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.
Slow progression toward health. Basketball on Sundays.
Mogwai on Saturday.

Recent reading:
1 Gravity's Rainbow
Thomas Pynchon
2 Goya: Drawings From His Private Albums
Juliet Wilson-Bareau, Hayward Gallery
3 Edward Hopper: Portraits of America
Wieland Schmid
4 Notes from Underground
Fyodor Dostoevsky
5 Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel
J. A. Schmoll gen Eisenwerth

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

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

occasional updates:
Exploding Dog
Public Enemy
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
The Simpsons Archive

b-side wins again 2001

010323 The rapid expansion of my Sorry! Please Try Again bottle cap collection was halted by my illness this week. They say that you should drink a lot of fluids while sick, and caffeine dehydrates you, so I stopped buying soda in the morning. (So goes my half-assed understanding of body chemistry.) I felt better today, though, so I bought some. When I looked under the cap, I was shocked:


Someone actually wins these contests? Wow! I lead a charmed life, if you haven't noticed, but you probably have. A swagger entered my walk as I went to make the morning's set of photocopies. I won. A winner is me. Ha! I have not yet been notified about when they will fly me out to Hollywood to receive my prize, a free bottle of soda, but I hope it will not be soon, so I can bask in the glow a little while longer. If you would like me to touch your bottle cap in the hope that the magic will rub off, I can do that. Let me know.

In the meantime, I hope no one minds if I begin referring to all of the Oscar nominees this weekend by their first names.

Here are the results for a web search on cap'n crunch obit.

I brought my Marvin Gaye box set to work with me.

I'll tell you what's going on...

My new project, inspired by the long hours I have been spending in the copy room of late, is to find strange postings for the bulletin board. I'm not looking for bizarre or disgusting items -- more in the direction of things that you look at and you can kind of see why someone might have put it up, but it still weirds you out a little. For example, I found a worksheet entitled Some Areas To Consider about discussions that young athletes should have with their coaches, so I hung that up. It disappeared after two days, but I like to think that it did some good for the young athletes around here. I also hung up one of the envelopes that the company uses to send out surveys, with postage-paid in the stamp corner, and sealed it with a scrap of paper saying 'Yes!' inside. That eventually disappeared too. My work, whatever it is, continues.

Do you prefer this Italian neoclassical masterpiece with the 1950s housewife dress or without? It may have been censorship, but I thought the cheap polyester and stripes worked on this particular representation of the chubby goddess of love. And I know a thing or two about museums.

Webwasher is a fantastic, wonderful program that washes all of the banner ads off the webpages you visit. I knew something like this had to be possible, and it is, and it is good. I haven't tried it over a dialup, but there is no perceptible slowdown over the Beelzetron high-speed connection. You'd be surprised how nice most webpages look when the ads are removed. I talked to God, and God said I wasn't supposed to have to see any ads, so there's that.

(news) Call it the latest escalation in the war to lure relocating sports franchises, but Memphis and Louisville have enlisted two very big corporations in their bids to land the NBA team. The companies are offering up plenty of money -- they won't say how much. In return, they want more than just their corporate names in big letters on an arena. Tricon and FedEx see an unprecedented marketing opportunity to slap their brand on the NBA team itself. Forget the Memphis or Louisville Grizzlies. Instead, try the Kentucky Colonels, after KFC founder Col. Harland Sanders, or the Memphis Express, for the delivery company. "There's a marketing synergy there that is very, very powerful," Blum said. "It would allow us to put the KFC brand into the mainstream of professional basketball. That would be a very powerful thing for our brand." FedEx has the same thought. "We have a very broad appeal, one of the most recognizable brands in the world," FedEx spokeswoman Carla Boyd said. "I think it would all fit together."

It's getting harder to enjoy professional sports, and it's probably only going to be worse in the future. It's naive to believe that it's anything but commerce, of course, but I believed in the Chicago Bulls as a kid (and in the Bears, briefly), and I think it all inspired me to hold some pretty decent values as far as hard work, achievement and self-confidence go. I'm glad I was able to get that without being sold fried chicken. You really only have to go back as far as Muhammad Ali, who forfeited his world championship rather than endorse a war he didn't believe in, to see the dramatic difference between athletes with an actual point of view and Shaquille O'Neal, the post-Jordan walking brands.

Any mention of 'our brand', man, I hope that you choke.

010322 Today, I began a bold new experiment: bringing headphones and CDs to work. This could change everything if it works. Music can take over the battle against Beelzetron while I navigate and make repairs to the shield generator from my keyboard. It will be my Chewbacca! Also, it may never stop being funny to listen to chain-gang songs from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack at work, which could do wonders for my mood. I wasn't sure if it would be allowed, rules being what they are, and the 'team' communication metaphor being in full effect here, but then I made a crucial breakthrough: everything malevolent that I have done so far has only made them love me more, and besides, what are they going to do, bleed on me? On go the headphones. For great justice !!

A tale of censorship among "customizable" products that is somewhat less compelling than the one about Nike sweatshops but reason to defenestrate the bastards anyway: I ordered checks, and for a two dollar charge, the order form allowed customers to add a line of text to the check. The company had several suggestions like "All of my money is gone!" except with some pithy joke thrown in that I can't remember. If you weren't bowled over by the check company's in-house gag writers, you could enter something of your own. I typed A WINNER IS YOU, which is the victory screen from NES Pro Wrestling, and added CONGRATULATION underneath for good measure. I was sort of expecting them to correct my grammar, but they didn't print the line at all, which wasn't very nice.

The recruitment slogan for PriceWaterhouse Cooper is "Join us. Together we can change the world." Are they actively trying to sound like super-villains?

"We'll let you fire the death-ray!"

Yesterday was strange. I complained a few weeks ago about the sub-David Lynch art director who's taken over the world around me, and he is at it again: dizzy and and queasy, on the escalator down to get some macaroni and cheese, I saw a gorilla with the head of an old man. That one really got me for a moment. Two sneezes and a cough later, I remembered that I used to see a gorilla much like that handing out flyers for some gym in the area, except that the original gorilla had a gorilla head, and this gorilla did not. The guy was on his lunch break, and he hadn't bothered to take off any of his gorilla body except the head. Fine. But, boy, that guy was miserable. I always assumed that teenagers did that sort of job for spare cash, but there was a very sad, defeated, completely broken old man inside this gorilla suit. He was the ultimate symbol of despair, an impossible to articulate but unspeakably powerful indictment against everyone and everything, and, damn it, my work day is hard enough without miserable monkeys about, so stop it, you film-school hack.

Finnish Mafia: Surly and pensive, the Finnish mafia (or Maafiia) carry the instruments of their brutal trade -- curved fish-scaling knives -- in custom-made violin cases. Their business gets taken care of quickly, and it always looks like an accident (not surprising, when you think about how many accidents could happen around curved fish-scaling knives anyway). In a chilly land with 231 synonyms for "morose," these names still make the blood run cold: "Sisu" Hyvarinen, "Aapo the Akatemiaprofessori," "Big Erkki," and the dark-suited figure of mystery known only as "Tumma Puku."

I want to go live in Scandinavia. That vowel surplus could come in handy.

010321 There is too much snot in my head. Holy shit, there is a lot of snot. I am useless today, cannot think past all of the snot, dizzy and hallucinating, turning in the most productive day of work in my seven months at Beelzetron. I am too sick for scheming. I try to generate ideas for the webpage but they have the intellectual equivalent of snot all over them. With so much snot in my head, anything that comes out of it is inevitably going to concern snot in one form or another. Turn the lights off, take me home.

An activity in improv class last night involved me talking in a western drawl. Now it's stuck. Cursed snot. I shake my head, hoping the drawl will fall out, but the snot is sticky.

Way I figure it, the webpage has been on a pretty good run for the last few days, I'm due for one of these. This is probably the work of the Belgian mafia. Who's wearing the mold wholly now, laughing boy?

If you are a huge asshole, you could probably get into this: kind of like the NCAA college basketball tournament, except for consulting companies. Beelzetron is marching confidently through the brackets. I think they're in the Sweet 16 now. I am torn between ignoring the entire despicable thing and marking my calendar to vote against them several hundred times in a lobotomized version of a statement (like I did with the Vote For Your Favorite Super Bowl Ad websites).

If you would like an I woke up in a strange place souvenir, fun for kids and crackheads alike, email me and I will send you one of the Beelzetron logo golf pins that are in the employee kitchen. Alternatively, if you are a prison inmate and have just had your shiv confiscated, email me and I will send you one of the Beelzetron logo golf pins that are in the employee kitchen. While supplies last, that is. Lot of golfin' fuckers around here.

010320 It's always a relief to be through the Ides of March.

After captivating the world with last week's pirate expose, I have now been drawn into a web of intrigue, forcing me to extend yesterday's mafia-in-review segment. First, in the news:

(news) Four cosmonauts are refusing to take part in NASA training without their millionaire comrade. The cosmonauts' message to NASA on Monday was clear: all of us train or none of us train. With that, the cosmonauts two prime crew members and their backups left a meeting at the entrance to Johnson Space Center in Houston. They were accompanied by Dennis Tito, a California businessman who has bought a ticket for a Russian flight to the international space station next month. "They did not begin their scheduled training ... because Mr. Tito was not going to be included in their crew training," NASA spokeswoman Debra Rahn explained.

This sounds like a case for the Russian mafia. Just wait: tomorrow, all of the NASA people are going to wake up...without their shoes. Where the hell are our shoes?, they will ask. No one will know. They will eventually go to work in their slippers. The Russian mafia will claim responsibility. Everyone will scratch their heads. Why did the Russian mafia take our shoes? What are they going to do with them? No answers...and no shoes. Then, written in mustard, a threat: Mr Tito flies...or every Simon and Garfunkel boxed set in Minsk gets the axe. Wait a minute, people say. Is the Russian mafia trying to make a music connection? Tito wasn't in Simon and Garfunkel. He was in the Jackson Five. Nope, sorry. The Russian mafia doesn't answer questions. Hope your record players are still working, fools. Don't fuck with the Russian mafia.

Then, as evidence of the danger I place myself in as a hard-hitting webpage writer, the following email arrived today:

Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2001 16:14:41 -0000
From: Jan Razor Waffle VanDerHuis (
Subject: your incomplete webpage could make some hurt to you

Hello ignorant yankee boy
I am the razor waffle, not one you will like to be fucking with for I am the long arm of one Belgian Mafia. The exploits of us are not seen on your webpage though you give the russians so much credit for playing internet games. We are not scared of internet sites. we cut the fishwife and they will be next. You best to recognize as, your wu tang says, that we are not a small crime group but one of the most advanced in diamond smuggling and porno pirating and football. We are kind to you in showing respect and not being in your house right now cutting you like a herring. we are giving you a chance to pay us back the respect of an international mob. One other thing we in the Belgian mafia are better at is fucking your momma! How does this please you? Yes? So type yourself carefully, or you will hear from us not on the hotmail account. You will hear from us like the the fluffy pigeon hears my cock in his ass.

Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

Intense. I heard about Mario Puzo receiving death threats for writing The Godfather, but now, facing the prospect of being dealt with in a herring-esque fashion, I know how he felt. The tension. The fear. The inclination to cast Christopher Lambert as the lead in an adaptation of one of the works you risked his life to produce. Here, then, is the Belgian mafia in review:

Belgian mafia: deserve a lot of credit for their media research capabilities. The other mafias take much longer to respond to publications about them. They are very well-developed in terms of cool nicknames distributed among their members; other mafias, like the Japanese and Russian, are way behind in this regard. No one knows quite what a Razor Waffle is, but everyone knows that it would be rather unpleasant to eat one. The nickname anticipates derogatory impressions that people might have about Belgium, e.g. good for waffles, not much else. Yes, it says, those impressions are correct...but those waffles will fuck you up. They are very precise, also. I doubt that even your average orinthologist could locate a fluffy pigeon's ass in such a quick manner. They have definitely isolated the three best criminal areas for a mafia to focus. On the other hand, you have to feel bad for the Belgian mafia that some jerk registered before they could get to it. Those Network Solutions guys are real shitheads about domain squatting, but you have to expect that the Sicilians wouldn't let themselves get stonewalled like that. Not only do the Belgian Mafia have to use Hotmail for their email needs, but they couldn't even get the unadorned belgianmafia hotmail address. Will whoever has it please hand the password over to the Belgian Mafia? They are obviously working very hard and don't need headaches like this.

I went to the Post Office to buy some stamps. The machine was broken, and the clerks were unmotivated, and Tristero was nowhere to be found, so waiting in the lengthy line was my only choice. There were two cheerful tech guys in front of me. There was really nothing that could happen that did not stimulate their pleasure centers; waiting in line was fun, declared one, because it was so quaint, being at the post office, he meant, here he was, at the post office! The other agreed. My pleasure centers remained frustratingly unstimulated.

The afternoon had been set aside for writing cover letters, but frantic needy executives swallowed the first half and trying to translate further communiques from the Belgian mafia occupied the second. I couldn't just let it go, though. Would I wind up like the fishwife?

Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2001 21:31:53 -0000
From: karl DerVreis (
Subject: opwaarderen

Hallo Marc Heiden.

Wij zich opwaarderen uw vlug responsie voor onze dreiging. Zulks is het zin wij zoals voor verrichten zaken. MIJ zich verontschuldigen wanneer naar de scheermes wafel watertje ter zijn poging voor verschrikken u te onze. Hij zit te zoet mens slechts somwijlen, welwillend van te rul vuurmond. Naar de vol zaken van zit zowaar te zeer ter mijn reet. Onze server geweest heen-en-weer geloop dol en zowaar te teef te halen een ISP voor behandelen u wanneer u vieren slachten naar de technologie vertegenwoordigers. Tenzij wij zitten uitlokken vervolgens, u mei overwegen uw leven reserve. Wanneer u schipperen te halen zulks vertalen, u macht vondst uiterlijk welk schimmel zit hierachter op helemaal.

Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

Nice how they've all got individual Hotmail accounts. Here is the best I could do for a translation:

We appreciate your quick response to our threat. That is the way we like to perform transactions. My apologizing if the razor waffle was to have effect to startle you to us. He is within a sweet woman but sometimes, cooperative as a loose gun (cannon?). The whole transaction was really a sore to my rear end. Our server was intoxicated and a vixen (bitch?) to reach our ISP until you pay or butcher the technology representatives. Unless we are provoke further, you may consider your life spare. Whenever you manage to reach those translate, you might find out what mold is worn wholly.

That email was a relief. It sorted out a lot of things, allowing me to proudly announce production on:



as Karl derVreis


as The Razor Waffle


010319 One of the other employees questioned whether I should be shooting rubber bands at the fax machine. I smiled sweetly and told her I didn't think she was qualified to make that judgement. We laughed. I think the assumption on her part was that I was going to stop shooting rubber bands at the fax machine, but shit, I had a lot of copies to make.

I hope, at some point, to become known as the shootin'-est hombre in room 1048.

(news) This attack was mounted by several different hacker groups. It was a coordinated, funded attack. It was coordinated and funded by one of the Russian organized crime groups (say "Mafia"). And, as we know, those groups are also closely tied to what's left of Russia's splintered army. Parties involved in the hacking are contacting the business and financial institutions who've had their data stolen, and blackmailing them (you pay=we won't spill the beans to the rest of the world that we stole your data=you won't lose customers). Most importantly, we have no idea what they intend to actually *do* with the data they've stolen.

Of the many mafias in this world, which one is the best? My experience is limited, of course, since my criminal behaviour tends toward robot punch-fist / laser-eyes type activities rather than the organized extortion / blackmailing sort, but I try to keep up on these things. Here are my impressions:

British mafia: not terribly good, don't figure much in their country's history. They make for compelling reading, as in Graham Greene's Brighton Rock, but that's a perfect case-in-point: even though Pinky receives his comeuppance in the end, the rest of the mafia really shouldn't be letting a 17 year old gang lord keep at it for two hundred pages. That's too polite for a proper mafia. When you think of crime in Britain, you think of Jack the Ripper and Guy Fawkes and the IRA and all that; the British mafia simply don't seem to have the desire to achieve.

Italian, or Sicilian mafia: obviously, these guys are the badasses. They're where it all began, and no one messes around with them. If there's anything to be said against the Sicilian mafia, it's that they allowed a movie to be made about them with Christopher Lambert in the title role. Could be evidence of a self-effacing sense of humor, though. The organized crime equivalent of a blue-chip stock.

Japanese mafia: it's hard to get reliable information about these guys. They are called the Yakuza and they have a lot of tattooes: I learned that from Detective Comics Annual #3, where Batman had to recover a sword or something and they fought. Rumor has it that they've been in decline over the last decade or so, but I don't have any statistics to back that up, so I could be wrong. They deserve credit for being late-bloomers in their country's history yet managing to create this weird ambient blend of ninja, samurai and gunman in their public image. Still, though, they're not much of a presence on the international scene and the inconsistency in their reputation has to count against them; I'm going to mark this one an incomplete until I find out who wins in Mafia vs Ninja.

American mafia: basically the Beatles of organized crime. They've been documented from every angle, and some of their country's greatest films have been about them; you have to give them credit for maintaining that allure and fascination, decades after they peaked. On the other hand, a crucial part of the legend is the fact that they have peaked; that the best times were in the past, that they lost their grip, that gradually it all went wrong. Had their opportunities (Prohibition, Las Vegas) and seized them; deserve credit for the remarkable variety among them (Irish, Jewish, Italian) as a whole. However, they really have to strain and go to lurid ends to match the cruelty, ruthlessness and unaccountability of legitimate business (Monsanto, Shell, etc) in their country, and you can't allow yourself to be shown up like that. Also, the beats of their primary musical ambassador, Frank Sinatra, are not quite equal to those of the Wu-Tang Clan, who threaten to supersede them in the next century.

Russian mafia: vastly underrated. I mean, read that excerpt above: they pulled a crime and no one has any idea what they're planning to do with that they stole. Goofballs! They saw their moment, much like the American mafia many years ago, and they strode confidently into the chaos of post-communist Russia to become the dominant governing force in the country. You've got to like those KGB / army ties. They deserve credit for having a reputation that ranges from computer hacking to toilet paper hoarding. Also, everyone knows that Russian names are the best in the world next to Finland, so that will pay major dividends as individual Russian mobsters become well known. These guys are really the up-and-comers of the organized crime scene, so I'd buy stock in them while it's still cheap.

There may well be other significant mafias, but I do not have enough information to report upon them.

Here's hoping that this entry does not get me shot in the head. I will certainly allow any mafia that feels it has been treated unfairly to state their case in future entries: just email me. I am committed to the truth.

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