Inhuman Swill : Page 80
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Aurally inclined

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The complete text of "Inclination" is now available in three downloadable audio files, read by the author, at:

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ShunnCast #43

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Epidode #43 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill reads the first of three parts of his Hugo and Nebula Award-nominated novella "Inclination."

See also [info]shunncast.

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Friday the 13th indeed

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I've been hearing rumors for a while, but now that the paper of record is on the record...

A man jumped to his death Friday out the window of a 69th-floor law office in the Empire State Building.

Police responded to the New York City landmark shortly before 3 p.m. after a 911 caller reported seeing a severed leg—covered in a gray sock—on the street below. The rest of the body was recovered from a setback on the 30th floor.  [full sketchy story]

I'll, uh, be walking uptown to Bryant Park to catch the train home.

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Themes to me...

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Music from William Shunn's ShunnCast
For the listening pleasure, perhaps, of hardcore ShunnCast fans, and as a thank you to those who stuck with the podcast through the entire year it took to complete the reading of the memoir, here is the complete theme music to The Accidental Terrorist:

Accidental Terrorist Theme William Shunn accidental.mp3 (4:08, 7.83Mb, 256Kbps)
I can't really say I composed the theme song, except in the most general sense of the term. I assembled it as best I could from royalty-free loops and snippets that came bundled with Adobe Audition 2.0, the audio-editing software I use to master and mix the ShunnCast. But if you like that jazzy little rhumba riff that opened and closed the Accidental Terrorist segments, now your first chance to hear the full track.

(I'll also include this full track in ShunnCast #43, coming next week.)

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Topsy-turvy chess

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Andrew Leonard has a wonderful remembrance of playing chess with Kurt Vonnegut in his Salon blog:

On a whim, he suggested that we rearrange the board. Why did the pawns have to go in front, those sacrificial lambs about to be chewed up by the slaughterhouse of the front lines, those powerless vassals of the high and mighty? Let's force the feudal lords out of their foxholes and into the hurly-burly!

Let's put the pawns in the back row, he proposed. Let's put the knights and bishops and kings and queens in the front rank!  [full posting]

I could have done without the gratuitous Ann Coulter reference, but it is Salon.

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RIP Kurt Vonnegut

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And sadly, the first thing I learned clicking over to the "Print" section of Sci Fi Wire was that Kurt Vonnegut has died. Whether you think he was a science fiction writer or not, he was one of the greats and will be missed.

So it goes.

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Interview on the wire

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Today over at Sci Fi Wire, the news service of the Sci Fi Channel, I am interviewed by John Joseph Adams (a/k/a [info]slushgod) about my Hugo and Nebula Award-nominated novella "Inclination."

Lots of other nominees have been interviewed over the past couple of weeks in the "Print" section of Sci Fi Wire. Read 'em all!

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So, as threatened, Paul (of [info]theinferior4 fame) and Colin and I went down to the Brandy Library yesterday evening to attend a Spirit School class in rare & precious scotches at the feet of Ethan Kelley (hereinafter referred to as my hero).

I'm hoping Paul will post more about the evening's de-scotch-ery, along with the photo our estimable server Raj took of us, but for now I will simply post the evening's menu:

Before class at the bar

  • 1 Godfather (scotch and amaretto) (me)
  • 2 Old Fashioneds (rye, muddled orange, and cherry) (Colin and Paul)
  • 1 Imperial 16yo(?) single-malt (calvados cask) (me)
Class curriculum
  • Buchanan's blended scotch over ice (warmup drink)
  • Glenlivet 31yo (bottled by Glen Master)
  • Tomintoul 27yo (this one just keeps turning up)
  • Macallan 1876 replica
  • Dallas Dhu 27yo cask strength (bottled by Dun Bheagan) (rum cask?)
  • Glen Grant cask strength (notes incomplete)
  • Bunnahabhain 25yo bourbon cask
  • Highland Park 30yo (sherry cask?)
  • Springbank 1969
  • Edradour 30yo (bonus spirit)
At least, that's as best we can jointly piece together from our notes today, the taking of which deteriorated somewhat over the course of the evening. There may be corrections to post later.

Next up: rum class?

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Hey, kids! Wondering why you should bother studying science and math? So you can work out the formula to describe the perfect bacon butty!

N = C + {fb(cm) · fb(tc)} + fb(Ts) + fc · ta

Tomorrow we'll derive a formula to determine how many licks it takes to reach the center of a Tootsie Pop.

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Precious and rare scotches

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Hey, New Yorkers! Like scotch? Have a $120 burning a hole in your pocket? Free tomorrow night?

The Brandy Library's weekly Spirit School features a tasting of precious and rare scotches Tuesday at 6:30 pm. I'll be there along with a couple of friends. Why not give the Brandy Library a call and see if there are any other spots free in the class?

I plan to arrive at 5:30 and enjoy a leisurely cocktail before class. That's what Laura and I did two weeks ago for the calvados class, and it definitely gave us a chance to soak up the ambience of the place. The class itself was a small, informal affair in a tasting room in the basement. We started with a Jack Rose cocktail (calvados, lime juice, and grenadine), then were regaled with the Story of Calvados while tasting 8 progressively more aged calvadoses (sp? calvadi?). Hors d'oeuvres were served between each tasting. At the end, we each were served a large snifter of a super-mega-fabbo calvados as a bonus spirit. That was 10 drinks over the course of the tasting, albeit not full glasses, plus the earlier cocktail in the lounge. We felt awfully good on the way home.

"Spirit sommelier" Ethan Kelley is a great teacher and raconteur, and he told me that the rare scotches class would be a somewhat looser affair than the normal classes, and would focus on learning how to get the best value when purchasing expensive scotch. To that end, we would taste some phenomenal scotches and maybe a couple of awful ones. But he promised it would be fun. I don't doubt it!

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William Shunn