Thursday update

– I’m hungry for lasagna today. When I was teaching at the U of M in the late ’90s, one of my students felt sorry for me because I didn’t have a wife or girlfriend, and brought me a pan of homemade lasagna – the best I’ve ever had. She used real ricotta and mozarella cheese, and sausage rather than just plain old ground beef. I have yet to find an Italian restaurant in town that even approaches that incredible lasagna. But, there are a lot of Italian places I’ve never tried. Any recommendations?

– Maybe I can convince one of my neighbors, who recently proved her ability at cooking Italian food, to give lasagna a try.

– There was an article on the Memphis Business Journal’s website that the crawfish harvest is about 30% of what it was last year. I hope that doesn’t negatively affect the two local crawfish festivals, which are both coming up. The midtown one usually happens the first weekend in April, and the downtown one, the third weekend.

– The Memphis in May Music Fest line-up has been announced. Here it is.

– Every year, Memphis in May honors a particular country, and holds international-themed events the week between Music Fest and BBQ Fest. This year’s honoree is Costa Rica. I need to lobby the Memphis in May organization to select Romania as next year’s country. One of the top Memphis in May people has a plate on the wall at the downtown Saucer, and if he hung out there at all between July and October of last year, he may already be familiar with what a wonderful place Romania is.

– And speaking of Memphis in May… kind of early to announce this, but since I’m on the topic already… I’m accepting invitations to tents at BBQ Fest. E-mail to respond. I’m not ashamed to use this blog for personal gain. I’ll probably repeat the announcement a few more times between now and mid-May.

– NCAA tournament tonight: (1) Memphis vs. (13) Bradley. Estimated tip-off is 6:27 pm. I’ve got an appointment to get a haircut after work, then after that I’ll probably head to a bar and watch the game. Probably I’ll be at the Saucer, unless I don’t like the beer they have on Fire Sale, in which case I’ll be at Sleep Out’s.

– And that’s it for now… time to fulfill my ultimate purpose in life, which is of course sitting in a cubicle all day. Back tomorrow, unless I have a heart attack and die from all the excitement.

For those downtowners who are into dance…

Tangophilia will host a four-week Foundation Series of classes in Argentine Tango, to be held at Quetzal on four successive Mondays, April 10-May 1, from 6:30-8:00 pm, with guided practica afterward. Early registration fee is $50, $45 for students. If you can’t make the April schedule, they’ll repeat the Foundation classes in May.

For those of you not sure if you want to commit to the four-week series, you can try it out for one night at Harbor of Health on Mud Island, where they will be having a one-night introductory lesson (“tango in a nutshell”) this Friday, March 24 from 7-8 pm.

I’m not saying that I will be there for these (although I haven’t totally ruled it out). Just wanted to pass the info along for downtowners who might be interested.

Unsolicited advice from Paul

Thinking back to that job offer I got last week… the entire reason it fell into my lap was because I had a resume on my web site. Very few people have their resumes online. Because I did, the staffing agency working with the City Schools found me when they were struggling to find qualified candidates. So in a sense, I made my own luck.

Everyone should have a current resume online. Even if you’re not actively searching for a job, you should put a resume on the Web anyway. You never know when a better job will find you. Being more visible than everyone else is a key to getting ahead in your career.

Not sure how to do it? Three steps.

1) Create a resume in HTML format. If you have access to Front Page or another HTML editor, great. If not, Microsoft Word can save your resume in HTML format (File menu -> Save as Web Page). If you don’t have Word, or if you don’t have a computer, it’s worth spending a couple of hours at a pay terminal to get this done. (In Memphis, Quetzal at Union and Marshall has several terminals. You can also find pay terminals at most Kinko’s.)

2) Upload your resume to the Web. If you pay for Internet service (dial-up, cable or DSL connection), your provider (ISP) may provide you with free web space for personal pages. If not, you can use Geocities or some other free-hosting service to put your page up.

3) Go to Google and submit your resume web page for indexing. Once Google’s robot takes a look at your page and indexes it, your resume will be web-searchable.

Couple more tips –

– Be sure to include all keywords that are relevant to the position you want. For example, if you program in Visual Basic.NET, make sure that phrase appears on your web resume. If the keyword has an abbreviation (e.g. VB.NET) make sure that appears too.

– If people are looking for resumes, the first keyword they will probably specify will be “resume.” So make sure that appears in the title of your web page. For example, “Resume: Paul Ryburn”.

So that’s the unsolicited advice for this evening. Be visible. Get noticed. Let opportunity find you.

Monday evening update

– I was just flipping through the Flyer and was sad to find an auction notice, auctioning off everything inside “the building across from the Tennessee Street Brewery, at 11 E. Butler.” I quickly realized that they meant the Butler Street Bazaar. I wonder if that means it’s not going to reopen? The Bazaar was a place where independent vendors and artists could rent a booth for a minimal fee, and have a space to sell their wares. They also had food vendors, a farmer’s market, and bands on the weekends. They shut down in fall ’04 with plans to reopen in 2006 after doing some remodeling. Now I’m wondering if those plans have been scrapped. The only thing wrong with the Bazaar was that it was a few years ahead of its time, opening in 2001 when there weren’t yet a lot of people living in South Main. If it had opened a few years later, I have a feeling it would have been a huge success. My best wishes to the people who ran the Bazaar, who were honest, ethical people with a strong sense of community.

– All right. On to happier things. I went to the Beale Street St. Pat’s parade on Saturday, where fellow blogger Kat was riding in the Ptolemy Krewe float and promised to toss me some good beads. And when she saw me, she pulled off a green strand with a shot glass medallion and threw them my way – but somebody else caught them. Oh well – before the parade, she said that if I didn’t get any beads, she’d give me a peek at “the girls” sometime as a consolation. (“The girls” is her nickname for her breasts.) Ya think maybe I missed that catch on purpose?

– I did catch some beads from the Boll Weevils later on. You haven’t really lived in Memphis until you’ve caught at least one strand of beads from the guys in the big green bus.

– The word on the street is that the Majestic, the restaurant on the Main Street Mall that will take the old Gordon Biersch spot, will open April 10. I ran into someone who got hired as a server there, and she seemed quite happy – looks like they’re going to treat their employees a lot better than most downtown bars and restaurants, not that surprises me considering who will be running the place. Good luck to them, and I guess in about 3 weeks I’ll have yet ANOTHER bar to sit at.

– Speaking of bars… it’s Pint Night at the Saucer, so I gotta cut this short. This will likely be the only weeknight I go out this week, as several of my business projects are nearing fruition and I’ve got to get them done by month’s end. Back later with more blogging!

Deal of the Week

This week’s Deal of the Week is a software deal, a chance for you to get the world’s leading office application suite on your computer at a very good price. Best Buy has Microsoft Office Professional for $229.99, after $25 instant savings and $75 in rebates. Here’s a link to the Microsoft Office home page, where you can get more information about what this product can do for you.

I also have a bonus Deal in the high-end electronics category. Circuit City has a Hitachi 42″ HD built-in plasma television, with tabletop swivel stand, CableCARD, HDMI, and USB input for $2499. A friend of mine bought this same TV six months ago for a thousand dollars more, and he loves it. As a matter of fact, I can personally vouch for its quality, having watched the NFL playoffs and the Olympics on his TV. If you’re ready to part with your old CRT television and upgrade to high-def plasma, this is a good time to do it.

Back next week with more Deals.

March Madness on demand

For those of you stuck at work without access to a TV, CBS Sportsline has free live video of all the NCAA tournament games. You’ll need a broadband connection to be able to view.

Now, some corporate middle-management types would say, “Watching TV on company time? That’s unacceptable. That will decrease productivity…” Shut up. Get a life.

(8) Arkansas vs. (9) Bucknell at 11:30 CT today.
(1) Memphis vs. (16) Oral Roberts at 1:50 CT today.

Go Tigers. Go Hogs.

Friday update

– I’ve been meaning to say thanks to Leanne the Diva for mentioning my blog, and my Deal of the Week series in particular, in her new iDiva blog at the Commercial Appeal. The CA is starting to embrace the role of bloggers as a means of providing relevant content. iDiva is one of the new blogs to appear on the site, and it is geared toward women, with new posts every day divided into about a dozen different sub-blogs.

– Lots to do this weekend… I’ve already mentioned the Beale Street festivities for St. Patrick’s Day tonight, and the parade tomorrow. There’s also a lot going on at Peabody Place, where Venus Mission, Herman’s Circus, and DJ Tree will be performing. If it’s like past years, they’ll be selling green beer in the mall.

– Also tonight, there’s ShamROCK at Big Foot Lodge. A $10 donation gets you access to a DJ and $2 cups of 34 oz. green Big Foot Beer, as well as specials on green alcohol. Prize to the person wearing the most green. Donations benefit PALS of Porter Leath. This should be a good one – Big Foot is known to throw quite the party.

– Pat O’s is having a St. Pat’s celebration and charging a $10 cover (unusual for them – admission is almost always free there). If you want to go to Pat O’s, here’s a better idea – buy a $10 wristband, which will get you in not only Pat O’s, but all the clubs on Beale (except Alfred’s, which sucks anyway). Wristbands tend to sell out around 10:30-11:00, so come early. (Note: You might want to ask the doorman at Pat O’s if the wristband will get you in before you buy one – I think it will but I’m not positive about this.)

– Tomorrow (Saturday) night should draw an … um, er, interesting… crowd downtown with Kid Rock performing at the FedExForum. I’m steering clear of that scene; for some good music, check out FreeWorld at the Flying Saucer.

– The Happy Mexican at the corner of Second, St.Martin, and Huling is now open, if you are looking for a place to eat before you head out to St. Pat’s festivities or Kid Rock. Haven’t been there yet – am curious whether it can measure up to Rio Loco, the current gold standard for Mexican downtown.

– The WWE Supershow, featuring a Smackdown! taping and a live Monday Night Raw, will be at the FedExForum on Monday. I’m still looking for a source for free tickets if anybody knows of one…

– Speaking of the WWE, chairman Mr.McMahon is on the cover of this months Muscle & Fitness Magazine. They call him “the world’s most intense 60-year-old” and have pics of him working out with his son-in-law Triple H, one of the WWE’s top wrestlers. They give details of his workout regimen. Apparently he can keep up with Triple H in the gym, and actually out-lifts him on some of the machines.

– By the way… one of Mr.McMahon’s exercises is called the “Romanian deadlift.” Just thought that deserved to be mentioned.

– Financial guru Suze Orman will speak at the U of M on Tuesday, March 21 at the campus’s Rose Theater. The event is free and open to the public.

– There’s rumors of a new 400-unit condo complex to be built on the east side of Fourth between Union and Gayoso. I wonder if that means they are going to tear down the King’s Court Motel? If Downtown can get rid of King’s Court and the Greyhound Bus Station in the same year, it really will be hard out here for a pimp. It will be good for Downtown’s residents, tourists, and employees, though.

– Last week downtown, the Southern Republican Leadership Conference met and chose Bill Frist as the man they’d like to see as the Republican nominee for 2008. That’s why people were walking around Beale Street wearing “Frist Is My Leader” stickers. Here’s a website with info about Bill Frist.

– The author of one of my all-time favorite books, The 48 Laws of Power, has a new book out: The 33 Strategies of War. I flipped through a few chapters at Bookstar last night and it looks good. However, I didn’t buy it there, because Amazon has it for $9 less.

And that’s the report for Friday… 8 more hours in the cubicle, then it will be time for 48 hours of drinking!

Those little black x’s are starting to appear

With all the (much-deserved) hype about the #1-seeded Memphis Tigets, let’s not forget about the Grizzlies.

Check out the standings at Yahoo Sports. Ignore the division standings; those don’t matter much. What you want to look at is the Western Conference standings at the bottom right of the page.

There you’ll see 15 teams listed, ranked in order of winning percentage, except that the division leaders are automatically 1, 2, 3. At the end of the regular season, teams 1-8 go to the playoffs, and teams 9-15 watch the playoffs on TV.

So the Grizzlies’ first goal is to stay in the top 8. We’re number 6 now. So far, so good.

You’d think our next goal would be to move up a spot. I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. The way it works, in the conference playoffs #1 plays #8, #2 plays #7, #3 plays #6, and #4 plays #5. If the rankings remain the same through the end, that would put us up against the #3 Denver Nuggets in the first round, the weakest of the divisional leaders with a .561 winning percentage as of today.

On the other hand, if we move up a spot to #5 we’ll be playing the #4 San Anonio Spurs, who are the best team not to lead a division and have a massive .781 winning percentage. Considering Memphis has never won a playoff game, I think we’d do much better with Denver as our opponent.

You’ll notice that three teams – Detroit, Dallas, and San Antonio – have black x’s by their names. That means that they’ve already qualified for the playoffs. Even if they lose every game for the rest of the season, there’s no way that the #9 team could catch up to their won-loss record. Since only 3.5 games separate us from the #9 team, it will probably be well into April before we see x-Memphis in the rankings.

We’re #6! Let’s go Grizzlies!