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

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?