Changing jobs recently and generally having a lot of changes, some things become clear.

‘Life is what you make of it.’

I came back from Thailand, the land of smiles, the land where I might or might not belong, but it was rejuvenating. Leaving China for a bit always gives you some kind of perspective and deserved breather from the chaos, the chaos I most of the time deal with, even love, but it’s needed and sometimes the chaos becomes too much.

Never have I been to Taiwan, but that is the next short trip on the list and it excites me. What excites me even more is the new work, a little advertisement ahead:

I work for Baopals, with some really good friends of mine. Baopals is Taobao and Tmall for foreigners (in China for now), it makes your life easier here and you can access the largest online marketplace in the world, with over 800 million products in English. But that is not the point.

You know how people often tell you, that the grass is not greener somewhere else? It’s a lie, the grass can be greener, especially coming from financial service companies and insurance, when you hear that a bit. They are never that cool, let’s say: rarely. If there is a ‘real fun’ work environment in those industries let me know at some point. And I don’t mean, we have a foosball table or ping pong table, that no one plays, because we are too busy working and judge you for it if you dare to play during your 9 to 6…

It’s the best thing if you stand behind something, solidly, 100% and work with friends. It breathes the life back into you. In the last few days, I got more tanned, I socialize more, I read more, I have more activities and am undoubtedly healthier than before.

Not bashing the place you work at, but there are callings out there that want you to listen and hear them. I caught up with old friends and joined a company that made my life here better, that makes the life of other foreigners in China easier and it feels like being reborn, like waking up from a state of walking through fog and that fog has lifted. Everything is HD.

Haha, that sounds so preaching, but that is not my intention. Check Baopals out if you live in China!

But what I want to say is listen to your heart and your stomach (don’t know if that is a German thing only) but come one, it’s your second brain and it gives you helpful signals.

Let me conclude this with something I feel strongly about and listen to this guy, who is one of my idols since Bullshit! – that show really changed me and made me question things and so should you, question this article if you want, but listen to your heart, stomach and your brain and love, we all need it.

The Upside Down and Other Magical Experiences

Let’s talk some magic here and how I started experimenting . What’s going on in the upside down.

So right of the bat, you can tell that I have been watching Stranger Things – and wow, it is brilliant. If you are an eighties kid and love the old Stephen Spielberg movies and want to see child actors doing their best (honorable mentions here: Fresh Off The Boat, Modern Family) and have a potpourri of Spielberg, Stephen King, John Carpenter and the body horror of David Cronenberg (not too much of it). It plays out, as I heard best in a podcast (sorry don’t remember the name), as a adventure movie like the Goonies for the kids in the show, a slasher movie for the teenagers and a mystery movie (or Outer Limits-X-Files) for the adults. It works magnificently.

Without giving away too much, they talk about the upside down – a different dimension and where the Nerdist in the first link talks about it in a specific way, I saw that more, especially given Eleven’s experiments as Out of Body Experiences/Astral Projection (Science has yet to figure that out completely).

When I was 16 I moved out of my parents house and got my first apartment and went to school from there. With that distance from childhood friends and family, I developed a strong interest in Paranormal Stuff (everyone does at some point, no?), Philosophy (I read Sophie’s World man!), Self-Reflection, Masturbation and Lucid Dreaming, as well as Out of Body Experiences and Astral Projection. I basically was the kid from Little Miss Sunshine!

I was a bit more active though, I went to train in boxing and frequented hardcore and metal concerts. Living alone I delved into books at night. Reading is just the best and I wish I would read as much as back then and I am working on that. That made me the kid in literature classes that always gave the speech about how reading is beneficial in soooooo many ways, even if it is the back of a shampoo bottle when you are sitting on the throne.

Skipping mediation and other ‘hippie stuff’:

Love that dude!

I went straight for the cool stuff: getting out of my body and exploring other worlds…

Robert Monroe caught my attention first and I read things on the internet, while my desk neighbor was trying to find the ‘download all’ button on Audiogalaxy in school.

I tried the Body Scan to relax myself and then tried to head straight for the 3rd person view on myself. Needless to say, most of the time I fell asleep and continued for maybe a year with basically no results, apart from a couple of Lucid Dreams (here is how-to) and one night coming home from a hardcore concert, in bruises, tired, in terrible need for rest and sleep – I tried it and came to a state where my mind was awake and my body asleep, a ringing started in my ear, a bright light showed up and I felt euphoric, maybe too euphoric and I woke up to just fall asleep, but I remember it to this day. It’s magical!

Maybe I should get back to that, but given that my meditation practice suffered a bit (I however kept my morning yoga-wake up routine – during the week), I won’t have all the time, but it’s fun. Try something, learn something new and experiment with binaural beats (because that is magical too).

Have a great week and bring back the magic!

Marvel versus DC

I am a fan of both. Really! What a time to be alive.

This deserves kind of a lead in and I am not talking about the comics, but maybe let’s do that for a moment:

I grew up for 6 years in the German Democratic Republic – meaning the part of Germany where you had to stand in line for Bananas. I could write more about that, but leave it to people that know people from there. I came in contact with comics at around 10 years old, I had friends from ‘the city’ aka Chemnitz. Naturally they had contact, they had comics. First comic I ever held was an Avengers comic book in German ‘Die Richer’ (don’t know why they translated the names back in the day). Shortly thereafter through my ‘city friends’ X-Men and later on the book bus (a mobile library that parked every Wednesday at the train museum in my 1200 soul village) provided me with access to more: Maus, Batman , Mask, Transformers and more…

I was 14 when Superman lost his powers and came back in blue and with a different power set and bought the Justice League number 1. Shortly after Lobo and then nothing for the longest time, until I got a grasp of the English language and saved enough money to buy the Batman Essentials (Hush, Year One, The Killing Joke, Arkham Asylum, The Dark Knight Returns, The Long Halloween) and in addition Watchmen and V for Vendetta.

So I am not biased. I love both, movie-wise DC-TV (especially The Flash) tucks a bit more on my heartstrings but the Netflix Marvel shows blow everything out of the water – so here we go:

My favorite stand alone Batman movie to this day is Batman Returns – I watch it roughly once a year around Christmas and I wouldn’t skip a scene or would change a thing about it. I am linking to Rotten Tomatoes here for a reason. This movie has favorable reviews there with 80% from critics and 75% something from the regular folk.

Suicide Squad which will most likely not show in China is already being panned by critics there and the early ‘critic reviews’ also panned Batman v Superman into the ground. I cannot wrap my head around that.

If someone tells me that he or she is not impressed with Batman Returns, I can understand that. It’s a bit silly, there is this fake snow, the Burton city and elements, it’s very fantastical and I can see that this is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Meanwhile the Nolan Batman movies I find to be overrated. My favorite was (of course) The Dark Knight but with every additional watch I find myself skipping more and more scenes. The trilogy still works for me and I enjoy it as the else world story it is, but let’s be honest here – the fight scenes (apart from Bane taking Batman apart) suck. Yes, they suck. I could take this Batman down.

Let’s go down the rabbit hole. I love, love, love The Winter Soldier and Civil War, I do like Guardians of the Galaxy (and wish it would be more popular than Star Wars) and I thoroughly enjoyed Deadpool. Batman v Superman, especially the Ultimate Cut does not deserve the hat it got. It’s a great movie and that one Batman scene (you know which one) is better than any action scene a live action Batman has ever been in.

A good friend of mine pointed me to this video:

I like the Nerdwriter dude, butI disagree strongly here. The cinema cut was disappointing and it felt odd. Weirdly put together. Great scenes, great moments, monumental pictures, but it felt like every word uttered served the plot and moved it forward. Giving the butchered cut it felt weird. It was not good, it had amazing scenes, but all that was made void with the Ultimate Cut.

Watch this:

I like the Everything Great crew even better, especially with Zach Snyder movies. His movies are bombastic, without being shallow and hollow like the Michael Bay 8 out of 10 times.

It’s hard to put the finger on the criticism by critics. The movie is slowly paced and lacks a lot of the humor that the Marvel movies are famous for, but speaking of the Ultimate Cut here, it is so much better than half of the Marvel movies and it clocks in at a Civil War level. It’s not as good as Winter Soldier, as I have seen that on plan again without sound and sat through the hole thing. The music, the scenes coming alive from the books I read and the costumes and tone. They got it right and I am glad it is not a Marvel movie copy. I am glad it is ‘darker’, I am glad it is a different approach and I still think that Zach Snyder is the man (apart from some of the stuff he spurts out). I think he is just not the best guy to market his movies, he can come off as a bit of a meathead, but I do think he has the heart in the right place and produces the best visuals when it comes to comic book movies.

In years from now I am sure I will have watched Snyder movies a couple of more times without skipping compared to the average Marvel Studios movie (I haven’t given Age of Ultron a second watch).

Let me predict that those ‘controversial’ Snyder movies will hold up better over time.

Again I love all kinds of comics but here is my count (estimates – this is totally my way of battling this out):

Batman (1989): 5 times

Batman Returns (1992): 20 times

The Dark Knight (2008): 8 times (involving more and more skipping)

Man of Steel (2013): 10 times

Batman v. Superman (2016): 4 times

Iron Man 2 (2010): 3 times

The Avengers (2012): 3 times

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): 7 times

Deadpool (2016): 3 times

Captain America: Civil War (2016): 2 times

DC: 47 versus Marvel: 18

I was never a big Superman fan (that might also be why I enjoyed the Blue Superman), but after the latest movies I dig the character and you know know that I started of with Marvel. So far the DC Movies hold up better for me but quantity output is just so much higher in the Marvel camp, I just don’t think it will hold up that well.

I love both and am thrilled to be alive to see all these movies and hope that both companies succeed making movies in quality and quantity but I’d wish for more leeway on the DC side from critics. Let’s just look at music: I can’t remember a single theme, score or musical moment in any of the Marvel movies (apart from Songs in Deadpool, Iron Man and Blade) but not scores but I pretty much remember The Dark Knight Trilogy, Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman by the music tracks and scores alone.