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Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk September 29, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Fire, Health, Internet, Military, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Police, Travel, TV.
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I was in New York City yesterday for the annual Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk. I signed up back in May after my dad recommended it to me. He was impressed by all the running I had done, and at such a fast pace. The fast pace back then occurred on the treadmill, but that has extended to the outdoors since I signed up. September alone was a landmark month for me, as I routinely ran 3.6 miles in about 38 minutes. Conditioning like that prepared me for yesterday.

The day began dark and early at 4:30 AM when my alarm clock woke me up. I tried to go to sleep early and get a decent amount of hours in, but I was only able to get about three hours of sleep. I spent about an hour getting ready and was out the door with my dad at 5:30.

We traveled to Point Lookout with eleven others from Dad’s firehouse, Freeport Excelsior Hook and Ladder Co. 1. There, we joined a bigger team from Point Lookout Lido Fire Department’s 2nd Battalion.

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I didn’t bring my Nikon D5100, settling on my iPhone 5 for all pictures seen in this recap.

Three buses took us to Red Hook, Brooklyn. Our Freeport team boarded first of those three.

We arrived in Red Hook shortly before 9:00.

20 minutes later, we began the long stop-and-go walk to the starting line.

Along the way, we passed Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic Church:
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Their bell rang as we passed by.

Almost at the starting line:
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And away we went!

I didn’t think I’d be able to run because of the amount of people participating. But once we crossed the starting line, I did run, though not for the entire 5K.

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The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel (aka Hugh L. Carey Tunnel):
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As I ran and walked through the tunnel, music was pumped in through speakers and various runners yelled patriotic chants. It was surreal, but I enjoyed it.

The tunnel seemed to go on forever. While 1.73 miles is a mere two minutes by car, in light traffic, I was in there for 25 minutes on foot.

The light at the end of the tunnel:
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When I was out, I was greeted by the sight of One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan:
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Freeport native Richie Muldowney was one of the 343 FDNY firefighters lost on 9/11:
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A view of Jersey City across the Hudson River:
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50 minutes after I started…
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…I crossed the finish line:
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My official time, listed here (search chimeri), was 0:50:36.

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On my way back, there were two early buses and one late bus. The early buses were full, so I and most of the Freeport team had to wait for the late bus. While we waited, we had lunch at Greenwich Street Tavern in TriBeCa.
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We were finished eating just in time to board the late bus back. It took nearly two hours to return to Point Lookout due to heavy traffic, and a half hour to return home to Wantagh.

The Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk was an amazing and awesome (in the literal sense) experience. If you haven’t signed up for it before, I recommend you try it at least once.

9/30 UPDATE: The full text results can be seen here.

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Scanning all over again September 20, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Personal, Photography.
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You may remember that I scanned pictures from multiple photo albums in December 2008 and January 2009. You may also remember that I filled the gaps last summer when I scanned albums I hadn’t scanned originally, in addition to pictures in a bin. I scanned with a higher quality scanner at a higher DPI (dots per inch) setting than the original scans. And last month, I completed the gap-filling when I scanned pictures that were in a drawer in the guest room.

Filling those gaps made me dissatisfied with the quality of those original scans –  the result of selecting “auto contrast,” “auto levels,” and “auto color” in Photoshop for most of them. So, I’ve begun the long, arduous process of rescanning many of those pictures.

This could take a few months, but I feel it has to be done. So far, I’ve scanned 250 pictures over two days. I have about 2,900 left. I’m going to take it slow, only scanning 100 pictures max per day for a few days a week. Wish me luck.

One space, not two September 20, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Education, Personal.
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For about a month, I’ve been trying something I haven’t done since before I learned keyboarding on a typewriter in 9th grade. I’m only using one space after a period, not two. It’s what all the style manuals have been requiring for a decade and I was unaware until last month.

The transition hasn’t been easy, but habits are hard to break. I assure you this is how I will space my sentences from now on.

My 2014 NFL Predictions September 4, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Football, Personal, Sports.
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(2/1/15, 11:01 PM EST UPDATE: Results italicized in parentheses.)

For many years, right before the start of the NFL or MLB seasons, I have predicted seasonal results. It started out as a personal hobby in 2006, then grew to Facebook in 2012. This year, I’m going public and posting my predictions at MikeChimeri.com.

Before we start, you should know that pessimism plays a role in my predictions, meaning I expect the Patriots to win Super Bowl XLIX (right). With that in mind…

Here are my predictions for the 2014 NFL season that starts tonight (playoff seeding in parentheses):

In the NFC: The Seahawks win the West (right) (1) (right), Eagles win the East (2) (wrong; didn’t make the playoffs; Cowboys won with 3 seed), Packers win the North (right) (3) (wrong; 2), and Saints win the South (4) (wrong about winner, but right about seeding; Panthers won South; Saints didn’t make the playoffs).  The 49ers (5) (wrong; didn’t make the playoffs; Cardinals were 5) and Bears (6) (wrong; didn’t make the playoffs; Lions were 6) will be the wild cards.

In the AFC: The Patriots win the East (right) (1) (right), Ravens win the North (wrong; Steelers won North; Ravens were 6 as wild card; ) (2) (wrong; Steelers were 3; Broncos were 2), Colts win the South (right) (3) (wrong; 4), and Broncos win the West (right) (4) (wrong; 2).  The Bengals (5) (right) and Chargers (6) (wrong; didn’t make the playoffs; Ravens were 6) will be the wild cards.  The Chiefs will finish last in the West, making their 9-0 start last season a distant memory (wrong; finished 2nd at 9-7).

In the postseason:
Wild Card: Packers, Broncos, 49ers, and Chargers win (Panthers, Ravens, Colts, and Cowboys won [controversially])
Divisional: 49ers, Broncos, Packers, and Patriots win (Patriots[!], Seahawks, Packers [controversially], and Colts won)
Conference Champions: Packers (NFC) and Patriots (AFC) (Seahawks [NFC] [Packers blew it late] and Patriots [AFC] [controversially]), setting up a Super Bowl XXXI rematch (set up a 2012 regular season rematch). Only this time…
Super Bowl XLIX Champions: Patriots (finally right, unfortunately)

Each year I predict the Patriots to win it all, I am relieved to be wrong. Will that happen again this year? (Unfortunately, no. They won.)

Locally, I expect the Giants to finish last in the NFC East (wrong; 3rd; Redskins were last) and the Jets to finish third in the AFC East (wrong; last by four games). Due to the Jets’ underwhelming season, Rex Ryan will be fired as head coach (right). (Rex ended up head coach of the Bills. Jets hired Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as their next head coach.)