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2018 Long Island Retro Gaming Expo recap August 13, 2018

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

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

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

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

…and the museum exterior:

Once inside, attendees were greeted by this sign:

My home for the next four hours:

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

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

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

Jeremy Parish:

Kurt Kalata:

Rob Russo:

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

The panel wrapped up with Q&A.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He showed us:

A few more questions and answers followed.

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

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

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

John’s video game binder:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second floor:

The music of Super Thrash Bros.:

LAN play on the third floor:

Here’s the end result of my shopping:

When I got home, I photographed my pickups.

Sega Saturn:

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

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

Super Nintendo:

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

Sega Genesis:

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist

Nintendo Gamecube:

  • Super Smash Bros. Melee

Nintendo Wii:

  • Super Mario Galaxy
  • SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1

Nintendo Wii U:

  • New Super Luigi U
  • Super Mario Maker

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

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

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

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

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

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

After John delighted kids with his astromech droid…

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

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

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

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

It ended with a lengthy Q&A.

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

To Mike,

Best Wishes

Leonard Herman

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

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

As for the games I picked up…

Nintendo Entertainment System:

  • Double Dragon
  • Mega Man 3

Nintendo Game Boy:

  • Alleyway

Sega Genesis:

  • Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse

Sega Saturn:

  • Pebble Beach Golf Links
  • WWF In Your House

Sony PlayStation:

  • Tekken

Sony PlayStation 2:

  • Tekken 4
  • Tekken 5

Nintendo Wii U:

  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We both ordered Fish and Chips, which was delicious.

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

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

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

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

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

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

View this post on Instagram

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

A post shared by Mike Chimeri (@mikechimeri) on

The iconic clubhouse:

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

The 13th fairway:

Aaron Baddeley and Xander Schauffele:

Tyrrell Hatton’s ball in the 12th fairway:

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

The 15th tee:

Aaron Baddeley after his tee shot:

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

The 16th tee and 5th green:

Bryson DeChambeau’s tee shot:

Hideki Matsuyama’s tee shot:

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

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

The 17th tee:

The 18th fairway and green:

The main leaderboard:

The grandstand:

Baddeley and Schauffele completing their rounds:

DeChambeau and Matsuyama completing theirs:

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

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

I hope to be at Winged Foot in 2020:

I hope traffic and transit is better in 2026:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April Snow April 3, 2018

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

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

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

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

Noon:

1:52 PM:

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

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

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

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

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

Fourth nor’easter in 19 days March 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10:36 AM:

12:54 PM:

2:52 PM:

5:19 PM:

7:02 PM:

9:03 PM:

Without the flash:

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

11:01 PM, with and without the flash:

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

Thursday, 7:05 AM:

10:34 AM, after shoveling:

A Northern Cardinal spotting at 12:03 PM:

2PM:

5:04 PM:

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

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

Three nor’easters in twelve days March 14, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Photography, Travel, Weather.
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Three nor’easters have come through Long Island in a 12-day period. The first came back on March 2, as I wrote in my guest reading post:

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.

The second nor’easter hit five days later – last Wednesday, March 7. Those ever-changing computer forecast models wavered back and forth from a little wet snow to a lot of wet snow, back to a little, up to a moderate amount, and back to a lot again. The deciding factor was the point when the rain would change to wet snow and how much of it would accumulate. At least the wind wasn’t as bad.

Anticipating the worst, I periodically took pictures outside my bedroom window in Wantagh.

I took the first at 12:08 PM:

2:36 PM:

4:48 PM:

7:23 PM:

The end result was “a little.” I didn’t measure how much fell, but it must have been two inches at most.

The next day at 7:13 AM:

With a strong March sun and air temperatures in the 40s, I didn’t need to shovel the driveway. But I was impatient. So, around 10AM, I shoveled what hadn’t melted, mostly what was brushed off the three SUVs.

I took this at 10:25 AM, a few minutes after I’d finished:

The last shot was taken at 2PM:

The third nor’easter clipped Long Island yesterday, March 13, the 25th anniversary of Superstorm ’93, also known as the Storm of the Century. (I detailed my experience in a March 2013 post.)

The initial forecast called for a wintry mix, but then those pesky forecast models intervened and the threat of significant wet snow loomed. As the storm approached, it became clear that Suffolk County would get more snow than Nassau, where I live. In the end, just 2.7 inches accumulated in Wantagh, according to a trained spotter for the National Weather Service. (More totals can be seen here.)

I spent the day in Freeport and took the pictures below on the way there and at my final destination.

We start at 8:12 AM before leaving the house:

On the road between 8:21 and 8:34 AM, at the intersection of Island Road and Wantagh Avenue:

Wantagh Avenue:

Park Avenue:

Old Mill Road:

Sunrise Highway from Bellmore to Freeport:

8:47 AM, looking south at a general parking lot and the side of Our Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church:

10:25 AM:

Noon, shortly after snow ended:

The winds picked up as the snow tapered off, but again, nothing like the first nor’easter.

3:13 PM:

When I got back home at 4:56 PM, I took a parting shot from my bedroom window:

A fourth storm is due to arrive next Tuesday, the first day of spring. If we even get it, I will dedicate a separate post to it.

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.

Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall: 2018 edition January 14, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, TV, Weather.
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Previous Lisa Hilton recaps: June 2011January 2014January 2015, January 2016

Thursday night marked my first time at Carnegie Hall since I saw comic ventriloquist Jeff Dunham 15 months ago, and my first time seeing jazz pianist Lisa Hilton in two years. (I couldn’t make last year’s show.)

As with all Carnegie shows, I was not allowed to take pictures during the performance. That means I have to compensate by describing what I saw and photographing what happened before and after. That’s not a complaint; just an explanation.

Until my dad drove me to the Wantagh LIRR station at 4:40, it was a typical Thursday for me: grocery shopping, treadmill running, and YouTube and Netflix watching.

As I waited on the platform for the 4:59 Penn Station-bound train to arrive, I took a couple of pictures, the first ones taken on my iPhone X, a generous Christmas gift.

About 50 minutes later, I was at Penn Station, where I walked to the 34th Street subway station and took an uptown E train to 7th Avenue and West 53rd Street.

All but one of the remaining pictures in this post were taken on my Nikon D5500:

When I exited the train, I was greeted by the Ed Sullivan Theater, home to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert since September 2015. (David Letterman retired that May.)

I planned on eating dinner at Lindy’s, but was walking up Broadway when I should have been on 7th. So, I missed it.

I turned east at West 56th Street, but couldn’t find a restaurant I liked. I did take pictures along the way.

I turned north up 6th Avenue and then west at West 57th.

I figured I would try the Russian Tea Room:

The staff seated me at a booth, generously moving the table so I could get in. Unfortunately, there was nothing on the menu to my liking. I apologetically relayed that to the waiter and left. I felt embarrassed, but I’m sure you, the reader, feel I shouldn’t have been. At least I can say I’ve been to the Russian Tea Room.

I passed by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, where Lisa Hilton was to perform, and found a restaurant on 7th Avenue called 9Ten:

The atmosphere was great. Contemporary jazz was playing on the speakers through what I assume was Pandora. I recognized “Max-O-Man” by Fourplay, Eric Marienthal’s cover of “Work Song” by Cannonball Adderley (written by his brother Nat), “Slammin'” by Nick Colionne, and “Step On It” by Pieces of a Dream.

As I waited for my food, I took a selfie on my iPhone X:

The food was great: mozzarella sticks, Penne Bolognese, and vanilla and chocolate ice cream.

On my way back to Carnegie Hall, I could see Times Square to the south. The ball was still there, eleven nights after it dropped:

I walked in to the Weill Recital Hall at 7:07. I had to wait in the lobby for about 20 minutes until the hall doors were opened. I was the first to arrive, but within 15 minutes, the lobby was packed. I briefly heard Lisa Hilton and her band rehearsing.

A few minutes after the doors opened, my ticket was checked and I walked into the hall. As usual, my seat was front row center, though barely right-of-center.

As I waited for Lisa and the band to come out, I took a few pictures:

I should have taken a picture of the audience behind me. The turnout was big at the orchestra level where I was. They were ready for a great performance.

Lisa came on stage at 8:07, followed closely by J.D. Allen on tenor saxophone, Luques Curtis on upright bass, and Rudy Royston on drums.

Most of the songs in the set list were from Lisa’s Escapism album, which she composed music for between April and July, and released on December 1. Thursday night was the first time the music of Escapism was performed live. Weill Recital Hall doesn’t have a sound system, so the instruments relied on the acoustics of the hall for amplification. I couldn’t tell. It sounded great; it always does.

1/17 UPDATE: Lisa posted a few of Justin Bettman’s pictures from the set to her Facebook page:

I’m in the center, to the left of J.D.:

Talking to the audience between songs:

The set was about an hour and contained the following songs:
1.
Hot Summer Samba
2. Meltdown (also on Sunny Day Theory, 2008; and Nuance, 2010)
3. Zero Gravity
4. Too Hot (not a cover of Kool & the Gang)
5. 29 Palms
6. Mojave Moon
7. Waterfall (from Cocktails at Eight, 2000)
8. A Spark in the Night (from Nocturnal and Day & Night, 2016)
9. So This is Love (from My Favorite Things, 2005; Sunny Day Theory, 2008; Nuance, 2010; and Day & Night, 2016)
10 (Encore). Seduction (from Seduction, 1997; Cocktails at Eight, 2000; My Favorite Things, 2005; and The New York Sessions, 2007)

J.D. didn’t play on “Meltdown” or “29 Palms.” He had a solo at the end of “Seduction,” which was otherwise performed as a trio. “Waterfall” was a solo piano piece, considering its origin on Cocktails at Eight, a solo piano album.

“Hot Summer Samba” was reminiscent of “Tequila” by The Champs. “Too Hot” was inspired by a trip to New Zealand in extreme heat. “Zero Gravity” brought to mind astronauts floating aboard a space shuttle. “Waterfall” initially had a Celtic feel, but then tensed up. Two years later, I still think “A Spark in the Night” had a Latin feel. Specifically, it reminded me of drummer John Favicchia‘s “Kukuc,” but at a slower tempo. That might be why “Spark” was my favorite song in the set.

I caught up with Lisa afterward, and then got to meet J.D. Allen and Luques Curtis. We all posed for a picture:

I put my coat and backpack on and left. I impatiently opted for the stairs over the elevator, then briskly walked north and west to the 59th Street-Columbus Circle subway station.

The station is adjacent to the Time Warner Center, home to CNN’s New York bureau:

As you can see, I arrived just as the downtown 1 train arrived. I boarded it and put my camera away for the night.

Thanks to Lisa, J.D., Luques, and Rudy for a great hour of music in the Weill Recital Hall. I hope to be back next year.

January 4 blizzard, January 5 aftermath January 5, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in News, Personal, Photography, Weather.
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There had been a few brushes with snow in the last days of fall and the first days of winter, but the first major storm barreled through Long Island yesterday.

The initial forecast didn’t call for more than a few inches, but as I expected, the accumulation prediction went up as the storm approached. Nassau County also ended up in the blizzard conditions that were originally supposed to stay in Suffolk, particularly central and eastern Suffolk.

My plan was to wait for the snow to end before shoveling it. Until then, I periodically took pictures outside my bedroom window.

I took the first picture at 8:25 AM, about two hours after I woke up:

9:41 AM:

11:52 AM:

2:07 PM:

4:06 PM:

An hour later, the last snowflake had fallen from the sky, but snow continued to blow off roofs, trees, and cars as winds gusted above 40 mph.

6:38 PM, before shoveling:

After shoveling the front porch, I stuck an 18-inch ruler into an area with flat accumulation; no drifts. I measured 13 inches of snow on the ground.

8:06 PM, after giving up shoveling until morning:

I felt guilty for giving up so soon, but I just didn’t have the stamina to go on. I went inside, watched The Big Bang Theory, played a couple of games on my Nintendo 3DS, and went to sleep.

I figure I got eight hours of sleep and was half-asleep thinking of shoveling for an hour. Finally, around 7AM, I bundled up and finished what I started. My dad had to leave for work, so he came out to help. My mom followed after that, but she wasn’t out for long. Dad went inside to get ready for work, then he came back out to drive there. I finished on my own for 45 minutes.

I took this picture at 9:18 AM, after grabbing my camera to shoot outside:

…where the rest of the pictures were:

There will be more winter storms this season, and I’ll post about them afterward. Until the next one.

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:

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.
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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.