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

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Chugga chugga choo choo.

One of the first things I built after my son's birth in 1999 was a G-scale train set that ran along the walls of his room, on platforms right next to the ceiling. Though we hadn't used it much in recent years, it was something of a cause célèbre among our friends, who whenever they came over would say to the unintiated "Have you seen the train Zach put in his son's room?"

Tonight, the train came down, because we're having the room expanded as part of our general renovation. I'm pretty sad, actually, and I don't know if I'll be able to put it back up or not.

"Time is marching on, and time... is still marching on." -- They Might Be Giants

We're off to Massachusetts for a week. Be good, and ponder the latest vodcast if you're so inclined.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Don't read this if you don't like hearing about parenthood or Number Two.

Hm. If you have iTunes, click on over to the Podcast directory and look down, under the Cartoons tab. Click the arrows to cycle through 'em. You might see someone you know. My circulation has doubled since it appeared. Yow. Pressure.

This past Monday/Tuesday, I had possibly my worst 24 hours that didn't involve clinical depression ever. It began at about 10:30 Monday night, when I was in bed reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, and there was a stunning crash from the direction of the stairs. Oh dear. Noodles, the new kitten, had attacked a potted plant and, apparently, won. There were dirt and broken clay pieces all over. I cleaned it up, but it must have somehow aggravated the cold I'm getting, because I spent the rest of the night coughing myself awake.

Then in the morning, the daughter had wet the bed; not too suprising, nor that much of a hardship, since she only just started sleeping without diapers. But sure enough, after getting the boy off to the school bus, we had two more accidents, the last one just at the exact time that we needed to pick the boy up at the bus stop! To make matters worse, that accident included both liquid and solid components. And what a solid! I had to put the girl in the shower to clean it all up, and literally shake the soiled underwear over the toilet to get what I thought were the last remnants down the drain. Then out the door in the nick of time to pick up the son at the bus stop (by law, bus drivers cannot leave kindergarteners at their bus stop alone), the poor daughter's wet hair freezing in the cold.

But the fun wasn't over! I had dropped the soiled underwear in the bathroom sink in my haste, figuring I'd need to rinse it thoroughly before throwing it in the hamper anyway. Turns out all of the solid stuff hadn't gone in the toilet, and was now blocking the drain! I tried to remove it while protecting my fingers with toilet paper; you can imagine how well that worked. So, now the sink was completely clogged, and no Drano anywhere in the house. So, off to the supermarket, children in tow, to get two bottles of Drano. Did I mention that the kitchen is being re-done, and the bathroom sink is the only sink in the house?

We return, and I unclog the sink. Now on a normal day I might be able to ask K to cook for me, being as I'm completely underwater by this point, but a) as mentioned before, we have no sink and therefore can't do much cooking anyway, and b) K happens to be working late today. So, I call in some food from a local pizza joint, and go off again with the kids to pick it up and bring it home. While we're gone, our dog, not content with my being merely frazzled, sends me into hysterics when I come home and find him eating up the food we had left upstairs in storage while our kitchen is remodeled. So, there are crushed ginger snaps everywhere, soiled underpants in the bathroom, two extremely hungry kids waiting for their chicken tenders and French fries, and in the midst of it all, a daddy on the verge of either laughing or crying due to the absurdity of it all.

At this point K calls to see how we're doing, and to her eternal credit she comes right home.

Then, at about 10 P.M., almost exactly 24 hours after all this bad karma began, finally the sun begins to shine; I get a call from the director of a local production of Noises Off, telling me I've been cast in precisely the role I wanted, Garry (John Ritter, for those who saw the movie). So, at least I go to bed happy. But what a day! It's enough to make you check into a hotel.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It's Wednesday!

So it must be a vodcast.

Incidentally, if you're so inclined, you can listen to me make a fool of myself in an interview with 49media (warning: the front page is not safe for work at the moment). We talked about the vodcast and vodcasting in general... not that I'm an expert or anything.

I can now watch my vodcasts on my iPod, and I didn't even have to pay any money to do it! I even dug into the code and programmed normalization and dithering into the grayscale video converter. Now, if I can only get the energy to clean up the code and submit a patch to the developers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Turkey's Day.

A new vodcast can be found here. This is a good one. If I do say so myself. What are you waiting for? Subscribe, dammit! And while you're at it, give a rating down at VodStock.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Irrelevant but true factoid for the night.

Drywall dust does a serious number on your throat.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Now with 100% more Wednesdayness.

The latest vodcast is up, with all its stand-up goodness available free o' charge. Go ahead, subscribe! You know you want to.

We make no comment on the switch from Monday to Wednesday delivery.

And, incidentally, how is it that Rooster Spice, the Podcast has more subscribers now than when it was actually in operation? Is the Odeo-bot spawning, or something?

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Andrew Sullivan has been continually stellar on the subject of American torture. But this post in particular brings it home. If you're not sickened and horrified by what is happening, you're not paying attention.

Friday, November 11, 2005

A tale of two kitties (groan...).

Our first cat, Nim�üe, is very aloof (some would say shy, but that implies she's afraid). She has heavy-lidded eyes, which lends her a perpetually pissed-off expression. She's really not all that excited about human contact--she wouldn't climb on you if you paid her. She only sleeps on the bed after a significant amount of training, and even so resolutely stays off the hills and valleys of people under covers. She almost never chases after strings, toy mice, etc. In other words, she's far less cat-like than your average cat.

Enter Noodles, our new kitten, rescued as described in a previous blog entry. And suddenly, we're dealing with a cat who climbs all over the keyboard when you're trying to write, takes improbable leaps onto high furniture (and, on occasion, falls), plays with toys, and gets excited about catnip.

We've been spoiled.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Kaine is Able!

Congratulations to our neighbors in Virginia for just saying NO to wingnuttery!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Addition and subtraction.

We're putting an addition on our house, and with it comes a redo of the kitchen. That part starts tomorrow, and K and I just spent a good two and a half hours cleaning out our kitchen cabinets.

Ah, to say goodbye to the kitchy wedding gift of cow-themed coffee mugs! Ah, to see the dust patterns on the soon-to-be-gone white laminate countertop! And ah, to figure out where the hell to put everything that we moved! Our kitchen is small, but with a small kitchen generally comes a small house... and if we had storage space, we wouldn't need the damn addition.

I can't wait to see the kids' reaction tomorrow when they come downstairs and see all the food, plates, silverware, etc. scattered throughout the living room. It'll be like an inverse Christmas.

Monday, November 07, 2005

It's the Ark of the Covenant. Are you sure? Pretty sure.

Well, it's Monday, so it must be time for another vodcast. (What a catchy name!)

This week, an old animation which pays homage to a film that paid homage to Saturday afternoon serials.

Subscribe now!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday Cat Prose Blogging.

About three weeks ago, a stray cat showed up in our front yard. It announced itself with some plaintive mews--mews, not meows, since it was a genuine kitten. We could tell it had just been dumped. Our town is a great one for central locations where one might post "Have You Seen This Cat" flyers and what-not, and even has a local community newspaper for the folks who place classified ads after they lose their pets.

Anyhow, this kitten, who is a beautiful orange and white tabby, captured the hearts of everyone in the court. We were all leaving food and water outside, and even if they were mostly stolen by the possums, I'm sure the kitten got some, too. And it was amazingly playful--at least at first.

The kitten started out mewing and chasing birds and squirrels, just as you would expect. It was a little more skittish than your average cat, running away from people at the slightest movement, but willing at least to look you plaintively in the eye. I tried a couple times to catch it, mostly just so I could make sure it got its shots, fixed, and a checkup at our vet--after that, I figured I would either release it again or give it to a rescue place so I could make sure it wasn't destroyed.

We had a few rainstorms, during which the kitten took shelter in our new construction. In fact, we were a little worried when it wound up in the crawl space on the day the contractor was due to cover over the floor with plywood; fortunately our contractor was smart enough to leave an opening, which we covered up as soon as we saw the kitten outside again.

As time went on, it became more and more battle-hardened. The mewing stopped, as did the clumsy kittenness, and its eyes were less cute, and more wary. Strangely, this made me love it even more.

Our next-door neighbor called in a friend who traps and rescues stray and feral cats on a regular basis. She set up a trap, baited it with tuna, and the kitten was caught in a half-hour. It went to a local animal hospital. And then what happened?

Well, he came home today (yes, "he" now, not "it"). And he is so damn cute. Admittedly, the other cat and the dog will need to adjust, but with time, anything is possible. And he proved his mettle in an encounter with Buddy (our dog) when he managed to bare his claws, hiss, and jump five feet in the air simultaneously.

Now he needs a name. There's an obvious one, given that our other kitty is named Nimü�e. But I can't picture this little street kitten being named after a famous wizard from Arthurian legend. He seems more like a Hobbit to me.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Man, thou art lame.

The closest thing I get to "hazardous duty" is when K goes out of town and I'm a single father for a time. This week--all week!--she's in Panama City, Florida, at a conference of some sort. It's moments like these that I realize just how much I depend on her, day in and day out, to keep me sane--and given my mental history, "sane" is not a word I choose lightly.

It's amazing, for instance, how difficult it is to keep the house clean when she's gone. You could insert some sexist remark here, no doubt, but I think this speaks more to me vs. her than man vs. woman.

Mostly I realize how scatterbrained I am, though. For instance, yesterday I had a dental appointment. They called to remind me on Friday; it was written down on the calendar; K and I had talked about it. The only missing piece of the puzzle was that she wasn't here to remind me the morning of--and so, naturally, I forgot the appointment. Hooray, more money spent on nothing at all!

Truly, marriage has infantilized me. At the moment, I'm in somewhat the same situation I was just before I got to college. I don't know if anyone else was like this, but I hated doing chores, and I knew that if I didn't do them, so what? They'd get done eventually by someone else. But then, when I was on my own, suddenly it really was my responsibility, and mine alone, to do laundry, eat properly, get enough sleep and so on, and suddenly those things seemed pleasurable, not onerous.

(In truth, I was already pretty good about doing the laundry for the whole household; and my dad, with whom I lived for most of my life, wasn't exactly great shakes in the household chore department. I distinctly remember upwards of ten bags of garbage, sitting on our back porch for months, because Dad couldn't get around to driving them to the dump.)

My point, anyway, is that I've regressed back to that dependence on someone else to handle the things I can't, or won't, handle on my own. She handles the schedule, because I can't get myself to depend on a PDA. She handles most of the cleaning and virtually all of the day-to-day straightening up. And in the evenings, she pretty much rears the kids on her own because by the end of the day, I need to be alone, for at least an hour, otherwise I explode in a mushroom cloud like the one Condi Rice lied about.

Yet she manages to hold me and herself together, while still working a sometimes punishing schedule at her job (which she admittedly loves), and she never tells me, "No, you can't go to rehearsal tonight," even though there have been nights when she's missed her t'ai chi class because I was a crying, blubbering wreck. How can I make myself stronger? And more importantly: how can I ever repay her?

Monday, October 31, 2005

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--And so goodbye...

For, yea, it is written: when the Squelch hath been revealèd, and the VidPod falls upon the crowd, then shall the Spice be Cast no more...

The final podcast lieth here, at a terminal 11:21 and 5 or so MB.

Listen for the full details; and if you feel like subscribing to something else after a decent period of mourning, why not try the vodcast?

To hell with anonymity.

Time to shovel some new blood into this hole, so... here I am in all my non-pseudonymous glory.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Ba dee boo!

This is my new favorite animation (via Rocketboom). Here's the animator's web site, with a higher-quality version (follow the links to Animation, then Music Videos, then Bathtime in Clerkenwell).

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Fplinerf Lamente, or, The Anymator who Cannot Modelle

WHY can't I sculpt a decent female face????

Monday, October 17, 2005

A query.

So, if it's better to give than to receive, does that mean when you give someone a present, you're really saying, "Here, and now I am morally superior to you"?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The blood is the life!

Perhaps I've mentioned my Five Point Plan to return to acting:
  1. Get involved in community theater
  2. Get involved in professional theater
  3. Get involved in local independent film
  4. Move to Hollywood
  5. Become a film star on the level of, say, Paul Newman.

When I left college I skipped (1) entirely and went straight to getting paid to do tech work (acting, not so much) and lately I've done pretty well with (3). So, it seemed clear it was time to jump back to (1).

(Okay, truth be told, I just wanted to see if I would enjoy theater again without the pressure of getting paid.)

Anyway, I've already talked about my work on Henry IV for the Greenbelt Arts Center, but I realize I never mentioned that I had also been cast in Dracula for Prince George's Little Theater, playing everyone's favorite bug-eater, Renfield, which is second only to the title character for its scene-stealing potential. Gotta love any part for which you must mess up your hair in six directions then set it with gallons of hair spray.

We opened on Friday. It went well. No major line losses, no major tech foul-ups. And it was (I think) my first time acting on a geniune proscenium stage since college. Quite a trip.

And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

O my Gawd!

iPod video! But Steve Jobs said it would never happen! And we all know he NEVER lies... right?

Makes me want to create a Rooster Spice, the Vodcast! ...almost.

If it weren't for my recent failure in podcasting, I could see myself doing a "cartoon of the week" via RSS. But... somehow I doubt I'd be quite as prolific as all that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Insomnia? We can help!

Watch <ESC> tonight as part of Happy Tree Friends and Friends on the G4 cable channel. Or, y'know, suffer the consequences. 12 midnight Eastern, 9 PM pacific. With my new logo, you can even see the top half of my head.

Edit: he said, forgetting that the top of his head is right next to these words in the stupid "About Me" section.


So the contractors started work on Monday. We're putting an addition on the front of our house--just a little one to add an office downstairs so we can move E into a new bedroom (where the office currently is). In normal times, we probably would have put this house on the market and moved into a slightly bigger one. But with a housing market that looks something like Yahoo's stock price in the late 90s (indeed, our own home has tripled in value--problem is, so has everyone else's), we couldn't afford to move. But, we could afford a refinance and a larger loan to pay for an addition.

So now it's the Marianas Trench in the front yard, as the holes for the foundation have been dug but the cement hasn't yet been poured. A huge pile of red clay sits in the yard and our assigned parking spot. Naturally, all of September was drought conditions, but with the coming of October things have gotten just wet enough to make the clay into extremely sticky mud.

In fact, our walkway, which we share with the townhouse to our right, was covered in the mud and crap, and tracking everywhere. Fortunately, our contractors hosed away the mud, leaving a sparkling clean sidewalk instead, and avoiding a potential neighbor land mine.

But, naturally, you can't please all the people all the time, and another neighbor complained to me this morning (in no uncertain terms) about the runoff from the hosing down, which had accumulated in the parking lot. Admittedly it was ugly, but it wasn't anything but dirty puddles, rather like what we tend to get after a heavy rain. She said it was probably illegal.

Which makes me wonder: if there had been a downpour, would she have arrested the clouds?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Extra, extra...

His Girl Friday is in the public domain? Is nothing sacred?

Edit: Since I'm an atheist, draw your own conclusions as to how I define "sacred."

Friday, September 23, 2005

A tale of two disasters.

The Post's opinion pages has a comparison between Katrina and Chernobyl today. I was going to just highlight one of the comparisons I found funny, but I see they don't actually have the article online. So, here, manually typed in, is the entire article:

"Katrina vs. Chernobyl," by Richard Rhodes and Gwyneth Cravens.


  • Katrina: Levees neglected despite years of warnings of damage a major storm could cause.
  • Chernobyl: Reactor not upgraded despite multiple previous accidents in similar plants.

  • Katrina: Breach of levees: poor design, overconfidence, federal budget cuts.
  • Chernobyl: Reactor expolosion: poor design, overconfidence, construction material shortages.

  • Katrina: New Orleans submerged in contaminated water; billions of dollars in damage.
  • Chernobyl: Widespread radioactive fallout from burning reactor; billions of dollars in damage.

  • Katrina: No protective clothing for local rescue workers.
  • Chernobyl: No protective clothing for local rescue workers.

  • Katrina: Helicopters dropping sand into levee breaches.
  • Chernobyl: Helicopters dropping sand into burning reactor crater.

  • Katrina: FEMA director's previous experience: horse shows. Friend of a friend of the president.
  • Chernobyl: Chernobyl director's previous experience: party hack. Promoted after another reactor exploded on his watch.

  • Katrina: Media coverage overrides attempted political spin.
  • Chernobyl: Dispersing radiation plume overrides attempted coverup.

  • Katrina: Contractors and lobbyists roaming Washington and Baton Rouge, La.
  • Chernobyl: Wolves and feral dogs roaming exclusion zone.


  • Katrina: National leadership response delayed by disbelief, poor coordination, vacations.
  • Chernobyl: National leadership response immediate.

  • Katrina: President Bush tours Gulf Coast five days after storm hits, avoiding New Orleans.
  • Chernobyl: Two Politburo members reach Chernobyl within 48 hours to direct rescue operations.

  • Katrina: 475 buses delayed two days before evacuating 30,000 flood victims from Superdome Evacuation stretches across four days.
  • Chernobyl: 1,216 buses, 300 trucks arrive overnight to evacuate 35,000 residents of Pripyat reactor community. Evacuation completed in one afternoon.

  • Katrina: Delayed and inadequate emergency response, lack of coordination seriously hamper relief.
  • Chernobyl: Quick decisions, good coordination, rapid response remove most of surrounding population from harm.

  • Katrina: Roving gangs of armed criminals, random violence, derelict police officers.
  • Chernobyl: Unarmed and cooperative population, minimal disorder.

  • Katrina: Toll of preventable deaths: 1,069, according to the Associated Press, as of yesterday, and still counting.
  • Chernobyl: Toll of preventable deaths 19 years later: 60.

Richard Rhodes is the author of "The Making of the Atomic Bomb." Gwyneth Cravens's examination of nuclear energy misconceptions, "The Hollow Mounatin," is to be published in 2006.

As published in today's Washington Post.

I'll leave the professional bloggers to dissect this, if anyone reads it, that is.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Just in case you were wondering.

The Podcast is not dead. But it is on life support. I'm told the Congress is going to pass a law to make sure I don't euthanize it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

It's getting hard to not sound blasé.

<ESC> was just accepted to the Annapolis Film Festival. I found this out just after a producer from G4 (formerly TechTV) emailed me asking if he could screen it as part of a short animation series. Oh, and it was shown at the Animation Block Party in NYC on Thursday... I found out about that one day after the screening. Next time, send your filmmakers an email, guys... is it really that hard?

Rock and roll.

Yesterday was International Talk Like a Pyrite Day...
Arrrgh, matey. I wuz born in th' bowels o' the earth, sulficatious and hotter than the blast o' a spanish cannon. Me golden face may sometimes be striated, an' even octahedral. I've a specific gravity that swims somewhere around 5.0, as like as not, and a conchoidal fracture, and am polymorphic with mah goodly chum, Marcas.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Events, momentous, more.

Yesterday wasn't quite as wild as Friday in terms of accolades, compliments, and swooning, but <ESC> did get a big laugh (or two). No one had any questions for me this time; it might have been because there was a different moderator, who was much less energetic. (Presumably, that's 'cause no one on the festival staff had slept for four days.) But, afterward, the Cleveland Film Society gentleman came up to me (he was much more casual this time, wearing a Browns jersey), and said, "Okay, you can send 'em both." So, two films, guaranteed in. Not a bad haul. (Although, as a friend said when I told him I was heading to Cleveland, "I'm sorry.")

The whole family came to this screening, and D & E were quite good at staying in their seat, although D did feel the need to comment on nearly everything. The awards ceremony was as fun as such things ever are when one doesn't get awards. I'm reminded of something the playwright Nicky Silver wrote in the introduction to a compilation of his plays:
A word on awards. I've been nominated for quite a few and won a couple. It's a strange phenomenon. I arrive feeling quite above the fray. I, personally, NEVER think I have the remotest chance of winning, so I adopt an "artists shouldn't compete" attitude. Within five minutes of the evenings [sic] commencement, I start to think... "What the hell, I could win. You never know." By the time my category rolls around I'm in a white-knuckled frenzy of competitive zeal, ruthless to win the damn thing! "Let me at MY statue and why is everyone clapping for Terrence McNally!"
That's pretty much exactly how I feel at these sorts of things.

But better than a glass statue (though they were pretty neat, and apparently hand-made by the festival director) is acclaim from total strangers. Godfrey found a bloig [sic] entry by a member of the selection committee for D.C. Shorts, and what she said made my jaw drop:
So let me reveal what I believe to be the highlights of the festival. At the top of my list is "Soap Opera� by a local filmmaker, Zachary Brewster-Geisz. Mozart is surely rolling over in his grave--but I don�t care. In this animated aria from "Don Giovanni,� set in a bathroom, the shampoo and soap and sponge sing gloriously in Italian--with subtitles. It�s hilarious.
It's enough to make one think one's in a 40s musical. "What a glorious feeling, I'm happy again..."*

I went to the closing reception at a local arts place. A couple people complimented me on the films, but mostly I stood around, eating brie and crackers. (Brie! Can't afford it usually.) One gentleman, who will no doubt visit me in my nightmares, stood staring at my name badge (which also listed my films) and approached me slowly. Being helpful, I lifted the badge up to display it, and chuckled nervously.

"Soap Opera," he said. "What's that?"

"Ah, it's an opera, sung by soap," I said.

"Oh," he said. There was an awkward silence, and then he looked to my left at the painting I was standing next to. Except, he didn't move, and remained standing one foot in front of me. I remained there for an uncomfortable moment--should I say more, try to start a conversation?--and eventually mumbled "excuse me," and sidled back over to the cheese table.

* That's Gene Kelly, not Malcom McDowell.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Events, momentous.

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. We went to Cunningham Falls and hiked a little bit (very little, since with two kids, one of whom refuses to wear anything but a dress and tights, you don't want to take the Cliff Edge trail), then had a romantic dinner at, uh, TGIFriday's. We closed the evening after the kids had gone to bed with our anniversary tradition of opening a bottle of champagne and getting rip-roaring drunk. Of course, we drink so rarely that one glass each is enough to get us singing old Andy Hardy songs, so...

But anniversaries are so old hat. I've had, what, eleven of 'em? (More than my parents had, actually.) The real excitement this weekend was the D.C. Shorts Festival, in which I have two animated films. You can read about them here (PDF), in an article in the Washington City Paper in which you can also see my ugly mug.

The first screening was Friday, preceded by a gala opening-night party, in which K and I were given the literal red-carpet treatment, with photographers and flashbulbs, the whole shebang. I was expecting a more typical hotel-lobby style reception, but this was huge; clearly someone hired a publicist who knew how to Create a Buzz in the Social Scene. Ah, Hollywood. It was all pretty ridiculous. We spent an hour and a half there, met up with a few friends who had been kind enough to come, and then went to feed the meter so our car didn't get booted. Except, we were out of change, so we decided to take our chances. And no, this story won't end with a tow or a boot, so don't get your hopes up.

The screening, as expected, was sold out. Soap Opera was the third film shown, and the first real comedy of the evening. We got a good deal of laughs, though I was too nervous to pay attention to them. My "fan club" of about ten friends probably pumped up the applause-o-meter a bit.

After the screening was over, there was a question-and-answer session with the directors. Here's a partial transcript:
Q: How did you all raise the money for your films?

Other filmmakers: Well, I got a grant and blahblahblah and it was in completion of the MFA and blahblahblah and corporate sponsors and blahblahblah and fundraising blahblahblah...

Me: Um... my film was made for free.

There was one woman who had read the City Paper article and wanted to know where she could find my other films, so I directed her to my website.

When the Q&A was over, I hugged my parents, who had driven all the way from Albany (why were they in Albany, I wonder?), and as I was chatting with them, a gentleman from the Cleveland Film Festival came up to me, gave me his card, and said he wanted to show Soap Opera at the festival in March. "No entry fee, no selection process, you're in if you're interested." Naturally, I told him no. (That's a joke, son.) After I had picked myself off the floor, we headed home to relieve the babysitter, who had done seven hours of duty. We finally climbed into bed around 1 A.M. We realized it was our anniversary already, and, um, celebrated.

Today is the final day of the fest, and my other film, <ESC>, is showing at noon. There's also an awards ceremony afterward. I'm not expecting anything, but who knows? Watch this space for details.

Friday, September 16, 2005

In the interest of fairness and balanced-ness, I should point out that the government appears to have dropped its no-photo policy. There's also some evidence that it was never evenly applied anyway--for instance, photographers from the Times-Picayune were never kept from sites.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The timeline.

No, not a text timeline of the events of Katrina--a photo timeline. Via Andrew Sullivan.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Read this.

Trust me.
Hey, wow! My first comment spam! I guess posting a link in Eschaton has its effect.

Washington Post, free speech watchdog.

Surely the Post ran a story about the implicit censorship of Katrina's death toll?

Why, yes, they did.

Of course, it was only a reprint of a story by Reuters, and it was in the Style section, on the eighth page, but what can you do?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

More on press censorship.

Andrew Sullivan is on it. So is Brian Williams of NBC:
While we were attempting to take pictures of the National Guard (a unit from Oklahoma) taking up positions outside a Brooks Brothers on the edge of the Quarter, the sergeant ordered us to the other side of the boulevard. The short version is: there won't be any pictures of this particular group of guard soldiers on our newscast tonight. Rules (or I suspect in this case an order on a whim) like those do not HELP the palpable feeling that this area is somehow separate from the United States.

At that same fire scene, a police officer from out of town raised the muzzle of her weapon and aimed it at members of the media... obvious members of the media... armed only with notepads. Her actions (apparently because she thought reporters were encroaching on the scene) were over the top and she was told. There are automatic weapons and shotguns everywhere you look. It's a stance that perhaps would have been appropriate during the open lawlessness that has long since ended on most of these streets. Someone else points out on television as I post this: the fact that the National Guard now bars entry (by journalists) to the very places where people last week were barred from LEAVING (The Convention Center and Superdome) is a kind of perverse and perfectly backward postscript to this awful chapter in American history.

Will the media ignore these orders, and take the damned pictures that we need to see? These pictures of victims of negligent fucking homicide?

Press being turned away from New Orleans.

If this is true--and it came from a blogger on the scene--it is the worst abuse of power yet.
No Accountability: Bush Locks Press Out of NOLA
September 7th, 2005
We are in Jefferson Parish, just outside of New Orleans. At the National Guard checkpoint, they are under orders to turn away all media. All of the reporters are turning they�re TV trucks around.

Things are so bad, Bush is now censoring all reporting from NOLA. The First Amendment sank with the city.

The original link is here, but it's down at the moment since being Atrios'd. However I can confirm that the web page did exist--I saw it with my own eyes and copied and pasted the text from my history.

Add to that the Reuters story via
FEMA Wants No Photos of Dead
From Reuters

NEW ORLEANS � The U.S. agency leading Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts said Tuesday that it does not want the news media to photograph the dead as they are recovered.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, heavily criticized for its slow response to the devastation caused by the hurricane, rejected journalists' requests to accompany rescue boats searching for storm victims.

An agency spokeswoman said space was needed on the rescue boats.

"We have requested that no photographs of the deceased be made by the media," the spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

If there was ever a time that full, unfettered photography and reporting was needed, it is now. The dead have faces. THEY MUST NOT BE FORGOTTEN, AND THE GOVERNMENT MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Thursday, September 01, 2005

For those who want to know a little bit more about Squelch, check out the new animation web site, masked by tinyurl, of course. There are some pretty good films there, but mostly be sure to check the "about" page.
The Post is now publishing some of Tom Toles' original sketches.

I'll be back with a reaction to Katrina and its aftermath. I find it hard to comprehend at this point.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--Artificial podcasting.

Episode 16 is here, a better value than gas at 5:10 and 2.7 MB.

Show notes:

Like the show? You know what to do.

Holy crap.

Courtesy of Political Animal:
What she dealt with daily goes beyond the pale...beyond the nightmares of most people; Children with all four limbs hacked off right above the knee or below the elbow. Twelve year olds who died in childbirth after being gang-raped by the Janjaweed. Women who gave birth to rape-babies who were then cast out by their families for shaming the family name, leaving only one avenue of survival for themselves and their children after the camps: Prostitution.

What is fucking her up is the desperation, and the fact that she worked herself to death for over a month, and she still didn't really save anyone. Now that she's gone, it's like she was never there. Even the ones she helped keep alive, she didn't save. You try dealing with that reality.
That's Blue Girl, Red State, talking about a friend who went to Darfur for a month, and is, understandably, unable to process the experience just yet.

People with the courage and endurance of this woman make me weep, and make me wish I had one tenth of their strength.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A letter (slightly edited to protect the innocent)

Hello, friends and family:

I'm sending out this huge impersonal form letter to friends and family from within and without the D.C. area. Those of you outside the area, I don't expect you to drive here (well... maybe a little), but I wanted to let you know the news.

I have two, count 'em two, short animated films showing at the D.C. Shorts Festival (, which is running from Sept. 16-18 at the Landmark E Street Cinema. My shorts are showing at the first and fifth screenings--that's Friday Sept 16 at 9 PM, and Sunday Sept 18 at 12 noon. Tickets are on sale at the D.C. Shorts website, and from what I hear, they sell out quickly, so buy now.

There's also an opening night party, open to anyone who has a ticket to Friday night's screening (click on "parties" at the DCShorts website for more info), at Poste Brasserie (555 8th Street, NW, in the Hotel Monaco) from 6 to 9 PM on Friday. Rumor has it there will be nakedness. You heard it here first. I'll be there, and since it's billed as a "Meet the Filmmakers" party, I need people to swarm me so I don't look pathetic compared to all the other entourages. Therefore, I expect you all to be there, even if you wind up too drunk to actually make it to the cinema. I consider it a small price to pay.

In addition, someone at the Washington City Paper received my bribe--er, enjoyed my work enough to do a feature story on me in the Arts section. (!!!!) I have no idea why they chose me over all the other local filmmakers in the festival, but I'll take the kudos. It's supposed to be coming out September 2, at a newsstand near you. Get it! As the philosopher said, "It's free." And I'm told that some of my collaborators and peers say nasty things about me--what could be better? Supposedly, it'll also be in the archives at but I doubt you'll be able to see my ugly mug on the Web.

Hope to see you there!


P.S. Please do forward this to anyone who might be interested--even people who don't know me. The festival is trying to increase attendance in the crucial "doesn't know Squelch" demographic.

edit: Dammit. The reporter tells me the article has been moved to a later edition. The date above is corrected.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


An elegant rebuttal to a so-called "ex-gay." (Via Pandagon.)

Depressed about an interview.

(Cross-posted from a forum I frequent, because I thought it was worth blogging about.)

Maybe everyone already knows about this, but it was news to me: apparently I live just a couple miles south of the epicenter of games production for the East Coast. How all these companies wound up near Baltimore is a mystery to me, but there it is; suddenly visions of animating jobs where I don't have to move my family popped into my head. (Background: my wife has a government job that she loves, and I've been a professional father for six years and it's starting to wear thin, I'm ashamed to say.)

Now gaming, I understand, is difficult to break into. So I devised a Master Plan: go to a school in the area to get myself a certification, maybe even a B.F.A. At the very best, I could get a buttload of contacts and use them as a springboard to a job; at the very worst, I would at least sharpen my animation skills, assuming I found a school that taught the skills and not the software.

Well, with this plan in mind, last night I went to interview at a continuing education school that shall remain nameless. After the counselor discerned where I wanted to be, he showed me some examples of things the students created in the 3D program (after they made it through web design, digital photography, motion graphics, and 2D, which are prerequisites).

Now he did tell me that these were examples of things from students who were just beginning; but even if that's true (and I doubt it, because according to the syllabus, in the first course all you learn is cameras, objects, and lighting, and these things were, um, heavy on the F/X: look, particles! look, rigid body dynamics! look, lens flares!), I could tell this place would not help me grow as an animator--maybe as a guy who did flying logos for a living, which would certainly be an honorable existence if my wife were suddenly fired. But because we're lucky enough to live cheaply on one income, I've promised myself I won't get a job outside the house unless I enjoy it.

I think the guy caught my attitude (I was inwardly recoiling in horror, but I hope I wasn't too obvious), because he asked, "You already do this sort of thing, don't you?"

It gave me newfound respect for Hash's decision to put everything on A:M Films, not just the stuff of "Duel" or "Alien Song" caliber. The reason everything looks so good in 3DSMax or Maya's literature is because they don't let you see what I saw in that interview.

Now I expect most people would be heartened to find their skills are already at the level being taught at this continuing education plant. But I was severely depressed. Why? Because if this is representative of the skills taught at other schools (admittedly, I don't know that for sure) then where am I going to go to get better? Whether my objective is to get a job or just get more skills, how can I make it happen?

Believe me, I have NO illusions that I'm good enough already...

(I dunno, maybe what I'm really asking for is encouragement. Job offers would be nice, too. :lol: )

What I Want a Senator to Ask

Justice Roberts, do you believe American citizens have a right to privacy?

Wait a moment, I didn't ask you about the Constitution. I didn't even ask you about Roe v. Wade. All I asked was: do you believe American citizens have a right to privacy?
Hurrah, Medley returns with a beautiful redesign! But where will I find out about the 2004 holidays?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--Were you going to speak?

We return to the Long Form for the fifteenth episode; grab an epic 17:20 and 8.7 MB.

Show notes:
  • Reflections on NTodd's ten songs podcast, and why I wish I could do one

  • Post-mortem on Henry IV Part One (not to be confused with Henry IV--The Revenge)

  • Equal time department: Don't Chew Your Dress (at least it's shorter)

  • Bootleg of the Week: Peggy's Kitchen Wall by Bruce Cockburn

  • Government work, and its closeness thereof

You'll make me a happy camper if you vote at Podcast Alley, and even happier if you ask your friends to give Rooster Spice a try. And as mentioned, tickets are now on sale for the D.C. Shorts Festival, where you can see two of my short animations (one Friday at 9, one Sunday at noon).

edit: Whoops! The link is now fixed. Sorry about that!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A plague upon it!

Today will mark my first time acting on stage since 1999. That it is in a community theater production of Henry IV, performed in a park, for which fully half the cast has quit (two of whom just a week ago--thanks, y'all) is neither here nor there.

If you're within spitting distance of Buddy Attick Park in Greenbelt, MD, why not come by around 5 PM tonight? See swordfighters using light sabers and wearing combat fatigues. (I don't have a sword fight, but I did manage to buy myself a set of dog tags imprinted with VERNON, SIR RICHARD, A POSITIVE.)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--Half-Assed

A one-story, one-song show, clocking in at 10:45 and 5.5 MB.
  • The Michigan adventure

  • A message from Shirt-Chewers Anonymous

Don't forget to vote at Podcast Alley; it's a new month!

And when they're not playing funk...

The first podcast from space.

Good Plus X Maneuver.

In honor of today's landing (we hope) of Discovery, we present a slightly remixed (and higher-quality) version of the Shuttle Funk song performed by the STS-114 funk band. Enjoy, or not.

If you're using iTunes 4.9 to subscribe, it'll show up in the Podcast section. Just drag-and-drop it to the Library to keep it part of your collection permanently.

edit: Well, that's what I get for not checking the news before posting. She landed safe and sound at Edwards AFB in California. Good news.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

There will be no podcast this coming Friday, since we'll all be in Michigan for the funeral.

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--Saying Goodbye

This episode does not live up to its iTunes genre (comedy).

Show notes:

I know I'm not the only person who has ever had a death in the family. Forgive me my self-centeredness.

Monday, August 01, 2005


I just finished reading David Bodanis' Electric Universe, a wonderfully entertaining history of the discovery of electricity (or, as the subtitle has it, "The Shocking True Story of Electricity"). It starts with the early attempts at batteries (leyden jars of Ben Franklin's time and such) and continues with Faraday's postulation of electromagnetic fields, pointing along the way to technological innovations such as telegraphs, telephones, computers, and Prozac. The story is great, but what makes it is Bodanis' sly, knowing commentary. For instance, here's a passage from the section on electrical impulses in our brain:
Nancy Ostrowski was a young American who'd once considered being a nun, and by the 1970s she had switched to research. But she seems to have channeled some of the moral strictures from her previous life into her new work. In her laboratory outside Washington, D.C., she would get something like a small guillotine ready, then encourage mice to have sex, and then decapitate them while they were thus engaged.
(She was searching for endorphins, not just chopping happy mice's heads off.) Or my favorite, in a footnote to a chapter on Alan Turing and "the British government's codebreaking group":
Actually a "cipher-breaking" group. A code is a direct-substitution system, where one word is used to stand for another, as with a child's code in which, for example, the words national embarrassment are substituted wherever the word shrub has been written.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Bloggin' from Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Airport to be precise. And I'm typing with one hand, on accounta my other one is covered with goo from these delicious cheesy fries.

OK, that's over with. Thus far, it's been an exceedingly easy set of travel, with the exception of the security line at Baltimore, which started somewhere in Viriginia. It was so long that even though it moved fairly fast, and I went through security itself with no problems, I still had to run to the gate and was the last person on board the plane.

The time in Michigan was not so easy. My grandmother is intubated and sedated, and didn't open her eyes the entire time I was there. I'm glad I went, even so. I hadn't seen her for a year, and it was a shock to see how much she had deteriorated.

My cousins were wonderful as always. I got to see a lot of people because it was my uncle's (step-uncle's? I don't know, but I was there when he married my aunt, and my cousins are my age, so he's their step-father) birthday and they had a small party. In fact, this was the third year I've been at his birthday party; for some reason we always go to Michigan in late July, and always the same weekend. It's never intentional, though.

My dad, who was planning to head home before I arrived, has wound up staying, and isn't going back until Grandma wakes up, so he can tell her that he's going and when he'll be back. He has an apartment in Connecticut, so it's not exactly a quick trip for him (he drives).

As for us, we're planning on coming back with the whole family in the fall. I just hope Grandma will be in good shape again.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Can't forget the Motor City.

I'm traveling to Michigan today, and I'll be back Sunday evening. I won't go into why; if you want to know, you can listen to the podcast, in all its lurid detail.

However, I will point out something from the aforementioned podcast which I only realized after I was done editing. From the transcript:
But, that's enough about me. Let's move on to the next edition of What You Don't Know About Squelch!

The irony of this moment is left as an exercise for the reader.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--War of the Cheesy Music

Episode 12 right here with bells on. Glockenspiel, in fact. You can get your bits and bytes on in a handy 14 minute and 48 second package, after about 7.2 MB of transfer.

Show notez:
  • Going to Michigan this weekend, and why.
  • What You Don't Know About Squelch, complete with listener questions from Godfrey.
  • Bootleg of the Week returns after an apocalyptic pub crawl to play He's a Bum by Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys.

I'll be a happy camper if you like it. I'll be a happy camper if you don't. Just listen. Please?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Why does Jessica Simpson hate America?

JESSICA SIMPSON wants to know where missing footage of her and husband NICK LACHEY's harrowing trip to Iraq got to - because she thinks Americans would like to see just how bad conditions are there.

The pop singers-turned-reality TV couple travelled to the war-torn nation to visit US troops as part of a recent ABC TV variety special, and they were both left shellshocked by what they saw.

But all the controversial moments and harrowing footage of the trip didn't appear in the fun-filled TV show.

Simpson says, "It was unbelievable. They didn't show a lot of what really went on with the enemy attacks and the shelling. There was so much stuff that went on and somehow the tapes got mysteriously misplaced.

"It put everything in perspective for me. It really did teach me the definition of sacrifice. I can't even fathom being out there right now. I was ready to come home."

(via Atrios.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--Shuttle Mash!

Episode 11, hot off the press and a day late (12:53, 6.7 MB). Could have been worse. Well, that's for you to judge, actually, isn't it?

Show notes:
  • Alternate formats for RSTP: Top 40, public radio, and Jack

  • Podsafe music! Whoa, by the Gonnas, as mentioned in the Ten-Song Meme

  • The launch of Shuttle Discovery

  • A song from the STS-114 funk band

  • Exeunt omnes

The bootleg of the week didn't show up for work.

By the way, I noticed that my total number of votes at Podcast Alley increased by 50% recently, and I'd like to thank the voter responsible. There's still time for me to break into the top 600, so vote, vote, vote!

I think this is a good episode. Do you agree? Let me know at roosterspice AT gmail DOT com.


This site from MSNBC is amazing. You can view the shuttle launch, in real-time, from any of the NASA cameras, including the one on the fuel tank. Seeing Cape Canaveral fall away below them is stunning.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


There will most likely not be a podcast posted tonight. Try to contain your despair, and check back tomorrow.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Ten-Song Meme

NTodd tagged me for this, even if he didn't want to admit it:
List ten songs that you are currently doesn't matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they're no good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying right now. Post these instructions, the artists, and the ten songs in your blog. Then tag five other people to see what they're listening to.

If you have iTunes, click here to jump to an iMix with all the tracks--well, except the Gonnas, I guess.

No Beatles included, because I'm always enjoying them. Ditto for the Beach Boys.

Now, to tag people. It could be tough to choose five, because I only have about four readers. Oh well, let's try Godfrey, Clarence, Lyn, Mike, and of course Laura.

If you have a blog, leave a list to your link--er, a link to your list in the comments; if you don't have a blog or don't feel like cluttering up your purple prose, just put the whole list in the comments. Then tag five other people, so you can annoy them as much as I've annoyed you.

Rob Pegoraro's Podcasting podcast.

Well, the Washington Post has finally jumped on the podcasting bandwagon. I've subscribed to this one, simply because I like Rob Pegoraro as a writer and have followed his columns for a long time now. (He also appears to be younger than me, depressingly.) Still, it's hard not to smile that, as he discusses whether or not podcasting is a "fad," he's jumping into the fad himself. Of course, he's jumping into the fad with the full power of Big Media behind him.

He doesn't talk (yet) about Adam Curry's assertion that podcasting is not producer-driven (like blogs), but listener-driven, i.e. commercial radio stinks, and listeners want an alternative. I think there's some truth in that. For instance, I live in a town with no dedicated jazz station, and subscribe and listen to No Idle Frets, an excellent podcast featuring jazz guitar. (I found it before Adam Curry, thank you very much.) The point is, I'm hearing music I can't hear on the radio; and that justifies podcasting in my view.

On the other hand, there are those folks who got into podcasting simply for the sake of narcissism (ahem), and in that case it is rather like blogs, except that you can't Google-search it and there's less editing and it takes more time and...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Mating a post.

By request, here's Dating a Ghost, 3.3 MB, 3:20, AAC format for iPods, iTunes, and QuickTime. Can't guarantee how long it'll be on-line. Also, it's not part of the podcast feed, so you'll need to download it manually.

Thanks for liking it! Foul-ups and all...

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--LIVE!

The big tenth episode, for 22 July 2005.

Get it here (14:19, 6.9 MB).

Show notes as follows:
  • Recorded before a live studio audience! (The undead studio audience wasn't available 'til after sunset.)

  • Supreme Court nominee

  • James Doohan boldly goes where billions of people have gone before

  • 1776 and the sunshine patriots

  • Podsafe song performed by Squelch himself: Dating a Ghost

  • Sign-off and applause

As always, subscribe here, and vote here. And, of course, email roosterspice AT gmail DOT com. Audio comments welcome. What, you have better things to do with your time?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The D.C. Shorts website is now online. Check out my screenings here and here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Linger on, Montauk.

Back, oh, a decade or so ago, a friend turned me on to heroin. That is, the song "Heroin" and other tunes by the Velvet Underground. (The first song was actually "What Goes On," but that wouldn't have provided a joke.) As two college kids in the pre-mp3 age, we communicated via mix tapes. Mostly, he sent me weird pop and alternative from his collection, and occasionally I sent him Beatles bootlegs from mine (and occasionally what passed for weird pop from my very, very pedestrian collection).

Anyway, I finally bought a Velvets album (off iTunes, no less), their self-titled release. (Not their first release, by the way, their third. I like artists who self-title non-debut albums, like the Beatles and... erm... Sheryl Crow.) I had just recently dropped some dimes on albums by Bruce Cockburn (an excellent purchase) and the B-52s (jury's still out) in the quest to get the iTunes 500 millionth song. But I woke up last night with the Velvets in my head and just had to give Apple more money.

I'm glad I did; I'm listening to the Velvets right now, and they're amazing. While the recording of "What Goes On" was not the one I was familiar with (apparently it comes from a live album), it's still excellent. I had only heard the R.E.M. cover of "Pale Blue Eyes," not the original, which is much sparser.

Now I'm trying to determine whether I should buy their debut, The Velvet Underground and Nico. It'd be a no-brainer, but in iTunes, the only options are either the "deluxe" set at $30, or buying the "partial" album by song only (11 tracks at 99 cents each). The thing is, as far as I can tell the whole album is only 11 tracks anyway, so what's this "partial album" crap? Readers more knowledgeable than me about the Velvets are invited to comment. (So are the rest of you.)

Over the intercom.

Would the surfer who searched for "The Gonnas" please report to the main office. Your coolie has a hernia.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--the bad Beatles edition

Episode 9 right here, sitting pretty at 14:31 and 7.1 MB. This is a good 'un.

Show notes!
  • Squelch in powdered form

  • What You Don't Know About Squelch, number two, featuring listener questions!

  • Bootleg of the Week: Money, performed by the Beatles

  • Leftovers from the basement

Also features music from Don Giovanni, in a public domain recording by J.S.L.; and I Saw Her Standing There by way of Elvis and a televangelist, performed with alacrity and possible drunkenness by Squelch and Tony L. (This is a parody, which is "fair use" and protected under copyright law.)

As always, get your subscription fix here, or via iTunes.

Also, if you want to make me happy, vote at Podcast Alley. C'mon, like it'll take a year off your life or something? (I swear, those studies weren't properly peer-reviewed!)

And if you really want to make me happy, send me an email with comments, audio or otherwise.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Friday, July 15, 2005

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--Episode 8

Another fun exciting fourteen minutes of your life you'll never get back!

Show notes:
  • Rooster Spice now listed in iTunes!
  • Definition of "bootleg"
  • Depressed about Iraq
  • FBI seeks thespians! (thanks, Clarence)
  • Is Squelch a CIA operative?
  • Undignified begging for votes and emails

Also, allow me to point out that two of my films are being shown at the D.C. Shorts Festival in mid-September, as alluded to in the 'cast. So, now, in addition to voting at Podcast Alley, you can make a pilgrimage to D.C. to express your appreciation for me. Just do it, it'll make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Walk Like a Nicaraguan

Well, Odeo is on-line, and looky there, Rooster Spice the Podcast is already listed. Please go check it out.

(Why the title of this post? Well, because "Odeo" reminds me of "oh-WAY-oh" from Walk Like an Egyptian. So sue me. Wait, the RIAA is already suing me.)

Oh, and...

Don't forget to vote at Podcast Alley if you haven't already done it this month. Vote for other podcasts you like, too.

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--Episode 7

12 July 2005, wherein Squelch discovers that figuring out what to say is, like, hard. (11:48, 5.7 MB, torrent here.)

Show notes:
  • Emma dresses up
  • when did my folks become filthy rich?
  • the Doofus Dad syndrome
  • Bootleg of the Week: Cuba Si Nixon No, by Simon and Garfunkel
  • more thoughts on London, and Iraq
  • counterpoint from Satan
  • halfhearted sign-off
  • clavicus majorus

As always, send your thoughts, comments, libel, and CIA covert agents' identities to roosterspice AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe at

(Most of the laughs are at the end. But I can't guarantee that's worth getting through the rest of it.)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Those of you who subscribe to the podcast may notice yet another change in the feed. It shouldn't affect anything, however, and may make it easier for all of us.

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--Episode 6

No theme music today. Didn't seem appropriate.

Get the podcast (9.2 MB, twenty minutes, torrent found here), or subscribe, or send me an email at roosterspice AT gmail DOT com with your thoughts.

Show notes:
  • Sandra Day O'Connor
  • The one million dollar hole
  • London
  • Cancer
  • Johann Christian Bach's Sonata in A for Flute and Piano, Op. 16 No. 4, second movement

A multiple-day podcast. What a difference a few days makes.

Dear London

Amanda pretty much says exactly what I'm feeling right now.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

What a difference an edition makes.

Headline on the second editorial of the print edition of today's Washington Post: Congratulations, London.

Headline on London Rocked by Series of Blasts.

Nothing more to say for now.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Begging is pathetic, but that never stopped me.

Rooster Spice, the Podcast is finally up at Podcast Alley. Do yourself a favor and vote for it. It'll make you feel all gooey inside.

<C3PO>I've just about had enough of this blog.</C3PO>

Maybe it's time to take another break, I don't know. Maybe it's time to admit I don't have anything to say. But lately, writing to Rooster Spice has been a chore, not a pleasure. (I can only imagine how awful reading it must be.) I wonder, am I worrying too much about readers, and that's why I don't enjoy it? Would I be more interested, and happier, if I were to eliminate the Site Meter entirely, and remove the comments boxes?

When I first added comments, I was fearful; I thought I'd get discouraged when I saw nothing but 0s all the way down the page. And that is, indeed, discouraging. What I should do, I suppose, is endeavor to write entries which demand comment, but I worry I'll lapse into demogoguery. ("Question: are all liberals traitors, or only 80% of them? Discuss.")

Meanwhile, I'm much more interested in podcasting than blogging and that's well and good, except when I don't make an effort to say anything interesting, it doesn't matter whether it's spoken or typed. And, of course, my podcast audience is even smaller than my blog audience. (Yesterday's RSS circulation, according to FeedBurner: 6. And two of those were me.)

Someone once told me to act as if I have as many readers as Atrios, and eventually I actually would. (Mind you, I've been blogging longer than Atrios, natch.) But that method never really clicked with me, since I would rather, like Achenbach, revel in the Select Audience of Fifteen (fifteen! wow! if only I had so many!). The problem being, of course, that I'm neither as good a writer as Achenbach, nor do I have his actual readership. You can afford to joke that only fifteen people read you when in fact it's actually at least a hundred and fifty.

But there's always Google if I want my hit counts to spike, I suppose. Recently people have found Rooster Spice looking for pictures of Lara Logan. So I guess that should be my slogan: "Rooster Spice: Come for the bikinis, stay for the prose!"

That there aren't any actual bikinis is a mere technicality.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--Episode 5

A little later than usual, eh? Yawn....

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--Episode 5, clocking in at a regulation 13:47 and 6.7 MB.

Show notes:
  • One family's Fourth of July
  • Bootleg of the Week: Peggy Sue Got Married by Buddy Holly
  • Sayonara!

Remember to subscribe to the podcast, or, if you're reading this in the podcast feed, check out the blog itself at

Also, if anyone isn't subscribed and just does direct downloads, please consider using the torrent instead. There's always a seed going, and it won't be any slower than a download.

Would anyone be interested in a feed with just the torrents, for BitTorrent-aware podcatchers like iPodder and iPodderX? If so, leave a comment; it'll mean a little more work for me, but it might be worth it.

Who's listening?!

So, my Site Meter tells me I'm getting my usual 3 to 4 hits daily; feedburner says I've got an average circulation of, oh, six; yet according to BlogMatrix, I've sent out 540 MB worth of podcasts this week alone, and that means I'm over the free bandwidth cap. Kee-rist! Who's doing all this downloading? I don't mind if it's actual listeners, but if it's bots? I'm gonna pay a bandwidth fee for bots? At this rate, I'll have to do a special feed for BitTorrent.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Minor changes.

I've implemented a wee change here at Rooster Spice. The previous XML feed is now a podcast-only subscription. If you've only subscribed so you can get the podcast, you don't have to change anything. However, if you've subscribed with the intention of getting the podcast and these wondrous, incredible, incomparable blog posts, you'll want to subscribe to the Atom feed. Note well, I'm not sure whether this feed will work for podcasting, if you use a hybrid newsreader/podcatcher like iPodderX.

I'm doing this so I can show more podcasts in the podcast feed; the Blogger feed, from which the original podcast feed was derived, only syndicated the first page of the blog, which means the first podcast would drop off the bottom of the page. And we can't have that, can we?

Friday, July 01, 2005

Take it to Karl!

Lookit all them soldiers who want to give therapy to Bin Laden. I particularly like this post. (Via Dohiyi Mir.)

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--Episode 4

Here we go again: get it here (13 minutes, 6.7 MB).

Show notes:
  • iTunes podcasting!
  • The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Skype attempt
  • I got the part! and other braggadocio
  • What you don't know about Squelch
  • Leftovers

I've solved my storage problem! So all the glorious episodes are back on-line, thanks to BlogMatrix.

Again, subscribe by copying the link of the orange XML and pasting it into your podcatching application (if you're using iTunes, you want "Subscribe to Podcast..." under the Advanced menu).

And if you like me (if you really, really like me), please do shoot an email and an MP3 to roosterspice AT gmail DOT com. Doesn't have to be a comment--if you have a podsafe song you want me to play, send it!

The Nomination Pool

I suspect we'll be seeing Associate Justice Karl Rove, personally. I mean, seriously, who's gonna stop him?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Eine Neuen Linken.

Long overdue, this... we're adding to our blog-roll Dohiyi Mir, the blog (and podcast!) of an old college acquaintance, with whom I sparred on the pre-Internet notesboards system, hosted on the old UNIX VAX, which you accessed with green VT100-style terminals. Ah, those were the days...

This makes a total of three (3) bloggers in my link bar who also attended my micro-ivy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

If anyone is searching the archives...

I have changed the link for the first podcast so it's at least findable (I think). It won't work from a podcatching app, though. Still on the look-out for a permanent yet cheap solution.

Edit: Nope, didn't work. Damn it.

It's official.

Podcasting is now part and parcel of iTunes. And me without my knickers on.

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--Episode 3

Coming LIVE to a portable audio player near you (well, maybe your audio player isn't actually living):

Rooster Spice, the Podcast clocking in today at just over 17 (!) entrancing minutes and just under nine inexpensive megabytes. Show notes:
  • Feeding kids like Hobbits
  • Two recent Supreme Court decisions
  • Two recent Squelch auditions
  • Bootleg of the Week: Revolution by the Beatles
  • No leftovers, the fridge is busted.

As always, send your audio and/or text comments to roosterspice AT gmail DOT com. Please?

Incidentally, the first RSTP episode is currently off-line. My ISP has a storage limit, although I did expect to get at least THREE shows up before I had to delete one. If anyone would like to donate some storage, on a temporary basis, until I consult the Mistress of Funds and price out a solution, please let me know. I really would like all the episodes to be on-line when I enter this thing into the various directories.

Monday, June 27, 2005

A New Look.

I'm not in love with this new template, but at least it's not broken. (Yes, throwing myself upon the goodwill of my readers was as effective as throwing myself upon a sword. Could be because no one actually reads this darn thing.)

Apropos of nothing, let me give a plug to the increasingly inaccurately named Holidays 2004 weblog. The former Medley/Cozy has been on fire recently, particularly when describing the anti-speech amendment (which could, incidentally, snag our current president).

The ultimate do-it-yourself music video.

This is making the rounds of the intarwebs, so do yourself a favor and check it out. (Link via Pandagon).

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Back to the old template for the time being. Despite Godfrey's suggestion, I can't find any reference to <div style> in the template (though it does show up in the source), which makes me think that Blogger is putting it there and breaking things. I don't know enough about CSS or HTML to figure out why the call is breaking things, or how I can fix it. I throw myself upon the knowledge and good will of my readers...

Darn you, Google!

I have now replaced the template with a plain-vanilla version. But it's still fouled up. Which makes me wonder: is it Blogger's fault?

Friday, June 24, 2005


Is anyone else seeing a big blank space where the posts ought to be?

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--Episode 2

So! here we are, it's a Friday, and you're looking for something to listen to, right? Wait no longer.

Rooster Spice, the Podcast

Show notes:
  • Comments and commentary
  • World's largest ice pop
  • Thoughts on first-person shooters
  • The Supreme Court's view of private property
  • A message from Satan
  • Leftovers

And, yeah, I know the filename says it's released tomorrow, not today. Sorry about that.

Remember, you can send comments, audio or otherwise, to roosterspice AT gmail DOT com.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Rooster Spice, the Podcast--Episode 1

Yes, that's right; instead of reading esoteric, rambling, self-piteous blog entries, you can now listen to esoteric, rambling, self-piteous blog entries!

Get the podcast here (64kbps mp3, VBR, 5.7MB, 12:00). Or, if you prefer, you can subscribe to the podcast--copy this link into your favorite podcatching client.

I welcome your thoughts in the comment boxes, or at my new email address: roosterspice AT gmail [dot] com. If you like, send audio files (ogg, AAC, or mp3) and I'll play them in the 'cast!

And tell me if you want me to stop...

Show notes: First episode ever! Features Father's Day; thoughts on returning to theatre; reading from Twelfth Night; leftovers.

Monday, June 20, 2005


I'll have some more to say about Father's Day, but for now, let me just share this comment from a thread over at Pandagon:
My father committed suicide when I was two, unfortnately I found him dead.

My mother, an immigrant, raised my sister, my brother and I alone (with the help of the community we lived in and Social Security) until I was six, when she married an abusive asshole who liked to beat her and us.

Tonight my son, ten, asked if he could take me to McDonalds for dinner on Father's Day. He had thirteen dollars he'd somehow saved from his birthday two weeks ago...

Tonight I had the best meal I've ever had and I'm a vegan.

I'm going to cry for years thinking about the joy in my son's eyes when I said I would love McDonalds, and when he paid for his Dad's supper. My supper.

Nothing means more to me than the love that little boy has for HIS Dad. Father's Day?

It's a wonderful thing.
(Posted by sixteenwords.)

The blog post itself is also well worth reading, if a little less uplifting.


Whew! Things are getting out of hand here chez Rooster Spice, what with all our millions of readers clamoring for easy ways to get Rooster Spice to their mobile phones, PDAs, neural implants, and the like. So we have implemented an RSS feed, which our Tech Guys tell us will bring us up to date, or at least to 2003 or so. To subscribe, just copy the link at the orange XML chicklet to the right there, and you too can get up-to-the-minute updates on the level of Squelch's self-pity! (Shrewd readers will find a clue to Rooster Spice's future direction embedded in the XML...)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The usual.

I'd love to be able to get worked up about politics and eroding privacy and creeping fascism. But how can I get worked up about troubles in our country's public life if I can't even handle my own private life?

This morning was another day of losing my temper and taking it out on my kids. E fell and scraped her knee a little bit. She's extremely pain-averse since she chewed her toenails down to the root a couple weeks ago. Now even the tiniest injury makes her wail and cry. She is only two and a half, after all.

But I couldn't distract her or make her laugh to defuse the situation, no. I just plowed on ahead (we were walking D to his summer camp and on a deadline). So naturally she got more upset the more we walked. I wound up carrying her all the way home after dropping D off, getting more and more angry the whole time.

There's a little more to it than that of course, but what's the difference? The point is, all I could do was get angry. I couldn't stop and calm myself down. Actually, I did try to; but after getting calm, E refused to move, and I got angry again. When we got home, I put her in her room for her own safety. I was drenched with sweat and shaking with rage.

K says I should take an anger management class, and maybe I should. But like a typical male I feel I should be able to fix this problem on my own.

Posts like this are why I keep this blog pseudonymous, so there's no danger my family will Google me and get themselves worried for my (and my kids') safety. Unfortunately, much of my family and a few friends already bookmarked this stupid blog back before it went pseudonymous, and they're my only readers.

So--why am I pressing the "Publish" button?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Rumors shall swirl no longer.

So it's true, although there's very little info about it on the Apple site: Macs are moving to Intel, and Mac OS X already works on a Pentium 4. God damn. Cognitive dissonance abounds. They couldn't even move to AMD chips?

As long as Mac OS X still works, I don't really care. But gee whiz...

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Deep thoughts.

How long, do you suppose, before the wingnuts start "rehabilitating" Mark Felt from a man who helped bring down a criminal enterprise in the White House, into a evil traitor who ruined a presidency to which he should have been loyal?

I mean, besides Pat Buchanan, who has already called Felt a traitor.

Let's not forget this: the Nixon White House was bad. They attempted to subvert the American political process through illegal means. Then they attempted to cover it up. In my arrogant opinion, no one should have felt loyalty to Nixon and his cronies.

We cannot let Watergate go down the memory hole. It was a significant event, and not just because it happened during the baby boomers' coming of age. And we cannot let others gloss over Nixon's crimes, just because he was a conservative and conservatives are ascendant.

(Well, he wasn't a conservative in today's terms, of course. Did you know that a centerpiece of his second term was supposed to be nationalized health care?)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Some good news.

No, I'm never gonna describe Day 3. As usual, I don't follow through.

But here's some neat news. Ever heard of the Hi Mom! Film Festival? Neither had I. But they're showing my one-minute epic <ESC> on Friday June 3. This marks the second time it's been part of a film festival (the first time was on Nicktoons last year). I'm pretty excited and proud. Now, all I have to do is create a movie that's as popular as <ESC> has been.

The folks at Hi Mom! seem pretty cool, and their fest is now in its eighth year--not a bad run at all. If you're in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, why not grab a ticket?

I had already told them I wouldn't be able to make it (if it had been on a Saturday night, it would have been very, very tempting), so they mailed a program to me; sweet stuff! Interviews with some of the filmmakers, stills from every film, and my personal favorite, a two-page spread of Mom pictures. (Part of the application requirement was that you sent a snapshot, or even a drawing, of your mother.) And there in the lower right-hand corner is a picture of my mom holding her granddaughter. As George Harrison said, "You don't see one of those every day."

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Well, does he?

My Dad turned me on to this one:

When the President Talks to God

It's also a free download from iTunes. Let's make it the number one downloaded song.

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Post had a headline yesterday which read: "Contracting Rush For Security Led To Waste, Abuse."

Well, duh. What do you expect if you contract your security out to Rush Limbaugh?

Friday, May 06, 2005

It's official.

You can no longer be both a Democrat and a Christian. (Thanks to Lyn for the link.)

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The trip.

The first day was a whirl of dark caves, dripping water, and aching legs. Not content with merely showing us part of Mt. St. Helens, the Hash gang elected to send us under it, through the Ape Cave (which, I'm told, is so named after the spelunking club which first found it, not after the future inhabitants of Earth who will eventually try to enslave Charlton Heston). It was about three miles of rock and moisture, with nary a living creature in sight. Incredible stuff, sure, but not exactly how one spends vacations. Well, not how I spend vacations, anyway.

This was the point when my sneakers gave up the ghost. In fact, had it been up to them, I would have left them in the cave (they got stuck in the wet volcanic sand). I thought I wouldn't need my hiking boots, despite what the folks had planned for us. Silly me.

Annoyingly, despite all the physical exertion, I still didn't sleep very well. Damn jet lag.

The next day was slightly less punishing, but just as much fun; a jaunt to the Seaside. Literally: Seaside, Oregon. It was still pretty gray and windy, but was decent walking weather, so most of us did just that. I thought about renting a bike, but never got around to it. I had as cheap a lunch as I could manage and then tried, unsuccessfully, to call K collect from a pay-phone (the time difference meant this was basically my only chance to talk to D and E, too). I'm not sure what she and the kids were doing, but all I got was the answering machine.

After the trip, we went to the Hash HQ to play with motion-capture. Hash owns a mocap suit, and their software can work with the data, so it was a no-brainer. I was the first one strapped into the thing--sensors attached to wires and velcro--it could have been a prop for a very kinky club in another life. Unfortunately, I pretty much wasted my time in it. I did a couple things that might be useful in the Hash Film Project (more about that later, maybe) but didn't really do anything that interested me. I guess I was worried about being self-indulgent. Later, of course, people got silly, doing The Hulk lifting up cars and so on. And have I mentioned...

<rant>the folly of having non-actors do mocap and calling it "animation"? I mean, I was self-conscious up there, and I used to be a professional actor. One guy's interpretation of a fiery Baptist preacher basically just involved waving his forearms about while his elbows were locked at his side. It was all I could do to not run up there and start directing him. I probably would have if I hadn't been so worn out. (Incidentally, this problem isn't limited to non-studio animators like us--check out the motion capture work on Final Fantasy. It's not just the animators' fault that everyone is as stiff as a board.) </rant>

Day 3 to follow...

Friday, April 29, 2005

2005: A Plane Odyssey.

No, I didn't do regular updates. Sue me. They worked us so damn hard it was like a boot camp. "YOU WILL HAVE FUN--NOW!" (crack!)

I hope to write about the events in the order they happened, but for the moment, let me tell you about the ride home.

Portland to Dallas--no incidents. I actually had a DC power outlet this time, so my laptop didn't run out. Watched most of The Incredibles. Hey, I am a 3D character animator after all.

Arrived in Dallas, had enough of a layover to grab lunch at McDonald's and rush to the gate. Got on the plane. Took off. Our captain seemed to like to hear himself talk, but this would turn out to be an asset when, about 15 minutes after takeoff, there was a Big Red Light flashing in the cabin and he had to turn us around and fly back to Dallas. Uh boy.

To his credit, he did his best to keep us informed throughout the process. But, to no avail--we got off the plane, and they tried to find us another one, but instead the flight was cancelled.

Did I mention that they told us there was only one more flight to BWI, and it had only four seats available? And no seats on any flights to National or Dulles?

At this point, I was wishing I had stayed in the Portland area. I would have been able to see my college buddy (who I missed entirely), or maybe hang out with the Hash gang a little longer, or just enjoy the Pacific Northwest weather (maybe not that last one). I started racking my brains for alternatives to sleeping at DFW.

On the advice of another passenger I decided to take my chances at the ticket counter, rather than waiting in line at the gate. Good thing, too; I got a flight to National that arrived at 11:00 PM, which would let me take the Metro home. But I still had four hours to kill at the Dallas airport. And did I mention: there are almost no power outlets anywhere in that God-forsaken place? I spent most of my time wandering around, looking for a plug. And when I finally found one at the gate for the National flight, they changed the gate to one so far away that I had to take light rail to get there.

In all this time I had, I did manage to get a good deal of animating done (what good is an animation conference, if you aren't inspired to animate?), and I finished watching Fellowship of the Ring. I finally walked in my front door at 12:30 A.M. My original flight was supposed to arrive at BWI at 4:30 P.M.

I kissed E and D as they slept, and crawled into bed with K. It was all worth it.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Well, here I am at Portland International Airport, waiting to see if I get a seat on the plane. Not lookin' good Oh they called me.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Greetings from...

I arrived at BWI in plenty, some would say too much, of time. But as long as I had my laptop and a power outlet, I was happy.

Surprisingly, for a man traveling alone with only carry-on luggage, I had very little trouble with security. (I haven't flown since 2000, so it was all new to me.) I made some idle chitchat with an elderly couple on their way to Vegas, did a little animating, and then headed to the rear of the plane to gawp at the modern marvel of air travel... or to be more specific, gawp at Liv Tyler in Fellowship of the Ring. I got about halfway through by the end of the flight, coincidentally also the end of my battery. No problem, I had a three-hour layover in Dallas to look forward to.

Of course, I was meeting up with a fellow animator in Dallas--let's call him "Robert," because that's his name--and he took me out to Denny's for dinner, where there were no power outlets to charge my laptop. Bingo, and suddenly I had no way to pass the time on the next leg of the trip--no book, nothin'. Mind you it was great fun meeting Robert, and I don't regret it at all. We had a great time and it's always good to meet people face-to-face with whom you've worked in the past.

But, I still needed my boredom stopper, and so it was that when I arrived back at the gate--where boarding had already begun--I ran down the terminal frantically, searching for a place that sold a DC power adapter so I could plug my laptop in on the flight. I found one--for $50--and also grabbed a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as a backup plan. Good thing, too--my assigned seat did not have a DC power outlet. Argh.

In the Kevin Bacon department, not only did the person next to whom I was sitting come from BWI like me, she even knew someone with whom I worked at the Kennedy Center. Bizarre stuff.

We arrived at Portland right on time, and after a bathroom break (I've followed your advice to the letter, gentle readers, and drunk tons of water), I met, for the first time, my good friend Godfrey, and no doubt this momentous event will be commemorated in the future. We took his rental car back to the hotel; I had brought along a print-out of the directions, and he had brought along a laptop equipped with GPS. I used my print-out to direct us to the wrong exit, and his GPS brought us to the hotel. Score: Laptop 1, Paper 0. (Yeah, but at least I didn't have to charge up my erroneous directions...)

Now, in a true affirmation of geekdom, we're both sitting at a table, using the wireless network to write in our blogs simultaneously. I'll have more news from today's adventures next time--suffice it to say, my legs hurt like hell and I'm fucking tired.