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

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rocks right now...

  • Redline, a racing game from Ambrosia Software (Mac only, bitches!)
  • Inform 7, a complete rewrite of the language used to write Z-code (i.e. Infocom-esque text adventure) games. Now in natural language. I can't emphasize how cool this is, even if I never do anything about it.
  • The Nutcracker Suite performed by the Brian Setzer Orchestra.

And that's it, apparently. I need more rockin' in my life.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

And yet I still don't have my own entry.

If Mike's name-drop is to be believed, I am one degree of separation from John Hodgman, and therefore only two degrees from two other Jons. Freaky.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ask New Orleans.

I've already written about our practice of wrapping Christmas lights around newspaper, and writing messages thereon to be read the next year.

This year I opened up a string which we had last used on Jan. 1, 2005, right after the Asian tsunami. I had written "Any natural disasters of note?"


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hair Care or Digital Audio?

I got them all right on the first try. I'm quite surprised.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Clearly when I said "liveblogging," I meant "two posts in one and that's it." But nonetheless, I'm writing this from the new iMac. I haven't really had a chance to do any speed comparisons, processor-wise, but I will say this: transferring videos to an iPod is a hell of a lot faster under USB 2.0. That is all.

Installation Liveblogging!

11:58 A.M.: Well, the new iMac arrived this morning. I'm not using it--I'm currently on my PowerBook, watching it transfer files from the old iMac. (Yes, we now have three Macs and a half of a Linux box. So sue us. We still only have one television.)

Favorite moment so far: watching K fruitlessly try to figure out where to put the Apple Remote. There's a magnet on the side of the Mac which holds it, but she was placing it on the front of the box and watching it drop several times.

Least favorite moment: watching the Transfer Assistant tell me that my old computer had about 4.9 million gigabytes of data in my home folder. Now there may be hard drives out there that hold that much, I don't know; but I'm pretty sure that my circa 2003 iMac only has an 80 gig drive. This would be, I'm pretty sure, a catalog problem with the old hard drive that I've been trying to fix for years.

So it's only transferring the Applications folder. I'll have to transfer the rest over manually. I'm not too excited about that, but what are you gonna do?

Updates throughout the day.

1:25 PM: I think I need to get a new Wacom tablet driver. After the apps and so on were transferred, a dialog box popped up that said "Tablet driver not operating because you aborted." So I hit OK... and it came back. So I hit OK... and it came back. This continued until I had finished the setup assistant and booted into Mac OS, when I ran the program to remove the tablet software entirely.

Now I'm manually transferring the files from my old home folder to the new one. Yawn...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Code Monkey like remixes.

So there's a Code Monkey remix contest goin' on, and being the huge Jonathan Coulton fan that I am, I just had to enter. So get your dancing shoes on and rave to this:

Code Monkey (Zach Brewster-Geisz remix) (4.3 MB, 3:54)

If you don't know the original song, you should listen to it and buy a copy here. Come on, it's only a buck.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What Kind of Dawg?

Hip-hop-happenings at the Gonnas myspace page. Just uploaded a new mix of our canine hit, "What Kind of Dog Do You Wanna Be?" There's also a new mix of Whoa up which I posted Thursday. Please listen and dance and enjoy!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Hello, I'm a Mac.

Well, this weekend--and I hasten to point out, at K's insistence--we bit the bullet and ordered a new Mac. We had told ourselves that we wouldn't until our savings account hit [undisclosed] dollars. Turns out we missed that goal by about eighty bucks. Ah well. K is a federal employee, which earned us a small discount, so we decided to splurge on the 20-inch iMac with a 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo (standard: 2.16 GHz) and 256MB on the ATI graphics card (standard: 128). We stuck with 1GB of RAM since I can add a chip on my own if need be, and we also stuck with a 250 GB hard drive because... well, I don't have a good reason for that. I remember hearing the advice "Always get twice what you think you'll need" back when 20 MB was considered a HUGE hard drive. I've never managed to follow it, though.

We're moving on from a 17-inch iMac G4, 800MHz, with 1 MB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce 4 MX (32 MB), so needless to say, this will be a step up. It was long past time, to be honest. The power button broke off last year, so we have to turn it on by touching the bare contact in the back of the machine (we have it scheduled to turn itself on in the mornings), and the (admittedly SuperSlow) SuperDrive no longer writes properly, and reads only spottily. And in the past few weeks, the USB bus has been acting up... clearly this cookie won't be fetching a high price on eBay. (We may, actually, be giving it to D; we haven't decided yet.)

Meanwhile, I won't be putting my PowerBook G4 out to pasture just yet. ProTools isn't yet available as a Universal Binary, and I haven't upgraded Final Cut Express or Soundtrack yet. I'm thinking next spring, when Leopard comes out, maybe. But I cannot WAIT to see how fast Animation:Master runs.

And for me, the big question becomes: do I partition the hard drive so that I can run Linux as well? You see, the GIMP doesn't support pressure-sensitive drawing tablets under Mac OS X, but it does under Windows or x86 Linux. And all I have is a Mac OS 9 version of Photoshop, so that's not an option (Classic doesn't exist under Intel). I sure as shootin' ain't gonna buy Windows, but Debian Linux is very attractive...

So now, the waiting (read: obsessive tracking) game.

A test.

Here is an excerpt from George Will's column for today:
Today there are many fewer Iraqis than there were three years ago. This is not just, or even primarily, because so many Iraqis, especially from the mobile middle class, have fled the country, taking with them the human capital -- skills, attitudes, mores -- requisite for a successful society. Rather, many -- and more every day -- of those who remain in Iraq no longer think of themselves as Iraqis. It is too dangerous to identify with the nation.
Can you think of another reason, possibly even the primary one, why there are now fewer Iraqis than there were three years ago?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Tell me there's no global warming.

This has been a bizarre week here in the greater D.C. area. It's been spring, except without leaves on the trees. For instance, I'm writing from my front porch stoop, while my kids play with the neighbors at a nearby playground. All of us without jackets. On December first!

The whole week has been like that, and in fact today is colder than most, with severe (albeit non-chilling) gusts of wind foretelling the end of the Indian summer, probably tomorrow (although it was supposed to end today, so who knows). I realize, of course, that much of the Midwest is blanketed under snow, and we'll be deluged with rain sometime after nightfall, but nevertheless, it's sure nice to enjoy this brief reprieve from the inevitable descent of winter.

Monday, November 27, 2006

What are we gonna do now, Brain?

The Gonnas continue in their plan to take over the world. Latest step: The Gonnas' MySpace page. A slightly smaller selection than the late, lamented Gonnas Radio, but infinitely better quality and convenience. Plus, you don't have to listen forever to get to the "studio" recordings.

The dirty secret: one of the listeners mentioned that the compression on the radio made Rex sound like he was singing underwater. Guess what: he always sounds that way.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Bouncing Pictures Meme.

Here's something fun for you to try (probably better on an small-image-heavy site, like a forum or something). Copy the following text:

javascript:R=0; x1=.1; y1=.05; x2=.25; y2=.24; x3=1.6; y3=.24; x4=300; y4=200; x5=300; y5=200; DI=document.images; DIL=DI.length; function A(){for(i=0; i<DIL; i++){DIS=DI[ i ].style; DIS.position='absolute'; DIS.left=Math.sin(R*x1+i*x2+x3)*x4+x5;*y1+i*y2+y3)*y4+y5}R++}setInterval('A()',5 ); void(0)

Now paste it in your address bar, and watch the pictures dance...

edit: Yeah, it doesn't work here. Try it elsewhere.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

More music.

The theme for this month's KVR song contest is "Eat Me"... create a piece about food.

So here it comes:
Pasta (Stay-at-Home Dad's Lament) 1.9 MB

I kinda like it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Larry King...

poised to become chairman of the House subcommittee on the Internet. (via Mike.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Slug Not So Power.

Hooray, I seem to have bricked it.

Letter from a putz weakling.

I know I shouldn't write this, because it'll eventually show up in the Google, but becoming Board President of the local nursery school may be the worst decision I've made since college (and the famous "study for LSATs, or streak in the quad?" fiasco).

It's not that the job is hard, or that I don't understand what it entails. Basically, it's far past time that I realized that, organizationally speaking, I'm a follower, not a leader.

I have consistently let things slide that I know must be done, and forgotten other things. I haven't been in good communication with my co-board members. Hell, I haven't even followed up on my own housekeeping tasks, which is required for all members of the school, let alone those in leadership positions!

Also, though it may well be that I'd have found an excuse anyway, I suspect that at least part of the reason that I haven't done much animation lately is the stress of this Presidency. Not that I've been doing much about it lately--as the previous paragraph proves--but the simple fact that it's there, sitting in the back of my mind, paralyzing me. It's like a story I heard about an airline pilot who, after years of perfect service, was rewarded with less flight time and a desk job. He started doing barrell rolls in the plane. They took the admin stuff away, and he was perfectly happy flying again.

My predecessor graciously offered to help with advice and so forth should I need it. But I have a feeling she didn't mean she would help me overcome my own neuroses, so what help would I ask her? No one can fix this but me, but I'm so beyond help, what do I do?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wikipedia made a funny!

From The Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything (emphasis added):
Another possibility [that Marvin knows the answer] to the Ultimate Question is presented in the third book, Life, the Universe and Everything. Often complaining about having a "brain the size of a planet", (this would presumably be necessary to work out the Question, as the Earth was created for this purpose according to the series, and is also, approximately, the size of a planet)...

Monday, November 13, 2006


The Big Bad Swim won Best Feature at Annapolis. So at least I was associated with a winner.

(Best I could hope for, really, with the competition I had. I tend to do well at new festivals. Established ones, not so much.)

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Rather like a Philadelphia cheese steak, I do not travel well.

The good news, though, is that yesterday's screenings happened. Impressively, the kid-friendly screening at NYC Shorts was sold out. I figured they'd be lucky to get ten people, but I guess parents in New York pay attention to odd cultural events, unlike (gross generalization warning) parents in D.C. The Cell-Phone was very well received, and I got the lion's share of the questions afterward, though in fairness that's probably because my short was second-to-last.

The major standout of the evening--er, afternoon--was "The Danish Poet," a beautiful, hand-drawn animation that was both funny and profound. It featured the voice talent of Liv Ullmann, so it was a wee bit out of my league, obviously. But it earned my vote for best of the night.

(I see from the Wikipedia entry that Ullmann directed an adaptation of Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter, a novel which actually plays a major role in "The Danish Poet"'s plot. So I guess they had an "in.")

(Did I punctuate that correctly? "The Danish Poet"'s. "The Danish Poet's." Argh, I dunno.)

After the screening, I wished a fond farewell to Mike (we bowed, in the Japanese fashion) and hoofed/subwayed it to Penn Station, where I actually arrived in time, if I had hurried a bit, to catch a train an hour earlier. I elected to relax a bit instead. I arrived at the New Carrollton train station at 6:20, with plenty of time to make a 7:30 screening in Annapolis. So off we went.

As I've mentioned, "Soap Opera" was opening for The Big Bad Swim, a feature. I suspected that being a short opener is kinda like being the red-headed stepchild of the evening, and my introduction bore this theory out (and remember, kids, "Brewster-Geisz" rhymes with "Rooster Spice"):
Presenter: ... and also, the director of "Soap Opera," Zachary Brewster.... um, I'm not sure how to pronounce it...

Me: (from my seat) Geisz.

Presenter: Um, Zachary Brewster-Geese? Is he here?

Me: (walking down the aisle) Geisz.

Presenter: Oh, yes--this is Zachary Brewster-Geezy.

Me, the other director, and half the audience: GEISZ!
After that it could only get better, although the only questions I was asked were the usual: "How long did it take to produce?" and "How much did it cost?" I didn't begrudge this; The Big Bad Swim was a fantastic film which deserved the lion's share of the attention. In fact there was an odd connection which I think I've mentioned before: when I went to CTFF in October-ish with "The Cell-Phone," I met the film's producer, who like me grew up in Westport, Connecticut. At the time, though, Annapolis hadn't released its schedule, so I had no idea another film of mine would be opening for hers.

I passed out a few business cards (Microsoft Word specials I had printed out Friday morning) and then we headed home. In a perfect world, I'd be flying to Chicago today... but we don't live in a perfect world. I blame the Democrats.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I've made it anywhere!

Here I am, writing from an apartment in Brooklyn, on New York City public wi-fi no less, and although I was up 'til 2 A.M. (between the screening, Q&A, after-party, and taking the A-train--yes, really!--to get to Mike's place) I still woke up at 8 in the morning, since that is, after all, late for me.

The screening was quite gratifying, as they always are, and the other films on the bill were all top-notch. Unfortunately, because I've spent the past week caring for a sick kid, and because I was up so late, I don't, um, actually remember anything about the movies... The people were great, though. Mike and I wound up chatting with a filmmaker who's setting up a small animation program at Duke.

The only major bummer is that two good friends won't be able to make it to today's screening, as I had hoped; the other Mike is called for a film shoot today, and Bill, well... I kinda told him it was Sunday, not Saturday, and plans were made. If only he and Andrea had no social life, like K and me. (Or alternatively, if only I weren't such an idiot.)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Three days, three cities, three films, five (!) screenings!

Are ya looking for a reason to travel this weekend? Here's your itinerary!

Friday at 8:30 and Saturday at noon: The Cell-Phone shows at NYC Shorts. I'll be at both screenings, then I'll be heading south in time for...

Saturday at 7:30: Catch Soap Opera at the Annapolis Film Festival (and stick around for The Big Bad Swim). I may not make it to see my own film (depends on Amtrak) but I'll be there for the Q&A.

Saturday at 7:40 and Sunday at 8:00: Chicagoland folks are invited to see <ESC> at the Lake Forest Film Festival. I'm surprised and honored that it was selected to be part of the Festival Finale.

There will be a special prize to anyone who can prove that they attended every screening! You heard it here first.

Crappity crap.

Gonnas Radio must die.

All the streaming sources I've tried crap out after a certain amount of time. I can't figure out why, but I'm guessing it's just not going to happen. Well, at least I know my Slug's limits.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Gonnas 64.

By popular demand (well, okay, by one demand), Gonnas Radio is now streaming at 64kbps, 22050 Hz. Please plan your weekend accordingly.
I'll tell you, I wish I had the guts to apply for this job.


The Democrats have taken the Senate.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Good? Bad? Indifferent?

Go here, click Listen, and let me know what you think. Or, alternatively, paste this into your favorite media player:

Thanks to Godfrey for helping me beta-test. More to come...

Edit: Dang it. For some reason icecast/icegenerator are dropping my streams after a time. If you can't hear anything that's why. And now, to bed.
So ends the Rumsfeld Watch.

The big answer.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The big question.

God damn it, when will I wake up after an election with good news?

Adventures in punk.

And now, for something completely different.

This Friday, the Gonnas reunited for a rehearsal. All four band members were there for the first time in nearly two years: Rex, lead singer; Tony, bass; Wendel, drums; and yours truly, guitar. Even though our own opinion of ourselves is only slightly higher than most people's opinion of the Shaggs, nonetheless, a friend of a friend who happens to be a record producer/agent loves our sound and wants to book us at a club like the Black Cat to see how we fare in front of an audience, and if he likes us there he'll put us in a studio and book us at more places. (We're all frustrated actors. Honestly, we're better at performing than playing music.)

So we're rockin' out Friday night. The guy is on the phone with Rex's new wife (our contact person, essentially). (Did I mention that Rex got married? Isn't that supposed to break bands up instead of bringing them back together?) And he says, two bands have cancelled on December 13--7:30 and 9:30 slots for an 11:30 headliner. I've booked you for the 9:30. Oh, and by the way, the headliner is the Cramps.

"THE FUCKIN' CRAMPS?" Wendel and I shout. Rex and Tony don't know why this is so cool. In case you don't, dear readers (though I know at least one of you does), in punk-rock terms, opening for the Cramps is like opening for U2. I'm only familiar with a couple of their songs, to be honest, but their reputation is huge.

Needless to say this injects a bit of energy into the rehearsal process, what with the occasional "We're opening for the fuckin' Cramps!" thrown into random songs. Rex is a little worried, as he has a lunch meeting in New York City that day about his novel, but we shout him down with cries of "THE CRAMPS!" I mean, even if it weren't the Cramps, the Black Cat is a legendary D.C. club in its own right; but the fact that we'll hear Human Fly live (I guess we'll have to take it off our covers list) is icing on the cake. We're so excited we schedule another rehearsal for the next day, since Rex now lives in the Catskills and can't come to DC every weekend.

The next day, I pick up Tony and Rex and we head down to Wendel's place in Virginia. Rex says, "Guys, I have some bad news and some good news. Which do you want first?"

We ask for the bad news.

"Well, the reason those two spots opened up in front of the Cramps... there was a miscommunication. It's not because the original bands backed out. It's because the Cramps bring their own opening bands. So that spot isn't open after all."

Pause, while the air goes out of the day. Crushing defeat.

"... Well," says Tony at last, "what's the good news?"

"Um...," says Rex, "well, I won't miss my lunch appointment in New York..."


If my experience at the polls is any indicator, the Republicans are gonna be smashed today.

I live in a heavily Democratic district, and I always vote at the same time: just after 9 A.M., when I drop my daughter off at nursery school (the school and my polling place are in the same building). Usually, there are fewer than ten people ahead of me and I'm out of there within fifteen minutes.

Not so today. The place was packed. And it wasn't because of voting machine glitches; things were moving quickly, but people just kept on coming. It made me proud.

Now if there was actually a paper record of our votes, that would be even better.

In any case, vote. Especially if you're planning to vote Democratic. Remember, we only win if we're beyond the margin of theft.

Edit: That last sentence is a bit too "vote for my team 'cause the other team sucks!" for my tastes. So let me put it this way. I don't care if you're a Republican, Democrat, or other. But it is your duty as an American to bring divided government back to Washington. That's the only way to limit the constitutional damage that George W. Bush has wrought and will continue to wring. VOTE.

Today's the day.


Can I mention just how annoying it is that PG County schools are closed on Election Day?

One of my most vivid memories is the big, curtained voting machines taking up half the gym at my elementary school. But because we worship the God of Safety here in the '00s, my son and daughter will never have that memory.

I wonder if that is a potential disenfranchisement issue. How many parents, I wonder, will miss voting because they need to stay home to take care of their kids? I suppose not too many--they'll just take them along, like I do. (And D would be staying home today anyway--he has some sort of bronchial thing goin' on.)

Monday, November 06, 2006

More sluggishness.

I can now Ask For My Slug By Name on the local subnet. Quite cool. I cannot, however, ask for other machines by name while on the slug. (I suppose I could just edit my /etc/hosts file, but what would be the fun in that?)

I've moved the tiny bit of BitTorrenting that I do onto the slug, so Azureus doesn't take up all the processor time on the iMac. And--just to see if I could do it--I compiled IceCast, Litestream, and MuSE to turn the slug into an Internet radio station. Haven't tested it yet though, as there aren't any mp3s on the slug just yet.

Still to do: recompile the kernel to allow HFS+ disk support. And if you believe that...

A paragraph!

Here's an article in the Annapolis Capital about the upcoming Annapolis Film Festival. See if you can guess where I am in the picture.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

In other hardware news...

My slug is now running at a screamin' fast 263.78 BogoMIPS. And K bought a new Palm.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Who killed the Zire?

I broke K's PDA. She asked me to crack it open to replace the battery. Unfortunately, in doing so I must have fouled up the connection to the IR receiver, because her wireless keyboard no longer worked. So I cracked it open again today. And the IR receiver snapped right off the motherboard.


She's getting a new Palm tomorrow... this was definitely NOT a purchase we were looking to make this month.

On the other hand, I guess I have another toy on which to try to install Linux.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Slug Power!

Godfrey asks:
Excellent! How big of a hard drive did you stick onto it?
Well, I bought a 300 GB drive the other day. My original idea was to use that one for backups for both Macs and then use another partition for the Slug. However, after further research, I nixed that idea... backup is too important to relegate to a toy, and I'm not sure the slug would even work with HFS+ partitions. So yesterday I went to Staples and bought a 40 GB, self-powered USB 2.0 drive (for the princely sum of $30 after rebate), and unslung to that.

First order of business was to change my default shell to bash (as opposed to the built-in busybox). Then I installed the native development tools, and now I'm installing--or attempting to install, anyway--mDNSResponder, so my Macs will recognize the Slug via Rendezvous/Bonjour. (In other words I'll be able to ssh to slugpower.local rather than some IP address.)

I am a bit teed off about one thing: according to the Slug Wiki, most modern slugs come "pre-overclocked"; that is, running at the native 266 mHz. Yet mine appears to be one of the older ones: it's running at half-speed, 133 mHz. Grrr. I really wasn't looking forward to cracking open the case.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

And here I am...

I'm writing this in eLinks on my Slug!

(I tried to leave this as a comment, but it's difficult to do word verification on a text-only, non-sound-capable computer. Ah, it's like 1983!)


I have my slug. Just starting to play.


Because "The Google" sends people who search for my name here, rather than, I've added a handy-dandy reminder below the title. I know you're all excited to see that.

Edit: Hmm... as of this moment, I'm mistaken. It didn't used to be that way, though. I wonder what changed?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hypothetically speaking...

So, if an opportunity for a record contract came your way, but it meant embarking on a life of touring, would you take it?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ha, ha!

I just got RoboPolled! What a hoot! See if you can guess if you're supposed to answer "yes" or "no" to the final question:
Do you support medical research on unborn babies?
Whose platform is that in? They may as well have said "Do you support killing puppies for science?" I said "yes," just to foul up their results.

(I wanted to link to the web site the robo-pollers promoted, but I can't remember it now. There's got to be a lesson there somewhere.)

Edit: For the record, I do support embryonic stem-cell research; but that's not what they asked.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Hot, steamy electioneering.

Medley says pretty much what I've been thinking about the Virginia Senate race, but better than I could, and with the authority of being a Virginia voter. However, the added wrinkle of criticizing passages from Webb's novels because of their sex scenes is just ridiculous.

Here in Maryland's fifth district, I'll be casting a protest write-in vote against Steny Hoyer. He's the minority whip for the House, and has no chance of losing; but I'm somewhat disappointed in his pro-corporate stance on many of the issues; the bankruptcy bill for one. But I won't be voting for the Republican either, because I don't think the Republicans deserve any votes this year.

Ehrlich vs. O'Malley? I don't really know, but Ehrlich seems to be pivoting to the center strictly to win votes, and the evidence is pretty clear that he had career state workers fired for no reason other than party affiliation.

And Maryland Senate is a no-brainer; Ben Cardin over Michael Steele. I don't know much about Cardin (I supported Mfume in the primary), but a Democratic Senate would be a major bulwark and a major rejection of Bushism.

It's kinda nice to have two competitive state-wide races this year.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I love eBay!

$45 plus shipping.

And looky there...

...someone's already done it.


Godfrey sez:
Well, you could buy a Linksys NSLU2 (ca. $80) and a USB hard drive, and put Linux on that... There are a couple of flavors of Linux available for the Slug, including Debian. (I'd suggest cracking open the case and pulling off the resistor which cuts its clock speed in half.) It's not blindingly fast, it doesn't have huge amounts of memory, but it's got enough juice to run Apache and PHP.
To which I say: interesting!

After some research, I found the Linux of which he spoke. It does indeed look keen. But a web-server is out of the question, since Comcast blocks the HTTP ports, AFAIK. So whatever I created would be just for the local internets, and who wants to make a web page that only you & the wife & the kids can see? A cool sandbox, sure, but heck, I can run a local web-server directly in Mac OS X, since it has Apache built in (and just needs a couple switches thrown to enable PHP).

So, nice idea, nice toy, but I thought I couldn't justify it. Until...

Like a bolt from the blue, it hit me last night: I could run a Subversion server on it! Subversion (or SVN) is a version-control system (like CVS), used mostly in software development so multiple developers can work on the same project without stepping on each others' toes. However, it's also been adopted by Animation:Master for use when multiple animators/modelers/etc. are working on the same project. Because it saves revisions, it's the perfect backup system even if you're the only person working on a project. So I'd do my work, backup to SVN, and never worry about a corrupted file or dead HD again!

And of course, if I ever decide to do another big collaboration, I can open the appropriate ports on the ol' router, and bang, we gots us a world-wide server, with no need to leave any computers on 24/7! Yowza!

And that doesn't even include the simple fact that K & I need a way to backup all our 'puters, which is what the NSLU2 was actually, y'know, designed for.

Now if I had only had this revelation when there was actually money in our checking account.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Watch this space.

The Gonnas may be reuniting for a paid gig sometime soon. Details to follow as soon as I know them.

Watch this space.

The Gonnas may be reuniting for a paid gig sometime soon. Details to follow as soon as I know them.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Happy birthday, Universe!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Unleash the inner tinkerer!

Darn it. I'm so down on my computers right now, I almost want to wipe the hard drives clean and install Linux on 'em. Almost.

Failing that, I would love to buy a super-cheap x86 laptop so I could install Linux on it and tinker. There's just something about command-line tools that I love. I don't know why. Maybe it's because they're so fast.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to set one up as a cheap-ass server and learn PHP? Or poke around in free software until I could figure out how to make ffmpeg create the new-style H264 low-complexity codec that allows 640x480 video on iPods? Or, heck, write a novel on LyX for NaNoWriMo...

This is what a geek does. Earlier generations might have opened up a VW Beetle. My generation opens up operating systems.

Just how cheap could I get a laptop these days?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

"Just a test."

Here it is, your moment of zen.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

So you can plan your day.

The schedule for NYC Shorts has been posted, and The Cell-Phone will show at 12 noon on Saturday November 11, as part of a "kids block." Sigh.

And although it's not online yet, I've found out that Annapolis will screen Soap Opera at 7:30 P.M. that same Saturday, as the curtain raiser for a feature called The Big Bad Swim. Coincidentally enough, I met the producer at CTFF--like me, she is a Westport, Connecticut native.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ah, to be triplets!

The weekend of November 10th is going to be busy. First, I heard from NYC Shorts that they'll be showing The Cell-Phone. Then, I heard from Annapolis, who will screen Soap Opera. Now, I've heard from the Lake Forest Film Festival, just outside of Chicago, who have programmed <ESC>!

So, to recap: three different films, three different festivals, one week-end. Yow. If I had a company, I could send representatives. But it's just me!

Well, no, that's not true, of course not. <ESC> was a solo piece. Cell-Phone was a collaboration (with Mike, Jeff, and others) towards the end. Soap Opera was a full collaboration with Jeff. So, let's see... Mike is two feet away from NYC Shorts. I'm right next to Annapolis. Maybe I could convince Jeff to drive from Indiana to Chicago? Except, wait, he didn't work on <ESC>, so why would he go? Maybe he could come to Annapolis and I could go to Chicago? No, that doesn't make sense! Besides, I want to go to NYC! Give me time, I'll figure it out...

Another monthly song.

Something a little different:

Too Much Acid in the Inertial Dampers, 2:00, 1.8 MB.

As always, it's for the KVR monthly song contest. Topic: no voices.

I expect you'll all hate it.

Friday, October 13, 2006


So, the inaugural Connecticut Film Festival. In brief, the screening was so-so but the Sunday brunch was great.

Screening: there were about four people there who had no connection with any of the shorts in the program. The rest of us were filmmakers and entourage. The projector was all messed up; it was way too bright, and the aspect ratio was incorrect, so all of the films were stretched widescreen when they were supposed to be 4:3. After a while, you got used to it and wondered why the real people in the theater were so thin.

There was an ad-hoc Q&A afterward, at which I stunned everyone with my huge production budget ($29.95 for a royalty-free recording of Also Sprach Zarathustra).

I was in a foul mood for various reasons on which I won't elaborate, so I called an old friend who lives in Queens and asked if I could crash on his couch overnight. Graciously, he agreed. I had a nice dinner and a nicer conversation with him and his wife. I even got to meet his daughter for the first time ever--what a cutie pie!

The next morning, I was inclined to just go home, but after all, I had come up there to network and make myself known, not just see my movie. So I trucked out for a 10:00 brunch in Westport, feeling sorry for myself, and once I was there I met up with a couple other filmmakers and had a decent hamburger. Then was the awards ceremony. The shorts award went to someone else. I wasn't surprised. Another filmmaker at my table won the feature film award, which was cool. Then they announced the Connecticut Filmmaker award, and it went to some movie called "The Cell-Phone," by Zach Br--wait, what?

Well, technically I guess I'm a Connecticut filmmaker, in that I grew up there. But I haven't lived there since 1990. Don't tell anyone. Certainly was a hell of a surprise, though!

So, once the engraving is done, I'll have a nice glass sculpture to place next to my IPIFF Eagle. Makes me wish I had a fireplace, so I could put them on my mantel.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


"Yes, Jack, why would we stay?"

"... Since that time, the American people have reelected George W. Bush..."

Saturday, October 07, 2006

On the road.

I'm sitting in a café in New Milford, Connecticut, waiting nervously for my screening to roll around. I arrived much earlier than I expected--2 P.M., two full hours early. The Bank Street Cinema is showing, in addition to the festival, such luminous films as Jackass Number Two.

Oddly enough, the people at the table immediately adjacent to me are talking about an annoying cell-phone driver. It's all I can do to not turn around and say, "Someone should make a movie about that."

One major disappointment so far. Many more to come, no doubt.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

And away we go.

Tomorrow I head off to Connecticut.

This is actually something of a big deal. I've never attended a non-local film festival. I had hopes of going to North Carolina and Cleveland last year, but the schedule never worked out. So here I am, driving past my home town to New Milford for a Saturday, 4:00 P.M. screening, with no idea what to expect.

D.C. Shorts has a filmmaker-friendly reputation--not that they pay for your travel or anything (no one does) but they treat you well once you get here. Plenty of networking opportunities, plenty of swag... it's fun and exhausting at the same time, and the quality of films is superb.

However, CTFF is brand-new and I have no idea what to expect. Will there be Q&As? Will I have free tickets? Will anyone from the festival even be at the screening? I do know that the screenings happen in multiple venues around Connecticut, so it doesn't seem as though there'll be a lot of unity or camaraderie. Maybe I'll be wrong, though.

I've already seen one of the films sharing the screening, Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot, which was a selection at Sundance, so I guess I'm in good company.

There's some sort of reception that evening in New Milford which I'll go to and be my usual wallflowery self, and then there's an awards brunch Sunday morning where I won't win anything. Then it's back into the rental car, and home.

All this is in aid of a new policy formulated by K and me: whenever I have a screening, if at all possible, I should go. After all, I want to make a career of this, if by "career" I mean "thing that earns me esteem but no money whatsoever." (There is NO money in short films.) I've told my kids that I'm going on a "business trip," because it sounds better than "a throwing-money-away" trip. And I keep on trying to tell myself that it's all worth it: the entry fees, the travel costs and time, the LightScribe DVDs, the thrill of acceptance and the agony of rejection. I know I should be happy, indeed reveling, in the simple fact that people actually enjoy my films. Still, it's hard to not wonder: is it worth it?


Somehow I doubt the Post will reprint this Oliphant cartoon in their weekly roundup.

Monday, October 02, 2006


The Cell-Phone will play as part of NYC Shorts.

Also, here's a little article in New England Film about the upcoming Connecticut screening.

Side note, commenters! I know too many Mikes. Please make your pseudonyms more specific. That is all.


I'm not sure yet, but The Cell-Phone may appear as part of NYC Shorts. I got two rejection letters for <ESC> and Soap Opera, and a letter that said "Congratulations again on being accepted to NYC Shorts!" but no actual acceptance letter which mentioned Cell-Phone. So does this mean it's been accepted, or that the second letter was accidental? Watch this space for details.

Friday, September 29, 2006

We are the frog.

We now live in a country where indefinite detention and torture are legal. I can't process this! I can't think about it; I can't believe it's happening. When did this water start to boil?

Monday, September 25, 2006


I wrote a song for the KVR monthly song contest, and here it is: Undisclosed Location

The topic was to write a song about/inspired by/in the style of your home. I wrote about Fortress Washington.

I don't like my singing, but I'm pretty pleased with the arrangement and the lyrics, which can be found here.

Comments and crits are welcome.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The future, NOW.

Remember everyone's vision of the future, with the cleaning robots that would pick up a speck of dust the second it was dropped and leave your house sparkling clean with no effort at all? Remember how it was supposed to arrive by 1967?

So we were a few years off! But the future is now at our house, thanks to iRobot's Roomba Discovery vacuum, which beeped its way into our hearts yesterday after a three-hour charge. I fully expect flying cars to debut sometime in 2007.

After watching it toddle around the living room this morning, I can understand why people name them, MIDIfy them, and use them to play Frogger. K was already talking about painting eyes on it, and I must admit I have a healthy respect for a company that publishes an SDK for a vacuum cleaner.

But, of course, the number one question: does it work? I'll let Secretary Rumfseld answer that:
Can you get rid of your old vacuum entirely? Heavens, no. Is it smart enough to avoid stray threads on old throw rugs? Gracious, never. Is it nonetheless easier than our semi-broken and noisy Dirt Devil? My goodness, yes.

The sad truth.

YouTube sucks. No, not the content, not at all. And maybe it doesn't suck so hard on better computers than the one on which I currently write. But the fact is, on my machines, the rate of dropped frames is worse than a bad print of a Buster Keaton film. It's like watching someone do the robot--badly.

On the other hand, if it weren't for YouTube, I never would have found out what the hell Filliam H. Muffman meant. So there you go.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Oh, by the way.

I would be remiss if I didn't plug this book, written by the aforementioned Professor Josh. Now, that's something of which I can be envious.


Yesterday I drove down to Chestertown, MD and Washington College to see my ole friend (or is that olé friend? oleo friend?) Mike perform his monologue Monopoly!, about Microsoft, Parker Brothers, and Nicola Tesla, inventor of the DEATH RAY (true!). I knew the monologue would be brilliant--almost anything Mike does is brilliant--but it was nice to experience it First Hand, nonetheless.

Mike does a kind of storytelling that weaves his own life in with Larger Concepts. His break-out work, 21 Dog Years, was mostly his own life; Monolpoly was mostly Larger Concepts. This is a good thing. Frankly, I suspect that as he's gotten more successful, his life has gotten less interesting and less suited to storytelling, or at least the kind of storytelling he's done. The danger is that, eventually, he may create the kind of inside-baseball show about "touring the country doing monologues" that I find insufferable, kind of like when film school students make movies about film school students, or animators make movies about animators. So far, he seems to have avoided that, although one section of Monopoly, where he tells the story of the show's opening (yes, he talks about the show you're watching during the actual show!), comes dangerously close, and is easily the least compelling part of the evening. He can get away with it because he's so darn entertaining, but nevertheless... Then again, maybe I just found it less interesting because I've done theater before and know the ins and outs and... well, it's just like any other job, really.

After the show, Mike, his wife and director Jean-Michele, Josh, the professor who had invited him to perform, and I went out to a local restaurant/bar to eat and chat. I suspect we all (even Josh, who knew Mike and JM from New York) just wanted a quiet evening of Catching Up; I know I did. However, it was not in the cards, as many of the folks who were at the show were also having a drink or two, and wound up mobbing Mike (in a pleasant way). A couple times, JM looked at me meaningfully, as if to say "See what it's like being a Pluto to this Sun?" (In fairness, she didn't actually say this and I don't know if she'd even describe it that way as a joke. JM, after all, is Mike's collaborator, director, and great love. They're more like Pluto and Charon, continually orbiting each other, one slightly better-known but both essential.) Anyway, for this reason JM and I talked a lot more than Mike and I, which was fine, except that I was inarticulate and befuddled as I often am when confronted with a beautiful woman I don't know very well. (The only reason I can talk to K is that we've been married for twelve years. Otherwise, I'd be all "Who is this tall gorgeous Swede and why is she laughing at my jokes?!")

Eventually, I left and I drove home, arriving at about midnight. I may have been hallucinating from exhaustion on the way home, unless I really did run over a deer with Father Guido Sarducci's face.

One more thing. Longtime readers may remember that as this blog started, I would occasionally get debilitating fits of envy about Mike's success--horrible, embarassing, and selfish acts which nonetheless I just couldn't help. I fully expected another one to happen after the show yesterday, but it didn't. Why? There could be many reasons--maybe because Mike doesn't blog about his actual life anymore; maybe I've finally come to terms with my own strengths and weaknesses as an artist; maybe I'm actually growing up--horrors! But the possibility I find most interesting--and one I may develop a film around--is that now that I've had some modest success of my own, I've realized that people might be envious of me, just as I was once envious of Mike. It's strangely reassuring--and yet just as selfish as it was before, innit?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My new favorite Beatles story... here, and I can now add a new blog to my blogroll, courtesy of my old friend Bill.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The forgotten terrorist.

A while ago I lamented that no one seemed to remember Oklahoma City anymore. Well, as David Niewert points out, the OK bomb is practically a national holiday compared to what happened a year ago today.

Maybe the perp is hanging with Osama somewhere.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

D.C. Shorts post-mortem.

There was no red carpet this year, but almost everything else was bigger and better.

First of all the party was after the first screening instead of before; this was good and bad. Cell-Phone showed in the first screening, so I had a definite conversation-starter with any of the partygoers. However, my favorite part, the Q & A, was quite short because people wanted to Get the Party Started. There was only time for one audience question! After last year's reception, that was quite a let-down.

But to back up. The screening was on Thursday, so the audience wasn't quite primed. My short was the first comedy of the night, so the laughter and so on wasn't as forceful as it would become later in the evening. That's what I'm hoping is the reason anyway. It certainly was well-received, though; that's not just me blowing smoke up my arse. Many people told me how funny it was and so forth.

For me, there were two standouts of the evening: Full Disclosure, about a man who goes on first dates and tells the girl everything wrong about himself, so she's saved the learning process over the course of the relationship; and Bone Mixers, a lovely documentary about a homegrown dominoes club in Silver Spring, which went on to win Best Local Film. (Full Disclosure won Audience Favorite for Thursday's screening. I like to imagine Cell-Phone came in second, based on what the City Paper said.)

(Boy, looking at those film web sites, I realize I really gotta get me a designer...)

A lot of cast members from Hamlet, Revenge! came to see the shorts, which was a wonderful treat. I thank them from the top and bottom of my heart.

I also attended the 7 and 10 P.M. screenings on Friday and the 7 and half the 10 P.M. screenings on Saturday. There was a great documentary on D.C.'s lack of voting representation, followed by a commercial for Jesus Beer, and a really funny short called Zombie-American, starring none other than Ed Helms of The Daily Show. I was way too tired to stay for the entire late Saturday screening, though. I chatted for a good long time with a couple from Vancouver, Canada, whose film was shown at the Canadian Embassy as part of the Canada Films blocks. They felt a little cheated that their film didn't show on the Big Screen at the E Street Cinema, but they were certainly happy to be there. We exchanged screener DVDs at the post-show brunch (where they announced the awards).

No, Cell-Phone didn't win anything. But I already wrote enough about that last year. Besides, being selected from a field of 500+ submissions is still a pretty big deal.

Oh! And today is K's and my wedding anniversary. Twelve years! Amazing. And we still love each other, even!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A soldier writes to Andrew Sullivan:
I can't get past that image of the Iraqi, in the hood with the wires and I'm not what you'd call a sensitive type. You know the picture. And now we have a total bust-out in the White House, and a bunch of rubber-stamps in the House, trying to make it so that half-drowning people isn't torture. That hypothermia isn't torture. That degradation isn't torture. We don't have that reputation for fairness anymore. Just the opposite, I think. And the next real enemy we face will fight like only the cornered and desperate fight. How many Marines' lives will be lost in the war ahead just because of this asshole who never once risked anything for this country?
There's more, about the difference in our reputation between 1991 and now. Read the whole thing.

A quandry.

So, do I install iPod Linux on my 5G iPod, so I can play Pac-Man illegally for free, or do I buy it from the iTMS, so I can play it legally for $4.99?

Your thoughts are welcome.

A status report from D.C. Shorts is forthcoming--in the meantime, you can read this one from the City Paper.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

It's long and shaggy.

Teacher won't shave until bin Laden caught.

Nelson's Column.

Enjoy this Q & A for the Washington City paper's City Desk blog, all about tonight's premiere of The Cell-Phone.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Why not check it out?

I have a litle bit of stuff going on at my Audience page for my films at Withoutabox. Mostly about tomorrow's premiere of The Cell-Phone. Why not come by and check it out?

I've also updated my web site for a slicker, simpler splash page.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Stupid questions department.

The Explainer asks:
One-hundred-sixteen-year-old Maria Esther de Capovilla died on Sunday, less than a year after Guinness World Records had verified her birthday—Sept. 14, 1889—and named her the world's oldest living person. How'd they know how old she was?
Well, duh. They sliced her open and counted the rings. Don't you know anything?

(What amazes me is that she lasted almost a year afterward.)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Let the Eagle Soar!

Godfrey tracked down the award announcement page for the IPIFF, so now you can see the Sandpoint Realty Best Animated Film in all its glory.

I'm not sure whether I get one of those funky eagles or not.

Oh, and in the "everybody gets a prize!" department, <ESC> won Best Animated "Escape" (scroll down to the bottom). Feels like a kid's birthday party...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Han shot first.

They're finally releasing the ORIGINAL Star Wars trilogy on DVD. But not, alas, Blu-Ray or HD-DVD. As Agent Kay said, "I'll have to buy the White Album again..."

Friday, September 01, 2006

In case you're wondering... computer's battery is not in danger of exploding.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Soap Opera has won Best Animated Film at the IPIFF! I'm an "Award-Winning Animator"!

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Tortured Search Path.

So I went to the iTunes Music Store looking for a song which Patrick put on a mix tape for me over a decade ago. But I couldn't remember the name of the song except that it had to do with vampires, so I put "vampire" in the search box. That led me to a free vampire audiobook (in podcast form) called Forever Fifteen. In the "Listeners also subscribed to" box, there was another podcast called "Audiobooks with Annie," which provided readings of classics in the public domain. I was intrigued enough to visit her home page, where I found out about LibriVox, a community audiobook site, where every audiobook is released not just for free, but to the public domain. (Even Project Gutenberg's audiobooks are copyrighted.) Now, I see that there's a New York Times article about LibriVox. Well, let it be known that I knew about it before the Times did, then.

And now you know how.

edit: Patrick tells me in comments that the song in question was "Club Mekon" by the Mekons. (Now how could I forget that?) Alas, the iTMS doesn't seem to have it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

My only brush with high-traffic.

I was just taking the Pew Internet Blogger Survey (via NTodd), and they asked what I'd consider the post that generated the most attention on Rooster Spice was. Here's what I answered.
I once mirrored a post about photographers being discouraged from snapping dead bodies during Hurricane Katrina. The original site went down from all the extra traffic, but I had a copy in my cache, so I posted it and let people know about it in the comments on Eschaton (
Ah, those were the days.

Take the survey. It's worth a few minutes of your time.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Here you can find my two films in the Idaho Panhandle IFF.

And more good news: from my current home town, the Utopia Film Festival, which has accepted <ESC>, Soap Opera, and the Cell-Phone; and from my old home town, the Connecticut Film Festival, which will be showing The Cell-Phone in early October. (I'm really excited about this last one. Nothing quite like "local boy makes good!" for publicity! Plus it'll make all my buds from high school jealous.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"Eat your heart out, Mel!"

Via Andrew Sullivan: a fantastic and hilarious sports commentary and take-down of Mel Gibson.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Friday, August 11, 2006

Yet another question.

If you're giving a shout-out to a Canadian, should you call it a "shoot-oot"?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Requisite Lieberman post.

What people often forget about Joe Lieberman is that he was never a "moderate" Democrat; he was, from day one, a conservative. I mean, look at 1988, when he was first elected; he ran against Lowell Weicker, a liberal Republican. I was in high school in Connecticut at the time, and a classmate's father was actually reprimanded by the Republican party because he raised money for Lieberman! That alone should tell you something.

In short, I've never really liked Joe, at least as a Senator. I supported him for Veep, of course, if just for the home-team aspect. But to call him a "moderate" Democrat really misses the point. He's always been a conservative, it's just that the political center of gravity has veered right of him in the past eighteen years. In my view, just about every Democrat on the national scene is really a moderate, not a liberal, with the possible exception of Russ Feingold. I mean, come on, is there anyone out there preaching socialism? Give me a break.

In any case, when Lamont wins, let's not forget who did the voting. The Democrats of Connecticut (including my father) have a right to choose their nominee. Let's see if any of the right-wing pundits actually say that as their beloved Joe goes down. The people are only correct when they vote with the right, after all...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Lamont vs. Lieberman.

Since I was in Connecticut back when Joe first won his Senate seat, I guess I really ought to comment on the primary. And I will. But not tonight.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Well, I'll be damned!

Who knew that the 48 Hour FIlm Project was indirectly inspired by the great comics artist Scott McCloud?
Hamlet, Revenge, photoshop edition...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Today is my daughter's fourth birthday. Happy birthday, E!

K is watching a documentary on the '84 Olympics. They keep referring to swimmer Michael Gross as "the Albatross." And you know what I keep reciting, don't you? It's driving her crazy.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

More movies and potatoes.

I am pleased to announce that <ESC> and Soap Opera will show at the first annual Idaho Panhandle International Film Festival, August 24-26. YES, this is a big deal, damn it!

Monday, July 31, 2006

The median song on my iPod.

By song title, alphabetical order: Love's Made a Fool of You, by Buddy Holly (996 of 1993).

What's yours?

Update: Everyone can play, even if you don't have an iPod!

Sunday, July 30, 2006


I really miss making music. Ironically, it was a lot easier when I had fewer choices. Now, I have a bona-fide MIDI keyboard with full-size keys, a professional editing suite, a kick-ass sample library or two, and some other stuff I've barely touched. (Not to mention the acoustic guitar, for that matter; I sold the electrics a month ago.)

So what's stopping me? Time, mostly, I guess. But I also find myself paralyzed by knowledge. I know a lot more about music theory than I used to in the days that I just slapped notes and chords together. For instance, I never knew what a "fugue" really was, so anytime I wrote something contrapuntal, I'd call it a "fugue." I also didn't know what you "needed" to do to introduce key changes, so I would just change keys as the whim struck me. And finally, I didn't know how to play the piano. That meant I just wrote stuff on staves and then had the computer play it out loud, and if I didn't like it, I'd make changes.

Now, I rely on Apple Loops in Soundtrack and GarageBand because they sound so much better than anything I could make myself, and they're a lot quicker. But I've lost the soul, and the joy, of composition in the process.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Prisoner of Trebekistan.

A funny video about winning on Jeopardy. MeTube material?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Cell-Phone.

"The Cell-Phone" will premiere at the D.C. Shorts Festival on Sept. 14, 2006! If you're in the area, please come on by.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Tuesday night I presented a few of my films at the Speakeasy Screening Room, an offshoot of the Speakeasy, a monthly storytelling event which a friend of mine curates. It was pretty successful, albeit sparsely attended.

My favorite part was seeing the work of WIT Films, an offshoot (so many offshoots!) of Washington Improv Theatre. They do the 48 Hour Film Project every year, just like I used to do. In fact, the first time I was involved was as sound man for one of their films (I set out as a team leader for Dead Horse the following year). But I hadn't seen any of their most recent efforts, including one which won the overall prize for D.C. in 2005. Anyway, they blew me (and another filmmaker who was also featured, IMHO) out of the water. Sigh... Still, it's OK to be bested by really nice people--and just because their stuff was better, doesn't mean that mine is bad.

And it was certainly well-received, don't get me wrong. I just wish there had been time for Duck Sauce, but it got bumped.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting in breathless anticipation for the results from DC Shorts, allegedly coming out this weekend. Fingers crossed...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Friday, July 07, 2006

Pogroms in Delaware.

I just don't understand the people who do this sort of thing. It makes me want to weep. (via Medley.)

Two must-reads from today's Opinions in the Post.

Michael Kinsley on stem cell research:
Stem cells used in medical research generally come from fertility clinics, which produce more embryos than they can use... Usually several of [the embryos] are implanted in the hope that one will survive. Or, to put it another way, in the hope that all but one will not survive. And fertility doctors do their ruthless best to make these hopes come true. In short, if embryos are human beings with full human rights, fertility clinics are death camps -- with a side order of cold-blooded eugenics. No one who truly believes in the humanity of embryos could possibly think otherwise.
And E. J. Dionne on Mexico's election:
Another thing: Whichever one of you is ahead at any given point, please don't ask that the counting be stopped abruptly just because you happen to hold the lead. Don't have some high-class lawyer with a name like Jaime A. Panadero III come out and say things like, "I don't believe that the people of Mexico want this national election turned over to lawyers and court contests" -- and then have the very same lawyer direct other lawyers to go to court to stop any further counts.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

This is really depressing.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Welcome MeTube!

Since, as a general rule, I only add folks to my blogroll who I know personally (or, in the case of Anti-Linear Brain, sorta know personally), it's very rare that I add new links. But my college chum Patrick (known to regular Spicers mostly by a pseudonym) has finally jumped off the bridge that everyone else jumped off in 2002 or so, and started a blog. So, welcome!

The trick is that it's neither a journal nor "online magazine"; he finds and links to a new YouTube video each day. So far, my favorite is (of course) the Beatles doing the "rude mechanicals" scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream. Not only because of their entirely believable and deep performance, but because it may contain the most obvious Paul-is-dead clue in the canon.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


I had to link to this Onion Radio News item. It's a must for any MAD magazine fan.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

This has been taking up my time lately. Check it out.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Paging Chevy Chase.

Hello, I'm in Norfolk, Virginia, and you're not.

Virginia Beach on a Friday is just like Ocean City used to be when I was a kid, before it got really really REALLY popular. And Manteo, North Carolina, where we were yesterday, is just beautiful.

And of course, there's nothing quite like taking a vacation on the government's tab.

(Note to the GAO: No, we didn't really make the Feds pay for our vacation. K had a meeting in Manteo, yes, and we all turned it into a mini-vacation, but we paid for all the recreational stuff ourselves. And really, why are you investigating a mid-level civil servant, when you should be going after the war crimes of the Bush administration?)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Oh my god.

"BLITZER: One of the other explosive charges you have in the book is that the U.S. deliberately bombed the Al Jazeera offices in Kabul to make a point. You write this: 'On November 13, a hectic day when Kabul fell to the Northern Alliance and there were celebrations in the streets of the city, a U.S. missile obliterated Al Jazeera's office. Inside the CIA and White House there was satisfaction that a message had been sent to Al Jazeera.'

"Are you suggesting that someone in the U.S. government made a deliberate decision to take out the Al Jazeera office in Kabul?

"SUSKIND: My sources are clear that that was done on purpose, precisely to send a message to Al Jazeera, and essentially a message was sent."

(via White House Briefing.)

Pearls Before Swine.

Say it with me now... "It's funny because it's true."

I'm off to North Carolina with the fam for a couple days. Be good.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Let us now praise the iTunes Music Store.

How else could I have given 99 cents to ELO because of a Doctor Who episode?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Truism #453.

Trimming one's toenails while watching the first episode of "Lost" on DVD is what Father's Day is all about.

Dangling participle department.

LITTLETON, Colo., June 16 -- Recalling "one of the darkest days" of his presidency, Bill Clinton wielded a shovel along with bereaved family members Friday for the groundbreaking of a memorial to the 12 students and one teacher at Columbine High School who were killed seven years ago.
How does one wield bereaved family members, anyway?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The little feet of tadpoles...

Been trying GNU Lilypond again for the hell of it. Barnes and Noble was selling a Dover score of the complete Brandenburg concertos for four bucks; that's, oh, 75% off, one of those deals that grabs you by the collar and drags you to the checkout page. Especially when you have a B&N gift card left over from Christmas. So, since Mutopia had to remove their copy of the Brandenburgs for legal reasons, and the Dover edition is a simple reprint of Bach-Gesellschaft's out-of-copyright edition, I thought I'd check out Lilypond again and see if it was any easier to deal with now than when I last fooled with it two or three years ago.

It's certainly easier to install. No more fiddling with individual packages on the command-line, no more awful, out-of-date Fink, just a simple Mac OS X app that you drag-and-drop. Of course, you're still entering music via a text-editor and a somewhat obscure markup language (well, one you get used to it it's not so obscure). Still, when you come right down to it, it's probably faster than point-and-click entry in a notation program; and not too much slower than playing everything in with a MIDI keyboard. (At least for me, given what a horrid keyboardist I am, and how annoying it is to set up my Keystation. Oh, for a dedicated music studio!)

Yesterday I typeset most of the first movement to Eine kleine Nachtmusik, which was a lot of fun. Of course, the beautiful score is just a side effect; mostly, I want the MIDI output to shove into Pro Tools and finesse with GPO, to create the all-important public domain recordings that are my passion. That's the main reason I didn't start with the 3rd Brandenburg (which you may recall I've been working on in GPO); I already have the public domain MIDI from before the scores were removed, so what's the point?

Lilypond as MIDI sequencer? Boy, I'm weird.

(I recall someone once wanted lute tablature. It's a lot closer now.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Oh my gosh, this is a real find: Rhapsody in Blue (part 1 and part 2), as performed by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, with Gershwin himself at the piano.

This was recorded acoustically, before the microphone was invented. Sonically it's about as good as one could expect from 1924, but my gosh! what history!



Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Cat Bites Bear.

Oh, this is too damn funny.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Back to Basics.

Well, our family has gone back to that rarefied group of people who don't get cable news channels. Which is not to say we've abandoned cable entirely, oh no. Unfortunately, we're too addicted to the Comcast internet speed to go back to DSL or--horrors!--dial-up. (In truth, my line of work makes it essential to have broadband--how can one do Internet video without it?) But the simple fact is that we just don't watch enough television to merit having the billions and billions of channels we had under a limited-time discount which wasn't a discount anymore. So, down to basic cable--local channels and C-SPAN. We did elect to keep the high-definition converter box for an additional five bucks a month, so we can see every pore on Ty Pennington's face when we watch Extreme Makeover: Ikea Edition.*

K was in Florida all week, leaving me to be a bachelor with kids. Surprisingly there were (as of this writing) no major crises, although E did come down with a slight fever. I kept my temper, the kids didn't misbehave; all was good. Last night I ran my first memebership meeting as the Board President of E's nursery school. Oh, did I mention that I was tapped to be President? Let this be a lesson to you all: DON'T VOLUNTEER. (I kid, I kid. It should be a good year, and to be honest, the Presidency is more in line with my temperament than being Treasurer, which I was this past year. After all, now I can lower tuition and raise spending, not to mention order the invasion of other nursery schools to destroy their Play-Doh of mass destruction liberate the oppressed children.)

Finally, here's my latest version of the Brandenburg Concerto, now with all three movements and cheesy reverb! I gotta get me a proper impulse response plug-in someday. The third movement is just straight from the MIDI, no work done on phrasing, volume, etc., so it's not what it should sound like, yet. This will be the last update until it's done, I think. Enjoy.

*We don't actually watch this show. At least, not anymore. It was better when they weren't famous enough to invite B-list celebrities to slum with 'em.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

If a harpsichord falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

I get the feeling I'm talking to myself again.

Third try, with more keyswitching and slurring on the violins. Also, everything was bumped up to the "brightest" mod wheel setting in GPO, which had the side effect of pushing the harpsichord way back in the mix. On the whole, needs a LOT more work...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Brandenburg again.

Second attempt, with some keyswitch work on the violins, and what will make the most difference: no double bass, only harpsichord for the continuo.

GPO returns.

Here's a little something for you to listen to.

First attempt at Bach's third Brandenburg Concerto, first and second movements. The second movement in particular needs more tweaking (ha!). This version has no dynamics and the continuo part is as of yet unrealized, but I'm quite impressed with how good the solo instruments sound even without any fancy keyswitching or pedal-work. Well, except the violas...

I included a double bass to join the basso continuo. I'm torn as to whether it will remain or not. Mostly I just don't know whether it's appropriate to the period. Anyone know?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

"Dick Cheney is armed with a knife! From Jeff Smith's story: Cheney, Libby said, 'often will cut out from a newspaper an article using a little penknife that he has' and 'look at it, think about it.' Cheney was obsessed with Joe Wilson's Times Op-Ed. He and Libby talked about it multiple times a day. Cheney would look at the Wilson clipping, slide it around his desk, put it in a drawer, take it back out, fondle it, hold it up to the light, and then in an explosion of rage STAB IT REPEATEDLY with the penknife. Right? I mean you can just picture it."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Did I mention my sister works here?

Monday, May 15, 2006

It's funny 'cause it's true.

If Al Gore were President, from Saturday Night Live.

Letter to the editor.

Warren C. Herz of Washington gets it:
Buried on Page A18 of the May 3 paper in the World in Brief compendium were a couple of paragraphs about a new Amnesty International report for the U.N. Committee against Torture.

The report states that torture and inhumane treatment are "widespread" in U.S.-run detention centers in Afghanistan, Iraq, Cuba and elsewhere.

This is our country. We are responsible for this. We demonstrate against the horrors of Darfur. Why are we accepting this? It's being done in our name.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Renderer's Lament.

Dontcha hate it when you wake up after an all-night render and discover that you forgot to change the frame range, and have re-rendered everything you had already rendered the night before? Or when you discover that a different all-night render was ruined because a constraint went haywire after a Save As?

Thought not.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Ikea Walkthrough v2.3.1

Hat tip to my wife for finding this.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Quote of the day.

"I bet you're going to be an actress, just like your daddy!" -- my wife, to our daughter.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A future a day keeps the boredom away.

Now here's a great place to hang out: 365 Tomorrows, a site which publishes a new piece of (very) short speculative fiction every single day. Maybe you already knew about it. If not, now you do.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The wife is away for three days on business. I'm already lonely.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

No, it's not a big bite; I can chew it just fine!

A friend of mine once said he had a pathological fear of letting people down. (Then again, maybe he said "spiders." That doesn't lead into this blog entry very well, though.) Lately, I feel like all I've done is let people down, mostly because I've over-committed myself in the World of Animation.
  • I am an animator for a project being produced by Hash, Inc. In this case I've already let them down, because I originally signed up to be an animation director, but as the project began to spiral far beyond its original parameters, and I felt more and more like I was drowning, I asked to be demoted. Now, I can't even meet my animation demands.

  • I told the cast and crew of Dracula that I would produce a spoof animation, and send them all a copy with the DVD of the play. That was in October, when the show closed. I've barely started, and frankly the thought of doing it is painful, mostly because I really, really hate the character designs I came up with. But what else can I do but work with what I have?

  • Some stupid idiot decided it would be Good Practice for me to produce a new animation each week, and for a while, it was. But the podcast is destroying any time I have for other projects, and to add insult to injury, I'm hemorrhaging viewers even as I make sure to stick to a schedule. I had nearly 800 people at one point, and now it's just over 300 (which, admittedly, is still more people than have ever read Rooster Spice on a regular basis).

  • Finally, I still have an open offer of a paying!!!! commission which is now two years old--and what have I done to further its completion? Nothing.

It's enough to make one wish for a nice cuddly arachnid.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My sister works here. Aren't you jealous?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Do this.

Hit this link and help NTodd reach his arbitrary goal. Now. I'm waiting...

Groan, creak, grrrumph.

I'd like to wish everyone a happy holiday. I refer, of course, to the season premiere of Dr. Who.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

And the kudos just keep a-coming.

I got an email yesterday:
I've been a fan of yours since I stumbled onto your vidcast several months ago. I kinda got behind on viewing them and just today saw Soap Opera for the first time.
Oh... my.... God! I just can't come up with enough superlatives. That is one of the most incredible and inspired works I've ever seen. You work has always at least mildly amused me, but this was PURE GREATNESS! The music, the singing, the graphics, the concept ... true creative genius!

I just hope sometime, somewhere, somehow I run into you at a tradeshow or something so I can shake your hand. You are a truly awesome creative spirit. Keep it up.
And <ESC> was just invited to the Milwaukee International Film Festival. Sometimes, things go right.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Did you know the original meaning of the word scumbag?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

As dew in Aprille...

Spring break is next week. Ah, for the days when that meant a week at a Florida beach!

When were those days, exactly? I could never afford the trip.

Now it just means several full days spent trying to keep the little boy and girl from ripping each others' throats out.

Unbelievably, Rooster Spice will be four years old on Sunday. Celebrate as you see fit.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

La pellicola corta piccola che potrebbe.

Well, yay me. <ESC> was just invited to the SEDICICORTO International Film Festival Forlì, in Italy no less. Funny that Soap Opera wasn't, and it's actually in Italian. (Of course, the English translation is... erm... different than the actual Italian.)

I wonder when I'm going to start feeling like a one-hit wonder? But at least I'm now an INTERNATIONAL one-hit wonder!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Message received?

It's the silence that's killing me; a reply, whether good or ill, would at least be a resolution. It would also let me know whether I've caused great trouble, or (as I suspect) I'm not even a blip on a radar screen. Whatever the case, I can't do anything about it; I've worn out my welcome already, and probably eliminated any small chance of friendship there might have been.

Phonetic danger.

My folks are attempting to sell two homes at once, for reasons I won't go into, but have to do with Precarious Financial Situations. Yesterday morning, a buyer called who had fallen in love with the farmhouse in the country. My stepfather was on a plane, so my mother text-messaged him to let him know, and read the message aloud as she was writing it:

"Australian couple interested, 6 mil, offer in July or August."

My jaw hit the floor. "6 mil?!" I stammered. "I thought you guys were poor because of all this...!"

Mom looked at me blankly, and then said, "6 Mill Road. It's the address!"

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Back on the farm.

Well, here I am in Just-Outside-Of-Philadelphia, visiting my mom and stepfather, writing a blog entry on my sister's very annoying Toshiba laptop... why I even had to install Firefox before I could do anything! The horror, the horror! And if I hit "home" one more time when I mean to hit backspace, I'm going to scream. I never truly appreciated the simplicity of my PowerBook's keyboard layout until now.

Although I admit this Compose Mode thing for Blogger is pretty nice (it doesn't exist in Safari, alas).

Had great fun for April Fool's Day. I rented a car to come up here, and even though I had asked for an Economy vehicle, they gave me a free upgrade to a Cadillac (!), so I told everyone that it was my new car. Mom even added the wrinkle that K "had bought it for Zach for his birthday." No one bought it, though. If it had been a Mini Cooper I think we could have had them going.

And in other news, it's still not going away. Maybe it's time to write a song... that's always been good therapy in the past.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

I am an April fool.

It's not going away, damn it. It's not going away.

Friday, March 31, 2006


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Site Meter strikes again.

Ya know what I hate? People who search for my name (or a portion of it, anyway) but don't tell me why. Come on, tell us who you are! It's not like privacy actually exists in this world or anything.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

And another thing!

I got two compliments on Soap Opera today: one from a gentleman who had seen it in Cleveland and requested a DVD copy, and another from someone who saw it on the vodcast and said "Today at school I kept singing, 'Don Ivory, I have come to clean your bathroom!' " It's always nice to hear that sort of thing. And those compliments are for you too, Godfrey, as I'm sure you know.

Did I mention the freshly repainted schools?

Far too often, I blog only when things are going poorly, which leads those people who read my blog and care about me (all three of you) to conclude that my life is a cesspool of shame and depression, rife with missed interventions, pain, and self-pity. Well, believe it or not, even when this is the case, I do have some sense of perspective, and so I thought I'd share some good things that have happened, mostly unrelated to the things that I've complained about over the past few weeks.
  • My son, D, who is slightly autistic, is now learning and performing at his grade level for the first time ever, according to his teachers at a recent review of his IEP (individual education plan).
  • I was recently elected President of the board of directors for my daughter E's cooperative nursery school, for the 2006-2007 school year. (Of course, this is "good" news--note the scare quotes.)
  • I'm also substituting for the nursery school's administrator while she's out sick, so I'll actually earn a real, physical paycheck for the first time in many years.
  • I'm going to be a groomsman at a wedding in late April--one of my best friends from college is marrying a wonderful woman (also a good friend of ours, now) whom he met while at graduate school.
  • Two short films of mine, <ESC> and Soap Opera, were shown at the Cleveland International Film Festival two weekends ago.
  • Noises Off, despite all the, ahem, heartache, was a smashing success, and if you missed it, you should feel bad.
  • The vast majority of my family is not in prison.
  • I am, despite my best efforts to fuck things up, still married to a gorgeous Swede (excuse me, now I must take a cold shower).

Monday, March 27, 2006

Now what?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

It's over!!!!!

And now I can get on with my life, and hurt the people I love in my usual, subtle fashion, instead of the blatant crap I've been pulling lately.

Friday, March 24, 2006


I've decided I'm going to copy Medley and put up a list of "Books Read in 2006." (At least, I think I'm copying her. I mean, I'm sure she's not the first one who thought of it, though that's certainly possible; she's been on the web a long time.) I'm not sure how I'm going to do this, just yet, because I don't want to edit the darn template every time I read something. I'm thinking of tagging an Amazon (or other) link every time I finish a book, and using the tag feed; there must be a way to splice that into the sidebar, right? Suggestions welcome...

Anyway, at the moment it's going to be heavy on Kage Baker's Company novels, which if you haven't read, you really should.

Update: Well, that was easy. Now you can all be jealous of my lit'ry pretentions.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

"Why did you grow a beard?" -- They Might Be Giants

For once, I'm ahead of the trend. Of course, I've been telling everyone I'll shave once Noises Off closes, so...

Can YOU make your own decisions?

Heh. (Originally from here.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Fortran porn?

Input: Reason. Output: Pleasure.

Grated cheese.

Medley writes:
Apart from all that maturity above, though, you've reminded me why I'm glad my spouse doesn't have time to do any community theatre!
Besides making me LOL, that comment reminded me of a conversation long ago in college (with Mike, I think), when we were wondering whether acting was a particularly dangerous thing to do if one is susceptible to crushes. Or, since correlation does not equal causality, perhaps it's acting itself that causes dangerous crushes, hence all the crazy Hollywood marriages one hears about.

Certainly that's the case for me, and it's probably good that I wound up falling for a scientist instead of an actress/musician/etc. (though K is actually an excellent visual artist in her own right), because I doubt any of the crushes I've had would have worked out for more than, say, a month or so if that. And there have been a lot of them, though this one has been one of the worst (otherwise I wouldn't be so broken up about it), second only to one which nearly broke up our marriage (although in truth, there was a LOT more going on than that--this was just before I was diagnosed with clinical depression).

But to return to the topic at hand... is there something about acting that increases the intensity of infatuation? Or if not acting, performance in general? I mean, I get on stage not for the process, certainly not for the audition thrill (?!?!?), but for the applause. And if you have a cast to whom you're close, that applause tends to bind you together--at least for that moment--in a profound way. Does it create something else beyond just the closeness of a cast? I don't know, since I've never acted with anyone with whom there was a mutual attraction. (Not just because I've been with K for essentially all of my adult life; I'm sure my manifest unattractiveness has something to do with it.)

I don't know. My stepfather once joked that I turned 40 when I turned 14, and he might have been right; unfortunately, I managed to turn 14 when I turned 22, and that's pretty much where I've remained in the subsequent 12 years...

(No, the title has no relation to the post. Sue me.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


The good news is that the crush seems to be dissipating with time. The bad news is, I don't want it to.

At least I was honest with my wife (had been long before the previous blog entry, so it's not like she read it in the newspaper). Telling her helped with the guilt a lot. Of course, I dare not ask how much it hurt her. She says she's OK. Certainly, I was the one wailing and crying, not her, so...

In other news, I'm considering disabling anonymous comments. Come on, at least leave a pseudonym, people!

Spring in the air.

First day of spring, and it's snowing in Washington.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I will conquer this.

And so it continues, every fucking day... the ache in my heart, the images in my head, the inability to see all the good I have going for me, simply because of one thing I cannot have...

It's a fucking mess, and I don't know what to do other than wait it out. And yet, to wait it out seems to be even more painful than anything else, because there is forever the "what might have been?"

My son and daughter smile and laugh, and my wife hugs me... I'm loved right here and now, and yet I want to be away, gone, somewhere, somewhen, and somewho else. All for... what? A fancy? A joke? A flick of hair?

Nothing will come of it; nothing can come of it, for should I try, I'll destroy everyone I hold dear; not to mention I will lose any semblence of respect for myself.

And yet, though next week should be a relief, because the temptation will be gone, I find myself dreading it, because the temptation will be gone. And at this one particular, infinitesimal slice of time, I can't live without it.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Extremism comes to Maryland.

My son's school bus driver is a surly old man who never even acknowledges anyone's existence, despite the numerous times I've said "good morning" to him. (And no, he isn't hard of hearing, because I have had a conversation with him, once.) This morning, he gave me another reason to dislike him: he was wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with "Minute Man Project."

For those who don't know the ins and outs of the Minutemen, who are a vigilante group dedicated to "protecting" the U.S. border with Mexico (and who may or may not be the reason the number of border crossing deaths spiked last year), I recommend perusing David Neiwert's blog.

What I find most interesting is the clear connection between the Minutemen and white power/white supremacist groups... and that D's bus driver is African-American.

Update: Right after I wrote this, I caught up with some leftover Washington Post vodcasts that I had downloaded a few weeks ago, including this one, an excellent overview of the new Minutemen chapter in Maryland, as well as the whole "day laborer" issue. Well worth a look.