Pokémon Go Released!

Pokémon Go is out and it’s awesome!

I’ve been loving the game so far. It motivates me to walk more, give me something fun to do with my wife, and its fun to compare my collection with my friends’.

I'm a heretic because a Rattata is in my Top Ten.
I’m a heretic because a Rattata is in my Top Ten.

Chances are if you want to play the game you’ve already downloaded it and tried it out for yourself (or you own a Windows phone).

For those of you that haven’t tried out the game yet, here’s how it works.

The Pokémon Go tracks your location on a stylized version of Google Maps. As you move around in the real world, your little avatar in the game world moves around as well.

Just me in my house with a view of a PokeGym at the local park.
Just me in my house with a view of a PokéGym at the local park.

Occasionally little Pokémon appear on the map. If you tap on the Pokémon you get taken into a little capture game.

What a fearsome pidgeon...
What a fearsome pidgeon…

The Pokémon are captured by swiping the Poké Ball to throw it at the little monster.

There’s a percent chance of catching the Pokémon based on its strength and rarity. You can increase the chance through accuracy, a timing mechanic, throwing curveballs, feeding the Pokémon a fruit before you hit it with a Poké Ball, or using a stronger type of ball like a Great Ball or Ultra Ball.

Poké Balls are slowly used up, but you can get more by clicking and using Poké Stops on the game’s map. Each Poké Stop drops about three items.

Pokémon are also acquired by hatching eggs. Eggs are hatched by placing them in Incubators (you only have one to start) and walking a certain distance, just like in the original video games!

Pokémon are leveled up and evolved by feeding them candies. You get more candies for a particular type of Pokémon by catching more of that type.

Your character in the game has a level as well. Your level goes up by doing pretty much anything in the game but progress slows down at higher levels.

Those are the basics. Now for the avalanche of links and advice for more advanced players!

List of rewards for leveling up: http://www.ign.com/wikis/pokemon-go/Level_Rewards_and_Unlockable_Items

Save evolving Pokémon until you have a Lucky Egg to get double the experience: http://gamerant.com/pokemon-go-guide-how-to-use-lucky-egg-to-level-up/

Don’t bother with powering up your Pokémon until you’re about level ~15. You just won’t be strong enough to handle gyms until then: http://gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/274816/how-to-efficiently-use-stardust-in-pokemon-go

There are two sites set up that allow you to search and locate Pokémon without having to wander around your neighborhood to find that rare one you’re looking for: http://pokehuntr.com/ and https://pokevision.com/

Gyms fluctuate super rapidly. I haven’t been able to hold onto two for more than a few minutes. It’s probably a better idea to take over a few gyms and collect a small defender bonus than to try to max out.

Move sets are important but no one really knows what’s best yet. Higher power is good but it also means your attacks are slower. Because move sets change when a Pokémon evolves its best to wait to Power Up your Pokémon until after they’ve evolved. The Power Up will cost the same either way.

Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB) is in Pokémon Go! Having alternate types might be good to surprise other trainers though.

There are particular areas with rare Pokémon in them, but its likely that areas for most of the released Pokémon are close to where you live. No need to travel, especially with the ability to get Pokémon from eggs.

Pay attention to your surroundings when you play, don’t leave trash by Poké Stops, and don’t trespass onto people’s property while playing.

If you have so many Potions and Revives that you can’t get anything else from Poké Stops you can throw items out. It’s better to use the items for taking over gyms, but that’s probably too time-consuming for most players.

There’s no single source for Pokémon Go information at this point. A few Wikis have sprung up. I’ve started adding to the most developed one. You can too if you’d like! Pokémon Go Wiki

Thanks for reading! Now go catch em all!

-GoCorral

Time Lapse Movie Review

Time Lapse

I saw an awesome movie on Netflix called Time Lapse.

The movie was directed by Bradley D King and starred Matt O’Leary as Finn, Danielle Panabaker as Callie, and George Finn as Jasper.

Finn, Callie, and Jasper live at an apartment complex. Finn works maintenance for the apartments and moonlights as an art painter. Callie is Finn’s girlfriend and she assists with collecting rent and other random tasks. Jasper is their sketchy friend who gambles on dog races a lot.

Finn and Callie are called to check on Mr. Bezzerides who is late on his rent. Callie goes over and finds something strange.

The three of them investigate and find out that Mr. B has created a form of time travel.

A gigantic camera is set up at Mr. B’s house, bolted to the floor. The camera is aimed out Mr. B’s window at the living room window of the three friends.

Every day at 8PM the camera spits out a Polaroid, not of the current events in the apartment, but of what will be happening the next day at 8PM in the friends’ living room.

The group also discover that Mr. B is dead. His body is severely burned and slowly decomposing in his locked storage unit. Apparently Mr. Bezzerides was fated to die in one of the Polaroids. He attempted to alter his fate and died because he tried to change time. As Jasper says, “You don’t mess with Time.”

The group decides to cover up Mr. B’s death, claiming he is in the hospital to those who ask.

Jasper uses the camera in a fairly obvious way. 24 hours into the future he holds up a sign with a few winning dog races of the day on it at 8PM. The camera takes a picture and sends the information back in time. Jasper gets the info and then he knows which dogs to bet on. He bets on those dogs, wins a bunch of money, and then holds that sign up to the camera to ensure that he gets the information in the past.

Finn uses the camera to overcome his painter’s block. For weeks he’s been staring at a blank canvas, painting nothing. With the camera he can see the painting he does the next day. Knowing what he is going to paint he no longer experiences writer’s block (Yes, we’re dealing with the type of time travel that violates causality).

Callie doesn’t seem personally get much out of the camera, but she’s happy to have the money that Jasper is making and that Finn is completing his work.

The camera continues to violate causality by showing events that wouldn’t naturally occur. The three main characters feel they must faithfully reenact those events or they will suffer the same fate as Mr. B in his storage room. Conflict ensues as the next day’s events start getting weirder and weirder. I won’t spoil that part of the movie for those who are interested.

I loved Time Lapse. It has all the weird stuff I look for in a movie. It offers a lot of the same stuff that Memento, Sliding Doors, and About Time had. If you enjoyed those movies then you will probably like Time Lapse.

I should warn you that there’s a significant amount of gun violence in the movie and a little bit of sexual content. The violence was enough that my wife didn’t finish watching the movie. Personally, I felt that the conflicts escalated too quickly to a lethal level, but it didn’t significantly detract from the other excellent aspects of the movie.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend Time Lapse. Check it out on Netflix!

-GoCorral

Condensed Gurutama Timeline

The Revised Gurutama Timeline is done! But the problem is that it weighs in at around 35 pages when you load it up in Microsoft Word.

If you’ve ever glanced at the timeline section of a campaign setting, it’s usually contained on just two facing pages.

The full version is still useful for the creators of the setting (myself and a few other members of my gaming group). The full version is still fun for those who are already interested in the setting and want to learn more about Gurutama’s history. But for the casual reader who is just strolling by on the internet? TOO MUCH INFORMATION!

So I’ve whittled it down to contain just the essentials.

The new Condensed Gurutama Timeline is up and running.

My gaming group has also started a Wikia for Gurutama. There isn’t much there yet, but we’re working on filling it up!

First step is, of course, moving the timeline over. The revised version in case you were wondering.

As I move over the revised timeline I’m also inserting links to various pages that don’t exist yet. Once those pages are created and filled it, I won’t need to go back to create links everywhere.

Plus, the Wikia has a cool feature where it tells me what dead links I still have floating around.

If I forget one link in all the pages I’m creating, I don’t need to go back through all the pages and check the links. I can just go to the “Wanted Pages” section of the Wikia and see what I haven’t created a page for yet! Greatest thing ever!

But why switch from working on Gurutama on my blog to using a Wikia in the first place?

Pretty easy answer actually, Gurutama is a community project that my gaming group and I have been working on. If everything is posted on my blog where they don’t have access to edit the work, it can hardly be considered a community project.

With the Wikia, anything they want to create and share they can do so without the need of emailing me a Word doc to upload onto the blog or for everyone to throw into a folder and forget about.

And the Wikia system makes everything much more organized. See a word or phrase that you don’t remember the significance of? Just click on the link and you can learn more about that thing!

I'm even learning how to code using Wikia's source language!
I’m even learning how to code using Wikia’s source language!

In the future I’ll probably be working on Gurutama through the Wikia first. Once a significant Wikia page/group of pages is done, I’ll post something about it on my blog here and add another page to the Gurutama section at the top.

That’s all for now on Gurutama!

-GoCorral

My D&D Campaign: Cimmeria

I gave a brief description of my D&D campaign world previously, but have written nothing on it since.

I got involved in the Gurutama posts and I felt that writing about two different D&D worlds might get confusing.

The result is that there’s very little on the blog about what I actually do in my biggest hobby and that frankly seems a little stupid.

There are other reasons why I avoided describing my current D&D sessions besides the confusion between Cimmeria, the campaign world I use now, and Gurutama, the campaign world I’m building.

First, I’m not always the DM for my group. Sometimes my best friend DMs a campaign based in the Aegean where the other players and I oppose an evil conspiracy.

Should I be writing about those sessions here as well? Bringing a third campaign world in? Its already a little difficult for some of the other players to keep track of what’s happening in each campaign. I can’t imagine what it would be like for people who aren’t playing and taking notes on this stuff like we are.

Second, there is an immense amount of existing information for Cimmeria that makes it a little difficult to describe the sessions to a newcomer.

For example, there is an NPC called Astyanax in Cimmeria. He is a prominent member of the Alliance opposing the evil guys.

I say Astyanax and the players all know what I’m talking about because they’ve interacted with him in the past and with his father, Hector.

There’s a mythical parallel to Astyanax as well. The mythical Hector was the greatest hero of Troy who died defending his city. After Troy was conquered, the Greeks killed the mythical Astyanax.

The Hector in my campaign died just like his namesake, but Astyanax lived on. He is now the greatest defender of his city in his father’s place. He might end up dying like his father did as well.

So imagine that level of explanation for not only the people, but the places and objects in my campaign. Everything has a history and I try to DM in a way that makes that history relevant.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want to write stuff here about Cimmeria, but I’ve got explain in a way that anybody can understand the topic.

Not really different than how anything should be written when you think about it.

-Mister Ed

Privacy vs. Public Life

Who is this man?!?
Who is this man?!?

When I started GoCorral I intended to reveal almost no information about myself.

My plan was that if the site took off and people were trying to hunt me down in person for autographs or something I’d have the option of retreating into anonymity.

I’ve slowly revealed more and more about myself.

My initial posts talked about “the town I went to college” and now its just Davis, California.

I still haven’t identified myself or anybody within my life by name, but I’m sure a dedicated detective could put the pieces together and figure out who I am.

I’ve started posting videos of myself on my Twitch and Youtube channels. Realistically, I don’t think I care much about privacy at this point.

I don’t know many professional bloggers that maintain anonymity either. Notable blogs like the Happiness Project, Perez Hilton, and 538 all use the author’s real names (Perez Hilton is a pseudonym, but the author has revealed his real name as well).

Even the smaller blogs that I read like Squidi and Twenty Sided have the authors’ real names attached to the work.

Another worry I have is that if I revel my own personal information, inevitably some information about my family and friends will leak out too.

While I might be comfortable with a public persona, I shouldn’t be making that decision for them as well.

This is all conditional on the blog or video channels taking off though. There’s no reason to be concerned about privacy if no one is listening!

My current plan is to contact a few established bloggers and see how they juggle the invasive personal commitment that a blog requires with their private lives.

I can make a decision after that.

Until then I will remain The Talking Horse.

-Mister Ed

Recent Survey on Attitudes Towards Jews

One of my Jewish friends posted a New York Times article on Facebook recently.

The article is about a survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League over the past year and released last week on world-wide attitudes towards Jews.

I encourage you to look at the survey results yourself at this the link.

The results can be looked at in an interactive Javascript or in PDF labeled as “Executive Summary” at the top right of the page.

The results were a lot of fun to look at, but nothing was particularly surprising.

The main point of the survey was to discover demographic information about anti-Semites.

Anti-Semitism was gauged by seeing if people surveyed thought 11 statements about Jews were “probably true” or “probably false.”

The statements are all vaguely anti-Semitic. If a surveyed person answered “probably true” to 6 or more of the questions then the survey considered them anti-Semitic.

The results of the survey show that the greatest predictor for anti-Semitism is location.

Anti-Semitism is common in the Middle East and North Africa, probably because Israel is an an enemy of practically every country in the region.

No other region of the world had high rates of anti-Semitism, but the highest besides the Middle East and North Africa were Europe and The Americas.

Europe and the American continents were likely higher because of legally supported anti-Semitism in the past.

The data supports that conclusion as well, with older people “from the past” having higher rates of anti-Semitism than younger people.

One of the facts discovered by the survey that interested me most pertained to education.

In most of the world, a higher education level correlated with a reduction in the rate of anti-Semitism.

In the Middle East and North Africa, a higher education level correlated with an increase in anti-Semitism.

I’d figured more education would universally reduce anti-Semitism, but I guess that isn’t true.

My first thought was that there might be something wrong with the education system in the Middle East and North Africa.

When I thought about it more a different idea seemed more plausible to me.

In an area with lots of anti-Semitism, people are rewarded for being anti-Semitic (social rewards, career advancement, etc).

If someone becomes educated, they’ll realize that being anti-Semitic is advantageous and exhibit the behavior more often or to greater degrees.

This also leads to avenues for reducing anti-Semitism. Make it so the behavior isn’t rewarded and it will stop.

Course, the means of doing that in regions where anti-Semitism is deeply entrenched are a mystery to me.

Regardless, the survey has a lot of cool data in an easily accessible format. I’d suggest looking at it yourself and talking about what you found!

-Mister Ed