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.
March 2015
« Feb    


Just deactivated my Twitter account. Damned thing was echoing. My fault.
Anyway, say that I’m now on my third order for the same computer with Dell, and they are continuing to screw up.

Apple tree 1—CJ—-50.

I couldn’t find the big loppers, so I took after apple pruning with rose clippers and a Japanese-style pruning saw. I bled a bit — I have a very bad record with hand-saws: knuckles get in the way—but outside of dripping all over the project, I got all those suckers and am relatively undamaged. An espaliered (closely pruned 6-branch squished tree) apple requires careful pruning or it becomes round and bushes all over. What it should become is a bonsai’ed flat tree that produces full-sized apples.

I haven’t yet Preened the walkways or gotten after the leak in the pond—which is (I hope) merely the heavy gravel having squished the liner down too low there, and that can be fixed by digging it out and bracing it up.

Joe, the second waterfall is looking good. Now if only our lotus wintered over—that dastardly raccoon noshed on the pods and pulled it up, right before the freeze, when we really wanted to sink it in the big pond, but it was so muddy we feared it would just froth up and fall apart if we tried that. So it may have frozen…

But I made my first foray of the spring into the back yard.

My tasks for spring…

…we’re not there yet, but I have an apple tree back there that sorely needs pruning. And I have to do it before it wakes up.

That’s about a 30 minute job.

The koi pond is leaking, which is more than a 30 minute job, but I think I know where our problem is.

We don’t have a ‘firm’ edge: we have underlying HPDM liner that comes up over the berm and is pinned down by loose basalt rock of some weight. The plantings are just inboard of that edge.

There are a few exceptions. One notable one is what we call our ‘pebble beach,’ an area at the west end where we have simply thrown down river rock. I note the water stopped sinking with part of the pebble beach underwater, but still lower than the rest of the edge. I think, while the pebbles don’t individually weigh much, they also tend to travel down the slope independently, which our rocks don’t.

It’s my theory the mass of river pebbles has slid a bit and depressed the ground underneath—thus watering the surrounding shrubs, but also lowering the water level unless the topoff hose is running, which it isn’t, in winter.

So the leak’s been going on but was only turned up when the topoff hose was shut down for cold weather. And this spot is really suspect as our problem.

This means that before it gets warm enough to start the pond up again (the fish are slowly showing signs of waking) I’m going to have to get out there with a hoe and rake and haul enough of that pebble up off the liner that I can find the edge of the liner, and build up the earth that’s compacted and sunk there, thus raising the edge of the liner to equal the rest of the waterline.

Muddy, cold, and involving quite a few pounds of rock, a hoe, a wheelbarrow, a spade, gloves and rubber boots, a lot of hot coffee, and some bags of sand, which will resist compaction. This is not going to be a fun job.

They promised us snow….

WE got a sprinkle of it.

Bummer. Wish we’d spread the bounty out a bit. It’s been a warm winter. So was the last one. I’m not missing chopping through the snow plow berm with a garden pick, but we could use some snow.

The science lads say it’s climate instability: things shift back and forth. They’re trying now to figure if there’s a trend, but our records on this continent are ice cores and rock scratches and we could seesaw along between warm and cold winters up here for decades or longer. I’m hoping for snow next year. And I know the east coast is hoping we get it.

Got a call from DAW —galleys—…

for Tracker had been transmitted electronically just before the big computer blow-up, and I’d flat forgotten. My e-mail is still wonky: I never know whether something has been sent or not, and sometimes it has and sometimes it perhaps hasn’t.

At any rate, yesterday I got a frantic call about ‘where’s the galleys?’ and had to drop everything and re-read Tracker for errors in the final, galley-type pdf. Started yesterday, reading for things like periods instead of commas as well as bad hyphenation divisions between pages and outright oopses in the text, so it’s a different kind of reading than just reading. Tiring.

I got on it about 3pm yesterday and finished the whole book about 1pm today. And the corrections, about 15 in number, are phoned in and made the deadline. It’s going to production as of 5pm Eastern.

Now I feel as if I deserve a vacation, and have Bren’s I’ve-been-working-hard headache. But I need to get back to the book I was writing, which was right at a major turning point.

It’s sure a lot easier than it was before the industry started going from computer scripts, which is why it’s a real good thing to be good at punctuation and spelling in this career. Thank goodness for a language background.

Did I mention we’ve had the first Great Blue Heron of spring? I think the season is headed in that direction. He flew off, disgusted by the netting that covers the pond. The koi have begun to put their noses out. But we’re still wearing down coats.

Grey and overcast here, and has been for a week: humidity quite high. Spring in the Inland Empire, on the skirts of the Selkirks, and between the Spokane and the Palouse rivers. It’s wet.

Jane just came in, after I’ve heard drilling and fastening as she puts up shelves. Seems we have a ceiling that isn’t flat. And her overhead calc is, after drilling, apparently not exact. Mmm. Frustrating.

Her computer memory which was supposed to be winging its way here has not been through a Post Office scanner in, oh, three days. We are giving it a little grace for the big Eastern storm with delay of planes—but pretty soon we’re going to need to complain.

My computer is functioning fairly well, except the mail thing. Thank goodness: if I had lost the file, we would have missed deadline, and there would be 15 mistakes in Tracker which now will not be there.

So a productive day, give or take my mail, Jane’s ceiling, and missing memory chip. I am asking myself if I really want salad for supper—I am getting very tired of Caesar dressing and spinach salad and chicken. But if I cook the chicken with curry spice, I think I can tolerate another go. Lynn A. gave us this lovely fig balsalmic I’ve fallen in love with, and pouring a little of that on (not Jane’s cuppa, but certainly mine!) may make it pretty darned good.

More computer craziness…

I refer you to Jane’s blog for the full and gruesome details, but suffice it to say that Dell slipped a stitch or two in its ordering, and the new computer is scheduled for delivery Feb 9 instead of Jan 28. On the other hand, we had a good trip, splurged on a Cougarburger (not the content: the university football team down in Pullman WA, where the best commercial burgers in the local universe can be had) and a blackberry/crunchy peanut butter shake, completely blew our diet, and had a very nice drive through the Palouse hills.

We are NOT having the weather that canceled over 5000 flights in the US — we were nearly 50 degrees yesterday, a day which seems to point toward spring, time to trim the apple tree and throw phosphate on the wisteria—

But you never trust Washington weather between now and St. Paddy’s Day. Snow is not out of the picture, and is in fact a possibility for Sunday night.

My profound sympathies for any of you on the Eastern seaboard. Looks like a lot of shoveling. Hope you are indoors, in your own places, warm and safe.

I finally got a mouse that works…

I’ve always had a bit of a hand tremor, particularly on the right—and it doesn’t bother me shooting bows, guns, throwing darts, fencing, or anything like that…but it’s played hob with mousing, including touchpads. My answer has generally been a trackpoint (eraserhead) mouse on the keyboard or a trackball.

Finally have found a mouse that lets me put my thumb and first finger at an angle that negates the tremor. Very simple thing, but it’s amazing. No shake. And it works. Wasn’t cheap. But it also got rid of the cord that is another tremor-complication. I can do this. It’s amazing. I still like the trackpoint for writing. But for gaming, wow. The thing is a Logitech G700s, and I’m quite amazed to be able to make this thing work. In one sitting I went from—how on earth can I make this thing move the character around, what do you DO to make that happen? —to wow, this is nice!

Look out, world. I can mouse!

For those looking for a bargain on GW2, go to the gw2 site this weekend…

They’re selling a new expansion pack and they’re offering a huge discount on the software.

You need a computer of about 8 meg RAM to run this—4 meg can do it, but you don’t see the costumes and things may jerk a bit.

You pay ONLY for the game, which is played online, and the data stored online. You link up with it, create your account based on the number of your game, and if you are frugal you will not pay another penny for it, unless you opt to buy something from the store. Play is free, with an account.

It’s an sf/fantasy mashup, the big villains are the Elder Dragons, and you use anything from megalasers to swords and trebuchets. There’s an emphasis on cooperation, meaning you get points for being helpful to other players, like resurrecting them, and there’s a general atmosphere of courtesy—senior players may divert over to a road to rez a downed player, and to defend them if it looks as if player is having trouble staying alive. The map is divided into difficulty levels. Seniors are ok to go into the junior areas, but juniors are advised not to get too ambitious too fast. You can play it with an ordinary mouse/trackball and your keyboard keys.

When you sign on you get to choose which server you belong to. That’s the significance of being asked to choose between Jade Quarry, Black Coast, etc. This is the ’cause’ you will fight for if you go into World Versus World play, which is map war, one server’s people against another, in large groups. Generally, however, you are in Player versus Environment, which is normal hiking about the map (which you can do solo) whacking bosses and mining and gathering stuff and getting more affluent and more powerful. There is also personal achievement, in which you pursue one of several ‘life story’ adventures, which tie into the history of the world.

THey’re announcing Windows 10. I’m NOT impressed…

WE all get to wear silly glasses and wave in the air while staring off into imaginary space—just think of the oblivious walkers cellphones have given us. I’m sure that waving invisible objects into view and printing them will improve our computing skills and reorganize our databases without a single error. Better yet, we can 3-d print our silly waves into new artforms. Whoopee! I could only wish this were April 1—but I’m afraid they’re serious.

It’s back. But guess what?

They completely ignored our letter telling them the mobo and usb board had been replaced less than a week before, replaced those, and shipped it back.

It naturally has problems, one of which is that Norton disappeared: they shouldn’t have touched that.

So I called repair again. An hour and a half on the line with one fellow—turned up the problem as related to need to set the usbs that draw power NOT to turn off after 5 minutes. Eh?

And apparently ‘power surge’ doesn’t mean power surge, it means—check your usb settings.

THis would be a software/setup problem. We adjusted it.

I proceeded to download Norton.

And started to restore my files.

Blue screen of death re a, yes, a conflict error…forget the exact terminology, but things weren’t matching up as they should. I note my system clock is some 2 hours and some minutes OFF. I call Dell. Get a different repair person.

Who updates a bunch of drivers and resets the system clock.

We are now downloading my files from Carbonite back onto that computer, and the word from Carbonite is, don’t turn off your computer and b) expect this to take ‘a few days,’ unquote.

Jane has had a mucky day of her own. I am not having a good one. I tell you, if I didn’t know a new system without such issues is arriving in a little more than a week, I’d be vewy, vewy angwy just about now, to quote Mr. Elmer Fudd.

It’s remotely possible that this machine will rise from the dead and perform immaculately, but after all that to-do, they send it back with a screwed up system clock and a protective program uninstalled? Yeah. I strongly suggested they send around a USB memo to the repair people online AND to their center down in Houston. I thought that was moderately phrased.