Before the latest episode of Bionic Chicken:

L.A. is using goats to clear areas of brush.
The goats are cheaper and more effective than human laborers.
Also, “Look, Goats!” is just fun to say.
Much funner than, “Look, sweaty dudes.”
We made a list of co-workers we wish were replaced by animals
We wisely deleted it.

I started making a list of what animals my co-workers most reminded me of.
It was harder than I thought it would be.
And not much fun.
I deleted the list.

(the quote was funnier than the episode)

C&C were travelin’ around the southwest earlier this month.
I had started an in-depth, day by day, travelogue– when it occurred to me– that it was the equivalent of making people come over and look at your vacation slide show.
Decidedly un-fun.

So… here are the highlights and lessons from our walkabout.

• A good friend is one who will drive you and your stuff to the airport.
(A great friend will pick you up and then serve en-route snacks and beverages.)

• A good host will serve a good meal or two while you are there.
(A awesome host will bake pastries in the morning so you wake up to yumminess.)

Warhammer Quest is fun when played in NM.
(After some discussion, we’ve decided that NM does not count as a stop on the WHQ World Tour. Since it counts as home base for half our party, it doesn’t count as a tour stop.)

• You know it is a good restaurant when everyone enjoys what they ordered.
(You know you are dining with good friends when everyone shares what they ordered.)

• Santa Fe is cool.
(Friends who drive to Santa Fe to “exchange” us host-to-host are cooler.)

Restaurants that are also bakeries do not always have the best desserts.
(But the sandwiches and the pizzas were deeeeelicious.)

• The Moon Rabbit is a toy store run by really nice, friendly folks.
(Zombie Flux is a cool game. Less with the backstabbing and friend-eating–see Zombies.)

• The Chuck Jones Studio Gallery is my new favorite gallery.
(I’m adding the Sorcerer’s Apprentice print to my b-day list.)

• The Santa Fe Cathedral is worth visiting and is very awe-inspiring.
(At the very least, the statue of a winged St. Francis dancing has to be seen.)

• Again with the friends cooking us breakfast. How did we ever get such good friends?

Bandelier National Monument is very cool. We did not climb the ladders or tour the caves.
(Don’t miss the nature trail. We saw prairie lizards, mountain skinks, a garter snake, and a pocket gopher.)

• Visiting the White Rock overlook is a good idea.
(Stopping at the grocery store and picking up stuff for a picnic lunch at the overlook is absolutely brilliant.)

• Back to Santa Fe for another host-to-host exchange.
(The best brisket we’ve ever had was at the restaurant where we met. Yummy. The Tres Leche cake is also amazing and unique.)

More WHQ. More games. More good food and good friends.

Zombies is not a bad game.
(Unless you don’t like games where you stab your friends in the back, mess with them, and generally win by successfully feeding them to the zombies. For the record, C does not like those kinds of games.)

More bakery to greet us in the morning.

• The Wildlife West Nature Park was the best $7 (per person) we’ve ever spent. The park only takes in animals native to the southwest that are unable to be released to the wild. Some are injured, but most are victims of being illegally kept as pets or imprinted to the point where they can’t fend for themselves.
** I can tell you how many front teeth an elk has, and what their breath smell like.
** Bears eat a lot and they get very itchy when it starts to rain on them.
** Gray foxes smell almost as bad as skunks, but are way cuter.
** Mountain Lions are really fast and sneaky and their teeth are HUGE.
** One of the mountain lions has a crush on our friend.
** If you go, try to be at the mountain lions at 1:30 when the handler goes in and “plays” with them. (We missed that. Maybe next time.)
** If you are smart enough to bring your camera, and smart enough to put the camera strap around your wrist, do not bump the battery compartment latch while leaning over the animal enclosure. (When we get the pictures, we’ll try to post them.)

• Being on a television set is very cool. Watching them film a television show is interesting/boring depending on your point of view.

Geocaching looks like it might be fun.
(I’m adding a mobile gps unit to my b-day list.)

• Pizza on the grill is yummylicious.
(Grilled pizza on the deck of a friend’s house watching the sun set on the mountains is…priceless.)

Hey, look, more WHQ. (We’re told they haven’t put the game away yet. They’re waiting for us to come back. Awwww… that’s sweet.)

And now we’re back.
And the biggest highlight of the whole trip:
being cared for and pampered by such good friends.

It is better than we deserve and more than we could have hoped for.
And we’re going to go back.

1. Getting a haircut.

2. Waiting at the airport.

3. Going to work early.

4. Attending a wedding reception for people you don’t know.

5. Reading the Dictionary.

6. Baby sitting.

7. Doing any household chore with the ‘rents.

8. Catching a gourd.

9. Watching the Lawrence Welk show or Hee Haw.

10. Searching for geckos (actually, they’re prairie lizards…)

(We came up with quite a few things to put on this list–but we didn’t want to be mean. It wasn’t a bad movie. It just wasn’t a good movie. It was, however, the worst movie we’ve seen this summer. C did go see Wanted earlier and that was pretty bad– but it had some entertaining moments. Some. This one was just a waste of time and film. We can’t even muster up the energy or passion to list the things that were wrong with it…)

Now, I’m really going to have to update my list. This summer, they keep coming out with GREAT super hero movies. And the Dark Knight is the best of the bunch.
C&C and our friend went to see it today.

Here are the reasons why it is my new favorite super hero movie. (Warning: Spoilers Alert.)

1. It had depth. Both C&C were impressed with the psychology of the many characters. While Batman Begins delved into the transformation of Bruce Wayne into Batman, Dark Knight asks the question, “What does this transformation mean? How far will it go?” Heady stuff to us–considering our vocations.

2. The story was quite good. Bad story=bad movie. Every time. Good story=good movie. Most of the time. We were surprised a couple of times but not in a cheating sort of way.

3. The characters were all interesting and the actors playing them did a great job of selling them.
I don’t think Heath Ledger deserves an Oscar, but his portrayal of the Joker is pure genius. Creepiest villain I’ve seen since Hannibal Lecter. Worse than Darth Vader, really.

4. Joker’s multiple-choice origin story. Just like the comic books, the Joker keeps giving a different origin for who he is and why. Nice touch.

5. They did deviate from the origin of Two-Face, but not enough to cause me a problem. I thought the update made sense. (I wish they would have gotten his hand, too. Wouldn’t have cost them much. Maybe they ran out of make-up budget.)

6. Speaking of Make Up… The Joker was different than anything I’ve ever seen– but believable for the first time in a long time. And Two-Face? OMG. C&C could only look at it on the screen by saying out loud, “That? That’s nothing. Our friend could do better.” I honestly don’t know if he could. It was an almost perfect rendition of the comic book face.

7. Batman did not reveal his identity to anyone. OMG! OMG! OMG! Praise be to the Comic Gods! They’ve made a masked super hero movie where the hero doesn’t take off his mask or reveal his identity to anyone. (There is the tool who discovers Batman’s identity– but that is accurate to the comic books and it makes sense and it was funny. Big Tool…) In fact, Batman actually takes measures to make sure no one will take off his cowl and discover his identity. Brilliant!

8. Speaking of secret identities… they corrected an error from the first movie.
Remember when Batman gave away his secret identity to that made-up, not-in-the-mythos love interest poorly played by that cult member? Well, she isn’t a problem anymore. Granted, this will justifiably upset some people— but it was the right thing to do. There are a few women who do know Bruce Wayne is Batman. This female figment was not one of them. (Kudos to the new actress, though. I thought she did a fantastic job with the character she was given. I’ve always liked her. I hear she wasn’t too keen on the hype this movie brought to her. Guess she doesn’t have to worry about that again.)

9. Oh, and speaking of problems from the first movie. I know, I know– I’m the only one only one of a couple of people in the whole world who hated that stupid modernized assault vehicle they sold us as the batmobile. Does it look like a batmobile? No. Know any other cars that can race across roof tops? No. Any viable reason why the batman’s seat has to slide down and forward to fire the weapons? No Maybe. (“It’s cool” is not a good enough answer. Sorry.) Anyway, that abominable ATV on steroids is no longer a problem either. Thank you Mr. Joker, sir. I haven’t been this grateful for your mayhem since you killed that annoying 2nd Robin.

10. The Bat Cycle Batpod on the other hand? Cool. It still doesn’t look like a bat gadget–but was frackin’ cool. And I was surprised when and how it arrived on the scene. Like a beautiful techno-phoenix rising from the ashes of an old turkey. Poetry, I tell you, pure poetry.

Best Super Hero Move Ever! C&C will be seeing it again. (Preferably not from the 3rd row this time. Gosh, that was close. Too close. I think Batman kicked me in the face during one of the fight scenes.)

Why yes, C&C did go and see Hellboy II. Thanks for asking.

What did we think? We both enjoyed the movie.
I enjoyed it because it is a very good, very comic-booky movie. I was never into Hellboy before the first movie (I’m almost ashamed to admit it), but I’ve very much enjoyed the character in the comic books, the cartoons, and the movies.

C enjoyed the movie because of the karaoke scene. (Hey, she knows what she likes.)

Another two thumbs up from us.

Spoiler –>C: So, what do you think the kid will look like.
C: Red.
C: Good Guess.

Last Friday night, C&C went with a friend and another friend to see Kung Fu Panda.
(Everyone else was there to see a different movie.)

First– if you go see Kung Fu Panda, be prepared for a younger demographic in the seats surrounding you.

If you are actually able to hear and watch the movie, we think you will probably enjoy it.

The animation is sharp with a rich color palette. The characters are enjoyable and well voiced. It is an excellent homage to the Saturday morning Kung Fu theater I used to watch when I was kid. They even did the “stop motion” I remember from those old fights.
Jack Black wasn’t nearly as annoying as we thought he might be.

And, it was kinda cool to see a fat character as the hero for a change.
(No reason, why do you ask?) OK, I admit, there have been a few heroes like that.

Four thumbs up from us.

So, I went to see Wanted the other week.
C was not interested in the movie, so I was forced to scare up some fellow geeks to go with.
(C is not interested in assassins, secret societies, or Angelina Jolie’s tattooed backside, so her reluctance to see the movie is understandable.)

Since I am: fascinated by assassins, obsessed with comic book movies, and not at all opposed to Ms. Jolie’s inked backside, I felt obligated to go.

First, the movie deviated from the comic book. Not a little. Not somewhat. Almost completely. Boo.

Second, the story (the new story) wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t great.

Third, they didn’t justify or explain their mythos in a way that I could buy into. (I’m a comic book geek, folks– I’ll buy almost any story if you make it somewhat consistent or coherent.) Curving bullets I can buy. Curving bullets because you snap your wrist as you fire the gun (as if this will put a spin on the bullet) is ridiculous. BOO!

Fourth, the Loom of Fate was … I don’t know. I’m torn. Could be OK. Seemed lame.

Fifth, the rat plan— again, could have been OK. Seemed ultra lame in its execution.

All in all– a waste of my time.
I should have stayed home with C.

Good Job: Working with things you love (e.g. toys, comic books, cupcakes…)
Bad Job: Working with things you hate (e.g. tobacco worms, snot-nosed kids…)

Good Job: Swanky office space (e.g. big windows, new furniture, cool stuff…)
Bad Job: Personal spot in Dilbert country (e.g. beige on beige, cloth walls…)

Good Job: An extraordinary personal secretary/assistant (e.g. Della Street, Pepper Potts, Charlie Young…)
Bad Job: A saboteur in the front office (e.g. Mimi Bobeck, Crystal Smith…)

Good Job: Flexible, free, and valued (e.g. Thomas Banacek, Angus MacGyver…)
Bad Job: Treated like an indenture servant (e.g. Milton Waddams…)

Good Job: Supportive Boss (e.g. Pete Thornton, Kermit the Frog…)
Bad Job: Clueless, Hurtful Boss (e.g. Bill Lumbergh, Wilhelm Klink…)

That is all.

Conversation the other day at our poker game.

T: I’ve never heard anyone else use that phrase like they do in my home town.
C: What phrase?
T: You suck.
C: You’ve never heard anyone say “You suck?”
T: Sure, but never with that meaning.
C: What meaning?
T: You’re lucky.

..
.
C: Excuse me?
T: You know, “you’re really lucky– you suck.”
C: That’s not what that phrase means.
T: Sure it does. You just used it that way.
C: I did not.
T: Sure you did. He beat your hand and you said, “You suck.”
C: Yeah, because he sucks. You’re lucky in poker is denoted by saying “he sucked out.”
T: Really?
C: Yeah.
T: Wow. That explains why everyone always got so upset with me.

C&C went with a friend to a double feature today.

First, to The Incredible Hulk. (C’s second time seeing it.)
C was a little skeptical but a good sport. They both thought it was very good.

Upon second viewing, it still holds up–though there are few holes that are noticeable.
1. What time of day is it exactly in the first chase scene?
2. Where, exactly, did she carry her purse? (Maybe he carried it?)
3. How did they not notice her renting that room?

Then we went to Hancock.
Excellent! Not the greatest film we’ve ever seen, but definitely a winner in the Superhero genre.
* Will Smith was excellent in the role. Very good acting.
* The idea was well done and creative.
(One reviewer ripped it for being “not superheroey” Well, that’s the point really. Let’s not fault hollywood for getting creative, OK? Don’t want to discourage that. And he is quite the superhero at the end.)
* Like the mythos they alluded to.

C actually figured out the plot twist. (C was, oddly, gobsmacked by it.) She’s smart– what can I say.

We’ll be adding it to our DVD collection.