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2018 Long Island Retro Gaming Expo recap August 13, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Books, Internet, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Technology, Travel, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Last year marked my first time at the annual Long Island Retro Gaming Expo, held at the Cradle of Aviation Museum along Museum Row in East Garden City. I was only there for two hours, though. This year, I deeply immersed myself in the event, buying a weekend pass back in March. I did that after learning that legendary video game collector and educator The Immortal John Hancock would be there:

If that wasn’t enough, David Murray, The 8-Bit Guy, would be back, as well. And on behalf of Retronauts, Jeremy Parish was there. I’ve only listened to one podcast so far, but I regularly watch the Works series of videos for NES, Super NES, and Game Boy on Jeremy’s YouTube channel.

Hancock, 8-Bit Guy, and Parish all had panels on Saturday afternoon in the museum theater. Before I did anything else, I made sure to sit in on those panels.

I left for the Cradle of Aviation Museum at 10:20. A light rain fell in the wake of thunderstorms that plowed through an hour earlier. By the time I arrived, there was only drizzle. I had to wait in line to present my ticket and get wristbands for both days. While waiting, I photographed a couple of historic markers:

…and the museum exterior:

Once inside, attendees were greeted by this sign:

My home for the next four hours:

First panel up, Jeremy Parish (center) with Kurt Kalata (left) and Rob Russo (right) of Hardcore Gaming 101:

Kurt plugged the appearance a few days ago on the site.

The topic was the history of Super Joe in Capcom games, including Commando and Bionic Commando.

Jeremy Parish:

Kurt Kalata:

Rob Russo:

The lone picture I took with my iPhone X all weekend:

The panel wrapped up with Q&A.

Afterward, I got to meet Jeremy, letting him know how much enjoy his videos. Then, we posed for a picture:

He let me know what the next episode of Super NES Works would be about, including the correct pronunciation of one of the words in the title.

8/15 UPDATE: The episode is about Darius Twin, with “Darius” pronounced like “Elias,” but with an “R” instead of an “L”:

Jeremy explained the pronunciation in a pinned comment below the video:

Fun fact about this video: I looked up the pronunciation of Darius to make sure I got it right. So anyone who posts a comment to “correct” it will be (1) wrong and (2) sent to the salt mines for a life of hard labor.

For the next panel, The 8-Bit Guy talked about the demo scene:

For Q&A, someone asked how David’s Planet X3 game for DOS was coming along.

He showed us:

A few more questions and answers followed.

8/14 UPDATE: I recorded all the panels for personal use, but in the case of David’s presentation, to vidcap anything I couldn’t get with my DSLR. Here are those vidcaps:

David stuck around to watch the third panel of the day: The Immortal John Hancock:

John shared his backstory, discussed collecting, and of course, took Q and gave A.

John’s video game binder:

The panel concluded with a group shot, which was one of a few pics posted to John’s Facebook and Twitter pages:

After leaving the theater, I met up with David and John at their booths. David’s wife Leslie took our picture:

…and The Eternal Sarah Hancock took my picture with John:

8/14 UPDATE: In his latest YouTube video, John reflected on his time at the expo and shared some of his oddball game pickups:

On the upper left and right corners of the screen, he mixed in B-roll from the first and second floors. The group shot is the video thumbnail and was also shown in the upper left in the last 30 seconds.

Before my shopping spree, I walked all three floors, taking pictures along the way. We start on the first floor:

Second floor:

The music of Super Thrash Bros.:

LAN play on the third floor:

Here’s the end result of my shopping:

When I got home, I photographed my pickups.

Sega Saturn:

  • Console with cables and two controllers (second bought separately)
  • Daytona USA
  • Sega Rally Championship
  • NBA Jam Extreme

I was so proud to finally get a Saturn and games for it. I have fond memories of playing Daytona USA, among other games, at my cousins’ house in Massapequa.

Super Nintendo:

  • Aladdin
  • Killer Instinct
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

Sega Genesis:

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist

Nintendo Gamecube:

  • Super Smash Bros. Melee

Nintendo Wii:

  • Super Mario Galaxy
  • SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1

Nintendo Wii U:

  • New Super Luigi U
  • Super Mario Maker

And from The 8-Bit Guy’s booth, I bought a pair of Retro Grooves cassettes by Anders Enger Jensen, whose music can be heard in David’s videos.

I will be getting these in MP3 form by e-mail, but for now, I used my Sony TC-WE305 cassette deck – which I bought in 2004 for digitzing my WGBB shows – to record both sides of each cassette to my computer, via Adobe Audition 3.0, and save the tracks separately. I love them.

I spent a couple of hours editing Saturday’s pictures and then went to sleep.

I left a half hour earlier yesterday morning, attaching my Sunday wristband beforehand.

The Long Island Retro Gaming Expo runs concurrently with the Long Island Tabletop Gaming Expo. I didn’t walk through the section on Saturday, but I made up for it when I walked in yesterday:

John brought his R2-D2 from the Tabletop area to the vendor hall:

After John delighted kids with his astromech droid…

I asked if he could pose for a pic. He obliged:

When I finished shopping from vendors on Saturday, I thought that was it. But I wanted more, and got more yesterday morning before the one panel I planned on attending: Leonard Herman and John Hancock, the latter of whom I saw with a couple of the vendors I bought from.

Leonard and John covered many topics in their 11AM panel:

Their backstories, how they met, video game history, Leonard’s history books (such as the latest, Phoenix IV: The History of the Videogame Industry), and Leonard’s stories about Ralph Baer and Ted Dabney.

It ended with a lengthy Q&A.

I learned so much during the panel. Afterward, I bought Leonard’s book from one of the vendors and he signed it for me.

To Mike,

Best Wishes

Leonard Herman

I look forward to reading Phoenix IV from cover to cover, no matter how long it takes.

That counts as one of my pickups, which I photographed when I got home around 1:45:

As for the games I picked up…

Nintendo Entertainment System:

  • Double Dragon
  • Mega Man 3

Nintendo Game Boy:

  • Alleyway

Sega Genesis:

  • Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse

Sega Saturn:

  • Pebble Beach Golf Links
  • WWF In Your House

Sony PlayStation:

  • Tekken

Sony PlayStation 2:

  • Tekken 4
  • Tekken 5

Nintendo Wii U:

  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition

At home, I bought the Action Replay 4M Plus for Saturn, and six more games on eBay: three for Genesis (World of Illusion, Quackshot, Rocket Knight Adventures), two for Saturn (Virtua Fighter Remix, Virtua Fighter 2), and one for N64 (Yoshi’s Story).

I’m so glad I was more involved in the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo this year. Thank you to everyone I met, met again, and bought from. Until next year.

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A day on trains and at the 118th U.S. Open June 18, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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I spent 2 1/2 hours with my dad at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Saturday for the third round of the 118th U.S. Open.

It was the fifth time Shinnecock hosted the U.S. Open, and fourth since 1986. Counting this one, my dad has been there every one of the those modern four. This was my second time, having gone in 2004 when Retief Goosen won. It was his second U.S. Open victory. With my grandpa, my dad saw Raymond Floyd win in ’86, and, with his friends, saw Corey Pavin win in ’95.

Getting to and from Shinnecock Hills was an adventure. My mom dropped my dad and I off at the Wantagh Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station at around 10:45 AM. Dad bought our round trip train tickets, which required changing at the Babylon station, the end of that branch of the LIRR. We didn’t have to wait long as an eastbound train arrived while walking up the stairs to the platform. 20 minutes after boarding, we were in Babylon. We followed a few other fans that were bound for Shinnecock to another platform and boarded a Patchogue-bound train at 11:17. Just under an hour later, we were in Patchogue. Unfortunately, the Montauk train that would ultimately take us to Shinnecock wasn’t due to arrive in Patchogue until 1:17.

With an hour to spare, Dad and I walked to a nearby waterfront seafood restaurant, Harbor Crab, that he saw as we pulled into the station.

We both ordered Fish and Chips, which was delicious.

After paying the check and leaving a tip, with 15 minutes left to spare, we headed back to the LIRR station.

It took another hour to get to Shinnecock Hills, but we were finally there:

Dustin Johnson won the U.S. Open two years ago when it was held at Oakmont Country Club:

A monitor showed Dustin Johnson, the 36-hole leader, practicing before his disappointing round of 77 (+7):

I asked Dad to take a picture of me at the course map:

On the way home, I posted an edited version of the pic to Instagram:

My dad and I spent two hours or so at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the third round of this year’s U.S. Open. We spent more time traveling there round trip, though.

A post shared by Mike Chimeri (@mikechimeri) on

The iconic clubhouse:

2010 [British] Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Cantlay on the 13th green:

The 13th fairway:

Aaron Baddeley and Xander Schauffele:

Tyrrell Hatton’s ball in the 12th fairway:

This year’s Masters champion Patrick Reed after his second shot:

The 15th tee:

Aaron Baddeley after his tee shot:

This is what the leaderboard looked like before dry, windy conditions got the better of the players:

The 16th tee and 5th green:

Bryson DeChambeau’s tee shot:

Hideki Matsuyama’s tee shot:

In the distance on the 5th green are Ian Poulter and Brooks Koepka:

It didn’t occur to me that a day later, Koepka would repeat as champion.

The 17th tee:

The 18th fairway and green:

The main leaderboard:

The grandstand:

Baddeley and Schauffele completing their rounds:

DeChambeau and Matsuyama completing theirs:

Not wanting to get home too late via multiple trains, Dad and I headed for the merchandise tent, where I bought a ticket holder:

Then, we walked back to the LIRR station, a temporary stop during the championship, and waited 15 minutes for the train back to Babylon.

I hope to be at Winged Foot in 2020:

I hope traffic and transit is better in 2026:

Dad suggested Mom pick us up in Babylon rather than wait for a train to Wantagh. She agreed. The train arrived at the temporary station 20 minutes before its scheduled departure. Since the train was full up, it left eight minutes early. Unfortunately, it ended up in Babylon ten minutes late. The railcar my dad and I were in was standing room only. We found seats, but other passengers stood in front of us until seats became available at Mastic-Shirley. Chatter and loud young girls dominated the ride, and reached a crescendo when one girl, bless her heart, had a meltdown one stop from Babylon.

In all, Dad and I spent 3 1/2 hours traveling to Shinnecock Hills, an hour and a half traveling from there to Babylon, and about 20 minutes in Mom’s SUV back home. Though we spent less time at Shinnecock, it was still a great experience, especially considering Brooks Koepka ultimately won the next day.

The New York Metro Area has two more years of local majors. Next May, the PGA Championship will be at Bethpage Black Golf Course in Bethpage State Park – the first year its held in May – and, as seen earlier, the U.S. Open comes to Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck in June 2020. I hope to be at both.

For now, I’ll leave you with media links. While aggregating them, I noticed that the USGA was heavily criticized for their conduct during this year’s U.S. Open, but I chose not to look at those.

U.S. Open website:
118th U.S. Open Sights and Sounds: A Look Back at a Great Week
Final Round: Highlights Down the Stretch
Brooks Koepka’s 68 in less than 3 minutes

Fox Sports:
Brooks Koepka on winning the U.S. Open for the second year in a row
Brooks Koepka shoots 2-under to win the U.S. Open for the second year in a row
Joe Buck and Paul Azinger wrap up the 2018 U.S. Open

Newsday (Newsday or Optimum subscription required for all links):
Fans say attending U.S. Open a treat on Father’s Day
Mark Herrmann: Repeating at U.S. Open puts Brooks Koepka in elite group
Curtis Strange welcomes Brooks Koepka into back-to-back club
Long Island crowd gives Phil Mickelson a mulligan
Brooks Koepka wins, becomes seventh player to repeat as champion
LIRR: More than 78,000 passenger trips to, from U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

Golf Channel:
Back to back: Koepka wins second U.S. Open
Repeat U.S. Open win gives Koepka credit he deserves
Best Father’s Day ever: Bob Koepka soaks in son’s victory
Koepka: ‘It is much more gratifying the second time’
Koepka’s caddie pushed him to ‘keep plugging away’
Koepka’s Father’s Day gifts … just U.S. Open trophies
U.S. Open purse payout: Koepka clears $2 million

8/13 UPDATE: Koepka went on to win the 100th PGA Championship yesterday at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, coincidentally in his 100th career start. He is the fifth golfer to win the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in the same year. The first four were Gene Sarazen in 1922, Ben Hogan in 1948, Jack Nicklaus in 1980, and Tiger Woods in 2000. Tiger shot a final round 64, finishing two shots back. He congratulated Koepka by the clubhouse afterward.

2018 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony May 7, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Interviews, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, Video.
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Previous Hall of Fame ceremony recaps: 2012201320142015, 2017

As usual, I took pictures and video, the latter of which is at the bottom of the post.

The seventh annual WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony took place Saturday afternoon in the Goldsmith Atrium at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of LIU Post. It was my first time back on campus, and in the atrium, since seeing the Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour in early December.

Like last year, I arrived at Tilles a half hour before the ceremony. I immediately mingled with all that had gathered in the atrium as I set up my equipment. I noticed there was a mixer behind the platform where the interviews would take place. I went to the Abrams Communications Building, the home of WCWP, to ask Director of Broadcasting Dan Cox if he had an 1/8″ to 1/4″ cable so I could record from the mixer to my Tascam DR-03. He had a 1/8″ cable and an adapter, so I was set. When I got back to the atrium, I connected the cable and adapter to a line out jack, checked the levels, and started recording.

Shortly after 1:00, the ceremony began with an introduction by the aforementioned Dan Cox…:

…and a video narrated by Jim Cutler:

2015 inductee Jeff Kroll hosted again:

Dan Cox returned to present the first of two new awards. The WCWP Lifetime Achievement Award was given to “Grandfather Rock” Chris MacIntosh:

He shared some stories from his 37 years hosting Rock & Soul Gospel:

Back in 2016, the one year I couldn’t attend, WCWP’s sage secretary Ann Gaffney, a.k.a. Mrs. G, was posthumously inducted to the Hall of Fame. Her daughter Cathy Turner accepted on her behalf.

Cathy returned this year to present Kristina Huderski with the Ann Gaffney Student Service Award:

Kristina graduates this Friday.

2014 inductee Ted David recorded a message to the inductees from Florida:

2012 inductee Hank Neimark and 2017 inductee John LiBretto introduced Muffet Provost (“pro-VO”), then interviewed her over the phone:

Muffet was unable to attend due to impending surgery.

It was hard to make out what she was saying through the Atrium speakers, but she’s a little clearer in the video below.

2017 inductee Neil Marks introduced Pat Kroll (née Champion):

Pat read a thank you speech…:

…then reminisced with Jeff and Neil:

The obligatory view from my camcorder:

Jeff read a message from Joel Feltman:

Pat’s friend Joanne had a few words:

2015 inductee Bruce Leonard introduced Rev. John Commins:

None of us realized this at the time, but the year on the plaque is wrong. I should be ’73, not ’79. John noticed the error at his hotel afterward. Jeff Kroll promised on Facebook that John will receive a replacement plaque with the correct year.

5/28 UPDATE: John’s replacement arrived a few days ago. He took a picture which he shared in his Facebook timeline:

Jeff presented John with a CD of WCWP’s coverage of the Bar Beach (now North Hempstead Beach) Fireworks broadcast from 1987:

Jeff shipped the original cassettes to me last month and I remastered them.

A shot of John’s wife Marilyn while he shared the story of how they met:

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us today at the seventh annual induction to the WCWP Hall of Fame!”:

Dan had Pat and John sign one of the posters:

Bruce, John, and Jeff posed with 2016 inductee Joe Honerkamp before he left:

John also prayed for Joe’s healing following a recent accident:

The cake:

Chris MacIntosh with his award:

Chris with Jay Mirabile:

Kristina Huderski with her award:

John LiBretto, Diane Hudson Taylor, Hank Neimark:

I had to pose with John and the CD I made for him:

My friend and hype man Jay Mirabile:

Pat Kroll and her mother Marion:

Pat and John:

The Krolls and the Commins’:

I always enjoy capturing these events and mingling with my fellow alumni. I feel deeply loved and appreciated. They’re my second family. I love you all. Congratulations to Muffet Provost, Pat Kroll, John Commins, Chris MacIntosh, and Kristina Huderski.

Here is the video:

Thanks to Dan Cox for providing the audio cable and adapter, and the introductory video. Thanks to Ted David for posting his segment to Facebook. My video was shot on a Panasonic HC-V770 camcorder with a Takstar SGC-598 shotgun mic. The audio from the mic can only be heard a few times. (A sound check in the auditorium disrupted Dan’s introduction a few minutes in, which is why there’s a jump dissolve.)

SJFS 2018 Night 2 recap May 1, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Softball, Travel, TV, Video.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Other SJFS recaps: 20082008 meet-and-greet200920102011,20122013 Night 12013 Night 22014 Night 12014 Night 22015 Night 12016 Night 12016 Night 2, 2017 Night 12017 Night 2, 2018 Night 1

The 16th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit run by keyboardist Jay Rowe on Saturday night with the second of two concerts. The headliners were Nelson Rangell, Jessy J, Matt Marshak, and Paul Taylor.

Like last year, I got a limited amount of sleep in my room at the Milford Hampton Inn into Saturday morning due to nervous energy related to impending photo editing. I got 5 1/2 hours, and maybe another hour half asleep. At around 7:30, I took my laptop and its power supply to the lobby to mingle with any musicians and fellow jazz fan friends I saw. When I arrived, David Benoit, Marc Antoine, and Roberto Vally were seated at a table, so I said hello and sat one table over. When they left for the airport, I moved to a seat at an elevated table with outlets for charging. I plugged the laptop power supply into an outlet and spent the next few hours editing in that spot, occasionally getting up for hot chocolate.

There was a man that looked like film and TV archivist Ira Gallen. It turned out his name was John, and after apologizing for mistaken identity, I had a nice conversation with he and his wife Mary. My friend Mark Abrams also came in the lobby and introduced me to John Caramagna and his wife Barbara Grocki. And I briefly spoke to Kevin McCabe and Steve Lewis.

Also in the lobby, though I didn’t talk to any of them, was the Le Moyne College softball team. They were in town to complete their Northeast-10 (or NE-10) regular season against the University of New Haven. They lost the series, but ended the regular season with a 2-1 win Sunday afternoon while I was back home in Wantagh. Adelphi University, where my sister went for her master’s, is in the NE-10 and are the reigning conference champions. Le Moyne plays New Haven later today in the first round of this year’s conference championship.

Nelson Rangell and Jessy J joined me at the table for a while. We had a lengthy, interesting conversation, which included remembrance of John Patterson, who tragically, suddenly died in March. John came to SJFS in 2016 to promote the River Raisin Jazz Festival. I made a video of his promotional pitches from both nights and posted it to Facebook. I’d like to share it here.

I never met John in person, as I added him on Facebook afterward, but we had shared interests in music and politics, so I was glad to know him.

My friend Kelly was the last friend I saw in the lobby before I went back to my room. CNN was on the TV behind me and I was hearing viewpoints I didn’t want to. The secret to having and keeping most of my friends that are music fans or musicians is to avoid politics. Thankfully, Kelly is apolitical. After finishing editing Friday’s pictures in my room, I watched initial coverage of the remaining rounds of the NFL Draft. I hung out with Kelly for a half hour and then went back to my room. After watching some YouTube videos and SnapKay’s Twitch stream, 5:00 came and it was time for dinner.

My parents and I went to Mexico Tipico, where Uno used to be, on U.S. 1 right before I-95. We went there early because we thought we would have to wait. There was no wait and we were finished by 6:15. I had my favorite Mexican dish: plain chicken quesadillas without any other toppings or sides. I was back at the Hampton Inn for about five minutes, then Kelly met me in the lobby and we took the scenic route to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Part of that route was the building that’s home to The Dan Patrick Show:

The show is syndicated on radio stations nationwide and simulcast on Audience and NBCSN.

We arrived at the auditorium just before 7:00 and the doors opened at precisely 7:00.

Once inside, we went our separate ways until after the show. I set up in the orchestra pit, took a break in the lobby to buy 50/50 raffle tickets (I lost), and went back to the pit.

Once again, the show began before 8:00; eight minutes, to be exact. Kevin McCabe spoke first:

The opening act was the Foran High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jessica Shearer:

The ensemble played two songs, the second of which was “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione, but in a lower key than Chuck played.

Jay Rowe and his band came on stage at around 8:10.

Jay worked the keyboards:

Dave Anderson played bass:

Trever Somerville on the drums:

Steve Scales on percussion:

…and Rohn (“Ron”) Lawrence on guitar:

As I said at the top, the headliners were Nelson Rangell on alto saxophone (below), flute, and whistling:

Jessy J on tenor sax:

Paul Taylor and soprano (below) and alto sax:

Matt Marshak on guitar:

…and for two songs, special guest Marion Meadows on soprano sax:

Unfortunately, that was the only solo shot I took of Marion, but there are plenty on the first night.

SET LIST
1. Rosemary’s Tune (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Live at Daniel Street (2011), Smooth Ride (2016)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo)

2. Sunny Salsa (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Jessy J (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

3. Hot Sauce (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: Hot Sauce (2011)
Featured musicians: Jessy J (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo)

4. Tequila Moon (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: Tequila Moon (2008)
Featured musicians: Jessy J (tenor sax), Matt Marshak (guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

5. Lifestyle (Matt Marshak)
Originally heard on: Lifestyle (2014)
Featured musicians: Matt Marshak (guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

6. Sleepwalk (Matt Marshak; Santo & Johnny cover; Larry Carlton arrangement)
Featured musician: Matt Marshak (guitar)

7. Pleasure Seeker (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: Pleasure Seeker (1997)
Featured musicians: Paul Taylor (soprano sax), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

8. Arrival (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: Countdown (2016)
Featured musician: Paul Taylor (alto sax)

9. Over the Rainbow (Nelson Rangell; Arlen/Harburg ballad from The Wizard of Oz)
Musicians: Nelson Rangell (whistling), Jay Rowe (keyboard)

10. By Light (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (flute), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

11. Lookin’ Back (Matt Marshak)
Originally heard on: New York (2016)
Featured musicians: Matt Marshak (guitar), Marion Meadows (special guest) (soprano sax)

12. From the Start (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Matt Marshak (guitar)

13. All I Want (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: Live at Yoshi’s 10 Year Anniversary Special (2018)
Featured musicians: Jessy J (tenor sax), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

14 (Finale). Ladies’ Choice (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: Ladies’ Choice (2007)
Featured musicians: Everyone (Paul played alto sax)

Rohn didn’t play on any songs featuring Matt.

Here are groups of pictures by artist, starting with Nelson Rangell on alto sax:

Whistling:

…and on flute:

Jessy J:

Prompting the audience to clap on “Hot Sauce”:

They obliged:

Matt Marshak:

Paul Taylor on soprano sax:

Prompting the audience to wave their arms side to side on “Pleasure Seeker”:

Again, they obliged:

…and alto sax:

Jay Rowe:

Dave Anderson:

Trever Somerville:

Steve Scales:

Rohn Lawrence:

Pointing at Jay because it was his turn to solo on “Rosemary’s Tune”:

Wide shots, starting with Nelson and Jessy:

Rohn and Jessy:

Matt and Jessy:

Rohn and Paul:

Matt and Marion (MM and MM):

Matt and Nelson:

Jessy and Jay:

The finale: “Ladies’ Choice”:

The end:

The meet and greet began with Jessy J:

I brought my copy of Live at Yoshi’s 10 Year Anniversary Special for her to sign. I was the first person to pledge to the album’s PledgeMusic campaign. I also told her a funny story. When I pledged to her 2015 album, My One and Only One, I foolishly typed my name for her to sign rather than a personal message. So, when that album arrived in my mailbox, she had signed my name, “Mike Chimeri,” on the cover. It was like that early episode of The Simpsons – “Lisa’s Substitute” – where Mr. Bergstrom (Dustin Hoffman under the pseudonym “Sam Etic”) left a note for Lisa which read “You are Lisa Simpson.”

Jessy, Paul Taylor, and Marion Meadows used to tour as Sax and the City. Saturday night served as a reunion, which was 2/3 immortalized below:

Marion also took a selfie.

I met and posed with Paul Taylor myself:

I was happy that Paul remembered me when he saw me. “Mike!,” he exclaimed.

When I approached Nelson Rangell, he signed an empty envelope (or so I thought while working on the post). It read:

For my buddy Mikey!
(signature) Nelly

So, you can understand why I have a big grin on my face:

Here’s the envelope Nelson signed:

Waiting at the end of the line was Matt Marshak:

I hadn’t seen Matt since his November 2015 show at Houndstooth Pub, which was the first time I used my Nikon D5500 at a show. He was at SJFS two years ago, but I didn’t meet him afterward.

I couldn’t see the expression Matt was making above. I only knew he spread out his arms, so I spread mine out.

While waiting in line, I saw my friend Jay Dobbins and his girlfriend Philomena. Jay took three of the last four pictures. Kelly took the one of me with the envelope. After saying goodbye to Jay, Philomena, Steve Lewis, and photographer Steve Cooper, Kelly and I headed back to the hotel.

I got a half hour less of sleep and began editing in the lobby at 6:00 Sunday morning. It was quiet for the first hour or so, but I did meet Mike, who was going to drive Jessy J and David to the airport. Then, Jessy and David came downstairs. They liked the pictures I had edited so far. Later in the morning, I met Diane Roth and her friend Rich. We had a fascinating conversation. It turns out that envelope Nelson signed originally contained a framed photo from last year. Diane took the photo and gave it to him as a gift. While working on these recaps, I noticed that there was another unframed print in the envelope. I scanned it to include here:

After Diane and Rich left, Mark and Phyllis Abrams said hello, John and Mary waved goodbye, the Le Moyne Dolphins congregated, Kelly dropped in, and Nelson and I spoke for a half hour.

I was finished editing by 10:55. I put my laptop away, went back to my room to get my packed suitcase and tripod, left a tip for housekeeping, said goodbye to Kelly in her room, exited the hotel, and got in the car with my parents. Despite pockets of heavy traffic on I-95 in the Bronx, and on the Grand Central and Southern State Parkways, it only took an hour and 40 minutes to get home. Along the way, I watched a couple of YouTube videos on my phone (this and this).

After a few hours of decompressing, I chose pictures for the two recaps you’ve read. It was tough to get to sleep, but I think I got six or seven hours. I drafted the recaps yesterday and published them this morning.

Thank you for joining me on my journey. And thank you to everyone I spoke to and saw perform this weekend. Until next year, so long.

SJFS 2018 Night 1 recap May 1, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Books, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, Video, Video Games.
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Other SJFS recaps: 20082008 meet-and-greet200920102011,20122013 Night 12013 Night 22014 Night 12014 Night 22015 Night 12016 Night 12016 Night 2, 2017 Night 12017 Night 2, 2018 Night 2

Keyboardist Jay Rowe‘s 16th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars was held in his hometown of Milford, Connecticut, on Friday and Saturday nights. The concerts benefit the Milford Public Schools music department. This is a recap of Friday night with headliners Marc Antoine, David Benoit, Marion Meadows, and special guest Elan Trotman.

The sixth annual SJFS in 2008 was the first show I recapped for my blog, which was only two weeks old at the time.

My parents and I left for Milford earlier than last year, at 1:10, but we encountered the same heavy traffic. To be fair, traffic was fine until we crossed into Connecticut. The flow finally eased after exit 27 in Bridgeport. Along the way, I played Kirby Star Allies on my Nintendo Switch, the first time I played in portable mode and the only time I played it all weekend. Then, I watched new videos from a few of the YouTube channels I subscribe to, and posted a picture to Instagram:

A view of the Throgs Neck Bridge on the Cross Island Parkway

A post shared by Mike Chimeri (@mikechimeri) on

I should also note that like last year, a Jay Rowe song played on the Watecolors SiriusXM channel during the drive. This year, it was the radio edit of “Rosemary’s Tune.”

It took two hours and 55 minutes to get to the Milford Hampton Inn.

As we checked in, I ran into saxophonist Jessy J, who headlined Saturday night, along with her husband David. A few minutes later, David Benoit walked in the lobby and we caught up with each other.

My room was on the south end of the first floor. After unpacking and setting up my laptop, I hung out with my friend Kelly, who chose to stay over at the hotel rather than drive from home both nights. We would see each other again after the show.

My dad recommended we eat dinner at Olive Garden on U.S. 1 in neighboring Orange. So, that’s what we did. Like last year, I had minestrone and lasagna with a couple of breadsticks.

My parents dropped me off at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in the Parsons Government Center at around 7:15. I had my ticket checked, then got into my position in the orchestra pit with a few photographers and waited for showtime.

Oddly, Kevin McCabe of Jumpstart Jazz came on stage to start the night about five minutes before 8:00.

After that came the opening acts. First was the Jonathan Law High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Phil Giampietro:

They performed “Feather Report,” a Kris Berg composition.

Second was the Jonathan Law Choir, directed by Kelly Jones:

They sang two songs: “Hlonolofatsa” (5/3 UPDATE: Thank you, Kelly.) and “Jonah’s Song.”

Jay Rowe and his band came on stage around 8:15:

Jay played keyboards:

Dave Anderson was on bass:

Trever Somerville on drums:

On his birthday, percussion by Steve Scales:

…and Rohn (“Ron”) Lawrence on electric guitar:

As noted above, the headliners were, in order of appearance, Marc Antoine on classical guitar:

David Benoit on piano:

…and occasionally on keyboard:

Jay emphasized the first syllable on “Benoit” rather than the second.

Marion Meadows on soprano saxophone:

And for the last three songs (including the encore), special guest Elan Trotman on tenor sax:

SET LIST
1. Smooth Ride (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Smooth Ride (2016)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

2. Latin Quarter (Marc Antoine)
Originally heard on: Urban Gypsy (1995)
Featured musician: Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

3. Caminando (David Benoit & Marc Antoine)
Originally heard on: So Nice! (2017)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano/keyboard), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

4. A Cafe Au Lait Bentley (David Benoit & Marc Antoine)
Originally heard on: Smooth Ride (2017)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano/keyboard), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)
I cheered when David announced this song: “Yay!” It’s my favorite song on So Nice. David told me it’s based on a line in Ashley Bell by his friend Dean Koontz. I found it here:

“Of course I don’t teach anymore. Don’t have to. That’s my café-au-lait Bentley over there. But I always tell people,” said Mrs. Hoffline-Vorshack, “I was the first to recognize your talent.”

5. Freedom at Midnight (David Benoit)
Originally heard on: Freedom at Midnight (1987); “The Schroeder Variations” with “Moonlight Sonata” excerpt on Earthglow (2010)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano/keyboard), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

6. Body Rhythm (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Body Rhythm (1995)
Featured musician: Marion Meadows (soprano sax)
Marion began the song by playing through the audience.

7. Humanity (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Soul Traveler (2015)
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo), Dave Anderson (bass solo)

8. Montuno Bay (Marc Antoine)
Originally heard on: Guitar Destiny (2012)
Featured musicians: Marc Antoine (classical guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

9. Every Step of the Way (David Benoit)
Originally heard on: Every Step of the Way (1988)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano/keyboard), Marc Antoine (classical guitar)

10. Linus and Lucy (David Benoit; Vince Guaraldi cover)
Originally heard on: This Side Up (1985), Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown! (1989)/This is America, Charlie Brown episode 6: “The Great Inventors,” Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000)
Featured musicians: David Benoit (piano)

11. Soul City (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: Soul City (2018)
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows (soprano sax), Elan Trotman (special guest) (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo)

12 (Finale). Mas Que Nada (Marc Antoine; Jorge Ben Jor cover; Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 signature song)
Originally heard on: Cruisin’ (2001)
Featured musicians: Everyone but Dave Anderson; Roberto Vally (bass)
With the piano in the way, I didn’t realize Roberto was on bass, so I didn’t take any pictures. Instead, I’ll refer you to his website. I met him in the hotel lobby the following morning.

13 (Encore). Watermelon Man (David Benoit; Herbie Hancock cover)
Originally heard on: Right Here, Right Now (2003)
Featured musicians: Everyone but Marc Antoine, Danny Pickering (flugelhorn)

Jay didn’t play on David Benoit’s songs. Rohn didn’t play on “Latin Quarter,” “Caminando,” “A Cafe Au Lait Bentley,” “Montuno Bay,” or “Every Step of the Way.”

We’ve reached the part where I show groups of pictures by artist. We start with Marc Antoine:

David Benoit on piano:

…and keyboard:

To start “Body Rhythm,” Marion Meadows played through the audience:

Special guest Elan Trotman:

Jay Rowe:

Dave Anderson:

Trever Somerville:

Steve Scales:

Rohn Lawrence:

Now for shots with more than person, starting with Jay and Marc:

David and Marc:

Elan and Marion:

“Linus and Lucy”:

The finale: “Mas Que Nada”:

The encore: “Watermelon Man”:

Danny Pickering made a cameo on flugelhorn:

The end:

I wasn’t expecting an encore, but I love David’s take on “Watermelon Man,” so I was happy to hear it.

At the meet and greet in the lobby, I met and posed with Marc Antoine:

Elan Trotman and David Benoit:

…and Jay Rowe and Marion Meadows:

Kelly dropped me off at the hotel and she went to the after party. In all the years I’ve gone to SJFS, I’ve never been to an after party. I don’t like to be up too late, anyway. I usually go to sleep around 10:00 or 11:00.

Click here to read how the rest of my weekend went.

10 years of blogging! April 15, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Personal, Technology.
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13 years ago, I created MikeChimeri.com, which was a WYSIWYG site created in software called Yahoo! Sitebuilder. One of the pages on the site was “News from Mike.” Before I knew what a blog was, I used that page to periodically update visitors on the latest events in my life. Over the next three years, I learned what a blog was, learned that WordPress was a common site for blogging, and decided to create my own blog.

Ten years ago this evening, The Mike Chimeri Blog was born. I published four posts that evening. I linked to the first two sentences ago, but here are the second, third, and fourth posts.

I kept MikeChimeri.com up for four years before deciding to merge that site with the blog. I completed that merger on May 14, 2012. As I wrote that day…

The Mike Chimeri Blog is now the new MikeChimeri.com. This change was two months in the making. Resources from the old MikeChimeri.com were moved here, the domain was transferred to a different host, and the nameservers were transferred to WordPress. It’s the old MikeChimeri.com pages and files combined with The Mike Chimeri Blog pages, posts, and files.

But don’t worry. You can still reach this site from the old mikechimeriblog.com domain. You’ll just be redirected.

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading The Mike Chimeri Blog and the current MikeChimeri.com for the last ten years.

April Snow April 3, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Personal, Photography, Weather.
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This year, Easter Sunday fell on the same day as April Fools’ Day, April 1. The meteorological April Fools prank came the next day, yesterday. So much for March 21 being the last snow until the fall. Overnight through mid-morning, a few inches of wet snow – 3.9 according to the National Weather Service – coated the ground, though not as much on pavement.

It didn’t take long to shovel what fell, nor did it take long to melt afterward. I was able to run 4.8 miles late in the afternoon without encountering snowfall on the pavement. There was only occasional mud and puddles to go around.

Shortly after I woke up, at 8:57 AM, I took pictures in the front and back of my house:

I spent 45 minutes shoveling, then periodically photographed the melting progress.

Noon:

1:52 PM:

For a time Sunday night, it seemed that there would be still more snow on Saturday, 15 years to the date of another period of April snow, but that is not happening now. For the record, here are pictures from April 7, 2003:

I’ve had my fill of snow. Let’s stick with rain until at least November. But no tropical cyclones, please.

4/4 UPDATE: Snow is back in the forecast for Saturday. I’ll have a post up afterward.

4/6 UPDATE: Measurable snow is back out of the forecast. There may be snow showers, but they will leave little or no accumulation.

4/8 UPDATE: We didn’t even get rain showers.

Fourth nor’easter in 19 days March 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10:36 AM:

12:54 PM:

2:52 PM:

5:19 PM:

7:02 PM:

9:03 PM:

Without the flash:

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

11:01 PM, with and without the flash:

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

Thursday, 7:05 AM:

10:34 AM, after shoveling:

A Northern Cardinal spotting at 12:03 PM:

2PM:

5:04 PM:

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

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

The end of the Wii Shop March 21, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris was next to quip:

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

So, I said:

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

And he replied:

They better have. I have kids to feed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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