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    

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.

It never fails that when Jane is nearing the end of a book…

We have a flood, fire, or a computer calamity…
In this case we are both nearing the end of our respective books and it’s my computer…

We called Dell; after days of fixes, from loading new USB drivers (the problem is ‘dancing’ up and down a set of USB’s) to flashing the bios—they concluded I need a new MOBO (motherboard) and sent one and a repairman, who began by saying he didn’t think it was the mobo, that the ‘dancing’ is indicative of a virus or spyware and that I should decline the mobo fix and undertake virus removal…which entails wiping the disk. He took away the new mobo and wished me luck with wiping the disk and reinstalling Windows.

Well, we pulled the affected laptop drive and first used a cable to connect it to the drive of another Windows computer, which threw a catfit, apparently—I wasn’t there— The object was to run Norton Antivirus via a Windows installation on THAT computer, which would be able to scan the ENTIRE disc.

So I was computerless all day, with the notion that we would have to re-image (trash and wipe) my hard drive, so I spent time backing up files, and calling Dell to arrange the disks needed to do that operation.

By evening, we got hold of Lynn, who does computers as a side job…and she said the dancing is more often than not a hardware problem. We called Dell and told them we had changed our minds, told them what the repairman had said, and that we weren’t convinced, and we wanted the new mobo instead. I had copied files to CD which the repairman had said couldn’t be done reliably with the virus he suspected; and I also ran Norton on the machine, which reported no virus…it couldn’t, from there, analyse the part of Windows software running it, but we were getting the most of it. AND the problem we have been having with the router the guy said was due to the virus…we are pretty sure has not ‘infested every computer in the house’ but is really just the crap modem Comcast gave us about the time we started having troubles with it.

So I called Dell for the multip-leth time and said I wanted the mobo change. They’re sending a new one. I hope they send a different repair guy.

Well, it was a stressful day. Really stressful. Wipe and reload every computer in our network? At tax time and with 2 novels near their ends? Gimme a break!

So this morning Jane pulled the drive again and this time put it into direct link with the desktop computer, and it ran Norton clean, no objections, no virus.

So Wesley has had his joke. All’s normal again—I’m waiting for the new mobo. I still have this computer working.
What can I say?