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Arts & Entertainment

Lessons Learned Playing Pokémon Go

July 9, 2016

The highly anticipated release of ‘Pokémon Go’ has hit your favorite app store earlier this week and millennials everywhere are rejoicing/practicing really unsafe walking habits. Pretty much everyone I know born between 1985 & 1995 have been reliving their childhood with Pokémon, which I would argue is one of the greatest influences of our generation. It truly crossed race/class/gender/age lines of childhood—I remember being a 7 year old at the bus stop trading Pokémon cards with kids older than me and younger than me (not to mention this was the first time I would entertain the idea of playing with boys). This piece of 90s nostalgia is better than the resurgence of flannel/floral/Blink 182’s recent album. It is bridging those same gaps and bringing people together.

Since its release earlier this week, I’ve learned a lot—both tips for enhancing game play and life lessons. Of course I don’t know anything, so I’ve enlisted the help of my Pokémon Go group chat (titled ‘Team Rocket’. I am not kidding) to get some of their tips and tricks too.

Be careful.

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You will walk into something at least once. I tripped over nothing but the sidewalk yesterday. The sidewalk. Remain alert and stay woke. I use the same rule of thumb that I just learned in driver’s ed: don’t look down for more than one second. I’ve calculated that to be about 3 or 4 steps, depending on how fast I’m walking. One second is typically enough to make sure I’m not about to slam into a person/traffic/etc. Also, if it is late, grab a buddy. Last night I could see a Meowth in my neighborhood around midnight. I had to fight every impulse in my body to not walk around Baltimore City alone at midnight with my iPhone out in the open. But I remembered to be reasonable and save and maybe that wasn’t a great idea. I still don’t have a Meowth tho so 😑. My friend Mike seems  to think people will die playing this game (he has said it 3 times already). I’m a bit more optimistic, but I guess that just stresses the importance of safety.

Don’t Pokemon Go & drive! 

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I have this in a separate section from ‘Be Careful’ because I really need you to hear me. Just don’t do it. Now I don’t drive but I know it is not safe, and multiple people in my Team Rocket group chat who all drive also gave this advice. Just put your phone down. What you can do is leave your app open, if you have eggs incubating your drive time counts as km traveled.

You will kill your battery life.

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Seriously. Just expect it. I took the bus one day from home to work. Left my house at 100%, got to work with 53%. I have a 45 minute bus ride. So yeah…this might be the time to invest in an external battery for your iPhone. Utilize lower power mode as much as possible, available in the app. Also, you will probably blow through your data as well.

You’ll become way more active.

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My co-worker Susie said it best: “I learned that I really hate moving but will walk around in hot ass summer to catch childhood monsters”. No matter how inactive you think you are, you’ll get your ass off the couch because there’s a damn Butterfree in your neighborhood and the little bitch ran away last time you tried to catch it. My friend Haylie has gone on 3 mile walks just to see what she can catch. I’ve started going out of my way to walk more. On Thursday, I got off the bus 7 stops before my stop and walked the 10 blocks home. Yesterday, I left my house 20 minutes before I needed to just so I could do a loop around my neighborhood. I kind of wish I was kidding but also whatever, I’m getting my steps in.

But remember active does NOT mean productive.

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Although you’ll get creative and start exploring more, you may find yourself skirting your everyday responsibilities. Remember to go to work. Remember to eat dinner and take a shower. Remember to write that blog post your promised your business parters you’d write (no matter how close that Psyduck is).

Have a support system. 

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Or as my friend Aaron puts it, “have a squad group chat for your training adventures”. In addition to Team Rocket, I also work with ~85% millennials so also have all of them to lean on. Questions will come up and you will want someone to lean on to give you some good information. Here’s a Facebook group I was invited to for players in Maryland. (PS: you can totally add this post to your list of resources. If you have a game-play question, I’ll answer it and will outsource the answer if I’m not totally sure).

13620281_273373039693130_252307564532520679_nTake a buddy with you on some of your more adventurous quests. If I’d had a Poké-buddy, I could’ve gone exploring to find that Meowth the other night! Also, the more people in an area, the more Pokémon the game brings to that area, so group exploring is totally encouraged.

Somethings aren’t what you’d expect.

Pokémon use stardust and candies to evolve and power up. When you catch a Pokémon, they come with a certain amount of species-specific candies and general stardust (can be used for any Pokémon). These candies are used to help Pokémon get stronger but also to evolve them. The more Pokémon of one type you collect, the more candies and stardust you get. So go ahead and catch that 25th Pidgey, you’re that much closer to your dreams of owning a Pidgeot. Except Eevee. Eevee is a little betch and evolves on her own 😑. You also can’t interact with other people really, although I’m hoping this changes.

You’ll want to throw your phone.

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You will become all-too familiar with the friendly ‘our servers our down, sorry’ message even though they don’t look fucking sorry in that picture. Also, why is Magnemite even there????? You’ll get pissed when a Pokémon runs away from you after you’ve wasted 15 Pokéballs on catching them.

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You also may start to resent the people around you.

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Hearing about victories of people catching Growlithe and you’ve just seen your 50th Zubat of the day. Its tough to not be a little jel of everyone but just know that you’re about to catch a Clefairy and then they’ll be jealous.

You’ll explore uncharted territory.

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A teen in Wisconsin stumbled upon a dead body. People are exploring college campuses, parks, and using public transportation because these seem like ways to get even more Pokémon. Just you know, don’t trespass and you’ll be fine. And alert the authorities if you find a dead body.

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I think my friend Becca sums it up best when she said: “what’s so awesome is how much this game is bringing people together. I’ve heard nothing but stories of strangers coming together which is awesome”. She also thinks gaming is heading in this direction. And that is also pretty cool. I’ve talked more about Pokémon in the past 72 hours than I have in the prior 15 years. I forgot how big Pokémon was in my life, and I am grateful

Are you playing Pokémon Go? What is some of the most valuable advice you’ve received? What questions do you have?

 

Arts & Entertainment

Summer Reading List 2016

June 12, 2016

I absolutely love reading, but I’m such a busy little bee these days (three jobs will do that to ya) that I definitely don’t read nearly as much as I’d like to. But this summer, I’ve decided not to allow myself to make excuses – I’m going to take my summer reading list to the interwebs so I can count on you lovely people to hold a bitty accountable to her goals.  I always have a note in my phone of books I want to read, which I subsequently add to my library wishlist. Yes, I have a library card. Yes, I use it often. Fun fact – both Baltimore County and City libraries have pretty good pick up programs! So even if your local branch is small and doesn’t carry much (cough, Hampden, cough) you can select books online and pick them up. Here’s the books I’m adding to my list this summer, some new, some classics I’ve been meaning to get to / revisit:

 

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1. The Girls by Emma Cline – The webz are blowing up about this soon to be released novel about the girls of a cult inspired by Charles Manson. The book was apparently fought over by publishers and is already signed to a movie deal, so expect to hear about this one around the water cooler this summer. Basically, the internet made me do it.

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2. Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge – Inspired by a true story, Love Water Memory is  about a woman with a rare form of amnesia and her journey of self rediscovery. I feel like I’m constantly on a path to self rediscovery  because #twentysomething, and I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast – so we’ll get along well.

 

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3. You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein – The memoir of one of Amy Schumer’s writers about the trials and tribulations of growing into a full grown Adult Lady in the 21st century. So basically all of our life stories, except she’s actually funny.

 

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4. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton – This is one that’s been on my life book list forever, so I’ve decided this summer is the one. I’ve decided to forgo my annual reading of Perks of Being a Wallflower so I really hope it lives up to expectation. Let’s do this, Ponyboy.

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5. Modern Lovers by Emma Cline – Whatever pool or beach I can manage to park my tush in front of this summer, I’ll throw this read in my bag. A good beach read doesn’t make you think too hard but does make it hard to put down to jump in!

 

What else should I add to my reading list this summer if I get really adventurous? Would you like to see a review of any of these books? Comment below!

Arts & Entertainment

Something to Listen to: Our Favorite Covers

June 10, 2016

In my humble (ish) opinion, a cover is one of the most fascinating things a musical artist can do. The ability to hear another artist’s work and be able to re-imagine it, often in an entirely different form of musical styling, while still maintaining the integrity of the original work, is a skill that has always been so impressive to me. Not only is it a tribute to the original artist, it often brings to light a piece of work that did not receive it’s due attention when originally released – like Ed Cobb’s Tainted Love covered by Soft Cell roughly 20 years after it’s release. (Marilyn Manson’s version of Tainted Love is my favorite of all the versions of this song.)

 Often I find I enjoy the cover version just as much, sometimes more than the original.  I love The Used/My Chemical Romance version of Under Pressure just as much as the Queen/David Bowie version and prefer Butch Walker’s ukulele rendition of Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me. Don’t worry, I’ve included both in this playlist in the event you haven’t heard them. My absolute favorite kind of cover is when the artist picks a more obscure song and covers it so well that I had no idea it was a cover to begin with! Ellie Goulding’s Hanging On is actually Active Child’s Hanging On and Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson do a beautiful rendition of Chris Bell’s I Am the Cosmos (which I thought was their original for the longest time). 

I asked Julie & Danielle to throw a few of their favorite covers into this playlist and I mixed them into my picks. (Can you pick out who listens to what?) I hope you find some new ways to enjoy some of your favorite songs with this 30th & Weldon Favorite Covers playlist. Happy listening! 

Arts & Entertainment

What to Watch: TV Shows That Deal With Mental Health

May 29, 2016

The past few months, I have been watching even more TV than usual. I’ve gotten some new shows under my belt and I realized a few of them had something in common—they all effectively deal with mental illness.

To wrap up May, which is also Mental Health Awareness Month, I’ve rounded up some of the best TV shows that deal with mental health and mental illness. While representations of mental illness in the media can to be a bit problematic due to a lack of understanding/funding and a desire to stereotype, the shows below handle mental illness effectively (semi-spoiler alerts, but not really).

You’re The Worst

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You’re The Worst, at first, seems like a dark indie comedy as it follows a budding relationship between Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere). As the series goes on, it gets a bit more serious and we learn that Gretchen isn’t just sarcastic and anti-social but also is clinically depressed. You’re The Worst has given us one of the most accurate depictions of depression on TV—it isn’t romanticized or dramatized but rather almost normalized. It doesn’t try to explain depression because most often it can’t be explained and can be hard to understand. You’re The Worst acknowledges that depression doesn’t affect people in ‘outbursts’ but rather is something that is underlying and can affect a person daily, even while they’re enjoying mimosas at brunch or the company of their loved ones. The show gives a good glimpse into the challenges of living with it and/or loving someone who does. You’re The Worst never sensationalizes depression, which is why I believe it to be so effective.

Wilfred

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The series-premiere of Wilfred begins with Ryan (Elijah Wood) and his suicide note. Ryan is quickly introduced as manic-depressive and shortly after his attempt of suicide, he meets Wilfred (Jason Gann), his neighbor’s dog. While to most of the characters on the show Wilfred is a typical little pup, Ryan and Wilfred are able to communicate and speak to one another, Ryan seeing him as an adult male dressed in a dog costume. Throughout the entire series, it is unclear as to whether Wilfred is truly something Ryan has made up or if his bond with Wilfred is real and the show is slightly mystical (really because Wilfred is so damn convincing) but Ryan’s manic-depression is prevalent throughout the series. Wilfred helps him cope with that and helps him get out into the world (Wilfred also sometimes gets Ryan into pretty shitty situations).

Degrassi: The Next Generation

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Okay—I know, I know. I was reluctant to putting Degrassi on this list, because sometimes I find the way they deal with mental illness as a very ‘mister-of-the-week’ approach, in that one week a character will be struggling with an eating disorder/depression/self-harm/etc and then the next week they are magically cured. While this approach in one vein can be very problematic, I also commend Degrassi for introducing these issues to young adults. I watched it growing up and, while now I’ve outgrown it, it’s still an effective tool for making mental health issues more accessible for younger folks who may not realize what they are dealing with/where to turn/etc.

Community

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In Community, Abed has an undiagnosed psychological condition (although Aspergers is hinted at), which makes it difficult for him to understand and affectively communicate with people—despite this, the people around him love him which helps make social disorders more accessible. At first, Abed just seems to be a bit strange and maybe kidding half the time but as time goes on we see that he truly believes his life is a TV show and at some point, does suffer some sort of breakdown. Community also acknowledges the fact that people of color can suffer from mental health issues as well, something not prevalent enough in modern media.

United States of Tara

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United States of Tara follows Tara Gregson, a suburban mother with dissociative personality disorder (DID), more colloquially referred to as multiple-personality disorder. The show is a dramatic comedy and gives a look into how DID can affect families, as hers doesn’t know, when speaking with Tara, if they’ll be greeted by their mother, an angsty teenager girl, a beer & gun loving middle aged man, or a 1950s’ housewife. Although the show does have a highly comedic twist, it also does have some truth in its portrayal of dissociative personality disorder—Tara’s personalities are often triggered by events in her life, and according to the DSM, differing personalities can totally span genders and ages. I find other portrayals of DID to be very kitschy (and almost pretending like it isn’t a mental health issue) so I appreciate US of Tara a lot for that—the show and character become more complex as time goes on and her story a bit more serious as well.

I can think of a few more that, just for space, didn’t make it into this post: Shameless and Empire both have characters that live with bipolar disorder, and Netflix Originals BoJack Horseman & Love both deal with depression and addiction, in both comical and more serious ways. The character Ilana in Broad City is actively taking anti-depressants and the show has done a good job of “de-stigmatizing depression and the use of psychotropic medications” (said so eloquently by my friend Devon). Orange Is The New Black‘s Suzanne (Crazy Eyes) gives some insight into how mental health in the United States prison system is dealt with, while Homeland shows how it is still highly stigmatized within the US government. And of course, Girls so poignantly tackled OCD with Hannah’s famous Q-Tip scene.

The stigma surrounding mental health issues is still a huge issue and, while there is still much work to be done, I’m glad that slowly but surely we can try to move towards a direction of understanding. TV will never be perfect but I am glad these shows are slowly pushing the envelope.

Have there been any shows that have help shaped your understanding of mental health issues? Comment below!

 

Arts & Entertainment

Podcasts I’m Loving Right Now

May 15, 2016

It all stared with a few too many trips back and forth to NJ. I got bored while driving, which in turn made me pay less attention. As a matter of public safety, I started listening to Harry Potter on audiobook instead of music. And while the limit does not exist on how often I can listen to HP, I did start to branch out – looking for something else to listen to that was engaging but not always having the time to invest in a whole book. I started asking around about podcasts, and naturally Serial was the first one I listened to.

Since then, podcasts are the #1 thing that I play when driving anywhere further than 10 minutes and I’m always on the hunt for new ones to subscribe to. If you haven’t joined the proverbial bandwagon, podcasts are basically recorded radio shows that are available for free on iTunes / the interwebs. Very accessible, on pretty much any topic under the sun, and new content delivered regularly. Shae and I have both discussed podcasts before, regarding commuting and work travel, but haven’t really talked about which ones.

So what do I listen to? Here’s just a couple of the podcasts I’m loving right now, but I’m always looking for new ones.

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RuPaul: What’s The Tee? With Michelle Visage: If you didn’t see this one making this list, we obviously aren’t friends yet. Listening to Ru and Michelle banter is like having lunch with old friends who happen to invite really interesting famous people to join, like Marc Jacobs and Ross Matthews.  They discuss everything from eyebrow pencils to self-esteem, and I love every minute.

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Monocle 24: The Entrepreneurs: A podcast that highlights different companies and their Entrepreneurs, like Shark Tank for your ears. The fact that their UK based and therefore there’s lots of fun accents certainly doesn’t hurt either.

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Missing Maura Murray: For fans of True Crime shows, the Missing Maura Murray podcast is by Tim Pilleri and Lance Reenstierna about an active missing persons case they are making a documentary about. Maura Murray was a college student who, following a series of unfortunate events, crashed her car in rural New Hampshire in 2004. By the time the police arrived at the scene, she was gone and hasn’t been seen since. The story has so many details and is fascinating, but the fact that the case is still open can also be infuriating.

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This American Life: If you’re already into podcasts, this is an obvious answer. But I just started listening (no idea what  I was waiting for) and it really is as good as everyone says. Each week there is a theme, and you hear different people’s stories around that theme. Great choices and interesting people make for a great hour of listening.

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Being Boss: My new obsession is creative / boss lady / entrepreneur podcasts – I have 3 or 4 more in my feed that I haven’t started yet. But this one I already love. After it was recommended to me at the last Lady Boss event by Heart and Dash, I haven’t stopped listening and recommending it to any lady boss (or creative man boss or any boss really) that crosses my path. The interview with Brené Brown changed my life. Seriously. (Episode #42. Go. Now.)

 

What podcasts are you into? Leave ’em in the comments so I can keep adding to my feed!