How I spent my summer vacation. Those polka dots were talking shit. Cat food again.

self-portrait, with floating heads.

self-portrait, nude, in the box store.

self-portrait, wet, in mouth of whale,
with fish.

This web page is the work of
Marc Heiden, 22 years old, who . He lives in Chicago.

Douglas Coupland
Ghost Towns
I Hate This Part of Texas
Lawn Wranglers
the Onion
Prairie Ghosts
Red Meat
Ron Rodent
This Modern World
What Jail is Like

b-side wins again

001006 You think your life is your own and then you discover that Hollywood's gone and made it into a movie. I can't believe this world sometimes.

As far as I can tell, not a single web page in the entire world has updated today. Was it something I said? Perhaps I smell.

Today has been, aside from the onset of the occasional coma, a red letter day as far as employment goes. I arrived at a comfortable pace (five minutes late, give or take ten) and my badge-on-a-rope worked just fine on the new entry sensor. Somebody brought in coffee cake and left it on the file cabinet, so I ate some. It was pretty good. Then I sat around for a while and drank some water. Deciding that my job performance would be improved by a break, I went to the bathroom. Then I came back to my desk and read some more. There was a rumour floating around that the fifth floor had bagels, so I went down there to have a look. The receptionist asked how I'd liked the new nameplate on my cubicle. I said I liked it very much, thank you. The fifth floor had muffins and bagels, so I took one of each and some cream cheese. Upon coming back to my desk, I realized that water might be nice. So I got some water. The muffin was spongy. When I was done, I chewed on the ice. Then I fell into a coma. Oof.

Anyway, as of this writing, it's been fourteen billable hours since any legitimate work-related activity. I feel pretty good about that. The last assignment that I attempted was to try to find the logo for a major soccer match in Korea that Burblemeister Consulting will be sponsoring sometime around the new year. Unfortunately, it appears that the Koreans have not yet been told about this soccer match so they may be in for an unpleasant surprise if they thought they were going to spend that day at the beach.

I need to find a scanner. You may notice the "supposed to be a picture here" space on the left. Well, there is supposed to be a picture there. I'm thinking it'll be the one of me hugging a friendly ancient Egyptian statue. I have to scan it first, though, and I don't know where to do that. Burblemeister has a very old and basically useless scanner. (Which is odd, given that in every other respect they're a "laptop in every toilet stall" sort of company.) So, in summary, I would like a scanner, please.

It's kind of old news, but this had me feelin' pretty good. I'm confused about the casting, though. I read in Variety that Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Gene Hackman, Danny Glover, and Luke and Owen Wilson were going to be in it. Does that contradict or coexist with the possibility of Bill Murray (and Jason Schwartzman) returning, which had been reported earlier? I just don't know.

I'm not the only one avoiding work today. The woman across from me is entering hour two of a quietly torrid emotional phone call. I wonder if she'd like some of my Sprees.

001005 Email from Mike Saul this morning reminded me of how much I want to toss this office crap and resume my life's work as a security guard at an art museum. We used to work together at the Krannert Art Museum. I have had many jobs during my relatively short life: some very stupid (sorting bottle caps) and some very creepy (extended moving gig at a crumbling, very old asylum/substance treatment center). The museum was my favorite. There's nothing quite like the psychotic relationship you develop with art when you are placed in a cage with it. They attempt to civilize you with the navy-blue blazer and tie, but on a rainy Saturday when you're stuck downstairs all day by yourself with the pre-Colombian collection and the place gets maybe five visitors total, well, the fact is that a man begins to do some strange things. Or he curls up and goes to sleep in the cozy early American art wing.

I wrote this journal about life as an art security guard during one day last November. Things were different by then: there was a computer that you could abandon your duties to play with, and I knew that I was about to quit. It gets the idea across, though, I think.

Anyway, this was all brought to mind because the museum put its single most creatively bankrupt piece back on display, "Bogart". It is a featureless yellow plastic strip, rather like a hardened slip-n-slide, that curls upward in the middle. That's it. It's called "Bogart". Every child who visited the museum would run on it, and we'd have to yell at them to get off even though running on it is a perfectly logical thing to do cos that's the response it evokes. When there were no visitors around, we would throw pennies at it and try to get them to do the loop. One day I found a golf ball outside and brought it in to work with me. Eventually, "Bogart" was taken away. And now it's back. I can't believe that place.

It turns out that Jason Lee's taste in music is nearly identical to mine. Nifty.

I got my name on my cubicle today! Hot dog!

If you've read the entry from 000929, you may recall that I caused a massive controversy last week at work by sending out an office memo that made reference to our "crack tech crew". The righteous anger seems to have settled down, but I feel like I've been treated unfairly because there's this other guy who sends out memos with cheesy clip art and he sent one with a picture of The Terminator that demanded that secretarial-types send in their Project Managers' schedules in for the list that he compiles..."or be Terminated!" and so far as I know, the entire tech crew has not yet complained to the HR director in fear that an evil robot is going to come and terminate them.

001004 Still haven't remembered to tell anyone about the webpage. Rory came across it on his own, which was pretty wily. He doesn't get enough credit for his wiliness, which is itself somewhat wily.

Today has been stupid. I spent a large part of the morning shredding documents, most of which were storyboards for an upcoming Burblemeister ad campaign. The space-age shredders are sleek, compact, portable and crap. They jammed on every fifth page. There are bins here for to-be-shredded materials, but the materials in question were apparently sufficiently critical that the cats in the shredding department couldn't be trusted. Although I found it flattering that the heads of the marketing and communications here at Burblemeister consider me more trustworthy than men who are paid to cut documents into little pieces for a living, I was still annoyed because it took me away from reading about this guy in Texas whose dad died. (I like the pictures, especially the ones where the dead dad as a little boy is on the tricycle.)

A passing executive said hello to me this morning, and without thinking, I chirped "Top of the morning to ye!" in a loud Irish voice. He kept walking. I stopped, bewildered, and tried to figure out why the hell I'd done that.

I'm pretty excited about the Twilight Singers show on the 25th. Hello, Mr Dulli. I might try to get into a fight with him, because it seems like the polite thing to do when he's around.

Oh, and in reference to Eric's current musings:

Goddess Kali
Any other acting parts that you might be doing in the future?

not in the near future, but when i'm old, like real old, i want to play gandalf.

Further evidence that I am in fact a very stupid man: I was trying to read a Chekhov story, My Life, and I kept hearing the entire thing to the tune of the Billy Joel song by the same name. "The Superintendent said to me: "I only keep you...da da dada da...out of regard for your worthy father...da da dada da...but for that you would have been sent flying long ago." (And then Billy fills in, cooing: "I never said I was a victim of circumstance...") I had to stop reading because I was getting nowhere.

001003 I keep forgetting to tell anyone that this webpage exists. I should do that. As far as I can tell, my job is as secure as it ever was. I have yet to do any work this morning, but yesterday's logo hunting was a titanic exertion of the sort that should put me out of commission for the rest of this week. (Point. Click. Save.)

As far as I can tell, it is the socially accepted duty of web journals to provide their readers with strange and interesting links to other web pages. With that in mind, then, I should note that this is the most horrible awful terrible face-of-Cthulu-in-your-undies webpage ever. Oh, god, it's disgusting. I stumbled across it during work yesterday. I want workman's comp. These consulting jobs are fucking dangerous. (Although, to be honest, I can't recall how I wound up there.)

Since every webpage that I've seen so far today mentions Radiohead and their new album, I will note that Radiohead has a new album out today.

Did Japanese media research today. Was looking for a business magazine and found an anime porn site with the same name. Seriously considered putting that into the PowerPoint presentation instead. Sold out, decided against it.

001002 Having compared this webpage on my home Netscape and my work Internet Explorer, I am faced with the depressing reality that it looks better on IE. Netscape doesn't handle the style sheets correctly and it's a little shaky on certain table issues. IE is not right. People of conscience ought to shun the evil browser. I didn't realize what I was doing. Damn it. They've finally made a monkey out of me.

Paranoid this morning because the HR director said she'd sign my timesheet later this afternoon instead of right away, suggesting that some sort of review is pending. Has my overwhelming inessentialness been discovered? If so, it was a good run while it lasted. Gobs of money and free cookies. I'm feeling better about my employment future this afternoon, though, because I completed a challenging assignment involving finding various company logos and saving them to a disk. This had apparently baffled some other employees, so my rapid delivery (motivated primarily by my desire to get back to my personal research project, which is to find out a lot about seacows) was greeted with smiles. I like smiles.

Fuck's sake, I hope no one from my office ever reads this.

I ate lunch outside today and there were ducks in the Chicago River. That struck me as somewhat fucking insane, not in the sense that ducks shouldn't be in rivers but that living things shouldn't be in that particular river or they will cease their life-related activities. Word from co-workers is that the water is no longer classified as Toxic. It has, in fact, improved to Highly Polluted status. However, I don't see how that bit of good news warrants throwing ducks in there. Once again, I don't know. Perhaps they were very bad ducks.

000929 I am a marked man. The human resources director sent me an email about appropriate language use in office memos; one woman phoned, one man emailed, the rest just sat and silently hated me. They all know my name and they're all waiting for the chance. This is my work place, and these are the people I work with.

It wasn't until yesterday that I received an account of my own. I'd been "EA-Chicago-Temp-2" and "Rose XXX" (name deleted) for about a month. There are worse identities to be saddled with. "EA-Chicago-Temp-2" might look quite nice on a birthday cake (baby-blue frosting, perhaps, or purple). And these people like to buy each other birthday cakes. The company pays for it. On a foggy day, you could mistake that for goodwill. Today, for example: there is fear and loathing, and there are some tasty cookies on the file cabinet around the corner.

Anyway, it was an innocent thing. I had my new account. Thought it was keen. Sent out an email to everyone on the tenth floor noting that I could now be reached at this address. And - this is the fatal part - I said in the introduction that "the crack tech crew" had set it up for me. Big mistake. I hit send.

Rhonda calls, less than five minutes after I sent it. She's swift with the office memos. She's angry. What did I mean with that "crack" comment? I didn't know what she was talking about. I had already forgotten that I wrote it. Shit, I write a lot. These things happen. I'm saving my memory for better days. I had forgotten, but Rhonda definitely remembered. What the hell did I mean? I've never met this woman before in my life, but she wants my head on a silver platter because I insulted "her team". I assure her that it wasn't meant as an insult. She doesn't buy it. She says she does, but you can hear the venom. She hangs up. I start to summon some righteous anger. "Crack tech crew" is a compliment. Don't give me this "presence of statement implies opposite meaning" crap, e.g. it's fucking rude to perform deconstructionist readings on other peoples' office memos.

John emails me in the morning. Don't know him from Adam either. I email him back and promise never to use an adjective ever again. Aren't we all supposed to be happy on Friday? Hasn't anyone ever watched a bank robbery movie with a crack dynamite crew? Perhaps they thought I was calling all of them crackheads. The human resources director talks to me, and I offer to send out an apology. None necessary, she says. They'd all rather hate me in silence. So now I'm persona non grata on the other side of the 10th floor. Dirty looks at the water cooler. Hey, the Soviet Union fell. We've all got to have someone to hate.

I work, ostensibly, at a major consulting firm in downtown Chicago. I will refer to them as Burblemeister Consulting, because a) they made me sign a frightening non-disclosure agreement when I was hired and b) I've seen the files of the people who got sued because they violated said agreement. I'm in the marketing and communications department. Aside from the silent hatred, emotional anomie and hellish corporate aura, I like it here. As a consulting firm, Burblemeister produces nothing. I endeavour to produce even less.

Busy weekend: Champaign on Saturday, moving into my new apartment on Sunday. This is my web page. Welcome to it.

I know my rights. Give me back my damn pants.