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Site Update: July 2022

I have never worked harder in my life. Teaching math has shifted from quadmesters (2020-2021) to week-on-week-off (Fall 2021) to regular classes wearing N95s (Winter/Spring 2022). This last for some students who hadn’t seen math for all 2021 (having had it first quadmester 2020). Meanwhile I got a new prep, from a mix of losing other teachers to virtual school and to the new destreamed Grade 9 curriculum. And of course in June, Ontario still put Ford in charge, so nothing will get better (in fact, it will probably get worse).

And yet, I did do what I could to keep things running here. Thanks for sticking around.

In August 2021 I queued up all the QL/Hopital Parody Posts on this blog through to Dec 2021, making only slight post modifications as time went along. (Those did include a brief update at the end of my “l’Hopital Bonus Post” in mid-November, if you missed it.) I queued again to start January, enough to get to mid-March, then on the March Break I queued up right through to last week, while somehow making time to create the silly Sinefield logo.

That buffer’s gone. Where to now?

Well, I put up an informal poll on twitter last week. The results were 75% in favour of old Sailor Moon Fics and 25% in favour of Epsilon… meaning it’s become a formal poll, and we’re doing the former. The added benefit of reruns is, it gives me more time to write the “Time Untied”/”Time Denied” sequel, which I’ll mention a bit more about later in this post.

SAILOR MOON FICS

My first completed fanfic from 1996 was “Dark Slide of the Moon”, a Sailor Moon/Sliders crossover taking place in early Sailor Moon S/Sliders Season 2. I then wrote a Sailor Moon R story in 1997, “A Stitch in Time” featuring Ami and Setsuna tying up loose ends from the original anime show (involving the rainbow crystals, etc). And then was the most popular Sailor Moon fic I ever wrote, “What Evil Lurks”, a shifting POV retelling of the original anime, if Mercury had been evil. That was 1998, so before the Dark Mercury saga of PGSM (the live action in 2003).

I won’t be reposting those yet. Instead I’m going to hit you with “Marmalade Mercury”.

While “Sailor Moon” was my first exposure to anime in early 1996, “Marmalade Boy” was the first anime to really captivate me, as I saw it at the first anime showing I ever went to (in Ottawa) later that year. Ever heard of it? Well, as Tuxedo Unmasked wrote, it was once an anime predicted to be the next Sailor Moon. It had collectors cards, a live action version and everything.

If you’re wondering what was it about, hold onto your hats.

The fanfic I wrote was a fusion fic. That’s where you take the characters of one story, and mash it up with the plot of another story. Meaning to say more about the plot of “Marmalade Boy” would be a spoiler. But I suppose I’ll give you the title of the first episode: “There is Love, He’s Handsome: But I Can’t Forgive Them”.

I started it in December of 1996, then started gradually posting it to a local bboard, where I got some feedback. A year later, to end 1997, I had reached Episode 9. Then things slowed. I sent out Episode 12 in 1999. I finished Episode 13 in 2000 but didn’t release it. At last, the whole story was completed in 2017, after a 17 year gap, because I hate to leave a work unfinished.

This means that actually only one person has ever read past Episode 12, namely the fan who heard me on episode 59 of Zannen, Canada‘s podcast in 2019 and asked if I had anything else on Mercury to share.

The rest of you will have to let me know what you think. It begins next week.

TIME DENIED

Speaking of old stories, some may recall that “Time & Tied” (formerly “Time Trippers”) began around 1999. Ten years and 44 parts later, it was completed. It then underwent numerous edits (including splitting each part in two) before finally being posted to this site (and RoyalRoadL) from 2015 to 2017.

If you didn’t know, and like time travel, do check it out.

I started work on the sequel “Time Untied” (formerly “Time Spinners”) in 2014. The writing only began in earnest in November 2017. After several years, once it reached 150k for words, I splintered it off into the sequel’s sequel “Time Denied”. (In fact, I submitted that new start to Ink&Insights in the summer of 2021 for feedback.) I’m still working on it even now, for Camp JulNoWriMo. The lesbian love triangle is sort of taking over.

Give it another year, and we might be there.

In related news, coin tracking. Recall that to end 2015, I had 42 coins from that year. During 2016 I got 37 coins minted then (some in BC). During 2017 I got 20 coins minted that year (some before June). During 2018 I got 21 coins minted that year. During 2019 I got 17 coins minted that year.

During 2020 I got one coin (a twonie). Because pandemic, and not much in the way of cash payments. I got a second coin in early January 2021. To follow up now, in 2021 I got one (loonie) coin from said year. Again, a second coin was a quarter, this time in early February of 2022.

However, so far in 2022 I have FIVE 2022 quarters, all obtained in early May from a couple trips to the same store. So apparently this is a good year for time travel… but we’ll see how things hold up as time progresses. (Do you ever check the dates on your coins?)

SITE STATS

After over 7 years of posting very regular content to this website, with over 360 posts to choose from, we had the worst ever statistics for 2021. Only 402 visitors generating 1,394 page views. (In 2020, it was 670 visitors generating 1,635 page views.) Granted, subscribers don’t count in those totals, and I think I might still have a half dozen of you? Not sure.

There were only 11 page views towards the end of Epsilon’s sixth serial. Quantum Loop only saw 6 page views at its end, which admittedly beats l’Hopital’s single view. Ouch.

I just don’t have the time necessary to publicize this site; there’s an automatic tweet that goes out, because I can schedule it along with the post. That’s it. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t do lots more publicity years ago. That lack of visible payoff is playing into my motivations now.

If you’re able to recommend my site, please do so, though at this stage a simple ReTweet would go a long way too.

On the plus side, there did seem to be someone in 2021 who read the whole Time&Tied archive, in September. And for 2022, thus far we’re at 660 pageviews, meaning there’s a chance we won’t backslide even more. And I’m getting a lot less spam comments in the blocker. Yay?

So that’s where we are. My thanks to John Golden for his occasional comments, which keep me on my toes, and to Scott Delahunt, for the occasional character-centred Discord chat. And also to you, for taking the time to get to the bottom. I hope you are well. Take care, and happy reading.

Sine Field: Entry 3

A column about nothing

You know, it’s important not to rely too much on technology these days. It has the habit of breaking down when you least expect it, and at the worst possible time. Think about it: why should we trust something labelled as “terminal”? It’s not like server tips are defined as helpful hints anymore either; they’re the physical action one performs on the hardware.

In the small apartment, hidden within one of the higher dimensions of the sixth floor of MC, Sine wanted a byte to eat and was considering frying bacon. But instead he decided to attack Nachos – bacon was the lassar of the two evils. He was interrupted, however, by the arrival of eLAN. She had come by to pick up the floor mat from her car, which Sine had borrowed.

“Why did you need this anyway?” eLAN asked, merrilly retrieving it. “Just because it’s shaped like a chess piece?”

Sine shrugged. “My parents were coming by and part of my floor wasn’t kleene. So it’s what I put your fine knight auto mat on.”

“Ah,” came the response. “And your parents are gone now?”

“Yeah, they left just before all the network malfunctions,” Sine confirmed. “What’s bothering me now is just an inability to track down the original cause for the troubles Hooke was having!”

eLAN nodded. “I suppose as the secret head of the Maintaining Flawed Computers Federation you were landen in hot water?”

“Not really,” Sine admitted. “But it affected my comedy routine. No laughs, everyone just chanting ‘Get the Hooke’!”

“So what are you doing about it now?”

“Well, I’ve eliminated Neumann as a suspect. He’s been busy with his mailbox hopper. Actually, I’m starting to think the source of the failure was a band of Hookers.”

“Hookers?” eLAN wondered.

“Yes, a secret organization around here investigating Hooke! I discovered them when I took a table and began to markov change in behaviours. I’m currently working on a .plan to…”

It was then that the conversation was further interrupted by the arrival of Cray-mar, who burst in the door, scattering things all over laplace. “Hey, Sine, do you have a ski I can borrow?” he inquired, looking about.

“Yes, but I think it would be the wronski for you,” Sine observed. “The size is incorrect; it barely fitch me.”

Cray-mar paused. “So does that mean you won’t or you cantor-“

“A ski??” eLAN interjected. “Why do you want ascii?”

“I have someone from Germainy over. She was going to show me the trick that put her into l’hopital.”

“Look, could U NIX that idea, Cray-mar?” Sine protested. “I was just in the middle of some complex analysis.”

“i see,” Cray-mar remarked.

“I should deque you both,” eLAN muttered, wondering if she’d need to display hermite. “These discussions are boring, so I’m no longer taking debate.”

“Oh, hey, Sine that reminds me! When your mother was here, she was bored, so she washed a board,” Cray-mar declared.

“Oh? What board?” Sine mused.

“The motherboard, naturally,” Cray-mar retorted.

“My mother washed the motherboard?” Sine gasped.

“Yes, shortly before she got on the bus.”

“Well, no wonder there were problems then!” eLAN remarked.

“I don’t believe it!” Sine cried out. “And I had to pay so much cache to buy a new one!” Conversation was suspended for a bit, as Sine punched cards.

“Hey, if you don’t have a ski, can I take descartes you decked?” Cray-mar eventually asked.

“Sure, picard, any card…” Sine muttered. Cray-mar quickly grabbed the entire set and hurried back to his own address space.

“And I’m leaving too,” eLAN added. “Because you know, I don’t think there was a kernel of truth to any of this.”

Sine shrugged. “Well, I still wouldn’t have been surprised if Hookers were up to something…” was all he could say in conclusion.

And once again, all was quiet on the higher dimensions of the sixth floor.

-Greg “hologrami” Taylor

PreviousMISC INDEXNext

[Everything that looks misspelled (lassar, landen, germain-y, etc) is actually the name of one of the computer servers at the University at the time, which were in turn named after mathematicians. There’s at least 15 in there (including subtle ones like bacon). Then there’s also the usual puns, like ‘finite automaton’ aka finite state machine.
This appeared in Volume 79, issue 4, Feb 26, 1999, so again about four months after the previous entry. We add eLAN to the cast. Maybe I wanted a computer pun series, to branch out? I have no idea. There’s only one more.]

General l’Hopital: Entry 2d

A subsidiary of Quantum Loop Enterprises

Theorizing that one could time travel within their own lifetime, Doctor Sham Breakit stepped into the Quantum Loop accelerator… and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mere images that were not his own, and driven by unknown source code to arrange history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Hal, an observer at run-time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sham can see and hear. And so Dr. Breakit finds himself looping through life after life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next loop… will be the loop $home.

“Sham, we got problems,” Hal Calalilli asserted as he entered the imagine chamber.

“No kidding!” replied Sham. After dispensing with Elly by sending her on her rounds, Sham had spent the last hour looking about the l’Hopital. “Hal, everyone here is talking in math riddles or doublespeak!”

“Sounds like the joy of lex.”

“Hal…”

“Sham, you’ve handled worse,” Hal said. “Now, back in Stall-Eons Gate, New Mexico we’ve got real trouble! Your parallel hybrid computer BigE is having a mental breakdown. Sushi and Xina can’t fix her, so it’s up to… er, Dr. Geeks.” Hal caught himself before mentioning Sham’s wife Drawna WeeBTree, or Sham’s daughter Shammy Pro Filer.

“So I guess you don’t know why I’m here,” Sham sighed.

Hal tapped at his TI-85 calculator. “No, but we know the woman in the fating room is Dr. Waterson,” he offered.

“Doctor! Doctor Waterson!” called out Electra Lysis as she rejoined her associate. “Sir Cul wants to transcend dental work and eat pie. There’s also trouble with Jacob, Ian and May tricks. Oh, and Zeke wants help tracking down new classical records, but I just told him ‘Stop playing Haydn, Zeke’.”

Sham winced. “Stop speakin’ like that,” he pleaded.

“Like what?” Elly inquired. “I didn’t mean to go off on a tangent. Though I often strike a chord when not aligned with the story arc. But my maxim is, ‘If you’re cut, seek aunts’!”

“Sham, I was wrong,” Hal sympathized. “No matter what it takes, we’ll get you out of here.”

*

However, it was a few days before Hal could return with good news. “You won’t believe this, Sham,” he revealed at last. “The underlying situation here is a peculiar punctuation problem.”

“You positive?” Sham mused. “Because the Hopital logs show even their elementary operations involve calculations that are way off base.”

Hal flinched. “You’ve been here too long, Sham.”

“The trouble is I can’t project the point of origin for these errors!” Sham looked up. “Uh, Hal, can’t you wear proper ties?”

“Sham, what you need to do is make sure Dr. Waterson and Elly Lysis team back up with Max Value and his wife Ana. Elly’s presence is necessary to crack this missing punctuation case.”

“But what about the stats here? The error vectors on this scale are—”

“Stop it, you’re going dotty!” Hal interrupted. “Just get Elly to the Fourier Factory!”

“Wait, that’s it,” Sham realized. “Decimals and periods are both dots! There’s the connection, it even explains the missing cases of colon cancer. Brilliant, Hal!”

“Oh. Well, it was adjoint effort—” Hal stopped himself. “Anyway, just get that clique of people I mentioned back together so you can loop out of here.”

Sham quickly co-ordinated things. “But Hal,” he realized even as he left for the Fourier Factory. “I haven’t im-parted any mathematical information yet, like how there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible positions for a Rubik’s cube. How can I loop?”

Hal shrugged. “General l’Hopital is just less educational.”

Indeed, Sham did loop upon his arrival at the factory. However, the story did not end there.

*

Still going…

-Greg “hologrami” Taylor

PreviousMISC INDEXNext

[Was this worth it, to hear about Shammy ProFiler? Or about Hal’s properties? Well, here’s something more random: Sham’s “stop speakin’ like that” line was a direct reference to FASS 2001, the February 2001 show for which I was CSW (chief scriptwriter). I’d written in a character who constantly spoke in music puns – a role I was ultimately cast into. In Act II scene iv, s/he was told to “stop speakin’ like that”. Weird that I still remember that 20 years later.

Anyway, that concludes Quantum Loop’s bonus episode of 2001. Two more parts remain in the Hopital!]

Summary of 2020

How was my 2020? Consider I started writing this in February 2021, and now it’s April. To be fair, I hadn’t planned on posting it until around now anyway, but I’ve been busy. Very busy. Forgive me a brief digression.

I’m sure for some, pandemic life has been more productive, but for me, high school teaching has sucked away all my free time. The need to devise new lessons for a new hybrid system ensures I only have time for grading on the weekend. (My prep period can’t be used, it only occurs every couple months – when it runs for a full week. A better system was rejected by Ontario’s Ministry of Education in late August.)

On top of that, in September the timetables shifted and I got a course I haven’t taught in six years. This, on account of students moving to full virtual school, collapsing the in-school sections. Fine, but it meant no chance to prep that over the summer. (Requires research. Finance has changed in that time, for example no more Canada Savings Bonds.)

Oh, and one class in 2020 was 32 students, my largest ever, owing to the new 2020 collective agreement under Ford’s Conservatives, and their bizarre hate for the education system. (They want bigger classes and mandatory online learning.) And while our Board’s in-person classes are split by cohorts (that one 16-16) to fit people into a single room, it does double the workload because the cohorts get out of synch.

But anyway… I blogged elsewhere about a lot of that. And let’s not even get into last March-June 2020, with my two year old at home with us. Digression over.

POST SCHEDULING

To start 2020, we had the Virga Mystery “Balancing Act” Saga wrap up in early April, concluding the story that began in late January 2019. That wasn’t hard; the editing had largely been done in 2019. “Epsilon” then resumed with a recap and voting, and part six, “Smoke with Mirrors”, began last May 2020. A story with no buffer.

With that, you might have noticed there’s been longer delays between posts. (So much for the projected “gradual easing” of my schedule from last year’s February 2020’s recap, ha ha.)

The post-every-two-weeks pace actually DID continue through the end of the school year, and the summer, only needing to be sacrificed in October 2020. Partly school related, and partly me doing Time Untied prep for November’s NaNo (since “Epsilon” was experiencing the usual low engagement).

We had one “Epsilon” part only for: Oct, Nov and Dec. (There was also an Untied Characters post in Nov, if you missed that.) However, given Index and Behind the Scenes posts, that still closed out the year with 26 published posts in 52 weeks, only one less than in 2019.

The good news is, this meant page views went up from 2019 – to 1,635 – with overall more comments (eight, not including my responses). The bad news is, “better” is still the second worst of all the 6.5 years the blog has been running. If the pandemic was leaving others bored, they weren’t looking at my blog.

Not like I’ve had time to do ANY marketing, of course.

Deeper Stats: The best month for page views was October 2020 (someone actually reading Time & Tied, not sure if they got all the way) with 376. The worst was August 2020 with a mere 57 views (fewer than two per day), which was when “Epsilon” was still on track.

The first episode of Time & Tied was still the highest hit (ignoring Index page counts) with 52 clicks, followed by the start of Epsilon’s third series with 33. Beyond that, we go under 20. The three largest countries of origin were the US, Canada and the UK (all with over 100 page views, though the US leads substantially). So not Sweden this time.

What does this all mean?

Mostly that I have no time for analysis. Let me know if you see something. At this point, we’re going to continue with every two weeks going forwards, even though it will be reruns. See that poll below; first I want to talk about our Time & Tied sequel yet again.

TIME UNTIED

It’s still coming together! New year, new commission in August 2020, which was in the Characters post referenced above. My thanks to Mharz, you should check out her comics (including CHAMPS, a lesbian wrestling romance).

A quick recap up to 2019: My early writing for “Untied” dates from 2014, before I had even posted up Carrie Waterson’s first stories. I restarted from the top for NaNoWriMo 2017, managing 39,372 words by early December. I did edits for it the summer of 2018, splitting it into four files. November 2018 saw an additional 29,225 words, and by January 2019 we were at 6 files with over 65,000 words total.

November 2019 added another 33,373 words, pushing that total near 100k. I since took some time in March 2020 to tidy the formatting, yielding over 7 files (maybe 15k words each), and then again revisited the writing in July 2020.

October 2020 is when I started Revision III, taking two weeks to work up through everything from the start. (At the same time creating a Time Tracker, as I’d realized I would need it for the various timelines going forwards.) At this point, we were past 125,000 words.

November 2020 put in 32k more, so now we’re past 150k AND past what I consider the halfway point. So that’s something. (It then wasn’t until early March of this year, 2021, that I had time to tidy things up a bit more from Nov 30th.)

I really really hope you enjoy it when it arrives. ;.;

As far as coins go for 2020 – read “Time & Tied” if you don’t understand why this is interesting – the pandemic has done the unthinkable for me and made cashless the default.

Yes, coins and a pandemic do not mix well, though I did occasionally pay with cash. Either to keep my debit payments low (not all places take credit cards) or in all honesty to see if there *were* 2020 coins out there.

Fun fact, in the USA there was a reported Coin Shortage (that’s an article from July 2020, updated in January). This problem last summer actually resulted in MORE minted coins in 2020 as compared to previous years, but also with rationing of the inventory (so we see less). Supposedly the situation is now stabilizing.

Of course, I live in Canada.

Consider, to end 2015, I had 42 coins from that year. During 2016 I got 37 coins minted then (some in BC). During 2017 I got 20 coins minted that year (some before June). During 2018 I got 21 coins minted that year. During 2019 I got 17 coins minted that year. During 2020 I got one.

Yes, one. A toonie, in the fall. Commemorative, so that’s something.

However when I was returning some empty wine bottles to the beer store in the first week of January 2021 (after the holidays), I got a quarter as part of the change. So I’m counting it. Partly as proof that they exist. Image included, as usual.

What will 2021 bring? A lot of staying at home as Ontario’s Conservative Government misfires on the vaccine rollout, it would seem. I may stop tracking coins altogether.

FUTURE POSTS

At any rate, with “Untied” still not in shape for posting, there’s some other options; largely the same ones I suggested back in September 2017. “Virga Mysteries” was the clear winner then, hence we got all of that online over the past three years.

The other options were all tied, those being:
1) Marmalade Mercury, a fusion fic. Sailor Moon R meets Marmalade Boy.
2) The Girl Who Speaks With Algebra, Rose Thorne’s origin as a crossover with MathTans. It has been posted elsewhere (like Wattpad during NaNo) but not on this site.
3) Parody Stories (involving puns and send-ups of Quantum Leap). Once posted in mathNEWS (while I was at University) and don’t seem to be on that site any more.

So which would you prefer?

As I mentioned, the plan is still to go every two weeks. That should give me time to do any edits. In addition, WordPress seems to have gone full on with their New Editor; I can’t call up the Classic Editor any more.

Well, okay, I was able to back door my way in for recent posts (including this one), but looks like I’ll need to figure out how to realign images and handle HTML in the new system. That will take time.

Incidentally, if you missed it, there was another April Fool entry this year. That brings us to a total of five since the blog started in Sept 2014. (Six if we count 2017’s Any ~Qs on the comic blog). We had 2015 for “Epsilon 2”, 2016 for “Epsilon 3”, 2017 for “Time & Tied 4”, 2018 for “Virga Mysteries” and now 2021.

In fact I was a late addition this year due to a dropout and Alexander Hollins approaching me, so thanks there. Initially I didn’t expect time to read, let alone write. (I haven’t done anything with the Time Travel Nexus in over a year either.) So I really do appreciate that you, dear reader, are still with me.

The polls in the last “Epsilon” entry are still open, if you didn’t get a chance to vote. Feel free to drop a comment if you want to elaborate on anything, or have questions about things like “Time Untied”. And take care of yourselves out there.

See you in a couple weeks.

Plot Voting 6

Author (mathtans), as depicted by Errol Elumir

Welcome! I write serials, some of them based on a plot that YOU vote for. Yes, you! And the voting is usually really close, meaning odds are high that you will definitely affect the outcome at some point.

We’re gearing up for our sixth “Epsilon” story here. Each story is stand-alone, but if you want information on the various characters that reappear, see this post from last week. (There are also votes in THAT post, which I’m taking into account going forwards. Already seen that post? You can add to your prior votes since I have a one-week timeout! You’re welcome.)

The first thing we need to decide is what genre I should aim for. I cannot guarantee that we’ll stick there as voting continues, but many prior stories have mixed it up… where should my initial focus be?

The other thing to decide is how key certain characters should be, relative to each other. For instance, Alice Vunderlande is running away with the vote on that prior post I mentioned… in the Epsilon administrators category. If the choice was between her and, say, Para, would she still win?

To clarify how your vote below connects to that prior post, if you vote for the regulars, the winner of the prior vote will be in the story (along with others, most likely). If you vote for the station character below, that prior winner will become part of the mission. And if you vote for the minor character below, it means whomever won that prior category will appear.

In the case of a tie (either place), I’ll likely pick my own preference (same if you vote for a mix). But I will offer at least a cameo to the other choice. Make sense? Vote away!

The plan is to close the polls on May 3rd, in one week. I’ll then need a week to write the first part, and so we go forwards from there with a new part (and vote) every two weeks, the vote closing after the first 7 days.

How long will the story go? I have no idea, tends to be between 12 and 18 parts… did I mention I have no real plan, just a vague idea, and from there it’s all your votes?

One last, thing – a final “Virga Mysteries” post will tide you through the start of May, namely the “Behind the Scenes” explanation of how that story evolved over more than a decade. (For those just joining us, I’ve been running that serial for the past year.) So look forward to that update.

Thanks for reading, thanks for voting… and thanks for spreading the word? (I mean, my birthday is this week too, so it’d be cool to get a few extra votes… just saying.)

Until next week!

Summary of 2019

Hello, my readers! Life has been busy, as you can tell by this site’s wrap-up post for last year (2019) happening in the middle of February 2020. Full time work, and family time including my one year old daughter, are keeping me very busy. (As was being very sick at the end of December.) But I have wanted to take a look back for a while now, as I have a few things to say.

First, Virga’s Mystery’s “Balancing Act” has now been running for over a year; it began at the end of January 2019. I had debated splitting it up partway with another “Epsilon” story, but found myself with very little free time in the summer, and opted to use that time to finalize edits instead.

Yes, there was a bunch of editing that took place for “Balancing Act” from its July 2012 origin. Notably separating it into parts, giving Trixie more personality to do her own thing (rather than tying her to James), and generally explaining more about the world I’d touched on in the early cases (in particular during the big time skip).

However, Melissa Virga’s story will be ending shortly. Meaning something new in April 2020. That will likely be a return to “Epsilon”, as my schedule is gradually easing, but it could still be more runs of old writing. Do you have a preference? If Epsilon, will people will be interested enough to vote?

That said, I am pleased that I’ve maintained the posting schedule of every two weeks, ever since I shifted to it in July 2017 (during “Epsilon 4”). So if you want reliability, I’m here for you. But see more on site statistics below.

TIME UNTIED

HEATHER BRIGHT
Commission from Mouds_art

Secondly, work on my sequel to Time & Tied is still progressing… very slowly. Here’s a picture of Heather Bright, which I commissioned when I somehow made it to Anime North 2019. She’s the new time travel tech for Carrie, now that they’re at University. Many of the characters like her are in my head, even if their words are slow to hit the page.

As a quick reminder, my early writing for “Untied” dates from 2014, before I had even posted up Carrie Waterson’s first stories. I restarted from the top for NaNoWriMo 2017, managing 39,372 words by early December. I did edits for it the summer of 2018, splitting it into four files. November 2018 saw an additional 29,225 words, and by January 2019 we were at 6 files and over 65,000 words.

There wasn’t much writing time beyond that, as I went from part-time back to full time work. Still, November 2019 added another 33,373 words meaning we’re almost at 100k – and we’re almost at what I’d envisioned as the halfway point. So it seems we’re looking at a run of at least 4 “Books” again (as I did with the Time & Tied), assuming it all goes as planned.

A reminder that I can’t release the first part until the second is done, as the time travel aspect means some earlier scenes might need redoing. But that’s fine, as certain secondary characters are finally showing more of themselves, meaning I can give them more personality in those early scenes too.

To be clear, this is my priority as far as fiction writing goes (I’m not including non-fiction efforts for the Time Travel Nexus), which emphasizes how much little time I’ve had in the past year for writing at all. And reading, for that matter. I’m behind on other blogs, and I haven’t done much with Comic Tea Party in over half a year. Thank you for your patience.

As far as coins go for 2019 – read “Time & Tied” if you don’t understand why this is interesting – I got 3 toonies, 1 loonie, 9 quarters, and 4 dimes. That’s a total of 17. (I had 16 until Christmas, when I got an additional quarter driving home.) No nickels, which made me wonder if they minted any, but I got one as change just yesterday, so they’re out there. There were also special D-Day commemorative toonies, but I only got one as change in early January, so it’s not pictured.

I’ll probably keep an eye out for 2020 coins. Inflation is still a thing, meaning they’re still printing more money.

STATISTICS

Finally, as I said above, I maintained a post every two weeks through 2019. That meant 27 new posts (including the extra “Behind the Scenes 5”), for a total of 315 postings to the blog overall. So, how do the statistics look overall?

My pageviews for 2018 totalled 2,429… and we’ve backslid to 1,492 for 2019. Granted, I have barely had time for any promotions. I auto-tweet out the current parts, and post them to my Facebook writing page whenever I remember. I did add “Balancing Act” to the Web Fiction Guide listing, and it came up in mid-May on their front page, but that’s about it.

Granted, that listing did help break up a rather impressive stretch of decimal views, which had been going on for over a month.

Decimal views means less than 10 views (in this case, under 5 views) per day, for 30 days. Because WordPress turns the scale into decimals. It actually happened twice in 2019, once for March through to May, and then again for October through to mid-December. Is that impressive? I mean, it’s likely something others cannot claim to have experienced in the fifth year of their blog being around.

My most popular day for 2019, as far as I can tell, was May 28th. That day saw about 52 page views. Most days had less than 15. Strangely, there’s been 9,249 spam messages blocked for the duration of the blog; I’m not sure why they’re so interested.

How many people have read through all of Virga’s story? Act 2A (from April) has only 16 views, while Act 5A (from November) has only 9. But that 9 is fairly consistent with the page views of posts afterwards. (Granted, last week’s posting has 3 views so far.) As to comments, I had 3 for the whole of 2019 (6 if you count my replies). Thanks to mathhombre (March/Sept) and chaosbeast (Nov).

The posts with the most hits (aside from the indexes) were Virga’s Act 1A (77 views), TT1 “Timely Discovery” (72 views), and Epsilon 3.1 “Data Integrity” (38 views). Those were followed by other Virga entries beyond 1A. Kind of nice that some of my older posts are getting looked at, even if people aren’t continuing to read. Top countries (over 100 views) were the US, Canada, and for some reason, Sweden. Thanks for coming out!

I believe that concludes everything I’d wanted to say. If you’re running your own website, hopefully it’s doing better. At any rate, I’m pleased about my consistency, and given the opportunity I wouldn’t have changed my priorities.

Final questions, would you like to see another “Epsilon”? Are you still interested in hearing about progress on “Time Untied”? And will you miss Melissa’s story at all? Feel free to drop a comment to let me know. Either way, hope you stick around, and thanks for reading.