Vaguely Curious asks:

Hi! Don’t feel any pressure to answer this if you don’t want (I know it’s a bit more personal than most of your questions), but if you don’t mind answering… Are you and Jim the Editor boyfriends? O:
(For context, I know you’re gay [I am too, so it made me so happy when I first saw you mention that], but I don’t know if it’s come up on the blog whether he is, nor if you’re an item.)
Again, sorry if this is too personal or awkward! I’m just curious, ahah.

I don’t think this is the first time it’s come up, but it’s definitely been a while.  Anyway, I can kinda see how people might get that impression, but with apologies to anyone who’s been shipping us – no, Jim and I are not a couple; he’s straight, and lives on a different continent.  We became friends in our last year of high school and studied classics together at university, after which we both went overseas to do our PhDs: me to the US, him to the UK.  He actually just handed in his thesis recently (US PhDs take a lot longer; I still have a couple of years to go), so you could start calling him Dr. Jim the Editor, if you like.  Also, by sheer coincidence (and we only found out about this when he met my parents), Jim’s dad, who is an anaesthesiologist specialising in epidurals, was one of the doctors present when I was born.

Jim the Editor is literally the editor – he proofreads pretty much everything I post here.  This blog was also actually his idea in the first place; we had a lot of friends who used to play Pokémon and thought they might get a kick out of my addled raving about them newfangled gen-V Pokeymans.  I suspect he and I will battle to the death upon the corpse of a fading star at the end of time, when the last words of the gods have faded from memory, but until then, he’s my best friend, and that’s a constant I’m glad to have in my life.

Long time; second time asks:

So you’ve been at this a while…. What are you most proud of?

That’s a tough one…

To be honest, I don’t much like thinking back to things I’m proud of, because most of them are quite a long time in the past and it just makes me feel as though I peaked a while ago.  By the time I finish reviewing all the generation VII Pokémon it will have taken me almost two years, and there’ll probably be precious little time left before I have to start doing something about generation VIII (which is coming; you know it’s coming; there’s always another bloody one coming).  In some ways it’s sort of justified, because my Alola reviews are twice as long and much better researched than my Unova ones, and I wasn’t taking regular questions from readers when I did Unova, so of course it takes me longer, and there are quite a few more new Pokémon in Alola than in Kalos, so of course it’s longer than that generation too.  The trouble is that Pokémon reviews feel very routine, very business-as-usual, and they’re a bit formulaic in format (especially the mechanics/competitive second half).  They’re good, and frankly I am proud of how much better they are than the Unova ones, but they don’t make me feel like I’ve written something important and challenging, like when I used to write about the ethics of Pokémon training.  I think the most important and significant thing I’ve written recently was a couple of months ago, when I wrote about why Pokémon may need – may have a moral obligation – to embrace a more pessimistic worldview than has always been its preference.  I don’t feel proud of that, though, because I don’t feel like it accomplished anything – just set out something that needs to be accomplished, that perhaps I need to find some way to do myself.

Continue reading “Long time; second time asks:”

hugh_donnetono asks:

So Grass is your favorite type, and Vileplume is your favorite Pokemon, right? Why?

To be honest, some of it is probably buried so deep in things that I decided I liked as a 10-year-old that it’s unrecoverable.  In fact, part of it is probably that my first Pokémon game was Blue, and Oddish is exclusive to Red, and kids want what they can’t have.  I suppose I like Grass-types because I like plants; I grew up with a big garden, and in New Zealand we’re taught to take pride in our unspoiled, primordial forests (which, no matter what Tourism New Zealand or The Lord of the Rings try to tell you, are in decline).  Plants are interesting scientifically and historically too.  There’s much more to them than just pieces of scenery; plants have incredibly varied and sophisticated ways of life, chemicals derived from plants inspired many important modern medicines, and the cultivation of plants in ancient times paved the way for stable food incomes and the growth of complex civilisations.  And I consider Vileplume the archetypal Grass Pokémon: beautiful, gentle, calm, but you must always look and never, ever touch, because plants are inventive in how they defend themselves, and you might never see it coming.

Anonymous asks:

This isn’t a question but I wish I had you as a history teacher when I was in school – history was always my weakest subject and I genuinely enjoy the way you explain things, it actually helps me understand without zoning out!

Sorry for leaving this one languishing in the inbox for so long.  And thank you!  That really means a lot, as someone who, uh… actually does have to teach history sometimes, to students who are often less than enthusiastic at the prospect.

Anonymous asks:

If you could LIVE anywhere in the pokemon world, where would it be? For me personally, I’d live by terminus Cave in Kalos. The whole eastern part of that just seems so mysterious, as if it’s practically screaming another region to the east…

This is my most recent assessment, as of Sun and Moon – I haven’t finished playing Ultra Moon yet, so I suppose it’s remotely possible that the charms of Ultra Space will win me over if I get to see more of it, but somehow I have my doubts.  The number one spot in the whole Pokémon world for me is probably Six Island.

Anonymous asks:

If they made a region based on New Zealand, would you be a harsher critic, or an excited one? How would you feel? Especially if (no..if they did New Zealand, they will do it)if they design Auckland. Do you have a house/apartment there? Because if you did, wouldnt it be funny if there was a trainer named Chris in the Pokemon version of Auckland. Oh my goodness, what if they designed you as the archeology champion of New Zealand (first they’d have to contact you…of course..), Archaeology Champion Chris of the new zealand region: A moa pokemon, a thylacine pokemon, a LOTR Orc pokemon, Claydol, Sigilyph, and an Ancient version of Vileplume. The ancient version of Vileplume would be similar to the modern one, except it would be three times bigger, a more wilted looking version of the “body”, with ivy all over, and for the piece de resistance, perhaps instead of the rafflesia arnoldii, it would be a gingko biloba looking plant, or ferns, or other ancient plants…

I feel like I would probably be a harsher critic than I usually am, just because the rest of the world (including Japan) tends to have a very idealised vision of New Zealand as very pure and peaceful and enlightened that kind of feeds into our own denial of the real problems the country has, while also missing a lot of what makes our history and culture really interesting.  So I think it would be very easy for a Pokémon region based on New Zealand to fail to meet my expectations.

I don’t think I need to be a Champion; I’m not that impressive, or that good a mascot for New Zealand, to be honest (and I should point out here that thylacines are Australian – New Zealand has no native land mammals except for bats).  Wouldn’t mind having a Grass-type gym though.