The first quarter of 2022 is now at its end. Had I been told when the year changed what this quarter would entail, I wouldn’t have believed it. These last two years (hard to believe the pandemic has been going on for that long) have been crazy, but with what’s going on in Ukraine, it’s safe to say that the world has gotten even crazier just when the pandemic appears to be letting up at least as far as restrictions go (although, since I received two “someone in this event got a positive result for a COVID home test” messages within March, it’s clear that the pandemic is not over).
Before I discuss how this quarter has gone art-wise, I want to give some time for discussing what’s been going on recently, as I didn’t do that in my previous post, partly because I hadn’t processed what was going on much at the time and partly because Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a source of anxiety for me since I live in a country that neighbours Russia. Especially initially, I couldn’t help asking myself, What if that happens here too? What will I do? What will happen to my family and friends? I’ve given potential courses of action some thought since then. Do I have much of a plan now? Not really, but hopping in the car and driving to a direction that’s away and hoping the traffic won’t get completely jammed or devolve into pure chaos as masses of people try to leave the city at the same time in panic is probably a good start. As long as the mobile network doesn’t go down, communication and navigation should work out well enough.
While my family is my top-most priority, it’s not the only thing I’d be worried about in a scenario like that; I’m a bit of a materialist and love collecting stuff, so my apartment has a lot of things from pretty rocks to books to merchandise scattered all over the place. A controlled, planned moving out would take a lot of cargo space and/or trips to the new apartment, but an “oh shit we have to abandon this place yesterday” situation? There wouldn’t be much time nor space for stuff, so whatever could be evacuated with us would have to be very limited in number and size. For that purpose, I actually made a tier list and named it the Get The Fuck Out pack (or GTFO pack for short) and spent a good amount of time looking at the items I have and thinking about what I absolutely don’t want to lose. While aside from data there’s very little that’s irreplaceable in my apartment, there are some items that are either very difficult to replace or could be at risk of becoming more or less irreplaceable, should there be destruction brought by war here in Finland. Having a plan of what I want to evacuate with different levels of time and space constraints has put my mind more at ease. Although, I still mostly avoid news other than tech news; the last time I went to read news on the BBC mobile app, I just got myself a dose of anxiety I could’ve done without.
Nevertheless, something good has also come out of my anxiety-fueled thoughts into what to evacuate; I’ve started cataloging the stuff that I have, starting from discs (the books accumulated into the shelves here should all be cataloged in LibraryThing already since I got that done last year to help with ensuring we don’t have a certain book before either my boyfriend or I buy it), and also archiving media that I wasn’t able to find already archived on Internet Archive. While both of those projects are still very much ongoing, I have made good progress; I’ve already got a good handful of games archived or verified to have already been archived by someone else (and found a few disks I’ve confirmed broken and unarchivable on some level). Now that I’ve gotten started and found a good workflow, I’m hoping to get more games – at the very least – archived on IA; I actually wrote a bash script to copy the CD and make checksums for testing it and also doing the tests, which I think is pretty neat, considering it’s the first one I’ve written for my own use.
Speaking of archiving, let’s move to that. One evening, I wrote some stuff about what I want to say in this post on my phone.
If you’ve already somehow stumbled upon my archives, you’ve seen that while the software itself is properly archived, the images of the booklets and/or covers are either non-existent, partial or of relatively poor quality, being photos I quickly took with my phone. Since I don’t have a scanner, I can’t get scans of the stuff I have at will, leaving my archives not as good as I’d like them to be. But you know what? That’s okay. A low-quality but perfectly functional archive is far better than none at all; media is no use at all completely lost. For example, back when the second Pokémon movie came out, an online game and a special browser that could play it were made as a tie-in. The site that hosted the game is now long-gone and while the browser was properly archived and is actually still functional, the game itself is partially lost as some of its files – which were downloaded on the computers instead of being only on the game site’s servers – were never archived nor recovered. The only chance it could be fully recovered would be finding a computer from that era with all the files downloaded onto it. Highly unlikely to happen? Very much. Still a worthwhile archive? Very much too; without it, that tiny bit of Pokémon history would be permanently lost to history and I would’ve never found out about its existence.
I’ve actually been putting off some of my archives for some time. I’d tell myself, “Someone else has done / will do it anyway, I don’t need to be the one to do it.” However, if everyone says that something is someone else’s job/problem, it’ll turn out to be no one’s job. That’s what I found when I took a tentative look into how widely the Finnish versions of the Hugo games I’d played as a child were archived – there were few, but most of what I had or was looking for were nowhere to be found. I had far more luck finding a Nordic release of Hugo CannonCruise, which I desperately wanted to revisit, on MyAbandonWare than on Internet Archive or any Finnish second-hand sellers I could think of checking. There were literally no copies of the PC version around, and I mean literally. That led me to a whole new rabbit hole of dealing with DRM in games that are practically abandonware, especially when I also decided to look into the PC version of the first Winx Club game which I’d wanted to play for years but had been unable to get due to a combination of very low availability and high prices. There isn’t much to be said about that, though, so let’s return to the topic of archiving.
In archiving, there always isn’t a mythical “someone else” who will do it so you won’t have to. When Suntuubi started going down, I thought that it would just disappear, that there wouldn’t be a someone else who’d give a damn and save the masses of sites that were going away, so I archived my site myself by hand.
One evening while planning this post in my head, as I came across that thought, I recalled seeing Archive Team’s Archive bot in my site’s (failed) archivings and decided to go digging into the archival status of some other Suntuubi sites I used to frequent.
I didn’t expect to find much, perhaps more failed archivals blocked by the stupid way the optional welcome page worked or some random saves from years ago but little more. Instead, I found my youth, pages I had missed for almost two years, links that no longer led anywhere when pasted on the browser… In my heart, I cried. While my site had turned out unarchived (probably for the best in part; perhaps my cringy garbage from almost ten years ago doesn’t need public archives?) someone else had made the effort to preserve as much of years and years of sites still standing as technology allowed.
I checked one old site’s forum since I was certain I wouldn’t find stuff from before about 2015 from there… and lo and behold, the first messages were from 2011. Scrolling through to check for my own cringe comments got me to see site names I hadn’t seen in years, some of them having gone out long before Suntuubi did. I shed an actual tear there, looking at the nostalgia of old times, preserved when I thought it wouldn’t be. I wonder how all those people I used to talk with are doing nowadays…
The surprisingly good status of Suntuubi’s archives was not the point I wanted to make, although it does warm my heart that I can take trips down the memory lane, to places that make invaluable parts of my roots as a writer and a person, even though the servers that once hosted those sites have long since gone out. A pity, in a way, that a lot of that is now gone forever… Even if it is good that some of that cringe cannot be found again.
Perhaps this case is a lesson in how you cannot count on someone but yourself to save the stuff you care about from complete oblivion but that there is a chance that someone who cares about archiving will save it even if you fail to? Actually, that sounds good. If you care about something and want it preserved, archive it yourself if you can, but if you cannot, if you’re in luck, someone else will do it anyway.
Heh, this has probably gone far longer than the previous update. Not that it’s such a surprise; I had a lot I wanted to talk about and get off my chest. Thanks for reading this far. Now, it would probably be a good time to move on to statistics.
Like you can see, there’s been an INSANE influx of The Fate’s Way content this quarter, although most of it came from the first half of it. The speed has slowed down drastically since then, but I’m hoping to keep a decent pace up in the following months as well. Still, in a single quarter, I wrote more TFW than in the ENTIRE last year! And that’s not even counting all the writing that went into more or less heavy revising of especially the early chapters! Although, curiously enough, Exceptional Jedi had a smaller influx of its own last quarter, so I guess it would be safe to say that the inspiration it had ended up getting transferred to TFW.
I guess that’s enough about statistics and me talking; they’re what I wanted to talk about the least, in part because the only noteworthy thing in them is TFW‘s insane numbers. Now, let’s see how things are going with my projects, as per my project widget:
- Exceptional Jedi: Chapter 18 of Paths is in editing. All writing is at 2105 days. Jedova’s reference has not seen progress since the previous post. 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. Revising is still in a standtill.
- The Fate’s Way: Chapter 70 is in editing. I still need to redraw the regular Alyssa and also Alyssa’s friends and family and the other important people, like Matti, someday. The revising process has taken more Cybertronian-sized leaps and has caught up to the end of the last fully written story arc. I’ve got a few chapters waiting for revising that I’m thinking of getting revised sometime soon.
- Off-DA projects: My web coding project is on a standstill until further notice because my software project course is taking all my coding time and energy.
- 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. I’m hoping I’ll find it in me to return to it once the software project course ends. References need to be done.
- A Wandering Aura: I realized I hadn’t posted anything on this for the entirety of 2021 despite having stuff ready to be released, so I posted some stuff and promptly dropped it again (lol). Hopefully I’ll be able to work on this more during the summer.
- Gaming: Habitica, Duolingo, Pokémon GO and Pokémon Masters EX keep on going. I’ve been playing a bit of PC Building Simulator and Wingspan too.
- Other stuff: Not much has happened, although the Prose-ject collection has seen good progress lately and I’m hoping to be able to release it before FFM. Reading is still in a standstill on the book side. I still haven’t gotten started with IDW’s Transformers comics.
- Personal life: COVID is still going on, as usual. I discussed a lot of personal stuff above. I’ve had to focus all of my studying time and energy to the software project course, forcing me to drop multiple courses and barely scrape through others .