I woke up in a strange place

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

February 22, 1998 it's my little brother's birthday today. he's 16. tell Kit how much he means to you. doubtless it'll confuse the hell out of him since he doesn't know you, but since when is that wrong?

yeah, so I aged a couple days ago too. I almost didn't make it - the longest cold of my entire life seized hold of me and is still going strong in its 9th day. what a crappy thing. still, I can't complain too much about any illness that makes my voice sound all gravelly like an old bluesman. I dig that. the coughing, on the other hand, funk dat. funk dat straight to heck. my second decade has gone pretty well so far. I still kick far more ass than my rivals do. those who oppose me are no less miniscule beneath my manic glare. it's all good. is my heart still cold and miserable? ha! ha! you schmuck. Alpha Male ridin' high. the Last American Hero: the question is not when I'm gonna stop but who is gonna stop me?

any commercial that attempts to depict what "Guys" are like (they like tools, see, and fixing stuff. and they like sports, too! but they're not good at the sensitive stuff, see...) loses my business. I will now go out of my way to avoid purchasing Hallmark products. although to be honest I pretty much already was. so it goes. a nice reward for watching a Bulls game: John Cusack interview on the sidelines. he kicks all ass. I was about to say that I'd see anything with him in it, but then I realized that that means I'd have to go see "Anastasia", so I'll remain quiet and just reiterate that he kicks ass.

Tom McCann wrote an excellent piece in the February 19th edition of the Daily Northwestern. look for the guest column and be edified.

that's all for now. web activity has been low because other writing (Potted Meat on March 7th and April 25th with a road show inbetween) has been fast and furious. so are my fists of fury. of course.

DIY Corner Part One: Make Your Own Bad Acid Trip
first, eat a pickle. wait ten minutes. eat a thing of handisnacks, the kind with that "cheese" stuff. sit back, and let your digestive system do the talking. (consarn it, I need to buy some groceries.)

February 16, 1998 if it is true that you are what you eat, then right now I am a marshmallow. 59 cents. can't beat that. a very ill marshmallow, though, and not in a hip-hop sort of way either. sickness arrived late Thursday night, slipped out for a drink on Sunday, and has returned with a vengeance. yeah, I'm in the junkie limbo at the moment. fortunately not too far in that I can't be productive or at least attempt to interact with the world. hence, these words. dizziness has been a resident throughout, and my voice is a recent casualty. fortunately, Eamon is along to assist with the vocal aspects of tonight's edition of RADIOACTIVE MONSTERS OVER LONDON. how good of him.

despite overwhelming illness on friday night, as any good devotee of Pink Floyd's The Wall well knows, The Show Must Go On. so along with the other rampantly talented folks in Potted Meat, I managed to stagger on and offstage at all the right times. the audience seemed pleased, I suppose. (I didn't really ask them.) we happily violated multiple fire codes (shh!) and still weren't able to fit everyone in the venue, which is how the Rolling Stones measure success so yay for us. I thought the show came together rather well, especially considering that we did it in less than half our normal prep time and with a quarter of the troupe missing (including the mad cool Matt Trupia...hey, troupe - Trupia...we were missing Trupia from our troupe...oh, forget it. have I ever mentioned that I am an idiot?). I got to improvise a bad comedy routine, play a gay barbarian, deliver a cripping blow to goth pretension everywhere, and generally wear lots of makeup which helpfully disguised my clear and present paleness. so a good time was had by me. and isn't that what it's all about?

more theatrical stuff: I was cast as a lead in the Rod Serling play "Requiem for a Heavyweight". this is quite cool, having up to this point in my life played only a myriad of support parts (donde esta WHOOOOOORE senora Ryan?) when in full-length plays. being no longer sufficiently heavy to qualify as a heavyweight, I play Army, the cutman who is the play's conscience. a good role and a great play. probably to go onstage in the last week of April. I'm sure I will babble about this subject further as time passes.

I got tricked into going to a lecture that I didn't have to today. I'm kind of irritated about that. another class proved entirely meaningless save handing in a paper. irritation also rises, although that one I was expecting. one class got canceled - the teacher went up to Chicago to audition for a sitcom. that, there is no complaining about. in the one class that I genuinely like, the professor's general dislike for me depressingly continues to rise. I make a feeble joke about his attendance policy and he makes me repeat it three times and then just dismisses me with a bored contemptful glance. yikes. it's a good thing I'm made out of silly putty. it's alright, though. if I wasn't so neurotic I'd have nothing to do in class.

the state of the sloth address:
I'm really rather disgusted with the complete lack of reading that I've been doing over the last five months. I generally don't read much (aside from comic books) while I'm writing things and I've been writing things more or less continually, but this is absurd. Ken Kesey's "Sometimes A Great Notion" is a damn good book that I'm only 70 or so pages into and I just can't find the time to pick it up. I suck.
that does put me 70 pages ahead of 96% of the world's population, though, which is at least a small comfort.

popcorn, unexpected free time, big immersion headphones, Superfreak, synchronicity from chaos.
the one week that the public affairs guys on WEFT start insulting people on the air and I have to handle it.

thursday? hah! thursday can't touch me!

February 12, 1998 I think my pipes might have just frozen. uh oh. I thought that was just a myth. shh, nobody tell the real estate company and perhaps the problem will go away...

due to recent comments in this space, there has been some confusion about my position on certain forms of cheese. to clarify: I have always been in favor of cheese slices and cheese on pizza, pasta, and other dishes. however, my praise of cheez wiz led some to believe that perhaps I was condoning e-z-cheese. this is simply not true. cheez wiz in a jar goes well with celery. were that same cheez wiz in an aerosol can like e-z-cheese, I would not hesitate to spray it all over the place and eat the celery with some other topping (i.e. peanut butter). cheese found in an aerosol can should, by virtue of its very nature, be recklessly sprayed all over the place; in that case, manic glee takes priority over consumption. however, when crazed dairy graffiti is not as easy an option (i.e. when the cheese is found in a decidedly static jar), one may do what one wishes with it. I hope that helps. I know how much everyone cares about my set of ethics and models themselves after it, so there you go. any further confusion, don't hesitate to ask.

valentine's day is coming up (or is already past, depending on when you read this). I'm no major booster of the "holiday" but I've decided not to protest it this year either. frankly, most of the people who protest it do it for such utterly wanky lame reasons that I don't want to be aligned with them. for me, the thing that's deplorable about the day is the sheer pointless saccharineness of it and the cold calculated marketing of "love". if you have a relationship gone bad, then complain about that relationship, not the entire opposite sex. if you're a whiny bastard who resents the opposite sex because they never ask you out even though you've never talked to them, then just crawl into a hole or something until you're ready to actually be alive. as far as I'm concerned, the genuinely stupid and the genuinely in-love (two different groups, saith I in an optimistic moment) can have fun and do their thing. as long as thay do it somewhere away from me, that is.

five great sincere love songs:
the Stone Roses "Ten Storey Love Song" Second Coming, Blur "To the End" Parklife, Paul McCartney "Maybe I'm Amazed" McCartney, the Doors "Indian Summer" Morrison Hotel, Marvin Gaye "Let's Get It On" Let's Get It On or Greatest Hits.

slap them on a tape and wobble 'round the room with your love, not a moment of dysfunction amongst them.

five great fucked-up love songs:
David Bowie "Heroes" Heroes, Lou Reed "Perfect Day" Trainspotting Soundtrack vol 1 (probably somewhere else too), Tricky "Makes Me Wanna Die" Pre-Millenium Tension, Beatles "Happiness is a Warm Gun" (White Album), the Verve "Space and Time" (Urban Hymns).

slap these on and scream at the wall. can't go wrong with Bowie ("Strangers When We Meet" comes to mind too), really anything by Portishead, there are probably even a few applicables from the Pixies.

think I'm missing some? go to the "critics" page down below and use the form to tell me what great love songs, sincere or whacked, that I missed. I'll put them up here.

onwards: for those of you in the champaign area, don't forget to attend the world's greatest circus, Potted Meat at the Channing-Murray Foundation, Oregon and Mathews (I think), 9pm, $3. it will make you happy. if it does not, then there's something wrong with you. either way, it's a useful barometer as to whether or not you're OK.

another note for those of you in the area: Schnucks (a local grocery store) microwave popcorn is not only the cheapest brand that you can find, but it is also, bar none, the most delicious microwave popcorn I have ever consumed. seriously. better than Act II, Orville, or any of those other brands. the only drawback to it is that it doesn't come with a rant from Paul Newman on the side (and I do recommend looking for Newman's Own popcorn because his rant on the box is a masterpiece). still, as I well know, having more than a few of them, you can't eat a rant. so buy Schnucks. with a name like that...

and for those of you who like a bit of great music now and then, Very Secretary (see the links page) just released their first CD on Mud Records. mad cool indeed, in finer record stores hopefully nationwide.

getting a bit warmer in here now. I'll play this game again soon, though. 'til the end!

February 9, 1998 proving once again that I have absoutely no intention of stopping or even slowing down my reckless manic lifestyle, I vacuumed my apartment and then bought some new shirts on saturday. the champaign police department didn't even try to stop me. in other bat-shit crazy news, not having any stamps is preventing me from signing a lease for next year. classes seem to be going along fine without me. none save Shakespeare prove particularly engaging, although each has its moments. I thought I smelled dog poop in the theatre today. really pungent poop. blah, blah, blah. okay.

a fair amount has been done in various forms of things over the last week. for whatever reason, I haven't felt like going near this web thing and updating it. I'm still streets ahead of just about anyone else though. yay me. went on a bloody rampage again, my version of which involves donating insane amounts of it. the madness finally came to an end on friday when I realized that I'd somehow wandered into an ROTC blood drive and was asked very sternly which branch of service I was from. having the incredibly stupid sense of humor that I do, I signed the Air Force attendance sheet because I had glasses on at the time. (get it? wheepers.) no bad health save a slab of dizziness incurred. so that others may avoid my mistakes, let me make it known right now that the refreshments at ROTC blood drives suck donkey balls in comparison to the ones at the Red Cross.

I hit upon a plan to stave off my 20th birthday for awhile. I plan on donating my drivers license to a fund for needy freshmen who want to get into bars. I'll take their license in return and be 18 again. then, in two years, I can do it all over again if I like. neat, huh? yes, virginia, I am a fucking genius!

I'm slowly starting to update the links page - fixing broken links, tweaking design, adding, subtracting, etc. not done yet. it's not especially enthralling work. what a big onerous beast. but then, no one ever said that life wasn't a neverending onslaught of torture.

Potted Meat show this friday, february 13th - 9pm at the Channing-Murray Foundation. come see. one way or another, it will make you happy.

I wish "coercion" was my middle name. that, or "savings".

big calendar clearance sales, cheese, the Verve, collapsible housing, the way of the samurai.
congealed chunks of superglue, salt-less corn chips, attendance taken before the bell.

February 1, 1998 I was baking and watching cartoons this morning. what a good day. the WB may be many things (most of them negative) during the nighttime hours, but damn does it have some cool stuff on sunday mornings. I was kind of underwhelmed by the Men In Black cartoon - it wasn't bad, just thoroughly lacking. the Batman and Superman cartoons were both very cool, and Animaniacs never treat you bad. after all this, despite my oft-stated disinterest in the first movie, I have been filled with the burning desire to create and write a weekly "Scream" cartoon series. can you even begin to conceive of how cool that would be? pointless body counts into the hundreds, rapidly revolving doors of suspects in and out (each of whom is eventually revealed to be one of the killers), hip metatextual irony in bright primary colors. please, mr. craven, let me do it. please!

for the first time in my multi-year (doesn't that sound more impressive than it is?) career, I have received a web award. after I got over the initial wave of panic ("sweet jesus, someone's been reading this?!?"), I moved on from my "Omega Man of the World Wide Web" visions and went on with my life. I'm not all that keen on displaying web awards - it just seems kind of, I don't know, egotistical in a "some guy in Iowa who never leaves the house" sort of way rather than the tasty Jack Nicholson (or Boris from "Goldeneye" - woohoo!) way. still, it's up on the critics page, so go ahead and check it out (it's worth looking at their page for some of the really rather scary sites they have there - as well as for the sheer irony of a page that critiques other web pages being as massively dorky as theirs is), the January 30th "www.bigweenie.com Wurst of the Web" award for "stream of college-ness coherency".

pointing out that this site appears incoherent to the average person ranks right up there with other incisive jabs like "there's a lot of porno on the internet" and "this site uses a lot of Times New Roman". but, "college-ness"? geez. they probably didn't mean as badly as I'm taking it, but man, when you go to a college like this one, you don't wanna be associated with it or be thought of as a product of it. "those words...hurt." but yeah! rock on with your bad self, sir. a few people who read this site for the first time recently have sent me mail and confirmed that some of the target audience (the intelligent, the obscure, the unconventional, the upside-down people of the world) actually do get this site, so I'm feeling a bit better about the whole thing by now.

began a half-assed search for housing next year, became mired deep in preparations for the next Potted Meat show on february 13th. classes are still OK. not particularly interested or aware of any of them save the Shakespeare class, which despite my professor's rather clearly-expressed dislike of my apathetic study habits and scholarly opinions continues to be rather fun.

naps have been tasting like heaven lately.

the cookies:
a little too wet. mostly good. still have that odd property of not tasting exceptionally good at first but becoming increasingly addictive (others have confirmed this). wish I'd used bigger chocolate chips.
the brownies:
a bit too dry. chocolate levels perfect, though. non-linear shapes win big points.

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.