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

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Mmmm... like butter.

Good Morning Good Morning.

In the bizarre coincidences department: The Post has a story in today's Style section about the Weekly World News (apparently its longtime editor just died), but I swear I wrote yesterday's entry before I found out.

And in the bizarre combinations department: one of the songs the Gonnas cover is "Come Sail Away," that high school anthem, and since the party on Saturday I've had that and another, lesser-known song in my head, which has resulted in an unholy lyric which only one of my readers will understand:
I thought that they were angels,
But to my surprise,
They climbed into their tiny car
And headed for the skies!
Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me...

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


My wife brought home the Weekly World News, from which I discovered that not only is there an all-nude town in New Hampshire (who do you suppose they voted for, I wonder?) and that Titanic survivors were found frozen, but alive, but that there's a new "Homeland Security Alert: Tiny Terrorists Disguised as Garden Gnomes!"

"Man," I said to her, "I wish I lived a life as exciting as this! I'd create a Weekly World Blog!"

"As exciting as what?" K asked, patting our son Bat-Boy on the head.

"As exciting as in the Weekly World News!" I paused to glance out the window at the flying saucer landing in our back yard. "Think of all I could write about!"

K shrugged, and our pet land shark bit her left arm off. "You'd just write about being depressed as usual."

"Yeah," I admitted, "I would," and spontaneously combusted.

"Our life is plenty exciting enough," K said as she spread Miracle Gro where her missing limb was.

My spirit possessed the Brie cheese in the refrigerator. "You can say that again!" I shouted (the fridge door was closed). "Remember the dead rat under the dishwasher?"

K nodded sagely. "And how it spoke the complete works of William Shakespeare?"

"Those were good times!" I had possessed the oranges by this time and amused myself by drawing the Virgin Mary on my husk.

K, meanwhile, was growing three new arms. The doorbell rang, and she used one of them to open the door. We recognized our neighbor immediately. "President Kennedy!" K said. "What a nice surprise! Need another cup of sugar?"

The former President nodded, and said, "Ask not what coffee is like without it!" We all laughed heartily, and a thousand tiny cameras recorded this information and transimitted it to the Illuminati. (I know because I was possessing one of them.)

After Jack had left, we settled down for a nice evening of reality television and mind control. Our dog barked, and when we asked him what was wrong, he seemed confused, and said, "I think it was Bigfoot, but it might have just been Joe Lieberman." We smiled--our superintelligent, genetically altered puppy was so cute.

As we settled into bed (in my case, literally--although I had to be satisfied with possessing only the box spring), I thought I saw a movement out the window. I checked the front yard. For a second, I thought our garden gnome moved--but it was only my imagination, surely.

Are you feeling lucky... punk?

Nemo Dory Sharpton?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Howard Kurtz, reporting on an exit poll produced by the major networks and others:
... on one of the two questionnaires being used, there's this zinger: "Regardless of how you voted today, do you think Howard Dean has the temperament to serve effectively as president?"

That, of course, raises the possibility that he might not, and the results could be cited endlessly in the primary coverage.

No other question asks for voters' views on Kerry, Edwards, Clark or any other candidate.
I'm starting to wonder if maybe the press does have it in for Dean.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Close harmonies.

Saturday night my band, the Gonnas, played a party--our first performance since April or something. We had played at the same party last year, but with bongos instead of a drum kit. This year we did the whole lineup: drums, guitars, all that.

And again, it was like we were rock stars (well, except we didn't screw groupies or shoot heroin. Only one of us is single, and none of us use drugs). What a feeling.

My favorite was the third set, where we threw the script to the wind and just made music. I sang "Twist and Shout" and "I Saw Her Standing There" (usually I only sing "Peggy Sue" and Rex takes lead vocal on everything else), and I dueted with an audience member on "Respect." I may not sound like Aretha, but she did. We even improvised a song about the party's hostess.

I have got to get a solid-body electric that stays in tune, though. My current Les Paul knockoff cost me $50, plus about $100 or so in repairs. So maybe I'm not surprised that I had to switch to my acoustic-electric after the third song. Usually, since I'm a dues-paying member of the No Solo Society, that's not a problem, but we do have one song where I love to let rip with an approximation of a screaming solo. Unfortunately, we (or we should) close with that song, though, so there's no way in halibut I could keep the Les Paul in tune that long.

I love my acoustic, don't get me wrong. But sometimes, you just need that chunky Les Paul sound. (I've never played a Strat.) Even my first guitar, which resembled what George Harrison used circa '64, didn't really keep tune. (But then I never should have sold it. Sigh...)

That's all there is to say, except that if there had been parties that good back in college, I would have gone to a lot more of them.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

And of course, after Iowa, even a second-place finish in New Hampshire would be a win for Dean. That's the great thing about being declared dead while your heart is still beating.

Who's more presidential?

Brian Flemming gets it.

Value Judgment gets it.

And thank goodness Idiom Studio got it.

Let's spread this meme all over the web and get the truth out.

[Edit: To clarify, Value Judgment is mirroring the Idiom Studio video, but Brian Flemming has created a new work based upon it. It could be considered inflammatory, but it does get its point across.]

I've just made my second donation for Dean. Have you?

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Perhaps it's a kind of queue.

Molly Ivins gets it:
The pundits all thought [Senator John] Kerry was a lead-pipe cinch when this started. . . . But he's got no Elvis. You can't win without Elvis. . . . A guy whose life Kerry had saved in Vietnam -- for which he got the Bronze Star -- turned up two days before the Iowa caucuses and, of course, burst into tears after endorsing Kerry. Who could make up stuff that good? All that bio, and Kerry still comes across as a tall Dukakis.
And in the Post, we have this rather odd sentence in an article about Gen. Wesley Clark:
Next week -- at least as Clark has planned it -- the general will prove to the country that, as a southerner and a military man, he has a special appeal among voters below the gnat line, where so many elections are decided.
The gnat line? What the hell is a gnat line?

Friday, January 23, 2004

This was 'primal'?

I don't watch TV news generally, and I don't have cable specifically, so all the fuss and bother over the Dean Scream hasn't affected me directly, except, of course, in that I'm depressed that my candidate has no chance to win whatsoever, now that the entire country has selected its delegates.

Hm? What? One state?

Get real, people! This hasn't even started yet! (And Bill Clinton didn't win Iowa in '92. Or New Hampshire.)

In any case, I visited to watch the clip in question--the whole speech, not the thirty second clip of The Scream. And guess what? It was a (gasp) political event! People were cheering! He was working the crowd! And perhaps most importantly, he was trying to get his supporters jazzed again! He wasn't angry, for crying out loud. Watch the whole speech--he was proud.

If you can't find it in yourself to watch the whole thing, just go to Idiom Studio, who taped the event from the crowd. It doesn't give as much context as C-Span, but it certainly gives a sense of the atmosphere in the actual moment.

These assholes--and I'm sorry to speak so strongly, but I'm a little ticked off--who are calling this moment a self-immolation, a meltdown, a tantrum are full of it. If this does burn Dean, make no mistake: he didn't burn himself. The coverage did.

(Man! Have these people ever been to a political rally? I've screamed louder. Give me a break!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Today an emissary arrived, and a reply is on the way.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Squelch sings!

And if you want to hear him, click here and scroll down 'til you see "Squelch7." But don't stop there, the others are excellent.
Coat one: done. Interestingly, the new bathroom color resembles the Rooster Spice background color. I think that's just a coincidence.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

For that matter, what if the meter reader broke down your door?

Tomorrow I paint the bathroom. Woo hoo.

The other day I had a dream that I read a pamphlet titled: "Your Local Police Department: Now Operated by Pepco [the electric company]!" Which sounds like a great idea for a skit (or maybe an AudioEdit):

Operator: 911 Emergency, how may I direct your call?
Victim: There's a man in my house!
Operator: Hold please.
Handsome Man: Welcome to the Metropolitan Police Department Emergency Response Unwanted Intruder System. To continue in English, press or say "One." Para continuar en español, prensa o habla "Dos." Pour--
Victim: One!
Handsome Man: This call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes. If your unwanted intruder is white, press or say "One." If your intruder is African-American, press or say "Two." For all other races, colors, or creeds, or if you are not sure, press or say "Three."
Victim: Three!
Handsome Man: Please press or say your five-digit Zip code.
Victim: He's coming up the stairs!
Handsome Man: I'm sorry, I didn't understand that. Could you try again? Please press or say your five-digit Zip code.
Victim: Two Oh Seven Seven One!
Handsome Man: Please hold.
Happy Female: Thank you for holding! Your call is very important to us.
Happy Female: Did you know that law enforcement begins at home? Ask your local policeman how proper insulation can reduce the crime meter in your neighborhood. Or visit our website at--
(Muzak stops.)
Handsome Man: The law enforcement in your area has been deregulated, and calls should be directed to
Nasal Man: Greenbelt Family Security.
Handsome Man: at
Nasal Man: 1-888-555-8574.
Handsome Man: Thank you for choosing the Metropolitan Police Department for your emergency needs! Goodbye.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

And is it also worrisome that I've been OBSESSED WITH CAPITAL LETTERS lately?
Am I the LAST PERSON ON THE PLANET who didn't know that is no more? I never even ordered my own damned CD!

Taken in by them.

I remember very well one night near Philadelphia--this was back in 2002, I think--when I went to hear my brother's band (now ex-band). He was the bass player, and had just started writing songs; they did two of his, but most of the songs were by their lead singer and guitarist, a truly gifted fellow.

By this time, they had a pretty loyal following in the colleges and bars around the area. You might even call it a fan base. Anyway, they played some songs that we knew, and then closed with a new (for then) song which I had never heard before.

It was magnificent.

We couldn't help but dance. Admittedly we were an appreciative audience, but still, the reaction to this song was incredible. I've never, before or since, had such a visceral reaction to a song I had never heard before. It was all I could talk about on the way home.

I was listening to one of their CDs (the last one on which my brother played) after a Gonnas rehearsal tonight, and I remembered that moment as the song came on. That's the kind of song I would love to write; one that makes the audience love it upon the first hearing and demand more. Where is that song?

Blog for the District!

Alright, folks. We won the D.C. primary. NOW WRITE ABOUT IT.

It just doesn't make sense to not say something. I realize the current focus is, as it should be, on Iowa and New Hampshire. But not even a mention?

Come on, damn it. Show D.C. you're better than the bastards who took their names off the primary ballot.

[Edit: they have mentioned it, although it's buried in the Morning News Roundup.]

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

And, by the way, if you're in D.C., be sure to vote today--oh. Shit.

Be sure to HAVE VOTED today.

Curse you, UPS!

Where is the justice when the package you've been awaiting arrives while you're at a piano lesson, leaving you no time when you get home to tear into the box and ogle the merchandise?

I mean, who the hell delivers things at 7:00 PM anyway? It's like I just wrote to someone else: shipping companies are in the pocket of the Illuminati.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Small victories.

Am I wrong to be proud of doing a task--say, calling the public works department for special trash pickup--before my wife asks if I've done it?

Am I pathetic to seek validation through mentioning that I already did it?

Worst of all, is doing so my most notable accomplishment?

Allow yourself 10 minutes for each question. Write your answers in black or blue-black ink. Answers will not be accepted after the close of class. Don't forget to write your code number in the top-left corner of your booklet. Begin.


I thought you might have been peeking in. Glad you liked the present--wait 'til you see what I've got for your birthday. Best of luck come April--that all sounds fabulous! (How did you score a rec. from Rick? I heard he was notoriously difficult about that sort of thing.) And no, your hair doesn't make you look like a turnip, though you do look oddly like George Harrison. I'm still happy to read your writings, by the way, and I will even not critique them if that's what you prefer. Oh, and now that you've come out of the Rooster Spice closet, I expect to see the occasional comment out of you. (I'm such a whore, but you knew that.) Anyway, best wishes, and do let me know if you find yourself in the area.

No, I haven't been writing, but you knew that, too. (Jealousy...)

Bored, sad.

No explanation.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

A true story from 32 years ago.

The mother's in the delivery room, and as was the custom of the time, the father's in the waiting room.

The mother wears a false set of front teeth, because of a car accident in college; at the doctor's insistence, the teeth have been removed, to the mother's chagrin. It's her first child, so there's a good deal of nervousness in the room.

The baby arrives--a fine healthy baby boy with lots of dark hair. The doctor slaps his butt to remove the mucous and hands him to the mother.

"Well, Mrs. -----, how do you feel?" the doctor asks.

The mother stares at him, and intones, "I'll tell you how I feel if you give me my fucking teeth back."

Saturday, January 10, 2004


Not so much beautiful as... ineffable. That thing you always reached for but never quite got.

Or, worse, that thing you never even saw, but just imagined. And the wondering--the "what if?"--never goes away, does it?

Eyes in a mirror, a smile... a turn of phrase.

Yet all gone. No, not gone--never was. A dream, possibly (or definitely) eclipsed by the joy of reality. And never knowing whether you were dreamed of, too.

And the worry: is wondering a form of betrayal--or worse, rape?

(In other news, tomorrow is my birthday.)

Hundred thirty pound weakling.

Having a contractor in your house--even, or perhaps especially, one who is a good friend--is a continual exercise in emasculation.

While he's cutting and measuring drywall, I'm dressing the kids. While he's installing a new plywood floor base (and removing the toilet to do so), I'm taking out the garbage. While he's laying tile, I'm trying to keep myself awake and get the kids to sleep.

During my blogging hiatus last year, I installed recessed lighting in the bathroom--well, finished doing so, anyway, as I had started sometime in 2000. As part of the process, I slathered drywall mud on the ceiling to hide the old stucco that some idiot homeowner had placed there before. It looks okay now that it's been sanded down, but it's, y'know, amateur work, and Rex offered to smooth it out a bit for me.

"Rex," I said, hurt, "please! You've put up new walls, removed water damage, and made my wife swoon with your tile prowess! Leave me the tiniest sliver of manhood!"

Friday, January 09, 2004

Not the Shire yet.

My friend Rex, lead singer of the Gonnas, is a building contractor when he's not lead singing, which is most of the time. He's remodeling our bathroom this week, and doing a bang-up job. That is to say, he's doing a lot of banging and kicking up dust.

Nah, he's great. But our house is giving him a run for his money. The water damage on the drywall behind the original tub surround was incredible--picture the slums of Mordor™ times two. We're talking holes in the wall, mold, poorly cut plaster, the whole shebang. All the old drywall has been replaced with concrete board.

The area under the toilet was destroyed, too--the water damage turned the original plywood to sponge, so that had to be replaced before the tile floor could go down. So, we spent last night in a Holiday Inn.

Have you ever gotten a one and a half year old to sleep in a hotel-issue crib? If you have, can we borrow your one and a half year old, 'cause ours is clearly defective. E only slept when in our bed, between us. D, who is four, had an entire double bed to himself and slept like a baby. (Well, given our "baby" experiences, perhaps the phrase needs revision.)

Speaking of babies, I found out today that a friend from high school had his first kid--a little girl. May he and his wife have even more fun with theirs than K and I have had with ours.


One of WETA's sponsors is a law firm with the most unfortunate name ever, which I am not making up: Harness, Dickey, and Pierce.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Can Barbra juggle?

Television listing in today's Washington Post:
Steve Harvey's Big Time. Guests include people who juggle people (Channel 50 at 8).
They're the luckiest people in the world.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004


Well, I did it; I bought the Mbox, and got a new pair of headphones to boot (for free). So now I have a new toy to play with for a week and ignore. We never grow up, do we?
Worth looking at: America for Sale. The first anti-Bush site I've seen that offers extensive citations (from reputable sources) rather than uncorroborated assertions.

(link courtesy Brian Flemming)

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Right now, I'm in a weird twilight between years, unwilling to admit that there are just some things I wanted to do that I'm going to have to say I didn't get finished in '03. (I won't say what those things were publicly, of course -- public websites are not really the place to air negatives or deep life thoughts. If you want more in-depth conversations, you have to call or email!!)

Not a sexual metaphor.

The devil is dangling his carrot. Will I resist? Will I succumb? Will I just buy the upgrade to Final Cut Express 2 instead? Will I stop asking silly questions?

Hey, Devil: now that you're reading, I get to be envious of you again.

No, seriously, regular readers: what's your opinion of software copying, and why?* Personally, I would love for the entire world to go with the GPL; but in the real world, I know people need to make a living.

I tend to draw the line at companies that seem like mom 'n' pop stores, or at least offer a good product at a good price. If someone shares software from a faceless behemoth, I tend to not worry about it.

That said, never in my life (well, at least since I got a second iMac) have I worried about the part of the software license agreement that states, "You may only use the Software on one computer at a time." Even if the same person owns and uses both computers? Give me a frickin' break.

And I will say this: it's absolutely immoral, hateful, and just plain uncool to make it impossible (whether through copy-protection or legislation) to exercise one's fair use rights.

*YES, I'm trolling for comments. So sue me.

And many more!

In this day and age, the people who design DVD packaging should not be allowed to include "interactive menus" and "scene selections" in a list of special features.

Green (little men) for America.

I always suspected Mars was a Democratic stronghold.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Ah, sweet nectar of sound!

Godfrey has made me jealous, so I've been hinting that I want new music production hardware and software for my birthday. I love Pro Tools Free, but it doesn't work on Mac OS X; and the amount of software currently bundled with Digidesign's products is just insane.

Now I just have to figure out why I bought that multitrack recorder, instead of a laptop and the Mbox. (Well, besides the money, anyway.)

K has set me an ultimatum: "Do you want this and nothing else, or do you want to be surprised again?" Ahhhh, the guilt....

Incidentally, as long as we're talking about the Musician's Friend catalog, which a different Jeffrey turned me on to, do you know they sell a keychain which is a callus builder? How insane! I mean, who would use this thing? Someone who doesn't have time to build calluses through, y'know, practicing?

Hey, wait...

Sunday, January 04, 2004

"Hey Bertram--want to go skiing?"

"I... have no legs."

Let the record reflect!

"Peggy Sue" is in the key of A.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Now selling Deanie beanies.

Well, I finally did it--I gave my hard-earned money to Howard Dean's campaign. (Well, technically, it's my wife's hard-earned money, since I don't have a paying job.) What pushed me over the edge? A statement Governor Dean made about Liberia back in July. A quote:
Saddam Hussein's was an extraordinarily brutal regime.� The Iraqi people and the world are better off without him.� But that was not the justification the Bush administration presented for the invasion of Iraq.� We based the war on the argument that we faced an imminent threat to our interests from weapons of mass destruction and Iraqi support for Al-Qaeda neither of which have been proven to date.� The world community did not buy our rationale for war or the evidence we presented and it looks like their skepticism was justified.

I stated clearly at the time that our approach to Iraq needed to be multilateral and based on humanitarian grounds.� If we had done so, the entire situation might have played out differently and today we might have the broad international backing we need for the nationbuilding efforts that are now failing.

I opposed the war in Iraq because it was the wrong war at the wrong time, not because I believe American force should never be used.
(Emphasis mine.) I guess I just needed to hear, from the man's own lips, that he was anti- this war, not anti- any war. I don't know about anyone else, but hearing a candidate continually labeled as "antiwar" makes me think he doesn't ever favor military action. Believe me, I wish we lived in a world where that was a realistic viewpoint--but we don't.

So, what happens now? I'm told that when you've found Howard, rather like when you've found Jesus, there are some side effects. Urges to place bumper stickers on cars are commonplace, as is the need to witness for Dean at every opportunity. A total loss of sense of humor is possible, especially if a Bush supporter is the one telling the jokes. Finally, there's the inability to comprehend the fallibility of Governor Dean. But that last one is written off easily, since he's infallible.

Wait! It's happening already! No, no... Governor, I will hew to the One True Path... Put your stethoscope away... AAAAAAaaaaaaarrrgh....

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Time-waster of the day: The Urban Legends Reference pages, found because of this in my mailbox.

(Applause, laughter.)

Pyotr, Pwyll, and Murray once sang:
Where's my sense of humor gone?
Long wind passing...
When I started this blog nigh a year and a half ago, I really wanted to just make people laugh--not the side-splitting, gut-curdling humor of Dave Barry, but a gentle, Mao Tse-tung's Little Red Book kind of chuckling. And for a while, I succeeded, or so I'd say, but with each and every good bit, there was a crushingly depressive corrollary.

So how does my humor return? Well, I could try political jokes:
Governor Schwarzenegger! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA...
Or maybe, I could emulate the Farrelly Brothers' style:
Drew peed on my sleeve today! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...
Or maybe just rely on Zippy-the-Pinhead-style dadaism:
There's a monkey in my pants, and it's breaking its wig over the crimping tool! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA...
(Things are always funnier with monkeys.)

Perhaps it's a yin and yang thing. Since starting to blog again after my hiatus, I've avoided the extreme suicidal posts; you can tell when I'm feeling bad because that's when I don't post. But could it be that the humor only appears in relation to the despair?

Or could it be, horror of horrors, that I was never that funny to begin with? Don't answer that.

If I had a stalker, I'd stalk her in the morning...

Happy New Year! And, oh: whoever my regular visitor is from (the one whose referral is always "unknown"), please say hello, eh? Or did my former fan from just get a new ISP? Curious, but not yellow.