We are going to get this new series off the ground as my friend down in Belize, TacoGirl, is in the process of moving and she has promised her answers back to me in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime I figured we would showcase a US blogger that I have known for as many years that he has lived in 38103. Paul, along with Mike King, was very vocal about the homeless and did a great job of identifying them and if they carried an open warrant they were removed from the downtown streets. Yeah, Memphis had a bad problem with more aggressive panhandlers back in the day and thankfully they made a dent in it. I am a frequent stalker of Paul’s blog as he does a great job of showcasing the events in downtown Memphis and supporter of some great non-profits. Also it keeps us up to date with the goings on in our former city.
Anyway thanks to Paul for playing along and I will showcase Taco Girl in about 2 weeks.
The Cold Hard Facts About Your Blog
- Name of your blog, hyper link, twitter handle, Facebook page and your Pen Name. Paul Ryburn’s Journal, http://www.paulryburn.com/blog, Paul Ryburn on Facebook, @paulryburn on Twitter. I don’t have a pen name, I use my real name.
- How did you come up the name of the blog and or your Penname? Given that it is a personal blog, “Paul Ryburn’s Journal made sense.
- Describe your blog/brand in 5 sentences or less. I started writing journal in 1999 so my former students at the U of M could keep up with me. In 2004 I converted it to blog format; in 2004 I found out my neighbors actually read this thing, so I started taking it seriously and posting every day. It is about my life in downtown Memphis. The main posts I try to make in my writing is that there is a lot to do down here in walking/trolley distance, and there is no easier place to meet people and make friends.
- Did your blog change direction over the course of the life of it? If so can you explain? About 2005-6 it changed from my own personal journal to “The Downtown Blog” so I started treating it as such. However, I still throw in personal stuff whenever I want. I do not get paid and I have no editor, allowing me to write without a filter.
- Number of times you try to post something in a week? I go for at least once a day and sometimes multiple posts a day. I post whenever I have something interesting to share with my readers. If I skip a day it’s because I don’t have anything interesting, and I am not going to post simply for the sake of posting.
- Where do you get your material and how hard/easy is it for you? Word of mouth is my best source; also, accounts I follow on Twitter, things friends post on Facebook, RSS feeds
- What countries are your readers coming from? Mostly US. Occasional readers from Canada and Europe, which I assume are people planning to visit Memphis or Memphis transplants.
- How often do you encounter readers on the streets/social media and does it still freak you out when they say that they read you? It doesn’t freak me out at all when people come up and tell me they read my blog. I have had people tell me they have found jobs, gotten seats on nonprofit boards, and been reunited with pets because of things I have posted. I have had people tell me they have moved Downtown from other parts of the city, and in a few cases even moved here from out of state, after reading my blog. I am more proud of those things than I am of winning any Best of poll award. What freaks me out is when people recognize me but are afraid to come talk to me because I’m this “big, important local blogging celebrity.” I’m just a regular guy! I promise you, I am one of the easiest people to meet.
- Got any good “hate mail” comments you want to share with the class? In 2006 I went on a rant after a few of my friends got robbed and the panhandlers got out of control. A reader named In2RealEstate send me a long email saying I was destroying property values in the area. Because I was honest? By the way Downtown is a good deal safer in 2016 than it was a decade ago.
- Any particular blog post that you are particularly proud of? Please include the link if you like. I don’t have time to search of the links, but there was a September 23, 2015 post about the behavior of a homeless woman Downtown that I am proud of. Also search “Popester in da hizzy” (2005) and “Chicken fried steak rap” (2015)
Let’s Talk about you shall we?
- Who you be? I’m Paul Ryburn. I have a Master’s degree in computer science and spent five years teaching math at the University of Memphis. Since then I have been a web designer, currently for an organization that sanctions a card game.
- Where you be? Downtown Memphis, Tennessee. Proud resident for nearly 14 years.
- Where did you come from? (please don’t say hospital or parents) Little Rock, Arkansas. I moved to Memphis to go to Rhodes College. Except for a six-month stay in San Diego, I have been a Memphian ever since.
- Care to talk about your family or if you have any ankle biters/pot lickers (pets) where you charge your laptop/tablet? I’m an only child. My mother still lives in Little Rock. I don’t have any family in Memphis. No pets.
- Name up to 5 countries/places you visited, loved and recommend to my readers? San Diego – Beautiful city, perfect weather. Montreal – So laid back. Great culture. Obviously I would go in the summer. I hate cold weather. Lexington, Kentucky – Made several visits as a traveling corporate trainer. Likeable town. Little Rock – Up-and-coming mid-sized city. Chicago – Love the walkability. Again, would go in the summer.
- What countries/cities you have on your radar for future travel locations? New York (Manhattan), San Francisco, Seattle, I wouldn’t mind a trip to Romania after 2005-06 Flying Saucer visits taught me that the girls in Romania are really hot. *Editors Note – Oh Paul, I have failed to mention something about my neighborhood Cigar Joint on East 73rd street. One of the girls who works there is Romanian and well…..Lupe is built like a brick shithouse!
- If you had the financial means to do so, where would you like to live and why? Downtown Memphis, where I live now. I could not give up my friends and favorite places for any amount of money. I might maintain crash pads in Midtown Memphis and in maybe one or tow of my favorite cities.
- When you aren’t banging on a keyboard what do you like to do for fun? I am a regular at the bars of Downtown Memphis, where I hang out with my friends – and I have friends on both sides of the bar. My favorites are my “Big Five” of Bardog Tavern, Blind Bear, Flying Saucer, Silly Goose, and Max’s Sports Bar. I also love poker and played for money online before the government banned that in 2011. Occasionally I play in weekly bar games Downtown. I am on a BBQ team called the Moody Ques that competes in Memphis in May and regional contests. I am Director of Public Relations for the team and have a voting seat on the team’s board of directors.
- We know that you read carbunkletrumpet.wordpress.com (who doesn’t?) but who else do you read/stalk on a daily basis? You know it is weird, I really don’t have any other blogs I visit daily. I have their RSS feeds and click on when a post looks interesting, and I follow many of them on Twitter and Facebook. That is how I learn about latest posts.
- Could you get me an introduction with that author so that I can send them this questionnaire? N/A
Fun/Random Stuff that you would like to share with the class
- What is your favorite food and restaurant (doesn’t have to be in your current location) Mexico Chiquito, Little Rock Arkansas. I love a plate of brown-and-yellow Tex-Mex food.
- If you are living abroad, what is the one thing that you miss the most? N/A
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (please don’t say older) Still in Downtown Memphis, even with a wider circle of great friends. Not married, no kids. Director of PR for a grand champion BBQ team.
- What’s on your bucket list? Hmmm, I never really think in terms of bucket lists. Win cooking trophies at BBQ Fest, visit cities I mentioned. I don’t know. Most of the things I’ve really wanted to do already. I guess “find a sane women who communicates well and understands me” is on the bucket list, but then “win a billion dollars in the lottery” is probably equally likely.
- What is the question do you want to ask Carbunkle Trumpet (I promise to answer honestly) Karaoke. WHY?????? Fair question and God knows that we have had some fun with the Karaoke harassment over the years. Full Disclosure – I have ‘sang’ a couple of songs, primarily Elvis songs, in Memphis at the Monkey and naturally alcohol was in play. I have visited a Korean Karaoke parlor here in the Koreatown section of Midtown Manhattan and I can say that you have not seen a better shitshow! One of the bars that we visit to watch football has evening Karaoke but we haven’t partaken. Don’t worry, if you make it up here, I promise not to take you to Iggy’s or the Koreatown joint.
Thanks for playing along Paul.