Batcomputer – Enhance

I mentioned a while back that I was not planning on upgrading my computer for a while. That day has now come. When my parents came to visit for Christmas, my dad mentioned that he was interested in my MacBook, so I started looking around for a new computer.

BatComputer

My usage patterns have changed a lot over the last few years. I have not even turned my Dell workstation on in over a year, using my MacBook exclusively. However, all that usage was still in my bedroom, it was only because of performance differences.

I knew I wanted to go back to PCs. The Mac was nice for work and web-browsing, but I wanted to be able to play games again. The real question was whether I wanted a laptop or a desktop. In the end, I went with a desktop. It would be more customize-able now and more upgrade-able later. Plus, in sticking with my goal of a more active life, having it stay in my room is probably a good thing. I also thought about putting together the computer myself, like I have in the past when I wanted higher-end rigs, but I decided to go with a custom builder just because of convenience.

I went with Digital Storm and they did a great job. I got the computer yesterday and am in the process of deleting my porn moving my files over from the MacBook so I can give it to my dad. I have not had a chance to take advantage of the hardware yet, but am looking forward to a gaming marathon this weekend. First in the queue – Batman: Arkham Asylum!

Better late than never, right?

This Is Not How Batman Dies

LEGO Batman

I saw The LEGO Movie over the weekend with some friends, and it was awesome!

(Expect this song to stuck in your head for days after seeing the movie.)

I had been excited to see it since I saw the first trailer. I grew up playing with LEGOs all the time, and it certainly did not hurt that the Batman minifig was featured in the trailer.

The movie itself was great. Fairly standard hero journey plot, very similar to The Matrix actually, but with tons of pop culture references and humor mixed in, just like the LEGO video games. I was a concerned that Will Arnett was the voice actor for Batman instead of Kevin Conroy, but it worked perfectly, because the Batman of the LEGO Movie was along the lines of Frank Miller’s Absolute Batman – a bit absurd and dickish. Arnett nailed it!

My friends kept joking that this was the best Batman movie, but I have to say, they are partly right. The LEGO basis allows him to be much more light-hearted and campy, and the interactions with the other members of LEGO Justice League were on point. I would not be surprised at all if I enjoyed this more than the upcoming Man of Steel 2/Batman-Superman movie. LEGO needs more feature films!

Batman vs. Food

Batlogo Sushi

For my friend Chris’s birthday, a group of our friends went to a local sushi restaurant and attempted the sushi challenge.

Bruce's Challenge

I mean, it’s a challenge from a guy named Bruce, so I have to try, right? After reading the description of the challenge, I felt pretty good walking into the restaurant. It took a while for Bruce to make six challenge plates for us. He actually did not have enough large plates and had to cut some of our rolls in half so we had two 9″ rolls instead of one 18″ monster. After all the plates came out, he also brought out a small digital kitchen timer for us to stare at while we ate, and it was time to go!

Sushi Friends

We all dug in, some people trying to fit whole slices into their mouth at a time (they were easily at least 3″ in diameter and 1/2″ thick each), while I split each slice into quarters and tried to make it more manageable. Around the 30 minute mark, Bruce came back to our table to check up on us. He told a bunch of my friends straight up that they were not going to make it and they might as well quit now. But he did say that Chris and I still had a good chance, and encouraged us to keep going!

Sadly, Chris and I could not carry the hopes of friends. We both ended up defeated as well.

Dishonor!

As a consolation prize, though, we all did get some ice cream on the house. We were all just talking about how full we were, but there is always room for ice cream! And Chris got tempura ice cream because it was his birthday.

Ice Cream

As we were leaving, we all talked about why we failed. Obviously, the main problem was volume. The description read four pounds, but we all felt like it was more than four when we had to take our “before” pictures with our full rolls. TJ weighed his leftovers the next day (he conveniently stopped at the halfway point), and we found that our rolls were closer to six pounds each!

Testing the leftovers

And while you may be thinking that we were ahead for two extra pounds of food, let me tell you now, that extra weight was pure sushi rice. Bruce packed the rice in hard, it was brick-like fresh, and you do not want to know what it was like after sitting in the fridge overnight. Also, they ran out of sushi rice in the middle of making our challenge rolls, so new rice was made, and it had extra rice vinegar, making each bite just a bit harder to swallow.

Not that Batman would ever make excuses, though. We all plan on going back and beating that challenge!

Enemy Action

James Bond/Batman

Ian Fleming wrote,

“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”

So we were eager to tackle the next Real Escape Game and prove that our two-game winning streak was not just a coincidence. Sadly, Rachel could not make it to this one, and our streak had started when she joined the team. Regardless, we pushed on without her to REG v.6 – Escape from the Bank!

Escape from the Bank

This one was back to the regular Real Escape game format – teams of six around a table solving puzzles mostly in place, but also with some exploration about the room and as you can guess, the theme this time was a bank. The story is that we are a team of thieves trying to steal a secret document from a safety deposit box inside the bank vault. There was even a room to the side of the hall marked up like a vault that we had to get into!

Our team was able to figure out the route to the vault that bypasses all of the security teams. However, for some reason, we could not figure out the escape route, and ended up failing the game. The final puzzle was one where we had to eliminate extraneous letters from an encoded message to find the hidden one, but some combination of poor communication, misunderstanding the clues, and just pure frustration got in the way of our success. We were so bothered by the game that we left without taking a losers picture, which we always did in the past.

Hopefully we will do better at the next one. And I am going to do my best to rope Rachel back in, since she seems to be our key to victory.

3-D Maneuver Gear

If you have not seen/read Attack on Titan, you should check it out. It was the breakout anime series of 2013 and I would best describe it as medieval German knights using 3-D Maneuver Gear (dual waist grapnels) to fight Spider-man-style against Evangelion-ish giant baddies. Plus everyone gets hyped up on the opening theme song:

Back in September, I went with some friends to the Treetop Adventure Park at Granlibakken Resort at Lake Tahoe.

Flying Squirrels

After putting on our gear, which consisted of a a climbing helmet and a safety harness with two “lobster claw” attachment hooks, we were led to the training area.

After learning how to get around safely, the instructors set us loose, and my group ran over to the Biek Ride course first. It is so named because one obstacle is riding a bike across a tightrope between trees! I’ve including video of Linh running through the course for a better perspective of the various obstacles followed by a video of my run through it.

After that, we did the Windchimes course, where the highlight obstacle is a series of unconnected suspended logs that decrease in size, so it looks like you are running over the top of a windchime.

In order to catch up with my friends (I got caught behind small children on both Bike Ride and Windchimes), I skipped the second half of Windchimes, which had some more great obstacles like stepping through a series of gymnast rings.

The final course we did was Spiral, which is named after its overall layout. The highlight obstacle on this one was riding a cargo net suspended on a zip-line.

My batteries ran out just before the end of this last course, but after I climb up the metal ladder, I had to run across a zig-zag bridge and then zip-line down.

All in all, it was blast! The obstacles were fun but challenging (you can hear my heartbeat through the chest-mounted camera) and see me take a couple of breaks. It was definitely a full-body workout and I was sore all over the next day. I am looking forward to going back and doing better on these courses as well as tackling the one I missed, Twin Pines.

1000 Treasure Hunters

Hollywood Treasure

Fresh from our victory at Escape from the Magic Show, my friends and I were eager to win again and assure ourselves that it was not just a fluke, so we made sure we attended the next Real Escape Game event – 1000 Treasure Hunters.

1000 Treasure Hunters

This game was not in the usual Real Escape Game format. Instead, it was similar to the Escape from an Angel game that they held during the previous J-POP Festival. We were again running around Japantown looking for clues instead of sitting around a table.

This time, though, there were no limits on team sizes and no time limit, either. (Well, it was a two-day festival, but you did have to finish on the same day you started, so it was to your advantage to get there early in the day.) They had 1,000 entry packets with the materials you needed to get started, so there were 1,000 players running around at the same time, much more than at their other events. If you finished, you got a dog tag as well as entry into a raffle to win some cool Real Escape Game gear, like the treasure chest from their Mysterious Room game!

Treasure Chest

Well, we did manage to finish the game (and learned some new factoids about Japantown), but sadly we did not win anything from the raffle.

Infinite Coastline

Time for my next Zero to Hero Blogger post! Today’s challenge:

DAY 3: WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND?

Hey Batman, whatcha thinking about?

When I first started this blog, I definitely was focused on capturing my progress as I morphed into a superhuman athlete. I wanted to be able to show my readers amazing before and after pictures and wow you with my newly accomplished feats of strength. As my previous post shows you in a nutshell, reality has not been kind to my expectations. My injury was the final straw that got me to stop blogging entirely about this project.

The promise of a new year and more specifically my surgical recovery, I started blogging again, and this challenge has been a great way to jump back into things. Looking back, I realized my problem was one of scale. I wanted to do too much too quickly – to go from sedentary to hiking eight hours with a 30 pound ruck is difficult, but putting myself on a three-month timetable basically makes it impossible. Same goes for going from not working out to lifting like Batman or moving from an obese BMI to a normal one.

Impossible

The impossible may take longer, but I will get there. I just can’t judge myself on all or nothing. I need appropriately to scale my expectations and take more pride in smaller wins. The journey of a thousand miles and all that. It is actually a reverse of the infinite coastline paradox, where (theoretical) cartographers run into trouble as their maps get more detailed because by using smaller and smaller units of length to show a coastline in more and more detail, they approach infinite length (and work). For me, I need to keep using smaller and smaller units because at larger units, my progress seems to be flatlining.