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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.

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

further developments

For those still following along at home, i'd put our chances at more like 25% for keeping the Preds now.

Jim Balsillie just secured the rights to operate an NHL team in the Copps Colesium in Hamilton, ON (just south of Toronto).

The most frustrating thing about this, is that Balsillie says he is doing the right thing and not talking to the press or fans in Nashville until the sale is final. Yet he is doing things like this that are open to the public and he knows will only frustrate matters.

However, to expand on my point from yesterday - i hope for his sake the Balsillie's done his homework. The NHL gives teams the right to protect their territory within 50 (or is it 80?) miles of their headquarters. The Maple Leafs corporate headquarters are in the arena where they play, the Air Canada Center. As the crow flies, it is just 31.59 miles from the Air Canada Center to Copps Colesium. This gives the Maple Leafs ownership group the clear right to refuse to allow a move there. Which i think they would be likely to do given that they are already crammed in with the Buffalo Sabres, who are barely 50 miles away.

I'm still going to hit the rally though.

Update: The protection radius is 80 miles. So that means Buffalo and Toronto both have veto power. My hopes are slightly higher. Lets say 35% now. As many have said - it is up to us as fans. We can make Balsillie's intentions a non-issue if we want to keep the team, all we have to do is buy tickets.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

be there!

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

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

Stay tuned.


Also - go sign the petition

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

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

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

recap and props

First, let me hand out some props.
I have certainly done my fair share of ragging on our local media for their poor coverage of the Predators. I have even developed something of a reputation for it.

Today i woke up to see the front cover of the Tennessean with Jim Balsillie's face on it, and an in-depth-ish article on the new owner. The paper has also done an excellent job lately in covering the pluses and minuses of the team's sale, while giving both the optimistic and 'realist' views of the team's chances of staying in town. As much as i've hated on John Glennon and team, i need to call out that since they were scooped on the sale of the team, they have really stepped up with good coverage. The City paper also had a great, reasonably balanced story on the economic impact the Predators have on Nashville (even though the picture of a crowd at Rippy's on the front cover was clearly taken before a Kentucky basketball game, not a Preds game).



Now, i finally get around to posting my thoughts and opinions on where the Predators might be headed (literally and figuratively)...

I am excited. I think this is a good thing. The next few weeks will certainly tell us a lot more, but as it stands now, i'm thinking positive. A week ago i would have laid only 10-15% odds that the Predators would be in Nashville beyond next season. Now i'd put those odds at closer to 45%. So, notice, i am not a blind optimist, but things aren't looking all that bad.

The Sale
Craig Leipold is rich. But not that rich. He was a good owner, but not that great.
He bought the team for $80 million, had losses in all but one of the team's 10 years that totaled up to $70 million in losses. Sold for $220. Profit: $70 million. He's a business man and doesn't have infinitely deep pockets. The sale made sense. Who was willing to pay him the most? Jim Balsillie. I don't fault Leipold for the sale and don't feel cheated or lied to. He did what he had to do. We knew he had been looking to sell at least portions of the team for some time.

Under New Management
I am glad to have Jim Balsillie. I think he's going to be the Mark Cuban of hockey. I expect to see him at every game. Heck, i wouldn't be surprised to see him on the ice or on the bench during free skate. He is a passionate fan. There is nothing better in an owner. Well, that and being stinking rich - which he is.

What i hope for most out of Jim Balsillie is better marketing. We have fabulous individual fan support for a great product. Better than most in the league, or most leagues for that matter. What we lack is the 'bigger picture' business and community support. Unlike most, i don't blame the community for this. I blame the team and more specifically, the marketing department. They never did a good job reaching out to the business community. After several years of discussion regarding lack of business support, i saw "100 ways to use Predators tickets for your business" and a few adds on TV and radio that started running well after the All-Star game last year. A little late guys. The marketing, especially to businesses, needs to improve. Can you think of someone better to market to businesses than a billionaire (read: money to invest) who happens to be the head of the Blackberry empire?

The Move?
Will the Predators be moving? Well, not for the 07-08 season at least. That much is sure. And now, as mentioned above, the media has begun covering the team more. The impact the team has on the city has been seen. Business owners are stepping up.

NHL Commisioner Gary Bettman just said in a press conference that he spoke with Balsillie (apparently one of few people that have since the sale was announced) and that Balsillie told him he had no specific intentions around moving the team. He just wants to own a team. I accept that as truth, but not a no-move promise. He could still want to move the team. But according to what Bettman says he was told (read: hearsay) he doesn't have plans in place.

Here's why i believe him: Where would he move?

Hamilton? Too close to Toronto and Buffalo, their owners would veto it.
Winnipeg? They just lost a team to Phoenix and at just 633k residents, it is not big enough to allow a move back there.
Kansas City? Las Vegas? Maybe, but why would Balsillie move from one 'non-traditional hockey market' city in the US to another?
Portland? This makes the most sense for a move. They are 3rd to Montreal and L.A. in biggest population per team. They only have one NBA team and 2.5 million people. But there hasn't been a big demand for moving a team there. And again, from Balsillie's point of view, why start over with a new city (if you can't move the team to your back yard)?

Remember one more important point: Bettman doesn't want the Predators to move. That would be:
  1. Admitting that he was wrong in moving hockey to Nashville and similar cities
  2. That would be one less city to expand to (and he loves those expansion fees)
  3. Specifically it limits the chance for western expansion and re-alignment
There is still serious talk of the league expanding with two teams in the Western Conference and realigning Detroit to the east where they belong. The Predators moving to Winnipeg, KC, Vegas, or Portland makes that less likely to happen.

Even if the Predators don't meet the 14,000 ticket level, i think the team will be sticking around, for at least a few more years.

The Fans
I also have to say that i was horribly disappointed in Section 303 leader Mark Hollingsworth. In this article, he was quoted as saying
"There are a lot of hard-core fans, including me, who might not even come to the games next year...I put way too much time and effort into this to watch a lame-duck situation...I speak for every serious fan that we want concrete assurances... that (Balsillie) is contractually committed to stay here somehow"
No sir, you do not. Next year looks to be a fabulous year on the ice. Nothing will change that. We will be cup contenders again next year. Moving or not, i plan on being there to watch a great set of hockey games. Note: Mark did a little backpedal here and tried to be slightly more upbeat. I think most fans are still quite supportive.

Other fan issues: I feel like the Predators are just now reaching a critical mass when it comes to fans. Early on, it was a novelty. We had very high attendance numbers while everyone checked out this hockey thing (and it was stinking cheap back then). Now the city has a real growing fan base. People that follow the team, talk about it around the water cooler, etc. I am personal proof of that. I had gone to maybe 15-20 games in the first 7 years and watched many on TV. In the last 2 seasons i've been to no less than 50 and watch every one i can. The fan base is just coming of age. Kids that were 9-10-11 when the team came to town are now 20-somethings with cash to spend and weekends to fill. We are just now seeing fans that grew up with the team be old enough to pay for their own tickets.

Will the fans (besides the aforementioned busiensses) step up? I think so. If Balsillie acts like he is going to support the team at all - which i think he will - then i think an extra 200 seats per game is easily done. All discussions of the team moving will halt.

The Team
The Tennessean ran an article a few days ago raising the concern about the Predators re-signing players with all the uncertainty about the team. While i agree that uncertainty is never a plus in contract negotiations, it really isn't all that bad in this case. Scenario 1) The Predators stay put. The players like Nashville, we have a great team, they know what they get. 2) The Predators move to somewhere in Canada. The players now get to play in this great 'hockey country' we hear so much about, and for many of them, it is closer to home. Either way, they now work for a boss that is crazy passionate about hockey, which is just a plus over the previous ownership. The only downside is if Balsillie hasn't given Poile (the Predators GM) a budget for next year.

But if Balsillie is half the businessman and hockey fan we have heard, he has already given Poile an idea of where he needs to be. Even if he plans on moving the team, he will want a good team to move. It could be Quebec all over again (they moved and won the Cup in their first year in Denver), or even the inverse: the team wins the Cup, then moves.



So i think this is my longest blog post yet. I've had to work on it off and on for a while now, but i think i covered it all:
New owner: good
Team moving: possible but not certain, maybe even unlikely
Fans: mostly supportive
Team: solid as ever
I'm out.

Friday, May 25, 2007

pirate review

This is going to be quick, since i am actually at work today:

[Warning - not bad spoilers, but if you are like me and don't want to know anything about the movie before you see it, you might as well stop reading]

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Very good movie. Not great, but worth seeing in the theater (even a non-digital one).

However, it was much like Spiderman 3, it took a jump to the goofy side several times that is going to make it hard to re-watch.

Overall, i was gratified to find that it lived up to my expectation as a very similar trilogy to the original Star Wars trilogy. First movie is fun, beat the bad guys, could stand alone. Second movie is much much darker, and our scoundrel hero dies/disappears in the end and the rest of the team (young and fragile) is left all alone in the world. Third movie they first have to come of age on their own, go rescue the scoundrel, and the audience has to deal with silliness (Ewoks and split personalities) and there is a major battle at the end.

Of course with Pirates, the ending was a little more complicated and slightly less obvious than Star Wars - and not quite as completely happy, but solid overall.

Last statement is that the writing stayed fantastic. The pace was good, the plot twists did not disappoint, but were not impossible to follow, and the dialog was appropriately simple/complex for each character. Lots of good quotable quotes from Captain Jack and other characters without being too silly (most of the time).



I will also say that i went back on my promise and watched this movie on film (at Opry Mills) but the experience was tolerable. Much better than my previous film experiences. However, my friend (one that i drug with me to see Spiderman 3 in digital) leaned over to me after the movie and cursed me for spoiling him. He had never thought film was bad until he saw a movie in digital. This was a great film showing, the sound was good, but there were still flecks, the light still flickered, and the picture still shifted laterally and in and out of focus. We'll see where we end up going to see our next movie on the list (Ocean's 13 is probably next), but i have a feeling it will be digital. No question we'll see Ratatouille in digital, but my hope is that we wont have to goto the ghetto to see it - Opry Mills was showing Shrek 3 in digital last night (but everything else on film).

Thursday, May 24, 2007

aftermath

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

the predators what?!?!

This just in.

The Predators were just are being sold to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie (the guy that owns Research in Motion - the Blackberry guys). This is the guy that tried openly to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins last year and move them to Canada.

What We "Know":

Random Quotes...as of 11:09pm central

"It is believed as of now that the team will remain in Nashville for the forseeable future"

"a press conference has been scheduled for tomorrow to announce the sale of the team"

"The Nashville Predators will soon be sold to Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie for $220 million, media sources reported Wednesday evening." (Leipold bought/started the team for $80 million)

"Leipold met with the NHL Board of Governors at 2 p.m. Wednesday in New York, and then told his staff of the developments."

Gerry Helper, Preds VP of communications: "We're not confirming or denying or issuing any kind of statement at this time"

"Leipold told the Predators' front office personnel that the team will remain in Nashville for at least the next season, but made no promised for the future."
Also, it is apparently official. According to Paul McCann, who aside from being a hockey blogger, is the PA announcer for the Predators at the Sommet Center (that is still taking some getting used to).

Media coverage:

News broke here, here, here, and here. Also here, here, here, here, and here. Canadian media here. And probably other places.

An interesting note: The blogs got the news first (of course) and the AP is way more negative on Nashville and our chances of keeping the team. Bloomberg and most bloggers are saying the team will likely be here for a while. SI still doesn't have anything posted (now they do), but Wikipedia's page on Jim Balsille has already been updated, listing him as the Preds owner. Of course, the Predators page doesn't yet.

Video here.

What is also amazing is that this story was really broken by the Nashville Post (who?). I've never read them before but they just scooped everyone else big-time, and i just became a reader. Still nothing on the Tennessean's site (update: now it's here). The City Paper (my previous preference) at least said that Leipold is "close to selling the team". In general, it looks like Channel 5 and the City Paper are leading the pack in coverage from local sources.

Opinion and Speculation:

As Paul McCann said, this throws everything into question. Could be awesome. Or he could immediately exercise the out clause the Predators have with the city (which honestly Liepold would have been dumb not to do himself) and start the wheels for the team to move. He has many times in the past expressed a desire to have another team in north, even another in the Toronto area (which could easily support an additional team).

FYI: the deadline for the team to notify the city of its intent to exercise the attendance-based out clause in their contract is June 19th (60 days after the end of the season). Even if they do exercise that clause, the city can always buy the extra tickets and prevent the move. The team would have to stay here. And honestly, given the sweet deal with the city that the team has, they would REALLY have to have a lot of money to throw away to move the team...which i guess Balsillie does...

On the other hand, this could be the boost the team needed. A Canadian (read: long-time, hardcore) hockey fan takes over the team to make it a quality product on the ice (which it has been) and off the ice (not so much lately). We could get new coaches after all (though he'd have to fire them since Leipold just resigned them) and he could invest major money in major players, which Liepold did some, but these pockets go much deeper.

On the Owners:

Jim Balsillie...
"He was Athlete of the Year at Trinity College, University of Toronto, plays hockey and golf at competitive levels, and coaches his son's soccer and basketball teams."
I don't think you could say that about good 'ol Craig.

Quote from Leipold last week when the Sommet Center announcement was made:
"When I'm talking with people, it's all under the provision that this team is staying in Nashville, and if you're interested, come on and we'll continue to talk. Those people are the ones I'm restricting it to, the ones who have an interest in maintaining a team in Nashville.''
Of course, at the time we all thought he meant a minority owner.



More updates...

Channel 4 just had Vern Fiddler and Darcy Hordichuck interviewed by phone. They were both shocked and hadn't heard anything about it. Hordichuck (an unrestricted free agent without a contract) said that Leipold seemed excited about the team.

Channel 5 interviewed Chris Mason and Shea Weber. Neither of them knew anything about it either. Mason also said he was wondering what changes in personnel might be coming as a result.

And there has already been a "Save the Predators" group started on Facebook.

Related Pictures: here.

couldn't care less

Your grammar lesson for today is...

You: I could care less.
Me: Really? Why do you care so much about this topic?
I am normally not a huge stickler for grammar and all that. I am not good enough at it myself to really complain. I would sound (and look) like a complete idiot if it wasn't for spell check. For instance, my use of the word goto. Those of us that learned BASIC in school growing up (for me it was 1st grade) learned that "goto" is a word. Spell check constantly reminds me that it is not, in fact, a word. But that hasn't stopped me in 20+ years of writing. To this day, i have to go back and put in a space at least 5-10 times every single day at work. Basically every time you see me say "go to" on my blog, i have had to do it there too. So, i am not really one to preach on rules of grammar and syntax.

But there are several pet peeves i have. This is one of them. The worst. And one that i have seen violated lately by several bloggers that i otherwise would regard as fairly intelligent writers.

Think about it.

"I could care less"
Do the math here. If you could care less, then that means you do care. In order to be able to care less, you have to care some to start with.


Of course, what people mean to say is "I couldn't care less". That is, i care as little as i possibly can.

Come on people.
Get your act together.

I really don't know why this bugs me so much, but boy it does.

And as another note on writing: Yes, i intentionally use a lowercase 'i' for my personal pronoun through all my blog posts, with the exception of the beginning of sentences. I think of it like all those artsy writers and poets that don't use punctuation unless it confuses words (he'll and hell). My shrink can tell you i don't have an inferiority complex, so it isn't about that.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

rivalry renewed

I called it back in November (see #3).
And now it's here.

Trouble is, the Jazz aren't even putting up a fight.
I really wish they were better. Kinda.

I don't think this series is going to even be a contest, and the Spurs are going to march right through them. Normally, i'd be ecstatic about this. I guess in reality i am. I'm a big Spurs fan and i can't wait to watch another championship. And i really love that we are doing it against the Jazz. But i wish they were putting up more of a fight.

Here's where i'm coming from.

Since i became a Spurs fan in 1989 (the year we moved to San Antonio, but also David Robinson's rookie year), here's the Spurs playoff history:

2006 -- defeated Sacramento, lost to Dallas
2005 -- defeated Denver, defeated Seattle, defeated Phoenix, defeated Detroit
2004 -- defeated Memphis, lost to LA Lakers
2003 -- defeated Phoenix, defeated LA Lakers, defeated Dallas, defeated New Jersey
2002 -- defeated Seattle, lost to LA Lakers
2001 -- defeated Minnesota, defeated Dallas, lost to LA Lakers
2000 -- lost to Phoenix
1999 -- defeated Minnesota, defeated L.A. Lakers, defeated Portland, defeated New York
1998 -- defeated Phoenix, lost to Utah
1997 -- [did not make playoffs - drafted Tim Duncan]
1996 -- defeated Phoenix, lost to Utah
1995 -- defeated Denver, defeated LA Lakers, lost to Houston
1994 -- lost to Utah
1993 -- defeated Portland, lost to Phoenix
1992 -- lost to Phoenix
1991 -- lost to Golden State
1990 -- defeated Denver, lost to Portland


We were major rivals with Utah for a long while. Regular season. Playoffs. Didn't matter. It was one of the strongest rivalries i've ever been in the middle of. We also developed a big rivalry with Lakers, especially with Phil Jackson. And to a lesser degree we had rivalries with Portland and Houston for a while early on there.

But with all of those other teams (and many others of course) we have gone on to beat them in the playoffs. Since i started watching, we have beaten every team that ever beat us (except Golden State who doesn't count, and Houston who we never had a major rivalry with...too friendly). I specifically remember when we beat LA in '99. Monkey off the back.

Portland, Phoenix, LA Lakers, Seattle, Memphis, Denver, Sacramento.

We've handled them all at some point.
Except Jerry Sloan and the Utah Jazz.
We've never "gone through" the Jazz.

Though no Spurs player was a part of the team that lost to Utah so many times long ago, the fans know. The fans remember. I can bet you the players know it too. This series is important.

This is redemption.

Note: I also have to say, i understand that Utah needs to change uniforms occasionally like all teams, but the fact that these guys are wearing powder/pastel/columbia blue and not the old Utah Jazz purple (or even black), makes it seem like a totally different team. Not quite the same. As my wife Christy pointed out, they look like a college team. Pro teams don't wear powder blue.

$400,000 in 12 seconds

This is hilarious.

I was really hyped about it before. But if they are going to have this sort of content surrounding the game, then this is just fun on top of fun (not blood on top of blood the way so many games are now).


Cry some more.

The amazing thing about this is that it is all in engine. This looks like something out of the Incredibles and it is being rendered live, in a video game! If the characters really react to going on a killing spree like that, i am going to be horrible at this game because i am going to be laughing so much.

More awesome videos here and here.

More on some other cool features of the game here.

too much time on your hands?

It's been a while since i've totally geeked out and posted a note about some cool piece of technology. Well, it was worth the wait folks.

Check this out.


It is an Xbox 360 - made in to a laptop.
Includes an LCD screen built in, supports the wireless controllers, wired accessories, has component and composite video out, as well as VGA out, WiFi, etc etc.

And best of all, this isn't some random tease put together that you have to guess at how they did it, or worse, a hoax...step by step instructions are right here, here and here. Anyone have a spare Xbox 360 i can play with?

Click on the picture above for more pretty pics. And video is here.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

pop quiz

I just tried to log in to my insurance company's website to pay our car insurance online just like i always do, and after i entered my username and password, i was prompted with a demand to select 3 security questions and type in the answers before i could proceed.

Frustrating, but ok.
Trick is, i couldn't write my own questions as i have been able to do on other sites> I had to pick from a relatively short list. As i looked through the list, i realized i didn't know the answers to most of them. As a matter of fact, i was only certain of one answer on the whole list.

Pick one:

What was the name of the city your mother was born in?
What was the last name of your first teacher?
What was the name of the company where you had your first job?
What was the name of the city you visited on your first childhood vacation?
What was the make & model of your first car?
What was the destination of your first airplane trip?
What was the last name of your first boss?
If you were in the military, what was the name of your Drill Instructor?
What is the middle name of your youngest sibling?
What was the last name of your first girlfriend/boyfriend?
The next thing that struck me was that if you were an orphan/only child, never owned a car, never had a girlfriend/boyfriend, and were never in the military, then you are going to have serious trouble with this website. Or in my case, you should have answers to most of these questions but don't because your memory of childhood is like swiss cheese.
I am pretty sure i remember where my mom was born. But if i'm right, it was one of those great cities that straddles a state line, and i don't remember which side!

I have no idea who my first teacher was. Who qualifies as "first" anyway? I remember my first grade teachers name, but not how to spell it...and i know i had teachers in kindergarten, so strictly speaking she wasn't my first.

As far as the city i visited on my first vacation... how the heck am i supposed to know? I was probably 3 months old. If you're asking for the first one i can remember... don't. Cause i know that i went on lots of vacations when i was a kid, but have absolutely no frame of reference for how old i was when i went on them, so i don't remember if Disney World came before or after the many ski trips we took - and i don't even remember where we went skiing, i just know it wasn't in the flat Texas pan-handle where we lived at the time. Not to mention: does visiting family and grandparents count as a 'vacation', cause that opens up a whole different can of worms.

And i sure as heck have no idea when the first time i rode an airplane was or where we were going or how old i was. See above regarding vacation.

I have no clue who my first boss was, because i can't even remember what my first job was for sure. I think it might have been my big-box-store job in high school, but then again i did a lot of free lance computer work back then too...and i think i'm forgetting something, so i'm really not sure.

Never in the military. Unless band camp counts. Which i don't think it does.

I know my (only) sister's middle name, but can't remember how to spell it. Sorry sis. I can tell you the story about how even my parents weren't sure how to spell it and they had a contest among their church youth group on how to spell it, but i can't remember which side won!

And as for the boyfriend/girlfriend thing. I know it was a girlfriend. I'm good on that part. Otherwise...come on...this gets really complicated. Was the little girl in first grade where we said we were boyfriend and girlfriend count? If so, i sure as heck have no idea what her name was. From there it was an amorphous group of girls that i liked...i don't think many liked me in return until some girl i met on one of my mystery vacations (visiting family, so is that a vacation?) in 5th grade, but i have no idea what her name was either. First girlfriend in middle school...i think her name might have been Amy, but all i really remember about her is that i was a jerk and dumped her for a popular girl who then dumped me a week later. I have no idea what that girl's name was.
I tried selecting the one question i was sure i had an answer to and put it down for all three times. No go. So after a while i realized i could select any random question and then just use some of my normal high-security, hard to guess passwords as the answers.

I much prefer what my bank did for its online service. It randomly asks me things from my personal data, but never had me pick out insane questions. Its just good normal stuff like what the middle 2 digits of my social are and things that are easy for me to remember, but not commonly used.

The other frustrating thing about my insurance online stuff is that i log in for one reason. To pay my bill every month. So i log in, click on bill pay, say "pay bill" - then i am immediately prompted to enter my username and password again. They say this is for extra security. I just entered it 5 seconds ago. Literally. All you're doing is giving someone who may have missed stealing my password by looking over my shoulder or sniffing packets online, another stab at it. If someone already has my password, all this does is frustrate them as much as it does me as the enter it again.

Inconvenience does not equal security, and security should not necessitate inconvenience.

more on the sommet center

First, a quick update with more pictures and media.


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

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


Oh - and as for many of the doubters that complained about the city not getting any of the money from the naming rights deal: I don't recall many of them complaining about the Titans stadium. The Titans keep all the money from their deal. Tax payers funded that stadium too... so lets compare the two.
Between now and September, LP Field will host 7 events (1 four-day concert series and 3 Titans' games). In total, LP Field has 14 events listed on its calendar until the end of 07.

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

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

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

Oh - another interesting note: no one has parked www.sommetcenter.com if you want to cybersquat it and get sued. Vision3, a website design company that lists the "Gaylord Entertainment Center" website (whatever that is) as one of its clients, has parked www.thesommetcenter.com though. But it isn't pointing to anything yet...

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Sommet Center

The fact that this is the first blog entry i've ever made in proper capitalization should tell you something.

The Nashville Arena, aka Home of the Predators, will be named:

The Sommet Center
Pronounced "So-may", they became the official team sponsors at the end of last season, and are stepping up even more this year. By the way, they provides HR, payroll, IT and general business support services for other companies.

I'll try to watch for the new sign and post a picture asap.
Update: New signs are supposed to be up today - i will try to get pictures this afternoon.
Most about the significance later...
I have a big presentation to some higher ups this morning at work.
Update: Press conference is supposed to be at 11:00am this morning.

Update: Paul McCann posted about it here...and he thinks Forsberg may stay too.

Update: A picture!
No big sign up yet, but they have a temp sign over the main one.
More details...

From more articles:
Sommet Group Managing Partner Brian Whitfield and Leipold unveiled the arena's new logo and signage. The Sommet Center name will be affixed to the exterior of the building and will be visible on the Broadway side of the Center to all visitors of downtown Nashville. In addition to interior and exterior signage, Sommet Center visitors will notice in-arena branding on the building's marquees and graphics on the building's new jumbotron, which will debut in September.
Tennesean article with pictures from the press conference:
The length and financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Leipold did say the number of years in the contract is in the single digits with multiple opportunities for renewal.
And last, video on Channel 2's site is here. Wow.

Editorial side note: This report from Channel 2 is really bad. I've seen better on camera performances and reporting than this from highschool groups. I don't want to bite the hand that is feeding me hits (NiT) but yikes.





Thursday, May 17, 2007

stop learning, you're in my way

Warning: this is about a steamed as i've been about any issue in a while.

Yet another story you'll see on the front page of the City Paper and i can't find anywhere from the Tennessean:

The Nashville Public Library ... this week approved a toughened version of the library system’s loitering policy, explicitly prohibiting people from “congregating” inside library buildings if perceived as unsafe or intimidating and preventing truants from loitering in public libraries during school hours.

The new policy, in addition, explicitly references gangs, prohibiting “the display or possession of gang symbols or paraphernalia, gang recruitment, gang initiation, gang fighting and gang intimidation.”
Now, unless i'm wrong, "unsafe or intimidating" behavior, as well as truancy was already against the rules in pretty much any public building. Perhaps more so in libraries.

But these new rules seem, well, stupid.

Heaven forbid that teenagers would feel comfortable around a library, or want to hang out there. We'd never want them to feel like the library was a place to spend time after school. Once school is out, we full expect them to wander out on to the streets, and hang around the bars in 5-points down the road, not hang around a place of learning where there is good lighting, visibility and security cameras guarding the area. Learning time is clearly over once the school bell rings. Oh - and if a student is involved in gang activity, we want them to stay away from the library and on the streets. We don't want them to rub off on the librarians or other good citizens that are in the library and taint them. Imagine if the librarians started being recruited by gangs.

Just stupid.

What really blows my mind is that this policy change came about as a result of a few kids hanging around the East Branch library after school. They come across from East Literature High and hang out (it is directly across the street). This is an extremely visible, populated area. I've been around there when school gets out some days. I live near there. Lots of people around.

Commander Bob Nash of the East Nashville police precinct said in the article:
"When East [Literature] lets out, some of the students were going over to the library waiting to be picked up or just to congregate … and sometimes they would kind of block the doorway — I don’t think intentionally, but some people found that uncomfortable. They’d have to walk through a whole group of kids, so we’ve been trying to help them"
and his response regarding the speculation of gang activity:
"there has been some speculation of some a gang presence outside the library but nothing confirmed"
The article goes on to say that:
"According to NPL, teenage roughhousing at the public libraries has not become a huge problem"
And...
"At the downtown library, high schoolers have begun gathering more frequently this year in the youth section. They have caused no severe problems although have sometimes been warned to quiet themselves."
Oh no! We better just shut down the whole library system right now!

So because some stuck-up person doesn't feel comfortable walking through a group of kids hanging out at the library - we're going to tell the kids to go elsewhere? What?!

Maybe i'm wrong, but every good teacher or librarian i've ever known (i come from a family of teachers) was willing to deal with cleaning up a little graffiti and asking kids to be quiet occasionally if it meant getting kids in the building and having a chance to get them excited about learning or reading. I know a lot of the kids aren't there to read and study - but wouldn't we rather have them in the library on the off chance that someone could have a good influence on them. It is certainly better than the alternatives like the mall, clubs, bars, or just out on the street.

In response to this post (Update: this is the woman that home-schools her kids, but got herself appointed to the school board, and was then voted out by the public in East Nashville as quickly as possible):
Should we always ask for good behavior from students? Of course.
We already did that. If kids are creating problems, there are already rules and policies in place to ask them to leave. With these policies, we are telling kids they can't come in to the library if they are still wearing clothes that could be associated with gangs. Why?

This article clearly states that they have just had a handful of isolated complaints from a few patrons. Not the staff. Not the police.

It is the job of parents and teachers and librarians and the everyone in the community to help these kids. It is not the kids job to stay out of our way and teach themselves.

This is a horrible policy and should be rescinded immediately.
They should be begging these kids to hang out at the library.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

new blog additions

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

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

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

Friday, May 11, 2007

playing to the crowd

Here it is.
Our 3 minutes of fame.
Christy and i running around on the ice in front of 17,113 fans during game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

We were selected at random as we walked in to the arena.
It was pretty cool.

FYI: The Predators crew felt so bad about the way things went (we were clearly ahead when the official got in my way) that they loaded us up with as many things as they could find and cram into two Predators duffel bags. So we have bobble heads, towels, trading cards, and drinking cups galore now - all of which went into the bathroom downstairs that was already decorated in 90% Predators / 10% Spurs :-)

I was also able to snag the puck that Christy played as we left the ice.
Quite an experience.

And a special thanks to Paul McCann, the Predators PA announcer (and fellow Dell employee during his day job) who was able to secure us the DVD of the "show" - it is a raw feed from what was shown on the scoreboard.

Monday, May 07, 2007

forsberg staying in nashville?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 06, 2007

digital experience

Well, i did it.
I drug my friends to a ghetto theater (Hickory 8 in this case) so we could see Spiderman 3 with a digital projector instead of flickering, scratchy, fuzzy, hairy film.

It was wonderful.

Don't get me wrong, the kids constantly running in and out of the crowded, smallish theater was annoying, and the sound was a little loud and treble-heavy. They also didn't have anything but candy and popcorn at the concession stand - no hot dogs!. (Normally i never partake of concessions, but we were running late and needed to grab something to tide us over for dinner). But the seats were very nice, large comfortable (soft) seats. Overall i give the theater itself a 6 out of 10 at best.

However, overall it was the best movie experience i've had in a long while. The picture was steady, in focus, and sharp. No hair. No scratches. No jitter. I also couldn't see any pixelation or color gradients the way i can on most digital TV's (including our basic DLP projector at home, alas). I really want to know what kind of codec and bitrate they use, and what resolution the movie and projector are. It was amazing. I don't plan on going to a non-digital theater again. Ever.

By the way, the movie itself was pretty good. Not great, but not as bad as the Fantastic Four. Definitely didn't take itself too seriously, which helped given the overall heavy emotional content of the movie. They did a good job of taking established Spiderman story lines and integrating them in interesting ways. I also very much appreciated the producers who made the trailers not giving away much of the end of the movie. There were one (or two) important characters not in the trailers that made for great effects eye-candy that weren't shown in the trailer. I don't want to say too much for those that haven't seen it, but i applaud the producers for not giving in to the urge to put every cool effects shot in the trailer. Final judgment: not a waste of money, but you're safe waiting for DVD if you have a decent home theater.

Now i have to preach to everyone else that if it is in digital, it is worth going to the movies again.

(For those that missed my rant about bad theater experiences a while back: check here)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

new east park center


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




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

That is all.
I am boring today.

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

Friday, May 04, 2007

nhl history map

I have to admit, i started this after being frustrated reading more posts from stuck-up Canadians claiming that Nashville doesn't deserve a team and hockey belongs in Canada. Not sure what my point was going to be. Maybe that since 1926, the NHL has had more teams in the US than Canada or something. I don't know.
Anyway, i'm not going to bother to turn this in to a rant defending hockey in the southern US.

I think the this video shows that the NHL isn't a league for Canadians or for any 'one' (except maybe the northeast US, but most sports are that way, because that's where the population centers are (and have been).

At some point later i am planning on doing one for other sports too, just for fun. Then probably layer them over each other so it will be easier to see that the NHL lost its chance during the infamous "Original Six" era when other sports were growing and they decided to be stagnant.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

5 points changes

Something of an update to this post from waaay back when.

When i drove through 5 points the other day i realized that the "mulch pit" at 5-points that belonged to Cumberland Hardware was gone. I don't know if they just had the lot resurfaced and the lumber, mulch, etc are coming back, or if this is a permanent change. Not sure what is going in (parking?) if it is leaving.

Picture evidence and other updates to come soon i'm sure

digital conversion

Well, the first of my must see movies for the summer, Spiderman 3, is opening tomorrow. My friends and i aren't the midnight crowd (not usually), so we won't seeing the movie tonight.We always watch Stargate on Friday nights, so that means we'll be seeing it Sat.
Anyway...

The point of this post is to tell you that i am finally going to make good on my threats to never pay to see a movie on film again.

I've spend far too much time this afternoon calling around to local theaters, but i finally have the list of which theaters have made the move to digital projectors:

Carmike Rivergate 8 - Yes
Bell Forge 10 (Hockory Hollow)- Yes
Wynnsong 10 (Rivergate) - Yes
Wynnsong 16 (Murfreesboro) - Yes
Green Hills 16 - No
Opry Mills - No
Hollywood 27 - No
Thoroughbred 20 - No
What is really odd about this list: All the old theaters have gone digital, while all of the "nice" new theaters are still showing film. (The girl at Opry Mills try to tell me that IMAX was digital...it is 70mm film for those that don't know). I guess this makes sense for two reasons: 1) those theaters are losing audience to the newer stadium-seating theaters so they need a 'gimmick' and 2) they are older and were due for upgrades, so they get the new stuff.

Either way, i plan on frequenting these places from here on out. Outside of focus, there shouldn't be any issues with picture or sound at these places again. (gum on the seats and sticky floors may be another issue all together)