I certainly can’t be the only one who’s thought of “what I will do” if there’s a lockout come September 15th. Usually you see “I’ll follow the AHL” or some other hockey league, something I hope to cover in an article on hockeyfights.com soon, but I’m starting to think of the things outside hockey that I may be able to accomplish with more free time.
Like any hockey website owner, my site(s) eat tons of my time in-season. Generally I check the forums a bit more, but watching games nightly and recapping so much afterwards leaves me little free time, besides sleeping much less.
So what can I possibly do with more free time? Well, first off, it’ll allow me to finally finish some other sites. The Ice Block is still in beta, something I need to complete - but even after completed - it’s another hockey site! So scrap that for a moment. Same goes for yet another hockey site I have planned. KO Corner never got the attention it deserved and now that I’ve finally been able to reprogram it a bit, I hope to make that a little more robust, however some of that may happen within a week or so. I have one more sports site planned, centered around a few sports and a lot of statistic referencing. Should be fun, but I’m not completely motivated about it yet. Lastly, I have one completely non-sports related site coming up. Zero work has been done on it and I’m just waiting to see if I get the domain name I want. If so, I’ll be moving on that fast and it will eat up a lot of my time during the initial build. After that, little maintenence required.
Still have to things to do.
However, no hockey doesn’t mean no working on a hockey site. There will be the fun “he said/she said” press releases from the NHL and NHLPA to post, and I’ll be writing more thoughts on the subject I’m sure. I’ll also conduct some interviews and keep backtracking on the fight log (something that is more complete then what is shown on the site). Make some video clips and keep the site moving forward until the day we have our game back. Programming-wise, I have a decent amount I’ve been wanting to do on HF for a while. I’ve been re-doing the html of most pages, but it’s a pretty slow process. After that I want to add a few new features and integrate more into the forums (for login purposes). Add that stuff to the content additions and it’s enough to keep someone busy for a long time.
What hockey do I have left?
Being in the NY metro area actually leaves me with few local hockey options. There aren’t any minor league teams that play close to NYC. The AHL has the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, but that’s not exactly around the corner. I’d love to go to a few games as I’m an Islanders fan, but I know it’s not an easy trip from here. The ECHL has the Trenton Titans, the former Islanders’ ECHL affiliate (their new affiliate being the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies, a former Rangers affiliate). Not close either. The UHL expanded to Danbury, CT with the Thrashers, but that’s another one that would be a good day trip. Plus, I still happen to be bitter that the UHL seems to be the only minor league that doesn’t feel like putting me on their press release list. I will check out some Central Hockey League games on chltv.com. I caught a few last year and the games can certainly be entertaining (something I’ll be sure to mention in a “hockey alternatives” article).
Outside my tech-sport world (kinda).
So, more (“for fun”) programming, still some hockey - but that’s not going to eat up my time completely, nor should I want it to. Non-work things I want to do with more free time:
- Sleep more - don’t know if I can, but I’ll try
- Play more video games - yup, this is seriously something I want to do more of. There’s a lot of fun stuff out there and I’ve got the consoles, so why not?
- Go to more movies - we watch a decent amount on tv, but going to the theatre is usually more fun. I certainly want to catch more indie films like I used to.
- Don’t get any more pets - we have a zoo already, it’s always good to remind youself that you don’t need anymore If the whether is right, I’d like to go to the zoo, which brings me to…
- See some NY stuff - I live here, so why not. Outside of going to the Museum of Natural History (last year), we haven’t done many NYC-only things.
- Read a book - yup, I’m going to read one. Not since Charlotte’s Web have pages been so scared.
- Start working out again - it’s rough going from gymrat to, well, gymnothing, but I did it and if I can find some sort of middle ground, I’d be quite happy. Maybe reading Jeremy’s posts will help inspire me to start going again.
- Clear out my inbox - this may be near-impossible, but if I can get it down to 10 emails, that’d be saying something (as I normally have 75-100 to respond to). No hockey season will help it from filling up too quickly.
- Write more - whether it be for one of my sites, this blog, whatever. Just keep writing.
- Take a trip easier - I’m never one for easy travel. I always think of all the things I have to do back home. Not having to closely watch a website or two (and respond to a gazillion emails) will make the time off less stressful.
- Try not to do too much - while I’d love to take advantage of every free minute, I just need to relax more. Go grab a drink after work with friends I haven’t seen in a while, go do nothing at someone else’s apartment. The little things can be big, should just start there.
Hell, I could probably go on forever switching between specific events and generalized things I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. My assumption is everyone’s got some sort of list of things they’ve been meaning to do. So hockey fans - this is your chance to do it, and instead of mourning what may be the loss of a season (and the sport as you know it), go make your own list and just see this as some sort of opportunity to check a few things off from it.
Why do I only hear this about Barry Bonds? ESPN is printing this over and over again, about how many HRs would he have if they pitched to him implying that it’s Bonds, not Aaron or the Babe who were walked.
For one thing, going into this season Bonds had 326 more ABs and only 8 more BB. They walked Ruth a ton (and hit him a crapload as well - with no armor).
Ted Williams was walked all the time as well. They avoided pitching to him like the plague.
Aaron didn’t have it so bad until he started coming close to Ruth’s record. Same goes for guys like Hank Greenberg who came close to Ruth’s single season record.
Anyway - the point of this is, I don’t mind them writing “if they pitched to him…” if they said that for anyone who was a big power/average hitter, but they’re not, and it’s annoying. That’s it, mini-rant over.
Because you asked for it, ESPN is launching another channel. What? You didn’t ask for it? Hmm…
Let’s go over things here:
- ESPN 2
- ESPN Classic
- ESPN Desportes - Although I’m not sure how much the programming is different from normal ESPN in the states; and I don’t know what systems carry it
Throw in ESPN HD and you have another channel possibly on your cable box channel listing. While I don’t have it (yet), HD is the way to go, and to me - this big annoucement was hidden in this article:
Also Tuesday, ESPN announced that ESPN2 HD, the company’s second high-definition service, will launch in January.
Nice. Very nice. More HD never hurt anyone.
To pull another quote from it:
The highest-profile facet of the new initiative will be the ESPNU television network, which will carry approximately 300 games live—primarily Division I football and men’s and women’s basketball—in the first year. The network will also cover baseball, softball, volleyball, lacrosse, hockey, wrestling, spring football and select high school football games.
Perhaps the New Yorker in me calls out - but high school? People out there actually want to watch high school sports on television? Nationally? Hey, if your kid is in the game, or your friend, or some distant relative - cool, but on a national network? That’s just silly.
Hey, I’m not even too big of a college sports fan. I like seeing some football here and there, and I can watch some basketball tourney games, but I do hope, really hope, that they show a good number of hockey games. I doubt it, but I can hope.
I like pro sports. The best of the best. I wonder (read: more hoping) if they’ll move some of their high profile college games off of their main ESPN channels to the ESPNU channel to try and make more cable systems carry it (or perhaps the weight they carry has already forced many cable systems to agree to carry it). I wouldn’t mind less college sports and a bit more pro stuff on ESPN.
Oh, and people need to get together and please ask ESPN to stop becoming the “MTV of sports” (and that’s in no way a compliment).
(raise glasses) So, here’s to the hope that we get at least a little bump up in some quality sports programming. (drink now)
Eric from Off Wing Opinion isn’t happy about the latest Team Marketing Report press release that all the papers seem to be picking up. He thinks TMR is inflating the prices by including premium and luxury seating. I’m not so sure about that…
While I agree about premium seating areas, which I’m sure are included in the average price - I just doubt luxury boxes are. After all, premium or “club seats” are normally part of the normal seating area. You can walk up to the box office and buy these tickets. Luxury or suite seats you cannot. Why not include a normal seat into the average price? Sure, the teams give you “perks” in these seats - but they’re still just normal seats made available to the general public at normal purchase areas. Luxury seats require long-term commitments and you must go through the team to purchase them; it’s just a different set of rules.
Side-note: It still amazes me that NFL teams not only charge you for the ticket - but a “personal seat license”. Why not just label that “we want more money” on the bill? Ridiculous.
Anyway, AFAIK the average price was usually based upon face value of seats for individual games:
Seat face value x # of seats with that value, then repeat for each value
$54 for an average ticket price simply can’t include luxury boxes, these tickets are way too costly and would hike up this average price a ton IMO.
However - let’s say I’m wrong. What if luxury boxes are included? Does that actually warp the average cost of the game that much? Only way to do this is to take a look at some numbers.
Let’s use the average of $54 stated in the TMR report as a base number since I don’t have the one for specific teams in front of me. I like the Bears, so we’ll use the new Soldier Field as an example.
61,500 capacity x $54 average ticket = $3,321,000
A Google search led me to find out there are 133 “Executive Suites”.
On the Bears’ site, it lists this:
For the 2004 season, Full Season Suites cost between $71,500 - $112,500 per-season. License terms are available for 5, 7 & 10 years. Available Suites include 12 or 20 tickets and 3 or 5 parking passes.
No 2005 numbers were printed, and those numbers are a bit vague. It’ll be rough, but I’ll use averages for each: $92k for the season, 16 tickets. Trying to turn that into per game numbers:
$5750 per ticket per season
$718.75 per ticket per game
16 tickets x 133 suites (assuming they’re sold out) = 2128
2,128 total tickets x $718.75 per ticket per game = $1,529,500
Now let’s combine:
(1,529,500 + 3,321,000) / (61,500 + 2,128)
4,850,500 / 63,628 = about $76
Wowwy. Now, that formula is filled with averages and assumptions - but honestly, even if you use max/min numbers the effect is still the same: a big difference. Now remember - other things are included with a suite ticket (parking passes, food, etc.) - but I’m not looking at average cost per game, simply average ticket price.
The only thing this attempts to proves is that luxury tickets are probably not included in this “average price” of $54 per ticket. As most teams have ticket prices starting at $30 or highers, frankly I think you can use whatever luxury numbers you like and it’ll still show a big enough warp to see that luxury prices are most likely not included.
Of course, we could have just asked TMR - but where’s the fun in that?
What Eric is dead-on about is the whole package. Two programs? Two caps? Is that really the average thing a family does? I’m not too sure. I can maybe buy into the hot dogs and drinks (substitute hot dog with candy or the like and the price is probably similar), but I’m not sure about this whole package being what an average family does. Eating before or after the game is usually part of an all-day event that I think most families would take part of just as much as eating there.
Lastly, I just can’t agree about his Ebay experience - while he may have sold his own tickets cheaply, most tickets on there are above face value for any of the searches I did. Every once in a while you can find a couple of cheap corner seats and hope you get lucky, but it’s not going to be at any big venue for any semi-decent game.
So while I can’t say “family with 2.3 kids and a dog would do this…”, I do think throwing some numbers together can give you a decent scope of what you may be in for. Just remember that you have options and that locale matters a ton.
As you all know I’m a hockey nut. ESPN was advertising they were showing all games, however four weren’t on the tv schedule. These four are all on ESPN Broadband.
It pops into a large-ish window and has a SportsCenter/ESPN video game like feel. I think it’s all Flash 7 (which is fine since they’re catering to a broadband/cable audience). The video isn’t clickable or right-clickable, I’m going to assume it’s streaming through Flash 7 rather then integrating another format, but you never know.
They’ve got their pipes going strong as the picture quality is very good. I’m watching Finland beating Sweden 4-3 in the third period right now. Easily the nicest integrated streaming video I’ve ever seen. To be able to see the puck in a small window through a live feed is pretty decent work.
Now, this hasn’t been over-promoted, so hopefully if they boost it more, they’ll keep the bandwidth at this high level, the rare stuttering is the only thing that can bring it down. Even when a live game isn’t on, they have some news clips to watch. Also, after the game is completed, it’s supposed to also be available on demand.
There’s a “free preview” from now until Monday. It will be a service available to certain subscribers of cable or dsl companies. I read how RCN has a deal with them, so this should be included for all RCN subscribers, but I have not read anything about Time Warner NYC (my current provider). Hope they pick this up if they haven’t already; there’s supposedly already some bitterness between ESPN and quite a few cable services due to the high price ESPN charges per subscriber (and some cable systems even wanting to make it a premium channel).
So I’m not just blogging now (not that I’m a heavy blogger), but I’m clip blogging too.
First off, if you aren’t using Bloglines as your rss reader, you’re missing out on a mighty fine (free) service. Much easier then bringing my updated blogroll back and forth with me between work and home (or wherever else I may be). They have a few things to help you out too, like browser plugins to easily subscribe to feeds and a nifty little notifier to let you know when your favorite blogs are updated.
So what the hell is a clip blog?
Well, as you read your feeds you can “clip” certain ones, which automatically leaves a link to the article/blog post that you were reading along with any other thoughts you want to add. It’s all those little things you like or hate or just find cool that you’re not going to make your own separate blog entries for.
Now go, start your own clip blog, or just make your life easier and use the feedreader.
So things have been alright here. The biggest thing people notice is… there are no people. While tons may have come into the city for the convention, even more seem to have left to avoid it, and commuters are taking their vacation times to avoid it as well.
Best scene: I’m walking home and there are about eight cops on the sidewalk gathering for whatever they’re gathering for. As I’m walking by the crowd, directly to my right I hear a thud. Cabbie slams right into an SUV (looks like an officials’ car). Nice. All the surrounding police shout “ohhh…” and start walking away shouting one guy’s name while laughing. Everyone else around there starts laughing as well at the rookie abuse. Nothing like a little extra-security-in-the-city humor.
So I snapped some pictures the last couple of days.
Here are some eerily empty streets in the morning:
Looking up Ninth Avenue
Looking Down Seventh Avenue
Cops and horses aren’t actually an uncommon sight in Times Square, although there’s rarely more then two, and now there were a handful scattered around. I always love it when tourists come to the city and are shocked to see horses walking (and crapping) around Times Square. Apparently they didn’t think we allowed animals other than rats here. They’re close to right.
Hey! It’s Erik Estrada! What’s up Ponch? There are a slew of bike and motorcycle cops around actually. We saw a pack Saturday night of over 20 motorcycle cops, and there are a few bicycle stops around that usually have at least 15+ bike cops parked there. And look who else is there - the Naked Cowboy. See, not everyone is staying home this week. Some New Yorkers obviously have work too important to let any silly convention get in the way.
This girl was arrested. I never got the real story why. I think it was because some of her hair was green since no one had a good reason. Someone said it was because she was biking, but, of course, this bystander was on her own bicycle. There were a few others with bikes around and at least one of them said “bicycling against oil wars ” on the back of it. Then a few other people biked by. So I’ll take this crazy guess it wasn’t because she was biking. This same bystander then started yelling at the cops about how people are allowed to bike in the city. Apparently they already knew this because they didn’t arrest her.
So I then asked another person. He mumbled something incoherent. Great help he was. I then walked to someone else who was talking to other people, looking like she was filling them in.
“Do you know why she was arrested?”
“Yes, because they’re all facists”
“They’re like this everywhere…”
“Where are you from?”
“Well thanks for filling me in about my own city’s cops…”
“They’re just arresting people for no reason…”
“No one else was arrested, she must have done something.”
“No, they’re just looking to arrest anyone who’s…”
“Listen, they’re doing their job and ignoring all these other dopes yelling at them, she did something and no one here admits it. Go back to L.A. if you don’t appreciate it.”
She then huffed and we walked away from each other. I tried to get this other girl’s attention because she was a radio reporter with a mic and a bag around her shoulder but she was running all over the place and it was hot and time to keep on moving. I really can’t stand some of these out of town protestors. You want to say your thing, fine. Don’t tell anyone here “how it is” though, you have no clue.
Now this guy I had no problems with. He wasn’t yelling at anyone. He moved from spot to spot and simply stood there with his banner. Almost everyone saw him, knew what he was about and on one was bothered. He also gave me a good picture. Thanks guy, for that you get a link: www.veteransforpeace.org. I’m not a veteran, but peace never sounds bad.
See - I wasn’t lying - it’s not just the Naked Cowboy, people are still working hard here in NYC, and we all can’t just take off because of the convention. Go get ‘em Spidey.
GameSpot is reporting that Nintendo DS will be used in conjunction with the built-in wireless 802.11b networking capabilities to offer voice-over-IP chat—in effect, allowing gamers to use the DS to make free phone calls at wireless network hotspots.
While this may not help a soul in rural parts of America, those in cities with hotspots popping up all over the place may be able to have yet another easy way to place a call, especially if a hotspot hits one’s home.
If you’re not subscribed to 100 feeds you may not have heard that Microsoft is preparing to launch a service to compete with Apple’s iTunes.
Everything planned right now is in the “not done yet” stage, so it’s a bit early to make any predictions. One thing Microsoft will have to do very well to make a dent into iTunes sales is come out with a great media player that will sync automatically with all their software. A very smooth iTunes store -> iTunes -> iPod is one of the biggest reasons Apple is so successful right now. Microsoft will not only have to mimic that, but come out with a cheaper device with more storage that does more/performs better, otherwise Apple will keep on selling their products well simply because so many deem them as “cool”.
Well, the convention was definitely “in town” by Friday. It was obvious when I went into the bodegas on my corner and five midwestern women were in there and asked me if Ground Zero was within walking distance. I told them “yes, if you have a few hours”, then smiled and told them with five they might as well just hop in a cab over taking the subway (if they could find a cab who will let all five of them in).
Today Ninth Avenue had the parking lanes coned off and four police on every corner. A bit crazy for the distance we are to the convention.
Here’s a CNN article: Tens of thousands protest GOP convention
A few channels also have the protests airing live.