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The Headless Galah


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"You've got to be fucking kidding me."

>be me
>high-achieving History student at top-shelf Aussie university
>early in the new academic year
>shit to be done, shit's getting done
>today's project, flesh out preliminary bibliography for honours dissertation
>venue? the library
>library computers = unrestricted access to JSTOR/ProQuest/Project Muse/et.c.
>cocaine for history majors
>anyway, searching online
>targets acquired
>journal articles, PhD theses, monographs
>obtain physical books from library where possible
>downloading pdfs for later perusal
>going well
>swimmingly, you might say
>I'm really feeling it
>notice it's getting dark outside
>notice that it has in fact been dark outside for over an hour
>have not eaten since lunch
>one last pdf, then
>interesting-looking PhD thesis acquired
>save to folder on flash drive, standard operational procedure
>browser freezes mid-save
>university computers all use internet explorer
>colour me unsurprised
>program is not responding, et.c.
>so sorry IE, I asked too much of you, god forbid you actually be required to explore the internet
>program starts responding again
>very good, now save it again, pussy
>hit save
>browse to file
>USB appears blank
>windows explorer, you syphilitic whore, what putrescent orifice do you ooze pus from today
>browse up, browse down again
>USB is still blank
>le me raises le eyebrow
>suddenly, top-tier intuition
>pull out USB, plug it back in again
>problem fucking solved
>or is it?
>try to save it there again
>USB now no longer blank
>navigate to folder for lengthy pdf containment
>a wild problem appears!
>folder no longer exists
>closer examination reveals shocking truth
>USB directory tree status has been reverted to what it was a week ago, before I reorganised all of it for honours
>reason for this is unknown and likely unknowable
>folders and files created since then have ceased to exist
>including one containing saved pdfs for bibliography
>fuzakeru na
>I feel fear, for the first time
>knees weak
>palms are sweaty
>forget about PDF
>pull USB out, log off, exfiltrate library at top speed
>oscar mike back to college apartment
>laptop PC awaits me there
>obviously it's just a problem with the library computers
>fucked up and inexplicable
>the organisation is responsible, no doubt
>el psy congroo
>arrive in front of laptop at desk
>ignition sequence starts
>all systems go
>plug in USB
>shirley, you can't be serious
>what's gone is still gone
>everything else seems fine
>but my pdfs tho
>arienai deshou
>shounen determination kicks in
>data recovery utilities GET
>doin' it through the CLI like a real boy
>punch that shit
>utilities grab everything, regardless of partition, and dump it to folder on HDD
>7.20GB blaze it
>search utilities, show me the way
>fucking nope
>pdfs 2naku4natta
>are you kidding me
>well, it's not that bad this early in the semester
>I can rebuild it
>bigger, wordier, more postcolonial
>double-check all other folders on USB
>mainly pointless university shit from previous years that should have been deleted already
>this other folder, though
>all my stories in it
>check that shit out
>stories are all fine, no loss or corruption
>muh relief
>better check MIAL, though
>MIAL has its own special subfolder
>holds notes, planning documents, the published story and the active chapter in various files
>yeah, that's all there too
>welp, guess I'll just work on MIAL for bit before-
>OpenOffice.Org cannot read this file
>what the fuck did you just say about me, you little bitch?
>do I want to repair the fiOF COURSE I FUCKING WANT TO
>file repaired
>it's a single blank page
>facial twitch develops
>notice file size
>4kb when it should be in the high 50s
>open in notepad++
>eldritch gibberish where once was text
>MIAL chapter 50 is gone
>but then it's shounen determination time again
>get back into the recovery utils folder
>find me an odt containing the word 'Shirazumi', plz
>what's this?
>happy days
>but then
>surprise, that's actually chapter 50 AS IT WAS IN LATE JULY LAST YEAR
>because somehow you can recover that but not the file as it was last fucking night
>7 months of work gone and wholly unrecoverable
>check OpenOffice roaming appdata under C/Users
>it must have backed it up when I was working on it last night
>there's still time
>we can still save her, dammit
>drumroll please
>backup folder is empty
>I didn't have automatic backups enabled in OO.o preferences
>no backups
>no exit
>no salvation
>even the greatest miracle can only affect the living

>atashi tte, honto baka

"You said you had good news and bad news."

"I did say that, didn't I?"

"Good news?"

"The good news is that, due to my writer's block, seven months of work on MIAL is only, like, ten thousand words."

"And what's the bad news?"

"The insane Honours workload means we're sure as hell not getting an update out before the three-year anniversary."

"Fuck my life."

"Also, you're talking to yourself in mirrors again. That's pretty bad too."


  1. Kelnish's Avatar
    See this shit, this is why we drink.
  2. Seika's Avatar
    I feel somehow that by reading this, I am cursed to have something similar happen to me. The only way to escape must be PMing it to everyone I know on Beast's Lair.
  3. saintsant's Avatar
    This is one of those times where you just have to take a moment to go outside, sit down, stare wistfully up at the clouds for a while, and then ask yourself why the hell you didn't store your stuff up there.

    If there's one silver lining (heh) to the situation, it's that you've already done the work. Sure, redoing it will be about as fun as masturbating with a cheese-grater, but the mental foundations should still be there.

    You've my sympathies, for whatever that's worth.
    Updated March 3rd, 2015 at 11:53 AM by saintsant
  4. Dullahan's Avatar
    Because cloud storage is the Great Satan. Can confirm, am Ayatollah.

    Part of me is strangely alright with it. Time was when opening up that document and looking at it felt like the aforementioned cheesegrater-fapping. Extreme procrastination comes bearing its own peculiar insanities. You avoid writing it, because writing it makes you feel like shit for avoiding writing it. And so on. I take inspiration from the story of Gregory David Roberts, who as I have been told, wrote Shantaram in prison. (Indian prison, so you know shit's hardcore.) Halfway through, the guards confiscated his manuscript and burnt it. So Roberts rewrote the whole thing, and - as I believe he said later in interviews - he rewrote it better.

    The other part of me, however, wants to disembowel a koala with my teeth.
  5. Lycodrake's Avatar
    And on this day, mankind got a cruel reminder.
  6. Christemo's Avatar
    And this is why you use Google Docs for absolutely everything.
  7. SeiKeo's Avatar
    I mean everything that requires not much more than plaintext.
  8. Christemo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by @Leo
    I mean everything that requires not much more than plaintext.
    Pretty much everything besides maybe the PDF's couldve been had there no sweat.
  9. Strife ❤️'s Avatar
    In my final year my housemate's power supply blew the night before a programming assignment was due, when he hooked up a spare the file he was working on had entirely been replaced with the character 0.

    He didn't have a backup and he got like 12% with the solution he cobbled together overnight.
  10. Nihilm's Avatar
    Sucks man, this is why I keep a backup of all my currently actually used/useful school stuff on dropbox
  11. Spinach's Avatar
    Yeah but who are you quoting?
  12. Kelnish's Avatar
    Who quotes the quoters?
  13. ItsaRandomUsername's Avatar
    *claps hands in prayer*

    A moment of silence, please, for this loss.

    That said and done, if you've procrastinated that much on it you probably didn't really "feel" for it that much anyway. Lord knows that I too've lost half-written documents and that, while their disappearances made me salty, I realize in retrospect that what I had wasn't actually up to my own standards in the first place.

    Just do what you need to do, no worries about us. We'll wait.

    I also loves me some greentext, so A+ on that creative decision.
  14. Five_X's Avatar
    Welp, time to make me 10 backups for MPII before it's too late! Losing documents you made with your own blood sweat and tears is the worst.
  15. Spinach's Avatar
    Do you actually bleed, sweat and cry when you write MPII, Five?
  16. Five_X's Avatar
    Yes, Spin. My desk is an absolute mess.