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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.

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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.

Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection videos, outlines, slideshows, and script January 17, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Video.
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Last night, I received an e-mail from YouTube that announced changes to the YouTube Partnership Program that affects my channel. One paragraph in the e-mail stood out:

Under the new eligibility requirements announced today, your YouTube channel, Mike Chimeri, is no longer eligible for monetization because it doesn’t meet the new threshold of 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. As a result, your channel will lose access to all monetization tools and features associated with the YouTube Partner Program on February 20, 2018 unless you surpass this threshold in the next 30 days. Accordingly, this email serves as 30 days notice that your YouTube Partner Program terms are terminated.

This completes the failed experiment that was Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection. Having been inspired by other YouTubers, I worked from May to July last year putting together eight videos while preparing for four more that I never made. The videos were watched by as many people that watched most of my other videos: ones to tens of people, not thousands or more. And I only picked up tens of subscribers. It was heartbreaking. All the work was for naught. Money was wasted on a Parrot TelePrompTer, camcorder light, and chroma key matte. I hope to find uses for those items in the future, but I think only the light will be put to use.

The videos that got the most views were live performances from Smooth Jazz for Scholars, some of which I took down when I applied for monetization in the first place. And the highest-viewed video couldn’t be monetized because of the subject matter.

This morning, I scanned PDFs of the outlines I wrote for the eight videos I posted, the four I never completed, and one scrapped introductory video. I also made slideshows of the pictures I would have used for the four videos I didn’t complete. I am sharing all of that, and one partial script, below. (NOTE: The slideshows were uploaded to WordPress rather than YouTube.)

Introductory Video outline (scrapped)

Episode 1: 6 Albums from 1981
Outline
Video

Episode 2: 1970s Debut Albums
Outline
Video

Episode 3: 8 Albums from 1992
Outline
Video

Episode 4: 2000s Debut Albums
Outline
Video

Episode 5: 9 Albums from 2000
Outline
Video

Episode 6: Albums by Sidemen
Outline
Video

Episode 7: 1980s Debut Albums
Outline
Video

Episode 8: 1990s Debut Albums
Outline
Video

Episode 9: 9 Albums from 1977 (incomplete)
Outline
Slideshow:

In addition to an outline and slideshow for the first incomplete video, I also have a partial script that I worked on one day in September.

RAMSEY LEWIS – TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD
Ramsey Lewis released two albums in 1977.
The second of the two was Tequila Mockingbird, a play on To Kill a Mockingbird, the Harper Lee novel-turned-Academy-Award-winning film.
Tequila Mockingbird continued Ramsey’s association with Earth, Wind & Fire that began with Sun Goddess a few years earlier.
EWF keyboardist Larry Dunn produced three tracks: the title track, “Skippin’,” and “That Ole Bach Magic.”
He wrote the title track himself and co-wrote “That Ole Bach Magic” with Eddie del Barrio.
I like all eight tracks on “Tequila Mockingbird,” including the ones produced by Bert deCoteaux.
But my absolute favorites, thanks to Ramsey’s solos, are the title track, “Camino el Bueno,” “Caring for You,” and “Intimacy.”
Ramsey would re-record “Intimacy” on Chance Encounter in 1982 and Taking Another Look in 2011.
He re-recorded the title track on Ivory Pyramid in 1992, his first album with GRP after two decades with Columbia.

BOB JAMES – HEADS
After putting out his first four solo albums on CTI, Bob James started his own label, Tappan Zee Records, in 1977.
His inaugural album, the second of the year, was Heads.
From One in 1974 through 12 in 1984, most of Bob’s early albums were numbered directly or indirectly.
Heads refers to the Buffalo nickel.
Nickels are 5 cents.
Ergo, Heads is Bob’s fifth album.
The album personnel is who’s who of New York City musicians of the day: Eric Gale, Steve Khan, Steve Gadd, Idris Muhammad, Gary King, Will Lee, Richard Tee, Ralph MacDonald, Hubert Laws, David Sanborn, Grover Washington, Jr., the Brecker Brothers, Michael and Randy, Jon Faddis, Eddie Daniels, and Mike Mainieri.
And that’s just the beginning.
There are six tracks on the album, but Bob only wrote two of them: the title track and “Night Crawler,” not to be confused with “Nite Crawler,” which Larry Carlton wrote for The Crusaders.
More on that later.
The other four tracks are what I consider to be the ultimate cover of Boz Scaggs’s “We’re All Alone,” “I’m in You” by Peter Frampton, Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful,” and a classical ballad by Henry Purcell: “One Loving Night.”
“One Loving Night” features recorder by George Marge and tenor sax by Grover Washington, Jr.

THE CRUSADERS – FREE AS THE WIND
Free as the Wind was the first Crusaders album without original member Wayne Henderson and the last album with Larry Carlton as a member.
Larry would appear as a guest on Standing Tall in 1981, which I showcased in the first episode, and The Good and Bad Times in 1986.
The rest of the Crusaders at the time were Joe Sample, Wilton Felder, Pops Popwell, and Stix Hooper.
Like Tequila Mockingbird, Free as the Wind contains eight tracks.
The title track leads it off, followed by “I Felt the Love,” which first appeared on Chain Reaction two years earlier.
After that, you have “The Way We Was,” a Pops Popwell composition with intermittent chatter, and the aforementioned unrelated “Nite Crawler,” which Larry would play on his eponymous solo album the next year.
Fifth on the album is “Feel It,” written by the entire band with a lyrical refrain by Lamont Dozier of Holland-Dozier-Holland fame, followed by the longest track – “Sweet N’ Sour,” and the shortest track – “River Rat.”
Free as the Wind closes with the Joe Sample ballad, “It Happens Everyday.”
Joe would re-record the song 20 years later on his solo album, Sample This.

PAT METHENY – WATERCOLORS
Pat Metheny Group debuted in 1978, as I shared in the second episode of Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection.
Pat’s solo offering in 1977, Watercolors, was like the group’s beta test.
75% of the band is here: Pat Metheny on guitars, Lyle Mays on piano, and Danny Gottlieb, now of the Lieutenant Dan Band, on drums.
Playing fretless bass on Watercolors was Eberhard Weber.
This is the third album in this episode thus far with eight tracks on it.
Two of them are a suite: “Florida Greeting Song” and “Legend of the Fountain.”
The title track leads off the album, followed by a solo guitar piece called “Icefire,” “Oasis,” a duet with Eberhard and with many layers of guitar.
The middle tracks are my favorites: “Lakes,” an exercise in chord progression, and “River Quay” (“key”).
After the two-part suite, Watercolors ends with the ten-minute “Sea Song.”

WEATHER REPORT – HEAVY WEATHER
The lone Weather Report album in my collection is the commercial smash, Heavy Weather.

That was as far as I got.

Episode 10: Best Ofs with New Tracks (incomplete)
Outline
Slideshow:

Episode 11: Collaborative Albums (incomplete)
Outline
Slideshow:

Episode 12: 11 Albums from 1987 (incomplete)
Outline

And with that, Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection is officially a thing of the past. It lives on through all that I’ve shared here.

I made a mere 68 cents in ad revenue while my YouTube channel was monetized. That’s $99.32 short of the point where I’d get paid.

Now, my channel will go back to its previous purpose: blizzard timelines, aircheck videos, and WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony videos. Thank you to anyone that watched Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection. You’re in rarefied air.

2017 LIU Post & WCWP Homecoming, 2018 Hall of Fame Announcement October 16, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Football, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, Video, Weather.
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Earlier recaps: 2008, 2009, WCWP 50th Anniversary (2011), 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Later in this recap, I share airchecks from my pre-recorded Homecoming Weekend show that aired early yesterday morning. To see and hear my live show on Friday, along with other photos and audio from the three hours that followed my show, click here.

I didn’t arrive at LIU Post until 1:20 on Saturday afternoon, but I was already there in the form of voiceovers I recorded for Pete Bellotti’s WCWP Homecoming Weekend show prior to the Post Pioneers’ Homecoming game against the Southern Connecticut State Owls. As with my show yesterday, my VO garnered rave reviews from my fellow alumni when I arrived at the Abrams Communications Building. Pete Bellotti led the praise followed by John Commins, Bill Mozer, and Jay Mirabile, who ran the board during Pete’s show.

My segments, along with any references Pete and Jay made to me, can be heard here:

The “smooth jazz”/”Weather Channel music” bed they played was “Shakin’ the Shack” by Dave Koz on Lucky Man (1993), his second album.

After putting down my equipment and posing for two pictures, which you’ll see later, I made my way to Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium to take some pictures.

Skies were partly to mostly cloudy while the air was warm, especially when the sun peaked through, and humid.

As you can see, the press box is vacant:

I didn’t realize that there was a new press box. That’s where Jeff Kroll and Neil Marks called the game. Joel Feltman was the field reporter.

Shortly after I left the field, the Pioneers scored a touchdown. With the extra point, they led Southern 21-7.

On the way back, I stopped in the campus bookstore in Hillwood Commons and bought an LIU Post polo shirt, which I changed into at WCWP.

Bill Mozer wrote a familiar phrase on the whiteboard in Studio 3:

The next two pictures were taken before the field trip and shirt purchase, starting with Pete Bellotti:

Next, Jay Mirabile:

I had Bill Mozer take a picture of me in my new shirt:

Then, I took one of him:

John Zoni was the studio update reporter for the Homecoming game:

He provided those updates at halftime:

The Pioneers would go on to win 52-35. The Owls got within a touchdown twice, but Post hung on.

As always, Bernie Bernard, who earned her doctorate in theology the week before, followed the game:

As you can see, Grandfather Rock Chris MacIntosh dropped by:

For 36 years and counting, Chris has hosted Rock N Soul Gospel on WCWP.

At 5:00, the WCWP Alumni Barbecue began, and the 2018 inductees to the WCWP Hall of Fame were announced by Ted David.

Before the announcement, he posed with Chris:

The 2018 inductees are Muffet Provost, John Commins, and Pat Kroll (née Champion). Chris MacIntosh will receive the inaugural WCWP Lifetime Achievement Award. It will be for those that have worked at the station, but did not attend LIU Post.

Scenes from the announcement:

Ted David requested I take pictures of the inductees outside.

We started with John Commins and Pat Kroll:

John and Pat with Ted (a 2014 inductee):

John, Pat, and Chris MacIntosh:

John, Dr. Bernie Bernard (2013 inductee), Chris, Pat:

Then, Ted suggested I get in a few shots, starting with John:

John, me, Pat and Jeff Kroll:

The station transmitter:

Bobby Guthenberg, a.k.a. Bobby G., suggested I take a few pictures of John Commins and Bruce and Tamara Leonard, who had shows at 10PM and midnight, respectively. I took these in Studio 1:

John also asked for a picture with his wife Marilyn:

The WCWP sign in Studio 2:

Later in Bernie’s show, she interviewed May Pang, former secretary to John Lennon and Yoko Ono:

May will be appearing at the Heritage Trust Building on November 10 for An Evening with May Pang: Loving John Lennon. More information can be found here.

A shot from Bernie’s last aircheck, which featured (from right to left) Mike Riccio, Bobby G., and Alan Seltzer:

Prior to the picture, she interviewed WCWP alumna Fran Fried, whose appearance on Jeopardy! airs tomorrow.

Bernie then gave way to the aforementioned Mike and Bobby:

They interviewed me during their third aircheck. Here’s a vidcap:

After this, I edited photos, airchecks, video, and this post all on my laptop in Studio 3. I edited more yesterday. Conversation abound behind me and I soaked it all in. I also listened on the boombox as Mike and Bobby G.’s show continued in Studio 2.

Watch the finished video, with three airchecks each from Bernie’s and Mike and Bobby’s shows, below:

The middle aircheck from Bernie’s show is the Hall of Fame announcement. The video was monetized by Universal Music Group because of the beginning of “Pinball Wizard” during Mike and Bobby’s first aircheck. Thanks to UMG for not making me remove the song.

I always enjoy catching up with my fellow alumni and meeting new people, like Joan Yonke, the Director of Employee and Alumni Engagement at LIU Post. She told me that she saw my recap of last year’s Homecoming recap when she was researching the position, which she began in July.

Congratulations to Chris MacIntosh on his WCWP Lifetime Achievement Award, and to 2018 WCWP Hall of Fame inductees Muffet Provost, John Commins, and Pat Champion Kroll.

Until next year, I’ll leave you with airchecks from my pre-recorded Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri that aired at 4AM yesterday, preceded by the end of Bruce and Tamara Leonard’s live! midnight to 4AM show:

I recorded the show on September 21, but put the songs and liners in my Adobe Audition multitrack session the day before.

Here are the transitions between songs:

And the playlist.

The 40th anniversary Homecoming Weekend concluded with Jeff Kroll at midnight last night. Here’s how he signed off:

2017 WCWP Homecoming Weekend, first five hours October 14, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Education, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Video, Video Games.
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For the third year in a row, I led off the 60-hour Homecoming Weekend block of alumni-hosted shows on WCWP, LIU Post’s campus radio station. Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri kicked off the festivities yesterday at noon.

The Homecoming Weekend block began in December 1977 as Oldtimers’ Weekend. Here is a flyer made for the inaugural block:
OldtimersWeekendFlyer

And here’s the press release.

The block would move to the weekend of homecoming the following year, but wouldn’t be called Homecoming Weekend until 1980.

Back in the present, my mother drove me up to LIU Post at 8:10 AM. I arrived at LIU Post about a half hour later.

Three hours remained until my show. I passed the time by setting up in Studio 2, browsing the web in Studio 3 (which is as an editing room and classroom) on my laptop – which I brought to edit the airchecks audio and video after my show – and played a word search in a Nintendo 3DS game called Crosswords Plus.

Along the way, fellow alumni Jeff and Pat Kroll arrived, as did Joel Feltman.

Eventually, noon came and I was on the air. While my first song – “Happy Hour” by the recently departed Chuck Loeb – was playing, I took some pictures:

An hour into the show, I had Pat Kroll take a picture of me:

Ted David, who came on after my show, listened to me on his drive up to the station. He was very complimentary of every facet of my show, especially my music selections and delivery. He repeated those compliments early in his show. After spotting my camera, he took this picture of me:

Ted’s right. This was a great show. From my perspective, it was nearly flawless. The only mistake was having the CD 1 pot (potentiometer) down at the start of “One More Time” by Herman Jackson. Here is how I looked and sounded during the airchecks:

Thanks to Shanachie for not penalizing me for the excerpt of “Stratosphere” by Najee. They claimed the copyright on the video and are getting revenue. I thank them for the joy their artists provide me.

11:45 AM UPDATE: I just noticed that my camcorder swayed back and forth on the tripod while recording. I hope it doesn’t give any viewers motion sickness.

10/17/17 UPDATE: I have since acquired an alternate recording of the show via internet stream. The constant tone from my FM tuner recording in the above video is gone. Here is how the airchecks sounded on the stream:

I mentioned during the show that David Benoit hosts a show on an 88.1 FM in Long Beach, California, but neglected to elaborate. The call letters are KKJZ-FM and it’s known as KJazz 88.1 FM. Like WCWP, it emanates from a college campus: Long Beach State. David’s show airs weekdays from 8AM to noon Pacific (11AM to 3PM Eastern).

Here’s how the transitions between songs during the show sounded (10/17/17 UPDATE: Also via the stream):

And here’s the playlist.

As I noted Ted David followed my show:

As I further noted, Ted complimented me during his show:

Thank you, Ted, not only for the compliments, but for the aircheck.

Ted then gave way to Pat Kroll:

Pat had me take a posed shot:

Then, I took a pic of Pat and Jeff:

Next door in Studio 3, I asked Bruce and Tamara Leonard to pose for a pic:

Then, Bruce had me pose with Tamara:

And before I left for home, a shot of Ted David and Joel Feltman:

It’s 8:05 AM as I post this. I’m headed back up to LIU Post this afternoon for Homecoming, the WCWP Alumni Barbecue and the announcement of the 2018 class of the WCWP Hall of Fame. I should have a recap of the day up by Monday.

My experience at Day 1 of 2017 New York Comic Con October 6, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Art, Comedy, Internet, Interviews, Media, Personal, Photography, Technology, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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Previous New York Comic Con recaps: 2012 Day 2, 2014 Day 1

Yesterday, I was at the first day of the 2017 New York Comic Con, held annually at the Javits Center in the Midtown West section of Manhattan. It was my third trip to NYCC.

I almost didn’t go this year. When I planned on buying a badge (ticket) in June, I learned that fan verification was required. Unfortunately, fan verification was closed. Luckily, last month, I learned on the website that verification was open again. So, I immediately got verified and bought a badge for Day 1.

I woke up at 6:20 yesterday morning. I looked out my window and saw a picturesque sky. I took a couple of shots of it, without and with flash:

After that, I put my camera in my backpack, where it stayed for a few hours.

In between, my mother drove me to the Wantagh LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) station at 8:40. Nine minutes later, I was on a train bound for Penn Station.

50 minutes later, I exited Penn and walked to the Javits Center. Those that had a badge, including me, were directed to the green entrance via West 39th Street, five blocks north of where I’d been walking.

I made my way down to Level 1 to meet five voice actors and get professional photo ops with four of them.

First up was Tara Strong:

As you can see, I wore my Northern Trust golf tournament shirt. I got it back on August 27, after walking Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury to see the final round.

After Tara, it was on to Rob Paulsen:

Rob is a throat cancer survivor (knock on wood), having battled it last year.

Tress MacNeille:

Jim Cummings:

And finally, Jess Harnell:

When I noticed Jess had his sunglasses on, I put my glasses on:

In all, I spent about four hours in five lines. It was a thrill to meet and chat with them all. I won’t get into the details of our brief conversations, but they were all very nice. Jess even gave me a hug.

I also enjoyed chatting with fellow fans – like Kelly, Sierra, Dave, and a few others whose names I didn’t get – while waiting in line. There was even a woman ahead of me on the Jess Harnell line who was not only dressed as one of his characters – Cedric from Sofia the First – but her name is Jess Warner! Her first name was the same as his, and her last name was the same as his Animaniacs character Wakko Warner. More on that below.

Afterward, I headed to the Epic Photo Ops area for a pair of professional photo ops. Since I had just met the actors at their autograph tables, there was a familiarity in the booth. It was like visiting old friends.

Jim Cummings suggested we “look intrepid”:

I love the outcome.

The second photo op was with Rob, Tress, and Jess, the stars of Animaniacs:

They were the Warner siblings: Yakko, voiced by Rob, Wakko, by Jess (as I noticed before), and Dot, by Tress.

All that remained was to walk the show floor on Level 3. But first, a few shots taken in the lobby on Level 2 after entering around 10:15:

The show floor:

I mostly focused on the video game developers section, as you’ll see below.

The next six pictures were taken in the morning:

I took this in the afternoon:

It was a fun day, but I was ready to head home. I left satisfied.

I walked south on 11th Avenue until I reached West 34th Street, where I alternated between walking and running, hoping to make the 4:12 train back to Wantagh. I did, with time to spare.

Thank you to Tara Strong, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille, and Jess Harnell. As I said, it was a pleasure to meet and chat with you all.

I’ll conclude this post with a picture of my program and badge:

10:25 PM UPDATE: While searching in vain on YouTube for video of the I Know That Voice: The Series panel that took place at 5:30, shortly after I got home, I found this interview of Jim Cummings:

10/7 UPDATE: The only video I could find of the aforementioned panel was this:

The video stops before the Q&A portion.

My day at the final round of The Northern Trust August 29, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
1 comment so far

Previous event recaps: 2012 (The Barclays), 2016 (The Barclays)

For the second year in a row, a Long Island golf course hosted the PGA Tour event now known as The Northern Trust, the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs. Last year, which was the last year as The Barclays, the event was held at Bethpage Black Golf Course. This year, The Northern Trust was about 12 miles west at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury. Glen Oaks is adjacent to SUNY Old Westbury and not too far from NYIT (New York Institute of Technology) or LIU Post, my alma mater. In fact, as you’ll see near the end of this post, I wore my WCWP shirt that you’ve seen in previous posts. As for the other two colleges, I went to day camp at them for a few childhood summers. In 1989 and ’91, main camp activities were at NYIT while swimming was at SUNY Old Westbury. In 1990, activities were exclusive to Old Westbury.

My father Bill and I attended the final round of The Northern Trust, which began 50 years ago as the Westchester Classic, on Sunday. Jordan Spieth (-12) and Dustin Johnson (-9) were the last group of the day. Would Spieth hold on? Could D.J. catch him? Or would it be someone else?

Dad and I left for general parking at Nassau Coliseum at around 11:30. Once we arrived, we boarded a shuttle bus. On board, a welcome video looped on TV screens. The shuttle arrived at Glen Oaks Club just before 12:30. Weather conditions were excellent: partly sunny skies with warm, dry air and a cool breeze.

I would have loved to bring my Nikon D5500, but only smartphones on silent were allowed for photography. Thus, the pictures in this recap were taken on my iPhone 6 and edited afterward in Adobe Photoshop Elements 15. Since the phone lacks an optical zoom, I preserved the original resolution rather than shrink the pictures, as I usually do on this site. In most cases, you’ll have to zoom in to see the far-away players.

With that out of the way, let’s begin:

From here, pictures aren’t entirely in chronological order. Until we get to the 18th green, pictures are in order of the hole where they were taken.

The practice green:

The 1st hole:

LaGuardia Airport is close to the course, so there were plenty of low-flying planes in their final approach:

The 2nd hole:

Henrik Stenson and Martin Laird:

Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

Paul Casey and defending champion Patrick Reed:

Dottie Pepper and Peter Kostis of CBS Sports walking ahead of…

Jordan Spieth…

…and Dustin Johnson:

Robert Streb and Scott Brown on the 4th hole:

Stenson and Laird at the 5th hole:

The 6th green:

The 7th hole:

The 8th hole:

Jason Day and C.T. Pan:

Matt Kuchar and Jon Rahm:

The 9th hole:

The 10th hole:

David Lingmerth and Louis Oosthuizen:

Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

The 11th hole:

Jason Kokrak and Morgan Hoffmann:

A jib passing the 12th hole:

Dad and I followed Robert Streb and Scott Brown from here to the 17th:

There was a horse stable next to the 13th hole:

It’s rare that I hear horses neighing and sputtering in real time.

The 13th hole:

The 14th hole:

The 15th hole:

The 16th hole:

The 17th hole:

The 18th hole:

David Lingmerth and Louis Oosthuizen:

I spent the last two hours of the tournament at this spot by the 18th green:

I had to endure a few men behind me, who I assume were in their 20s, not necessarily following etiquette (that’s all I’ll say), but it was worth it.

The TV tower where Jim Nantz and Sir Nick Faldo called the action:

The Northern Trust is the last tournament of the year for CBS. The remainder of the FedExCup playoffs are on NBC.

After Lingmerth and Louis Ooie (as voice actor Jeff Bennett calls him) finished their round, the next pair to play 18 was Robert Streb and Scott Brown:

Followed by Bubba Watson and Jhonattan Vegas:

Vegas shot a 65 to finish at -9.

Then, Patrick Cantlay and Russell Henley:

Justin Thomas, who won the PGA Championship two weeks earlier, and Chez Reavie:

Justin Rose and Jason Dufner:

Keegan Bradley and Kevin Chappell:

Matt Kuchar and Jon Rahm:

Rahm finished tied for third with Jhonny Vegas at -9.

Paul Casey and Patrick Reed:

And finally, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson:

Jordan and Dustin came to 18 tied at -13. Johnson’s tee shot landed in the rough and his second shot was short of the green. He would end up with a long par putt. Spieth, meanwhile, had a long birdie putt.

Spieth missed his birdie putt:

That meant D.J. could force a playoff if he parred…

…and he did!

The camera didn’t focus properly, but you get the idea.

Here’s how the putt looked on TV.

Spieth made his par putt to ensure the playoff:

The playoff:

Johnson hit a massive tee shot that landed within 95 yards of the hole. Here’s how it looked on TV. (6:42 PM UPDATE: The shot was shown in last night’s episode of Feherty when guest Darius Rucker listed D.J. as one of his three favorite golfers of all time. Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods were the other two.)

D.J.’s approach shot landed near the hole:

The shot looked like this on CBS.

Spieth missed a long birdie putt to extend the playoff:

But Johnson made his birdie putt and won The Northern Trust:

The winning putt can be seen at the end of these extended highlights.

Dottie Pepper interviewed Dustin afterward:

Here’s the interview.

Our last two times at The Barclays, Dad and I stuck around to watch the off-air trophy presentation. This year, after a playoff, we were eager to head home, which, after buying a hat and shirt in the shop, we did.

Three FedExCup playoff tournaments remain. Can Dustin, Jordan, or anyone else in the top 100 win it all? We’ll know by the evening of September 24. (9/24 UPDATE: Someone else: Justin Thomas.)

On the way to the shuttle bus, Dad took this picture of me:

We got home at exactly 8:00. It was an exciting eight hours. What a finish! Our next golf trip will be next June for the third round of the U.S. Open, held at Shinnecock Hills.

I’ll leave you with a few news stories on the final round (subscription required for Newsday/News 12 links):
AP (via PGATour.com)
Newsday
Newsday column by Mark Herrmann, who also wrote the story in the above link
News 12 Long Island

I can be seen in the background in one clip from News 12’s video. Here’s a high-resolution screenshot from my TV:

And here’s a closer look:

3:29 PM UPDATE: I just learned I was actually in the background during CBS’s telecast, not in News 12 B-roll. Here is a vidcap:

8/31 UPDATE: Inside the Ropes segments of this week’s Inside the PGA Tour:
Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Final Round

Long Island Retro Gaming Expo, Day 2 August 14, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Art, Football, Internet, Music, Personal, Photography, Sports, Technology, Travel, Video, Video Games.
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I’ve been to jazz performances, comedy acts, and New York Comic Con. But yesterday marked my first time at a retro gaming convention. I made my way to the Cradle of Aviation Museum in East Garden City for the second day of this year’s Long Island Retro Gaming Expo.

Within the last year, I’ve become a regular YouTube viewer, gravitating toward channels about computers, music keyboards, video games, video game and console collecting, and what equipment to use to get the best picture quality out of video game consoles on an HDTV. These videos inspired me to start the Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection YouTube series. Here’s the latest episode:

Two of the YouTube channels I watch are The 8-Bit Guy and 8-Bit Keys, both run by David Murray. (He also has a website.) In a video earlier this year, David announced he would be appearing at the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo. With that in mind, I bought a ticket for the second day.

When I purchased my ticket, I was automatically subscribed to the expo newsletter. With a month to go, the schedule was released. It turned out the first day would be more eventful, with many guest speakers, including David. In fact, my friend Jill and her son Mark went on the first day and saw him speak. But I chose to stick with my decision to only go to the second day, since David was also listed as a vendor.

I left for the Cradle of Aviation Museum, part of Museum Row, at 11:30. 20 minutes later, I was there.

I was directed to a desk, where I exchanged my ticket for a wristband.

I also bought into a raffle at the information desk:

After a few minutes of walking by vendors, I spotted David Murray. I introduced myself and we had a brief conversation. He graciously allowed a picture with him, which his wife took:

It slipped my mind that he should sign something until he brought it up after the picture. I had him sign my program:

It turned out David wasn’t a vendor on the second day because he had sold all his merchandise on the first day. I was disappointed, but still honored to meet him and his wife. Be sure to check out The 8-Bit Guy and 8-Bit Keys. And if you like what you see, consider supporting the channels on Patreon. I do.

After that, I toured the rest of the vendors.

I held off on buying anything until I was ready to leave.

The tournament room:

The second floor had freeplays on various consoles and CRT TVs, as well as arcade cabinets:

I gave Mega Man and Castlevania a try, but struggled and gave up after losing a life:

I played a successful level of Dr. Mario, a favorite of mine:

I’ve always liked how the “Chill” tune briefly pays homage to “St. Thomas” by Sonny Rollins.

I first discovered the arcade version of Tetris at the since-closed Kutsher’s Hotel in 1995. My former dentist also had a Tetris cabinet for many years. Back in 2010, I bought the rare, unlicensed NES port on eBay. The music and gameplay sound just like the arcade. I also have the licensed Nintendo version.

I subscribed to Nintendo Power for several years. Game Genies for many consoles helped me greatly. The NES version allowed me to beat Super Mario Bros. 3 many times.

Here are R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy), the Virtual Boy, and the Power Glove:

One of my cousins had a Virtual Boy, which I tried in 1995, six months after the Kutsher’s weekend, and did not like.

I quickly walked the third floor where there was PC LAN freeplay:

Back on the second floor, AfroDJMac played our favorite retro tunes:

Madden:

A corridor of freeplay:

Back to the first floor:

Board games, or tabletop games:

In just over an hour, I’d seen everything. All that remained was to go back to the Vendor Hall and buy some games I’ve always wanted, but never owned. Consider this the equivalent of a pickups video. The games I bought were:

Nintendo Game Boy:

  • Monopoly
  • Elmo’s ABCs (don’t judge)
  • Mickey’s Speedway USA

Sega Genesis:

  • Tecmo Super Bowl

Nintendo 64:

  • Cruis’n World
  • Top Gear Rally

Nintendo Gamecube:

  • Super Monkey Ball

Nintendo DS:

  • Kirby Mass Attack

I also bought a Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP model AGS-101:

For over a decade, I’ve had the frontlit AGS-001. I was satisfied with the quality until I found out in this My Life in Gaming video…

…and this Metal Jesus Rocks video…

…that there was a second model, the AGS-101, which was not only backlit, but brighter! The difference is amazing. On top of that, as you saw, the GBA SP I bought was a Limited Edition Pikachu version. I’m not into Pokémon, but it’s still special to have.

I was hoping to get a Sega Saturn at a decent price, but did not succeed. I’ll have to settle for eBay sometime in the future.

There was one item I bought that was neither a game nor a console. It was pixel art by Joseph Uzzo who has a blog called Nestalgic Bits. I picked out a standing sprite of Raccoon Mario from Super Mario Bros. 3:

I may have only been at the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo for a couple of hours, but I had a great time. Thanks to the expo staff, the vendors, the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Joseph Uzzo, the Murrays, and my fellow game enthusiasts.

Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection premieres July 31! July 14, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Jazz, Music, New Age, Personal, Video.
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It’s official: Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection will premiere on my YouTube channel on Monday, July 31! Each week, I will showcase select albums from my collection of over 1,200 jazz and new age CDs.

Unfortunately, out of fear of copyright claims, I will not be including excerpts from the albums in each episode, but I will link to Amazon, CDBaby, and eBay listings in the descriptions below the videos.

Here are the first four episode titles:

  1. “6 Albums from 1981”
  2. “1970s Debut Albums”
  3. “8 Albums from 1992”
  4. “2000s Debut Albums”

Watch the trailer video below:

Thanks to Jay Dobbins for the music, “Wishing for Something” from his Anything for You album, that I used in the trailer and will be the title music for the show.

Be sure to subscribe to my channel, and if you want, click the bell icon to be notified when new videos are posted.

Seven weeks of Netflix April 29, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Comedy, Film, Internet, Music, Personal, Technology, TV, Video.
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In a post last month, I noted that I ran out of things to watch on Netflix and, in addition to playing video games, began watching YouTube channels instead. Less than a day after I wrote that post, I discovered things to watch on Netflix again. I started with a few movie classics that I had never seen. First up was Mel Brooks’s Blazing Saddles. That was followed by a pair of Rob Reiner films: This Is Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride, both of which featured Christopher Guest and Billy Crystal. From there, I moved on to a few music documentaries:

I went back to YouTube for a couple of days, but then I took a big step. Actually, a giant leap is more like it. I decided to watch all 278* episodes of Cheers, followed by all 264* episodes of Frasier, its spin-off. “Let the journey begin,” I told myself on the afternoon of March 12 as I loaded the pilot episode of Cheers. What followed was textbook binge-watching. It took only 20 days to watch all 11 seasons of Cheers. It took 17 days to watch every season of Frasier, which also ran 11 seasons. The last day I watched Cheers and the first day I watched Frasier overlapped, making for a combined 36 days of 542* episodes. The journey was worth it.

* – Multi-part episodes are split up.

With the two long-running series out of the way, I spent the next two days watching four stand-up specials: two by Dave Chappelle, one by Jo Koy, and one cinematic release by Kevin Hart. After that, there were four documentaries:

After a few days of DVDs and Blu-rays, I returned to Netflix to watch the third season of Dawn of the Croods, one of many Dreamworks animated series made for Netflix. Unfortunately, the season ended on a cliffhanger. Yes, Cheers and Frasier had cliffhangers, but seasons weren’t released to Netflix months apart. Within seconds of watching a cliffhanger finale, you could move on to the next season’s premiere.

All that remained for me to watch were two movies: Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, which I watched a few times on VHS when I was 12, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which I don’t recall every seeing.

Now, the well has run dry again, but I expect there to be a handful of movies and documentaries to watch in May. Until then, back to YouTube.