Pokémon

My daughter challenged me to write a blog post every day using a topic she chooses. And it’s been 4 days since my last one. But I got busy, OK?

I got into Pokémon a bit late in the game. Well, by the standard of now, not that late. The first game I played was Pokémon Pearl, a fourth generation game, set in the Sinnoh region. I started with a chimchar named Monty. The whole reason I started playing was because Marci was playing. She got her start with Emerald, a 3rd gen game on GameBoy Advance. In fact, that’s how she learned to read! But when Diamond and Pearl came out, they allowed for wireless interactions with others and she really wanted to play with me. So I got a DS and Pearl and we had a blast.

Over the years, we’ve continued to buy complementary games. Next it was Heart Gold (Marcy) and Soul Silver (me), Marci then did Platinum and I saw that round out, and then Black (Marci) and White (me). Marci got Black 2 but I skipped that one. Next came X (me) and Y (Marci), then Omega Ruby (me) and Alpha Sapphire (Marci), then Sun (Marci) and Moon (me), and then Ultra Sun (me) and Ultra Moon (Marci). With Let’s Go Eevee! I stopped. Mainly because I do not have a Switch and can’t really justify getting one for a single game. I may get on this fall when the 8th gen games Sword and Shield come out.

Out of all of them, Pearl and X are the only ones I finished (and I only finished X last year). I go through phases now where I play a lot and then I got through long stretches of not playing. For the last year and a half, I’ve mostly played Pokémon Go, and even that sporadically. I was to finish Moon and Ultra Sun and Marci tells me that of all the games, Black/White have the best story so I may have to circle back to White, if I can stand playing a game that many generations back from what I am used to graphically with Ultra Sun.

We’ve also played the card game over the years but only after we’d started playing Magic: The Gathering so it was a bit simplistic for us when we circled back around to it. It’s not a bad game and it does have some fun nuances to it, but it is hardly anywhere near as deep or strategic as Magic is. Of course, it’s also marketed to a younger audience. And there’s a not-bad Mac/iPad app for playing the card game that is fun to pull out ever once in a while.

For me, though, it’s not the cute characters, the apparently open world (that’s really railroaded until you complete much of the game), or the depth of the game play that makes Pokémon so special to me. It’s that it is something I bonded with Marci over for all these years. And it was the first thing that she knew more about than I did so I got to learn from her and she got to teach the old man some new tricks. I will always cherish those times and love that we can still geek out over upcoming game announcements and learning what we can about the impending Gen 8 release. And, this fall, we’ll get to play together again (either with me on my own Switch or by taking turns with hers). And I can’t wait!

The 8 Generation Starting Pokémon for Sword and Shield.
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Westerns

My daughter challenged me to write a blog post every day using a topic she chooses. This was supposed to be Tuesday’s but I kinda fell asleep while writing it so it is now Wednesday’s. Hey, life happens. And I had a rehearsal. For a play. You know how it is.

I think I will start this post with a drop cap, an absurdly large letter because it’s fun and I can. Thanks Gutenberg! Yes, I am stalling on writing tonight’s entry. You caught me. Why am I stalling? Because I haven’t really seen all that many westerns. It was never a genre I got into or knew all that well. I mean, I know all of the tropes: Stagecoach, the duel at high noon (or at dawn), the saloon fight with the easy-to-break tables, chair, bottles, the barkeep who has wisdom and is unconventional, the poker game, the gallows, the jail break, the British Sheriff played by John Cleese… wait a minute, I am describing Silverado. But Silverado is the perfect western because they put every trope into it! And that cast! Kevin Kline, Linda Hunt, Danny Glover, Scott Glenn, Kevin Kostner (in his first not-a-dead-body movie role), Brian Dennehy, Rosanna Arquette, Jeff Goldblum, and, of course, John Cleese. And it was written by Lawrence Kasdan who helped write the good Star Wars movies (Empire Strikes Back anyone?)

I’ve seen a small handful of westerns over the years. These include, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Silverado, Unforgiven, Dances with Wolves (sorta counts), The Great Train Robbery, and Back to the Future III (that counts, right?) Oh and Blazing Saddles if you count that. But when you add in all of the TV shows that were either westerns themselves (Wild Wild West and How the West Was Won especially) or that had episodes set in the Wild West (too many to count), then I’ve had a reasonable grounding in the genre.

I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen but also know there is a lot I have missed. Marci has decided we are taking a weekend day and doing a marathon. Going to watch some spaghetti westerns, some classic westerns, and I insisted on adding Silverado because I really want to see it again. I’d also like to find movies that have pre-Star Trek Shatner, Kelley, and/or Nimoy in them because that would be fun.

While the genre is one I enjoy, I find that I enjoy even more the idea of the sci-fi approach. Shows like, Firefly, Star Trek TOS (at times), and such that take the idea of the lawless frontiers into which civilization is slowly expanding and place it in space instead of the American west.

And, hey, what kid didn’t go through a phase of wanting a cowboy hat, two (cap) six-shooters, boots, and a piece of straw in their mouth?

But, lest we forget, here is the greatest western of all time: