DCAU Watching Order

by Michael G. in


People who know me know I like a lot of things very passionately. One of these many things is the amazing DC animated univrse (DCAU) from the 1990s through early 2000s. From the minds of Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and a few others, the DCAU is a stretch of several DC comics-based TV shows in the same continuity that are really, truly great. There are some pieces of fiction you love as a child that only hold up due to nostalgia when revisited as an adult. These aren't like that. These contain interconnected stories beginning with Batman, moving on to Superman, Static Shock, the totally original Batman Beyond and Zeta Project, and into Justice League/Justice League: Unlimited (which was actually used to tie up Batman Beyond's story after its premature cancellation).

The series move from early 90s era episodic stories to larger serialized stories, poke fun at comic book tropes, contain some of the most moving storytelling you'll see in any medium. Just the 14th episode, from 1992, Heart of Ice won an Emmy and established what we now think of as Mr. Freeze's origin story. It introduces what is still to this day one of the best examples of a sympathetic villain I can think of. The three-part Superman story The World's Finest is an excellent execution of the Superman-meets-Batman dynamic DC looks so poised to fail horrendously at with their upcoming Hollywood movie and later there is an episode which covers a character's death with such immense weight that I may never forget the line ""in the end the world didn't need a Superman just a brave one" (Apokolips...Now!, Part 2). If you're a fan of the character Harley Quinn, you owe that to the Batman: The Animated Series as well. Numerous other original and moving stories are told with the trappings of DC superheroes in the universe, making it all pretty easy to recommend.

Knowing you want to watch it, though, doesn't mean the universe is easy to navigate. A few years ago I wrote up a "watching order" to organize the several shows into a suggested viewing order for anyone intending to dig in. Instead of just storing the list on my own machine, it seemed reasonable to go ahead and put this up here. A friend asking to borrow Batman: The Animated Series, the origin of the whole DCAU, this weekend seemed like as good a reason as any to put this up.

DC Animated Universe Watching Order

Legend:

Film - This is an in-canon movie.

Optional - Clearly all of this is optional, but these are sections that aren't particulary important and more for completion than "essential" material viewing.

  1. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (Watch any time early during Season 1 of B. No real continuity issues, so you could watch before the season, but I think you should at least start with Episodes 1 and 2 of the show to get a feel for it before watching this movie.)
  2. Batman: The Animated Series Seasons 1-2
  3. Superman: The Animated Series Seasons 1-2
  4. Batman & Mr Freeze: SubZero (Watch before episode 3 of Batman Season 3, Cold Comfort. Easiest to just watch before starting the season.)
  5. The New Batman Adventures (aka Batman: TAS Season 3)
  6. Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (Movie. Actually made very late, in 2003 in the universe of New Batman Adventures.)
  7. Superman: TAS (Season 3)
  8. Batman Beyond (All 3 Seasons)
  9. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (Movie. If you can, watch the "Unrated" uncensored version. If you don't have the option, the censored version is acceptable.)
  10. The Zeta Project (2 Seasons. If interested, watch after Batman Beyond. No other tie-ins.)
  11. Static Shock (4 Seasons. If interested, watch after Batman Beyond. Before Justice League.)
  12. Justice League (2 Seasons)
  13. Justice League Unlimited (3 Seasons) (This show should to be the last thing you watch in the series, so if you're interested in watching the optional series, watch those first.)

LinkCatcher 1.0

by Michael G. in ,


Recently, I was using my computer at work, as you do, and a thought occurred to me:

Before explaining my use case, I just assumed it was odd. But then:

Another friend mentioned Choosy, but I looked into it and it seemed like hitting a tiny nail with a massive for-pay hammer-shooting cannon.

After looking for alternatives and not finding one, I decided to write one.

I ended up going with AppleScript, which I hadn't touched in a while, because it's simple, tends to have all kinds of hooks into applications and system events, and it seemed like this was exactly the kind of thing it was made for. In the end, it didn't take long once I actually started, though wrestling with AppleScript's very non-programming-language like vernacular was odd–I haven't done anything notable in AppleScript since I messed around with it for some simple tools back when OS X 10.4 (Tiger) was the new hotness.

After I got it working perfectly for a day on my work machine (running Mavericks), I tried it out at home (where I don't need it, as I do all my browsing in one browser) running Yosemite and found a small headache. Still, I've found a workaround so the tool still works after a bit more effort for setup.

So, on that note, here's the tool with my code, some commentary, and instructions on how to download mine, as well as to re-create it or customize it to your liking:

LinkCatcher


Patience

by Michael G. in


As is true of many people, I think a lot about a lot of things. As with most people, there are things I want, things I won't have, and things I don't mind waiting for. Over the course of years, seemingly regardless of which societies we grow up in or the primary languages we speak, we're all exposed to many little nuggets of apparently obvious wisdom. Sometimes we take these to heart and truly let them shape our lives, sometimes we think we understand them and move on.

One such piece of wisdom is that "patience is a virtue". Most native English speakers have heard the turn of phrase in some form. Being rooted somewhat in the early European Christian "Seven Heavenly Virtues" , some variation of the phrase is (I would guess) recognized by most who grew up in an area steeped in that cultural influence. Most other cultures (again, a guess) probably also have proverbs or passed-down pieces of wisdom advising patience. It seems a totally natural and agreeable thing to agree patience is a wise, helpful, and generally admirable trait to nurture.

I don't believe many would argue with an assertion that people are, generally, not all that patient. I also don't believe many would argue with an assertion that people, generally, are less patient than we believe ourselves to be. Why is that? Why do we, as people who understand patience is likely good for us and may actively try to be patient, often fail at recognizing a lack of patience within ourselves?

A scenario that comes to mind is a stereotypical movie scene: A couple is having an argument, screaming at one another. Perhaps one of the two has clearly been wronged by the other for quite some time. One of the two has spent quite a bit of time waiting for the situation to improve. Maybe promises to change have been made and not acted on. Maybe the failure is on the one making demands. Maybe the failure is a lack of sincerity. Regardless, at some point one person screams or declares "I have been patient for so long!" You know the scene.

Most of us have, at some point, been there in our minds if not in an outspoken and dramatic manner fitting of Hollywood. The thing that we tend not to understand, or refuse to understand, is that most of the time when we think we're being patient, we're not. This comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of what patience is. I'm a big proponent of establishing definitions of terms before starting a discussion, and (though this is a topic for another time) firmly believe it's nearly impossible to have a reasonable discussion on a topic of importance without discussing the definitions of terms in use. So let's start with a definition.

Google tells us the following:

pa·tience

/ˈpāSHəns/

noun

the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

Notice that last part?

"without getting angry or upset"

Yeah. That part. Patience isn't tolerating something without outwardly showing you're upset. Patience isn't hunkering down and being annoyed by a delay but knowing you'll be ok as long as it (whatever it is) happens eventually. Patience isn't biding your time based on a promise for the future. Patience isn't waiting for something that has to happen.

If that's not what patience is, then what is it? While I could get straight to the point, first I want to establish a few more definitions.

Another common phrase is "Don't settle". In general, people understand that settling is bad but compromising is good. Sometimes the words are used interchangeably. In my mind, and for the purpose of this discussion, there's a pretty clear distinction to be made between settling and compromising.

Settling is done when you give up on a principle. Compromising is done when you give up on a detail. It's important to avoid conflating principles with details. A principle is something you're totally unwilling to bend on. It's something that directs your life and the ways in which you change yourself over time or govern your thoughts. A detail is not. A principle–for example–is knowing you want to only marry someone who shares a particular belief or outlook on life, or not at all. A detail is wanting to meet someone in a place or environment where you think that's likely. A detail is wanting to meet someone soon, or maybe even at all. Recognizing the wisdom behind the principle allows you to realize the principle is worth sticking to and the detail is worth compromising on. Meeting someone at a particular place, in a particular context, or even at all becomes a compromisable detail. Is getting married your principle? Or is only getting married if the circumstances are right the principle? Is doing everything to win a competition your principle? Or is doing your best while retaining your integrity your principle? Principles are worth thinking about and understanding so that you will not settle and are then free to compromise on the details of your life. If you know your desire to win is a detail while retaining your integrity is a principle, then you know which to bend on when they come into conflict. Sacrificing your integrity would be settling. Forgoing the victory would be compromising specifically in the name of not settling. The same person in the same situation can often choose to either compromise or to settle. The same two people in a relationship can often choose to either compromise or settle. The former may result in a desired future. The latter probably will not. It's important to recognize the difference, and even to note that sometimes leaving a situation entirely is the only way to avoid settling.

So then, after all this, what is patience?

Patience is not being upset despite recognizing something isn't as you'd like it to be. Patience is knowing you'll continue to not be angry even if your desire never comes to fruition. Patience is understanding what your principles are and knowing you're in a good place with regard to those even if the details of your life aren't as you wish they were. Patience is something reserved for compromiseable details when you're confident you're not settling on your principles. Patience can only be achieved when you do not conflate principles with details or settling with compromise.

You can want the details. You can put a lot of effort into attaining them. You can put quite a bit of value on them. You can desire a particular goal, a victory, or a relationship with a particular person. It is ok, even admirable, to seek out your desires, to recognize what details you'd like in your life and work towards them. Remembering that you can do without them, that it's a definite possibility you will, and being ok with that scenario means knowing you'll only accept the details when they're right–when they don't demand settling. This means being willing to go without some relationships of all types in order to assure you only have healthy ones or being willing to forego some victories in order to only have honorable ones. It means being able to recognize when a particular detail may have become impossible to have without settling. It means keeping your principles intact so the details you can have can be enjoyed to the fullest when the time is right.

True patience is the willingness to wait for something you desire under the right circumstances, without the promise you will ever get it.

Don't settle on what you need. Compromise on what you want.

Be patient.


The Momentum of "Not Right Now"

by Michael G.


Sometimes you're sitting there, doing a bunch of things, and realize "Wow. It's been a really long time since I wrote something on my blog."

Then you realize you've said the same thing pretty frequently for years. Then you still don't write anything, but just think through a bunch of posts you'd like to write.

It's funny how these things work. Running/exercise, blog post writing, podcasting. These are all things I really love doing and sometimes just drop for extended periods of time. They're all so similar in that I love doing them in the moment, and get hooked on them. Then, one day, I realize I just haven't done one of these things (or any of them) in an embarrasingly long time.

Thinking "today's not the day" or "not right now" has an incredible power to keep your momentum of not ever doing something you want to do. And sometimes you just have to decide that today is the day.

So here we go. A blog post. About not posting blog posts. Let's see if this turns into more frequent posts. I've got loads of them bouncing around in my head.

Fingers crossed!


[Missing Post] The Dark Horse in the Race for Our TV

by Michael in ,


What follows is a "missing post". I wrote all of this before WWDC this year in June with predictions for exactly what Nintendo has just announced (or at least how Nintendo is in a unique position for it). While laziness got the best of me, so I never completed the post, I'm going to go ahead and post this right now while Nintendo is still announcing just as evidence that I already had it written. Obviously it's pretty bare bones, as I tend to jot down notes before going back and filling in details and actual words for a post. I haven't touched anything since Nintendo's event started.

Everyone is, and has been, talking about the future, mystical, this changes everything Apple TV. WWDC 2012 is right around the corner and the press has worked itself into such a tizzy over this hypothetical product that if (and I believe when) Apple doesn't announce some new revolutionary our minds just eploded because of how intensely this will change the world overnight television or related device during its main Keynote, Apple's stock price will take its (usual and very temporary) hit, the press will wonder where the product is, and everyone will continue the cycle of excitement until Apple's next event. This is exactly what happened with the iPhone. People expected it for years before it came out. Then it did and changed everything.

The thing is, the TV market is different from the phone market.

 Content vs device (TV vs phones)

Take time to change things (content incumbents)

Most successful in the hybrid world (Xbox 360)

App model for Apple TV (Input is problem: hypotheical iphone/ipod touch/iPad as input--problems are cost, ubiquity. No point to software using both if nobody has both.)

Surprise possibility (Wii U picture - highlight TV button on Game Pad)

What the Wii U has that nobody else does. (Cheap, software updatable/downloadable, platform with intuitive *and* "high definition" input mechanisms built in. Warm "Wii" name which non-technical people have already invited into their homes and aren't intimidated by. They can go buy "the next Wii". Extra input devices for games already in peoples' homes. Built-in, ready-to-go, "Angry Birds" style casual games in "Nintendoland" which anyone can play--familiarize with mascots and then have an included games console for much better games than an Apple TV could manage. Plus easy ports from 5+ years of Xbox 360 and PS3 that, if volume of Wii Us are sufficient, can be easy money at lower prices for publishers/developers on *MUCH* better games than anything Apple could create could do. Cutting edge games on PS4/Xbox 720/PC. Less advanced but not at all input-bottleknecked "real" games on Wii U with non-intimidating platform also being able to be picked up for people who don't/hardly want to game at all.)

Microsoft and Sony already want to do this because there isn't enough money just in "real games" for them. Nintendo isn't competing as  

Obstacles: (Nintendo itself. Partner deals. Stubbornness. Allowing cheaper 3rd party games.)

Biggest obstacle: Nintendo making content deals with the essential movie and TV content creators. Interfaces for accessing media.

Biggest benefit: Touch screen controller always available to control TV stuff, no need to clutter content display to get media info, browse media store. Again: bundled with device.