paul nicholson

Archive for the ‘Pictures’ 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… let’s just say a “long time” since my last post went live on this blog. I’ve started to write three other posts in that time, and a few are 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 »


In Me, Pictures, Work on January 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm

If you don’t know already, I’m starting to get pretty seriously into photography. Or at least I want to get seriously into it, which I suppose is the part that matters right now. I’ve always considered myself something of a shutterbug, but since getting my Nikon D90 for Christmas last year, I’ve been getting much more serious. Taking tons of pictures, playing with lighting techniques, watching more than a few instructional videos for pro and semi-pro photographers online, and of course, contemplating gear upgrades – among other pursuits.

Not too long ago I was watching Jeremy Cowart do a cool online workshop (free when streaming live thanks to CreateLive) on experimental portraiture (read: doing weird stuff and seeing what looks cool). At one point when answering the question “how do you get out of a creative rut”, he said something which was fairly obvious after the fact: change what you’re taking in. Listen to different music, follow different people on twitter, watch different TV shows, etc. That got me thinking: lately about 90% of my twitter feed has been either NHL hockey or Dell (work) related. That’s all fine and good, but that’s not where I want to be going. I’m a hockey fan, and my job is a nice one, but the direction I want to be going is marketing and/or photography, and more so the latter. So lately I’ve been looking for more Nashville area photographers to follow on Twitter, Flickr, blogs, etc…


Wherein I explain (but do not excuse) my actions

In Christy, Family, Friends, Me, Pictures on September 5, 2010 at 11:07 pm

(Note that this is a long, cathartic, touchy-feely post about me. And my friends. And family. If you’re looking for hockey stories or insight into social media marketing this isn’t the post for you)

I feel like I’ve been a bit of a jerk lately. I know don’t exactly have a reputation as being cuddly. Most of my life I’ve heard the criticism that I’m too sarcastic, too quick to voice my opinion of others and their work, and too casual with my communication of said sarcasm and criticism. But lately I find myself regretting more and more that has been coming out of my mouth or fired off on Facebook/Twitter, etc.

I suppose for those that aren’t up to speed, I should backup provide a bit of a preface before I proceed.

(continued after the break)

Read the rest of this entry »

Preds Win Game 3 (and more)

In Christy, Hockey, Pictures, Sports, Videos on April 14, 2008 at 10:16 pm

“Breaking News” – not only did the Preds win game 3 tonight, but the Metro Council finally has the new lease out of committee and looks ready to vote on it today (tomorrow…er…Tuesday the 15th). Good timing!

I’ll leave it to those smarter than me to dissect the game fully (or you can just watch highlights below). Sufficed to say, Trotz made adjustments, something he hasn’t done well in the past. The adjustments in lines and match-ups freed our players to do what they needed to do, and they got the job done.

You will also hear much regarding the crowd tonight. Once again, there were several long standing ovations, and the final 3-4 minutes was probably the loudest i’ve ever experienced at a sporting event of any kind (and i’ve been to San Antonio Spurs games in the NBA Finals, etc). I’m not going to say it was the loudest ever in history…but it was pretty nuts. To put it in perspective, i’m a drummer, and i was afraid of having some serious hearing damage.

Major kudos to the arena crew once again for knowing when to let the crowd go. There was more than one time that the crowd started a “Lets Go Predators” or other chant and the arena crew quickly muted the techno or whatever music they were playing in favor of letting the crowd feed off the natural hype. They also finally traded the commonly used red lights during pre-game for blue and yellow (gold) ones. You’d think this was a no-brainer, but it hasn’t always been. These ‘little things’ did not go unappreciated!

I’m also uploading all the pictures that Christy took at tonights game. She’s been grabbing better shots than me lately, so i’m letting her have the camera from here on out i think (besides, we win when she’s shooting).

Of course, i took this shot during pre-game warm-ups:
They always show the pretty girls in the crowd ya know :-)

I also have to apologize to David Legwand. During warm-ups i took this picture of his skates (right), which to me showed he was clearly a decoy and not going to actually play. Thank you for proving me very wrong, Leggy.

And finally, this is now my new favorite Preds picture (that wasn’t taken by me or Christy).

Predators make the Playoffs!!!

In Hockey, Nashville, Pictures, Sports, Videos on April 3, 2008 at 10:13 pm

I’ll try to blog about it more tomorrow.

Right now i’ve got to try to come down off this adrenaline rush and get some sleep.

Preds won. Vancouver Lost. We’re in the playoffs!

Lots of pictures here (courtesy of my lovely bride, who took all the shots at tonight’s game), including pictures of Titan’s quarterback Vince Young, who was at the game and threw out t-shirts to the crowd.

And a video she shot of the amazing spontaneous crowd response is here:

Nashville Thanks the Predators

(If the video isn’t working, that’s because it’s still converting on Vimeo’s server…check back a little while…)

The crowd rose to give the team a standing ovation during a TV timeout after a great effort in the 3rd period. And they wouldn’t stop. For a solid 2:30, the crowd just stood and cheered and waived their t-shirts* (think about it…just sit in your chair and do nothing for 2:30. That’s a long time). The arena crew was smart enough not to interrupt with any videos or music. Just let the crowd thank the team. It was amazing. The game wasn’t even over at that point. Gave me the chills.

Detroit vs. Nashville will start sometime next week.
Let’s go Preds!

* By the way, the t-shirts look great and are way cooler shirts than past giveaway shirts

Predators/Hockey News (with attendance update)

In History/Politics, Hockey, Pictures, Sports on March 3, 2008 at 8:19 pm

I was widely quoted as being a pessimist about the attendance for the Predators when i made this post back a few weeks ago (something about titling it “Bad News for the Predators’ Future“). Since I posted that, i figure i owe everyone an update:

Through 28 games, the Predators had averaged 12,756 in paid attendance. In the last 5 games, the Preds averaged 14,190 in paid attendance (including a few sellouts that were at about 15,200 in paid attendance). That’s a significant increase, and something to be proud of. That brings our average through 33 games to 12,973 per game. Still not where it needs to be, but an improvement.

So, now we must average 13,750 in paid attendance to reach the 13,125 needed to qualify for the revenue sharing we need. Looks like a very do-able number, especially since we’ve averaged well better than that lately (and the current race for the playoffs, free food night, and a few games against Detroit won’t hurt).

Unfortunately, it looks like my other predictions from my earlier post were pretty accurate. Even if the Preds sold out every game from here on out (assuming that translates to 15,200 in paid attendance out of the 17,113 capacity, as has usually been the case) that would only pull the average up to 13,408. Far, far short of the 14,000 needed to keep the current lease intact.

So, it’s a good thing Freeman and the new ownership crew finally got the new lease over to the Sports Authority after all. That agreement keeps the team here for at least another 3-5 years (depending on attendance) and I am beginning to trust this new ownership group to do what it takes to win over fans and businesses in the community…

UPDATE: A blogger on the Tennessean’s website (only works in I.E.) is also reporting that the new ownership has rescinded the “cure clause” for attendance this year. Meaning that, technically, even if the new lease isn’t put into effect and the 14,000 in paid attendance isn’t reached, the team still can’t move. The same blogger says that the Sports Authority will be reviewing (and voting on?) the new lease terms tomorrow morning. Still awaiting any official confirmation…

UPDATE 2: Just talked to my ticket rep and it looks like the March 20th Detroit game and the March 22nd Chicago game will be sellouts, and several other games are going fast. Looking good!

Which reminds me, it turns out that local good-guy Gordon David Freeman is the largest shareholder after all. He owns 32.63% of the team, while the “outsiders” from California, Boots Del Biaggio and Warren Woo own only a combined 31.58%. That is a significant change from what we were led to believe earlier.

The fact that the outsiders (with eyes for a franchise in Kansas City) don’t actually own most of the team, with locals just holding a token share, really means a lot to me. Conspiracy theories about them just playing nice and having a plan all-along to move the team (and Freeman just being a guy they talked into being a local front/mouthpiece) aren’t going to go away… but this sure looks better, especially when you take into account that the remaining 35.79% is owned by other Nashville locals (making the total local share nearly 70%). I’m kinda surprised the team hasn’t made a bigger deal out of it.

The first two sentences from an article in the Tennessean today regarding Martin Gelinas:

Predators forward Martin Gelinas will undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair his torn ACL, putting an end to his season.

Gelinas had suffered the injury Feb. 21 against Vancouver, but was hoping that — after the swelling had gone down — there would still be a chance he’d be able to play without the ACL this season.

Really? I’d love to have seen him try to play with a ligament completely removed from his leg. He’s a tough player, but i don’t think anyone would be able to pull that off.

On a more serious note, it is too bad that we’ve lost Jelly Gelli Gelinas for the season, and i honestly wonder if his career is done. He was playing very well for us this year, but he’s getting up in years, and recovering from ACL damage this bad won’t be easy, even for a fitness and conditioning nut like him. If he were under contract, i’d say he’ll be back. But i don’t know many teams that will take a 38 year old 3rd-liner recovering from a bum ACL. Great player, but that may be it for him.

I didn’t get a chance to watch the Washington Capitals clean the ice with the Boston Bruins tonight, but…wow. Of course, everyone’s going to be talking about Ovechkin’s 5-point hat-trick-with-2-helpers night, but just take a second to check out the box score. More than just the 10-2 slaughter stands out to me…

Boston players Zedeno Chara (who i have on my fantasy roster), Marco Sturm, and Phil Kessel all played 16 or more minutes (nearly 20 for Chara) but ended up even in plus/minus. Kessel actually ended up plus-1 for the night!? I know 4 goals were on the power play (so they don’t count toward plus/minus), but 6 goals were at even strength! How do you end up on the bad side of a 10-2 drubbing and still end up plus-1 for the game? Wow.

Conversely, with 6 goals scored at even strength and only one even strength goal allowed against their team, Sergei Federov, Brooks Laich, and Alexander Semin somehow ended up minus-1 for the game. Ouch.

Ovechkin got his 5 points, but the Caps really spread the love tonight. Every single player in the Capitals roster registered at least a point (either a goal or an assist) except poor Jurcina and new arrival Sergei Federov.

Besides the horrible minus-1 and no points for Sergei in the game, he didn’t draw a complete goose-egg on the otherwise packed box score…he had a single shot on goal. Woooow. I’m sure he was one of the 3 stars for this game…

Chara not only pulled off an even plus/minus for my fantasy team in this game, he also pulled in an assist, a shot on goal, and 9 PIMs. And someone just offered me a trade with him for Jonathan Cheechoo. Ha! Yeah right!

What’s Your Number?

In Christy, Hockey, Pictures, Sports on February 28, 2008 at 3:03 pm

People seem a bit confused about new Predator Brandon Bochenski…or at least what number he will wear while on the Preds roster.

The Predators website says he will wear #12 (the number he wore in Anaheim), however it also still lists Scott Nichol as continuing to wear #12, and Bochenski has been in the league a shorter time than Nichol, so I don’t see him bumping Scooter of his number. Yahoo sports page lists him as wearing #13, which seems logical given his previous wearing #12…but I seriously doubt a hockey player would wear #13. (by the way, Sports Illustrated’s site still says he’s on the Duck’s roster)

The most authoritative evidence we have is probably from the pictures my wife took at the open practice this afternoon. Practice jersey’s don’t have numbers on them…but helmets do. Zoom in close and you can see that he’s got #24 on the back of his helmet (picture at right). Yup, Scott Walker’s old number. I bet there will be more than a few fans not thrilled at that prospect, though he did get a warm welcome at practice today. Christy said he seemed genuinely surprised when several fans asked for his autograph as he was headed to the locker room after practice. Guess they don’t do that to non-superstars in Anaheim.

Let’s just hope he can help out the team that needs…something.

We’ll find out Sat night as the Preds take on Dallas (will be in HD on Fox Sports South).

(For the record: the other new Pred, Jan Hlavich, is wearing Scott Hartnell’s old #17. While Scott was well liked while here, i think it is safe to say that he was not as universally loved and appreciated the same way Scott Walker was/is.)

Cruise Pictures

In Christy, Family, Me, Pictures on January 18, 2008 at 8:22 am

Well, finally back to posting. The holidays were great and i pretty much totally took time away from the PC for a while (though i did get a new Blackberry so i can’t exactly claim to be totally unplugged)… and then of course i was out of town and then on a cruise for quite a while. Internet on the cruise was slow and $0.75 per minute – so you didn’t get updates. Yeah. Sorry about that. Or not.

Anyway. Pictures from the cruise are starting to go up!

I took a lot of pictures. A whole lot. Like…around 400 i think. While not all of them are keepers (bless you digital camera technology), i still have a lot to sort through, crop, stitch panoramas, etc. So slowly but surely i’ve been uploading them, one “day” of the trip at a time.

First 3 days of the trip are now up – New Orleans (where my sister Amy was helpful in tagging and mapping pictures after showing us the town), boarding the ship, and the first day at sea. Go check them out!

Here are a few of my favorites for those of you too lazy to actually visit my Flickr site to see ALL 112 PICTURES i’ve uploaded so far:

never ask ‘where’ again

In Cool Tech, Pictures on December 26, 2007 at 2:29 pm

This is pretty awesome.

A small GPS device that you carry around in your pocket. You simply sync its clock up with the one in your digital camera, stick it in your pocket, then walk around taking pictures (for up to 5 hours). Then when you’re done, pop the SD card from your camera into the device. It automatically looks back on the stored GPS data from your day’s travels and compares it to the time stamp on the pictures you’ve taken. Then it writes the data to the pictures exif info. Instant GPS equipped photography.

Given that i geo-tag every picture i ever take (yes – all 4,400+ pictures in my Flickr stream), this is definitely something i could get in to. Now i just hope that Flickr goes back to the old way of viewing (like the map on the right of some of my photos) the maps of my photos. It wasn’t perfect before, but it is better than the new method.

published pictures

In East Nashville, Me, Pictures on December 14, 2007 at 10:27 pm

Eastwood Neighbors just came out with their 13 month calendar, featuring not one, but two shots by yours truly. Now, i haven’t seen the calendars, so i can’t speak to their overall quality and such. (I certainly am not responsible for the proofreading ability of whoever posted the announcement) But i’m pretty proud of having pictures selected just the same.

These two shots were selected for the calendar:


By the way: If you’re interested in buying one, you can visit their site for info. But don’t buy one on my account. I won’t see a dime and it’s not that big a deal for me.

While i’m on the topic, i’ll go ahead and brag some more that my pictures have been used a few different places. Two other print-based tour guide books have contacted me about using my pictures (though neither has sent me a copy yet) and two other web-based sites use my shots. One is a shot of the railroad bridge over the Cumberland River in Shelby Bottoms Park (at the right) featured on Schmap!’s sports grounds page, another is a picture of downtown (focus on Broadway) that serves as the shot of Nashville for an international based tour site, Geoglob. That one i am particularly happy with, though i don’t think either of these sites is particularly well trafficked or famous, it’s cool just the same to have my pictures singled out. I’ve also had a bunch of my Predators photos grabbed and posted all over the place, particularly the Predators Fan group on Facebook and on the Predators message boards… though they generally don’t ask permission.

And while i’m on the photos topic, i love that Flickr finally, FINALLY started including real stats for pictures and photo streams. It still isn’t as deep-dive or robust as i’d love it to be, but it is better than nothing. Enough that i can brag that since Flickr started keeping stats my 4,426 photos have been viewed 47,814 times, and that on Nov 30th alone, i had 916 views of my photos. Yay :-)

proof it wasn’t a dream

In Funny, Hockey, Pictures, Sports, Videos on November 26, 2007 at 9:02 pm

Some of you who know me and have heard me talk about the Predators, have heard me tell the story about the night the Predators Flying Tiger (seen in its normal state here) got stuck in the rafters at a playoff game. It was actually the first every home playoff game for the Preds on April 11th, 2004 (a game we won handily by the way).

Basically what happened was this: The Flying Tiger was doing its usual thing, flying around and dropping passes for free stuff to fans. Then all of a sudden the crew directed it down over the ice, which it never does. They flew it lower and lower until someone went out on the ice and grabbed its “tail” (mooring cable i think) and began to lead it gingerly to the zamboni entrance floating about 6 feet above the ice. Then, all of a sudden, the whole fan/motor system on the bottom just fell off. Of course, all the weight of the fans, batteries, etc was the ballast for the balloon, and now it weighed far too little. The keeper holding the cable was unprepared and the whole thing shot straight up in the air and jerked the cable out of his hand. It flew straight up and jammed itself in the catwalk and remained there for the rest of the evening (probably a great view from there actually).

Well, i was just digging through a whole bunch of old pictures in my archive folders, and i stumbled upon video that i actually shot of the occasion on my old Sony Clie UX50. It’s not pretty, but it’s proof! You can definitely see the Flying Tiger motionless at the top of the arena, stuck in the rafters above the ice.

So here ya go. Enjoy!

Predators Flying Tiger stuck in the rafters from Paul Nicholson on Vimeo.

I fell for it

In Funny, Music, Pictures on November 20, 2007 at 10:55 am

I just paid $0.89 extra for a large combo i very much didn’t need, just to get a free download that normally cost… $0.89. Stupid.

It’s a little slow today

In Funny, Pictures, Work on November 1, 2007 at 12:18 pm

It’s been a little slow at work today.

pic of the week

In Hockey, Pictures, Sports on October 29, 2007 at 8:02 am
This is, by far, the picture of the week year so far for the Preds.
(Original found here)
The expression on the Panther player’s face, Vokoun lying flat on his back, and the celebration of the Predators players. Great stuff.

Pictures of Me

In Friends, Me, Pictures on October 13, 2007 at 12:43 pm

At first i was thinking this would be a post in poor taste. A little too self-centered. Then i remembered that the entire concept of a blog is pretty self-centered and, well, being self-centered isn’t something i struggle with – i give in regularly. So here goes.

My friend Jeff just posted some pictures he snapped of me at a Preds game. Wanted to share.

This one is of me talking to the NHL refs, down from Toronto to watch the game.

And this one is of me taking pictures.
So now you know where all these come from.


the other part of the show

In Entertainment, Hockey, Nashville, Pictures, Sports on October 5, 2007 at 10:59 am

(Sorry for the long post, especially about something this trivial. But hey, it’s me)

In addition to being a big hockey fan, i am a media/marketing/entertainment geek. I also have a painful attention to detail sometimes (I say this not as a boast, but…well…”it’s a blessing and a curse”). Combine these two and…well…I study things like the videos and entertainment packages at the Preds games waaaay more closely than they are intended to be studied. Oh well. I am what i am.

Anyway, here’s what I noticed last night.

Quick mention: Lots of really cool new graphics that we didn’t see during the pre-season. New filler animations, Power Play animations, Goal animations, “Preds Win” animations, and “Thanks for Attending” animations. Also new “Kiss Cam” graphics, though these seem pretty plain. I’m guessing those will be tweaked in the near future.

There were also a few changes around the arena. The column at the attack twice end that used to be painted like a giant can of Edge shaving cream is now painted with the Signature Tower on it (the soon-to-be mega-sky-scraper that is planned for Church Street downtown). The Signature Tower also sponsored the t-shirts we were given last night. The interesting thing is that not only has the Signature Tower not been built yet, but it is years away and may not even happen. They are having trouble selling the last set of apartments needed to secure financing, etc. But apparently they are going to be huge sponsors of the Preds this year, which is great (for both i think). They are enough of a sponsor that the new opening video now features the as-yet unbuilt tower, but i’ll get to that in a second.

First, there’s a nice new opening video (that I tried to record and goofed for some reason and didn’t catch…I’ll see if I can get it on Sat) with all the players and cool highlights. Very nice video, very well done. Really hypes the crowd.

That then transitioned into the new Intro video (which i did record and will upload soon). It’s basically the same as previous years…hockey players representing other teams land on the frozen Cumberland River (they now arrive in meteor format, not skating down the river, and they don’t beat up the General Jackson) and a Big Cat/Predator (is that considered Gnash?) comes into downtown and beats them up, then climbs up to the top of a building and roars. Only now it climbs the Bellsouth/AT&T/Batman building (like it used to), and from there it jumps up to the Signature Tower and climbs it (picture on the right). Kinda cool really. Funny thing is, they don’t have the new Bass Berry and Sims building visible in the shots around downtown, even though it is actually being built right now and is quite close to the arena (picture on the left, above). You also can’t see the Signature Tower in the background of the long shots of downtown (picture on the left, below). Only in the close-up final shot when the Predator is climbing it. I am sure while the organization is putting things together they may think of some of these things but think “nah, no one will notice that, it’s just on the screen for half a second”. Sorry guys.

There was also a new concession stand on the lower level I had never seen before, and they are apparently remodeling some of the concession stands on the lower and upper levels. I’m interested to see what’s going in there (they better get them finished soon!). I was surprised that they weren’t finished for opening night.

All in all the new arena experience is great. The franchise is very much moving in the right direction.

Oh yeah – and the Predators played AWESOME.
Mason was great. Defense played well. I could really tell the experience of our youngsters combined with the new veterans meant much more responsible, positional hockey. Very few times did the Avalanche get any really strong scoring chances and those were mostly in the 1st period. The power play clicked on the first go, though later attempts didn’t look too strong. As my wife called it, the “power play kill”. Lots of work to do there, but if we get anything close to that effort on a consistent basis (which I think is more likely again, due to the young players having yet another year under their belts and the new vets) we’ll be just fine this year.

TF2 Review

In Cool Tech, Entertainment, Games, Pictures, Reviews on September 30, 2007 at 1:26 pm

I keep meaning to make a post about Team Fortress 2. Unfortunately, ever since it was released made available for beta testing to people who pre-ordered the Orange Box, i haven’t stopped playing it long enough to make a post about it. I haven’t been playing it a scary amount, but given the choice of using my spare time to blog about TF2 or actually play TF2… the blog kept getting put off.

Sufficed to say this game is immensely fun. And i don’t mean it is well done and engrossing and realistic…i mean it is FUN. Goofy, laugh-out-loud fun. Don’t get me wrong, it is also engrossing and immersive and all of those good things that games should be. But most importantly it is the one thing that so many games aren’t these days – a real pleasure to play. This game isn’t about realism. It is about chaos, ridiculous situations, rocket-jumping, bunny hopping, and all those other things that made old-school deathmatch gaming so fun – but with great team dynamic and balanced gameplay like i’ve never seen outside of Day of Defeat. Over and over again while playing this game, i find my self laughing outloud – usually when i’ve just been blown away. That tends to happen when the ‘death cam’ shows you the person that just killed you looking like the screenshot on the right. Any player can instantly put their character into a ‘taunt’ at any time. It’s great fun to hit that button right after you kill someone so you know they are being forced to watch you dance. There are also many times when the game will also helpfully identify the parts of you that are laying at your enemy’s feet (see image at the left). These shots also show off another cool aspect of getting killed – the game always gives you updates on what you’ve done well. The game is a statistician’s dream and tracks the amount of damage you do, kills you get, kill assist you get, healing you perform, captures made, buildings made, buildings destroyed, etc, etc. After you are killed it told you what was particularly good about that last round, for you. You may be like me and stink at the game, but hey, you got closer to your record for damage in a round as a soldier that time than you’ve been in a while. Playing this game and being killed manages to be a constantly rewarding and reaffirming experience, without being condescending.

One of the other things that is really nice is the concept of the kill assist. The most obvious version of this is when a Medic is healing a Heavy or some other player and that player kills someone. The Medic clearly made it possible, so they get partial credit for the kill and receive points. The other, really nice kill-assist is when you’ve done a large portion of damage to an opposing player and one of your teammates comes along to help and finishes them off. Well, you may have done 250 points in damage to that Heavy (who has 300 hit points) but in most games your teammate that did the final 50 points damage would have gotten sole credit for the kill. In TF2, you both get credit. Your name gets flashed along with your teammate’s.

Another fun/competitive element thrown into the game is the concept of a “nemesis”. If someone kills you 5 times without you killing them, they are said to be “dominating” you and they are now your “nemesis”. They will now have a special icon above their head (only for you) and you’ll get double points if you can manage to kill them (a “revenge kill”). I’ve had the pleasure of being on the giving and receiving end of these multiple times and it just adds another layer of fun to the game.

My one request/complaint is that they took away the nifty muzzle flash effects we saw in the trailers. This whole game as a very cartoonist, straight-outta-Pixar look to it (but is surprisingly easy on the system requirements). In all the trailers – right up to a few weeks ago – all the muzzle flashes were very cartoonist as well. However, in the ‘beta’ version we’ve all been playing, they decided to covert the muzzle flashes to use the same nifty particle effects technique they developed for the Pyro’s flame thrower.

Original muzzle flash effect

New muzzle flash effect.

There are dozens of other awesome things i’d love to say about this game. It has a great commentary track from the makers of the game, cool intro videos you can watch to help you understand the basics of each map before loading them, a really nice achievement system…and don’t get me started on the intricacies of playing the engineer. But…i’m gonna go play more now.

If you want to track my personal game stats, you can always see them here.

Predators Marketing

In East Nashville, Hockey, Nashville, Pictures, Sports on September 29, 2007 at 9:03 am

Caught this on the phone pole at 5-Points in East Nashville. Sign reads “IF YOU LIVE IT THEY WILL STAY. 10/4/07 IT BEGINS”. And it lists,, and

I’m not sure if this is official from the Predators or not. If it is – wow, amazing, awesome, and it’s about dang time.

Unfortunately i’m pretty sure this is an unauthorized fan creation. Either way, great to see.

LAN Port

In Nashville, Pictures on September 29, 2007 at 8:58 am

Yes, some cities are rolling out municipal wifi. Nashville is rolling out municipal wired-based broadband. At the base of every telephone pole there will be a RJ-45 LAN port.

OK, ok… I Couldn’t resist painting out the “D”. It is actually a sign for the bus station downtown.

Beautification Power

In East Nashville, Nashville, Pictures on September 22, 2007 at 7:28 pm

One of our councilman over here in East Nashville is working on passing an ordinance that will help clean-up Gallatin Rd. I’m all for the concept of making it look nicer. Though i am a little libertarian to love the idea of limiting the types of businesses that can be along the road (with no schools, etc anywhere near by), i personally don’t love them so i guess i can live with it. Besides limiting the types of businesses that can be along the road, they also want to restrict the placement of parking lots (they can only be at the rear of the property now, with vehicle access from side roads, etc). That one makes less sense to me…but ok, whatever. Lastly, they want to restrict signs. They can only be attached to buildings or low-lying on the ground – small, unobtrusive, etc. Fine. I’m all for a little height restriction, but overall sign clutter doesn’t really seem to bad.

Here’s the deal people. You want to make Gallatin Rd look nicer (and the rest of Nashville while you’re at it)…

Get rid of the above-ground power lines.

They are ugly, messy, way more ‘cluttered’ looking than any signs. Not to mention they make for a trashy power system. Above-ground power lines are full of electrical noise and are more prone to outages than lines that are all above ground. Not to mention the health problems associated with above-ground power. Bury them like any modern city. I’ll have less wear-and-tear on my electronics, have to buy fewer power filtering adapters, and not have to put a UPS on everything i own because the power goes out when it gets windy outside. Most of all, it will just plain look nicer.

The Australians are burying their lines. There are studies and papers being written on the advantages all the time. Besides the fact that nobody wants above-ground power.

Here’s a little fun i had with photoshop for comparison.

Which do you think looks better? Lower signs, or no power lines?

But oh yeah – here’s the trick. One cost the city money, the other cost private business owners money. Guess which one we’re gonna get…

Preds vs Thrashers with Video!

In Hockey, Pictures, Sports, Videos on September 21, 2007 at 7:23 am

Here it is, video of our awesome new scoreboard. Wow. This thing is amazingly sharp and huge!!! I think it must be even higher than HD resolution (1920×1080). It looked amazingly sharp, even right up close. That’s the other thing – it is so huge that it looks up close no matter where you are.

Best of all, replays are actually worth something. You can actually see the puck! For some reason the horn/music after goals was off all night. Hope they get that fixed soon. Ditto for the shot counter. It was off all night (3 shots to 5 in the 1st, 0 to 0 in the 2nd, 6 to 2 again in the 3rd…).

Here’s the video!

Nashville Predators new scoreboard from Paul Nicholson on Vimeo.

For all my friends behind firewalls, you can download the mpeg2 video here.

Also got a bit of video of the one fight. Tootoo and McCarthy did more than just scrum. McCarthy had Tootoo down and was wailing on him, the refs were moving in to break it up, just about then Tootoo regained his feet, and body slammed McCarthy over his shoulder, then started wailing on him. That dude is strong.

Jordin Tootoo bodyslams the opposition from Paul Nicholson on Vimeo.

I also took a ton of pictures at the game. I feel like i’m getting better and better at working with the right settings for shooting hockey. Check out the full set here.

Injured Penalty

In Hockey, Pictures, Sports on September 17, 2007 at 9:57 am

I’m looking for some clarification here. All you hockey bloggers and hockey fans, help me out.

In yesterday’s pre-season opener, Martin Erat was penalized for interference. David Vborny was injured on the play (he’ll be out “2-3 days”). According to the way the refs called the game (and this article) there can be or should be (still not clear on if it is discretion or mandated) a major penalty and game misconduct if an injury occurs as a result of the interference.

I have a huge issue with this, especially as it played out last night and in the Nashville series against San Jose last year.

In my understanding, historically an “injury” has been determined to occur when a player draws blood. There was no blood drawn yesterday, and rarely in the San Jose series. Yet we had players thrown out of games and suspended because an “injury” occurred – even when said injury was not severe enough to keep the opposing player off the ice.

But here’s why i have the biggest problem with this: If the same action is committed by a player, and in one case there is an injury caused, in another case there isn’t, the penalty for the action should be the same. By determining the severity of the penalty based on the offended players reaction, you are taking control out of the refs hands and putting it in the hands of players. Never a good idea.

The NHL has an issue with diving right now as it is. Since the refs are calling games tighter (which i like, by the way), many players are learning that they can dive and get a call, much more than they used to. Now with this injury change, i could easily see a 4th liner go out, wait to get hit by a star player, go down with an “injured” knee, and the star gets tossed. The 4th liner doesn’t come back out, maybe he does. Makes no difference. Conversely – there may be a nasty penalty committed that doesn’t injure the player (because of luck, better conditioning, whatever).

Of course, i’d love to be more informed on this, but the NHL’s website hasn’t listed any changes to the rule book this year (still says “New for 05-06!” in several places). The article in the Globe and Mail cites Rule 56 as dealing with the change to the interference call, but Rule 56 in the official book deals with fighting and instigating, and never mentions interference at all.

In other Predators news…pictures!

New ice is down at the Sommet Center
(note the new sponsor logo and name-change):

New scoreboard, turned off of course
(bad picture – i’ll hopefully take better ones myself soon):

New uniforms in use (we haven’t actually seen them on with pads until now).
I can live with it – not as good as i hoped, but it’ll work:

Aussie Rules

In Nashville, Pictures, Sports, Videos on August 25, 2007 at 5:54 pm

Got to watch a bit of the Nashville Kangaroos take on the Louisville Kings game this afternoon. Much fun.

It was pretty hot, but i managed to hide under some of Elmington Park’s nice shade trees for most of the game, so it wasn’t too bad. I used to watch Aussie Rules on Fox Sports World years ago. I was hooked. So much so that when FSW stopped airing games and i was desperate for a fix, i actually downloaded the demo version of EA Sports Aussie Rules game, AFL 99. I couldn’t get the controls right, so i just set players to zero and watched it play itself. Repeatedly. Yes, i am a loser.

It is a really cool game though. I always describe it to people as the closest thing in the world to real Calvinball. The ball and field are both oval/oblong. You have to dribble the ball on the ground every 15 meters as you run, you can only get the ball to your teammates through an underhanded punch (like vollyball) or kicking it. You score by kicking through tall uprights at the far end of the field. The umpires throw the ball in the air like a basketball jump-ball, except they throw it about 30-40 feet in the air. It is pretty much chaos.

By now i have to admit i have forgotten many of the specific rules, and things were a little hard to follow. Probably would have been better if i could have heard the announcer they had on a PA system calling the game – but he was on the other side where there was no shade. But today was mostly about going out a supporting the teams a bit…and of course for the photo opp. Nice sunny day + violent sport + no face masks = really cool shots. At least i think so.

For those of you who have never actually seen a game, i shot video of one quick segment. Normally there is more time in between a starting toss and a goal, but thankfully it made for a good, quick demo. And it was pretty indicative of how dominant Nashville was in the game.

Next ‘Roos home game is Sept 8th against the Milwaukee Bombers. According to the website, they have never beaten Milwaukee in 4 tries, so the game should at least be more interesting than this blowout. And the weather should be cooler.

For the record, the Kangaroos club also has an associated Netball team (sort of Australian version of basketball). My friend Matt and his wife played on that team for a while just for fun. We got to see them a while back at one of Nashville’s Australian Festivals. Don’t know if they still play or not.

Oh, and for those keeping track at home, i uploaded this video to Vimeo. Going to start switching over. It looks like video on Flickr may be a while in coming, if ever. One nice thing about Vimeo – you can download the original source video if you want to see a higher quality version of anything. Much better than Google Video or YouTube.

Last random note on that topic: Google just closed down its Google Video store and is supposed to be getting out of the video business somewhat. Blogger just added ‘upload video’ to the editor where you can not just embed video stored somewhere else, but now upload videos straight to Blogger (like it has always done for photos). Google owns Blogger. Explain that one to me.

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!)

random musings

In Me, Movies, Pictures on August 9, 2007 at 6:57 am

I’m happy to hear that Blockbuster just bought out Movielink. Christy and i subscribe to Blockbuster online (i dig the cheaper rates we got, plus the games we can rent in-store, not just movies). This will hopefully just add to the goodness. I wonder if we’ll have to choose between an mail+store package or a mail+online package, or if they will just crush Netflix with a wonderful mail+store+online package. I can hope. No news so far.

Of course, what i’m really waiting for is an online HD movie service so i don’t have to shell out cash for a BluRay or HD DVD player that may or may not be worth anything in a few years. Just skip it all and download the straight to my PC, which is what i use for all my media anyway. I’d just rip any DVD i own to my network share anyway.

Dental Talk
I got my teeth cleaned earlier this week (actually, i clean them on a daily basis, but i got them professionally cleaned at a dentist office this week). Why is it that dental hygienists (the ones that actually clean your teeth) are insanely talkative. I had a more complex conversation and was asked more questions and given more advice during my cleaning than i have in the last 5 haircuts combined.

I’m not much for chit-chat, but i don’t mind a little banter during my service calls…but at the dentist? Have they ever noticed it is a little difficult to hold on a conversation when you keep sticking things in my mouth…namely…their hands? Conversely, have they noticed it is harder to clean my teeth while i’m talking?

I would have been in and out of there waaaay faster if she’d just let me watch the cool TV they have positioned above my head through the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, my dentist is really good, and the hygienist was very good at what mattered. Clean teeth, no pain, good stuff. But man, she was chatty.

Famous Pictures
I’m still waiting for the AP to call. My pictures have now been used in tourist guides for Nashville, two for a calendar for East Nashville, posts on AOL’s sports page, and now a few have been personally requested by Andrea Conte (millionaire) and her husband…who happens to be the Governor of Tennessee.

The funny thing is that the pictures that have been chosen are, of course, not my favorites. I’d love someone to use something like this picture, or this one, or the one shown here to the right. For that matter, any shots in either of these two sets: Artsy and My Favs. But alas, these haven’t been what they are looking for.

I don’t flatter myself to be the photographer that Chris Wage is…or dozens of other people for that matter. But i’m glad that some appreciation is being shown. I need to get used to carrying my camera around with me more. When i first got it, i carried it everywhere with me “just in case”. I need to get back in that habit.

Biking in Nashville
A short message to the people who’ve been complaining about biking issues in East Nashville.

  1. If you want me to respect you and yield to bikers as equals on the road when i’m in my car – then obey the freaking rules of the road! You can’t just pull past me at an intersection while i’m at a red light, glance both ways, and run the red light because it’s clear. If you’re on the road, obey the rules. If you’re not going to, then get on the sidewalk and use the zebra crossing.
  2. As for the concerns about people parking in the bike lanes along Eastland: if you want the police to ticket people for parking in the bike lane, you’ll probably have better luck if you can first convince the police to not park there themselves. The picture at the right was taken at the East Nashville “Night out against Crime”. Nice.

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.

indiana jones 4

In Cool Tech, Entertainment, Movies, Pictures on July 3, 2007 at 10:03 pm

Yes, for those that haven’t already heard, they are finally getting around to making Indiana Jones 4. If you want to read the whole saga of how many times they have tried to make this movie (including M. Night Shyamalan writing a script that was rejected), read the Wikipedia entry here. For those interested in more: Rumor site here. Official site here.

Anyway, they finally settled on a script and just started filming a few weeks ago down in New Mexico. Video from the set here and here. Looks like it will have a strong cast, and with Spielberg and Lucas finally finding one another again, plus the fact that we have assurances from numerous sources that there will be no CGI used in this movie (the effects will all be traditional in-camera effects to mesh with the other movies), it may be possible for this movie to be really solid. (How great would it have been if George Lucas had done that with Star Wars…)

Of course, the one major question everyone has is: Can Harrison Ford pull off an action movie at the age of 65. Well, the answer is: he doesn’t have to. Stuntmen will cover all the action sequences. And for the close-ups and dramatic portions…

Well, this is what Harrison looks like now:
Not too bad. Plenty of make-up i’m sure.

But better yet…
Enter the technology used to de-age Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in X-Men 3.

Check these out (click on them to see full size):

That wasn’t make-up, and strictly speaking, wasn’t CGI. They essentially used photoshop to frame-by-frame give them digital face lifts. Smooth a wrinkle, shorten an ear, shrink a nose…

For any scenes in the Indy movie that need help, shouldn’t be any problem at all given the budget i am sure this monster has.

I am listening to the soundtrack to the first films as i post right now.

After the latest several movies by both Lucas and Spielberg i don’t know why, but i really have hope that this will be good. We’ll find out next May 28th.

we still have a team you know

In Hockey, Pictures, Sports, Videos on July 1, 2007 at 7:27 pm

It is easy to get caught up in all the soap opera and debate and forget that we still have a really good hockey team in Nashville, and it is not too long until they will be playing the game that we have all been working so hard to defend.

We will still be able to put a very competitive team on the ice. Offensively we still have Sullivan, Arnott, Dumont, Erat, Legwand, and Radulov coming into his second year in the league. Defensively we still have Weber, Suter, Zidlicky, Zanon, Hamuis, Nichol, and Mason in net.

And GM David Poile has proved himself a master at doing a lot with a little. We won’t have the amazing team we had last year, especially depth-wise. But if we can stay healthy, i think we are still a playoff team, and could even surprise a few people. Predators fans know very well that the team that is supposed to be the best doesn’t always win. I’d like to think that this year we can be on the good side of that coin, considering we’ve seen enough of the bad.

So, now to the updates: First, a quick round-up of some of the player/contract updates to this point. The Predators have (as expected) laid pretty low as far as going after free agents. Only signing as of right now has been forward Jed Ortmeyer as a free agent (formerly of the Rangers). Don’t know much about him, but his bio lists him as a ‘defensive forward’. We also resigned Scot Nichol, Jered Smithson, and Alex Henry. Nichol, Zanon, and Smithson ensure that we’ll have a solid penalty kill again. Henry is as big a defender as we’ve had for the Preds in a long time, and his chances of seeing some NHL time this year are increased thanks to a thin roster. We’re also about to sign Chris Mason to a much needed pay raise/extension, keeping him with the team for the next 3 years total. We also inked his ‘new’ back-up Pekka Rinne to a new deal as well.

Last but not least, I finally got a chance to drop by prospect conditioning camp this morning. (9:00am on a Sunday. What are you thinking Trotz? Check here for my comments on that.)

Pictures are scattered through this post with many more here.
Video is here:

Predators Prospect Camp.

The video on Google turned out rough. It is actually much better quality. The horribly scratched-up glass wrecked havoc on the flash video codec. If you really want the high-quality video, let me know and i can post it.

It was great to get to watch hockey being played again. The session was run by assistants, but Trotz and Poile were both there (photo proof here).

As for players:

Hornqvist is a Radulov-type firecracker with even rougher edges. Scoring touch, but is a goofball. Good skills but looked silly (even tripping a few times) trying to show off a little. You can see in this in the video pretty well, actually. The whole session was blue vs. white. Hornqvist was going last for blue and only needed one goal to beat white for that session. When he got it, it cheered and stuck his arms up in the air – even though he had several more session of the drill he was supposed to do. He forgot this was practice, not just a contest. So…good competitive fire, but i have to wonder about discipline and control.

The other players looked pretty good. Only other one that stood out a lot was Atte Engren, a young goalie from Finland. He may have just been having a good day, but he looked the best and most under control of the goalies. The rest made the occasional cool-looking save, but he looked the most like Mason and Vokoun in my limited experience.

Oh and best mullet in camp (and there weren’t many) goes to Antti Pihlstrom. I think as much as anything because it’s bright blonde hair against dark blue sweater and helmet. Runner up goes to Viktor Sjodin, but he gets the award for looking the most like a caveman from a car-insurance commercial. At least in this picture.

No word yet on when big-kids training camp starts. It’ll be mid-September. I’ll be sure to let you know the dates when it is announced.

You are also all here on notice that i am not going to keep posting on every little off-ice thing that happens. Just the big stuff. Try watching Kuklas’ Korner, TSN, or the Nashville Post for that kind of news (heaven knows you shouldn’t look to the Tennessean for it). I am going to try to focus on on-ice related news and comments when it comes to the Predators from here on in.


In Funny, Nashville, Pictures on June 23, 2007 at 8:08 pm

More pictures and some comments up soon, but for now – check out my Flickr set.

marketing playoff beards

In Hockey, Pictures, Sports on June 8, 2007 at 2:27 pm

I have frequently complained here about how the NHL’s marketing is weak. The brand just doesn’t attract fans the way it should, especially in the US. Some of this is things like advertisements and sponsorships.

But some of the rest is the personalities and personnel. The fact that most players “aren’t from around here” doesn’t help. There can even (treading lightly here) be a race issue in some cases i think. Especially in large US cities, and especially in the south and west, there are large african american populations – not much there for hockey right now.

But that is not what this post is about.
This is about facial hair.

I love the playoff beard tradition. It is fun and silly and team-building and all of that. But it doesn’t help the leagues marketing efforts.

This is what the Niedermayers look like in their team pictures:

Good looking young star players. The face of the league. Great to have on the front of sports magazine’s and newspapers everywhere.

But that is not what everyone saw.
Thanks to the playoff beard tradition, everyone saw this:

Sorry….wrong shot…
They saw this….

They look like a couple of mountain men. Not the picture of energy and youth that we want in our professional sports champions.


In Funny, Pictures on June 4, 2007 at 1:57 pm
I can just imagine her talking to her high school guidance counselor.
“Most of all, i want to be taken seriously as an artist.”
Opryland Hotel, Nashville, TN

more on the sommet center

In Hockey, Nashville, Pictures, Sports, Videos on May 19, 2007 at 6:56 pm

First, a quick update with more pictures and media.

I have to say i’m a little concerned about the color clash between the Sommet groups color scheme and the Predators, but i’m sure it will work out.

Here’s a full video of the press conference of the announcement.

Oh – and as for many of the doubters that complained about the city not getting any of the money from the naming rights deal: I don’t recall many of them complaining about the Titans stadium. The Titans keep all the money from their deal. Tax payers funded that stadium too… so lets compare the two.

Between now and September, LP Field will host 7 events (1 four-day concert series and 3 Titans’ games). In total, LP Field has 14 events listed on its calendar until the end of 07.

Between now and September, The Sommet Center will host 40 events including concerts, graduation ceremonies for local high schools, Kats games, and 3 pre-season Predators games (assuming a schedule similar to last year). IN total, assuming no more concerts or events are booked for the rest of the year, but the Predators schedule goes toughly the way it did last year, there will be 57 events held at the Sommet Center between now and the end of ’07 .

So which of these two centers do you think is generating more revenue for the city? And for that matter, which location is going to get more exposure to more people? Even with the extra TV viewing audience that the Titans draw over the Predators, that is a big difference. I’d really like to see a break down of the numbers. More visiting team cities fans watching, etc.

Biggest deal for the Predators and more importantly fans like me is that this is a local company, stepping up and sponsoring the team, practically guaranteeing that it will stay around for many more years to come.

Oh – another interesting note: no one has parked if you want to cybersquat it and get sued. Vision3, a website design company that lists the “Gaylord Entertainment Center” website (whatever that is) as one of its clients, has parked though. But it isn’t pointing to anything yet…

new east park center

In East Nashville, History/Politics, Nashville, Pictures on May 5, 2007 at 3:57 pm

Christy and i made it to the grand opening of the new East Park Community Center.
Politicians spoke, ribbons were cut, and pictures were taken:

It was cool. Really is going to be a nice place, and very inexpensive to take advantage of.

That is all.
I am boring today.

Update: Here’s the story Channel 2 did on the opening.


In Nashville, Pictures on April 27, 2007 at 9:44 pm

Inspired by this shot, i have recently gotten in to tilt-shift miniatures. They are amazingly easy to make given the right kind of source photo.

So, here’s the set of my first attempts.

Obviously some of these turned out better than others.

The basic idea is to make parts of the image that are near and far fuzzy with a simple blur, while leaving mid-field items in focus. This tricks the eye into thinking that it is a “macro” style image where the camera has a very shallow depth of focus.

Normally this involves horizontal bands of blurring, but for the 1st Ave picture (with Market Street Brewery) i had to go with vertical bands, which was kinda fun. I think it turned out very well. That one and the miniature commuter train (because those are supposed to be miniature) turned out best i think. Now that i know what to do, i’ll probably go out and take shots specifically for this sometime soon.

Funny enough, i did these while watching Night at the Museum with Christy – a movie full of miniatures that come to life.


In Hockey, Me, Pictures, Sports on April 22, 2007 at 9:11 am

I was planning on posting about the end of the Predators season at some point, but i just read the horrid article over at the Tennessean that 2-bit writer John Glennon did. Most of the article was calling the Forsberg trade in to question…that got me riled up enough to post a response on their message board…so that, with a few modifications and pretty pictures, will be my blog post for the season ender:

One of the things Nashville needed this year (besides playoff wins) was respect around the league and in Nashville. Peter Forsberg paid off in that respect before he even put on a Nashville sweater. Much like the LA Galaxy with Beckham, I would be willing to bet that the Predators made back what they paid for Foppa’s salary in the flood of merchandising and extra tickets that he brought in, not to mention the flood of media coverage and respect it garnered from national media and fans. The trade was worth every player and draft pick we gave up for it. Having said that, i wouldn’t make the smallest effort to re-sign him. He will command too much money for the 40-game seasons that his body has left in it.

As for all the free agents (Kariya, Hartnell, Timmonen): Kariya i’d love to keep, but if we do, we MUST get another trigger man, even if young/cheap, to go with him. Kariya, Sullivan, Forsberg, Kimmo…they are all great assist guys. Amazing passing and puck moving skills. We need more guys like Radulov (and to a lesser extend Dumont and Hartnell) who have a shoot-first mentality. There were far too many games this year where D-men lead the team in shots on goal. To that point – keep Kimmo. Don’t over pay him, but he’s a strong offensive d-man and we’ve had too much success with him and Zidlicky playing that style. Back to the trigger man issue: i think it is worth it to keep Hartnell as well, even with the extra salary he will demand. He’s also a fan favorite, so that helps soften the blow for…

The coaching staff. I love Trotz. He is Good People. But he obviously can’t make the adjustments needed in the playoffs. After game 4, he said during his post game interview that what they were doing should be working (which i couldn’t argue with), and will work, they just have to keep trying it and wait for a different result. Last time I checked, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Trotz is a great coach at doing a lot with a little, but given an all-star roster, he couldn’t win 2 home playoff games, much less a road-game or the series. We need a coach that can make adjustments and motivate the team. While we’re at it – a captain that can motivate as well. Kimmo is a fabulous player and I want him back on the blue line, but he and Trotz both are almost too even keeled. I don’t know about the European captain curse (I’d take Foppa as captain) but Kimmo didn’t fill that role well.

And as for all the worry about the city supporting the team if we don’t succeed – our best season attendance-wise was the 2000-2001 season, when we went 34-36-9-3 and missed the playoffs for the 3rd straight year. We’ll be fine. We just need Dell to step up and sponsor the Arena to complete the San Jose rivalry (they play in the HP Pavilion). Then all discussion of them ever leaving town would cease.

Lastly, the Tennessean needs to hire a real hockey reporter that hasn’t just been watching the NHL as long as we’ve had a team. The fact that most of the media covering the Predators (Pete Webber, Terry Crisp excepted) are not hockey people is making the community involvement level worse. The coverage is horrible, so only people that actually make it to a game and fall in love with the play on the ice ever get excited about it. Fortunately, there have been a lot of those people, especially in the last few years. But the media coverage MUST improve. (Note: I think Channel 5’s coverage did improve dramatically and I give them full marks for the effort. They are about 80% of the way there now, which is better than the 40-50% for the rest of the TV, newspaper, and radio in town.

Here is Christy’s post on the end of the season.

random updates

In Christy, East Nashville, Me, Pictures, Sports on April 19, 2007 at 8:33 am

First, just a note that i’ve uploaded yet more pictures (not hockey this time) to my Flickr page. Christy actually took a lot of these this time. And if you hadn’t noticed, i created a set that is nothing but pictures taken by Christy.

A few highlight pictures that i thought were interesting:

This is a piece of tire tread that somehow got embedded in the road on Woodland Street near I-24. I’d really love to know how this happened and how someone let is stay this way – but i love that they did.

I have always disliked above-ground power lines- but now that i am taking pictures around town and having to frame shots around them – i positively hate them. It is impossible to frame decent shots around them. So here i just gave up and shot a picture of the mess at Main and 5th.

This one i took while just messing around while waiting for Christy to come out to the car. I think it’s cool cause i got the camera to focus so that the stuff in front of the car and in the rear-view mirror were both in focus, but the mirror frame and my hand aren’t.

In totally unrelated news:
I won first place in my basketball fantasy league!

It went down to the wire – first i was way ahead, then way behind, then in the final day i pulled back to a dead tie and i had the tie breaker! The fact that so many teams (especially the Spurs for me) sat their start players for the last few games of the regular season (since playoff standings were secured) really threw things for a loop.

the game that was

In Basketball, Hockey, Me, Pictures, Sports on April 15, 2007 at 6:31 pm

I kinda feel like this represents the state of basketball in my life right now.

It’s a shot of a goal nailed up to a tree across the street from my friend Jamie‘s old place (just helped him move)

2 years ago I would have listed basketball as my number one sport, and i still love to shoot hoops on my own when no one is looking – but the last time i did that was more than a year ago. and now that i’ve gotten so in to hockey, and we have a team in town, i haven’t been following my Spurs most of this year. maybe when the NBA playoffs start up i’ll get back in to it again.

I was talking with my dad about this at the last Predators game. It really makes me sad. I just like hockey better right now. I guess that’s ok. That doesn’t make me bad right? I just grew up cheering hard-core for the Spurs for so long, i played basketball as a kid (in church leagues and pick-up games).

But the current version of the game, the way the refs call things and the way most teams play…the way the league is so unbalanced…it just doesn’t grab me the way it used to.

I am sure a lot of it has to do with the fact that i am going to hockey games live, and live a couple of hundred miles away from the nearest NBA town (500+ if you are looking for a team that actually wins games). We don’t have cable and i almost never get to watch Spurs games anymore. Here at the end of the season and in the playoffs that should change since ABC broadcasts games…but now i don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know who’s who. I couldn’t even tell you off the top of my head who plays center for the Spurs most of the time right now.

I still have a Spurs flag next to the Predators flag on my desk at work. And i still have an autographed David Robinson poster, “Go Spurs Go” sign, and a few other cool Spurs items in the sports-themed (Predators dominated) bathroom downstairs.

But alas, basketball is not the game it once was for me.

I have to say there is the teenie tiniest part of me that hopes that if the Predators don’t win it all this year that they just get knocked out early so i can have more time to watch the Spurs in the playoffs. Of course the same could go in reverse. I don’t even know if the Spurs are strong enough to guarantee our usually deep playoff run this year.

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.

the nhl experience – nashville style

In Funny, Hockey, Nashville, Pictures, Sports, Videos on April 8, 2007 at 3:43 pm

I’ve shot a good deal of video at recent Predators games.
As a result, i have a series of them uploaded to Google Video that, when strung together, may give you some idea what attending games can be like. (All of these can be viewed much larger by clicking on the Google Video logo instead of just hitting play)

First, we have the occasional open practice the day before a game. The Sportsplex is open to anyone that wants to watch the players run drills or sometimes even have a full practice.

Second, we have the pre-game warm-ups.
Anyone is allowed to go down near ice level (or to the glass if you get there early enough) and watch the players up close. If you are lucky, you may even be one of the many fans that J.P. Dumont or Vern Fiddler flips a puck to over the glass.

Next we have the visitor starting lineups.
In Nashville we have the tradition of yelling “SUCKS!” after each visiting players name is called out. After the coach, we yell “AND HE SUCKS TOO!”

After that, the Predators mascot, Gnash, is introduced. Sometimes he just comes out on the ice riding a four wheeler. Sometimes he comes straight down a rip line. But for really big games (first and last games of the year, playoffs, etc) he will come down the rip line swinging.

Then of course we have the Predators starting lineups as everyone skates out for the game.

Once the game gets starting, it usually isn’t long before someone on the opposing team is whisted for a penalty and has to go to the penalty box.
For this, we all yell “AHHHHHH…SIT DOWN YA LOSER!”

Once we are on the power play, it usually isn’t very long until we get to go through one of the many stages of our goal celebration with our own creative lyrics to “The Hey Song”

During intermission, there is usually some sort of silly contest featuring some people in tennis shoes trying to run around on the ice. This is my favorite flavor:

After a while the opposing team gets tired of being pushed around and they may start a little fight or two…and then someone may throw a catfish on the ice…and sometimes they happen all at once

So see, it is so much fun – everyone should come out and watch all the hockey games they can in person!

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).

happy birthday

In Family, Me, Pictures on March 8, 2007 at 9:40 am

Yesterday was my birthday. Had a good day. Got some awesome presents. Had a great dinner with Christy at Mafioza’s last night and with my parents on Tues. And we’re going to the Predators game tonight.

And check out the awesome cake my wife made me!

Christy got me a Dremel, too, which is fun. So now i just have to find out what I want to spend my awesome birthday cash on…

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 –

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.

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.

christmas update

In Family, Me, Pictures on December 29, 2006 at 11:49 am

I know Christmas is, strictly speaking, just one 24-hour day. However, in the modern age of defining Christmas by seeing family and the present giving/receiving, Christmas for us usually lasts from a few days before, all the way until New Years day.

For us this year, it started by Christy and i going to see some of her extended family in KY. We saw her aunts and uncle and grandmother. It was a good visit. And a it was made a little nicer this year by the recent removal of toll booths along the route. The trip now cost us $2.80 less than usual. Yippie!

Christmas day itself was just Christy and i. Rather nice really. Just got to hang out and relax. OH – and open Christmas presents for each other of course :-)

Day after Christmas we did with Christy’s mom/dad and brother (sis-in-law was too sick to come). That was a lot of fun. Only bad part was this was the first time we had to give envelopes as gifts… Our order from Amazon (made two weeks prior to Christmas) did not arrive until later. So had to give several people envelopes with pictures of what they will be getting. (Note to all who await presents: They have arrived. Our house/pet-sitter got them for us. They will be mailed out to you all as soon as we get back to TN) The funny thing this time was that we actually had Becca’s gifts, but she was the only one not there. The three who were there (mom/dad/Matt) just had to open envelopes. Oh well. We (ok… i) spent the rest of the evening playing Guitar Hero (which Matt was kind enough to bring up from Birmingham). That game is fun! He got Guitar Hero II that night, but we just played Guitar Hero I for now.

The other attention getting present for that evening had to be Christy getting her Rhapsody edition Sansa. I was quite jealous, though excited. She played with it a little, but i then proceeded to steal it and play with it more as she worked on other people’s presents (she crocheted several gifts this year – very proud of her, they looked great). I am sure this drove her crazy. I didn’t mean to steal her present, but these things are cool and i didn’t have one…yet…

The 27th we drove. A lot.
We actually made really good time and drove straight from Nashvegas to north San Antonio in one shot. Wasn’t too hard at all really. Having a TDI (diesel) car that is really comfortable helps. We did the whole thing on a tank and a half of gas and rarely had to stop.

The 28th we hung out at my Mom’s sister’s place for a while and played on their new Wii. That thing is a lot of fun, though you do have to be careful that you don’t smack your friends in the face while playing.

That afternoon we did Christmas with my dad’s family in San Antonio. Much fun. Ate lunch, did presents, and then played board/card games together for…oh…4 hours or so i think. After a while we realized it was 8:30pm (thanks to my cool new watch) and we hadn’t eaten dinner and we were all getting a little tired. So we packed up and headed to Taco Cabana for our first major dose of Texas tex-mex. Good stuff.

Then we headed back out to my mom’s sister’s and did presents with my mom’s side of the family and my parents/sister. Much fun and many good presents there… and i got my Sansa! I congratulated Christy on biting her tongue and not giving away that i had one coming (she knew).

We also got a ton of DVD’s (from many different people) and video games and board games, etc, etc, etc… I’m not going to try to name or comment on them all (hope no one is offended). I really have enjoyed (or will enjoy) all the gifts so far. I honestly feel very blessed and grateful. We have a lot of generous family!

More important than the gifts, of course, is getting to see everyone. We’ve had great fun this year visiting and playing with everybody…and more of that to come. For the first time in several years, we are going to be here tomorrow for the big “family Christmas” with my mom’s family. Expected numbers are somewhere near 40-50 i believe. Should be much fun.

Anyway…last note is to say that the pictures included in this post were courtesy of my cousin Carly’s new camera. It is equipped with WiFi and she can email straight from her camera. How insanely cool is that! When we got back to the hotel last night and checked our email, we had pictures waiting for us that were less than an hour old. Cool. Thanks Carly!

squish the buffaslugs

In Christy, Funny, Hockey, Me, Pictures, Sports on December 20, 2006 at 10:27 pm

Christy and i have free tickets to the Predators game against the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night. They are very good seats, just a few rows from the ice.

So Christy got a great idea for a poster…we just made it:

For background reading on what a “Buffaslug” is, check here, here, and here.
Watch for us on TV!

Update: We had fun at the game, but obviously it didn’t turn out the way we wanted. We were very surprised by how many Buffalo fans were there, too. And apparently many of them came from Buffalo – just for the game. I think Christy had a good idea: Hold a Red Wings vs. Sabres exhibition game in Municipal Auditorium, then lock the doors.

Anyway – here are a couple of pictures from the game. We did get on the jumbotron with the sign in the first intermission, but i didn’t think fast enough to pull my phone out and take a picture then. Oh well. We were still cool. And the seats were great.

new laptop features

In Cool Tech, Funny, Pictures, Work on December 19, 2006 at 8:57 pm

Apparently my new laptop came loaded with an interesting new feature…

If you’ve had a long day or rough time in your last meeting and need to take out some frustration, it comes equipped with an impact-proof “strike zone”. Feel free to hit it with your hand in frustration or bang your head against it. I have a feeling that if you really needed to, you could also use it in self-defense by hitting your aggressor (or frustrating co-worker) over the head.

Just make sure to use the Strike Zone. Performance of the laptop is not guaranteed if you use any other portion as an anvil.

my new phone

In Cool Tech, Me, Pictures on December 18, 2006 at 7:26 pm

So, i am finally getting around to tell you all about my new phone.
It is the Samsung t519 “Trace”

Pretty awesome little phone. Emphasis on little.
This thing is small. Really small. And light. Very very light.

I had decided to go for a phone that was as low profile as possible this time. Gone are the days when i was known for wearing cargo pants at all time and carrying around a geek survival kit. With the new job and just style changes, my technology has to move with my style. I needed something super-light and thin (i hate the tale-tell cell phone bulge). Enter the t519.

To try to show you how small/thin this thing is i took a few pictures…

Anyone want a phone that is only as thick as a No. 2 pencil? Shorter than a standard mouse? As for weight: It weighs basically the same as two AA batteries – 2.7 oz. Lightest phone i’ve ever owned. What is great is it doesn’t feel too light or cheap. It feels very sturdy. It also feels good while talking, good ear-to-mouth length.

Besides its size – oh yeah, it’s a great phone. Large, bright, high-res screen. Bluetooth. 1.3MP camera. Does great stills, decent video. Oh – and the feature i have barely used – MP3 player…with expandable MicroSD slot. That’s right – expandable memory. I could have 2GB plus in this thing if i wanted. Though honestly, with Rhapsody and my Axim, i don’t really use the MP3 function, and i don’t think i’m going to bother getting an expansion card at this point.

Frustrating thing about it, is that it is so new, no one has really hacked it yet. The downside of this is that T-Mobile ships it pretty locked down. You can only install games and ringtones bought through the T-Mobile store. So i can have MP3s on it, and use them to listen to, or use as alarms – but not as ringtones. I also can’t install any 3rd party games or applications unless they go through the T-Moible store, which is a pity since there are a ton of free ones on the web. There has to be a way around this, i just can’t figure it out yet.

I like :-)

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.

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.



In Friends, Me, Music, Pictures on November 17, 2006 at 10:59 pm

Tonight was the first performance of what could be many, by (what is now unofficially known as) the Nick Hilscher Trio.

My friends Nick and Jamie agreed to play with me for a friends birthday party Friday night. We just did a small jazz/swing combo. Lots of fun. We were all out of practice, but really did sound pretty good. We are probably going to keep playing together for fun at least, if not possibly more…

Anyone know a good jazz bass player?

The Trio

Nick Hilscher
vocals, piano
Jamie Tyson

Paul Nicholson

cramped quarters

In Me, Pictures, Work on November 6, 2006 at 10:30 am

Dell has recently announced that they are increasing the number of people employed in our Nashville office from 2000 to 3000. In order to pack in an additional 1000 worker bees, they are putting the building through “densification”. (Insert joke about us being “dense” here).

As a result, we had to move. We just finished settling into our new digs. Let me tell you – deoderant and ear plug sales in the area will probably be going up. HighEd has always been a tight group, but now we’re packed in to match.

Here are the pictures as proof… (click on the pic for full size)

This is the picture from last week’s Halloween party. Aside from Mumbo looking cool, you can see that the row was so wide, the other half didn’t even show up in the picture. You can barely see my chair on the right side of the picture.

On the other hand, we have our new row. The row literally went from about 7 feet between desks, to about 4 feet. We have to go up and down the row one at a time. Elevator rules apply…people leaving go out before people coming in can enter.

On the plus side, the number of people served by Anna’s little space heater has just gone up 10 fold.

punkin stuff

In Me, Pictures, Work on October 31, 2006 at 11:12 am

And here’s our pumpkin for the contest at work…

For those wondering…i put my red LED light from my costume inside the pumpkin. Nice effect eh?

working holiday

In Me, Pictures, Work on October 31, 2006 at 9:19 am

So here it is. My group at work (the software and peripherals group) decided to dress up as our key products. A little dorky, but we had fun with it.

(click on pictures for full-sized image)

Here’s the crew…
Back row from left:
Bill (CRT monitor), Mary (color toner), Alysha (printer), Mumbo (printer)
Front row from left:
John P (old HP printer), Me (optical mouse), Scott (projector), Anna (cables), Daniel (flat panel)

And here are some feature shots…

movie/costume party

In Christy, Me, Movies, Pictures on October 28, 2006 at 12:12 pm

My wife and i are hosting a movie party tonight. Normally this is the kind of thing i would post on our ViewingParty site, but i think that site (as well as many of my other sites) is about to be taken down. The site was cool, but we didn’t do enough parties, and no one really ever used the site.

Anyway, we are watching the lack comedy Arsenic and Old Lace then the suspense thriller Wait Until Dark starting at about 6:00pm tonight. If you know us, you probably know our cell numbers – call us for directions. If not, you can try emailing.

Update: The “party” went well. A member of the US Army (Matt) and a peace protester (Ariana) showed up. As did Indiana Jones (Jamie) and a…safari girl/person (Hannah) My costume didn’t really come together. I ended up just being a generic, black USB device (which will come together into a USB optical mouse by Tues for my custume at work…don’t ask). Christy was great – she did a bollywood outfit, which really turned out awesome. And even better – she gave me permission to post a picture:

Of course, the movies were good. Wait Until Dark was as good as I remembered, and thankfully I couldn’t remember the ending exactly, so I was very drawn in. And there was one moment where all three girls screamed outloud. Yeah. Good stuff.