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!
…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…
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”
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
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
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”
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!
I made it! I’m back in the US, I didn’t die; I’ve written up some documentation of that body of ancient glass fragments I mentioned when I left, and I’ve brought back several samples for chemical analysis, which is exciting. I also learned how to make hummus. These things are clearly of similar degrees of importance.
The Magearna review is a little bit later than I wanted it to be, but it’s finished and will go up tomorrow. That leaves three more Pokémon for generation VII – Marshadow, Zeraora and Meltan, probably in that order. If all goes according to plan, all three will be done by the first week of September. That leaves, in principle, just over two months before the release of Sword and Shield, and probably another couple of weeks before I’m ready to start reviewing Pokémon. During that time, I’ll be writing articles on the story, major characters and worldbuilding of Sun and Moon, and I am also going to try for some quick takes on the Alolan forms of each of the Pokémon that have them. When that time comes, my extremely attractive and intelligent supporters on Patreon (currently: Bradley, James Crooks, hugh_donnetono, Esserise and Hamish Fyfe) will be able to vote on the order in which I take on all the topics I want to get to. If you yourself are extremely attractive and intelligent (as of course all my readers are), and that idea has some appeal to you, or you just feel like tipping me a dollar here and there to help me buy the
black artefacts spell components souls bagels with cream cheese that sustain my existence, check that out using the link at the top of the page.
Jim the Editor and I are also working on a new Thing, a series(?) of retrospectives on my old writing, in the form of “interviews” between the two of us, beginning with a look at my reviews of the Unova Pokémon. I have mixed feelings about a lot of my older stuff, and I guess anything more than 5-6 years old I don’t 100% stand by these days, but it’s a shame to not do something with it, and I like the idea of re-examining all of it in light of everything I’ve learned since then and how my approach to writing for this blog. The first of these will probably go up on or around August 10. Later on, maybe around the beginning of September, I have in mind to start another Thing, something a bit more on the silly side than most of my work, and something that I hope will be able to involve readers in choosing its direction. More details to follow…
This month’s This Thing comes to you from Amsterdam airport, where I’m awaiting a transfer to Tel Aviv.
I’m, uh… I’m going to Israel/Palestine for a month. Did I mention that?Continue reading “State of the Blog – June”
uh… nothing is on fire… none of the Pokémon are dead… the horrors of the space between the stars are quiet… I need to buy milk tomorrow but I can probably remember to do that… things are good! I think!
Y’know, there is something weirdly addictive about the WordPress stats page. Day by day, hour by hour, the figures go up, and some number of people are paying attention to my deranged claptrap, fuelling my long, slow and inevitable descent into crippling narcissism.Continue reading “State of the Blog”
Does the new site have a search function? If so, where is it? If not, are you planning on adding one?
…y’know, it seems to, because in Google Chrome if you type pokemaniacal.com into the search bar, followed by a space, and then a search query, you will be brought to something like this: https://pokemaniacal.com/?s=fish. I don’t actually know how to make an explicit search bar appear on the main page, which seems like it would be useful to have. I’ll look into it. It’d certainly beat the cr@p out of the old Tumblr; that had a search bar but was only capable of searching tags, not the actual text of posts…