Pokemon, where have you gone to? – Part 2

If you find yourself at a dead stop behind a non-moving vehicle in the middle of parking lot, there’s a good chance the operator of the vehicle is playing Pokemon Go. This happened to me and my son the other day. The woman was staring down into her lap, obviously trying to hide something, her eyes bugging out of her head with enough concentration to burst a dam. Could it be? Of course! she’s playing Pokemon Go!

This determination is common and even more severe than anyone could have imagined. The headlines are rife with tragedies and mishaps. Players falling off cliffs, crashing into cop cars, and getting stabbed. On the lighter side, I read a hopeful story about the rescue of a stray kitten, later named Mewtwo (yes, from the game). Poor, little Mewtwo was stuck in a tree with injuries and couldn’t get down. I’m betting it was Pokemon Go players who drove the poor cat up the tree in the first place, arriving in hoards, stepping on her tail or something much worse.

And did you hear the news? (Although it’s hard to top Mewtwo.) Nick Johnson, a New Yorker, has caught all the Pokemon! Yes, really. He did it in two weeks with a little help from Uber. No crashing into cop cars here. He caught them in two weeks with little or no sleep. It kind of feels like he got the Golden Ticket. He still needs to catch the rare creatures who only exist in Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe. And what luck! Marriott Rewards is going to partner with him to help him locate the last remaining Pokemon.

My son shouts, “Mom! We should have done this!” For free trips to all these places, I totally would have done this. Just picture the headline:

Mother and Son TEAM catch all the Pokemon

I mean, doesn’t that have a better ring to it?

So far, my progress is dismal. I’m at Level 6. And my son? He’s watched some YouTube video that’s shown him how to hack into the game and play Pokemon Go from a horizontal, resting position on the couch (i.e., he doesn’t have to GO anywhere!). He tells me this game is for people who need to get out and he already gets out enough.

So, he’s playing the game as if he’s walking around San Francisco and he’s catching a lot of fish. As you might imagine, this has put a damper on our Pokemon bonding experience. But he’s busy because you need to capture 132 fish to evolve one of your fishes. You need to capture like a whole school. And what will he tell his cousin, whom we’re meeting in San Francisco when he’s already caught all the Pokemon there? His secret will be out!

Meanwhile, back at that ranch, I got a new line on an old phone given to me by mother-in-law so my younger son has a Pokemon device. Sprint requires not only your account information but also your first-born and a DNA sample…and still, they won’t unlock the phone! It turns out they won’t unlock iPhones. What a bust.

My family and I have been in San Jose over the past few days for the Junior Olympics Water Polo tournament and, in between games, the hotel was a flurry of Pokemon Go activity.

Our hotel, in fact, had a PokeStop. It was this Oasis:

HotelOasis
Calm and peaceful. A perfect place for a PokeStop.

This made me wonder if the game makers sought permission for naming their PokeSpots. While the hotel might appreciate the free advertising, it may be a tad disturbing to their paying guests to have all these extra “guests” while ensconced poolside at their hotel. My son assured me that no one has given any permission for any PokeStop and that that trespassing is rampant. In fact, people are walking into the backyards of people’s houses looking for PokeStops. What could be a PokeStop in someone’s backyard, I wonder.

Perhaps it’s a fountain like the one we saw at the De Anza College campus in Cupertino, California:

This gets PokeStop status.

Or a sculpture:

OmubakaSculpture
Here we have the Omubaka Ambassador Sculpture and, apparently, an Ambassador to the PokeStop.

I vote for this turtle, who wasn’t a PokeStop:

Turtle_DeAnza
What gives?

Sometimes, a PokeStop truly is deserving, like this plaque celebrating an English professor. My son remarked that the quote was nice. Indeed:

plaque2

plaque
It reads: In the shooting lights of thy wild eyes…from a verse from William Wordsworth.

My son used my phone to play and we let the game track our every move, which doesn’t seem to bother anyone anymore. Not in the case of Pokemon Go. Me, I’m betting there’s some other game probably already in the works. You know, like something darker out of a dystopian novel, like play or be eaten. Although what could be darker than enslaving Pokemon to fight until they fade and pass out while fighting in that innocent, healthy arena called a “Gym.”

My son ran around with his buddies later in the week. Without their devices. They were playing a game you may have heard of. Hide-and-Go-Seek.

Yeah, they did. It’s a classic.

Unhinged – Friday Fictioneers

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers. Thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, our talented leader and to Marie Gail Stratford for the photo this week.

The challenge is to write a 100-word story based on the photo. All are welcome to participate.

I took my cues this week from the strange lighting I saw in the photo. Thanks for reading.

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PHOTO PROMPT © Marie Gail Stratford

(100 words)

Unhinged

“Room 484.” Tom said. “I can’t get off my floor. Remember?”

“Try to be calm, sir.”

Despite the illuminated number, the elevator returned Tom to the 48th floor. The stairs proved as unpredictable, a bottomless series of doorways back to his room.

“Can’t you send someone up?” Tom slammed the phone.

He rushed out to the hallway and then he saw them, vacant-eyed and pale.

“Go ahead,” they said, whispering. “Take the concrete plunge. You know you want to. One of us can go free.”

And someone did.

The elevator resumed normal operations for only one. One of the lucky ones.

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For more stories from the Fictioneers, click here.

The X-Files Re-Opened

Tonight the X-Files, the science fiction, supernatural series created by Chris Carter, returns to television on the Fox channel. That’s right. The X-Files will be re-opened. The show aired from September 10, 1993, to May 19, 2002, spanning nine seasons and 202 episodes.

In case you hadn’t noticed, my blog name has always been a kind of spin on this beloved show. The return of the show inspired me to create a new header in celebration. My mermaid is now underwater. I hope you can tell.  

Back in the day, I was a huge fan. I even went to an X-File convention. Yes, I did that! It was in San Diego and there I saw Alex Krycek (Nicolas Lea), FBI Assistant Director Walter Sergei Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) and last, but certainly not least, the genetic mutant serial killer aka Eugene Victor Tooms(Doug Hutchison), you know the guy who could squeeze his bones into sewer pipes. Remember him? He was sitting casually in a breakroom or something. I couldn’t believe the monster was before me. And Krycek? He was smoking hot! I had an extreme crush on him after that convention, eagerly awaiting each episode, hoping to see him once again.

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Alex Krycek, infected with the black oil. Image source: x-files.wikia.com.

The X-Files so inspired me, I even purchased a script at the convention, the first in my possession. Yeah, I was a little geeky about this. This was my Star Wars without the light saber. My Friday nights were built around catching the latest episode of the X-Files and nothing could ever interfere with that, an era when you waited for new episodes and nothing was leaked about them; social media didn’t even exist. Can you imagine?

Fox Mulder (David Duchovnyand Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) were so green. I felt like I was a part of something fresh. I had never seen either of them before and you felt like you, too, were a part of these moments they were experiencing for the first time. They had an edgy, natural chemistry. I mean were they ever going to have sex or what? They kept you guessing. The writing was inventive and intriguing, the stories spooky fun and strange, leaving you with the feeling something could be lurking around you or crawling under your skin.

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Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Are you guys even attracted to each other? Image source: observationdeck.kinja.com.

Admittedly, by the end of the series, I felt pretty twisted and turned around with each episode, and had more questions than answers. The movie which later came out, ignored all these questions with no answers in sight, but rather spawned more and more questions. Now, it’s more of a blur than ever. These questions still cling to my subconscious:

  • Whatever was that black oil coming out of their eyes and why did it have to come out of Krycek’s eyes?
  • More importantly, will Mulder ever learn what happened to his sister? Will he reunite with her? On a different planet perhaps?
  • What happened to Mulder and Scully’s son? What a minute, was it their baby?
  • Did the Cigarette Smoking Man light a cigar for Scully and her baby?
  • Are the super soldiers alien hybrids?
  • Are The Lone Gunmen still alive? Do they still believe?
  • Will Mulder and Scully still whip out those cool flashlights?
  • Did Skinner retire from the FBI and flee to a deserted island? Will Skinner be in a good mood?
  • Are the Anasazi Indians the missing link?  Maybe they can commune in the tent again and sweat out all the answers.

I’ve read there are 16 answers we must have from the 6 episodes scheduled to air. In all the pre-hype, I learned that the original theme was based on the How Soon Is Now song from The Smiths. Who knew? Chris Carter requested that  Mark Snow, the show’s music man, come up with something with jangling guitar and the iconic theme song was born! And now, a new theme song will emerge with these new episodes. Reviews have called these new episodes a little overstuffed and devoid of all their previous charm, leaving new watchers wondering what all the fuss was about. I’m just thrilled they’re back. 

As for me, my decision to discontinue cable prevents me from watching tonight’s episode. What?! Perhaps I will wander into a Best Buy searching for a new TV and just accidentally turn to the Fox channel. Or just maybe I’ll binge-watch previous seasons. That could be a whole new experience. Just maybe I could put the pieces together better, not having to wait so long in between. The silver lining is I can watch all these shows with my kids. We watched one episode and they wanted to see the next! Now that is something I could never have predicted. Watching the X-Files with my kids, while new episodes are waiting in the wings. It’s golden.

Santa and Friends: The Real Story Beyond the Lights

Looking at all the colorful lights and holiday displays you would probably say everything is going splendidly. But I promise you, things are not always as they seem. I felt a lot of anxiety in the air as I drove through my neighborhood. Maybe Santa and friends are anxious about the big night. Could be. I don’t know, but I got an earful as I drove by their happy, smiling, sometimes tipped over bodies. This is what I heard. This is the real story:

Holiday1

Why do they always put us on top of the roof? I don’t know why, but I feel a bit distant, forgotten, like they don’t care. Can anyone even see us here? Is anyone looking? Hey you, down there. We’re up here. Just keep waving.

Holiday2

That’s on TOP of the roof…Up on the housetop reindeer pause, Out jumps Good Old Santa Claus…ring any bells? They make my life so difficult.

Holiday3

What are they doing putting all three of us together like this? It confuses the kids. They already see us at all the malls. I say on 3, we scramble. Ready: 1 -2- 3…

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There! That ought to do it. They won’t have a clue now.

Holiday5

Wipe that smile off your face, Prancer. You think you’re special because you can fly. Lend a hoof why don’t you? And take that wreath off. It’s only going to slow you down and it looks ridiculous.

Holiday6

Santa, you know I would help if I could…and even if I could, I can walk too good. I’d probably slow you down. I certainly can’t fly, just so you know.

Holiday7

No one thinks I’m a snowman. No one is buying this. Whatever is this prickly, brown material I sit on? Where is the snow?

Holiday8

If my photo wasn’t so blurry, you could see that I’m a beautiful peacock. I’m the one that isn’t that obnoxious red or green color. I have nothing to do with the holidays, but I am the best looking thing on this lawn. I’m marvelous, darling.

Holiday9

We’re already working double shifts at the park over the holidays and now we have to work the neighborhoods, too.
Mickey, I don’t think I can hold on to this package a second longer.
You can do it, Minnie. Just think, soon we’ll deflate and we’ll be touching again.

I must be losing it…I hope you enjoyed that holiday cheer! I’ll be stepping away from my blog until next year. Please enjoy your holiday and be safe.

Wishing you a bright and merry holiday 
and peace, love and happiness for the New Year 2016!! 

With Love,
Amy

The Case of Missing Real Big Bird – Friday Fictioneers

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s amusing photo was provided by Luther Siler. Thank you, Luther.

I had to really trim this piece. I’m going for funny. I hope it still has the frame intact at least. Let me know if these detectives seem remotely familiar.

If you’d like to participate, all are welcome. Here are instructions.

luther-siler
PHOTO PROMPT © Luther Siler

Genre: Humor 

The Case of Missing Real Big Bird

The trail of yellow feathers lead the detectives to Lulu’s door.

“You’re late,” Lulu said, blowing on painted fingernails matching her ruby-red chaise lounge. A bird costume drooped in the corner like an uninvited guest.

“This is the bird?” Hughes retrieved a feather from his coat and compared it with the bird costume, fumbling with his magnifying glass. “It’s synthetic.”

“Aren’t all feathers?” Lulu asked.

“When the man ditched the costume was he naked?” Watkins asked.

Lulu nodded. “This suit is hot.”

“This suit is a fake,” Hughes said. “That means the real Big Bird is still out there.”

“If you say so.” Lulu shooed them out.

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For more stories from the Fictioneers, click here.

Green-Walled Tower Fiction-T’s are Here!

Fiction-T’s from the Green-Walled Tower are here and just in time for the holidays!

David Stewart from the Green-Walled Tower blog has created these incredible T-shirts. I know you’re probably wondering how a T-shirt can be incredible…make no mistake these shirts are stupendous! Why? Because these shirts are Fiction-T’s. David has published his short fiction stories on the back T-shirts. He’s so clever.

David has shared many stories on his blog, many of them dark and twisted, which is why I enjoy them so much. For his Fiction-T’s, he offers seven different stories, all of them are highly creative and imaginative. I had a hard time choosing my favorite. I decided on Three Men Walk into a Bar, a great one for bloggers. You know those moments, when no matter what kind of situation you’re in, you think, “This would make a great blog post. Now excuse me while I take a photo.” You know that moment.

I must be operating on Hobbit time lately. Please address me as Aurelia Bumbleburr from Bindbale Wood. You see I won this T-shirt in a contest sometime during the summer….and I’m only now just telling you about it. I must have got lost in the forest. Yes, that’s what happened.

But as I mentioned, it’s just in time for the holidays. Why not surprise a friend or loved one with a Fiction-T? It’s a unique one-of-a-kind gift. Or, buy one for yourself for the holiday party? Guests will love it and they’ll also have an opportunity to get some reading in at the party.

When you put on one of these Fiction-T’s, you become enveloped in a green, fuzzy glow. I don’t know how it happens! I’ll show you. Look:

FictionGreenT3

Now here’s the story:

FictionGreenT4

Here are examples of the stories printed on the Fiction-Ts. Check it out. Plus I know you want to see how the story above ends.

For a list of the Fiction-T stories posted on David’s blog, click here.

Order your very own Fiction-T here. They came in a variety of sizes and colors.  Don’t delay. Get yours today.

I truly love my Fiction-T and wear it proudly. Thanks, David!

Happy Holidays!!

Shark Crime Investigations – Friday Fictioneers

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers. A little late this week. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting and to Sandra Crook for this beautiful photo.

I just watched a documentary on sharks. I can’t help but write this story. Enjoy.

sandra
PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

Genre: Science Thriller (100 words)

Shark Crime Investigations

Shark Crime Investigator Addison Gimpley patrolled Kipa Beach undisturbed, fixated on the water. Since the shark invasion, the beach emptied out. Five deaths in as many weeks.

A drop of blood was enough to lure the shark, but Addison ruled out local chicken sacrifices and its accompanied drumming vibrations as evidence for the shark’s actions.

But which shark? Tiger? Bull? He needed more data.

“Fancy a swim?” A woman tapped Addison. “You look at the ocean like it might drift away.”

“No, thank you. But don’t let me stop you.”

The carefree, thoughtless tourist has made an appearance. He waited.

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For more stories related to this prompt, click here.