Sunday Evening Smorgasbord

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I feel like treating my readers to a Sunday evening smorgasbord of topics so let’s get right to it and watch out as I throw five different things at you.

Iowa Recap: Last weekend I visited a friend in Iowa City, Iowa. It marked the first occasion that I actually got to spend time in the Midwest. I enjoyed seeing a different part of the country. I saw my fair share of cornfields and might have felt a little exposed with no mountains around me. I had the opportunity to meet some super nice people and relax a little bit from my hectic life. I enjoyed seeing the Iowa football stadium and driving around a few of the different communities that make up Iowa City.

The Wolf of Wall Street: On Thursday night I finally got around to watching “The Wolf of Wall Street.” I thought the movie for the most part was pretty good, although I wouldn’t want to watch it again. It was just a little too long for me. Also, I must claim ignorance when it comes to the stock market. You could fit my knowledge of stocks into a thimble so a lot of the “shop talk” addressed in the movie went over my head. However, I did enjoy the premium acting. Leonardo DiCaprio killed it and I especially liked the scene with him and Matthew McConaughey in the restaurant for lunch and also the scene on the boat with DiCaprio and Kyle Chandler (he played the FBI agent). Jonah Hill provided some good laughs.

Hosting Glen: This weekend I got to enjoy time with my brother. Glen flew out of Missoula for a job interview so after he returned on Saturday morning he got to spend the day with me. From the wonderful confines of my apartment we had a nice time watching Felix Hernandez and the Mariners dominate the Oakland Athletics and then witness the Connecticut victory over Florida in the Final Four. For the second Final Four game we watched the action at Buffalo Wild Wings. From there we concluded the night bowling with a couple of my friends. This morning we enjoyed a nice breakfast and then watched a couple episodes of “Bar Rescue” before Glen hit the road for Spokane. As it marked the last time I will ever host my brother in Missoula again I am glad we once again had a great time.

Speaking of That Breakfast: Glen and I ate at Stone of Accord for breakfast this morning. Over the past couple of years the brunch offered at Stone of Accord became my favorite. Although I love the traditional breakfast fare of pancakes, waffles, and French toast the Irish themed options at “The Stone” always just hit the spot for me. I became a huge fan of the cow pies offered…meat, eggs, veggies, and mashed potatoes combined together for a filling and unique meal to start the day. Don’t forget the soda bread that comes with each entre either. I am beyond stoked for the southern eating I will soon become introduced to but I will miss Stone of Accord.

NCAA Basketball National Championship: Although I wanted to see a Florida-Kentucky national championship game at least I get to see one of those teams in the chipper tomorrow night. I hope the Wildcats defeat Connecticut. For some weird reason I kind of like Coach Calipari and I love the story line of a freshmen starting five getting the better of much more experienced players. Go Kentucky!


Have a great week! It is going to be a very busy one for me but it won’t slow me down from publishing to Don’t Blink. I will talk to you guys tomorrow. Don’t Blink.

Five Days of Life

I have enjoyed the last five days hanging out with my friends. While working out today, I reflected on the past several days and realized that I could kind of pull a certain story from each night that kind of defined that particular evening. Let me warn you now, there is nothing too overly exciting…well maybe one of the stories…but I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up. Basically, I have just lived my life recently and am deciding to write about it for tonight’s post. Hope you don’t get too bored!

Wednesday, June 13: Trivia Victory

This past Wednesday, a group of us went to the Broadway (Restaurant/bar in Missoula) for all you can eat wings and trivia. For only $9, you can gobble up as many wings as your stomach can handle while also playing in a pretty fun trivia game. While getting basket after basket of wings, we managed to hang tight in trivia. We managed to stay in the upper tier of the standings for most of the game. However, when the final round came along, it looked as if we would not leap frog into first place. Because of this, we all paid our tabs. The last round, the “music round”, came and went. We hung around just to see where we ended up.  Well, wouldn’t you know it? We actually did know our music pretty well and once the results flashed on the bar televisions, there was our team name, #Winning, sitting all alone in the number one spot. We had just won a $50 bar tab and none of us had a tab open. We remedied that situation and asked our server to bring us out $50 worth of Fireball shots. The Broadway staff was more than happy to help us consume the plethora of shots.

Our team, #Winning, won trivia.
Thursday, June 14: Making Friends at Downtown Tonight

During Thursdays during the summer, Caras Park in Missoula holds “Downtown Tonight,” a great community event that features food, beer, and live music. The food choice is always amazing and when the weather is decent, the fun to be had is pretty remarkable. This past Thursday, my friend Chris, my co-worker/friend Jimmy, and myself invaded Caras Park. While chowing down on gumbo and distributing business cards for Jimmy’s new BBQ restaurant, we also met a couple different groups of really cool people. First off, we met two girls working a booth ran by a very successful real estate agent here in town who we all know from work. As successful people usually do, they hire intelligent and motivated people who will in turn be successful in the long run. This was definitely the case with the two girls that Diane (real estate agent) had working her booth. Just a little ways from the real estate table, there was a wood oven pizza stand ran by three girls around the age of twenty-three. One of the girls happened to actually start the business. This girl hired two of her friends to help her run the business (it is called Ciao Bella Wood Fired Pizza…check it out next time) and the rest is history, they completely sold out of pizza on Thursday night.

So we got to know both groups of these girls pretty well. Once Downtown Tonight ended and everything was packed up, it just so happened that Chris, Jimmy, and myself found ourselves sitting on a patio deck of a popular restaurant with both groups of girls, Diane, and the dad of the girl who runs the pizza business. Don’t think I said this above, but all the girls were beautiful. We had a great time visiting and getting to know each other. Anytime you can enjoy an evening where you network with similarly minded young professionals who also happen to be very attractive you know that you did not have a bad night.
Diane with her two workers.
Friday, June 15: Sucker Punched

On Friday night, Chris, Dan, and I were at the Iron Horse (yet another established restaurant in Missoula). The Iron Horse has two levels, connected by a staircase. The staff closed down the upper half of the restaurant that the three of us happened to be in. As we made our way down the stairs, there was a big commotion just a few feet away from the bottom of the steps. A troubled and very intoxicated guy in probably his late forties was giving the Iron Horse staff problems as they were trying to get him to leave the place. Not wanting to get mixed in with the unfortunate scene, we veered to the left to completely avoid the confrontation. Well, that night my red and white striped Where’s Waldo shirt must have attracted just a little too much attention because as I walked by looking straight ahead away from the scene, I was the recipient of a sucker punch to my jaw.

The moment the blow connected with my face, no fewer than four Iron Horse staff members mobbed the dude, carried him out with his legs kicking, and threw him into the parking lot. The whole place watched the scene as the 86’d individual tried to get up, only to fall backwards. His friend who was beyond fed up with his actions took the guy’s shoe and started beating him with it. The place erupted in laughter. The Iron Horse staff was very professional and sympathetic to me about the whole situation. They said they had never seen an unprovoked attack like that before. I told them not to worry, they took care of the problem immediately. After all, it was really no big deal at all…the guy couldn’t throw a decent hard punch if his life depended on it.
Moments after getting sucker punched Jessie pointed out the point of contact.
Saturday, June 16: A Great Meal on the House

Friday night, Dan and I played in the Bingo game at the Lucky Strike. Dan happened to win one of the rounds and in addition to some cash he also got a coupon good for two free dinners in the bowling alley’s connected restaurant. We decided to cash in the coupon on Saturday night. The card was good for two dinners, two drinks, and two desserts. We sat down in the empty restaurant with a killer air conditioning system and just enjoyed a free meal. Our entrees came with either soup or salad and I chose the former which was meatball soup! I had never tried such a thing before but it was delicious. Next, our dinners came. I got steak and mashed potatoes while Dan got the steak and shrimp combo. Even though we probably could have passed, we couldn’t refuse the free dessert. I got a giant brownie topped with ice cream and whipped cream while Dan got caramel cheesecake. We enjoyed every bite of our food along with every drink of our bottomless Coca-Colas. Getting a hearty, good tasting free meal every once in a while is not so bad.

Dan digs into his dinner at Lucky Strike.
Sunday, June 17: Seeing an Old Friend

On Sunday late afternoon I got to see an old friend who I had not seen in person since the Miranda Lambert concert way back in October. A lot had changed since that last encounter and unfortunately it was not for the better. Ellie lost her dad in January, an experience that I can’t even begin to comprehend. She came up with her mom from Kalispell for a day of shopping. When they finished hitting the Missoula shopping spots, they invited me out to one of my favorite restaurants in Missoula, Johnny Carino’s. We visited and caught up and had a really nice time. After I ate every bite of my five meat Tuscan pasta, I got to taste some of what Dan ate last night as the three of us split a piece of cheesecake. I was honored that I got to spend some time with Ellie and her mom on what had to have been a very tough Father’s Day for both of them.

Ellie and I at Carino’s earlier today.
I look forward to what this next week has to hold. Hopefully I will continue to have good times with my friends, meet more new people, and not get punched in the face. We shall see. Don’t Blink.


I am pretty sure I have a new favorite game I love to play at restaurants and bars now. Easy, entertaining, and old school I have rediscovered my love for BINGO. My only question is why hadn’t I discovered it sooner?

Yes, I know I am late to the party when it comes to bars holding bingo nights. I realize that these games have been going on since I was playing brown bag bingo at my elementary school almost twenty years ago. The fact of the matter is, when I heard that certain places had bingo games on certain nights, I pretty much just brushed them aside, thinking that there was no way I could have fun playing bingo unless I was a young kid or a senior citizen. Well, it took a chance occurrence to change my attitude.
A little over three weeks ago, my friend Chris and I went to a little casino/restaurant called Joker’s Wild to eat. I had a gift certificate to the place that I had won through a radio promotion and I decided it was time to cash it in. We sat in the bar area and as we were finishing up, people started to file in. As I began to take notice of the once empty place starting to fill up, our waitress came over and asked us if we were going to stay and play bingo. We basically said “why not?”
My new friends from bingo at Joker’s Wild
Thinking that we would just play a couple games we found ourselves still there two hours later deeply entrenched in the grand finale blackout game. Whatever was going to happen next didn’t matter too much because we had had a good time but it didn’t hurt that Chris lucked out and won (this is the same guy who correctly predicted “I’ll Have Another” to win the Kentucky Derby). Well technically, Chris shared the victory with a lady from a table who we had made friends with earlier. The two shared a $120 pot. When we left Joker’s Wild that night we subtracted $60 from our evening’s tab and added a few friends. Maybe I wasn’t too young or too old for bingo after all.
Chris, the Bingo Emcee, and the other winner/new friend (Nicole)

This past Friday night my friend Gabe invited me out to the Lucky Strike to play in its bingo game. Lucky Strike’s version was a little grander than at Joker’s Wild. More  people, more prizes, and more craziness, the atmosphere was pretty cool. I got to the venue about half way through and just started helping Gabe cover her numbers when they got called. By the time that particular game ended though I was already so wrapped up in it that I had to buy my own cards. Good music played throughout. Two emcees ran the game and called numbers. A powerpoint displayed the bingo patterns for each game. Cash, bar tabs, and other prizes were given away to the winners. It was just a well-organized, fun time. Although I did not win, it was another great experience.

So why is bingo such a worthwhile bar activity to take part in, regardless of your age? I can think of three main reasons:
First off, it is cheap. For around 2-3 hours of entertainment it will cost you between $10-$20 dollars. At Joker’s Wild, Chris and I probably paid $20 each. This was because we kept buying each game individually. As I mentioned above, we were initially just going to stay for a couple games so we bought cards accordingly but we kept telling ourselves “one more game….one more game….one more game.” If you just pay for the whole session up front, you save money. At Lucky Strike I only paid $10 for six cards that covered each round (there are usually two different bingo games per round). After the round is over, you rip off your card sheet and there is a fresh new sheet for the next round. Besides it being cheap, there are obviously also potential pay-offs. If you win, you get compensated. Many winners get their food, drinks, and bingo cards paid for and still have some extra cash at the end. It is a beautiful concept.

Secondly, bingo is a great bar activity to take part in because it is fair. Everyone has an equal chance of winning (depending on how many cards you buy) and it can’t be manipulated. Although I love to play trivia, I have a real tough time playing it these days. Although every venue makes a big deal about outlawing smart phones, I catch people using them under the table all the time. I also always notice the people who make frequent trips to the bathroom as well. It drives me nuts. During bingo, I don’t have to worry about these losers who are so cheap that they have to cheat.

Finally, bingo is great because it is relaxing. Sure, your adrenaline starts to pump a little when you are one number away from a bingo but that is about as intense as it gets. The emcee calls numbers, you mark your card, you drink beer. It a great way to rewind and be social.

I am excited for the next time I play bar bingo. I will definitely make a return trip to Lucky Strike. Playing with Gabe and her friends (now my friends too!) was a blast. I also got my eyes set on the bingo game they have at Hooters on Thursday.  I can’t wait to experience the twist that is put on their game. So mark bingo as another example of something that I have unfairly stereotyped. I am now a fan. Don’t Blink.