VikingBoyBilly asks:

Something’s been on my mind for a long time since I stopped lurking, but I need to say how I feel.

In our long argument about Odysseus, you ended it with “i know what I’m talking about; so there.”

No, you didn’t, because if you did, you wouldn’t have been a misanthrope. Reading mythology is what made me fall in love with humans, and it’s unsettling that you never acknowledged the irony of being a misanthropic archaeologist. The lessons the Oddessey taught me is that life is a journey full challenges and misery, but by keeping your wits and the strength to continue, you can reach your goals. Oddysseus’s goal was to reunite with the wife an son that he loved, and it’s so cynical to think he enjoyed having sex with women that kept him stranded on those islands, and it doesn’t mesh thematically when these are supposed to be a series of hardships. The optimist in me believes this was something to be overcome, either as a temptation like the lotus fruits and sirens, or a situation to get out of like the cyclops. His devotion and loyalty to his crew, his homeland, and family are values I live by, and I don’t like that being tarnished by accusations that he’s a scummy womanizer. I could just be satisfied with my own opinions and not be bothered by what anyone else thinks, but you know what the internet does to us.

I also was put off by your use of the vague buzz-word “western civilization.” It’s nonsensical to anyone with an understanding of geography, and condescending, as if any other civilization doesn’t count (and because I think an archaeologist/anthropologist would only use such a simplification of jargon when talking to a layman). Funny how people angry with the state of the world will defend “western civilization” as the best thing that ever happened.

I hope your outlook of your own species has changed since then, and if you want to reply non-publicly, my email is [REDACTED]

[This is what Billy is referring to – linking to the Tumblr version of the original question-and-answer post rather than the WordPress version because that’s where the relevant comment thread is, but I might actually move it over here for posterity’s sake]

Continue reading “VikingBoyBilly asks:”

N asks:

Did you leave tumblr because they removed the porn?
(But seriously why don’t you like it anymore)

There’s no “anymore” about it; I don’t think I ever really liked Tumblr.  I started using it in the first place back in 2012 because a friend recommended it as (I’m paraphrasing) the hip and happening place to be, but frankly it was never very well-suited to the style of my blog.  Over the course of 2012-2017, it somehow managed to lose functionality and become harder to use every goddamn time the platform was updated.  It’s like the development team were moving backwards in time, starting with a passable, albeit idiosyncratic, blogging platform and gradually breaking or removing every useful capability.  For about a year before I left, I’d had to copy-paste my writing into the post editor via my e-mail inbox because if I tried to do it directly from Microsoft Word, Tumblr would decide to convert the text into an image, for some inane and impenetrable reason of its own.  The final straw for me (early in 2018, some months before the announcement of the pornpocalypse) was when they arbitrarily changed the HTML editor in a way that broke the captions of every single image I’ve ever put in a text post.  WordPress isn’t perfect either: I have to pay for it, I’ll have to pay more if I ever want CSS editing or anything else even remotely interesting, and redoing all the formatting that I lost in the transfer from Tumblr has been (and continues to be) a headache and a half.  The editing process is so much less broken and dumb that it’s frankly comical, though. I no longer feel like I have to fight against a platform that wants to impose a contrary vision of what a “blog” is supposed to be. Also, I have to admit that there’s something appealing and official-sounding about having my own .com domain name.

Adventures in Baking the Entire Athenian Acropolis, part 4

okay this part was insane and took literally a whole day and is really kind of a succinct illustration of why I can never have a normal life, but here it goes

So, last time I left off with this:

Three big slabs of chocolate cake, and all these piles of gingerbread that will turn into buildings.

Continue reading “Adventures in Baking the Entire Athenian Acropolis, part 4”

Adventures in Baking the Entire Athenian Acropolis, part 2

Well, I promised updates, and here’s a short one on the first stage of this ludicrous project. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll already have some inkling of how my style of baking works – you lurch from one disaster to another until enough of them cancel each other out and produce something wondrous. But here’s the more detailed report:

Continue reading “Adventures in Baking the Entire Athenian Acropolis, part 2”

Adventures in baking the entire Athenian Acropolis

Regular readers of this blog may know that, although from New Zealand, I am currently living in the United States, where I am studying for a PhD in classical archaeology. Long-time regular readers may further be aware that I have something of a penchant for baking. And, of course, even the most cursory of readers will be perfectly cognisant of the fact that I am completely insane.

Once a year, these three facets of my life come into glorious conjunction.

Continue reading “Adventures in baking the entire Athenian Acropolis”

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”