We’ve all heard the expression “all work and no play.” In terms of an adult, what constitutes play? The answer, at its core, is simple: anything we enjoy. In contrast, the phrase also implies that work is completely separate from fun. I think this phrase represents a fundamental notion of American culture. When I was child, my parents worked, and I got toys. The same is true for most adults. You work to pay for a good time, except the toys can get bigger and pricier. So where am I going with this? Well, some bars around Quincy are well aware of the effect that toys, specifically board games, have on a bunch of adults trying to escape the dregs of the work week.
Board games seem like a primitive form of entertainment compared with the technological lengths some companies will go to in order to entertain. For instance, think of an average American at this point in time. I wonder how many people have a 37” (or higher) flat screen LCD television in their home, maybe even two or three? How many Americans have an X-Box, Wii or a Play Station 3? How many Americans have desktops, laptops and tablets? Even reading has become virtual, with Kindles and Nooks that connect to the internet wirelessly to download ebooks and play games.
So what is it about board games? I can’t really say for sure. Reminiscing, maybe? A good game of Clue can definitely take me back to those summers when school was out, and my sisters and I had three months to kill. The experience is definitely a throwback to a time when we had no worries, when setting up the Slip N’ Slide was our only agenda, when our parents were happy for us and jealous of us at the same time, when we didn’t have four bosses waiting for TPS reports on Monday morning at 8:05. Thus, I associate board games with a time when fun was augmented by a carefree lifestyle without responsibility. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind getting older and acquiring responsibilities. It’s the reason I’m legally allowed to drink alcohol. Bars like O’Griffs, One, the Dock and Instant Replay provide both alcohol and board games so that Quincians can get the best of both worlds.
O’Griff’s Irish Pub was the first bar that really pushed me to write this blog. I’ve spent some nights drinking home brews and challenging people to game after game of Connect Four, which they keep at a side table near the front of the bar. Surprisingly, they still have all the pieces. I also know that the Dock, down on front street, north of The Pier, and Instant Replay, at 2739 Chestnut, have shuffle board that you can play for free if you can manage to catch the tables open.
Board games also make great ice breakers. For example, my girlfriend and I were lounging at One the other night. We had just finished our shifts, and we decided to stay for a drink. She found a wood box that opened up just sitting on an end table. Inside it had two dice and wood slats that were numbered one through 12, pivoting on a dowel. We had no idea what it was until a gentleman sitting by us explained that it’s a game called Shut The Box. He said it was a popular game in English pubs, and he had played it all the time when he was in Europe. Basically, you roll dice, and you use the numbers in the box to equal the total number on the dice in any combination (i.e. a double 6 on the dice can equal the 12 in the box, or a double 4 on the dice can equal 6 and 2 in the box). The catch is that you can only use each number in the box once. Once the number is used, you pivot it over on the dowel so that the number no longer shows, which signifies that the number can no longer be used. The object is to use as many numbers in the box as possible until there are no more left (which is called shutting the box) or you can’t possibly match the number you’ve rolled on the dice, which is often the case. Each player’s score is calculated by adding up the numbers they use in the box. It’s not uncommon for each player to throw in a dollar, and the player with the highest score takes the pot. We played for who gets the next round of drinks.
These are just some of the places around town where board games are provided. I imagine more bars wouldn’t mind if you brought your own. If you’re really inclined, maybe you could work with local businesses to organize board game nights. Most local owners are definitely receptive to these types of ideas because they put butts in the seats. This is why events like the Chophouse Hijack are well received in local Quincy bars and restaurants. It’s just a thought. Whatever the case, it’s a good way to meet people while you unwind. Plus, nothing is more challenging than trying to play Jinga after five or six drinks.
On Friday night, I had the opportunity to be a part of the opening festivities at a new area bar and restaurant, Johnny Bang Bangs. JBB’s, as I will call it for short, (and because I’m lazy) is in the old Backwaters building.
I walked down the hill, where I had parked my car on Hampshire Street, excited with all my new equipment and ready to set out on the beginning of my broadcasting career. I brought a friend along with me, who wishes to remain nameless — she is shy — to help “carry my bags,” but really just for moral support. Also, so she could get volunteer hours and so I wouldn’t be alone without a production crew and look ridiculous. OK, I’ll stop rambling.
Needless to say, I brought my friend with me, and as we walked in, we saw the same metal railing, club-like entrance that we used to enter back in the old days of “teen night” at Backwaters. Yeah, that was a while ago. But after that, you walk in, and it’s a totally different feel than before. Johnny must have been hard at work. I never actually got to meet Johnny so I could ask him if I could be an honorary “Johnny’s Girl,” but trust me, this guy must really have some swagger about him. He had probably 15 girls at his beck and call, dressed in daisy dukes, a red skin-tight t-shirt, and cowboy boots. (Jessica Simpson from Dukes of Hazzard anyone?) The girls were hard at work, attending to guests and helping with orders. It was almost a “Coyote Ugly” style set-up sprinkled with a little bit of western and rock-n-roll. However, the girls weren’t dancing up on bars, so maybe not quite “Coyote Ugly”, but still.
On to the musical entertainment, which was provided by My Own Medicine, a cover band from St. Louis. The group had the privilege of opening up for Johnny on his first Friday night in operation. I personally loved hearing songs that I recognize, although with a slightly different twang than the original artist, it made for a great atmosphere. As for the look. the stage had been lowered significantly, which was a smart move I think, so now we have a better view of the band, and a more personal feel.
I would love to see Bret Michaels come back and visit Johnny, the acoustics in this place carry, and not only that, but the sound system is incredible. It didn’t blow my ears out like most loud rock shows, but it still allowed for a great live band experience, and a place to eat and drink with friends. As I continued on my search for Johnny, I noticed the vintage 33 and 45 records posted on the west wall, and a kitchen on the far back wall. The wood floor was still the same, and what was left of the old Backwaters still bled through a little bit, but I could really see this place being a hot new place in town. It was different than the old place. It has a more grown-up, non pre-teen feel to it, that I think the night owls of Quincy will really appreciate.
Granted thats just the night scene, JBB’s is open during the day for families to bring their children in for a great meal. That’s the one thing I think will set JBB’s apart from other bars in town. It is family-friendly, and open as a restaurant during the day, but transforms into a bar for a mature crowd at night. JBB’s has no limit, as I did run into an older man who had recognized me from my work earlier in the day at the Memorial Day Program at the Vets Home. (small town, huh)
This place is big enough, I don’t think it would matter who was there, as you have three different levels to roam around on. All three levels of the venue I saw had been set up to be used, and all seats in the house had an illustrious view of the stage and the smell of pizza and wings being cooked wafted through the air. There are two full bars, one on the main level, and another on the second level. The place is big, but a lot better lit, and trust me, lighting is everything, and this place met my standards.
Although my search for Johnny was still going, I side-tracked and interviewed some really nice people. Mark Aleman, the property manager and Megan Goodwin, the assistant manager, both of whom are very knowledgeable about the venue itself, and were very excited to finally be opening JBB’s. I had the chance to ask them and a few other workers how the week had been going. They told me it had been stressful, as most restaurant/bar openings can be, and they had literally just gotten finished Friday afternoon putting the last touches on everything. I’ll tell you one thing, thank you for honesty. I didn’t want a cookie-cuttered answer of “oh, it’s been great (insert fake smile),” when I know it surely hasn’t been great, because I can’t imagine how lugging in new kitchen equipment, getting a full menu together, booking bands and hiring an all new staff could be easy.
Not only did I get a taste of how hard the owners of JBB’s had worked to bring a new venue to our town, but it also made for a great video clip, which you can check out on the Quincy Herald-Whig home page here: http://www.whig.com
To be honest, I was a little hurt that I didn’t get to meet Johnny, but by the looks of things, he has a lot going on, so this time, I forgive you Johnny!
JOHNNY BANG BANGS
Address: 138 N. Front, Quincy, Ill.
Phone: (217) 223-4444
Facebook: Johnny Bang Bangs
Hours: 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., weekdays and noon to 1 a.m. weekends
Get some rest Johnny, and welcome to Quincy!
This past weekend I had the opportunity to catch up with a good friend and former local Q blogger, Clint Begley. He has spent the last few months interning in the Outdoor Recreation Program at Georgia State University, returning to Quincy for the weekend to be in a friend’s wedding (congratulations Jordan and Anna Goehl). We got together Sunday night to drink some beer and talk about our summers.
What could be a more fitting brew than Big Sky Brewery’s seasonal beer, Summer Honey? Big Sky is a brewery located in Missoula, MT, which, coincidentally, is the city where Clint will be moving after completing his internship, sometime in August, to study Outdoor Recreation at the University of Montana. I know Clint is a fan of bitterly strong IPAs and thick stouts, so Summer Honey might have been on the lighter side for him. I really like porters and Irish ambers, so I would say that Summer Honey was a good shade for me. It’s comparable to Honeyweiss and Dundee Honey Brown, but I definitely liked it better than Honeyweiss.
I think the word elated is the best way to describe how Clint felt about his experience thus far at GSU, and I don’t blame him. Clint introduced to me to many of the outdoor activities that have changed my outlook on the natural world, including backpacking, caving, rock climbing and kayaking. I always loved to walk in the woods and walk barefoot through grass, but I’ve taken a much more active approach since going on several outdoor trips with Clint when I moved back to Quincy in October of 2008.
Clint told me about the magnitude of trips and training sessions that his department undertakes each summer to expose students to the outdoors and provide hands on learning exercises. For example, his department offers free training sessions on how to flip a kayak in case you end up upside down. We also talked about a recent trip that he and Quincy native Carson Tortorige planned, coordinated and lead through Yosemite National Park for a handful of GSU students during the beginning of May. Carson is actually the director of the Outdoor Rec program at GSU. The group backpacked over elevations of 6,000 feet for a majority of the hike, and snow cover prevented them from locating the trail. They used snow shoes to cross most of the terrain and navigated with landmarks, usually running water like streams and creeks, to stay on course, which led to dangerous creek crossings in freezing temperatures. Clint expressed that hypothermia was a legitimate concern. The group also faced snow accumulation of a foot a night throughout the entire 6 day hike.
We did talk for a short time about the near future and trips we would like to take. Clint stressed that he doesn’t want to look too far into the future because he wants to focus on his time at GSU. For me, it’s difficult not to look ahead. I will also be moving out west this July to a small town in Northern Idaho called Moscow, where I’ll be working on an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Idaho, and I look forward to spending the next three years concentrating on language and poetics in the beautiful and expansive landscape of the Pacific Northwest.
Fortunately, Moscow is only 3 hours from Missoula, so my girlfriend, Belinda, and I look forward to planning more trips to areas like Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Northern Cascades and Glacier National Park with Clint and his roommate, Matt Tipton, who is also from Quincy. It’s really convenient how all this worked out, and I’m thankful that we already have good friends in the area.
The night ended on an optimistic note, as most of my conversations with Clint do. There are loose ends that need to be tied together now, and there are threads that will soon be sewn together into something new. Belinda and I are about to immerse ourselves in a new environment, and I’m ready to immerse myself in my art just as Clint is ready to immerse himself in the wilderness, whether it be in the rolling molars of Southern Appalachia or the sawtooth peaks of the Bitterroot Range.
I always got the impression that drinking alcohol before 2 in the afternoon carries a stigma. I’ve always heard jokes that drinking early in the day might be an indication that you have a problem. But, as I discovered this weekend, you just have to class the booze up in a champagne flute in order to get away with it.
Since the weather was nice, my girlfriend and I woke early, craving something with a little kick to it. We only live about a mile from Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits, located on the southwest corner at 20th and Broadway. We made a quick drive over with the windows down. Regardless of the thunderstorm the night before, the weather was beautiful — clear sky, 70-80 degrees. Belinda suggested picking up a bottle of Barefoot Bubbly and Orange Juice to make Mimosas.
A Mimosa is a quick and easy cocktail to whip together. I looked up some recipes to prepare for writing this blog, but it really isn’t worth providing exact measurements or hyperlinks. It’s this simple: fill a glass half way with bubbly or sparkling wine (technically, you can’t call it champagne if it isn’t made in the Champagne region of France), then top it off with orange juice.
A fact about the Mimosa — an identical drink, called Buck’s Fizz, was invented and served by a barman named McGarry in London’s Buck’s Club, for which it was named, before the Mimosa was invented four years later in Paris. This drink was also occasionally
served with a splash of grenadine for color and flavor. To me, it sounds like a less-potent tequila sunrise. Like the Mimosa, this cocktail was served at formal functions, like weddings, as an alternative to champagne, which has more alcohol. It was also used to cure hangovers. Have you ever heard the phrase “bite the dog that bit you” or “hair of the dog?” Apparently a Buck’s Fizz/Mimosa is the ideal cure.
Now Mimosas have become a popular drink for social functions early in the day—brunches, wedding showers, etc. Personally, I think they’re great when you’re lounging on a hammock in the spring sun with the smell of fresh rain floating just above the flowers, listening to music on an idle Sunday. It’s a great way to spend a morning on your day off.
Once in a blue moon, you get lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. I mean REALLY get lucky enough to see something that you wouldn’t have on any other day, at any other hour, and to be blown away.
That happened to me last Thursday night. Thursday is not a common day of the week for Belinda and I to go out, but because our friend Josh Lanier was turning 30, and because he wanted to celebrate at New Hampshire bar, we had the fortunate experience of seeing one of the best singer-songwriters (hands down, no arguing) that I’ve seen live, named Graham Lindsey. Graham’s tunes and musicianship rivaled some of my contemporary favorites — Mike Kinsella (Owen), Samuel Beam (Iron and Wine), Rocky Votolato, and Kristian Matsson (The Tallest Man on Earth) — that I’ve seen at larger venues in bigger cities.
I want to acknowledge the new owner of New Hampshire Bar — Jeremy Grootens — for some of the work he’s done to turn the place around. If you drive by the corner of 10th and Hampshire frequently, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the salmon colored building on the corner. The place was kind of an eyesore, but not anymore. The landlord gave the outside a face lift with a couple buckets of black and red brick paint and new signage. It really looks like a different place. The special was also fitting for a country/folk show — $2 pounders and $3 tall boys of PBR. Even though hipsters have taken over the PBR market, the stigma of skinny jeans, faux hawks and scarves worn in summer months aren’t enough to deter me. I prefer PBR to other domestics like Bud or Miller anyway.
The show consisted of three acts — Ted Holt of Quincy, Owen Mays of Madison, Wisc., and Graham. Unfortunately, I was too late to catch Ted Holt, but all is not last. Ted is playing in Quincy again this weekend on Saturday, May 21, at O’Griffs Irish Pub.
Owen banged out a variety of originals and cover songs from well known and not-so-well known roots, country, bluegrass and folk musicians, including “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash. He also twanged out a guitar and banjo number with Graham. I caught up with Owen outside after his set and asked him about the tour. We talked about the arts community in his home town, Madison, WI, and how the eclectic tastes and talents of the Midwest have shaped his influences and inspiration. He was at the end of a 40 state tour, and he told me, with a smoky rasp in his throat, that he and his Buick LeSabre were on their last leg. Despite his weariness, he was excited to play his final show at home the next day, where he will take a breather for 30 days before heading back out in July. His tour was solo, and he only met up with Graham for these last few dates. He is a very modest and talented musician, and he mentioned that he was very honored to share a stage with Graham.
I also talked to Ted Holt when I went back inside, and he expressed similar admiration for Graham. That got me curious. After the show, I sniffed out Graham’s website, where I found out that his first album, Famous Anonymous Wilderness, was written in a farmhouse in Nebraska and debuted in 2003 on several notable top ten lists, including a couple Rolling Stone’s Critic’s Choice lists. He has since released 2 full length albums, an EP and moved to Missoula, MT.
All the semi-drunk meandering and wisps of conversation stopped when Graham started plucking. Accompanied by his wife, who played a variety of percussion instruments, Graham kept my attention from the first strum of his copper guitar strings to the final fading whine of his harmonica, playing a variety songs from different albums, including a few from his latest 2009 release, We Are All Alone In This Together. I thought of Bob Dylan, Hank Williams and all the other folk and roots musicians that I’ll never have the chance to see live, and I knew I was getting a small taste of it—all that organic instrumentation and storytelling that makes folk and bluegrass a brilliantly accessible and profound magnifying glass for rural America. I especially took to a number called “Matchbook Song,” which I was fortunate enough to record. Here’s the video:
After his set, Graham and his wife took the many compliments with a smile and soft spoken appreciation. They were generous enough to take a picture with me, but as a testament to their talent, we kept getting interrupted when I tried to talk about their tour. I checked the calendar on Graham’s website, and it looks like they’re on the first leg of a month long tour that began in St. Louis and spirals out to Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Texas, the Southwest and Western U.S., and ending in Montana.
I consider myself very lucky and grateful to have caught Graham. I am also surprised that an act with that kind of notoriety and talent traveled 30 highway hours and picked Quincy as a stop between St. Louis and Chicago. To me, that means we are doing something right, whether it is building a reputation, aggressive and expansive booking or a combination of both. In terms of live music, growing up in Quincy was not fulfilling and even painful at times. I still keep my ear to the ground, and the fact that I just happened to be at New Hampshire Bar for a birthday, catching the show kind of by accident, tells me that we also need to focus on promotion. If we can align all this, I think Quincy could draw in more great acts like Graham.
Regardless of the circumstances, I saw a show in this little river city last Thursday night that left a lasting impression on me, and I’m grateful I had the chance to meet these musicians and listen to their songs. I intend to follow them with an ear throughout the course of their careers.
Missouri, our good neighbor to the southwest, has some pretty interesting and historical sites for someone looking to get out of Quincy on a nice Spring or Summer day. Some of the places I like to drive to are historic downtown Hannibal, Mark Twain Lake and Wakonda State Park. All these places are about a 30 minute joy ride from here.
You notice that I didn’t include Canton, Mo., in this list? Other than to “party” at Culver-Stockton College, I’ve never really had a reason to go to Canton. Can you blame me? It’s a quaint little town of 2,500 people. You just never hear stories that start off like this: “Dude, there’s this place in Missouri, called Canton, that you have to see…” Well, last week, my girlfriend Belinda actually turned to me and said, “There’s this place, in Canton, called Riverside Smoke House that is supposed to have some of the best barbecue in the area.”
So I’m not going to write Canton off because its small. If I was the kind of person that did that, I would have never founnd places like Weston, which is another small town in Northwest Missouri on the Lewis & Clark trail with a great winery and outdoor venue for blues concerts. Heck, I wouldn’t have the awesome opportunity to write this blog. Needless to say, Riverside is where Belinda and I ended up for her birthday dinner this past weekend.
The place has a real small town feel to it. Sickles, Scythes and other archaic, rusty farm tools are hung up on the wall with nails, the dining room has red and white weave table cloths and concrete floors, the paper towels at each table are spooled around old plumbing, the condiments are held in cardboard six pack bottle containers, there are tables outside on the front patio, and of course, the bar faces you right when you walk in the front door.
For a Saturday night, our wait wasn’t bad. We walked right in and sat down. I had drank the night before, so I wasn’t in the mood for beer. I really wish that I was though. They carry Moose Drool and Trout Slayer Ale, which are brewed and bottled by Big Sky Brewing Company in Missoula, MT. It’s really good beer, and you don’t see it on the menu at too many places around these parts. Still, you know how unappetizing beer can look after a night of drinking? I had iced tea.
The menu had a decent variety of seafood, barbecue and even breakfast. I went straight for the barbecue. I always look for the pick-two or pick-three options on the menu at barbecue joints. From my experience, they are usually called just that, but Riverside disguises it a little bit. They call the pick-two option “Emilie’s Combo Platter,” and you get to choose between brisket, smoked pork, sausage, BBQ chicken and ribs.
Belinda and I ordered the combo, working together to get the best sample of meats. She picked smoked pork and brisket, and I picked ribs and brisket (at this moment, we faced the fact that we’re both stubborn people who love brisket). The entrée’s also come with two sides, and you can choose from baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, garlic mashed potatoes, potato wedges, green beans, baked potato, garden or Caesar salad, a sweet potato, cinnamon apples and mixed vegetables. And (that’s right, there’s more) the meal is also served with buttered corn on the cob and a corn bread muffin. You have to love the Heartland. Only the Midwest would make corn and corn bread mandatory with your meal.
As for the BBQ sauce, you get four homemade, original sauces to choose from — Gold, Original, Spicy and Sweet. I love the names. No beating around the bush. And why should they? It’s BBQ sauce. No need to jazz it up with special names. Gold is the only one that isn’t named for its flavor, but it’s literally gold in color so I assume that’s where the name comes from. Gold was also my favorite, but they are all good and worth a taste.
After it was all said and done, our check was $25, including drinks. Come on. You can’t beat that for delicious barbecue. And, in my experience, it really is some of the best barbecue in the area. I never really imagined myself saying this, but I recommend making a drive over to Canton. It’s worth it.
Riverside Smoke House is located at 305 Lewis Street. For more info about services, menu and weekly specials, call (573) 288-3986 or access their website. In addition to dining, Riverside also caters. Their hours of operation are Monday-Thursday, 6:30am-9pm; Friday, 6:30am-11pm; Saturday, 8am-11pm; Sunday, 8am-8pm.
Now that I’m working three jobs, Mondays are a demoralizing nightmare. Sometimes it can feel like standing at the base of K2 with a backpack full of lead bars and bricks. But hey, you do what you do to get by. I have worked multiple jobs since I was in high school, bagging groceries at Hy-Vee on Broadway and then schlep across the parking lot to peddle tacos at Taco Bell. What I’m trying to say is that I’m used to it, but, no matter how accustomed I am to labor, I still need to take the edge off sometimes.
A good martini will do the trick. All the booze with none of the bite. But martinis aren’t cheap. Who wants to work their butt off all week only to go out and blow it all in one night for $8 drinks. Well, you do have some options. If you followed my blog from the beginning, you’ve read about half price martinis at Fuji. There’s also a new contender special for those martini drinkers out there: Martini Monday’s at One Restaurant and Bar.
One has set aside a menu of $5 martinis especially for those beginning-of-the-work-week, Monday blues. I know their good and strong, because I make them. For anyone that doesn’t know, one of my three jobs is bartending at One. I also get to drink the martinis — not while I’m working of course. I get to partake, because I don’t usually work there on Mondays.
Our usual Monday bartender’s name is RJ, and he came to Quincy all the way from Atlantic City in New Jersey, where he worked as a bartender in busy clubs for many years. He knows how to make just about any drink that’s out there and then some. I didn’t have a whole lot of bartending experience when I started, so, for my first few weeks, I’d always go to RJ when someone would order a dirty Bombay martini on the rocks, which is basically Bombay Sapphire gin, a little vermouth, olive juice and ice. I’ve gotten a little better over the past month, but RJ is still the man to go to for a good martini.
If I had to pick my favorite $5 martinis at One, I would say I like the melon ball. It’s nice and froofy. You won’t look masculine at all when you drink it, but it’s good. I like the grape martini too. You’ll have to come in and go down the list. I believe we have about five or six to choose from, and we might be adding more. I wouldn’t recommend doing this all in one night, or you’re going to have an even rougher Tuesday morning. But hey, the more you drink, the better they taste.
Here’s how my weekend was supposed to shake down:
I was supposed to get off work from my day job at 4 p.m. on Friday and bartend at One Restaurant at 5 p.m. until 1 in the morning. Usually we all go to The Phoenix after we shut the bar down and blow our tip money. Get rowdy.
Saturday I had the same schedule, more or less. Saturdays are my favorite nights to bartend because One is always packed with reservations and good regulars at the bar. Then I was supposed to cover the Bret Michaels concert for the The Local Q on Sunday. Sounds like a great a weekend right? Well, the reason I say it was “supposed to shake down” this way is because it didn’t.
On Thursday night I caught one of the worst stomach bugs I’ve ever had. I was as sick as a dog, and my doc put me on weekend house arrest.
But I’m not the type to stay down and out. It’s just not in my nature. I admit I rested most of the weekend. I took the opportunity to catch up on some new albums by my favorite musicians. I didn’t have to download anything illegally or disobey my doc’s orders and drive to the record store. I actually used this website called Grooveshark (www.groveshark.com). If you create an account, you can search almost any artist and create playlists just like you would in itunes, only YOU DON’T HAVE TO BUY ANYTHING. That’s right. Creating an account is completely free; the music is streamed live on the internet so you don’t have to buy the mp3s; you have complete control over the music you want to listen to; best of all, no commercials. I’ve found some of the most obscure artists. It’s one of the greatest things on the internet right now. Literally.
Saturday was a different story. I was getting a little strength back. My girlfriend had to work, so I called up my buddy to hang out and watch some stuff on Netflix. I purchased a subscription to Netflix for $7.99/month, and I can stream thousands of movies, documentaries and commercialless TV shows in season sequence right from my computer, which I have hooked up directly to my television.
My buddy’s been real into conspiracy theories lately, so I thought he might like to check out a documentary called Collapse. It’s basically a videotaped interview with a man named Michael C. Ruppert, who explains his findings and theories about the collapse of modern industrialized civilization. Unfortunately for my state of mind, Mike seems to be a very smart and experienced man. I won’t dive into his background. If you want to know more, do some research or watch the documentary. If I had to give you the most concise synopsis I could, I would tell you that Mike has spent 30 years analyzing mainstream media and world economics. He states that we conduct our lives as if our economy will perpetually progress, but we must face the reality that our economy is fueled entirely by fossil fuels, which are a finite resource. Once those resources run out, the world economy will implode, and, essentially, industrialized civilization will collapse.
You have to take this kind of theory with a grain of salt. You can’t let fear run your life, but Mike does have some good points. You might want to know how to live off the land; grow food without chemical fertilizers or genetically enhanced seeds. Invest in organic seeds. You might want to know how to build your own shelter. I feel the important message is to be resourceful.
I know I’m resourceful. While my buddy wanted to drink of few beers while we were watching the documentary, I knew that would tear my stomach up and possibly make me sicker. My doc told me to drink white soda. So I used my noggin, and we compromised. If you mix white soda with Evan Williams Honey Reserve whiskey, it won’t tear up your stomach, and it tastes awesome. Simple recipe: fill a rocks glass with ice, add 1oz or so of Honey Reserve and fill the glass
the rest of the way with 7Up.
Now, I wouldn’t recommend everyone drink when they’re ill. I know my body, I knew how I felt and I knew I could handle it. Plus, I only had a drink or two. I still took it easy. Remember, drinking while you are sick can dehydrate you, so you probably shouldn’t do it at all.
So, what’s the point to this whole blog?
Simple: You live in an age where media and information are easier to access than they have ever been. Ever. Take advantage of it. Challenge your mind. Learn Something. I pay next to nothing to access all the movies, music, news and print media (ebooks) I want. I was supposed to have a very socially stimulating weekend. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. Instead of burying my head in the sand, I had a very intellectually stimulating weekend even though I had to spend most of it lying on the couch.
QU students will be treating the community to a wine and cheese tasting this Friday, April 1, in Quincy University’s Hall of Fame Room (inside the Health and Fitness Students) from 7-11 p.m., complete with a wide selection of prized wines provided by Spirit Knob winery.
As part of an annual “Senior Class Gift,” graduating seniors are asked to create and develop an initiative to raise funds for a project or contribution to the university. 2011 graduates have decided to host this wine and cheese reception to raise money for new laboratory equipment for the school’s Division of Science and Technology. All proceeds from this event benefit the 2011 Senior Gift.
The purchase of your ticket includes five complimentary wine tastings of your choice and a commemorative wine glass. Bottles and full glasses will be available for purchase. Water, soda, and refreshments will be provided free of charge. Patrons are also encouraged to participate in a silent auction by bidding on baskets donated by various campus divisions, student clubs, and local businesses.
Tickets cost $10 in advance or $13 the day of the event and can be purchased in person in the Quincy University Advancement office, by contacting Barb Girouard at 228-5227, or by e-mail at email@example.com. You can also purchase tickets online at www.class2011.quincy.edu.
Little known fact about me: I’m not a huge fan of the state of Kansas.
It’s flat, long and horribly boring to drive across. I’m not a Chief’s fan. I’m not a Royals fan. I think the only thing redeeming about the state is the KU Jayhawks basketball team. Well, I attended a two day national poetry conference held in Lawrence from March 13 to 14, and I got to spend a couple nights in the Jayhawk’s hometown.
Turns out, Lawrence is a hip place — an oasis, if you will. Since most of you probably don’t know what a poetry conference entails, I will break my experience down into three blogs — Saturday night, Sunday and Monday — to provide the best picture of Lawrence and the event that I can.
We left Saturday, March 12, sometime in the afternoon. It’s not a bad drive. I went to school in Carbondale, Ill., which is about the same distance from Quincy as Lawrence — about 250 miles (four to five hours) away. We stayed at a Days Inn on South Iowa street. I booked it through priceline.com at $40/night. Aside from a dirty ice bucket, it wasn’t a bad hotel, especially compared to the price of other hotels in the area. I don’t normally invest a lot of money in hotel rooms, because I don’t spend a lot of time in my room — awake at least. The only amenity I look for is free wifi to look stuff up. This trip was no exception. The moment we set our bags down, I was already digging out my laptop to scour the internet. We heard that Lawrence has some killer BBQ, so we searched for some local joints.
After browsing a few websites, we came across a place called Bigg’s Barbecue. They had a link to their dinner menu right on the homepage, and everything sounded good for a reasonable price (we found some places that were ridiculously expensive). They also boasted a homemade, award winning barbecue sauce. We decided to drive over. Luckily, we had a GPS. Bigg’s was tucked behind some large shopping center off the main drag, and it took us about 4 u-turns to find it. There were no signs, markers or neon lights. You might think this is an advertising fail, but I feel differently. If a place doesn’t need to advertise their location to put butts in the seats, then they must rely on their food.
Bigg’s looked small from the outside, but it was huge. Architecturally, the building was like a giant loft with a bar — a main level dining floor, a balcony dining floor, The kitchen underneath the second level, three 50 inch
projectors and more flat screens than Electronics Warehouse. The place was packed, and for good reason. KU was playing the University of Texas at Austin (the Longhorns) for the big 12 title. Everyone was wearing royal blue, even our waiter, who sat down with us to watch the game after bringing out our meals. Our dinner was awesome. I had baby back ribs and smoked brisket with baked cinnamon apples and spicy coleslaw. Belinda ordered all you can eat rib tips with potato salad and fried okra. We washed it all down with a bottle of Dos Equis (on special Saturday nights) and a pint of Crimson Phog, which is a local Irish red brewed by 23rd Street Brewery. Irish red is probably my favorite type of beer, and I can honestly say that the Phog was one of the best I’ve tasted. Belinda agrees.
Even though we were pretty stuffed, we decided to leave a smidge of room for dessert because I really wanted to try the chocolate covered bacon. What? Meat for dessert? Yes, that’s right. Fried pig slivers dipped in milk chocolate, dressed up with sliced almonds and served with a side of whip cream. Belinda has already had chocolate covered bacon, and she really wanted me to try it. There’s nothing like following up a two-meat entrée with a dessert of sweet and salty meat.
KU ended up beating the Longhorns, and the place went nuts. People were screaming, whistling, standing up in the aisles and dancing around. The excitement was infectious, but I was too full to join in. I figured it was time to head back to the hotel. I knew I needed to get up early to see as much of Lawrence as I could and to attend day 1 of the poetry conference on Sunday. Plus, I was in no shape to walk around after such a huge meal. So, we went back to the hotel and fell into a quasi-meat coma.