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

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.