paul nicholson

Archive for the ‘Blog Stuff’ Category

Station Identification

In Blog Stuff, Me, Pictures, Videos, Work on October 28, 2013 at 11:51 am
Paul Nicholson

Paul Nicholson

It’s been over two years since my last post went live on this blog. I’ve started to write three other posts in that time, but only one is even still in the “drafts” folder. We’ll see if any ever see the light of day.

Of course, any of you who know me know that a lack of posts on this blog does not constitute a lack of online activity from me. Quite to the contrary, my increased posting on other platforms continues to lessen the appeal of the long form blog for me as an outlet. It is basically now limited to times when I either have something that ranges longer to say, or something that I wish to be more permanent and really referenced. This post fits both categories to some degree.

This is a “station identification” post. An idea I’m blatantly stealing from someone else, though I can’t give them credit because I don’t remember who it was. Some random Tumblr blog I think. Read the rest of this entry »

Time to kill

In Blog Stuff, Family, Me on July 12, 2011 at 10:18 pm

As busy as my life is, I am finding myself with a good deal of forced downtime every evening as of late. My 2 year old son, Ian, has been scared to go to sleep by himself ever since he was scared by fireworks going off in the neighborhood over July 4th. So I’ve been sitting in his room every night (except when Christy has given me a break a couple of times) waiting for him to fall asleep before I sneak downstairs. The result has been a lot of social media reading, Peggle playing, and other general time-wasting on my cellphone. Here’s to hoping this post (and my recent move from GoDaddy to HostGator) gets me into the habit of blogging more so the time is of some potential value besides clearing all the new Angry Birds Seasons levels with 3 stars.

New Digs

In Blog Stuff, Me on October 11, 2009 at 10:59 am

Exactly three years ago today I made my first post on my first real blog. I’d had several different iterations of personal and business web pages with various forms of personal writing, but my Blogger blog was the first real, dedicated, regular outlet I had tried. Worked pretty well too. I actually kept up a post-a-day schedule for nearly a year. After a while that dwindled to a post a week or so. Then Twitter came along and suddenly all those thoughts I had during the day that used to combine into a post every night were suddenly being instantly shared with my friends 140 characters at a time. This was especially true for any and all Predators related stuff after Garrett and I made ReTweetBot. My game blogs and rants about coaches were (for the most part) going out to the @PredFans group instead of my blog. (I have to say, i think Twitter honestly did good things for my communication skills – forced me to be much more concise and allowed me to communicate more frequently with friends). Then of course, along came Ian and then a new job (and Rock Band…) and what little spare time I had was being completely sucked up.

But a few times lately I’ve been getting the urge to write more and more. I also began to recognize how cathartic it was for me to express myself – even if it was about hockey, much less something else. And so much the better when anyone actually reads it (especially considering my writing is nowhere near what Christy’s is) though that’s almost beside the point.

(continued after the break)
Read the rest of this entry »

Macroblogging

In Blog Stuff, Cool Tech, Me on April 13, 2009 at 8:08 pm

For those that have followed this blog for a while (Hi Christy, mom, dad, etc) you’ll probably recognize that i haven’t posted in a while. In fact, this is probably coming up in your RSS feed reader and you’re wonder what this blog is and why you subscribed. Many of you may have subscribed because you were told by many other people that this was a blog that covers the Nashville Predators. And it does. Or did. Kinda still does. It covers the Predators about as much as it covers anything these days, which is to say, not much.

I have increasingly been using Twitter to share my thoughts with the world. The tool of instant spur of the moment microblogging has sucked me in completely. So much so that i actually created (or helped create) a tool specifically so i could have a place on Twitter to talk about the Predators and not annoy the general population.

However, a strange thing has happened lately. I have begun having more frequent thoughts which i would like to share with the world, but can not be expressed in 140 characters or less. Personally, i blame the long hours minutes of holding my son Ian while waiting for him to fall asleep. With that much unoccupied time, my mind wonders on long tangents it hasn’t been able to in a while.

Anyway. I also remembered that i can quickly blog from my phone from anywhere via email in a manner not dissimilar to how i use Twitter. This allows me the freedom to quickly express that brilliant thought that will change the lives of everyone who reads it, but do so in an unencumbered fashion (and with pictures!). For instance, i can now afford the characters to use words like “unencumbered”.

So, be prepared to have this space active once again. Or at least a little more so. But to be clear, a lot of what i have to say, especially about the Preds, will probably still be on Twitter.

Twitter Groups Done Right! (aka: I hate Hash Tags)

In Blog Stuff, Cool Tech on October 18, 2008 at 7:49 am

I hate hashtags.

Now, i know hashtags have a place. For very large groups (for instance, those tweeting about the presidential debates all over the country), hashtags make sense. It allows people to search for a given tag and see what anyone has to say about a topic.

But there is a problem with hashtags.
For large, but closed (and relative to the larger Twitter community: small) groups, hashtags are a mess and create all sorts of issues.

EXAMPLE PROBLEM:
Today many geeks, including myself, are at BarCamp in Nashville. They are encouraging everyone to hashtag tweets with #bcn08. But the problem is, I can garuntee you there are people who normally follow myself, Christy, Jackson, Kate, Alison, etc who aren’t the least bit interested in BarCamp. Well, tough for them because thanks to only using hashtags, we’re going to flood their Twitter feeds with what is essentially a private conversation for those participating in BarCamp.

There is a solution though!

Last year’s BarCamp (back in 2007) featured a basic retweet service that searched tweets for a certain string (“BCN”) and posted it to one Twitter account (go search back to posts in 2007). This let everyone that wanted to “hear” people talking about BarCamp follow one account and not miss out. That way they don’t have to follow everyone at BarCamp and hear them talk about their kids later on. You just hear what they have to say about BarCamp, but nothing else. Awesome.

That was only part of the solution though. There were still issues.

Problem was, it looked for a simple string in any Tweets. In this case it was “BCN”. So if, for instance, my buddy Jackson, who i already follow on Twitter, said something with “BCN” in it, i got it twice in my feed. Not to mention the same problem of cluttering feeds with things people don’t want still applied.

THE SOLUTION:
So, the solution seemed pretty simple: change the retweet engine from repeating based on a simple string, and rather look for people who Tweet @replies to the group account, or better yet, send direct messages to the account.

This gives two levels of filtering:

  • Those who want to have @reply filtering setup on their Twitter feeds (only show @replies to people i’m following).
  • I can keep messages to the group account out of my main Twitter stream by sending it as a DM.

So, i had the brilliant (very very simple) idea (of taking someone else’s idea and changing it). But i couldn’t code it. My coding-fu has long ago left me and if i can’t do it with HTML and basic Javascript, i’m at a loss. Enter Garrett (aka @Phragmunkee). He’s a geek in Chattanooga that helped me setup a ReTweet engine for Predators fans.

So, we now have @PredFans. Anyone can post to it by starting a tweet with an @reply (which would leave the post in their normal stream as well), or send a direct message which leaves it out of thier normal stream and says it only to those that want to follow the topic.

This is what the resulting stream looks like:
Clean, simple, and it doesn’t clutter up the individual feeds and streams of the users involved.
As you can see, the most important factor is that it allows for very quick, real-time conversations among twitter users in a far better way than traditional hashtags.

It also gives admins more control. While we have @PredFans wide open, you can restrict those that can post to the group to only users you choose to follow with the group account. Creating a closed-posting group that anyone can follow and read.

And yes, Twitter quickly granted us white-list status so we can poll the API twice per minute to check for new posts. We could go faster, but we’re running on a borrowed server for now :-)


FYI: We just started a few more groups as well:
Tennessee Titans football fans: @TitanFans
Toronto Maple Leafs fans: @GoLeafs
Edmonton Oilers fans: @OilFans
East Nashville Crime List: @BOLOEastNash
Motorcycle Fans: @MotorcycleFans


Preds Fan Meet-Up

In Blog Stuff, Hockey, Nashville, Sports on September 14, 2008 at 7:35 pm
Predators Fans: Come one, come all!

Well, actually, let me be more specific…

There’s a pretty nice community of people from blogs, Flickr, Twitter, etc around “Pred Nation”. So, i’d like to see as many of us get together to actually meet the 3D versions of each other.

Where: Predators Training Camp – Centennial Sportsplex
When: Sat, Sept 20th 10:30am

We will meet in between the first and second training camp sessions (around 10:30am) at the tables in the front lobby of the Sportsplex building (near the front doors). I’ll be wearing a light blue work shirt that says “Geek” on the front and carrying around a camera. If you can’t find us, call 615-823-1734, that’ll ring my cell. Or you can DM me on Twitter @pwnicholson.

Now for the roll call (and link love) of the people i’d really love to see there. I’m sure i’m going to leave a few people off the list, but if you want to show, please do! You don’t have to be listed!

For full details on Predators Training Camp, check out “Training Camp Central

See ya there!

milestones

In Blog Stuff, Me on February 22, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Wow. That went fast. 400 posts in 499 days.

It took me just over 3 months to get to 100 posts (from 10/11/20061/16/2007). I tried really hard to at least average a post a day for a long while there, and got pretty darn close. It tapered off after a while though, and it took 6 months to get to post #200, thought i didn’t even realize it at the time. Still not a bad post rate i guess. Now i just realized a few days ago i was coming up on 400. We’re here…yay!

What’s kinda funny, is that i also just crossed my 5,000th picture on Flickr, which happened to be of Dan Ellis making a save against the Coyotes.

So, in celebration of both milestones, instead of repeating the strongbad-esque repetition of the word “blog”, or better yet, a Stargate-style parody of myself, i’m going to make this a good-old fashioned best-of blog. That’s right. Like bad sit-coms of the 80’s and 90’s, you’re getting a clip show!

I think i’ll make this more of a superlative to start with. For Flickr that’s easy – this whole photo set is nothing but my “most interesting” pictures (a formula Flickr uses based on views, comments, favorites, and other factors). My most “interesting” picture according to the Flickr masses is by far my miniature version of the Preds playoff game against the Sharks last year (at right). Although my single most viewed photo is, for some bazaar reason, a picture of a jack-o-lantern i did with my co-workers two halloweens ago. It’s cool, but i have no idea what drives the views on this thing. I don’t even thing that’s the best picture of it. The most favorited picture is one that i personally love – a miniature of the commuter rail train in downtown Nashville, and the most commented is of a funny church sign in our neighborhood.

As for my most “interesting posts”, that’s a little harder to nail down. The most comments i’ve ever had on a single post is 8, and that’s happened several times (Bad news for Preds, name change, and bad movies. As for traffic driving posts… The first major traffic driving post i had was, well, post #100, oddly enough. I went from having 10-15 unique visitors a day to 123 that day. The next post is where i really hit it big – the predators what?!?! was one of the first post on the entire interwebs to break the story that the Predators were being sold to Jim Balsillie. It was posted late on the 23rd and drove 523 unique visitors within 48 hours. Other posts have driven good traffic too, including other updates on the Preds sale and a post about the new “megatron” screen in the Sommet Center.

The posts that by far has the best continual traffic draw are this one because of the images of vintage hockey masks shows up in Google Image Search a lot, and this one because AOL’s Fanhouse linked to it (and used my picture).

I also just have to point out some of my personal favorite posts… like the one where i predicted (using evidence that only i had) that Peter Forsberg would be staying in Nashville for the 07-08 season (which of course, didn’t happen – i don’t mind), and my post about couldn’t/could care less.

And the torture will last no longer… i’ll wrap up with some of my favorite Flickr pictures…

meme: me, me, me

In Blog Stuff, Friends, Hockey, Me, Movies on February 10, 2008 at 8:41 am

Christy just tagged me (and i guess Matt would have if i hadn’t been already) so…

Rules: Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you. Post the rules on your blog. Post 7 random or weird facts about yourself on your blog. Tag 7 people and link to them. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

1) I took 7 years to get through college and only took 2 semesters off the whole time (including summer sessions). I attended 3 Universities, changed my major 5 times and minors 7 times. My eventual degree required 120 hours, but I attempted 177 and attained 152 (only actually failed a few, but dropped many). But i did finish, dang it! My degree is a B.S. in Recording Industry Management (Music Business emphasis) with a Marketing minor. I sell printers for Dell as a living right now and don’t use any of it (for my day job anyway). [slaps forehead]

2) Unlike my wife, i have seen Titanic (hated it). What is interesting is that i saw it with a bunch of college buddies (4 of us if i remember correctly). No girls in sight. We went to a midnight show that didn’t get out until after 3:00am. I still don’t know how they talked me into it, but we all regretted it later.

3) I am, technically speaking, a member of the Bar Association. I was part of a special debate-team-kinda thing in Middle School back in Texas and was made a junior member of the Bar Association. I still have the membership card in a box somewhere. Unfortunately this does not afford me better pay at work.

4) I learned to love hockey in Huntsville, AL. I attended the Univ. of Alabama at Huntsville for one semester only (worst 4-5 months of my life). There was absolutely nothing to do for out of town college students in that town if you didn’t like drinking (i could only go to the NASA exhibits so many times). But UAH did have a hockey team, and Huntsville had a minor league team. Attendance was so bad they used to let UAH students in free to both games (frequently back-to-back). I spent many nights watching 4-5 straight hours of hockey (which i had never seen live before) that was mostly filled with lots of scoring and fights. The games frequently finished with 6-8 scores. It wasn’t great hockey, but it was good enough to win me over.

5) My wife Christy and i have been married for about 5.5 years, but we started dating Sept 23rd…i think it was 1994 (maybe 1995). Homecoming was our first date (everyone say “awwwww”). I only really dated two other girls my entire life (though i ‘went out’ with 2 more in middle school). We waited until one of us graduated (as you can guess from #1 above, that was her) to get married (no, we never lived together before that). So we dated for about 8 years, were engaged for a year and half, then got married. If i have my math right, we’ve been a couple for nearly 15 years.

6) I don’t consider myself a fearful person, but i do have one issue that borders on a phobia: bugs. Especially if they surprise me by being where they shouldn’t be. I can handle water, crowds, snakes, small woodland creatures, and can survive heights (though i don’t love them)… but if a bug suddenly shows up on our bedroom wall: Christy gets to handle it.

7) Rote memorization has never been a strong point for me. Always had trouble studying for tests and memorizing Bible versus. But two things i can remember: movies and song lyrics. I can pretty much recite every line in three Star Wars movies, any Pixar movie, most of the Indiana Jones trilogy, and the movie version of Much Ado About Nothing…and tons of other movies – if i am watching them. I can lip-sync (or speak) right along with them. Exact timing of the lines and everything. Same with most songs: if i listen to it more than a few times and like it, i’ll pick up lyrics very easily (usually) and can sing along with it later. But, if you asked me to just write out the script of lyrics on a sheet of paper from memory i’d be hurting for all but a few movies and songs.

Ok. That’s it.

I guess i’ll go try to tag a couple of people.

blogging to go

In Blog Stuff, Cool Tech on January 20, 2008 at 10:49 pm

After a few hundred blog posts or so, and many months of being mobile-web enabled, i have finally setting up Blogger's email-to-blog feature.

This is not without its limitations (no formatting, no links, poor image embed ability). Never the less, this post is coming to you straight from my new blackberry via the gmail mobile app.

You may be amazed at my geek power now.

smack talk

In Blog Stuff, Hockey, Sports on December 10, 2007 at 2:05 pm

I just had to point out that Able to Yzerman just handed out some major smack talk to Preds fans. Actually a pretty well written, funny entry from an objective point of view.

finally i can edit on the road

In Blog Stuff, Cool Tech on December 5, 2007 at 8:01 am

I love my ability to quickly post blog entries and/or photos to my Flickr stream straight from my phone. However, one major downside to this is an inability to edit the photos quickly. I can upload them, but if the shot isn’t cropped right or balanced right or whatever, i have to wait until i get home to load up photoshop. Now, however, as long as i am within reach of any PC with web access, i can edit them. Sweet!

Net is down

In Blog Stuff, Me on December 3, 2007 at 5:20 pm


I think my faithful 6 year old DSL modem may have finally died. Connection is down and doesn’t seem to be coming back. Thank goodness i added the internet plan to my cell recently.

UPDATE: It’s back. I think Bellsouth AT&T just had a hiccup. Can’t complain too much. First one in a looooong time and still way more stable than cable ever was for me or my parents back in the day.

i is smart

In Blog Stuff, Funny, Me on November 5, 2007 at 9:37 pm

Hee hee.
I wonder what specifically justified my humble recreational sports and personal introspective online journal a “collegiate level” evaluation?

(note: do not just blindly copy all the HTML for your blog they have to embed it in your site – it includes links for loan spam)

fan frustration

In Blog Stuff, Hockey, Nashville, Sports, Videos on October 30, 2007 at 9:06 pm

Preds lose another tough one. Put 40 shots on net, you expect more than one to go in. but from what I saw (the later two periods) the Flames did a good job of limiting the Preds real quality scoring chances. In the 3rd we finally had some spark, but it wasn’t enough to compensate for a horrible 2nd period that was full of turnovers and shots from the point with no rebound.

The rough part of this is that a lot of Preds fans, unable to watch the game, will probably be coming down hard on Chris Mason when they see the box score. I hope Pete and Terry were singing his praises because the defense left him out to dry. Repeatedly. The final two goals in particular were 100% Greg deVries’ fault. They were both breakaways to begin with, and deVries just escorted the Calgary players down the slot, not playing the shooter or the pass. Just skating through, looking confused, and letting passes go between his legs. Mason never had a prayer on either goal. The Calgary TV crew kept talking about how great Mason was playing all night, and repeatedly compared the Predators to Calgary’s experience last year – a hard working team that deserved to win more games, but were being stoned by a hot goalie.

I just hope we can get things along on the right track soon.

In less specific hockey news from around the world…

Here’s what the game looked like for me last night:


I was once again watching online. Can’t see the players numbers, much less the puck most of the time. But at least I could roughly see what was going on. Better than Pete and Terry’s “simulcast” stuff. The site i get my feeds from has just been redone, so here’s the new link for NHL feeds.

Also, I just got added to the blog roll for the 2 Man Advantage. A really funny blog/show put out by a couple of hardcore hockey fans up in New York. Fun stuff. These guys are crazy hockey nuts (especially for NY teams, but they aren’t real bad “homers”). Very funny videos. ESPN and Fox Sports Net had better be watching these guys, because they are putting out better content than most pro hockey shows i’ve seen lately. If you’ve never seen them, i advise you check this out as a good example. They are funny, irreverent, but have somehow managed to get interviews with NHL players, gotten into camps, and done interviews with former NHL GM’s. The longer they go, the bigger their rep will grow and i have a feeling they could well have a special segment during someone’s coverage of the playoffs/finals this year. Well, if someone decent covered the games anyway.

Lastly, All hockey fans need to go check this guy out right now. He has somehow managed to figure out a way (and amass the money) to see all 30 NHL teams play a home game in 30 days. 30 Nights, 30 cities, 30 teams, 30 games. Wow. He’s just a few games in so far. He’s coming to Nashville on Thanksgiving night to see the Preds play Detroit (remarkably, the only time he will see the Preds play during the whole 30 days). Of course, he has a blog going to cover the trip. I also love that he’s from Orlando.

Lastly, there’s apparently some news about a potential new financier from Canada coming in to help out the “local” group trying to buy the Preds (which is looking less and less local). Interesting. At this point, i just hope the drama ends soon. Heck, i’d take Balsillie owning the team at this point if it just meant the uncertainty would be over and the team could get itself together on the ice. I really think the off-ice elements are effecting the on-ice product. Trotz’s job, trades, waiver moves, call-ups…with us at the salary-floor it really limits what Poile can do and what the options are for the on-ice product. Not to mention the absolutely horrendous lack of marketing (waaay worse than it usually was, and that’s saying something) is killing attendance. The only thing filling the building even to the 12-15k we’ve been seeing is word-of-mouth and 104.5 FM’s efforts to keep promoting the team. It really won’t take much to give this team a major shot in the arm (on and off the ice), if only the ownership deal can get settled.

woot (with a british accent)

In Blog Stuff, Me on October 25, 2007 at 10:14 pm

According to my low-tech cheesy ClustrMap, i just passed 100 unique visitors from England. First over-seas local to pass 100 viewers (Canada passed it long ago with all the hockey talk, though i think Toronto will probably pass 1,000 soon.)

are you still there?

In Blog Stuff, Family, Me, Work on October 23, 2007 at 7:26 am

I know, i know. It’s been a while. I’ve been busy working with my wife on ghia shows. And watching Preds games (which are hard to write about after losses, especially 5 in a row).

But mostly i lost my blogging mojo because

A) I’m tired of spending too much time in front of a computer, don’t feel like blogging
B) I’ve had a lot of mess going on at work, don’t feel like blogging
C) I’ve been spending time with family, etc, as i just found out my sister has some pretty bad ovarian tumor/cysts that has the doctors pretty worried.

A) With the release of the Orange box, i spent the early part of last week/weekend playing games with most of my free time near a PC (more of a review on that later hopefully. In short: Portal= Great but disappointing end, TF2= Amazing, Episode 2= Just more HL2, nothing special)(for those that don’t know, the title of this post is a reference to Portal). I’m also just getting burned out with my PC at work, since my job has been shifting away from working with reps face to face and more to working with them over the phone (at my desk, in front of my PC)

B) Which leads me to work… I do still enjoy my job, but we’ve been going through some major changes. Our focus is changing from being a high-level coach/trainer/motivator to being sales closers. I’m not thrilled about that, but the part that kinda goes with it that i am the most unhappy with is that they are moving us from salary to commission. I hope i don’t get burned by talking about work on my blog, I usually shy away from it. But hey, this thing was started as a bit of a journal for me, so… there it is. Life will go on, but all this uncertainty at work has just been draining on me.

C) And last of course is that my sister, Amy, just found out she has two ovarian tumor/cysts. She found out on Thurs, and fortunately Christy was able to be there with her. They don’t know for sure if it is cancer yet, but one of the tumors is pretty big (12cm) so the doctors seemed pretty worried. She’s already done some extra scans, and is getting scheduled for a biopsy sometime this morning. Just all kinda stress and craziness there. It’s been great to have some extra time to hang out with Amy though, since she’s delayed heading back to New Orleans for a while.

So, there’s the update. I’ll hopefully be blogging a bit more. I also just added the mobile internet to my phone plan, so we’ll see if I can be a little more active by doing random blogging ‘on the go’. I normally don’t like micro-blogging that much (no offense to Brittney or others) but if that’s what i can do, that’s what I can do.

The funny thing is that through this ‘drought’ of posting i’ve still been pulling 20-40 unique visitors to my site and 25-30 reads from my feed every day. Cool :-)

New Feed Options

In Blog Stuff, Cool Tech, Hockey, Me, Sports on October 6, 2007 at 9:41 am

So, i just realized that in addition to the normal RSS/Atom feed services that Blogger provides, there are also feeds just for certain labels (the subject keywords i tag posts with).

The practical upshot of this, is that it solves my problem of really running two blogs here. One (which is the majority of posts) is about sports (mostly hockey). The rest us just my random ramblings about cool technology stuff, movies, or whatever.

Well now all those who just want to read the terribly wonderful and insightful things i have to share about sports, but don’t want to know about the latest cool items on thinkgeek.com can just subscribe here.

http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/GeekThoughtsSports

(I also added the link down on the left-hand column).

To be clear for those who don’t know how these things work: Don’t worry, my normal feed will still include the sports stuff. If you subscribe to the main one already, you don’t need to subscribe to the new sports feed. It’s for people who only care to know when i post things about sports.

Enjoy!

Let the games begin

In Blog Stuff, Hockey, Me, Sports on October 3, 2007 at 5:57 pm

After a pretty crazy summer of following the news about the Predators purchase/sale/lease/contracts/etc. i am burned out. Done.

And boy am i glad that hockey season is finally really upon us.

As of now, i am no longer going to go out of my way to post updates about the off-ice business of the team. I’ll still be reading the news, so if something burns me up or gets me excited (like an actual sale going through) i’ll post about it i’m sure. But in the meantime, the only play by play you’re going to get from me is game related.

The product is on the ice. I’m going to support the team this year, hope they stay for next, and just watch hockey.

I want the Predators to stay because i really like watching hockey and love my Preds. I’m going to do what the players need to do and not let the distractions off the ice get in my way of doing my job – yelling myself hoarse at games and spending far too many nights up late listening to the radio or watching them at Beyond the Edge (which i really hope is smoke free) .

Go Preds!

And to that effect, if you haven’t watched this, go check it out: Predators Snapshot (a 20 min intro video/show for this season).

Predators Breakfast Report

In Blog Stuff, Hockey, Sports on September 26, 2007 at 9:30 am

Rob over at Thinktrain just put up a great post on the breakfast held this morning to foster support for the Predators from the business community. The mayor showed up, and it sounds like everyone is really approaching this in a mature, pragmatic way. They know it’s “just” a sports team and that the business community doesn’t owe the team anything – but that Nashville is a better place with the team than without. Go check it out.

Signings and Trash Talk

In Blog Stuff, Friends, Hockey, Sports on September 4, 2007 at 10:54 am

Jeremy Roenick just signed with the San Jose Sharks. This allows me the first opportunity to trash-talk during the new season with my Sharks-fan-friend, Jim.

Jim commented on my posts about Roenick back in July:

Roenick=washed up, done, loudmouth, that still thinks he can play like he did 10 years ago, he should have left a very very long time ago, kinda feel the same way about Tkachuk.

I gotta give the Roenick props. His personal website (which most hockey players don’t even have) already has the news updated. Kinda funny though, his site links to the TSN article about it, not the Sharks page making the announcement.


In only partially related news: The Predators just signed another two-way prospect forward, Josh Langfeld. Of course, this is a ‘prospect’ that is 30 years old, so i think this is more about depth than future.

zzz…zzz…

In Blog Stuff, Me on September 4, 2007 at 8:38 am

I had a fabulous weekend. Lots of fun stuff i want to blog about (reminder: music, fajitas…something else…i forgot…shoot).I also have product descriptions to tweak and blogs to post over at Ghia.

But just crossed the 24-hours-without-sleep line.
So none of that is getting done.

And i just realized i forgot to pack my lunch today.

I’m not actually having what i would call a bad day. I just have to type everything 3 times because my fingers aren’t doing what my brain tells them to, or my brain just falls asleep and my fingers keep moving…

I think i may have to call my mommy wife, tell her i need to go home, and have her come pick me up from school work.

Random Updates 2

In Blog Stuff, Movies, Sports, Videos on August 20, 2007 at 10:40 am

Forgot a couple of things in my previous post…

Fantasy Sports
I’m going to start up another just-for-fun Fantasy Hockey league this year. I assume my awesome Hockey Wife will participate. Probably several guys from work too. Anyone else? No cash, just for fun and bragging rights. I don’t know much about the league beyond the Predators, and this is my way of making myself know what else is going on. I’ll probably also run a no-cash basketball league, and end up signing up for someone elses football league. We’ll see. If you’re interested in hockey or basketball, comment here or drop me an email.


Movie stuff…
Cinematical, the movie version of Engaget, had news last week of The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian. That’s right. A prequel of a prequel of a sequel of a remake. I loved the Mummy and Mummy Returns, but never saw The Scorpion King. Probably get around to it one of these days. I am very excited about them doing a 3rd Mummy movie with Brendan Frasier (with Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh!). Too bad they couldn’t get Rachel Weisz to come back to play Evelyn O’Connell. I guess she’s too dramatic to do horror/comedy now.


Online Videos
Up until now i’ve been using Google Video for posting all my videos of friends, etc. It was easy to use, etc. But i’m really becoming unsatisfied with the features and quality.

I was going to switch over to Vimeo, but then i heard that Flickr is going to start doing videos. that would be great of course. I could put the pictures and videos from events all together that way. Anyone else heard more about Flickr and what kind of quality/features the video service would offer? Extra charge beyond pro accounts? Or should i just start uploading everything to Vimeo?

(I was going to ask this question last night on Facebook Questions, but it was down. Doh!)


Ok… i think that’s it.
If not…i’ll…post again i guess.
That’s how this works huh?

Post-Barcamp Nashville Post

In Blog Stuff, Cool Tech, Me on August 18, 2007 at 7:56 pm

Just got back from Barcamp.

Most of my random comments are with my many pictures on my Flickr stream. Check it out…then come back here.

First: I love that R2D2 showed up and presided over the whole thing. What more do you need to establish geek cred than to have ‘the Dome’ in attendance?

I am upset because i made another really intelligent post from my phone about this guy’s presentation (thanks to Kerry Woo for the pic) and it totally got lost. And i already deleted it off my phone to clear some memory (not that i was short, just an old habit). Dang it.

To sum up, he said that the iPhone rocked because it didn’t have an SDK and couldn’t run 3rd party native apps (though people are hacking their way in anyway). He said this was great because that way if your phone crashes the apps are all online anyway so you don’t loose anything. Apparently Mac people don’t back stuff up. He then said that the iPhone was cool because it was the first phone to support web-based applications, and it does it through the Safari browser. Um… Treos, Crackberries, my wife’s MDA… lots of phones have had browsers for years. With full support for Flash, Java, and AJAX i might add – all of which are lacking in the iPhone. So…not sure how that works… Then he made jokes about how bad AT&T’s network is. If all the applications are web based, then doesn’t a crappy network pretty much make your applications crappy too? If you don’t have signal, you don’t have apps. Anyway…

Most of Barcamp was pretty good, Mac Fanboy and a few others excepted. It was great to just be around all that geek-ness and soak up all the ideas and just think about random stuff for a day.

The only other comment i want to go out of my way to make about Barcamp was regarding the last presentation i saw…Penelope Trunk. Her presentation was like a lot of other ones. Not that informative, a little simplistic, and had more than a few self-contradictory statements. I was hoping everyone would just take Brittney’s sound advice and not feed the trolls. But no, several people had to drill her on questions, including a pointed question about “what happened at BlogHer”. Just let it go people. Move on and quit giving her your time and attention, and she will move out of your life.

But like i said, overall it was a great day. I would have gladly paid money (not too much mind you) to do something like that. Instead it was free and we got free food out of the deal. How sweet is that!

And great to finally meet all of you – well, a lot of ‘you’ anyway. I somehow missed a few. Now having you as friends in Facebook doesn’t feel as much like a loser ploy to just stack it with people that i am just aware of, but people who are actually friends :-)

3D Networking

In Blog Stuff, Cool Tech on August 18, 2007 at 12:39 pm


3D Networking

What a concept. Jackson Miller’s concept of contextual social networking is awesome. Facebook and MySpace better watch out.

Welcome to Barcamp!

In Blog Stuff on August 18, 2007 at 11:56 am


Welcome to Barcamp!

Good start so far. Exit-in’s AC isn’t made for this many people in 100 degree heat. It’s packed! But very good so far.

Cameron’s big day

In Blog Stuff, Pictures on August 17, 2007 at 8:44 pm


Cameron’s big day

Cameron got to go to the lake/pond in the park today. I am told he tried to swim. Ah, another first and he’s not even 2 yet.

(By the way, if this post seems a little random, it is because i used it as my test post for posting straight from my phone with pictures…now i’m all setup for live-blogging BarCamp tomorrow!)

hockey family

In Basketball, Blog Stuff, Christy, Hockey, Sports on August 16, 2007 at 11:15 am

First: My wife is awesome.
She just started a hockey blog on HockeyBuzz.com: http://my.hockeybuzz.com/hockeywife
By the way, i am surprised myself at just how sexy i find this.


This reminds me of something i was thinking about the other day… would i be a crazy die-hard hockey fan if i moved away from the Nashville Predators (or God forbid, they moved away from me). I am pretty sure the answer is still yes.

See, i have only really been a hockey fan for about 4 years. I grew up in Texas following mostly basketball and football. Between those two i am certainly more of a Spurs fan than Cowboys or Oilers/Titans. I prefer basketball as a game over football, despite the myriad of problems plaguing the league right now.

Right now i prefer hockey over basketball though. Given a chance to watch the Flyers and Devils play or the 76ers and Nets, i’d go hockey for sure. (Granted, if it was Flyers/Devils up against Suprs and anyone i’d watch my Spurs).

But i’ve been a big basketball fan for pretty much 20 of my 28 years on this planet. Hockey, only 4. So if hockey was to become less convenient, would i go out of my way to follow it the way i have basketball? I have to be honest and say that i hope so, but i’m not sure. Probably depends on if the Predators moved or i did. I can and would follow the Nashville Predators if i moved back to San Antonio, but i can’t see myself living in Nashville and following the Kansas City Predators. I would certainly be more interested in hockey than i used to, but it wouldn’t be the same. If on the other hand the Spurs left SA, i could still see myself following basketball, at least to a degree. I know the players, coaches, and back stories so much better.

The summary result of all these deep thoughts: It takes time to be a real fan of any sport. I am a crazy Predators fan, but it will take me years more of following the league to know players on other teams, know who hates who, who came through in the clutch and who is overrated.

So i will close with once again asking the rest of the fans in the NHL to be patient with the newer markets. We’ll get there.

Predators rumor updates

In Blog Stuff, Hockey, Sports on August 8, 2007 at 9:42 am

If this article is to be believed, then nothing you are about to read is to be believed – but hey, i don’t mind. That article has given me about 350+ unique visitors in the last week and is yet another place where one of my photos was used in a publication. Still waiting for the AP to call me.

Anyway….

Here’s the latest update from Eklund on rumors around the remaining Unrestricted Free Agents. Interestingly, Jeremy Roenick hasn’t signed with anyone, but is suddenly off the list all together, much less off the list for the Predators.

1. Peter Forsberg (Nashville, Ottawa, Vancouver, Colorado, Philadelphia)
8. Mike Johnson (Nashville,Phoenix, NYI, NJ)
20. Janne Niinimaa (Columbus, Detroit, Nashville )
21. Jan Bulis (Columbus, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Washington)

Also interesting is that last time (just a few weeks ago) Mike Johnson was listed as the 32nd best free agent left, well after Jan Bulis (at 21st last time). Jan Bulis didn’t move, but suddenly Mike Johnson is the 8th best free agent left. Been working out in the off-season?

The new guy on the list for Nashville, Janne Niinimaa, isn’t very exciting looking. Only played in 41 games last year and ended up with a -13 plus/minus rating. Not what you’re looking for in a defenseman, especially since we have Kevin Klein, etc. all coming up strong from the minors. So, i’m gonna call foul on this prediction from Ek. I hope it is totally hooey anyway.


In related news: great article about new Predators Jed Ortmeyer and how he fits the Predators is in today’s New York Sun (Ortmeyer came from the Islanders last year).

welcome matt

In Blog Stuff, Friends on August 8, 2007 at 8:51 am

My good friend Matt has joined the world of bloggers.
Pay him a visit.

bloggers unite

In Blog Stuff, Funny on August 7, 2007 at 10:04 am

Given all the discussions lately about bloggers vs. traditional media, etc…i thought this was rather funny…today’s User Friendly comic strip:

many me

In Blog Stuff, Me on July 24, 2007 at 11:50 am

Through my wife’s new corporate blog, i was introduced to yet another social/blogging/photos/videos/my-online-self site: VIRB.

You know a site is a little on the mod-artsy-emo-30-something side when Fightclub and Death Cab for Cutie are more popular tags than Star Wars and The Beatles.

Just how many of these things do i have to sign up for before it is too much?

gimme and welcome

In Blog Stuff, Cool Tech, Friends on July 19, 2007 at 9:20 pm

A quick non-Predator related post.

You have no idea how badly i want one of these. LG’s 2nd generation all-format drives. They read and write Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD+/-RW, DL, etc, etc… And they are “only” $500. $400 if you just want to read the new formats and write to old ones. That really isn’t bad at all considering it replaces about $1200 in cutting edge equipment.

But that will sound very familiar to my wife. I talked her into letting me buy an awesome 4 format DVD recorder back when DVD+R and DVD-R were fighting it out. Little did i know that they would both win and both are now standard in every drive. At the time, i thought this Sony drive would be a rarity and i totally misjudged how fast prices would drop. We paid $400 for a drive that only 6 months later cost $95. I still apologize for that one occasionally, just at random points over dinner.

So unless someone is feeling real generous around Christmas-time, i’ll be waiting on these to drop a little more.

[sigh]

Also…i’d like to welcome my friend Jim Craig to the world of blogging. He’s been commenting on my blog a lot (i appreciate dude!) and has decided to launch his own. Check it out: I have strong opinions and i’m gonna tell ya.
Add him to your blog rolls and feeders.

twitter

In Blog Stuff, Me on July 19, 2007 at 10:47 am

I did it. I finally succumbed to the peer pressure and signed up for a twitter account.
This post about all the ways this guys uses his text messaging on his phone convinced me. So last night, in prep for the rally tonight, i setup a twitter account and setup my phone to be able to upload pictures straight to my flickr account.

Now all of my fans can follow and know what i am doing every second of the day.
There is huge demand for this you understand. I have to satisfy the needs of the people.

we’re rollin’

In Blog Stuff on July 9, 2007 at 9:19 am

Quick note for those that haven’t noticed.

I finally added a blog roll of sorts to my page. Down on the lower left hand side. It is more accurate as it is labeled: What’s in my feed reader. More than just blogs (though there are a lot of those) also news feeds, online comics, and a few other random bits. This is not to be confused with my “other places” section on the right side that is other places i write/content/dump and other cool sites that i like.

So, there it is. If you’re on the list, know that you’re being watched :-)
If you’re not…then…do something interesting and i’ll add you.

It really is nuts how much i have crammed in to Google Reader now. It used to take me a good 5 minutes minimum to skim through all my sites and just see if there was new content. Now it just takes seconds. What to do with all this time…

Related Question:
I’m trying to figure out how to add stat tracking to the feed for my blog.

I know lots of people read my blog via a feed reader, but i have no idea how to tell for sure how many, or make sure they are registering. I added the Stattracker/Google Analytics code to the footer of my feed, but i’m not sure if that registers every time someone reads a post through the feed.

Anyone else know how that works?

online communities map

In Blog Stuff, Entertainment, Funny, Pictures on July 6, 2007 at 9:28 pm

Many of you have probably seen this before, but i wanted to be yet one more guy to throw it on my blog. As much as anything, i actually just posted this now to get it off my desktop. That’s where the file has been for months while i wait for a lull in blog-worthy topics to get around to posting it. The Predators sale, etc made sure that didn’t happen for a while. Normally i have as few items on my desktop as possible (like 4-6 shortcuts and thats it) so this just finally had to get posted.

click to enlarge
(To the best of my knowledge, this originated here).

I love that this isn’t just random web-things posted around on a map, they are arranged very logically according to their relation to other sites around, and according to the labels on the compass-rose shaped island (which itself i find hilarious). The “bit torrent” river is great too. I think my favorite item is the under-sea Usenet basin. That or the small peninsula of attractive MySpace pages. Though it is a little too large. My only real complaint would be the lack of Blogger and the relatively small size of Flickr, but of course i use both frequently, so maybe that’s just me.

I would love to see this re-drawn every year just to see how things have shifted and changed in relative size and location. Many additions and subtractions over time would be necessary i am sure.

talkin’ hockey

In Blog Stuff, Hockey, Sports on June 29, 2007 at 8:54 am

I just left this long segment as a reply to James Mirtle’s response to my request – i asked him why he seemed to not want hockey in the US, etc. read here for the original exchange. James is a sports writer for the Globe and Mail in Toronto, so he knows what he’s talking about. My question was not argumentative, but serious. Thankfully, James replied in kind and i appreciate his response.

Read here for his response post.

Now here’s mine:

James,

Thank you for your response. You’ve been very civil and thoughtful in our discussions and i really appreciate that. It is not always the case in other places.

I also appreciate your response. I’m starting to think we don’t disagree as much as i thought we did.

I don’t think Kansas City would be a good place for the NHL to go. I think Las Vegas, with the additional media attention and cache that being the first NHL franchise would bring would be a huge lift to the league. I don’t think Las Vegas would be a very profitable team immediately as a team in Hamilton would be, but there are considerations other than immediate profit that would benefit the league.

Let me also be clear on this: I do not think the Bettman has been a good commissioner.

I think he has done a horrible job and squandered the NHL’s position in the larger sports market for years. But i don’t think contraction to instant-profit Canadian cities is the solution either.

The league is profitable as it is, subsidized by the Canadian teams. If i have never thanked Canada as a whole and the fans there for making the Nashville Predators possible (and i don’t think i have) let me do so right now. I have no illusions as to what makes it possible for me to go and watch the team.

The one point you make that i disagree with is that attendance is the problem in Nashville. It is not. Could attendance be better? Yes. But lets assume for a moment that the Predators had sold out every single game last year – and for good measure raised ticket prices 15%. The team lost $15mil last year. That extra ticket revenue wouldn’t cover $1.5mil of that gap (more like half that).

The problem for the Predators and for much of the league as a whole is one of marketing and sponsorships. That was the point i made in my post yesterday. The NBA has learned how to make money on everything they do. The NHL on the other hand (at least the Predators and many other teams) rely on tickets and t-shirts. They seem to be waiting for the businesses to beat down their door and throw money at them. That may happen in Canada, but that simply doesn’t happen in US markets when you are competing against the NFL, NBA, and MLB for revenue.

Contrary to your conclusion (that Hamilton= money and Bettman should follow it) I think Bettman follows the money too much. His biggest failure has been there. Not in trying to spread hockey to new markets, but in expecting those markets to support themselves and be instantly adopted. Bettman expects the fans to come to him, to find the league wherever it is.

Best example of this is the US TV deal. He should have sold the rights to the first post-lockout season to ESPN for $1 (even $1 Canadian). Instead he went for the higher rates that the OLN was willing to pay.

It is all about brand and associating yourself with winners. Bettman has not been able to do that.

new name

In Blog Stuff, Friends, Me on June 26, 2007 at 8:00 am

It is done. My friend Jim made the suggestion. I think it fits well. Thanks Jim!
I wonder how long it will take for the RSS feed to update the title? (Answer: about an hour.)

name change?

In Blog Stuff, Me on June 25, 2007 at 9:49 am

When i started this blog several months ago, i think rushed my title selection. I wasn’t sure what i would end up writing about most of the time (ends up it has been Predators, movies, and technology – surprise). So i just gave it a silly name, “deep thoughts” spelled backwards.

In part i selected it because it is unpronounceable. Like many words and terms online, there is no preset way to pronounce it, it exists primarily in written form and not verbal*. While i kinda like this, and the challenge and uniqueness it provides, it is also kind of annoying. For one thing, while looking at an alphabetized list of blogs, i look for mine in the D’s or in the T’s (i pronounce it “thoughts peed” in my head for some reason).

Anyway, i am trying to think of a new name for my blog. The good news is i can change it without changing my URL, so you will all (3 of you) still be able to find me.

Ideas?

In other my-blog news: i was planning something special for the 200th post (like i did for my 100th) but there was so much chaos going on with the Predators (and other stuff) last week that i passed it up. This is post 211 for those keeping track at home. I’ll have what was supposed to be my 200th post up soon.

* Other example: LOLCat. Is that “lowel cat” or “L-O-L cat” or “lawle cat”?

not alone in our fight

In Blog Stuff, Friends, Hockey, Me, Nashville, Sports on June 24, 2007 at 9:08 pm

I just received a fabulous note from Jim Henshaw (Canadian TV writer/actor/etc). In short, it was his response to the pending sale of the Predators and the mess surrounding it – and he ties in lessons he learned when he had a chance to hear Fred Rogers (as in “Mister Rogers”) speak years ago. As a huge fan of Mister Rogers, this really hit home for me.

His note really made my day, and his piece on the Predators gave me hope. With the chaos that has been happening lately, i was really starting to get fatigued defending my fandom and my city. And though i keep telling all my friends ‘we have a chance’ and ‘we control our own destiny’, in my heart i was beginning to get discouraged. This piece reminded me that, while reality is still what it is and we have an uphill battle, i can at least rest knowing that not everyone outside of Nashville is against us. Thanks Jim.

His writing is superb (surprise), if a little long. So from here, with his permission, i’ll just let Jim do the talking:

Paul,
I finally posted my thoughts on Jim Balsillie. It’s part of a much longer post on Canadian TV, but I wanted to give you the chance to share it with Nashville fans… All my best on the fight to keep the team. Believe it or not, a lot of Canadians are with you.


HOW RICH BOYS BREAK THEIR TOYS

A cold snap hit New Orleans on the opening day of The 1997 NATPE Convention. Within hours, the trendy men’s wear store across from the Convention Center had sold out its entire stock of overcoats, sweaters and gloves as the California contingent snapped up anything they could find to fend off the bitter chill.

Inside the cavernous meeting halls, attendance was slim for the early morning panels and lectures, as attendees opted to breakfast in the comfort of their hotels before venturing to the icy banks of the Mississippi. Television luminaries from franchise showrunners to network heads found handfuls instead of hoards awaiting the insights and information they had come to deliver.

All except one.

Fred Rogers took the stage at the final breakfast meeting, accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award to a standing ovation from several thousand television execs who had either grown up or watched their children grow up in his neighborhood.

Wearing his trademark sweater and sneakers, the man who once said, “I went into television because I hated it so.” was as gentle and ego-less as he had been for more than 30 years in the public eye.

But “Mr. Rogers” didn’t want to talk about making television for children or share anecdotes from his career that morning. He wanted to talk about the people in that room — and what was wrong with us.

Arriving at New Orleans airport, he’d noticed the squadrons of private planes parked on every spare patch of runway. He’d seen the long lines of limos outside and had toured the lavish sales displays of the world’s networks and studios. He wondered what any of it had to do with making good television.

As the hushed room hung on his every word, he read a poem. I don’t know whether it was something he’d penned some time before or on the spur of the moment. But it was about kids defining themselves and their status by their toys, instead of sharing the best that was inside them. It concluded with a wonderful line…”Remember your toys aren’t you — your toys are beside you.”

Two events of the last couple of weeks got me thinking about that speech. The first was the sale and subsequent dismembering of the CHUM/CITY empire. The second is the ongoing hockey soap opera as Canadian Billionaire Jim Balsillie attempts to buy and move the Nashville Predators to Hamilton.

It’s far too early to know for certain how either of these events will finally play themselves out. But in both cases, they feel like the triumph of money, power and ego over something that was special and good and more important to the future.

[Here, again with Jim's permission, i will skip over the discussion of Canadian TV mergers, etc. While it is of no small importance in its impact, even here in the US, most of you won't know the background. I encourage you to read Jim's original piece to get the full story - he has a lot of good things to say. Sufficed to say, large media companies are buying up others and programming could/may/will suffer.]

My big fear is that they’ll beat each other up acquiring US programming that comes with a more or less quantifiable return; rather than invest in programming they can actually own and fully exploit in the future.

But then Guys with money wouldn’t have money if they didn’t know what they were doing and success always breeds success, right?

Which brings me to Jim Balsillie, Billionaire owner of Research in Motion, creator of the Blackberry and aspiring NHL owner.

Jim (and I can call him Jim because we Jims are informal that way) bid on and backed away from purchasing the Pittsburgh Penguins a few months ago. Depending on which story you believe, either he or the NHL killed the deal over his plan to move the franchise to Hamilton.

Now he’s bidding $50 million more than the Nashville Predators are worth with the same plan in mind. The conventional wisdom is that his offer vastly increases both the paper value of all current NHL franchises as well as what can be charged bidders for expansion teams. Therefore, Jim’s made all the other owners a ton of money just by turning up with his wallet, so how can they say “No” to him?

His first move after over-bidding for the franchise was to tell Commissioner Gary Bettman he wasn’t moving the team and his next was to sign an arena deal in Hamilton and start selling season tickets.

This puts him in conflict with the League’s bylaws, the Commissioner, the Fans of Nashville as well as the two current franchises (Toronto and Buffalo) whose local jurisdiction intersects the city of Hamilton. In layman’s terms, this means Jim can’t move there without infringing on their existing fan bases, television penetration and God Given right to print money without interruption.

According to what passes for wisdom on Sports radio stations, this may all sound duplicitous and dumb when Jim doesn’t even own the team yet. But he’s “a real smart businessman who doesn’t make mistakes”, and “has pockets deep enough to win this fight”.

In other words, he’s the richest guy, so he should get to make the rules.

Well, for starters, Jim’s a really smart businessman who paid $450 Million to another software firm a couple of years back for patent violations in the design of the Blackberry. He dragged that suit out, because he was the big dog, when he probably had the option to settle earlier and for much less. Only when a federal court in the US began considering a ban on Blackberry service did Jim cave — and then the patent holder turned the screws a little more to maximize his own profit.

Somehow, all that doesn’t strike me as the mark of a smart businessman.

I heard a friend of Jim’s interviewed this week, relating a story that was also quite telling. By all accounts, Jim’s a real nice guy (his name’s Jim, how can he not be) but after losing a $20 bet on a golf game, he apparently was almost beside himself. The friend told him to relax, it was only $20. Jim’s heated response, “No! It’s not!”

Rich guys. Money buys deference. But it doesn’t make you something you’re not.

And if you look at the big picture, selling a team to Jim and moving it to Hamilton could be one of the worst things that could happen to the NHL.

Maybe hockey isn’t thriving in Nashville, but it’s doing better than it was 10 years ago. New fans are constantly finding the game. They may not provide the immediate gratification an owner would find in Hamilton, Winnipeg, Halifax or anywhere else in Canada. But to grow, a sport needs to cultivate new fans, not just keep preaching to the same choir.

The NHL is hoping to expand to Houston, Kansas City and Las Vegas, where producer Jerry Bruckheimer wants to place a team. None of those are hockey hotbeds. But they are large and viable markets that can further expand the fan base and make a major American television deal for the NHL more likely.

One has to wonder how much that TV deal is jeopardized if the Nashville market is lost by Jim moving the team. And one also has to wonder if expansion to the cities mentioned makes sense at the current $190 Million price tag, but much less if the price cranks up (because of Jim’s overbid) to $220 or $240 Million.

More kids are playing hockey every year in the US. This year the top picks in the Junior draft were all Americans. These kids are going to need new places to play or all that hard work, training and growth of a fan base will have been for naught.

But the Canadian fan who just wants a local rooting interest doesn’t care about those things. Hell, as a frustrated Leafs fan, I wish Jim would move the Predators to Toronto. It’s been a long time since we had a real NHL team in this city!

But here’s what money talking in this instance could mean…

Atlanta sees Hamilton do well in the hockey mad Golden Horseshoe and moves to Niagara Falls. Tampa decides to set up shop in Mississauga; both places offering access to larger markets than Winnipeg or Quebec City.

Given the rule changes Jim would have to force to make his move, neither he nor the league would be able to prevent these eventualities. And suddenly, Jim’s team isn’t making money either — and what the nets are paying for TV rights becomes as fragmented as the local market.

If you want an example of where this already exists, look at Australian Rules Football, an incredibly wild and exciting game that was born in Melbourne. Today, Melbourne is home to 9 of the AFL’s 17 teams. That’s right. Half the league is in one city. And while Melbourne has more than enough crazed fans to fill its stadiums, when half the games are only of rabid interest in one location, there’s no money in National broadcasts. So the game has never grown as it should have.

Adding another team in the Ontario TV market can only further fragment already declining audience numbers for the Leafs and the Sabres. God knows what it’ll do to Ottawa, who have been the poor cousins for 12 years in a local market already splintered by Montreal and Toronto.

So if Jim gets what his money says he should have, he may actually hurt the financial base of two Canadian teams that are currently making money and a team in Buffalo that’s on the bubble.

I can’t believe I actually agree with Gary Bettman on something! I might be required to turn in my passport.

The problem with our world is that it’s all about money, numbers and market share. Too many good things wither because people with money can’t see an immediate return.

Which brings me back to Fred Rogers…

Through the 1950’s, Mr. Rogers wasn’t very successful with his concept of using television to “nurture” those who watched it. Then in 1963, he moved to Toronto, where he had been contracted by the CBC for a 15 minute children’s program entitled “MisteRogers” (sic) in which he made his on camera debut.

The show was a hit with kids, but 3 years later, the CBC decided it knew better and that its money was better spent elsewhere, canceling the show. Fred moved back to Pittsburgh, launching the identical concept as “Mister Rogers Neighborhood”. Four decades of children later, his sweater and sneakers reside in a place of honor in the Smithsonian Institute along with the trolley, Eiffel tower, tree and castle that were created by CBC Designers.

The Guys with the Gold will always make the Rules. But money is short-sighted and rarely gives worthwhile endeavors a chance. What endures and makes a difference in life does not come from the toys. It comes from people who care about more than that.

“Remember. Your toys are not you. They are beside you.”

Great piece Jim.
Thank you so much for sharing it.

our team nashville

In Blog Stuff, Christy, Hockey, Nashville, Sports on June 8, 2007 at 3:42 pm

Katherine’s right. I do dig it…

The new initiative rolled out (they rolled initiative…ha!) by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce to keep the Preds:


A while back Christy (my wife) and i were talking about what we could send in to Balsillie’s office and to the league office to save the Predators. We’re big fans of Stargate SG-1 and when that show was about to be canceled everyone sent in empty tissue boxes with “Please Send More” written on them (reference to the pilot episode of the TV show). Jericho fans of course just sent in a bunch of nuts.

I think BA has the right idea: we send them all catfish.
Who’s first?

avoid me for a while

In Blog Stuff, Family, Friends, Me, Nashville, Work on June 6, 2007 at 4:35 pm

Everyone may want to avoid me for a while.

Not because i’m angry or violent or anything. I just feel like i have one of those little personal rain clouds following me around.

First the whole mess with the Predators being bought and likely possibly moving.

Then i went out and did a bunch of yard work over the weekend a while back and ended up with so many bug bites of various kinds that i had to work from home (couldn’t put shoes on) and take Benadryl for 72 straight hours. Thanks to work policy, still had to take PBA time for staying at home, but couldn’t afford not to work a little. I was glad to find out that chiggers don’t actually burrow into your skin as i’ve frequently heard. But man it feels like it sometimes.

Then my company announces that they are laying off 10% of their global workforce, which is between 4,000-8,000 people depending on who’s article you read. My job is reasonably secure, but less so than when i was a normal old sales rep. The perils of promotion.

Then i start getting myself all worked up over stuff in the news and things i’m reading online. Just good old tilting at windmills kinda stuff too. Like our Political system being horribly broken. Yeah. I’m gonna fix that one alright. But of course, they aren’t the same things everyone else is upset about, so not many people join in the conversation with me. They are all too distracted with even more explosive debates that i don’t even want to get caught up in. People are just mean.

Then i find out that Brittney’s quitting NiT and who knows what is going to happen to that site now. It really is a cool site. Good sense of community. Good place for me to find other bloggers and photographers around Nashvegas. (and the link love, don’t forget the traffic and the TV time!).

And now i come home and read that Market Street Pub, a place that i didn’t exactly frequent but was a sentimental place for me, is closing. Or rather, changing over to a…chain. I shudder at the word.

Many times i’ve gone there with my dad or friends before going to a Predators game. There was just something right about going to a place like that and ordering fish and chips before going to a hockey game. It was especially fun on nights against the Red Wings because large groups of both fans would sit in various parts of the bar and start chanting at each other. Whenever anyone would enter the bar wearing a sweater (read: jersey), which of course i always was, one side would cheer wildly while the other booed. It was great.

It is really strange, but i’ve formed a lot of friendships, and had some really deep conversations there. I’ve only been there maybe…10 times. But every time was somehow loaded with something deeper. For no particular reason. So i think this is hitting me harder than some other places closing.

It was where Christy and i really started to get to know Brett and Anne, old co-workers of mine who we go to Preds games with now. I went to dinner with a friend there and we had a good heart to heart about some hard stuff the guy was going through, and never really recovered from (as far as i know) before he left his family and friends and ‘gave up’. I don’t know where he is now. It was one of the places where Jamie and i had dinner together after not seeing each other for nearly a year, renewing our friendship for the 3rd (or 4th) time.

A lot of stuff happened there for me. And i just now realized it. Strange how it matters to me so much all of a sudden.

…oh, and now i also can’t get Amy’s xanga login info to work, so i can’t post her latest entry about her trip to Moscow. (My sister is in Moscow, and i have her blog login so i can post her emails about her exploits). She did upload a lot of really cool pictures to Flickr though. Everyone go check them out! Apparently there are silly girls and cats in Moscow too. Great pictures Amy!

Anyway…i’m not really that grumpy or angry or anything. Just down.
It’s been a rough few weeks and i’m drained.

Update: Wow. It felt really good to write that post. Not that i feel a ton better, but it is amazing how cathartic that was.

Update 2: My wife and i watched Hellboy tonight for the first time (Blockbuster online lets us watch all sorts of mediocre movies we’d otherwise never see). Really strange movie, but oddly enough, i think i was in the perfect mood to watch it. Really weird, dark, and kinda…happy…i think…? Oh – and there’s an example of yet another sequel coming your way.

Goodbye Brittney

In Blog Stuff, History/Politics, Nashville on June 6, 2007 at 10:52 am

I barely knew you. I had just become part of the NiT community, and now i wonder if it will continue.

(For those that don’t know, WKRN’s professional blogger and head of Nashville is Talking, Brittney Gilbert, just resigned)

Brittney:
I wish you all the best in whatever you do. You did a good job of being yourself and not hiding your opinions, while not attempting to silence or belittle those who disagreed (well, with few exceptions). Of course there is no small amount of irony that this, your greatest strength, is what brought you down.

Now i’m wondering if NiT will continue. With the recent changes in management at WKRN (that were badly needed – i love NiT, but WKRN…isn’t…very good.) i wonder if they will see the value in hiring a blogger (hey – how much would this gig pay anyway… hum…).

On a totally selfish note, if NiT doesn’t continue, where am i going to get my links from? My visits are going to tank for a while i’m sure.

I wonder if the folks over at MetroBlogging will kinda take over as the hang out of choice for Nashville bloggers. There are a few people that frequent both (Chris Wage, Kate O, etc). I certainly hope so. My employer blocks NiT (i pull and RSS feed through Google to read, but can’t comment) but doesn’t block MetroBlogging.

i’m on tv!

In Blog Stuff, Entertainment, Hockey, Me, Sports, Videos on June 1, 2007 at 8:10 pm

Well, kinda.

For those that haven’t checked out Nashville is Talking yet, it is one of the few professional blogging sites in Nashville that i know of. It is owned by WKRN (channel 2) and is run by Brittney Gilbert. It is about as well run as it could be given its impossible mission of trying to make interesting and legitimate news and entertainment out of a bunch of amateurs ramblings on every topic that passes in the space between their ears.

Anyway, once every few days she gets to do an on camera piece. I think its on the afternoon news broadcast. I pretty much never watch the news (i listen to NPR in the car and read online) so i’ve never seen it (sorry guys). She reads on-line quotes from blogs on a given topic. Yes, even here everything has to be a sound bite.

Her most recent on air piece was about the Predators. I got quoted:

I couldn’t help but notice she didn’t pronounce the title of my blog.
Don’t worry Brittney, i don’t really know how to pronounce it either.

I think i’m going to have to start sending Brittney some talking points and suggested clips the way politicians and musicians do, though. I think i’ve had much better lines than what she quoted:

“The marketing, especially to businesses, needs to improve. Can you think of someone better to market to businesses than a billionaire…who happens to be the head of the Blackberry empire?”

I’d also quibble with the first quote she picked, simply as inaccurate. As there has been much discussion around lately – money is not all that is required to move the team. It takes the consent of the other owners, the league office, and a city – and oh yeah, a lack of support here. I guess that was the point i made, huh? Good choice Brittney. :-)

be there!

In Blog Stuff, Friends, History/Politics, Hockey, Me, Sports on May 30, 2007 at 4:33 pm

According to SaveThePredators.com there will be NO “Save The Predators” fan rally for June 16th. That’s is the weekend for the Bonaroo festival. If you see any on-line fliers, etc. just disregard them.

There IS a huge rally in the works for mid-July that 104.5 The Zone and the Chamber of Commerce (among others) are putting together.

Stay tuned.

Also – go sign the petition

Having said that…i don’t think the Preds are in that much trouble. Don’t want to seem too desperate. But hey, even if the team hadn’t been sold and sold out every game last year – i’m always up for a party supporting the team!

Oh, and a great post from Paul McCann (who should really be on NiT’s roll – hint hint Brittney). Best quote:

[Hockey] is the only sport that I can think of who’s fans believe that it doesn’t “belong” in certain places. Could you imagine a die-hard football fan in Chicago saying that football doesn’t belong in Seattle… Maybe a big hoops fan in Philly saying that the NBA shouldn’t be in Phoenix… Perhaps a crazed baseball fan in St. Louis saying that baseball doesn’t belong in Toronto? It truly boggles the mind to think that hockey fans wouldn’t want more hockey fans in more places.

Amen brother.

aftermath

In Blog Stuff, Hockey, Me, Sports on May 24, 2007 at 8:46 am

I am so dead tired. Stayed up too late last night reading about the Predators.
Tired of thinking about it. Most of all tired of reading other people talk about it.

I have to say though, i am a little surprised that the topic hasn’t come up much at work. When we got knocked out of the playoffs, it was 3 weeks before people quit stopping me in the halls and asking me “What happened to the Preds?”. I haven’t had anyone proactively ask me about the sale today. But like i said, at this point, i’m done thinking about it too much so i am kinda glad people aren’t bugging me.

What has been interesting about this is that i was a fairly early blogger to blast the story, and i posted links to my post on many other sites (in comment sections of other posts and articles, etc). This has by far been my biggest traffic drawing post. Already 261 303 hits in the last 13 14 hours (since 9:00pm last night). My previous 24 hour record was 180 hits. We’ll see where this one ends up.

Update: final count was 422 unique hits, 535 page loads, and best of all – 69 return visitors. Usually i average 7-10 return readers per-day.

Interesting though: statistically Nashville is Talking is my biggest link source. However,
it took Brittney forever to post a story about the sale, and she linked to two other blogs – and not mine. Though i’m a little miffed about this, especially given the general lack of information or content in the other posts (thought they are good posts over all), i am consoled by the fact that i was the only blog chosen to be linked by the freakin Wall Street Journal!

Oh, and NiT did apparently link to my story about grammar. Thanks Brittney.

new blog additions

In Blog Stuff on May 13, 2007 at 8:03 pm

Just a couple of things to note for those that haven’t noticed:

I now have a map showing the locations of my visitors (approx locations of most of them anyway). It is in the bottom right of my blog (scroll down). You can click on it to see a larger version anytime.

Also, in the top right, i now have a rotating list of links to places where i have commented on other people’s blogs. I am posting on other people’s blogs more and more recently, and often neglect to post on my own blog as a result. So i decided to let all of my fans out there continue to track my online presence by seeing what i was doing elsewhere.

forsberg staying in nashville?

In Blog Stuff, East Nashville, Hockey, Nashville, Sports on May 7, 2007 at 2:28 pm

I may, just may have some evidence to support that – whether or not he plays for the Nashville Predators or any other team next season – Peter Forsberg might be looking to stay in Nashville.

How am i coming up with this? Did i suddenly become friends with the hockey legend?
No.

I just check my web stats and visitors obsessively.
I had a visitor recently log in from a Swedish IP address, who hit my blog by searching Google for the phrase: “east nashville” hood

Clearly, this is Peter Forsberg (or some of his family) planning a move to the hippest ‘hood in Nashville. How can i make the jump to Forsberg?

1) How many people in Sweden are there that know that there is a part of town known as East Nashville and that it is “the hood”?

2) Google has recently implemented improved, personalized search results based on past searching history. Forsberg has searched for a lot of hockey stuff i am sure, and what do you know, i talk about hockey and East Nashville on my blog a lot.

Duh.

So all i’m sayin’ is: you heard it here first.

thompson call-out

In Blog Stuff, History/Politics on April 30, 2007 at 7:20 pm

Wow.

Would-be Presidential candidate Fred Thompson just called-out most of our “allies” in his latest blog post. He was particularly hard on Russia.

Take time to read it.
He brings up a lot of good points.

Most of all though, i am surprised that he is saying what he is, given his possible likely political ambitions. If he wins the election, he will have to sit across the table from these world leaders soon. This is either great, of very stupid. I’m not sure which.

Here’s a quick summary–

Our ‘allies’ in general: “We’re also hopeful that, eventually, our ostrich-headed allies will realize there’s a World War going on out there and they need to pick a side…most of our European Union friends continue to dismantle their defenses”

Mexico: “[has] an economic policy based on exporting their own citizens, while complaining about US immigration policies that are far less exclusionary than their own”

France: “Jail perfectly nice people for politically incorrect comments, but scold us for holding terrorists at Guantanamo” and “our natural tendency is to tell [them] that we’d rather not hear from them until the day when they need us to bail them out again.”

Russia: “Criticize these guys and you might accidentally drink a cup of tea laced with a few million dollars worth of deadly, and extremely rare, radioactive poison. Oppose the Russian leadership, and you could trip and fall off a tall building or stumble into the path of a bullet”

playoff rankings

In Blog Stuff, Hockey, Sports on April 28, 2007 at 10:51 pm

James Mirtle just posted an entry regarding the overall record of all NHL teams and their post-season success. However, since he based it on teams, it didn’t show reality very well…

Here’s the chart based on franchises.

Unfortunately, it shows the sad truth that my Nashville Predators are the one and only franchise in the history of the NHL not to have a playoff series win associated with it in anyway. :-( But I think the Coyotes/Jets franchise still has more actual futility and shame attached to it.

Note: these are based on the numbers James pulled together from whowins.com…i have no idea if they are right. However, at best they are based on last year’s numbers, not the playoffs so far this year.

Series W L Frc.
Edmonton Oilers 42 29 13 0.690
Montreal Canadiens 104 71 33 0.683
Minnesota Wild 3 2 1 0.667
Tampa Bay Lightning 8 5 3 0.625
New Jersey Devils 34 21 13 0.618
Colorado Avalanche (Nordiques) 35 21 14 0.600
Anaheim Mighty Ducks 10 6 4 0.600
New York Islanders 36 21 15 0.583
Pittsburgh Penguins 32 18 14 0.563
Philadelphia Flyers 56 31 25 0.554
Detroit Red Wings 79 43 36 0.544
Florida Panthers 6 3 3 0.500
Toronto Maple Leafs 73 35 38 0.479
Boston Bruins 80 38 42 0.475
Dallas Stars (North Stars, Seals) 46 21 25 0.457
San Jose Sharks 16 7 10 0.438
Calgary Flames (Flames) 26 11 14 0.423
New York Rangers 53 22 31 0.415
Chicago Blackhawks 63 26 37 0.413
Carolina Hurricanes (Whalers) 17 7 10 0.412
Vancouver Canucks 22 9 13 0.409
St. Louis Blues 48 19 29 0.396
Buffalo Sabres 35 13 22 0.371
Ottawa Senators 14 5 9 0.357
Washington Capitals 24 8 16 0.333
Los Angeles Kings 25 8 17 0.320
Phoenix Coyotes (Jets) 13 1 12 0.077
Nashville Predators 2 0 2 0.000

i’m famous

In Blog Stuff, Me on April 24, 2007 at 6:35 pm

After much patience (and sometimes a lack of it) i am finally starting to draw some good linkage from blog rolls and other sites.

Of course it helps that i have started posting comments in lots of places linking back to my blog. Funny how i always complained about few people commenting on my blog, but rarely bothered to comment on anyone else’s. Strange how this works out.

Anyway…i am now a featured blog (kinda) on nashvilleistalking.com, and was just selected as the Quote of the Day there.

One Paragraph in this post also prompted an entire entry in response on an AOL Sports official blog. Even if he did call me “Paul Richardson” (he has since corrected it).

Many more visits from comments i made on James Mirtle’s blog (well known hockey writer from Toronto) and other places.

Yay!

more videos

In Blog Stuff, Me, Videos on April 21, 2007 at 11:54 pm

Just a quick note to all – on the left side of the page i have made several recent additions, including a new link to “My Videos“. This will take you to a list of all my videos that i have uploaded to Google Video.

All sorts of random things, but like most of my dealings lately, much of it is Predators related for now. More non-Predators stuff is coming shortly though, i assure you.

Enjoy.

pictures, lots of pictures

In Blog Stuff, Christy, Funny, Hockey, Me, Pictures, Sports on April 14, 2007 at 6:11 pm

I haven’t blogged on pictures in a while, but for those who have been following my Flickr site, i have been posting a TON (several hundred in the last couple of weeks, actually).

I certainly wouldn’t expect most (if any) of my loyal throng of readers (i think i’m up to 4 or 5 now if my mom has been able to “make my blog work”).

So, here is a quick summary of what i think are the better and more interesting pictures, as well as the stories behind some of them. (for all of these pictures, just click to see the full view on my Flickr page)

First is a series of pictures taken with long exposure times. Basically the “shutter” (it is a digital camera, so no real shutter) is open for a full 15 seconds. The result is brilliant lights, colors, etc, as well as streaks/stretches anything that moves.

One of the down sides to the long shutter time is that if the camera doesn’t stay perfectly still, it totally blurs the image. Sometimes the results are kinda cool though. I’ve started doing it on purpose occasionally:

Of course, many of the hundreds of pictures i have posted recently have been of hockey related since we’ve been going to so many games.

Here are some pictures i was able to grab of a tradition that i have noticed that i think is really cool and i doubt most people have seen. Many teams in the NHL just have a bucket of pucks they pour on the ice for free skate (warm ups). Others (like the sharks) have a guy throw them all out on the ice. However, the Predators have someone meticulously stack them in a pyramid shape on the edge of the boards by the tunnel. Then when Vokoun comes out (he almost always leads the team out the tunnel) he knocks them off on to the ice.

Anyway, that’s it for now.
Many more on my Flickr site, and i’m sure i’ll post more soon.

3rd jersey update

In Blog Stuff, Hockey, Sports on April 6, 2007 at 10:48 am

A quick update to a post i made waaaay back in October.

Much to the delight of fans (that hated the mustard jerseys) the NHL has outlawed 3rd jerseys in for next season. So last night’s season finale may be the last time we see them.

However, my call was right back in Oct – we were much better with them than without them. Much better.

Here’s how the record broke down this year (with one game to go):

win loss otl points %
overall 50 23 8 0.667
home 28 8 5 0.744
road 22 15 3 0.588
home jersey* 17 7 3 0.685
road jersey* 22 15 3 0.588
mustard 11 1 2 0.857

* Yes these numbers include the 2 times this year we wore our road whites at home and 2 times we wore and home blues on the road. We split those 4 games 2-2 so they were a wash.

So, clearly we were at our best wearing the mustard jerseys. Enough that i really have to wonder if it helped. Our blue home jerseys are dark, like the refs…i can’t tell you the number of times i’ve watched home games where we pass the puck to the ref…at least it looks like it. They are very distinctive sweaters and i really wonder if it helps us see each other better for passing.

Maybe i’m nuts. Maybe it was the teams we played.
But given the samples to pull from, i really have to wonder…

I wish i had the time/resources to do this for other teams to see what the results were.

pictures and videos

In Blog Stuff, Christy, Hockey, Me, Pictures, Sports, Videos on April 2, 2007 at 4:40 pm

Just a quick update on lots of new pictures I’ve posted to Flickr
I’ve included some of my favorites below, but as usual, just go to my main Flickr page to see the latest pictures.

Also – I now have VIDEO!
I’m starting to upload videos shot with my new camera (and probably some other random ones eventually too) to Google Video.

As a demonstration of the exciting videos you have to look forward to, here is a video that Christy shot at the Predators open practice recently. It is Vitaly Vishnevski doing puck drills. Thrilling i know.

I have to run now, but WAY WAY WAY more to come.

new camera, new photos

In Blog Stuff, Cool Tech, Family, Me, Pictures on March 20, 2007 at 6:07 pm

For those that haven’t heard, thanks to my parents generosity, i was able to buy a new camera recently. A Canon PowerShot S3 IS.

This thing is sweet. All sorts of amazing features, not to mention spectacular quality. It is basically a non-SLR digital SLR. I can get add-on lenses for it (wide-angle, tele, IR, etc). It has a mode just for shooting panoramas. And it shoots video at 640×480 at 30fps – with stereo audio.

So, here are some of the cooler pictures i’ve taken with it recently. Just made a big update to my Flickr page, so make sure to check it all out (and request to be my friend on Flickr to see WAY more pictures).




blog issues

In Blog Stuff on March 20, 2007 at 6:03 pm

For those using IE6: sorry about the blog not displaying correctly.

I custom wrote the theme i am using for my blog and it turns out that though IE 7 and Mozilla (and Opera) all render it just fine, IE 6 (which most people use) does not render it correctly.

I’ll get it corrected as soon as i can, but in the meantime, try upgrading – either to IE 7 or the real upgrade: Mozilla.

been a while

In Blog Stuff, Family, Me, Pictures on March 6, 2007 at 10:57 am

I guess i’m busy. At least that’s my excuse.

Honestly i wish i had been blogging more. It helps me vent frustrations (which is why this tends to look like a negative rant) or share cool stuff (which is why i talk about the preds a lot).

Anyway, one of the things i have been spending time on that i used to use to blog is my/our new Flickr account.

Check it out – http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulnich

There is also a “Flickr Badge” in the lower right part of my blog if you haven’t seen it)

Right now i don’t have very many pictures out for public consumption, but i have over 1,500 uploaded and most of them mapped. You can sign up for your own Flickr account and request to be my friend (or family as the case may be). Then you can view all of our photos.

Also, make sure to check out the Mapping feature. I have placed pictures on a map where they were taken. Check it out.

reporters

In Blog Stuff, Entertainment, Funny on February 16, 2007 at 1:05 pm

I think one of my favorite quotes from the short-lived Dilbert TV show may answer the question of whether or not bloggers are reporters…

Dilbert: “What makes you qualified to be a reporter?”

Dogbert: “I’m willing to violate anyone’s privacy for my own personal gain and then claim with a straight face that the public has a right to know.”

I thought it was funny anyway.

still here

In Blog Stuff, Me on February 7, 2007 at 6:51 pm

Just a quick note to let “everyone” know that i’m still here. I’m working on new additions to my internet presence, while also working with Dell’s tech support to get my XPS 400 desktop replaced (it just died…they’ve already sent me a new motherboard, powersupply, heatsink…still busted).

More to come soon.

picture time

In Blog Stuff, East Nashville, Family, Funny, Me, Pictures on February 2, 2007 at 7:22 am

It’s been a while since i used any of the pictures i’ve been taking with my cool new phone. But today’s snow cover prompted me to finally bluetooth the pictures over to my PC.
So here ya go…


Pictures of our front- and backyards this morning. In the backyard pic you can see a little bit of our new driveway that is being worked on. Yay!

This is a picture of what Cameron (our 7-month old lab puppy) did to his dog house. It used to have a front…and a bottom. Fortunately a little plywood and a few screws and its as good as new – functionally at least.

I find this really funny. It’s a gas station on Gallatin Rd. near Briley Pkwy. It is a BP gas station, with a Mapco convenience store and the pumps serve Amoco fuel. I think they are a little confused.
You can’t see it very well from this picture (taken on Church St downtown while stuck in traffic), but this is a fleet of police scooters (which i do think are kinda cool) all parked in a row – in a 24-hour no parking zone. Christy said she used to see them every day parked there on her way in to work.
And last but not least, a dark, fuzzy picture of the menu at the Cheesecake Factory. I was pretty disappointed in this place. Forget the fact that i’ve had better cheesecake at mexican-food joints, and that the wait was way too long, and that the food was only mediocre… Their menu’s have full page ads on every page of the menu! This is supposed to be a “nice” restaurant! I can take the ads in the bathrooms. I think those are actually kinda cool. But on the menus! And we’re not talking nice ads for a wine that they carry – we’re talking cheap car dealership ads! I don’t plan on voluntarily eating there ever again.

my favorites

In Blog Stuff, Entertainment, Family, Me, Music on January 27, 2007 at 8:23 pm

My sister just made a fun post on her blog listing a lot of her favorite bands.

I am both too lazy and too compulsive to try to really put together a comprehensive list of my own, but i can copy and paste from Rhapsody…

This is a copy/paste from Rhapsody – these are my “top rated” artists. Not everyone i like/love is on Rhapsody, and even those that are, i haven’t rated all of them yet. But anyway…here’s the list, roughly in descending order, but don’t put too much stock in that.

Enjoy.

Jamiroquai, Queen, Chagall Guevara, Dave Brubeck, Steve Taylor, Sixpence None the Richer, Leigh Nash, Weezer, Ella Fitzgerald, Relient K, The Sounds, Venus Hum, Imogen Heap, The Postal Service, The 77’s, The Beatles, Radiohead, Stereolab, Santana, Annie, All-Star United , Ladytron, Garbage, Mr. Scruff, Smash Mouth, Tony Bennett, Zero 7, OK Go, Death Cab For Cutie, Fleming & John, Daft Punk, Louis Armstrong, The Beach Boys, Electric Light Orchestra, Stevie Wonder, The Clash, Ben Folds, Kylie Minogue, Nat King Cole, Wax Poetic, Brand New Heavies, Robbie Williams, Sufjan Stevens, Franz Ferdinand, Cool Hand Luke, Joy Electric, Benny Benassi, Goldfrapp, Fischerspooner, Switchfoot, Coldplay, U2, Dido, Frou Frou, Led Zeppelin, Everclear, Glenn Miller, Cake, Sum 41, Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, The Ramones, Johnny Cash, Blondie, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bodyrockers, Chuck Berry, The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Telepopmusik, Diana Krall, Earth, Wind & Fire, Chumbawamba, Duke Ellington, Michael Jackson, Vince Guaraldi, Frank Sinatra, Starflyer 59, They Might Be Giants

Mason asks for fan support

In Blog Stuff, Hockey, Sports on January 25, 2007 at 7:52 pm

I just logged in to my myspace account for the first time in forever.
Chris Mason is one of my “friends” and he just posted this message…

From: Chris M

Date: Jan 24, 2007 5:45 PM
Subject : Attention Predators Fans!
Body: I have noticed the empty seats at the GEC this season. This is odd because we are the best team in the league. All I am asking you is to go to more games or buy season tickets, and to spread the word to anyone else you know. To all season ticket holders, I thank you. Go Preds!

30 Mason

Now, take with a grain of salt that i don’t know for sure that this is Chris Mason.
But…i found it interesting.

summer festivals

In Blog Stuff, Entertainment, Me, Music on January 22, 2007 at 6:20 pm

Well, i think this will be the first time since i started blogging, but it was inevitable:

Sorry it’s been so long!

Not that it really matters. I’m only averaging 6-8 a views a day, most of which are random hits or people looking for hockey stuff. Based on the great response from my request for comments, and the best i can tell, the remaining 2 of you are my wife and father-in-law. Thanks guys.

Anyway, just wanted to tell everyone about the two awesome festivals i’m not going to this summer. I am a big music fan, and love live music, but i mostly enjoy massive festival shows from the comfort of my DVD. I prefer my live music in groups of 200 or less. 200,000…not so much. However, these line-ups give me pause. Several of these bands don’t actually exist anymore and a reuniting for these shows – or better yet – are cool, current acts that rarely if ever play live shows, much less play them in the US.

Anyway…you can see the full line-ups other places. Here’s the listing of bands that i would actually want to see at each show:

:::Coachella:::
Rage Against the Machine
The Police

Depeche Mode
Daft Punk
Franz Ferdinand
Sigur Ros
Ladytron
Imogen Heap
Massive Attack
Madonna
Paul Oakenfold
Coldcut
Los Amigos Invisibles
Jazznova

:::Bonnaroo (from a rumored line-up, not official):::
The Police
Bob Dylan
Willie Nelson
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
Modest Mouse
Medeski, Martin and Wood
Four Tet

Now, many of these “bands” are electronic acts that consist of one or two people and whose stage shows consist of them pressing play then running cool light shows. I know this because i used to be the guy that pressed play in another band (whoa, flashback). So in reality i don’t think i’m probably missing amazing shows as much as the chance to say that i saw Ladytron.

Now, i do think some of them will be great live (Medeski, Bela Fleck, Daft Punk, Sigur Ros), and one i have seen live and know they will be great (Imogen Heap). But over all it is definitely not worth the time, money, discomfort, and general hassle of dealing with the trips to cali or even just down the road to ‘roo (man i’m hip…check me throwin’ the slang). But i’ll probably look to buy the DVD if they sell them.

100

In Blog Stuff, Christy, Entertainment, Family, Friends, Funny, Me on January 16, 2007 at 7:52 am

Well this is it.
My 100th blog post.

I know you were all keeping track and waiting in anticipation.

In grand tradition, i will now say “blog” 100 times.

Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog

(…you know, that doesn’t look as big or long as i thought it would. And now to the actual post….)


Two issues:
  1. Many of my posts, especially recently, have been about the Predators, or hockey, or at least sports.
  2. None of you are commenting!

Point 1) I am considering branching off and making a Predators/Sports blog. Not that there aren’t enough good forums and even a few decent blogs…but more than a few have gone silent. OK…even the official blog is pretty poor. Predators’ PA announcer Paul McCann‘s is the only really solid, consistent one I have found.

Point 2) I know that many of you that read my posts may be new to this ‘blog’ thing, but it is traditional (or at least common) for people to actually comment on my posts. Can be as simple as “Amen brother!” or as long as the comment my dad posted when i ticked him off about the Billy Graham statue. My wife is the only person to comment more than once i think (thank you sweetheart).

So – your assignment…

USING THE COMMENTS FIELD – ANSWER THE QUESTION:
DO YOU THINK I SHOULD SPLIT OFF A SPORTS/HOCKEY BLOG, OR JUST KEEP POSTING EVERYTHING IN ONE PLACE?

Thank you for your time and attention.

heeee’s baaaack

In Blog Stuff, Sports on December 17, 2006 at 3:08 pm

Looks like Mr. Cuban has been back for more.

Honestly though, how narcissistic does this guy have to be that he apparently sits around and googles himself to see what people are saying. That’s almost as bad as creating a page where you just talk about nothing and whatever is going on in your life and expecting people to voluntarily come and read it because you are so interesting. Or worse yet, someone who checks the visitor stats on all his websites daily and does WHOIS look-ups to see who is visiting him and how often. Can you imagine?

phone pictures

In Blog Stuff, Cool Tech, Me, Pictures on December 17, 2006 at 2:54 pm

Yet another place for my fan club members to bookmark: MyAlbum on T-Mobile.
http://www.t-mobilepictures.com/pwnicholson

Basically its a place where i can auto-upload pictures to a website straight from my phone. Don’t worry, i’ll make sure to post on here if there is ever anything really interesting. The best reason for me to use it though will be to avoid all the issues of cost and incompatibility when trying to take a picture and send it to someone. Now if i see something really cool and want someone to see it, i just have to take the picture or shoot video, “send to MyAlbum”, then call and tell them to go to this site. They can view it for free and so can lots of others, all for no extra cost to me or them. Oh – and i can upload pictures from my desktop and add captions, etc too.

Its not as cool as i’m making it sound (i do sound like a commercial right now i know), but it is neat.

Enjoy.

blogging

In Basketball, Blog Stuff, Me on November 26, 2006 at 9:37 am

I am beginning to understand why some bloggers do the “which LOTR character am i?” blog entries. They are filler. There are days (and days in a row) where i want to post, there are things to post about, but i am just too lazy.

But here’s a quick synopsis:
1) I think this is stupid.
2) I think this is frustrating, but almost funny.
3) My fantasy basketball (“Spurs”) and hockey (“Predators”) teams are doing nearly as well as their real-world counterparts. It helps when i stock my fantasy teams with players from my real-world favorites. I’m in second place in basketball after two weeks, and have climbed from last (8th) to 4th over the past few weeks in hockey.

Of course, i’ll also throw out there that one of the reasons i’ve been unmotivated to post, is that i’m doing tons of other things online and on the computer right now, so after a while i just have to get up. I’ve been moving all of my (and my customers) websites over to a new host, and creating a new websites. More on that later…

End of line.

where is my space?

In Blog Stuff, Me on November 22, 2006 at 5:22 pm

I finally caved in.
I have a MySpace page.

http://www.myspace.com/pwnicholson

I personally agree with UserFriendly: MySpace is Geocities a la 1997 – only slower. It’s such a horribly designed and executed site it baffles the mind. It is really painful as a former/amateur web designer to visit anyone’sMyStupid” page. But as some friends at work recently pointed out, it is fairly ubiquitous, and great for driving traffic and for social networking.

If you want to invite me as your friend, you can.
But all the page does is point you to this blog.

Enjoy.

ch-ch-ch-changes

In Blog Stuff, Me on November 9, 2006 at 11:15 am

So last night i spent way too long hacking apart this new Blogger Beta template that i am using, and added some new features, moved some stuff, etc…

Here’s the “changelog” such as it is for the latest version:

1) Modified Profile
* Added picture (my wife and i in the elevator of our hotel on vacation in San Francisco)
* Added “favorites” (movies, books, etc)
2) Added Feed feature links
* Its now easy to add my blog to your Google homepage, MyYahoo, or MyMSN.
* Also have the raw Atom feed link if you want to pull it into AvantGo or any other news aggregator you want to use.
3) Share It
* Added Email This! – links to a form for sending a story to friends
* Added Digg This! – links to Digg submission form
4) Search
* Added a search function through Technorati down on the bottom of the right tool bar. Still have to make some changes to that…it may or may not stay.

For those that have never used Google or MyYahoo to customize pages and pull in blog posts, it can really be nice. Here’s my current Google page, on my blogs tab (click to make larger):

cuban visitor?

In Basketball, Blog Stuff, Sports on November 8, 2006 at 2:06 pm

So, i think Mark Cuban may have just visited my blog!

Just yesterday i made a post about NBA refs vs. NHL refs and talked about Mark Cuban a bit. I also linked to an article about/by Cuban.

He is a blogger himself of course. On his blog, he has a link to search blogs for “Mark Cuban”. My post now comes up in that search. Apparently a few other people found me via that method as well.

Here’s what makes me think it was him:

The ISP and IP address resolve to “Mark Cuban”. Thats it. Nothing else. It is an IP assigned through SBC. In the interest of protecting what may be Mr Cuban’s personal static IP address, I am not going to post it here – but i might be willing to talk if the offer is right ;-)

Side note: I also found it interesting that Mark recently made a post on his blog about the NHL and his one-time (and possible future) interest in buying the Penguins. He also takes time to plug his HDNet network, and he’s right, hockey is a million times better in HD.

Oh and Mark, if that was youvisiting: Glad you are using Firefox, but you need to upgrade. 2.0 is out dude.

visitor tracking

In Blog Stuff on October 23, 2006 at 6:52 am

The answer to where i got the cool map of my visitors… StatCounter.com

Free. Invisible tracking. No ads or anything. Pretty cool.
Only down side is that it only keeps the specific data (location, etc) for the last 10 visitors unless you pay. But it keeps total visitor stats (per day, etc) for longer than that.

welcome

In Blog Stuff, Me on October 21, 2006 at 9:37 pm

Up until now i haven’t really promoted my blog. My wife is basically the only person that knows about it. She posted something on her site a few days ago, but as she will admit, not very many people read her site anymore because she updates it so infrequently.

Funnily enough, my lack of promotion hasn’t prevented me from getting hits. I’ve had quite a good number actually. In fact, i’ve already had visitors from Turkey, Canada, Brazil, the UK, Portugal, Finland, etc etc. Here’s a map showing the location of the last 10 visitors to my blog.

Most of them are just random hits from people using the “Next Blog” feature on the toolbar, but a couple actually came from people searching for “Tootoo”. So i guess if i want to drive traffic i need to talk about him and link to him more.

Web geek break: For those that don’t know, most search engines don’t rank pages based on content, but rather what links are on your page and what pages link to you. For instance, here is Google’s PageRank algorithm:

PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + … + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))

where

  • PR(A) is the PageRank of page A,
  • PR(Ti) is the PageRank of pages Ti which link to page A,
  • C(Ti) is the number of outbound links on page Ti and
  • d is a damping factor which can be set between 0 and 1.

So i’m finally going to tell some friends about my blog. Most of you seeing this are probably here for that reason. Enjoy your visit. I already have more posts than will fit on one page, so make sure to check out the archives for all of October if you don’t want to miss anything.

And no, i am not trying to make this a Predators blog, or hockey blog, or even sports blog. I’m just writing whatever. It happens to be the start of the hockey season and i’m a fan. Don’t worry. I dont think it will be about hockey this often.

Oh – and don’t forget to comment when you feel like it. You don’t have to signup for anything to do it.

google doesnt know itself

In Blog Stuff on October 12, 2006 at 8:43 am

While making my last post, i used the built-in spell check. For those that dont know, Blogger is owned by Google.
The following words came up as mis-spelled:
blog
google
webpage

I find that funny that Blogger doesnt know that ‘blog‘ is a word, doesnt know ‘google’ in it’s noun or verb form, and doesnt know ‘webpage‘ (though there is some debate on its use as a compound word).

funny.

Frist Post!

In Blog Stuff on October 11, 2006 at 12:05 pm

I am teh first post!