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Friday, August 30th, 2019
2:53 pm - BCC2019 Welcomes Comix Auteurs Cassano, Haspiel, Proch, Rostovsky, and The Trustman's
Baltimore Comicon 2019 Welcomes Comix Auteurs Cassano, Haspiel, Proch, Rostovsky, and The Trustman's

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - August 30, 2019 - The 20th annual Baltimore Comic-Con occurs the weekend of October 18-20, 2019 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Baltimore Comic-Con is pleased to feature a posse of niche-bending comix auteurs, which include Christa Cassano, Dean Haspiel, Dave Proch, Peter Rostovsky, David Trustman, and Sarah Trustman. Purchase your tickets online at the Baltimore Comic-Con website.


C Cassano is an award winning artist currently residing in Philadelphia, PA. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and she has been an Artist-in-Residence at IAIA, Yaddo, and The Atlantic Center for the Arts, a regular contributor to comix anthologies, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Force, RESIST!, and A.P.B.- Artist Against Police Brutality. She is also the publisher of The Giant Effect and Le Cadavre Exquis. In 2016, she was nominated for an Eisner Award for co-adapting John Leguizamo's Ghetto Klown into a graphic novel. Her work can be seen at BillMyers.com, Crypt TV, The Les Paul Museum, on The O'Jays new album, and in the upcoming New Stranger Things Art book.

Emmy and Ringo Award-winning cartoonist Dean Haspiel is best known for creating Billy Dogma and The Red Hook and illustrating for HBO's "Bored to Death." His published work includes The Fox, Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, X-Men, Deadpool, Batman '66, Wonder Woman, Godzilla, Mars Attacks!, Heavy Metal, SpongeBob SquarePants, Popeye, and American Splendor. He has collaborated with Harvey Pekar, Jonathan Ames, Inverna Lockpez, Jay Lynch, Jonathan Lethem, Stoya, and Stan Lee. In addition, Haspiel is an accomplished playwright and Yaddo fellow. Check out his latest graphic novel, The Red Hook vol.2 War Cry (Image Comics), and read his recent webcomic, STARCROSS ( The Red Hook, season 3 at Line WEBTOON).

Dave Proch is a native of west Philadelphia and was published in the Locust Moon Press anthology books, Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, Once Upon a Time Machine, and various issues of their Quarter Moon anthology series. He self-publishes Mango Lizard, as well as The Homecoming King. He'll be drawing 5 dollar business card size paintings of your favorite characters throughout the weekend.

Peter Rostovsky is a Russian-born artist and writer whose art has been shown widely in the US and abroad at museum venues such as PS1/MoMA, The Walker Art Center, MCA Santa Barbara, Artpace, The Blanton Museum of Art, S.M.A.K., and a host of private galleries. His art criticism, under the pen name David Geers, has appeared in the magazines October, BOMB, The Brooklyn Rail, and Frieze. Meanwhile, his comics-based work has appeared in the Third Rail Quarterly, Unbag, Topic, and Devil's Due's Talk Bernie To Me!, and the acclaimed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Force, where his contribution was highlighted by the New York Times, Vice, and other media outlets. At Baltimore Comic-Con, Rostovsky will be giving a sneak peak into his first major graphic novel: Damnation Diaries.

David Trustman is an Indy comix writer/artist, mnemonist, and TEDx speaker. He is the co-creator and artist of the groundbreaking graphic series The Memory Arts which teaches ancient mnemonic (memory) techniques through vibrant watercolor imagery, and has been called "...one of the most important books in magic...ever!" (Vanish Magazine, May 2018). David got his start in indy comix as writer/artist of The Rise, Welcome to Karma Springs, and GOD Slap. David's new comic Theuth: Totem Quest is debuting at Baltimore Comic-Con!

Writer/ Artist Sarah Trustman broke into the publishing scene with her co-creation, The Memory Arts. The renowned series teaches mnemonics (the ancient art of memory) through fun, modern, graphic storytelling. A mnemonist and TEDx speaker, Sarah regularly speaks and teaches about memory to audiences both large and small. Her newest comic Theuth: Totem Quest is debuting at Baltimore Comic-Con!

"The Haspiel booth is always filled with comics' (or comix'?) best kept secrets," said Marc Nathan, show promoter for the Baltimore Comic-Con. "Christa, Dino, Dave, Peter, and the Trustmans are amazingly creative people, and we're thrilled to have them aboard in 2019!"


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Sunday, August 18th, 2019
1:58 pm - Creative Accountability
Accountability helps me write. Deadlines help me write. Goals help me write. Otherwise, I would nitpick and never get anything done. In fact, I don't know what my REAL writing and REAL art looks like because I've never allowed myself the latitude to indulge the work long enough to become bored with it.

The Coen Bros were asked "How do you know when a script is done?" They answered "When we get bored with it." I understood immediately what they meant. If you can't fix it and you can't exploit the themes any further, it's done. Your eyes glaze and you want to simmer in a happy nap. I've yet to take a nap like that but I find a way to feel comfortable with a script long enough to produce it (see: my comix & plays), even if it has wiggle room to improve. And, that's what keeps it fresh and exciting for me. That wiggle room.

Earlier this year I had a great idea for a play. My gut knew what I wanted but when I started to explore and exploit the concept, it derailed. Became something else in the second act. I lost my idea and skidded into a direction that was not funny, morbidly verbose, and problematic. I realized I was appealing to some outside sensibilities (a perceived audience?) and wasn't honoring my own. I was faking the funk and it stank. What I wrote was more an essay, an apology to a toxic subject that has been occupying my mind for a few years. After one reading of it with a group of actors, a director & producer, I pushed the project aside. Buried it. Lost my confidence. I knew there was a good idea in my initial idea but I haven't cracked it yet.

Then something weird happened. I reacted to my new play with a NEWER play. It spilled out of me in a few weeks. I had become allergic to my previous play and reacted to it in a proactive way by writing what I should have written all along. Completely different in tone and story and characters but a better version of what I disliked in the abandoned play.

I'm all for pushing your boundaries and challenging yourself creatively but, knowing how to apply your skill set, knowing what you can and cannot do well is important. I spent the first 50-years of my life studying, learning, practicing and making mistakes. I'd like to believe I'm entering a phase where it's okay to lean into what I know, what I like, and what I'm good at. Rely on my earned instincts.

Make the stuff only you can make and let it roar like a thousand lions!

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12:50 pm - Cancer Life
I was stuck. Not sure where I wanted to go when I saw this bald woman walking down the street. She had the biggest smile on her face. It was delightful. But, something seemed off. She had no eyebrows and the color of her skin was yellow. Sickly. I realized she was battling cancer. It made me sad. But then I looked at her smile. Her giant smile. And her walk. The way she bounced. She seemed happy despite her fight. She was taking advantage of the day. I walked away thinking, "Live life like you have cancer."

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11:36 am - Love is stronger than spinach

My 90th anniversary tribute to Popeye debuted today.


THANKS for this great opportunity, Tea Berry-Blue!!! Popeye was a life-changing influence on my work.

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Thursday, August 8th, 2019
12:47 pm - Comicon.com previews Dean Haspiel's WAR CRY (The Red Hook vol.2) from Image Comics

Hannah Means-Shannon exclusively previews my upcoming graphic novel, WAR CRY (The Red Hook vol.2) published by Image Comics at Comicon.com:



I’ve been a fan of superhero comics since I first started buying them off the newsstand in the 1970s. Shazam, aka the original Captain Marvel, was one of the first comic books I ever read. Years later, I would pick up Firestorm, and discover O.M.A.C. (One Man Army Corps). I was fascinated by the duality of these types of superheroes. Characters that were populated and/or affected by more than one sentient being.

After getting the chance and honor to write and draw some superhero comics for Marvel and DC Comics, including a critically-acclaimed run on The Fox for Archie Comics, I decided it was time to build my own shared universe via New Brooklyn with my ongoing saga, The Red Hook. Inspired by Golden and Silver Age comics, I created WAR CRY, a human of mass destruction, who happens to share a body with a teenage boy named Rajak, graced with the powers of all the dead superheroes in America.

Imagine the powers of The Avengers mashed up with The Justice League of America and plugged into one person? Only, when Rajak shouts “WAR CRY,” he becomes a she, a war goddess, and things become complicated. But, how long can two very different people, with personalities akin to Hawk and Dove, last in one shared body? And, how is The Red Hook supposed to rekindle romance with his resurrected girlfriend? You’ll have to read The Red Hook vol.2 WAR CRY when it comes out October 9th, 2019 from Image Comics.

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12:30 pm - The Comics Beat: Podcast Spotlight: Scene By Scene with Josh and Dean (podcast)

The Comics Beat's Chloe Maveal talked to Josh Neufeld and I about our podcast, SCENE BY SCENE WITH JOSH AND DEAN, where we break down "American Splendor" the movie, and discuss our relationship with the late/great Harvey Pekar.


Here are my full answers to the questions asked me pre-interview/article:

You both have obviously worked with Harvey Pekar on American Splendor as illustrators. What is it like to be analyzing a film based on a part of the process that you were a part of?

I'm a life long student of comic books and film. I tend to analyze and break down all the movies I watch in one way or another. It's a good way to understand what works and what doesn't work and how that informs my own story-making. But, there's probably nothing more boring to watch than watching someone create. There's hardly a visual "eureka" moment that occurs. Ye olde "lightning in a bottle" isn't how it happens. However, American Splendor the movie does a great job conveying the creative process by humanizing it. Making the the pursuit of creativity relatable. Harvey Pekar proved that you could write about anything. And, despite making comix appear innate and all too easy, it's actually harder than it looks.

Do you feel like you've learned anything about that point in your friends life from watching the film so closely?

The movie was full of surprises. It was innovative. Still ahead of its time. It gave me insight into what Harvey was like at home and at work and on the street. How he interacted and observed people. How he handled fame and politics and romance and cancer. Curiously, Harvey was provocateur. It was also refreshingly grass roots. No Hollywood phony-baloney. No other comic book writer was more authentic than Harvey. For a guy who purported to be an "every man," he was quite unique. Harvey Pekar changed comic books.

I know this is part of the podcast itself but are there parts of the movie that you feel are off base? Or parts that are exceptionally true to life?

The filmmakers had to conflate some facts and timelines in order to move the story but I wasn't bothered by that. It's not a proper documentary. It's a romantic comedy that does a great job making us fall in love with a peculiar man and his misfit friends and hyper intelligent wife while creating entertainment out of a testament of life.

Lastly, do you both feel like you get something out of doing this podcast on a personal level? It's something that clearly hits close to home for both of you.

We started doing the podcast to discuss American Splendor the movie and our relationship with Harvey Pekar. That's what's supposed to interest listeners. But, I think we discovered that the podcast is really about me and Josh and our 38+ year friendship growing up together learning how to make comix. We've created a historical, insightful document of a certain time and place in the comic book industry. It's packed with profound deep cuts but is also a user friendly experience that sheds light on an ageless art form.

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Friday, July 19th, 2019
4:22 pm - NBC News reports AOC comic + the politics of comix

"When AOC has a comic book, have they become too political? Stan Lee wouldn't think so."

Featuring the AOC comic I wrote and laid out, illustrated by Christa Cassano, plus studio mate cameos, story & art by Adam McGovern, Jason Goungor, James Smith, Marguerite Dabaie, and Peter Rostovsky.


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Thursday, July 18th, 2019
11:27 am - Vibrant Visionaries podcast #24 – Josh Neufeld & Dean Haspiel

The lovely Heidi Bennett talked to Josh Neufeld and I about our podcast (SCENE BY SCENE WITH JOSH & DEAN) on her podcast VIBRANT VISIONARIES episode #24:


Listen to SxS w/J&D here: http://www.scenebyscenepodcast.com/

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Thursday, July 11th, 2019
10:38 am - Word Balloon: Harvey Pekar's Legacy with Dean Haspiel and Josh Neufeld
On the latest Word Balloon podcast, John Siuntres talks to me and Josh Neufeld about OUR podcast, Scene by Scene with Josh & Dean, and the legacy of Harvey Pekar, plus much more.


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Tuesday, July 9th, 2019
10:58 am - Dean Haspiel's The Red Hook vol.2 WAR CRY (Image Comics)



OCTOBER 9 / 136 PAGES / FC / M / $17.99

The Red Hook’s dead girlfriend is resurrected into War Cry, a human of mass destruction hosted by a teenage boy named Rajak Allah. When a demigod from their past comes to haunt them to death, they must resolve their lost love. This Ringo-nominated comic continues the New Brooklyn saga.

GENRE Superheroes, Crime & Mystery

Diamond ID: AUG190110

Published by Image Comics, Fall 2019.


Diamond Previews: https://www.previewsworld.com/Catalog/AUG190110

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Saturday, July 6th, 2019
11:03 am - "dirt, spit and thievery"
"Beef with Tomato by Dean Haspiel. I could stack this list with Haspiel’s work, but this 2015 title is a hearty sampler of his voice and storytelling style. If you like your autobiographical comics with a little dirt, spit and thievery, this is right up your alley." -- Whitney Matheson

Thanks, Whitney!

Please support her Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/whitneymatheson/overview

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Saturday, June 29th, 2019
11:33 am - Harvey Pekar's The Quitter gets some Hyperallergic love
From the Hyperallergic article "The Comics That Defined DC’s Vertigo Imprint" by Dan Schindel:

"Harvey Pekar set the standard for comic book autobiography with his seminal indie series American Splendor, but this one-off graphic novel he did with Dean Haspiel for Vertigo doesn’t get discussed as often. Delving more into memoir, Pekar recalls his youth and myriad struggles to find his purpose in life during that period. Just as forthright and wry as his work about his life as an adult, his memory refreshingly lacks any tinge of nostalgia obscuring events."


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Sunday, June 23rd, 2019
3:23 pm - Next Godzilla movie prediction
After King Kong punches, kicks + climbs Godzilla like the Empire State Building, Mecha-Ghidorah shows up like a Transformer, & the two undefeated Kings ally to fight the mechanical titan, but not without a little help from Dr. Russell the 50-foot Woman, a human Kaiju!

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Wednesday, June 19th, 2019
10:51 am - Independent Crossroads 10: featuring Dean Haspiel
Cartoonist Peter Palmiotti and I talked about our comix careers and the current state of self-publishing via Google Hangouts on Peter's show, Independent Crossroads.

You can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUfOJrDBeRo&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0nf74RnIPiZEze7Q9Bx5DuTsl2HdXnLCdxFVC6prxi2X9uHOpAMf1gTWI

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Monday, June 17th, 2019
3:07 pm - SCARCE #89

Excited to have an old piece of unpublished art I did for the now defunct FALLOUT (a back-up series for Speakeasy Comic's BEOWULF series, that I co-created with writer/pal Vito Delsante in 2005) being used for the cover of French comix magazine SCARCE #89.


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Friday, June 14th, 2019
12:47 am - FOG! Chats With ‘Scene By Scene With Josh & Dean’ Hosts Josh Neufeld and Dean Haspiel!

Stefan Blitz interviewed me and Josh Neufeld about our podcast, SCENE BY SCENE WITH JOSH & DEAN, at Forces Of Geek.


"Josh and I discuss every aspect of our working relationship and friendship with Harvey Pekar on the podcast. So, you’ll get to hear us tell all. But, I’ll tease that the first time Harvey contacted me on the phone, I thought it was a prank, and it ended with Harvey telling me to go fuck off. Listen to the podcast for the rest of that story. Bottom line: it was a pleasure and an honor to collaborate with Harvey Pekar, a sensitive and unique innovator of the comix form."

"Harvey Pekar wasn’t afraid to write about real life. Real life is complicated and confounds a lot of artists. But, some artists really want to draw real life, even if they don’t feel comfortable sharing their own stories.

So, American Splendor attracted a certain type of illustrator. And, as strict as Harvey was about making sure every word he wrote was published, he seemed to trust the various interpretations of his character and gave an artist like me a lot of latitude. Granted, there were bumps in the road, but that’s why he liked to talk it out with you. Bring out the best in the story. I feel Harvey’s best comix were illustrated by artists who were also writers, too. You could always tell the difference between an artist who basically drew the story versus the ones who excavated the narrative gold from Harvey’s script."

"The thing that was most important to me was that we focus on ourselves as much as we did analyzing Harvey and the movie. Josh and I spent our formative years together and I wanted the podcast to also reflect and document our trials and tribulations creating independent comix from our days in high school til now."

Read the entire interview/article here: https://www.forcesofgeek.com/2019/06/fog-chats-with-scene-by-scene-with-josh-dean-hosts-josh-neufeld-and-dean-haspiel.html

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Wednesday, June 5th, 2019
3:35 pm - Forces Of Geek! Chats with ‘Starcross’ Creator, Dean Haspiel!

Stefan Blitz talked to me about my webcomic series, STARCROSS, The Red Hook season 3 at Forces Of Geek. It also includes chapter 11 of STARCROSS.


"I’m a giant fan of the Silver Age of comics, back when the color palette was limited and less rendered yet popped. Since my line art is a modern compliment to those older 1960s comic books, I prefer to keep my colors flat with a tone and a highlight, and not much more."

"The Webtoon App made the production much more challenging. I had to reconsider how to convey drama and reveal story. What was once narrative cliffhangers dramatized by the turn of a page was now dictated by the pull of your thumb. Everything that was once moving to the right, down, left, and then back to the right again was all down, down, down. Webtoons are bottom heavy ditties. Bring your galoshes."

"1985 was a game-changing year for me.

I was 17 going on 18 in my senior year of high school. I went from drawing comix with my best friends during lunch and math class, to helping produce some of the greatest comic books published to this day (American Flagg! The Mighty Thor, The New Mutants, and Elektra: Assassin) after school.

Chaykin taught me discipline and how to exploit the real estate of the page. Sienkiewicz taught me how to improvise and innovate. And, Simonson taught me structure, the bones of the page, and the power of line art. Especially, vistas, which I’ve yet to master."

"Comix is my first love. It’s the most innate and economical way for me to express and communicate most of my ideas. But, I’ve always had a soft spot for movies and theater. If I can carve a lucrative path writing and directing, I will happily pursue those other stories."

Read the entire interview here: https://www.forcesofgeek.com/2019/06/fog-chats-with-starcross-creator-dean-haspiel.html

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Wednesday, May 29th, 2019
7:52 pm - The Comics Beat interview: upcoming Tales of the Night Watchman crossover with The Red Hook
Edie Nugent interviewed me and Dave Kelly about our upcoming Red Hook/Tales of The Night Watchman crossover at The Comics Beat.


Haspiel says he’s “never ignored the potential of what Brooklyn can do,” and that was certainly how it played out according to Kelly. He says the crossover was Haspiel’s idea, formed when Kelly and Hobson visited his Gowanus studio. “We were talking with Dean about his New Brooklyn universe,” Kelly says, “and he just kind of threw out, ‘Oh, you know what? We should do a crossover.’ And then he looked at Brett and said, ‘And he should draw it.'” Kelly didn’t hesitate, and says he and Haspiel began talking storylines immediately .”We met for Indian food one day, and he told me he wanted three things: Coney Island, to burn the patriarchy, and go-karts.”

Though the pair ending up nixing the go-karts, Kelly’s work with Haspiel was hands on. “We passed notes back and forth every step of the way,” Kelly remembers. “One thing I like about Dean is that he likes to talk on the phone, which makes things a lot smoother.” He also points to their understanding of each other’s characters and worlds as a factor in making their collaboration a successful one.

For Haspiel, it was “the challenge of clashing and mashing sensibilities” that lured him to work with Kelly. “We have different approaches to storytelling and character motivations and how to pace a scene. I think it was a good learning experience.” It was easier, he told The Beat, to let Kelly take the lead on co-writing due to his ongoing work on both The Red Hook season 3 and Starcross, his latest series for Webtoon.

Luckily for Kelly, Haspiel says he enjoyed Kelly’s take on some of The Red Hook’s dialogue, and claims he made him “funnier than I’m used to.” Haspiel saw Kelly’s approach in general to be “more light-hearted” in contrast to what he calls his “sentimental absurdity,” and sees the crime/horror genre as the guiding thread that connected their work on the one-shot"

“The Untold Legend of Luna” puts Haspiel’s character under the pen of Hobson. How did Haspiel feel about another artist interpreting his character? He says that though there have been “a few interpretations” from other artists of The Red Hook in the New Brooklyn comics at this point, “it always feels a little weird but cool.” In terms of Hobson’s line art specifically, Haspiel is effusive. “Frankly, it’s an honor,” he says. “Brett Hobson has a unique way of rendering, somewhat akin to Baker Street & B.P.R.D. artist Guy Davis, only with more cross-hatching.”

Haspiel says he reviewed the layouts Hobson drew, but was less hands-on than with his co-writing duties, careful to avoid micro-managing the process. The only strong note he passed along was the need to animate The Red Hook’s ears. “When you only have rectangle cut outs on a red mask to show when you’re beleaguered or surprised,” Haspiel says, “it’s helpful for the ears to evoke other emotions."

Read the entire article/interview here: https://www.comicsbeat.com/tales-of-the-night-watchman-nationwide-with-diamond/

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Sunday, May 19th, 2019
11:01 am - Respect the Story
I admire the current pop culture phenomenon's that get people talking about story. It's one of my favorite things to do in person with willing participants. I cherish story. It's sacred to me. But, not everyone gets to indulge story at the exact same time. Alas, technology has made it so we can access each other in ways like never before. Greatly impact our experiences with the press of a button. We hold the nuclear codes in our hands that can annihilate each other's personal experience with story. It's why I no longer discuss most stories online anymore (I sincerely apologize to all those people who may have been spoiled by the comments section in my "Old Yeller" post on Facebook last week). It's too risky. So, please, try to respect each other, especially those who don't have the free time and/or financial ability to indulge certain story delivery systems until they can afford to. Some people suggest that narrative twists and endings don't really matter, but they're lying to you and to themselves. Social networking has already become an interesting human experiment; a challenging balancing act between pro-activity, self-promotion, and toxicity. I'd hate for it to become the place that ruined all stories. If ya gotta blab, please employ SPOILER ALERTS. Thanks!

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Saturday, May 18th, 2019
1:04 pm - Give a crippled crab a crutch
I'm surrounded by misfits. Communication artists embodied by introverts and/or people with a heightened sense of self. All of 'em motivated by their own noble sense of purpose. Guilty as charged. And, even though some of them can be obnoxious and polarizing, I often view them as wounded warriors. I'm hyper aware of how many people deem them creepy and/or abominable, but my empathy for the bold and the challenging, probably says a lot more about my toxic relationship with my father than anything else. Ergo, my sadomasochistic ability to trade with conflict. An endurance test of self-destructive tolerance? Perhaps. But, it's something I'm working to eradicate from my system.

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