I woke up in a strange place

By Marc Heiden, since 1997.
See also: a novel about a monkey.

July 11, 2005

Every day is like camping when you're unemployed and you have no furniture. My comforter is spread out like a sleeping bag on the living room floor, carefully positioned underneath the ceiling fan, and there are two pillows within a three-foot radius of it at any given moment. I sleep there, serene and untroubled by the heat. I'm concerned that I might develop a complex about the bedroom, which I haven't used. I put the alarm clock in there to stake my claim, but there hasn't been a reason to wake up yet. I could drag the comforter in there to sleep at night, but then I'd be sprawled out on bare carpet when I watched television in the living room by the light of day, and that seems uncivilized.

(YO, the alarm clock represents the Spanish flag, in case my metaphors are too DANGEROUS for you!! And civilization is a Ronco showroom!!)

I saw an ad on craigslist about some office chairs that you could go and pick up for free, so I kicked my car into action and headed over to the driveway in question. Sadly, though, I failed to fit any of the nice ones into my two-door Civic. I guess I overestimated how much it can hold. I mean, until recently, I had basically everything I own crammed into it. Books, mostly, and some incoherent t-shirts. A television, a laptop. Some stuffed monkeys, some Russian military gear. An autographed picture of Manute Bol. And I can't fit an office chair in there? I'm about to roll up on the space-time continuum with some what discount outlet sold you that internal logic?! type shit. Anyway, I did manage to squeeze a rolling chair into the front seat. I brought it into the living room, but it was ruining the feng shui, so I put it out on the porch. It has kind of a 1970s home office feel, the chair does, and now the porch does, too, by extension. But inside, the camping trip continues. Except when I'm thirsty, I can get some root beer out of the refrigerator, which you can't do when you're camping, unless you brought a cooler, but electricity is a kind of ice that never melts, nature boy!! Holla back now!!

Everything is going well. My rent is paid until August, and there is a pool within twenty feet of my front door. I'm paying for an internet connection, too. This is the first time I've paid for an internet connection since I was in Japan, and since everything ran through the yakuza in that neighborhood, who knows if we were even paying for it, or if it even was the internet. At my last apartment, my upstairs neighbor was letting me use his wireless network. I baked him some cookies, and later I bought him a case of High Life. Does that count as paying for it? (YO, High Life represents the champagne of beers, in case my metaphors are still too DANGEROUS for you!! Or at least that's what the packaging said. I don't know. I've never tried it.) Anyway, if there's one thing I fucking love, it's paying bills, so that's working out, too.

I guess I'm already leaving my mark on this apartment, because there appears to be a brown spot on the carpet over where I was sprawled out on the floor earlier, eating chocolate ice cream. I'm going to start eating well tomorrow. Today has been a shameful day in nutritional terms, dominated as it has been by cookies, ice cream and, for reasons that are still unclear, two pickles. The food in Austin is amazing, though. The worst thing I've eaten so far, a soggy eggplant sandwich, would have been cause for a triumphal march in Chicago. It occurs to me now that I can't remember if any of my friends in Chicago cooked for me this year. In case they did, let me say that I was not including your cooking in that generalization, because when you cooked for me, it was in a city called love. See? Nobody's offended! Are you amazed by what I can do with words? God, sometimes I sure am. I have ironclad strategies to mask my emotional inadequacies, in print at least.

Tomorrow I will start making phone calls to ask people why they have ignored the friendly cover letters I sent them in response to their job postings. I realize that my resume doesn't make a lot of sense. I mean, I wrote it - heck, I lived it. But I feel like it has character, and it's all true, so that has to count for something. Nobody will hire me, though, that much is clear. I've moved on from my old theory, which held that my first employer, Beelzetron, was maintaining a blacklist, and every company in the United States was abiding by it - especially with the names that were in bold, at the top, in an eye-catching font, like mine surely was - Comic Sans MS?! Doris, somebody got a coffee ring on my tie!! My new theory is much more complex than that. So, as it turns out, purely by accident, there's some kind of a Da Vinci code in my resume, and I can't see it because I haven't read that book, but all of the hiring managers eat that shit up, so they see it right away, and the code says, STARVE THE BEAST. That is what is causing all of these problems. I will find a way to get paid, though. I always do.

January 29, 2005

It's a shame that babies don't like old people as much as old people like babies; I was thinking about that as I took my one-and-a-half year old niece to visit my great-grandmother at a nursing home. (Add another 'great' to the title from the niece's perspective, and slap a star next to my family's name on the Early Procreators Award.) Fate and fading memory have conspired to trap babies and old people in an adversarial relationship. Were babies a little bit smarter, they might be able to better interpret the approach of these frightening spectres whose kind words, not their state of decay, represents the truth of their intentions; were old people a little bit more lucid, they could hold seminars and lectures, brainstorm all of the ways they were creeped out by old people when they were young and discuss ways to avoid them now that they are, themselves, old. But no! Babies, old people, j'adore, terror.

I had to keep busy to avoid thinking about how the soft-brained old people were probably just merging me and my mother and the baby into two generations as opposed to the three we actually are.

I started a semi-permanent job yesterday, although it's really just an on-going temp job, so there's no saying how long I will carry on with it. The work is not really up my alley, as it were, but the people there are as nice as you could ask for from a place of employment. I'm not going to say much else, because I have this theory that my tendency to talk shit on my webpage may be costing me jobs. My friend Fritz asked me to remove mention of him from a very old archives entry, more than seven years old, in fact, wherein I had used his first and last name in the context of describing him as a giant walking nipple; he was worried that a potential employer might do a background check on him and take that in a bad way. (Because he kept clicking on the link in Google to see if I had fixed it yet, Google naturally assumed that that was the kind of page that people wanted to see when they wanted to see something about him, so it shot right up to the top of Google's page-rankings, the reverse of the intended effect. I finally removed it and he did get a job that he was happy about.)

It really annoys me that employers would do something like that, though. It is a dirty, under-handed trick and it should be roundly rejected by all good and decent men. In comic books, only the most depraved villains attempt to target the hero's family. Targeting my innocent puppy of a web-page is, frankly, on the same level of depravity. Had Beelzetron been keeping a weblog in which they admitted that they were keeping me in a cage and they had tiny men with forks jabbing at me throughout the day, among other vicious and reprehensible practices, and were prospective employers to read Beelzetron's weblog from the same period of time and hire someone - a Comparative Literature major might do well, and it would be the first known professional application for that degree - to prepare a report juxtaposing the two, then I would say, by all means, judge me, for in the end my hands shall be found to be righteous. But that is not the case. In our deadly game of cat and mouse, I was the only one to speak, and although I did not start it, I am judged for it, while Beelzetron continues to roll around in cash and throw orphans through windows. You tell me how that's fair.

This web-page began in different times, back when Chuck mocked the idea that anyone would be interested in a 'text-based' webpage, and I went daily with it when we were still rolling our eyes at the obnoxious new term 'blog', assuming that no reasonable culture would adopt a linguistic fart like that. (Oh, well.) But damn you, you barons of capital, you stick to grades and job references in your consideration. There is a meaning to the entries in my archives that is more than base malice, even the entries where I leave strange and ominous messages by the copier and dump out all of the white-out. It is restlessness, the fevered rush for something greater, and you must understand that, and how it can benefit you. And if not - if you peruse my excellent resume, nodding approvingly at the tasteful use of Futura font, and you note how well it fits the description of the job you have listed - and then you read my webpage and cross me off the list because of what you read here - well, you're either semi-literate or you're a dick, and fuck you all the same.

The other possibility that I have considered as to why I don't get more jobs is that the number of deadly martial arts that I know has crossed a certain threshold and prospective employers are concerned that novice fighters who wish to make a name for themselves will interrupt the work day by challenging me. That is a fair concern, and if you contact me, we can discuss it.

December 30, 2004

One of the things that I really missed about America was quarters. They are a bomb-ass form of currency and life in other countries is poorer for not having them. The 100 Yen coin in Japan is shaped much like a quarter, but it is dangerous for Americans when the dollar-unit is not represented by a paper bill, because we are not taught to be serious about how we spend our coins, and therefore they can go pretty quickly. Japanese money doesn't involve paper until you get up to 1000 Yen. I have a special fondness for the Y1000 bill, because it features Soseki Natsume, a novelist from the Meiji era whose most famous book was a 650 page epic called I Am A Cat in which the narrator is a cat, written long before college rhet class students were writing stories from the perspective of a spoon. I wound up at Natsume's summer house once, by accident, and found a life-size black-and-white cardboard cut-out of him kneeling on the porch, racking his brain for ideas, and I thought of the words of another of his narrators, Botchan:

"Ever since I was a child, my inherent recklessness has brought me nothing but trouble."

One of my students quoted that to me once, in their own translation.

No! I am talking about quarters. I don't need to tell you why they are good: they make arcades come to life, two of them buy you a can of pop, one of them buys a fine gumball, or at least it should. It's the phone-call coin. I have never felt completely without options as long as I am in possession of a quarter. The fifty-cent piece tried and failed to subordinate the quarter. Any coin that is called a 'piece' is not a coin that I trust. God damn! I found a dime on the street in Osaka once and was understandably perplexed. How can a coin that small expect to compete? On one hand, you could always swindle my brother into swapping a big nickel for a small dime. On the other hand, when you did, you'd earned five extra cents. Way to go. What are you going to get with that? And the little bastard holds a grudge.

When I returned to the USA, I was excited to see the progress that had been made in the State Quarters series since I'd been gone. I used to enjoy a good evening sitting around the fire, talking shit about the quarters of different states. (In case any readers of this webpage have ever thought that it might be fun to hang out with me, that should set you straight about what you could expect.) Ohio has and continues to be the best, as it prominently features a moon-man; Indiana was generally acknowledged as the next best, owing to their use of a giant race-car. The quarter of my current home state, Connecticut, is for shit, which is, in that way, much like the state slogan. But what are you going to do? They elect Joe Lieberman to the Senate here.

As for quarters introducted after I left, everyone knew Illinois was going to go with Lincoln, but at least it was Action Lincoln. Wisconsin probably has a valid claim to best quarter now, which must be something nice to talk about on those cold, wintry nights. The one that interested me the most, however, was Florida:

Has anyone else noticed how interesting that is? I know what they think they're going for with that design, or at least what they think you think they're going for. But has anyone noticed the order of events there? The Spanish galleon is arriving just after the space-ship has left. They are saying that the space-ship was there first. In other words, the Florida quarter argues for a retrograde interpretation of history - either that, or it's suggesting that human beings were planted on the earth by aliens. That's a pretty fucking provocative thesis for a state quarter, especially considering their electoral history.

It is a lazy Thursday afternoon at the consulting company. For all of my bluster about keeping their expectations precisely modulated to ensure the perfect nexus of slack and paycheck, it turns out that I finished the first draft of my project too early, so I had to take an unpaid holiday on Monday until they had the revisions ready. I was much more careful with the revisions, leaving thirty minutes' worth of work to be accomplished today, so that I could not be left at home again while they catch up. This is a nice consulting company, though, and I wish them no harm. I do good work for them. In a show of school spirit that surprised even me, I used orange-and-blue as the dominant color scheme for the presentations I worked on. The presentations are all about building teams and being a leader. Interestingly enough, counter to the notions of some of my colleagues, they do not appear to recommend punching people in the face. I'm wondering if I should just go ahead and put that in there for them. They seem wise, though, and perhaps they do not need my counsel. For example, there are always snacks in the kitchen. They keep a basket stocked with chips, peanuts and chocolate. Why do more businesses not realize that the loyalty earned with free food far outweighs the actual cost to purchase it? If Beelzetron had kept me stocked with cookies they'd have saved a fortune on white-out.

December 23, 2004

Christmas is a wonderful time to be working at a consulting company. There is so much food in the kitchen of this office that even a concerted effort on my part has not removed it all. People must like this company; they give it many delicious presents. Beelzetron didn't get shit while I was there, but its operations were nebulous and diffuse, making tins of thank-you cookies unlikely to arrive in the small corner where I worked. In this one-floor joint, however, they do it up right. We got one of these yesterday and I inflicted fantastic damage upon it. (For those of you who clicked on the link and read the description, I can verify that the winter scene was, in fact, enchanting.)

December 21, 2004

I am sitting at a desk in front of a computer at a consulting company with nothing in particular to do. This is not a permanent assignment, but still: like Michael Jordan looking at a basketball court, I keep thinking, yeah, I've been there before. The game comes back to me, expectations expertly met, exceeded and avoided in all the right places. And then I am alone, invisible, just me and a computer.

But they are nice here, and I have done good work for them, when I have been working. They had several PowerPoint presentations that were ugly, and they wished for me to make them beautiful. "This grey funnel, for example," they said. "It doesn't look good on a white background. Can you do something with it?" So I tricked out the funnel, and then I sexed up the flowchart on the next slide, and everyone was pleased. Hey, that's what I can bring to a company. PowerPoint is such a hysterically bad program and I am full of affectionate loathing for it. I love to envision a conference room, lights down low, and two rows of beleagured businessmen staring blankly as my PowerPoint slides are presented to them. Into your lives I bring orange, businessmen. Lots and lots of orange.

The northern part of the east coast of the United States is cold, but there is only a light dusting of snow. I was led to believe there would be blizzards. Well, there's time left for those. I drive to work these days and I appreciate the time that allows me to spend singing at the top of my lungs at the start of the day. (Seriously, I am not trying to start a fight with speech pathology, but I remain convinced that singing in the car is one of the most important things you can do for your health and constitution.) It's fun to have a morning commute and to develop theories about which lane is the fastest and to see the people in all of the different cars and and look at them and think, the truth is that I'm a bad person, but that's going to change. I'm going to be just like you. I'm cleaning up and I'm moving on, going straight and choosing life.

My Christmas message to my enemies is that I cannot be killed. My Christmas message to everyone else will be written at some later date, as it requires the creation of new adverbs.

March 19, 2002 Here is the bio that was used to announce the news of my hiring in the quarterly RabbiTech newsletter:

M. Heiden, Assistant Judaic Scholar in the Centennial Campaign, is a many of many artistic interests. He has acted in A&E productions, plays bass guitar, studied silent film, learned "improv" with the Second City ensemble, and can tap dance! He also chaired a radio station's programming committee. While with (Burblemeister Consulting), he was on the team to re-brand the firm as (Beelzetron).

Oh, fucking blame me for that, why don't you.

I have important news about geography. Long-time readers will remember that, a couple months ago, I noticed that one of the light poles a half-block from my apartment had been designated as one of the boundary points of THE LAND OF THE DOUBLE BONE HARD NIGGAZ. Of course, without a corresponding boundary, the information was more confusing than anything else - which end of the LAND was did it denote? The far east, or the far west? Well, there is a newspaper box about four feet from that light pole, and I am happy to note that someone designated that newspaper box THE LAND OF THE DOUBLE HARD NIGGAZ. Now we have a better idea of where the BONE HARD territory is: either in the four feet between the light pole and the newspaper box, which would be rather small, seeing as how they say they'e double and all, or all the area going in the other direction from the light pole, setting those four feet up as disputed territory, a no man's land, a veritable West Bank for the DOUBLE HARD and the DOUBLE BONE HARD.

Man, whenever I walk by that corner, it's just guys hanging out on the stoop of a laundromat yelling to people in windows upstairs. You wouldn't know from looking at them.

I converted the spare room in my apartment into a study. All of my bookshelves are in there. I try to make a point of going in there from time to time and considering issues. It's nice. The cat litter used to be in there, so they wander in, get confused and leave. For me, however, it is a place for clarity of thought.

Here is a place for your thoughts. I made a poll for you:



Either way, I respect your privacy.

January 22, 2002

I would like to talk some more about how well I bowled on Sunday. It was very powerful bowling. I have never been the best bowler in any given set of games, because I have always had friends who were good bowlers, but I am a solid second round draft pick. I am a young team. Although my all-time high (150) was never in any serious danger, I did bowl a healthy 25 pins ahead of my average over three games, and I feel that I am on the verge of taking my game up to the next level. I made some mental adjustments, and now I just have to execute the game plan that the coach (in this case, my old VHS copy of The Big Lebowski) has set out for me. I can't get cocky, though. Bowling must be approached with humility, at least for now, until I move on to the Muhammad Ali phase of my bowling career, which should be fun. I want to thank the Lord for the songs the jukebox played while I was up and for the bowling ball marked AYIYIYI that I found. (In this case, 'the Lord' refers to my friend Mike Saul, bowling legend Johnny Petraglia and my old VHS copy of The Big Lebowski.) In any event, I bowled so well that I am going to buy a pair of bowling shoes. And as soon as my average hits 180, I am going to buy a bowling ball. It will have a picture of a ninja fighting with a giant cobra snake. I will probably be elected President because I will be so fucking cool.

The insane rush of ego at the end of that sentence carried over into off-screen life right after I wrote it. The rabbi came back with the second piece in a row that I'd written that was perfect on the first draft. I started crowing about it. "I'm so pretty! Can't no one touch my drafts! My drafts is gold!" Someone on the other side of my cubicle spit out what they were drinking. The rabbi told me to watch my head or he would come at me with a triple subjunctive clause. He's a great guy. I need to leave post-it notes around the cubicle to remind myself that I like this job, though. I tend to forget and instinctively begin waging war whenever I'm told to do any work.

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America
Barbara Ehrenreich

We're not supposed to care about economic inequity in America any more, what with the whole war against terrorism and all, so it was rather un-American of me when I read this book instead of a nice bin Laden bio or a trenchant essay on the American Taliban and how movies and rap music have made our children into spiritual mercenaries. So it goes. This is an utterly nifty book comprised of three immersion field studies by Mrs Ehrenreich, a renowned sociologist (her work rocked the photocopy packet charts at my university). She moved to three different communities and, without making any use of her academic experience, tried to get jobs (Wal-Mart, waitressing, et al) and survive on the wages they paid. The Amazon.com reader reviews make a hilarious companion to the book (which is, itself, quite funny - I've always wondered why most sociology students are totally humorless when most sociology writers have good senses of humor), polarized and exhiliratingly predictable knee-jerk reactions from both ends of the political spectrum. The book is too smart to be a simple political screed down either line, though its conclusions at the end are, of course, discomforting. I thoroughly enjoyed it and, having experience along the same lines as she did, found it to ring completely true. I worked low-wage jobs of these types off-campus during college, and I was inevitably the only worker out of hundreds who had any college experience. I felt exactly the same way she did about the various tiny abuses, how they add up to affect your mental state, and I loved the waning security she felt in the fact that she had another life away from all of this. Most of all, I loved how useless her academic training was, because damn, was mine ever useless (which never went unmentioned by any other workers who knew about it). That part of my life feels as strange and dislocated as the rest of my life did while I was there. So, aside from being intellectually necessary and a good story, Nickel and Dimed meant something to me emotionally, and cheers for it.

Due to the unfortunate legal controversy of last week, I can no longer safely list a large portion of my post-college work history on my resume. It's all still true, at least as much as anything on a resume is ever true, but said employer would probably have less than positive things to say about me now if they were contacted. ("He'll write witheringly sarcastic things about you on his webpage. Don't hire him!") I was worried, then, about the gap in my work history, since I already have the six months of unemployment from last year (with only "Played a cop in a serial killer documentary" to explain what the hell I was doing all that time). After some consideration, I have simply decided to keep listing the old job but replace the name, like so:

Towers Productions (2001)

Professional actor in documentaries produced for the A&E Cable Networks.

Wu-Tang Clan (formerly known as Wu-Tang Killah Bees) (2000 - 01)
Marketing and Communications during the design and launch of a multi-million dollar global rebranding campaign, with duties including business/media research (on the web, in print and by phone), research library maintenance, designing internal communications (to offices nationwide), payroll and budget issues and other projects (such as travel and teleconferencing).

I can speak convincingly about having done all of those things, so that'll get me through the interview, and I have to imagine that the Wu-Tang HR department does not respond quickly to reference checks, so the employer will give up and just hire me based on whatever other contacts I provide. Jim Jarmusch said that when he was working with the RZA on the soundtrack of "Ghost Dog", he had to wait on dark street corners in strange neighborhoods at 2AM until an unmarked van came by to pick him up, with a hooded RZA waiting in the back. And, seriously, I have known a few Human Resources people, and I have yet to meet one that would be up for that.

"Always with the ninjas," my friend JC said, shaking his head.

January 12, 2002

I have had to make certain modifications to the archives for legal reasons. I've been trying to figure out if that is the first thing I have done "for legal reasons", and, if so, if that represents a milestone of sorts. I am not sure. Buy me a milkshake just in case.

Anyway, I am hopeful that I will be able to continue operating this webpage. There remains a chance that I will have to shut it down, though, in which case you should look for the sequel webpage, Yo! Hold Up, Darnell! opening soon thereafter.

September 24, 2001

More revolutions in the modern theater:

INTERVIEWER: Tell me about your problems.
CHARACTER: Well, I can't find a job, so I'm always broke. That's irritating. I haven't had a meaningful relationship in ages. And I've got a spear through my chest.
INTERVIEWER: Let's talk about the spear for a moment.
CHARACTER: It is sharp, and wooden. It has a colorful tassel at the end. It is well and truly stuck. It hurts.
INTERVIEWER: That was a good description. Now, let's move from problems to solutions. The key to accomplishing goals is having a strong, clear set of priorities. Which of your problems would you like to solve first?
CHARACTER: The job one.
CHARACTER: Well, I figure that if I got a job, I could save up some money, and then I could pay to have the spear dealt with, at a hospital or something.
INTERVIEWER: You stupid fuck.
INTERVIEWER: You have to get the spear problem solved first, shithead. Until you do that, you can't get a job in a building with revolving doors.
CHARACTER: I didn't think about that.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah, well, think about this.

The INTERVIEWER throws a spear at the CHARACTER. It is a direct hit.



The INTERVIEWER thinks for a moment and then decides to retrieve his spear. He tries to pull it out of the CHARACTER. He cannot, because it is stuck. An expression crosses his face which suggests that he has finally understood that it is he who is the shithead.

Lights down.

Here is what I consider to be good news: on Friday, via my answering machine, I was offered a part in "Helter Skelter: The Charles Manson Story", a documentary that will premiere on the History Channel early next year. The director evidently got his hands on my audition for the Casino documentary (010818) and saw something that he liked (my brown suit, perhaps). The shoot is in the middle of October. I don't know who I'm playing yet (1 Gerald Ford 2 Squeaky Fromme 3 Roman Polanski 4 Paul McCartney 5 cult member #4) and I don't know where the shoot is, but it will probably be the creepiest shit and I am very excited about it.

I want to spend more time writing for this webpage, but my current temp job - which runs through the end of this week - has me on eleven hour soul crushing shifts that are located nowhere near a computer or anything that makes me happy whatsoever. So, now is a bad time, but there will be better times ahead, because I'm sure as shit not going to re-up on this one. I'd like to get another Beelzetron-style desk plus computer minus work job (except not at Beelzetron), because I'd like to get back into this, but prospects for this week are not good.

There are probably people who read this now who weren't reading back in the day, so I will explain the reference: Beelzetron is where I worked right out of college, one year ago. It's in the archives. Crazy! What was it like to have money? I never wrote about that aspect of the job, so I have forgotten.

September 3, 2001

Relations between the hiring directors of America and I have reached an all-time low. Why do they hate me so? I am a reasonable man. I have book learning. I do not stab people. What more could you ask from someone? I bet, if challenged, I could find as many as three people who think that I am basically all right. Why, then, do hiring directors send me cakes with "I hate you" written in the frosting, and then have the cakes be made of dead birds, and then have someone sneak into my apartment at night and steal the evidence so I can't show anyone? What am I doing wrong? Why can't I find a job?

Beelzetron blacklisted me. I worked for them for nine months or so, bitching memorably about the experience on this webpage, and they may have found out by now; or, perhaps, they're just angry that I left. I would not put it past the bastards to keep a list of people they hate and demand that companies for whom they do consulting work not hire anyone on the list. The only hole in this theory is that I haven't applied for jobs in any places that would have any use for a consulting company, but there are only six or seven companies in the entire world, really, and if they send word down through all of their subsidiaries, that would explain it.

They can smell apathy. I have no professional goals. All I want is to earn enough money to pay the rent and not to have to deal with other people while doing it. I think jobs, careers and offices are terrible. Can they sense this? Do they find it, for some reason, unattractive in a prospective employee?

God wants me to be unemployed for some damn reason. This is my mom's theory. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, because my car stopped working on my first day of unemployment, so if God wants me to go somewhere, how am I supposed to get there? Hitch-hike? Shit, God, didn't you see the news report about how unsafe that is? No, I don't rate this theory at all.

They are all Hitler, and they are offended that I do not criticize Jewish people in my cover letters. This was my leading theory for a while, but then I remembered that I have a friend who recently graduated and started working in human resources, and I don't know how all the Hitlers would have let her slip by without noticing that she was not Hitler.

Someone is intercepting my resumes and writing "FAG" all over them. This is the most promising theory right now. I have thought about devising some sort of code for the resumes and sending the cipher to the hiring directors in a separate package, but I am afraid that the spy will intercept the cipher as well and rewrite it so that the code translates to "FAG". I am still working on how to ensure the second package's safety.

My body is too bootylicious for them. It's caused problems in the past, so I never rule it out as a possibility.

August 17, 2001

[The following entry has been edited for legal reasons.]



I finally went on a job interview. Cover letters have always been a struggle for me, because I can't adapt to the writing style. I hate talking about myself unless it's setup for a monkey joke, and I hate faking like I'm interested in some office job for any reason other than basic sustenance. If you get me into an interview, I'm charming like a baby polar bear, but my cover letters always come out sounding like alien love letters or streams of expletives, so it's pretty rare that I get to the interview stage. This one was for an office job at an aquarium, which would be great. I'd start writing on the webpage every day again about all the fishes I saw, and if I ran out of material, I'd go find out what the penguins were up to and report back. I won't get the job, of course, because fucking [DELETED FOR LEGAL REASONS] blacklisted me, but it all sounds very pleasant, at least right now. If only I was more fictional, I could let everyone vote on whether I get the job with the fishes. I'd have a better chance then, I think.

August 8, 2001

Idea for a play:

INTERVIEWER: And what do you have on this shelf?
CHARACTER: This is my Sam Neill shelf. I have all of his movies.
INTERVIEWER: Mm. You don't have them organized alphabetically...
INTERVIEWER: By release date?
INTERVIEWER: By genre...
CHARACTER: Getting warmer...
CHARACTER: They're organized by accent! In this one, Sam plays an Australian. That's easy for him, because that's where he comes from. I put those ones first. Then I put the ones where he's just some American. After that are the ones where they cast him as an English guy, an Irish guy, so on and so forth.
INTERVIEWER: And what's this one at the end?
CHARACTER: Oh! That's a soft-core porn film he did early in his career. For some reason, he's Ukrainian in it. I thought about filing it under 'L', though, if you know what I mean...
INTERVIEWER: I have no idea.
CHARACTER: For the language of love!
INTERVIEWER: Please don't touch me.

I don't know what happens from there. I think the neighborhood association might petition to have the character evicted, and then homelessness and the struggle of keeping the movies in order would come in, so that might be compelling stuff. Can I get Sam Neill for the end? Only if he doesn't demand script control. And he agrees to do a French accent.

The employment agency called today. The phone was out of reach of the area in which the fan was blowing, so I didn't pick it up, but according to the answering machine message, they had some computer job they were hoping I might take. It's suspicious, because as far as they know, I'm still happily employed at the job I supposedly left Beelzetron for several weeks ago. I think they know that Beelzetron, powerful multinational consulting firm that it is, slapped a blacklist down on my name and that's why I can't get a job anywhere, and they figure I'm at the breaking point right about now. Yeah, well, I'm fine. I've got a bed, and a Christmas tree, in my head.

I am very good at being unemployed. Guys who are unemployed are always talking about going to Free Days at museums, but they never do it because they're trapped in the inactive malaise of unemployment. Well, I did it, so I'm great. The Art Institute has a very nice exhibit of late Edward Weston photographs on right now. Mostly it's just fun to walk around with a friend and horrify tourists with our comments. Hey, I worked in a museum. I have the right, just like Snoop can do whatever he wants in Compton.

I think there should be a law that they have to play some decent music every once in a while. And also, no more dirty hippies. I'm sick of those guys. And a sandwich, while you're up. Thanks.

I woke up in a strange place is the work of Marc Heiden, born in 1978, author of two books (Chicago, Hiroshima) and some plays, and an occasional photographer.

Often discussed:

Antarctica, Beelzetron, Books, Chicago, College, Communism, Food, Internet, Japan, Manute Bol, Monkeys and Apes, North Korea, Oregon Trail, Outer Space, Panda Porn, Politics, RabbiTech, Shakespeare, Sports, Texas.


January 2012, December 2011, January 2011, September 2010, August 2010, June 2010, March 2010, October 2009, February 2009, January 2009, September 2008, August 2008, March 2008, February 2008, October 2007, July 2007, June 2007, January 2007, September 2006, July 2006, June 2006, January 2006, December 2005, September 2005, August 2005, July 2005, June 2005, May 2005, March 2005, February 2005, January 2005, December 2004, October 2004, July 2004, June 2004, May 2004, April 2004, February 2004, January 2004, December 2003, November 2003, October 2003, September 2003, August 2003, July 2003, June 2003, May 2003, April 2003, March 2003, February 2003, January 2003, December 2002, November 2002, October 2002, September 2002, August 2002, July 2002, June 2002, May 2002, April 2002, March 2002, February 2002, January 2002, December 2001, November 2001, October 2001, September 2001, August 2001, July 2001, December 1999, November 1999, October 1999, May 1999, February 1999, January 1999, December 1998, November 1998, October 1998, June 1998, May 1998, April 1998, March 1998, February 1998, December 1997, November 1997, October 1997, September 1997, and the uncategorised wilderness of the Beelzetron era: 010622 - 010619, 010615 - 010611, 010608 - 010604, 010601 - 010529, 010525 - 010521, 010518 - 010514, 010511 - 010507, 010504 - 010430, 010427 - 010423, 010420 - 010416, 010413 - 010409, 010406 - 010402, 010330 - 010326, 010323 - 010319, 010316 - 010312, 010309 - 010307, 019223 - 010219, 010216 - 010212, 010209 - 010205, 010202 - 010109, 010126 - 010122, 010119 - 010115, 010112 - 010108, 010105 - 010102, 001229 - 001224, 001222 - 001218, 001215 - 001211, 001208 - 001204, 001201 - 001124, 001124 - 001120, 001117 - 001113, 001110 - 001106, 001103 - 001030, 001027 - 001023, 001020 - 001016, 001013 - 001010, 001006 - 000927.

Written by Marc Heiden, 1997-2011.