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

Sunday, June 30, 2002

In the style of... My father-in-law sent me an excellent article on Richard Russo that was printed in the Boston Globe a few days ago (sorry for the general link, but the Globe doesn't play nice with its archives). For those not in the know, Rick (or Prof. Russo, as I've always thought of him) is the author of Nobody's Fool (which was made into a movie with Paul Newman) and Empire Falls (for which he won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize). He was also a college professor at Colby who taught me in one Creative Writing class. I tried to keep a friendly face and said hello whenever I saw him, but I'm really doubtful that I was a particularly extraordinary student and worthy of remembering. In fact, I'm better remembered by Jenny Boylan, who never taught me in a class but was a good friend. Again, this is all assumption--I haven't spoken to Prof. Russo since college, though I did recently drop Prof. Boylan a line.

My writing style could be called chameleon-like; when reading a certain author, I tend to think in their cadences, sentence structure, etc. I'm reading Robert McKee's Story right now, and his declarative, straightforward manner is inside me like I'm John Hurt in Alien. This trait of mine makes it difficult to find a style of my own. The semester I took Prof. Russo's class was no exception, and the author I was reading at the time was... Rick Russo.

Most professors, confronted with their own style, would probably not recognize it. But Prof. Russo probably did, since he gave me a B minus in the course. Personally, I think I was hamstrung in my final story by some very bad revision choices. But I also, at the time, wasn't particularly interested in writing prose. I thought myself a playwright, and the plays I was writing were much better than the stories. Regardless, I never made it to the next, selective level of creative writing classes. To this day, I don't know whether it was because my stories weren't good enough, or because I submitted my story the day before the auditor's husband died of cancer.

Coincidentally, my friend Mike also wrote about Prof. Russo just the other day, but I'd like to point out that I got the article before Mike mentioned him. Competition is a powerful motivator in more ways than one...

Saturday, June 29, 2002

My father points out that the Pledge ruling really isn't all that important, especially on the day that WorldCom announced that they PERPETRATED A FOUR BILLION DOLLAR FRAUD!

When, exactly, will people get back the perspective we were all supposed to have after 9/11?

Friday, June 28, 2002

More fun with religion: even as the court's ruling is put on hold, Virginia has mandated posters in schools emblazoned with "In God We Trust."

Did you know that both "under God" in the pledge and the motto "In God We Trust" are not universal constants, but were adopted during the Cold War simply to draw contrasts with the supposedly atheistic Soviet Union? (And that's another one of my peeves... atheism was mandated not by the USSR from the beginning, but by Stalin during his reign.)

Meanwhile, someone wound up here at Rooster Spice by searching for "george h w bush atheist patriot" yesterday. Makes me wonder if someone is looking over my shoulder, since two (!) people came here looking for "build your own air conditioner." Who are these people?

Thursday, June 27, 2002

One nation under Dogg. Seems like everyone thinks the recent ruling about the Pledge of Allegiance is ridiculous, left and right alike... everyone but me, that is.

Yep, in addition to being an artiste and a geek, I'm also an avowed atheist. (Atheists are always "avowed"; it's part of the initiation rituals held with water sanctified by Karl Marx and Charles Darwin. This is a joke, in case any religious zealots are reading Rooster Spice.) I feel, frankly, that the addition of "under God" to the Pledge is not, as Marc Fisher writes, of historical value. Nor is it bad strategy to strike it down during a war, as the Post asserts. If something is unconstitutional during peacetime, is it suddenly not as important during wartime?

As for the argument that the rote repetition of "under God" renders it meaningless? Tell that to the conservatives who say "Well, the dollar bill says 'In God We Trust' " when arguing for the greater presence of religion in the state. You can't have it both ways!

And last but not least, let's not forget the following memorable quote:

"I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

Spoken by none other than Vice President George H. W. Bush, in 1987, at a press conference during his presidential campaign. "One nation under God," huh? Wonder where he got that phrase...

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Things did not go as smoothly as I had hoped (hence no entry yesterday, because I had no computer yesterday). Some tips for your amusement:

  • Never start a reformat of your hard drive when your spouse needs to get online RIGHT NOW for her job.
  • DVD-RWs are the world's slowest backup medium.
  • If you haven't used a command-line environment in eight years, you will NOT be able to "jump right in."
  • You will make hockey-puck CDRs that clutter your desk. It is a fact of life.
  • X-Windows is not another name for Mac OS X.

The good news is that my hard drive is much faster now. The bad news is that until I re-learn UNIX, I have a 2 gig partition acting as a proverbial paperweight.

Monday, June 24, 2002

Gimme some punch cards! I used to work in theater, and my hobby was computer programming. This revelation garnered me a lot of confused stares back in the mid-90s, but after the bust I started to look smart.

All that said, computers are still a hobby, the more low-level the better. I was an ardent devotee of the VAX in college (a mainframe run with a variant of UNIX). Even though I've used Macs since 1985, I still love the simplicity and power of a command-line interface. Must be from all my apprenticeships on the Commodore VIC 20, Apple ][, PC-DOS... The VAX and UNIX remain my favorite, though, although I really didn't know as much as I'd like--I've never programmed in a UNIX environment, for example, only MacOS (though in Pascal and Common LISP--not two languages that would get me very far even if I wanted a job).

I followed the GNU-Linux explosion a bit, but as there wasn't really a viable Linux port for my older Mac 6100, I never followed up on it, and when we got the iMac, I was too excited by video editing and animation to worry about it.

Then along came Mac OS X, and with it, the UNIX-based kernel of Darwin. Well, I don't have OS X. But, fortunately for me, Darwin, like Linux, is open-source, meaning as long as you've got the pipes, you can download the whole damn thing. Add to that, much of the GNU software distribution has been ported to Darwin, and I can go back to my old -csh interface and use such cutting-edge tools as emacs and vi (okay, all I remember are the text editors; give me time). So today I downloaded the GNU-Darwin installer disk image, and tomorrow I'm gonna partition my disk drive and drop back into the 1960s! Woo hoo!

(If you don't know what GNU is, you should really check it out. In a nutshell, there's an entire array of free--meaning royalty-free and freely distributable, not neccesarily no-cost--software out there, most of it for UNIX variants. This software arguably rivals the commercial products you already know about. So there really is a way to never use Microsoft again.)

Watch this space for more geekdom from your favorite Theatrical Computer Nerd.
Climber. Yesterday was a Day To Get Ready--we brought all the stuff from D's infancy down from the attic to prepare for the New Baby. Clothes, including socks too small for an ant, an overpriced alternative to the kitchen sink (also known as a baby bath), and the old standby, an IKEA crib, in pieces.

Those who don't have little kids probably don't realize that, by Federal regulations, the instruction manual for the crib must be ATTACHED to the crib itself. At least it's easy to find. The same cannot be said for the hardware one uses to put the crib together--you know, the official IKEA Allen wrench and screws. Of course, I couldn't remember where I put them.

Once the crib was finally together, we showed it to D; after all, it was his bed once, and it was going to be in his room, so we figured it was best to lay out the concept that "this is the baby's bed" as soon as possible. He seemed to get it.

He must have been nostalgic, though, because around dinnertime I went to wake him up from his nap, and I found that he had climbed up and over the crib railing and was sleeping in the crib, exactly as he did as an infant, no less. He was even lying on his back, which he hasn't done since he was one year old.

There is no force more powerful than regression. I just hope he gets out of adolescence (unlike me).

Sunday, June 23, 2002

Renaissance Man. Some fun crap, courtesy Fauxhemian via Kieran. Go to Google and type "Zach is", including quotes, and here's what you'll get:


  • Zach is number one
  • zach is hiding in the closet.
  • Zach is sick.
  • Zach's is the perfect place to relax.
  • ZACH is one of Austin's most vibrant and innovative arts organizations
  • ZACH is a procrastinator
  • Zach is a ***hole!!
  • Zach is Jonah
  • Zach is an MP3 Maniac!
  • zach is cool
  • Zach is up to now
  • Zach is "the most exciting young Jazz violin player in Chicago"
  • Zach is a tidy 14
  • Zach is part of the solution to the Earth's diminishing resources.
  • Zach is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Calgary.
  • Zach is larger than most kids his age and can out-wrestle his older sister.
  • Zach is a healthy toddler
  • Zach gives life meaning. Zach is someone we can relate to.
  • Zach is one of the few professionally trained futurists in the United States.

And my personal favorite:
  • Zach is a real person, not a made up character who's sole purpose is to lure you into the store to sell you crab shipped in from some far away place.

Try it! (You should use your own name, though.)
If anyone cares, here's the new baby. (Thanks, K!)

Saturday, June 22, 2002

You like me! You really like me! Say it as though you're kowtowing to the Easter Bunny: "Thank you Mr. Nosuch!"

Don't throw your food or I'll check page 107.

Well, it's another weekend, another way to prove that no one knows what they're talking about. K reads Parents magazine fairly religiously, in the sense of reading it on the occasional Sunday but refusing to consider a career in the parenting priesthood. So this means that I read it, too, once in a while. (Me being me, I read it atheistically.) As the Mystery Daddy has pointed out in his blog, Parents should really be called Mothers, since that's their target audience; actually, to be specific it should be called Upper Middle Class Stay-at-Home Mothers. Oh, sure, they throw a token father's article in there once in a long while, but really, let's not mince words: does anyone expect a man to read a magazine where he can find a half-page ad about relieving vaginal dryness? (Hey, I used the word "vaginal"! Google, here I come...)

Anyway, in this month's issue, there's an article about discipline, where they say, in essence, "Surprise! Every discipline theory we told you about last year is WRONG." They advocate using bribery, loud voices, "Because I said so," and just about everything else that "right-thinking" child development specialists would have a conniption about.

This only strengthens my belief that following child care theory is as futile as trying to predict a fashion designer's new line. It's conformist and cyclical, and by next year the magazines will tell us that what they told us THIS year was wrong.

As for me, I'm going with my instincts. They're a hell of a lot more consistent, and they're easier to remember, too.

Friday, June 21, 2002

Wait 'til next year. I mean, next four years. I think. Well, we lost the game (not match, game, damn it!) against Germany, so I'd guess my friend Geoff of Portland, Oregon is probably crying in his beer (and yes, it's twelve hours after the game ended, but he was a dedicated drinker in college).*

I held my own little tribute to Team USA in the backyard, after the solemn ritual of cleaning up the dog poop. I kicked my son's soccer ball, hit his plastic slide-cum-jungle-gym-thing, and shouted, "Gooooooooooooooal!"

Our area is strictly a football (American) and baseball town. None of our neighbors were around, but if they were, they probably would have shook their heads in amused dismay. As I like to think they often do around me...

*True drinking habits may have been exaggerated for comedic purposes.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Alternatives to all those stupid polls.

Care to play Twenty Questions?

How about Poker?

Or maybe you just want someone to talk to.

(First two links courtesy gameAI.com.)
Blog DJ, wicky wicky wicky. An aspiring actress, playwright, screenwriter. One hell of a writing voice. And she even likes Buffy. What more could you ask for? Life Beside the Fast Lane. Check it out.
On running and photos and inspirations. Today was the All-Hands Meeting for K's division. All-Hands-Meeting is the official euphemism for a barbecue party. It's sponsored by the Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee (EEOAC), of which K was president this year. (What tortured grammar...) She did a good job. I'm proud.

I spent most of the time (oh, yes, it's open to families) chasing after D as he went from one side of the park to the other. Of course, even if K wasn't in the thick of organizing things, I would have done that, since it's difficult for an eight-month pregnant woman to do any running, or indeed any movement at all.

I did get some time to grab K's camera and take some photographs for the (organization deleted) web site. I really enjoyed it, far more than I anticipated--the composition of a candid shot, or a wide-angle landscape, the super-quick focus, and snap! and then on to the next picture. Maybe I'll be a photojournalist when I grow up. That is, if they're still selling single-lens reflex cameras by the time I grow up, which at this rate I anticipate to be when I turn 73.

Hmmm. Reminds me of an old English teacher of mine who, by a tortured path of indirect references, halfway inspired me to take up blogging. (The story's not really worth telling. The story of the references. Oh, hell, why not. He introduced me to a pen-pal--er, not introduced me, because we never met, but we did correspond a lot in high school. Anyway, we wrote to each other for a while and then stopped, and years later I got curious as to what happened to her, and turned, where else, to the internet, and discovered her site, which introduced me to the wonderful world of Blogger. And now I should stop, because if I link to her again, her husband will come after me with a shotgun. And I'm not sure K wouldn't help. Not that she's the only inspiration. Anyone who's read my screeds about Mike knows that. But really, as I said long ago, I wrote my first blog before all this anyway. End world's longest parenthetical. I'm gonna catch hell for this...) Ahem, where was I? Oh yes, my English teacher, the best I ever had. When he retired from teaching high school, he became a documentary photographer, and a damned good one, too. Hope to hire him someday. And this derailment in my train of thought was brought about why? Because I took some pictures. Well, it could be a fun thing to try again sometime. There'd be worse ways to make a living. But portrait photos or nature photos don't interest me... just news-type stuff. I think. Pulitzer committee take note!
Meta-blogging (sorry, Alex). A friend yesterday (hi, Tony!) mentioned that he followed the links at the bottom of my email signature, to look at what was on my home page and my animation page. It got me a little nervous, for the silly reason that my home page contains a small link to this blog.

A couple of friends of mine do indeed know about Rooster Spice, but they live far away, and the only person near me who knows about it is my wife, K. It doesn't really bother me. I'd feel rather odd saying "Hey, check out my online diary!" to people I see on a semi-regular basis. I suppose it'd be no different than if I were a newspaper columnist and my friends argued over a recent point I made. But, of course, I'm not a pundit (nor do I play one on NPR) and I blog less about issues and more about my life.

So, if, for instance, I get really down on the world and someone 'round here reads it, will they call me, worried that I might do myself harm? One person has already sent me a cheer-up card because, I assume, of what I wrote in this blog. (I don't think he's reading it anymore, but I may be misjudging the referral logs.) In any case, I get nervous whenever I see someone coming to Rooster Spice from the link on the home page; I think, "Oh God, which of my relatives is it?" Funny, the public faces we show to people around us, and how certain thoughts best left "private" somehow find their way into the most public of forums, the Internet.

Mind you, it's not as though I'm blogging to Yahoo or anything. The very magnitude of the Internet--and the likelihood of most people never seeing one particular blog--makes it seem more anonymous, even if it's just an illusion.

Ultimately, despite my pilgrimages to Site Meter and my never-ending quest for links, I'm writing this blog for myself, as both exercise and sometimes therapy. If no one read it... well, of course I'd be disappointed, since all art is audience-dependent (or should be), but I've written something (nearly) every day for almost three months now, and I wouldn't give that up. Hell, maybe I'd write a novel on Rooster Spice.

But not today.

I shall now remove my cornea from my navel...
Golly. I've lived in the D.C. area a long time. Nearly seven years. Someone dig up my roots, please?

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Random crap about music. Chopin's Prelude no. 15 is the most challenging--and rewarding--piece I've yet learned to play. Though The Old Castle from Pictures at an Exhibition comes close. Very similar pieces, actually. It's a toss-up.

The best live recording of any kind of music, ever, is Duke Ellington's "Diminuendo in Blue and Crescendo in Blue" from the Newport 1956 concert. I'll go ten rounds with anyone who says otherwise. It always gets me dancing and cheers me up (so why didn't I listen to it yesterday?). You cannot stand still once Paul Gonsalves starts in on his solo...

I have two recordings--one off "This is Jazz 7," which contains the original LP recording, and one off "Ellington at Newport," which is a re-mastered version of the original concert. Oddly, I like the former better. On the original Newport LP, the band re-did the concert (except the "Diminuendo") in the studio, and to make the concert recording sound more like those done in the studio, they threw some echo on it, which intensifies that beat and the frenzy. The remastered CD is more authentic, but the LP version is even better than the real thing. As U2 might say.

And now, your life is complete. Here is the chord progression to "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats:

C
We can dance if we want to
Bb F
We can leave your friends behind
F Bb
'Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance, well they're
C G
No friends of mine
(repeat)
F Bb
We can dance, we can dance
Eb Ab
Everything's out of control
F Bb
We can dance, we can dance
Eb Ab
They're doing it from pole to pole
F Bb
We can dance, we can dance
Eb Ab
Everybody look at your hands
F Bb
We can dance, we can dance
Eb Ab C G D A
Everybody's taking the cha---ance
C G D A (vamp)
With the safety dance...
Thunder and rain... very good.
Anatomy of a bad mood: You must prepare to have one. So start out by taking an Ambien the night before, to help you sleep. After all, if you haven't gotten much sleep lately and things have been OK, lots of sleep will make things awful.

Wake up after said sleep feeling groggy. Sleep was full of dreams despite (or perhaps because of) drugs. Out of bed late, your son playing happily in his room. Shower. You can't remember what you've washed already... soap is lathery, so it's a fair bet you've used it. But what about the face soap and the shampoo, both of which come in bottles? Just in case, you use them again.

Breakfast proceeds without incident. Off to Gymboree, where an overly perky teacher leads you, one other Dad, and a thousand Moms in sickeningly precious songs and games. Your son enjoys it. Ritual is, after Gymboree, go have lunch with Mom at her office. Mom has a meeting. You go home. Son screams. You apologize and offer to make his favorite lunch, mac 'n' cheese. Son stops screaming.

Reasonably awake until you realize there's nothing for you to eat for lunch. Wave of exhaustion. Trip to grocery store, where son, mischevious but in a good mood, tries to pull all sorts of things off the shelves. Pay bill. Go home.

Put groceries away. At least the refrigerated items. Too tired to put the rest away. Plastic bags in a heap on kitchen floor. Dog and cat hair everywhere. You sneeze. You were never allergic to anything until you moved to D.C. Son running this way and that, not really misbehaving, but very annoying. He looks tired too. Nap time.

No! He does not want a nap. Hits you. You lose your temper, shout, not just any old shout, but the old ripping-the-vocal-cords-to-shreds shout. He stops. You realize this shout is the only foolproof way to get him to behave. Depresses you even more. Put him in bed and sit in front of the computer for no real reason. He leaves his room. You put him back in bed, notice he's pulled all the bedsheets out of the bottom drawer of his dresser. You put them away, start to stand, bang your head on his diaper changing table. The shout is heard as far away as New England.

You lie down in bed, near tears, manage to catch a little sleep. Your son does not. You give up. Sleep, which usually helps, has managed to make you even more wretched. You both go downstairs, where you sit on the couch, a nervous wreck, as your son runs around, not a care in the world.

Wife comes home. She sympathizes. You repay her with snappishness. A minor disagreement after dinner (which somehow you managed to cook) becomes an argument. You trudge upstairs and lie down again, not coming down until your son's bed time. By this time, son has worn down his mother, too. A winning combination. You think about abandonment, suicide, other happy concepts.

Up to bed for the son. Still running, still laughing, now and again crying because he's finally tired, too. Read a story. Lie him down. Look at him. Hug, which he returns. And the whole day melts away. You cannot leave these people. You love them too much. You need them and somehow they need you, too.

Sit back with the wife and watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Stay up late playing hand-held Yahtzee. Go to bed at last, without the Ambien this time. And wake up the next morning, the world a better place.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Not birds, stars! I just banged my forehead from standing up too quickly under D's diaper changing table. (I was cleaning up a mess. No, not THAT kind of mess.) I hate this. I hope it's a concussion, because I could use a coma's worth of sleep.
We already told you why. Remember when your parents knew all the answers, no matter what the question?

"Mom, why is the sky blue?"

"Because blue is the Sky Fairy's favorite color, and she loves to paint it throughout her domain."

I wish that still held true. I've a lot of questions to ask.

"Mom, why do I work all day in a job I hate?" (that was from a few years ago, now replaced with:)

"Mom, what will happen when I try to re-enter the workforce with no skills after a several year break?"

"Why am I tired in the afternoon and wide awake all night?"

"Why doesn't D take naps anymore?"

"Why was I born thinking I'm intelligent, when it would have been so much easier to be satisfied with my stupidity?"

"Why are the suburbs the fifth circle of hell?"

Mom's response:

"Eat your vegetables, dear."

Monday, June 17, 2002

How could I have forgotten this? Ladies and gentlemen, I now own my college education. I paid off my last student loan on Saturday.

It's quite fashionable among liberal arts graduates of my age (especially those who never went to graduate school) to disparage our education... you know, "I can deconstruct a short story by Ambrose Bierce but I can't balance my checkbook" and all that. Well, I'm here to tell you that college taught me very little that I remember on a regular basis. But it taught me one thing that will stay with me forever--how to think.

Now if only I had taken that course on "Self Esteem in the Late Twentieth Century" I'd be all right.
Must... Control... iFist of Death... So I pop down to the Blogs of Note section and click on Confessions of a Mozillian, and soon enough I encounter this.

I know it's satirical, and I must make myself laugh, but... how DARE he tease my cute little computer?!
NO IMELDA MARCOS AM I! I go through sneakers like no one's business. I go through them like most people go through paper napkins. Which is why I'm stunned and pleased that my current sneakers have lasted two and a half years--one and a half years longer than any other pair I've ever had.

My wife's sneakers could last forever if she would let them. But once they hit a certain point of dirtiness, out they go and in come the new ones. She claims it's because of comfort, but I don't buy it.

The trouble comes when she tries to get me to buy new sneakers. Now, this is not a man-vs.-woman thing, or even a these-shoes-are-like-an-old-friend kind of thing. No shoes are my friends. I don't believe in standing on top of my friends for any length of time. Regardless, I feel that as long as they cover my feet and don't cause discomfort, why spend my heard-unearned money on new ones? (My previous pair failed this test in the rain, being split wide open along the sole by the time I got rid of them.)

My current pair, special-ordered from L.L. Bean, are starting to fall apart on the bottom, but they still provide support and comfort. This is much more than any sneakers have done in the past at this age. So I'm going to hold on a bit longer, thanks, and avoid puddles. It never rains in D.C. anyway.
Now I can concentrate on the other six deadly sins. A dialogue with myself after I finished Mike's book:

"Now what do I do with this thing?"

"Put it on the shelf, and be proud of it."

And that's the last I'll ever speak of it, because Mike deserves better than the crap I've flung at him.
Maybe now everyone else will call it soccer? Ha-HAAA!!!! We won another game!

It's times like this that I wish I either a) had cable; or b) could understand Spanish. Sure would like to at least TAPE the action, even if I didn't wake up at 2:30 AM to see it live.

The US team's first blowout (2-0) since 1950! Can you believe it? Go Us! (That's "us" as in "we," not "US" as in United States, but either one would work, really.)

Sunday, June 16, 2002

Just wait 'til you're 30, kid. Went to Pennsylvania yesterday evening for C---s' 21st birthday party. As usual I felt caught between two worlds. Well... that's not quite accurate. But I certainly felt out of place. My brother and sister take after Mom and Steve (my stepfather) pretty equally, so they're both blonde and beautiful. I however take after my father almost exclusively--I'm dark and Slavic. And not Goran Visnjic beautiful-Slav, either, just your basic round-headed punched-in-the-face-with-bad-skin Slavic. So when I hang out with them, I feel adopted. Additionally, I spent most of my time away from them, as my father had the lion's share of custody. There's a bond between us, don't get me wrong. But my feelings of fraud and inadequacy multiply when I'm there... entirely unfairly. Maybe I'm just unhappy unless I'm in the spot light.

There's more to write about this, but I want to go to sleep, not write, so you're the lucky beneficiary. Ha!
Tried to take a nap, but I can't sleep, so you're the lucky beneficiary. Happy Father's Day...

You know, thinking of Father's Day, which I wasn't really, but it's a decent transitional device, so, thinking of Father's Day: a long time ago a neighbor lent me a videotape of the cable TV program Baby Story (we don't have cable). We didn't want this, but she thought we'd be interested, as we were about to have one. A baby, not a cable TV program.

Anyway, this program, which may still be on the air for all I know, followed one family (from the Los Angeles area only, for budgetary reasons) as they had their baby, from conception to birth. (The viewer isn't present for the conception, but my gosh, are you ever present for the birth.) It was all over in an hour, whereas now, in the era of Survivor, they probably follow several different families for an entire season and give prizes to the family that manages not to slug the self-important host or something. I'm losing my thread, pardon me (where's the sewing machine?).

One of the episodes we watched featured a well-to-do California couple who were very eager to have children. In order to make it happen quickly, they started eating macrobiotic foods. "And you know," they said earnestly, "eating macrobiotically really did the trick. We conceived right away!"

Do they teach logic in Southern California? Maybe you conceived right away because you were having unprotected sex! Worked for us, anyway...

Saturday, June 15, 2002

When card catalogs weren't terminals. I guess my favorite place in my old home town of Westport, Connecticut was the library. In the olden days, it was crammed into a tiny brick building on the corner of Main Street and Route 1, bursting at its seams. Sometime in middle school I discovered the joys of the microfilm collection, and I would look up the front page of the New York Times on such earth-shattering dates as December 7, 1941, Nov. 22, 1963, and Jan. 11, 1972. (That's the Pearl Harbor attack, President Kennedy's assasination, and my birthday, respectively.)

But, in truth, that's not the library I remember most, because in high school, they moved up the road to a grander, ultra-modern facility. It lacked a bit of charm, but on the other hand, they finally had enough room, and I would wander the stacks for hours, looking at whatever struck my fancy (usually plays in those days). Sometimes I would go to the audio section and take out obscure, highbrow CDs and records (I remember Britten's opera Peter Grimes was a favorite... no wonder I was so unpopular). And of course I would visit the microfiche (mircofilm no longer) regularly. Sometimes, I'm sure, I went there to escape what I saw as a miserable home life, but whatever the motives, it instilled in me a love of libraries that continued into college, where I'd roam a huge library, but less for pure love than desperation about the essay I had to finish that evening.

Today, when I was walking back from the Aquatic Center, where I had just dropped D off to have a swim with K, I passed the Greenbelt library, a place which is small where the Westport library was grand, parochial where the Westport library was cosmopolitan, dingy where the Westport library was bright and clean. Yet there was a line of people, waiting to get in a few minutes before the place opened.

Maybe they know something I don't.

Friday, June 14, 2002

You know, I would kill to be able to write such funny stuff as a matter of course. How does she do it?

(Sigh of relief from Mike, Laura, and RG as they realize I've found someone else to stalk.)

Thinking of fan films.

Most folks would probably guess that fan films, fan fiction, and the like are a recent phenomenon, traceable to the rise of Pop Culture as the most important Kind of culture (if there's a Robert Wilson or Philip Glass fan club, I don't want to know about it). Certainly the art of the Fan has reached its high-water mark, what with all the geeks like myself doing films, other geeks doing short stories, and so on... all creating art based on someone else's characters. Purely a twentieth and twenty-first century thing, yeah?

Well, no. I just finished reading Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street, by William S. Baring-Gould. It purports to be a biography of "the world's first consulting detective," and it could be called a whimsical exercise in textual analysis, done as though the characters within actually existed, but let's not mince words: it's fan fiction.

Not that I think Sherlock Holmes was the first character to inspire fan fiction, as such. It's probably not accurate to call it fan fiction, but even Don Quixote inspired an "illegal" second part, which in fact drove Cervantes to write what became the true second part. (Cervantes himself may have inspired those who say Holmes was a real historical figure, since he always wrote as though Don Quixote was real.) Still, it's amazing how much STUFF Sherlock Holmes has inspired. K and I are unabashed fans. And, of course, there's my own tiny addition to the Canon (or, as I like to think of it, Conan's Canon).

The point being? When I made that film which has been called "a true laugh-out-loud piece," among other things, I wasn't just a geek. I was a geek partaking in a Grand Literary Tradition.

By the way, if you're a Holmes fan and you can get a hold of the Baring-Gould book mentioned above, don't hesitate. It's out of print, but I found a first-edition copy at a local used book store (a convenient birthday present for K). You may disagree with much of his chronology, but his inventions are quite entertaining.
Get the idea? You'll notice I've changed my "Have a comment?" response to the right from the sarcastic "Don't bother me" to the desperate "Bother me." If you're a regular reader of Rooster Spice--and there's only about three or four of you, so don't be shy--I'd love to hear from you.
All this and riots too! I don't follow sports, but I have an affinity for hockey (which my stepfather played and taught me) and soccer (which my father played and taught me, and which I played very poorly). So I was surprised by two things:

  • The Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup (AGAIN) and I wasn't even aware of it;
  • The US team had advanced another round in the World Cup, and no one was aware of it but me.

The whole world (except the US) is electrified by this very interesting World Cup (as witness Fauxhemian and Sexychick, to name just a couple), but here in the States, where we're having our best year ever (by Jove, we actually won a game!), the notice goes next to the box scores for high school basketball. (I shamelessly stole that joke from a very old Mad Magazine.)

Anyway, we're advancing into the next round, despite losing to Poland (I will never understand this system), and while it's almost certain we'll be eliminated very soon, hey! Keep the Dream Alive. Time to call my old college buddy (and rabid soccer fan) Geoff--that is, if he isn't himself in South Korea by now.

Oh, yeah, hockey: I hate the Red Wings, ever since they destroyed the Caps a few years back in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The surprise wasn't that they won, it was that I wasn't even aware the playoffs were happening.
Choices? What choices?
Absolutely true. But I'd still like the opportunity. Too Thin. Much Too Thin. (washingtonpost.com)
Sometimes New Yorkers can be more irritating even than Texans, in their vast, bland assumption that life occurs only in or near New York City and that everywhere else, life is a de facto waste of time.

<whine>
But I still wanna live there!
</whine>

Thursday, June 13, 2002

One of those weird convergences. Rest assured, that when I say "rubber ducky, go to hell," I'm not talking about Anna.

Did you know there is an improv group called Don't Tell Anna? Take their advice.

Like a DNA helix.

Speaking of pregnancy, K had an ultrasound today. (Yes, I wrote my usual jealous-of-everyone crap before I wrote about this. My priorities aren't just misplaced, they're twisted.) Anyway the baby is so BIG now--the due date is August 2--that he/she doesn't even fit in a single ultrasound window. We got a very good picture of her face, though, and she's pretty. (Aside: No, we don't know the sex of the baby, but for some reason I think of it as a girl. I did with D, too, though, so my track record isn't great. But how great does one's track record have to be? The chances are pretty good either way. This is why I find it so silly when people--total strangers usually--come up to K and say "I bet you're having a boy because you're carrying so low" or whatever. Either you're right or you're wrong--this is not exactly the Belmont Stakes here! The baby will be a boy or a girl, 2:1 odds, no matter how you slice it. End of aside.)

The good news is, the placenta, which was low at the last ultrasound, has moved into the right place, so no scheduled C-section. And unlike with D, K's blood pressure is still in the normal range, so the danger of toxemia is lower. Practice makes perfect, I guess, and the third one will be the easiest of all. Why? 'Cause there won't BE a third one, of course! K's made that clear, and I'm going to be only too happy to remind her of that if she ever brings it up...
Rubber Ducky, go to hell... K's too pregnant to do it, so I give D baths now. Mark my words: he will not be clean for the next two months.

Hey, at least I quoted William Goldman this time!

As expected, I've been deep in Jealousy of People Better Than Me mode... no, not the usual suspects, this time it's my brother, and I'm not jealous of his accomplishments, I'm jealous of the $2200 bass guitar he's getting for his 21st birthday this Saturday. Mind you, I'm sure he deserves it--he's an excellent funk bassist and that's in fact how he's currently making his living--and 21 is indeed an important birthday, but, y'know... I turned 30 in January and the mom and stepfather gave me a, um, Borders gift certificate. Not for $2200, by the way.

I'm thirty, yes I know, and I should be past the need to get expensive toys, but I'm still a kid at heart, and not in the good ways, either, just the petty, annoying ones.

Steve (my stepfather) visited us last night. He was in Bethesda on business. I showed him Star Wars: Episode One and a Half and he was floored. He asked, "Squelch, you have so much talent in so many places... I don't understand why you're not making money off it yet!" I'm not sure that's exactly what he said... I'm sure he said it in a nicer way.

Really, I don't have incredible talent, though it's been said I have a way with words. The real amazement, to me, is that everyone has talent. Truly. I mean, just look to the column on the right and peruse the great writing in those blogs, each and every one of them by plain old regular people like you and me. Talent is not a problem in this world; there's talent to spare.

So what does keep the beautiful people under the TV lights and the rest of us watching them? Ambition? Persistence? Not bothering to wonder why some people are famous and others aren't? William Goldman wrote once that "stars have no friends, they have business acquaintances and serfs... But they get the good table at Spago." So is that the key? Do you have to (Goldman again) "get rid of everything personal that might hinder you"? Sometimes it's tempting. But what's the point? Despite my stepfather's, my wife's, and more than a few other people's protestations, I'm not talented, I'm just average.

I'm not exactly sure what I'm trying to say here. Just more of the same, I guess. I think somewhere in there I was going to philosophize about the Internet and how it used to be that talented people without ambition would just get moldy on the shelf, but now (witness Blogger) any old putz can get themselves published. But that might detract from my stated mission of annoying people with my self-pity, so I better forget it.

By the way, I am a little jealous of my brother's accomplishments, as well as his bass guitar, after all. To be twenty-one again... and talented... and confident...

Readers of The Suburban Limbo! Have I alienated you yet? Well, if not, I'll keep trying, and thanks for stopping by!
Happy birthday, D---n. Today, on an undisclosed year, my older sister was born. There it is. Better head over to Blue Mountain, because I somehow doubt she reads this blog.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Did he know how avant-garde he was?

A consersation between one of K's co-workers and me:

Ron: Anyway, we had to do a skit at the end of this training, so that's about all the theater I've ever done.
Me: Yeah? What did you do?
Ron: Oh, we were cowboys in the Old West.
Me: Cool!
Ron: Yeah, and we couldn't get sound effects, or anything, so when there was a storm coming, or something, I had someone take off their cowboy hat and say "Thunder in the distance."
Me: Really? Wow! That's so cool! Are you familiar with the Epic Theatre of Bertolt Brecht?
Ron: (Pause) ...um... what?

Never let it be said that a theater major can't destroy a conversation.
Hmm... it looks like Mike got bumped. Damn it. That stinks.
From F/X disasters to radio disaster. We love Little Red Boat! The image of tucking D in to the sounds of a punch in the gut (reaction) is just too much to bear.

As a former theatrical sound designer and old radio buff, I used to have tons of sound effects records. I don't know where they are, but boy, were they fun. I used one to make my own recording of the first "Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" episode when I was in junior high. That's lost now, too, which is just as well.

Come to think of it, I know where that F/X record went. It was stolen from the high school radio station, where I had left it in preparation for my show that afternoon. Stupid trusting idiot.

I'd love to do radio again, but who the hell knows where? There's no non-commercial radio to speak of in the D.C. area (and if you think public radio is non-commercial, well, you're not in WETA's jurisdiction). And, thanks to the lobbying of the media giants, that low-power FM scheme isn't applicable where I live (too many stations too close together already).

There was an article in the Post a while back about the head of ClearChannel, the largest radio conglomerate in D.C. (and one of the largest in the country). ClearChannel is only the worst example of why radio sounds the same no matter where you go. Lots of commercials, the same ten songs over and over, and certain types of DJs with little variation. (Try it out. An Oldies station in DC sounds like an Oldies station in Alaska.) The CEO said at one point, "Every time we have an idea, I have to ask: Will it raise ratings? Will it make money? If not, out it goes."

And yet, somehow, that philosophy has made ClearChannel LOSE money for the past two years. Guess what? If you showed a little individuality and took some risks, you might well get ratings and money! Why not hire one program director for each station (currently one PD handles two to three stations, in the name of cost-cutting) and have them run it according to their tastes and instincts, not market research?

Some of the things that are supposed to "raise ratings" and "make money" have been downright comical. For instance, our local version of a cookie-cutter Oldies station, WBIG, has gone through several identity crises since we moved here. It went from "Washington's Big Oldies Station" to "The Oldies Station" (as though it were the ONLY ONE), to "Oldies 100," and now it's just "Big 100," cutting the Oldies out entirely (though it still sounds exactly the same). They haven't changed the tunes for any of their jingles, though, so it's amusing to hear the jinglers sing "Big" for what used to be "Oldies," and try to stretch a one-syllable word into two syllables.

Meanwhile, down the dial a bit, a non-ClearChannel station, Z104, has hit upon the following catchy slogan: "Fewer Commercials, More Music." What a concept! Think it'll last?

Naaahh...
The Envy channel again... Exercise for this evening. You must do the following:

1. Watch my college chum Mike promote his book and show on Letterman.
2. Evaluate whose career will be helped more by the appearance: Mike's, or Dave's.
3. Estimate just how drunk I'll want to get after I watch it.

Three and a half might be (especially for those of you coming from The Suburban Limbo--hello, new readers!): figure out what the hell I'm talking about. Well, Mike and I went to college together, he's the most talented and charismatic person I know, and I'm insanely jealous of him because he has the life I wanted to have. That about sums it up. Right about now is when he should take out a restraining order on me, for both of our sakes.

I should point out, despite the envy, I'm also deliriously happy and excited for Mike. But don't worry... that'll pass.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Not blogrolling so much as... Does anyone know what this means?

Oh no, the manifold failed. I can't wait until the ketchup runs out, so I can use the purple ketchup! They were doing the beer announcement when I was at the grocery store. They always used to do the beer announcement while I was shopping, way back before we had two cars, but I haven't heard it in a while.

She's so odd, but at least she liked Attack of the Clones.
Try this: Google search for "Quixotically milking bovine."
Eat your ice cream with a spoonerism. The other day, attempting to engage in the solipsistic task of reading my own blog, I accidentally typed in roosterspice.blogstop.com. To my surprise, my blog didn't appear, but something else did. Yes, it appears that blogstop.com has joined amazom.com, bloger.com, yaho.com, and other Website Misspellings. (The first one has been co-opted by Amazon, but it used to lead to a competing bookstore.)

The frightening thing about blogstop.com, though, is that it will actually suggest domain names for you based on synonyms. So I could get roosterspice.com, rooster-spice.com, and--wait for it--cockspice.com.

Bet that would increase my traffic.
D's vocabulary... a tantrum in one act.

D: Wanna have a bad day?
Squelch: No thanks, I'm already having one.
D: (upset) Wanna bad day!
Squelch: I think you are, too.
D: (throws dinner plate to the ground) Wanna have a bad day! Wanna bad day!
Squelch: Well, you've gonna have one now, kid!
K: That's not what he's saying. (Holds up her finger, around which is wrapped... a Band-Aid.)

(Pause.)

Squelch: Oh.
Exercise One--Feeling Microscopic. Looks like my little lash at Suburban Limbo had an effect. Sorry, RG.

I suppose it's a mark of my personality that I can even feel guilty about a wee issue like this. Why not look at it as a challenge--how quickly can I alienate the new readers?

On the other hand, I haven't received any more hits from Google yet. Lara Logan topless, Lara Logan bikini, Lara Logan mud wrestling ...

Monday, June 10, 2002

It is possible, of course, that self-pity simply doesn't lend itself to blogrolling.
Ah, fer Crikey sake! You know, I'm only a little bitter that no one has linked to Rooster Spice (except once, from my great and good friend Mike Daisey). Fine, I can accept that maybe my scrivenings aren't all that universal and so on. But RG over at the Suburban Limbo--who has been linked from my site almost since day one--always makes a big deal about pointing out who's complimented his site. As witness this. What did I do wrong to not be rolled? Have I not used ENOUGH superlative comments?

Lara Logan. Lara Logan. Aaaaaand.... Evhead. (Read the above link and this to figure out what the hell I mean.)
As promised. It starts when you get a postcard in the mail from Nielsen Television Research. The postcard simply says that you've been selected to be a Nielsen Family for the final week of sweeps, and rather plaintively adds, "We are not trying to sell you anything!" in bold type. Then comes a phone call.

The person on the other end asks a bunch of questions about your demographics and your television viewing habits, then explains that before the assigned week you will receive a Diary... and yes, you can tell he pronounces it with a capital "D." In this diary, you are to record exactly what television you watched, when you watched it, and who in the family did the watching. Then, when the week is up, you mail the Diary back to them ("and of course, we will pay for all the postage," the person helpfully adds).

As expected, the diary arrives a few days before the viewing period begins. This period lasts from Thursday to Wednesday (now you know why E.R. has its season finale a week before the rest of the schedule). The diary, decked out in tasteful shades of black and light blue, begins with the same questions the person on the phone already asked you. Like the Government, Nielsen is into redundancy. Also included are specific instructions on how to fill in the diary. Also included, somewhat surprisingly, are five one-dollar bills, a token of thanks. ("Perhaps you could use them to get a small gift for the children of your household," they helpfully suggest. We do not take their advice.)

There are columns for each and every member of the household. In column one goes the Male Head of Household, in column two the Female Head of Household, and the rest of the columns are to be filled in at your own discretion. There are two columns indicating the state of the TV (on or off) and columns for the program name, channel, station--even a column to check when the TV is on but no one is watching (a state almost unheard of in our home--I've never liked TVs as background noise). Across these columns are rows indicating the time of day, and naturally, you check off the appropriate column and row combination and bango, that's market research.

So what did we watch that week, the week of the 2002 Season Finales? Surprise! almost nothing. At least live, which is what the advertisers care about. The grand total of programs was, I think, three: Jeopardy! once, Blue's Clues, and the season finale of Enterprise. We taped quite a few, but since taping does an end-run around the Advertising Delivery Device that commercial television is, I don't even know if they count it. (If you tape a program without watching it live, you can indicate as such by writing "VCR" after the program name.)

I think, if anything, this Diary made us think about our viewing habits... and therefore, we watched less.

Sunday, June 09, 2002

The mind boggles. Heh. Just had my first hits from Google--two in a row, no less. One of 'em searched for 48 hour film new york, which makes good sense to me. The second one, though, was looking for male forced "milking machine", and I don't even want to know why that led them to Rooster Spice.
Wonder if the Ford Foundation gave 'em a grant? According to Frontline, SUVs are a public health risk, in that an SUV is more likely to tip over while turning than any other class of vehicle. Not exactly earth-shattering news, that, of course, but it strikes close to our parking lot. This story recently made big news, but it was buried in the debacle over Firestone tires tearing themselves apart at high speeds. The real story was the number of rollovers in general, not the number of rollovers due to Firestone tires.

The model most prone to tipping was, according to the program, the Ford Bronco II. Why? Because it was so tall and thin that its center of gravity was all messed up. Simple physics.

In our parking lot has recently appeared a Ford Bronco II. But that's not all. Its owner has taken this tippy, fouled-up vehicle... and jacked it up, messing with the center of gravity even more.

I only hope he doesn't hurt anyone else on his way out of the gene pool.
All I want today is... to be left alone.

Friday, June 07, 2002

Ensuring Domestic Tranquillity.

While I wouldn't say we're poverty-stricken here at chez Squelch (witness the monthly expenditure for a DSL line with which to type this blog at hunt-and-peck speeds), we do occasionally have the experience of living paycheck-to-paycheck. Usually this is somewhat illusory--we do have a decent savings, after all, and we don't run out our checking account or max our credit cards--but this past month, enough bills piled up and forced us to live off this past week ('til Monday, when K gets paid) without much money in the checking account. I have tried (successfully) to get through the week with just the dough in my wallet. Now all that's gone, and I face a cash-free weekend.

I wonder how long I'll last? Considering that I need to get D into the city pool tomorrow to swim with K, probably not long. But we have it easy. We're not going to starve anytime soon. But (how's this for a transition to politics?) considering the government doesn't offer paid maternity leave, we may starve once the new baby is born.

Isn't it about time to change that, folks? K had to use up all her vacation and sick leave for D's birth and more (she was able to get sick leave donated to her by others). Donation isn't an option this time around, and though she has just enough for six weeks' leave, if she has to go on bed rest (as she did last time) she'll be out in the cold.

I'm unemployed by choice, and I could probably go back to working at the Kennedy Center if we needed money. But don't let that distract you from the larger issue: the government does not give its employees paid maternity leave. When you throw this into the mix of "Mothers Need to Stay Home," "Welfare Mothers Need to Work," "Insurance Companies Need to Pay for Viagra," "Insurance Companies Don't Need to Pay for Birth Control Pills," and other general Congressional proclamations... well, I, at least, find it pretty much irrefutable that the current leadership has it in for women and wants them barefoot and pregnant while their husbands cavort in strip clubs. Another thing I could add to that list is the recent flap over day care vs. home care; the pundits said again and again, "See! Women should stay home!" but never for a moment suggested that men might do the same.

It's transparent. Stay in the kitchen, Trixie, and let Ralph Kramden bring home the bacon.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

I hate to toot my own horn, but toot toot!

A few more bits 'n' pieces of commendations about my favorite topic:


"Great job. Only four weeks? Damn fine work."

"(much applause and laughter) Oh, that was wonderful! I'm certainly going to be showing it to my friends, who I'm sure will also appreciate it. Keep up the good work!"

"I also enjoyed your movie...looking forward to more."


Shameless! Shameless!

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

Gonna talk more about the Gonnas at some point, too. Ya know what I hate? I hate when bloggers mention they'll tell their readers about something in more detail and then never get around to it. So, in the interest of preventing this from happening to me, here's a list of topics I've brought up but not finished.

  • A more detailed explication of What It Takes To Be A Nielsen Family.
  • How your blood type changes between pregnancies.
  • The continuing adventures of D's vocabulary.

I think, after a quick perusal of the archives, that's everything that I've left hanging. Could be worse, I suppose.

Had an excellent rehearsal with The Gonnas tonight--our first with the whole band in nearly a month. (Rex, Jeff, and I met last Friday, but Tony couldn't make it.) It was fun, although we were pretty rusty. I'm sure we didn't sound much worse than usual.

Rex finally wrote the lyrics to a really beautiful song, called "Colorado." Very simple, pretty melody, simple chords... always the simple ones that you like, isn't it? We jammed it a while back, before Tony joined us, but never finalized the lyrics until now.

We haven't done as much jam-writing since Tony joined... before it was just guitar (me), drums (Jeff), and vocals (Rex), but with the addition of bass (Tony), while it's an essential element of the sound, it's much harder to just invent a song on-the-fly... at least for me. Hey, that's OK. It's still fun to cover "Material Girl" with four males.

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Media, films, and eyes.

Some random musings for a late blog.


  • Apple has announced the Quicktime 6 Public Preview, which features MPEG4 support, widely hailed as the Next Coming of Christ as far as streaming media goes. After playing with it a bit, I'm not unduly impressed, though I will admit it does a decent job when the bit rate is cranked up. Watch this space for more info; I may put up a MP4 version of Episode One and a Half.
  • More Fan Film Crap: Continued my task of checkin' out the competition on TFN Fan Films, and am pleased to note that 90% of the stuff there... is dreck. Mind you, I'm not sure I could do better--oh, hell, sure I could. I have! A notable exception, however, is The Formula, a fan film about making a fan film. Though it sometimes gets too "meta" for its own good, on the whole the acting is decent, the script is funny (it skewers not only Star Wars but The Matrix and even Jaws), and, while the lighting and sound is fairly ugly, it's as good as your average fan film. Check it out. (It's LONG--fifty minutes--so let it download overnight.)
  • D's worn his eye patch the prescribed amount (four hours a day) for four days straight now. He's pretty well-adjusted about it. When we first tried to introduce him to it (before his glasses) he screamed and cried, tried to rip it off, etc. I couldn't blame him, since he probably was close to being functionally blind in his left eye (the open eye) at that point. (When the two eyes can't resolve into a single image, and one eye is not seeing as well as the other, oftentimes the brain will simply switch off the weaker eye. That's why D's eyes were crossing, and that's why we had to put the patch over his less-bad eye.) Once he got his glasses, he didn't cross as much in general, and was much more amenable to the patch... though he wasn't exactly jumping through hoops for it.

More about D's eyes: he occasionally, like any kid would, refuses to wear his glasses. Okay, I can deal with that. But today, with his glasses off, I noticed his left eye drifting inward again. I was frightened.

Monday, June 03, 2002

Well, as reported in There is Nothing to Not Be Amazed At, there is a blog dedicated entirely to the first posts of blogs, and can be found at miprimerpost.blogspot.com. Neat concept, and yes, I participated. I bet it's even better if you know Spanish.
Don't even THINK of... Today we got a little reprimand letter from the co-op leadership, explaining that there has been some abuse of visitor parking spaces in our parking lot. (Everyone has one reserved spot, and then there are a bunch of unreserved.) It wasn't us, since we only have one car. And yet... I know I get super-territorial when someone's parked in our spot, or parks in the middle of the driveway and blocks our spot.

Gets me thinking... K's and my first apartment, in Bradford, Massachusetts, was on-street parking only, but there was a driveway next door, and every weekend we'd wake up to hear the owner of the driveway honking at whoever, in their ignorance, had parked there, and once they moved it, saying, "Next time I'll have it towed!" We had met him while our moving van had blocked him accidentally, and learned that lesson quickly.

My father and I once lived in a house where we shared the driveway with a neighbor. Again, there were little parking wars, which, even to a selfish teenager, seemed petty. For instance, our neighbor would get up in arms that my dad would park in the middle of his two spaces in order to avoid a puddle. Dad would get up in arms that one of our neighbor's spots was essentially in the middle of our back yard. Then, our neighbor moved out, Dad grabbed the back yard space... and started to get miffed that the new neighbors parked in the middle of their spaces to avoid the puddles.

I hope, at least, that I wouldn't be that short-sighted today--hey, what's that? WHAT THE HELL? I DON'T CARE IF YOU HAVE TO UNLOAD YOUR WHEELCHAIR-BOUND GRANDMOTHER! I MIGHT NEED TO GET OUT OF MY SPOT! YES, I'M GOING TO BED BUT THAT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS! THE OLD LADY CAN WALK FROM A VISITOR SPOT JUST LIKE THE REST OF US! Excuse me, sorry about that. Where was I? Ah yes--I wouldn't be so short-sighted, and I would show a little compassion.

Sunday, June 02, 2002

Like an elephant sitting on your lap!

So you haven't seen the Top Secret Project yet? Well, get over there! As incentive, I offer the following testimonials:

"Wow, that film rocks!... I've been hoping for a film like this for some time, glad to see I'm not the only one."

"Very funny... I laughed at the repeated use of 'Puce'. I realize I'm simple but there is something pretty dang funny about just saying 'Puce'."

"That was GREAT. One of the best little animations I have seen for a wile. Lets see another!!"

"Great work on your animation! Funny story!"

"Okay - so I go away to a convention for a couple of days and see what I miss! That was fantastic!... The premise is very funny. I love the opening title sequence and it is timed very accurately with the 'real' films."

And, of course, I wouldn't be me if I didn't include these testimonials as well:

"Well Squelch, the titles looked great, but that's as far as I got before there was a conection failure. I'm on DSL so it was'nt me."

"I'd love to see this Squelch -- is there anywhere else I can download it? I can normally get a 25 MB file in under two minutes, but from the Hash server, it took me almost 15 minutes to get to the end of the first paragraph of the opening scroll."

"If you can help it, try to post it somewhere else. Hash's site is SSSOOOO SSLLLOOOOWWW."

"As far as Star Wars 1.5, I can't even get it to start downloading."

"Faster server please. 25 MB is nothing to DSL, until now. The server your video is on must be really slow. I would love to see Episode 1.5, but I have other things to do than download. Sorry."


Bet you won't see THAT on your average movie poster, huh?

Saturday, June 01, 2002

Two more little gems from RG over at The Suburban Limbo:


  • Remember my Blue's Clues dream? Well, in a weird take on dreams imitating life, it turns out Steve, the ex-host of Blue's Clues, is something of an alt-rocker, according to this entry. You go, rugby shirt man!

  • It appears that, in the name of copy protection, there are now certain CDs that will destroy your computer if you put them in. When are these people going to realize that there is NO SUCH THING as copy-protection? As evidence, I offer a recent NPR story, which explained that an incredibly expensive copy-protection scheme cooked up by Sony is defeated by... a felt-tip marker, writing a ring around the outside of the disc.

Protect Our Wetlands, Babies, and Senators! Conversation from this morning at breakfast:

K: I think we should go protest in front of the Capitol.

Me: Um, okay... against what?

K: Against how we can now protest in front of the Capitol.

Capitol Ban on Protests Nullified (washingtonpost.com)