jump to navigation

Bob James Trio at Blue Note November 16, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Hockey, Jazz, Music, Personal, Sports, Travel, Weather.
add a comment

A little mid-November snow wasn’t going to keep me from getting to the Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village last night to see the Bob James Trio’s 8PM set. This was my first time inside Blue Note since I saw the Chick Corea Elektric Band in October 2016. It was also the first time I’d seen Bob since I saw Fourplay in December 2015, and the first time seeing him solo since May 2007 at the defunct IMAC (Inter-Media Art Center) in Huntington.

The story begins several hours before showtime. A nor’easter was about to bring what I assumed was going to be light snow and sleet that wouldn’t accumulate much before changing to rain. I based my assumption on Wednesday’s forecast. Little did I know that forecast models now called for a longer period of moderate-to-heavy snow. A winter weather advisory was issued from 1PM to 10PM and called for 2 to 5 inches. Wantagh ended up with the max. Plus, there were the usual gusty winds a nor’easter provides. It wasn’t comparable to Sandy, but was a nuisance.

For reference, here are a few photos in the snow’s early stages, at 1:43 PM:

2:17 PM:

…and 3:14 PM:

I chose to take a later LIRR train, the 4:59, to Penn Station so I wouldn’t have to wait outside Blue Note in the elements for an hour. Indeed, my father drove me to the Wantagh LIRR station just after 4:30 in heavy snow on unplowed roads. I waited on the platform for about 20 minutes, seeking shelter by the main stairway and escalator until the train arrived. At that time, I walked closer to the head of the train and sat down in a railcar.

The Rangers were playing the Islanders at Barclays Center in Pacific Park, Brooklyn, which meant I was surrounded by fans of both teams (I’m a Rangers fan, myself) until Jamaica, a major hub, when they would change to an Atlantic Terminal train. As the train approached Jamaica, the conductor relayed bad news: due to signal problems west of Jamaica, the train could not proceed to Penn Station. Passengers bound for Penn were diverted to the E train where tickets would be cross-honored.

MTA workers directed a throng of passengers through what was now sleet to the underground subway station. I was closely followed by Jeanette, my seatmate who boarded at Rockville Centre (or maybe it was St. Albans).

We sat together for about a half hour as the E train proceeded through Queens and into Manhattan. She exited at 50th Street and I said it was nice meeting her.

After a few more stops, the train had reached West 4th Street. I walked up to West 3rd and crossed 6th Avenue, tiptoeing through snow and slush, as sleet continued to fall, until I finally arrived at Blue Note.

I checked my coat and was fortunate enough to get my old favorite seat at the table next to the stage. The claustrophobia that drove me away from that seat before Lee Ritenour’s set in August 2016 was gone. I made fast friends in my a few of my tablemates: Debbie, who went to high school with Bob’s Fourplay bandmate Nathan East, and married couple Tom and D’Lissa. My night was more enjoyable for having met and spoken with them.

The Bob James Trio began their set at 8:23; better late than never.

Bob James played piano:

Fender Rhodes:

…and both on “Night Crawler”:

Bob was joined by Michael Palazzolo on acoustic bass:

…and Billy Kilson on drums:

Billy’s “Mister Magic” solo:

The set consisted of nine songs, plus one encore:
1. Bulgogi
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
Bulgogi is Korean grilled beef.

2. Feel Like Making Love (Roberta Flack cover)
Originally heard on: One (1974)
Bob played Fender Rhodes throughout, just as he did on One and on Roberta’s original.

3. Night Crawler
Originally heard on: Heads (1977), Straight Up (1996), Live at the Milliken Auditorium (2015)
Bob began on Rhodes, then transitioned to piano, playing both at once along the way.

4. Shadow Dance
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)

5. Il Boccalone
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
This song was named after an Italian restaurant in, of all places, Tokyo. It was a duet for Bob and Michael.

6. Mister Magic (Grover Washington, Jr. cover)
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
Bob performed on Grover’s Mister Magic album, playing Rhodes on the original, but piano here, as he did on Espresso.

7. Topside
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
Bob started on Rhodes, then switched to piano, with a backing track playing throughout on his iPad, which required him to wear headphones.

8. Mojito Ride
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
This song also had a backing track.

9. Westchester Lady
Originally heard on: Three (1976), All Around the Town (1981), Live at the Milliken Auditorium (2015)
This song had a call and response between the trio and ended with an accelerando that led me to polka dance.

10 (Encore). Angela (Theme from Taxi)
Originally heard on: Touchdown (1978), All Around the Town (1981), The Genie (1983), Angels of Shanghai (2007), Live at the Milliken Auditorium (2015)
Bob began on Rhodes, then ended the set on piano.

After the set, I asked if there was a meet and greet afterward. In a way, yes. After saying goodbye to Debbie, Tom, and D’Lissa, I and a few others congregated outside Bob’s dressing room, where his manager Sonny Abelardo let us in one at a time. I reintroduced myself to Bob, he signed my copy of Espresso, and we posed for a picture:

Sonny called us the Vest Brothers. I liked that.

After leaving the room, I briefly commiserated with Billy Kilson about our misadventures getting to Blue Note.

Back downstairs, I claimed my coat, bundled up, and walked back to the West 4th subway station. By this time, it was raining lightly, but I had to tiptoe through and around slush to cross 6th Avenue.

40 minutes on the E train later, I was back at Jamaica:

I boarded the 11:08 train, which was a few minutes late, along with some happy Islanders fans and dejected Rangers fans, as the Isles beat the Blueshirts 7-5.

After taking this picture…:

…I boarded the train and headed for Wantagh.

I found through a couple I sat next to – they had come from a play – that service had been restored west Jamaica and I could have boarded at Penn Station without needing to take the E train all the way to Jamaica. But I didn’t want to take any chances, so it was the E train all the way.

Dad picked me up in Wantagh and took me home. At 12:05 AM, my adventure was complete. I hope the weather is better when I go see the John Scofield Quartet on November 29.

Thank you to everyone I met last night. It was great to meet you, and in Bob’s case, to see you again.

Advertisements

2018 LIU Post & WCWP Homecoming Weekend October 15, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Football, History, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, Video, Video Games, Weather.
9 comments

Earlier recaps: 20082009WCWP 50th Anniversary (2011)20122013201420152016, 2017

In all the years I’ve recapped WCWP Homecoming Weekend, this is the first where I consolidate all days into one post. With Sunday photographic help from Pat Kroll, I’m recapping all three days of WCWP’s special block of programming, including coverage of the LIU Post Pioneers‘ Homecoming game against the Saint Anselm Hawks.

I left for the Abrams Communications Building, home to WCWP, at 11:00 on Friday morning. I was there within a half hour and I immediately got out my equipment. There were shows to record, including one for me to host.

Unlike the previous three years, I was not the first show of the weekend. That honor went to 1960s Post Scripts, hosted by Art Beltrone and Jay Elzweig, who were with WCWP when it began:

Art Beltrone:

Jay Elzweig:

The show was packed with interviews and had occasional music.

The first guest was William Rozea, part of C.W. Post College’s first graduating class in 1959:

Also among Art and Jay’s guests were Jarron Jewell, LIU Post’s senior library assistant for archives and special collections:

Rita Langdon, LIU Post Executive Director:

Mark Bilker, another member of the Class of 1959:

Alan and Carol Fritz from the Class of 1966:

Bernie Bernard, Class of 1972:

Dan Cox, Class of 1985, and WCWP Director of Broadcasting:

Art, a Marine Corps veteran, presented Dan with banner from Vietnam, part of the Vietnam Graffiti Project.

…and Edward Keller, a Vietnam Graffiti Project volunteer and fellow Marine:

1960s Post Scripts concluded with “Yesterday” by The Beatles, which led into my show, Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri.

As my second song played, I took a picture of Art Beltrone and Jay Elzweig:

Before he left, Art gave me a copy of Vietnam Graffiti: Messages from a Forgotten Troopship, by him and his wife Lee.

My setup in Studio 2:

I had Jeff Kroll take a picture of me at the board. He suggested I have my headphones on:

I belong to a few Discord servers and my fellow members know I’d be on. I gave them all a shout-out at one point during my show, including the servers’ proprietors: Norm Caruso a.k.a. the Gaming Historian, Game Dave, and Anna a.k.a. Circuits & Coffee. I gave Game Dave a personal shout-out after playing a Keiko Matsui song because he recommended her music over in-game music in one of his videos. I couldn’t recall which one on the air, but it was for the Famicom game A Week of Garfield (relevant portion at 7:40, unless you want to watch the whole thing):

Now that you’ve seen that video, here is my airchecks video:

If you just want the audio, click here for itClick here for the transitions, and a PDF of the playlist.

From one Mike to another: Magick Mike Hendryx (Mike Schanzer) followed me:

Pat and Jeff Kroll:

After the above picture, I packed up and got a ride back home. After a pasta dinner, I got to work editing Friday’s video and audio. I decided to wait until downtime after arriving back at Post on Saturday to edit Friday’s pictures.

Here is my Friday video, featuring plenty of 1960s Post Scripts, followed by two airchecks each from my show and Mike Hendryx’s show:

I left for LIU Post at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon. Once on campus, I set up my equipment at WCWP, edited pictures on my laptop, and then headed to Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium for part of the Pioneers’ game against Saint Anselm.

I spent much of the second quarter in the press box. Calling the game were Jeff Kroll and Neil Marks:

Video of the game was also streamed online with WCWP audio:

The scoreboard console:

A defensive stop:

The Pioneers’ third touchdown drive:

“Touchdown, Pioneers!”

The extra point:

That’s the end of the first half:

The Pioneers went on to win 37-6. If this was their last game against Saint Anselm, as they are heading to Division I FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) next season (likely under a new name), they won all 15 of them. Highlights can be viewed here.

The next few pictures were taken on the way back to WCWP:

Ted David took this great picture of me:

Banners and trophies inside the Pratt Recreation Center:

Back at WCWP…:

Jett Lightning, Lew Scharfberg (standing), Ted David, Bill Mozer, Jay Elzweig:

As usual, Bernie Bernard was on after the game:

Lisa Seckler-Roode regailed Bernie with many stories from her days working for record companies and as a personal assistant to The Who guitarist Pete Townshend:

Bernie – or rather, Maura – with her fellow reverend, Fr. Michael Tesmacher, who she and I know as Mike Tes:

Mike and I have known each other since 2002 when we worked on the public access show, The Long Island Rainbow Connection.

Jeff Jensen and his son, Jackson:

Bernie and Lisa:

Ward Henry watching Bernie’s next-to-last aircheck of her show:

Bobby G. (standing) and Mike Riccio were next:

They hosted their special Homecoming countdown show:

Joining them was Jett Lightning (center):

Mike Riccio:

Bobby G.:

Jett Lightning:

Mike and Bobby:

Before I left, I had Pat Kroll take a shot of me and John Zoni, both of us with our glasses off:

John hosted the pregame, halftime, and postgame shows. He’d go on to host a music show at midnight.

Here’s the Saturday video:

After transferring photos, videos, and audio files to my computer and eating a late dinner, I went to bed early. I woke up at 5:30 AM. My second Instrumental Invasion of the weekend was scheduled to air at 6AM. When I accessed the WCWP app on my iPhone X, I heard silence (except for light static). Apparently, there was an automation glitch that kept the scheduled 2AM and 4AM pre-records from running. At 6AM, I briefly heard the start of the 4AM show, then 12 more seconds of silence, and finally my show. Here are the airchecks from the showthe transitions, and the playlist.

Bobby G. informed me on the WCWP Alumni Association Facebook group that the show also aired at 2AM, which was its original slot before a change was made two weeks ahead of Homecoming. So, not only did my show air without a hitch, it aired twice! Bobby called it an “extra bonus.” Jeff Kroll added, “Yessir BONUS time!”

I listened to the entire show. I lied in bed, looking up at the ceiling for the first 45 minutes, then went to the computer to edit, which I continued to do long after the show ended.

Jay LaPrise (“la-PREE”) hosted Sunday’s first live show from 8 to 10AM. Here’s how he signed on.

I may not have been at WCWP in person on Sunday, but I was there in spirit, not just with my show, but with the show’s filename on the stream page for several hours afterward:

As the day progressed, I periodically recorded more airchecks. Here are two from Billy the Kid (Billy Houst), on from noon to 2:00.

Joe Honerkamp was at the mic from 2:00 to 4:00. Here he is with his daughter Diana:

Lew Scharfberg and Bill Mozer, with a photobombing Neil Marks:

Lew hosted from 4:00 to 6:00:

Jeff and Pat Kroll, and Lew Scharfberg:

Neil Marks’s wife Lita:

Jeff Kroll assisting Neil Marks at the board during his 6:00 to 8:00 show with Pat Kroll:

Pat and Neil during their show:

From 8:00 to 10:00, Alana hosted a special Homecoming edition of The Rockin’ Sunday Show:

Jeff Kroll had the last shift from 10:00 to midnight:

And with that, the 41st annual WCWP Homecoming Weekend is in the books. It was a weekend I won’t soon forget, nor will my fellow alumni. I’ll leave you with the kind works Ted David left on my Facebook timeline:

May I publicly acknowledge C.W. Post alum Mike Chimeri. As I mentioned on the air during Homecoming Weekend on WCWP Saturday, his Friday jazz show was worthy of any shift at the former CD 101.9 or the current Watercolors channel on SiriusXM.
Add to that his superior skills as a photographer/archivist and he’s one amazing guy. I spent some time with him Saturday at the station and then down at the football game. Just a super talented guy, pleasant company and proud to call him a friend and “fellow alum!”

Thank you very much, Ted.

My experience at Day 1 of 2018 New York Comic Con October 5, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Art, Audiobooks, Baseball, Comedy, Internet, Interviews, Media, Personal, Photography, Sports, Technology, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
3 comments

Previous New York Comic Con recaps: 2012 Day 22014 Day 1, 2017 Day 1

Yesterday marked my fourth time at New York Comic Con, held annually at the Javits Center in Midtown West. It was also my second consecutive year at NYCC.

I’d been looking forward to going ever since I bought my badge in June. Grey DeLisle (a.k.a. Grey Griffin), Phil LaMarr, and Richard Horvitz were among the voice actors that would be signing autographs, recording video or audio messages, and taking pictures with fans like me. Like last year, this was my sole reason for attending. None of the panels interested me.

I woke up at 5:30 in the morning. I spent the next three hours watching the American League Wild Card Game on DVR (the Yankees won handily), a couple of episodes of season six of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In on Amazon Prime, working out, and of course, getting ready to leave for the day.

My mother drive me to the Wantagh LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) station at 8:30 for an 8:47 westbound train. When I went there last Saturday on the way to see Chieli Minucci & Special EFX at The Cutting Room, the elevated track platform was partially closed off while the west half of it was being renovated. Little did I realize that renovation would complete two days later. Finally, after two years, when boarding a Babylon-bound LIRR train at Penn Station, you no longer have to ask if you’re in one of the six cars that lets out at Wantagh. When the east half was being renovated, only the last six cars could exit. When the west half was under renovation, you had to be in one of the first six cars.

I didn’t feel like taking out my DSLR until I got to the Javits Center, so I used my iPhone to take pictures on the platform:

It felt good to sit in the first car again.

The train ride to Penn Station took nearly an hour. Upon exiting, I walked up West 33rd Street to 10th Avenue, then north to West 35th to enter the Javits Center’s south side:

I endured a quick bag search (including emptying my pants pockets and holding up the contents) and tapped my badge in. Unfortunately, I was scolded for not moving beyond the area where the badge was tapped when I replenished my pants pockets. I felt like a fool, but felt better when I got inside and relayed my situation to an empathetic staff member when she asked if I needed help finding something.

Off to the autographing area:

I was third in line to meet Grey DeLisle at Table 1 after waiting about 45 minutes before her scheduled arrival.

As she and Richard Horvitz arrived, they spoke to each other in their respective voices on The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. Richard was Billy and Grey was Mandy.

Grey was very nice. In my brief time with her, I told her I’d been a fan of hers since Clifford the Big Red Dog and three Butch Hartman cartoons – The Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom, and T.U.F.F. Puppy. She did the voices of Emily Elizabeth (Clifford) and Vicky (FOP) for me, which led me to respond as Mark Chang, voiced by Rob Paulsen, whom I met last year. Then, we posed:

After we said our goodbyes as Vicky and Mark, I headed to Table 6 for Phil LaMarr:

I let him know how the chronological order in which I’d seen his work: FuturamaFamily Guy, MADtv reruns on Comedy Central, and Butch Hartman’s Bunsen Is a Beast. He was complimentary of Bunsen, and I lamented that it was a shame the show was canceled after only one season.

I concluded at Table 3 with Richard Horvitz:

We didn’t have time to chat, but I’m still glad to have met him. Shortly before our picture, I saw him record a video message for a fan as Zim from Invader Zim. As with his conversation with Grey as Billy and Mandy, it put a smile on my face and made me laugh. I applauded when he was finished.

After that, I headed back to civilization, so to speak…

…and walked the show floor:

I happened to pass by the SYFY Wire stage…

…as Cher Martinetti spoke to the creator/showrunner and cast of the new Netflix series, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
\

The creator/showrunner is Noelle Stevenson, who was accompanied by Aimee Carrero (Princess Adora/She-Ra), Karen Fukuhara (Glimmer), and Marcus Scribner (Bow).

You can watch the interview here:

I commented on the video:

I walked by the stage during this interview. I was curious about this series after seeing The Power of Grayskull documentary, but now I’m all in. I’ll definitely be watching.

I pre-ordered Mega Man 11 for PlayStation 4, but have yet to play it.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is on my Xbox One wish list:

Having seen all I wanted to see on the show floor, I headed down to the main entrance:

Then, I left:

It’s a good thing I didn’t wear a jacket because it was warmer than it had been in the morning.

Within 20 minutes, I was back at Penn Station, where I boarded a Babylon-bound train. An hour later, I was back in Wantagh.

I walked about a mile and half home, listening to Marion Ross’s memoir on Audible along the way.

Once I had unpacked my things at home, I took a picture of my badge (blurring out the codes):

It was a nice few hours at New York Comic Con. Thank you to Grey DeLisle, Phil LaMarr, and Richard Horvitz. It was a pleasure meeting you all.

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.
1 comment so far

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.

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.
add a comment

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.
add a comment

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.
1 comment so far

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.
1 comment so far

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.
4 comments

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.
4 comments

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.