Monday update

Um yeah OK today’s blog is not going to be terribly interesting, because the combination of RiverArtsFest and the Dempseys at Huey’s yesterday killed nearly every brain cell I had left.

The Memphis Tigers football team gets some national exposure tomorrow night, when their game vs. ECU at the Liberty Bowl is televised on ESPN2. I’ll have to keep my eye on the TV during trivia.

Several earthquakes in the 2.5 to 2.9 range in Arkansas and Missouri within the past 24 hours… hope they aren’t precursors to The Big One.

Congratulations to new mayor AC Wharton who gets sworn in at noon today. Interesting fact: 5 of Wharton’s 13 transition team members are either members of MPACT Memphis or past recipients of the organization’s MPACT Maker awards. If you want to become a community leader and also meet other future community leaders, MPACT is a good place to start.

There were several good food vendors at RiverArtsFest… in addition to Central BBQ, there was an Asian food vendor and a Cajun vendor. I saw people getting food and then looking around suspiciously as though they felt the need to guard it. “Don’t worry, she’s out of town,” I told them, referring to the Nuh-Uh Girl, who spent the weekend in Boston. Had she been in town, she undoubtedly would have staked out the food vendors, waiting for people she knows to go up and order. Then would come the begging: “Can I have that nacho right there? Oooh shrimp fried rice, can I have a shrimp? Can I have some of your pecans? Can I have a bite of your BBQ sandwich?” One of her co-workers at FedEx told me she prowls the halls of her office building at lunchtime, to see who brought back leftovers.

It’s a bad day for my friend John D… his hero Morrissey collapsed on stage this weekend and had to be rushed to the hospital. I imagine John will cope with the news by drowning his sorrows in Bud Light.

Big kudos to all the bartenders at Calhoun’s this weekend… the place was just massively packed during RiverArtsFest, and yet I never had to wait more than a minute for a PBR.

Good seeing Lizzie and George last night… everyone who knows Lizzie (pictured in the previous post), please encourage her to move back to Memphis.

That’s all for now… really not a lot going on during the early part of this week, as everyone is resting up for Halloween. This is one of those days when I slept too late to have time to shower before work, so I’ll have to do that when I get home. I’ll probably be at Pint Nite around 6.

Pics and recap: RiverArtsFest day 1

Okay, let me give you the inside scoop on RiverArtsFest in 3 words:  CINNAMON ROASTED PECANS.  There is a vendor called The Nut House (pictured below) set up right next to the National Civil Rights Museum gift shop.  They sell all kinds of nuts and their cinnamon roasted pecans are possibly the best thing I’ve ever eaten.  They make them fresh on-site.  If you’re not into pecans, they have cinnamon roasted peanuts and cashews too.


Here are some more pics from the festival:


Looking north from G.E. Patterson.  The booths were better spaced out this year and thanks to great weather, the festival was packed.


John D enjoying his favorite beverage, an ice cold Bud Light.


Clay lifts Stella the dog up to Calhoun’s window so she can order a beer.


I don’t even want to think about what Terry might have in that cylindrical-shaped bag.


UT fans made Calhoun’s look like a damn carrot patch yesterday.  Reminder to festival-goers today:  Calhoun’s has the NFL package and 10 TVs if you want to drop in and watch a game.  $2 PBR.


Be sure to check out Shane Paris Art if you go to the festival today.  His booth is located right in front of the Arcade on Main Street, second booth south of G.E. Patterson.  Come support the work of a local Downtown artist.  If you can’t make it to the festival today, check out Shane’s web site.


Stella stalking a tennis ball in a parking lot near the festival

My plans for today:  I was going to go to brunch at Sole this morning – seeing Melissa at Paula & Raiford’s Thursday night reminded me that I hadn’t been there in a while.  But that plan changed the moment I found out the Young Guns are playing at 11:55 this morning at RiverArtsFest.  The Young Guns are an absolute MUST SEE.

After that, I’ll probably hang out at the festival until it closes at 6, with at least one trip to the Nut House for cinnamon roasted pecans, and a trip to Central BBQ’s booth for BBQ nachos.  And, of course, trips to Calhoun’s throughout the day for beer.  After that I’ll head north to the Saucer for another lazy Sunday night with Brittney, then at 8:30 The Dempseys take the stage at Huey’s.  It’s gonna be a long day…

RiverArtsFest today and tomorrow


RiverArtsFest happens this weekend in South Main, so come on down.  183 artists will have their work for sale, plus live music on four stages, food, and beer.  Come on down.  10 to 7 today (artist booths til 6), 10 to 6 tomorrow.

Be sure to check out the work of my friend Shane Paris who is one of the artists exhibiting.  Look for this logo and you;’ll find his booth:


Also, if you’re into beer and/or football, Calhoun’s Sports Bar has $2 PBR and they have the NCAA package with 10 TVs.  Tomorrow they will have the NFL package.

See you at the festival!  I’ll be down there around 11:30, although in the early hours I’ll be popping in Calhoun’s a lot to see how my Hogs are doing.

Reader question: “Isn’t online poker terribly risky?”

I got this question in e-mail and want to address it.

“I know you have a lot of fun playing poker online, but isn’t it terribly risky?  I’m not doubting you’re a skilled player, but everyone gets dealt bad cards some of the time.  Aren’t you worried you’ll lose big and wipe out all your winnings since you started playing?  I’d hate to see you lose so much that you can’t afford to pay your rent, or worse, pay for the Fire Sale at the Saucer.”

Good question.  The key to limiting risk at poker is what’s known as bankroll management.

Your bankroll is the amount of money currently sitting in your online account.  It can be as small or large as you want, depending on how much you’re willing to invest in your hobby.  As of this morning my bankroll on PokerStars sits at $507.83.

When deciding what games to play, I apply bankroll management rules that are slightly modified from what poker pro Chris Ferguson uses.  My rules are as follows, and I’m going to round my bankroll down to $500 for these examples to keep the math easy:

  • I can bring a maximum of 5% of my bankroll to the table for any cash ring game where the blinds are fixed.  5% of $500 is $25, so I can buy into cash ring games up to $25.  That means I can buy in for 100 big blinds (the maximum usually allowed) on 10 cent small blind/25 cent big blind games.  If I’m feeling froggy I can step up to the 25 cent/50 cent tables and buy in for 50 big blinds.  Theoretically I could buy into 50 cent/$1 ring games for the minimum of 20 big blinds, but I never like to buy into tables for the minimum.
  • If I start winning big at a cash ring game, if at any point my stack exceeds 10% of my total bankroll, I have to get up and leave before the blinds hit me in the next round.  So, in my current situation, if I found myself at a table with a stack of $55, I’d have to leave because it would be approximately 10% of the $555 total I would then have.
  • I can pay a maximum of 5% of my total bankroll to enter a single-table (up to 10 players) Sit’n’Go tournament.  So again, $25 is the maximum I can pay to play a SnG.
  • I can pay a maximum of 2% of my total bankroll to enter a multi-table (11 to tens of thousands of players) tournament.  2% of $500 is $10, so $10 is the max for me.  There’s a lot more variance due to luck in the large tournaments, so you have to put less of your roll at risk.
  • Exception 1:  I can buy into any cash ring game for $1 or less regardless of my bankroll.  So, no matter how bad I’m doing, I’m always allowed to bring 50 big blinds to a 1 cent small blind/2 cent big blind table.
  • Exception 2:  I can buy into any single-table Sit’n’Go tournament for up to $1 regardless of my bankroll.
  • There is no lower-limit exception for multi-table tournaments.  If I want to play one of those and the 2% rule doesn’t allow it, I have to enter freeroll tournaments.

Following these rules ensures that I never have too much of my bankroll at risk at any one time.  Yeah it sucks to be playing 25 cent big blind tables when I’d rather be sitting next to Daniel Negreanu at the $25 big blind tables, but that’s where I am in the evolution of my poker skills and bankroll.  Also, there’s an advantage to the lower-limit games – there are a lot more fish (bad players) there, from whom it’s easy to win money if you know basic hold’em strategies.

While we’re on the subject of poker, last night was frustrating.  I was too tired to go out, so I stayed home and entered a 1000-person, $4 + 40 cent entry fee multi-table tournament.  Top 104 finishes paid out, with first place getting $750.  After three hours I got dealt pocket Jacks in the big blind and raised all-in after no one else put in a pre-flop raise, figuring it was a good opportunity to build my stack (which was rather small at the time) so I could legitimately challenge for that first place prize.  Everyone folded around to the small blind, who called me with 7-9 (this is an example of the bad players you’ll find at low buy-in games).  The flop came up 2-7-7.  Just my luck.  No help on the turn or river, and I finished in 106th place.  TWO SPOTS away from the money.  I shouldn’t have gone all-in with those Jacks at that stage of the tournament.  Oh well.  At least I only lost $4.40.  There will be another tournament anytime I’m ready for one.  That’s what’s great about online poker.

Link to tube top-related blog post

I happened upon this blog post from something called The Star Scene in Beirut, Lebanon.  The writer of this post has a big problem with women who wear bras with clear straps underneath tube tops.  I couldn’t agree more.  The preferred way to wear a tube top is sans bra.

Only 7 months and 1 week until it’s Tube Top Month again!

Friday update: Parties, dinners, and a post office

Details on a couple more parties happening Halloween night:

The Silly Goose is having “Dead Goose Halloween.” Costume contest with prizes, overall winner gets $300. Sexiest costume winner gets a $100 gift certificate to Crystal’s adult store. Most humorous costume gets a $100 bar tab and a hug from Jason the bartender.

Republic Nightclub will have a Halloween party hosted by Playmate of the Year Kara Monaco and Playmate Tiffany Selby. Contest for Best Guy, Best Girl, and Sexiest Costume.

Halloween is still a week away though… this Saturday the 24th, Republic Will have an official Elite Model Search contest. Judges from Elite Model Management, $1000 in cash and prizes and the chance to win a national modeling contract.

In the news: The CCC is fighting to keep the Peabody Place post office open.

Grill 83 will have a Trefethen Wine Dinner Wednesday night, October 28. 4-course dinner paired with wines from Trefethen Winery. Menu by Executive Chef Chris Windsor, and John Harrington from the winery will be on hand to answer questions. Go here to take a look at the menu. $60 per person plus tax and gratuity.

Oh… I forgot… one more Halloween party… if you couldn’t make it out to “Thriller Nights” at Paula & Raiford’s Disco, they’re doing another party on the 31st. What a fun night last night. Paula was dressed up as Wonder Woman. I drank several quarts and danced with the sexiest Hermione from Harry Potter ever. Finally about 1:15 I had to call it a night. They hadn’t done the costume contests when I left, so not sure who won.

Plans for tonight:  No idea.  Will probably play poker online for a few hours and see if I can build on last night’s success, then go out somewhere around 9 or 10.

Report: MPACT Memphis annual membership meeting

Wednesday night I went to the annual membership meeting of MPACT Memphis at their headquarters at 506 S. Main. Although I was very active in the organization at one point, including serving on their board in 2004-05, I haven’t done much with them lately. So I wanted to attend and find out what what’s going on with them these days, and I was very very impressed. Here’s a quick report.

Outgoing chair Jenny Sharpe gave a farewell speech. She commented that there’s a lot going on in Memphis, but sometimes that isn’t obvious on the surface. MPACT, she said, is an organization that puts young professionals in touch with all that’s going on in the city. She also praised MPACT because “it’s easy to point a finger and so many in Memphis do it… but MPACT lifts a finger.”

Next up, executive director Gwyn Fisher gave her report. A year ago, MPACT had 248 members. As of Wednesday, there are more than 650 members. If I’m doing the math right, that’s a 162% increase in one year. Very cool.

She then listed some of the year’s accomplishments. Next American City Magazine contacted MPACT, praising it on being a model young professionals’ organization. “You guys are the face of civic engagement,” they said. Together the magazine hosted an URBANEXUS event on The New Face of Civic Engagement in Memphis, attended by over 150 people.

Their Volunteer Expo, where nonprofits can get the word out about opportunities to volunteer, became so popular that MPACT had to move it to Oak Court Mall this year. There were 120 exhibitors. Wow. Back when I was active in ’04-’05 there were something like 36 exhibitors, so that’s a huge increase. As for number of visitors, “we stopped counting at 2,000,” said Gwyn.

This Thursday, 10/29, they’re holding Creative Conversations at Memphis College of Art. It will inspire attendees with ideas of creative projects that are helping communities progress, and it will provide an opportunity to work with creative leaders to develop your own ideas. Keynote speakers are Helen Johnson, founder of CreateHere which is creative organization in Chattanooga; and Christopher Reyes, founder of Live from Memphis.

Gwyn then noted several members who serve on community or nonprofit boards, or who are active in volunteering in the community.

Next Gwyn talked about MPACT’s Race for the Cure team. This was a member-driven project: Someone who moved here said, “Hey, this was my cause in my former city, I’d like to get something going here.” MPACT’s team is now #4 in citywide funds raised.

They have “I (heart) MEMPHIS” stickers. “Take one and stick it somewhere,” said Gwyn.

Then Gwyn unveiled the new tagline, “Connect. Discover. Contribute.”

In previous blogs, I’ve teased active Mpact member Susie about bugging me to take a million zillion surveys. Well, those surveys are very important… they will be used to compile a Voice of MPACT, a study of where young, involved citizens want to see their community go. Local elected officials are already asking, “When is this going to be done?” and it will be used nationally as well. Go to MPACT’s home page and you’ll see links to the surveys. “Link to these surveys on Facebook and Twitter,” Gwyn said. “Feel free to annoy people into taking them.”

Next up, the new board members were introduced and approved by the members. Incoming chair Shante Avant gave a speech. Congratulations to Shante.

Next up was the treasurer’s report. He laid out MPACT’s financials in a nutshell – both where the money comes from, and where it goes. I really appreciated the transparency there. When I was on the board we had access to those figures, of course, but it’s nice to see the data being presented to the membership itself. They also raised more funds than were raised when I was on the board 4-5 years ago, a good sign. The MemphisED partnership was noted as a major funder. MPACT has met or exceeded all the goals that MemphisED set for it.

Then the treasurer pointed at piggy banks placed around the room and said, “FEED OUR PIGS!” Heh. Haven’t heard that phrase since BBQ Fest. You’d be surprised, Gywn commented, how much money an organization can take in from “feed the pig.”

Next up was a report from the Community Service committee. They have monthly events where they volunteer for organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the Ronald McDonald House. They also try to get members connected with external volunteer opportunities for great organizations like MIFA.

The Civic Engagement report was next. They host events such as issue forums, meet and greets, and lunches with local elected officials. They commented that MPACT’s civic programs are among the best attended of all MPACT events.

Next up was the Member Connections report. Wow, Paul Sciubba skipped poker night at Bardog to be there, that’s dedication from a board member if you know Paul. Anyway, they host monthly happy hours and restaurant tours. They also host special events – for example, they’re doing a Grizzlies Night next week on the 28th ($85 seats for $25), and they’re planning a holiday party.

(Not sure if this would fall under Member Connections but I can’t resist making a comment here. MPACT is a much stronger organization in almost every way than when I was on the board, but there was one thing we did better – when I was on the board, there was BEER at the annual membership meeting.)

The Member Connections committee plans the entire next calendar year in December, so if you have ideas, now would be a great time to join and give your input. They’re also looking to start a series of seminars that will be open to members only, where a member who is an expert in a particular field (e.g. finance, personal training) will give a presentation.

Next up was the MPACTive program, in which groups participate in healthy events like running 5Ks or mountain biking. They have 18 runners in the Race for the Cure. Suggestions for new projets are welcome.

MPACT Toastmasters was next. Toastmasters is an international organization that helps members improve their communication skills. Members do speeches (prepared or impromptu) at meetings, working toward a goal of Competent Communication. If you want to improve your skills in that area, a new group starts November 10 at the Mpact office on South Main.

Personal development projects: MPACT partnered with the Leadership Academy on their 1 year Fellows program. MPACT also partnered with Leadership Memphis on their 3 month Fast Track program – “that’s what got me where I am today,” commented Gwyn. MPACT members receive special consideration when applying for these programs, because membership is evidence that applicants are already involved in their community. Mpact also partnered with LaunchMemphis, an entrepreneurial organization that hosts great events like Startup Memphis, in which 5 new businesses got launched within 48 hours. “And we mean entirely launched,” Gwyn said. “Business plan, marketing plan, website, everything.”

MPACT’s annual fundraiser will be Saturday, February 27. It will be a “Soul of the City” gala and the Mpact Maker awards and the Voice of MPACT results will be presented.

Stuff coming up soon: Restaurant tour at Owen Brennan’s tonight; RiverArtsFest Saturday-Sunday (MPACT office will be open); the aforementioned Grizzlies Night 10/28, with $85 tickets for $25; Creative Conversations 10/29; Trolley Night 10/30 with Mpact’s office open and free Ghost River beer. BEER!

It’s 7:37 PM and I’m at home right now… a good evening so far.  I got on PokerStars and sat down at a 10c/25c game with $20, and got up an hour later with $44.95.  Yay.  Then I put on makeup for my Disco Zombie Halloween costume that I’m wearing to the “Thriller Nights” Halloween party at Paula & Raiford’s Disco tonight.  Watching The Ultimate Fighter and the first hour of TNA Wrestling, then heading over there.