I woke up in a strange place

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

May 19, 1999

"choose to enjoy it?" hah! the movie was fucking awesome!!! sand people, man! sand people!!!

May 18, 1999

I remember being eleven years old on Christmas Eve. I knew that within hours life would catch up with this wonderful event and it'd all be grey and normal. I wanted to catch a snapshot of the ecstatic state of anticipation, since it would seem so impossible later on, so I wrote a note to myself before I went to sleep: a hello from the brink. I tossed out that note years later during an, erm, teen episode, but the idea remains. as I write this, I've 5 hours and 45 minutes left until I get to see "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" at an 8:30am showing opening day. perfect for someone thoroughly excited but not a crazed fanboy by any stretch. the ticket is a gift from a brilliant friend.

I've already decided that I'm going to love this movie. although I'm at the right age, I saw the first trilogy much later than everyone else of my generation. I never had the chance to get swept up in it - partially because "Return of the Jedi" was the only one I saw in original release (and I didn't have access to a VCR for several years afterwards), but also because it seems to me that being a huge fan as a kid was all about having a best friend who was also really into it. the two of you could babble lines and trivia back and forth...my swingin' sociopathic younger self never had that friend, so I could only play catch-up when I finally did get the chance to see them later on. but this one? Ewan McGregor rocks my pantheon. I've been defending his casting for years, and he's gonna be awesome. so's Liam, and Samuel L., and everyone else. this is my trilogy.

fuck the backlash. movie critics have had 15 years since "Jedi" to figure out why the first three were great. most of them are still making the same errors in their reviews. they still don't get it. I'm bored of people claiming to be weary of the hype, as if it's an assault on them or something. ah, suck it up. if you're really tired of it, go volunteer at a domestic abuse shelter. I guarantee you won't hear much there. otherwise, shut up and endure it. I think you'll survive. (it's not that bad, anyway. "Godzilla" was worse, in my estimation, and had far less justification.) more than anything else, I'm sick of self-appointed gurus holding forth in every major media forum with the revelation that "this is just a movie". their wisdom and distance has given them the ability to look down on us scurrying plebes and drop that particular golden nugget. as if we don't know that it's a movie? of course we do. everything is what it is. they're "just" boring people who apparently haven't got anything interesting or original to write about. we react as we wish. I plan to enjoy this movie like a five year old on mescaline because I choose to. cheers.

long-lost acquaintances are encouraged to email and we'll go see it together. ah, cool. five and a half hours to go!

May 10, 1999 Spring. Leonard Nimoy on the Y2K bug: "We find ourselves in a time rather like the last days of Atlantis...perhaps only chaos theory could calculate the multiple ramifications of what may occur." and he knows, people. he knows. (I have written a lot of artificially inflated term papers in my time, but never have I come close to the full glory of that last sentence of his.)

yes, so there was a gap between monthly updates of this here webpage. I was busy. all of this page's subscribers should have received their refund checks from last month's issue in the mail by now (read: "I don't owe you suckas nuthin.") over the last three weeks, I literally averaged 47 pages of academic writing per week. teachers have evolved - since I rarely show up for class, they get back at me in volume. if they keep adapting at this rate, I may have to declare my professors sentient creatures. semester's almost over, one more to go. I'm really glad that I'm not graduating right now. I can't imagine I'll be any more ready when the time comes, but that's for a future me to deal with. I bought a gallon of milk that won't expire until the day before Star Wars Episode 1 comes out. in that sense, it's immortal milk...

media watch!
a non-mention, first: back in March,the Daily Illini's Buzz Magazine blew off "lost like this" in its list of the top ten UIUC student homepages. please do check them out and enlighten me as to how any of them are in any way superior to mine, cos it's a mystery to me. The Most Worthy One Who Actually Was Chosen, Jen Gerbi, pointed out that since there are several thousand pages on the students server, they probably just did a random sampling and may not have even seen mine. I like to think it was because of my political convictions. I should get some of those. spruce things up a bit...

brighter days lay ahead, though. April 15th had a story about a show I was in, "The Threepenny Opera". extremely well-written story, comes out fairly nicely, although to get an idea of what I really said you have to insert "fuck" after every other word and the part where I blow off rehearsal and hold up the liquor store was curiously omitted.

superstardom awaits: first there was a story about the independent student theatre group that I'm in, the Penny Dreadful Players. I was going through a phase at the time of speaking only in expletives as a challenge to the media establishment, so the reporter reconstructed what he could.

then, coolest of all, the newspaper sent a reporter (and photographer) to interview me and my two compatriots Matt and Eric for a story about our improv comedy radio show "What Jail Is Like", and we're also included in a story on radio theatre in general. interesting article. some very perceptive choices on the author's part and some odd ones. notes: first, my headphones actually only cost $10. second, the quote attributed to Matt (the "systematic alienation" lines) was actually me. it's really neat, though. the radio show is doing incredibly well. we're finally getting offended callers, too. at last!

the last all new Potted Meat sketch comedy show of the year has come and gone, so check out my scripts if you missed it and get an overview of what in retrospect was a astonishingly prolific and pretty darn funny year. did you check out the radio plays? all you need is realaudio and you get to spend a blissful half-hour listening to a play I wrote and directed that's quite funny and intriguing and suspenseful and all sorts of other good stuff. check it out! I want to hear what people think of it.

that's pretty much all I'm asking of you this month in the way of consuming my artistic product. onwards...

yeah, so I've got this play called "Monks in Trouble" and I suspect it may actually be pretty damn good because people have been telling me that, but I have to wait until the summer for lack of venue availability, so I'm forced to spend the remaining weeks of the semester moping instead of producing. moping is an important part of my life, of course, but I had it penciled in for the early summer and this throws the whole schedule out of wack. it's uniquely frustrating...I even locked up several hundred dollars of funding and a great cast, but fucking acapella groups and various sundry dance groups whose idea of celebrating their ethnic heritage apparently involves synchronized routines performed with chairs to shitty american house music have all the venues booked solid. is this how Radiohead feel when they look at the music charts and see Britney Spears at the top? well, we'll be able to get a great venue in the summer. it's all a matter of doing it ahead of time. I'll make some noise when something's been worked out on the topic...

I'm also playing the Keanu Part (Don John) in a production of "Much Ado About Nothing" in June. will probably be a great show, but let's face it. I'm many things, but I'm no Keanu. thankfully I don't have to carry the entire cast like he did cos the rest of this production is very talented. I do have kung fu though, if that helps.

my favorite link of the last thirty minutes: "Who Was The Ugliest President?" there's pictures, impassioned speeches, and you can vote. the only problem I have with the site is that Taft should be winning by a landslide...I mean, an informed populace is essential to a successful democracy, so do these voters have any idea how fat that guy was? yech!

during the radio show a couple weeks ago it struck me as a good idea to sniff a magic marker, and after doing to I saw a woman dressed as a giant cat walk through the door of the station. I'm fairly sure that it was real, but just in case, I'm going cold turkey on the marker fumes...during a break from writing, I read in the news that Boxcar Willie died this week at the age of 67. he was a country singer who was famous for his "mellow voice coupled with a rough-hewn hobo persona", but he was much more important in my life for being the punchline to the One Joke In "Kids In The Hall: Brain Candy" That I Just Didn't Get. now I know who Boxcar Willie is and now I can laugh at that joke too...this waitress was telling me about how a pair of old people ran up a fifty-dollar tab and then ran off without paying it. fucking old people, man. they're always doing that stuff...from Reuters: "30 percent of Republicans said a woman president would be less capable than a man of chairing the National Security Council or overseeing the Joint Chiefs of Staff." ah, you bunch of charmers, you...a few weeks ago I lost the last bite of a blueberry bagel and I was really sad because I'd geared up my mouth for that last bite and then, nothing. oh, how the world changes: I just found the missing bite on top of the fridge. somehow I'm not quite as excited about it now, though...if you've been thinking about having anything to do with the swing dance scene, remind me to send you the results of my semester-long field research study for sociology 380 on it. god, it's horrifying...I read a thing about how Fox's new animated series "The Family Guy" did well in its premiere. the article said "(The episode) featured spoofs on "Star Trek" and "Scooby Doo", among other popular culture references." the creative bankruptcy of that particular "witty" pop culture-dependent referential approach can be exposed with one question: in thirty years, who the fuck is going to be referencing "The Family Guy"? ... it appears as though I've locked up enough summer hours at the art museum to save me from round three with the temp agency (giver of such madcap fun as the twelve-hour trips to the bottle cap factory, moving boy at the mental hospital, maestro of the rollerblade crash helmet, maze jumper at the hobby factory). color me relieved...want tickets to round two of the Trial of the Millenium? May 13, it's going down. let me know...

I generally think of literally hundreds of things that I want to put here but nearly all of it becomes lost when I turn my head and the voices of the living dead filter in...tight shirt, bar pants, raising a glass and making it last...hey, hey, come out tonight...let's throw bricks through windows. anyone with me?

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.