Best bumper sticker I’ve seen in a while

“Somewhere in Texas,

A village is missing its idiot.”

Which reminds me…if you live in Memphis, check out Air America Talk Radio on AM 680. A much-needed progressive viewpoint to balance out Rush Limbaugh and other talk-show hosts of his ilk who seem to dominate the other talk stations in town.

If you don’t live in Memphis, you can listen online at http://www.airamericaradio.com/listen.asp.

Mail bag

Time once again to catch up on the mail. Let’s see what we have here.

Subj: Add up to 4 inches! zxyqbv

Ah, some friendly advice, and absolutely correct. If I keep spending most of my free time at bars drinking, my 33-inch waist will expand to 37 inches. And that would mean I’d have to buy all new clothes, which could get expensive.

I can’t say I remember the person who sent me this friendly reminder, whose name is D1ck Gr(o)wth. I suspect I met Mr. Gr(o)wth at one of the bars where I hang out, and don’t remember him by name because I had been drinking. But he remembered me and sent this e-mail out of concern for my well-being. Nice fellow, that Mr. Gr(o)wth.

Subj: improve your PC paul

Highlighted this message, pressed Delete. There, it’s improved already.

Subj: Black cocks pound white bitches

Now this person is clever. In most states, it’s illegal to hold rooster fights, and it’s illegal to hold dog fights. But rooster vs. dog? Nothing on the books about that! Judging by the subject, the roosters appear to be winning. Perhaps that’s because they’re only allowing female dogs, or bitches, as opponents. Male dogs tend to be more aggressive and might be able to give the roosters a run for their money. I also have to compliment their use of color (white dogs, black roosters) to symbolize good vs. evil. Well done.

Subj: get yuor p1lls hree! no pre.scr1pt(i0ns) nee.ded!

be1ng abel to ord3r p1lls fr(o)m teh 1n,ternet 1s qu1t3 a conv.en!ence. im bsuy @nd d(on)t hvae t1me 2 bee both.ered w1th dcot0r v1s!ts. ph(e)nterem!ne, v1@gra, lev1tr@, th3y hvae 1t @ll. eevn th3 p0pul.ar c!alis, wh1ch i msut c0ncl.ude 1s teh w0nd3r dr(u)g th3s3 d@ys, b@sed 0n th3 15,437 e-ma1ls i h@ve r3cveid @b0ut c!alis s0ft t@bs 1n th pas.t w33k.

Subj: Suntrust account suspension in progress

Wow, I didn’t even know I had an account with Suntrust! I really have to stop drinking so much, it’s eroding my memory. The e-mail contained a link to a nice form explaining that there was a problem with my account. So I entered my birth date, social security number, and mother’s maiden name and that cleared it right up. Funny that they never asked for my Suntrust account number though, you think they’d need that to fix the problem. But anyway, it’s corrected now, and apparently I not only opened an account at Suntrust but did a balance transfer, because the balance of my First Tennessee checking account dropped to $1.62 the day after I filled out the form. So I guess I’ll be late paying the rent this month, hope the landlords will understand.

Subj: our spray makes you invisible to red light cameras

So you spray this stuff on your license plate, and then when you run red lights, the cameras can’t get a shot of your number. Would anyone really be STUPID enough to buy this? Hmmmm…(as I take a moment to think back about some of the students I had at the U of M)…oh god, bet this sells in the millions.

Subj: cheating housewife services

Is this like a competitor to Molly Maids or something? If so, I need to give them a call and see if I can get them to come clean my bathroom. The mildew’s getting out of control in there. Maybe these housewives could do some vacuuming too, and some laundry. But then again, if they cheat they might say they vacuumed when they really didn’t. Never mind.

That’ll do it for the mail this week, folks. I’ll be back shortly with more insightful and informative journal entries.

Out of the closet, but I was never in!

A few days ago I was doing my usual post-work walk around my neighborhood, and as I walked past Swig I saw someone wave at me, a friend of mine who owns a gallery in South Main. So, I walked in, sat down and had a drink with her.

We got to talking about Christmas, and how I didn’t make it home for the official day but will be going home this coming weekend. “It just means the nagging got delayed for a little while,” I explained. “But don’t worry, soon I’ll get to hear how I’m 35 and not married.”

My friend looked at me funny and replied, “Darling. You have told your mother that you’re gay, haven’t you?”

WHAT???????????

I mean, I can understand how someone who I’ve just met might think I’m gay. Or how someone who has seen me across the room several times but never talked to me might think that. After all, I do have a very flamboyant nature. But anyone who has talked to me for five minutes usually figures out real quick that I’m straight. And this is a friend I’ve known for over a year!

Here’s how a typical conversation with me goes: I’ll be talking about something, and a girl in tight black pants will walk by, and I’ll crane my head to look, and totally lose my train of thought. “Um…what was I saying?”

Or you’re talking about something, and suddenly I’ll interrupt: “Whoa! Look at her! She has a TUBE TOP on!” (I have a thing for tube tops)

Or, you’re talking about something, and a really young girl will walk by, and I’ll interrupt, “Hey, look at her, do you think she’s 18?” (and therefore not jailbait)

Maybe I felt the need to be sophisticated around my friend and not act like a total pig because she’s a gallery owner. I’ll be careful not to do that again. From now on I’ll act like a disgusting pig in front of everyone. No discrimination!

Cool Mpact stuff coming up

I’ve talked about Mpact Memphis a lot in my posts. If you’re thinking about checking it out, this is an especially good month. Below are three events that I think are especially noteworthy.

Non-Profit Expo, Tuesday, January 11 from 5:30 to 8:30 at the Botanic Gardens on Cherry Rd. This is your chance to talk with people from about 35 area nonprofits, find out what they do, and find out where they can use volunteers. I’ve been the past 2 years and it’s a good time. Free for Mpact members, $5 for non-members.

Memphis Engaged, Thursday, January 20 from 6:00 to 8:00 at Playhouse on the Square, Cooper at Union. This is a series to inform Memphians about their local government – why do we have a city and county government? how did our government’s current form come about? how do I run for public office? This first session in the monthly series will cover the history of Memphis government and will be taught by a highly regarded history instructor from Memphis University School. Should be interesting and I hope to attend.

Mpact Impacto, Friday, January 28 from 8 pm to 2 am, at the location formerly known as the Plaza Club/Club Ten, second floor of the Toyota Center, Third at Union. I’m lazy so I just copied and pasted the details from Mpact’s site.

The cold, crisp January night quickly melts into an exotic and thrilling ambiance when you step into ¡IMPACTO! at the Plaza Club.

As the elevator doors slide open, your senses are tantalized with fervent Latin flavor. Lights are turned low and splashes of color tease the eyes. A sexy Latin beat plays from just down the hall, tempting your feet to follow the tunes. Es una Fiesta! Vino, sangrias, margaritas and cervasas are served right away. The zesty aroma of authentic Latin cuisine draws you in further where you will find your taste buds enticed by a variety of flavor rich tapas.

Just around every corner, you’ll encounter Latin vibes such as the chic and urbane Cigar Bar. The beat gets louder with the music of Grammy nominated Los Amigos Invisibles and passion is on proud display as Salsa dancers move to the pulsating rhythm. After their performance, they draw the crowd in giving impromptu lessons of this attractive dance. When the dance floor gets too hot, hot, hot, you can cool off at a cocktail table and watch the energizing live band and dancers

MPACT ¡IMPACTO! Vienes!

Tickets are $40 for members; $65 for non-members In addition, you can renew your membership for 2005 and save $10 with the purchase of ¡IMPACTO! tickets (a $35 membership for $25). TICKETS ON SALE DECEMBER 10th!

There’s a link on Mpact’s website where you can buy tickets and/or renew memberships via PayPal. I’ll probably hit the first two hours of the South Main Trolley Art Tour on the 28th, then head to the Toyota Center for Impacto.

So it’s a great month to check out Mpact for the first time, or get back in the swing of things if you joined and never got involved. We have more cool ideas in the works (I have 5 meetings in 4 days next week – ugh) and things are really going to be picking up this year.

New Year’s Resolutions

Been thinking about what I want to accomplish in the new year. I refuse to do stupid resolutions like “exercise more” or “drink less” that no one keeps longer than a week. I want something real, something meaningful. Here’s what I came up with.

1) Connect with people better. One of my best friends is the biggest people person I have ever met. I’ll go to a bar or restaurant with him and he’ll know everyone in the place within half an hour. I finally figured out his secret: He has no agenda whatsoever, other than being genuinely curious about people around him. I want to integrate that kind of behavior into myself in 2005.

2) Step up my involvement in Mpact. Hate to say it, but I think I did a pretty lousy job as a board member in 2004. I helped coordinate a networking event for college students that was very successful, but that was in March and since then…um, well, not much. My plan is to get more involved in the Membership committee – I think we have a lot of people join who would be real assets if we could get them actively involved, but some of them aren’t sure where they fit in. I’ve been talking with the Membership chair about a program to call new members, welcome them, and make them aware of what’s going on. I also plan on being more active in the Social & Sporting Pillar, which plans fun events where members get to know each other on a personal basis.

3) Win “the bet.” I have a bet with one of my female friends that she and I will make out at least one time by December 31, 2005. Better not say too much more about this one or I risk getting myself in trouble.

4) Start a breathing/meditation practice. One of my goals this year is to get more in touch with intuition, inner senses, psychic abilities, whatever you want to call them. I’ve gotten much better the past two years by keeping a personal journal and writing down observations. But recently I’ve realized that a daily practice of getting in touch with one’s inner self – even if it’s only 10 minutes a day – is essential to really cultivate a relationship with the inner senses. So I’m determined to do it, six days a week.

5) Drink less. Wait, didn’t I say I wasn’t going to make that as a resolution? Well, it ties in with the other resolutions. Beyond about four beers/drinks it’s hard to really listen to people and connect with them (resolution 1), and obviously it’s harder to go inside (resolution 4) with alcohol in your blood and on your brain.

Snowed in, but still, what a great holiday weekend!

Despite not being able to get home for Christmas, this is turning into one of the best holiday seasons I’ve ever had.

Wednesday night I walked out of the elevator, on the way to the coffee shop, when I heard voices in the residents’ lounge. I went to see who was there, and it was about five of my neighbors watching the bowl game the U of M went to. They invited me to join them for the bowl game and for wine and appetizers. At halftime we all went to the Flying Saucer and watched the rest of the game there. It was really good to get to know some of my neighbors better. I knew I wouldn’t be going to work Thursday (the streets were totally iced over) so I relaxed and didn’t worry about staying up late.

Thursday night I received a phone call from my friend John who runs the coffee shop. He was getting a group together to check out Bluefin, the new sushi lounge on the Main Street Mall, and invited me to go. Bluefin turned out to be a really, really nice place. Beautifully decorated in different shades of blue, with couches the size of beds to lounge around on, and a DJ playing some chill music to add to the enjoyment of a good time with friends. There were four of us and we split about seven different types of sushi. The standouts, to me, were Heather’s Roll (crunchy crab with seared scallops on top) and Lori’s roll (crunchy crawfish rolls topped with smoked salmon and onion garlic sauce). Service was prompt and all the people who worked there were super-nice. I have a feeling I’m going to be a regular at this place. Great, another bar to vacuum up my money.

Today (Friday) the plan was to have a nice lunch and then have some “me” time for the rest of the day – spend time catching up on reading, writing in my personal journal, figuring out a new design for my website. But then I walked through the Peabody and ran into Terry, one of my best friends and a fellow Sunday drunk. So we sat at the lobby bar and talked for three hours. I had a Brandy Alexander for the first time – tasty, like a milkshake. Later our friend Katrina who owns a shop on South Main joined us, and we moved to the corner bar at Capriccio. So I didn’t get home until 7:30, cutting into my “me” time a good bit. I’m not going out tonight.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I’ve been invited to have Christmas dinner with my friends Kit and Kelly, and our friend Bobby who found my mountain bike in a pawn shop. I mentioned to Kelly that I was snowed in, and she said they have plenty of food, so come on. Spending Christmas with three of the most generous people I know sounds like a great way to observe the season.

I wonder if Raiford’s will be open Christmas night? I’ll be tempted to walk down there, but I will be really mad if I make the 8-block walk with temps in the teens to find out it’s closed.

And of course, then there’s Sunday when things get back to normal. What better way to celebrate the day after Christmas than with a bottle of champagne at the Blue Monkey. And possibly a second bottle of champagne. My regular bartender is out of town visiting family, so someone else will have to put up the Sunday drunks. Last Sunday all 12 or so seats at the bar were taken and all 12 of us were TRASHED and singing Christmas carols. I think the bar’s management made the decision right then and there to never, ever, ever do a karaoke night. I was there from 11:30 am to 5:10 pm last Sunday, which is a relatively short stay for me up there.

So there you have it. What a fantastic weekend, and a reminder that I’ve really found something special downtown. Merry Christmas everybody.

Stranded in Memphis for Christmas/snow and ice

I was at work yesterday, out near Whitten Road, when it started sleeting – hard – about 2 pm. By 2:30 the streets were slush/ice and my car was covered. The company’s official policy was to stay open but they understood if people had to leave early. I held out until 4:30, then went and scraped the car (without gloves) and started the drive home. The last time I drove on ice, I was 17.

It took an hour and a half for what is normally a 30-minute drive. Traveling down the I-40, traffic was moving about 10 miles an hour. Once I got on Sam Cooper, I was able to get up to 25. I nearly got sideswiped by a couple of cars because no one could figure out where the lanes were. But I made it home safe and sound. I warmed up with some hot chocolate at the coffee shop, then went to the Flying Saucer with some of my neighbors (it was virtually the only place open downtown – even Huey’s closed, which is highly unusual).

I called in to work today. The streets have turned to solid ice and it’s not worth risking my life and my car to sit in a cubicle for 8 hours.

Little Rock is in even worse shape than Memphis, so it looks like I won’t be going home for Christmas. If anyone reading this is in Memphis (particularly downtown) for the holidays) and wants to hang out, let me know.

What the bums are drinking this week

NOTHING!!!!!!

hahahahahahahaha

What happened was, the liquor store around the corner unexpectedly closed early, but they forgot to turn off the “OPEN” sign. So the bums stood in front of Walgreens for half an hour begging tourists for change, and when they finally got enough they walked over to the liquor store and…DENIED! Ha! Boy were they mad. They cussed and threw things and kicked over the Apartment Guide box on the corner. Then they started on the long trek to the next closest liquor store, 8 blocks away.

My goal for the rest of December

My web site sucks. This journal is relatively new, but much of the site’s look hasn’t been updated in eight years. And the look isn’t consistent from one part of the site to the next. If this were some crap AOL home page I wouldn’t care, but this site has my name on it. PaulRyburn.com. I still get compliments on it, but in my mind it’s an embarrassment compared to what I’m capable of producing.

So I’m going to try to come up with a new site design. Since I’ve now had a web development job for 3 months, I’ve had the chance to sharpen my skills with style sheets, positioning, graphics, tables and the like. For the next few days I’ll look at every web site and print ad I can find and see if I get any ideas. Then I’ll do the work. PaulRyburn.com uses PHP, whereas I use ASP.NET at work, so I’ll have to learn PHP a little bit better.

So we’ll see what happens. If you know of any well-designed sites that might inspire me, let me know (NO Flash though – I’m not using Flash in the design).

What the bums are drinking this week

Several journal readers have told me that this is their favorite feature, so I figured I’d bring it back. And I’m sitting in the coffee shop, so all I have to do is run around the corner and see what boxes the liquor store threw out…

Damn! No trash today! Well, I saw a truck outside unloading the other day, and (surprise, surprise) there were about 8 cases each of Mad Dog 20/20, Wild Irish Rose, and Calvert Extra. Everything to satisfy the $2-and-under customer.

That’s it for now, the laptop battery is about to die. Back soon with more posts, I have plenty more stories to tell…