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

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Life is short, and there is more to it than APPLIANCES!

Haven't posted one of these in a while...

I Am A: Neutral Good Half-Elf Ranger Bard

Neutral Good characters believe in the power of good above all else. They will work to make the world a better place, and will do whatever is necessary to bring that about, whether it goes for or against whatever is considered 'normal'.

Half-Elves are a cross between a human and an elf. They are smaller, like their elven ancestors, but have a much shorter lifespan. They are sometimes looked down upon as half-breeds, but this is rare. They have both the curious drive of humans and the patience of elves.

Primary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Secondary Class:
Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.

Mielikki is the Neutral Good goddess of the forest and autumn. She is also known as the Lady of the Forest, and is the Patron of Rangers. Her followers are devoted to nature, and believe in the positive and outreaching elements of it. They use light armor, and a variety of weapons suitable for hunting, which they are quite skilled at. Mielikki's symbol is a unicorn head.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy of NeppyMan (e-mail)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Every single time...

Sunday, February 20, 2005

For my regular readers.

Today, I am moved to give something back. Maybe it's because I can now listen to music while vacuuming, maybe it's because my son's ear infection is getting better, maybe I'm just high. Anyway, with so few readers of this blog I can't afford to take y'all for granted, so here are some things, some small things, for my regulars, at least those I know about.

These are all bootleg recordings, so although posting them may be technically illegal, at the very least I'm not taking money out of the artists' pockets. They'll only be up for a week or so, so grab 'em while they're hot. They're all in MPEG-4 audio format, suitable for iPod, iTunes, or QuickTime player. Be sure to right-click and save unless you know that your browser is set up to handle .m4a correctly.

First of all, for Clarence, one day past your birthday: a live version of Imagine, the only known recording of John Lennon playing it on guitar. Recorded at the Apollo in New York in December of 1971. Don't worry, you still know more about the Beatles than I do.

For Godfrey, a solo acoustic version of Bruce Cockburn's song If I Had a Rocket Launcher. You know why.

For Mike: I'm not sure if you are a regular reader anymore, but I know you're a Paul Simon fan, so I offer up Bridge Over Troubled Water from Simon and Garfunkel's recent tour. This was recorded at the MCI Center in D.C., one night before K and I saw them.

And for Laura: this is a tough one. I don't have any bootlegs of the Beach Boys, Dylan, or The Band. So I chose, simply, another beautiful Bruce Cockburn song, called Open. I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Joining the game.

So I bought an iPod the other day. No, not an iPod shuffle--my one sacrifice to non-comformity is that I stay One Cool Thing Behind, so I went for an iPod mini. The shuffle is cool and cheap, but half my reason for wanting a music player of any kind was to be able to play specific songs--say, something I just wrote--over my stereo immediately. And the shuffle wouldn't cut it for that.

Plus, I already owned a mini dock. Don't ask why.

It's a nice little machine. And my gosh, the click wheel has got to be the best piece of human interface design on the planet. It was beyond intuitive. It was instinctual.

Unfortunately, as anyone who knows me will realize, I'm not a headphones kind of person. Oh, sure, I'll wear them if I'm working on music or gaming. But when I'm out and about, I find my music in the ambient noise of the world. (Ooooh, purple prose!) Listening to a Walkman (I always think of them as Walkmen--I'm a child of the '80s) is such an inherently anti-social act, and frankly it repulses me, unless I really want to be alone. But even then, as I said, I'd rather listen to the birds chirp, the cars drive by, the boomboxes next door pound--

Oh, wait. That's why I bought it.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Not a dime a dozen?

I had a friend in college who got really upset the first time Michael Jordan retired. Well, he wasn't a friend, more like an aquaintance. Well, no actually, I just plain didn't like him. He was the kind of economics major who thought about the whole world in terms of economics--for instance, he was against the death penalty not for moral, scientific, or social reasons, but because it cost too much to hold someone on Death Row during the appeals process. "If we executed them quicker, it would cost less, and I'd be for it," he said once. He was that kind of guy. Anyway, he was a Chicagoan and revered Jordan, so when the retirement happened and I said, "Not to be callous, but so what?" he was incredibly pissed off at me. He knew that I revered the playwright Arthur Miller, and said "How would you like it if I said that when Arthur Miller died?"

Well, of course, Michael Jordan hadn't died, just retired--and as history showed, he could unretire himself, and did so twice. But now, Arthur Miller will never write another play.

I wanted to be a playwright once, and Miller was my idol. I think I've read more of his plays than most doctoral theater students, and I'm even one of the few people to direct one of his later plays: "Some Kind of Love Story," a one-act. Very few of Miller's later plays garnered attention, but I read them anyway. Some were bad, some were brilliant. All were Arthur Miller.

I admit, probably some of my affection for him came from his living in Connecticut, like me. He was also born in Brooklyn, like me. From thereon, there aren't any similarities, but I'll take what I can.

When I was in high school and college, it was very fashionable for snot-nosed kids like me (and the theater folks with whom I hung out) to denigrate Miller, pointing out that "he only wrote Death of a Salesman and nothing else," as if Death of a Salesman wasn't enough to put anyone on the map. But we were more impressed by Edward Albee, especially in his avant-garde phase; Miller was just so conventional. Or so we thought. Never mind that he built a play around his life, After the Fall, which was wonderfully avant-garde. Never mind that he also wrote a less well-known, but incredibly theatrical, play called The American Clock, about the Great Depression, which used vaudeville of all things as a jumping-off point. (And never mind that Salesman certainly wasn't his only theatrical success.)

Still, I was a closet Miller lover, and I think time has proved me right. There's just something simple and primal about his work, and he deserves his place in the pantheon of American theater.

I'll miss him...

Friday, February 11, 2005


And I thought my first eBay sale was successful; I just listed, sold, and shipped my Technics receiver in under two hours. Damn!

It can't always be this easy... can it?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Slalom week.

It's been a week of ups and downs, but I think on average the ups won--which is a good thing by any standards.

Down: K and D were both sick enough to stay home--D only one day, fortunately, but K missed two days of work. And one of those days she was essentially bedridden, poor thing. It's all because of Super Bowl Sunday. (And I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that I first typo'ed that as Super Bowel Sunday, which was appropriate considering K's symptoms.) They went to a party and I didn't; they got sick and I didn't. Of course, E went to the party also, which mucks up the hypothesis, but whatcha gonna do?

Down: I wasn't throwing up, but I was recovering from a cold, and the coughing and hacking were enough to throw out my back, and I've been chugging ibuprofen to stay out of pain. On Tuesday, I couldn't even lift E to the changing table without screaming to wake the dead (yes, those of you on the Eastern seaboard, that's what you heard around 11:35 A.M.).

Up: I got a book in the mail about making 3D short films as a prize for the aforementioned Nicktoons short. I had no idea it was coming. Quite a nice surprise. Mind you, although I "know" some of the artists whose work is highlighted in the book, I'm not one of them. Maybe someday...

Up: In light of the recent tribulations with TiVo, I was quite pleased to discover that, thanks to the FireWire jack in the back of my cable box, I can record HDTV onto my computer. In fact, apparently back in the day that this article was written, it was only Macs that could do so. Even now, someone has written a little utility which acts like a poor man's TiVo. Down: Unfortunately, there's no commercial detection and my computer's screen isn't big enough (nor is my processor fast enough) to watch it in full 1080i resolution--and I can't figure out how to hook it up to the TV. Apparently, if my HDTV had FireWire in, I'd be all set, but wouldn't you know...

Up: However, good ol' Godfrey was kind enough to assure me that building my own PVR was a piece of cake, and even did a step-by-step photojournal (he's building an audio system, not a PVR, but that's just details). So now, I've got the mini-ITX bug and will probably wind up tearing apart an old VCR. What would be a better case for a PVR than a broken Betamax? Down: Unfortunately, funds are tight at the moment, given that we're putting an addition on our house. And yet, that motherboard is calling me.

Up: And speaking of eBay, I listed my DVD changer which I just replaced. I put it up as a $1.00 starting bid and $25 Buy it Now just for the hell of it, figuring I'd be lucky to get ten bucks. Lo and behold, in five hours it was sold to a buyer in Arkansas. Not a bad showing for my first-ever auction.
Why Does Windows Still Suck?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Pullin' a Godfrey!

Woo hoo!

I'd say more, but I have to sign an NDA.

(I hate NDAs, but at least I can talk about this once it expires...)

Sunday, February 06, 2005

A happy ending.

The good news is that I was able to create a treatment and send it off. Thank goodness. I felt a million times better once that was off my shoulders.

Maybe I'm amazed.

Maybe it's because I'm tired, or sick, or stressed; but I don't feel creative, nor confident in my creative abilities right now. The story I mentioned below still isn't coming, and I almost wish I could scuttle the project entirely because of the pain and the stress it could cause. But on the other hand, if I wanted to make my own gigantic film, I'd do it in a second. Hell, I just did. So how is this different?

More later, after a nap, maybe.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Goodness me.

My story sense seems to have vanished with my cold. I've been given a commission to, in essence, make a short film, with very few "givens" that I have to put in it. Suddenly, I'm discovering the disadvantage of waiting for my Good Ideas to appear in dreams or in the shower, because at the moment, no stories are popping up unbidden, and thinking them up is Hard Work. Not only that, but stories I force myself into are always worse than stories that come unbidden from my unconscious.

But my darn unconscious just doesn't want to work for money. I can't say I blame it. I'm not sure I'm up to the task, myself--if it wasn't for Lots of Cash, I wouldn't do it at all, even given the fun it could be. I mean, how many people get paid to make short animated films?