Zoo Town Night Life

By UM Student CLAY SPRINGMEYER

Goodbye Day Light Savings! Don’t you love getting to sleep in an extra hour?

Well, readers, so much has happened in the last week that I don’t even know what to tell you about. So let’s start with the Friday of Halloween weekend.

I love Missoula. I started the evening with a couple of good friends at a screening of “Inception.” Did you know the University Center Theater plays big name movies for three bucks if you show your student I.D.? Well, they do. Get on that! Here’s a link to this next week’s show times.

After standing in a very long line with many costumed college students, the only seats available were in the very front row. I think “Inception” would have been a mind trip from any seat in the house, but it was especially this way from our seats in front where it’s loud enough to make your brains dribble out of your ears. Directed by Christopher Nolan, creator of other fast paced, special effects heavy titles such as “Batman Begins” and “Dark Knight,” “Memento” and “The Prestige,” “Inception” didn’t fail to impress with its mind bending special effects and its themes of science fiction and corporate espionage. It was almost a James Bond meets “The Matrix.”

With our brains freshly turned to mush from the terrific sound, my companions and I were in need of some food for thought. Inevitably we kicked our way down town to one of the most culturally dynamic and socially stimulating venues in Zoo Town: the Oxford.

Before I explain the Ox to those of you who haven’t experienced the glorious Mushroom Bacon Double Ox burger yet, I think you need to know a few things about our walk down town. Missoula is the type of town where one can walk down Higgins Avenue at 1:30 in the morning on a Saturday before Halloween and find fully costumed college kids at just about every corner. As we crossed one intersection, a fully dressed purple Teletubby came skipping across the street towards us from the opposite side. On an adjacent corner was a guy dressed as a sandwich. Did I mention I love thistown?

So, the Oxford Saloon and Cafe. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There’s live poker and the breakfast menu is served all day long. What more could you possibly need? The scene gets particularly interesting around 2 in the morning when all the surrounding bars close and a horde of bearded, and in this instance, costumed, characters find their way into the Ox with a need for J.J’s special sauce – an orange spicy gravy straight out of heaven, particularly scrumptious smothered over a pound of country fried steak with a side of hashbrowns.

My personal favorite menu item, as mentioned earlier, has got to be the one pound Mushroom Bacon Double Ox burger. The title should speak for itself. I’ve only finished this burger once in my life, which is more than I can say for the Double Coronary Bypass Burger at the Vortex in Atlanta, GA. Although I don’t feel quite as inadequate for not being able to finish the latter, a one pound burger with two grilled cheese sandwiches for buns, six strips of bacon, eight slices of American cheese, and a fried egg. Don’t judge me. I had to try it.

Mission Awesome Friday: Accomplished.

Saturday night I went to an off the beaten path music venue known as “The Lab” with some good company. I have no idea who actually owns the house, but whoever does encourages traveling musicians to stop in and play impromptu shows in the basement. The basement has just enough room for a drum set, a few amps, the musicians, and an elbow to elbow crowd. There’s also a surrealistic mural in the back of the room with a message on the top that reads: “Hey you. Yes, you. Add something!” Buckets of paint can be found at the other end of the room for this purpose.

I listened to the alternative styles of “Happy Squid,” “Alpha Elk Sun,” and “Hunger Moon.” “Hunger Moon” finished the evening by playing outside next to the fire pit, and for the second time that weekend, I got a front row seat. Their energetic folk rock brought in several costumed individuals from the street. All of these bands can be found on Myspace music. Check ’em out!

News from the F.L.A.T.: For the past few weeks I’ve been working on building a root cellar in our basement with one of our interns. This is not the kind of root cellar that you have to dig a giant hole in the ground for. This is the kind of root cellar that even a dunderhead like me can design and construct. The design is basically an insulated closet that uses blue board rigid foam sandwiched between pieces of plywood over the closet frame. It also uses a simple air intake and exhaust system through a window.

Once completed, the 35 sq ft. root cellar should be 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the rest of the basement without using any energy. We’re also trying to use as many recycled materials as possible to cut down on our consumer impact and cost. Root cellar plans can be found online and are a wonderful way to preserve your vegetables and energy, and I have it on personal authority that playing with 2×4’s and power tools is just too much fun to pass up.

Alright, time for me to stop before this blog post turns into a lecture on sustainability. I hope the last couple of weekends have been as good for you as they have been for me, dear Readers. Tune in next week for my thoughts on dairy farm management, tracking grizzly bears and collecting their genetic material, and why I have a new found hatred for undercooked meat. Cheers!

Thanks for reading. Be good to each other.  Back to “A Day in the Life” Blog Homepage.

******************

A little about me: I escape the city as often as possible to go on random outdoor excursions. I enjoy standing in the middle of bridges for extended periods of time. I love reading. I love dogs. I also love making music, dancing, potlucks, pretending to be a zombie on Halloween, gardening, running on trails, cooking with garlic, copious amount of hot sauce, falling leaves in autumn, and drinking black coffee. I also love writing, and feel fortunate to offer my weekly perspective as a college student to the Make it Missoula collective. Tune in next week for the next rivetingchapter.

Clay