Sunday fun day

Tomorrow promises to be a wild day. With everyone off for Memorial Day, the Sunday brunch/drinking crew will be out in force and going all day long.

Tomorrow will also be a day when we will especially feel the loss of our old hangout Sleep Out Louie’s. Last year’s Sunday-before-Memorial-Day was a 12-hour day at the bar for a lot of the regulars. There were whipped cream fights, and that was the day that the duck fart (coffee liqueur, Bailey’s, whiskey) became the official drink of Sleep Out’s. Somehow, after 3 bottles of champagne and 6 duck farts, I managed to take the #1 spot in the nation at a game of NTN network trivia. Proof that drinking does make you smarter. Here’s a link to last year’s photo album.

Since Sleep Out’s is no more, we’ll likely continue with our Sunday routine of starting at the Majestic for bloody marys and mimosas, then moving to the Saucer in the early afternoon, and after that, who knows – except will be doing it a little more intensely, and for a while longer, than regular Sundays.

I do want to remind everyone to be careful tomorrow night. The criminal element in Memphis knows that people go out and drink and don’t always use their best judgment on nights like this one. Don’t take shortcuts through alleys, don’t leave valuables in your car, and stay where it’s well lit, and you should be fine.

All right – let’s get this party started!

Photo album: Zombie Massacre / South Main Trolley Art Tour, May 25, 2007

Hundreds of zombies descended upon the South Main Trolley Art Tour last night, and I got pictures. Here’s a link to the Commercial Appeal article about the zombies.

Everyone knows zombies eat brains… but did you know they drink TAB?

The zombies have found a victim, who indicated he/she wanted to be zombified by wearing duct tape.

Regular blog readers Groobie Baby, Mendi, and Tom. Mendi has a tube top on.

Click here for the full photo album – 43 pictures. Some are a little blurry because I was trying to run around and get pics of the best zombies.

Last night’s Trolley Tour was the best one I have seen in my five years downtown. We had the most diverse array of businesses ever open their doors – art galleries, clothing shops, gyms, a recording academy, hair salons, a political campaign office, and more. Many of the galleries had live music inside or outside, and Earnestine & Hazel’s also had live music. The Arcade, Harry’s Detour, Zanzibar, Spindini, the Green Beetle and Pearl’s Oyster House were among the restaurants serving dinner during the tour.

Next trolley tour is Friday, June 29. They seem to get better and better every month. Don’t miss it!

I want a Mac

I got an e-mail this morning from containing the following promotion:

New MacBook up to 2.16GHz

(Click the banner above to see all the MacBooks on sale)

Wow, the price of MacBooks is finally dropping to the point where they’re competitive with PC laptops. Even better, it appears that Macs are now capable of running Windows Vista or Windows XP at full speed, thanks to new technologies called Parallels Desktop and Boot Camp Pro (after reading about both, Parallels Desktop sounds like the way to go). Therefore, it’d be like having two computers in one, since I could use MacOS X and Windows Vista on the same machine. And you can get both operating systems pre-installed, so there’s no hassle.

Hmmm… my current laptop is only a year old but I’m REALLY starting to want a MacBook. And since I do affiliate marketing websites like Memphis Discount Dining and Tube Top Boutique, there’s no question that I could write the MacBook off on my taxes… when I factor that in, it’s almost irresistible.

Anyone out there have experience running Windows Vista or XP through Parallel Desktop?

Zombie Massacre tonight

The undead e-mailed me this morning and asked me to remind everyone about the zombie march tonight. They will gather at the Old Daisy at 6:15 and then at 6:45, they will march down Beale and then turn left on Main and march down to the South Main Trolley Art Tour. If you want to participate there are two ways to do so:

1) Show up pre-zombified at the Daisy before 6:45; or

2) Stand somewhere on the march route, with a piece of duct tape prominently displayed. They will “zombify” you (tear your clothes and apply makeup, so don’t wear clothes you plan on wearing again) and then you can join them and march.

Keep in mind that one of their rules is NO DRINKING WHILE MARCHING so if you want to drink, you may want to skip the duct tape and just be an observer (that’s what I plan on doing). There will be drinking, however, at their post-march gathering at Earnestine & Hazel’s.

More info here:

Next Monday and the last Monday of every month: Downtown Night at the Westin

My friend Joan Robinson e-mailed me to let me know about a new event for Downtowners. The last Monday of every month, beginning this Monday, May 28, the lobby bar at the elegant new Westin Hotel will have a special night just for us. There will be happy hour cocktail prices for Downtowners, and there will be complimentary hors d’ouevres as well.

I talked to Joan about this last weekend at BBQ Fest, and they really want this to be an opportunity for people who live Downtown to be able to come out and get to know their neighbors. Great idea – this is the friendliest part of the city, after all. Some come on down Monday night for drinks and fun. Most likely I will be there for this one, so say hello if you see me.

Two open positions on the Center City Commission’s Design Review Board

The Center City Commission has two open positions on their Design Review Board, which makes decisions on Downtown building facades site plans for public and private projects Downtown that receive CCC funds. Current openings are for

  • One graphic designer
  • One person who lives and works Downtown.

If interested, you can contact them through their website, Meetings are at 5 PM the first Wednesday of every month, so you’d need to be available at those times. They’re accepting applications through May 31.

Not only is this a chance for you to play a part in Downtown’s redevelopment, but serving on a nonprofit board looks GREAT as an extracurricular activity on a resume. If interested and you fit into one of the categories above, by all means apply!

Bringing myself back to life, and the invention of a new drink

Wednesday and Thursday nights at BBQ Fest I hit the point of exhaustion… there just came a time each evening when I knew I was DONE. And Thursday night it came relatively early in the evening, about 9:30. I hated to leave when my booth would be open for another 2 1/2 hours, but I just knew… it was time to go.

Friday I recovered, but Saturday I started to get that feeling again… but even earlier, at about 4:30 in the afternoon. I didn’t want to miss an entire half day – the last day – of BBQ Fest! So I stopped drinking the keg beer that was being served in our booth, and walked outside. I saw a lemonade stand, and bought a large one for $6 and chugged it. It was wonderful! I bought a second, then a third. Yeah $18 for lemonade is a bit ridiculous, I thought, but if the festival wasn’t going on I’d be at the Saucer spending that much on beer.

By 6:30 I had finished my third lemonade, and about an hour after that I felt marvelous! I was full of life and full of energy and happy to be alive. I stopped yawning and started dancing around the tent. When friends came to visit I was a chatterbox on the upstairs deck, and I stayed out with them at EP’s and the Tap Room until 2:30 in the morning. Those lemonades made a world of difference – I surmised that it was not only that the lemonade didn’t contain alcohol, but that all the sugar gave me the boost I needed.

The next day, BBQ Fest was over, and I showed up at the Saucer mid-afternoon for my usual Sunday drinking extravaganza. By about 6:00 I could feel myself going downhill, so I decided to see if the trick I learned Saturday could work again. Now, the Saucer doesn’t sell lemonade, but they do sell a sugary, non-alcoholic beverage – Abita Root Beer. I figured two glasses of that would bring me back to life. So I ordered a root beer, drank it, and ordered my free refill. I noticed that Abita Root Beer tastes ever so slightly like Jagermeister.

As I was drinking my second glass, I was joined by former Sleep Out’s bartender Frenchie. “Want to do a Jager Bomb?” he asked. A Jager Bomb is a shot glass of Jagermeister dropped into half a glass of (EDIT: Yikes! Otto just pointed out that a Jager Bomb is Jager + Red Bull, not Jager + beer) and then chugged. It tastes every bit as nasty as it sounds and it’s most definitely a one-way ticket to Stupidville. Since I still possessed a little common sense at that point I turned down Frenchie’s offer.

But then I shared my observation that Abita Root Beer tastes slightly like Jager, and we both thought the same thing… Root Beer Jager Bomb. I’d say it was the birth of a new drink, but I guess it really hasn’t been “born” yet since neither of us dared to try one. I have a feeling that a Root Beer Jager Bomb could potentially do as much damage than the regular one, with the combined effect of the sugar and the Jager on one’s brain.

Like I said, I haven’t actually tried one yet, but we do have a three-day weekend coming up.

Coming tomorrow: A chance for you to have a say in Downtown building projects, and a new happy hour where Downtowners can meet their neighbors. I actually already have them typed up, but since I’ve posted 3 times this evening you already have plenty to read… they’ll be up at the lunch hour most likely.

Earthquake watch: Wonder if something is about to happen?

I have a widget called My Earthquake Watch on my personalized Google homepage that shows all earthquakes over the past 24 hours on a world map, with different icons for different magnitudes. If you don’t have a Google homepage, you can visit the Earthquake Watch site.

Today I noticed that there have been a LOT more earthquakes than usual. Not only that, but there were some in parts of the world that don’t often experience earthquakes. There was a 5.6 magnitude one in the Gulf of Mexico, a 5.7 in the North Atlantic, and two smaller ones in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. There were also a lot of earthquakes in the Pacific Basin – it’s common to see a few in that region every day, but today there were twice as many as usual.

Wonder if “the big one” is about to happen in some part of the world.

How to turn your BBQ Fest team booth into the "party booth"

I’ve been in BBQ Fest booths for several years as a guest, and now for one year as a team member. Team captain Chuck asked me several times, “Paul, what do we need to do to get some hot women in here?” As I walked around the park last weekend, I thought about that question – how DO you get your team’s booth to be the “party booth” where all the gorgeous women want to hang out?

I came up with the list below. This is one case where I really wish Blogger would let me enable comments on a post-by-post basis: I’d love to hear additional suggestions from readers. You can always e-mail them to me at and maybe I’ll do a followup post.

Have a cave-like entrance to your team’s booth. This arouses curosity: People can’t see all of your booth at once, so they wonder “What’s going on in there?” and they want to come in to find out.

Build a double-decker (or triple-decker). There’s some kind of subliminal signal sent there. “Those people are higher up than I am, they must be having more fun than I am. I want to come up there and party too.”

Be prepared to really blow it out on Wednesday (“Friends & Family”) night. Make sure your sound and lighting systems are in good working order and your booth looks like a million dollars. Team members from other booths will come visit and get a great first impression, and by Thursday the word on the street will be that your booth is THE place to be.

If you use wristbands to hand out for guest access to your booth, write your booth’s number on the bands. I’m not talking about the offical Memphis in May team-member wristbands, that get you in the park for free. I’m talking about ones you buy on your own, specifically to control access to your booth.

Why is it important to write your booth number on the bands? Well, several times last weekend I had people tell me, “Paul, stop by (booth number), I have a team!” And you know what? In every case, I totally intended to go visit, but forgot which booth. If you write the number on the band, they CAN’T forget.

This means that it’s better to buy paper wristbands that you can write on, rather than plastic ones.

If you have a ribs team, invite lots of people who live/work on or north of Beale Street; if you have a hog or shoulder team, invite lots of people who live/work in South Main or South End. Ribs teams are typically at the north end of the park. Hog and shoulder teams are usually at the south end. This means that if you have a shoulder team like we did, and you invite people who work north of Beale, they’ll likely use the Beale entrance and have to walk past a half a mile of ribs teams before they get to you. Guess what will probably happen? They’ll get distracted and may never make it down to your booth.

Luckily, my team has some new condo owners in the South Main district, so if we do shoulder again next year they’ll know lots of people in the area to invite – and those people will probably use the Butler Street entrance, which is the one nearest to our booth.

Related: If you invite people from other parts of town who aren’t familiar with BBQ Fest, tell them the entrance nearest your booth is the best one to use. Scope out the parking situation near this entrance beforehand so you can make recommendations.

Use the velvet rope to your advantage. Quick story: I have some friends who loved Raiford’s. But if they went down there on a Friday or Saturday night and didn’t see a line, they figured nothing was happening and didn’t go in. It’s counterintuitive – who wants to have to stand in line? But that’s a sign that your place is the most popular.

So, station someone from your team as the door to act as the gatekeeper (this is also necessary to keep freeloaders out). The person controlling the velvet rope doesn’t have to be mean and confront every person who asks to come in; rather, he/she can simply engage each person in conversation for a few minutes, holding up the line.

Make sure your tent is amply stocked with beer and/or liquor. Well, DUH. If you run out of booze, people will go elsewhere.

Keep the Porta-Potties in your team’s booth clean, make sure there’s plenty of toilet paper, put a light in there, maybe a scented candle. Women appreciate these things. If your bathrooms are dirty, they’ll leave and won’t come back. If on the other hand you go out of your way to make them pleasant (at least as pleasant as a Porta-Potty can be), they’ll remember you for that and you’ll have repeat visitors.

Make sure there’s lots of activity near the entrance to your booth, with a good light and sound system. There may be a huge party going on in the back room, but if the front of your booth looks deserted, people on the sidewalks won’t know about it. Put the dance floor as close to the entrance as possible.

One caveat: I DON’T recommend placing your food, beer, or liquor where it’s visible from the entrance to your booth – it will attract freeloaders.

Get invited to more popular booths than your own. This isn’t hard to do – just go by there on Friends & Family Night and arrange reciprocal access to your team’s booths. Then you can go back on the party nights, and when you see a group of cute girls who have been there a while and are ready to see what else is going on at the festival, you can suggest YOUR booth.

Hire popular service-industry workers to bartend at your booth. All their hot friends will stop by to see them. Usually this won’t even cost you anything – you can probably get them to work just for tips, of which they’ll make plenty if your booth is good.

If a mixed group containing attractive women, not-so-attractive women, and guys asks to come in, invite the ENTIRE group in – not just the hot women. I’ve heard of booths where the guy at the door will say, “Okay, you and you (the good-looking females) can come in and party all night, but you and you (guys/not-so-attractive females) have to stay outside.” For a girl to go on in and party it up while her friends have to wait outside on a muddy sidewalk – that’s just SENSATIONALLY rude. That kind of girl, I wouldn’t even want in my tent. Inviting the entire group in is the respectful thing to do.

Wear your team shirt every day. This way, when you’re walking around the park or visiting other tents, you’ll get asked, “Oh, you’re on a team?” and you can tell them, “Yeah, I’m headed to my booth right now, come on!”

Don’t have a sponsor. For most teams that have one, Thursday night is “sponsor night” where they have all their corporate people and clients at your booth. That’s one less night you have to build your booth’s reputation as the place to party. Of course, for a lot of teams it’s cost-prohibitive not to have sponsorship, so this may be a suggestion you can’t afford to take. And it’s actually contradictory advice, because if you do the other things I suggested (cave-like entrance, double-decker, well-stocked with alcohol) you’re going to be more likely to run up costs that will make a sponsor necessary.

Come back next year. Some of the known “party booths” at BBQ Fest are so popular because they’ve built up that reputation over YEARS. Do the things outlined above and you’ll get there too over time.

One word of caution – are you sure you WANT your booth to be the party booth? Because if it becomes one, you’re going to have to deal with a lot of freeloaders – you’ll definitely need to station someone at the door to keep people out who don’t actually know anyone on your team, but try to say they know “Mike” or “John” or some other common name.

Last Friday evening when I got to the booth, I saw a couple of my team members putting security measures into place – asking everyone if they had a guest wristband, putting a rope across the booth’s entrance to restrict access. “Isn’t this a bit excessive?” I asked. But as the evening went on, it became more and more clear that they were completely correct to take the steps they took. Lots of people came by who obviously didn’t know anyone on the team, and they would’ve eaten and drank us out of house and home if we hadn’t stopped them.

Those are my thoughts as a freshman BBQ team member… maybe in future years I’ll add to the list. I’ll definitely bump this post back to the top a few weeks before BBQ Fest ’08 for my readers who are on teams.