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.

Friends and Affiliates:

I Hate This Part of Texas
Ron Rodent
What Jail is Like

Sources of Information:

Douglas Coupland
Ghost Towns
Lawn Wranglers
the Onion
Prairie Ghosts
Red Meat
This Modern World

b-side wins again 2000

001020 Half-asleep on the subway this morning, my eyes drifted toward the near-ubiquitous ads for "The Cambridge Technology Group". The ad campaign talks smack about other consulting companies and positions Cambridge as the one and only consulting company that is not wack among a sea of wack consulting companies. I wondered which of the vague yet energetic insults were directed at Burblemeister Consulting, where I work, and if, despite my best attempts to disassociate myself from this corporate monolith, the ads were all talking smack about me. I drifted back to sleep.

At nine am, I completed a perfect 40: a full week's worth of billable hours without a legitimate work-related task performed. I was pretty chuffed about that, especially since I get to pick up a paycheck right after work: instant reward for my efforts toward invisibility. Most of Burblemeister's top-level executives are away in some distant location at a major meeting, and most of the ones that are left seem to be self-conscious about the fact that they didn't get to go (and all that implies). Even my straight-laced co-workers don't have much to do, though they won't admit it. They'd get a lot more accomplished if they'd stop repeatedly realizing that it's Friday and going from cubicle to cubicle to tell everyone about their epiphany. I have more succinct exchanges with my calendar, and more rewarding ones too, because it's aware that Monday is almost here as well.

My friend Paul (aka Ron Rodent) was interviewed in BusinessWeek Magazine. Paul likes to dress up in a giant bunny suit. He's a good guy. Wondering why BusinessWeek felt compelled to publish an article defining "heavy metal music" for its readers is almost as much fun as the article itself. (You can read an interview that I did with Paul three years ago here and decide whether you like me better than BusinessWeek.)

I was reading IMDB's Studio Briefing today and found this curious bit in their review of "The Yards":

"The other stars of the film, Faye Dunaway, Joaquin Phoenix and James Caan, also receive much praise. Writes Michael Wilmington in the Chicago Tribune: 'Phoenix is becoming a master at the kind of weakling, big-talk, jazzed-up villain roles that once were the specialty of Eric Roberts.'"

Wait, he was compared to Eric Roberts and that counts as praise? I'd cry if someone did that to me.

This week's Onion had an interview with Emo Philips, which made me believe in howling at the moon again. He has a new, ludicrously overdesigned website that also made me very happy. He's got a brand new haircut. It's very different but pretty neat. I read that long interview and wondered if he was speaking in his stage voice, in which case it was probably two or three hours long.

A co-worker just came by to engage me in a conversation about the wretched deception practiced by the tinted windows of this office. We explored the phenomenon from a number of angles. While considering one of her points, about how windows are nice because you can see outside, I glanced over at her computer and noticed that her screensaver features a buff young man standing by a motorcycle. That inspired me to agree that windows were, in fact, nice.

001019 My hands smell like glue. Why?

Bunch of new photo epics today, if you're into that sort of thing.

Midway through yesterday afternoon, someone came by my desk and asked if I had any binder tabs. I did, so I reached into my cabinet and gave them to her. I think that was more of a favor than anything else (I could have said 'no' without consequences), but it's up to you. If I can hold out until about 9am tomorrow morning, I'll have completed a perfect 40 billable hours of total inactivity, which would be something to write home about.

Yes, the more my consulting job can be made to resemble bowling, the better.

Ron left a message on my voicemail this morning. I don't know if it was the same Ron that I was writing about earlier this week. Could have been, I suppose. Haven't seen that guy around. Anyway, Ron had something important to tell me but then he was suddenly eaten alive by a monster. God, I love my voicemail.

I swallowed some ice and that halted today's update. So it goes.

001018 My harried co-workers are all working through lunch today. They asked me if I'd like to go in with them on an order from Panda Express ("when you want your panda right fucking now"), which was very nice of them. I politely declined and went back to reading the Onion, nearing my 27th consecutive billable hour of total inactivity.

It's 3pm and my blood sugar is in Detroit. I had to take desperate measures this morning to stay awake, and the Swiss Miss bought me some time - time which has, unfortunately, run out. I spent it all in a manic fury right before lunch. Now I'm staring blankly at the tape dispenser and typing at speeds close to 3 words per minute. I thought about working Chuck Yeager into the bit about the typing speed, but I was so exhausted from the thought of spelling out 'Yeager' that I decided to dissolve parliament and start over with landowners more loyal to the king.

I got home late last night and tried to watch the movie I'd rented earlier that day. I was too tired to finish it. Now I have to decide between returning it and paying for it again some time (I do want to see the rest) or hanging on to it another night and suffering the late fees ($2, which is more than I generally have on me at any given point). Ghost Dog says that all important decisions should be made in the space of seven breaths. I don't know how Chuck Yeager feels on the topic.

I read this news story today and thought it was pretty interesting: scientists have managed to revive a bacteria that is 250 million years old. I was thinking about that bacteria and being pretty impressed with the little guy until I thought of the totally crap jokes that Jay Leno will make on his show tonight if his writing staff hears about it. Probably something about the bacteria's first words being about who won "Survivor", or maybe a joke about the bacteria having gone to school with Bob Dole, though that one might be too dated even for Leno. Anyway, I fucking hate that guy, that's what I'm trying to say.

The mail guy and I just had a conversation about how it was very lazy of one of my co-workers to put a catalog in her mailbox to be delivered to someone on the other side of this floor. I was glad we could get together on that one. I bet Chuck Yeager would agree with us, too, if he was here. Why not? I swiped an extra chair last week because I thought the area needed more red. He could sit there.

I walked over to Union Station to eat lunch today. There's no cafeteria in this particular Burblemeister building, so one can either sneak into the restaurant downstairs or eat outside if it's not too cold. I was feeling strangely paranoid about the pigeons, so I decided to head elsewhere. I love Union Station. It's one of very few places in the world where I feel completely comfortable (a complete list: el trains, Union Station, an alley by my mother's old apartment, the old Coed Theater in Champaign, the Channing-Murray Foundation in Urbana, my deceased grandmother's townhouse; only four of those six places still exist). I sat down across from some Amish people. All four of them (a mother, a father, a kid, a baby) were wearing bonnets. I smiled at the baby, and my smile did nothing to affect his ongoing state of confusion about the loud, garish world around him. I looked down to read, and looked up again when I saw the flash of a camera. I didn't think the Amish were down with flash photography. It was only a pair of tourists, though. The Amish were already on their way to the boarding area.

Losing momentum on my drive toward sustained consciousness, I started thinking about Oujia boards. I've only used a Oujia board once. It was during high school in my old friend Claire's basement. She had a Parker Bros board. Figuring that if anyone had a line to the underworld, it was the guys who got rich from "Monopoly", we tried it out. We asked the spirit to identify itself. 'G', came the cryptic answer. There were no more letters forthcoming. We asked it if there was anything we should know, which was a pretty stupid question. The spirit replied, though: 'G'. Our friend Jerry's ex-girlfriend's name was Ji. We took the spirit's answer to mean that Jerry and Ji would be getting back together. Jerry had mixed feelings about that. We asked the spirit if Steve's Honda CRX would be repaired soon. The spirit shot back with a decisive 'G'. Perhaps Steve would be giving Jerry and Ji a ride in the CRX some day soon. We thanked the spirit and put the board away. I don't think Jerry and Ji got back together. In fact, I can't even remember for sure if Ji was Steve's ex-girlfriend or Jerry's. But Steve got married a couple months ago and I think that qualifies as information that G should have let us know about, even if it was five years away.

001017 Big doings at Burblemeister: they've narrowed the multi-billion dollar new-name search down to five and apparently there's a really heated meeting going on about it down the hall. I would get vigorously sued if I mentioned any of the names, but I can reveal that four of the five sound like words formed by a steel-chewing two-year old on crystal meth and the fifth is what you'd call the aforementioned two-year old being sent to night-night and detox at the same time.

It's election day at the Lincoln Park Trixie Society! Since Burblemeister Consulting is the world's #1 employer of Trixies, I should post flyers around the office to make sure everyone knows.

There were two quality obscene messages on my voice mail this morning. I saved them in the archives. Boy, do I have a good collection in there. (312) 693-0455.

In the news: apparently, there are too many wild buffalo in Brazil, and these buffalo have been trampling ecosystems that had not previously been earmarked for trampling, so the Brazilian government is going to execute a bunch of them. Well, nice job telling them about it. I mean, now they all know it's coming. Any buffalo worth its salt is going to be on the road to Chile by morning.

Why don't they ever apply that reasoning to businessmen?

Also: the US and Russian goverments have signed a brand-new treaty regarding the protection of polar bears. I think that's just great. I think downtown Chicago should be made a safer place for polar bears. I hope they get right on that.

My job effectively amounts to sitting around and read about animals all day. It's kind of unfair, though, because everyone else in the office is freaking out. In my immediate area, the second most-experienced woman left for a job at a law firm last week and the most-experienced woman gave notice today; there's an older temp, there's me, and there's a bunch of new people who are losing their heads because Harold G Fluffenstuff's executive assistant didn't get back to them about Friday's conference call. In times like these, as one of the senior members of the marketing and communications support team, I take a decisive trip to other floors to see if I can find any cool office supplies.

Still working on new photos.

001016 There was a man named Ron walking around the office today. I have no idea why he was here. His skin was brittle but he had a strong grip, and ten minutes later I could still feel the handshake.

According to the IMDB's Recommendations database, if you like Thomas Edison's 1909 short film Electrocution of an Elephant, wherein an elephant is electrocuted, you will also like Nic Cage and Meg Ryan in 1999's City of Angels. Just thought you might like to know.

There were four messages on my voicemail this morning, which had me feeling chipper. The office was deserted when I strolled in. I don't know where everyone was. I certainly wasn't early (or even on time). I sat down to listen to the messages. I was really startled by the third one, because I was expecting it to be obscene like the others and it was just some guy leaving a business-related message for me. That was scary.

Word on the street says that the Lincoln Park Zoo has three webcams: lion-cam, swan-cam, and gorilla-cam. I have no problem with gorilla-cam. The primate house is a key part of any zoo, and they have to put their stars on display. (I'd pick smaller monkeys, personally, but they do have some pretty ace gorillas at the Lincoln Park Zoo.) Lion-cam is questionable. I mean, they sit around and look menacing all day. That's what they're paid for. Unless you toss raw bloody meat in there and send them into a feeding frenzy, which is a very bad idea and will not play well in the Midwest, there's really nothing that lions do that demands a streaming broadcast. As for swan-cam, well, the less said the better. I want a penguin-cam. I see no reason why there should not be a penguin-cam. Give me a fucking penguin-cam or I'm going to the fucking Shedd Aquarium for my at-work animal entertainment. They have beluga-cam, which is pretty sweet. Doesn't flow on my browser at work, though.

I'm working on additions to the photos page. If I don't have any work to do this afternoon, I'll do some more.

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