My Saturday in pictures

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My friend Rodger, a Texan convinced that no place east of the Mississippi knows how to make a chicken fried steak properly, brought me his take on the dish. “You have to have mashed potatoes on the side with white peppered gravy on both,” he explained. It was delicious and a good start to my Saturday.

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I asked Siri the score of the Memphis-SMU game. Siri told me the Tigers “pounded” SMU.

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1:30 AM, Bardog: I stole Lauren’s hat and she said “You’re a writer, say something funny”

It’s the last day for Station 3: The Memphis Fire Haus at MLK Jr. Avenue and B.B. King (Third). The Fire Haus is a pop-up sports bar and beer garden with about a dozen craft beers on tap, flat-screen TVs and a projection TV, food trucks, cornhole, T-shirts for sale and more. It’s a neat concept. Check it out if you’re looking for something to do today.

There will be a pajama party at the Blind Bear Sunday, December 27 starting at 11 AM. I don’t really wear pajamas but I guess I will show up in my Arkansas Razorbacks Snuggie.

For those familiar with Nikki’s Hot Ass Seasoning, my friend Air Traffic Mike had an interesting idea. He crushed up Nikki’s Hot Ass chips and used them as the primary ingredient, other than flour, to bread fried chicken. He said it turned out really well.

The Grizzlies play Philadelphia tonight at FedExForum at 7.

All right. Time to wrap up this Thanksgiving weekend with D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Blind Bear. WeatherBug says it’s 46. That’s warm enough to wear shorts right?

Good live music alert

If you’re in town for the holiday weekend and would like to hear some good Memphis live music, but you aren’t in the mood to deal with Beale, I have a suggestion for you. The Eric Hughes Trio plays Blind Bear tonight from 10 to 1. Eric is a talented bluesman who I have known for years. He played my friends’ wedding reception in 2011 and absolutely made the event something special. I recommend this band if you are looking for something to do.

Okay, that’s it. Sorry for no post yesterday and a short post today, but I haven’t been in front of a computer much. I actually had a post typed yesterday but I read it over and thought, “This post SUCKS.” I’d rather post nothing than post stuff that is not quality material. Anyway, I’m outta here, going to see if I can find a place that has a Black Friday special on some PBR. Back tomorrow with more news.

Hydration therapy and Wednesday news

I saw something interesting on Facebook yesterday. You may have seen Elite Men’s Health that opened a couple of years ago at the corner of Main and MLK. I knew they did B-12 shots, sinus cocktails, testosterone therapy, and minor medical, but I did not know this: They have hydration therapy for those days when you feel like you got run over by a truck the night before. That could be really useful for a lot of Downtowners, particularly during BBQ Fest.

In other Facebook news, I saw my first Elf on the Shelf photo of the season yesterday. UGH

Lots of people volunteer on Thanksgiving or Christmas… but volunteers are needed year-round. Volunteer Odyssey invites you to take the volunteer pledge for 2016. Let them know which month you want to volunteer, and when the time comes they will email you a list of ways you can do it.

Or, you can volunteer from home on Thanksgiving making gift bags for the homeless.

Speaking of the homeless: An organization called Room In The Inn, which was started in Nashville, is giving hope and warm places to stay to the homeless during November through March when it is coldest outside.

A Love4Lebanon video will be filmed at Beale Street Landing Saturday, December 12. It’s a way to show support for those in Lebanon who have been displaced by recent terrorist attacks.

Journey and the Doobie Brothers are coming to the FedExForum with special guest Dave Mason Wednesday, May 25.

A few days ago, I commented that my BBQ team ought to give smoked mac & cheese a try on our new cooker. Well, last night my friend Katie (not Mac) had to go and make me jealous and post that she was eating smoked mac & cheese… and to really rub it in, she was eating Gus’s too. Hey Katie, how about a trade… your team’s smoked mac & cheese recipe for my team’s award-winning microwave popcorn recipe?

The Memphis Flyer is now on Apple News. I used that app for the first time yesterday and it’s pretty cool.

All right, time to get this day started. I will probably hit Tim, Cody and Mylon’s party at Silly Goose tonight but that doesn’t start until 11. Rest of day TBD.

Tuesday update

Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph bought 500 families Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, mac & cheese, dressing, corn, green beans and brownies. “Memphis is my city,” Z-bo said. “I’ll do anything for them.” Am I not the only one who thinks there will one day be a Zach Randolph Blvd. somewhere in Memphis?

The Flyer has an article about Ray’s World Famous Dr. Bar-b-que which opened at Main and Pontotoc this week. Ray Nolan has been involved in 14 BBQ shops in the Memphis area. Rib plate for $10.95? Not a bad price.

It’s really neat how you can fall out of contact with friends for periods of time and pick up right back where you left off. Yesterday at Bardog I ran into my friend Ugly Steve and had a great conversation with him. Our lives have kind of paralleled each other since we were last in touch. Ugly moved back from Hawaii recently and told me a super-simple dish he learned to make out there called Loco Moco. It’s a hamburger steak over rice topped with eggs over easy and gravy. Yum.

Felicia Suzanne’s Black Friday gift card sale is back this Friday, November 27. Buy a $100 gift card and get a $20 gift card for free.

I bet the Nuh-Uh Girl owns one of these: Portable pizza pouch lanyard lets you carry an extra slice everywhere you go

My friend Duck, who has been posting a lot of excellent stuff on Facebook lately, posted this yesterday: “Probably 90% of women who wear yoga pants don’t do yoga. And 100% of straight men don’t care.” THIS IS THE TRUTH.

For those of you who send Christmas cards, you can support a great charity while doing so: MIFA holiday cards

The DMC is launching the My HQ campaign to get the word out what Downtown office space offers. If “you can eat lunch at Bardog” is not part of the campaign, they’re doing it wrong.

Lansky Bros. has launched a new, more user-friendly website.

Trolley Night is back this Friday on South Main, with many shops and galleries open until 9 or later, with some having Black Friday specials/discounts and some serving hors d’oeuvres, beer, and wine. Notable this month: There’s a Latin American fine art exhibit at Art Village Gallery at 410 S. Main, and a signing of Seven Days with the Hypocrites at South Main Book Juggler, 548 S. Main.

The Grizzlies play Dallas tonight at FedExForum at 7.

I think I’m going to take my own advice with that “you can eat lunch at Bardog” thing. Back tomorrow with more random crap to talk about.

Crawfish nachos @ Sushi Jimmi

My BBQ teammate Tripp and I took a little field trip yesterday. He had never been to Max’s Sports Bar, so about 3 we departed from D-RANKS with B-RAD and made the trip south. All the games were on and Tripp quickly understood why Max’s is my home away from home on the south side. About 4:30 we decided to make the trek back to the Downtown core. “Want to stop at the fire station?” I asked.

“The fire station?” Tripp replied.

“The old fire station at Third (actually B.B. King Blvd. now) and MLK. It’s being converted into a beer garden and sports bar for the months of October and November. There’s craft beer and food trucks and live music.” Tripp said that sounded good, and we walked over there.

The Sushi Jimmi food truck was in the parking lot. I have been wanted to try that truck for a while. Jimmi posed for a photo with Tripp and me:

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I got the crawfish nachos.

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More of a traditionalist, Tripp got sushi rolls.

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We took our food inside and ordered beers at the bar. There wasn’t live music when we were there, but something different: YOGA! Luluemon conducted a free yoga class at 5. Okay, how the hell did this fly under my radar? I mean, there’s absolutely zero chance that I would participate, but it should have been on my blog for my readers to know about. Tripp and I stood at the bar and I ate my crawfish nachos and we watched the class do the downward-facing dog, the side plank and various other asanas whose names I do not know. “Hot women in yoga pants doing yoga,” Tripp said. “This is awesome. You should get some photos for your blog.”

“Nah, taking pictures of women doing yoga is a bit creepy,” I said as I thought to myself that Tube Top Month was a thing in this blog for 10 years. The class was probably 90% women.

Here’s Jimmi’s card in case anyone wants his food truck to come to their place, or for him to do catering:

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After that it was time for a visit to the Silly Goose. I am absolutely philosophically opposed to the idea of selfie sticks. As I have said many times, “The only way I will ever use a selfie stick is if it is pink and Backey is in the photo with me.”

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On to the news: Two big events happen Downtown tonight. One of them is Ignite Memphis, happening at 7 at the Halloran Center for the Performing Arts. Come get enlightened about a variety of topics via 5-minute presentations.

The other big event Downtown tonight is Memphis Tigers basketball. The team takes on UT Arlington at FedExForum at 7:30.

Apologies to those around me yesterday evening for having my headphones on while out at the bars. I wasn’t trying to be antisocial or avoid human contact; I was watching the WWE Network. It was Survivor Series with the WWE title up for grabs in a tournament and The Undertaker and Kane vs. The Wyatt Family.

All right, time to get the day started. I’m working the branch offices hard this short Thanksgiving week. I have an appointment with Teryn at the Monroe Avenue Branch Office here shortly. Then I have to go over to the Main Street Branch Office at 3 for an appointment with Feeny. Back to the Monroe office at 5 for an appointment with Melissa, then back again to the Main Street Office for an appointment with Jeannette at 7. Finally my long day wraps up with a visit to the Peabody Place Branch Office for an appointment with Jim at 9:30. This schedule is killing me but I will make it the best I can. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

So, a weird thing happened to me yesterday. I walked over to First Tennessee about 1 in the afternoon to withdraw some spending money for the weekend. As I filled out the withdrawal slip, I had a panic attack. Filling out the amount I wanted and my name and address was just excruciating. It took me almost 3 minutes and my handwriting was more or less unreadable. There was a security guard standing 20 feet away and I wonder if he was thinking that I was trying to work up the courage to rob the bank.

You know, I’ve never had panic attacks until the past few months, and before that when my friends would tell me about them, I would think, “Just get a hold of yourself.” The thing is, now I get it – you can’t get a hold of yourself. It’s a terrible feeling to not be in control of your own body.

I didn’t get her name, but I have to compliment the teller I went to for being so kind and understanding. My account number wasn’t very readable, so I called it out to her and she put it in the computer. I got my money and was on my way.

Choose901 is bringing back its holiday pop-up shop December 4th and 5th. This year they are going from 1500 square feet to 10,000 square feet, and vendor announcements are coming soon. The shop will be at 409 S. Main.

The Deal Cancer Out III Texas Hold’em tournament is this afternoon at Downtown Central BBQ at 2. $45 buy-in includes a BBQ buffet. First prize is a 3-day trip to Vegas and they will pay out 5 places with amounts ranging from $400 to $150.

From The Onion: Area Man Passionate Defender of What He Imagines the Constitution to Be. There sure have been a lot of Area Men in my Facebook news feed this week. However, there are also posts that make Facebook worthwhile. From the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry: “Last night the Volunteers at UBFM handed out over 250 BBQ chicken burritos, bags of candy, hot wings, packets of smoked sausage, water and most importantly love for our fellow man. We didn’t ask if they were Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Pagan. We asked them all one question…..have you had dinner tonight?”

The Memphis Union Mission is adding a Family Day on Christmas Eve Eve December 23. Families can volunteer to serve lunch or dinner to the homeless that day. There’s no need to call in advance. Just show up at 11:30 AM or 4:45 PM and they will put you to work. Excellent way to teach your kids the joy of helping others.

Give the gift of beer this holiday season. Memphis Made Brewing Co. now has gift cards for sale.

The Peabody has a graphic designer position open.

Statistics site FiveThirtyEight has a map: Here’s what your part of the country eats on Thanksgiving. Of course, turkey is more or less a staple everywhere, but side dishes vary. In my home town of Little Rock, cornbread reigns as a side dish (and I can vouch for that having grown up there). In Tennessee and the rest of the Southeast, mac & cheese is preferred.

That reminds me… hey Moody Ques pitmaster Frank, if you’re reading this… I hear smoked mac & cheese made on a BBQ grill is really good. Can we try that next May, or at one of the practice cooks?

In other Thanksgiving news, from Lifehacker: Liven up your holiday meal with spiked cranberry sauce

From High Ground News: Downtown’s rebirth crucial to talent retention. Very true. Nice quote, Kenn!

From WMC-TV: Chloe the business pug never misses a meeting at archer > malmo. She even has her own chair for meetings.

Beatboxing string trio Infinitus plays the Halloran Center for Performing Arts tonight at 7. They feature classical standards as well as original works of jazz and hip-hop.

After I had my panic attack at the bank yesterday, I walked over to Bardog, where they had Days of Our Lives on one of the TVs with captioning on. It’s been 10 years since I saw an episode of that show but am still familiar with some of the characters. I won’t post a spoiler on here because people would hate me, but let me just say this – if you’re a fan of that show and you have it DVR’d, you should watch Friday’s episode as soon as possible.

Knowing that the show is one of Michele’s “stories” that she watches, later in the day I walked down to Max’s Sports Bar to discuss it with her. Random fact she gave me: The actor who plays Bo is sixty years old. Never would have guessed that.

Michele with the Bum-Be-Gone bat
Michele with the Bum-Be-Gone bat

About 7 I hopped a Lyft out to the Southern-Goodlett area for a Friendsgiving event thrown by my friends Tony and Rahul. They invited me earlier in the week and were absolutely SHOCKED when I left Downtown and showed up. Great food, great company. Here’s a pic of Staci carving the turkey like a boss.

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B-RAD snapped a photo of me wearing ’70s-style glasses while standing in front of a bedroom.

It's my birthday week. Come and get it, ladies!
It’s my birthday week. Come and get it, ladies!

Well, blast. Normally these posts take me no more than 10 minutes, but I have been working for an hour and a half on this one. That leaves me with not enough time to make it to the final Memphis Farmers Market of the season, so I will lead off at brunch with Bloom at Bardog at 11. Blind Bear after that, about 1. Veteran Saucer/Max’s bartender Lauren is making guest appearances at Max’s today and tomorrow, so about 3 I will wander down to see her. Evening plans TBA. All right, time to jump in the shower. I’ll be back tomorrow with more news.

Ramen from Robata + Friday news

Last night I had a day-after-birthday dinner at Robata Ramen & Yakitori Bar in Overton Square. When I try new places I like to get on the Internet and check out menus in advance, in order to have an idea what I want to order before I go in. However, with Robata’s menu I had absolutely NO IDEA what I wanted. I have never seen a menu with so many words I didn’t understand. Even typing some of them into Wikipedia turned up no results. Fortunately Daniel from the Silly Goose said, “Don’t worry bud, I’ll be there to guide you through it.”

Daniel and a couple of other people told me the ramen would be a good first experience at Robata, so I got the regular cut noodles in a pork-based Tonkotsu broth, with marinated boiled egg. green onion, red pepper, kikurage (one of the words I had to look up), BBQ pork, bamboo shoots, and bean sprouts. For $1.50 more I added spinach.

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Not the best picture but let me assure you, it was delicious! Thanks to Tony for suggesting the dinner and to Emily, Rahul, Daniel and Josh for joining me. There was lots of sake being poured and they have PBR in 16-ounce cans.

Bountiful Blessings is the theme of the Memphis Farmers Market tomorrow. It’s the last market of the season, at least until they come back with their holiday market December 12. From 9 to 11, kids of all ages can design Thanksgiving plates, and from 8 to noon the UT College of Pharmacy will be on hand to give health advice and answer questions. Live music by Sing for Glenn 8:30-10 and Eric Crays & Friends 11-12:30. The market is from 8 AM to 1 PM under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson. Thanks to everyone involved with the market for an absolutely fabulous year.

Celtic Woman: The Destiny Tour comes to the Orpheum March 6 with exclusive Amazon pre-sale ticket with Destiny Tour CD/DVD/Blu-Ray. For tour schedule and ticket information, visit

If you drive on South Second this weekend, expect delays. MLGW will be making repairs between Beale and Dr. MLK Jr. Avenue through Wednesday and Second will be reduced to one lane. Also, Lt. George W. Lee Avenue, the street the Westin is on, will be reduced to one lane. Keep this in mind if you are coming to any Grizzlies or Tigers games between now and Wednesday.

The Turkey of the Year beer glass will be unveiled Wednesday night, November 25 at the Flying Saucer at 7 PM. My guess for the honoree is Donald Trump but there are certainly plenty of qualified turkeys out there.

News for my readers who like to hang out in the Broad Avenue arts district: Bendy Brewski Yoga, the group that runs yoga at High Cotton Brewery on Thursdays, is adding a second night. They will do yoga at the Rec Room at 3000 Broad on Mondays at 6:30. The way it works is, you do a all-levels yoga class for 45 minutes, then you hang out and socialize with your fellow yogis over a beer. Yoga is not my cup of tea, but some of my friends do this weekly class and really enjoy it.

From Lifehacker: Plan Thanksgiving dinner for a crowd with this spreadsheet. I remember when the Nuh-Uh Girl lived here, and she had a Thanksgiving spreadsheet. Although, that wasn’t to plan Thanksgiving for a crowd; it was “whose food am I eating and when.”

The CA has a review of Pippin, calling it a “wild acrobatic ride.” It plays the Orpheum through Sunday.

100 percent of the Grizzlies players have elected to participate in the Tickets for Kids program. They will purchase blocks of tickets to be given to local charities and youth programs, to incentivize academic achievement and other youth accomplishments.

The Grizzlies play the Houston Rockets at FedExForum at 7.

That’ll do it for this post. Time to run to the bank and do a few other errands, then will be out.


Thursday update

In my “Thanks for the birthday wishes” post earlier today, I said I was having Internet connectivity problems and there MIGHT be a post tomorrow. But you know what? I like to exceed expectations! I’m still at Bardog, and the netbook’s still at Bardog, and there’s news and PBR, so let’s do a post, shall we?

Awesome news for Memphis: AutoZone Park has been chosen to host the Triple-A national championship baseball game on Tuesday, September 20, 2016. The game will be nationally televised on NBC Sports Network. This is a big win for Memphis and a sign of how highly AutoZone Park is regarded in the baseball world.

In other sports news, the Tigers host Grambling State at FedExForum at 7 tonight. Dedric Lawson looked like a stud against Oklahoma and hopefully he will step up again tonight.

Jared from the Subway commercial was sentenced to 15 years for sex-related crimes. As one of my Facebook friends posted, five dollar footlongs coming his way.

The Memphis International Jazz Festival happens on South Main today through Sunday.

There will be a lighting ceremony for the Downtown Christmas tree tomorrow at 4 at the corner of Main and Peabody Place. They have erected a 30-foot tree down there,

After the tree lighting, stop by Quench, which will have its November wine tasting 5:30-7:30. For those not familiar, Quench is an upscale liquor and wine shop across from the Peabody on Second next to Kooky Canuck.

After you’re done with the wine tasting, head to 550 S. Main for the 18th South Main Sounds Songwriter Night. Performances by Alicia Gaill, JoJo Jefferies, Ronnie Caldwell, Michael Graber, Patrick Seiler and Mary Owens. You know, tree lighting + wine tasting + live music for a total of $0 spent is not a bad Friday night.

Cody, Mylon and Tim will be spinning some tunes at the Silly Goose, Wednesday, November 25, 11 PM to 3 PM, It’s the night before Thanksgiving and the DJs are hoping to see plenty of familiar faces. There is no cover and this tends to be one of the biggest party nights of the year.

Teryn (bartender at Bardog) just said, “Happy birthday, I got you a package of turkey sausage.” Well that was random.

All right. Usually this is the space where I post that I’m about to go out to a bar, except this time I’m already at a bar. I’m going to remain at Bardog until a few minutes before 3, then take the netbook home, go to Mary’s bar at Blind Bear, then over to Jessica’s bar at Silly Goose at 4, then grab a Lyft and meet my friends at Robata Yakitori & Ramen at 6. Rare field trip outside of Downtown. Daniel from the Goose loves that place. Can’t wait to try it out. Going to hit Publish and see if I can find a menu to check out in advance.

Hopefully I will have Internet tomorrow and will be back with a post. It’s the last Farmers Market of the season and I would hate to not blog about it. Post may be up a bit later than usual, more on the order of 2:00-3:00.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes

I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all of my friends for the birthday wishes yesterday. Having all of you in my life means more to me than I can possibly express. People ask me if being able to walk everywhere is the best part of living Downtown, and I tell them, “No. That’s number two. The best thing Downtown is the people.” I am so grateful to have all of you in my life. A few individual messages:

John Haley – Thanks for naming Bardog’s Daily Dog after me yesterday and putting “Happy birthday Paul Ryburn” on the board. That made me feel special.

Panda – Thanks for teaching me how to buy diapers. As soon as I put them on the bar, Bloom said, “You got the right kind!”

Blind Bear – I can’t tell you how happy I am to know all of you who work there. You have been my safe haven and security blanket this year.

Poker players – I haven’t played much lately but it is always a pleasure to sit at the table with you when I do. Muruako, thanks again for the PBR bowling pin.

Moody – A couple of months ago, I sat at the Bear with you and told you the entire bizarre story of my 2015. The first words out of your mouth once I finished were “I believe you.” That meant so much to me. Thank you for that.

Clay – Thanks for being such a great and supportive friend.

Katie Mac – Thanks for having my back. I appreciate it.

Moody Ques – Thanks for naming me director of P(B)R. I had never really considered being on the board until you offered me the role, but so far I am having a lot of fun.

B-RAD – You more than anyone have seen what my life has been like this year. Thanks for your friendship buddy. Phaedra, you too.

Rahul, Tony, Nate, Staci – It has been a pleasure brunching with you this year. Rahul and Tony, see you at Robata tonight. Thanks for arranging the birthday dinner.

South Main – I haven’t been down there that much lately but still consider you a part of my extended Downtown family for sure. I may come down there to watch Arkansas-Mississippi State with you if it isn’t the morning game (haven’t had a chance to check the time).

Work – You all may have noticed that I have been out and about Downtown in the daytime lately. I am dealing with some depression and anxiety issues and my work was absolutely wonderful about it, giving me leave until December 7 so I can have some time and space to feel less overwhelmed.

This kindness and generosity of my friends is a reminder that I have more things going great in my life than I do going wrong – A LOT MORE. Thanks so much to all of you.

On an administrative note, my Internet is out at home, so this blog may not see a lot of posts until it’s fixed. Netbooking it from the Monroe Avenue Branch Office right now.

I’ll try to be back tomorrow with a news post, but can’t promise it due to the connectivity problems.


PBR bowling pin birthday news update

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It’s my birthday! Last night I got an early birthday gift from poker host Muruako: A PBR bowling pin. He doesn’t remember where he got it, and neither one of us is sure what use it will ever have, but he figured I should have it. If you’re looking for something to do, check Muruako’s poker games out. He runs the Silly Goose Monday at 8:30 and Blind Bear Tuesday at 8. Both are free to play and a great way to meet people Downtown.

Loving My Memphis has a really good Downtown Dining Week recap with lots of photos.

Memphis in May is looking for Canadians in Memphis, or people in Memphis with a strong connection to Canada, to be a guest presenter as part of their education program for 2016 when Canada is the honored country. Email if interested.

The Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center has a couple of part-time positions open (10 hours a week each).

Foodie Ben Carter posted this: Ketchup squares prevent your burger bun from getting soggy. Ketchup in solid form? GROSS.

A Champions League featuring former NBA players including All-Stars is coming this summer, playing approximately 30 games during July and August.

Ten thousand years before Darwin, our ancestors used selective breeding to save the pumpkin from extinction.

All right, time to hit Publish and head south. If I remember correctly, it’s chicken fried steak lunch special day at Double J and I want to give one a try. Later in the day, I will be at Bloom’s diaper party at Bardog at 4, Silly Goose at 5, and probably trivia at Blind Bear at 8. Possibly another post before I hit the diaper party, so check back.