What I Liked This Week: Cold Shower Batmen Animals

Hot. Cold. Zelda prefers to not bathe at all.

Before cold showers, Zelda was a Mastiff.

Hey! This week was a blur!

There’s a lot going on. As I mentioned on Instagram (and other outlets) I just sent three scripts to the Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition.

One is a feature that’s also at Nicholl (the screenwriting fellowship program run by The Academy Awards). The other two are TV scripts — the first I’ve ever written, actually. I wrote a sci-fi pilot and a spec episode of The Flash. It surprised me, how pleased I was with my work on the TV stuff. The first page of the pilot may be the best page I’ve written in a long time. It may not be. Rebecca will let me know.

In addition to all that, as announced here, we received news that The Videoblogs was selected to participate in Big Vision Empty Wallet’s 2015 Distribution Lab. Which is great news. Looking forward to that experience, which I will report back on soon.

All of that barely left me enough time to interview Collin Schiffli for Coffee with Creatives. So, one thing that I liked this week is more like a thing I liked recently, that I have continued to think about.

We play it loose with the rules around here. On to it!

Cold Showers for a Happier, More Focused Michael

I experimented with cold showers for a short while, when I first read Tim Ferriss’s The Four Hour Body (the low temperature increases fat burn). They didn’t take, mostly because it’s a tough commitment to keep, due to the relative discomfort of the experience — but, also, I just couldn’t let go of my morning hot shower. It is/was important to me.

However, I’m currently in the midst of trying to drop a few pounds, so that I can fit into the nice new suit I bought last year, when I was exercising regularly. I want to do this both because it would feel good to get back into the suit, but also because I can’t afford a new suit and don’t want to wear one of the old baggy suits from when I was a larger Michael. In addition to a temporary change of diet, I’m trying out the cold showers again (and jogging). As additionally described in the book, apart from helping to burn more fat, cold showers can strengthen the immune system (yes, please) and improve mood (sign me up).

This time, since I’m waking up earlier these days, I decided to alter the plan. I take my hot shower, and then slowly dip the temperature, in intervals, allowing my body to adjust in between. After a while, I bring the cold. I started about six days ago. My cold shower length has increased from about 5 seconds (when I was too quick with my interval temp drops) to about 3 or 4 minutes. The last two days, I have started off with cool showers, and have been able to get to cold more quickly. I’ve also been able to tolerate Full Cold much longer.

I have noticed that my senses feel sharpened, and that my skin feels more alive, when I’m done. The mood improvement appears to be true, for me. And, while I’m (perhaps stupidly) not weighing myself, or taking any measurements, my pants seem to be slipping on a little easier in recent days — though this is probably the combined effect of the dietary shift and the cold therapy. The jogs, I have only just started.

I’m also supplementing the showers by drinking additional ice water throughout the day, and applying an ice pack to my neck for twenty or thirty minutes at night (these methods are also detailed in the book).

It’s been okay. We’ll see how long I last.

The Batmen: Scott Snyder and Geoff Johns Trade Paperbacks

This is the holdover entry from last week. I felt a little guilty, when I realized that I had not included The Batmen in last week’s post. But, really, that list reads the way it was meant to read at the time — as a reminder of the benefits of taking a break and getting out into nature.

Don't forget to pack your socks and your Batmen.

Don’t forget to pack your socks and your Batmen.

I read both Scott Synder’s Batman Vol. 5: Zero Year – Dark City, and Batman: Earth One Vol. 2, by Geoff Johns, while I was away. Both were great.

Snyder’s celebrated run on Batman has been a joy to read. He respects and pays homage to the mythos of the character but does new and inventive things with him. This fifth trade paperback of his run (all with Greg Capullo, whose art is similarly awesome) nicely tied together so many narrative strands that I admittedly felt a little confused by in the previous book. That’s not a criticism — it ended up being a matter of patience. If I were a monthly reader, I may not even have felt that confusion. Still, I’m excited to keep reading this run for as long as it continues.

Geoff John’s comes up with moments, in his writing, that few other writers are capable of delivering from within the DC Comics Universe (DCU). This seems to be because, in addition to being a talented writer — his knowledge of the universe seems encyclopedic and readily accessible. That’s one of the things I loved the most about his second installment, with Gary Frank (whose more grounded Batman looks amazingly human), in their Batman: Earth One story-line, which exists outside of continuity with what Snyder is doing.

The book seems to be written from the point of view of someone who has not only processed every arc and trope from the Batman runs of yesterday, but other contemporary sources (such as Synder’s work, and even Christopher Nolan’s) as well.  Johns even includes a great, subtle nod to his own work (in the first Batman: Earth One book) when a move that worked on a villain then…doesn’t work on a villain now — causing Batman to fail, and summarily “cheat”. We don’t often see that from the character.

I just love Johns’s writing (credit goes to my brother, Dan, for introducing me to his catalogue). It’s humorous and inventive but always sourced from character (and the mythos to which characters in the DCU belong). It’s not easy to do something like that, effectively, when the protagonist has been around for decades, and has been handled by so many other writers. I thought the first Batman: Earth One book was a delightfully fresh take on a Batman. The second grows the character more towards a version of him that we’re more used to, but takes advantage of this fact to spend more time smartly reinventing a cadre of old villains in fun new ways. I’m interested to see where the story goes next.

Animals: Coffee with Creatives Delivers The Goods

I watched Collin Schiffli’s feature film debut, Animals (SXSW ’14) ahead of our Coffee with Creatives conversation. I really enjoyed it. The film definitely stands firmly upon the grounded feel that Schiffli discussed as a major intention during the interview — ultimately also delivering an equally grounded, atypically touching story.

With limited time and money for rehearsal, David and Kim spent a day exploring Chicago on the train.

Lead actors David Dastmalchian and Kim Shaw spent a day exploring Chicago on the train.

Definitely worth a watch. It was great speaking with Collin about his process and his methods as a filmmaker. Check out our talk for more info, and check it out on VOD if you’re interested.

Till we meet again. Next week. As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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