Sunday, July 8, 2007

Missoula, the "Paris" of Montana

Paul and I had to come to Missoula Montana to have some routine maintenance done on our bikes. Not surprising, this is about all the excitement there is in Missoula Montana.

No, that's not entirely fair. It also gave us a chance to do some laundry and see a couple of movies, while we waited for our friends Jim and Rick to come up from San Diego.

Since we were staying for a couple of days, we walked practically everywhere. I know this sounds a bit mundane, but to the townsfolk of Missoula, we looked like space aliens had landed. Apparently, we are the only people who've ever used their sidewalks, and the fact that we used them caused great consternation.

"It's 101 degrees. What are they doing outside? On that concrete strip along the road? There's something wrong with those boys!"

Being a huge movie buff, the one bad thing about this trip has been that I've seen very few movies. Since that's one of the few things to do in Missoula, it seemed like a great opportunity to catch up a little. So Paul and I headed down the street to the Carmike 6 to see Shrek 3.

Digital technology has apparently arrived in Missoula, and the Carmike 6 had recently replaced all their projectors with digital projectors. No more reels of film to deal with, nice sound and picture. What could possibly go wrong? Other than the air conditioning going out, and the lights in the theatre not working?

No worries. It's dark, relatively cool, and we're seeing a funny movie. Well we did for the first sixty minutes. Then it crashed.

Apparently you can get a blue screen of death from a theatre projector, because their entire system crashed hard. So hard that they couldn't start the movie again. They had the same problem across the hall. Their solution? Switch the audiences between the two theatres!

Okay, this works for me. The other theatre has air conditioning, and you actually have enough light to see your way to your seat. We come in, get comfortable, and they start the movie. And start the movie. And start it again.

Apparently, there is no fast forward on their cool new digital projector. So the manager comes by, gives us free passes for another movie, and invites us to watch the movie all over again.

We've watched three-quarters of the way through Shrek 3, but since we're in Missoula, why not watch it again? We sat and watched the entire movie from the beginning. It's somewhat surreal to know all the jokes before they happen, just because you've seen the movie so recently.

Later on, we go back to the theatre with our free passes and see Knocked Up. This time there were no technical malfunctions, and we had a great time.
In our time in Missoula, we also had a couple of nice breakfasts at Paul's Pancake Parlour. The first time it seemed like a nice place, so why not try it? After all, it is named after Paul.

The second time, we walked down the street trying to find someplace else. After about a mile, we decided to turn. After another mile we decided to turn again. When we ended up on their doorstep the second time, it seemed like I was destined to have sourdough pancakes again.

By the way, sourdough pancakes rock! If you ever find yourself in Missoula Montana, definitely go to Paul's and have the sourdough pancakes.

When Jim and Rick do arrive, we have a couple of drinks at a place called Curley's. Apparently every store along our street is a "slash/casino". As in "Restaurant/Casino", "Bar/Casino" or "Gas Station/Casino". How an 800 square foot bar can also be a casino eludes me, but Curley's pulls it off. Apparently there is some really good microbrew in Montana!

There are two things I'm reminded of when I hang out with Paul and his friends. First, one can have a very active and enjoyable life in one's sixties. I'm afraid that all three of them are in better shape now than I've ever been. Secondly, I have a lot more to accomplish. I'm not on the board of any companies, I've never owned acres and acres of land in Montana, nor have I built and sold a successful business. These things couldn't have happened to a nicer group of guys, but it reminds me that I better get hot if I want to make my mark on this world!

So there's Missoula in a nutshell. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but trust me, you're not missing much!

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