Five days of scanning January 30, 2015Posted by Mike C. in Bowling, Education, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology.
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As snow fell outside Monday afternoon, I was going through a drawer in my room where I keep some personal mementos. Then, I was struck with inspiration. I had been using my Epson WF-3520 All-in-One Printer in the guest room to copy a few documents this month, via the printer’s sheet feeder. Why not use that sheet feeder to scan any personal mementos that were on letter-size paper? That’s what I did all this week.
I started with bowling scorecards between 1998 and 2006, plus a handful more between September 2007 and September 2014. Then, I moved on to my final college transcript, a paper I wrote for Introduction to Journalism, an e-mail reply from Tom Snyder, two e-mail replies from voice over talent Dan Chandler, a flyer promoting my Mike Chimeri Show interview with Colin Mochrie, and radio show and Live365 radio station playlists. I scanned anything that wasn’t letter-size on the traditional scanner platen. This included dot matrix score sheets from AMF Wantagh Lanes and two desk calendar pages that were dated September 11, 2001. Playlists that were handwritten on letter-size legal paper had to be scanned on my Canon CanoScan LiDE210 in my room. Since what I wrote on the other side could be seen, I had to scan in black and white – not grayscale – giving the scans an old photocopy or fax look.
The radio show playlists spanned my career to date: The Mike Chimeri Show, The Instrumental Invasion, MCJN (Live365 station), a few demos, the night I filled in for Martin Phillips on the defunct Thursday Night Jazz show, Evening Jazz, CJazzPlus (Live365 station), and all my homecoming weekend shows.
In addition to the copy of my Intro to Journalism paper, I also saved papers by two of my classmates. The paper had us write a profile of a few of our classmates, based on press conference-style interviews our professor, Bernard Bard, previously a reporter for the New York Post, had arranged one week in mid-semester. I remember little about my presser, but there was one quote each of the classmates that wrote about me used:
Broadcasting is my thing, my calling. I belong in that field.
This was in March 2001. Seven months later, I began at WCWP. While I may have had volunteer success, I’m still waiting and hoping for professional success. If “my thing, my calling” doesn’t pan out, at least I have photo and document scanning to make a career of.
Dharma All Stars recap 8 January 19, 2015Posted by Mike C. in Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, Weather.
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For me, last week began with Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. The week ended closer to home – at Suite 1828 in Merrick – for another favorite of mine: John Favicchia‘s Dharma All Stars.
2011 marked the first time I saw Lisa Hilton, but it was the last time until last Friday that I had seen Dharma All Stars. I first saw them live a decade ago in Rockville Centre. I interviewed guitarist Chieli Minucci for my WCWP radio show – all interviews can be found here – and after we finished recording, he invited me to Dharma’s show, which was two weeks later, where he would be on guitar. I’m so glad I did. The People I’ve Met page includes pictures from some of the Dharma gigs I attended between July 2005 and March 2007. (Yes, I was much heavier back then.)
Steve Briody (“BRY-dee”) on guitar:
Brad Mason on trumpet…:
Coincidentally, Brad was at the first Dharma gig I attended.
Misha Tsiganov on keyboard:
My interviews with John and Steve can also be found at the interviews page I linked to earlier.
The set list featured all my favorites:
3. Sing a Song of Song (Kenny Garrett cover)
4. Black (Cedar Walton cover)
5. April Fools
When “Kukuc” ended, the crowd at the Suite stood up and cheered. Another spectacular show was in the books.
Dharma will be back at Suite 1828 on Friday, March 13.
Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall again January 13, 2015Posted by Mike C. in Football, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, Weather.
I was back at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on Sunday to see jazz pianist Lisa Hilton in concert. As you can tell by the previous recaps above, this was the third time I saw her live.
Four weeks ago yesterday, a postcard from Lisa arrived in the mail. Four upcoming shows were on that postcard and the Carnegie show was at the top. I immediately went to the Carnegie Hall website to purchase a ticket. I ended up buying one in front row center. As it turns out, there was only one other person in the front row at the show.
I got a ride to the Wantagh LIRR station at around noon. After getting a round trip off peak ticket to Penn Station, I waited on the platform for the 12:19 westbound train. I sat in the westernmost railcar and had a quiet ride. Once at Penn Station, I took the E train to 7th Avenue and West 53rd Street, walking to Carnegie from there.
Last year’s show was on a Thursday at 8PM. This year’s show was at 2PM on Sunday. The trip to Penn and the show itself allowed me to sequester myself from knowing what was going on in the Packers-Cowboys NFC Divisional Playoff Game. I’m not a fan of the Cowboys and was aggravated that they came back to win their Wild Card game against the Lions. Luckily, I learned back at Penn around 4:00 that the Packers won.
Weill Recital Hall is small and intimate, so much so that a sound system wasn’t even in place. The hall’s acoustics were the sound system.
I would have taken more, but my camera’s shutter was really loud in the hall.
1/17 UPDATE: Kudos to professional photographer Enid Farber on her wonderful shots during the show.
Thank you very much.
At 2:00 on the dot, the show began. Lisa Hilton played piano, Ben Street was on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums. They were joined two songs in by J.D. Allen on tenor saxophone and Ingrid Jensen on trumpet. I had seen Lisa, Ben, and J.D. before, but not Rudy and Ingrid. They were a superb quintet.
Lisa has a new album coming out on March 7 called Horizons. This was the first time tunes from the album were played live. Here’s what the set looked like (quintet except where noted):
1. Vapors and Shadows (Lisa, Ben, Rudy)
2. Sunset and the Mocking Bird (Lisa, Ben, Rudy)
4. The Sky and the Ocean
5. Lazy Moon
6. Moon River
7. When It Rains (Lisa, Ben, Rudy)
8. Currents (Lisa, Ben, Rudy)
9. Seduction^ (Lisa only)
11. Surfer Blues
12. So This is Love^
13. Slow Down^
14. Waterfall^ (encore) (Lisa only)
^”Seduction” is originally from Seduction (1997), and redone on Cocktails at Eight (2000), My Favorite Things (2005) and The New York Sessions (2007). “So This is Love” is originally from My Favorite Things and played again on Sunny Day Theory (2008) and Nuance (2010). “When It Rains” originated on American Impressions (2012). “Slow Down” is from Getaway (2013). “Waterfall” is also from Seduction and Cocktails at Eight.
Lisa previously covered “Moon River” on Cocktails at Eight, Midnight in Manhattan (2006), and Twilight & Blues (2009).
The set lasted about an hour and a half. Each song was an instrumental landscape and each musician had a brush. Of the material from Horizons, my favorites were:
“Vapors and Shadows” – I was enamored by the fast tempo and staccato notes. They were like Morse code.
“Nocturnal” – This had a danceable melody and rhythm.
“Dolphins” – This was a relaxing composition, evoking images of dolphins frolicking offshore.
Of the material not on the album, I’ve always liked “Seduction” and “So This is Love,” so it was great to hear them. I had a “so, this is love” epiphany myself a few years ago.
I also bought a CD copy of Horizons in the lobby. I told Lisa I was hoping to hear her cover of “Gold on the Ceiling” during the show. Of course, I didn’t know it was a cover because I know very little about modern pop music. When I heard the 30-second preview of the song on Amazon prior to Sunday, I liked its energy, as I did with “Vapors and Shadows.” It reminded me of Horace Silver. And the title had me thinking of old prospectors chopping gold off a ceiling with their pickaxes. While sharing that visualization with Lisa, she told me the song was originally by the Black Keys. A check of the liner notes when I got home later confirmed that. So, this goes on record as another instrumental cover of a pop song that I prefer over the original. In this case, I don’t plan on listening to the original “Gold on the Ceiling” anytime soon. As for my visualization, Lisa interpreted the song title as gold representing a sunset and the ceiling representing the sky. I told her I liked that – a sunset in the sky.
Going back to Penn Station, I had planned on taking the Q train back to Herald Square and walking to Penn from there. Instead, I walked down 7th Avenue, through Times Square, and took the 1 train from 42nd Street Station to Penn. While in Times Square, I took this picture:
Like last year, the ball is frozen in time after dropping on New Year’s Eve.
Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall is becoming an annual tradition for me. I’m already looking forward to next time. Thank you, Lisa, Ben, Rudy, J.D., and Ingrid.
2014 in review December 31, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Audio, Commentary, Film, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio.
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The following is an excerpt of an end-of-year post WordPress created for MikeChimeri.com. Scroll down for my editorial.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,500 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Despite seven more posts than last year, 2014 was more for reflecting than recapping. Only six posts recapped jazz concerts, two recapped WCWP events, and one was a recap of my day at New York Comic Con. A lot of work went into those posts, however. You can find them in the archives (screen left) for January, February, April, June, and October.
As for reflection, I reflected one year with an iPhone, one year of running with the help of the Nike Running app, ten years since my college commencement, and twenty since the infamous O.J. Simpson car chase. You can find those posts in the archives for May and June.
I always hope the best when a new year approaches and this time is no different. I hope you, the reader, I, the writer, and everyone we know have a happy, healthy, and gainful 2015.
Audiobooking December 2, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Baseball, Basketball, Broadway, Comedy, Commentary, Film, Health, Media, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Sports, Theatre, TV.
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While I may have indefinitely suspended photo album picture scanning, one constant since June has been audiobooks. What I’ve usually done is listen to a whole chapter while working out in the morning or on my portable elliptical machine in the afternoon. I only buy nonfiction and prefer that they are read by the author. I want to hear their words in their voice, not someone else’s, even if the author’s delivery is subpar.
This isn’t the first time I’ve listened to audiobooks. That goes back to a road trip with my parents and sister in January 1997, as we drove back from Florida. To show you how long ago that was, the audiobook was on cassettes. That book, The Hobbit, was the only time I’ve listened to fiction. It’s been all nonfiction since.
Between December 1997 – when I listened to The Big Show: A Tribute to ESPN’s SportsCenter – and June 2014, I would get an audiobook here and there, but I wasn’t a regular buyer. I didn’t exercise in the morning, either. That began in late March. It’s always best to get tough tasks out of the way early because your willpower drops as the day progresses. It helps to have something interesting to listen to while you’re working out, not something aggravating like politics and sports debate and discussion.
With all that in mind, I’ve listened to the following audiobooks, on CD or through Audible, since June:
- President Me: The America That’s In My Head by Adam Carolla (via CD) – an outline of all the things Adam would do to improve the United States if he were president
- Not Quite the Classics by Colin Mochrie (via Audible) – improvised stories based on the first and last lines of select novels and poems
- I’ll Be Back Right After This: My Memoir by Pat O’Brien (via Audible) – Pat’s memoir chronicled his early life, television career, and struggle with addiction. Knock on wood, Pat has been sober for six years and counting.
- Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (via CD) – This is the latest in Bill and Martin’s “Killing” series that factually recounts the events of historical figures leading up to their tragic deaths. Their previous books focused on Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Jesus of Nazareth, respectively.
- Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? by Billy Crystal (via Audible) – Billy’s memoir ran the gamut of emotions, from funny to heartbreaking, recalling major events in each decade of his life as of publication last year. I learned things I never knew and recalled fond memories of what I already knew. The only downside to the book is that Billy peppered his liberal ideology throughout it, outlining his liberal points of view and maligning right-leaning personalities and media. I’m not a lockstep conservative, but I do tend to take criticism of or jokes about people, places, and things that I like personally. But I didn’t let that completely ruin the listening experience.
- Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large by William Shatner with Chris Regan (via CD) – When I was searching for the next audiobook to listen to, as Still Foolin’ ‘Em was winding down, I recalled William Shatner had a memoir out called Up Till Now: The Autobiography. But then I noticed that Shatner Rules had come out later than Up Till Now. So, I opted for Shatner Rules instead. The big message I took from the book was to say “yes” to as many things as possible. “‘No’ closes doors,” William said. “‘Yes’ kicks them wide open.” Shatner briefly drifted into politics, too, but the environmental kind. His doomsday scenarios were frightening. I didn’t let that completely ruin the listening experience. (ding) Rule: I highly recommend Shatner Rules as either the written book or spoken audiobook.
- Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks by Dick Cavett (via Audible) – It was here that I did let politics completely ruin the listening experience. This is not a memoir. It is a compilation of Dick’s columns at The New York Times’ Opiniator blog. That structure is similar to that for Things That Matter, a compilation of Charles Krauthammer’s columns over his 30-year career to date. Charles is Dick’s polar opposite. But I didn’t know any of that until my second day of listening. And it was this rant of a column that Dick read for Brief Encounters - combined with frustration that the book was not what I expected – that led me to request a refund from Audible. Thankfully, they granted it. I did learn a few things, though, about Dick’s days writing for The Tonight Show. I also learned that Arthur Godfrey preferred to address only one member of the listening or viewing audience (“you”), not the entire audience (“everybody”).
- Scribe: My Life in Sports by Bob Ryan (via Audible) – I bought this in place of Brief Encounters. I’ve been listening for nearly a week and I’m enjoying it.
There will be more audiobooks to come in the weeks ahead as I continue to try to keep myself in shape.
2014 LIU Post & WCWP Homecoming, 2015 Hall of Fame Announcement October 21, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology, Video, Weather.
Later in this recap, I share airchecks from my Homecoming Weekend show and behind-the-scenes pictures from the prerecord.
I was at LIU Post on Saturday for their annual Homecoming Day. Most of my time was spent at WCWP’s barbecue and the announcement of 2015 inductees to their Hall of Fame.
I arrived at WCWP at about 2:30 PM. After setting my equipment down in Studio 3, I walked to Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium to watch part of the 3rd quarter of the LIU Post Pioneers’ Homecoming game against the Saint Anselm Hawks.
WCWP alumni Jeff Kroll and Neil Marks called the game from the lower booth. Included to their right (screen left) were, from left to right, Joel Feltman, Zach Parker (facing away), and Phil Lebowitz.
Last year was going to be the press box’s last year, but it turned out not to be.
The Pioneers went on to beat the Hawks by the score of 49-21.
It is home to ARP, or the Academic Resource Program, located on the lower level. It was the Academic Resource Center (ARC) while I was a student, from Fall 1999 to Fall 2003, and was one level higher.
My 35mm photo rescanning project recently included pictures from ARC events. And as I work my way through pics between the rest of 2000 and 2003, there will be many more. Without ARC/ARP, I would have had a tougher road to graduation.
Humanities was home to many of my Media Arts classes. I also took English Composition, Philosophy, Political Science, Spanish, and Math for Elementary Education there.
I took Study Strategies on the Life Science side, and Human Geography and Earth Science on the Pell side.
Eventually, I made my way back to WCWP.
The same thing happened to me in 2008.
Moments before the 2015 WCWP Hall of Fame announcement, I video recorded the following aircheck from Bernie’s show, synced to my recording of the Internet stream:
As Ted David noted above, at 5PM, he announced the 2015 inductees to the WCWP Hall of Fame. Ted is himself an inductee, part of the 2014 HOF class.
The 2015 inductees are Jeff Kroll, Bruce Leonard, Bobby Guthenberg, and Mike Riccio. Yesterday was not only the 53rd anniversary of WCWP, but Bobby’s “53rd” birthday, as well. What better birthday present than induction into the WCWP Hall of Fame?
Here is the announcement:
After that, it was time to pose for pictures.
Here is how that looked and sounded:
After the above picture, I was Bernie’s next guest:
1) I probably shouldn’t have bitten the smooth jazz hand that could potentially feed me in the future.
2) I was nervously playing with one of the WCWP bracelets that Bernie’s sister Melissa made.
Here’s how that sounded:
Hearing Bernie play “Fire” by Arthur Brown in previous years made that song one of my favorites. When she played it this year, as heard above, after “I am the god of hellfire, and I bring you…!,” I jumped up and down excitedly for the first few bars before composing myself.
It began Friday at noon and ended Sunday night (yesterday morning) at midnight.
The WCWP 53rd anniversary/birthday cake was acknowledged on the air:
…looked and sounded like this:
It was his first Homecoming show in a decade.
Here are select airchecks from John’s show:
I had to take it from Studio 2 because it was too crowded in Studio 1 and at the door to Studio 1.
I had such a blast at Homecoming. It was great to catch up with alumni I’ve met before and with those I met in person for the first time.
Hours later, at 2AM, it was time for my Homecoming show, CJazzPlus with Mike Chimeri. As I noted two weeks ago, I prerecorded the show. Here are pictures from that session in Studio 2:
Direct from the Studio 2 console are my airchecks from that show:
Some of the notes I wrote on the playlist didn’t make it to the final cut.
I loved Ted David’s liners so much that I made a compilation of how those liners sounded between songs:
The first transition was from the console while the rest were from the Internet stream.
My experience at Day 1 of 2014 New York Comic Con October 10, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Art, Books, Comedy, Internet, Interviews, Media, Personal, Photography, Radio, Technology, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Previous New York Comic Con recap: 2012 Day 2
Yesterday marked my second trip to New York Comic Con, held annually at the Javits Center in the Midtown West portion of Manhattan. This time, I went with my girlfriend Kelly. We met each other at Penn Station, going our own ways to get there. I came from Wantagh, she came from Wallingford, Connecticut.
My way to her began at around 12:15 when I walked two blocks to a bus stop for the southbound NICE (Nassau Inter-County Express) n73. The bus arrived at 12:28, two minutes ahead of schedule. That ensured I would arrive at the Wantagh LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) station in time to board a 12:32 train, an earlier train than I had planned for. If I hadn’t bought my round trip ticket the day before, I’d have to wait for the 12:57. 50 minutes later, I was at Penn Station. I met up with Kelly and we began the half-hour walk to the Javits Center.
We entered at West 38th Street, tapping our badges before going inside. Conventioneers were greeted by giant inflated Teen Titans – and, by extension, Teen Titans Go! – characters.
Time to head inside…
My first plan was to meet voice actor Billy West, whom I interviewed back in 2005 at WCWP. Since autographing was involved, and not knowing offhand where Booth 1280 was, despite going to NYCC two years ago, I headed downstairs.
A fellow conventioneer informed me that Booth 1280 was on the show floor. So, Kelly and I headed there.
We searched the aisle numbers and headed for the 1200s. It was there that we found Billy West.
He signed the cover this way:
…Zoidberg could eat…
It was the highlight of my afternoon. But there was more to do. Kelly and I walked the floor back to a downward escalator.
It was for the latest (and upcoming) Transformers TV series, Transformers: Robots in Disguise. The panel began at 4:00, but we got in line at 3:00.
The line was small when we arrived and we ended up near the front. It pays to show up early. After 50 minutes in line, the door was opened. We ended up sitting front row center. It was fantastic.
Transformers: Robots in Disguise premieres in early 2015 on Cartoon Network. I can’t wait. I’m so glad I chose this panel.
We didn’t go right home, though. We walked down 11th Avenue to West 35th Street, taking that to 8th. We stopped in Trattoria Bianca for an early dinner. An hour later, we boarded an express LIRR train back to Wantagh, which also took an hour.
And unbeknownst to me, because I didn’t look at the NYCC schedule beyond Thursday, there was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles panel yesterday. Bam! Smack! Pow! has a recap of that, while IGN’s Scott Collura interviewed Rob Paulsen (Donatello), Greg Cipes (Michelangelo), and executive producers Ciro Nieli and Brandon Auman.
If tickets for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday hadn’t sold out so fast, I would have gone either of those days. But I’m glad I went when I did. As I noted in the original recap, I got to meet Billy West in person and to whet my appetite for Transformers: Robots in Disguise, sitting front row center for their panel in the process.
WCWP Homecoming Weekend show to air October 19 October 6, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Phone, Radio.
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I was on the campus of LIU Post on Friday to record my annual Homecoming Weekend radio show for WCWP, the campus radio station which I was originally part of from October 2001 to May 2004. CJazzPlus with Mike Chimeri will air very early on Sunday, October 19, at 2AM Eastern (Saturday, October 18, at 11PM Pacific) on 88.1 FM and WCWP.org. If you are outside of the signal range, choose the latter (WCWP.org) or browse for WCWP on the TuneIn mobile app.
In the two hours of CJazzPlus, I’ll be playing The Jeff Lorber Fusion, Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright, Brian Culbertson, and many more, including one of my favorites by the recently departed Joe Sample. The show took just over two hours to record and an extra hour to edit, plus additional time editing at home on Saturday.
The name CJazzPlus comes from a short-lived Live365 station of mine from late 2010. It’s short for “contemporary jazz plus.” The “plus” refers to various sub-genres of jazz and instrumentals from other genres. I try to go beyond what you’d hear on a typical smooth jazz station, such as SiriusXM’s Watercolors.
Hours before the show airs, on Saturday, October 18, I’ll be at for Post for their Homecoming festivities, as well as for WCWP’s. The latter of those includes the announcement of 2015 inductees to the WCWP Hall of Fame. I look forward to that announcement as much as I look forward to the annual announcements of National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees and Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinees. My guess is as good as yours. You’ll have to listen that afternoon to find out who got in this time.
20 years since my first home video recording July 25, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Media, Personal, TV, Video, Weather, Wrestling.
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On July 25, 1994, my father came home with a brand new JVC VHS-C camcorder; or “Palmcorder.” It was intended for him, but I ended up using it more often. After nine years of appearing in front of Dad’s previous camcorder – a VHS one – as an awkward child with a still-unnamed disorder – Asperger syndrome – I finally had control behind the camera. Most early video was regimented and experimental, recording the same areas and rapidly zooming in and out constantly.
Here are the first 48 seconds I recorded 20 years ago today at twilight, shortly after a thunderstorm came through Wantagh:
This was followed by close-ups of license plates on my mom’s, dad’s, and aunt’s cars. Then, my sister Lauren had her turn with the Palmcorder, recording our cousin Rebecca watching WWF (as it was known back then) Monday Night Raw on TV with her in her bedroom. But she didn’t stop there, heading to the den during a commercial break to record our parents and great-grandparents, with a rerun of Murphy Brown blasting on the TV. Becca was also in the den, making a funny expression with her hands on her hips.
A side note: Thanks to a shot of the TV included in Lauren’s recording, I noticed Tom Poston was in the Murphy Brown episode. A trip to IMDB confirmed that the rerun episode was “Crime Story,” which originally aired five months earlier.
On the two humid mornings that followed, until the 31-minute VHS-C cassette reached its end, I walked around the house, panning around nearly every room and every corner of the front yard, back yard, and driveway. I even experimented with flipping the Palmcorder upside down and flipping it back to the correct way. I did that a few more times between then and September.
In the years that followed, my video recording skills gradually improved. Including the first camcorder, I went through three different JVC VHS-C camcorders, each one more technologically advanced than their predecessor. I captured over 70 hours of material and dubbed them onto a combined 30 VHS tapes. I still have some of the master VHS-Cs. I converted the videos to AVI computer files back in 2010.
In October 2000, I went digital with a JVC MiniDV camcorder. And in June 2003, I was given a Canon GL2 MiniDV camcorder to use for my college senior project. I recorded here and there with the two camcorders, logging another 13 hours of video – not counting the senior project – until my last recording on July 25, 2007. Since then, I’ve only recorded special events. I converted the MiniDV tapes to the computer, as well.
When the GL2 broke down in 2011, I switched to a JVC Everio AVCHD camcorder with internal memory and an SD memory card. And that brings us to the present.
I hope someday soon to get a professional HD camcorder with an internal hard drive. Until then, I’ll stick with the Everio.
4:35 PM UPDATE: Five hours ahead of the time I recorded 20 years ago, I went outside with the Everio and retraced some of my steps from the original recording.
Unfortunately, the skies were devoid of airplanes, which meant I couldn’t retrace that step. Meanwhile, there’s a plane flying overhead as I type this last sentence.
“Weird Al” Yankovic, Mandatory Fun July 24, 2014Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Media, Music, Personal, Technology, Video.
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My CD copy of Mandatory Fun by “Weird Al” Yankovic arrived in the mail on Wednesday afternoon. After ripping the tracks to my computer, I listened intently to all of them, following along with the lyrics in the liner notes. There are 12 songs on the album: a mix of parodies, original compositions, and a medley.
I usually listen to contemporary jazz and jazz fusion, especially if there aren’t vocals. So, you may be wondering why I would own a “Weird Al” Yankovic album. I’ve admired “Weird Al” for years, dating back to Bad Hair Day, which my sister Lauren received back in 1996. And since I’m not into mainstream pop and rock, Al’s parodies are as close I choose to get.
Here are my three favorite original compositions on Mandatory Fun:
- “Mission Statement,” a Crosby, Stills and Nash pastiche a la “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” and “Carry On,” filled with corporate gobbledygook and cliches (i.e. “synergy!”)
- “Lame Claim to Fame,” an homage to Southern Culture on the Skids, wherein a man shares his tangential connections to celebrities
I can relate to the line about having the same birthday. I share my birthday with several public figures. Off the top of my head, there’s Lorne Michaels, Danny DeVito, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). There are others. I don’t consider this my lame claim to fame. It’s a series of prideful coincidences. My lame claims to fame are my radio shows, photo recaps of events I attend, and occasional reviews like this. (That was self-deprecation.)
- “Sports Song,” a deeply honest fight song that lays out what the opponent is in for
As for the parodies, my three favorites are:
- “Word Crimes,” a parody of “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, which includes verses on the misuse of “I couldn’t care less” and “it’s”
Listen for the intentionally-placed split infinitive. I loved the time-compressed definition of “contraction.”
- “Handy,” which parodies “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea, a nearly three-minute handyman commercial
What can’t he do?
- “Foil,” a parody of “Royals” by Lorde, which describes two uses for aluminum foil: to store leftover food and as a hat for conspiracy theorists to block governmental mind control
I laughed my way through the conspiracy theory part.
There are video equivalents to each of my favorites:
“Lame Claim to Fame”:
A “Weird Al” album wouldn’t be complete without an accordion-driven polka medley. The one on Mandatory Fun – “NOW That’s What I Call Polka!” – was superb. These medleys are the second way I prefer to hear mainstream pop and rock. (The third way is through covers by jazz artists.) The segues between lyrical excerpts were seamless. And I got a kick out of the sound effects and spoken interjections.
Facebook deserves credit for motivating me into buying Mandatory Fun. If the first video from the album, “Tacky,” hadn’t been trending last Monday, I wouldn’t have seen that video or the seven videos that followed. I wouldn’t have listened to excerpts on Amazon. I wouldn’t have bought the album at all. But I bought it, I listened to it at least once, and I’ve shared my review.
I hope I haven’t written “like a spastic,” and that you’ll forgive my Oxford commas.