Inhuman Swill : Page 55
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Doorstops

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My distraction of mind of late has been such that I haven't been able to finish reading many novels for a few months now, but for at least a year or two I haven't even attempted to read any novels of doorstop dimensions, finding them far too daunting to contemplate. But suddenly, praise Dickens, I can read again! And not only that, but I'm reading big books. The breakthrough novel for me was Clockers by Richard Price, which I raced through last week. This week I'm reading the even bigger Acacia by the gentlemanly David Anthony Durham, and I couldn't be happier.

I might even feel up to attempting Anathem next week.

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The end of summer

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Obsessing about politics is not all I've been up to lately. First and foremost, if you hadn't divined it from cryptic postings or from status messages on Facebook and Twitter, Laura and I are moving again this month. Not a huge move, just up to the northern end of Chicago, but we're hoping it will make all the difference for our Chicago-living experience. Humboldt Park turns out to be not the neighborhood we had hoped for, or thrive much in. (Even the fact that Wilco's John Stirratt lives a block down from us can't save it for us.) We're betting that the Andersonville/Ravenswood sorta area will be much better for us. We'll make the move just as the season changes.

We've also seen an uncommonly good deal of John and Shai Klima over the past week. On Saturday we drove to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, and met up with them at the home of John's awesome parents. From there the four of us continued to Spring Green, where we saw a delightful outdoor afternoon American Players Theatre production of "The Belle's Strategem" by Hannah Cowley. We had dinner at a tapas joint called The Icon in Madison. Good times.

Then last night John and Shai braved oil-tanker accidents on I-88 to make the drive to Chicago. The four of us had an abundant Indian feast, after which we repaired to the House of Blues to see The Fratellis. Other than the slight hiccup of being barred from entering the House of Blues with a shoulder bag (what? no bag check inside?), we had a marvelous evening. I'm assuming that the Klimas made it back to Iowa in one piece after the show. (Didja?)

Meanwhile, I've been so wrapped up in packing the apartment that it didn't even register that two fellow Chicagoans are moving (in one case back) to New York! Congratulations (and no small amount of envy) to Deborah and [info]scottjanssens! We hate you. (But only a little.)

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The Rorschach test

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Seven years on, what does September 11th mean? Nothing.

Perhaps it would be less confrontational to say it means everything, or anything.

I had a terrible argument with a relative of mine during those bleak last months of 2001. I said something to the effect that a person's experience of September 11th was more valid if he or she was there, or at least that's how, in my clumsy way of speaking, my words came across. My relative took great offense at the idea that he wasn't as affected in Utah as I was in New York City. "You're telling me," he said, "that you wouldn't feel bad if someone blew up the Church Office Building in Salt Lake?"

"Of course I'd feel bad," I said. "But I wouldn't feel the same way as a person in Salt Lake. It would be more abstract for me."

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Is McCain out of his mind?

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I like the part in this Paul Begala editorial at CNN.com where he calls Lieberman McCain's "fellow Iraq Kool-Aid drinker."

Now I'm logging off. Really.

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In July Sarah Palin asked, facetiously, what it is the vice-president really does:

Granted, she seemed to be using levity to deflect the question of whether or not she would be a McCain VP pick, but she sounds pretty silly in the process. Maybe she should have read last year's Washington Post series on Dick Cheney's role in the Bush White House.

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Palin pick

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If this is true, McCain and the Republicans are going hard after disgruntled female Clinton supporters. Now I'm very afraid.

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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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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn

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