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Instrumental Invasion, 11/23/22 November 24, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, Blu-ray, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel, TV.
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The November 23, Thanksgiving Eve Instrumental Invasion on WCWP took a while to develop, as Kenny Mayne would say. The playlist was created on September 27, annotations began on October 4 and weren’t completed until the 10th while in Staatsburg, the talk break script was drafted on the 12th followed by recording of the first hour, and the second hour and pickups were recorded a week later on October 19. I was going to record on the 13th, but my time mismanagement skills reared their ugly head, and I had a breakdown while rushing to complete errands. Thank goodness WCWP station manager Pete Bellotti talked me down. Per his advice, I suspended production on this show until after Homecoming Weekend, and production was completed on videos of two Saturday shows (Bernie Bernard; Mike Riccio and Bobby G.).

I usually have a wealth of inside information about this reference or that reference, but I’ve wasted enough time. So, click here to download the scoped aircheck or listen below:

Since writing the above text on October 19, I’ve published posts about Homecoming Weekend and what I now call the Dutchess County trip. Listening to “Far Away” by Robben Ford took me back to how far away I felt at times in the AirBNB on Connelly Drive. Watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on 4K Blu-ray on Tuesday (November 22), I realized I forgot to acknowledge Chuck Bennett’s trombone was also the “voice” of the adult Charlie Brown spoke to on the phone.

Happy Thanksgiving. Here’s hoping you get the long end of the wishbone like Woodstock (the bird, not the town half an hour northwest of Rhinebeck/Staatsburg).

Instrumental Invasion, 11/16/22 November 17, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Baseball, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel.
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The November 16 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded from October 4 to 6: one segment on the 4th, two on the 5th, and the last three on the 6th. Pickups were recorded on the 6th, 7th, and 10th.

The playlist was created on September 27, and annotated from the 28th to the 30th. Work on next week’s show and the backup Homecoming Weekend prerecord kept me from drafting the talk break script. By October 4, I was desperate to start recording. An opportunity to record opened up at my secondary location – the home of that heavily noise reduced audio due to the central air conditioning indoor unit running next to my desk (that probably won’t be an issue again until May). So, I attempted to record the first segment unscripted based on the annotations, but before I could record the second talk break, the opportunity disappeared. I scripted the first segment on the way home and recorded once I was home. The rest of the script was drafted on October 5 before recording the next two segments. Of course, the live HCW show (also with “Billy’s Bop” and “Forecast“) was unscripted, and I ultimately went that route for the show two weeks from now.

I needed a song to fill the gap in the fourth segment and I chose “Silver Street” by Chris “Big Dog” Davis. I didn’t know I had already played it last February 10 until cataloging on October 7 before the weekend excursion to Dutchess County. I drafted much of this blog post on my laptop at the AirBNB.

Click here to download this week’s scoped aircheck or listen below:

An automation error kept underwriting and a legal ID from running at the top of each hour. Thankfully, I only missed the first two seconds of the show open.

Postscript: Today, November 17, is my 41st birthday. My age is the same as the uniform number worn by my idol, New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver (1944-2020), who was also born on the 17th. The photos below were in a Tumblr post.

New blog header November 10, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Personal.
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Instrumental Invasion, 11/9/22 November 10, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio.
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The November 9 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded on September 26 (two segments) and 27 (four segments). Pickups were recorded on the 27th, 28th, and October 10.

The playlist was created on September 20, annotations were written between the 20th and 23rd, and the talk break script was drafted on the 23rd and 24th.

The 18:05 segment benchmark experiment is over. Next week’s playlist will have 18:10 segments in mind. It makes more sense to achieve a total of 1:49:00 than 1:48:30. I opted against remixing this show and the last two. I worked hard enough getting all the segment puzzle pieces to fit, and wasn’t about to work extra.

To make this week’s pieces fit, some ancillary information was edited out of talk breaks. The key omissions were disclaimers coming in and out of “La Fiesta” by Maynard Ferguson (cover). I suggested the listener lower their volume because of Maynard’s intense trumpeting – “you might want to lower the volume; it gets intense” – then told them afterward it was safe to raise the volume – “okay, you can turn the volume back up.” So, I apologize for any unanticipated discomfort.

For the second week in a row, the last song of hour 1 was by Beegie Adair and the last of the show was by Yellowjackets.

Kiss and Make Up” by George Benson was the latest CD 101.9 staple to air on Instrumental Invasion. (I know the station was resurrected on HD Radio and the internet, but it’s not the same.)

Click here to download this week’s scoped aircheck or listen below:

My new Canon EOS R7: test photos, growing pains, lessons learned November 4, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Personal, Photography.

NOTE: Ordinarily, I shrink photos for blog posts, but all photos in this post are their original sizes.

After a week of deliberation, research, and consultation with a Facebook group, I opted to make the Canon EOS R7 my next camera, and entry into the mirrorless realm, rather than the more expensive Nikon Z7II that I said I was considering in my PC build post.

My decision was influenced by the realization that the Nikon 18-300mm superzoom lens I bought last April for the D5500 is a DX lens (for APS-C cameras like D5500), and the Z7II is an FX/full-frame camera. If I used that lens on the Z7II via the FTZ II adapter, the photos would be cropped and the resolution more than halved. Instead of using all of its 45 MP (megapixels), I’d probably use 26. Plus, Nikon’s superzoom Z lens only has a range of 24 to 200mm. I could live with six less millimeters on the wide end, but not 100 less narrow.

I was uncertain about leaving the Nikon ecosystem for my primary camera (keeping the D5500 as a secondary one). I even took a risk the Thursday before WCWP Homecoming Weekend, October 13, by bidding around $1,800 for a used Z7II (shutter count near 8,000) on eBay that had its menu stuck in traditional Chinese (called “an Asian language” by the seller). I was willing to buy and then use the Google Translate app’s camera feature to translate to English so I could reset the menu language to English.

I still hadn’t been outbid come Saturday afternoon, October 15. Then, just as I was telling Bernie Bernard in WCWP’s studio 3 that I expected to be outbid before the auction ended Sunday night, October 16, I was outbid. That did it: Sunday night, I was going all in on the EOS R7 and bringing my interchangeable lens history full circle.

I was introduced to SLRs (no D prefix yet) in 1999 via my dad’s Canon EOS Rebel G. I used it at sporting events – such as a New York Mets game that year and in 2001 (16 days before 9/11) – and at some other personal events with the speedlight attached.

Here’s a photo from each:

After that second Mets game, I didn’t use an SLR camera again until my jazz fan/photographer friend Katherine Gilraine recommended a Nikon DSLR in 2012. Starting that May, I transitioned from a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 to a Nikon D3100. I started with only the kit 18-55mm lens and used the Lumix for long shots, but when I bought a 55-300mm lens in December, the Lumix was retired. I gifted it to my friend Kelly who still uses it today.

At first, I purchased a backordered EOS R7 camera body and backordered spare LP-E6NH battery from Amazon; due to arrive in early December and mid-November, respectively. All my other purchases would deliver between two and five days later.

Monday morning, October 17, impatience took over and I searched for a site that had the body available now and at a low price. Google determined Abe’s of Maine was the cheapest and I ordered from them for $200 less than I’d have spent on the canceled Amazon backorder. Members of the Facebook group reminded me of Abe’s bad reputation and gray market items. Message board threads I found on Google noted their shady practice of upselling. They weren’t even an authorized U.S. Canon dealer. I was in denial, latching on to this marginally positive thread post. Most retailers ship by the day after ordering, but not Abe’s of Maine. Instead, Wednesday afternoon, October 19, a representative e-mailed me to call and confirm my order. I naively thought it was that simple. Wrong! I dialed the rep’s extension, but another rep answered and routed me to the rep. He upsold me! Did I want the body itself and no battery or to pay more with the battery? And so on. Whatever I chose, I was going to spend more money. So, I vehemently canceled my order. And if I had thoroughly read the first thread I linked to, I’d have seen a post with the same problem:

… About 4 days after placing the order, I received an email asking me to call to “confirm” the order, which I did. The man thanked me for confirming because he wanted to make sure that it was really me and not somebody using my card. Fair enough. But then he pulled the old bait and switch, telling me that the US market version of the lens would be better and he could upgrade me if I wanted to pay more. I then told him that I didn’t appreciate the bait and switch tactic. He then said to me “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Is there something wrong with you?” Truly, he said this to me. I told him to cancel, and he said OK with no hesitation. My card was not charged and I got a confirmation of the cancellation. Just be aware that what you read about Abe’s of Maine is true.

Chet K, DPReview thread post, 2/22/21

Within minutes, a godsend materialized in my renewed Google search. An authorized Canadian Canon dealer, Excellent Photo in Quebec, was selling a legitimately new, factory-sealed R7 body for only $39 more (in USD) than I would have spent from Abe’s. Sold! It took less than an hour for Excellent Photo to ship the camera body! The FedEx driver walked it up my driveway Friday evening, October 21. I was so excited that I met him halfway instead of having him leave it on the front porch.

Thursday morning, October 20, inspired by my Excellent Photo experience, I looked for a retailer that had the LP-E6NH in stock and found Service Photo out of Baltimore (their listing), canceling that Amazon backorder. The battery was delivered by UPS Friday afternoon.

Wednesday morning, I researched Canon gadget bags that could fit the R7 with a control ring mount adapter and Tamron 18-400mm lens for Canon EF mounts. The dimensions on the 200ES bag seemed big enough, so I bought that on eBay. I bought the adapter, Tamron lens, and Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT from separate eBay sellers on Sunday night. The adapter is for RF-mounted Canon mirrorless cameras; what the FTZ (or FTZ II) adapter is for Nikon’s mirrorless Z series. It was another Thursday arrival, along with the smaller-than-I-thought gadget bag. The speedlight and lens were waiting for me at home late Wednesday evening. (Fun fact for Long Islanders: Canon U.S.A.’s headquarters are in Melville and Tamron Americas is based in Commack.)

My Amazon purchases were two SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SDXC cards, a 72mm Tiffen UV filter for the Tamron lens, and a menu screen protector.

After the R7 body arrived Friday evening, I photographed my haul, the last photo of my D5500’s life as a primary camera:

Some of the R7 Facebook group were displeased with my choice of SD cards. I was unaware that there were two classes of UHS speed – UHS-I and UHS-II – and three video speed classes – V30, V60, and V90. (This post explains both sets of classes.) I had bought UHS-I V30 cards. I wouldn’t have fast write speeds or buffering when shooting in bursts. I told the doubting members what photography I specialize in, and they said I’d be fine.

To help pay off my purchases, I took photos of all my retired equipment and put them up for auction on eBay. Outside of a never-used video capture card, I listed my Nikon lenses, Nikon D5100 camera, JVC Everio GZ-HM320BU camcorder, and Panasonic HC-V770 camcorder. I included all accessories I retained (manuals, cables, batteries, power supply) or added (UV filters, SD cards, spare battery). (As of publication on Friday, November 4, I have sold all but the two camcorders.)

Preoccupied with the WCWP Homecoming Weekend recap, I didn’t set up and get acquainted with the R7 until Sunday morning, October 23. The camera with adapter, lens, and lens hood fit snug inside the bag (photos taken with my iPhone):

Once the first battery was charged, I began testing exclusively at 400mm:

Having success with my Nikon cameras’ JPEG fine mode, I never thought to shoot RAW. The JPEGs looked great, only having a smartphone camera appearance at a high ISO, and they were always 300 PPI. However, the Canon EOS R7’s JPEGs are 72 PPI like your average display, camcorder, or smartphone camera. Even with countless reviewers stating that there is no difference in quality, I didn’t like JPEG processing quality on the R7. So, I tried a RAW photo, my first ever:

I finally had a reason to use Adobe Lightroom – for exporting any RAW photos as JPEGs before editing them in Photoshop Elements 2020 (2023 version). Yes, I have regular Photoshop, and you can edit in Lightroom, but I like Photoshop Elements’ editing tools better. The photo above was edited in Lightroom, though, and the EXIF data showed that Lightroom exports at 240 PPI. Thus, I would now shoot in RAW, export to JPEG, and edit accordingly. If the photo is too sharp, I would despeckle.

I wasted an hour attempting to pair the R7 to my computer via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Neither worked, but it does work with my iPhone while Canon’s CameraConnect app is open. I use that app’s location information feature so the GPS location is included in a photo. If I forget to open the app, no GPS tracking.

I noticed a USB-C port on the left side. Without a cable included in the box, I used my PlayStation 5‘s C to type A cable to transfer files to my PC. Then, I bought a two-pack of 3-foot USB-C to type A cables on Amazon. One cable was for my bag to use with my laptop, and the other is for desktop transfers at home. The connection feels loose, but not enough to snap off in mid-transfer.

I didn’t test on Monday, October 24, due to rainy weather, but on Tuesday the 25th, I brought the bag with me in my dad’s car for the camera’s ultimate test: does the IBIS (in-body image stabilization) work in a moving vehicle?

Not really, or at least not with the Tamron lens:

What worked on Sunday in my bedroom did not work in a moving vehicle. The lens seldom focused beyond 200mm, especially in low light. In sports or panning mode, it went in and out of focus with each successive frame. The traffic lights or road signs were visible, and then they weren’t. I even had focus issues in the conference room for the last of the above test photos. What’s worse, a little bit of dust found its way in front, even with a UV filter attached.

I felt awful, worse than with the PC build. In my desire for one lens to rule them all, I should have just bought Canon’s RF 24-240mm lens. And I did, with a hood, while attempting to return the Tamron. (I’d keep the control ring adapter for a future Canon EF lens and save the 72mm UV filter for the RF 24-240.)

Then, a Facebook group member who got the Tamron lens to work with his R7 tried to coach me on how to get it to work for me. He said I needed to make some adjustments in settings, like turning off subject recognition, which was set to find people. I took another set of test photos with no focus issues:

Thinking the problem was solved, I canceled the Canon lens/hood order and Tamron lens return. Unfortunately, my troubles were far from over. There was an error message whenever I had the camera set to scene priority (sports, panning): “the attached lens does not provide stabilization for subjects.” In other words, my lens couldn’t take advantage of the camera’s IBIS feature. That meant the morning’s problems were back with a vengeance: in and out of focus, locked out of taking a photo due to no focus (red rectangle), motion blur. I lost my mind. Here are the passable test photos:

Back at home, the group member made another attempt to solve my issue. Once his guidance felt useless (referring me to a menu option I couldn’t find), I rage quit the group, rebought the 24-240 lens/hood, and renewed my return request to the eBay seller for the Tamron lens. Once the seller said they’d have a return label ready for printing, I took the lens and its hood off the body and put them back in the box with all manuals and warranty info, sealing the top and bottom with whatever bubble wrap I could find. On Wednesday, October 26, they provided the label and enclosed invoice, and I brought everything to The UPS Store for shipping.

As with the PC build, the Technology Connections Discord chat server finally got me to realize what the R7 group members were trying to get me to understand: Canon’s RF lenses are full-frame; the R7 is APS-C. The image will be slightly zoomed in but not cropped, the opposite scenario of Nikon DX lenses on the Z7II. 24-240mm is more like 35-350mm. And that’s when I did what most of the group preferred: buy an RF-S 18-150mm lens and RF 100-400mm lens (after canceling the 24-240 order). I bought Chiaro Pro UV filters for the lenses, 58mm and 67mm, but not hoods. I’d have to make do without them for now.

I rejoined the group, apologizing for my sudden departure, and letting them know what I had done. They were pleased, but the Tamron lens member warned I may still have the same issue with the RF lenses. I told him I would reach out to him if I did.

In the midst of Tuesday’s craziness, my dad and I swapped camera gadget bags. The Canon 200ES now houses his Nikon gear and I have his old AmazonBasics bag.

The new Canon lenses and Chiaro filters arrived on Thursday, October 27. Well, the filters and 100-400mm lens were new, but the 18-150mm lens was used with a 9+ condition rating from B&H. Here’s how they looked out of the boxes:

My next task was to apply the 18-150 lens to the R7 body:

Then, test time:

I switched to the 100-400 lens…:

…and tested that:

I was impressed with the results, and surprised by how the R7 compensates for the flash on its own. The last four photos were nearly identical.

The true test was to come on Halloween morning; Monday, October 31.

In the meantime, let’s see how the gear fits in Dad’s AmazonBasics bag while the 100-400mm lens is attached:

…and the 18-150mm:

The top compartment houses the spare USB-C to Type A cable and the rear cap of whatever lens is connected:

The cable in action on the desktop:

Opening the RAW photos in Lightroom…:

…and exporting as 240 PPI JPEGs…:

…to edit in Photoshop Elements:

The RAWs and JPEGs together:

After the JPEG export, I only keep a few RAWs for reference.

The Tamron lens was delivered to the seller on Friday, October 28, and a refund was issued. My nightmare was over. Yet, I occasionally saw photos posted to the R7 Facebook group taken with lenses like the one I returned – or Canon EF lenses. Their photos were crystal clear and perfectly focused. I guess I just need to “git gud” (get good), as the meme goes.

On the evening of Saturday, October 29, I discovered I could use Adobe Lightroom Classic to export RAW photos at 300 PPI, just as the Nikons natively saved fine JPEGs. Here’s the last October 27 test photo at 300 PPI:

The quality and file size were the same, which confirmed what reviewers like this said all along: the PPI doesn’t matter like it does for DPI (dots per inch) when scanning film or prints. (The first Mets game photo was at 400 DPI and the second at 500 DPI.) So, I stuck with 240 PPI exports in regular Lightroom.

I had an earlier opportunity to test the lenses on Sunday, October 30, during a drive to the supermarket, but I opted to wait until Halloween. The wait was worth it! My test with the RF-S 18-150mm lens in the morning was a success! The IBIS seemed to do its job and the R7 had no trouble focusing. I mainly shot in sports mode with a few in auto mode.

The test with the RF 100-400mm lens was equally satisfying once I figured out the car windshield was making 400mm photos blurrier than normal. The wider the focal length, the clearer the photo, and the IBIS is more likely to work. Of course, this is common knowledge to more experienced photographers. Two members of the R7 Facebook group mocked my naivete, and chastised my use of a UV filter because the windshield is already UV-protected. Others politely informed me that wide angle will always provide a clearer view, windshield or not. As for my intended use for road and street sign photography, image stabilization is best at counteracting my hand’s instability, but not so much for motion blur or road vibrations. The photos at a wider length on the 100-400 were clearer, and most photos on other lens were stabilized to the point that motion blur was minimal. Still, on Tuesday, November 1, I sharpened those photos and then despeckled them. This is on top of any other adjustments to a given photo; they are seldom untouched.

Tuesday also started the post-editing practice of going back ino Lightroom to watermark photos I publicize on this blog or social media. Again, I naively held out for over a decade. Live and learn.

Here are the Halloween test photos, starting in the morning with the RF-S 18-150mm…

…and the RF 100-400mm in the afternoon:

I noticed the first quarter (waxing) phase of the moon on Tuesday night and took this photo:

The R7’s higher resolution (6984×4660) and RF 100-400mm’s longer focal length than if I used the D5500 and superzoom 18-300mm lens allowed for a decent leftover resolution: 1993×1572. This photo removed any doubt about taking a moon shot with the UV filter attached.

Tuesday’s photo was in sports mode and the camera automatically chose ISO 6400. Two nights later – Thursday, November 3 – I tried again in shutter priority mode at ISO 100. At first, I only took one photo at a time, at 1/1,000 sand 1/500 shutter speeds. I stayed at 1/500, but switched to burst mode. Out of 58 shots over three sets of bursts, the last one was the best:

The cropped resolution is 2179×1770

The 30th was a close 2nd:


Earlier Thursday, after a morning treadmill run, I noticed the camcorder bag I inherited from family friend Janine looked pretty big. I brought it upstairs in the evening and it was too big, with room to spare! It was also heavier than the AmazonBasics bag, but again, it was free beggars can’t be choosers. Here’s how it looked:

Dad’s bag now houses my current camcorder, a Panasonic HC-X1500 with VW-HU1 hand unit.

So many lessons were learned in my first ten days with the Canon EOS R7, and I will probably learn more in the weeks and months ahead. I haven’t even tried shooting video yet, speaking of camcorders. Wish me luck with it all.

Thank you for reading and viewing.

Instrumental Invasion, 11/2/22 November 3, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, Film, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Politics, Radio, Sci-Fi, TV, Video.
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I replaced my thumbnail/show banner photo with a selfie taken with my new camera. You can read all about that tomorrow. (11/10 UPDATE: Read here.)

The November 2 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded and mixed entirely on September 19, the first one-day record/mix since June 27 when I worked on all of the August 17 show and the first segment of August 24. I made a timing error when remixing the third segment, which I didn’t notice until September 20. An extra liner and a pickup were required to add five seconds so that “+:13” on the playlist below was true. Additional pickups were recorded on October 10 (after returning from Dutchess County) to correct a factual error about bassist Harvie S‘s “Pyramid” composition, and then to react to a shorter replacement liner.

The playlist was created on September 10 (a day after last week’s show) and annotated on the 14th (after completing last week’s annotations). The talk break script draft began on the 16th, but didn’t resume until the 18th once production was completed on the prior show.

Incumbent Waltz” is the seventh Vince Guaraldi-composed music cue for a Peanuts special that I’ve played, and a timely one with the midterm elections next Tuesday. Here’s where you can buy those Glenn Cronkhite Custom Cases I referenced in the backsell.

Two songs that aired previously are listed below with the first air date (in parentheses) and the reason for playing again:

I originally had the 2011 version of “Altair and Vega” by Bob James and Keiko Matsui in mind last July 14, but a different timing error – miscalculating the song’s duration – required a replacement. I made up for that this week, complete with the story of Tanabata/Hoshimatsuri, a festival centered around the two titular stars. You can read the Wikipedia entry in the previous sentence, but I also recommend this short video by GTV Japan:

Coincidentally, the show last July had a Star Trek reference leading into the first song. This week’s first song, complete with my paraphrase of the opening spiel, was Maynard Ferguson’s cover of the “Theme from Star Trek.” I had no idea Larry King adopted it as his radio show theme.

Click here to download this week’s scoped aircheck or listen below:

Photos from Dutchess County trip, drive back home October 28, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Aviation, Baseball, Biking, Comedy, Film, Fire, Health, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Politics, Radio, Running, Sci-Fi, Sports, Technology, Travel, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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In two of my Homecoming Weekend posts (live show, main post), I referenced a family trip to Dutchess County the prior weekend. This post is about that trip.

Back in the spring, my mom sprung the trip on me: a few of my relatives were going to run a race – The Fall Foliage Half Marathon and 5K – in Rhinebeck on the Sunday of Columbus Day Weekend and we would all be put up in a nearby AirBNB. I initially panicked, worried that it would conflict with Homecoming Weekend (henceforth, HCW), but one of my alumni friends assured me the LIU Sharks‘ Homecoming football game would likely be the following weekend. And in recent years, it has been held on the third Saturday of October. My conscience was clear and I was prepared for the trip.

I assumed the AirBNB would be in Rhinebeck and my parents, sister, and I would leave for there on the morning of Friday, October 7. Instead, we were to leave in the mid-afternoon and the house was in Staatsburg. I had an extra day to prepare since I decided not to go to New York Comic Con this year, or ever again, due to my disenchantment with the event and a need to save money for paying off my PC build. (And then, a week later, I went and bought a new camera and related equipment, which I’m still trying to get the hang of.)

I have a mixed record when it comes to time management. More often than not, I mismanage my time, and that’s what I did prior to departure on Friday afternoon. In the days leading up to the weekend, I tried to get as many radio shows recorded as possible to allow for a sizable buffer of weeks ahead. I only managed to produce and record the HCW prerecord and one regular show (November 16). I finished creating the playlist for the live HCW show with only an hour to spare before leaving the house.

Annotations for the live show and next regular show (November 23) were done from my laptop during downtime at the AirBNB. It was not an easy task with constant action at breakfast time or with babies occasionally crying indefinitely, all amplified by the hardwood floors on the main floor. Most of the regular show annotations were done on Sunday evening when I had the house to myself and then in my bedroom with white noise blaring in my earbuds.

Don’t chalk this up to disdain for the experience that weekend. Overall, I had a great time seeing the sights and catching up with relatives.

My parents and I left at 3:15 Friday afternoon and drove five minutes east to pick up my sister at her apartment. Four hours of traffic and spotty cell service later, we arrived at the AirBNB on Connelly Drive in Staatsburg.

For privacy’s sake, I won’t include photos of the house’s interior or of my family, but here are two exterior shots I took Saturday afternoon:

The rest of the post is dedicated to scenery photos taken from Saturday, October 8, to the ride home on Monday, October 10.

First, two more negatives:

  • The Mets completed their unraveling by losing their National League Wild Card Series to the Padres. I found out about their game 1 loss Saturday morning, game 2 win Sunday morning, and game 3 loss seconds after it happened Sunday night. It was extremely demoralizing. I spent five months of my life believing this was the year the Mets would win their third World Series, allowing me not to care if they’d win a fourth in my lifetime. Five months of my life were wasted for nothing, including hours spent editing photos from the two games I attended. Obviously, I won’t make a slideshow of photos from that second game, which turned out to be the apex of the Mets’ season; all downhill from there. I hadn’t thrown away so many months expecting an outcome that didn’t happen since the 2012 presidential election. And I was away from home that night, too, at a family friend’s house in Rockville Centre, waiting for power to be restored back at my Wantagh home. (It was the next afternoon.) (11/1 UPDATE: Whoops, forgot to note power was lost during Sandy. I wrote about my experience here.) Incidentally, that family friend now lives an hour north of where we were and she met up with us Sunday in downtown(village) Rhinebeck.
  • In another case of time mismanagement, I hurriedly and anxiously shaved my face and neck on Saturday and Sunday, making everyone wait before we could drive to wherever we were going. I cut myself in multiple places, and contemplated going back to an electric razor after nearly 20 years of a manual razor with five-blade cartridges. My dad generously bought one for me as an early birthday present on Monday morning. As of publication, I’m still mastering it. Most of my face is easy to shave, but I can’t get all the hairs off my neck, above my chin, or below my sideburns.

Now for the photos. Saturday morning, October 8, included a trip to the Kesicke Farm Fall Festival (more alliteration) in Rhinebeck. One day after warm and slightly humid conditions, conditions were sunny and breezy with temperatures in the 50s. I brought a winter hat and light gloves on the trip, but only needed the gloves.

Returning to the AirBNB:

Sunday, October 9, brought us back to Rhinebeck. I packed my camcorder and tripod on Friday because I thought we’d be watching the end of the races Sunday. I thought wrong. I did use the camcorder Saturday afternoon to record soccer practice with my sister and our cousin. We did, however, walk up and down Market Street in Rhinebeck. That made me think of a song bearing that name by Yellowjackets from the Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home soundtrack. Of course, the film was based in San Francisco, not Rhinebeck, but Rhinebeck was the location of Spyro Gyra‘s last album of original music to date, The Rhinebeck Sessions.

Another pair of road signs on the way back to Staatsburg:

While I was walking through Rhinebeck, my dad biked to and from the Ashokan Reservoir via the Ashokan Rail Trail. Those are the first two photos below. He took the third Sunday evening while everyone but me traveled to the Walkway Over the Hudson. (I stayed in Staatsburg.)

Monday morning, October 10, I spotted three wild turkeys walking through the AirBNB’s backyard. I went outside to take photos with my phone, and ended up following them several yards into the woods.

Trembling from excitement and anxiety (I wanted to go home), I shot this shaky video:

We left for Wantagh at around 10:30 AM. These photos were taken on the way to the Taconic State Parkway:

On the parkway:


I-684 (briefly in Connecticut):


The Hutchinson River Parkway/I-678 (supplementing my photos from May 1):

The Cross Island Parkway:

And finally, the Grand Central Parkway/Northern State Parkway:

It took less than 2 1/2 hours to drive from Staatsburg to Wantagh. After a short treadmill run to compensate for Friday’s shortened run, I tried my best to unwind. I edited Saturday’s and Sunday’s photos at the AirBNB, but took care of Monday’s photos at my remote location on Tuesday and Wednesday (October 11 and 12). After uploading the scenery photos (and selfie) to WordPress and making a rough draft of this post with only the photos, I shifted my focus to HCW (Homecoming Weekend, if you forgot) and finally wrote a recap on the 24th, publishing today, the 28th. Thank you for reading it all and I hope you liked the photos.

Instrumental Invasion, 10/26/22 October 27, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Baseball, Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Radio, Sports, TV, Video.
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The October 26 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded in sequence on September 17 (four segments) and 18 (two segments).

The playlist was created on September 9, following a production hiatus while assembling and setting up my new computer and drafting the subsequent blog post.

As noted in the October 5 post, going forward, annotations are made in a separate Microsoft Word document, from which the talk break script is drafted in its usual document. I never share the script, but since annotations are an extension of the playlist, I will share those. This week’s annotations were made on September 13 and 14 with the script drafted on the 15th.

This is also the first week with 18:05 segments in mind, and a desired total duration of 1:48:30. Segment 1 of hour 2 was exactly 18:05, the first exact duration since segment 2 of hour 2 on October 5.

I used the phrase “leadoff hitter” to describe the first song – “There’s No One Else” by Robben Ford – in honor of the World Series, which starts tomorrow night. I wish the Mets were the National League representative, but I’m proud of all their other accomplishments this season. (I wrote that presumptuously on September 20. On October 26, I’m writing that I’m glad the Phillies eliminated the Braves in the NLDS and Padres in the NLCS. The Mets blew the NL East lead to the Braves and lost their NL Wild Card Series to the Padres.)

The inclusion of “Spring High” by Ramsey Lewis preceded his death on September 12, but that was acknowledged in the annotations and script. With “After Chicago” by Ronnie Foster coincidentally included, I called back to Ramsey’s Cabrini-Green upbringing.

In all the years I’ve heard “Schmooze” by Eric Marienthal, I’m reminded of longtime WFAN host Steve Somers, a.k.a. The Schmoozer, a.k.a. Captain Midnight (a la the radio serial). I dialed down my impression of Steve, limiting it to his name and removing his phraseology at the start of the talk-up (i.e. “Eric Marienthal on a Wednesday night on WCWP Brookville”). This was the WCWP-FAN jingle hybrid I made:

I made sure to fade out ASAP, lest listeners think FAN is simulcasting on 88.1, even though it’s from a retired jingle package.

Then, there’s Fourplay‘s “Little Foxes,” evoking Festrunk Brothers lingo (the “foxes” part). It helped that most of the backing vocalists were women, hence my “adult foxes” tangent. Here is one such Festrunk Brothers Saturday Night Live sketch:

Air date: April 22, 1978 (source)

Click here to download this week’s scoped aircheck or listen below:

2022 LIU Post & Homecoming Weekend, WCWP Hall of Fame Announcement October 22, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Football, Internet, Interviews, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Pop, Radio, Rock, Travel, Video.
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Other recaps: 20082009WCWP 50th Anniversary (2011)20122013201420152016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021

Four months after going into the WCWP Hall of Fame, I returned to the campus of LIU Post for part of WCWP‘s Homecoming Weekend programming block, the first under new station manager Pete Bellotti. (The list of 2022 HOF inductees comes later in this recap.)

Friday, October 14

This year, Homecoming Weekend started an hour earlier, at 11AM, making for 61 hours of alumni-run shows. In August, Bernie Bernard earned a Master of Arts degree from Florida Atlantic University. Her aural thesis on pirate radio led off the weekend:

The second show, at noon, was also prerecorded: a compilation of select episodes of Bill Mozer’s WCWP Alumni Career Path Podcast:

Bill filled out the time remaining by twice playing “Kei’s Song” by David Benoit. I went to Hillwood Commons to get a bottle of water and on the walk back to the Abrams Communication Center (home of WCWP), I was stunned to hear the song playing (the first time) on the outdoor speakers adjacent to studio 1.

I have a dedicated blog post for my live edition of Instrumental Invasion at 2PM, but here is a snippet:

… I did not draft a talk break script; a live show calls for spontaneity, albeit with annotations to work from. I ended up referencing [my family trip to Dutchess County, subject of a blog post next week] during the show.

I feel like I wasn’t my best without a script, but all that matters is what listeners thought, and they liked it. Naturally, [the show] started with a technical glitch. Automation didn’t switch off [after Bill’s show ended], allowing me to go live from studio 2. I relayed the problem to station manager Pete Bellotti and he had me start the show even though the first minute or so (54 seconds) would go unaired. …

What a coincidence that David Benoit’s latest single of A Midnight Rendezvous is “Pioneer Town.” That allowed me to allude to the days before the One LIU merger when the Brooklyn and Post campuses had separate athletic programs.

For my official archive of the show, I included the unaired part, re-created from the liners I played (mostly as heard on my restart) and amplified/noise reduced camcorder audio. Here is the scope video:

The thumbnail is a photo Pete took of me at the controls, cropped to the 16:9 aspect ratio.

I faded the last song out just in time for automation to kick back in for John Commins at 4PM. To keep listeners from tuning out, I did not acknowledge that he was prerecorded. Within 20 minutes, I had packed up my equipment and headed for home. My video equipment was a Panasonic HC-X1500 with VW-HU1 detachable hand unit, both bought in late March, and my tripod of nearly seven years: a Magnus VT-300. Mozer recommended a Magnus tripod in a discussion at the 2015 Homecoming, but not the one I chose. I don’t remember which one. The HC-X1500/VW-HU1 combo was in lieu of an HC-X2000 built with the hand unit. I didn’t want to pay more for 3G-SDI output. But enough about video gear.

WCWP was entirely live from studio 2 from 6PM to midnight. John Zoni had the 6PM show:

Most photos were taken by Bernie Bernard, on hand for Alan Seltzer’s final WCWP show before moving to Columbus, Ohio.

Alan’s final show was Seltzer with a Twist, starting at 8PM:

There was about 30 seconds of dead air after Alan’s last song finished, so Jay began The DFK (Disco and Funk King) Show seconds before 10PM:

The Young Prince K.J. Mills stayed up late to host The Storm 2.0 at 2AM (I’m counting this as part of Friday’s lineup):

Saturday, October 15

I returned to LIU Post at 1:30 Saturday afternoon. This time, I brought along my GoPro Hero 7 for shooting B-roll. Unlike last year, I did use it, thanks to a flexible tripod I bought in November, inspired by the video of Joe Honerkamp’s show.

In a bold move, I opted not to walk down to the football field to catch part of the LIU Sharks‘ Homecoming game. Considering they were creamed by the Saint Francis Red Flash, 57-7 (box score, recap), I made the right decision. As the game carried on, I sat at my laptop and spoke to any alumni that walked into studio 3, where my laptop was set up for web browsing on my downtime, but otherwise to aircheck the shows following the football game. My aircheck equipment, used Friday and Saturday, was a Behringer U-Phono UFO202 pre-amp connected to a Sangean HDR-16 radio. WCWP also uses the UFO202 for airchecking off FM tuners, doing so to clip key plays in Sharks games. Home airchecks were recorded in Audacity, either on my computer or the guest room computer, then edited in Adobe Audition.

One such alum to drop by during the football game was M.J. Lonardo, known as DJ M.J. during her time at WCWP. The photo I took of her and station manager Pete Bellotti is the first in a series of two-person photos taken throughout the day:

On to photos from Bernie Bernard’s Barbecue Bash (by golly), starting at 4:08 PM:

Here is the aforementioned video:

This was the last video I made in Adobe Premiere Elements 2020, which became too slow and cumbersome to use. I barely finished exporting (not rendering) my aircheck video and copying it to a portable hard drive before hurrying to my mom’s car at 1PM. (I made her late to Freeport High School‘s Homecoming game.) This video took even longer to edit and export on Monday. I didn’t render either video because it would have taken just as long as exporting.

Anyway, here is the audio version with longer lead-outs and the start of the first talk break in the video:

Mike Riccio and Bobby G.’s countdown began at 7:03 PM. Mike couldn’t find a legal ID to run in WaveCart, so I approached the board and picked one. Then, the show began with “Wooden Heart” by Elvis Presley. Editing video of this show has left the end of “Wooden Heart” ingrained in my head. First, the photos:

The video:

This was the first video I worked on in Adobe Premiere Pro, doing so on Tuesday after an hour of figuring out how to apply effects and transitions.

And the audio version, including parts of the last two hours and with extended lead-outs:

As you hear, Bernie was even more involved in the last two hours, which I listened to at home while editing the above photos.

The above photos are the last taken at an event with my Nikon D5500. As Homecoming Weekend was wrapping up, I consulted with a Facebook group for fans and users of the Canon EOS R7 mirrorless camera. I said in my PC build post that I had a Nikon Z7II in mind, but it’s too expensive and I’d have to buy a 24-200mm (not 300) Z lens (I like to use one superzoom lens) to take full advantage of the megapixel increase. My existing F mount 18-300 superzoom would be heavily cropped because it’s not made for full frame cameras like the Z7II. The EOS R7 and all the accessories I bought for it, including a Tamron 18-400 superzoom and control ring mount adapter, cost less combined than a Z7II body alone.

I hope to write about my early experience with the EOS R7 and equipment in a later post, but for now, back to Homecoming Weekend.

Sunday, October 16

I woke up a few minutes into my prerecorded Instrumental Invasion, another show with a dedicated blog post. Otherwise, the scoped aircheck:

When that was over at 8AM, Jay LaPrise (la-PREE) had the first live show of the day:

It wasn’t the first time I was Jay’s lead-in, and in 2007, I was his lead-in. Coincidentally, that live show of mine had an inauspicious beginning that required a redo, but it was only my first live show in exactly nine months.

My attempt at airchecking Jamie Mazzo and Sara Dorchak’s Ladies of Prison Break Radio show at 10AM was a bust. With my weekly Zoom meeting at 11:30, I had to aircheck on my laptop. I should have recorded the audio loopback, like on my desktop, but I didn’t. The same unnatural audio boost problem that kept me up in the hours after my September 14 show afflicted the laptop aircheck.

The Rockin’ Sunday Show with Alana followed at noon, its usual time on a regular Sunday:

Just after 2PM, it was Joe Honerkamp’s turn:

Joe was his usual entertaining self. No one is better at talking up a record (song) than him. He always manages to hit the post.

The last show I airchecked on Sunday was Jett Lightning at 4PM:

Wow, Jay Elzweig sat in on the show! I was so glad to hear his voice and sense of humor.

Saturday, Jett persuaded me to add John Coltrane‘s Blue Train album to my collection. I’m certain he played the title track on his Sunday show for me.

Homecoming Weekend pulled up its stakes at 12:02 AM Monday morning, and on that note, we’ve reached the end of the 2022 recap. Thank you for reading, watching, and listening. Until next year.

Instrumental Invasion, 10/19/22 October 20, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Weather.
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The October 19 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded (and mixed) non-sequentially on August 31 (segments 1, 5, 6) and September 1 (segments 2 through 4). Pickups were recorded on September 2.

The playlist was created right after finishing last week‘s playlist on August 25, annotated on the 27th, and the talk break script was drafted on the 30th. I was able to break even this week with a total duration of exactly one hour and 48 minutes. Starting next week, I will go to 18:10 segments, a total of 30 more seconds. This should limit the amount of dead air before automation’s fill song kicks in.

I did not expect the story of “St. Thomas” to be so involved. The Sonny Rollins interview (from April 5, 2007) where he shared the origin story is accessible via this link, but the media player disappears from sight after you start it. So, I downloaded it to share here:

He definitely wrote “Airegin,” though.

Regarding my talk-up after “Hello Tomorrow” by Larry Carlton, Lloyd Lindsay Young‘s “hello…!” bit had been circling in my head ever since a recent George Carlin documentary showed his introduction at the start of George’s 1988 special, What Am I Doing In New Jersey? I’ve said it before, but only on Instrumental Invasion can you get references like that. That goes for the MythBusters reference I made at the end of my “St. Thomas” origin story. On that series, if a myth in a given episode couldn’t be replicated, it was given a “busted” rating.

Speaking of Larry Carlton, I acknowledged that he was Fourplay‘s second guitarist, Lee Ritenour was their first, and Chuck Loeb was the third. Kirk Whalum played tenor sax on “Hello Tomorrow,” and I neglected to mention that he was the fourth member of Fourplay whenever there wasn’t a guitarist.

Click here to download this week’s scoped aircheck or listen below: