Places to See and Souvenirs to Find

So I was talking with some relatives and family friends about the State Quarters a while back, and it got me thinking about traveling.

Assuming, for sake of argument, that you had the time and money to go anywhere they wanted, how would you choose where to go next?
And what would you consider an ideal souvenir when you got there?

State Quarters and Random Destinations

The family friends had mentioned using the State and National Park quarters to make such a choice–when it’s time to go on a trip, you look through your pocket change, and you pick your destination from whichever states or parks are represented.
That may be fine if you’re willing to visit a random destination, and if you’re keeping your travels within the country.

But what if you want to go someplace specific? What if you want to visit another country?
My idea, then, would reverse this process. My idea is to visit another country, and obtain as a souvenir at least one coin of that place’s currency.

Specific Destinations and Souvenir Coins

The importance of the souvenir would depend on how I’ve obtained it: the best coins are those I acquire in the normal course of my stay, that I receive in my change when making purchases.
We have plenty of such coins from Canada and Germany alike, now I simply need the means and opportunity to visit other countries for the purpose.
Naturally countries that have gone over to a more “global” currency like the Euro would make this more difficult, but I would still try to obtain other coins.

The second, and less desirable, option would be to visit a shop that deals in older coins and buy the ones I want.

A third option, which falls somewhere in between the two, is to be given such a coin by someone else. If a friend or relative has visited the country and I have not, I would be willing to accept such a coin, but I would set it aside, a gift from the list of “places to visit” rather than a souvenir in its own right.
Or if I have visited the country, a coin given by a local–a friend I’ve made while I’m there, or perhaps a hosting family if I am so lucky as to not need a hotel–could work as well as a coin obtained during any normal purchases.

Themed Ornaments

The “coin” idea could happen, funding and free time depending, any time of the year. But there is another souvenir idea that I came up with recently, one that is specific to this time of year.

And that idea is Christmas tree ornaments.
I visit one country, purchase an ornament specific to that country. Visit another country, purchase another such ornament. And so on, until I can make a themed Christmas tree decorated only with those ornaments… and with any others that have sentimental value, of course.

The trick here is that it would either take a long time to collect enough ornaments, would require visiting multiple countries during one Christmas season, or would require finding such ornaments outside of the Christmas season.
Or all three at once. Or, quite possibly, buying such ornaments online if necessary, but like with the coins, the ornaments would really only count as “souvenirs” if I’ve actually visited the country, and as such should only be attempted as a last resort.
But I believe it can be done if someone wants to try it.

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All I want for Christmas

is my two front teeth.

Oh wait, didn’t I do that joke already?


Anyway, my Christmas wishlist for this year, in no particular order:

A job doing something I enjoy. Or right now, any job.
Making enough money on so I can pay off my student loan while putting money into the bank, not depleting my account. The more money I earn, the faster I can pay off that loan.

A winning lottery ticket.
And on the “student loan” front, that means I either need a jackpot winner, or the Cash for Life on one of those scratch-off tickets.
Not that I expect to get either one, but I can dream, no? ;)

A Windows tablet, Android, Chromebook, or even an iPad.
I need: a keyboard to work on my fiction, a touch screen and stylus support to practice drawing, and good enough guts to run PhotoShop or a similar program. And maybe a bit better hardware so I can take it to school and use it to do my classwork instead of using the school’s computers.
Also it has to be small, but not too small. The 10-11 inch models sound good.

A better digital camera/camcorder, or both.
One that can record high definition video, and can support at least a night-time filter similar to the night-time lenses I keep with my motorcycle gear.
And has a long video battery life–I want something I can use to record our day-or-longer motorcycle trips, and the one-hour battery life most such cameras report is a dealbreaker.
Even if I use a separate camera for photography, which I’m seriously considering if and when I can afford it, I’ll still want those three things for the bike rides.
For my purposes, a feature like GPS capability would be nice, but isn’t a requirement. Wi-Fi, on the other hand, is simply redundant, though wirelessly connecting to a separate (not smartphone!) display might be useful for the rides if I go with a helmet mount.

A FitDesk or similar compact exercise equipment.
Something I can use to exercise while working on the computer. Taking breaks may be fine for an occasional workout, but why not find something that lets me stay active even when I get back to work?

Assorted wood for carving.
Basswood seems to be recommended for beginners, but I wouldn’t mind trying other types of wood when possible.
Also graphite paper for transferring patterns to the wood.
Also patterns to try. ;)
Also a case or sheathe for my Murphy knives.

A PlayStation 4 and/or PlayStation Vita.

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NaNo 2014 Day 22

Thanks to NaNoWriMo changing when you can validate, the official report is:

I won! I won! Doing the happy dance! I won!

And yet, plot-wise, I’ve still got a long way to go.
*cue record scratch*

Well, seeing as the semester isn’t over, I’ll likely be using the rest of the month, and then some, to make sure my homework stays caught up, and won’t be getting back to completing that novel, let alone the Doctor Who rewrites I’d also planned on starting into, until finals are over and done with.
But I will get back to them. I must get back to my writing. I must finish the novel, get something ready to publish…. Not to mention add an “author’s note” of sorts to the back of my short story and reupload to the various sites.

According to MS Word, The Graft’s final word count was 50,417.
According to the NaNo site’s validator, that final count is 50,336.

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NaNo 2014 Day 21

A bit of writing here, a bit of writing there, a bit of NaNoWriMo everywhere. I’m kinda jumping around in my scenes again, but I think I’m done with that fight between the summoner and the Wanderer… as well as the introduction to the summoner’s lair.

Oh, wait, I just noticed some big areas needing editing, like where I chose to swap names between Sima and Ris; seems I forgot to change them all. ^^;
Oopsie. Probably want to fix those before I forget again…. Now I’m going to have to go through and try to remember which character was supposed to have which name, but I think I can manage that just by giving my short story, Rite of Passage, another quick read-through.

Still, progress is progress, though I think one of the upcoming scenes will require a bit of old content again.
Namely, main character Voalt is going to face down the Beast of Gevaudan (or his world’s equivalent) in a scene very much like the one young Doyle faced in my Secret Saturday’s fanfic, Ships in the Night.
So for that scene I’ll be rewriting old content more than creating anything new.

Anwho, speaking of progress….

Daily goal: 1667
Daily written: 2391
Total goal: 35,000
Total written: 43,394
Report card: At this rate, you will finish on Nov 25.

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NaNo 2014 Day 20

I’ve finally finished adding to that first section of the prologue, whoo!

I’m sure I still have editing to do, but now that’s going to have to wait until December when NaNoWriMo is officially over.
Funny how all those “no progress” days cut into my head start, innit? ;)
Now, though, I can get back to plot progress.

Let’s see… where did my old content leave off? Oh, yes, the fight between the Wanderer and the Demon Summoner…..

Daily goal: 1667
Daily written: 2762
Total goal: 33,333
Total written: 41,003
Report card: At this rate, you will finish on Nov. 25

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NaNo 2014 Day 19

So much for my “more progress on busy days” inane rambling. ;)
But this time it makes a bit more sense. See, this time, I not only had that class, I also had some errands to run in the morning (that kept us out until it was about time to head to class), and this Boy Scout turkey dinner thing in the evening… and more errands in between.

While I was on the computer in class, it was to work on the PHP segment of one of our projects… easier said than done when the router wasn’t working so I couldn’t get online to look up error codes and such.
I guess that keeps “my own laptop/tablet” on that Christmas list. For some inexplicable reason, the students who had laptops of their own could get online just fine; it was those of us who were stuck using the school computers that couldn’t access the internet.
I wasn’t on the computer at home, except to post my blog update… and check for new messages on assorted sites and email.

Meanwhile, I’ve just joined up with the Tardis wikia.
No guarantee I’ll post much on there, but I have seen the occasional detail in need of editing, so once my account is finalized (such that it may be), I might start making the odd fix… provided nobody fixes those details first.
Trouble is, the one fix I can think of that needs adjusting right now crosses three pages (an actor’s birthdate); if I fix it on just the profile, does it automatically update the other two, or would I need to update those as well? Need to look through their help info a bit before making any actual changes. For now I’ll just muck about with my profile.
And maybe I’ll (eventually) start joining other wikia for assorted reasons. Maybe.

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NaNo 2014 Day 18

Can someone explain why I seem to get more work done on  my NaNo–which, some days, is to say any work done–on the days I have class?

One would think, since I’m not only in class those days, but have a whole bunch else going on, that I’d get very little writing if any at all done. At the very least, one would think that I’d get a lot less done those days than the rest of the week.
I think the issue is that I’m doing everything else the other days–things to do with Winter and housecleaning, after which I don’t want to do much but sit around with a cup of hot chocolate–but it’s still weird that the days I technically have the “busy schedule” are also the days that I accomplish more writing outside of that schedule.

Anyway, at last count, either I’d mistyped my progress from Day 17 or I managed to delete a bit after, because my word count is a tiny bit lower. (Very tiny, just a 20 word difference.)
I don’t recall doing a whole lot of heavy editing since my last count, but okay, whatever.

For all purposes, I’ll just leave it as “no progress,” mmkay?

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NaNo 2014 Day 16-17

Finally, a more recent… ish NaNoWriMo update! ^^;

I’ve gone back to the prologue, but I’m actually working on new content. Right now I’ve got pirate captain Denizen working himself into a frenzy as he tries not to pace (he hates having to stand still ;) ) while former desert nomad and current First Lieutenant Fahd keeps on eye on the merchant ship’s movements.
Soon they’ll get to attack, which will bring the pirate’s part of the story right up to where the first part of the prologue leaves off. But only after Fahd notices something very peculiar abut the merchant ship… or more accurately, about the people on it.

Outside of NaNo, I am of course continuing to work on homework–why does it always seem like there are more assignments towards the end of the semester? The assignments were laid out from the beginning, and the weekly workload never changes, but it always feels like there’s more to do….
Anyway, I am also attempting to catch up on my reading–only 100 items on my Kindle to go, plus the (shockingly low) half dozen books I still own print copies of. Maybe someday soon I’ll start putting up more reviews.
I’m looking around for a better carving knife, and hoping to hear back from a certain co-author sibling pair regarding lineart from one of their books… also hoping for a chance to meet them afterward; the whole reason I want to do a relief carving from their book is to give it to them as a gift. :D

And back on the subject of reviews, I’ve just found out about the Goodreads Giveaways! Lots of people entering, and plenty of books that I’m not interested in, but it’s worth putting my name in, just in case.
I’ll post something more on the subject later on.
And if I win something and leave a review here, I’m guessing that qualifies as a “Sponsored Post“? Near as I can tell, Amazon Affiliate links would still be allowed, as per WordPress’s Affiliate policy.

Anyway, the numbers as of Day 17.

Daily goal: 1667
Daily written: 3277
Total goal: 28,333
Total written: 38,261
Report card: At this rate, you will finish on Nov. 23.

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NaNo 2014 Day 13-15

Head meets desk. That’s a lot of time without updates for NaNoWriMo.

Midterms are over and done with, and now the semester is entering the final phase, and we all know what that means… more homework until the semester’s actually done!
It tends to seem that way, at least.

Still, I did manage to make a fair bit of progress on my NaNo during the gap since my last update.
Not as much progress as I’d like, certainly–I’d like to get in the typical daily goal–but I haven’t slacked off so much that I’m falling behind. My rebellious head start has, thus far, kept me ahead, leaving me plenty of time in case of emergencies, and homework is not enough to interfere.

In previous updates, I’d mentioned that I’d finally finished out the old content and can start on the new.
Well, “new” content, in this particular case, doesn’t just mean newer chapters, it also means adding to the old content. Case in point: the first section of the prologue is undergoing some heavy editing as I’m not only rewriting to give pirate captain’s point of view, but I’m adding some bits in there to lead up to his part in the original version.

So nothing I can upload to Patreon yet, not when even the prologue is, technically speaking, “done.”

As of November 15:
Daily goal: 1667
Daily written: 3134
Total goal: 25,000
Total written: 34,984
Report card: At this rate, you will finish on Nov 22.

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NaNo 2014 Day 11-12

Forgot to update yesterday… oopsie. ^^;
That’s okay, I’m still far enough ahead in my NaNo that I spent the time getting ahead in my homework; since I neglected to update even my blog with Day 11’s count, I’ll just combine the two here….

Finally finished out the old content. There’s still some editing to be done here and there, so I’m not entirely finished with the “rebel” portion of this year’s NaNoWriMo entry.
But the bulk of the lookover is done, now it’s time to move onto new content… which includes adding scenes to the older chapters.

Perhaps soon I’ll be able to start adding the prologue to my Patreon account to provide a free “sample” of my work, to entice anyone who might be interested in funding me for early access of the rest, hmm? ;)
But will I manage that before the end of the month or will I leave it until December? Hmm, decisions, decisions.

In other news, I’m attempting to get a “lineart” out a full-color jpg image so I can use it as a woodcarving pattern (specifically, a relief carving) without wasting a lot of ink on the colors.
I took the image in question, fed it into PhotoShop and slapped a couple of filters and Gaussian blurs on it. I believe the tutorial I used was on the WonderHowTo PhotoShop Tutorials section. Nothing fancy, it would never suffice if I wanted to draw and color the image myself, but it ought to do well enough to trace the image through graphite paper onto a sheet of wood, yes?
Having a proper lineart to start with would’ve been much better, but I don’t see that happening, not unless the giftee for this particular carving sees fit to send me a copy.
Meanwhile, if anybody has any other conversion tips, I’d love to hear them.

And… the “progress,” shifting Day 11’s count over to Day 12…

Daily goal: 1667
Daily written: 11,469
Total goal: 20,000
Total written: 31,850
Report Card: At this rate, you will finish on Nov. 19

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