Good news on the job front

I got some good news this morning on the job front.  A position I would really like to have has come available… it’s a position where I know I’d be a good fit both personality-wise and skills-wise.  There’s no guarantee that I’ll get it but I think I have a very, very good chance.

Sunday marks 4 months since I was laid off from VP.  People have commented that I have stayed unemployed an unusually long time.  There are two main reasons for that:

1) I believe in waiting for the right job to come along, not taking the first position I see.  I believe that I deserve a great place to work and will settle for nothing less.

2) I haven’t been actively looking.  I’ve been using the past few months to do some freelancing work (which has kept me afloat) and to build affiliate-marketing websites that will produce a good side income for me in the long term.  Since being off I’ve built over 80 websites – almost one per day if you don’t count weekends and holidays.  Anyone who thinks I’ve been doing nothing but going to the bar since October doesn’t understand what I’ve been up to.  Except for a few days I’ve been up and in front of the laptop getting stuff done by 8:30 AM every day, and I’ve rarely knocked off before 4:30 or 5 (although I’ve taken my work to the Saucer with me on quite a few occasions).

Anyway, keep your fingers crossed for me.   I can’t say more about this position right now, because doing so would give other IT people a lead on where to find a job and create possible competition.

However, I do have the name of an IT recruiter who did me a kindness above and beyond the call of duty this morning (related to a different position)… I’d be happy to refer qualified people to her if anyone is looking.  E-mail me ( if interested and I’ll do introductions.

Hmmm… 66 going to 75 as I type this.  I think it’s time to take the laptop to the Saucer’s window and do my work from there this afternoon.  Today I have to re-learn how to author Windows help files, a topic I haven’t touched since 2003.

The ultimate in Downtown Memphis cruising

When the weather gets warm, tricked-out cars with huge rims come out and start cruising Second Street on Sunday afternoon.  Usually they are Buick Roadmasters, ’90s Chevy Caprices/Impala SSs, Crown Victorias, and ’80s Monte Carlos and Grand Prix with rims in the 22-26″ range.

The car pictured below, though, takes the prize for the best I’ve ever seen.  This is a mid-’70s model full-size GM convertible that cruised by several times yesterday.  I can’t quite tell the make of the car, but I think it’s a GrandVille, Pontiac’s equivalent of the Chevrolet Caprice in those days.  The rims must have been 36 inches.  And they did not move.  At all.


Let’s have a closer look:


“Nice rims, but how does he get in the car?” we wondered.  “Does he have to use a ladder?”

How ’bout them TIGERS!!! Plus: FedExForum

Last night the #14/15 Memphis Tigers played like the team that took us all the way to the national championship game last year.  We went on the road for a game against a highly regarded school, Gonzaga, and when I checked the predictions on Yahoo! Sports they had Gonzaga by 4 1/2 to 5 points.  Instead we blew them away, leading by 17 at the half and by 26 at one point early in the second half.  The Zags attempted a late run but the lead was insurmountable.  It reminded me of the Memphis-Michigan State game in last year’s tournament, when a lot of people said the Spartans would take us out, and by halftime we were up 50-20.

As long as we continue to sweep our conference, we’re probably looking at a Top 10 ranking in both polls by the end of the season (and it’s possible we’ll get there Monday).  I think last night proved that we’re worthy of a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Great article in today’s paper about the hard-working people at the FedExForum.  Not only have they stepped up their event schedule since opening five years ago, but they’ve also dramatically increased attendance at returning events like the Trans-Siberian Orchestra show.  Last week they had 3 sellouts in 3 days, and there was a 24-hour period where they had to turn the arena three times – a Friday night AC/DC concert, a Saturday noon Tiger game, and a Saturday night Grizzlies game.  Glad to see the people at the Forum finally getting the recognition they deserve.

Anyone who thinks Downtown is hurting because of economic conditions should’ve been out at our locals’ bars last night.  First I went to the Silly Goose to watch the game, and by the time I left around 11 the place was packed.  Then I wandered down to Bardog Tavern and it was packed as well.  Great to see it.

Off to brunch at the Majestic, then on to the Saucer.  I’m taking the laptop with me, because I plan on making some updates to our BBQ team website later today.  It’s Sunday Fun Day!

Finally tried A&R Bar-B-Q

I finally got to give A&R Bar-B-Q at Third and Court a try this afternoon.  I took home a huge box of rib tips, baked beans, and seasoned fries for $9.29.  Not a bad deal at all compared to other BBQ joints in the Downtown core.

Their posted hours are lunch until 10 PM weekdays.  No closing time is posted for Friday and Saturday, and I’m not sure if that means they close earlier or later than 10.  On Sundays they open for lunch and close at 5.  So there’s plenty of opportunity for those who live but don’t work Downtown to still get up there and try some of their food.  This is the only A&R in the city that serves beer.

I want to come back and try some of their other stuff, particularly their brisket, pork ribs, beef ribs, and BBQ nachos.

I also got a flyer for the club next door, off Third in the entrance to the parking garage, called Memphis Sounds.  It says that A440 plays there every Friday night.  Showtime 8 PM, $5 martini specials, happy hour until 7, $10 cover.

Sat update: Grammys at Hard Rock, Google Earth, and a rare occasion where I cheer for the Vols

The Recording Academy is hosting its annual Grammy watching party tomorrow night at the Hard Rock Cafe on Beale Street, Sunday, February 8, at 6 PM, and the public is invited.  Free for Recording Academy members, $25 for the general public; or you can join the Recording Academy at the door for $150. FreeWorld will perform from 6 to 7 and then it will be time to watch the Grammy TV broadcast.

Google just released Google Earth 5.0.  In this version, not only can you explore the land of the Earth, but you can dive deep into the sea and explore the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean.  It’s a free download available here.

Go Vols!  Yes, I actually just said that.  I actively cheer for any team playing the Tennessee Volunteers football team.  Same for the men’s basketball team, and I take great delight in making fun of head coach Bruce “The Orange Goblin” Pearl on my blog.  But the women’s basketball team… I just can’t pull against them… how can you not respect what Pat Summitt has accomplished.  She’s a legend in her own time, up there with the all-time basketball coaching greats like Henry Iba and Adoph Rupp.  Congratulations to Coach Summitt on her 1,000th victory.  I watched the Lady Vols game from the Tap Room Thursday night while listening to IBC bands.

#14/15 Memphis plays #18 Gonzaga tonight at 8 PM on ESPN.  A win tonight would surely put us in contention for at least a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament, maybe even a #2.  Looks like some of the gang plans on gathering at the Silly Goose to watch the game.

Great weather today… high 69, low 52, according to the Weather Channel.  I plan on working on the personal finance project and my websites for a good while today, but I’ll probably get out and walk around too.

Pics: International Blues Challenge day 1

Last night was the first night of the International Blues Challenge competition on Beale Street.  I went down there with my friends Mikey and Chuck.  We bought wristbands that got us into all the clubs, and proceeded down the street to listen to some good music.

memo0089We started at Handy Park, where we listened to Texas bluesman Jeff Strahan.  I was worried about sitting out in the cold, but they had a heated tent!  Nice!  We had great seats right behind the judges.  While Jeff was performing, I caught up on the latest BBQ news from our team captain Chuck.

memo0092Then we moved on to the Tap Room, where a bluesman with dreads (didn’t catch his name) was on the stage.  It’s the first time in over a year I’ve visited my mug at the Tap Room.  As a member of the Mug Club I was able to get 22 ounces of PBR for $2.25.  Not bad.  I used to be a regular at the Tap Room and realized last night how much I miss the place.

p1010456Then we went to the Old Daisy.  Our interest there was not so much the band, but the fact that Chuck and I had never been inside the Old Daisy, and Mikey hadn’t in many years.  We wanted to see what it looked like inside.  Above is a pic of the main room with the band performing on stage.

p1010463We were particularly impressed with the Old Daisy’s back room, which had a full bar and memorabilia from past concerts all over the walls.

p1010465Chuck (in his “Elwood Que” persona from the Ques Brothers) and Mikey pose in front of the Old Daisy bar.

p1010466A view of the posters and records on the walls of the Old Daisy’s back room.

p1010467Me on the Old Daisy’s stairs with Gloria, Leigh, and Harmony.  Yes, the “I Love Romanian Girls” shirt is still around.

p1010470The gang at a table at the Old Daisy.  Leigh, Shane, Harmony, Mikey, Gloria.

We had one more stop on our schedule, a blues band from Australia playing at 11.  By that point, though, all the Beale Street Big Ass Beers and Tap Room Mug Club PBRs had caught up with me.  I headed to Bardog for to-go food (and what happened there is worthy of a separate post), then I was home for the evening.

The IBC continues tonight, with a $15 wristband to get you in all the clubs.  More info on the IBC can be found on the Blues Foundation’s website.

I have a friend’s housewarming tonight so I don’t know if I’ll be at the second night of IBC… you never know though.  Looks like a great night, with a low of only 48, followed by a weekend with highs in the 60s.  This looks like a good weekend to come out of hibernation and be out and about.

Attn Downtown business owners: $30,000 forgivable loans from the CCC

If you own a business Downtown, be sure to read this article in the Commerical Appeal – the CCC may be able to help you through these tough economic times.  They’re offering $30,000 forgivable loans to Downtown businesses that meet certain qualifications.  The loans are being handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, so if this is something you’d be interested in, now is the time to apply.

Thur update: IBC, folk art, Red Rooster events, lunch concerts at Center for Southern Folklore, soap opera, Presidents Day beer, Bardog food, and more

The International Blues Challenge is going on this weekend on Beale Street, beginning tonight.  I think I may head down there and buy a wristband ($10 tonight, $15 tomorrow) and hear some blues this evening.  Here’s a link to the 2009 IBC program.

I got an e-mail from a folk artist named Charlie Dyer whose work is fairly inexpensive and sells well in Memphis.  His website is here – check out his work.  It’s cut-out wood in 3-D shadowbox style.

The Red Rooster sent me a bunch of info about upcoming events.  Here are flyers for two of them, a “Heaven and Hell” party on February 14, and a TGIF happy hour.



Look for a future post about their 1-year anniversary party weekend Feb. 19-21.  They have big plans in the works.

The Center for Southern Folklore has free Brown Bag concerts during lunch hour (noon-1 PM) Thursdays and Fridays, including today and tomorrow.  If you work Downtown, this would be a great way to escape the cubicle for an hour.  On the music menu this week is Bluesman Mark Massey today and Bluegrass Banjo Expert Randal Morton tomorrow.

When I was at the CCC brainstorming session yesterday, one of the people I met was the creator of an upcoming Memphis-based Web soap opera.  It’s called On the Edge of Happiness and the first full episode (of five total) will go online February 24 at 9 PM.  There are two preview trailers on the site if you want to check them out.  “Seduction, betrayal, greed, lust, love” reads the business card he gave me.

Whew!  Productive day yesterday.  I worked on the personal finance software project from the time I got up until 4:30, except for the hour I spent at the CCC.  Then I took the laptop to the Saucer and built my latest website – I’ll launch it soon, just gotta get some more content on it first.  Unlike most of the other sites I’ve done, this will not be an Amazon affiliate site – it’s something completely different.  Expect an announcement within the next week.

As I walked to the Saucer, I noticed that Kooky Canuck is celebrating Presidents’ Day by selling 34 oz. Super Cold Coors Light for $2 all day.  Many people have that day as a holiday, so come on by the Canuck and drink up.  Speaking of presidents, I wish President Obama would take steps to reduce noise pollution by signing an executive order telling Kooky Canuck bartender Meghan to shut the hell up.

I stopped by Bardog Tavern for a beer on the way home, and noticed several new menu items.  They have a monster vegetarian burrito, which I took home with me after paying a few bucks extra to add chicken.  The burrito has black beans and rice, pico de gallo, pepper jack cheese, and lettuce, and it comes with salsa and sour cream on the side.

Other new menu items (at least, new since the last time I blogged about Bardog’s food) include a fried egg slider, to which you can add cheese, bacon, or ham for an extra cost.  Mmmm… adding all three sounds like the way to go.  They also have drummies now, in sizes of a half dozen or a dozen, and they have the “Bardog Poo Poo” platter, consisting of the drummies, shrimp skewers, southwest chicken rolls, and fries.

Shout-out to Chris from Wisconsin, with whom I did a kamikaze shot while waiting on my food.  I promised I’d wear the “I love Romanian girls” shirt today at his request.

Time to get busy… I have a full day of Visual Basic and income-producing and income-consuming assets ahead.  Maybe I’ll see you at IBC tonight!

Question: Which Twitterers provide valuable info about Downtown Memphis?

I just got out of a brainstorming session the CCC held, where they called together about 35 of Downtown’s creative types to discuss new ways to promote Downtown Memphis.  Not surprisingly, Twitter was mentioned.

So I’m going to pose a question to you, the readers, and I’m going to do something I’ve never done before – I’m going to turn on comments for this post.  Which Twitter users provide valuable information about Downtown Memphis? Could be businesses that use Twitter to promote their events, or locals who use Twitter to talk about Downtown.

Please respond in the comments thread, giving the Twitterer’s username and a one or two sentence summary of what kind of info they provide.  If this works well, I may do targeted comments threads again in the future.  (Edited to add:  Click where it says “No comments”, or where it says the number of comments once people start posting them, at the end of this post to leave a comment.)

As for me, I’m “whatsthefiresale” on Twitter.  Once a day I text the name of the beer that is on $2.75 Fire Sale at the Downtown Flying Saucer to my Twitter account.  Through a plug-in it shows up in the upper left corner of my blog.  The Saucer doesn’t pay me to do this, by the way – it’s just something I started as a service for my fellow Saucer regulars, and a way to maybe get a few extra eyeballs a day on my blog.

Pics: Super Bowl XLIII party

Here are some pics from our annual Super Bowl party at a condo on the river Downtown:

p1010380Crowd shot


It’s the end of the first quarter, and Lee just found out he won $50.  “Hellooooo Saucer!”  I like the way Lee thinks.


…but then his girlfriend Lauren grabbed the money and stuffed it in her bra.


A shot of the food… well, some of it.  There was plenty more.  Skippy gives the thumbs-up as Edison displays his ghost-like ability to walk through walls.

p1010396Here’s a pic of the Nuh-Uh Girl eating.

p1010417Here’s another pic of the Nuh-Uh Girl eating.  Note that she had a bowl in the pic above and she has a plate here, so this is a different helping.

p1010423No this pic isn’t upside-down.  Esther and Stephanie were sitting on the couch as I was standing behind it.  I leaned the camera over and took the pic.  Stephanie is trying to keep her tube top from falling down.  I heard there may have been at least one wardrobe malfunction, very appropriate for the Super Bowl.

p1010434Girl-on-girl action

p1010428Another pic of the Nuh-Uh Girl eating.

p1010447The Steelers fans in the crowd cheer the game-winning touchdown.

Another great year as always.  Thanks to our hosts and the people who provided all the delicious food.  The full photo album (80 pics) is divided into two parts:  Part 1, Part 2