Friday, November 30, 2012

Productivity


Any headway I made at all in simplifying and deleting files off my laptop… just went out the window. I discovered map-making, (again), and downloaded about 15 files on the subject.

Now, looking at my to-do list, I realized I forgot something very, very important— my one goal at the moment is preparation for college, which includes:
- Reading in Romanian
- Writing blog posts
- Simplifying files on laptop so I don't have to do it later.

That's it. It doesn't include map-making, it doesn't include editing (much as I would like it to), and it doesn't include writing.

Honestly, this looks bleak. But I'll shorten my working day and take the 'writing' and 'map-making' items off the to-do list. That way they're not a focus— more like a sideproject to stop myself from burning out on the main projects.

But we'll see how it goes. Tomorrow will mark the end of the first week of my Weekly-Daily Goal system, which means I have 11 weeks to go before it's completely optimized. So on Sunday, I'll figure out new ways to work with it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Valley of the Kings, Queens, and Nobles

We had a guide today as we went through the Valley of the Kings, The Valley of the Queens, and the Valley of Nobles. These are the coolest things we've seen so far, honestly. The Valley of the Kings is full of colors, and the Valely of Nobles is full of day-to-day life depictions, which means that unlike the Valley of the Kings, where most of it is gods and goddesses and hieroglyphs, you can kind of figure out what's going on in the nobles' temples— weeping women, duck-hunting, cooking… things like that.

On the list of cool things done from the to-do list today: uploaded more worlds, nearly finished reading Silent Spring (possibly one of the most depressing, angering books ever written).

And last, but certainly not least important, there's a club underneath us and to the left of us… with really good music choices. If we won't be able to sleep, at least we'll enjoy good music as we're tossing and turning.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Luxor


We are in Luxor, in a nice hotel room with six beds and two terrible mattresses. After three relaxing hours or so of working, Dad comes into the room and says, "We're leaving for the museum."

Alright. Apparently the museum closes at three and re-opens at five, so I am faced with having the last half of my to-do list set aside.

Not a nice feeling, since I really wanted to get those things done. 

It turns out, that after walking and seeing Luxor for 2.5 hours, that the museum is open from 9 to 5, which means that… well, the gist of it is, we get to come back!

Tomorrow we're off to the Valley of the Kings, another long excursion, and after that, probably something else— temples! And then, Saturday, we take the train to Cairo. 

I cannot wait for that train to Cairo.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hieroglyphics


Gracious. Is it really so late in November?

We basically lounged on the cruise ship all day, except for seeing a temple, which was alright, but not something particularly fascinating, with the exception of the fact that apparently there are recipes for perfume on the walls…

Why didn't I make time to learn hieroglyphics?

At any rate, I did quite a lot today that I wasn't expecting to do, which was great, and afterward I started Spice, which is the third book in the series I started in June. The interesting thing is that I'm getting inklings for Smoke (the fourth book), despite the fact that I have no idea what's going on with that.

The method behind the naming of the titles is that they each have a distinctive smell. Who knows? The fifth book (if there is one), could be called Vinegar. Which is giving me all sorts of ideas right now, come to think of it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cruising


Today feels like an extraordinarily productive day… probably because I finished everything on my very short to-do list…

I'm feeling inspired to write, which is great and at the same time a bit niggling… I have four days until the end of November, and I just decided I was going to 'grow up' and not 'waste time' on such pursuits any longer…

Though I suppose that reading the romance novels in the cruise ship library are worse than writing. At the same time… meh.

As to the cruise ship. It's apparently five stars, though the food, beyond the pitas and feta cheese, could definitely use some work. The pomegranates we had as dessert for lunch, though, were fantastic.

Everything beyond the basic services costs money though— lots of it. But, the beds are clean, there is light, and I can go into the bathroom without getting my feet wet, which is lovely. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

More Temples

Wow. So… today was a hard day. It could be called a bad hair day, I suppose, except my hair was just fine.

In fact, it was probably one of the only things I was happy with.

Strangely, though, I think I'm over that by this point, so I'll just say that we went to see Philae, Haidam, and Kalabsha Temples.

The very sad/funny thing, though, is that… after Philae Temple, in the small boat we'd taken over to the island, I asked how far away the temple was.

Dad pointed out the dam in front of us.

"Yeah, but where's the third temple?" I asked.

They kind of looked at me and started patiently explaining something.

I rolled my eyes, "It started with an H." I said, and took a sip of water.

Cue bursting out into laughter, trying to swallow, and ending up spitting/choking the water and having a ticklish throat for the rest of the day.

… On the bright side, I think I could write a drowning character very well now!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Abu Simbel


Woke up at 3am, went down to the car at 3:30, and took off toward this monument that was basically moved  a few hundred meters to avoid the water that was rushing in after the building of a dam on the Nile River.

Well, actually, there are two temples. One is the big one, the other is slightly smaller. They probably have official names, but I think it's either all officially guided or self-guided, and we (read I) didn't look at the guidebook too much beyond figuring out what was on the temple walls.

The really interesting thing is that the inside of the temple gets more and more like an oven the deeper you get into it. In the entrance hall, it's pleasantly warm. But as you go deeper and into the smaller side chambers, you start getting uncomfortably hot— a bit like you're being baked. I wonder why.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Loss of Childhood


So I left a bit of my childhood behind today…

We have a break day today, so I woke up late (9am), then started labeling the files on my laptop according to what I'm going to do with them.

After breakfast, Ileana wanted the laptop, so I edited Dad's four blog posts and read O Scrisoare Pierdută (A Lost Letter) with Mom. We accidentally skipped 70% of Act I to read 3 scenes in Act II, so had to go back.

Because Ioan had just gotten the laptop, I took out my notebook and made a list of the projects I have going on right now.

There are eight, two of which are easy to do and could both be completed in the course of an evening, six which will take a long time (of varying duration… a week to months). Then I organized them by time needed, by short-term importance, and then by long-term importance.

Only three projects make the list: Reading Romanian books, updating RTW blog, and simplifying the laptop.

So, with a bit of a heavy heart, I outlined my Italy blog post, read a Romanian fairytale, and then got back to simplifying my laptop.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


Ileana's sick. Happy Thanksgiving!

We saw the Nubian Museum today— walked who knows how long early in the mornning (after a breakfast of bread, soft cheese, and falafel) all the way there, saw the exhibits… found out about the siqua, which is basically a watermill but with oxen or donkeys or what-have-you. Fascinating.

And some interesting jewelry, and an oil lamp shaped like a camel. Beyond that, I have no idea what I saw. I'd read the exhibits about kings and forts and it would all go in one ear and out the other, and I'd be left with a headache. So I looked around instead.

We took a taxi back (ending up somehow in the same taxi as the one last night), and then Ileana began exhibiting Ioan's sickness symptoms. Mom and Dad made her comfortable, then headed off for 3 hours to cruise down the Nile on a slow boat— Ileana slept, I watched The King's Speech, and Ioan played Civilization V.

Tomorrow we get to stay home, to make sure Ileana's fully well enough to tackle Abu Simbel on Saturday.

I'm just waiting to see whether or not a pattern asserts itself. Saturday is the 24th.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Friendship Anniversary


It's my first friendship anniversary. Bouchra and I met exactly one year ago… and I can't believe it's been only a year. I feel like I can tell her absolutely anything.

So, last night, at 2am, we were talking, because I didn't know if I'd have internet today. It drove Ileana and Ioan crazy, but after all, one does not have one's first friendship anniversary every day.

So we talked until we couldn't keep our eyes open, and then today I woke up 10 minutes after the alarm, got my baghs together, and we started toward Aswan.

Two plane rides and an interesting taxi ride later, we ended up in a hotel… and we're not quite sure what to make of it. I'm sleeping on springs, not a mattress, and I believe that after four nights on this thing, I'll probably have tattoos impressed on my skin.

Mom and I started talking about Romania as well… apparently the five months I thought I had are… three.

I can't wait to get home and see how I deal with this…

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ioan's Birthday


Happy birthday, Ioan!

La multi ani, sa fii sanatos si frumos si inalt si fericit pentru tot restul vietii!

We woke up late, ate meringues, played after breakfast… and then Ioan said he wasn't feeling well.

So he napped in bed, all day, and all the rest of us lounged on couches instead of going off snorkeling. I'm not sure what it was like for the brand-new thirteen year-old, but for me it was a pretty good day.

I realized that Novel #3 is not going to work in its current format, and came up with a much better idea, which will hopefully make it to 50k by the end of the month. 

And I learned about spoken word poetry, which sounds fantastic.

And I made my best friend a present. And that will be tomorrow, because… wow. 

I have been so bouncy today. So bouncy. I'm so glad I can be bouncy.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Storm


It's hard to believe that we're in Egypt. It doesn't feel as if this is Egypt. Today at 12:30pm the internet gave out… five minutes late it was thundering and lightening… people at the hotel restaurant were scrambling to pile all the pillows into one big pile so only a few would get wet. I have decided I want lots of pillows in one room of my house, just to make a pillow fort like that.

The storm lasted for about an hour— it even hailed a bit— and then we had no electricity for three more hours.

This reminded me of Nepal. Egypt itself reminds me of an empty India. It's an interesting country— so far. But it's not anything that has yet fascinated me. Despite the fact that the sea is beautiful (and you can see the mountains on the other side), the only reason Egypt is in the running for best country is because of the real life TV we were treated to while the hotel employees were scrambling to get ready for the thunder storm.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

St. Catherine


We woke up early today, headed down to breakfast, fed milk to the cats, and then got into the car to drive to St. Catherine Monastery. Once we reached it, Dad told us a bit about the wall the monks built to keep persons of unsavory character out, and then we went in.

We went straight to the small museum, where original icons (some dating as far back as the 6th century) are held. Mom looked around the first room as one of the men who helped sell tickets explained to her what everything was. (Mom probably knows better than him).

She asked if she could take pictures, and the man said, "You must go ask the father."

The father is behind a desk. Mom goes to ask him if she can take pictures, please. The father looks her up and down, sizes her up, and then says, "Two pictures."

Mom comes back into the first room of the museum and starts to cry. Two pictures. It doesn't sound like a lot, but being able to take even one picture of one of these icons is priceless. Mom gets to take two.

Studying them is… amazing. I've never seen icons like this before. The Staircase to Heaven, a 'calendar' of all the saint days in the year, it's fascinating trying to figure which saint is for which day.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Beach


So today is an interesting day… for one thing… it took me till about 10pm to write 5,000 words…

For another thing, I started a new novel that was supposed to be about Santa Claus, but… is turning out to be about a tooth fairy. A volunteer tooth fairy.

I have no idea what's going to happen in 45,000 words, honestly. We'll see how things go. It will be fascinating to see whether or not this novel makes sense.

Also, Mother and Father forced us to go to the beach. Women are either Muslim or tourists (the tourists are what you'd expect on a beach), the Muslim women are covered from wrist to neck to ankle and also have their hair covered so you cannot see their neck. And this isn't skin-tight or anything. It's like a baggy dress. It also means that me=sitting on this really cool wobbly dock with my long-sleeved and long-panted sun-proof bathing suit watching my sister jump into the water in a bikini.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

140,000 words

Yup. It's totally true, too. I spent most of today writing 20,136 words for Settling the Accounts, which I'm proud to report, is finished.

Yesterday I got an idea for Novel #3, which I didn't think about at all today, for obvious reasons. (See third sentence of this post).

But, now, at 21:46, I can think about it.

Since we spent most of the day in the hotel room, I can't say much, except that I've been listening to La Notre Dame de Paris opera, which is fantastic.

And I also danced a lot today, which was also fun.

Also, my head hurts, I'm a bit tired, and I'll be sleeping in tomorrow.

Breakfast, also, was very good. Dad somehow got us to "no breakfast" to "breakfast,' just by asking if we have breakfast.

Also, this hotel is flying the Romanian flag. I don't think it was doing that yesterday before we showed up. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Egypt!


Eloise frowned…

Wait. Wrong document. 

Eloise is my main character, and I just want to say that that particular novel has almost 70,000 words, and it might carry all the way to 80,000.

We're in Egypt, which is fantastic, and warm (it's waaarm), and we went to the supermarket, Carrefour, to get some food.

Well, there was a fast food type sort of thing… counter? I'm losing my words in my brain, honestly.

And the guy behind the counter, he saw us snooping around his pretty-looking food, picked up a sausage-looking thing, and handed it to Mom, and said, "Taste."

Only in Egypt. This doesn't even happen in India that I know of.

We ended up buying basically one of everything, and then walking home.

The street outside our hotel is SO bright, it's like daylight, despite the fact that the sun has been down for a while.

Monday, November 12, 2012

France


We are in France.

But we're not actually going to get to see most of France.

In fact, though I think we've seen a fire hydrant, and possibly a mailbox, I don't think we're going to get to see France at all.

We've come to France because France is closer to the Geneva airport than Geneva itself (I know, it's ridiculous), and also because France is cheaper than Switzerland at the moment.

But, more to the point of interest…

We leave tomorrow at 4am and that will be… interesting, to say the least.

My wrists, which hurt last night and a bit this morning, are behaving themselves today and being proper, nice wrists again, which is good for them as this means they'll get to stay alive a bit longer.

I'm not sure what I'm going to write after Settling the Accounts, but one of the points of NaNo this year is to write every day in November, which I haven't done… ever, I think, in any of these OLL events so far.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

100,000 words

Excuse typos, this is being written in the last three minutes of the day and I just want to say that I have no idea how many words I've written today, but I'm teling you right now, it's an enormous amount.

I hit 100,000 words today which is amazing.

I'm wondering if my hands will still be on my fingers tomorrow— or rather, my arms, and I'm wondering how quickly I can get this all copied and pasted, or whether or not I'll be able to get all these things into my thousand-word file before the clock strikes twelve and I no longer have any time left.

That would be interesting.

Anyway, today, very interesting day.

Mom and Dad came over late, I woke up at 7am after sleeping in (best decision ever), and then I wrote all day which is also interesting, and now I'm going to copy and paste and go to bed.

Night!

(Update: 23,993 words)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Geneva


We're in Geneva, and I hit 76,250 words for this year's NaNoWriMo.

The Handkerchief is at 44,000 words.
Settling the Accounts is at 32,250 words.

And I'm sooo glad, because that means I've written 10,000 words for NaNoWriMo two days in a row (which is… interesting, to say the least) I wasn't expecting such a high word count.

But, that isn't the highlight of the day.

Let me give you an idea of the dinner we had today:

Eggplant salad
Baked red peppers in vinegar
Chicken soup
Chicken
Some sort of pasta
Apple sauce, the salty kind
Grapes
Cake

I feel so, so, so, so spoiled.

The house is beautiful, but small. Mom and Dad are actually staying in a hotel for the next three nights (we're staying with Grandma's friend, Rodica), which is great for us and also for them, as we get a bit of time away from each other.

That's abotu all for tonight.

10,000 wooooords!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cool Things


I was about to say that we spent another day at home today. Presumably that means we had a relaxing day.

We didn't.

We headed off at 8:55am and saw fountains and piazzas and the National Museum.

We spent 9 hours and 20 minutes on the road. I slept for about half an hour (the nice thing about sleep dep is you can ALMOST fall asleep standing up. Coolest thing ever.)

Another cool thing: I lost my voice this morning. I was afraid to clear my throat for fear it would revert to normal, but it took about an hour or two, and in the meantime I had the nicest voice.

Another cool thing… I hit 23,000 words in Settling the Accounts, for a total of about 66,000 words for this entire month.

I like this NaNoWriMo year.

A lot. Most productive year ever. I think from now on I'll be writing two novels. And include magic. And towers. And stuff like that.

Also, I washed my hair. It's all curly now. If only it would stay this bouncy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Happy Name Day, Daddy!


Today… was a good day.

We stayed home.

Mom and Dad set off after lunch to go see Rome… and they came back after ten minutes.

You see, the nice thing about being around the world for a year + is that when you get a day like this, in which you do nothing, suddenly everything is much more interesting than it should be.

I wrote today, I watched The Last Lecture (Randy Pausch's talk on life), I wrote a blog post, I edited another, etc etc etc.

I have no idea what else to say.

Which is interesting. I am… wordless.

It's funny how easy I can write 4000 words for the latest novel and so hard to write 50 words on anything but the latest novel.

Hmm.

A few observations:

Ice cream cake is good.

Book reviews are interesting.

Internet is a malicious, evil time suck, and I have no self-discipline to turn it off.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


We went to the Colosseum today, which was interesting.

Despite the fact that, you know, it was a killing field for people and animals alike, just to entertain a bunch of people who don't have anything better to do than gorge themselves on food and debate and go to saunas and baths and massages.

I mean, don't you have anything better to do? Draw, maybe, or write some of those famous scrolls that everyone quotes when they talk about ancient people?

Instead of killing animals and people for sport… I could go on. But I won't.

To get back to the point… that put a damper on the proceedings.

There's actually a couple of skulls and bones from various animals killed in the Colosseum. Bears, horses, boars… even roosters.

I'm not sure what they did with the roosters, or why they needed them, or how they thought that killing roosters was sport, instead of a big person looking at a little chicken and hitting it with a spear.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sistine Chapel 3-D


We went to the Vatican City today.

A rather stupid observation: The Sistine Chapel is much more interesting when you can see it.

By which I mean, without glasses or with 'my' glasses on (weaker strength than what I 'need'), the chapel is still fuzzy.

But, I borrowed Mom's glasses to see what all the hype was about…

And while this may be the glasses' superior strength, I'm choosing to believe it's Michelangelo's talent: everything looked like it was popping out of the ceiling.

Totally 3-D, and totally what everyone pays $$$s to get for something that usually is quite as nice in 2-D. Except this is about 600 years older than that, and thus really, really, really cool.

In other news, I hit 80wpm today, consistently, for 30 minutes. Which means, that, at times I hit 50wpm, and at others 90wpm. But, on the whole, I'm very proud of myself. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Rome


So, in important news today.

ROME!

I have Learning on Steroids, which you'll probably hear more about later anyway, so I won't talk about it much here.

I ditched The Handkerchief and started Settling the Accounts. I'll be rewriting The Handkerchief at some point— I like the novel idea too much not to— but right now, I'm enjoying myself with writing on Settling, which is about a lady who is married off to an eccentric, miserly warlock… and how she plans to poison him to death.

I'm still working out the details, despite the fact that it's been bouncing in my head for years.

So that is interesting.

Um, what else?

We have internet.

Productivity consequently dropped very nicely.

Which was interesting.

I have lots of mail in my inbox, all of which looks fascinating. I think I will read that soon.

But for now, it is time for… bed!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lazy Day


I slept in this morning because I went to bed at 1:30am— I was reading a fascinating book called At Home: A Short History of Personal Life.

It's taken me days to get through this book, because it's interesting, but has too much information to process in large chunks. But this particular section was on clothes, bathroom/hygiene… and disgusting as it was hearing about bed mites and the various animals in— everywhere (as well as the interesting information that most toilet water is cleaner than kitchen-sink water, due to the fact that we disinfect it much more often).

So I woke up late, and lazed, and then we headed off (without the lovely umbrella) toward the museum, where we basically walked through a half-closed museum trying to figure out what we had to get to before closing time for that exhibit, and what we could leave until closing time for the rest of the museum.

And afterward, we enjoyed ourselves watching Despicable Me.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Capri


We went to Capri today!

It would have been fantastic had the guide made less marriage jokes at the expense of women… but then again, I suppose that's what seems to be the most important subject?

Or something.

I'm tired (we're all tired, actually— Dad actually fell asleep more than once today— something that used to happen back when we were at home [once he fell asleep in the 30 second interval when Ioan was picking out a tennis player for their after-work game of VirtuaTennis]), I wrote 5,000 words, and we stood outside the 'Ancient Pizzeria da Michele,' which is one of the two places in Napoli that invented pizza (they can't decide which one).

We stood outside, got the pizzas in the box (and lots of stares because we showed up… last, and had our pizza… first), and ate with gusto…

Then headed back home, where we all kind of slumped (Mom, strangely enough, went STRAIGHT to the TV, something that none of us has ever seen her do).

Friday, November 2, 2012

Exhilaration or Exhaustion?


So. November 2nd.

If yesterday was insanely productive… today was breaking through barriers of a different sort. Yesterday I had to beat time and my own fingers. Today I had to write myself out of a corner I'd planned into the novel— mainly, what happens in the middle?

Yesterday's 30k carried me all the way to the hard part— the part where one of my characters is walking around aimlessly and the other's stuck in a cell for no reason.

This morning, I introduced a random person with a letter. Jacob will never show up in the novel again… but he served his purpose. Susan escaped from the jail cell, had a few adventures, and now she's walking around with John in a world that looks like a piece of paper with a very unruly stream/river running along it.

I have no idea what I'm doing. 

It is so exhilarating.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo, Day 1


I hit 30,000 words today.

I started at 12:07am, and after about 10 hours of writing, at 20:48pm, I said, "Okay, this is getting ridiculous."

The thing is, I have no idea where the story is going, and I'm pleasantly numb, and I think that that's good. 30k is double (DOUBLE) what I've ever written in a day before (15,400 or so on August 16th, and it took me five hours of writing, straight, from about 10pm to 3:30am).

But I'll stop there.

Today was epic.

We went to the Paestum (which, apparently, was a Greek colony which the Romans left mostly alone because they were superstitious and didn't want to disturb the temples, so it's really really really well preserved).

And we also saw a few interesting things in the museum, like 2000 year old honey and a huge group of senior British tourists, who smiled more than about a billion groups I've seen on this trip so far.

Also… this was the best first NaNoWriMo day ever.