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.

Day 1

I am an Automattician. That is to say that today is my first day working at Automattic. It’s been a long road getting here and I’m thrilled it’s finally arrived.

Automattic is the company behind WordPress. WordPress itself is an open source project but there are a lot of services behind it and that’s where Automattic comes in. My role, specifically, is Technical Account Engineer on the Special Projects team. It’s like a Project Manager but more. If you follow the link just above, you will see that they we work on some pretty amazing sites for some pretty amazing people. (And if you know what sites I’ve managed the last four years you will know how desperately I need to work on positive sites like these!)

I have known about Automattic for years as I have worked with WordPress in one form or another for over a decade now. They were always on my radar as a place I would love to work. And when I was laid off from my last job in October, I took a look at it again. And got encouragement from someone I met at a WordPress Meetup here in Rhode Island who works there. And the rest is history.

Today I train for my first two weeks working as part of the support team as a “Happiness Engineer” and then, two weeks from today, I begin my new role.

These last four months have been rough. Job searching is never fun and doing it around the holidays is a terrible time of year as no one really hires then. But my family has been fantastically supportive and we got through it and I have not only landed on my feet, but I feel like I landed with style.