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

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


In stores today, Madman Atomic Comics #6, edited by moi. Click the image for a preview.

And thanks to whoever bought a camera using an Amazon link from my site. Your purchase alone puts me over the $10 mark required for me to get a rebate at the end of this quarter. In case folks don't know it, any time you buy something from Amazon after clicking on one of my links, they give me a small referral fee. It buys me things and costs you nothing! :)

Current Soundtrack: Kent, Isola

Current Mood: irritated

Yes, girls, if you followed the photo link, you read correctly. Apparently Marc Ellerby can stay at it for five hours. And yet, he can't eat a whole burrito without needing a nap halfway through.

Saturday, January 26, 2008



* The Air I Breathe, which I recommend with reservations. The movie works 3/4 of the time, using the "everything is connected" technique to create a neat crime film before tumbling over the pretentious ledge.

* Taxi to the Dark Side, a must-see documentary that brings home the torture scandals in Iraq with chilling results.


* 2 Days in Paris, Julie Delpy's writing and directing debut. Good in spite of itself. The main characters are both interesting and annoying.

* Inside the Smiths, an amateurish documentary about the rhythm section of the Smiths. Interesting for fans, maybe, but not much of a film.

In reflection, particularly thinking about that extra segment with Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke together, Rourke seems a little uncomfortable in the situation, probably because he laments the loss of his long friendship with Johnny Marr more than he cares about recognition or money. On the other hand, Joyce is clearly getting off on being in the spotlight, and I'd daresay craves it. His "aw, shucks, I just love the band" demeanor brings to mind Pelle Carlberg's song "I Touched You at the Soundcheck"--the title a reference to the Smiths song "Paint a Vulgar Picture," Morrissey's withering portrait of rock 'n' roll has-beens. "You told me you weren't the kind of dude/ telling people 'I was in the Smiths all the time"/ later I heard you for the third time/ repeating the same phrase" [forgive transcription errors]. Ouch.

If this works, you should be able to listen to Carlberg's song:

Pelle CarlbergI touched you at the sound check

* Love*Com the Movie, another live-action adaptation of manga with more cliches than good ideas, despite a gung-ho performance by Ema Fujisawa.

* Miss Julie - Criterion Collection, an engrossing 1952 adaptation of August Strindberg. (Also at Criterion Confessions.)

* This Sporting Life - Criterion Collection, Lindsay Anderson's portrait of a footballer with more strength than sense. Richard Harris is amazing. (Also at Criterion Confessions.)


This week's review written specifically for the site is:

* Fat Girl, Catherine Breillat's divisive coming-of-age tale. I also reveal its secret connection to my novella I Was Someone Dead.

Current Soundtrack: The Blow, Poor Aim: Love Songs; various Pelle Carlberg tracks

Current Mood: lazy

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, January 24, 2008



Not long ago, I marked my worry that Morrissey's new material was rushing back into already worn grooves, and that we could already see the reinvigorated crooner settling back into blase habits. This was based on his performance of "That's How People Grow Up" on Letterman, a strange appearance that, at the time, wasn't really promoting much of anything.

With the release of "Grow Up" as a single imminent, and the Greatest Hits that will carry it and other newbie "All You Need is Me" following shortly after, it's time to reassess. Of course, these tracks have already leaked all over the internet, and I have placed my ear to the railroad tracks to hear these early rumblings.

On first blush, Christopher (who seemingly ceased functioning last September) asked me what I thought, and I said I was nonplussed. Since then, I have had my quality headphone time, and I will say now that I am at least sonically impressed. There is some great noise going on in both tracks. That big chunky bass in "All You Need is Me" in particular will rattle your skull, and both songs carry frontal-assault guitar riffs that suggest that even if Moz were to fall back on a pillow and massage his derriere, his band is going to keep the hammer down. Likewise, semi-protege Kristeen Young's industrial drill warbling at the start of "Grow Up" is like a clarion call, or perhaps a gauntlet being thrown down to the BBC, whom Moz has criticized for not playing previous singles. Some fans have complained, but I say this is the banshee from "November Spawned a Monster" returning for vengeance. "Do you have the guts to give me a spin?"

There is no way around how similar these two tracks sound to one another. They also have share lyrical concerns, focusing on the nostalgia of youth and the selfishness of oncoming death, which seems to be Morrissey's primary concern since the last album. "All You Need is Me" has the added social commentary on the current celebrity obsessed culture, our man amusingly declaring his own importance while smacking us across the face for going along with it when there is so much more going on around us.

In rethinking these songs today, I realized that I must contextualize them as part of a greater tradition in the Smiths/Morrissey legacy. Both in his old band and throughout his solo career, he has always released one-off singles as vinyl save-the-date cards for whatever more realized work was around the corner. Granted, most of those 45s have gone on to become classics, but let's not forget that "Shakespeare's Sister" was much maligned on its release, causing the Smiths to think the record buying public had lost all sense of taste in much the same way Pete Townshend felt they had when they failed to properly celebrate "I Can See For Miles." History may prove me wrong.

Then again, I still fear the Morrissey curse of threes: good album followed by better album followed by mediocre. Viva Hate begat Bona Drag begat Kill Uncle, Your Arsenal begat Vauxhall and I begat Southpaw Grammar, You are the Quarry begat Ringleader of the Tormentors begat...???

Current Soundtrack: the songs in question; Strangeways, Here We Come

Current Mood: meditative

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich

Well, I'm not telling exactly, but it involves these...

...which were drawn by this guy.

Current Soundtrack: Matt Monro, "Charade"

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


In other news... Look who's drawing again.

Current Soundtrack: Beatles, Love

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I had the opportunity come along to see Wong Kar-Wai's first English language film, My Blueberry Nights, and despite knowing it was of some dubious origin, I took it. In one way, I worried this would ruin the ultimate experience, but then I remembered that I had first seen 2046 dubbed into Mandarin for the Chinese mainland, and that had not hurt my love of that film in the long run, so with that in mind, there was nothing to bolster my resistance.

I will reserve my full judgment until such a time as I can see the movie in its intended glory (it appears that it will start a limited run in the U.S. next month), but I will say now that I do like it. I think in the long run, when the full history of Wong Kar-Wai is written, it will likely be a stop-gap falling somewhere in the middle of his ultimate canon, but I can't say I would totally fault him for playing it somewhat safe for his transition movie.

Because the first thing that will strike you about My Blueberry Nights is how very Wong Kar-Wai it is--and that comes off as very strange for the first half hour or so. If you had played it for me and told me that some Hollywood studio had tried to remake Chungking Express and Fallen Angels as one feature, I'd have believed you. The tell-tale signs and obsessions are all there: cafes and bars, waitresses and cops, jukeboxes and video tapes, the persistence of memory, broken hearts, being stuck on one song just like you'd be stuck on one relationship. It's just this time it's recognizable "name" actors (Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, David Staithairn) speaking in my language. He even lifts a pop singer who hadn't formally acted before up to a starring role. Norah Jones is actually pretty good as the dream-adled ingenue. Chan Marshall, a.k.a. Cat Power, is even noteworthy in her one scene, playing the appropriately named Katya, the woman who has Jude Law's Jeremy in such an in-between state.

Once I settled in, somewhere around Memphis on the route Elizabeth (Jones) has put herself on, taking a journey toward forgetting, I really started to enjoy the movie. It's got the youthful hopefulness that was missing from 2046, the curse of ill-fated love affairs having been lifted. While my own journey makes me wish Kar-Wai had kept going for that, I don't mind him returning to his Greatest Hits. It's kind of like seeing your favorite band go off the brink and making their dark epic, only to come back bigger and brighter and poppier than ever. After all, Suede made Coming Up after Dog Man Star, after they had lost an important collaborator and had been counted out. In those terms, My Blueberry Nights is actually more like the bright wake-up call of A New Morning than it is a glitter rock masterpiece, but that ain't something to malign.

Yeah, I know that analogy made sense to only five people out there, but whatever. Put it this way: My Blueberry Nights is meant to sound fresh and easy, but it's also meant to be familiar and accessible. One can only guess what comes after, but there are worse things an artist can do than to go back to try to find the source of what makes him tick and cast it in a new light.

In all honesty, I kind of want to start the film over from the beginning and watch it again. I'm almost betting that by and large folks are going to call me crazy (I haven't read any reviews, but I've heard some vague flutters), but what the hell, I've been crazy before.

It's actually bitterly cold in Portland, so much so that my heater is turning itself on, the temperature is dropping below whatever temperature comes immediately after "Off." So, it was nice to snuggle up with the cat and watch a movie from under the covers. I'm actually feeling a little achey, meaning the cold I've been staving off for weeks might be making ground. I also twisted my ankle or something, my left foot hurts to bend or put weight on. I'm a wreck. So, that too could speak to the warm feeling I am having for the film. Wong Kar-Wai=comfort food.

Here is one of several trailers out there. I'll warn you, they somehow make the movie look far more ordinary than it is. You'd be forgiven for thinking this a generic Hollywood film of no great import.

Current Soundtrack: My Blueberry Nights soundtrack

Current Mood: aches & pains

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Though the interviewer here is asinine, I think what Heath Ledger says in this clip is a fitting way to remember him. It only saddens me more to think about what he still had to offer as an artist as his life progressed. My heart goes out to his young daughter.

The New York times story.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Dear Waltz vol. 1 by Yun Ji-Un

Current Soundtrack: The Warlocks, Heavy Deavy Skull Lover

If the monster from Cloverfield mated with the girl from Teeth, the result might be...

Oh, Sheela-Na-Gig! You exhibitionist!


* Cassandra's Dream, another solid morality play from Woody Allen.

* Cloverfield, the most hyped movie of the last six months is the most boring movie of the new year. Don't believe the hype, Confessors, this one is laaaame.

Plastorm is on this, too, as his review will attest. It was a moment of relief at the end of the screening when we looked at one another and realized we weren't alone in our pain.

* Honey & Clover, an average live-action adaptation of the Chica Umino manga.

* Teeth, another loser, a horror movie with satiric designs that veers a little too close to what it professes to hate.


* Johnny Suede, the darkly comic indie hit of 1992 marks the starring-role debut of Brad Pitt, but a is a pomaded souffle that has fallen flat with age.

* Postwar Kurosawa - Eclipse Series 7, bringing five of the Japanese master's early style-defining movies together to show his artistic growth after WWII.

Postwar Kurosawa is also up at Criterion Confessions. This is one of those weeks where I'm taking a pass on a blog-exclusive new review, letting the cross-posting bolster the content. Given the size of the Eclipse set, and also that I have two of the Criterion discs due for release this coming Tuesday also in my review pile--and those reviews are likely to go up this weekend--there is a slew of fresh content about to happen.

Toshiro Mifune will tame them all.

Current Soundtrack: The Colbert Report 1/16/2008; Morrissey, Greatest Hits

Current Mood: blank

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, January 17, 2008


It's being announced today that the Director's Guild of America is coming to an agreement for new contracts with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Full analysis still has to be done, and it will remain to be seen if this loosens the stone to let other unions get at the treasure, too, but hopefully it's a step in the right direction.

Of course, this agreement appears to contain certain elements that so far the AMPTP has claimed were impossible. If anyone needed proof that the age-old belief that despite being the initiators of the projects, the writers are considered the lowest form of life in the Hollywood ecosystem, this could very well be it. One hopes that this isn't a case of being impossible for writers, but possible for directors, because directors rate and writers don't. Especially since it appears we're now out of episodes of 30 Rock.

Current Soundtrack: Alicia Keys, As I Am

Current Mood: hopeful

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Finishing up the first draft on the first volume of this...

(Some more publishing history)

Then I've got some reading to do to refresh my memory about some of my own projects. The brain is soft in this one, oh yes...

Current Soundtrack: Amityville, "The Nightwatchman"

Sunday, January 13, 2008

YOU'RE NO ROCK 'N' ROLL FUN: Karaoke Edition

Last night my friend Eliza and I went to Tennessee Red's. We had never been, and another of my friends, Jacq Cohen, was having a joint birthday party there with a couple of people, and so it sounded like fun.

I declare that venue a bust. Though Lee from Top Shelf managed to get off a couple of songs, as did Scott Allie and Chris Warner from Dark Horse, three of the six songs Eiza and I tried to do got denied for disc problems, which is not a good ratio. Particularly since we had already tipped the KJ when we put the songs up. Plus, the singing area is right under the ceiling-mounted speakers, so all the audio is being projected away from you. That makes it very difficult to hear cues, or even your own voice.

I did manage to try the Naked Eyes version of "There's Always Something There to Remind Me," and then I went with my safety and did Spandau Ballet after my Wham selection was shot done. Without Joëlle with me, I thought I could take a stab at "Careless Whisper," but apparently her lock on that is too tight that it extends to her heavily felt absence.

Eliza sang a slithery "Like a Prayer." By the by, Eliza is she who texted with that totally wizard comment the other day, her true goal in that to wriggle her way into Karaoke Watch.

Quote of the evening: "Jamie, if he were anything more than what he is..." You'll find it is a phrase that will come in handy, you insert it just before pointing out something apparently other men can do that I cannot.

Best trail-off of the evening: "We always thought you were asexual, Jamie, but..." The sentence was never finished. The person was called to the microphone. This is why I normally travel in the same packs, I know more of what I am in for!

Special thanks to Shannon Wheeler for providing post-bar karaoke video games.

Current Soundtrack: Franz Ferdinand, "All My Friends" (FF karaoking LCD Soundsystem); Juno soundtrack

Current Mood: whooped

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, January 11, 2008


Separated at birth? Cate Blanchett and Chynna Clugston?

Is it just me, or does Cate in the new Indian Jones film look like she jumped off a Blue Monday bio page?

Of course, Chynna is way older than Cate Blanchett. And more mannish looking. But still...

Current Soundtrack: Weller's "Moon on Your Pyjamas," a couple of Shins tracks

Current Mood: silly


* The Orphanage, a chilly new ghost story straight outta Spain.


* An Affair to Remember - 50th Anniversary Edition, the Debora Kerr/Cary Grant vehicle that just gets better with age.

* Essentials Director Series - Jean-Luc Godard, a box collecting four previously released Godard DVDs, three from his early career and his most recent commercially available effort, Notre Musique.

* Essentials Director Series - Pedro Almodovar, a less-satisfying coupling of two of Pedro's transitional efforts.

* I Am Cuba - The Ultimate Edition, Mikhail Kalatozov's revolutionary visual poem given a new three-disc set. You must get this!

* The Naked Prey - Criterion Collection, a mid-60s on-the-run movie from a little-known Hollywood auteur. (Also at Criterion Confessions.)

* Ocean's Trilogy, a box with all three of Steven Soderbergh's stylish heist films.

* Ping Pong, the satisfying live-action adaptation of the Taiyo Matsumoto manga about table tennis.


This week's reviews written specifically for the site are:

* Ace in the Hole, Billy Wilder's scintillating critique of the media and the people who consume it. Kirk Douglas is manic and amazing, and the film still has bite more than fifty years later.

* Notorious finds Cary Grant romancing Ingrid Bergman under the tutelage of Alfred Hitchcock in a dark romance full of Nazi-smashing intrigue.

Current Soundtrack: The Automatic, Not Accepted Anywhere

Current Mood: ...

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Today is not the day I kill myself...but one day. Perchance to dream?

Nah, but, I got this text today. Let me quote it for you:

"U r neglecting ur blog...oh ur soooo busy..."

Yeah, nice command of the language there. It's funny, because if I use one word the wrong way, people are like, "Ohhhh, you're a writer. And you would talk so ingrammatically?" [sic] Then I get texts like that. It's why I hate people.

I kid. Chances are, I'll be drinking with the person who sent that this weekend, and that person was probably drunk when she texted. It was 1:43 in the afternoon, so she was likely up for about half-an-hour or so, and so was likely two drinks into being three sheets to the wind, complaining about my life of leisure. When I see her, I'll remind her how much she pays to read this blog, including the hilarious tales of humiliation I relate from my actual life, and that will be the end of that.

But, yes, I have neglected my blog. I have thought about things to post, but most of those things would be just like this: posting for the sake of posting, which regular Confessors know I try to never do. I actually have been busy, and it's just not the kind of busy that relates to sharing it with the world.

I actually wanted to post on Monday one of my "Current Workload" posts, but the sad truth is that most of the manga I work on hasn't been announced when I am working on it and so I can't tell you the new title I worked on Monday and Tuesday. I was a machine. I worked until 1:30 a.m., went to bed, got up at 8:30 on Tuesday, and was done by 11:00 a.m. But you won't see the fruits of that fruity labor for at least six months. (My deadline isn't even until February 4.)

There are also exciting things happening in my own writing, including something that blows the hell out of Taking Fish Creek to Fun City and a new addition to the comics team, all of which will come in due time.

Until then, at least someone respects me. So, we'll postpone the inevitable at least for a short while. My neighbors need not brace themselves for that stinky corpse smell quite yet.

Current Soundtrack: The Killers, Sawdust

Current Mood: fuck you, and fuck your mother

e-mail = golightly at confessions123.com * Criterion Confessions * Live Journal Syndication * My Corporate-Owned Space * ComicSpace * Last FM * GoodReads * The Blog Roll * DVDTalk reviews * My Books On Amazon

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich