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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cucumber sandwiches, anyone?

Thanks to all for your input during the Great Earnest Dilemma of '07. The result? I will be playing Algernon, the part I was shooting for, on May 11, 12, 13, 18, and 19. Come to the Bowie Playhouse to watch me make a fool o' myself!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The importance of being insane.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.

That can also, these days, define "foreign policy."

So, here's the quiz for my vast audience of five or six:

Last night I went to audition for a local production of The Importance of Being Earnest, one of my favorite plays since time immemorial. I'm thirty-five years old, and the male leads are in their late twenties, so it may be my last chance to play either of those roles, ever. Without sounding too cocky, I'd say my chances of landing a role are pretty good.

However, the final performances conflict with the Jacksonville Film Festival. I know the director of programming, you see, and she's all but guaranteed a spot for "The Cell-Phone" in their shorts programs. Anything could still happen, of course, which is why I'm not saying it's been officially accepted until it's been, well, officially accepted.

Now, given that for most festivals I have to buy my own travel, hotel, etc. this wouldn't be an issue. I'd simply elect to not attend. But Jacksonville is apparently unique; they pay the filmmakers to attend. Room, board, travel, the whole shebang. And given how important face-to-face interaction is in this biz, can I afford not to attend?

(Of course, I'm not sure whether shorts auteurs are given this treatment. It may only be certain filmmakers. The blurb I read wasn't entirely clear.)

The mercenary in me says, "OF COURSE you should go to Jacksonville! This is an opportunity to get ever-closer to your ultimate goal of taking over the world of short animation!" The social animal in me says, "But you've not acted since the summer, and you may never play this part again! Besides, wouldn't it be great to have a hobby outside the house again? What shall become of a man who gains the world and loses his sanity because he's stuck in front of a computer animating all the time?"

So that's my dilemma: Earnest or Jacksonville. For the sake of argument, leave aside the possibility that I won't get cast, or "The Cell-Phone" won't get programmed, either of which would solve all my problems. Here's your question: does deciding to do Earnest, as opposed to attending Jacksonville, qualify as a new definition of insanity?

Come on, lurkers, now's your chance to join in the fun! Just hit the "0 comments" link below! It's easy! And make it quick, because if I'm gonna not do Earnest, I'd like to let the director know tonight, which is the final night of auditions.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Danish Snow-it. (ugh...)

Tonight is Oscar night, and though I long ago tired of watching the event, I would be remiss if I didn't point out my pick for Best Animated Short. The Oscarspice goes to: The Danish Poet, a gorgeous little story, beautifully made, with which The Cell-Phone was lucky enough to share a screening at NYC Shorts. You can even buy it at iTunes. I highly recommend it.

And that's probably the closest I'll ever come to an Oscar nod. (But who knows?)

Meanwhile, in the real world, it's snowing again, and after nearly two weeks of having my daughter home (she had her winter break last week, and half the previous week was cancelled because of the ice storm), I'm ready to construct a giant umbrella above the entire county, just so the schools will open on time tomorrow. I NEED MY SPACE.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Paging George Harrsion, in the "My Sweet Lord" aisle...

How depressing is it to be poking through the iTunes store and listen to Camper van Beethoven's Take the Skinheads Bowling, and then come to the sudden realization that you unconsciously ripped off its chord progression for what you consider the best song you wrote by yourself (right-click, save as)?

Thursday, February 15, 2007


While we're certainly not as snowbound as NTodd, nonetheless the powers that be decided to give the kids a second day off today. This was a cause of great glee for D, but great sadness for E, who still enjoys nursery school at this age.

Prince George's is a big county, so I can only assume that south of us, it's still difficult to get around. But in our town, everything appears to be completely passable. All told, I would have rather had them at school. But what do I know...

Monday, February 12, 2007

First thoughts on Vegas.

I had been there before, but I hadn't flown in. I was wondering whether there were slot machines at the airport. I was not disappointed. Hell, there were even some beyond the security gates.

Worst billboard ever: "CARROT TOP--exclusively at Luxor."

Driving at night from Vegas to Boulder City was a scary experience for an Easterner. First of all, it's dark and clear. Really dark and really clear. Strange shapes float into vision and you can't tell what the hell they are, until you realize they're mountains--sitting right next to the road. This doesn't happen in the Appalachians--you're a part of the mountains. Out in Nevada, it's flat, until it isn't.

Upon sunrise, the mountains look like large-scale piles of quarry dirt. It's possible that's actually what they are. Lake Mead is man-made; why not man-made mountains, too?

Friday, February 09, 2007

We don't need no stinkin' liberty!

I'm currently reading a book called Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar, which is about exactly what its title implies.

It occurs to me this is probably not a good book to bring into the airport today.

On a related note, be sure to read this op-ed in the Post from a former interrogator in Iraq. Many on the right-wing will no doubt call him a traitor for writing this piece. I call him a hero, despite his crimes, for speaking out now.

I wish, I wish, I wish that this stain on America had never happened.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Business trip.

Tomorrow's the big day; leaving for Dam Short Film Fest. And as always happens just before a big trip, I'm wondering why I'm doing it. All expenses paid--by me. No money involved (though to their great credit, Dam Short does provide a $75 travel stipend, and one of their sponsors is providing me with a free hotel room). And almost no chance of winning any awards (I tend to do well at new festivals, and not so well at established ones).

All this... for a hobby, essentially.

Now, I know that it's a great privilege to be able to Follow My Art in such a fashion, and that I should be grateful that I'm well enough off to do so. But that, essentially, is my point.

For you see, there are so many other artists out there who are so much better than I am. In fact, they're so much better that they get paid, professionally, to animate. Which means they don't have time to make their own films, let alone travel to festivals. So why am I allowed to do so?


Anyway, I'll be leaving from Dulles tomorrow evening. Maybe I'll make the evening reception tomorrow night, but I doubt it. I'm not even sure if I'll bring my laptop, so don't watch this space for updates.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Apple Wins, Apple Loses.

Apple, Inc. and Apple Corps have reached an agreement, and it looks to be permanent. So does this mean we're finally going to see Beatles music and videos on iTunes? Let's hope so...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Day with the Duke.

Here's a lovely article from The New Yorker circa 1970, about Duke Ellington.

I love the Duke.

Raisin Toast.

About a million years ago, I wrote a blogoir (blogged memoir) about starting a theater in the wilds of central Maine. Well, here's another perspective on it--hat tip to Mike for finding it.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

"Boomer" is also the dog from Independence Day.

Damn, damn, damn.


(Translation: why am I getting addicted to Battlestar Galactica three years too late?)

Bought the first season on DVD with leftover birthday gift cards. As if I wasn't wasting enough time watching Heroes and Lost!

It just goes to show, those iTunes promotions make a difference. Wouldn't have even begun paying attention otherwise, since we don't have Sci-Fi.

Fortunately, though, Universal HD seems to be showing this season's episodes on Saturday nights. And I don't have a social life anyway, so...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Ruh roh, Raddam!

The debate over whether 24 is a Republican show continues with the following comment:
The right wing’s analogy that 24 proves the need for torture and reinforces that terrorist cells are in our midst is refuted completely by Scooby Doo who never had to torture to get the truth out of bad people, found that the people who wanted to scare everyone were always authority figures who would benefit financially from fear and are better than Jack Bauer because they could solve the misdeeds in a half an hour that Jack Bauer takes a season to do.

There! A complete refutation of their argument by fighting their imaginary characters with other ones. The solution to Iraq is the get the Mystery Machine over to Iraq as soon as possible. The war will be over in half an hour with hilarious highjinks along the way.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Shame on the wall.

My son went on a field trip to the White House on Tuesday. He had a good time.

He also came home with an 8x10 photo of the President and First Lady. And I'm spending each day hoping against hope that he doesn't do his usual thing and ask that we hang it up in his room.

I only really became an adult, politically speaking, during Clinton's presidency, but I'd like to think I could stand having him hang up Reagan or Bush I's picture, were one of them the current President. But this Bush....