Recorded And Reposted: Majestic Weather

As the moon sits, fat and high,
I watch a battle of giants in the sky.
Flashes of light that make no sound
Miles and miles above the ground:
A tumultuous scene of Majestic Weather!
No fluffy clouds, light as a feather
Are these, but dark monstrosities
That dominate the sky, ignoring the breeze.

A scene of beauty like no other
Is the storm that decides to hover
On the horizon like a mountain silhouette,
But infinitely more of a looming threat.

Beauty and violence twisted together
Is this Queen of inclement weather!

Watching, Waiting

Last night, I watched the moon.

I stood outside and waited for it,
From the first glimmers of starlight
That beat down on me,
            Cold and isolating
            As they spoke of size
            And depth and space
            That were beyond me
            And my little life,
To the bright corona of light
That told me the moon was sitting
Behind trees that stood tall,
            Proud of the ground
            They held against
            The rising tide of Humans
            Clearing ground for fields
            And planning subdivisions.

As the moon rose above the trees,
Full and gargantuation in context,
It threw its light into the sky,
            Reminding the stars
            That they would fade
            Before its brilliance
            And that it shone
            Only for we Humans
            And our little lives,
And smiled down on the world,
Bright on a cloudless night
To lift the veil of nightfall,
            Showing the sparse trees
            For the sentinels they are
            Of a world long lost
            That humans chose to respect
            In all that remained
            Of its wilderness.

I sat and watched as hours passed
And the moon brushed away
The canopy of pinprick stars
That tried to drown it.
            There is nothing up there
            And nothing down here
            That can stop its journey.
            All we can do
            Is sit and watch and wait
            And let it push or pull us
            Like a nightly tide
            Of human emotion.

When it finally came time
For the sun to share the sky,
The moon slowly gave way,
            Fading to a pale disc
            With no light to share
            Until it almost vanished
            In the pale blue
            Of the morning.

I took comfort in knowing
The moon was still there
As I went through my day,
            Sleepless muddled thoughts
            Fueled by extra coffee
            And the knowledge
            Of the moon waiting,
            Hanging on the horizon
            Despite the heavy glare
            Of the unfeeling sun.

Maybe I too can stay my course
Despite the inexorable feeling
That I sometimes fade away
To the point of being overlooked
By anyone who doesn’t care to search,
            That little feeling
            Of having gone away
            Without having left
            And being somehow less
            Than I know myself to be.

            I claim no special kinship,
            At least not one beyond
            What anyone could claim,
            But I do know it holds a place
            As high in my esteem
            As it holds in the sky
            And I am tidally locked
            To its influence.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

I’ve been playing a lot of Pokemon X lately. I’ve finally gotten past the place where I stopped last time, even after falling into the same hole of earning tons of money and XP fighting in the Battle Chateau because I’m a completionist and would rather spend two hours walking in circles to find the last Pokemon than move on and breed it from the evolved form I already caught. The problem is, there’s no real “complete” moment with the battle Chateau, so you can level up Pokemon endless or make sure that your wallet is always sitting comfortably above one million Pokedollars.

The other thing I’ve encountered, since I’m actively working on catching all of the Pokemon these days, is just how many Pokemon there are in this game. I’ve caught or evolved over two hundred so far and I’ve only just gotten the fourth gym badge. If I never caught another Pokemon and just evolved the ones I’ve already caught, I’m certain I’d break three hundred. Every route I enter, and even some of the cities, has new Pokemon to catch and there are few overlaps. Thankfully, I’m an old hand at walking in circles and can afford to just throw Ultra Balls at everything because I just go to the Battle Chateau every day so I can achieve my dream of eventually earning a billion Pokedollars. Specifically, having a billion Pokedollars at once, if that is even possible. If not, if the money counter doesn’t run that high, I will settle for having had a total of one billion Pokedollars. I’ve been tracking my expenses so far and I’m a little over two million right now. Only nine hundred and ninety-eight million to go!

I did the same thing with all of my Pokemon Moon play-throughs, and am currently doing the same thing with my Pokemon Ultra Sun play-through. There’s a lot more overlap in Sun and Moon, though there is also variation in what Pokemon can be found on a route depending on which patch of grass you’re in. If I didn’t use a location guide to find out which Pokemon are available where, I’d have missed a few dozen, for sure. That being said, I prefer Sun and Moon’s methods to X and Y’s. I don’t feel trapped on routes as much since I know I’ll be able to find the Pokemon on other routes, much of the time. The biggest downside trying to catch them all in Sun and Moon is that you never get the customary National ‘Dex.

The National ‘Dex was introduced by that name in the third generation of Pokemon games, Ruby and Sapphire. In Gold, Silver, and Crystal, it was referred to as the “Old Pokedex Mode” but it was essentially the same thing. Ultimately, it is an organization of the Pokedex to include all known Pokemon, listing the Pokemon by oldest to newest. It has been a staple part of the core Pokemon games and they completely abandoned it in Sun and Moon. I was devastated! I was looking forward to compiling all of my Pokemon in these new games only to find out that I could, but I’d have no way to actually track them in-game aside from portioning out PC boxes and figuring out where to place Pokemon that way. Which is why I spent the $5 for the Pokebank because you can do the same thing there, but it is a lot easier since it directly interfaces with most of the games. Only one transfer required and you can access it from any of the modern games.

The National ‘Dex available in the Pokebank is likely to be the only National Pokedex available going forward. Since it will be able to interface with all future games and will help solve the problem of cross-generation trading that was such trouble from the very beginning, I can’t see it going away any time soon. Since it is essentially cloud storage for Pokemon, we’d need some kind of big jump in technology for it to be worth changing the system to use something new.

While it isn’t as fun to use the Pokebank to check my National ‘Dex, I can see the value. Nintendo and the developers of Pokemon can just upgrade the one app and the Pokemon in the cloud can be made available to any device people use to access it. Portability, safety in the face of lost systems or games, and ease of access. I just wish there was some character who would give me things for completing it like there was in all of the games leading up to Sun and Moon. I want my ultimately meaningless recognition and prize, dammit!

Twenty-Three

Stilted prose and dirty floors
Are all that exist between the doors
Of my mind and of my home,
But I’m tempted to leave them alone.

What right have I to tell them how to be
When I am at the fluid age of twenty-three?
The age of emotion and the flower of youth:
Constantly warring with the iron truth
Of absurdity and the joy of friends
Until the drinks are gone and the talking ends.

The bitter nights of solemn thought;
The bitter-sweet kiss of love sought;
The serendipity of friendship found;
The stoic, solid feeling of the ground
Beneath your feet as you spin the tales
Of loving friendship amidst the empty ales
and liquor bottles from the night’s escapades
Believing life has dealt blessings in spades.

What right do I have to be
So sad and melancholy?

Young but wise beyond my years,
Already immune to most the fears
That keep others awake at night
Despite the fact they’re doing alright.
The envy of many of my peers
Who, despite workshops and endless tears,
Cannot seem to make things work
And wind up as some poor sales clerk.

Stability and fortune are my reward
For spending every night I could afford
Working or studying despite the call
Of friends who are out having a ball,

So tell me how I can justify
A feeling for which I do not qualify?

I have luck and skill both,
The opportunity for growth,
Talent and determination,
Praise and edification
From those who can see just how far
I’ll go and not think it bizarre
That I might have some attribute
or great masterpiece to contribute.

Yet here I am at night’s darkest hour
Wishing I could ignore the nascent power
Of my roiling emotions and troubled thoughts
That tie my gut in non-euclidean knots.
With all the clanging, clamorous noise,
One thought maintains my outward poise:

The moon is so full and bright
While I sit here alone tonight.

Pokemon Through The Ages

I’ve been a fan of the Pokemon games ever since the first one came out. I have dim, partial memories of standing on the deck at my parents house, looking at my brother’s Red Version cartridge, and deciding I wanted blue version because I liked blue more than red. I remember how amazing it was that you could have your Pikachu follow you around in Yellow version. I even still have the game guide and Pokedex my brother got for Yellow Version so he could complete his Pokedex. Back in the days when there was only “Special” instead of “Special Attack” and “Special Defense,” breeding wasn’t possible, IVs were unheard of, and Pokemon abilities weren’t even on the horizon, I built my team in Blue using the Pokemon I thought were the coolest and my Yellow Version team as a match to Ash’s team, since I watched the Pokemon Anime religiously.

As I grew and more games came out, I played at least one of every version up until the Black and White generation. I tried to convince myself that I didn’t want to play new Pokemon games at that point since I was in college and there’s no denying they’re basically all the same game, but the reality of the situation is that I was too broke to buy them. To this day, they remain the only generation I haven’t bought or played. Pokemon games don’t really lose value and they’ve been coming out with new ones at a pretty regular frequency, so I’ve never really been left wanting a new Pokemon game.

I primarily play Pokemon as a way to relax. For me, it is all about having something easy and calm to do that I can use to deal with stress or anxiety. If I’m playing Pokemon, I’m too busy to be stressed or anxious, but not so busy that I can’t quietly work through stuff in the back of my mind. The games can be kind of boring at times, if you’re going for Pokedex completion, but it can also be rewarding to come up with plans, look at models for the appearance frequency of various Pokemon, and to calculate which Pokemon will make for the best addition to my team.

Unlike some of my friends, I’m not into the competitive scene. I have no interesting in fighting Pokemon battles against real people via online competitions. I’m not super interested in the strongest Pokemon and maximizing their stats,  but I definitely enjoy Pokedex completion more than they do. I’m the only one of my main group of friends who actually takes the time to collect or works on creating a full Pokedex using the “Pokemon Bank” service, something that allows me to store Pokemon from the more recent games on a server somewhere. This allows me to transfer them between games whenever I so desire and is not limited by in-game storage capacity.

Due to my penchant for starting the games over multiple times (mostly so I’ve got actual objectives beyond just catching Pokemon, because that can get kind of boring at times), I’ve now got enough evolutions of the Pokemon in the recent games, Sun/Moon and Ultra Sun/Moon, to complete my Pokedex simple by moving Pokemon from the Pokemon Bank to my game. I’m still working on getting ALL of the 800+ Pokemon now, since a lot of the rare ones are event-specific and I suck at going to the events or even turning my game on at the right time to get them.

I would say my favorite generation was Gen 2, the Silver/Gold/Crystal generation and their remakes, HeartGold and SoulSilver. I prefer the remakes since your lead Pokemon follows behind you and I’ve always enjoyed that. Generation 2, especially the remakes, had the most story elements in them, though the recent ones probably have the largest story (though it is a lot more straight forward and less complex). I also really enjoyed being able to get more than 8 badges and was really sad when Gen 3 didn’t continue that trend.

I can understand that a lot of people aren’t always enthusiastic about each new Pokemon game and I’ll admit that I rarely play the older ones now, but I can’t deny that they hold a special place in my heart. They were the first video game franchise I ever bought into and my longest-running. Half of my handheld games, if we exclude the Switch, are Pokemon games. I’m constantly on the lookout for cheap copies of the games so I can complete my collection. My love for the games also instantly provides common ground between myself and other people as most people my age have played at least one of them.

Aside from the easy identifiers such as apparel and knickknacks, Pokemon fans are usually easy to identify. All you have to do is drop the name of a less-popular Pokemon. If you get a look of confusion, you know to avoid Pokemon. If they recognize the name, the conversation will usually take at least a momentary aside to talk about Pokemon. With the advent of Pokemon Go and its continued popularity, the game is reaching more and more people. I’ve got a coworker in his early 50s who likes to talk about Pokemon as a result of the app, even though he never has and never will play any of the console/handheld Pokemon games.

I can’t even criticize the games for being money grabs because I’m happy to give the studio and Nintendo my money so they can keep making more of these games and other wonderful stuff in the future. The games bring people together, they help me relax when I’m stressed or can’t sleep, and they’ve been a part of my almost as long as I can remember. What more can you ask of a game franchise? I really hope they’re still making these when I’m 80 and enjoying my retirement in a space-station retirement hold. Don’t have to worry about breaking your hip or falling if there’s no gravity!