Yearly Archives: 2014

Life Lessons As Taught By Pokémon

I’m twenty-four and still love Pokémon.  It’s a fact but one that my parents and some of my friends are not overly thrilled about.  “Your hand is going to grow adjoined to the controller if you don’t watch out,” they say.  “That Game Boy is your third hand, you play it so much.”

 

But, on the other hand, there are many positives about being a Pokémon fan, even at the age where many of my friends are graduating college and starting families.  For one, there are a good number of my peers who have gotten into drugs and alcohol.  Why?  They could not deal with life on life’s terms.  The stresses mounted until they just couldn’t take anymore.  In fact, one of them is no longer with us anymore.  He simply could not deal with life.

 

I have a way of dealing with life.  When it gets to be too much, you can find me engrossed in a good game of Pokémon.  While that may not be the healthiest way to deal with things, I am here to say, it’s not the unhealthiest either.  I have yet to see anyone arrested and jailed for playing too much Pokémon.  Neither do I know of anyone who took their life over the game either.

 

Pokémon has given me life.  It has added an enthusiasm that enhances my life on a daily basis.  Oh, I still work and pay my bills.  I have a boyfriend and a good circle of friends.  But what turns me on is a good game of Pokémon.  Learning of new releases of games and even movies excites me and gives me something to look forward to.  I can attest that many people I know do not look forward to anything.  They just go through the motions of life.  Me, I am really looking forward to the new Mega-Evolution of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire soon to debut.

 

There is much to be applauded in the game.  There are characters, like my favouite, Charizard, who has the integrity that I wish more people had.  You won’t find Charizard picking on anyone who is weaker than he is.  No way!  Charizard only takes on those who are equal to him or even stronger.

 

Chesnaught is a true friend to the end.  He will take a lot, personally.  He is a gentle giant.  But mess with his friends and he will breathe fire.  He will go to any lengths to defend his loved ones.

 

Pokemon in general are persistent creatures.  They don’t give up.  Of course there are Pokémon with bad character qualities too but one thing they all have in common is their drive to do what they do and to do it well.

 

Many of the Pokémon have qualities that I hope to develop more of as I play.  Trevor is studious, Shauna is curious and full of wonder and Bianca is a rambunctious kids who is taking steps to mature.  Many of the Pokémon work together and set a great example for team dynamics.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I know where my friends and family are coming from.  I am a twenty-four year old who is obsessed with Pokémon.  Sometimes that does seem a bit odd and perhaps less than ideal.  But it works for me.  I continually lean life lessons that are helping me to push in the right direction and are helping me to become who I want to be.

The Games Room

Emerald (that’s me) is very serious about her games and where she plays them. I created a special place, a spare room in fact, for this frequent purpose. It was a long time overdue. There I can play Pokemon cards and console games to my heart’s content without having to clean it all away to eat or do computer work of another sort. I can close the door and leave a mess—or not. It is my space.

The room is small but comfortable with a makeshift kind of desk, some basic wood chairs, and a little loveseat when I want/need to take a break. I have piled it with pillows. There is a window with a modest view and I keep it open for fresh air. Sometimes, however, it gets really hot and stuffy. I need to get air conditioning, but oh, the cost. Not possible. I can’t imagine putting in central air. So I’m off on a hunt.

I went to a used appliance store two blocks away. I had been there before having passed by and a little gotten curious. I knew it had all kinds of things for the home at a very good price, even though some of the merchandise was a little dusty. It was a place that students go, young married, and bachelors on a budget. As a thrifty soul, I went in and began to search.

After a bit of looking around at the wares, I spotted a section of portable fans. There were the usual tabletop models and I nixed those rejects right away. I didn’t want air blowing on her cards or in her face. Moving on, I saw a row of sprightly ceiling fans—an array of wooden beauties purring pleasantly as I passed under them. They actually looked like some of the best ceiling fans around.

This was it, I thought. I will get one. I asked for a store salesman and began a process of discovery. “How will I choose the right one?” “Who will install it?” “Where is the switch?” “Is it safe?” These questions were dutifully answered and I selected a light-toned wood to go with the room decor, brass detailing, and a milk glass central fixture. “Wait!” the clerk called after her. “There is a remote.”

I was overjoyed at this news. I found out she could change the airflow output and turn the light on separately. In fact, I could even dim it. I could do it all from anywhere in the room, before, during, or after a game session. I would be cool as a cucumber in summer and early fall when the temperature still threatened to reach double digits. I was in game room heaven.

Having a private game room is indeed a luxury for anyone and I made it more so with my custom accoutrements. Now I didn’t have to think about it anymore. It was taken care of once and for all. I practically lived in the room and it had to be just right. Now it was.

Growing Up With Pokémon: My Life According to the Game

Some measure their age by music.  There’s the disco era of the 70’s, new wave in the 80’s and Grunge in the 90’s.  Then there are those who mark their age by world events like when Princess Diana died or 9-11.  Me, I gauge my age by Pokémon milestones.

 

I was eight years old when Pokémon was first released outside of Japan.  I remember my brother got one right away.  I was so jealous.

 

By the time I was twelve, I had a Game Boy Advanced and the third generation of games began with “Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire”.  Of course I had to have the enhanced version, “Emerald”, because, after all, my name is…Emerald.  One hundred and thirty-five new characters were introduced and I was in heaven!

 

One of the best days of my life was when Nintendo DS came out.  I was 14.  It was 2004.  Of course I upgraded to the slimmer model two years later.

 

I remember what I was doing when the fourth generation came out.  It was 2006.  I had just gotten my driver’s license so I went right up to the game store and bought one the very day it was released.  Another 107 new species were mine for the taking!

 

My parents were a little concerned that I opted to stay home and play Pokemon and a few other of my favourite games instead of cruising around with friends.  They had bought me a new (used) car and one would think I would be driving around, joy riding with the rest of the kids my age.  But no, I was in the sanctuary of my room, playing games.  I think my parents were secretly happy though because they didn’t have to wonder what I was up to.  They knew.

 

I love “Pokémon Black and White”.  It came out when I was….well, too old to be playing Pokémon.  I think that’s when it sunk in.  I was never going to outgrow Pokémon.

 

Last year about this time, “X and Y” were released.  Not everyone is a fan of “X and Y”, but I sure am.  Through the years with Pokémon, I have made up my mind up not to be overly critical when new games and features are put out and just to be happy there’s something new in the mix.

 

Of the “X and Y’ newbies, I really like Chesnaught.  Although he looks a little rough around the gills, he is a true friend.  He’s calm, cool and collective until someone messes with one of his buddies and then he turns into a ferocious monster. He has the ability to toss over a fifty ton truck with his bare hands.  But when left alone, he is a gentle as a kitten.   I think the real world could learn from Chesnaught’s character qualities.

 

I have attended a few Pokémon tournaments.  I was eighteen the first time and twenty-one the second time.  I didn’t play.  I just watched but regretted that later on.  I was afraid I wasn’t good enough to even play, looking back, I am pretty sure I could have won both of the tournaments.  I plan to compete in one next year and have already started looking at the event calendar.

 

I am looking forward to the release of the new Mega-Evolution Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire that are set to be out soon.  I know what will be on my Christmas Wish List!

 

Growing up with Pokémon is a bit contradictory because gauging my years by Pokémon milestones probably means I have not grown up at all.  But when it comes right down to it, I have to wonder, is staying a kid at heart really such a bad thing?  I hope not!

My Boyfriend Doesn’t Love Pokémon…But He Loves Me!

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You’d think it would be the other way around, the girlfriend tolerating the boyfriend’s obsession with Pokémon.  But in my case, it’s him who puts up with me.  And, quite honestly, I don’t see that changing anywhere in the near future either.

I am a Pokémon fan to the fullest.  I live, sleep, eat and breathe Pokémon.  Pokémon is my passion.  It is the first thought on my mind in the morning when I wake up and the last thing I do before bed.  Sure, I catch a lot of heat over my “addiction”.  Being a headstrong person, I don’t lose much sleep over the opinions of others.

In the past, I have had boyfriends who simply could not deal with my “immaturity” as one called it.  Another even advised me to go to a 12 step program for gaming addicts.  But isn’t that for people whose lives have become unmanageable and the fun has become a problem?  Well, then count me out.  I manage my life fine.  I manage to play a game or two before going to work.  And I manage at least one game every night to unwind before bed.  My Pokémon affair is definitely manageable.

As far as my current boyfriend goes, he doesn’t particularly like Pokémon.  In fact, he thinks it’s a silly game and thinks even less of the movies.  He has mentioned a time or two that maybe I will grow up one day and put to rest my “childish ways”.

No, he’s not a Pokémon fan at all but he is an Emerald fan.  He realizes that Pokémon is part of who I am.  For whatever reason, I was hooked on the game from the first time I played it.  I love the games and the movies too.  And the anime and manga and even the figurines.  I admittedly have Pokémon fever and he knows and accepts that about me.

But ya know what?  My boyfriend is an adventure racer.  He climbs crazy high mountains and goes on endurance quests where he risks life and limb just to finish a race.  He trains most every day and presses his body to do far beyond what it should do.  The doctors have warned him that it’s not healthy to be so obsessed with pushing himself to the limit as he does and I have mentioned that fact as well.  But, he does his own thing and he always will.  He is headstrong too and that’s something I happen to adore about him.

Those who nag and pester me to change my ways may have some valid points.  I am a bit old to be so passionate about Pokémon.  I should maybe spend my time taking a college course or perhaps cleaning my apartment instead.  I could stand to spend a little less on Pokémon games, movies and trading cards.

The problem with changing is that I actually love who I am.  And, I love that Pokémon is such a big part of my life.  It helps make me, “me”.  My boyfriend doesn’t have to love Pokémon as long as he loves ME!

Pokémon For Halloween: Let the Games Begin!

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Halloween is the perfect opportunity for adults to be kids again.  Although I never deny the fact that I am a twenty-four year old kid, it does give me some peace of mind to know it’s more acceptable on this fun and festive day.

 

If you haven’t chosen your Halloween costume, you might want to be a Pokémon character.  Many of them are pretty simple to put together on your own using a little creativity and imagination. Or, you can purchase part or all of your costume from a cosplay shop or even catch a great deal on a used outfit.

 

Being a self-confessed Pokémon fanatic, I am going to dress up like my favourite character, Charizard.  I started looking for my costume early this year and got a real bargain on the full dragon-like suit.  I had thought about making my own but Charizard is a wee bit more difficult than some of the others.

 

Pikachu is pretty simple to pull off.  In fact, I went as Pikachu last year and it was a huge hit with Pokémon fans.  Just dress in a yellow sweatshirt and sweatpants and make a long tail out of yellow fabric.  I used a swim noodle to give it some form and then wrapped it with yellow fabric and added a yellow feather boa onto it with tad of fabric glue.

 

I bought some black poster board and cut a lightning bolt from it and attached it to my back.  Then, I made rabbit ears from yellow poster board and attached them to a yellow head band.  I made the signature black ear tips by using a Sharpie pen.  Last but not least, I painted my face yellow and made black spots around my eyes and on my nose then big red circles on my cheeks.  I had a blast making the costume and of course, had a lot of fun showing it off too.

 

I am planning a small Pokémon get-together this year.  For decorations, I grabbed some birthday party supplies like a piñata, some backdrops and life size standees.  I am mixing the Pokémon theme with Halloween decorations.  A friend is carving some pumpkins for me in some of the Pokémon characters.

 

For entertainment, I am thinking Pokémon charades and Pokémon trivia along with a marathon of Pokémon games and maybe a movie too.  I have requested my guests come in Pokémon attire, which should add a lot of life to the party.

 

Pokémon and Halloween go great together.  It’s the one time of year that we Pokémon fans can live out our fantasy characters and not be teased about being immature.  On Halloween, it’s ok to be immature.  In fact, it’s encouraged.  So, give yourself a break and live it up like me this Halloween, Pokémon style.

Japanese Toilet Marvels

So think toilets are pretty much the same in the developed world? That practices and customs are similar in this modern day and age? Not so. Every country and culture has their own way of dealing with those basic bodily needs. They have evolved over time and there is some interaction, but profound difference still abound. Americans are fastidious but the Japanese even are more so. This is reflected in the local taste for state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. While some people in the US draw the line at bidets, for example, hygiene-minded city folk in Tokyo opt for them every time. They are more than a perk. They are in public places, office buildings, and residences—whether single family or an apartment. When new construction is underway, the new standard is expected. No expense seems to be spared given the lavish units I have seen and most of the best toilets available today all seem to have been designed by Japanese companies. Rent in a condo can jump when the toilets are more than adequate.

Japanese like convenience and comfort when at their multi-day ritual like any other ethnic group. They also like hi-tech innovation having been at the forefront in electronics for decades. Their toilets and hybrid bidets should have programmable settings. Low-flushing capacity that is fast, noiseless, and water-saving is ideal. A bidet should have controlled temperatures to meet even the most pernickety of needs. An air dryer is more than a fancy add-on. Many find it is a prerequisite. No rolls of unsightly toilet paper rolls for the advanced in spirit. No old-fashioned levers. It is either one push button or hands-free. You don’t want to tax yourself any more than you have to in your private space!

There are many top brands like TOTO that make these high performance marvels designed to improve the quality of life around the world. They have literally changed the vision of what a bathroom can be. The company is over one hundred years old with decades of mind-blowing innovation. They have been major contributors to research and development. Japan’s rich heritage in ceramics can be seen in their fine line of products.

There are, amazingly, one and two-piece with additional wall hung models. The “washlet” is what you really need to know about. This is the part that supplies the flushing, air drying, and advanced features of the higher-end toilets. You can pay up to $5,000 for the works as seen in special elongated one-piece units. This is the height of modernity, my friend! Tankless and low profile, the water wizard sits in your bathroom with grace and aplomb. The washlet is built right in. No need to add it on. What’s more, it has cyclone flushing action and SanaGloss glazing. You will not hear a peep while it refills, which is magically instantaneous. You get front and rear warm water washing (but of course) and a deodorizer after the air drying. TOTO makes art, not just bathroom fixtures.

Guess what. The lid opens and closes automatically and the toilet bowl is cleaned upon flushing. There is nothing you have to do but use it. The sensors take care of everything else. Sit and enjoy.

I’ve been attacked by a Poke-spore

I’m a nice peaceful person. Just let me be. I don’t relish being attacked by anything; but then again if it’s Pokémon, it’s okay. I’m a super fan as you might already know. In my book, Pokémon can do no wrong in any of its incarnations, and there are many. Rumor has it there are 17 different seasons of the beloved game. Who can remember all the plots and wily machinations. I can spend hours watching TV or playing the video games. I’ve got skills and moves.

When a new game bursts on the scene, I’m right there – first in line (or should I say online). I’m at it so much that I risk being attacked by a spore that could put me to sleep. You heard right. These spores are scattered from mushrooms, so beware of their inherent magical power. It does not bring good things. Pokémon beings wear goggles to fend them off. I might not be so lucky. Even if I do sport glasses for safety, I could get toenail fungus. Sleep would be an improvement over that. (Mushrooms, fungus, get it?) Wouldn’t that be a new twist on an old game move! There would be no immunity and players would have to get treatment to prevent a dangerous infestation or worse yet, an epidemic. In fact, we could title the game “Epidemic” to fit in with the other wacko titles in the Pokémon arsenal.

What the heck is toe fungus? Who has it? It is nasty dark yellow goop under the nail bed. It just appears out of nowhere when you least expect it – one day, you’ll have Nice Feet and Healthy Nails and then the next, you’ll have gross yellow toenails. It can be contagious, so maybe it does come from Poke-spores. It lives under the nail, hiding in perfect bliss and never wants to leave. It resists your every move. The characters of Pokémon will have met their match if they become afflicted. If people can’t get rid of it, how can anything in the world of anime? I can give them some hints. Go online and load up on potent potions to treat toenail fungus that guarantee banishment of the dreaded fungus in no time flat. They don’t work on people, but on you – why not! Buy nail lacquer or try laser sessions. And then there are pills. Guys, you have options. Do not despair. However, this is a serious ailment requiring a multi-pronged remedy and some outlay of bucks. Pokémon fans, take heed and take action.

If I get toe fungus I am going to blame those Poke-spores sent to get me by some evil doer. I don’t even care if they know I’m an avid admirer and want to share some funky fun. A prank can become a problem as in this case. I can think of better things I want from Japanese anime. It’s a wonderful world of adventure and excitement, and toe fungus is not on the top of my list of must haves. It is one thing I do want to avoid all my life, but not at the expense of Pokemon!

Pokémon: Still Lovin’ It

Some people remember the first car or their first kiss.   I remember the first time I played Pokémon.  Yeah, it was THAT good!

 

My big brother had the game on Game Boy but would never let me play.  So, I did what little brothers do best.  I got on his Game Boy and played when he was gone one day.  I was in love, engulfed in the game that stole my heart.  I couldn’t put it down.  My brother assisted me in putting it doing so when he got home.  The punch didn’t bother me though.  It only left a small bruise and was a small price to pay for a darn good play.

 

Times have changed.  Well, somewhat.  I actually own my own Pokémon games now.  At twenty-four years of age, I’m such a kid.  I still love Pokémon.

 

What is Pokémon?  Pokémon is a group of video games that consist of the old classics and new versions as well.  They are produced by Nintendo.  The games have given way to anime, movies, manga and even trading cards and toys.

 

Originally, the games were for Game Boy but are on other platforms too now.  Believe it or not, the name is a Japanese tweak of the words “pocket monster”.There are 754 Pokémon to date, not that I’m counting or anything.

 

Charizard is my favourite without a doubt.  I mean, how can you not love the fire-breathing little guy?   His name is even cool, meaning “charred lizard”.  What I adore about him the most is that he will never pick on someone who is weaker than he is.  The real world could stand to learn a good lesson from Charizard.

 

Pikichu is another one of my favourite characters.  He’s a chubby mouse with long pointy ears.  He is one of the regulars and is considered to be one of the Pokémon mascots.  The game wouldn’t be the same without Pikichu, that’s for sure.

 

There are tons of people around the world who are just as addicted to Pokémon as I am.  There are a number of fan clubs to prove that. I’m a card-holding member.  Many of them are for adults which makes me feel better.  At least I know I am not a total freak and that I’m in good company.

 

There are some things about the game that seem to me should be for adults anyway.  Like the fact that Alakazam has a death sentence of sorts.  With his brain constantly growing, his future doesn’t look all that bright to me.  And what about Spoink?  Cute as cute can be, the energetic little pig bounces around non-stop.  But I would too if to stop bouncing meant I would die.  Spoink doesn’t seem like a good influence for hyperactive kids.  But Pokémon is all in fun, no matter what the critics say.

 

My favourite Pokémon games are Pokémon X and Y.  Why?  I like the new powers of Charizard.  He can mega evolve which is really awesome.

 

I somewhat remember the first time I drove a car.  But cars have come and gone.  Kisses have come and gone too.  Pokémon, though, has been my mainstay.  It has gotten me through some really dark times and has been there to help me celebrate the good times as well.  With Pokémon in my life, I may never grow up.  But again, growing up is over-rated.