Worth every penny

I just filed my taxes. Let me tell you, if you do your taxes by hand and they involve any degree of complication (as mine do, since I have website affiliate income), do yourself a favor. Use TurboTax. It is so awesome. It remembers your data from last year. It finds deductions you might have missed. It keeps all the math straight. This year I had to deal with filing a non-resident Mississippi return and it handled it flawlessly. Considering I have small business income to enter, it’s amazing that I was done with TurboTax in under an hour.

With the possible exception of my iPhone, I’d be hard pressed to think of any product I’ve paid for that is more worth every penny.


You have until April 18 to file because of some weird DC holiday. If you haven’t filed yet, I cannot recommend this product more highly.

I owed, but to the tune of a grand or two less than I thought I’d owe. Time to celebrate with a beer.

Wed update: Restaurant news

This will be a quick one, because I need to get some shopping done on my lunch break.

The Majestic Grille’s fifth birthday celebration continues this month. Rather than voting for menu items with winner being $5 off for a week, as they’ve done the past few months, this month’s celebration highlights the restaurant’s arts partners. Make a donation of $55 or more to any of their arts partners, and receive a $15 Majestic gift card. Check their events page to see a list of partners, and what you need to do when you donate to receive the card.

Automatic Slim’s tweeted that they’re having a champagne and oyster tasting tonight. There will be several different types of oysters, including East coast, West coast, Canadian, and Gulf. Each oyster flight will be complemented with a glass of champagne. Call 901-525-7948 or e-mail info@automaticslimsmemphis.com to make reservations.

That’s it for now. Going to stay home and get my taxes done tonight. Depending on how long it takes, I may go out afterward.

Tue update: Sushi, Star & Micey @ Goose, Ted Nugent announced for New Daisy

(Edit: Star & Micey start time changed to 7:00 tonight. Previously, start time was listed as 9:30)

I had another good experience at Blue Fin’s sushi happy hour last night. Having gone in the Saucer and not seen anyone I knew, I decided to have dinner at Blue Fin and enjoyed a Redbirds roll and spicy tuna roll. If you plan on going to the happy hour, you might want to check out this cartoon on sushi etiquette. Wow, I didn’t even realize how many things I was doing wrong. Credit to @amprather, co-founder of stiQRd, for tweeting this excellent guide.

Couple of quick music-related news items: First of all, Star & Micey will play the Silly Goose tonight from 7 to 10 PM. I have to say, I really enjoy the Goose on its less-busy nights (Sunday-Wednesday). It feels like I’m hanging out in a really nice living room. I went there to watch the NCAA finals after the Saucer got too crowded for my taste, and it was so comfortable and laid-back.

A big show has been announced for the New Daisy: Ted Nugent will play there July 17. The date will be part of his “I Still Believe” tour.

Very tired today. Poker at the Goose last night lasted until 1:30 AM. Really, we were all lucky it ended that early – with Brick saying, “Hold on, I need time to think,” we’re lucky the game didn’t last until Wednesday afternoon. Tonight I’m getting a much-needed haircut after work – last one was the first week of December. Then I’ll head to the Saucer for trivia. Other stuff going on: Live music at Bar None, Grizzlies host the Clippers at FedExForum at 7, pint night at Bardog from 7 to 3.

“Brick” Quote of the Week

It’s back. The feature we’ve all been missing the past year. The weekly quote from Katie AKA “Brick,” who works at the Silly Goose and who used to work at the Flying Saucer.

I went to the Goose to watch the NCAA championship game, and to play poker, tonight. Now, I know many of my readers are not poker fans, but I think you’ll be able to follow along with this story anyway.

Brick got all-in on a Texas Hold’em hand, which, after the flop, turn and river, gave her a best hand of 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9 of clubs.

Brick announced, “I have a straight flush”

I was sitting across from Brick, and despite being distracted for some reason, made it to the final table and came in 4th. Congrats to Marocco, the winner, and Dusty, the runner-up.

Where I eat lunch in the Horn Lake/Southaven area

A rare non-Downtown post. I work in the I-55/Goodman area near the border of Horn Lake and Southaven, and a friend got the mistaken impression that I eat at Chili’s every day because it’s all that’s available. In fact, I’ve never been to Chili’s. Here are some of the places I eat regularly. Who knows, maybe this will help someone who has to visit the area.

Zaxby’s (Goodman at Interstate) – Chicken. Wings, tenders, salads. I like the boneless wings with Nuclear (X-hot) sauce. I probably go here more than anywhere else. I’m the mayor of Zaxby’s on Foursquare.

Steak ‘n’ Shake (Goodman at Southaven Towne Centre) – Great burgers and shakes. Love this place.

Abbay’s (in the shopping center on the other side of Goodman from Southaven Towne Centre) – Meat and two/three plates. Love this place too. Get the spicy fried broccoli.

Qdoba Mexican Grill (same area as Abbay’s) – Mexican build-your-own-meal place. The Mexican gumbo and the nachos are my favorites.

El Charro (Goodman a few blocks west of 51) – Another good Mexican place, with a more traditional menu.

Mi Pueblo (Goodman at Elmore) – yet another Mexican place. I like the cheese enchiladas covered with beef, onions and peppers. Can’t remember the name.

La Hacienda (Southaven Towne Center) – and yet another Mexican place still.

Leleavadlee Thai Cuisine (Goodman in the shopping center west of Swinnea) – Love this place too. Have yet to settle on a favorite, but the tom yum with shrimp was a recent selection I enjoyed.

Grand Buffet (Interstate Blvd. north of Goodman, next to Target) – They have sushi on the buffet.

Tops Bar-b-q (State Line near I-55) – Excellent burgers. They take a little while because they’re fresh cooked. Worth the wait.

Jim Neely’s Interstate BBQ (State Line between I-55 and Airways) – discovered this place one day when Tops’ lot was full. Good BBQ nachos.

HT Ponder’s (Nail Road near 51) – Good Southern buffet.

Boomer’s (Nail Road near 51) – Little family owned restaurant with burgers that remind me a little of Dyer’s. Greasy and good.

Maria’s Cantina (Airways just south of Goodman) – Another Mexican place, with more of a Tex-Mex menu. Chile relleno is really good. Somewhat pricey for lunch so I don’t go there much.

On the Border (Airways south of Goodman) – And yet another Mexican place. I generally prefer locally owned over chain Mexican, but the cheese enchiladas with skirt steak (I forget the name of that dish) are outstanding.

Italian Rebel (Winchester near Mill Branch) – a seven mile drive from work, but their food is worth it. Family owned. A must stop if you find yourself in Whitehaven.

Fazoli’s (Southaven Towne Centre) – when I want Italian but don’t feel like driving to Italian Rebel

Buffalo Wild Wings (Airways north of Goodman) – I’ve tried several varieties of their wings, but keep going back to the extra hot. Good place to go when March Madness is on.

Red Lobster (Airways south of Goodman) – I had a free gift card, so why not

Arby’s, Wendy’s, KFC, Popeye’s, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Back Yard Burgers, Quizno’s now and then.

What’s missing in the area: An Indian restaurant. Closest is 10 miles away on American Way, which is just too much of a drive.

There’s a Huey’s at Airways and Malco Blvd., but I don’t see much point going there since I have a Huey’s a block away from home. There’s a Hooters on Goodman which friends tell me is one of the best restaurants in the chain, but I have yet to give it a try. Several chain steakhouses in the area too, but I don’t think I could eat one of their steaks having had Patrick’s steaks at the Majestic Grille Downtown. Kroger has a deli but that’s hardly even worth mentioning in a blog post about food.

That’s the list. Guess I’ll get back to work now. I’ll be at Pint Nite at the Saucer tonight after work. Possibly poker at the Silly Goose too.

Mon update: WordPress guru Otto42 to speak Thursday, law school 5K, Mickey D’s hiring, haiku contest

Attention WordPress users: The monthly Memphis WordPress meetup will be this Thursday, April 7, at the EmergeMemphis building at 516 Tennessee Street. This month’s presentation is by Otto42, who is one of the top contributors to the WordPress codebase, and who now works for WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg. He’ll be discussing the new post types in WP 3.1. Every now and then I get somebody asking me, “Really? You know Otto42?” Yep, and you can meet him Thursday night. I’ve been very lazy about attending these meetups, but I will make it to this one. Join the WordPress Memphis meetup group here.

The U of M Law School is hosting a 5K, Race Judicata, Saturday April 9 at 5 PM. Race will start at Jefferson Davis Park. Funds raised will go to Memphis Area Legal Services, which provides legal representation to low income Memphians and the elderly. After the race, there will be live music and food.

Need a job? McDonald’s plans to hire 50,000 workers on Tuesday, April 19. Not glamorous, but hey, it’s a paycheck.

The CCC is holding a haiku contest on the Downtown Memphis Facebook wall. Post your best haiku about Downtown by 6 PM Wednesday, and you could win two tickets to Kings of Leon. Here’s mine (updated, first line had one syllable too many, oops):

Scratchy in alley
Thoughtfully stroking his beard
Talking to himself

Storms passed through about an hour ago. I hope everyone is safe and sound. From what I hear, East Memphis got hit hard. Not going to lunch because I don’t want to get out in this mess. That gives me another 50 minutes of lunch break… hmmm, maybe I’ll do a “Where I eat in Southaven/Horn Lake” post. A friend of mine thinks I eat at Chili’s every day. I’ve actually never been to the Chili’s. Hmmm let me see what I can come up with…

Happy birthday Joe

Last night we met up for a birthday pub crawl for our friend Joe. Stops included his apartment at Main Street Flats, Bar None, Kooky Canuck, and the Flying Saucer. Here are a few pics.

Earlier in the day, Scratchy yelled at this tree and hurt its feelings. Joe gives it a hug to make it feel better.
We started the evening on Main Street Flats’ rooftop.
Lauren bemoans the fact that Dogfish Head beer will no longer be distributed in Tennessee.
Stephanie makes an excellent beer choice at Bar None.
I was instructed to get a close-up of the “space kitties” on Stephanie’s dress
Joe and Air Traffic Mike share a birthday toast.
Migrating to Kooky
Most definitely worthy of a photo. Go Grizzlies!
It seems like the Saucer girls get about 5 inches taller when they get dressed up to go out.

A very fun night with friends, and an excellent lineup of bars selected by Joe. (By that, I mean that crappyoke at the Monkey was not on the list.) About 12:30 I said my goodbyes, got Paul’s Drunkass Food at Huey’s and called it a night. Now I’m up and at ’em again… time for brunch at the Majestic.

Sat update: Parade, build your own planet, crawfish, wine club, Twitter, CY beerfest

With bum and birthday photos out of the way this morning, let’s get on to today’s news.

There will be a parade in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday, April 4. It will start at St. Peter’s, 190 Adams, going down Second to the Civil Rights Museum. Parade starts at 9 AM and is expected to end around 10:30.

I found a very cool NASA web app yesterday. Extreme Planet Makeover lets you build your own planet. You can specify the type of star (a Sun-like star, or one brighter or dimmer). You also specify the size of your planet, its age, and how far it is from its star. The app will then show you a picture of the planet you built, and will tell you information about your planet. It’s a fun way to learn under what conditions a planet can be habitable by life.

TJ Mulligan’s Pinch has announced that they’re bringing back Monday night crawfish. They’ll have the mudbugs from 6 to 10 PM, $5 a box. There will be music by Adam Levin on the patio.

This Wednesday, April 6 will be the next event in the Peabody Master Taster’s wine club series, in the Corner Bar from 5 to 6:30 PM. This one will feature wines from Spain and light bites from Capriccio Grill’s new menu. Free valet parking, and sommelier Krista McCracken will be on hand to discuss the wines. $15 at the door, or $100 for a VIP year-long pass.

Lifehacker has a really good post on top 10 uses for Twitter that aren’t self-indulgent. If you’ve shied away from Twitter because you don’t care what other people are having for dinner and similar mundane stuff, you’re missing out on a lot of alternate uses. It can be used for reminders, to find news stories you’d otherwise be unaware of, find a job, get customer support or advice, and much more. I’d estimate that at least half of the really good ideas I’ve had at work the past year developed from something I saw on Twitter.

Cooper-Young Beerfest has announced its date for this fall. View the video announcement on CY Beerfest’s Facebook page to find out.

That’s the news for now. Weather is finally nice outside, which will hopefully lead to fun times tonight.

A reminder why it’s great to live in Downtown Memphis

I’ve always said, my favorite venues Downtown are the ones that are extensions of their owner’s personalities. Last night I had the pleasure of going to The Warehouse on G.E. Patterson for the birthday party of its owner, Kris. Kris is a generous guy who loves Memphis, loves his friends (and has a ton of them), and loves music. That is reflected in every last detail of The Warehouse. Here are a few pics from last night.

Katie Mac drinking a beer
One of the bands that performed last night
Crowd shot. It got packed later in the evening, which is pretty impressive considering The Warehouse is not a small place by any means.
My plate from the buffet. The Nuh-Uh Girl, oddly enough, knew there would be free food and didn't attend. She went to a bat mitzvah instead. Funny how she suddenly becomes devout in practicing her religion when there's a big party with lots of food.
Fire dancer
Esther and Otto watching the fire dancers. Esther pointed out that she had a tube top on, but it doesn't count because she wore a sweater with it. Tube tops are not meant to be covered up.

An exciting Friday night. Kappy birthday to Kris, and thanks for inviting me. I’ll say it one more time – if you’re ever invited to a Warehouse party, don’t ask questions, don’t think it over, just GO. You won’t be disappointed.

Had a few PBRs at the Monkey before heading over there. Averted a crisis as one of my friends, who hadn’t RSVPd, suddenly became very very very interested in going to the Warehouse for some reason. I was surprised that, for once, he wanted to do something other than sit on his ass at the same bar where he sits every weekend night, but I guess he found motivation. I gave him Kris’s number and they got him in via text message.

Today is a new day, and on to the next birthday party. This one should be fun too, since it involves several of my favorite bars in the Downtown core. “I’ll warn you though,” the birthday boy told me, “the party may end up at a gay dance club.”

“Not a problem,” I told him, especially since I know that a lot of straights go to this club too. Okay, let’s stop and examine this for a minute. Party that ends at a gay club – no problem. Party that ends at Saturday night crappyoke at the Monkey – deal killer, won’t go. Somewhere there’s an invisible line that reads, “BEYOND HERE SUCKS,” and karaoke night is on the wrong side of the line.

I hope there are TVs wherever we end up tonight. John Calidouchebag plays in his first Final Four tonight, tipoff 7:49 PM. Hopefully the Huskies of UConn will send Cal home, then lose to Butler in the championship game.

Just realized, the SEC is a one-douchebag league, now that Pearl’s gone. The one that’s left is a mighty big ‘bag, though. Wonder if World Wide Wes will join Cal on the sidelines tonight.

All right, 58 messages in the inbox, and some of it appears to be news I need to post, so let me hit Publish on this one and see what we’ve got. Another post is likely to come soon.

What the bums are drinking this week

Thanks to CeCe’s Liquors at Main and Madison, one of our local street people was able to enjoy a half-pint of Dark Eyes vodka at 9 in the morning. I have to hand it to whomever consumed this bottle – they have a more expansive view of the world than I do. Whereas, I would have looked for a trash can after finishing my vodka, to this guy, all the world’s a trash can.

CeCe’s specializes in serving the sector of the Downtown economy who got’s about two dolla or less and just want to get them somethin to drank. When someone near Main and Madison asks you for ’bout fitty seven cent, that’s likely the amount they need to complete their next purchase at the liquor store. If you want to truly help people in need, you’ll do much better giving to the Union Mission than to someone on the street asking for money.