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Paul Nicholson
Nashvegas TN
Digital Marketing guy for Captain D's. Hockey fan, photographer, and father of 2 awesome boys.

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

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



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Monday, December 15, 2008

ReTweetBot: Instruction Manual for Users

(Note: We've finally launched ReTweetBot.com
these instructions are mirrored there along with much more info)

After essentially borrowing and tweaking the idea from a few others, @phragmunkee (Garrett) and i put together what he accurately dubbed the ReTweetBot. A very simple tool that allows for Twitter users to form permanent groups that have a large numbers of users, with a common interest, follow each others' tweets without having to follow all off-topic tweets.

You can check my first post on the topic for a bigger explination of what ReTweetBot groups are and how they got started (and how this differes from hash-tags for topical twittering).

What follows is a quick instruction guide for users of the groups (a set of instructions for managers of the groups will be posted shortly).

(For all examples below, I will use the group @PredFans as the group in question. Just substitute the name of whichever ReTweetBot equipped account you want to use when you are posting.)

There are two basic ways of posting to a ReTweetBot equipped group.
1) Using an @ reply. Simply start your Tweet with "@PredFans". Anyone can post to a group this way (if the administrator has the option enabled).
Send a tweet like this...
And it will appear like this...
As you can see, this method has the disadvantage of "double posting" and making what you say show up in your regular Twitter feed as well as going to the group account. Sometimes that is fine, but the point of these accounts is to move topical conversation 'clutter' to the group account, so there is a better way...

2) The other posting option is to send a Direct Message (sometimes called a DM) to the ReTweetBot enabled account. For this to work, the admin must have the option enabled (it is "on" by default) and the ReTweetBot enabled account must be following you on Twitter. If they aren't following your Twitter account, then the @ reply option above is the only way you can post.

The advantage here is that your Tweet will only show up on the ReTweetBot account (for everyone following there to see) and not clutter up your main feed.

So you send the tweet like this...
And it will appear like this...
With no duplicates in the feed!

So, that is the basic method behind posting to a group.
A few more pointers and tips:
  • Your name will be added to the front of your tweet (along with a colon and a space), so make sure to leave room - you can't post a full 140 characters. If your username is 11 characters long (like mine), your message to the group can only be 127 characters long (11 for username + 2 for the colon and space + message).
  • If you want to tweet "at" someone in the group using the @ reply method, make sure you still start with the ReTweetBot group name first, otherwise it won't post. Saying "@predfans @pwnicholson blah blah" will post to the group. Saying "@pwnicholson @predfans blah blah" will not post to the group.
  • Same principle aplies to DM posting method. "d predfans @pwnicholson blah blah" willpost to the group just fine. "d pwnicholson @predfans blah blah" or "d pwnicholson predfans blah blah" will not post to the group.
When everything is working right, you'll end up with a twitter stream that looks like this:
A bunch of people with a common interest who don't have to follow each others' every tweet to have a conversation about the topic they all care about.

If you have any questions or feedback for the groups, please let me know in the comments of this post. We hope to be either launching either an online service, open to all, or make the code available so others can start their own groups soon as well. For now, the test groups that are up and running are:
@PredFans - the first group, created for Nashville Predators fans. Already up to 160+ followers with many regular participants.
@TitanFans - for fans of the Tennessee Titans
@GoLeafs - For fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs
@OilFans - For fans of the Edmonton Oilers
@MotorcycleFans - For fans of two-wheels
@BOLOEastNash - "Be On The Lookout" Crime watch group for the East Nashville neighborhood

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The most inspirational movie ever

Well, it isn't the most inspirational movie ever, but rather a series of clips cut together from ALL OF THEM.

Watch the clip, then see if you can help me fill in the missing movies that i couldn't identify.

  • Braveheart
  • The Muppet Movie The Great Muppet Caper
  • Animal House
  • Rudy
  • Street Fighter
  • Old School
  • Mr Smith Goes to Washington
  • Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
  • Star Trek: First Contact
  • [Kirsten Dundst, not sure] Bring It On
  • Stand and Deliver
  • Newsies
  • Charlie Brown
  • Apollo 13
  • Rocky Balboa
  • Matrix Revolutions The Matrix Reloaded
  • [unknown Orlando Bloom] Kingdom of Heaven
  • Knute Rockne: All American
  • Alexander
  • Broadcast News Network
  • [unknown Clint Eastwood] The Outlaw Josey Wales
  • Robin Hood
  • The Little Great Dictator
  • Patton
  • [Al Pacino, not sure] Any Given Sunday
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
  • 300
  • Troy
  • [not sure] Swingers
  • Miracle
  • Dead Poet’s Society
  • Galaxyquest
  • TRON The Last Starfighter
  • [Sean Connery, not sure] The Untouchables
  • [not sure] Army of Darkness
  • Mary Martin’s Peter pan
  • Hoosiers
  • The Mighty Ducks
  • Henry V
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Braveheart
  • Independence Day
  • Free Willy
  • Angels in the Outfield
  • Cool Runnings
  • Dead Poet Society (again)
  • [not sure] Meatballs
  • Spartacus
  • Goonies
  • Superman Superman II
  • The Neverending Story
  • Rudy (again)
  • Shawshank Redemption
  • The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
  • Ferris Beuller’s Day Off
  • Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  • Rocky 2
(Thanks to my friend Brett who filled in a few missing movies, and corrected where i originally listed "The Last Starfighter" as being "TRON". I am so embarrassed.)

Just found a link to the original maker of the video and his post. He talks about the process of making it, etc.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Upcoming Movie Update

It's been a while since i've updated everyone on my "want to see" movie list. With about 5 movies releasing new trailers this weekend, i figured now is a good time.


Nov 21 2008 - Bolt - trailer
   I know, it isn't Pixar
   I have hope that Disney is capable of making good kids movies.

Dec 5th 2008 - J.C.V.D. - trailer
   Jean-Claude Van Damme plays "himself"
   Its a parodyish, action, introspective, real, fake...just watch the teaser

Dec 12 2008 - The Day The Earth Stood Still - trailer
   The original is one of my top 5 movies of all time
   Klatuu may be the one role Keanu Reeves was meant to play

Dec 25th 2008 - Marley & Me - trailer
   Rom Com of the holiday season.

Dec 25th 2008 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - trailer
   SciFi-ish adaptation of a short story

Jan 23rd 2009 - Inkheart - trailer
   I like Brended Frasier when he has fun with good material

Feb 6th 2009 - Fanboys - trailer
   Changed and re-shot from the original pitch, but still could be ok.
   Looks too much like a teen sex comedy now though. We'll see...

Mar 6th 2009 - Watchmen
   Comic book Graphic novel fans are going nuts.
   I'm new to it, but very curious.

Mar 13th 2009 - Race to Witch Mountain
   A remake of sorts starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

May 1st 2009 - X-Men Origins: Wolverine
   The first of a few "origin" X-Men movies planned.

May 8th 2009 - Star Trek - trailer
   'Reimaging' prequel by "Lost" creator JJ Abrams

May 22nd 2009 - Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian
   Who wouldn't want to see this cast: Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Robin Williams
   Rickey Gervais, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria, Steve Coogan,
   Dick Van Dyke, Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy...

May 29th 2009 - Up
   New Pixar movie with Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, etc

Jul 17th 2009 - Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince
   Delayed almost a year from the original date

Nov 20th 2009 - Sherlock Holmes
   Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law


Dec 19th 2009 - Seven Pounds - trailer
   Will Smith, Woody Harrelson, etc
April 24th 2009 - The Soloist - trailer
   Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr

2009 - Crossing Over - trailer
   Harrison Ford, Sean Penn, Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Weber for President

Ok, not for President, but for the all-star team.

The NHL All-Star balloting has begun (yes, it seems early to me, too), and this year the NHL is using a new voting system on the web that lets fans (1) Vote as many times as they want and (2) instantly see a running tally of how many votes each player is getting.

But let's cut to the chase. If you want to vote as i did, (Arnott, Dumont, Erat, Weber, Suter, Ellis for the West - Timmonen, Hartnell, Vokoun for the East) then just click on the button below .
NHL All-Star Fan Balloting- Click to Vote

You can check the current standings here.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Ian Nicholson

Ian Nicholson

It's a boy! He'll be making his first appearance in public on March 24th (give or take a bit)It's a boy! He'll be making his first appearance in public on March 24th (give or take a bit)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Twitter Groups Done Right! (aka: I hate Hash Tags)

I hate hashtags.

Now, i know hashtags have a place. For very large groups (for instance, those tweeting about the presidential debates all over the country), hashtags make sense. It allows people to search for a given tag and see what anyone has to say about a topic.

But there is a problem with hashtags.
For large, but closed (and relative to the larger Twitter community: small) groups, hashtags are a mess and create all sorts of issues.

Today many geeks, including myself, are at BarCamp in Nashville. They are encouraging everyone to hashtag tweets with #bcn08. But the problem is, I can garuntee you there are people who normally follow myself, Christy, Jackson, Kate, Alison, etc who aren't the least bit interested in BarCamp. Well, tough for them because thanks to only using hashtags, we're going to flood their Twitter feeds with what is essentially a private conversation for those participating in BarCamp.

There is a solution though!

Last year's BarCamp (back in 2007) featured a basic retweet service that searched tweets for a certain string ("BCN") and posted it to one Twitter account (go search back to posts in 2007). This let everyone that wanted to "hear" people talking about BarCamp follow one account and not miss out. That way they don't have to follow everyone at BarCamp and hear them talk about their kids later on. You just hear what they have to say about BarCamp, but nothing else. Awesome.

That was only part of the solution though. There were still issues.

Problem was, it looked for a simple string in any Tweets. In this case it was "BCN". So if, for instance, my buddy Jackson, who i already follow on Twitter, said something with "BCN" in it, i got it twice in my feed. Not to mention the same problem of cluttering feeds with things people don't want still applied.

So, the solution seemed pretty simple: change the retweet engine from repeating based on a simple string, and rather look for people who Tweet @replies to the group account, or better yet, send direct messages to the account.

This gives two levels of filtering:

  • Those who want to have @reply filtering setup on their Twitter feeds (only show @replies to people i'm following).
  • I can keep messages to the group account out of my main Twitter stream by sending it as a DM.
So, i had the brilliant (very very simple) idea (of taking someone else's idea and changing it). But i couldn't code it. My coding-fu has long ago left me and if i can't do it with HTML and basic Javascript, i'm at a loss. Enter Garrett (aka @Phragmunkee). He's a geek in Chattanooga that helped me setup a ReTweet engine for Predators fans.

So, we now have @PredFans. Anyone can post to it by starting a tweet with an @reply (which would leave the post in their normal stream as well), or send a direct message which leaves it out of thier normal stream and says it only to those that want to follow the topic.

This is what the resulting stream looks like:
Clean, simple, and it doesn't clutter up the individual feeds and streams of the users involved.
As you can see, the most important factor is that it allows for very quick, real-time conversations among twitter users in a far better way than traditional hashtags.

It also gives admins more control. While we have @PredFans wide open, you can restrict those that can post to the group to only users you choose to follow with the group account. Creating a closed-posting group that anyone can follow and read.

And yes, Twitter quickly granted us white-list status so we can poll the API twice per minute to check for new posts. We could go faster, but we're running on a borrowed server for now :-)

FYI: We just started a few more groups as well:
Tennessee Titans football fans: @TitanFans
Toronto Maple Leafs fans: @GoLeafs
Edmonton Oilers fans: @OilFans
East Nashville Crime List: @BOLOEastNash
Motorcycle Fans: @MotorcycleFans

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Random Updates

Two quick random updates on previous posts:

1) Back in May i posted about Fox Sports' announcement that they would be increasing their ability to handle HD signals and that in 2009 they would be 100%, 24/7 HD. Of course there was no promise as to when in 2009 they would be 100% HD... Today we got the confirmation that out of the 55 Predators games that will be airing on FSN South (or is it FS South now?), 22 will be in HD. They are pretty widely spaced through the season, and don't seem to pickup later into 2009...so we'll see if that improves or how that is connected to this great new HD signal processing center.

2) The KeepOn that i raved about back in September of '07 (you remember that right?) is finally going on sale...for $30k each. A company (BeatBots) has been formed to sell the cute little interactive robots, and for now they are primarily targeting the technology to research firms and universities. So i guess that goes on my "If i had a million dollars" wish list, not the "General Wishlist". Check.

As a reminder of how awesome this thing is, here's its appearance in Spoon's video for "Don't you Evah"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Free advice for the Preds marketing department

I was a marketing minor in college, so clearly, i am an expert to listen to in the area of marketing. With that in mind, here are a few ideas i have that i think could help the much improved effort already underway for the Nashville Predators.

List Game Dates/Times Everywhere
The presence around town of Predators billboards is vastly improved over the last several years. They look better and there are just more of them. Trouble is, they don't have one very key piece of information - when are the games? Through the summer the drive has been for season tickets, and that makes sense. But trying to sell seasons tickets through most of the year doesn't make as much sense. After all, people buying season tickets are probably already fans. That's no who you need to be reaching.
The main push needs to be for individual game sales from casual fans (or people who have never even seen a game). Those people buy tickets more impulsively. They want something to do this weekend. They just remembered a spouse/child's birthday and need to do something, etc. They can only do that if they know when the games will be. Everyone knows when Titans games are (Sunday is pretty easy to remember) but not everyone has (or thinks to look at) their pocket calendar of Preds games.

I've seen the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs use this to great effect. Every month they would put a new billboard up listing games that month. It was very easy for fans driving down the highway to see it and think "oh, i could catch a game this weekend" or "hey, there's a game on my husband's birthday - i bet he'd like that". Last year the Preds had a billboard up pushing the Capitals game, which was good, but putting up a month of games lets people plan for more than just one option. (The widespread use of digital billboards around town also makes changing the game listings much easier/cheaper to do) (Here's an example of one done by Michigan St football)

Tell businesses why it makes sense to partner with the Preds - not "support" them.
I was very happy to hear David Freeman say last year, when he took over as lead owner of the Preds, that he was not asking for anyone's charity. He didn't want the Predators to be a charity case and didn't think or want to say that business "should" support the Predators as part of their civic duty. Unfortunately the Radio "ticket-thon" that 104.5 did last week did exactly that. Operating far outside their comfort zone, George Plaster and crew begged people to support the Predators and "buy tickets to 1 or two games" or "buy a 10 pack...whatever you can afford". While very well intentioned and very appreciated, the message sent to businesses was the wrong one.

For one brief moment though, someone did say the right thing: When interviewing someone from Vanderbilt Sports Medicine (the new official health care provider of the Predators), the question was asked "why sponsor the Preds". Among other things in his answer, the Vandy rep said (and i paraphrase) "because they are a great way to reach our target market. There is a lot of overlap between who they draw to games and the customers we want to reach". BINGO! That message needs to be being said VERY loud and VERY often.

Now, i trust (and hope) that David Freeman and crew, when going out to give presentations to businesses, are saying this and have all sorts of demographic data to back it up. Businesses buying tickets for Preds games just makes sense - from a business point of view. And we aren't talking about it-helps-keep-the-Preds-in-town-and-if-we-don't-Nashville-will-look-bad-and-top-talent-won't-want-to-move-to-Nashville-and-you'll-have-to-hire-lesser-people. That's not it. The connections are much more direct.

  1. Advertising with the Predators (in the arena, on TV, and on the radio) is a fantastic way to reach a passionate crowd of typically young, upper- and upper-middle-class people. The associate with teams is a proven way to build fantastic brand loyalty among people who have money to spend and are still building loyalties. There are more numbers out there to back all this up... if i was back in a marketing job i'd go on and on here...
  2. It's a great way to reward employees and build a good corporate environment. I know of multiple businesses that have used this to great success: Buy a pair of season tickets - good seats - to the Predators. Then give it away to top performers. Maybe its a contest for whoever is the top sales person that week gets the tickets. Maybe employees get the tickets for a month when they have been with the company for X number of years. Whatever it is, people go crazy for what they perceive to be a valuable commodity - regardless of the actual value. Example: Season tickets right next to the governor and his wife (section 112, around the 4th row) cost $156 per game. I know very few commission-based salespeople (which i work with) who will go crazy and bend over backwards for $150 spiff (only interested in the big bucks) - but tickets like this? Very prestigious and they will go nuts for them - working OT, etc. I've seen it happen more than once. And of course there are other seats on the suite level that include all you can eat food/drinks packages for about the same money.
Oh - and the Preds have meeting facilities in the arena - so you can get a great group rate on the game and have your quarterly strategy session in the arena (catered) for a great package deal. But so very few people know about these options.

Again, i trust that this conversation is taking place, but it is happening behind closed doors right now. It needs to be shouted from the mountain tops.

Make the 'value' packages very clear and well promoted (during poor economic times)
Did you know you can get 4 tickets in the all-you-can-eat zone for $220? That's 2.5hours of great family entertainment, all the hotdogs, burgers, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, water and soda you can handle for $55 each. Last year's family fun packs that let a family of 4 go for $100 and included a free hotdog and soda was a fabulous deal too. In hard economic times, you have to emphasize that the games aren't as expensive as people may think they are. And you'll have better family bonding time at a game than at a movie (you can actually, ya know, talk to each other).

Side note: Promote the website better. It's awesome.
Last plug i gotta make here is for the absolutely awesome website. Especially PredsTV. If you haven't checked out Training Camp Central, its excellent. Reports on all the players and daily write-ups with interviews with coaches and players, etc. There are write-ups and highlight shows posted quickly after every game, and resources for fans all over.

PredTV is by far the highlight though, with videos posted all summer long showing what the players did during the off-season (JP Dumont's kids are pretty cute), how prospect camp went, and more...

Every press conference the team does is available online as well:

Best way to stay caught up with what is on the website: add the following feeds to your feed reader (or to your MyYahoo or iGoogle page):
Predators News
New PredsTV Videos

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fantasy Hockey Time!

I'll try to do a big breakdown and talk smack later, but for now wanted to post a brief analysis of my fantasy hockey league for this year.
This is the sums/averages of all stats for each category.

Blue = Best in league
Red = Worst in league
Bold = Above the league average

Run down of the managers this year:
303 4 Life - Bradley S (co-worker and fellow Cell block 303er)
PredFans - Paul Nicholson (yours truly)
Barrys Bolts or Bust - George Scoville, aka stackiii (hockey blogger/forum guy)
Becker's Wreckers - Joel, aka Introverted One (friend/blogger)
Fantasy Hockey Guru - Kevin Hicks (co-worker & sports nut)
Ice Holes - Paul McCann (Preds PA annoucner & Hockeybuzz blogger)
Nolensville Knights - Dirk Hoag, aka The Forechecker (Kuklas Korner blogger)
Old School Blues - Gary Nicholson (my dad)
Pond Hockey Rulez - Michael Nick (co-worker)
Puckhounds - Joshua Frizzell (co-worker)
RebelMandos - Kevin Peters (random friend)
Tallahassee Warthogs - Andy B (fellow Cell Block 303er)
The Felder Flu - Brandon Felder (Hockeybuzz blogger)
The Knack - Ken Knack (co-worker)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Preds Fan Meet-Up

Predators Fans: Come one, come all!

Well, actually, let me be more specific...

There's a pretty nice community of people from blogs, Flickr, Twitter, etc around "Pred Nation". So, i'd like to see as many of us get together to actually meet the 3D versions of each other.
Where: Predators Training Camp - Centennial Sportsplex
When: Sat, Sept 20th 10:30am

We will meet in between the first and second training camp sessions (around 10:30am) at the tables in the front lobby of the Sportsplex building (near the front doors). I'll be wearing a light blue work shirt that says "Geek" on the front and carrying around a camera. If you can't find us, call 615-823-1734, that'll ring my cell. Or you can DM me on Twitter @pwnicholson.
Now for the roll call (and link love) of the people i'd really love to see there. I'm sure i'm going to leave a few people off the list, but if you want to show, please do! You don't have to be listed!
For full details on Predators Training Camp, check out "Training Camp Central"

See ya there!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Vegas on Preds

Vegas has spoken and have ranked the Predators the 18th most likely team to win the Stanley Cup this year out of the 30 team league. 30/1 odds.

Of course, the Red Wings are roughly 7.5 times more likely to win the Cup than the Preds, but the good news is that they are effectively picking us to make the playoffs (we're in a 3 way tie for 7-9th most-likely-to-win in the West) and again finish second in the division.

I find it very interesting that they have given the Preds better odds than Chicago and Tampa Bay, both of which did some major retooling in the offseason and i personally would have to handicap at least at the Predators level, especially Chicago. I'm also a little surprised to be put at parity with Calgary, which to me looked to have a strong off-season and looks loaded to at least make a lot of noise this season.

Probably the most surprising to me about this list is that the East is given much better odds overall (though of course no one approaches the Wings odds). 10 of the top 16 odds are given to teams from the East. I just really find it odd that they would give Carolina odds that good, or teams like Calgary odds that low. On a team-by-team basis nothing seems too far off, but most of the talk i hear is that the West is deeper and stronger than the East (though the gap is closing), but this chart doesn't appear to support that theory.

We shall see...

Team Odds
1 Detroit Red Wings 4/1
2 Pittsburgh Penguins 11/2
3 San Jose Sharks 10/1
4 Montreal Canadiens 10/1
5 Dallas Stars 12/1
6 Anaheim Ducks 12/1
7 New York Rangers 15/1
8 Ottawa Senators 15/1
9 Philadelphia Flyers 15/1
10 Washington Capitals 18/1
11 New Jersey Devils 20/1
12 Carolina Hurricanes 22/1
13 Minnesota Wild 22/1
14 Colorado Avalanche 25/1
15 Boston Bruins 30/1
16 Buffalo Sabres 30/1
17 Calgary Flames 30/1
18 Nashville Predators 30/1
19 Vancouver Canucks 30/1
20 Chicago Blackhawks 35/1
21 Toronto Maple Leafs 40/1
22 Tampa Bay Lightning 45/1
23 Edmonton Oilers 50/1
24 Florida Panthers 50/1
25 Atlanta Thrashers 60/1
26 St. Louis Blues 60/1
27 New York Islanders 75/1
28 Phoenix Coyotes 75/1
29 Columbus Blue Jackets 75/1
30 Los Angeles Kings 100/1

Monday, September 08, 2008

Preds May Need To Tank

I looks like everyone else is chiming in with what they think the Predators should do with the open roster spots, so i figured it was time for me to cast my vote.

The discussions center around whether the Preds should sign a big name free-agent (Sundin), mid-level veteran talent (Parrish), or just go with the prospects we have in our system (Hornqvist, Jones, etc).

Moy vote: I think the Preds should go with the young talent. Don't spend a dime more than you have to on the roster this year. Invest the money in the marketing, hype these youngsters and most importantly, pick a personality on a long contract to build the fans around (Dumont, Weber, or Erat seem logical).

Some are saying the team can't afford to take a year off - that from the financial and fan-base building point of view we can't afford to go a year without making the playoffs and being competitive. But i think history proves that wrong. The Preds best attended season was 2001, when the team was well below .500, and wouldn't see the playoffs for years to come. Likewise the Blackhawks and Capitals have proved that a well marketed, unbalanced team with just a few talented players can draw crowds and attention, win or lose.

As much as i am a Preds fan and want few things more than seeing Lord Stanley's cup hoisted at the Sommet Center, the one thing i might want more is the promise the the team will be here for my kids to enjoy in 10-15-20 years. What do we need to ensure that? A profitable team and butts in the seats.

News flash: Crowds don't follow wins. They follow stars, excitement, and only then, yes...playoffs and championships. Over and over again teams in the NBA and NHL have proved that stars and hype fill arenas and sell TV ads. Period. If those stars make it to the playoffs, so much the better.

So i think the Preds options are one of two things*: Either do another roster purge and sign Mats Sundin or trade for Evgeni Malkin, or stay low with the roster we have and do the best we can to hype the young talent - and don't worry about our record. Win where we can, but by the half-way point if we aren't in the playoff hunt - tank. Go for the draft spots and go for broke next year.

Balanced, above average players great for fantasy rosters and winning hockey games, but they don't sell tickets. We need hype, we need tickets, and we need them this year and next.

*Obviously i don't think the Preds are going to go with either of these routes exactly, and I'm not sure if i was Davids Freeman & Poile that i would have the guts to actually do either option - but if i was a high-priced consultant brought in to give my completly uneducated opinion, this is what i'd say.

To put this more clearly (thank you JC for helping me get to this point of clarity in my argument):
For this team right now, $1mil spent in advertising gets them a decent bump in attendance. $1mil spent on the salary gets them...? At best another point or two in the standings? This team isn't going to be significantly better and their playoff chances will not improve that much with ANY player they could sign (even with $10mil a year for Sundin). So don't bother. The team as it is right now will be competative and entertaining enough.

Take a "building year" on the ice to develop young talent that has been stuck in Milwalkee and Europe for too long, while pumping big dollars into marketing. Then next year, with your nice, shiny high draft pick thanks to a bad record, you'll have a marketable star (who cares if they are really game-changing, Stamkos is selling tickets in Tampa Bay and he's yet to step on the ice for them) at rookie-discount pricing who you can hype the snot out of.

The Preds have had teams in the past that were successful on the ice but didn't have any mega-stars that were well marketed. They went strong into the playoffs, then fizzled - and never drew huge crowds until the very end of the season and playoffs, which is something Nashville has always done. What they need is someone that a marketing effort can use to get people into the seats while football season is in full swing. Invest in marketing and hope for a great draft pick.

Oh - and i don't care if he's horrible - get Blake Geoffrion playing at the NHL level as soon as possible. Local boy makes good is a great story for the news.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Predators 08-09 Roster Finalized

(Warning: This article is full of sarcasm)

The Predators roster is still anyone's guess. Personally, i take David Poile at his word that, right or wrong, they will plan on relying on prospects to come up and fill vital roster spots at the forward position (to be more specific, i think they'll at least wait until camp and then make a free agent signing or trade based on what we need). Others like The Forechecker think (or at least hope) that the Preds will make another move before camp begins.

But of course all that is just talk. Those amazing hockey insiders at EA Sports have apparently used CIA level spying techniques (or maybe a time machine) to give us info that others can only speculate on.

Ladies and gentlemen, here is your NHL 09 Nashville Predators roster:

Jason Arnott, Radek Bonk, Jean-Pierre Dumont, Martin Erat, Vernon Fiddler, Martin Gelinas, Jan Hlavac, David Legwand, Scott Nichol, Jed Ortmeyer, Jerred Smithson, Steve Sullivan, Jordin Tootoo

Greg de Vries, Dan Hamhuis, Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, Greg Zanon, Cody Franson

Dan Ellis, Pekka Rinne

So what can we glean from this?
  • Alexander Radulov, though under contract with the Predators, isn't going to be in the NHL this year (he isn't listed as a free agent either - just not in the game). He has been erased from existence (cue 'Back to the Future' clip here)
  • The Predators may lose Radulov, but will somehow talk Jan Hlavac out of signing with a Swedish Elite team and into coming back to Nashville. Wise move.
  • Steve Sullivan will be back on the ice, though skating a bit slower (or at least taking up a roster spot).
  • The Predators will resign the ageless Martin Gelinas despite all outward indications to the contrary. This is best explained by his ability to get a little press coverage every time the anniversary of the Great Gretzky Trade rolls around.
  • Despite going through all the hassle of arbitration and subsequent signing of Ville Koistinen to a new one year, one-way contract, the Predators will apparently buy him out with no trade in return and instead opt to go with minor leaguer Cody Franson. They will therefore have absolutely no offensively focused defensemen on the roster, which makes sense of course, given the obvious glut of scoring power at the forward position.
Wow. Just a heads up, if you try to play with this Predators roster, you're gonna be in a world of hurt (not to mention have little resemblance to the team that will actually take the ice this year). I know the Predators won't be favorites to win the cup, but at least we can take solace in the fact that we probably won't be this bad. I hope...

Other notes of interest:
  • Greg Zanon (Mr Body Sacrifice to you) is still listed as the 15th best shot blocker on the Predators (yes, Jordin Tootoo, Jed Ortmeyer and Jason Arnott are clearly the team leaders in this category).
  • David Legwand is rated as the 6th fastest player in the NHL. That's right folks, Steve Sullivan only looks faster because of his size apparently.
  • Martin Gelinas can also make his 38 year old knee, fresh from injury and surgery, propel him to the 3rd fastest spot on the roster.
  • Jordin Tootoo is the 7th toughest player in the league (hey Dallas, i though he was supposed to be a whiner?)
  • Overall Legwand is apparently our superstar in hiding. He is in the top three on the team in Speed, Acceleration, Deking, Agility, Offensive Awareness, Puck Control, Deflections...and probably a few more categories. Jason Arnott is really good too.
For the full Preds roster with all stats in fully sortable Google Spreadsheet format, check here.

As for the game itself, my big complaint last year was that few of the Predators players looked anything like themselves. Well, this year things aren't looking much better, though it's hard to say for sure. The NHL 09 website screenshot section features not a single picture with any Predators featured. The videos i have watched so far only had a single brief glimpse of Ryan Suter with his back turned to the camera. The only picture of a Preds player's face from the game that i can find is on this IGN page (picture at right). I can't tell for sure, but i can only assume from the "A" on the jersey that ends in the number 1 that it is either supposed to be Dumont or perhaps Legwand. Too bad it looks absolutely nothing like either of them. Meanwhile Paul Kariya, Vinny LeCavelie, Sindey Crosby, etc all look like themselves...at least a little. It looks like once again the Preds will be staffed by the generic-faced masses.

National TV Coverage

That lack of respect and consideration does fit nicely with the new TV schedule though. The NHL released the National TV schedule a few days ago (the FSN local TV schedule has yet to be released) and the Predators are all but absent. Out of 196 games scheduled to be televised on TSN, NBC, Versus, and Hockey Night In Canada - exactly 4 of them will feature the Nashville Predators. Now, i understand that the league wants to promote the Penguins and the Red Wings are always a huge draw, etc... and HNIC and TSN will naturally gravitate towards games with Canadian teams, but those teams have to play someone, right?

I guess we can't complain too much...the Panthers, Coyotes, and Hurricanes are all on TV only 4 times (along with the Preds), while the Ducks and Kings are only on 3 times ,and the lowly Columbus Bluejackets are only featured on national TV 2 times out of 196 games. With no exposure at the national level, is it any wonder why these franchises are struggling? I know it's a chicken-or-the-egg kinda problem, but this TV scheduling doesn't help them out any.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is it my judgment, or is it really there?

I hate that I've been too busy to post. I also hate that two posts in a row are about less than awesome experiences on the bus. So before i get started, let me again say that i've been very pleased with how safe, clean, and overall how reliable my bus riding experience has been so far (the washboard streets that are 5th Ave and Lafayette not withstanding).

But since school started back a fwe days ago, i've seen more and moor of what i would essentially call child abuse and i have to get it off my chest. Some things have been more severe than others to be sure, and much of it i think is just my own judgment and experience filter making me see things that aren't there or at least exaggerating them. Certainly nothing i would call child protective services about. But...

Examples: Parents feeding an 18 month old and his 2.5 year old sister Cheetos - which the children first use as crayons and rub on the back of the seat in front of them before popping them in their mouths, with no intervention by the parent. Gross, and nutritionally negligent, but probably not as bad as i judge it to be. Then there are cases like the picture to the right. A little girl that couldn't have been more than 2, allowed to wander the bus by herself and talk to strangers (including me) while her mom stayed on the phone talking to someone. More than once she fell when the bus stopped because she couldn't hold her balance. The mom never flinched.

But other things are severe enough that i can have no response other than to be sad. Sad for the child, sad for the parent, sad for that parent as a child because often times the hereditary nature of dysfunction is so obvious, that the parent might as well stand up on the bus and tell us all about when...

Then there was this morning: A little boy who looked to be about 6 got on the bus wearing a backpack with his mom. Now, first off, school started a few days ago and he was getting on the city bus heading into town with her to the transfer station at about 8:00am - and they had to run to catch the bus. So either he wasn't going to school or was going to be very late. After a while he got a few papers out of his bag and started identifying letters. Not reading, but just identifying letters. His mom helped him, and he got a few of them wrong but most right. While i think most 6 year-olds should be able to identify letters better than he could, it was still great to see her working with him and his clear desire to learn. But then it went bad. He coughed. A rough cough that may have explained why he was going to work with mom instead of to school. But he made a critical mistake and didn't cover his mouth (like most kids his age). His mom then proceeded to yell at him to cover his mouth...and then slapped him. Three times. Hard. In the mouth. Hard enough that i could hear the slaps over the noise on the bus from about 8 feet away. Then the really odd part - the mom started to rock her large frame (she was probably around 250-300lbs) back and forth in her seat, the way you see some litte kids do when they're upset. She did it for the rest of the ride in to the terminal (another 10 minutes). The child didn't say a word and quietly put his school work back in his bag and sat in perfect, still silence.

Was it really that horrible - I guess not really. But watching it happen i was just filled with pity and sympathy for the situation. Prior to the cough/slap i was thinking how this child might be the first of his family to attend college, maybe even graduate high school (they got on at the stop in the projects). This was a picture of hope and a better life. Then suddenly a history of abuse (which is almost always learned and passed down through families) reached out and quite literally smacked the kid in the mouth. This kid may still grow up to be a great person, be successful (by whatever measure) and even do well academically...

But wow... the scene just hit me like a ton of bricks this morning.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Daily grind

Don't get me wrong: i love relaxing and letting someone else drive, i love saving money, and love helping to save the environment. But losing an hour and a half of my day to extra commute time (over driving), feeling unproductive because my blackberry can only do so much, and watching disfunctional families abuse their kids while waiting at the bus terminal are all starting to wear on me today.

Today we do have the added entertainment of a Black Muslim evangelist spewing what i would call white-hate speech (about 'the man locking away kids' and saying that 'white Christianity ruined Africa') to anyone that doesn't immediatly tell him to go away. He hasn't tried me so far.

The funny part to me is that the buses are fine. i never see any trouble makers or problems on the bus, don't feel uncomfortable, and generally have a nice time. You'd assume from stereotypes that my buses should be the worst: i take the #4 past the projects in East Nashville, and the #15 past the projects off LaFayette. They are really nice though. But at the station... You have to spend too long here and it needs to be cleaned up (of trash) and monitored better. I really may start waiting a few blocks up each route from here on out.

I also need to get my Sansa working again (if Rhapsody would get their act together) and remember that i can use my BlackBerry with Opera to make blog posts like this one. Helps pass the time for sure, though my readers may have to suffer through more grumpy rants about my day rather than read mostly about the Preds. :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

How WALL-E was not an environmental movie

Ok, i mentioned this briefly in my last post (recapping all the summer movies i've seen), but this apparently needs to be addressed again.

My cousin-in-law just made a post about the movie and he has comments disabled, so you get to hear my rebuttal here. Be warned that this post will be as spoiler free as possible, but if you haven't seen the movie, just know that both Brian and I liked it and you should go see it. Then come back and read the article and participate in the discussion.

Brian starts off by taking issue with "the crystal clear liberal environmental objective."
Just gotta take that first and ask: Why does anything environmental have to be liberal? Christy and i are very environmentally conscious. Letting the left-win-liberal-politicos co-opt environmental responsibility is just as bad as letting the right-wing-conservatives co-opt Christianity. But then again...that gets us down the broken two-party system rat hole (see here for another example)... Moving on...
"The entire premise of the movie is that the earth has become overrun with garbage and taken over my big business."
Nope. Those are important facts, but that is not the premise of the movie - that would be the setting and set-up for the movie. The premise and plot of the movie... well...he actually gets close to it here in a second...
"...this is a really good illustration of how we have to be very sensitive to what messages our families - especially our children - are bombarded with...It is our responsibility to protect our children and shape a biblical worldview in their hearts"
Now we're getting closer to what the movie was actually about. The fact that the Earth was grungy and people had to move off of it wasn't the point at all. As Brian said "The hero of the movie is of course Wall-E [sic], a garbage compactor." And what is WALL-E's story about? A relationship. He is lonely and wants a relationship. Brian describes what he finds on the spaceship: "people are on a space ship, where they have been for hundreds of years, and are now all overweight and lazy." ...and...haven't seen each other face to face and interacted as people in generations.

The point of this movie was not that we trash the planet then move off, become even fatter and more lazy (and more commercial), and then WALL-E convinces them to go fix the Earth. The whole fixing the Earth bit at the end thing is what the industry calls a "subplot". It was EVE's motivation through the movie and helped provide conflict for the antagonist to give the movie some action. The point of this movie - the real message, is summed up very well by something i heard writer/director Andrew Stanton say in an interview after i saw the flick: "What would happen if the most human thing left in the galaxy was a robot". You could call this an anti-technology movie. A pro-social/relationship movie. A love story. But environmental movie it was not.

WALL-E reminded the people on board how to be human. He pushed through barriers and loves EVE. That message, together with a subplot reminding us that we were put on this planet with a specitic instruction from God: GEN 2:15 "The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it."

Both of those are messages i'd be glad for my kids to internalize one day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Summer movie update

Way back on Valentines Day i listed all the summer blockbuster movies i was amped about seeing. Now that we're most of the way through the movie season, i thought i'd give a bit of a recap/update with mini reviews since i didn't make posts after seeing most of them. Don't worry, i'll warn and censor any possible spoilers.

First, i'd like to point out that unlike the summer before, this summer wasn't all sequels and remakes. There were several, but they were not nearly as dominant as last year. I'm not saying every movie was terribly original, but it was nice to be treated to more of the unexpected, and get introduced to new characters for a change.

Feb 14th - Jumper

Didn't see it. Heard it sucked. Will probably grab it on Netflix eventually.

April 18 - The Forbidden Kingdom
Didn't see it, though i heard it was decent. Still want to see, but is on my Netflix queue now.

May 2 - Iron Man
Great movie. Started the summer off right. Just the right balance of substance and just having a ton of fun. Special effects were awesome, acting was solid, script was tight. Not fine art cinema - no Oscars here - but really good movie that should be very rewatchable.

May 9 - Speed Racer
This one was ok. I was fairly disappointing that there was much more language and violence in this than i think should have been allowed as a PG movie. Having said that, if it had been rated PG-13 i would have enjoyed it more. I also think the acid-trip visuals worked for me after a while. It was much more of an art film in that regard than i expected - almost to the point of being avant-garde or experimental really. Once i got used to that, i think it was a good film. Middle of the road, but good.

May 16 - Chronicles of Narnia: Price Caspian
Excellent, but like Speed Racer this one should have been PG-13. It was pretty much in line with the first Lord of the Rings movie, but without blood. Literally. Same number of bodies falling. Same number of swords stabbing, etc...just no blood squirting when it happens. But like i said, very good. True to the book (almost too much - those who haven't read it might be confused) and well acted and written. I hope they keep moving through the books - at least make it a trilogy. These Narnia movies could have been drivel, but so far so good.

May 22 - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
I went in with mid-level expectations and didn't bury myself in spoiler-filled coverage before it came out and i think it paid off. I really liked this one. I think what i liked best was that it assumed that Indy kept doing things for the last 20 years. [SPOILER ALERT - HIGHLIGHT TEXT TO READ IT] It referenced Young Indiana Jones Chronicles events, assumed that Indy was in the service during WWII (which of course he would be), etc. He wasn't just old, he had a life. The only gripe i had on this one was the scene with Mutt swinging from the vines with monkeys...and the truck/cliff/tree moment that was straight out of a Wiley Coyote cartoon. Otherwise the suspension of disbelief was within what i was willing to deal with, and loads of fun. I also think this one worked better because it tapped into a mythos that i was familiar with. Indy 1 and 3 were great because i grew up hearing about what they were after. Temple of Doom didn't reach me as well because i didn't care about the MacGuffin. In this one, it worked because i've heard about Rosewell aliens for years and mysterious temples in South America, so i was ready to see those fantasies played out on screen. [END SPOILERS] Wish i could see this one again, but i guess i'll have to wait for the blu-ray for a second go-round.

June 20 - Get Smart
Didn't see it. Might get around to this one eventually, but the closer it got and the more i saw about it, the more it looked like it wasn't my kinda movie.

June 27 - WALL-E
Great movie. I can see where most people are coming from with the reviews that the first act was great, but the later parts of the movie dropped off. While yes, the first part was fun and light and enjoyable, a whole 2-hour feature of that would have gotten boring after a while. I enjoyed this one thoroughly, though it still ranks behind A Bug's Life, Cars, and Finding Nemo for me in the Pixar pantheon. [MINOR SPOILER ALERT - highlight text to read] I also didn't take issue at all with the concerns some had with the message of the movie. Firstly i don't think it was that much of a message movie. On first viewing i definitely got a message, but on further examination, really this was a love story set on the backdrop of a humorously exaggerated extreme future. [ END SPOILERS]

July 2 - Hancock
Awesome. I really think people that didn't like this movie went in with too many expectations. This wasn't Pursuit of Happiness or Independence Day, but a wonderful balance between the two. [MINOR SPOILER ALERT - Highlight text to read] I also love that though this movie had a major 'twist' (which was by some miracle not spoiled in the trailers), the movie wasn't about the twist. It had a twist, then moved on to what the movie was really about. Kudos to the writers and i think they also thankfully avoided dealing the the alcoholic/tortured super-hero issue too much, which leaves room for those stories in Ironman sequels [SPOILER END]. Highly recommended.

July 11 - Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Haven't seen yet, but still hope to see before it leaves theaters. If i have to wait for blu-ray though, i can.

July 18 - The Dark Knight
Great movie but... It was a little too dark and a little too long for me. Good movie, but it needed to be tightened up. Many subplots that could have been cut (one in particular) and well...gonna have to go into spoiler mode: [SPOILER ALERT - Highlight text to read] All of the acting was spectacular, and the overall direction was good, but the script needed work. The entire Hong Kong sequence should have been cut, and overall it just needed a few nips and tucks. My only other major gripe was Two-Face. One that he didn't get enough time, and two that he looked ridiculous. He looked like Imhotep from The Mummy. He just had gas on his face which caught on fire. Batman was right there and put the fire out. Unless Batman put it out with a brick, Dent's jaw shouldn't have been broken and his face should have been burned, not missing! Then even at that...if his face was missing...he wouldn't be walking around and talking the same. His voice would sound different, etc. Normally i wouldn't nit-pick something like this, but Christopher Nolan has gone out of his way to make a very realistic world here. We can believe that what we are watching could actually happen - but not Two-Face. Overall though, the Joker was great, the increased role of Lt/Commissioner Gordon was great, and it was a very good movie. Just not as good as it could have been (read: over-hyped and not as good as the amazing movie it followed) [END SPOILERS]

Aug 1 - The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Nov 21 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Might checking out (or wait for video):

March 14 - Horton Hears a Who!
Saw the last 15 minutes of the movie at a showing in the park. Looked cute. Might get around to seeing more eventually.

June 6 - Kung Fu Panda
Haven't seen, but plan on it. A friend of mine said he liked it more than Ironman at the time, which says a lot.

June 13 - The Incredible Hulk
Didn't see. Not planning on it anytime soon. Just looked poor. Never been a big Hulk fan anyway.

June 13 - The Happening
Didn't see, but looked like it would be good. Still plan on catching on Netflix.

July 11 - Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D
Haven't seen yet, but would like to. Plan on seeing it before it leaves theaters just so i can see the 3D experience.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Preds owner speaks out on Ownership/Radulov

This afternoon, Predators lead owner David Freeman went on 104.5 The Zone with host George Plaster to answer questions about the latest on the Del Biaggio ownership mess, and even touched on the Radulov issue briefly.

Many thanks to 104.5 for having Freeman on, and i hope they don't mind me posting this. I guess i'll hear from them if they do :-)

(Sorry for the minor quality issues. I recorded this from my portable Sansa while riding on the bus, so you can tell when we went under bridges, etc.)

I made two versions. The first is the 12-minute "the good stuff" version (I tried to cross-fade it to make it obvious where i made cuts). The second is the full version, with only commercials cut.


In regard to Del Biaggio and Warren Woo:

"In some ways we're disappointed, in some ways we didn't have real high expectations of 'em"
In regard to the presentation Del Biaggio and Woo put together for potential investors:
"What's disappointing about the documents is how they misrepresented the financial condition of our club"

"They were trying to raise money...so, they took a few liberties with the truth and oversold their position"
In regard to the Predators:
"In an absolute worst case scenario, its just exactly the same as the deal we had when we went into this and the club isn't going anywhere."

"Boots and Warren didn't have any obligation to put any more money in the team. In fact we gave them a special deal that we would never ask them to put more money into the team"
On the Radulov issue:
"David Poile and I have a little side deal going. I take care of the situation out on the west coast and he takes care of the situation over in Russia."

"I think we will all stand back and let the NHL handle this one. This is obviously a much bigger issue than the Nashville Predators, and I think we'll all be pleased with how it plays out."
On the team's future in Nashville (attendance issues, etc):
"Honestly, we just don't think about it in terms of 'we have to do this or else'. We've made this commitment, and as crazy as it sounds sometimes in life you just do things and you don't think about the down side or listen to the negative. Sure, I guess there is a scenario where if no one ever showed up for a hockey game that it wouldn't turn out right...The same way the Titans have an unflinching belief that they're gonna sell tickets to Titans football games, we feel the same way about Predators hockey. We feel like this franchise and the city are on the way up and its a total waste of time for me to talk about what-if scenarios...It's important to us, but there is no doubt in our mind we're gonna make [the attendance requirement for revenue sharing]. If for some reason we didn't make it one year, its not the end of the world. It probably goes back to conversation of how much you have to spend on this or that, but again we think we're headed in the right direction"

The Question Not Being Asked

Much has been made about the Tennessean article from Sunday which detailed Boots Del Biaggio's plans for the Predators. Much of the media is talking about how its clear that there was (is?) a plan to move the Predators out of Nashville. Forechecker highlighted that Boots was pointing to expected expansion revenues in the coming years.

But here's the thing people: This wasn't created in a void. This PowerPoint deck that was somehow acquired by a Tennessean reporter (Kudos by the way, for the rare bit of good investigative reporting) was made by Del Biaggio specifically to present to possible investors in his NHL ventures. It was designed to make it look like he would soon be able to take control of the Predators, and that they would have a guaranteed revenue boost in a few years.

Del Biaggio made a living LYING to investors. That's what he did. He (apparently) went through he process of forging bank documents to show that funds were his that never were in order to secure loans. Do you seriously think that stretching figures and facts on a PowerPoint presentation is beyond this guy?

I'm not saying the Predators will be up with the Leafs in revenues this year. I know the franchise has a tough fight ahead. But i am very surprised that no one is questioning the information. I don't blame the Tennessean reporting, but cummon people. Consider the source of the stories source.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Thoughts from a show

Feeling especially contemplative at the Sixpence None The Richer show at 3rd and Lindsley, so rather than continue to clutter Twitter, just gonna run a bit of a random thoughts blog. Enjoy.

  • Many indie/rock musicians are still following the fashion (hair and clothes) example set by Nirvana (and to a lesser extent some punk bands from the earlier) nearly 18 years ago. i find that remarkable.
  • I know from experience, the stage at 3rd and Lindsley looks and feels small from the audience but is deceptively big. The whole venue feels like a tiny club, but the stage accommodates a 5-6 piece band with ease and the place must have 300-500 people in it right now. Good balance. Very good sound guys too. Unlike some venues in town (*cough*Exit/In*cough*).
  • Of course, the 8 person band (yes - eight people!) that Sixpence has on stage is a little cramped. Sheesh!
  • Apparently Sixpence None The Richer is still drawing pretty much the same people they used to. Not the same crowd - actually the same people. In the last 6-8 years they've gone from drawing 20-somethings (and a mixed crowd) to drawing 30-something women - almost exclusively. At least at this show. Not that that's a bad thing. Though this does feel just a little like the shows that the Hugh Grant character in 'Music and Lyrics' was doing, but less pathetic.
  • Really random thought: Blogger's examples for the types of words to use for tags have been "scooters, vacation, fall". One day I'm going to take a vacation in the fall and ride a scooter just so i can write a blog post about it. :-)
  • The electric guitar player for Sixpence (not Matt Slocum or the all acoustic all the time guy or the bass player - the other one) has dreads, a black shirt, s bandanna hanging out of his back pocket, and his guitar is slung low (resting on his knee from a standing position). He's very good, but looks like they found him behind the punk/metal stage at a festival and decided to keep him. He's now playing an electric mandolin. Image/sound conflict, but it works.
  • The keyboard player (edit: whoa, that's Sam Ashworth) on the other hand looks like he should be in a lounge on a cruise ship. A cool lounge, but still there's a big shift from stage right to stage left.
  • While we're on the topic of band dress: Christy and i used to comment how Leigh Nash was always really good at dressing very stylish, but very modestly. Tonight...let's just say i could describe an undergarment to you in detail. Distracting much?
  • The percussionist (not the drummer, the other one)(edit: whoa, that's Steve Hindalong!) is using two tambourines simultaneously throughout the evening. When one tambourine just isn't enough...
  • Aside from being an amazing songwriter, Matt Slocum is a deceptively good guitarist. Wow.
  • Seeing live music always makes me want to play more, and get a chance to play out. i got only a very small taste of it, and was never a good enough drummer (or took the time/money to do the gear like a pro) to do it in the past. Sometimes I think about selling my drum kit for the nice cash it would bring, but i still want to play sometime. As long as i have it there is a hope that I'll either play with Nick and/or Jamie sometime again. Someday it may be like my dad's old saxophone in the closet.
  • Before the show, the house mix played a pop cover of "Sit Down You're Rockin' The Boat". Love the song, but that one i wouldn't have called as cover-worthy. It worked though. (Looked it up after i got home and apparently Don Henley covered it. Eeww. I don't think that's what we were hearing tonight though.
  • Matt Slocum must know his pedal board and the floor of every venue he's ever played very well. He never looks up through the whole show. Not looking at his guitar or feet board most of the time. Just studying the floor.
  • 3rd and Lindsley's chicken tenders are surprisingly good. Their bathroom is also too nice for a bar/club like this. They need to take out the nice vinyl floor and stucco walls and replace them all with thinly painted plywood. That would fit much better. Thanks.
Ok, the show is wrapping up, so i guess i will too. Thanks for letting me spew random thoughts at ya for a while.

PS: i could see the set list- they planned an encore ("Eyes Wide Open") but the audience didn't ask for one, probably because it was broadcast on the radio and the announcer 'signed off' the air. Oh well. It was a great show.