BUY NEW BOOKS

New Foreigner Book!

Intruder

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.

Archives

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.
May 2015
M T W T F S S
« Apr    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Have they found Downbelow?

You may recall that Tau Ceti is Pell’s Star, with several planets, including Downbelow.Tau Ceti Planets

A drive to St Regis MT, which has really good huckleberry milkshakes…

And a pretty good restaurant.
We’re still reading on the road, and being on the road lets us discuss the story and figure things out.
This is the way we work. Jane is so much help. Two hours out, two hours back—and we’re pretty tired. Brain-tired. Which is a good thing.

Another road trip. This one to Grand Coulee Dam.

It’s quite a construction. I’m from the Great Plains, and was not real sympathetic to the Big Dams. Living up here, I’ve changed opinions.
What I remain sad about is the effect on native peoples and the salmon fisheries closely tied to them. I can say, however, that the native peoples have maintained their individual cultures, have found inventive ways—the casinos, etc—that provide finance, and while it was a terrible thing for their way of life, they do carry on in their individual identities, and have a respected voice in local life. It’s a case of —wish the land hadn’t been taken, wish the salmon still ran free in the Columbia, but— granted the direction of modern civilization, worse could have happened, worse power sources, worse industries, worse pollution.

And where the dam is sited, which is on the course of an ancient flood, it’s not as disruptive as it could have been: Lake Roosevelt, which holds water backed up, is more like a broadened river clear to Canada and into it, rather than a big fat lake spreading outward.

The surrounding area was pretty well high plains desert and still is in places. The water gets distributed upward by pumps into a canal and lake that supply water to irrigation, creating a massively fertile farmland, orchards, etc, and the power the dam generates reaches all over the NW, and down to California, with no smokestacks, no air pollution from the power source itself. And fierce laws likewise went into place to protect the salmon in natural streams. You cannot mess with those or you are in serious trouble. The sky stays blue, and the power comes by water running downhill. The power is also distributed very widely—and keeps rates low. It’s one of the cleaner means of doing several massive jobs—food and power at once. A day’s drive away, in Wyoming, sits a coalfired power plant that is fed by some of the longest trains I have ever seen on the rails, carrying coal to that plant. It is, for what it is, not belching black smoke. It seems to emit steam. But that’s a lot of mining, a lot of coal. I’d like to know how that one operates. But I think I prefer taking advantage of gravity.

I still have my reservations about Hoover Dam, which spends an awful lot of energy toward the lights of Las Vegas, about which I also have reservations, but Grand Coulee has done pretty ‘dam’ well for a project built by the relief efforts of the Great Depression, and it STILL has expansion capability: the newest bank of its turbines produces 60% of the energy the dam outputs. If they someday DO replace the two original arrays of turbines, it could be more productive than it is.

It’s not the only power-producing dam in the system. There are dams on the Snake as well and on some other rivers of which I don’t know the names. But the forests up here still stand and the salmon still exist, alongside major cities, so as civilization goes, it sits easier on the landscape than some solutions.

Windmills are also blossoming up here, along ridges that get a lot of wind, which is another way of using what flows naturally. And believe me, when wind blows across the Palouse, or down the Columbia Gorge, it is potent.

Atomic energy hasn’t fared so well here: Washington, volcanically active, and with quakes, has the Hanford reactors, which figured in early atomic power development. Notoriously so. It’s old, it was where they learned a lot of things they now know better than to do, and it’s a mess. There are local jokes about glowing sagebrush and strange rabbits, and keeping Hanford safe is kind of an ongoing effort—a lot of cleanup to do there. So it was not cost-effective, especially in the mop-up.

An interesting trip. I will say—don’t eat IN Grand Coulee township: eat on the south side of the dam. Or eat beforehand. Or pack a picnic lunch. But it is an interesting visit.

Now. Let’s get back to happier stuff. I like this blog to brighten people’s day…

So, well, realizing we’d become serious couch potatoes, Jane and I have taken to power-walking (tranlation: moving one’s tailfeathers, walking as if there were a prize involved) not for blocks and blocks, but on our short street, which has only 4-5 houses. We walk up to the corner, down to the other and do it twice about, fast and hard.

When I started, I was panting by the time we got to the first lap down. A week into this and I am not panting even as we complete the two circuits and come up the steps. This is rapid improvement. By next week, we may take it 3 laps. I’m completely content to push it to 10 before we start phase 2 of this, which is to take the car several blocks over to a very pretty public park—huge Ponderosa pines, which gives you not tangled trails, but a high canopy of shade and a flat prospect, where you don’t have to negotiate right of way with strange people in overcoats in July and people walking their Great Dane on the paths. Very nice place, where you can walk any sort of course you please. There’s even a latte stand at the end—but we’ll try to stay away from that.

My breathing is better, and we’re going to get better by starting with the do-able and finding something we can do quickly. This power-walking takes, obviously, less time than a casual stroll, and kind of wakes you up for the day, which is a good thing in allergy season.

Don’t know what our next drive may be, but I’m thinking of going on an overnight to Spencer, Idaho, to dig opals. Yes, there is an opal mine. I’m quite fond of the stone, and know something about them in their native habitat. More about this when it happens.

Don’t think we’re taking vacations: this will be a reading trip, again, to remind me of some background. And there’s just about enough of the book left to get us to Idaho. I just have to be sure the site is open. This is the sort of thing you want to do before high summer heat. I’d rather freeze atop a rock pile than feel like a fried egg on a griddle.

Familiarize yourself with the Hugo mess before voting.

Apparently a concerted effort gamed the Hugos. Hugo Site

Vox Day (cf Vox Dei, Latin for Voice of God) is actually Theodore Beale. Google those names as well as GamerGate, Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies, Castalia House, and read, before voting for the Hugos, but if you have the power to vote (you must be a member of Worldcon past or upcoming) *do not fail to vote*.

On the official Hugo Ballot, No Award is a category available to you, and that would avoid splitting the vote. The platform of Vox Day’s group is, in effect, well, this fellow said it well. This attack on the field we love should have been stopped before now. Now it’s in the hands of the Worldcon membership.

One writer’s view of the issues

Went on a reading drive yesterday—we do this when we need to think about a book

One person drives, one person reads. This amount of concentration on a necessary task keeps our focus at ‘reader’ level instead of editing—ie, it breaks a writerly obsession with ‘what-next’ and installs a ‘what’s actually there’ focus.

And we try to have a destination that’ll let us walk around, rest the voice, etc, which is a safety and health thing.

So we went to Dry Falls, at the end of Banks Lake, associated with Grand Coulee. This is a site associated with the Missoula Flood ca. 11000 BC, where glacial meltwater broke an ice dam and created one of the largest floods in the geologic record. Dry Falls was, at that time, 5x the length of Niagara, and the water was many times deeper. The cliffs that contained it a little upstream are 900 feet high, so what went over the brink was much deeper than what goes over Niagara. It flowed toward the modern Columbia, and created geologic markers all over this end of Washington. The way Niagara makes the ground shake—one can only imagine the effect of watching that go.

Now there’s only a chain of lakes, some in curiously round form, potholes created by rock rolling about a depression in the chaotic force of the water. Some are 50 feet deep.

It’s quite a sight. Wiishu went with us, and one of these days Jane will likely have the photo-adventure up on her site.

For some reason, I found the spam filter hysterically objecting to teacake recipes…

IN some things you just dread to ask why.

I have liberated the clog of 13 posts from the depths of the filter. I have not yet sorted them. I have no idea what could have triggered the problem, involving Hanneke, Teasel, and others—I find nothing particularly sinister in teacakes.

Lazy days; making forward progress….hard to get going when you’ve been sick.

You drop threads, because nobody plans to be sick. I was miserable enough there are days I don’t remember. Now I’m back to normal and I’ve got it all moving again. Trust me. We’re going to keep this book on time.

We did get some gardening done—one of those must-do’s, because the pond has to start running, fish have to be fed, trees have to be trimmed and fertilized. We planted a new crab apple ‘Prairiefire’ in front, completing our tree additions. We’re all pinks right now—the cherries and quince are in bloom.

I do need to get out there and feed the koi and set up the chair the wind blew over. We inevitably get a wind when we’ve just planted a tree, eh? Ordinarily it’s calm. Plant a tree and we get a gale.

Jane has the Pompeii exhibit pix up! C’mon, guys—comment over there! She worked hard!

Nuff said. Jane’s blog

Snow yesterday, then rain, now sunshine: spring in Spokane.

COnscience is telling me to go out there and dump fertilizer on the Japanese maples.

Indolence is saying I could do it tomorrow.

There are times one lousy little sentence delays you for a week in writing.

In reality—it’s not the sentence. It’s the notion how to stuff what has to happen into it.

Wisdom for the day.