This. 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.

My voicemail cries out for you:
(312) 693-0455, 5pm-8am.

Biding my time.
London in February.
Players Workshop (Term 2).
Sorting through the wreckage.
Righteous harmonious fists.

Recent reading:
1 Cryptonomicon
Neal Stephenson
2 Silent Echoes:
Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Buster Keaton

John Bengston
3 Sayles on Sayles
John Sayles, Gavin Smith (ed)
4 Silent Screens:
The Decline and Transformation of the American Movie Theater

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

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 2001

010112 In stark contrast to recent cake-based procedures, some goofball brought in a big-ass bucket of pistachio nuts to work today and left it on the communal food cabinet. (1) Pistachioes are pretty definitively not in any of the Trixie food groups, so the bucket has remained untouched by everyone but me. I'm having a blast walking over there, grabbing a big handful, and making a damn mess with the shells. It feels kind of strange to eat non-synthetic food products in this office.

One of the executives came by and asked me if I had seen the new, hot off the presses issue of The Industry Standard in which one of the new Beelzetron ad campaigns is making its debut. I said no, so he gave me a copy. I kicked back with some pistachioes and read all about what I've been pretending to work on for the last few months. It's not among my better imaginary efforts.

Eoghan is trying to talk timid accountants into chugging beer at a luncheon they're all about to attend. I've never been peer-pressured by a magical dragon. Come to think of it, do magical dragons have peers to pressure in the first place? I don't know. Lot of ins, lot of outs.

I was dozing off again this morning, but I never fell completely asleep because the two global directors of advertising were having a conversation next to my desk. I was in that half-conscious state where bits of reality get filtered into the dream you're having. They were talking about a Managing Partner who used to be shy and uncomfortable with marketing but is now a real go-getter, and I think they also called him an elf, and made reference to his previous tenure at BusinessWeek. I wanted to protest that I've never had anything to do with BusinessWeek, but right then my forehead hit the monitor.

I went outside for lunch and saw a man dressed as a gorilla trying to hand out flyers for a health club. I looked him and thought, well, at least he's being honest about his job. That's more than I can say for myself.

(news) "Ang will bring the characters and the drama to the foreground, and in addition to his visual storytelling ability," said Gale Anne Hurd, who will produce the project with Marvel Studios president Avi Arad.

I wish I was on a first name basis with Ang Lee. I'd call him "Ang" all day long.

I finished the second zany time reports memo. It was fucking stupid, but obscenity-free. I used Microsoft Paint. Holy god, is that a terrible program.

(1) Alternate history: Having no cake on hand, Marie Antoinette replies to an uprising of hungry peasants by shrugging and saying "Fuck it, let them eat pistachios. I can never get those damn things open without breaking a nail anyway." The timestream is radically changed, everyone inexplicably has vestigial tails in the year 2001. Weird!

010111 Sunshine has been testing well with focus groups. There are still some flaws to be worked out, like the aesthetic clash between light and the infected piles of grey snow in urban areas, but it's a nice start. Now if they could do something about all these fucking people, it'd almost be habitable.

On days when I really don't feel like writing, I usually wrestle with the temptation to type Now who's the dummy? over and over again and let that stand as the day's entry. I think readers would take it the wrong way, though, when it is clearly meant to be taken the right way.

I have to come up with another zany time reports memo by tomorrow afternoon. I wonder if I can find a new job in time.

(news) Only 40 embryos and five pregnancies resulted and only three monkeys were born alive. Just one, ANDi, carried the GFP gene but dead twin monkeys also carried the gene. Schatten said his team next wants to learn how to control just where the gene is inserted into a cell's DNA, which could be important to how the gene works. He also said a genetically modified monkey is not a first step to making designer babies. "We are only in this business to make disease models to eradicate diseases," he said -- adding that there is no single gene for height, good looks or intelligence anyway.

Who cares about babies when we could have genetically modified monkeys? Chimps are way better, especially uberchimps. I hope there is a single gene for 'little scamp', or 'ability to swing with tail', or 'deadly accuracy with own feces'. Those would be pretty key in an uberchimp, I think.

I'd really like to take my socks off. I mean, my shoes are already gone. I guess that'd be going too far, though.

(news) The charts were almost totally devoid of new releases this week, with the highest-ranking entrance coming at No. 144. The album, "Wow Worship: Today's 30 Most Powerful Worship Songs" (Epic), was actually a re-entry into the top 200 list, having already sold about 330,000 copies to date.

Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy? Now who's the dummy?

010110 Slept too much last night (>4.5 hours) and am consequently rather groggy. Strategies employed to avoid dozing off at desk computer: hot chocolate, orange candy, ice water, caffeinated mints, brief expedition around the office in search of secret Nazi gold, jabbing wristpad with letter opener, jabbing self with letter opener, trip to bathroom for nap. Finally, I loaded a job website on my browser and just went to sleep, figuring that if I was fired I could check listings really quick before I go. Pondered trying to find some actual work to do. The resulting scoff bought me a couple more minutes.

(email) They are on holiday in Finland until tonight, developing headaches from looking at streetsigns that say things like "Petyaakolaatava ikkikiikki." Sometimes I like to imagine what EuroDisney would have been like if they put it in Helsinki.

Now that near-psychotic levels of alertness have dawned, I am faced with the similar problem of remaining discreet while sublimating energy through mangling office supplies. It's tricky. Feeling bad about sleeping while everyone else appeared to be working hard at whatever it is this company does, I took two very determined walks around the office. There was purpose in my stride and all that other good business stuff. I like to check the fax machines every once in a while. I'll give out the fax number here if people want to send professional-looking travel itineraries for me. That'd be neat.

On days like these, I always wind up feeling like Lou Reed circa the third Velvet Underground album, except maybe not in the same track order.

(news) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, fighting for his political life against rival Ariel Sharon, made a surprising suggestion during a Jan. 9 interview with German radio service Deutsche Welle. Barak indicated that Russian media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky might solve his legal problems by seeking refuge in Israel. Barak then called Gusinsky a "close, personal friend."

Not to harp on points previously made, but read that story and consider: wouldn't it be so much better if Barak, Gusinsky and Ariel Sharon were not political figures but gigantic radioactive monsters? There's no way you could be cynical about Barak, a giant fanged bear, offering refuge to Gusinsky, a fire-breathing duck, in the midst of battling Ariel Sharon, a laser-wielding robot from outer space. It would also be totally fucking cool if German radio news services did interviews with giant fanged bears. That's my suggestion for sorting out this whole Middle East conflict, and creating real-world solutions is my job, as an employee of the largest consulting firm in North America.

Energy has, inexplicably, remained with me deep into the afternoon. It has the unfortunate side-effect of making me slightly distracted and verbally incoherent, leading to heartfelt declarations of "Slurpee!" after I walk into things. I make perfect sense in front of a keyboard, though. Ain't that just the way.

I've started making a point of weighing myself on the scale that the company helpfully provided (1) in the men's bathroom. At the moment, I weigh two pounds less than I did when I walked in this morning. I hope those two weren't among my more charming pounds. Hopefully they were allotted to the part of me that considers it somehow hilarious to use a highlighter on random documents that I find near the fax machines.

In the face of some bad press over the new name launch, the global director of advertising was grumbling to himself that this company is full of 'yes' men and he wishes that someone would speak up with what they really think. I was the only person who heard him. In other words, life is descending into self-parody again.

(1) There are a couple of fat people who work here, but they all have low-level janitorial-type positions. Otherwise, the entire office is almost uniformly physically fit. Creepy. I wouldn't put it past the Protocols of the Elders of Beelzetron (Formerly Known As Burblemeister Consulting) to consider inefficient metabolisms a sign of inefficient consultants, or something.

010109 My friends assured me that there is a grace period after the first of January when you can still add New Year's resolutions, so I have added two more. That's four whole resolutions: very ambitious. In addition to my previously stated goals (see 001229), I am working very hard on being the kind of person who can plausibly be described as 'crafty'. I have wily pretty well down, but crafty is a new frontier and I think it's the next logical step for me. The fourth resolution is just to use the word 'crummy' in conversation more often.

Anyone who says that one is the loneliest number has never spent time as zero point six.

(press release) "The outer companion (of this star) is so massive, between 17 and 40 times the mass of Jupiter, that it seems too large for a conventional planet," Marcy said. "We frankly don't know what name to give it! Is it a planet or brown dwarf (a dim failed star) or something that formed in the protoplanetary disk, but gobbled an unusual quantity of gas in that disk? We simply don't know."

I wish more press releases had exclamation points, especially science press releases. I also wish they'd issue more press releases like that one, where the entire thesis is that some new thing (1) is incredibly weird and they have no idea what's going on with it. I'm not saying that they shouldn't try to figure things out, just that the world could do with a bit more 1950s scifi B-movie ambiance.

There is this one restaurant that I read a lot about the Boxer Rebellion in during various lunches many weeks ago, and I find it hard to eat there now because I associate the distinctive smell of the place with tales of the angry Boxers chopping up foreign devils and leaving them to rot outside the walls of the diplomatic fortifications. I tried to find a comment card so I could let the management know about that, but they seemed to be out at the moment.

Have you ever walked past someone in the hall and felt absolutely certain that that otherwise normal-looking person knows how to kickbox? And have you ever then stopped, shook your head and thought god damn it, why don't I know how to kickbox? If you have, that's the kind of day I'm having, so you can relate. Nobody knows the trouble we seen.

Crackly phone voices have been trying to pull fast ones re: rough cuts on the global director of advertising all day long, but he's not buying it. I feel like striding in there, patting him on the back and referring to him as 'champ'. Boy, do I feel like striding in there, patting him on the back and referring to him as 'champ'. Damn. Temptation.

(news) According to estimates by officials, there are at least 10,000 monkeys scampering in and around the stately red sandstone buildings just a stone's throw from the grand presidential palace. But officials say there is little they can do to deal with the monkey invasion of the government buildings, built by the country's British rulers before India won independence in 1947. Killing the animals is not an option because monkeys have a sacred status in India's main religion, Hinduism.

If this webpage is good for anything, it's keeping you updated on the important monkey news of our day. Look, I know you're sacred, and I bow down to you and all, but that's my applesauce you just shat in, most exalted monkey sir.

(1) Especially outer space things, or slime things.

010108 Pickle on the stairs: length-wise slice, face-down, green with a shrug. Energy that had been missing all day appeared in a sudden burst, given form in a powerful urge to pick up the pickle and cry "Mister! Mister! You forgot your pickle, mister!" If I had a digital camera, I would take a lot of pictures of that sort of thing, and if I lived to be old and grey, I would look at the extended series of pickle photographs and wonder what I did with my life, as all around me space-cars whizzed by; eventually I'd shrug, resume crying out for the pill lady.

I think that they should have done more beta testing for Prohibition. For example, they could have passed an amendment outlawing pickles. One has to imagine that the bootleg pickle gangsters would not be quite so tough as their bootleg alcohol counterparts, so it could have been good practice for all of the police officers who wanted to get a sense for how the black markets would operate. A side benefit to this might be that pickles could be legalized as part of the amendment that made alcohol illegal, so many people would just be happy to have the pickles back. They'd be hesitant to try to repeal the amendment, because then they'd lose their pickles all over again. A lot of people don't care about their pickles, but some do. Quite fiercely, in fact.

Most recent presidents of the United States have had only one basic expression that they wear throughout all of their photographs. Even during his most troubling crises, Clinton was never completely clean of that certain smug grin; far more disturbing, to my mind, is the fact that in nearly every photograph ever taken of him, George W Bush looks like he is identifying which one is the doggie and which one goes 'moo'. How big is George? Sooooo big!

-- Mr. PiBB has an uncertain future. Some Coke insiders say that there are plans in the works that call for the discontinuation of the Mr. PiBB brand and the formation of a new "Doctor-type" soda, similar to what Coke unsuccessfully attempted to do with Surge (replacing Mello Yello) a few years back. For Mr. PiBB fans around this country, this is certainly not good news!

An easy, risk-free form of psychological warfare in the workplace is to give actual answers any time someone asks you how you are doing. Some hide the surprise better than others, but it's always there. The majority of interpersonal discourse at Beelzetron revolves around that question, which is then routed toward discussions of relative stress and overwork. Today, I have committed myself to telling everyone how absolutely great I feel. For those few bewildered seconds that I get in response, it's basically true.

-- 01/06/2001:...recording day 10... In the midst of finishing up Mikey's bass "fixes", Weezer recieved a visit from the record company, and were suprised to learn that they were unsatisfied with how several tracks were turning out so far. Despite the fact that the songs are in a very raw form and will be much farther along in just a few weeks, the comments were still fairly critical, even while other songs got positive remarks. This of course is not the best news we could have gotten, as dissention from "on high" can lead to unwanted delays.

Chad, a stand-up guy from the other side of the office, came over to tell me about how his renters insurance policy specifies that he is not covered in the event of an intercontinental ballistic missile. That absolutely rules.

Newly added photo of the author: Telling Stories.

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