The End of the First Day – Flagstaff, Toilets and Safes.

Salsa Brava. Flagstaff. Our destination. If we could make it in time.

Salsa Brava. Flagstaff. Our destination. If we could make it in time.

One thing that I’d not trained for was the long drive. 4 hours from Vegas to Flagstaff. OMG, my bum and back hurt after two hours. After 3, I began to get so antsy that I was like a 9-year-old without any electronics. But I still thought we might have a chance to reach the restaurant in time.

The boys, for the most part, were amazing. They spent 4 hours listening to music, most of it the sleepifying Beethoven-type classical music. Honestly, I don’t hate classical music, but let’s face, it, it isn’t always the best for staying IMG_9741[1]awake. Hell, it was all I could do to keep my eyes open, but that’s the music The-Oldest loved so we listened to it while The-Youngest snoozed in an adorably cute way.

However, we had to stop to save my bum and feed the boyz, so it became clear, beyond all reasonable doubt and lacking a working teleportation device, that we wouldn’t make my birthday supper appointment, so I phoned to rebook for Monday.

Ok, first I phoned to say I’d be late. Then 2 hours later, when we were on the road, our tummies full, I phoned, again, to say, um, yes, looks like we’re going to be SO late as to be having to book the next day. The person on the other end didn’t laugh but did rebook us.

Not a tragedy.

At this point, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World was dog-tired and just wanted to get to the hotel room, unwind a bit, and grab something nearby. She didn’t want a big feast and certainly wouldn’t have loved a lot of people singing happy birthday to her in Spanish.

days hotelWith The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World’s perfect navigation, we found the hotel without getting massively lost. A Days Hotel. Simple. Close to the highway. As cheap as I could get and still have some basic amenities.

We checked in without breaking anything (despite the best efforts of The-Youngest who seemed possessed by a need to touch, move or otherwise play with everything in the hotel lobby.)

But then the adventures began to happen. We were helped by a very pretty young, Asian girl with white pants who couldn’t have been nicer. Of course, had she known what would happen, she might not have been so nice.

In writing terms, when everything goes right, it makes a terrible story.

So, let me introduced you to the plugged toilet.

To be fair, The-Youngest only filled it up. With an epic deposit. And when he tried to flush, it began to run over.

He didn’t cause the problem at all, but you know that feeling. That horrible feeling. The water rising. With lots of stuff in it. You want it to stop. Pray that it’ll stop. You don’t want it to overflow, not on your watch, not from something you’ve done.

I can only imagine his panic, but when the water reached the rim, he shouted for help and we came running.

As you know, there’s not much we could do, though, but pray.

And the gods were with us, it didn’t overflow. It stopped at the edge. Right. At. The. Edge.

The-Youngest apologized, afraid we’d be mad, but it wasn’t his fault, so I phoned down to get it fixed but who should appear but the pretty, young Asian girl with white pants who couldn’t have been nicer. She gripped a plunger. And had a look of great fear.

Now who among us would make a pretty young Asian girl with white pants who couldn’t have been nicer unplug a toilet?

Well, not me.

I took the plunger, asked if she could bring some rags or used-towels in case this went very wrong and, ah, stuff spilled out onto the floor. She nodded and fled like I’d given her a reprieve from being tortured or forced to watch the entire Zoolander 2 movie.

Now being all chivalrous is fair and fine until you have to face down that toilet. With The-Oldest watching and giving advice like you probably don’t want to spill that water all over, I began.

OMG, don't ever EVER do a search on the internet for plugged toilets.

OMG, don’t ever EVER do a search on the internet for plugged toilets.

Very carefully.

So here’s the thing. Unplugging a toilet is a delicate operation. Plunge too hard and you’re picking stuff out of your hair and mopping up the floor. Plunge too lightly, and all you’re doing is making poo-soup. Yum.

With unbelievable skill, years of training, and not a little luck, I managed to plunge the blockage away without making a bigger mess.

Honestly, it was a miracle. The toilet was saved. All was good and right with the world.

Then we broke the in-room safe.

Not an easy thing to do.

Even harder to phone down to the desk and have the very pretty young, Asian girl with white pants who couldn’t have been nicer come up and have to fix that!

“Ah, hi, It’s room 321. Yes, us. Again. We, ah, broke the, um, safe. Yes, after putting all our valuables inside. Yes, it’s now locked us out. Would you mind coming up, again?”

This time, it was The-Prettiest-girl-in-the-world who fixed it. I don’t know how, but it did involve a lot of banging and swearing, but in the end, she managed to get it open. I think she was one step away from using a blow torch or seeing if the local 7-11 had a stick of dynamite.

Exhausted, scared of doing anything more in the room lest we break it, we went for supper in the bar.

Yes, our 9-year-old got to go into his first bar. He wanted to order a beer. He got a hamburger instead.

The boys in the bar at Days Hotel, Flagstaff

The boys in the bar at Days Hotel, Flagstaff. See big booth!

Now, in the hotel, the restaurant and bar are side-by-side. I think they sat us in the bar side to a) give us a view of the TV (b), I think the very pretty young, Asian girl with white pants who couldn’t have been nicer may have called and said there’d be a family coming down in need of lots of alcohol and (c) they had a huge booth for us.

We ate without breaking anything, getting into a bar fight or having to stop the-Youngest from sneaking tastes of other people’s drinks.

Time for bed.

Exhausted.

Somehow we managed to have a full day while planning to do nothing.

And tomorrow, the Grand Canyon awaited. What would we break there?

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How to Get There From Here – Vegas to the Grand Canyon pt 1

Google says 3hrs, 47 min, but does Google include pee stops, donut breaks, lunch and scenic pullouts?

Google says 3hrs, 47 min, but does Google include pee stops, donut breaks, lunch stops and scenic pullouts?

All we had to do was get from Vegas to our hotel in Flagstaff, AZ, south of the Grand Canyon. Maybe see the Hoover Dam if we had time. Maybe stop for lunch.

But that’s it. (Though, ‘it’ was a four-hour drive from Vegas to Flagstaff without stops!)

Oh, yeah. Also.

There may have been a birthday supper booked at the best Mexican restaurant in Flagstaff, (as featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri)  but I began to fear that would not quite work out. It would all depend on how fast we could get going and how important it was to rush. If we rushed too much, we could miss out on those magic moments, but if we didn’t, then the birthday dinner would be a bust.

Our chances of making the reservation in time dimmed right from the start. Somehow the tags came off my luggage and being me, and loving black, when I bought new luggage, I chose the black one… like a thousand other people.

Then The-Youngest, with his keen eyes, spotted it and raced over to lift it off the conveyor. Being 9, though, my luggage nearly pulled him onto the conveyor. It could have made a funny YouTube video (or at least a vine,) but instead of filming him, I ran over to rescue him, even though he did not want to be rescued in any way, shape or form.

Worse case for him, he got to ride my luggage like a pony around the conveyor belt. Worse case for us, he fell onto the conveyor, got his arm caught, then ripped off, and as he flailed around, screaming, he fell into the luggage loading hole and somehow found his way into a threshing machine.

So no video.

Our ride from the airport to the car rental lot. The-Oldest couldn't look more happy.

Our ride from the airport to the car rental lot. The-Oldest couldn’t look happier.

With our bags in hand, we went in search of the shuttle to our rent-a-car. Only two ways we could go and, yes, we chose the wrong way and had to march back again to the other end of the airport. But we had super light luggage so it really wasn’s so bad.

Stopping The-Youngest from using the wheeled luggage as a bowling ball to knock over lines of tourists, though, was more of a challenge.

Outside, nice weather. Hot. It’s a dry heat. Boyz not impressed. They said they’d felt hotter in our backyard. It was 96 outside and they were in the shade.

The shuttle took us on a long journey to the rental lots in a land far, far away. It is a bit odd, but whatever. Vegas is as Vegas does.

At the rental place, Aussies the size of small tanks got angry that they had to wait in line. I guess there are no lines in Australia. Or maybe the steroids made them angry all the time. Personally, I wouldn’t like to face down a 6’6” guy with a thick red neck and a throbbing vein in his forehead,  but a 5’1” guy did just that, mostly by saying “I understand, I get why you’re angry, we’ll get to you as fast as we can, ” until the Aussies wandered away to go lift Volkswagens or something.

Hyundai Sonata. A decent enough car. Certainly it was big enough for all of us.

Hyundai Sonata. A decent enough car. Certainly, it was big enough for all of us.

Car was a Hyundai sonata. Red. Comfy inside. Steered well.

I think the most dangerous part was getting out of the lot. People zooming in at the last moment, backing out to get on the road, wheeling luggage without looking around of just being German or deciding to chat in a large group and not move while people are trying to get in and out of parking lots.

Despite the need to make time, we had to stop for food. Denny’s. Remember the goal of keeping the boys fed? Well, no way we’d survive a 4-hour drive with 2 hangry boys. So, we stopped and by doing so, had a cool little encounter.

See, this is what you get when you don’t rush. I need to remind myself of this. And eating a lot of chocolate before bed keeps me awake.

A grab machine. I have no idea what it's really called. A claw machine? A clawinator?

A grab machine. I have no idea what it’s really called. A claw machine? A clawinator?

While waiting to be seated, a special needs person wanted to play the grab-a-toy-game and couldn’t figure it out. He was confused and was getting upset so I asked The-Youngest to come over. He’s an expert on these machines. More than the makers, I think.

Anyway, he took the time to show the guy what to do. Push that. Move this that way. There you go. Let it drop down. See. You got something! Great!

The-Youngest can be the coolest kid sometimes!

The other guy was delighted in a way that only mentally handicapped people or Leaf fans can be. I was proud of The-Youngest.

It was an encounter, an adventure I couldn’t have predicted.

At Denny’s, I actually had a healthy meal. Well, Denny’s healthy anyway. Veggies and eggs on some potatoes. No free food though. On your birthday at Denny’s, you get a free meal, but only a Grand Slam and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World wanted an avocado chicken burger. They didn’t sing, but did bring her a burger (not on the menu), cuz, you know, it was her birthday.

We grabbed road supplies, forced The-Youngest to put back an American-large bag of chips, two bags of nibs, one box of bubble gum, and a super large bottle of pop. He still took a big bag of Cheetos, a bottle of water and some candies. Me, I bought M&Ms and got mocked for it since we’re going to the M&M store at some point.

On the road, the plan really began to fall apart. We were way behind schedule. The chance of making the birthday supper was now 20/80.

No time for the Hoover Dam.

We’d see it when we got back.

There was a point I would have to call off the birthday supper, but there was a part of me that wouldn’t do that until all hope had died.

Leaving Vegas

Leaving Vegas

With the sun behind us, slowly dipping in the sky, we buckled up and sped off, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World navigating, The-Oldest listening to classical music and conducting in the back seat, and The-Youngest starting to crunch away on his gigantic bag of candies.

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How To Enjoy That ‘Travel Day’. Or Not.

1 bag less than normal

1 bag less than normal

There are travel days when you simply have to, you know, travel.

Nothing more.

But can those humble and unassuming days of vacation also be an adventure?

I guess it is all in how you look at it. Right?

Here’s the first day. As seen in a non-epic way.

Had to catch 10:15 flight. Needed to be there 2 hours before. Needed to drive 1 hour. Prettiest-girl-in-the-world needed a good hour to become the-prettiest-girl-in-the-world.

At least when you get up early, you see this

At least when you get up early, you see this

Had to do math. Math said to wake up at 6:15. Math is mean. Math never lies.

Had to pack the night before. Loved the new suitcases. Stuffed a ton inside them. And they still weighed out under 30lbs each. Fearful of the boys packing theirs, but tried to let it go. Did deep breathing exercises. Tried to be all zen about it.

No traffic problems. Parked in the cheaper of the lots. Took shuttle to departure terminal. Being The-prettiest-girl-in-the-world’s actually birthday, day, we took over the rolling of her luggage and carrying her carry-on.

Inside. Hit ‘yes we have dangerous goods by mistake’. Doh!!!! Had to speak to an attendant. Had to explain I’m an idiot. Something I’m pretty used to explaining so all went well. Used opportunity to have a quiet word with attendant about doing something special.

Wait!

Need to back up. Remember I said today was her birthday? Well, I need to make it special somehow. And I had a plan.

A week before, I phoned WestJet to see if they could do anything special for the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and they said they couldn’t, not really, it’s just something they don’t do anymore.

Booooo!

But I didn’t give up. I told the WestJet employee that I wanted to make this trip more than just special since the birthday girl is such an amazing woman. Plus, I added, WestJet had a great reputation for going that extra mile and I needed them to go that extra mile.

In the end, the WestJet girl said she would put a note in the file and they would see what they could do at the gate. Nothing’s promised, you understand, but ask, she said.

So, flash forward, and we’re at the ticket counter and I asked if the attendant had gotten the note about making the flight special, and he said, ah, errr, umh, ah. No.

So, I made the same request, only trying my best to look all sad and puppy-eyed. He eventually found the request, hummed and hawed a bit, but he could not resist my sad face and agreed to pass along something to the in-flight attendants.

The day before, we had cake!

The day before, we had cake!

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, however, knew something was up.

How did I know this?

She asked, “Something’s up, isn’t it?”

“Why no,” I replied. “Nothing at all. Not a thing. Nope. Nothing.”

She frowned at me. “If there’s anyone singing happy birthday to me, I’ll murder you in your sleep.”

“Fair enough,” I said, and wondered what they’d do. Would they sing? Give her some free peanuts? Would I be murdered in my sleep?

A little anxious, we went through the auto passport check-in. How cool is this thing?  It scans your passport, your face and then prints out a receipt saying you’re awfully handsome or something. I took a great picture, The-Youngest looked like he was afraid we were kidnapping him and The-Oldest pulled such a horrible face that it looked like we’d molded a monster out of clay.  FYI – he was very proud of that face.

However, somehow we buggered THAT up, too. Who knows, maybe messing up that whole, yes I’m carrying banned weapons and bombs in my underwear made the passport machine suspicious. Maybe it was the expressions on the children’s faces, but we had to speak to another real, live person.

Oh how everyone loves customs. From USAToday.com

Oh how everyone loves customs. From USAToday.com

Now as any traveler knows, getting special attention from customs or border guards is about as fun as a colonoscopy. Or watching an hour of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders.

But we smiled, were politely Canadian, and since we weren’t actually terrorists or kidnappers, just technological goobers, we were let through.

Felt relieved.

Ate badly at the airport, but seriously who can resist Cinnabon’s?

Then onto the plane. The-Boyz and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World were able to sit together. I sat beside a footwear salesperson. Against my normal tendency, I actually talked to her. And I talked to the air hostess or whatever they call the woman who has to feed and water all the passengers. She had braces and hated them. I empathized with her chewed up cheeks, the stupid braces catching on her lips, the fact we can’t really eat in public and if we do, we’re likely to have what we ate on display in our braces, then spit it at them.

But what I really wanted to know is what they would do for The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World?

I waited. No take-off announcement. No free peanuts. No cake with flaming candles brought out from the cabin. I began to worry that NOTHING would be done.

So I asked one of the attendants. And she said they would be doing something on the decent. She wouldn’t say what.

The-Prettiest-girl-in-the-World eyed me suspiciously. I mean either I was flirting with the pretty attendant or her worst fears were about to come true.

In the end, on the decent, they asked everyone on the plane to wish The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World a happy birthday. She went beet red, sunk down in her chair and gave me the finger… right at the moment a little girl leaned around to wish her a happy birthday.

Perfect timing.

I leaned across the aisle and wished her a happy birthday. She told me she’d get me for this. She. Would. Get. Me. For. This.

Mission accomplished.

IMG_9295

Vegas beware, we have arrived.

The great birthday adventure had begun!

But more little adventures awaited us on our day of travel.

Some I couldn’t have possibly predicted despite my overly active and twisted imagination.

 

Posted in Parenting, Stepdad, Vegas and Grand Canyon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 10 Things We’re Doing Differently on Our Trip

vegas

So, Vegas. The Grand Canyon. How could we make it awesome and completely ?

  1. We didn’t set the goal that this vacation would be amazingly awesome and stress free. I mean, are we insane? So we set the bar lower. Have both boys come back alive and not in need of a lot of therapy. That’s it. (and we’re willing to give ground on the therapy thing, too).
  2. We were going to pack light. We tossed out our huge 1980s bags that Tony Soprano could have hidden two bodies in, and bought high tech, ultra light air Canada luggage.
  3. We’re going to pack like we are going for a week, not a year. I will leave behind such vital things as a sweater, extra batteries for the laptop and 22 books. The -prettiest-girl-in-the-world has vowed to size down her makeup bag and pack only 11 shoes and 18 changes of clothes.
  4. The boys are going to have a say in what we’re doing. This can be a good thing and a very scary thing. (See the later post for the results of Carter’s search for what to do in Vegas). However, they’re old enough to help make the vacation a success for them, too.
  5. We’ll not have an ironclad, written-in-blood schedule of things to do. While this causes my left eye to twitch, it’ll give us a lot more flexibility and hopefully assist in making #1 easier.
  6. We will only use the car for the first part of the trip – the journey to the Grand Canyon. Like giving up on my need to schedule everything, giving up my need to have a car, even if I don’t use it, will be something new for me. I mean, what if need to drive out to get an emergency model tank?
  7. The boys will be responsible for their own packing and their own bags. This loss of control and potential disasters will be for them to sort out. If they forget shorts, they will have to wear the pants they packed. If they forget a toothbrush, they’ll have to ask for one at the desk.
  8. I will not be able to bring my laptop. Not that I’m going laptopless, but I’ll have to borrow one of the boy’s laptops. There won’t be any of my programs set up, my files of pictures I often use or my writing documents, but I HAVE TO write so it’ll be better than nothing. Or worse, having to write things out by hand.
  9. We will ensure that everyone eats a lot. Not because we want to be chubby, but to avoid attacks of the hangries. To be fair, that means The-Oldest and me. If we don’t get fed, we can be a real pain to be around.
  10. I will plan to have one surprise on our vacation since it’ll be The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World’s birthday. Oh the possibilities are endless, but I also have to make sure she’ll still marry me a few months later. Stay tuned.

westjet-airplane.jpg

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The 2016 Family Vacation

 

vegas

Where else would you take the children but Vegas?

Like most families we get to have one vacation every year.

Last year, we went to Oregon Coast. Family gathering. Lots of food. Sandy beaches. Sea-lions.

The year before that, San Diego. The zoo. Legoland. And my first outing as a stepdad.

So this year, we had to do something different. The boyz got to see Disneyland with their dad last year as well, so that was out. Apparently a hike up to the top of some Rocky Mountain was out, too. As was a week deep sea diving.

In the end, we went with a split vacation. We’d see the majestic – if not outright jaw-dropping – Grand Canyon

And Vegas.

You know, lights. Strippers. Gambling. Joe Pechi putting people’s heads in a vice.

But wait, THAT’S not a kid’s vacation.

True, but was there another side of Vegas? A kid’s side?

I mean, having our 9-year-old watch women take off their clothes isn’t someting we want to happen. Nor are we going to take them to a gun range and let them fire off 1000 rounds on an MP5 submachine gun. Sadly.

Still, there was plenty to interest the boys that wouldn’t get us arrested for child endangerment.

Now with the grand canyon, there was zero interest. I mean, why go see it when you can download a youtube video? Or watch it in IMAX?

But I was adamant. Like a good parent telling their children to eat beans or stop licking the electrical socket, I was sure it would be good for them. A once in a lifetime experience. A chance to see one of the great natural wonders of the world.

grand

The Grand Canyon. Would it be a breathtaking experience or the snoozapolooza? 

So what if there wasn’t a splash mountain in sight? So what if Pokestops would be few and far between? This would be a visual wonder, dammit. A freaking visual wonder!

And if that failed, there’d be Vegas.

But what to do in Vegas?

Ask the 9-year-old.

As soon as I stopped ranting about how spectacular the Grand Canyon would be, and switched to Vegas, The-Youngest perked up a bit. Being of his generation, he went on-line to sort it all out.

We tasked him with a top 10 list and he didn’t fail us. That’ll be a future post. It’s actually a pretty impressive list. Cancel going on your own vacation so you can read it.

For now, know that we have an epic trip planned. One day at the canyon, or as the boyz call it, the snoozapalooza. Then 4 days in Vegas.

Our goal. Give the boys a great experience. Avoid them seeing a lot of drunk adults, including, but not limited to, us, and balance off goofy fun with some real life reality.

Will we succeed? Will it be awesomely amazing?

I’d beat against it, but I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, the next post will be the 10 things we’ll be doing differently on this trip.

And I’d put it out there… what would you do in Vegas? With your family?

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The Stepdad and the Great Pokemon Kakuna Hunt

Pokemon Go on the go.

Pokemon Go on the go.

Ok, Kakuna is a Pokemon. We didn’t specifically go hunting for him. Or Zubat. Or Rattata. Or a bird called Pidgeotto. But we did go on our first HUNT.

What is a hunt? Well, let me start at the beginning.

After much consultation with the Boyz, I loaded up the Pokémon Go game on my iphone 6. It was free. I like free. Oh, there are ways to spend a lot of coin on this game, but for now, it costs me nothing.

Then I chose myself an avatar/trainer that looked like some amine-thin youth. I picked hair –  blue –  and a color scheme – orange – since I root for Holland during the World Cup. Then I was good to go.

I logged in, and my first Pokémon appeared. Right on the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world’s chest. So I grabbed it. The Pokémon, not her, ah, you-know-whats.

The Pokethrow. Or Pokeflick. From imore.com

The Pokethrow. Or Pokeflick. From imore.com

To grab a Pokémon, you have a ball at the bottom of the screen. You FLICK, Joe, FLICK!!! the ball at the Pokémon, or more specifically at the circle encircling the Pokémon and if you hit it, you capture it.

If you really know what the hell you’re doing, and you’re good at this whole flicking thing, then you aim for the green (or yellow or red) circle inside the circle and if you hit, you capture a more maxed out Pokemon.

Or not.

Seems those silly things will escape, too, which took me a few minutes to realize. But once you capture one, you get experience (to level up your trainer), and some candy, which you can use to give your Pokémon more power or ‘evolve’ it, and some stardust, which you also use to give your Pokemon more power.

I have to say, that whole capturing thing was kinda fun. Had I been smarter, I would have found out that if you don’t capture the 1st three that come along, you get a Pikachu, and I do love Pikachu (mostly cuz it’s the only Pokémon I know.)

With that, we drove off to Fort Langley. AKA, the big city. Now, to be fair, downtown Vancouver would really be far, far better, but that drive is long and hard, so the Fort seemed a good alternative.

Pokemon Go Map of uber-awesomeness

Pokestop. On the left. Beside the Avatar

And it totally was. The key, apparently, to gathering as many Pokémon as possible is to find a spot that has a lot of Pokestops. Now what the hell are they?

They appear on your Pokemap that you have accessed with your Pokefingers and looked at with your Pokeeyes. They look like a block on a stick when far away. When you get near one, it looks like a big circle with another circle inside and another circle inside of that. I think my picture shows this better than I can describe.

The Pokestop. Usually at some monument or sign (like for a trail or where Michael J Fox once peed.)

The Pokestop. Usually at some monument or sign (like for a trail or where Michael J Fox once peed.)

At the stops, you can also get supplies. Once you find one and it goes all roundish, you tap it and then you swipe the picture you see. Very often it’s a sign. Like telling you you’re on a trail or near a spot captain Vancouver peed on or something like that.

So, in the Fort, we found a ton of Pokestops and the boyz got super excited. Heck, they weren’t the only ones. There were tons of people there. Sure some were shopping or drinking coffee and actually talking to people, but there were also hordes of people in small groups wandering around like us, looking for Pokestops or parked against a statue waiting for the Pokémon to come to them.

The Boyz and I went to all of the stops we could find, gathering balls, eggs, potions and things I didn’t have a clue about. The balls are obvious. You throw them to catch the Pokémon, which I was informed, anyone should know who’s ever played a Pokémon video game (which I have not.)

Eggs are placed in incubators which you get automatically as you level up. By walking, yes walking, you can hatch them and they become Pokémon. So, while you’re meandering around looking for Pokestops, you’re also working on hatching your eggs (and actually exercising!)

Cool, right?

A gym. Or battle arena - where you can take on other players. from Imore.com

A gym. Or battle arena – where you can take on other players. from Imore.com

The other things you’ll see on your Pokemap look like big towers built by aliens. (A place that the Pokémon dudes decided to call a ‘gym’ for some stupid reason. A gym?!?!?) That is where you battle other Pokemoners. Pokemites? Pokeplayes? However, we didn’t get into that on this adventure (the reason being, we had level 12 Pokemon and the dudes ruling the gym had, like, level 1534!)

See, the goal, as far as I can tell, is to get a Pokemon, evolve it to a more powerful Pokemon, then evolve it again to the ultimate uber Pokemon and then brag about it to your friends in a mean and cruel manner. Or, you can also take that uber Pokemon to a gym and battle other players and then brag about that in a mean and cruel way to your friends.

Fun times.

IMG_9049[1]And then we found where people had dropped ‘lures’. Lures, I was told by The-Youngest as he hopped up and down with excitement are like incense – which explained exactly nothing, really. But incense is used to attract Pokémon faster. Like free booze for people. Or free wifi.

These lures are placed by people at a Pokestop so that everyone, but mostly their friends, can benefit from lots of Pokémon flooding into the area. It’s actually kind of social. If you can grab a group of people and they all go on a hunt, you can use lures, which last 30 minutes, for hours and rake in the Pokémon while talking to each other. Or at least watching your screen next to someone.

Pokemon Go at its finest.

Pokemon Go at its finest.

 

In the end, we spent a good 90 minutes on our hunt, partially walking around, partially sitting and waiting by lures. However, we did it all together. Us boyz. And that makes it totally fun for me. I love listening to what they have to say about life or Pokémon or music or how best to kill someone in Assassin’s Creed.

We caught about 20 Pokémon, leveled a few of them up, evolved one or two, and then returned home.

It was a good way to spend a few hours.

 

For those who prefer a Pokevideo, there is one below.

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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,
    lure

    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.

http://ca.ign.com/wikis/pokemon-go/Things_Pokemon_Go_Doesn%27t_Tell_You

http://www.imore.com/pokemon-go

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