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

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


The tenth installment of "Can You Picture That?" is now online. I tackle a handful of Robert Altman films that have recently been released on DVD, as well as make some holiday gift suggestions.

The November picks are about to go up at Trilogy, as well. I went for a theme this time of older films that contain a political story that is still revelvant to life today.

* Ballad of a Soldier, dir. Grigori Chukhraj

* The Children's Hour, starring Audrey Hepburn, dir. William Wyler

* Citizen Ruth, starring Laura Dern, dir. Alexander Payne

* Hearts & Minds, the quintessential Vietnam documentary

* Inherit the Wind, starring Spencer Tracy and Gene Kelly

In other movie news, I was excited to see Wong Kar-Wai's Ashes of Time as part of the NW Film Center's festival of his films. While I've watched a Hong Kong DVD version before, it was a rare opportunity to see it on a screen. In fact, it turns out that there are no 35mm prints in circulation, and they had to borrow one from a private collector.

Ashes of Time is Wong's marial arts epic. It's a strange piece, with swift temporal shifts that are disconcerting to first-time viewers. Characters blur together, and it's a puzzle to figure out who fits where. On second viewing, though, you begin to realize that it's intentional. All of these people are connected, even when they don't know it, and in some ways, they are interchangeable.

It also struck me that Ashes of Time is relly a Sergio Leone movie with all the long bits cut out. Extreme close-ups, audacious music, loners--but with it chopped down to its most essential bits. Remove a lot of those pauses from The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly, and you could turn it into a 100-minute film like Ashes of Time. Only be sure to break every character's heart first. It's lovesick Sergio Leone, full of romantic longing rather than manly swagger.

Congrats to Maryanne Snell for finishing her novel!

Similar congrats to Kelly Sue DeConnick for getting through the Slayers novel series, and the publication of her excellent short story in Bloodsucker Tales #2.

Nertz to me for having to report to jury duty tomorrow. Don't expect to hear from me much this week, unless they send me home early. [Scratch that. Better yet, not have me show up at all. Turns out the whole panel has been deferred until August.]

Current Soundtrack: misc. mp3s; Massive Attack, Danny The Dog soundtrack

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, November 22, 2004


Two books released this week. Gravitation vol. 9 and the second CLAMP School Paranormal Investigators prose novels. Both should be in comics shops on Wednesday, and hitting most book shops, as well.

As I did when #1 was released, I am giving a little taste of the CLAMP book. If you have any interest in these, please buy them through my Amazon link, either using the click above or the pic below. This will actually end up putting a penny or two in my pocket--self-made royalties! (Same with Gravitation.)

Chapter 1: The Uninvited Guest

The wind danced with the rain and blew it sideways.

Every so often, the lightning would illuminate the night sky so that it was as bright as day.

On a night such as this, when most people wouldn’t even dare to venture outside, the sight of an elderly man dressed head to toe in white and digging a hole in the ground seemed even more unusual than it sounds.

He was digging at the center of the sprawling Clamp School campus.

If it had been any other place but Clamp School, they’d probably have thrown the old man in the loony bin.

The man stopped digging in mid scoop. It was a sudden change. He froze, dropped the shovel, and looked down at his feet.

A tiny object was resting against his right shoe. It had been carefully wrapped in several layers of oil paper and meticulously tied with string.

The man crouched down, lowering his head to look at the package. “Keiko...” he muttered, “forgive me.”

With that, the old man placed the object in the hole he had made.


At that very same moment, across campus in a quiet, dark room, a girl sat by herself, bathed in the pale glow of machines. The quiet of her room was in direct contrast to the tumultuous weather that raged outside.

Just as suddenly as the old man had stopped digging, this girl rose up, and a sad expression washed over her face.

But, let’s leave her be for now. There’s nothing we can do to heal the deep wounds in her heart....


Several years and months passed after these two incidents on that dark and stormy night.

The first annual Clamp School Summer Vacation Treasure Hunt sponsored by the School Director is just around the corner! Who will be the top treasure hunter on campus?! And what treasure will they find? All of these questions will be answered when this exciting game gets underway this August!

The headline seemed unnecessarily grandiose—a topic Yuki Ajiadou was well-versed in, often fostering a grandiose image himself. He was in his second year in the High School Division of Clamp School, but more importantly, he was also Chairman of the Supernatural Phenomena Research Association—a position that required a little pizzazz from time to time. Such as now, when he decided to address the other members in a voice half an octave higher than what was normal for him.

“There’s only two days to the treasure hunt!” he squealed. “I can’t believe it’s finally here! At our best, we’re the top investigators on this campus, but we’re going to work a hundred times harder when it comes to seeking that treasure!”

Takayuki Usagiya, another High School sophomore, was sitting in his usual spot across from the Chairman. Those who knew him well knew that the way he adjusted his glasses just then meant his reaction to Yuki’s declaration was a rather annoyed, “Oh, brother!” (And, let’s be honest...can you really blame him?)

“You can’t be serious?” Takayuki groaned. “You really expect us to run all over the entire school in this sweltering weather and use our summer vacation to find some bogus treasure?”

“Don’t be such a spoilsport!” Yuki said. “How can you say that? This is our big chance to get some publicity for the Association! We may have solved quite a few supernatural mysteries, but the Student Body needs something tangible to wrap their heads around if we’re ever going to be granted Club status. If we can show some results here, our dream of becoming fully recognized could actually become a reality! Think of it—a real clubhouse, not some drafty stairwell!”

Yuki gestured around him. To the wall, the window, the steel door leading to the roof—they were in the only stairwell on the high school building’s top floor. It was bare except for a few old chairs made from metal piping.

Current Soundtrack: Still listening to the Nirvana box, and can't help wondering, if you missed this band the first time, and you started here to hear what the fuss was about, would you not think that this was the most undeserving band of all time? Is their legacy served by this mess?

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, November 20, 2004


I've been contemplating the idea of endings, lately. In a sense, when an audience enters into a story, they are putting their trust in the storyteller to take them somewhere. Whatever we are subjected to at the start is going to have some kind of payoff in the end, so even if we don't know where we are going, we have faith that it's all going to make sense.

Which is not a cry for pat endings, where everything is tied up. I am all for ambiguity, and I have said of myself, many times, that I prefer to end my stories at the moment before the "final" ending. I usually express it thus: I like to end on the inhale, and not wait for the exhale. It's a technique I took from Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird, where the book ends as its main character answers the phone. He has been mute up until this point, but the phone acts as a wake-up call, and he speaks for the first time, the cap to a long ordeal. I think this is fine, because Kosinki's goal--the goal I share--is to make sure that all that precedes that wake-up call creates the map that leads to it. I may want you to choose what's next, but I have hopefully given you the proper information to make that choice; my movement towards the inhalation was purposeful. And the final moment isn't accidental or random, it's what the rest of the story supports.

It's when we think that the storyteller lost that sense of purpose, or is trying to sidestep having to answer all the questions he's posed, that we feel cheated. A lot of these thoughts are based on debates I've had with Christopher McQuain over some of Brian DePalma's films. DePalma often falls back on the hoary cliché of "It was all a dream," which to me feels like a tremendous cheat. Rather than do the work to get out of the situation he has created, he opts for an easy exit; on the other hand, Christopher sees the final destination in such a case as far less important than the thrill of the ride. That is a valid argument in something as deliberately lurid as, say, Femme Fatale, but I don't find it at all acceptable in something like the recent film Birth. In Birth, Nicole Kidman plays a woman who has been mourning her dead husband for several years, and when she finally is ready to move on with her life, he returns in the form of a grade schooler. The director and writers (it took three of them to end up with negative results) approach the subject very seriously, raising questions about boundaries in romantic relationships and the nature of madness. Rather than actually give us any real answers, they throw a twist into the last act that gets all of the characters out of the big mess they are in. They then play the game of, "But have they really gotten out?" Except it strikes me as cursory rather than intentional. I felt like by heaping on all sorts of stylistic brushstrokes, they thought I would be dazzled and never see that the film went nowhere. They had demanded a lot of me throughout a very moody, slowly paced film, so it's unfair that they didn't demand as much of themselves as the creators.

These issues were all brought up again upon viewing Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl, a film about two sisters who are forced to live parallel but disparate lives, stuck in the quagmire of sexual adolescence. At the end of the film, a sudden and random act of violence changes everything, and then the film is over. Obviously, in real life, people who are victims of crime are victims of a random act. They never saw it coming, and their whole lives do end up hinging on the occurrence; however, is such a thing permissible in the world of story, where nothing is random, where every act contributes to a finite whole? Charlie winning the trip to the chocolate factory in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory isn't random, but expected: we know that's why he's the character that has been chosen for examination. But what if instead of it happening at the beginning of the story, it happens at the end? After 90 minutes of watching Charlie and his family struggle with poverty and illness, Charlie wins the lottery and their lives are saved. Would we not call such an ending pat?

So, why should it be any different with something like Fat Girl, where the filmmaker has chosen to fulfill some of her main character's desires and push her in a different direction, the direction the rest of her life will take, but rather than let the events take that course naturally, throws a roadside killer into the mix? Was his bursting through the windshield that far a cry from someone waking up in bed, screaming, drenched in cold sweat? It wouldn't be fair to say Breillat doesn't at least telegraph it a little. As soon as the family pulled onto the highway, I was waiting for something bad to happen, so she clearly did something to create a sense of dread (though what she did escapes me, almost like she relied on a filmic unconscious trained to believe something will go wrong in the final third). So, why do I feel like the older sister in Fat Girl, a victim of some foreign lothario, who swore he'd love me forever, only to leave me alone in the despair of broken promises? Or should I give Breillat more credit, that maybe that's what she meant all along?

Current Soundtrack: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, "Breathless/There She Goes..." CDS; Nirvana, With the Lights Out, disc 1

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, November 11, 2004


Rewrites on that final 50 pages actually ended up being a lot more extensive than I had thought. I beefed up the scene with Lenny, to make him appear more for a reason, rather than a cute cameo of someone else from Cut My Hair, and I finally gave in to my instincts and cut two chapters completely. The first I was worried was redundant, and I finally accepted that it was and that I could collapse it into the other piece and make it all one.

The other was the entire epilogue. I like what I was trying to say in it, which is why I hung onto it right up until the end. I was going to keep it and see how my test subjects reacted to it when they read it, but it kept haunting me. You can't ignore those nagging voices. The epilogue distracted from the end of the story proper, and I think it ended up leaving the reader on the wrong note--so it's gone now. It's funny, because there was a similar element removed from the lst paragraph of Cut My Hair, a little tidbit that brings the reader around to remind them that it's a specific person's story. I guess in both cases it ended up being just something for me.

I also discovered the downside of beginning your book in one version of Word and then upgrading your computer in the middle. When you begin merging files, they go all whacky. (Thanks to James for being on IM when I was going crazy, and Keith for making my pdf.) Perhaps it was for the best, though, since I found some narrative tense problems in one of the storytelling techniques. In one of the styles I was using, I started by using past tense, but then shifted to present midway. So, fixed that.

Cuts combined with rewrites put final word count at 178,250. To get some perspective, I found my CD with the draft of Cut My Hair I submitted to the graphic designer that set up the to-print file. My first novel settled in at 70,000 words. It's kind of staggering to consider the scope of this second book. 150% more prose.

I did a final one disc mix of the reading soundtrack to. The track list only contains one song that was not on previous lists (the Bjork), and is as follows:
Manic Street Preachers - "The Everlasting"
Mansun - "Legacy"
Tindersticks - "The Not Knowing"
Lara Michell - "Crimson Flag"
Paul Weller - "Woodcutter's Son"
Kim Weston - "Helpless"
Embrace - "My Weakness Is None of Your Business"
Gene - "Why I Was Born"
The Style Council - "Waiting"
Bjork - "Like Someone In Love"
Low - "Will The Night (Demo)"
The Style Council - "Why I Went Missing"
The Jam - "The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)"
Primal Scream - "I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have"
James - "Blue Pastures"
Manic Street Preachers - "The Everlasting (Stealth Sonic Orchestra Mix)"
Gene - "You'll Never Walk Again"

Oh, and look! In creating the Amazon button for Cut My Hair you see below, I discovered Barry Wolborsky posted a new review of the book. Click the button and check it out. It's very nice of him, seeing as how I spent an entire evening in Christine Norrie's house without ever realizing it was that Barry. And it's much better than the person whose review precedes his, pouting that it wasn't no durn comic book. Amusingly, if you follow the links to that reviewer's other reviews, you'll see he only ever posts to complain. Like, say, how his Harry Potter costume wasn't nearly as cool as he thought it would be.

Current Soundtrack: Inspiral Carpets, "Dragging Me Down" CDS; Herman's Hermits, "The End of the World"

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, November 10, 2004


Okay, I'm pooped. I've spent the last two days going over corrections and rewrites for The Everlasting. I just finished, and the computer estimates that I have a 178,500 word novel sitting here.

Rather than declare draft 1.5 a wrap, though, I have decided to go over the last 50 or so pages one more time in the morning, to look at the changes I made and see if I brought some of the things out that I was looking to bring out.

Yesterday I made a provisional cover using a page on how to style your hair that was reprinted from an old magazine in Richard Barnes' book Mods!. I used a photocopier, a labelmaker, and black crayons. It was fun.

Current Soundtrack: The Score (a Mojo Magazine comp of soundtrack cuts)

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, November 09, 2004


Work Update: I spent Saturday doing nothing, because I could, and who are you to judge? (Unless you're Elin, who works much harder than all of us.) Sunday and Monday I whipped up a quick proposal for Dave Land at Dark Horse for something he's got going. It's not something that would be expected of me, but that was precisely why Dave came to me. It's the type of thinking I like. When I was an editor, if I'd hear, "You can't get that guy to do this," my instant response would be, "Oh, yeah? Watch me!" Hence, Stan Sakai doing a Queen & Country story or Terry Dodson on Hopeless Savages covers.

Today I am back on The Everlasting, implementing the notes and rewrites I made last week.

Currently Watching: The first season of HBO's The Wire is now on DVD. It's an engaging police drama that is noteable for its coldness and even hand. There is a distinct lack of nobility in most people's actions (and when someone is noble, there is usually a punishment for it), and there is no clear right or wrong between the cops and the crooks. A police officer can make a speech about how the drug dealers treat people like trash, but then we'll see another officer take an innocent kid's eye out. It's viewing the demands you pay attention, that assumes you're smart, and well worth the rental.

I've also been watching the first season of Arrested Development on DVD. I can't believe I didn't watch this show earlier. Its black humor is a godsend amongst the neutered family sitcoms. Jason Bateman is perfect as the put-upon hero, and Portia De Rossi is certainly one of the most beautiful people on the planet, so it's scary how funny she is.

Music: The forthcoming Destiny's Child album, Destiny Fulfilled, is depressingly bad. If you've heard the single, "Lose My Breath," you probably feel pretty safe. It's a little formulaic, but it shows they still have a knack for crazy sounds and superfast beats. The album even starts with it--which is just a set-up for the fall to follow. The second track is the obligatory nod to southern rap, and it's decent, but it's also the last song with a beat. From there, it's nine straight ballads, each more watered down than the last. Beyonce, Kelly, Michelle--we could handle it! Why did you forsake us?

Current Soundtrack: Interpol, Antics; De La Soul, The Grind Date

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, November 08, 2004


More homework for you.

Jane Smiley says what we're all thinking over at Slate. (Thanks to Matt Wagner for this one.)

Molly Ivins writes about just how the Bush administration operates and why we should hunker down and make sure their four more years are their last four. (Snaked from Kelly Sue's blog.)

Greg Rucka sent me this article, itself full of links, about possible hacking of the voting database and questioning how the early exit polls and the final results can be so far apart. Late Monday Addition: Steven Birch also sent me this aricle by Greg Palast, one of the main investigators into Florida in the 2000 electon. It's quite simply titled, "Kerry Won..."

Current Soundtrack: Al

Saturday, November 06, 2004


Read Margaret Cho's excellent post-election cries to arms here and here.

Current Soundtrack: Snow Patrol, "Teenage Kicks" (free download in tribute to John Peel)

Friday, November 05, 2004


Reading over the novel over the last couple of days has been a rewarding, reassuring experience. But it has left me scant time to focus on writing anything else, and I am behind on writing about things I wanted to here. So, I catch up with some capsule reviews of things I've taken in over the last couple of weeks, including the few moments of respite I've allowed myself in the Everlasting process (I have not been reading anything else while I am reading my manuscript, so as to keep my mind on that single track):

Undertow: The new film by David Gordon Green, who made the excellent movies George Washington and All The Real Girls is based on a true story about two young boys who have to go running from their murderous uncle. It reminds me of '70s films like Deliverance and Southern Comfort (which was actually '80s) where we are taken through a deep American South that we barely recognize as the real world, the people are so foreign to us (see also Cold Mountain), where at every turn we find some sweaty, grimy peril. As in his previous films, Green manages to capture performances that convey a quiet, studied reality, but this time around, I think I ended up enjoying the style more than the story, which was more conventional plot-wise than his earlier efforts. He uses grainy freeze frames to mark his cuts in a way that hasn't been done this well since Goodfellas. Philip Glass' score is also excellent.

House of Flying Daggers: Zhang Yimou's follow-up to Hero is another stylish kung-fu movie full of forest fights, exceptional archery, and the super-powered flying daggers of the title. The camera work in the fight scenes are just as beautiful as Hero, and the early scene in the Geisha palace is a cornucopia of color that dazzles in much the same way Yimou's last film worked with thematic color schemes. For those who felt that Hero didn't conform to narrow definitions of plot properly, House of Flying Daggers has a more conventional story, with lots of twists and betrayals. Zhang Ziyi continues to prove why she is becoming the go-to gal for the top Chinese directors, taking on a challenging role that demands she change her character on a quick spin. (I'd go into more detail, but the plot has so many turns, I'd feel like I would be doing a disservice to those of you who will want to see this film.) The love triangle is also tragic and beautiful, and Yimou is unafraid to inject heavy emotion into the action. Easily one of my favorite films this year.

The Incredibles: Believe the hype. This is as funny, clever, and exciting as everything would lead you to believe. And Pixar finally proves once and for all that you can do computer animated human characters and not have them look stiff and lifeless (compare the plasticity of the Shrek films films; the forthcoming, awful-looking Polar Express; or David Hasselhoff in The Spongebob Squarepants Movie).

Music-wise, the new Eminem is really good. He expands his lyrical base, exposing more of himself and going after some bigger targets than his ex-wife (who still doesn't escape his ire, but her tracks are fewer and weaker than the rest). The new Snoop Dogg, on the other hand, despite being produced by the Neptunes, is on autopilot. There is nothing at all inspired here. Chad and Pharell continue to lose sight of their once innovative musical vision. Their spirit seems to have infected Mos Def, whose New Danger album suffers from the same overreaching as N*E*R*D's Fly Or Die in that it sees him trying to be a rock star and tossing out a bunch of half-baked songs that suggest he's not very good at it.

A Perfect Circle have released their third album, Emotive, and it's a covers record. A damn good covers record, bending the likes of Joni Mitchell, Devo, Marvin Gaye, and Depeche Mode in surprising ways. And Depeche Mode have a new remix retrospective, spanning two discs on the regular edition and sprawling to a third on a limited version, which features some newly commissioned tracks. They have gone for the more abstract, more adventurous reinterpretations, and though some of them date back to 1981, it's the most futuristic sounding batch of songs that I've heard in some time. And for another great compilation, Travis' Singles collection is a tremendously satisfying grouping of A-sides

The Go Fug Yourself blog, which winnowed its way to me via Greg McElhatton via Kelly Cute, makes me laugh every day. Those vicious little backbiters have a wit and sense of style those old whores Mr. Blackwell and Joan River can never touch. Praise be to the mean girls!

As for the reading of The Everlasting, it's all done, and I only need to implement the changes, which will probably take a couple of days. I have some doubts about some parts, but at this point, it's really hard for me to judge. I need to push the boat out and see how she sails.

Current Soundtrack: Depeche Mode, Remixes 81-04 disc 3

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, November 03, 2004


I ventured out to the comics shop for the first time since June because the first issue of The Golden Plates by my buddy and living Adonis, Mike Allred, was released today. I was flipping through some other comics when someone asked me if I was who I was. What the hell? I need to wear a wreath of garlic next time!

I had kept my Kerry/Edwards button on my bag as a small way of hanging in there, but it seemed to only invite people to talk to me. So, I took it off.

I'm on my read-through of The Everlasting. I have read a quarter of it and am really happy with it so far. A few things have popped up that I had not seen before, my subconscious working to bring out the themes in ways I never imagined. There some sensory descriptions early on that I know I reuse later, but I am wondering if when I get to the second instance, if the repetition will work. If not, I'll change it. I will likely be staying up all night to see how far I can get. I don't want much pause in the process.

Current Soundtrack: Depeche Mode, "Enjoy The Silence 2004" CD2


Well, the sun isn't exactly shining, but it's not yet declared that it won't shine anymore.

Good for Kerry for sticking in. I've always hated this idea of concession, that politicians need to pack it in before they are really told it's over. Ohio still has votes out, and it's unfair to the people whose votes they are to declare it's over. It's not even about which candidate will win or lose for the people of America; it's about making sure the system is fair, that it works right. In 2000, Gore's opponents tried to paint him as a crybaby, and that sort of thinking is sad. Particularly since the incumbent President is riding on a ticket that claims to be spreading democracy around the world. Which example are we spreading? The one where you can lie, cheat, and steal your way to the top and choose which groups of people you feel deserves to be heard? That's just Wrong.

If you think all the talk of the vote being tampered with is a lot of nonsense, I urge you to go back and look at the examinations of Florida in 2000. There are several books about what went down out there, but quicker, shorter information to arm yourself with is also available. Rent the documentary Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election. Get the October 2004 Vanity Fair (Jude Law cover), and read their lengthy article about it. While no one is quite caught with the bag of money, the mountain of evidence that various tricks were pulled is hard to deny, and you have to accept that something went down.

Oh, fuck it. I just read on CNN.com that Kerry conceded. Thanks for wussing out on us, Democrats. Like I said yesterday, America has learned nothing. (And yes, I read about the concession a while ago, but with everyone rending their garments on Blogger today, it's taken me over an hour to actually get through to post.)

And please, people, this whole, "I'm moving to Canada" routine was tired six months ago. Drop it, or seriously, just do it. Shut up or do it. But it's going to take a lot more balls for you to stick around here and fight. In the same Vanity Fair referenced above, James Wolcott writes about how another four years of Bush will give the left an opportunity to solidify the way the right did under Clinton, which would give us the first real organized movement on this side of the aisle since the '60s. Bail on us now, and we won't let you back in! (And where are you really going to go, anyway? If we drew up a map of the world where we marked countries full of guilty people in red, and innocent people in blue, we'd have a giant red map. Wherever you go, you will encounter a common problem: humanity. The history of humanity, also known as the history of the world, is a long, tedious plot about people treating each other like shit. We ain't no better, we ain't no worse.)

Yes, a lot of what I have written over the past two days has been sarcastic, satirical, and over the top. It shouldn't mask the genuine feeling of disappointment, though. I think a lot of us are feeling let down because we honestly thought there was a realigning of our country, that there was a real coming together for change. And that phrase is key: coming together. I don't want to demonize the people who voted for the current administration, but let's be real. So much of what Bush and the Republicans do is about sticking the wedge in further between the people of America, of finding the issues that we have a harder time agreeing on and aggravating them. Most of the time, those issues are about one set of people telling another set of people what they can't do with their lives. So many of us want to get back to the idea that America is a place where we create space for people of all shapes to live as they see fit. Making "morals" the top issue doesn't really have the most moral outcome, and morals end up being the top ironic issue given how immoral Bush and Cheney and DeLay and the rest really are, and how immoral the smear tactics of the campaign were.

I shout and I complain now because I want the feeling I had at 9 a.m. yesterday to stick around, and to make the next four years the hardest four years an administration has ever had. In the words of shoulda-been VP John Edwards, "You can be disappointed, but you cannot walk away."

Or, in keeping with my theme, maybe Snoopy says it best today.

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

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


I lost in my efforts to not look at campaign coverage. I was outvoted at work. I am still hopeful. It doesn't look like anyone can officially call it tonight, it's going to be too close. Don't you love how predictions are made on the slightest percentage of votes reported? It seems ridiculous to me that for an effort this large and this important, we want instant results and sit glued to our TVs watching stuffy Tom Brokaw make guesses based on limited information.

But regardless of who wins, I have two observations that I find disheartening:

(1) Something like 10 states--including I am, ashamed to say, possibly my own--are voting to define marriage as something between a man and a woman. Many of these (maybe all, I am not sure) are doing this in their State Constitutions. This seems like a dangerous lack of forethought as far as I am concerned. Amending any Constitution should be considered a major deal, and to my mind, it should never be done to create exclusionary rights. These amendments weaken the moral strength of the documents they are attached to. And really, what for? An issue that is being decided by people for no real reason whatsoever? Letting same sex couples be married doesn't change the fact that men and women are getting married and divorced all over the country. I am sick and tired of this legally privileged class we have created. At this point, I'd like to see any benefits for married couples and parents repealed. That's right. Forget the issue of sexuality. As a single male with no desire for children, I am tired of being a second-class citizen. And if this is how you people are going to treat the standing afforded to you, let the reign of terror end!

(2) Given that the voting seems to be falling in the exact same slots as four years ago, it suggests to me that this country is stuck. Particularly given what an eventful four years it's been, I can't believe that we have changed so little. All I can guess is that people really don't think about the world around them, they are sticking to the party line. More than ever, this is the time for an alternative voice to rise up and break this system down. We have three years to get our act together before the next time this circus comes to town. Let's make something happen. Leave Nader at the side of the road, and let's find some people who are willing to make some real change occur, building across all levels of politics and not just fulfilling an egomaniac dream to chase the top prize. There's room to do it, so let's do it.

But let's all also hope we'll wake up in the morning and George Bush's smug smile will be changed to a petulant frown.

Current Soundtrack: Travis, "We Are Monkeys"

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


Nearly four years, actually.

Yeah, I am sick of hearing about how we need to go vote today, too, because I can't imagine there are people out there who need to still be told that it's their duty to do so. Except that I can. So, if you're one of those people, what the hell is wrong with you? You have the time. You do. No, shut up. You do! And none of this crap that one vote doesn't count. If you read up on the 2000 election, including all the crap Jeb Bush pulled for his brother in Florida, you'd see that sometimes the margin is barely 100 votes between candidates. That's 100 people like you who said their vote didn't matter. Apathy isn't a singular experience, and your woe-is-me-I'm-just-one-guy pity party is really just an argument for enforced euthanasia.

And if you're still one of those mythical undecided voters, then please identify yourself in public places. I don't want to be stuck in line behind you at Taco Bell, because I am sure you have as much difficulty deciding between a taco and a burrito, chicken or beef. I'm making it simple for you: you're voting for Kerry. Decision done. You'll feel better about it come tomorrow.

For the rest of you, don't take any shit today. If you're messed with at the polls, find your party's advocate, call their headquarters, do whatever you have to do.

Then go home and watch You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, which can be found on the Great Pumpkin DVD. It's about all the media I plan to indulge in. I'm going on a blackout. Do I need to spend the whole day having the TV tell me they have no idea about anything? I can tell myself that and enjoy myself doing something else. If I hear they did better this election than they did when they royally fucked it up last time, I'll be go back to them in four years; otherwise, piss off! It's me and Chuck!

I was going to shill Abenobashi: Magical Shopping Arcade vol. 2 and Ai Yori Aoshi vol. 6, both of which come out this week, but Amazon doesn't have them listed! What is the deal with manga's slipshod representation on Amazon? Manga publishers need to give their distributors a good kick. So, go to your local book shop or comic shop, and if you do the later, look for The Golden Plates #1 by my main man Mike Allred, too.

Current Soundtrack: Pete Townshend, Live > The Fillmore 1996

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, November 01, 2004


My monthly pick for November for Trilogy Video. You can also see what other staff members recommend, if you're looking around for some new stuff to watch. My picks are all playful and step out of everyday life, valuing style as much as substance, and should offer welcome relief from these ridiculously political times.

* And The Ship Sails On, dir. Federico Fellini

* A Life Less Ordinary, starring Ewan McGregor & Cameron Diaz, dir. Danny Boyle

* Playtime, dir. Jacques Tati

* Trouble In Paradise, dir. Ernst Lubitsch

* The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, starring Catherine Deneuve, dir. Jacques Demy

I am starting Ai Yori Aoshi vol. 9 today.

Current Soundtrack: The Style Council, Here's Some That Got Away

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