Fear of a blank page. 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:

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

Reading Material:

Douglas Coupland
Hey Mercedes
Lawn Wranglers
the Onion
Prairie Ghosts
Red Meat
Robot Wisdom
This Modern World

b-side wins again 2000

001103 Never, I caution you, never, perhaps above all things, above all of the creeping sicknesses that enter a man's soul, never, in all the moments of your life, never use the word "creative" as a noun. This morning, the marketing director had several new "pieces of creative". Papa Cthulu's got a brand new bag.

The executives have asked one of the secretaries to order a big lunch for them, and one of them is holding up the process because he's a vegan. That's good for my purposes, since I am a vegetarian and I like to pretend I'm an executive as I take a generous helping from their spread, but discussion is now leaning toward "marinated tofu ka-bobs". Try saying that out loud. Marinated tofu ka-bobs. More than a little shady, I think.

I tend to avoid Ain't It Cool News because reading it makes me feel as though I've suddenly eaten an entire can of butter in one gulp, but I have to admit that this article, about the music and film tastes of this election's presidential candidates (Nader unfortunately excluded), is hilarious. Gore comes off looking pretty good and Buchanan's answers nearly ruined the perfect silent facade of the office guerilla. (The talkback section, as always, is completely worthless.)

A much better movie site, Corona, has this page for an upcoming Neil Gaiman project that looks rather interesting.

Mutual admiration society time: I think Eric is a great guy, and his website looks much nicer than it used to, and he made a wise decision in praising me in today's update, because I am very charming, so cheers for Eric!

Are mobile phones the new cigarettes? Does that make Palm Pilots the new crack? Pagers the new sniffing glue?

There were chipper junior socialists outside the train station this week. They all seemed like nice people, groomed into a careful state of scruffiness, and they were waving newspapers around for people to purchase. I stopped to look and noticed that the newspaper headlines endorsed Nader. I was curious about that, because there is a registered Socialist Party candidate and I'd heard an interesting story about him: supposedly, some website allowed you to enter in your views on a number of issues and it would spit out which candidate agreed with you most. There was a bit of an uproar, because the vast majority of the users (more than 53%, I think) found themselves matched up with the Socialist candidate (David McReynolds). It wasn't because there was a programming error on the website but rather because if they were unaware of the dreaded socialism tag, people actually did agree with the guy down the line on issues like labor health care. Curious, then, I asked the chipper socialists if their candidate had done something wrong or if they were getting on the Nader bandwagon because he had popular support. They were only vaguely familiar with McReynolds and said that they represented a different socialist group; the others were the ISS, and that group believed in reform through participation in electoral politics, and this group believed in support of the issues Nader stands for rather than interaction with electoral politics in its current form (regarding it as hopeless, I guess). Yet another of the amusing ironies of invoking "the Red Menace" is that if you look at the groups that would ideologically compose said menace, you will find that they are all splintered in dozens of different directions and would no sooner work with each other than they would the capitalist enemy. That's been true throughout history. I don't mean to imply that I think socialism is stupid - if you had to peg me as something, that's probably where I'd be - but they're all over the map. The first schism within international socialism probably happened with the third guy who Marx and Engels showed the Communist Manifesto to.

Anyway, these socialists were down with Nader. My simple question inspired a torrential downpour of dogma; it's a shame that most activists turn into conduits of information, unable to process phrases such as "Yes, I know and agree". Have you heard about the School of the Americas? Yes, I have. Well, here's what it is and it's wrong and there's a photo spread all about it in this month's issue and you should read it because you need to know these things.

Notice that I didn't provide any links to socialism sites on the web. I wouldn't put it past Burblemeister's Onion-blocking "SmartFilter" to record that, too.

I would have completed another perfect 40 and set another billable hours without activity record today, but this week has been my turn to collect and deliver incoming faxes. It's very challenging for the office guerilla, because it involves walking around and sometimes introducing oneself to strangers in order to deliver their fax. There are routes, though, which can be chosen carefully to minimize the damage; the office guerilla must have a map of the floor in his head that will allow him to avoid sighting by dangerous, busy executives who might be inspired to recruit his help (or simply bear him in mind as an option) if they see him. It helps to know which ones are out this week and are therefore not a threat. As always, know your enemy better than he knows you. Stick to the fringes; avoid hallways that run near doors and washrooms. This is essential. The correct arched posture during the act of delivery - leaning forward rather than entering - does wonders for minimizing interaction, as does carrying around a meaningless file folder.

I don't write much about my opinions on music, film or politics on this webpage because I doubt anyone cares, but for any optimists who think that George W Bush's just-surfaced 1976 DUI arrest is going to make any difference in this election, I hope you're right but I seriously doubt it; anyone who supports that guy is already ignoring several overwhelming realities, and this is just another to smash on their forehead like so many beer cans gone by.

Politically, I stand with the alien overlords Kodos and Kang from the Simpsons, who said: "The politics of failure have failed. We need to make them work again. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball, but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!"

001102, night-time I decided to stay late at work. I'm a bit light-headed right now and would probably melt into a gooey syrup if I tried to ride the hyper-crowded 5-6pm trains; also, it builds solidarity with my busy co-workers. They see me and know that I'm a class apart from the temps who left right at 5. I am spending the extra time drinking water and walking around, practicing smiling to people.

It remains to be seen if I have the courage to actually request overtime pay for doing this. I must be careful not to draw attention. The only entity at the company who should be fully conscious of the office guerilla's existence is the payroll department, who are located on another floor and never see him. There should be a number of persons in the office who have knowledge of at least one component of the office guerilla's identity, but none who have two; for example, executives should know my name but remain shaky on my appearance. To this end, dress should be carefully selected to blend in with environment. White always creates contrast, so it should be avoided. Light blue and olive are good colors. Do not select colors that match the office's color scheme directly; rather, choose colors that fall between the two dominants and thus create a relaxing progression. (Grey walls to light blue shirt to olive pants to dark blue decor for me.) Everyone will know that the office guerilla is there, but in that he draws the least attention of the various available visual stimuli, he will not register as an entity with which the executive should interact but rather as a feature of the environment. This is important should a performance review ever come about and the question arise if the office guerilla was actually there. The lack of interaction falls to the executives' fault. Co-workers and other temps in the immediate area will be able to see the office guerilla perfectly, but they must be kept foggy on his name (coats can be used to cover nameplates) and especially his duties aside from the occasional flash of total competence with computers or some such thing. (I, for example, am known to be very good with web search engines.) This discourages gossip about the office guerilla; the office guerilla is seen as a function rather than a person. Do not underestimate the damaging power of gossip. Any attention to the office guerilla is bad attention. It helps every once in a while to stand up and walk off in some direction in a determined fashion. This gives the impression that you have important duties elsewhere that are unknown. Come back with a sheaf of papers. Doesn't matter what they say, but it impresses the shit out of your co-workers. Gives the impression that you are interacting with another set of people. The imagination naturally makes these unseen people powerful, and increases the unquestionable aura of the office guerilla. Who wants to admit that they do not understand the power structure in their environment?

Telnet windows are really good for looking busy. If they ask what you're doing, tell them "HTML. Web programming." People know what the web is, but unlike "an Excel project", the majority of catty minor co-workers are not entirely clear on how it is made, and are therefore impressed without ability to question further; also, as any two-bit detective movie will tell you, the truth is the easiest lie to establish.

001102 Welcome, readers, to the healing light of my genius.

I tend to sleep for about half of each train ride to and from work. Last night, for the very first time in my entire life, I overslept and missed my stop. Is that an omen that I am going to die soon? If so, I tell you this story so that you may bring the train to justice. If they say I did it to myself, they're fucking lying.

Four cars on my block have been booted in the last couple weeks, making an already bad parking situation worse. I like my neighborohood (Rogers Park) a lot, but if you perform a demographic study there, you will find that broke-ass suckas are one of the major population groups and any decent anthropologist will tell you that the modern broke-ass sucka is perfectly willing to abandon his broke-ass car and call Stu for a ride if he can't afford to pay the tickets. Therefore, the spacial distribution is all messed up with nowhere to go, and the parking bureau takes it out on all of us.

Mike Saul sent me this website which allows you to vote for your favorite monkeys. There are some very good monkeys on their site, so I highly recommend it. The votes were all messed up, though. There were some great monkeys that were only getting '5' or '6'. Like the first monkey, with the blanket! He's great! What a nice monkey! And the monkey giving a thumbs up in hockey gear? Punk rock! He should be getting way more than a '6'! What the hell are you people thinking?

I'm aware of the unfortunate reality that reading about other peoples' dreams, however striking they may have been to the person who dreamed them, is inevitably quite boring; however, I need to note here that I am extremely disturbed by the fact that the one and only topic of my dreams all night last night was having a clean-shaven face and a shaggy neck. Does anyone have a spare subconscious lying around? Mine is not working so good.

Per Jambeck sends along word of MC Hawking's Crib. I can't listen to the MP3s at work, but the rest of the website is testimony enough that the renowned computational biologist and spindly guy has done some important, overlooked work in the music industry. I should note, also, that according to NME, the first track on the new Wu-Tang Clan album is called "Shaolin Finger Jab". I am going to put all of the rest of the knowledge in the world on hold until I learn the Shaolin Finger Jab. I anticipate being able to kick a lot of ass with it.

001101 Suddenly, it's November. There's nothing really going on in my life right now. That's part of the five-year plan, but still, time is passing.

Wired Magazine sent Burblemeister a present today: big chocolate letters spelling out Burblemeister's recently announced new name. Everyone marveled at it. When they turned their backs, I ate the 'e'. Yum!

It is apparently a "tradition" here in the marketing dept that everyone brings candy and goes trick or treating around the office on Halloween. I was relieved when friends shared my feeling that said practice was bat-shit crazy. I've noticed that there's generally not much agreement between my friends and my co-workers, though. I was afraid that having not brought candy would bring unwanted attention to me and therefore damage my guerilla campaign, but fortunately no one else in my immediate area brought candy either (most pleading ignorance, that they didn't receive the email). I wasn't sure if I should go trick or treating myself. Pro: Candy tastes good, and is free. Con: It is hypocritical to make fun of the practice and still profit from it. Rebuttal: I am morally justified in everything that I do. The 'pro' side won, but I had to wait until right before the end of the day to minimize detection. Some cubicles, where the placement of the candy required human contact, had to be avoided. (Same five types of candy in all of them.) I charted a careful path through the floor with the caution of a landmine detector, and I got away with it. I am, it must be said, really good at what I do.

I keep meaning to put together a slideshow using photos from "Apocalypse Now" to describe how I spend my day.

I wasn't home to receive any potential trick-or-treaters last night because I have class on Tuesday nights. Driving was crazy. A lot of parents in my neighborohood seem to have grown disinterested in their children and attempted to surrender full custody to my front bumper. The parents would send the kid out into the middle of the street and follow several steps behind, only checking for traffic when they went out. There was a wonderful moment several miles later, though. I saw two women standing on a street corner dressed in outfits that suggested they did not yet know where they would be spending the night but were paid well for the uncertainty. Suddenly, a small child appeared behind them in a goofy ghost mask and ran around the corner. He was like an exclamation point on that moment in time.

It occurs to me now that I have failed to acquire any candy-corn this Halloween. Damn it, damn it, son of a bitch. Thanksgiving's off, everyone.

I gave the matter serious consideration and decided that I should go see the Twilight Singers again, because I am doing little else with my life. But their tour ends tonight, so unless I can get out to LA by 9pm, I am thwarted. Interesting news bit from their page: the upcoming Afghan Whigs album is referred to as "The Unbreakable Afghan Whigs". Wild. If someone asked me for advice on whether they should try to break Greg Dulli or not, I'd probably say no, they shouldn't.

I found a high school bioethics class lesson based on my best friend who died when I was in eighth grade. No way to describe how that felt.

001031 I can't fucking believe this. The company "SmartFilter" is blocking access to the Onion because "it belongs to category Sex". Is there a pornographic cover story in this week's issue or am I going to have to get all kung-fu crazy passive-aggressive on management?

An email from 'null' (which I feared was Burblemeister's crack tech crew but turned out to be my friend Mike Saul) has since informed me that there is a Playboy banner ad in this week's Onion. This only confirms my previously-held suspicion that Hugh Hefner is a flesh-eating zombie and my brain is next on his list.

Eric redesigned his site and it's aesthetically pleasing! Hurrah! I'm happy to see it. None of the other weblogs or journals pay attention to us, so we just link to each other and it all works out.

Morning train: a man whose voice had all of the bass, depth and conviction of a classic Baptist preacher sneezed. I looked up, sleepy-eyed, ready to testify. A great big fat man sat next to me. I was on the inside of the bench, so I was squished. Fortunately, he was very clean. Resigned to my fate, I allowed him to become a pillow.

Two lunatic bits of news at IMDB's Studio Briefing: first, Mike Myers to appear as Inspector Closeau in a Pink Panther remake? I like him as much as the next guy and have a lot of respect for his improv background, but the man isn't a candle on Peter Sellers. He'll get killed. Also, Eddie Izzard as Charlie Chaplin? Again, I dig his stand-up a lot, but that makes no sense at all (especially as long as Robert Downey Jr is still alive). Look, if they're running out of things to make movies about, they should just follow me around for a while. I'm very interesting, and charming too.

I'm endlessly fascinated by the Most Popular Emails section of Yahoo. It's a list of the stories and photos from Reuters/AP that the most people have "sent to a friend" via email. (Which is kind of a dorky thing to do, isn't it?) Neurotic and constantly bored web browser that I am, I check it every ten minutes or so. Currently, the "Flying Pig" story is approaching national phenomenon status.

Today should not be Halloween. If Thanksgiving falls on the "fourth Thursday of November", then why can't Halloween be "the last Saturday of October"? It's such a good holiday for parties, and it all feels very anticlimactic today. I saw two people in costume while I walked from the subway to the office. I have no idea what they were dressed as, but they were clearly in some sort of costume. I don't think they look like that normally. I don't know. I thought about bringing my Pikachu mask along, but that would interfere with my quest for total workplace invisibility. (They can't give you work to do if they can't see you.) I do like that whole bit about All Hallow's Eve, and all of a sudden you're in November, but surely we can work something out. I mean, look what they did to Christmas.

Moving forward with the notion that Saturday was Halloween, then, I had a very nice Halloween. I ate some Smarties, which may be gross but are the definitive Halloween candy as far as I'm concerned. I'm lucky to have friends who take costuming seriously. It's always exciting to see what they come up with, and they rarely disappoint. Mike Saul was a Fargonian. (What's a Fargonian, you ask? I have photos from our trip to the Fargodome that I'll put online pretty soon.) Pete and Mike Renaud went the conceptual route, going as "I'm unjustly accused" and "I'm tired" respectively. It worked. (Mike has the distinction of having created the best costume in the history of Halloween, last year's Jack Skellington.) My favorite costumes of the night were Tim and Colleen, who went as a butcher and a t-bone steak. It's rare that the sight of a slab of meat being followed around by a butcher makes you feel all warm and happy inside, but that sort of thing can mean a lot.

001030 The angle of the man's juice can was such that the mouth pointed directly at me; I couldn't look away. "Serve cold", it implored. I nodded, sleepy and laser-focused. He raised the can to drink, and I was startled by the interruption. Where was I? The train. The morning. The juice can returned. "Shake well", it begged. "Shake well."

I can't decide if I should put up a better scan of my picture or if the blurriness is all profound and shit. My decision-making capabilities are less than remarkable at the moment. Fuck, but that guy's cologne is out of control. I feel like there is a small angry man beating the crap out of my nostrils from the inside. Oh dear god, he's the new mail guy. I'm going to have to smell him three times a day?!? I'm fucked!

The perky woman across from me, trying to be friendly, keeps imitating that "whazzup" Budweiser commercial and looking over to see if I laugh. I detest commercials, beer and that ad campaign in particular, so the smile was among the toughest I've had to force in recent memory.

I think I may be on Ms Perky's shit list because she's dangled the "this popcorn is so gooey" conversation starter in front of me literally fifteen times over the last ten minutes and I haven't gone for it. She just loudly announced to the other temp in my cubicle:

"You dress really nice...for a temp!"

Yeah. I adjusted my leopard-hide loincloth and shrugged.

I'm really happy about the Hey Mercedes weblog. He actually updates it every day, and several times a day at that. That's like thirty less seconds per hour that I have to spend jabbing at my wristpad with a letter opener to keep myself stimulated at work.

I feel like an asshole today. As far as I can tell, I am not an asshole, but I feel like one. They finally restocked the hot chocolate in the break room. I keep wanting to go get some and trigger the biochemical reaction that will make me feel all warm and content, but I haven't yet. Probably in a few minutes.

The chance to play rock paper scissors online may wind up crippling the academic careers of several of my friends, so I am probably doing them a disservice by including a link to it, but I kept thinking of all the lonely live-action roleplayers and their frustratingly pasty and altogether non-vampiric days that might be brightened just a little by honing their vital rock paper scissors skill for the big upcoming clash against the clan Tremere, so I included it anyway. If it only saves one dark, intense and mysterious imaginary vampire, it's worth it. (I should note that I found the link at a website called bipolar.)

There's a really good interview with Rachel Dratch on "the business" of comedy in Salon. I haven't seen any of her appearances on SNL, but I've been a devoted fan since she changed my life as part of Second City's "Pinata Full of Bees". I was trying to find a link to describe "Pinata", but I found another interview instead. It's good reading if you have just finished college, want to do comedy for the rest of your life and are watching the doctors and lawyers whiz past, making you wonder if you're a fool kid and something has passed you by. If you, erm, know anyone like that. Right. Perhaps some hot chocolate now.

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