Sunday, October 16, 2011

City of Heroes

I haven't been playing a ton of games lately, but I did return for awhile to City of Heroes and run around some. Still a fun game and one of my favorite in the MMORPG family.

Fast Five

Finally watched "Fast Five" this weekend. I love that series. Not because it is great storytelling or anything like that. It's just unapologetically a guy's movie. It's fast cars, hot women and lots of action. Oh yeah...and usually some pretty cool soundtracks.
If you like any of the other moves, you will like this one. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is as cool as ever. This was my favorite since the first. Big surprise at the end that hints at an interesting possibility for a sixth film.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hunter Prey

I wandered across "Hunter Prey" a few months back and added it to my Netflix Instant Queue. I finally got around to watching it.
I was absolutely stricken by the cool look of the movie, though the armor was a bit Mandalorian (for you Star Wars Geeks out there).
Still, the tech and the FX were really cool.
So, I looked up the director. Sandy Collora is his name. I had not heard his name, but I was familiar with his work. I don't know if any of you guys and gals remember "Batman: Dead End" is just the coolest fan film I have ever seen. It's just a few minutes long, but it features a cool Batman beating the crap out of a cool Joker, only to be interrupted by an Alien and a Predator. It is just darn cool. Sandy followed it up with a Batman/Superman meetup called "Worlds Finest".
So, this movie was also really cool. Pretty short, but an interesting storyline and a film I really enjoyed. If you have 88 minutes, like good sci-fi action and an interesting storyline, check it out.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Learning the Ropes

I am reading a life-changing book. “The Ropes to Skip and the Ropes to Know”. I have been amazed at how eye opening this book has been. I have also been a bit disappointed as it has confirmed some deeply held suspicions I have had for a long time. I think I can literally feel my brain learning a whole new paradigm from this book.

Having said that, is it only fascinating to me because it confirms some of my preconceived notions? People do tend to find facts that meet their perspectives, regardless of what the “truth” is. Oddly enough, this very subject is what this book discusses.

“The Ropes…” is a simple book. It is a series of stories about a handful of characters at various stages in their corporate careers. A hapless newcomer named Stanley learns the ropes through his introduction to the corporate culture.

The book make its clear that a corporation is a culture. A highly ritualized and symbolic culture just like a church, a motorcycle gang or a cult. The uniforms are different, the rituals are different and the taboos are different, but they are just as real and just as symbolic so we ignore them at our own (career’s) peril.

An example, a rain dance is a ritual. It doesn’t make it rain, but it gives people the comforting feeling that they are doing something to ward off drought. It lets them move forward with the important work of preparing for harvest. The rain maker dresses and acts a certain way.

In my last company, I had a nemesis. He was my nemesis because he constantly talked about how few hours I worked. It is true that I was “at work” less hours than he was, but I worked far more hours. I would be in the office 8 hours. I worked hard and got a ton of results. I could demonstrate my results through objective metrics. My nemesis was at work 11-12 hours a day. He drank coffee, talked to people and surfed the web. He was much more successful than me in achieving promotions, praise and raises.

Why was this so? I had the results? Results should be all that matters. It is true that results should be the only thing that mattered, but they are not. My nemesis understood that in my last company’s culture, the ritual that got you moved up to higher ranks in the tribe was long hours, not lots of results. The tribe didn’t recognize metrics. They recognized long hours. In addition, this guy was an engineer. He dressed like an engineer. I am a biologist and I dress like one. I think engineers dress a little on the geeky side. At my last job, the uniform of success was the engineer’s dress, not the biologists. From a tribal sense, I didn’t wear the right ornamentation and I ignored the tribal rituals.

These are the things I am learning from this book. Things that should not matter actually do. Perception matters and it is not always about knowing the most, doing the most or getting the most results. I understand how certain people have gotten promoted and demoted now. Like I said, it’s always been a suspicion, it’s only now being confirmed. I wish I had read the book ten years ago. I have always played a bit of an outsider and wondered why my success has not been as great as I would have liked.

Time to be an insider. The question is…which tribe?

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I watched "Priest" this weekend. It's been out awhile and it's been on my "to watch" list. I would say it is "okay". Don't get me wrong...I LOVED it, but I don't think everyone will.
What did I like about it? It was a fantasy, sci-fi, western, horror. How cool is that? Priests have jedi-like superpowers, the baddies are vampires, the world is post-apocalyptic so the cities are high-tech/sci-fi, but the outskirts are all Old West. Really cool.
It's a total guy flick. Karl Urban is an AWESOME bad guy. I love Urban in everything he has done.
So, if you share my tastes, then I highly recommend this movie. If you are more the Nicholas Sparks crowd, then you might not dig it.