Wed update: I’ll be in South Main tonight for poker, 11 burgers, All Pink Party, Main Street improvement meeting, World Series watch party, Pink Pig fleece, tube top news, Flying Saucer improves trivia night

Tonight I’m going to try something different on a Wednesday night. I’m going to head south to the Loft Bar at the Double J for poker night with Muruako at 8:30. Usually I do trivia on Wednesdays, but I’ve been promising myself that one of these Wednesdays, I’d take the night off and go play at the J. This is the night! Muruako hosts Monday poker at the Silly Goose which I play regularly, so I know it will be a fun game down south. South Mainers: Come out and play!

Hmmm… you know what’s not far from Double J? Central BBQ. Maybe I’ll head south an hour early. I’ve had their wings and pulled pork, but I’ve heard I really need to try their brisket plate and their turkey plate.

Now that Best Memphis Burger Fest is over, Seth is back on the Best Memphis Burger blog making up for lost time. His post this morning covered 11 burgers.

The All Pink Party is tonight at the Silly Goose. Liquor & wine tasting, new appetizer tasting, entry into drawing for prizes all included in your ticket cost of $25. Details here. Party is at 8:30.

Also tonight, there’s a public meeting for people interested in learning more about Main Street infrastructure improvements. There’s a $30 million grant to improve Main Street and make a pedestrian path to Arkansas across the Harahan railroad bridge. Meeting is at One Commerce Square, southeast corner of Main and Monroe, from 5:30 to 6:30 in the basement auditorium. More info here.

Tomorrow, Thursday, October 25 is AutoZone Park’s annual World Series game watch party. They’ll have Game 2 on inside the club level and on their new video board. Free to watch, and you can purchase a food buffet for $7 in advance, $10 (cash only) at the door. Beer and wine will be available for purchase as well.

Shelton Clothiers has fleece Pink Pig jackets for sale in charcoal, cream, and Tiger blue. WANT. Coming to see you soon Tom.

Tube top news: Now that’s she’s had the baby, Snooki is showing everyone that she’s back in shape by wearing a tube top. Details here.

Last night I was in the Flying Saucer when their trivia night started. I didn’t play but I notice they’ve improved it significantly. They now have the questions on both big screens, inside at the bar and outside in the Garden. So you can sit anywhere you want now and still be able to play. They’ve improved their sound system too.

That’s all for now. Hope to see you at the Double J tonight.

Tue update: Halloween party Sat @ Saucer, Halloween party Fri @ Mulligan’s, sushi @ Yao’s, trivia change @ Beetle, poker hand gone wrong, updated Downtown Dining Week menus

I have updated information about a couple of Halloween parties happening Downtown this weekend. First of all, the Flying Saucer is bringing back live music for their party on Saturday, October 27.

Red Letter Day will perform from 9:30 to 1:30. When the band is on break, there will be costume contests where you can win prizes. Theme is “Dead Rock Star” so you might do better in the contests if your costume is along those lines. There is also a Mystery Beer Tub they usually put out around 8:00. For $2 you get to reach in a covered tub, and whatever beer you pull out, you drink. In past years, I have pulled out several beers normally selling for $8-10 in a row. Quality stuff like Wychewood Hobgoblin. Of course, I’ve also been stuck drinking a Lowenbrau or two. Nevertheless, Mystery Beer Tub is one of my favorite promotions of the year.

Also, there will be NO COVER for the Flying Saucer Halloween party. If you don’t feel like paying cover charges at other nightspots nearby, come to the Saucer and hear live music for free.

The night before, Friday, October 26, TJ Mulligan’s Pinch will have their Halloween party. Drink specials, prizes, music by Coons Rhythm Rockers. I won’t make it to this one because I’ll be at the Blind Bear party, but if you live in Uptown or on the island it’s something nearby.

By the way – I’ve upgraded my costume for the Bear party. Much better gangster outfit this time. That cheap, wrinkly $20 jacket I had on at the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre party has made its way to the garbage can. Maybe I’ll get my photo re-taken. They’ll have a professional photographer there if you want to get your gangster or flapper pic on their dining room wall.

As I was walking to the bars last night, I noticed a new sign under the “OPEN” sign at Yao’s China Bistro. It read “sushi.” Has anyone had it yet? Is it good? Now we have five places you can get sushi Downtown: Yao’s, Bluefin, Thai Bistro, Bangkok Alley, and the restaurant in the Holiday Inn on Union.

Kevin Cerrito, who runs Thursday trivia at the Green Beetle, has announced a change of format. They are dropping the sports format and doing general trivia questions from now on. They will have a special Halloween edition this Thursday at 8 and Kevin will announce more details about the new trivia night at that time.

I played poker at the Silly Goose last night and got eliminated in a mere 15 minutes. On my poker blog I take a look at the hand that cost me most of my chips.

More Downtown Dining Week menus have been released. Kerry has the list. Comments on the updated list:

1) Venison at Bleu for $20.12? I’d be all over that.

2) ATTN SARAH N: Chicken Curry is the entree at Brass Door!!!

That’ll wrap it up for this post. Halloween shopping is all done, so probably back on regular schedule tomorrow.

How to get into RiverArtsFest for free

Just a quick news update about RiverArtsFest, the arts festival Friday-Sunday in the South Main neighborhood. They’re charging an admission fee for the first time ever – $5. I’ve had a couple of people ask me, “What if I just want to frequent one of the businesses in the area? For example, what if I want to just hang out at Max’s Sports Bar all day and watch football, and I don’t care about the festival?”

Well, today the festival’s organizers posted a way around the fee on their Facebook page. If you ride the MATA trolley to the Butler Station trolley stop and get off there, you’ll be inside the festival without paying. Pretty cool deal.

All right, I’ve got to go Halloween costume shopping again so this needs to be a short post. Coming soon: News about a couple of Halloween parties, a trivia night, sushi, a poker hand disaster, and possibly more.

Mon update: Yo-Yo Ma tonight, Sex Trivia, Poker @ Silly Goose and other happenings tonight, Revive sale, R. Kelly, Grizzlies luncheon, win Anthony Bourdain tickets

Sorry there was no Monday update post at lunch, but I needed my entire lunch hour to go Halloween costume shopping. It was a partial success. The good news is, I upgraded my gangster costume, so I have something to wear to the Blind Bear party on the 26th. I have an idea for another costume to wear to the Saucer (27th), Goose (31st), and a private party on the 2nd. Right now it’s a work in progress. I may have to go costume shopping again tomorrow at lunch.

Yo-Yo Ma performs tonight at the Cannon Center with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 to 9:30. Find out what he will be playing here.

This isn’t a Downtown event, but how can I not blog this… the Slider Inn is having Sex Trivia tonight from 8 to 11.

Stuff that is going on Downtown tonight: Poker with Muruako at the Silly Goose, 8:30; Pint Nite with Josh and Maddison at Aldo’s Pizza Pies, 5 to close; Pint Nite with the Beer Goddesses at the Flying Saucer, open to close.

Revive, the women’s clothing boutique at the northwest corner of Second and Union in One Commerce Square, is having a big sale. Why not stop in and pick up some tube tops so you’ll be ready for next spring? Then again, with highs in the 80s this week, why not stop in and pick up a tube top to wear NOW???

R. Kelly will bring his “Single Ladies” tour to the Orpheum tomorrow night at 7:30. Four-time Grammy nominee Tamia will open for him. More details and ticket info here.

The Grizzlies will host their annual Tip-Off Luncheon next Monday at the FedExForum, 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Attendees will get to welcome back the players, get coaching tips from Coach Hollins, and learn about the business of basketball from GM Chris Wallace. Individual tickets are $60 and tables are $500. For $2000 you can purchase a table where you’ll be seated with a Grizzlies player or coach. Proceeds benefit the Memphis Grizzlies House at St. Jude. Details and ticket info here.

The Flyer’s Hungry Memphis blog is giving away tickets to Anthony Bourdain’s November 2 show at the Orpheum. Details on how to enter here.

Time for beer. First stop, Saucer. Currently unsure whether I will make it to poker tonight at the Goose.

Sun update: All Pink Party @ Goose Wed, Tom Lee Park sinkhole, Okra Masala @ City Market and more

There’s going to be an “All Pink Party” this Wednesday night, October 24, at the Silly Goose. Included in ticket purchase is a complimentary tasting of new appetizer menu items, a liquor and wine tasting, and a chance to win one of several items to be raffled off. Recommended attire is pink dress attire. 8:30-10 PM. For more info check the party’s event listing on Facebook.

A sinkhole has sprung up in Tom Lee Park, and repairing it will require more effort than first thought. Water has washed away a large area around a box culvert that runs underneath the park. The city will have to build a temporary road in the park to bring in materials to repair the hole. Thank goodness this didn’t happen in the weeks before BBQ Fest. More details here. Sorry for linking to an Indiana newspaper rather than something local, but I try to circumvent the CA’s stupid-ass paywall whenever I can.

I tried something new at City Market yesterday: Okra Masala from their refrigerated case. It’s a generous amount of okra and potatoes in Indian masala curry sauce. It’s only $2.99. If you’re not sure whether you like Indian food, it’s a good way to find out without spending a lot of money. Heats up in about 2 minutes in the microwave. If you like it, their meat dishes have a similar taste and are less expensive than going out to a restaurant.

Last night while drinking beer at the Saucer, I came up for an idea for a charity month for my blog, to run from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I need to research a few things but details will be coming soon. It’s an idea that has “me” written all over it (no, tube tops are not involved). Stay tuned.

Plans for today: Skipping brunch at the Majestic because of crowds from the Broadway show at the Orpheum. I’ll start at the Blind Bear at noon, then sometime around 2 head south to the parking lot party at the Double J. At 6:30 I’ll be back at the Bear for poker hosted by Michael Bean – not only because I like playing poker, but because it’s an excuse not to stay at the J for karaoke. At some point I’ve got to fit in a visit to the Saucer for my 116th day in a row. Probably I’ll do that before poker.

Come on out to the Double J this afternoon. Eat, drink, be merry, and raise money for the Streetdog Foundation. I mean, what else are you going to do, hang out at the Horn Lake Chuck E. Cheese all day?

All the cool kids are getting one

When I go out on weekdays, the charge on my now 11-month-old iPhone 4S usually holds up just fine. I can Facebook, tweet, Foursquare, Evernote, Instagram, and play Zynga Poker to my heart’s content, and I usually come home at night with 25-50% of the battery left.

Weekends, however, can be a problem. Take today, for example. Saturday day shift has an all-star lineup behind the Downtown bars, with Panda Manda at Bardog, Ciara and Ranee at Max’s Sports Bar, and Christina at the Saucer. I plan on visiting all three between 11 and 5 today. Then I’ll go grab dinner somewhere and begin my evening rotation of Saucer/Bear/Saucer/Bear/Saucer/Bear. My phone battery will not hold up through all of that. On a typical Saturday, if I go out at 11, my phone is in the red zone (less than 20% left) by 6 PM. Not good, since I’m rarely done at 6. Sunday Fun Day, same thing. I start at the Majestic at 11 AM, and am usually out until 9 or 10 (or 12:30 AM, thanks to a certain bad influence last week). The phone will not make it without being charged.

So, I used to take a charger cord with me on the weekends. I’d plug it in next to the smoke eater at the Saucer; by the back rail at Max’s; in the plug next to Jezebel’s Couch at the Blind Bear. That worked, but it was far from ideal. For one thing, my phone was many feet away from me, so I couldn’t play with Facebook for the 20 minutes or so it took to charge 10%. Another issue was that, this being Memphis, I had to keep constant watch to make sure my phone wasn’t being stolen. If at any time my line of sight was blocked, I went over and unplugged it. And at the Saucer, you have to deal with kids. If kids got within 10 feet of my phone, I unplugged it.

A couple of months ago, I saw a solution. I was at Max’s when my friend Otto pulled out a PowerGen Juice Box, pictured at the top of this post. He plugged it in and had full access to his phone, while it charged – and it charged super quick. The next week my friend Mikey showed up with one. The following week my friend Katie Mac pulled one out at the Goose – and she got the deluxe version, which holds 4 iPhone charges instead of the one pictured here which holds 2. Two is more than enough, so I ordered the standard juice box a week after I saw Katie’s.

I love it. A few Saturdays ago, I hit all the day bars then decided to stop in the Majestic for dinner about 6:00. My phone was at 27% at the time. I hooked it up to the juice box. By the time I finished my roasted half-chicken with garlic mash 40 minutes later, the battery was up to 75%. That was enough to make it through the rest of the evening, and if it hadn’t been, three-fourths of the juice box’s power remained.

The one drawback to getting one of these is that you become “the guy who has a phone charger.” My popularity at the Saucer soared once the girls found out I had the PowerGen box with me. They all wanted to borrow it. Now I’m starting to see the servers with juice boxes of their own.

The juice box charges most Android devices, iPhones 4S and earlier, and iPads (although possibly not the new Mini rumored to debut this week). No idea if it charges CrapBerries. It will charge my Kindle Fire, and my Kindle Fire’s power cord will charge the juice box, so that works well. It comes with 8 different adapters to be able to handle most phones.

Easily $30 well spent. When I ordered it, it was estimated to ship in 4 days. It showed up in 2. That’s pretty typical Amazon. If you’re having trouble keeping your phone battery charged all day, this is a most worthwhile investment.

Cordova sucks but at least they have Fireball at their Flying Saucer now

Last night I received reports from two different sources that the Cordova Flying Saucer received a case of Fireball to sell. Fireball is a cinnamon whisky which “tastes like heaven, burns like hell.” It is relatively inexpensive compared to most shots, and has become one of the most popular liquors Downtown. Now Cordova can get in on the fun. My recommendation to Cordovans is that you keep drinking Fireball until you forget you’re in a neighborhood that SUCKS. Enjoy the view of Germantown Parkway and the strip malls as you drink!

I hope this means that the Fireball at the Memphis Flying Saucer will happen soon. One argument I heard for not carrying Fireball is “why should we carry it, we already have Jager.” That makes no sense. On a weekend night when I don’t have to get up and go to work the next day, I could easily do four or five shots of Fireball. There is absolutely no way I would do four or five shots of Jager in one night. Besides, women love Fireball, and wouldn’t it be a good thing to get more women to hang out at the Downtown Saucer? If you’d like to see Fireball, be sure to mention it to the managers next time you go in.

“Like” FIREBALL WHISKY Memphis on Facebook to get information on Fireball promotions around town and chances to win cool Fireball gear.

How did I ever keep my life in order without Evernote?

In the past few months, I’ve really stepped up my use of Evernote, the cloud-based note-taking tool. I can make a new note on any device on which I have Evernote installed, or any device through which I can access Evernote via web browser. The note is then synced among all the other devices on which I have Evernote installed – MacBook, netbook, work computer, iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire. Because one or more of those devices is always with me, I have round-the-clock access to my notes, and round-the-clock ability to add new notes. Lately I’ve been thinking of new ways to use Evernote to keep my life in order. Here are some of the notes that have helped me:

Names – I am horrible at remembering names, and I feel bad when I’m out somewhere and someone goes “Hey, Paul,” and I’m like, “Uh…… yeah, hi.” So I’ve started a note to take down names of people I’ve just met. Next to each name I’ll put a brief physical description, where we met, as well as any other info that seems relevant (where they work, mutual friends, etc.) I’m still not batting 1.000 on people’s names but this has sure helped.

Convo topics – Sometimes I’ll be out and I’ll bump into someone I only see every two or three weeks. I’ll sit there at the bar and stare at the TV with them for an hour or two, and then when I’m home I’ll think, “Oh, damn! I meant to ask them about ______.” Evernote helps me remember these kinds of things, although now I sometimes find myself thinking, “Oh, damn! I forgot to pull up Evernote on my phone.”

Work ideas thought of outside of work – Almost none of my really good work ideas come to me while I’m sitting in a cubicle. Rather, I’ll be in the shower, or driving home from work, or walking around Downtown… and I’ll think of a PHP script that would solve an issue, a WordPress plugin I want to try, a third-party tool that might be useful, a quicker way of getting a lengthy web update done. I make a note of it. Checking this note is now part of my “first thing in the morning” routine when I get to work.

Non-work ideas thought of at work – The opposite of the previous note. So, let’s say I’m sitting at my desk, and I think to myself, “Hmm, I’m playing poker tonight at Max’s Sports Bar. I need to ask around if anyone wants to split a cab to the beer festival in Midtown this weekend.” I’ll pull up Evernote and make a quick note.

To blog – When I see things I need to write about on Facebook, Twitter, one of my iGoogle widgets, or the various other sources I use, I can clip the info to Evernote so I have quick access to it later. The real value in this note, however, comes when I’m out and about. Now and then people will tell me something which is a particularly juicy tidbit for the blog. Before Evernote, there was about a 50% chance that I’d forget what they told me before the next post. Now a lot more of that information sees the light of day.

Evernote has some other capabilities that help with the blog. For example, Double J posted info to Facebook about its parking lot party tomorrow… but the info was in the form of an image. No problem, I clipped the image to Evernote and there it was, ready to blog. Evernote also has a voice-note feature you can use with mobile devices. It saves the voice notes in Quicktime format to be played back. That feature is not one I personally have found useful, but others may like it.

Staff meetings – At work, I use a whiteboard to keep up with my current projects. For our Friday morning staff meetings, I’ll pull up Evernote on my work computer and take notes on what’s on the whiteboard. Then I’ll take my iPad to the meeting and voila – the note is there.

This wonderful, free note-taking tool has made me more productive at work, on the blog, and in my personal life. If you need help organizing and remembering things, you should consider giving it a try.

Fri update: Main St restaurants on TV, Central BBQ/beer, free Grizzlies hat, Elmwood party, pecans, tube top news, happenings tonight, Memphis Segway Tours

Set your DVRs, foodies: Memphis will be featured on another food-related TV show Tuesday, October 23. Chuck’s Eat the Street on the Cooking Channel focuses on streets that are not in the tourist districts, but that have restaurants that capture the essence of the city. For their Memphis episode, they have chosen my street: Main Street. The Peanut Shoppe, Felicia Suzanne’s, Grawemeyer’s, Rock’n’Dough Pizza, and the Rendezvous are the spots the show will hit. Not sure why Rendezvous made it, since it’s not on Main. The Daily News has more details here.

I am extremely pleased to see The Peanut Shoppe getting some much-deserved recognition. The people there are SO nice and they sell much more than just nuts – popcorn, candy, chocolates, gift tins. If you’re working Downtown today, why not stop at the Peanut Shoppe in your lunch hour (on Main between Madison and Monroe) and pick up a treat to take home to your kids?

Central BBQ tweeted this morning that they are now pouring cold beers at their Downtown location. Previously it had been BYOB while they got their license straightened out.

Want a free Grizzlies hat? Memphis-area C-spire stores are giving them away today, while they last.

Elmwood Cemetery is having a “Spirits with the Spirits” Halloween party tomorrow night that sounds really cool. Details here.

Like fresh pecans? “Pe-can” is the theme of the Memphis Farmers Market tomorrow. 7 AM to 1 PM at the Central Station Pavilion, Front at G.E. Patterson.

Tube top news: Miley Cyrus wore a tube top and gave her audience quite an eyeful recently.

Stuff going on tonight: Sandlot screening at AutoZone Park, gates at 6, movie at 7:30; South Main Haunts, a self-guided spooky history tour of South Main, 6:30-8:30.

Last night I started the evening at the Flying Saucer as usual, but didn’t stay long. It became clear that if any of my friends came in, I wouldn’t be able to talk to them without someone hovering around and repeatedly interrupting our conversation. So I moved to the Blind Bear. Glad I did.

At the Bear I ran into a couple of people from Memphis Segway Tours. After a brief training session, you roll around Downtown on a Segway while a tour guide tells you about the Peabody, Beale, the river, the Civil Rights Museum, Cotton Row, and many more attractions. They told me that for people new to Downtown, it’s a great way to see everything quickly, and then you can pick and choose what you want to go back and spend more time seeing.

The Segways are said to be a lot of fun to ride. You control them with your body, and it’s easy once you get the hang of it. This being Downtown, someone asked, “can you bring alcohol on the tour?” Unfortunately you can’t.

One of my Facebook friends is posting that she’s all excited about the Hernando Water Tower Festival tonight. Makes me think… how many of you know what The Pineapple is? It’s a plant in a planter on Main and Union that looks like (but is not) a pineapple. It has become a popular Foursquare checkin venue for people who walk by. Maybe The Pineapple needs its own festival. We could do a Hawaiian theme and get Don Ho to perform… (checks Wikipedia) Oh damn, he’s dead. We’ll have to come up with a Plan B then.

My plan for tonight is to check in at The Pineapple, then decide between South Main Haunts and Flying Saucer Beer. I guess there’s time to do both…

Thur update: Double J parking lot party Sunday, Harbor Town beer festival, Oakley trunk show tonight, Rizzo’s website, Joe Guyton @ Brass Door Fri, Secure Your Identity Day, tiramisu martini recipe

Today’s post starts with Sunday Fun Day news: Double J Smokehouse and Saloon has scheduled the first of many parking lot parties to come for this Sunday, October 21. There will be live music by the Southern Edition Band and Jeff Ivy. There will also be a cornhole tournament for two-person teams, starting at 3 PM with two $25 gift certificates to the winners. At 6 PM there will be a BBQ slider eating competition, winner take all with a $50 gift certificate to the winner. Bring in your already-carved pumpkin for public judging 3-6 PM, with the owner of the winning pumpkin getting a $25 certificate. Inside, NFL Sunday Ticket will have all the games on in the Double J and upstairs in the Loft Bar, and there will be (ugh) karaoke on the Front Porch Stage at 7 PM. $1 from every beer sold will benefit the Streetdog Foundation. Should be a lot of fun. The Double J is at 124 East G.E. Patterson Avenue, about a block east of South Main Street.

Too bad my buddy Duck Finkley is on the boat right now… I bet he’d be all over that BBQ slider eating contest.

The Hungry Memphis blog has information about this Saturday’s Harbor Town Beer Festival. There are going to be SEVENTEEN beer/food pairings. Seventeen.

Need a new pair of sunglasses? SEE Memphis on the Main Street Mall will have an Oakley trunk show tonight from 5 to 7:30. For every pair sold, $20 will be donated to Young Survivors’ Coalition of Breast Cancer, and $2 to the American Cancer Society. There will be music, wine, and snacks. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

Rizzo’s Diner has a new website. Check it out here.

Joe Guyton will play the Cavern tomorrow night, Friday October 19, at the Brass Door. Doors open at 8 and the cover is $5.

The Better Business Bureau’s Secure Your Identity Day is this Saturday in the Commercial Appeal’s parking lot. If you have documents you don’t need anymore, bring them and shred them for free. You can also bring used cell phones, AC adapters, and batteries for recycling. The CA is on Union Avenue just east of Danny Thomas. Hours are 9 AM to noon.

How-to of the day: How to make a Tiramisu Martini.

That’s all I’ve got for now… I’ll be out at the usual places in the Downtown core around sixish.