I woke up in a strange place

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

March 31, 2002 I felt like I had to make a statement against terror, to show evil that we are not bowed and we will not be cowed, so, one week after being mugged on my way home from bowling, I went bowling again and rolled my goddam career high, 153. I have titled that game "Fear Gets Its Ass Beat". That is a very dramatic title. I found a tennis ball in the gutter on the way home, so I bounced it around while I waited for the train.

I had a few days off last week, and I have a few days off this week. You can go to the website for Devil's Lake in Wisconsin and try to visualize a very small version of me climbing around on the rocks in the pictures. If you then proceed to visualize a very small version of me battling a bunch of wizards on top of the mountain, please bear in mind that the sheer force of my charm gives me a +2 for initiative in combat against magic users. And if you then proceed to visualize the outcome of that battle, please bear in mind that the purple mage is a punk ass.


An elvish ROGUE is preparing for combat. A DWARF, chomping a cigar, confronts him.

DWARF: Lookin' good, rogue.
ROGUE: Thanks.
DWARF: Shame you're going down in the fourth round of combat.
ROGUE: The hell I am. I can take that guy.
DWARF: Probably could, most days. Today, though, he hits you with the north wind in the fourth.
ROGUE: The fix is in.
DWARF: Sorry, kid.
ROGUE: Yeah, well, count me out. I don't take a fall for no magic users.
DWARF: You do when I say so! There's a lot of gold pieces riding on this encounter. You better play ball, kid. You don't have a choice.
ROGUE: I've always got choices.
DWARF: Not if you want that bag of holding...
ROGUE: You're offering a bag of holding?
DWARF: Sure, kid. We're a classy operation. We take care of player-characters who play ball with us.
ROGUE: I've always wanted a bag of holding. I could keep my scrolls in there. And the whole cooked turkeys I'm always finding.
DWARF: A lot of influential dragons are interested in what happens today, kid. Dragons with access, if you know what I mean.
ROGUE: Fine. I'll go down.
DWARF: Good boy. You won't regret it.

The ROGUE enters a clearing, which is jam-packed with excited spectators. From the fringe of the clearing, the DWARF, surrounded by a number of handsomely-attired dragons, gives the ROGUE a thunbs-up. The ROGUE nods. Then, the crowd parts and the PURPLE MAGE enters the clearing.

ROGUE: You?!?
ROGUE: Nobody said anything about this encounter being with the goddam purple mage.
DWARF: (calling out) Play ball, kid!
ROGUE: But the motherfucking purple mage...

The PURPLE MAGE begins casting a lightning spell. The ROGUE's body shakes, tense. On one side, a bunch of dragons...and a very nice bag of holding. On the other side...his pride.

The air crackles with electricity...

All it takes is one wealthy patron, people. Look under your couches. Surely, between all of you, you could come up with at least one.

March 26, 2002 Some poor child is being dragged from cubicle to cubicle to greet swarming crones of its mother's acquaintance and has finally lost its shit. Oh, child. This is only the fifth floor. I remember being taken around on the circuit when I was very young, and I brought pictures with me to give to people, and I didn't think that any of the people I was introduced to were very interesting, so I gave them to strangers, who accepted them awkwardly.

I leave work early tomorrow, and then I have the rest of the week off.


There is a contest to win a trip to Antarctica, and you are instructed to stay the fuck away from it, because I am meant to go to Antarctica, I have always been meant to go to Antarctica, and if I do not have to lay down any cash to get there, so much the better. I am going to do wonders for Antarctica. I am going to bring grape flavoring and make entire square-miles into sno-cones for people and penguins alike. With luck, no one else will enter, and they will have to pick me by default. I wish an essay was required as part of the contest. No one could step to me on this topic. You may have noticed that the contest is a trip for two. The other person will be a monkey. He will wear a winter coat. Yes.

March 25, 2002 And, on top of everything else, they cut down the fucking trees in front of my apartment. Most have been uprooted and taken away, and the others have had their branches burned off and will probably be removed in time. I really liked those trees. Most of the branches weren't strong enough to support squirrels' weight, but squirrels would try anyway, and my cats liked watching it. The trees in the fall at night with the pale orange courtyard lamps was what drew me to rent there. You can't just go in and take out the trees and act like it's the same place. That has to be a violation of the lease. God damn it. It seriously looks like the end of "Full Metal Jacket" out there.

It's snowing today. I want to go outside and use my new lomo for snow by the lake. By the time I get home from work, feces will probably be falling from the sky instead of snow, and I do not wish to take photographs of that.


1. That Dismemberment Plan is a good plan. They play the hits.
2. Long-time friends got engaged. They are cute together.
3. Got to see the Journey arcade game. It's from 1983. They digitized the heads of the members of Journey and put them on tiny bodies, and then each band member has to go to a different planet to recover his instrument. The piano player's level is really hard. Tinkling MIDI versions of many Journey hits run while you play, such as "Who's Crying Now" when you die.
4. Have not had to wait long for trains.
5. Cats like the tree thing I bought for them.
6. Food has tasted good.
7. Have time off coming up.
8. Made out onstage twice on Saturday. Hottest action since the Clinton era.
9. Slurpee made my tongue blue.


1. Fucking cold.
2. Guy I knew in high school died. His name was Pete.
3. Held up at gunpoint.
4. Oscars crap as usual.
5. Have to listen to idiots talk about Oscars. "I won't see movies with that Russell Crowe. He hates America. Show some gratitude!" "(hushed tone) Denzel just won because he's black."
6. No access to money for a few more days while I wait for new cards to arrive. Only have a dollar.
7. Friends' favorite basketball team lost.
8. Long-standing sore throat.
9. Hottest action since the Clinton era was had onstage.

It's an oddity in my perception - or perhaps it's not unusual - that, on an instinctive level, I think of these things (the trees, the gun) not as the acts of lone individuals or small groups, but as the consensus decision of the world, arrived at through due democratic process. For the first few days after I was mugged, I felt as though everyone was looking at me strangely, wondering what I was doing out again, as if I didn't get the message.


Civility has failed. The police have failed. Batman has failed. My shit is being taken by unauthorized motherfuckers with guns. Here, then, are methods by which we can frustrate muggers to a point at which the consequences of their work will outweigh the benefits, and they will stop.

1. Carry a second wallet as a ringer. This wallet can be given to the mugger instead of the primary wallet, which will have money, IDs and such. The second wallet will be empty, save a piece of paper where the money would be, which will say "Sucker." Hence, nothing of value will be lost.

POSSIBLE DRAWBACK: The mugger opens the wallet while victim is nearby and takes offense to the insult, reacting irrationally.

2. Carry a second identity as a ringer. This is somewhat more complex to assemble but solves the problem posed by the first solution. The second identity should have its own identification cards and money, but it should be Canadian money, forcing the mugger to go all the way up to Canada if he wants to use it. Also, the second identity should be that of a very sad man, so the mugger is stuck with the existential emptiness, which will come as an unpleasant surprise, seeing as how he was expecting money.

POSSIBLE DRAWBACK: Frantic, the victim mistakenly switches the wallets. Now the victim is the sad man, and must go all the way up to Canada even if he only wants to buy some gum.

3. Carry a fierce bear as a ringer. The drawbacks and practical difficulties of this strategy are numerous, but its upside is too great to be dismissed.

(news) Forward Eddie Robinson, who has been sidelined with a sore big left toe, got cleared to play. The point became moot when Robinson, who has appeared in just 23 games, succumbed to bad fast-food chicken and food poisoning and didn't dress.

He succumbed? Do not go gently into that good night, forward Eddie Robinson. Rage, rage against the bad fast-food chicken.


I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:

"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away


And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my 180, ye Mighty, and despair!
Shit! I am a powerful bowler."

Then, instead of yammering on about sand and decay, the observer would say, shit, that king was a good bowler. I've only ever bowled a 150. Boy, you can extrapolate a lot about the grandeur of his kingdom from the words on this pedestal.

March 21, 2002 So: I got mugged last night. Gunpoint and everything. Right there in THE LAND OF THE DOUBLE BONE HARD NIGGAZ. Man. I thought I was down with those guys. I was walking home from the train a little after midnight, thinking about a book I've been reading about a family who are shocked by a death of someone close to them, and how awkward grief can be, and I was trying to remember how I'd acted during the two situations in my life when someone close to me died. If I hadn't been trying to improvise the eulogy I never delivered for a friend who died years ago, I probably would have had better composure when the guy in the ski mask leaped out of the alley and jabbed the barrel of a gun into my stomach. But, you know, maybe not. I don't even remember what he said. I just remember thinking that he seemed to be more interested in killing me than anything else. I said, "Shit!" Then I gave him my wallet, hoping he would prefer that to shooting me. He told me to run. I did, although it was more of a lope, because I was too distracted to run. I heard him go back into the alley, laughing. I was about halfway down the block when everything finally registered, and then I nearly lost it. I spun around so fast I almost fell down and I said, "I'll tell you a joke", and I started looking for a weapon. But there was nothing, and I could no longer hear him laughing, and people walked by, and suddely my anger was without anchor, everything looking quiet and normal again, so I hit the wall, and I trembled, and then I went home to make all the necessary calls.

I only had five dollars in my wallet. I'd spent the rest of a twenty dollar bill bowling. But there were all the standard ID cards, which are annoying to replace, and a brand new $75 CTA monthly pass. And my grocery store cards. That guy is probably saving big on the fresh values at Jewel with my damn grocery cards. It should be me who is saving big. Me.

I have a slight pain in my stomach from where he hit me with the gun. My right hand hurts a little from the wall, but that's my own fault.

It's things like this that really make you question your belief in Batman.

March 20, 2002 I didn't have to work last night, so I take back everything nasty I said. I got no problem with that guy. I just stayed at my desk when everyone else got up to leave at 4:15, and no one asked why I wasn't going, and I went home at 5 as usual. As I was leaving, the rabbi said that I should be careful, because it was wet outside. Does he think I am soap?

I ordered a lomo last week. Let me rephrase that in the correct syntax: I ordered a lomo!! ahhahahahaha!! Now I am only waiting for it to arrive. It is due today, or tomorrow. Lomo is the insane genius of cameras. Sometimes they fall apart, and you grow tired of the lomo's antics, and want to give up on it. (This is what I have heard.) But sometimes you make the lomo to dance. (This is also what I have heard.) Lomo is for stealth. No flash is required. Lomo can take pictures in any light. Its pictures have the incredible. But sometimes it up and falls apart. Lomo is the raving mad Dostoevsky camera. Sometimes you are to the lomo, go! You drink and you gamble and you are so bad! But then the lomo is good. (I have heard this.)

I work at a Jewish place of employment, although I am not myself Jewish, and therefore I have a bunch of time off for Passover. I wanted to go somewhere, but nothing has come together, so I will probably do some prime sitting around instead. Or I'll go take a vacation in the kitchen. I don't know. One thing that is going on during that time is author Irvine Welsh's promised appearance at the Metro here in Chicago. Columbia College told lies before, and I hate them for it, but this is claimed to be true:

Thursday, March 28 Columbia College Fiction Writing Department Presents... "TROUBLEMAKERS: LITERARY ROCK & ROLL" featuring readings by IRVINE WELSH JOHN MCNALLY JOE MENO followed by a one-hour DJ set by IRVINE WELSH Tickets: FREE! All Ages Doors: 7pm / Show: 7:30pm

So there's that. I'll go, and if they are lying again, I will do much the same as I did before, which is to complain.

My cats have this crazy new thing to contend with. I went ahead with my plan, as stated yesterday, to buy a big tree thing for them to climb on. It's pretty neat. There are three tall, mid-sized logs that stand straight up from a carpeted base, and nestled between the logs are three cradles, which are also carpeted, and presumably comfortable. The highest cradle is about even with my neck. At the base is a hut where the cats can have some privacy. My mother says they are called 'kitty condos', but I am not a big believer in private ownership of land, so I call it a 'kitty collectivized recreational installation'.

These are all very domestic things to write about.

I should explain the tap dancing reference from a few days ago. They mentioned that I can tap dance in the bio used to announce my hiring in the company newslatter, because it's on my resume, and the bio was taken straight from my resume. I can sort of tap dance. I have a pair of tap shoes that fit, and I can make a plausible clickety-clack with them. I learned how to tap dance for a musical I was in during high school. I went to an all-boys school, and nearby was an all-girls school, so theater kids who didn't mind the long walk would swap schools and get better parts that way. The girls' theater department was also streets ahead of ours, both in quality and in fun. (And in...the ladies.) We did "42nd Street" one year, and because I was a personable fellow, and because no one else could dance either (but were, for the most part, better singers), I wound up being the featured male tap dancer in most of the musical numbers. I never stopped being bewildered to find myself in the situation, much like I am with my current situation, and the one before this, and the one before this, but I did my best, and the show was a huge success. At the cast gag awards, I was named "Best Pseudo-Dancer", because although I made every movement more or less perfectly, my feet almost never touched the ground. (The female dancers were loud enough. No one can tell when you screw up tap-dancing if you don't make a sound.) I left it on my resume, at the very bottom, because hiring directors love to notice it during interviews. I'd be fairly fucked if asked to tap at a company event, though. Like a soap-man in "Singin' in the Rain".

March 19, 2002 Here is the bio that was used to announce the news of my hiring in the quarterly RabbiTech newsletter:

M. Heiden, Assistant Judaic Scholar in the Centennial Campaign, is a many of many artistic interests. He has acted in A&E productions, plays bass guitar, studied silent film, learned "improv" with the Second City ensemble, and can tap dance! He also chaired a radio station's programming committee. While with (Burblemeister Consulting), he was on the team to re-brand the firm as (Beelzetron).

Oh, fucking blame me for that, why don't you.

I have important news about geography. Long-time readers will remember that, a couple months ago, I noticed that one of the light poles a half-block from my apartment had been designated as one of the boundary points of THE LAND OF THE DOUBLE BONE HARD NIGGAZ. Of course, without a corresponding boundary, the information was more confusing than anything else - which end of the LAND was did it denote? The far east, or the far west? Well, there is a newspaper box about four feet from that light pole, and I am happy to note that someone designated that newspaper box THE LAND OF THE DOUBLE HARD NIGGAZ. Now we have a better idea of where the BONE HARD territory is: either in the four feet between the light pole and the newspaper box, which would be rather small, seeing as how they say they'e double and all, or all the area going in the other direction from the light pole, setting those four feet up as disputed territory, a no man's land, a veritable West Bank for the DOUBLE HARD and the DOUBLE BONE HARD.

Man, whenever I walk by that corner, it's just guys hanging out on the stoop of a laundromat yelling to people in windows upstairs. You wouldn't know from looking at them.

I converted the spare room in my apartment into a study. All of my bookshelves are in there. I try to make a point of going in there from time to time and considering issues. It's nice. The cat litter used to be in there, so they wander in, get confused and leave. For me, however, it is a place for clarity of thought.

Here is a place for your thoughts. I made a poll for you:



Either way, I respect your privacy.

I hit my head on the bottom corner of my kitchen cabinet on Thursday. It hurt. There was a fairly large gash above my eyebrow, so I put a bandage over it. I was still wearing the bandage when I went to work the next day. I resolved to have a different explanation for every single person who asked about it, and I was pretty excited about the challenge. But no one asked.

There is a RabbiTech fundraising event tonight and I am afraid that I will have to work there. The rabbi and I are the only people in this office who do not work on fundraising. He gives the fundraising people ideas from time to time, and I write those ideas out for him, but for the most part, he has his own agenda, and I follow along. Since I sit among the fundraising people, though, I seem to be classified - when it's convenient - as one of them, and there was a mass email a couple weeks ago saying that all of the fundraising people have to work the event. So, I don't know. We'll see what happens. I will get nasty if I have to go. The event is a stand-up comedy show ($100 seats) by Martin Short. I don't much like Martin Short. He is Robin Williams minus "Dead Poets Society", "The Fisher King", "Good Will Hunting", the legendary early coke-fueled stand-up and improv with Jonathan Winters; when you take that away, all that's left is crafted and crusty "impressions", spitting and spluttering as a punchline and gay hairdressers. All technique, no heart. Probably a nice guy who has no idea he's inconveniencing me. I am capable of getting nasty.

After work today, I was planning to buy a big tree thing for my cats to climb on. Although they never seem to mind, I've always felt bad that they can't go outside, so I thought they might like a big thing to climb. Seems reasonable. I'd like a big thing to climb. I already know there's nothing on the ceiling, though.

I keep forgetting to update my reading list. It's been several weeks now. I will try to catch up now.

What A Carve Up!
Jonathan Coe

Ah! A great book. Thom Yorke referenced it in an interview during the OK Computer era, and it had been floating somewhere in the middle of my list ever since. The reference is slightly misleading, though. It doesn't read like the sort of book that the "character" of OK Computer would have written. The similarity is in what they both react against, the pigs, the sense of outrage that reaches a point where it can't be articulated and then spirals off into something compelling and strange (Radiohead) or hilarious (Coe). (And, with equal power, sad.) The book is about a fantastically evil family, brilliant creations all, and the downtrodden author who pursues them. It's one of those quintessentially British novels where people do horrible things to each other and the reader is trusted to understand that even though what has just happened is very funny, it is also horrible, and you should take appropriate measures with both reactions, which won't interfere with each other. (Americans don't seem to get that level of trust very often from their art.) Gobs of self-assured talent are evident and the story is endlessly inventive. Highly recommended.

Russell Banks

Terrifically long (750+ pgs) book "by" Owen Brown, son of John Brown, rabid abolitionist who led a bloody armed insurrection against slavery before the Civil War. This is one of those books that was more interesting when I wasn't reading it. The relationships - of Owen to his father, and to some of the figures surrounding his father - had all of the complexity and chaotic architecture of ones you'd recognize from real life, but I didn't have any immediate reaction to them until later, when I thought about what I'd read earlier that day or week - which isn't a bad thing, of course, but makes a massive book like this tough going. Most interesting to me (and expertly handled here) were all of the differences in abolitionist theology in pre-Civil War America and the practical, how-to details on showing up somewhere and setting up a home and livelihood. The exciting bits - the insurrection - don't arrive until 600 pages in, and many details that would have been interesting are left out for commitment to the character's limited perspective. I think, for my purposes, I would have been better off with a straight history (rather than historical fiction like this).

Antony and Cleopatra
William Shakespeare

Shakespeare dashes off another brilliant one. I have a degree in literature, which means that I've read a fuck-ton of Shakespeare in academic settings, and he still manages to surprise me. Antony and Cleopatra, two of the greatest lovers of all time, right? So, the easy move is to show them in love, at the height of their passion, etc, and you can show off how well you write romantic poetry. Shakespeare, though, introduces them when they're just past ecstasy, and they're starting to realize that they are bound to each other, and they're clawing and clinging at the same time. The academic interest is in the question of Antony's responsibility to take up his position in Rome or linger with Cleopatra, but the real interest, for me, is the morning after for the two lovers, and as the Antony contends with the younger Octavian, the feeling of age dawning, of trying to get it back. So, another great one for the Big Dog.

The Human Stain
Philip Roth

I have avoided mentioning Philip Roth and Woody Allen around the rabbi because I don't want to hear him do a routine on the whole New York Jewish Intellectuals Who Don't Practice The Religion scene. I'd give the rabbi enough credit to possibly like some Woody Allen films, although it's also quite possible that he doesn't. Either way, avoidance seems the best tactic. This is a good book. Like his previous book, I Married A Communist, this one is fueled by a profound outrage that is very mature yet no less electricifying. That one was about how politics need to leave art the fuck alone because there's so much more to art than politics, and this one is about how academic theorists need to leave humans the fuck alone because there's so much more to humans than academic labels. The phrase he uses is "the ecstasy of sanctimony", and I think anyone who's ever been victim of it will recognize it right away, so you can gauge your interest based on that.

City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America
Donald Miller

Pretty damn good history of Chicago from the first arrival of Europeans in the region to the end of the World's Fair in 1893, taking the city from nothing to insane mudhole to its peak. The author puts a great deal of effort into his descriptions - the surreally disgusting slums, the ludicrous difficulty of making the land in Chicago practical for building and living - and the effort fits together quite nicely with his style of constructing history through well-chosen anecdotes about the common people involved. (Or, proletarian in a useful way. There's a tendency in some populist histories to reject the Great Man Theory of history, wherein history is understood as being moved exclusively by the actions of a few famous people, so thoroughly that it becomes willfully blind to the inescapably major impact of said few famous people.) The focus of the book is on the nuts and bolts of the simple fact of how Chicago was built at each stage of its development, and he gets that across very well. He also does a pretty good job of identifying the major figures (businessmen like George Pullman, architects like Louis Sullivan) and giving them full portraits without stopping the narrative momentum cold. There are a handful of slow patches, but that's to be expected in a history this size, and they're not many. Highly recommended if you're interested in the topic. The only weakness would be the uninspired selection of photographs.

Something Like an Autobiography
Akira Kurosawa

Wonderful! I like Akira Kurosawa's films quite a bit, but this book is worth reading even if you've never seen one. Unlike the standard artist autobiography, Kurosawa ends right before the point in his life where he becomes famous worldwide for Rashomon. Instead, the book is divided between two lovingly and brilliantly re-created halves: his childhood growing up in Meiji Japan, as the country made the transition (in a very short amount of time) from the feudal samurai era to the modern one, and then the story of the fledgling Japanese film industry, trying to stay afloat and find purpose, identity, etc. There are several incredibly funny bits, and even some eyes-water-over poignant ones, all written without apparent ego or calculation. He had an incredible memory for details and brief anecdotes that give a sense of the entire situation. Highly recommended.

Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto

Having written one of my theses in this field - deconstructionist film criticism - I feel qualified to say that it is not necessarily bad to state that the intention of your book is "to problematize dominant interpretive frameworks", as long as the phrase "for me to poop on" follows in quick succession. Sadly, no one told Yoshimoto. His joyless book is now being pooped on.

March 14, 2002 I had a lot of work to do. I hate to let days pass unreflected, but there they went. All that I have to show for it are some essays that I wrote on kabbalah that even I don't understand. This job. Anyway, I told you, I'm not a writer any more. I run a research institute that develops theoretical applications for monkeys in non-zoo environments. I think it will work out better than writing ever did.

During the down time, I completed the first thirty entries in an exciting new series called HAUNTED BY DEAD PRESIDENTS, in which each of the dead presidents came into my bedroom at night and haunted me. Then I deleted most of them because I was in a bad mood. They all started like this:


It is late at night, and our HERO is asleep. His cats sleep nearby. Suddenly, they scatter in fear. A spectral figure enters the room, moaning in a profoundly unsettling tone. It is a GHOST!

HERO: Who's there?
GHOST: Uurrrhhhhhhh...
HERO: Who is that?
GHOST: Muuhhhhhh...
HERO: Oh, shit, it's a ghost!
HERO: (thinks to self) Shit! I'd better repent! (pauses) Say, that's a familiar...

And then it kind of went on from there. I saved some of the audio interludes that went between episodes:

Interlude #1: My baby why you treat me so mean.
Interlude #2: I have secrets but you have something better.
Interlude #3: State of the nation.

So, there's that.

You're probably wondering how my lips are, since they were pretty chapped when I wrote the last entry. Well, I am happy to inform you that my lips are better now.

March 5, 2002 Another birthday present received from a generous benefactor, after several months of my yapping about it, and it has already had a profound effect on my perspective. The present sat on my desk for a couple days after I received it, and then I came in from the snow late on Saturday night, saw it, felt the adequate heat from the radiators, and decided, shit, I need to establish a scholarly context in which that present can be considered. I need a study in my apartment. I had been planning to move when my lease was up in May, out of boredom mostly, but my current apartment has a spare room that I never use, and I have decided to stay in my current apartment and begin to base my operations out of the study, which I will set up in the spare room, and when my new lease expires in 2003, I should have some real answers about the shattering questions posed by the birthday present.

There has been a lot of work to do lately. I have been trying to convey to the rabbi in clear and constructive ways that my attitude becomes bad when I have to do more than a certain amount of work, which can be measured as 'some' or 'any', depending on conditions at equilibrium. But these men of religion do not seem to understand my science.

Falling asleep with my contacts in always fucks up my dreams. Last night, I dreamed that I was walking through a grove with strange, fantastic architecture, like melted conical Louis Sullivan buildings. They were inhabited by a small group of dwarves, who interrupted their picnic to have their savage dog try to steal my nose. Upon escaping, I was roped into performing an improv show for a bunch of pirates in Alaska who got angry if you called them pirates. Later, I dreamed that I read a nasty review of one of my old plays ("Monks in Trouble") by a post-modernist fireman who wrote in the style of the Chicago Reader's film critic, Jonathan Rosenbaum, a shithead of some renown. The fireman was angry that there weren't any firemen in the play and thought that I was implying something about firemen by leaving them out. I went to his office to talk with him about it, and he made fun of me. I was happy to wake up when I finally did.

This is the one-year anniversary of my having had a nasty case of chapped lips, having spent two full days doing nothing but wandering around London by myself in the cold, and, oddly enough, my lips are fiercely chapped again from having walked to the hockey game, though not silently this time, as we were yelling for the hell of it. Free tickets were given in fairly random fashion at a party. Crazy. Aw, let's make out anyway.

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.