Summer Blues

summer-ends

Don’t let the title fool you. I love summer. I’d easily say it’s my favorite of the seasons and I’d rather find ways to cool down in the hot weather than stay warm in the winter. But summer is nearing its end, or at least it always feels like it is when September creeps up. It doesn’t help that Canadian weather is always all over the place, especially  here on the east end of the country.

The thing I always find strange about summer ending, now that I don’t have school to worry about anymore, is what it means for the year overall. Sooner than later, 2016 will be over and we’ll be celebrating the jump into 2017. That’s always so weird to think about and it makes me wish all the more for the summer to stay around a bit longer. The year so far hasn’t been that good, especially for me on a personal level, but I still have things I want to accomplish before it ends. The end of summer makes me feel like time is slipping away from me, even though I have more plans in store (a certain Florida trip, for example).

And as I mentioned, the weather is another big factor in that. Sure, autumn around here is nice to look at with the ever-changing leaves, and the cooler temperatures can be a godsend after a hot summer. But then I’m immediately reminded that winter’s around the corner. While I like SOME things about winter, there are plenty of reasons for me to want to put it off: freezing weather, possible power outages, eventually finding a more full-time job, etc. That’s not to mention how our winters in particular have the tendency to stick around through part of spring, making it feel like most of the year is spent dealing with ice and snow. Maybe that’s another reason why the years always seem to fly by so fast.

Summer (at least this one) makes me feel like I can just kick back and relax without hardly any care in the world. It may be hot, but I can cool down with some treats, have barbecues with my family, and go on water slides with my fiance. It’s a time to have some much-needed fun, even when I have had the pressures of a job other years. And now, as August soon draws to a close, I can’t help thinking about how quick it seemed to fly by. It feels like I think that around this time every year, though. Well, at least I can say it was fun while it lasted, especially compared to the first few months of this year.

A Flea Market Revisit

Well, this weekend marks our annual giant flea market and I was fortunate to go last night with my dad. We walked the whole thing barring a couple rows and came away with very few purchases. My dad picked up a brand spankin’ new pair of sneakers for himself and some nice earrings for my mom, while I managed to land a $65 bargain of “Donkey Konga” and “Donkey Konga 2” for the Gamecube along with TWO sets of DK Bongos. Not a bad deal at all for something I used to rent back in the day.

We did our usual thing once we paid the $10 needed to get inside (yes, paying money to go and pay more money) – make a beeline for the food trucks nearby. Our curly fries weren’t as well done this time around, but they were as tasty as ever. Top them off with a couple burgers and it made for a pretty good if junky dinner. Then, for the last 2+ hours that the market was open for, we browsed. A lot. Every year seems to yield the same things over and over, though. We saw stands with auto/tool parts, craft items (some of them for Christmas), random junk people had lying around their house or may have bought at yard sales, gaming and movie tables, etc. I’m still a little sad I came away with hardly anything in the grand scheme of things, if only because this year I had a plan.

That’s right, a plan. See, normally I’d just try to find anything and everything that would interest me. While that was still the case this year, I also made a plan to search for specific things. These included retro games (which were all crazy expensive), “The Simpsons” on DVD (couldn’t find the season my fiance and I are now at), and tabletop games that my fiance and I might like to play with our friends (no luck there). It’s always a long shot trying to find specific stuff at such a large venue, but I was hopeful. My dad even hoped to find a couple movies that we owned but have since gone missing, only to come up empty-handed by the end of the day. It’s a shame my plan didn’t pan out as much as I’d hoped, but luckily I’ll be going back for a brief visit tomorrow to grab one or two things I missed out on, like my usual flavored cotton candy (mmm…). I’m planning now to save my shopping money for later tomorrow, when my mom and I will be traveling to a city further away to browse the mall and maybe see a movie.

So, this year’s flea market visit wasn’t totally a bust, but I’m hoping I’ll find more next year. Luckily, there are plenty of people who set up shop year after year now, to the point that I consider them regulars. They tend to be around the same area in the park as well, so at least they’re easy to find. I still had a great time, and now I’m just hoping that our Hot Air Balloon Fiesta will pan out just as well.

My Top 10 Least Favorite Pokemon Designs

With all the new info being released on “Pokemon Sun/Moon,” I’ve been more excited than ever for the games to come out already. To capitalize on that, I’ve decided to make a list I’ve been putting off of my top 10 least favorite Pokemon designs. Now, since this is the Internet, I want to stress that this list isn’t based on the Pokemon’s moves, stats, popularity (or lack of), etc. This is strictly going by looks (yeah, I know, shallow) and are my personal choices. If you have your own, feel free to comment.

Before we get into the list, though, I made a couple ground rules. The first rule is that I’m not listing any of the new Gen 7 Pokemon that have been shown off so far. Since they’re not all out yet and aren’t even available to catch, I figure it’d only be fair to focus on Gens 1-6 for now. The second rule is that I’m allowing myself to have ties. For example, several entries involve a Pokemon and its evolution. I’ll be including both under one number and explaining why I dislike them (this is usually because of similar reasons). I only bring this rule up because there are quite a few instances of these I found while making this list where I just couldn’t pick one over the other.

But without further delay, let’s get this thing started! Here are my top 10 least favorite Pokemon designs.

10. Tornadus/Thundurus/Landorus (Genie Forms)

genie 'mons

Of all the legendary trios that exist so far, these three are my least favorite. I like genies and I wanted so badly to like these guys, but I can’t stand how they look. Maybe it’s the faces, maybe it’s the tails, but they just bug me. Their animal-like Therian forms are slightly more appealing to me and at least look interesting enough to keep them this low on the list. I even have the trio in their Therian forms in my copy of X because I prefer them that way. All I can say is that I’m glad Hoopa came along to make a genie Pokemon that appeals to me, ’cause these guys sure don’t.

9. Vanillish & Vanilluxe

vanillish & vanilluxe.png

When it comes to Pokemon who constantly get made fun of, the Vanillite line are usually near the top. So why are they so low on my list? Well, honestly, I’ve kinda softened on my dislike of them over the years. I came into Gen 5 late and initially shared the same opinion on them being stupid-looking. This is coming from someone who loves ice cream and wouldn’t normally have been opposed to the idea of a Pokemon themed after one. But the execution left something to be desired and I still can’t stand their derpy faces. Oddly enough, the pre-evolution, Vanillite, has grown on me if only for being like a chibi ice cream cone.

8. Jynx

jynx

Yes, we’re going all the way back to Gen 1 for this entry.  I always was weirded out by how Jynx looked. I could tolerate the simplicity of Voltorb or the slight creepiness of Mr. Mime, but Jynx never once appealed to me both in the games and the anime. It didn’t occur to me back in the day that the original black-skinned Jynx could come off racist, but in hindsight, the uncomfortable connotations and uncanny valley of it may be why I avoided this one at all costs. Even with the change to a purple skin tone, Jynx still remains one of my least-liked Gen 1 Pokemon.

7. Probopass

probopass

This thing is just ridiculous and kinda stupid. I wasn’t a huge fan of Nosepass to begin with, but I could at least get behind the idea of it being based off those Easter Island statues. Probopass, on the other hand, looks like someone blew an Easter Island statue completely out of proportion and added a “hat” and fluffy mustache for kicks. It’s the mustache in particular that makes me just not take this thing seriously. Seeing this thing actually made me appreciate Nosepass a bit more, if only because it looks way less dumb in comparison.

6. Gulpin & Swalot

gulpin & swalot

Sure, these are simple designs and they don’t look very interesting, but the one thing that always bothered me about Gulpin and Swalot is the duck lips. It’s that one feature alone that makes me want to punch these things in the face. The ONE time I’ve liked duck lips on anything has been with Amethyst from “Steven Universe” and I still had to adjust to/get over that when I first started watching the show. It might come off as petty to include these two this high on the list for just having duck lips, but it’s such a blatant feature on them that I can’t overlook it.

5. Armaldo & Rampardos

armaldo & rampardos.jpg

Yes, I know these two aren’t part of the same evolution line, but out of all the fossil Pokemon to date, they’re my least favorite design-wise. I like Armaldo’s pre-evolution, Anorith, but Armaldo’s overall design isn’t anything special. The thing that bothers me about it the most is the eyes. I can’t stand the placement and look of them. I also find it weird that his arms seem to come out of holes much bigger than the arms themselves. I’m just not a fan of this fossil ‘mon at all. Rampardos on the other hand, doesn’t bother me quite as much. I like its pre-evolution, Cranidos, and Rampardos, while looking hunchbacked, isn’t as off-putting to me as Armaldo. However, what kills it for me is his head. That weird, blue bump is one thing, but I also find it annoying how his head looks like it’s been partly sliced off into a flat top. What seemed like a potentially cool fossil Pokemon now just comes off looking ridiculous. There are other fossils I’m not fond of, but these two definitely take the cake.

4. Stunfisk

stunfisk

This is another Pokemon I’ve seen on several least-liked lists, and it’s no exception here. I know it’s based off a real creature, but the pancake design, derpy eyes and bland colors just don’t do it for me. I haven’t come across anyone who outright likes this thing’s design and no matter how good it might be in battle, I’m sorry to say I have to agree. This is one ugly fish, and when you’re beating out things like Magikarp and Feebas for that title, you know your design is unappealing.

3. Magmar & Magmortar

magmar & magmortar

And this is another Gen 1 Pokemon that I can’t stand. While I know many people love Magmar and it’s Gen 4 evolution, Magmortar, I think they’re both hideous. I can’t stand Magmar’s bumpy forehead, pursed duck beak, and tail that looks like it tried to copy a Charizard. I can’t stand Magmortar’s odd choice of pink in its color scheme, weird cannon arms, and dopey-looking face. The only saving grace in this line for me is Magby, and even it isn’t my favorite of the baby Pokemon out there. I’ve disliked Magmar the moment I saw it and that remained just as true for Magmortar.

2. Binacle & Barbaracle

binacle & barbaracle

Ugh, these two. When Game Freak started revealing many of the new Pokemon found in “Pokemon X/Y,” the only one I had an immediate dislike for design-wise was Binacle and later its evolution, Barbaracle. I know they’re supposed to be based off a type of barnacle, but they’re so bizarre that I just couldn’t get behind them. Binacle is very plain aside from the two creepy hands sticking up out of it, and Barbaracle… What even is that thing? It looks like a kid glued a bunch of fake hands with googly eyes onto a rock. Plus, it’s head is another hand. I can’t decide if that’s lazy or some strange attempt at making it alien-like. Well, either way, it still remains one of my least favorite of the Gen 6 Pokemon.

1. Garbodor

garbodor

And at number one, we’ve reached the cream of the crap of Pokemon designs with Garbodor. This is yet another Pokemon I’ve seen on least-liked lists and I consider it quite possibly my least favorite Pokemon in existence. I even like its pre-evolution, Trubbish, ahead of this abomination. Setting aside that it came from Gen 5, which had a region based off New York and thus Pokemon themed for it, this is one of those inanimate object Pokemon that really didn’t need to exist. It’s supposed to be a pile of garbage, which is bad enough, but of WHAT garbage exactly? It just looks like a broken garbage bag over brown goop with pink and blue bits of…candy? Oh, and something like pipes or gas pump nozzles for fingers. This Pokemon is just a mess from top to bottom. I hate everything about its design (among other things) so much that I called my living Pokedex Garbodor “The WORST.” For that reason, it gets the number one spot for my least favorite Pokemon design.

And there you have it! Again, if you have different choices or just want to comment on mine, feel free to say so below. Until next time!

Life Update Part 2!

Well, as you can see, my time spent with my fiance resulted in me not bothering to blog. But since he went home yesterday and I’m now having a lazy Sunday, I figured I should talk about a few things.

The first is that, as usual, the trip went great. While I didn’t have anything extravagant planned for us to do, we did see the new “Ghostbusters” at the drive-in (our reactions were a resounding “eh, it’s okay.”) and did some shopping in the city (more him than me). We got to have a new experience in the form of the Magic Mountain water park, and even though it was a busy Sunday afternoon, we had a good time going down water slides and trying out their elephant ear-like pastry called a Beaver Tail. We marathoned all the Marvel movies excluding “Civil War” thanks to some technical difficulties, though neither of us were too upset since we’d both just seen it when it came out this year. We also marathoned the 9th season of “The Simpsons” and realized that it’s a bit of a mixed bag, both with me being a veteran watcher and him being a newbie. All in all, we just enjoyed each other’s company as much as we could.

During this time, I was also forced to basically accept that my cat, Scamper, is well and truly gone. Even though we still haven’t found him, I had always assumed he wouldn’t come back. We live in an area that lately has been teeming with coyotes and apparently even a black bear, not to mention that the woods around our property stretches for miles on end. Anything could have happened to him. It still makes me sad that I can’t see how the rest of his life might have played out, and I miss his presence. My parents seem to be slowly accepting it as well, going so far as to store away his food dish and litter box. I know he lived a good, long 17 years, but I miss the little guy more than anything.

On the bright side of the dark side, even though yesterday was a little sad with my fiance leaving to head back to Florida, I ended up already booking my flights for my next visit with him. I’ll be coming down around mid-October and leaving around mid-November, so we’ll get to celebrate the Halloween festivities together AND I’ll still get at least one Thanksgiving Day meal (mmm, pumpkin pie!). Even better, the first weekend I get with him will be spent with us having fun in Disney World at the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks, along with a little shopping on the side. It’s been six long years since the very first time I visited Disney and I can’t wait to go back. My one goal this time is to try their Dole Whip dessert as I’ve heard nothing but good things about it and I can’t resist trying something that isn’t really available anywhere else. It’s sure to be a fun trip overall, but it’ll be great to start things off with a bang.

Well, that’s my life up to this point. In a couple weeks, I plan to go with my dad to our town’s annual Flea Market and hopefully find lots of goodies for myself and my fiance. I always look forward to being there every year. I also hope to attend our Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in September, so long as the balloons actually GO up and don’t stay grounded due to weather. Either way, I’ll have a few fun things to do in the meantime before my trip kicks off. Until next week!