Next summer, I’m going to Libertyland!

Next summer, I’m going to do something I haven’t done since the early 1980s: I’m going to Libertyland.

Good ol’ Six Flags over Orange Mound… no, I’m not going there for the nasty, artery-clogging food they sell there. I’m not going for the crappy performances. Nor am I going for the rides. And I’m not going to play their games and win stuffed animals.

Sounds like I have nothing but disdain for Libertyland. So why am I going, you ask?

Well, yesterday I stopped by Sleep Out’s for a Bloody Mary, and I was expressing my sadness that the Romanians have left town. The bartender, who is also the manager there, told me that he has never hired anyone from that region, but there are a lot of places around town that will. “There are tons of Eastern Europeans working at Libertyland,” he told me. “You go out there, and you expect to see Americans working. But there are a lot of gorgeous girls there who speak in broken English and have names like Svetna and Tatyana.”

Hmm, REALLY? Anyplace that hires people named Tatyana is OK in my book. I may have to buy a season pass next year.

One more interesting tidbit I learned: The name Tatyana translates in English to Valentina.

And that’s your educational fact for the day. Aren’t you glad you read this blog? Speaking of Sleep Out’s, it’s time for my weekly bottle of mimosas, so I’m outta here for now… I have a feeling Google Earth may draw me back home at some point, though, putting an early end to the alcohol antics which usually go all day Sunday and into the night. See you later…

Google Earth, and a blog experiment

I realized something this morning. I can take just about any topic to write about here in my blog, and find a way to relate it to the following: bums, pigeons, tube tops, Romania, my building’s rooftop, and the Flying Saucer.

So here’s a challenge to you, my readers: E-mail me and suggest a topic, any topic. If I like it I’ll write a post about it and incorporate the references listed above. It has to be something I can turn into an interesting post though – not something like “mitosis” for example.

All right. Today I want to tell you about the coolest software app I’ve found in a while.

It all started Tuesday night. I decided to head to the Flying Saucer for happy hour. As I walked down the Main Street Mall I passed a bum begging for money. There was also a pigeon walking around.

It was still very warm outside Tuesday – almost 90 degrees – and I hoped there would be some cute girls in tube tops at the Saucer. But I didn’t see any. So I ended up talking to my friend Bobby, who was sitting in one of the armchairs with his laptop. “Have you ever played around with Google Earth?” he asked. Google Earth is a computer program that lets you “fly” around the earth and zoom in on satellite images. Bobby zoomed in on Mud Island and was able to find his house, and even saw his car parked out front. Then he panned over to Main Street and I could see my building’s rooftop. Then he typed in “La Paz, Bolivia” and the image zoomed out, flew over Cuba and zoomed in on La Paz. La Paz didn’t have very good satellite images though.

I was fascinated with the program and downloaded it this morning. I told it to go to 92109, the zip code of my old neighborhood, Pacific Beach, in San Diego. Then I panned to Manhattan and saw some great images of the tall buildings there. Tried to find the Empire State Building and Trump Tower but couldn’t.

Then I decided to take a trip overseas, and typed in “Romania.” Google Earth flew across the Atlantic to eastern Europe and zoomed in on a mountainous region. To the southeast was a town called “Bucuresti” which I take it was Bucharest. Also saw some other towns: Brazov, Soars, Cincu. There’s more than one city in Romania? Never knew that. Then I got homesick and typed in 72207 (Little Rock). Found the house where I grew up. There was a white car parked out front. I e-mailed my mother (who is now hooked on Google Earth too) and she told me the white car was there to visit a yard sale across the street.

I’m sitting here thinking of more places to visit with Google Earth: I bet Sedona, Arizona would be interesting. And I wonder how recent the images are? Wonder if the New Orleans images were taken before or after the hurricane.

Anyway, you can get the program at earth.google.com under the “Downloads” section. Just make sure to clear your calendar for the rest of the day – you will be addicted.

Copycats!

So, just hours after I post a Tonya pic on my blog, the Memphis Flyer goes and publishes an article about Mpact with an almost identical Tonya pic. Copycats! And the thing is, their pic is better than mine because theirs features two beautiful women – Mpact’s very own Pat as well as Tonya.

But that’s fine, I suppose you can never have too many pictures of beautiful women, or too much press about Mpact. Congratulations on the article guys! I don’t see it on the Flyer’s website yet, will try to remember to come back to it and add a link in a day or two.

Plans for this weekend: art collecting, a cute bear and baked goods

ATTN DYANA: Don’t know if you ever read my blog, but if you do, e-mail me – I need to talk to you and don’t have a valid address.

Friday night I’ll be going to the initial meeting of a contemporary art collectors’ group at Jay Etkin Gallery. My friend Tonya put the group together and…

Hang on, let’s post a pic of Tonya. (Have I mentioned how much I love my new camera?)

There ya go. That’s Tonya. Anyway, she put the group together through Mpact Memphis. Members of the club will get artist talks, discounts on gallery purchases, and painting demonstrations among other benefits. I’m looking forward to it, since I know little about contemporary art and would like to learn. I think if nothing else, I’ll appreciate the monthly Trolley Tours more.

Hmmm… I wonder if there will be a rush of last-minute sign-ups from guys who saw Tonya’s pic on my blog. I think the sign-up deadline was October 1 though.

Saturday: Only definite plans are to hit the Tap Room at some point and get my high score back on the Gone Fishing video game. I’ve mentioned it before, this completely stupid game where a cartoon polar bear swings a bat at fish who jump out of an icy pond, and the goal is to hit them as far down the pond as possible.

Just think… six years of college and this is what I end up doing with my life. What a waste.

Last Saturday I was in there very late-night playing the Gone Fishing game, and one of my favorite Flying Saucer waitresses, Leah, walked in. “Awwwwwwwwww! The bear is so cuuuuuuuuuute! Look at the bear!” Since then, every time she sees me, she asks me to say hello to the bear for her.

Sunday: The usual routine. Brunch at Sleep Out Louie’s and then the Saucer. Sundays are usually slow days at SOL’s, so the bartender often bakes some goodies to hand out to the regulars. One week it was chocolate chip cookies; another it was brownies; another week it was chocolate chocolate cupcakes. One of the regulars has put a request in for blueberry muffins.

The brownies in particular are a hit. When people hear about them, they always ask, “Are they ‘special’ brownies?” One guy even offered to bring the secret ingredient to make the brownies special, but the bartender wouldn’t go for it.

(I bet my mother is composing an e-mail to me right now asking what a “special” brownie is)

The bartender, knowing I go to the Saucer after leaving Sleep Out’s, always gives me an extra brownie to take to whoever waits on me. After this had been going on for a few weeks, one of the waitresses asked me, “What do you do, Paul?” I told her that I was a web designer and that I used to teach at a university. “Oh,” she said. “I thought maybe you owned a bakery, since you’re always bringing people brownies.”

Bringing ONE brownie can cause trouble, though. One Sunday I walked in and sat in the patio area, which happened to be Leah’s section that day. I handed her the brownie and she squealed and gave me a hug and ran off to eat it. About 10 minutes later Ms. Romania (blond version), who had been working the other room, walked up to me. I could see the sadness in her eyes from across the room. “So, Paul,” she pouted, “I hear you brought Leah a brownie.” Uh-oh.

I asked if she was mad that I didn’t bring her a brownie, and she replied, “Well. Not mad, but… you know.” If you don’t speak female, “you know” is about ten times worse than “mad.” For those of you who think only American women have an uncontrollable thirst for validation and attention, meet Liana. Sometime after she gets home to Romania she will discover this blog. She won’t read it, but she will skim through the posts going, “Well? How often does he mention me?”

(An aside: You know what’s bad? Because I’m usually drunk when I type these, I had to stop and think, “Did I already blog the brownie story?” and look through about two weeks’ worth of old posts. I’m sober right now, in case you’re wondering.)

And that’s the plan for an exciting weekend. The Rapscallions missed third place by one point last night at trivia, but since we almost won a prize I guess I’ll back off from my threat to post Carmel’s phone number on my blog. The grand prize lately has been a Sam Adams golf bag. What in the world would we do with it if we won? Put that sucker on eBay and use the money to go drinking, I guess.

All right… since I’m not going out tonight I may do another blog post this evening. See you later…

Wednesday is "I’m not going out to a bar" night

I’ve decided that this Wednesday, I will try an experiment – I will not go out to a bar at any point during the evening. I will stay home, watch TV, read a book, have a good meal, hang out on the rooftop, go shopping – anything but go to a bar. I think I last had a night like this in approximately July but it seems like it was 1994 or so. Such is life downtown.

I would schedule it for Tuesday, but that’s the night the Rapscallions dominate the Saucer’s trivia contest. I am so confident of a victory that I am tempted to promise that I will post Carmel’s photo and phone number if we lose. I suppose I should clear that with her first though.

Keep in mind that this “no going out to bars” thing refers only to THIS Wednesday night, not EVERY Wednesday night. I’m not crazy, after all.

Attn George Bush: Suggested countries to bomb

Dubya’s popularity is dropping in the polls, and he’s got to be down in the dumps about that. What could cheer him up more than finding a country to bomb? I have some suggestions.

Canada

Visit Canada and you will find a country that is clean, relatively free of crime, and everyone has health care. And when was the last time they were at war with anybody? This country makes us look really bad. We should bomb them for that. However, we should not bomb our neighbor to the south, Mexico, because we need a steady supply of burritos and cheap tequila.

NOT Colombia

Colombia is the world’s leading exporter of cocaine. Bombing Colombia would interrupt the international supply line, which could make it harder for George W. to get his fix. For that reason he will never bomb Colombia.

Besides, I doubt Bush understands that “Colombia” and “District of Columbia” are two different places. And he wouldn’t bomb Washington, D.C.!

Belgium

All you have to do is look at the beer menu at the Flying Saucer and you’ll understand why I have a problem with this country. Belgian beers are the most expensive. Let’s bomb them to kingdom come and install Pabst Blue Ribbon as their new national beer.

France

This has nothing to do with France’s opposition to the Iraq war. It’s just that, on general principles, France sucks. Bomb them.

NOT Austria

Beiing the compassionate conservative that he is, Dubya would never bomb the place that he thinks is home to all those cute kangaroos and koala bears.

NOT Romania

Don’t… you… DARE.

Besides, if the Bush administration ever decides to engage in genetic engineering (most fascist regimes eventually do), they’re going to need some examples of genetic perfection to use as models, and Romania can provide them.

Nigeria

Bush could get a boost in the popularity polls by going to war with Nigeria to end the infamous Nigerian e-mail scam once and for all. Really, though, this would just provide a convenient excuse for him to engage in one of his favorite pastimes, bombing black people.

Egypt

Let’s bomb those ugly Pyramids and replace them with some nice-looking Halliburton corporate office towers.

Turkey

What kind of stupid country calls itself “Turkey” and then doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday? Bomb them.

Iran

Believe it or not, I actually support George Bush’s jihad against Iran. Here’s why: I’ve known several Persian women in my life and they have been some of the hottest women I have ever seen. But over there, thanks to Islamic law, they have to cover up. We should bomb them and introduce one of America’s greatest innovations – the tube top.

Kazakhstan

Just because.

Somewhere in Washington, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are reading this and saying, “He lists ‘just because’ as a reason to bomb a country? This guy thinks like we do! Let’s get him a Cabinet post!”

Mongolia

Anyone who watches professional wrestling understands why we should bomb Mongolia. In the entire history of professional wrestling there has never been a Mongolian wrestler who was a good guy, or “babyface” to use industry jargon. They’ve all been evil bad guys or “heels.” There was Killer Khan who broke Andre the Giant’s leg. There was The Mongol, managed by Gen. Skandor Akbar, who fought the heroic Von Erich brothers in Texas. There was Archie “The Mongolian Stomper” Gouldie who wrestled right here in Memphis against Jerry Lawler. The U.S. government should team up with Vince McMahon and turn the bombing of Mongolia into a pay-per-view.

India

Now here is a country that makes us look really bad. All you have to do is walk through the science/engineering building of an American university and you will understand why. Who will you find there? Not Americans. Americans are too lazy to major in math, science, or engineering; they prefer to major in subjects where you can bullshit your way to a B on essay questions (history, English, philosophy) or learn absolutely nothing useful at all (business). As a result, any work that requires thought will eventually end up being outsourced to India. In another 30 years they will be the world’s superpower. Not us.

(Somewhere Imran is reading this and applauding)

Myanmar (formerly Burma)

Now here is a country I have a BIG problem with. They used to have a really cool name (Burma) and then changed it to something infinitely less cool (Myanmar). For that alone they deserve to be bombed.

Now, back in the ’60s Burma did provide the United Nations with a Secretary General with a very cool name, U Thant. I bet if U Thant were still alive, Burma wouldn’t have picked a new name that is so completely stupid.

NOT Thailand

Top American executives are on track to make some big money this year, enjoying windfalls from the Bush administration’s corporate-friendly energy and bankruptcy bills. They’re going to need a place to celebrate, and Thailand has the best hookers in the world. There’s no way Bush will bomb his friends’ party spot.

China

But just the capital, for the same reasons as Burma. The capital used to have a cool name (Peking) and renamed itself something less cool (Beijing).

Leave the rest of the country alone, particularly Shanghai. I have known some really hot women from the Shanghai area.

The North Pole

So this guy Santa Claus brings toys to children all over the world, for free? That sounds an awful lot like WELFARE to me. Encourages people to want a handout, expect something for nothing. For this Santa must be bombed.

As an added bonus, the bombs might kill some penguins or some walruses, which would be a good way for the Bush administration to thumb its nose at all those liberal environmentalists.

God. The CIA is probably going to open a file on me for this one. I don’t care though. Viva la Internet! Viva la free speech!

Romanian pics, round two

More pics of the two Romanians who are currently living and working in downtown Memphis (there are actually SIX Romanians, but the other four are guys, so who cares about them).

We’ll start with Ioana, the brunette Romanian.

After taking this picture I thought, “Okay, I might as well throw away the camera now, because I will NEVER be able to take another picture that is better than this one.” Good LORD she is photogenic.

Here’s another one:

This is a picture she’d probably like to forget, sweeping up at the end of her shift. During the past week she has told me about the digital camera she plans on buying when she gets home, and how she misses her family terribly. She has learned a lot about herself during her stay in America. A very cool person to talk to. I have nothin’ but respect for Ioana.

And now we’ll move on to Liana, the blonde:

A Liana quote: “Kissing is very important. I love to kiss, I love making out… the kissing, the holding. I am a great kisser… well, no not really, but… yes, yes I am. I am a great kisser.”

Here’s another one – I think this one captures her true essence better than any of the other pics of her:

As a Beer Goddess, Liana takes excellent care of her customers, always filling their orders promptly. Well, unless there’s a guy in the bar she wants attention from. Then you’re on your own if you happen to be sitting in her section.

(Edited Sunday, October 2) One more pic. Liana borrows my laptop to check her e-mail.

The Romanians go home this week. There will be a little less sunshine in my life here in Memphis without them.

Spam What Am (alternate title: Let’s Hear It for the Bandicoot)

I’ve been getting a record amount of spam lately, with really idiotic subject lines. For example:

dampen Pharrgmaceutical
bandicoot Pkharmacy
Psharmacy ranunculus
Pharmmacy cistern

I know that these things only need a success rate of like 1 sale per million e-mails to be profitable, but is there even ONE person strange enough to go, “I’m gonna buy my drugs at THIS pharmacy! They have bandicoots there!” Must be an Australian pharmacy, I guess. Or, I mean, an Australian pkharmacy.

Question for downtowners: If you had your choice between never receiving another unwanted spam e-mail again, or never being approached on the street by a bum again, which would you pick?

The new camera has arrived, and the picture quality is fantastic – far better than my previous camera. I snapped about a dozen pictures last night at the Flying Saucer, including three of the blond Romanian. She and I both agree that they capture her true essence much better than the last round of pics. I need to resize them so they don’t take up all my server space, and then I’ll post them later this weekend.

The camera is small enough to fit in my pocket, so it will go with me to tonight’s Bravo event at the Metal Museum and the Dempseys show at the Saucer, and tomorrow to South Main Trolley Tour and Mpact’s birthday party. This blog may turn into a photoblog in the near future.

Mid-week update: new camera, pork butt, and more

– I’m getting a new digital camera! It’s an Olympus IR-300. 5 megapixels, 3x zoom, and 19 different modes to handle all kinds of lighting. It should be here tonight or tomorrow, so be on the lookout for some new Romanian pics this weekend. I’ll also be able to shoot some new pics for Memphis Wallpaper, the first time in a year I will have updated that site. From the dimensions listed on the site, the camera appears to be no thicker than my cell phone, so I may be able to carry it around in my pocket everywhere I go.

– Take a look at my latest website creation: TradiantCAD.com. This is a company that outsources architectural drafting and CAD work to India, saving its clients money. However, they still have a management team here in the States, for the benefit of their clients.

– The Rapscallions suffered a rare loss at Trivia Bowl last night. Our friend Tracy, whose team was not present, joined us. She wanted to use her team name (“Sissy Bitches”) but we wouldn’t hear of it. There were lots of questions about flags. I should’ve studied the flag section in the World Almanac.

– During Trivia Bowl, team member Carmel mentioned that she had been to the fair. “I had pork butt on a stick,” she said. She told us that she had spent quite a bit of time this week wondering how the pork butt got on the stick. I think Carmel may be kinkier than any of us realize.

– Carmel also told us what she looks for in a guy: Someone who can expand her horizons. So, those of you reading this blog looking for Carmel dating tips, there you go.

– She also told me that she likes men who have math skills – like, if she’s out with a guy and he can look at the check and figure out the tip in his head, that’s sexy. You know, the more I talk to women, the more I like sheep.

– There was a question about sheep last night at trivia at the Saucer.

– Speaking of the Flying Saucer… the Dempseys will be playing there Thursday night. Needless to say, I’ll be in attendance, probably with my new camera.

– Friday I’ll be heading to South Main for the monthly Trolley Art Tour, then at 8:00 I’ll head over to Mpact Memphis’ birthday party at 36 G. E. Patterson. The party is open to the public, $5 for members, $10 for non-members.

– I heard that Lacey was thrilled at being mentioned in my blog. So, I’ll mention her again. Two in a row!

– Dammit, just got an e-mail that some friends are going to Hooters tonight. That would be a GREAT place to try out my new camera, but I’m not sure I can get it out of the box and learn how to use it by dinnertime. Nevertheless, in case I do, you might want to check back tomorrow for pics.

– And I’m outta here for now. Time permitting, I’ll post again.

Hair styling tips, courtesy of MLGW

So last night, I was on the Madison rooftop for their weekly party, and I ran into one of my regular blog readers, a redhead named Lacey. So, we were chatting, and then she says this…

“I stuck my hair in an electrical socket today”

I stood there for a moment, trying to imagine how someone could accidentally get their hair in an electrical socket. Couldn’t figure it out. “Wow, how’d that happen?” I asked.

“Well, I didn’t stick it all in at once, obviously. I divide my hair into fourths, or even tenths, and stick it in.”

“Wait a minute,” I asked. “You’re telling me you stick your hair in an electrical socket ON PURPOSE?”

“Sure,” she said. “I do it all the time. Doesn’t my hair look good?” I have to admit, her hair did look good. This, I told her, was worthy of mention in the blog. “I’m going to be in the blog?” she asked excitedly. “Oh, Paul, you’re breaking my heart! (that’s her favorite expression) Now, promise me you won’t get too drunk when you go out later on and forget this conversation. You have to put me in the blog!”

Later, I went to the Flying Saucer (I’m mentioning the Saucer in what, 90% of my blog entries these days?) and asked the opinion of two women there (not the Romanians, in case you’re wondering). Neither of them had ever heard of such a thing. One of them added, “I’d be insulted if someone told me it looked like I had been sticking my hair in an electrical socket.”

My conclusion: Lacey made the whole thing up, to get mentioned in my blog. Lacey… am I right?