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

Sorting through the wreckage.
London in February.
Players Workshop (Term 2).
Circus peanut soul.

Recent reading:
1 Cryptonomicon
Neal Stephenson
2 Sayles on Sayles
John Sayles, Gavin Smith (ed)
3 Silent Screens:
The Decline and Transformation of the American Movie Theater

Michael Putnam, et al
4 the Second City: Backstage at the World's Greatest Comedy Theater
Sheldon Patinkin, et al
5 Goya
Sarah Symmons

updated daily:
Corona Movies
Kill Less of Me
Morning News
Robot Wisdom

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

occasional updates:
Exploding Dog
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

010105 In this gleaming age of steel and glass, in a world where shadowy temples and mysterious caverns have been cleared away for housing subdivisions, we find ourselves without many of the key elements that human culture took for granted: for example, there are very few effective places for scary gatherings of people to chant in a creepy manner. You can get them together on a street corner or you can rent out a conference center, but it really isn't the same. Tragic. I am happy to report, then, that the sound of twenty marketing executives' disembodied voices singing an emotionally dead "Happy Birthday" to the global director of advertising over a speakerphone during a conference call actually catches the aforementioned creepy vibe quite nicely. With their soulless drone, the executives create a superb virtual reimagination of those great old haunted mansions over the phone lines. Crackle, pop. It's all about the ambiance.

Pajama Sam 2: Is it a bold new direction for Pajama Sam, or is it merely a crass attempt to capitalize on the success of the original Pajama Sam? The gizmos are back and so is Sam himself, reprising his role as Pajama Sam, but I worry that the narrative invention and altruistic message have been replaced by plot contrivances and special effects.

I saw O Brother, Where Art Thou? last night. I thought it was pretty good, except for the fact that it was four and a half hours long and the first two hours featured this weird, plotless setup where these characters who had nothing to do with the rest of the movie messed around in the WTTW Store of Knowledge for a while, went to McDonalds, got kicked out of Toys R Us because it was closing, and then just drove back and forth. I was confused, because the Coens are very good storytellers and it isn't like them to tell such a sloppy tale. Then I realized that only the parts with George Clooney were the movie, and the rest of it had been us missing the 7:30 show by five minutes and deciding to wait for the 10:10. Having figured that out, I was free to say that I liked the movie a lot.

I've been thinking lately that if I had a father, I'd call him Pappy.

Suddenly, I feel disoriented; I feel as though I should be wearing a seatbelt in my cubicle's rolling chair. I know where my mind is. It's two feet away.

-- You're a handsome devil. What's your name?

Beelzetron is a very good company to work for in the sense that it can be relied upon to provide its employees with a great deal of cake. There are many different kinds of cake to be had during any given month; sometimes there is a reason for the cake, such as a birthday or the completion of an business transaction, and sometimes the cake is just here and nobody has any idea how the fuck it got here but they eat it anyway. (1) I wouldn't be surprised if it's written in the corporate strategy manual somewhere, with credit to Marie Antoinette: keep them confused, disoriented, and full of cake. I am eating cake right now. There was a frankly absurd amount of cake available today, and I did my best to keep my cake intake at reasonable levels because I do not want to become a great big fat man. Also, it occurred to me that I've never seen a picture of a ninja eating cake, and there may be a good reason for that. I'd hate to get the other ninjas mad at me.

(1) If Beelzetron ever makes the transition from consulting firm to giant monster, a very good way to kill Beelzetron would be to have a poisoned cake delivered, because people just see the cake and eat it without asking questions. It would be good to kill the giant monster version of Beelzetron, too, because unlike monsters such as Gamera, Beelzetron would not be a friend to children.

010104 Terrorism: the in/out dish disappeared from my desk today. Nothing had ever arrived 'in', and the likelihood of anything going 'out' was not terribly good, but a line must be drawn somewhere. The major theme of this new year seems to be people taking my things away.

On the train last night, a man was listening to While My Guitar Gently Weeps on repeat for the entire ride. I wanted to ask him about it, but I figured he had to have some pretty intense reasons for doing that sort of thing and wouldn't want to be interrupted.

I can't believe that people my age give birth to children on a regular basis.

I went for a walk outside this morning. I considered it a business trip whose goal was for me to practice looking scary to passers-by. Toward this end, I pulled my cap way down over my eyes and experimented with different kinds of scary faces. The pedestrian crowds downtown are very large, so unless you're aiming for a niche market, you have to diversify the target range and work on expressions that are magnetic without being directed at any one specific person. Anyway, the point of the story is that I thought I looked pretty tough but then a dirty man came up to me and asked me if I liked weed, so I figure I just looked like an idiot.

Upon my return to the office, I noticed that it was time for lunch. So I left again. Something warm, perhaps cheese-related, perhaps soup-involved, low stomach controversy were my criteria.

Is it really more than a feeling, though? I mean, seriously, man. Let's not lose perspective here.

This is cute. Actually, it's a little disturbing. Kind of freaks me out.
This is disturbing. They're in charge, you know. Not so good.

Still having Ki-Me of my CD collection is good, compared with not having any of it at all, but if I could choose, I'd much rather have Af-Bo or Pi-Ru. The plucky band of stragglers from U-Ve have proved a pleasant surprise, though.

Thought: when I go to London in February, maybe I won't mention it to anyone at work and see what happens. Could be an interesting experiment.

It's really a shame that I Love My Nanny News never really got off the ground. Just when you think you've found a good weblog...

010103 The crazy guy stared incredulously as I began to dance. It wasn't as though I had suddenly become happy or was even in a good mood at all; it was just that a calypso beat passed by and, being a reasonable sort of person, I meekly danced until it passed. The crazy guy's face was all sharp angles and ragged surfaces; he'd been staring at me like that since I walked up the stairs to the train platform, though, so I don't think he ever really gave me a chance.

There's more dawn-of-Beelzetron propaganda around the office today. I don't mind so much that the company is taking a pro-self position, since you really shouldn't expect balanced discourse from a marketing campaign, but I hate the strategy of using your own employees as guinea pigs for the babble that you plan to unleash upon the buying public. I've read the executive memos about getting the serfs excited about the company reinventing itself to seize emergent opportunities, etc, I've seen the plan in its naked form. We are not the buying public. We're here all of the time. We know what really goes on. Well, some of us do. Anyway, stop marketing to us. Even if I were a dedicated worker, I'd still be quite aware that there is a massive gap between leveraging the vision of a global leader in e-commerce and dragging myself out of bed in the morning even though I feel sick and depressed. By asking me to overlook that gap, you are asking me to be very stupid. You are committing assault upon my basic awareness and sense of self. Leave me alone. I'll do my job. This isn't a celebration, this isn't summer camp, this isn't the homecoming dance. This is where the rest of my youth goes to die.

Someone drew a creepy picture of the sun and a kite (or an oval with a cross) on my desk's post-it note pad while I was away on Friday. I can only interpret that as a threat.

Baby I'm a lonely kind of man
Like a rapper with a forty in his hand
I can't stand
When you talk about that other man

With only 'Ki-' through 'Me-' of my CD collection still in my possession due to recent events, I have been listening to a lot of musicians whose names begin with 'L' recently. One of them is Sean Lennon, whose debut album "Into the Sun" brings me considerably more joy than the three dollars I exchanged for it did. It's not political, nor does Sean sound especially freaked out about anything; it's just the casual, effortless music that a happy, clever person who was related to a Beatle made. By no means is it epochal or flawless, but it helps me feel okay enough to move around the apartment in the morning. And in that sense, it's vital. There are sad bits, so it feels good to listen when I'm depressed, but they don't make you any sadder than you actually are. That sounds simple, but it's rare.

Deluxe invitations, hand-delivered tickets, posters in the lobby, memos, emails, they can all get fucked: I am not going to the Beelzetron webcast today. I did not go to football pep rallies when I was in high school and I am not going to this. I don't care about the consequences.

My peanut-butter and jelly sandwich was upside-down in the fridge all day. Oh no! Disaster.

The fish float through the room
Nibbling on the moon

Stupid rhymes are frequently the best ones.

They are really tearing the roof off this joint (aka conference room 1001), with late attendees standing outside the door and jostling for a peek of the webcast. Here in my cubicle around the corner, I am catching up on some prime moping. Smooth-tongued Joe-Joe CEO says that I am part of Beelzetron's exciting new something-or-other. I stop, stare at my hands for a while, and respectfully disagree.

Rep. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, re-elected as House speaker, told colleagues, "It is only in Washington where many still have a lingering animosity for the political parties. My friends, we need to get over it."

My disagreement in this instance is not quite so respectful.

There are tiny drunk men riding rockets in circles behind my eyes, giving a yee-haw with each and every circuit. There are dirty cowboys with barbed-wire tongues spitting in my eardrums. None of them have permits for what they are doing. Lawless, styrofoam, soul like a circus peanut.

010102 Through various strange machinations, my alarm radio came to be set to the AM frequency this morning. It usually takes several repeated jabs from evil lite rock to get me out of bed; today, however, I awoke to a man talking about the weekend's football games. It was an all-sports station. I was surprised to find myself instantly conscious at the sound, eyes wide with sympathy at a low-rent piece of existentialism: here was this man, trapped behind the microphone at 6am, talking about games he couldn't see and how they affected games that had not yet happened. He was helpless. All he had were statistics and speculation, no certainty, not allowed to leave the studio and see the world. I couldn't stop thinking about the existential implications of having to talk about invisible sports all by yourself to no one in particular while everyone else was sleeping. I had no idea what he was on about (bowl games), but I was wide awake at this fairly stupid crossover between ESPN and Samuel Beckett. Later, I dozed off in the shower.

That didn't make much sense, did it? I spent a half-hour trying to get that paragraph to make sense. It made sense when I woke up. I was in my underwear then. Perhaps that had something to do with it. I never really got started this morning. Most of my time has been dedicated to cataloguing all of the things that can get fucked. I have worked very hard on the list, but I am still only midway through the 'A's. I am able to confirm at this time that argyle socks can get fucked. A ruling on the Red Line train station at Argyle Street is still pending.

The thing about webpages is, you can't see out from this end.

Hoopla: today is the first official day of the company's new name. The rebranding project is complete: Burblemeister Consulting is now Beelzetron. The executives are all fairly pleased with themselves over the launch, chatting about the ads that aired during this weekend's college bowl games, and there is a blistering amount of corporate propaganda aimed at getting the employees riled up in favor of the new regime. This includes a bright red carpet leading from the elevators to the each floor's big glass doors. Getting into the team spirit, I decided against my initial urge to urinate on the rug out of sheer principle. I stood out there for a while thinking about it, though.

They misspelled 'Premiere' on the lobby posters equating the Beelzetron launch with the opening of a major Hollywood motion picture. Ha, ha. Dumbheads.

I drove out to Resurrection Cemetery last night to see if anyone needed a ride. Nothing. So low down, not even the ghosts want to know my name.

Spot the survivalist! But don't bother him. He's busy waiting for the day.

The first Ice Hotel in North America is now open. You can read about the original one here. I am pretty excited about it. If this ice hotel does well, there will hopefully be ice flophouses to follow and then I'll have somewhere to live.

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