This week definitely just this short update, because I am Batman

On Sunday a friend of mine lent me Batman: Arkham City for the Playstation 3 (that I don’t like, but my girlfriend’s brother lent us) and I am busy being Batman.

In Germany I used to have a Xbox 360 that I currently lent to one of my best friends and the predecessor of Arkham City – namely Arkham Asylum is the one and only game I absolutely destroyed.I got every trophy and all that shizznit.

So I am back to being Batman and don’t have the time to destroy it but I am going to thoroughly enjoy it until we have to give the PS3 back.

In the meantime listen to this good song, from the not so splendid Batman: Forever movie (really Batman and Robin is godawful, but this one is enjoyably campy), with a pretty great soundtrack (I am not joking) and a great video:

The age (r)evolution

Inevitably we are going old. Wait a second before you call bullshit!

I am 30 at the time of writing this and I feel like 14. Okay I admit, I feel 22, but again, I am in pretty good shape, but I don’t take myself as serious anymore. I don’t fight other people’s wars no more. I my early twenties I was deeply involved in the Hardcore/Metalcore scene (the addition of everything after the slash would probably already get me into trouble with the scene police), I was writing reviews and going to a concert every weekend. I cared deeply. Whenever someone wrote something about my favorite band or my group or my scene I went into Captain America shield up defense mode and fought. With words, on the internet with a neckbeard. Nowadays I keep that neckbeard shaved and trimmed and I don’t care about the scene anymore. I care about me and my friends. I still listen to the music and enjoy it and at the same time I am listening to Justin Bieber or something else super popular and damn it, who can tell me that I shouldn’t enjoy that?

At some point I realized that this is not as serious. Please don’t get me wrong, I still love music, absolutely adore it and probably couldn’t life without it, but it’s not that serious.

That made me laugh, but it’s not how I feel. I am just happy that I am not in the 20’s anymore. Don’t let anyone tell you it get’s worse. Everything get’s better and you look at things differently and it’s totally cool.

I came up with the idea to blog this when I was reading this lifehacker article. It is really not that important what other people think about you. Life the way you want and you pick up the ones that follow along and the ones that knew it all along stick as well, but you don’t have to mend and break yourself over it.

With 30 if I would try to become Batman, like really, really hard, it would take me until I hit 48 optimistically. So glad I am Batman already. Dodged that bullet!

On my old blog, that was all in German and the under www.burntobealive.de I put the evolution of Slipknot in juxtaposition to me growing up. Today I keep that shorter and do the same thing with a band that sounds like it went back to the roots.

Here is one of my favorite songs ever, with a song, that I interpreted for a creative course:

Atreyu – Ain’t Love Grand (2002)

13 years later they come back with pretty much the same sound and I find it great. I love all of their stuff and some people really can’t get over the evolution (the old, old stuff compared to the stuff before 2015) and then back to this:

Atreyu – So Others May Life (2015)

It’s all there. It’s not as polished. It has the pig squealing like vocals and the unique singing voice of the drummer. Always have a soft spot for bands with the drummer singing. In the time in-between those two songs Atreyu got more straight forward rocky with amazing hooks and straight forward singing, but I like the contrast here and I am glad they are back with the old sound, not that there was anything wrong with everything between the two songs.

Again, don’t be afraid to go back to what works and just take baby steps towards becoming Batman and a better version of you. Maybe you want to start with nutrition and you want to print this out and hang it on your fridge, not because it is perfect, but because it’s a good guideline and might make you better and maybe, just maybe, you are 30 or close to it.

Everything in it’s right place…

So this post has been inspired by a friend of mine and trainer Niels, who also blogs (in German) and wrote this specific piece – about the magical places. Niels is in New York at the moment and I’ve learned a thing or two about MMA from him, don’t know if he remembers me much, but that is beside the point. I might feature a couple of blogging friends here, now come to think of it.

I believe that we all, be it on travels, in your car on the way somewhere, hiking or biking you will sometimes (given you have a soul) encounter a strange feeling. The feeling is not anger at the honking taxi driver that just overtook you to turn right, just after that (that was yesterday). No, the feeling is something more substantial. It’s the feeling of being there and just there, an indescribable feeling that I am trying to put in words. It’s magical, it’s magical in the sense of a Disney Zoetrope, that I saw in the Hong Kong Disneyland, but let’s see that in action in California instead, because I can’t be bothered to find the video I took. You see: magic happens and it doesn’t wait until you find a video. I’m getting side tracked here. Sometimes you just know when you are home, sometimes you have a gut feeling about a place and then more good than bad things happen.

There is a couple of places that went through me like a Kundalini experience. On my very first day in Shanghai in the late summer of 2009 I was having a cold beer and walked two blocks from the hotel I was staying for the first two weeks, I ended up on Nanjing road (close to the East Nanjing Road station if you are familiar with Shanghai) and wow, it overcame me, I was pumped with energy and just felt that this is the right time and place. It then became home for a year, a year of studying at Tongji University and working at the Expo 2010, 10 years prior I saw a show at the 2000 Expo in Hannover Germany and and jokingly said, I will be at the one in China in 2010 and who would have thunk? I was found myself there and then. Everything in it’s right place.

Another place that felt just like in the old Hong Kong movies and was magical from stepping foot on the ground was… drumroll… Hong Kong. Just the right mixture of modern and tradition, old and new, order and chaos. More about those two places in the last blog post here.

It doesn’t have to be a city, it doesn’t even have to be physical place. I’m not going to judge you if you meditate and meet you spirit animal in your head, that is just as good. And if you don’t mediate or never tried it, then sit down for 5 minutes tonight and give it a try!

Again, sometimes it is a city, sometimes it is that place that you sit down on a bench when you have a beautiful view over your little mountain village and talk to your best friend and sometimes it is home and for the lack of better words:

Heimat ist kein Ort. Heimat ist ein Gefühl

Home is not a place, home is a feeling. You know it when you feel it and there can be countless such places. Find them!

Should I stay or should I go or a tale of two cities and 2 Shanghai spots

I live in a country that basically forces you to use apps like ‘Airpocalypse’ this pokes a little bit of fun or that horrid air that you breath in on a daily basis. It’s a country of internet censorship and chaos. It’s love-able though, because it’s so random. For someone contemplating to leave, this might be of help, but that is not me, I am in that place where I am neither in the honeymoon nor do I hate the place – everything is pretty level-headed and balanced more or less (as much as you probably can).

It’s a temporary place, but you get attached to Shanghai, but somehow I think Hong Kong might be the next logical step. Let’s see when that happens. I can’t even explain why I love Hong Kong so much, but again, it is the main star in a lot of movies and the reason I came to Shanghai was pretty much Kung Fu movies and then the realization that people (unfortunately) don’t solve there differences with Kung Fu when they got underpaid for rice wine here, so the study of Chinese and Economics helped a bit to ground my reality. So here I am.

Let’s have a quick look at how good those two cities look at the silver screen, here is Hong Kong and here is Shanghai, Shanghai is missing Spike Jonze‘s ‘Her‘, but the Hong Kong list wins out with some amazing flicks, definitely watch ‘Infernal Affairs‘ and the brilliant old school heroic bloodshed classic ‘The Killer

There is amazing stuff to do in Shanghai and sometimes you just have to open your eyes. Get ready for some really touristic tips as I have guided some friends and friends of friends through the city over the years:

This weekend I came to enjoy the what I would call ‘private cinema‘ and man, that is a blast. In HongKou district not far from my good old Zhabei district (where I used to live for the longest time). Who in Shanghai hasn’t head the phrase ‘Zhabei the place to be’, eh?

So this cinema is located on the third floor of the One Prime Mall on North Sichuan Road. Look out for some Avengers posters and some KTV looking rooms, as well as a booking counter that looks like a Hawaii bar. What you can do there is find a room for 4 people (up to 11) and have a seat in some super comfy 90’s massage chairs (that vibrate to the sound) and hopefully you brought enough beers and food to go with how ever many movies you want to watch on a massive screen with your friends. It’s nothing short of awesome and I did actually like the 3D effect in there, so make sure to try that out. We were watching Kingsman: The Secret Service – a really recommendable spy action flick with great leads and memorable action scenes and Prometheus – a movie I somehow have not had the opportunity to watch and that I enjoyed, but it is kind of slow and I wish there was more that the movie had to show in terms of character design, but again, this movie got way to much flak at the time it came out, for no reason at all.

Another secret tip lies deep within the the famous YuYuan garden, while you will be able to find the garden itself in every guide about Shanghai, there is not far from the temple and right next to the shadow play theatre, a little shop where you can take pictures on a rickshaw in historical clothes, usually you see a crowd gathered there and a few flights of steps lead up to that place, so head up those 5 stairs and enter the elevator on the right to the top floor, don’t worry, usually people just wonder what you do there, but it seems to be an elevator nobody uses. Anyway this leads to the quietest place in this busy tourist hotspot with the best view, you will figure the rest out and I feel okay with disclosing this awesome spot here and hope not every guide will pick that up…

Enough with the tips and have a look what’s trending on Twitter, people disclose their salaries, mostly in tech and in the US, but it’s definitely interesting and refreshing. Apparently the ball began rolling with this article. I will have a work related post coming in the future, so this is how I tie this up and as you can see there is always a thin red line through those articles, there is mostly something about Batman, a lot of me and a little dash of hopefully helpful or insightful information.