I woke up in a strange place

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

January 28, 1999 thought process:
"it's late. I should go to sleep. I have an early class tomorrow. if I stay up, I could have that last cookie that's in the refrigerator. when will I sleep, though? I might not get to eat that cookie for some reason, though." (roll out of bed, put clothes back on, pop in a video and eat cookie)

important announcement:
"the emperor is not as forgiving as I am."

why the campus paper sucks, part one:
a questionable interpretation of what is the cutting-edge in editorial journalism. case in point: last week featured a muckraking column that made the scathing, original, and altogether shocking accusation that the Spice Girls may not necessarily be in it for the music and that "Girl Power" was perhaps not as well-developed and deep a feminist theological tract as some would believe. the utterly straight face with which these accusations were made (and the careful restraint and "now-this-isn't-for-sure" waffling throughout - was the columnist fearing mass suicides by the legions of now-disillusioned Spice Girls fans?) made for splendid although absurd reading.

life is worth living, part one:
more odd uses of quotation marks by restaurants. the Burger King on campus had this posted on their giant sign:
Come In For a "Delicious" Milkshake!

why the campus paper sucks, part two:
they just did their "top ten of 1997" lists. admittedly, they weren't publishing during winter break (which is when all the real papers did theirs), but come on, twenty-three days of 1998 have passed. life is apparently and astonishingly continuing to happen, so let's stop memorializing what happened during a now-distant grouping of periods wherein the earth revolved around the sun and move on, okay? at this point in 1998, no one is paralyzed by uncertainty about how to perceive the art created over the course of the last year any longer. yes, I know it's fun to sound erudite by quickly and concisely summing up what was good and what was bad about an entire year - making it sound like you had any real part in history by yelling your intepretation really loudly - but personal gratification is what websites are for, not major (or minor, as the case may be) media outlets.

life is worth living, part two:
cheez-wiz on celery. someone needs to borrow the cheez-wiz for an advertising project? still hungry? peanut butter on celery. yum.

important announcement, part two:
"When that the poor hath cried, Caesar hath wept.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
But Brutus says that he was ambitious,
and Brutus is an honorable man."

why the campus paper sucks, part three:
the comics page. I won't go into details, but on Friday one had a character named "Butt-lick Girl". who spoke with a lisp. and had bulging cheeks. because she has a huge tongue. so not funny that it's...still not funny!

late fees:
two dollars.
most of the world:
blue screens.
- out.

January 23, 1999 if anyone has any information about the styrofoam container of Chinese food that was anonymously left on my doorstep wednesday night, please email me. you can have it back if you want. I didn't eat it. I was kind of perplexed by it, actually. I'm pretty damn stupid like that.

(1.24 - if you've used the feedback form, try it again. UIUC's alias system is whacked and mail sent to it was disappearing into nothingness. it should work now.) I fixed all the major and minor bugs with the last update (if you didn't notice them, send $19.95 to the address on the bio page for a copy of that night's programme) and replaced the temp background (I liked the fishies too, but they were someone else's) on the brand new feedback page (please, feed back to me, regurgitate thought like a volcano, there has never been a better time than now), and if you didn't notice already (I think it's been made quite obvious), there was a fire sale on parenthetical statements over at the bookstore today so I bought in bulk (and passed the savings on to you).

the big news of the day for me, which is sure to generate excitement amongst speculators and stock brokers of the marc heiden financial market (if nothing else, it's got a better name than the dow jones), is that financial aid arrived today! woohoo! several days early, in fact, and just in the nick of time to prevent my rent check from bouncing and to allow me to buy milk! its timing is especially good because A&E announced last night that due to sheer lack of response they were going to cease airing the ads featuring pictures of me moping around staring blankly at dry bowls of cereal and Peter Graves imploring viewers that "for a few dollars a day, well, you probably couldn't bring a smile to this boy's face because god knows nothing can crack that cold miserable bastard but you could at least help put the Lucky Charms on top of his refrigerator to good use." I do appreciate Mr. Graves' sincere effort, but fuck the rest of you for not calling! nah, it's all good. love.

it snowed again yesterday but somehow the charm was gone. I don't know. once again, I blame el nino. I had my first meeting as a full member of the WEFT Programming Committee yesterday also and with my newfound power I took the opportunity to order several executions. the rest of the committee was not really all that receptive but I think that they may be coming around so I'll try again next time. classes are continuing to happen somewhere off in the distance, but I'm not entirely clear on what I'm supposed to be doing about that, so I've been sleeping late and listening to lots of music and things seem to be going just fine.

oh, and according to my lawyer, the opposition is "considering" settling. for my part, I'm "considering" the use of mercenaries, so hopefully the opposition will make their decision before I make mine, although I'm not planning on waiting much longer (and the services of Carlos "The Chinchilla" Borva are only available for so long).

four chords.
the campus newspaper (subject of an upcoming feature).

January 21, 1999 classes began for me today. the rest of the campus began theirs yesterday. that's how much of a badass I am. looks like a peachy keen semester. I have a neat-looking Shakespeare class early in the morning. the professor asked the class about the relative virtues of seeing Shakespeare performed versus reading the text, whether one was inherently superior to the other. After listening to a few answers, I raised my hand and announced cheerfully that "I don't think actors can be trusted. I mean, they're always trying to pull something. You have to read the play first so that you can figure out what their agenda is." This, like every single other joke I have ever made in any class anywhere at any point in my life, was met with confused silence and finally the professor changed the subject to his lengthy background as an actor. so the class is off to a more or less typical start. should be as fun as...well, other classes have been.

all of that is irrelevant right now, though. I've known about what I'm about to announce for a few days, but I didn't want to mention it in the last update because it was already full of stuff. I wanted this to have a column to itself, the echoing sweep that it deserves.

Scott Adsit left Second City. I had the good fortune to witness one of his last performances, and it was an exceptional one - the cast was in preparations for a new revue, and though the overall presentation was as sloppy as previews would be expected to be, Scott singlehandedly carried the show. He filled the silences with more manic energy than I'd ever seen him perform with. A few days later, he was gone. I could rhapsodize for pages about the brilliant dynamo that is Scott Adsit, but instead I'd like to do it in song. It originally appeared in a play that I finished writing with Rory Leahy the very day that Scott left Second City. When I first wrote it, it was for Charlton Heston, but he doesn't matter anymore. so, with no apologies to Elton John, I present for you:

A Flower in Any Soil '98 (b)

Verse 1:
Goodbye, Willy Licious, may you rave on in our hearts
You were the old bluesman who wrought genius from the lost and found
A moment later a monk, the Weasel, young Hemingway or someone new
Now your crusade moves on to Hollywood and nationwide television too.

Chorus: (repeat after every verse)
And it seems to me that you would be
a flower in any soil.
Never fading with the house lights when the improv set comes to a close
And your voice will always echo even if you've now settled for a mere writing job
The sound died down before your manic glory ever will.

Verse 2:
Truth and innovation your art, cowardly yuppies and frat boys on spring break quaked in the dark
At the towering brilliance of our mentor and creative patriarch.
And even though boring people tried to put predictable words in your mouth
You continued to define "cutting-edge" with your every breath.

Verse 3:
Goodbye crazed Saturn salesman, bringing them into the family whether they liked it or not.
Goodbye Mr. Grissom, IQ of a raccoon and struggling with the roundy-roundy tupperware.
You were the force that mocked convetionality, shitty improv suggestions, and blandness masquerading as art.
Goodbye Scott Adsit, from an audience lost without your inspiration.

(Final line)
We will miss your rendition of the American Dream for the rest of our theatergoing days.

see, I'm all emotional now, so I'm going to leave it there. check out the updates throughout the rest of the site.
additional massive respect to Junior Wells and Carl Perkins, two very cool people who died in the last couple of days.
and a hearty "fuck you!" to el nino, who I blame for all this shit.

January 16, 1999 I am back in Champaign now, having returned a week early in order to, I don't know, sit around and watch movies. I rearranged and redecorated my apartment (despite a section in the lease which "discourages" such undertakings) and am pleased with the results. I'm going to try rearranging the entire city next. for example, wouldn't the frat houses look much nicer over by, say, that landfill?

on the topic of improvements recently made to Champaign, Eamon returns this semester. I was thinking about doing a bit where I described it like a porn movie, something like "Eamon's return to help the gang at Mr. Illiniwek's Chicken Shack raise enough money to save the school provides much spine-tingling fun!", but then I guess I came to my senses or maybe I got hungry, I've already forgotten. At my mack-daddy little brother's request, I put up a small webpage for his friends to see his picture online. what a smooth little bastard...

I haven't been walking very smoothly lately. as many of you may have heard or read in the papers, a bone spur in my left foot has been preventing me from playing with the Chicago Bulls as of late. it developed some time after I got new shoes for the first time in five years in late 1997. a podiatrist examined my feet over break and condemned them as "unsafe" or something. amongst other things, I have "hammertoes". well, well, well. Bulls management has been treating me like shit for much of my career, so I am taking this opportunity to demand a trade to Alaska. my foot is feeling a bit better as I get ready to upload this, but you know, it goes beyond the money or the injury, really it's all about respect.

speaking of words in italics, things are gradually starting to happen now in my never-ending battle over the attempted murder of the Cradle (my car) on I-57 last year. (click on the blue head and read around for the full story.) the "discovery" period is a time when the defense gets to examine the evidence and documents that I plan on presenting at the trial, do research about me, hire private detectives, hold depositions, and generally stall like crazy in the hopes that the plaintiff will drop the case out of sheer intimidation. after five long months, I remain as pissed as ever and the discovery period ended on the 31st of december. now the defense either has to pull another stall tactic from out of their sleeve or let things go forward. things going forward entails an "arbitration" date being set. notification of that date is scheduled to arrive roughly a month after the end of the discovery period, and the date itself generally occurs around two months after receipt of the notice. during arbitration, evidence is presented and witnesses are cross-examined for the benefit of an arbitrator, who then makes a judgement. both sides have the option to reject the judgement of the arbitrator for a $200 cost and send the case to trial, which for a $20 fee (which the defense in this case paid, indicating either that they thought the concept of a jury would freak me out, that they have no intention of accepting the arbitrator's judgement and want this taken to trial, or that they just had twenty dollars that they didn't know what to do with) will be held in front of an actual jury. so there's that. I am being represented by Mr. Brian C. Owen, attorney-at-law.

in other trial-related news, the film rights to this entire case have been sold to NBC in exchange for a pack of gum. it will air sometimes in late 1999 and will feature Kevin Nealon from Saturday Night Live fame making his dramatic debut as a crusading lawyer who takes on my case in order to make a statement about humanity and justice. this character does not exist in reality - I have not met him - but NBC president Warren Littlefield says that he is a "composite" of "several different people" whom the Nealon character is "true to, in a dramatic sense". I don't yet know who's playing me, although the three words "Neil" "Patrick" "Harris" are enough to strike fear into anyone's heart I think. the WB is apparently planning on doing their own, unauthorized version of the entire case featuring Tom Arnold as my lawyer and Doug E. Doug as me. hey, whatever the people want, I guess.

those same peasants have been thrown into terrible confusion now that, upon taking the test a second time (see the blue head for the link, back in november), I have been revealed to be most like Sporty Spice. so what is it, the people demand? is marc a Sporty Spice or a Scary Spice? chaos and violence reign.

so while we're talking about violently awful segues, in summary my break was really rather good overall. saw lots of good people, both by plan and by sheer coincidence, saw several good people onstage in Les Miserables, saw an absurd amount of movies, many of which were actually rather good, and finished Part Three in the Trilogy with Rory Leahy. history will thank us, I'm sure.

That's Rentertainment (the campus video store), cheez wiz, matinee prices, popcorn, the wrong door.
fake bread for use in restaurant displays.

January 8, 1999 the main thing that I have done so far this month is be snowed upon. a record snowfall hit Champaign and the world outside became an apocalyptic vision: mountains of snow up to twenty feet tall, entire cars buried, streets barren with only tracks from the treads of what look like tanks visible. (why I associate tanks with an apocalypse, I'm not quite sure.) basic provisions ran low; proving definitively that Kevin Costner is full of shit, the postal service was nowhere to be seen. the only thing that remains yet to happen is the emergence of feudal city-states and warring tribal lords. it wasn't always like this, or so I'm told by last month's update of this page (which makes a reference to "an uninspiring sort-of-warmness" that now sounds quite nice), but it's hard to believe.

it's really sad how owning a car has kind of ruined snow for me. frosted windows create delay, icy streets paranoia, cold air sluggishness. I was out driving during the major wave of the snowstorm and didn't survive. I had planned to write something about it, but the moment has passed. death is so transitory.

the MechaCradle has lain dormant for more than two weeks now (wasting $50 of liability insurance payments). it was buried by the snowplows (the kind of idiotic paradox that only civil service can create) and when I finally managed to dig it out, it refused to start. effort is going to be put into it later today. my old car suffered damages of more than twice its own retail value and never once failed to start until it died for good. the lesson learned? "get them before they get you." it doesn't relate, but it's as good as any, really. "stay off the rock, kids." that one, too.

new year's resolution
in the past I, like others, have scorned the ritual of setting goals at the beginning of the year only to break them once laziness sets in. many resolve to lose weight, for example. others plan to read more. so on and so forth. in a change of heart, I've decided to give it a try this year. having taken a long hard look at myself, at who I am and where I am as a person, at how I relate to others and where I want to be, what my hopes and dreams are, I have made a new year's resolution to be given more stuff. it's not enough to be content with the past - one must always strive to improve as a person, and I will rest on my laurels no longer. I am determined for this year to be the year when I receive more free crap than any other. and damn it, I'm not backing down.

this is probably going to be one of those years. unless my hare-brained scheme works, I am doomed to turn 21 this year. (god, my biological clock is ticking.) although I am taking an extra semester of college in order to pick up my thirtieth bachelor's degree, I'm also pretty much stuck with graduating this year. also all the numbers on the calendars are about to change. I am just now getting used to the notion that it's 1997. the Big Number Change is going to fuck my shit up, most likely. environment in upheaval. in the face of this chaos I plan to boldly and decisively curl into a fetal ball on the floor. once again, I'm not backing down.

you should all boycott the miserable bastards at the UIUC office of admissions and records, by the way. although there were admittedly a number of good reasons for them to let me go, they chose none of them. (if I'm to be criticized, I demand that it be for the right reasons.) no, they claimed to be content with my performance but they decided to replace me with a new full-time employee because they needed someone who could work more hours than me. since they had promised me that I could work over the winter break (depriving me of the ability to earn much-needed money), that was a rotten thing to do. tell my old supervisor that she's a heartless whorecow if you get the time. cheers.

on a more positive note, I highly recommend that everyone purchase the Boards of Canada album Music Has the Right to Children for extended use on these lonesome january and february nights. it's immaculately brilliant for those purposes. trust me.

new web material!
I did a quick job on most of my Potted Meat scripts and put them up on the words page so that all of you who've seen me hype our shows relentlessly can finally get an idea of what it is that we do (and all of you who've actually seen the shows can get what it was that I was going on about in them). they're eminently readable and you should succumb to their voodoo. also there is a new page because there is...

new broadcast material!
the radioactive monsters now cruise around the world in a swank supasonic jet dispensing improvisational comedy and radio theatre every sunday night at 10pm. the show is going phenomenally well - calls flood in every week and complete strangers dig the show and talk to me about it. fantastic. incredibly talented friends Eric Rampson and Matt Trupia join me weekly to display our kung-fu which is indisputably mighty. sunday nights on WEFT 90.1 FM is Must See Radio. fame and fortune beckon, although at the moment I would settle for some cookies.

January 1, 1999

only 1002 more years 'til 3k!

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.


January 2012, December 2011, January 2011, September 2010, August 2010, June 2010, March 2010, October 2009, February 2009, January 2009, September 2008, August 2008, March 2008, February 2008, October 2007, July 2007, June 2007, January 2007, September 2006, July 2006, June 2006, January 2006, December 2005, September 2005, August 2005, July 2005, June 2005, May 2005, March 2005, February 2005, January 2005, December 2004, October 2004, July 2004, June 2004, May 2004, April 2004, February 2004, January 2004, December 2003, November 2003, October 2003, September 2003, August 2003, July 2003, June 2003, May 2003, April 2003, March 2003, February 2003, January 2003, December 2002, November 2002, October 2002, September 2002, August 2002, July 2002, June 2002, May 2002, April 2002, March 2002, February 2002, January 2002, December 2001, November 2001, October 2001, September 2001, August 2001, July 2001, December 1999, November 1999, October 1999, May 1999, February 1999, January 1999, December 1998, November 1998, October 1998, June 1998, May 1998, April 1998, March 1998, February 1998, December 1997, November 1997, October 1997, September 1997, and the uncategorised wilderness of the Beelzetron era: 010622 - 010619, 010615 - 010611, 010608 - 010604, 010601 - 010529, 010525 - 010521, 010518 - 010514, 010511 - 010507, 010504 - 010430, 010427 - 010423, 010420 - 010416, 010413 - 010409, 010406 - 010402, 010330 - 010326, 010323 - 010319, 010316 - 010312, 010309 - 010307, 019223 - 010219, 010216 - 010212, 010209 - 010205, 010202 - 010109, 010126 - 010122, 010119 - 010115, 010112 - 010108, 010105 - 010102, 001229 - 001224, 001222 - 001218, 001215 - 001211, 001208 - 001204, 001201 - 001124, 001124 - 001120, 001117 - 001113, 001110 - 001106, 001103 - 001030, 001027 - 001023, 001020 - 001016, 001013 - 001010, 001006 - 000927.

Written by Marc Heiden, 1997-2011.