Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese


Smart-ish Home

Amazon Echo and Google HomeA few weeks before Christmas, Scott came to my place with an Amazon Echo as an early Christmas present for us. Then I got a Google Home from my sister and brother-in-common-law for Christmas! And then Scott got me a starter kit of wifi-enabled light bulbs that can be controlled by the Echo and/or the Home. So (a) I was spoiled at Christmas and (b) I can now walk around my condo speaking various commands and having things happen and I feel vaguely like I’m in Star Trek. Except that what these “smart home” devices can do is far more limited than all the things I want them to do. As one of my colleagues at work, who also has a Google Home, said, “I’m not too worried about the robots taking over yet.”

Things that I can get my smart home devices to do just by saying words aloud:

  • turn on my wifi-enabled light bulbs ((Which are currently in the lamps in my bedroom, living room, and office.)), either individually or collectively
    • I especially like being able to say “turn off all the lights” when I’m either going to bed or leaving the condo, rather than having to go around and turn off each one individually like a sucker
  • dim, brighten, or change the “colour temperature” of the light1
  • hear the news2, the weather forecast, or the score in the Canucks game
  • turn on the radio
  • find out the hours for a business I want to go to3
  • how long it will take me to get somewhere by transit or driving
  • write a voice memo4
  • add stuff to my shopping list
  • set an alarm or a timer

I’ve also set up my bedroom lamp to slowly come on in the morning to simulate a sunrise, in the hopes that it will ease me into waking up.

Stuff my smart home devices do, but poorly:

  • Google Home can add an event to my Google calendar5, but it seems to struggle with translating my words correctly, so I usually have to go in and fix it. And I have trouble getting out all the words that it wants6 in the way it wants to hear them, though I suppose I will get used to that.
  • Give me information that I ask it for – sometimes it gets what I’m asking it for, but often it just gives an “I don’t understand” response.

Stuff my smart home devices won’t do that I want them to do:

  • control the thermostat (because I don’t yet have a smart thermostat)
  • make my coffee
  • do the dishes or the laundry
  • feed the cats
  • clean the litter box
  • take more than one command at a time!

That last one is irritating, because sometime you want to do something like: turn on the lights, set them to cool white, turn on the music and set the volume to 50%. But the Echo or the Home won’t respond to all those commands if you issue them in one sentence – it will only do the first thing. You have to say each thing individually and you have to say “Hey Google” or “Alexa” before each one. Similarly, I can’t get Google Home to add more than one thing to my shopping list at a time. I read online that if you pause between each item, it will add them as separate items, but that didn’t work for me. When I tried, it only managed to separate out one item:

Unsuccessful attempt to get Google Home to add multiple items to my shopping list at the same time

I tried say “comma” in between each word, but it listed everything as one item with commas:

Unsuccessful attempt to get Google Home to add multiple items to my shopping list at the same time

And I tried saying semicolon, but then it just wrote out the word “semicolon”!

Unsuccessful attempt to get Google Home to add multiple items to my shopping list at the same time

Also, it irritates me that I can’t change the default voice on either device. I changed the voice of Siri on my iPhone to a British male ages ago because I don’t like that digital assistants default to use female voices and reinforce stereotypes of female subservience, but neither the Amazon Echo nor the Google Home will let you do that7.

Anyway I’m sure these things we get smarter as more and more people use them (and yes, I know that I now have two giant corporations listening to everything I say). For now, I think I’m going to get myself a few more my wifi-enabled light bulbs so that I can use my voice to control all the lights that are a pain in the butt to switch on and off right now and some “smart” outlets to control a few other devices. Now if only they would invent a wifi-enabled self-cleaning litter box!

  1. I don’t have the light bulbs that have all the different colours, because I can’t imagine I’d often want red, blue, green, etc. lights, but the bulbs I do have can vary from a cool to a warm light, depending on the mood you want. []
  2. I like to get my morning “news briefing” as I’m getting ready for work in the morning. []
  3. E.g., what time does the Safeway close today? []
  4. I use an IFTTT applet that records all the memos that I say to it throughout the day and then emails them to me at 10 pm []
  5. Using an IFTTT applet. []
  6. The event name, date, time, and the right trigger words to get it into the right calendar (as I have several different calendars in my Google calendar (e.g., a work calendar, a personal calendar, a teaching calendar, a sports calendar, etc.) []
  7. Apparently you can switch the voice of the the Google Home assistant to male in the US, but not yet in Canada. []


Nerd Stats 2017

Another year goes by, another row gets added to my table of nerd stats. .

Blog postings Tweets1 Visits to my blog Average number of blog visits per day Busiest day on my blog
2008 423 2,227 32,410 93 Sept 26, 2008 (460 views)
2009 357 1,815 45,153 126 July 25, 2009 (1,181 views)
2010 344 2,302 44,689 122 Feb 9, 2010 (233 views)
2011 380 3,625 60,560 166 Oct 10, 2011 (374 views)
2012 201 875 63,844 175 Feb 13, 2012 (350 views)
2013 213 945 46,665 128 Sept 4, 2013 (721 views)
2014 91 910 33,948 93 Mar 7, 2014 (208 views)
2015 118 800 34,930 96 Nov 23, 2015 (512 views)
2016 116  812  51,549  141 Jan 29, 2016 (13,968 views)
2017 92 449 20,691 57 not sure2.
% change from 2016 -21% -45% -60% -60% N/A

So I was down across the board on my social media involvement in 2017, which is probably reflective of the fact that I feel like I didn’t really do anything in 2017. I was thinking of writing my usual “year in review” blog postings yesterday, but then I realized that I didn’t really do anything! I mean, I went to Washington, DC for the first time, which was cool, but other than that it pretty much just usual every day stuff: going to work, going to the gym (though I really, really do love the gym), playing hockey, and repeat. No epic trips, no epic accomplishments. I definitely have to step things up for 2018!

  1. Note to self: You started Tweeting in 2008, so you get these totals by simple subtraction, not by some fancy pants program or anything. I hope this helps you when you write your “Nerd Stats 2018″ posting when you think “how the hell did I figure out how many times I tweeted in a given year??” []
  2. I used to get this from a “Your 2015 year in blogging” email that Jetpack (the thing I used to track my blog stats) used to send. They stopped sending that in 2015 and the only reason I knew the most popular day in 2016 was because it was my most popular day ever, which Jetpack does provide on its dashboard. Since I didn’t surpass that day this year, it still stands as the most popular day ever and there’s no easy way to find my most popular day for 2017 []


My favourite Tweets of 2017

It’s been a year since the last time that I shared my favourite tweets with you – so here are my favourite tweets for 2017! I’ve put them into a few categories (so, for example, if you aren’t interested in politics, you can skip the political ones), and added a few comments to provide context for some of them. Otherwise, they are in somewhat of a random order.

Cat tweets:

Cinnamon roll cat

Istanbul cat

Cat logic

This one was posted on the first work day after the 2016 holiday season:cat butlers

cat marking

how was your day?

cat sisters

cat logic - food

cat vs grantwriting

cats are awesome

if it fits

cat tweet

cats on sheep


Egg cat

cat falling off a table

angry cat

reading with cats

Helfpul cats


cat statues

Nerdy tweets:

Santa math

Achievement Unlocked

dunning-kruger club


social construction of time


pi day

Epigenetics Spice

clever student


knowledge, wisdom, philosophy

Academic Halloween p value

Academic Halloween

unsuccessful self-treatment of writer's block

for the herd

Political tweets (American politics):

the future liberals want

Never Moore


Any Functioning Adult 2020

After Trump’s White House made a rule that women that work there have to “dress like a woman”:

dress like a woman

dress like a woman 2

dress like a woman 3

perfect score

looking for the real killer



job creation

fake president

Hoping not

Scooby Doo villian


Millennials Are Killing The Racist Statue Industry

more Pokemon than white supremacists

the sun never went out


As a Daughter of a Father

Political tweets (BC provincial election):

BC poli

all the votes

blue BC "Liberals"

Better BC

Local tweets:

On Oct 25, there was a traffic nightmare in the Lower Mainland, with a fire on the Patullo bridge and major accidents on other bridges and one of the highways. Despite the fact that I didn’t need to cross any of those bridges nor drive on that highway, all the people who would normally use that routes ended up on the route I take home from my work – my usual 30 minute drive to more than 2 hours! Hence this tweet made me laugh:


The big W art piece referenced in this tweet by the New West mayor is made of shipping containers:

not to scale

This from a sandwich shop across the street from me. They heard Liam Neeson was in town, so they put out a chalkboard sign to attracted him. To their surprise, it worked:

Liam Neeson Eats Here for Free

The mayor replied with this:

no free sandwiches for mayors

Does your mayor ever referee professional wrestling matches in a mall? Mine does:Mayor Ref


My own tweets:

international symbol for sexist bullshit

histper Quatchi

hockey stick

A KFC romance novel

science craftsperson

I went to my first ever lacrosse game, which prompted these two tweets:

Lacrosse 1

lacrosse 2


Rorschach test


how's the pot situation

how to Fahrenheit


Tweets that I found amusing that don’t fit into the other categories:

child of wealthy parents


Clue movie

risque advertising

Is German real?

Gateway Chicken

hated this park

deadlines aren't suggestions

the flash

iphone battery

millennial falcon


I don’t actually follow Laureen Harper’s twitter account, but this one got re-tweeted a lot:

Laureen Harper's tweet

I like that she had to clarify that she did, in fact, tweet the above:

Laureen Harper was not hacked

nav bar


free food

hold my beer

escape room from you life

privacy breeches

reasons he's not texting you


it's personal

NASA tank tops

RCMP bear

bear bear


robotic spider apocalypse

Tell Cersei


ducking asshomes

sunblock in the eyes

During one of the hurricanes this year, there was a raft of fire ants floating towards an exploded chemical plant:fire ants floating toward an exploded chemical plant

favourite slide

boring superpower


it's my actual job



Eevee on a TV

French for zombie apocalypse

Ottawa Senators

free food



280 characters

KFC's twitter

Donut costume

dinosaurs in a bar

Wingdings in the sheets

Apple added facial recognition to the iPhone:apple

Vancouverites say


a small fiction

best case scenarioA couple of thought-provoking tweets:

things white people should do

change the future

And to end of a positive note, this heartwarming tweet:

first day of kindergarten to college move in


Stuff I Learned This Year: Short Cut Edition

Speaking of stuff I learned from Cath, at the same time that I got her to sign my copy of her book, I also learned that you can create a calendar event from an email in Microsoft Outlook by dragging the email into your calendar, like this:

Possibly everyone else already knows this, but it was new to me!

When I told a colleague about this, she was like “yeah, I knew that” and I said, “I knew about creating a Google Calendar event from an email in Gmail, but I didn’t know that shortcut in Outlook. To which she replied “you can?” (In Gmail, if you have an email with a date and/or time in it, you can click  on it to create a Google Calendar event. Or if there isn’t a date, you can just select “More” and then “Create Event”.) It’s funny how we all learn various shortcuts with software, but then don’t learn others. From that same colleague, I learned that in Excel, if you cell is set to date format, you can just type the numerical month-numerical day and it will fill it out as the current year (e.g., you can type 01-11 and it will fill it in as Jan 11, 2017.1. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you are doing 300 chart audits that require you to record as many as 100 dates per chart, that’s a huge time saver! You know, as a completely hypothetical example. But then I taught her that you can type CTRL+; in an Excel cell and it enters the current date (and do the same thing but with CTRL+SHIFT+; and it enters the current time).

This reminds of the time that I learned my favourite ever computer shortcut: Format Painter. It was many years ago and I was working on a document with a group and we were writing it as a group, which is quite possibly my least favourite thing to do2. Anyway, we were sitting watching someone type and she wasn’t using any of the normal short cuts – like, instead of hitting “CTRL-C” to copy something and then “CTRL-V” to paste it, she would go up to the menu bar at the top of the screen, click “Edit”, then “Copy”, and then put her cursor where we wanted to paste and go back up to the menu bar, click “Edit”, then “Paste”. I would have even taken her using the “copy” and “paste” buttons on the toolbar which, while not as efficient as the keyboard short cuts, is at least better than using the menu bar! Anyhoo, we are sitting there trying to co-write this thing while watching the excruciatingly slow typing and then all of a sudden, when the person typing wanted to change the formatting of something, she did something I’d never seen before. She clicked the button with the picture of the paint brush on it (which I’d honestly never paid attention to before) and it magically changed the formatting of the text she highlighted. I (and another colleague) were both “wtf was that???” And that was how I learned about Format Painter, which is now  my most favourite things in Word:

If you already knew about Format Painter, my apologies for boring you to tears. If you didn’t, you’re welcome!

  1. And then I was playing around with it some more and found that you can type 11Jan and it will do the same thing! []
  2. I would much rather draft something up and have people respond – or have someone else draft something up for me to respond to – than sit in a group and watch someone type while we try to co-write something. Excruciating! []


RIP Kobo

My kobo1, appears to be no longer capable of holding a charge. I plug it in overnight and it seems like it’s charged, but then a few hours later (during which time it isn’t being used) and I see this:

My kobo won't hold a charge :(

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, as it is more than 4 years old and in electronics time that’s like 1000 years old. Plus I’ve not been able to get it to connect to my computer for quite some time now, which means that I haven’t been able to put any new books on it. I was hoping to read the books that I already had on there that I hadn’t yet read though. I’m in the middle of reading The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker. Though I can’t tell you exactly how far because my goddamn kobo won’t hold a charge. Guess it’s time to start looking at what’s happened in eReader technology in the last four years…

  1. Which I had named Luna, after Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series. []


What’s Been Amusing Me in the Twittervese Lately

It’s been a year and a half since I shared my favourite tweets, so I figured it was time to check out what’s been amusing me in the Twitterverse.

Given the year that was 2016, quite a few of my favourites were related to politics:


Trump's scientific paper

Trump trauma

$900M debt


Qualifications aren't a thing

For some of the politics ones I feel like I need to provide context, as they might seem quite nonsensical without it. Like this one in response to then-candidate for the Republican nomination Ben Carson’s claim that the Egyptian pyramids were built to store grains, rather than to bury pharaohs:


At the Republican national convention, Melania Trump gave a speech in which she plagiarized a speech by Michelle Obama. When Donald gave his speech, this guy made this pithy remark:

plagiarism software

The next two are related to people’s responses to Trump’s misogynistic comments related to how he can sexually assault women and they just let him because he’s famous; many politicians and pundits said things like “as a father of a daughter, I am offended” or “as a husband of a strong women, I am appalled”:

Women are people

This next one collides politics with another thing that happened in 2016: the fact that there were a reboot of the Ghostbusters movie with all female leads (and people got all pissed off about that):

Rebooting the Clinton administration

Shortly before the election, someone smashed Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame1 and this was George Takei’s response:


In response to Russia’s interference in the US election:

Russian election hacking

And in probably my favourite of all the political tweets was this one that came during the second presidential debate. Donald Trump, in one of his examples of islamophobia and racism, was ranting about Muslims being terrorists and how Muslims need to report people whose behaviour is suspicious, and, in reference to earlier in the debate when Donald was menacingly standing behind Hillary Clinton on the debate stage, was this brilliant tweet:


Moving on to less political things, there were a few hashtags that amused me, including #scienceamoviequote:

#scienceamoviequote 5
#scienceamoviequote 4
#scienceamoviequote 3
#scienceamoviequote 2
#scienceamoviequote 1

and #HarperAirport (when it was proposed that Calgary airport be re-named after the much loathed former Prime Minister Stephen Harper):


That last one refers to these really terrible radio ads the Conservatives ran during the election that said Justin Trudeau was “just not ready” to be Prime Minister.

This next one refers to Bill C-51, an “anti-terrorism law” that gives the government sweeping powers to invade people’s privacy that was brought in under the Harper government:
#HarperAirport 2

A tonne of my favourite tweets over the past year and a half have come from the account “Shit Academics Say”:


Shit Academics Say 5

Shit Acadmics Say 3

Don't bring anecdote to a data fight

Shit Academics Say 2

Don't bring anecdote to a data fight

to err

Shit Academics Say

A few have a feminism theme::

"unisex" tshirts

Female ghostbuster

So lucky

And several have cats in them:

helper cat

Drunk Pickles

bread tag kitty

Hockey cats


Office cat

And then there is a whole bunch of random stuff:

stress reduction

wrong park

fully support

For the record, I have *no* idea what campaign that tweet refers to. Dr. Dan, do you remember?


There is no cloud

80s playlist

10,000 characters


the new "netflix and chill"

Twitter expansion

Email filter


meeting fail

muffins v cupcakes

1 v 0.78


Cat video calls

White chocolate

Calling her bluff

Life imitates art

Microsoft Edge browser

Proportional lineups


Cat kisses

I quite liked Jen’s response to this tweet of mine (see below):

Luna Park

Luna Park reaction

Video calling software

Safe does not equal comfortable


Mr. Pepper

Flu shot


Neuroscientist's dread


And this one was fun because my friend Cath was reading the interwebs one day and discovered I was internet famous:

My quokka buddy and I are famous

And there’s even a few of my own that I favourited, because I amuse me (and I didn’t want my best tweets to disappear into the bottomless pit that is Twitter and my terrible inability to remember stuff)

First, one that would only appeal to nerdy scientists who also like Pokemon (so, basically, only me and Cath):

Schrodinger's Pokemon

Then there’s one I thought hilarious and apparently at least one other person agreed:


And finally one that I tweeted, but was actually a quotation from my sister, so she get the credit of the hilarity of this one:

Hockey as described by my sister

  1. Aside: I can’t believe Trump had a star and Carrie Fisher didn’t! []


If Pokemon were hockey fans

I was chatting with Cath during the Canucks-Leafs game yesterday and this conversation happened:























And while I can only think of two other people besides Cath and I who might find this amusing (i.e., those in the overlapping area of the Venn diagram of hockey fans + Pokemon Go players), I find it ever so amusing that I had to blog it.



“Inventory is evil” is what my supply chain management prof always used to say. Inventory is your money being tied up so you can’t use it. Inventory is risk – risk that you’ve put your money into making that product, but maybe you won’t be able to sell it or it will get stolen or eaten by rats or go past its expiry date or become obsolete. Inventory costs you money because you have to store your inventory somewhere. “Inventory is evil” is something I’ve been experiencing vis-a-vis Pokémon1.

In the Pokémon game, you get 250 storage spots for all the little pocket monsters that you catch (or hatch or evolve). But when you live and work in heavily Pokéstopped areas, you end up catching lots and lots of Pokémon – way more than 250, though lots and lots of them are multiples of ones you have2. Since the objective of the game is to catch each different type of Pokémon, you need to have enough room in your inventory to store all the different types, but given how often you just keep catching the same type you already have, you quickly run out of space! You can “transfer” your Pokémon to the professor in exchange for candy (which frees up a spot in your Pokémon inventory) but (a) that requires the hard work of tapping icons and words on your screen, (b) many of the Pokémon are sooo cute and I don’t know what the professor is doing to them (but it can’t be good), and (c) my pack rat tendencies. It’s actually mostly (a). I tend to catch Pokémon as I go about my day – walking to the Skytrain station, on the way to the grocery store, etc. – so it sort of fits with the flow of my day, but cleaning up my inventory requires concerted effort just focused on playing the game, and since I’m not typically a gamer, this is not something I’m used to. Once you fill up your storage, you can’t catch anymore Pokémon until you either transfer some out or pay money for more storage spots. This is where my cheapness overtakes my laziness3!

I mostly do my Pokémon inventory management on my Skytrain ride. I sort the Pokémon by name so that I can see which ones I have multiples of, check out which one is the most powerful (or which two if I’m keeping an extra one around to evolve4.), and then transferring the superfluous to the professor. It’s a lot of work! Also, while doing this important work, I’m often interrupted by my phone vibrating, which signifies that a new Pokémon has spawned where I am so I have to get out of my inventory box and go catch it. Since my Pokémon are sorted alphabetically by name, I often clear out my extra Caterpies and Drowzees, but less often get to my Spearows and Zubats. Case in point, I seem to own all of the Tauroses5:

All the Tauroses

Or I did. After I took that screen shot, I transferred a bunch to the professor and now I have a tonne of Tauros candy – I used as much of the candy as I could but apparently cannot power him up anymore until I become a stronger trainer.

In addition to my Pokémon storage, I also have a limited inventory for carrying around items in your bag – Pokéballs, Megaballs, and Ultraballs used to catch , plus Revives and Potions used to heal your Pokémon after you force them to fight at a PokéGym6. This used to be a problem for me, as my I kept getting messages that my bag was full – again, you could pay for a bigger bag, but I’m way too cheap. I often throw out Revive and Potions, because I don’t fight at PokéGyms that much, so I’d rather have room for more balls7. But in the past week or so I’ve found that not having enough inventory room is not my problem – my problem has been that I keep running out of PokéBalls! Which is probably because I keep running into situations like this one:

All the Pokémon

I ran into this gaggle of Pokémon outside my pet store when I went to buy food for the kitties. I ended up catching 11 Pokémon in a row there! Hence why I keep running out of Pokéballs!

So, yes, it seems it’s feast or famine when it comes to PokéInventory – either too much or too little. Inventory really is evil.

  1. Yes, I’m still playing Pokémon, even though everyone else is so over it. Because I have a bad case of completism and I’ve still got 38 Pokémon that I haven’t caught yet! []
  2. You have to catch multiples of the same type of Pokémon because (a) catching Pokémon gives you experience points (XP), which is how you level up (which makes you more powerful, lets you catch more powerful Pokémon, and gives you useful objects) and (b) it also gives you candy, which you need to evolve or level up a given Pokémon. []
  3. My friend Cath and I (the only two people I know who are both still playing, made a solemn vow to not spend any actual money on this game. We only get items through either getting them for free at Pokéstops or getting them for free when we level up or earning PokéCoins for free by putting our Pokémon on gyms. []
  4. Or extras if I’ve given them a particular name, like my Meowths, which I named after my kitties – an idea I stole from Cath []
  5. I appear to have a Tauros nesting ground right outside my home and right outside my office so I catch them all. the. time. []
  6. If this is your first time at PokéGym – you *have* to fight! []
  7. Although, I have this feeling of guilt for throwing away perfectly good Revives and Potions because it feels wasteful….. even though I’m entirely away that they are *imaginary* and I got them for free at PokéStops! []


A Wild Pidgey Appears

When my dad was young, he and his brothers would go hunting with my grandpa. My dad’s older brother, Bob, used to say that if he died, he would be reincarnated as a duck and then one day when his brothers were out hunting, they would take aim at a duck, but would miss and the duck would laugh at them. My Uncle Bob died in a boating accident when he was 21. And then one day my dad and his brothers were out hunting and they took aim at a duck and were sure they had the duck in their sights, but when they fired, they missed and the duck quacked and quacked in the duck-like way that sounds like a laugh. Personally, I don’t believe in any sort of afterlife or reincarnation, but I always loved that story.

My dad used to raise pigeons for racing and every time I see a pigeon – which is quite often where I live – I think of my dad. In Pokémon Go, the most common Pokémon seems to be Pidgey, the pigeon-like Pokémon. Sometimes when you throw a PokéBall at a Pidgey (which is how you catch a Pokémon) you miss and I would swear that the Pidgey is laughing at me.

Pokemon GO



Jumpman_2I’ve never been much of a video game player. The number of video games I’ve ever really gotten into can be counted on one hand. I remember playing Jumpman Jr on my Dad’s Commodore 64. The main character was a pixelated stick figure who you could make climb ups pixelated rope or pixelated ladder, trying to avoid being shot by a bullet (which was a single pixel) while you.. hmmm… I can’t actually remember what the object of that game was.

In university my friend Therese and I enjoyed a game called Theme Hospital where you built hospitals. It was sort of Sim City-like and you had to decide who to hire (nurses, doctors, custodians, etc), what units to build (more surgical suites or more diagnostic imaging rooms?) and how many vending machines to put into your waiting room (if you put enough, you got an award from the national dental association for increasing business for them). During those times I also played NHL ’98, as my then husband got me hooked on that one.

The next video game I played wasn’t for probably a decade or so – Boogie Bunnies. It was like the various jewel matching games, but you had to match bunnies of the same colour. When you matched them they danced and giggled and blew up. I never understood why those bunnies were so happy about getting blown up, but the game was rather addicting.

Fast forward to last year, when my then boyfriend’s kids got me playing an iPhone/iPad game called Cooking Fever.  In this game, you serve meals to people at various restaurants. You can upgrade your kitchen equipment, your ingredients, and your restaurant’s interior to make more money and then use that money to but more upgrades and more restaurants. Now, I have to point out that in my youth I worked in restaurants serving food to people and I hated it, yet here I am playing a game doing exactly that, but for fun. This game really lends itself to completism, because you work to complete all the levels of a given restaurant and then you want to complete all the tasks in a given restaurant (one of which is to complete all levels with 3/3 stars), but then there is a list of achievements to complete across the whole game (like upgrade 5 of your restaurants or make a total of one million dollars from your restaurants) and you want to complete those. I’ve now completed everything in the game and so have to wait for the occasional “challenges”, where you get a limited amount of time to complete 15 new levels, or new restaurants, which don’t come out all that often because they must take a lot of work to create.

Soon after all that, my Twitter friend Jen introduced me to Neko Atsume or, as I call it, the internets kitty game. The object of this iPhone game is to attract cats to your yard by putting out food and toys for them. In appreciation, the cats leave you sardines or goldfish, which you can use to but more food and toys (why a cat would leave you a fish rather than just eating the fish is beyond me, but I guess I’m not an internets cat, so I just don’t understand how their minds work). There are special rare cats that require specific combinations of certain toys and food to show up and your goal is to get all the cars to come to your yard, get photos of them when they are there to fill up you album, and get them to come enough times that they leave you a special gift. It’s another game that really lends itself to completism.

Internet cats

A whole bunch of Internet cats in my yard!

And now we have Pokémon GO. I downloaded it to check what all the hype was about and started playing it like I do most games – I just randomly click thinks and see what happens. I’ve been able to figure out the basics – you create a character for yourself (the game walks you through this part) and then you start walking around and the game uses GPS to show your character on a map. When you encounter a Pokémon, you can throw a PokéBall at it and trap it; if you manage to do this, the Pokémon is registered in your Pokédex (which I gather is a list of all the Pokémon you have caught) and you get points that I don’t know what they are for. Sometimes you catch a Pokémon but it manages to escape from the PokéBall – I assume that these are stronger Pokémon and I need to do something in order to be stronger to catch those one – thought I’m totally guessing on that. Real life locations are PokéStops – places where you can stock up on PokéBalls that you use to catch Pokémon that you encounter, as well as other objects that I have no idea what they do. A building, a piece of public art, or other such location can all be PokéStops – you see them on your map as your wander around and if get close enough to them, then you can stock up on stuff. There are also PokéGyms, which I assume you train at to get better at catching Pokémon, but that’s just a guess because the one time I was at a PokéGym, my game playing technique of randomly clicking things was not effective – I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do and then it told me that I lost. I think I may have to actually read about how you are supposed to play this game if I want to go any further with it.

Pokemon GO

A Pokémon in my kitchen!

Pokemon GO

A scary Pokémon I caught on my way to my massage appointment the other night

Pokemon GO

This Pokémon was in the Skytrain station. I wonder if he tapped in?

Pokemon GO

This Pokémon was in my office! These things are everywhere!

Image Credits:
Jumpman posted by Abel-Archer on Flickr

Theme Hospital posted on Wikipedia under fair use.