An extra reason to go to Mudbugs in March

Folks, I have just learned that the one and only BRICK will be working the crawfish festival today in Court Square. Come see the popular former Flying Saucer/Silly Goose server and let her impress you with her knowledge of subjects including the continents (such as France) and the moon.

Fun weather fact

If the forecast holds up for today, this will be the 10th day this month with highs in the 80s. In March! The normal high for Memphis doesn’t hit 80 until May 10.

Normals for today are high 69, low 48. That sounds downright chilly compared to the weather we’ve had lately!

Let the 2012 spring festival season begin

Lots to do outdoors Downtown today, as the spring festival season kicks off. It’s a beautiful day. Better apply some sunscreen!

The River City Brewers Festival is in Handy Park at Third and Beale today. There are two sessions, A (noon-4 PM) and B (6-10 PM). Buy a ticket, get a mug, and sample all the beer you want for four hours. I’ve been to this the past two years and have been impressed with it. They give you a good sized mug, and the volunteers working the booths pour generously. This is also a good place to get swag from your favorite breweries (it’s where I got my PBR headband). The past two years, the weather did not cooperate at all, but this year it looks to be ideal. If you did not purchase your ticket in advance, you better get there right at the beginning of the session and see if there are still tickets available. They cap the number of attendees per session so everyone can enjoy themselves. Remember to bring your ID, because they’ll be checking.

(Disclosure: They gave me free tickets for helping to get the word out.)

The other big outdoor event today is Mudbugs in March, happening in Court Square from 2:30 to 6:30 PM. This event will feature crawfish cooked the right way, with taters, corn, and sausage. There will also be live music and a gumbo contest. $5 to get in, crawfish purchase extra. If you go to either session of Brewfest your ticket to that festival will get you into Court Square. There’s also a $35 VIP pass that gets you all you can eat and preferred seating for the bands.

If you want to hear some late-night music after all the festivals end, I have two recommendations for you. Popular jam band FreeWorld plays the Saucer at 9:30. Over at the Brass Door, Mark Akin of the Subteens will take the stage in the Cavern at 10.

I’ve heard promising news about today’s Fire Sale at the Saucer, so my plan is to stop there at 11 and get a couple of pre-festival pints in. I’m bringing the camera today – the camera on the iPhone won’t be good enough, since the chance of me getting pics of the Nuh-Uh Girl eating is nearly 100%.

Putting technology to work: Using Evernote to get a plate at the Flying Saucer

Back in the good old days, I used to carry pen and paper with me to jot down notes when I was out and about. Then in 2009, I got my first iPhone and started using the Notes app instead. However, I realized not long after that Evernote was a superior way to take notes. It stores notes in the cloud, so notes I take on any device on which I have the program installed – my MacBook, netbook, work computer, Android Tablet, Kindle Fire, and iPhone – immediately are available on all other devices. It’s become a service I can’t live without.

Now it’s helping me get my next plate at the Flying Saucer. As a member of the UFO Club, if you drink 200 different beers, you get a plate on the wall with your name on it, and a $100 plate party tab. If you complete more plates, the tab goes up – $125 for the fourth plate, $150 for the sixth, $175 for the ninth. The Saucer’s computer keeps track of which beers you’ve had.

I’m at 165 beers done, 35 more to go for my sixth plate. Now, usually when wrapping up a plate, I have to get through a few duds – beers I don’t like, or beers that are expensive. This time, I wanted to minimize the damage. So, I went to the Saucer’s beer computer and clicked the “Print Beers Not Tasted” button. It output this list:

This is actually only half the list – it’s folded over. The Saucer has a lot of beers, mixers, and flights!

I got a menu and put a circle by draft beers that are discounted on Pint Nite. I want to make sure and knock those beers out on Monday when they’re only $3. I still had 17 of those left.

Then I went through and put a line by other beers that I want to be sure to drink – either because I like them, or because they’re inexpensive. There were 12 more of those. That will get me to 194. So I’ll only have six left over to do from the expensive/yucky category.

When I got home, I signed into Evernote, and created a new note listing the beers I want to be sure to knock out on my way to 200.

Because of the syncing through the cloud, the note is now in my Evernote app on my phone.

As I drink the beers, I can open the app and delete them one by one. That will ensure that I don’t miss any of the beers I want to drink, getting to 200 as painlessly and as cheaply as possible.

As for getting the plate done, I’m not going to rush it. I’ll need six more Pint Nites just to knock out the draft beers. Besides, April and May are festival season, and it’s hard to find a date on the weekend to plan a plate party.

Speaking of festival season: Another post will be up in a couple of minutes. Stay tuned.

Fri update: Trolley Tour, MIFA Day of Service and Reflection, National Cleavage Day, Flying Saucer pizza, wipe with your tweets, condo for rent, Foursquare checkin special, and more

Tonight is South Main Trolley Tour. Here are a few things I’ve heard will be going on at South Main businesses tonight:

– Clothing boutique Sache will give out samples of Shock Top and Shock Top IPA.

– The Blues Foundation’s office will be open tonight from 6 to 9. They invite everyone to come check out their new merchandise and see the plans for the new Blues Hall of Fame.

– Grace Askew performs at Double J SmokeHouse and Saloon, 6 to 10. Mark “Mule Man” Massey takes the stage at 10.

– $5 photo booth at Reel 2 Reel Photography

– Max’s Sports Bar begins serving liquor tonight

I have one quick stop to make on the way, but I hope to make it to Trolley Tour by 7:30 at the latest. In particular I want to check out new restaurant Grawemeyer’s.

MIFA invites everyone to their Day of Reflection and Service tomorrow, Saturday March 31, honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event will be held at MIFA headquarters at 910 Vance. It kicks off at 8:30 with assignment of volunteer projects and complimentary continental breakfast. (Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.) At 10 there will be an awards presentation, and a keynote address by the winner of MIFA’s 2012 teen oratorical contest. Also, from 9 to noon the UT College of Pharmacy Health and Wellness Fair will be happening at the event site. More info here.

Today is National Cleavage Day. As the creator of Tube Top Month, I fully support this.

Earlier this week I was looking at the Flying Saucer’s menu, and noticed that they’ve replaced the build-your-own slice with a build-your-own pizza. You get 3 toppings for $9.99. I didn’t measure it but it looks like it’s about 10″.

You can now wipe your butt with your own tweets. No kidding. There’s a company that will print your Twitter posts on four rolls of toilet paper for $35.

1 BR/1 BA loft for rent on Riverside Drive. All the amenities. I know the landlord and have no doubt he takes good care of his tenants.

Foursquare users who live or work out east: Usually drive-by checkins are frowned upon, but in one case, they are encouraged. Check in at LunaWeb at 5180 Park and $5 will be donated to Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services. One checkin per day counts.

Worst tweet of the day: “Karaoke for all the bars in 38103 #wheniwinthelottery.” Well, that’s one way to get me to move out of Downtown.

That’s all for now. See you on South Main tonight.

Brass Door news: Sock it to Me Burlesque Show, Mark Akin, Tour of Flanders, soccer kick around and brunch, Service Industry Night, Brass Door Bingo, ’70s disco party

Diamond Dave sent me a ton of news about things coming up at the Brass Door – literally an entire post’s worth of news.

Friday night will be the first performance of the Sock it to Me Burlesque Show downstairs in the Cavern. Dancing, singing, fire spinning. $10 cover. Show starts at 11:30 PM.

Saturday night, Mark Akin of the Subteens will perform a late show.

They’ll have the Tour of Flanders (cycling) on at 7:30 am Sunday morning. Belgian waffles, beer specials, and door prizes.

Seamus is organizing a Sunday morning football (soccer) kick around in Tom Lee Park. Afterward, there will be a $10 Irish breakfast and beer specials for the participants. You can sign up on the Facebook event page for the kick around.

Sunday night is Service Industry Night at the Brass Door. With industry ID you get $2 domestics and wells.

Here’s a new game to win bar bucks… Brass Door Bingo Monday Night at 7 PM. Diamond Dave tells me he’s been practicing his bingo calls.

Next Thursday, April 5, Diamond Dave and his Davettes are bringing the Love Train to town. Dave will have ’70s disco with dancers, prizes, and more. “For anyone who came to my birthday party, this promises to top it,” said Dave.

The Brass Door is an Irish pub on Madison between Second and Third. Great food, reasonable beer and drink prices. Check it out!

Thur update: Green Beetle menu, Cozy Corner in USA Today, Flyer box art, blues legends @ Double J tonight, Yazoo pint night @ Tap Room, Segway tours, installing Ice Cream Sandwich on my Android tablet, and more

Might want to avoid Second between Monroe and Beale if possible this afternoon – they’re doing construction and lanes are closed. Pic tweeted by I Love Memphis Blog intern Raquel – follow her on Twitter at @raquelhinson.

The Green Beetle has a new menu, and posted menu pics to Facebook this morning. You can view them here. A chili cheeseburger you eat with a knife and fork? Now that’s a dish I’m putting on my to-do list. I’ve been a fan of chili cheeseburgers ever since I had one at The Lion’s Share restaurant in McCain Mall in North Little Rock many, many years ago.

There is a great article about the Cozy Corner in USA Today’s “Great American Bites” feature. Read it here. The article compares Cozy Corner’s wet ribs to the dry ones found at the Rendezvous. It also goes beyond ribs and talks about other dishes including Cornish game hen, BBQ spaghetti, and rib tips.

13 artists have decorated Memphis Flyer boxes that are located around town. Vote for your favorite here. Winner gets $500.

Want to hear some live music tonight? My pick of the day is two blues legends who will be performing at Double J SmokeHouse and Saloon tonight. Butch Mudbone and special guest Blind Mississippi Morris take the Front Porch Stage at 7 PM.

Yazoo brewery reps will be at the Beale Street Tap Room tonight for a Yazoo pint night tonight. The pint glass special will be the Yazoo Gold Medal winning Hefeweizen. Get a free glass with each Hefeweizen you buy. They’ll also be raffling off Yazoo shirts, ball caps, and other prizes. From 7 to 9 you can buy River City Brewers Festival tickets at the Tap Room.

If you want to take one of the Segway tours of Memphis, here are the times: Tue– 3:30, Wed– 3:00, Thurs– 3:30, Fri– 11:30 & 3:00, Sat– 11:30 & 3:00, Sun– 11:30 & 3:00. Call 901-529-4108 to reserve a spot on the tour.

Trash into treasure: About 5 months ago, I bought an Android tablet, the ViewSonic gTablet, on I knew that it came with an older operating system – Android 2.2 Froyo – and I’d probably have to root it. It was worse than I expected. The stock software that came with the tablet was severely crippled, and couldn’t even access the Android Market. I was unable to get several builds of Android 2.3 Gingerbread to run on the tablet. However, I was able to get a better version of Froyo working – I could access the Market, but I couldn’t get apps like Foursquare, Google Earth, and Google Maps. It was better than what came out of the box, but not by much, and I ignored the tablet for five months, especially after my Kindle Fire arrived in November.

Well, this week I discovered that a version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was available for the gTablet. After a good amount of tinkering, I got it installed. The tablet is fast and can access Google Play, the successor to the Android Market. It thinks it has a GPS – it doesn’t really, but Wi-Fi can approximate locations – so now I can get map-based apps and check in on Foursquare. The gTablet for Dummies site showed me how to install Ice Cream Sandwich. Note: I do not recommend buying this tablet unless you are a serious computer nerd who does not mind messing around under the hood (and voiding the warranty in the process). That said, I finally appreciate Android for the first time, and have a tablet that’s 90% as good as the iPad for half the price.

Relaxing Wednesday night last night. I got three Mendocino pale ales and IPAs done for my 6th plate at the Saucer. Those are delicious beers that I recommend if you’re into hoppy flavor. Only 35 beers left, although I’ll probably delay my plate party until June since festival season is coming up. I wrapped up the evening with a delicious Dog of the Day at Bardog. My checkin there prompted a couple of “we don’t hang out there enough” comments. Agreed!

Plans for tonight: Getting my hair cut after work, then out to the bars. I won’t be out early enough to make it to poker at Max’s.

One of Blind Bear’s poker tables has a new name

Saturday I was asked to name one of Blind Bear’s poker tables. It was kind of their way of saying thanks for being a regular customer and mentioning them on the blog. They know I love poker, so it was a fitting gesture. You might notice a sort of tip of the hat to something else I love in the new name:

Paul’s Blue Ribbon poker table

I’m sure the name needs no explanation. It’s the table nearer to the front door. You can reserve the table on the Blind Bear’s website.

Wed update: Small business seminar, Grizzlies Groupon, meterologist job open, South Main Trolley Tour, Memphis Fashion Weekend, poker @ Southland, where to watch Wrestlemania

Tomorrow at 2 pm at The Silly Goose, Clay Thompson will be hosting a meeting with a featured speaker who specializes in helping small business maximize their largest asset, which is their businesses. Wine and snacks will be provided and will last under an hour.

There’s a Groupon deal for a Grizzlies game going on right now. You have your choice of seating, Terrace II or Club. You also have your choice of three games: Phoenix on the 11th, New Orleans on the 18th, or Cleveland on the 23rd. Whichever deal you pick, you get a Grizzlies hat, and the total value is more than half off. tweeted that there’s an entry-level meteorologist job open at the National Weather Service. That would be a pretty cool place to work. I think I would have made a good weatherman.

Friday night is South Main Trolley Tour, with many shops and galleries open 6 to 9 PM. Mild-weather months tend to lead to huge nights for Trolley Tour, and looking at the forecast – high 81, low 62 – I’m predicting a big night for Friday.

Friday night is also the Memphis Fashion Weekend event at Jack Robinson Gallery, with a runway show 7:30 to 10 PM. MFW is described as “two nights of designers, drinks and dancing for ArtsMemphis and the love of fashion. There will also be an MFW event Saturday night at A. Schwab on Beale.

Last night I played poker at the Blind Bear, and one of my tablemates recommended the weekly 3 PM Saturday tournament at Southland Greyhound Park. It’s a $35 buy-in, with a $1000 prize pool guaranteed if at least 25 players show up. Cards are shown on video screens rather than live dealers at each table. You get 10,000 in chips to start, blinds start at 25/50 and double every 15 minutes. That’s kind of a fast structure – blinds doubling is fine in bar games, but I prefer to see 25-40% increases per level when I’m investing real American dollars. However, the advantage is that the tournament ends fairly quickly – “you’re back in Memphis by 6 PM,” my poker buddy told me. There are no rebuys in the Saturday tournament, although there are rebuy tournaments other days of the week. Hmmm. This tournament sounds a LOT like the Thursday night tournaments at Max’s Sports Bar, except for real money and on a slightly larger scale. Those who win regularly at Max’s might want to check this out.

My poker buddy said the park had $1/$2 No-Limit Hold’em cash games going on too, also with the video dealer. I like that too – you don’t have to tip a TV when you win a big pot. Southland’s poker page says they have other cash games as well, including Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, and Limit Omaha Hi/Lo.

I had someone ask if any Downtown restaurants or bars will be showing Wrestlemania this Sunday. As much as it kills me to recommend this place, Hooters usually carries the big PPVs. People who’ve been to PPVs there tell me you need to show up at least an hour early. Main events this year are The Rock vs. John Cena and Triple H vs. The Undertaker.

Stuff going on tonight: Poker with Poker Jon at Bardog, 7:30 PM; Open Mic Night and Wine Down Wednesday at the Brass Door, 8 PM; trivia at the Blind Bear, 8 PM; Jeremy Stanfill at the Silly Goose, 9 PM.