Pokémon Go Made Me Start Blogging

It’s true.Pokémon Go inspired me to finally start a blog. No, I’ve never played it and I finally got to see the UI just a few days ago. But when it burst on the scene the first thing that alerted me was all the Facebook posts putting people down for playing some new game. How people should be out fishing instead of playing this. Or grumpy get-off-my-lawn memes. How some other pursuit was a much better way to spend one’s leisure time than chasing imaginary creatures all over town.

It suddenly struck me as really sad that instead of celebrating something that instantly became a passion for so many people (can you say over 100 million downloads) the negative nellies went on high alert. Why? Why do people feel the need to rain on someone’s parade? Why intentionally try to make someone feel bad for doing something they love that isn’t hurting anyone? You can be funny and NOT be hurtful. And thats when I decided that I would counter all that negativity with a positive blog.

So this lead me to thinking about people and passions. And perhaps that really is the meaning of life. There are billions of souls on this earth. A very tiny percentage will invent penicillin or go to the moon or win an Olympic gold. The vast majority will spend our lives in anonymity. So making our time here the most pleasant it can be is a worthwhile pursuit. What is life without a passion? I think that is a life without meaning. You might think I’m judging. But I’m not because I think everyone has something. We just don’t value their thing by our own measure. But it’s not about us. It’s about them and what makes them shine. It’s their passion. What’s yours?

I am absolutely certain that if each person lived their passion the world would be a better place. And I’m convinced that everyone has a passion, maybe a secret passion, for something. Some have lots of passions. But if you ask and truly listen. Not just pretend. But really listen without judgement and hear what they are saying, you can find out what makes them tick. You know, that thing that wants to live through them (ok that does sound like some kind of creepy, possessed by demons thing). But think back to when you were you were young and your mind wasn’t yet crushed by society, what did you want to be or do? Me, I wanted to be James Bond. But female.

That is what this blog is about – my quest to catch them all. All the passions big or small and let people discover and trust that they have something magical inside of them. I can hear you snickering that you’ll show me your big passion….in that Beavis voice… and yes those kind of passions count. But what I’m looking for is in your soul. What brings light into your eyes? Maybe it’s your secret collection of left handed phillips screwdrivers. Celebrate it. Or perhaps it is Pokémon Go.

I’m impressed with what Niantic has created with this game. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s an augmented reality (AR) game based on the popular Pokémon card game. It’s the closest one can come to that childhood wish when watching the tv show or playing Nintendo DS….what if Pokémon were real? There they are, superimposed on whatever is seen with your phone’s camera. You catch them, evolve them, meet up with others in PokéGyms to battle your Pokémon. Nostalgia, gaming, imagination, and adventure all wrapped up in one.

Beyond the amazing business model that has businesses buying lures to attract PokéSpots and secondary markets springing up all over the place, it’s bringing people outside. Friends are telling me about their kids finally going outside after years of indoor gaming. Dogs are getting more walks than they could ever have wished for. People are visiting monuments and parks and getting outside in their communities. I just read an article about how Pokémon Go is Helping Kids with Autism and Asperger’s.

I wonder how many new friendships have come out of this game? How many discoveries of new places? How many new passions? Well done Niantic! Pokémon Go players – enjoy yourselves and get the most you can out of this great game.

Take care guys and I’ll be back with a new passion in a few days.



A Passion for Politics

This blog is about people and their passions. And politics is a huge passion for many people. I see the posts where people expound at length about the glories of the system, rave about the conventions, sit mesmerized for hours of roll call votes. It’s a passion. And this post is about something I realized recently about politics and our candidates and my views towards them.

I’ve been a non-Democrat and anti-Hill for a long time. Bern baby Bern. (being as this is a new blog you wouldn’t know much about me and my political, or should I say non-political history. Suffice to say, Bernie is the first candidate I’ve ever truly stood behind. He stunk the least of anyone). But since Bernie lost the nomination I’ve been in mourning. And feeling lost and out of sorts. What now?

Yes I am still undecided. Do I sit it out? Throw away my valuable and precious vote? As a naturalized citizen, getting the right to vote in America was a noteworthy milestone in my life and I don’t want to squander it. But what to do? Jill? Hill? Gary? Write in Bernie? The choices are there. None really palatable, though one thing is clear – anything but The Clown.

And then something Jim Wright wrote about Clinton (with respect to her choice of running mate) resonated with me – “The kind of careful, deliberate, in-depth, strategic analysis you want from a president.” Of course! I’ve forgotten that to navigate the complex, crazy, scheming world of international politics, perhaps you do need a schemer. Someone slightly, or a lot, underhanded who can get things done and manage (a more open minded term than manipulate) the situation to reach their goals. Nice people get chewed up and spit out in politics. I don’t want a “nice” person heading this country. I want a cold, calculating, schemer who makes the hard choices that I could never do. Someone unafraid to go against the grain. To make unpopular decisions. I think Sanders is such a candidate. Cold, calculating schemer going against the grain. Bernie? The kind and gentle grandfather? Yep. That Bernie. Look behind the mask. You can be kind and a grandfather and respectful and polite….and still be a scheming politician. Those are not mutually exclusive characteristics.

Running the country is not a popularity contest (though getting to that position certainly seems to be). Is that really the secret of politics? To work the system? To mold it to your needs. And is it up to us voters to find the candidate whose needs and molding strategy most closely align with ours? I say yes. I say start looking and digging with a passion appropriately applied to something that will shape our lives for the next four years.

A president should be presidential at the podium and ruthless and calculating behind closed doors. We need gravitas. Listen, think, watch the debates, then make up your own mind and vote.