Wednesday update

Sorry if the posts have been a bit sparse so far this week. I am forcing myself to focus on job hunting above all else, as well as small tasks like paying bills and renewing car registration that I have let slide. Doing my LinkedIn profile this morning got my energy flowing and made me realize how marketable I am. I seem to like writing about myself – I composed a description of my skills in Evernote then pasted it into LinkedIn’s editor, exceeding the maximum number of characters by 2108! I shortened it down and saved it. Also, at the suggestion of my career coach, I went up to my rooftop and shot a photo of Downtown Memphis to use as my cover photo.

Tomorrow I am going to do a longer post talking about the skills that make me stand out, projects I have worked on over the years that have put those skills to good use, and the type of position I am looking for. A blog is not a traditional resource to use to job hunt, but I have it and it’s popular, so I might as well leverage it!

I don’t watch a lot of TV but I have a new TV addiction. My friends and I tend to meet at Blind Bear happy hour to catch up and unwind. Well, happy hour at the Bear begins at 3 – if I have all my job hunting duties wrapped up by then, why not! The Monday-Tuesday bartender puts on Criminal Minds which has episodes on Ion TV at 3 and again at 4. That show is so good! It’s fascinating to watch the FBI agents profile the unsub, the unidentified subject of interest in a pattern of crimes. Understanding how psychopaths think is a useful skill to acquire, even if you don’t know any axe murderers.

Very happy to see one of my neighbors join the Moody Ques this week. “I’ve been wanting to be on a BBQ team for years but have never done it,” she messaged me. That’s exactly the kind of person we are looking to add to the team! If that describes you, hit me up at or on Facebook. Or if you know another team member better than me, hit them up. We have a vetting process in the case where none of us knows the person applying to join, but unless you’re one of the psychopaths described in the paragraph above, there’s a good chance we’ll take you up to the point where we hit our capacity.

The Gray Canary, the new Hudman-Ticer restaurant inside Old Dominick Distillery, opens to the public today at 5. The Memphis Flyer has a sneak peek.

KFC understands how to appeal to wrestling fans.

DK Hamilton Law Firm is sponsoring a discounted Uber rides promotion Sunday. From 9 to 11 PM following the game, you can get $5 off an Uber ride if you fill out this form. They will discount up to 50 rides during those hours. You know the cops will be out, so why not play it safe?

Trade interest is heating up for Tyreke Evans. The 76ers and Celtics are said to have been showing interest in the past couple of days. Looks like the Grizzlies front office might be able to fetch that first-round draft pick in return for him after all.

If you missed the first Game Day Job Fair at AutoZone Park, the Redbirds are having another one February 12 3 to 7 PM in the Home Plate Club. They’re hiring box office ticket sellers, ushers, bat boys and girls, and members of the Redbirds promotional team. They are only able to hire ages 18 and up. Offers may be made on the spot. More info here.

This is awesome: Work Local, a program that gives the homeless the opportunity to earn 5 hours’ pay and a hot meal while removing trash and blight from our city, is expanding. The program, operated by the city in conjunction with Hospitality HUB, will expand from two days to five, and the amount they pay per hour will go up a dollar. This is a win for everybody involved.

The MBJ reports that the owners of the Benchmark Hotel at Third and Union are being taken to environmental court (no link because it’s behind a paywall). Good. That shell of a building has sat there for 7 years, right across the street from the Peabody and AutoZone Park. It makes Memphis look terrible to visitors. The owners need to develop it or sell it.

Tip for those who are heavy Twitter users on iPhones: Go to the settings and turn off auto-play of videos on both Wi-Fi and cellular use. It’s a huge battery saver. If you really want to see a video of a cat knocking stuff off a shelf all you have to do is hit Play.

Trey Gowdy, chairman of the powerful House Oversight Committee, has announced he’s not running for re-election this year. Sources I follow on Twitter indicate there’s more to that than meets the eye.

That’s it for this post. Back tomorrow.

Tuesday update

I renewed my car tags this morning at the office at Second and Washington. NO LINE whatsoever and I was in and out in under 5 minutes. Amazing considering I waited until the next-to-last day of the month to get that done.

Max’s Sports Bar sold out of crawfish in only two and a half hours Sunday. Weather permitting, they plan on doing it again this coming Saturday.

In related news, Holly has a guide on where to get crawfish this season.

Ghost River plans on having a Super Sunday with the game on all three TVs with sound at 5:30. Flying Sobies will be there with wings (7 kinds of sauce) and buffalo chicken dip. 12 beers on tap plus brunch beer mixers. They’re moving their songwriter night up to 2 PM this Sunday so as not to conflict with the game. Ben Ricketts will perform and the songwriter night is hosted by Tiffany Harmon.

If you’ve heard the name “Paul Manafort,” you probably know he’s one of the people who’s been indicted in the Russia investigation, but you may not know much more than that. This long but outstanding Atlantic article explores who Manafort is and how he got where he is today. TL;DR: He’s been a snake for close to 40 years.

The State of the Union Drinking Game site FINALLY updated their game for 2018.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update

I learned one of the great secrets of life yesterday: Sit next to a vegetarian when her group orders breakfast shots.

A breakfast shot is a shot of whiskey, immediately followed by a shot of orange juice, followed by a piece of bacon. All together, it tastes like a pancake with syrup.

Of course, the vegetarian didn’t do the bacon part of the shot. So I got her bacon. :)

I got to go to Carolina Watershed for a second time last night. Our friend Tony was feeling kind of sad because his boo thang Rahul is out of town this weekend. So my friends Staci, Darin, and B-RAD and I took him to Carolina Watershed to cheer him up. While there, we met Valerie and Ashley, who wanted to be on my blog.

I looked over Watershed’s menu. They had nachos – PORK RIND nachos. I’m a big fan of getting creative with nachos, but using pork rinds as chips? No can do.

Red Rover has an opening for a seasoned account manager for a person looking to jump their career to an entirely new level. This person would be acting as an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer for three to five key accounts.

The State of the Union Drinking Game website hasn’t updated its 2018 rules yet and the speech is this Tuesday. The best alternative I can find is here. Really, I guess the only rule is, Donald Trump is president, so drink, drink, drink.

Another day without Fireball. I went into a deep, deep sleep last night, the likes of which I have not experienced in a long time. It has become downright easy to refuse that horrible stuff. When my friends take a round of shots without me, I don’t feel left out in the least. They understand.

WWE Royal Rumble predictions: Surprise entrant Ronda Rousey eliminates Asuka to win the women’s Rumble. Brock Lesnar pins Kane to retain in a three-way also involving Braun Strowman. Roman Reigns wins the men’s Rumble, eliminating surprise entrant the Undertaker.

Off to do the Sunday thing. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

Huge home game for the Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team today. They host #9 Cincinnati at FedExForum at 5 PM. It’s a chance for revenge for the 82-48 blowout on the road Memphis suffered in December. It’s also a chance to see how far Tubby’s team has come in the past month. I’m not silly enough to think the Tigers will win this, but can they keep it competitive, at least for a while?

The death of a homeless woman on a bench across from City Hall during the arctic blast earlier this month has led people to wonder whether vacant schools could help fight homelessness.

Food and Wine has a nice article: What’s an authentic Irish pub doing in Downtown Memphis? Just ask Seamus Loftus

Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick is hosting an Athens Wine Dinner Thursday. Select wines paired with four courses for $50.

Blind Bear holds its belated 6th birthday party Friday, February 2. The actual birthday is December 23, but they didn’t want to do the party then because many of their customers would not be able to make it. They need new photos on their dining room wall and will have their photographer there. $6 food and cocktail specials.

The Pocket plays Wiseacre tonight at 5:30.

JSTOR is a scholarly site I follow on Twitter and recently an article about Memphis ran across my feed. The People’s Grocery lynching happened in 1892. Thomas Moss operated The People’s Grocery, a successful business in The Curve, a mixed-race neighborhood just outside of Memphis. However, whites became concerned that Moss’ business was competing too well with their own groceries. They manufactured a reason to murder Moss and several others. The store was then looted by whites and creditors closed it several days later. It’s really sad that I’ve been a Memphian for 31 years and this is the first time I have read about this. Keep in mind that this was only a dozen years before the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue was erected in what is now Health Sciences Park.

I did a little research about The Curve and found there is a historical marker commemorating the lynching at the corner of Mississippi and Walker.

If you were wondering what the menu of the Slider Rider, the Slider Inn’s new food truck, looked like, here you go:

Nice to see Aldo’s pizza on the menu as well as the sliders. I love me some chili Frito pie!

Third morning in a row waking up feeling at peace and without worry. I still cannot believe it took four days for the effects of Fireball to get out of my system. Never again will I touch that stuff. I want to thank my regular bartenders who have gone out of their way to not offer me shots and to make sure I have plenty of water. I really appreciate it.

All right. Going to do an hour of job-hunting related stuff then a wet walk to Bardog. Back tomorrow with more news.

Ono Poke Bowl @ Ono Poke Pop-Up Lunch @ Ghost River

“When you’re unemployed, your full-time job is to be CEO of You, Incorporated.”

I hate quotes like that. But there’s some truth to this one, I guess.

One thing I haven’t been doing well as CEO of Paul Ryburn, Inc. is eating healthy lately – or at all, for that matter. My recent (but now past) bout of depression over the job loss and my mom’s loss left me without an appetite. No kidding, between Tuesday afternoon and this morning, the only thing I had to eat were two cups of Goldfish crackers. This morning I wasn’t hungry either. “I can’t go three days without eating, even if I feel like it,” I thought to myself. As a reward for finishing my resume, I decided I was going to force myself to go out for lunch. It’s Friday, which meant Ghost River Ono Poke Pop-Up Lunch would be going on.

The Facebook event listing said the opening time was 11:30. “Wait, I thought Ghost River opens at noon on Friday,” I thought. I decided not to take any chances. If the opening was 11:30, I didn’t want to risk having to stand in a long line if I got there at noon. I got dressed, walked to the garage, and drove down there.

I got a space on the street and walked toward the taproom. The sign on the door said 12. I started to walk away, then thought, “Maybe they’re open and no one bothered to change the sign.” So I walked up the steps to the taproom and, lo and behold, the door was open.

They weren’t open yet though – the beertender told me noon was the correct time. “He’s bringing the stuff in and setting up now, though. It won’t be long,” she said.

“Is it cool if I hang out?” I asked. She said yes and I ordered a Grindhouse Cream Ale, my favorite Ghost River beer. They discount the price of Grindhouse when the Grizzlies are on TV. Normally I am completely against drinking when I have the car, but I made an exception this time. “I’ll be here well over an hour since they don’t start for another 30 minutes,” I reasoned. “I’ll just have this one and I’ll sip it.” She checked my ID, swiped my card (the taproom is card-only; Ono Poke is card or cash) and poured the beer. It was kinda nice having the taproom all to myself a bit.

By 12 the guy was all set up to serve lunch. A lady came in and ordered. “It sounds like you know what you are doing here,” I commented to her.

“I come here every Friday,” she replied. “I’m addicted.”

The way it works is, you build your own bowl for $11. You start with your base of either white rice or mixed greens. “At the restaurant [on Poplar across from East High] we have two more bases.” I chose white rice.

Next up, you pick your protein, your choice of two scoops of tuna, salmon, or crab stick. I picked the tuna. “Tuna was the original poke,” I was told.

Then you pick three veggies from a selection of six. I picked corn, macaroni salad, and carrots. “Over in Hawaii, everyone eats macaroni salad,” the guy told me. The other choices were pineapple, cucumber, and… well, blast, the sixth choice escapes me. I should have taken notes.

Next you pick your sauce. There was a house ‘Onolicious sauce, a spicy sauce, a wasabi based sauce, and a ginger soy sauce. I decided to stick with the house sauce for my first visit.

Finally, you pick your toppings, again up to three from a choice of six. I picked fish roe, seaweed salad, and pickled onions. Jalapenos were an option but I didn’t feel like going spicy today.

“You did well for your first bowl!” the guy told me.

Beautiful photo of the food, but it seems like something’s… not there that should be, considering it’s a food pic. I miss my little troll. I hope she’s having a good rest in my memory box.

My fear that there would be a long line was unfounded. It never got busy. The guy told me he serves 20-30 on a typical Friday, but I doubt I saw 10 customers come in.

It was really good and I plan to be back. One thing I plan on doing as CEO of Paul Ryburn, Inc. starting next week is forcing myself to eat lunch out at least three days a week, and I can’t go to the same places I frequent at night. That breaks the day up into morning and afternoon, giving me two periods in which to be productive instead of just one long stretch.

I had enough left to take home and put in the refrigerator for tomorrow. $11 really isn’t that bad when you can get two good meals off the bowl.

I signed my tab and walked to the car. WOOOOOO! That Ghost River Grindhouse threw me for a LOOP! I was fine to drive home, but I had a pretty good buzz. In future visits to the pop-up lunch I will forego the beer in favor of a soda or water. Of course, I’m sure my nearly 3-day hiatus from food hurt my tolerance.

Hang on a second y’all, an email just came in.

From: CEO []
To: Headquarters


The office will close at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon. For those of you who want to be good team players, some of us will be walking over to the Silly Goose for employee happy hour.

Kind regards,
Your CEO

Well, I guess I better be a good team player! Outta here, back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

I got my resume completed this morning. Next week I will do a detailed post about my experience and what my ideal job would look like, but wanted to go ahead and post it today for those who have been waiting to send it to their contacts.

I want to warn everybody about something. Lately there have been these two women, one petite and very pretty, dressed like a prostitute, and the other more heavyset, hanging out in the Downtown core. Sometimes they will be inside the bars; other times they will be cruising the streets in front of the bars. They will approach a guy and try to get him to take them home within minutes of meeting him. “Hey baby! You fine! Let’s go have a good time!” Just remember everyone – if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. They are suspected of working with a male accomplice who stays in the background until the time is right.

The Blue Suede Brigade is hiring. These representatives of the Downtown Memphis Commission walk the streets of the area. They serve two functions. They serve as a safety patrol, supplementing the Memphis Police Department to ensure Downtown remains Memphis’ safest neighborhood. They also serve as ambassadors, helping visitors to the area find everything they are looking for. Here’s a video describing the Blue Suede Brigade, and here’s a link to more information about the positions.

There’s a podcast recorded at The Brass Door every week. Roundtable of Hooligans discusses everything related to soccer. The podcast has a Facebook page that you can “Like” to keep up with news.

Wiseacre is hosting Flowers and Chocolate brewery tours Saturday, February 10 at 2, 4, and 6 PM. Their idea of flowers and chocolate is hops and barley. Brewery tour will include an in-depth look at why these two ingredients make beer so sweet. After that there will be multiple pairings of Wiseacre beer and Dinstuhl’s chocolate. Tickets are $20 and note that last year’s event sold out early.

There’s an opening for the Out of Africa exhibition at Art Village Gallery, 410 S. Main, tonight.

That’s it for now. I’m going to get dressed and drive to South Main to try  the Ono Poke Pop-Up Lunch at Ghost River, then back home to work on my LinkedIn page.

Fireball really is the devil. I’m done. Forever.


I have a large and wonderful group of friends Downtown, about half of whom are in the service industry and half of whom have traditional 8-to-5s. They’re like my family. They were there for me when my mom died. More recently, they were there for me when I got laid off. A common bonding experience among us is to do a round of shots. When I got laid off, many people bought me shots and I appreciated them. My friends were showing that they cared about me.

Unfortunately, it put me in a bad place.

In 2012, one of my best buddies got a job as a liquor brand ambassador. The main brand he represented was Fireball. He got to take trips all over the country, buying a round for the bar to introduce patrons to the cinnamon whiskey. He also toured the bars in Memphis doing the same thing. I got to go with him on some of the local trips and got many shots of Fireball. I developed a taste for it.

The trouble is, Fireball is not quality whiskey. The cinnamon covers up the fact that they cut a lot of corners to produce a liquor that can be sold so cheaply. As a result, it tends to produce bad behavior and bad hangovers. It’s really not much better than the rotgut liquor the bums buy at the store around the corner from me.

When my position was unexpectedly eliminated at work two weeks and two days ago, my HR manager suggested I take two weeks to myself before seriously job-hunting. So I did. Which meant I got to spend more time with my friends. Which meant more opportunities to shoot Fireball.

By the second week – last week – I was in a bad way. I woke up nervous and jittery and worrying about everything in my life. The smallest tasks became almost more than I could bear. Writing this blog was torture. Putting a resume together for my career coach to look over was torture. Even putting my socks on was torture.

I had to get out as soon as possible each day and get two PBRs and a shot of Fireball in me before I leveled off. I’m both blessed and cursed to have a bar around the corner from me that opens at 8 AM. Most of the week my mood was like, I have to get showered and dressed as quickly as possible and get to Bardog so I can feel right again.

After all, I reasoned, I gave myself permission to take two weeks to myself. And once I was out and I got started on the Fireballs, I was fine. And I do love daytime at Bardog. I got to see service industry friends and third shift friends who come in after work. I got to see lawyer friends who pop in. I got to sit at Hannah’s bar and Teryn’s bar and Bloom’s bar, all of whom I really enjoy. I got to play the jukebox. I got to watch hours of mindless TV. I got to see Aldo and catch up with him a bit. In that sense, I don’t regret it. I was in a good place, physically. It’s just that the good place had shots that put me in a bad state mentally.

Waking up every day full of jitters and worry got to me, though. “I’m barely able to function,” I thought as I woke up on Friday. “How is this going to be different on Monday? I’ll never get a job like this. Heck, I’ll never even have the energy to hunt for a job if I continue like this.”

That evening at Blind Bear, I broke down and confessed to one of my best friends – ironically, the very friend who was a former Fireball ambassador, who have introduced me to the cinnamon whiskey six years ago. “I have to get two PBRs and a Fireball in me before I can even function,” I told him. “That’s classic behavior of an alcoholic. There’s no doubt. I have to change. I feel like I’m not going to live to see my birthday in November if I don’t change.”

“Well, what’s your plan?” he asked.

“Let me continue living the life I’ve been living over the weekend,” I told him. “Then I’ll start to figure it out.”

“I’ll give you longer than that,” he said. “I’ll give you a week.”

Saturday I met my “DAWG” John D for brunch at Bloom’s bar at Bardog as usual. I was sitting there thinking, “When is she going to ask if I want a Fireball? When is she going to ask if I want a Fireball?” I was also thinking how unhealthy it was for me to be thinking that.

Sunday, having woken up feeling nervous and jittery for the 12th day in a row, craving that first Fireball, I knew I needed to do something. My biggest asset, an asset that is worth more to me than any amount of money, is my friends. I put up a Facebook post baring my soul, explaining that while I had legit reasons to be unhappy – my job being eliminated, the anniversary of my mom’s death, and some other things – I was dealing with them in the wrong way and had gotten myself into a vicious cycle. I had some trepidation about posting what I did. Everyone talks about “your personal brand” and I worried I would damage it by exposing my problems to the world. But I knew I would need the help of my friends to pull through this.

Then I went out to Sunday Fun Day with my friends at the Blind Bear. I still needed a Fireball to level off – after all, I had told my friend to give me the weekend – but I was determined it would be the only one I ordered that day. It looked to be, that would be the case. However, late in the day someone bought me one. That would turn out to be my last shot of Fireball ever.

Monday morning I looked over the huge amount of comments I got on my post, as well as private messages, texts, and a couple of missed calls Sunday that I just couldn’t handle answering and let go to voicemail. There was tremendous love and support from my friends, and advice from those who had been something similar. Many people said “I’m here if you need me.”

Still, I had almost zero energy on Monday. I needed to go out and start the car, which had not been started for 6 freezing days. It was almost more than I could bear to get dressed and walk out there. Glad I did though, because I ran into my landlord Henry, who had seen my post and gave me much-needed words of encouragement.

The good news was, having had only two Fireballs the day before, I didn’t feel the craving for one to level off. At that point, I realized what the problem was. I got on Facebook and my blog and announced that I was giving up Fireball. It had to be done. The good thing about announcing it that way is that many of the Downtown bartenders are friends with me on Facebook or read my blog, or both. Although they would lose out on inflated tabs and therefore inflated tips, I knew they love me and would support my decision and not ask if I wanted shots anymore. Even my most hardcore of Fireball pushers told me they were proud of me.

I wasn’t productive at all Monday. I didn’t work on my resume or look for job opportunities. I didn’t go through my mom’s stuff, something I’ve been meaning to do since I have unexpected time off. I didn’t clean my apartment, something I have been meaning to do. Mostly I paced nervously around the apartment, going over a BS situation in my head that I should have let go years ago. I did go out later in the day – a day without my friends is a day not lived – but I held true to myself and did not order a Fireball.

Tuesday I was still nervous and jittery and had little energy. Again I paced around my apartment for hours without doing much productive. However, there was a breakthrough. Instead of spending those hours ruminating over a pointless situation, I imagined what I would talk about with my career coach at our appointment on Wednesday. I imagined what I would say in job interviews.

By 2 Tuesday I got cabin fever and went out to the Silly Goose. They were having problems with the heating system and there was a lot of smoke inside. They opened the doors and let 45-degree air in. I put my jacket on and moved to another seat. The owner and the bartender, both friends of mine, offered to buy me a shot for being a good sport about the smoke. I said no both times. I didn’t crave or want Fireball in the least. (And I don’t hold it against them that they offered. Not everyone sees my Facebook posts. Even if they did, people have other things on their minds and forget.)

In the past I would order “one of each,” which meant a PBR and a Fireball. Tuesday I redefined “one of each” to mean a PBR and a water.

Wednesday I woke up and things were different. I was still extremely nervous, worrying about anything and everything – but I had energy. Nervous energy, but the first energy I had in two weeks. By 6 AM I was up. I spent the next two hours giving my apartment a badly-needed cleaning. By 8 I had the majority of my blog post for the day written. I made some last additions to my resume in advance of my 2:30 appointment with my career coach out in East Memphis. Again I paced around my apartment, but this time it wasn’t nervous pacing. I was just getting the blood flowing. I practiced interview questions some more as I paced.

I also had a revelation. As much as the Fireball, the reason I went to Bardog in the weekday mornings was I’m a social person. I enjoy interacting with my fellow Downtowners. It hit me yesterday, I have an awesome cafe with Wi-Fi right in the ground floor of my building. Cafe Keough. I’m not a coffee drinker but they have bottled non-alcoholic drinks. I can take my laptop there and work on my resume and LinkedIn and look for jobs. I thought, since I’m so nervous that I wake up at 4 and can’t get back to sleep, I’ll get up at 6 tomorrow (which would be today by the time of this post) and go to Cafe Keough when it opens at 7, and make the place my office for the day. Surely people I know will come in for coffee or lunch (they have great food BTW) and I will get social interaction equivalent to what I had at Bardog, but in an environment that’s productive rather than self-destructive.

I still had the nerves when I left for my appointment about 1:40. I hadn’t driven the car (other than moving it to a different spot in the garage) in 15 days. I HATED driving to and from Horn Lake every day. People tailgating on the freeways, mad that I’m not doing 25 over as they feel I should be. And Riverside. Oh my God, Riverside. Southbound Riverside from Beale to I-55, the speed limit is 35. I tended to do 40-42 so if a cop was out (there never was) I wouldn’t get a ticket. I was the slowest one on the road. Everyone passed me. I would estimate the average speed on that stretch of Riverside to be 50 in the mornings. If the city wants an environment that is safe for joggers and pedestrians, that sure as hell isn’t it.

However, I drove through the city to get to my appointment and actually enjoyed it. I took Union/Walnut Grove out there and Summer/North Parkway back home. There were plenty of traffic lights but no idiots. I made a mental list of several restaurants I saw that I want  to try while I have this free time.

My appointment with my career coach was empowering. She said my resume was already in pretty good shape but she gave me a lot of tips on improving it – little things I could do to make myself stand out. She also looked at my LinkedIn page (which I haven’t updated since 2009) and gave me a lot of ideas on how to make myself stand out more. She said she’d like to see me again in early February and gave me “homework” and a copy of her book.

Back Downtown, I texted my friend the former liquor rep, the first person I confessed my problems to, and asked, “You out?” Eventually we all ended up at the Blind Bear. It was the usual crowd – a couple of guys in the service industry, a couple of logistics people, a couple of IT people including me.

“Let’s do a round of shots!” said one of the gang.

Stacey, the bartender and one of my very good friends, started picking up glasses. She went down the line at the bar and asked “Are you in? Are you in? Are you in?” Then she got to me. She paused and started to say something, then turned to the next person and said, “Are you in?”

I appreciate that so much. If she had asked if I was in, I would have said no. And ordered a water.

This morning, Thursday, I woke up and had a different feeling, a feeling I haven’t had in a long time. It was a feeling of peace. There was no nervousness, no jitters at all. Knowing everything was OK and I had the gift of a day in front of me to do whatever I wanted to do. If I wanted to work on my resume, I could do that. If I wanted to go through my mom’s things, I could do that. If I wanted to drive out to Midtown and have lunch out there, I could do that. If I wanted to get stupid BS necessities like renewing my car tags out of the way, I could do that. If I wanted to go to Bardog, I could do that, although I didn’t seriously consider it.

I looked over at the alarm clock. It read 5:52, which means it was actually 5:34. I set my alarm clock 18 minutes ahead for the illusion of extra sleep. I had slept past 4 AM for the first time in two weeks, discounting the nights I stayed out until 3. And I totally knew I could roll over and get back to sleep if I wanted. I canceled my plans to go to Cafe Keough at 7 in favor of getting the best-quality sleep I’ve had in a while.

People told me “You got this” after my Sunday post on Facebook about what a bad way I was in. I appreciated their belief in me but I was not sure I believed it myself.

I got this.

My friend who I first confessed to last Friday told me at the time, “I know the old Paul, the one we knew from 7, 10 years ago, is still in there. I know we can get him back.” I didn’t believe it was possible.

The old Paul is back.

Now, here’s the point I want to make to my readers: It took me FOUR DAYS after my last shot before all the effects of Fireball were out of my system. Four days! I’m not judging anyone, but for all my friends who still do Fireball, I want to put this out there – how much better could you feel if you gave it up?

All the shots I took to bond with friends, all the shots I took to cope with my mom’s death, with people being crazy, with losing my job, all the shots I took because, well, it’s Sunday Fun Day and that’s what you do – I was slowly killing myself. I was denying my friends and the world the very best I had to offer.

I probably have spent a month’s worth of rent money on Fireball over the years. I would probably weigh 15 pounds less if I hadn’t acquired that habit.

Mama, I hope you’re proud of me. I wish you were alive to read this post. When I felt you visit me Wednesday night last week as I lay in bed, I wonder if you set the wheels in motion for me to make this change. I love you.

Here’s one last fact I want you to consider: A friend told me this week that Fireball has 11 grams of sugar per one-ounce serving. A can of Coke has 60 grams of sugar. That means Fireball has twice the sugar per ounce as a Coke does, and you know how bad for you Cokes are (not that it stops me from having one now and then). Think about that. That’s what you’re putting in your body.

I could make a promise to all my friends that I’ll never do Fireball again, but I’m not going to. I could make a promise to myself that I’ll never do Fireball again, but I’m not going to. I don’t need to. The thought of ever putting a drop of that nasty garbage in my body again absolutely revulses me. I’d sooner drink Drano.

If anyone out there reads this and thinks about giving up Fireball too, feel free to hit me up for a conversation.

I got this.

The old Paul is back.

Thursday update

One of the best pieces of swag of the season will be handed out tomorrow night at FedExForum. First 5000 fans through the door get a Marc Gasol Million Dollar Strut bobblehead.

In other Grizzlies news, Dillon Brooks has been named to the Rising Stars Challenge that happens during All-Star Weekend. The challenge involves up-and-coming talent in their first or second year in the NBA, and pits 10 American players vs. 10 world players. Being from Ontario, Brooks will play for the “world” team. Wow… rare situation where I think I’m going to have to root against my own country for one night.

Terribly sorry to hear about the closing of Memphis Jubilee Schools, which will displace about 1500 low-income students who were getting a first-class education. I have friends involved in Jubilee and they have shared with me what a wonderful thing it is.

Segway Memphis has a heck of a deal this Friday-Sunday: A 1-hour ride and scavenger hunt for only $20. Grand prize for the hunt is a 30″ x 44″ Canvas Wrap valued at $750. Call 901-497-5200 to make a reservation. Segway Memphis is located at 136 G.E. Patterson.

Downtown Yoga is offering a Foundations of Iyengar workshop Friday-Saturday, February 23-24.

No booze on Main: After hearing from stakeholders, Councilman Martavius Jones withdrew his proposed amendment that would allow open containers Downtown. I agree this is the right move. Alcohol is already plenty accessible down here.

Memphis Greenspace has announced its plan to improve two parks in or near Downtown following the removal of Confederate statues.

It’s Food Truck Thursday in Court Square. May I suggest you stop by the RAWK’n Grub food truck for lunch? Their food is delicious and Chef Steph has been a great friend to me as I have seen my way through a tough time recently. By the way, I’m going to do a second post, a personal one, here in a bit.

If you’ve been hearing about Special Counsel Mueller interviewing Trump’s inner circle and requesting an interview with Trump himself, and you’re curious what’s really going on, Tea Pain has an excellent Twitter thread. Mueller is going after Team Trump for espionage and money laundering, but the easiest offense to prove – and the most impeachable – is obstruction of justice. It’s the quickest path to getting Trump out of power and out of office, ending the immediate threat to democracy. Once he’s just a regular citizen, he can much more easily be prosecuted for the other charges, most likely at the state level. I have read that New York Attorney General Schneiderman is pursuing a parallel case on the money-laundering front. By the way, I saw the best nickname for Trump ever yesterday on Twitter: “the orange shitgibbon.”

That’s it for now. Personal post on its way.

Wednesday update

Good news for crawfish lovers! Max’s Sports Bar on G.E. Patterson plans on doing its first boil of the year on Sunday, provided the weather holds up. They have a guy named Glaze who does the boils, and the crawfish are excellent, with just the right amount of spice. Crawfish boxes come with all the trimmings – taters, corn and sausage. Doors open at 11, with food ready around noon.

Slider Inn has a new food truck, the Slider Rider. It will be at the Ghost River taproom Friday night.

Meghan Stuthard of the Memphis Flyer has a great article about Belle Tavern.

A date has been announced for Soup Sunday: February 25. This is an annual event held at FedExForum, a fundraiser for Youth Villages. The best restaurants from all over the city serve soups and compete to see who has the best soup. There are also baked goods and desserts. They give you a crate that holds four bowls, and you walk around to the different restaurants’ tables and get bowls of soup. I will repeat my advice every year: Get there early. The event runs 11-2 but the best restaurants run out of their soups by noon-12:15 or so.

Diana Krall has been announced for a June 30 date at the Orpheum. Krall is a GRAMMY® winning jazz singer who has had 8 albums debut at the top of the Billboard Jazz charts. The date will be part of her “Turn Up The Quiet World” tour.

Friday is South Main Trolley Night. SMA members will be gathering inside the South Main Market food hall at 409 S. Main, where they will receive drink specials from The Civil Pour from 6 to 8.

Spike TV will be filming “Ink Master Angels” at the 5 Spot from 11 AM to midnight today, so be aware of film crews if you’re in the area.

Finding Neverland plays at the Orpheum this week. This musical, based on a critically-acclaimed film, tells the story of Peter Pan.

It’s Wayback Wednesday Fit Night at the Grizzlies, with the first 3000 fans getting a reusable tote bag from Methodist Healthcare. Tip-off is 7 PM and the San Antonio Spurs are the opponent.

I totally agree with what Geoff Calkins is saying: We should trade Tyreke Evans immediately, like, NOW, rather than keeping him until the deadline cobbling together a deal that brings back a late 1st-round pick. That’s no disrespect to Tyreke; in fact, it’s out of respect for what he brings to the table. As Calkins points out, if we keep him for another 2 weeks, we might win 3 extra games, causing us to end up with the number 13 pick in the draft lottery than a top 5 pick. Getting that top fiver is more important than getting a late first-rounder in exchange for Tyreke. We should trade him now for next to nothing.

My friend Ryne Hancock is back with another installment of his 50 things you should know if visiting Mardi Gras for the first time.

Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into Trump, at least on the obstruction of justice part of the investigation, is thought to now be at a critical point. Also, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort’s right hand man who was indicted along with him in October, is thought to be negotiating a plea deal. That’s bad news for Manafort, and for Trump.

That’ll do it for now. Resume time with my career coach coming up. I’m excited!