First Britney Spears, now Donald Trump?

Earlier this month all the tabloids were carrying photos of Britney Spears sporting a shaved head… come tomorrow, Donald Trump could be the latest celebrity to sport a chrome dome.

You see, tomorrow is WrestleMania, and WWE chairman Vince McMahon challenged Trump to a hair vs. hair Battle of the Billionaires. Now, since no one wants to see two 60-year-old men wrestle, they each picked a representative to do battle for them. Mr. McMahon chose Samoan savage Umaga, who has been running roughshod over the Monday Night RAW roster. Trump chose strongman Bobby Lashley, the current ECW World Heavyweight Champion. If Umaga wins, Trump’s head gets shaved; if Lashley wins, it’s McMahon who loses his hair. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin will be the special guest referee.

In other matches, John Cena defends the WWE title against “Heart Break Kid” Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker challenges Batista for Smackdown’s version of the World title.

More rooftop parties

I stopped by EP Delta Kitchen last night for their crawfish nachos and found that their patio is now open. Also, bartender Ugly Steve told me that EP’s will have rooftop parties on Thursdays this spring and summer (starting next Thursday) – so that’s three venues holding rooftop parties this year (Peabody, Madison, EP’s). Here are a couple of pics of the patio:

Here we have regular blog readers Kyle and Clonts enjoying a beer and taking in the view of the city from EP’s patio.

This one’s a little blurry because I took it with the “night vision” mode of my camera. You get accurate colors in night vision, but you have to hold the camera completely still, which is hard to do. This is the best I could come up with, and this is after I applied Paint Shop Pro’s “sharpen more” filter. Anyway, you can at least get an idea of the beautiful bar and patio seating from this shot.

I also found out that my blog is being read by celebrities… server Bobby Durango (formerly of Sleep Out Louie’s) informed me that members of his band the Rock City Angels check my blog on a regular basis.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of crowd turns up at EP’s for the Thursday night rooftop parties… since the Peabody is pretty much guaranteed to suck this coming Thursday, I’ll probably give EP’s a chance. For the long term though, I have a feeling that the Peabody is more likely to be my home than EP’s Thursday nights. There’s just something about hot chicks in skimpy outfits that keeps me coming back.

What else did I do last night… started off at the Saucer, then made it to Trolley Tour for about an hour where, amazingly, they hadn’t run out of alcohol. Found some tasty sangria at D’Edge Gallery. Wandered back up to the Saucer, then to EP’s, then back down to South Main to drink a beer at Nate’s bar at E&H. By that time it was about 2:15 and I was getting tired, so I dropped plans to check out the Black Diamond and just went home.

MLB’s Civil Rights Game will take place at 4:30 PM today at AutoZone Park (if it doesn’t get rained out). It will be the St.Louis Cardinals vs. the Cleveland Indians and will be broadcast live on ESPN and on MLB.TV. There’s a 2-hour pre-game show starting at 2:30.

That’s all for now… be sure to check back tomorrow for an extra special post.

Excited about the Peabody rooftop parties, but skipping the first one

As I wrote in the previous post, I’m excited that the Peabody rooftop parties are starting back up next week. However, the first one I attend will probably be the April 12 one. Three reasons for this:

  1. I hear they’re charging a $15 cover for the first (April 5) one, instead of the usual $5.
  2. The reason for the higher cover is that they’re bringing in a “name” band (Ingram Hill). That means there is going to be a huge crowd, long lines everywhere. No disrespect to the band, got no problem with their music; I just hate overcrowded Peabody events.
  3. Checked the weather for Thursday night and the record heat we’ve been having will be gone by then. The Weather Channel predicts a high of 62 and a low of 43. Keep in mind that when you’re on a high-rise rooftop the wind chill makes it feel 5-10 degrees colder than it actually is.

So I’d be paying three times as much as usual to stand in long lines and freeze my ass off. No. Not doing it.

I’ll see everyone at the Peabody on the 12th, when Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster will be playing. You know I ain’t missing that. Here’s a link to the entire Peabody rooftop schedule, which has been worked out through May 31.

Blue Monkey update

I went by the Blue Monkey today and got an update from one of the owners on the planned Downtown location. Right now they plan to use the space formerly occupied by Alice’s Market and Blue Sky Couriers (which share a building with the Corkscrew on Front) as the new Downtown Monkey. They say it should be able to seat 120 (slightly larger than the old location’s 92) and it should be open by September at the latest. Sounds like that’ll be the permanent location and they’ll figure out something else to do with the empty space at Front and G.E. Patterson occupied by the former, burned-down Monkey.

They still need corks, so if you have any to donate run ’em by the Midtown location. Or, you can give them to me, and I’ll drop them off the next time I have lunch at the Monkey.

Not only is Sharp Dressed Bum annoying, belligerent, and rude, but he has bad taste in music as well

I’ve seen Sharp Dressed Bum walking around downtown this week. This year he isn’t so sharp dressed… instead of neatly pressed linen club clothes, he has a black T-shirt and jeans. I’ve been trying to get a look at what T-shirt (without getting close enough to actually talk to him) he’s been wearing. Today I finally did.

It’s an NSYNC concert shirt. That’s right, Sharp Dressed Bum is an NSYNC fan.

I didn’t think it was possible to respect him any less but… now I do.

Big Wed update: Beer drinking plans, King of the Dirt, MILF, crawfish, trolley tour, crosswords, fake eyes, trivia, and PBR

– Trying to decide my plans for the early evening. It’s Wednesday, which means it’s 25-cent Bud Light at Pat O’Brien’s from 6 to 8. On the other hand, this is one of the few times of the year the Flying Saucer has a “buy the beer, keep the glass” night that I care about – this week it’s Lienenkugel Sunset Wheat, probably my favorite beer there. “Keep the glass” night starts at 7… I guess I could do 25-cent beer from 6 to 7 and then walk up there. If any regular blog readers are heading to Pat O’s tonight, shoot me an e-mail.

My BBQ team has a meeting at 5:30, but I already have my assignment, so I’ll probably skip it, lest I show up and get handed additional work.

– Speaking of my BBQ team… I met the people from our team’s sponsor, Terex, a couple of weeks ago. Really good guys and they have been extremely generous with us. I checked out one of their promotions too, King of the Dirt, and it looks like they’re generous with their customers as well… if you’re a contractor who uses heavy equipment, they’ll put you up at the Peabody for 3 days/2 nights, feed you BBQ, take you to a reception on Beale Street (with free drinks – I got to go to one of these at BB’s), and take you racing in a NASCAR. Pretty sweet deal. I look forward to working with the Terex guys as we get our team up and running.

– Almost got to meet my favorite blogger/MILF Sunday night… looks like she considered coming Downtown to catch the Dempseys at Huey’s, but it didn’t work out. Dammit… she could caught a cab or something, surely a cab from East Bumblefuck to Downtown Memphis wouldn’t have cost more than 50, 60 bucks or so.

– I definitely won’t be in any condition to head out to HER Huey’s (the Cordova one) the next time the Dempseys play there, because it will be April 22, which is the day of the downtown Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest. Put that one on your calendar… one of the best festivals of the year. I have friends at Barton Flats with balconies facing the festival for a bird’s eye view… hmmm, I’d kinda rather be on the street itself for most of it though. I would rate Rajun Cajun as the third best outdoor festival of the year, after Cooper-Young and BBQ Fest.

– The Midtown (Bayou Bar and Grill) crawfish fest will also be happening soon – Saturday, April 14. Although not as good as the downtown one (it used to be better, but Rajun Cajun has gotten HUGE the past couple of years) I’ll most likely attend it as well.

– South Main Trolley Art Tour is this Friday night, March 30. According to the Weather Channel, we can expect a high of 84 and a low of 63, with almost no chance of rain. When the weather’s nice trolley tour is usually PACKED – get there no later than 7 (and 6 is better) if you want to take advantage of the free wine the galleries put out. If you show up fashionably late (8ish) it will be gone.

– Pulse, the Pink Floyd tribute band, will return to Neil’s (Madison at McLean) Saturday nights from 9 to 1. These guys and gals do such a great job that you’d swear that Roger, Dave, Rick, and Nick are right there in the room (I’d add Syd, but I can’t remember if they do any pre-1968 stuff). 8-piece band with a light show; cover is $7 I believe.

– Regular blog reader Josh reports that tube tops are mentioned in the crossword puzzle today. I’m guessing he means the one in the Commercial Appeal. I don’t have a copy of the paper handy so I’m not sure. Two months and three days until Tube Top Month.

– Congrats to fellow Sleep Out Louie’s refugee Matt Singer, who made the front page of the Memphis Flyer today with his invention, a silicone “flexiglass” prosthetic eye. That pic on the cover is kinda freaky though.

– The Rapscallions were shut out of the money at trivia last night, with the Mormons for Gay Polygamy again scoring the first-place victory. We need to find a way to distract those guys so they’ll start missing questions… maybe the Majestic would let us borrow Tifaney for a couple of hours. Wait, she’d distract me too, never mind.

I was the last person to tab out last night after trivia. Mikey and I were the first people to arrive, and subsequent team members were rung up as “Mikey/(number),” like “Mikey/6” and “Mikey/10” for example. Now, that’s fine for the other team members, but I’m at the Saucer more than Mikey is and have a plate on the wall… I felt I had reason to be a bit annoyed if I were rung up as a random member of Mikey’s party. My ticket came and I took a look… it read “Paul/1.” I tipped the waitress a couple extra $$$ for that.

– If you’re a fan of PBR like I am, then today is a special day for you… today is the birthday of Frederick Pabst (1836-1904), whose brew won a “Blue Ribbon” at the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition.

All right, that’s enough news for one lunch hour… back later in the day or tomorrow with more.

A zombie massacre is coming to Downtown Memphis 5/25/07

This morning I received an e-mail from the undead, asking me to let my blog readers know that a Zombie Massacre is coming to Downtown Memphis Friday, May 25. I certainly wouldn’t want to offend the undead, so I’m happy to post the links they sent me.

Their latest blog entry explains how you can become a part of the zombie attack. They tell me that more details will be dribbling out in the weeks to come – “it’s a slow tease,” the undead explain.

So let’s see here… a couple of weeks ago we raised a stuffed billy goat up on a platform and drank beer. Last night we had a rock-paper-scissors tournament. We used to have a bar that did fish races in rain gutters. And now we have a zombie massacre. You can’t say there’s not plenty to do here in Downtown Memphis.

"Benefits": the Holy Grail of the workplace

I just realized, last week I said I’d post some personal/professional news and then I forgot to do it. So here it is. As many of you know, for the past year I’ve been working for the city schools as a contract web developer. Well, a permanent, full-time position opened up and they offered it to me. So, starting on April 16, I’ll officially be a city school employee, with the title of Senior Applications Programmer.

Really, there won’t be much difference in my job duties from what I’m doing now as a contractor. Same projects, same cubicle, same hours, everything.

Funny, I think some of the people I’ve told are more excited for me than I am for myself. “Oh, Paul, they’re hiring you permanently? That’s great, because now you’ll get BENEFITS.” And they look at me like I’m golden… I’ve finally made it.

I’ve never understood why benefits are the Holy Grail that everyone strives for. Yeah, I’ll get health insurance, but I’ll also get paid about 20% less than I got as a contractor, which means I had enough extra money to buy my own insurance. And yeah, they’ll contribute to my retirement, which is nice, but I’ve had a Roth IRA for several years on my own so it’s not a big deal.

I’ll also get vacation, but honestly, I kinda liked that part of it better as a contractor. If I didn’t feel like coming in, I just wouldn’t come in, and they didn’t pay me. Under that system I could take as little or as much time off as I wanted. Now I’ll have to start carefully planning my vacation days. There’s also the problem of not having ANY vacation days as of BBQ Fest, which means I’ll have to talk to them and see if it’s a big deal to take unpaid time as an employee.

So, if being a contractor was an OK deal, why did I agree to give it up and go permanent? Two reasons. One is the title – “Senior Applications Programmer.” The word “Senior” on a resume is worth an extra $10-20K a year. The other thing is, the city schools really aren’t a bad place to work – laid-back environment, the people are easy to get along with, casual dress, plenty of opportunities for training. If I were to remain a contractor, I’d have to constantly worry that the budget could be reshuffled, eliminating my position, and potentially forcing me back into the stressful corporate world. The city schools job is about as good as office jobs get. I can’t see myself quitting, unless it’s for a job that gives me the freedom to work when and where I want, or the chance to start my own company – but neither of those opportunities is currently on the horizon.

Am I excited about going permanent? Yeah, but I’m equally as excited about advancing to the next round of the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament (see last night’s post). That’s a case of misplaced priorities, huh?

One step closer to Vegas

Tonight was the second of two Rock-Paper-Scissors tournaments at the Flying Saucer, with the top two from tonight’s tournament to advance to a larger tournament Downtown, and the winner of that to go to Las Vegas for 4 nights and 3 days, all expenses paid, for a $50,000 national tournament.

I dedicated the first round (in a field of 32) to my beautiful waitresses and won in two straight (all matches were two out of three). Then things got interesting in the round of sixteen when I, the Downtown blogger, went head to head with Ryan Jones, the Midtown blogger. First time I had ever met him face to face… what a way to meet! It went to the third and deciding round and I took him down… Downtown defeats Midtown, but I did have the home court advantage.

As they called me up for the Elite Eight I pointed to the sky and said, “Grandmama, I know you’re not here in person to see this, but you’re looking down on me somewhere and I know you’re proud.” And sure enough, I advanced to the Final Four. My opponent, I quickly realized, was sitting next to me on the couch, and his friends tried to pump me for strategy and I gave them misinformation. I went on to defeat him to make it to the final two.

I lost the championship round, but since the top two were invited it didn’t matter…. I’m still in. The next round is tentatively at TJ Mulligan’s on Saturday, April 7. I don’t have a time but will post it when I get it, and from talking to the Bud Light people who ran the tournament, it sounds like event the location isn’t 100% confirmed. Winner of that tournament goes to Vegas the second weekend in May, all expenses paid, for the chance for 50 grand.