Things could be better

An exploration of all things not good enough, including me.

Hi, I'm Zach. I'm a filmmaker, writer, and designer. I vigorously shave yaks to cope with my deepest fears, but all of the dots seem to connect in the end. I like nice things. I'm interested in the total non-violent annihilation of all of the elements who make it impossible for us to have nice things.

In my life, I have worked as a dishwasher, busboy, janitor, waiter, bartender, tuxedo salesman, landscaper, photographer, editor, designer, web developer, writer, commercial filmmaker, and manager. I'm somewhat skilled in at least two of these activities (I'm incredible at washing dishes).

I currently own and run a commercial production company called Short Order Production House in Wilmington. I am a partner and product lead in an open web events platform called Markee. I also have various other projects that aren't good enough to tell you about.

One commercial job I am proud of is this podcast about the juvenile justice system in Delaware.

I'm passionate (psychotic?) about mechanical tools (film cameras, watches, typewriters), non-mechanical tools (software, digital cameras, Thought Technologies™️), and solving the human problems of poverty, stress, democracy, hate, and war.

I also love to cook.

Here are a couple of things I have written:

My Personal Email Newsletter (PEN)

I'd like to use the internet to get connected with people who share my interests so we can show each other stuff and fight and whatnot. If you are open to being my internet pal, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which you can read more about here.

Be my PENpal

I'm looking for others like me. My newsletter is the best way to connect.

More About Me

I live in Philadelphia, the greatest city in the world, with my wife (Allison) and children (Louisa and Wendell). Please don't be creepy and don't be mean to me. I'm very sensitive.

Below is a running list of things that are true about me. This list will change until I'm dead:

  • This blog, and it's current design, were posted online in 2017.
  • This blog is still not started.
  • I'm now showing this blog to people. It is the summer of 2020.
  • I am unwilling to make any declarative statements about myself publicly.
  • As a child, I suffered from insomnia. I would stay up late into the night listening to old-time radio on the WRVO Playhouse under the covers. Shows like The ShadowThe WhistlerFibber McGee and Molly, Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock productions. I fell in love with the radio medium.
  • When I did eventually fall asleep, I would wet the bed. Until I was 10. Okay, maybe until I was 12.
  • My mom died mysteriously when I was 5 years old. Everyone seems to have liked her. They named an auditorium after her at the psychiatric hospital where she and my dad worked. In college, I watched Hedwig and the Angry Inch there. It was okay. Not really my thing. It was very loud.
  • As a young teenager, I sailed tall ships, which sounds a lot better than "I went to Sailing Camp."
  • As an older teenager, I went to rehab, which sounds only slightly better than "I went to Feelings Camp."
  • I'm what is referred to as a "drug addict" or "alcoholic" because we don't have a more accurate term. Basically, I am "A Person Who Really Hates Feelings."
  • I "got sober" when I was 19, after nearly dying twice (and after completely destroying many relationships and losing all humor/emotion/connection to anyone or anything outside my fevered self-eating brain).
  • I have been completely abstinent from drugs and alcohol since July 27, 2002.
  • I am a practicing member of a Buddhist sangha, and my attitudes/judgments toward religion have continued to soften as I've directly experienced Awareness, which is a superset of all intellectual ideas.
  • My parents were pretty hands off. Once had a party with 300-400 people in our basement while they were upstairs watching Star Trek. The cops came. They joked with me and my parents. We lived in a "nice neighborhood" if you know what I mean.
  • I root for SyracuseThe Eagles, and The Sixers. Alabama over Auburn. Marvel over DC. Film over Digital. (Mexican) Coke over Pepsi. Topo Chico over everything.
  • The 1996 Olympics women's gymnastics all-around competition was among the top 5 sporting events I have ever watched. Nick Foles and the Eagles beating Tom Brady (in his best game he's ever played) was top 2. Hakim Warrick blocking the shot to win the national championship for Syracuse remains the single most explosive release of violent, triumphant energy I have ever experienced.
  • I really like the number 5. I also like 25, 44, 12, and 88. These numbers are the greatest of all, in terms of excellence.
  • I am from Syracuse and a high school called Nottingham (which is the platonic ideal of an American high school, with everything right, and everything wrong). There was a period of a couple months where people called in bomb threats every day just to skip the classes they didn't like. It was very 1999.
  • I am an Elder Millennial, which means that I am native to both the digital world and the world where your curly phone cords needed to be long enough so you could stretch them around corners and through rooms while talking to girls after school.
  • I miss my friends from high school/elementary school. A lot. I remember thinking that the day would never come when we would no longer be in touch, but that, like most things I thought back then, have proven to be wrong. That makes me sad. Working on solving this right now with my Personal Email Newsletter (PEN).
  • I don't like being sad, or admitting that there are things that are ultimately just sad.
  • I haven't read a novel for pleasure since the sixth grade, but I've read most of the self-help section. I can tell you about all of the Thought Technologies™️.
  • I've written 10% of 18 screenplays, and 40% of 5. I have an ongoing struggle with finishing things. I start a lot of things.
  • I am terrible not great with money and eating, and I think about them both more than I'm comfortable admitting. I've never liked taking my shirt off in public. These are the things that bother me a lot, and my (next) Final Frontier of Self-Improvement™️.
  • I'm a relatively smart, viciously competitive white guy with ideas and access to some capital. This economic system/game was designed with me in mind. I take any success I've had with a giant grain of salt.


Colophon is a fancy word for "the tools I use."

Thought Technologies™️

  • Building a Second Brain: Just-In-Time Project Management and The PARA Organization System
  • Getting Things Done: Inbox/Process/Do
  • Meditation: Compassion Practice (from Tibetan Buddhism), Mantra Practice (from Transcendental Meditation), Non-Doing/Non-Trying/Non-Focusing (from Brendan Kennedy with a sprinkle of Alexander Technique by way of Michael Ashcroft)
  • Intuitive Eating (though I'm far from an experienced practitioner)


  • Computers: Apple
  • Cameras (film): Leica, Fujifilm, Hasselblad, Olympus, Contax, Ricoh, Rollei, Bolex
  • Cameras (digital): Leica, Fujifilm, Panasonic, ARRI, Blackmagic
  • Watches: Seiko, Nomos, Omega
  • Keyboard Layout: Dvorak


  • Notes/Second Brain/Writing: Roam Research (with a splash of Evernote)
  • Project & Task Management: Things
  • Email: Superhuman (for me) and Spark (for my team)
  • Filmmaking: Final Cut X (that's right)
  • Reading: Instapaper, Kindle,, The Library (and CZUR Shine), Readwise

This Website

  • Content Management System: Statamic
  • Email Newsletter: ActiveCampaign
  • Artwork: Storyboard Artist Rorro Verdun (if you make him too busy to have time for me, I swear to God...)
  • The design of The Great Rebellion brand and website has been a collaboration between myself, Anthony Hay, and my partner at Markee, Carlos Anaya
  • Typeface: Sherman & Sherman Sans (stolen from my alma mater, please don't tell them)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the name of this website taken from She-Ra: Princess of Power?


Why did you name this website after something from She-Ra: Princess of Power?