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
Exploding Dog
Hey Mercedes
Lawn Wranglers
the Onion
Prairie Ghosts
Red Meat
Robot Wisdom
Seanbaby's NES Page
This Modern World

b-side wins again 2000

001110, night-time Out of curiosity, have any punk bands renamed themselves The Florida Recount yet?

001110 I was very excited when I woke up this morning (or, rather, when consciousness finally dawned about an hour after my alarm went off). I had it! The domain name I'd been waiting for was www.boxer-rebellion.com. Perfect! The Boxer Rebellion is totally in any hipster's top-ten historical events list. (1) Focus groups go wild for it. And let's face it, could there be any better two word summary of my life than the Boxer Rebellion? (2) I felt great on the train ride to work. I felt like a man with an identity. Hi, I'd say. You know the Boxer Rebellion? That's me. Sweet. Well, as it turns out, the domain name is already taken by some fucking underwear company. I could get the non-commercial version, but I'm going to want to sell out sooner or later, so that's no good and I'm back to where I began.

The possibilities for a website that uses the boxer-rebellion.com name for legitimate reasons are staggering. Would it rent manic bulletproof Asians for everyday low rates? Amazon.com is sure lacking in that regard. Damn it. Opportunities slip away.

I didn't bring lunch today, but there were bagels around, so I pretended I was the entire country of Finland when determining my share of the bounty.

There's this vague threat of having to do work this afternoon hanging over my head, but it hasn't coalesced yet and I'm thinking about faking sick to get out of it. In grade school, all you had to do was whine about not feeling well to your teacher. Here, I have to send out an email and talk to the HR director and bring myself to the attention of all these different executives, running the risk of making them aware that I work here. Nobody who's actually sick could do all of it.

Like many major metropolitan areas, Chicago's downtown features a network of streets that are named after the early presidents in American history. I walk down Monroe to get to work; Madison, named after an earlier president, is a little north of Monroe. If you get lost, you can sort of find your way around by knowing history. If I take the purple or brown train lines after work, I walk past Calhoun Place. It's a small, dirty alley obscured by overhead train tracks and sandwiched between bigger streets. John C Calhoun was one of those early Congressmen who wielded a lot of power (like Henry Clay and Daniel Webster) and really wanted to be president. He ran a few times and was often close but he never quite pulled it off. Eventually, he died. That's life for you. It seemed kind of mean that all the cool kids who got to be president had kept kicking on Calhoun after death by giving him this ratty little patch as 'his' street next to their canyons. I don't know. Johnny had his problems, but I felt sorry for him.

On the political tip, I think this is necessary. Figure out where it's going down in your city, spread the word, start your own. Obviously I've been avoiding comment, but shit, what a mess.

More problems with the "SmartFilter" at work: first, the Onion is still blocked this week because it "belongs to category Sex". Real smart assessment, SmartFilter. It's like a dog that expects to be praised for having identified its own feces by mashing its face into them. Then, I tried to check a link I saw at Yahtzeen about a Y2K Police Simulator and SmartFilter blocked it because it "belongs to category Personal Pages". How the hell does SmartFilter identify a "personal page"? (3) If it blocks mine, there will be no way for me to continue working here. What would I do all day? Roll over, SmartFilter. Play dead.

(1) Shame about everyone dying, of course.
(2) Aside from "Hey, shithead", that is.
(3) Excessive whingeing about indie rock and relationships gone bad, I guess. You'll notice that the Financial Times hasn't brought up the new Radiohead album or that startup that broke its heart all that much lately.

001109 The vague, distant tornado sirens have done wonders for the ambiance around here. Wouldn't it be marvelous? I'd be willing to get squashed in exchange, although if they need me to play the miraculous survivor, I'm up for that too.

The mail guy's ongoing obsession with my feet continued today with yet another discussion in hushed tones about the magic of thrift stores. For some reason, he likes to check under my desk as he passes with the mail cart to see if I'm wearing my shoes. Sometimes I slip them off underneath the desk. The air feels nice. Doesn't harm anybody. (1) Unfortunately, the mail guy is very interested in them. Every time, the thrust of the conversation is that if I want to slip off my shoes in safety, I need to buy longer pants, and if I want to buy pants, I should go to second-hand stores because they got some great bargains there. At this point, some element of his wardrobe is trotted out as evidence ("See this sweater?") and I nod, turning my entire body around in a delightfully subtle attempt to end the conversation. I don't know why I think that trick works. It never does. We always whisper. The mail guy explains that he doesn't like to talk about this sort of thing around women (2), but the guarded quiet gives the exchange a mysterious air: I have been let in on the secret of the thrift shops, and no one else must know.

On the train this morning, I just read and read. I was a model of efficiency.

Food eaten today: Cheese Sandwich, one. Apple, one. Tootsie-Roll Pops, two. (Red, one. Brown, one.) Cryst-O-Mint Lifesavers, seven. Cups (12oz) of Hot Chocolate, one. As you can see, I lead a fascinating life. I also feel kinda sick.

This is the worst headline, ever. Just absolutely terrible.

At the Yahoo Most-Emailed Content page, approximately 20,000 people have sent the photograph of the Taiwanese guys pulling a truck with their penises to their friends via email over the last several days. That's 20,000 people who were probably elgible to vote in the last presidential election, which should clear up any lingering confusion about why things happen the way they do in America.

I was surprised to read this article because it expresses how I felt and still feel about all but a small handful of classes that I took during grade school, high school and college. I never thought about it in such clear terms, but I behaved exactly the same way that the author did: reading encyclopaedias as a kid, considering the teacher my adversary and industriously using class time for other purposes; I also committed a lot of compulsive self-sabotage in order to generate a challenge (3) and keep myself interested. I won't write school off as a completely useless experience; there's the whole social dimension of it, for one thing. I met nearly all of my friends through school in one form or another. There was also the means to experiment with producing theater and radio in a low-risk environment. But it was still good to read, because even I've always found my behavior as a student to be pretty inexplicable.

Link sources: I found that article at a nice website called willpate.org, and that one through borrowed blogs, which I like to pretend is only one person talking. It's interesting to see how non-Americans are hanging on the outcome of the elections here. At least we only feel powerless to affect the inevitably idiotic outcomes. They actually are powerless over them.

All these babies suddenly started appearing around here. Crazy. Every day, I grow more and more suspicious of what this "consulting" company actually does.

(1) With the possible exception of any dwarves who may be living underneath my cubicle, but I have enough on my mind that I shouldn't have to worry about a bunch of unhappy dwarves.
(2) About pants? He's afraid of talking about pants around women? What kind of weird childhood did this man have?
(3) I don't know which was the most ludicrous, but there were many. Skipping all of my classes for three weeks straight? Sixty pages of field research in one night? Ditching every single bio class for an entire semester in order to take the tests off the top of my head? The psychotic final semester, when I got sick and had to have surgery in the middle of finals week and two theses + over a hundred pages of other original research papers left to do? College was weird.

001108 My relationship with Burblemeister Consulting hit a new low today when they asked me to pick up some boxes in the library and move them around. At some level, every single job I have ever had has been concerned with picking things up and moving them around. (1) I don't want to have a long career in the business world, but some day, just for kicks, it might be fun to have a job that calls for any of the knowledge that I picked up after age 13. (2)

There's a lumpy man walking around the office watering the plants today. I had always assumed that they were plastic, but apparently the plants are quite real. His sweatshirt says "I'm a professional. Do not try this at home" on the back.

I think the two days in a bright white shirt may have done serious damage to the office guerilla, because it's 11:14AM and I've already done close to a half hour's worth of work today.

Another note from the downed Russian submarine was found yesterday. This one doesn't really rate with the Diary of Anne Frank, either. Come on, guys. This is why it's so important to make everyone take literature classes. You never know when you'll find yourself trapped underwater. You need to make the most of a situation like that. Should be very inspirational. (3)

I'm sorry for anyone who gets blown up, but you have to admit that this is a neat approach to international terrorism.

Did you know that there were pornographic Atari games? I didn't. Jeepers.

I didn't sleep much last night, so I tried to catch up on the train. I closed my eyes, but I kept picturing shapes made by the sounds around me. And, as always, some fucker was listening to club music on his walkman at 7AM.

Here are the activities of another person named Marc Heiden who leads a rather different life than I do: setting fishing records and making wishes come true. For my part, today I sulked a bit and then I ate some of the executives' food. Can't give you a hypertext reference for it. Besides this one, that is.

At Union Station, someone had the good taste to turn the volume on the Aerosmith video game way down and blast Ms Pac Man, doing wonderful things for the ambiance in the cavernous lobby. Ms Pac Man can not be said to be raising the roof, as the roof in there is quite high, but she ain't hard on the ears neither. I read about old Rodin for a while and then I dozed off; a series of disconnected images floated through my mind until I awoke with a start at the image of a hand touching a hot pot on a hot stove.

(1) Except my job at the Krannert Art Museum, where the decision to pick expensive statues up and move them around was my own.
(2) If you thought something along the lines of "Then you shouldn't have been a liberal arts major!" then congratulations, you are witty.
(3) I'm just saying.

001108, 1:18AM Oh, fuck.

001107 I suspect that this webpage will never be as good as my .plan file. I've been updating this thing every day for over a month now and I have yet to receive any sex, drugs or power over who lives and who dies. Don't believe the hype.

I voted this morning. It took a lot of effort. The polling booth near my apartment was in the gym where I played basketball soccer as a kid. Back in the day, I was a damn fine goalie. One season, the league officials decided that as nine year olds we were supposed to be playing for the love of the sport rather than winning so they refused to keep official score during the games. All of the players (and the coaches) did, though. It was odd going back there, although the place had undergone enough changes (a Bulls logo at center court) to prevent any uncomfortable deja vu. NO DUNKING was still painted underneath the basket, which is a rule that has yet to apply to anyone who has ever played on that court.

There, I discovered that I'd fallen victim to a voting registration scam. I signed up to vote on a form offered by an earnest young man outside the el stop two days before registration ended. His earnest approach masked a dark heart, however, because my form never reached any government office. I remembered that I might still registered at my mother's old apartment, so I headed over there. I registered but didn't vote in the last election because I was down at school and never figured out how to get an absentee ballot. I was given the wrong location at first, which was an old folks' home. I nearly didn't vote, because I didn't want to catch elderliness, but the smell of banana nut bread made me feel safe, so I entered and discovered that I had another several blocks to walk for the right polling place. The third and final building smelled like banana nut bread too, although no evidence of banana nut bread was in sight. I didn't have an ID for my old address, so I had to sign an affidavit swearing that I lived there. I don't, but I think they just wanted to verify that my registration was legitimate. At worst, a jail term for vote fraud may not be such a bad way to spend the next few years. I didn't cast any votes in the green section of he ballot, because I didn't recognize any of the judges and I figured that it would be more responsible to abstain rather than vote for judges with cool names. Robots could take over the judicial system like that.

I came home from work last night and fell asleep right away. I slept until 6AM, at which point I rolled off the couch, expressed my disappointment with the floor's decision to be hard, got dressed and went back to work. I have no memory of the time between the two work days, except having voted; the fact that I voted is the only thing that keeps me from thinking that I might be in one of those low-budget existential dramas where the person is stuck in an alienating place with no control over the world around him...oh, wait a minute.

The perky Bush supporter in the next cubicle has decided that finding the polling place in her area (Mount Prospect) is too hard, so she's not voting. You have to appreciate depth of conviction like that.

Per Jambeck sends along more words: Lexaunculpt has a fantastic flash-heavy band site (way better than that fucking birdbath yesterday), ideal for dizzy heads at work or study breaks at far too late. I can't hear the music on this computer; Per describes them as a "southern California Autechre", those electronic music heroes who cause DJs to get angry phone calls from irate unwashed rave kids for mispronouncing the name, as if the stupid rave kids know either.

Similar to the article about GI Joe, the Daily Rader has analysis of the A-Team and how to stop them.

Seanbaby's NES Page makes me very happy. The world has needed straight sociological analysis of the eight-bit Nintendo era for quite some time, and this is a good first step. Video games really lost something when they hired English-speaking programmers and started making sense.

Keep checking the photos page.

The office guerilla finds himself in danger today. He should have taken his shirts in to be dry-cleaned on Friday, but instead he waited until Sunday, and now he only has two white shirts to wear to work until the regular (carefully chosen for camouflage purposes) ones return. He received a brief assignment yesterday and feels that it is no coincidence. (It was just printing some labels, but still.)

Strategy: limit self to no more than ten words spoken today for any reason. Have already been asked to mail out an envelope via FedEx. Must take more care.

Why is the global director of marketing blasting US3 in his office all of a sudden? And now he's switched to Madonna. To reiterate the central thesis of my webpage and most of my writing, I find this world strange and confusing.


001106 One of my co-workers says that she heard this is going to be the coldest winter in Chicago history. Did you hear that? I didn't hear that. I hope it snows like nuclear bombs and we get to stay home from school for weeks.

I will be voting tomorrow morning before work, so this is your last chance to influence my decision. Right now, whichever candidate is first to come up with a plan to reduce my headache will earn my vote. Also, I am dizzy.

This website annoys the shit out of me. I don't know why. Something about it makes me want to go downstairs, smack a businessman, steal a briefcase and throw it in the river. I think there are statutes against businessman smacking, so I should probably stop looking at that website.

I love articles that analyze Cobra Commander's management style. I wish Burblemeister Consulting would get hired by Cobra. I could assemble binders for Dr Mindbender. Then he'd bend my mind, and I'd say stop it, and he'd keep doing it, and I'd file a grievance, and he'd apologize, and we'd make friends and go find the guy who dressed like a giant bird and came with a deadly owl and we'd steal his lunch money.

On the Burblemeister tip, I have to come up with a new alias for my place of employment by the end of the year, now that the real-life equivalent has announced its big name change. Many people have told me that they think the new name is terrible, and I can only assure you that it was the best by far of the awful, awful list that they chose from.

This article on corporate name changes is wonderful, and although it was written before the rebranding process started here, it captures the atmosphere perfectly. If I knew then what I know now, I'd have gone for a degree in forestry.

The perky woman across the way put up a "Bush/Cheney" poster in her cubicle this morning. Every time I look over there, I feel like someone is urinating in my eye. I am considering risking the office guerilla's invisibility to mount a prolonged campaign of psychological warfare against her. Is taking righteous vengeance worth attracting attention and thereby potentially having to earn my salary? She has been calling various phone numbers all morning, trying to figure out where the polling booths in her suburb are. There must be some way for me to exploit this opening. Gurgling, cooing, high-pitched in a sing-song whine; is there anyone who can not hear this woman? On this floor? In this building? She's like a child who has never developed a sense of object permanence, but only as it relates to herself, not to the rest of the world; she makes noise because she repeatedly forgets that she exists. She is probably forty years old and she makes creepy phone calls where she talks about "finding boys". Has she got hugs from boys? If so, I don't want to hear about them. But I do. I hear about them all of the time. She's got a recent drunk driving conviction. That's probably why she's voting for Bush. She can relate, because it's just so mean to yell at him about it. Lust for life and the occasional innocent bystander across the hood. No, no, says the phone call. She's voting for Bush because she's from Texas, and she expects her friend to do the same. Oh, okay. And to think I thought she was stupid.

My apartment was very cold this morning. I left twenty minutes late, holding one tootsie-roll pop for my baby and one for the road.

I was driving through the city on Sunday and I passed a martial arts training center. It had a banner with its phone number, drawings of angry fighters, and the phrase "MILLENNIUM RESOLUTION". Their recommended strategy for resolving the ongoing issue of the millennium seems to be scowling and kicking the millennium really hard. That sounds about right.

I want speed lines for Christmas.

The train ride was pretty bad this morning. The woman directly in front of me was clipping her fingernails. It was an awful, piercing sound that formed a seamless continuum with the voice of my perky co-worker. I couldn't read; all I could think was what I think every morning, which is that human beings were not meant to live like this. And I'm one of the lucky ones, too.

This is turning into a barrage of negativity, isn't it?

I was having an average weekend.

On Sunday, I bought some poster putty. If you haven't used it before, I recommend giving it a try. It's great! I come from a very traditional background when it comes to putting things on walls and making them stay there, meaning that hammers and tape were the extent of my experience. The thing with poster putty, though, is that it doesn't make holes in the wall or the poster! It's fun to use, too. You just slap a glob on the back of the poster, press it firmly against the wall and watch the magic of modern adhesives go to work. From now on, I'm a poster-putty guy. My friend Pete told me that he met a guy at the store who claimed to have used toothpaste for the same purpose when he was in jail. Interesting, but I don't know if it's for me. I don't want my apartment smelling minty fresh all of the damn time.

The Virginia Theatre, a beautiful old movie palace in Champaign, is showing "Citizen Kane" this weekend. They have the largest screen I've ever seen there. Ah, sweet. They must have known I was coming.

Prepare to be completely disgusted. This is literary criticism gone horribly, horribly wrong. It manages to make people who are obsessed with the authorship question look good. Ugh.

I don't want to end on an unhappy note, so I would like to say that Exploding Dog makes me roll around and smile and kick my feet in the air. There are little or no dogs that explode there, just inexplicably beautiful art. Also, I would like to link to this weblog. I enjoy it very much. I can't understand a damn thing the guy says, but I don't see why that should be held against him. I mean, it may be incomprehensible, but at least it's updated regularly.

Oh! Also: I've been putting up new photos for the last few days and forgetting to mention them here. These are photos of me, my friends and places I've been.

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