How to Track a Specific Pokémon


EDIT 8/5/16: It seems that the developers have abandoned all tracking methods and there are currently no plans to add them back into the game. :(

EDIT 7/17/16: This tracking method has been corroborated by multiple sites, however the GPS function on the Pokémon Go app has developed some issues. This method does not currently work, and the paw print distance indicator isn't functioning either. The game is still playable, but there is no known way to track individual Pokémon until the issues are fixed. Hopefully, that is soon.

Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm! People from all walks of life are walking for miles to catch digital creatures, hang at Poké Stops, and meet other players. The game is even more popular than porn!  All of us have favorite Pokémon that we want to catch and evolve to the next level, but it can be hard to catch enough of our favorites to make that happen.

Here is the method that I have put together to track down specific Pokémon that are nearby. I developed this method through sources I found online and my own trial and error. Your milage may vary, but it's been very successful for me!

1. First, it's important to be observant and make note of where different Pokémon spawn. They tend to reappear in the same general areas, so you're more likely to catch a specific Pokémon in an area you've seen them before. While water Pokémon tend to spawn near water areas on the map, there is no evidence that electric 'mon spawn near power plants, etc.

2. To track a specific Pokémon, it has to appear on your "Nearby" screen, which means that it is in a few block radius of you. Open that menu by tapping the white bar at the bottom right of your main screen that shows three Pokémon. NearbyCropWhen the menu pops up, it will show a list of up to nine Pokémon. Walk around in an area where you know that your desired Pokémon spawns until it appears in one of the nine slots on your "nearby" tab.

3. The Pokémon in the first spot is the closest to you and the Pokémon in the ninth slot is the farthest away. If you are heading towards your targeted 'mon, it will bump closer to #1 on the list. If you are headed the wrong direction it will bump to a lower number or disappear from the list entirely. Use this as a hot/cold guide to finding your Pokémon. For example, if you are headed north and your 'mon bumps from 5th to 1st, yay! But if then it bumps back down to second, you know you've gone too far north. Retrace your path until it appears as #1 again, then try going east or west. If it stays in #1 great! Keep going! If it bumps down on the list, go back and try the other direction. Finding it takes some trial and error, but once you practice a bit, you can track down a specific 'mon from blocks away in a very short time period.

4. Once a Pokémon is in the 1st spot, you can use the paw prints to close in on it by continuing the hot/cold method, with paw prints increasing or decreasing as you get closer or farther away. For a more exact approach you can use this method being passed around on Reddit.

5. Throw a Poké Ball to capture your desired Pokémon! Woot!

NOTE: If you walk for a while and notice that your "Nearby" list hasn't changed at all, try closing the app and restarting it. Like with so many other aspects of this game it can freeze and crash sometimes.

(EDIT: THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH HAS BEEN PROVEN FALSE!! THE GREEN PULSE INDICATES A CHANGE IN ORDER OF THE POKEMON THE "NEARBY" SCREEN LIST! IT DOES NOT SHOW DIRECTION OF POKEMON! I am leaving this section up so people know the rumor and that it is NOT TRUE!) A rumor is floating around about another tip!13726593_10154240814269360_1782984172069539645_n Supposedly, when you select a specific Pokémon on the "nearby" list (you select it by tapping the 'mon and a circle appears around it) it will appear by itself in the white bar at the bottom of the main screen. Make sure your compass is on and slowly face different directions. When you see a green pulse from the bar where the Pokémon is, that means you are facing the direction you need to go to catch that Pokémon. I've had some success with this, but my avatar tends to flip out and face different directions when I try it, so it's impossible to tell which direction is correct. It doesn't seem reliable enough to trust completely on its own, if it is really true at all.

Other helpful hints:

- Stop walking when you notice the white Poké Ball loading image spinning at the top of the screen. This means that the Pokémon in your vicinity are still loading in the app, so if you keep walking you could miss out on a spawn or your tracking with the "nearby" screen could be thrown off.

- More than one person can catch a Pokémon when is spawns, so enjoy the game with friends! The 'mon will spawn at different CP levels depending on the player's level.

IMG_1556- Lots of areas are developing popular lure hangouts, especially in places where multiple Poké Stops are close to each other. Make use of these areas to maximize Poké-catching opportunities and to chat with other fans! Be careful and stay safe though, especially if you are Poké-hunting in the evenings.

- Turn down the brightness on your screen and turn off the game music and your battery will last a lot longer, especially if you are an iPhone user!

Now, go catch 'em all! :)

What Can We Learn from #GamerGate?

imagesSince August, the internet has been in an uproar about the #gamergate controversy. It seems that everyone has a different opinion about the point of the movement and its impact on the industry. Regardless of what the parties involved intend, and the horrible behavior of jerks abusing the anonymity provided by the internet, there are two main issues that should be pulled from this clusterfuck and more closely examined.

1. Ethics in Journalism
Regardless of your feelings about the #gamergate movement, this is an important issue that shouldn't be ignored. When I was a teacher, I always warned my students about the information available on the internet. The internet gives us incredible freedom to express ourselves and share our opinions, however there are no controls in place to vet websites, online authors, or their works. Anyone with an internet connection can start a website or blog and post whatever they like.

This isn't always a bad thing. Many online authors, including myself and many of my friends, are passionate fans who simply want to share what they love with other fans. These grassroots writers are often considered more credible since they are "of the people" but sometimes that can make it harder for them to stay objective. When you are a fan of something, it's tempting to feel like you are legitimately connected to it or dream of getting paid for writing about it. Companies are getting savvy about giving review copies, merchandise, special access to events, and even job opportunities to reviewers/fans who can have a positive impact on their sales. One recent example is the Shadow of Mordor marketing company, Plaid Social Labs, 15480682502_ba764abb4f_owho only provided advanced copies of the game to approved reviewers who signed a lengthy agreement that stipulated a positive review, specific social media promotion requirements, and gave the company final approval over any videos reviewing the game.

While conflicts of interest and quid pro quos are not a new problem in journalism, it is new to have so many well-known online commentators who lack the ethical training that comes with a degree in journalism. We need to start demanding transparency from online sites and their contributors, especially in a world where more and more purchases are based on the information we gather online.

2. Misogyny in Gaming

There is no denying that #gamergate has been inextricably linked with horrific threats against a number of women in the gaming industry. Regardless of whether the people involved in these attacks are really part of the #gamergate movement or assholes just using it as an excuse to behave like monsters, this issue should be taken seriously by everyone in the gaming community. Nobody should be subject to threats such as these simply for being an outspoken woman in the gaming industry.

The very essence of these threats is to dominate the women involved and to scare them so that they don't speak out about the often unfair conditions in the gaming world. Graphic descriptions of rape seem to be a special flavor of threat that asshats save for women. Thanks for that.

This problem predates #gamergate, as seen with Anita Sarkeesian and her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series, which first started getting online attention with her incredibly successful Kickstarter project in 2012. Even if you don't agree with all the arguments she presents in her videos, the horrific responses from enraged video game fans over the past few years has been shocking. She has repeatedly been driven from her home and threatened with graphic rape and death scenarios, simply for stating her opinion of how women are treated in video games on her own YouTube channel. anita

As a woman, I have faced misogyny in gaming, usually at conventions where I am interacting with strangers. It's disheartening and makes me feel like I don't belong, even when I'm the one wearing the GM Volunteer badge. I can't imagine the courage it takes to face violent threats from strangers who know where you live. We need to stand together and loudly voice that we will not tolerate this type of treatment towards ANYONE in our community. Trolls and predators should not be ignored, but should be vehemently told that they do NOT speak for us.

If the gaming community can take a step back from the drama and conjecture of the #gamergate controversy, we could learn from recent events and become better for this whole awful experience.

Skyrim Wedding Picture


What happens when a costumer and a photographer/VFX artist fall in love? EPIC PICTURES! This visual celebration of our nuptials and our obsession with Skyrim, has been a long time in the making and we debuted it on February 17th in honor of our first wedding anniversary.

Each member of our wedding party, including our ring bearer and flower girl, were photographed individually in front of a green screen. The clothes were all bought at local thrift stores and we had a blast ripping them up, then covering them in movie dirt and blood. Actually, I was a little too vigorous while ripping up my stunt bridal gown with scissors, so there is actually a good amount of real blood on mine. #legit

While this started as a fun project to celebrate our fandom, it's quickly become very popular! Our picture was even featured on! We really love that other fans have enjoyed our work and really appreciate all the well wishes!

Now, to plan for next year...

Achievement Unlocked: Learning from Video Games

This week, a fellow teacher asked me to help her grade the California Mission projects that are a staple of 4th grade. She explained that the students were allowed to make models of their assigned mission out of whatever materials they liked, most chose Legos, cardboard, or food items, but there were a few that she needed a "computer person" to grade. She plopped in a flashdrive and I was completely surprised and delighted!

The students had created their missions in Minecraft.

mission_1 Now, I have spent countless hours in Minecraft, so I really appreciated the effort that went into these digital mission models. One student in particular had even made his mission to scale (I think each Minecraft block equaled 3 feet), filled the place with plants and livestock, made fountains, and even did his best to recreate the Jesus statue that is on display. They had then taken screen shots, or recorded themselves giving a tour of the mission to turn in for credit. The thing that really struck me was the passion that was evident in the students' voices as they explained their missions. They were so proud of what they had made, and could explain every detail of their mission. It was evident that their passion for Minecraft had helped them connect with the history lesson on a whole new level. I assured the teacher that these were very impressive projects, and the students did indeed put the same (or more!) effort into their projects as the other students. I joked that she should give extra credit if they did it in survival mode, but she just looked confused. Go fig.

Minecraft Jesus

Kids are becoming more and more plugged into technology. Studies show that the younger generations are actually changing the way they process information and are more able to multitask than any previous generation. Many teachers grow frustrated by this because they feel that it shortens attention spans, and makes the "real world" seem less interesting or too difficult when constant entertainment and easy answers are a few clicks away. The trouble is, technology isn't going anywhere. Now we carry complete game consoles and movie collections in our pockets. Education has to adapt.

assassins_creed_iiiPeople CAN learn from video games. What evidence do I have for this? The countless world maps, boss fights, spell combos, crafting requirements, and more that I have memorized for video games over the years. If I were put into a real life Azeroth, I'd be set. Why can't we apply this concept to education? The Assassin's Creed games are very historically accurate. The clothing, city maps, and cultures are very well done, and I was delighted by the level of detail in Assassin's Creed III. Their recreation of Colonial fashion and culture was amazing, and they even had period music being performed by the NPCs. I'd love to have a G-Rated version of the game for US history students to explore. Giving them a half hour to explore a digital version of Boston during the Revolution is much more memorable and engaging than any description, reading, or video I could show them about that time period. Helping Benjamin Franklin find the pages to his almanac while watching British troops patrol the streets, stray dogs barking at horses, and ships floating in the harbor is the closest thing we have to time travel. Why talk to students about the Boston Tea Party when we can provide a way for them to participate in it?

assassins-creed-sceneryOnline multiplication drills aren't using the full potential of games in education. We need to encourage companies to create good educational games, or to alter mainstream games to be useful in the classroom. Communities must accept that games are a viable way to learn and allow educators to spend money on them and the technology needed to use them. In the meantime, educators must use the games already at our disposal to enhance our students' experiences in the classroom. We need to find a way to channel the younger generation's love affair with technology into an educational resource.

The Geek Girl Problem

The problem with the geek girl subculture is the unrelenting expectation of uniformity.

I have seen countless articles and posts about the problems with the geek girl subculture. Some are written by geek girls and some are simply commenting on us. Many cast stones at select groups of female geeks for a huge variety of transgressions. Girls are too sexy, not sexy enough, too specialized in their interest, not specialized enough, too fake, too judgmental, too obsessed, not obsessed enough, too mainstream, too antisocial, too popular, not popular enough, and on and on and on. Somehow, people have the idea that if geek girls took their specific advice, we will become a unified army of geekdom.

Are you flipping kidding me? REALLY? Despite our different backgrounds, ethnicities, body types, religions, knowledge, skills, and interests, we are expected to share the same point of view because we have vaginas?

Geek girls are free to dress up as Wonder Women at every convention they can get tickets to, and other geek girls are free to think that they are disrespecting themselves by showing off so much skin. Who has the right to judge others for their opinions? You did no share their excitement at getting a Wonder Woman lunchbox in 2nd grade, or their deeply religious upbringing in a small town. Hopefully both sides behave themselves and respect the other geek's freedom of choice, but neither is better or worse for their opinions, and neither should be expected to change their minds due to peer pressure.

This uniformity expectation also applies to geek knowledge. We keep banging our heads against the misogynistic opinion that there are only a few "real" geek girls, and the rest of us are using geekery to get male attention. Once again, in spite of our innumerable differences, women are all expected to be experts in every aspect of geek culture to PROVE that they are geeks.  I have seen it time and time again, especially at public events and conventions. Usually, it's in the form of a seemingly innocent question about a geeky topic. If the girl fails to answer correctly, *POOF* there goes all her credibility. Suddenly, the woman who spent 74 hours sewing a cosplay outfit, 9 hours in line for a panel, four days writing a Dr. Who blog post, $200 a month on comic books, or maybe is just visiting her very first convention, is lowered to the level of attention-seeking "fake" in the mind of the quizzer (who can be male or female).

Our knowledge on any subject, geek or not, is going to be as varied as our skin color or favorite foods. I hate to break it to everyone, but there aren't merit badges for knowing more nerd trivia than everyone else. Go ahead and whip out your geek fanboy (or fangirl) penis and prove it's the biggest in the room. It's the geek version of driving an inconveniently huge truck or car, everyone knows you're compensating. Judgmental showing off only drives people away from the culture. Ask yourself honestly, is that your goal?

There is no problem with geek girls, the problem is with geek girls not being accepted and respected for who they are as individuals. People desperately want to belong to a group. Sadly, the easiest way to do that is to exclude others. As geek culture rapidly becomes pop culture, we have to embrace the diversity that inevitably comes with a surge in population. Old stereotypes have to change to accommodate new faces, new interest levels, and new ways of expressing one's passion.

If Whovians, tabletop gamers, video gamers, comic readers, Trekkies, Potter Heads, Guildies, LARPers, and so much more are considered "geek," than surely there is room for a huge diversity of women to be considered "geek girls". We ALL have the right to march in the geek parade, even if we don't all march to the same drum... or trumpet... or tuba... or baton... or agree there is a parade at all...


Diving into Diablo III

After finishing Act II in Diablo III, I finally feel like I have experience enough of the game to write about it. I'm having a blast, but there are definitely some pros and cons to this long-awaited game.

First off, if you aren't playing in elective mode, you are playing with training wheels on. Elective mode lets you place any skill you want on whichever hotkeys you prefer to use. This gives experienced gamers a lot more flexibility, but also runs the risk of new players making unbalanced builds that could limit their effectiveness. I highly recommend that you turn it on as soon as possible!

- It's the familiar Diablo we all loved, but sexier. Like running into an old friend from middle school on your first day of college and finding out that he's an underwear model now...ahem... not that I'd know what that's like. Anyway, the game looks amazing.

- The classes are really great and well thought out. I'm playing a Monk and am having a great time. I frequently party with a demon hunter and a barbarian, and each loves playing their class just as much as I love mine. Each character's skills are very useful, but still fit with the theme of their class.

- Tiered difficulty is a great aspect of the game. The game becomes more challenging based on the number of people in the party, and this keeps it interesting.

- Friends! The friend system first appeared in World of Warcraft, but it's a wonderful addition to Diablo III. I can easily contact my gaming buddies and party up, and the transition from single player to multiplayer is almost seamless. It has all the perks of an MMO, but none of the spammers, monthly fees, or guild drama.

- Linear gameplay. Like... insanely linear. You can't even walk off the edges of cliffs because it would mess up the story. I expected this, but after Skyrim it took a while for me to get used to it again. It might be nice to have some extra side quests to help village people for some extra XP.

-  Incredibly predictable quests. You know exactly how things are going to play out within the first few moments of each quest. I'd like to have seen a bit more thought put into surprising us. "No way... the creepy mage with the menacing laugh ends up betraying us? Shocking... not."

- Overpowered PCs are a bit of a problem. I felt WAY overpowered in the beta, but that was expected. I still feel that I am rather overpowered as a PC currently, and have yet to really be worried in a fight. This makes the game lose some of it's excitement and challenge. The only thing that seems dangerous in the game is the poisons, and those seem too deadly for what they are! I'm still in "normal" difficulty, so this may just be softening players up for the horrors of the Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno modes. Hardcore mode is an option, but I don't feel like having a video game character's death be permanent.

- RP options... or complete lack thereof. I'd have loved for there to be a little customization to the RP part of the story. Sometimes my character spouts out things that seem really dumb. I would never have had her say anything remotely like that. It would be nice to have some options in the quest conversations, even if they ended up leading to the same quest events.

- Friends. I love my friends. Really, I do. Most of them are my very dear friends from my tabletop groups, but I would sometimes like to be able to play alone without people chatting me up or trying to form a party. Why on earth isn't there an "offline" or "hidden" feature on the friends list? Not that I'd ever use it... *cough* *cough*

Despite these few flaws, I am loving Diablo III and have sunk a huge portion of my recent life into it. I do hope that they continue to improve on the system and the servers, but I have been lucky enough to have very few problems with either.

PRO TIP: DON'T ADD YOUR BOSS OR COWORKERS TO YOUR BATTLE.NET ACCOUNT! It really puts a damper on those "sick" days when you get back to work and your boss knows you were online for 19 hours straight.


Skyrim, Dawnguard, & Kinect

Skyrim has been a huge success for Bethesda Softworks. The average person's playtime for Skyrim has been about 90 hours since its release in November. The nonlinear gameplay provides endless hours of entertainment. This is not a game that you "finish", this is a game that you eventually grow bored of, but trust me, it will take a while. I love the freedom provided in this game. It is the closest a non-MMO has come to recreating the joy I get from playing tabletop RPGs. It's about as sandboxy as a video game can get.

The new Skyrim downloadable content (DLC) will be released this summer. It's called Dawnguard and is a huge mystery. Rumors about new content like Snow Elves and crossbows abound, but we really have no idea what will be included in the new content. The only thing that has been released officially is the teaser image, which shows a glowy-eyed man wearing the trademark Skyrim helmet. (It cracks me up that this is STILL the helm that they use for all the merchandising since it's such low-level gear in the game.) The DLC will be released to Xbox 360 players before everyone else, which has really upset a lot of PC and PS3 gamers.

What improvements and content am I hoping for in Dawnguard?

1) I'd love to have them add Snow Elves. I'm a fan of Elves in general, and the lore surrounding the fall of the Snow Elves and their corruption into the feral Falmer race is fascinating. It reminds me of the corruption of the elves into the foul orcs in Tolkien lore.

Doomed to carry these for all time!!

2) Quests need to be class specific. Yes, some quests are easier to complete for certain classes, but my warrior should never have been able to complete a quest line and become Archmage of Winterhold, and my mage should never have been able to join the Companions. I love sandbox games, but there needs to be some logical limit on a character's capabilities. This would also encourage me to play different classes. I don't expect them to go back and patch all the old quests, but it would be great if new quests were logically connected with profession and class.

3) I want to be able to drop fucking quest items from my inventory. Seriously. I'm now stuck carrying around five Stones of Barenziah. It's lame, because I have 4 houses where I can store stuff. Let me put it in my dresser drawer until I'm ready to finish that quest, or sell it if I'm desperate for money!

4) Horses. Make them not a pain in the ass. If an equine-obsessed girl like me don't want to own a horse in a game, there is a serious problem.

There have been some new developments for Skyrim recently. Last week, a new patch was available for the Xbox/Kinect setup that allowed players to use voice commands in Skyrim. I haven't gotten nearly enough use out of my Kinect, so I was very curious to see if this option actually functioned well in gameplay. A handy PDF is available for those with bad memories (me) and the Kinect works surprisingly well with voice commands in game. The quick commands for the map, game controls, and menus, all work very well and I have started using them in place of the controller. However, the dragon shouts were the big ticket item with this patch.

Instead of having one dragon shout option at a time, a player can now use their voice to use any shout in their arsenal. It's the perfect use for the Kinect, right?.... Sort of. The idea is sound and the technology works much better than I expected, but I am only able to cast the correct shout about 70% of the time when I'm using the three syllable dragon shouts. You really have to enunciate, and space out each part of the shout. You will cast a less powerful version of the shout or fail completely if you rush your syllables together. Take the time to study up on the correct pronunciations of the shouts before you get into trouble. My shouts have improved with practice, but there are a few shouts that I cannot vocally cast for some unknown reason. Maybe my California accent doesn't translate well to dragon.

Of course, you can always just yell the common tongue name of the spell, but where is the fun in that? FUS RO DAH!!!!!