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2021 LIU Post & WCWP Homecoming Weekend, WCWP’s 60th Anniversary October 19, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Aviation, Football, Health, History, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Radio, Rock, Sports, Technology, Travel, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Other recaps: 20082009WCWP 50th Anniversary (2011)20122013201420152016, 2017, 2018, 2019

After a year away, Homecoming Weekend was back in full force! And WCWP’s 60th anniversary on Monday made it a four-day weekend!

It was my first time back on the campus of LIU Post since October 28, 2019 – a week after the last Homecoming – with Ryan Grabow.

On Thursday, October 14, I charged up my camcorder and changed batteries in the shotgun mic and audio recorder. I also charged up my GoPro Hero 7 for multi camera production, but didn’t use it.

Friday, October 15

I left for LIU Post via Uber at 10:30. Upon arrival, I gave my COVID-19 self-check form – which I filled out before I left – to the gate attendant. Then, I was driven down to WCWP in the Abrams Communication Center. I immediately went to work as Art Beltrone and Hank Neimark pre-recorded an interview in studio 1 for Monday’s 60th anniversary broadcast. The guest and recorder was Samantha “Sami J” Negron.

Here is the interview:

After that, I moved my equipment into studio 2 to record part of Art Beltrone’s solo show, WCWP’s Early Years, which kicked off the 60-hour (hey, 60 hours + 60 years!) Homecoming Weekend programming block. Jeff Kroll was the board operator and his wife Pat was producer.

Hank Neimark was Art’s first guest:

Jay Elzweig introduced the songs, all from 1961, the year WCWP signed on:

Several WCWP alumni were interviewed via Zoom:

Two of the Zoom guests were Stewart Ain…:

…and Steve Radoff:

Another show feature had Art reading Post Pioneer newspaper articles. This one was “Message to the Students from the Provost”:

Jay showed off his t-shirt:

The show closed with a preview of 4:00’s Strictly Jazz with John LiBretto and Hank Neimark:

Art also asked Jeff and Pat Kroll their thoughts:

After Art’s closing remarks, the show was over.

Here’s video of portions of WCWP’s Early Years:

Joan Yonke, LIU Post Campus Director of Employer and Alumni Engagement, dropped by the station during Early Years and came back again afterward. It’s always nice to see her.

While the pre-recorded WCWP Career Paths with Bill Mozer ran, I took some photos in the lounge area:

Here’s Homecoming Weekend coordinator Zach’s dog Diesel:

Strictly Jazz started a few minutes after 4PM due to technical difficulties, but ran without a hitch after that.

As you saw, Jeff Kroll ran the board again.

Joining John LiBretto…:

…and Hank Neimark…:

…was Rita Sands, appearing by phone.

They spoke to Jon Korkes via Zoom (after John held Jeff’s “un-mute” message up to the webcam):

They spoke to me in studio 2:

And after my dad picked up to drive me home, Ted David on Zoom:

Here is my video of the first hour:

And the scope of the entire show, just as in 2019 when it aired before mine:

10/20 UPDATE: John Zoni took over studio 2 at 6PM:

Sami J was on at 8PM with Total Access:

My friend and ardent supporter Jay Mirabile had a special edition of his DFK Show at 10PM. Here’s a photo he posted with Sami and Peter Sacoulas:

And his aircheck:

Saturday, October 16

I spent much of the morning editing media and drafting this blog post. I left for Post, this time with my dad, shortly after 1PM.

Both gates were open with no need to check in. So, when we got to campus at 1:30, I photographed the turn into the east gate:

Bernie Bernard and Adam Smook were congregating in studio 3. Adam and I are both from Wantagh – Wantagh Woods, at that! – as we discussed. We also talked about fellow alumnus Frank D’Elia, who worked with Adam at WOR and then WABC.

Jay Elzweig and Jett Lightning came in, as our WABC discussion continued, eventually turning to jingles. Bernie mentioned how JAM Creative Productions recorded a name jingle for her. That jingle has become part of her annual Homecoming Weekend show, which airs after coverage of the football game.

The LIU Sharks‘ Homecoming football game was against the Merrimack Warriors. Merrimack won convincingly 43-5. The Sharks only got a safety and a field goal. I walked toward Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium during the third quarter.

I planespotted to and from Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium, watching planes turn toward JFK. This is Delta flight 169 from BCN (Barcelona El Prat Airport):

JetBlue flight B6192 from ACK (Nantucket Memorial Airport):

Carnival attractions in the parking lot:

“Hoco”? That’s a new one on me.

The stadium entrance:

A play on Bronko Piersall Field:

The scoreboard:

The new press box and stands:

The opposite side:

That’s enough for me. Back to the station.

Emirates flight 201 from DXB (Dubai International Airport):

Jeff Kroll told me he’s been on that flight in the past, all 13 hours of it.

Delta flight 858 from ATL (Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport):

Delta flight 4721 from BNA (Nashville International Airport):

WCWP’s transmitter:

When the game was over, I got to work photographing the postgame show, hosted by John Zoni:

Here is my aircheck of the postgame show, which includes final thoughts from the broadcast booth by Tom Scavetta and Alex Damiris:

Next, the aforementioned Bernie Bernard:

The first page of her playlist:

Jett Lightning was Bernie’s first guest:

Then, me:

Meanwhile, WCWP’s internet station, The Wave, hosted a barbecue outside. Zach was the grillmaster:

Dave asked for a picture:

Seconds later, Qatar Airways flight 701 from DOH (Doha Hamad International Airport) was flying about as low as the earlier Emirates plane:

Jeff’s been on that flight, too. It’s 14 hours long! Nonetheless, he raved about their service.

One last Delta plane: flight 1984 from SAL (San Salvador International Airport):

Back inside, John Zoni and Lew Scharfberg wrapped up the bagels from earlier in the day:

Jay Elzweig was the last of Bernie’s guests that I photographed and video recorded:

In addition to reminiscing, he gave the weather forecast, right up my alley as a fellow weather buff:

The weather Friday and Saturday was warm and a little humid, but a cold front came through Saturday night, leading to seasonably mild and dry conditions Sunday and Monday.

Video of all three segments (my vidcap is the thumbnail):

I chose to leave earlier this year, but there was more to do before I left.

I photographed Art Beltrone’s interview with Nick Mattina and Griffin Ward:

Art:

Nick:

Griffin:

Art’s notes:

A candid shot of Art’s off-air conversation with Lew Scharfberg:

Then, I recorded Art’s interview with me. Here are vidcaps:

…and the video itself:

I mentioned Dan Cox’s predecessor as WCWP’s Director of Broadcasting, and Dan himself who has held the position for 19 years and counting, but forgot to acknowledge Joe Manfredi, the Director of Operations when I was a student. He’s my fellow 2021 WCWP Hall of Fame inductee along with Jay Mirabile. Participating on Zoom during the broadcast to remedy my omission voided the chance for this interview to air; no double-dipping.

Finally on Saturday, posed photos, starting with Peter Sacoulas and Sami Jo Negron:

Me with Peter and Sami:

John Zoni:

…and Tom Scavetta:

Art Beltrone, Bobby Guthenberg (a.k.a. Bobby G.), Joel Mahan:

Art, Bobby G., Jerry Reilly, Joel:

I met Joel and Jerry in 2019 and was so glad to see them again this year. Joel was eager to listen to my regular Wednesday night show and Bobby complimented my work.

Jett Lightning and Jay Elzweig:

Bernie Bernard:

Bernie and John Mertz:

A candid shot of Art Beltrone and Alan Seltzer:

…and posed:

And with my dad having arrived in the parking lot, the last photo was me with Bobby and Alan:

Like Art at the end of his interview with me, Bobby thanked me for everything I do. I told him I appreciate that.

It’s an aircheck palooza from here on out, except for any photos I find in the WCWP Alumni Association Facebook group. To that end, here’s a photo of another guest on Bernie’s show: her former student Joe Connelly:

Alan Seltzer and Bobby G., followed by just Alan:

And Bernie’s outro:

Bobby G. and Mike Riccio were next at 7PM. Here is a scope of their first hour:

Again, courtesy of Bernie, it’s Bobby and Jett:

Mike Riccio:

And the four original hosts of The Rock Show: Bobby, Mike, Alan and Bernie:

A partial scope of Alan’s 10PM show, Seltzer with a Twist:

Sunday, October 17

Once again, I spent the morning editing content from the day before and the aircheck of Instrumental Invasion. Full details about the show are in a separate post, but here’s the scoped aircheck:

I airchecked a handful of Sunday’s shows, also of the partial scope variety. Jay LaPrise was on at 8AM with The Why I Work in Television Radio Show:

At noon, “Jammin'” Jamie Mazzo and Sara “Sadie” Dorchak hosted The Ladies of Prison Break Radio. This is a partial scope, but a long one: 49 minutes. The aircheck begins with a trailer-style Homecoming Weekend promo voiced by Zach:

10/20 UPDATE: Next, at 4PM, Joseph P. Honerkamp. You can call him Joe. Here’s a full scope:

There’s also a video:

I made a scoped version with re-synced audio and the end part that the video missed:

Jett Lightning came on at 6PM with Lightning’s Hits and Rarities Reliquary. As you’ll hear, Jay Elzweig – weather forecast in tow – joined Jett later in the show:

Rock ‘N’ Soul Gospel followed at 8PM, hosted by Grandfather Rock Chris MacIntosh. His scope includes a community calendar spot voiced by me and a promo for Monday’s 60th anniversary special voiced by Jeff Kroll:

And as midnight approached, Zach wrapped up the weekend that was:

Monday, October 18

I had yet another morning of editing; in this case, Sunday’s aircheck scopes heard above.

Noon came, and so began the WCWP 60th anniversary broadcast, hosted by Art Beltrone and Hank Neimark, board operated by Jeff Kroll, and produced by Pat Kroll; same as Friday.

My initial plan was to listen to the stream, but as noted earlier, I joined in on Zoom. Here are some screencaps:

Show timeline:

  • Introduction with sign-on audio
  • Dr. Jennifer Holmes, Dean of Arts, Communications, and Design; and Michael Berthel, Chief of Staff and Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Hank counts down to 12:15, pops champagne, cuts cake
  • Dr. Kimberly Cline, LIU President
  • Jeff Kroll
  • Dan Cox, WCWP Director of Broadcasting, reads citation from Nassau County Executive Laura Curran
  • Hank Neimark
  • Bruce Mahler (via Zoom)
  • Jon Cole (via Zoom)
  • John Commins (via Zoom)
  • Joel Feltman (via Zoom)
  • Diane Taylor (via Zoom)
  • Stewart Ain (via Zoom)
  • Joe Honerkamp (via Zoom)
  • John LiBretto (via Zoom)
  • Jon Korkes (via Zoom)
  • Rita Sands (on the phone)
  • Bernie Bernard (recorded Saturday)
  • Jeff asks Art and Hank to share their recollections
  • Harry Lowenthal (via Zoom)
  • Mike Chimeri (via Zoom)
  • Bobby Guthenberg (via Zoom)
  • Zach Parker
  • West Side Story opened in theaters the same day WCWP signed on
  • Alan Seltzer (via Zoom)
  • Ted David (recorded via Zoom)
  • Jeff’s recollections, John Commins and Mike Chimeri’s interjections
  • Aleen “Junie” Thomas (via Zoom)
  • Dr. William Martinov, LIU Director of Athletics (recorded Saturday)
  • Andrew Scarpaci (recorded Saturday)
  • Art and Hank re-read citation
  • Pat Kroll
  • Joe Honerkamp and Stewart Ain share stories about Mrs. Abrams
  • Lew Scharfberg (via Zoom)
  • Bruce Leonard (via Zoom)
  • Fred Gaudelli (via Zoom)
  • Bill Mozer (on the phone)
  • Jon Cole, Mike Chimeri, Fred Gaudelli, Joel Feltman speak to Bill
  • Elise Person (recorded on the phone)
  • End

The show was 2 1/2 hours, but I’m posting audio in three parts. Here’s part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

And my pre-record-voiding appearance:

Pat Kroll also took several photos, starting with the cake:

Art with the cake:

Hank, Jeff, Art:

Hank cutting the cake:

Dr. Cline:

Dan Cox reads County Executive Curran’s citation:

The citation:

Thank you very much for reading, viewing, and hearing all the way to the end. To repeat myself, I greatly appreciate the support I get for the work I do. This was a labor of love and friendship.

60 cheers to WCWP! See you next year.

My experience at Day 1 of 2021 New York Comic Con October 9, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Art, Audio, Audiobooks, DVD, Health, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Technology, Trains, Travel, TV, Video, War, Wrestling.
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Other New York Comic Con recaps: 2012 Day 22014 Day 1, 2017 Day 1, 2018 Day 1, 2019 Day 1

I returned to the Javits Center on Thursday for the first day of this year’s New York Comic Con, my sixth time at the event. It was also the first time I set foot in Manhattan since a failed trip to Lisa Hilton’s performance at Carnegie Hall, nearly two years ago.

The days and weeks leading up to my trip were filled with trepidation. I felt anxious about what to expect. Would there be a capacity limit? Would I get scolded by staff or security? Did I waste my money on a badge? Why did William Shatner have to go to space, leading his events to be moved to the evening?

The day turned out to be as exciting as it was my last time at NYCC in 2019.

Under the assumption that I’d be meeting Shatner, I tweeted him about my concerns:

Been going back/forth on replying, but here goes: I have Asperger Syndrome, & I’m going to day 1 of NY Comic Con on Oct 7. I’m worried about what to expect, including photo op w/you that I bought. I’m hoping staff are nice, not angry/scolding. Will wear mask, of course.

Mike Chimeri

He replied encouragingly. I was hoping to link to that reply, but it seems to have been taken down.

Regardless, that led to many more replies from fellow fans. One fan in the UK made this suggestion:

Hi Mike, not sure if you have the same in the States, but in the UK we have a scheme where people wear a lanyard with sunflowers on, this signifies that the person wearing the lanyard may perceive life differently and to be a bit more understanding around them.

Mark ELVIS Goddard, @GBsBestElvis

He followed that up with…:

They are just a subtle way to let people know to be kind I work in the tourist industry & if a customer is wearing one we automatically know 2b kind & maybe a bit calmer around them, but they don’t have that awkward conversation of explaining why they don’t do lifts for example!

Mark ELVIS Goddard, @GBsBestElvis

So, I paid about $8 for a set of artificial sunflower heads. They shed like dog fur, but I proudly put one in my ticket holder above my badge.

My day began like any other Thursday since last April, in the days when the Javits Center was a field hospital for COVID patients: edit Wednesday’s Instrumental Invasion aircheck, make a scoped version for my blog, publish the blog post, and share the post on social media. That left me about 45 minutes to eat breakfast (a bowl of cereal), shower, and get dressed and packed.

An Uber driver picked me up around 9:00, dropping me off at Wantagh LIRR station within ten minutes. Once there, I bought my ticket and walked to my usual spot on the west end of the platform, above Wantagh Avenue. The train arrived at 9:28:

I was hoping for the new M9 railcar, but it was the old M7. Oh, well.

I listened to much of my aircheck on the platform and then on the train.

Penn Station has changed drastically since last January, as seen in these photos taken on the way back from Javits:

When I arrived at Javits, my Clear app vaccination voucher was scanned, then my badge, and I went through security. It was hassle-free, thankfully. I took the first photo at 10:42, snapping away until I reached the autographing area in hall 1E:

Knowing I’d be meeting Dee Bradley Baker, earlier in the week, I ordered a compilation DVD on Amazon of Phineas and Ferb episodes centered around Perry the Platypus, Dee’s character. Assuming I’d be seeing William Shatner’s panel at 11AM and getting a photo op at 12:10 PM, I bought a 1PM ticket for Dee. Thankfully, it was accepted at 11:00.

As I waited in line, I saw Dee and other celebrity guests assembling behind the curtain. I waved to Dee and he signaled back to me, pointing two fingers at his eyes and then toward me, as if to say “I’m watching you.” That was flattering. When I was next in line, I learned that photos were not allowed at the table; autographs only. I asked the representative if he had a photo op. Yes, at 3:40, an hour and 50 minutes before the rescheduled Shatner photo op would have been. I was fine with that.

Dee and I spoke briefly as he signed the DVD box art:

To Mike!

Dee Baker

Agent P (Perry’s code name in the O.W.C.A. [Organization Without a Cool Acronym])

Dee’s autograph

Then, he graced me with Perry’s signature vocal effect. We said our goodbyes and I proceeded to the sales table to buy my photo op.

It took half an hour because neither my credit nor debit cards worked and I had to withdraw cash from an ATM, then going on the line for cash payments.

I had 3 1/2 hours to spend until it was time to wait in the queue. What to do?

First, I bought lunch at the food court: chicken fingers with waffle fries and a Sprite. I ate as I finished listening to my aircheck. When I went to out my Bose SoundLink wireless headphones away, the ear cushion for the right channel came loose. I had to buy a replacement set from their website.

After that, I proceeded up to the show floor:

What?! Jerry “The King” Lawler and Jim “Good Ol’ J.R.” Ross?!

I was a big pro wrestling fan growing up, along with my sister Lauren and cousins Chris and Sam (Samantha). After another ATM trip, a dream of mine was fulfilled: an autographed photo…:

To Mike!

“King” Jerry Lawler (WWE) HOF 07

Jim Ross

WWE HOF ’07

Jerry and Jim’s autographs

…and a photo op with King and J.R.!:

As you can see, I wore my 2020 U.S. Open shirt, previously seen in my pretend Winged Foot photo.

Before the photo, I told King that I didn’t know he’d be there. True to form, he quipped that he didn’t, either, but found himself and J.R. there anyway, or words to that effect. Don’t quote me. All I know is my comeback was “yeah, that’s how it goes,” meaning that’s what happens. After the photo, I told J.R. how long I’d been a fan and that I really enjoyed his two books, Slobberknocker and Under the Black Hat, which I listened to on Audible. He thanked me. (I synopsized Under the Black Hat in my latest “audiobooking” post.)

I took some more photos on the show floor…:

…then went back to the food court for seltzer (sparkling water) and a cookie. I engaged in conversation with my table mates, then called a few friends, and texted Lauren and Chris with a photo of the photo:

There was still plenty of time, so I sought out room 1E01: the Quiet Room:

As the name suggests, it’s a place where you can silently contemplate. I used my time in the room to charge my phone and draft the post you’re reading now.

My plan to pass the time worked. 3:15 came and I walked to the queue:

I spent the next 20 minutes or so chatting with my fellow queue members, then it was time.

I handed a staff member my ticket, put my belongings on a shelf, and was reunited with Dee. Here is our photo:

I was looking straight ahead, so I didn’t know what expression he made. I love it: Jack Benny-esque.

I said goodbye again, grabbed my belongings, picked up my photo print, and left the Javits Center. I may not have seen and met William Shatner, but I made many lasting memories. I’m so happy with how the day turned out. I will definitely be back.

Incidentally, there are articles on Bill’s 6:45 panel – which I would have seen if it was still at 11AM – on CNN’s website and Mediaite. Mediaite’s article includes a YouTube video of the panel (by Gragon Productions):

I watched on Friday night. It was like I was there in person.

10/13 UPDATE: Bill’s space trip was this morning. I didn’t realize it would only be a few minutes, but those few minutes were literally awesome for him. Watch the Blue Origin webcast replay:

10/14 UPDATE: Then, watch the moment of apogee inside the capsule:

10/17 UPDATE: Blue Origin had one more video up their sleeve: a recap:

Back to October 7.

Here’s my photographic journey back to Penn Station:

I reached Penn at 4:05…:

…and took the 4:12 bound for Wantagh, which was another M7:

When I arrived in Wantagh at 5:02, my mom was waiting to drive me home. As it turns out, the Penn-bound train was an M9:

Back in my room, I took photos of all the day’s belongings:

POSTSCRIPT: While perusing the New York Comic Con site on Friday afternoon, I noticed George Takei, Bill’s Star Trek co-star, was in the Q&A portion of his panel. So, I watched, periodically taking screencaps. In addition to Star Trek, he fielded questions about the animated film Kubo and the Two Strings, the video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, his political activism stemming from internment during World War II (I ached as he told his story), and fond memories of Leonard Nimoy, another Star Trek co-star. One anecdote in particular was about how George saw Leonard perform in the play Equus on Broadway and Leonard returned the favor when George performed in the L.A. production. After the last question, George stood up, thanked the fans in the hall, and gave them Spock’s Vulcan salute. Now, how about those screencaps?

Well, thank you for making it this far. My next task is to chronicle the return of WCWP Homecoming Weekend. Till then, so long.

9/11: A 20th anniversary retrospective September 13, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Commentary, Fire, History, Internet, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, TV, Video.
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Saturday marked 20 years since the September 11 attacks. On the tenth anniversary, I posted part of an essay where I recounted my experience on that morning. I wrote it in December 2001 for an end-of-semester portfolio. Following the excerpt, I elaborated on the events of the day and how I coped.

In this post, I’ll elaborate further and share what has happened in the years since.

There were increased expressions of patriotism after 9/11, including flying American flags outside homes and wearing American flag lapel pins. We flew a flag and, for about two years, I wore a lapel pin, usually with a red, white, and blue ribbon attached. For a while, I also wore a patriotic button, but I don’t remember what it said. Here are photographic examples, starting with my friend Joe Horst’s 20th birthday party on October 3, 22 days later:

Sitting in Ehrhart’s Clam House in Freeport (part owned by my family) with Joe Horst, Scott Schoenberg, and Scott Condenzio

Side note: Joe was wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers t-shirt that day. Coincidentally, it was the 50th anniversary of the Shot Heard ‘Round the World: Bobby Thomson’s home run off Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca to win the National League pennant for the New York Giants. As Russ Hodges said on the Giants radio broadcast: “The Giants win the pennant!”

Back on topic, my 20th birthday, November 17:

Christmas at the Falco house:

Joe Falco, a family friend and FDNY firefighter in Engine 1 Ladder 24, survived the South Tower collapse. He was the subject of a documentary that served as my senior project. You can watch it here:

Ringing in 2002:

For eleven years, inspired by a news report I saw on New Year’s Day in 1994, I saved each year’s desk calendar pages and had friends and family throw them as confetti:

Throwing calendar page confetti

I saved and scanned the September 11 pages:

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? calendar 9/11 page, front
Back

It’s ironic that the Millionaire calendar question involved the Department of Defense. The Pentagon was one of the targets that morning. 9/14/21 UPDATE: Further irony involved a PAMS jingle for WABC (770 AM) during its Musicradio era: “Flight 77, WABC, nonstop…music.” Earlier in 2001, I discovered Allan Sniffen’s Musicradio tribute site and that was one of the jingles I listened to obsessively, assuming I heard it there if not elsewhere. Obviously, I could never listen to it the same way again. A variation was among jingles recorded by JAM Creative Productions, PAMS’s spiritual successor, for SiriusXM’s 60s on 6.

Weather Whys and Wonders calendar 9/11 page

Hosting The Mike Chimeri Show on March 1, 2002:

One last photo: July 12, 2002, heading back from Atlantic Canada aboard the Carnival Triumph:

The cruise embarked from the Hudson River side of Midtown Manhattan, taking us past where the towers fell ten months earlier:

Cruising past Lower Manhattan aboard the Carnival Triumph, ten months after 9/11

I still have the lapel pin, which I showed on social media Saturday morning:

On September 12, 2001, I added angel wings and a halo to the twin towers portion of a backdrop I made five years earlier for a home video/audio show I did with my cousin – The Chris and Mike Chimeri Show – based on a video bumper for The Late Show with David Letterman. I kept the backdrop up until September 30, 2019, during a basement cleanup. I photographed the backdrop for posterity before taking it down (for privacy, I’ve blurred my signature):

My family lit memorial candles in the backyard, as seen on the 14th, three days after the attacks:

I did not know any of the victims personally, but Cynthia D’Arpino, my learning assistant in ARC (C.W. Post’s Academic Resource Center), lost her brother-in-law Tim O’Brien who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. On the tenth anniversary, I photographed the TV when his name was read:

I did the same for Richie Muldowney:

Like Joe Falco, Richie was a Freeport native and firefighter, also serving in the FDNY, Engine 16 Ladder 7. He was among the 343 FDNY firefighters lost on 9/11. Beginning in 2011, I got to know his niece Lauren, mother Anne (who passed away in 2020) and surviving siblings: fraternal twins Kevin (Lauren’s father) and Colleen (Andello), and Mary (a.k.a. Mary Mo). I have yet to meet Brian, but for all I know, I met him, and Richie, when I was younger. My father Bill says it’s possible I saw Richie when I worked in Ehrhart’s Clam House (May 2000 to November 2001). In April 2012, Kevin married my mother’s friend and co-worker Mandy.

In 2013, I attended Freeport’s 9/11 memorial ceremony. The attacks led my dad to become a firefighter himself in 2002, in Truck 1, Joe Falco’s Freeport Fire Department company. I took a photo of him before the ceremony:

My father, Bill Chimeri, at Freeport’s 9/11 memorial ceremony in 2013

During the ceremony:

The following year, Dad and I ran (and walked) the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K.

Along the way, I photographed the new One World Trade Center (a.k.a. Freedom Tower)…:

…and a banner with Richie’s photo:

It’s become a 9/11 tradition on Facebook to link to the 2011 “My 9/11 experience” blog post, the Joe Falco documentary, and sometimes, a photo of the World Trade Center that I took in December 1999, after touring the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park:

Last year, a podcast host discovered my documentary and asked to use portions of it in a special 9/11 episode. I happily agreed.

A wealth of retrospective documentaries have aired on various channels this year and I’ve watched them all. It may be a cliche, but we can never forget. Those documentaries are a permanent reminder of what happened, along with stories of survival and how the victims’ children have grown into adulthood.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to muster up a blog post to mark the 20th anniversary, but here we are. Thank you for reading.

9/16/21 UPDATE: Game Dave‘s latest video is a Q&A edition of Digitally Distracted. For that video, I submitted a 9/11-related question, which he answered (video cued up to relevant portion):

Instrumental Invasion, 6/23/21 June 24, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Drama, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, TV.
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The June 23 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded between May 18 and 21. One segment was recorded per day on the 18th, 19th, and 21st (during construction next door), with three segments on the 20th. Pickups were recorded on May 23 and 24.

The playlist was created on May 17, with annotations and the script draft on the 18th.

Four of the six segments ran short, which required me to pad them out with additional liners and dialogue, shorten the talk-up – “Just So” by Boney James – or eliminate it – “Keepin’ the Faith” by Steve Laury and “Chi-Town” by Nick Colionne.

“Chi-Town” and Weather Report‘s “Birdland” were recycled from previous shows. I first played “Birdland” last July 8 and “Chi-Town” exactly 52 weeks ago.

I tried my best with instrument and musician pronunciations on Bob James and the Angels of Shanghai‘s cover of “Onara,” the theme from Dae Jang Geum. I’m proud of my talk-up for the preceding song, “Rainbow Gold” by Jessy J.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

11:43 AM UPDATE: In reference to guitarist Wayne Bruce, I said his alter ego was not Manbat, since Bruce Wayne is Batman. It slipped my mind that there is a Man-Bat supervillain whose real name is Dr. Kirk Langstrom. I had seen Man-Bat in Batman: The Animated Series when I watched the series over a few weeks in the fall of 2019. I regret the error, but I still get a chuckle out of my quip.

Audiobooking 6 April 4, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Audio, Audiobooks, Baseball, Comedy, Commentary, Film, History, Media, Personal, Politics, Radio, Sports, TV, Video.
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It’s been just over a year since the previous post. Instrumental Invasion has taken up most of my time, providing a necessary escape from the tumultuous reality.

I continue to listen to audiobooks on days where I workout and run, or even while editing photos. My source remains Audible, now as a paid member. When I’m billed at the end of each month, I use my credit on the next audiobook to listen to. As I type, I have three-book backlog.

Here’s what I’ve been listened to since Andrea Barber’s memoir:

I was a big fan of “The Critic” and have been an on-and-off fan of “The Simpsons.” I heard the cheery voice of Mike Reiss (“rees”) in DVD commentaries for both shows. I thought I would like “Simpsons Confidential.” While it had its moments, the book was mostly a string of personal or locational attacks: Texas, South Carolina, Tim Allen, Republican politicians, etc. Never meet your heroes and don’t listen to their memoirs. I was previously let down in a similar fashion by Ron Perlman, Joely Fisher, Carrie Keagan, and Eric Idle. I was somehow able to tolerate the political asides of Billy Crystal, Carl Reiner, and Ken Levine (“laVYNE”) in their memoirs.
Thankfully, Audible refunded my credit for the book, even with only 55 minutes left to listen to. I used it to buy Jerry Seinfeld’s “Is This Anything?” I hope nothing makes me regret that purchase.
If you want to see Mike’s latest personal attacks on people he hates, he’s on Twitter at MikeReissWriter.

My Instagram post, 1/30/21; a screencap of Audible’s credit was the post photo
  • All in All: An Actor’s Life On and Off the Stage by Stacy Keach (foreword by Alec Baldwin, read by voice actress whose name, again, I missed) – Only political in the ’60s and early ’70s – blessed relief after enduring Mike Reiss
  • Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld (chapter titles read by British voice actress) – Jerry’s jokes by decade, prefaced by synopses of his life in each decade
  • Never Look at the Empty Seats: A Memoir by Charlie Daniels (1936-2020) – Nearly the opposite of Ken Levine and Mike Reiss politically – pleasant to my center-right ears – nice to learn about his full career besides “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”
  • Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey – Except for acknowledging 2020 events at the end, enjoyable to listen to – “NOTE TO SELF! …”
  • Under the Black Hat: My Life in the WWE and Beyond by Jim Ross with Paul O’Brien (read by JR) – Focuses on JR’s WWF/WWE career, beginning at Wrestlemania XV in 1999 (six years after his initial debut) – for a wider life story, I’ll need to check out Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling

There, all caught up.

Until next year’s “Audiobooking” post, happy listening.

Instrumental Invasion, 2/3/21 February 4, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Rock, Sports, Technology, TV.
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The February 3, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over four days. The first hour was recorded on January 7, but I could only muster one second hour segment per day from January 8 to 10.

The playlist was created on January 5. Annotations began on the 5th and completed on the 6th, followed by script drafting.

This was the first show recorded through my new Zoom LiveTrak L-8 mixer. Through the recording process, I realized I need to eschew the click/pop eliminator in Adobe Audition. While it was effective with audio from the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, it will distort audio from the L-8. I didn’t realize that until the second segment of hour 2.

If you didn’t notice, the last talk break of the first segment was speed compressed.

Every show seems to have a recurring theme. This show’s theme was namesakes. There were two Paul Jacksons, two songs titled “Barcelona,” an album with the same name as a later TV series, and musicians sharing their names with a founding father, a football player, and simultaneously a football coach and race car driver.

Fans of The Simpsons will appreciate the reference to the first scene of “Bart Sells His Soul” while talking up Joe McBride‘s cover of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.”

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

10:15 AM UPDATE: I didn’t realize that there was a percussionist on Scott Wilkie‘s cover of “Eu Vim da Bahia.” The Brasil album credits are vague, but it was likely Gibi dos Santos.

I also accidentally left the top of the hour underwriting intact in the scoped aircheck. It’s worth hearing them in full just this once.

Joe Falco documentary audio used in podcast September 11, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Fire, History, Interviews, News, Podcast.
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On August 10, Scott Johnson contacted me requesting permission to the audio from the Joe Falco documentary that served as my college senior project. I graciously granted Scott permission to use it in an episode of his podcast, What Was That Like. The episode went up today, on September 11. Joe’s portion begins at around 18:05.

Here are relevant portions of the episode’s page:

Joe Falco was a New York City firefighter. He was working to save lives at the World Trade Center, and was injured when the buildings collapsed.

Thanks to Mike Chimeri for his permission to use the Joe Falco audio. Mike’s father, Bill, currently works as a volunteer with Joe Falco at the Freeport Fire Department Truck Company. Mike is the host of an instrumental music radio show on public radio station WCWP. You can check out his work at his website, MikeChimeri.com.

Thank you very much, Scott, for including the project in your podcast.

POSTSCRIPT: The project was created in fall 2003. Two years earlier, I wrote about my 9/11 experience in a portfolio summary for a broadcasting course. I posted that to my blog, along with an original follow-up, on the tenth anniversary.

Instrumental Invasion, 9/9/20 September 10, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Podcast, Radio, Video.
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The September 9, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over two days: the first hour on August 14 and the second on the 15th.

The playlist was created on August 11 and annotated on the 12th, with additional annotations during each recording session.

Even though they only air once, I like to keep my shows evergreen, but I was aware this show would be airing two days before September 11. So, I referenced Philippe Petit, who in 1974, walked on a wire between the roofs of the World Trade Center towers. I played “The Firehouse Chill” by Fourplay, then acknowledged my father Bill, a volunteer firefighter for the Freeport Fire Department‘s Truck Co. 1.

I’ll mention here that my dad’s friend Joe Falco is also a member Truck Co., as well as Engine 1/Ladder 24 in the FDNY. It was in that capacity on 9/11 where he survived the collapse of the World Trade Center’s south tower (2 World Trade Center). My dad interviewed Joe, affectionately known as Bubba, for a documentary that served as my college senior project. I posted that documentary to my YouTube channel in 2016:

9/11 UPDATE: The audio from the video was included, with my permission, in the latest episode of a podcast called What Was That Like.

As for the September 9 radio show, click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

UPLINK by LI Retro recap August 21, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Art, Film, History, Internet, Interviews, Media, Personal, Technology, Video, Video Games.
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Long Island Retro Gaming Expo recaps: 2017, 2018, 2019

Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, events have been canceled or postponed. The 2020 Long Island Retro Gaming Expo was no exception. In its place, the team behind the expo announced UPLINK by LI Retro, a convention held entirely online. They also announced that tickets for the 2020 LI Retro will be honored in 2021.

UPLINK ran August 8 and 9, the weekend intended for the expo. In the days leading up to it, I consulted the schedule to determine which panels I would attend remotely. Seven caught my eye.

Saturday, August 8
As UPLINK began, the cable remained out at my house, stemming from an outage that began around 7PM Wednesday, two hours before my radio show was to air. That meant until service was restored, I had to take part via 4G on my iPhone 11.

I only noticed one vendor in the exhibitor hall selling games and none that I was interested in. So, there won’t be any pickups at the end of the post.

Discord chat servers were set up on the right side of the main event page and on all panel pages.

My plan was to take notes during each panel and also take screencaps for private use and, if granted permission, a public blog post. (Obviously, I was permitted or you wouldn’t be reading this.)

The first panel I attended, at 10:30 AM, was Origins of the JRPG (Japanese role-playing game) with Jeremy Parish, co-host of the Retronauts podcast and host of the Video Works series, and Kurt Kalata of Hardcore Gaming 101:

The games discussed were:

Some of the above games were chronicled in a 2013 HG101 post.

Jeremy and Kurt concluded by answering questions from the chat and Twitter, discussing Kurt’s upcoming JRPG book, and opining on the Trials of Mana remake.

I screencapped the panel from the archive video once my cable service was restored.

My next panel wasn’t until 1:45 PM, which gave me time to retouch photo scans on my computer while listening to an episode of Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast.

The 1:45 panel was a My Life in Gaming Q&A with channel creators Coury Carlson & Marc “Try4ce” (“Try” for short) Duddleson:

Minutes into the panel, the 4G service fell to one or two bars, making UPLINK impossible to watch live. I hoped to watch the panel archives once cable was restored, whenever that would be.

Having given up, I turned on my TV to watch a film on Blu-ray. A strange thing greeted me: a message on the top right corner of the screen. Those only come if there’s a Wi-Fi connection. I walked into the guest room to check the cable modem. There were three solid lights! Not one solid and one blinking! The cable was back! My UPLINK weekend was back on!

Here are the notes I compiled while watching the archive:

The panel is available to watch on the My Life in Gaming YouTube channel:

I had a pair of primetime panels, but first, dinner and shows on my DVR that I missed while the cable was out.

At 7PM, there was a roundtable discussion moderated by Dom Delledera of the It’s All Fun and Games YouTube channel, with Metal Jesus Rocks & Friends: Metal Jesus, a.k.a. Jason Lindsey, The Immortal John Hancock, John Riggs, and Kelsey Lewin:

Due to technical problems, Riggs was a few minutes late.

Dom is on the top left, John Hancock is top center, Jason is top right, Kelsey is on the bottom left, and John Riggs on the bottom right.

Metal Jesus and his friends are based in Washington State. Jason and Kelsey both live in the Seattle area, Riggs is in Yakima, and Hancock is based on Longview.

For this and subsequent panels in the recap, if a remark is not in quotation marks, it is not verbatim.

  • How has everyone been during the pandemic?
  • Kelsey noted how game prices were affected by the pandemic
  • Games that Jason and Riggs have been looking for
  • Jason has been buying PlayStation 3 games at various GameStop locations. He suggested collectors pick up games for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, and Wii U.
  • Hancock is currently collecting retro computer games and pursuing Nintendo Switch games.
  • Riggs hasn’t been pursuing games due to the pandemic. His area is only at Phase 1. He’s fortunate to have an enormous backlog.
  • Kelsey and Jason have started cataloging more often.
  • Hancock went over his YouTube channel‘s recent videos, including The Many Ports of Joust, from Atari to Xbox.
  • Riggs talked about recent videos on his channel.
  • The conversation turned to preservation.
  • Jason is a fan of really bad movies, such as Chopping Mall.
  • All media has value, Jason said, whether it’s good or bad.
  • Every game is someone’s favorite game, said Riggs.
  • Hancock believes we need to consider obscurities.
  • The current generation of games is difficult to preserve.
  • Preserving mobile games: Jason preserved some of them on his iPhone 6
  • Hancock lamented that we’re moving from an ownership model to a service model, and that’s concerning.
  • Kelsey noted this has been a problem since the original Xbox.
  • It’s not just archiving games, Jason explained, but also servers.
  • Riggs bought NES games cheap during liquidation sales in the late 1990s. Examples: Bucky O’Hare for $4 and Contra Force for $6.
  • Hancock used to get lots of games in a flea market with only $20 to $40 on him. He’s still finding deals at flea markets: a PS3 controller for $3, a Move controller for $5.
  • Kelsey noted the economy of retro game collecting has changed so much in the last decade.
  • Ever had to spend more than you wanted? For Jason, it was SSI gold box games and Neverwinter Nights. Kelsey spent more than she’d have wanted on Mama Mitte, a pregnancy tracker for the Bandai WonderSwan: $3,200. John Hancock’s big purchase was Magical Chase for the TurboGrafx-16: about $2,000 on a payment plan. John Riggs found The Flintstones: Surprise at Dinosaur Peak for NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) from Chile for only $200.
  • The rarest game in Hancock’s collection that he never gets to talk about is the Microsoft BASIC programming cartridge for the Mattel Intellivision. Jason’s rarest game is a DS cartridge for horse race betting.
  • Kelsey asked if anyone had anything rare outside of games. Jason has CDs that there’s only one copy of, such as a demo tape at a Nevermore signing by an album producer who also produced Queen. Hancock is an all-in guy; just games. Riggs has old cereal boxes. And Kelsey collected Nintendo toys from before they made video games.
  • Hancock and Riggs listed the games that their children play. Riggs’s 12-year-old son, who is autistic (I’m also on the spectrum), loves Clubhouse Games for the Switch.
  • What plans do they have for their collections at end of their lives? Hancock has a non-profit formed and is working on a museum. He never intended to keep his collection. Kelsey’s collection is committed to the Video Game History Foundation, where she is a co-director. (More on that in the VGHF panel later in this post.) Riggs has been piecing out his collection, selling some games at conventions.
  • What have you given up looking for? John Hancock gave up Neo Geo AES carts, prototypes, signage, and kiosks. Jason’s through looking for arcade machines. For Kelsey, Bandai WonderSwan store displays and WonderSwan “booth babe” outfits. She does have an inflatable WonderSwan balloon. Riggs has given up on the Ultimate Journey NES prototype.
  • Jason hoped he’d find more 64DD development disks, after previously finding a 64DD, but no one came forward.
  • In closing, Dom asked if Jason had a hidden gem. He chose Skyrim VR. It’s not really a hidden gem, but it’s the first thing that came to mind.

Immediately after the MJR panel, I jumped to the Fireside Chat with David Murray, The 8-Bit Guy, moderated by George Portugal:

  • The Tech from Texas series (part 2)
  • New backyard workshop in backyard to be built over the next 3 to 4 months – will be able to work on projects more efficiently
  • David keeps retro hardware in his attic. There’s little room for it elsewhere in the house.
  • He won’t be moving his office into the workshop.
  • The DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) retro computer community – used to have regular quarterly meetings – everyone would bring something – active Facebook group
  • David doesn’t ask for donations anymore because he can just borrow a given item from the community.
  • The Commander X16 project is 99% complete. He hasn’t been involved much in current development. Everything is working on the board except for the video chip. If it were booting now, he would start the Kickstarter campaign. He needs a functioning prototype first. He expects the Kickstarter to launch in the fall. Some people could have an X16 by Christmas. Christian Simpson, a.k.a. Perifractic, is doing the manual.
  • David talked about his various series on manufacturers – Commodore, Tandy, Sinclair – and took future episode suggestions.
  • He reacted in agreement to my Discord chat post: “You can’t please everyone.”
  • The worst videos to make are the ones that never got finished.
  • David gave an update on the Commodore series DVD (or Blu-ray). He’s waiting to finish it with a video on the Amiga line. He doesn’t know much about it outside of the 500, and is communicating with experts for help.
  • He will also need help in scripting the TRS-80 series video.
  • Are there YouTube channels David enjoys or watches? There are two he subscribes to: LGR (Lazy Game Reviews), run by Clint Basinger, and Techmoan, run by Mat Taylor. He also watches Perifractic and electric car-related channels. He has heard of and talked to the Nostalgia Nerd. He’s seen Technology Connections videos, but hasn’t talked to Alec. He likely won’t meet Mat since he doesn’t travel or do conventions.
  • David keeps a running list, in spreadsheet form, of topics he wants to cover.
  • His favorite video is the history of the Commodore VIC-20, which was his first computer. He also likes the two-part VIC-20 restoration video (part 1, part 2), which each got over a million views.
  • Are you PC or Mac? David is both, but edits on a Mac.
  • He hardly has time for games unless it’s for the purpose of a video. When there is time, he’ll play StarCraft, Duke Nukem 3D, and his own game, Planet X3.
  • Will there be a Planet X4? David says maybe. He’s working on something similar that’s closer to SimCity and M.U.L.E.. Whatever the next game is, he wants it to work on all Commodore systems. He’ll code it on the PET.
  • David likes programming constraints.
  • He might be getting a THEVIC20 mini console to review.
  • He has no desire to port Planet X2 to Atari 8-bit computers.
  • David owns all the equipment to do a video on Family BASIC for Famicom, which was donated to him recently. He’ll need help, though.
  • His favorite Commodore 64 games are the Ultima series, Master of the Lamps, M.U.L.E., Ghostbusters, Action Biker, Spy vs. Spy, Maniac Mansion, and Zak McCracken and the Alien Mindbenders.
  • David went on Richard Garriott‘s property for the Austin episode of Tech from Texas, speaking to Richard about that earlier in the year. Richard was in France at the time, and would have come back, but when the pandemic struck, he stayed in France. Instead, David was shown around the property by former Origin Systems employee Scott Jones and former Portalarium employee Edward Vitralis.
  • David’s least favorite computer that he reviewed are the Advantech I.Q. Unlimited by V-Tech and the Timex Sinclair 1000. His least favorite that he restored was the Osborne (part 1, part 2, part 3).
  • His favorite current computer storage medium is SD card; retro is 3.5″ floppy.
  • Are UV lights the best approach to retrobriting vs. the sun? David still prefers to use the sun, if available because it’s much faster.
  • David’s wife and daugther don’t help much with videos. His wife was camera operator in Austin, and his daughter handled that in Houston.
  • He talked about his appearance in a recent Krazy Ken’s Tech Talk video. It was recorded last year, and he forgot he even said what he did in the video.
  • David lamented that he couldn’t come to Long Island this year. He had a speech planned on the demo scene, which would have been revamped from a previous speech at Portland Retro Gaming Expo (PRGE), which was also canceled this year. He doesn’t like the IMAX theater in the Cradle of Aviation Museum. You can’t see the audience when the lights are dimmed. The projection on the IMAX screen is curved. Everyone is up above.
  • Hopefully, in person next year.

That was the last of my Saturday panels. I finished watching a movie on Prime Video and went to sleep.

Sunday, August 9
My first panel of the day wasn’t until 12:15 PM. Of the three panels I planned on watching, two conflicted with each other. So, I opted to watch one live and the other later.

The 12:15 panel was the Retro Roundtable hosted by Bob Neal of RetroRGB (top left), with Ste Kulov (top center) and Nick Mueller (bottom center) of HD Retrovision, Zach Henson, a.k.a. Voultar (top right), and René Richard (bottom right) of dB Electronics:

  • René wore a mask initially.
  • Bob was the only one to wear a t-shirt that says “Bob& Zach& René& Nick& Ste.”
  • What everyone’s been up to?
  • Bob, Ste, and Nick’s lives haven’t changed much. Zach’s has due to Kentucky small business regulations and government mandates. He had issues with the shipping system. At one point in the pandemic, items weren’t arriving on time, but “things are much better now.”
  • René said there was one COVID case in his town. Schools were shut down, and he worked from home for two months. René was eventually allowed back to his office, but with a mask, and he had to wash his hands after entering and before exiting. He quit Twitter about a year ago. René’s house got flooded, and he had to tear out the drywall. He hadn’t worked in the last few months, nor had he played any games during the post-flood restoration. He started playing games again two weeks ago.
  • Bob talked about the Sony BVM D32.
  • The last game Bob beat was The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for Nintendo Switch. He has been using the PlayStation 2 version of OutRun 2006 to test other games. It’s a really fun racing game, he said.
  • Ste learned how to machine aluminum, had a problem with a U.S.-based supplier – Nick clarified it was over Dreamcast cables – and he played Final Fantasy VII Remake.
  • Nick said it took three months to ship cables to a distributor in Switzerland via USPS.
  • Bob lamented his shipping woes.
  • The last game Zach played was also Link’s Awakening. Like Bob, he can look beyond the subtle frame rate issues.
  • Zach and Ste rented server space, at $9 a month, for games they love to play, such as Battlefield 2142. They soon hope to invite friends and viewers to play in the server. Ste noted it’s running now via OpenSpy. Zach said all Doom games are on the server.
  • Bob asked if you can up the frame rate on older PC games. Zach said yes. A game’s vertical refresh rate will sync to the refresh rate of your monitor.
  • There was talk of two PlayStation ODEs (optical disc emulators): CybDyn’s PSIO and the upcoming xStation by Robert Neumann. (Zach posted a video on the xStation the day before.) ODE loading speeds were compared to loading speeds on disc.
  • They talked about the MiSTer FPGA (field-programmable gate array).
  • René listed the flash carts he has.
  • Krikzz’s Mega EverDrive PRO vs. Terraonion’s Mega SD, two carts that can play Sega CD games and Virtua Racing for Genesis
  • The subject turned to personal non-retro projects: René built his own amplifier, which he showed off. It’s a 4-channel tube amp that he made back in about 2008. Unfortunately, there’s a pop sound when switching between high and low gain.
  • The issue of repro (reproduction cart) sellers was debated.
  • Zach promoted his cartridge patching and translation service.
  • Bob joked about a “guitar-off.” René’s been practicing guitar, improving his skill for the first time since 2012.
  • Bob went over his recording process.
  • The panel talked about the Analogue Pocket. Zach said their marketing is “disingenuously brilliant.” They praised Kevin Horton, a.k.a. Kevtris, who worked on previous Analogue consoles.
  • Zach plugged an upcoming video on Analogue.
  • What are their thoughts on mini consoles? Bob thinks they’re best for a nostalgia fix; Zach said they’re a fun novelty.
  • The panel universally praised 8BitDo products, then showed off controllers from 8BitDo, Krikzz, and Retro-Bit.
  • Ste and Nick gave an update on HD Retrovision.
  • There was a plug for the upcoming MLiG/John Linneman panel.

The Video Game History Foundation panel at 2PM was the one I chose not to watch live. I watched on Wednesday, taking the most comprehensive notes out of any panel I watched.

This panel was moderated by Jeremy Parish, co-host of the Retronauts podcast and host of the Video Works series, who I saw on Saturday morning in Origins of the JRPG. His guests where VGHF founder and co-director Frank Cifaldi and co-director Kelsey Lewin, who I saw in the Metal Jesus roundtable on Saturday night.

  • Jeremy first thought of doing a VGHF update during last year’s Long Island Retro Gaming Expo. He would have had a panel at the GDC (Game Developers Conference) in the spring, but “the whole world got sick.” (The GDC was rescheduled to a few days before UPLINK was also held virtually.) Jeremy was “glad that we can finally make it happen” at UPLINK.
  • Jeremy spoke to Frank, Steve Lin and Mike Mica about their starting VGHF three years ago during California Extreme.
  • Frank got into video game history through the video game industry, starting in the late ’90s as a video game journalist. His first entry to preserving video games was seeking out cartridge-based console games that weren’t yet preserved digitally. He was inspired by The Film Foundation, applying that line of thinking to video games. He started a website called Lost Levels, the first to focus on unreleased games. He talked to game developers. He worked Gamasutra and 1UP. Frank is also in game development, working for Digital Eclipse on their game compilations. He was the producer/director of the Mega Man Legacy Collection and SNK 40th Anniversary Collection. He also worked on Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection and The Disney Afternoon Collection. The Video Game History Foundation is the culmination of Frank’s preservation on the side. “‘That guy Frank’ should be more than me,” he said.
  • Kelsey started collecting and playing old games a decade ago. She was working at a retro video game store, Pink Gorilla Games, which she now owns with her husband Cody Spencer. She enjoyed researching old games and reaching out to developers. Like Frank, Kelsey was a frustrated historian. She discovered VGHF shortly about a month after their 2017 launch.
  • Frank noted that Kelsey pitched the idea of being a public relations representative for the foundation, but he declined. She didn’t go away, though, and started sending him things, showed up to all the meetings, helped organize museum displays at PRGE. Kelsey did a project for Game Informer, organizing volunteers to help digitize a collection of press kits, slides, press releases, and more. She did it for all five weeks. Kelsey’s a co-director because “she’s the real deal and she proved her worth by far.”
  • Jeremy’s Video Works series was inspired by Chrontendo.
  • Jeremy lamented the problem with being a completionist is always thinking there’s more to do. (I can attest to that.)
  • Frank: “The research is never done.”
  • Frank stumbled across the Video Game Update/Computer Entertainer newsletter and has most of the set scanned. It’s a great resource for Jeremy, proving “you can’t believe everything Nintendo says about its own library.” The newsletter was the only outlet that consistently covered console games from 1985 to 1988 when video game magazines came back or launched. In Frank’s words: “This is the only English-language review of Super Mario Bros. from when it came out. This is it.”
  • Frank’s passion isn’t completing video games; it’s completing information. He admitted he gets upset if missing an issue of a video game magazine.
  • VGHF’s focus isn’t on the games, but the context.
  • Kelsey’s WonderSwan pregnancy tracker, Mama Mitte, caught the attention of Tanita, who manufactured it. (They also manufactured the scale I’ve had since 1999.)
  • Kelsey said there are still things in Japan that are not well-documented, such as retail releases. She claimed we’re 99% done here, but there are still some holes in Japan.
  • Frank talked about archiving Where in North Dakota is Carmen Sandiego?, a mainline Carmen Sandiego game that became extremely rare. He interviewed teachers who worked on it and managed to archive a clean copy of the game (unsaved disks) and a game box.
  • Frank is trying to blanket cover English-language print media and assets that the media had.
  • Frank said a majority of video games were made by companies that no longer exist.
  • Speaking of the Nintendo Gigaleak, Jeremy said it showed there’s actually a company that obsessively preserved all the content about a game: betas, development documents, in-house messaging. That doesn’t happen often in Japan. Regardless, the way the leak came out was unfortunate.
  • Frank believes collecting game development source material is the best way to study a game. You have access to its source, and can tweak and rebuild it.
  • Frank said source code should be donated to libraries. The code is something that lives in a place where an historian can access it, study it, and start piecing together a narrative.
  • The thing that drives Jeremy is telling stories and piecing them together: how a game compares to what else was on the market, what it owes to other creations. The more information that VGHF can put out, the easier it becomes to tell those stories, to go beyond review of a game and piece together a timeline of video game history. As someone of his age, who can remember the time of the NES launch (he was 10, at the time), he can fill in gaps from his experience. You need as much raw material to work with as you can.
  • Kelsey noted you get little info from a game itself. One magazine doesn’t paint the entire story. She analogized handing someone Pokémon Red and thinking that’s the entire story, ignoring three to four years of PokéMania, as chronicled in a TIME cover story. (Here’s the cover.) You don’t get that from just handing someone a copy of game.
  • Frank helped on an EarthBound documentary with VGHF resources. He noticed patterns: almost every reviewer thought the graphics were objectively bad. “8-bit” came up a lot. The game was compared to Chrono Trigger. Reviewers were in a 3D reality at the time. Jeremy added that American console gamers didn’t have nostalgia for RPGs back then. Frank concluded there was no scenario where better marketing would have saved EarthBound.
  • Projecting the thoughts of the reviewers, Jeremy quipped: “[Battle Arena] Toshinden looks so much better than EarthBound. I bet it’s a much better game. It’s gonna be a timeless classic that people are still talking about in 20 years, and EarthBound, no one’s gonna remember that.”
  • How has the VGHF mission has evolved in three years?
  • In the early days, Frank envisioned the foundation as a vetted, digital repository of information. There’s a lot of work to be done to get there, though. The foundation still doesn’t have good intake system. The biggest change since founding is recognizing things only they can do and what others can do. They will use resources to go out and seek things like video game source code from developers that trust them. They will not turn source material into gossip. Most resources are spent communicating, building bridges and organizing as opposed to actual archival work. Kelsey said it’s a matter of resources and dealing with volatile media. They’re currently focused on advocacy, building a premise of a world where people can study video games more easily. She talked to someone who came into Pink Gorilla that worked in the video game industry. The person had old builds that he considered “microwav[ing],” wondering “who’s gonna care about this game?” Kelsey concluded, “we don’t get to decide what becomes historically important later.”
  • Jeremy has found through hunting down Japanese game developers that worked on classic games 30 years ago that “people are often a very poor judge of the merit of their own work.” Some overvalue their work, others work for hire. It never occurs to them that the games mean something to people on the other side of the planet who will want to learn more about them. He continued you have to get over the barrier of humility, establish a sense of trust. It’s hard to get across, but essential if you can.
  • Frank recalled how in 2017, VGHF published an article breaking down Disney’s Aladdin on Sega Genesis: how it was made, the tools that was used, the animation process, and cut content. It was a very respectful long article. Thanks to the article, Disney and Digital Eclipse made Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King. They used source code from the archives to make a new version of the Genesis Aladdin game that’s on the compilation. Speaking of advocacy, Frank said “if we’re able to demonstrate our vision in a respectable way, … we start working with companies and archiving this stuff more often.”
  • What would you most like to accomplish five years from now? Speaking “for both of us,” Kelsey replied getting the source code initiative off the ground. There are legal hurdles. They don’t have legal precedent for putting source code online unless it’s open source. The first step is to be able to have that accessible in the library.
  • Before formalizing VGHF, Frank visited the Library of Congress’s film archives, which is also where video game archives are. He spent time with librarians who run that, and came to understand the function they serve. LOC has master film reels; companies get prints for remasters. “This should exist for video games.” He wants it to become commonplace where source code is accessible to people, especially abandoned source code. It should be normal, in the archives of any kind, and accessible to people.
  • Kelsey said it’s great to have original art and development documents archived in a way that’s accessible to people.
  • Frank lamented that no video game publisher can justify any labor for allowing access. Time is money. It doesn’t make sense for a for-profit company. Jeremy added that profit motivation is the biggest challenge to preserving video game history. Games that are safe bets are republished constantly – such as Super Mario World – while esoteric games are in rights limbo.
  • How does the foundation’s work apply to MMOs (massively multiplayer online games)? Frank said they can’t do anything about that right now, but on the bright side, companies have gotten significantly better about archiving their material. They’ve figured out how to have secondary market for their product with HD remasters. Kelsey said there’s no way to make an MMO feel the same way it did when it was active, even if you’ve saved everything. What’s useful to historians is many video experiences, oral histories, and blog posts. Frank’s wife is currently playing World of Warcraft Classic, which is not the same as the original. He said people are playing it in a different way.
  • “You can only go so far with anecdotal commentaries,” Jeremy said. “Having the hard copy there as proof is invaluable.”
  • Someone in the chat asked about getting involved in VGHF. Kelsey said there will soon be a need for people who understand library systems, like cataloging and sorting things. The website is going through remodeling. Reach out to VGHF on Twitter. Frank acknowledged the Patreon page with Discord access. “Hang out with historians like us,” he pitched, adding that “it’s nice to have this tight-knit group that we can have conversations with so that we’re not feeling like we’re on our own with this stuff, and you could help us solve problems that way.”

The last of the magnificent seven panels was at 2:15 PM Sunday: a second My Life in Gaming panel, this time with John Linneman of Digital Foundry:

  • This was John’s first U.S. convention appearance. He’s an American expatriate based in Germany, and previously France.
  • The main topic for the panel was gaming technology.
  • October marks seven years since MLiG debuted.
  • John joined Digital Foundry in 2013, as well.
  • Frame rate graphs
  • Video creation process
  • Preferring retro games to modern games
  • Coury praised John’s wealth of knowledge.
  • John said he can look at a game and immediately know how it’ll play.
  • John pretends he’s giving an E3 demo when capturing modern games. Try called it a “cinematic approach.”
  • Gaming technology originated for Coury with Quake II with its Voodoo graphics accelerator by 3dfx Interactive. He didn’t think much about it again until seeing John’s videos, as did Try.
  • SLI (scan-line interleave)
  • The evolution of John’s videos
  • What started John down the gaming tech path was seeing the Daytona USA arcade game in 1994.
  • Try’s entry was F-Zero X on Nintendo 64.
  • Try lamented that people will fight over frame rate, saying 60 FPS (frames per second) retro games are impossible. Coury said that’s likely due to early 30 FPS YouTube videos.
  • John is a self-taught video editor. Coury and Try come from video editing backgrounds.
  • John’s first video in 2015 took a long time to put together
  • John and Try exchanged profundities: John’s pearl was “nobody will ever see the video you didn’t make,” while Try recalled his grandfather’s words of wisdom: “good enough never is.”
  • The trio went over their video editing techniques.
  • Try believes editing more fun when you’re providing each other material. He also used the term “G-roll,” which G to the Next Level liked in the chat.
  • John said “it’s more fun to work with a group now, when it’s possible.”
  • What’s the toughest part about making a video? For Coury, it’s writing. Try is better at that, saying he enjoys it, though he said he gets wordy at times. Coury leans more into editing, which is toughest for Try. The toughest part for John is stress. He feels a sense of accomplishment after finishing a video’s introduction. Then, the writing becomes easier. He writes in chunks.
  • Coury has been experimenting with writing outlines, taking bullet points (like the ones in this post) and turning them into paragraphs.
  • John uses Notepad.
  • Try writes notes so he doesn’t forget.
  • John on editing: “What could look cool here?”
  • Try: Slider shots
  • Coury: Comparison shots
  • Coury cautioned that “you don’t want to repeat shot ideas from episode to episode.”
  • John is proud of the intro to his Analogue Super Nt video.
  • Try is proud of the Play It Loud intro to the MLiG Super Nt video, with its low frame rate, Play It Loud music, and Kevtris soundbites.
  • Coury: Hands-on feel
  • They spoke of the Analog Frontiers series (part 1, part 2).
  • Try’s dog Sandy made a couple of cameos in the panel.
  • John’s PC gameplay capture was used by Try in a video via PC monitor.
  • Why does John say “Mega Drive” instead of “Genesis“? He loves the name, and has more Japanese Mega Drive games than Genesis games.
  • Try believes the PC Engine scene is bigger than TurboGrafx-16 scene. That means there’s more interest in the PC Engine than for its North American counterpart, which released two years after Japan.
  • What were their first experiences seeing RGB on a PVM? John’s came circa 2004. Coury’s first experience was seeing Dreamcast in composite on a CRT. For Try, it was S-Video in college in 2002 and then RGB explanations on Hazard-City.
  • Voiceover techniques
  • Capture techniques
  • Storyboarding and animation
  • John: “I just envision it in my head.”
  • Coury suggests that if you get stuck, step away and try again the next day.
  • Two of Try’s creative locations are in the shower and on the toilet.
  • John is most proud of the video he did on the making of Onrush. He filmed it all in a day and edited over three days. It’s not the best, but he’s proud nonetheless. It didn’t get many views because the game didn’t get much attention.
  • What are your dream documentary subjects? Coury’s is Working Designs. Try would like to profile the original Final Fantasy staff, including creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. John’s dream subject is the original creators of the Sega Saturn. He’d like to understand the entire process, from initial thought to release, and its legacy.
  • What’s the most powerful mini console? John said the Capcom Home Arcade. For hacking purposes, Try went with the PlayStation Classic. Coury’s choice was the Super NES Classic Edition.
  • What videos would they like to do over or differently? Try would like to redo most older videos. The voiceover has improved so much over the years. He would redo the Myst series video. He wouldn’t have written his opinions into the script or use first- or second-person terms.
  • Has John gotten pushback from a company? Once. Most are happy. On his Redout video, he made a small error regarding the Xbox One X version. He received threats. (A retest video followed.)
  • John tries to be positive and documentary-like in videos, helping people understand things. He’s not a raging critic, referring to “angry videos,” though he can’t fault them.
  • They all prefer the OSSC to the Framemeister.
  • They think of Bob Neal when referring to bob deinterlacing.
  • There was a question in the chat about Analog Frontiers with Saturday’s information reiterated. New to this panel was Try considering a spinoff called Analog Frontiers Gaiden. John offered to do a Gaiden video about The CRT Wizard in Germany (referenced in this tweet). Try also noted Artemio Urbina and Tim Worthington will appear briefly in part 5. (Artemio previously appeared in part 2.)
  • They all prefer open world over simulation in contemporary games.
  • Try believes the generic AAA game formula has become tiresome.
  • What’s your favorite modern game? John was torn between Sonic Mania and Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. Coury’s favorite is also Monster Boy. Try’s is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Nintendo Switch.
  • Thanks to everybody who hung out and watched.
  • John said it was good to see G To the Next Level in the chat. He feels like he’s competing with him on Genesis videos. (Here’s one such video.)
  • Thanks to John for staying up late, as it was 10PM local time.

The panel ran 45 minutes over its intended 3:15 end time. Like the Saturday panel, this one is available to watch on the MLiG YouTube channel:

I don’t think I’ve ever taken this many notes for a blog post. It was a worthwhile endeavor to archive the discussions I witnessed. I hope to be back at the Cradle of Aviation Museum next August to take many photos of panels and exhibits, meet and greet the panelists, and pickup retro games from vendors. Stay safe and healthy, and thank you for reading.

Instrumental Invasion, 8/19/20 August 20, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games.
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The August 19, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded on July 24 (hour 1) and 25 (hour 2).

The playlist was created, modified, and annotated between July 21 and 23.

To accommodate my chatty second talk break of hour 1’s second segment, I had to replace the Jeff Lorber Fusion song I had in mind. Instead of “Bright Sky” off Galaxian, I went with “Lava Lands” from Wizard Island. It was a fitting choice, having watched the Oregon episode of Smithsonian Channel’s Aerial America on their YouTube channel a few days before recording. The Fusion’s album is a reference to various landmarks in Oregon, including Lava Lands Visitor Center and, of course, Wizard Island, which is located within Crater Lake.

I had to rerecord the second and third talk breaks of the above segment on the morning of the 25th, shortly after waking up. That’s why my voice sounded the way it did. I realized that morning I’d mistakenly left out Will Lee on bass while talking about “Some Down Time” by Steve Khan, and wanted to correct that immediately. I had to script the talk breaks so I wouldn’t get flustered or forget what to say.

As I did in my 2018 and ’19 Homecoming Weekend shows, I dedicated the Keiko Matsui song I played – in this case, “Marlin Club Blues” – to Game Dave, citing a video where he suggested you listen to her music rather than in-game music:

I neglected to mention that Randy Waldman played keyboards and Hammond B-3 organ on “Marlin Club Blues.” Keiko was only on piano.

And speaking of YouTube, here is the music video for “Living Out Loud” by Joyce Cooling that I recommended:

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

8/22 UPDATE: While watching the Houston portion of The 8-Bit Guy‘s second Tech from Texas video, it occurred to me that David Benoit‘s song “El Camino Real” was not about the road in California, but the trail in Texas. It should have been obvious since a song called “Houston” precedes it on his Inner Motion album. As a California native, I assumed David had the California road in mind when I annotated the playlist. Clearly, I was wrong.