Currently on art: Q4 2021 – end of the year (in which I go on a tangent on datahoarding) & new releases

Hi there!

It’s the last day of 2021 (as of writing on my timezone). COVID is getting worse again and we’re facing a new set restrictions. After getting a taste of hanging out with other students on campus, I’d be lying if I said that I’m not frustrated at the situation – especially because the hope I had of things becoming good enough that the subject associations could arrange a big picnic on the next May Day (which we have missed for two years in a row now) is shattered. Now I’m left wondering if I’ll get my Master’s degree before that’s possible.

Oh well. There are still many months till May, and I won’t be graduating before May 2023 anyway, so there’s a glimmer of hope somewhere, even if it’s hard to see right now. Perhaps next time I post an update, I can tell that things are already getting better.

With courses winding down after the previous post, I can tell that aside from the online course that got neglected a lot (and will be in progress until I get to finish it during the summer), I made it through the courses of the autumn semester and with excellent grades to boot. So, now I can say that things did turn out all right despite the difficulties. I do dread the next period, though, as I also got on a massive project course and I’ll have a big bunch of other courses going on at the same time – as it for some reason tends to be the case on period 3 of the studying year. It’s going to be tough, but I believe that with proper timetabling I’ll be able to deal with it enough to get through it. It’s going to be a huge learning experience, that’s for sure.

I also got my eyesight checked up for the first time in many years, motivated by the fact that I realized that others could read (relatively) far away text while I couldn’t. The result was as expected: I’m getting my first pair of glasses. I’ll be able to pick them up and put them on next week. I look forward to that the most of the things happening early next year – the difference in how well I could see with and without glasses was drastic, so I can’t wait to see better once again. It was quite a road to get that far emotionally, though; I think I’d known for some time that my eyesight wasn’t as good as it should, but admitting that I had a problem and ought to see an optometrist was difficult – and, knowing how much glasses can cost, the financial aspect of it worried me as well. I was fortunate enough to get a big student discount and super cheap frames, but even then I ended up spending almost 100€ (nearly two thirds of the money I have to spend for food and other non-rent expenses each month I get student allowance). Granted, I did get the best lenses and could have gotten away with about half of that if I’d cheaped out, but I figured that I’ll be using these glasses for several years at the very least, so I’d better bite the bullet now and go all out so I don’t need an upgrade before I need to replace the glasses for other reasons. Back to the emotional aspect, though; I don’t know how much I’ve told myself that “yeah, it’s no big deal, I can still see everything else well enough (it’s not like I’ve suddenly started becoming color blind or unable to identify objects), it’s fine” or explained my lack of seeing with blurry screens, small fonts and stuff, but this one event (my subject association’s autumn meeting) was the wake-up call where I could not deny that “hey, these people next to me can read that text but I can’t”. Honestly, while it was scary to see the difference (and then go back to driving with that knowledge even though I’d driven to the optometrist without a (sight-related) worry) and my wallet will feel the dent it made for a good while, it’s for the best that I got that wake-up call especially since I’m now actually looking forward to picking up those glasses and getting to use them.

In other news, I released my FFM 2021 collection, Birbs, just before Christmas. You can get it here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1122803

I also made compilations of my story worlds to combat the fractured nature of my 6 years (and counting) of flash fiction writing so that you can read the stories in a far more convenient manner than searching for bits and pieces across my website and DeviantArt gallery. You can get them here: World Collections

Welp, I suppose that’s all for what’s been happening since the last update. Now it’s time for a 2021 retrospect! Except that before that, have a look at the Q4 2021 stats – I think you’ll see that I’ve been hard at work with my two main projects!

Q4 2021 stats
Q4 2021
Comparison between Q3 and Q4 2021
Q3 2021 to Q4 2021

Looking good, don’t you think? It’s not going to last, though, once my spring semester kicks off. Now, have a look at 2021 statistics:

2021 total stats
2021 total stats
Comparison between 2020 and 2021
2020 to 2021

It’s been quite the journey. Where will the road take my work next year? To more planned areas, that’s for sure, since I finally hit an area of Exceptional Jedi I’ve had in my plans for a long time and The Fate’s Way has also gotten unusually extensively planned, although the world still has a mind of its own and the places I’ve though pre-chartered might turn out to be something far different – heck, that’s exactly what I’m just getting out of!

I’ve also achieved a lot this year – I’ve released the rest of my FFM collections, made compilations of my story worlds, written my bachelor’s thesis (in Finnish), gotten my bachelor’s degree, been a part of making my subject association’s magazine (we released two issues this year, although only in Finnish), gotten my second Daily Deviation on DeviantArt (for the story Chosen By The Mirai), won the Gauntlet (admittedly for a major part due to a lack of competition) and earned myself the title Ironside, made a game in a team of seven (Bad Feather Day), made smaller games with a friend (Well, Well, Well and Campfire Tales) and alone (Down The Memory Lane), started learning Japanese, learned some things about accessibility and how important it is (as part of my software testing course, I needed to do accessibility testing, and getting experience of it was quite the eyeopener)… Yeah, that’s a lot. It’s been a productive year, all right.

Oh, and I also got into hoarding data. So far, the whole thing has remained reasonable (mostly because I don’t have the money for terabytes of storage space, I’d hazard), and it’s been fun to dig around for gems from the past on the Internet Archive. I’ve also gotten some personal experiences on the massive importance of archiving stuff and keeping proper backups.

For the proper backups, here’s a brief story: Back in the day, I pledged on Damon L. Wakes’s book Ten Little Astronauts (which is, by the way, excellent – you should read it if you haven’t already) on Unbound on a level that got me some digital rewards (mostly ebooks). Sometime after getting and downloading those rewards, I ended up losing the files, which I only noticed this year after starting datahoarding and subsequently building a proper digital library. What happened to those files? Who knows? Maybe they were merely misplaced on a device I no longer use and which I never backed up (properly) to begin with. Maybe I deleted them by accident, perhaps while cleaning up my files or trying to salvage whatever I could from a corrupted ZIP file or maybe they were in a corrupted ZIP and I forgot to redownload the original files after failing to salvage them. Maybe some mayhem with Linux installations got them deleted (I know I’ve had to reinstall Linux at least once when I deleted stuff I shouldn’t have and broke the desktop environment). Perhaps I failed to back them up from the external hard drive I used as my Linux drive before installing Linux on an internal drive and reformatting the external drive to be a backup drive. What exactly caused the files to disappear didn’t matter. What did matter at that moment was that the link I had used to download the files no longer worked. Fortunately, Unbound’s customer service was able to get me those files (huge thanks to the people involved in that – you’re all awesome!) and now my ebook library is more complete than it otherwise would be. And I also learned an important lesson on backups and will from now on take better care of my files.

Moral of the story: Be diligent, comprehensive and organized about your backups. Failing at any of those three aspects can – and, knowing the universe’s sense of humor, will – come back to bite you in the ass someday. It has done so with me twice already in this quarter alone. (insert upside down smiley face emoji here)

For the importance of archiving, I have three cases to share:

  1. I suddenly realized that I wasn’t finding a oneshot that I love on Archive Of Our Own despite scouring my bookmarks for it multiple times on multiple occasions and started looking for it via the series it was in. It turns out that the writer of it and another oneshot in the same series – which I recognized immediately upon seeing its name in relation to the series – has deleted all of their work, and the oneshots I was looking for had not been saved on Wayback Machine. Right now, I’m waiting with hopes that the writer will respond to my query, has backups of the stories and is willing to share said backups. If not, I’ll have to start asking around the internet and hope that someone out there did save those precious stories, sees me looking for them (the most difficult part) and decides to share their archive. If no one has them, they’re lost forever (which I hope won’t be the case because those stories are truly lovely).
  2. I came across some awesome fanart of a fanfic. Like with case 1, the writer had deleted the story. In this case, however, someone had archived that story and I was able to access said archive – and thus I can experience the story that the fanart honors as well once I get to reading it (which I haven’t yet due to being busy with other stuff).
  3. There is a youtuber who, many years ago, deleted hundreds of their videos. Now, they want to go on a nostalgia ride with those videos and they will give $25000 to the person who can find them.

You know how people say that what you post on the internet will stay there forever? That’s not actually the case (although you should treat everything you post as that); countless amounts of more or less niche content has been completely lost forever because they have not been archived/backed up either properly or at all (and that has happened ever since we’ve recorded things – the destruction of the library of Alexandria is a famous example of that). Did you know that there was a short-lived browser game that tied in to the second Pokémon movie that required a special browser to play? The browser does still exist – and it still functions! – but the game was not fully preserved and is nowadays considered partially found. Will the rest of the game ever be found? Unlikely without a time machine, but for now theoretically possible.

Hmm. That was quite the tangent. Had this been an even longer sidetrack, I might have separated it and made it a separate post, but I’ll leave it to this one. Maybe later I will make a more comprehensive post on on backups and archiving, perhaps some how-to stuff and so on. For now, let’s let that topic be (although please do take the moral of my backup story to heart) and continue with my year of 2021.

I had some to-dos and stuff for the year that I outlined the last time I made an end-of-year update, not that I remember anything of its contents except copious amounts of studying. How does it look now that the year is over and it’s time to see how well I did? The ones struck through are done, while underlined are in progress. Bolded words are comments.

  • Studying
  • Revising stuff The Fate’s Way has seen revising, and so has Exceptional Jedi, although both still need much more
  • Scheduling my life better I did that a bit, but not enough
  • Getting the rest of my FFM collections done and published
  • Getting my Prose-ject and Tribble Month collections done and published
  • Studying
  • Trying to get a summer job I tried but failed to get a job
  • Working on my projects
  • Getting at least a quarter of Greenfield‘s first book’s editing round 1 done I’ve only got two out of five chapters edited for this goal
  • Less procrastination, more Habitica
  • Studying
  • Finishing my bachelor’s degree
  • Losing some weight and getting into a better shape It’s been a pendulum of losing and gaining weight. I need to do some proper planning for this because what I’m doing right now isn’t working even when I don’t go snacking.
  • Tackling my speedpaint footage pile This hasn’t happened basically at all.
  • Tackling my TBR pile even harder Not enough tackling happened.
  • Studying
  • Playing some games I’ve got on my TBP pile I guess I have at least a bit (especially games that have appeared on top of the pile), which shall count
  • Studying a lot if I do not get a job for the next studying year Definitely did that
  • Studying a little if I do get a job for the next studying year Didn’t get a job, so lotsa studies it was.
  • Honestly? Studying
  • Watching videos, series and movies in my TBW piles
  • Taking part in The Gauntlet (Coming up in January!) I even fucking won!
  • Taking part in at least Flash Fiction Month, perhaps Tribble Month and/or Prose-ject Prose-ject wasn’t organized, but Tribble Month was, so I took part in that and FFM

Honestly, considering the heavy workload of last spring semester and the dumpster fire of the ending autumn semester, I’m surprised it turned out this good. I could do better next autumn (probably), but the next spring semester is dedicated to studying in a way even more extreme than that of the previous one (when I had to skip visiting family during the Easter break week simply because I had to focus on writing my thesis for the deadline that was literally very early on the following week). Anyhow, here’s what I’ll put on my 2022 to-do (which I believe I will forget by the end of Q1 2022 and only remember when it’s time for the end-of-2022 post):

  • Studying
  • Getting through that project course
  • Being organized about how I study through period 3
  • Getting the Prose-ject and Tribble Month collections done and released
  • Studying
  • Trying to get a summer job
  • Being more organized about losing weight and getting into a better shape
  • Being more organized about life in general
  • Studying
  • Editing Greenfield
  • Revising at least most of The Fate’s Way
  • If I get all of TFW revised, resume revising Exceptional Jedi
  • Seeing if I can stomach reworking and translating Lyokostar 1 again at some point during the year
  • Trying not to get crushed by period 3 of the current studying year
  • Getting myself a topic for my Master’s thesis
  • Improving my system for backups
  • Working on my web programming project that went on a standstill when the dumpster fire started
  • Learning more Japanese
  • Studying
  • Learning how to live with glasses
  • Getting my online courses done and more games out
  • Doing something about my pile of speedpaint footage
  • Tackling my TBR pile
  • Watching stuff on my TBW list
  • Playing some games on my TBP list
  • Doing an ending episode to that dumb podcast thing I made when the pandemic first started (lol)
  • Hoarding more data
  • Being more dutiful about doing chores
  • Studying
  • Finishing Jedova Wang’s reference
  • Improving this website’s accessibility

Welp, that’s a lot to do. How much will I be able to achieve? Hopefully a majority of it, especially since there are multiple general and/or mandatory things. We shall see in 12 months!

Now that that’s done with, let’s see how things are going with my projects, as per my project widget:

  • Exceptional Jedi: Chapter 12 of Paths is in editing. All writing is at 2014 days. Jedova’s reference has seen little progress. I need to make a comic about Valentine Clanker and lots of other drawings. I’ve been creating data on Scrivener to build a wiki of sorts there so that I can flesh things out for writing, although it hasn’t been progressing at all for a good while since I haven’t had the time and energy to deal with it, although EJ is still progressing fast thanks to reaching an area I’ve wanted to write about for a long time. Revising is still in a standtill.
  • The Fate’s Way: Chapter 57 is in editing. This story has seen a lot of progress recently due to inspiration. I still need to redraw the regular Alyssa and also Alyssa’s friends and family and the other important people, like Matti, someday. For now the revising process in on a standstill, although I might be able to do something during the first week of January before my studying restarts. No promises though.
  • Off-DA projects: My web coding project is on standstill, although I (still) plan to make a tiny demo thingamajig to have something to show when I start applying for summer jobs.
  • Greenfield: I haven’t edited this at all since everything else has taken most of my time and energy. I’m currently working on editing chapter 3. Read more about the project here.
  • Lyokostar: On an indefinite hiatus. References need to be done.
  • A Wandering Aura: I haven’t worked on this at all for a long while since I haven’t found the time and enough interest for it.
  • GamingHabiticaDuolingoPokemon GO and Pokémon Masters EX keep on going. I got myself Cyberpunk 2077 and played it a little, although I’ve spent more time playing Mission in Snowdriftland, which worked as my advent calendar this year, and Roskis: A Boozy Adventure, which I played through earlier this week.
  • Other stuff: I’ve released my FFM 2021 collection and made World Collections. I’ve also spent some time making compilations of SoundBluster‘s Transformers Prime Shattered Glass comic. I’ll be working on other flash fiction event collections throughout next year. Reading is mostly still in a standstill on the book side, although I did read through the three volumes of Star Wars: The Old Republic comics. I haven’t read Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to The Force or The Art of Peace much, but I’ll (hopefully) be returning to them next month.
  • Personal life: COVID is still going on, as usual. I’m in for a pain of a period once the spring semester kicks off and I’m getting my first pair of glasses!

That’s all for this update and year! Thanks for reading this far and thank you for being here regardless of whether you’ve been around for longer or just stumbled upon this page. I wish you all the best for the hopefully better new year of 2022! Take care!

Happy new year 2022!

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