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Photos from Dutchess County trip, drive back home October 28, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Aviation, Baseball, Biking, Comedy, Film, Fire, Health, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Politics, Radio, Running, Sci-Fi, Sports, Technology, Travel, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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In two of my Homecoming Weekend posts (live show, main post), I referenced a family trip to Dutchess County the prior weekend. This post is about that trip.

Back in the spring, my mom sprung the trip on me: a few of my relatives were going to run a race – The Fall Foliage Half Marathon and 5K – in Rhinebeck on the Sunday of Columbus Day Weekend and we would all be put up in a nearby AirBNB. I initially panicked, worried that it would conflict with Homecoming Weekend (henceforth, HCW), but one of my alumni friends assured me the LIU Sharks‘ Homecoming football game would likely be the following weekend. And in recent years, it has been held on the third Saturday of October. My conscience was clear and I was prepared for the trip.

I assumed the AirBNB would be in Rhinebeck and my parents, sister, and I would leave for there on the morning of Friday, October 7. Instead, we were to leave in the mid-afternoon and the house was in Staatsburg. I had an extra day to prepare since I decided not to go to New York Comic Con this year, or ever again, due to my disenchantment with the event and a need to save money for paying off my PC build. (And then, a week later, I went and bought a new camera and related equipment, which I’m still trying to get the hang of.)

I have a mixed record when it comes to time management. More often than not, I mismanage my time, and that’s what I did prior to departure on Friday afternoon. In the days leading up to the weekend, I tried to get as many radio shows recorded as possible to allow for a sizable buffer of weeks ahead. I only managed to produce and record the HCW prerecord and one regular show (November 16). I finished creating the playlist for the live HCW show with only an hour to spare before leaving the house.

Annotations for the live show and next regular show (November 23) were done from my laptop during downtime at the AirBNB. It was not an easy task with constant action at breakfast time or with babies occasionally crying indefinitely, all amplified by the hardwood floors on the main floor. Most of the regular show annotations were done on Sunday evening when I had the house to myself and then in my bedroom with white noise blaring in my earbuds.

Don’t chalk this up to disdain for the experience that weekend. Overall, I had a great time seeing the sights and catching up with relatives.

My parents and I left at 3:15 Friday afternoon and drove five minutes east to pick up my sister at her apartment. Four hours of traffic and spotty cell service later, we arrived at the AirBNB on Connelly Drive in Staatsburg.

For privacy’s sake, I won’t include photos of the house’s interior or of my family, but here are two exterior shots I took Saturday afternoon:

The rest of the post is dedicated to scenery photos taken from Saturday, October 8, to the ride home on Monday, October 10.

First, two more negatives:

  • The Mets completed their unraveling by losing their National League Wild Card Series to the Padres. I found out about their game 1 loss Saturday morning, game 2 win Sunday morning, and game 3 loss seconds after it happened Sunday night. It was extremely demoralizing. I spent five months of my life believing this was the year the Mets would win their third World Series, allowing me not to care if they’d win a fourth in my lifetime. Five months of my life were wasted for nothing, including hours spent editing photos from the two games I attended. Obviously, I won’t make a slideshow of photos from that second game, which turned out to be the apex of the Mets’ season; all downhill from there. I hadn’t thrown away so many months expecting an outcome that didn’t happen since the 2012 presidential election. And I was away from home that night, too, at a family friend’s house in Rockville Centre, waiting for power to be restored back at my Wantagh home. (It was the next afternoon.) (11/1 UPDATE: Whoops, forgot to note power was lost during Sandy. I wrote about my experience here.) Incidentally, that family friend now lives an hour north of where we were and she met up with us Sunday in downtown(village) Rhinebeck.
  • In another case of time mismanagement, I hurriedly and anxiously shaved my face and neck on Saturday and Sunday, making everyone wait before we could drive to wherever we were going. I cut myself in multiple places, and contemplated going back to an electric razor after nearly 20 years of a manual razor with five-blade cartridges. My dad generously bought one for me as an early birthday present on Monday morning. As of publication, I’m still mastering it. Most of my face is easy to shave, but I can’t get all the hairs off my neck, above my chin, or below my sideburns.

Now for the photos. Saturday morning, October 8, included a trip to the Kesicke Farm Fall Festival (more alliteration) in Rhinebeck. One day after warm and slightly humid conditions, conditions were sunny and breezy with temperatures in the 50s. I brought a winter hat and light gloves on the trip, but only needed the gloves.

Returning to the AirBNB:

Sunday, October 9, brought us back to Rhinebeck. I packed my camcorder and tripod on Friday because I thought we’d be watching the end of the races Sunday. I thought wrong. I did use the camcorder Saturday afternoon to record soccer practice with my sister and our cousin. We did, however, walk up and down Market Street in Rhinebeck. That made me think of a song bearing that name by Yellowjackets from the Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home soundtrack. Of course, the film was based in San Francisco, not Rhinebeck, but Rhinebeck was the location of Spyro Gyra‘s last album of original music to date, The Rhinebeck Sessions.

Another pair of road signs on the way back to Staatsburg:

While I was walking through Rhinebeck, my dad biked to and from the Ashokan Reservoir via the Ashokan Rail Trail. Those are the first two photos below. He took the third Sunday evening while everyone but me traveled to the Walkway Over the Hudson. (I stayed in Staatsburg.)

Monday morning, October 10, I spotted three wild turkeys walking through the AirBNB’s backyard. I went outside to take photos with my phone, and ended up following them several yards into the woods.

Trembling from excitement and anxiety (I wanted to go home), I shot this shaky video:

We left for Wantagh at around 10:30 AM. These photos were taken on the way to the Taconic State Parkway:

On the parkway:

I-84:

I-684 (briefly in Connecticut):

I-287:

The Hutchinson River Parkway/I-678 (supplementing my photos from May 1):

The Cross Island Parkway:

And finally, the Grand Central Parkway/Northern State Parkway:

It took less than 2 1/2 hours to drive from Staatsburg to Wantagh. After a short treadmill run to compensate for Friday’s shortened run, I tried my best to unwind. I edited Saturday’s and Sunday’s photos at the AirBNB, but took care of Monday’s photos at my remote location on Tuesday and Wednesday (October 11 and 12). After uploading the scenery photos (and selfie) to WordPress and making a rough draft of this post with only the photos, I shifted my focus to HCW (Homecoming Weekend, if you forgot) and finally wrote a recap on the 24th, publishing today, the 28th. Thank you for reading it all and I hope you liked the photos.

Instrumental Invasion, 9/14/22 September 15, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, Audiobooks, Books, Comedy, Computer, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Technology, TV.
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The September 14 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded from July 22 to 24. The fourth segment was recorded on the 22nd because I rightly anticipated it would be the longest. That was followed on the 23rd by all but the last segment, which was recorded on the 24th along with pickups. I started recorded next week’s show later that day.

An additional pickup was recorded on August 26, the day after the untimely death of organist Joey DeFrancesco, who appeared on Lee Ritenour‘s “78th and 3rd” with drummer (and future collaborator) Byron “Wookie” Landham.

The playlist was created simultaneously with next week’s show on July 17 with annotations on the 18th and 19th. The talk break script was drafted on the 20th and 21st.

Three songs made their second appearance, one of which I’ll elaborate on in the next paragraph (two weeks in a row with a false memory):

I played “Angela” in order to correct my January 19 mistake, a mistake I also made in my pre-recorded 2019 Homecoming Weekend show. Listening to Jimmy Burrows‘s memoir on Audible, Directed by James Burrows, set me straight about the “Blind Date” episode of Taxi, featuring the titular character Angela Matusa (Suzanne Kent). (Oh, Suzanne was an original member The Groundlings! No wonder she did Pee-wee’s Playhouse!) Angela wasn’t literally blind; just gruff and cynical, the opposite of her answering service persona. I don’t know where the false memory originated, but I regret the twice-told error.

Nowhere else will you get a reference to SpongeBob SquarePants after playing “Secret Sauce” by Paul Brown (adjacent to the Krabby Patty secret formula that Plankton tries to steal) or to Phineas and Ferb after playing “Candice Dance” by Richard Elliot and a song featuring guitar solos by Perry Hughes (hence, the Perry the Playtpus reference). As noted on the air, Candace Flynn spelled her name differently.

After recording last week’s aircheck on my new PC, I noticed that audio levels were bumped up when certain songs faded out or on vocal pauses in liners and talk breaks. Those bump-ups were replaced with audio from an alternate aircheck on the Dell PC in the guest room. I chalked it up to an audio enhancement setting and thought to have that enhancement off this week. Sadly, the problem was still there this week. I wasted nearly three hours figuring out how to stop that from happening. I now assume it’s related to the motherboard’s “Audio Boost 5” feature.

Finally, at around 2:45 this morning, I came across this webpage. The solution was option 2:

Don’t have a Stereo Mix option? No problem. Audacity has a useful feature that can record the audio coming out of your computer – even without Stereo Mix. In fact, Audacity’s feature may be even better than Stereo Mix, assuming you’re willing to use Audacity to record the audio. This method takes advantage of a feature that Microsoft added in Windows Vista named the Windows Audio Session API (WASAPI) [link added by me]. The feature also functions in Windows 7, 8, and 10, and helps make up for the lack of a Stereo Mix option on modern Windows PCs.

In Audacity, choose the “Windows WASAPI” audio host, and then choose an appropriate loopback device, such as “Speakers (loopback)” or “Headphones (loopback).”

Click the Record button to start recording the audio in Audacity, and then click Stop when you’re done. Because you’re using Audacity, you can easily trim and edit the sound file when you’re done.

How to Record the Sound Coming From Your PC (Even Without Stereo Mix)

It’s ironic that the solution came via free software while a program I paid for years ago – Easy MP3 Recorder 2.0 – and one I pay for monthly – Adobe Audition – are no longer useful on the new build for recording system audio.

The angst caused by the problem is the reason this post wasn’t published until afternoon. I still needed to add these paragraphs and then scope the aircheck.

Click here to download that scoped aircheck or listen below:

The adventure of building my own PC September 10, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Computer, Internet, Personal, Photography, Technology.
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NOTE: This is a long post.

For 3 1/2 years, my bedroom/home studio desktop computer was a Dell XPS 8930 that I had custom built by Dell. All my PCs since 2011, laptop and desktop, had been customized and bought from either Dell or HP.

My needs have grown over time. Media production requires top-of-the-line parts. A video shouldn’t have a render time that’s triple its running time. Photo editors shouldn’t struggle to load files and apply effects, nor should they flicker when operating. On the audio front, it’s frustrating if the computer freezes while airchecking a radio show. That’s one reason I’ve been recording on my computer and the computer in the neighboring guest room: an HP Envy 750-170se, which was even slower than the XPS 8930. And the most annoying thing about the XPS is how its cooling fan screams during an intense task.

Thus, in July, I began searching for a new computer. I had already planned on buying a mirrorless Nikon Z7 II with IBIS (in-body image stabilization), higher maximum resolution, and lower minimum ISO. I’d get it with an FTZ II lens mount adapter so I could keep using my F-mount Nikkor all-in-one lens. (The vertical grip is enticing.) I eventually learned the Z cameras lack a built-in flash and I’d have to buy a speedlight attachment, as well. Review sites like this one recommend a top-of-the-line model, but Nikon recommends what the review site considers #2.

The potential customizations for Dell and HP PCs (desktop homepages here and here) were expensive, but limited in maximum storage and memory. My friends in the Discord chat servers for Technology Connections and Game Dave recommended building my own PC with individual parts. Newegg lets you create, save, and share custom build lists. I shared my build with the TC Discord and they suggested tweaks, which I made. I thought I’d need to double the RAM (random-access memory) of the XPS, from 64GB (gigabytes) to 128GB, but they said 64GB would be fine with the CPU (central processing unit) and GPU (graphics processing unit) I had in mind. 128GB would be overkill.

On the morning of August 27, I had an epiphany: buying the camera before the computer was putting the cart before the horse. I should buy a more powerful computer now (that morning), and save the more advanced camera for later (my birthday in November or Christmastime in December). I made final tweaks to the build to cut costs. I still had highly-rated components, but not as flashy. It all cost $2,890.79, with taxes and shipping yielding a grand total of $3,156.96. The shared build list can be viewed here. If you’re not on a smartphone or don’t have the Newegg app installed (iOS, Android), click the center arrow for full descriptions. 12:30 PM UPDATE: I’ve been told the Newegg build list link doesn’t work for some readers. So, here are direct links to each part (with Newegg’s descriptions):

All but one component arrived between August 30 and September 2:

Yes, I made a gargantuan oversight when picking a tower case: I didn’t check the dimensions! It’s 23.27 inches high, 9.84 wide, and 22.24 deep. No wonder it has straps for carrying at the top. Still, my dad told me that cases that big are better because they allow for more maneuverability during assembly.

The lone late arrival was the mechanical gaming keyboard, scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, September 6. Unfortunately, I wasn’t home to sign for it. Everything else arrived in the evening while I was home, but the UPS driver reached my house in the afternoon on a day when I was out. So, I had to pick it up the next day at my local CVS, a UPS Access Point location.

In the meantime, I was willing to use a spare keyboard temporarily and an old Dell wired USB mouse that I found in a basement storage box as the mouse for my build.

I could have started assembly on Friday, September 2, but bought a new FireWire (IEEE 1394) card on Amazon (this one) rather than swap out the one in my Dell XPS 8930. Amazon is also where I bought an ESD (electrostatic discharge) anti-static wrist strap (this one) to wear during assembly (clipped to the case) and two use licenses for Laplink PCmover Professional, my go-to data migration software since getting the XPS in February 2019 and an HP Omen 15t-dc000 laptop that January. The laptop was superseded by a Dell Alienware m15 R3 in December 2020. I mistakenly sprung for Dell Update, which wasn’t as good as PCmover. I held on to the Omen laptop until cleaning it out last week – uninstalling extra software and logging out of my Microsoft account – and donating it to my sister.

Exactly one week after my purchases – the morning of Saturday, September 3 – I prepped my desk’s computer compartment for its much bigger inhabitant. I unscrewed the door hinges (years after taking out the door), took out the drawer above it (uninhabited for about five years) and unscrewed the supports, removed the plank below the desk center, and unscrewed its supports. There was a cardboard backing behind the compartment that had been partially cut open when I first got the desk in 2004. There was clearance for the back of all computer towers until my build. So, I ripped out what was left.

When the FireWire card was delivered in the afternoon, I began assembling the computer on the guest room L-shaped desk. I had no idea what I was in for.

Hours passed as I struggled to decipher the manuals and juggle parts in my lap, falsely assuming it wouldn’t take long to assemble this to that. I had big trouble with the CPU cooler manual, reading the instructions left to right by column rather top to bottom by row. Somehow, the thermal paste held when I finally figured out how to secure it to the motherboard.

I mistakenly assumed I had to unscrew the motherboard’s back panel exterior before attaching it to the case. No! Why else would the screws be so small?! I had to unscrew the motherboard, re-screw the back panel exterior, then re-screw the board to the case.

Inserting the GPU/graphics card required unscrewing and removing a vertical expansion slot compartment, then removing multiple inserts to house the card. It was a pain fitting the card into the PCI Express slot, then re-screwing the open inserts and re-screwing the vertical compartment. I didn’t bother with the included bracket; the card stood up just fine.

The graphics card made RAM insertion tough, having to finesse them in.

I couldn’t properly screw in the SSD. I settled for barely connecting it with mismatched screws.

The easy parts of assembly were unscrewing the disposable parts of the tower case, screwing in the power supply (the first two things I did), inserting the SATA (Serial ATA) HDD, and attaching most connectors to the motherboard, whether for the components or the case’s front panel. The power LED positive and negative connectors were impossible to secure, but somehow I did.

I usually eat dinner around 4 or 5PM, but it wasn’t until 7PM that I paused assembly to cook and eat it. Then, back to work.

Thinking I had assembled everything, I closed the tower case at around 10:30 and prepped for bed.

After some sleep, I woke up Sunday morning, September 4, ready to turn the computer on, install Windows 11, and start migrating data. It wouldn’t turn on. Thankfully, with the help of Ganiman and Filbert from the Game Dave Discord, I attached connections to the power supply that were mislabeled and I thought were incompatible, but by golly, they all fit and the computer turned on! What a relief!

Notice that the BIOS build date is last December 17. It turns out that predates compatibility with Windows 11. My attempt to install yielded an error message. I figured out on my own to update the BIOS by downloading the latest firmware on the Dell, putting it on a flash drive, and loading it to the new build.

That did the trick. I actually had to install Windows 11 twice (another redo). I initially had it on the HDD, but Ganiman said the SSD is the better option for storing the OS.

After that, the long process of data migration began while I relaxed in my room.

After another night of some sleep, I resumed work on Labor Day morning; Monday, September 5. I moved my desk chair out of the way, disconnected and unplugged the Dell and moved it to the guest room. I left it on the floor and lugged the build into my room.

There’s very little space between the back of the desk and my wall, and less maneuverability for connecting cables. The tower case was too wide to turn towards me. The previous ones could be turned, allowing me to see the back panel from my contorted position to the left of the desk. This time, I had to consult the motherboard manual and connect by feel. Before I could do any of that, I considered placing the case outside to the left and moving the items that had been there – power strip, 8mm camcorder (for digitizing home videos), external FireWire converter (for analog video and audio from camcorders and VCRs) – into the compartment along with the external Blu-ray writer. Realizing that would be a waste of space, I put the tower back in and moved the camcorder and converter under the desk below the keyboard stand, where two 4-head Hi-Fi VCRs were situated. The camcorder went to the left of the VHS VCRs and the converter was seated on the right end of the top VCR. A/V cables were moved to the back.

Three hours later…

It was finally time to open PCmover on the HP Envy and Dell XPS (with the second use license) and transfer from one to the other. In order to see what I was doing, I connected the computers to an HDMI switch that I connected to the monitor, and alternated between them. An error message in PCmover on the Dell said there wasn’t enough room to transfer everything, even when I specified what data would go on the small 512GB SSD C: drive and the bigger 2TB (terabytes) HDD D: drive. Attempts to uninstall and pinpoint folders with the most data didn’t help much. Still another hour had passed once I gave up and transferred anyway.

While that was going on, I made up for lost time by eating a late breakfast in my room and heading to the basement for a treadmill run and weightlifting. After a shower, I checked on the transfer. Despite my specifications, data intended for the D: drive still went to the C:. There were only 10GB left on the C: drive, but clearing unnecessary data brought that number back to around 100GB. I cut and pasted the pictures, documents, music, and videos folder contents to the D: drive along with any other storage folders.

Satisfied, I turned off the computers, unplugged them, and disconnected cables. Then, I got an ultimately-time-consuming idea. Why not take the HDD out of the HP and put it in the Dell as a secondary data drive? Opening the two towers and removing the HDD was easy. Getting into the Dell was where time slipped away. I needed to print out pages from the XPS 8930 maintenance manual to figure out how to seat it. Attempts to remove the graphics card bracket failed, meaning I couldn’t took out the drive slot to screw the drive in place. After attaching the built-in power supply connector and using a spare SATA cable from the motherboard assembly kit, I opened the bag of unused zip ties (cable ties) from my tower case assembly kit and tried to secure the HDD to the slot with them. It worked, but I couldn’t put the right-side cover back on. I seated the drive upside down and the cables were in the way. I tried in vain to swap the straight and right-angle ends of the SATA cable. The zip ties had to be cut off. That’s when I gave up. The HDD would sit loosely in the slot, period. Now, the cover fit back in place and closed securely.

I screwed the HP Envy’s right-side cover back on (much easier), prepared for future disposal, and set up the Dell XPS in its place. I formatted the HP’s HDD and it was ready for use. The only problem was I accidentally allowed PCmover to transfer the built-in HP Recovery software and couldn’t remove it from any drive, not even the “new” one after formatting. Oh, well. I can live with that, too.

Ironically, all my hard labor took place over Labor Day Weekend.

Before I get to the aftermath portion, here are the rest of Monday’s photos:

Aftermath

Things seemed fine on my build once I acclimated to it, but I made another oversight that led to another living nightmare.

The first sign of trouble came Monday morning when I tried to change the built-in FireWire driver to a legacy driver I had used on prior computers. I would just disable the driver and make the change. Wrong! Disabling the drive crashed the computer and forced a reset. I did a test video capture with the irremovable driver and there weren’t any capture freezes (where it thinks there’s no signal) or dropped frames. So, I accepted my fate with the new driver.

The next sign of trouble came that evening when a trial version of Topaz Video Enhance AI froze while loading. Ending via the task manager (Control-Alt-Delete) seemed to help as it worked fine upon reloading. I used the program to test video upscaling speed; only slightly faster than on the XPS desktop and Alienware laptop.

The nightmare came on Tuesday, September 6. Apparently, my computers’ desktop folders are tied to my OneDrive account. Program shortcuts in that folder are visible on all computers. If the program isn’t on the computer, the shortcut goes nowhere and has a blank icon. To remedy this, I either deleted shortcuts or installed the software. The one program I thought to install on my build that was on my laptop was the Nox Android emulator for watching the Optimum TV app. I had been using Bluestacks 5, but at some point this year (when the app was still called Altice One), an update was introduced that rendered the app unusable beyond the login screen. A month ago, I looked for other emulators and found Nox. The app works on there. If Nox worked on my laptop, surely it would work on here. Blue screen of death wrong!

My first attempt to load the program caused the computer to lock up, but not prompt a BSoD. So, I simply reset. I immediately tried to load it again after logging back in and this caused a BSoD! I looked online for solutions and one told me to create a code that allows you to open “Windows without Hyper-V” instead of Windows 11, which I blamed for the nightmare. Hyper-V wasn’t even checked, but I put the code in anyway. It seemed promising when the load progress approached 90%, but bam!, another BSoD. I uninstalled Nox and removed the “Windows without Hyper-V” boot option. I shouldn’t have an emulator to watch the Optimum TV app on a computer in the same room as a DVR (digital video recorder).

At any point during assembly when I ran into trouble, hopelessness and self-doubt kicked in. In those moments, I thought I shouldn’t have done this, that I should have just bought from Dell or HP like I always had. I could add expansions once the pro build arrived. Well, when I entered BSoD hell Tuesday evening, the self-doubt and buyer’s remorse came back with a vengeance. My irrational mind screamed that I blew my money on a lemon, or that I’d have to pay a technician clean up my mess.

Someone in the Technology Connections Discord suggested I update the CPU chipset. All that did was lead to faulty audio and a BSoD with a different stop code, one that I remember: KERNEL_MODE_HEAP_CORRUPTION. The same one came seconds after logging in upon restart, and I didn’t even open anything. After that, I repeatedly typed the delete key to prompt the BIOS menu before Windows could boot. Then, I asked the Discord what to do next. While waiting for a response, I turned off the computer. When I turned it back on, the Windows Recovery environment launched. I was able to roll back to Tuesday morning, before I installed any problematic software. Then, I ran the Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool. As it ran, the TC Discord – I was chatting on the Dell in the guest room at this point – recommended I download and install drivers for the motherboard and graphics card; yet another oversight. I should have done that on Sunday.

I downloaded the drivers, copied them to a flash drive, and installed them all on my computer once the memory diagnosis was complete and no problems were found. Then, I restarted and didn’t get a BSoD in the 20 minutes I was logged in before one more try at disabling the FireWire driver. That still caused a reset, but no BSoD afterward. I took two screenshots of the audio enhancing software included with the audio drivers and called it a night:

Overnight, I had dreams about BSoD and tweaking the motherboard. I woke up early Wednesday morning, September 7, and turned on my computer. There were no BSoD in the three hours it was on before leaving the house for the day. Topaz Video Enhance AI seemed to freeze, at least somewhat, when I tried it out, so I uninstalled it. If I want to upscale video, I’ll buy DaVinci Resolve 18.

Back at home that evening, the mechanical keyboard felt nice. It will take time to get used to and cut down on typos. The accompanying wrist rest, which attaches magnetically, was too thin and firm for comfort. So, I bought a cushy replacement.

I took a photo of the keyboard once I set it up, and screencapped a typing test:

As with the tower case, the keyboard has RGB backlighting and I chose static red as my color. Even the keyboard needed a firmware update, exemplified by a random disconnect and reconnect when I took my first break from typing. That hasn’t happened since the update. Part of the update is a program that lets you save your color preference and that regulates the backlighting, which turns off after five minutes of inactivity and turns back on next time you type.

The replacement wrist rest arrived yesterday – Friday, September 9. I tested the feel lined up with the keyboard and with the keyboard and rest separated by 3/4 inch. The second test felt better, so I secured it with three pieces of mounting tape; left, center, right.

Here’s the result:

As of today, September 10, my BSoD-free streak is intact (knock on wood), but there was no power to keyboard when I tried to log in after turning on the computer, requiring a disconnect and reconnect before entering my PIN. A minute or so later, neither the keyboard nor mouse functioned properly, and both had to be disconnected and reconnected. Checking Windows Update revealed that a USB driver update was pending. That must have been the culprit.

Here’s hoping my build lasts as long as five years before any replacements are necessary. I will surely replace my desk before then, an open kind with easy access to the tower. (Maybe this one?) Until then, thank you for reading about the week-long adventure of building my own PC and the growing pains that followed.

2020-21 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony June 17, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Education, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Rock, Technology, Travel, Video.
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Other Hall of Fame ceremony recaps: 20122013201420152017, 2018, 2019

Video of the ceremony can be found at the end of this post.

It’s been three years since the last ceremony, but last Saturday, the WCWP Hall of Fame finally added five new inductees to its ranks. Due to delays by the COVID-19 pandemic, there were two sets of inductees:

  • 2020: Alan Seltzer and Christina Kay (announced at Homecoming in 2019)
  • 2021: Joe Manfredi, Jay Mirabile and Mike Chimeri

Yes, it’s true! I’d been dreaming of getting into the Hall of Fame for years and I got the dream fulfilling call last April.

Earlier this year, outgoing director of broadcasting Dan Cox reached out to the five of us for a ceremony date that worked for us. That date was Saturday, June 11. The venue ended up being the former LIU Post campus bookstore, now known as the Alumni and Employer Engagement Building…or it was, and now it’s Alumni Hall.

I reached out to friends and family, hoping they could attend. No matter how many turned out, I’d be happy.

I wore a suit and shirt combo that I picked out on Thursday with a tie that my mother Lisa bought with colors similar to those of LIU.

I may have been one of the inductees, but I still took photos and video when it wasn’t my turn. So, after dressing up, I packed up my DSLR camera, battery pack with a spare battery attached, camcorder, GoPro, and tripods to connect to them and my iPhone, which I would have brought anyway.

Once my sister Lauren arrived at noon, she, our mom, and dad Bill all left for campus. I was worried we’d be late after traffic was diverted away from the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway entrance on Alken Avenue in North Wantagh, but once we entered via Hicksville Road, we made great time, parking next to the Alumni Hall (I’ve settled on that name) at 12:40 (hey, like WGBB!).

Not wanting to unpack my camera yet, I took establishing exterior shots with my phone:

The ceremony began at 1:22:

Hosting this ceremony was Dan Cox’s last act as director of broadcasting, officially retiring on May 31. Pete Bellotti was named his successor on June 6.

The first 2020 inductee was Alan Seltzer, currently host of The Grooveyard on WCWP. He was inducted by Scott Perschke:

The second 2020 inductee was Christina Kay, now of WALK 97.5. She was inducted by Dan Cox:

Before moving on to the 2021 inductees, Dan Cox awarded the inaugural Art Beltrone Founders Award to Dan Casazza:

New director of broadcasting (or station manager, if you will) and 2019 inductee Pete Bellotti inducted two of the three 2021 inductees. First, Joe Manfredi, the station manager of Old Westbury Web Radio (OWWR) (listen here), serving nearby SUNY Old Westbury:

Dan reintroduced Pete to induct Jay Mirabile, longtime host of The Disco and Funk King Show (DFK for short):

Finally, it was my turn. I originally planned on my cousin Chris – C.W. Post Class of 2008 – inducting me, but he came down with COVID earlier in the week. His induction speech was partially complete and he offered to finish it and have Dan Cox read it on his behalf, but I declined and had Dan give his own speech:

Dan, with his time as director of broadcasting at an end, closed the ceremony with poignant, and pointed, remarks:

With the ceremony complete, all that remained were the photo ops:

As I left, Dan had everyone yell “goodbye” to me. I happily waved and walked out…except that I left my camera battery charger in an outlet. I realized my error halfway to Domenico’s of Levittown. I didn’t feel like going back to campus, so Pete returned it to me today. Still, I went ahead and bought new third-party batteries with a charger. The batteries I had were 6 1/2 years old, anyway.

Joining my family at Domenico’s were Wendy, Lori, and Aunt Donna. The lone photo I took there was of a toast:

Cheers!

Thank you to those that gave me congratulations cards and gifts:

Thus ends the recap. I am overwhelmed by all the support I received during and after the ceremony. Congratulations to Alan Seltzer, Christina Kay, Joe Manfredi, Jay Mirabile, and yours truly Mike Chimeri, the 2020 and ’21 classes of the WCWP Hall of Fame.

6/21 UPDATE: The video is now up. Chapters are included if you want to skip ahead or know what to expect. There is occasional coarse language and suggestive dialogue.

SJFS 2022 Night 2 recap May 6, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology, Travel, Video, Weather.
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Other SJFS recaps: 20082008 meet-and-greet20092010201120122013 Night 12013 Night 22014 Night 12014 Night 22015 Night 12016 Night 12016 Night 22017 Night 12017 Night 22018 Night 12018 Night 22019 Night 1, 2019 Night 2, 2022 Night 1

Updated with videos on 5/15.

Keyboardist Jay Rowe‘s 18th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars (benefiting the Milford Public Schools music department) continued Saturday night with the second of two shows. Saturday’s headliners were Jeff Kashiwa (who made a surprise appearance late Friday), Alex Bugnon, and in his debut, Marcus Anderson. Alex appeared in place of Brian Simpson, who had to back out at some point after my promotional blog post in February. SJFS attendees last saw Alex on the first night in 2013.

Photos and the set list are on the way, but we start with the preamble.

I found it hard to sleep in my Hampton Inn hotel room on Friday night. Not only did I have photo editing on my mind, but intermittent trucks and motorcycles (or muscle cars) on I-95 made it hard to relax and drift into sleep. I didn’t mention this in the Friday recap, but I brought two pairs of foam ear plugs to wear on both nights. I got in the habit of wearing them or safety earmuffs at home to drown out loud or unsettling noises, like fireworks (sadly, not just on the Fourth of July) or high wind gusts that slam rain into my south and east-facing windows during coastal storms. I figured I should start wearing them at concerts; if only I had thought of that sooner. When I wore ear plugs at bedtime, I would lie on my back with a sleep mask on, attempting to sleep, or at least relax. That’s what I did Friday night into Saturday morning. There comes a point on sleepless nights where I give up and start my day. That point came around 5AM.

I’m a Mets fan, so I checked the MLB app on my phone (via Hilton Honors Wi-Fi) to see how they did while I was pre-occupied with SJFS. What?! A no-hitter against the Phillies?! That’s only the second one in team history! And a combined no-hitter, at that! Click here to read all about it (and watch videos).

I lifted weights in the fitness center, then went back in my room to do push-ups and whittle down the amount of photos from Friday night. I showered, got dressed, and brought my laptop and phone to the lobby for breakfast and potential mingling with fans or musicians. I didn’t see any musicians, but John and Theresa Monteverde were there, followed later by Mark and Phyllis Abrams, and Billy and Sandy Okumu. Diane and Richard Roth were there, but we had forgotten about each other and didn’t reacquaint ourselves until Sunday morning.

For breakfast, I had two plates of French toast sticks with syrup, and two cups of apple juice to wash them down, followed later by two cups of hot chocolate. I mainly edited the road sign photos, but was able to start on photos from the show.

I went back to my room around 11AM and spent the next four hours editing the rest of Friday night’s photos and picking which ones to publicize. All the while, I listened to a few 2021 episodes of Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast. (Sadly, Gilbert died last month.)

I’m also a fan (and Patreon supporter) of the YouTube channel Technology Connections. Alec, the creator, recently posted the third of three (and a half) videos on heat pumps. Part three included a segment on the PTAC (packaged terminal air conditioner) and their use in hotels. This was the PTAC in my room:

My PTAC

It was set to cool when I checked in on Friday, but I switched to heat. I switched back to cool Saturday afternoon as the unfiltered sun warmed up the room. That’s when I realized the thin curtain in front of the light-blocking thick one is supposed to filter the sun rays.

My girlfriend Kelly, dad Bill, and I had dinner at Gusto Trattoria, half a block from the hotel. It was there that self-doubt and performance anxiety set in. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to function at the auditorium because of my lack of sleep and that I’d compulsively end up taking as many photos as Friday night (around 400 before whittling). Somewhere in between, I managed to eat a piece of bread and bowl of Rigatoni Bolognese. Upon returning to my room after dinner, I lied down and took deep breaths. By 7PM (about an hour after dinner), I felt calm enough to get out of bed and go with Kelly to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium at Parsons Complex. Obviously, the sound check was over before we arrived because we saw attendees filing in.

I took an establishing shot of the auditorium with my phone before going in:

The second of my 2020 tickets was honored upon entrance and I went back to the same spot in the orchestra pit as Friday night to set up. I comprised with fellow photographers Katherine Gilraine and Ron Hancox to situate my camcorder (which recorded flawlessly on this night) (5/15 UPDATE: four videos are posted below) in a spot further back so the two of them had more room to maneuver during the show. I only had to move it out during a solo on the penultimate song of the night (one of the videos below). Fun fact (as Alec would say): this month marks ten years since I entered the world of DSLR cameras after Katherine recommended I switch to one.

While waiting, Jay Dobbins introduced me to someone I had met on Facebook through Jay Rowe’s weekly Tito Tuesday livestreams on Facebook (here’s one of the last streams to date). It was Robin Morin Stewart. After a pleasant conversation, Jay D. took our picture:

I also recognized Judy Raphael and spoke to her, but forgot to get a picture.

And of course, I saw the rest of my friends that I had seen Friday night and/or Saturday morning in the hotel dining area.

At some point before showtime, I got my second wind. I didn’t feel the least bit overtired or overwhelmed.

Saturday’s set began at 8PM with another enthusiastic introduction by Kevin McCabe of Jumpstart Jazz Productions:

Music director Jay Rowe led the house band on keyboards:

Andy Abel on guitar:

Dave Livolsi on bass:

Trever Somerville on drums:

…and percussion by Tony Cintron:

The headliners were Jeff Kashiwa on tenor sax and NuRAD (seen on tenor):

Alex Bugnon on keyboards:

…and Marcus Anderson on alto sax and flute (seen on alto):

SET LIST
1. I’ll Love You Later (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Groove Reflections (2021)
Featured musician: Jay Rowe (keyboards)

2. There She Goes (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Groove Reflections (2021)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Andy Abel (guitar)

3. Starlight Kisses (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Groove Reflections (2021)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax)

4. Slow Turn (Jeff Kashiwa)
Originally heard on: Sunrise (2021)
Featured musicians: Jeff Kashiwa (NuRAD/tenor sax), Andy Abel (guitar)
The NuRAD is an EWI (electronic wind instrument) that can be paired with a phone or tablet. Jeff paired his with his phone. 5/9 UPDATE: Jeff said in a Facebook post sharing one of my photos that it was “triggering [his] iPhone with the Korg iMono/Poly Patchman library.”

5. The Night is Young (Jeff Kashiwa)
Originally heard on: Sunrise (2021)
Featured musician: Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax)

6. The Pecan Tree (Joe Sample cover) (Alex Bugnon)
Featured musician: Alex Bugnon (keyboards)
Jay didn’t play on any of Alex’s songs. Coincidentally, I played the original Joe Sample version of “The Pecan Tree” on last Wednesday’s Instrumental Invasion.

7. Harlem on My Mind (Alex Bugnon)
Originally heard on: Tales from the Bright Side (1995)
Featured musician: Alex Bugnon (keyboards)

8. Will Power (Marcus Anderson)
Originally heard on: Limited Edition (2017)
Featured musician: Marcus Anderson (alto sax/flute at the end)

9. Soul Ties (Marcus Anderson)
Originally heard on: Reverse (2022)
Featured musician: Marcus Anderson (alto sax)

10. Jay Rowe/Alex Bugnon duet: Poinciana/107 Degrees in the Shade
Originally heard on: 107 Degrees in the Shade (1991) (second song only)
Jay and Alex played the same medley in their 2013 duet. “Poinciana” is a jazz standard popularized by Ahmad Jamal on his album of the same name.

11. Night Groove (Alex Bugnon)
Originally heard on: Soul Purpose (2001)
Featured musician: Alex Bugnon (keyboards)

12. Understanding (Marcus Anderson)
Originally heard on: Limited Edition (2017)
Featured musicians: Marcus Anderson (alto sax), Jay Rowe (keyboards), Andy Abel (guitar)

13. Let It Ride (Jeff Kashiwa)
Originally heard on: Let It Ride (2012)
Featured musicians: Jeff Kashiwa (tenor sax), Dave Livolsi (bass), Tony Cintron (percussion), Jay Rowe (keyboards)
Jeff noted that Let It Ride was inspired by 1960s and ’70s music, and the performance of the title track here exemplified the ’70s part. Dave’s solo was based (no pun intended) on “For the Love of Money” by The O’Jays (1973), while Jay based his on “People Make the World Go Round” by The Stylistics (1972) and “Riders on the Storm” by The Doors (1971). The ’70s influence carried into the finale.

14 (Finale). Love and Happiness (Al Green cover)
Featured musicians: Everyone but Alex Bugnon
Trever Somerville and Tony Cintron traded places on drums and percussion midway through, and Trever even sang vocals! He left the percussion kit behind at the end (I neglected to take photos) and just sang next to Tony. These were the only surprises of the show, which went quicker than Friday night.

Here are groups of pictures by artist, starting with Jeff Kashiwa on tenor sax:

Jeff on NuRAD for “Slow Turn”:

Alex Bugnon:

Marcus Anderson on alto sax:

Marcus on flute at the end of “Will Power”:

Jay Rowe:

Andy Abel:

Dave Livolsi:

Trever Somerville:

Tony Cintron:

Marcus and Andy:

Marcus and Dave: