Monday, July 6, 2015

Memphis trip, etc... A great way to start July...

So…  Took a long weekend trip to Memphis with my wife…  Was the first trip without the kids in a LONG time.  Had a great time, had great food, etc…  A few observations:

  •    Was VERY clean and well maintained where we were.  Now, this was pretty limited to Main Street and Beale Street between the big Government complex (Federal Bldg, City Hall, Courts, etc.) and Beale itself…  Part of the clean and well maintained was due to the HIGH number of private Security personal on the ground there.  Almost every business it seemed had some or “Staff” that reminded me of our “Goon Squad” we had back working at Joe’s Brewery in the old days…  Very orderly, and the high visibility of what appeared to be competent Security staff helped that impression.
  •  Beale St was pretty much like my impression of the French Quarter in New Orleans…  A lot of themed bars, most of which had window service so that you could get a drink and walk outside.  We decided not to go in to places with cover charges, and the drink prices were quite high…  Or at least they seemed that way to me, I don’t really drink anymore, so it’s been a LONG time since I last ordered myself anything in a bar other than the rare Guinness…  The crowd on Beale seemed a mix of “Frat Boys” and “Tourists” for the most part with a few more obvious local predator types mixed in…  As I mentioned above a LOT of Security, and I tend to be able to avoid issues with all of those crowds…  Am told I can project that “Just leave me alone if you want to live” feeling quite well..  Memphis PD had the street blocked off each night, so the place was very pedestrian friendly…
  •  Food was AWESOME overall…  We hit “South of Beale” the first night for our first “As seen on ‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’” meal.  Was probably the best meal we had there.  Certainly was the best we’d had out in a VERY long time.  Their Pimento Grits (I’d have called it “Polenta” coming from a more Italian background cooking wise) were the highlight for me… 
  • BBQ was REALLY good overall…  Rendezvous I thought had the best ribs I’ve had in a LONG time…  Their Brisket was also quite good.  The sauces that they had mixed well for my wife and I, so that was another winner…  Blues City Café was another place we tried…  My wife liked the ribs there better, I found them to be a bit too “fall off the bone” tender as they tended to disintegrate on me…  The lack of sauce was disturbing to me as a Yankee as well J…  She loved the fried catfish (not one of the things I like particularly, so I’ll take her word that it was among the best she’d had), and I REALLY liked their “Delta” style tamales and BBQ sausage…  Those had an excellent flavor and certainly made that meal for me…  So for me Rendezvous for the Ribs/Brisket and Blues City Café for the sides…  But certainly both were far better than anything I’d had locally in Champaign as I’ve been thinking the general BBQ quality here has been bottoming out for a long time…  Another one of those “If I can cook it better, I am unlikely to enjoy it out” things…
  • The “Bass Pro Shop Pyramid” was amusing…  We visited more as tourists than shoppers…  Neat building, but the fact that the roof was leaking in several places on the 25+ floor building was a tad disturbing to me…





All in all, though we stayed in the well-marked “safe” zones for the most part it was quite nice…  Stayed at the “Sleep Inn”, quite reasonable rates, nice place and RIGHT there on Main so we could park the vehicle and walk almost everywhere… 

Took the ancient bike out for a ride last night, missing the windshield…  Got hit by my first bird…  Was riding among the cornfields and going maybe 20mph coming out of a turn, so not a big deal, but the shield would have been nice.  Also had to clean out the helmet’s screen with the bugs hitting it pretty hard…  Got to ride into work today, but looking like my last ride for a while as we reenter monsoon season here in Illinois… 

Off to play STAW at the Gopher this evening, and I have my wee fleet packed away in the bike’s saddlebags…  Should be pretty decent as I just brought the 3 biggest ships I could fit in for the Klingons and Romulans and plan to take and hold the center while avoiding the terrain effects…


Waiting on a few things at work, did not get the last few things I’d applied for, but looking out longer term…  Well, it looks like a fair number of changes are headed our way, hoping that some moves happen the way I want them to which will open the way for me to move…  Eh, no hurry, I have a good job (at least it pays fairly well), family is doing well, etc…  So, there isn’t the sense of urgency I might otherwise have, but…  I do think it is definitely time to look very seriously at changes, be they within my current organization or another at the University…  We’ll see I guess…