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

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

And if I really do feel I'm not living the life I should have, what's the point of saying that I am? Besides that it'll piss off all you wonderful people, I mean.

Aw, crud...

Of Mike and Mom.

Well, idiot that I am, I recorded Leno, not Letterman, so I missed Mike's big shew. I'm not sure what I was thinking... after all, Dave's been on CBS for a long long time now, and when he was on NBC, he wasn't at 11:30. So I was wrong on both counts. All I can plead is exhaustion from pre-babyhood.

Fortunately, my buddy and former housemate Doug (another college crony) taped it, and said Mike aquitted himself well. So we'll see.

Just before she left, Mom called me on the carpet and said, in essence, "Cut the bullshit." You know, about the "pity parties" and all that. She's right, of course. My loved ones deserve better than hearing me whine about how bad I think the life they share with me is. (You, however, dear reader, get no such exemption.)

Except for one thing: should I just plain lie? The fact is that I do think I made a lot of bad choices and I do think I haven't (and never will) lived up to my potential, and I do see myself as a failure. Maybe my expectations were too high to begin with or maybe my priorities are just fucked. But if by trying to make myself happy I just lie to myself, is that really how I want it to work? (Someday I'd like to be grammatical again, but that's a whole 'nother blog.) As Anna is wont to say, I seem to have misplaced my funny for a while now. But I suppose I can only "write what I know," after all.

K will be induced Saturday morning if the baby hasn't come by then. Save the date.

Monday, July 29, 2002

Well, we had some potentially scary moments this weekend. Nothing bad, mind you--but all day Saturday and Sunday K was feeling ill in that "pre-contraction" sort of way. Not Braxton-Hicks, either, but true labor style nausea. Nothing came of it... she's still waiting and her doctor says she's not dilated at all yet.

My mom and stepfather came down to visit Saturday and my mom stuck around, which is undeniably helpful as the birth becomes imminent. She'll stay until tomorrow when K's folks arrive. And after that....

Yesterday I was super-dizzy again. I hope it was just exhaustion.

By the way, I'm sorry I haven't written much lately. I think the impending birth is stressing me more than I realize, and that may be why there's the dizziness, the depression, and so on. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, July 26, 2002

And no, still no baby. AAAAAARGH!
Well, good news: the University of Maryland music library has a whole special collection devoted to Handel, so my quest for a public domain copy of the Messiah full score looks to be achievable.

Meanwhile, I'm nearly finished typesetting the first movement of Mozart's 25th Symphony for Mutopia, and that gives me new appreciation for Tom Lerher's old joke:

There are certain people who make you realize how little you've accomplished in life... For instance, by the time Mozart was my age, he had been dead for six years.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Your comments, please: there is a lot of furor on the 'Net these days about the MPAA and the copyright act, and the music industry's efforts to shut down digital piracy. Just a question, but is this or is this not the essential argument: I want to steal people's music and the people who wrote and published the music shouldn't stop me just because they "own" it.

Hey, I'm all for sharing, and I've Gnutella'd with the best of 'em. But come on, man, why can't artists be allowed to make a buck?

I welcome your responses...

It's time to go to bed. It's only ten o' clock. Sigh.

Does everyone who has kids have such a hard time of it, or is it just me? (Or am I a wimp? Don't answer that.)

Was that sentence grammatical?

All I know is that naps are more precious than gold.

Not my OWN naps. My son's naps...

By the way, my latest play will be performed at the Source Theater in DC this September.** I'm very proud of it; I finally got my coveted balance of comedy and drama, and I even--gasp!--told a coherent story. Source is pretty excited about it, too, and my agent says it could be the springboard to an engagement at a bigger theater... maybe even New York? Keep your fingers crossed, and if you're in town, check it out.

**This is what is technically known in the theater business as a "lie." I haven't written a play in over five years, and any agent who took me on would be drummed out of the profession.
Well, my old friend Stephanie (of former improv group fame) will be featured at a local radio station here, WAMU, as part of the program "Public Interest." Apparently she'll be doing some storytelling and so on. She'll be perfect for the radio... one thing Steph can do is entertain via talking...

More news about the 48 Hour film: my buddy Jeffrey saw it and understood the camera wobbling, but said, "Hey, they've got a whole Saving Private Ryan thing going on, don't they?" Score: Confusion 2, Art 0.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Choo choo. What's it like waiting for the baby to come?

Picture yourself at a train station (with plasticine porters with looking-glass ties). You're waiting for the next train. Your ticket proclaims: "No refunds. Not a sleeping car. When train arrives, passenger will perform engineer's duties. Approximate travel time: 18 years."

Now imagine you don't know what time the train actually arrives, and you've put all your other engagements on hold to catch it.

Now further imagine your traveling companion is in tremendous pain and the pain increases exponentially the closer the train comes, until, when the train is finally in sight, she's begging you to cut her in half at the waist.

Finally, imagine the train is filled with other passengers; toddlers, newborns, and in-laws mostly.

Now, picture yourself actually looking forward to the journey.

"Welcome to Amtrak's Parenthood line, making station stops at Insanity, Joy, Potty Junction, Lack-o-the-Sleep, Sex Talk..."

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Channeling Falco.


Thaz what I say.

I finally saw the results of my foray into the 48 Hour Film Project--a movie called "Final Chase." It aimed to ape the style of "Homicide: Life on the Street" and its ilk. All it got was a question from K: "Why is the camera so wobbly?" Oh well...

The sound was pretty good, and that was my department, so bully for me.

I have finally reached the point where I have nothing interesting to say. What ya mean, finally? Shaddup.

On the bright side, if you had over to the Mutopia project and click "In Progress," you'll see what I've been spending my non-blogging time doing. Mozart rocks, man. Yah, dude. Someone should write a song about that...

Sunday, July 21, 2002

I'm not sure where I stand anymore. Am I happy, sad, or somewhere in between with the rest of the punks?

Is effective time management the secret to life? If I knew what I needed to do, got it done, and then moved on to what I wanted to do? Would that do it? (Can a sentence be any more vague in subject?)

I discovered a troubling truth at the doctor's office on Friday. I thought I had created a wonderful joke when I wrote this and credited it to my "book," How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. Well, turns out a book with this title actually exists, and, according to Time Magazine, isn't even very good.

So I can't even say I only stole from the best...

(Probably about as close as I'll get to writing a book, huh?)

Saturday, July 20, 2002

I feel better now. Man! What I wouldn't give for the ability to realize when I'm tired!

Or maybe what I wrote yesterday was the truth, and today is the delusion?

That's too frightening to contemplate. Better go drown myself in Smart Start and Lipton tea.

Friday, July 19, 2002

I don't care about this damn blog anymore, or so it would seem, since I haven't written anything in three days. I don't care about much of anything right now. I want a vacation from my life and I want to remember what it felt like to be confident in myself and to take joy in life and not be bored stiff all the time.

I need what? I don't know. I'm just tired, I guess. But how the hell did my life get so boring?

My brother's band is breaking up. They were really good. Interest from record labels and everything. Now it sounds like he just wants a "normal life." So he's throwing away everything I ever wanted for myself.

I should have walked off the edge of the fucking Kennedy Center while I had the chance. Now too many people are dependent on me for me to just escape. So I appear to be doomed to a life of unhappiness.

Bullshit. I am a fucking self-piteous moron with no real sense of perspective. So I can go to hell. Maybe I'll take up drinking again.

The problem is that self-destruction won't only hurt me, it will hurt D, K, and the new one. I don't even have the right to be selfish anymore. The choices are all gone. How did this happen?

Does anyone care? If so, they should stop caring, because I'm not worth your time.

God! I'm thirty years old and my life is still adolescent, right down to the bad skin! WHEN DOES IT END? Today is NOT the first day of the rest of my life... the rest of MY life is off some road somewhere, and I'm busy living the life of some lame-ass nobody.

I even complain like a teenager. When do I get to grow up?

Who's to blame? No one but myself, right?

Screw this. I want to die, but I'm gonna keep on living, day after miserable day. I don't deserve the relief of death.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Hey, does anyone know where I can find the full score to Handel's Messiah in the public domain (i.e. an urtext edition or an edition published before 1923)? Full orchestral score, not just vocal and piano. If anyone knows what I'm talking about, email me.
Crunch. From now on, I only buy plastic snow globes. Lately, D has enjoyed looking at a very nice one of these while I read him a story at bedtime. Today, unfortunately, K knocked it off the shelf (hey, come on, you try balancing yourself at a full-term pregnancy) and crash! it shattered.

We were, of course, all barefoot at the time, but at least D was in a good mood. I'd hate to think how he would have reacted if he had been crying and screaming all day. Then again, maybe it would have cheered him up.

In any case, he kept asking "Want the snowman?" as I cleaned up the glass, water, and snow, and K read to him. Is it too early to try to explain about death?

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Sometimes, I think we're invoking the Jedi Mind Trick when we speak to D:

K: D, those are Mommy's books!

K: Those are Mommy's books.

K: You should read your books.

D: You should read your books.

The key difference, of course, is that he doesn't do what we ask when he repeats it...
Dibble, dibble, dopp. It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring. Then he got a concussion, slipped into a coma, and died. Well, that's how I interpret the nursery rhyme, anyway.

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Woof, yawn. I'm a tired puppy and it's no one's fault but my own. I was up 'til 1 AM yesterday trying to get a stable release of Lilypond to compile on Darwin. I can't think of anything more boring to read about, though, so I won't elaborate. ("...and then, I had an undefined symbol error when gnumake invoked ld! Can you believe it?")

I haven't been feeling particularly write-ful lately (as evidence, witness the blogs from yesterday and the day before; oh, wait, you can't do that because there AREN'T ANY). I don't know; I just get a little bit down when I do other things instead of making my "blog commitment." Although sometimes the things that I do are more important (such as getting the baby's changing table ready), often as not I'm just hacking in the computer.

Where's that novel? that song? that, that, that... et cetera.


P.S. Why did I sign my name? This isn't an email. I must be tired after all.
Someone came here looking for "teenager violin blog." BZZZZT! thank you for playing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Yes, I know about that other Darwin, too. So they've found a new hominid skull that is the oldest yet found. It somewhat destroys the current assumptions about the human evolutionary timeline (or at least some scientists say it does). How soon will the anti-Darwinists grab hold of this as "proof" that the theory of evolution is incorrect?

Suprise, folks. Science encourages new evidence. That's how it works. This skull doesn't "destroy" anything. It merely forces us to examine new possibilities. That's what it's all about...

I'm not anti-science at all! But I am anti-what-most-people-think-of-as-science... an immutable set of laws... because as most scientists know, that's not the case. And if there ever is evidence against the theory of natural selection and for "intelligent design," I'll be the first one to demand that it be investigated, even though it goes against every fiber of my being.

This has been brought to you by the Department of Incoherent Rhetoric.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Mimic ain't just a bad movie with Mira Sorvino. And more cute crap from D...

Scene: A boy and his dog. And Dad.

The dog bites a heap of grass from the side of the road.

Dad: Buddy! Don't eat the grass!

Boy: Buddy! Don't eat the... (Pause, as he realizes they are no longer near any grass.) .... sidewalk!
There was something else I wanted to blog about, but I forget.

Lilypond. You know, people keep asking for less Zart, but I think we need Mozart. It helps me keep a Handel on things.

Wish I had time to buy all the stuff on my Chopin Liszt before I go into Haydn from the pun police. Don't worry--I'll be Bach.

Doors closing, ding-dong.

Facts we know to be true:

  • K takes the Metro to and from work.
  • K is eight months pregnant and looks it.
  • The Metro is generally crowded.

From these facts, we can infer:
  • K will not be given a seat on the Metro.

Come on, kids! If you see a woman who is obviously pregnant, and who is in so much pain that she has to sit on the floor, give up your seat for her! Same as you would for a senior citizen. (You DO give your seats to senior citizens, don't you?) What is the world coming to?

(Lately, I've been picking her up at work, but that couldn't happen today. Had I known...)

Monday, July 08, 2002

Aural hygiene.

I'm not writing about Clarence today, after all. Remember that storm at sea I told you about? Well, I thought it was dizziness brought on by exhaustion and it would go away after a few hours' sleep. Well, when I woke up last night at one A.M. for a midnight snack, it had indeed gone away. But it came back with a vengeance around 11:30 this morning while I was out running errands.

It was so awful, in fact, that I had to ask K to come home early so I could get to the doctor. We're talking near fainting, world wobbling here. Not an experience I have often.

So I went to the doctor, not knowing what to expect. Was it something stupid but understandable, like lack of sleep? Was it something tragic but sexy, like a brain tumor? Or was it a reaction to the smokey air coming down from Canada--a reminder of my fragile relationship with nature?

None of the above. The culprit: ear wax.

They did all the usual stuff, of course, to make sure I didn't have a neurological problem or a virus or something, and those possibilities aren't entirely ruled out. But in order to check my balance, they had to look in my ears, and in order to look in my ears, they had to clean them out.

So they did, and after removing enough wax to keep your floor shiny 'til Armageddeon, I was suddenly no longer dizzy or tired. Just very, very hungry.

I don't know what's more pathetic: that it happened, or that I feel writing about it is part of my Blog Mandate...

Sunday, July 07, 2002

Oh, by the way.

Pictures of D in his glasses are now on-line. (Scroll down to the bottom.) Isn't he just the cutest l'il intellectual you ever saw?
Thar she blows! Thar I hurl! I think I haven't gotten enough sleep lately. I feel, right now, as though I'm on a ship at sea. Drunk, on a ship at sea. During a squall. And I don't have my sea-legs yet. I.E., I'm dizzy.

Being that I can't really drink alcohol, it's an amusing and new experience. Not that I've never been drunk. But it's been a while. Zoloft'll do that to you.

I wanted to write a little film-noir story for your amusement, but I don't think it's going to happen, not tonight. I also wanted to fool with my Darwin partition, but that, too, is not going to happen.

What is going to happen, clearly: I am going to wash up and lie down in bed, where I will not, despite my tiredness, sleep. Because that is what always happens. I shall never know why I cannot sleep in my bed at night, and yet can go through a day exhausted and take a nap at noon if the opportunity presents itself. If I could just sleep as scheduled, I wouldn't be tired during the day... right?

I didn't nap today. I biked around the lake, took the dog for a walk, cooked cheeseburgers on the grill. (I wonder if any of my friends who live in cities are looking at me with envy. Nah...) Yesterday I swam in the city pool with K and D, if by "swam" one means "treaded water, failed to float, and was flummoxed by the dog-paddle." Did you know I was nearly the only person from my high school to fail to graduate because they didn't pass the swimming test? That'll be another story for later, where I can also touch on such interesting topics as The Christmas I Spent In The Hospital and What Happens When You Don't Show Up For Your Own Surprise Party.

"Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings!" Was Clarence right, or duped by Hallmark? Talk amongst yourselves, and I'll weigh in on that tomorrow.
Quotable. "There's still nothing to compare with the experience of shitting in a pit at the same time as 20 other people. . . . Because if there were an experience to compare with that, I'm thinking it would be a rather undersubscribed activity."

I'll just have to take that on faith.

Saturday, July 06, 2002


A recent email has inspired me to explain why I missed the past 3 years' worth of Fourth of July fireworks. It's really not that interesting--just that a couple friends of ours throw a pool party every year, and, them being in Virginia and us in Maryland (that was an interesting approximation of the English language), it takes a long time to drive home, and we usually wound up driving during Prime Firework Time.

Sometimes this isn't so bad... I'll never forget, back in Westport, driving alongside Compo Beach in my dad's old Hyundai, fireworks popping over my head as I craned my neck underneath the tiny windshield to see them better, running over small mammals as I did so, probably. I think it was Memorial Day, though, not the Fourth. (I miss Compo Beach, and I miss high school, too. Pretty pathetic, for someone who wasn't a football player or even particularly well-liked to have peaked at 17, huh?)

Anyway, this year we didn't have that excuse. It was just too damn hot to leave the house. K had an excuse, of course--she's eight months pregnant--but I was just lazy. Oh well. I hope, next year, I can see them SOMEwhere. Maybe we'll go down to the Eastern Shore, and see them in Salisbury with Mom-mom and Pop-pop, like I did so many times in my youth.

Friday, July 05, 2002

How accessible are you? Go here: AnyBrowser campaign. A strike against the "Best Viewed with XXX" trend. As my favorite browser is iCab, I've been kicked out of many sites that require Netscape or Internet Explorer (iFilm) or simply don't work with a lesser-known browser (Blogger--gasp!). So I throw my full support to the AnyBrowser campaign here at Rooster Spice.

To that end, in my brand-new DarwinOS machine, I turned on Lynx, a text-only browser (or as I like to think of it, "an elegant browser, for a more civilized age"), and tested whether or not certain sites were viewable in text-only format. Blogger's front page was comprehensible, but as with iCab, it was impossible to post anything. Site Meter, surprisingly, was fully accessible, though the heavy use of tables made it difficult to read.

As for my Blogs of Approval, I'm happy to report that Rooster Spice itself (you know, the one you're reading right now) was fully viewable in Lynx, and not that hard to read, either. Other easily-accessed blogs include and Anti-Linear Brain. The Suburban Limbo was readable, but because of his page layout, one has to scroll past all his links before getting to the content. Sadly, Dilettante was completely unreadable--it showed up as a blank screen. (Come on, Mike--I know you want the command-line geeks to read your stuff too. Put a fire under your web designer's ass!) The remainder has not been checked yet.

In any case, I encourage all of you to examine your pages and make sure that you've got alt-text for your images, <noscript> tags if you use JavaScript, and for goodness sake, give us an alternative to Flash menus! That is all.
Careful! K might be reading this!

Thursday, July 04, 2002

And for the third year in a row, fireworks are going off and I'm not witnessing them. Just wait 'til 2003...

Happy Codependence Day if you're late for your Al-Anon meeting, or Happy Dependents Day if you need tax deductions...

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Hmmm, I must be bored.

I would like to announce that I am incorporating myself. You can now buy shares of me which will return handsome dividends when I start making a profit, which I expect to happen any day now. In addition, as a shareholder of Squelch, Inc. (NASDAQ ticker symbol SQUEL) you will have a say in all my major life decisions. Should I re-incorporate in Bermuda? Should I raid my wife's pension fund? Should I hire Arthur Andersen to do my taxes? It'll be all up to you!

My expenses are minimal and my investments are strong ("investments" include food, water, clothing, shelter, compact discs, new computers. "Expenses" include soda pop. See prospectus for details). Strategic partnerships are currently underway with such profit-makers as Pyra Labs and Squelch, LLP is already a proven leader in government contracting, from the Kennedy Center to the Unemployment Office of the State of New York. Our brand recognition and strength ("The World's Foremost Provider of Squelch") is well-known, while our charitable endeavors ($.50 to homeless man, 6/14/97; $10 to WPFW Radio, 3/21/98; career in theatre, 1994-1999) bring us considerable esteem in the corporate world. And, as is required in this era of mistrust, our balance sheet is completely transparent. (Invisible ink decoder ring available only to majority shareholder.)

Join Team Squelch today and help stave off another Great Depression!

If it were crisp...

Man, I would love to have the freedom to just leave the house and take a walk with K at 11:30 at night. Never mind that we're both too tired to do that (and were even before we had D). It's the principle of the thing.

I wouldn't want to do it now, when the nights are still in the 80s, but in autumn, when everything smells so crisp... I miss nighttime walks. I hadn't even thought of it before, but it's just something you can't do if there's a young child in your home. And it's such a simple thing. Forget about any of the other complex stuff you lose when you have a child... your own childhood, your ability to just pack up and leave, your collection of porn videos (not me, of course. By which I mean that I never had any, not that we kept them. Damn, I'm in trouble now). The simple stuff you miss the most, even without knowing it. Sure, I could take a walk alone, but I don't want to do that. Man, we have got to get a babysitter...
Must be hot. What are people searching for? "Build Your Own Air Conditioner." I'm here to say that if that's what the people want, I'm happy to provide. Bring me your tired, your poor, your heatstroked! Yea, shall I bring forth the Bag of Ice and the Fan.
Heh. While re-reading this, I realized that "we used to talk all the time in high school" doesn't sound quite right. My father and I used to talk all the time when I was in high school. Needless to say, Dad and I weren't sixteen at the same time. We probably would have gotten along better if we were.
Anna of Little Red Boat took her comments off-line. I wonder if it's my fault.

Should I do the commenting thing? At first, I figured, nah, this is just for me and no one else, but lately... well, it'd be interesting to get reactions, wouldn't it?

All this assuming that people would actually comment. And that's a big ol' assumption.

If you're a regular reader, and you'd never comment on one of my posts, why not drop me a line and tell me why?

(Ha! Gotcha.)

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Weepy. No new tales to tell, this week, really. We're all waiting with baited breath for K to pop (I'm favoring worms for my bait, while she's using tiny minnows).

My father visited this weekend, and Sunday night we had our first really good conversation in years. We talked all the time in high school, often as not yelling as we did so. As I got older, most of the time we'd talk about computers and politics, anything that didn't really matter. But Sunday, I needed some advice and he was there to give it.

We've had troubles in the past--lots of them. But I'm glad we're on good terms, seemingly indefinitely.

He had an elegant refutation to an argument I made in an earlier blog, such that there's so much talent in the world, so why even bother trying to share mine. I hadn't even mentioned this to him, but it came up naturally. He said, "There are a hundred--oh hell, there are probably a million people with as much talent as you. But there is no one who's lived your life, who's had your experiences. No one can use their talent exactly like yours."

All true. I wound up crying as we talked. I seem to be weeping a lot lately, but this felt really good. So much so, in fact, that it felt breakthough-worthy, as though I might finally be able, after this conversation, to get my act together and Write.

Alas, no. Today I felt just as crappy as usual, and I've gone back to tired, sulky, and worried mode. Sigh...
And again, the Recently Updated Blogs are stuck! Why can't I get in on that action?