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Things We Do

 

M.A.S.S. activities

These are some of the activities and interests of our group.  Please refer to the Meetup.com groups (both Official and Member Organized) for further details and one-time activities which are not discussed here.  This is the main site we use for organizing and coordinating our events.  If you are new to Meetup here is a short tutorial on setting up an account.

 
 
First Wednesday Discussion Group.

First Wednesday Discussion Group.

M.A.S.S. 1st and 3rd Wednesday Discussion gRoup

This bi-monthly group chaired by Bob Campbell meets in the Jack Reidy Conference Room of the Missoula City Council Chambers building at 140 Pine Street.  Check out the M.A.S.S. Official Events meetup group for more details on current meetings.

The first Wednesday of the month is our open discussion where we discuss a topic that was chosen by those who attended the previous first Wednesday discussion group. So, if there is something you want to talk about, be prepared to propose it to the group and at the end of the night we take the suggestions and pick one for the next meeting. You then have a month to think about the topic and maybe do a little research if you are so inclined; most of us are not that dedicated and really do neither. The topic is usually posted on the Meetup site within a week of it being selected, so check there to see if the topic is one that interests you. These discussions are very open and free form and often stray from the “official” topic.

The third Wednesday meeting became a “book club” type meeting a few years ago.  It focuses on reading parts of different books chosen by the group.  Usually several chapters are read per month giving us time to discuss in detail features and topics within these chapters. The book we are reading part of each week right now is Would You Eat Your Cat? Key Ethical Conundrums, and What They Tell You About Yourself by Jeremy Stangroom.  We are reading the sections aloud each meeting so no need to buy the book to join the discussions.

 
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Readers en mass

This reading group, started by Janis Mateel, operates along the lines of a monthly book club which follows the more traditional idea of reading a book a month, then meeting to discuss and share our ideas on what it meant to us and might mean in a broader sense.  The list of books reflects those already read and a few of the ones scheduled for the next few months.  Use the M.A.S.S. Member Organized Events meetup group to RSVP for the next discussion and get more information on the current book.

Books that have been read so far:

The Missionary Position by Christopher Hitchens
The Drunkard’s Walk by Leon Mledinow
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Book of Ages: Life and Opinion of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore
The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get It Back by Clark Elliott
The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan
His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin In Search of Memory by Eric R. Kandel
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Brian Stevenson

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan
What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, the Universe and the Meaning of Life Itself by Sean Carroll
Kindred by Octavia Butler
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
 

 
Skeptics in the pub mascot....

Skeptics in the pub mascot....

Social gatherings

M.A.S.S. members often enjoy social gatherings and get togethers.  The first Sunday of every month is a regular bunch booking at Sean Kelly's Stone of Accord.  Look for us in the private meeting room and check out the Official Events Meetup group for more details.  Skeptics in the Pub is another regular gathering, currently meeting (usually) upstairs in the 501 Lounge of the Iron Horse Brew Pub.  This event is posted on the M.A.S.S. Member Organized Events meetup group, which is where you will find the topic for the next month and any changes to location or time.  Various other social outings are arranged randomly or non-randomly throughout the year.  One year a Pi Day pub crawl was arranged, complete with member supplied pies!  There was also a zombie caroling one year around solstice.

 
One of the bridges along the Route of the Hiawatha.

One of the bridges along the Route of the Hiawatha.

outdoor activities

We like to do random fun things out of doors as well.  The list below are a few of the ones which tend to happen every year. 

Route of the Hiawatha bike ride - this fun all downhill trail winds through tunnels and over old rail bridges through some gorgeous scenery near the Idaho/Montana border.  It can be ridden back up hill, but a convienient bus also takes weary riders back up to their cars.  It is a fun summer tradition complete with many picture ops and friendly/somewhat aggressive chipmunks.  More information on the trail can be found here : http://www.ridethehiawatha.com/

December 25th Snowshoeing - long ago in the mists of time it was decided that for those who do not feel compelled to honor the proposed birthday of a man currently the focus of a major religion, a brilliant alternative would be to hike around in the snow with large paddles attached to ones feet and commune with nature and ones fellow snowshoers.  The usual spot for said snowshoeing is on Lolo Pass, hiking through the snow from the visitor center up to a beautiful overlook and back.

Day Hike Adventures - Depending on the weather, time of year, and adventurousness of the group we also have gone on day hikes/trips to different historic or scenic sites within a days drive of Missoula.  Some of the trips have been to: Morel Falls, Squaw Peak, Wallace ID, and Ross Cedars.  The last two were part of a multi-group event that happens over the summer involving our group and some secular friends from the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area.  

Camping Trip - Often a weekend in the summer is picked for an overnight camp out to a group or large campsite near Missoula.  Two sites we have camped at are the group site at Big Pine campground on Fish Creek and Big Larch Campground north of the town of Seeley Lake.