I woke up in a strange place

By Marc Heiden, since 1997.
See also: a novel about a monkey.

October 28, 1997 important: this just in, at 0100 hrs on 10.29.97:

NEW SMOOVE B COLUMN IN THIS WEEK'S ONION! finally! meaning in our lives! fuck yeah!

and now, back to the previously written october 28th update.

today in a fit of neurotic combatativeness I decided to disprove the time-old adage "a watched pot doesn't boil" and stood in front of my stove and watched as a pot of water went from cold to boiling. this is incontrovertible proof that either a) reality is a lie or b) I am a magic man. with the boiling water I made a casserole for dinner, my first real cooking venture (since everything else is usually "just add water/milk" sorts of food) and I am muy proud of it. I kick all ass. if you dispute that you are a petty rotten person and let's see your damn casserole, you bitchy little philistine. I even have leftovers. whee.

new South Park tomorrow night, start looking for a cable-equipped TV now.

I know this will shock many who've been following this page for awhile, but I saw the new Boyle / Hodge / McDonald / McGregor film "A Life Less Ordinary" and really liked it. I don't feel like going into detail at the moment, but it was quite nice to see a movie that so effortlessly and completely defies genre (the "romantic comedy" ad campaign is just one facet of it) and has no qualms about (and indeed enjoys) confusing dim people. great chemistry between the leads, fine soundtrack, and no reason not to see it unless you're dumb in which case you probably haven't made it this far anyway, having given up on "surfing the web" in favor of getting a beer or something similarly "fun".

I'm kind of cranky today.

the temperature right now, ceasing eating Jays, avoiding the accent issue altogether.
humans who misunderstand noble visitors, professors who retire one semester too late.

October 25, 1997 I had been putting off updating this page until I had something to say about whether my program proposal went through or not. well, I can officially say now that I have nothing to say because four more proposals for the timeslot apparently came in and those have to be considered too while me (and the prog-rock guy) lie in wait. nothing much else has happened over the last few days. I talked briefly to the opposition lawyer folk and nothing progressed. trial sometime after the new year probably. I find it quite annoying to read stories about people getting $2,000,000 settlements over coffee spills when all I want is $3,600 over the bumper falling off another guy's car in the middle of the highway and almost killing me. not the entire legal system is concerned with frivolity, just the corners of it that I'm not in.

mad-hype site of the day: levitating frogs, courtesy of the good mr. JC Dwyer. it's a science project (complete with quicktime movies) concerned with using magnetic fields to get frogs to levitate. seriously. check it out.

UIUC homecoming this weekend, the theme unjustly co-opted from "the Empire Strikes Back". how many evil projects must those poor movies be associated with? wasn't ronald reagan's multi-billion dollar descent into nuclear senility enough of an affront? nothing to be done. packs of cheerleaders are roving about, attempting to instill school spirit in you with sledgehammers. I Shall Not Be Moved.

cereal, two hours left to sleep, multitasking, grey weather, acting again.
grease, nonmotion, nostalgia for times I didn't enjoy while I was there.

October 21, 1997 unexpected success has fallen into my lap. on sheer whim I auditioned for a sketch comedy troupe on campus last night and I'm in! they're a popular group called "Potted Meat" (I think there's a webpage somewhere, but I don't have the address) and most importantly they're dedicated to keeping me off the streets which is the best thing for everyone, I think.

tonight, as you may remember, the prog rock guy gets his tryout in the WEFT timeslot that we're both competing for. mm. yeah, well...

I called the lawyers at Mordini & Schwartz, Inc, to see what the heck is up with the court battle over the Cradle yesterday. shockingly enough, they didn't return my call. gee whiz. (for those of you just tuning in, the Cradle is my car. it was damaged earlier this year when the bumper fell off a car ahead of me on I-57 and tore up the underside of my car, locking up my steering and almost sending me off a bridge. the driver's insurance company declared this to be MY fault and denied payment - thus, I've had to sue the guy, and Mordini & Schwartz are his lawyers. this has been a really protracted battle, it's nowhere near trial yet, and was/is now/ever shall be really fucking stupid)

man, just writing about that whole thing puts me in a bad mood. I think I'll go do some hard drugs to pick me up.

"Under Pressure", taking tuesdays off, placebos, cereal, underwater footage.
slightly spoiled vegetables that ruin the entire bowl of ramen, midnight sales without pizza, eardrops, mcdonald's commercials.

October 19, 1997 on Friday I thought I might like to go to the show, so I did - the David Bowie concert in chicago at the aragon ballroom. amazing show, great setlist, and though I failed to get back to Bowie's hotel room I was entranced anyway. the man is a genius writer and performer, and shows that being over 50 is no excuse for being irrelevant (see: Rolling Stones).

quick survey: the green strip on the side, is it too glaring? it looks fine on my screen but apparently is too bright on others. let me know.

so having finished paper/midterm season and having return to my cozy little den, I am sitting here enduring indigestion from this really bad dehydrated broccoli-and-cheese in-a-pouch thing and watching TV. for the first time in eons, "the Simpsons" hasn't been preempted by crappy baseball playoffs. I really don't think "King of the Hill" is all that funny. perhaps it's the fact that I am surrounded by white trash for hundreds of miles around, but I'm just not all that keen on seeing them in situations other than ones where big rocks are dropped on their heads. the show isn't bad, but in romanticizing "down-home Texas life" it quite often takes an anti-intellectual stance which I have no patience for cos it's crap. the characters are portrayed fairly inconsistently but not in the clever self-conscious way that "the Simpsons" does.

what does the next week hold? it's a nice feeling not knowing.

rice, clean dishes, "beemer blue", checker patterns, vegan dinners.
wet socks, leather as a status symbol, the gas that often accompanies vegan dinners.

October 17, 1997

my extended silence as of late shouldn't be a cause of concern to anyone (and I say that because I'm sure people are losing sleep over it). it's nothing permanent, just the arrival and departure of the one week of the entire semester where I have actual work to do. a bother when it's here, but it's gone now and so is the horse it rode in on.

the week went rather well, all things considered. the vast majority of work that was demanded of me was responded to in one form or another. my appearance in front of several hundred people at an anti-columbus day/anti-chief illiniwek protest as UI board of trustees chair Susan Gravenhorst went extremely well and elicited loads of press coverage, making me something of a local celebrity but more importantly letting me discover how comfortable pantyhose is.

radio show went very well (we got a request! from someone we didn't know!), now it's the prog rock guy's turn to prove that eighteen minute keyboard solos are more important than people who sing with british accents. there'll be a decision on who gets the slot on thursday night, I guess. in the meantime, David Bowie concert means I will be up in chicago for a portion of this weekend. much as I'm looking forward to the show, the thought of that ^$%# drive back and forth fills me with, well, non-digestible plastics.


"Timequake", the amazing Ewan McGregor, literacy, pantyhose, skirts, the end of the world.


people who confuse "Jesus" with "salvation", confusion over how long and how strange a trip it has in fact been.

October 11, 1997 today was inconvenient. I was supposed to zip over to the radio station by 8 am to engineer a public affairs show, but my car had disappeared. upon further investigation, it was found out that Andy's Towing (slogan: "each of our workers is capable of at least half of an entire thought") had seized it, allegedly for the Cradle's placement in the parking spot next to where it should have been. this was news to me, but as I have no recourse until the real estate office opens on monday I had no choice but to surrender $75 to the mouth of bloated hick greed. worsening things, I wrote a nasty letter to the guy who had me towed but realized several hours later than I'd put it on the wrong car and probably confused some innocent guy.

having had time to reflect upon the situation, I have calmed down somewhat and decided not to do anything immature or foolish. that would just make things unnecessarily worse. instead, I plan on urinating into a paper cup and pouring it into the guy's engine vents.

what else? well, the FM frequency is mine again tomorrow (sunday) night from 2am to 5am. so stay off or else I'll have someone give you dirty looks. not long afterwards, I will be receiving a tryout in the tuesday midnight-2am slot as that timeslot's regular host. I am in direct competition for this with some other guy, who gets a tryout next week at the same time and the programming committee will then choose between us. UK freeform (me) or obscure prog rock (him)? you decide.

anti-Columbus day rally on monday at noon on the quad at UIUC! look for a rather...um, unique, risque, and possibly career-defining appearance by yours truly. ooh la la.

rollerblades, my recently-resurrected first CD player, orchestral backing, mountains tumbling to the sea.
bands that involve themselves in any way with frats, post-carrot indigestion, second-floor apartments.

October 9, 1997 hello again. where I been? self-absorption: a play in one act.

marc: I'm too depressed to go on.
all: (smiling) not you, marc!
all: (privately) boy, he's getting derivative.
all: (privately) yeah, just not what he used to be.
marc: yeah, even me. I think I just need to sleep it off, though, for a couple days, or weeks, or something.
all: well gee whiz, what's got you down?
marc: for one thing, microsoft somehow got hold of the david bowie song "Heroes" and are now using it in commercials.
all: (shaking heads) it's just a song, lighten up.
marc: eh, yeah, but it's also more or less the only sincere emotion I've ever had. also my stomach's upset.
all: you need to eat more healthy food, silly!
marc: my diet is actually fine, believe it or not. besides, how would you know what I've been eating?
all: ha ha, we know you marc!
marc: oh, ok, whatever.
all: heh heh! so, got any kinky sex stories for us?
marc: I'm too depressed to go on.

listening to soul music in the morning, big floppy disks (5.25), squeezable margarine, grey skies and cool weather.
sociology 231, sleeping with contacts on, "you think too much", ignorance.

October 5, 1997 I am dangerously close to becoming a casualty in the war against Psychic Talk USA. "I don't wanna be a soldier mama I don't wanna die", etc. how much more of this can I be expected to take? I just wanna watch some videos. even the sound of car horns is lovely. there's a point between energy and exhaustion, you probably know it well, and I'm doing time.

the Vonnegut signing on Friday night was extremely ace. in reward for being a daredevil, I acquired a pre-signed copy of his latest book and towered over those who bought it before the signing in fear. life on the literary edge, I tell you. Second City doesn't do improvisation on friday nights - remember that and you will avoid making a mistake that others already have.

what's up this week? pledge drive time at WEFT. I'll be on phones tuesday night, give us a call eh? support the arts and all that. play your cards right and you may find yourself with a free tshirt. next monday is the grand columbus day anti-chief illiniwek rally, come on out and let it shine.

when, oh when, will it ever get cold?

ramen (surprise), animation, butterknives as antennae, navy blue, late night mashed potatoes.
overweight white males in their mid-thirties, giving up after three rings, wind shear, commercials from local churches especially the one where the little jerk runs away and leaves his teddy bear out in the rain when he comes back home, neither of which I would never have done.

October 2, 1997 today I successfully rid myself of some of that nasty excess blood at the red cross. I really vastly prefer the community blood service people, though. the red cross people are too friendly and they seem genuinely hurt if you get your own food at the food table. it's all very creepy. still, at least the blood's gone. also today I spontaneously combusted. or at least I thought I did. I later discovered that it was a guy on TV who did it, not me.

my debut on WEFT went great. we overcame an early technical problem and extended supervision to eventually find something of a demented rhythm and produce what we were told was some pretty durned decent radio. further seizures of the fm band to come? stay tuned! the fcc has not yet ruled it out.

hey, go update/create your own home page, whoever you are. come on. it's not that hard. I need entertainment. bad shit could happen. so do it.

ach. I sort of want ice cream. I may never get enough sleep. cookies are good. the "pure moods" commercial is on and it makes me feel like powdered sugar. so much time left until the release of a life less ordinary. I tell you, having lots of small, minor reasons to live is just as effective as one big one. I'll be out of C-U this weekend for hijinks with Rory and Kurt Vonnegut. aww, yeah. go buy Timequake. but pick up Cat's Cradle if you haven't already. and Hocus Pocus, too. and...

black olives, Brujeria, cold, "movies that no one else wants to make", truth in tea leaves.
the surreal mess that passes as hick morality, indie cred, research busywork.

I woke up in a strange place is the work of Marc Heiden, born in 1978, author of two books (Chicago, Hiroshima) and some plays, and an occasional photographer.

Often discussed:

Antarctica, Beelzetron, Books, Chicago, College, Communism, Food, Internet, Japan, Manute Bol, Monkeys and Apes, North Korea, Oregon Trail, Outer Space, Panda Porn, Politics, RabbiTech, Shakespeare, Sports, Texas.


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Written by Marc Heiden, 1997-2011.