Early voting has already started: Kevin Gallagher for Criminal Court Clerk

Early voting for the county primary elections started Wednesday and runs through April 27. I would like to ask you to consider voting for a very good man, Kevin Gallagher, for the position of Criminal Court Clerk.

I first met Kevin about 10 years ago when I volunteered to do some database work for Steve Cohen’s 1996 Congressional campaign. Kevin was the campaign manager, and I was impressed with his work ethic and his commitment to make the city a better place. In recent years, I have kept in touch with Kevin through our involvement with Mpact Memphis, where he has been active in the Policy pillar. Kevin recently served as an aide to County Mayor AC Wharton, so he is well versed in county government already.

Steve Steffens, author of the LeftWingCracker blog, writes in his recommendations for the elections:

Criminal Court ClerkKevin Gallagher No-brainer here; he has plans to streamline the office and he will bust his butt to do so.

I agree.

To my Republican friends: This is a Democratic primary, so I guess you won’t be voting here. But when the general election comes, I hope you will keep in mind that in the past I have endorsed Republicans in this blog (John Pellicciotti, Ruth Ogles) who have had good hearts, sharp minds, and who have been committed to working for the public good. Therefore, I hope that you will return the favor and give Kevin a serious look. He’s a good guy and will do right for the county.

Thanks for reading.

Friday update

– Still adjusting to the new job and MCS’s content filter. Websites that “could contain objectionable material” are not viewable from work. Now, I can understand why they wouldn’t want employees looking at porn or spending all day on online casino sites. But, when I get new messages on my MySpace account, I can’t check them because the content filter thinks MySpace is objectionable. I can’t view Serrabee’s blog or AngieDawn’s blog or The Homeless Guy’s blog because they’re on blogspot.com. I can’t view LiveJournal blogs either, which means I can’t keep up with what’s going on in Kat’s life.

– On the other hand, I can view my own blog because it’s on paulryburn.com, not blogspot. Not sure if I can publish to my blog from work via Blogger; haven’t tried this week. I can view Rachel and the City, Pulp Faction, and other local blogs that have their own domains.

– Even worse, they have the firewall set up where I can’t hit my home PC via a Remote Desktop or WinVNC connection. That really sucks, because I prefer to check my e-mail through my home computer, where it’s all in one place, rather than using a webmail interface. I’m going to work on ways to circumvent this once I get a little more settled in. Perhaps I can tell my manager that I have files on my home PC that I need to refer to (like programming tricks I learned from previous jobs), and for that reason I should be granted remote access. We’ll see.

– Overall I’m really liking my new job though. I had a meeting with the department manager on Wednesday where he gave a presentation on the city schools and how our work fits in to the big picture. One thing he said that I really liked: “You notice we have magazine racks. I encourage you to bring your magazines for other people to read, and not just IT magazines – money, travel, whatever you have. I want to encourage people to be well-rounded.” MUCH respect for that. I think I’m going to enjoy working with him if that’s his attitude.

– It’s Holy Week leading up to Easter… I remember back in 1978, when I was a third-grader, I did the whole Lent thing. I gave up Cokes for 40 days… I collected money in a miter box… I went to church every Sunday all the way through Lent. But, to get the perfect attendance award for Lent, I also had to go to a service called “Maundy Thursday,” which was the Thursday before Easter. Apparently there was some valuable lesson to be learned by going. So I went. What I learned was, going to church on Thursday night is even a bigger waste of time than going on Sunday.

Four years later, when it was time to give up something for Lent, I gave up going to church altogether.

– This kind of blog entry illustrates why I keep the comment feature turned off.. my mother would undoubtedly post an “Oh Paul, don’t be sacreligious” response.

– And while I’m on a roll about Easter… every year, the churches make a big deal of reminding people that Easter is about Jesus, not the Easter Bunny. If that’s true, how come I see chocolate bunnies on the shelves at Rite-Aid, not Chocolate Jesus?

– Moving on to downtown news… Southern Blaze Hot Wings has opened at 200 Poplar. I’m always happy to have another hot wing restaurant downtown, but notice the address. 200 Poplar. That means it’s across the street from 201 Poplar. The county jail. That place is going to draw an “interesting” clientele to say the least. I’ll give it a try, but I’m calling ahead and getting my wings to go.

– I like my wings the same way I like my Romanians… extra hot.

– Reminds me… one of the Romanians (the blonde) e-mailed me this week and told me she has applied for a visa to come back to Memphis this summer. YAY!!!!! In my reply, I wanted to ask if the brunette is coming back as well, but to do so would be to risk a response of, “OH. I SEE. SO YOU DO NOT CARE THAT I AM COMING BACK!!!” I guess I’ll have to e-mail the brunette myself and ask.

– An event not to be missed… breakfast with Benny the Bunny tomorrow (Saturday the 15th) at the Children’s Museum, 10 am to noon. In addition to meeting Benny, you’ll also get to make easter baskets and bags, and pet live rabbits.

– Let’s see what’s going on in the Memphis Flyer… hey! Pimp and Ho Party at Senses on Saturday, April 22. Hmmm… that could be enough to get me to make a rare appearance outside of downtown. I wonder if my ho’s are up for it… Angie? Melanie? Hang on, let’s post a pic of the ho’s.

There ya go. Those are the ho’s. Of course, this pic was taken in simpler times. Nowadays, Angie would probably spend most of the evening text-messaging people on Uber Phone 3000, and Melanie would try to bring her damn dog with her and would be refused admission to the club.

– The Memphis Flyer also has an article about The Main Street Journal, a new Memphis-area conservative publication. In an attempt to connect with the African-American community, they put a picture of a black man on the cover of this month’s issue. But, showing the typical conservative lack of sensitivity and intelligence, they used a pic of a black man posing with a truckload full of watermelons.

– Suggestion to the strip clubs that advertise in the Flyer… don’t use your own dancers in the pics in the Flyer ads. Hire models. Seriously. This week’s issue and last week’s issue illustrate why.

– All right. Now that I’ve offended practically everybody, I guess it’s time to go out and enjoy my day off. Have a good long weekend if you have Good Friday off, or a good regular weekend if you don’t. And don’t forget to stop by the drugstores on Monday – they’ll be selling Marshmallow Peeps for half-off.

Wednesday update

– I have more info on the coffee shop to be located in the South Main District. It will be called Bluff City Coffee and will be located at 505 S. Main, in the building that used to house Etched Art. They’re currently hiring and there’s an application for employment on their website.

– I also found info related to a question a reader posed last week, asking if there was a Madden Playstation football league here in town. Today at lunch I was walking around the U of M campus and saw a flyer for a Madden ’06 tournament, to be held Saturday, April 22 at the Buffalo Wild Wings in the Wolfchase area. On Saturday, April 15, they’re holding an open house from 2-4 PM, with PS2s available for gaming. (I’m assuming this would also be at Buffalo Wild Wings.) If you’re looking for info on Madden leagues, this would probably be the place to find it. Their website is www.lan-matrix.com.

– The new job is going well… very low-stress environment, and the first project I was assigned seems well within the scope of what I know how to do. I’m thoroughly enjoying the 4-mile commute to work, and the lunch hour in Midtown. There’s an employee cafeteria here at the school board, although I can’t understand why anyone would want to eat school food when there are so many great restaurants nearby. As I mentioned, today I skipped eating altogether and drove to the U of M campus and wandered around at lunch.

– And I picked the right week to start… Friday is an administrative holiday, so I have a 3-day weekend. I’ll have another one the first weekend in May… I asked for and received the Monday after Music Fest off. People will be yelling and screaming downtown until all hours of the night and it just isn’t possible to get a good night’s sleep. Besides, I’d rather be out there doing the yelling and screaming. And, of course, drinking.

– Every job always has to have one little quirk though… the hours are 8:00 to 4:45. If you come in early, you can leave early. So if you come in at 7:50, you can leave at 4:35. You can take your lunch whenever you want between about 11 and 1. But if you come in at 8:01… well, then we have a problem and you get “written up.” Even if you work 8:01 to 4:46. I don’t get that. I understand the need to threaten to “write up” the 19-year-old waitress at Chili’s if she’s late… I don’t see the point in doing that to professionals with college degrees. Especially when it’s IT work and the computer is still there whether you come in at 7 or 8 or 8:10 or whenever. They actually have someone who comes by and checks to see who is there at 8. It seems like a rule just for the sake of having a rule, and you know I’m not a fan of those – but that’s the school system for you.

– My friend AngieDawn wishes for me to let you know that it was not she who created the “Hi… I’m from Romania” doll (see a couple of posts prior to this one). It’s one of the 6 or 7 other Angies I know.

– A server at one of my favorite downtown watering holes asked me to pass on the following information… if you walk into a bar or restaurant and there are several clean tables and one dirty one, don’t sit down at the dirty one. Heck if I know why, but it will keep your servers and waitstaff happy, so there you go.

– The rooftop parties have started, and I’ll be going to the Peabody rooftop tomorrow night. If anyone wants to join me, I could use a wingman (or wingwoman). I’ll miss the following week’s rooftop party, because the Dempseys will be playing at the Saucer.

– Downtowners’ jargon: If someone who lives in downtown Memphis tells you they’re going to get a “Slurpee,” they don’t mean the frozen drink you buy at Circle K or Mapco. They mean a Call-a-Cab or other frozen daiquiri from Wet Willie’s.

– I rejoined the trivia team for the first time in 7 weeks last night at the Saucer, and the Rapscallions coasted to another easy victory, bringing our count of unused $25 gift certificates to 4. A couple of more wins and we’ll be set up to have a nice little party. Also at the Saucer last night, I bought Earring Girl an Irish Carbomb (and of course, one for me as well) to celebrate her birthday.

– And that’s the news for now. One more day and the weekend is here, at least for me!

Deal of the Week to move to the Commercial Appeal

This is the major announcement I’ve been waiting to share…

Effective Sunday, April 16, my regular Deal of the Week feature will move to the Commercial Appeal. They’ve been watching my blog for the past two months, and have contacted me about doing something together. So I’ll be joining the CA blogging staff!

I’m happy to see one of my regular features make it to the big time… personally, I always thought “What The Bums Are Drinking This Week” was the most marketable, but I guess the CA knows online content better than I do.

Off to work…

Look what my friend Angie made for me…

She made this on the website blinkyou.com. It actually kind of looks like the blonde who was here last year. Here’s a pic for comparison – it’s a horrible pic of me but who in their right mind would be looking at me in this picture?

I’ll be back later with more news and that major announcement I’ve been talking about… but right now, believe it or not, I’m about to head to the Saucer. It’s Earring Girl’s 21st birthday (she’s one of the waitresses) and she’s coming up there on her night off – I’m sure I’ll be one of the many people to buy her a beer. It’s trivia night as well, so hopefully I can lend a hand to the Rapscallions’ victory as I float around the bar.

Deal of the Week

Welcome to Deal of the Week, where I scour the ad inserts in the Sunday Commercial Appeal and present the best deals to you. This week, CompUSA appears to be the place to go. They have a Hewlett-Packard laptop with 17″ screen for only $799.99. This is $400 off the regular price, after $200 instant savings, a $50 mail-in manufacturers’ rebate, and a $150 eRebate. The laptop has an 80 GB hard drive and 512 MB of RAM. It comes with an AMD Turion 64 processor, which is important because it means you’ll have the option of upgrading the laptop to the new 64-bit version of Windows rumored to be coming out later this year.

CompUSA also has a 19″ LCD monitor on sale for $199.99, after a $50 manufacturers’ rebate and a $50 eRebate. That is the lowest price I have ever seen for a 19″ LCD monitor at one of the major retailers.

If security is your concern, check out Office Depot this week. They have a Microsoft USB Fingerprint Reader for $9.99. It’s regularly $39.99, so you’re getting it for 75% off after $20 instant savings and $10 mail-in rebate.

Office Depot also has a Strip Cut Paper Shredder for 50% off at $14.99. It takes 6 sheets per pass and sounds like a way to keep spying eyes away from your documents at a bargain price.

Target has a 5.1 megapixel Polaroid digital camera on sale for $88. It features a USB connection and a 1.5 inch screen. You’d be hard-pressed to cross the 5 megapixel threshold at a lower price.

Those are the Deals for this week. Back next week with more Deals, and stay tuned for a major announcement about this regular blog feature.

Sunday update: poker, cops, and coffee shops

Last night, I entered the poker tournament at Hollywood South, Mpact’s fundraiser. About 16 people participated, and after two hours of play (by then they were starting to close the place up) it was down to one other person and me. I got dealt an Ace-King, which if you know anything about Texas Hold’Em is not a bad hand to start out with. So I went all-in (bet all my chips). When my opponent flipped her cards over and had a 3 and a 9, I started to feel really good.

Then they dealt the flop. 3, 3, 9. She had a full house on the first five cards. Blast it. So I came in second.

Still not bad though. The second place prize is a personal meal from the chef at the Majestic – he will come to my place to cook dinner, although I have to supply the food. Works for me. Later in the evening I went to Earnestine & Hazel’s and ran into him there – I told him I won and he liked the idea of cooking on No. 10 Main’s rooftop grills.

He also told me that the Majestic will be open in a couple of weeks, so it looks like the April 10 date that I heard last month was a bit optimistic.

The Mpact party was a blast. They always throw tremendous parties for their fundraisers. Being in that space made me realize how much I miss Club Ten. For those of you not familiar with it, it was a members-only nightclub inside the Plaza Club at Third and Monroe. It cost $150 a year to join and they gave you passes to invite guests. Trendy, upscale music, drinks, and crowd – think Swig with a dance floor. The club was doing extremely well but in April 2004 its owners moved to England and decided not to try to run it from overseas. There was talk of reviving it in a different location later that year, but nothing ever came of it.

I wish someone would pick up the Club Ten concept and run with it. I think it would go over huge with downtown’s young professional crowd. If anyone decides to give it a go, you have my promise that I will promote the living hell out of it in this blog.

Yesterday when I went to the crawfish festival, I parked on Jefferson, east of Cooper. I easily could have found a spot two blocks closer to the fest, and people were asking, “Paul, why do you always park so far away at these events?” Here’s why: there were four Metro DUI cops waiting to pick people off as they pulled out of the parking lot. Now, I wasn’t drunk when I drove home, but still – if I’ve had even one beer, I go out of my way to avoid encounters with cops. Parking where I did, I just drove to East Parkway and blended in with traffic, never coming anywhere near the festival and the cops as I drove home.

By the way – I’m not condoning driving drunk, but if you do ever get pulled over on suspicion of DUI, every lawyer I’ve ever talked to has said the same thing: absolutely do NOT submit to a breathalyzer test. You’ll get your license suspended for the refusal, but it makes it a lot harder for them to pin a DUI on you. Get a good attorney and you’ve got a good chance of fighting it and getting the charge reduced or dismissed.

Last night I heard a rumor that there’s going to be a new coffee shop opening soon in the South Main area. Anybody got the info on that?

Speaking of coffee shops, as I was walking down Main yesterday, I noticed that the shop formerly known as Empire Coffee is now calling itself Puffy Joe’s. Doesn’t “Puffy Joe” sound like someone who smokes a lot of weed? Not that I’ve ever met the guy, but I’m just saying, with that name… of course, he’d hardly be the only downtown business owner who… never mind, let’s just end this now.

Deal of the Week will be up later today.

I got bored and took one of those personality tests…

Had a couple of hours to kill between the crawfish fest and the Mpact party, so I took one of those online personality tests. Here are the results:

Advanced Global Personality Test Results

Extraversion |||||||||||||| 56%
Stability |||||||||||||||||| 73%
Orderliness |||||| 30%
Accommodation |||||| 23%
Interdependence |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Intellectual |||||||||||| 50%
Mystical |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
Artistic |||||||||||||| 56%
Religious |||| 16%
Hedonism |||||||||||||||| 70%
Materialism |||||||||||| 50%
Narcissism |||||||||||||||| 70%
Adventurousness |||||||||||||| 56%
Work ethic || 10%
Self absorbed |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
Conflict seeking |||||||||| 36%
Need to dominate |||||||||| 36%
Romantic |||||||||||| 43%
Avoidant |||||||||||| 50%
Anti-authority |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Wealth |||||||||||| 43%
Dependency |||||||||| 36%
Change averse || 10%
Cautiousness |||||||||| 36%
Individuality |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Sexuality |||||||||||| 43%
Peter pan complex |||||||||||| 50%
Physical security |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
Physical Fitness |||||| 30%
Histrionic |||||| 30%
Paranoia |||||||||||| 43%
Vanity |||||||||||| 43%
Hypersensitivity |||||| 30%
Female cliche |||||| 30%

Take Free Advanced Global Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

Work ethic, 10%. Guess I won’t be linking to this personality quiz from my online resume. It’s entirely accurate though.

Individuality and anti-authority, 90%. Right on!

I’m really surprised that I scored as high on Religious (16%) as I did. I would have predicted a score of zero.

Crawfish fest was a little chilly but OK. I got a flyer from a girl who called herself Lil’ Miss Mayhem that the Memphis Roller Derby team is having a fundraiser June 10. That should be a fun event to go to.

All right. Time to get ready for the big party…

Goodbye ACB, Cookie, Crawfish, and other weekend notes

Yesterday was my last day at ACB. Even though I’m looking forward to starting with the City Schools on Monday, a job offering more money and new challenges, it was weird/sad to have to leave a company I really like. I have nothing but good things to say about ACB – the work environment was casual, free from office politics, and everyone got along.

I’ll take a moment to tell a quick story: Several months ago I was at the Tap Room on a Friday night, and ACB’s general manager came in with a couple of friends, who also happened to be mutual friends of mine. “Oh, you know Paul?” they asked the GM.

“Yeah, Paul works with me,” he said. Not works for me, but works with me. I always appreciated that little sign of respect – kind of a way of saying, hey, outside the office we’re all equals. That kind of thing was indicative of the way I was treated at ACB.

My boss was great too. He gave me projects that expanded my knowledge and skills, he was always there to answer questions and to let me bounce ideas off him, but he didn’t micromanage. Even when he made suggestions on how to improve, he did it the right way, always accentuating the positive. He’s one of the good guys. I’ll miss working for him.

After work, I celebrated at Big Foot Lodge with a deep-dish chocolate chip cookie a la mode. Here’s a pic:

Guys, if you have a girlfriend you need to bring her to Big Foot to share one of these cookies. Unless she’s one of those girls who will whine about how many calories it has – in that case, call and tell her you have to work late, and then go to Big Foot and eat the cookie by yourself.

And if you have kids, it goes without saying that you need to take them to Big Foot – take a look at the skillet desserts and other desserts on their menu.

Every time I go to Big Foot, they make me feel so welcome there. Not even the presence of The Most Annoying Woman On The Planet could ruin my good time last night. I watched the Grizzlies game on their TVs and hung out afterward until almost 12:00.

I have a friend who is looking to sublet her apartment in Midtown for a couple of months, and after that, once the lease is up, you may be able to take over a new lease. It’s on the top floor (6th floor I think) of a very nice apartment building (I’ve been in the building before, although not her apartment). I don’t want to quote an exact number but rent would be less than half what I pay at No. 10 downtown. She’s even willing to leave basic furniture in if needed. This offer is open only to people I know personally – I don’t want to send her some random person who may turn out to be crazy or irresponsible. If interested e-mail me and I’ll pass on the info.

So, today is the Overton Square crawfish festival. I’m trying to decide whether to drive my car or ride my bike up there. Hmmm… last year I walked, although it took an hour to get there. Here’s a money-saving trick: they’ve been price-gouging on the beer (4 bucks for a 16 oz. Budweiser draft) in recent years. But, you can walk across Cooper to the convenience store and buy a 24 oz. can of beer for 99 cents and sneak it in.

I’m trying to decide if I’m going to go to Hollywood South, Mpact’s annual fundraiser tonight at Don’t-Call-It-The-Plaza-Club-Or-Someone-Will-Correct-You. On one hand, it’s kinda expensive ($35 a ticket, or $65 for a VIP ticket which gives you access to the open bar; I’m sure you can figure out which kind of ticket I’d be buying). But on the other hand, Mpact threw one HELL of a party last year when they did Mpact Impacto. It really was the place to be. Hopefully they can pull it off again. Hmmm… I know there are some people talking about going to Raiford’s afterward… and I’m always up for Raiford’s.

I’ve just been kind of bored with Mpact lately… I’m coming to realize that they made a mistake when they got rid of the pillars, and I feel partially responsible because I was on the board at the time and voted for it. And if they tried to bring the pillars back, corporate donors would see it as, “oh, they’re reconfiguring themselves yet AGAIN” and they’d think the organization has no sense of direction. Not sure what the solution is.

Time to get going… I’ll be back tomorrow with Deal of the Week, and there may be a major announcement coming soon concerning that weekly blog feature. Have a good weekend everybody!

Important basketball game tonight

New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets vs. Dallas Mavericks, 7:30 pm tonight.

If the Hornets lose, by my calculations the Memphis Grizzlies will be guaranteed a spot in the playoffs for the 3rd consecutive year. The Hornets have a sub-.500 record, and will be playing against the team in the NBA with the 3rd best record (Dallas, 57-19) on Dallas’s home court. I’d say our playoff chances are looking real good.