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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

256k: $1.29. Sharing songs with your wife: Priceless.

Finally, DRM-free music available à la carte. Thank you, EMI. And may the rest of the labels follow. (And I eagerly await Amazon's entry into the fray, which will also be DRM-free and may be cheaper, in fact, than iTunes.)

Now, the question is: do I put my money where my mouth is and refuse to download DRM'ed audio? Make a principled stand, rewarding EMI but shunning the other labels?

Maybe. It's easier to do that than work for peace.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Al-Qaeda's Enabler.

Say what you will about Andrew Sullivan, this post is good enough to merit reprinting in full (boldface mine):
The president's press conference last week left me at a loss for words. Spluttering is not a real response. But how else to respond to a man who has spawned a catastrophe in the Middle East and then behaves as if it's his critics who are out of touch with reality? Then we get this latest news about pre-war intel from the WaPo and the dreadful but obvious reality in the NYT that every road ahead in Iraq - staying or leaving, surging or redeploying - is full of death, terror and chaos. The light at the end of this tunnel is hard to glimpse. But Bush is still proudly digging the tunnel.

What can one say? Well: we can say this at least. The president is right that al Qaeda remains a terrible threat to Americans. He is right to insist on this. But one core reason he is right is because he has been in the White House for the last six years. Al Qaeda surely never had a more helpful man in such a powerful place. After over six years of this presidency, Bin Laden is still at large. Five and a half years after Bin Laden's religious tools murdered 3,000 innocents, this president still cannot find or capture or kill him. Five and a half years after that dreadful day, al Qaeda's reach in the Middle East is more extensive than ever, centered in Iraq, where it was barely existent before the war. Over four years after invading Iraq, the security situation there is as grave as it has ever been. Tens of thousands of innocents have been added to the three thousand murdered on 9/11 - many of them unspeakably tortured and murdered by death squads or Islamist cells empowered by Bush's jaw-dropping negligence. Over three thousand young Americans have died in order to give al Qaeda this victory and this new platform.

Here is Bush's gift to the victims of 9/11: two new al Qaeda safe havens - in Anbar and in Pakistan. He gave Zarqawi a second career, by refusing to kill him when had a clear shot in 2003, and then allowing him to run rampant across Iraq for several years. Islamists, moreover, are far closer now to getting their hands on WMDs than they were when Bush became president - the very casus belli I foolishly bought to go to war with Saddam. Given the financial boost al Qaeda has gotten from the Iraq invasion, the massive propaganda coup they have won by Bush's authorization of torture, and the triumph of Iran as a consequence of Bush's non-existent "strategy", isn't it simply a fact that Bush is the best thing to happen to al Qaeda since its founding? Is not the record now clear that, whatever their intentions, Bush and Cheney have actually advanced the day when Islamist terrorists will kill and murder more Americans?

If a Democrat had been responsible for endangering America in this fashion, the Republicans would have impeached him by now. If a Democrat had bungled a war as obviously as this president - a war, moreover, that he has described as an existential struggle for our survival - the Republicans would long ago have Carterized him. Look how the Israelis have held Olmert accountable for his feckless war in Lebanon. Compared to Bush, Olmert is Churchill. If Bush's record in this war is "offense," then the only sane response is: so was the charge of the light brigade.

Just to anger up the blood some more, it's now clear, thanks to the latest Congressional report, that this president was warned starkly about the dangers of "a surge of political Islam and increased funding for terrorist groups" as a result of an invasion of Iraq. He was told that Iraq was "largely bereft of the social underpinnings" for democracy. He was explicitly informed that there was "a significant chance that domestic groups would engage in violent conflict with each other unless an occupying force prevented them from doing so." And yet he still sent a pathetically insufficient occupation force in 2003 - and refused to increase it for three years of growing chaos and mayhem. Even if you excuse the original recklessness, the persistence in it - until our current point of no return - is and was criminal negligence - a callous disregard for your security and mine.

The gravity of the mistake this country made in 2004 by re-electing al Qaeda's best bet is only now sinking in as deep as it should. I fear, however, that we have yet to experience the full and terrifying consequences of that historic mistake.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pushbutton start.

We have put our global-warming money where our mouth is.

Yesterday, as we gassed up the minivan to go to Salisbury and visit my grandparents, I looked at the price--fifty-two bucks for three quarters of a tank--and something snapped. I got back in the car and said to K, "That's it. We need a hybrid."

Today, after glancing at the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid, we drove off the lot in Carmax with a 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid. Forty-three MPG city, 37 highway. And despite being "used," it has less than 500 miles on it.

We're keeping the minivan for long trips, at least for now, so we are once again a two-car family (sigh). I'm fine with a smaller car--I would have been fine with a Civic or a Prius, for instance--but K is worried about it. It's my hope that we'll sell the Venture soon, though.

Funny how I get a "practical" car for my mid-life crisis! How lame!

Further impressions to follow.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Monday, May 21, 2007

A "review" of Five-Minute Dracula.

Shoot, I wish I had known about this back when I was doing those video podcasts...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Multiple choice.

A 35 year old man, embarking on an early midlife crisis, should do which of the following?
A. Buy a Mini Cooper.
B. Embark on a extramarital affair.
C. Grow his hair long and tie it back into a ponytail.

If you answered C, give yourself a point.

"It's over!" -- Strong Bad

Earnest closed last night with our most responsive audience yet. Now, I eagerly await the inevitable post-show depression.

It's strange, how one spends weeks rehearsing, bitching and moaning about what a pain it is to be staying up late and so on. But then the show opens and suddenly I could do it for ten weeks more. Instead, we close after only five performances! But that's the way PGLT does it.

Sometimes I wish I hadn't given up my dreams of being a Working Actor. One of my co-stars, who is about a year out of college, has that dream, but seems to be managing to avoid all the mistakes I made (and she has talent to boot), so might well make it. Nonetheless, I want to grab her and say, "Don't give up! Don't look for safety! Keep at it!" But honestly, I doubt she needs that exhortation, least of all from me.

Besides, the fact that I'm having success at a community theater level is, quite frankly, rather like being (as they say) the world's tallest midget. The moment I tried to make it professionally, I'd be swarmed with rejection, just like I was when I (briefly) tried it ten or so years ago.

(By the way, I misspoke in the previous entry. I have gotten reviewed more recently than college--for Hamlet, Revenge! But that particular piece, which appeared in our local, volunteer newspaper, was written by... the husband of one of the cast members. So I tend to not count it.)

Friday, May 18, 2007

"Like an Elephant Sitting on your Lap!"

It's my first review since college! And my first ever in a non-school newspaper!

From the Baltimore Sun:
Zachary Brewster-Geisz is a charming Algernon, creating high comedy as he first gobbles all of the cucumber sandwiches intended for his Aunt Augusta and later devours most of the muffins in an eating contest with Jack. Brewster-Geisz creates high comedy with Karl Heimer's Jack and displays genuine chemistry with Katie Keddell's Cecily.
"We did it, we did it, oh yeah yeah yeah... no eating here tonight, you on a diet..."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

How many unfinished novels do you have?

Occasionally, I get the silly idea that I want to be a novelist again, despite the fact that it's been nearly ten years since I wrote anything lengthy, prose or otherwise. Today I went through my laptop's hard drive and discovered two fragments, one of which was horrible, the other of which was actually pretty good, or at least had potential.

Both were for Nanowrimo (a concept which I love in theory but in practice drives me literally insane) and as such even the good one has its cringeworthy moments. Most annoyingly, the second one was conceived as a mystery, but now I have no idea what the mystery was about, or how it would have been solved. In fact, I could see it as a simple love story. Because it was Nanowrimo, I didn't make an outline or any notes or anything of the sort, and in truth I don't even remember writing it--were it not on my computer and set in a place based on somewhere I used to work, I'm not sure I would recognize it.

But maybe you would! Here it is. All rights are reserved at this point, but probably not for long. Read it and weep... or laugh, I don't care.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Seen this one yet?

1. Go to
2. Click on "maps"
3. Click on "get directions"
4. Type "New York" in the first box (the "from" box at the very top of the page)
5. Type "London" in the second box (the "to" box next to it with arrow)
6. Click on "get directions."
7. Scroll down to step # 24

Via Achenblog.

The weather report.

Today is my father's birthday. He would have been 69 years old. That's why.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I just read SF author John Scalzi's treatise on writing, You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop. I found it at the local library. While adding it to my "books read" list, I noticed the current selling price.

Now I'm afraid to return it, lest someone with fewer scruples than me steal it and sell it...

(How a limited edition, signed copy ended up in the Prince George's County library system is a mystery to me, anyway.)

Paging John Linnell! (Or is it Flansburgh?)

My friend Pat has been indulging in a Star Wars theme this month, in honor of the thirtieth anniversary of its release, and it's been a real treat to check in each day to see the new YouTubiness--including the very first trailer, which I had never seen before.

But I especially wanted to highlight today's entry, specifically the second clip, for its musicianship. Sure, it sounds like a medley of the Star Wars themes played on an accordion would be pure Mos Eisley (we must be cautious). But listen to the arrangements this guy came up with. He really paid attention to John Williams' orchestration and translated it beautifully. His playing is adequate--there are a few flubs here and there--but his attention to detail is breathtaking.

In other news, tomorrow's weather forecast shows a 50% chance of loneliness, with late depression and a slight chance of tears. (Don't worry. All will be explained...)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lyric of the Moment.

A new feature, shamelessly stolen from Medley...

Here's "True Affection" by the Blow, from the album Paper Television. Draw whatever inferences you like from the choice...
I was out of your league....
and you were twenty thousand underneath the sea
Waving affections
You were out of my league
at a distance that I didn't want to see
Down to the bottom

I wanted a junction, and often there was one
You'd surface face first and we'd share thought bubbles
and I still believe in the phrases that we breathed
but I know the distance isn't fair to cross

I was out of your league....
and you were twenty thousand underneath the sea
Waving affections
You were out of my league
at a distance that I didn't want to see
wanted you nearer

Your depths made a pressure that punctured my works
and all your fluids couldn't tolerate the force of my thirst
I love the place, where we shared our tiny grace
But just because it's real don't mean it's going to work

I was out of your league....
and you were twenty thousand underneath the sea
Waving affections
You were out of my league
at a distance that I didn't want to see
wanted you nearer

and true affection floats
true affection sinks like a stone
I never felt so close
I never felt so all alone

I was out of your league....
and you were twenty thousand underneath the sea
Waving affections
You were out of my league
at a distance that I didn't want to see
wanted you nearer

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Five sandwiches; five muffins; sundry candy.

Come to the Bowie Playhouse and watch me stuff my face throughout Acts One and Two of The Importance of Being Earnest. Time is runnin' out!

EDIT: And whee, here's me!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


It's been a whirlwind few days--we're in final tech rehearsals for Earnest and as if that wasn't bad enough, on Saturday I flew to Michigan for a day for my cousin's wedding, getting back into D.C. at midnight. The next morning, I drove over to the Bowie Playhouse to do a put-in (where I BUILT A WALL!!!) and cue-to-cue 'til 10 P.M. Since then, I've been at the theater 'til at least eleven every night; "taught" Tuesday morning at my daughter's nursery school; driven my son to Annapolis to see a special doctor; and attempted to get The Cell-Phone in order for the Jacksonville Film Festival, where it may not show after all because I got them the screening copy late.

I cannot remember ever being this tired, even when my kids were newborns.

Monday, May 07, 2007

I'm back!

At least, as much as I ever am.

I had planned to go into detail about Dad's death (within reason); transcribe the eulogy, describe the grieving process, and so forth. But on further reflection, I think those moments... belong to me, and to my family (especially my wife, who has been a tremendous shoulder to lean on, and I thank her).

By most definitions, Dad raised me alone, for good and for bad. So much of my own self-image is wrapped up in him that losing him, even though there was much resentment and anger between us over the years, is a major kick in the gut.

I suppose that's the case for any parent's loss. But in any case, there are some things that should be journalled, and some that shouldn't. I can see arguments on both sides for journaling this experience. But, for now at least, these experiences shall remain within me.