Saturday, June 18, 2005

Zoo-cubed (and Batman Begins)

So far it has been the weekend of the zoos. Yesterday I took the day off to take Eryn to the zoo with some friends. Pooteewheet has the whole story so I'll just elaborate a bit. While we were at the dolphin show, a woman with many children walked in and sat down and I thought, "I'm pretty sure I went to school with her." My brain said "Fran" and I knew that was wrong, but that the idea was right, and I could feel my brain actually flipping through its filecards looking for the right piece of information (I am absolutely horrible with names - if I saw you eight years ago at Valleyfair and thought you had an interesting face, I can pick you out of a crowd next week and tell you where I probably saw you all those years ago, but if you were my friend last week, I might have to go look you up in Outlook to make sure I won't accidentially call you a name you're not). Eventually I came up with Shelly Frane and addressed her with that name as she left the show. And it was her! Pretty good for not running in even remotely the same circles in high school (I was in theater productions with some of her friends). She told me she has four kids now and still lives in Monticello, but has a membership to the zoo. Weird to bump into someone you haven't seen in 18 years.

My favorite quote from the zoo was standing in front of the bald eagle and listening to one of the kids nearby exclaim with real excitement, "That's the Iowa state bird!" Well, no it's not. The Iowa state bird is the Eastern Goldfinch. But it's sort of a de-facto state bird in that it's the national bird - but I'm pretty sure one of his adults should have corrected him.

I went back to the zoo at 9:40 p.m. to catch the IMAX production of Batman Begins (worthy of it's 82% - ignore the pissy 64% from the "cream of the crop" - they just wanted another Insomnia or Memento from Christopher Nolan. They probably think he sold out). $14.00 for a ticket, because the screen is just that much bigger than a regular screen (60'). But it's not like that's where I'm going to go to all my movies, I just wanted to see what it was like (although I'm encouraging Pooteewheet to catch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory there when it comes out - that just seems suited to Imax). It was amazingly full - the theater didn't fill up, but according to my ticket, I was purchase 95 for that show, and "item" 212 (which I assume means the 212th ticket sold out of 95 transactions) and I was not close to the last person there - not vaguely - there had to be several hundred people at the late show, and the earlier show that was letting out as I got there seemed far more packed. The theater was nice, clean, and if you wanted, you could even have a beer, although at $5 a drink I'll probably pound a few before I go if I need something (but you have to be careful about that - if you're near the middle of a row, you are a LONG ways from the aisle - not 10 people, but 40 people - a small bladder will be the death of you). Batman Begins was great - there were a few quippy parts I could have done without, but it was a nice mixture of some good writing and some good directing, including actually stealing some ideas from horror movies that fit in well with the Batman style. I think Lucas should have snagged the background writers for the last Star Wars movie - it would have made Annakin much more interesting. I couldn't help but think that everything I felt was missing character-wise from Darth Vader in Sith was being squirreled away for Batman in Batman Begins. Anyway - I loved it - particuarly because it was so much more low-key than the other Batman movies - no real camp to speak of, but a focus on the human actors and human villains (Ra's Al Ghul is such an interesting villain - he really is sort of what Batman would be if he had been bad, so he's the perfect foil. The Joker is primarily just crazy - he's a different breed entirely). However, at 60' tall, you have to deal with the fact that you are constantly turning your head to see the edges of the screen that aren't really within your primary visual focus, and worse, you have to cope with a 60' tall, Katie Holmes whose nipples are like a foot in diameter. Also, her face is really rather crooked. Her eyes are sort of different shapes/sizes and she has that crooked smile, and when you see it on a small screen, she's cute, but when you blow her face up to about 40', she's absolutely monstrous.

Then there was a third zoo visit today. Como this time. It was my company picnic. It was nice - not exciting by any stretch of the imagination - but nice. Free food. A few free rides at the new Comotown (Eryn loved the teacup ride and cars. She and Pooteewheet rode the teacup with another child who spun them until they both looked like they were going to hurl. I videotaped it - I may put it on my computer just so I can enjoy it over and over). Free zoo (with suggested donation). Free latin music. Free ice cream. All good. And I got to see a few coworkers in a non-work situation, which I always enjoy. I did notice that compared to the last time I went, two years ago, there were about 1/3 the people. I think that's primarily due to the fact that they used to put the forms for registering for the picnic in the entryway, so you'd actually pick up an envelope and have something physical to remind you to register, but this year they just had some late signs and an online registration form in the password-protected company system. No one ever remembers to check the company activities in there, it's just too much trouble.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought Batman was an excelent Movie. I enjoyed it more than Star Wars. Enjoyed the pictures of Eryn and your trip to the Zoo.
John

Kyle said...

I think the child's confusion with the eagle probably had more to do with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Take a look at the logo & the mistake becomes more reasonable, unless the kid was like 15 years old. Maybe one of the parents was a University of Iowa alum? Even if not, I think the Hawkeye logo gets a lot more airtime in Iowa than the goldfinch (I can only imagine the Iowa Goldfinch lobby is ticked about this). The kid just needs to work on his raptor identification skills...

kyle said...

Hmmm, Comotown is just a bit too reminiscient of Funkytown, name-wise. I suppose many more rides & considerably less funkiness would serve to differentiate Comotown from its likely predecessor.
Still, you could have distracted yourself from any lulls in the activity by comparing & contrasting the two. Could be the basis for an interesting essay assignment...

Scooter said...

I complained about Comotown and Funkytown in an earlier post - everytime I see or hear the name I start humming Funkytown to myself.

The kid was not 15, but was probably 11 or 12. I think that's old enough to differentiate your major predatory birds, particularly as regards a bald eagle.