Foraging Pokemon

pokemongo.jpgA little over a year ago, I wrote about my discovery of PokemonGo. it, for the most part, revolutionized the way I spent my free time. I found myself addicted to going out into the world, into the woods, along the bay–whatever–to catch these damn little computerised  critters. And it did do me good in the sense that I got a ton of walking done.

I was quite excited to be checking out the different Pokemon in the UK, and using it to explore my new hometown in Durham (which I still have yet to move to). Given that I moved to Wales instead, I found there were so few Pokemon that the game wasn’t even worth playing, and thus, I deleted the app.

It’s not fair to say that I had little inspiration to get me outdoors, but it was just less motivation. There are tons of walks around where I live, but the PokemonGo app alotted me a direction, somewhere to go so that I could gain my new little digital regards.

Until now.

I’ve been trying to get outside more since my injury. I’m not doing much else, and soon it’s going to be cold again, so I should get out while I can. And it’s something my partner loves to do. I used to as well, I just don’t remember that I used to. We went one day for a nice walk along a river I used to walk with my grandmother, which was nice. The next day, we went out along the beach, only to find that the fishing was good. Like mackerel were being caught off shore sort of good. So my partner grabbed his pole from the car and caught dinner for the next two months.

It got me thinking. If we were to forage, and make it a goal to have x percent of our food come from fishing/hunting/foraging, then it would force me out into the wilds. It would keep me sane!

I was talking to one of my besties at home, trying to convince him why foraging was a good idea. It hit me, as I spoke to the guy who got me into PokemonGo, that foraging is–wait for it–


I know, I know, it’s ridiculous–but bear with me for this.

The game revolves around the idea that there is some scientist that has lost all his experiment pokemon thingos, right (I might be dumbing this down quite a bit, but it’s my understanding of the game)? So your job, as a player is to catch all the pokemon, and you can send them back to scientist man. However, you can also collect however many of them, and you “evolve” them into other, more powerful pokemon. Then you fight them against other teams. There are different pokemon depending on the area you live in. So, for example, in Western Washington, I’ll find more water-based pokemon than I would in Palm Springs, where I would find more desert-based pokemon.


Blackberries, acorns and hazelnuts 

Ok, now, let’s look at foraging.  You go around to different places, collecting different things. You’ll find different foods in different climates, and during different types of the year. You take them home (send them to the scientist), and can make things with those things you’ve collected (evolve them), into flour, pies, coffee, salads, whatever. Then you can either eat them, or, you can trade them (battle them perhaps?).

Both activities have the bonus of giving you rewards for walking distances, both give you rewards for catching/finding/collecting things, and they’re both addictive as crap! But most importantly, most get you outside.

So currently, I’m replacing my long-lost PokemonGo addiction (which I haven’t fed in nearly a year) with foraging–arguably a much healthier hobby. But at the end of the day, it gets me outside, and I learn stuff, and I get to eat goodies. Win all around!

Silly Nostaliga

It’s all happening I suppose.

Tomorrow my mom and I and a few others are having a garage sale. The idea is for me to be able to get rid of all of my stuff. That includes the desk on which the computer sits from which I write this entry.

I”m on my desk top, and I realized that this is probably going to be the last time I use it before I go to the UK. Probably not until I get back, and we’ll see if it still works at that point. I Really like this keyboard, and I really like this computer. I’m sad I didn’t put it to more use.

The things we leave behind to move forward.

Why Readers Read Blogs

I’ve been wondering why I’m doing this, keeping to this blog. Any of my followers know that I’m not the most…scheduled of bloggers. I kind of write when I have time and motivation, and when those align is few and far between.

However, while I was working the Sunday market with the girl who is going to take over for me when I leave, she asked if she could follow my blog. I of course was flattered, but followed with, “It’s not very interesting. I’m not really sure why I have it.” Again, any of my followers know somewhere in them that this is the truth. I only started this thing becuase on my first day with an advisor at Whatocom Community College he told me I needed to start a blog if I wanted to be a writer.

So here I am.

Then our market neighbor, Denise (man I hope I’m spelling that right), piped up, and explained that the whole reason people follow blogs is becuase the blogger is doing something that the reader is not, and it’s an interesting peer into another person’s life, which Valarie, the girl I was working with, agreed with.

I was surprised. I’m so used to following blogs becuase they have information that I need. I completely forgot the personal touch, the sort of written TV show that these can be. I just don’t feel like my life is anything really worth writing about (which I’m sure is an awful thing for a writer to say, but then again, that’s why I write fiction). While I felt inspired in that moment to stick to my blog a bit more, try and get more enteries more often (how many times have you seen me say that?), I also felt guilty. I haven’t been doing that. I haven’t been letting the reader into my life. I’ve been keeping everyone at a several yards distance. I think that’s in part due to my ex, who was around when I started this blog, and said he hated it when I mentioned him or the video production company.

However, I suppose more personal things could be filled within these digital pages. More rants, more rages. Though, when I rant, I like to make sure that I’m making sense, I’m not just spouting steam, that I’m actually releasing a message rather than a temper. I should muse more in here, though I’m so protective of my musing lest they turn into….memories of musings? I donk’t know.

So perhaps I will write more, you will get more garbage out of me. But then again, as mentioned before, this isn’t the first time I’ve promised more writing. I’m sure I can do it. It’s just a matter of being able to schedule my tiem wisely.

But then again, things are now getting a little more heated up as far as my activites go. BUt perhaps more on that in a later entry.

The Pokémon Effect

I gave in. I downloaded PokémonGo. I’ve had it for about ten days now. There are a few things to keep in mind before I go on about my experience:

The majority of the reason that I have a smartphone to begin with is so that I can keep on top of work/school/blogging related things. I don’t really listen to music (though I’m huge on podcasts), and I really, really don’t play games. I don’t play games on my phone, computer, or even own a console of any type. Games are just not my thing.

As far as Pokémon goes, I remember when it first came out in the US twenty years ago. I was far more into pogs than I was Pokémon. I didn’t (and for the most part, still don’t) like animé, and thus really had no interest in this ridiculous thing with silly words attached to it (like “jigglypuff” and “rattata”). I thought that it was just another fad that would fade away, like the giga pets so sadly did. Clearly pogs were far more superior.

Well, that just goes to show how my prediction for trends goes (but you know, I was also nine years old).

Now, that being said, when I started hearing about PokémonGo, I had no interest, and tuned it out like I do the rest of the game fads. Again, I don’t really play video games, or any games aside from poker or chess. But when my friend asked if I wanted to go for a walk with him while he hunted Pokémon, and insisted that I do the same, I gave in to see what the hype is about.

It’s not that great of a game.

You catch these things and they go in a digital ball. Sometimes you can battle. Blah blah blah. It’s not that great.

Except that it’s awesome.

I’m on team Mystic, and level ten at this point. I just catch the dumb things because that’s what I should be doing. But really, I’m in it for the PokéStops, because maybe they’ll give me an egg that I can put in an incubator, which will give me reason to walk 2-10 kilometers. I want to hatch the eggs because it tells me how far I’ve walked, and then I get a prize.

Sure, I can walk without that. I can get a pedometer to let me know how far I’ve walked. No problem. However, having the goal helps. But what helps even more is having the direction.

There have been a great many times when I think that I’d like to go out and do something, go for a walk or whatever. I don’t do it because I don’t know where to go. Washington State, and Bellingham, especially, is phenomenal for forestry, beaches, mountains, and all the trails that go along wit it. It attracts so many out-doorsy people. However, I don’t want to be one of those people, and I get intimidated by people who are. It’s not that I don’t like the woods–I freaking love the woods. But I want to go into the woods to get away from people, not have to worry about getting out of the way of cyclists and watching out for joggers and other peoples’ dogs. I simply want to go and relax and breathe in. Plus, the parking is insane at all the trail heads.

So because of this, I often find myself not going out and not going for walks because I have no direction. Now, PokémonGo does not get me out into the woods. But it gives me direction. I can go wherever the most PokéStops are, and just follow those. I walked nearly four miles yesterday, and nearly another three this morning before I came into work–just because I wanted to hatch the eggs and had direction.

What’s more, after I came home yesterday from my long day of Pokémon hunting, I ate some dinner, relaxed for an hour, and then wanted to go back out and keep walking. It’s not the Pokémon I want, I simply wanted the movement.

That, right there, is why I fully endorse PokémonGo. It’s gotten me off my ass and hooked on the exercise.

And I feel fantastic!

Usually, after working at the farmers market on Saturdays and Sundays, involving 100 miles of driving each day, plus setting up and packing up, loading and unloading, as well as the general drain of customer service, I’m exhausted. But both days I went out and went walking around. Saturday I went to beautiful Boulivard Park and discovered that there’s free live music on Saturdays. I heard a fantastic mamba band and discovered some trails leading to the park that I didn’t know existed.

Yesterday a friend of mine tried to walk from down town to this same park, using a trail I hadn’t been on in six years. We ended up taking the wrong trail which took us through the trees, and we discovered veils of vines dangling from trees in a beautiful display of intermingling life and death. We also discovered a homeless camp, which was fine. We tried not to disturb anyone there. The trail ended up dumping us out on the train tracks. I was mostly certain of where we were, but not 100%. After following the tracks, I figured it out pretty quick.

We discovered that every quarter moon, there is an Astronomy Enthusiast group which meets up and brings a giant telescope out so that people can look at the moon up close. We discovered people playing a Viking game in the park. I have been finding pieces of art that I didn’t even know existed. I have been looking at buildings differently, seeing the graffiti, and realizing that these are pieces of Bellingham that I have been neglecting over the last seven years that I’ve living here.

PokémonGo has brought forth a new awareness of myself and my surroundings that I am very grateful for. No, I don’t battle my Pokémon. No, I don’t evolve them. But I do get outside. I do walk–enough that right now my ass and calves are hurting–and I am remembering why Bellingham is so amazing.

On Monday, a friend and I are talking about hunting around Seattle, and seeing what other fun destinations we can find. It’s giving me something to do this summer. What’s more, I think that when I get to Durham, it’ll be a fantastic way for me to get out and explore my new surroundings.

One of the selling points for me, before I agreed to try it (or rather, what made me decide to try it rather than rebel against my friend and say that I would just walk with him minus the app), was that I had heard of its effects against depression. I go through my bouts, and have my ways to deter it, however, I thought that it might act as another tool. Now that I’ve had it for over a week, I realized that I was depressed and didn’t even know it. Getting out, getting those endorphin from movement–it’s all elevated my mood entirely.

Another fun fact about it, my dad, who’s about to be 70 next month (shh, I didn’t tell you that), is even participating in it–and is not that many levels behind me. I’m looking forward to going to see him in Palm Springs in September so we can go out hunting together (I never thought I’d say I was looking forward to hunting).

Yep. PokémonGo is truly amazing.

Making Independence Day About Me: A Writer’s Declaration

With all my time off, I’ve been able to focus on my writing, which has been a really productive thing. I’ve been participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, setting my own goal to be 50,000 words in July, and writing 15,000 in two days.

And today, as it is Independence Day, I’d like to celebrate not by chugging beer and barbecuing things and causing things to explode, but rather by focusing on my writing and celebrating my own Independence.

When I decided to go back to school, it was because I was tired of being laid off from jobs because I was disposable or the business flat out died. I also wanted to get out of video production, since that was just not my passion. I wanted a job that revolved around what I love: writing. So I disguised my education as something thoughtful and smart: a very useful and versatile English degree. But really, I just want to write, and have something to help me get my foot in the door of a publisher.

For two years I worked hard in school and took on two jobs outside of school. All my time went to studying and working. Sure, I wrote, and tried to participate in any of the NaNoWriMo events. But it was an activity divided between other obligations and distractions. As soon as I graduated from the community college in December, I picked up a job as well as kept my other two jobs, giving a grand total of 70 hour work weeks, leaving me too exhausted to even contemplate writing of any form.

Now I am down to two jobs again, one giving my only 4 hours a week while the other job is just on weekends. This has left me with ample time to think and discover what it is I really want. The answer to that is simple: to write.

And I have so much time to do it!

So this is my writing Independence Day. It is the day that I know my life needs to revolve around writing to get to be where I want to be. It’s the day I make sure to schedule time for my writing every day. It’s the day that I know that it is what is important for me to grow and to put that growth first. It is the day that I separate myself from the working world and the obsessive manner to which I participated in it. I am a writer, and thus my life will be about writing, from here on out.