May 312008
 

On my Google homepage I have a widget called “Today’s reason to drink.”  Here’s what it says for today:

“Show your IT professional you care by buying him or her a drink. It’s IT Day!”

Have I ever mentioned that I work in IT?

Been out at Otherlands most of the afternoon, cussing up a storm as I tried unsuccessfully to add an Amazon.com search box to the right sidebar.  Their stupid “widgets” (different from Google’s widgets) won’t let me do it.  Sorry, I tried to make the blog more useful, but today just wasn’t my day.  I also made some changes to another site that I’ll wait ’til tomorrow to tell you about.

While out there, I perused the flyers that people had dropped off… one item of interest was that Memphis Roller Derby has moved locations.  They are now holding their matches at the fairgrounds’ youth building at 940 Early Maxwell.  So if you want to catch the ladies of roller derby in action, you no longer have to drive all the way to East Bumblefuck to do it.  That’s precisely the reason I haven’t gotten out to see them… glad they found a venue closer to home base.  Their next showdown is Saturday, June 7, Hustlin’ Rockers vs. Rockin’ Renegades, 7 PM, doors at 6, $10 to get in, kids $5.

Gonna do some more website work, then hit the Saucer at 9:30 for Aquanet.

May 312008
 

So, last night I went to South Main Trolley Tour, where the South Main Association had a members-only party with free burgers and beer.  I thought to myself, “You know, it’s time I joined.”  The few SMA meetings I’ve been to have been great sources of information for the blog, and technically I do live on South Main (although just barely – I can walk from my building’s front door to North Main in about 20 seconds).  So I ponied up 25 bucks and became a member.

The meetings are once a month on Tuesday nights.  From now on, that means I’m going to be showing up late for trivia once a month so I can go to SMA.  It’s just too valuable an opportunity to get the latest news and to network.  The team will be fine without me, considering on a slow week we have 10 people show up to play.

The next SMA meeting will be Tuesday, June 10 at the Downtown Condo Connection in the 420 South Front building (suite 107).  The Center City Commission will speak on plans for Downtown redevelopment and the CCC’s new plan for retail, and will include presentations by Andy Kitsinger, Vice President of Planning and Development, and Lisa Brumleve, Manager of Business Recruitment and Retention.  With recent talks of re-opening the Main Street Mall to vehicle traffic, this should be a very informative meeting, as well as a chance for residents to talk with the CCC representatives and voice their opinions.  6:00 social, 6:30 meeting.  Also, the 420 South Front building is one of the finest condo redevelopments in South Main, with tons of character.  I have a couple of friends who live there, and if you haven’t seen it, you really should check it out.

More info on the meeting and upcoming events on the SMA website.

After Trolley Tour I hit Itta Bena for their Sex and the City party.  Details to come on that… I took some pics, but after reviewing the content of a couple of the photos, I decided it would be more appropriate to wait until tomorrow to post them.

I’ll be laptopping all afternoon, so possibly more posts to come today.  May also add some stuff to the left and right sidebars of the blog.

May 312008
 

Thursday after work the crew and I decided to check out Ground Zero for their happy hour.  Domestic drafts on tap for 2 bucks 4-7 PM, 7 days a week.  Not bad at all.  I also had their “Dixie” chili cheeseburger with sweet potato fries, which was really good.

While there, I took out my new camera and snapped a few pics of the place, for the benefit of those of you who haven’t been by yet.  The place was relatively empty for happy hour, but it got busy by the time I left at 7:15.  The camera appears nearsighted in these shots – sharp up close, blurry far away.  Looks like I’ll have to figure out which of the 20 or so different picture modes on the camera is best for interior shots like these.  It was brand new so I just shot on “auto” mode for the initial round of photos.  A little blurry, but you can at least get an idea what the place looks like:

They did a good job of the place, making it feel like a nice restaurant while at the same time giving it the feel of an authentic juke joint.  Like Huey’s, you can write on the walls with markers.  Large, open dance floor right in front of the stage.  I had a good time there and bartender Angie took good care of us.  I doubt I’ll be there for happy hour every day, but it’s an alternative for days when the Saucer puts something nasty on Fire Sale.

More pics and posts to come today.  I have some stuff I need to get done on my laptop, so I’m considering getting in the car and driving out to a Wi-Fi coffee shop in Midtown, maybe Otherlands.

May 302008
 

Okay, talked to my friend at Itta Bena and she e-mailed me the details of tonight’s Sex and the City party:

“The party is actually being sponsored by skyy vodka. Starts at 5pm and goes till we close! We have all kinda of cool trinkets.  And a  special Sex in the City drink menu, featuring the OH-SO-Famous Cosmo of course, and a Bunch of drinks named after all the characters in the show/movie. And the staff will be decked out in pink. should be fun… Sex in the City parties mean lots of ladies, which means  if your single and your looking or if you’re just looking’  its prob. a good ides to show up… :-)”

Itta Bena is located on the 3rd floor of BB King’s, entrance off Second St. (look for the valet parking stand).

I’ll probably do the South Main Trolley Tour then hit Itta Bena afterward.

Gotta go, extremely busy day at work.

May 302008
 

… Details to come.  I have to call one of the servers there and get details, but service industry people’s morning doesn’t start at the same time as 8-to-5 people’s morning, so it won’t be for a few hours.

In the meantime, read this.  Article about a new office furnishings store on South Main that will have its grand opening tonight at Trolley Tour.

May 292008
 

Actually, you should read the Flyer even after you read this summary… it’s full of good stuff.  But, here are some high points from this week’s issue:

- The Grizzlies are holding dance team tryouts Saturday, June 14 at 9 AM at the FedExForum.  If you plan on trying out, it’s strongly recommended that you take their jazz workshop tonight at 7 PM at Mid-South Dance Academy, 7014 E. Shelby Drive, as well as two pre-audition classes Thursday, June 5 and 12, at the Methodist Healthcare Practice Facility at the FedExForum, both 7 PM.  Classes/workshops are recommended but not required and cost $25 per dancer.  Must be at least 18 or a high school grad.

- Congrats to my friend Kris Kourdouvelis, who throws some awesome private parties at his warehouse on G.E. Patterson.  He attended a recent auction of Isaac Hayes’ restaurant’s inventory.  He had the winning bids on a baby grand piano, drink mixing equipment, and four semi-circular booths, including the restaurant’s owner’s booth.  Those will make fun additions to his next warehouse party.

- Rep. Steve Cohen’s re-election headquarters open this Saturday, May 31, at noon at 1803 Union Avenue.  Steve has done a great job in Congress during his first term and I look forward to sending him back for another two years (and hopefully many more after that).  More info at cohenforcongress.com.

- There’s a “Salvation Healing Revival” with evangelist David Terrell today through June 7 at the fairgrounds.  According to the ad, “Jesus” is healing all manner of sickness and all manner of diseases.  Why did they put “Jesus” in quotes?  Is that his nickname or something?  Is his name really Murray “Jesus” Christ and it’s just that none of us knew because we don’t have a direct hotline to Heaven like this evangelist does?

- There will be a vintage car show – a funky, funky vintage car show – Sunday, June 1 at 345 Madison at 2 PM.  Vintage cars, motorcycles, and travel trailers.  Awards ceremony at 4.

- This week’s Red Rooster ad says “Kamakaze Karaoke, Cornhole, & Tricycle Races” for Sunday.  Sounds interesting.

- Ground Zero’s ad mentions their “Hot blues, cool beer” happy hour – $2 domestic draft 4-7 PM, 7 days a week.  I plan on giving their happy hour a try this afternoon, now that I’ve learned that the Saucer has put yet another mediocre beer on Fire Sale today (Killian’s Red).

Ground Zero’s ad also mentions that they have food by Mac Edwards, founder of McEwen’s.  It mentions a fried green tomato BLT, Mississippi caviar, Big Muddy chicken, and sweet potato fries.

- The Zodiac Ball, the annual fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society, is Saturday night at the Peabody.  Looks like they’re doing a ’60s theme with tribute band Fun Fun Fun.  More info on the event here.

- If anyone is looking for a service industry job Downtown, it looks like the Madison Hotel, Quetzal, and Encore are hiring.

- There’s a loft apartment for rent at 66 S. Front (available 6/15).  Check the “Downtown Apt” section of the Flyer classifieds for details.  It’s rare to find apartments in the Downtown core, and the price ($850) is pretty reasonable for a 1 BR/1 BA in the area.

That’s all for now.  Sitting here watching a computer program process 2,400,000 records and then write them to a database.  Very very exciting.  Can’t wait ’til happy hour.  I plan on being at Ground Zero about 5:15-5:30ish.

May 292008
 

Here’s a list of what’s going on tonight:

  • Italian Fest at Marquette Park, corner of Park/Mt. Moriah in East Memphis
  • Route South on the Peabody Rooftop, 6-10 PM, $5 cover, ladies free until 8
  • Daddy Mack Blues Band on the Madison rooftop, 5:30-10:30 PM
  • Shoe Happy Hour at Tyiese Scarpa boutique at 515 S. Main, 6-8 PM.  Free wine, cocktails, hors d’ouevres.
  • Q107.5 patio party with Garry Goin and G3 at EP Delta Kitchen
  • Super 5 at the Red Rooster.  Ladies get in free, balloon drop, win a trip to the Bahamas.
  • ’80s for the Ladies Night at Hollywood Disco (Raiford’s).  Opens 9 PM, serving mixed drinks and quarts of Bud Light.
  • Eric Hughes Blues Band at Ground Zero
  • The Sauce Boss at Blues City Cafe.  At the end of the show, everyone eats gumbo!
  • Trivia night at TJ Mulligan’s Pinch
  • Ladies’ Night at Tug’s at the River Inn of Harbor Town.  Half price drinks for ladies.

Coming later today or early tomorrow: Notes and commentary on this week’s Memphis Flyer.

May 292008
 

Calhoun’s will boil 100 pounds of crawfish on their back deck Sunday afternoon.  Bar will open at 3:30, crawfish will be served starting at 4.  You can get them for $3.50 a pound until they run out.

Whew… Sunday’s looking like a full day for me… brunch at the Monkey… crawfish at Calhoun’s… the Dempseys at Huey’s.

Last night, I walked to the Saucer, but upon seeing the NASTY beer they had put on Fire Sale (Turbo Dog) I kept right on walking all the way to the Blue Monkey, where I enjoyed bottles of PBR at happy hour prices.  Then at 7 I moved on to Calhoun’s for dollar Old Style as there was a Cubs game on.  Hung out there ’til 9:30 or so, then stopped by the Saucer for one Dos Equis Lager, then hit Itta Bena for Caroline’s bon voyage party.  Fun night.  Got home to find that my new camera had arrived.  Yay.  The battery is charging now.  I brought the manual to work with me… running a file-processing program that takes an hour to process the current batch I’m working on, so during the wait time I’ll learn how to use the camera.

The Saucer removed some popular beers recently causing a lot of protest, but I learned there was a good reason for it… gas prices.  Shipping costs have gotten high for some of those beers that they’d have to charge in the neighborhood of 7 bucks a pint to break even.  Even though I drive the car once a month, gas prices are still affecting my life.

Heard Ground Zero has a good happy hour… may check it out today, depending on whether or not the Saucer has a good Fire Sale beer.

Back later today with the Thursday “what’s going on” post.

May 282008
 

If you missed out on the Ques Brothers’ 3rd place World Championship pork shoulder at BBQ Fest, I have good news and bad news.  The good news is, it’s one of the few instances where you can buy the winning product.   The bad news is, you’ll have to drive a little ways to get it… to Chicago.

Our head cook, Willie Wagner (or “Willie Wonka” as some of us call him), owns Honky Tonk Barbeque in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago (1213 W. 18th St.).  He’s updated his website, not only mentioning our 3rd place win in the Shoulder competition, but also two other strong finishes at BBQ Fest I was not even aware of… in the “other” category, the team placed 13th out of 101 for sweet, spicy wings, and 5th out of 65 for our turducken (a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey).  Congrats to Willie and our cooking team on strong showings in all three of those categories.

Willie has a page on his site about the team’s victory, with a scan of the Commercial Appeal article quoting team member Mike King, and a photo of the team onstage accepting the trophy.  So if you’re ever in Chicago (or if you’re one of this blog’s Chicago readers), stop by Honky Tonk BBQ.  Or, if you need a party catered in the Chicagoland area, Honky Tonk can do that too.  Not only can they supply championship shoulder, but also beef brisket, lamb, chicken, ribs, bratwurst, hamburgers and cheeseburgers, or even the whole hog.  Their mobile kitchen can handle parties of 25 to 1200.  “We come prepared,” says their site.

Hmmm I haven’t been to Chicago since 1997… once I accumulate some more days off, I may have to make a trip that way later this summer.

 

May 282008
 

The South Main Association e-mailed with a couple of updates.  This Friday, of course, is the South Main Trolley Art Tour, as happens the last Friday of every month.  Galleries and other shops in the area open 6 to 9 PM, with many serving wine, appetizers, beer, and some offering discounts and/or specials.  The South Main Association will have its own private area at the trolley tour next to Mode du Jour, where members can enjoy Boscos beer and grilled hamburgers.  If you want to be a part of it, you can join SMA on the spot, $25 for individuals, $35 two-person households, $80 businesses.  They’ll also be selling SMA and 38103 T-shirts and SMA cookbooks.

There will be a special event at this month’s trolley tour:  The Music Resource Center’s grand opening.  This will be at 431 S. Main #201 (across from the National Civil Rights Museum) from 7 to 9 PM.  More info on the Resource Center here, led by local musicial Lord T.

Saturday morning there will be another SMA event.  Help the association to neaten the neighborhood… meet up with them at Bluff City Coffee at 9 AM (you can get one of health guru AL’s favorite acai plus smoothies while you’re there).  Bring brooms, dust pans, and work clothes; garbage bags, water, and snacks will be provided.  Cleaning will last until 11 AM.  For more details about the SMA’s events go to southmainmemphis.org.

The Mid-South Center for Peace and Justice may disagree with me on panhandling, but they sent me an e-mail yesterday in which we found common ground: music and beer.

They’re having a fundraiser on Saturday, June 7 at 1015 S. Cooper, with over 10 bands, from 1 PM to midnight, $10 wristband admission.  Food, beer, drinks.

The annual Memphis Italian Festival runs from tomorrow through Saturday in Marquette Park (Park at Mt.Moriah in East Memphis).  Like BBQ Fest, this is an event where dozens of teams enter a cooking competition, and build booths which are basically private parties; so you have a lot more fun if you know people in booths.  However, as you can see if you click on the link, they have a pretty good schedule of bands, so it’s still possible to have a good time there if you don’t know anyone.

I don’t have the Italian Fest connections that I have at BBQ Fest (not on a team, nor do I even know a team) so I doubt I’ll make it to Italian Fest.  If I go at all it’ll probably be Thursday night.  If I know anyone on a team and don’t realize it e-mail me at paul@paulryburn.com.

As I posted yesterday morning, Calhoun’s Sports Bar is being forced to change its name.  I meant to get down there last night and get the full details, but heavy rain prevented me from making the trip.  I hear Max is passing around a sheet with suggestions for possible names.  If anyone has any ideas send them to me and I’ll forward to Max.  I’ll be sure to forward your name along with your suggestion (unless you want to remain anonymous) so you get credit if your name is selected.

No trivia money for the team last night… we finished tied for third, and then lost the tie-breaker.  Pete the Trivia Guy is out of town next Tuesday, so the evening will be guest-hosted by Mikey the Trivia Guy.

This morning’s CA has an article about Gus’s Chicken being named one of the top 100 inner-city businesses.  Congrats to Gus’s on that honor.  There’s also an article about girlie drinks around town.  Bartenders at Downtown restaurants including Encore, Cafe 61, Automatic Slim’s, and Blue Fin were interviewed about their female patrons’ tastes.  Oh and a bartender at Spindini explained what kind of drinks Cougars (older women who go after younger men) like to drink.

Speaking of the CA, I got my photo taken yesterday for an upcoming article on bloggers.  They did a really cool job… they took a pic of me on the Main Street Mall, then put that pic on the screen on my laptop, then took a pic of my laptop sitting on the bar at the Flying Saucer, with taps and Saucer matches and a beer in the background.  After the photo session was over I asked the bartender, “So… what are you going to do with that beer?”  I got to drink it.  I think she knew that would happen, because she poured Dos Equis Lager as the prop beer.  I’ve been told the article will run in the M section and will feature several other local bloggers as well.  I don’t have a definite date for it, but Sunday, June 1 is my guess, which would be way cool because that would send a lot of new people to my blog on the first day of Tube Top Month.

Started work on my latest Amazon.com storefront last night… a store related to another one of my guilty pleasures.  Should be live in about a week, just gotta add some more categories and pick a domain name.

Right now it’s time to go pay the bills though… off to work.