Apologies, and dinosaurs

So once again I don’t have a Pokémon review for you this week, and I also think an apology is due to anyone who’s sent me a question in, like… the last… month.  I promise I will answer all of those; I only have one more week of teaching this year, then a week of marking assignments and exams, then a looooong flight back to New Zealand for Christmas, at which point I should have some breathing space.  My workload will hopefully be a bit lower next semester as well.  In the meantime, though, did you know I also occasionally review dinosaurs, for the amusement of my friends on Facebook?  Please note that the following are only my opinions, however please also note that my opinions are always objectively right.

Continue reading “Apologies, and dinosaurs”

No Pokémon review this week, have some democracy and pie instead

I’ve been a little bit swamped lately with teaching; my students have just handed in their first big assignment and taken their first test of the semester (don’t worry; only a few of them will be executed).  I haven’t finished writing my next Pokémon review, Komala, so instead you’re getting a spiel about some of what I’ve been teaching recently, as well as some pictures of my first attempt at something resembling an English-style pork pie. Continue reading “No Pokémon review this week, have some democracy and pie instead”

Sandro asks:

Hello. I am working on a story right now and I need to study a historical background for it. Could you recommend me good books (in English, preferably, and yes, I am willing to actually buy them, and yes, I am willing to spend a lot of my free time studying this.) about Rome and the life of common citizen of the city of Rome? The time frame is around the year AD 20. I need information about culture and customs. What were the ways common families worshipped gods? What were the naming conventions? How strict were Romans in following traditions? Was it common for “middle class” Roman family to have a slave? There is a lot I need to know before I can write my story. I obviously started with reading Wikipedia, but while I consider that useful, I still do think that I should get a more detailed and more trustworthy source of information. Thanks for help.

Let me see… for a basic introduction you could do worse than The Romans: An Introduction by Antony Kamm and Abigail Graham, which is the textbook we use for our introductory Roman Civilisation class in my department. Everyday Life in Ancient Rome by Lionel Casson is a similar level; I haven’t read it myself, but it’s quite well thought of, and possibly better tailored to your particular needs. Themes in Roman Society and Culture by Matt Gibbs, Milorad Nikolic and Pauline Ripat is a bit pricey but covers similar sorts of things in more detail. Continue reading “Sandro asks:”

[I’m American but because of my accent and the way I look, people think I’m Australian. I’m honored.] asks:

A year from now, I think you should make a list of your top five favorite names that sends you questions and your least 5 fav! They are entertaining!!!

That’s neat; I’m a New Zealander but because of my accent people think I’m English – even in New Zealand, and sometimes even in England. And, uh… I’m terrified this will encourage people to ludicrous extremes, but sure! I’ll, um… think about it.

Blog Status: Normal??

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.  Continue reading “Blog Status: Normal??”

Anonymous asks:

This doesn’t have anything to do with pokemon, but I was wondering if you might have any thoughts with your Archaeology background: In a lot of stuff written about Greco-Roman mythology I’ve read, Hectate is called a goddess of witchcraft and Circe a witch, and there’s probably other examples I don’t know of. However, I’m not really sure what being a witch would mean outside of the context of Christianity or modern pop-culture. Was this just something that was added in by much later writers?

Well, what is a witch, exactly?  Ugly old woman, warty nose, pointy hat, flies around on broomsticks, brews potions in cauldrons, turns people into newts, weighs the same as a duck, that sort of thing?  Circe, Hecate and Medea aren’t witches in that sense, no; they predate that stereotype of what a “witch” is by a good couple of millennia.  Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Anonymous asks:

hi u ok

Yes!  Uh, probably.  Still living in Athens; for a little bit I was on Delos where no one actually lives and the internet is crap, and in a few weeks I’ll be going to Corinth for a dig (or, I mean, people will be digging; I’ve been promised a chance to sit in the museum and play with the Roman window glass from previous excavation seasons, so… yay!).  Not super busy this month, so you should see some more stuff here for once!  Want to try and do Mudsdale this week, and another one the week after.  And I’ve been working on… another minor thing… Greece-related rather than Pokémon-related… that you may all be able to read in some form in the months to come (apologies for being mysterious but I don’t want to promise things before I know I can deliver them). Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”