Saturday, May 27, 2017

47th Birthday, Part 3 - Easy Targets


"Renewed shall be the blade that was broken
The crownless again shall be king."
The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkein

Recap: As part of my annual birthday exploration of new things, I took a blacksmithing class in Oakland.  Due to an error originating at the highest levels of Google (curse you, Larry Page!) I found myself two hours early for class in an unfamiliar city.

In every work of modern literature (usually around chapter 3) the author diverts from the main storyline to introduce a subplot involving Pokemon Go.  If you're not familiar with Pokemon Go, it's a game where you play the part of an illegal animal trapper.  You walk around in the real world, catching wild creatures, and forcing them to fight in cage matches until they are beaten unconscious.  When you find more vicious monsters, you can send them away to be turned into candy the others eat to grow strong.

You know, a standard kids game. I play Pokemon Go for my son.  He likes to see what I catch.
I just manage the Pokedex and walk to incubate new monsters.  I also make sure I catch one monster and visit one Pokestop a day to get the bonus.  Sometimes I rush off in the middle of writing to catch new Pokemon.  Sometimes I rush off during meals to catch new ones.  Sometimes I rush off when hanging out with friends, or seeing movies, or during invasive medical procedures.

I let my son evolve the monsters I catch into a new form. I don't do it myself, because I play for him.  I wait until he's out of school (sometimes for hours) to find out he doesn't appreciate that I waited for him.  I mean I was the one who rushed over to a park to catch enough Chikoritas to evolve our Bayleef, and all he had to do was tap the evolve button, but he's the one who gets to name the damn thing, and what kind of name is Basil Buttface for a Bayleef? I mean if anything it should be called Bay Laurel Buttface.

The day I was going to start my blacksmithing class, I realized I had a bunch of eggs that were going to hatch at the same time, giving me a bunch of experience.  I was also going to get my big bonus for visiting Pokestops and catching Pokemon seven days in a row.  I also had a bunch of monsters to evolve: more experience.  And I also had a free Lucky Egg, an item that lets you double your experience for a short time.

So, I was sitting around at The Crucible for two hours with nothing to do in downtown Oakland and a whole dump of experience I could get.  So, I I turned on the GPS and (after half an hour of arguing with it) started off on the two mile walk to the closest Peet's.  Holding out my phone out in front of me, I activated the Lucky Egg.

I evolved 10 Pokemon.
I passed by this campsite.

I hatched six Pokemon.
I passed by this building.

I got a latte.
I got the 7 day bonus for catching a Pokemon and the 7 day bonus for visiting a Pokestop.
I headed back to the school.
I saw some of this kind of art.


In the end, I got enough experience to go up a level. 

All in all, I had a good walking experience.  I returned to The Crucible and waited for the teacher.
He showed us around the facility ("Here's TIG welding." "Here's neon." "Never go in this room." "Here's the bathroom."), and explained how to be safe while blacksmithing ("Point the hot metal down when you walk." "Stop, drop, and roll." "Touch someone on the shoulder while passing from behind.").  Finally, he gave one vital piece of advice:

"We're in The Hood, here.  Be careful when you're outside.  Lock your car doors.  Keep your money hidden.  Above all, don't walk around your phone out in front of you; that just makes you an easy target."

I laughed.  "Ha. Ha. Ha.  What idiot would do that?  Ha. Ha."

Then I ran down the block to catch a rare, "shiny" Pikachu.  You know, for my son.

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