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

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


There's no stopping Joëlle Jones.

She's been nominated for the Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award for her work on 12 Reasons Why I Love Her. This is quite an honor, as it's an award decided on by a board of cartoonists, and the final ballot will be voted on by previous winners. If you scroll down on the page I linked to, you can see the prestigious list of who those artists are. Not bad company. It's never been won by a woman, either. I'd love to see Joëlle be the first.

This award doesn't have open voting, but you can still give our girl a nod for the Friends of Lulu honor she is up for, just go here.

In the meantime, as a reminder of why she is receiving these accolades, a sketch of Gwen from 12 Reasons that she did for J. Evan at CAPE last month:

For other online comic treats, head over to my ComicSpace page. I've added two new galleries: a 12-page preview of Love the Way You Love vol. 4, which goes on sale next week, and the complete "Chance Meetings" strip Patrick Scherberger and I did for the Oni Press website a couple of years ago.

Current Soundtrack: Nick Cave covering Leonard Cohen, Pulp, pirate songs, and tunes from the Harry Smith Project

Current Mood: proud

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

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Udon has announced a new manhwa line, importing Korean comics to North America. The books are being put together by Hye-Young Im, who was my editor over at Ice Kunion. I am currently the rewriter on Star Project Chiro and Magical JxR.

Read the full press release.

I'm actually starting JxR #2 today.

The current workload also includes Ark Angels vol. 3, and ongoing original work. I wrote an eight-page comic book story over the weekend, possibly for inclusion in a forthcoming anthology, and continue hammering at the next full-length graphic novel.

Currently Reading: Anna Karenina (still); Swan vol. 1 by Ariyoshi Kyoko; To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel by Siena Cherson Siegel & Mark Siegel

Current Soundtrack: Cornershop, Handcream for a Generation

Current Mood: demure

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

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, May 25, 2007



* Paprika, a visually beautiful but substantially dull anime


* The Good German, Steven Soderbergh's tribute to and demythologizing of classic war romance pictures. I liked it even better the second time around, I must say.

* Off the Black, a surprising indie drama with Nick Nolte

* Tex Avery's Droopy - The Complete Theatrical Collection, fun with 24 cartoons starring everyone's favorite lethargic dog

* Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael, a Winona Ryder misfire from my youth

It was weird going back to Roxy Carmichael. As I mention in my review (and am still not sure if that was a weird thing for me to do), this was the movie I chose for Mason and Jeane to go see on their date in Cut My Hair. It's a defensible choice, as the theme is still right on and they are at the right age to enjoy it the way I originally did. That doesn't stop it from being disappointing that I didn't like it as much as I remembered.

Current Soundtrack: Dntel, Dumb Luck

Current Mood: indifferent

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

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Dear Comic Book Internet:

I'm issuing a challenge to you.

Tomorrow, Friday, May 25, by my declaration, is "International Comic Book Shut the Fuck Up Day." I don't want anyone online to talk about comic books tomorrow. Don't review them, don't post news about them, don't blog, don't argue on message boards. Tomorrow, we will all crawl out of our asses and actually be in the world. You can read a comic book, but for once, why not just enjoy it in your head and shut the fuck up. You've had your face shoved in the clothes hamper sniffing your own dirty undies for a nearly two weeks now and it's all getting boring and silly. (Awww, who am I kidding? It's not getting boring and silly, it started out that way. And, no, not your issues, per se, but all the whining and the righteousness.) Better yet, don't just read comics during this radio silence, how about you create something? Write and draw the comic book you want to see rather than complain that it doesn't exist already. It'll be awesome. Go wild, indulge yourself, and do so free of embarrassment. (Yes, even you girls who are into octopi porn--and I know you're out there, coz girls can be pervs, too--can go ahead and draw your octopi porn.)

Now, you know I love you, Comic Books. I don't blame you. I don't even think you're special in this instance (though, I do know how much the comics world loves to pretend its most average and everyday problems are somehow unique and not like everything else everywhere). I know it's the internet's fault. It's made self-important turds out of people in just about every facet of society. We've become a culture that talks about doing stuff rather than actually doing it. This is our chance to lead the way. We will be a test balloon. If it works, next week we'll try music bloggers. Those geeks at Pitchfork will get a three-day weekend! And from there, we'll pick other topics. Celebrity gossip, perhaps?

So, if you're with me, don't say anything. Just be quiet tomorrow. I realize the worst offenders won't jump on board, but we'll pay them no mind. When you Google feed updates with comic book news tomorrow, hit "mark all as read" and pass right over it. If it's worth knowing, it will all be there, smelling just as fresh, on Saturday. If it's not, what did you miss?

Bringing you a noise-free society,
Jamie S. Rich

Current Soundtrack: The Riches, ep. 9 (no relation)

Current Mood: fed up

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

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


It's hard to imagine Portland without an Ozone.

No, this is not another write-up of global warming. I mean Ozone Records, the quintessential indie record store that has been in Puddletown for as long as I've been here, and predates even before that, when it was two stores, the Ooze and (I think) the Zone. Its current incarnation, O3, began its going-out-of-business sale this week, and it will all closed up by the end of June. You can still click on its website, such as it is. Who knows how long that will even stay up.

When I worked at Ozone from 1998 to 2000, it was a pretty awesome place to be. The employees were about as snotty and indie as you could get, and we each had our own pocket universe where we were in charge, our own set of customers who came to us to steer them toward their music. I was, of course, the Britpop guy, but I somehow also became the favorite of all the gay goth boys. I don't know how that happened. A few of them were even street hustlers. There was one in particular who always wore the same retro Mickey Mouse T-shirt. When Joe Nozemack and I were on the cover of the Willamette Week, promoting Oni Press as part of their "30 Under 30" article, he told me he had drawn a heart around my face. It was simultaneously flattering and weird.

I remember once an old man came in and asked, "Is this store like the one in High Fidelity? Are you going to make fun of me now?" I replied, "No, not to your face. We'll wait until you leave." There was probably a reason every employee meeting begin with a request that we tone down our attitudes. The owners said they had friend who were scared to come in the store lest they leave in tears. Honestly, such admonishments probably only made it worse. It was probably around then that they had to take the remote control fart machine away from E*Rock and me because we kept hiding it around the store and surprising customers with a long-distance raspberry. Or when we got in trouble for triggering the fake security system when our friends or particularly gullible regulars would walk out of the store, forcing them to question why they would trigger a magnetic alarm.

Moving to Portland in 1994, I literally went to Ozone on my first day in town. I had some time to kill before I was supposed to meet people at Dark Horse, and I made my way to Powell's Books. I had been to Powell's when I had come up to interview the year before, and it was really easy to find. The classic Ozone was located across the street. So, when I was done looking at books, I wandered over. I remember two things about that visit. The first was seeing the subway-sized poster for Suede's "So Young" single. I immediately bought it, and it was the first thing I hung in my very first apartment.

The second item was the only single by the band the Jennifers, called "Just Got Back Today." I nearly bought it, too, because it was on Nude Records, Suede's label, and I think the first non-Suede act to be released on the label (pre-Sharkboy, Geneva, Black Box Recorder, etc.). (In fact, it's NUD2CD, which means it was their second release, right between "The Drowners" and "Metal Mickey.") I didn't end up purchasing it right then, but a couple of months later, when I found out that Supergrass had originally been the Jennifers, I was relieved that it was still there. When the ‘grass came to Portland, they couldn't believe I had gotten my hands on one.

There were actually several independent record stores downtown, sometimes as many as four or five, three of them within a three-block radius, but Ozone was my primary source. I was in there two or three times a week. I only lived about seven blocks away, myself, and it was simple to pop in there on my way home from work. My Saturday morning ritual became to get up, shower, and go straight to the store when it opened. The new import shipment would be in, and I would snatch up whatever slabs of Britishness I could afford. Pretty soon, the two employees on shift got to know me, as there was rarely anyone else in the shop to interrupt their hangovers at that hour. They would usually make me tell them about the new bands I was purchasing, because I would take home the records before they had a chance to check them out. Like, excited to score the vinyl copy of that first Supergrass record (yes, them again), I Should Coco, which included a bonus 7" of their unreleased song "Odd?" and a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Stone Free," I told them the band was a cross of the Monkees and the Kinks. Eventually, I got to know Xtine, who did the import ordering, and I started going in on Friday nights instead because she would let me look over the list of new product while she was pricing it, giving me the opportunity to score my fix before it even hit the floor.

One of the Saturday morning clerks was Monte, who played in Rollerball. Many of the clerks were in local bands, as was much of our clientele. I've gotten a lot of mileage out of my anecdote about Elliott Smith coming into the store when it opened on the day XO was released. I apologized that the discs weren't out, but the person who handled the major label product wasn't in yet. He denied that was why he came in, bought a copy of If You're Feeling Sinister, and left. Another time I found Stephen Malkmus browsing through the Pavement bin. "We try to keep it well stocked," I said, and he turned around and replied, "No, it's pretty good!" When film director Todd Haynes moved here while he was writing Far From Heaven, we saw him quite often, as well as Benicio Del Toro when they were shooting The Hunted. The store is even immortalized in the last issue of Mike Allred's Red Rocket 7, when Red goes there with the Dandy Warhols.

Touring acts would stop by, too. The Chemical Brothers were particularly funny. Noticing a stack of rather hideous, unauthorized stickers we had of them, featuring two very unflattering photos of the guys, they couldn't help but comment on how awful they were. I offered to give them the pile, which had somewhere between 30 and 50 copies of the same sticker, saying, "No one ever buys them." They said, "It's no wonder!" and refused the offer.

Even better, though, was the infamous visit from Paul Simon. He wanted to use our bathroom, and E*Rock refused him entry, sending the signer across the street to Powell's. It was over before Eric realized what he had done. We never let anyone use our bathroom, his response had just been reflex. Naturally, by the next day, a Paul Simon poster magically appeared above the toilet.

I think it was 2002 when the old store closed down, once more splitting into two: the short-lived Ozone UK and O3. I stopped going as much. Part of it was the convenience of location no longer being there, and part of it was I had moved to ordering direct from online British sites (yes, kids, I am part of the problem). Even so, it was always there. I could pop in from time to time, browse, see my old friends. People still see me sometimes that recognize me from there but don't really remember why I am familiar looking. I was part of a Portland institution.

And now it's passing, and I don't think there's going to be anything rising up to take its place. Such are the times.

Farewell, Ozone.

Before I go, one last memory, another favorite anecdote, a time when I may have stumbled on the beginnings of a scientific musical theory.

We had three counters at the store. One in the front, one at the side, and one in the back. On busy nights, each counter was covered by a clerk. The front counter was where the stereo was, and that's where I was placed on this particular night. The other two counters were covered by female employees. I decided to play Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" for no other reason than it's an awesome song, but as it started playing, I told a customer that was up front, "Watch. One of those girls is going to think I played this song as a comment about them." Sure enough, the inner-store phone rang, and one of the other clerks was on the line. "Did you play this to say something about me?" No sooner had I denied the accusation and hung up then the phone rang again, and the other girl wanted to know if the song was because of her. Try it sometime. I bet it never fails.

Current Soundtrack: Sarah Nixey, Sing, Memory, along with B-sides and remixes; The Jennifers, "Just Got Back Today" CD5

Current Mood: nostalgic


On sale this week...Madman Atomic Comics #2!

Edited by me, which means I read it and say, "Neat! Add a comma to that panel there! Now, go!" But seriously, the most mind-bending, gorgeous artwork of Mike and Laura Allred's career.

Rumor is, my own comic (along with Marc Ellerby) will have its fourth issue on the stands next week. I'll believe it when I see it.

On sale last week, and having fuck all to do with me, but written by the rockstar Kelly Sue DeConnick...30 Days of Night: Eben & Stella #1.

Not a fan of the franchise myself, but I dug this issue. So, go ahead and jump in cold. Don't believe me? Let Kelly Sue charm you.

And seriously, would you let this man live in your neighborhood?

This was taken for my press pass to the Platform Animation Festival, but I look like I belong on a flier warning the community that a registered sex offender has moved in up the street.

Current Soundtrack: The Indelicates, various tracks (via Untouched By Work or Duty); Interpol, "The Heinrich Maneuver;" Brett Anderson, Live in London

Current Mood: blah

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

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, May 19, 2007


The Elusive Corporal

Sorry It's been a while since I updated. It's been a busy week of catching up. Hence, quite a few DVD reviews:


* Army of Shadows - Criterion Collection, Jean-Pierre Melville's awe-inspiring portrayal of the French Resistance in WWII Paris

* ER - The Complete Seventh Season , another great year for the television powerhouse

* The Fountain, a masterwork of sci-fi philosophy by Darren Arronofsky

* Hellboy Animated: Blood & Iron, the second cartoon feature starring MIke Mignola's whacky paranormal investigators

* Jean Renoir Collector's Edition, a set of seven films from both ends of the French director's illustrious career

* Peach Girl - vol. 1, the first DVD release of the anime adaptation of the Miwa Ueda manga series

* The Third Man - Criterion Collection, the double-disc reissue of Carol Reed's supreme British noir

Jean-Pierre Melville at work

Current Soundtrack: Electrelane, No Shouts No Calls

Current Mood: cranky

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

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, May 18, 2007


The Friends of Lulu have selected their nominees for their awards this year, and I'm happy to report that my wonderful collaborator Joëlle Jones made the list for the Kim Yale Award for the Best New Female Talent. The voting is now open, and you have until June 30 to go and vote.

When you cast your ballot for Joëlle, I hope you will also toss a check mark toward my pal, the multi-talented Jennifer de Guzman, who has been nominated as a Woman of Distinction. She's up against the head of Vertigo and a DCU editor, so that's a pretty big deal for the editor in chief of an indie comics company. Then again, seeing how Vertigo poaches half of their talent from her (the other half comes from Oni), no one can say she doesn't belong. When she wins, we can all shout out, "De Guuuuuz!" (Just like that guy at the back of Wordloaf shouting out for Michael Chabon on The Simpsons.)

And, man, my other friend June Kim is going up against Joëlle. Any other year, June, you know that! I also dig that Abby Denson girl, but I have to vote for Alison Bechdel as Lulu of the Year. Sorry, June! Sorry, Abby! I know too many kick-ass women...


Current Soundtrack: Death Proof soundtrack

Current Mood: pleased

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

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, May 14, 2007


So, the dance lessons are done. I'm not going to make it in today. In addition to all the reasons I listed last week, I've been feeling pretty behind the eight ball lately and have been trying to get back on track with my stuff. Today I found out that I had neglected to add a Tokyopop deadline to my calendar and the script for Pearl Pink vol. 4 is due next Monday, and that was kind of the last straw. Something had to go, so the thing that makes me anxious and isn't much fun for me anyway seemed like the easiest cut.

I still want to learn how to dance, but like I said in last week's entry, I think I need to find a different kind of program that works for me, or at the very least, someone to do it with me so I can get more practice in. I'm not athletically coordinated enough to go once a week and pick it up. It's just not going to happen. I'm glad I tried, though. Live and learn.

Truthfully, I don't think you're missing out on any comedy by me cutting out early. Short of me falling through a plate glass window or putting some girl in the hospital, the funny in the lessons themselves seems like it's all been found. The good stuff last week all happened before class. Had I not spilled my bourbon, there'd have been no slapstick at all.

Current Soundtrack: theaudience, theaudience

Current Mood: busy

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

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, May 11, 2007


What old men who sit in their houses and yell at kids on their lawns don't tell you is that they aren't yelling because they're cranky, but because it's actually kind of fun.

The kids in my apartment building are mostly pretty good. There was a short while one summer where the Mexican kids kept trying to steal the Badtz Maru pencil sharpener that propped my window open, not because they were bad kids but because they were fascinated by it, as any kid would be, and didn't seem to understand that it could bring the window crashing down on their fingers. My friend Terry gave me some Spanish phrases to shoo them away with, but their little kid sixth sense must have warned them because they stopped before I could try them out. (One of the kids loves Spider-Man, and that's what I always call him, so if you ever have Spidey stuff you want to get rid of, send it to me.)

The first time I ever yelled at any of the kids was when a couple of boys were throwing healthy-sized rocks at each other. Not only did I fear for their skulls, but I didn't want one coming through my window so I told them to knock it off. They immediately snapped to and started stating their defenses. Neither of them had started it, to hear them tell it, and I told them, "I don't care who started it. Just knock it off before you get hurt!" They gave me no trouble, and I kind of liked how quickly they fell in line--even if I can hear my own father when I raise my voice. Funny how that sneaks up on us, isn't it?

Today, though, was a total blast. I was sitting here typing when a water balloon exploded all over the window by my desk--which was open enough that we could get air in here, but not enough for Sadie to squeeze through. No water actually came in, but Sadie was sleeping on the window sill and she freaked out. (She hasn't come out from under the bed even though a couple of hours have passed.) So, I yelled at the two boys--one who had been a rock thrower--and told them to watch it. "We didn't mean it," the boy said, repeating his pattern of defensive bullshit. "I know," I said, "but I'm sitting here, so be careful. You got me wet." Which was a total lie, but whatever. I don't believe he didn't mean it. I think he was trying to scare Sadie and just didn't see me sitting there because, if there's one thing I've learned about kids, it's that they aren't very bright.

A little bit later, I'm sitting and watching TV in my living room, shades mainly drawn. No one can really see in, but I can see the courtyard through the opening in the window fan. There's a loud bang at my door, and I realize that the kid who said he didn't mean it has lobbed another balloon right at my door. His friend comes running over, and the liar points at what he did, and they start laughing. As they do so, the liar goes into his apartment, leaving his friend standing there, giggling and staring at my door.

"Keep laughing!" I shout.

The kid flinches, and then freezes there, his shoulders hunched. He looks around at the windows above me, not sure who is yelling at him, unable to see me through the window fan.

"That's right, dumbass! I can see you! Why don't you go get another balloon, and we'll see who laughs!"

With that, the second kid fill his pants and totally high tails it back to his place. It's like a Scooby-Doo gag, where Scooby is frozen and then suddenly only a puff of smoke remains where the dumb dog once was. When the liar emerged from his apartment, yet another balloon in hand, he was totally baffled. He went off in search of his friend, and any time they've come back this way since, they run at full speed into the apartment and shut themselves inside; when they come back out, same thing.

I actually went looking for my water pistol in hopes that they would try something and I could ambush them, but they're too wussy to mess with the geezer!

Current Soundtrack: Nico Fidenco, Black Emanuelle's Groove

Current Mood: predatory

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

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, May 10, 2007


It appears that Have You Seen the Horizon Lately? is out in the world. Amazon has it up for preorder.

Not sure how accurate the info is as of yet. For one, the release date is way off. The page count is too high (this is not Everlasting big, more like Cut My Hair). There is no cover image on the site. I'm also not sure about that price. I thought it was lower, but I could be wrong. They should at least be offering a discount.

It does have the early stages of the back cover summary, though:

World-famous author Percival Mendelssohn and his wife Iris were the toast of literary society until her shocking suicide exposed the emptiness behind the couple's idyllic public image. Convinced that there was no love left in the modern world, Percival decided he would abandon it, disappearing from the face of the Earth and leaving stunned fans to forever wonder what happened to their favorite writer. Now, nearly a decade has passed, and one girl is determined to find her authorial guru and get some answers. Julia Jimenez has traveled halfway around the planet to Beijing, and she's convinced the strange man she's found hiding in a Chinese home is the one everybody's been looking for. In fact, the more he denies it, the more sure of her discovery Julia becomes. Insinuating her way into his life of isolation, she slowly tries to draw Percival back out amongst the living. Can she prove to him that his safe and precious life, tucked away with his books and an army of cats, can't protect him from the harsh realities he's trying to deny? Or has he become so broken by the failure of his romantic ideals, he can never be at peace again?

In any case, I can see the end in sight.

Current Soundtrack: The Good, the Bad & the Queen

Current Mood: excited

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I had to share this letter just because I find her use of the Teddy Roosevelt quote to be so deliciously ironic:

"I read your review of 'The Caine Mutiny - Collector's Edition' and...it offered me absolutly no information about this 'print' of the movie. This is not the first time CAINE has ben released. Retelling the plot is [as] poor as your opinions and listing extras fills out a dogdead reveiw. Why don't you make some comparisons or do some homework on the making of the new disc. Better yet stop being a critic. Work on your novels.

'Dare greatly! It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.' - Theodore Roosevelt"

Imagine if Teddy had stuck around for the internet. He'd have been so impressed by how this woman took a stand!

And one reader puts his finger on where Spider-Man 3 went wrong:

"I've...been pretty disappointed with the shit that Hollywood has come out with for, at least, the past 6 years. Starting when Hollywood was really going full force with out sourcing it's filming to Canada and other places because of the jew mentality of the film studios. Hate to put it that way but that's where they are at."

How come no one told me that the Jews had gotten Tinsel Town back from the homosexuals? I hate being out of the loop!

Current Soundtrack: Camera Obscura, Let's Get Out of This Country

Current Mood: baffled

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

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, May 07, 2007


I had promised myself that I would do two weeks of dancing class at the very least. After the fiasco of the first week, I was ready to call it quits, but then I convinced myself that I had to do it at least twice to know exactly how I felt about it and to be able to say I gave it a good try if it didn't click. So, even though I had misgivings earlier today because of my tiredness and crankypants from having been in Dallas all weekend, where it was humid and everyone said "y'all," there was also the "two times" rule to contend with. Ultimately, I couldn't get around the fact that tonight made more sense than skipping a week and picking it up again next Monday. Assuming that the classes actually are going to build on each other, I'd start next week that much more behind than the rest.

This meant that much of today was spent screwing up my courage for this. I buckled down and finished off a draft of a manhwa that's due this week, knowing that some good, concentrated work often helps make me itchy to get out of the house. Once that was done, I put on some music that would pump me up and did some practicing in my kitchen. I discovered a huge part of my problem was that my triple steps were actually double steps. Once I found the third step, it fixed my propensity to come out of the second triple on the wrong foot. I could actually get a rhythm going.

Getting the hang of the basic swing step made me feel more confident that maybe I could improve and could start to figure the dance thing out. What seemed impossible just seven days ago was suddenly possible. I would go!

Yeah, well, it was easy to be brave in my apartment, but once I stepped outside, it was another matter. Were I a pot of water, the afternoon indoors was spent on the stove while I heated myself up to a boil. Unfortunately, to go out and actually do the thing, I had to take myself off my safe burner and take the bus to the dance studio. The further I got away from the heat of my comfort zone, the less courageous I was. The water was cooling.

I accidentally caught an earlier bus than the one I had planned. I decided to use this to my advantage and go to the bar by the studio. I'd get a little liquid courage to help loosen me up. Not too much, just one whiskey.

I sat down at the bar and order a Bulleit Bourbon neat. The bartender poured a nice glass, and I dropped her a dollar tip from my change. Having done so, I noticed that there was a quarter on the bar, lodged under the drain on the back edge of it, situated behind some containers where she could not see it. Deciding it would be the nice thing to do to dislodge this quarter and put it where she could see it, I reached over and slid the coin out. It wasn't a difficult thing, it wasn't stuck in there hard or anything, I just moved it over with my dollar. It was only after, when I pulled my arm back, that I hit my glass with my wrist, sending it tumbling right over and all the booze splashing off the bar and completely soaking my crotch.

The bartender was very nice about this. She handed me a towel and poured me another. I apologized for being an idiot, and she replied, "Oh, like I've never seen that before."

"Yeah, but this is just my first drink," I said.

"Worry more when it's your third."

"That's when you should give me a sippy cup. Can you believe I'm supposed to be going next door to take dancing lessons?"

She laughed. "The more drunk you get, the more fun it will be."

"Yeah, but I'm supposed to be graceful. Look at me!"

"At least you'll smell nice."

"Or if I'm tripping over everything, they can blame it on the fact that I'm a rummy."

I had actually thought of the smell factor before she mentioned it. How could I go in to swing dance if I smelled like a distillery? Black denim was working in my favor in that you couldn't see the spill, but if they could smell the whiskey, I was in trouble. I exited to the bathroom and bent myself over as far as I could, a pose every guy has been in at least once when he foolishly tried to see if he could actually fellate himself. In this case, I didn't have to get my nose into my crotch to succeed (like I ever could!), I just had to see if you could smell the liquor from a specific distance. As far as I could sense, I could not.

Not that this kept paranoia at bay. Once I was in the studio and sitting on the bench, waiting for the salsa class to end, I faked messing with my air, running my hands back through it as I bent down yet again, seeing if I could smell the bourbon from a sitting position. I was still in the clear. I was chewing Double Mint, too, and that should have hopefully helped mask any alcohol fumes.

Looking around the class, I started to recognize some of the faces. Two of the couples were there, the guy with his shoes in a bag, some single women. One girl was talking to the instructor, and I immediately became convinced they were talking about me. She was telling the teacher who I was and how bad I had been at the first class. There was no other explanation for it. Same thing when I saw two of the other women laughing with each other. I am almost positive that they glanced at me and then exchanged a look, like, "Can you believe he had the balls to come back?" Yes, well, this week they were liquor-soaked balls. How you like me now?

Truth be told, part of me had hoped I could go a little incognito for at least a short while. I had a sort of reverse disguise going. Last week I had a mustache I had been growing for over two weeks, started when I cut my lip and then kept going as a joke. I had shaved that before heading to Texas, and I tried to cling to the illusion that maybe they wouldn't realize I was Gay Johnny Cash. Maybe this week I could be Fetal Alcohol Syndrome James Dean or something.

As we lined up, I began to assess the scene further. The creepy guy who tried to get the girls to "warm up" with him hadn't come back, and neither had the woman who had gotten singled out with me for not being able to spin right. I think at least one other guy had bailed, too, as we were two men short for every woman to have partners this time. If nothing else, this meant I had at least not been the first to drop out. Other guys had run faster. Granted, one of the men remaining had taken classes before and was doing this with his girlfriend, who was a beginner, so the other girls were going to get to dance with him and by his knowing what he was doing, it was going to make me look all the worse. Insult to injury, the shoes-in-a-bag guy turned out to also be a skilled ancer. The teacher kept pulling him out of the mix to demonstrate moves using him as her partner. I was quite easily the guy on the bottom. My only real competition for last place was the guy who took off after half-an-hour claiming he had something important to do. Yeah, something like picking up what was left of his dignity and hauling ass out of there. Smart move! Wish I had thought of it.

Actually, I should probably say right now that the bloodthirsty, voyeuristic types among you are in for some disappointment. There is a vocal portion of my readership that couldn't care less about the damage my humiliation may cause my mental state, they just want me to make with the funny. The lower I get knocked down, the better your entertainment, right? You dirty bastards! Well, things didn't go quite so bad this time, so you're not going to get the kill you've been lusting for. I'm going to fail you here with the comedy. The worst of it was in the preamble.

The class started out fine, as we went over last week's moves solo before moving on to partners. I found I could maintain the pace, and the kitchen practice had paid off. Even joining up with partners had better results. I tried to use communication to maintain a comfort level without going straight for the self-deprecation. I was still honest about my problems, but more in a way that pointed them out so my partner and I could figure out what it was that was tripping me up. This led to them alternately trying to help me and even admitting to what they might not understand. Really, I think a key to getting good at this would be to have a regular partner with whom I could practice with during off hour, working out the various steps and concentrating together to suss out where things go wrong.

Because where I started to have problems over the course of the class was when the teacher kept adding new moves to the routine. Though I started off confident with what I was doing, step by step, that confidence dropped a little. The pace was too much for me. I was lucky to get each movement right once before the teacher moved on to the next part of the lesson. I never had enough time to fully work in one step before she'd throw another step in, and pretty soon I wasn't making just one mistake, I was making two and then three, and by the time I recovered from the first one, I was well into the second one, and they were piling up on each other.

Forget how silly I was feeling for being so bad at the dancing, the bigger embarrassment was feeling like I was wasting the time of the female students I was being paired up with. I was preventing them from getting good at the steps because I wasn't providing anything for them to work with. Getting me on track was taking up too much energy. During some numbers, I found myself checking out of the experience, waiting out the song much like I had thought some of the women had done to me the week before. Once the class was twenty minutes into overtime, I did what the other guy had done and excused myself--though my reasons were true. I really did need to catch the bus.

It's hard to say whether I'll return for week 3. The question is whether or not I can really catch up and get better, and maybe even more important, whether or not I'm really having any fun. I wanted to have a good time with this, and I am not sure that standing and fighting when my flight instinct is being so insistent is really worth the effort. I may just be kidding myself by being stubborn. Is there much point doing something when the entire time you keep wondering if you've made a big mistake?

(And no, your entertainment is not a good enough reason. Not unless you want to start filling my Paypal tip jar to reimburse me for the pleasure! You jackals!)

Current Soundtrack: Erasure, Light at the End of the World

Current Mood: uncomfortable, y'all

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

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich


Joëlle and I are home from Dallas, where Bride of CAPE 2007 went swimmingly. Not a lot to report, really. Good hosts, good fans, good sales. Hopefully I can get my hands on Joëlle or Martin's photos as they will show you what it was like and that will be much better, especially when it comes to the live art show (where Joëlle wowed onlookers with her late entry painting of a couple of lovely ladies) or the costume contest (never seen so many kids in cute, cute costumes).

I did some dancing at the live art show, with Jim Mahfood on the decks. The bastard sucker punched me, though, by throwing on the super extended version of the Cure's "Hot, Hot, Hot," which is coincidentally the first Cure record I ever bought, the 12" vinyl back in the day, and so of course I couldn't abandon the floor when it came up, even though I was melting in the Texas humidity. I think I got a week's worth of exercise in that night alone. (On the dance thing, currently having an indecisive crisis about returning to class tonight. I'm knackered and sick of people on top of all the other issues I have with the dance class experience, so it's currently a conflict of anxiety vs. shame. I'm almost thinking I want a pedicure instead!)

Anyway, big thanks to Richard and everyone at Zeus Comics for having us, and Martin Griffin and Ian "Speckled Eggs" Shaughnessy for giving us a place to sleep and driving us around.

On returning, I discovered two things waiting for me. One, being sucked into a Spider-Man 3 review in an unexpected way.

Two, remember how I posted that Mike Holmes caricature of me from Shenanigans and complained how much it didn't look like me? Well, Mike sent me a response:

Hey Jamie -

Never wanting to take offense at criticism, but LEARN from it and be a better human person, I fired this off tonight with a brush pen.



I may have been better off with the other one. The all-too-chilling accuracy of this caricature reveals that were they to make a movie about my life, I'd be played by Andy Dick.

Current Soundtrack: The Automatic, Not Accepted Anywhere

Current Mood: exhausted

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

All text (c) 2007 Jamie S. Rich