Why I’m Not Playing Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go logo
The Inquirer

As a kid, I wanted to be the very best — like no one ever was. Catching them was my real test. Training them was my cause. However, I could not travel across the land, searching far and wide, because my Pokemon adventures were confined to the old cabbage-green screen of the Gameboy.

When I wasn’t engaged in my digital adventure to be the greatest Pokemon master, I was absorbed in the toys, cards, cartoon, movies and writing terrible fan fiction. (“They sneeked sighlently passed scientists” is still the greatest worst sentence I’ve ever written). Pokemon was the defining craze of my generation and I soaked it up. I caught all 151 original Pokemon, got opening-night tickets to the movies (which I and my friends saw multiple times to get the promo trading cards), surfed the internet as it speculated new Pokemon (remember Pikablu?), built decks and battled with the trading card game, read the manga, bought the toys, and oh the stories of heartbreak and triumph I could tell in my quest as a Pokemon trainer, collector and fan. Maybe I’ll share some another time.

Now this Pokemon trainer is all grown up (physically, anyway) and now his dream of seeing Pokemon in real life has now come true. Sort of.

Pokemon Go, at this point, probably doesn’t need an introduction. It’s a mobile augmented reality game where players go out into the real world to track, catch and train Pokemon. It’s practically tailored to my generation.

That’s probably why it’s so surprising that I’m not playing it. Continue reading “Why I’m Not Playing Pokemon Go”

Biking Without Pedals: Memories of John and ALS

A man sitting on the beach with a large, black and brown dog.
(CBC, Facebook)

It’s ironic to consider that I work for the provincial government—an organization well known for its love of acronyms—and yet the one acronym that impacted my life the most was one that I was uninformed of: ALS.

When I started working for the government, my co-worker, John, was working with me. When he spoke, it was very slow with a low, almost monotone sound. My first impression was that he must have had a stroke at some point, which can affect one’s speech patterns. It turns out it was a different beast altogether: ALS. Continue reading “Biking Without Pedals: Memories of John and ALS”

Making Meatballs with Omar Khadr

Image via CBC


There are few Canadian figures as polarizing as Omar Khadr. If you don’t know his story, the short version is that in 2002 he was enlisted by Al-Qaeda as a child soldier. Following the bombing of the hideout he was staying in, a firefight ensued with the US military forces, during which Omar was shot and accused of killing Sgt. Christopher Speer with a grenade. Despite being 15 years old at the time, he was held in Guantanamo Bay for 10 years—the only Canadian citizen detained there and the only child convicted of a war crime since World War II. After a lengthy court process, he was extradited to Canada and eventually released back into the Edmonton community with strict guidelines.

He also likes cats, cartoons and Sega Genesis. Continue reading “Making Meatballs with Omar Khadr”

When I Look At Stars

In less than a month we’ve seen bombings in Brussels, Turkey, Iraq and Lahore from twisted, psychopathic zealots who don’t even understand the religion they claim to stand for. Global warming continues to damage our ecosystem, and is denied vehemently by those who stand to gain by sticking their head in the sand. Refugees fleeing from slaughter are looked upon with the derision and suspicion, and with the same concern as locusts—a “swarm”, to quote British PM David Cameron. The potential candidate for ruler of the most powerful country in the world is a racist, sexist bully. And our desire for more and more has muted our spirit and clouded us from concern for anyone but ourselves.

In short, our world’s a bit messed up right now. Then again, our human history is full of messed up. Continue reading “When I Look At Stars”

The Changebeast

Destroyed room

The calendar just rolled over into 2016, and with it comes a smattering of top 10 lists, New Year’s resolutions, and top 10 lists of New Year’s resolutions. But no matter what it is, a new year always means the same thing: change.

When we look back at the year that passed, we’ll see some form of change in our lives. It may not always be good change, either. It may be bad change, minor change, necessary change, the list goes on. But who we are today is different than who we were a year ago. And who we’ll be in a year will be different than who we are today. All of this can be traced to the changes that happen in our lives.

But here’s the obvious thing: change is frightening.

Sometimes, change is a looming cluster of ominous clouds in the distance, and you can’t tell if they’re going to bring nourishing rain or calamitous thunder. But more often than not, change is a big dumb animal that comes crashing into your house, messes up your stuff, then tosses on a pair of shades, says “deal with it”, and leaves—but not before taking a dump on your carpet. Continue reading “The Changebeast”

I’m Not OK, Alhumdulilah


Rain drops against a pane of glass

“Muslims don’t get depressed.”

You may have heard this before. If you did, you probably felt irritated, upset or even more depressed. If you’re hearing this for the first time, you’re probably just as shocked and angry as I was.

If you agreed with that statement, then you are wrong. Muslims do get depressed. That’s because Muslims are people. Humans. Some battle depression on a regular basis.

Today, I’m writing about depression: what it is, why people like me have it and what my faith has to say about it.

Continue reading “I’m Not OK, Alhumdulilah”

The Earth and Everything On It

Planet Earth

Here in Alberta, much ado has been made about the Premier’s recent climate change plan. Generally it seems to have gone over well, with major gas and oil companies like Shell and Suncor supporting it—except for a few (sometimes absurd) outliers. But I’m not here to talk about politics and plans. Instead, I’m here to talk about our shared inheritance: our planet. Continue reading “The Earth and Everything On It”

Much Ado About Death

Dead roses in a vase


I remember the first time death touched my life.

It was my seventh or eighth birthday when Stevie, the family cat, died. Prior to that, death was just a minor inconvenience in a video game, or something that happened in movies. I knew what death was, but I didn’t fully grasp what it meant until that day. I lay in bed crying because I had finally realized the finality of death: Stevie was gone, and he wasn’t coming back.

Death came into my life many times after that.

Continue reading “Much Ado About Death”