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 stable.

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

Recent reading:
1 Gravity's Rainbow
Thomas Pynchon

Fantastic, of course. It's about paranoids like 'Ulysses' is about the Irish. Intense in parts, incredibly funny too. There are some bits that are maddening because you can't work out what they have to do with anything else, and many other bits that you just have to stop and stare at, awed at what words can do. And there's always that hush that comes over you as you near the end of a fiendishly long book. Nice.

2 A 'Gravity's Rainbow' Companion : Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel
Steven C. Weisenburger

The novel is fairly comprehensible on its own, but it's densely packed with references, trivia and patterns that make a book like this handy to have along for occasional consulting - things you could get away with skipping, but damn it, you know that means something...

The Amazon.com reviews say it's pretty free about giving away the ending and other plot developments, so caution must be exercised in usage.

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.

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
Ron Rodent

art 'n resources:
Wes Anderson
Antarctica Jobs
Tim Burton
Douglas Coupland
Eatonweb Portal
The Simpsons Archive

b-side wins again 2001

010427 I spent a few hours reading press releases from the Chinese government news bureau, and I was going to devote today to writing a serious, thought-provoking essay about it, because the entire situation is a huge mess and it is my opinion that there will probably be a war sooner or later.

But then, I don't know, I never got around to doing it.

For the very first time since last August, though, I finished a cover letter and sent out a job application! So that counts for something. I'm not going to tell you where, because I don't trust a single goddam one of you. Except you. But the rest of them, you know how they are. Espionage, man, I wouldn't put it past them, they want to keep me here so I'll keep doing this webpage. I'm going to escape, though. And then you and me are going to get a milkshake.

Here are other efforts from today, submitted for your approval: Reasoning With Him and Zany Time Reports Memo IV.

010426 I have found a spectacular new game to play at work. Earlier this week, I was writing something that called for repeated use of the word 'motherfucker' and was tired of arguing with the spellcheck about it, so I went ahead and added it to the dictionary. Then I realized that all of the computers in the office share certain network resources, and the spellcheck dictionary is one of them; so now, whenever I don't have anything else to do, I add common misspellings to the dictionary. I have seven different spellings for 'internet' in there already.

I was feeling very paranoid this morning, so I went to the bathroom and danced like a robot in front of the mirror for twenty minutes. That calmed me down. Now I am a little sleepy. After manic phases end, I feel like melting candles inside. Hey, hey, that's the price you pay.

My friend Bill has a really interesting series of photos from the protests in Quebec City. The page takes a while to load, even if you have a high speed connection, but it's worth checking out. As a photojournalist, Bill focuses on the parts of a story that are usually left uncovered by the mainstream media, such as peoples' shoulders and lightposts. You have to see the entire thing, though. There's this genuine sense of momentum that comes across, like everyone is heading somewhere and shit's going to go down when they arrive, like something too big to ignore is happening and you're along instead of sitting at your desk, trying to avoid notice while receiving paychecks from the face of corporate greed, paychecks covered in snot, because they come from the nose of the face of corporate greed. Or something. I lost control of that metaphor. Shit. Anyway, another thing you notice from the photos is an encouraging trend among hip young activists to use giant puppets in their protests. I am strongly in favor of that. Puppets are way better than strained rhymes with the word 'justice'. Hurrah for the youth! A hard rain is going to come and wipe these streets clean, or, if the rain is otherwise occupied, a big puppet be along shortly to sub in for it.

Losing my job update: I arrived an hour and a half late today, because, I don't know, my bed was comfy. The player-hater supervisor comes by once a morning to talk about kids with the woman who works across from me, and I happened to have MS Word up while she was here, so that looked good. Excel would have been even better, but then I'd have the stink of Excel all over me.

I brought my copy of the Clockwork Orange soundtrack to work with me today. I had a cockamamie plan involving hijacking the PA and playing it on repeat to harass all the consultants, but I don't know if they even have a CD player down there. Anyway, to paraphrase my friend Eamon, if I was to say anything over this public address system, it would be "Wu-Tang, Motherfucker."

Here is a PowerPoint Slide that I made!

I'm just a killer for your love.

010425 Hiro came by my desk and we talked for a while about who is going to lose his job first. Lum is safe, busy as she is, but our player-hater supervisor is after the two of us. Hiro seems to be under more suspicion than I am. The player-hater has been sending him cryptic emails lately and won't return any of his responses. I've been showing up two hours late every day and just coming and going as I please depending on the amount of sunshine outside, so I guess I'm not around enough to raise suspicion like he is. That's more of my celebrated wiliness for you.

For the fifth time, a stranger came up to me and asked if I was a veteran. I have absolutely no idea why someone would think that. I'm young, I wear sweaters to work, I spend most of my time moping or reading; nothing militaristic about that, I'd think, but other people see differently. Okay.

A homeless guy asked me for eighty cents because he was a biomedicine student at UIC and a war veteran and had been shot in the leg and his house burned down and his ID was in his house so he couldn't get help from the war office. I gave him a dollar. Hey, you know, everybody has bad days.

010424 When I was in college, I participated enthusiastically in economic disadvantage, and I had to employ wily means to find food every day. One tactic was to keep track of clubs that were having recruitment meetings, because they usually offered pizza as an enticement to attend. Simple enough. If there was a sign-up list as sentry at the door, I gave them an old roommate's name and email address. He needed to get out more, why not? I never stooped low enough to go to a College Republicans meeting, of course, because there's no point to eating free food if you can't keep it down. The high point to that era was an informational meeting about applying for jobs and internships at Hertz Rent-A-Car. It was in a mid-sized lecture hall, and there was a speech going on when I arrived. I was running late for a rehearsal, so I walked in front the podium to the pizza table, took a few slices and a soda, walked back across the stage, waved to the speaker (who had stopped to stare at me) and exited to a round of applause from the students.

Anyway, I thought of that because I was walking around the office a moment ago and I saw a meeting in progress that had a catering cart, so I walked in and took a few cookies. Then I turned and left, eliciting snickers from some of the consultants. Still got it!

A big sign appeared in the lobby today: for the rock and roll consultants in its ranks, the company is throwing a free Hootie and the Blowfish + Poi Dog Pondering concert at the United Center. I heard rumors it would be Neil Diamond, which would be fucking hysterical, but one of the other temp-o-nauts worked on the project and told me that Neil is a pain in the ass, so Hootie stepped right in. If there are any Hootie fans among the seven-point-four million people who read this webpage every day, I will be happy to hook you up. Otherwise, I'll probably, you know, be somewhere else when it's going on.

You can see where they were coming from when they made the choice. The average consultant here is 26-29 years old, and would have been in college during Hootie's moment in the sun (circa 1994-5); plenty of their fond frat house memories are soundtracked by "Only Wanna Be With You".

Man, I wish they'd have gone for Neil. I'd be unemployed by the end of that concert, but it would totally be worth it.

marchFIRST, the worst-named consulting company in the world after Xpedior or this one, went bankrupt and died. I've always harbored a lingering irritation toward them for a late night during my initial post-college job search that I spent looking through listings and trying to figure out what the hell marchFIRST did. They were my first experience with the vague forward-looking platitudes of this idiotic industry that dares not speak its own name, consulting. I was lost, but I was also going through an unfortunate monomaniacal phase at the time and kept trying to find out. Eventually, I gave up. Who would work at a place like that? People who sign up with employment agencies and lack professional ambition, as it turns out.

010423 There is a wire crossed in my mother's phone connection that is causing all calls to her condo to be re-routed to a sassy woman on the south side who sounds like Nell Carter from TV's Gimme A Break. The sassy woman is not very helpful. She answered the phone, and I was taken aback to hear sassiness in a voice that I had never known to be sassy; I said Mom?, and she said Yes?, and I said Uh, Mom?, and she said Yes?, so I had to ask I'm sorry, are you my mother?, and at the age of twenty-three, that's kind of awkward.

Some of my earliest memories are being afraid of Nell Carter. I was honestly scared that she was going to come and get me, and then I don't know what; yell, be all sassy at me, I'm not sure. It was all the more plausible because my grandfather was a dead ringer for Carl Kanisky, the ornery chief of police who was the show's father figure. Nobody could ever reassure my fears; I mean, if your son is scared of monsters under the bed, fine, show him that there are no monsters and you're done with it, but how do you tell a three-year old that the sassy housekeeper is not going to come get him? You don't, because you're in denial that your child is crazy.

I think I had a healthier reaction to Gimme A Break, though, than the guy who, refusing to accept the show's cancellation in 1987, wrote full seasons of fan fiction to follow the characters through 1991. The last episode is an amazing thing to see: this stream of consciousness, rambling breakdown with character names thrown in from time to time as its only connection to reality. You can tell that the carrying the weight of the Gimme A Break mantle alone for all those years took a toll on the poor guy.

Back in the day.