Sat update: Sriracha sauce, MATA Downtown/Midtown service, Quetzal event, BrightKite, and more

Never made it to Paula & Raiford’s after the white trash party last night… got a text from a friend of mine who was at the Silly Goose.  I thought, “I’ll have one beer there then hit Raiford’s.”  I ended up staying until the Goose closed at 3.  It was a good night – one of those “randomly run into people and talk with them” kind of nights.  I like those.  I need to start hanging out at the Goose more on weekend nights.

Ran into a guy who liked my recommendation for Vietnamese sriracha sauce to spice up Bloody Marys.  He said I should buy a bottle and put it on hot dogs – he said I’ll never use mustard on hot dogs again once I’ve tried sriracha.  Said it was good on pizza too.  I’ll have to drive to an international market one day in my lunch hour next week and check it out.

Then I ran into a guy who gave me an information pamphlet on MATA’s Parkway Express.  It’s a gridded bus system that runs from 6 pm to 1 AM (3 AM on weekends) along the following Downtown and Midtown streets:

  • North-South:  Front, Second/Third, Danny Thomas, Cleveland, McLean, Cooper, and East Parkway
  • East-West:  North Parkway/Auction, Poplar, Madison, Union, Peabody/Linden, Crump/Lamar, McLemore/Southern, and South Parkway.

The brochure says that the buses are tracked with GPS and you can determine ETA online or via text message.  If they are really able to make this work that will be a coup for MATA.  A big reason MATA’s reputation is in the toilet with the locals is that their schedules are unreliable; if they can get the buses where they’re supposed to be, and inform riders electronically of progress, that will sure help.

I also like the fact that they run until 3 on the weekends.  That has long been one of my big complaints with MATA on the weekends, that their service cuts off before the bars close.  If they have buses that prove to be reliable and safe running to Midtown and back until 3 AM closing time, sure, I’d consider riding out there to catch a show at the Hi-Tone, or to have a beer at the Midtown Monkey or Boscos.  I imagine this would also be good for Midtowners who see all the fun we have Downtown and want to join in without risking a DUI getting home.

The brochure says that the buses are low emissions hybrids, and stops have emergency call boxes and video surveillance.  Looks like MATA’s finally entering the 21st century.  Unfortunately the website on the brochure is typical MATA; it links to a page that says “this page is parked courtesy of” and says nothing about bus service.  It does, however, contain links to dating services and info about Las Vegas.

Saw a flyer for an event called “Get Bubbly” at Quetzal, near Union and Marshall, Saturday, August 8.  2 for 1 martinis, $4 mimosas and champagne.  Event is from 5 to 10 PM, $6 cover, ladies free before 8.  Not sure what type of crowd they’re looking to attract, but the hours kind of remind me of the Peabody rooftop hours.

I joined a new social networking service this week – BrightKite.  The cool thing about it is, you can “check in” using GPS technology in phones/wireless networks to inform your friends of your whereabouts.  Not only can you see where your friends are, but you can see who else on BrightKite is in the same location as you or nearby.  Could be a cool way to meet new people, especially in friendly neighborhoods like Downtown.  It also integrates with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media services, and there are privacy settings you can use to determine who can see your location and who can’t.  You can also use it from your phone, via SMS or an iPhone app.  If you give it a try, my username on there is “paulryburn” if you want to friend me.

Also on social media this week, I discovered friend lists on Facebook.  Really handy.  I’m past the 500 mark on friends, and the posts and updates from everyone can get overwhelming.  Friend lists let you filter updates by people on lists you build.  For example, I built a list consisting of my core group of 20-30 friends I hang out with, to make sure I don’t miss anything going on in their lives.  I’m going to build a “BBQ team” list as well.  Think I may also build a “South Main” list so I can make sure I keep up with goings-on in that part of town.  Maybe I’ll also do lists for friends from college and high school.  There are a lot of possibilities.

Just realized two very unusual things happened yesterday:  I did not set foot in the Flying Saucer, and my total bar tab for the day was under $10.  Can’t remember the last time either of those things happened.

All right… time to go enjoy the day.  No plans at all today… those are often the days that work out the best.

Pics: White trash party

The great thing about parties on my building’s rooftop is that I can blog them as they are happening.

Crowd shot
Crowd shot
The birthday girl
The birthday girl

Kacy, winner of "best dressed," women's division
Kacy, winner of "best dressed," women's division
First (KISS shirt) and second (red jumpsuit) winners, men's division
First (KISS shirt) and second (red jumpsuit) winners, men's division

More pics to come.  I’ve been told we’re all going to Paula & Raiford’s later in the evening.

Fri update: Peabody NYE entertainment, lots of Bardog news, CCC speech

The Peabody announced their featured New Year’s Eve performer last night at their Thursday rooftop finale… it’s Saving Abel. Congrats to the Peabody on a great 2009 rooftop season.

News from Bardog Tavern… they’ve added 5 more tons of air conditioning to deal with the summer heat. So, not only do they have the coldest PBR Downtown, but now they have the coldest bar as well. That’s going to be nice for August, when the temps are sure to push back up to the upper 90s and maybe beyond.

Speaking of PBR… they’re now doing $1.50 PBR all day on Sunday, as well as $2 Schlitz cans. If you get there betweeen noon and 3, you can order off their brunch menu, with omelettes, pancakes, steak and eggs, mimosas, Bloody Marys, screwdrivers and more.

Big happy hour news at Bardog for the ladies… according to Aldo, the owner, “starting Friday, July 24th, from 5PM-7PM, the ladies only pay $3 per drink every Mon-Fri, and I don’t care what they drink.” If they can draw more ladies to happy hour, they’ll definitely see me there more often. Of course, $1.50 happy hour PBR is an incentive too. They also have $2.50 Schlitz and Coors cans. And Aldo has announced that he’s “going completely off the deep end here” and charging only $1.50 each for Bardog’s Original Memphis Sliders during happy hour.

They’re also planning the bar’s first birthday party for Sunday, September 20… I hear it’s going to be an alley party with a dunking booth, band, outdoor grill, and here’s the best part… bikini-clad staff. With Cooper-Young Fest on Saturday the 19th, it sounds like that is going to be quite the party weekend.

In the news: CCCC president Jeff Sanford spoke at the organization’s annual luncheon yesterday at the Peabody. He praised all the progress happening Downtown, but he also warned against race-card politics and talked about “an outbreak of political corruption and shocking expressions of entitlement in high and low places” that are prevalent in Memphis. He also said that community-building is harder than it needs to be because of “”a subculture of misconduct that is frankly an absolute embarrassment.” Hmmm ya think he could be talking about anyone in particular? I don’t dare speculate for another six days.

In case you’ve seen me this week and have wondered why I haven’t shaved, I have a white trash party to attend tonight, and I want to sport a redneck ‘stache. I have my outfit picked out already. There will probably be pictures… I hear that a stop at Paula & Raiford’s may be on the agenda later in the evening too. I need to bring a pint to the party… what’s a good redneck liquor?

Peabody rooftop info for tonight, and a low-key alternative

Tonight’s the season finale of the Peabody Rooftop Party season for 2009. Doors open at 6, with a $10 cover (it’s higher than usual tonight because the bands are big names), ladies free until 8. The Dempseys will take the stage about 7 PM, then around 8:30 PM Cowboy Mouth will come on.

A few notes for party attendees:

– It will be super crowded tonight – always happens when Cowboy Mouth is playing. My advice is to either get there much earlier than usual (like before 7), or, if you’re a guy and you want to get there a bit later, wait until 8:05-8:10ish to avoid the long “ladies free before 8” line. Ladies will obviously want to get there before 8 and beat the cover.

– They always put out a food buffet for guests, so if you don’t have time to grab dinner before heading up there, you’ll have the chance to snack. If you get there at just the right time, you’ll get to see the Nuh-Uh Girl eating.

– If you have any unused drink tickets from previous 2009 rooftop parties, don’t forget to bring them and spend them. It’s your last chance.

I know that not everyone is into the rooftop parties, so I’ll offer a much more low-key alternative as well: Thursday night is poker tournament night at Calhoun’s Sports Bar on G.E. Patterson. Play happens on the TV monitors, using Buzztime trivia/poker boxes to compete. Winner gets a gift certificate. Good way to hang out and have fun and meet some locals. There are only 10 boxes though, so maximum 10 players – get there early to get your box. Tournament starts at 7. There are progressive blinds to keep things moving, just as in a real tournament. It’s free to play.

I’ll probably have one happy hour Dos Equis Lager at the Saucer at 6, then head to the rooftop in time to catch the Dempseys. After that, it looks like I’ll be heading back to the Saucer for former bartender Marci’s going-away party. Should be a fun night.

Update on Nuh-Uh Girl’s effort to charter a plane

Updated info on the Nuh-Uh Girl’s attempt to find a chartered plane to transport her to regional events with free food. It turns out she’s not looking for just any chartered plane; she has special requirements.

“If I could find one that has catering service on-board, that would be awesome,” she said. “That way, I’d have something to snack on while flying from city to city. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, maybe just a fruit tray… ooh and some cheeses… and maybe some veggies and dipping sauce… and how about some quiche… and lobster dip… and some beef tenderloin… and some Thai peanut chicken skewers… oh and maybe some dessert… you know, some cookies, some brownies, chocolate cake, strawberry tarts, creme brulee, stuff like that.”

If anyone has a spare plane of this type that the Nuh-Uh Girl can borrow, please let me know and I’ll pass along the information.

7 is the new 6:51

Good news for Flying Saucer patrons:  The clock on their computer/cash register system, which has been wrong for years, has been reset to the correct time.  Up until Tuesday, happy hour ended at 6:51 PM, because their clock ran 9 minutes fast, and no one could figure out how to fix it.

To set the clock, they brought in a team of three Ph.D. Computer Science faculty members from the University of Memphis, who were unable to figure out how to set the clock either.  They then held a seance and channeled the spirit of the late Paul Erdos, one of the most prolific mathematicians of the 20th century.  The ghost of Erdos told them to highlight the minutes, press the down arrow icon next to the time nine times, and then click OK.  “Clicking OK was a critical step in the process,” commented one of the Ph.Ds.   “We never would have figured that out had we not psychically contacted Erdos.”

The professors plan to submit several papers to scholarly journals on the solution of this problem.  Bar patrons celebrated by ordering another beer.

Nuh-Uh Girl, inspired by Coach Pastner, looking to charter private jet


A truly great coach inspires not only his players, but the fans as well. And this week Coach Josh Pastner has done exactly that. The Nuh-Uh Girl, observing how Coach Pastner used a private jet to catch AAU games in different parts of the United States in the same day, is looking into the use of a private jet for her own purposes.

“Memphis is not the only city where there are events with free food, you know,” said the Nuh-Uh Girl. “Modern logistics make it possible to travel to cities all over the region to eat.”

“For example, maybe one day I’d fly to Jackson in the afternoon, to go to the Costco there,” she continued. “You know, walk around and try all the free samples they put out.”

“Then I’d fly back to Memphis, for an art opening at the Majestic Grille at 5. They usually put out complimentary hors d’oeuvres for their art shows. Last month they had this seafood flatbread that was AWESOME.”

“Then I could hop on the plane again and fly west to Little Rock. There are a lot of boutiques and galleries in their Hillcrest and Forest Heights neighborhoods. Sometimes they’ll stay open into the evenings and put out free food to entice people to come in.”

“Then I’d fly back to Memphis to wrap up the evening,” said the Nuh-Uh Girl. “Maybe a group of my friends would be having dinner at Circa that night. The private jet would allow me to arrive right as their entrees come out. Then I could go around the table and eat off everyone’s plates.”

When asked how she’d pay for the private jet, she said, “I don’t know… the University’s boosters paid for the coach’s plane trips, right?  I need my own boosters.”