“Downtown Memphis Info” section now up

See the blog’s right sidebar.  Started off with six categories – happy hours, free wireless Internet hotspots, grocery and drugstores, panhandling, apartments and transportation.  More categories to be added.  The “panhandling” page contains a link to my infamous guide to Downtown Memphis bum gimmicks.

I need your help with the “happy hours” page.  That one is just a starter for now.  I know there are more happy hours out there that I missed.  I also plan to add a list of drink specials that aren’t happy hour, but happen on a particular day of the week.  If you know of anything I should add e-mail paul@paulryburn.com.

One more thing – someone had a request to add a music calendar.  I’ve tried that before, many years ago, and haven’t found a way to make it work.  I tried it as a test for a couple of weeks, and determined that it would take me about two hours a week to add all the info on upcoming shows.  The alternative is to give bands the ability to add their own stuff, but then it becomes “bands who know how to use the Internet” and half of the listings still won’t be there.  It also opens up an opportunity for bands and club owners to spam the calendar and take their shameless self-promotion too far to the point that it’s annoying (I see this a lot on MySpace) and people stop visiting the calendar.  So for now, it’s not in the plans.  Never say never, but not now.

My work is done!  Time to go have a BEER!  Or three.  Gotta have at least three.  I have a feeling there will be more than three.  Since I’m starting so late, could be a late finish too.  hmmmraifordsmaybe

Party photos

Whew! Been working on the laptop all day. I even took it down the street to Sawaddii with me to get lunch. I don’t know why I’ve gone so long without going to Sawaddii, great place. I had the green curry over rice noodles with chicken breast, peppers, carrots and basil. Spicy hot, just the way I like it.

Anyway, I’ve got the photo albums from the last two parties up, so you can look at a bunch of people you probably don’t know unless you yourself are in the pictures.

Super Bowl party 2/3/08 at Barton Flats

Rapscallion Party VI/Otto and Paola’s birthday party 2/8/08 at the Flying Saucer and a few from the Peabody lobby

I’m rushed for time but I can’t resist posting just a few of my favorites here.


A classic Downtown Memphis photo: John D consuming his beverage of choice.



The Nuh-Uh Girl consuming one of the 14 or so meals she had at the Super Bowl party.



You don’t even want to know what these two were plotting.

Still at home… can you believe it’s after 6 and I’m not out at a bar yet? I’m determined that the first draft of my new “Downtown Info” section will make it to the blog before I go out. Really, I’ve done just about all the typing I need to do… just a matter of editing my template to make the new section show up. You should see it within a few hours, at the top of the right sidebar.

Saturday update: Red Rooster, Blues City Pastry, and possibly a new Sleep Out Louie’s

Fun times last night… it was Rapscallion Party VI as we cashed in our $415 in trivia winnings.  We managed to roll through the money in just over 3 hours.  I consumed beers number 13, 14, and 15 toward my plate:

Previous total:  $59.00

Acme Pale Ale bottle $4.00
Dos Equis Special Lager bottle $4.25
Cooper’s Sparkling Ale $5.50
Tip:  $13.75 x ~30% = $5.00
Total:  $18.75

Grand total:  $77.75

The party was also a birthday party for our friends Otto and Paola who celebrated birthdays this week.  By 10:30 PM we were pretty much all wiped out.  I was one of four survivors who made it to the Peabody lobby for a drink for Otto’s birthday (a tradition started last year), but before the waitress came over to take our order, I realized I was just too exhausted to continue and called it a night.

Special thanks to our waitress Melissa who did an AWESOME job taking care of us last night.  It looked like they were a waitress short and she was absolutely slammed the entire time, but she still managed to keep our beer glasses full.

The Memphis Business Journal had an article yesterday about The Red Rooster Bar and Music Hall, scheduled to open February 21.  The Rooster is on Lt. George Lee Avenue, across from the Gibson Lounge and 1 block south of Beale Street.  Ground Zero and a yet-unnamed jazz bar will also open on that street before Memphis in May, and the street is being positioned as an alternative for people who have outgrown Beale Street but still want something Downtown.  Owner Luke McKee told the MBJ, “We’re just looking to be another great restaurant and party spot to bring people in, especially the locals.”  I’ve met Luke and hung out with him several times at the Saucer and Hoop’s Bar, and I’m convinced he and his business partner know what they’re doing.  I think this is going to be a really good addition to Downtown.

Interesting news from Birmingham… Performa Entertainment who runs Beale Street is developing a two-block entertainment district there.  A blog reader who now lives in B’ham sent me an article about it, and guess what name was among the restaurants that have signed letters of intent – none other than SLEEP OUT LOUIE’S.  I know it’s the same business as the former restaurant on Union because the Mesquite Chop House is also listed as having signed a letter.  So if you miss Sleep Out’s and don’t mind a 4-hour drive to get there, it will soon be an option.

Blues City Pastry at Main and Peabody Place has announced that due to popular demand, they will start opening for breakfast two hours early (10 AM) effective tomorrow.  They’ve expanded their breakfast menu too and now offer New Orleans style beignets, cinnamon rolls, scones, coffee cakes, four kinds of quiche, assorted breakfast sandwiches on croissants and bagels, and their newest menu item, made-to-order omelets.

Plans for today:  I’m going to hold myself prisoner in my own home and force myself to get some work done.  I need to get photo albums done for Rapscallion Party VI and the Super Bowl party.  I’ve also been meaning to add a “downtown info” section to the blog for a while, with pages that will tell you where you can find good happy hours, who has Wi-Fi, info on transportation Downtown, stuff like that.  That’s an idea that has been discussed for over a year but nothing ever came to fruition… now I’m ready to do it.  So I’ll at least get started on that today.

Snozberry plays the Saucer tonight at 9:30… the last few times they’ve played I’ve fully intended to go and then other things came up.  Tonight I plan on making it.  Think I’ll take an early evening nap and get up there about 9.  That way I can get situated and listen to their first set while I knock out beers 16, 17, and 18 toward my plate.  After the first set I’ll decide whether to stay there or do a change of venue.  The Dempseys play Blues City tonight and I’m kind of in the mood to hear them again.

Oh – reminds me – if I do indeed get there at 9, they’ll be charging a $3 cover, which I won’t have to pay because of my UFO Club card.  Since I’m keeping track of the entire cost of getting a plate, it seems I should log a negative $3 entry for that.

Lots to do today… time to go to Walgreens to buy my morning caffeine.

Friday update

Not a whole lot to report today, but I’ll see what I can do to make this interesting.

This Sunday is Soup Sunday at the FedExForum. It’s a fundraiser for Youth Villages. For those who haven’t been before, here’s the deal: You get to walk around and sample soups from about 70 local restaurants. It’s a great event but I’ll say what I say every year: If you’re going to go, GET THERE EARLY. The event runs from 11 to 2 and I suggest that you be at the door at 11 sharp. If you get there late you’ll have to stand in long lines and some of the restaurants will have run out of soups.

I won’t be able to make it to Soup Sunday this year because I have to be at church at 11. Well, not church actually, but a bar. It will be week 2 for McGuinness in the 2-week brunch rotation. You know where we’ll be afterward.

Speaking of church, we have now entered the time period known as Lent, when you’re supposed to give something up. Otto: “I’m giving up sobriety for Lent.”

And now it’s time for the review of last night’s episode of “Paul gets drunk at the Saucer.” We’ll start with the beer summary:

Previous total: $38.00

Bud Light bottle in honor of John D $3.25
Shiner Bock (Fire Sale) $2.75
Flying Horse $10.00
Tip: $16 x ~30% = $5
Total: $21.00

Grand total: $59.00

Other stuff that happened: I un-retired from darts, and vowed to retire again when I lost a game. Thanks to a good partner I’m still un-retired after 4 games.

Air Traffic Mike bought me a car bomb. He came in carrying food, and a waitress immediately came running over looking for a handout. It reminded me of when I was a kid, when the cat would come running to the kitchen whenever she heard the electric can opener.

Oh and later in the evening I got to second base with the aforementioned waitress. She and I have this thing where we punch each other on the arm. Obviously I don’t punch her hard, since she’s a girl. So last night I was listening to the band, and she walked by and I attempted to punch her on the arm and missed, and accidentally punched her boob. She thought it was hilarious. Hope I didn’t ruin her dream – she probably envisioned it happening with soft music in the background and candlelight and champagne. But hey, that’s how I roll.
The Flying Horse bottle was an Indian beer and it was huge. I drank it out of the bottle as if it were a 40. I commented to a few people that if there were a Raiford’s in India, they’d sell Flying Horse.

“It’s an Indian beer?” someone asked. “Do you mean it’s brewed by Native Americans, or is it from India the country?”

“Indian as in, the ethnicity of most of your classmates if you take a computer programming class,” I replied.

The Friday night episode of “Paul gets drunk at the Saucer” looks to be a good one. This time there may be pictures.

Time to head back to the world of C# and XML files and compiler errors.

Help bring Startup Weekend to Memphis

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs. Well, here it is. There’s a project called Startup Weekend that travels to cities around the globe. If we can bring it to Memphis, locals with an entrepreneurial spirit will be able to attend the Startup Weekend conference and build a tech business from start to finish in a mere 54 hours. Attendees will then all own equal shares in the new business (with Startup Weekend owning 5%).

This is a great opportunity to create something and work with some of the brightest minds in the city. Even if the conference doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, please vote for Startup Weekend to come to Memphis anyway and forward it to anyone you know who might be interested in starting a tech business. If it does sound like something you’d want to participate in, check the about page and the FAQ page for more information.

Thursday update

Lots to talk about today.

The Phoenix Club e-mailed and asked if I’d mention an upcoming Mardi Gras party they’re having.  They do a lot of great work with the Boys and Girls Clubs, and that’s where the party’s proceeds will go.  Their party is Saturday, February 16 at the University Club starting at 8 PM.  $40 ticket in advance, $50 at the door covers admission and beer and wine.  ’80s band U.S. will provide the entertainment.  There will also be a High Roller room, $100 to admit one person and a guest, which gives you access to top-shelf beverages and a seat at the Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament presented by Harrah’s.  When the casino closes at 11, you can exchange your chips for raffle tickets to win a variety of prizes such as overnight hotel packages, VIP tickets to sporting events, jewelry, and clothing gift certificates.  Tickets can be purchased online or through a club member.

Calhoun’s Sports Bar & Grill has a new beer on tap… none other than PBR, and they’re selling it for a buck fifty.  That’s not a discount only good at certain times – that’s the regular price of the beer.  Oh man… Calhoun’s is trying every trick in the book to get me to be a regular.  Next thing I know the owners of the bar will e-mail me and tell me they hired some Romanians.

John D continues to be a fountain of useful knowledge.  Sunday he used the word “rheostat.”  “A light dimmer switch is a rheostat,” John D explained.  “The volume knob on your stereo is a rheostat.”  Apparently drinking Bud Light makes you really smart.

I’ve heard about another new .NET programming position if anyone is looking for one.  It’s not with my company, but I’ve been told it’s a very good place to work.  E-mail paul@paulryburn.com if interested.

I don’t announce a whole lot of non-Downtown events, but I will mention that the Young at Art group at the Dixon is holding their ARTini party Friday, March 7 from 7 to 10 PM.  I’ve never been but have heard this is a particularly good event.  Free for YAA members, $35 for non-members, $50 for couples.  Music by Susan Marshall, a silent auction, and of course, martinis.

Kennedy from Q107.5 e-mailed to remind me that you can still listen to the radio station on Thursdays to find out how to get into EP’s for free and get free drinks and food from 8 to 9 PM.  Haven’t made it in a few weeks… not sure if I’ll be back tonight, but soon.  Seems like I haven’t put in a lot of time at Hoop’s Bar lately, not sure why because I still love the place.

Plate update:  Knocked off beers 7, 8, and 9 last night.

Previous total:  $21.75

Old Scratch (Fire Sale) $2.75
Pyramid Apricot $4.00
Foster’s Oil Can $5.50
Tip:  $12.25 x 30% = $4.00 (I round the tips to the nearest dollar)
Total:  $16.25

Grand total:  $38.00

The bums were in hog heaven last night, thanks to the Tiger game.  My apartment building’s owner saw me outside Slim’s and told me I should watch the students walking to the game and how much they were giving to panhandlers.  So I took a window seat perch at the Saucer, and I was appalled at how many times I saw students pull out dollas and give to bums.  College students haven’t had a lot of experience with them and don’t know any better… they think they’re helping the homeless (which is NOT the case) or they feel like they may be in danger if they don’t give.  I even saw one student chase down career panhandler/convicted felon Sharp Dressed Bum to give him money.  I’m thinking about contacting The Daily Helmsman, the U of M campus newspaper, and seeing if they’d be interested in doing an article on panhandling before and after Tiger games.

I stopped in Circa briefly to say happy birthday to regular blog reader Mendi (her actual birthday was last week, but she was celebrating last night).  While there the GM gave me a sample of the new Boscos pale ale they’re now serving, and it was good – really, it was better than any pale ale I remember trying.  That’ll probably be my beer of choice at Circa from now on.

Time to go to work and write some C# code.  Have a good day everyone.

More stuff: New trivia night, new jazz night, Democratic delegates, basketball

(Edit:  Just got a text saying that tonight’s Warsteiner glass is different from the one pictured below.) 

Occasionally I’ve had people tell me, “I wish there was a second trivia night Downtown on Tuesdays. Right now the only option is to go to the one at the Saucer, and face off against the unstoppable Rapscallions.” Well, you’re in luck. Tug’s, the casual restaurant inside River Inn of Harbor Town on Mud Island, is starting a Tuesday trivia night next week. The contest will begin at 8:30, with $1 off drinks, and $50/$20/$10 prizes.

I still haven’t been to Tug’s… need to get over there and check it out. They also do $1 off drinks during their 3-7 PM happy hour. Wednesdays they play host to Tigers and SEC fans and offer half-price drinks, and Thursday is Ladies’ Night with half-price drinks for females.

The Westin is starting a Blues Night in their lobby bar area Fridays from 5:30 to 7:30. The great Charlie Wood will kick it off this Friday. Blast! I won’t be able to make that one due to conflicting plans. I hardly ever get to hear Charlie anymore. When I first started doing Sunday brunch at Sleep Out’s, Charlie played every week.

This article, written before Super Tuesday, shows that the fight for the Democratic nomination almost certainly will go all the way to the convention. To win the nomination, a candidate needs 2,025 delegates. But, only 3,253 are pledged delegates, who are required to vote as dictated by their state’s primary or caucus. With Clinton at 900 and Obama at 824 according to RealClearPolitics, it’s doubtful that either candidate will get to 2,025 by the end of primary season. There are only 22 states, D.C., and some little islands left to vote.

That means there will probably be some wheeling and dealing at the convention to sway the 796 superdelegates one way or the other. Superdelegates are Democratic members of Congress, past Democratic presidents, Democratic state governors, and other bigwigs in the party, and they can vote however they please. As the article points out, if it comes down to a battle at the convention, Hillary has the advantage, as people in the party owe the Clintons a lot of favors from the past 16 years. However, her team will have to be careful, as African-Americans and those tired of politics as usual could see the brokering for Clinton as a maneuver to steal the nomination.

Wonder if the Republican ticket will end up being McCain/Huckabee. I have to admit that would be a heck of a ticket, certainly a lot better than the ass clowns they’ve given us the last two times. If anyone could straighten out the Social Security fiasco, it would be those two. I’d prefer to see Obama or Clinton in the White House next year, but I could live with McCain and Huck.

Posting this from home in my lunch hour. On the walk over here I got panhandled for ’bout 8 dolla. Damn bums are getting greedy.

(1) Memphis plays SMU tonight at 8, but the real game to watch will be (2) Duke vs. (3) North Carolina, also at 8. Go Tar Heels! I hate Duke. The Duke/NC game will be on ESPN. Calhoun’s Sports Bar will carry the Tiger game via Internet feed.  (Their MySpace page is a good one to bookmark.  They keep it regularly updated with the games they’ll be showing.) Since I have to get a Warsteiner glass at the Saucer there’s no chance I’ll make it down to Calhoun’s for that one.

Oh yeah, I said I’d look for the Warsteiner glass pic on my laptop. Here ya go:


Pretty cool glass huh? As long as I’m posting pics and talking about the Tiger game, I may as well post this pic of regular blog reader Meredith in a Memphis shirt:



Unusual to post a Meredith pic in February… she usually shows up on the blog several times during June for Tube Top Month.  For new readers who aren’t familiar with it: Every June this blog’s theme is Tube Top Month, where every post has to contain a mention of tube tops or a picture of someone in a tube top, no matter how irrelevant tube tops are to the subject matter of the rest of the post.  I was actually considering not bringing Tube Top Month back for a fourth year, but I had females protest:  “No!  You HAVE to do it!  I’ve already bought clothes for it!”

Yikes!  This post has consumed my entire lunch break.  Time to hit Publish and get back to the office.

Majestic wine dinner tonight and other notes

Congrats to my trivia team The Rapscallions on yet ANOTHER first-place victory last night.  That brings our gift certificate total to a massive $415.  Not even tornadoes can stop us!

The Majestic Grille still has a few spots open for tonight’s wine dinner, led by Jim O’Fallen of Osborne Wines.  Here’s the menu:

Manzanilla olives
Jamon y Chorizo – sliced Serrano ham & chorizo sausage
Patatas con Aoili – potatoes with aoili
Gambas con Steas, Ajo y Vino Blanco – shrimp, mushrooms, garlic and white wine
Osborne Fino Sherry

First course:
Paella valencia
Traditional paella with chicken, seafood and chorizo
Blanco viura 2005

Second course:
Lomo de Cerdo Relleno de Higos
Pork loin stuffed with figs & almonds
Served with Swiss chard and potato casserole
Dominio DeMalpica

Chocolate con churros
Rich chocolate pot with warm churos
Osborne Shiraz Tempranillo 2004

$55 per person plus tax and 20% gratuity.  If any of the wines strike your fancy, a rep from Joe’s Liquors will be on hand to take orders.  Only a few seats left, call 522-8555 to make reservations.

Beer report:  The Saucer was nice enough to put three beers on Fire Sale last night in observance of Mardi Gras.  Needless to say those were my three UFO beers of the night, bringing the total to 6.  Let’s take a look at the scorecard:

Previous total:  $10.50

Last night’s UFO beers:
Abita Turbo Dog, $2.75 Fire Sale.  God that was a horrible beer.
Abita Purple Haze, $2.75 Fire Sale.
Abita Amber, $2.75 Fire Sale.
Tip:  $1 x 3 beers = $3
Total last night:  $11.25

Grand total:  $21.75

Tonight is “buy the beer, keep the glass” night, and it’s one of the few I actually care about getting – Warsteiner, which comes in these really cool glass beer steins.  I have one already and want more.  I have a picture of it somewhere on my laptop.  If I can find it I’ll post it later today.  So I’ll do Warsteiner draft, the Fire Sale and a bottled beer tonight.  Maybe I’ll do a Bud Light bottle in honor of John D.

According to RealClearPolitics the delegate count for the Democrats is 900 for Clinton, 824 for Obama.  This race is going to go all the way to the convention or very close to it.  Clinton may be ahead but Obama is building momentum.  McCain looks like he has the Republican nomination.  Congrats to the Republicans for choosing someone with a triple-digit IQ for the first time in 12 years.

Time to get to work.  Having a lot of fun writing code to move XML files around.  See you later!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot… it’s Super Tuesday

Go vote, if you didn’t early vote already.

This is going to be a very interesting night.  I’ve talked to several people who I just assumed would be automatic votes for Hillary Clinton… and found out they’re voting for Obama.  Hopefully we can convince the Saucer to put one of the TVs on election results while we play trivia tonight.  Although, no promises we’ll be successful on that, because most of their patrons consider it a tragedy if ESPN Sportscenter isn’t viewable from every angle in the entire bar.

Scratch what I said about taking the laptop up there tonight… it looks like heavy rain’s moving in.  Just got the pics downloaded from my camera, organizing them into various folders:  “superbowl08” for the Super Bowl pics, “2blog” for random pictures that will one day make it onto the blog, and a few pics went in the “bums” folder.  Soon as I get a chance I’ll run Picasa through the Super Bowl folder and post a photo album.  Won’t be right now though – got to get back to work.  They’re finally letting me code!


As I walked down Main Street yesterday, John and Carlos, the owner and GM of Circa, stopped me to give me an exclusive:  Starting today (assuming the delivery shows up) Circa will be carrying one of Bosco’s beers.  Boscos has a warehouse at Main and Crump and they’re now wholesaling beer to a few select restaurants, and Circa will be the first place Downtown to carry their product.  They tell me the first beer they carry will be a pale ale, with a cream ale to follow next month.

I drank my first three Pint Nite beers last night, so I’m starting the running total.  They were

Bridgeport IPA, $2.50
Woodchuck Pear Cider, $2.50
Rogue Dead Guy, $2.50
Tip:  $1 x 3 beers = $3
Total: $10.50

My actual tab was $0, because when I went to pay I found that one of my blog readers had covered it.  Thanks!  Sometimes it’s nice to be a blogger.  I didn’t get a chance to taste-test Bridgeport vs. Avery because they were out of Avery.

A friend of mine pointed out a flaw in my “plate in 67 days” plan:  There are only 10 Pint Nites in those 67 days.  Due to the 3 per day rule, that means I’ll only be able to get 30 of the 68 or so Pint Nite drafts at the $2.50 price.  So there’s no way I can do a plate in 67 days and do a plate as cheaply as possible.

I’ll do beers 4, 5, and 6 tonight at trivia.  Think I may take the laptop with me tonight.  There’s a lot of Downtown info pages I want to add to the blog but haven’t had time.  Need to get Super Bowl pics up too.  That means there may be a drunk post tonight.

Time to decide where to go get lunch… I definitely want a burger, just not sure which burger.  It will either be the cheeseburger from Elliott’s, the mushroom swiss burger from Court House Deli, or the chili burger from Sam’s.  All excellent choices.  Hmm… leaning toward the chili burger.