Monday, October 29, 2012

Why I Love Pokemon...

Since I got my new Nintendo 3DS XL, I've really been playing it a lot. But even though I have quite a few games for it, there's one game I've been playing way more than any of the others...

Yes. A dreaded Pokemon game!

I love Pokemon, I won't deny it. I know that a lot of 'hardcore gamers' think of it as a 'kiddy game', and will bash it all to pieces. Personally I think it's a shame that the series has garnered so much stigma because of the card game, anime and other merchandise that's geared more towards younger people- the games have a solid and addictive game play that's actually a ton of fun! But I'm not here to convince anyone to play Pokemon, just to tell why I enjoy it so much.

Back when I was in fifth or sixth grade, all of a sudden everyone had these things called 'Pokemon Cards'. Being a bit of a loner in school, I'd never heard of the things, and then suddenly they were all the rage! Everyone who was cool had them! Now I had always liked collectible cards. My dad and Uncle used to collect sets of them, and even I had a smattering of random cards from various shows and sets that my parents had occasionally bought me from Walmart. Needless to say, the second I got a look at these Pokemon cards at school, I was in love!

I NEEDED to catch 'em all!

I was Pokemon CRAZY. I needed Pokemon things. All the things. I remember being elated when occasionally my Dad would bring me home a few booster packs when he came home from work. I would excitedly open them, look at all the cards, and coveted them. 

I would watch the TV show after school. Now, when I was a kid, there were only 150 Pokemon critters, and knew the name of every one. Before the commercial breaks, they would show the shape of a pokemon and excitedly yell "Who's that Pokemon???". I knew it, every time.

By the way, that's a Jigglypuff, Psyduck, Magikarp, and a Caterpie.

I remember the first Christmas I had after the Pokemon craze started; it's honestly one of the best, most memorable Christmas's I remember. I got LOADS of Pokemon stuff, cards, books, clothing, toys, coloring books. I remember spending that morning after we opened gifts, sitting on the floor with my parents opening all the booster packs I got, since they had gotten me a whole box of booster cards!

We had stacks and stacks of cards. I would organize them and put them all in sleeves in binders. I had nearly the entire collection at the time, and for my birthday a month later my Dad got me a few of the rare holographic cards I needed from the card shop- honestly the ONLY thing I actually remember getting that year. I'm sure there was more, but those cards were just the best!

It wasn't long after that when Nintendo announced a new Pokemon game- Pokemon Yellow. I didn't have a Gameboy, or Gameboy Color. I had seen others with it at school, and wanted one badly, but they were quite expensive. I desperately wanted that game, even more when I found out you could get the game bundled with a special edition Gameboy Color. I remember hinting around and begging for MONTHS that I wanted that thing, going so far as to write it on my mother's grocery lists, faintly at the top. I had claimed at the time I was trying to 'see how lightly I could write', but I still got yelled at for it!

When I did get it for Christmas I played it all day, I was so excited. Now that I look at it, that gameboy was hideous. Bright yellow front, the back plate of it was bright purple. I would never buy that thing now! I played Pokemon Yellow for months, although I don't know if I ever beat it...

And then- the MOVIE came out. I was so excited- excited enough that my parents actually took me to it opening day. I remember how amazing the movie was, every second action packed, filled with emotional ups and down. The triumph, the tragedy... My parents hated it. Big props to them for taking me to it and sitting in a room packed with excited children to see this movie! They even sent off the vouchers we got at the movie for special promo cards! I loved it!

But after that, as I got older, the Pokemon craze died down. It became the 'lame thing to do'. It was 'kid stuff' and you were a loser if you had anything to do with it. I think I got one other Pokemon game for myself a few years later. I would watch the show in reruns, I still had all my cards. I've never understood why everyone will suddenly turn their back on something they previously loved because it's 'just not popular anymore'. Who cares?

I will probably always love Pokemon. It was such a huge part of my childhood, and encompasses some of my favorite thoughts of my Dad, like him bringing me cards home, and sitting on the floor with me Christmas morning while we opened Fossil Set booster packs. I hope the store clerks who look at me like I'm crazy buying a Pokemon game in the store have memories as wonderful as those! And the best part is that Pokemon has been something I can continue to enjoy even though I'm older through the video games- it's one thing that hasn't become unrecognizable nowadays, unlike a lot of the other things I loved back then (Lisa Frank and Sanrio Surprise stores come to mind!).

Anyways, time to be off! I've got to go play my game and become a Pokemon Master! Gotta Catch 'em All!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Weddings, and Gaming, and Peppy, Oh My!

Howdy! It's been a LONG time with no update! Over a month? How'd I let that that happen? I guess it's time to get an update going again, and let you all know of the stuff that's been going on in my life!

On Friday, October 19th, Matt and I got married! We decided to do a quick, private little ceremony- the important thing for us is being together, not all the fluff and trouble of a full blown thing. Plus, I kind of hate dress clothes and dresses..... Anyway, embarrassing wedding story time!

So the morning of, Matt and I headed down to the courthouse to pick up the wedding license. I'd told him earlier in the week that we'd probably be better off getting that done before Friday, as I thought it'd be more likely they'd be busy on a Friday. Matt disagreed, and after the last time we were there and the place was deserted, we decided to just go Friday morning. Bad idea...

We ended up waiting around for nearly 3 hours to get the license made, and the place was swamped. It was a mix of young college kids who were just sooooo in love that they were cooing and fawning all over each other, somewhat less pleasant people who appeared to be getting married only because someone was preggers (Shouldn't you avoid arguing when you're waiting to get your marriage license?) and a few people trying to get Passports since the office handles both.

Matt and I finally got our license and set off walking toward the Chapel we had chosen which was only a block away. The website makes the place look gorgeous, and we'd considered doing the bigger $60 package they offered to invite family, before we settled on the 'in the Minister's office' deal instead- and I'm SO glad we did!

We looked all over for the building, before we finally realized it was the ugly looking old office building behind us! It was a typical old office building consisting of long hallways that span each floor, with glass fronted offices lining the hall. And what's the first thing we see upon walking in? "Bomb Shell Bail Bonds", of course! Somewhat alarmed, Matt and I went to wait at the elevator to get up to the fourth floor.

That's when this dude who looked like he'd just walked out of an episode of Gangland walked up to wait with us, and he's talking to his 'dog' on the phone trying to find a different bail bond location in the building.... I never imagined this place that looked so pleasant online would have at least two different bail bond places inside it! We get to the fourth floor with Mr. Ripfang (Or whatever his gang name was) and start looking for this Chapel place, and finally spot it at the end of the hall. It has a sign out front, and I forget what it said, but the 'Chapel' is ALSO where one can go to do their drug test for work. -Facepalm-

Now thoroughly embarrassed, we go in and wait for the awkward, large family in front of us to figure out that they do in fact need ALL the money to pay, and 27 does not equal 30.... (We had seen them before at the courthouse, and they didn't make a shining impression then either!) After giving our paperwork and whatnot, we sit to wait. The waiting room is filled with dingy, blue upholstered chairs, and on the wall of this place is a Snoopy 'magic eye' poster. After a brief wait, we're escorted into the minister's office, which is decorated in Oklahoma and old car and license plate memorabilia. Awkward!

The minister enters and is very nice; he introduces himself, we shake hands. He asked if we were going to do a ring exchange, which we'd opted not too (We've been wearing our rings for months anyway). He tells us "This will be short and sweet!" and then proceeds to BELT IT through the wedding vows as fast as he can. And Matt and I being supremely flustered and embarrassed, and obviously never having said them before, repeated them JUST AS FAST. It was like we were racing to see who could say wedding vows faster! Most embarrassing experience ever!

We booked it out of there once it was finished and start back to the car. I was so happy that I didn't opt to take any family to that place, it was horrible, and I'd have died of embarrassment! I can't imagine my grandparents and such, who would have insisted on getting dressed up, having to sit in that dingy waiting room! 

We were all happy with giggles and grins by the time we got back to the car however! Really, it made the day far more memorable, and Matt and I decided to renew our vows one day in the future in a more proper ceremony! With far less awkwardness!

Anyway, on to the more mundane life things that have happened recently!

So on October 4th, this came in the mail! What is this stuffed rabbit you ask? Why that is the one thing I have wanted for 15 years and I thought I would never see for sale ever, much less own! Let me start this story at the beginning!
So I love this video game series by Nintendo called 'Star Fox'. Like, seriously love. I could quote you the entire script of Star Fox 64, from memory, right now. The problem is that Nintendo has released very, very little in the way of merchandise and memorabilia for this game, especially of my favorite character Peppy Hare. I found out that in 1993 they released a set of plushies for the 4 main characters. They were only in Japan, and only attainable through 'claw-grab' machines, making them exceedingly rare. I've only ever seen two other of this plush set on ebay, and both went for well over $100 dollars; and I've been looking for them for 15 years. 

Then one night Matt informs me that he saw someone put up auctions on Ebay for a Peppy Hare, and another for a Fox McCloud. I flipped out! He said we could try for them and we decided to go for as high as $200 dollars on them. The day the auction for Peppy was ending I watched it in a panic, as it jumped from $30, to fifty, then seventy five, a hundred and twenty, hundred and seventy five. I panicked during the last 5 minutes, and went to lay on the bed, practically hyperventilating!

Matt came in a few minutes later and told me we'd won! He'd opted to go up to $255 without telling me and sniped it! I was ecstatic! And also a little horrified, both at the price, and also the fact that another person had also tried to snipe it for $250, just under our winning amount.

Oh, and the other plush that was up, of Fox McCloud? It went for $315. 0.0;;

I also recently upgraded my Nintendo 3DS I'd bought a year ago for a new 3DS XL. I loved the first one, but it got to where I couldn't hardly play games on it- it was too small! My hand would start to cramp from having to hold it in an awkward position. I just don't have the hands of a twelve year old anymore I guess!

Anyway, the new 3DS XL is a significant size increase from the previous one, same console basically, just a bit bigger. The larger size makes holding it for long periods of time more comfortable, and the bigger screens make the games easier for me to see. I've been playing the heck out of it! I love being able to sit on the living room and play it while watching TV with Matt. It's nice to be able to play games without having the use the TV itself.

And last but not least, the art contest I entered a while back... Yeah, I didn't even place. I am extremely disappointed with the way the judging was done. The first place winner was a jaw droppingly amazing piece that blew every other one out of the water (including mine) and looked as if a professional artist for a magazine or something had done it. And the other two places were taken by extremely amateurish pieces that were easily trumped by a lot of the other work there. I know the person was trying to be fair to everyone who entered, and it was a broad range of art levels between really bad, good, and that one fantastic one that took first, and it must have been really awkward trying to choose between them and not hurt feelings. But I really don't feel it was fair to the 'decent artists' in my range of skill to pick two 'poorly done' pieces, and one that was clearly so good no one else would have stood a chance against it. In other words, I could have slapped something together and not spent any time at all and probably would have had as a good a chance for the second and third places. Disappointing.

Anyhoo, will be updating again soon! Will try at least!