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.
October 2014
« Sep    

Jane’s birthday approacheth…

Our local watering hole gives you a free steak on your birthday, so guess where we’re dining come Friday night. ;)
Looking forward to it!

Darwin-era tech…

I have always been fascinated by weather.
One of my earliest favorite gifts was from my maternal uncle, who for no particular reason gave his 7-year-old niece a barometer…plastic body, barometer, thermometer.

I was early on aware of the weather. I was a kid in years of serious drought in Oklahoma, in which they were hiring cloud-seeders, and begging the local fort to shoot artillery toward the heavens. But you have to have a cloud to seed, and there was nothing. The appearance of one tiny lost cloud a month would send people running for their houses to tell people inside to come out and look, and people would stand watching the transit of that one cloud, scanning the horizon for others…which didn’t come. Occasionally you’d see one rain—virga, meaning the water would evaporate in mid-air.

Water was important to us. And it was general lean times. We fished on weekends, because a fishing license was a lot cheaper than a trip to the grocery. So we caught fish. And for me the most wonderful thing was being where there was the sound of water, and the most wonderful of all was going to the old boathouse, and just sitting in one of the wooden rowboats housed there and feeling the water move.

When we finally did get storms again, we got tornadoes. So indeed, I grew up pretty weatherwise. And that barometer still hangs on my bedroom wall, chipped on one edge, during a move. But intact and working. I have a ‘weather glass’, one of those swan-necked bulbs that uses colored water to predict a change in the weather.

I’ve seen a ‘storm glass’, but never had one, and saw one offered by Hammacher Schlemmer this year: so I looked them up. They were provided to Charles Darwin’s voyage on the Beagle, but they’re not really reliable—an odd mix of camphor, alcohol, and some minerals…that are supposed to respond to barometric shifts. Exaggerated claims are made for them, such as predicting wind, etc. I don’t think I will get one: they’re a bit pricey, and a curiosity, more than an instrument.

But that led me toward one of the absolutely weirdest weather contraptions ever invented. When the British government came to doubt the accuracy of the storm glass, and before barometers, they investigated the Tempest Prognosticator, which defies credulity—but apparently was a real deal, involving leeches kept in vials. I offer it for your amusement.

Still editing. After a while, one’s brain hits overload.

It’s the details you have to keep. Remembering. Weaving things in.

It’s like packing a suitcase full of snakes.

I’m down to the last quarter of the book. I’ve made it make sense.

I think.

The Diet, revisited.

A study that casts some light on why we diet and can’t lose weight…and also points up why one rodent is not like another. IE, if you’re doing a study, species matters.

There’s a second study like this one, which points to a hormonal deficiency at birth, while this one seems to indicate it could occur later in life.

Some of these studies are in Petri dishes, where it doesn’t do very much about that bag of donuts we just consumed…but some are not. At least they’re identifying chemical pathways, which could point in useful directions. The way we can not eat but not lose weight is a very complex question, as it appears, going all the way down into cellular levels, and may have a survival value when it comes to lean times, or when it comes to the need of women to sustain a child. And it’s become a problem to high-stress periods of life when people eat for energy and aren’t getting that either, as this study sort of points out. Just kinda interesting, in solving one of life’s little injustices. Jane and I have been kind of in a holding pattern on the diet, where it comes to dropping any points, but we’ve not fallen victim to the massive re-gain. We’re getting through the fall, when we have my birthday and Jane’s birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Having our nice holiday food, but being mindful that not every day in between is a holiday. Post New Year’s we’re going back on a more restrained diet to finish the Battle of the Bulge. The weight didn’t come on us all in one year. It’s taking more than a year to lose it. But we’ll get there.

Fat and energy: Science Daily

Got the flu shot.

With ebola going on in the news, if I get a fever, I don’t want me or a doc to have to stop and wonder if it’s ‘just the flu’. And I don’t want to be sitting in a doctor’s waiting room with sick people to get my shot. So I went to the supermarket pharmacy.

It’s, the pharmacist said, the same type as last year’s. Which isn’t the one, as I recall, that gives me laryngitis…funny to say, there is one type of flu vaccine that does. Dunno why. No, this one just makes the arm sore. Jane got tetanus in one arm and a flu shot in the other, and has two sore sides. Me, being stupid, I had the shot in the arm I regularly sleep on. Doh. Won’t do that again.

At any rate I am now flu-proof, or will be in a couple of weeks as the immune response cranks up.

Don’t believe it about ‘teachers never get the flu.’ I swear in my years in classroom, I had the flu. I had respiratory crud. I had gut crud. I lived alone at the time, and there were days I was too sick to stand up long enough to trust with a cooking chore—might leave the burner on. I’ll tell you chicken soup straight from the can with no heating is real yucky.

Then they got the flu vaccine, and I have not had the flu since, tra-la! Some unlucky souls don’t do so well with it, but since I’ve started doing that annually I haven’t even had a winter cold very often—a few sinus infections that started actually with allergy, but not the fevers and sniffles sort of common cold. Which I am also happy to do without.

Pneumonia shot wasn’t so good for me: had it last year and won’t have to have it again for, they say, five years, by which time I hope they have changed the base. I broke out in a massive plaque welt at the injection, really nasty—’they had to fill out a report for the CDC’ kind of bad welt. So maybe it was the base for the vaccine, and they’ll improve it in five years. That was nasty.

Flu shot looks to be maybe 3 days of heat and soreness in the arm, no laryngitis—good thing.

Jumpstarting a Prius…

A regular car can do it.
But Jane’s car was dead too, from the time we knocked the trickle charger off the ledge. It gets better.

Round one.
Triple-A comes out, hooks up, says Jane’s battery is iffy, but maybe just needs a charge. We get it going.
We drag out the Prius manual and find no, do not open the back battery pack, which is a monstrous lot of volts. Go to the hood, take the black plastic cover off the terminal which itself has a red plus cap on it, rectangular. OK.
We jump it, no problem. Guy thinks it’s charged.

Round two.
Jane has a doc’s checkup (routine) for the morning, so I go out to double check.
Both cars, dead as mackerels on a sunny beach.

I call AAA again, (that’s the American Automobile Association) and out comes the same guy who’d been called to a neighboring town and took most of an hour getting to us…
Well, we pull Jane’s battery, and funny thing, though it had been sold to about in 2012, the sticker on it says 2009. This is not amusing. We are going to have a conversation with AAA.
So that gets replaced. And we can’t complete the sale because Jane has to find her new license plates. Which she does.
Then we jump the Prius again, and it takes.
SO we end up…

some days…

We’ve had mice before in the detached garage. They made a heckuva mess, ate a mattress…
Our cats need exercise.
Well, so we need to clean up the mess out there and make it kitty-safe.

This turned up the fact the Prius’ battery is dead. Mmmm. Well. So we CAN’T leave the lights running. Manual says so. But now what?

Mmm. And there’s Jane’s car, which has been deader ‘n the proverbial mackerel since the trickle charger fell off the shelf last spring.

So we call AAA. Bless ‘em, we figured how to jump a Prius. That was a good thing. On newer models, there’s a cap on the 12-volt battery that rules ‘em all, and you take it off and follow the diagram in the manual.

Sucked it up, bigtime. Instant. We think it’s ok.

Then we attacked Jane’s car. Couldn’t find the key, finally did. Turns out the battery (bless you, Mike’s Towing, as honest guys who didn’t try to sell us a new one) is live. Just needs a charge. We got it going, got the thing running—and slammed the door on ‘lock’ with the key inside. Spoiled by the Prius, which beeps at you if you try to leave a key inside, and won’t lock the door.

We now know how to get into much more modern cars illicitly, but before we could quite complete the operation, Jane found the one other key, and we got in.

We believe we have both cars now running. Morning will tell.

This was one of those nights when it’s hard to remember it started a year ago with mice in a mattress.

We ordered pizza for supper.

I hate waiting for lab tests…

OTOH, clean bill of health. Happy dance.

Took a reading drive Monday…really excited…

We haven’t done this often enough. Jane and I took off for a 200 mile drive to Missoula MT and Ruby’s Inn, where we got a lovely room by the streamside, and had a nice breakfast pre-paid in the room charge, sausage, biscuits and gravy, corned beef hash, scrambled eggs—oatmeal and waffles had we wanted them; plus some little pastries. That’s, between the two of us, equal to a 20.00 breakfast, for sure, so knock that off the hotel bill. Very reasonable. And the walk on the streamside in the morning—gorgeous. The air was chill, so very still even the leaves of cottonwoods weren’t stirring, and birds had to work, not laze along on the winds…. ;)

When we drive we read one of our books ready for pub and discuss, which always means going back in to fix things, which I am doing…happy, happy, that it seems to work.

Progress is good.

We plan to do this more often.

Downright nippy this morning…and the knee is steadily improving…

Seems as if the antiinflammatory (simple Advil) was what it needed. Kudos to the doc, who alas, has now left the clinic for another place, wherever that is. But I’m starting to feel secure on stairs again, as in, normal. That’s a good thing.

I hate it when I lose time due to something like this. I had such a good start on this next book, and I was forced to go to a process I don’t regularly use and start a detailed outline, so I wouldn’t drop stitches…you can’t live on painkillers without getting apt to drop stitches.

I am glad to find, though I was a wee bit zooey, I wasn’t ‘off.’ The outline reads clean, and I’m going to go on by that process since I’ve started it, which is one reason (outside of the fact that, due to painkillers, I didn’t even think of it) there’s no new graph. The outline now masses a few thousand words…haven’t even counted. But it’s making sense.