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–

JUST LIKE POKEMONGO BUT IN REAL LIFE!

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.

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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!

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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.

All Over The Place–Making My Blog More Prolific

This quarter is going to be rough, but at the same time, fairly simply. I’m taking four classes, all of which are proving to be reading and writing intensive. However, two of them are Philosophy classes (Critical Thinking and Introduction to World Religion, both taught by the same professor – who I had during Spring quarter in my Gender, Science and Literature class – and one of my classes is an IDS class called Religion, Society and Self, and my fourth is an honors English class. Really, I have a quarter filled with analysis which simply involves philosophical thinking.

However, after hearing essentially the same lecture each day from my professor who teaches the same class, though in different contexts, I have realized something not only about myself, but about this blog: there is more to this that I am giving credit to.

My instructor for the two classes, Watters, is filled with little applicable sayings. Granted, due to the nature of his classes, he ought to be. However, a few of them are allowing me to connect some dots, allowing me to realize how much every aspect of my experience is intertwined and contributing not just to the me, but to the we.

Watters made mention of this, though didn’t go into as much detail during my Gender, Science and Literature class from a couple quarters ago. This time, he actually explained it in full. He called himself out on the main critique many students and faculty have about him – something that I have heard from co-workers in the Writing Center as well.

He cleared the whiteboard, grabbing a pen at random and began throwing up random dots all along the blank slate.

“People say I’m all over the place.” He put more dots on the board, scattering them vastly. “I’m here, and over here – no one knows what this point over here is – and then I’m way over here, and there–” more dots. He turned to us. “I’m all over the place. But what is the key word here?” He eyed us, challenging the answer. “The. And what does the associate with? Place. I’m all over the place. How many places is it? One.” He paused, in his classic way of allowing us to digest this. “If you stand far enough back, all of these points come together and become one point.”

And thus, I wish to rename my blog.

I am not just the student–or rather, I am a student (as should you be), but I’m not just the individual currently enrolled in the American educational system. I am a thinker, I am a being curious in the workings of reality, material and metaphysical, known and unknown. All these things contribute to that which is me.

The idea that is presented by Thomas Berry in the movie The Great Story is the idea that one is all. if there is truly one deity, this deity is limitless. If this deity created the universe, and did so in its image, then that is the universe. We as humans cannot be its image, because we are limited. Thus, everything in creation holds and aspect of this deity, and where one thing ends, another begins. The Universe is limitless, as we understand it.

Let us consider this as a plausible theory. If this is so, and I am an aspect of this deity–just as you are, the banana you ate for breakfast, the computer you’re typing on, and the socks you discarded after stepping in a puddle and soaking them–then why should I limit myself–or this blog–to one definition?

I’ve been finding myself struggling to write. I do want to write, I do want to blog, and over the last year – particularly after Toby and I split up, I’ve struggled to know what to write about. I have defined this blog as my journey through higher education, and that which contributes to it. So I write about how I survive–working with goat cheese and as a tutor–as a student, and what I learn as a generic student. But there is so much more to the experience. I want to write about the science articles I come across on break that are simply something interesting to consider. I want to talk about the change of the seasons and how they contribute to my belief system. I want to talk about the zealots down town that picket the farmers market and tell us we’re all burning in Hell. I want to talk about compassion, stationary (I have a very odd passion for stationary), what I do to keep warm instead of wearing socks, the vegan Thanksgiving I enjoyed, and so on.

This needs to be more than simply the student experience as one might initially consider. This needs to be the human experience, since we are all students of life–and if we’re denying that to ourselves, then we ought to just jump ship because what’s the point?

So, I have decided to rename the blog (if I can figure out how) to All Over the Place. This is in part in tribute to my instructor who talks in circles, repeating the same thing over and over, and bringing us to different understandings each time; an in part because I simply am all over the place, and I just can’t limit myself any longer.

11 things to remember how to eat

I have really gotten out of the swing of things – and I don’t mean in this break, I mean since I moved during the summer, since the break up, since everything. I really have gotten out of my good habits. A lot of it is just due to change of environment. Before I was sharing a space with someone who wouldn’t dream of rising before 8, and now I share a space who leaves for work shortly before I do. The change in quarterly schedule makes a difference as well.

However, while my homework habits and the like may have altered, my eating habits should not. It is time to go back to the classics of brain food – Brussle sprouts, brown rice, eggs, nutritional yeast and chia seeds. Granted, of those things that I have listed I only have eggs and rice – but it’s a start until my food stamps come in (At least, I think I have rice).

What I would like to do – what I need to do – is have a weekly planned meal schedule. Prepare at the beginning of the week and have it ready for me to take to school, or heat up for breakfast or whatever.

Things to consider for brain food throughout the day:

  1. Cashews, Almonds – any nut really that hasn’t been overly doused with salt.
    Nuts have that right-kind-of-oil to them – the stuff that makes the brain do push ups. Keeping these in your pocket or where ever to just munch on whenever you think about it can do you a world of good.
  2. Eggs
    I like to just hard boil a whole carton of them and have them ready to go when I leave in the morning. I’ll usually take a couple of them, and munch on one between classes.
  3. Kale chips
    Again, great for snacks. I personally really enjoy simple Kale chips with salt and pepper, but nutritional yeast is great on them too – almost gives them a cheesiness if you do it right.
  4. Brown Rice
    As mentioned before, this is a god starter to the day. I know that we in the Western Hemisphere don’t generally think of rice as breakfast, but it’s slow release carbs, has protein in it, and is easy for your body to process and thus won’t make you feel sluggish throughout your day.
  5. Water
    As if I am one to talk on this one – but remember your water! Tons of it! It keeps your blood flowing to your brain, keeps your body happy, and will ward of sluggishness in body and sleepiness in mind.
  6. Oatmeal
    Not the instant stuff, mind you. But good quality Oatmeal can really get you going and keep you going through the day. Don’t weigh that stuff down with sugar, either! Especially in the winter, oatmeal can really help with your mood as well.
  7. Hemp seeds
    Throw these bad boys into anything. I love them, and will usually chuck a handful into my oatmeal or rice or anything with a sauce. They’re high in calcium, protein, and the same brain oils the nuts above have as well.
  8. Avacado
    The first fruit/veg mentioned. Again with the brain oils. Plus they’re just damn good.
  9. Garlic
    This isn’t so much a brain thing so much as a keep you healthy thing. If you can stomach it, do what you can to eat it raw. I like to make some brown rice and black beans and then I’ll throw minced raw garlic in last. It dilutes the strength of teh taste but still allows me to get the raw nutritional benefits from it. When you’re out in the world, you’re exposed to a lot of different germs, and garlic will help your body fight those puppies off.
  10. Bell Peppers
    I hate them, to be honest. Any sniff of them will render a dish inedible to me. However, I cannot deny their nutritional benefits. They are along the same vein as garlic in that they will help keep a body healthy. They are packed in vitamin C.
  11. Bananas
    I throw this in here because – of course – it’s a fruit, and them things are good for ya – and because they will turn me from raging hungry tyrant to reasonable human being in three minutes. They’re a perfect snack when you’re on the edge and about to eat the person next to you purely because their shoes squeak.
  12. Water
    I know, I said this one. But hot damn! It’s important!

There are more, however, I am about to start my day back at school, and I need to actually eat some of these things before I head out!

Negative Nancy Night Owls

Well, that might not be fair to say. However, in a study at Bingham University, it was found that going to bed later can enhance negative thoughts throughout the day. For someone like me that doesn’t do well in the winter due to the Seasonal Affective Disorder, I need all the help I can get with these darkening winter evenings. I also know quite a few people that stay up late simply because it’s quieter then and they can get more stuff done without being disturbed.

So, for the late night college student, for the all-night worker, for the high-school-mentality-my-parents-can’t-dictate-when-I-go-to-bed rebel, this one’s for you.

People are said to have repetitive negative thinking when they have bothersome pessimistic thoughts that seem to repeat in their minds without the person feeling as though he or she has much control over these contemplations. They tend to worry excessively about the future, delve too much in the past and experience annoying intrusive thoughts. Such thoughts are often typical of people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder. These individuals also tend to have sleep problems.”

See full article Here: Don’t Worry, Be Happy; Just Go To Bed Earlier

Dislodging Blogging Block (NaBloPoMo)

In an effort to get back into daily blogging, I have been struggling to come up with things to write about! This is absolutely ridiculous – when I started this I had a hundred different things to write about and I couldn’t keep up with my ideas!

The inspiration certainly is not lacking. However, I feel like anything I would write about is less than what is going on in my mind. I’m reading and analyzing poems of the last 900 years from the UK, combining it with philosophical ideas from both current and past philosophers – and mentally preparing myself for the four classes I will be taking in five weeks including linguistics.

Yet anything I can think of to write outside of my essays (which I’m not certain I could get away with posting on here as they generally average 12 pages single-spaced) feels short of anything worthy of writing.

This equally sucks seeing as I’m wanting to write fiction – and will be participating in my own personal delayed NaNoWriMo starting the 7th (I know earlier I said the 6th, but there’s no way I’m going to get any writing done starting Saturday) – and I can’t come up with anything fictional to begin mentally developing prior that’s worth putting to paper.

While that’s simmering on the back burner, I went and looked for some inspiration as far as my blog entries go, just as a starting off point. I thought I’d share what I found to help other bloggers as well.

Blog Her has some great prompts for what they call National Blog Post Month, or NaBloPoMo. In fact, there is a different theme for each month, which provides for different aspects to consider for your blog posts.

December’s theme is Joy, which is a little bit too cheery for me, but I think I can follow suit with it. It is based on a Monday-Friday blogging week, which is less than I’d like, but then again, I have no qualms writing more than one post in a day and scheduling them to come out one each day.

If you fancy backtracking, the prompt for December 1st was: “What do you do when you’re down to bring yourself a little joy?”
The Prompt for December 2nd is “Talk about a surprise that made you happy.”

And the prompt for December 3rd is “What food always makes you feel happy while you’re eating it?”

So here’s something to get you blogging about joy for December 2014. Good luck bloggers, get inspired!

Trying to stay positive

Rough. I had it, I understood everything that was going to be on my math test that was in the book this weekend. I took awesome notes. I made an awesome 3×5 note card, I took the practice test/review three times – TODAY, and I still failed my math final.
No, this isn’t me being a Debbie doubter, I honestly couldn’t answer a large chunk of the questions and had to leave the slot blank.
I have no idea how to graph a negative logarithm because the book never went over that. I don’t know how to turn a g(x) equation into a logarithmic graph when it’s not given to me in logarithmic form. The questions were thrice as difficult than anything on the review. Why would the review as well as the practice problems not be a reflection of the level of difficulty in the test? Especially given that this is an online math class as well, so it’s all self-study.
If I got every answer I put down correct on that test, then I stand to get a 62%.
There’s the possibility of a saving grace. Through participation points I’m at a 101% so far. With how much the test is worth weighed against everything else, I could get a 0 on it and still pass with an A. The stipulation though is that in order to pass the class, I have to average a test score of 70% between my midterm and my final. With my (possible) 62% score from tonight, that would put my average between the two tests at a 73%. So I really only a small amount of wiggle room.
However, I am determined to feel inspired instead of defeated – which is excruciatingly difficult to do.
If I get less than a satisfactory grade in this class then I will simply take it again next quarter and get my A which will override whatever I get this quarter.
I had more umph for this entry before I got home. I need to move out. This place is distracting and restricting in many ways.