Searching out rodents across the globe

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Rat the Movies

I'm not a big moviegoer, much prefering to watch movies int he comfort and cheapness of my own home. However, when I heard Dreamworks was putting out a movie about rats, I was determined to see it in theaters and give my support. Because of my busy schedule, I didn't get to see it when it opened, nor for a few weeks after, but this gave me a chance to read reviews, and I was quite pleased to see it was getting high ratings. Victory for the rats!

A fellow rat lover and I paired up to see Flushed Away and arrived in the theater just as the end credits for the previous showing were running. Apparantly our presence scared off the cleaning crew. They did only a preliminary sweep, leaving a good deal of food in the theater, including a hot dog bun in the seat next to me.

I didn't expect to see rats before the feature, but was pleasantly surprised. A new, live-action version of the book Charlotte's Web is coming out on December 15, and prominent in the preview was the rat Templeton. I was squealing with delight. He was positively adorable, very rat-like without coming off ugly or evil. I'm definitely going to have to see that movie.

Flushed Away was a wonderful movie, hilarious from the start, and definitely enjoyable for people of all ages. I particularly enjoyed all the detail put into things-- what would a rat use as a sleeping bag, or a jet ski? There were added bonuses as a rat lover of course-- Roddy's magnificent cage, for a start, or the presence of a PEW, or the fact that one of the rats bruxxed! And of course, the slugs were fantastic. A great film, lots of laughs, and a nice message if you're into that. I highly recommend it.

Of course, I must admit that I didn't get the full benefit of the movie, because I was mildly distracted by the presence of mice.

Halfway through the movie, I saw something move from the corner of my eye. Just a piece of paper, I though, caught in the breeze. But when I glanced over I saw something, not wafting, but running. A little tiny thing running across the floor. MICE! I squealed, nudged my friend, and pointed it out to her. She squealed in reply, then asked if I had any popcorn left. I shook my head, but then she remembered the hot dog bun. We threw it down on the floor for the mice.

Two of them, two tiny little mice in the theater. Every time there was a lull in the movie action, I'd glance over. At one point the tiny little mouse managed to grab the huge hot dog bun and started dragging it across the floor. I had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing.

So all in all, it was a very rodent-oriented night. I hear that Pixar is coming out with another movie about rats, Ratatouille, so with that and Charlotte's Web I have a nice line-up of rat movies to plan on seeing. It's nice, because in the past all the movies with rats have portrayed them as evil or scary. Finally we're seeing rats in a funny, possibly cute light. Victory!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Chicago Rat City

A week in Chicago is hard to recover from. My head is still spinning from all the sights and sounds, but it's not that I have nothing to show for it! Yes, I made it my mission in Chicago to seek out rats.

All big cities have rats, it's a given. I was certain that I'd see them scurrying everywhere, in alleyways, along the subway tracks. Unfortunantly, Chicago is a surprisingly clean, well kept city, and my rat sightings were restricted to a brief glimpse while I was wandering somewhat lost at about five in the morning. I'm sure if I were braver and had dared to go into the dirtier parts of Chicago at a later time I may have seen more, but as it was I made do with rats of the inanimate kind.

One of my favorite aspects of Chicago is Chinatown. Not only will you find great food and unique souveniers, but the role of Rat in the Chinese Zodiac makes it certain that you'll find something ratty in their stores. I was not dissapointed, although it wasn't as easy as it first appeared. All the stores I entered were so packed with toys and trinkets that it was like finding a needle in a haystack-- but I finally asked a clerk for assistance, and was presented with a beautiful carved wooden rat statue.

The next store I entered had some beautiful jade rat necklaces, but they were a little out of my price range, so I settled with a cute little rat charm with a bell.

My final rat discovery was completely unexpected and not in Chinatown at all. Having visited the Art Institue of Chicago's museum, I casually browsed the gift store and, to my surprise, found an adorable rat print baby bib! Having no children of my own, I couldn't justify the high price tag, though I did get a photo.

Rat Hunter Diaries: searching out rats across the globe.