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

001013 I suspect that I have inherited a hereditary disposition toward wooziness, because I am woozy today. Have you ever had one of those days where you take in tons and tons of information and can feel it all sitting in queue, waiting to be processed at some later date? It's not quite a headache but it's very disorienting. And I'm never especially oriented in the first place.

There were two obscene messages on my voicemail at work this morning. I was pretty chuffed about that because I had sent out a mass email the night before requesting that people leave some. (I frequently do it to myself, but that's not the same.) I listened to the grunting and howling and thought, shit, sometimes I forget how enjoyable my life is. (312) 693-0455 between 5pm and 8am, yo.

I worked overtime for the first time in my life this week. Wednesday started out innocently (you can tell I wrote that day's entry below before I suspected that anything was up), but I wound up working through lunch and staying over an hour late. Much of that time was spent in close communion with tiny stickers. Eoghan was on thin ice with me until he stopped everything cold to check the score of that day's football matches in Ireland, at which point I couldn't be mad at him any more. The day turned out well, though, because I came up with the clever strategy of staying five minutes late at work every day to make everyone think I'm really busy. That way, they express their sympathy and kindly avoid giving me more assignments. It works like a charm and I'm free to read up on animals all day.

From today's reading, then, this discovery fucking rules. It's about time we got a new phylum. I was getting really sick of the boring old ones. How do the new animals taste? Has the national vegetarian council passed down a ruling on whether or not it's cool to eat them? Will McDonalds use barbecue or horseradish sauce with the inevitable McLimnognathia-maerski Burger? All I know is, Micrognathozoa ain't your father's phylum!

I also read an article about the Lincoln Park Zoo putting up webcams, though they don't seem to be online yet. I hope it's true. I could watch the penguins all day.

001012 Long, long conversation about shoes taking place next to me.

Some day I'll have an entire article to recommend. Until then, I offer the following: read the last paragraph of this one in the Emperor's voice from "Return of the Jedi". Read the first sentence of this and contemplate Harry Knowles' profound, eloquent insight into the human condition. Howl at the moon.

This link is for Martians who are lost. This article is about the battle for social justice on Pluto.

Cthulu's co-workers caught him looking at Dungeons and Dragons stuff at work!

001011 I said 'hi' to everybody this morning. That was hard. I was twenty minutes late and I don't think I looked any more greeting-worthy than I usually do, but the walk down the hall was one 'good morning' after another. I wasn't looking for any trouble. All I wanted to do was put my lunch in the refrigerator. The problem with all of these greetings is that they must be returned, and even on a good day roughly 40% of my smiles (genuine or not) come out looking pretty fake. I can't help it. It's something about me. I lose friends over it. The early morning, which takes place around four hours before I become interested in other human beings, does not often qualify as a 'good day', so the numbers suffer even further. So it goes. I am paid well for this shit.

There's this guy named Owen at work now. He sounds a lot like Bono from U2, and not in the sense that he has an Irish accent (he does) but in the sense that it sounds like he has smoked the exact same number of cigarettes as Bono and yelled the exact same number of poverty-related political slogans to the exact same number of stadium crowds. Owen has a pretty ace last name, but I won't write it here in case he's the kind of oddball who compulsively does web searches for himself. (Those people are so weird. Um. Yeah.) I can't tell why Owen is here at this office. I think he has something to do with Burblemeister's rebranding project. It's very thorough of them to pick up a Resident Irish Guy to give his perspective on everything. I just saw someone ask Owen's permission to switch from black to white binders, though, so maybe he's in charge of the entire thing. Anyway, he's okay by me.

I think I'm about to be turned loose with the corporate charge card again. These people are nuts.


Two cool things about Owen: he gave me his Diners' Club card to purchase office supplies, and his name is actually spelled 'Eoghan'. When I signed his name on the receipt, I tried to look as much like a magical dragon as possible.

The guys at the office supply store are very nice. They're a fairly small operation. I suspect that they think I'm their hook-up to getting Burblemeister's multimillion dollar corporate account. In that I am a dickhead, I do nothing to dispel that notion.

001010 My cubicle is under siege. The walls are set up like a backward 'C', with room for two workstations and the entire world to see what you're doing. I used to share the cubicle with a binding machine. I liked the binding machine. It had a good attitude. Now another temp is being installed there. I can tell she is of a different species: she was given three large books about corporate marketing strategy to read (and is reading them), and I am still not sure what my job title is (and will probably not bother to find out any time soon).

Normally I don't touch my webpage until mid-morning at earliest because I have to have two hours to myself for reading the web before I tackle any writing (or, god forbid, work). I'm feeling awkward around the new arrival (and the endless introductions), though, so I minimized the cartoons I was reading in fear that someone might see them and give me work to do.

Aint-It-Cool-News, which frequently makes me feel dirty when I read it, claims to resolve my confusion of last week and says that Gene Hackman's role in the new Wes Anderson movie is the one that Bill Murray would have played. It's a shame that Murray is out, but in my experience Gene Hackman is a reasonably competent individual, so that should be okay.

Hey, doesn't this photograph look a lot like the cover of the new Radiohead album? Nature should be ashamed for such blatant plagiarism. Hasn't Thom Yorke suffered enough? Damn it.

This is getting rather link-heavy, but I wanted to mention that I thought the bit about dinosaurs in this review was really funny. That's enough, though. No more links for today. Focus returns to my endlessly fascinating life.

Too much noise! All around me! Ack.

Access to the Burblemeister Consulting offices is restricted to personnel with security badges. They clip on to your belt, and you can stretch them out on a retractable wire to reach the sensors right next to the doors. (Looks like you do need those stinking badges! Hurr, hurr.) I tend to feel a little weird about walking around with a picture of myself dangling from my waist, so I usually hide mine unless I need it. When I took the picture, I couldn't figure out where the camera was. I looked confused. My confused look lets me in to work every day.

Yesterday I had a lot of mundane assignments to complete: tasks such as alternating 'print' and 'next' a few hundred times, wrapping sticky labels around small strips of paper, etc. It looks like the latter project was cancelled right after it left my stage, and everyone's been kind of hush-hush about it around me - presumably for fear that I'll be really mad that all my work was in vain. That's nice of them, but I really wasn't operating under any illusion that my sticker prowess was in service of any higher goal. My sticker prowess is available to the highest bidder. That's just how that bird sings.

I got to use the corporate charge card yesterday. I walked over to the office supplies store, waved an American Express card around, and watched the employees scatter to do my bidding. It's ridiculous how deferential some people get when you mention Burblemeister's real name. It's also kind of ridiculous that I spent $140 on a cancelled project. I wish they had cookies at office supply stores. I'd have bought some cookies for myself with the corporate charge card and then I wouldn't be alienated by modern consumer culture anymore. I'd have bought some cookies for you, too, and we could have enjoyed them together in the sunshine.

The card looks strangely indestructible. It's got an odd gloss to it.

This is the part where I talk about music: on the train to work this morning, I tried to sleep. I was a sleepyhead. For the entire ride, I just kept hearing the same ten seconds of "How To Disappear Completely" on a loop: "I'm not here...this isn't happening." I'm expecting that to pop up in the next update of DSM-IV as an example of unhealthy behaviour.

I went to the Dismemberment Plan show on Friday and I smiled a lot. I showed up late and therefore missed most of Big Lazy, who Chris Tokarski and Mike Saul assured me were very good. I did see Les Savy Fav, and in detail at that, being right up front for the singer's offstage excursions. They were okay. The Dismemberment Plan, on the other hand, were fucking great. I can't think of the last time when I was in such a perfect mood for band. The Plan did all the right things for me. I bobbed up and down happily. The lead singer looked directly at me a few times, so I mouthed the words to a bunch of the songs and acted them out with my face because I thought he might find it neat that some scrawny kid from Illinois knows the words he wrote. (Also, I'm a pretty phenomenal actor from the neck up.) The newer material loses absolutely nothing onstage. They are quite a decent rock and roll combo.

It would have been a flawless experience had it not been for the standard three Concert Assholes right in front of us. Aren't the Concert Assholes a weird phenomenon? There's always so few of them, just an incredibly tiny portion of the overall audience, but there's always someone playing the part. At this show, there were three. There was a beefy fratboy-type in a Zildjian cymbals hat. Chris reserved most of his ire for Zildjian. I wasn't too close to Zildjian, but I could see Chris's point. Whacks into other people, staggers like a drunk, no sense of rhythm. Thumbs down to Zildjian. Then there was this ugly guy in a leather jacket, also very beefy. He had the kind of haircut - a ratty, flat splattered mohawk - that seals an insanity plea in court, no questions asked. He was the ringleader, I think. He kept whacking into the guy next to me, who would then helplessly whack into me and feel bad about it. Mohawk had this stupid grin on his face the entire time like he was the only person in the entire audience experiencing this show in the proper way and would cheer whenever he recognized a song, vowing to whack around with renewed vigor. We had to begin praying for the obscure songs. I think Mike Saul took a lot of shit from him, though I'm not sure. Saul always winds up in the worst positions at concerts. Then, my least favorite of all, was this tall girl who staggered through from the back at various times during the show. Unwashed for weeks in a calculated (but no less gross) sort of way, she looked like one of the less popular items from the Versace '97 Emo Collection that had spent a rough couple of years in a small town Salvation Army before finally returning to light for this show. She shoved people as she passed, leaving behind a swathe of disgusted people who would not feel clean for days. "Punk rock lives!" she screamed as she made her way back through the crowd after ruining another song. Look, there's nothing punk about pissing off people who have the good taste to be at the same show you are. Besides, the act of whacking into people stopped constituting 'punk' right around when they repealed that ban on using multiple lobes of the brain. (And since when are the Dismemberment Plan punk? They're absolutely wonderful, but punk?) I definitely don't object to dancing at shows. I was dancing. Many people were. But I was riding this transcendent wave during "You Are Invited" and I was knocked off of it when Mohawk whacked into me at the peak. That is something that should not happen. I need to learn that Bruce Lee punch that can knock someone out from an inch away.

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