Pokemon Go – Joe, Did You Know

I know what everyone’s been waiting for….Some Pokemon Go advice from The-Youngest.

He’s watched the videos, read the guides and played around with his ipad a lot, so he’s pretty sure he knows what he’s talking about.

At least according to him.

As with all advice I get from The-Youngest, it always starts with “Joe, did You Know…?” So, when reading the advice below, first add “Joe, did you know…”

My thoughts are in red.

  1. …that you need stardust to evolve your Pokemon or power it up?
    see the Pokemon? See the candies? See the stardust?

    see the Pokemon? See the candies? See the stardust?

    (Stardust is gathered by capturing a Pokemon or by leveling up your trainer. It is vital stuff, cuz, you know, it’s stardust. Plus, you also need candy which is gained by capturing Pokemon or by transferring them to some creepy guy called the professor.)

  2. …you can use someone else’s wifi if you don’t have yours? (what he’s saying here is that if you have a kind brother or very accommodating parent you can get them to create a hotspot on their phone and piggie-back off that signal.)
  3. …you can’t get hatch eggs while driving around? Plus, it’s not safe. (both things are true. To hatch an egg, you have to walk a certain distance. Apparently, the designers of the game knew there’d be people like me who’d just want to go for 100km drives and hatch 300 eggs, so they did something that stopped that. It blows. Cuz now I have to actually walk.)
  4. …when the grass starts to rustle near you, there’s a Pokemon near you? (still not sure if you walk towards it, you can find it faster.)
  5. …that you don’t have to walk around looking at your phone. It’ll vibrate when something’s near.
  6. …that if you’re a high level (trainer), you get a better chance at rare Pokemon? (this makes sense)
  7. …that the Pokemon feet below the Pokemon show how close that Pokemon is. (So, if there’s 1 foot beneath a poke-creature, it means it’s 100m or less. 2 feet, 200m etc.)
  8. …on the map, if there’s a sparkling Pokestop,

    Pokestops that look like they’re having a party means there’s a lure and that means there’s more Pokemon a’comin’.

    it means that a lure is there and you can get more Pokemon, so like if you see a lot of lures, then a lot of Pokemon will spawn? (We saw that on our great and epic hunt. More on that later.)

  9. …No. Look at your screen. Stop. Did you know that a Pokemon can escape? (and mine just escaped. Apparently, even when you throw a Pokeball at it, it doesn’t remain caught. Sort of like how I tend to catch fish.)
  10. …that there are better Pokeballs? (Wait, what? I want better balls! I must have better balls!) You can use them to catch higher CP (combat power) Pokemon so they don’t escape. (Honestly, this isn’t a concern right now. I may suck at using my balls, but all I’m seeing is basic, baby Pokemon.)

However, there are few good guides out there as well for anyone starting out. Most of the rest of the world has been doing this for a while, it’s just us Canadians that are new.



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Pokemon Go By Joe – top 10 hints from The-Oldest

Pokemon Go on the go.

Pokemon Go on the go.

Before I take you on our first epic Pokemon Go hunt, let me give you a list of 10 things to remember as told by The-Oldest. 13. (My thoughts are in red).

1) Don’t forget to charge your phone (or tablet.) Seriously do that. There’s nothing worse than seeing a ‘rare’ and not being able to get it because your phone died.

2) Hang out in areas that have wifi, cuz that’s how people are getting them.

3) Get rid of multiples that you have to upgrade your one Pokemon. Take the best species with the candy you’ve traded in your other Pokemon for (ok, that makes no sense to me). Get candy for selling the guys you aren’t going to use. (Ok, I kinda get that.)

4) Please, please, use pokestops. Always. They are good.

5) Do not use you incense right away. Use it on a walk.

6) I was told Beethoven, at the very end of his life, had a piano with 7 octaves. (ok, I think he got a bit distracted here.)

7) Try to do a run every day to catch them all.

8) Get good at flicking Pokeballs. Do not drag it, flick it, no, no, if you drag it, he’s going to attack you in real life. You have to flick it. FLICK IT. No, stop, you’re dragging it, again. Flick it!!!!

9) Stay alert or you’ll get run over by cars (or kids on skateboards, or moms with strollers, or kids on bikes looking at their own Pokemon Go maps. Basically, stay alert!)

Give me 6 months and I'll be one 6-pack away from being this guy

Give me 6 months and I’ll be one 6-pack away from being this guy

10) About the team thingee. If you want to join Team VALOR, you’re evil. Join Team MYSTIC, and you’re a nice guy. Join Team INSTINCT, and you’re an idiot.  That’s right. (FYI, he says he’s joining team Instinct). Each team has to do with a legendary bird. Zapdos = yellow. Articuno = blue. Moltres = red. You can look them up. They’re very famous.

So there you have it. Does this help? No? Well, The-Youngest has some ideas, too. Stay tuned.

And if you don’t want advice from a 13 year old, here’s another link…


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Pokemon Go

pet rocks

Ah, pet rocks, those were the days when fads made sense

I’ve been alive long enough to remember a lot of fads. You know, things you thought were awesome that then slowly fade into obscurity. Water beds. Pet Rocks. Dressing in women’s underwear (wait, what, that wasn’t everyone? Well, ah, errr, uhm, never mind, then.)

So it’s time to dive into the latest craze. Pokemon Go.

So why not begin a new series?. Let’s call it Go-Pro. Wait, crap, that’s something else. Joe-Go? Go Pokemon, Go? Joe Does Go? Joe-Joe-the Pokego?

Oh, hell, let’s make it simple. Pokemon Go by Joe.

Pokemon Go, perhaps the greatest fad of all time.

Pokemon Go, perhaps the greatest fad of all time.

First up, what the hell is it? I mean, sure we’ve all seen like a billion posts on facebook and I think there’s an epic fails youtube channel set up (and let’s face it, we all know there’s a Pokemon go porn channel set up somewhere), but what IS IT?

Lemme esplain.

To quote a friend, ‘it’s like geocaching or orienteering but with big invisible imaginary creatures.” But that may be like saying a snargle nifster is like a boonafer gork. It means very little.

So, lemme esplain better.

Pokemon Go Map of uber-awesomeness

Pokemon Go Map of uber-awesomeness

See, there’s an app that you can download onto your phone or tablet. That app creates a funny looking map, not unlike google maps or something you’ve seen on the GPS navigation system in your car. Using a character you create, you wander around that map finding, well, Pokemon (and Pokemon items.)

Now here’s the mind-blowing thing.

You actually have to wander around in the real world.

Yup, that map is real. There are Pokemon hiding on your street. In your neighbour’s yards. In parks. Sometimes in the middle of the road.

So, to catch these Pokemon, you have to climb out of your mom’s basement and venture into the sunlight. You have to walk on real concrete or grass. You have to breathe fresh air.

And avoid being killed by cars.

Real cars.

Have I made this clearer?

No, well, then let me just say it’s the biggest thing to ever hit the world. It’s about wandering around with a phone in your hand, eyes glued to the screen, trying to find another Pokemon, and trap them (using a goofy-looking real-life anime-like map.) So you can use them to fight your friends or control the world or something like that.

What would Einstein really have said?

What would Einstein really have said?

Einstein would be horrified.

But hey, if anyone is interested, my next post, will have the boyz listing the top 10 things they, as new players (noobs), think everyone should know.

In the meantime, take a look at these links.

From the Globe and Mail


From the Pokemon website.




Now, I’m going to download it myself, and then we’re going to head off and find something like a ratatta or meowth.

God help me.






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Oh To Be A 9 Year-Old-Again.

damnation alley

Damnation Alley, the best movie of all time? At one point, yes, yes it was.

When I was young, I saw what I thought was the greatest movie of all time. Damnation Alley. Now, this was before Star Wars, you understand, but this movie had it all. Jan Michael Vincent with the coolest feathered hair, a neat truck that had three wheels where one would normally be, and the best special effects I’d ever seen. Giant scorpions! Carpets of flesh-eating beetles. And a spooky red sky!

OMG cool.

Years later, I watched that movie and thought that I must have been inhaling too much model glue. It sucked. And sucked bad.

But at that time in my life, it was the best movie ever.

Fast forward to today.

For fun, The-Youngest and I went to see Independence Day 2. He loved it in a way only a 9-year-old can love it. We got to sit in the D-box seats which basically means our butts got vibrated every time something blew up and the chair tilted this way and that with every flying sequence.

I gotta say, it was kinda cool.

He watched the movie with great intensity as humanity fought the aliens. He tilted and flowed with the gyrating D-seat. He raised his hands over his head when the aliens were defeated. (Oh, crap, I should have said, ‘spoiler alert’, but hey, spoiler alert, the aliens are defeated.)

Later, he told me how he would have shot the aliens, how he wants to go to Area 51 where they keep the aliens, and how he figured out how best to outfit my Mustang with lasers.

For him, the movie was a complete success.  The graphics were amazing. There was none of that annoying ‘character development’ stuff that got in the way. He didn’t ask why the stupid old guy in a stupid bus would be chased by the stupid alien queen (oh, crap, spoiler alert, there’s a stupid alien queen, and she chases a stupid bus). He didn’t care that the alien’s plan seemed to boil down to drilling a hole in the earth when they could have pretty much just used their 3000-mile-wide ship to beat us into little pieces like some sort of kinder egg in the hands of an angry toddler.

Nope, for him, it was a great movie.

What is going on with the writing here?

For me, I hated the dialogue.  I hated the fake personal stakes, and I absolutely hated that there wasn’t a funny Will Smith pilot in it. I hated that I didn’t care about any of the characters or the world or even the aliens. I hated that the movie felt like I wrote it in grade 4.

I mean this is the age of Game of Thrones. Of The Walking Dead. Of Bridesmaids.

People know how to make good shows, so what happened here?

I have no idea. I blame Obama.

I would have given it a 2 out of 10.

But seeing it with The-Youngest, and listening to him talk about it with such enthusiasm, it made that movie a 6/10. 7/10 with those cool D-box seats.

I do miss that  9-year-old mindset when I didn’t judge a movie by the actors, the writing, the structure or theme, I just judged whether it was cool or not.

And if it had rad scorpions.


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Top 10 Reasons School Being Out Rocks

NYNY rideI don’t know whether to be nervous or excited. Sort of like the moment before your date arrives or just before the roller coaster drops 10,000 feet in 2 seconds.

But the boys are out of school!

And there are 10 GREAT things about that.

1) No more nagging The-Youngest to do his spelling or math or English or socials or science or, well, anything that doesn’t involve mini-hockey.

2) We get to use the pool one last year. With water restrictions, birds pooping in it all the time, and the cost of various and toxic chemicals, the pool’s gotta go.

3) More time to play Magic, build tanks, play FIFA or NHL 2015, throw the baseball, walk the dog in the park, win at Clue, or listen to The-Oldest become a classic pianist.

4) Another epic vacation. This year, Vegas/Grand Canyon, or as The-Youngest calls it, “the trip to the Hershey World.” Apparently, it’s HUGE. The candy store, not the Grand Canyon. (“Joe, did you know – it’s two stories?”)

grand cayon

5) More time to discuss the great philosophic ideas of all time. Like the meaning of evil. The nature of the greater good. And if Ant-man could beat Spiderman (who The-Oldest pronounces, Spooooderman for some reason that makes sense to a teenage mind).”

6) No freaking baseball, hockey, Tai Kwon Doh, parachuting, goalie camps, soccer, Tai Chi, Ballet or Jujitsu or Jedi Training. Just summer. No commitments. How cool is that?

7) No force-feeding The-Youngest so he can get to school on time. Or fast-washing The-Oldest’s gym strip so he doesn’t smell like the Rock’s armpit.

8) No racing out the door, then remembering The-Youngest forgot his lunch, binder, water bottle, magic cards or shoes.

9) monte pythonMovie time! So many movies to watch.

10) Two months chock full of opportunities for great experiences.  Good or bad, I’ll blog about them all.

But, as The-prettiest-girl-in-the-world often says, “it’s not our job to make sure the boys aren’t bored.”

So, true, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make 2016 a fantastic summer.

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Piano Man

youtubeYou know, I wonder if we’ll look back and say this was the start of something big.

But yesterday, The-Oldest created his first YouTube account and posted his first video. It wasn’t about minecraft or Smash or his latest movies.

It was about music.

He posted a top 100 list of his favourite pieces of music, (spoiler alert, it’s mostly classical), and then he posted a video of himself playing the piano. Or at least a video of his fingers playing the piano.

It’s been so impressive to watch him start, just three months ago, and to see how far he’s come. In 3 months, I might have learned to plunk out a few notes with 2 fingers, but he’s progressed very far beyond that. So very far.

It’s something he loves. He comes home and goes directly to the piano. He gets ready for bed quickly, he uses the excess time to practice. Give him a whole day at home, and he’s on that thing for 8-10 hours.

Now he’s making his own music, learning about major and minor chords, tweaking Mozart to make it better, and trying to conquer something called the Hungarian Rhapsody.

How cool is that?

So, below, I’ve posted a link to his new YouTube page. If you get a chance, check it out, give him some love and follow him as he begins this journey.



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Top 10 Baseball Moments

horrible scorecard

Mine had more scribblings and drawings of calvin and hobbs

Ok, so baseball’s officially over. The boys went out swinging, as they say. I survived scorekeeping and made only a few mistakes, though the whole ‘error’ thing completely eludes me still. I mean, take the last run scored in the last game. It was basically a hit followed by 11 errors, misthrows, overthrows and dropped catches. How to you record that in a 2”X2” square?

However, when I wasn’t scorekeeping, I kept my eyes and ears open for those great moments that make kids sports infinitely better than adult sports.

Here’s why.

  1. In one game, a mom yelled. “Get your hands out of your pants!”
    Mom, stop yelling at me to get my hands out of my pants! Jeez! I' David Ortiz for the love of God.

    Mom, stop yelling at me to get my hands out of my pants! Jeez! I’m David Ortiz for the love of God.

    I mean, you just don’t hear David Ortiz’s mom saying that. At least shouting it out in a stadium (but who really knows what goes on at home.)

2. When The-Youngest ran into home, he forgot that he had to slide in. For some reason, sliding in is a rule. I don’t know why. But the coaches yelled at him to slide, slide, SLIDE, even though he was already standing on the plate, somewhat confused. He did what any major league player would have done while the infield desperately tried to get the ball to the catcher to tag him out. He knelt on the plate like he was praying to God. Or the umpire. (FYI, it worked, he was ruled safe.)

3. One infielder stopped a ground ball on the 1st-2nd base line and stepped aside with the ball in hand so that the runner could run by. No tag. No throw to 2nd. Or first. He was just being polite, I guess, a good Canadian who’d think it rude to actually get someone out.

4. If I was recording a game, here’s what a typical home run would be recorded as… one hit to outfield, the outfielder runs towards the infield for some reason, then realizes the ball is going way over his head, then runs back, then gets it and watches while one runner is nearly run over by another runner around 2nd base, and then the fielder throws it to first even though there’s no runner at first, and the first baseman misses it, causing the first runner to reach home and while the 1st baseman’s sauntering to get it, the rest of the runners are kind of confused and standing or running in circles, but then the first basemen gets the ball and throws it wildly to what can only be described as mid center field and the runners race to home while the shortstop rushes to get the ball, fumbles it, but ultimately throws it to the 2nd basemen who misses and the ball rolls to the pitcher who races to it as the last runner heads for home, and throws it, accurately, but the catcher is watching a drone fly overhead rather than catch the ball and the kid who hit the balls slides into home.

5. One kid hit himself in the face with his glove so hard he fell down.

6. One coach actually yelled, (I kid you not!) “there’s no crying in baseball!” Sadly, he was serious and not just ironically echoing League of Their Own.

7. Our third base coach grabbed a runner who began to run home and yanked him back to 3rd base. He felt so bad, as he just acted out instinct like any father seeing his son about to make a HUGE mistake.

8. At one point, in one game, there were 2 runners on second. The runner from first ran when there was a fly ball and didn’t stop even when it was caught. He reached 2nd only to find the 2nd base runner refusing to leave. So… what’s a runner to do??? What’s the 2nd baseman to do? They all kind of stared at each other while all the coaches and parents yelled advice. In the end, just to be safe, the 2nd baseman tagged everyone in a 10′ radius and let the umpires sort it all out.

9. There were many times a young fielder was just paralyzed by what to do with the ball once they got it. Like me when I’m at a fudge store – there are simply too many choices so you freeze up. Apparently, though, 20 parents shouting at them doesn’t help.

10. In one game, the other pitcher plugged one of our batters right on the elbow. You know that’s gotta hurt. The-Youngest ran out of the dugout and I thought, damn, what a good kid, he’s going to give the other kid some sympathy or be supportive, or do something empathetic. But no, he grabbed the bat from between the kid’s legs, cuz he was up next.


The team

The team

And that was the baseball season. The kids started out like the Bad News Bears and ended up, well, like the Bad News Bears at the end of the movie. They didn’t win a title, but man did they ever improve.

The-Youngest went from holding the bat like he was afraid it would independently hit him in the head, to becoming one of the team’s best batters.

Man, was I ever proud of that little guy. He was fierce when he went up to bat and swung like he wanted to bang it over a fence two fields away.

I can’t wait until next year, though I doubt I’ll be doing scorekeeping, again. I don’t have the attention span or mental discipline to keep thoughts out of my head like what to cook for supper, why did that little boy in the outfield just lie down and put a glove over his face, or wonder what just crawled up leg and into my crotch.

But mad props for all the parents who did kick in this year. Without the volunteer coaches, the dads who stepped up to coach first or third base, and the team moms who kept everyone informed, it could have been a nightmare.


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