paul nicholson

Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

The Cobbler’s Children

In Blog Stuff, Me, Work on October 16, 2017 at 7:24 pm

Yes, I’m a web professional who doesn’t update his own site very often. I neglect the SEO. Let content go stale. And I don’t even dream about posting regularly.

What can I say:

At least I have a few drafts from ideas I’ve started a few times. Maybe one day…

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…


ghia Closing

In Christy, Nashville, Work on October 11, 2009 at 12:09 am

For those that haven’t heard, my wife is closing down her store. While we both very much still believe in the mission of the store – bringing stylish fair trade and ethically made products to market at “Target” prices – she decided that she needed to close the store down. This was due to a number of factors, not the least of which was having more time free to spend with our son Ian, of course.

ghia Closing

I am so proud of what she did with the store, both in the good it did for so many people, and the awareness it raised about fair trade – but also of how she was able to run the business. Outside of some starting capital, the business very quickly supported itself, which is something most businesses can’t say in good times, much less in this economy.

The good news for all of you is that she has a FABULOUS sale clearing out her remaining inventory. Great time to do a little early christmas shopping if you ask me :-)

Check the clearance sale here –

BNA refuses to modernize

In Cool Tech, Family, Me, Nashville, Work on August 8, 2009 at 2:00 pm

My new job requires me to travel quite a bit more than my last job (which required basically no travel at all). I’ve begun the life of a road warrior to a small extent, already going in and out of BNA (Nashville’s airport) a couple of times a month in the last little bit.

Anyone that knows BNA and knows me, knows this means frustration. You see, i’m a geek and like my power-hungry gadgets, and BNA is practically void of convenient power outlets. While most airports in the country have rows of waiting area seats complete with A/C and USB power outlets, BNA has only a few power outlets scattered under payphones, behind doors, and at the base of columns, like the picture to the right. With few exceptions, all of these require sitting on the floor to access.

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

Bus riding again

In East Nashville, Me, Work on May 16, 2008 at 5:52 am

I love taking the bus, especially the afternoon trip home. Very relaxing, and they are surprisingly clean. (And for all you sheltered suburbanites, the ridership isn’t scary.)

It’s great to let someone else drive and i get to sit back and channel surf the radio or mess with playlists on my Sansa. But getting up just 30 min early is, well, tough to say the least. Especially when it’s raining. But even the morning rides are well worth it. For instance, i get to make blog posts on my way to work. :-)

Of course, it is ridiculous that it is more efficient in time and money for me to drive from my house into downtown, park, then ride the rest of the way in to work. Not having any transfer fares makes the full system as a whole nearly untenable.

vocational issues

In Me, Work on December 4, 2007 at 1:42 pm

I know how he felt:

citing artistic differences
the band broke up in may
and in june reformed without me
and they’d got a different name
— Ben Folds, Army

About a year ago I worked in a department that was a lot of fun, had the feeling of family, and just generally rocked. The work was very hard, much worse and more stressful than what I’ve had to do for the last year, but it was tolerable because of the group. About a year ago many of us, myself included, dispersed and found jobs in other departments around the company, feeling it was time to move on. Apparently those left back in the old group were frustrated at how things “changed” but things weren’t too bad…

I just found out though, that most of the people who had left, including a great friend who had actually left the company, are back in a newly formed/changed version of the old group I used to work in, but with promotions all around. My three closest friends in the company actually, with another one likely about to join them. Meanwhile the job I had been doing for the last year just got eliminated and was demoted back doing a job that, while not “bad” is one that I had done for 3 years and was ready to move past, but in a group that (though again isn’t “bad”) isn’t the old gang.

I know wasn’t shafted on purpose. Or excluded on purpose. And my employer has, all things considered, been pretty good to me.

But I feel very left out.
And frustrated.

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.

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 :-)

random updates

In Christy, Hockey, Me, Movies, Sports, Work on August 20, 2007 at 9:32 am

I feel like i’ve been so poor in blogging lately. Not that i’m one of those people that feels i have to blog everyday. I know the masses of you that hang on my every word can live without hearing from me for a few days. No – i’m missing blogging because i have so much i wanted to blog about but have been to busy with all of said things to actually get around to doing it.

So…let’s play a little catch-up:

New Business Blog
Coming out of Barcamp, Christy and i talked a lot about what she/we’re doing with Ghia. Among other things, i’m going to start blogging on the Ghia corporate blog. First entry: here!

I’m really excited about how the business is doing so far, and looking forward to pushing it further. As much as i ragged some of the presenters at Barcamp in my last post, i really did learn a lot. Christy’s working on our Google Local entry and we’re thinking of doing a site re-design soon. Christy has done an amazing job with the business so far, but she’s been working largely by herself. I’m pumped about getting more involved and getting the rust off my web and marketing skills.

We already spent some of yesterday shooting pics for the new inventory we got in last week. Check for it on the site soon!

Blockbuster Trade
Just a couple of weeks ago i posted about how happy i was that Blockbuster had bought MovieLink. I was already very happy with the value we were getting with Blockbuster Online (we locked ourselves into a great rate many months ago) and i was looking forward to them adding the downloadble movie features.

Well, last Friday i got an email from Blockbuster titled something along the lines of “Changes to your Blockbuster Account”. I was excited. I was ready to open it up and find out that they were going to give us the option to do downloadable movies instead of in-store exchanges, or better yet both. Um….no. Nothing about downloadable movies was mentioned, but they did explain that my previous plan of 7 movies (4 in store, 3 in the mail) per month for $7.99 was being discontinued (in reality they stopped offering this to new subscribers months ago) and i would have to choose another plan. The offer they made instead was 4 movies (2 in-store, 2 in the mail) for $7.99 – what a deal! Same price, 40% fewer movies!

So half out of looking for a better deal, and half out of anger/spite, we switched to Netflix this weekend. Just after i’d starting swapping recommendations and stuff with my sister and my friend Amber on Blockbuster. Oh well. Now we get to find friends that have Netflix. Anyone? Click here to set us up as friends on Netflix.

Predators and the City
There has also been a lot going on in the world of the Predators.
For more reading i advise the Forechecker. He continues his marvelous assessment of the situation.

Essentially the local ownership group is asking the Metro government for $3 million more per year (according to them this is being required by their creditors) and a guarantee of 14,000 in paid attendance (so the team doesn’t lose on league revenue sharing). In exchange they are offering to donate the first $3 million in profits every year (if/when there are any) to local charities and groups, and are promising to take fuller advantage of the Sommet Center as a facility and increase the number of events (tax generating events) held there. Sounds fair enough to me. Much ado made out of very little last week, i think.

i am now stuck in 1996

In Funny, Me, Work on July 20, 2007 at 8:35 am

Most of my co-workers that sit on the row of cubes with me discovered last week that you can set a sound file to play when you get an email. Apparently they all missed out on this when “You’ve Got Mail” was the standard in the mid-nineties.

So i am now repeatedly (and i mean over and over) bombarded with “You’ve got mail, baby, yeah!” from Austin Powers, “There is a message for you” by HAL, and “Message for you sir!” from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I also just overheard someone saying someone might need to enable “micros” to correctly view an Excel spreadsheet they were being sent.

Kill me now.

let the shopping begin

In Christy, East Nashville, Family, Me, Nashville, Work on June 11, 2007 at 9:14 pm

I am happy to announce the opening of my wife’s online retail store:

The mission of ghia is to provide socially responsible shopping at an affordable price. Many of their products are made by independent artisans located in the Middle Tennessee area, while other products are fair trade imports from Asia.

Go check it out!

I really am very proud of her and this store. Though in my former life i was a web designer, she did this almost entirely on her own. Its a killer site from top to bottom, and she tackled the full intricacies of secure e-commerce, which i never did.

I love that her goal here really is to be socially conscious (fair trade, supportive industries, local artisans, etc) but affordable. And with lots of research and hunting, she found suppliers that let her pull it off.

I also can’t wait until more of her own designs get to be put on the site. She’s still wrestling with some printers for getting those made and on her site, but they will be coming soon.

Now seriously, everybody go buy something.

getting nothing done today

In Entertainment, Funny, Me, Work on June 8, 2007 at 6:41 am

Someone in the group next to ours brought Guitar Hero 2 and two controllers to work today and hooked it up in one of the training rooms.

I am getting nothing done today.

And my hand is already cramped from playing through Jessica on medium. Got a 92% :-)

This is a good day.

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.


In Funny, Me, Work on January 5, 2007 at 4:30 pm

I am so glad that i have the phone i do with the camera it has…it lets me share things like this with the world…

On my way out from the office today i passed by a “team room” that i pass by almost every day. Today – it was a little different…
Keep in mind the scale here – this is a 4’x 6′ white board.
My guess is someone’s kid here as free day-care did this.

Isn’t your life better now?

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.

new toy…er…tool

In Cool Tech, Me, Work on December 18, 2006 at 6:27 pm

One of the coolest perks in my new job: i get a laptop! I finally got it today (though i am so grateful and happy to get it i hate to say “finally”).

Latitude D620 with 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo processor and 2GB of memory. That part is awesome. I also have a docking station, and extra AC adapter (thank you Dell!) and some other toys. That is where the cool list stops. It’s kinda downhill from there if you want to geek out… “Just” a CD-ROM (no RW or DVD), “just” a 30GB hard drive, no bluetooth, etc. But it does have WiFi (802.11b/g), battery life is great (3.5+ hours with wireless on!), and it does everything i need it to for work, plus some. I will certainly take it, gladly.

I think the guy thought my reaction was a little funny when he brought it to my desk. I probably looked like i was practicing for Christmas in a couple of weeks. Oh – and i got a decently cool (and very functional) case too. :-)


In Friends, Hockey, Me, Work on December 7, 2006 at 9:22 pm

Wow, for a while there i was on a pace of better than one post a day. It’s been a crazy week though, so, not much lately. Hopefully i’ll get to post more over the weekend.

Quick update though on Annie Hilscher. She and mom Sarah (and dad Nick) are all doing fine. Last update i heard she is actually off oxygen and doesn’t have to be under the anti-jaundice-lamp-thing anymore. She may actually get to come home relatively soon, which is amazing to me. I was assuming she’d be in the hospital for a month or more at least.

In other news, my new job is going really well. It’s a lot of fun and really hits my strengths and comfort spots. But don’t get me wrong, it is definitely a challenge. My new group’s numbers are very low by the standards of the group i came from, so there is a lot of room for improvement. It is great to feel like i might actually be in a position to do something about it though, as my last few jobs often felt like great places for ideas, but no resources for follow-through. It is also going to be very challenging in learning the new organization (i use that term very loosely). This group is BIG and complicated. I have about 30 names and faces i need to learn fast (managers) and several hundred people i support overall. I am certainly better at names/faces than i used to be, but it is still a challenge.

I think the NHL board of governors needs to not only fix the schedule back so we can play all the teams, but they need to change the game to just two halves. The whole three-period thing is quaint, but it is costing the Predators games. We have been ahead or tied at the second intermission in almost every game we’ve played lately – and in the last several have either given up a lead we’ve had to re-earn, or lost the game entirely. Even in the blow-out against the Ducks the other night, we were competitive until the 3rd, then gave up a lot. The thing that is odd is that i don’t think it is a conditioning thing, which would be my first guess. We are a team built for speed and endurance and i haven’t noticed us slowing down in the 3rd. Just getting sloppy.

Plenty more to post about later (my new phone, East Nashville happenings, computer issues, etc) but that is all for now.


movin’ on…

In Me, Work on December 4, 2006 at 9:57 am

Just a quick note updating everyone on my personal life.

Today i officially start my new position at Dell.
I am moving from working with Higher Education accounts selling software and peripherals, to working as a printer specialist in the Small Business group. Its a good move for me, but i am sad to leave my old group. We’ve been together a long time (especially some of us) and it’s been a great time.

But hey, this new job is a definite promotion, and a great new job (no quota!).

And the best benefit of all will probably be that i am now on the 3rd floor: more stairs = more workout! I need it!

superconducting workers

In Me, Work on November 8, 2006 at 11:58 am

Computers (and most electronic equipment) run more efficiently (faster with less energy consumed) when chilled. The colder the better. The extreme of this is “superconductivity” – when electronic resistance is actually brought to zero (it takes temps of -200º C to do this though).

So, the computers in our work area are probably working more efficiently than they ever have before. Too bad the same could not be said for the people operating the computers.

We are all having to take frequent breaks to walk around and get blood flowing. I have gone to run my mouse hand under hot water twice in an effort to stop the stinging feeling in my fingers. You’d think that packed in here like we are, we’d be complaining of it being stuffy and hot – but not so much.

We finally got a thermometer to put up near by. The temperature has started to come up a bit today, so we don’t know what the low was yesterday, but it is currently 63º F on our row.

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…