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

001124 I can't believe there's all this November left to go.

I had a nice Thanksgiving. I ate a lot of food that tasted good and I came home with leftovers that will probably taste a great deal better than the slop I normally prepare for myself. I drove with my younger brother and we talked about our real dads and how it's weird that people make sweet potatoes with marshmallows. Then he asked me to buy beer for him. I thought, hey, I've never purchased alcohol before, maybe it's an adventure with secret agents and lasers and no one's ever told me about it because they don't want to let me in on the fun. We forgot to go through with it, though, so it's still a mystery to me.

Mad rhymes for mad times, that's what's up!

I haven't looked at any other webpages since I was at work, so I don't have any fantastic links for you today. Here is a picture of my cat. His name is Orbital. I had a picture of my other cat, but he was cleaning himself when it was taken and I don't think I should contribute to the number of pictures of cats licking their testicles on the web. (1)

It was around 11:56pm on Thanksgiving when I suddenly realized that I hadn't given thanks for anything yet. I was frantic, because I didn't want to let the day pass without giving thanks for something, but I froze up. I looked around and got in just under the wire with sincere heartfelt thanks for toothpaste, toilet paper, the sink and q-tips.

(1) Although they're an improvement over "e-commerce", to be sure.

It was five years ago today that I finished and uploaded my first webpage for everyone to browse with their copies of Netscape 1.0. Five years. Eat that, bloggers. I wrote it with a basic text editor, like I do this one. I've never known a lot of HTML, but I've always known enough. My RA was furious because I was the last one out of the dorm for Thanksgiving weekend, trying to get it finished.

It's funny how the web today is a lot like it was back then. It reverted. Banner ads didn't exist, they arrived, and now the e-commerce consultants say that banner ads are worthless. The current design chic for the blogger set, deliberately simple so you can see the all-important links, is kind of a retro-filtered version of pages when deliberate simplicity was basically all that you could do. There were fewer proclamations about the nature of the medium and proper behavior of webpages (find the content providers, link, link, link and shut up), but we all knew that stuff was coming. Back then, there was the BLINK tag; now there's Flash. Idiots called it a revolution then, and they still do, but more of them are wearing ties when they do it.

Five years ago, a girl asked me out because my bio page claimed that I knew Sanskrit. She turned out to be a pretty nice girl.

Just now, Eoghan wished me a happy Thanksgiving.

There is still happiness to be found in strange places.

001122 For some damn reason, I thought it would be a good idea to have a piece of pumpkin pie for lunch. Perhaps it was the retro appeal that having been out of season for a few weeks now gave to the pumpkin; perhaps it was that alluring "I just ate a tangerine and crapped on some dough" color scheme; perhaps I am stupid. Whatever the outcome, the piece of pie in my stomach has reassembled itself into its original pumpkin form and begun to cackle. Fuck you, pumpkin.

While I ate, I decided to do some research on
Yvonne Craig, who played Batgirl during the 1960s Batman TV series and was hot. Well, it turns out that she's still plugging along, having avoided pitfalls like Burt Ward's softcore porn career or Adam West's star turn in Zombie Nightmare (1) and you can buy autographed photos of Yvonne here. Like a DVD, except it's a webpage, Yvonne offers thoughtful commentary on why she chose each picture. I can only assume that, at $20 each, they're going like hotcakes.

In the employee kitchen, there is a box of straws. The side of the box promises 500 Jumbo, 400 Super Jumbo, and 300 Giant Wow. I rummaged around in there because I was curious to see what it's like for a straw to inspire a giant wow, but they all appeared to be the same size. I chalked it up to player haters.

Stayed up until 3AM making a two-hour mixtape. Oh, you stupid little man. I am functional on three hours of sleep, but I hallucinate a lot. All of these conference calls going on around the office are making me really paranoid. Yeah, well. I have my reasons. I can't wait to hear what the mixtape sounds like. I made it on my old stereo, my very first CD player, which requires a large boulder sitting on top of it before it'll work. (Seriously. I have one for just that reason.) Large boulders are fairly punk rock (2), so I think the mixtape will turn out well. I put on lots of songs about how nothing makes sense and how I can't really get along with anyone, and I'll sing along at the top of my voice all the way to Thanksgiving in the boondocks.

I will try to update this page a couple of times over the next few days because I really appeciate the crazy flood of hits it's been getting and, according to my desk calendar, I'm not supposed to whip out the avant-garde "audience as captors" metaphor for a few more weeks. (3) I noticed that a lot of the other temps have been inflicted with Palm Pilots. Good thing I'm almost literally invisible right now.

Since I didn't sleep, I didn't shave this morning. I'm the rough-and-tumble marketing consultant.

Disturbing Google search queries that referred people to my page: "strange tab", "strange shit" and "man peeing". The first one came from the Netherlands, which makes it okay. On Monday, I got a message on Burblemeister's internal net from an employee in Amsterdam. I don't speak Dutch, so I had no idea what he was saying. I sent him back a message apologizing for "all the problems" and included a lot of exclamation points. Ah, you know. Stupid Americans.

(1) Adam West is one big pitfall, really. They should teach classes on why that guy is all wrong.
(2) Whereas crystals are prog-rock, stalactites are goth and hardened fecal matter is Limp Bizkit.
(3) Several days after I'm scheduled to kneel before Zod. I need a secretary to keep track of these things.

001121 There was a message in my voicemail this morning instructing me to kneel before Zod. I thought, wow, maybe that's what I'm employed for. So I reached for my desk calendar and pencilled in "kneel before Zod" for later next week. I felt very professional.

Every morning, no matter what time I leave my apartment, and every night, unless I'm heading to Evanston, I have the same train conductor. That's odd, because I rarely arrive at the train station at the same time twice in any given week. It's good, though, because this train conductor rocks my world. I ride during peak hours, and the train is almost always packed to the limits of physical space. Several people are turned away at the middle few stations. I've never seen the conductor, but his announcements sound like the worst racist caricature of a drunk, aging Chinese blues guitarist that you could possibly imagine. Either he doesn't know many words or he hasn't got much on his mind aside from the fact that there is a "twain...wi'behine. Zer is a twain wi'behine." If you believe him, there has never been a time when there was not a twain somewhere wi'behine us, although I've never seen it. He's also very concerned with the problem of people not using all doors. I don't know exactly how that works - if there are cool doors and nerd doors, and passengers keep avoiding the nerd doors - but it's something that goes on, and between reassurances about the imminent next twain, he crusades against it. The man's voice is a marvel. He's barely coherent, his voice speeds up and slows down in a bizarre rhythm, and he constantly sounds as though he's desperately trying to establish authority over a frenzied mob; even hardened corporate fashion plates put down their cell phones and gaze up in awe at the speakers when he gets going. I feel somehow confident that if there is a God, God sounds like him. It would be so right.

I bought a rug this weekend. It really tied my room together.

I went to the bathroom for a while in hope of catching the serial masturbator. I don't know if I explained this properly last time: some male employee here likes to pleasure himself in the bathroom and, as he is not put off by the presence of other people during said act, he does a very poor job of keeping quiet about it. I went in there on Friday to take a nap and that's when I heard him for the first time, two stalls over. I tried to time my exit with his, but he waited me out. I heard him yesterday, too. No luck today. It's only a matter of time, though.

The ex-Canadian is showing drunken party pictures of her former life to her neighbor. Astonishingly enough, based on her descriptions, it sounds as though drunk Canadians behave in much the same way as Americans do. (1) Crazy.

Prescient Onion story from 1996? More importantly, why do I suddenly find Bob Dole humor hilarious? I wish he'd run for president again. Once you get past the "he sure is old" bollocks, Bob Dole was pretty funny - way more than GWB, because Bob Dole wasn't real.

Engrish.com is an archive of that wonderful language, broken english. In my life, whenever normal english disappointed me, broken english was always there to point the way to something better, something super happy fun. The world has always seemed poorly translated to me, so it's reassuring when it actually is; all I want is to fall in love with a girl whose lips don't match what she's saying.

Did you know that Mars is a very strange place? Yeah, well, you would be too if you had to be an entire planet. Having moons is stressful.

On the Rate Your Risk tests, I scored a 36 on the beating and burglary scales to go with a 42 on the murder scale. (2) Those are all considered healthy scores. Good thing they don't ask you if you are a ninja locked in combat with an evil dragon on those tests. That'd send my score through the ceiling. (3) (4)

During lunch, it was so warm outside that the saxophonist returned to the Adams Street bridge. I realized that the high point of my career in the business world so far was the day a couple weeks ago when I walked outside, felt the first few snowflakes and heard him playing the theme from "Sanford and Son".

(1) Except some of them are the Kids in the Hall.
(2) Having been a "local celebrity" in Champaign by virtue of "more than five newspaper appearances in the last three years" jacked up my score on murder, indicating that whoever made this test knows the seedy underbelly of fame in east central Illinois pretty well.
(3) Any insurance agent can tell you that an angry dragon is a huge security risk.
(4) I found the tests at a very nice website called Jejune.

001120 A woman stood up on the train this morning and began testifying to Jesus. As far as I could tell, Jesus was not actually present on the train to hear her, but presumably someone was taking notes so he could catch up later. I was a little disappointed. She waited until the stop before mine to begin, and I wanted to hear how it all came out. There is, though, a certain celestial music that is produced by the sound of frantic Christian evangelism floating in through your ears as your eyes read about the Boxer Rebellion. Listen, my love, the universe is singing to us.

I watched the second half of Superman II this weekend. I was surprised to find that it's really not very good (since I have nothing but good memories of it from back in the day). As usual, though, after watching it, most of my conversations for the rest of the day devolved into attempts to talk various people and animals into kneeling before Zod. Made for a weird trip to the laundromat.

Oh, a pox upon my mother's conventional naming habits: nobody could possibly hate me if this was my name. I'd be the most popular kid in marketing.

Somebody keeps leaving bricks in my head.

Interesting article if you're into the moon / antarctica / alaska scene. I hope Clinton gets jiggy with declaring national monuments in his last days. I mean, assuming the whole president-for-life thing doesn't go down, which it might.

I was walking around aimlessly downtown, looking for traces of why it all went wrong, and I noticed small metal plates in the sidewalk that read "Right of access granted by..." and the name of a company, presumably the one that owned the adjoining building. We're only allowed to walk through the kingdom because the lords said it was okay? Feudalism isn't over, apparently; we've only just begun.

Bearing that in mind, I headed back to work and started hunting for jobs as a troll who stands at bridges and refuses to let people pass unless they answer riddles. I'm qualified for that. The new feudal economy will pay top dollar for employees like me. Although I haven't got a tail, and I'm not green. Fuck, fuck, fuck. But I am a team player with people skills.

I told Ask Jeeves to kneel before Zod, and several clicks later, I wound up at a General Zod homepage. (1) It has an advice column that's sort of funny, but what really makes the page is the hilarious "interview" on the right where the page's author "subtly" tries to link the tyranny of Zod with the tyranny of those darn liberals, their gun control laws and their horrific "enslavement through welfare". Sure, champ. Good one. (2)

I'm not alone in my double-half-cubicle (3) any longer. The first "other temp" left for another job last week. The new temp doesn't seem especially interested in anyone around him, which suits me just fine. With one of those annoying painful handshakes that's supposed to convey to anyone caught in his grip how serious he is about the business world, he told me he's in "new media". I thought, cool, I have new media, new arse by Sam Brown on my computer desktop right now; and when the New Boxer Rebellion gets up and running, anyone who proudly declares that they're in "new media" is going to have a moment with us. (4) Out loud, of course, I fired back with a nod. And then I went to the bathroom, where the serial masturbator was at it again. I tried to wait him out because I'm curious who he is, but that guy's got the wherewithal.

(1) Damn it, Jeeves, that's not what I meant. Now stop being a dick and kneel before Zod already.
(2) I also found this quote from Christopher Reeves: "As it turned out "Superman II" is different from "Superman I", but not in quality. Itís a simpler film, a lighter film but neither better nor worse. And Iím only going to do "Superman III" if thereís a legitimate creative reason and itís not just a profit-making exercise." Glad he stuck to his guns on that one.
(3) It seats two, but offers half the privacy of a normal cubicle, which is to say none.
(4) It occured to me that the above could be taken as a declaration that I am going to murder my co-worker. No, I am not going to murder my co-worker. He may well be a nice person. I just think he has a reprehensible profession, that's all. And no, our profession is not the same. He is a professional "new media" consultant. I professionally exist.

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