Final Fantasy Friday

In principle Jim the Editor and I are supposed to be streaming Final Fantasy X tomorrow morning/tonight (7am NZ time, 8pm UK time). Unfortunately, Jim’s just moved to a new flat and doesn’t have a good enough internet connection for streaming. For this week, we’ve pre-recorded something and are going to have it go live with Youtube’s premier feature, so we can have it air at the usual time with a live chat. As always, come and hang out if you’re free!

“A Pokémon Trainer Is You!” is coming back!

This has been paused for far longer than I meant it to be, but starting tomorrow, A Pokémon Trainer Is You! is coming back! If you don’t know/remember what that is (in which case, well, I can’t blame you; I haven’t written anything for it in months) APTIY is an interactive story loosely based on the events of Pokémon: Red and Blue, where the main character’s actions and choices are determined by polls of the audience. It was previously on a weekly update schedule, but in future I’m going to aim for every two weeks, at least for the time being, to avoid taking too much time away from articles. If you haven’t read any of this story before, or just want a refresher on everything that’s happened so far, you can read it all here!

Streaming Final Fantasy X

Tomorrow morning at 7 am NZ time/8 pm tonight UK time, I’m going to be hanging out on Skype with Jim the Editor while he streams Final Fantasy X for his Youtube channel for about 90 minutes. If you’re free, come hang out and talk about the game with us!

EDIT: And here it is!

We kinda… wound up talking a lot about my research while Jim indulged in his favourite pastime – level grinding – so if you want to hear me ramble in an unstructured way about ancient glass to a backdrop of random encounters in Kilika woods, this is the video for you.

Should I write something about “Journeys”?

I want to do… some kind of coverage of Pokémon Journeys, the new season of the Pokémon TV show, because I’ve watched the first three episodes in English and really liked them but don’t want to go further before I’ve decided exactly how to approach it.  I’m concerned about taking time away from other projects – like Pokémon reviews, or restarting A Pokémon Trainer is You! – but it does also seem worth discussing.  For those first episodes, I give Jim the Editor a live commentary on Facebook Messenger, and it would be pretty low-effort to just, like… post that, largely unedited or with a few illustrative screenshots mixed in.  Or I could try to do short (like sub-500 word) write-ups of what I think of each episode as I go through them, which would be more thoughtful at the cost of splitting my time and attention.  Or I could just watch it all in my own time and keep my thoughts to myself until there’s time to do some more substantial articles on broader topics like characters and themes, maybe a few more months down the line.

Regardless of the actual form of discussion, Jim the Editor also suggested I could host Netflix watch parties, which… are not a concept I fully understand or see the value of, and would probably involve some awkward time zone contortions with me in New Zealand and most of my readers in America, but I’d be happy to give it a shot? I think basically it’s just a bunch of people all watching the same thing in Netflix at the same time, and also there is a chat window, which could be fun. Is that something anyone has any experience of, or would like to see me try?

Watch our stream!

So today Jim and I tried out streaming Final Fantasy X and chatting about it, and you can watch the result on-demand here:

I am clearly not good at this but we’re going to keep doing it every week, and maybe develop our, uh… live entertainment skills. So if you find this passingly amusing, stop by next week (8-9:30 pm Friday in the UK, 7-8:30 am Saturday in New Zealand); it’ll probably get better!

I guess this is also the first time anyone who reads this blog will have heard my voice? Except the handful of you who also know me in real life, obviously. I dunno if that’s a huge selling point for you. It’s a weird voice. Jim’s is much more representative of a New Zealand accent, mine is all over the place.

so yeah, that’s this thing

Streaming with Jim

Jim the Editor’s set himself up to stream things for his Youtube channel recently, mostly playing cricket and golf video games that I, frankly, don’t understand or care about, but later this week he’s going to play some Final Fantasy X, with me on voice chat to talk about the game, its story, characters, themes, etc. We’re planning on 8-9:30 on Friday night UK time, which is 7-8:30 on Saturday morning for me in New Zealand, and… I dunno, late Friday afternoon in the US, probably. In theory we’re planning for this to be a weekly thing. I’ll be moderating the chat and feeding questions and comments to him, so if you have time, stop by and say hi!

My “application” for a “job” on the Interwebs

So…

…how ’bout that devastating pandemic that has laid bare the callousness and cruelty of the wealthiest and most powerful nations on the planet, huh?

Just so no-one’s worried about me, I’m fine. I went home to New Zealand in March, and over the course of the last three months, New Zealand has become more or less the safest place in the world as we eliminated our COVID-19 outbreak through swift and strict lockdown measures, and we are continuing to impose quarantine on all visitors to the country to prevent reintroduction of the disease.

Meanwhile, the US is…

uh…

uhhh…

uhhhhhh…

uhhhhhhhhhh…

…fine.

So my situation is actually pretty peachy compared to what I assume the majority of my readers are looking at (my analytics page says the vast majority of my traffic comes from the US, which is not surprising since I write in English and the US makes up the majority of the English internet). However, I do have to… let’s say “reevaluate” a lot of my plans and priorities. I’m not going back to the United States in August to continue working on my PhD, because… well… on the one hand you have New Zealand, with its stable and fairly competent government, absence of deadly pandemics and relative lack of civil unrest, and on the other hand you have… Ohio. Er… no offence. In theory I could work on my PhD remotely and my department would almost certainly approve that plan under the circumstances, but I only have one more year of funding. Using that year to work from home, without access to my department’s resources or academic environment, would almost certainly be a waste; I would probably fail to complete my thesis within the time I have left and lose my chance. So, with my department’s support, I’m asking the university for a leave of absence. In theory, I’m going back in August 2021. In practice… well, I guess we’ll see what the state of the world is in August 2021. In the meantime, I’m applying for jobs in New Zealand. Maybe I’ll just have a job for the year and then go back; maybe I’ll find a job that I turn out to like and be good at, and just change over to that (hopefully getting a leave of absence from that job to finish my PhD later); maybe I’ll be part-time; maybe I’ll be full-time; maybe I won’t be able to find a job and I’ll just starve to death. Y’know, options.

But… another way of looking at it would be that we have a crisitunity on our hands.

Continue reading “My “application” for a “job” on the Interwebs”

Update on the Oncoming End of the World

so, I had what you might describe as “two weeks”

Shortly after my last post, I had a long conversation with my father, who is a doctor and sees the worst-case scenarios of the COVID-19 pandemic with frightening clarity. On the same day, New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs publicly advised all New Zealanders travelling overseas to return home as soon as possible, since commercial flights might not be available for much longer. Now, that advice was clearly meant for tourists and people who were spending a few weeks in a foreign country, not so much people like me who have a home and a foreign bank account and so on, but our confidence in the United States’ ability to handle this crisis is… sufficiently low that the idea of getting stuck there was still worrying. Besides, all of my university’s courses are now being taught remotely and our libraries are closed, so all my teaching and research has to be online until further notice anyway. Long story short, in the space of 48 hours I went from sitting in my apartment in Ohio, talking to my parents about whether maybe I should fly back to New Zealand, to actually landing in Auckland. I am now quarantined alone in my grandmother’s empty house (she’s staying with my parents) and New Zealand has entered a full month-long lockdown. Frankly I don’t know what happens next, but in principle I’ll return to the US in August.

Anyway, I’m fine! How are you?

I’ve written an article on Hau, Lillie and Gladion, which I’m very happy with and will go up later today (the mood among my mysterious dark Patrons favours finishing up some more Alola stuff in preference to diving into Galar Pokémon reviews – if you want to influence those decisions, you can always join up; nudge nudge, wink wink). I’ll also be returning to reader questions in the next few days and mayyyyybe to A Pokémon Trainer Is You next week? IN OTHER NEWS, Jim the Editor is once again posting things on his Youtube channel, for the first time in, like, a year. He’s started a playthrough of Final Fantasy X, one of his favourite games of all time, with discussion and commentary, and he’s also posting videos of some kind of cricket-related game which frankly I don’t understand, playing with avatars of all the players in his university cricket club in St. Andrews (who have had to call off the rest of their real-world season on account of… y’know, the plague).

Oh, and if you foolishly pay attention to my Twitter you will have seen this already, but I’ve also recently written an article for PokéJungle about how Sword and Shield approach the history and mythology of Galar, which touches on some stuff I’ll probably continue to talk about if/when I write a character study of Sonia. It’s a bit shorter than a lot of my articles here, but talks about some themes that I really think Sword and Shield handled well, and might be a jumping-off point for future discussions of how other Pokémon games have handled their regions’ ancient past. If that sounds interesting, take a look!

Good luck, everyone, and remain indoors!