June must be the month for birthdays in our local church family-- in the last week alone there were five other folks (besides me) who celebrated the day they emerged into the world.
Celebrations were multifaceted and took place over two days:
1. On Friday afternoon, a few of the girls with June birthdays (including the sweetest 78-year old lady in our church) went to All Fired Up to paint pottery and eat homemade butter pecan cake. Yummy and relaxing! I painted a 6" by 6" tile to match my fun yellow/blue/green "tree" plates from TJ Maxx. I painted it freehand, from memory, and was worried about the resemblance, but a friend reminded me that it would be "my artistic representation" of the design and therefore even more original. It'll be back from the kiln on Tuesday, so hopefully we'll get to see how it matches up.
2. Later that evening, a huge group of over 16 of our friends from church (both past and present incarnations of our church family) met at one of the best Chinese restaurants on Buford Highway (and that's saying a lot!)-- Little Schezuan. It's one of my favorite places to go with groups because they serve the food family style and it ends up being a lot cheaper that way. With tax and tip I think our table's meal came out to $9 a person, and that included potstickers, two kinds of soup, and our choice of four entrees. It was delicious.
3. Most of the folks from the dinner group (plus a few newcomers) traveled up to the Mall of Georgia to watch Batman: Begins -- the IMAX experience. Whatever anyone might think of the other incarnations of the winged crime-fighter in film, this blows it all away. Especially with the overwheling sensory experience of watching it on an eight-story IMAX screen. The story itself was fascinatingly captured in Christopher Nolan's gritty style-- he rendered the journey from man to legend, from boy to batman in a completely realistic fashion. One almost expects Batman to emerge from one of our modern metropolises in the near future. I think this is the best comic book character I've ever seen realized in film.
Some other things I appreciated about Batman: Begins:
The sequence and pacing was so well done that I don't think I took my eyes off the screen for the entire 2 and a half hours we were in the theater-- I actually found myself wanting the film to continue just because it was so much darn fun. Also, there was no noticeable language, and the film was devoid of the "Batman as sex object" motif that permeated the others. Of course, I've admired Christian Bale for years, and he did a superb job showing the appropriate "masked" personalities-- with the addition of a much-needed sense of humor! More importantly, Nolan made the character of Batman frightening, downright scary-- as he should be. As Gaines commented after the film, it was never supposed to be about a man in a batsuit fighting crime, it was always about the fear the very presence of Batman instilled in his enemies.
If this is the only time Nolan/Bale team up to portray the Batman series, it will be enough. I came from the film completely satisfied that I had experienced the power of myth. Someone should sit George Lucas down and say, "See? This is what a real film should be." It had none of the drawbacks of some other films in this comic/fantasty/sci-fi genre-- the dialogue was never too cheesy, the special effects were done without all that crazy overdone CGI stuff, and the villains were never too over-the-top. It also set up the city of Gotham, the later villians, and the "Batman" figure in a way that one longs to see where Nolan might take the series in the future. I, having only seen the earlier films when forced, knew just enough details to see where Nolan was alluding in his references to characters and what they would become. Overall, I give this my highest reccommendation. However, I would probably not take any kids under 12 to see this, because it definitely was an intense film, but I also thought the violence was not as gory or brutal as I have seen elsewhere or in others rated PG-13. Also, Batman refuses to kill outright.
4. And you thought that was the end of our adventures? Not so-- Saturday was my actual 25th birthday, and my parents stopped by for lunch. We ate with a large group at Slope's BBQ (you always know it's good if there is a cannibalistic pig with knife and fork on the restaurant sign) and then returned to our apartment so I could open presents and cards from family. I received mostly gift cards and money for shopping-- which is just what I needed. I can't wait to improve and organized our apartment with my gift cards from Target and the Container Store!
5. The rest of my birthday was extremely relaxing. Days where we sleep past 7 a.m. and don't have an Apartment Life event later in the day are very rare in the Redd household, so it was an especially nice treat to have a clear calendar. After all the social outings we enjoyed just staying home and doing nothing. After my parents left, Gaines and I watched To Kill a Mockingbird. Then we topped off our day with a trip to Bruster's ice cream. In the spirit of celebration, I got a waffle cone with chocolate chip cookie dough AND birthday cake ice cream. Mmmmmmm. Ice cream, cookie dough, and icing. The perfect sweet end to a perfectly sweet birthday weekend.