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.

Leave obscene voicemail!
(312) 693-0455, 5pm-8am!

Friends and Affiliates:

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

Reading Material:

Douglas Coupland
Exploding Dog
Hey Mercedes
Lawn Wranglers
the Onion
Red Meat
Robot Wisdom
This Modern World

b-side wins again 2000

001117 I'm not sure that today is actually happening. I can see it all around me, but that's all the evidence it has going for it. No one has shown any awareness of my existence today. There was a project involving time reports sitting on my desk when I arrived, so I put my college degree in alphabetizing to work and got that done in a jiffy. When I dropped them off, I didn't seem to register in the consciousness of the executive who'd requested them. It's been an entire day like that, people looking through me. I hope my friends would tell me if I was dead. I know it's a sensitive topic and all, but I need to know that sort of thing.

As usual, the mail guy broke me out of my reverie. Man, what the hell had I been ordering? Shit was heavy. I had been ordering posters. The second of the two arrived today. Ah. Shit was heavy. Yes, they were posters. Ah. Well, thanks for carrying them. That was the last one, so you don't need to worry about any more. Posters, eh? Yeah. (1) So, thanks. Having already done me the favor of delivering my mail, the mail guy did not give me the weekly tip about thrift stores being a great place to buy clothes. Man's only got so much love to spread around.

I don't think I realize that, for the first time in my life, there is no holiday vacation right around the corner. I suspect I am set for a fall. (2)

Lost in the recriminations over the Florida election are some of the major issues of society today. Ignore them your own peril, citizens.

It was snowing this morning, and it was beautiful. Last night, too. It was close to midnight when I parked my car in a spot several blocks away from my apartment (read: close to my apartment) and began to walk along the train tracks. Further down the road, there were several police cars and a crowd of people. I wasn't too curious. (3) A man staggered toward me, heading away from whatever was going on, weaving back and forth. He reached out his fist and touched me on the chest as he passed. "Boom." I laughed. It felt wonderful.

John Sayles:
Q: What question do reporters and interviewers ask you that, when you come right down to it, is just really none of their goddamned business?
A: Do I now or have I ever advocated the violent overthrow of the United States government?

I ate lunch today, which isn't something I normally do. I might have a sandwich if I remembered to make one the night before; otherwise, I just hope the executives order something and raid whatever they get. (5) Today, during my lunch hour-and-twenty-three-minutes-or-so, I was out on the town depositing my paycheck. As I walked past Panda Express, I looked at my watch and realized that I had just enough time for a panda as long as they were quick about it. After a few minutes, my order was ready. I tend to forget how much I dislike that restaurant until after a moment or two after my food has been paid for. I sat down, sharpened my chopsticks and began to slog through the irate-tasting broccoli. I started reading a big fat book about the Boxer Rebellion. I heard a man pointedly clear his throat and I looked up. A businessman sat two tables over from me, shaking his (caucasian) head. I was perplexed. He cleared his throat again, indicated the book, motioned around the restaurant and gave me another pointed look. I was so happy I almost cried.

I was watching the penguin cam for a while (6), and I saw two penguins kissing.

(1) Like it says on the label: POSTER.
(2) Meaning I might get depressed some more. Woop-de-shit.
(3) "Walking down Greenleaf late at night / Red and blue lights are a common sight!" (4)
(4) One must keep in touch with one's inner Flavor Flav.
(5) Question that, if ever asked, could get me fired: "Just what is it that you do here?"
(6) Okay, for an hour.

001116 LIVE STREAMING PENGUIN CAM!!! Not only are there penguins, and water, and rocks, and people who come in to feed the penguins, but you can control the camera through your web browser! Zoom in on the cool penguins! Zoom out on the loser penguins! Respect the privacy of the sensitive penguins! Holy shit, the world wide web rules!

That is the limit of the excitement currently existing within me. The rest of today's update will be very solemn.

I did not go to work yesterday. I woke up, turned on the shower and fell asleep under the hot water trickle for forty-five minutes. This, I thought, was no good. I called the temp agency and told their voicemail all about it, assuring them in what I imagined to be a charming babble that I had an "impressive" fever. (1) Then I went back to sleep. I dreamed intermittently of losing my job, and after I awoke I hid under the covers for a while. Seemed like a sensible thing to do.

Cruel plagiarism: everyone knows that this is the only sensible title for my autobiography, and these fuckers stole it for their headline. It's especially inconvenient because my second choice is taken too.

The new ex-Canadian in the office has orange skin. Is that normal?

Per Jambeck, who should probably be given co-billing on credits for this page, sends along word of a nifty flash movie: Lobster Magnet. I find it to be good and full of lessons for everyday life. After I watched it, I made photocopies of nothing in particular for a while. I photocopied stacks of paper back and forth from normal to three-hole, studying the image degradation as I went. It was an uneventful day.

It was snowing when I went outside for lunch. I made my way over to Union Station as I always do and sat down to read. A homeless man on the other side of the bench asked me for some change. I apologized, because I did not have any. He thanked me, and we sat in pleasant silence. Then the homeless man asked me if I was from the Navy. I said no, I was just an office boy. He seemed satisfied with that answer. When I turned around again, he was gone.

On Sunday night I was looking for parking after the long drive back from Champaign, and I was trying to decide if a certain spot was legal. I was a couple feet from a fire hydrant, and I couldn't see where the yellow "do not park here" paint began in the dim yellow streetlight. I was tired and out of candy so I ruled in favor of myself. I reached into the car to get my backpack, and a man called out to me from behind a fence.
- You alright? he asked.
- You mean as a person or as the operator of a motor vehicle?
- Naw, man, you alright?
- Yeah, I'm fine.
- God bless.
I closed the car door and walked into the light, and when I looked around, he had disappeared. I stopped and thought about it for a few seconds. Then I went home. When I returned for my car two days later, there was no parking ticket in sight. Good thing, too. I hear those are expensive.

(1) I was lying; to my mind, a fever is only impressive if you turn different colors or into a giant beetle, and I did neither of those.

001115 I called in sick to work today. Important lesson: it's much easier to get out if you never go.

It's like college all over again, weeks without ever seeing the sun.

001114 I need to leave. Nothing good is going to result from my existence today. Someone call in for me, please. Say my grandmother died. I don't care. Just dial the operator and ask for the principal. They'll connect you with someone. Get all Moses-like on them. Tell them to let your people go. With pay, preferably, but any deal that can get me out of here is fine.

I'm staring in my styrofoam cup of water trying to find God in there. I feel confident in thinking that I am the only person in this office trying that. It's the only place I can think to look.

Entire dumpsters full of dead binders.

Here are links for you:

It may be on the verge of (unfortunate) irrelevance, but here is a good article about the shadiness in the
Florida elections. It summarizes the shadiness and refutes the refutations, which is not an action that gives off as bad a smell as the phrasing may suggest. It's very useful it you want to end an argument with your idiot co-workers or classmates quickly and efficiently. That is, if you ever talk to any of them. I certainly don't.

New frontiers in creative bankruptcy: Nike Ad Inspires Stage Musical. This, not remakes, is the real evidence of creeping sickness in the arts. Remakes have been going on since day two of human consciousness. This hasn't. (1)

Experts say monkeys make ferocious, unmanageable pets. Funny, that's what most people say about me as a human being. I wonder if the monkeys are getting slapped with bad hype too.

"Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

College students are living in squalor. I have no idea who considered this surprising enough to rate as newsworthy; certainly not anyone who graduated from the University of Illinois.

The Make-up broke up, which is a damn shame. Their album Save Yourself was a key part of my soundtrack to last fall and I never got the chance to see them live. I did play them on the radio when I had the chance. I included the link to the Pitchfork news page for anyone who wants to read the next story and experience a profound sense of revulsion at the fact that Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst will decide whether Weezer are allowed to record a new album or not.

(1) You can link it to things like "Everyman", essentially an ad for God, or those Elizabethan pro-royalty plays, but should Nike really be placed on a par with religion or kings? Besides, the first two were produced during eras when you couldn't produce much else; currently, you can write anything you like but you can only get funding for this sort of crap. See the cat? See the cradle?

001113 More domain name frustration: www.donner-party.com is taken by some educational site, and www.triangle-shirtwaist-fire.com is too damn long. www.xyz-affair.com is available but lacks a certain panache. I'm not even going to ask about the Haymarket anarchists.

I'm sick of the rest of the world wide web. It never updates.

In one of those turns of events that can only make you suspect a meteor is about to make your species extinct in favor of a significantly lamer one (1) because things just don't go this well on an everyday basis, the perky woman across from me was suddenly and without explanation transferred to another office. Just like that, she's gone. No one mentions her any more. If you bring her up in conversation, you get strange looks. Burblemeister is no hotbed of progressive political thought, but I get the impression that the rest of the office were also kind of irritated by her Bush / Cheney poster. I don't know if that's the reason she was booted, but I wouldn't put it past them. I wouldn't be entirely comfortable with that kind of political censorship but on the other hand Al Capone went down for tax evasion so I'm willing to let the end get all freaky with the means in this one case because I really couldn't take much more of her and that's saying something because I got self-discipline and change, yo. Anyway, they brought in an ex-Canadian to replace her so maybe that will be interesting. (2)

I am struggling to stay awake this morning. It's never easy, but today has been brutal. I chugged my double-shot of hot chocolate early and tapped out the disgusting lifesavers candy that I keep by my computer for these times; someone brought in salt-water taffy and left it on the "food for everyone" file cabinet. I didn't want to eat any because my jaw hurts today (3) but I wound up eating fifteen of them and now I'm not sleepy, just nauseous.

Why don't I ever tell stories that require sound effects?

Mister Rogers to tape final shows. Sad news, that. I learned some important lessons from Mr Rogers. I liked that he didn't just regurgitate the same old stuff about numbers and letters that I was getting everywhere else. He'd go on some pretty high-concept tangets. The article mentions a great one where he reassured kids that they couldn't go down the bathtub drain; one of my earliest memories was an emotional episode where he made some popcorn and explained that he'd like to share but he couldn't because we were on the different sides of the TV screen. It was difficult, but I understood and it was one of the most important lessons I ever learned. I'd always tune out when he started messing around with the puppets, but the main part was gold and I feel lucky to have been able to watch him. Fred Rogers: ace.

Burblemeister ad execs around the corner are stressing over the low awareness numbers for the new company name. I bet it would help a lot if I could use it on this webpage, but that confidentiality agreement was a fierce bastard of a legal document and I'm probably already in violation of it as it is. (4) A few people asked me this weekend if I'm going to come up with a new alias for Burblemeister Consulting to correspond with the name change. I was tempted to use one of the 28 rejected names, but it turns out those are still top-secret intellectual property of the naming company. It's a shame, because they're pretty terrible. (5) I guess I could make a contest out of it, since all the other webpages seem to have fun with that sort of thing. Any suggestions for a new alias?

I just looked over to my left and noticed that I haven't changed my desk calendar since September 30th.

(1) In a surprise finish, ferrets wind up inheriting the earth. Who knew?
(2) "God damn it, who socialized our filing system?!?"
(3) I have no idea why. The party line is that I was fighting a bad guy in mid-air while clinging to a helicopter ladder with my teeth.
(4) Not that I'm afraid. I know what jail is like.
(5) As the value of intellectual property goes, they are roughly equivalent to the cactus salt shakers from a fraternity spring break in Tijuana.

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