Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pokemon GO on the waterfront

It was a lovely day in Chicago today, probably the last day that will be over 80 degrees until 2017.  I am not a fan of the heat but it was so clear and pleasant by Lake Michigan.  Our Pokemon GO team leader, sub-leader, and I (lowly follower) headed down to Adler Planetarium to catch some Pokemon.  Our lead and sub-leader had great success there last weekend and they allowed me, lowly follower, to come along for the bonanza.

We were not alone.  There were many people walking around, collecting Pokemon, including some children.  Yeah, you read that right, this was a crowd of 90% adults collecting Pokemon in a quest to evolve their present Pokemon.  Except for the heat, it was the perfect day.  Adler Planetarium had the Doane Observatory open and we walked up some stairs for the chance to look directly at the sun through a big-ass telescope with two different filters.  It was fantastic!  We saw spots on the sun that were as big as Earth!  Then we left and got back to the business of collecting Pokemon and I finally scored a bulbasaur.  It was two hours that were very well spent.

What's your nickname on Pokemon GO?  I want to look for you in a gym even though I know that you, whoever you may be, will probably whup my ass.

It was a good day to visit Adler Planetarium and see the view of downtown Chicago


Pokemon GO makes a good day better!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Flamingo: A new view

While I was on vacation, my department changed locations from our stunning view of Lake Michigan to a view of the top of the Dirksen Federal Building.  Just a few steps from my desk is another view I've been longing to see -- Calder's Flamingo from above.

Regular readers will recall my fascination and appreciation of Flamingo.  Alexander Calder's sculpture resides in Federal Plaza which is kitty corner from my workplace.  I've offered many different view of Flamingo, including a shot of the modele in the Art Institute.  The one picture I was missing was looking down on it.

So here we have it, folks.  It's a regular early fall day, the flag is waving, and Flamingo poses silently for us all.  I look forward to a snowfall on Flamingo from above but until then, this makes me happy.

Thanks to my employer for letting me take photos during work hours

Sunday, September 11, 2016

I am still Pokemon GO and on the move

Last week I admitted to my affection for Pokemon Go.  My love has not waned during the week.  Tuesday night, I went to my regular tap class.  My sister, a much better tapper than I am as she practices and is a better dancer than I could ever be, came to my Tap 2 class.  Afterward I said it was a good class that would've been made better had we been able to have our iPhones in hand with Pokemon Go hunting for available Pokemon in the area.  Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle ball change, BULBASAUR, paradiddle, stamp!  She agreed and we walked three blocks out of our way so she could show me how to fight in a gym.  Thanks to her tutelage, I won!
Jynx and I crushed something and someone
Today I am part of a group of three that is going to Navy Pier to look for Pokemon.  I got this text message from our leader yesterday:  "In preparation for tomorrow I highly recommend clearing some room in ur pokego bag for pokeballs by getting rid of some potions and revives

"Also make sure to transfer out any extra pokemon so there's room for catching stuff"

[Author's note: In the world of text messaging, correct spelling and punctuation are for chumps.]

Last night, after slogging around the Renegade Craft Fair for hours (it's a renowned inhaler of time but this year was not an inhaler of money), I came home and transferred all Pokemon extras to the Professor.  I unloaded lots of potions and super potions but kept most of my hyper potions and many revives plus my lures, incense, and eggs.  I kept all 103 raspberries (as advised by our leader) and will collect more Poke balls on the way to the Navy Pier meeting point so that I am ready as soon as I get there.

If you see three desperate characters slogging around Navy Pier with the iPhones in hand, don't say hello because that's not us.  We three aren't desperate, just fans of Pokemon GO.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

I am Pokemon GO

Let's agree about New York City.  It's the entertainment center of America, "if I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere."  It's the financial heart.  It's the fashion mecca.  Artists flock there to create their art and maybe create a thing that is big and popular and forever in the cultural forefront, like a painting or a play.  New York City is also the Pokemon GO place to be.

Pokemon GO is the sensation that melds catching Pokemon with a GPS.  People walk around trying to catch Pokemon which they can evolve into stronger Pokemon and then stronger Pokemon still.  If my sister and I turn on our phones at the same time, we see the exact same Pokemon.  If my niece is sitting a little to my left and she gets a Pokemon, I might have to wave my phone all around her in order to get the same Pokemon but said Pokemon can be had.

Before I left for New York last weekend, my sister told me New York was the only place where you could find a Charmander.  I was going to New York to see hotels and didn't want anything to get in the way of that.  Fortunately, with Pokemon GO you can walk from one appointment to the next and collect Poke balls and perhaps a Pidgey or a Rattata.  You get some exercise -- seven miles on Saturday, as it turned out -- which is part of the Pokemon GO deal.  The GPS finds you and tells you what's nearby.

I visited the Museum of Modern Art, one of the great art collections in the world, free on Fridays from 4pm to 8pm it's free, courtesy of Uniqlo, the Japanese clothing store.  Thanks, Uniqlo!  But it was so stuffed that being there was stuffy, slow going, and kind of uncomfortable.  After 30 minutes, I'd seen Van Gogh's "Starry Night," and a zillion people looking at that painting, including 10 minutes to work my way to be in front of it.  It was a clear night and I returned to my hotel so I could have some water and a little rest.

I needed to visit the Apple Store, a block from my hotel, so I walked.  Why are all those people sitting by the statue of Sherman?  I'd heard rumors that this might be ground central.  I went and had a seat and Pokemon came to me because of a Pokemon lure.  I was very excited to catch things.  I talked to people near me.  One man was from Ohio and his son-in-law got him hooked on Pokemon.  "Have you seen a stampede yet?" he asked.  I asked what that was.  Someone will spot a rare Pokemon on their phones and everyone runs to get it.  I asked if just young people ran and he said no, everyone who wanted that Pokemon went.  He was about 50 and he had participated.  "I'm going back to my hotel in a minute," he said.  "I've been here for a while."  I went over to the Apple Store and came back 90 minutes later. Ohio man was sitting on the steps of the statue."Still here I see," I said. "I am going back to my hotel right now." he claimed. I walked away.  He wanted some Pokemon.  I know the look. 

On the northern side of the Sherman Statue -- which is at the Southeast corner of Central Park -- is the place where the Pokemon GO Meet Up group convenes.  Every Friday night at the Sherman Statue and every Wednesday night at Union Park, like-minded fans get together and collect Pokemon.  The guys who run it do it for free, for love of Pokemon GO, and bring a charging station.  He had a Poke Ball backpack from the late 90s that he'd bought on ebay.  He said it was usually in his backpack and everyone plugged in there but this evening he'd set it up right by the statue and several people were getting a charge.  People from all over were congregating -- Japanese tourists, a family from New Jersey, me, the guy from Ohio, adults and their adult children.

And then it happened!  A sighting of a rare Pokemon!  People ran across the traffic of the street that curves around the statue without looking -- thus explaining the police presence -- and continued running into the park.  At 9:30 pm.  In the dark.  Disappearing into the darkness.  Roughtly 50 to 75 people took off with them, including me.  One of the warnings when you log into Pokemon GO is "Don't enter dangerous areas at night."  So much for that, I thought, as we followed whatever signal it was that said there was something rare inside the park, right by this lagoon.  This is evidence there is safety in numbers and the gods really do watch out for fools.

The rare one wasn't to be found but the night air offered up a Bulbasaur.  I tried to capture it but found out that I had run out of Poke Balls so I turned around and left the park.  I returned to the Meet Up guy and he asked me if I got it.  "I ran out of Poke Balls," I said.  He looked genuinely disappointed for me.  "Oh, man, you can't run out of Poke Balls.  But it was a false sighting anyway.  The radar they're using is faulty."  Yes, there are several radars to be had and one of them likes to give fake readings.  It didn't matter to me because it was so great to be a part of something so culturally current.  The stampede is one of the coolest things I'd done in a while.

The next evening, the day of the seven-mile walk, I was sitting in Union Square, right before I went to dinner, having a short rest and snagging some Pokemon.  A man approached those of us sitting on this stretch of bench and said, "We're going to be shooting a skyline shot of New York from here," and then explained what would be in the shot, including us, that we shouldn't look right at the camera, then turned to get ready to shoot.  Some people got up and left without a word.  The two couples on my left were excited to be on TV.  I said, "I just want to catch Pokemon," and walked away to catch a Beedrill and a Dodrio.  I think I got the better of the deal.

Target is also Pokemon GO