Saturday, September 23, 2006

FBI Violent Crime Report

Last night, I heard a distrubing news story on WREG in Memphis. Memphis was selected by the FBI as the second most violent city right now. After hearing that all big cities this year have experienced an increase in crime, this really put things in perspective. The report brings up feelings of sadness and fear for me. I hope that Memphians will look at it as a catalist for change. Here's a little piece from the FBI's press release about the overall national rise in crime:

The violent crime category includes murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault offenses. Nationally, preliminary data for 2005 showed increases in three of the four violent crimes from the previous year’s data. The number of murders and nonnegligent manslaughters rose 4.8 percent. Robbery offenses increased 4.5 percent, and the number of aggravated assaults was up 1.9 percent. Forcible rape was the only offense among the violent crimes that decreased in volume in 2005, down 1.9 percent from the 2004 figure.

A breakdown of the 2005 data by population group revealed that all city population groups experienced increases in violent crime when compared with those data reported for the previous year, with the exception of the Nation’s largest cities, 1 million and over in population, where the number of violent crimes was down 0.4 percent. By percent change in the number of violent crime offenses in 2005 compared with totals from 2004, cities with populations from 500,000 to 999,999 inhabitants saw the greatest increase, 8.3 percent, and cities with populations of 10,000 to 24,999 saw the smallest increase, 0.5 percent. In the Nation’s metropolitan counties, violent crime was up 2.1 percent, and in nonmetropolitan counties, it increased 1.0 percent.

A further examination of violent crime data for the population groups showed that cities with populations from 100,000 to 249,999 had the greatest increase in the number of murders, up 12.5 percent. Cities with 500,000 to 999,999 inhabitants experienced the greatest increases in both robbery, 9.9 percent, and aggravated assault, 8.5 percent. The number of offenses of forcible rape decreased in all city population groups except in those cities with under 10,000 in population, where the number of forcible rape offenses was up 1.5 percent from the 2004 level.

The Nation’s four regions all saw increases in violent crime in 2005. The Midwest experienced the steepest increase, 5.7 percent. The West had a 1.9-percent increase from the previous year’s number; the South, a 1.8-percent rise; and the Northeast, a 1.4-percent increase. All four regions had increases in murder, robbery, and aggravated assault. Contrary to the other three violent crime offenses, the number of forcible rapes declined in each region.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Thank goodness it's finally Friday. You may have noticed that my posts the past two weeks have been sparse. Things have been busy; really busy.

The last month in a nutshell:
  • Accept job, schedule movers, movers take stuff away
  • Stay with BoRyan for a week, wrapping up loose ends in California
  • Drive to Memphis from Santa Monica, move into a hotel
  • Get keys to new apartment
  • Unpack, unpack, unpack
  • Fly to Las Vegas for 5 days for a business trip
  • Fly back to Memphis
  • Move into new apartment
  • Work, work
By the end of yesterday, I was completely running on fumes. I was so tired that articulating words and forming sentences was starting to become a real task.

Things should improve after the weekend though. Since I've only slept 2 nights so far in my new place, sleeping is a bit of a chore itself. Hopefully, I'll adjust soon.

Still on the agenda:
  • Get rid of the boxes
  • Put away office supplies
  • Hang pictures
  • Put up decorations
  • Organize closet
  • Figure out how in the world to get 5 boxes, a chair, etc. to Goodwill...
Oh yes, and I need to figure out how in the world to get the blinds to come down on one of my windows. I have two giant windows in the apartment. They each have blinds. Whoever was in the apartment before me pulled both sets of blinds all the way up. One set is so far up though that I can't get them back down. And they start so high up that I can't just grab them and try to fix it. This is going to be tricky...

I'm also still searching for a good hair stylist and trainer. My old stylist in Memphis moved to Florida.

On a side note, I went to Stella's for the first time yesterday. There I had a tasty hummus and pita combination with mac & cheese. It was very tasty and the place itself was beautiful.

Well, I should probably get up and start the day. Hopefully it will be a short one. As much as I really like what I'm doing, I'm tired. Thank goodness it's Friday.

Friday, September 15, 2006

It's Official: I've Made It Back to Memphis

Well, if I wasn't sure before, this morning definitely marked my return. Good Morning America filmed from Beale Street this morning and Justin Timberlake performed his new Bringing Sexy Back song.

And like the other downtowners, I was there bright and early to see the sun come up. The show was good-- Justin sang 3 songs and the crowd was extremely happy to see him. I must say, he's done a great job with his marketing.

A few things that I found to be interesting:
  1. People who were so excited about the show that they were worried about not getting in-- They either slept out on the street last night or they showed up at 4 this morning.
  2. The part where the city booed the mayer. Was that really necessary on national TV? C'mon!!
  3. The person with the pink sign: Seriously, you were the only person who didn't put your sign down when the show started. And, it was a sign to say hello to your grandparents in Florida. Did you really need to hold that up in front of me and everyone else to block our view during the concert? The camera wasn't actually filming most of the time...
  4. The people who were smoking in the crowd: Why is this even remotely acceptable? I choose not to smoke. I don't need your help.
  5. The people who had stayed out all night from the night before: They were still wearing dance clothes and had on wrist bands from the local bars. That was a sure sign that I'm back. There's no other city I've seen where it's fairly normal to party until breakfast. :-)

Let me just pat myself on the back for not buying into the 4 AM hype. I slept in until 5:20, took a shower, went and had some breakfast, and then walked down to Beale Street around 6:15. The timing couldn't have been better! The show started around 6:30 or 6:45 and it wasn't too crowded.

After an eventful morning, it's time to take a nap!


Tuesday, September 12, 2006



[in-ur-shuh, i-nur-]

In Physics:

The property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity along a straight line so long as it is not acted upon by an external force.

From me:
My life's inertia has been disturbed.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Memphis Apartment

Now that I've gotten my apartment situation all squared away, I wanted to let you know about another cool place downtown.

Angie & I toured this condo that's for rent in Paperworks. If you've been looking for an apartment in downtown Memphis, but are tired of the filled up complexes, this might be something to check out.

The apartment manager contacted me today to say that if I was still in the market for an apartment, I could have it. But since I already have one, I thought I'd post it here in case you're interested.

It's 1400 square feet with 2 parking spaces and free cable. Oh yeah, and the first month's rent is free. Here's the ad on Craiglist.

Here are a couple of photos:


It looks like I'll be switching my healthcare again, so that I'll have coverage in TN while I switch over.

I didn't have the best experience explaining this to Blue Cross of California over the phone today. I had hoped to just call them and say that I'd be moving... and then they'd be a little like my car insurance and just switch me over to the new state-- with a slightly lower rate.

(I'll be saving around 30% on my car insurance for moving back to TN btw.)

Anyhow, I had to talk to 3 different operators over the course of 30 minutes. Each person just couldn't believe I'd be calling to switch. One person suggested that I shouldn't actually change my health insurance-- that I should just buy the minimum coverage and then go to the emergency room if I really have to. Umm... that's really not what I had in mind.

So it looks like after all that, even if I want to stay with Blue Cross I have to completely reapply from square one. Wonderful. I hope I have enough information with me right now to get it done. Plus, it takes two weeks to become active, so I've really got to go ahead and put it in the system.

Instead of calling back to get frustrated customer service people, I've decided to revert back to the way that I got Blue Cross in the first place-- using They allow you to input a few varables and then compare plans with lots of different companies.

Hopefully they won't complain that I'm moving to TN or suggest I just go to the ER. :-)

This is the link to eHealthInsurance:

Compare free quotes for health insurance online!

Iraq for Sale and Great Labor Day Burgers

Yesterday turned out to be a little different than I would have pictured. In the morning, I woke up and was working on my ever growing to do list while watching Good Day LA on Fox. You may have seen the show called Good Day Live in other parts of the country. I rarely watch this show, but as I channel surfed around, I noticed they were cooking burgers. I stopped to see what was going on and quickly found out that Father's Office was showing how to make their famous hamburgers. Father's Office is a bar in Santa Monica on Montana that I do like. I've been there maybe 3 times and always with BoRyan or Pepperdine students. I've never actually had food there though, so I made a note that I should consider having a burger if I find myself there again and then went back to my to do list.

Then I remembered an e-mail that I received a few days before. It was from Brave New Films, the people who made the documentary about Wal-Mart. They had just finished up a new movie and had a few seats remaining at the world premire here in Santa Monica. To me, one of the selling points to go was that the filmmaker, Robert Greenwald, was going to be there afterward to answer questions about the movie.

So after finishing up as much of my to do list as possible, BoRyan and I headed down at around 5:45 last night. We stood in line for a little over an hour I guess, but it was actually quite interesting just to watch all of the interesting people that came. Because of the subject, I expected the people who came to see it to be young and outspoken. Most of them turned out to have white hair. Most of the people there were in their 60's at least. I was surprised. Where's our generation?

Anyway-- you may be wondering what the movie is about. The movie is about the contracting companies that the government hires to help out during war. You may have seen or read a little about this topic in the news. A few of the companies it discussed were Haliburton and CACI. It talked a lot about the danger that the civilian workers are unexpectadly put under, and how it endangers them and our troops. There were people who thought they were going over to do internet research that ended up having to interrogate prisioners, etc. The movie also highlighted the excessive amount of money that the companies appear to be making on the war. They talk some about how in the past it was considered immoral to make a profit on the war, and now corporations seem to be okay with it. The US military seemed to not be a big fan of these companies either, for many of the reasons described above.

The movie was created to start a dialogue. I would be interested to hear more on the other side of the debate too. I think though that this movie is well made, contains more solid facts than some documentaries I've seen, and also honors the families who have lost loved ones in Iraq.

Just like The Wal-Mart Movie, this movie is a grass roots effort. Instead of seeing the movie in a theatre, you are encouraged to host a viewing. You can host one in your home, at your school, at church, anywhere. I think it would be nice to host one with people that have mixed feelings on the issue-- and then host a debate afterward.

If you are interested to host a viewing, you can. Go to and request a copy of the movie for a showing. Actually, here's a direct link to sign up to do a showing. The cost is around $10. If it's anything like The Wal-Mart Movie, they'll send you a DVD, two movie posters, some stickers (or some other promotional items), and a sheet with questions that you can use to start a discussion after the movie.

I encourage you to give it a try. It's fun!

(Oh yea, and Ariana Huffington from the popular Huffington Post blog was there to ask questions too. I don't see anything in her blog about the movie yet, but I'm betting it will be there soon.)

After the movie, we went to Father's Office and tried their famous hamburgers. They were tasty! As a matter of fact, I'm going to have them for lunch today too. :-) They have a special sauce made with carmelized onions (for 2 days they marinate the sauce). I think it also has some brown sugar and mustard, but that's just my guess. They served it on a fresh baked hoagie with some great french fries. The french fries were those thin, crispy ones that you can tell are home made. They were sprinkled with some kind of herb and served with a dipping sauce that tasted to me like mayo, butter, garlic, and herbs.


Friday, September 01, 2006


I got an apartment!! It couldn't have happened at a better time. The movers are here today taking my belongings and I'm actually going to have a real address!