State of the Blog: October

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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!

Reviewing the glass from the Eretz-Israel museum

On Thursday I went to the Eretz-Israel museum in Tel Aviv, and because I am a huge glass nerd (and, y’know, I’m doing tourist things as well but I am technically in this country to study ancient glass) I spent basically the entire time in their glass gallery ogling pretty Phoenician core-formed alabastra and Roman mould-blown bottles. So my reduced posting schedule this month doesn’t sting too much, here’s my definitive expert review of all the things there that most stuck out to me:

Continue reading “Reviewing the glass from the Eretz-Israel museum”

Hello from Athens!

Don’t worry, I’m not vanishing into an archaeological dig for a month; I’m just here for a week to attend a top-secret cool-kids-only seminar on ancient glass, my speciality (and, uh, take some photos of the Arch of Hadrian to catch some angles I missed the last time I was here). It’ll be a bit of a slow week on account of the program being fairly intense, but I’m still aiming to get my next Pokémon review (Celesteela) written and posted in accordance with the 10-day schedule I seem to have adopted. So, speaking of that… it seems to be working well? I’m posting things consistently (3 Ultra Beast reviews in March), I’m answering questions (14 over the course of the month), I made a ridiculous cake that people seemed to like, and… well, to be honest I don’t really know what all the numbers on my stats page mean, but the ones for March are the biggest yet, by a fairly impressive margin (more than double those for January), and we seem to be getting more people coming in through links on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc – so, to anyone who’s shared any of my writing over the past month, thanks, and keep doing what you’re doing! And, y’know, keep the questions coming; I know I whine about the difficult ones sometimes but interesting questions are kinda this blog’s lifeblood in a lot of ways, and I literally couldn’t do this without you.

Special thanks are due as always to my Patreon supporters, James Crooks, hugh_donnetono and Esserise, whose contributions pay for the upkeep of this WordPress site. If you enjoy my writing, want to see more of it and have exactly $US 1 too much money per month, consider clicking that link at the top of the page to browse the perks I currently have on offer for my patrons. At the moment, all proceeds will go towards upgrading my WordPress plan so the site can do more interesting and flexible things. Anyway, I should get back to doing glass stuff – until next time!