State of the Blog: October

uggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

hello

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

…phew.

I need a break.

OH GOD THE NEW ONES ARE ALMOST HERE I CAN NEVER TAKE A BREAK UNTIL I DIE

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…”

PokéJungle Series – Anime Gym Leaders Rated, and three speculative Galarian forms

Exciting bit of news here – I’ve joined the Pokémon fansite PokéJungle as a regular contributor! (Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere; Pokémaniacal is still a thing.) PokéJungle covers Pokémon-related news, with a particular emphasis on rumours, speculation and purported leaks, which… you may have noticed has never been my particular cup of tea, but I respect the restraint and sobriety with which they cover material that wouldn’t make it onto the front page of serebii.net or Bulbapedia. If you’re interested in that kind of news, this is the sensible just-the-facts place to go for it. I’m one of, I think, 12ish new writers who will be helping to expand PokéJungle’s reach to every province of the Pokémon fandom – competitive battling, the trading card game, toys and merchandise, lore analysis, the anime (this is going to be my major focus), and more. If you follow this blog and enjoy my writing, then you’ll probably find something of interest from several of my new colleagues – from the first two weeks of the new regime, I’d particularly like to recommend “Radio Free Johto” by Riley, “On the Origin of Species: Galarian Weezing” by Nick, and “Bill’s Secret Garden” by Odyssean, all of which are the opening entries in series. Oh, and you’ll probably want to check out my debut, “Gym Leaders Rated: Brock,” a study of… well, of how good a gym leader Brock is in the Pokémon anime (with numerical grades, so we can directly compare him to others in Kanto as I get to them).

I’m excited for this! Not just for myself, but for the whole “project” of bringing together so many writers with such a wide variety of interests, for the variety of features we’re going to have and the collaborative possibilities. I’m not sure something like this currently exists in the Pokémon fandom. “This is,” as Professor Oak once said, “a great undertaking in Pokémon history!” So, y’know, check out some of our pieces, follow PokéJungle on Twitter or Facebook, etc; of course I’ll post something here with a link whenever one of my pieces is published, and probably include my own recommendations for anything published by another PokéJungle writer that I enjoyed.

Also, as part of the application process, all the potential writers were asked to submit a short piece on three Pokémon we’d like to see get Galarian regional forms. There’s no plans to use these for anything on the site, so I might as well share mine with you here!

Continue reading “PokéJungle Series – Anime Gym Leaders Rated, and three speculative Galarian forms”

State of the Blog: August

I SWEAR THE LAST ONE IS COMING OKAY

seriously though Meltan is coming on Wednesday and then we’ll be DONE! Done with generation VII! Except not really because I still want to write articles on all the major characters and the Alolan forms and some other stuff and frankly I don’t know if there’s time for all of it before Sword and Shield come out but DONE!

This month, we’ve had reviews of Magearna, Marshadow and Zeraora, as well as a retrospective on my generation V reviews. I’ve also answered readers’ questions on, among other things, the logic of creating a slimmed-down type chart and the problem of why all Pokémon dads are terrible. For the month to come, I’ll be working on articles on… hmm. I suppose I need to make up my mind about that. Well, unless something truly outrageous happens, for the moment let’s say I’ll be doing my now-traditional character profiles of the villains: first Guzma and Team Skull, then Lusamine and the Aether Foundation (I don’t know if there’s going to be time for Team Rainbow Rocket, so we’ll leave them until the end). After that I’ll aim to have something on Hau for the first week of October. Jim the Editor and I are also working on another of those dialogue-form retrospective things, which will materialise at some point in the next week or so. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while and there’s something in particular you’d like us to revisit next, let us know in the comments. In addition, I currently have no reader questions awaiting an answer, so if you’ve been sitting on something you want to ask me about, now’s the moment to check out the question box!

I am also going to be starting a Thing, which I hope will become a weekly thing, this Friday. I don’t want to talk much about the nature of this Thing, because I think it will work better if I let it speak for itself. For now, let’s just call it an experiment in interactive storytelling – something I haven’t done before that I hope will be fun, and involve my readers in its creation.

I think that’s all for the moment. Special thanks are due as always to my patrons on Patreon – Bradley, James Crooks, Esserise, hugh_donnetono and Hamish Fyfe – whose generous donations pay for the cost of maintaining this site on WordPress. If you enjoy my work and want to support me in my “deranged libertine writer” lifestyle, consider signing up to toss me a buck or two every month. And of course, slightly less special but still deep and heartfelt thanks go to everyone who reads this blog – you are the proverbial wind beneath my metaphorical (FOR NOW) wings!