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

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Rooster Ghost. No, Gentle Readers, I haven't vanished. Just been getting ready for the big show at Art-O-Matic. Change of time: 8 PM, Nov. 29, Cabaret stage. As of this writing, we're billed as a comedy improv group. This is a problem.

Attempting to mix a crappy 4-track casette to digital has proved to be a challenge. But with luck, we'll be able to give away a 3-song CD at the performance.

Tell your friends, tell your enemas...

Friday, November 22, 2002

Well, there is Al Gore. There's an InstaPundit and a Daily Pundit. There's a Shi'a Pundit, a MuslimPundit, and even a VodkaPundit.

But what I want to see? A ChiaPundit.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Maybe mediation would help.

Nimüe, our cat, pees on the couch regularly. Today K pointed out that she always pees in the same spot: the place where D, our resident cat-chaser, likes to sit.

I guess the verdict is in...
Mention Rooster Spice and get 25% off! Did a little research into anti-consumerism yesterday. It turns out there's a National Buy Nothing Day, and that's what we're supposed to celebrate on our performance (Nov. 29, Art-O-Matic, Cabaret Stage, 10 PM, be there or else), since anti-consumerism is the Theme of the Evening.

Now, the problem with encouraging people to buy nothing is that most bands promote themselves by selling CDs. But if people can't buy them on that day...?

An elegant solution: we'll be cutting a special 3-song EP and will give it away for FREE at the concert! So come on down and get it!

Just don't tell anyone that this 3-song EP will in fact be our first and ONLY compact disc...

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

I'm so tired.

"It's time I had some time alone..." -- R.E.M.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Today's KidsPost (yes, I get my news from a paper designed for 13-year-olds) asks the following question at its masthead:

What does an English person mean when she says, "Put the bag in the boot"?

The answer they gave was, of course, "Put the suitcase in the trunk." Personally, though, I thought a more accurate translation was, "Put the ugly old woman in the trunk."

Maybe they'll save that for the Mafia KidsPost.

Sincerely, your favorite GBA Yank...

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Whiners never quit. Well, I guess I have to admit that I'm probably not going to finish NaNoWriMo on time; the last week just took too much out of me. Sigh.

I'm still writing and will keep updating the meter, at least as long as Jeff keeps it going.

Aside: I've always wanted to fill a post with so many hyperlinks that the entry is rendered completely unreadable. I think this one comes pretty close.
I've got it! I've got it! Anti-Consumerism.... and Uncle Commercialism!

Saturday, November 16, 2002

I feel improvocated. My friend Stephanie, who was the heart and soul of RATS, the improv group of which I was a founding member (and which disbanded about a year ago), has started a new one: Improvocation. They had their first performance last night at Art-O-Matic, a D.C. arts festival.

I'm not going to write about how well they did, both because A) I didn't see it; and B) it's not part of my Blog Mandate. Rather, I'm going to tell you how I feel that Stephanie started a new improv group and didn't ask me to join.

Aw, screw that. I'm too happy. You see, the Gonnas are performing at Art-O-Matic, too!

Rex, our lead singer and another former RATS'er, went to see the show, and managed to con the Art-O-Matic folks into giving us a gig. We'll be performing Nov. 29, the day after Turkey Day, on the Cabaret stage at 10 P.M. So, if you're in the area, come on by.

The theme for the evening is anti-consumerism. So I guess I'll have to stifle my neo-conservative leanings. (Well, no, I'm not a neo-conservative, except in comparison to the socialists who run Art-O-Matic.) We also don't have any songs about anti-consumerism. But hey, who's counting?

[Edit: Stephanie did not, in fact, start the Improvocation group--my mistake.]

Friday, November 15, 2002

Slowly. This entry, the one that said "get over it," is probably a little too flip. I do appreciate the hordes--well, okay, the many--well, okay, the three, one of whom was my mother--people who have written in concern and sympathy. It's helped. Not as much as it should, but it has.

Anyway, things are a little better. Not solved, but better. I wish I could have made it clearer--I'm not worried about myself, per se. I'm worried about what I might do to my children. That's what put my undershorts in a twist.

Every day that E smiles, and every day that D sings a Beatles song (gosh, that kid has a great ear!), I feel better about being a father. And I feel more like I'm a good father.

I guess that's progress...
To quote the folks from IKEA: Maybe you feel sorry for this blog? That is because you are crazy! Blogs do not have feelings. And The Raving Atheist is much better!

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Because it is stupid. I'm approximately 5,500 words behind. This of course doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, except that I think I was writing a damn good story.

What if it's NaNoWriMo that is killing me? How odd would that be? Write a story on one hand--remain sane on the other. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around--telling stories keeps you sane?

Yes, I am seeing a psychiatrist. On a regular basis. And I have an emergency appointment tomorrow, in fact.
Those of you who are worried about me:

Get over it.

(It is appreciated, though.)

This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This two shell pas. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass.
I have to admit, it's getting better
It's getting better all the time
(Can't get no worse)

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

I know everyone has bad days.

I know I didn't actually hurt anyone.

I know taking care of a toddler and an infant is a difficult job.

I know all these things, and yet I'm still helpless in the face of all my knowledge.

I lost it again today--not violently, but I had to abdicate all the same. K has to stay up late tonight, in fact, making up work hours, because I made her take care of D and E.

And so I could go to bed on time, I skipped out on band rehearsal. And of course I haven't written a word of the novel. I'd simply quit, but then I'd hate myself even more.

How can I do this? How can I survive? I'm not strong enough.

What will I do if things REALLY get tough, as opposed to the ersatz tough that I find myself enveloped in?

Fuck myself. Fuck the world. Fuck everybody except my family, 'cause they're the only people I really love...
I can't leave that entry festering like a sore. So, things were a little better today. Wa hoo.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

There's a dent in the drywall from the chair, too.
My first full-length play was about, in part, a man who was terrified he was an abuser. Today I found out I was writing about myself.

I was tired. I can keep telling myself that; I was tired, so was D, and E is sick and had been screaming all morning. I can keep telling myself that over and over but it will make no difference.

The first thing I did was whack myself upside the head, repeatedly, with a children's book. Just to hurt myself so I wouldn't hurt anyone else.

Then about an hour later, I put E down (she was screaming), curled into a ball, and screamed myself.

When I fixed D lunch (we had to hurry, because K had just called; she's sick, too, and asked to be picked up from work), I gave him milk, which he pushed away. A tiny bit of it spilled. A tiny bit! Nonetheless I screamed at him. "HEY!" A long, drawn out HEY right at his face. I breathed. Caught hold of myself. Apologized and kissed his forehead and told him I loved him.

This is just a minute later, now. E is screaming again. I asked D to please eat his lunch. He refused. And something snapped inside me.

I grabbed the chair next to his and pulled it out from under the table. The table swiveled a bit. It may have actually hit him in the chest or it may have simply stopped as it reached him. . . I'm not sure how much force it had. I didn't notice, I was too busy screaming "SON OF A BITCH! DUMB SHIT!" I don't know who I was addressing this to. Not D. Maybe myself. I threw the chair into the corner, where it hit the closet door and knocked it off its hinges.

I got a hold of myself. D was crying and looking at me with abject terror. Like I was a monster. I was a monster. I am a monster.

My hands were shaking. I pulled the table away from him. There was a little red mark under his shirt, but it didn't look like a bruise. He was okay. E was quiet, fascinated.

I don't think I will ever forget D's face. And he will probably never forget mine. This is one of the moments that defines a child's worldview, like when my own father smashed a dinner plate directly in front of me simply because he couldn't cook the french fries correctly. That image has come back to me again and again and I'm sure today will come back to D, unless, of course, I do something even worse.

I felt like turning myself in to the police or getting myself committed. I'm sick. I'm wrong. I will hurt someone unless someone stops me. I feel like I need to leave them all because I don't want to hurt them, ever; I love them too much.

What am I?

Those of you who have heard my self-loathing before: now do you believe me? Do you understand that I wasn't full of shit when I called myself evil, twisted, and (more prosaically) a putz? I can't stand what I've done. I can barely live with it. How will I survive this? I have to. I have to work it out. But how will I ever regain their trust?

I wish this were a scene out of my stupid novel.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Zzzz. Good night.

And please send all your good karma Erzsebel-way. How about that--I think I spelled it correctly.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Phew. I made it. 12,150 words. Boy, is it terrible. Here's an actual quote:

I thought maybe I was getting scurvy, which I had learned about in social studies class. I started eating oranges to ward it off.

That came straight out of Dave Barry's column for today. Oh well, it'll never see publication anyway, right?

I jinxed myself.

Now it's like pulling teeth. I'm super tired and seem to be in the middle of a depressed phase which may have something to do with it. I still managed to get to 10K words yesterday, but I have no idea how I'll get to 12K today. My eyes are falling out of their sockets and my jaw is scraping the keyboard. But I've gotta do it, right? No matter how crappy it comes out. That's the point of the exercise.

Meanwhile, real life goes on: D went poo-poo in the potty for the first time today, and those of you who aren't parents can just imagine the most impressive thing you've ever heard of--the rest of us know what I'm talking about. The rest of the day he was a little temper demon.

Days when I feel like this, even a walk around the lake doesn't clear my head, and I start thinking horrible thoughts and get ready, in my head, for the end of my marriage (well, we'd have to get a sitter before I left, that sort of thing) and what I would do to eat if I had no one to freeload off of, suddenly. None of this is even a remote possibility, and K certainly hasn't done anything to trigger it, but it's how my mind works.

I suppose at least that I wasn't thinking about suicide, so that's a step forward. These moods are so debilitating; no matter how many times I try to remember how good I've got it, these feelings of despondency, worthlessness, despair come on like a ten-ton truck and run me over.

Now I'm sitting here at the iMac, and writing a blog instead of a novel. But it has to be done; gotta exercise the muscles somehow.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Well, thanks to K, there are now new photos of Da Progeny, including a quiz where you determine Who's Who. Check it all out at
There were too many numerals in that post, weren't there?
Grrr. I only managed 1200 words yesterday. Grr.

Fortunately I was 500 words ahead of schedule, so I only have to do 2300 to hit 10,000, which is where I need to be today to hit 50K by Nov. 30.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Wake up, America, you're dreaming.

All four Gonnas meet tonight for the first time since Tony's wedding (one of the nice things about middle-aged folks in a rock band is that you don't break up when the bass player gets married). He's just back from a nice honeymoon in Italy. That's one of the nice things about getting married late, I guess; ours was spent at the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and it was before the wedding, since I had to start a job two days after.

'Course, Tony's not getting married all that late, since he and Leslie are both 28 (I think).

Anyway, we'll just have to see if a husband can play as funky as a single guy.

The entire day I've been suffering from spending late nights on The Novel. Twice I got kid's stuff to eat lunch on (the first time D's plate, the second, a sippee cup), and then when making dinner, I poured the uncooked pasta into the pan that was supposed to be for the sauce. The strange this [edit: that should have been "thing"; see what I mean?] is I don't feel sleepy at all. Whether this is because of the writing or my new low-cholesterol regimen, I don't know.

And that novel? Couldn't get on the computer today, so I don't know the word count, but I still managed to get a lot written in longhand. I love this shit!

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Clarence: you're damn straight gonna get a copy.
And another thing: my Dad was right. Sure, it's another father-son story like thousands of Arthur Miller plays, and sure the writing style owes a lot to Rick Russo and Steven King circa "The Body." But you know what? No one could have written it but Squelch, thirty year old father of two. And damn it, that's great.

(I was SO hoping I could get to bed before ten. I almost made it, too...)
Knock on wood, for God's sake, KNOCK ON WOOD! I can't believe how well it's going. Was this all I needed? To sit down and write, with a daily quota? The characters are spinning away in ways I couldn't have imagined. All those cliches that happy writers use, you know? They're all true. The characters really do tell the story.

And what's most liberating is that I don't know exactly what's coming next and I don't care. I mean, I believe in writing stories, not moods, and I certainly have a general arc and at least one scene that I know I want to write, but the rest. . . it's just gravy, man. And 2200 words came out today at ONE SITTING where I just plain didn't know what to do next.

I can't believe it, and I'm so afraid it's just a fluke.

Meanwhile, as Jeff puts it, "All over the Web, people are reading the blogs of NaNoWriMo participants and saying 'I don't care about your stupid novel! Entertain me in your usual fashion!' Fortunately, I doubt anyone is normally entertained by my blog, so I don't have to worry about that."

Sorry, folks. I hope you don't have to wait 'til December before I talk about anything else.
Nothing written, nothing gained. Now is when it gets shitty.

On another topic, I like Tom Toles' take on the midterm elections.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

"Nano" means "tiny," doesn't it? I'm into chapter three and holding steady at over 2000 words a day. If you want to read an excerpt, feel free to go here. That's all you're gonna get until it's done, though. And maybe all, ever. Depends on whether or not I'm proud of it at the end of things.

Perversely, if I'm not proud of it, you will see it.

Oh, and there's an in-joke for you there, Laura... but just a little one.
I said, AUGH! Once again I had a poignant, trenchant, witty entry, and the evil combination of Blogger and iCab ate it.

So all you get is my observation that National Novel Writing Month sounds really good in song, especially when combined with the Progress Meter:

(to the tune of Pretty Woman)
NaNoWriMo, NaNoWriMoProMe,
NaNoWriMo, the kind I like to see,

The Republicans own the world now, by the way, so we can finally march unimpeded to the Promised Land, where everyone owns a gun and sings patriotic, Christian songs while walking over the asphalt which covers the world. After all, you can't drive your SUV through a forest, can you?

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

First chapter done. Up to 2200 words. Now, bedtime.
Well, thanks for the link to it, Godfrey--I have now officially begun my very own NaNoWriMo odyssey.

So why am I writing this?

I did my civic duty today. Did you vote? You shoulda! I wonder who our next Governor is?
If every idea is a novel, then why am I afraid to try this?

Monday, November 04, 2002

Every idea is a novel these days. You'll forgive me, of course, for not writing recently, but I've been writing. No, really! Okay, not in the actual "putting pen to paper" sense, but I have been THINKING about a story--a short story, to be precise, for a contest sponsored by Flashquake, a literary e-zine in which my buddy Rex has been published.

The contest (for those too lazy to follow the link) is to write a 500 word story that takes place, at least in part, at midnight New Years Eve. So something is forming in my head, coalescing around that concept.

At the moment, it's coalescing at about 5000 words, alas. So time to cut the coalesced fat.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

I'm not a Satanist, but I play one on TV. Well, I missed it, though since I found out only yesterday, I guess I have an excuse. Still, I wish I could have marched.

Wonder if the Post will mention it. It'll probably be squeezed into "News In Brief."

You know, I hate to ask for sympathy in general, and I'm not quite as vociferous as some, but nonetheless I do feel that atheists are the last minority group that it's OK to discriminate against.

To put it in perspective, of course, no one is trying to burn us at the proverbial stake or anything--I'd wager most folks don't even care. That's why I don't bother getting angry about it.

Still, I remember when I found out about the George H. W. Bush quote back in college, I was stunned at the collective yawn it engendered in my classmates--as though it was OK to say that atheists weren't American citizens. I mean, come on--what if he had said "I don't think Jews should be considered citizens"? Yet because he said "atheists," no one cared.

Hug An Unbeliever Today!

And on another religious topic: I was listening to WPFW, the local jazz/left-wing radio station, briefly on Halloween, and the deejays were saying they were having a Halloween show--but they were at pains to say again and again, "Now, we're not devil-worshippers, we're just having a little fun, we certainly don't believe in witchcraft or anything like that," and went on to explain that in fact they weren't even saying the kids should go out trick-or-treating, their kids certainly weren't, they were going to a little indoor festival sponsored by the town, but in this day and age they would never suggest going door-to-door--

--and I wanted to slap them.

For our part, D and E did go door-to-door, and loved every minute of it. D was Eeyore, and E was a puppy. I wanted to don a wife-beater undershirt and boxers, and carry a beer and a TV remote, so when people asked "What are you dressed as?" I could belch and say, "A dad."