Dec 252004
 

Despite not being able to get home for Christmas, this is turning into one of the best holiday seasons I’ve ever had.

Wednesday night I walked out of the elevator, on the way to the coffee shop, when I heard voices in the residents’ lounge. I went to see who was there, and it was about five of my neighbors watching the bowl game the U of M went to. They invited me to join them for the bowl game and for wine and appetizers. At halftime we all went to the Flying Saucer and watched the rest of the game there. It was really good to get to know some of my neighbors better. I knew I wouldn’t be going to work Thursday (the streets were totally iced over) so I relaxed and didn’t worry about staying up late.

Thursday night I received a phone call from my friend John who runs the coffee shop. He was getting a group together to check out Bluefin, the new sushi lounge on the Main Street Mall, and invited me to go. Bluefin turned out to be a really, really nice place. Beautifully decorated in different shades of blue, with couches the size of beds to lounge around on, and a DJ playing some chill music to add to the enjoyment of a good time with friends. There were four of us and we split about seven different types of sushi. The standouts, to me, were Heather’s Roll (crunchy crab with seared scallops on top) and Lori’s roll (crunchy crawfish rolls topped with smoked salmon and onion garlic sauce). Service was prompt and all the people who worked there were super-nice. I have a feeling I’m going to be a regular at this place. Great, another bar to vacuum up my money.

Today (Friday) the plan was to have a nice lunch and then have some “me” time for the rest of the day – spend time catching up on reading, writing in my personal journal, figuring out a new design for my website. But then I walked through the Peabody and ran into Terry, one of my best friends and a fellow Sunday drunk. So we sat at the lobby bar and talked for three hours. I had a Brandy Alexander for the first time – tasty, like a milkshake. Later our friend Katrina who owns a shop on South Main joined us, and we moved to the corner bar at Capriccio. So I didn’t get home until 7:30, cutting into my “me” time a good bit. I’m not going out tonight.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I’ve been invited to have Christmas dinner with my friends Kit and Kelly, and our friend Bobby who found my mountain bike in a pawn shop. I mentioned to Kelly that I was snowed in, and she said they have plenty of food, so come on. Spending Christmas with three of the most generous people I know sounds like a great way to observe the season.

I wonder if Raiford’s will be open Christmas night? I’ll be tempted to walk down there, but I will be really mad if I make the 8-block walk with temps in the teens to find out it’s closed.

And of course, then there’s Sunday when things get back to normal. What better way to celebrate the day after Christmas than with a bottle of champagne at the Blue Monkey. And possibly a second bottle of champagne. My regular bartender is out of town visiting family, so someone else will have to put up the Sunday drunks. Last Sunday all 12 or so seats at the bar were taken and all 12 of us were TRASHED and singing Christmas carols. I think the bar’s management made the decision right then and there to never, ever, ever do a karaoke night. I was there from 11:30 am to 5:10 pm last Sunday, which is a relatively short stay for me up there.

So there you have it. What a fantastic weekend, and a reminder that I’ve really found something special downtown. Merry Christmas everybody.

Dec 232004
 

I was at work yesterday, out near Whitten Road, when it started sleeting – hard – about 2 pm. By 2:30 the streets were slush/ice and my car was covered. The company’s official policy was to stay open but they understood if people had to leave early. I held out until 4:30, then went and scraped the car (without gloves) and started the drive home. The last time I drove on ice, I was 17.

It took an hour and a half for what is normally a 30-minute drive. Traveling down the I-40, traffic was moving about 10 miles an hour. Once I got on Sam Cooper, I was able to get up to 25. I nearly got sideswiped by a couple of cars because no one could figure out where the lanes were. But I made it home safe and sound. I warmed up with some hot chocolate at the coffee shop, then went to the Flying Saucer with some of my neighbors (it was virtually the only place open downtown – even Huey’s closed, which is highly unusual).

I called in to work today. The streets have turned to solid ice and it’s not worth risking my life and my car to sit in a cubicle for 8 hours.

Little Rock is in even worse shape than Memphis, so it looks like I won’t be going home for Christmas. If anyone reading this is in Memphis (particularly downtown) for the holidays) and wants to hang out, let me know.

Dec 212004
 

NOTHING!!!!!!

hahahahahahahaha

What happened was, the liquor store around the corner unexpectedly closed early, but they forgot to turn off the “OPEN” sign. So the bums stood in front of Walgreens for half an hour begging tourists for change, and when they finally got enough they walked over to the liquor store and…DENIED! Ha! Boy were they mad. They cussed and threw things and kicked over the Apartment Guide box on the corner. Then they started on the long trek to the next closest liquor store, 8 blocks away.

Dec 212004
 

My web site sucks. This journal is relatively new, but much of the site’s look hasn’t been updated in eight years. And the look isn’t consistent from one part of the site to the next. If this were some crap AOL home page I wouldn’t care, but this site has my name on it. PaulRyburn.com. I still get compliments on it, but in my mind it’s an embarrassment compared to what I’m capable of producing.

So I’m going to try to come up with a new site design. Since I’ve now had a web development job for 3 months, I’ve had the chance to sharpen my skills with style sheets, positioning, graphics, tables and the like. For the next few days I’ll look at every web site and print ad I can find and see if I get any ideas. Then I’ll do the work. PaulRyburn.com uses PHP, whereas I use ASP.NET at work, so I’ll have to learn PHP a little bit better.

So we’ll see what happens. If you know of any well-designed sites that might inspire me, let me know (NO Flash though – I’m not using Flash in the design).

Dec 102004
 

Several journal readers have told me that this is their favorite feature, so I figured I’d bring it back. And I’m sitting in the coffee shop, so all I have to do is run around the corner and see what boxes the liquor store threw out…

Damn! No trash today! Well, I saw a truck outside unloading the other day, and (surprise, surprise) there were about 8 cases each of Mad Dog 20/20, Wild Irish Rose, and Calvert Extra. Everything to satisfy the $2-and-under customer.

That’s it for now, the laptop battery is about to die. Back soon with more posts, I have plenty more stories to tell…

Dec 092004
 

The great thing about this blog is that you, my faithful readers, get to read the same stories I’ve been telling all over downtown the past two weeks. This time the stories concern my recent trip to Little Rock for Thanksgiving with my mother.

As I drove in, I passed through downtown and the hip, trendy Hillcrest district. I was shocked at all the art galleries and coffee shops and fun new restaurants. It was like the South Main arts district in Memphis x 100. What’s happened to my original hometown, I thought. It had started to look like a place I could actually live in!

Then I turned on the TV.

“It’s the Shotgun Special from (a local Ford dealership)! Buy an F-150 or higher pickup this week and we’ll give you a free rifle just in time for duck hunting season! That’s right, folks, we’ll throw in a free shotgun with the purchase of any full-sized pickup!”

WTF???? Who gives away a GUN as a PROMOTIONAL GIFT? And it had to be a popular promotion, because the commercial ran 3 times during the 6:00 news. It made me want to found a new town called White Trash, Arkansas, force all the people who took advantage of the promotion to move there, and encourage them to bring their new guns, so hopefully they’ll shoot each other.

But the commercial turned out to be the best thing I saw on TV that night. My mother informed me that we had to watch the 3-hour season finale of The Bachelor. It was down to the final two contestants, and I had to sit there and watch the bachelor meet each girl’s parents, then each girl went on a “date” with him and met his friends, then everyone sat around and talked about their feelings, then he proposed to one of the bimbos, then everyone sat around and talked about the experience in front of a live audience for an hour.

YUCK. It should be illegal to make someone watch that crap without having any liquor in the house to make it go by faster. However, my mother was treated to my running commentary during the show.

“Is it over yet?” (at 7:03)

“This is horrible. Even a 3-episode marathon of Days of Our Lives would better than this.”

“Hell, three hours of Passions would even be an improvement.”

“Three hours of Beavis & Butt-head would be better than this.”

“Bimbo #1 has fake boobs.”

“Are her parents reading off a teleprompter? Sure looks like it to me. I thought this was supposed to be a REALITY show.”

“Three hours of George W. Bush speeches would be better than this.”

“They should come to Memphis and make a reality show about the hooker who works the lobby bar of the Peabody, it couldn’t be any worse than this show.”

The only saving grace was that the Bachelor had good hair. I need to get a screen cap of that show so I can get my hair stylist to cut my hair like his. Why do the crummiest shows have people with the best hair? There’s a kid on Days of Our Lives with great hair as well.

The rest of the weekend was less eventful, most of it spent listening to my mother telling me that I need to cut my hair, dress better, stop spending so much time in bars, go to church at least once in a while, find a nice girl and get married, etc., etc., etc.

Oh, there was one other funny comment. I was telling her about the nightclubs I go to – Raiford’s, 152, etc. And she asked, “When you go to these clubs, do you take your laptop computer with you?” That one left me speechless.

Two more weeks until it’s time to go to Little Rock for Christmas. I’m sure I’ll come back with even more good stories.