Monthly Archives: December 2008

Quickies Chicago. Women with Bombs.

I like flash fiction or any short, compressed thing is all Transylvania, all seeking shelter and inhale, and am so excited to be asked to join the Quickies Chicago AWP reading.

I tried to bum my way into the reading a while back, and was told no. Then out of nowhere they email me and say yes. Hmm. Pretty cool. And this reading is seven arrows strong!!

featuring:

Peter Markus (I would like to take him fishing)

Robert Lopez (Owes me 14 dollars)

Blake Butler (Needs to work on his running technique–I can hear the feet slapping)

Kim Chinquee (Changed her blog photo once again)

Brian Evenson (Run, walk, crawled to the top of the tower)

Joe Salvatore (Has a crush on the church deacon)

Janet Desaulniers (Is smarter, more centered, more talented than all of us, I feel)

Jac Jemc (Once brought me a chiffon cake at a party)

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I am on a new nacho streak, 20 days.

Nachos and nachos, messy and mutable, combining differently with one another from day to day – even hour to hour.

And so on.

I call tonight STILL LIFE DINNER, WITH SANTA:

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I found a New Years work online. It involves joblessness and drink.

Tom Mahoney, “Scrape.”

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I am thinking about resolutions.

To only drink on weekends?

To write every day?

To thunk.

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A Pretty Nice Hotel.

First thing, any writer who uses the terms “pretty” and “nice” needs to be shot in the forehead with a slaw burger. Nice? Nice? I just swallowed my third lung and called the housekeeper. I kneecap that prose. I fling. I hurl (all meanings). Who writes that?

ME.

I write like Carrot Top comedians (wow a noun into a verb! What’s next I say that I bulldozed my way through the nacho buffet?)–ah, the sadness, gimmicks, a bit of hype, a Dominoes Pizza costume, but basically he sucks like me.

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Whao! I don’t think he’s just shooting up carrot juice! And what is the advantage of being buff when a shitty comedian? Maybe hecklers in the alley will hesitate to beat your ass? I don’t think it’s just narcissism. Hollywood eats and excretes narcissism all up in 6 months.  To attract women? A third rate comedian and a really buff guy get exactly the same level of women. He’s being redundant.

Who knows?

Well, fuck Carrot Top. Can you imagine his face when his agent suggested that moniker? Like when Mellencamp sat there on a black leather couch and was told his name was now cougar. Cougar?

And fuck qualifiers, adverbs, people who don’t know how to tip bartenders or roulette dealers, people who drink Corona in the winter, people who do not turn right on red, people who give toys or apples or Christian fliers during Halloween. People who skip class then show up later and ask, “Did we do anything?”

No, naturally, no we did not. We sat here for a hour without you and meditated to Enya.

I am about to ignite a rant, but feel too tired.

But I digress.

*

The FAM is in a NICE hotel tonight , kids. I drove too late, on too much caffeine, just obsessed to “put in miles,” to scurry back home, to press things as they say, and found myself and all my responsibilities up way too late, too lost, in a fog of ashy darkness, caffeine withdrawal, adult weight. I was crashing. I yelled out, “We are stopping! This is America!”

We are in Pennsylvania, between a coal plant and a bail bondsman. Birds cough outside our window. The air has chunks in it, like poorly smashed potatoes. When I asked if a room was available, the man behind the glass cage (wires embedded) said, “One hour or two?”

Several “Ladies of the Night” are in the lobby, just slouching there. They look uglily beautiful and bored and hungry at the same time, like maybe one of those deranged lions at the zoo, sans pacing. One of them has hair the hue of bile and is the size of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, same Whip-It nitrous oxide grin.

If traveling alone, I might say hi to her and then somersault away.

But probably not.

Here is the bathroom door handle. Think anyone locked themselves inside recently to avoid a meat cleaver?

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Here is the blood stain on the floor.

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Here is my life, 2night, a Saturday, named after Saturn, god of agriculture, of domesticated growth. It must be my life. I see beer, infant formula, a laptop, the Star of Bethlehem radiating from my engorged aorta.

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Wow!

Oh wow this kicks ass at robot melon.

I love 14!!!!!!

Thank you Katrina Kymberly NGUYEN

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Loves u all. Some day I’ll be back in Indiana. So. I’ll be back, in Indiana. So. So. So.

Sew?

So.

Santa is a Whore. I love you. Nachos for Holidays?

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I am not being “ironic” or “cool” or “caring what people think of me,” or any of that shit that destroys the early years/imagination in all of us.

It is Christmas Eve and I would like to thank my mom for all the traditions: making homemade cookies, drinking only 10 ounce Cokes (hard to find now), driving past Elvis’s house (this in Memphis, TN) to see the lights of Graceland. In my stupidity, I thought all of this was “corny” for years. Now I know it was more valuable than heroin. It was my brain, the inlaying memories of my synapses, dendrites–it was the highway capillaries of my life, the sparks I remember of those holidays. It was myrrh and glow.

It is Christmas Eve. And why did Einstein need to tell us Time is relative? Do you remember how LONG it took Christmas to arrive? That’s why you have kids, maybe. I don’t want to lose my excitement over Christmas Eve. I don’t. If I lose my excitement over Christmas I feel it would be like losing my arm. Sure, I’d go on, but not really. Later tonight I’ll set up a Play Station for my 5 year old. I’ll inflate some toast. I’ll have my Christmas, damn you!! Then again, I’m a little drunk and with a big-ass mortgage. But still. We try.

It is Christmas Eve and I really want to say: I would like to thank all the blogger/writers. I read you, your work, and it makes my life better. Glimmer in the morning. I feel like part of a community, though I have only blogged since summer. I don’t “know” these people, but I “know” them; and mostly admire them, and certainly their work. They pass my test: I would quaff a beer with all of them.

Shout out to KGM!

(I would drink 14 beers with her)

Shout out to “Tao Lin” (note the Tao Lin quotes)

Shout out to Poker Grub.

(Wow. I vote him Most Honest Blog. Gamblers usually inflate wins, minimize losses in conversation. There is a whole level of bullshit involved in gambler talk. Poker Grub just drops the straight dope, and it’s so bad it’s good, like gas station coffee.)

And naturally the insomniac blur of publishing goat of bolt/oar.

(He can write. He’s kinda clever. Etc. BUT. Seems like he has a good heart. I can “feel” this. I have a good-inside radar. Really, in the larger picture, that’s all that matters, to me. I have read a lot and learned a lot and thought a lot, because of Blake.)

I can’t believe he wrote a running text!!! Damn him! I am going to write a running text next! I fucking KNOW running. You want some, Blake? You want to race?

But I digress…

Thank you all (and other bloggers/writers)  for making me less existentially alone. Maybe one purpose of the internet, or a byproduct?

I remember a story about how BEFORE the internet, this guy from Nebraska collected Barf Bags from every airline possible, all his flights, any contacts he had (every airline had a unique Barf Bag–its own logo, etc.). Why in the hell would a human do such a thing? Weird, right? No one could understand–a guy that collects vomit bags from airline flights? HE felt so very, very alone. He felt weird. BUT, then the internet came along. You know what happened? That guy got online. And guess what he found out? He wasn’t weird, he was human.

Sam collects Barf bags, too.

There is even a museum.

Buy this Venezuelan bag right now for $20.

Etc

The internet opened the throat of the world. The voice. WE ARE ALL WEIRD.

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Tonight, I can not complain. I won $60 bucks at the horse track. I ran 5 decent miles. I walked my dog. I met a guy named, “Sam the Beer Man.”  He sold me beer. I began an essay on Road Head. I can’t believe nobody has written a good Road Head essay yet. I guess I’ll just do it.

I edited a story today.

Here is an excerpt from my story:

14. The Best Weekend: We smoked anchovies and laid garments on a counter and slipped our arms through pineapples (not made of pine, not apples) and drove to stay the night at the exact place the sea and the sky embrace.

15. Another One: Bad drugs done in the library stacks.

16. Another One: Also words, puckered red and ugly; drunken Ebaying; drywall wounds in the form of clouds.

17. Massive Debt: She told me that we abdicate our own free will, act in bad faith, when we avoid difficult, honest decisions, when we make excuses to deny conflict, etc.

18. Co-Workers: I respect a man who can read a river.

19. Co-workers: Ask me how the grant is going one more time, I fucking dare you.

I took a bath while drinking beer and reading a novel. There is something about drinking and bathing and reading I really enjoy. Maybe it’s the way I can do three things at once?

I wish more people in the world were faster. I am a fast walker, big-time. I blow by people, I weave and stutter and plan routes several yards ahead of my walking. Jesus I can’t stand slow-walkers. But that’s just me.

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I spent the night in a Comfort Inn that REALLY would make a person re-think Comfort Inn. It was 121 years old. This was Warren, Ohio. Here it is, and please note my Baby-Baby Subaru in the foreground. This car purrs like Ativan or a table saw.

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What the fuck am I going to eat while way up here in New York??

It spleens me.

Oh, then the in-laws bought me tortillas, cheese, black olives, jalapenos. They heard something about my diet, apparently.

nachos

Holy shit I love nachos.

Happy holidays, all.

Seriously.

A Recession in the Kitchen of my Brain.

Yo fools!!

There is a 75% off capitalism book sale at Small Press Distribution.

Wow!

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I am in New York, so frozen. I can’t halt my losing streak. “I don’t have all the answers.” I am a skittish dog; won’t approach you anymore. I am clinching, hopefully. This is obviously not enough. I am notching, speaking softly. I made you a salad. Do you approve the salad? Is it “good”? I own a dubious piece of history, my days. All of this written on stolen band width. Like confetti, I am going to go run now. On a treadmill, in a strange, cold town. Like confetti. Like confetti now. I bicycle through the mediocre sludge of my life. Keep pedaling! Look down! Improbable the way I inhale, exhale, sigh.

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Here is a letter I wrote to Morningstar when they pissed me off:-

October 3, 200

Morningstar Farms

Like a runover Jack-a-Lope. Like a wad of congealed soybean curd. Like an ogre-smelling yolk-faced spleen-ruptured wedge of jellyfish dung. Like a warlock-nosed liar. This is how I felt, after serving your Veggie Dogs Corn Dogs to my co-workers.

Why? Because some unidentified blue crinkly most likely biohazardous certainly FOREIGN object/polymer/worm (enclosed) appeared in the center of your Veggie Dogs Corn Dogs. In the center, I say, like a dragon’s tongue, or a galaxy helix, or, well, maybe a worm…

Let me explain. Most (I exclude Sally McPhee, since she is a lacto-ovo vegetarian and did go with me—eight times to be exact—to both my favorite movies [The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers]) of my co-workers are lackadaisical asses, who are morally unsound and not even minimally decent human beings, with not one solitary iota of care or compassion for the unnecessary pain and suffering and frustration and torment of animals in this world. They have great concern for cellular phone covers and magazines about people who are filmed talking for a living (actors) and gigantic automobiles and grown men running around with inflated pigs under their arms (football) and internet porn and poisoning themselves with spirits and ales and tiny fires they build and purposely inhale (cigarettes), but they don’t give an Ostrich’s ass about the fellow citizens of their shared kingdom—the Animal Kingdom.

Anywho…

How do they treat me? How do they treat a conscientious vegan, a man with a heart and pancreas and soul, with an understanding of the cyclically holistic nature of our environment and earth? I’ll tell you. The carnivorous garbage-minded cynical selfish bastards say things like, “What you think we have teeth for, you dumbass!” and “I didn’t get to the top of the food chain to eat no pinto beans!” and “Why do you have toys on your desk?” and “Humans have throats built for drinking blood” and “Without protein, your lungs will explode” and all kinds of other insensitive and insulting and scientifically dubious statements.

Anywho…

I brought diet Dr. Pepper and your Veggie Dogs Corn Dogs to the Second Annual Safety/Employee Appreciation Day Potluck and Line Dance. I didn’t tell people they were vegetarian, but I guess they knew, knowing me, so most of them (except for Sally McPhee) avoided your product like it was a platter of oven-fried dynamite. They drank the diet Dr. Pepper. We all danced and ate and gossiped and then Bucky Small (quality control officer for parking lot maintenance, which means he doesn’t even have his GED and basically rides atop a vacuum mower all day long) holds up a half-eaten Veggie Dog Corn Dog and screams out to everyone in the cafeteria, “Look at this shit!!” And everyone stops, him screaming and flailing about like he’s having a seizure, and the music cuts out and everybody gathers round and Bucky passes the Veggie Dog Corn Dog to the MC, Dougie Knoxs from Automotives, who has one of those portable microphones he’s stolen from Electronics (my department, so I should know), and he yells (though there is never, ever any reason to yell into a microphone), “Thar’s a big blue worm coming out this here wiener!” And he’s right! Out the end of the half-eaten Veggie Dog is a thin crinkly string of neon blue polymer—I guess it’s a polymer… Is it? God, say it’s not a blue worm, or some skeleton of a blue worm. Well, I about fell out dead right there. You know why?

1.) I was embarrassed. When I get embarrassed, I faint. I did it once dressed as Mr. Spock at a Trekkie IV conference in Las Vegas when I was supposed to present a Vortex Fan Award and instead tumbled from the lectern into a crowd of drunken Romulans. The funny thing is they thought it was part of my speech. It was not.

2.) If the Veggie Dog was half-eaten, Sally Mcphee must have eaten half, since my other co-workers would rather drink razor blades embedded in molten lead than eat something made of “Styrofoam” as they label all vegetarian foods. Sally most likely saw the crinkly blue polymer, got sick, set the other half down, and blamed me. Now she won’t talk to me, ever. I mention the incident, repeatedly, and she sobs and says, “Leave me be, you freak!”

3.) Now everybody in my office has their misconceptions confirmed: vegetarian food is made of Styrofoam, or of opiates or paperclips or volcanic sand or some type of wallpaper glue, or maybe even blue worms. Everybody has guesses and believe me they inform me all day, every day—they say, “Maybe it’s dried up deck sealant?” or “It’s got to be a key” or “It’s because we’ve left the bible” or “More than likely a spy camera” or “I bet it’s one of them computer viruses.” And so on.

Would you please help? I need a letter, preferably official, explaining what exactly this blue crinkly polymer is all about. It was in the CENTER of the Veggie Dog Corn Dog. I am concerned, for my health, physically and mentally and emotionally. I once adored your products and now I question what I will find: aluminum gears in the Better ‘n Burgers? A # 2 pencil inside the Breakfast Sandwich with Cheese? Sea turtle eggs in the Crumbles? A kid with a coal shovel hidden within the Supreme Pizza? Who knows? Now, my life at work is hell in a heart basket. It sucks. I’ve lost my favorite lunch, my girl, and any reasoning or rationale for my vegan lifestyle, all in one fatalistic claptrap of a swoop.

I feel low. Help me.

Sean Aden Lovelace

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I am reading this right now.

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I like this guy. Sometimes I feel he is writing what I am about to write, feel.

Sad.


Run Fast to Elimae!!

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That is Zack Torres flying through the air. He REALLY wanted to be a high school All American. Only the top 15 are labeled such. Guess what place he is trying for here?

Story.

Today, I did a YASSO 800 workout. This is a key workout for any marathoner. Mine went:

800 @ 6:00 mile pace. repeat.

800 @ 5:56 mile pace. repeat.

800 @ 5:52 mile pace. repeat

800 @ 5:27 mile pace.

I felt the good tired afterward. The leg thard, the snow of fatigue.

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I like literary magazines. It’s not because Hemingway and Elizabeth Bishop and T.S Eliot all first published in lit mag pages, it’s simply because the freshest writing out there is in lit mags, especially the online ones (though even print mags are loosening up, allowing for hybrid texts, nontraditional structures,  and so on.)

I’d like to spend a life reading lit mags and drinking beer in the morning, but I simply can’t.

Usually, every mag has some nacho chips, some glow shards, some sidewalks, then a few clunker-dunks. But that’s expected.

The latest issue of elimae has broken ye-old mold. I can honestly say it’s one of the tightest, highest quality issues I have seen out in a good while. Just about every piece plugs into the air and slashes all big hands, screaming. I glee. Seriously glee.

It makes my lungs fill and spill. Makes me feel good about where this is all heading. Makes me want leave a powerful gas heater on high. Etc.

Duck Sauce by Mike Topp is one of these texts you just read and think, “I wish I had written that.”

Kim Chinquee dials up five new fictions (here is the actual phone she uses to store her flash fictions).

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What I like about Kim’s work lately is it is starting to swerve a bit, to get even edgier, a more sensuous clarity. It’s always been damn good. But I think she’s pushing the possibilities further. The realism has gone scarlet, blue, gold; and we are better off for it.

This is the type of essay we need more of. Thank you, Jen Michalski, whomever you are (or are not).

Lastly, I’ll highlight Roadkill by Chris Major.

Go ahead, click on all the rest. Elimae is always a good read, but I think this issue went exponential on all our asses. I’m telling you the entire issue should win some kind of award. Maybe heroin? Or a flying car?

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I wrote on a grant all day today. Writing a grant is like being a wadded up glue booger in the inappropriate dream of the guy who lives above you, you know, Mr. Thumper.

Sometimes I feel my head is a potato.

I feel like this right now:

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Book Review, Holiday Literature. Lunch. Complaint Letter About my Shampoo.

Today I finished The Pets by Bragi Ólafsson.Then I wrote a book review for New Pages. I’m sure it will be out in January.

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Here is a negative review by an idiot. Fuck San Diego. Two words: oxygen bar.

Here is an interview of author.

Here is the beginning of my review…(unedited, since I haven’t even sent the review in yet).

Everything I know about Iceland could fit into a shoebox: two Björk CDs, a six of Viking beer, a tin of cured ram scrota (a gag gift by one of my “friends”). But I do find the unique and au courant alluring, and my ventures into the unknown experience often prove worthwhile or at worst innocuous (the only extreme exceptions being Riverdance and Robo-Tripping—I seriously advise you to lay off both, no matter what the cool kids say.)

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Here is a new Christmas story, Jimmy Chen on Juked.

Here is another about Christmas and cats by Lafayette Wattles. If there are two things I admire, it must be holidays and cats. Though bibles and hand grenades are a close 2nd.

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My shamppo broke, so I wrote this letter:

L’Oréal USA, Inc., Consumer Affairs,

PO Box 98,

Westfield, NJ 07091-9911.

I am writing concerning one of your cosmetic/beautification products, a conditioner, specifically, L’Oreal Paris Fresh Vive Clean Shine Conditioner Zero-Stripping-No-Build-Up–System Citrus CR Frequent Use. It is in a plastic bottle the color of an eggshell, or maybe of clouds right before a spring shower, or maybe coffee just as the creamer is spinning within it—kind of off-white. The bottle is ergonomically shaped and fits the hand of an average adult. The bottle is # EX072, also with 20AKMP-03 printed alongside your address, in bold print letters, which may or may not be relative. Hopefully, with my descriptors, you can identify this bottle/batch/industrial unit.

Anyway.

I am writing due to a failure in the conditioner consistency. Ever since I visited my girlfriend’s girlfriend in a downtown loft of Minneapolis, Minnesota, I have always used L’Oreal Paris Fresh Vive Clean Shine Conditioner Zero-Stripping-No-Build-Up–System Citrus CR Frequent Use in my twice daily (sometimes thrice daily) washings of hair, and the product has at all times had a glossy, pearly, creamy, velvety texture, with just a thickening hint of tangelo peel (my estimation), which I find refreshing.

However.

This time was different. On September 7, 2002, I became first aware of the problem. It all began with the conditioner delivery process, as I was forced to squeeze the bottle with excessive intensity, huffing and grunting and, yes, cursing, just to get the conditioner to exit the bottle and settle into my open palm. I found this alarming. Usually, this particular conditioner flows from the bottle, in an agreeable manner, like maple syrup on Sunday morning crepes. Sir or madam, it did not flow. No. It slugged, yes, then spat, drooped, and congealed. There was no way I could apply, work through, or leave in for one minute with this dusty nugget of conditioner. It looked like old toothpaste, or rubbery caulk one would find in the bathroom corners of an old neighbor lady’s house. It reminded me of a dead slug, or nursing home linen—I mean it was decrepit and dry and white and horrible.

Can you explain? I can’t. I have hypotheses, naturally. The conditioner might have been in some way dehydrated. My mind goes immediately to the tangelos (again, I’m assuming it’s tangelos in Citrus CR), possibly inferior due the recent drought and number of devastating brush fires in central Florida. Or maybe the bottle had a sealant failure? Like the shuttle with the O-rings, you know? So, I checked out the bottle and even used a small magnifying glass I got from CVS pharmacy and I saw absolutely no failure of the exterior seal or casing. I thought about sabotage. I mean, like anyone else, I have several enemies, but who would tamper with a man’s beauty supplies? Oh god, I don’t even want to consider the implications.

As you can see, I find this dilemma worrying. Excessive worrying, you’re probably thinking, but all of us are different. We all have our little “thing” we worry over. For me, it’s my stomach. No matter how many crunches, I have to check my stomach in the mirror at least ten times a day. I don’t know why. I think fat will just appear, like a whitehead or something. My mom worries about The Bomb. Still! I told her the Cold War is so over, but she doesn’t listen. And there’s this lady, Mrs. Gorman, who lives three blocks over who worries I won’t show up every two weeks to trim the dandelion shoots from around the post of her mailbox (a gaudy plastic thing in the shape of a chicken barn). I mean she sits out there in this old red porch swing waiting on me all day and I always show up (admittedly, sometimes late in the early evening) and she always says, “I thought you weren’t coming.” Why? Why would she say that? For seven and a half years, every fourteen days, I have trimmed the dandelion shoots from the post of her mail barn, even in the winter when not even one dandelion shoot exists. (Though she insists I show up, I don’t charge her in the winter.) Why, I ask you? Why does Mrs. Gorman imply I might not show up to complete a job I’ve been doing for nearly a decade? Who knows? Who can answer such questions? I mean why does god allow diet sodas? How does Oprah gain and lose all that weight? And so on.

Well.

What I’m saying is I guess I know how Mrs. Gorman feels. I am comfortable with cosmetic sameness. Time and again, without fail, I want an excellent, excellent, excellent conditioner. Basically, I am conditioned to my conditioner. That’s a joke. But this issue is no joke. I really need to know the next bottle of beautifier will be like the last bottle. It’s important, a comforting routine, like the seasons passing, holidays, car trouble, a neighbor boy coming every two weeks to trim a yard . . .

Two days ago, I inverted my bottle of L’Oreal Paris Fresh Vive Clean Shine Conditioner Zero-Stripping-No-Build-Up–System Citrus CR Frequent Use and I peered deep inside its opening (now clogged) and I squeezed and clutched and strangled, and once it finally released its grubby little chalky dab of conditioner in my hand, I have to admit my lips formed the words: “I thought you weren’t coming.” Yes, just like pitiful old Mrs. Gorman.

I want my old conditioner back. Please, please, please, don’t make me switch conditioners—the last thing I need right now is a big decision in my life. I’ve got all kinds of relationship problems and an ingrown toenail and a small IRS situation and my girlfriend’s girlfriend keeps calling from Minnesota late at night and. . . Well, I digress.

Please reply with an explanation of your conditioner breakdown. I must know. I really must. For now, I’ll add mineral water to the remaining product and do my best. That’s what I do, whether washing my hair or trimming a dandelion or seeing an out-of-state girl, my best. I expect the same.

Sean Aden Lovelace, BSN, MFA

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Lunch? Basic nachos. In fact, the original 1943 recipe. Clean and pure as cacti.

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Nacho Bowl.

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A momentous day…

For years I had only one Janus, one Super, Dust, Nacho bowl. It was the green one you see in most every blog photo of my nachos. But yesterday the BSU ceramic students were raising money to take a trip to Antarctica to do penguin charity work. I studied their bowls. I waited for one to call to me. This one whispered, “Hey Slaw Cheeks.”

“Huh?”

“You, biscuit-pants. Mr Jones, etc. Why not buy me?”

So I did.

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WOW.

I glow like super heavy Bavarian beer. Like collecting sneezes. Astonished, my eyes open wide.

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“Did you hear, Jack? Sean got a new nacho bowl!”

(Nacho Vidal, actor who clearly appears in gay porn, yet insists he is heterosexual.)

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“No freaking way! Wow! I’m going to screw up my face, start yelling all of my lines, grab a guitar, and maybe do a pratfall to mask my total lack of acting chops!”

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