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.
April 2014
« Mar    

In an attack of brilliance, I called Lowe’s to ask them the weight of these panels…

The ones we have, that is.
Since they list every other parameter on their website but weight.
The answer is 45 pounds. Yay! Jane and I together could have done it if it were twice that, but we’d so much rather lug 45 pounds than 90.

We’re also hoping the installers had the decency not to strip a majority of the screws.

We’ll undo about 12 screws on each panel, leave the fence posts standing, and arrange and prop the pieces in a smaller ring from garage to side fence, then from side fence to house. Then we take down the big one that runs from garage to driveway gates, then to the front gate, then to the house. Hopefully this will not be too big a deal.

Getting them to stand up…we’ve got a few cinder blocks, some garbage cans, and various things we may be able to use as props. By the time we finish Rube-Goldberging this perimeter fence into some sort of fence-ness, it should be its own burglar alarm. Touch it and Lord knows what will happen, but it’ll be noisy!

Permit in hand, and contract signed, fence materials waiting…

I get a call from Rick, the fence guy stating the utility people are going to come to mark the buried lines. Fine. And I should paint white on my fence (dark red)…so,,,,
huh? I say, turn the telly off and ask him to repeat that.

Yep. I went out and nailed two dish cloths to the fence so the marker guys don’t mark up our rockwork in front, but concentrate their efforts on the fence line. Seems these guys don’t have to read a form—just follow the white flags.

Welcome to the world of bigtime construction.

I see now how bulldozers hit gas lines and create disasters. Somebody ran out of dishcloths.

We got the new filter in—and today we get the building permit…and call the fence guy…

We’re hoping for a smooth app and permit downtown—it’s only a mile or two from here. The weather for this operation is sketchy, but that’s the season: typically it rains often, but no gully-washers (Southern US term for a large downpour) or toad-stranglers (similar.) It’ll rain gently for a while (thunder is quite rare) and stop, rain a bit and stop.

I think I scored in this Watt brand 20000 gallon filter: from Home Depot, it’s about the same level of filtration as a Brita filter, it’s easy to replace, once you have the fittings in place, and it’s dense enough to do some good: most of these filter, including Brita, use a little zeolite and a lot of coconut shell charcoal for carbon filtration. This thing weighs about a pound or so, and it could go 20000 gallons, possibly. We’ll see. They call it a 5 year filter. That depends on how bad your water is. And the nasty trick of any filter using carbon—when it ‘saturates’ with whatever you’re trying to remove, it starts giving it back to you. In Jane’s case, stomach upset that is pretty definite as to kind and cause. So we know it’s filter-changing time.

We have our diagram for the permit people. We go down, say, ‘Existing fence replacement,’ pay the tax, and hopefully bring back our permit.

The big job is going to be unscrewing all those fence panels and trying to prop them up as a quasi-fence inside the perimeter, leaving the posts standing. Since what we’re getting is 6 foot rather than 8 foot panels, there will be new postholes. And hopefully this will be the end of fence woes. It’s a chunk of change to do it, but the fence is guaranteed for many years, and will look much better. Now we have to get to finishing the brick re-painting near the back door—when the builders put the brick veneer on the new addition (before our time) to the house, they used a brick that didn’t match—Part of our kitchen and our mudroom used to be an attached garage: they filled in the old garage door opening with dark brick, and the rest involves orange and red and dark and ochre tones. We had an inspiration and began painting the brick in the proper colors in the same staggered pattern as the rest of the brickwork, and it worked really well—but we didn’t get the bit around the back door. This is a summer’s project.

I do have a new article in the How to Write section, on how Jane and I work. YOu might find it interesting. And Jane has a new photo story on our trip to Priest Lake on her page.


A diatribe on big-box hardware stores: forgive me, I’ve had another soaking-wet epiphany

What’s wrong with big-box hardware stores?
You go there to replace an icebox water filter. Naturally you go to Plumbing. Now, Lowes has a Whirlpool filter which takes a shove-connect 1/4 inch tube—but half the time one of the other tube inserts won’t take and it leaks like a sieve. Or Niagara, if it pops out. Soaked from head to foot trying two of those.
Which ran a major monster Lowe’s out of ALL their supply of filters for icebox icemakers.
So I go to Home Depot.
In this case the filters are in the Appliance Department, and they sold me one without a shove-in connect: it needs a brass plug, and two brass quarter-inch screw-downs to create a connection. Fine.
Back to Home Depot to get the connectors. THEY sell the filter, but not the connectors. Huh? For what? I fear I rather well lost it well enough I had about half a dozen HD employees trying to find a solution: plumbing didn’t have it. They had the ‘vampire’ saddle tap that can take the tubing FROM the pipe. But no connectors. They have another package that has connectors for a ridiculously reinforced spendy hose (like a firehose!) that is another variety of 1/4 inch hose…but my filter is downstairs near the water source (recommended by their own instructions) and they want me to fish this 8 foot hose 15 feet up to the fridge to connect it. Nope. I don’t think so.
After a great deal of handwaving, they produce another filter that does come with the two essential connectors packaged with it.
I rather imagine I’m now infamous at HD. All I wanted was a connection that has to be in at least every house in America with an icemaker and a GE brand fridge, and probably many more brands, not to mention other applications. Low pressure 1/4″ water delivery does not require a braided-fiber reinforcement.
But no, we’re supposed to throw up our hands and call the plumber to change out a friggin’ water filter cylinder.
Not this household. Not if I have to resort to aquarium supply to get connectors.
I really miss Snyder’s Hardware, wooden floor groaning under the weight of 50 years accumulation of bits and bobs that fit almost anything or can be made to fit.

Quarter inch hose, f’ gosh sakes? A common appliance need?
I can do without the 10 choices of garden benches and pots from Thailand. I’d really like a hardware that stocks ordinary connectors.

OMG—the fence is here.

We haven’t gotten our permit.
We haven’t lined up help to take down the old fence.
They told us two weeks.
[racing in useless circles, here]
typical, typical of our projects!

Spring has truly sprung here…iris are sending up shoots, buds on trees…

are increasing.

The pond is now clear, clear to the bottom. All our fishes are happy. I can’t feed them yet.

I’m doing the final edit on the NEXT Foreigner book before writing the ending.

The house is a mess. But we are bringing order out of that chaos. Slowly. While working on the garden and two books.

Morning, and I hear birds singing…we don’t have the more colorful prairie birds this deep in the city, but I have my silly sparrows, and they’re back in the quince bush outside my window, in mating frenzy. They like our pond—they’re the cleanest birds in north Spokane; and they’re not afraid of the cats—who watch through the window. I miss our rosy house finches, but not the apartment where they visited.

So I’ll take my rowdy little browncoats, and enjoy them at very close range—only 3 feet from my chair. They’re not afraid of me, either. And they’re back every year.

The quince is about to bloom: it’ll be pink when it gets the blooms going—monster bush, high as the eaves.

April Fool’s day…

Articles you read won’t necessarily be on the level.

Another quote from the Science Channel…

From How It’s Made.
“…quote from How It’s Made…Science Channel…
“Now full of sweet fruit, the worker positions the crust over the pie…”

Discuss. [facepalm]

OMG—accidentally caught a bit of Ancient Aliens by error…while trying take a nap….

…I was SO tired, but I could feel my brain draining.

Aliens from across the galaxy coming here to mine gold to replenish their atmosphere…

I had to get up. The stupid was so strong in that program…
I had to turn it off.

The stupid was so strong it could alter DNA in the hearer…

They’re sending the guy back with the mobo…

He’s not happy. He’s complaining how much time he spent on us.

But hey, we want what we want.

And if his company isn’t paying him for his time, that’s between him and his company.