Reader’s Choice

I can finally make the official announcement: My blog is a Reader’s Choice Award winner in the Memphis Flyer’s 2006 Best Of Memphis issue, “Best Memphis Blog” category. I’m thrilled. I’m honored. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who voted for me. I really appreciate it.

Best of all, as a Reader’s Choice winner I got invited to the Flyer’s annual Best Of Memphis party, which is tonight. I got to go to the 2003 BOM party (didn’t win an award, knew someone on the Flyer staff who got me in) and it was one of the best parties of the year. So I’m really looking forward to tonight. I’m also thrilled that I have a date to the party, someone who has been reading this blog regularly since December but whom I only met 6 days ago. Oh, and she’s totally hot, by the way.

Since a lot of new readers are going to be finding this blog for the first time, I guess I’ll do an orientation session so people will know what to find here. If you’re new, read on. Regular readers, you probably know all of this already. Back tomorrow with a new post, and possibly some pics from the party.

My name’s Paul. I’m single, in my 30s, and I live downtown in a high-rise apartment building near Main and Madison. I don’t really think of my blog as “the downtown blog,” but I write about my experiences and I go out downtown 5-7 days a week, so I guess in a sense it is a downtown blog.

My two favorite hangouts are Sleep Out Louie’s and The Flying Saucer. You’ll also catch me from time to time at Raiford’s, The Tap Room on Beale, Big Foot Lodge, The Majestic Grille, Earnestine & Hazel’s, The Black Diamond, Blues City Cafe/George Paul’s Last Call, and heck, most of the other bars downtown. I loved the downtown Blue Monkey before it burned down. When The Dempseys play downtown I tend to show up. You’re also likely to see me at the South Main Trolley Art Tour the last Friday of every month, soaking up free wine at the art galleries.

I especially like bars and restaurants that hire waitresses from Romania.

If you’re looking for serious discussion of the day’s events, oftentimes you won’t find it here. One of my favorite features is “What the Bums Are Drinking this Week,” when I inspect the trash of the liquor store around the corner (which caters to the $2-and-under crowd) to report what the downtown panhandlers are spending your money on. Last year I declared June to be “Tube Top Month” – every post contained a reference to tube tops, or a pic of someone in a tube top, for the entire month. It was so successful that I did it again this year.

However – there was one time earlier this summer when I had to get serious. Many of my friends became crime victims downtown around May/June, and for the first time since I moved down here in 2002 I was afraid. Not so much for myself, but for my female friends who walk their dogs alone late at night, or walk home/to their cars after getting off work late at night. So for about a week I went absolutely nuts in this blog, listing every crime incident I had been told about, and calling on downtown developers and leaders to do something (see June 5 in the archives – the posts are still up). The movement led to the formation of a new organization, Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis.

I’m happy to report that the situation has turned around since those posts. My RSDM co-founder Mike King and I met with the police, and since then they have put a lot more walking, bike, and scooter patrols on the streets of downtown. We’re also working on ways to raise awareness of steps to take to stay safe downtown, and to encourage people to report ALL crime and suspcious activity.

What else… well, I do web development for the city schools. I also write a blog called Deal of the Week for the Commercial Appeal, where I pick the best consumer-electronics deals from the ads in the Sunday paper. In the late 1990s I was on the faculty at the University of Memphis, teaching math and computer literacy.

Some of the blogs I read regularly are

* Semi-Charmed Kat
* Life In and Around Memphis by Philip
* Rock & Roll Minor Planets by Serrabee
* The Memphis Scene by Mark Richens
* Thursday Night Fever by Mr. Roboto (Nashville)
* The Homeless Guy (Nashville)

This is not a political blog, but I will say that I’m a huge fan of Steve Cohen, who is running for the TN 9th Congressional district seat. I will also say that I think George Bush is a dumbass. (Here’s a link to the Drop a Brain in Bush video game)

Last Halloween I dressed up as a Beer Goddess (which is what they call the waitresses at the Flying Saucer). It was my most successful Halloween costume ever, and people were tipping me so it practically paid for itself. There are pics of it here. This Halloween I plan to retire my other two costumes (pimp, vampire) and be the Beer Goddess all weekend.

One last thing before I go… I want to mention that I have the greatest group of friends a guy could ask for. They’re the reason that downtown is not only my neighborhood, but my home.

That’s enough of an orientation session… the best way to figure out what this blog is all about is to scroll down and read some of the previous posts. Hope you enjoy it, and hope to see you again soon!