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, 23 years old, who . He lives in Chicago.

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

Players Workshop (Term 3).
Less dizzy at some point.
Breaking in new shoes.
Which one to write.

Recent reading:
1 Gravity's Rainbow
Thomas Pynchon
2 Edward Hopper: Portraits of America
Wieland Schmid
3 Notes from Underground
Fyodor Dostoevsky
4 Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel
J. A. Schmoll gen Eisenwerth
5 How late it was, how late
James Kelman

updated daily:
Kill Less of Me
Man Cutting Globe
Morning News
Neil Gaiman
Red Secretary

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

occasional updates:
Exploding Dog
Public Enemy
Thinking About Hesterman
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

010316 It is a good time to be in downtown Chicago because it's snowing, there is no work tomorrow and the buildings are falling apart. While walking from the subway to the office, I stopped to kick a few buildings that I don't like, hoping to hasten their downfall. It's funny how you can do basically anything here and no one will give you a second look as long as you are young, white and reasonably well-dressed. Some days, when I am still half-asleep after getting off the train, I spend an extra couple of minutes standing out on the Monroe / Wacker traffic island, taking sides in the various fights between cars honking angrily at each other. Shaking your fist and screaming Yeah! Fucker! feels good in the early morning grey.

I didn't bother kicking Beelzetron HQ. I figure that the giant evil pulsating brain in charge has contingency plans, so I'd just be wasting my time. Intriguingly, though, as I am writing this, one of the executives smelled a gas leak in her office. Giant evil pulsating brain, what are you up to? Can I go home?

Now they think it's a full-fledged fire somewhere in the building, and it definitely smells like something's up, but the ever-reliable x37900 (1) advises calm. Is it time to go home yet? No, not for fifty years or so.

So, anyway, if the office blows up, let this serve as my will: you can have all of my stuff. I hope you enjoy it.

The pirates sailed on. It was a quiet day on the pirate ship, following as it did eighteen consecutive nights of rum and ransack; Crossbones Jones was hanging upside down from the rigging, asleep, causing an argument between two of the more poetic pirates whether Crossbones was smiling or his frown was upside-down. In the end, they half-heartedly stabbed each other and went back to sleep.

(news) A primary source of food for young fish is quickly disappearing from the Great Lakes, according to scientists who fear it could jeopardize decades of progress in restoring fish populations. Diporeia, shrimplike crustaceans, have vanished from Lake Erie and are declining at alarming rates in lakes Michigan, Ontario and Huron -- a phenomenon scientists suspect is linked to zebra mussels, a Black Sea native that arrived in the United States in the late 1980s. The demise of diporeia could have dire consequences for many types of fish, scientists said. Many fish that eat diporeia in turn are eaten by larger fish such as salmon and lake trout. The problem has not affected such sport fish, but white fish, which are commercially harvested, have suffered. Exactly what is causing the disappearance of diporeia, which live on lake bottoms, remains a mystery.

Aaaarrrrhhh, said Blackbeard, former scourge of the Black Sea, thoroughly pleased with himself. What he meant was, If they'll be wanting their diporeia back, they'll have to come to us! The pirates who were awake roared with laughter. Blackbeard stabbed the ones who were not awake, because they did not laugh, and he thought his scheme was very clever and deserved appreciative laughter. He spent a while jabbing at Crossbones, but Blackbeard simply did not have the hops to reach up there in the rigging, so he gave up and drank some rum. He was a little bothered that the news report had used his old pirate nickname, Zebra Mussels, but he knew that, as a fearsome pirate, he had to look at the big picture and not get bogged down in the details. Blackbeard stood and staggered to the treasure chests full of recently plundered diporeia, raised his bottle, and said, satisfied, Aaaarrrrhhh.

After a few hours of the burning smell, kind of like rubber, aroma of distant tires on fire taking me back to my trailer park youth, they figured out that someone upstairs was soldering wires in the walls. It sounded like a cover-up to me. I had done my best to spread loud rumors, mostly revolving around the possibility that the secret biotech division had created a monster that went mad. The other employees were generally content with their own explanations, though, most of which involved assassination plots for executives they didn't like, and no one borrowed mine, which is fine, but they're all going to look awful silly when the fire monster eats their heads.

010315 Today, I would like to talk about different sorts of pirates. The discussion will not include much about me, as I am not a pirate, except to note where necessary for illustrative purposes how my behavior differs from that of a theoretical pirate in a similar situation. When I am done talking about some different sorts of pirates, I will talk about regular pirates for a while.

I was very late for work today, which was pirate-esque of me, but not because I was drunk from rum or busy stabbing people for their gold. I was just depressed and disinterested. Also, I had left a bunch of fried rice in my car last night for some damn reason, and I needed to go get it out of there. My car was three blocks away. The sky was grey and rain was falling. I was able to navigate directly to my car without much trouble. Had I made the journey in a pirate ship, it would have been quite a struggle, because pirate ships use their big cloth sails to navigate, and the storm would have tossed and turned the ship, causing a brawl to break out when Crossbones Jones spills his rum on Pegleg, whereupon everyone would have lost focus on the original mission, which was to recover the chinese food before it stank up the car. But pirate ships smell pretty bad anyway, so they wouldn't care in the first place. Pirates are not very sanitary. That's why scurvy is such a major problem.

It was late in the morning, so all of the streets and sanitation workers were out giving tickets to every car they could. I walked along the train tracks, because my car was parked alongside them. A van drove by. On its side were the following words, in big letters:


The men inside the van were equipped with big mustaches and bright orange vests. Clearly, this Mayo Daley did not send his blasters into the field unarmed. They were like pirates, and clean walls were their gold. They intended to blast some graffiti. A wily tactic to use against them would be to develop a color of spray paint that was the same shade of orange as their vests. That way, one graffiti buster might mistake his partner for graffiti and blast him. Then you could divide and conquer.

While I was downstairs buying corn chips for lunch, someone left a blank Beelzetron Daily Journal on my chair. It has one of their ads on the cover, and inside it has space for you to write your thoughts. Is it a threat? Keep your journal here, and not on the web? I can tell it was not a pirate who made the threat, because that is not how a pirate threatens people. He would motion in the general direction of the plank, and they haven't even got a plank around here, and he'd say:


You may be wondering how I know so much about pirates, since I am not a pirate myself. Well, I have many friends who are pirates, and by observing the things that they do, I can figure things out about the pirate lifestyle. One of my several useless but very interesting college degrees was in sociology, and I did a lot of field research while I was working on it. They teach you to assign code names to the people you are observing. You should name them after some feature that's easy to remember about them, so your day-to-day notes will be consistent, and also you don't want the person to sue you if you publish your notes. So I did that. Some of my pirate friends have webpages. Blackbeard, the fearsome leader of the pirates, has a webpage called Man Cutting Globe. It's new, and I just added it to the links on the left side of my page. In it, Blackbeard talks about the things he does each day. Since he is a pirate, it tends to be very exciting. Another pirate, Crossbones Jones, has a new webpage called Thinking About Hesterman. He says he's only going to update it infrequently, but when he does, it will probably be interesting because he is the pirate who always swings on ropes and yells to scare the other ships.

Weird: I looked up a book that I read for one of those sociology classes on, Crackhouse : Notes from the End of the Line, by Terry Williams, and at the bottom of the page, it noted that customers who bought that book also bought titles by JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. Their sampling size probably isn't all that big, but still: weird.

010314 One of the other two temps has been spending his afternoon faxing angry letters to The Source magazine, accusing them of favoring wack emcees for their covers. Man, that's streets ahead of any fuck-around tactics that I've invented.

Today's entry will not concern my life at work or those who have betrayed me. Instead, it will be all about pirates, because they are much more interesting than the crap I do on a daily basis. They are a merry bunch of pirates. If you ask one of them what he would like to drink (1), he will probably ask for rum, because that is the pirates' favorite drink. Much as they might like to, pirates can not live on rum alone. It's just not nutritious enough. Each of the pirates makes sure to eat at least one lemon per day. Lemons provide valuable nutrients that help prevent scurvy, which is an unpleasant disease where your teeth fall out, and you are always referred to as a scurvy pirate, which is not as prestigious as being a regular pirate. One time, Blackbeard was eating a lemon and another pirate ship fired a cannon at them. He dropped the lemon, but his beard caught it! After that, the other pirates called him Lemonbeard. It was funny for a while, but then he stabbed one of them, because he can be ill-tempered when he is drunk.

Other ships sometimes come along to fight with the pirates, because they think the pirates might have gold that they could steal. That's not a good plan, though, because the pirates are very tough and also they're not too thrifty, so they have to bury all their money in treasure chests or they wind up blowing it on stuff they don't really need, so they usually don't have too much cash on them in the first place. When the pirates run out of money, they go rob another ship. They try to look for good ones. It's hard to tell, though, because pirates have to stay far away while they're checking out the other ship or the other ship will see that they're pirates and run away. The pirates are not very sneaky. Maybe they could be if they tried, but they feel like their system is working pretty well as it is, so why change anything?

There is one pirate who is in charge of making food for everyone. They call him 'Cook', even though he grew a beard and dyed it red in the hope that they would latch on to that for his nickname instead. He gets mad sometimes because he wants to go steal gold and fight other pirates, but he has to stay behind and make sure dinner is ready for when everyone gets back from the battle. One time he made a birthday cake for a pirate named Crook-Fingered Johnny, and since the battle was taking especially long, he put a lot of effort into the cake. He even spelled out Crook-Fingered Johnny's name in delicious frosting across the top. When the other pirates got back, he showed them the cake. But one of them picked it up and threw it overboard, into the water! Cook was hopping mad. "What the hell did you do that for?", he asked. Blackbeard snickered. "We're feedin' it to Johnny, because that's where he's lying, at the bottom of the sea, with the fishies eatin' his bones!" The other pirates roared with laughter. Then they drank rum and had a party, and a bunch of them stabbed each other.

If you heard the pirates talking, you would not be able to understand them. Pirates speak in a secret code that they learn in pirate school. For example, when a pirate wants you to come over to his ship to watch a movie, he says


And when he offers you some ice cream, he says


And when he is mad, he stabs you.


There was some interpersonal strife among the pirates because some of them wanted to sail north, where they heard that free ice cubes are just floating in the water, because they were sick of having warm drinks all of the time. The other pirates didn't want to go north because they were afraid that the polar bears would eat their parrots. (2) So Blackbeard called a meeting in the galley for all the pirates to talk things over and air their concerns. The pirates felt like he really valued their opinions, and they appreciated it. But then he stabbed them, so that didn't turn out well. It was kind of a dumb move by Blackbeard, because then he had to go and find new pirates.

(1) All of the pirates are men. They are not a very diverse or inclusive bunch.
(2) Parrots are big status symbols among pirates. A good parrot that comes with all the amenities, like talking and being colorful, is very expensive. You can get some good deals on trade-ins, of course, but the parrots are usually pretty lazy about ditching the previous pirate's catchphrases, and you look pretty dumb with a parrot on your shoulder who's talking like the pirate you just stabbed.

010313 Today's entry will continue along the theme, introduced yesterday, of my betrayals at the hands of various people, institutions and historical events. It will devote less focus to my own exemplary attributes, emphasizing instead the cruelty of these betrayals. By the end of the day, if all goes well, the theme will migrate into a discussion of whaling, at which point it will be forgotten amidst the splendour and fury of the giant beast.

I think I killed all of the staplers. I haven't been able to find any more.

The stock market crashed, which bothers me not at all. I still have the same five dollars I had before the boom. They are five nice dollars, not a bad dollar among them. Each of them would happily team up with a few pennies to get me some piping hot macaroni and cheese for lunch. I could teach a course on how to live on five dollars for an entire month. In fact, I should, and I will. Tuition is five dollars. Ha, ha. Shithead. I blame society.

Eulogies for the dot-com boom often mention the wild fun that employees had at the office, mixing long hours with casual dress and crazy parties. Now that you are shot on sight by Federal Reserve death squads if you have a job involving websites, which is really unfair, newpapers often talk about how some of those fun innovations in office culture have filtered over to the large stodgy corporations with whom the dot-com people have taken refuge. Well, all that talk can get fucked, because last time I checked, companies still do not supply Mountain Dew on tap in the breakroom like they do coffee. Mountain Dew is the morning wake-up beverage of choice for extreme consultants around here, namely me, and the new media guy, but it's bullshit that we have to pay for it, because the company gets to reap the rewards of our extreme consulting.

A number of people have written in to tell me that AD&D insurance, which I puzzled about yesterday, refers to Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance. That clears things up nicely, and leaves the field of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons insurance wide open for me to exploit. All I have to do is slap gamemasters around a bit to make them accept my authority as guarantor, or I could make like the rest of the insurance industry and sell myself as a necessary service while acting in collusion with the gamemaster to drive up costs to the point where I actually am necessary. (1) Of course, they'll probably try to pay me in character points, so that's no good. I already have a plus-2 in underwater combat.

I have gone kind of light on writing about London so far. That may seem strange, so let me explain: I was there with three other friends for most of it, and I'd feel awkward writing about the things we did because those experiences belonged to all of us. I don't want to set myself up as the official chronicler of UK2K, you know, exploiting my friends for webpage material. So I've mostly been writing about things I did on my own. For example, I took a photo of Karl Marx's grave. It's pretty big, with a massive sculpture of his head on top. I brought a loaf of bread with me and left it there. Some previous visitor left a rose. If a third party brought some wine, Karl would be set up rather nicely. I hope someone did.

Oh, he thought he knew karate
but he only knew karaoke
Yeah, he thought he knew karate
but he only knew karaoke
He was in for a surprise
when he fought Lin-Do Ke,
'cause he thought he knew karate
but he only knew karaoke.

Well, it's time to leave work, and the whales still haven't shown up, so I can't write about them. Sorry. If they get here, please stress to them the importance of being on time. We all have places to be.

(1) I leave the field for a Canadian Health Care System joke wide open for you, dear reader.

010312 Today's entry will be primarily concerned with various people, institutions and historical events that have let me down, betrayed me and / or sold me down the river. Among these accounts, there will be glowing references to some of my personal characteristics, such as how charming I am, and how tricky I can be.

Let me begin by exposing the lies of Mr Xerox. He is an avid reader of this webpage, because everyone is an avid reader of this webpage, and he falls under the category of 'everyone'. Mr Xerox makes claims about his 'DocuColor 12' machine to the effect that it is a good machine. The DocuColor 12 machine is in fact a very bad machine. It beeps constantly, without warrant, at a very high pitch. It does not allow users to reason with it, or at least to respond in kind, for most users are not able to beep at that pitch, even if they are robot boys who are far too charming and clever to be doing a job like this one. The DocuColor 12 machine is a very lazy machine. It takes six minutes to start up, and though it is capable of beeping, it does not play songs while it is starting up, even though it does not require its beeping ability elsewhere in the process, and even though the user needs something to do while it is starting up, such as karaoke. Also, the DocuColor 12 machine does a much better job reproducing the image of snot than it does the image of, say, people that are on the same page as the snot. There is no reason to be good at photocopying snot, even at a very bad company such as this one. I don't know why snot was on the paper to begin with, because it was not my paper. It was a storyboard for an IBM commercial from Germany, and it was given to me by someone else who I do not like very much. In conclusion, Mr Xerox, I hope your penis falls off.

Early returns indicate that Friday's stapler assault project was a success. Absence of staplers from the office has been audibly bemoaned. They are all at my mercy, or they would be, if I had remembered to keep a stapler for myself. But that would not be wily, because being the only person with a stapler might draw suspicion. Besides, I hate staplers.

I posted my resume to a bunch of job sites on Friday and was careful to downplay the 'consultant' aspect of my employment history, because I always hear about how places try to hire Beelzetron employees and I don't want to get a bunch of offers from consulting firms. Well, that didn't work. All that I have received so far are offers from consulting firms. Fuck those people. It might have been the 'super monkey ninja' part of my resume that attracted them, though. You can never tell with those people. Or you can, really, because they are very stupid, and they do predictable dumb things, but you generally have better things to do, such as reading this webpage, or gnawing on phone cords.

More dead staplers.

The World Wide Web allows you to read about people in strange, faraway places without being in strange, faraway places yourself, or in bookstores. Every day, this webpage permits people from all over the world to peek into the previously untold mysteries of what bored, overpaid Americans do at their consulting jobs. Now, you can read a very good webpage about what it is like to have a similar job in Minsk, Belarus: it is called Red Secretary. The World Wide Web treats you very nicely sometimes, and you should rub its belly in gratitude.

I played full-court basketball for more than three hours nonstop last night. I am a handsome and powerful basketball player. When someone misses a shot, I am always there to catch the ball and use it to score points for my team. I am a very wily player, for I have the hook shot, and it is a wily shot, when it works. Other players often say 'Oh!" when I perform one of my amazing basketball moves. However, when I play for a long time, I become sore, for it is hard to be such a powerful basketball player for such a long time. Therefore, today I am sore. My head is sore as well, partially because I am dizzy and I keep walking into things, and partially because I am not allowed to sing Pavement songs at the top of my voice at work, and headaches that you get when you want to sing but can't are very painful.

I am busy looking through job listings right now. The single most promising listing that I have ever seen, one for a Company Mascot in Alaska, turned out to be a fake test ad. All of the other jobs are too serious. The fact that the American Cancer Society listing specified that you have to be a nonsmoker indicates that they have no sense of humor. I don't smoke, but how could I possibly work there and not make smoking jokes? It says something rather dire about the situation that the second most promising job was with a woodworking magazine. Its benefits include "medical/dental, life and AD&D insurance". What is AD&D? Advanced Dungeons and Dragons insurance? The new media guy and I talked about the possibilities for a while. For example, if your 14th level elf got his rune shield stolen, they'd demand receipts, and it's a pain in the ass to get a receipt from the silver dragon of Glindarr, especially because you've got to slay the bastard to get his shield anyway, so he's not terribly well-disposed toward you to begin with. The claims adjustor would probably hit you with depreciation as well, meaning that the rune shield may have been worth a lot of gold coins when it was new, but it's 3000 years old now, so its value is diminished, so on and so forth, and let me tell you, getting comprehensive collision coverage on a bag of holding in a major urban area is going to cost you.

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