Red Carded: why would you want to be a football referee?

Why would you want to be a football referee? Most people probably will not be able to find even one positive reason, here is my take and look into the world of refereeing.

Listen, I might not be a Premier League referee, but nonetheless a lot of my friends and family ask me why on earth I enjoy refereeing. All of the abuse, swearing, shouting, bickering, acting, aggression and ungrateful nature of the game would not really make the average person consider picking up this trade. Which I can completely agree with if that is your view on refereeing, however the world of refereeing is very different compared to the views of the average couch critic. So let me give you my take on this whistling malarkey.

As good old froggy whiner and ex Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger mostly said after a loss, “Uhm yez it was ze referee’s fault!”. That twat still couldn’t speak a decent word of English after more than 20 years in the country. Merde! That aside, his quote is one I hear a lot, maybe not weekly, but every 2 or 3 games definitely.

And being a referee makes you the easiest target and let’s be honest most logical scapegoat on the football pitch. Even in my footballing days we knew most referee’s and their mostly negative reputations. Not because we hated every referee, but because in most cases those referees were really poor or even worse, wanted to make the match about them.

And let me tell you something, the goal as a referee is ideally to whistle as a rarely as possible and let the game flow at its natural pace. A referee should ‘never’ be the centre of attention in any football game. He must lead the game, yes, but the game is about two teams trying to win, not the bloke or lass with the whistle.

Talking about reputations, let me address a certain ball-bag called Mike Dean. He is the twat in the cover picture. Mikey is a professional FA referee who referees most his matches in the Premier League in England, as well as some occasional Champions League and international nation games. Mikey likes to talk. Mikey likes to be the centre of attention. Mikey makes a lot of mistakes. Mikey likes red cards, but really loves yellow cards. And with those mistakes come the heavy consequences that affect the outcome of most games. Mikey shows us all how to not be a referee.

So we thank Mikey for showing us how refereeing should not be done and why so many referees have such a bad reputation.
In amateur football there are no camera’s, reporters, commentators (some parents might think they are) or reliable assistant referee’s. Gosh, where is the fame in that mate?

The foundation of any referee is knowing the rules and let me tell you there are a lot of them. 228 pages of them if you take rule book from FIFA. Not only are there a lot of rules, some of the rules like offside are so complex they cannot be explained easily over a beer in the pub anymore. As they made fun of in this Amstel beer commercial in the Netherlands, which eventually was banned. Here it is anyway with subtitles:

My point is not to approve of LGBTQ mockery, but rather the way the guy in the commercial explained offside once really was that simple. Now there are 3 full page A4’s on offside in the rulebook. And don’t forget that the referee has to act upon any given situation within a matter of seconds and get it right every time. All those rules shooting through your brain like mad electrodes.

Football has become very complex and in amateur football it only makes it more frustrating that the parents often don’t know these rules to that extent and hate you even more regardless of what the rule really is. Because their son or daughter is the next Messi, so you better allow them to do anything. After all you told your child every night before going to bed that they are ‘special’, and what do ‘special’ raised kids mostly turn into? Bullying arrogant diving-like-Neymar twats.

So if there are rules and all the players and coaching staff supposedly know them then every game should run quite straight forward, right? You would theoretically think that. Problem is that in amateur football and even some professional football referees sometimes bend the rules to their will. Don’t ask me why, I have never seen the point and do not know why people do it, you are only ruining the beautiful game of football.

Should you wish to engulf yourself with the knowledge of these rules then have at it right HERE, all 228 pages, just for you! Go to page 97 if you wish to have a good old wank over those pesky offside rules.

The other half of being a decent referee lies in the character of set referee. In comes the bloke below, Nestor Pitana. You might remember him from the last World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia. Yeah he screwed up a bit, partly due to VAR, but let’s not go into that again.

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Nestor is cool. Nestor is South American. Nestor wears his socks over his knees. Nestor does not have a lot of hair left, but tries a fancy comb-over anyway. Still Nestor is cool.

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And let me tell you, you have to be a bad ass motherf*cker to be a professional referee in South America, let alone Argentina. Those folks are mad for football, and if you think referees show a lot of yellow cards in the Spanish La Liga, then go watch some Argentinian Primera Division games. Bloody carnage it is.

But hold on! You just showed us a 228 page rule book, then why is there such a difference in refereeing standards all over the world?

True, very true indeed. Refereeing is a trade that requires a fine touch of observation, interpretation and the skill to sense a situation’s severity whilst combining it with the before mentioned rules. And this is where the difference arises, different referees and football associations allow different interpretations of fouls, behaviour and mistakes.

You often hear a football commentator say on tv that in Spain this would be a foul and yellow card, but in England play just goes on without the referee stopping play for a foul.

I even see this difference in interpretation back home in Holland, where certain FA referees blow their whistle for every little foul because they believe that allows them to keep control of the game. If you go into every game with that tunnel vision, you are seriously holding back the flow of the game. Generally speaking a referee would start whistling more for fouls if a game is becoming agitated and aggressive.

I however like a free flowing and physical game, within the boundaries of the rules of course. But again that is a matter of interpretation.

Fun. Yes fun.
It makes the world of football and refereeing a very difficult one at that. BUT, refereeing can be so much fun. Yes, even with all the above downsides. It can be a tremendous thrill, adrenaline rush and feeling of power that isn’t easy to get in other parts of life. No, we are not all a bunch of power hungry dictators. Nein! Nein! Nein!

Refereeing allows us to watch the beautiful game of football, whilst influencing the game with control, respect, rules and authority. Because without that, football would be carnage. It makes me a very happy man when I leave the pitch after a game and parents, coaches come up to me telling me that I had a great game. Knowing you had a good game is a tremendously satisfying feeling that outweighs all the downsides of the sport. Also seeing the joy in the players eyes when they win, watching young boys and girls do what they love, the game of football, it still makes my heart melt every minute on the pitch.

On a side note I would like to ask everyone to show more respect, calmness and consideration to all referees, we (referees) could all do with a boosted image and reputation.
Don’t be a Mike Dean, be Nestor. Nestor is cool.

The Gillette Ad: Shaving For Morality And Succeeding

What did you think of the Gillette ad on toxic masculinity? Here is my take on why it succeeded daringly.

The world has completely lost all its sense and logic. This was only confirmed by the latest commercial from the well known shaving company Gillette. The razor supplier had a clear thought behind its ad, however many men and women, albeit mostly men, in the world think very differently about it. Here is my unpolitical bearded male take on what has happened.

Firstly please take 2 minutes to watch the ad in question below, before continuing to read on. Even if you shave with Wilkinson, or don’t shave at all, please have a watch anyway.

What was your immediate reaction? Anger, frustration, disgust or disbelief?

If any of those feelings were your reaction then you need to take a good hard look in the mirror next time you are shaving, because you have lost the plot.

This ad had one clear message in mind and ultimately succeeds at it:
To reaffirm that we as men and as a society can all do better, be better fathers, friends, brothers, sons, colleagues and put morality and kindness in the limelight.

Nothing more, nothing less.

If your political agenda, or feminism, meninism or any other ism’s trigger anything but warmth, belief and a general uplifting feeling, after watching this ad, then you are dysfunctional, irrational and an asshole of a human being. Honestly you piss me off and what surprises me more than anything is how many of you assholes are out there. Yes, you can hate me all you like, but this is BluntWisdumb after all. You call yourself a man!?

Look at what happened to the ad on Youtube, more specifically look at the amount of dislikes this video gets.

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Apparently 842.000 people have lost their marbles. Actually just an hour later that number is already 852.000 downvotes!!

Some of these comments do make me laugh though. Look at the first one. Apparently all men are rapists and that is what the ad supposedly advocates. Right. Nuff said.

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Or this second one who found the motivation to stop buying Gillette products due to this ad. Again people are very much in the ‘rapey’ mood, so I watched the advert another three times to see if I could find any hint of celebrating rape, but…..No, of course.

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Funnily enough it’s not even feminists who are screaming for attention here. Even Trump hasn’t asked for attention, although he did enough with his ‘hamberders’ tweet. No it’s men, or assholes in this case, whining, screaming at each other for attention about how hurt they are. Real manly indeed. Men who throw their razor down the toilet, take a picture of it, post it on social media to get attention, call for a boycott against Gillette and then there is me wondering how he is going to pick that razor back out of the toilet water? With his bare hands? What an utter twat!

Thank f*ck there are plenty of rational people still left in the world, even bearded ones like me who do not shave, who nonetheless can express their positive support for the ad online and again reconfirm that this ad is nothing more than asking for a bit of positivity, morality and kindness.

I would like to thank Gillette for being daring in a world where all we seem to be doing is look at each other’s faults, imperfections, political associations, skin colour, religions and basically anything to feel offended about. Since when did we become so angry and inhumane?

I support the campaign of #TheBestMenCanBe and hope you do too!

To finish I would like to show you some more funny tweets from supports of the ad and remind us all that we can always be better:

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Okay one more!

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Top 10 Must Have Games Of 2018

Whether you prefer the PC, tablet, smartphone, Playstation or Xbox, this must have game list of 2018 has something for everyone. Check it out.

Hello, best wishes everyone and hello 2019!
I know you probably are busy working on your new year’s resolutions #fail. But when you are not sweating your xmas calories off in the gym or having one pint less, you might be spending some time on your tablet or on your playstation. This is for you.

And whether you are an avid PC gamer like moi, prefer to rock the old Playstation / Xbox or like to keep busy twiddling your fingers on your smartphone or tablet, either way I have a must play game list for you!

With platforms like Steam (PC), Playstation and Microsoft Store offering massive discounts on many big title games, now is your chance to grab one or all of them for a right bargain out of many 2018 games.

So I have come up with a list of games for multiple consoles ranging from mobile to console and PC that I believe are the absolute 2018 must haves. These are not the ten commandments, just my simple opinions and suggestions, in random order.

[I have added download links to the iOS/Android games below so you can download the apps straight from your phone]

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Console)

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Without a doubt my favourite game of 2018, if not of all time. Red Dead Redemption 2 follows the epic adventures of Arthur Morgan and the van der Linde gang, putting you in control of the Wild West’s most notorious gunslinger Arthur Morgan. With some of the best visuals, voice acting, soundtrack and story I have encountered in a game in years, RDR2 will keep you busy for 60-100 hours easily. Okay from a story perspective it may not be beating Mass Effect 1,2,3 but its gets close.

Every choice you make counts and has an effect on the world, you decide whether you wish to go down the criminal path Darth Vader style or help others Captain America mode. There is so much to do aside from the main quests and the game pushes you to be responsible in terms of sleeping, eating, drinking and even having baths. It is one of the most realistic gaming experiences ever developed and I loved every minute of it.

With a surprising guest vocal performance by R&B superstar D’Angelo performing the compelling song ‘Unshaken’, RDR2 is full of melodic wonders.

PS. buying outfits/clothes at the tailors and looking the part is a hell load of fun.
PS II. Re-play Red Dead Redemption as John Marston from 2010 to fully comprehend the story and characters, it’s well worth it!

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (PC & Console)

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If you are into adventure platform games and love to fight in the famous historic periods of the world then you must definitely pick up Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. And if you have not done so before also play some of its predecessors, especially Origins (in Egypt) is a fantastic adventure and history lesson. The latest iteration of Assassin’s Creed drops into you into Zeus’s lap before he chucks you into the depths of Erebus to have tea with Hades. Yes, ancient Greece amidst the Peloponnesian War.

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As you can see in the image above you get to choose with which hero you play. On the left the feisty, sexy, minge-munching, Kassandra (yes, not just on the isle of Lesbos). And on the right, Alexios, the Greek Thor that will make the average woman drool instead of playing the game (he also does not mind a bit of hanky panky in the game). Above all ACO delivers an immensely large world to play in with astonishing visuals, great acting and many choices to make. Oh and a lot of killing. But that is the fun part. Right? It’s a game, so I believe that does not make me a complete psycho yet…I think. You will hear a lot of ‘Malaka’ which is a curse word still used today haha.
May I make two big suggestions to any new gamers who are about to start this game?

Firstly try to acquire the Spartan kick skill as early as possible. Oh aye, you remember Gerard Butler as King Leonidas in the movie 300? (watch link below) This is Spartaaaaa!!

Secondly play with Kassandra of Sparta instead of Alexios, she has better voice acting and is a lot more fun to play with. Okay, she is hot and sexy as well.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance (PC & Console)

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If you are in the mood for a completely unique first person gaming experience full of history, nature, knights and tales then Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a must for you.
Why unique? KC:D puts you in the farmer’s boots of Henry of Skalitz who rises to the rank of knight through an awesome tale of loyalty, war, and pride.

Developed thanks to an overly successful Kickstarter project by a tiny Czech team from Warhorse Studios, Kingdom Come: Deliverance makes life as Henry incredibly realistic.
You have to sleep, eat, rest, clean your clothes/armour, learn to read, learn to ride a horse, shoot a bow, fight with swords, axes, maces and daggers, make potions and much more. This makes you a crappy farmer’s boy when it comes to fighting at the beginning but gradually (with a lot of practice and killing) turns you into the true Lancelot you are meant to be. So you don’t have to pee or take a crap, but you better take your muddy boots off before going to bed boy!

Warhorse Studios created a beautiful medieval world set in the Kingdom of Bohemia during the 15th century. Fantastic voice acting, stunning visuals in a lively green world, a tale that will keep you hooked until the very end. The game initially had to deal with a tremendous amount of bugs and issues when it launched in February 2018 but runs smoothly since June, so no worries.

Please do play this on the PC if you can, the graphics are just amazing and better on a PC compared to a console and the controls I personally believe are better too with mouse and keyboard. To make things even better, for you PC players there is a 50% discount on the game and its DLC’s right now only on Steam. (also check the PS Store and Xbox Store for offers)

Check the link: 50% Discount on Steam

Football Manager 2019 (PC)

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Bring out the inner Mourinho, or if you wish to keep your job bring out a bit of Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola. Football Manager 2019 gives you an insane amount of control to run your club and team to glory. Or 6th place for Mourinho. With a little steep learning curve and many statistics making the average Excel nerd jizz his pants, FM19 offers even more tactical freedom and influence than any of its predecessors. I have been playing the Football Manager series since its early days in the 90’s when it used to be called Championship Manager.

Backed by a huge fanbase who have created a great amount of free add-ons like player pictures, kits, club badges, trophies and tactics which can be found at

PokemonGO (mobile)

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Oh my God stop being so childish! You seriously are not still messing about with those Pokemon? Yeah, I hear that a lot, unfortunately. Funny thing is that most PokemonGO players are adults and that anyone making fun of the game seriously does not know what they are missing. This game has kept me hooked since its launch back in 2016!

The developers Niantic have been very busy since its launch in July 2016 and added many features. I have written two pieces on the game in the past few months including a start up guide for new and even slightly more advanced players.

I can only say give it a try and read the following two articles of mine to get going:

→→PokemonGO is still fun, social, addictive and worth a play

→→Top 15 tips to playing PokemonGO

Now go catch ’em all!

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Alto’s Odyssey (mobile)

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Maybe you were already familiar with Alto’s Adventure, the 2015 endless runner snowboarding game by Snowman. With a variety of unlockable characters including a lama (oh yes), your character automatically moves to the right of the screen while the scenery and obstacles change. You only need one finger to play this game and execute the jumps and tricks. It also has a fantastic music theme that sounds best with headphones on, trust me.

Now moving to 2018, the successor to Alto’s Adventure is here: Alto’s Odyssey. And in short the same gaming principle, a new beautiful soundtrack and completely new scenery, obstacles, tricks and characters to play with.

It’s a great time killer when you are having a shit, are on the train or try to get through those boring meetings at work.

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Marvel Strike Force (mobile)

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I am sure the opinions will be divided on this one due to its pay to win setup, however let me just say that you can also get the most out of this game ‘without paying‘. Developed by FoxNext for Android and iOS in March 2018, Marvel Strike Force is a turn based role playing game. More importantly you get to play with all your Marvel heroes…and villains…Loki, have you decided whether you are good or evil?

The micro-transactions in the game are stupidly expensive, however the game offers constant events, new characters, bonuses and if you play this on a daily basis you will notice that with a bit of patience and dedication you can get the most out of this game.

The fighting, moves and costumes are awesome, especially Wolverine’s war cry when he finishes someone off. Avengers ASSEMBLE!

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Detroit Become Human (Playstation only)

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Every once in a while there is a game that tries to change things up and provide a slightly different gaming experience. Detroit Become Human successfully manages to give us this concept wrapped in a futuristic jacket. It’s visually stunning, comes with a fantastic story where all your choices have an impact, there is no turning back.
Controls are intuitive, great voice acting and if anything created to be replayed again and again in different ways, making different choices every single time.

Currently only available on the Playstation 4.

God Of War (4) (console)

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Together with Geralt of Rivia from the Witcher series, Kratos is one of the most badass, over the top, angry motherf*ckers ever to be put into a game. This mythology based action series with a massive fanbase goes back to its original Playstation 2 days in 2005 with the original release of God of War. For a more lengthy description about Kratos his character follow this link.

God of War 4 turns from Greek to Norse mythology, with what I believe is the best iteration from the God Of War series. With an absolutely scintillating duo performance by voice actors Christopher Judge (Kratos) and Sunny Suljic (Atreus), God Of War brings a large world full of puzzles, intense boss fights, a lot of anger and waaaayyyy too much of Kratos saying: “BOY!”. The skill tree and gear upgrading system gives you a lot of freedom in choosing you fighting style, look and powers.

Together with Red Redemption 2 probably the best game of 2018!

Gardenscapes (mobile)

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Last but not least a kids game. No just kidding. Apart from its childish demeanour and cute funny characters this is one hell of an addictive fun game. Gardenscapes I believe is a perfected version of Candy Crush.
Together with butler Austin and your pet dog you are put in charge of completely cleaning, restoring and upgrading your massive mansion garden. You do this by playing Candy Crush type games that provide plenty of challenge along the way. Don’t be seduced into buying micro-transactions, as the game provides ample freebies and rewards during general gameplay. Enjoy!

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Muse: Simulation Theory (review)

Is this daring 80’s synth snaring Tron style record too risky or is the Muse sound still there? Come check out the review!

The lads from the South of England are back with their 8th album ‘Simulation Theory’. Albeit daring and innovative, will this Muse record be one to forget or praise for its daringness?

Over the past few days I have been stunned and angered by some of the reviews that have come out from renowned magazines like Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and NME. I have been a fan of Muse since their days as the Rocket Baby Dolls and have always adored their distinct sound. That does not mean I cannot be objective about a record that clearly means to shock some of Muse’s fanbase.

In some reviews I read the complaint about songs sounding far too pop-like, being out of sync with the current music trends and mocking the underlying layer of political and psychological messages Matt Bellamy expresses in his lyrics. Their ratings varied from 2 stars out of 5 or a grade 6 out of 10, which just proves music taste is bloody subjective. So here is my very subjective opinion after listening to Simulation Theory about 8 times.

Why do I mention 6 times specifically? As this record requires multiple tours of listening before you can really grasp its meaning and sound. This is something I encounter with other artists as well, where at first glance you might have your reservations or even utter disgust, but after a few rounds start to enjoy it all.

Simulation Theory shows us that Muse dare to innovate with their sound and are looking to bring the Muse tunes into a new recipe. If you ask me they do so very effectively. With the cover art created by ‘Stranger Things’ artist Kyle Lambert, it sets a futuristic yet 80’s synth sounding theme. Coming on the back of the politically beefed up record Drones, which was Muse at its best if you ask me, the political undertone on Simulation Theory can still be found quite vividly. 

Where Matt Bellamy thankfully does not go full anti-Trump hate tripping, he sticks to a more philosophical stance on human kind needing to stand up for their opinion and freedom, instead of being forced into certain thinking by the media and countless governments. This is evidently put to the test on the tracks ‘The Void’ and ‘Propaganda’. Especially ‘The Void’ left me with a nostalgic deja-vu feeling referring back to the classical melodic strength of the Muse sound as I love it.

Whereas previous record ‘Drones’ could at times be dark and heavy, ‘Simulation Theory’ plays with the notion of empowerment, strength, fighting and not giving up. That brings me to the two best songs on the album ‘The Dark Side’ and ‘ Dig Down’. The latter was created from Bellamy’s youthful experiences in church and his love for gospel music. The gospel like vibe to Dig Down is maximised on the Deluxe version of the record where there is an additional track with a Dig Down Acoustic Gospel Version which is a nice change up on this album. Also on the Deluxe and Super Deluxe versions of the album you will find a few additional songs with alternative versions. The Alternate Reality Versions and Acoustic Versions are a refreshing and scintillating variety.

With the help from hip hop moguls Mike Elizondo (Dr Dre, Eminem), Shellback (Taylor Swift, Britney Spears) and Timbaland (Missy Elliot, Justin Timberlake), Muse manage to change things up in the drum and beat section of the record.

With an ever increasing trend of trance and dance style songs in the charts nowadays, it is not only daring but risky to bring a synth, 80’s Tron style record which in some ways tends to forget the Muse sound so typical to them. This eerily comes to effect on the really poor ‘Get Up And Fight’ and annoying ppppppp-ppppp-proppaa ‘Propaganda’, which is like Prince meets R&B gone drunk.

On the other hand a positively note worthy track is the September released single ‘Pressure’, which is like a love child between Muse and The White Stripes, and the ever so cool Terry Crews appearing in the music video. And if you happen to have an Apple Music or Spotify account you can get yourself access to the Super Deluxe version of this record with version of Pressure together with the UCLA Bruin Marching Band, which just makes me jizz in my pants every time. Check out the snippet below for a quick taste.

Out with the old, in with the new?
Anybody daft enough to claim that ‘Simulation Theory’ is not a Muse sounding album needs to get their ears and brain checked. Although there are some very evidently daring concepts and 80’s style sounds being toyed with, overall this still signifies as Muse, in my opinion. Being a metalhead, I do miss the more Rock themed style record like ‘Drones’, but it is a refreshing change. For a next record I would love to see a combination of Simulation Theory and Drones. However ultimately I respect and admire Muse’s daring step with this album, even though they might have some (daft) angry fans who want the old Muse back.

P.S. If you want to get your money’s worth, then get the Deluxe or Super Deluxe versions, with a bunch of additional tracks well worth a listen.

Review: 8.2



Top 15 tips to playing PokemonGO

Come and join the world of PokemonGO, whether you are a beginner or advanced player, these top 15 tips will help you out getting the most out of PokemonGO!

As you often find with a new game or app, it would be useful to have decent guide to get you up and running. The one game can be more complex than the other, but today I wish to share the absolute minimum knowledge for playing PokemonGO. And to be honest I wish I knew these things when I started playing over two years ago. Oh well. Coming up are the 15 key tips I personally chose for you as a beginner or even slightly advanced PokemonGO player. I am no Pokemon Master with his own Youtube channel, so go do one Logan Paul. Should you require the very basics on the game then be sure to first read my earlier article: PokemonGO is still fun, social addictive and worth a play

No.1 Catch everything dammit!
Oh isn’t Bulbasaur cute?! No, Charmander is cuter, actually I like myself some rats, so come here Rattata! The point I am trying to make is that we all have our own opinion on which Pokemon we think is cool or cute, and to a certain degree I can understand that you wish to catch a lot of Rattata’s if rats are your thing. However plain and simple you should try and catch every bloody Pokemon you encounter. Yes, you will have to catch and catch thousands of the critters to get somewhere in this game. Not only for evolving certain Pokemon, gaining XP (experience points for our noobs), and ultimately levelling up quicker!

No. 2 Be patient with evolving
Please, please, please do not make this mistake. I bet you did though? Yes, dammit I did. So when you get started or are already on your way of collecting 400 Magikap candy to evolve into that majestic Gyarados, well please hold your horses there for a min before evolving. When catching Pokemon you want to check two things really, CP and IV.

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When looking at the above picture you can see the overall rating of the Pokemon as in ‘CP1274’ for Exeggutor, as well as this white rainbow shaped, curved line with a little dot at the end. As you can tell Exeggutor has some space left on his curved line compared to Electabuzz who is almost at his maximum. This means that if I wish to power up my Pokemon that Exeggutor in this case can grow much stronger and higher in CP than Electabuzz as he is practically at his max already. Should you catch a Pokemon that you wish to evolve, power up and use for gym battles and raids then make sure you always have some space left on the curved cp bar.

Next up IV. To define a Pokemon’s overall level of brilliance or lack of, you have to calculate the IV of set Pokemon. No need for Einstein mind boggling excel column bashing mathematics, just use an app. Or in this case PokeGenie for iOS (and Android) or Calcy for just Android. These apps will help you define the percentage IV of your Pokemon, which ultimately will make you decide to keep it or transfer it (chuck it away). 

When you are in the PokemonGO app and you caught or selected any Pokemon, check in the right bottom corner for the button ‘appraise’. 

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What follows is a some odd person (your team trainer, red/yellow/blue) popping up and asking to look at your Pokemon, why not creep? Now, I personally ignored this whole button for a very long time until I understood that it is vital to the game and understanding the overall strength (IV) to your Pokemon.

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When you click the appraisal button you will get a set of appraisals from your trainer and when you use an app like PokeGenie it will use these to calculate your Pokemon’s IV. Catching a 100% Pokemon is rare but it happens, that’s why you should ‘always’ catch everything. Once you get used to the phrases its very easy to figure out if the Pokemon you just caught is worth keeping or not. For a more detailed explanation on IV’s go to: Player.One’s website 

No.3 Be social
Become friends on PokemonGO as it will help you exchange so called ‘gifts’ which contain XP and items, I suggest doing this on a daily basis to increase your friendship level from good friends to best friends. This will give added bonuses when fighting raid bosses, fighting gyms and getting a lot of useful items.

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There are thousands of WhatsApp/Telegram groups out there for your town, or even neighbourhoods so get out there and if you bump into a group of Pokemon players ask them if they are part of a group. Why would you do this socially frightening thing you say? Because without friends in Pokemon it is impossible to most raids, get the opportunity to catch Legendary Pokemon and find friends to add and exchange gifts with. I personally encountered this situation last summer, as I bumped into such group by accident here in town and since then it has helped me get the most out of PokemonGO and especially raids. The Silph Road is ‘the’ go to place online to find such groups online as well as much more info on the game.

No. 4 Spin it!
With a bit of luck you might have a PokeStop or Gym in your street or very close by. I suggest you spin it at least once a day, because you can earn yourself a bunch of item bonuses and XP after a 7 day streak if you do so. This also counts for catching Pokemon every day, seven days in a row. 
P.S. those items that pop up on your screen when you spin do not need to be tapped one by one, they are automatically stored.

No. 5 Lay me some eggs
Along the way of your adventure as a PokemonGO player you will encounter a variety of eggs. They are specified as 2km, 5km, 10km or special 7km Alolan eggs. These eggs are an easy way of randomly obtaining Pokemon that do not spawn as often and will come along with some additional candy saving you a lot of work. When you are walking about always make sure you have an egg in an incubator, PokemonGO tracks every move and kilometer you walk. Sitting in a car, public transport or on a bike or in other words cheating, will not work. Yeah boo hoo. Stop being lazy.

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No. 6 Coins, coins, coins!
You can buy in game currency called Pokecoins, but they’re not the cheapest. So the best and only way to earn coins is by taking over gyms and defending them. However keep in mind you can only collect 50 PokeCoins per day, even if you defend 10 gyms. So your approach needs to be a bit strategic here. But why would I need these coins? Well if you wish to dress up looking like a yellow idiot then you can use these coins to buy just yellow outfits in the store. Or more importantly you can buy items like lucky eggs (double XP for 30 mins) or expanded storage for your item bag or Pokemon bag.

No. 7 Research
One way of obtaining rare Pokemon is by doing daily research tasks and by completing special research for Professor Tree, sorry Oak. This research can be collected by spinning Pokestops and I advise you to try and complete one a day to fill up your research progress as shown below. On day 7 you will receive an additional bonus and a special rare Pokemon to catch. It is well worth it. This rare Pokemon will change every month.

Then there is special research with Professor Oak. This is where you get the opportunity to find legendary rare Pokemon like Mew and Celebi for example. You also receive a lot of XP and items during this research so it is well worth being on top of these tasks.
PS. if you are going for your first Gyarados (yes 400 Magikarp candy) wait with the evolve until you have come across the special research quest in ‘A Mythical Discovery’, stage 6 of 8 called ‘Evolve a Magikarp’. Thank me later.

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No. 8 Berries hmmm!
There are a few types of berries that you will collect along the way and are very helpful. The Nanab berries will slow a wild Pokemon’s movement down considerably, making them easier to catch. Then the Pinab berries are very useful as they double the amount of candy you will catch once you caught the wild Pokemon (instead of 3, now 6 for example). Another one is the Razz berry which when used makes it overall easier to catch that wild Pokemon. The catching ring might even go from red to orange or yellow to green. Additionally we have a Golden Razz Berry which can be collected by winning raids. These drastically increase the chances of catching a Pokemon, even more so than a regular Razz Berry. The Silver Pinab Berry is hardest to obtain, often as a bonus, and will double the candy amount as well as make it easier to catch a wild Pokemon. Last but not least the coloured ball you see below in the middle is called a Rare Candy and can only be won during raids or as research bonus and will allow you to dedicate 1 candy to any Pokemon in your Pokedex.

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No. 9 Shinieeeee!
If you manage to get lucky you will come along a ‘shiny’ Pokemon. These are rare, but can be so exhilarating to find when you do. Play during community day events as during those three hours there will be many more shinies spawning than usual. These ‘shinies’ can be recognized by the stars around them and the three star symbol in the Pokemon inventory. They are even more recognizable as they will have a different colour than the standard version of that Pokemon.

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No. 10 Ditto where are you?
Yes, the infamous Ditto! Where the hell can I find one to complete my special research?!!! Well you are in luck because it’s actually a lot easier than you thought, although it will require some grinding in terms of catching Pokemon you would probably ignore normally. The below image shows as which Pokemon Ditto could be hiding, because Ditto is a shapeshifter and can take the form of any Pokemon. But specifically to catch Ditto you need to catch the below Pokemon. And if you are lucky, once you have caught one of the below Pokemon the display will say ‘Oh’ and simsalabim, there is Ditto.

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No. 11 Love those curves
No I was not admiring your girlfriend there pal, but expressing the need to throw curveballs at all times. You will earn much need XP and additionally Pokemon are more susceptible to being caught from a curve throw than a straight one. I briefly touched on these techniques in my previous basic tutorial article: PokemonGO is still fun, social, addictive and worth a play. For more tips on how to throw check out the in depth guide from Eurogamer.

No. 12 Settings and battery life
Your smartphone generally does not have the reputation for great battery life and even more so when using PokemonGO to be fair. However here are some simple tricks to help you out.
– Turn on the battery saver function in the settings of PokemonGO
– Turn off AR mode when catching a Pokemon (switch top right of screen), it will also make it easier to catch the Pokemon
– Turn on the low power mode on your iOS or Android phone
– Buy a portable powerbank (they come very cheap nowadays) that you can carry with you, especially handy during community events

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No. 13 Evolving Eevee
Let alone the fact that nobody still knows how to properly pronounce this Pokemon, Eevee is a special breed you could say. Eevee can evolve not into one or two types but five completely different Pokemon! Later one with the addition of Gen 4 Pokemon even 8 types. To avoid the random selection of the evolve you can change the name of Eevee as follows:

  • Rename Eevee as Sakura to evolve into psychic-type Espeon
  • Rename Eevee as Tamao to evolve into dark-type Umbreon
  • Rename Eevee as Rainer to evolve into water-type Vaporeon
  • Rename Eevee as Sparky to evolve into lightning-type Jolteon
  • Rename Eevee as Pyro to evolve into fire-type Flareon

Important note – the trick only works once per evolution type, so make sure you choose Eevees with the best CP values before you evolve them into the type you want. Gen 2’s Umbreon and Espeon also have a second evolution method. Walk your Eevee as a Buddy for 10km, then evolve it either during the night (Umbreon) or day (Espeon) and it’ll turn into the desired evolution.

Note you specifically need to walk 10k and earn two Candies in the process, have Eevee still as your Buddy when evolving for it to work, and be either day or night during the game itself for it to work. (with thanks to Eurogamer)

No. 14 Damn you inventory!
The makers of PokemonGO, Niantic, were not stupid and made it obvious that without coins you would have to pay for the expansion of your Pokemon storage but more importantly your item storage. Easy way to make money because plenty of players will actually pay for this with real money. However you will encounter situations where you quickly need to get rid of some storage and this is what I often do. Instead of hoarding all four types of potions as depicted below I keep just the hyper or max potions (depending on which level you are at). I always throw the potion, super potion and often super potions away. The same I do with Nanab berries. And don’t forget the easiest way is to chuck some of those standard Pokeballs away. By spinning any Pokestop you will easily collect some again. 

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No. 15 Buddies
You can now pick any Pokemon you have caught and in your Pokemon inventory to be your Samwise Gamgee, or buddy. This way you will be able to collect additional candy just walking with your buddy. Handy if you need just a few last candy to do that evolve you were rooting for!

Let’s Conclude
Last but not least I would like to point out that there are many many more tricks, especially if you are an advanced player that really wants to get everything out of this game. That will require some serious dedication and a lot of time and walking. However it is great fun to do and as of this summer with the big update, PokemonGO is more social to play than ever. 

Should you have more need for reading and are still awake after this bible of critters and also want to go full blown PokemonGO Master then check out these great guides from some cool websites:

PokemonGO is still fun, social, addictive and worth a play

No it’s not silly or childish, PokemonGO is more addictive, social and exciting than ever. Here is why you should give it a go!

Look (picture below) at those numb-nuts standing there trying to find a silly little animal with a ball. Oh wait, I am actually also one of those numb-nuts who runs after his phone trying to catch oddly named creatures like Pikachu and Bulbasaur. Yup, Pokemon I am talking about folks. And let me tell you there aren’t just a few, noooo…. just the first generation alone has 151 Pokemon, there are actually 720 in total according to the official Pokedex. Poke-what? Yeah let us not go there, yet. What is more important is that after some major updates by Niantic, PokemonGO is more popular than ever! And as of today brings the release of the 4th generation Pokemon! Here is why my wife and I (both sane working adults) are still hooked after almost 2 years since its launch.

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The game in brief
For all you Ash Ketchum’s just starting out and leaving your home and annoying mother behind or for anyone not at all familiar with the game PokemonGO, here is a brief and simple quick start. For a more in-depth explanation please go to the Internet and a place called Google. I will be writing my own take on how to play the game with everything I have learnt over the past 2 years, that article will follow later this week.

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The goal in PokemonGO firstly is of course to ‘catch ’em all’!! You get the image of a map, very similar to Google Maps, just without the traffic jams. And wherever you move every now and then an odd Pokemon, a few or even a bunch of them will appear on your map. Then it’s quite simple, you click on the Pokemon and try and catch it.
There are two ways to do this, one way is with AR+ mode, where you use the camera of your phone to catch the Pokemon right in front of you. This means you can see them as if they were there in real life. Fun gimmick for about two throws. The other way is by turning this function off, which I can tell you makes it a lot easier to catch the pokemon. So just turn it off. Unless you are a 10 year old who will think of it as magic.

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Catching Technique
To catch a Pokemon you don’t just chuck a Pokeball at the Pokemon as if it were a grenade. No, there is a technique you have to master, thankfully, otherwise this game would be far too easy. Every Pokemon has a coloured ring in front of it, this ring will decrease in size and go back to full size in a continuous cycle every-time you touch and hold the Pokeball. This ring will be green with more basic Pokemon that are easier to catch and will change colour to an orange or even red colour for the hardest and more rare Pokemon. The goal is to throw the ball in a curved direction in the middle of that coloured circle. If you do so you will get an ‘Excellent’ throw, if the circle is bigger it will be a ‘Great’ throw and if its at its biggest a ‘Nice’ throw. As you can imagine you want the Pokemon to stay in the ball, so once you threw it and hit the Pokemon, the ball will jutter three times, at the third time the Pokemon is caught. Chances are it comes out again after one or two jutters and you have to try again. But be careful there is a chance the Pokemon might flee. For more tips and tricks check out my upcoming article for both beginners and advanced players later this week.

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For a quick and simple tutorial check out the video below with thanks to XM360.

So why do I, a 31 year old married and working male, play a game that so many people consider childish, silly and a waste of time? Well in my youth I already collected the Pokemon collector’s cards, watched the series and felt rather nostalgic when in 2016 Niantic launched PokemonGO. Being able to combine that nostalgia with a game that keeps you on the move, is highly addictive and free to play really made it easy for my wife and I to give it a go. And apart from us I know there is a massive community of PokemonGO players globally that goes into the millions. According to Niantic reports from June earlier this year we are talking about almost 150 million people worldwide. Wow!

Walk Walk Walk
So you might think, I will just sit on my couch and let the Pokemon spawn around me. That way I can be lazy and still get them. Well lard-ass that is not possible with PokemonGO. It is designed to make you move and go to different places. There are places called Gyms and Pokestops spread all over the world, there could be one in your street. And these Gyms and Pokestops are important because there you can fight other player’s pokemon, conquer Gyms and defend them and more importantly spin them to earn items like candies, pokeballs, revives etc.. Also more on this in my advanced PokemonGO article later this week, so stay tuned!

But one thing is clear you have to move your ass out and about. Over the past 2 years I have walked 200 km. Of which I can safely say that most of that I walked these past 6 months. If you are in a rural area you will however find yourself with less spawning Pokemon and less Pokestops and Gyms available. The best places are often in the cities and very popular touristic destinations, parks etc..

So at first my wife and I just walked about and caught one Pokemon after another, now going into the many thousands. However while walking around you notice you are not the only person doing this, especially when visiting these Pokestops or Gyms you might bump into other PokemonGO players. This happened to me, when apparently one of the people there was the admin of a Whatsapp group for my region and in that group they planned raids and battled gyms together. PokemonGO brings people of all ages and backgrounds together, which is great fun. Oh and if you are wondering, I have yet to bump into a kid (under 18) in this group. There are a lot of people between 20-40 years old and I have seen even older folks playing it. Anybody who says its childish and silly, that is your opinion and I respect that, but no, it really isn’t! Get out there and who knows you might find some new friends.

Addictive (evolving)
The most fun part in my opinion is not just the collecting of all these critters but more importantly the ‘evolving’ of them. Just like Dragon Ball Z’s Goku went from Saiyan to Super Saiyan, albeit with less blonde hair and screaming these Pokemon do the same.

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Some Pokemon have one evolve others have two. To get these evolved versions you must collect a lot of candies. Basically every time you catch a certain type of Pokemon, for example Pikachu, you receive a certain amount of candies (mostly 3). You will have to accumulate these candies continually, until you have 25, 50 or for third evolves often 100 candies. So walk, walk, walk and catch, catch, catch.

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This process is a very addictive and can make it a very exciting and exhilarating momentum when you catch that one Pokemon you need or those last candies you need to make the next evolve. Of course patience is also a virtue here.

Today marks the release of 20 new Pokemon from the 4th Generation of Pokemon, so download PokemonGO and start collecting those little bastards. Pikaaa-chuuuuuu!!

PS. Final note of warning. Please do be careful when walking around with your head buried in your phone’s screen. Constantly be aware of what is going on around you, there have actually been people who died (17) playing PokemonGO because they got run over.
Death Tracker 

*available on both Android and iOS

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Carrot Weather: the rudest, funniest and most accurate weather app

Learn about the best weather app, which loves to swear at you, threaten you and also provide the most accurate and beautiful weather forecasts. This is Carrot Weather everyone.

What would it be like if you could have your iOS or Android weather app call you a meatbag, make rude jokes about the weather and actually provide very accurate weather in a beautiful format? Well, that is Carrot Weather, available to both iOS and Android devices.

First up you might be wondering what is with the word ‘meatbag’, because Carrot Weather’s AI loves to call its user ‘meatbag’. The word can be described as a slang term used by AI’s or droids to refer to humans or organics. And yes as you can tell it sets the tone for this fun ridden weather app.

Although based in the USA, Carrot Weather is surprisingly accurate in all predictions even rainfall. This cannot be said for most weather apps who from my many years of using them have failed miserably in accuracy here in Europe. Let me explain a bit further.

Meet Moira
Moira is one type of voice and AI you can set in the settings from your smartphone. Moira has an Irish background and accent, combined with that Stephen Hawking-esque voice tone makes it a very interesting sound to be greeted and humiliated by.
When opening the app on my phone (also not having your phone on silent), I am greeted by the home screen and Moira welcoming me with a message that is pertinent to the current weather. This however is not always done in the most behaved tone or way as you can tell by the below example messages.

courtesy of Marcel van der Wilden©

courtesy of Marcel van der Wilden©

Moira likes the F-word and some other profanity, however as I can imagine it is not to everyone’s liking to be made to feel like a piece of shit or meatbag, there is an alternative. There is something I could call a profanity setting.
When you go to settings you can actually set your AI, in this case Moira to different levels of rudeness and even include politics or not. I have to admit that the politics setting is heavily America focused and less interesting for the common European who could not give a flying f*ck about the US and their corrupt political system and celebrity molesters.

courtesy of Marcel van der Wilden©

Under the personality settings I can set Moira to either a very timid ‘Professional’ Bill Gates attitude, or ‘Friendly’ like the next door neighbour who is secretly banging your wife, or ‘Snarky’ with sarcastic (mostly) free of violence comments as opposed to the last two styles. And I must admit, my more favoured styles. First ‘Homicidal’ which really brings the OJ Simpson out of Moira and as the app explains might threaten you and your loved ones with bodily harm. Then my favourite and also my daily setting is ‘Overkill’, which is like Jim Jefferies, Billy Connolly and Samuel L. (Motherf.) Jackson all rolled into one. And let me tell you it is great fun.

You probably are wondering why I would like to be sworn at, abused and threatened by a mere AI, but let me tell you, it will crack you up every time you open the app. Also when I say crack you up, I do not mean in a sad/crying or drug related sense, but in a laughing way, just to be clear. And I might, just a little bit, have some self-esteem issues as well, but hey let’s not get distracted here, meatbag!

Carrot Weather is very decently priced for such a big and detailed app at €5,49 in Europe and $4,99 in the US. You can buy a monthly or yearly subscription additionally to that at a very acceptable rate of €3,99 per year or €0,49 per month.

Honestly I have not subscribed to the additional features you get for that amount of money which goes to greater customisation on your Apple Watch mainly and more in-depth notifications. However I have read nothing but good reviews about the subscription and if you like your weather detailed and customisable then do give it a try.

Secret Locations
There are a few funny gimmicks built into Carrot Weather, one of them being ‘Secret Locations’. This menu will offer you a bit of game in which it is your task to find famous landmarks or buildings around the globe by using a built in artificial map scanner of some sort. I have tried to find the Pyramids and the Pentagon but the novelty wore off rather quickly. This menu and function can be turned off in the settings, thankfully.

AR (Ass wiping rear end)
AR or Augmented Reality gives you another cool, yet gimmicky function. Here the app opens your camera and asks you to look for a flat surface and then it will project the weather in AR on that surface. It’s like Star Trek and Star Wars came together and infiltrated your phone, minus Chewbacca of course. Raaaaooorrrrr.

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Weather Accuracy
Now over the years I have used well known weather apps like WeatherPRO, YahooWeather, WeatherLive, Weather+, AccuWeather and The Weather Channel. You must have been bored Marcel? Ha, tell me about it.
But none of these apps have come close to the accuracy of Carrot Weather here in Europe. I can also add that after many reviews from other places around the world the accuracy is met with the same optimism and feedback.

The last few months we had the odd storm here (nothing like a hurricane), and the prediction time of it hitting was as spot on as Neil Armstrong remembering to say his lines correctly when filming the fake Moon-landing in 1969……Oooooohhh crap, no he did not just become a moon landing conspiracist!! Houston we have a problem.

Also the Apple Watch app is tremendously up to date, without you having to open the app on your watch for the latest weather information. Combine that with great graphics, design and even snarky comments on your watch screen make this a very complete and user friendly weather app.

Conclusion (back on earth)
From being called a meatbag to many other profanities. As well as providing a colourful, playful yet incredibly accurate and affordable weather app, Carrot Weather encapsulates the true description and design of what a weather app should be like.
As briefly mentioned before (we have to make America great again) you can download Carrot Weather on both Apple’s iOS and Google Android.

For a direct download go to the Carrot Weather website HERE to download the app or visit your iOS App Store or Google Play Store to start downloading….meatbag!

P.S. No lunar landing-craft, Apollo 11 or Neil Armstrong was damaged/killed in the creation of this article.

P.S.2. My opinions are my own and if you favour a different weather app then you are a meatbag.