Tips For New and Returning Players | Pokemon GO

Hey guys! In light of the new Referral programme that’s gone live for testing in Australia, we’ll be seeing more new or returning players. Of course, my advice for returning players depends entirely on when they stopped playing, so of course, adjust accordingly. And if you don’t have anyone that would be willing to use your referrer code, don’t worry – I’m in the same boat (I live in the UK anyway so I don’t have access to this feature yet, but I am making plans).

I probably will never be able to use the referral feature because of lack of access to friends and non-players, so I’ll have to make a brand new account for this – watch this space!


Add your referrer as a Friend

This is important so that both yourself and your referrer can access the rewards linked to your account when you do several Research tasks. It’s not enough to simply enter the referral code.

You will obtain very valuable items and encounters which will give you the jump-start in the game, which is pretty neat, and it’ll give you the kind of rewards that a lot of us Day 1 players took a while to obtain in the first place, such as Chansey or Charizard. Your referrer will get encounters such as Bagon and Gible.


Engage in the local community

The best bet for this is to find a Facebook group, as there is usually one in each town or city. From there, if there is any separate chats, that’s your go-to for any information, answers and friends! Of course, if you can ignore all of the in-community drama, that tends to help!

This also helps out to coordinate 5* and Mega Raids, especially during Raid Hours and Raid Days. Also adding more friends means more XP gained from opening and sending Gifts, and generally interactions such as trading and Raid Battles.

I got through my first couple of years raiding thanks to engaging with the community, although I’ve since left for various reasons. However, it’s a handy resource to have in the beginning!


Choosing a Team – Gym Longevity

Choosing a team to bat for comes down to the Gym longevity. For example, I’m on Valor, in a town where Valor is the more dominant team at the moment. This can change, of course, but it hasn’t done for a while. Of course, you can only do this from Level 5 and up, and not choosing a team means that you are unable to finish a lot of Special Research tasks, such as raids. Some of the easier Platinum medals also come from holding Gyms and battling in them.


What are you playing for – choosing an objective

Of course, the objectives are going to be different for every player. For example, my mum likes playing to collect Pokemon, and that’s pretty much it. I play to level grind right now, while before the level cap increase it was to shiny hunt.

Everyone goes into Pokemon GO with a different objective, but also be aware that Niantic like to add tasks that will push you out of your comfort zone, so if you don’t like the idea of GO Battle League, well you gotta do it anyway, sadly.

The other objective is whether you’re going to pay money into the game or go free-to-play – either is up to you. There’s no right or wrong way to play, but playing free-to-play means it’ll take longer to reach different goals.

Also, if you’re walking around a lot at work and carry your phone, turn on Adventure Sync and watch as it tracks your walking and hatches eggs for you! You get rewarded every Monday at 9am.


Take advantage of the Special Research

The Special Research is a very valuable way to gain different items and encounters for a head-start, especially when you’re at a lower level. For example, the Jump-Start Research that I did in 2019 was a prime example of what you could do with the tasks, and the level of rewards given. It even gave my alternate account a huge boost when I completed it on there.

There are other Special Research tasks that will be available to you, giving a plethora of different Pokemon and rewards. They are for the long haul, as opposed to the Timed Research that we’re seeing more of nowadays, which means that you can do them at your own pace.


Item Management Is Your Friend!

This is so important. Items like Lucky Eggs and 3-use Incubators are limited, and it’s not cool to waste a Lucky Egg on Friendship XP without doing something else in the background, such as mass evolving or during a boosted XP event, such as a Community Day or while Raiding.

It’s also beneficial to think ahead. For example, I was planning ahead while doing the Level-Up Requirements, and this extends to preparing Buddies and Pokemon to max out to Level 50. Of course, the road to 40 means hard grinding XP, and of course, figuring out type match-ups for the bigger Raid bosses. It’s not cool to walk into a Rayquaza raid with a Kakuna.

Of course, you also don’t want to be running out of items too. If you’re unable to reach Pokestops, then Gifts, the daily Field Research task, the free Daily Box and the Special and/or Timed Research will help you out there! Although I’m usually running out of balls because I swear the Gifts are giving me healing items again…


Oh my God manage your Pokemon

The main reason why you see a lot of PokeTubers running out of space for Pokemon (4,000 storage mind) is because they don’t clear out their inventory of Pokemon that they need. This is my list of stuff that I keep:

  • Raid and GBL counters
  • Good shinies that I don’t want to transfer to HOME
  • Shinies that will get transferred to HOME for my shiny living dex
  • Favourite Pokemon, buddies and usual Gym defenders (it doesn’t matter what you put in at this point)
  • Rare Pokemon
  • Lucky Pokemon
  • 100% IV Pokemon
  • For Mega Evolution
  • Things to mass-evolve (to transfer afterwards)
  • Things to evolve for Pokedex entries

Some of the Pokemon fall into multiple categories. For example, my 100% shiny Charizard falls into ‘Good shinies’, ‘Favourite Pokemon’, ‘100% IV Pokemon’ and ‘For Mega Evolution’. I’m also collecting Pokemon to mass-evolve so that I can transfer them straight afterwards.

With all of this in mind, I only have 900 in storage, and I usually keep just under 300 slots free.


Travel (Or Don’t)

Of course, don’t travel right now, but when everything’s safe again, go ahead! I’m sure there’ll be a plethora of different live events such as Safari Zones and GO Fests to enjoy. For the time being, last year’s GO Fest was global, meaning that you were able to have a GO Fest experience from home. Of course, the actual event is usually better because of the masses of purpose-added Pokestops and beyond heavy spawns rates.

I mean, I had fun with last year’s GO Fest, but I know a lot of people were disappointed that it didn’t live up to the hype that the sponsored PokeTubers gave it.

This blog was originally a travel and Pokemon GO blog, so travelling is in this site’s roots. Of course, I haven’t been able to do it for over a year now, so that rebrand was worth it! But sometimes you get really good places where Pokemon GO is great, such as Nottingham or Lincoln.


And that’s as much as I can think of! If you have any other tips, leave them in the comments below!

One Year of Laranjeira | Animal Crossing: New Horizons

This time last year, I dove right in and bought Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It was my first Animal Crossing game, and let’s just say that my island, Laranjeira, has undergone a lot! I know I haven’t posted a lot of Animal Crossing content of late, but there hasn’t been a whole lot to discuss.


Right in the beginning, we stumbled on the island, with Pierce and Diva, my two starter villagers. I liked Pierce from the start, while Diva took a lot of warming up to. It’s strange thinking about how the island was so barren, like a clean slate, compared to the amount of work and changes that I’ve done with the island. There are still never enough inclines for what I wanted to do, though, and there never will be. Although I do have some new ideas for rearranging everything at least, which I may or may not have done by the time this post goes live.

I remember playing through it for a long time, and then still wanting to play it when I’d turned it off. There was so much that I needed to do, and wanted to do, that it became the ultimate goal to get through the tasks and goals during the pandemic. I suppose, strangely, the game was released at just the right time. The go-to pandemic activity was Animal Crossing, especially where you could interact with villagers freely.

I named my island ‘Laranjeira’ after the Metro station in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s in the Palma de Baixo neighbourhood, and I wanted a Portuguese name for my island, and considering you could start with orange trees, that was my goal. I did reset a few times for it, but I was successful in the end. I’ve been wanting to get a new Switch, make a second island and call it Lumiar, after the area I first lived in in Lisbon. You can sense there’s a running theme here, I definitely miss Portugal.


Of course, Pierce and Diva didn’t stay for the long term. I ended up gaining a bunch of different villagers over the course of the game, including Goldie, Roald, Raymond, Marshal, Boots, Octavian and Pashmina. I even gave Judy, Marina and Zucker to others – Zucker went over to my good friend Steve’s island, as you can’t have Takoyakigamma without the takoyaki villager!

The one to have stayed the longest is Twiggy. I moved Ozzie out and back in again to ensure I got his proper house, while I kept Twiggy because the base peppy house seemed to fit her more than her actual house. Funnily enough, Ozzie and Twiggy are Connor’s favourites, but even if that wasn’t the case, I adore both of them anyway. But it’s been fun listening to the villagers sing!


Villager hunting…was a processs. There were times when I was tired and it took hours to find the perfect villager. Other times, it wasn’t so bad. But then you find Rodney…And I did scream when I finally found Stitches after so many hunts and having him be a priority for months on end! I stopped villager hunting in September, after I gained the last dreamie, Bunnie. Of course, there were other villagers that were on my wishlist, but Bunnie was right on top of that list. While Tangy fit the Laranjeira theme the best, I just preferred Bunnie’s aesthetic more. Plus I’ve seen the memes of Tangy drinking orange juice…

Terraforming is a never-ending process for me. The amount of times I’ve changed around my island is ridiculous, and I haven’t gone to the extremes that others have done, with several different hidden areas, a kind of one-way system, that kind of thing. I wanted mine to be free-flowing, where you can take it however you want. My favourite area is still the campsite, buried in a thicket of trees, and closed off with hedges. It has a variety of different camping pieces, and it just feels so cosy to me. Of course, I think the camping feature is like when us Brits go on a resort holiday somewhere like Spain, never leave that resort, then go ‘I love Spain’. It definitely gives off that vibe, but I did meet Phoebe and Chief in the campsite so good things do come from it.


My birthday was back in February, and of course, I shared it with Stitches. The whole experience was heartwarming, considering I couldn’t go anywhere or see friends. It was the first birthday I’d spent with no plans since 2009, so there was a lot of birthdays when I had stuff to do. So I took to Animal Crossing and I was happy that it was Sydney hosting my birthday, with Chief and O’Hare attending. I then went to Stitches’s party, where Ozzie was attending. It was all very sweet, I could probably have cried from all the emotions.


Over the course of the year I accidentally turned a Pokemon chat into an Animal Crossing chat, and I’m not even sorry!


What are your favourite memories of playing Animal Crossing this past year? Let me know in the comments! I, for one, hope Brewster finally comes into the game in some form this next year!

A Day in the Life | March 2021

Hey guys! I’ve done a similar post before about my usual pre-work morning routine, so I thought I’d take you through the entire day. Of course, I do different things depending on my partner’s work shifts, so we’ll just assume that he’s at work for these – I tend to have a set routine for when he’s at work during the days.


Unfortunately, I’m terrible at waking up early in the morning! I usually set an alarm for 7am, and just go straight back to sleep. It takes me a few attempts, but I usually get up between 9 and 10am, which I’m trying to fix. I immediately clean my face, brush teeth and go for a shower. Yes, I do this every day, even right down to washing my hair. I’ve discussed it before, but my hair gets greasy and itchy if I leave it long enough, and even my hairdresser has recommended to wash it daily because of this. Normally I just shampoo with L’Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths, with some Aussie conditioner on the ends if I feel like it. Then it’s down to the regular wash and shave, and I’m usually out of the bathroom within 20 minutes.

I usually get ready in my office, that way I can check my socials and get work prepped as I get ready. On days where I decide to go outside (which are few and far between), I check my socials via my phone instead, and leave the computer off. My hair, even though it’s shorter than usual, still takes at least three hours to fully dry, and ends up wavy, so I use my Neutech Touch Me hairdryer, which I bought while in Lisbon, and is the best hairdryer I’ve ever had. It dries my hair super-quick, and leaves it straight to the point where I don’t need a set of straighteners.


Right onto work, and I usually play some videos to catch up with my subscriptions, and also load up Spotify for music. I usually end up forgetting about food, or have something small on hand to snack on. I usually prepare a Sneak for the day, to make sure I can stay mentally focused. And then I get to it! I like to plan out my day ahead, as well as the week in advance if it’s a Monday. I recently purchased a ‘To-Do Book’ so I don’t have to keep wasting my notebook pages for that. I mean, I have 13 notebooks to use up, so… The to-do list also includes posts that I want to finish over the course of the week, so that I stay on schedule. My biggest goal is to stay abour three weeks ahead, because I’ve been planning and writing to make sure I get to take a break come April!

If writing for the blog doesn’t take my fancy, I usually look at my literary works that I have ongoing, to see if I can think of any ideas. If not, then it’s looking at the plans for Miss Lola’s Scents!


Often I become a bit tired at around 4pm, so I end up heading to bed and scrolling through my phone as a bit of rest, before giving in and actually going for a nap. I usually feel terrible for it, but it happens. I end up going into the living room, load up the Switch and do some shiny hunting on Sword/Shield while cooking food. Sometimes it’s something simple like chicken strips and chips, other times I’m making stir-frys. I’m the quick-eats kind of person, so I like to have frozen stir-fry vegetables ready to go, the sauces and the chicken. Sometimes I have haslet, one time I combined haslet and sliced hot dogs for a chow mein stir-fry – that was a nice change! We recently got a new wok, so anything goes at this point!

I do also have moments when I go on a massive cleaning spree, usually involving taking the trash out to the chute and sorting the recycling into different piles and bags to take downstairs.


Connor usually comes home from work at 6.50pm, we usually eat together, he showers and goes to bed. I end up playing on the Switch some more, or just watch videos and streams until I feel that it’s time for bed, usually some time before midnight nowadays.

Worst Poison-Type Pokemon

Hey guys! It’s hard to rip my favourite type to shreds, but what kind of writer would I be if I missed it out? Here are the ten worst Poison-types (in my opinion)!


Tentacruel

The Zubat of the sea!

No thanks! Can’t even swim three spaces without this popping up in the earlier games! Thank hell for the overworld Pokemon in Galar and Let’s Go games, allowing us to avoid these things!

Qwilfish

This is worse in some ways because it’s more forgettable than the Zubat of the Sea. However, I can admit its Intimidate Ability is hella useful though, and I like its origin and inspiration. But why is it so forgettable?

Drapion

I just don’t like this at all. It’s a shame that something as cute as Skorupi gets like this. Not only that, its typing changes when Skuntank literally exists with the same type combination! Plus its shiny is uber-disappointing.

Swalot

Wait, this exists? Oh shit…

Zubat

Sorry Tim! But…yeah…if the Zubat of the Sea is on this list, you bet the Tentacruel of the Caves is on here.

I mean, at least Crobat is awesome…

Amoonguss

*insert Among Us joke* – yes, it’s good for competitive, but I just don’t care for it when there are so many other Grass/Poison-types that are just…better.

Kakuna

I knew a kid that pronounced this thing ‘Kakunga’ and it still sets me on edge. Don’t get me wrong, I love Beedrill, but oh boy…

Mega Venusaur

Thick Fat is a great Ability for Mega Venusaur, but please can it just look more like the Gigantamax version instead?

Scolipede

This is part of the other Poison-type problem where there are so many Bug/Poison-types anyway, and Scolipede just adds to it.

Ariados

This is literally the same reasoning as Scolipede.

Gym Teams | Flying

Hey guys! We’re back at it again, this time with Flying-types!

This series was inspired by my good friend Tim’s series that he did over the course of 18 months. He outlined the following rules, and I added the fourth:

  1. No Legendaries or Mythicals allowed
  2. No duplicate Pokemon across two posts.
  3. The exceptions to the above rule is regional variants or form changes that change the type.
  4. The Pokemon can be level 50 maximum

Gliscor

I did want to Poison Heal/Toxic Orb on Gliscor, but the biggest issue was its 4x weakness to Ice, so I needed to preserve it as long as possible. That’s where Sand Veil and Sandstorm come in, as well as the Focus Sash.

Ability: Sand Veil

Item: Focus Sash

Moves: Sandstorm, Aerial Ace, Brick Break, Earthquake


Tropius

I quite like Tropius, and it seems bulkier in HP terms, so I went with a healing item set, along with Synthesis to improve its staying power. We need more Tropius representation here!

Ability: Harvest

Item: Sitrus Berry

Moves: Synthesis, Air Slash, Energy Ball, Earthquake


Drifblim

I did want to do a Destiny Bond set but what was the point when I had Aftermath? So I went with Unburden, a lesser item and utilised Destiny Bond anyway.

It’s not as if these teams are totally coherent, right?

Ability: Unburden

Item: Oran Berry

Moves: Will-o-Wisp, Hex, Destiny Bond, Shadow Ball


Talonflame

Gale Wings sucks now, so Flame Body it is! I added King’s Rock just to add that flinch chance to the attacks, to improve Talonflame’s staying power, as it also has a 4x weakness, this time to Rock-type moves.

Ability: Flame Body

Item: King’s Rock

Moves: Aerial Ace, Heat Wave, Bulk Up, Steel Wing


Staraptor

I wanted Staraptor to go in hard-hitting, even with some recoil damage, along with the increased critical hit ratio. That way, it’s more feasible to use Roost to bring back up its HP, and Double Team a couple of times to ensure it doesn’t get hit as easily, thus ensuring its longevity despite using recoil moves.

Ability: Intimidate

Item: Scope Lens

Moves: Take Down, Brave Bird, Roost, Double Team


Mega Pidgeot

It’s a shame that Mega Pidgeot doesn’t really get many low-accuracy moves to take advantage of No Guard, but here we are. It’s also a shame about its lack of Special Attack moves, but we’re making do with the moves that we have, and this is basically it.

Ability: No Guard

Item: Pidgeotite

Moves: Hurricane, Air Slash, Roost, Giga Impact

Horrible Fanfiction Tropes

Hey guys! In the world of creating your own works, there is fanfiction. It’s safe to assume there is fanfiction for everything, and not all of it is good. In fact, the vast majority is terrible. There are a lot of fanfiction tropes that are horrible, and here are the worst tropes that I can think of!


Mpreg

Yes, we’re starting off with ‘mpreg’. It’s where a guy (usually not a trans man) falls pregnant when usually they’re not supposed to. It’s normally through supernatural means, with the ‘uke’ (submissive) being the one to fall pregnant after…doing the deed. It’s just not necessary. Plus…how do they give birth?


Character-bashing

This is usually used as a plot device to progress the story or to force a ship together, and it’s usually against a female character. It comes across more as the author venting against the character rather than useful for character development. It’s usually whenever the target character is present in the story, even for a moment. Sometimes they’re even thrown in there for a jab or three.


Same Plot in Multiple Fics

This is definitely the case in the Fairy Tail fanfiction community. For example, take Lucy. There are a lot of her stories that have the same premise: Lisanna returns, Team Natsu edges Lucy out, then mercilessly kicks her out of the team with plenty of character-bashing from everyone, Lucy leaves to go ‘train’, joins another guild (usually pre-Grand Magic Games Sabertooth), finds some divine power – usually a Celestial Dragon, becomes stupidly overpowered, forced reunite with Team Natsu who are upset and apologises…you get the gist. Once, it’s not so bad depending on how it’s written. But I’ve seen this happen multiple times where I’m just skipping over them whenever I see them.


AU Fics That Involve Kidnapping/Mafia, etc.

The girl gets the guy so the scorned woman hatches a plan to kidnap the girl. Also in a different fic, turns out the girl’s love interest and most of her friends are mafia henchmen, and she’s the key to their huge reward. I’m tired of reading a regular alternate universe fic to find either of these happening, rather than a cute slice-of-life story that doesn’t involve


Telling the Story to the Kids

The end of some fanfics end up on a flash-forward, with the dad telling the kids about how he met their mother, and then the mother walks in saying ‘Who wants X’ or something like that, and the kids go like ‘yay!’ and then it ends. It’s uninspired, and I’ve seen it a million times, so it’s nothing new. Plus that trope got ruined once the finale of How I Met Your Mother aired.


Everyone Get Paired Off

I’ve seen fics where there isn’t a happy ending until every character is paired off with somebody. It doesn’t make sense, considering some people can be asexual or aromantic. Not every character needs a romantic link.

Even worse in M/M fics, you see literally every single male character is gay and paired off with each other. This often means that female characters are written as evil or not actually written into the story at all.


This Ending

They all defeated Grimsley, and they went home. Five years later, Sally and Mark ended up getting married and having three kids. Therese and Malcolm married soon after, and had five kids. It took a while, but Celeste and Luke finally had six children. Langley stopped ageing and married Angela.

You see the problem?


NonCon/DubCon/Bestiality

I just don’t like the idea of this thing being used as a plot device for one chapter with no after-effects, but I always skip past these parts of a story. In fact, if there’s a trigger warning in the description, I’ll skip by. Same goes for the bestiality, where there’s usually a character that’s either been turned into an animal, or they’re written in as an animal. It’s just really strange, not to mention gross.


Shotacon/Lolicon

Just no.

Doctor Who Review | Series 2

Hey guys! We’re well into this now, so why not carry on? Here’s my thoughts on series 2 of Doctor Who!


New Earth

New Earth is a good starting point for series 2. It involves time-travel to the future after The End of the World, and serves to feature more prophetic stuff from the Face of Boe, who is apparently dying, but more on that later!

The episode has amazing prosthesis, even this early on, in the form of the Sisters of Plenitude, which are Catkind nuns that want to help the sick, but have created a new species of human clones with every known disease. Cassandra makes a great comeback as well! And yes, I know it’s Cassandra doing it, but it does set a precedent when she kisses the Doctor, although it’s hilarious when he’s like ‘Yep…still got it!’ in a daze.

This episode serves as a sequel to The End of the World, and is sequelled next series.


Tooth and Claw

Tooth and Claw is a pretty cool episode, that while I’m not a huge fan of the werewolf aspect, it is really important to set up Torchwood’s origins, as that becomes important later. The monks are hella strange though.

I mean, it’s just werewolves and Scottish accents, innit? The irony of David Tennant playing an Englishman pretending to be a Scotsman always makes me laugh though.

Eh, I wasn’t exactly amused, until Queen Victoria said that she was not amused.


School Reunion

Just like last series’s Dalek episode, this is also a great nostalgia-bait, as we see the return of Sarah Jane Smith, as well as K9, the robot dog that was featured in older stories. We also see the whole subtle inside joke of chips coming full circle, and this makes me crave chips on a whole new level. Of course, Sarah Jane is offended by the idea of her being seamlessly replaced, and the Doctor not giving her a second thought, while Rose is being, well…Rose, and taking digs at the whole situation. I mean, I suppose it’s been the elephant in the room, and it really puts into perspective the longevity of the Doctor’s companions.

It’s always a pleasure seeing Anthony Head on the screen though, and this episode makes me want to rewatch Buffy. It’s a fun little episode, not to be taken entirely seriously. It also creates the opportunity for Sarah Jane Smith having her own CBBC series later on in The Sarah Jane Adventures. I have a lot to say about this episode, clearly, but it’s a great episode nonetheless.

Except when Rose is having a meltdown about her precious Doctor having previous companions, and that dirty look she gave when Mickey got to travel in the TARDIS oh boy.


The Girl in the Fireplace

“I’m the Doctor. And I just snogged madam de Pompadour!” Why does this line always send me? Same as the drunken act. There are so many iconic lines in this episode that make it very fun to watch, even if you don’t like the fancy-pants French stuff. He ends up finding a horse who he names Arthur, and tells Rose that she’s allowed to keep Mickey as her pet. Note to self: always take a banana to a party.

The ending is really sad though, but I suppose it was inevitable. Overall it’s one of my favourite episodes for dialogue and tension-breaking humour alone.

The best thing is that they literally covered the answer to the riddle with the TARDIS, and that it’s literally a ship named for Reinette.


Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel

This is just what we like to see, a parallel world scenario. Like that hasn’t been done to death. Notice that’s dripping in sarcasm. However, I like the way that this episode is going. Instead of being curious, the Doctor is overly-cautious, and rightly so. It’s clear just how easily swayed Rose is to anything that concerns her dad, even if he isn’t her dad. I’m pretty sure Rose the dog is less needy than Rose herself. And that says a lot, because if you know dogs…

Hey, at least we get the Cybermen, right? Like we couldn’t see that one coming, y’know…with the title…

Alas, Mickey knows where his place is in Rose’s life (non-existent, despite her crying to keep him around) and stays in the alternate Earth to carry on Ricky’s work and to look after his grandmother. I find it funny that Mickey was called “Ricky” by the Ninth Doctor, yet here’s a parallel Mickey called “Ricky”.

Oh I didn’t realise that it was Roger Lloyd Pack who played Lumic, and also played Owen in The Vicar of Dibley and Barty Crouch in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I wondered why I thought he was familiar, I’d started rewatching the former on Netflix! Lumic’s insane as heck!

It’s a great reintroduction to the Cybermen, and this was actually aired 40 years after the debut of the Cybermen, which also links in to Jackie Tyler turning 40- I mean 39!


The Idiot’s Lantern

When I was a bit younger, I enjoyed this episode. It was probably something to do with the setting (London in 1953), but oh boy, there are elements that make me cringe now. The Wire, the antagonist of the story, is just so cringeworthy with her “feeeeed meeeeee” dialogue, which reminds me too much of Little Shop of Horrors. Looking at the characters with fresh eyes after trauma, Eddie Connolly rubs me hugely the wrong way, concerned more about his authority and appearances. I’m just glad he got put in his place at the end of the story, with his son Tommy helping the Doctor. Narcissism isn’t cute.

The faceless people, as a result of The Wire, are just creepy as hell, especially when Rose becomes one of them after doing some investigating.

I just wanna have a street party though…


The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit

This is the first attempt at a simplistic format, and it works. The format is basically that the Doctor and a companion of some kind is stuck on a space station, and there’s something coming for them. And that is literally the Devil itself.

Both the Doctor and Rose laugh at the idea of leaving after landing, which we can definitely feel. But hey, the TARDIS lets lost to the planet, and the normally-docile Ood start on a rampage thanks to the Beast.

Everyone hails this as the best set of episodes in this series, at the very least, and I find it hard to disagree with them. It’s some scary stuff, and it sets up an ominous premonition for Rose’s fate later on.


Love and Monsters

I’ve already reviewed this episode last year, and I didn’t want to review it again for the sake of this piece, so here’s the review that I did, alongside a possible rewrite that I came up with that could have been better for the episode.


Fear Her

This is the episode that everyone thinks is the worst, but actually isn’t (in my opinion) – I actually did a Twitter poll for this. Fear Her is this kind of episode that is terrible anyway. The main focus is on the Isolus, an alien with a huge family (we’re talking billions), which crashed onto Earth and found Chloe Webber. That’s when children start to go missing through drawings, in an attempt to rebuild its family. However, I just wasn’t sold on the child acting. It just came off as too wooden with little flexibility, especially when the Isolus was talking through her. It just took me out.

The biggest takeaway from this is its discussion of child abuse and its impact, via Chloe’s father who passed away and has now gained new life as a demonic drawing in her closet. You want monsters in your closet…I’m still disappointed that David Tennant didn’t carry the actual Olympic torch for us in 2012, that was a missed opportunity there. What about that “caaancil” worker though?

All in all, this feels like The Idiot’s Lantern but worse, mixed in with The Impossible Planet two-parter in terms of a demonic final enemy.

I will always be Rose Tyler approaching and petting cats and complimenting them.


Army of Ghosts / Doomsday

“This is how I died. Sike!” Is what they planned, because hey, Rose’s death is upon us! Bringing the Daleks and Cybermen together was pretty fun, and clock the one Cyberman that falls off the balcony. This whole scene is just supremely good, and it’s probably the highlight of the entire two-parter. Or maybe just this parody instead

I love how this wraps up the Torchwood story-arc, in a way that they ended up being the cause of the fuckery that’s going on in these episodes. Good work, Torchwood…

Other than that, there’s the casual hopping to and from the parallel world, allowing Pete to ‘reunite’ with Jackie, leading to tears and a bit of humour. Why is Jackie Tyler so funny?

Of course, it’s sad that Rose leaves, but I feel more sorry for Mickey, as Rose confesses her love to the Doctor as he was right there, before he disappears with a “Rose Tyler” that has become somewhat of a meme. I cried when I first watched it, and a few times before, but I’ve become desensitised because I see just how problematic Rose really was in terms of her attitude. And the romantic jealousy only gets worse next series, but that’s for next time.


The Runaway Bride

We get our first glimpse of Catherine Tate as Donna Noble, and she’s brilliant! I really don’t know why people dislike her, because she gives me the no-nonsense attitude that we need, as well as a non-romantic companion (even though she isn’t one right now). But imagine getting teleported to the TARDIS on your wedding day? Could not be me!

I really don’t like how they re-used the killer Santas though, it feels like it lost the element of fear for that one. But the Racnoss Empress was really interesting, if not distracting by what sounded like constantly sucking back saliva.

Donna gives me serotonin, nuff said.


Next time, we’re looking at series 3 (because that’s kinda how it goes, doesn’t make any sense if it’s all in the wrong order).

Worst Flying-Type Pokemon

Hey guys! These particular Pokemon aren’t exactly…soaring…instead they just come crashing down. So away from the bad puns and into the ten worst Flying-types – in my opinion. This is definitely an uninspired list, but then you could say the same about the Pokemon!


Charizard

Hang on, you really think Charizard is on this list? Nah, since I got my shundo Charmander in Pokemon GO it’s regained a soft spot in my heart. Go to my good friend Tim’s site, because Charizard is one of his least favourite Pokemon!


Fearow

Sorry Tim, but I’d rather go for Pidgeot than Budget Pidgeot. In a universe where I have to choose between Pidgeot and Fearow, I always forget about Fearow. I’m honestly not even sorry about it. Even its shiny is awful, but that’s the curse of the early-day shinies, unfortunately.

Mega Salamence

Don’t get me wrong, I love Salamence, but I wish this didn’t happen. It just doesn’t look good in general, and we also have the Eon Duo that Mega Evolve into what I can only describe as aircrafts. It’s not something we needed, and I think I’d definitely have preferred a Mega Flygon over Mega Salamence.

Rotom Fan

A Flying-type. With Levitate. This is the reason why Rotom forms needed different Abilities that would better fit the type combination. I know I put this on my Electric Gym post but only for the fun of it.

Unfezant

Unfezant is unpleasant. Moving away from the puns again, I definitely don’t like Unfezant, it’s not even a Route 1 bird that I would choose, and I’d probably rather go for Fearow over this thing eventually.

Ledian

I’d say this would have been an interesting Bug/Fighting-type but we have Heracross, so Ledian would have been outclassed anyway. I love ladybirds, but I just don’t connect with the Ledyba line in general, and I always tend to forget about Ledian.

Xatu

It just comes down to the fact that while Xatu normally had its standing upright sprites, I hate that they made it hover in the 3D sprites – it doesn’t do Xatu justice at all, considering in its Pokedex entry states that it stays still because it is seeing both the past and the future at the same time. Even in its Omega Ruby entry it states that it “stands rooted”. Guys, a little continuity, please?

Jumpluff

Jumpluff is just bad. It doesn’t help that its pre-evolutions are just as awful, if not worse. At least with Jumpluff you’re going to get Grass-type moves already, but with Hoppip you don’t even get a Flying-type move by level-up until it’s already evolved into Jumpluff. Just get another Pokemon.

Delibird

I know there are people that love Delibird and I love the gimmick, but this is mostly filler in this list. It’s just…not great to use, definitely, and I definitely wouldn’t choose to use it. I mean, it’s fun to look at, that’s for certain.

Mantine

I just feel there’s too many Water/Flying-types, and yes that does include the likes of Pelipper, Cramorant and the next one on this list. Mantine doesn’t really do much for me.

Swanna

I just don’t care for Swanna. Ducklett is pretty cute, don’t get me wrong, but I feel that they got the ugly duckling/beautiful swan thing the wrong way around. I kinda wish Swanna was prettier and less…bad.

Gym Teams | Psychic

This series was inspired by my good friend Tim’s series that he did over the course of 18 months. He outlined the following rules, and I added the fourth:

  1. No Legendaries or Mythicals allowed
  2. No duplicate Pokemon across two posts.
  3. The exceptions to the above rule is regional variants or form changes that change the type.
  4. The Pokemon can be level 50 maximum

Espeon

I wanted to give Espeon as much staying power as possible, hence the Morning Sun/Leftovers combo, alongside the Magic Bounce Ability, allowing it to not take any status conditions or any stat-lowering moves. Future Sight is there just to hit a powerful attack later on, and Shadow Ball and Dazzling Gleam are there for coverage.

Ability: Magic Bounce

Item: Leftovers

Moves: Future Sight, Morning Sun, Shadow Ball, Dazzling Gleam


Gardevoir

I love using Gardevoir anyway, and Trace will come in handy with other Pokemon with different Abilities that it could use to its advantage. I gave Gardevoir a typical (to me, anyway) attack set just because. Gardevoir comes up later, and that ought to be fun.

Ability: Trace

Item: Sitrus Berry

Moves: Calm Mind, Psychic, Dazzling Gleam, Shadow Ball


Galarian Slowbro

Slowbro is slow anyway, so having Iron Ball in place in order to Fling it works well, especially when you take into consideration that it has Quick Draw (which only ever works when the opponent uses a Slowbro, I swear). I added Surf as well, just as a cheeky nod to the regular Slowbro.

Ability: Quick Draw

Item: Iron Ball

Moves: Surf, Shell Side Arm, Drain Punch, Fling


Starmie

There are no good Abilities for Starmie, are there? I just went with a really random moveset that included an Eject Pack to make sure that I don’t have to hard-switch at any time. Overall, it’s the best I could do with a Starmie. Go me!

Ability: Natural Cure

Item: Eject Pack

Moves: Surf, Confuse Ray, Recover, Ice Beam


Swoobat

Imagine a Swoobat with Simple and a couple of Calm Mind set-ups, followed by a Baton Pass into something like Gardevoir?

Run.

Ability: Simple

Item:

Moves: Calm Mind, Future Sight, Air Slash, Baton Pass


Mega Metagross

I would have done a Calm Mind/Baton Pass into Metagross, however Metagross is a Physical attacker anyway, so it wouldn’t work out too well. Metagross is the Mega Evolution of choice, and it’s a shame it’s too early for Meteor Mash. I’ve given it Magnet Rise to nullify its Ground weakness, and given it the moves to counteract its Fighting- and Ghost-type weaknesses. All of these moves (Magnet Rise being the exception) are affected by the Tough Claws Ability, too.

Ability: Tough Claws

Item: Metagrossite

Moves: Magnet Rise, Hammer Arm, Brutal Swing, Zen Headbutt

The Problem With Reading for Education | My Experiences

Hey guys! As a writer, it’s a bit strange for me to diss the concept of reading, and I don’t particularly hate reading at all. In fact, when I get in the mood, I could read for a long time. We have a bookshelf full of books (not too big, we actually tend to be a tad picky), but it was school reading that didn’t allow me to flourish.


I’m going to preface with the fact that I got a D grade in my English Literature GCSE back in the day – compared to my C grade in English Language (okay, I wasn’t the best student), and compare it to the fact that five years later, I was told I should do A-Level English due to my high enrollment test score, which apprently was the highest they’ve had somehow. I love reading on my own terms, but there were so many issues with reading in school that concern me.

When I was in primary school (4-11), I was 11 years old and reading Lord of the Rings, which was way beyond my reading level. But I classified as reading at ‘Level 8’ instead of the ‘Level 13’ that I was already reading at. We had reading sessions, but the books didn’t inspire me at that age because I was already reading more advanced literature. The Level 8 books were boring, but I was never allowed to advance, despite others having already done so by reading the Harry Potter series, which I’d already been reading for a few years at that point. So I entered secondary school (11-16) having finished at Level 8, when even my teacher knew I was way more advanced than that.


I see that a lot of schools are using Noughts and Crosses as educational material, and that’s something we could have used as far back as 2005. It practically combines Romeo and Juliet and a world with racial segregation. Instead, the only piece of racism we got was in Of Mice and Men, which I’ll come to later.

I remember that we looked at Emma for about a week. I don’t remember us reading any passages from it, just a brief synopsis, and then we watched Clueless, which while it’s dated looking back, is still such a good film, and was more relatable to us as teenagers. We wanted to be Cher and Dionne, not Emma. We could see ourselves becoming like Cher and Dionne, and Paul Rudd was definitely a bit of eye candy even then!

I remember a lot of different books or plays that we read that our teacher pretty much half-assed, such as The Merchant of Venice or Hobson’s Choice, where we only read a small section of it. For Hobson’s Choice, the most memorable parts of it were the double entendres, but it was a case that we only read a few chapters of it and studied that. We never finished the entire book, and we never actually found out what happened at the end.

I mentioned Of Mice and Men earlier, and I’ll state that it was probably one of the better pieces that we studied throughout the GCSE years. It was a little more modern than what we were used to, and it covered the Great Depression in America, which was at least interesting to learn a bit about. The story was easy enough to follow, and I enjoyed the film adaptation, too. Would I read it in my own time? Probably. The racism in it does make me uncomfortable, but as it’s set in the Great Depression era, there was a lot of racism anyway. However, strangely enough we were just told to read it, and there was no allowance to learn the context of the time, just that it was there.

And then we have the usual Shakespeare, which I find that despite him being the best of his time and being the bard, holds no relevance today. I actually don’t know of anyone who reads Shakespeare for enjoyment, and is usually only used for educational purposes and stage performances. While other year groups before us studied MacBeth or Romeo and Juliet, we studied The Merchant of Venice. Yeah, I hadn’t heard of it either. I couldn’t even tell you the plot without Googling it, despite having studied it for my GCSE. I suppose if it was MacBeth, which we had read for non-GCSE purposes, it wouldn’t have been as bad, because I did enjoy the Scottish Play – and there was the Roman Polanski film adaptation, too. I feel like because it was one of the less popularised Shakespeare plays, we weren’t that interested!

In the GCSE exam, we were given an ‘unseen poem’, which was a poem that we hadn’t prepared for that we had to examine and deduce its meaning. I don’t remember the poem, nor do I care for poem that talks in riddles. If I can’t understand the poem without a cheat sheet, then it’s not a good poem. Half-Caste by John Agard is actually a really good example of a poem done right with its phrasing, and Agard does an amazing job capturing what it means to be called ‘half-caste’, and goes on to stretch that metaphor to other aspects of himself and famous art, and even the British weather. It’s one that while it looks complicated, you only need to know the definition of ‘half-caste’ to be able to understand it, and that’s what I’d look for in a poem.


I think my main problem is that when the teacher tries to force meanings into the descriptions of the story, or has us study materials that already need cheat sheets to understand, it fails to allow children to fully immerse themselves in literature. The teacher tries to get us to pick out subtext that the author never intended (hence the ‘curtains are blue’ meme below). I mean, sometimes there could be meaning if that’s what the author intended, and encapsulated the overall scene, perhaps. Sometimes, the curtains are blue because maybe that character likes the colour blue.

Even worse when you have the class read passages of the books, and some of them have issues such as dyslexia, which does more harm than good, especially when in front of a usually hateful class – and trust me, my year group was very hateful.


I read for enjoyment, on my own terms. At the time of writing, I sadly have too much writing and other work to do to want to read. However, being part of a writing community has helped spark passion into literature again, and I cannot thank the community enough for what doors they’ve opened up for me. I like to think that I wouldn’t add unecessary metaphors, and that the curtains are blue because the character likes blue curtains.

There are so many different ways that creativity can be encouraged with just the right good book, and I feel that it’s often stifled at school in exchange for the National Curriculum.