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!

Biding my time.
London in February.
Players Workshop (Term 2).
Something or someone.
Charming as ever.

Recent books:
1 Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
Frank Miller
2 Impressionism (Art and Ideas)
James Rubin
3 In His Own Write
John Lennon
4 The Death of Ivan Ilyich
Leo Tolstoy
5 Good Omens
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

updated daily:
Corona Movies
Exploding Dog
Hey Mercedes
Kill Less of Me
Morning News
Robot Wisdom

updated weekly:
the Onion (W)
Red Meat (Tu)
Splendid (M)
This Modern World (M)

occasional updates:
I Hate This Part of Texas
Public Enemy
Static Flux
What Jail is Like

Another Room
Penny Dreadful Players
Ron Rodent
WEFT 90.1 FM

art 'n resources:
Wes Anderson
Tim Burton
Douglas Coupland
Eatonweb Portal

b-side wins again 2000

001215 The new media guy and I have hit upon a great game where we just sit around and rate each others' sneezes all day. It's hard to play the game if you don't have a cold, but in this city, anything can be had for the right price. I have to admit, he's several points up on me.

I haven't felt emotionally ready to get any work done today. I tried picking up the phone to request some invoices from accounts payable that the finance department needs, but I wasn't in the right place as a person, so I hung up. Taking a two-hour power lunch helped, definitely, but I still needed to set this afternoon aside for "me" time. Fortunately, "me" hours are billable (1), so that's good.

Boy, do I have a great present for you. Did you happily bop your head during all the instrumental One Up Downstairs songs? Did you smile, sit cross-legged and stare off into space while you listened to the sweet sounds of Very Secretary? Well, Dave Johnson was in those bands, and he is now ready to present the next chapter in the evolution of rock and roll. Here, in MP3 form, is Zombie Monkeys Versus Zombie Dinos! It rocks, and the rights to make a Saturday morning cartoon from it are still available. Get it, yo. There's enough for everyone.

Here is an article about the hurtling frozen death that has been smoshing the heads of many Chicagoans downtown recently. A small piece of hurtling frozen death hit me on my way back from lunch. I was pretty angry. Were I two inches tall and riding the back of a flying pigeon, I would have been entirely fucked by that hurtling frozen death. Since I am many inches taller than that, the only thing that got smoshed was a vague curiosity about why my office stocks so many different kinds of letter openers.

Skinnyguy has a very good interview with Clint Howard up on their website. Clint is the brother of Ron, and Clint has been in more movies than you (or he) probably realize. Wily entrepreneurs that they are, the authors included a link to purchase some of Clint's work at the end of the interview - and I dare you, just try to read it and then resist buying that reasonably priced copy of Salty, the tender tale of a boy, a playful sea lion, and a one heck of a friendship.

It's not fair that they avoid the moody sea lions in favor of the playful ones. I'm sure the moody sea lions have their reasons.

My feet stink horribly right now, but I am keeping my shoes off because it feels nice and God is on my side. I should make some HELLO MY NAME IS badges to that effect, just so people know what's up. Full disclosure, right.

This is probably the best article that I have read about the presidential election. Intelligent, serious character analysis that happens to support my basic suspicion that nearly everyone else in the world is an alien.

Guess the Dictator / Sitcom Character is wonderful and not just because whoever created it had the good sense to link those two; it really is an impressive piece of work. It figured me out on Groundskeeper Willie and Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi within like eleven moves. I stumped it on Simon Chipmunk and Louis Napoleon III, but the machine grows stronger every day...

Ellipses: I used to think they were good. Sooner or later, though, you've just got to end your sentence and move on. (2) Short, concise non-sentences. Seen the war. Shot an elephant. Yep. Don't have time for long faggoty ellipses when an elephant is charging at you. Yep. Shot that elephant. Bed the nurse, shoot the elephant. Got to keep that straight.

I don't have much to say about me or my own life today. It was a nice day. There was candy, and there were noodles, and there were power, lies, and corruption; I talked to people, restored paper clips to the form they'd have in nature, and did fuck all to justify my salary. There was a crazy caroller who was freestyling on "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" and making people nervous. There were sane carollers in the lobby of this building today who were making people grimace. There may have been power, lies and/or corruption among the carollers. I'm not sure. The headline of the Spanish newspaper said "Victoria Bush!" and, cross-referencing that with memories of their DESTINO 2000 coverage, I decided to get my news from Spanish newspapers from now on. No one else made the link between George W Bush and Queen Victoria or between the 2000 election and Destro, ally of Cobra Commander, and I guess what I'm saying is that PERHAPS THEY SHOULD HAVE.

(1) According to the rules that I use to play "work" on a daily basis. "Work" is not a fun new board game from Milton Bradley but really ought to be.
(2) Unless you semicolon that shit up, in which case you sound all intellectual. I got three college degrees out of that trick.

001214, late finds the robots winning again: I tried to work fake overtime, hanging around the office to eat recently-arrived cake and write email, and would up caught in a web of lies, deceit and printing a lot of documents about the new Burblemeister website. Of the eleven hours that I am billing to said North American consulting firm today, I have worked nearly two; since I am here late on a day when some major project seems to be due, I am scoring big on the "team player" and "I wonder what he does here? He must be an executive too" counts from the handful of busy executives who are still running around at this hour.

There was a sad conference call going on a few minutes ago wherein the global director of marketing began speading the world that Burblemeister is going to let its old commercial announcer go in favor of a younger "voice talent" who spreads a "message of hope". Old people don't sound hopeful, I guess. Focus groups can be cruel sometimes. I only made it worse for myself by picturing Jack Lemmon on the other end of the phone.

It's odd to be here in this place when they talk about these things because you essentially have your every cynical impulse about advertising confirmed by these very pleasant, polite people. It's like one of those hipster anti-marketing books like No Logo made into a daily cartoon by a writer with an overwhelming sense of the obvious. All that talk about divorcing the brand from the product, selling an image more than a specific service, this means hope and that means despair and these are the numbers we have to reach: the books and magazines like Adbusters talk about it like it's a secret strategy, but no, the bastards talk about it right out in the open. Ask them and they will tell you. And the thing is, they're not monsters. That's why so many of the crusaders never manage to really do battle: they shouldn't be looking for monsters, they should be looking for fairly pleasant people who sometimes do monstrous things. The first thing that a human being does to enter adulthood is to develop a rock-solid justification for who they are and what they are doing. That's where they start, and you have to deal with them with that in mind. As far as they are concerned, the monsters of the world are always someone else. So when you come looking for monsters, they step aside; and when you attack them, they feel like God is on their side too, and there goes your advantage. Everyone feels satisfied by launching broadsides and the progressives grow fat, bald and gainfully employed too.

But there are exceptions, of course, and someone once said that the whole battle is to keep from becoming cynical for as long as you can.

I was down on the ninth floor picking up some color copies and I saw a girl with 'FUGAZI' written on her backpack. Here, at Burblemeister. I nearly shat myself. My backpack says 'NINJA' on it and identifies me as 'LATOYA' from Arby's, both of which are true, true, true.

As soon as I finish making a sticker that says 'Master Brand Strategy', I am going to go home. Vive le resistance.

001214 The zany time reports memo went out this morning to most of the company's US personnel. My editor changed the headline slightly, but the vision was otherwise intact. I busted out all of my best polar bear material for it and closed with a zinger about Hawaiian shorts. They tell you to close with a zinger, you know. They tell you that. My zany time reports memo faces the tough task of following what was basically the "Citizen Kane" of time reports memos, last month's "Yo Quiero Un Time Reports". I didn't have the star power of the Taco Bell chiahuahua backing me, so that was one strike against. I don't know who made that one, but wherever he is, he's probably not quaking in his boots over my dumb jokes about polar bears who maul tardy marketing executives.

It snowed again last night. I think everyone in my neighborohood was depressed to have their previous shoveling efforts filled in by another snowfall, so nobody really bothered this time around. It's okay. Where's there to go? I stayed away from the lake this time and wandered around looking for somewhere to buy ice cream during the snowstorm. I wound up buying blank cassette tapes. Someone was yelling at me for some reason as I walked home. I don't know why. She looked crazy. Maybe I walked through her invisible snowman that she carefully sculpted to look like Dean Martin. I could understand being angry about that.

My friend Pete sent along word that the police cars surrounding Union Station a few days ago (see the 001212 entry) were there for a drug bust that turned into a deadly shootout. Figures that I'd be sitting there eating macaroni and cheese while it happened, completely unaware that a deadly game of cat and mouse was raging around me. I blew it. You don't get to see those every day. If that was a deadly game of cat and mouse, I was a long-discarded chew toy. I've got to get back to the good life.

I sneezed halfheartedly. The new media guy said he rated it a 'three'.

Here is a sad story about a bear who died because the zookeepers were fools. They thought that the bear was pregnant so they didn't feed it, and it turned out the bear was only sleepy. That's one less bear, you jerks. We've already run out of bears in the Burblemeister supply room, if we ever even had any to start with.

FreeODB.com has been registered but continues to remain vacant; meanwhile, ODB continues to be old and dirty behind bars. Time's a-wasting.(1)

Here is another story about bear abuse. I don't know why everyone has to kick on bears lately. It's bad enough that the bears don't get to hibernate because we keep them up all night with this racket. The article itself is notable for containing a sentence that has rocketed to #3 on the list of titles for my autobiography:

"A Chinese official dismissed the report as distorted, saying China was taking steps to improve bear farm conditions: Marc Heiden and the Twenty-First Century"
(Hardcover, 774 pgs, O'Reilly and Associates)

There is a major problem right now wherein giant chunks of ice have been falling from large buildings and (nearly) smoshing the heads of people. As a frequent member of the "people" demographic, I do not wish to have my head smoshed. (2) While walking around outside with the corporate charge card (3), I saw a piece fall six feet ahead of me that would have killed anyone it hit. In typical "blame the victim" mentality, the owners of large buildings have posted bright yellow signs instructing pedestrians to "watch for falling ice", implying that the hurtling chunks of frozen death have the right of way.

(1) Ol' Dirty is not getting any younger, you know.
(2) Not much, at least.
(3) Debating the age-old "buy a shitload of cookies and claim they were office supplies" question.

001213 I have searched high and low for something interesting about the last twenty-four hours. Boy, have I looked. Nothing. And I'm wily, so I can find these things if they're there. I have found nothing. It's kind of like a red letter day except with a tapioca grunt instead of a red letter, and not so much a day as time becoming slush.

Let's see. I was asked to create a zany notice about time reports for work. As everyone who has read this web page for any amount of time knows, I am not zany. I am deadly serious. Also, I don't want to be creative in the service of a consulting company. I am content with my sticker-oriented duties. There's a division of my labor that has been working quite nicely wherein human beings get my creativity and robot companies get my ability to put stickers on things. The humans have kept their fair share of the bargain, never once asking me to put a sticker on something, so why do the robots have to go and mess things up? It was a good arrangement. The worst part is that it took me like seventeen drafts to produce a version of the zany notice that didn't have any streams of expletives. Ever seen someone get riled up about time reports? Watch me now.

Depending on how deeply buried the boxes were, consumers downtown now have their choice of newspapers from three different days. You can decide: are you an immediate past sort of guy? Check yesterday's edition and enjoy the follies of a world eerily similar to our own. Nostalgia catch your fancy? Go way back to Monday, from when the snowstorm began. It was a different world, but it may hold some important lessons for people of today. Hip, with-it and livin' in the now? Check today's edition, chock full of that trendy uncertainty that's all the rage.

Ever get the urge to find the researchers who claimed that the sensation of love is biochemically no different from chocolate and beat the shit out of them? I do. Swiss Miss won't give me no love. Damn.

Shame the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against the Starsky & Hutch reunion. Partisan politics are really fucking it up for everyone.

Anyway, here is a great article about some very important research being done overseas. I was surprised to see 'wanker' so high on the list. I'll let the other results speak for themselves and just note that I wish the Broadcasting Standards Commission had Casey Kasem on their payroll for a weekly version of the chart. I don't think that would ever get old.

I am going to go outside and try to find a good deal on a cookie.

The curse of the entire zany time reports memo situation is that even if I do manage to produce a draft without the word "motherfucker", people are either going to find it incomprehensible or love it and demand that I do it again, which would be twice a month. I feel that I have been sold down the river.

001212 I would like to know where you can put in to get a better class of player haters. I feel that at this point I have earned an upgrade. My player haters only give me dirty looks and complain about me when I'm not around. They never record angry rap records that suggest I am not really so hard after all. We never fight over girls, rhyming ability or the possibility that my mother had a career in prostitution prior to her current job in the insurance industry. They never even send me boxes that are marked "cake" and turn out to have poop inside. So I want to trade in my player haters for new ones. If anyone knows of a form that you can fill out online, that would be convenient.

I am at work today. This is a pretty good arrangement, since almost none of the people who are authorized to give me projects are in the office. The executives, like most of Chicago, remain cowering in their condos, fearful of this strange white substance that falls from the sky and melts at the touch. I spent my night walking around by the lake and looking for the perfect snowbank to fall into. The best I could find was about five and a half feet; fine for a midget, only good enough for temporary immobility for me. Damn midgets win again. The beach had been closed for hours at that point, late at night, so I had the pleasant sensation of being illegal and immobile at the same time. It's nice. Like a light butter sauce.

Out on the icy pier I slip-slided a few hundred yards out to the lighthouse. I made my way along the narrow edge that leads to a small square of cement that is surrounded to the left, right and front by the lake; I leaned against the frozen lighthouse, completely hidden from the rest of the world, and dared the water to make something of it.

It's silly to be at work today, because the printers don't work. Can't print, can't make stickers to put on binders. I'm good at what I do.

Looks like Hutch has finally ended his holdout and decided to give in to the public outcry for a Starsky & Hutch reunion. Now we just have to cross our fingers and hope today's Supreme Court decision rules in his favor and gets Starsky on board, because a Hutch solo series wouldn't make a damn bit of sense.

Celebrities have better conversations than I do:
"He was out in a bar being an idiot. I liked the guy up until last night (but) he was acting like a cocky fuck, and I was like, 'Jesus Christ!' Some people like being rock stars and not taking it easy. He hugged me like I was his homeboy, and I don't hug this dude, I don't know him that well. Then I told him what I was up to and he told me it wasn't cool. I said. 'What do you mean it's not cool?? And he goes 'It's wack'. And I said 'You mean wack like your new video Damon?' And then he got all 'mer mer mer' and I said 'Damon I'm fuckin' wit you'. (But then) he got really pissed off, and started acting like a jerk, and telling me 'You don't know what's cool 'cos you don't live here', and I was like, 'Fuck off!' Fuck him, he can go suck a bolognaise!"

I get all 'mer mer mer' from time to time, too.

While I was out walking last night, I found an alligator beanie baby whose throat had been slit. All of the beans were gone, like blood from a human being. I had passed a bus stop on the other side of the street that had pro-ecstasy anti-dope slogans scrawled in the snow-covered plexiglass, only moments before; I suddenly became conscious of my very wet toes.

Many of the newspaper boxes downtown have been buried by snowplows; you can only see their tops peeking out of grey-spattered white (or white-spattered grey) piles. Nobody bothered to uncover them for this morning's papers. They're like time capsules. Yesterday isn't much of a mystery, but at least entropy was one step further away, if you're into that sort of thing.

There were a lot of police around Union Station this afternoon. I couldn't tell why they were there. My best guess was that they were arresting snow for, you know, making a mess of things.

"Don't Fear the Reaper" came on at lunch and I became unstuck in time, back to the lighthouse last night. Cold.

001211 Yep, I figure that being the first result on a Google search for "eric roberts screensaver" is something to brag about.

Oh, this is fucking ludicrous. I had a bunch of material ready to go about getting a snow day from the ol' consulting job, and now word around the office is that we are being sent home at noon. We might have tomorrow off, too. Burblemeister has a way of painting this sort of thing as a loving gift to its serfs, but the new media guy and I shared a rare bonding moment over the fact that, as contract employees, we don't get paid if we're not here (and there is a notable lack of money in my bank account right now). I am going to play this one oblivious as long as possible.

Someone began a rumor that the trains are closed, which would leave me stranded downtown. I am going to start a retaliatory rumor that Godzilla ate the parking garage across the street. It's not THAT much snow.

Maybe there really is an ice age coming.

I'm including a link to this article primarily so that people know what not, under any circumstances, even if you get a really good deal, to get me for Christmas. There is a picture here in case someone tries to claim they're actually a nice DVD player when you're out shopping for gifts.

Great movies about snow: well, there's "Fargo", but everyone knows about that. The beginning of "The Empire Strikes Back" is the closest thing on film to my snow experiences. I have been chastised many times for my refusal to forget about Luke, but there's something about the kid. Check out the fourth episode of Fishing With John, wherein John Lurie takes Willem Dafoe ice-fishing with apocalyptic results, proving that the sheer presence of Willem Dafoe causes even the simplest events to turn apocalyptic. (1) It should be available for rental in better hipster video stores everywhere. The best snow movie of all time, to my mind, is probably The Gold Rush. Odd bit of trivia for people who know me: I wrote the lyrics to the finale of B-Side right after watching "The Gold Rush". Georgia Hale must have really got me riled up, I guess. Edward Scissorhands is also up there as one of the best snow movies of all time; I only placed it second because snow's appearance is brief (but beautiful). The Beatles dodge secret agents in the snow in one of many good scenes from the awesome Help!, and Better Off Dead deserves props for memorable skiing scenes, although the 80 degree weather in every location not on the mountain is kind of inexplicable if you're a snow movie purist. The Kingdom does not have any snow that I can recall, but is absolutely perfect viewing if you are snowbound in a house for several hours. (2) I watched Ski School like seven times when I was ten years old. I should probably end this list, because I'm really stretching for movies now.

In other news, I'm likin' food lately. Bread, especially. I keep thinkin' of ways to involve bread with whatever I'm eating.

Oh, don't look at me like that. Monday updates always suck.

(1) Which is odd, because you really want to hug Willem throughout the episode.
(2) Those are really the only conditions for watching it, too. Make sure you watch all four parts, because you never know when you'll be snowed in again and have a chance to finish it.

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