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

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Access of evil. Hey everyone. We've been having technical difficulties here at Rooster Spice Studios; in fact it'll be a miracle if the DSL stays up long enough to post this message. Anyway, that, and not anything nasty like suicide or nervous breakdowns, is why I haven't posted in a while.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

I coulda been a contender day. For those of you who returned to work today: welcome back. For those who continued their vacation: lucky you. And for those who never had a real day off in the first place: grab a beer, and let's commiserate.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Oh, no, I don't do that sort of thing. Mike has already mentioned the Amazon clothes horses in his blog, but to add to his account: while looking for the Spider-Man link in the last entry, I noticed that Amazon has started to promote its new Apparel store with this bit of deathless prose:
Customers who wear clothes also shop for:

It's good to know they're being specific, so as not to alientate the nudist demographic.

Chestnuts thrown halfway across the room...

D did NOT have a good Christmas this year. The poor kid's sick and had a runny nose all morning--plus he hadn't had an afternoon nap in five days. (He took one today, thank goodness.)

In fact, he didn't wake up 'til 8 A.M., and he demanded to eat breakfast before he finished opening his presents. He must be really sick--or maybe he's not really my son.

E, on the other hand, seems to grasp Christmas even at the tender age of five months, since she woke us up at 4 A.M. Always the overachiever, that one.

D got the most mileage out of the magic markers and crayons my folks gave him; kid loves to draw, or to be precise, loves to make us draw. Shapes, usually (you haven't lived until you've heard a three year old ask for a "parallelogram"), which he then colors in, if he's so inclined.

The stuff we got for him--a wooden train and a toy workbench--didn't go over quite as well. But as K said, "At least he's not materialistic."

The same could not be said for K and me, as we enjoyed my gifts to her (an eyemodule and a keyboard for her PDA, as well as the new Fellowship of the Ring box set) and her gifts to me (the aforementioned digital camera and the Spider-Man collector's gift set). Oh well, somebody's got to be a typical American.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Gadgets are good. We open some of our presents on Christmas Eve, in keeping with K's family's tradition (I come from the "wait-till-morning" school). And so it came to pass that I'm now the proud owner of a digital camera.

Okay, fine, that's what everyone gets this year. But you need a little history to understand how remarkable this gift is.

The cameras I have owned have met the following fates (from most recent):
  • Chewed up and left for dead by our dog, Buddy;
  • Stolen while on a trip to London in college;
  • Been run over by a school bus at my high school;
  • Left behind at the end of summer camp. (This last was my first real camera; a genuine single-lens-reflex from Pentax, and I took black-and-white photos with it and developed them myself and everything. Man, losing that one was a heartbreaker.)

So you see, it's a leap of faith to give me a camera--any kind of camera, let alone a digital one. But on the whole, maybe I should think of it as a computer gadget. Those, I can make last remarkably well (says the proud owner of a Macintosh 128K).
I'm dreaming of a multi-hued, non-denominational solstice... It's snowing in Greenbelt on Christmas Eve!

Monday, December 23, 2002

I shoulda been a copy editor. The local shops around here give out free calendars every year, as I suppose shops have done since time immemorial. Today I got one which was a joint veture between two of them: CENTERWAY MINI-MART and GREENBELT VARIEYT.
ZAP. Does anyone else find themselves strangely fascinated by the "Currently" entries--i.e. currently reading, listening to, watching, etc.--that's found on some blogs?

Yeah, me neither.

I mean, sure, it's nice to find out what people are exploring, but sometimes it seems like self-aggrandizement. For instance, I could mention that I'm reading Oliver Sacks' The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Herodotus' Histories, and Theories on the Curvature of Space-Time and Multiple Dimensions by Stephen Hawking. But wouldn't that seem, I don't know, slightly condescending?

Saturday, December 21, 2002

OK, what the hell does this mean and why am I number four on the list?

Friday, December 20, 2002

In the style of 'Tis. It's not a faux pas to buy a gift at a used CD store. It may or may not be a faux pas to listen to the gift before wrapping it, especially if the CD was opened when purchased. However, it's a definite faux pas to wrap the case by itself because you forgot the CD was still in your player. And of course, to mail the gift before this is discovered, goes past faux pas all the way to stupidissimo.

Fortunately, there's an easy solution. Will someone tell me what it is?
Obligatory politics. You know, I'm not gonna say whether I'm for or against war with Iraq, mostly 'cause I don't know yet myself. But I will say that it's a little disturbing to continually read in the op-ed pages about plans for a "post-Hussein Iraq." Hello? We haven't even fought the damn war, yet alone won it!

Thursday, December 19, 2002

As seen on Jackass.

The bulk of the Christmas shopping is finally done, and the Christmas lights are finally up on the oak tree in the front yard. Boy, that was a sight to see. E was in her little chair on the front porch, and D, het-up and overtired from pre-school (from whence we had just come), was running around, throwing the mystery magazine as far as he could while singing "A Hard Day's Night" at the top of his lungs. And, not to be outdone, there I was, on a rickety 6 foot ladder, hugging the tree while trying to throw the lights over a branch just out of my reach.

We wrap the Christmas lights around rolled-up newspapers to store them, and I've taken to writing messages to the future on the paper, to be read the following year. As a measure of how much the world has changed, I opened one string of lights where the paper was dated Jan. 1, 2001 (we must not have used it last year) and my message was "How's George W. doing?" The next string had the paper from Jan. 1, 2002, and I had written "Are we still alive?" Ah, the boundless optimism of late 2001...
To be honest, the bulk of this post will be written at 5:42 PM, not when the time stamp says, because when I first wrote this post, I only wrote the first two words: "To be." I must have been answering Hamlet.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

And you must go here: 'Tis the Season
They took the sky from me. Firefly's been canned, according to the Post. What a shame... it seemed to have real potential.

No, Lord Halliwell... the butler's the one who's dead!

Recently I did something rather quaint and pre-Information Age... I subscribed to a magazine. Yes, you can still do that! There's still stuff to be read that isn't on a computer screen.

It was all part of a fundraiser for D's preschool; some percentage of the money went to the school. (Yeah... it will be a glorious day when our schools get the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber, I know.) We got a toddler-age nature mag called Your Big Backyard for D, MacAddict for me, and then we had one left... so with some reservations, we took out an interest in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. We're Sherlock Holmes fans, but not huge mystery buffs. I personally have always found the mystery novel in general somewhat tired. (And don't even get me started on series characters--I had really hoped Murder, She Wrote would end with Jessica Fletcher finally getting nailed for all those killings that seemed to follow her around.)

But the mystery short story! Oh, what a joy to discover! Typically, I take in a story's title and style to determine whether it might interest me. There were more than a few to which I said, "Oh, I won't bother with this one, it's not my bag," and then my eyes strayed along a paragraph and next thing I knew I was hooked. Uncanny, the power of PLOT!

Makes me want to try to write one. Alas, I'd probably wind up aping Shear Madness, given the time I've spent backstage for them. And the last thing the world needs is another Shear Madness...
All right, our objectives have been achieved, and I can stop posting again.
Addendum. I should point out that a couple people wrote and said they were glad I was back. That was definitely good to hear.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

I'm better now... want to buy this bridge? My recent vacation was not taken in the most elegant way, hm? I suppose I should have hung a sign that said, "Gone Chopin--Back in a Minuet."

I stopped blogging because, frankly, too many people were caring about me. This seems like an odd thing, I know (an odd thing... can't you tell I think myself a writer, with word-choices like that?), but on bad days I look on this as less entertainment than therapy, and somehow therapy seems more useful if it's screamed to the world rather than stuck in a dark corner of a hard drive. Hell, once I remember I typed out (this was in eighth grade, and I had a computer, but I liked to use an actual manual typewriter) a missive against my Awful Life, including some choice insults of my dad's then-girlfriend, and I left it sitting on my desk where I knew full well my dad would see it. He thought it was really funny and clever, which was not precisely my intention.

Anyway, I clearly have always enjoyed airing out the dirty linen of my addled brain in public. And it may sound ingenuous, but I really don't care about the "come on Squelch, get together, you're a good man" school of replies. I mean, they're appreciated, sure; and I'm glad that people care about me. But I'd far rather hear people's reactions to, say, my memoir experiment or a really clever story (although that last one was linked to, I must admit). When people write to me trying to cheer me up, it just seems like pity.

Of course, whenever someone compliments me, it seems like pity.

So where were you while I was gone?

-- with annotations by Squelch, Esq.

  • New Year Clearouts and Amnesties have begun. Now we have five in the Real Blogs of Note section. I aim to reduce the Ghoul Club list, so that I don't spend so much of my working day catching up with people.

    I've already been removed from the Ghoul Club (justifiably), so I can finally say what I really think: a) she should have left her twit of a husband weeks ago, and b) she shouldn't insult Americans so often; we can't read that fast.

  • The machine which I was going to put into my MAME cabinet died last night. It won't boot; it gets partway through the POST routines and freezes. Fortunately, the motherboard has a series of LEDs that indicate where the trouble lies. Unfortunately, it indicates a different problem every time I try to boot it.


  • 23 minutes. Yes, I was in Rome 23 minutes before being pickpocketed, setting a new record for involuntary donations to the Eternal City's underground economy. I wrote to my manager, telling him, and he responded, "How boring." That's so true it is painful--it seems that every 4th person into Rome gets taken for a ride, and my number was simply up. It is no wonder that sexy designer fashion wallets are a big sales item here.

    Since this interesting set of entries, Mike's been back to his usual fare--simple hyperlinks with minimal comment. Ah well, at least that way he doesn't need to worry about my envy attacks.

  • The sky. Glorious, even more than last Monday: huge, blazing coral and orange and gold, below layers and layers of thick dark smoky-blue clouds going all the way up. I kept wondering if the other drivers noticed. How could they not? Every time I saw it from another angle, I involuntarily gasped under my breath, "Oh my God." There was so much of it, like a gift. I wanted my camera, so badly. Fast fast roads, wonderful, smooth, magnificent soaring music to match--"Oh Sister," "Knockin' On Heaven's Door"... I sped home, watching, watching, racing, ran in and grabbed my camera. I knew there was little hope of it staying for so long, but I turned back around and drove Route 9 over again, just on the chance. It was too late; the sun was low; no more colours. Just pale gold and black tree outlines and blearing smearing lights, beautiful too, but not glorious. Wasted time? NO.

    She still writes beautifully, although too much about The Band and Dylan for my taste. At least she's no longer sending me subliminal messages--the Pope and George W. Bush have taken up that mantle.

  • New York City is a dog town. Us wacky New Yorkers love our dogs, and there's more amenities and perks for pooches per square mile in Manhattan than probably any other place on Earth... I learned over the weekend, though, that Boston does one thing for dogs that New York City does not: let them ride on the subway.

    I just like this guy's writing. Not to mention his common sense. And when I heard about this, I knew he'd have an elegant riposte.

  • LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD IN ACTION: Does this surprise anybody? From Butler in Hoboken.

    Possibly the only one on the list who's written even less than me lately.

  • Me (with a big customer service sincere smile): "Hello, sir, may I ask; are you an actor?"
    Random relaxed & cocky audience member on the first row: "No"
    Me (smile shifted slightly into snarl....): "Then get your feet off the damn stage. Sir."
    "Thank you. Sir"

    I wish I read her more often, and I love the new design, which suits the funniest dramaturg in Glasgow.

  • I had a bad day at school a few days ago. Some students were unprepared, late, disruptive - the usual teacher annoyances. The night was dark and cold as I walked to my car, and I would have to scrape the frost from the windows. But as I leaned against the handle of the ice scraper, I thought about how nice it would be to get home, see The Wife, and listen to The Girl's quiet sleep movements through the monitor. ... There are those who hate going home. I don't know how they do it.

    Try never leaving home for a change.

  • The New York Times is running a series on the Ten Commandments that makes the God Squad seem scholarly. The ostensible reason for the series is that the Commandments "resonate in a season when many take time to carve out sacred space in their lives," and each installment purports to showcase a "personal struggle to comply" with one of the Commandments. ... The Second Commandment -- forbidding the worship of graven images -- is examined in an installment about a "tour rat," or groupie, of the band Phish. Although the Commandment "calls on believers to worship the mystery of the divine" and "cautions them against paying homage to objects created by humankind," young Beth Senturia has dropped out of college to follow the band around and believes that the band's lead singer, Trey, is God. But isn't that more of a violation of the First Commandment? Trey is not an object created by mankind, but a false god. And I'm not sure why any of this is Beth's personal struggle, since she doesn't appear to care about the Commandments in the first place.

    I won't comment on this except to note that my brother followed Phish around for a time, and he also goes to church every Sunday. So I guess he's deluded twice over.

  • And though I love my current job, I saw this and thought, hey, that would be cool. Working for Yahoo, moving to California ... then I noticed the location, and who wants to live on top of the Hellmouth?

    Welcome to the newest Seal of Approval blog. We look forward to many more Buffy references in the future.

Monday, December 16, 2002

When we last left our hero... Ain't that always the way? My first post in ten days and Blogger dumps it. Ah, well, after that long (not to mention at least fifteen days since Real Content) I can at least be sure no one's listening anymore.

Wait, is this really Squelch, the Audience Whore, talking? Hmmm...

Got lots to do: must fix the archive page, get rid of the NaNoWriMoProMe, rejigger a few of the Seal of Approval links, and, oh yes, write. Mustn't forget that. Did I mention that, despite the initial euphoria, I haven't written a word of The Novel since reality crashed my party? I did, however, join an informal writing group; I'll be doing one short story per month. We'll see if it's easier doing 5000 words than 50,000.

I still believe that Getting a Schedule is the secret. What that schedule will be... ah, there's the rub. (Reaches for ointment.)

Thursday, December 05, 2002

I'm losing my mind. This is troublesome.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

I hate myself. Why?
I could say to check back often for when I Get My Blog Back On, but what's the point, really?

It was a bad day. Again...

Who cares?
what is the sound of one finger blogging?

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Well, we did it. And it went spectacularly well. The Gonnas had their full-band debut on Friday night; we even snagged some folks who we didn't know personally, and we gave away half of our CDs (the band members themselves gobbled up the rest). Giving them away was a choice, since it was National Buy Nothing Day, as previously mentioned.

I will share the whole story (good, bad, and ugly) soon. For now, why not click on what will eventually be our website?