This is Zach's personal blog. If you're looking for his movies, please click here. Otherwise, have fun!

Friday, May 31, 2002

If you've tried to see the Top-Secret Project with little or no success due to download times, you're not alone. Please try one of the smaller-size files.

That URL again:

With any luck, it'll be up--sometime--at TheForce.Net's Fan Films, and transfer time will no longer be quite so atrocious. If they don't accept it, I'll look elsewhere. If anyone has any good suggestions for getting multiple large files set up on a faster server, please let me know.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Drum roll, please.

The Top Secret Project is top-secret no more.

Star Wars: Episode One and a Half

Enjoy, and please tell your friends!
D fell asleep at the dinner table today, a first. Sitting there, sucking his thumb, trying desperately to stay awake (I don't think it was a reaction to K's and my conversation, but anything's possible), his head lolling gently to his right, then snapping back up as the survival instinct kicked it. To make the picture even more bizarre, picture him shirtless--he had just run through the hose as K was watering the garden--and wearing his glasses, with a patch over one eye.

I know if I fell asleep at dinner, that's what I'd want to be wearing.

We shall have pictures of D in glasses up on our website very soon, I hope.

In the meantime, I leave you with a bumper sticker I'd like to see:


Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Sigh... now he's auditioning at NBC.

"Had a great encounter yesterday..."

Aw, who am I kidding? <envy> never turns off...
No, really, I mean it! The Top Secret Project is finally done! Look for a formal announcement soon on a blog near you.

It took three weeks for animation and video editing, and one week for sound editing. That's why it came in two weeks late. Still, four weeks total (rendering time included) for what turned out to be a seven minute film isn't too shabby. The longest film I had ever animated before was under two minutes.

However, this film will be seven minutes of perfectly un-distributable animation, for reasons which will become obvious when viewed. But hey! it'll still be fun to watch. Trust me.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Steve is better than Joe, too. If you have, like I have, a two year old child, you know Blue. Blue of Blue's Clues, that is. For those who don't know, Blue's Clues is a nearly ubiquitous TV show for preschoolers; it broadcasts on Nickelodeon daily and on CBS on Saturdays. If you are, like I am, in a rock band, especially a fairly unsuccessful one, you've had dreams about rock and roll shows. But have you had dreams about rock and roll Blue's Clues?

This morning I woke up absolutely convinced that the Gonnas (my band) had come up with the moneymaking idea of doing a Blue's Clues cover band for adults. And man, we were rocking! We even came up with our own theme song--it was, I think, kind of a combination of the current Blue's Clues song ("Because they're who's clues? Blue's Clues!") and the Aerosmith version of the Wayne's World theme ("It's Blue's Clues! It's Blue's Clues! It's party time, it's excellent!"). I'm not entirely sure, because I don't really remember the song, just that I thought, at the time, that it was the best rock song I had ever heard in my life.

It's gone now, of course. Dammit! Coulda been our road to Casey Kasem's Top 40!

Thursday, May 23, 2002

I'm not Squelch, but I play him on TV. By the way, I never got to the 48 Hour Film Project showing last night. Not that I couldn't get tickets. In fact, I had three, emphasis on had. The tickets from Visions look just like receipts, so they're very easy to lose. I made absolutely sure I put them in my wallet so they wouldn't get swept away with the paper recycling.

Of course, they got lost anyway. Funny... makes me wonder if I lost any REAL receipts along with them, and who's living large off my identity now.

They're welcome to it. But, come on, would their blogs be as interesting as mine?

There, but for the grace of LASIK, go I.

Today was D's first full day with glasses. We picked them up yesterday at 5 or so, after annoying the opticians with at least five "Are they done yet?"-style calls. He's handling them pretty well, so far; he rarely takes them off and if he does, I've trained him to give them to me rather than throw them on the floor. They don't fall off, either, thanks to the hooks on the back that curve 'round the ears. Those hooks also push his ears out perpendicular to his head, so when he wears the glasses he looks a little like an intellectual and a lot like a two-year-old white Will Smith. (Boggles the mind.)

Some memorable impressions: he's a had a lot of trouble eating with silverware, but today, while wearing the glasses, he ate a bowl of oatmeal at breakfast, and a small bowl of ice cream after dinner, without spilling a drop. That's a challenge for a two-year-old with ANY kind of eyesight!

We took a walk around the lake, as well; for the first time, he followed people with his eyes as they passed, and--this was classic, but it requires a brief backstory.

D LOVES to swim--K takes him to the city pool every weekend. Now, whenever we've gone around the lake with D, he's enjoyed it, but he's never asked to swim in it.

Turns out he never knew there was water in the lake, because the moment he saw it today, with the glasses, he stopped still, in shock, and then said "Want to go swimming?" and made a beeline for the water's edge. I managed to stop him (it is, after all, a somewhat dirty lake), but every time there was a path to the water's edge, there he was again, my son the wanna-be tadpole.

I can't fathom what it must be like for him. Nearsightedness I can understand--I used to be nearsighted. But to be far-sighted, and he was even beyond standard farsightedness; everything must be blurry. A whole new world has opened up for him.

And it's in sharp focus!

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Dogs and Cats Living Together! Have you ever wondered just who those people are who decide what the United States watches on television? Well, wonder no longer--you're talking to one. Since Thursday, our household has been a Nielsen Family.

We're not a permanent N.F.; it only lasts 'til the end of sweeps week, that is, Wednesday. (Didn't you wonder why all the season finales are happening this week?)

I'll have a more detailed explication of the process soon. In the meantime, rest assured that at least 160,000 households watched this evening's season finale of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Which is to say, we did.
The Scientist Who Wrote Rings Around The Earth (

The world has become much less intelligent, just like that.

Stephen Jay Gould's books are all must-reads. I particularly enjoyed "The Mismeasure of Man," about the basic fallacy of IQ testing. A great writer and scientist--and someone with a fine sense of baloney detection, as Carl Sagan might have put it.

I wish I had met him. I don't know how it would have come about or what I would have said, but I still wish...

Monday, May 20, 2002

What I really want to do is direct. Saturday I worked for the 48 Hour Film Project. No, I didn't make it myself, but I helped out for some friends of mine. I know a lot of people at Washington Improv Theater, and they entered and were accepted, so I volunteered to be their sound man. I had never done sound for film before, but I had a great time.

We got a call from them at 11:30 PM Friday--they had found out their genre (detective/cop) at 6:30 that evening, but they didn't CALL 'til then and I don't know why. Rex and I arrived at the Congressional Quarterly offices--the first location--at 7:30 AM. It was raining like mad, and I was mostly wet because Rex's van's passenger side window is stuck open.

Rex was techincally listed as set designer, but I think he mostly wound up being General Grunt/Guy in Background. I was holding the boom mike for all the shots, so I never got to be an extra, alas. But if you can hear the words--that's all me, baby.

What they don't tell you in film school is that holding a boom mike for fourteen hours straight really hurts. My shoulders, if I continue to do this in the future, will be rippling and ripped. And as if I didn't lose enough sleep, Rex and I (okay, it was my fault) got lost on the way home and I didn't get back 'til 11:30. We also witnessed a near-accident between two bullheaded, stupid drivers.

I had volunteered to help out with the music and post-production the following day. They didn't call. I was grateful.

The showing is Wednesday night at 7 and 9:15, Visions Cinema-Bistro. Anyone in the DC area, check it out, a butt-load of films under twelve minutes, all made in two days or less. Not a bad concept, eh?

Of course, they're threatening to call me again for the next one...

Oh, I don't know if these are open to the public, but here are some pictures from the shoot. I'm the haggard-looking guy in the fifth picture. No, wait, we're all haggard-looking. I'm wearing the headphones.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Um... where have I been? Sorry, regular readers, if there are any of you. I've been busy on the Top Secret Project, which is now officially over deadline. Nearly done with animation, but now I need to do the sound editing and so forth... I'm hoping it'll be done by Monday. Any much longer and the joke won't be current anymore.

But.... more importantly...

D is extremely farsighted (hyperoptic). And one eye is crossing a bit. Yes, we took him to an opthamologist today. He's going to have to wear Coke bottle glasses. And an eye patch. Poor kid... I hope he'll enjoy things being in focus, though.

I'm told that many kids his age are so excited that they can SEE that they never try to take their glasses off. I really hope that's not just an old husbands' (equal opportunity) tale.

Sunday, May 12, 2002

There's a thunderstorm going on as I type this, so writing this entry is a little like staring Death in the face. I never know when I might lose power.

This means, unfortunately, that I can't work on the Top Secret Project until the storm has passed.

Which in turn means, I guess, that we are still at the mercy of the weather, just as we were in the days of Lincoln.

Of course, Lincoln had bigger problems than a computer that might crap out and kill a render. But who's counting?

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Does whatever a spider can.... Went to see Spider-Man tonight, and man, what a picture! Except for one detail (albeit a major one), it's pretty well true to the original comic book stories, which pleased me, as I was a big Spider-Man fan in my youth. But who really cares about that? As a film, it was a triumph! Even Willem Dafoe as the Big Bad Guy didn't overact his part (or at least, not unforgiveably). Tobey Maguire was just perfect. And they were faithful to the original story, which is a big thing, since it was such a great story to begin with.

It's a great thing that it was directed by Sam Raimi, who was pretty much directed independent films to this point--there was a very strong grounding in character. Of course, Spider-Man always had much more of its share of character than most traditional comics. I'm glad they didn't scare away from that.

I want to see it again already. I can't remember coming out of a big-budget film with such joy in my heart. I turned to K and said, "I wannna be Spider-Man!" And I do!
Arg! Missed another day. Guess that means I no longer have too much time on my hands, huh?

Thursday, May 09, 2002

So here's the top of Blogger today. What the hell? The "best blogs" are ones that rant and have a lot of self pity and do it with plenty of spelling errors and use too many exclamation points!!!!!! Didn't they get the memo?

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

So.... let's see. Went to Holy Cross Hospital for K's shot, stayed there for at least two hours, with D getting more and more tired... we took him home, where he did not take a nap.... he went to bed screaming, and then the toilet gave out.

Days like this, I can't handle thinking up amusing anecdotes.

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Today was a reverse day. D was upset except when he was at nursery school.

He usually wakes up around 7 AM or earlier and crawls into bed with me. Today was no different, but he crawled out around 7:30 to go into his room and start crying. Sensitive father that I am, I got up and took a shower. So far, so good.

The trouble started around breakfast--he ate less than usual, but that's not what worried me. He's so chipper in the mornings, but today he was crying, upset, throwing things... it got so bad that I put him back to bed at 9. (Bear in mind his nursery school starts at 9:30.)

Anyway, I strolled him to nursery school (it's just down the street, but he won't walk there, just rides in the stroller). Then, the moment we got there, he was fine. Didn't bat an eye when I left.

I went home and worked some on the Top Secret Project, then when noontime came around I picked him up. He was OK for about a minute then was so upset again. This time it was clear he was super-tired. So, nap time 'til about 2:30. Then he was reasonably OK.

But how bizarre! And how independent of him to manage his way through the morning without me! And how depressing that I couldn't cheer him up...

Monday, May 06, 2002

Top Secret Project Update! Today I wrapped faces around meshes and made bad choices in the render queue. (For the English translation, you'll have to wait until the Project is released.)

The strange case of the cheer-'em-up card.

Two or three days ago, I recieved a card in the mail. I recognized the handwriting of a friend of mine, who I'll call "Clarence." The card featured three smiley-face balloons on the front, and inside it read "Cheer up or I'll send you something even more annoying."

Hmmm... wonder how he knew I was down? Guess I have another reader!

Clarence has done his best to cheer me up on many occasions, so much so I wonder if he gets tired of it. "Oh, Jesus, Squelch's moaning again. Time to tell him how wonderful he is. Let's see, where's the thesaurus?" I suppose that I could just appreciate how lucky I am to have him as a friend, but that's against my nature.

Oh, by the way, the reason I called him Clarence is because of what he signed:

Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.

Thanks for the wings!


Needless to say, it's not his real name, and he's not George Bailey's guardian angel.

Thanks, man...

Sunday, May 05, 2002

The Top Secret Project continues... today Rex and Wendel came over to provide some voice talent. As I should have expected, they arrived with food direct from 7-Eleven; somehow I'll always picture Rex chewing a S'Eleven hot dog.

Squeezing into the computer closet, which used to be D's nursery, took some doing. But they both remarked on how much it seemed like a "real studio."

And getting your talent to deliver their lines just as you want them to is an art unto itself. But, I think we did well. And you'll be able to judge for yourself... the Top Secret Project will hopefully premiere on May 15th.

Circle the date.

Saturday, May 04, 2002

Uh oh! Skipped a page! I missed making an entry yesterday, so now I have lots of stories to tell. Stay tuned for:

  • The strange case of the cheer-'em-up card
  • How your blood type changes between pregnancies
  • The--oh hell, I forgot the third one.

I'm in the midst of a top-secret project, which is why I missed Friday. Some daily columnist!

Ah, I remember the third one.
  • The continued adventures of D's vocabulary.

And, apropos of nothing, let me just say that I'm a good person, I'm talented, and, gosh darn it, people like me.

Which people? Well, come on, I haven't taken a survey.

Thursday, May 02, 2002

Don't read this. I mean it. Stop! I have a stack of headshots somewhere. I paid good money for them. And they look absolutely awful.

I've been trying to figure out if I will ever return to acting. Film acting interests me a lot. Stage acting, not so much anymore. Oh, Christ, K just turned her light off. FUCK! She makes me feel so guilty that I stay awake. After all it's the late hour of NINE.

Where was I?

Oh, yes. The problem with film acting is that I simply can't imagine anyone wanting to look at my face on a screen. I mean, come on. Wouldn't you rather see beautiful people than average-to-ugly folks like me? I know I would. (If you're wondering what I look like, hit the "family home" link to the right. My son is gorgeous. He didn't get it from me.)

I fancy myself a film director, anyway. Not a film actor. (Oh, boy, that's original.)

I can feel myself steering back toward the negative. Screech... Maybe I should get myself a lobotomy. Take out the "sad" part of my brain. Do you suppose they've localized that yet?

Hey, Squelch. Grow up. You're just tired and cranky, like a million other people in the world. Nothing's unique about your troubles. And no one wants to hear you whine. So get over yourself.

Golly. Even my italic pep talk is negative. What's to be done?
Update: the phone number I gave below is wrong. It's a billing number for PG&E customers. I haven't been able to find the real number, though.
So why am I still tired? You remember when you were a kid and your parents put you to bed before it was dark out, and how annoying that was?

I'm here to tell you that I love going to bed before it's dark out, especially when it's been three days since I had a decent night's sleep.

Sure, I missed band practice, but I doubt I could have played any songs without dissolving into jelly anyway.

If you're keeping score, I'm--

Further updates as the situation warrants.

Things out in La Plata are really bad. I'm thinking of calling the Red Cross to volunteer my services, whatever I can do. I heard on the radio that the number to call for volunteers is 1-800-GET-INFO, but I can't find any verification of that on the web. Just as well. I'm sure I'll chicken out anyway.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

At Least They Didn't Cover Guns 'n' Roses. Last night, our next-door neighbor, by which I mean our next-wall neighbor, since we live in a townhouse, our next-door neighbor held a karaoke party, of sorts, by which I mean she invited a group of musicians over, quite good musicians in fact, and they played jazz for a while, by which I mean from nine PM to midnight, and though I love jazz and very much respected their prowess, by which I mean I was insanely jealous that their guitarist was better than me, nine PM to midnight is prime sleep time for a parent whose child had been teething the past two nights, and I'm something of a musician myself, by which I mean that when music is played, especially at night, I can't tune it out, so I did not sleep until well after midnight, because they talked, you see, even after they started playing, and I had to wake up early to drop the cat off at the vet, and by the end of the day, I was trying to put my son down for a nap, but of course he had slept soundly all night, by which I mean he had slept soundly for the first time in two days, and didn't sleep that afternoon, which reduced me nearly to tears, and forced me to think only in run-on sentences.

Got that?
More T-shirts. Bob Levey, daily columnist for the Washington Post, once talked about a T-shirt his wife got for him. The front said, "Anyone can be a daily columnist." The back said, "For three weeks."

Well, Rooster Spice has been operational for three weeks and one day now, so I've beaten that deadline. I'm trying to approach it like a daily column--write something original every day, and so far I've been successful (except for one weekend when I was out of town). I hope to keep it going for another three.

I know that's a pretty minimal goal. But this way it's less likely I'll be disappointed.
Everyone links to Evhead. Everyone. Maybe they figure if they link to the founder of Blogger, he'll notice them.

Who am I to argue? Evhead, Evhead, Evhead, Evhead, Evhead...