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

(Opinions expressed here are not those of my employer. Heck, they might not even be mine.)
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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?

Your disturbing time-waster of the day

Here it is, your moment of...weird.

This is a marketing firm that knows what they are doing.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pictures of Me

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

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

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

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

THANKS JEFF!

Friday, October 12, 2007

You're kidding, right?

It isn't April Fools. The site isn't The Onion.

But this has got to be a joke:

The Research In Motion co-CEO is the owner of a group that has approached the NHL team with an offer to buy it if the deal with the current bidders fails.

According to a letter sent to Nashville's Metro Sports Authority, Balsillie is now committed to keeping the team in Nashville and winning a Stanley Cup there.

The letter also states that Balsillie's understanding of the Nashville market earlier this year was "incorrect."

The Nashville Post has a story about it too.

They say:
The Research In Motion chairman made a proposal that wouldn't change the Sommet Center's lease terms for the benefit of the team. In fact, he offered to substantially increase the penalty for terminating the license agreement.
And later, quotes an article from Balsillie's new Nashville-based spokesman for the issue:
He is now committed to Nashville as a viable hockey market, one in which he strongly desires to own a franchise; and that he will commit the resources that are necessary to lead to a Stanley Cup for the Predators and Nashville. He is also keenly aware of the recent outpouring of support of the Predators by the community, and our concrete expressions that hockey and the Predators are important to Nashville. Along these lines, Jim has assured me that he would welcome, but not require, local partners as a part of the ownership team
Now, don't get me wrong. I said way back when Balsillie first made the offer and hadn't shown what most would call his "true colors" (by being a jerk and starting to sell tickets for the team in Hamilton, Ontario), i was bullish on the idea of a guy who was this passionate about hockey and had pockets this deep. He will be a great owner for whatever team he ends up with eventually. I would like that to be my team. I just want it to be in Nashville.

At this point, he'd have to forgo the "out" clause in the lease with the city entirely and lock himself with no options before anyone in Nashville would believe that he has suddenly "seen the light". Nashville would have to tread very very carefully here. Make sure Balsillie can't just yank the team. But if they can...

I still think beyond having an owner with passion and deep pockets, the Preds would still do well by cashing in on Del Biaggio's connections to AEG and forming ties with the group to manage the arena. It would mean more events and more profitability for the franchise/arena/city.

Most of all, i just wish people would quit jerking us around. I am fully convinced that the low attendance to date is largely due to the ownership mess being up in the air. Get that settled and fans will get behind this team (win or lose). Apparently Balsillie sees that now... maybe.

The other thing worth mentioning here, is that the local group is still the only one that can negotiate with current owner Craig Leipold. This new communication has actually been made to the city, as Leipold can't talk with anyone else until the end of October. Shrewed way of getting the message out there without going around the contract. I think Balsillie may be learning after all.

UPDATE:
The Predators just released this statement: “We are committed to completing the sale of the Nashville Predators to David Freeman and his investor group."



On a slightly different, but related note:

When we were at the Dallas Stars game the other week, we sat in front of two guys from Toronto. This isn't the first time we've sat near guys from Toronto, down to watch a game. They loved it, and just like everyone else from up north that has come to see the Preds play, were in awe at the fans chants, support, yelling, and generally making things fun. Apparently they just sit on their hands and watch the game in Toronto (until they start yelling for the goalie's job in the pre-season). Anyway - turns out these guys happen to be NHL refs, down to do a few games. It was a unique experience to say the least. I also got to talk to them about the injury = match penalty issue. They said the league felt 9and apparently they agreed) that most NHL refs had been around long enough to know when a guy was faking an injury. I still don't buy it.

Good times.

Portal for everyone

So, i've been really busy this week. Checked out a community Bible Study group, watched the Preds game, went to the Preds game last night, and of course...i've been playing Portal.

The rest of the Valve Orange Box came out at midnight pacific on Wed. I've only been able to squeeze in a little bit of Portal since then (didn't finish it, but i'm fairly near the end from what i understand) and haven't been able to touch Half-Life 2: Episode 2.

A couple of notes about Portal:
1) This game is really cool, but was way too basic early on. For a game that is part of a bundle that is rated "M", the first half of the levels in Portal are way to basic. I understand the need to have a few teach-players-how-to-use-portals levels early on, but after that, make it challenging fast. The levels ramp way too gradually, and there wasn't ever really a point where i was frustrated with the game (though more than a few times where i realized later "i did that the hard way" and can go back and improve my performance for achievements later.) That leads me to #2.

2) Portal is essentially a spatial IQ test. It's not a first person shooter in any way really. This is a first person puzzle game. You can take your time with all the tests (in fact, if you do, you get to hear more of the goofy things the AI computer voice says throughout the game) and you are never in danger of eminent attack (only if you miss a platform and drop into toxic waste, that kinda thing). The problem is that everyone that plays the game, myself included, recognize that this is an intelligence test (which is reinforced by the fact that it is presented as a test throughout the game). This leads to the fact that many people - very much including myself - under inflate their play time even more than usual. When a game comes out there are always geeks that say "oh this just took me 6 hours to play" or whatever. With Portal, people are being very casual about how easy the game was for them and it only took them an hour, etc. I know i just did when talking with Matt on the phone. I told him i wasn't quite done, but had only played for an hour or so. In reality, thanks to my Steam Community Profile, i know that i have actually played for about 2 hours.

Ah well.

3) Having said that, it is very very clear that it will be very simple for users to rapidly start spitting out map-packs of their own with new levels to play. And a multi-player hack will be out in...i'll say 8 days (from release). Given that someone else hacked Half-life 2 Deathmatch to basically be multi-player Portal months ago (Excite Mod), it shouldn't take too long to get a cleaned up version running now that the real thing is out. This game is not so much a game as an introduction to an engine, which will spawn hundreds of hours of playable levels rapidly.

4) Lastly, for those who are interested, or who just want to test their spatial IQ Portal-style, here's an awesome flash game that someone took way too much time to make. Obviously it is a little more simple than the real Portal game as it is just 2-D instead of in full 3 dimensions, and you can see all the map instead of being stuck in a 1st-person point of view. But you'll get the idea. PORTAL: The Flash Version. Much fun

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Trying a new church


Trying a new church

Base a sermon on one verb from one translation w/ no orig language reference, then pray outloud for 5 min and you're pretty much gonna lose me.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

New Feed Options

So, i just realized that in addition to the normal RSS/Atom feed services that Blogger provides, there are also feeds just for certain labels (the subject keywords i tag posts with).

The practical upshot of this, is that it solves my problem of really running two blogs here. One (which is the majority of posts) is about sports (mostly hockey). The rest us just my random ramblings about cool technology stuff, movies, or whatever.

Well now all those who just want to read the terribly wonderful and insightful things i have to share about sports, but don't want to know about the latest cool items on thinkgeek.com can just subscribe here.

http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/GeekThoughtsSports
(I also added the link down on the left-hand column).

To be clear for those who don't know how these things work: Don't worry, my normal feed will still include the sports stuff. If you subscribe to the main one already, you don't need to subscribe to the new sports feed. It's for people who only care to know when i post things about sports.

Enjoy!

Friday, October 05, 2007

the other part of the show

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

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

Anyway, here’s what I noticed last night.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 04, 2007

It's Game Time!


It's Game Time!

T-Mobile

random geek and game stuff

Let's get this out of the way first: I'm going to the game tonight, can't wait for real hockey to get going, and i'm pumped! (thanks to my parents for spotting us tickets for opening night!)

Now... to this post.

Lots of random linky-ness and cool techie stuff.

Many awesome new products at ThinkGeek including the famous/infamous 8-bit tie that was originally an April Fools prank on the site, a maternity "geek inside" shirt, a new bag that you don't want to try to use as a carry-on for your next flight, and a collection of funny bumperstickers, including my new favorite cross between on religious and geek bumperstickers. Last but not least - the natural evolution of mini remote control helicopters: weaponized mini remote helicopters. Unfortunately still no sign of a KeepOn.

In other geeky news: There is now at least some sketchy 'scientific' proof that my wife's new-found gamerness has real-world upside.

And in other gamer news: More announcements of tracks for Guitar Hero 3.
While i couldn't care less about Slash or the other "legends of rock" that are supposed to be bosses in the game, i am really looking forward to playing many of these songs. Here's the list of the ones that have me chompin' at the bit.

  • La Grange -- ZZ Top
  • My Name Is Jonas -- Weezer
  • Paint It, Black -- The Rolling Stones
  • Sunshine of Your Love -- Cream
  • Cliffs of Dover -- Eric Johnson
  • Black Magic Woman -- Santana
  • Pride and Joy -- Stevie Ray Vaughn
  • Bulls on Parade -- Rage Against the Machine
  • Devil Went Down to Georgia -- Charlie Daniels Band
  • Hit Me with Your Best Shot -- Pat Benetar
  • Barracuda – Heart
  • Cult of Personality -- Living Colour
  • Mississippi Queen -- Mountain
  • Slow Ride -- Foghat
And ok, ok...in the interest of equal time, here the list of songs i'm dying to play in Rock Band.
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go – The Clash
  • Here It Goes Again – OK Go
  • Learn to Fly – Foo Fighters
  • Say It Ain't So – Weezer
  • I Think I'm Paranoid – Garbage
  • Suffragette City – David Bowie
  • Main Offender – The Hives
  • Blitzkrieg Bop – Ramones
  • Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden
  • (Don't Fear) The Reaper – Blue Öyster Cult
  • Brainpower – Freezepop
  • Creep – Radiohead
  • Enter Sandman – Metallica
  • Gimme Shelter – Rolling Stones
  • In Bloom – Nirvana
  • Mississippi Queen – Mountain
  • Tom Sawyer – Rush
  • Won't Get Fooled Again – The Who
Of course in addition to all of those, entire albums will be made available for download/purchase after release, including The Who's Who's Next and Nirvana's Nevermind.

And yes, those of you that know me know i can't stand Rush, but i have to admit it is going to be fun to play Tom Sawyer, especially if i can mute to vocal track. I particularly look forward to seeing how they do the drum part for "Learn to Fly" by the Foo Fighters. That, plus "Everlong" were tracks i used specifically used to work up my chops when i was drumming more. Higher levels there are going to be tough!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Let the games begin

After a pretty crazy summer of following the news about the Predators purchase/sale/lease/contracts/etc. i am burned out. Done.

And boy am i glad that hockey season is finally really upon us.

As of now, i am no longer going to go out of my way to post updates about the off-ice business of the team. I'll still be reading the news, so if something burns me up or gets me excited (like an actual sale going through) i'll post about it i'm sure. But in the meantime, the only play by play you're going to get from me is game related.

The product is on the ice. I'm going to support the team this year, hope they stay for next, and just watch hockey.

I want the Predators to stay because i really like watching hockey and love my Preds. I'm going to do what the players need to do and not let the distractions off the ice get in my way of doing my job - yelling myself hoarse at games and spending far too many nights up late listening to the radio or watching them at Beyond the Edge (which i really hope is smoke free) .

Go Preds!

And to that effect, if you haven't watched this, go check it out: Predators Snapshot (a 20 min intro video/show for this season).

Monday, October 01, 2007

Smoking Ban NOT Going Into Effect

So while i was at Laura Creekmore's birthday party at Beyond the Edge last night, i went over to talk Predators hockey with the manager, Joseph (I also thanked him for providing the great appetizers and other goodness for the party). While we were talking, i brought up the smoking ban and said i looked forward to being able to come to the new smoke-free version of Beyond the Edge.

He said they weren't going smoke free.
I asked if that meant they were going 21-and-up. He said no.

I was confused.

He said that he's seen stuff in the paper, but no one from the city, state, or any other group has sent them any notifications or dropped by to notify them of the change in the law. He said he and the other managers from East Nashville bars (i assume he means 3 Crow Bar, Red Door East, 5-Spot and Lipstick Lounge) are going to keep allowing people to smoke and will not ask anyone to leave until they have been notified by officials of the change.

Now, i'm all for smoke-free. I love the idea of being able to go to Beyond the Edge and watch a game and not have to keep the clothes i wear in the garage until i wash them. But this combined with the cities recent renaming of streets downtown without actually telling everyone has me wondering who's failing miserably at their jobs. Small businesses should be notified about any changes in codes or laws that apply to them once they have received their permits, etc.

Hopefully Mayor Dean's administration will be a little more prompt about reporting such things.