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Instrumental Invasion, 11/23/22 November 24, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, Blu-ray, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel, TV.
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The November 23, Thanksgiving Eve Instrumental Invasion on WCWP took a while to develop, as Kenny Mayne would say. The playlist was created on September 27, annotations began on October 4 and weren’t completed until the 10th while in Staatsburg, the talk break script was drafted on the 12th followed by recording of the first hour, and the second hour and pickups were recorded a week later on October 19. I was going to record on the 13th, but my time mismanagement skills reared their ugly head, and I had a breakdown while rushing to complete errands. Thank goodness WCWP station manager Pete Bellotti talked me down. Per his advice, I suspended production on this show until after Homecoming Weekend, and production was completed on videos of two Saturday shows (Bernie Bernard; Mike Riccio and Bobby G.).

I usually have a wealth of inside information about this reference or that reference, but I’ve wasted enough time. So, click here to download the scoped aircheck or listen below:

Since writing the above text on October 19, I’ve published posts about Homecoming Weekend and what I now call the Dutchess County trip. Listening to “Far Away” by Robben Ford took me back to how far away I felt at times in the AirBNB on Connelly Drive. Watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on 4K Blu-ray on Tuesday (November 22), I realized I forgot to acknowledge Chuck Bennett’s trombone was also the “voice” of the adult Charlie Brown spoke to on the phone.

Happy Thanksgiving. Here’s hoping you get the long end of the wishbone like Woodstock (the bird, not the town half an hour northwest of Rhinebeck/Staatsburg).

Instrumental Invasion, 11/16/22 November 17, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Baseball, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel.
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The November 16 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded from October 4 to 6: one segment on the 4th, two on the 5th, and the last three on the 6th. Pickups were recorded on the 6th, 7th, and 10th.

The playlist was created on September 27, and annotated from the 28th to the 30th. Work on next week’s show and the backup Homecoming Weekend prerecord kept me from drafting the talk break script. By October 4, I was desperate to start recording. An opportunity to record opened up at my secondary location – the home of that heavily noise reduced audio due to the central air conditioning indoor unit running next to my desk (that probably won’t be an issue again until May). So, I attempted to record the first segment unscripted based on the annotations, but before I could record the second talk break, the opportunity disappeared. I scripted the first segment on the way home and recorded once I was home. The rest of the script was drafted on October 5 before recording the next two segments. Of course, the live HCW show (also with “Billy’s Bop” and “Forecast“) was unscripted, and I ultimately went that route for the show two weeks from now.

I needed a song to fill the gap in the fourth segment and I chose “Silver Street” by Chris “Big Dog” Davis. I didn’t know I had already played it last February 10 until cataloging on October 7 before the weekend excursion to Dutchess County. I drafted much of this blog post on my laptop at the AirBNB.

Click here to download this week’s scoped aircheck or listen below:

An automation error kept underwriting and a legal ID from running at the top of each hour. Thankfully, I only missed the first two seconds of the show open.

Postscript: Today, November 17, is my 41st birthday. My age is the same as the uniform number worn by my idol, New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver (1944-2020), who was also born on the 17th. The photos below were in a Tumblr post.

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.

2022 LIU Post & Homecoming Weekend, WCWP Hall of Fame Announcement October 22, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Football, Internet, Interviews, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Pop, Radio, Rock, Travel, Video.
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Other recaps: 20082009WCWP 50th Anniversary (2011)20122013201420152016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021

Four months after going into the WCWP Hall of Fame, I returned to the campus of LIU Post for part of WCWP‘s Homecoming Weekend programming block, the first under new station manager Pete Bellotti. (The list of 2022 HOF inductees comes later in this recap.)

Friday, October 14

This year, Homecoming Weekend started an hour earlier, at 11AM, making for 61 hours of alumni-run shows. In August, Bernie Bernard earned a Master of Arts degree from Florida Atlantic University. Her aural thesis on pirate radio led off the weekend:

The second show, at noon, was also prerecorded: a compilation of select episodes of Bill Mozer’s WCWP Alumni Career Path Podcast:

Bill filled out the time remaining by twice playing “Kei’s Song” by David Benoit. I went to Hillwood Commons to get a bottle of water and on the walk back to the Abrams Communication Center (home of WCWP), I was stunned to hear the song playing (the first time) on the outdoor speakers adjacent to studio 1.

I have a dedicated blog post for my live edition of Instrumental Invasion at 2PM, but here is a snippet:

… I did not draft a talk break script; a live show calls for spontaneity, albeit with annotations to work from. I ended up referencing [my family trip to Dutchess County, subject of a blog post next week] during the show.

I feel like I wasn’t my best without a script, but all that matters is what listeners thought, and they liked it. Naturally, [the show] started with a technical glitch. Automation didn’t switch off [after Bill’s show ended], allowing me to go live from studio 2. I relayed the problem to station manager Pete Bellotti and he had me start the show even though the first minute or so (54 seconds) would go unaired. …

What a coincidence that David Benoit’s latest single of A Midnight Rendezvous is “Pioneer Town.” That allowed me to allude to the days before the One LIU merger when the Brooklyn and Post campuses had separate athletic programs.

For my official archive of the show, I included the unaired part, re-created from the liners I played (mostly as heard on my restart) and amplified/noise reduced camcorder audio. Here is the scope video:

The thumbnail is a photo Pete took of me at the controls, cropped to the 16:9 aspect ratio.

I faded the last song out just in time for automation to kick back in for John Commins at 4PM. To keep listeners from tuning out, I did not acknowledge that he was prerecorded. Within 20 minutes, I had packed up my equipment and headed for home. My video equipment was a Panasonic HC-X1500 with VW-HU1 detachable hand unit, both bought in late March, and my tripod of nearly seven years: a Magnus VT-300. Mozer recommended a Magnus tripod in a discussion at the 2015 Homecoming, but not the one I chose. I don’t remember which one. The HC-X1500/VW-HU1 combo was in lieu of an HC-X2000 built with the hand unit. I didn’t want to pay more for 3G-SDI output. But enough about video gear.

WCWP was entirely live from studio 2 from 6PM to midnight. John Zoni had the 6PM show:

Most photos were taken by Bernie Bernard, on hand for Alan Seltzer’s final WCWP show before moving to Columbus, Ohio.

Alan’s final show was Seltzer with a Twist, starting at 8PM:

There was about 30 seconds of dead air after Alan’s last song finished, so Jay began The DFK (Disco and Funk King) Show seconds before 10PM:

The Young Prince K.J. Mills stayed up late to host The Storm 2.0 at 2AM (I’m counting this as part of Friday’s lineup):

Saturday, October 15

I returned to LIU Post at 1:30 Saturday afternoon. This time, I brought along my GoPro Hero 7 for shooting B-roll. Unlike last year, I did use it, thanks to a flexible tripod I bought in November, inspired by the video of Joe Honerkamp’s show.

In a bold move, I opted not to walk down to the football field to catch part of the LIU Sharks‘ Homecoming game. Considering they were creamed by the Saint Francis Red Flash, 57-7 (box score, recap), I made the right decision. As the game carried on, I sat at my laptop and spoke to any alumni that walked into studio 3, where my laptop was set up for web browsing on my downtime, but otherwise to aircheck the shows following the football game. My aircheck equipment, used Friday and Saturday, was a Behringer U-Phono UFO202 pre-amp connected to a Sangean HDR-16 radio. WCWP also uses the UFO202 for airchecking off FM tuners, doing so to clip key plays in Sharks games. Home airchecks were recorded in Audacity, either on my computer or the guest room computer, then edited in Adobe Audition.

One such alum to drop by during the football game was M.J. Lonardo, known as DJ M.J. during her time at WCWP. The photo I took of her and station manager Pete Bellotti is the first in a series of two-person photos taken throughout the day:

On to photos from Bernie Bernard’s Barbecue Bash (by golly), starting at 4:08 PM:

Here is the aforementioned video:

This was the last video I made in Adobe Premiere Elements 2020, which became too slow and cumbersome to use. I barely finished exporting (not rendering) my aircheck video and copying it to a portable hard drive before hurrying to my mom’s car at 1PM. (I made her late to Freeport High School‘s Homecoming game.) This video took even longer to edit and export on Monday. I didn’t render either video because it would have taken just as long as exporting.

Anyway, here is the audio version with longer lead-outs and the start of the first talk break in the video:

Mike Riccio and Bobby G.’s countdown began at 7:03 PM. Mike couldn’t find a legal ID to run in WaveCart, so I approached the board and picked one. Then, the show began with “Wooden Heart” by Elvis Presley. Editing video of this show has left the end of “Wooden Heart” ingrained in my head. First, the photos:

The video:

This was the first video I worked on in Adobe Premiere Pro, doing so on Tuesday after an hour of figuring out how to apply effects and transitions.

And the audio version, including parts of the last two hours and with extended lead-outs:

As you hear, Bernie was even more involved in the last two hours, which I listened to at home while editing the above photos.

The above photos are the last taken at an event with my Nikon D5500. As Homecoming Weekend was wrapping up, I consulted with a Facebook group for fans and users of the Canon EOS R7 mirrorless camera. I said in my PC build post that I had a Nikon Z7II in mind, but it’s too expensive and I’d have to buy a 24-200mm (not 300) Z lens (I like to use one superzoom lens) to take full advantage of the megapixel increase. My existing F mount 18-300 superzoom would be heavily cropped because it’s not made for full frame cameras like the Z7II. The EOS R7 and all the accessories I bought for it, including a Tamron 18-400 superzoom and control ring mount adapter, cost less combined than a Z7II body alone.

I hope to write about my early experience with the EOS R7 and equipment in a later post, but for now, back to Homecoming Weekend.

Sunday, October 16

I woke up a few minutes into my prerecorded Instrumental Invasion, another show with a dedicated blog post. Otherwise, the scoped aircheck:

When that was over at 8AM, Jay LaPrise (la-PREE) had the first live show of the day:

It wasn’t the first time I was Jay’s lead-in, and in 2007, I was his lead-in. Coincidentally, that live show of mine had an inauspicious beginning that required a redo, but it was only my first live show in exactly nine months.

My attempt at airchecking Jamie Mazzo and Sara Dorchak’s Ladies of Prison Break Radio show at 10AM was a bust. With my weekly Zoom meeting at 11:30, I had to aircheck on my laptop. I should have recorded the audio loopback, like on my desktop, but I didn’t. The same unnatural audio boost problem that kept me up in the hours after my September 14 show afflicted the laptop aircheck.

The Rockin’ Sunday Show with Alana followed at noon, its usual time on a regular Sunday:

Just after 2PM, it was Joe Honerkamp’s turn:

Joe was his usual entertaining self. No one is better at talking up a record (song) than him. He always manages to hit the post.

The last show I airchecked on Sunday was Jett Lightning at 4PM:

Wow, Jay Elzweig sat in on the show! I was so glad to hear his voice and sense of humor.

Saturday, Jett persuaded me to add John Coltrane‘s Blue Train album to my collection. I’m certain he played the title track on his Sunday show for me.

Homecoming Weekend pulled up its stakes at 12:02 AM Monday morning, and on that note, we’ve reached the end of the 2022 recap. Thank you for reading, watching, and listening. Until next year.

Instrumental Invasion, 10/14/22, 2PM (Homecoming Weekend) (Live!) October 16, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, Video.
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Friday’s live WCWP Homecoming Weekend show was my first live radio show in three years and the first live show of the 61-hour block (starting at 11AM, not noon)!

The playlist was created only one week before air, on October 7, shortly before a weekend excursion to Staatsburg in Dutchess County with relatives. They were in the area for a half marathon and 5K in Rhinebeck. One of my cousins ran the half marathon while my uncle and another cousin ran the 5K. I drafted this and two other blog posts, along with annotations, on my laptop at the AirBNB we stayed at. I did not draft a talk break script; a live show calls for spontaneity, albeit with annotations to work from. I ended up referencing the trip during the show.

I feel like I wasn’t my best without a script, but all that matters is what listeners thought, and they liked it. Naturally, it started with a technical glitch. Automation didn’t switch off, allowing me to go live from studio 2. I relayed the problem to station manager Pete Bellotti and he had me start the show even though the first minute or so (54 seconds) would go unaired.

I took photos in studio 2 during the latter portion of the show:

Then, I had Pete take photos of me at the controls:

He also took photos for the WCWP Alumni Association Facebook group’s communal photo album:

And I took a self-timed selfie:

Maybe I should have moved the paper in the foreground.

Continuing my another of my Homecoming show traditions, dating back to 2007, I simultaneously shot video to sync with the aircheck scope (and unaired portion). Watch below (in 4K!):

The regular scoped aircheck MP3 (also with the unaired portion) can be downloaded here or listened to below:

The unscoped aircheck (unaired portion, too) is available for download on Google Drive.

Click here to read about the pre-recorded show that aired Sunday morning. The rest of the weekend will have its own blog post on Friday Saturday. 10/27 UPDATE: Here is that post.

Instrumental Invasion, 8/31/22 September 1, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Education, Football, Internet, Jazz, Media, Personal, Radio, Sports, Travel.
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The August 31 Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days: two segments on July 2, three on the 3rd, and one on the 4th before intermittent daytime fireworks began. Pickups were recorded on the 4th and 5th.

The playlist was created on the morning of June 27 before the marathon recording session of the August 17 show and last week’s first segment. Annotations began on June 28, but were delayed until July 1. First, on the 28th, an opportunity arose to record the second hour of last week’s show. I was preoccupied with ripping and editing tracks from two Maynard Ferguson CD album bundles on the 29th. (The bundles contained releases between 1974 and ’79.) On the 30th, new Bluetooth reference monitors arrived and initially worked, but interference led to incessant stuttering. Plus, without a wired connection, I couldn’t record computer audio from “stereo mix.” Installing a virtual cable worked temporarily, but didn’t last. I exchanged the Bluetooth monitors for their cheaper wired equivalent, even though the ones I replaced also had wired connections. Then, I got a 6-foot male-to-male Y-splitter to run from the computer to the input jacks on the left monitor. The computer end is 1/8-inch TRS and the monitor end is dual 1/4-inch TS.

The talk break script was drafted on July 1 and 2.

I recorded the segments wildly out of sequence because I knew that the last talk break would be really long, though not three minutes long! Even by removing ancillary sentences and speed compression, the segment still ended up 57 seconds over! With that in mind, the remaining segments were recorded in order of what I presumed to be shortest. Most anecdotes and callbacks were scrapped from the script, but among those left in were the Penn State allusions: about returning from my sister’s graduation in 2005 and about the legendary 1994 season of Nittany Lions football. Their 2022 football season starts tonight (Thursday night) at Purdue!

As the playlist shows, the other segment recorded July 2 was the fifth segment, making up 13 seconds. On July 3, I worked on the third segment (adding back six seconds), fourth segment (making up 15 seconds), and second segment (making up 21). I was left with a net overage of 14 seconds, but I removed one further anecdote from the last talk break, and that allowed me to break even. All that remained was a tight 18 minutes on the 4th, which I accomplished. Hallelujah. Incidental to that first segment, Fred Wesley, the trombonist on “Theme from Good King Bad” by George Benson, was born on the Fourth of July!

For the third week in a row, I swapped out the second 2017-present segment, this time opting for a second 1985-95.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

2022 Long Island Retro Gaming Expo recap August 21, 2022

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Aviation, Books, Education, History, Internet, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Podcast, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Previous LI Retro recaps: 2017 (Sunday), 2018, 2019
Spinoff recaps: UPLINK (2020), Festival of Games (2021)

Part 1: Introduction

The Long Island Retro Gaming Expo‘s long-awaited return came on Friday, August 12, after a three-year COVID-caused absence. Yes, the expo was expanded to three days starting this year, running from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. The venue was the same as always: the Cradle of Aviation Museum, situated along Museum Row in East Garden City on the former site of Mitchel Air Force Base.

The purported 2020 edition of LI Retro was announced in February of that year. I immediately bought a weekend pass (still just two days). Little did anyone know that the faraway disease then referred to as the Coronavirus would reach the United States a few weeks later. As COVID-19 spread and a pandemic grew, venues shut down and events were either canceled or postponed. LI Retro’s postponement came that May. 2020 tickets would be honored in ’21. UPLINK, a virtual expo, was scheduled in its place on August 8 and 9. Of course, I attended and wrote a recap.

Even as vaccines were rolled out going into 2021, the organizers felt it was too soon to resume. Thus, they postponed again to ’22; and again, tickets for the postponed years would be honored. Another edition of UPLINK was held virtually in February. I attended, but was overwhelmed by the amount of transcribing and note-taking I’d have to do for the panels I planned on watching. So, I abandoned the recap in favor of continued radio show production.

Last December, LI Retro held its first annual one-day Festival of Games. I was in and out within two hours after a photographic walking tour (similar to the one you’ll see later in this post), arcade game sampling, and buying games from vendors. There was a recap for that.

As August drew closer, a third day of LI Retro was introduced. I considered attending, but opted to stick to the weekend.

With a week to go, I feared I’d compulsively take too many photos, a habit that’s gotten out of hand (i.e. Memorial Day boat ride, June 18 Mets game). I only took 353 photos at another Mets game on August 10, but sure enough, I went overboard at LI Retro. To that end, this is the first post with photo galleries.

The bulk of my photos were shot with my DSLR, but I took supplemental photos with my iPhone.

I arrived at the Cradle of Aviation Museum at 10:06 AM on Saturday:

Within 15 minutes, I was inside. I walked to the box office and handed my ticket to the attendant in exchange for a badge. “Finally,” I told her, “after 2 1/2 years, I get to use this [ticket].” She handed me my badge and my adventure began.

Part 2: Panels

My first panel – after meeting and greeting, and photographing the vendor rooms, was by Brett Weiss. “I Survived the Video Game Crash of 1983” began at 11AM in Panel Room 2. I joined it in progress, grabbing a front row seat, but oddly holding back on photos.

Brett talked about his experiences with arcade games and home video game consoles from the second generation into the third, and how the rise of home computers played a role in the 1983 crash.

During the Q&A session at the end, I relayed (but didn’t ask, so I apologized) my video game experience growing up. I was a home (and school) computer guy, fluent with Apple II, and my sister and I received an NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) in February 1990, as the third home video game console generation gave way to the fourth.

The book in the last photo is the one I bought from Brett afterward.

After snacking on a protein bar, I entered the Main Theatre for Pat Contri and Ian Ferguson’s 12:30 PM panel. I spoke to Pat and Ian during my meet and greet session two hours earlier, reminding them that I met them in 2019 and immersed myself in content from Pat’s YouTube channel after buying (at their merchandise table) the four DVD sets of Pat the NES Punk and the book Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library. I subsequently bought the SNES guide. I wrote reviews of each – NES, SNES. (And you can buy the DVDs and books here.) This year, I bought two stickers and a CU Podcast (Completely Unnecessary Podcast) t-shirt. It was the last large size they had. I said I’d probably get along swimmingly with Frank, Pat’s older friend from New Jersey who settled in San Diego before Pat and Ian made their respective moves there.

Pat and Ian’s panel was a live portion of their next episode of the CU Podcast. Before it started, and while I settled into my front row seat, the volunteer assigned to the theater asked them to “say something into the microphone” as a mic check. Ian jokingly parroted the request: “say something into the microphone.” I amusingly replied, “I knew you were gonna say that.”

Continuing from prior episodes, Pat and Ian criticzed Tommy Tallarico and his vaporware console that would have been (or could still be?) the Intellivision Amico. On display above them was the console’s leaked “fact book.” There will be audio and video, but first, the photos:

You can hear the panel-turned-podcast-episode here. My portion of the Q&A starts at 1:57:08, but I’ve clipped it here:

The word I used to describe Frank was “luddite.” Yes, I stumbled on the title Ancient Aliens, coming out as “ancient alenins.”

And this is a video excerpt from the panel – shot with the iPhone on the table – that was posted to Pat’s YouTube channel:

I was the voice at 16:44 saying that Sean Astin narrated a video game documentary. I was thinking of Video Games: The Movie, but a comment to the video said the fact sheet was referencing the later docuseries called Playing with Power: The Nintendo Story.

I liked Ian’s quaint pronunciation of wanton, “wonton” instead of “wantin’.”

Video of the Q&A portion:

My questions start at 18:26, “Tommy” starts at 25:13.

Theater guests had to exit on the third floor, so I bode my time by taking photos of the few console freeplay tables there. Then, I snapped pics for most of the second floor exhibits prior to the Axinn Air and Space Museum Hall entrance. I saved that for after the 2PM panel back in the theater.

In that 2PM panel, John Blue Riggs performed a live ROM hack of Super Mario Bros. for the NES, the first game I played in February 1990 via the Duck Hunt combo cart. With the right software, John imported tiles from whatever NES game ROMs the audience requested, and he altered the SMB code to altered the colors and text. Let the editing begin!

I spoke to John during the meet and greet, letting him know that like his son, I am on the autism spectrum, specifically with what used to be called Asperger Syndrome. While at his table, I bought a Sega Genesis ROM hack that put Scott Pilgrim from his titular video game in Streets of Rage 2. We posed for a photo, but when I got home, I was dismayed to find that my DSLR’s lens didn’t focus on us when his tablemate Dave took our photo. They graciously allowed a do-over with my iPhone Sunday morning.

Here is John’s aforementioned vlog of his LI Retro experience:

I’m in the vlog at 13:30, going through my DSLR camera roll before John’s panel. At 19:56, he and Dave ate at Friendly’s in nearby East Meadow. I ate there with my girlfriend Kelly during her visit in April.

After the panel, I photographed what I believed to be nearly every other nook and cranny of the freeplay and tournament areas. John saw much more than I did.

The last item on my Saturday agenda was to buy games from vendors. (See the end of part 4.)

The combination of excitement from earlier in the day and a loud block party somewhere south of my house kept me from relaxing and easing into sleep. I probably slept two to four hours, at best.

I arrived at day three of the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo at around 10:30 AM. I met Justin, Marshall, and Kieran from Cinemassacre/Screenwave Media (and bought Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie), got the second chance photo with Riggs, and hung out at Leonard Herman‘s table. I’ve known Lenny (to his friends and family) since meeting him at the 2018 LI Retro and then reviewing his video game history book, Phoenix IV. In 2019, I met his associate Jeff, and this year, I was honored to meet Patrick Wong and Mark W. Baer, the middle child of Dena and Ralph H. Baer, the inventor of videogames (one word). They’re all nice and friendly, and it was my pleasure buying Ralph’s book Videogames in the Beginning, and Kate Hannigan‘s biographical children’s book, Blips on a Screen. I will definitely read that to Leo F. Giblyn School students next March, another annual tradition of mine.

Lenny and Mark’s panel was at 11:30 AM in Panel Room 2. Again, I sat in the front row. Lenny grew to be like a surrogate son to Ralph, and the brotherly love between he and Mark was on display throughout the panel, especially in the first two pics.

I linked to it in the gallery, but here again is Ralph and Bill Harrison’s 1969 Brown Box demo:

Part 3: Meet and greet photos

Lenny Herman and Mark Baer:

Patrick Wong:

Jeff, in his Pac-Man suit:

Brett Weiss:

Pat Contri and Ian Ferguson:

John Riggs:

The Cinemassacre/Screenwave Media crew, Justin and Marshall:

…and I met Kieran while browsing a vendor’s games:

You’ll see merchandise and games in the pickups portion of this recap.

Part 4: Touring the expo

Musical performance: 88bit (a.k.a. Rob Kovacs):

88bit was featured in John Riggs’s vlog.

The other performers were ConSoul, Retro & Chill, and Super Thrash Bros. (also in John’s vlog).

The line ahead of the cosplay contest, held Saturday at 3:30 PM in the Main Theatre:

High score challenges:

Galaga:

Just Dance 4 (to “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley):

Tournaments:

Game Boy Selfie Station with the Game Boy Camera and Printer:

Console freeplay:

Indie and homebrew games:

Arcade freeplay:

PC freeplay: