What’s Up? (2/6/17)

January 2017
I’ve been away for a month, but I’ve had things in order so I guess there wasn’t much to talk about. Coming into 2017 there were just a few things on my to-do list, and all of January was spent focusing on those things. 1) Any weight gained during the holidays has been lost, 2) I went and saw the movies I was meaning to see, La La Land, and Rogue One, and 3) I started putting myself out there again, trying to be and outward social presence.

Gaming
I’m more physically active than ever before, I’m trying to be more social as well — so explain why “Gaming” is the headline here. Well, I suppose, given that I have lost weight, and that I’m making friends outside of the “Pitt Alumni” group, it helps to have something fun and concurrent to do at home alone. Though I haven’t owned a home gaming console in years, and have stuck to a modest laptop for the better part of 5 years, I have recommitted myself to enjoying the hobby of video games more regularly. I’ve been listening to, and watching, nearly 10 hours of Giant Bomb content a week, since 2008, so I never really left the world of video games, even if I stopped playing them as much. Though that being said, I feel like I could probably go for writing a review of Pokemon Sun (2016).

KonMari
I did something very drastic this weekend. I tidied my apartment with the help of Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” Now, typical home tidying would have me finding new ways to hide clutter (shove this there, hide this in the closet, kick this under the couch). I exaggerate a little, but typically that’s how I’d “clean.” With the help of a little audiobook, I discarded most of my clutter, rather than hiding it. What’s more, she helped me redefine many of my possessions as clutter.

Shirts that were going unused, or that had no longer brought me joy, were in my closet for no reason. They were clutter. I’d say my apartment has about 30% fewer clothes in it now, than it did on Friday. I have not completed my work, though you’re supposed to do it all in one fell swoop. The hardest thing to do, would be to let go of some of these books. If a book does not make me happy, then why keep it? I know this will be the hardest step, because I think having a full book shelf is what makes me happy to have a bookshelf at all.

Dry Month
There’s a theme here; less is more. Less clutter, more happiness. Less weight, more movement. Less boredom, more fun. So something I’ve been meaning to try for a while is a dry, alcohol-free, sober month. Why do that? I love cocktails, I like inebriation, I like the social aspects of it!

Well, because less is more? And to an extent, I think drinking a little less, or none at all for a whole month, will give me greater appreciation for it, and greater clarity for how I handle things like stress, and what to do when I’m bored on a weekend. It’s too late to make February my dry month, but I’m eyeballing March. 31 Days of sobriety should also lead to a massive drop in calories consumed. I’m not committing to it yet, but when I do I have to make it public; making it public makes it harder to back down from it.

That could be part of why I keep a public blog like this. A private diary has no stakes. You can confess and make promises, but it’s private, so your confessions and promises only matter as much as you care about yourself? If I tell you, anonymous internet, that I’m going to stop drinking for a month, then I’d be lying if I didn’t follow through. Here’s another public promise: This February I will be reviewing Neon Indian’s “VEGA Intl. Night School” (2015) and La Roux’s “Trouble in Paradise” (2014).

Nuzlocke Challenge 2: Log Two (Take Two)

  1. On Route 102, Panda and Goldeen caught a Hoothoot. Looks like the ghosts of Nuzlockes past are back for a haunting. For those counting, this is catch #4. Route 102: Caught: Hoothoot. The team’s looking way one-sided, so I’m thinking Pichu’s up for a lot of training. And by training, I mean lots and lots of grinding out experience points. I love to stop and think of what’s happening in Pokemon very literally sometimes. A girl named Panda is fighting off blobs of toxic goo (Muk) and frightening poisonous bats (Crobats) with a tiny baby electric mouse (Pichu). She’s either, brave, stupid, or ruthless, and any way you spin it, you end up with one battle-hardened Pichu.
  2. In what feels like the blink of an eye, Pichu crawled from level 3, to level 8, putting him right up at Goldeen’s side. He learned Tail Whip (yay) and Thunder Wave (less sarcastic, yay). Magnemite’s training is going to be way more tedious, even when we’re fast-forwarding through all of it. Seriously, it only knows Tackle and some other worthless move. I think Magnemite’s worth it… eventually, but this is horrible work, raising him up. I’ve always had a soft spot for Magnemite though, I think because I love the sounds they make.
  3. At level 6, Magnemite learns Thundershock and that’s enough for me. It knows a pretty okay attack that isn’t Tackle, so we can move on from this painfully boring training. I’m going to waltz right into Petalburg without training Hoothoot; Panda won’t be needing him for a while, I reckon. Goldeen knows a flying-type move, and we’re heading towards a Rock-type gym in bad odds right now anyways. Three Pokemon who are weak to Rock? Bad luck Panda, bad luck.
  4. Route 104: This is where the horn music gets a little obnoxious. Still, I’ve played this game how many times? I know it, I’m used to it, and I kind of like it by now. I traditionally catch some really great Pokemon on Route 104. On my first randomizer play-through, I caught a Spheal that I took all the way to the Elite Four, and on the last Nuzlocke I caught a Spinirak that, while it never became a crucial part of the team, it certainly went places.
  5. Finding a wild encounter on Route 104 takes forever, but a Crobat finally shows up. Disappointed that it’s not a Pokemon I already haven’t encountered, but Crobats are pretty alright. I just don’t think it’s going to learn anything great, seeing how it’s a level 5 fully-evolved Pokemon. If the first Pokeball didn’t catch it, I wasn’t going to waste another – but as luck would have it, Panda caught the winged poison-bat native to her home town of Littleroot. Route 104: Caught: Crobat.
  6. Catching a Crobat is also incredibly disappointing, when the very next thing you encounter on Route 104 is a Shellder. Really? I could have had one of those things on my team instead? Bad luck Panda, bad luck.
  7. It’s hard to get into the mindset of Panda, this early on at least. If we’re getting meta, that is. I think it’s fun to think too much about Pokemon sometimes. Stay with me on this: but imagine if a girl named Panda was actually out there, fighting wild Pokemon, forcing owls to beat up shells, and electric mice to fight other rip-off electric mice. Panda is kind of a sociopath, not thinking, perhaps, these Pokemon don’t want to just fight, get healed, fight, and get healed some more.  I like to think Panda actually likes Goldeen though; like when I battle with Goldeen it means something because she’s the starter Pokemon, but Hoothoot and Crobat? They’re extras.
  8. Heh. In the Petalburg Woods, we encounter a Nuzleaf. I mean, I have to catch that guy, his family is how we even got the name Nuzlocke, right? Magnemite takes a pounding, losing all of two health points, while Nuzleaf is paralyzed and tackled within an inch of his life. Petalburg Woods: Caught: Nuzleaf.
  9. That’s actually pretty exciting; I’ve never raised a Seedot before, so I’ve never played with a Nuzleaf. He’s dark and grass type, which isn’t bad, but he’s got no moves. Just give him a few hours with Panda, the psychopath physical trainer, and he’ll learn something.
  10. Here we are at the end of Log Two, and we’ve already got our first six Pokemon. At level 9: Goldeen. At level 8: Pichu and Magnemite. At level 6: Crobat. At level 5: Hoothoot and Nuzleaf. I’m not upset with these six, though they are certainly not the six that are going to make it all the way, if we’re lucky enough to make it all the way. Pichu, Crobat, and Hoothoot would never make it through the Rock-gym, and Magnemite is no good there unless it learns some steel-type moves. Goldeen and Nuzleaf will have to lead the pack here, and if they fail, things can get ugly. But before any of that can happen, Panda has to get out of the forest.

Nuzlocke Challenge 2: Log One (Take Two)

This is exactly how I’ve customized Pokemon Emerald for this Nuzlocke Challenge. The starters are random, but all basic Pokemon. I’ve done this because I’d like to have the chance to raise a Pokemon through all stages of evolution, and I have a preference for starting with a basic Pokemon. Also, if a Pokemon normally requires a trade to evolve, that’s no longer the case: any Pokemon can evolve in this game without having to trade (as that’s impossible/difficult to do on an emulator as far as I know).  Let’s start.

  1. Started as a girl, named myself Panda, walked over to Brendan’s house (you remember how much I hate that guy?) well, I forget if I caught this last time but… he says “I heard a gym leader’s kid moved next door, I assumed you’d be a boy.” Stupid boy. Anyways. Let’s move on, I’d rather stick to writing about the experience that is a random starter pick. It’s honestly one of the most exciting things about starting a Nuzlocke.
  2. My choices were: A Togepi (nope) a Meowth (okay…) and a Goldeen (yes!).  I’m going to skip the nicknaming portion of the Nuzlocke; I never thought nicknames got me any more attached to the Pokemon anyways, so my Goldeen will stay, “Goldeen.” Anyways, Panda and Goldeen saved Prof. Birch from none other than an Octillery; a wild Octopus Pokemon known for kidnapping full grown men off of grassy continental roads… obviously, so that was a close one.
  3. The first wild battle Panda and Goldeen face: a Muk. Pretty dangerous, I mean, Goldeen could be poisoned, or Muk could explode: who knows? Goldeen pecks it to death though, and levels up! Sweet. I forgot where to go to heal Pokemon, and wasted time seeing if Prof. Birch had any way to heal Goldeen. Mom always offers a little rest, way to go Pokemon Emerald mom, allowing naps whenever you please!
  4. The wild grass right outside of Littleroot Town only has Muks and Crobats. Could you imagine living there? It’d be horrible. Men attacked by Octopi in full daylight? Poisonous bats and globs of toxic waste roaming around 24/7? Littleroot is a nightmare, Oldale town too – unless the Pokemon in the grass north of Oldale are any less dangerous.
  5. Just so happens? The grass north of Oldale is full of Spindas. That’s not a horrible deal. So if you live in Oldale, yeah you have to deal with the deathtrap grass in the south, but the grass up north is full of harmless – yet creepy – teddy bear Pokemon basically.
  6. First trainer battle: Panda v. Brendan, Goldeen v. Togepi. Well, that’s not much of a fight actually. Poor Togepi just growled until Goldeen’s peck barely did any damage, but still, it was extremely one-sided. Coincidentally, Goldeen and Togepi are Misty’s Pokemon right? How weird  and screwed up would it be for her to pit Togepi against Goldeen? What are you thinking Brendan? This isn’t a Pokemon fit for battle! I feel dirty for even agreeing to that battle. Guh!
  7. So you know what happens next; a forty-something year old dude allows a bunch of pre-teen children to go out into the world alone to do his research for him, and you’re given Pokeballs to start your adventure. Let’s see if we can catch a Muk, or Crobat – either or would be pretty cool. Whoa, head’s up! There’s a Magnemite in the grass. Using the flying-type move Peck to get it down to low-health takes for-ev-er, but Goldeen hangs in there, and Panda catches her second Pokemon: Magnemite (woo).  Route 101: Caught: Magnemite.
  8. Onto Route 103; the rule of only catching the first Pokemon you encounter holds, and unfortunately, it’s going to be a Spinda on Route 103, or at least, that seems most probable. Whoa, head’s up! There’s a Pichu in the grass. Okay. I’m really underestimating how many types of Pokemon are hiding in the grass here.
  9. The wild Pichu brings Goldeen down to 12 out of 26 HP, which is to say, near-death. Pretty good for a wild lvl.3 Pokemon. Goldeen still manages to get in the necessary hits, and secure the capture of Panda’s second Pokemon, Pichu. Route 103: Caught: Pichu.
  10. Panda takes a break at Oldale’s Pokemon center to heal up, reflect on the day’s events, and look forward to the future. Let’s face it, Goldeen is the head of the pack here. The first gym is rock-type, and there’s no way Pichu and Magnemite are going to be in shape for that type of fight. Still, I’m getting ahead of myself. I remember there being a lot of stuff in between Oldale and the first gym: Petalburg? Petaburg? A forest of some sort, and a Devon Corp dude. Team Panda has an endurance run ahead of them, it’s all about keeping Goldeen alive.