Teeth, SSF, etc.

For whatever reason, I recently went back and read Air in the Paragraph #5. (I need a better place for these to live, especially since Scribd has turned into a paid-service scam. I’ve temporarily put it here.) A lot of my writing from 1996 is pretty cringe-inducing, but I always liked this particular issue of the zine, because it was a seamless narrative from start to finish, with a solid through line that pulled you through the trip report, book reviews, writing news, and day-to-day stuff of the last month or two. This was just before I started an online journal, which later took the place of this for the day-to-day stuff. Now, I don’t do that, either. I should, but not a lot is going on outside of work.

I’ve had a bunch of dental malady stuff as of late. First, I can’t find a good dentist that takes my insurance in Oakland. The dentist I’ve had for the last five or six years isn’t that great, and sort of pawned me off on his new partner, who rushes through procedures and completely triggers my dental trauma anxiety, and is completely drill-happy. Last time I saw her, she immediately priced out two dozen things I needed done, so I walked. I went back to my old dentist in South San Francisco, who is much more low-tech, but very relaxing and low key, does good work, and has Saturday hours. It’s a drive to get there, but whatever. He also takes my insurance.

After a routine cleaning, he told me he’d have to root canal and crown one of my front-ish teeth. If you think of what tooth would be a vampire fang in a Dracula get-up, it’s the tooth immediately behind that on the bottom. This was, unfortunately, a three-step process. One Saturday, he tore off the top of the old tooth and started the root canal, then sent me home with a temp crown. Next week, he did a post buildup after more root canal work, and once again, temp crown. Then two weeks later, I got the replacement crown.

This essentially meant I could not eat solids for three weeks. That’s not entirely true, but the bulk of my diet was meal replacement shakes. I later found I could eat macaroni and cheese if I let it cool a bit, and I could eat various puddings and cheeses and whatnot. Oatmeal was problematic, because it was too grainy and had bits of nuts in it. Soup is sort of bullshit. Boiled eggs worked. Those shelf-stable pad thai noodles worked if I left off the toppings. At some point about a week and a half in, I sort of snapped, went to Burger King, and smashed a thing of chicken fries to a paste-like consistency and ate it without chewing. It was horrible. The whole thing was horrible. All I could think of was the time in LA when I had the tooth next to it on a temp crown, and on the first day, it popped off, and I spent two weeks fucking around with drug store adhesives, which only half-worked and lasted a day max and made me realize why everyone with false teeth is a grumpy piece of shit.

Anyway, the crown is back as of yesterday. Still a little nervous eating on it, and the gumline around it will take a few days, but it’s pretty solid. The only hard part will be paying  the bill, which will probably be like a grand after insurance.

(There’s also an AITPL connection in there, sort of – after I wrapped up that zine and started blogging online, I had a ton of dental work done. I have horrible teeth, go ahead and be classist and make fun of me now, but I survived a childhood of well water, an addiction to soda, and a long run on lithium, and that was the magic trifecta to fuck me up dentally. So the first time I had real dental insurance, I found a (crappy) dentist, and we went from 1 to 32, drilling and filling and bonding. It’s probably the reason I have such a high tolerance to novocaine these days. I usually need five or six shots to get any work done. Anyway.)

Another bit of nostalgia overload is that this dentist is located at the Tanforan Mall, in my old neighborhood where I lived from 2008-2009. I haven’t gone back there in a while, and even though I only lived there less than a year, there’s a really strong set of memories there. It was my first place in the Bay Area, and it was also the same apartment company as my place in LA, same exact buildings, same blueprints, pretty much the same apartment, but flipped the opposite way. Being in the area reminds me a lot of that era of working for Samsung, driving back and forth from SSF to San Jose every day, spending the weekends running errands around Tanforan. I had an old Weight Watchers meeting there; I saw a lot of movies at the big 20-screen at the small mall; I went to the drug store and the Blockbuster (RIP) and the Safeway and the Target and all the other routine stuff I could see in any other city, but for whatever reason, that layout triggers memories and makes me think and feel and blah blah blah.

Yesterday, it was insanely sunny and warm — maybe like 72 degrees — so I took a long walk before my appointment. There’s a movie theater there that died right before I moved there in 2008, and has been sitting vacant since then. It’s called Century Plaza 10, and it’s a weird little abandoned vaporwave slice of time. (Go google street view it.) There are palm trees out front, a big red movie sign that’s faded to a magenta-pink, and these domes at each corner, like a miniature Taj Mahal, minus the main dome. The first film shown there was Back to the Future, and the theater totally captures that 1985 vibe. The outside is very well preserved, but the inside is toxic, infested with black mold so dangerous. you’d need a full moon suit and respirator to survive. The whole area is mostly low-rise, office parks and big-box stores, gentle hills in the background. A lot of it hasn’t changed since I left (except the Arby’s with the old-school hat sign is gone) and it not only reminds me of then, but of the first time I visited the bay in 1996. (Another callback to AITPL, although I think that was issue 4.)

Anyway, nothing else going on but work. I’m trying to take a week off next month, and haven’t booked anything yet because I was expecting the plans to collapse. Should get on that.

general news

I have a new zine out

I have a new zine out.

It is called Mandatory Laxative #14. It is about lunchables and satanism.

It is 20 pages long. It is printed on an inkjet printer. It is as lo-fi as possible. I didn’t even spell-check it.

It contains the following “stories”:

  • Pain Is Only Temporary (Unless It Is Chronic)
  • A Scene Where A Guy Goes To A Colonics Clinic, Falls In Love With The Cashier, And Almost Ends Up Shooting A Fountain Of Coffee From His Ass
  • Sleep Letter Zero
  • Letter to Freddy
  • I Am A Satanist And I Like Toast Because It Is Cult And Evil
  • Someday This Could Be You
  • I Love Lunchables
  • Late At Night With Dwight Dingleson
  • Remember the Alamo, Motherfucker
  • Two Men Discuss Low Calorie Pizza Before A Ritual Satanism Killing
  • This Knife Means Fucking Business
  • Chili Sweats at Aerie #666
  • The Inevitability of an Accidental Saline Enema

It is listed on Goodreads here.

It is not available on Amazon. It is not available as an ebook or a PDF. It’s barely available at all. It is a limited edition of about 30 copies. If you really want a copy, and you are in the US, paypal me $4 and your postal address. jkonrath at




Air in the Paragraph Line #13 now available

And now, the reason why I have not been blogging is done!  Air in the Paragraph Line #13 is now available at and other fine online booksellers.

AITPL is a print journal of absurdist and online fiction I publish.  It typically contains a story or two of mine, plus maybe a dozen and a half other writers who contribute their own stuff.  The main factor in choosing stories is readability – I really like something that keeps me turning the pages, like the old issues of Cometbus did for me back in the day.

For issue thirteen, the theme was “Bad Luck”, and our writers had a lot to say on the subject. It contains fact and fiction by Keith Buckley, Aaron Carnes, Joshua Citrak, Daniel Crocker, Timothy Gager, Nathan Graziano, Fiona Helmsley, Rebel Star Hobson, Robert Howington, Jon Konrath, Ben Mack, Jillian Olenik, Hassan Riaz, John Sheppard, Todd Taylor, and Daniel Trask. Edited by Jon Konrath, with cover art by Kurt Eisenlohr and cover design by Marie Mundaca.

I published not only a print version (with a glossy color cover, perfect bound 6×9, 236 pages) but I also did a Kindle version.  The print version is cheaper than previous ones because of the printer change: $9.95+S/H list price.  (You can also find it lower if you hunt around, but you might pay more shipping.)  The Kindle version is a dirt cheap $1.99.

Anyway, check it out:

Also, I am desperately looking for book reviewers and have about a dozen copies of the print version to give away.  If you or someone you know reviews books for their site or blog, please let me know and I can send a copy!


Screams and whispers

First of all, I’ll get all of the zine stuff out of the way:

I am waiting for a proof to arrive (early next week?) and then it will be live and you will be seeing much more spamification here telling you why you’re an idiot if you don’t buy a copy. I have the first proof (no ISBN) sitting on my desk and it is easily the best issue yet. It looks incredible, and has more good stuff from more new people and more published writers. Anyway, go here for more info.

The weather’s shifting fast, and it’s doing weird things to my head. First, it’s literally doing weird things, because I have some allergy or allergy-like headaches and congestion. I took an Allegra today, which means I trade the headaches for this feverish, mindless jittery feeling all day. But the weather’s been odd; it was cracking the 90s one day, and the next is was barely at 50. It’s been hot for a while, so the sudden warp in the weather is pretty weird. And I swear there is some correlation in these pressure changes or temp snaps that force my brain to dial up memories from some point in the past when the same thing happened. And it’s not memories, like I’m reminiscing about a long-lost restaurant or a girlfriend that never was. It’s like I just feel the essence of that time, and then in order to somehow quantify that, a few brief memories slip in.

Case in point: on Friday, it was lunchtime, and Sarah had the car, and all of the lunchmeat in the house was green. I hit F12 to see the weather on my Mac Dashboard, and it was 59, so I grabbed a light jacket, an iPod, and started walking south. For whatever reason, the temperature or change in barometic pressure or something reminded me of the band Anacrusis, so I dialed up their album Screams and Whispers on my little white music box.

Anacrusis is either a minor historical footnote or an inside joke to most of the metal community. And I don’t even consider myself a member of the metal community anymore. But back in the early 90s, as thrash metal gave way to Death Metal and then the industry or the bands or the fans (or all three, since usually the same people had bands, zines, and basement record labels) suddenly realized that every band out there continuing to release the same exact Sepultura record was not a sustainable plan, so labels tried to branch out with all of these fusion ideas: death/industrial, death/hardcore, rap/metal, thrash/gothic, whatever. And Anacrusis fell into that slot on the Metal Blade lineup for two albums. The St. Louis-based four-piece took a thrash approach and tried to mix in some prog-rock influence, like Fate’s Warning or Queensryche or whatever. The good news is that all of the fans into this album thought it was completely over-the-top. The bad news was that there were about eight fans of the album, and after their 1993 album, they fell off the face of the earth.

Now back when I was doing Xenocide, I was getting a lot of record label demos and advance copies. (I was also getting record reviews from a future Al-Quaeda member, but that’s another story.) Marco at Metal Blade fed me a lot of tapes, and for whatever reason, this tape ended up in the walkman quite a bit. In the spring of ’93, I was carless, and walked everywhere. And for whatever reason, I have this really distinct fragment of a memory of walking to the grocery store or mall or laundromat, and I was listening to this tape. Every day, I walked at least a mile to work, to shop, to get out of my tiny cell and clear my head. And that album, that music brings me right back there. The album itself is not that memorable; I couldn’t name a single song on it, and there were no big breakthrough hits or whatever. It’s not the kind of album that you buy because it’s got that “Hm Hm Hiiim” song on it. It’s very ambient in that aspect, very background to me. Maybe that’s why it stuck with me.

And what’s weird is that when this happens, I don’t think about the girl I was dating then, or my job that I was working day-and-night, or the classes I skipped, or anything else. It’s just that walk, just south of 3rd Street, cutting through the yards and church parking lot to get to the Eastgate Plaza.

Anyway. My typing ability is rapidly declining. I was going to mention that I took a tour of Coors field last Wednesday. I was the only one there, so my $7 got me a personal tour. Photos are here. It was interesting, especially when I actually got to walk across the field on the warning track, a dozen feet from home plate, and then into the dugout. It’s a lot less glamorous than I’d thought; I mean, every single one of these guys make at least five times as much as I do, a few of them a hundred times as much, and they’ve got a wooden bench to sit on that’s about as nice as one a bum sleeps on in a public park. I don’t know why, but I thought they’d at least get some kind of Herman Miller shit in there, or air-conditioned ass pads. Still, very interesting.

OK, time for lunch.



OK, it’s done. Go here to preview and order the new issue of Air in the Paragraph Line. 21 stories by 19 authors about the fun, atrocity, and torture of work, in a nice, 284-page, perfect-bound, glossy cover book. Yours for only $10.99 cheap (plus s/h.) There are many very good stories in here, and a couple that are absolutely great. Makes a great gift. Buy 8 for Hanukkah and light one on fire each day.

I would write more of a blurb or work on the web site, but I am blurbed out. I think I have the flu, or maybe it’s just that I need to do nothing for a couple of days, which I am about to do. It doesn’t help that I had to type all of these addresses in and send off 18 copies of the book to everyone. And I will probably end up sitting in bed, re-reading a couple of the stories, now that they are on paper.