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a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn. Plus, coming soon: e-books: Yvgenie, and books from Jane.

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CONVENTION APPEARANCES

At Miscon 2013, around Memorial Day, Missoula MT, At SoonerCon, in OKC, around June 15, also Spokon in Spokane, in July/August, Beyond that, we aren't sure.
March 2015
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Colder than the 9th hell’s hinges out there…

Pond’s frozen. Our friend Joan is out gardening. Spring fever is starting to hit.

We’re meeting Joan for lunch today if she’s not standing out in her garden as a stiff and frosty garden elf.

Time, however, to get out and get some stuff. If we don’t stop for cat food our lives will be in danger.

We have however, been able to diet the poundage off our two incipient meatloafs—took them off dry kibble and began feeding these little tubs of actual chicken and salmon we get at Petco: grain-free, actual shredded meat that looks like people food, but has what the kitties need in the way of taurine, etc. Our kitties instead of sleeping all day are beginning to climb their cat trees and wrestle — and yowl —

And both of them now have waists.

Come spring, I swear, I’m getting us back to our diets.

Better today.

Feeling pretty good—I think it was a vitamin-mineral shortage.

Went and got the blood draw for the endocrinologist (remember Grant’s favorite word?) and due to the snow last night—no wait. Amazing!

Feeling kind of iffy today—don’t know what on earth I could have been exposed to…

But feels a little like a bug…

Maybe dietary. I’ve been skipping a few meals to keep my weight down. Not that I miss them. But today I’m also hungry.

Very sorry to note the passing of Leonard Nimoy…

I know and have known a few of the Star Trek cast, and every ‘inside’ story I’ve heard about him is a good story. Talented, multi-talented, and general nice person. He worked as an actor right down to his final years, and proved he could play all sorts of roles. A life and a career well done.

The new machine arrived.

It’s ‘different’ than the previous laptops. Weighs more. Has a monster power adapter–3x the size and weight of the previous. Keyboard is much the same. It’s supposed to be lighted, which requires a bios adjustment—granted you have the hardware. I asked for ‘no camera’. I see no need for one, and imho, they are exploitable. Why should I have one and have it cluttering up the system?

I strongly suspect this was one of the delays. Dell’s Precision division has one major customer who makes the same demand—the Federal government and US military—and the ‘case’ issues that twice delayed the computer might have involved not having Property of the US Government tattooed on my camera-less case. But it WAS an option on the ‘build your own’ screen.

Faster. The hybrid solid state drive does speed things up. The screen is a tad larger, and HD—it is quite a screen.

I’m going to take my time switching over to the new machine, because I have time; and the Latitude will become my travel computer. I plan to straighten out some of my duplicated files and move them into unified folders before they even go on the disk. There’s a nice little freeware called Duplicate Cleaner, and it does seem to work well: helped me straighten out my photo files. I am asking myself if I dare turn it loose on my text files. Not without backing up to DVD I don’t.

The new machine is an i7 Intel type, of a recommended version of the i7, drive is part regular with a solid state ‘card’ for system files.

It doesn’t have a massive hard disk. It doesn’t have a massive amount of RAM—I can add that as needed, which I don’t think it will be. This handles graphics better than the Latitude.

And I hope to goodness it’s going to serve me for years.

The joys of plumbing…or WHY water escapes weird equipment…

Last night well after 10, Jane went down to the basement to get her laundry…and found a big puddle.

Our sump arrangement for the marine tank in the living room is right by the washing machine.

Two days ago, I spent at least two hours cleaning the skimmer — a fiendish plastic column, double-sleeved, with a removable collection cup atop, a device that is driven by a pump to froth water up the column into bubbles, which, if sticky enough, rise in the column to collect in the cup as nasty blackish green liquid to be thrown away: these are spare amino acids—fish waste, fish poo. The stuff that is the foam that collects on beaches from the surf of the natural ocean.

The skimmer has two air holes. But should the exit hose for the majority of the water clog—somehow—WATER jets from a particular air hole that due to its location—partially falls into the sump. The rest goes, we find, onto the table. Onto the floor. Despite the fact the hole is actually over the sump. But when it fountains, it goes, well, outside.

This water loss of course means the water level in the tank sinks, which sucks air into a tube arrangement connected to a sensor.

This signals another pump to turn on and pump fresh water into the system. In the usual course of things, this is because evaporation has made it necessary (water evaporates, salt doesn’t, and evaporated water has to be replaced by fresh water, not salt water.)

So—when the skimmer spat salt water out of one section onto the floor, the autotopoff obligingly put more water in. Fresh water. This alters the salinity of the system.

Double whammy. If Jane hadn’t caught it in the act, the entire freshwater reservoir could have emptied, pouring 30 gallons of freshwater into a 100 gallon saltwater system.

I tested the salinity. It’s supposed to be 1.024. It was 1.018. Double damn.

Fortunately—very fortunately—I have some 1.024 water. And the condition had not been of long duration. I began dipping 1.018 water out and replacing it with 1.024 water from the reserve supply.

After a while of this, I had the salinity back to 1.022. Not great, but you can’t push salinity too rapidly higher, or you can kill things from the change. If you don’t, they can die from the lack of salinity.

So today, on my agenda, is rigging a disaster tube onto the skimmer which, in such a situation in future, will route the water from the airhole on into the sump…and continue raising that salinity, which will be a tick higher with evaporation. I’m also going to turn on the portable dehumidifier, which will push evaporation faster. And I’m going to go on until I have the salinity at 1.025, right in the middle of the safe range. And I’m going to try to figure why that hose clogged.

Jane’s doing the taxes—oh, joy.

Fishtanks. When they behave well, they’re a pleasure. When a little tube that’s supposed to empty into the tank is positioned so it becomes a fountain two inches high—it’s a pain in the ass.

I’m having my morning coffee. After the third cup, I’m going to go downstairs and attack this situation.

I’m going in. Wish me luck.

I think Dell has gotten officially embarrassed…

Not only have they shipped my new machine four days early, they’re shipping it, apparently, overnight for Saturday delivery. And maybe my pitching several fits has shone a light into some areas of their machinery they need to look at.

We shall see. I hope this is good enough to make it worth all this!

Ah, me, the dissolute gamer…

We’re trying ‘dungeons’ for the first time in Guild Wars. Tried one, low-level, didn’t get quite through it, not enough firepower.
So what do we do? We volunteer as cannon fodder for a much higher level dungeon. I’ll say we learned a bit…but we also went way, way, way late. Poor Lynn was up til 2 am her time.

I do not think we will say yes to a GW2 dungeon unless we are much much much earlier in the evening.
And we still didn’t make it through.

We get better. We learn. But last night was like way late!

We got the pond fixed and one pump running

Jane got down and dirty and hauled rock out of the sodden pit of stones—the edge of the pond had depressed (fill dirt) and created a leak that lowered the water level several inches, making the red Japanese maple very happy. We will now have to remember to water it.

I went out after sand—couldn’t get play sand, but got tube sand, which is large-grained and coarse, usually used in concrete—and it worked really well. Jane got the sand in and reconstituted the bank, and we found the screw cap for the drain AND the filters, and got the smaller pond pump running. I’ll now have to attach the hoses—the filters are going to have to be washed within a couple of days. The pond, clear in the summer, is right now olive drab with winter debris and needs the filtration before we even start into stuff like Sludge Remover, which won’t really work at ca 50 degree water. We need to get above that. But the big fishes, Ari, and Renji, particularly, and maybe Kenpachi, are beginning to come out during sunny periods to catch a little sun on their backs. They sleep under the ‘winter cover,’ which is a cloth-covered circle of hose hosebarbed into a circle, which floats, catches leaves and such, and otherwise keeps sleeping fish safe from winter predators. THe netting is still on, so they’re safe to tootle.

We’ve already had a Great Blue Heron standing pondside, hoping, but I chased the blighter off.

For Joe

a hive you don’t have to get into?

Just looked kind of interesting.