Osbasso in Great Falls!

At last month’s Great Falls Blog Meet, special guest star Wulfgar gave a pretty neat overview of the who, what, why, etc of blogging, and in particular Montana bloggers. He asked all of the attendees what the most popular blog in Montana is…and although some of us threw out some good guesses, Wulfgar pointed out that the most popular blog in Montana is arguably Views From The Back Row. It’s a great Helena-based blog run by Osbasso. One of the reasons that it’s so successful is because Obasso introduced a meme called “Half-NakedNekkid Thursdays” several years ago, which has become hugely popular (learn more about HNT here) – and which is not nearly as “naughty” as the title implies.

So on Sunday, as I was walking out of Starbucks (in Great Falls), I noticed a car pulling out of the parking lot with the license plate “OSBASSO.” I called out “Osbasso? From Helena? The blogger?” and sure enough – it was him! I introduced myself, and fortunately he knew about Greater Falls (else he would have thought I was some crazy dude), and we chatted for a few moments, and off he went. Genuinely a nice, happy guy – great to meet you, Osbasso! If I’d had my wits about me, I would have snapped a quick pic of us, but there were a few other cars waiting impatiently for his spot 🙂
It is always SO cool to meet fellow bloggers in real life!

And, of course, seeing him with his custom license plate made me wonder for the millionth time if I should break down and get a GR8RFLZ plate.

GF makes NYT

Not often that Great Falls lands in the New York Times, but it did this weekend. The topic: unionization. Here’s a snippet:

Keri Gorder, until recently the manager of a hair salon in Great Falls, Mont., said she was surprised last month by a document that her company wanted stylists to sign. Ms. Gorder said the salon’s parent company, the Regis Corporation, urged the four stylists at her salon, Cost Cutters, to sign a document that would seemingly nullify any future support they showed for unionization.

“I thought it was taking our right away before we ever exercised that right,” Ms. Gorder said. She said her area supervisor had pressured the stylists to sign the cards. “The area supervisor said, ‘I would do what the company wants you to do,’ ” Ms. Gorder said, adding that she quit her job this month because of her dismay over the situation.

Soon she informed labor leaders about the document, and now they are threatening to picket the salon and hand out pro-union fliers.

Read the whole thing here.

RIP, Zandy’s

Farewell, Zandy’s. A true Great Falls icon, now gone. After closing down back in January, it fought back – Fred was brought on to revitalize the joint, and together with his awesome crew, put tons of sweat-equity into restoring Zandy’s, culminating in the re-birth of Zandy’s just a few weeks later.

And during Fred’s tenure, Zandy’s thrived briefly – burgers and shakes and breakfast, a cast of colorful regulars, and monthly fund-raisers for local charities.

But it just wasn’t enough. With the opening of so many new eateries in Great Falls in recent months, Zandy’s could no longer compete. And last Monday, it gave one last gasp and shut down.

RIP, Zandy’s. And Fred – thank you for doing so much to give Zandy’s one more chance. Best wishes to you, the Missus, and the whole Zandy’s crew.

Zandy's Is Closed

The Big Screen in Great Falls

Saw “Inglourious Basterds” at the Carmike theatre on Saturday, and was definitely not disappointed. It was QT at his best, as usual. If you’re not a QT fan, there’s probably no point in trying to convince you to see it. If you ARE a QT fan, then you know what I’m talking about. It was, quite simply, awesomely stupendously amazingly amazing. Worth the wait!

And speaking of the movie theatre…got an e-mail from someone on Friday that read:

Just curious if you have any comments about the Tribune story talking about bats at the local theater. I think it’s pathetic that a town of this size has a such a low rent quality theater. My son and I go to the theater quite a bit and there are so many problems with the place I don’t know where to begin. Staff is poor, the movies don’t start on time, the signage at the theater is wrong, high prices, the list goes on and on. I’m now going to see more movies in Helena at the Cinemark theater. Christ… bats flying around in a movie theater. What a joke.

First, I’ll note that we did not see any bats at the theatre on Saturday afternoon. There was a public health warning posted on the door to the building about four of the auditoriums being closed due to confirmed bats or bat sightings. On a lark, I asked the ticket-seller if anyone had asked for tickets to see “Batman.” She was not very amused.

But regarding our Great Falls movie theatre: in my seven years here, I’ve been there perhaps two dozen times. Every time, I have appreciated the “stadium seating,” which is common nation-wide now, but still very much appreciated. Cup holders – nice tough, considering that it wasn’t so long ago that they were a novelty. Never had a problem with the actual viewing of the movie, either – sound, picture, lighting, etc. So on the few occasions that I do venture forth, I’m usually pretty happy with the actual movie-watching experience.

On the other hand…the snacks are over-priced – which is a given, but still ticks me off; the staff is almost always surly or bored or completely indifferent to the concept of “customer service”; the lines at the snack stand are ridiculous; and the quality of the popcorn varies between “tolerable” and “ack – can’t even eat it.”

And the coming attractions – unbelievable. Start time for Saturday’s showing was listed as 12:45, but the movie didn’t start until about 1:10. That’s nearly 25 minutes of previews and ads! They’ve got a captive audience, and take full advantage of it, unfortunately.

And the sad thing is that there’s no competition. There is no other choice in Great Falls. Granted, it could be worse — when I lived in Enid, Oklahoma about 10 years ago, the only game in town was a 60s-era theatre with flat seating and scuffed screens — so I appreciate that we have a modern movie house with nice seats and lighting and picture quality. But it sure would be great to have a nice movie theatre that actually cared about customer service, hired pleasant people who smiled, and served reasonably-priced snacks.

Again, I don’t hit the theatre too often — Tim Burton, Quentin Tarantino, an occasional super-hero flick — but when I do, it would be great if the entire experience was as awesome as the movie itself.

Link Roundup!

Been too long since we had a good old-fashioned link roundup! Here we go!

Mark is putting together a webinar focusing on Google Apps, and would love to get some feedback and participation. I’ve used Google Apps for a while – not extensively, but a bit – and as with most things Google, it’s awesome. Highly recommended.

Claire is back, this time posting about healthcare reform via cable news pundits and hosts. As always, her writing is sharp. Very sharp.

Electric City Weblog is on fire lately – and even got linked by Instapundit this week to prove it (and 91 comments and counting)!

Best-selling author and globe-trotting GF resident Jamie Ford offers up some of his most memorable moments. Very cool.

Sandra wonders why so many issues were “tabled” at this week’s City Commission meeting.

And in the news: a naturalization ceremony was held in Great Falls on Thursday in which 23 people became American citizens – that is SO cool. Look at the smiles on the faces of the new Americans – ain’t it awesome? And I added some “web extra” stuff at the bottom of the story so that readers can get a better sense of what the process requires. You like?

Burned Into My Brain

If you spend any time listening to the radio (AM, primarily, and two stations in particular), then I’m sure you can recite – or sing – these lines in your sleep, just like me:

I’m Kurt, and I’m Kent: we’re the tool guys from Midway Rental!
…now come home to Ferrin’s Furniture.
ProKleen, your restoration professionals…one call does it all.
However, listening to the rhythm of a leaky faucet can give you nightmares!
…and it’s absolutely time to buy now!
Not while I buy the office supplies.
As you survey your outback, you’re overwhelmed by the large expanse of grass to mow…
…driven to perfection!
Pete’s Auto…home of the half-price car.

Any local ads that are burned into your brain?

And coming up next: Public Service Announcements!