The best pizza downtown

I stopped by the Black Diamond about 3:30 this morning for a late-night snack. The Diamond has the best pizza downtown by far. Here’s a pic of the sausage-and-black-olive pizza I got:


And of course I washed it down with one of these:

Thursday update: vacation so far, this weekend

I signed a new lease on my apartment yesterday. That’s a huge relief. I had been worried that my building would go condo, or jack the rent up since it’s one of the few remaining apartment buildings downtown. But they signed me up for another year at the same rent I’ve been paying since 2003. So I’m a Downtowner until 2007 at least.

This has been a great vacation week. People have asked me, “Why don’t you take a road trip? Go out of town for a few days?” But the thing is, I don’t need to or want to. There is no place where I’m happier than Downtown Memphis. I have places I enjoy hanging out, and an abundance of wonderful friends.

Monday night I actually made an excursion outside of downtown. I had been at the Saucer that afternoon working on my laptop, and one of the waitresses asked me, “What are you doing tonight? I want to go to Bluegrass Night at the Buccaneer, and I need someone to go with.” Having never been to the Buc, I agreed. I’ve read good things about it in Rachel and the City and other blogs, and was curious. So about 11 she got off work, and we took my car out there. She drove, as I had been drinking beer since about 2 in the afternoon, and she got to watch in amusement as I turned my apartment upside down trying to find my parking pass, and then couldn’t find my car in the garage. But anyway, once we got to the Buc I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Small, dimly lit bar with a great band and reasonably priced PBR on tap. Definitely a place I’ll check out again in the future.

During the days this week I’ve been helping a local company make updates to their website. I know that doesn’t sound like much of a vacation, but I can take my laptop to local Wi-Fi enabled bars and do it there. And besides, I really like this company. They do architectural design and drafting, mechanical drafting, and 3-D and 4-D CAD work, and they have a business model that allows them to deliver top-quality work to their clients at less than half the usual cost. Check out their samples page – that’s mainly what I’ve been working on this week. If you know of any architects or anyone in the design business, they need to take a look at this site.

So what are the plans for the rest of my vacation? Nothing definite for tonight. The Rapscallions are again hitting TJ Mulligan’s for their trivia night tonight, but I spent 6 hours playing NTN at Sleep Out’s yesterday and am absolutely trivia’d out for a few days. Besides, for some reason I just can’t get into Mulligan’s. It doesn’t hold the same appeal as my Holy Trio of downtown bars – Sleep Out Louie’s, the Flying Saucer, and the Tap Room.

Tomorrow it looks like I’ll be hitting the South Main Trolley Art Tour with fellow blogger Kat. Kat has never been to the art tour and I have to teach her how to sniff out free wine at the galleries.

Saturday day there’s a Psychic Fair at the Mt. Moriah Holiday Inn, and I’ll probably swing by and see what’s going on there. I don’t talk about it much in this blog, but I am actually quite interested in this stuff and have read quite a few books about it. Here’s a link to the info about the fair. The Holiday Inn is right off I-240 Exit 17, near the Mt. Moriah Center for the Performing Arts.

Saturday night… undecided on this one. There’s a Soul Party at the Hi-Tone. I went to the last one, and was struck by two things: 1) how incredibly good the ’60s vintage soul music was, and 2) how I knew almost no one there. I’ll figure it out between now and then. If I don’t head to Midtown for the Soul Party, I may do the next best thing and hit Raiford’s. Haven’t been there in several months, and if I go to Raiford’s I don’t have to drive.

And of course, then there’s Sunday brunch at Sleep Out’s to cap off a near-perfect week.

In the meantime, I have simpler pleasures to enjoy. Like taking a bunch of crackers over to Court Square and feeding the pigeons. And I have my downtown lunch spots to hit this week. I’m thinking it’s going to be Erika’s today for some good German food, and then tomorrow I’ll hit Culinary Productions, where it’s usually salmon or some other fish on Fridays.

Couple of other random notes:

– I read in the paper yesterday that Thomas Boggs of Huey’s fame and the chef at Tsunami have teamed up to lease the old Cafe Samovar location, and will be opening a new restaurant there. No info about what type of restaurant yet, but the current sous chef at Tsunami will be running the kitchen.

– Any veterinarians read this blog? Last night I was talking to a friend, discussing a business idea he had. He wanted to bounce ideas off veterinarians or other people who work with animals, and asked if I knew anyone. Surprisingly, I don’t. I had a former student who was going to vet school, but I haven’t seen her in 4 years. So I figured I’d try to use the Power of the Blog to see if anyone can help. E-mail me (paul at paulryburn dot com) if you can.

And that’s the mid-vacation update… the bars open in less than an hour, guess I better shower and get dressed.

Our trivia team’s secret weapon

I’m sitting in the Saucer working on my laptop right now. The waitresses are standing on ladders hanging Mardi Gras decorations.

Since I used to be a college faculty member, it is my pleasure to offer the following SAT prep question:

LADDERS : MINISKIRTS :: TRAMPOLINES : _______________
a) jump ropes
b) sweatsocks
c) nachos
d) tube tops

The correct answer is at the end of this post.

This is my first of two visits to the Saucer today, as I will be back tonight for Trivia Bowl. The Rapscallions continue to pile up victories, with something like 8 first-places in the past five months. People always ask me, “How do you guys do it? What’s the key to your success?”

Well, I’m going to give away our secret. We are fortunate enough to have a true Trivia Master on our team. Definitely one of the all-time greats. Here are a few pics of the master himself:








With a trivia stud like this on our team, we could probably win every week if we wanted to, but we feel it’s only fair to take it easy and give the other teams a chance.

If you think this post was a waste of bandwidth, wait ’til you see what I have in store for tomorrow.

The correct answer is d).

Wow! Memphis has a roller derby team! Didn’t know

Thanks to Rachel, who writes A Pulp Faction, one of the best Memphis blogs, for sending this info: a pulp faction: Tuesday: Memphis Roller Derby Practice and Meeting

Back in the ’80s I used to watch roller derby on TV. For those of you not familiar with it, it’s a physical-contact sport on a round skating rink. I don’t know if this is true of the local team, but the roller derby I saw on TV had some of the sports-entertainment aspects found in pro wrestling, with babyface and heel teams and evil managers.

My vacation is going very well for the most part… I’ll be out somewhere laptopping this afternoon, making updates to a website. I may very well jump over to Blogger and post a Tuesday update at some point.

Just checked my tracker. Someone from Disney is reading my blog. Cool!

Court Square snow pic

Pic from Saturday when the snow was fresh – this is of Court Square, taken from my rooftop on No. 10 Main. Click on the image to see it in full size. Warning to dialup users: this file is almost a megabyte, may take a moment to download. Shouldn’t be a problem for cable, DSL or wireless users. I didn’t want to resize this one (2560 x 1920) and lose any detail.


Snow is pretty rare in Memphis, so this pic is a keeper. You’ll notice that there is something else rare about this pic of Court Square: there aren’t any pigeons or bums.

Deal of the Week

Continuing my “Deal of the Week” series, in which I scour the ads in the Sunday paper to find the best deals…

This week’s Deal of the Week is the Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop 5000, a wireless keyboard and mouse combo. It normally runs for $99.95 but Office Depot has it on sale this week for $49.95 ($59.95 plus $10 mail-in rebate). It’s a good opportunity to eliminate some wires from your desktop, and users seem to especially like the feel of the mouse in their hand. It also provides one-touch access to photo-editing and screen magnifying features.

The Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 is also on sale for $49.95, but reviews on the Web seem to indicate that the Optical Desktop 5000 is better put together and a more comfortable product to use.

One word of caution: Other devices that emit electrical current can interfere with the wireless signal. My manager at work has a wireless keyboard/mouse, and sometimes his telephone cord gets in the way and knocks the signal out. So if your wireless keyboard suddenly stops working, it’s not necessarily a sign that it’s defective; you may just need to move some things around on your desk.

Back next Sunday with another deal.

Update from last night’s party

Due to the wishes of one of the people at the party, I’m not going to post the images from last night. My apologies for leading everyone on, but it’s important to respect people’s wishes. To the person in question: No hard feelings and we would still love to have you guys join us for trivia night or some other night sometime soon.

“Deal of the Week” and the restroom post coming soon.

Attn wrestling fans

Tickets for the WWE Supershow, to be held at the FedExForum Monday, March 20, go on sale today. This will be a joint TV taping – first, they’ll be taping Smackdown to be shown on UPN Friday night, and then they will have a live Monday Night Raw which will be broadcast on USA Network. This show will occur right before Wrestlemania so it should be a good one.

I haven’t been to a live wrestling show in 8 years – went with one of my students to see Memphis Wrestling in 1998, and I went with a fellow instructor to WCW Monday Nitro in 1996. Normally, I’m not that interested in seeing it live, but this time I might be for one reason:

“I’m… the… BOOGEYMAN! ha ha ha… and I’m coming… TO GETCHA! ha ha ha ha…”

I know WWE sometimes “papers” arenas, meaning they give away thousands of free tickets so that the arena will look full on TV. Anyone got info on how to score some of those tickets?