New Foreigner Book!


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.



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.
September 2014
« Aug    

had a kitteh scare…

Seishi had a real 24 hour bout with nausea. This being (of course) Saturday we had to hale him forthwith into the vet’s before closing (at noon) and get him checked out. They think it’s just hairballs, and just shot him full of kitteh Exlax and fluids and sent him home. We’re going to be keeping an eye on him. He’s 3 years old and has a bad habit of scarfing down anything remotely resembling string, which is a very bad kitteh habit.

I was up half the night with the poor lad. Now he’s not real happy, but the vet says he has no fever, no sign of any blockage, just, we think, a real unhappy gut.


I am in love with this garden clipper…

Hands can get quite sore coping with shears and vines and bushes.

Got this lovely little Mantis grass and shrub trimmer, qv, which powers up a battery, then handily uses a back and forth action to make good cuts on branches up to a quarter inch.

Oh, have we got work for this one!

Bardarbunga is apparently sending an outrunner of magma over to a neighbor…

The linkAnd melting the ice over it.
It comes down to ‘nobody knows what will happen.’
But it is now pretty well officially erupting.

After the rock setup, under actinics only: tank by moonlight, just after fill dust settled: fish are hiding.

This is how the tank is for an hour before main lights come on and an hour after they go off: this is actinic (blue) light, which is high-energy light that penetrates deep. The fish have headed for their nooks in the rocks.

The tank, somewhat later…

shortly after the fillshortly after the fill

Thing’s taller than I am. 105 gallons. Dream tank of a lifetime—but boy! has it been a bear to get set up! I think we are finally where we should have been last year at this time!

Why the ocean is the ocean…

The ocean’s chemistry is really pretty simple: it eats rocks. It supports organisms that, from microcellular up, eat the dissolved rock and eat light of a favored spectrum, which energizes their little cell-parts and makes the eating re-constitute into shells, tissue, skeleton. If conditions go ‘off’ it fosters areas of the food chain that ordinarily are very sparse, and other things start to grow—like cyanobacteria, which lives on sunlight as a sheet of red thick feathery slime, photosynthesizes simple sugars, and gives off oxygen bubbles.

If it weren’t for cyano, earth wouldn’t have an oxygen atmosphere, wouldn’t have recovered after the Permian Extinction, and wouldn’t have green plants—which developed incorporating an element of cyano. It’s part of earth’s balance: the atmosphere goes wonky enough to distort the solar spectrum and you get lots and lots of cyano. Piles of it.

If it happens in your tank, alas, not so good. So you have to keep your lights burning true to the sun’s spectrum…and metal halide bulbs don’t so much burn out as ‘burn down’, or yellower.

Things die, and the ocean dissolves their skeletons and new critters suck it up and build their skeletons. The precise amount of calcium ocean water can dissolve is 2 tsp a gallon, unless the ph is high. Then maybe 2.5. People put white vinegar in their tanks to force a bit more into solution, but you have to supply the calcium in the first place…and what we use is, yes, Mrs. Wages’ Pickling Lime, meant for cucumber pickles. Works like a charm, dumped into the fresh water we add as make-up for evaporation.

A marine tank is surprisingly little care, so long as you keep fresh water slipping in via a float switch (a lot like your toilet tank) and keep the water circulating and a high rate of speed and the calcium in the water sufficient—since no more than 2 tsp WILL dissolve, I don’t even measure: I dump a whole packet in and trust basic chemistry to happen. You have to change out the lights periodically. And there’s a device called a skimmer, which produces bubbles in a chamber and extrudes froth, which is amino acids the system doesn’t want: with that, pure water, a good salt mix you buy—things are remarkably stable and coral grows and fish thrive.

A lot of people get spooked off aquaria at the goldfish level—and the pure answer is—goldfish are a type of fish better off in ponds, not gallon jars. They don’t get enough exercise and eat too much: recipe for bad health; and one gallon doesn’t provide enough oxygen, either: if in the least dirty, the water carries even less oxygen. And tapwater is full of stuff they shouldn’t be breathing, even if you correctly use water conditioner to remove the chloramine. Small wonder goldfish demise. They’re NOT an easy fish in the first place.

The hobby as a whole has marvelous equipment compared to what we used to use. We’ve got one freshwater and one marine tank, the latter of which shouldn’t have been as much trouble as it’s been, except that I got some iffy rock, which has taken months to condition into honest live rock—[meaning it's got bacteria living all the way through it and it's soaked out all the phosphate it came in with]—which now serves as a very important biological filter. It’ll be great rock, now. And the coral should start to grow.

This is how the the arrival tank arrived. 800 lbs. In the street. If it hadn’t been for Mike and Patty Briggs, who drove up from the Tricities (150 miles one way) to help us, and Tim Martin who came straight from work—we’d have been in real trouble. If you’re interested, I’ll show more pix of the tank during setup.

Just resting up…

…working on outline, which is not your A, B, C sort of outline, but a ragtag set of ‘this scene’, coupled with ‘things that need to be explained’ and ‘things that need to happen’ and ‘people in the scene’ so I can move them about. I used to do this on strips of paper. Now computers cut and paste.

Writing in series is kind of an assembly of a garment from a scrap barrel. You need notes. You have ideas. But you need organization.

And I want to have most of my flapping, squawking ducks in a row before I settle down to write that first sentence. If you write the wrong first sentence you can be two weeks trying to fit it in before getting sane and junking it.

So I try to be right the first time.

We’ve had some cooling rain. Weather is settling back to blue skies. Clean blue skies, which is a great thing. That means the fires are out.

The knee is doing pretty well—not so’s I want to hike and carry stuff, but doing ok.

Bardarbunga IS erupting.

If you have a long plane flight upcoming, heads up. This volcano could affect air travel, particularly in Europe.

It’s still erupting under the glacier: this will likely produce catastrophic local flood, once it breaks out. In the meanwhile the Icelandic government has evacuated areas to the north and put a no-fly around the volcano itself: Icelandic airports are still open.

Managed to trip and jolt knee last night and half the night had knee pain

…the real good news is that, 7 days after the original (2nd) injury, it’s good. Feeling near normal this morning! Yay! That’s one monster medical bill I won’t be having! Not to mention having a functional knee!

The knee is improving…slowly.

I’ve now gotten to where bed is the only really uncomfortable place to be. There’s something inherently unfair about this, because I’m quite tired and really need sleep. I’ve tried every possible position of pillows, padding, etc, but, alas, the swelling just needs to go down.

Poured cats and dogs this morning. Which was nice. I love the sound of thunder and rain — especially when I’m not out in it. I’ll take a tent or a roof or a car—but being rained upon, well, not so much.

I think the seasons are headed toward a turn. After a couple or three weeks of 90 degree temps verging on 100F, we’re now in the 80′s with a couple of 70′s. I can deal with this.

There is so much to do—and unfortunately I’m not able to get out and do it. I need to change out the lights and filters on the marine tank, which is in shameful neglect, but no can do. The filter wrench on the reverse osmosis filter once it’s sucked down hard is a two man operation with good leverage…and I’m not up to hauling on that, which requires, yes, bracing and shoving or pulling. But—it’s less swollen today than yesterday, and the swelling is moving with gravity, which is a good thing—it’s getting better, and the likelihood of damage that’ll need medical intervention is less.

Anyway, I’ve had my ‘vacation,’ several days of convention, painkillers, eating too much, and lying abed, and time to get back to work.