Why Pokemon are Pretty Terrible

It’s not that the entire franchise is based around foisting cheap plastic toys and video games on undisciplined parents who refuse to say no. If that were true I’d have a beef with every cartoon series launched between the 1970s onward. It’s not that the series, after twenty-two years in production, has exhausted the premise of children collecting colourful monsters in a make-believe sport. It’s not that the Pokémon Company plays it so loose with the licensing that they’d make Walt Disney blush. It’s that the whole damn organization is built on a plain of sand.

I was twelve when the franchise was first brought to North America in '96. In my own community, the television series was the vanguard of this cultural revolution. Gameboy’s Red and Blue were still a couple years out. The trading cards would wait on advantageous corporate partnerships before reaching Canadian cafeteria tables and playground pavement. This then, is maybe why I am less inclined to enjoy the pop culture artifact than my younger millennials peers; as Pokémon’s weakest leg lies, by a large margin, in the anime series. Perhaps if I was born a few years later, and been fully immersed in the movement I might have been more inclined to enjoy the series.

Is this fan art or a still from the first season of Pokemon? I can't tell. Photo courtesy of imgur.com https://imgur.com/9d47P

Is this fan art or a still from the first season of Pokemon? I can't tell. Photo courtesy of imgur.com https://imgur.com/9d47P

What is so terrible about Ashe’s adventure on screen to become pokémon master?  If I were to make a checklist of all the terrible things creators can do when crafting a children’s cartoon series I’d end up with a lot of checkmarks on that list. Shallowly written characters -check. Terrible drawing –check. Annoying voice actors –check. Cheap animations and transitions –check. Bad art design –check. There are some exceptions however, the pokémon themselves are often drawn and animated well, this is to be expected considering they are the driving point of merchandise, but it doesn’t help when their actions are on a background of neon intestinal lining in strobe. It’s like the Pokémon Company decided that they would take all the lessons, knowledge and technique that had been developed since the 1960s Speed Racer, throw that in a garbage bin, and light it on fire. This is what grinds my gears so much. Pokémon, for many, is their first experience with Japanese animation, and its poor quality will turn away swaths of people. Those creepy, unrealistic, vertical eyes staring out into nothingness cannot be erased from history.

My peers at the time were split between YTV adherents, and those of us more focused on their burdening puberty.  I myself fell into the second category. This meant that my experience with the clash between Pokémon and Digimon was a tertiary one at best. Even watching the two out of the corner of my eye, hanging out at friend’s houses, while I thought about the girls in my class, I could tell which was the better production. Digimon’s art was far superior, they even managed to incorporate cutting-edge CGI. The characters were well developed, and I didn’t feel like stabbing my ear with a pencil when they talked.

Truly Pokémon is evidence of the marketing adage, first-mover advantage, where the first product to market gains the largest piece regardless of quality. Pokémon is the McDonald’s of pop culture; lots of people enjoy McDonald’s. In this case, I want something of better quality.


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Tristan is a level six wizard imbued with an enchanted Staff of Intelligence. The charming hybrid of punk, geek, and hippie culture. An avid writer, and even more avid reader. His focus covers topics like pop culture, history, politics, gaming, and science fiction.

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Tristan Handley

Tristan is a level six wizard imbued with an enchanted Staff of Intelligence. The charming hybrid of punk, geek, and hippie culture. An avid writer, and even more avid reader. His focus covers topics like pop culture, history, politics, gaming, and science fiction.

Micro Homes Macro Suck

Photo by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash

I see you. Scrolling through social media, admiring the cutesy, quaint, timber little homes that have been spread across your timelines. Maybe you’re even daydreaming, picturing your little family with your little dog laughing over a cup of herbal tea around your tiny little table.

The micro homes movement has taken over the world wide web, television and my sanity. Although, I do agree that adopting a minimalist lifestyle can effectively reduce your carbon footprint, tiny homes are not as glamourous as Pinterest would lead you to believe.

While you’re envisioning all the places you could roll your humble abode, to the Rockies or ocean-side Oregon, I bet you’re not picturing the smells and lack of personal space that will come along with it. I'm here to lay down the reality of tiny homes, not the illusion HGTV has chosen to show you. Here, I'll paint a picture of inescapable odours, poor weather proofing and jail cell sized living.

The Oregonian's Janet Eastman outlined 77 reasons why critics don’t like tiny homes. The arguments are eye-opening and will hopefully save you crucial internet-surfing time. I’ve picked my favourites and outlined them below.

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 The average size of a Canadian home in 2010 was 1,950 square feet. This does seem ginormous and ridiculous but not as outrageous as choosing to cram all of your precious belongings into the 315 square feet of a tiny home. If you really want to live in tight quarters, why don’t you buy this lovely shelter at Walmart for $99.

This “roomy” tent even has fold-down ventilating windows which will help to alleviate some of the questionable smells emanating from both pets and family. If you’re looking to be at one with nature, you can go "glamping" for a lot less. Bonus, there might even be properly functioning bathrooms on site.

Lauren Modery’s blog from hipstercrite.com, describes it like this: How do inhabitants of itty-bitty homes escape smells? "You have nowhere to run. All you can do is walk three feet to the other end of the house and pray."

Now if vanity isn't a concern, then squeezing into tight quarters like these might not sound so bad. But what if the confines that you choose to binge-watch Netflix (on your laptop because you definitely don’t have space for a T.V) while drinking kombucha is susceptible to storms? What if while you're watching episodes of Heartland, your roof just flew off, because you built it yourself, and let’s face it, you’re not Mike Holmes?

According to Eastman this is possible, most of the wood-framed homes erected on travel trailers are homemade projects, sensitive to wind and rain. In many Canadian communities it is illegal to live in an RV or a tiny home on wheels permanently. Because of this, they do not have to adhere to the same strict building codes as homes with foundation that require windows, walls and roofs to withstand powerful storms. Roofs are important people! If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly way of life, it might be easier to just strap some solar panels on your sturdy roof and call it a day.

For more perspective watch the clip below from the hilarious show Portlandia.

 


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Emily Andrechuk can almost always be found nose deep in a novel, usually historical fiction or one of her many travel guides. When she’s not counting her pennies for flights abroad, she’s at home cooking, drinking wine and writing.  She is a direct entry student in Algonquin College’s Professional Writing program.

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Emily Andrechuk

Emily Andrechuk can almost always be found nose deep in a novel, usually historical fiction or one of her many travel guides. When she’s not counting her pennies for flights abroad, she’s at home writing, cooking and drinking wine.  She is a direct entry student in Algonquin College’s Professional Writing program.

Healthy Living Ruins Your Life

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So, here’s the thing. I get bombarded everywhere with voices telling me that I should be healthier. They say I should eat better food, work out more, or go for runs, all under the guise of trying to make me a healthier person. For example:
            “Too many potatoes are bad for you. Here, have some of my veggies.” –Best friend

            “Eat your greens!” –Mom

            “If you’re going to eat so many potatoes, you should be working out too.” –Doctor

            “Potatoes are not a vegetable.” –Classmate

            “Nutella gives you cancer.” –Boyfriend

I mean, it’s pretty clear that all the people who are meant to support me are really just trying to ruin my life. No potatoes? Yeah right. They say that it’s for my own good, but I can debunk their arguments just as quickly as they say them.

Now, this is the kind of healthy living that I can easily support. Who could say no to a home-grown pizza?

ARGUMENT #1: IT MAKES YOU ENERGETIC AND HAPPY

I’ve got one word for you, sister: coffee. Why would I want to subject myself to hours of physical torture every day at the gym, exhausting myself every week just so I can ‘have more energy’? Do you mean to say that tiring myself out at the gym will somehow make me less tired?

On that note, I’d really like to know how suffering through countless hours working out and running, and slaving over salads is supposed to make me happy. That sounds miserable to me! How about I just save myself the pain, the time and all that energy by sipping on a caffeine-filled cup of cappuccino goodness? I can show you instant results.

ARGUMENT #2: IT MAKES YOU MORE COMFORTABLE WITH YOURSELF

This one makes me laugh. You think I’d be more comfortable wearing a veggie crown of carrots and peppers than stuffing my face with those glorious garlic mashed potatoes from comfort-food heaven? Think again.

Additionally, I can assure you that I will not be comfortable with my body when the judgmental walls of mirrors magnify every flaw of my routine and body from every angle. Not only that, but I am put on display so that everyone else at the gym will be able to see how awful I am at working out. Do you really expect me to feel confident with Mr. Macho right there, deadlifting weights twice the size of me? Absolutely not! No, I am most comfortable with myself when I’m cuddled up with my sweatpants and a bowl of potato chips, and you can't tell me otherwise.

ARGUMENT #3: IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR BODY:

Alright, everyone hold the phone. Do you know who I hear complaining about ailments and pain the most? That’s right, it’s all those healthy nuts out there! You certainly don’t hear me crying about how I can’t walk up the stairs because yesterday was leg day. And you won’t see me choking down some revolting protein shake because it’s supposed to make me healthier.

Who are the one’s suffering from knee problems because they run too much? The marathoners. Who are the ones with popped shoulders and arthritis? The weightlifters. Should I mention that half of those who visit physiotherapists are athletes? That’s right. The amount of pain that these ‘healthy’ friends of mine are in really makes me question whether it’s actually good for my body or not.

So this is for you, Mom, and all those other healthy experts trying to ruin my life. I see what game you’re trying to play, and I refuse to take part in it! You think I should ‘take better care’ of myself, but it looks like I’m doing just fine as it is!

And what’s with the hate against the potatoes, anyway?! I’m just sayin’.


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Caitlin Bouwma looks at the world through her own set of binoculars. You'll often find her walking around with a camera or her pen and paper. Optimistic yet opinionated, she’s got a thing or two to say about the activities of her generation and those like it.

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Caitlin Bouwma

Caitlin Bouwma looks at the world through her own set of binoculars. You'll often find her walking around with a camera or her pen and paper. Optimistic yet opinionated, she’s got a thing or two to say about the activities of her generation and those like it.

Get Out of Bed, You're Making Us All Look Bad

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The idea that people born within the same decade can be defined and categorized based simply off when they were born has always been strange to me. Sure, they may share similar pop culture tastes and remember the same events, but does that really mean that their personalities line up? I am aware of the fact that personalities develop in part due to environment, but we talk about generations in the same way we talk about horoscopes (I could write a whole article based on how lame those are, but now is not the time).

The concept has been a major thorn for millennials so far. As the ones currently taking the reigns on the world, all eyes are on us. So far the scrutiny has been harsh and constant. We’re called lazy and entitled. For the most part, preceding generations don’t have much faith that we will be able to steer society in the right direction. Unfortunately, I can’t blame them for making those assumptions. We’ve basically hand-crafted the opinion for them. And as it always tends to be with millennials, the blame falls on the internet.

Through our love of social media, we have crafted and strengthened our generational stereotypes. We’ve made that picture all on our own. Whether it be riddled with jokes or not, this picture is what the other generations see. The internet is everywhere, and is used by most people every day. If you have elder relatives on your friends lists, they see every picture you like and see everything you share. Often that is the only medium they have to form their opinions on us. Personally, I see ‘memes’ every day of people exclaiming how they don’t want to ‘adult’ or that they just want to be at home in their pyjamas.

We all know that most of the things that get posted or shared on social media are riddled with hyperbole. But do our contemporaries understand this in the same way? When they post things, it is direct and to the point. Sure, they share memes to, but often it’s more sentimental. Posts about relatives, posts about religion and the occasional funny cat video. The older generations don’t have to worry about the internet shaping their image, they spent enough time without it that their generational identity was already set in stone.

Now, I’m not repeating the assumption that all millennials are lazy, entitled and self-centred. Quite the opposite, there have been articles written about how our generation is driving companies to think and work differently and have had an impact in plenty of fields. They also talk about how most millennials have very entrepreneurial attitudes in their work environments. But that’s not the public face we put forward. If we want to be taken more seriously now when we are entering the ‘real world’, then we need to put a little more thought in to how we present ourselves. We have the work ethic and the proper etiquette. There is evidence, a little bit of digging will bring it out, but why would anyone bother doing the research if they have a picture already in front of them?

For every silly little meme you post to social media, there’s got to be a story you can tell about things you’ve actually accomplished instead. Everyone has a life offline even though our peers say they really don't care to hear it. We should be using social media to talk about those lives. If you’re not using it to push yourself forward in the best way possible, then you’re only adding to the pile of negative criticism.

So instead of posting a meme, maybe post about what you are really doing. Talk about what you are doing at school, or the challenges you face at work. Post about your stance on politics or social matters that are close to you; do so in a way that conductive of a proper conversation. Screaming in people's faces for change often turns sour. Show people that we aren’t what they say we are. Show them that our generation should be taken seriously. Because our outward face makes it look like we’ve never outgrown our teen years. We are more than our pajamas and beds. And it’s about time we started to show the world that.


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Shane Gordon is a father, geek, and rage-aholic. He likes video games, comic books, and tends to hate long walks on the beach. Considering himself a swiss army knife of writing, he plans on freelancing as a career, just so he can call himself a word mercenary.

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Shane Gordon

Shane Gordon is a father, geek, and rage-aholic. He likes video games, and tends to hate long walks on the beach. Considering himself a swiss army knife of writing, he plans on freelancing as a career, just so he can call himself a word mercenary.

Enter: The Mic Drop

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Welcome to our den of unpopular opinions, where unspoken thoughts are crafted into pixel-etched words. Follow along, as this group of over enthusiastic millennials poke the sleeping bear, stir the pot and cause trouble. We can’t be the only ones who think that some things are a little bit odd these days, right? I mean, avocados are clearly gross. Game of Thrones is way more popular than it has any right to be. Hopefully you find us as funny and challenging as we think we are –but in the likelihood that you are offended, chances are one of us has something to say about that too. We’re just sayin’ what no one else wants to say.

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Caitlin Bouwma

Caitlin Bouwma looks at the world through her own set of binoculars. You'll often find her walking around with a camera or her pen and paper. Optimistic yet opinionated, she’s got a thing or two to say about the activities of her generation and those like it.