Poké Oh Man! – What is Pokemon Go?

Pokemon Go in my yard

What is Pokemon Go?

Does this look familiar? Rarely am I in the loop on trending technology and this past week was no different. Pokémon GO was released on July 6th. What is Pokemon go? you ask. It’s a smartphone app where gamers attempt to catch cute little critters on screen, while out and about in the real world. I think I saw a post or two about it on Facebook, but I paid little attention. Not until Monday, when the rage hit home.

Monday morning, I drove out my usual route and saw a group of middle schoolers gathered at the local common. It’s summer, so that was no surprise. I observed every kid in the group nose to phone. Again not surprised – such a sad reflection of society today.

The Incident

I went about my day and not until dusk did Pokémon GO strike again. Just Julia and I were home and when I passed by my front door I noticed a young man, maybe 15-18, squatting down across the street. He was looking at his phone and appeared innocent enough. I saw him in the same spot 10 minutes later – I thought that was odd. I called Julia over to see if she recognized him – she didn’t. No need to panic, but I locked up just in case. Julia and I kept watch – when the guy began repeatedly walking back and forth past our house; all the while face in phone, I started to get nervous. I called Tony who said he’d head right home from a work event, then I called my neighbor down the street. Neighborhood crime watch was in effect and we decided a call to the police business line was warranted. Just as I was about to dial, I saw my neighbors from up the street on an evening stroll. By this time the “stalker” had walked slightly out of view. I frantically waved over my dear friends to alert them of the lurker. I explained the scenario and without hesitation they both said, “Oh, he’s Poké hunter.” A what?

They explained it was all part of the Pokemon Go craze, to which I promptly asked, “What is Pokemon Go?” I had not idea what they were talking about. Now, however, I notice every Pokémon player I pass. Soon enough I became aware of the pros, but mostly cons of this funny phenomenon.

Pros

  • Kids are getting out and exploring the world outdoors (albeit with their face in phone)
  • Kids are banding together in the spirit of fun and games (albeit with their face in phone)
  • Kids are actively combating summer boredom all on their own (albeit with their face in phone)

Cons

  • Kids’ faces are still in their phones
  • Kids aren’t watching where they are going – They are crashing their bikes and I almost ran over a boy who stepped into the road without bothering to look up.
  • It’s dangerous – phone locations are being tracked. In some cases players are being lured into very precarious situations. Just yesterday, this article came out in the Wall Street Journal.
  • If you’re not careful, crazy moms, like me, will call the cops on you because you’re loitering suspiciously outside our homes.
  • Finally, it’s a quick drain on your phone’s battery.

In the end

While it seems the cons outweigh the pros, I don’t discount this new age of game play, but as a mom I would like to see the safety kinks worked out before I say go ahead, “Catch ‘em all.

 

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Reality TV – Forcing the Drama

Reality TV- put on the boxing gloves

 

Bring out the boxing gloves, “The Real Housewives” are on. I’m not going to lie, I love Reality TV. Many don’t like to admit this, but I don’t mind putting it out there for all to judge. Nine times out of ten, when I mention the shows I watch, others reveal they watch too. I’ve been people watching my entire life, so this attraction seems a natural extension of the habit. It all began in the early 90s when I got hooked on MTV’s “The Real World.” I was fascinated by this peek into the personal lives of random strangers.

Now reality television is everywhere and while I still watch, even I can admit that it has taken an ugly turn. I always say, “I can’t watch this trash anymore,” yet week after week I get sucked back in. Recently, I identified what I feel is Reality TV’s biggest issue – among so many other problems. The shows’ producers and stars have allowed the success of some pivotal reality moments to influence each future season, episode and scene. By this I mean; the big arguments that have previously shocked unsuspecting viewers and skyrocketed ratings have now become the standard by which all scenes are measured.

Epic moments like “Real Housewives of New Jersey’s,” Teresa Giudice’s, table flipping incident nearly seemed real. As if it might’ve happened even if the cameras weren’t there. But now, similar attempts for shock value fall short because they are so obviously forced.

Let’s take this latest season of “Real Housewives of New York.” Every episode now includes some element of an ongoing argument between Luann de Lesseps and Bethenny Frankel. I thought Luann was the classy countess, but it’s apparent she’s creating drama for the sake of airtime. Nobody enters a party, restaurant or public place to expressly pull aside the person with whom you have a major beef, to discuss the very thing you are pissed off about.

 “Real Housewives of New York” minus Bethenny Frankel. Luann looks ready to fight-again!

 

But these ladies do it all the time and it’s what Reality TV has become – one big, shameful fight after another. And it’s not just the housewives, although they really seem to have it mastered. My newest reality favorite, “Southern Charm,” just had the most ridiculous dinner party brawl in which everyone was kicked out before the salads were served. Come on people! You’re supposed to be “ladies and gentlemen” of the south. Hardly!

If nothing else, these contentious themes are boring because they are rehashing the same argument over and over again throughout an entire season.

Let’s really get real and show the truly interesting aspects of reality. They still exist; you just have to go deeper than the manufactured fights and drunken outbursts that have become the focus.

Are you a Reality TV watcher? What do you think about all the drama?

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New to Instagram – Sharing, Learning and Getting Inspired

Instagram photo - Mother Day flowers in shades of pink
Pretty in Pink – a view from above.

 

The fact that I have an active Instagram account is nearly as shocking to me as it is to my daughters.

For the most part, I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to technology today.  There was a time, oh so long ago, when I might’ve said that my technical skills verged on savvy. Yes, two kids and 15 years later, I’m in the elite group of folks, 40 and over, who don’t have a clue about social media.

When it was suggested I start “Instagramming” for 3 Olives & a Twist, I burst out laughing at the thought. I can barely manage Facebook and this blog. How in the world could I possibly handle Instagram? What would I post? My mind immediately went to selfies – NO, just NO!

Being new to Instagram, I quickly learned that this photo-sharing application is actually much more than selfies and the seemingly popular “look down at your shoes” shot. Here’s one…

white shoes stepping on wood
There are a lot of these on Instagram – I don’t get it.

 

In fact, it is full of amazing imagery, as long as you know what to look for.

The Beauty of Instagram

I’m a very visual person and I love pictures – when I began searching hashtags of interest, I stumbled upon a veritable feast for my eyes. Stunning photos of food, interior design, architecture, landscape, botanicals, travel and, of course, cute pups have all stopped me long enough to warrant a [icon name=”heart” class=”” unprefixed_class=””].

Many photos are posted by professional photographers. I marvel at their talent and eye for interesting subjects and have begun to draw inspiration from what I see. As much as I struggle to take a decent picture, Instagram has actually helped me with angle ideas, filters and cropping options.

The simplicity of Instagram is also appealing. There aren’t a lot of buttons to tap and interaction is as little or as much as you want it to be. I’ve found myself mentally transported to beautiful countries through posts from all over the world. It has opened my eyes in many ways and when something questionable pops ups, I shut those eyes tight and quickly move on.

At the end of the day, I’m having fun with Instagram. It has become a tool in fueling my creative energy.

Instagram and Me

On behalf of the blog, I try to post things to the 3 Olives & a Twist Instagram that make me feel good. I love pictures of dogs, shoes, jewelry and just yesterday, I posted a pic of two lovely frozen margaritas in honor of Cinco de Mayo.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!! #picoftheday #lifestyleblogger #cincodemayo #celebrate #cheers

A photo posted by 3 Olives & a Twist (@3olivesandatwist) on


Though I’m still new to Instagram, with each picture I take and post, I’m learning. Learning to take a better photo, learning how to use social media in a way that is not scary to me and learning that, indeed, an old dog can learn new tricks.

Today my #picoftheday is something that always makes me happy… flowers. I hope you enjoy the image and thank you to my wonderful family for sending me my Mother’s Day bouquet early.

Follow 3OlivesandaTwist on Instagram for more photos. If you love pictures like I love pictures, you too may find Instagram to be a fun place to share.

Do you Instagram?

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Keeping Up with TV Texting – I Can’t!

binoculars to read TV texting
Bedpost Binoculars – The only way I can keep up with TV texting.

You’re probably wondering what the heck that photo is all about. Those are the mini-binoculars I use to read TV texting between actors that every show now seems to display with the apparent expectation that I can read that far away. My sister was over the other day and asked, “Why in the hairy heck do you have binoculars on your bedpost?” (yes, she really talks like that). It has become so normal to me that it didn’t occur to me that they do seem odd hanging there unless I’m some kind of Peeping Tom peering out my bedroom windows into the homes of neighbors. Rest assured – I am not.

Allow me to explain. My favorite thing to do is curl up in my bed at night to watch my shows. Lately, I’ve been challenged by the distance between me and my beloved television. I can see the characters just fine; however technology has, yet again, wreaked havoc on my happiness. Dialogue has been replaced with text exchanges or a stream of social media content at the bottom of the screen that apparently I’m supposed to be able to read from across the room. Newsflash BravoTV and all other networks, but let’s be honest, mostly Bravo – I can’t read TV texting between actors unless my nose is nearly pressed to the screen. It is so frustrating because I’m missing out on critical aspects of my shows when I can’t read the tiny print. Am I alone? Is anyone else having this problem?

Enter my mini-binoculars! It might sound ridiculous, but indeed they get the job done. I am now able to read text messages on screen and am back to being fully engaged in my shows. Hey, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do.

Two shows that have been particularly challenging from keeping up with TV texting throughout the plot are House of Cards on Netflix and Younger on TVLand. TV people, enough already. Just go back to the good old spoke word. Please!

I hope this gave you as big a laugh as it did my sister.

Have a great weekend! Hippity Hop.

For a little more on this subject, check out this article from TheVerge.com.

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Tech-Tip Tuesday: Make your Own Emoji with Bitmoji

bitmoji - make your own emoji
That glass of wine should be a martini!

Do you Bitmoji? I came across this fun little app when my friend, Rose, texted me a cartoon image of herself that looked so much like her, I couldn’t help but giggle when I saw it. I immediately texted her back to ask, “how did you do that?  “It’s a Bitmoji,” she said.

Well, that meant nothing to me, so I went straight to my in-house tech team for clarification. On duty that day was my oldest, Julia. She let me know that Bitmoji is an app you can download to your phone. It allows you to make your own emoji, a.k.a. create an avatar likeness of yourself to go along with the cute messages you see in the featured collage. Thank you to my youngest, Ally, for helping me put that together. I don’t know what I’d do without my girls, xoxo.

Bitmoji lets you pick your eye-color, skin tone, hairstyle, fashion sense and more to make your own emoji.

Julia kindly created Bit-Beth for me and before I knew it, my friends and I were sending these little bit-o-grams to each other whenever we wanted to communicate.  Julia let me know she thought bitmojis were a little goofy and more for the “mom” crowd, but I didn’t care.  I think they are clever and a perfect mood booster when simple texting and Emojis just aren’t enough.

Want to see how cute you are? Then go ahead and download Bitmoji to make your own emoji. Your friends will love the new you.

Bitmoji.com

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