Inhuman Swill : Page 157
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

"...It just gets under my skin. I'm not cold. What's wrong with me that I need everyone to like me? I need therapy. Well, you're the only one I can talk to about it. Yes, so he was sending me these mash notes from Spain. Yes. I don't know what's going on with him, no. I don't know what he wants. Yes, so I wrote to tell him this urologist I'm seeing wants me to go away with him for the weekend. Fifty-two—he says. You know what he tells me? They're all latent. Meaning all urologists are latent homosexuals, I suppose. But what about going away with him for the weekend? No, you know what he said to me? We know where that will lead. How does he know where that will lead? No, he wouldn't just come out and say it. Nothing about our plans then. So what am I supposed to do about the weekend? Go with the urologist?"

I have to admit, I was tempted to walk over to her on the way out and say, "Forget 'em both. Spend the weekend with me," just to make it stop.

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Sometimes it seems like Queens is paved with chicken bones. You don't realize this until you acquire a chicken-bone detector on legs, but they're everywhere.

The other day Ella hit a jackpot one better, though. She was walking with Laura and found a whole pile of grungy, slimy chicken parts thrown out at the curb. She got the whole thing in her mouth. Laura had to reach in and scrape it all out of her mouth. Then, when Ella was chicken-part-free, Laura walked a few yards away and threw up.

Mostly having a dog is a joy, but there are certainly unpleasant aspects to it.

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Your tax dollars hard at work

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Laura and I know the parents of young "Zachariah Artstien," a peaceful anti-war activist who, according to this Village Voice article, has been the subject of recent FBI/NYPD investigations:

I sure feel safer. Do you?

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August's CD mix of the month

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It has been a fuck of a couple of weeks. The less written about work here, the better, but suffice it to say that we are working against a difficult deadline together with contractors in a time zone five hours behind us. Makes coordination difficult even under the best of circumstances. I've been working very late very often.

I'm also doubly pressured because Laura and I leave tomorrow for Utah and I'll be out of the office for three business days. I was also up against a deadline for turning in a copy of the address I'm giving at my high school reunion this weekend, besides having other writing projects closer to my heart falling behind. Add to this an ill dog (Ella with bloody stool one night late last week—turned out not to be too terribly serious, thank goodness) and Laura having just started her new job Monday (yay! woohoo!), and there have been a lot of things to juggle.

On the positive side, Laura just started her new job Monday! Ella is fine, she has a new short haircut, and she loves playing with her new friends up at Astoria Park a few mornings a week before nine, when dogs can be off the leash. And despite the fact that my non-SF agent left the agency he was with a while back, the head of the agency just confirmed to me that he is still very interested in The Accidental Terrorist, and with a little luck and pluck I will be sending a new draft to him before the end of the month.


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New York's hometown Mayhem

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Laura's Delia Pain's picture is in the Daily News today, together with the rest of the Gotham Girls roller derby chicas:

Girl's night out
The team picture online is tiny, but the one in the paper is huge, a full half-page. "Body & Soul" insert, page 8.
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An angry half-century

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Joe Jackson turns fifty today. Fifty. Damn.

Happy birthday, Joe!

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License to still

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Yesterday morning, after her walk, Ella went out the back door to sit on the deck and watch the world. Both Laura and I are prone to taking pictures of Ella at the drop of a hat, and when Laura saw her lying flat with her muzzle down on the deck, she had to grab the camera and snap a few from different angles. Ella didn't move.

Laura went to work, and I was at the computer finishing up a thing or two before stirring myself to go to work. I wandered out back once and saw Ella still lying flat there. I bent down and scratched her ears. For her part, she seemed very intent on something just beyond her nose. I wandered back inside.

Some minutes later I heard the most pitiful and forlorn yip from the deck. I cocked my head. I heard it again and this time went running. Ella was still lying belly-down on the deck. "What's the matter, girl?" I asked, standing over her. She just yipped again (not her normal bark by a long shot) and rolled her eyes up at me desperately. Her body didn't move.

That's when I realized she couldn't move.

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Jim Munroe's forthcoming novel An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil is written entirely in the form of blog entries. Starting today, he posts one entry per day until the entire novel is online:
Wish I'd thought of that!
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A priceless little quote from an anonymous post from another message board quote in TNH's Making Light:

Don't say "sci-fi". It's "SF". The community does say "sci-fi" sometimes, but pronounces it "skiffy". Explaining the social nuances involved is beyond the scope of the present work.
This is from a set of tips on attending SF conventions, but it's good to remember during any interaction with skiffy fans and/or professionals.

(For a bit more on the nuances, see Paul Brians's "Common Errors in English.")

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William Shunn