A Vaughn View
A little KC BBQ & some ol’ Ebbets Field!

July 3, 2012

Happy 4th of July, all! Hope everyone enjoys the sunshine and some baseball (of course).

Since I last posted, I’ve taken a trip to Kansas City and back! The company sent me out to meet a correspondent (John Yang), a producer and camera crew for a story on Thursday’s health care decision from the Supreme Court. We had a few live hits for MSNBC that morning and sent over some clips for a segment in Nightly News, but we actually packed up early because, I guess, the story wasn’t as prioritized, which I have my own personal opinions about. While I’m with NBC, I guess I sometimes my have my own opinions about the prioritization of stories. Our piece focused on how Medicaid patients and those whose income barely exceed the federal poverty level will be affected by the decision. Well, ultimately, the one piece the Supreme Court overturned dealt directly with the Medicaid provision requiring states to expand coverage, but we were sent packing in the early afternoon and not much attention was given to this section — though I believe it should. Anyways…the trip was awesome. I took the plane out Wednesday and grabbed some barbeque for dinner before heading out in the early morning to a health clinic where we were shooting the story. It was a tremendous opportunity to see and help them. I’m appreciative of the chance. And after we packed up, the correspondent and I found a Mexican smoothie shop and hung out there for probably three hours before heading out for our night-time flights.

John, the correspondent, was great to talk to. Before going to the Chicago Bureau, he was NBC’s White House correspondent and also worked overseas, largely in the Middle East. His stories were intriguing to listen to. And yes, I had barbeque for lunch as well. KCBBQ!

Last weekend, we said goodbye to a friend I met in the dorms, here. She’s headed back home to Texas after taking a class at NYU this month. I then headed out on Saturday with my good friend and thesis-partner-in-crime, Jessica, to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. It was hot and sticky but definitely worth the ferry trip to both. Ellis Island and immigration just ring an interesting bell for this boy from Arizona…

We met up that evening with Stacy and Jordan for a good ol’ Joy Burger and banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery. The four of us continued our adventure the following morning into Brooklyn. We took the Subway to where old Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, used to be. It’s now a very large living complex. We then went into Brooklyn Heights and walked around there as well before crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge via our feet and into Manhattan, calling it a wraps for the weekend from there.

And now we’re already halfway through with this week! Crazy! Tomorrow, I’m working, but all is good. I’ll be off at a reasonable time and will still get my fun and fireworks in. :-) Take care, all, and have a great day!!

Off to Philly & Kansas City!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Since I last posted, I’ve been constantly reminded about how fortunate I am. Happy Father’s Day to my dad and grandpa. Think of you both throughout every day and how lucky of a son I am.

The “Fun.” concert was tremendous. The sound in the place was terrific, and Jordan and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And as if I wasn’t in a Fun. enough mood leaving the concert, last Thursday at work, I found out (actually via my sister the night before!) that Fun. was performing their song “We Are Young” acoustically on the Today Show. I came into work Thursday morning and asked my supervisors if they thought it would be okay if I slipped out of the office for a few moments to see if they were playing outside on the plaza or if I could see them through the window, perhaps. I usually don’t goober gobber over celebrities, but these guys are a bit different. Go back and remember the band of your teenage/college years. Yeah, that’s what these guys are to me. So anyway, shortly after asking, one of my supervisors told me someone with the Today Show was waiting for me downstairs. I quickly found myself in the Today Show studio by everyone as Fun. prepared for their song. I was able to stand and listen during the broadcast and during their song, and yes, I got the picture with them afterward. I was trying to contain my joy to a somewhat reasonable level when I arrived back in the office. The entire office, however, was happy and also impressed by the performance, which they listened to on the office televisions.

That same night, I jumped on the megabus and headed to Philly with Jordan. We met up with our friends Charlie, whose family lives out there, and Justin from ASU. We then spent Friday on a crash course tour of Philly, stopping by the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Pat’s Cheesesteaks (of course!) and then the Phillies game that night. Well, that is until it rained out. We waited for almost 2.5 hours, and it was eventually postponed. Hey, I can say it was my first-ever rain postponed game! Last summer in Baltimore, I waited out my first ever delay…of 5 minutes. But this year, I went to one that was actually postponed! I like our Chase Field roof. What a wonderful idea. So I still haven’t quite been to a Phillies game, but I came pretty close!

We then returned to NY on Saturday and met up with our friends Eric and Megan, who just graduated and moved together out to Connecticut for work. They came to NY for the weekend. It was great spending time with them. Hammy (Jordan) and I are planning on heading out to Connecticut for a weekend to check out their place.

This last Sunday, I went to Brighton Beach with some friends I made from the dorm here at NYU. The four of us had a relaxing, awesome time. It’s the “Russian beach.” We enjoyed some good Russian food (for myself…that means sausage), and we spent the entire afternoon by the water.

And as for Kansas City, which I allude to in my title, I’m headed there tomorrow afternoon!! My work told me I’m taking a plane out tomorrow for a story on Thursday. I’ll link to the story when it’s wrapped up. I started initial research this afternoon and am extremely excited for the adventure. I’ll be back Thursday night! More to come!!! Take care, everyone :-)!

Shameful umbrella, Puerto Rico & Ben’s Chili Bowl!

June 15, 2012 – or simply put: My Sista’s Big 19 Birthday

Hello all!

For the moment, I’ll brag about the weather out here. It’s been perfect. Extraordinary. Yes, I know this won’t last and will be rejoicing for the desert return come August, but for now, I’ll flourish in this 70 to 80 degree weather. (Side note: It’s rained nearly everyday for spurts at a time, and consequently, I had to purchase an umbrella. I realized I would drown by the end of the summer without one. Sad news: After less than a week in use, it broke. Umbrella-less Phoenician is back on the streets! Maybe it was just meant to be.)

To consolidate this post, I’ll break up my thoughts into the following:

1.) NY Travels 2.) D.C. 3.) Work 4.) Politics 5.) Sports

Here goes!

1.) NY: To go back quickly, when you come to NY, you must take the Staten Island Ferry. It’s free and gorgeous. I’ll attach a few more ferry photos to give a better sense of just how gorgeous the water trek is. Also, they did a befitting job with the World Trade Center Memorial. The pools of water are serene, and the new One World Trade Center right in the backdrop is stunning.

My awesome, friend-since-Shadow-Rock-Preschool-days friend Stephanie came into town last Friday until Tuesday morning. She’s working at a girls’ summer camp in Pennsylvania until August, so she was pretty awesome and arrived a few days early to hang out! We did New York the right way on Friday, D.C. on Saturday, Central Park and Bryant Park on Sunday and celebrated my friend Stacy’s 21st birthday at dinner nearby on Monday (happy bday, Stacy!) (I had to work during the day on Monday so Steph traveled the town). I couldn’t be more grateful for Stephanie’s friendship over all the years. We had a great time. I also met up with another ASU friend and thesis-partner-in-crime Jessica on Wednesday for the first time. We met up after work and made an evening out of it! And last night, another one of my friend-since-Shadow-Rock-Preschool-days friend Bryce’s parents were in New York visiting, so I met up for an outstanding dinner with them at this jazz Asian barbeque eatery. Thank you, Marcia and Brian, for a tremendous evening! Always enjoy meeting up with you guys.

2.) D.C.: Stephanie and I took a 1:15 a.m. Megabus, which is like a Greyhound, from NY to D.C. Friday night/Saturday morning. We arrived into Union Station in D.C. around 6:30 a.m., grabbed breakfast at Lincoln’s Waffles, stopped at the Supreme Court, Capitol, Washington Monument, White House, Vietnam, Korean, Einstein, Lincoln, MLK, FDR and Jefferson Memorials, walked over to Georgetown, went kayaking on the Potomac, grabbed some frozen yogurt, took the bus to Ben’s Chili Bowl, and then Metroed back over to Union Station to catch our Megabus back to NY at 7:30 p.m. that night. It was Steph’s first time in D.C., and I think we made it count! We met up with my friend Kyle, who graduated from ASU and is now at Georgetown, and spent the day with him. We had a pretty dandy time!

3.) Work is going well. We’re in the swing of things, and each day is different. I’m helping research stories, pitch story ideas, go out for a few camera shoots (like interviews, live shots, press conferences, etc.). They’re great people to work with.

4.) And not to bring politics too much into this, but hey, when one runs across something, I think it’s for the good of traveling thoughts and ideas. Last Sunday, the Puerto Rican Pride Parade closed down Lexington Ave. up and down the eastern end of Central Park. We were trying to slide our way into the park for an afternoon of Frisbee, but the parade held us up for nearly 45 minutes. Thousands – to the point where we couldn’t see the parade’s start or ending point down the straight road – lined the roads and created a patriotic circus of noise, commotion and celebration. We couldn’t help but smile. It brought me back to the enlightening, energetic days I spent in the Dominican Republic two years ago. The pride exuding from this parade was contagious. And it was happening in the middle of Manhattan. Puerto Rican flags, music, shirts, a dog with Puerto Rico bandana… the scene was overwhelming.  At this point, I had to turn to Stephanie and ask whether she could imagine a, for example, Mexico Pride Parade in Phoenix. We couldn’t. Or right now in 2012, at least (Cinco de Mayo doesn’t count). That would be the day Arizona politicans – and I believe the people are influenced by the rhetoric of those up top – would openly accept a day in which one’s heritage and culture could be celebrated over that of our “American” values (i.e. ethnic studies). But it was just so easy, just so wonderful, just so joyous in New York. Someday very soon things will be different in Arizona. Someday soon in Arizona we won’t look at the Mexico flag as a threat. Someday soon in Arizona it will be widely held that varying cultures make a dynamically strong community. Cause that’s what I’ve seen in New York. It works. And I think today’s WH immigration announcement could speed up that process across the U.S. and, for us back home, even potentially shut down Central Ave.’s parade route for an afternoon sometime soon. The times are changing. Social progress doesn’t slow down.

5.) If you are not tuning into this NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat, you should. We haven’t seen a Finals series this great in a long time. Even those of you who say you aren’t sports fans, WATCH! James Harden, the beard man for OKC, is a former Sun Devil, and the play of these two teams is intense. And at this spot, I’ll also give a shout out to my NY basketball ally, Nick Po! We’ve been through every playoff game but one or two since shortly after our move into the dorms. And I’ll never be more appreciative for West Coast time where games start at the reasonable hour of 6 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. like they do out here. West Coast pride!!

So from here, I’ll bid adieu for the evening. Tomorrow, Jordan and I are headed to the music venue “Terminal 5” for the Fun. (that’s the name of the band) concert. I’ll link a video with one of their songs below this post. Check ‘em out! They’re pretty fun…eh eh? Take care all and have a tremendous mid-June weekend!! And happy birthday again to the best sis!!

Fun.’s “Some Nights”…going to their concert on Saturday night with Jordan! (Anne actually went just less than two weeks ago in Flagstaff!) …click on the play button to the left to play…

For all that have an appreciation for the Jackson 5, here’s a pretty sweet edited version for you. Little change of pace.

And it’s onto New York!

To preface this summer’s log of thoughts and events, I would like to put this out there: I find myself recently saying this often, but I full-heartedly mean it. I think I am the luckiest 21 year old in the world. I’m lucky because of the family, friends, school, home, opportunities, life events and love that has surrounded me over these 21 years. I want to make the most of my situation and be grateful for it. I want to enjoy it. I want to live it. And most of all, I want to make it count.

Thanks to my family and friends who are always supportive of me and have an interest in the travels of my life. Nothing makes me happier than seeing and talking to you all — from school, to home, to church. You all have sculpted me and taught me goodness.

Enough of the gooeyness, now, though. To the start:

I’ll be in the great land of New York City until the beginning of August. I’m here for an internship with NBC News at Rockefeller Center. I’m working with the New York News Bureau, which oversees all of the news content from the midwest up to the northeast for the Today Show, MSNBC and Nightly News. The bureau has its own news directors, producers, correspondents and, well, interns. :-) We’re on the 7th floor of the building. I started a week ago this last Thursday, so I just completed my first full week at work. The people there are tremendous and the opportunities are abundant. In another post, I’ll give a little more of a rundown of what they have me doing.

I arrived on May 22 along with my tremendous family, and we were able to spend that first week together traveling Manhattan — and notably hitting both a Yankees and Mets game — and sharing a great time. Thank you guys for a wonderful time. Glad you guys came out with me. :-) It was a nice transition to the big city. I then moved into NYU’s Goddard Hall a week ago Sunday, where I quickly met my music-producing roommate and a slew of other college students from around the country. Some of us have been going out to places together, so it’s a great group that we’ve been able to build so far amongst each other. We’re staying right next to Washington Square. From what I’ve seen so far, this is the best neighborhood to live in Manhattan. It’s peaceful and cordial. A pretty large park with a huge fountain sits right across the street from my dorm.

And my friend Jordan Hamm and Stacy Gollinger from ASU are here in Manhattan, which I’m very grateful for. We spent this weekend traveling all over — Times Square, Shake Shack, World Trade Center Memorial, Wall St., Battery Park, rode the Staten Island Ferry to Staten Island (which is an absolute must…go at sunset…a fine piece of advice from Grandpa Far Away), Little Italy, Chinatown (several of these were repeats from time spent with the family, but nonetheless, I could go over and over). Oh, my family and I also went to the Broadway production “Newsies.” It was a good time and nicely done.

That’s the rundown on where I’m at! My friend Stephanie is coming into town next weekend, and we’ve got a day lined up to head to D.C. via the megabus, leaving at 1:15 a.m. from NY and making a great day out of it!

Take care and hope you’re all enjoying the summer thus far! Thinking of you all!