Archive for the ‘Pokémania’ Category

Would you walk 250 miles for a Gyarados?

Friday, September 16th, 2016

The folks behind Pokémon put out a new feature in Pokémon a few days ago – “Buddies”. The basic premise of the game is you either catch pokémon or hatch them from eggs. As you collect more than one pokémon of a type, you can make an advanced pokémon by feeding it candy. One of the ways to earn candy is to go for long walks with your “buddy” pokémon. I can see your eyes rolling from here.

Meet Magicarp


MagiCarp is closely similar to the Asian Carp – the incredibly annoying invasive species destroying the Mississippi River and its tributaries and will sooner or later reach the Great Lakes. The magicarp is equally as annoying – it just flops around, making it hard to hit. If you can get 400 magicarp candies (3 for catching, 1 for turning it in), you can turn in the candies and evolve a magicarp into a fearsome Gyarados:


For each 1 km you walk towing your magicarp, you earn one candy, so it takes about 248.5 miles of walking to earn a Gyarados.

Why would anyone do that? Search me…

Snowball in Hell

Friday, August 5th, 2016

Or more accurately – SnoBall in South Carolina


Another thing I would not have experienced without Pokemania. Pelican Snoballs is a franchise that sells exactly one thing – SnoBalls. 100 varieties of them


Looking at the locations, most are in North and South Carolina – but as far flung as Florida and Pennsylvania. Looking at where, they seem to be targeted at communities with large numbers of lactose intolerant people. This one is located in Fort Mill SC and obviously has been there a long time. It looks like it was there before a small shopping center was built around it.

I also visited the nearby McDowell Nature Preserve. Back in the 1950s, Duke Power sold the idea to the State of North Carolina to dam up the entire length of the Catawba River, the largest river in the state, or at least the longest. The Catawba was not navigable and its main place in the history was as an obstacle to get across. There were a number of “fords”, places where the river was shallow enough for horses to cross.

The Duke Family has always carried a lot of weight in the state. Land for the dams was acquired (presumably by eminent domain), and Duke Power built a series of large hydroelectric dams. Not only did it mean renewable energy, the lakes were useful for coal generating plants and later nuclear power plants.

Power generation was a highly regulated industry, but land development was not. By putting the land left over into an unregulated subsidiary, over time, they could sell off the prime lakefront property. The most affluent such Devlopment is called Tega Cay. It is where Tammie Fae and Jim Bakker lived.

McDowell Nature Reserve is operated by Mecklenburg County. It has a boat launch on Lake Wylie, fishing pier, nature trails, picnic area and small camping area. And Pokéstops and two Pokégyms. There is no charge to enter it, not even an annual park pass. The place is around 1,100 acres and there were probably 20 cars spread out in the various parking areas.

If your typical teenager today caught a fish from a large man made lake, what are the chances they could be talked into cooking and eating it?

A $billion thanks from Charlotte

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

The former Mayor of Charlotte Anthony Foxx (no relation to Vicente Fox or Redd Foxx) is currently the Secretary of the Department of Transportation. Under his careful stewardship, a year ago the Gold Line Streetcar was brought to life.

The more ambitious project was creating an North / East 9 mile extension to the Lynx Light Rail system. Map The estimated cost is $1.2 billion. Groundbreaking was held in July 2013 and the line will be operating before the end of the Obama administration.

The route is very dismal – it runs along a railroad right of way through industrial neighborhoods that lack basic infrastructure for residential neighborhoods (supermarkets, schools, doctors, parks, etc). The hope is that the LRV will stimulate development to transform dangerous neighborhoods built on old toxic waste dumps into millenial heaven.

The line then runs in a median in the middle of North Tryon Street – there are overpasses over the biggest cross streets and grade crossings at a few minor streets.


The track is in – up until about the final mile, the poles to hold the catenary are in place, ready to be strung, the tunnel to go under Tryon Street is close to completion. Traffic signals are in place (currently dark). The ultimate destination is a station at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte (UNCC), so that Bernie’s free college students can put on their transgender presentation, hop on the LRV and go to uptown to play Pokémon and eat at the vegetarian restaurants. Money well spent!


Wednesday, July 27th, 2016


Be very scared!