Inhuman Swill : Page 50
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Tornado!

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Huddled in basement with dog, backpack, and brand-new iPhone given to me by Laura today, while tornado reportedly goes by outside. Thunder terrifying. Leg asleep from dog on it. Laura at work still.

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Unemployment saved my life

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I will have more thoughts to offer on this milestone later, but for now let me just say that my job has ended. Like a wounded deer it kept dragging on, but at long last, finally, my last day working steadily as the senior software developer and architect for (the fine and worthy) BenefitsCheckUp, my employers lo these past six and a half years, came yesterday. This has not quite sunk in yet (probably due to the fact that I'm a little punchy from working every day since mid-June—51 hours Monday to Thursday this week alone—which is also why you haven't seen much of me around these parts lately). I thought the day was never going to come.

Now I'm a full-time writer. (No pressure!) And as such, I'm of course going to procrastinate work on my novel for a three-day blowout with Laura at Lollapalooza. (Thanks, Shana!)

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Thefts from Clarion West

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[info]albionidaho reports laptops and other items stolen yesterday from students in one of the Clarion West houses. Not a happy Fourth for them. I can only imagine how that would affect the Clarion experience for the theft victims, especially if there was work-in-progress on the machines. What can you do to help? See her post for more info.

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Pumped

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If you haven't heard already, Paolo Bacigalupi was on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday yesterday discussing his excellent collection from Night Shade Books, Pump Six and Other Stories. Way to go, Paolo!

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Ice ice puppy

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Ice cube day!
The only thing Ella loves more than an ice cube...

...is a whole bowl of ice cubes!

(more cool photos)

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Netflix stumbles

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Netflix is going to eliminate account profiles this September. If you don't know, that's the feature that allows you to maintain separate DVD queues under one account.

YMMV, but to me Netflix is taking a giant step backward with this move in terms of serving its customers. This feature was a godsend when they first implemented it. Until then, if I wanted to be sure I always had a Bill-movie on hand (as opposed to a Laura-movie or a Laura-and-Bill-movie), I had to work hard at managing my queue, moving a new Bill-movie to the top every time I sent a Bill-movie back. Profiles took all the effort out of that effort. I'm used to it now, and it pisses me off that they're taking it away and sending me back to the Stone Age.

Good customer service is about continually making things easier for the customer, not harder. It's about giving the customer good new stuff without taking good old stuff away. I hope Netflix has some killer features they're planning to roll out instead, because otherwise they've just made the first move that would make me reconsider how useful my subscription is to me. And they didn't even ask me first.

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Just when you thought it was safe to come back to my blog, I'm going to start talking about Egypt again. I've been uploading more of our Flip Videos to YouTube, and here's one Laura took of me just after (as I've mentioned earlier) I emerged from my journey to heart of the second pyramid. She, of course, is conducting the interview from off-camera:

A few new video playlists are also available, including five short videos from around the pyramids and the Sphinx, and four videos from our overnight train to Aswan. (But not that video.)

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A parabolic tangent

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It's not hard to understand why I got so caught up yesterday in the drama of the U.S. Open. Rocco Mediate is in his 40s, he's damn good at what he does, and he's had a little success in his twenty years in the game, but he's toiled in relative obscurity while watching younger, more prolific players rise up after him and dominate the field. Nonetheless, for a few holes there, he outplayed and even rattled the best player in the world, and it looked for a while as if he might actually pull out a once-in-a-lifetime victory.

Yes, even hurt, Tiger Woods still could not be beat. But I don't think Rocco really lost yesterday. With good humor and grace under pressure, he showed the world that, even if he doesn't have the juice to fly steadily at Tiger's altitude, he always had the potential in him for one mighty leap that at least grazed that height. I admit it—I had to wipe my eyes there at the end. He won one for me, and maybe he won one for you too.

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Live playoff

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I'm happy to discover that you can watch the U.S. Open playoff live online at:

http://www.usopen.com

(And Rocco just made a hell of a tee shot on the third hole.)

This means I don't have to run back and forth between the office and the television.)

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