About. What's going on. Sunshine plus one. Previously. 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 4).
Dizzy for the foreseeable future.
Ankle pain.
Champaign this weekend.

sometimes, I also write for
Thinking About Hesterman,
because I'm like that.

Recent reading:
1 Gravity's Rainbow
Thomas Pynchon

There are many words on each page of Gravity's Rainbow, and there are many pages. The words are interesting, but they do not always have much to do with the words that are right next to them, so it takes a while to go find the right words from other parts of the book or just file them away until suitable ones come up, and I think part of the point is that they might not, but I have to play along because Tom worked so hard on it.

2 Chicago's Far North Side: An Illustrated History of Rogers Park and West Ridge
Neal Samors, Mary Jo Doyle

This is the neighborohood where I grew up, sort of, aside from all the other places (I have yet to find an illustrated history of the trailer park, nor do I hold out much hope). I live there now, though I'll probably move this fall. It's nice. The buildings are pretty and the lake's right there. The parts from 1850 - 1930 are awesome, tracing wilderness to swampland to economic boom. It kind of degenerates into rambling old people anecdotes after that, though.

4 Travesties
Tom Stoppard

I acted out as much of this as possible while reading it until my leg got tired because it doesn't work (my leg, not the play). The cast features James Joyce, V.I. Lenin ("I am the walrus?") and Dada founder Tristan Tzara (of whom I am a big fan). Very funny. I thought about producing it during college right after taking a class on Joyce, but I was doing like seven of my own plays at the same time, so I never got around to it.

4 Goya: Drawings From His Private Albums
Juliet Wilson-Bareau

I bought this at the Hayward Gallery in London. The exhibit was the proverbial bomb, and the catalogue features top-notch reproductions of the beautiful, scary, funny drawings. It goes without saying that we never had anything this good at the Krannert Art Museum in Champaign.

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
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

010420 Here are two stories about peanuts: while driving home after the basketball game where I sprained my ankle, still oblivious to the severity of the damage, I decided it might be a good idea to buy some ice cream. I had rented some old German expressionist silent films, and I had this vision of a rather pleasant evening spent upside down, ankle elevated, eating ice cream and watching Emil Jannings react in horror to various things. The store was on the border between Wilmette and Evanston. The borderlands between Wilmette and Evanston are usually not too fierce or wild, even late at night. Tonight, however, there was excitement: an ambulance raced into the parking lot. I stepped aside for the driver, who headed quickly into the store, and then I limped in myself; after a brief search, I found a suitable carton of ice cream, and headed for the checkout. The ambulance driver was ahead of me in line. She was buying some peanuts. I thought about it, how I was injured and how ambulance drivers deal with a lot of injuries, and, really, how much I want to be respected by ambulance drivers and will emulate them in hopes of receiving their approval. So I bought some peanuts. Good thing, too, because I couldn't walk by the next morning. That was my last chance to buy peanuts for a while.

Here is the second story about peanuts, longer and less narrative-driven than the first, more of a character study: I was riding the el home from work yesterday. The train is moderately crowded when I get on, becomes intensely crowded at the next stop, and is fairly empty by the time I leave. Sometimes, probability being what it is, all of the long-term riders will be at the same end of the car. I sat next to a woman who kept switching back and forth between a crossword puzzle and a mystery novel hardcover with library-plastic and raised letters. Her brow was furrowed for the entire ride. The next seat was perpendicular from ours. A mother and her little boy were in that one. The mother was an excruciatingly stupid person. She was dirty, and she kept scrunching up her face and scratching herself in energetic bursts; whenever her son talked to her, she'd answer him in incomprehensible grunts. She was also very short. I separated that into its own sentence because I didn't want anyone to infer causality between her height and her overwhelming unpleasantness. Her son, on the other hand, although probably no more than four years old, was a genius. If you listened to him for just a couple seconds, it was obvious. He had two Mighty Morphin Power Rangers figures, the red and the pink ones. Those haven't been popular with kids for a few years now, and his mother probably only got them for him because they were cheap. He didn't mind, though. They had adventures all over the seats. He saw some peanut shells on the floor of the train, and tried to engage his mother in a discussion of how the peanut shells could possibly be on the train, of all the steps in a peanut's existence that take it from being grown to being an empty shell on a train. His mother, fucking idiot, didn't care. So the boy had the red Power Ranger offer the pink Power Ranger some peanuts, and then the pink one told the red one about a dream she'd had where "there was a clown, and the clown had a lady, and the lady had peanuts, and they all went to the hospital."

Marc Heiden. What does he even do?

After I typed up the real-life pirate fax last week, my friend Bill said he wanted to go after the treasure it promised. Bill has always harbored a secret desire to join the financial elite that he fervently criticizes, e.g. take his own private jet to protest in Quebec. So that one's for Bill, but lucky for everyone else, another fax arrived today. To recap: this office is listed in some trade magazines as the headquarters of the largest consulting firm in the world, so it gets a fair amount of crank faxes. It gets a fair amount of faxes in general, and if I get to them first, they are either shredded or kept in my folder of souvenirs from this terrible place. The following fax arrived today, exactly as you find it here:

TEL: 27-83-742-1800
FAX: 27-73-1695-229



I got your fax number and other details from international chamber of commerce and industry, South Africa. I am MR. GREG MBATHA JR from the Republic of Angola. My father was the Personal Assistant to the Exterior Affairs Minister in the Government of the Angolan rebel leader, JONAS SAVIMBI.

As the mid term of the rebellion which is still on till this date, my father thinking fast decided to send my younger brother and I out of Angola because the fate of our country was yet to be decided. My brother and I left Angola for South Africa with a total sum of US$9.5 Million (Nine Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars), sealed in a diplomatic box meant for the purchase of arms from South Africa.

On arrival in South Africa, because we are political asylum seekers, we were not allowed to operate a bank account. So with the instruction of my father, I deposited the money in a security company. Though I did not reveal the content of the box to the Security Company nor did I declare the actual content to them, because we wanted to be on a safer side. I told them that the box belongs to my foreign affairs affiliate who is the beneficiary of them item. Unfortunately, because of my father's political position and influence he was assassinated together with our mother.

Since then, we have been lookin for a reliable and trustworthy person to help us transfer this money into a foreign account overseas prior to investment in that country or any other conductive countrt overseas. But it has to be a less tax demanding country. Luckily, I ran into your number and other details and decided to contact you and see if you can be of any help to us.

We intend to share this money (US$ 9.5 M) as follows:
1. 15% of the total sum goes to you if you assist us in transferring this money into any of of your overseas account.
2. 5% of the total sum will be set aside to offset all bills and expenses incurred in the process of this transaction.
3. 80% of the total sum will be for my brother and I for investment in any country which you will be a guide to us.

Please, note that this transaction is risk free on your side as we have concluded all modalities to aid this transfer. Should this meet your utmost consideration, please give me your earliest reply through phone before sending a fax. Be kind to provide me with your communication facilities fo a hitch-free and confidential link. Feel free to ask any questions you consider necessary.

The confidential in this transaction cannot be overemphasized as I trust and believe that you will oblige us the security and attention it demand. Please treat this transaction with absolute confidentiality.

Your sincerely,

So if anyone has always wanted to hand over their bank account number to some Angolan ex-freedom fighters, here is the chance you've been waiting for. Although not quite as remarkable as the guy from last week, whose dad scored ten million dollars through farming instead of stealing it from a fragile third-world economy in the middle of a rebellion, this is still an excellent opportunity. MR MBATHA, like his predecessor, knows the importance of concluding the modalities. As anyone who's dealt with millionaire refugees knows, there is nothing more annoying than a modality that's been left up in the air.

010419 Beelzetron, the consulting company where I draw a paycheck and keep a low profile, announced a $1 billion dollar IPO today. Most of the people with any power or influence are out of the office today, having gone to a meeting in Dallas for the vote, so very few people are around to bother me. Unfortunately, underslept and wracked with leg pain, having exhausted the few stimuli available to me through other ventures, I don't have much to write about.

You are not abandoned, though. Read the following:

Weep Magazine has a story about London that was written by Pete Gray, a friend of mine, and I am the silent half of the 'we' that is mentioned in the story (although the writing is Pete's alone). It's pretty exceptional. Stories about depressed young intellectuals in foreign countries are the best. If we had more time, we would have certainly added bullfighting and seduction to the restless moping in search of something genuine that we achieved.

Thinking of Hesterman has two long-ass show reviews that I wrote this week. The first is about Hey Mercedes (Monday), and the second is about Arab Strap (Thursday). They are both very cheeky, which is a fine attribute of mine that tends to get overshadowed on this page by how wily and charming I am. Hesterman uses Blogger, and I'm fairly new at it, so I don't know how to link to the specific posts. Just scroll down, you'll work it out. Some of my friends also write there. It's pretty good.

010418 It's hard sometimes. I was walking away from the copier, thinking very intently about monkeys who dress up as 1950s scientists with glasses and lab coats and pipes (for an example see bottom), and how the image of the scientist monkey has never really updated to the current decade, which would feature a monkey in jeans and a t-shirt with a short, functional haircut who looks at things very intently and listens to abstract techno during marathon, hallucinatory sessions at a computer, low voice with a lot of bass as opposed to the trebly screeching of their predecessors, less active and hyper in the traditional monkey vein, to be sure, but the idea of monkeys doing genome sequencing is infinitely promising and more importantly there is a generation on the rise that has never known the old Paternal Scientist archetype, not even through films, I mean, we never knew them in person but we had the educational film strips and MST3K to help us along, but they haven't, so they will be unequipped to comprehend the cheerful and cheeky monkey scientist, and therefore I was trying to resolve this disparity and come up with a New Monkey Scientist that is realistic, since monkeys are funniest when they resonate with truth as we know it, but also functional in terms of zany antics, and I was thinking that this was a rather ambitious project, perhaps too much for one man alone, and that I'd probably need to consult with real scientists about it, but I was coming up with a solid research model, a good basis, and then someone interrupted me and asked how the ankle was doing. By the time the mundane conversation about how I used to be on crutches and now am not on crutches was over, many of my designs had the intellectual equivalent of coffee spills all over them. I don't think people realize how hard I work. They need to leave me alone unless they have something interesting to say.

In mortal terror news, I read the following today:

(news) CHICAGO -- The cyborg aims for the light and wheels forward. Another light flashes and the cyborg turns. Again and again, like a bull in a ring, the cyborg charges, sometimes veering right, sometimes left, sometimes moving straight ahead, always looking for the light. The cyborg is no RoboCop, but it is a revolutionary experiment in combining a mechanical device with living tissue. The robot is controlled by an immature lamprey eel brain that was removed, kept alive in a special solution and attached to the hockey-puck-sized robot by wires so it can receive signals from the device's electronic eyes and send commands to move the machine's wheels.

THEY ARE MAKING CYBORG EELS. WHAT THE FUCK. I cannot think of a single worse idea, ever. They act like this is something good. How can you be so stupid as to think that the cyborg eels will not a) be evil and b) fuck our shit up? If you have to make cyborgs out of anything, god damn it, you don't go and select the single most evil creature on the planet, after giant squids, maybe, I haven't decided, but the point is, we're looking at the extinction of humanity in twenty years, tops. Seriously. Cyborg eels, you fucking idiots, stop it! Humanity has learned nothing. Nothing, I tell you, the horrors of the last century have all been for naught because people still don't know better than to take eels and give them robot bodies to run around. The only damn things that have kept the eels at bay to this point is their dependence on water and their lack of opposable thumbs. How long before they sort that out? They'll have crude weapons in ten minutes, rocket launchers in twenty. Oh, you fucking people. I bet you think I'm kidding. I have never told a joke in my entire life! CYBORG EELS!

010417 There is a rumor on FuckedCompany.com today that Beelzetron is about to lay off 5000 employees. When I heard about it, I decided to take off my shoes and socks. Making photocopies barefoot was weird, and annoying, because discarded staples were on the floor. The new media guy happened to read the story seconds before the tech crew heard about it, and now it can't be accessed from computers within the company, so most people are still oblivious to their imminent doom. (1) There has been a hiring freeze for the last few weeks, so the rumor does have some credibility. Of course, I'll be kept, because that's how these idiots work. I announced my preemptive apologies to no one in particular a few minutes ago. No one's really paying attention to me today.

I left the crutches at home. It was beginning to look like a choice between my shoulders/wrists and my right ankle, so I went for numbers and chose the former. The ankle held up well until the early afternoon, when it began screaming the ankle equivalent of obscenities. It's pretty comfy now, though, being barefoot and all. Getting rid of the crutches was just nice from an interpersonal standpoint too. Now I don't have to talk to anyone about them. The crutches gave strangers (2) an 'in' past my normally immaculately disinterested expression. Why do they assume that you want to talk about your injury? Why are all conversations with strangers either mundane and boring (e.g. weather, oh how'd you hurt your ankle) or incomprehensible (e.g. some guy at the Empty Bottle last night who kept insisting to my friends that President Clinton had stashed several tons of pot in a secret hiding place while serving a prison term prior to his election). Why don't they ever come up to you and talk to you about monkeys? Some co-worker did compliment me on the monkey that I chose for my desktop image, but that's just part of their insidious plot to figure out what it is that I do here. I'm tired of all these insidious plots.

If I ever start a suburban housing subdivision, I will call it Insidious Plots. It will be the best subdivision. Like Elk Grove, which has an grove with actual elk, there will be a field where actual insidious plots can frolic and fight over the females of the species.

After writing that, I rolled away from my desk to rub my feet. My supervisor, who works on the other side of the floor and is rarely over here, happened to walk by right then. She stopped and stared. Look, if they put up with the rest of this crap, I can't see how my bare feet are crossing any new lines.

(1) As all megalomaniacal geniuses know, it's so cute when they're like that.
(2) 'Strangers' used here synonomously with 'brain-eating zombies'.

010416 Here is a brilliant idea for a new 'reality' show, since they are all the rage: One man. Maybe two. Or a woman. It doesn't matter. Okay, seven men and women. And then seven more...who poke them. Everywhere these people go, the other people follow, poking them. Oww, stop it. Poke. Oww. The show follows their adventures as they try to explain to their friends and family why this person is poking them, and they have to integrate the poker into their conversations or else it'll be awkward, all the while coping with how annoying it is to have someone constantly poking you. The person who puts up with it longest wins! Everyone wins, with a show this good. Hurrah for my amazing ideas.

Sentences from the other side of my cubicle wall, a 'creative' ad meeting in progress:

I don't think Jim is going to respond well to a man with a jetpack on.

Clearly, Jim is a dick. Throwing in random guys with jetpacks is the best idea this two-bit marketing department has had since I was locked in here. Jim. What does he know? If I was looking to hire a consulting company, I would totally go for the one that has jetpacks. They need to fire that guy. As far as I can tell, all Big Jim ever does is say 'yes' or 'no' to the global ad director's suggestions and demand a fruit plate whenever he's in the office. He loves my time report memos, but fire him anyway and hire a guy with a goddam jetpack. And then the guy with the jetpack will make jetpacks part of the dress code. Holy shit, I make things better just by thinking about them. The power...of my mind!

Friday turned out okay. Good things started to happen in the second half and they wound up overtaking the bad things detailed on this webpage in the end, so it qualified as a Good Friday after all. For example, I had some fucking fantastic tortilla soup. I didn't even know they made soup with tortillas. If you had told me about it, I'd have said pshaw, that's like bread soup, now tend them fields or I'll tell the cops you're here. But it turns out that making soup with tortillas is a great idea. I love it when soup surprises you. You think you know all about it, have it pretty well sussed out, and then soup goes left. Who knew soup had a move to its left? I'm going to try making soup from some other nonstandard bases, like the plastic that cheese food product singles come in. I'll let you know if it's good.

I thought about officially changing my name to The Inscrutable Marc Heiden, or The Wily Heiden, or perhaps just I Consider Myself Quite Charming, but then I decided I didn't want to be one of those guys who changes his name and thinks it's a statement or something. I mean, I just want people to know, because it might save them some time if they were advised right away about certain things, but it's no big deal. We have all the time in the world.

The best thing, from a marketing standpoint, is that http://www.stop-poking-me.com is available for my incredible new TV show. Can you believe the luck? It's all so right.

Back in the day.