About Me

My Photo
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.)
VIEW MY PROFILE

Contact Me!

Call me on my GoogleVoice number: 615-823-1734

Labels

Archives

I HAVE MOVED

THIS IS NO LONGER MY BLOG
I HAVE MOVED TO
http://nicholsonrecords.com/paul
Please redirect your links!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

never ask 'where' again

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.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

crime and punishment (part 2)

A while back I was ranting against the NHL’s policy of letting the injury determine the penalty handed out. Well, it looks like they finally realized that in some cases that just can’t apply. While there hasn’t been any formal retraction of this policy, there have been a few higher profile cases lately where penalties and suspensions were obviously given out for the severity of the penalty, not the injury (like Scott Nichols' 5-game suspension for a stupid cross-check that caused only a nosebleed).

Best case yet is Chris Simon’s record breaking 30-game suspension (breaking his own record 25-game suspension from last year). He intentionally stomped on the foot of Jarkko Ruutu (with a sharp skate blade on his foot, remember) while Ruutu was down. Miraculously Ruutu was not injured at all on the play, but he could have been seriously. The NHL’s statement says it best:

"While fortunate, Mr. Ruutu suffered no serious injury as a result of Chris Simon's actions, the deliberate act of kicking an opponent with a skate blade, especially when that opponent is in a vulnerable position, is and always has been a repugnant and totally unacceptable act in the game of hockey.”
That’s two good suspensions in a row for unacceptable behavior. Let’s hope this translates to the minor/double-minor/major calls on the ice for an otherwise decent check or a minor trip that turns into a fluke injury.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Hobbit movie is on!

Breaking news... The Hobbit, long delayed thanks to legal fighting between Peter Jackson and New Line, is on! And it's going to be two movies!

For the quick backstory: Peter Jackson sued New Line saying that he was underpaid for his work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. New Line had the exclusive rights to produce a movie based on the books. Tolkien's family had to approve any filmmaker chosen to head the project. They wanted Peter Jackson. Thus, a three-way lockdown. Trick was, New Line's rights to the books were going to expire soon. So if they didn't get it made, they would lose the contract and the Tolkien family could re-bid the rights (which would be worth a fortune thanks to the success of the LOTR).

But it looks like Jackson and New Line have made up (surprise) so the movie can go forward. They are saying that it is going to be "the Hobbit and a sequel"...i can only assume that means they are splitting the book into two parts. If they are doing the Hobbit and then going to do the Silmarillion as movie...not sure that would really work :-)

Production is supposed to start "as soon as possible" which means the folks at WETA are probably already working on stuff, and Peter Jackson will start in full-time once he wraps up The Lovely Bones and does whatever he has to do as producer for Tintin, District 9, and the Halo movie (if it ever gets made).

For those not familiar, the only characters in common between the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit are the main character, Bilbo Baggins (though he is much younger), Gandolf the Grey, and Golum. Andy Serkis will of course be back to play Golum as a CG character again, while Ian McKellen is assumed to be returning as Gandolf (though he'll be 71 by the time the first movie comes out). Bilbo was played in the last movie by Ian Holm, and while i loved his part, and there is always the possibility of fabulous de-aging technology, it is assumed that Bilbo will be re-cast. I'd really love it if they could somehow let Ian Holm play the character. Provide a great sense of continuity...but i just don't see it happening. I just hope they don't try to use Elijah Wood and change his look. LOTR survived with him as Frodo, but... yeah, let's not go there.

good eats

Heads up on a fun article in the City Paper about Sweet 16th. The best bakery I’ve ever been to, bar none.

NBA plus/minus?

Wow. After bragging about hockey for having some of the best stats out there, it looks like the NBA is finally wising up and matching them in at least one category.

The NBA is now tracking players plus/minus. I just noticed it on the box score for the Spurs game from last night (don't look, it wasn't pretty). Going back in to the archives, it looks like they only just started reporting the stat at the start of this season on October 30th. They aren't publishing complete plus/minus numbers for players for the season though, which is unfortunate. This is the one stat that should start to a quantifiable number for defensive-minded players. I look forward to being able to dig in and watch these numbers as the year progresses though, and even better from year to year.

Friday, December 14, 2007

published pictures

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:

and

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 :-)

Preds Sign Blum

In more Preds minor league/prospect news, Eklund is "reporting" that we just signed our draft pick Jonathan Blum to a three year deal. Blum was our first round pick last year (23rd overall), and is yet another strong defensive prospect. He's another one "puck-moving" defensmen (as opposed to the ones that sit on the puck?) with a penchant for offense. Right now he's just 160lbs, but he stands 6'0" and is just 18 years old, so hopefully he'll fill out and become a more physical presence. He's from Long Beach, CA (that's California, not Canada), a great hockey town (that's for you, Mirtle). He's been playing in Vancouver of the WHL for a couple of years.

Good stuff.

the mullet is called up

The Preds just called up forward Antti Pihlstrom from the Admirals. That's right. The man/boy with the best mullet in camp this summer (pictured at right), who was a star in Finland last year, has been called up. My big question: is this a reaction to the poor play of our current players? An offensive shot in the arm? Or is this just a chance for Antti (to be called "Pihlly"?) to sit on the bench and be ready in case someone else falls victim to the flu? Or worst of all, is Erat out for a while?

There has been some discussion around the forums and other blogs lately that since Sully will be gone for a while, the Preds need an offensive shot in the arm. A trade or some other shakeup to get things going.

Pihlstrom has been having a very strong year in Milwalkee and from what i saw at camp, is a Radulov-esque offensive firecracker. High energy, shoot first attitude, but not as reckless as Hornqvist still looks. The fact that they are calling up Pihlstrom and not Peverly or other forwards with more NHL experience tells me that Poile is looking for production and spark, not just safe reliability.

I like it :-)

this looks familiar

I have referenced this story before
Once upon a time, when the DVD+RW and DVD-RW camps were battling things out, I had a fledgling media business where I would convert people’s home movies to DVD and author nice fancy menus for them and such. However, I didn’t want to get stuck buying the wrong kinda of DVD burner, so I shelled out nearly $500 for an external Sony “4 format” drive. I assumed it would be a rare beast and that eventually one format would win, but I wanted to cover my bases. Just 6 months after I bought that Sony drive for $500, a truce was declared, 4-format drives became popular, and dropped in price to under $100.

So having learned that lesson, I’m certainly holding off on this. But it is good to know the options are getting better…

Addonics (anyone ever heard of them before?) has finally come out with a sub-$500 drive that will read both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs (while burning old-school DVD+/-RW’s). That’s just fine with me since I can’t even remember the last time I burned a DVD…that’s what network attached storage and set-top media extenders are for these days. I certainly don’t know when I’d need to burn a 25GB disk. This is pretty similar to this LG drive from a few months ago, but i personally still can't find these phantom LG drives for actual sale anywhere. At least the Addonics are available for purchase.

Anyway. With this little toy, all anyone would need is a video card that supports H.264 decoding (they start at around $50) and a decent PC overall and they’d be able to watch HD-DVD and Blu-Ray movies on their PC (not to mention the tons of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD software that is out there…oh wait…there isn’t any). Total price (assuming you have a PC that is a year old or less) to get you to the HD promised land would run a total of about $500. Much better than, say, the few stand-alone dual-format players that run upwards of $999. Ouch.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

communal viewing

We own lots of DVDs. Not nearly as many as some people i'm sure, but we have quite a bit. Not just movies, but a lot of TV shows too. We also subscribe to Netflix, which in addition to the DVD's through the mail we get, allows us to instantly stream movies over the web (from a rather limited selection). We also frequent Hulu and other online content sources. In light of all of this, we do not have cable. No need. More than enough entertainment and not enough time in the day as it is. The only TV show we’re huge fans of and “have” to watch is Stargate and we just go over to a friend’s house every Friday for that (which is more fun anyway)… So, that's your background.

I want to continue my process of ripping content from DVDs on to our big network drive. Have any and all of our media instantly accessible. Then my goal is to get a PC hooked up to the HDTV upstairs (already have one driving the projector-home theater downstairs) and just be in media heaven. Never have to watch “TV” again outside of live sporting events.

I love all this. My wife however, does not love it as much.

She’s fine with me ripping the content, and fine with watching shows occasionally and we watch movies frequently. But she still insists on occasionally watching TV. We have a good ‘ol set of rabbit ears and she’ll end up watching re-runs of sitcoms on fuzzy broadcast TV with…with… commercials included. I don’t understand this. She tries to explain it as wanting a “communal viewing experience”. She likes knowing that there are thousands (if not hundreds) of other people watching the same thing she is at the same time. I comprehend the facts of that statement, but it isn’t something I’ve ever felt compelled to partake in myself. What I really don’t get is how she’d often rather watch the fuzzy, broadcast, commercial filled version of Scrubs than just boot up the PC and watch the near-commercial-free version that is much higher quality on Hulu. I would way rather have a nice, clear, perfect version of my entertainment, starting and stopping when I darn well please, than have to be on someone else’s schedule for an inferior product. (wow, that sounded more harsh than I meant…)

But now it looks like there is something for both of us.

According to Cinematical, the new Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix HD-DVD allows for "Live Community Screening". Basically if you have a web-connected HD-DVD drive (which most allow for), when you hit play under this feature the movie doesn’t start immediately. Playback is controlled by a single "host" user, who initiates the invitation-only viewing, and can control the film by pausing and playing the feature on everyone else's machines. Participants can also text between their remote devices, creating a virtual "live chat" environment while they watch. High quality, great presentation, but the knowledge that someone else in who-knows-where is laughing at Harry and Ron at exactly the same time you are is still present.

Kinda cool...I guess. This is a strange, strange world we live in.

Oh - and in related news: Warner Brothers is backing off HD-DVD and it looks like the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD lines are going in favor of Blu-Ray. The HD-DVD version of Order of the Phoenix also comes bundled with a standard DVD, and for the first time Harry Potter movies (or any Warner Brohters movie as far as i know) is being pressed to Blu-Ray as well (I don't know of Blu-Ray'ers get the above mentioned "communal experience" though). Actually, it looks like they are Blu-Raying all the Harry Potters.

Monday, December 10, 2007

smack talk

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

new air pollution law... maybe

According to the Nashville Post, we have a change to air pollution laws about to hit at the start of the new year that is explained thusly:

Places certain restrictions on open burning of wood waste within 200 feet of an unoccupied building by person other than the occupant of the building.
You wanna run that by me again? I can't burn wood near an unoccupied building unless i am the person who occupies the building? I know we pay our legislators too much... but... wow.

Of course, it could be a typo on the part of the Nashville Post. The PDF they link to which is supposed to be the actual law summary, talks about the state taking over federal programs when the feds budget comes up short. So i think it's just screwed up. Sounded funny to me though.

Fantasy Hockey Update

Just wanted to post a quick update on my Fantasy Hockey league.

Pulled a quick stats analysis for everyone. Basically this shows the totals for all stat categories for everyone currently on all rosters (averages, not totals for the GAA and SV% categories). Just a quick, sloppy view of where everyone's strengths and weaknesses are. Of course, Starcats and Rebel Mandos are both carrying 4 goalies and Ice Holes just has 2, so the win totals are a little skewed, but this gives the general idea.

Should point out the need for a few trades... hum?



Full sheet available here if this view doesn't work for you.

Just a reminder, here's the cast of players:

Rebel Mandos: Kevin Peters
Ice Holes: Paul McCann
Novice -- Fresh Meat: Kevin Hicks
Fab Forecheckers: Dirk Hoag (aka "The Forechecker">
Preds: Paul Nicholson (me!)
Disastros: David Carlson
PuckNtheMouth: Brandon Felder
PredHeads: Ryan Cassell
Nashvegas Starcats: Christy Nicholson (aka HockeyWife)
Old School Blues: Gary Nicholson

oh the shame

T.J. Hensick and Marek Svatos have got to be going through some real self-reflection time right now. Their team, the Colorado Avalanche dropped 9...NINE goals on the St Louis Blues last night. But somehow, in their 9 and 12 minutes of ice time (respectively) they managed to end up -1 for the game. Now, granted, Colorado also gave up 5 goals to a powerful Blues team, it was a crazy shootout. But still. When you're team finishes with 9 goals, ending the game -1 just looks silly.

Note: For the non-hockey fans among readers, the plus/minus rating is a hockey stat that measures the team goal differential when a specific player is on the ice. If a player is on the ice when his team scores (even strength or short handed) they get +1. If they are on the ice when their team is scored on (even strength or power play) they get -1.

really?!

I haven't had a chance to watch very much basketball, what with so much hockey around and just being busy. I try to stay up on things though. I know my Spurs are on top, Boston is cleaning up out east... but i just saw that New Orleans is in 2nd place in the division and 3rd in the conference. What!? Someone please explain to me how and why New Orleans has a better record than... well... anyone. Especially better than Dallas. Weird...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Free beer! (and sodas)


New Preds owner David Freeman just walked through section 303, shook everyone's hand, thanked them for supporting the team, and passed out coupons for free beer or soda. This guy knows what he's doing. Not sure if Craig Leipold is gonna join us up here for the game again or not. There is definately a buzz in the arena. First official game with the new owners.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

ok...here it goes

This is something i've thought about for a long time, but never posted, mostly out of fear of a 'sensitive' issue. Very few people do talk about it. But Kukla's Korner just linked to someone else talking about it, so i figured i'd chime in:

I have often wondered about the lack of minority players playing at least a partial role in hockey not being as quickly adopted in the southern (particularly south-east) US. When i go to games in Nashville, the vast majority of fans in the stands are all white. Like 98.5%. Meanwhile Titans games and other sports in town draw just about equally from the black and white communities. In cities where there is a large minority population (in some cases they are the vast majority, in fact) it makes an "all-white" sport a tough draw, economics aside. I wish it didn't, but i think it does. I've often wondered if the Preds would start drawing better if they traded for Ray Emery, Anson Carter, or maybe even Mike Grier (i'd love to have Jarome Iginla, but i don't think that's going to happen).

Outside of just the local team draw, i think the lack of diversity impacts the overall appeal nationwide. Many sports right now are heavily promoted/influenced/marketed with "black culture".

A friend of mine (who is black) told me he just got season tickets for the Preds. He was amazed. He'd never seen hockey live before and has absolutely fallen in love. He said he grew up watching nothing but football and basketball. He'd just never been exposed to it. I don't think that much is unique to him being black, just growing up in Nashville. But what i think is more unique is that, for those little kids who are 9 or 10 growing up...they look for role models. People they can relate to but want to emulate. Right now, as much as he may enjoy watching a game, there aren't a whole lot players for a 9-year old black kid growing up in Nashville or Atlanta to relate to.

I'm not saying hockey is doing it on purpose. I'm not saying that hockey can't succeed as it is now. But i really think that hockey would have a huge boost, especially in the southern US, if they could increase the minority presence. Many teams (the Preds included) are starting to run hockey programs for kids that can't afford it. The more accessible they can make it, the better. How might things look different if someone like Lebron James had decided he wanted to be the next Wayne Gretzky, not the next Michael Jordan.

Ok. There. I said it.
Let the flame wars begin...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

new place to watch games

Well, Beyond the Edge apparently did decide to pick up the Center Ice package after all! They just posted yesterday on MySpace that they would have the game on (against Montreal) and had subscribed to the package. I wish they had gone non-smoking, but i understand why they didn't. It was really amazing, earlier this year Christy and i called around to a ton of places trying to find someplace that had Center Ice and didn't allow smoking. After a while we just tried to find someplace that had Center Ice. The only place we could find was Sam's Place in Hillsboro Village. We'd never been there and it was pretty cool. Nicer than most sports bars i've ever been to, though we were stuck watching the game on a small TV in the corner that night since it was a big college football night. But this will be waaaay nicer being able to watch the game 1) on the big screen 2) much closer to home and 3) with our good friend Josef (the manager) who is also a big Preds fan and will yell and high-five us when they we score :-)

that'll be the day

Greag Popovich has to love that the Spurs beat the Mavs tonight without Tim Duncan. He has to be fuming at this news though. The NBA is going to require all coaches to be mic'ed up during games and give on-bench interviews during the game anytime they are on national TV. Popovich has always kept himself and his team just at the league minimum for media exposure. As few interviews as possible, as few reporters at practice as possible, etc. He is always terse and sometimes rude to reporters trying to get in a quick half-time interview with him in the hall. My guess is that more than once he will be required to pay a fine for refusing to do the interview or not wearing the mic. I hope so at least.

I really find that pretty amazing. I've seen the Predators and other NHL clubs do it with assistant coaches and with backup goalies. Also with players who volunteer. But... wow. I enjoy hearing what the coaches have to say, but this is a little extreme i think.

finally i can edit on the road

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

tempting...

If i could know for a fact that i would be able to secure a reliable cheap/free supply of cooking oil, this would be pretty tempting given that we own two diesel vehicles (both VW hatchbacks that get 40+ MPG). If i remember our budget, this is going for roughly what we spend in 1 year on fuel. So given that i'd still have to buy chemicals, the inevitable maintenance on the machine itself, and the work/risk/hassle of the actual process... i think it's still a little ways away for us. But tempting. And i like that it is getting closer to practicality.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

vocational issues

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.
[sigh]

Monday, December 03, 2007

crime and punishment

The NHL just handed down the suspension for Scott Nichol's cross check to the face of Patrice Brisebois the other night. 5 games. I guess that's about right, though I expected less and would have been ok with more.

What was particularly interesting to me about this, was the statement by Colin Campble, NHL disciplinarian (VP of Operations). His statement read: "The crosscheck by Mr. Nichol to the head area of his opponent was reckless and dangerous. Although no serious injury resulted, the action is unacceptable."

Interesting. I am a little confused though. I've ranted about the punishment fitting the crime not the injury in the NHL before, but this year the league has outright stated that punishments will be doled out in accordance to the severity of the injury (if any).

But this situation has me confused. I figured Nichol would get a game or two since there was very little injury (a small cut on his chin). I think the action deserved a 7 game suspension if not quite a bit more (in light of the 20+ game suspensions for some sketchy hits during the course of play earlier this year). And a 5 game suspension gets handed down. And the comments go with them... I'm not sure if Nichol got of easy because there wasn't an injury, or if these comments should lead us to believe he got a stronger penalty because of his actions, not the injury.

Either way, i know Horichuck doesn't have the (occasional) defensive smarts and penalty killing that Nichol has, but i'll be glad to see him in and Nichol out for a while. Nichol's a decent player, but he's gotta stop doing idiotic stuff like this or he's going to cost his team big time when it comes to the playoffs... oh wait...he already did last year.

Net is down


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

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

vocabulary

I have noticed a recent trend in the office. Speech which i only "saw" in online forums and from high schoolers is working its way into spoken, workplace vocabulary. Phrases like "that effing stinks" and "W-T-F". These euphamisms for the F-bomb are nothing new, but it just sounds really funny outloud. I personally have been known to say "that was freaking amazing" and i know deep down that it is a substitute for alternative language, just like "what the heck", etc. But i've never said that in a business environment (that i can recall) and i've never, in personal or business life, actually pronounced the word "effing". It just sounds dumb. Even worse: people actually saying "double-you tee eff"...as in WTF. Huh?

I've always been a big believer that vocabulary, if not accurately revealing, is frequently used as a way to judge a person's intelligence. As a very wise...er, uh...enthusiastic Ruby Rod said in The 5th Element: "Will you please act like you have more than a 2-word vocabulary!"

Friday, November 30, 2007

my alley cat review

Nashville Restaurants just got through posting a review of Alley Cat over here in East Nashville. I could not keep silent. My review (rebuttal) follows:

The food is very good, though a little confused at times (i'll get to that in a second). Most of all, i have to argue this place as "tex-mex" or a "grill". It is neither. It is more a fancy french-style restaurant's take on foods that share names in common with tex-mex foods. While excellent, very little on their menu is really tex-mex. The fajitas in particular are very mixed up. They are, strickly speaking, accurate insofar as they are beef with veggies served with tortillas. However, the beef is not marinated skirt or even flank steak, but brisket. Some of the best smoked brisket i've had outsite of central Texas mind you, but brisket none the less. Completely wrong for fajitas, and ruined as great brisket by the veggies. It turns out to be an interesting meal worth eating, but not what i'm looking for when i order fajitas.

Their greatest failure remains the value however. This is why they fit into the fancy french restaurant category as far as i'm concerned (though fail there as the atmosphere and service is inconsistent with the size of the inevitable bill). The portions are small, and - worst of all - they charge for chips and salsa. Now, this is some of the best salsa i've ever had in my life - and i'm a frequent tex-mex eater that grew up in San Antonio. This salsa is amazing. It also costs about $5 to order. Unforgivable. If they sold it by the 20oz bottle on the way out the door i might pay $20 for the stuff, but when i sit down at the table and place an order for $40-$50 worth of "tex-mex" for 2 people, i darn well expect to get chips and salsa gratis.

To give you an example of how much in the fancy-smanshy category this place is: on my first visit there i ordered the scallops. I forget exactly what they called them, but they were essentially seared scallops with a cilatro-based sauce. Excellent...all 4 of them. They were big scallops, but it took me precisely 8 bites and i had finished my meal, while my wife was just starting into her dinner.

[added, not in original comment]
However, it is not a nice restaurant. The service has always been very very slow (we've been 3 times) and the atmosphere inside borders on a dive bar. Outside on the patio (where we always sit) is nicer, but extremely casual. Like we're sitting on someone's back porch. A nice back porch if it was a neighbors, but not a nice restaurant.
[/finish add]

If this place was nicer (like, say a Trace or Eastland Cafe vibe) and quit pretending like they were a tex-mex grill, then i'd be all for it. As it is, i just can't justify it or tolerate it. Even for that oh-so-wonderful salsa.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

NHL BoG Approves Preds Sale and New Schedule

Looks like Nashville hockey fans have two things to be happy about.
104.5 is reporting (that TSN is reporting) that the NHL Board of Governors has approved the sale of the Predators to the "local" group. Despite my recent criticisms, i strongly believe this is a very good thing, particularly in light of the recent comments about a push for promotion off the ice byt he about-to-be-owners.

The BoG have apparently also approved a new schedule format that will mean 6 games against each divisional opponent (3 home, 3 away), 4 against each conference foes (2/2), 1 game against opposite conference teams (could be home, could be away), plus a few random games against other opponents. The wild card games i particularly like. As i understand it, it gives the opportunity for out-of-division and out-of-conference rivals (like Colorado and Detroit) to play just a little more often if they want.

And after 2 periods the Preds are up 3-2 and JP Dumont (on my fantasy roster) has 1 goal and 2 assists. The Preds won 6-5 in a crazy shootout. Wow. Best of all, between JP Dumont and Martin Erat i got 2 goals, 5 assists, +2, 9 shots, and 2 short handed points for my fantasy team this week. Thanks boys! :-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

vindicated

Normally i'm not the type, but i just had to say when i read this, i thought "i told you so" (and by "you" here i mean 'the interwebs').

Definitely has me wondering if i should lay off getting it until they get production stabilized. Thankfully (?) i think my budget will make that decision for me for a while longer.

preds breakdown

Just wanted to point everyone over to Forechecker, who just posted a great analysis of the Preds first 1/4 of a season.

(I just realized the title of this post could be totally misinterpreted a very pessimistic post. I hope no one thinks that. I think we're doing really well, actually.)

That is all.

Monday, November 26, 2007

proof it wasn't a dream

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.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

blogger

Test

Thursday, November 22, 2007

showing off hulu

First off, here's your promised list of all shows currently on Hulu (* denotes a show currently on air):

24
30 Days
* 30 Rock
The A-Team
Adam-12
Age of Love
Airwolf
Alfred Hitchcock Hour
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alias Smith And Jones
* American Dad!
Andy Barker P.I.
* Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?
Arrested Development
* Back To You
Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica Classic
Big Ideas for a Small Planet
* Bionic Woman
The Bob Newhart Show
* Bones
Boo!
Breaking Away
Brother's Keeper
Buck Rogers
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Burn Notice
Chicago Hope
* Chuck
The Comebacks
* Cops
Cover Me
The Crow: Stairway To Heaven
* Damages
Doogie Howser, M.D.
Dr. 90210
Dr. Steve-O
Dragnet
Eco Biz
Eureka
Exosquad
Family Guy
* Firsthand
Flipping Out
* Friday Night Lights
* Ghost Hunters
* Heroes
Hill Street Blues
* House
Inside the Actors Studio
* It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Jack of All Trades
* Journeyman
* K-Ville
* King Of The Hill
Kitchen Confidential
* Kitchen Nightmares
Kojak
L.A. Dragnet
Land of the Giants
* Las Vegas
* Late Night with Conan O'Brien
* Life
The Loop
Lost in Space
Lou Grant
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
McHale's Navy
Miami Vice
Monk
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
Murder One
My Bare Lady
* My Name is Earl
Nanny and the Professor
Night Gallery
* The Office
Over There
Peacemakers
* Phenomenon
Picket Fences
The Practice
The Pretender
* Prison Break
Psych
Queer Eye
The Real Housewives of Orange County
Remington Steele
The Riches
Rob and Amber: Against the Odds
Saturday Night Live
* Scrubs
Simon & Simon
* The Simpsons
Sitting Ducks
Sixth Sense
Solitary
St. Elsewhere
Stacked
Standoff
The Starter Wife
Swamp Thing
* Talkshow with Spike Feresten
Tequila & Bonetti
* The Tonight Show
Total Recall 2070
Vanished
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
WKRP in Cincinnati
Woody Woodpecker (New)

And here are the full-length movies that are avialble (yes, that is the Arnold Schwarzenegger version of "Conan"):
The Breakfast Club
Conan the Barbarian
The Blues Brothers
Bulworth
The Jerk
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
October Sky
Sideways
Weekend at Bernie's

Interesting thing about the movies: some of them are 'edited for TV' (like "Master and Commander") - pan-and-scan and edited for content...

...while others (like "Conan") are show in their 'original format' or at least close to it. They just cram the super-wide cinemascop into 16:9 TV format, which means the whole full length movie is all squishy.

Note: You can also see on the screen shots above how often the commercials happen - they are the little gray dots on the timeline at the bottom of the screen. Each one represents a single 30-second commercial. Not too bad considering the movie is 2 hours and 16 min long.

Another really cool thing about watching some of the longer content: it apparently sets a cookie. If you watch a movie (or show) on one PC - stop - then come back, it remembers where you left off and starts at that point. Pretty sweet, i think.

Oh, and here are a few other random things they have on the site...
Fox Movie Channel presents "Casting Session"
Fox Movie Channel presents "Making a Scene"
Fox Movie Channel presents "World Premiere"
IGN Videos
...as well as clips (not full shows) of a few other programs like soap operas. Whatever.

And now, what i think is the single best part - here's an embed of the Lost In Space pilot for your viewing pleasure (complete with the theme music stolen from Bernard Herrmann's score for "The Day The Earth Stood Still"):


And to really show things off, here's a clip i created out of the pilot for Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century which i think qualifies as the first mention of a "Stargate" on TV.


Good stuff. Good stuff indeed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

hulu review

Last night I was finally granted access to the semi-public beta of the new online video-on-demand service, Hulu. There have been many other reviews of this service already, but I just wanted to throw my two cents in, since I think that’s one of the reasons I was granted the beta.

For those not familiar with Hulu, it is a joint venture between Universal (NBC) and News Corp (FOX), so a large number of shows that belong to those networks is available, and a few full length movies to boot. There is even speculation that Warner Brothers TV will be adding it's shows to the fold (maybe i can finally catch up on Smallville). It works pretty much the same as ABC’s and NBC’s websites when it comes to streaming existing shows. They are occasionally interrupted by commercials, and the quality of the image depends on your internet speed.

First: Huge advantage to Hulu over other similar sites: it works in Firefox! I’m not sure, but I would assume it also works for Apple users. This is huge for me personally, and I think gives it a big leg up. Being browser agnostic means just that many fewer people that have a frustrating experience with streaming media sites that can be finicky at times.

The other awesome thing about Hulu you have to notice right away is the HUGE and I mean MASSIVE amount of content it has compared to other sites. My hope is that this is just the tip of the beta ice berg. They already have not only many full episodes from current running shows on NBC and FOX, but also a huge catalog of older shows. Simon and Simon? I forgot that show even existed. Remington Steele. Classic. Mary Tyler Moore, The A-Team, Airwolf, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, …on and on and on. It isn’t every episode by a long shot, but some of the shows go back pretty far.

And it’s not just TV shows – there are a few full-length movies on here too. Master and Commander among others right now. Curiously, the TV shows are in wide-screen high-def were applicable, but the movies are 4:3 pan-and-scan and edited for content – clearly the ‘old’ TV versions, which I find curious.

No doubt though, with this amount of content available, Christy and I are thinking about cancelling Netflix and going straight to the local library and Hulu for our entertainment for a while.

The ads were also pretty tolerable. Not the same ones over and over and over again the way some of the other VOD services can be, and the always-up ad banners aren’t an issue as long as you make the video full-screen, which is simple enough. I really don’t know why anyone would watch anything on here and not have it full-screen. Quality was also very good. We watched a few episodes on our projector and everything looked great. At least as good as SD cable if not better.

If you want to sign up for the beta yourself, you can at www.hulu.com, but I think it will be open for everyone by the time you get access to it at this point (it took them 3 weeks to process my beta application). When I get back home, I’ll put a full listing of the shows currently available up here for reference (Hulu, like most streaming media sites, is blocked at work for me).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I fell for it


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.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Apologies to fantasy sports owners

Fantasy sports players (any sport, not just hockey) need to watch this video. Now. Just the beginning. Don't have to watch the whole thing. If you don't want to or can't watch the video, you can check this summary here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Finally! ..or not

It looks like our long national municipal nightmare frustration is over.

UPDATE: It isn't. I'm leaving the rest of this post up, but though the city has put forth it's "final" offer, the local ownership group hasn't signed off on it. So, no press conference...return to your holding pattern.

This is really getting old.
The Preds and the City are announcing a deal this afternoon. Thanks to the Nashville Post, we have the agreement in hand already.

I still have huge reservations about this deal as it is laid out in this document. The Preds can leave after just 3 years if they lose $20mil during that time ($6.6mil a year) and attendance is under 14,000 per game (the statement doesn't specify if that is 14,000 average over all three years, or if they average under 14,000 for any time during those 3 years...or just during the last year). There is also a stipulation that the city will be paid back all of the many concessions and incentives they are paying the team if the team does leave.

So if you want to keep the Preds here past 3 years, it still comes down to attendance. Normally i would say that with this new, energized ownership group (and hopefully firing Steve Violetta) hitting attendance marks will be easy. But my faith that this ownership group is really going to be a knight in shining armor and be much better than Leipold are starting to waiver. It really won't take much to get attendance up. I just overheard more co-workers talking and one mentioned the Preds game tomorrow night - the other responded with "they're playing again, didn't their season just end. I'll have to go to a game". Much work to do, but so much of it is so easy. We'll see if the ownership group chooses to invest in those simple efforts, or let the team languish...

The most troubling element of this to me is that it takes a 30 year lease (with 20 years left on it) that would keep the team here as long as they hit 14,000 attendance at least once every 3 years and turns it into a lease that allows them to leave after 5 years - regardless of attendance - and allows them to leave after (theoretically) only one year of under 14,000 attendance.

Had any owner stepped up and supported the team with any marketing campaign, the team would have to stay. They could lose money and be on the salary floor every year, but they would have to stay as long as tickets were bough. Under the new agreement, they can leave after only 5 more years, potentially after 3.

(Conspiracy theories in 3...2...1...) I'm begining to wonder if the new "ownership" group didn't get in over their heads, get taken over by outside interest, who then worked a deal with politicians on the inside to make it look like they were saving the team, and in reality are moving it after 5 years (roughly the amount of time it will take to get an NHL caliber arena built in any city that doesn't have one...like...Hamilton, Ontario). Man i hope i'm wrong. I really really do.

I'm just glad the team on the ice has things turned around. This could turn out to be a very good year.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Seeing Red

Preds were absolutely robbed tonight. The Wings played well, but that game should have been 4-2 Preds. 2 goals taken off the boards just kills ya. The refs just blew it. As my dad said: "Isn't the NHL supposed to be the league with the best replay officiating options, that never misses a scoring call?" But they blew the plays dead not once, but twice, right as the Preds scored. Either of those goals count, and the game is very, very different.

Best part: we made it a game anyway. The game was 2-0 and the Wings were clearly satisfied with letting that be the final score. I don't think anyone would have been surprised if the Preds were as well, especially with plenty of excuses to make for how they should have won. But they played through it and stayed after it and played harder in the third than in the first, which is hard to do against Detroit. Shows a lot of character and the type that this team is absolutely going to need if they are to have any success. We'll be coming from behind far more this year than we did last.

Mason was fabulous in the game, but looked slow (tired) in the shoot out. Before the game i told my wife that i'd almost rather see a 1-0 or 2-1 loss than a 7-5 win. I wanted to see a good, responsible, disciplined hockey game and that's what we got the vast majority of the time. Mason was outstanding in net all night, and i think that the game was a solid boost in confidence he needed. I just hope he doesn't take the shootout loss too hard and too personally. He could have done better in the shootout, but after facing 45 shots, killing off a 4-3 through overtime, and with Holmstrom logging as much time in the crease as Mason through the game, i don't blame him for being less than sharp by the time the shootout came around.
But hey, i'll take the point for OT.

Predators Deal Done?

The Hockey News is reporting that the deal between the new ownership group and the city is a done deal, just waiting for sign-offs from all the councils and authorities needed.

Why am i not jumping for joy?
While the new agreement supposedly says the Preds will get the funds from the city, and upgrades to the arena that they wanted, they only have to stay in town for the next three years. They do have to stay for the next three years, no matter what, but after that, not even attendance can keep them in town.

Right now this sounds like a horrible deal. As optimistic as i am, i think the Predators are at best still 5-8 years away from real profitability. Which means in 3 years the new owners can just up and run, and nothing can stop them...if this report is correct. This is a very short, very spotty article that i don't completely trust. So we'll see...

UPDATE: The Tennessean is reporting that the Mayor's office has denied any deal as being "done" - they are still working. Hopefully that's a good thing.

Monday, November 05, 2007

i is smart

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

cash advance

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

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Firefly Cast: Where are they now?

OK, i'm not actually going to give you an update on the whole cast. This is mostly just an update on one i just heard some news on. But first i'll give you a few other quick notes:

  • Nathon Fillon (Capt Reynolds) was on another cool new show (i heard it was cool, never watched) that got canceled called "Drive". Now he's been on a few Deserate Housewives episodes - let's hope his cancel curse continues just one show longer, then the guy picks up a winner. He's great.
  • Alan Tuduk (Wash) is filming a new "TV pilot" for Barry Sonnenfeld (the guy that did Men In Black) that also stars Kurtwood Smith (who has been in absolutely everything). Could be interesting.
  • Of course, Jewel Staite (Kaylee) is now a regular on Stargate: Atlantis as the new doctor (no, not that 'new doctor'). Liking her work there so far, but i have to say: they have her in the show as an American, but her Canadian accent is thicker than most hockey players, much less David Hewitt (Dr McKay, who is supposed to be Canadian) since he's actually from the UK. They need to at least establish that she is from Minnesota (like Col O'Neill) quickly, cause it's just getting distracting.
Anyway...this is mostly an update on news i just heard about Summer Glau (River). She is apparently set to play a Terminator...on TV. Gonna be a great role for her. She apparently gets to play a semi-love interest and continue to kick butt at the same time. The show takes place after the events in teh 2nd movie. I still haven't seen any of the Terminator movies (i know, i suck...they are in my Netflix queue though!) so i can't weigh in on what i think the new show will be like, but it is interesting none the less. Glau will play the Terminator sent to protect everyone (read: good guys). I'm curious if this will even attempt to be a special effects and 'splosion heavy show like the movies, or a more "character driven" engagement. I know Summer could pull off either, but not sure about the other cast or the budget the studio has lined up. So don't get your hopes up, the show is on Fox which means there is a 85% chance it will be awesome, and a 95% chance it will get canned before they finish shooting the first season.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Rock Band: First Impressions

Update: this review wasn't based on the final version of the game, as it has only today (11/5) "gone gold". So the vocal issues may have been addressed in the retail version. Unfortunately i think it's a little too late to do anything about the guitar controller. We'll see.



Just got back from hanging out with my wife and sister, doing some shopping. Once we wrapped up finding what my sister needed, i forced them to follow me to Best Buy to try out Rock Band. I had heard on Engadget that many Best Buys had the demos, so wanted to see if ours did. It did!

So...how was it?
Not so fabulous.

First, the good:
The graphics looked great, and the parts were well written. The game also sounded good (as good as it could sound at an in-store demo). The song selection we rocked in store included "Should I Stay Or Should I Go", "Say It Ain't So", and "Main Offender". The demo also had "Suffragette City", "Tom Sawyer", and a few other tracks we didn't get to.

As a drummer, i was very skeptical that the drums would "feel" like drums, but i will say, it was remarkable how fast it felt like i was back home drumming. It was actually pretty funny, on the 'Beginner' settings, i found the drums very difficult, mostly because it over-simplified the more complicated rhythms (triplets, etc) to songs i knew well. I kept trying to play the "real" rhythm and getting being marked wrong. Once i upped the difficulty though, it was a lot of fun. But since i was already playing on 'Hard' on the demo in the store without breaking a sweat, i don't think drummers should look for a challenge in this game. The drum controller also felt like it could really take a beating (a good thing for a drum simulator). I will note: the in-store demo didn't have the foot pedal controller (though i was playing the kick part on the floor anyway to keep myself honest, and i really found that easier anyway), so no promises there, it could be flimsy.

Now, the bad:
The new guitar controller, which i was excited to play (with its extra 5-frets keys), was a major disappointment. It felt flimsy, and worst of all, proved to be so. The strumming switch (is that what it's called) was already toast. It wasn't registering strums unles you really mashed down on it hard. The whole guitar just felt lighter and flimsier than the Guitar Hero 2 controller i have at home - which is strange since i think it is also a little bigger. It was so bad, we actually couldn't play with the guitar. We kept failing every song, even though we had it on easy. It would only register about 1 in 3 notes. Bad bad sign, since this in-store demo has only been there for about 48 hours, and the Guitar Hero 2 demo that has been at the same Best Buy for months was still up and rockin' perfectly.

Equally disappointingly was the vocal gameplay. My sister and wife are both singers - and i don't just mean they lead Christmas carols with the family. They both majored in music with their vocal chords as their 'instrument'. We've played SingStar (a console karaoke game) too, and did very well (even i did). But over and over again, the vocal track failed out on both of them, even on 'Easy'. Now, there are a lot of people out there who are going to be horrible singers, but will want to play this game and have fun with their friends. On 'Easy', it should require absolute silence to fail out of the vocal track as far as i'm concerned. Maybe it was a problem with the mic, but if so, that again doesn't bode well. Same problem as the guitar - this Best Buy's SingStar demo has been running just fine for months. If this mic was dead after just 48 hours, that really doesn't bode well.

So...do i want this game? Would i recommend it?
Meh.

I have to honestly say, not so much anymore. I'd love to play some of those songs on Guitar Hero, and playing drums was fun... but for $170+ this game was very, very disappointing over all. Fabulous concept, obviously. I just think there will be a lot of frustrated vocalists and down right furious guitarist in January as their controllers start dying. I'm actually going to remove it from my wish list until i have assurance that the game doesn't fall apart inside of a few months.

(I am kicking myself right now that i didn't take any pictures with my phone to make this a really good review. But if you want to see what the game looks like, check here)

It's a little slow today


It's been a little slow at work today.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

strike video

I don't even remember if i've written about the impending double-strike on my blog before. Basically i've been following the news over the past couple of months via Cinematical regarding the Writer's Guild strike (that started today) and a possible/probably director and actors guild strikes looming early next year. If you don't know anything about it...just know that most entertainment as we know it is probably going to grind to a halt, or get really sloppy as studios rush things through production to avoid the total blackout.

Anyway...

Point of that is to then show you this video. Very funny. Pay attention to details.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

fan frustration

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

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

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

In less specific hockey news from around the world...

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 29, 2007

rock band hero

The "final" list of songs for Rock Band (minus the unlockable songs) just got released. Here are the ones i'm the most hyped about playing (full list is here):

Rolling Stones "Gimme Shelter"
The Who "Won't Get Fooled Again"
Boston "Foreplay/Long Time"
David Bowie "Suffragette City"
Blue Oyster Cult "Don't Fear the Reaper"
The Ramones "Blitzkrieg Bop"
The Clash "Should I Stay or Should I Go"
Foo Fighters "Learn to Fly"
Metallica "Enter Sandman"
Weezer "Say It Ain't So"
Garbage "I Think I'm Paranoid"
Soundgarden "Black Hole Sun"
The Hives "Main Offender"
OK Go "Here It Goes Again"
Great stuff.
This got me thinking the other day... If i could make a list for Rock Band (or Guitar Hero) what would it include... Here's what i got so far (in no particular order):
Booker T and the MG's "Green Onions"
Ben Folds "Rockin The Suburbs"
Jimi Hendrix "All Along the Watchtower"
Jimi Hendrix "Foxy Lady"
All Star United "Big Rock Show" (or maybe "Theme From Summer")
U2 "Beautiful Day"
Rolling Stones "Paint It, Black"
Smash Mouth "Road Man"
Earth Wind and Fire "September"
Electric Light Orchestra "Four Little Diamonds"
Electric Light Orchestra "Birmingham Blues"
Dandy Warhols "Bohemian Like You"
Santana "Oye Como Va"
The Clash "Train in Vain"
POD "Boom"
Simon and Garfunkle "Mrs Robinson"
Foo Fighters "My Hero"
Foo Fighters "Everlong"
Robbie Williams "Let Me Entertain You"
Weezer "Buddy Holly"
Weezer "Keep Fishin"
Sum 41 "Fat Lip"
Jamiroquai "Feels Just Like It Should"
Jamiroquai "High Times"
Johnny Cash "Folsom Prison Blues"
ZZ Top "La Grange"
Beach Boys "Good Vibrations"
Felming and John "I'm Not Afraid"
Stevie Wonder "I Wish"
Bob Marley "Jamming"
The Monkees "Last Train to Clarksville"
Switchfoot "Chem 6A"
Switchfoot "The Loser"
Cake "Short Skirt, Long Jacket"
Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody"
While we're at it, whole albums i'd love to see:
Weezer [Blue album]
Switchfoot "New Way To Be Human"
The Clash "Combat Rock"
Nirvana "Nevermind"
Of course, many of these would be better (and this would be much longer) if there was a keyboard/piano/organ controller.

And i'm leaving tons off...i am going to be embarrassed when i come back and look at this later, i know. But hey, i'm just doing this on my lunch break for fun. Sue me.

pic of the week

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.

Friday, October 26, 2007

bi-polar hockey

The Preds game last night was certainly a bit better. Still quite a bit of sloppy play, especially late in the 1st. Still a ton of chances left lying on the doorstep because no one was at home in front of the net. Plenty more occasions where we had great chances with the puck up front, but couldn't finish (pictured at the right). I'll grant you, Hedberg played well, but not amazing. We are still just not finishing the way a winning team should.

But so much was improved.

The defense was checking hard (Hamuis was involved in more than one hard hitting, body sacrificing play, which i haven't seen from him as much). I especially loved Hammer's check at the blue-line (pictured at left). That's building a wall!

I also loved how Erat was playing with Dumont and Arnott. Not just that he was playing with them, which i thought a good combo, but the way he was playing. More than once i thought it was Legwand out there, the way he was playing an aggressive but smart, positional forecheck. If he'd just put that puck in the net instead of off the post, i think everyone would be calling him out for a great game as well as Toots and Smithson, who played like first-liners...well, up against the sieve-like 2nd and 3rd Atlanta defensive pairings. But hey, we'll take it!

Win is a win. It felt great.

Ellis played really well, but i think more importantly, the team played better in front of him. Just like they used to do with Mason compared to Vokoun last year, the team seemed to play more intelligent, especially on defense, when playing in front of "the backup". It's amazing how much of it is still mental for this team. I do not envy Trotz the decision of going with Ellis (who is confident and hot) or Mason (get his confidence back and fulfill the "Mason vs Vokoun" billing for the big game) for the game against Florida.

Last note about the on-ice product:
We have two versions of the Predators. One that wins and wins big, and one that loses and loses big.

Our total Goals For / Goals Against per game for the year is 2.3 / 3.3. Doesn't look too horrible and is about what you'd expect (or better) from a team that is 3-6-0. However, if you check our GF/GA per game for wins, it is 4/0.3. That is dominant hockey! We've only allowed 1 goal in our 3 wins. That's great! Trouble is our losses. GF/GA per game is 1.5/4.8 there. Ouch. We're giving up nearly 5 goals a game in our losses.

Normally i would look at those stats and say they are indicative of a young, inexperienced team. But we're supposed to have more age and experience this year than last. What gives? Also, we supposedly got bigger and stronger during the off-season. But we still rank 27th out of 30th in the league in overall size (height/weight). That isn't going to get it done if we're trying to play more physical, grind-style hockey this year.



A few other random notes from the game:
The big new screen is now apparently being called the "Megatron" (capital M?). Paul McCann and the rest of the arena crew called it that multiple times last night. I don't know of this is a Hasbro/Paramount sponsorship, or just a cheesy name. There's even a new feature video about it up on Predators TV (i haven't seen it yet, streaming video is blocked at work). I think it sounds a little silly, but i don't know what else to call it...so fine.

What is not fine is that the crew i called out for doing such a good job of paying attention to aspect ratios has now either been replaced or gotten dumb. All the videos all night were stretched to fill the width of the screen. Now, i know there are a lot of bumpkins out there that probably complain about "those black bars at the side of the screen, it ain't workin' right". But now the videos look bad. Those bumpkins can watch Seinfeld re-runs in 'fat' stretch mode all they want on their $899 plasma's at home, but please don't make me watch it that way at the arena. Especially for videos that are actually wide-aspect to begin with (like movie clips) - crop the videos! Don't just stretch them so we have a fat Gnash and a tiny little strip of Matthew Broderick in the middle of black bars. Cummon people, this is your job and i can do it better as a hobby. If you need me to do it for you, send me the videos at my gmail account and i'd be glad to reformat them to 16:9 for you with the correct cropping/scaling so that everything looks nice.

Also, we apparently are losing sponsors right and left. We've picked up a few (most notably the Signature Tower), but we've also lost quite a few. It is no longer the "Fantastik Fan of the Game" it is the "fan of the night". No longer is the second Zamboni painted like Scrubbing Bubbles - now it's just a Predator Zamboni. We no longer have the "Windex Seats on the Glass" (movin' on up!) where they took people from the upper decks to seats on the glass. Most importantly, the free tacos from Taco Bell at the 5-goal mark are gone! (thanks to HordyHsrHar for the reminder- i knew i left something out!) I've also listened to several games that were on Lightning 100 with nothing but music during 'commerical' breaks. They didn't have commercials to fill the air time. Partially i blame that on Lightning 100's sales department, but it proves there is still not a line of sponsors waiting to be associated with the Preds. Not a good sign and something that needs to be turned around quickly.

There is also just no promotion or advertising off the ice going on at all. I overheard someone walking down the hall at work the other day asking someone if they were going to the Preds game Thurs. They replied "Nah. I thought they were going to move in 6 months anyway, weren't they?" This team is in desperate need of off-ice support and a major PR campaign, but there is no way Leipold is putting another dime into this team, on the ice or off. Contract/negotiation periods aside, this team needs new owners who can come in tell the city that the Preds are here, they are staying, and they are exciting and worth coming to see. Not just "worth supporting" like something on welfare, but worth spending money on as great family entertainment.

woot (with a british accent)

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

frustration

Interesting note from LA Kings/HockeyBuzz blogger Carla Muller, who was at the game last night:

One of the more unique events of the night actually happened off the ice. I am not trying to diminish the Kings’ strong dominating game, not at all. Nonetheless, in the stands, a over zealous Predators’ fan was behind that team’s bench and appeared to the person in front of me with binoculars that he tried to climb over the glass at his own team... ouch!

Security moved this individual away from the bench and that proved to be a bad choice. A fight broke out between this guy who started shouting “Lets go Predators”. Peanuts were tossed only to be followed by fisticuffs, five security people in red blazers and his female friend following when she joined the melee by throwing a beer in the stands... Double ouch!
That about sums up my frustration. When i go to the game on Thurs night, i'm really just hoping for a score and solid play. A win would be pure bonus.

As for all these asking for Trotz's head... I can't argue that too much, but i wouldn't hold your breath.
  1. Trotz has been around for so long, it will take more than this to get him fired (though not much)
  2. The Thrashers are already looking to hire a coach, so trying to find a new coach in this market would be rougher than usual - can we improve over Trotz right now?
  3. I don't see Poile/Leipold firing the coach just before a new owner steps in (whoever that turns out to be.
Lastly, a note regarding watching games: I don't have cable at home, and since FoxSouth/104.5 went back to "simulcasting" games (read: putting TV audio on the radio) i can't really follow the action on the radio. So...enter the wonders of the internet. And no, i don't mean the NHL's new online Center Ice package that blacks out the majority of my local team's games. No, i'm watching online over live P2P broadcasting services using Sopcast and streams found here: http://www.myp2p.eu/NHL.htm

The really interesting thing about this is that most of these end up being the local Fox Sports for the other team. Occasionally it is the Preds feed, but for the last several games i've been listening to the Kings/Ducks feeds. It's been very interesting hearing the other side of things. And i gotta say: as great as Pete and Terry are, FoxSports South is a dinky 2-bit operation compared to FoxSports LA. They have a studio they go back to with a talking head for replays during intermission, the works. Good stuff. I suggest watching the "other" feed once and a while once in a while.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

are you still there?

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 :-)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

ghia at the farmer's market


ghia at the farmer's market

ghia and many other local craft vendors are setup at the farmer's market today until 4:00pm.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Vote Preds

What he said. And he said.

Go vote on WMSV's poll asking if the Preds should stay or not.

Not that this poll matters a hill of beans, but it's easy to do. Why not. Go vote.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Peace vs. Environment

I have no problem with Al Gore's hypocrisy on environmental issues and being recognized for his work on the global warming issue. He might be the single worst polluter on the planet for all i care, and he could still be doing enough to warrant an award. I really just don't care. But Al Gore- and the UN commission - shouldn't have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize.

Peace?!

The award is for people who do major stuff toward Peace on Earth and Good-will toward Men. People who make other people stop fighting. "Humanitarian efforts, peace movements, advocacy of human rights, mediation of international conflicts, and arms control." Nelson Madella, Jimmy Carter...people like that. Al Gore and the UN did nothing that advanced the cause of Peace in the world.

If anything they all made people fight more, pointing fingers and stirring up arguments for those who think global warming is a hoax and those that think the world will end in a giant hurricane in 10 years. Not Peace.

I could even, maybe, see Gore and the UN group getting the Nobel Prize for Economics. Maybe even Physics. And i can definitely see a need for a specific prize for Environmental work. It is probably well needed, but someone would have to front the cash for the new award (like they did in 1968 for the Economics award).

But Peace?