Update on the Oncoming End of the World

so, I had what you might describe as “two weeks”

Shortly after my last post, I had a long conversation with my father, who is a doctor and sees the worst-case scenarios of the COVID-19 pandemic with frightening clarity. On the same day, New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs publicly advised all New Zealanders travelling overseas to return home as soon as possible, since commercial flights might not be available for much longer. Now, that advice was clearly meant for tourists and people who were spending a few weeks in a foreign country, not so much people like me who have a home and a foreign bank account and so on, but our confidence in the United States’ ability to handle this crisis is… sufficiently low that the idea of getting stuck there was still worrying. Besides, all of my university’s courses are now being taught remotely and our libraries are closed, so all my teaching and research has to be online until further notice anyway. Long story short, in the space of 48 hours I went from sitting in my apartment in Ohio, talking to my parents about whether maybe I should fly back to New Zealand, to actually landing in Auckland. I am now quarantined alone in my grandmother’s empty house (she’s staying with my parents) and New Zealand has entered a full month-long lockdown. Frankly I don’t know what happens next, but in principle I’ll return to the US in August.

Anyway, I’m fine! How are you?

I’ve written an article on Hau, Lillie and Gladion, which I’m very happy with and will go up later today (the mood among my mysterious dark Patrons favours finishing up some more Alola stuff in preference to diving into Galar Pokémon reviews – if you want to influence those decisions, you can always join up; nudge nudge, wink wink). I’ll also be returning to reader questions in the next few days and mayyyyybe to A Pokémon Trainer Is You next week? IN OTHER NEWS, Jim the Editor is once again posting things on his Youtube channel, for the first time in, like, a year. He’s started a playthrough of Final Fantasy X, one of his favourite games of all time, with discussion and commentary, and he’s also posting videos of some kind of cricket-related game which frankly I don’t understand, playing with avatars of all the players in his university cricket club in St. Andrews (who have had to call off the rest of their real-world season on account of… y’know, the plague).

Oh, and if you foolishly pay attention to my Twitter you will have seen this already, but I’ve also recently written an article for PokéJungle about how Sword and Shield approach the history and mythology of Galar, which touches on some stuff I’ll probably continue to talk about if/when I write a character study of Sonia. It’s a bit shorter than a lot of my articles here, but talks about some themes that I really think Sword and Shield handled well, and might be a jumping-off point for future discussions of how other Pokémon games have handled their regions’ ancient past. If that sounds interesting, take a look!

Good luck, everyone, and remain indoors!

Anon the Mon asks:

Hey, sorry if this is too personal, but are you gay, or bi, I’ll rule out hetero because I have been on this blog enough to not be stupid, just wondering.

I’m gay.

That’s kind of the whole answer to this question, but Jim the Editor always tells me that two-word answers are bad for #engagement so I feel like I have to say something else without straying into territory that actually would be too personal.  I do think sometimes that being Gay On The Internet means you have a responsibility to act as representation for people who don’t see much of themselves in popular media, and also that, to a certain extent, this is the #relatable #content for which people are here, so maybe it would be, in a certain sense, good for my “brand” if I talked more about it.  I honestly just don’t have much to say, though.  I come from this culture of academic self-effacement, where I feel that, if people find my orientation and my personal life more interesting than my writing, then my writing must be bad.  And I know this is not how internet success actually works; you’re supposed to be a Personality and cultivate parasocial relationships and so on, but trying to be that still feels deeply unnatural to me.

jeffthelinguist asks:

So, as an archaeologist, can you answer the age old question of how much time needs to pass before grave robbing becomes archaeology? What’s the appropriate time period for looting the dead to become acceptable?

I’m assuming you’ve seen the screenshot of an archaeologist commenting, in answer to this question, that this is actually a super awkward and uncomfortable question?  I’m fortunate enough to work in an area where it doesn’t really come up much – we’re all pretty sure that two thousand years is comfortably in the safe zone.  Even then, though… it would be a mistake to think that archaeology can be a pure science, that our study of the past can remain detached from the present. It’s all grave robbing, in a way. The only difference is in how pure your motives are… which is a matter of perspective.

Continue reading “jeffthelinguist asks:”

Herald of Opera asks:

Do you like penguins? (Same question goes for Jim the Editor; I always ask this whenever an opportunity for an unbounded question arises, including careless wording.) (Also, whenever speaking up in favor of Sword & Shield’s National Dex removal, I make sure to mention the absurdly slim chances of Piplup getting in as proof that it hurts me more than it probably hurts them)

Penguins are fµ¢£ing great (and this is our shared opinion, by the way).  They’re birds, but instead of flying they swim!  And on land they’re so waddly and dumb and cute, but in the water they’re so… so… M A J E S T I C.  Piplup remains to this day my favourite Water-type starter, for reasons that I’m not even going to pretend are based entirely in sober design analysis.  And there are gay penguin couples who adopt eggs and chicks, acting as aspirational figures for the LGBT community and filling the hearts of the entire world with warmth and fuzziness.  As long as we’re on penguins, I’m going to direct readers to the Instagram account of the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier, home of a colony of New Zealand’s native little blue penguins (scientifically proven to be the smollest and most adorable of all penguins), one of whom each month is designated “good penguin” or “naughty penguin of the month.”  And, of course, I would be doing you all a great disservice if I didn’t tell you that New Zealand is also where several of the oldest species of fossil penguins come from, some of them gigantic fossil penguins as tall as humans, like the new species Crossvallia waiparensis described just a few weeks ago from fossils found in Canterbury.

…so I guess what I’m saying is the answer to your question is “yes.”

A Dragonborn With a Trident On His Back Playing a Syrinx asks:

This is definitely Heracles https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dzvmPjWMKLaiNG6MOLkOgjcveh2lnEja/view?usp=drivesdk

…I mean, I can believe that it’s trying to be?  Heracles almost always has a club, though, and the ears of his lionskin aren’t usually that pointy; these look more doglike.  Honestly it kind of reminds me of an Age of Mythology Ulfsark.