A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003


Havent been doing a lot of serious writing lately, but just for the hell of it, wrote a couple of reviews on Amazon.


Tinka by Rainy Dohaney (aka Renee French)

[five stars] Sweet as can be, and gorgeous to look at..., May 18, 2003

Reviewer: Jamie S. Rich from Portland, OR USA

This is that rare and special kind of children's book that doesn't play to any particular age or audience, instead choosing to exist in a world where every breathing soul can enjoy its simple message and its fun delivery.

Dohaney's theme isn't new. Her young lamb Tinka follows her dreams, finding the courage to accept her own individuality and seeing life beyond the confines of the tiny farm where her family lives. What's special is that the discovery of this courage does not come at the expense of that family unit--in fact, it enhances Tinka's place amongst the herd (and not in some scary conformist way, either, but in a warm and fuzzy good way).

Adding further to the specialness of the book is Dohaney's unique vision. Tinka's world is not a conventional one. It's filled with oddball characters and a vivid imagination that allows a field of flowers to be seen as a giant spider by those unwilling to look beyond their fenced-in pens. The illustrations have a loving depth of detail, with small touches like ever-present insects used to add an extra dimension to Tinka's farm, bringing it all to life. Dohaney's soft colors are gorgeous, too, and you'll want to spend a good amount of time looking at them even after you're done reading the words.

All in all, a special debut. I plan to buy a couple of copies and give them to friends who have some children on the way, so that they can share the delight I've found in TINKA.


The Libertines, Up The Bracket

[one star] Don't believe the hype. Really., May 12, 2003

Reviewer: Jamie S. Rich (see more about me) from Portland, OR USA

If you run across this in a store, you'll see some pretty astounding declarations of praise for this record on the packaging sticker, and those declarations are all complete and utter ....

This disc is a collection of some of the most tuneless, half-baked songs I have heard in a long while. It's one thing to put on a leather jacket and strike the poses of drugged out rock 'n' roll party boys, but you should probably make sure you have the rock 'n' roll first.

The first couple of songs, "Vertigo" and "Death on the Stairs," start the album out okay. You can hear Mick Jones' production influence, as they sound a bit like ramshackle Clash demos. But then it all goes awry. There are no melodies, no wholly formed songs, just a big drunken mess. The bonus track of UK single "What A Waster" redeems it a little near the end there...but I'm not sure you'll even want to be listening by then--even at the album's extremely short running length.

So, pass on this. If you need modern rock with a little old-time jangle, try The Strokes or something. Yeah, they're big fakers, but at least they give it a bit more effort.

The Libertines page is interesting, because it's almost like a war is going on. It seems every review is getting "unhelpful" user ratings, and you have to wonder if the fans are beating up the non-fans. If I'd bothered to read other people's reviews before I posted, though, I'd have avoided the hype headline and the reference to The Strokes.

Current Soundtrack: Robbie Williams, The Ego Has Landed


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