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A day at two museums and one park July 21, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Art, Education, Film, History, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel.
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One day last July, my friend Lori Downing and I toured the Fire Island Lighthouse. On Wednesday, our destination was Corona, Queens, to tour a pair of museums. Our first stop was the Louis Armstrong House Museum on 107th Street, followed by the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. In between, we walked through the park to see two relics from the 1964 New York World’s Fair: the abandoned New York State Pavilion, and the Unisphere. That part of this post includes home movies my grandfather shot at the fair, as well as recollections from my aunt Randy and Hank Neimark.

It took an hour and a half to get to our first stop due to heavy traffic on the Long Island Expressway (I-495) and Grand Central Parkway, and limited parking spots near the house. We parked a block away on 108th Street.

It would be 20 minutes until the next tour, so we walked through the garden…

…and looked at the pre-tour exhibits:

Photography was not allowed during the tour, but was allowed everywhere else.

I’m familiar with “What a Wonderful World,” but not enough to know it was recorded in 1967. That means this year marks its 50th anniversary:

The gift shop at the entrance:

The tour began just after noon. Our guide was Elaine, a museum docent that lives only 12 blocks away. She brought us back to the exhibit room for a short introductory DVD. It was then that I learned his name is pronounced phonetically, as in “Lewis,” not “Louie.” After the DVD, Elaine guided us to the house.

Everything in the house is nearly as it was when Louis’s wife Lucille died in 1983, 12 years after his passing. Even the doorbell, which Elaine rang before we walked in, was original.

After walking in, Elaine guided us to the living room, which included portraits of Louis and Lucille, lavish furnishings, and a Spinet piano (which he didn’t play).

Louis and I have something in common: home speech recordings. His medium was reel-to-reel tape; my media were cassette and microcassette. When I was younger, I would record myself, either talking about what I’d been up to recently, interviewing family members, or co-hosting a “radio show” with my cousin Chris. That last one was also recorded on video. While we were in the den, Elaine played a few examples of Louis’s speech recordings. As we learned later in the tour, he also recorded singing and trumpet improvisation from home.

The next stop was the downstairs bathroom with bathtub. The wall and ceiling were all mirrors. After that, it was on to the dining room, which led into the kitchen. Floral wallpaper adorned the walls and part of the ceiling. The cabinets and dishwasher were blue while the counter, sink, and dual oven (with six gas burners) was white. A can opener was built into the wall along with a compartment with paper towels, foil, and plastic wrap. Adjacent to the kitchen was a smaller dining room, which served as Louis and Lucille’s bedroom while Lucille’s mother lived with them and stayed in their bedroom.

The tour headed upstairs where the aforementioned bedroom and recording room were located. The bedroom had a double-size bed with drawers on either side, paintings of scenery hanging on the walls, Mylar wallpaper, a lamp, and a chandelier. The Mylar wallpaper carried into the spacious bathroom and closet. The recording room had reel-to-reel tape decks, amps, a record player, radio, shelves of records and tapes, a desk, and a portrait of Louis painted by his friend Tony Bennett. Bennett signed it with his real surname: Benedetto. Actually, the tapes and records are housed at Queens College, but will move to the Education Center that is going to be constructed across the street from Louis’s house.

That concluded the tour. I didn’t list everything that Lori and I saw and were told by Elaine, but I feel I’ve shared enough. I highly recommend taking the tour. Plan your visit here.

When we got back outside, Elaine suggested we pose with Louis’s cutout. She said it was necessary to gesture as he did:

Lori suggested taking one with Elaine:

In the gift shop, I bought a sticker, pin, picture postcards, and a DVD of an American Masters documentary from 1989: Satchmo: The Life of Louis Armstrong. Some of the interviews were filmed in the living room.

Before we left, I signed the guest book:

Lori and I walked back to her car and we drove to the Queens Museum at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

As I noted at the top, we walked through the park first. On our way to the Unisphere, I got a great view of the New York State Pavilion:

The Unisphere:

Lori walked toward the fountains, but I stayed behind; I didn’t want to get wet:

A different angle:

A closer look at the New York State Pavilion:

I even caught a quick glimpse inside the pavilion right before the gates were closed:

They were open because New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio toured the interior earlier in the afternoon.

Lori was fortunate enough to attend the 1964 New York World’s Fair, as did my grandparents, parents, and my parents’ siblings. My maternal grandfather, Arthur Rose, brought his movie camera to the fair and captured what he saw. The film, along with all of his home movies, was transferred to VHS 30 years ago. Six years ago, I transferred the VHS tapes to an external hard drive and then to DVDs.

Here is what my grandfather captured:

I also posted the film to Facebook, which garnered nothing but positive feedback and memories. My aunt Randy Stephen (née Rose), who was in the film, had this to say:

That was really wonderful, Mike (although I can just imagine how many times grandma must have yelled at grandpa for his camera work 😝)! I do remember going to the World’s Fair a few times, although I was only 6 or 7 at the time. The kid going crazy in the beginning must have been Bruce Goldberger, since I saw his mom, Ann, in the movie, as well. They were our neighbors in [the] Colony Park [section of Freeport].

Hank Neimark – a fellow alumnus of LIU Post and its radio station, WCWP – was there, too:

Michael Kosmin (Charter WCWP-FM guy) and I, claiming that we were doing radio reports on the ’64 World’s Fair, managed to get rides on the Goodyear Blimp. We contacted Goodyear PR, got permission over the phone, and with Nagra in hand headed out to the now abandoned Flushing airport. Of course we weren’t on the air yet, butcha know…. What a thrill. Over Manhattan, over the bridges, and over the Fair. We hitched on to the blimp twice.

Thank you to Hank and Aunt Randy for your stories.

Before heading into the Queens Museum, I heard a plane flying overhead – likely approaching nearby LaGuardia Airport – and quickly photographed it:

Founded in 1972, the Queens Museum is housed in the New York City Building, a pavilion built for the 1939 New York World’s Fair and used again for the 1964 fair. In between the fairs, it was the home of the United Nations General Assembly for the U.N.’s first few years of existence. (Sources: Building History | Queens Museum, Queens Museum Wikipedia entry)

Lori and I looked at a few exhibits in the museum, starting with another relic of the 1964 World’s Fair: the Panorama of the City of New York:

I had to sharpen the pictures below since they came out blurry.

I didn’t have to sharpen these:

World’s Fair Visible Storage:

This houses memorabilia from the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs.

Nine: 2017 Queens Museum Studio Program Exhibition:

Our second museum trip concluded with the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass:

After I bought a book of World’s Fair postcards in the gift shop, Lori and I returned to the car and she drove me home. There was heavy traffic going back, too, so it took another hour and a half to get home. The traffic gave us plenty of time to talk and listen to the jazz CDs I brought with me.

I had a wonderful time at the museums and in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Thanks again, Lori. Until next year.

Guest reading at my old elementary school a third time March 6, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Books, Education, Personal, Photography.
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Previous guest reading posts: 2015, 2016

I was back at Leo F. Giblyn School in Freeport last Thursday to read Dr. Seuss books on the week of his birthday for the third year in a row. But that wasn’t all. I also helped with the morning announcements by reading a Dr. Seuss-inspired poem/quiz. My delivery style received praise from teachers and students alike.

I read a variety of books this year. The book I read to most classes was The Cat in the Hat. I also read Horton Hatches an Egg; One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; My Many Colored Days; and Gerald McBoing Boing, the first book I read two years ago.

As usual, I incorporated voice acting into my reading, which led to cartoon character requests afterward. I even got requests for presidential impressions.

My sister Lauren told me on Friday that the school was still buzzing about me a day later. That made me beam with pride, just as I was beaming when I was there on Thursday.

Until next year, here’s this year’s [mostly] candid shot collage:
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9PM UPDATE: This afternoon, I received a gift bag of food from Trader Joe’s with a card that read as follows:

Dear Mike,

Thank you so much for all your help on each and every Dr. Seuss/Read Across America Day at Giblyn. Thank you especially this year! ♥ You were really the star of the day. Your talent in reading, voices, and photography ensures a successful day!

–The Giblyn Reading Dept.

2016 WCWP Homecoming Weekend, first few hours October 7, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Education, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Video.
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For the second year in a row, I was the leadoff hitter, so to speak, for the WCWP Homecoming Weekend. Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri kicked things off at noon today.

I left the house just before 9:00 and took the Hicksville-Wantagh Community Shuttle to Hicksville LIRR Station. Once I got there, I had to wait a half hour for the n20H to arrive. I was at LIU Post by 10:15.

Once I got to WCWP, LIU Post’s campus radio station, I set up in Studio 2 and took a few pictures:
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Eventually, noon came and the show began. After my first aircheck, I had Jeff Kroll take a picture of me at the board:
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Jeff and his wife Pat were in the building during my show, as were Bruce Leonard and Magick Mike Hendryx, whose show followed mine.

I took two more pictures during the show:
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Overall, I had a great show. There were a few mistakes and flubs, but that always happens in a live broadcast. Here’s how I looked and sounded during airchecks:

And here’s how the transitions between songs sounded:

Now that you’ve heard the airchecks, and seen their video equivalent, here’s the playlist.

I’ll be back at LIU Post and WCWP tomorrow for Homecoming and the announcement of the 2017 class of the WCWP Hall of Fame.

Before we go, here are two pictures from the start of Magick Mike Hendryx’s show, engineered by Bruce Leonard, and video of his opening aircheck:
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15 years in radio; two shows on WCWP next weekend October 3, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Education, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Sports.
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Wednesday marks 15 years since my first radio show on Webradio WCWP, now known as MyWCWP. The maiden voyage of The Mike Chimeri Show, a contemporary jazz instrumentals show (naturally), embarked at 7PM on Friday, October 5, 2001. The first song I played was “Mountain Dance” by Dave Grusin.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think of recording the show for posterity, which I’ve done for all but one show since, but I did save the playlist:
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88 shows followed, plus another 95 after 10 months at WGBB.

I miss the days of having a weekly show, which I haven’t had since Evening Jazz on 88.1 WCWP in 2010, but I’m proud to have a show each Homecoming Weekend. Like last year, however, I will have two shows on Homecoming Weekend, and at the same times. The shows will bear the name Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri.

The first show kicks off the weekend, live on Friday, October 7, at noon Eastern. I pre-recorded the second show two weeks ago from home and it will air early Sunday, October 9, at 2AM Eastern.

The live show will consist of all but three songs from albums released this year. The other three songs are from last year. Among the artists you’ll hear are Chuck Loeb, Yellowjackets, Richard Elliot, and Gerald Albright.

The pre-recorded show is a 50-year music journey, running from 1966 through 2016. Expect to hear Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Chet Atkins, David Benoit, Acoustic Alchemy, and plenty more.

Both shows can be heard locally on 88.1 FM, and worldwide at WCWP.org and on the TuneIn app.

In between, I can be found at LIU Post on Homecoming Day itself – Saturday, October 8. I’ll mostly be at the Abrams Communications Building, home of WCWP, but I plan on dropping by the Pioneers’ football game against Saint Anselm College, their 2014 Homecoming opponent.

Later in the afternoon, the 2017 class of the WCWP Hall of Fame will be announced. I always look forward to the announcement, and then the ceremony itself each spring.

I hope you’ll be listening to WCWP all Homecoming Weekend long. I’m honored to get the ball rolling again this year. Jeff Kroll wraps the weekend up at 10PM on October 9.

Guest reading at my old elementary school again March 3, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Books, Education, Personal, Photography.
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It’s the week of Dr. Seuss‘s birthday, which can only mean one thing: Dr. Seuss Spirit Week at Leo F. Giblyn School in Freeport. Tuesday was the only day devoted to guest readers this year, and I was honored to be invited back after the fun I had last year.

I chose My Many Colored Days as my book, which I read to a few classes, but I was coaxed into reading Gerald McBoing Boing again. I did, reprising all the voices I used last year. I also read I Am Not Going to Get Up Today to an after-school class.

Like last year, I ended up fielding many cartoon character voice requests, plus a few Full/Fuller House characters. My throat was sore by day’s end, but it was worth it to entertain the kids.

When I wasn’t reading and doing impressions, I photographed a few other guest readers.

I’m already looking forward to next year. Until then, I’ll leave with this collage of candid shots taken while I read:
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2015 WCWP Homecoming Weekend, first few hours October 10, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Education, Football, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, TV, Video.
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I was honored to kick off this year’s WCWP Homecoming Weekend with a live edition of Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri yesterday at noon.

I went right to bed after getting home from the 50th anniversary celebration on Thursday night because I had to get up at sunrise yesterday morning. That allowed me time to edit pictures and video that you saw in the above post before getting a ride from my father up to WCWP at around 8:45.

As a result, I arrived 2 1/2 hours early, which gave me plenty of time to set up. I took a few pictures when I entered Studio 1:
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The next six pictures were taken while my show was on the air:
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Joel Feltman took this shot:
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LIU Post/WCWP alumnus Tom Murphy caught some of my show on 88.1 FM. When he heard it was Homecoming Weekend, he decided to drop by the station. He was complimentary of the music I played.

His fellow alum Dan Cox requested a picture, and I was more than happy to oblige:
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Tom wasn’t the only one complimentary of my show. Jeff and Pat Kroll, and the aforementioned Joel Feltman, were equally laudatory.

After my show, it was Jeff Kroll’s turn:
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He’ll be on plenty this weekend.

Jeff’s setup:
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Next on the schedule was Joel Feltman:
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On my way to the bus stop, heading for home, I noticed a familiar name on the LIU Post Alumni Walk: Fred Gaudelli. This sign was posted by Pell Hall:
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There’s also a Ted David sign by the Great Lawn, which I took a picture of two weeks ago:
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I’ll be back later today for Homecoming itself and the announcement of the 2016 WCWP Hall of Fame class. (10/11 UPDATE: Click here for the recap.) I’ll conclude this post, no pun intended, with my show’s playlist:
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…along with video and audio of my airchecks, which includes the beginning of Jeff’s show:


10/9/15 Aircheck

WCWP-FM 50th Anniversary Celebration: October Edition October 9, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Education, Media, Personal, Photography, Video.
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Previous 50th Anniversary Celebration: March 2015

Homecoming Weekend at LIU Post began Thursday as WCWP’s FM station once again celebrated 50 years on the air. This time, the celebration was on campus in the Great Hall at Winnick House.

As usual, I had my camera at the ready. Here’s what I shot:

Scott and Janet Perschke, Jeff Kroll, Jay Elzweig, Alan Seltzer:
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Dan Cox, Pete Bellotti:
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Janet Perschke, Alan Seltzer, Scott Perschke:
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Jay Elzweig, Bernie Bernard, Melissa Bernard:
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Pat and Jeff Kroll, Joe Honerkamp:
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Bobby Guthenberg joined in for the next shot:
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Me, John Zoni:
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Pete Bellotti, Beverly (née Koondel) and Jeff Bolnick:
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About a half hour in, Jeff Kroll and WCWP Station Manager Dan Cox addressed attendees.

Jeff spoke first:
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Then, it was Dan’s turn:
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After dinner, Dan’s daughter Emily presented him with a birthday cake:
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Pat and Jeff Kroll, Mike Ferrari, Scott Perschke, Bernie Bernard, Bobby Guthenberg, Jay Elzweig:
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Scott Perschke, Alan Seltzer, Bobby Guthenberg:
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Scott and Janet Perschke:
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Naoko and Perry Holst:
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Dan Cox with his wife Nancy, daughter Emily, and Emily’s boyfriend A.J.:
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Here’s to 50 more years of WCWP 88.1 FM!

We leave you with video of Jeff and Dan; a guest appearance by Dr. Kimberly Cline, President of LIU Post; and Dan receiving his birthday cake:

Click here to see sights and sounds from the first few hours of WCWP Homecoming Weekend.

WCWP-FM 50th Anniversary Celebration March 20, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Education, Media, Personal, Photography, Radio, Video.
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WCWP 88.1 FM, LIU Post’s radio station, commemorated 50 years on the air with an anniversary dinner Saturday night at Page One Restaurant in Glen Cove, and a celebratory anniversary show Monday afternoon.

The dinner marked my first time back at Page One in nine years when WCWP had its annual station dinner there. Here’s an exterior shot I took prior to the 2003 station dinner:
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Station banner inside Page One:
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A couple of group shots with the banner:
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WCWP-FM signed on 50 years ago Monday at 4PM, which was marked by a four-hour anniversary show that ran an hour before to three hours after that original sign-on.

Hank Neimark provided that original sign-on. WCWP station manager Dan Cox shot a picture at 4:00:00 today of Hank reprising his sign-on (courtesy WCWP Alumni Association Facebook group):
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Here’s how it sounded…:

…and looked (via Bobby Guthenberg):

The full four hours can be heard here.

Guest reading at my old elementary school March 5, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Books, Education, Personal, Photography, Weather.
2 comments

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I was at Leo F. Giblyn School in Freeport on Monday as a guest reader for Dr. Seuss Spirit Week. I read Dr. Seuss books to four different classes and an unrelated weather book to a fifth class.

It was great to be back where I attended third and fourth grade. (I spent kindergarten, first grade, and second grade up the road at Archer Street.) My mother has been a teaching assistant at Giblyn for about 25 years and my sister has also worked there in many roles for about a decade.

The books I read on Monday were One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; Dr. Seuss’s ABC; and Gerald McBoing Boing, which I read twice.

The first Gerald McBoing Boing reading was the highlight of my day. I did impressions for two of the characters. One voice was Don Adams’ Maxwell Smart (which was an impression of William Powell) and the other was Casey Kasem with a hint of Vin Scully. When I noted in the Q&A that Casey was also the voice of Shaggy on the various Scooby-Doo series, I ended up taking several cartoon character voice requests.

When I wasn’t reading, I was jumping from classroom to classroom taking pictures of other guest readers.

The kids loved me, especially since I was Mrs. Chimeri’s son and Ms. Chimeri’s brother. Case in point, the next day, my sister told me one student said “your brother was awesome.” The teachers I saw agreed with that assessment.

I’d love to come back again. It was a busy day, but I enjoyed it. I’ll conclude this post with a collage I made from candid shots taken while I read:
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I made the collage because I don’t know if I’m allowed to post full pictures with students in them without parents’ permission.

Five days of scanning January 30, 2015

Posted 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.