Sunday, December 23, 2012

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: X-men vs. Van Halen

Who would win in a fight for world domination, X-men or Van Halen?

Oddly enough, classic Van Halen, when they had David Lee Roth, would clean their clock.

Not through superior gymnastics, or better use of hairspray, but through superior planning and execution.

Van Halen changed the music scene by bringing large stadium level concerts to much smaller markets. So places where the bands normally would have one to three trucks worth of equipment would suddenly have to deal with nine full 18 wheelers of very complicated equipment.

The instruction manuals for setting all this up were the size of large city phonebooks. If some of these instructions weren't followed to the letter it could damage the equipment, or even be life threatening. As a way to check if the instructions were followed properly, they would put in little items like, Step 124: Remove all brown M&Ms from the dressing room.

When the band showed up, they could look at the dressing room and know if the crew followed the instruction manual, or just slapped everything together. If they just slapped it together David Lee Roth would hit the airwaves yelling how they can't be expected to play if there are brown M&Ms in the dressing room.

It made for great drama, and they didn't have to say, “Hey, we can't play because the crew is trying to kill us.”

How does this apply to the X-Men?

In X-Men origins: Wolverine, the bad guys had a plan to turn Wolverine into an unstoppable weapon for them.

In the movie they did this by:
General Anesthetic.
Covering his skeleton with Atomantium.
Breaking for coffee.
Getting in a huge fight with him destroying most of their lab.
Chasing him across the country in order to erase his memory.

If Van Halen were in charge of the operation it would go more like:

General Anesthetic.
Remove all Brown M&Ms from recovery room.
Erase Memory.
Arrange Doctor's coats in alphabetical order.
Turn Wolverine into unstoppable killing machine.
Break for coffee.

That way when the doctors showed up to turn him into an unstoppable killing machine, and saw that their coats weren't in alphabetical order, they would ask, “Did you forget to do anything else, you know anything that might destroy all of our years of planning?”

That would leave the X-Men being just Jean Grey and Dr. X.

So to all the evil villains out there who spend decades devising dastardly schemes that rely on complicated series of tasks being carried out in a precise order but have no way of checking to see if it was done right, I say, “Shut-up Stupid. Take a lesson from Van Halen and put in ways to quickly check to see that the instructions where followed correctly, or you will spend decades and two sequels trying to fix your mistake.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

1 comment:

Stephanie Barr said...

This is a brilliant post and postulate with real world applications, as opposed to just X-men.

Although such steps don't GUARANTEE the steps before or after were performed, you can assure they were reading and using the instructions. I can see this being most useful in applications where people are doing variations of the same job all the time, like perhaps launch operations. Putting in validation steps THAT VARY WITH EACH LAUNCH assures that people aren't just going through the motions but following the procedures for THAT launch exactly.

I don't have to stretch my mind much to find dozens if not thousands of other opportunities as well.

Cool beans. Simple but effective as much of the best practices are.

Although, I think the material bonded to Wolverine was really "adamantium" playing off of adamant.