House-hunting? Might want to look at this

I was flipping through the new issue of the Memphis Flyer this afternoon, and I noticed a house in Cooper-Young which appears to be selling for an incredibly good price. I’m too attached to Downtown to consider moving, but if you’re house-hunting and are considering Midtown, this might be something you want to look into.

It’s a 2BR/1BA bungalow at 2061 Evelyn for $109,500. You can see a pic of it at the bottom left corner of p.61 of this week’s Flyer (October 5-11 issue). The ad says it has a bonus room, all appliances stay, hardwood floors, separate living room and dining room.

This house, on a corner lot at Evelyn and Tanglewood, is a one-block walk from Cooper. You’d be able to walk to Celtic Crossing, Young Avenue Deli, Dish, Do, The Beauty Shop, Jasmine, Casablanca and all the other hotspots in the area. You’d be able to walk to Black Lodge Video to rent DVDs. You’d be able to walk to Square Foods and pick up dinner at their deli. You’d be able to walk to Java Cabana for coffee, and to Goner Records for some tunes. If you go to church at First Congo, you’d be able to walk there too. And of course, you’d have Cooper-Young Fest a block away every September. And you could walk to Tiger football games. This is in a great location and is in the most desirable quadrant of Cooper-Young – it’s not too close to the ‘hood in any direction.

It’s been a long time I’ve seen a house in such an ideal location at such an affordable price. Someone ought to jump all over this. The only negative mentioned in the ad is that the house needs some painting. At this price, I think I’d hire an expert to take a look and verify that there is nothing else wrong with it. But assuming it passes your expert’s inspection, this looks like a heck of a buy.

I’m not affiliated with the seller or realtor or anything, just saw what looked like a good buy and thought I’d bring it to the attention of my readers – kind of like I do with my Deal of the Week column but on a much larger scale.

(Disclaimer: I have no real estate background and am basing this post on nothing but my own intuition. If you buy this house and something turns out to be wrong with it, I’m not responsible. Consult experts before you buy.)

Lunchtime update:, live music at Sleep Out Louie’s, Halloween

If you live or work downtown, you gotta check out this site: It’s a website that takes a different tactic to draw attention to the homeless problem in Memphis, by turning the homeless into celebrities via the Internet and fighting homelessness with humor. In addition to a photo gallery and special features on the homeless, it also contains “Bum Finds,” where they auction off items the homeless have found around town. The site also allows street people to make money by creating their own clothing lines. This site is starting to get attention (both positive and negative) in the local media. Check it out and decide for yourself. Personally, I applaud them for thinking outside the box in dealing with this issue.

Here’s another event to add to an already jam-packed calendar for this week: Josh Lemons, Bobby Durango, and Crash Kole perform at Sleep Out Louie’s this Friday, October 6, at 7:30 pm. You may remember Bobby from the ’80s band Rock City Angels. You may remember Josh as the guy behind the bar at Sleep Out’s. You may remember Crash as the guy who frequently sits at the bar at Sleep Out’s. No, not me, the other guy.

Speaking of Sleep Out’s – I’m sitting at the bar right now as I type this. The lunch special is chicken alfredo pasta, which I got with a side of broccoli. Yummy. On the downside, there doesn’t appear to be any Romanian representation among the staff this morning.

Regular blog reader Mallory writes, “Hi, I hate to be selfish and take the fire out of anyone else for Halloween. So, with my encouragement, I would like to extend the invitation for Paul Ryburn Halloween costumes. You have become so diverse over the years, and it will be interesting and beneficial to see which ‘Paul’ different people may come up with!” So there ya go. Carmel and other readers, you’re free to be me for Halloween without stepping on Mallory’s toes. Although, Carmel told me last night she has an alternate costume in mind, an ultra-tight outfit with very short skirt. Can’t remember who she was going to be exactly, but who cares. I encourage her to continue on with that costume instead of dressing as me.

Can’t believe I didn’t get an “Oh Paul, I wish you wouldn’t drink so much” e-mail from my mother after last night’s drunk post.

Semi-Charmed Kat has posted a pic of herself with Elmo and the Cookie Monster. She needs to upload a video of herself doing her Microsoft Excel dance with her big boss and her mini-boss. That would be entertaining. Well, not really, but I’d still watch it.

Back to the rat race. Although, I have to say, the City Schools are not a bad place to work at all. They’re sending me for three days of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 training next month. First programming/web development job I’ve ever had where management saw the value in spending money to train employees on the latest technologies. And, I suggested they might want to send us to a class on Visual Studio 2005/ASP.NET 2.0 as well, and it looks like they’re going to take me up on it. Cool.

Weather trivia

The Weather Channel is predicting a high of 94 for Memphis today. In OCTOBER.

Weather trivia: Today, October 4, is the last day of the year that the normal high for Memphis is in the 80s. It won’t be “normal” for it to be above 80 again until May 13 of next year.

Of course, Memphis weather is rarely normal. I still can’t get over Halloween 1993. It snowed that day. And it actually stuck to the grass for a little while. Bet there were a bunch of little kids who screamed bloody murder when their parents told them it was too cold to go trick-or-treating.

Off to work.

Drunk post: St. Jude, Chicago, Romanians, Blues Ball

Hi there. I’m Paul, and this is my blog. And I’m drunk. My trivia team the Rapscallions took home a first-place ($50) victory in trivia this week at the Flying Saucer. Although, Team Accountant got all excited when a question about GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) came up. Doesn’t matter; they still lost.

One of my teammates, from Chicago, told me I need to come visit him back home. “There’s entire neighborhoods in Chicago, with nothing but Romanians,” he said. “It’s like a Romanian village. You go into the bars and restaurants, and half the people don’t speak English.” Dude, I am SO there. Romanian women are hot. I understand there’s a Ukranian village as well. May visit that one too.

If you’re downtown tomorrow, it might be worth it to drive by the intersection of South Main and GE Patterson. Apparently MATA has brought in a light rail train to show people what the future of Memphis transportation will be like. I mean, assuming they don’t fuck it up like they did the trolley. The goddamn thing derails every other time it turns the corner from Main onto Madison. Anyway, the light rail train took an entire day to unload from the truck from what I hear, so go by and appreciate MATA’s efforts. It’s like 100 feet long, so it’s quite a spectacle.

Congrats to St. Jude, which was recently named the #1 place to work in academia. I have several friends who work at St. Jude, and I’ve never ever heard anything negative about the place. St. Jude’s is an employer who gets it. Treat your employees well and in turn your customers (patients) will be treated well. Thumbs up.

The Cordova Fox & Hound has experienced a rash of car break-ins. Just a heads-up for those of you who thought it was safe out in East Bumblefuck, unlike Downtown and Midtown which are practically third-world countries according to those living in “teh 018” and “teh 016.” (Wannabe hipster slang for the Cordova 38018 and 38016 zip codes. Oh, and please learn how to spell “the”) They also have had problems with “solicitors,” or “bums” as we call them downtown.

The Blues Ball is this Saturday. Now, the Blues Ball itself can be missed (like I could give a shit about what gown Pat Kerr Tigrett shows up in, and otherwise what point is there in going), but I will point out that there’s usually a Blues Ball after-party at Earnestine & Hazel’s at Main and GE Patterson, which is free except for your tab for beer. I’ll likely show up sometime between 12 and 1:30.

I’m wasted. I’m going to bed. Tomorrow there will be entertainment in Court Square from 6 to 8 – The Billy Gibson Band with special guests The Bums and The Pigeons. Afterward I’ll hit the Flying Saucer for Buy The Beer, Waste Money On The Glass night where the featured beer/glass will be Abita Turbo Dog, and live music will be provided by Whoever The Hell Is Playing This Week. But that’s tomorrow. Right now I’ve got to go lie down. My head is spinning.

Amendment 1

So, on Election Day next month Tennesseeans will vote on Amendment 1, which if it passes will ban gay and lesbian marriage.

I’m a straight guy. I like women. A lot. And only women. And yet, I can’t figure out how my lifestyle would be threatened one bit if Bob and Steve (or Maureen and Tabitha) who love each other very much were able to marry each other.

I guess people want me to believe that the woman of my dreams would see that gay marriage is allowed, and think to herself, “Oh! It’s OKAY to be a lesbian! I think I’ll give it a try!” and maybe she’d like it and never become attracted to me and marry me. But, you know, I’m pretty sure that the woman of my dreams likes men. And if I do one day marry the woman of my dreams, I can’t see how our marriage will mean any less because Bob and Steve are married as well.

If one day I have children, I don’t think they’ll be more likely to “decide” that they’re gay because they see that gay marriage is permitted. However, if my children DO turn out to be gay, I would want them to live their lives in an environment of comfort and acceptance – an environment they’re more likely to have if this amendment fails.

And it seems to me that if Bob and Steve are lifelong partners who love each other as much as a man loves his wife, Bob should be able to add Steve to his insurance policy as his spouse. If Bob becomes gravely ill, Steve deserves to legally be his “next of kin” who can make life-and-death decisions if the need arises.

As I said before, I’m straight. Several of my friends are not. Legislation that says that they are less of a human being than I am offends me to the highest degree.

And if I ever have children, intolerance, prejudice, exclusion, and minding other people’s business are not the kind of “family values” I plan on teaching them.

Stupid, stupid, unnecessary amendment and proof that this country is heading in the wrong direction. We need to be creating legislation that addresses people’s possibilities, not their fears.

Vote No on 1.

Sunday update: Theater trivia, the Goodwyn, Halloween costumes, etc.

I was flipping through the Memphis Flyer and noticed that Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot was performed at Rhodes College this weekend. A little trivia for you: In the 1950s, Beckett gave one of his neighbors’ children a ride to school every day, because the boy had grown too big to fit on the school bus. The neighbor boy went on to become famous as professional wrestler Andre the Giant.

Now, see, that’s the kind of insightful trivia you won’t find anywhere else. Bet not even the Commercial Appeal’s theater reporter knew that little fact.

The building next door to mine, the Goodwyn, that is being converted to condos and sold, now has a website. Check it out. The developers are the same people who converted No. 10 Main into apartments and are just super good guys.

Got an e-mail from another regular blog reader, Carmel, who said, “Damn! Someone stole my Halloween costume idea!” Apparently she was also going to dress up as me for Halloween, but blog reader Mallory (see the previous post) beat her to the punch. Maybe I should create a Paul Ryburn Halloween costume and get it in Party City. Not that I especially want to be a Halloween costume, but if I can collect royalties then I’m all for it.

So it’s a little after 9 on Sunday night and I’m home from the day’s drinking festivities, which were pretty boring today. Trying to decide if I want to go back out. I need to find a girl to kiss who won’t be leaving town in a few days, or a few weeks, or a few months. That seems to have been a challenge for me this summer.

My latest Deal of the Week column is up – dress your dog up like a bee! Or if you’re really adventurous, your cat! I’m trying to inject more humor into Deal of the Week because frankly, I’m getting bored with it. When I agreed to start writing the weekly column, I did it for the fame/notoriety of being a Commercial Appeal writer much more so than the money I get for writing it. But, six months in, my personal blog draws 10 times the traffic that Deal of the Week does, even with the CA’s name behind Deal. I don’t know… I’ll keep doing it for now, but I suspect I may lose interest by the end of the year.

Eh. I think I’ll just stay home for the remainder of the evening. I’m sure I don’t need to mention that I’ll be at Pint Nite at the Saucer tomorrow after work.

Second Saturday update: Brat con Queso, Architect’s Party, Halloween

Back on the computer for a second post. My apologies to Ken & Robyn for missing tonight’s performance at Sleep Out’s, but it’s been a wild week and I really just needed a night off.

I went back to the Saucer for lunch and had the Brat Con Queso again, and this time I took my camera. Here’s a pic:

It’s hard to see here, but there are slices of bratwurst mixed in with the four melted cheeses and pico de gallo. You spoon it onto the tortillas and eat it. A little messy but oh so good.

You may also notice that I was drinking a Coke with lunch. I didn’t want to even touch a beer after last night’s drinking extravaganza.

When I was posting “Dates to remember” earlier today, I left a big one off the list: The semi-annual Architects’ Party, Friday, October 6 from 8:30 pm to 1:30 am. Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster will provide the entertainment, and I’m always in the mood to get down to a little disco when they play. This is usually one of the best parties of the season. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Check out their ad in the Flyer (p.12) for more info. Proceeds benefit the International Children’s Heart Foundation, so you’ll be supporting a good cause and partying at the same time.

Regular blog reader Mallory came up to me last night and asked permission to dress up as me for Halloween. I’m not quite sure why anyone would want to do that, but I said sure, go ahead. Now I’m looking forward to see what she comes up with (and a little scared, too).

Regular blog reader Chris sent me this link to a playlist of downloadable songs by artists who performed at this weekend’s GonerFest in Midtown.

If any of my neighbors in No. 10 Main are reading this, there’s a keg on the rooftop.

And that’s the news. I’m going to sleep. I’ll postpone my Saturday night partying until Sunday.

Saturday update

So, let me see if I can recap what I did last night. Started out at 95 S. Main to drink some free beer… then I went to the Flying Saucer… then I walked down to South Main for Trolley Tour… had a beer at Nate’s bar at Earnestine & Hazel’s… stopped by 36 GE Patterson where there was a party going on… kicked some ass at pool… got my ass kicked at darts… walked back up Main Street toward the core of downtown… screamed at a bum who asked me for ’bout fitty-three cent… went back to the Saucer… then wandered down to Beale Street and hung out at the back bar at Blues City for a while… was on my way back to the Saucer for round three but ran into some friends and turned around and went back to Beale with them… we went to Silky’s… (edited to add: I left out the Tap Room, had a beer there too)… then Club 152… then Raiford’s. Here’s a pic of Dan from Nashville (who I met last night) and me in my ’70s disco hat:

I also took a pic of one of my regular blog readers with whom I was hanging out… someone I’ve mentioned several times the past few days. However, she failed to follow through on her promise to wear a tube top, so I’m not going to post the pic. Sorry… if you want free publicity in my blog, you gotta play by the rules.

Don’t forget, there’s some great live music by Ken & Robyn tonight at Sleep Out Louie’s from 7 to 11. I’ve raved about them in this blog several times. Just trust me, if you’re looking for something to do tonight, this is the place to go. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Romanian who works at Sleep Out’s will be there tonight. But go anyway.

Speaking of great live music: When people ask where to go to hear live music, the same places always get mentioned – the Deli, the Daisy, the Buc, Hi-Tone. But I want to bring your attention to one place that gets overlooked but nevertheless has some of the best music in the city: Memphis Originals, better known as MO’s, on Walker just east of Highland. There you can hear some of the city’s best talent in a chilled-out, laid-back coffeehouse setting. Click the link to hit their website, and check their calendar to see who is playing when. They also have “Campus Cooking Wok ‘n’ Roll,” a cooking class for college students, Saturday mornings at 11, which makes me wish I was still in college so I could go.

If you’re an artist or musician, you definitely need to visit MO’s just to meet the owner, Anita. She has a keen mind for business and is an expert on helping people in the arts put business plans together. Definitely a good person to know.

With all going on this week, I forgot to mention that my team The Rapscallions took third place in trivia Tuesday night, adding a $10 certificate to our stash, bringing the total to $70. However: Later in the evening I found out that the first-place team was a group of accountants. ACCOUNTANTS. Guys, losing to accountants is COMPLETELY unacceptable. We MUST do better next week. When I found out we lost to accountants I was so upset that I almost pulled a Mendi and walked out of the Saucer without my debit card.

… hang on, let’s post a pic of Mendi.

There ya go. That’s Mendi, on the left. I completely forgot that I took this picture until I found it on my camera this morning.

All right, that’s enough for now. Time to take a shower and go outside.

Friday update

Sitting here using the Saucer’s Wi-Fi to make a lunch post. I see they have a couple of new bottled beers: Eye of the Hawk Pale Ale and Tommy Knocker Dopplebock. No idea if I’ll like those but I’ll at least give ’em points for having interesting names.

There will be an open house tonight at 95 South Main from 5 to 8. It will feature photos by Monty Shane and Guillermo Umbria and food from Dawgie Style Hot Dogs. They’ll also be showing off the live-work condos at 95 South Main. So if you’re interested in buying a condo, come by. If you’re not interested in buying a condo, come by anyway and pretend to be interested while you eat their free food and drink their free alcohol. It’s between Union and Gayoso in the New Main block. You can park around the corner at Parking Can Be Fun on Union if you’re driving.

The Memphis Flyer Best Of Memphis party Wednesday night was a blast. The Flyer really knows how to throw a party – Blue Moon and Stella Artois on tap, food from some of the finest restaurants in Memphis, including my friends at Big Foot Lodge who won Reader’s Choice for Best Restaurant. Congratulations guys! You deserve it. Big Foot was one of five Reader’s Choice winners for Best Restaurant, and the only one that isn’t a white-tablecloth affair. Considering they’ve been open less than two years, their win is really impressive. The party also had catering by Gus’s Chicken and various other restaurants who took prizes in the award categories. I’m gonna have to find some good stuff to blog about for the next 12 months so I’ll get to go to next year’s party.

Although, I gotta say, a big part of the reason I enjoyed the Flyer party as much as I did was because my date turned out to be one of the most awesome people I ever met. For those not familiar with the backstory, about a week before the party I posted a blog entry saying I was dateless, and that if I had any secret admirers it would be a good time to reveal themselves. The next night at a Dempseys show, someone did. And so I ended up taking her to the party, and we had a great time. We’re going to hang out again tonight. Trouble is, she’s moving out of town this weekend. I should’ve posted that “secret admirers, reveal yourself” comment six months ago so I could’ve met her sooner. Never knew my blog would function as a dating service, but heck, if it works, I’ll take it.

My lunch just arrived… the Brat Con Queso. This is really cool. It reminds me of the Queso Flameado that they have at Cozymel’s, but with bratwurst rather than shrimp or chicken. It’s a tub of 4 melted cheeses with brat slices and pico de gallo. You spoon it onto tortillas and eat it. SO good. They’ve really done a good job with this new menu.

Mpact Memphis has a MySpace page now. Good God. Everyone and their dog has a MySpace page these days. Otherlands has one too. Maybe Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis should have one. I’ll talk to my co-founder about it.

A few dates to put on your calendar:

Thursday, October 5: The Dempseys play the Madison rooftop party. I believe this will be the last rooftop party of the season. The Peabody ended theirs a month ago.

Sunday, October 15: The Dempseys play Downtown Huey’s, 9 pm to 1 am, as part of the location’s 10th anniversary celebration. Of all the venues where The Dempseys play, Downtown Huey’s is far and away my favorite.

Wednesday, October 25: Mpact Memphis’ 5th birthday party on the rooftop of The Lofts. They’ll also be presenting the winners of their Mpact Makers awards.

That’s all for now. Back to Cubicle World for four more hours, then it’s party time.

Reader’s Choice

I can finally make the official announcement: My blog is a Reader’s Choice Award winner in the Memphis Flyer’s 2006 Best Of Memphis issue, “Best Memphis Blog” category. I’m thrilled. I’m honored. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who voted for me. I really appreciate it.

Best of all, as a Reader’s Choice winner I got invited to the Flyer’s annual Best Of Memphis party, which is tonight. I got to go to the 2003 BOM party (didn’t win an award, knew someone on the Flyer staff who got me in) and it was one of the best parties of the year. So I’m really looking forward to tonight. I’m also thrilled that I have a date to the party, someone who has been reading this blog regularly since December but whom I only met 6 days ago. Oh, and she’s totally hot, by the way.

Since a lot of new readers are going to be finding this blog for the first time, I guess I’ll do an orientation session so people will know what to find here. If you’re new, read on. Regular readers, you probably know all of this already. Back tomorrow with a new post, and possibly some pics from the party.

My name’s Paul. I’m single, in my 30s, and I live downtown in a high-rise apartment building near Main and Madison. I don’t really think of my blog as “the downtown blog,” but I write about my experiences and I go out downtown 5-7 days a week, so I guess in a sense it is a downtown blog.

My two favorite hangouts are Sleep Out Louie’s and The Flying Saucer. You’ll also catch me from time to time at Raiford’s, The Tap Room on Beale, Big Foot Lodge, The Majestic Grille, Earnestine & Hazel’s, The Black Diamond, Blues City Cafe/George Paul’s Last Call, and heck, most of the other bars downtown. I loved the downtown Blue Monkey before it burned down. When The Dempseys play downtown I tend to show up. You’re also likely to see me at the South Main Trolley Art Tour the last Friday of every month, soaking up free wine at the art galleries.

I especially like bars and restaurants that hire waitresses from Romania.

If you’re looking for serious discussion of the day’s events, oftentimes you won’t find it here. One of my favorite features is “What the Bums Are Drinking this Week,” when I inspect the trash of the liquor store around the corner (which caters to the $2-and-under crowd) to report what the downtown panhandlers are spending your money on. Last year I declared June to be “Tube Top Month” – every post contained a reference to tube tops, or a pic of someone in a tube top, for the entire month. It was so successful that I did it again this year.

However – there was one time earlier this summer when I had to get serious. Many of my friends became crime victims downtown around May/June, and for the first time since I moved down here in 2002 I was afraid. Not so much for myself, but for my female friends who walk their dogs alone late at night, or walk home/to their cars after getting off work late at night. So for about a week I went absolutely nuts in this blog, listing every crime incident I had been told about, and calling on downtown developers and leaders to do something (see June 5 in the archives – the posts are still up). The movement led to the formation of a new organization, Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis.

I’m happy to report that the situation has turned around since those posts. My RSDM co-founder Mike King and I met with the police, and since then they have put a lot more walking, bike, and scooter patrols on the streets of downtown. We’re also working on ways to raise awareness of steps to take to stay safe downtown, and to encourage people to report ALL crime and suspcious activity.

What else… well, I do web development for the city schools. I also write a blog called Deal of the Week for the Commercial Appeal, where I pick the best consumer-electronics deals from the ads in the Sunday paper. In the late 1990s I was on the faculty at the University of Memphis, teaching math and computer literacy.

Some of the blogs I read regularly are

* Semi-Charmed Kat
* Life In and Around Memphis by Philip
* Rock & Roll Minor Planets by Serrabee
* The Memphis Scene by Mark Richens
* Thursday Night Fever by Mr. Roboto (Nashville)
* The Homeless Guy (Nashville)

This is not a political blog, but I will say that I’m a huge fan of Steve Cohen, who is running for the TN 9th Congressional district seat. I will also say that I think George Bush is a dumbass. (Here’s a link to the Drop a Brain in Bush video game)

Last Halloween I dressed up as a Beer Goddess (which is what they call the waitresses at the Flying Saucer). It was my most successful Halloween costume ever, and people were tipping me so it practically paid for itself. There are pics of it here. This Halloween I plan to retire my other two costumes (pimp, vampire) and be the Beer Goddess all weekend.

One last thing before I go… I want to mention that I have the greatest group of friends a guy could ask for. They’re the reason that downtown is not only my neighborhood, but my home.

That’s enough of an orientation session… the best way to figure out what this blog is all about is to scroll down and read some of the previous posts. Hope you enjoy it, and hope to see you again soon!