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Fourth nor’easter in 19 days March 23, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Personal, Photography, Weather.
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I said last week that if we ended up getting a fourth nor’easter in nearly three weeks, I would write about it. We got it and I’m writing about it.

The spring equinox came at 12:15 PM (Eastern) on Tuesday afternoon, but the first full day of spring saw a major winter storm. It was the fourth nor’easter in 19 days, which led to the Twitter hashtags #foureaster and #noreaster4. As usual, in the days leading up to impact, the forecast models yo-yo’d between a lot of wet snow, a little wet snow, and nothing. We ended up with a lot.

Precipitation began at 5PM Tuesday in the form of intermittent sleet. It began to mix with and change to wet snow around 10AM Wednesday morning. It coated all surfaces, but melted slightly as the day progressed. Snow fell lightly or stopped altogether in the afternoon and early evening. As the sun set, snow began to stick to pavement again.

After 8PM, the real snow arrived. Bands of moderate to heavy snow set up for several hours, tapering off early in the morning. Thankfully, wind was not an issue, but wet snow on the power lines was. Power went out for a split second each at around 12:20 and 3:30. I slept through the latter outage and figured out when it occurred when I saw the blinking stove clock.

The end result was 10 inches of wet snow on the grass and an inch less in the driveway.

I thought me or my dad would finally get to use the snow thrower that he bought after January’s blizzard. However, just before 9AM, while my dad was in court (for legal work), my mom and sister had to get to work in Freeport, where school openings were delayed two hours. My sister shoveled around her car, but I was tasked with shoveling around my mom’s. After I finished my task, I went into a mental zone and kept on shoveling. After an hour and a half, I had shoveled the driveway, the left side of the house, and the sidewalk up to the property line. I couldn’t shovel everything. Any snow packed in by tire tracks was left intact. I didn’t bother to shovel any snow that fell off tree limbs in areas I’d already shoveled. As you’ll see below, the sun and 40-degree temperatures did a great job melting most of the snow and turning the tire tracks to slush. So, at sunset, I shoveled as much of the slush as I could.

My dad returned from court to change, but not to throw snow, though he did throw a snowball at the porch before he went back out to his law office. The snow thrower will have to wait until next winter (or late fall) to make its debut.

Now for the photographic timeline, starting Wednesday at 8:04 AM:

10:36 AM:

12:54 PM:

2:52 PM:

5:19 PM:

7:02 PM:

9:03 PM:

Without the flash:

A few minutes later, I rushed to photograph a plow:

11:01 PM, with and without the flash:

I only kept the flash picture for this one since the results were identical:

Thursday, 7:05 AM:

10:34 AM, after shoveling:

A Northern Cardinal spotting at 12:03 PM:

2PM:

5:04 PM:

Finally, this shot at 7:18 PM, after shoveling slush:

Surely, this was the last significant snowfall until at least November.

The end of the Wii Shop March 21, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Personal, Technology, Video, Video Games.
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The Wii Shop Channel on the Nintendo Wii is closing for good on January 30, 2019. Next Monday is the last day to buy points to download Virtual Console and WiiWare titles in the shop. Buy now. You have until 4PM ET/1PM PT that day. 3/27 UPDATE: Points can no longer be purchased.

I didn’t know about the Wii Shop’s fate until last Thursday when the YouTube channel My Life in Gaming, run by Coury Carlson and Marc “Try4ce” (or just “Try”) Duddleson, posted this video:

The video highlights select Virtual Console games from retro consoles and arcades, as well as select WiiWare titles. Each console segment has a guest selection from other YouTubers. Those YouTubers are Jonathan Williams a.k.a. The 8-Bit Duke, John Linneman from Digital Foundry, G Gracin III of G to the Next Level, Joe Redifer of Game Sack, Derek Alexander of Stop Skeletons from Fighting, Anthony Cavallo a.k.a. AntDude, Chris Alaimo who runs the Classic Gaming Quarterly channel, and Erin Plays.

$1 is equal to 100 Wii Shop points. Points are sold in $10 increments between $10 and $50, plus tax.

I was reluctant to buy points for the first few days after the video went up. I had 900 points left over from a shopping spree last year and used them on Sunday afternoon to buy the original arcade version of Golden Axe. That spree led me to purchase the four Donkey Kong games for the NES, Sonic 1 and 2 on the Sega Master System, and Pilotwings and Kirby’s Dreamland 3 on the Super NES. The only Virtual Console purchase prior to that was Yoshi for the NES. I didn’t utilize the wired internet connection adapter until a few years ago and didn’t know the Wii was Wi-Fi compatible until last May when I bought a refurbished Wii U and transferred my Wii data to it, leaving the Wii for Gamecube games.

Monday evening, I took the plunge, twice shelling out $50 plus tax to buy 10,000 points. I used those points to buy the following:

  • Arcade: Altered Beast, Ninja Gaiden, Rygar, Shinobi, Space Harrier, Tecmo Bowl, Wonder Boy in Monster Land
  • Neo Geo: Neo Turf Masters
  • NES: Kirby’s Adventure, Startropics
  • SNES: Kirby Super Star
  • N64: Mario Party 2, Super Smash Bros.

Let me explain some of my purchases: I bought Kirby’s Adventure because I know the save battery in my cartridge will go sooner or later. Neo Geo consoles and games are ridiculously expensive. Cart only, Mario Party 2 is at least $23 on eBay while Super Smash Bros. starts at $32. The DS reissue of Kirby Super Star starts at $14 loose on eBay; $21 with the case and manual. The original Super Nintendo cartridge goes for at least $40. The arcade purchases were to avoid using MAME or buying the original PCBs.

About an hour after my farewell spree, I wrote a truncated version of the above on Twitter. It was in reply to My Life in Gaming’s follow-up tweet about the video which tagged all YouTubers involved, I didn’t list the arcade games. Chris Alaimo selected Golden Axe, Coury recommended Shinobi and Space Harrier, and Try touted Wonder Boy in Monster Land. None of the other games I listed were recommended in the video, which led Joe Redifer to facetiously reply:

Nobody in the video recommended any of those games. Please return them and download ONLY the games we recommended. Thanks!

I replied in kind with “At once, sir!,” following up with “I assume we’re both kidding.” Both were liked by Joe.

Chris was next to quip:

Honestly. It’s like why do we even bother? 😛

So, I said:

I’m only one man. Surely, others that haven’t replied bought all the games you all recommended.

And he replied:

They better have. I have kids to feed.

Then, yesterday morning, I rewatched the arcade portion of the video so I could finally note that I did buy the arcade games that were recommended.

Farewell, Wii Shop. You will live on through my Virtual Console purchases. I didn’t buy any WiiWare titles, though.

3/22/18 UPDATE: After watching the “Franchise Killers 2” episode of Game Sack, I decided to buy one WiiWare title: Castlevania The Adventure Rebirth. Bye again, Wii Shop.

Three nor’easters in twelve days March 14, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Photography, Travel, Weather.
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Three nor’easters have come through Long Island in a 12-day period. The first came back on March 2, as I wrote in my guest reading post:

While I was inside Giblyn, a nor’easter was raging outside. A mix of rain and snow fell as coastal flooding affected streets around the school, at least in the morning at high tide. I didn’t grasp how bad the storm was until riding home and then arriving home. A few small tree limbs were in the driveway while a bigger one fell in my neighbor’s backyard. Power went out twice around 3PM, based on my mother’s DVR recording of General Hospital and the time flashing on the stove clock.

The second nor’easter hit five days later – last Wednesday, March 7. Those ever-changing computer forecast models wavered back and forth from a little wet snow to a lot of wet snow, back to a little, up to a moderate amount, and back to a lot again. The deciding factor was the point when the rain would change to wet snow and how much of it would accumulate. At least the wind wasn’t as bad.

Anticipating the worst, I periodically took pictures outside my bedroom window in Wantagh.

I took the first at 12:08 PM:

2:36 PM:

4:48 PM:

7:23 PM:

The end result was “a little.” I didn’t measure how much fell, but it must have been two inches at most.

The next day at 7:13 AM:

With a strong March sun and air temperatures in the 40s, I didn’t need to shovel the driveway. But I was impatient. So, around 10AM, I shoveled what hadn’t melted, mostly what was brushed off the three SUVs.

I took this at 10:25 AM, a few minutes after I’d finished:

The last shot was taken at 2PM:

The third nor’easter clipped Long Island yesterday, March 13, the 25th anniversary of Superstorm ’93, also known as the Storm of the Century. (I detailed my experience in a March 2013 post.)

The initial forecast called for a wintry mix, but then those pesky forecast models intervened and the threat of significant wet snow loomed. As the storm approached, it became clear that Suffolk County would get more snow than Nassau, where I live. In the end, just 2.7 inches accumulated in Wantagh, according to a trained spotter for the National Weather Service. (More totals can be seen here.)

I spent the day in Freeport and took the pictures below on the way there and at my final destination.

We start at 8:12 AM before leaving the house:

On the road between 8:21 and 8:34 AM, at the intersection of Island Road and Wantagh Avenue:

Wantagh Avenue:

Park Avenue:

Old Mill Road:

Sunrise Highway from Bellmore to Freeport:

8:47 AM, looking south at a general parking lot and the side of Our Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church:

10:25 AM:

Noon, shortly after snow ended:

The winds picked up as the snow tapered off, but again, nothing like the first nor’easter.

3:13 PM:

When I got back home at 4:56 PM, I took a parting shot from my bedroom window:

A fourth storm is due to arrive next Tuesday, the first day of spring. If we even get it, I will dedicate a separate post to it.

Guest reading at my old elementary school a fourth time March 5, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Books, DVD, Education, Personal, Photography, TV, Video, Weather.
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Previous guest reading posts: 20152016, 2017

Friday was March 2, Dr. Seuss‘s birthday, which meant it was time to read his books at Leo F. Giblyn School in Freeport. It was my fourth year as a guest reader. I finally learned what this day is commonly known as: National Read Across America Day.

I read to seven classrooms and two remedial reading classes. For the latter, which were taught by my friend Lori Downing, I read Green Eggs and Ham. As the other seven classes, I read The LoraxIf I Ran the ZooHop on PopDr. Seuss’s Sleep BookMr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, and Gerald McBoing Boing, the book that started my guest reading journey.

What separates me from other readers is I incorporate voice acting into my reading. I even take cartoon character requests. My throat grew scratchy after doing certain voices, but it was worth it to entertain the kids.

Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book has a newscast tone, so I read it like a news anchor. For The Lorax and the end of Green Eggs and Ham, I based my delivery on the acting in the 1970s CBS specials. Green Eggs and Ham was part of Dr. Seuss on the Loose in 1973 while The Lorax was a full half hour the year before. I first saw them on VHS in the late ’80s and then again on DVD about a decade ago.

As I read, I had the teachers take candid pictures. I combined those, and one Lori took of me, into a collage:

While I was inside Giblyn, a nor’easter was raging outside. A mix of rain and snow fell as coastal flooding affected streets around the school, at least in the morning at high tide. I didn’t grasp how bad the storm was until riding home and then arriving home. A few small tree limbs were in the driveway while a bigger one fell in my neighbor’s backyard. Power went out twice around 3PM, based on my mother’s DVR recording of General Hospital and the time flashing on the stove clock.

I may not be able to guest read next year. My South Florida-based cousin is getting married on March 2. If that’s the case, I had a nice four-year run with so many great memories.