Wednesday update: Rapscallion record, blog opportunity, and more

– The Rapscallions trivia team, last night consisting of a two-man unit of myself and Chad, coasted to an easy victory at the Saucer’s Trivia Bowl, with a record 99 points. The two next closest teams (tied) had 71. We selected the Flying Saucer gift certificate as our prize, of course. The team now has a stockpile of 5 unused gift certificates ($125). One or two more and we’ll be ready to have a major party.

– I did have some unneeded “help” on one of the questions last night. The first question was, “What city was devastated by an earthquake a century ago, on April 18?” The guy leaning on the rail drinking a beer next to me said, “10 years ago… that’d be 1996… so the answer is California!” However, he had to take off for the Grizzlies game, depriving the team of his valuable insight for the remainder of the evening.

– Food recommendation: the Saucer’s Hippie Hollow wrap with chicken and a side greek salad. To be honest, I had never tried the Hippie Hollow because it sounded like the worst thing on the entire menu. But teammate Chad ordered one last night and it looked really good, so I got one too. It was probably the best wrap I’ve ever had there, and a lot healthier than most bar food.

– Congrats to the Grizzlies on winning last night and clinching the #5 playoff spot. I hope we can continue that momentum and win at least a game or two against Dallas in the first round.

– As you know, my Deal of the Week blog has moved to the Commercial Appeal website. Now they’ve offered me a second opportunity – the chance to blog for Music Fest. When they first proposed it, I turned it down, because I didn’t want to go to Music Fest – I have more fun hanging out outside, on Beale and the surrounding streets. “That’s okay, that can be your angle,” they replied. “You can be our man on the street, letting us know what else is going on downtown.” I told them I need a few days to think about it. On one hand, the fame associated with being a CA blogger is appealing. But on the other hand, the absolute LAST thing I want during Music Fest is responsibility. I told them I’d get back to them by the end of the week.

– The restaurant that used to be Cafe Samovar will reopen Monday. It will be called Meditrina.

– And now it’s time for me to go sit in a cubicle for 8 hours. True, it’s a bigger cubicle than before, and I get paid more money for sitting in it, but it’s still a cubicle. And I still have to be there at 8 in the morning. Grumble… Life is better than before, but this is still not ideal…

Go Clippers!

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Clippers, tomorrow night at 7:30 at the FedExForum. Whoever wins will be the #5 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. That puts me in the unusual position of rooting against my hometown team, because I want to see Memphis lose and fall to #6. That would put us up against the Denver Nuggets (44-36) in the playoffs. If we win and go in as #5 we get the Dallas Mavericks (60-21).

I left an event off my recent event calendar post: The Beale Street Wine Race will be Sunday, April 30 in the afternoon. Teams from various bars and restaurants compete in contests. I overheard “they’re trying to not make such a big deal about the nudity this year,” which makes me think I’ll have to show up. That means I’ll have three weeks in a row (Crawfish Fest, Wine Race, Music Fest) where I have to skip my usual Sunday ritual at Sleep Out’s. No bottle of champagne. I may stop by for one bloody mary, but that’s it.

I came home this afternoon to find that the weather monitor on my computer (which gets its readings from AutoZone Park) displayed a temperature of 93. 93 is a normal high for the last week of July, the hottest part of the year in Memphis.

Too sleepy to type any more… this is going to have to be a short one. I’ll probably be at the Saucer tomorrow night for trivia, although I’ll have to fight the Redbirds and Grizzlies crowds for a good seat.

What I learned while drinking at Sleep Out’s today

While drinking at Sleep Out’s today, a debate arose as to whether there really is an animal called a “liger.” I knew that there was and got out my laptop to prove it.

A liger is the offspring of a male lion and female tiger. Adult ligers are considerably larger than adult lions or tigers.

What I did not know is that there is also an animal known as a tigon. Tigons are smaller than lions or tigers and are the offspring of a male tiger and a female lion.

There was also a question that came on NTN Trivia that I particularly liked. “Ion Antonescu was the leader of what country in the 1940s?” GOT THAT ONE!!! Don’t mess with Romania!

Upcoming events: Music, art, ho’s, crawfish, and dance

First of all, if you’re looking for my Deal of the Week, it has moved to my new blog on the Commercial Appeal. I’ll be posting my first Deal there later today, after I spend some time going through the Sunday paper.

And now, down to business. Here are some upcoming dates to put on your calendar:

– If you like the Flying Saucer and you like The Dempseys, this is the week for you. They’ll be playing the Downtown Saucer Thursday night the 20th at 9:30. I’m gonna have to leave the Peabody rooftop party early to make it to this one. For those of you who live in Cordova, Germantown, and Collierville, they’ll be playing the East Bumblefuck Flying Saucer on Germantown Parkway Friday night the 21st at 9:30.

– Saturday the 22nd is the fifth annual Venus Envy show, starting at 7 pm at Glasshouse 383 on South Main. Venus Envy is an all-female show of visual and performing arts. I’ve been to three of the previous four Venus Envys (I had to miss last year due to a schedule conflict) and it is one of the best art events of the year. In addition to art, they’ll have female bands, poets, and belly dancers performing. This will be a fun night. Admission is $8 in advance (tickets can be purchased at Glasshouse 383 or online) or $10 at the door. All proceeds fund the Venus Envy Memphis scholarship for a female student at Memphis College of Art.

– The 22nd is also the Pimp and Ho party at Senses. As much as I like dressing up in the blue leisure suit, dollar sign medallion and gold teetheses, I’m probably not going to make it to this one.

– Sunday the 23rd is the Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest downtown, on Wagner between Union and Beale. It runs from noon to 6. Needless to say, I’ll be there. In addition to the food, there will be bands and crawfish races.

– The dance troupe Project:Motion presents Metallurgy: The Properties of Dance at Theatreworks later this month. Dates are April 28-29 and May 4-6 at 8 pm, April 30 and May 7 at 2 pm. I’ll be there on one of the days that doesn’t conflict with Music Fest, not sure which day yet.

Our Big Fat Greek Festival at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church is Friday-Saturday, May 12-13, from 11 am to 8 pm at 573 N. Highland. Delicious food and Greek culture.

– Memphis in May Music Fest May 5-7, BBQ Fest May 18-20, and Sunset Symphony May 27. Visit their website for more details. The country they’re honoring this year is Costa Rica.

– Last night’s fireworks display at the Redbirds game got cancelled by the fire marshal because it was too windy. No word yet on whether it will be rescheduled.

And of course, the Paul Goes To Sleep Out Louie’s And Gets Drunk Festival kicks off in about an hour, so I better get going. Happy Easter, and if there are any events not on here that the world needs to know about, drop me an e-mail!

Early voting has already started: Kevin Gallagher for Criminal Court Clerk

Early voting for the county primary elections started Wednesday and runs through April 27. I would like to ask you to consider voting for a very good man, Kevin Gallagher, for the position of Criminal Court Clerk.

I first met Kevin about 10 years ago when I volunteered to do some database work for Steve Cohen’s 1996 Congressional campaign. Kevin was the campaign manager, and I was impressed with his work ethic and his commitment to make the city a better place. In recent years, I have kept in touch with Kevin through our involvement with Mpact Memphis, where he has been active in the Policy pillar. Kevin recently served as an aide to County Mayor AC Wharton, so he is well versed in county government already.

Steve Steffens, author of the LeftWingCracker blog, writes in his recommendations for the elections:

Criminal Court ClerkKevin Gallagher No-brainer here; he has plans to streamline the office and he will bust his butt to do so.

I agree.

To my Republican friends: This is a Democratic primary, so I guess you won’t be voting here. But when the general election comes, I hope you will keep in mind that in the past I have endorsed Republicans in this blog (John Pellicciotti, Ruth Ogles) who have had good hearts, sharp minds, and who have been committed to working for the public good. Therefore, I hope that you will return the favor and give Kevin a serious look. He’s a good guy and will do right for the county.

Thanks for reading.

Friday update

– Still adjusting to the new job and MCS’s content filter. Websites that “could contain objectionable material” are not viewable from work. Now, I can understand why they wouldn’t want employees looking at porn or spending all day on online casino sites. But, when I get new messages on my MySpace account, I can’t check them because the content filter thinks MySpace is objectionable. I can’t view Serrabee’s blog or AngieDawn’s blog or The Homeless Guy’s blog because they’re on blogspot.com. I can’t view LiveJournal blogs either, which means I can’t keep up with what’s going on in Kat’s life.

– On the other hand, I can view my own blog because it’s on paulryburn.com, not blogspot. Not sure if I can publish to my blog from work via Blogger; haven’t tried this week. I can view Rachel and the City, Pulp Faction, and other local blogs that have their own domains.

– Even worse, they have the firewall set up where I can’t hit my home PC via a Remote Desktop or WinVNC connection. That really sucks, because I prefer to check my e-mail through my home computer, where it’s all in one place, rather than using a webmail interface. I’m going to work on ways to circumvent this once I get a little more settled in. Perhaps I can tell my manager that I have files on my home PC that I need to refer to (like programming tricks I learned from previous jobs), and for that reason I should be granted remote access. We’ll see.

– Overall I’m really liking my new job though. I had a meeting with the department manager on Wednesday where he gave a presentation on the city schools and how our work fits in to the big picture. One thing he said that I really liked: “You notice we have magazine racks. I encourage you to bring your magazines for other people to read, and not just IT magazines – money, travel, whatever you have. I want to encourage people to be well-rounded.” MUCH respect for that. I think I’m going to enjoy working with him if that’s his attitude.

– It’s Holy Week leading up to Easter… I remember back in 1978, when I was a third-grader, I did the whole Lent thing. I gave up Cokes for 40 days… I collected money in a miter box… I went to church every Sunday all the way through Lent. But, to get the perfect attendance award for Lent, I also had to go to a service called “Maundy Thursday,” which was the Thursday before Easter. Apparently there was some valuable lesson to be learned by going. So I went. What I learned was, going to church on Thursday night is even a bigger waste of time than going on Sunday.

Four years later, when it was time to give up something for Lent, I gave up going to church altogether.

– This kind of blog entry illustrates why I keep the comment feature turned off.. my mother would undoubtedly post an “Oh Paul, don’t be sacreligious” response.

– And while I’m on a roll about Easter… every year, the churches make a big deal of reminding people that Easter is about Jesus, not the Easter Bunny. If that’s true, how come I see chocolate bunnies on the shelves at Rite-Aid, not Chocolate Jesus?

– Moving on to downtown news… Southern Blaze Hot Wings has opened at 200 Poplar. I’m always happy to have another hot wing restaurant downtown, but notice the address. 200 Poplar. That means it’s across the street from 201 Poplar. The county jail. That place is going to draw an “interesting” clientele to say the least. I’ll give it a try, but I’m calling ahead and getting my wings to go.

– I like my wings the same way I like my Romanians… extra hot.

– Reminds me… one of the Romanians (the blonde) e-mailed me this week and told me she has applied for a visa to come back to Memphis this summer. YAY!!!!! In my reply, I wanted to ask if the brunette is coming back as well, but to do so would be to risk a response of, “OH. I SEE. SO YOU DO NOT CARE THAT I AM COMING BACK!!!” I guess I’ll have to e-mail the brunette myself and ask.

– An event not to be missed… breakfast with Benny the Bunny tomorrow (Saturday the 15th) at the Children’s Museum, 10 am to noon. In addition to meeting Benny, you’ll also get to make easter baskets and bags, and pet live rabbits.

– Let’s see what’s going on in the Memphis Flyer… hey! Pimp and Ho Party at Senses on Saturday, April 22. Hmmm… that could be enough to get me to make a rare appearance outside of downtown. I wonder if my ho’s are up for it… Angie? Melanie? Hang on, let’s post a pic of the ho’s.


There ya go. Those are the ho’s. Of course, this pic was taken in simpler times. Nowadays, Angie would probably spend most of the evening text-messaging people on Uber Phone 3000, and Melanie would try to bring her damn dog with her and would be refused admission to the club.

– The Memphis Flyer also has an article about The Main Street Journal, a new Memphis-area conservative publication. In an attempt to connect with the African-American community, they put a picture of a black man on the cover of this month’s issue. But, showing the typical conservative lack of sensitivity and intelligence, they used a pic of a black man posing with a truckload full of watermelons.

– Suggestion to the strip clubs that advertise in the Flyer… don’t use your own dancers in the pics in the Flyer ads. Hire models. Seriously. This week’s issue and last week’s issue illustrate why.

– All right. Now that I’ve offended practically everybody, I guess it’s time to go out and enjoy my day off. Have a good long weekend if you have Good Friday off, or a good regular weekend if you don’t. And don’t forget to stop by the drugstores on Monday – they’ll be selling Marshmallow Peeps for half-off.

Wednesday update

– I have more info on the coffee shop to be located in the South Main District. It will be called Bluff City Coffee and will be located at 505 S. Main, in the building that used to house Etched Art. They’re currently hiring and there’s an application for employment on their website.

– I also found info related to a question a reader posed last week, asking if there was a Madden Playstation football league here in town. Today at lunch I was walking around the U of M campus and saw a flyer for a Madden ’06 tournament, to be held Saturday, April 22 at the Buffalo Wild Wings in the Wolfchase area. On Saturday, April 15, they’re holding an open house from 2-4 PM, with PS2s available for gaming. (I’m assuming this would also be at Buffalo Wild Wings.) If you’re looking for info on Madden leagues, this would probably be the place to find it. Their website is www.lan-matrix.com.

– The new job is going well… very low-stress environment, and the first project I was assigned seems well within the scope of what I know how to do. I’m thoroughly enjoying the 4-mile commute to work, and the lunch hour in Midtown. There’s an employee cafeteria here at the school board, although I can’t understand why anyone would want to eat school food when there are so many great restaurants nearby. As I mentioned, today I skipped eating altogether and drove to the U of M campus and wandered around at lunch.

– And I picked the right week to start… Friday is an administrative holiday, so I have a 3-day weekend. I’ll have another one the first weekend in May… I asked for and received the Monday after Music Fest off. People will be yelling and screaming downtown until all hours of the night and it just isn’t possible to get a good night’s sleep. Besides, I’d rather be out there doing the yelling and screaming. And, of course, drinking.

– Every job always has to have one little quirk though… the hours are 8:00 to 4:45. If you come in early, you can leave early. So if you come in at 7:50, you can leave at 4:35. You can take your lunch whenever you want between about 11 and 1. But if you come in at 8:01… well, then we have a problem and you get “written up.” Even if you work 8:01 to 4:46. I don’t get that. I understand the need to threaten to “write up” the 19-year-old waitress at Chili’s if she’s late… I don’t see the point in doing that to professionals with college degrees. Especially when it’s IT work and the computer is still there whether you come in at 7 or 8 or 8:10 or whenever. They actually have someone who comes by and checks to see who is there at 8. It seems like a rule just for the sake of having a rule, and you know I’m not a fan of those – but that’s the school system for you.

– My friend AngieDawn wishes for me to let you know that it was not she who created the “Hi… I’m from Romania” doll (see a couple of posts prior to this one). It’s one of the 6 or 7 other Angies I know.

– A server at one of my favorite downtown watering holes asked me to pass on the following information… if you walk into a bar or restaurant and there are several clean tables and one dirty one, don’t sit down at the dirty one. Heck if I know why, but it will keep your servers and waitstaff happy, so there you go.

– The rooftop parties have started, and I’ll be going to the Peabody rooftop tomorrow night. If anyone wants to join me, I could use a wingman (or wingwoman). I’ll miss the following week’s rooftop party, because the Dempseys will be playing at the Saucer.

– Downtowners’ jargon: If someone who lives in downtown Memphis tells you they’re going to get a “Slurpee,” they don’t mean the frozen drink you buy at Circle K or Mapco. They mean a Call-a-Cab or other frozen daiquiri from Wet Willie’s.

– I rejoined the trivia team for the first time in 7 weeks last night at the Saucer, and the Rapscallions coasted to another easy victory, bringing our count of unused $25 gift certificates to 4. A couple of more wins and we’ll be set up to have a nice little party. Also at the Saucer last night, I bought Earring Girl an Irish Carbomb (and of course, one for me as well) to celebrate her birthday.

– And that’s the news for now. One more day and the weekend is here, at least for me!

Deal of the Week to move to the Commercial Appeal

This is the major announcement I’ve been waiting to share…

Effective Sunday, April 16, my regular Deal of the Week feature will move to the Commercial Appeal. They’ve been watching my blog for the past two months, and have contacted me about doing something together. So I’ll be joining the CA blogging staff!

I’m happy to see one of my regular features make it to the big time… personally, I always thought “What The Bums Are Drinking This Week” was the most marketable, but I guess the CA knows online content better than I do.

Off to work…

Look what my friend Angie made for me…


She made this on the website blinkyou.com. It actually kind of looks like the blonde who was here last year. Here’s a pic for comparison – it’s a horrible pic of me but who in their right mind would be looking at me in this picture?


I’ll be back later with more news and that major announcement I’ve been talking about… but right now, believe it or not, I’m about to head to the Saucer. It’s Earring Girl’s 21st birthday (she’s one of the waitresses) and she’s coming up there on her night off – I’m sure I’ll be one of the many people to buy her a beer. It’s trivia night as well, so hopefully I can lend a hand to the Rapscallions’ victory as I float around the bar.

Deal of the Week

Welcome to Deal of the Week, where I scour the ad inserts in the Sunday Commercial Appeal and present the best deals to you. This week, CompUSA appears to be the place to go. They have a Hewlett-Packard laptop with 17″ screen for only $799.99. This is $400 off the regular price, after $200 instant savings, a $50 mail-in manufacturers’ rebate, and a $150 eRebate. The laptop has an 80 GB hard drive and 512 MB of RAM. It comes with an AMD Turion 64 processor, which is important because it means you’ll have the option of upgrading the laptop to the new 64-bit version of Windows rumored to be coming out later this year.

CompUSA also has a 19″ LCD monitor on sale for $199.99, after a $50 manufacturers’ rebate and a $50 eRebate. That is the lowest price I have ever seen for a 19″ LCD monitor at one of the major retailers.

If security is your concern, check out Office Depot this week. They have a Microsoft USB Fingerprint Reader for $9.99. It’s regularly $39.99, so you’re getting it for 75% off after $20 instant savings and $10 mail-in rebate.

Office Depot also has a Strip Cut Paper Shredder for 50% off at $14.99. It takes 6 sheets per pass and sounds like a way to keep spying eyes away from your documents at a bargain price.

Target has a 5.1 megapixel Polaroid digital camera on sale for $88. It features a USB connection and a 1.5 inch screen. You’d be hard-pressed to cross the 5 megapixel threshold at a lower price.

Those are the Deals for this week. Back next week with more Deals, and stay tuned for a major announcement about this regular blog feature.