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

Saturday, October 30, 2004


Oregonians! If you haven't voted yet, the Democrats are providing a pdf detailing rights you have so you can be informed and avoid any shenanigans that may occur. The Democrats.org site also has info on polling places if you are unsure of where yours is. Non-Oregonians can also go to the site and look for info in their state. Don't be ill-prepared because you think it can't happen to you. All things that happen are things that happen to people who didn't think it would happen to them!

Current Soundtrack: Peter Murphy, Alive Justforlove

Friday, October 29, 2004


If you're still one of those people who aren't quite sure which way your vote is going to go, then I highly recommend this editorial from The New Yorker. It's the first time in the magazine's history they have ever endorsed a President, which says something about how strongly they feel about it. Not only do they go into why it should not be Bush, they also say why it should be Kerry.

Currently reading: Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss (a little grammatical thinking before rewriting); Love Poems from the Japanese, translated by Kenneth Rexroth; The Plastic Man Archives, vol. 3 by Jack Cole

Current Soundtrack: The Al Franken Show on Air America

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Artbomb has posted my review of the most recent Usagi Yojimbo collection, the excellent Travels with Jotaro. Read it here.

Since I work retail Mondays and Tuesdays in the evening, I try to manage my writing time to have projects that fit within the shorter space lined up for those days. Like formatting "Can You Picture That?" was perfect for Monday, where I have to go in at 3:00. And if I am going to start going over The Everlasting, I would hold that until a Wednesday, so that several days are clear to work on it.

But like I noted last week, I am using the opportunity to get some work done on the graphic novel I am doing. I've been writing all day today (Tuesday, as I type, but since I am working at Starbucks for a change, I won't post this until later), and if I keep on the track I am on until I am done this week, I'll be able to give the artist twice as much material as I delivered already, bringing the current page count up to about 50 pages. It's an old editor's trick. Even though I know that other commitments will precede the drawing of the book, I can play on the artist's guilt by piling on the pages! (This is why a writer should never be heard to say, "But Mr. Editor, I don't need to write #12 yet, because #10 isn't even drawn." Mr. Editor knows better than you, you layabout!)

More importantly, though, working on a comic book script is providing me with a welcome break from prose. I don't want to say that comics are easier than prose, but this particular project is more easygoing. The Everlasting by its very nature requires more energy, because as a novelist, I am required to detail every moment, every aspect, every thought. With the graphic novel, the production is scaled back. You can't convey the same level of detail, and so it's all about choosing the essential moments, distilling your story down to the proper beats. In a novel, I can take as many pages as I want to explore something, but in a comic the same scene has to be showed on a limited number of pages with a limited number of panels. So, it's all about choices, about picking the right things to see, to convey the emotion or the event. (Add to this that I know the artist very well, and thus can leave a lot of the staging and other things to someone with a much more visual eye than my own without having to worry about the book jumping the tracks. Much of my stage direction is preceded by the word "maybe," as in, "Maybe we could show this tight, over the shoulder.")

My process right now is working scene by scene. I have a pretty good outline of what I think I want to do, and so I just go one step at a time. In some cases, since it's mainly people talking, I write the dialogue out straight with a minimum of description, and then I go back and break it down into the proper units (pages and panels again). Interestingly, though the approach is much more laid back, it's also more controlled. Like I said, I pretty much have every story point noted on my outline, whereas with The Everlasting and Cut My Hair both, I had major holes in my outline right up until the very end. I like to say that if the books were the alphabet, I would know there were 26 letters, but I would only know the first and last letter, the vowels, and maybe some of the consonants, and I would discover the rest as I went along. Not so much here.

That doesn't hold off experimentation, though, or even lock me in too securely. Today a scene naturally evolved to include a story point I wasn't planning on introducing yet. As of right now, I think it can lend an air of tension to the story that will be under the surface the whole time even if it doesn't pay off until later. The novelist in me says I can just take it out if I get farther in and discover I did go too far too early--but then, only if I stay ahead of the artist. The flipside to putting on the pressure to draw!

Current Soundtrack: Pet Shop Boys, PopArt: The Hits (Pop disc); Bryan Ferry, As Time Goes By

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


The new installment of "Can You Picture That?" is now online, and it is a Popular lovefest. I also reveal that I am the only guy to ever work in comics who didn't hate high school.

When Cut My Hair came out, a couple of Hollywood types took a look at it. I never was expecting anyone to bite, it's never seemed all that commercial to me. (People always respond, "What about SLC Punk?" Sure. What about it? Huge box office, eh?) The usual showbiz evaluation was, "If you want to write a screenplay, then we can see if we can sell that." It was always too big an if, and I had only just gotten the story out of my hands. It was too early to pick it up again. Plus, I never actually wanted a movie anyway. While I would let it happen if the opportunity arose (the benefits are good, let's be honest), I find the whole need to have movies of everything utterly ridiculous.

Plus, I never see what I write as anything but what I wrote it as, and even though I crafted an opening sequence to a screenplay a couple of years later under the idea that maybe I could fix things I didn't like about the novel, I never really got into it. Why do I tell you these things now? Well, only because when Popular was on the air, I wanted there to be a Cut My Hair movie so Leslie Bibb could play Jeane. As an actress, she was everything I wanted for that character. It doesn't change the picture I have of Jeane in my head, which Andi Watson captured dead accurately in the first illo of her in the book, but if it was ever put to celluloid, they'd have a tough time making me stop thinking of Brooke McQueen.

I thought Christopher Gorham could probably play Mason, too. As Popular's resident nice guy, he managed the balance of funny and smart vs. insecure and awkward. He never quite embodied Mason in my imaginaton, though, not the way Bibb became Jeane. I am not sure anyone can do that.


Margaret Cho has a sassy ad up at MoveOn. Click here, and check it out. Love is love is love.

Current Soundtrack: The Creatures, A Bestiary Of...

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Sunday, October 24, 2004


Because no one asked for it...I am continuing my comprehensive Morrissey reviews.

Moz has now released the third single from You Are The Quarry, "Let Me Kiss You." Though the lyrics almost sound like a parody of what a Morrissey song is supposed to be ("then you open your eyes and see someone you physically despise"), it's a good choice for a single track. The melody is nice and easy, and over time, it's become one of the songs I return to most often. It's also the one Nancy Sinatra covered for her excellent self-titled album, and in a strange marketing move, the label has released both as singles on the same day. Originally, there was talk of it being a split release, which seems like it would have been much better. Or...

I honestly think they should have made the B-side, "Don't Make Fun of Daddy's Voice," the A-side. With its ? & the Mysterians organ riff, it's one of the best songs of the recent crop. The hook is ebullient, and the lyrics are funny. It could have stood in the grand tradition of excellent non-album A-sides (the post-Viva Hate triptych of "Last of the Famous International Playboys," "Interesting Drug," and "November Spawned a Monster," "Pregnant for the Last Time," "Boxers").

The other two tracks on the single confirm what the "First of the Gang To Die" B-sides suggested: this time around, the best material was used on the album. "Friday Mourning" is a good song, one of Morrissey's grandiose, self-pitying ballads. Unfortunately, instead of fully taking off and breaking through the atmosphere and becoming something stellar, it just glances the edge and comes back down.

"I Am Two People" is interesting lyrically. As the title suggests, it's a war of one's own nature, and how to remove the barriers that separate us from one another. (And is it me, or does Moz seem to be writing a lot of songs about exposing himself to people and coming up short lately? Who are these folks?) The backing music never quite matches up with the thrust of his voice, though. The band gives him nothing to hang the words on, and the melody doesn't stick.

Current Soundtrack: Travis, "Walking In The Sun;" Kylie Minogue, "I Believe In You;" Eminem feat. Dre & 50 Cent, "One Last Time"

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, October 23, 2004


If I could be Wong Kar-Wai, I would be. I would take that opportunity if it came. There are few people I respect so much in the world today, who follow their crazy ideas and somehow manage to make it work, despite all odds. He works his camera the way a novelist works with words, changing and diverging and revising. Most filmmakers can't afford to toss film away, but Kar-Wai will make three or four films on his way to the one he lets you see.

It goes without saying that as soon as his newest film, 2046, showed up on eBay, I was all over it. The discs came out in China within a week of the film opening, an attempt to combat rampant bootlegging over there. It turns out patience would have been a virtue. This was a Face release, and they are known for having their logo pop up at regular intervals (this time, unlike their more subdued product placement on their extended Hero DVD, showing up in three separate pieces coming from three separate corners), and since it is the mainland version, Cantonese speaking characters, including Tony Leung's Chow Mo Wan, were dubbed into Mandarin. But those are small prices to pay to see the movie I was looking forward to more than any other this year.

Thank goodness I wasn't disappointed! I am drunk with the love I have for 2046. As a narrative, it is a chapter in an ongoing project that now encompasses Days of Being Wild and In The Mood For Love. It finds Chow after the failed affair of In The Mood. He has turned himself into a callous womanizer, escaping from his personal pain in the science fiction he now writes. As we watch him stumble through several relationships, we also get a glimpse of the literary world he is creating. In the future, there is a place called 2046. People take a train there to retrieve their lost memories, but no one knows quite how it works since no traveler has ever returned. 2046 also happens to be the number of the room in the hotel next to his, which is the room where he and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) would retire to in In the Mood to have their faux affair and write their martial arts serials. As a further nuance, it's the last year Hong Kong rules itself.

Kar-Wai has always been obsessed with time and how it weighs on people. In 2046, he creates three timelines: the late '60s world of Chow Mo Wan, the future world of his fiction (a fiction within a fiction), and the present world of the viewer. The third element is important, since Kar-Wai always demands a certain level of involvement of his audience. You can't be a passive viewer, you have to get completely inside the narrative and puzzle it out. Though 2046's lines are more clearly delineated than Kar-Wai's more ponderous efforts, it still shifts subtly. If you aren't giving it your full attention, you will rejoin the film in a completely different place than where you left it.

The other pervasive theme in all of Kar-Wai's films is the transience of human connections and the pain that comes from missed opportunities at love. Circumstance gets in the way far too often. In 2046, Chow engages in three significant relationships: the call girl played by Zhang Ziyi, the hotel owner's daughter played by Faye Wong, and the mysterious gambler played by Gong Li. Each encounter dissolves because the lovers can never get on the same page with one another. When Chow is loved, he plays the cad; when he is in love, he loses; when both participants are in love, it can never be thanks to ghosts from the past. They move in and out of one another's lives with a poetic sense of tragedy, and Kar-Wai's editing creates a melody of heartbreak. In much the way a novelist can create a symphony of emotion with words, Kar-Wai's camera delivers an impact beyond the action and dialogue.

The image that still resonates the most with me is when Faye Wong's character Wang Jing Wen asks Chow to rewrite his story with a happy ending for her. He sits down at his desk and days pass, his fountain pen poised above the paper like a needle waiting to come down on a record, and he can't write a line. He doesn't know how to write his way to happiness.

A movie of a different kind that also says something about artists unable to dictate the path of their art or, consequently, their life, is the documentary DiG!. DiG! is a chronicle of two bands, the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, who begin as friends and end up as rivals, with one band finding far more success than the other.

It's the Massacre that ends up off the rails. The passionate drive of the band's leader, Anton Newcombe, to cause a musical revolution is both their most alluring component and their most dangerous. Anton accepts no compromise, not in any aspect of life. His attitude leads to fights, hissy fits, and delusion. His refusal to work within the system makes for a much more treacherous route for his band, whereas the Dandys' willingness to go for it eventually affords them an ongoing career. Their guitarist, Pete Holmstrom, has the key line of the movie when he says that in order to lead a revolution, you eventually have to take it overground. Staying underground changes no one. (Not surprisingly, Anton is now disavowing this movie, and if you're interested, go to the band's site to read why. The reasons are valid.)

If the film has a failing, in fact, it's that it doesn't explore Pete's statement enough. The filmmaker--and indeed, everyone in the movie--is so hypnotized by Anton's self-destructive antics, it almost feels like the Dandys are just a footnote. There is an implication that their success proves Anton right. Their label does a poor job of marketing, and the band nearly goes south, before a fluke commercial opportunity overseas, which the band follows up with relentless touring, leads to a long-term triumph. It was only be sticking to their guns and not letting the bean counters dictate everything that pushed them through.

So, DiG! beggars the question: is it better to never accept compromise and slave away in continued obscurity, or do you give up a little to exploit opportunities when they come? Is it better to revolutionize nowhere, or to change a corrupt somewhere? Or in the terms of 2046, do you stay true to yourself and isolate your heart, or do you shove that pen down and write "and they lived happily ever after"?

Current Soundtrack: Celebrity Poker Showdown

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, October 22, 2004


I filled out my ballot and sent it in today. I love Oregon for sending ballots to our homes early and giving us time to sit and go over it.

So, I've done my part to get Bush out of the White House, and it's up to the rest of you. If you don't vote, you get what you deserve.


In other news, I am still taking time off from The Everlasting. I am playing it by ear. I may get back to it next week, I may take more time. I saw Greg Rucka at a reading for A Gentleman's Game last night, and he suggested a month. In the meantime, I am picking up the graphic novel I am writing again. The artist and myself and the publisher probably should put our heads together about making it a non-secret, so that the artist and myself can quit speaking about it in veiled terms. Though, hasn't somebody put the puzzle pieces together yet? Surely no one is fooled!

Current Soundtrack: Brian Jonestown Massacre, ...And This Is Our Music

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


I've returned to health pretty much, and am going to get on the ball today with printing out The Everlasting so I can start going over it.

I am going to be late with the October installment of "Can You Picture That?" Since it was due yesterday, that is likely obvious. I informed James Lucas Jones of this fact last week. Not knowing if the novel work would spill into this week, I was loathe to stop it to write a DVD article. I actually did a draft yeterday, so we will be good to go for next Tuesday.

Eric Stephenson has been talking about Four-Letter Worlds at the Pulse, and you can see a page from the story by Andi Watson and myself there. (Good thing, too, because I re-caught a typo I thought we had fixed.)

Current Soundtrack: Air America

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, October 15, 2004


...but I'm still fond of you. Oh, whoa ho.

This life of the mind is more dangerous than I thought. I woke up all stuffed up and with a weird throat, and by mid-afternoon, had a full-on fever. Seems like a bizarre after effect of yesterday. I am not even sure what I am doing on a computer. Which is why I am leaving as quickly as I came.


So, as Ian surmised from my last post, I finished the first complete draft of The Everlasting today. I haven’t done a word count, but it’s probably around 200,000 words, nearly 500 pages. About twice the size of Cut My Hair.

It was a strange experience. I ran the gamut of emotions, feeling both elation and sadness, satisfaction and fear. It was quite a mix, like a manic episode. As I told Kelly Sue, I felt like I should be put in a bathysphere and dropped in the middle of the ocean. I could crawl into a ball and will my molecules to separate until they got so far apart I completely dissipated. Then I might feel normal again.

That all sounds negative. It’s not. I have a tremendous sense of accomplishment, and the fact that I started to cry as I was writing the emotional climax leads me to believe I was on some kind of right track. It reminds me of writing the skinhead brawl in Cut My Hair, when I had to walk away from my computer because I made myself physically sick. When other people read that chapter--"Like An Outlaw (For You)"--when the book was published, they had the same reaction. It’s a good omen.

I don’t actually remember how I felt when I finished Cut My Hair. It was a much more drawn out process (ten years from starting the writing to publication), with nothing like the last four months of intense work I put into The Everlasting. The closest I can think is after I left Dark Horse to whip Cut My Hair into shape, I was going to do my major rewrite by typing the whole thing into my laptop. It had been written on an old Brother word processor, which was really a typewriter with a disc drive. Thankfully I had printed as I went, because I lost a lot of other material when that machine finally broke.

My goal on that rewrite mission was to do a chapter a day until all twenty-five of them were input. I think I ended up averaging about two chapters a day, which put me on an even better path than I anticipated. I went to my nearest Kinko’s and ordered up twenty-five bound copies, including a cover from an old sketchbook depicting the church scene from “Hideous Towns.” The lost artwork of Cut My Hair! When I picked up the copies, I carried them back to my apartment on foot. My muscles were sore and spasming by the time I got back, and it only added to my pride. The feeling of having done physical work is not something a novelist probably feels that often, unless you count cricks in the neck.

The feeling today was something different, something beyond that. You talk to most prospective writers, and there is a line between those who have actually finished a project and those that haven’t. Even with Cut My Hair on my resume, though, I felt like I still had something to prove, that the second book would be as big of a challenge, if not bigger. As an editor, I learned that everyone has one in them--one of whatever they want to do. If they pound away at enough, they will stumble on it. It’s why sometimes you’ll look at an artist's portfolio, and there is one good thing in amongst a bunch of bad things. Or why first-timers jump out the gate and wow you and then their second album, screenplay, book is terrible. Or think The Wonder Boys, and the writer is so crippled by the prospect of the follow-up--which is usually bigger, better, and more ambitious in scope--that he can never reach the last page.

Maybe that’s why so many of us go in for trilogies. We extend the concept of beginning-middle-end to the whole of the story, making them signposts for the series, as well. I finished The Everlasting, but I still have to do They Are All In Love (Have You Seen The Horizon Lately?), so the work is still in progress, yeah?

I definitely thought about The Everlasting as part of this Romance cycle of mine. It is part two, so it is inevitably the darkest hour. I look at the cycle as (1) the Fairy Tale, (2) Love Fails, and (3) Love Conquers All. I don’t adhere to the idea strictly, obviously, but then, I don’t have to. I don’t believe in creative rules. I had some rules for The Everlasting, as far as how I wanted the narrative voices to advance specific goals and depict specific aspects of the main character, Lance Scott's personality, but those slowly fell by the wayside. I followed what worked. In a way, I suppose, it was the synthesis of everything about Lance. The prose about him blended together as his splintered personality collided with itself. (I’ve already set up some restrictions for They Are All In Love, too, in a challenge to myself. Namely, the main character, Percy, who lives in exile, has banished pop music from his house. Thus, no avenue for pop music references.)

In the trilogy sense, as well, I allowed some story parallels to exist with Cut My Hair. They crept up naturally as I wrote The Everlasting, and I can actually point in my notes to the spot where I realized it, too. Certain types of events repeat, but they relate to the overall themes of the series, and in 99% of the cases, when something happens to Lance that also happened to Mason, the effect was totally different. What works for Mason doesn’t work for Lance, and that’s part of the thrust of the book. Youthful folly is no longer so cute.

Sorry if I am all over the place, but I’m just lining everything up in my head. Plus, if you put Scotch in hot chocolate, it tastes just like one of those mini chocolate bottles of liquor. Swear to God!

Next step for me is to spend a couple of days away from the book, giving me time to forget it. Then I will pick a good block of days to just sit and read it with a red pen, looking for redundancies, holes, whatever. Just a nice overview and clean-up. I may even go away and do it, I don’t know. The cat could resent me if I do that. She likes being part of the process. (I swear she knew today. Animals can certainly sense extreme emotion, and she gets motherly with me when I’m upset. Lots of passing by my shins and meowing.) Then I’ll likely do what I did with Cut My Hair and bind up some copies and get some feedback and start looking for an agent and publisher.

Current soundtrack: Robbie Williams, Greatest Hits

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, October 14, 2004


And now my creation must go into the world and become a real boy.

Current Soundtrack: Manic Street Preachers, "The Love of Richard Nixon"


Air America is hosting a reading by E.L. Doctorow of a recent essay he wrote about our President and the time we live in. It's very insightful and heartfelt and well worth a listen. [Note: It's in a Windows Media Audio format.]

Monday, October 11, 2004


The last several days, I have been working on Gravitation vol. 11. I'll probably finish up the first draft tonight and proof it over the week. It's due Friday.

Saturday, Christopher and I went to see a production of Neil Labute's The Mercy Seat at the Artist Repertory Theatre. It's a two-person show, performed on an open set on a stage that is at ground level. It deals with a couple who are thinking of making a clean break of it on the day after 9/11. The man can pretend he died, thus not leaving his wife and kids in an emotional lurch the way a divorce would. Labute loves having people rip their guts out and throw them at one another, and The Mercy Seat is no exception. It wasn't a remarkable production, but it's hard for such strong, wrenching dialogue not to shine.

Current Soundtrack: Original soundtrack to 2046

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, October 09, 2004


Other political thoughts: While I understand the inherent faults with generalizations, I want to try one on. It seems to me that those who lean to the left accept that our leaders are human and thus flawed, and we make concessions for that. We often look like apologists, simply because we might weigh the value of a mistake and excuse it if it doesn’t tip a scale too far. (Like, for those of us who couldn’t care less who the Prez sleeps with, not when everything else is working.) We also know we won’t agree with anyone 100% of the time. Whereas people on the right don’t want to see flaws in their President, and they will staunchly deny they are there and defend their actions just as zealously as the left tries to explain. Neither approach is automatically right or wrong, I just happen to agree more with the first. (This is similar to Neal Shaffer’s thoughts following last night’s debate.)

The folks who are for Nader because they are starving for a third choice actually seem to me to end up in the same camp of thinking as the right, hence their ability to ignore that Ralph will knowingly take handouts from his opponents. This rush to try to reform the system feels misguided, though, in that they haven’t yet found a decent candidate either. Bush may be a Big Mac and Kerry a Whopper, but Nader is a Jumbo Jack – none of them are the high-end of burgers. It seems misguided to me that those of us who don't want to support Nader are labelled as opposed to the third party thinking; it's no different than the Bush-Cheney "you're for us or against us" approach to politicking. Personally, I’d love to see Howard Dean spend the next four years building something and making a real go of it as an independent in 2008--doing exactly what Nader hasn’t done and working to reform the country from the ground up, so that his candidacy is little more than the charge of the self-obsessed.

Current Soundtrack: Duran Duran, "Too Much Information" single

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich


For those who thought it was funny when the current pretend President of the United States went into his homespun humor mode when denying he owned a timber company in his second debate with Senator John Kerry, I point you to this quote from Factcheck.org (a website endorsed by Dick Cheney, and we know how Cheney's running mate loves all of the many internets out there):

"President Bush himself would have qualified as a 'small business owner' under the Republican definition, based on his 2001 federal income tax returns. He reported $84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise. However, 99.99% of Bush's total income came from other sources that year. (Bush also qualified as a 'small business owner' in 2000 based on $314 of 'business income,' but not in 2002 and 2003 when he reported his timber income as 'royalties' on a different tax schedule.)"

I'm sure they weren't trees, George, they're likely just weapons of mass construction. Let's clear cut and liberate that forest!

I know this is the sort of thing I don't normally post, but it's the sort of thing that infuriates me right now. This President can't be honest about anything. Has anyone even checked if he's given us his real name?

Been super busy, otherwise. I'll try to update, but let's just say if this were the dance marathon in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? I'd either be winning the prize very soon or keeling over and dying.

Edit/Correction: That’ll teach me to just read the quoted paragraph and not go and read the whole article. Kerry had a misleading source on the timber company, which was Factcheck themselves. In the linked article, just after the paragraph excerpted above, they say: "So Bush was wrong to suggest that he doesn't have ownership of a timber company. And Kerry was correct in saying that Bush's definition of 'small business' is so broad that Bush himself would have qualified as a "small business" in 2001 by virtue of the $84 in business income.

Kerry got his information from an article we posted Sept. 23 stating that Bush on his 2001 federal income-tax returns 'reported $84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise.' We should clarify: the $84 in Schedule C income was from Bush's Lone Star Trust, which is actually described on the 2001 income-tax returns as an 'oil and gas production' business. The Lone Star Trust now owns 50% of the tree-growing company, but didn't get into that business until two years after the $84 in question. So we should have described the $84 as coming from an 'oil and gas' business in 2001, and will amend that in our earlier article.
" [credit to Denny Haynes for pointing this out]

It was a Kerry fumble, since it gave Bush the opportunity to dodge the question--which he would have done anyway, surely, but at least this time he had a decent excuse. I find it more disturbing in the end, though, that Shrub's smug delivery strikes some people as comedic timing.

Current Soundtrack: page 456 of The Everlasting printing; [for edit] Duran Duran, "Notorious (Live at Tower Records, Sunset)"

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, October 04, 2004


Today is a shameless day, as I plug plug away.

First up are some eBay auctions I am running, selling some doubles of DVDs I have. You can view my auctions HERE. There are several Disney DVDs and movies from Wong Kar-Wai, as well as a couple others. Proceeds from this auction will go to feed my habit and buy me more discs.

Also, in stores this week are two manga volumes I did the scripting for. Gravitation fans will be pleased to hear that the 8th book is now available. CLAMP fans will also be treated to the debut of Legal Drug, one of my favorite books I am currently involved with. You can read more about it, including an eight-page preview, at the Tokyopop site. And remember, if you use my Amazon links, you literally put pennies in my pocket, which will lead to me buying more crap! It's very important to my creative process that I have a steady stream of crap in my life, so you are doing your part for the literary world!

Current Soundtrack: The Trash Can Sinatras, A Happy Pocket

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Sunday, October 03, 2004


Supposedly Mt. St. Helens spit some stuff into the air the other day, but I have yet to see a flake of ash. There was a whole thing on the news about how Alaska Airlines cancelled a ton of flights and rescheduled everything--and they were the only ones, really screwing up their day. Nothing like panic from a faceless corporation.

I left my house last night at the time the show was supposed to start, hoping that my travel time would get me out of seeing at least one of the two opening bands. When I arrived at Dante's, I was unsure of just how the show would be. The tabled area was full, and there were some people standing on the fringes, but everyone was keeping a respectful distance from the stage.

After the second opening act finished (I did miss the first), though, people started moving forward, so I quickly did, too, taking a spot on the right. In the intervening time, wherein the band dutifully set up their own equipment and then slunk off backstage again, the "pit" area started to fill up, and I could hear people swapping war stories of the long-ago time that they all originally discovered the band. People in their early 20s were greeted as if they were alien ambassadors, come to speak of this quaint new world where the Trash Can Sinatras were an odd curiosity found in used bins. One girl was taking it upon herself to introduce herself to everyone, and it was only a manner of time until she got to me. She misheard my name as "Damien" and I am not sure why I corrected her. I was trying to adopt my best feline manner--when not ignoring you, I will display open contempt. She poked me once, saying, "This boy, he's up front," and then later obnoxiously felt the top of my hair (this is a new invention, this thing where one's hair stands up), but I just didn't turn around. It's like that theory where gods lose their power as people stop believing in them; the annoying attention seekers will shrink if you deny them their desire.

The rhinestone groupies were there. They had some kind of laminates around their neck, but each and every one of them--and they had grown in population--had them turned so that only the backs were visible, which probably meant they were absolutely nothing, just some homemade bullshit. They were dragging a couple of guys around with them, who looked like real tools in their khaki pants and knit baseball caps. Baseball caps were designed by the devil, children, and they won't fool anyone into thinking you're not bald. (FYI: A Cowboy hat actually makes you a bigger tool, and I will simply accuse you of copying Madonna circa the "Don't Tell Me" video. The Kaballah is surely to follow!)

The Trash Cans squeezed onto the tiny stage and instantly built a rapport with the crowd. It's a rare instance where a band feels genuinely glad to be where they are, and the audience is genuinely glad they are, too. We were treated to a career-spanning set, and while a regular show would never cover all the songs I'd want to hear, they did a good job of picking out some of the best. I snagged the drummer's set list, and for those interested, here is what they played (quote marks removed for ease): Got Carried Away, How Can I Apply?, All The Dark Horses, Easy Read, What Women Do To Men, Send For Henny, It's a Miracle, Trouble Sleeping, Hayfever, A Coda, I Must Fly, Only Tongue Can Tell, The Genius I Was, The Safecracker, I've Seen Everything, and Weightlifting. "I Must Fly" seemed especially beautiful, with great big washes of guitar, and when followed by "Tongue" and "Genius," two of their most buoyant numbers, I'd say they reached a definite peak right about there.

For the encore, we were treated to "Thrupenny Tears," which was definitely the title most shouted for throughout the night (I was pushing for "The Therapist," but "Thrupenny" was also up there; I had already been told no B-sides were rehearsed when I had asked for "Stainless Stephen" earlier in the day). They apologized in advance, and John declared it was a long shot that they'd make it through the whole thing, but you'd be hard pressed to guess that they weren't prepared, even after being told they weren't. It was full-on perfect, gorgeous and full of life.

I got my wish on the last song. "The Therapist" is great fun, and with its round-robin outro of "bye-bye, see you later on/shut up, your time is up," the perfect way to end the night.

So, 11 years later, The Trash Can Sinatras still have a special something that sets them apart, ensuring they remain in my pantheon of Top-Three Bands of All Time (with The Smiths/Morrissey and Suede, in case you thought of asking; all picked based on personal meaning and their existence within my lifetime). With the old songs, I was reminded of everything they meant to me; with the new ones, I found fresh meaning. I just hope it doesn't take another decade for them to come around again.

Current Soundtrack: Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, October 02, 2004


Scotland's Trash Can Sinatras has been one of my favorite bands since they first hit America in 1990. Their album, Cake was one of the first two CDs I'd ever bought, unable to get them out of my head after seeing them perform at KROQ's Acoustic Christmas that year.

It's been 11 years since I'd last seen them live, and so it's fitting that I restart my love affair with them at an acoustic performance. They stopped in at Music Millennium today and performed a handful of songs: "Got Carried Away," "Easy Read," "All The Dark Horses," "How Can I Apply?," "The Safecracker," and "Weightlifting." It was well-attended, yet intimate, with singer Francis Reader sitting on the stage, backed up by a piano, two guitars, and a music egg. The simplicity of their graceful melodies are most evident in this kind of arena, and the late start was well worth it since all the tinkering meant they had crystal clear sound.

Of course, it's always a little weird to see that the core fanbase has aged with the band, and that we're all, well, getting old. There were two women in T-shirts with homemade TCS slogans across the chest in rhinestones that, really, should have known better. But then, Klingons of all varieties never really clue in, do they?

Before the show, I was able to meet Reader and give him a copy of Cut My Hair. It's a dorky ritual I have. Since I write with music in the background, I like to say thanks to the people who inspired me by hopefully giving them some entertainment back. In the case of the Trash Cans, they are also mentioned in the book and the last chapter, "Thrupenny Tears," is named after one of their songs. Reader flipped through it and saw the titles "Holidays in the Sun" and "You Are The Everything" and said he was glad to be in such good company. (Other people I have given the book to: Pete Townshend (not in person, but his office sent me a letter thanking me), Shirley Manson (got a nice postcard from her), Martin Rossiter from Gene, and Ian MacLagan from The Small Faces.)

I met the rest of the band after, and got them all to sign my Weightlifting CD. They were all very genial and friendly, something I remember from following them all over California with Benrus on the I've Seen Everything tour in 1993. I can't wait to see their full set tonight.

Afterwards, I saw the drummer, Stephen Douglas, talking to a middle-aged woman on the street. She was asking him where he was from, and when he said Scotland, she said, "Oh, the country overrun by wankers, huh?" I cringed at the clumsiness of it. Thankfully, Stephen knew that it was a Trainspotting reference and awkwardly let her off the hook, but what an embarrassing thing to say. (This was followed up by the site of the theatre showing Ghost in the Shell 2 declaring that it was "Japanimation!" on their marquee. Oy vey.)

Current Soundtrack: Minnie Driver, Everything I've Got In My Pocket; Sigur Ros, Breezeblock mix 8/20/2002

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, October 01, 2004


A new month, and a new group of video picks. The store I work for now has a website, too, if anyone is interested.

No real theme this month, though most of them are pretty girly, and one film is a remake of another film.

* Comrades: Almost a Love Story starring Maggie Cheung and Leon Lai

* My Fair Lady starring Audrey Hepburn, directed by George Cukor

* Pygmalion starring Wendy Hiller, directed by Leslie Howard & Anthony Asquith

* Sleeping Beauty from Walt Disney

* Temptress Moon starring Leslie Cheung and Gong Li, directed by Chen Kaige

Current Soundtrack: Glass/Bowie/Eno, Low Symphony

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All material (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich