Inhuman Swill : Page 54
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Version control

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A technical question for you techie writer types out there. Do you use version-control software to keep a repository of your work? If so, what? What platform do you run it on? What do you like? What don't you? I know CVS pretty well from my programmer days, but I'm not sure that's what I want to use for my writing. Maybe Subversion? SVK? I've just started looking into this, and there are a whole lot of options.

I used to just use the Windows Briefcase to keep my writing in sync between machines, but my new laptop with Vista doesn't seem to implement Briefcase in a way that's entirely compatible with older versions, and anyway it doesn't do squat to keep copies of older drafts around. I'd like to start doing something a little more sophisticated than that.

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What's your favorite subgenre?

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I'm part of this week's "Mind Meld" over at SFSignal.com. The question under discussion is: "What's your favorite sub-genre of science fiction and/or fantasy?"

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Too much light and all that

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One of the surprises of our new neighborhood is that we're a rather short walk from the legendary Neo-Futurarium. We rolled the die and came up winners.

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We are trying to break your heart

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Moving ... again
The movers are here. The contents of the apartment are draining into the truck with disconcerting rapidity. There's not much about this neighborhood that we will miss, but one of our great regrets just walked past us up the sidewalk. Our neighbor John Stirratt, bassist for Wilco and before that for Uncle Tupelo, just ambled past pushing a stroller on his morning walk. He glanced at the open front door of our apartment, and at the hustling movers, as he passed by me and my armful of odds and ends, and it was probably just my imagination that he looked a little disappointed. We've said hello to him but never felt comfortable "bothering" him to try to strike up a conversation. We've struck up conversations with plenty of other people in the neighborhood, though none of those conversations ever led to making actual friends. But even given that dismal batting average, why did we shy away from even talking to the most obviously interesting* person on our side of the street? I feel very sad about this failure, and like a giant asshole. Maybe he and his family are lonely here too.


* I don't mean to imply that no one else on the street could possibly be interesting to talk to, just that Stirratt represents a subject I know already that I'm interested in.
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Computers take pictures of each other

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Computers take pictures of each other, part one
After I brought my new laptop home yesterday, what was the first thing I had to do? Of course:

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Me meme

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Me meme
(Via [info]roadnotes.)

Take a picture of yourself right now. Don't change your clothes. Don't fix your hair. Just take a picture. Post that picture with no editing. (Except maybe to get the image size down to something reasonable. Don't go posting an eight megapixel image.) Include these instructions.

I had to go into the pantry to get my iPhone, which was there recharging, or otherwise you might have seen all the packed boxes behind me right now. (Though I've been ferrying our plants, art, computer equipment, and other odd items to the new place all week, the big move takes place Saturday.) It only occurred to me after the fact that I could have used the webcam built into this fancy new Toshiba laptop (purchased yesterday, because packing my ass off doesn't mean there isn't time to go to Circuit City and buy a new laptop with which to write new stories in the new apartment), but I'm not used to thinking about there being a webcam in front of my face all the time yet. I just finished repainting a little strip of wall in the kitchen where our paper towel holder used to be. Fortunately we still have the leftover Glorious Gold in the storage room in the basement. Ella is keeping me company, by the way:

And believe it or not, that's her prescription bottle in the cabinet behind my left shoulder.

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William Ratfriend

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It's raining fairly hard here in Chicago this morning—not like in Texas, certainly, but hard enough that there's standing water a foot deep in places on our street. Ella and I just got back from an hour-long walk in that deluge. We had a famous time, chasing wet squirrels in the park and clambering on the maze of playground equipment that is forbidden to dogs.

Ella was kind enough to deposit a pile of turds near a large plastic rolling waste bin. It was the kind of bin with a hinged lid that is supposed to stay closed to keep rats out. The lid was open, though, and I swung the tied plastic bag of Ella's turds through the air and into the bin. Two points!

But the thud and swish of the bag landing in the bin was followed immediately by a harsh, raspy squeal. Startled, I moved near the bin and peered over the rim. A medium-sized rat was hunched in the sludgy foot of garbage at the bottom. I jerked back, then peered in again. The rat was soaked and looked terrified.

I drew back again. I had never seen a terrified rat before. I didn't know if it was injured, or if it had babies in there, or what, but clearly it was unable to climb the smooth, wet sides of the bin and escape.

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When Flash animations attack!

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Animator vs. Animation by Alan Becker

(Thanks, Gordon!)

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If you don't vote, you're a moron

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A long but worthwhile exhortation from Craig Ferguson to study the issues and listen to yourself when you vote. Long but very worthwhile.

(Via [info]parttimedriver.)

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The three wives of John McCain

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Here are a set of three very different articles, different in every way, one for each of the three beauty queens in John McCain's life:

The Daily Mail on Carol McCain:
"The Wife U.S. Republican John McCain Callously Left Behind" by Sharon Churcher

The New Yorker on Cindy McCain:
"The Lonesome Trail" by Ariel Levy

The Nation on Sarah Palin:
"Beauty and the Beast" by Joann Wypijewski

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn

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