We haven’t talked in a while. We should do that.
I spent most of the last year in Greece, participating in an intensive study program for PhD students in classical studies that takes us to archaeological sites all over the country and gives us opportunities for “backstage access” that would be impossible for almost anyone else (culminating in the incredible opportunity to spend three nights on the holy island of Delos – since there’s no modern town on Delos, any normal group would have to take the afternoon ferry back to Mykonos every day). A priceless experience that I wouldn’t trade for almost anything, but… less than ideal for blog productivity, I have to admit. And now I’m back in Cincinnati, where I study, about to jump headfirst into research on the use of glass windows in Roman architecture, and also this semester I’m teaching an undergrad Greek Civilisation class, which… normally a student at my level would co-teach with a real lecturer, but the guy who was supposed to be my co-instructor unexpectedly left for a new job in New York at the beginning of the summer, so… yeahhhh… I mean, it’s fine, obviously, I know how to teach things and I know things about Greece, but this is a bigger scale than I’ve previously needed to apply those skills on. Potentially also not fantastic for blog productivity, but that’s life for you.
Right now I’m using some of my time in the weeks leading up to the start of the semester frantically trying to write myself a buffer to help me maintain the something-resembling-weekly schedule I seem to be adopting for my big Pokémon review articles, and with any luck I should be able to keep that up for the foreseeable future, while also continuing to answer reader questions. I’m still a little bit worried that I might not finish everything I need to write on generation VII (which includes not just Pokémon reviews, but analyses of several major characters) before we start getting buffeted by generation VIII material – since we’ve been told that Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee will feature one new Pokémon, the official announcement of the next core games and their starters and mascot legendaries probably won’t be far behind the release of Let’s Go in November. But we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it. I probably won’t play Let’s Go because, nostalgia-trippy though it will almost certainly be, I really can’t drop $300 on a Nintendo Switch right now (if generation VIII is exclusive to the Switch, which seems likely… well, again, we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it).
I have a WordPress site now, so that’s fun. Tumblr has its good qualities but I also hate it with every resentful, smouldering fibre of my ashen being, so on the whole it’s good to be rid of it. The transition could have been smoother, on the whole – a lot of formatting got lost along the way, and there are things that I need to fix for every one of my archived posts, individually… and there are over 3000 of those… so it’s probably still going to be months before everything looks the way I want it to, but I’ll make it a priority to start organising things better and make the old posts more accessible. C’est la vie. On the other hand, the post editor is so much easier to use it makes Tumblr’s feel almost Mediaeval, and I get more data on who my readers are, mainly a geographical breakdown. So, guten Tag, hallo, dobrý den, olá, a’right mate?, selamat siang, hallo again, and sorry to the readers I seem to have in Germany, Norway, Czechia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, the Netherlands and Canada, respectively (my Australian readers, on the other hand, can fµ¢& right off until they’re ready to concede the pavlova <3, while the United States… knows what it did). Also… come on, New Zealand, I know we’re outnumbered here but you can do better than that!
In other business regarding the future of this blog, Jim the Editor keeps telling me I should set up a Patreon page, which… I mean, don’t get me wrong, it would be nice to get paid even a few dollars a month for my writing, and I am now paying WordPress for that nice shiny domain name you see up there; it’d only take about $5/month to break even on that. The reason I have misgivings is that I feel like Patreon is best for people who are trying to transition to doing creative work full time, which I can’t do, not right now anyway. I have work I’m supposed to be doing in the real world, and it’s not work where I can, like, take fewer shifts if the Patreon starts doing well; I have a PhD thesis to write and three years to do it, as well as classes to teach, and there will always be weeks when that work has to come first. I can’t guarantee that anyone who makes a regular donation will always get their money’s worth, and if people do start giving me a significant amount there will be a point of diminishing returns. But maybe we can think of perks that I could offer – like, Jim suggested a kind of “backstage access” where I would post bits of our more interesting conversations from Facebook Messenger where we discuss difficult questions from readers or Pokémon-related problems, essentially the “behind-the-scenes footage” of my posts. Or patrons could see what I’m working on before I post it, or vote on what Pokémon I should review next, or get shout-outs at the end of posts, or really anything, if someone wants to offer a suggestion. Et cetera. At the moment it’s an idle thought more than anything else, but if any of that sounds like something you’d like to see, and you think I deserve the occasional tip, let me know in the comments and I’ll look into setting it up in the nearish future.
Speaking of Jim the Editor – if you haven’t, go check out his Youtube channel. It was actually Jim’s idea, back in 2011, for me to start this blog; he’s proofread almost every article I’ve ever written here, and does more to keep me writing consistently than anyone else. At the moment, he has three ongoing video series: a Let’s Play of Pokémon Fire Red, with randomised Pokémon, using drinking-game-inspired rules I wrote (which he has dubbed the “Kingslocke” challenge); a blind Let’s Play of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and reviews of… things. As far as I can tell he just reviews stuff that people give him or suggest to him, up to and including those infamous sugar-free gummy bears that wreck gastrointestinal armageddon upon the unwary, so… you can probably just tell him to buy something on Amazon or whatever, and he’ll do it (…within reason, anyway). This is still kind of a new channel; Jim is still finding his voice and will try new things just to see what happens, if you suggest them – gaming-related or otherwise (and a huge thank you, by the way, to my readers who have already watched some of his videos and taken the time to leave comments; that really is the best way of letting someone know you appreciate their work).
I think that just about covers everything – thanks for reading (this, and everything else) and until next time, be good, keep your Pokédexes at your sides, beware the shadow that walks between walls, and watch the stars, for therein shall my agents make known their incomprehensible will.