State of the Blog: 2019

sweet bird jesus christ, now what

oh, yeah, um… happy… new thing or whatever to all my readers who use the Gregorian calendar

So, we made it through 2019… seems like the world might end soon, so I’m looking forward to finding a new planet to terrorise and conquer… although frankly when I sold my soul to Dark Forces from Parts Unknown I was promised a much better return on investment than this. Still, I think it was a pretty good blog year, all things considered. We finished generation VII (…mostly… I think I actually will try to get some short pieces done on some of the major human characters I missed out – Hau, Lillie, Gladion – and I want to come back to Alolan forms when I do the Galarian ones), we saw and discussed Detective Pikachu, we started a new interactive/collaborative(?)/choose-your-own-adventure-ish story, A Pokémon Trainer Is You!, I started writing for fansite PokéJungle (and, by the way, if you don’t pay attention to my Twitter – well, first of-ly, good for you, Twitter is the path to hell, but secondwise, my latest piece there is up, looking at my favourite new Pokédex entries for pre-gen VIII Pokémon in Sword and Shield), I made this extremely ridiculous cake, we endured the hype period of the new games and even survived the games themselves, and I wrote my first big article on them – a character study of Marnie, Piers and Team Yell. The next one, on Chairman Rose, is finished and awaiting editorial approval, so it should be up later this week.

I also started a Patreon page! And people actually gave me money, which is bonkers; I mean, I’m not exactly going to become a full-time Internet Pokémon Personality any time soon, but I now get more than enough donations to cover the cost of hosting this thing on WordPress, so I’m not actively losing money out of it. Thank you, as always, to my mysterious benefactors, the patrons: Don’t Call Me Bradley, Leo M.R., James Crooks, hugh_donnetono, Esserise and Hamish Fyfe. If you want to support what I do (…whatever you think that is, exactly), consider joining their ranks for as little as a dollar per month. And even if you don’t, thank you for reading, commenting and submitting questions – this blog is an objectively terrible use of my time in several ways, but I kind of love that there seem to be hundreds of people all over the world who seem to enjoy it, which is honestly a bigger audience than I’m ever likely to get for anything I publish in my real-life academic career.

As for upcoming Things, let’s see… I think my next article is going to cover Hop, and hopefully be a bit shorter and less complex than what I’ve written for Team Yell and Chairman Rose (we’ll see how that turns out…). I probably need to skip this week’s episode of A Pokémon Trainer Is You, because I’m flying back to the US this weekend and… well, things are a bit hectic. It’ll be back next week, though (with the polls running on US Eastern time again). Topics of upcoming reader questions include rebalancing types to work more like the TCG, a new take on the Grass-Water-Fire starter triangle, how I would design a Pokémon gym, and how on earth Ghost Pokémon are supposed to work. For the whole year… well, I want to try to review all the Pokémon of generation VIII this year, but given how long and detailed my reviews are these days, I’d be satisfied with getting through, like, half of them; that should leave me with plenty of time to finish the lot before those BASTARDS who CONTROL MY LIFE announce generation IX.

well… here goes nothing

happy 2020, b!tches

No "A Pokémon Trainer Is You" this week

…as I am still recovering from my recent death and reincarnation, which, believe it or not, remains the most efficient way to travel from North America to New Zealand, provided you know the appropriate spells to deal with the skull goblins of the underworld dreamways, and have agents on site at your destination to perform the correct ritual.

Technically you can also take a plane but it’s terrible for your carbon footprint and obviously leaves you vulnerable to aerial attack from void geese. Also those long flights just suck, y’know?

State of the Blog: October



This month didn’t exactly go according to plan, because I lost most of a week to illness (I’m fine now, don’t worry; I had a bad fever for a while and spent a lot of time hobbling between my couch and my bed, calling down dire imprecations upon the eternal forces of disease that assail the mortal form) and then had to catch up on real-world work. Which, well, people seem to like it when I talk about my research, so – I’ve been hanging out a lot in the X-ray lab at my university’s geology department, preparing the ancient glass samples I brought back from Caesarea Maritima over the summer for chemical analysis. Each piece gets ground up in an agate ball mill to create a fine powder, I wear a sort of gas mask thing so I don’t get silicosis from breathing in glass dust for hours, then we mix a tiny bit of powder from each sample with a lithium borate flux and melt it down so it turns back into glass, but now it’s a nice neat disc of glass with no air bubbles. Also all the discs are a sort of faint brownish colour, whereas most of the glass I started with is blue-green; I think that’s probably the result of iron in the glass being oxidised from Fe (II) to Fe (III) in the fusion process. Then we zap those discs with X-rays, 10 at a time, each batch for one day, and the pattern of absorption and re-emission of the different wavelengths shows the elemental composition of the sample. Very exciting in principle; some of the thrill gets taken out a bit by the fact that it takes weeks. I’m interested mainly to see whether these window glass samples I’ve taken are different in composition from what’s typical for Roman vessel glass, and also whether there’s any clear variation over the lifetime of the site.

So that’s what I’m doing.

Anyway, I wanted to have an article on Team Rainbow Rocket done by now, and it isn’t, but I am working on it and it should be good to go in another couple of days. We’re running out of time before Sword and Shield come out, and I have preordered one so I will be starting the game pretty much immediately, which I have never actually done before (honestly I think the whole idea of needing to have the game on launch day is a bit weird, but I suppose as someone who produces #content on the #internet I should keep up to date). I’ll try to get something else out between now and then, probably on the Alolan forms, and then once I start the games I’ll produce some kind of “first impressions” series along the lines of what I did for Alpha Sapphire. And… oh god… then the Pokémon reviews will start. And then they will continue until I die. And then once my remaining mortal servants have succeeded in reanimating my shattered body and conjuring my soul back from beyond the veil, maybe we can get on with literally anything else.

Things I have done this month include rambling about Socrates, talking about Galarian Ponyta and Fairy-type life force, rating the moons of the solar system according to rigorous scientific standards, writing two articles for PokéJungle, trying to explain Mimikyu, and continuing my… interactive fan-fic(?) “A Pokémon Trainer Is You!“. Some upcoming questions from readers include: what I would be doing if I weren’t a classicist, how I decide between Pokémon game versions, and what are some of the weirdest of Pokémon’s worldbuilding inconsistencies.

As always, thank you to my Patreon donors whose generosity pays the upkeep of this site, and whose dark will animates the mystic artifices that sustain my wretched material form: Don’t Call Me Bradley, James Crooks, hugh_donnetono, Esserise and Hamish Fyfe. The fact that anyone is willing to donate anything at all as thanks for my ridiculous work is a continuing source of joy and spiritual fulfilment, so thank you! If anyone else out there thinks that my brand of nonsense is deserving of a little monthly tip, please consider taking a look at my Patreon page.

I think that’s everything! The tension is building! Excitement is in the air! The doom of worlds approaches day by day! Help!

Taking sick leave

I’ve had a bad fever the past couple of days, and I’ve been advised by a doctor to take two days off. It’s probably some viral infection they can’t identify (tests for flu and mono were both negative), so not much to do but take anti-inflammatories and wait it out. Gonna skip this week’s episode of A Pokémon Trainer Is You and probably not post any more reader questions until the weekend.

State of the Blog: September


I need a break.


This was… this was a pretty good month, actually. Lots of things happened this month! I finally finished the generation VII Pokémon reviews with Meltan, just in time for the lead-up to the next games. I wrote an article on Team Skull and their place in both the stories of generation VII and the society of Alola. I started a new series, “A Pokémon Trainer Is You!“, a choose-your-adventure story updated weekly where my readers decide how our character will explore Kanto and blunder through the story of the classic games, almost certainly not dying in the process. Jim the Editor and I wrote a retrospective on some of my old work on the ethics of Pokémon training. Questions from readers included the difference between archaeology and grave-robbing, and a request for me to weigh in on the “all Pokémon vs. a billion lions” meme.

Also! I joined the fansite PokéJungle as a regular contributor and published my first article, the beginning of a series rating and ranking gym leaders of the Pokémon anime (second one will probably go up next week, but the schedule is a bit up in the air at the moment). I’ll post here to let you know whenever something of mine is published, but you should check out the site as a whole as well; a whole bunch of new writers came on at the same time as me, and some of them are interested in the same kind of deep lore stuff that I write about here, so if you like my bull$#!t, you might also like their bull$#!t. As part of the application process, I wrote up short design ideas for three possible Galarian forms (which are in that announcement post), and Jim the Editor responded with three of his own.

Right now, I’m working on my article on the Aether Foundation, which is really going to be more of a character study of Lusamine. It’s going to be quite long and I want to mess with it a bit, maybe rearrange it, or take some stuff out so it doesn’t feel too bloated, so that’s going to wait until… probably early next week. After that, I think I’m going to prioritise some kind of feature on the Alolan form Pokémon. Honestly I don’t know if there’s enough time left for individual articles on Lillie, Hau and Gladion, but we’ll just have to see how things go.

As always, special thanks to my supporters on Patreon – Bradley, James Crooks, hugh_donnetono, Esserise and Hamish Fyfe – whose donations pay for my WordPress Premium plan, and keep my soul from shrivelling by providing reassurance that someone out there in the world actually gives a $#!t about my nonsense. If you too think that I’m not a pointless blackened husk of a spirit polluting the internet with my cursed ashes (or, I mean, honestly, even if you do think that, but think it’s kinda funny), then consider joining their ranks with a monthly tip.

is… is that all I usually talk about in These Things?

I think so?

you… you can go if you want

you don’t have to stay

I mean… come back, like, tomorrow or something; don’t go away forever

not that I’m the boss of you or anything like that

Three More Speculative Galarian Forms…

Hey all, Jim the Editor here!
I think we can all agree that this opportunity for Chris to spread his wild ramblings over at PokéJungle is pretty cool – and so was the way in which PokéJungle used pitches for Galarian forms as a writing sample. I was so intrigued that having heard Chris had his own designs in mind and needed/wanted no input from me, I went about creating three of my own. Now, I did not submit these for consideration and therefore was not restricted by word-limits or considerations of style; so, with that in mind, here are my three speculative Galarian forms!

Continue reading “Three More Speculative Galarian Forms…”