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.

Too stupid to function

I’m tired. I’m really tired. When you have to boot up a total book to edit, and simultaneously remember so, so, so much detail, you run out of juice. I’ve been slogging away at the pond and almost have it perfect. And then—

I notice the marine tank is p’o’ed. I can tell when the corals aren’t happy, and they’ve been iffy for days. I can’t put it off any longer. Gotta go down to the basement and investigate the sump and find out why.

Well, you run four basic tests. Number one—salinity. Just in case. It never gets off, but if you’re smart you run it anyway.

Bingo. Salinity should be 1.025. It’s 1.020. Which is Not Good. 1.023 is Too Low. So what do I do? I’m out of hyper-filtered water, which you use in mixing salt water. Gotta run the very slow filter. Jane offers a brilliant idea. Dip out 5 gallons, which a 54 gallon system with a 30 gallon sump will not notice much, and hyper-salt it. So I do that. Add a couple of cups. Salinity now 1.021. And…I go upstairs to attend the editing.

An hour later I come down to add another couple of cups. But you always test first. So—

Salinity is 1.019. Wak. Why?

Doh. I drew off 5 gallons of water and didn’t unplug the autotopoff pump, which, ‘thinking’ it’s evaporated, just shot 5 gallons of freshwater into the system. Banging head against wall. I then unplug the topoff pump, which I MUST remember to restore tomorrow—and draw 5 gallons of water out of the system, throwing the first one—


—into my new hyper-salt mix, diluting it.

Re-banging head against wall, I finish the job correctly, toss 4 cups of hyper-saltwater into the system (more would harm things) and go back upstairs.


I have to cook tonight. I do not think I shall cook anything needing me to handle knives.


9 comments to Too stupid to function

  • chondrite

    I hate days like that. “I haz a dumb; no can brain.”

    A friend gave us fresh eggplant, so tonight’s dinner will be eggplant parmesan. Unless I change my mind and dig the stuff out of the freezer for dim sum; then the eggplant parmesan will simply be mostly gotten ready, and bumped to Wednesday. I work late Tuesday nights, so it’s all leftovers, all the time. Is eggplant on your no-fly list? I forgot.

  • CJ

    I love it. Jane hates it. She tastes bitter twice as much as most people, while I taste sugar unpredictibly.
    But I fear eggplant’s no-fly: things that if dried would leave an appreciable residue, potatoes, eg, and corn, are off our list. Green leafy is ok. White pulp usually not.

  • paul

    🙂 “Well, you run four basic tests. Number one—salinity. Just in case. It never gets off, but if you’re smart you run it anyway.”

    Just like in electronics the first rule is “Check the power supply.” Now, this isn’t quite at the “is it plugged in” level, but there’s a reason why old timers throw a voltmeter on the circuit power! Been bit myself. Saves time when you start with Rule #1. 😉

    • brennan

      And “Each” power supply whenever you are multitapped. We had a minicomputer that was throwing intermittent QIC tape drive errors and chased it around and around. We had lost our local service rep, so I was doing the maintenance by phone; with UPS for parts. We finally solved it by trimming the +12V supply that the tape drive depended upon back up to the correct voltage.

  • agricola

    yes, stay away from knives. Possibly avoid stove, also.

  • WOL

    Sometimes I picture your household like those jugglers who spin plates on sticks and have to keep running up and down the rack, spinning plates back up to speed again. Exciting, certainly, but also nerve wracking.
    ( )

  • It is vastly reassuring to read this. The past few days, I’ve had a case of the can’t-help-its. Ambition and creativity and mood down.

    Finally, I decided what I needed was a break. Stop, rest, do something different, take a break. So that’s what I’ve been doing the last couple of days. It feels good. I’m sure my brain will have me back doing something soon enough.

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