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

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

It turns out that the Walt Disney Co., which shoots off spectacular fireworks displays every night of the week at its Epcot and Magic Kingdom theme parks in Florida, is one of the biggest private owners of explosives in the world. -- The Washington Post, 25 February 2003

NEW YORK--Today, in a stunning move, the United States opened another front in the war on terror, proposing a U.N. resolution demanding that Disney World immediately disarm itself of all weapons of mass destruction.

"The Mouse has roared in the past," said Secretary of State Colin Powell, addressing a special session of the U.N. Security Council, "and it shall roar again."

In contrast to the debate over war with Iraq, most European nations wholeheartedly endorse the resolution. "Disney has been implicated in numerous crimes against good taste and commerce," said French President Jaques Chirac. "Why is it so hard to believe they would make their next piece of merde Broadway musical open at the theatre of war?"

Disney Chairman Michael Eisner could not be reached for comment, but through a prerecorded statement said, "The Magic Kingdom will never fall as long as there are children to breathe the gas--er, air of Disney World." There was then what sounded like a high pitched giggle and the tape ended.

Disney is well known for its relentless campaign to stamp out the Public Domain, an effort that the International Criminal Court has likened to genocide, though the U.S. Supreme Court has call this charge "bull hockey." In addition, numerous claims of worker cruelty abound at their headquarters in Orlando.

"They make us wear these horrible baroque uniforms in the Florida summer sun," said one source on condition of anonymity. "Our heads are completely covered with graven images from Disney's past, and we have to laugh and interact with tourists, but we're not allowed to tell them how it really works."

Lately, analysts have noted that the Magic Kingdom's power has been waning, pointing to such desperation moves as funding the construction of Spanish galleons that fly through space and their request that Peter Jennings either work for half his current salary or deliver the news with the voice of Donald Duck.

Reaction from Democrats on Capitol Hill has been generally supportive, but skeptical. "It seems, again, that we're going after an Iraq while ignoring a North Korea," said Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (N.D.). "Ask any journalist, and they'll tell you the real danger is not Disney, but Fox."
Are you gonna believe what you see or what I tell you? I went to see the film Chicago the other day, at last. Chicago, the musical, is somewhat dear to my heart since I performed in it back in high school. I played Harry (in the film, he's the guy who Lucy Liu perforates), which meant I only had one line. That was OK with me, though, as I got to deliver that line whilst in bed with two scantily clad girls. You tell me, is there any better way for an adolescent boy to spend his time?

As for the movie, I thought it was fantastic. They made a few changes (cut a song here and there, mostly) but I felt they worked to make it a better film. I particularly liked the re-purposing of "Razzle Dazzle."

One thing which fooled me a bit (MINOR SPOILER): if you're familiar with the play, you know that the character of Mary Sunshine, a female reporter, is played by a man in drag (and revealed as a big surprise toward the end of the show). Well, naturally, I checked the character out thoroughly throughout her scenes, and finally I said to myself, "Aha! That's Hugo Weaving." I figured it made sense, given that he was in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Imagine my embarassment when the credits came up and listed Christine Baranski. Sorry, Ms. Baranski, that I think you look like a man.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Monsters from the id.

So much snow, of course, has its casualties. Chief among them? My back. I shoveled snow on Sunday and wound up in severe pain throughout Monday, Tuesday, and today. I've been squeaking "Ouch" with each movement until very recently, and been more intimate with a heating pad than I care to relate.

Other than that, the snow was gorgeous. K and I curled up with a vintage sci-fi flick (Forbidden Planet) and watched the world get buried. Our court wasn't plowed until yesterday, and the job was too tough for the regular fleet, so they called in a backhoe which poured the snow into gigantic piles that look like nothing so much as mashed potatoes. Someone get Richard Dreyfuss.

D, of course, loved it. We had to borrow a sled from a neighbor and we didn't spend nearly enough time at it. I should clarify--I didn't spend any time at it, as I was in the throes of severe back pain. K went out with D and nearly hurt herself as well, pulling him in the sled to a decent hillock. (It's somewhat difficult for D to walk through two-foot accumulation as he's only a bit over three feet tall.) And the latest is that his nursery school is closed for the rest of the week.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

And ta-da; I now have that much more disk space to waste on video and digital camera pictures.
Three unrelated links about unrelated things:

First, my buddy Pat, known to these pages by an alternate name, wrote a short story which was published in a literary magazine. You can view it online here (scroll down to the title "The Return of Mavis").

Second, last night's show raised about $2500 to help Topher put his life back together. A smashing success.

Third, I'm about to perform an act of terror, at least in Apple's eyes; I'm going to replace the hard drive in my vintage iMac. Wish me luck.

(I wonder how quickly my page will be Googled for "perform an act of terror," and whether I'll get hits from,,, etc...)

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Three unrelated links about the Columbia:

First, courtsey of Mike, here's a link to the actual mission report. Scroll down towards the Event and you can get a sense of what people were thinking as it happened, before anyone knew what happened.

Second, Godfrey on an oddly prophetic episode of Cowboy Bebop.

And finally, courtesy of Mr. Nosuch, one of the few things to laugh about.
One Operator on Call the Day of Fatal Fire

My friend Topher lost his home and all his belongings in this fire on January 15. Not to mention his housemate. A few excerpts from this article:

Nicolas Gutman, who lived in the burning rowhouse's basement, has said he called 911 shortly after he was awakened at 5:15 a.m. But, Gutman said, he heard a recorded message and never spoke to police or fire operators....

According to 911 tapes released this week, the first word of the fire came from a D.C. police officer, who reported at 6 a.m. that smoke was coming from behind the Colombian Embassy... around the corner and one block east of the actual fire....

City officials said yesterday that the problems did not appear to have had an impact on the outcome of the blaze.

"We're continuing to look at this, but there does not seem to be any significant delay, if any, in the response of Fire-EMS," said Deputy Mayor Margret Nedelkoff Kellems. [Gutman called at 5:15, and the system wasn't notified until 6? That's not "significant"?--Z.]

... Gutman also has said that he ran up to the window of an idling D.C. police car after fleeing the rowhouse and tried to ask for help. "The policeman just rolled up his window" and left, Gutman said. [Police Chief Charles] Ramsey and other officials have said they are investigating.

What a frickin' mess.

Topher's improv comedy troupe, Washington Improv Theater, is holding a benefit performance for him tonight. All proceeds go directly his way. If you're in D.C., come on by. Here's info from the email they sent out a few days ago:
WIT's Benefit Extravaganza for Topher

Source Theatre
1835 14th Street, NW
Metro: U Street-Cardozo (Green Line)

Gathering begins at 7:30pm.
Performance starts at 8:00pm.
No reservations necessary.

$15 suggested donation, but give more if you can!
Cash and check donations only (please no other donated items at this event).

All proceeds go to help Topher

P.S. If you're unable to attend but want to help Topher financially, please send
a check, made out to Christopher Bellavia, c/o WIT, P.O. Box 73156,
Washington, DC 20056.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Maybe you've noticed I'm taking a vacation. I wish I had a super-cool reason for it, like being in Hawaii or Prague or even Duluth, but alas, it's simply because of lack of sleep and time. E's still waking up at all hours, and I've been consumed with yet another project (this time it might actually be useful to you, at least if you use Mac OS X--more later).

My friend Rex threw a party Saturday, and the Gonnas played to an appreciative audience which included my wife--yes, we got out of the house! How about that? Unlike Art-O-Matic and the previous party, this time we couldn't even give our CDs away (though I'll admit, most of the folks at the party already had 'em, which might have been a factor). I was excited because our newest song, mostly written by yours truly, was a big crowd-pleaser. I even got to sing a couple tunes, and sat in on the drums for "Safety Dance." And, you know, I really can dance if I want to. I can leave all my friends behind. Why? Well, because my friends don't dance, and if they don't dance, they're no friends of mine. At least, they didn't dance at this party, despite all our exhortations.

A joke goes here to wrap things up. Suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

D'oh, looks like Kathy caught me... the story for February is coming soon.
And now for something completely different. My 8-track recorder arrived today, and now you can hear its first mix. Okay, so it won't win a Grammy.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

X-Plane is a flight simulator which boasts a comprehensive flight model. It even allows you to simulate flying the Space Shuttle.

Which is why you should visit its website, today, to see a great example of true class.