relatively empty, and we ended up taking over the back-third of the plane along with 3 teams of our competitors (TV Asahi, NTV, NHK). Since we are all basically friends, that made for a fun flight!
Back in New York, what had already been two solid months of freezing temperatures turned nastier still! While the cold was biting, the snow piling higher, and wind chill dropping the feeling to to the sub-double-digits, I have to admit it could be beautiful at times!
Fast forward a couple weeks, a group of regional JET alums from several states, and Canada all met in Killington, Vermont for a weekend of snowboarding! I had such an awesome time, I forgot to take photos, but it felt great to be back on a board somewhere other than my little park!
Somewhere between 25 and 28 of us all stayed at this cool lodge. It had a large, indoor, hot tub, outdoor, heat pool, library, bar, and the slowest damn staff and breakfast service you can imagine, but the food was still good, and we had to keep reminding each other: "We're on vacation, in Vermont."
I want to rename their state slogan to "Vermont - What's the rush?". Somewhere from Vermont, start the petition!
The quirkiest thing about the lodge was they had a long history of adopting rescue dogs and their restaurant place mats were a history of all the dogs which was morbid, since all the dogs on the list were the dead ones. The live ones were two St. Bernards, and a French bulldog, and they wandered around and paid us very little attention.


Before leaving the lodge, while in the outdoor pool with a water-proof camera, I hopped out and posed for a picture. Here is how it appeared on my friend's Facebook wall. The juxtaposition is pretty wonderful. 
The weather in Vermont was of course cold also, but surprisingly mild! Back in New York the following Tuesday morning, I was greeted with another snow storm.
The last (so far) big snow, took weeks to melt away, because of the daily cold temperatures. I got to Central Park to see friends visiting from DC and it was still a winter wonderland, at least at first glance. The broad strokes were gorgeous, and we even walked out onto a lake (granted, never the smartest thing to do, but that puppy was rock solid). You didn't have to look hard however to spot all the yellow, sometimes brown, snow from the hundreds of dogs that are walked all over the famous park. Still, please enjoy the following and forget all the yucky details. That's what a photo-blog is for anyway, right?



This last photo, a squirrel shoving his head deep into the snow, is analogous to many treks outside, checking, waiting, searching for signs that the long winter has come to an end.
The current temperature is: 36 degrees (2 degrees Celsius).