Less Tragic Origin Story

This popped up on my feed the other day:

“Tommy Wayne likes it toasty!”

Interesting take on the Batman origin, for sure. I think it really shows how Batman was created back in the 1930s, when transportation, communication, privacy, and pop culture were radically different from today’s standards. Could a Batman origin story happen today?

Well, if the Waynes had left the movie/opera early, they could just call Alfred with their cell phones to pick them up. Do not want to wait for Alfred to drive out from Wayne Manor? Well, they could always use Uber or some other ride service. Walking through an alley of any sort would be unnecessary.

Even if they did take a stroll through Crime Alley, though, it is hard to imagine that the Waynes would have a security escort. They were pretty far removed from the seedy aspects of Gotham life, and I doubt the Waynes felt enough of a threat for a full-time security presence. Other than Alfred, anyway, who did serve in the military.

And finally, while the Waynes were famous for their social status and philanthropic efforts, pop culture media back then did not compare to today. There were no paparazzi or crazed/obsessive fans like there are today, so if such a tragedy did take place, there is no chance in hell Bruce could drop off the face of the Earth for 10 years and train without anyone finding out.

Fast Cars, Outrageous Clothes, and the Pursuit of a Destructive Lifestyle

… that is how I would like my life summed up, too.

Like I said when I got my new computer, the first game on my queue of years of Steam sales is Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Sadly, I am not getting as much play time as I would like. I’ve been purposely limiting myself to weekends only, and was too busy this last weekend to get any play in at all. It has been about three weeks, and I’m only about two-thirds of the way through the game. At this rate, it is going to take me forever to get through the trilogy.

Except it is now a tetralogy! Check out this awesome trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight!

This one will be made by Rocksteady again, who made Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. (Arkham Origins was made by WB Montreal.) The game will take place over a larger Gotham, and the streets themselves will be bigger to accommodate driving the Batmobile around!

Subversive Movement

Last night I went to another Nerd Nite event with my friend Chester.

Nerd Nite Feb 2014

This time, the topics were esports, staphylococcus aureus, and culture-jamming.

The first topic was pretty entertaining. It was about the rise of esports (professional video gaming) and the comparison to traditional (physical) sports. The speaker made the point that esports professionals want the same thing as traditional sports professionals, and work just as hard to “make it.” He started with this video clip:

Most people in the audience did not realize how impressive this was, so he broke it down for us. Because Daigo (Ken) starts the clip with such low health against Justin Wong (Chun Li), he plays somewhat cautiously and hits her just enough to fill up her Special bar. Then he baits her into using her special, which is a 17-move combo. The only way to take no damage from the attack is to perfect parry each hit of the combo, including that mid-air parry which leads into his combo that defeats her. Perfect parries require exact timing (only a few milliseconds of leeway). Much more impressive now, right?

The second topic was a bit scary. The speaker attempted to use a “warning bunny” to warn of upcoming graphic slides, but the system did not work very well, because more than half her slides were fairly gruesome. Luckily, the visual aids did not bother me. Rather, the information did. I had no idea that staph was so prevalent in our everyday lives. 20-30% of the US population are persistent (asymptomatic) carriers of staph, and another 30-50% are intermittent carriers. Staph is very commonly found on our skin, and only gets truly scary when it gets inside. But that could happen with any minor cut or abrasion!

The final speaker was very intriguing. He defined culture-jamming as “being cool” or “sticking it to the man” and could be anything, even something as simple as drawing a moustache on a poster. The thing was, back in the 1950s, the consequences for these “subversive” actions could be much more serious. This was the height of McCarthyism, and the “cool” folks could lose their jobs, property, or freedom for these little acts of rebellion. Keeping those risks in mind, the speaker focus on Jean Shepherd (of A Christmas Story fame) and his old radio show. One of the cooler projects he did was getting listeners to go into bookstores and request a fake book, I, Libertine. Back in those days, best-seller lists were ranked by demand as well as sales, so this non-book actually made it onto the New York Times Bestsellers!

All in all, we had fun and learned a little something new. I think we’re going to make this a regular thing.

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!

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.

“Batman To Be” in 2014

Welcome visitors, new and returning!

There’s nothing quite like the start of a new year to give you some fresh enthusiasm, and with that in mind, I am going to attempt the Zero to Hero Blogger challenge. There will be 30 different assignments for me, and this post tackles the first:

DAY 1: INTRODUCE YOURSELF

My name is Dinh and I am a geek. I grew up on comic books and video games, which makes for a pretty sedentary and unfit lifestyle. With my 30th birthday approaching (and now passed), I thought to myself that rather than just idolizing Batman, my favorite superhero, I should emulate him. I wanted to be able to know what to do in any given situation and have the physical ability to carry out those actions. I wanted to make Batman real!

With that in mind, I started this blog mostly to track my progress towards becoming Batman, in terms of physical training, learning new skills, and getting new tools. I made a list of goals in each category that I wanted to accomplish. Unfortunately, not being a billionaire genius has really put a damper on my progress and it was hard to blog about a lack of change.

Moving forward, I want to write about more than just me, I want to share my love of Batman and hopefully convince you that he can be and is to be emulated. I will post at least twice a week about my life, Batman, and the intersections of the two. To consider myself a successful blogger in 2014, I will stick to my posting schedule, teach you something cool about me and/or Batman, and learn something new from you. I will not get caught up in progress, especially since I will be slow to gain any physical improvement while trying to rehab my knee properly.

Here’s to many happy returns!