Saturday, November 30, 2019

Day 63 - Mark

Mark belonged. He belonged with his Pokémon and in Unova and with his family and so many other places. He always had, he just could not see that for a little while. Now that he had defeated the new Team Plasma that belonging was no longer threatened, and now that he was the Unova champion he had no reason not to return home and enjoy the company of those he really belonged with.

The real Mark was my great grandfather. I have never heard my Grandma say a negative word about her father, and she loves to talk about him. She had stories upon stories about how good of a father he was, about how handsome he was, about his kindness, etc. Mark was born in 1905 and like many of my ansectors lived nearly his entire life in Utah. He lived in Kanosh Utah to be more specific. He got married when he was 25. Mark died fairly young at only 60 years. Because he is only one generation removed I will soon call my Grandma and ask her to share with me briefly about his life for one of the podcast episodes. Pictured on the left is him with his sweetheart Nina, the second namesake (coming up in a few games) that I actually had the chance to meet in my lifetime.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Day 61 - Happy Thanksgiving

Mark was beginning to recognize how many people embraced and welcomed him. He was grateful for their care and adoration and was learning that that feeling of safety and love was a feeling of belonging. By helping his friend Hugh work to reunite his sister with her stolen Purrloin Mark was seeing the contrast of those who are not in a safe and united place and noticing he was not in that trap of desperation.

Happy Thanksgiving! Today Alissa and I hosted thanksgiving at our house for our family and 2 other families. It was great to be surrounded by friends who love us. It was wonderful to feel the loving feelings of belonging that community brings. It was a day I needed and I am grateful for it. I historically have never really liked Thanksgiving, but today was a good one. As for a few things I am grateful for...

  • My Sweet Beautiful Alissa
  • My Wonderful Friends
  • My Family
  • My Mormon Heritage
  • Having a decent, if not difficult, job
  • Our little rental house
  • My Nintendo Switch
  • Just about all things Pokémon
  • The Possibility filled Future
  • The many people who have helped me with this project
  • Vacation
  • My somewhat recent faith journey
  • You dear reader
  • So so much more

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Podcast Episode 4 - Thank You Game Freak (you) Lied with Sonny

I don't think that Game Freak and The Pokémon Company have ever experienced a year of controversy like 2019 has been. With Pokémon Sword and Shield releasing earlier this month the controversy has reached its boiling point with fans everywhere either declaring their gratitude towards Game Freak (using #ThankYouGameFreak) or their overflow of frustration with the company (using #GameFreakLied). I really wanted to give members of the community on each side of the controversy a fair chance to share their feelings. I could not find someone who believes the Game Freak Lied to help me out, but I need to thank Sonny (@blkck on twitter) for talking to me about why he wants to thank Game Freak. Music credit for this podcast goes to Mikel. Thank you for listening!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Day 59 - No One Left Behind

Days ago when Mark was exploring the Desert Resort he had noticed a Dwebble following him around. No matter where he traversed across the dunes the Pokémon appeared committed to follow him. At the time Mark had no interest in Dwebble so he had not paid the little Pokémon any attention. Now days later Mark could not get the Dwebble out of his mind. Perhaps the Dwebble was looking for a place to belong just like Mark was. So, Mark returned to Desert Resort and not far from the entrance that same Dwebble was there, to Mark it almost felt as if he was waiting for him. He did not even need to weaken the little Pokémon and she stayed in the first Poké Ball he tossed her way. Even if Mark was still struggling to belong he was not going to deprive another soul the privilege of feeling loved or fitting in.

I am loved. It is possible my lack of feeling like I belong is more in my head than anything else. Regardless it is something I am working through at the moment, and I aim to keep working on figuring it out.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Day 58 - Rotation Battles

On Mark's journey he encountered a few trainers that participated in an alternative type of Pokémon battle. Called Rotation Battles, these required trainers to coordinate and battle with 3 Pokémon as if they were one. As Mark joined in these complex pieces of balancing art he could not help but realize how when one of a team's three Pokémon fell their team had all but lost the battle. The remaining turns usually felt like only a formality. On the best rotation teams each Pokémon served a purpose, they all belonged. Mark wondered if that is why he did not feel he belonged, because apart from his family he had never really been a part of something; he had never had a purpose. Mark deeply wanted a purpose. He loved watching his Pokémon rotate in and out of battle to help each other achieve victory. He liked how both dependent and supportive they were on each other. He wanted to find a place he could rotate into both to help others and to be helped when he needed it.

Community is an important part of belonging. Good communities help to give us both a role and a purpose. The times in my life when I have felt the greatest sense of belonging were when I was heavily participating in a community. Sometimes that community was a group of friends, my church, my family, a group or class at school, or even a sports team. Each of those communities helped make me feel a part of something greater and helped me feel belonging and purpose. Unfortunately at the moment I am struggling to feel belonging or acceptance in the communities I have currently, and I have not had success in finding new ones that fit who I am today. Eventually I will have that again, I have hope and faith in that future.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Day 57 - Belong

Today a man in Castelia City confided in Mark that he did not feel he belonged. He was once a part of Team Plasma which had given him a great deal of purpose and direction to his life, but when the group was defeated and then disbanded by Brigham 2 years prior the man began to feel extremely lost. Mark really wanted to help this man feel like he was a part of something but no matter how hard he himself tried to belong he too felt out of place. Mark just wanted to belong and he was not even sure what belonging looked like. Meeting this man just stoked his fears that he may never really belong anywhere.

I know this is more of the same from the last post, sorry about that. But what is means to belong has really been on my mind lately. I have felt like I belonged in may different places and times in my life but at the moment I am lacking that feeling a bit.

 Alissa and I were on vacation again, this time in Boston for the weekend. We attended a BYU football game (Cougars Won!), took a look downtown, and ate way too much seafood. Now we are back and I have finally caught up all the auxiliary pages of the website. I will probably be able to finish and upload last week's podcast episode tomorrow or Tuesday night at the latest. The good news is no more traveling vacations are planned for the rest of the year at this point and I am finally on pace with a game again. First time since Pokémon LeafGreen. Things are looking up for this project!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Day 55 - Pokémon Black 2 Begin

Mark had never felt like he belonged anywhere. He barely even lived in his region of Unova, so he was not sure he belonged to it. However, having just received his very own Pokémon Mark was determined to set out from home and not return home until he knew were he belongs.

It is important to find belonging in our lives. I lately have been feeling very out of place and like I do not belong. Perhaps by exploring this theme with Mark I will find some belonging.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Day 54 - Brigham

After defeating the Pokémon League's Elite Four and pursuing N into his Castle Brigham ran once again into his father. This confrontation was much different than their last encounter had been. Brigham's father confessed to his son that shortly after joining Team Plasma N had entrusted a Pokémon to his care and for him to use in his work to liberate Pokémon. But now that Team Plasma's plans were successful he was dreading the thought of having to once again say goodbye to his Pokémon friends. He felt this new Pokémon loved him as much as he loved her. Working alongside the small creature had made him doubt all that Team Plasma stood for. Brigham encouraged his father to keep his new Pokémon friend and stressed that they would always be welcome family to him. Brigham then went on to confront N and after a battle N admitted he felt swayed to allow trainers to keep their Pokémon, his heart was changed seeing the mutual love and affection between Brigham and his Pokémon.

The real Brigham was my Great Grandfather. He was born and raised in Utah and like many of my ancestors served a religious mission in his youth. He registered for the draft of both world wars. The stand out attribute that he was known for in his old age was his vitality. At 80 he decided to learn how to water ski, and when he was 81 a local paper published a story about how active he was. He lived a long life passing away at 89.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Day 53 - Pressure

Everyone was relying on Brigham to save the world and although Brigham was beginning to feel more secure in his convictions to keep his Pokémon by his side it was a lot of pressure. He was beginning to realize that the reason everyone was relying on him so heavily was because of their own self doubts. Cheren was unsure if he still had a reason for wanting to be a strong trainer. Bianca was unsure if she could be successful as a Pokémon Professor. The Champion, Alder, worried he was failing as champion every since one of his Pokémon friends passed away. Professor Juniper wondered if it was somehow her fault N had discovered the resting place of Zekrom before she did. Brigham's mom blamed herself for not returning to training Pokémon so that she could fight alongside her son. They all put pressure on Brigham because of their own insecurities. Somehow realizing this gave Brigham strength to push forward with his team. On to Victory Road!

I am still looking for someone who thinks #GameFreakLied to talk to me for this week's Podcast. If you are interested please reach out to me on twitter @AllGamesProject

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Day 52 - The Same Coin

Brigham's mom referred to herself as "Senior Trainer Mom" on the phone today. It was a small thing, but Brigham still felt the pressure of choosing to continue training Pokémon behind her words. He knew she was so proud of him for all he had accomplished so far. Truth be told he loved Pokémon and felt like they were his partners, succeeding with him and not just for him. But there was still a part him that wondered if he was wrong. And then there was N, the handsome young man he had met who was leading Team Plasma on their brigade to liberate Pokémon. He seemed so sure of himself and his Pokémon friends were truly free yet still battled beside him. Was that kind of unity possible for Brigham with his Pokémon? N seemed to believe he and Brigham were two sides of the same coin. But how could that be possible? N seemed so sure of himself and Brigham felt for them to be true opposites N would need to have as much inner turmoil as he had himself.

I feel out of place in life right now. It is no fun. If you want to understand what I mean by that, then ask me personally.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Day 50 - Kicking Against the Pricks

Brigham ran into his father today. The Driftveil Gym Leader had required him to apprehend some members of Team Plasma that had stolen some local people's Pokémon. After pursuing the thieves into a Cold Storage unit Brigham was surprised to see his father among those huddling inside. He was shocked that his father seemed to be involved in such criminal activities. Likewise, Brigham's father was disappointed that Brigham was still traveling with and training Pokémon. As the authorities arrived and escorted him away in handcuffs he shouted back to his son, "Have you not witnessed the pain of the Pokémon you profess to be your friends? Do you not feel incredible guilt for confining them regularly to cage like balls and only releasing them when it suits your needs? Why do you continue kicking against the pricks of what your heart is urging you to do?" Brigham was extremely troubled by all ports of the interaction: the circumstances of it, his role in the apprehension, the words his father had spoken to him. Brigham was overwhelmed. He hoped to get to talk to his father in captivity before leaving Driftveil, but as he returned to the town square he discovered that the captured Team Plasma members, including his father had escaped and were once again at large.

The leaders of the local unit of the church I currently attend have been kicking against the pricks. There is a new training that church members who work with youth and children need to complete to help them be more aware of the warning signs of abuse. Our unit's leaders are in effect exempting people from completing the training, because it is a nuisance to have everyone complete it. This is ridiculous. And I am furious.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Day 48 - Empathy

Brigham was doing well as a Pokémon trainer. He had added a few new Pokémon to his team and his Tepig, Heber, had evolved into a Pignite! He had challenged and earned gym badges from three different gyms! He had even teamed up with his Pokémon to rescue someone's kidnapped Pokémon. Despite all of his early success something was really bothering him. He hurt deeply whenever one of his Pokémon fainted. He saw their pain and felt empathy for them and their pain. He also felt guilty for putting them in harms way just so he could have his success or feel the thrill of battling. He was already beginning to better understand why his father had had a dramatic change of opinion about training Pokémon, and he wondered if perhaps Team Plasma was right in thier belief that no one should own Pokémon or make them fight. Brigham was terribly conflicted.

Overall I feel that Empathy is a skill and a gift. Having Empathy can help us to lighten the burdens of other and allow us to cause less unintended hurt. Yet, sometimes it is difficult when we feel empathy towards others. It can be exhausting to share and live in that pain with others. On occasion it can bring us down and make us question our own behavior. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is difficult nonetheless to be regularly bending and expanding ones self. I regularly strive to have greater sympathy and empathy for those around me, and I hope by doing so I can be molded into a better version of myself!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Day 46 - Pokémon Black Begin

Brigham was raised in a house divided. His parents had met young while they were both Pokémon trainers. They bonded over their love of training and battling Pokémon. Brigham had always found the whole thing quite romantic and when he was young he had secretly hoped he would meet his wife when he eventually went on his own Pokémon journey. Then a few years ago his dad met a charismatic man named Gorm. Gorm had convinced Brigham's father that owning Pokémon was immoral and that they needed to be free. Rashly, Brigham's father released both his and his wife's Pokémon so they could be free! This caused quite a bit of a disruption in their home, Brigham's wife could not be convinced that what her husband had done was correct, but perhaps what caused the most contention was the question of whether or not young Brigham would be allowed to train his own Pokémon one day. In the end Brigham's parents split up with his father moving out, but they agreed to allow Brigham to make the decision himself. Now Brigham had a Tepig to train and he was not sure if training that Pokémon was right or wrong. He was extremely conflicted.

With this game I am going to try hard to get back into writing more interesting blog posts. With my time away from home last game was a bit spotty. I think it will be fun to explore Brigham's inner turmoil about training and battling with Pokémon, two things his parents vehemently disagree on.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Day 45 - Whit

Whit has completed his many goals and seen the world! And with his diverse family of Pokémon he would never feel confined to New Bark Town again. However, after his travels and reaching his goal of becoming the Pokémon Champion relaxing in New Bark Town sounded nice.

Whit is my late Grandfather. The first namesake for this project that I knew personally. Grandpa Whit was great. He had 11 children, 9 boys and 2 girls. He would frequently tell both friends and complete strangers about how all 9 of his sons were Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scouts. He served in the Navy during the tail end of World War II and return to serving there for a year afterwards. He was a true Christian both in belief and action. He filled his life with service to his fellow brothers and sisters including a 2 and 1 half year mission to Denmark, the home of our ancestors. He was very proud of being able to speak Danish, and I think he might have been a little disappointed that only 1 of his children ever learned Danish. I am a guilty party there, never learning the language myself. Grandpa Whit worked as a Mathmatician, Statistician, and with some of the earliest computers. Much of his career he worked in education. At this juncture where I am considering graduate school in similar fields I feel a certain extra kinship towards him. This is why I included a picture of him from his Masters Program Graduation. I think I might want that too.

He lived the second half of his life on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There his favorite store was Menards. He would buy just about anything there if it was on sale or he had a rebate. Because of this anytime we visited him and my Grandma each grandkid could go pick one item out of his Menards box. Usually it was just a bunch of pens, highlights, and measuring tapes but every once in a while there was something really neat in there. One visit I grabbed a screwdriver with over 20 different bits. I was so excited to get something so substantial from the box and he was happy to tell me all about how cool that screwdriver would be for helping my Dad with chores around the house. My Dad definitely used the screwdriver more than I did, but it is still a fun memory for me.

There are so many fun memories I could share about this good man. He made me laugh regularly and was always keeping himself busy. Once I called him after my dad teased me for spilling milk on my shirt at dinner. Seeking retribution 15 year old me asked Grandpa Whit, "Did my Dad have a drinking problem when he was my age?" mortified he quickly shouted out for his wife and my Grandma. I definitely could have worded my question much better, but afterwards that experience gave me a great laugh (for those keeping score, according to Grandma my father never spilled anything ever on himself). It will be cliche to my siblings and many cousins but my favorite memory of Grandpa Whit has to be watching him count the fingers of strangers. His favorite trick was to count people's fingers in a way that totaled eleven eleven fingers to see if they could understand the trick. He would do this with everyone: the clerk at the store, the server at a restaurant, people at a park, his doctor, kids at church, friends he had not seen for years, everyone! If I have time tomorrow I will record of a video of me doing the trick and you can tell me if you can figure it out.

As you can see I have a lot to say about my Grandfather. I think he was wonderful, and I wish I could have known him more. He was and is one of many lights in my life! Love you Grandpa Whit!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Day 43 - Ready for Anything

Whit felt he was ready for anything! He had finally caught a full team of 6 Pokémon and had 8 gym badges! He was confident he would have no trouble becoming the new Champion!

Back from vacation, but I am a bit tired. I will get back to writing more full, engaging, and story filled blog posts soon. Thank you for your patience while I have been visiting family and friends.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Podcast Episode 3 - Pokémon Leaks with's Ryley

How does this keep happening? Game Freak has had huge leaks with almost every Pokémon game they have published in the past 10 years? We discuss the leaks and why they occur. I also had a little stress stint a week ago while playing my games so Ryley talks me through avoiding and getting through project burnout! Music credit for this podcast goes to Oblivian. Thank you for listening!

Track: Pokemon - Lavender Town Theme (Mikel Remix)
Music provided by Oblivion.
Subscribe to Mikel:

Day 41 - Dim Cave

Whit caught a "rare" red Gyarados at the Lake of Rage, he named her Sparkle. He did not need another water Pokémon on his team, but he still wanted to spend time with his new friend. When he was given the opportunity to take any one of his Pokémon on a stroll through Dim Cave Whit knew exactly who to take. While he and Sparkle were strolling through the cave he caught a glimpse of a little adorable baby Pokémon! It was so cute Whit immediately decided he would try to catch it for his team.

Pokémon Soul Silver was originally sold with an external device called the Pokéwalker. It is a pedometer with some Pokémon mini games built in to it that can connect to your main game via infrared. You can find items and catch Pokémon on it the more you walk. I have been carrying one around since getting on vacation and nearly have enough points to capture the Pokémon I have been pursuing!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Day 40 - Delivering Kenya

It was time for Whit to say goodbye to Kenya. In Cainwood he met a boy so terrified of losing his Pokémon, Shuckie, that he gave him to Whit to protect. Although the boy insisted, he was in tears as Whit left with his beloved Shuckle. That got Whit thinking about how much Kenya's owners must be missing him. Kenya had helped Whit win 2 gym badges, and he had been a great companion. It was a hard goodbye, but Whit enjoyed how happy Kenya and his trainer were to be reunited!

In Virginia playing today. Podcast incoming tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Day 38 - Pokémon Loan

Kenya was a good Spearow, but he was an even better Fearow. The only problem was that Kenya was not Whit's Pokémon. Randy, the Goldenrod City gate guard, had loaned Whit Kenya to deliver with a letter to his friend outside of Violet City. Since then Whit had been in Violet City, but could not bring himself to deliver his newly evolved friend. Instead Whit headed north to Ecruteak City, where he explored a burned tower and glimpsed some legendary beasts with Kenya. Then the two of them took on Morty to win Whit's fourth gym badge. Afterwards, Whit felt it was finally time to finish his task and deliver Kenya, but he still could not bring himself to do it. Whit was worried he might need to steal Kenya, because of how painful the thought of giving him up was.

Tomorrow Alissa and I are driving down to visit my parents. Because I will be traveling I likely will not be posting a blog post tomorrow, but on Thursday I will update you on any travel adventures I might have found myself on!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Day 37 - Woop-De-Doo

Whit had caught a Pokémon on his own. A Wooper he nicknames Morsel. He loved his new little friend. She was so cute he could barely stand it. He decided to not let her evolve so he could spend more time with her as a cute little baby!

Wooper is my favorite Pokémon, so this was my sappy little tribute. I kept it short, you are welcome.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Day 36 - Pokémon SoulSilver Begin

Whit was bored. He always was. There really was not much to do in New Bark Town. He spent most of his days watching his friend Lyra play with her Marill. He really wanted a Pokémon of his own. Imagine his surprise when on his birthday his neighbor Professor Elm invited him over to gift him a Pokémon of his very own! His mom must've been in on it too because she gave him a Pokégear and a Trainer Card for his birthday. To cap the day off Professor Oak from the Kanto region challenged him to go on an adventure with his new Pokémon! This was going to be a great year for Whit.

I have a confession. Although Russell's story is complete I have not been able to defeat the Elite Four and Champion. It has become a real grind and slog finishing that game up. So I am moving on to this game and will give another try to the Elite Four and Champion of that game until I finish it up. My number one rule was to have fun and I was beginning to dread playing Pokémon Diamond each day, but moving on in this way should keep me motivated to keep moving forward!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Happy Annibirthary Alissa

Today is my wife's Birthday and our 6th wedding anniversary. As one if my gifts to Alissa I am taking the day off from Pokémon tomorrow while we celebrate and instead of a usual post today I dedicate this post to the love of my life.

I love and adore you Alissa. I love who you are and love who you are becoming. It has been magical to watch you blossom and grow over the past year in so many ways. You are a brilliant and deep thinker, and I enjoy our many talks about the world and the philosophical. I admire how you have let the challenges you have faced over the course of our 6 years together mold you into becoming a more caring and kind person. I love your capacity to listen to others and to honestly consider their opinion and your effort to understand their perspective even if it is far from your own. I find your ever constant desire to serve others and your instinctual reaction to say yes to just about any request for help both fascinating and admirable. Thank you for always encouraging me to be creative and to pursue my numerous and seemingly never ending dreams. Thank you for your patience with me and my many quirks. And thank you for striving to always improve and never settle. You know I have never been one to call our 6 years of marriage easy, to be honest I still consider marriage the hardest thing I have ever done. But I am glad I get to take that challenge on with you! You make my life and our marriage a delight. I love you and I always will.

- Tanner