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.


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.)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



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



3 responses to “Book Review, Holiday Literature. Lunch. Complaint Letter About my Shampoo.

  1. wait, so you individually set a piece of a cheese and a jalapenos on each chip.
    i call bullshit.
    Oh, I finally found a failing of our honored mrs. renfros:
    her cheese dip.

  2. Don’t forget Sigur Ros…or at least don’t forget to discover them over the holiday season. They might cause you to get a bigger shoebox.

  3. i wrote a similar letter to “corn pops” when they changed the design. i remember being really pissed when i saw the design. the company wrote back, “thank you for your interest” and i imagine that they edited out the part that went, “also, fuck you you loser.”

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