Wednesday update: trivia, politics, cartoons, and wine

I’m at Otherlands in Midtown, using their Wi-Fi to do a lunch hour blog post. First time I’ve been in here in a while… they’ve really improved this place. They got rid of the gift shop and converted the whole thing into seating. Cool!

Hang on, here’s e-mail. “A friend posted a new comment about you on MySpace.” And because I’m not at work and therefore outside the city schools’ goddamn content filter, I can actually log into MySpace and read the comment. Again, cool!

Ah… my MySpace friend sent me a pic. Let’s post it:

If you’ve seen my victory dance upon winning NTN Trivia games at Sleep Out’s recently, you’ll understand the appropriateness of this image.

Speaking of trivia… The Flying Saucer has finally upgraded its Tuesday night trivia prizes. Before, there was one $25 gift certificate, and second and third place got whatever assorted crap the beer distributors dumped on the Saucer (T-shirts, glasses, etc.) Now they’re doing it right… $50 gift certificate for first place, $25 for second, and $10 for third. That’s what Mulligan’s has always done, except I rarely go to Mulligan’s trivia because they don’t have waitresses in miniskirts and the place just generally sucks. Anyway, the Rapscallions broke their losing streak last night, placing third and picking up the $10 certificate. That brings our grand total to $135.

However, we’re going to need to schedule that party sooner than we thought – the certificates now expire three months from date of issue, rather than a year. That means we have until August 23 at the latest. I recommend that we wait until early July or later though, to give us time to add a couple of $50s to the pile, and to see if the Saucer makes any interesting waitress hiring decisions around that time.

Before going to trivia, I attended a private party at The Majestic to celebrate their grand opening. Free food, free booze, and a big band playing upstairs. I tried a strawberry basil martini, and spent a while talking to the chef, who has done personal chef work for a couple of the Grizzlies.

A friend of mine recommends the following Majestic dish: Grilled pork tenderloin with sugar glazed carrots and onions for $14. Portions tend to be large for the entrees, so order this one when you’re hungry.

Also at the Majestic, another friend and I discussed doing something for Steve Cohen, who is running for Congress. I volunteered for one of Cohen’s campaigns about 10 years ago and have always admired his integrity and persistence. We want to do something to rally support for him among downtowners. If anyone wants to help plan this shoot me an e-mail.

After I left trivia night, I walked to the Tap Room, where Maurice always has good TV on. I discovered a new show on the Cartoon Network called The Oblongs which is pretty funny. It’s about a family who lives near a toxic swamp. It comes on at 10 PM Central time.

New Memphis blog worth bookmarking: Memphis Wine Events. Not affiliated with any one particular group, it’s simply a resource to keep Memphians informed of wine-related events around town.

Two of the three links in this post won’t make it through the city schools’ content filter. I’ve already checked. Only the Cohen link will make it. Memphis Wine Events is hosted on Blogspot, and the filter thinks all Blogspot blogs contain objectionable material. The filter doesn’t like The Oblongs because it’s on a network that shows “adult” shows.

On the other hand, MY blog gets through the content filter just fine. Welcome, kids! Be sure to come back next week for the beginning of Tube Top Month!

Plans for the rest of this week:

Thursday night – Peabody rooftop

Friday night – South Main Trolley Art Tour

Saturday – It’s Sunset Symphony but I most likely won’t make plans. I’ll just show up on the roof and see which of my neighbors are there to hang out with.

Sunday – Sit at Kimberley’s bar at Sleep Out’s and drink champagne-flavored orange juice and play NTN Trivia and do my victory dance. I’ll be there around 11:00, most likely.

Monday – Memorial Day, which probably will turn into a bonus Sunday unless I come up with alternate plans.

And now, back for an exciting afternoon of sitting in a cubicle. Whoopee. I got an e-mail from a First Tennessee employee – they call their cubicles “loser cruisers” over there. Have a good afternoon everybody….

Pics: BBQ Fest

Click here for the rest of the pics

This is my first attempt using the Coppermine photo gallery software on my server, so I hope everything turned out all right. If there are any problems with the pics let me know. Thanks to Chad for supplying the first 14 pics in the album; the ones after that are mine. If you want any of these in a 5.1 megapixel size, shoot me an e-mail.

What the bums in England are drinking this week

It’s time to go international with one of this blog’s most popular features, “What the bums are drinking this week.”

Now, we already know what the bums in Memphis are drinking this week: Mad Dog 20/20 fortified wine. But over in merry old England, the bums drink Mad Dogs & Englishmen Shiraz Cabernet, pictured below.

Just kidding… this isn’t a bum wine. And it isn’t even English. This is the wine my friends Chad and the Nuh-Uh Girl ordered Tuesday night at Meditrina, the new restaurant on Union. It’s a Spanish shiraz/cabernet blend, and it received good reviews from those at the table.

Here’s a pic of the striped bass that the Nuh-Uh Girl ordered.

I had a couple of bites of it and it was really good. Meditrina is definitely a restaurant you should check out next time you’re downtown.

Saturday morning BBQ Fest update

For once I actually enjoy smelling my dirty laundry.

Have you ever gone to Starbucks, and then come home and noticed that your clothes smell like coffee? Or have you ever gone to a bar, and then come home and noticed that your clothes smell like nasty, disgusting cigarettes?

Well, the clothes I wore to BBQ Fest last night smell like… smoke from BBQ cookers. They smell good. I almost don’t want to wash them.

The late night I had planned for last night didn’t happen. My plan was to pace myself by doing beer, beer, water, beer, beer, water.

Here’s what actually happened: beer, shooter, jello shot, beer, jello shot, beer, beer, jello shot, beer, beer, and then a trek to the Saucer for a Woodchuck Granny Smith cider (definitely not my drink of choice at the Saucer, but it was on Fire Sale). I was passed out in bed by midnight. And then I woke up at 6 and couldn’t get back to sleep, thanks to the Mattress From Hell. It just occurred to me that my L-shaped sofa has a fold-out mattress, which I haven’t used once in the 11 years I’ve owned it. I may have to pull it out and start sleeping on that until I get this mattress problem taken care of.

Special thanks to the Sissy Bitches trivia team for handing me a wristband granting me access to the PorkStars tent last night. Even after my trivia team has handed them one ass whoopin’ after another on Tuesday nights, they were still kind enough to invite me in. Just goes to show you, at the end of the day we’re all friends.

Thanks also to GenuSwine, AdRibbers, The Pink Ladies, and Redmon’s Renegades for their generosity last night. Oh, and that booth I followed my ex-neighbors Troy and Jen into, didn’t get the name. And that booth that was playing disco music, didn’t get its name either.

I bought some plaid shirts at Old Navy yesterday. I haven’t worn plaid shirts in nearly 20 years. I’ve had an aversion to them ever since my first job (see the “What Am I Doing With My Life?” rant part I that I posted about a week ago). When I was getting dressed for work, my mother told me, “You don’t have to wear a[n incredibly boring] white dress shirt… you can wear a[n incredibly boring] pale blue dress shirt, or a[n incredibly boring] pale yellow dress shirt, or you can wear a plaid shirt.” So I wore plaid shirts. Ever since then I’ve hated plaid shirts. But Old Navy had plaid Madras shirts on sale… they’re more comfortable than T-shirts and besides, I have a good friend from Madras, India so I figured I’d give plaid a second chance.

I just realized that I had all those drinks last night, and three slabs of ribs, for $10.50 – the $7 cover charge for BBQ Fest, plus $2.50 plus $1 tip at the Saucer for a Fire Sale beer. Not bad at all… and I’ll be going back for round three later today.

Before I started drinking yesterday, I walked around and snapped pictures of the best tents. I also handed the camera over to Mikey the Camera Nazi later in the evening and he got some shots of me disco dancing. My plan is to load the pics onto my laptop tomorrow morning, then I’ll take the computer with me to Sleep Out’s and create the photo album from there. So I’ll be there from 11:30 or so until I get the photo album and Deal of the Week and a bottle of champagne done.

Out of here for now though… it’s about time to go eat some more BBQ.

BBQ Fest update

FUN BBQ FEST FACT: In 1968, the Yippie Party nominated a pig named Pigasus for president of the United States.

Y’know, if Mayor Herenton wants to do something to improve his popularity, I have a suggestion for him: Declare the Friday of BBQ Fest a citywide holiday. Encourage local businesses to give their employees the day off, so the employees can go down to the river and enjoy an event that is uniquely Memphis. I bet he could pick up a good 20,000 votes or more in one fell swoop.

So last night people were asking me, “Paul, you’re actually dressed pretty nicely… I mean, you have on khaki shorts rather than jean shorts… what’s the deal?” Very simple… the khaki shorts are ones I ordered from Lands’ End that have a hidden expandable waistband. Expandable waistband = good thing to have for BBQ Fest. Lands’ End could probably set up a booth selling them and make quite a bit of money, now that I think about it.

I want to thank one team in particular that has been incredibly generous so far this weekend: GenuSwine Cookers, LLC, from Hornbeak, TN. Check out their website – they sell sauces, seasonings, rotisserie grills, lump charcoal, and grill accessories, and are competing this year in the whole hog category. I enjoyed their fine BBQ and beer last night and will be back today for a second helping. Also check out their sponsor, Colt Industries, who sell DuPont Corian, Zodiaq, and Bath surfaces, among other products.

Spent a good bit of time hanging out with my friend Chad and his uncle Paul last night. Uncle Paul is from Denver, and he told me, “You need to come check out the casinos in Denver… they have one where practically all the dealers are Romanian girls, and most of them are single.” Sounds like I need to book a cheap flight to Denver. He told me the name of the casino, but what I really want to know is, what time is shift change, and where’s the nearby bar where the Romanians go for an after-work drink?

On the agenda for tonight… in addition to a repeat visit to GenuSwine, I have a neighbor whose BBQ team’s booth has a stripper pole in it, and that sounds worth a visit. I also have an accountant friend with a triple-decker booth, and then there’s my fellow Sleep Out’s drunks who have several teams. After the fest I’ll probably end up in a late-night bar, maybe the Tap Room or the Black Diamond or Earnestine & Hazel’s.

That’s it for now… there WILL be a BBQ Fest photo album… seriously. I know I’ve promised photo albums in the past and not delivered, but this time it will happen. Also, don’t forget that we’ll be kicking off Tube Top Month in this blog in a mere 13 days – I told several people about that last night, and they all said, “That’s a good theme!” Not surprisingly, all of the people who said that were guys. Anyway, off to cubicle world, see you on the river tonight.

This is just too funny

This is a link to an Eyewitness News (ABC 24/UPN 30) story about a dumpster dispute between Wendell Price, the owner of Wendell’s World Beat Grill on South Main, and his neighbors. Click on the link and read the story, and be sure to WATCH THE VIDEO (there’ll be a link on the page that says “Video.”) Trust me, it’s worth the time and effort it takes to download the video, even if you’re on dialup. This is just TOO damn funny.

BBQ Fest, cell phones, and some bad international news

I’m sitting here trying to figure out how anyone managed to do BBQ Fest without cell phones. I’ll be meeting up with several of my neighbors and other downtown friends over the course of the evening tonight. Between the lot of us we have about 11 booth invitations, and a few of the people are actually on teams themselves. The only way we’ll be able to stay in touch with each other (and mooch off each others’ invitations) is by cell phone. I’m just sitting here thinking, if it weren’t for cell phones we’d have to plan to meet up with each other in advance, and we’d have to be careful not to get separated once there… but with the phones it doesn’t matter. We can get there when we get there, and drift from group to group. Ah, technology.

When we were at the Rendezvous last night, we were speculating whether BBQ Fest would hurt their business, and why they don’t have a team. Here are the conclusions we came to:

1) If they have a team, they would lose. That would be bad for their reputation, and they’d lose business in the weeks and months after BBQ Fest.

2) I bet BBQ Fest is going to be one of their busiest weekends of the year. There are going to be tons of people who go down there and discover that BBQ Fest really isn’t much fun if you don’t know people on teams… and they’re going to see the invited guests in the booths munching on shoulder and ribs and they’ll get mighty hungry. So they’ll walk over to the Rendezvous to eat.

Even though I have plenty of booth invites this year, I still have a problem with the clique-ishness of BBQ Fest. I was on the outside looking in for many years, and it’s a letdown to not be part of the in-crowd. No matter how many people I get to know downtown, an event based on exclusion (“if you don’t know anyone on the team, you can’t come in our booth”) will always bother me a little. I’d like to see Memphis in May balance it with an event that focuses on the inclusion of all Memphians, something where you get to know your neighbors in the city who you hadn’t met before. Not quite sure what that would be, just throwing my 2 cents worth out there.

On to a different matter… I have some potentially horrible news to report. Nine O’Clock, the English-language Romanian newspaper, reports that avian flu has been found in 20 cities in Brasov County, Transylvania, and the entire county may have to be quarantined. They’re advising Romanian drivers to avoid Brasov County, as they may get stuck in a quarantine and not be able to leave.

If the quarantine persists through the summer, this could be really, really bad news for us here in Memphis, as it could affect the ability of hot Romanian college girls to leave Romania and come here for the summer to live and work. What will we do without Romanians… I guess will could import some Croatians or Bulgarians or something, but it just won’t be the same. Hopefully they’ll get this avian flu mess sorted out in a couple of weeks.

And that’ll do it for now… I’ll be posting BBQ Fest reports this weekend. Once again, it’s not to late to send me your BBQ booth invitations.

Semi-drunk post: Lamb riblets, cheap wine, and more

– Today I was reading a recap of WWE Monday Night Raw on one of the pro wrestling sites, and I came across one of the best euphemisms for defecation that I’ve ever heard. The guy said he missed the wrestling legends/classic footage portion of the show because he had to go “drop a deuce.” Heh… dropping a deuce… I like that.

– Anyone remember Sylvester “Deuce” Ford who played basketball for the U of M about 10 years ago?

– After work I went to get my hair cut in the South Main district, and afterward I stopped by that new American Apparel store at Main and GE Patterson. It confirmed my suspicion… that place sells the most boring clothes I have ever seen. Anyone who goes there thinking it’s something like Urban Outfitters is going to be sorely disappointed. Yawn.

– So two of my neighbors and I went to the Rendezvous tonight, and one of my neighbors recommended that I try the lamb riblets. Now, naturally I was leaning toward the pork ribs, but then I thought… wait, I’ll be at BBQ Fest the next 3 days, stuffing myself with pork ribs. Why not try something different? So I ordered the riblets. They were pretty good – a little bit chewier than the pork, but quite tasty nevertheless, especially with the Rendezvous’ hot BBQ sauce.

– ATTN PAM: Is that a pic of you in a tube top on your MySpace profile? Can’t tell because the pic is so small.

– So after we ate, my neighbors and I walked home, and as we went down Monroe we passed two hot babes heading into LoLo’s Table. So I rode the elevator upstairs with my neighbors, said goodbye, then promptly rode back down and went to LoLo’s. They were having Wine Wednesday there – every Wednesday, they feature two wines, one red and one white, for $12 a bottle or $4 a glass. That’s a really good deal. Think I’m going to have to hit LoLo’s next Wednesday, although it would probably help to have another person to go with since an entire bottle of wine might be a bit much by myself.

– All right, time to go get rested up for BBQ Fest tomorrow. I have a feeling I may spend part of the evening trying to avoid The Most Annoying Woman On The Planet, who is trying to insinuate herself into my circle of friends. Maybe she’ll bring her damn dog and be refused admission. Maybe there’ll be a Korean BBQ team who will barbecue the damn dog. Anyway… time for bed. See you tomorrow, and I’m still accepting tent invitations, by the way.

Talk radio host to speak, and quick restaurant review

Progressive radio talk show host Leon Gray will be speaking at this month’s Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting, tomorrow night (Thursday, May 18) at the Blue Plate Cafe on Court Square. The meeting will have a social hour beginning at 7:00 and Leon will speak at 7:45. Leon’s radio show is on Progressive Talk 680 from 4 to 7 pm and provides a much-needed alternative to Mike Fleming’s reactionary/conservative views.

Unfortunately, I will have to miss Leon’s speech because I’ll be at BBQ Fest, although I have been lucky enough to meet him in person a few times (he’s a fellow Big Foot Lodge regular). Despite the fame talk radio has brought him, Leon is quite genuine and down to earth, and I know you will enjoy meeting him if you go.

One last reminder: I’m still accepting invitations to booths for BBQ Fest. You can send me your invitations via e-mail.

In trivia news, the Rapscallions suffered a devastating fourth loss in a row last night. The loss was partly my fault, as I was distracted making fun of team member Pam’s phone (her phone’s case looks like a condom, making me wonder what Pam does with that phone when no one is around). After trivia, some of the team had dinner at Meditrina, the new restaurant on Union in the old Cafe Samovar location. Having eaten a big meal earlier in the day, I just ordered the thyme ice cream, which was delicious. I did sample the gazpacho and the striped bass that the Nuh-Uh Girl ordered – got a pic of the striped bass but I’m away from my camera right now, so I’ll have to post it later. The server was really friendly and knew a lot about the dishes. Entrees were in the $14-24 range, although they also had a “smaller portions” menu for $7-12 which changes nightly.

During dinner, we were trying to get the Nuh-Uh Girl (who has discovered this blog, and thus her nickname) to go “Nuh UHHHHHH!!!!!!” but she wouldn’t do it.

I’m gonna have to resolve this mattress issue soon… my current mattress is just KILLING my back. However, buying a new mattress means having to be home all day Saturday waiting for the delivery people to show up, or finding someone with a truck who can help me pick it up. Stuff like that is almost impossible to schedule in a month like May, when there’s so much going on. Anyway… time to go to work. Nothing helps a sore back like sitting in a cubicle for 8 hours.

Time for a new phone

I just logged into my account on Verizon, and discovered that I’m close enough to the end of my 2-year contract that they’re willing to bribe me with $100 off to buy a new phone and start a new contract. So I’ve been looking at the cell phone/PDAs and checking out reviews on websites, and it looks like the Verizon Wireless XV6700 is the best one out there – slightly better than the Sony Treo 700, which is supposedly the hottest thing in cell phone/PDAs these days. The main reasons I like the XV6700 are

1) Web surfing with a graphical browser. That would allow me to get around the city schools’ stupid content filter when I’m at work. It would also present Web pages that look approximately like they do on a PC’s browser, as opposed to my current phone which can only display text.

2) Ability to post to my blogs from the phone. I ran a test post Sunday from a friend’s Treo, and if a Treo can do it, I’m sure the XV6700 can. The cover slides open to reveal a QWERTY keyboard, which looks a lot easier to use than the Treo’s.

For one thing, that would allow me to take my newspaper to Sleep Out’s on Sunday morning and post Deal of the Week from there, without having to lug my laptop around. That would save me some time and allow me to multitask.

It would also allow me to increase my posting frequency on this blog. Heh… as much time as I spend in bars, I have a feeling that would mean more drunk posts. Hmm… just over two weeks from now will be the beginning of Tube Top Month in this blog, and Tube Top Month is a theme that works well with drunk posts.

3) Ability to check e-mail from the phone. This one isn’t as huge a deal as the other two since I’m usually not far from a computer, but there are occasionally days when I’m out all day, and I don’t want to miss anything.

The XV6700 also has a 1.3 megapixel camera, and comes with 64MB of RAM, expandable with a mini-SD card. With a 416 mHz processor, it’s more powerful than the home computer I owned just six years ago. Pretty amazing. It can also surf the web at broadband speeds. It’s $100 cheaper than the Treo and seems like a better phone.

Anyone have experience with this phone? If you do, I’d like to hear your comments.