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Paul Nicholson
Nashvegas TN
Digital Marketing Manager at HealthTrust. Social media junkie, strategist, and app idea guy. Hockey fan, photographer, and father to 2 awesome boys.

(Opinions expressed here are not those of my employer. Heck, they might not even be mine.)
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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

punkin stuff


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

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...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

movie/costume party

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.

Friday, October 27, 2006

hip shirts









Just a quick post to brag on my wife.
She just posted two new shirt designs on her store.
I think these are both pretty awesome and think everyone should buy a dozen...or at least one.

Really, if any of you want to comment this entry to give some feedback, i'm sure she'd love it.

good/rough night for Kariya

So i was at the Preds game last night for a great win over San Jose.
I was going to just talk about a few elements, but then i hit the Preds site and they had some great pictures of everything

First, Radulov scored his first goal..


and delivered what i think was his first big hit...



Poor Paul Kariya had a rough game though.
First he got decked while scoring a goal...


Then he got cross-checked by Thorton after the play was dead...


Then he got decked by a hard cross-check right into the boards and Toskala at the end of the game by McLaren...




In related news, I just found out that Paul McCann, the official PA announcer for Predators home games, well known hockey blogger, and commentator on WNSR 560 - actually has a day job working with me! Well, not exactly with me, but in the building. He works in consumer sales, I work in higher education sales, but hey - i saw him in the cafeteria. I'll have to go up and talk with him sometime.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

cool touch screen

For those that haven't seen this, you need to check it out. It is from a presentation at TED back in Feb of '06. This tech is still a little way from reaching the market, but i think the guy in the video is right - this could have a major impact on GUI's and the way most users interact with common non-PC devices. And even PC's when you think about some of the 3D elements Vista's Aero interface coming down the pike.



As a side note, these guys make awesome technology, but they have horrible websites.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

wow...

So the company i work for just posted this on thier corporate blog.
Wow. That's all i have to say.
To give you an idea of how "wow"...
Warning: this clip is not for little kids or the overly pure of heart.

Monday, October 23, 2006

visitor tracking

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

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

Saturday, October 21, 2006

welcome

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

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

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

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

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

where

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

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

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

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

blogging video frustrations

So a while back i posted the night of blogging and hockey.
In that post, i wrote a funny paragraph about Hordichuck getting in a fight. I said that when they started fighting, they didn't just throw their gloves down, rather it looked like someone had set off a grenade in an equipment locker. Gloves and sticks when flying in every direction. The fight itself was pretty poor, but the start looked really funny. Later i actually found video of that fight online and added it to the post.

Today i just realized that the video was still there but the paragraph describing it is gone. Just poof. No idea how that happened.

Anyway...i just took it out of the original post and am going to put it back in here on its own. Enjoy.


imperial history of the middle east and europe

This is a very interesting flash animation, which is supposed to show the history of the middle east over the last 5,000 years or so.

In reality what it shows is the major imperial power that ever controlled Canaan/Palestine/Israel/Judea and roughly when they came to power, etc. Its not terribly accurate (shows the Roman Empire taking Jerusalem in about 200 A.D., instead of 63 B.C.). It also doesn't give a very good impression of how long various groups controlled regions. The flow of time through the video is not constant. Egypt and the Kingdom of Judah (incorrectly labeled in the video as 'Kingdom of Israel') both lasted much longer than Byzantine control did. It also looks like the Ottoman's took control in about 1700. In reality, they invaded in 1516, and didn't leave until (1917).

But hey, it gives you the idea and it looks very cool.



For the record, i know this land has been fought over for thousands of years, but the specific problems we have today i still blame on the British. When they setup the "British Mandate of Palestine" it just made everyone upset and no one happy.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

night of blogging and hockey 2

7:25pm
So this is my third time sitting in Beyond the Edge to watch a Predators game.
Every game so far, the place has been relatively empty. Well not empty exactly, but not a lot of activity.

Tonight is very different. I am guessing its a Thirsty Thursday thing or something.
Lots of people coming in and out - even though the weather outside is nasty.
Just interesting to me. Even the poker tournament night they had last night didn't have this much by far.

(Later confirmed - yes, they are doing 2-for-1)



7:40pm
Steve Sullivan is out of the game tonight with back spasms. Josef Vasiceck was already out with ...something, and Darcy Hordichuk is out with separated cartilage on his ribs. So our "problem" of having too many good forwards on contracts to be able to bring in rookie sensation Alexander Radulov seems to have been solved. Too bad he couldn't be brought up fast enough though. We only have 19 skaters dressed tonight. It's forcing Trotz to run some interesting lines. I always love it when he does this.

Earlier he sent out the line of Karyia, Arnott, and Tootoo. I love those sorts of lines. To me, they are the best balance of skill, speed, strength, offense, defense, etc. They already scored once. Trotz even played these kinds of lines last year in the playoffs. I understand that there is a reason to have the lines as the usually are, but its nice to see these lines too. They are just so dang entertaining.



7:50pm
So Nashville is playing New Jersey tonight. You'd expect that to mean Vokoun vs. Brodeur. Well, not tonight. Trotz is still rotating Mason and Vokoun to help them both get in a rhythm and Broduer had played every game so far this year until tonight. So we have Mason vs. Clemmensen.

Of course to this point, Chris Mason is having a great game in goal. Only allowed one and it was a cross-ice back door deflection on the penalty kill. So i don't blame him too much for that.

Brodeur not playing also solved a real dilemma for me. You see, i am a huge Predators fan and have 3 Preds on my fantasy team. But Brodeur is my main fantasy goalie. It was going to be hard for both my skaters and my goalie to do well tonight. Not to mention, i didn't want Brodeur to get the win. I purposely got all three goalies from the eastern conference to avoid just this sort of problem. So with Brodeur not playing, things are much better :-)

I have to say, Clemmensen has pretty cool pads. At least from a distance on TV, they look all brown - so they look leather. Very old-school. If that isn't what they are, it should be. (Note added: you can see in the picture at the end of this post that he has black pads, not brown, but they do still look cool)

That is definitely what I would want - have modern gear, but make it look like the really old-school pads from the 60's or 70's. Speaking of which, I don't even remember how I found it the other day, but I found a site that has a whole bunch of vintage goalie masks. It is scary what those guys wore (or didn't wear) back in the day. Of course everyone knows the "Jason" style masks from the horror movies, but some of these are even more open and less protective than that. Amazing they weren't killed on every slapshot.



7:59pm
So the Preds just scored off a face-off. Shorthanded.
It was a faceoff in the Devil's end, Preds won the faceoff and Suter just took a one-timer. Went right through the crowd and through the 5-hole. All 3 of our points (and NJ's 1 goal too) have come on special teams. Given how much the refs are blowing the whistles tonight, should make for an interesting game.



8:02pm
And now someone from Lightning 100 just came in with posters and a few boxes of CDs. This place is loud and busy enough with two-for-one night. Most important, she's setting up on the stage between me and the TV with the game on. She had better not block it with a poster, that's all I'm saying. Of course, if I get a free CD or something and still get to watch the game, so much the better :-)



8:10pm
Ok, they are doing a music trivia night. That is somewhat fun. I'll give them that.

8:29pm
I knew about half the 10 trivia questions in round one. Relatively easy stuff like "which of these bands is not in the R&R Hall of Fame? Led Zepplin, Journey, The Sex Pistols" and "Who wrote the Bangles hit 'Manic Monday'?"

But many of them were about modern artists they play on Lightning 100 and I had never heard of them, much less know who so and so is the lead singer for, or who's new album is named whatever...but of course they are here to promote their station and music, so that's fine. Kinda fun concept really. Of course, those who know me know that i love trivia, especially about music, so even if i cant win, its fun to see this kinda thing.


9:40pm
Back at home.
Preds won in the shootout (gave up 2 quick goals late in the 3rd).
That makes it a clean sweep on the road trip.

--out

turn around

So the Predators start 0-3, and give up 17 goals in their first three games.
The next three games we go 3-0 and give up only 2 goals.
Think Trotz has been working defense in practice a little?

I just hope we can keep up the defense, then have the new offensive firepower start to gel.
That happens, and we get scary good.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

what makes baseball great

So, baseball is a fun sport. I used to like playing, and probably still would if i tried. It's a great American past-time (i don't say "the" American past-time because i think we are too fragmented to agree on anything like that anymore).

The things that makes baseball so great to play, for someone at any age, are:

  1. Baseball is very simple and easy to pick up
  2. It is fairly flexible in the equipment and area needed to play
  3. The game is not very physically demanding
Let's face it, you can play with almost anything, almost anywhere, and the game involves alot of standing around. Of course this last point gives it a huge advantage to making it popular in America. The less physically active you have to be and still be able to call yourself an athelete, the better. I think that's why golf, nascar, and poker have become so popular lately. You can be out of shape and overweight and still have a chance of getting on ESPN. They are also games you can spectate while eating or, more importantly, drinking and have a very slim chance of missing anything important.

The point here for me: the very things that make it a great game for someone like me to play, make it something i dont want to sit around and pay someone else to do in my place.

I think this is why football is the number one spectator sport in the US right now. It is exciting and physical, but with the time in between plays, it still offers a good opportunity to talk, eat, and get drunk.

Monday, October 16, 2006

fan of consistency

So, i realized the other day that i am apparently a fan of consistency. "My" teams are the San Antonio Spurs, Nashville Predators, and Tennessee Titans (formerly Houston Oilers). The coaches for each of those teams hold the second longest tenures in their respective leagues.

Unfortunately, I think coach Fisher's reign may be about to end, though i think Titans GM Floyd Reese should go well before Fisher. On the other hand, i think Sloan may be forced out of Utah soon given their lack of competitiveness for years since they lost the Malone/Stockton duo. That would make coach Pop the longest tenured coach in the NBA.

Go team(s)!

futility of october

(So instead of making one huge post about baseball as i said i would earlier, i'm just going to post little independent thought streams. My essay writing skills are not what they used to be, and my thought-writing skills are...well, better than my essay writing skills.)

It must be frustrating for baseball fans to know that unless they are one of the top 9-10 teams in a league of 30 at the beginning of the year, they have almost no chance of seeing their team in the playoffs, much less win it all.

Meanwhile fans of basketball or hockey need only have their team in the top 50% of the league, and no one is ever really eliminated until well past the half-way point of the season. Some years all but 5 or 6 teams are still in "the hunt" with just a few weeks to go. Last year, there were about 23 teams out of 30 in the NHL fighting for playoff position down to the wire.

Will the team in 9th place trying to get a spot win it all if they get in? Probably not. But there are always stories like the Oilers last year or the Knicks in '98-'99 where the number 8 team went all the way to the finals. Sometimes they actually win. Most importantly, it keeps the fans engaged and gives them reason to hope. For baseball fans, "playing for pride" with months left in the season doesn't keep you excited, especially in the era of free agents and trades where a players loyalty to team is not what it once was.

  • In the NFL, 10 out of 32 teams (31%) make the playoffs, but you have the "any given Sunday" phenomenon where the season is so short, that all it takes is a few wins or losses to swing a season - so, at least at the beginning of the year, most teams' fans have hope.
  • In the NBA and NHL, 16 out of 30 teams (53%) make the playoffs. There is an 82 game season for both, meaning there is a good balance of weight for making games "matter".
  • In MLB, only 8 out of 30 teams (26%) make the playoffs, and the games are close to meaningless.
Oh - and news flash to MLB - more teams and longer playoffs means more revenue for everyone involved. Why would you not want that?

5 points addition?

I just read an article in the City Paper talking about a new development in 5-point. Not in the 5 Points area, but one of the actual 5 "points". Ya know, the parking lot next to the realtors.

The lot cant be more than 40ft by 100ft at most, and its now supposed to house a 2-3 story building with retail and residential spots?

I don't think so.

Parking is already an issue down there, but now we're going to take away spots - and add reasons to need more of them? Not to mention it is going to completly block the view of Art & Invention, which is realistically the destination on that "point".

The author of this piece seems very excited. He wants to get rid of the "mulch pit" and the parking lot. 5 Points is an area, not an intersection. There is nothing magical about those "points" themselves.

The parking is needed and visually opens up the intersection. The "mulch pit" belongs to Cumberland Hardware store that has been there since at least early 60's. Get rid of the "pit" and it will likely drive them out of business.

Does a "modern" 3 story building towering over the area honestly sound like a good idea for "historic" 5-points? Instead, I would vote that some of the other buildings in the area be re-habbed into useful spaces (such as the red-ish purple building next to the Citgo, the always-closed interior decorator next to Cumberland Hardware, or the former Karma building behind Alley Cat).

They are also planning on calling it "The Woodland at 5 Points". Um...pretentious? Yes. Lame? Yes! How about calling it "Le Pent-house" (ha ha, get it..."pent"). Besides, its address won't even be on Woodland, it will be on South 11th Street, but i guess "The South 11th Street at 5 Points" sounds really dumb.

Yes, the Citgo could use a face-lift, but other than that why compress more construction (which will destroy traffic patterns while being built) into a historic area when you could move just down the block and stretch the space further, probably for cheaper too.

Oh - and he also rattled off a few nicknames for 5 Points.
My new nomination: da penta

(update: the property in question is parcel 08309017900 and is exactly 35.75ft x 143 feet. With 6 feet of right-of-way and sidewalks off two edges, it is effectivly 30ft x 137ft.)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

mustard hockey

So, after the Predators opened their season last year with 8 straight wins, and an improved roster this year, expectations were high. At least mine were. I didn't think we'd win 8 out of the gate, but i was hoping for at least a 6-2 start or something. Things didn't work out that way though. We started with 3 straight losses. The first two were bad. Didn't play well, etc. Third one we played better, but still came up short.

Anyway, on Friday the Tennessean did a story on some of the superstitions and routines that the Preds players and coaches have. Funny stuff like Scott Nichol's pre-game PB&J, etc. My friend Anna (i did her website BTW) is singing the national anthem before the game on Dec 14th. They told her that if the Preds win that night, she is likely to be asked back. If they loose, she is likely to not return - has nothing to do with her singing.

Well, anyway - after the 0-3 start, you knew coach Trotz would start shaking some things up. Not only did he start messing with the lines, but out came the much maligned "3rd jersey". The mustard-colored sweaters that look more like a practice jersey than anything official. Fewer markings, fewer colors - just a lot of yellow-ish mustard color. I don't mind them that much really, but some of the players are reported to hate them, and most fans like to wear them in the stands, but prefer the players refrain from wearing them on the ice.

Well, i would be willing to bet we see a lot more of them soon. After going 9-4 last year in the mustard, and getting our first win of the season with them this year, i am sure we'll see them a lot more.

How much more we'll see them is an interesting question. There is actually a schedule of when they are supposed to wear the jerseys (Sat's game was already on the sched), but i wouldn't doubt it if we start wearing them as our full-time home colors.

FYI: They are already scheduled to wear them for the game Anna is singing for.

Update: The Predators finished the season 11-1-2 while wearing the "3rd Jersey", including a 6-0 win in the game Anna sang at.

report

So...we got the patio done, got the stairs fixed, dumped the sofa, and saw an opera.

Tired.

But it was a good day.
Fun stuff.

Pictures of fence/deck/patio/puppy still to come.

...oh and the Preds won. 4-1 vs Phoenix.
So it was a good day.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

working on the weekend

Just a quick note to keep myself in the blogging habit.

Today's going to be a working day, but i'm looking forward to it. We went to bed really early last night (about 10pm) after making our first fire of the winter in the fireplace and got up early this morning (early on a Sat for me is about 8:00am). Now we're about to run grab my father-in-law's truck and clean out the garage...finally going to haul away our old sofa. Then we're going to 'da Hood Depot to get some lumber to fill in the gaps in the stairs of our new deck that our new puppy keeps escaping through. Of course, i'm also planning on cooking lunch on our new grill too, if the times permits. (mental note: post pictures of new deck and puppy). We'll see. More to do after that...

After all the chores, we've got tickets to the Nashville Opera's performance of Aida that a friend of ours is in. She's "just" in the chorus, but it should be very cool.

So, busy day. But hopefully it will be one of those good, productive, fulfilling days too.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

night of blogging and hockey

So tonight i hung around and watched hockey at a bar, and blogged...
Here is the result:


8:09pm
So, i have discovered that an interesting side effect of having a blog: i am constantly thinking of things to blog during the day - especially while in the car. Of course, now that i can actually write it, i can't remember most of what i was going to say.

I was originally hoping to watch the game at Batter'd n Fried. Alas, they have a baseball playoff game on there, and Matt (the owner) directed me "up stairs" (actually up a hill and across a parking lot) to Beyond the Edge. He owns both places and is trying to make BTE a place known for having the Preds games on. Don't get me wrong, I love the concept - except that Batter'd n Fried is smoke-free. BTE is not. It's not horrible. Certainly not as bad as the Box Seat or other sports bars i've been in, but it's there none-the-less. Oh - and BNF is a good, casual restaurant. Quiet-ish. BTE is has a loud-ish crowd here mostly for beer (duh) and worse: a juke box blaring really loud (usually really bad) music. Just not conducive to watching, thinking, and typing. But they didn't ask me.


8:15pm
End of the first period. Preds down 0-1. doh.
I'm going to use the intermission to start writing a big blog entry about what's wrong with Major League Baseball. Yes i am writing in my blog that i am going to start writing a future blog entry. Maybe i'm taking this blog thing too far...


8:22pm
Fox Sports just showed a really cool looking feature with Jordan Tootoo and Scottie Upshall doing a community outreach deal where they played street hockey with a bunch of kids and signed autographs and stuff. Looked really cool. They also talked a lot. Too bad I didn't hear a word of it! No close caption, and no way i could hear it over the deafening, bad nu-metal. Oh well.


8:54pm
So after much writing, this baseball story is apparently turning into that: a story. Its already way too long for a blog entry. I may need to create a section for "essays" or something.

Back to the topic of my venue for the evening. I moved from a seat at a bar-type thing (standing table in the middle of the restaurant) to a nice cushy high-backed chair on a stage-like thing they have here. Its just up a few inches, so its not like i really am on stage. But it's right in front of a plasma, and is a lot easier on my back than the bar stool was. This i can live with. Even if i will smell like an ashtray and be deaf when i get home.


9:00pm
I'll say this much. The Preds are still down 0-1, but we are playing way better hockey than those first two games. We are on the attack, but not giving up odd man rushes. We are making Chicago work for every shot. The defensmen are playing smart and the forwards are not out of position. By all rights we should be up at least 2-1 anyway. We've pinged the post no fewer than 3 times that i've noticed and the 2nd period isn't even over yet. Mason has been playing lights-out too. I don't think Vokoun has lost his mojo, he's still our #1 goalie, but it's good to know Mason is at least as good and gives us a solid 2nd backstop when we need it. And heck, i'll say it: if it turns out Vokoun did loose his stuff, it is nice to have a good option for #1.


9:29pm
Finally, the predators scored!
About 5 min into the 3rd, its 1-1.
Bad part...the bar hasn't been this quiet all night long. No kidding. The juke box just quit about the time the puck went in, and its creepy quiet in here. Noone reacted to the goal except myself (a slight double-fist pump and "yes" under my breath). I looked around and didn't see any other reactions. Sad.

10:53pm
So that's it. Pred's lost 3-1 (take away the empty-netter and it was 2-1). A well played game, but still a loss. Not a great start this year.

And with that...my longest blog entry to date (hopefully ever?) comes to an end.

google doesnt know itself

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

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

funny.

me?

So after creating a blog i decided to google myself to see where i show up. It'd been a while since i'd done this. Turns out, i am a former hockey player! ...besides also being an egyptologist, photographer, classical music conductor, silent movie actor, and a small engine aircraft hobbyist with a really bad webpage.

I'm pretty into the first 5 things - so maybe its my destiny to get into flying small aircraft...though that's more my friend Matt's area than mine.

Besides, with the news from yesterday I don't think my wife would be too enthusiastic.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Frist Post!

I am teh first post!

if you are confused...