By Marc Heiden, since 1997.
August 7, 2003 I have been sulking for a while now over the death and mutant resurrection of my digital camera. It's a serious matter; a dozen tragedies bloom every time I step outside without it. You don't bring a knife to a gun-fight, and you don't go for a walk in Japan (or, as I have been thinking of it these days, Earth-J) with only your eyes as testimony. The camera was stone dead for a while, but when I swapped a borrowed battery into it, it came back to life. Evidently, it had killed both of the lithium-ion batteries I had been using for it. (They won't re-charge any more.) I bought a new battery (for 5000 yen, not chump change), and the camera works, but it drains the battery at a highly accelerated rate, so I have to keep popping the battery in and out while I'm in the field. That will do for now, but it will be a problem for more serious photographic research.
TALES OF THE SLIGHTLY SPOOKY
It feels like that was ten years ago, although I've only been here on Earth-J for two and a half months or so. The only reminders of the first 25 years of my life come through the internet (and grateful I am for it). Everything is strange and different, except for bowling, which is much the same, but louder. This place cheats you and allows you to pull scams on it in equal measure. I support economic sanctions against any country whose fast food joints double the prices of milkshakes once the hot season begins...but I bowled seven games yesterday for 700 yen (roughly $6.40), with several games of pop-a-shot and some skiing video game thrown in as well. It's bewildering. If grad school is a sequel to college, then teaching English in Japan is a three-decades-later remake, amped up with rapid jump-cuts and unnecessary special effects. Everyone's still fucking and drinking, but the townies get a more prominent role, because focus groups liked them in the original.
I get such mixed signals from this place. Some days they love you...
December 18, 1999 I have found that all of the New Year's 2000 hype is infinitely more bearable and in fact rather entertaining if, whenever you see something that mentions it, you mentally replace 'the millenium' with 'humanity's descent into cannibalism'. "the Clarion Hotel is the only place to celebrate humanity's descent into cannibalism!" it's okay, at least. well, nothing can redeem "Millenios". don't worry, it'll all be over soon.
everyone queue up: who will be the first person to do something that critics call "post-millenial"?
so, where do you plan to be when humanity descends into cannibalism? I know several people who are heading up to a house in rural Wisconsin, which seems a very sensible thing to do. personally, I'm curious to see what's going to happen. I can't imagine that much chaos will be visible from the quiet street in Urbana where I plan to be, but some trace elements should be within a quick walk. I do feel like I should be in Chicago, perhaps looting a bookstore, but there's going to be a lovely party down here. we're going to dress up nicely and have a formal dinner to make the upcoming barbarism all the more poignant. if you're reading this, you're invited. (I've found myself repeating that line several hundred times and I want to assure everyone that I'm aware of its only moderate degree of cleverness. I just haven't found a better way to phrase it.)
why am I so excited about New Year's Eve? partly because of the distant potential for total social collapse, but mostly the atmosphere. one of the best nights of my life was spent walking the streets of Chicago right after the Bulls won the NBA championship. everyone was outside, and although society wasn't overturned, there was this implication hanging in the air that certain rules didn't apply anymore. everyone knew what the laws were, but they seemed like a suggestion more than anything else. it was electric. that's what I'm hoping for here. I've considered all of the angles. I've never had much of an objection to getting maimed. I am, however, against anyone eating babies. that rule should still be respected.
you may remember that I mentioned my action movie a couple updates ago. the latest development is that the bad guy will die at the end when the good guy punches him off the roof and the bad guy gets impaled on a clown who happens to be standing on the ground below. my action movie is going to make a billion dollars at the box office.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?
I don't have a bible on hand at the moment, so I can't remember exactly how Jonah got out of the whale. was it through the mouth? did it poop him out with some taco bell? since I can't recall the key details, I'm going to have to abandon that metaphor and just say that I had a whole fucking lot of school work to do. two theses and several papers, something like 120 pages in two weeks. all of it was research, too. (whatever happened to good old english papers where I'd get to ramble about some guy's poem until I'd met the required page length?) to complicate the entire thing further, I developed a massive stomach disorder that had me vomiting nearly everything I ate and left me anemic from lack of ability to keep anything with iron down. the low point of the entire episode involved a man named Santiago putting his finger impossibly far into my arse with extremely tenuous justification. he claimed to be a doctor. I don't know. eventually I went to a real hospital, had some surgery, and kind of sorted things out. it was a mess. I managed to do fairly quality jobs on all of the papers aside from one. we performed one of my favorite Potted Meat shows somewhere inbetween. when it was all over, I slept for about a week.
so, in theory, as far as I know, I graduated with my three degrees and I'm done with school forever. no one has told me otherwise. the rest is a blur.
Christmas was alright. low-key, like Thanksgiving I didn't do much because I didn't have much to do. not many people are in town at the moment. a few of the ones who are did quite nice things for me and I was unprepared as usual. I'm terminally crap at the gift-giving routine. I never know when to do it and have like two ideas, both of which are a gift certificate. (in one version, I include a card.) I'm constantly tempted to buy abjectly terrible gifts for people, like a Stryper album or a book about living with herpes, just to see how far politeness of reaction will stretch. then I remember the lesson from Sesame Street about how you shouldn't perform cruel psychological experiments on your friends, and I buy some gum instead.
I did my best to foster panic in the area by playing the famous Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" broadcast on the radio. I don't know if it worked. I live in a test tube and I don't get out much.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?
I plan to stay in Champaign through the duration of my lease, which is mid-August, and then move up to Chicago to do god knows what. I want to keep writing/performing comedy, which means that my next few years will probably be spent working crap jobs and looking for rich benefactors. a witty dental assistant said that it sounds like I'll be a waiter. she must be a Hollywood insider when she's not busy cleaning people's teeth. I'm polishing my resume for a position as a trophy-husband. I could do that for a while.
I often have dreams about bread.
for now, I plan to find a job in the decent-to-poor range, produce a ton of theater over the next several months, read some books, continue the radio show and do whatever it takes to get a milkshake. in the long term, I plan to keep on with the creative end and I don't know what else - or where, which leads me to:
WHERE WILL YOU DO THOSE THINGS?
these are the ideas I've had so far. as you read the following list, you may ask: where's Champaign? my answer is complicated, but it does involve kicking you very hard. moving forward, then, and clinging to the illusion of choice in the matter:
Chicago is where I'm headed initially. I know lots of people there, best place to do comedy in the nation, and jobs would be easy. there's always the desire to go somewhere other than where I've been for my entire life, though.
Cincinnati is a dead gorgeous city. I don't know anyone there, but it's the hometown of the Afghan Whigs and that has to mean something. nice compromise between east and midwest. "scene" may or may not exist.
Boston is out east, covers a decent amount of space, has lots of history - all of which are good. on the down side, people talk funny and the job market sucks (according to sources). don't know anything about the arts.
Philadelphia seems to have all the advantages of Boston, but a little less of each. people do not, however, talk funny and that is important. arts are good as far as I can tell. don't know about jobs.
Toronto has a Second City which is a huge plus and is supposedly a very nice city. I don't know, I just have a good feeling about the place. it's in Canada, though, and I don't know if I could ever get over that.
Tijuana for when I decide comedy is bullshit and surrender to the drunk revolutionary inside of me.
I always thought it would be a longer list. I'm always the last person to get these memos, anyway. Juneau, Alaska will probably be added when I'm 30 years old. I suspect I'll be moody and nomadic around that time. if you have inside information about any of those options, please pass it along.
Curtis Mayfield died a couple days ago. I hadn't known that he was ill. he was one of those people who genuinely made me feel better about the world by virtue of his being alive somewhere in it. he wrote and performed volumes of beautiful soul, r&b and funk music from the late 50s (including the soundtrack to 'Superfly') right through a couple years ago - even after an accident at a concert with a collapsed lighting rig left him quadripelegic. I highly recommend his two disc set 'The Essential Curtis Mayfield' if your music collection hasn't already been enlightened by the good Mr. Mayfield. to quote Kurt Vonnegut, speaking about the recent death of another great artist, Joseph Heller: "That's terrible." and it is. there are, however, many good things that he left behind. praise be.
no angry polemical ranting in this update. I'm tired, and I'm feeling all of these late nights. try this, though; perhaps the most fantastic and disturbing website I have ever encountered.
I love winter. it's my favorite season, easily. driving sucks but everything else is good. I love the way air tastes in cold weather. it's much easier to warm up than it is to cool down (e.g. you can only get so naked). winter is the one time of the year when my imaginary war with the universe really seems to make sense. and snow is wonderful. it's a kind of freedom. some of the old French anarchists felt confined by history itself, and when it snows you can imagine yourself anywhere you'd like to be - like not in Champaign, for example, and not in 1999, and not 21 years old. this photograph was taken by Alfred Stieglitz in New York in the 1890s. beautiful, isn't it? that's how it looked like when I was driving home alone the night before Christmas Eve this year. (I had a stereo playing a song about a bullfrog named Jeremiah, though, which sums up the difference between 1890 and 1990 rather nicely.)
the end, then, to "lost like this". it's kind of an artificially imposed ending because nothing major has changed in my personal life - the end has arrived cos I graduated and am losing UIUC net access. but it's an end nonetheless, and that's okay. I don't know. I guess I don't feel all that lost any more, either. I have a fairly good idea where I am. (next to a tree.) I plan to write a new webpage in a couple months. it'll be smaller, tighter, and no less charming. (I've always been in it for the charm.) when I know where the page will be, I will put a link to it here. this page will remain on UIUC's server for a long time after I've lost access to change it, so it's not going away any time soon. if I forget to post the new address, email me here or there.
lost like this, found like that.
November 28, 1999 it really can't be stressed enough how charming I am.
hello. welcome back. glad you're there. I've been swarmed with work and I am handling it fairly poorly. nevertheless it's been an interesting handful of weeks. the major things I'm concerned about - plays, cats, and free milkshakes - have all been going well. there are several people who I need to email. hello, several people. emails make me happy, especially when it's three am and I've got some massive academic thing due the next day. I plan to have a really exceptional week as soon as this semester is done when I will take care of everything. until then, here's a half-assed update before I go to sleep and dream of Trotsky. there are seven new skits and a handful of keen new links that you would do well to follow as well as a general freshening around the site.
I had saltines and noodles for Thanksgiving, because I was sick. but I honestly enjoyed it.
here is a newspaper article about Potted Meat (check out the photos, which look oddly like a superhappy paramilitary commando unit) and here is a review of the play I wrote/directed at the end of October:
The Penny Dreadful Players continue their prolific fall season with "Monks in Trouble," an original play written and directed by Marc Heiden. In addition to the play, two members of Very Secretary will open the Friday night performance with music and Demoted to Hugs will close both performances, playing a song written for the play in their set. "Monks in Trouble" explores the lives of five monks trapped in a monastery over the winter as pieces of their secluded world begin to disappear. The characters are revealed through monologues interspliced with dramatic action. The leader, Stephen (Rory Leahy), best fits the preconceived notion of a monk: a calm, holy man with a soft voice that speaks in terms of faith and devotion. Michael (Mike Renaud) is his polar opposite: a surly rebel with a filthy mind and mouth. Lorenzo (Hank Sprague) is a disgruntled but level-headed artist searching for answers. Jackson (Tony Cosenza) does not seen to grasp the concept of monastic life but longs for enlightenment and salvation. Percy (Eric Rampson) grew up in a monastery believing he was the Second Coming of Christ. Despite the lack of a rational explanation for the disappearances, the story is told more with a postmodern sensibility than in the surrealist tradition. The disintegration of the monastery serves as an impetus for the characters to reevaluate their lives and motivation as they try to justify and survive their crumbling surroundings. The conversations of the monks, laced with comedy, defy the tradition standards of holiness, but hold a deeper meaning. Through each other, they find some sort of resolution - their journey of exploration and discovery is the journey of the play. In "Monks in Trouble", Heiden has created an environment where logic no longer functions. Stripped away of this stumbling block, the audience, like the characters, must reconsider life and the role of religion not in terms of rationality, but in terms of humanity.
Oct. 29 and 30 at 7 p.m. $3. The penny dreadful players with very secretary and demoted to hugs at gregory hall theatre.
hot damn, that was cool. props to the exceptional cast, of course. I'll get the script online at some point.
this is an extremely interesting yet creepy website: transcripts from airplane black box recorders. for those of you not hip to the crashing metal objects scene, black boxes are the nigh-indestructible devices that record what's going on in an airplane cockpit. they operate on a thirty minute loop, so investigators listen to them to figure out what caused the plane to go down. this one is probably my favorite. if you are an airplane who has crashed or are related to one, I apologize for my insensitivity on this topic.
I was very happy to see the government's anti-trust case against Microsoft take a turn for the better when the judge ruled 'yes' on the monopoly question. it'll probably be years before anything comes of it, but that's okay. I am mobilizing an army of stealth wombats with sharp teeth and a fondness for burrowing into people's underwear to deal with everyone who takes Microsoft's side. the "free market" hardly needs to be defended. trying to protect capitalism is rather like spotting Michael Jordan twenty points in a basketball game. it's already going to whip you...
I am against the death penalty in all situations except when the execution is carried out by dropping gigantic pancakes upon the criminal in question. it's still wrong, but you have to admit that it would be an interesting sight. if people are willing to die for love, why not for fluffy goodness?
I am reprinting the following from my .plan file because it was really long and because I haven't gone into much detail about my job at the museum on this webpage. I wrote it in realtime during an awe-inspiringly slow day recently. the piece speaks for itself, I think. I would appreciate if nobody mentioned it to management.
KRANNERT ART MUSEUM JOURNAL: 11.27.99
Back at the museum for a day. I haven't worked here for a couple months but Alan needed someone to help out and I agreed to do it for nostalgia's sake. Things haven't changed a great deal since I was last here. Joe Miller is still desperate for something to "help make the time pass". He also continues to assign bizarre, inexplicable hierarchies to guard placement and attempts to manipulate said placements for his advantage. Downstairs all day, I've got a computer to play with - rather unlike last year at this time, when all there was to do was fuck around with the motion detectors. Apparently a bunch of people showed up at 10am and asked if they could have their wedding in here. Alan, who is the supervisor, said yes. (Joe is cautiously optimistic that this will supply "a little excitement.") The wedding is now being held in the former Masters Gallery, directly above the basement where I currently sit. I suspect that this is some sort of comment upon my inability to maintain a mature emotional relationship. Shame Jerry's not here. I'm sure he'd have a few stories to tell on the subject. (I'm sure, because I've heard them all several times. You're too good for her and her crazy teenage son, Jer. Go back there and get the sweaters you left behind. You've got every right.) At least he's got a house. Fuck it, my cats could beat up his dog. He's probably out selling coffee with the Rocketman [tm] beverage backpack and making "hundreds" from football fans. I am alienated by the fact that the football team is doing well in my last year here. Fuck off, football team. Alan seems amused. Richard seems bemused. Joe seems de-mused. I seem used.
The wedding is over. As far as I can tell, the bride and groom are still together after ten minutes which puts them streets ahead of where I'd be. Rumour has it we're getting paid double for working today. I hope so. I hope that some day, someone will describe me as the love child of Greg Dulli and Noam Chomsky. Obviously I'm being fairly morose at the moment but the thought still lingers that I'd like Mike Saul to buy "Mario Party" because we'll probably wind up renting it at least six more times. There's a beautiful woman wandering around down here in a leotard. She's been the only non-wedding visitor all day - more commentary by the universe, which I am beginning to resent.
I wish it would snow today.
If it snows, I won't know - I'm in the basement all day. I was thinking it'd be nice to spend the winter in a cave in Missouri. Joe's calling on the radio. Time for my break.
Uneventful break. I drove over to the Union and everything was closed save the gaping mouths of families down here for the high school football tournament. I am torn between my desires to write something and to take a nap. Still in the basement. Joe may have been a little irritated because I came back from break late. Paint an angry flower when you get home, Joe. I am tempted to do terrible things such as fondle the Rodins and lick million-dollar paintings, but I've done it all before. Krannert seems less of a museum for lack of a painting connecting Christ with feces. I could rectify that. There is an interesting study to be done on the strange vendettas that develop between security guards and the art they protect.
I participated in the big Post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza yesterday. The CD I bought rang up $3 cheaper than it was priced. Merry Christmas, shithead.
I am willing to sell the film adaptation rights to this .plan file. High-powered film producers are invited to call me.
Joe interrupted my nap to ramble for a while. He's walking on thin ice, that one. I'm not mad. (Happy to help make the time pass.) I was having fairly asinine dreams about air traffic controllers and usenet newsgroups, so hopefully I'll get something a bit more interesting the second time around.
Originally I was going to wait until Joe passed on, but I have decided to go ahead spreading the rumor that the Krannert Art Museum is haunted. The ghost haunts the basement. (I'm not sure yet if it goes anywhere else.) It's probably either a) Mr Krannert or b) Mr Trees, with Rodin as a dark horse candidate because he wants me to stop fucking around with his sculptures. Anyway, the ghost creeps around in the basement and if you're a guard who's misbehaving (i.e. sleeping), you can hear him sigh and jingle his keys - but when you turn around, no one's there! Spooky.
The phrase "Property is theft" is the only thing on my mind. I don't know why. I do enjoy theft.
I got to go into a brand new area today - Alan opened up one of the storage rooms to find spare guide pamphlets, and I followed him. Krannert is such a beautifully mismanaged museum (except for security, of course). There are literally 3,000+ catalogues from this summer's "The Rich Life and the Dance" exhibition sitting back there that are never going to be used. They will sit forever alongside the thousands of catalogues from Art of the Andes (an exhibition from the 70s!) and countless others. It occurs to me that if today was a Twilight Zone episode (or, better yet, The Outer Limits), the Rodin sculptures would come alive and beat the snot out of me. Depending on how big the budget of the show was, I might wind up as a statue myself at the end in an ironic twist. It's just another day, though, so Pope Benedict XV is going to have to keep head-butting Torso of Walking Man as long as it continues to amuse me.
There have only been three visitors down here so far today, which takes me back to why I loved this job in the first place I really am being paid to do nothing more than exist. I kind of miss the challenge of keeping myself entertained without the computer, which demonstrates how nostalgia can be a fairly stupid thing at times. Joe says he's gunning to close up early. Richard continues to smile wryly at all of it.
I heard the ghost again! Spooky. I'm thinking of working a bizarre love triangle between Mr Trees, Mr Krannert and Rodin into the ghost's backstory. Maybe a murder-suicide pact. We'll see.
This museum would be better if it had less paintings and more deadly games of cat and mouse. (And no wall labels to identify who is the hunter and who is the hunted, either.)
I feel lonesome in several idiotic ways.
at that point, the computer I was using crashed. (the sheer pathos was probably too much for it.) nothing much happened during the rest of the day. a couple visitors showed up and did whatever it is that they do. since I'm reprinting things from various jobs that I've held, this is a small thing I compiled while I was working at the office of admissions and records last fall. my task was to open envelopes from incoming freshmen hopefuls and assemble the various components into a certain order that was convenient for the creepy gnomes who process the applications. by the way, people who work in admissions offices are in fact a low, low species. I can say this from firsthand experience. drop gigantic pancakes on all of them, I say. one afternoon I was left unattended near an operating computer so I wrote down my favorite excerpts from that day's batch. they're all real - I preserved the writers' original spelling and phrasing.
FALL 1998 UIUC APPLICATION ESSAYS
On ethnicity as a bargaining chip:
"I am very diverse. Because I come from small European country Bulgaria, I think I can be very useful to you."
"I have had many aspirations in my life, but in the top few has to be getting a good education."
(from an envelope marked "attention: football dept")
"You may think Courtney Lackman is just another name, but in this paper I plan to show that I am a person!"
"I felt alienated in my small town, where my beliefs on diversity and animal rights were not accepted."
On innovative use of language:
"I currently have a GPA of 3.09 but it is increasing...I rank in the top %5 of my class of 18 students...I am extremely interested in attending your university and hope that you can make my dream come true and except me."
On being hellbent on Polishness:
"If I attend (UIUC) then I can represent my heritage, make the campus more diverse and possibly teach others about being Polish."
On being a misunderstood visionary:
"Everyone likes to play ping-pong, so I suggested a Ping-Pong club! However, this idea was quickly debunked by mediocre minds and reality." (The essay goes on to detail two more failed attempts at starting up the Ping-pong club before ending triumphantly with the club's creation and its registration with the United States Table Tennis Association.)
at that point, I went off and took one of the two-hour bathroom breaks that made the job so much fun.
that's all for now. I'm not sure precisely when UIUC cuts off my computer access but I will find out and have one last update before then so stay tuned, and not in drop-d either.
October 18, 1999 I'm cooking some soup. that's what I'm doing. and you?
summer's gone and I'm still here, one last round with academia. I've got it on the ropes but it's throwing everything it has into this punch. all three majors coming to an end, vague sense of cognitive dissonance about the entire thing. I'm tired of being told what to read, tired of having my writing energies wasted in bland regurgitation, tired of having my desire to learn leashed and caged. but so it goes. beats having my fingers slammed in a car door while a naked Zsa Zsa Gabor points and laughs, if you consider the two outcomes to be separate ends of the same paradigm (which they are, in my world).
I am working on a pretty cool sociology thesis about silent film comedy. it's not all bad, and it's not all Zsa Zsa.
I'm also watching a boat chase in a movie right now. I feel compelled to make note of that.
I had a pretty good summer. did lots of things, worked a great many hours, and wrote volumes. there was a quite nice production of "Much Ado About Nothing" over two weekends in July, much radio broadcasting and perhaps the most memorable fourth of July I've ever had. things were busy, things were good. took a vacation or two: props to caves, especially ones that have not yet been wrecked by humans; props to the city of Cincinnati, which is a damn sight cooler than its total lack of a reputation would suggest; props to cars, which can go places fast; props to my cats, who keep it real. (it's easy to avoid selling out when you sleep as much as they do, though.)
things you should know
I spent the entire summer working on a second draft of my novel. I wound up doing more work than I had planned on: about a third is brand new and the rest was heavily rewritten. I really want to get this draft circulated. I don't know if it's worthy of publication - I won't be surprised if it's not, since it is at heart still a first novel by a young writer - but I think it's an enjoyable piece. since the web is still such a passive medium (the revolution will involve neither pointing nor clicking!), I put up excerpts for the casual to look at and evaluate. I can't afford to make paper copies yet but hopefully soon.
I might have pictures to put up soon from vacation fun (including actual photographic images of my self). check back later. in the meantime, read the novel!
although the above claims about having been busy are true, the actual reason why I never got around to updating this page should pretty well demolish any claim I have towards possessing higher order mental processes: I was stuck on this single idea that I wanted to use up top as the new lead story. it was to be called "the little bonobo that could", and it was going to be a children's story about the happy bonobo monkeys who live in the forest and wank all day long until they get tired and sad, at which point The Littlest Bonobo in whom they'd all doubted was going to rise to the task and get everyone taken care of. then it was going to transform into a bizarre 70's cop show where the chief didn't approve of Lieutenant Bonobo's methods and demand that he turn in his badge, gun and right hand. so there's my explanation. yeah, I know. I'll be staying away from computers forever.
I haven't been completely inactive online-wise. somehow I got sucked into the seedy world of .plan files. I had forgotten the things even existed, although I am old enough to remember when they had an actual functional purpose; now they're the internet's equivalent of a vestigial tail. if you don't know what they are, it's simple: get to a UNIX prompt (or the "directory services" option in Eudora) and, at the prompt, type "finger (user name)". I'm kind of torn as to whether they make sense or not. on one hand, they have no unique function. the web does everything vastly better than .plans do. on the other hand, they're kind of like passive-aggressive email and lord knows I'm all for that mode of behavior. they also have no commercial aspirations ("did you see colgate's .plan?") and that's rapidly becoming a curiosity in the online world. since you can't effectively link to other .plans, people who use them are forced to define themselves through content generation (actually writing something of their own! wow!) rather than making a list of links to popular commecial websites. some people do nothing but quote celebrities anyway, having been trained to think not in terms of truth but rather in terms of allegiance with prefab philosophies - and some people really don't have anything to say - but at least a certain mental effort is required to excerpt the quote (as opposed to the web's equivalent, wherein the simple invocation of a hyperlink serves the same purpose). so, in summary, .plans are still pretty cool.
I think I shall carve a pumpkin this year. need to get one first, of course. trip to the pumpkin patch. like a child, but I'm a ninja now. hallelujah.
I would like to make an intense crime movie that was totally loyal to formula except that for the big showdown instead of shooting guns, people threw whole watermelons at each other. they wouldn't act like it was strange, though. some of them would die. the grizzled old cop would get it. the rookie cop would learn an important lesson. the only way to survive would be if you were really hungry and could eat the watermelon. I won't spoil the double-cross at the end, but let me tell you, it's a doozy.
thanks to Time magazine, we can now derive an equation for the value of foreigners' lives: JFK Jr received two cover stories immediately upon his death, while those 13,000 people in Turkey got a story a couple weeks after the quake that killed them. commemorative issues equal 3 points, cover stories equal 2, and a story towards the middle equals 1. therefore, one rich white kid is worth sixty-five thousand faceless brown people. nice to know, and a hearty "fuck you" to the masses of Americans who sent flowers to the Kennedys and didn't make a donation thirteen thousand times the cost to Turkish relief funds.
what I find even more offensive are the pedantic essays littering the media trying to justify the obsession by rambling about how JFK Jr was part of "America's family"...the fuck he was. it's all part of the national strategy (not the work of an elite cadre - it's everyone's handiwork, wealthy and poor alike) aimed at blinding people to their own lives, keep them from feeling their own pain. understand, please, that I'm not a misanthrope. I have nothing against JFK Jr as a human being. he seemed to be a nice enough guy, and he deserves a ton of credit for not claiming the US presidency (which, given the depth of political analysis in this country, would have been handed to him on a silver platter if he asked for it). the basic point that I keep hopelessly making is that celebrity deaths are no more tragic than anyone else's. I saw some asinine editorial referring to the suffering of the Kennedys as mythic, an epic curse worthy of Greek tragedy, so on and so forth. makes me want to holler, as Mr. Gaye said. that fucking family is doing fine. they enjoy every privelege that money can buy. they operate above the law, indulge their whims, keep their asses covered...chart out the "tragedies" that they're supposed to have suffered and you'll find that damn few can't be attributed to spoiled rich kids messing up (drug addiction, drunk driving, crashing a private jet) or the risks of the lifestyle that earned them their privilege (the assassinations), the parameters of which they were fully aware. there is nothing extraordinary about their suffering. look around you. what would be truly extraordinary would be an extended family that hadn't suffered as much (if not more) over the course of several decades. feel your own pain...
see? only a few minutes and I'm raging like I was never away.
this has been an exceptional year for movies, hasn't it? I had to wait until it came out on video, but all praise to "Rushmore", whose every frame has more soul than many entire decades of cinema (ok, it's hyperbolic, but looking at that phrase cracks my shit up so I'm leaving it in). "Run Lola Run" might still be playing in a theatre near you. go see it for ninety minutes of pure adrenaline and joy. (Franka Potente is hereby instructed to email me soon. we don't talk enough, Franka. let's talk.) "Eyes Wide Shut" was phenomenal (and subject to some of the most idiotic film criticism that's ever been written - but so it went for Kubrick's entire career, I guess). other things were very good as well, but I'm wearying of this list already and would like to get back to writing angry things and making references to my fantastic ass.
this is a message for the Illuminati, so everyone else please skip to the next part. ok. hey, Illuminati, can I have a laser gun? I promise I won't use it to oppose any of your plots for world domination. I'm just sick of taking out the garbage. I always let get too full. if you want to make it an early christmas present, that'd be fine.
Paul Czarnowski's working on a new project up in Chicago: you can check it out here. take back the radio!
(afterword from the future: I wrote the following before the latest shootings. sucks to be right.) another thing that bothers me is the continuing national hangover about Columbine High School. a tragedy, to be sure, but a number of the actions following it (by the media, by so-called behavioral experts, even by the victims' families) have been truly shameful. the Onion nailed one major annoyance of mine - the gaping hole in the causal analysis behind the tragedy. (see their article.) another thing that pisses me off is the attempts (a number of which have been successful) to turn their grief into justification for censorship and the public's unquestioning compliance ("feel your own pain" ad infinitum, etc). humanity does not come to understanding through repression, and to a certain extent the families of the next set of victims (because this will happen again because no one has dealt with the real issues behind the tragedy, choosing instead the standard set of idiotic dodges) will have this set to blame. the new round of vacant yet omnipresent coverage revolving around the school re-opening is also disgusting. to invoke again the Turkish quake: can you imagine what would happen if 13,000 Americans died in one single event? history books would record it as the greatest tragedy of all time. since the quake victims were foreigners, though, we're still obsessing over the Columbine 30. (I can't remember the exact number.) ethnocentrism strikes again. ("Buy American!")
do I think the earthquake should have received similarly exploitative media treatment? no, of course not. my point is that the pretty blatant discrepancies in caring render the whole "overwhelming human compassion" justification false. be honest. JFK Jr and Columbine don't get the blanket treatment because America is truly sad over the loss of human lives. the viewing public is, as always, simply looking for an emotional opiate.
although I will be in C-U until my apartment lease expires in August 2000, I lose UIUC computing access in January so that will mark the end of this here webpage. I plan to update a little more frequently as that date approaches, so check back regularly. no massive gaps like last time. of course, after the stunning display of charm above, how could you resist coming back?
next month: Orphans, And Why They're Bullshit.
May 10, 1999 Spring. Leonard Nimoy on the Y2K bug: "We find ourselves in a time rather like the last days of Atlantis...perhaps only chaos theory could calculate the multiple ramifications of what may occur." and he knows, people. he knows. (I have written a lot of artificially inflated term papers in my time, but never have I come close to the full glory of that last sentence of his.)
yes, so there was a gap between monthly updates of this here webpage. I was busy. all of this page's subscribers should have received their refund checks from last month's issue in the mail by now (read: "I don't owe you suckas nuthin.") over the last three weeks, I literally averaged 47 pages of academic writing per week. teachers have evolved - since I rarely show up for class, they get back at me in volume. if they keep adapting at this rate, I may have to declare my professors sentient creatures. semester's almost over, one more to go. I'm really glad that I'm not graduating right now. I can't imagine I'll be any more ready when the time comes, but that's for a future me to deal with. I bought a gallon of milk that won't expire until the day before Star Wars Episode 1 comes out. in that sense, it's immortal milk...
a non-mention, first: back in March,the Daily Illini's Buzz Magazine blew off "lost like this" in its list of the top ten UIUC student homepages. please do check them out and enlighten me as to how any of them are in any way superior to mine, cos it's a mystery to me. The Most Worthy One Who Actually Was Chosen, Jen Gerbi, pointed out that since there are several thousand pages on the students server, they probably just did a random sampling and may not have even seen mine. I like to think it was because of my political convictions. I should get some of those. spruce things up a bit...
brighter days lay ahead, though. April 15th had a story about a show I was in, "The Threepenny Opera". extremely well-written story, comes out fairly nicely, although to get an idea of what I really said you have to insert "fuck" after every other word and the part where I blow off rehearsal and hold up the liquor store was curiously omitted.
superstardom awaits: first there was a story about the independent student theatre group that I'm in, the Penny Dreadful Players. I was going through a phase at the time of speaking only in expletives as a challenge to the media establishment, so the reporter reconstructed what he could.
then, coolest of all, the newspaper sent a reporter (and photographer) to interview me and my two compatriots Matt and Eric for a story about our improv comedy radio show "What Jail Is Like", and we're also included in a story on radio theatre in general. interesting article. some very perceptive choices on the author's part and some odd ones. notes: first, my headphones actually only cost $10. second, the quote attributed to Matt (the "systematic alienation" lines) was actually me. it's really neat, though. the radio show is doing incredibly well. we're finally getting offended callers, too. at last!
the last all new Potted Meat sketch comedy show of the year has come and gone, so check out my scripts if you missed it and get an overview of what in retrospect was a astonishingly prolific and pretty darn funny year. did you check out the radio plays? all you need is realaudio and you get to spend a blissful half-hour listening to a play I wrote and directed that's quite funny and intriguing and suspenseful and all sorts of other good stuff. check it out! I want to hear what people think of it.
that's pretty much all I'm asking of you this month in the way of consuming my artistic product. onwards...
yeah, so I've got this play called "Monks in Trouble" and I suspect it may actually be pretty damn good because people have been telling me that, but I have to wait until the summer for lack of venue availability, so I'm forced to spend the remaining weeks of the semester moping instead of producing. moping is an important part of my life, of course, but I had it penciled in for the early summer and this throws the whole schedule out of wack. it's uniquely frustrating...I even locked up several hundred dollars of funding and a great cast, but fucking acapella groups and various sundry dance groups whose idea of celebrating their ethnic heritage apparently involves synchronized routines performed with chairs to shitty american house music have all the venues booked solid. is this how Radiohead feel when they look at the music charts and see Britney Spears at the top? well, we'll be able to get a great venue in the summer. it's all a matter of doing it ahead of time. I'll make some noise when something's been worked out on the topic...
I'm also playing the Keanu Part (Don John) in a production of "Much Ado About Nothing" in June. will probably be a great show, but let's face it. I'm many things, but I'm no Keanu. thankfully I don't have to carry the entire cast like he did cos the rest of this production is very talented. I do have kung fu though, if that helps.
my favorite link of the last thirty minutes: "Who Was The Ugliest President?" there's pictures, impassioned speeches, and you can vote. the only problem I have with the site is that Taft should be winning by a landslide...I mean, an informed populace is essential to a successful democracy, so do these voters have any idea how fat that guy was? yech!
during the radio show a couple weeks ago it struck me as a good idea to sniff a magic marker, and after doing to I saw a woman dressed as a giant cat walk through the door of the station. I'm fairly sure that it was real, but just in case, I'm going cold turkey on the marker fumes...during a break from writing, I read in the news that Boxcar Willie died this week at the age of 67. he was a country singer who was famous for his "mellow voice coupled with a rough-hewn hobo persona", but he was much more important in my life for being the punchline to the One Joke In "Kids In The Hall: Brain Candy" That I Just Didn't Get. now I know who Boxcar Willie is and now I can laugh at that joke too...this waitress was telling me about how a pair of old people ran up a fifty-dollar tab and then ran off without paying it. fucking old people, man. they're always doing that stuff...from Reuters: "30 percent of Republicans said a woman president would be less capable than a man of chairing the National Security Council or overseeing the Joint Chiefs of Staff." ah, you bunch of charmers, you...a few weeks ago I lost the last bite of a blueberry bagel and I was really sad because I'd geared up my mouth for that last bite and then, nothing. oh, how the world changes: I just found the missing bite on top of the fridge. somehow I'm not quite as excited about it now, though...if you've been thinking about having anything to do with the swing dance scene, remind me to send you the results of my semester-long field research study for sociology 380 on it. god, it's horrifying...I read a thing about how Fox's new animated series "The Family Guy" did well in its premiere. the article said "(The episode) featured spoofs on "Star Trek" and "Scooby Doo", among other popular culture references." the creative bankruptcy of that particular "witty" pop culture-dependent referential approach can be exposed with one question: in thirty years, who the fuck is going to be referencing "The Family Guy"? ... it appears as though I've locked up enough summer hours at the art museum to save me from round three with the temp agency (giver of such madcap fun as the twelve-hour trips to the bottle cap factory, moving boy at the mental hospital, maestro of the rollerblade crash helmet, maze jumper at the hobby factory). color me relieved...want tickets to round two of the Trial of the Millenium? May 13, it's going down. let me know...
I generally think of literally hundreds of things that I want to put here but nearly all of it becomes lost when I turn my head and the voices of the living dead filter in...tight shirt, bar pants, raising a glass and making it last...hey, hey, come out tonight...let's throw bricks through windows. anyone with me?
February 18, 1999 "romanticism is the new fascism." - Per Jambeck.
I am finding myself more interested in millenial psychology than I meant to. witness the following two news stories:
1) Elton John is recording an opera album (a "re-working" of Verdi's "Aida") featuring duets with LeAnn Rimes, the Spice Girls and "a reggae song by Sting". the man is a cultural black hole but he continues to be a valuable expose on the nature of celebrity in our world: how you can lobotomize the famous without anyone noticing, etc.
2) christian evangelist Jerry Falwell accused the amorphous Teletubby character Tinky-Winky of being an insidious plot to turn children into homosexuals, citing a lengthy list of concerns ranging from the color of the character's fur to the handbag it sometimes carries. the pink menace that has somehow gained control of the media strikes again, apparently. christians, why do you allow men like this to act in your name? I mean, if you feel so compelled to throw stones at someone, why not start in your own fold?
these and other stories are in my mind pointing out a direction for the future that hadn't previously occurred to me: as the millenium approaches, we will all become caricatures of ourselves.
aging as I write these words I have one day left before turning 21. I tend to be a very moody birthday boy: endless introspection, cakes destroyed by my mere aura. (I'm serious. there's something about me that causes birthday cakes to fall apart.) the best birthday present I received last year was a potato masher that I have not yet had the chance to use cos I am a lazy bastard and as such I am content with those bizarre "just add water" potatoes in a box. they come pre-mashed. there's nothing that I'm really looking forward to about this age: I don't drink, for one thing, and since NC-17 replaced X, is there anything else? there's something to be said for being a "major" as opposed to a "minor", I guess. whatever that means.
I have to find someone to get drunk for me by proxy tomorrow. I need a sub at the shot glass. I don't like alcohol but there are traditions that go with this sort of thing and I want to be fair about this. so, any volunteers? I want my proxy to be so drunk that, man, I won't even believe how wasted in absentia I was. I plan to be a raging absentee alcoholic.
my car insurance rates went down by half. that's one good thing, I guess. but I despise the insurance industry because I think it's all a massive pyramid scheme, one of the biggest scams in the history of industrialized society, and won't someone dance with me so I can shut up already? I don't know. every year, the question of why I do not yet have a million dollars looms louder. obviously I am not in it for the money (I'm in it for the whores, duh) but there is a story about Jim Carrey that I like - when he was poor and struggling, he wrote himself a check for a million dollars and dated it 1996. he was determined to be able to cash it when that time came, and he was able to. what does this mean? that I have a fantastic ass, of course.
so this is twenty-one. what have I done? a little bit of something, a little bit of nothing. I was playing with my kitten Orbital a moment ago and it didn't seem much of an issue.
be advised that this spring is going to be a phenomenal one for music. receiving domestic release will be albums by Blur (!), Ian Brown (been delayed forever, may not happen) the Manic Street Preachers, Mogwai, Underworld, Orbital (the band, that is - my kitten has yet to make his recorded debut) and others which escape my mind at the moment. new James single in April, I'm told. much money to be spent. I would have no problem with the obscenely rich if they spent all their money on music. I'd understand that.
the water faucet fell out of the wall in my bathroom last week. took four days to get a new temporary one installed. the maintenance guy left a note wherein he misspelled "until" as "intell". is it evil of me to roll my eyes at this?
distance is no longer an object and the future of art is here by way of the past: every one of you is cordially invited (well, the invitation extended to the elderly is not quite so cordial cos you have to shout to get them to hear you, but that's not my fault) to sit front row and be entertained and enlightened by the world premiere of a brand new radio play written and directed by me, "Image". you can also hear me act in a play not written by me but rather good nonetheless, "The Terror At High Hill House", and if you so choose, you can stick around for a play that I have absolutely nothing to do with but which is quite good also, "Ten Pin Love Story". there is a neat website for all these happenings. you can hear it performed live, broadcast via streaming RealAudio, at 8pm CST on February 27th. the plays will then be archived on that website and you'll be able to listen to them whenever you like (catch all the hidden jokes, etc). you will also be able to hear them on the actual radio in the C-U area if you tune into 90.1 FM on the 29th at 7pm. pretty cool, huh? go to the radio play website now to hear trailers and read cast bios. don't miss this wonderful opportunity, kids. god knows life is horrible enough without these sporadic moments of joy.
(check out that last line! I don't need to take advertising classes to know how to pull off a zinger!)
also check out a fresh crop of skits, still warm from being performed and chock full of that supafun flavor that the kids just go wild for. someone should do a retrospective of my work. that would kick ass. I'd only ask for a million dollars.
so, where am I? I am older. I continue to speak all these words but I still do not even know who I am talking to. I still suspect that I am not actually talking to anyone. I still doubt that it all adds up to anything. I have words and I use them; I have learned to speak in extremes because I believe in (because I am resigned to) dialectical materialism as the working process of the world. I believe that it is the duty of the few to behave in impossible extremes and in doing so they will destroy themselves but the world will take a few steps forward by means of compromise. I believe that history moves in this way, I believe that it is a raw deal but I do what I feel that I must. do you understand me? the word on the street is that I am immature but at least I am not boring and that is something to hang on to.
did I ever mention that when I meet the love of my life it will be in a chinese restaurant? it's true.
January 28, 1999 thought process:
"it's late. I should go to sleep. I have an early class tomorrow. if I stay up, I could have that last cookie that's in the refrigerator. when will I sleep, though? I might not get to eat that cookie for some reason, though." (roll out of bed, put clothes back on, pop in a video and eat cookie)
"the emperor is not as forgiving as I am."
why the campus paper sucks, part one:
a questionable interpretation of what is the cutting-edge in editorial journalism. case in point: last week featured a muckraking column that made the scathing, original, and altogether shocking accusation that the Spice Girls may not necessarily be in it for the music and that "Girl Power" was perhaps not as well-developed and deep a feminist theological tract as some would believe. the utterly straight face with which these accusations were made (and the careful restraint and "now-this-isn't-for-sure" waffling throughout - was the columnist fearing mass suicides by the legions of now-disillusioned Spice Girls fans?) made for splendid although absurd reading.
life is worth living, part one:
more odd uses of quotation marks by restaurants. the Burger King on campus had this posted on their giant sign:
Come In For a "Delicious" Milkshake!
why the campus paper sucks, part two:
they just did their "top ten of 1997" lists. admittedly, they weren't publishing during winter break (which is when all the real papers did theirs), but come on, twenty-three days of 1998 have passed. life is apparently and astonishingly continuing to happen, so let's stop memorializing what happened during a now-distant grouping of periods wherein the earth revolved around the sun and move on, okay? at this point in 1998, no one is paralyzed by uncertainty about how to perceive the art created over the course of the last year any longer. yes, I know it's fun to sound erudite by quickly and concisely summing up what was good and what was bad about an entire year - making it sound like you had any real part in history by yelling your intepretation really loudly - but personal gratification is what websites are for, not major (or minor, as the case may be) media outlets.
life is worth living, part two:
cheez-wiz on celery. someone needs to borrow the cheez-wiz for an advertising project? still hungry? peanut butter on celery. yum.
important announcement, part two:
"When that the poor hath cried, Caesar hath wept.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
But Brutus says that he was ambitious,
and Brutus is an honorable man."
why the campus paper sucks, part three:
the comics page. I won't go into details, but on Friday one had a character named "Butt-lick Girl". who spoke with a lisp. and had bulging cheeks. because she has a huge tongue. so not funny that it's...still not funny!
most of the world:
January 23, 1999 if anyone has any information about the styrofoam container of Chinese food that was anonymously left on my doorstep wednesday night, please email me. you can have it back if you want. I didn't eat it. I was kind of perplexed by it, actually. I'm pretty damn stupid like that.
(1.24 - if you've used the feedback form, try it again. UIUC's alias system is whacked and mail sent to it was disappearing into nothingness. it should work now.) I fixed all the major and minor bugs with the last update (if you didn't notice them, send $19.95 to the address on the bio page for a copy of that night's programme) and replaced the temp background (I liked the fishies too, but they were someone else's) on the brand new feedback page (please, feed back to me, regurgitate thought like a volcano, there has never been a better time than now), and if you didn't notice already (I think it's been made quite obvious), there was a fire sale on parenthetical statements over at the bookstore today so I bought in bulk (and passed the savings on to you).
the big news of the day for me, which is sure to generate excitement amongst speculators and stock brokers of the marc heiden financial market (if nothing else, it's got a better name than the dow jones), is that financial aid arrived today! woohoo! several days early, in fact, and just in the nick of time to prevent my rent check from bouncing and to allow me to buy milk! its timing is especially good because A&E announced last night that due to sheer lack of response they were going to cease airing the ads featuring pictures of me moping around staring blankly at dry bowls of cereal and Peter Graves imploring viewers that "for a few dollars a day, well, you probably couldn't bring a smile to this boy's face because god knows nothing can crack that cold miserable bastard but you could at least help put the Lucky Charms on top of his refrigerator to good use." I do appreciate Mr. Graves' sincere effort, but fuck the rest of you for not calling! nah, it's all good. love.
it snowed again yesterday but somehow the charm was gone. I don't know. once again, I blame el nino. I had my first meeting as a full member of the WEFT Programming Committee yesterday also and with my newfound power I took the opportunity to order several executions. the rest of the committee was not really all that receptive but I think that they may be coming around so I'll try again next time. classes are continuing to happen somewhere off in the distance, but I'm not entirely clear on what I'm supposed to be doing about that, so I've been sleeping late and listening to lots of music and things seem to be going just fine.
oh, and according to my lawyer, the opposition is "considering" settling. for my part, I'm "considering" the use of mercenaries, so hopefully the opposition will make their decision before I make mine, although I'm not planning on waiting much longer (and the services of Carlos "The Chinchilla" Borva are only available for so long).
the campus newspaper (subject of an upcoming feature).
January 21, 1999 classes began for me today. the rest of the campus began theirs yesterday. that's how much of a badass I am. looks like a peachy keen semester. I have a neat-looking Shakespeare class early in the morning. the professor asked the class about the relative virtues of seeing Shakespeare performed versus reading the text, whether one was inherently superior to the other. After listening to a few answers, I raised my hand and announced cheerfully that "I don't think actors can be trusted. I mean, they're always trying to pull something. You have to read the play first so that you can figure out what their agenda is." This, like every single other joke I have ever made in any class anywhere at any point in my life, was met with confused silence and finally the professor changed the subject to his lengthy background as an actor. so the class is off to a more or less typical start. should be as fun as...well, other classes have been.
all of that is irrelevant right now, though. I've known about what I'm about to announce for a few days, but I didn't want to mention it in the last update because it was already full of stuff. I wanted this to have a column to itself, the echoing sweep that it deserves.
Scott Adsit left Second City. I had the good fortune to witness one of his last performances, and it was an exceptional one - the cast was in preparations for a new revue, and though the overall presentation was as sloppy as previews would be expected to be, Scott singlehandedly carried the show. He filled the silences with more manic energy than I'd ever seen him perform with. A few days later, he was gone. I could rhapsodize for pages about the brilliant dynamo that is Scott Adsit, but instead I'd like to do it in song. It originally appeared in a play that I finished writing with Rory Leahy the very day that Scott left Second City. When I first wrote it, it was for Charlton Heston, but he doesn't matter anymore. so, with no apologies to Elton John, I present for you:
A Flower in Any Soil '98 (b)
Goodbye, Willy Licious, may you rave on in our hearts
You were the old bluesman who wrought genius from the lost and found
A moment later a monk, the Weasel, young Hemingway or someone new
Now your crusade moves on to Hollywood and nationwide television too.
Chorus: (repeat after every verse)
And it seems to me that you would be
a flower in any soil.
Never fading with the house lights when the improv set comes to a close
And your voice will always echo even if you've now settled for a mere writing job
The sound died down before your manic glory ever will.
Truth and innovation your art, cowardly yuppies and frat boys on spring break quaked in the dark
At the towering brilliance of our mentor and creative patriarch.
And even though boring people tried to put predictable words in your mouth
You continued to define "cutting-edge" with your every breath.
Goodbye crazed Saturn salesman, bringing them into the family whether they liked it or not.
Goodbye Mr. Grissom, IQ of a raccoon and struggling with the roundy-roundy tupperware.
You were the force that mocked convetionality, shitty improv suggestions, and blandness masquerading as art.
Goodbye Scott Adsit, from an audience lost without your inspiration.
We will miss your rendition of the American Dream for the rest of our theatergoing days.
see, I'm all emotional now, so I'm going to leave it there. check out the updates throughout the rest of the site.
additional massive respect to Junior Wells and Carl Perkins, two very cool people who died in the last couple of days.
and a hearty "fuck you!" to el nino, who I blame for all this shit.
January 16, 1999 I am back in Champaign now, having returned a week early in order to, I don't know, sit around and watch movies. I rearranged and redecorated my apartment (despite a section in the lease which "discourages" such undertakings) and am pleased with the results. I'm going to try rearranging the entire city next. for example, wouldn't the frat houses look much nicer over by, say, that landfill?
on the topic of improvements recently made to Champaign, Eamon returns this semester. I was thinking about doing a bit where I described it like a porn movie, something like "Eamon's return to help the gang at Mr. Illiniwek's Chicken Shack raise enough money to save the school provides much spine-tingling fun!", but then I guess I came to my senses or maybe I got hungry, I've already forgotten. At my mack-daddy little brother's request, I put up a small webpage for his friends to see his picture online. what a smooth little bastard...
I haven't been walking very smoothly lately. as many of you may have heard or read in the papers, a bone spur in my left foot has been preventing me from playing with the Chicago Bulls as of late. it developed some time after I got new shoes for the first time in five years in late 1997. a podiatrist examined my feet over break and condemned them as "unsafe" or something. amongst other things, I have "hammertoes". well, well, well. Bulls management has been treating me like shit for much of my career, so I am taking this opportunity to demand a trade to Alaska. my foot is feeling a bit better as I get ready to upload this, but you know, it goes beyond the money or the injury, really it's all about respect.
speaking of words in italics, things are gradually starting to happen now in my never-ending battle over the attempted murder of the Cradle (my car) on I-57 last year. (click on the blue head and read around for the full story.) the "discovery" period is a time when the defense gets to examine the evidence and documents that I plan on presenting at the trial, do research about me, hire private detectives, hold depositions, and generally stall like crazy in the hopes that the plaintiff will drop the case out of sheer intimidation. after five long months, I remain as pissed as ever and the discovery period ended on the 31st of december. now the defense either has to pull another stall tactic from out of their sleeve or let things go forward. things going forward entails an "arbitration" date being set. notification of that date is scheduled to arrive roughly a month after the end of the discovery period, and the date itself generally occurs around two months after receipt of the notice. during arbitration, evidence is presented and witnesses are cross-examined for the benefit of an arbitrator, who then makes a judgement. both sides have the option to reject the judgement of the arbitrator for a $200 cost and send the case to trial, which for a $20 fee (which the defense in this case paid, indicating either that they thought the concept of a jury would freak me out, that they have no intention of accepting the arbitrator's judgement and want this taken to trial, or that they just had twenty dollars that they didn't know what to do with) will be held in front of an actual jury. so there's that. I am being represented by Mr. Brian C. Owen, attorney-at-law.
in other trial-related news, the film rights to this entire case have been sold to NBC in exchange for a pack of gum. it will air sometimes in late 1999 and will feature Kevin Nealon from Saturday Night Live fame making his dramatic debut as a crusading lawyer who takes on my case in order to make a statement about humanity and justice. this character does not exist in reality - I have not met him - but NBC president Warren Littlefield says that he is a "composite" of "several different people" whom the Nealon character is "true to, in a dramatic sense". I don't yet know who's playing me, although the three words "Neil" "Patrick" "Harris" are enough to strike fear into anyone's heart I think. the WB is apparently planning on doing their own, unauthorized version of the entire case featuring Tom Arnold as my lawyer and Doug E. Doug as me. hey, whatever the people want, I guess.
those same peasants have been thrown into terrible confusion now that, upon taking the test a second time (see the blue head for the link, back in november), I have been revealed to be most like Sporty Spice. so what is it, the people demand? is marc a Sporty Spice or a Scary Spice? chaos and violence reign.
so while we're talking about violently awful segues, in summary my break was really rather good overall. saw lots of good people, both by plan and by sheer coincidence, saw several good people onstage in Les Miserables, saw an absurd amount of movies, many of which were actually rather good, and finished Part Three in the Trilogy with Rory Leahy. history will thank us, I'm sure.
That's Rentertainment (the campus video store), cheez wiz, matinee prices, popcorn, the wrong door.
fake bread for use in restaurant displays.
January 8, 1999 the main thing that I have done so far this month is be snowed upon. a record snowfall hit Champaign and the world outside became an apocalyptic vision: mountains of snow up to twenty feet tall, entire cars buried, streets barren with only tracks from the treads of what look like tanks visible. (why I associate tanks with an apocalypse, I'm not quite sure.) basic provisions ran low; proving definitively that Kevin Costner is full of shit, the postal service was nowhere to be seen. the only thing that remains yet to happen is the emergence of feudal city-states and warring tribal lords. it wasn't always like this, or so I'm told by last month's update of this page (which makes a reference to "an uninspiring sort-of-warmness" that now sounds quite nice), but it's hard to believe.
it's really sad how owning a car has kind of ruined snow for me. frosted windows create delay, icy streets paranoia, cold air sluggishness. I was out driving during the major wave of the snowstorm and didn't survive. I had planned to write something about it, but the moment has passed. death is so transitory.
the MechaCradle has lain dormant for more than two weeks now (wasting $50 of liability insurance payments). it was buried by the snowplows (the kind of idiotic paradox that only civil service can create) and when I finally managed to dig it out, it refused to start. effort is going to be put into it later today. my old car suffered damages of more than twice its own retail value and never once failed to start until it died for good. the lesson learned? "get them before they get you." it doesn't relate, but it's as good as any, really. "stay off the rock, kids." that one, too.
new year's resolution
in the past I, like others, have scorned the ritual of setting goals at the beginning of the year only to break them once laziness sets in. many resolve to lose weight, for example. others plan to read more. so on and so forth. in a change of heart, I've decided to give it a try this year. having taken a long hard look at myself, at who I am and where I am as a person, at how I relate to others and where I want to be, what my hopes and dreams are, I have made a new year's resolution to be given more stuff. it's not enough to be content with the past - one must always strive to improve as a person, and I will rest on my laurels no longer. I am determined for this year to be the year when I receive more free crap than any other. and damn it, I'm not backing down.
this is probably going to be one of those years. unless my hare-brained scheme works, I am doomed to turn 21 this year. (god, my biological clock is ticking.) although I am taking an extra semester of college in order to pick up my thirtieth bachelor's degree, I'm also pretty much stuck with graduating this year. also all the numbers on the calendars are about to change. I am just now getting used to the notion that it's 1997. the Big Number Change is going to fuck my shit up, most likely. environment in upheaval. in the face of this chaos I plan to boldly and decisively curl into a fetal ball on the floor. once again, I'm not backing down.
you should all boycott the miserable bastards at the UIUC office of admissions and records, by the way. although there were admittedly a number of good reasons for them to let me go, they chose none of them. (if I'm to be criticized, I demand that it be for the right reasons.) no, they claimed to be content with my performance but they decided to replace me with a new full-time employee because they needed someone who could work more hours than me. since they had promised me that I could work over the winter break (depriving me of the ability to earn much-needed money), that was a rotten thing to do. tell my old supervisor that she's a heartless whorecow if you get the time. cheers.
on a more positive note, I highly recommend that everyone purchase the Boards of Canada album Music Has the Right to Children for extended use on these lonesome january and february nights. it's immaculately brilliant for those purposes. trust me.
new web material!
I did a quick job on most of my Potted Meat scripts and put them up on the words page so that all of you who've seen me hype our shows relentlessly can finally get an idea of what it is that we do (and all of you who've actually seen the shows can get what it was that I was going on about in them). they're eminently readable and you should succumb to their voodoo. also there is a new page because there is...
new broadcast material!
the radioactive monsters now cruise around the world in a swank supasonic jet dispensing improvisational comedy and radio theatre every sunday night at 10pm. the show is going phenomenally well - calls flood in every week and complete strangers dig the show and talk to me about it. fantastic. incredibly talented friends Eric Rampson and Matt Trupia join me weekly to display our kung-fu which is indisputably mighty. sunday nights on WEFT 90.1 FM is Must See Radio. fame and fortune beckon, although at the moment I would settle for some cookies.
December 18, 1998 I am attempting to crawl from the audio primordial soup of overnight radio programming to a sunday 10pm timeslot. the new, untitled product will take the radioactive monsters out of london and across the world during two hours of improvisational radio theatre. the show is to be performed by myself and a collective of friends. an initial venture was given wildly enthusiastic reception, but final determination of the show's fate is two weeks away, leaving Gamera and the boys to skulk around liverpool waiting for word.
the MechaCradle (my car) broke down and required $150 worth of repairs to operate at full capacity. I find it bizarre that the original Cradle suffered over $5000 worth of damage in accidents yet ran just fine until the day it died, while the new one collapses at first hint of a blown sparkplug. what the hell? also, it cost $150 that I don't have. to quote Paul Czarnowski, "send money!"
this, the twelfth month, brings no snow as of this writing. instead it has delivered an uninspiring sort-of-warmness. clearly some supervillain has engineered a diabolical plot. when I have some free time I will do battle with him or her. in Finland they call me "He Who Battles Evil". did you know that? it's true.
my kitten orbital has grown up to be quite the ladies' man. his favorite spot is a nice perch in the most well-lit window where sorority girls who walk by see him and stop to gurgle and coo at him. this happens at least twice a day. I am fairly sure that he knows what he's doing - he seems quite pleased with himself to get the attention - and the entire arrangement is just so divinely absurd that I can't bring myself to do anything about it. somehow it makes sense to have sorority girls hovering outside my apartment gurgling and cooing. I no longer have to go looking for it; finally, the chocolate syrup of social alienation is being fed to me with a spoon. wonderful!
my job at the Krannert Art Museum is going quite well. in fact, I don't think I've ever been happier with a job. not only is there a bucketload of free food every saturday, but at last someone is paying me to do what I've been saying I should be paid for all along: essentially, I receive money to occupy a space and spend at least part of the time being somewhat aware of the world around me. fantastic.
some short, easily digestible rants:
the "political correctness" backlash
it is the cutting-edge of the brain-dead to rail against political correctness. when the term is used to refer to a situation, it says a great deal more about the person using it than it does about the situation. whenever racist or sexist acts are committed by someone who a) does not have a swastika tattooed on their forehead or b) is not wearing a KKK hood and the minority has the nerve to complain, it is called political correctness. the fact is that political correctness as an oppressive, censoring force simply does not exist and never has. magazines like Time run "humorous" columns identifying what the "PC" term for an "eskimo" is. how zany. blah, blah, blah. the reality is, however, that no one has ever been silenced by political correctness. uniquely in human history, we have a backlash against something that does not exist. (does it? name one instance where the consequence is something other than you being thought of as a jerk for insulting someone or for failing to have an articulate position on some controversial issue - e.g. "it's not politically correct to be pro/anti issue X, political correctness won't let me speak my mind", etc.)
as for the whole "I don't want to be referred to as..." aspect, you may not see why a group of people different from you don't want to be referred to by a certain term. that's fine. they don't expect you to share their feelings - you haven't had the experiences that formed those feelings - but you should at least respect them. how arrogant is it to presume that it's more of an inconvenience for you to have to use a different word than it is for them to shrug off something that has negative and/or painful connotations for them? you're not a badass. you're just a dick.
"I don't see how..." seems to be the mantra. who's asking you to see, though? the weakness of your imagination should not be imposed upon other people. which leads me to...
white suburbanites and affirmative action
what is it about them that makes them think they can extrapolate their experience to cover the entire world? yo, Ted, just because you didn't run into any opposition in the job world doesn't mean other people didn't. the way that they take their upbringing for granted - "well, if I can do it, so can anyone, and the $200,000+ parental income and private school education I got doesn't make me different from anyone else!" - is unbelievable. I find it extremely grating to read essays by whiteys who slam affirmative action as they write on top-of-the-line computers in cozy, heated rooms. they complain about racially-based admissions policies as if they are being discriminated against but the fact is that they have plenty of access to fine schools and no hard-working whiteboy has ever been kept out of college by affirmative action. (plenty of hard-working nonwhiteboys, on the other hand, have gotten into college because of it thanks to access to grants and scholarships that schools would not otherwise offer.)
I'll be interested the first time that I hear a homeless guy tell me that affirmative action kept him out of school and a job. until then, the angst of white kids who (without any factual basis) complain that "minorities should stop complaining and just work, they have all the same chances" sounds banal to me. let's hear one answer the fact that 95% of CEOs in the US are white males. is 95% of the population white and male? no? then what's keeping minorities out? either there is a preferential establishment in this country or minorities are dumb and incapable, and if you believe the latter, I'd love to see your research on it. have fun going public with your findings. otherwise, shut up already...
four thoughts about the millenium
firstly, to all the types who continue to insist that the millenium starts in 2001, not 2000: yes, you're technically right. but what everyone cares about - what all the excitement is about - is when the number chages from 19 to 20. you are correct but irrelevant so drop it already. millenium fever is a somewhat dim ritual, yes. so what? so is sex 'n booze.
secondly, buy stock in anti-depressants now. the decade of 2000-2010 is going to be very interesting as people try to cope with the fact that nothing will have really changed. no force from above will have intervened in the painfuly numbing routine of their lives. if nothing else, it will be a ripe time to be an artist.
thirdly, as the year looms on the horizon, I issue a desperate plea to everyone to not even mention the Prince song "1999". "we're gonna party like it's 1999...and it is 1999!" anyone who thinks that that is humorously ironic in any way is not a good person and will not be going to heaven. if we don't nip it in the bud now then we're going to be sick beyond belief of it come december '99. do future generations a favor and take decisive action now...
finally, I join with a handful of other people in calling for a death to irony. no more. it's done, it is false, it is not clever. throw this snarling, hideous beast away. as the arbiter of such things, I declare irony to be a spent force and the lowest form of humor. abandon the hollow aesthetes in their cafes, pretending they are above everything by making ironic comment upon it, and let us go into the new millenium free of that hateful burden and face things as they are. let's actually live in the world that we're headed towards. irony is an excuse for the incompetent and the inadequate to mask their inability to experience and to create. no more. do you hear me? no more.
happy xmas. irony is over.
December 4, 1998 somebody has started leaving behind color printouts of the satellite weather forecast in the studio, so on my radio show this week I was the first to break the alarming news that a gigantic blob of green crap is going to descend all over the region this week. you can be calm, though, because doppler forecasts reveal that an even larger glob of turquoise-ish crap is going to cover the green stuff up in a few days. still, what a terrifying world we live in! as the voice of the media, I remain calm and firm in the face of crisis.
classes are starting to wind down, only a week and a day and a paper and a review and a two-page essay left before finals. aside from the fucking mess that is sociology 231 as taught by professor Bordua, this has been a good semester and I'll actually miss the rest of my classes. I have decided to plan the rest of my academic career around trying to get as many teachers named Seamus as possible. the current Seamus under whom I am taking an english class showed a portion of Trainspotting in class on wednesday and distributed short stories by Irvine Welsh and James Kelman (another good scottish writer) to read for tomorrow. how much ass does that kick? all ass that is within reach and more.
the sky is a very different color out of the window to my right than the window straight ahead.
late-night grocery shopping, life ungoverned by half-hour segments, warmth, breakaway glass.
colds that are bad enough to be annoying but not bad enough to do anything about, snowy weather without snow.
November 18, 1998 the weather has finally turned cold and the heat has turned on. this ia problematic in my humble apartment because, being an old-school building, we individual tenants have little or no control over the heat. windows are thrown wide open but it doesn't really help. so I am very sleepy as of late. my cats seem cool with this.
I have not accomplished much as of late. post-novel sloth hangs over me in a big way. but it's cool. don't freak out, man.
this was a good halloween in some senses. for example, the university of illinois, in a rare display of creative awareness, realized that the heavy emphasis upon getting really drunk that was such a prominent feature of years past had grown monontonous. they did something about it: an utterly brilliant rumor of a serial killing that was to occur. supposedly a psychic had appeared on oprah and announced that a mass murder would happen "at a big ten school, at a dorm next to an old cemetary shaped like an 'H'". the university of illinois fits that description. (even better was that the killer was to be dressed as little bo peep.) the simple fact that no one had said that on oprah did not deter the community, and by halloween people were so freaked out about it that they hired massive amounts of extra personnel to watch over the dorm in question. what a great world.
this was not such a good election day, on the other hand. in illinois, not many races went the right way. the openly racist, fatuous Rick Winkel won his representative seat. ultra-conservative freakshow Peter Fitzgerald bought a Senate seat. (yet another example of how little respect the political right in this country has for you: they accuse Mosely-Braun of campaign finance indiscretions and run a $40 million trust-fund baby against her, expecting that you will not notice the hypocrisy. and, unfortunately, most of the state swallowed it whole.) two racists battled it out for governership and one of them won, which I guess was bound to happen unless aliens arrived and started shooting or something. I have already forgotten the names of everyone else who ran but I was pleased with little of it.
it should be admitted, however, that I did not vote. I was trying to decide if I want to come up with a philosophical justification for it (and believe me, I could construct a good one) but honestly I was kind of confused about the registration process and I didn't sort it out in time. I've never been clear on where I should be voting, here or Chicago. here, I guess, since I now have no residence up there. on the other hand, to register here implies that I am now a citizen of this scary fucking desert known as central illinois and I enjoy my status of "extended visitor" (however illusory it may be). I don't know. I loathe the two-party system. yes, a single vote is fairly minute - you can look at it that way - or you can look at it from the perspective that this country's government is determined by less than 40% of the populace and you can be part of that elite group. you can walk around and sneer at your fellow citizens, knowing that in a sense you govern them because they're not a part of that voting elite. everybody loves a good power trip.
one thing that rocks the casbah is that former wrestler Jesse "the Body" Ventura won the governorship of Minnesota. not only is that a major-race win for a third party, but it's also just plain amusing. way to go, Minnesotans. you made a good choice. politics needs more absurdity like that. I ran for my school's presidency and very nearly won on a similar platform - every once in awhile someone needs to spray paint "poopy" in the halls of government as a shock to the system. in the legislatures of our country they are not governing, they are self-serving and it is a pretentious load of crap that can only be eliminated through exposing it for what it is. if it takes a clown to do that, so be it. pow. dada.
one thing that I did not go into during the last update is my current employment: I work two jobs. the first is at the office of admissions and records, where I have an unduly large influence over the fate of thounsands of fresh-faced applicants of every age. this strikes me as quite amusing. (I don't make admissions decisions, but were I to "lose" a key piece of paper...) I have no real intention of abusing this position, but it's good to know. the second job is a way-cool gig as a security guard at the krannert art museum. I carry a radio and I stay vigilant. I protect art. don't touch or you will feel the might of my kung-fu, sucker. the museum has the second largest collection in the state but, oddly enough, is not well-known to the general populace here. (probably has something to do with the campus being a bunch of fucking idiots.) some of it is rather cool. I've already named many of the pre-Columbian pieces.
the Trial of the Millenium is now threatening to encompass a second one: the court date was set for May 13, 1999. two years and three months after the accident.
"Pleasantville" and "Bride of Chucky" are both highly recommended. stay cool, kids.
October 18, 1998 first three people to notice that this page has been updated after more than five months win the lost like this special achiever award...don't trample each other as you rush to that mailto link, kids. erase the "home.html" and start at the beginning, because I redid the entry page too.
have you ever had a guest that stayed longer than you really wanted them to, or even just one who made a mess before they left and you don't want to have to deal with it? I find myself in a situation something like that except you have to imagine me as a disaffected teenage Dr. Frankenstein because I assembled the guest in question. I never really intended for this website to last beyond the school year in which it was created - september to may, as it were. my previous webpage had been static and I prefer that method of web presentation. my online modus operandi has always been to hide nigh-infinite bits all over the structure and let the dedicated search for them - allowing the expansion of perception to compensate for actual regenerating product. this time out people got both and they kept complaining when the web page was left alone. stinkers.
understand: this is not an extension of myself. there is no correlation between action and representation here. this is just some shit on a computer screen...with that out of the way, here you go. I don't really intend to do updates quite as frequently as I did last year, but who knows? ain't no one producing anything like it, flava from a school of fish in an ocean so deep not yet seen the light of day...it's got my name on it, so I suppose I have to do something with it. and besides, this is the new frontier, or hadn't you heard...
well, what I done? I set this summer aside for accumulating the List of Surreal Jobs that every famous person has to have in order to spice up interviews. in that regard it was a massive success - I did everything from getting buried underneath an avalanche of rollerblade helmets to rearranging and redecorating a mental hospital. no joke. financially it was somewhat less than successful, but that was a problem to be dealt with by later selves and I had a splendid time overall. I finished writing a novel and acted in an independent film that was shooting in the area: a drama about family crisis in a steakhouse. 16 millimeters of my face onscreen, the line cook on work-release who had a plan to make a break for it...an amazing experience and it kept me unavailable for "Godzilla 2", sorry guys.
the MechaCradle, my car of May origin, continues to run beautifully and without problem. with this vehicle, there has been a notable decrease in frequency of meteors that fall from the sky while I am driving, which is good. as for the ghost of the original Cradle, the Trial of the Century continues. in August I drove up to Chicago for the arbitration date, which is just like a trial but it is done before three arbitrators instead of judge and jury. I walked in there, looked that bitchmonkey straight in the eye, and kicked his sorry ass all over the circuit courts. the arbitrators took all of two minutes to award me every single cent I asked for. it was a wonderful thing to be a part of: they announced the verdict and suddenly these swarms of people appear all over the place, entire crowds holding him back from me, and he's yelling at me "you're nothing but a two-bit punk! you got nothing, you hear me? nothing!" and I calmly reply "you're going down for what you did, Hall. don't drive like an asshole. here endeth the lesson." it was a moment of immense drama and it was great - that's not to mention the bomb threat, and knocking the gun out of his hand, and impaling his silent but deadly hired Dutch henchmen, and getting a commendation from the mayor for saving the city - but it unfortunately was not final, as the opposition has the legal right to reject the arbitrators' ruling and take the case to a full trial. so he did. why he thinks that a jury of twelve average people is going to be more sympathetic, I don't know. I'd think they'd be less, if anything. but so it goes. what a dick. the meeting to determine the date of the meeting to determine the date of the trial has been held (once again, no joke), so we're awaiting the date to determine the trial date now. the Trial of the Century continues. it is at least nice to have it confirmed for me that the even the legal world finds this situation as absurd as I do...
oh, the "lost update" is in the "past" page, by the way.
I have a new apartment. the last one was chosen for its last-minute availability; this one was chosen because I actually like it. the cats seem to agree with my choice. they are each sleeping inches away from me. one thing that I can't afford is TV - although I can watch videos, I don't have an antenna and cable costs far too much unfortunately. I have been keeping busy though and can only think of two times in the last week when I actually missed it...
Potted Meat - Halloween at 8pm, Channing-Murray Foundation (Mathews and Nevada in Urbana). very good for you.
this web design thing is comfortable once you slip back into it.
hot damn, there are a lot of words on my page.
June 18, 1998 the index page got an update too. go check it out (erase the "home.html") and pretend that you're coming in for the first time.
still waiting for Oregon Trail stories, slackers. (Katy and Not Elvis exempted from that labeling.)
where to begin? I've been plenty busy despite no web activity (come on, it's summer. piss off.) writing on, learning to drive all over again, and aimlessly looking for a job. I wound up at a temp agency, Manpower. as those of you who know me best may have guessed, yes I did choose it because of its name. you can either look at it in the depressing way ("fuck, it's sunny out and I'm doing crap menial labor") or the cheery way ("I'm exerting manpower!").
what holds up the updates of this page? well, for one thing, there's only so much time I feel like spending in front of a computer writing and this is just one of many projects. it's not as though I get paid or even rewarded for this. and it's not just straight recall, either. I should write a manifesto or something. this page is founded on the rejection of the belief that to be "worthwhile" (in the "top 5%" or whatthefuckever) a website must be dedicated to some celebrity or some business. that whole crap attitude is all a reinforcement of the disgusting agenda that we should worship every move of the celebrity elite and most importantly continue to consume it while staying on our couches. whatever you do, don't get up. whatever you do, don't think that your idle activities and thoughts are as important as a celebrity's idle activities and thoughts. no. screw that. what's disgusting about the web is the way that people line up to buy into it like pathetic sucking eels. nothing on the web nauseates me more than to see some suburbanite college dropout with a web design company supported by his parents' money and his webpage about how he is in fact the one doing something worthwhile on the web because his fat ass is doing a little microsoft mime routine.
repeat after me: your life can be as interesting as anyone else's. your art can be as good as their art. your thought can be as relevant as their thought. create like mad children and the web is an available canvas so use it.
but, you know, on the other hand, you can't let yourself get lazy. you have to ask yourself why you've put something on the web. for what reason does it exist? it's tricky but there has to be a spin. you can't just recall the details of what you did that day because no one cares. it's artless. journals are all fine and good but why would you put an artless journal online? presumably, if you choose to use the web then you have considered its virtues and amongst those virtues, central is that other people can see what you put on it. strangers can see it. so why do strangers care about the base, unadorned details of your life ("I did this. And then I went there. then this person I know did this")? what's there to make them stick around?
what you have to do is make art of it. add a twist. make them think they're getting a picture of a room and then when they're not looking insert a monkey into that room and watch all hell break loose. I don't know if I always manage to hit that magic plateau myself but when I'm talking about something, like my cats or my car or my job, I try to make them social critiques or just plain amusing even if you weren't there or have never met me. be thoughtful or be funny or just be observant. I am not an anarchist but I believe in wanting to get into as many peoples' homes as possible and you do what you have to do to accomplish that.
that's why it takes awhile sometimes. I'm not always in the mood to recall and translate although when I am it takes only minutes to get it done. maybe I do think too much, I don't know. this may well be somewhat absurd given the essentially tiny scale of this, a web page. but it's not just recall and that's why it takes long. if you want to find out what I'm up to, call me. my phone number is on the bio page. if you want whatever it is that this is, relax. a few of you can, but not many people can say that they're doing anything themselves.
I avoided updating last week because of the Spice Girls thing. I wasn't sure what to say about it. wracked by uncertainty, it was a hard time for all. I'm not really a Spicefan but I don't dislike them either. why? well, for one thing, they're such an easy target for amateur elitists and there's little that I hate more than elitists (let alone the ones who aren't quite clever enough to at least be inventive in it - they want to condemn things to make themselves look good but they're not sufficiently talented to do it well). so in retaliation the only sensible thing is to argue for the Spices. also, the Spice Girls are honest. they have never made any secret about the fact that they want to make money and be famous. put that on the table next to Marilyn Manson or Matchbox 20, both of whom have the same goals but instead wrap them up in odious fake pretension, and who's the real problem? not the Spices, to be sure. finally, yes, their mantra of "Girl Power" doesn't have enough depth as feminist tracts go to earn them a degree anywhere, true. but it's something and it's worth a damn sight more than the classics of cock rock found on 60s/70s radio or almost anything else you'll find on the commercial airwaves. anyone going after the Spice Girls who hasn't first launched an equally strong and venomous assault upon the emptiness or 80s hair metal and its descendants today that just wants sex, booze and money is a hypocrite and should shut the hell up. without depth it may be, the Spice Girls at least stand for something vaguely positive. oh, and what is the problem with "Girl Power" anyway? it's not as though there aren't enough male equivalents. I didn't see anyone complaining about them.
the Spice Girls' message is a gateway drug as far as I'm concerned (and I mean that in the best possible way). take punk music for example. whine about how hardcore they were as bands like Crass might, no one got into them first. they were intrigued by something else they heard, on the radio perhaps, and eventually after looking into what they heard and investigating further and further looking for more they came upon whatever uberindie band that they did. but they wouldn't have known to go looking if it weren't for the Clash or Bad Religion or whoever giving them a hint in the right direction. it's good for little girls to turn on the radio and hear bubbly voices singing about how they can do something with themselves and somewhere down the line some of those girls will be intrigued enough to search further. anyway, I'm tired of this rant so it ends here.
Ginger was never my favorite anyway. I liked her hair a lot but come on, Sporty is the mature choice.
as for orbital, all he has to say is that paper towels are FUN! and must be destroyed.
and he should know, shouldn't he?
May 25, 1998 SEND ME YOUR OREGON TRAIL STORIES. a recent email from not elvis inspired me to compile these - the childhood (and beyond) experiences that many had with Oregon Trail, the joy that awaited in nearly grade school computer lab for our generation. tell me about what you did when you played. it can be anything - what did you name the members of your party? were you a banker or a farmer? what did you do while on the trail? did you hunt? and, everyone's favorite bit, what went on your party's tombstones? email them to me in whatever form you like and when I have enough I'll put them online. this goes for all of you. come on, don't put it off! you don't owe me anything but you do owe this page so give something back, will you?
I had to sell my soul to do it (how long it will be gone remains to be seen), but suddenly I find myself with a new car three months ahead of even the most optimistic forecasts. because I need to work this summer in order to be able to partake in indulgences like having somewhere to live, a jobby job job is necessary. on campus, however, the only options appeared to be pizza hut and wendy's or a return to my old digs at the CCSO, but I'll be danged if I'll repeat myself. for less than $7 an hour, that is. thus, the ability to go off-campus is highly prized - and now possible, thanks to the surrender of my soul. the cradle continues to lay in its space, quite deceased, and while a frankenstein-esque reincarnation could have been attempted I just love the poor car too much to hurt it like that (think Branagh's Frankenstein or some other suitably gory and generally unhappy one, especially when he tries to bring the woman back to life).
so: the new one. acquired on a budget and rather shiny to boot. operating it required learning the tricky art of driving manual transmission, something which I've been working diligently at and can now do fairly competently except around cops for some reason (there's a subroutine running through my brain that constantly thinks it would be absolutely hilarious to get pulled over for DUI and be sober. don't look at me, I'm just the conscious part of my own head). the license plates were added yesterday and the lifesaver, sample jar, action figures and everything else will be journeying over tomorrow.
the name? well, it was hopelessly apparent. I couldn't really avoid it, much as I tried. nearly every ad on TV was telling me what to name it. late night movies on USA told me what to name it. even my famed amp Mothra told me what to name the new car. how could I argue with that? without further ado, then, a loving goodbye to the Cradle and a welcome to my new 1988 white Honda Accord, aka the MechaCradle.
validation comes from the strangest places.
no sooner had I written and posted my brief little rant about mcdonalds' tie in with disney's animal kingdom did I read in Time magazine the following (may 11, 1998 - page 18): "McNonsense! When we saw that McDonald's was using its McRib sandwich to cross-promote Disney's Animal Kingdom, we thought, Isn't it odd to connect frolicking animals and a rib sandwich? R.J. Milano, an assistant marketing V.P. at McDonald's, explained, 'Animal Kingdom is very much a wild experience, and the McRib is a wild taste that allows customers to experience the fun and magic of the Animal Kingdom without going to Orlando.' Oh."
I saw the new Godzilla movie last week, by the way. I'd been planning on avoiding it in order to not contribute to the big mega opening weekend box office total, but i didn't care enough to throw a fit and I was sort of morbidly curious to see how it would turn out. it elicited a solid "eh" from me. I don't really have enough to say about it to write an entire review, but Matt Trupia summed it up best for me when he said "eh, it was alright, but I didn't really need to have seen it to be able to say that I saw it, you know?" it is definitely not a "need" movie at all, in nearly any sense of the word. not screamingly terrible, really, but Godzilla 1998 had a number of inescapable and fatal flaws, most of which are related to the complete and total lack of Mothra in the movie. funk dat. if you can resist seeing it, then don't go. if you can't, well, I understand, but don't be expecting to find any hidden gold there.
the cats don't have anything that they want to report for this update. both of them have handled the crappy weather of the last week rather well. it's kind of touching: there was a definite, tangible moment a couple weeks ago when Thunder looked at Orbital and told him "Look, kid, you're bat-shit crazy, but we're going to work through that together." they've been best friends ever since.
I saw "As Good As It Gets" again at the cheap theatre last night. I liked it quite a lot the first time out, but there was perhaps an inability on my part, something damaged lost or otherwise confused that couldn't quite fully comprehend the sheer heart of that film. that jack nicholson's character was so real, greg kinnear's so beautiful, that I was so in love with helen hunt's, I don't know, but I got it the second time, so much props to that movie.
why can't I get this poorly taped live video of David Bowie performing "Look Back in Anger" any louder? oh, hell.
May 17, 1998 post-finals edition, such as it is. it was probably my least stressful yet, since most of my classes opted for an inhuman barrage of writing due in the last week (80 pages in the space of a weekend!) instead of the increasingly tiresome ritual of essay exams. so, no concerns. pretty good grades all around, I think, although a surefire 4.0 has probably been ruined by deficient attendance. (which seems rather contradictory, doesn't it? class is there to help to attain proficiency in the material. if I demonstrated proficiency with the material at a perfect level, what does it matter if I was in class or not?) scholastic apathy having set in after last year's failed escape attempt, it was just another semester, academically. metaphysically it was an EXTRAVAGANZA!, a word that is as fun to type as it is to say in a booming voice on the radio.
so I haven't got any real reflections because nothing worth reflecting upon is ending. instead, in the ever-now:
everyone's leaving town. I'm permanently based here in champaign now, so no movement for me. my apartment building is, as far as I can tell, abandoned (I can't imagine that these places are easy to sublet). even slug is gone. I can't believe that our time together is over. he borrowed a staple on the last day. bye, slug. you've been an ideal neighbor - permissive of my loud music while supplying none of your own, just confusing enough to make me wonder what the heck you were up to but not annoying. big and hairy but never big and hairy and naked. here's to you, slug.
surely it's not just my non-carnivorous self that finds that McDonald's tie-in commercial with Disney's Animal Kingdrom a little disturbing? you know, where the family cheerfully intersperses animal noises with hearty chomps upon ribs (shot in close-up, natch)? "do a giraffe!" "mmm, that's a good sandwich!" someone, tell me it's not just me...
I left a message applying for a ten day job cleaning apartments on campus. it's not quite the same as a seat upon the stool at record service or that's rentertainment, but I never did get around to asking them (which does not excuse them from failing to seek me out, mind you). permanent employment will be sought out...oh, I don't know, eventually...
orbital ("the kitten without fear, explanation, or restriction by gravity") had a respiratory infection which healed and then got bad again in the other eye and seems to have mostly healed again. he blames his tail for the whole thing. his tail could not be reached for comment.
season finale of the Simpsons was excellent, I thought.
picked this up awhile ago, thought some of you might like to see it if you haven't already - the Kevin Smith "superman lives" script that warner brothers apparently liked but decided to scrap when Tim Burton was hired (a project which is now in limbo). the smith script got a lot of highly positive word of mouth from the geek community, so you can judge for yourself the degree to which it's a tragedy that it didn't get made. personally? I like Kevin Smith a lot and have for a long time but this script really just isn't very good. it's obviously written from a fan's perspective - which is good - but the dialogue is just a little too stiff, cliched in several places, and the pacing is poor as well. it just doesn't work for me. wish it did.
I tried to blow up my stereo by unleashing an unholy amount of brand new good music upon it in one day. new massive attack, garbage, and a one-week delayed tori amos. it survived but is feeling wobbly. orbital's tail is also believed to be responsible for this.
I'm working on new stuff for the webpage. midway through, though, the mood zipped off for a zesty jaunt in kankakee so I decided to just get on with it and upload what I have.
there was a tornado out in the area last week. I wrote an update during the storm but it was strangely flat and uninspired so instead I ditched it and went outside, hoping to embrace the tornado with open arms but finding only a slushy at the gas station.
ain't that just the way, though?
May 4, 1998 songs from just beyond the face of the earth (which is, I'm told, where I am):
"would you like to donate with your left or right arm today?"
- my left. (the mark on my right arm from donating blood two weeks ago is still visible.)
"okay." (pause) "now, it says here that you haven't eaten today. are you feeling alright?"
- yeah. I'll have something before I leave.
"because you look pretty pale. you're a pasty-faced white guy." (says the pasty-faced white nurse...)
- that's from lack of exposure to sunlight more than anything else.
"so what are you studying at the university?"
- um, english sociology anthropology.
"you must be some kind of genius!"
- erm, well, I do alright, you know.
"are you a brain?"
- no, not really. I, ah, just answer the questions that they ask me and sometimes I come up with some questions of my own I guess.
(silence. a commercial comes on the radio.)
"ooh! I hadn't heard that one!"
- that what?
"he kidnapped the boss's dog!"
"I like history."
- yeah, history's interesting.
"I want to go back to school."
- that's good.
"I'm going to be a jeweller."
- oh, that's...
"It's where you can tell what kind of a gem it is and how much it's worth."
- well, that's a great choice.
"I've got a boyfriend. My mother doesn't like him too much. He smokes big cigars and drinks whiskey and plays cards."
- do you live in the area, then?
"My boyfriend, he lives in Wisconsin. Every weekend he comes down and visits me."
- oh, that's good.
"what's your favorite period of history?"
- um, the classical period I guess. Greece and Rome and all that. I took Latin in high school.
"You took Latin? You must be smart!"
(the needle finally goes in.)
(she tries again and the longest blood drive of my life trundles on.)
my cats provided a reasoned and persuasive argument as to why I shouldn't bother doing the requested first draft of my second to last paper for this year and should instead just hang out on the couch with them. they're a couple of smart ones, I'm telling you. not a trace of faulty logic between them. anyway they were right and looking over the paragraph that I did write I'm rather scared of how utterly scholarly and professional journal-like it looks. I'm going to have to work "cock" in there like a dozen times to salvage my indie cred.
oblivion's "bob and weave" is a good song. you can download a pretty good cover of it here. what is amazing about this version is that none of the band members have any arms! (the singer has both of his arms but he doesn't have a lower jaw.) isn't that remarkable? sure it is.
not elvis overhauled his page. he did not die and go to heaven as the sudden shift from very dark to very bright would suggest. or should that read "he did not not die and not go to heaven" since he's not elvis? oh, hell. no big deal. I like double negatives a lot, by the way. in grade school I used to go out of my way to incorporate them into my writing and actually intend for it to mean what it did mean under proper grammatical conditions. then teachers would yell at me as if they had caught an error and I'd say "I know what it means, it's supposed to be like that" and then they'd demand I re-write it with no negatives if that's what I meant and I'd complain about the violation of my authorial intent (although I didn't know that phrase back then so I didn't sound as good when I said it). ah, the halcyon days of my youth. wordsworth didn't know what he was missing, wasting time out in that nature shit. antagonizing authority at repressive catholic grade schools was where it was at.
possibly the dumbest news story of the year so far: snoop doggy dogg was arrested this weekend for possession of marijuana. I'd like to take this opportunity to express a thinly-veiled sarcastic note of congratulations to the architects of the massive intricate sting operation that led to the arrest and all of the agents who went out on a limb, risking their lives and their professional reputation on a long shot like this one. way to tackle the real problems, guys. now go reward yourselves with a big juicy cheeseburger and a beer, you brave souls you.
a commercial for a "Mr. Freeze" ride at the Great America theme part in St. Louis just flashed by (didn't we all agree to forget that travesty of a movie?). its major selling point is that you go up really high and then come back down backwards. what's the point? I thought the whole fear came from seeing the ground rush up at you. how can you perceive how fast you're going if your only reference point is the sky? okay, admittedly this is perhaps an issue about which I have given too much thought.
is there any celebrity more utterly worthless than Joan Rivers? what has this woman ever done to earn any attention? she is a hideous plasticine caricature of a human being who has never achieved anything of any artistic merit. why has she earned my wrath, though, you ask? well, she has a show on E where she does innovative things like rip on Kate Winslet for being slightly overweight. this bothers me, a lot. if you are in a position where things that you say are heard - even something as simple as an obscure web page like this one - you have to keep checking yourself, you have to every once in awhile stop yourself dead in your tracks and ask yourself "what am I doing here? why am I saying this? what am I hoping that saying this results in? most importantly, what am I building by saying this?" hey Joan Rivers, what are you building? what is your message? what do you want to people to do when they hear you slam a beautiful young woman because it's not enough that she's a talented actress, she has to launch a savage attack upon her own health (ever hear of a "metabolism", Joan? some are different than others), risking her life in order to lose weight so that she can be "valid" in your eyes? yeah. three cheers for bulimia, you bitch. now shut up and get out of the media forever, alright?
May 1, 1998 REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT II: MOUNTAIN'S REVENGE
Friday May 1: 7pm
Satuday May 2: 1pm and 7pm
Illinois Disciples Foundation, Wright and Springfield Avenue in Champaign.
(it's not really a sequel, just another week of performances.)
also check out
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS
Friday May 1: 8 and 11pm at Mabels.
(more later. and you know I'm good for it, baby!)
April 26, 1998 slowly returning to a state of non-business. Potted Meat is at rest for the semester, the first week of "Requiem for a Heavyweight" is past. I could babble about a whole mess of papers that remain to be done, but who cares about my schoolwork? I know I don't. since the opening round of the Trial of the Millenium was delayed until august 17th (grr), my attention turns to other things for now, like that UIUC is trying to push me out of the door already (since I've now got more credit hours than a typical graduating senior would). they don't seem to realize that I've hardly even started my anthropology degree, let alone the dozen or so others that I plan to graduate with. I'll leave when I'm ready so bugger off, ok? wankers.
I wish the cats would take care of their own litter box. I don't ask them to clean mine.
so, yeah, plays went up and went well. phrases like "quite good" were associated with the premiere of "Requiem for a Heavyweight", and I got a couple of compliments from some old ladies (and even a couple of people who weren't old ladies). I thought it was a bit rough, personally, but it's in good position to go well next weekend (which is when the bulk of our performances take place). during a quick fight scene I got my left pinky stomped on hard and don't have a good deal of feeling in the fingertip, so please do not email me asking me to save the world with my left pinky fingertip because I'm just not going to be able to. (you are, however, free to start a millenial cult around the resurrection of feeling in my fingertip). another unpleasant bit was discovering while onstage and while pretending to take a sip from it that there was actual beer in the beer bottle that my character was drinking out of. blowing a chance for a good spit-take, I just winced and swallowed it. god damn, I hate the taste of beer. a lot. I mean, not only do I loathe alcohol on principle, I just hate the taste of most of the stuff that contains it. and man, I hate beer. on the bright side, however, the taste of the beer did serve to piss me off and get me in a good and irritated mood for the rest of the scene. it's all part of the ethic:
"when life gives you lemons, peg a clown in the head with one."
Potted Meat show was quite simply the best of the entire year. rocked hard. yeah!
my cats are happy. after a rough patch, Thunder and Orbital have reached an agreement based as far as I can tell on their mutual antipathy towards Orbital's tail. Thunder gives the kid baths (he has a talent for that sort of thing. he'd make millions off of it if he were human) and Orbital stays out of Thunder's stuff. they seem to regard my apartment as their fortress - they keep vigilant watch on the windows and go on patrols. it's kind of weird.
the episode of "South Park" on the 22nd pretty much marked its death knell, I think. I'm tired of the subject so I won't go into details, but the last episode consisted of a couple of bright bits trapped in newly dumbed-down sludge. I think they'll keep trying but when the entire world didn't get the joke of the "cartman's father" thing and they were forced by the networks to bow to that, that's where the last bit of soul went out the window. it's got like two years left (unless something dramatic changes). a credit-card company on campus was offering bootleg South Park tshirts (cartman in green with the hilarious mis-spelling "carman") to get people to sign up.
ever notice that more than 4/5ths of all commercials use the same tired, stupid, unfunny joke? person wants material possession so badly that person will perform irrational act(s) to obtain/retain it. ha. ha. ha. blah. blah. blah. it ain't a joke anymore, it's an ideology and it sucks shit. (on the other hand, the Georghe Muresan "Snickers" commercial rocks.)
I had a rant about sweatshop labor that I wanted to do, but I think I'll leave it for some other time and just relax here, letting the rather pleasant smell of grass and distant barbecues on a warm sunny day drift through the open window.
April 25, 1998 POTTED MEAT! TONIGHT! TELEMUNDO! ONE NIGHT ONLY! 8PM! GREGORY HALL AUDITORIUM (CORNER OF ARMORY AND WRIGHT)! ADELANTE! FUNNY THINGS WRITTEN BY MARC! FUNDRAISER! ZAPATISTA! ZAPATISTA! ZAPATISTA!
April 18, 1998 sometimes the whole point of a warm sunny day is to sit inside and stare at it through the window.
Orbital, a manic orange eight-week old kitten, arrived two days ago and immediately took bold measures towards dealing with the on-going issue of his own tail. he hasn't yet settled it, but he wants you to know that he's still after it. (actually what he typed was something along the lines of "=-iu5/" when he walked across the keyboard, but you know...) Thunder, my other cat, reacted pretty much the way anyone would have reacted to the sight of a crazed midget doing backflips. things are going alright so far. Orbital doesn't sleep past 6am and doesn't allow anyone else to, but since I've had to be up early for the last couple days anyway it hasn't yet become a problem. cute little guy, though. we're madly in love. Thunder is less than thrilled by the whole thing, though. he still thinks the kid is weird. my little brother was in town all of last week, which is a convenient excuse for why I got no work done. this week, however, I shall need a new one, because he's gone. he sat in on a radio show, occupied my couch and seemed to have a good time.
many thanks go out to everyone who pledged during WEFT's drive during my show - we did ridiculously well (not to brag, but tops in our timeslot!). special thanks go out to the Mystery Pledger, who mailed in $20 after our last show. no idea who it was, but it's appreciated. you're beautiful. mwah.
the madness of our times:
I was in a classroom today and realized that someone had taken the time to write the entire lyrics to the "Sesame Street" theme song, two words at a time, on the undersides of the desks in the room. with chalk.
one of the five comic books I read, the excellent "Creeper", is being cancelled. that's not very nice.
everyone in those "Old Navy" commercials can go fuck themselves. except for the monkeys - they probably did it because they have families to feed and all. also, McDonalds. not that there aren't other reasons to dislike them, but their "Monopoly" sweepstakes is the absolute worst. I felt so betrayed as a kid when I found out the scam behind it, that it presented the illusion of a real genuine chance at winning - all you had to do was try hard enough to get all three of a given group - but it actually depended on the same 1 in 1,000,000,000 crap as all those other stupid contests. it's an exploitative lie. burn the bastards, say I.
yeah, and another thing. good songs in commercials. enough cannot be said about what an evil it is. sly and the family stone's "everyday people" has been irretrievably ripped from an entire generation. it pisses me off that when I heard it on the radio a few days ago, I kept waiting for it to be cut off, to be concise and easily digestible and packaged with a truck. and now one of my five favorite songs of all time, Otis Redding's "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" is being used in a Hyundai commercial. If the Redding estate needed money, couldn't they have asked? I'd have mailed a few dollars. a song that good is too precious to lose, and we are losing it because people are being exposed to it in the commercial and when they're at the end of their rope, they want to be away from it all, they won't have that song to sit next to them. there is no room for a desperate, tired and alone human being and a Hyundai car on the dock. there's only space for one person and a song. but for a generation of people, it's no longer a song. it's a car. so fuck that too.
April 9, 1998 this is a bunch of long ones, kids. to make sure things don't get too pretentious, I will at the outset announce "balls".
a letter written by myself was published in the campus newspaper yesterday. hurrah. you can find it and another good one on the same topic at those addresses as well as the first letter that we were both responding to. the unedited text of my letter is also available for comparison's sake. I can't complain too much about the editing - they did do a couple mediocre things with the formatting (the attempt to give "I do" poignancy by giving it its own line was entirely their idea) and they cut out some of the more inflammatory bits, but they did give me a lot more space than the average letter gets. it's interesting how a little editing can change the meaning of a piece, though. I don't know if it comes across, but I wrote the letter to be a dismissal of the entire industry of spoiled white kids whose great great grandmother was maybe Indian coming forward and claiming to be Indian when it's convenient to them, i.e. when some idiot who doesn't know dick about that aspect of their heritage says that a racist Indian mascot is OK because it "doesn't bother" them and expects that to trump the feelings of full-blooded Native Americans. basically, I feel that while race may essentially be only a biological construct, for it to have any meaning it must be paired with a certain degree of experience. the edit job, however, neutered the letter into just saying that "yes, there are Native Americans who are against the Chief" (UIUC's dancing mascot / symbol / caricature). but, you know, I was expecting them to do worse, so it's alright. nothing like the egregious injustice done to what was my magnum opus up to point of my life, the 3,000 word essay on my trip to high school theatrefest that the high school newspaper refused to devote an entire issue to and cut into pieces. philistines. like anyone really cared about whatever the heck else was going on at the time.
new Smoove B in this week's Onion!
WEFT pledge drive kicked ass this week, during my show at least. we (I) nearly doubled our (my) goal and just generally rocked. heard from a guy who's been listening to my show every week since I started (he knew when my first show was without me telling him) and apparently even tapes it every week. how cool is that? very, think'st I. if you're in the C-U area, call in and pledge, you sponge. (217) 359-9338.
in the midst of all this world domination, I've been having a really hard time resisting the urge to go to sleep in the shower several times a day. huh?
since they apparently took a lot of crap for it, I feel obliged to voice my support for the april 1st episode of "South Park", the Terrance and Phillip one. it kicked ass. I read in the news today that over 2,000 people called Comedy Central to complain about it because they really wanted to know who Cartman's father is. what does this mean? it means that over 2,000 people don't fucking get the show and are stupid. who cares who Cartman's father is?!? the whole humor of the thing comes from two things: beating the joke home that his mom's a slut (it was funnier when it was an occasional subtle drop-in) and making fun of the entire concept of the cliffhanger episode. if you don't get that it's completely pointless who the father was, then you are dumb and you need to re-watch the entire run of the series (well, except the mecha-streisand one, and the mutant Stan one) until you figure it out. you know what disturbs me? walking by the revolting shiny new sports bar on campus, "Legends", and seeing people lined up around the block waiting to get in to get plastered and take part in "South Park Nite". say I'm bitter for telling these people to fuck off? I say you're an idiot. what I'm doing is reacting. what I'm doing is being alive and recognizing the co-opting of a once good thing and doing something about it in the only damn way I can by mentally interacting with the unpleasant reality and making noise about it. what the hell are you doing? (that's a hypothetical 'you', dear reader. you know I love you.) I don't necessarily buy the "if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem" doctrine but it's not far wrong either. you can't take part in every fight but you need to at least strive to be aware of things. so thumbs-up to Trey Parker and Matt Stone for going against the marketing beast that they spawned (even if they were forced to back off). Time magazine had done a story. frat boys can go to the campus store and buy a poster with Kenny and his "please pardon me I have explosive diarrhea" and think they're hip. the monster has grown out of control. maybe this is what it was like for "Simpsons" fans early on, I don't know, but I'm worried that "South Park" doesn't have the intelligent base that the "Simpsons" does and won't rise to a new level like it did. I don't know. I think it'd be awesome to shock the hell out of Time and the frat boys by suddendly shifting focus to Terrance and Phillip. and then wandering over to Ugly Bob. and then to something completely different. that which is brilliant is usually unmarketable because a certain degree of stagnancy needs to set in to match up with the t-shirts. it's sad that now that "South Park" has become this profitable, I don't see how they can possibly go back.
more required reading
The Hand that Time Forgot, a cautionary essay for everyone who would dream to create art. hopefully you've seen MST3K's version of "Manos: the Hands of Fate". it is the most fascinatingly inexplicable and downright bad movie I have ever seen (and yes, I've seen "Plan 9 From Outer Space", and anyone who counts that as the worst film ever made needs to stop letting Leonard Maltin think for them and see some more movies). try to imagine a movie that concentrates not on plot or characters but entirely upon creating an atmosphere of dread - which can potentially be good, there are movies which are of value for their atmosphere alone - and misses the mark so badly that you can't even really figure out where it was aiming. read the article, it's good stuff and a valuable experience.
warm weather means lots of frat girl and boy chanting outside. evolve, damn you! evolve!
April 6, 1998 VANILLI IS DEAD.
a german newspaper reported yesterday that Rob Pilatus, formerly of the hitmaking combo Milli Vanilli, was found dead in his hotel room of a possible drug overdose. I've developed a bizarre personal connection with the two members of that group, having watched the VH-1 "behind the music" documentary on them (and mc hammer, too) several times for no reason that I can explain in a language other than sanskrit. sure, their music was crap, but those poor guys didn't even get the second life that most 80's stars get in late-night CD commercials. and the entire world has seen them looking like they did when they were in the band, so you've got to feel a little bit sorry for them. on a darker note, though, this comes hot on the heels of Vanilla Ice's announcement that he will be playing at the Clybourne, a bar here in champaign, leading this reporter to fear that poor Mr. Ice may be in danger when he arrives.
did you hear about Macauley Culkin getting married? that's for real too. he's engaged to a 17 year old broadway actress. when I saw the announcement I was assuming it was going to be something much more disturbing, like if Michael Jackson's name had been mentioned anywhere in the press release, but fortunately it's normal. sign of how old we all are, yes, but it looks like Macauley's off to a healthy start on the long road of marriages ahead of him.
don't be sayin' I never done nothin' for ya:
fans of the Monty Python movie "Life of Brian", download this trailer for a rather amusing example of previews done for movies by people who don't really understand them. not only does the voice sound wildly inappropriate, the whole thing just doesn't fit the movie. it's a large download (8 megs) but worth it to see a Monty Python movie (especially this one) promoted with lines like "Getting stoned wasn't against the law - it was the law!". And if someone's any good an extracting sound clips from quicktime movies, I really want a .wav of this announcer guy saying "He wasn't a messiah. He was a very naughty boy."
okay, well, enough pop cultural exploration and on with the sordid details of my life. I'm currently enjoying my first conscious multi-hour stay at my apartment in several days, having been ensconced in the planning and performance of the first annual Conference on the Elimination of Racist Mascots here in C-U. it went ridiculously well and I had a great weekend doing it, but much tiredness was mine by its end. "chief" illiniwak is a dick and so are all of its supporters. that's all that can really be said. I had the main part of the first "paper season" (as most liberal arts majors know, most of our writing, which is most of our work, tends to get bunched up into a couple small periods of time during the semester) last week, which was unusually late in the semester and unusually badly timed what with the conference and all but I pulled it off OK even if by the last page of the last paper I was using phrases like "utterly disgusting display of human self-debasement" and "the agenda of the bourgeoise as reflected in the media promotion of the internet". coming up, many many lines need to be memorized for various presentations of a theatrical nature and it's just not happening which is not good and suggests that I will have little rest until june. 'sokay. I didn't really have anything else planned.
WEFT pledge drive is this week. call and pledge during my show, (217) 359-9338, and send a message to the station and the world that you support the kind of radio that features a man who believes himself to be a gigantic lizard while he gurgles and coos attempts at seduction into the microphone.
this new mix for sugar cookies that I came up with, Otto from my theater class who just called me seconds ago to tell me that I don't need to go to class today because he hurt his knee and we have a long scene together to perform but now it's been pushed back.
frat boys who still think it's clever to shout things at people who pass by from their windows when they're drunk, that I haven't read the third act of King Lear yet and I'm going to be quizzed in-depth about it in fifteen minutes.
oh, and for the record, from this point on I demand to be referred to as "DEATH ON WHEELS".
March 28, 1998 Thunder (my cat) and I are continuing to get along just great, but he's really got to learn to adjust to my sleep schedule. if we chase each other around the apartment all night, I will not be minty fresh come morning because I don't get to take the sporadic half-hour naps that he does. I ended up not getting any sleep on Friday night, partially because he started making noise right as I was dozing off, but at least he bravely solved the mystery of the big empty box in my closet once and for all.
it's funny, during the rain storm, I think I found the lightning and the noise more surprising than he did.
anyway. I'd been planning on spending the last half of spring break in isolation, memorizing lines for the three (count 'em, three) different theater things that I'm doing in April (there's a fourth, but it's for Shakespeare class and I can read the lines off a paper if I like). one of those three is actually two: Potted Meat has two shows in April, the long awaited road show and a semester wrap-up. whee. I'm really proud of the three sketches I wrote for the final show. hm. seem to have slipped off on a tangent. well, the story ends like this: as of saturday morning, at least, I had not really done anything. where did the time go? I spent most of Friday night drumming at a party. I've spent most of the week in general on wheels. rollerbladed around the deserted campus at 4am on a thursday night, an experience I won't soon forget. the cemetary. I know it's been around since the 20's, perhaps even before that. I'm not sure. what a jarringly authentic place in the middle of this arena of the plasticine, though. I hadn't really ever gone out there, since it's way out just beyond the fringes of the fringes of the far end of campus furthest away from all living things save swine and cows. it's so neat, though. so real. perfectly creepy. I wanted to go in (it's rather large, too) but I figured that it was somehow illegal to do so at that hour and didn't. I sort of wish I had. maybe I will some time. it'd be interesting to spend a night there. MADMAN? whatever.
there's something fascinating about this, having been up all night and having sat up writing things with the massive storm as an influence and now typing this in the last few minutes before I have to rollerblade off to the radio station to do my engineering bit with the brightest sun I've seen in quite a long time staring at me through the window (I used to keep the shades closed at pretty much all times, but now I keep one half-open for Thunder to stare out of and talk jive with the neighborohood birds). does it mean anything? not really, just that I'll have a dry surface to do my rolling upon. but it's interesting in a vague sort of way, watching an extreme pass into another in less than two hours.
my aunt Chrissy out in california, one of a teeny tiny handful of cool people to whom I am related, gave birth to her first child (a boy) last night. another intelligent person has been brought into the world. how good. to quote the pure passionate poetic stylings of Steve Chan, "Let us all wish each and every one of them the best of luck with their future."
it's later on in the afternoon now. I rolled around, pressed play, pressed stop, pulled up M M1 and M2, and rolled around some more. I received an awesome surprise upon arrival at the station - not only had the new Pulp album come in (a couple days ahead of release in stores, but I'd been expecting it), but there was also a brand new four song sampler from Tori Amos's new album which isn't due out until May. how cool is that? this is the first time in my radio career that one (two) of my favorite bands has released stuff I've been looking forward to before it hit stores - there's been a few bands that I've gotten into because I listened to their new album at the station, but none that I'd been really waiting for. does that make sense? well, it does to me. so nyah. (oh, and the four songs are ACE!)
Thunder's really got to get used to people walking on the stairs outside.
there ought to be a law about what music frat houses can play. in fact, there ought to be a law preventing them from doing it at all. some things I just can't listen to anymore because of them...
spring break's a day away from its inevitable end. dispassionate papers to write, conference on the elimination of racist mascots (see the PAR link) in less than a week. shows, voices. at the end of it all, me and a cat. rock on.
March 26, 1998 I really have to go somewhere one of these spring breaks. low (read: complete lack of) income or not. since the "have your parents pay for marc's vacation too!" fund never really worked out, I remain Illinois-bound for the 20th straight year. how unfestive and generally uncool of me to be without a financial support network. alright. enough class-based whining. I had been planning on doing something irrational like driving to South Dakota, but the Cradle moves no more. next year. so it goes, so it goes.
as far as my spring breaks go, it's been just fine though. I went to Chicago for the weekend and came back with a cat. Thunder is an 8 year old male tabby. he likes long walks down the hall, licking plates by candlelight, and aspires to rid the world of bugs. he also likes to wrestle with me and usually wins. we both lived at my mother's apartment, he having been my little brother's cat, and we both developed a general sense of dissatisfaction there and since my mother is moving into a condo of gold this summer he seized the opportunity to leave and move in with me. (I'm not sure if he knows yet that I need him to pay this month's rent.)
out of fairness to Chuck, though, since Chuck takes a lot of crap from me, here is a list of reasons why Chuck was a better roommate:
- Chuck did not take baths in public.
- Chuck did not lick the inside of the container of Cheez Wiz/Eazy Cheeze without eating it.
- Chuck slept on top of his bed, not underneath it.
- Chuck preferred to use his head for material science homework instead of bumping my head.
- Chuck did not jump up onto furniture. he didn't make many sudden movements in general.
as I write this, Thunder is contemplating a leap unto the final frontier: the microwave, atop the refrigeraor. and he just backed off, headed for some more cheez wiz (why haven't I put that away yet?).
watched a bit of the Oscars. they turned out alright, I suppose. I added a quick summary to the end of the Oscars rant, now in the Archives. (since they went so utterly unpublicized, I figured you'd need my page to find out the results.)
these local church TV commercials are unfair. it is impossible to express in writing exactly how funny they are. I just saw one that began like an anti-drunk driving ad (guy on a respirator), but at the last second veered off with a flashback to the guy telling his friend that he "didn't have time for all of that Jesus stuff". then, in the present, he dies! then he wakes up and it turns out it was all a dream! wowza! I almost rushed out of the door to the Harvest Church, but then I continued to sit on the couch and things turned out the same.
new Busta Rhymes video is pretty cool.
hey Katy, don't read past this line until after you've written your review of "Girlfriend in a Coma".
ok. so, I bought Douglas Coupland's above-mentioned book, his latest. purchases like this are why I do not eat much or go anywhere. I did wait a week, though, which is something. anyway, here is a quick capsule of my feelings on it:
I was blown away by it. due to work and diverted focus, I hadn't finished an entire novel since last summer. I read the first 20 pages of this on the day I bought it and stayed up the entire night reading the next 280 some pages. I couldn't put it down. the characters were drawn with an emotional depth deeper than anything he's ever achieved before, and the novel simultaneously rooted itself strikingly vividly in a period of time but also did so relying upon less ephemeral pop culture references than any of his other work to date. this was not an easy book to read in an emotional sense. it hurts. it's genuinely heartbreaking. it's also marvelously unpredictable (especially when taking his other books into account). the second half of the book comes from far out in nowhere. and it's brilliant.
it has the soul searching depth of "Life After God" and the character interplay of "Microserfs". Katy (Hi!) quoted me once as saying that "it feels as though every page has some grand idea behind it." I always came away from his books with a sense that something profound had been said but I couldn't quite articulate it. with this book, the philosophy is at once deeper and clearer. I know exactly what this book was saying. it's my favorite kind of book, the kind of thing that I try to write too, the kind of book that was written to remind the lost mad children of the world that they are not alone. so-called friends walk away when the vision gets uncomfortable, but books like this are there to keep you on your feet and take your hand for a little bit of the way.
so that's all. cheers.
March 15, 1998 if you want to, you can find meaningful signs of the passage of time all over the place. (cue Madonna, "This Used To Be My Playground") I baked cookies again this weekend and the armada of ingredients assembled at the beginning of the year, a mighty group who have held together through literally countless batches of cookies and brownies, have begun to pass away. the brown sugar is gone. it was the first to go. second were the oats. the vanilla is on its last legs - it may not even make it through the next batch. they were a great bunch of ingredients and I'll miss them. how long before the flour passes, I wonder? the sugar? the shortening doesn't have much left. it's so hard to say goodbye. and of my original food stock that I came into this apartment with, only the freaky-ass instant mashed potatoes are left. and even they have only a serving or two remaining. nothing is immutable. everything changes. goodbye, old friends. goodbye.
this rant is prelude to the next paragraph, so be patient. as a general rule, I don't think very highly of vanity license plates. it indicates that there's something wrong about you if anything truly relevant can be said about you in a seven letter alpha-numeric combination. it also indicates something off about you if, should you somehow stumble upon something true to your inner self that happens to fit, the place you decide to announce it is on the back of your car to hundreds of strangers each day. and finally, given how many good CDs and books there are that you do not own, if the message on the vanity plate is not actually all that epic a piece of self-revelation, you are a dumb vapid moron if the vanity plate is what you choose to spend your money on instead. (corollary to that, if you have so much money that it doesn't matter, screw you. you will be first against the wall when the day comes.)
now, having said all that, although 99% of vanity plates appear really rather stupid to a casual observer who doesn't know the person driving the car, occasionally you find yourself behind one that it's really just a privelege to be near. like over the summer I found myself behind "FOOD". and on friday I was out walking and passed by "SASSEE". there's a strange sort of beauty to it.
true in a literal sense, part one:
did you know that graham crackers were invented to "quell masturbatory urges"? a bit strange, to say the least, but true. kind of makes you wonder what the milk and honey that go along with them are for. "now with added anti-atheist anti-communist flavor power!"
(I said "in a literal sense" because everything on this website is true. just not in the same way. but I wouldn't lie to you, lover. unless it was true.)
by the way, shout-outs to Ann, Eric, Joe, and tha Trupedawg for putting on a damn good production of "All In the Timing", a series of short plays by David Ives. I was entertained, and it usually takes at least a paper clip to entertain me, so good work. (somehow, that didn't come out right. but it really was a great show...)
I attended a workshop on doing indoor security for conferences, speeches, and rallies today. why do I tell you this? fair warning. if y'all be disturbing my conferences, I'm fully licensed to fuck y'all up. the art of the beatdown flows from my fingertips like muthaphukkin' Shakespeare. so be cool.
rather proud of myself - I checked my new music urges by paying for a bunch of new CDs with old ones. CD Inquisition Part Three: This Time, Not Even One Hit Can Save You resulted in the departure of ten CDs from my now even-tighter collection of 250 or so. five new ones came in and only cost $11.88 in cash with the results from the Inquisition. how pleasing.
true in a literal sense, part two:
apparently there's a car salesman out in california named Al Nino and he's been getting a lot of phone calls from people who blame him for the weather.
stop the presses. (cue tracks 4 and 5 on Radiohead's "OK Computer") I had this update ready to go and then Rob called. "I can jump your car now if you want me to", he said. I did. the battery's been a bit off lately and needs a jump every couple weeks to work. so we went out. hooked everything up. to no avail. the problem was much more serious than we thought. the cradle is in a coma. this is it. it has survived 17,000 miles past an accident that would have taken out most cars and a over a year since the raining bumpers accident, an accident that almost killed me and is still being fought over in court. (Illinois Founders Insurance, Maurice Hall, Mordini and Schwartz, I HOPE THAT YOU CHOKE.) 8,000 miles past all possibility, it has continued to carry me through ecstasy and through hell, ever unquestioning, never whining and bleating for credit. and now I don't think my baby is coming back. the first and only home I've ever known, host to more than a couple nights when I had nowhere else to go, my baby's journey is finally done. the plug hasn't been pulled yet. but it was in the air. and that can't be denied. goodnight, cradle. I love you. rest in peace.
March 12, 1998 somewhat major news in the Trial of the Millenium - the arbitration date between me and Maurice Hall (the man who sheds bumpers like dandruff) has been set for April 30th. the case is now well over a year old. that it took five months after the end of the discovery period to get the date for the preliminary session set is a somewhat underwhelming testament to the glory of the American judicial system. still, at least this is progress. if all continues to move at this rate, assuming that nothing is settled during the arbitration (and if they've dragged this insane mess out this long, I doubt that they're ready to give in now), I'd imagine that the trial will be in August. meanwhile, my poor car keeps giving me these hurt puppy looks. it's had enough. blergh. if I see one more article about some dick winning hundreds of thousands of dollars for mental damages from some executive who insulted his tie, and I still can't get the four thousand dollars I want for almost being killed by this idiot's bumper falling off in the middle of the road, there's gonna be trouble. big trouble. (for new readers, the full story of what I'm going on about here is in the daily update archives. click the blue head. whee.)
speaking of things falling from nowhere (smooth, marc! smooth!), it snowed again, in a big way. or, more accurately, it iced. all over the place. traction is a myth and my car's in deep slumber until the world thaws. man. midway through march. that el nino's a bad mother-- shut yo mouth! just talkin' 'bout el nino! we can dig it! it's a complicated weather pattern, see, and no one understands it but a bunch of meteorology freaks. anyway, yeah, so it's bat-shit cold and I'm more or less stranded without provisions - I'm almost out of food and my car's dead and since I keep getting the sneaking suspicion that there's something not quite right about having to pay ten dollars for milk at the convenience store, I'm stuck with some frightening meal choices. the sliced cheese and bread finally disappeared today. there's about a quarter cup of milk, some instant mashed potatoes, water chestnuts (!), cheez-wiz, and what appears to be an unlimited supply of ramen (that, at least, I'm never caught without. although frankly it's not quite the taste sensation that it used to be).
this page would like to now issue a public apology to its readers for the Chuck humor in the last edition. as long-time readers know, Chuck jokes are about as daring as Bob Dole Is Old jokes. we who are lost like this are dedicated to so much more. so we're sorry. if people are getting the wrong impression from such activities, that deep down I'm not a Chuckfan, they are making a mistake. Chuck is a longtime fiend. in fact, there are few greater fiends to me and to this page than Chuck. so I hope that clears up any lingering confusion. but I'm still thinking about getting some cats. and Chuck still better stay out of my damn cookies. if I ever get any more.
I was up all last night aimlessly thinking about writing a social theory paper. didn't get much done (ended up screwing around until it was time to go to my first class, coming home afterwards and kicking the thing out in the hour between classes). I have another midterm right away that I've yet to take. much as I like the people teaching the class, the subject material of this survey course through the first quarter of literature produced in America can bite my butt. how's that for an eloquent rebuttal? no interest. no love. hey, bulldog!
slug's adventures, part one:
for those of you not acquainted with him, slug is my dear next door neighbor. he is quite tall, not thin, wears glasses and has brown hair, thus filling the quota for people fitting that description who live near me. I've never really talked to him aside from the time I couldn't get the smoke alarm to stop ringing and I asked him for help. anyway, the development is: I think slug has a lady friend. I've been seeing more and more candle-lit dinners going on through the shades when I walk by his window, and I even heard a female voice in there once. go, slug! the slugster had a party in there on saturday night and may or may not be responsible for the power going out in the building on sunday morning, thus erasing my phone message opus "Sinners In the Hands of an Angry Answering Machine". consarn it. but yay slug anyway.
and now, the sound of a giraffe asking for a milkshake.
March 7, 1998 although I haven't yet gone to sleep and thus the day hasn't changed, this would according to cold hard math appear to be the day of my fourth (wow...) display of comedic verve with the rest of Potted Meat. this is an abbreviated show, since we're performing with other people; a little over half of our normal length. pretty good material for the show. I wrote my usual "if this fails, it's going to fail hard, but if it works..." sketch gambit. that's the way I roll. come see. or, alternatively, sit around at some guy's house, watch movies and drink liquor that some other guy bought for you. supposedly that's pretty cool to do too. I wouldn't know. I'm pretty lame like that. I don't have any cool hangovers to show for my time, just performances and words. sucks to be me.
fun things to see and do on this website: a couple new entries on the critics page. see the entries that people left in my "guestbook" before the media exposure garnered from their appearance on my page launched them to superstardom. then toss the dice and leave your own! or, alternatively, sit around at some guy's...oh, wait, I did that bit already. also check out the links page - freshly cleaned up and recalibrated, with a few brand new links to boot. of particular notice to connossieurs should be the Toshi Station, a blindingly hilarious example of how to take obsession (in this case, with Star Wars) in GOOD directions (as opposed to, say, criticizing members of your peer group for misplaced prepositions in their renditions of Monty Python songs). of extra special interest to anyone who likes this here page at all should be Not Elvis's page - gobsmackingly brilliant, of the same "AVANT-GARDE as FUCK!" anti-whitey philosophy as mine and one of the most original pages on the web. damn good stuff. (I make an appearance in the "I hate not elvis" section - I don't hate not elvis, of course. it has to do with the Gigantic Hawaiian Guy's Head, aka Manuel Pampo, who also appears on my critics page, affair.)
I've been thinking a lot about getting cats lately. I want at least two. life would be pretty much perfect if I had some cats around. cats would be much better than, say, Chuck. sure, they both walk around without shirts a whole lot more than they ought to, but it's OK when a cat does it. they have an excuse. and cats aren't as hopelessly "SCREWED!" as Chuck is, so they don't feel compelled to tell you about it daily. and when a cat does have a problem, you have a better chance of understandingwhy they're screwed, unlike Chuck, who will be the first to tell you that you have no idea and are incapable of understanding how screwed he is. also, cats don't take silly majors like "material science". they're much more dignified than that. hey, everybody, send me your reasons why cats are better than Chuck. whee. stick it to him!
take-home exams, Green Giant veggie burgers, the long-awaited return of my jar of cheez-wiz from seth bender's clutches.
erratic sleep patterns, the sexual organs of every single person in Washington DC, disciplinary policies for tardiness.
March 4, 1998 this is another one of those stupid cases where I had an update sitting on my computer and forgot that I hadn't actually uploaded it. so here's delayed gratification against a black backdrop.
it's funny, you know. Harry Caray and I would be out together, living it up like the two wildmen we were, and every once in awhile, late at night when the moon was the entire sky, there's be one of those silences. he'd look at me and say "Marc, you're a good kid." and I'd smile. and he'd say "ahh, christ, an old man like me, I'll never live to see your twentieth birthday." I'd laugh and tell him to knock it off, and then Henny Youngman would come by and bring us both some peanuts. that's what it was, back in the day. and now it's just me. ahh, christ. don't look so stressed out. it's only a lifetime.
"you look like the Crow today." second time in as many weeks that someone said that. this time, no makeup needed to do the trick. weird. although the bullet wound in my chest probably had a bit to do with it.
you could tell them by the fading ashen marks upon their foreheads. they really did come out in full force this year, much moreso than any of my two previous years here in C-U. for those of us whose religion is in no particular organization, lent is still an ace time for resolutions. strengthen your discipline, become a better person. me, I'm giving up airline terrorism for lent. how about you? the stone roses are the only thing keeping me from constant reminders of the maintenance people outside. it was my turn yesterday. gee whiz, am I ever excited about the new trimming for my apartment door that they're installing! I'll be the envy of the entire door club. didn't mind forfeiting my sleep-in day at all.
was relieved to see a halfway decent episode of "South Park" for the first time in awhile last week, although frankly they're still way off form. the only one of the four recent new ones that I really liked was the Damien one for its extended focus on Pip, and even that one was kind of flat. I could rant about what I think they need to do to save the show (yes it may sound as if I'm being premature, but unless things change, everyone else will be speaking these words in six months). but who's listening?
in the sense that I am still beset by mild sniffles and coughing, this fucking cold is in its 14th day now. it's nothing extreme, though. it didn't impair RMOL's "14th Show EXTRAVAGANZA!!!" at all, which was a merry three hours of me happily screaming incoherently into the microphone. avant-garde as fuck, that's me.
rampaging self-absorption with a high of 85, cooling by evening with a storm front of helpless maniacal determination and an occasional low. state extended satellite forecast: Potted Meat in abridged but tight form saturday (the 7th), moving in a southerly direction sometime in early april for a show somewhere down there. radio(activity) will continue unabated until either the FCC take action or the music director kills the DJ. rumors of a potential reprise to philly if the right vehicle can be found (!). or so eamon 'n dave tell our accu-whatever team.
chances of sweet love by the fire: 100%.
February 22, 1998 it's my little brother's birthday today. he's 16. tell Kit how much he means to you. doubtless it'll confuse the hell out of him since he doesn't know you, but since when is that wrong?
yeah, so I aged a couple days ago too. I almost didn't make it - the longest cold of my entire life seized hold of me and is still going strong in its 9th day. what a crappy thing. still, I can't complain too much about any illness that makes my voice sound all gravelly like an old bluesman. I dig that. the coughing, on the other hand, funk dat. funk dat straight to heck. my second decade has gone pretty well so far. I still kick far more ass than my rivals do. those who oppose me are no less miniscule beneath my manic glare. it's all good. is my heart still cold and miserable? ha! ha! you schmuck. Alpha Male ridin' high. the Last American Hero: the question is not when I'm gonna stop but who is gonna stop me?
any commercial that attempts to depict what "Guys" are like (they like tools, see, and fixing stuff. and they like sports, too! but they're not good at the sensitive stuff, see...) loses my business. I will now go out of my way to avoid purchasing Hallmark products. although to be honest I pretty much already was. so it goes. a nice reward for watching a Bulls game: John Cusack interview on the sidelines. he kicks all ass. I was about to say that I'd see anything with him in it, but then I realized that that means I'd have to go see "Anastasia", so I'll remain quiet and just reiterate that he kicks ass.
Tom McCann wrote an excellent piece in the February 19th edition of the Daily Northwestern. look for the guest column and be edified.
that's all for now. web activity has been low because other writing (Potted Meat on March 7th and April 25th with a road show inbetween) has been fast and furious. so are my fists of fury. of course.
DIY Corner Part One: Make Your Own Bad Acid Trip
first, eat a pickle. wait ten minutes. eat a thing of handisnacks, the kind with that "cheese" stuff. sit back, and let your digestive system do the talking. (consarn it, I need to buy some groceries.)
February 16, 1998 if it is true that you are what you eat, then right now I am a marshmallow. 59 cents. can't beat that. a very ill marshmallow, though, and not in a hip-hop sort of way either. sickness arrived late Thursday night, slipped out for a drink on Sunday, and has returned with a vengeance. yeah, I'm in the junkie limbo at the moment. fortunately not too far in that I can't be productive or at least attempt to interact with the world. hence, these words. dizziness has been a resident throughout, and my voice is a recent casualty. fortunately, Eamon is along to assist with the vocal aspects of tonight's edition of RADIOACTIVE MONSTERS OVER LONDON. how good of him.
despite overwhelming illness on friday night, as any good devotee of Pink Floyd's The Wall well knows, The Show Must Go On. so along with the other rampantly talented folks in Potted Meat, I managed to stagger on and offstage at all the right times. the audience seemed pleased, I suppose. (I didn't really ask them.) we happily violated multiple fire codes (shh!) and still weren't able to fit everyone in the venue, which is how the Rolling Stones measure success so yay for us. I thought the show came together rather well, especially considering that we did it in less than half our normal prep time and with a quarter of the troupe missing (including the mad cool Matt Trupia...hey, troupe - Trupia...we were missing Trupia from our troupe...oh, forget it. have I ever mentioned that I am an idiot?). I got to improvise a bad comedy routine, play a gay barbarian, deliver a cripping blow to goth pretension everywhere, and generally wear lots of makeup which helpfully disguised my clear and present paleness. so a good time was had by me. and isn't that what it's all about?
more theatrical stuff: I was cast as a lead in the Rod Serling play "Requiem for a Heavyweight". this is quite cool, having up to this point in my life played only a myriad of support parts (donde esta WHOOOOOORE senora Ryan?) when in full-length plays. being no longer sufficiently heavy to qualify as a heavyweight, I play Army, the cutman who is the play's conscience. a good role and a great play. probably to go onstage in the last week of April. I'm sure I will babble about this subject further as time passes.
I got tricked into going to a lecture that I didn't have to today. I'm kind of irritated about that. another class proved entirely meaningless save handing in a paper. irritation also rises, although that one I was expecting. one class got canceled - the teacher went up to Chicago to audition for a sitcom. that, there is no complaining about. in the one class that I genuinely like, the professor's general dislike for me depressingly continues to rise. I make a feeble joke about his attendance policy and he makes me repeat it three times and then just dismisses me with a bored contemptful glance. yikes. it's a good thing I'm made out of silly putty. it's alright, though. if I wasn't so neurotic I'd have nothing to do in class.
the state of the sloth address:
I'm really rather disgusted with the complete lack of reading that I've been doing over the last five months. I generally don't read much (aside from comic books) while I'm writing things and I've been writing things more or less continually, but this is absurd. Ken Kesey's "Sometimes A Great Notion" is a damn good book that I'm only 70 or so pages into and I just can't find the time to pick it up. I suck.
that does put me 70 pages ahead of 96% of the world's population, though, which is at least a small comfort.
popcorn, unexpected free time, big immersion headphones, Superfreak, synchronicity from chaos.
the one week that the public affairs guys on WEFT start insulting people on the air and I have to handle it.
thursday? hah! thursday can't touch me!
February 12, 1998 I think my pipes might have just frozen. uh oh. I thought that was just a myth. shh, nobody tell the real estate company and perhaps the problem will go away...
due to recent comments in this space, there has been some confusion about my position on certain forms of cheese. to clarify: I have always been in favor of cheese slices and cheese on pizza, pasta, and other dishes. however, my praise of cheez wiz led some to believe that perhaps I was condoning e-z-cheese. this is simply not true. cheez wiz in a jar goes well with celery. were that same cheez wiz in an aerosol can like e-z-cheese, I would not hesitate to spray it all over the place and eat the celery with some other topping (i.e. peanut butter). cheese found in an aerosol can should, by virtue of its very nature, be recklessly sprayed all over the place; in that case, manic glee takes priority over consumption. however, when crazed dairy graffiti is not as easy an option (i.e. when the cheese is found in a decidedly static jar), one may do what one wishes with it. I hope that helps. I know how much everyone cares about my set of ethics and models themselves after it, so there you go. any further confusion, don't hesitate to ask.
valentine's day is coming up (or is already past, depending on when you read this). I'm no major booster of the "holiday" but I've decided not to protest it this year either. frankly, most of the people who protest it do it for such utterly wanky lame reasons that I don't want to be aligned with them. for me, the thing that's deplorable about the day is the sheer pointless saccharineness of it and the cold calculated marketing of "love". if you have a relationship gone bad, then complain about that relationship, not the entire opposite sex. if you're a whiny bastard who resents the opposite sex because they never ask you out even though you've never talked to them, then just crawl into a hole or something until you're ready to actually be alive. as far as I'm concerned, the genuinely stupid and the genuinely in-love (two different groups, saith I in an optimistic moment) can have fun and do their thing. as long as thay do it somewhere away from me, that is.
five great sincere love songs:
the Stone Roses "Ten Storey Love Song" Second Coming, Blur "To the End" Parklife, Paul McCartney "Maybe I'm Amazed" McCartney, the Doors "Indian Summer" Morrison Hotel, Marvin Gaye "Let's Get It On" Let's Get It On or Greatest Hits.
slap them on a tape and wobble 'round the room with your love, not a moment of dysfunction amongst them.
five great fucked-up love songs:
David Bowie "Heroes" Heroes, Lou Reed "Perfect Day" Trainspotting Soundtrack vol 1 (probably somewhere else too), Tricky "Makes Me Wanna Die" Pre-Millenium Tension, Beatles "Happiness is a Warm Gun" (White Album), the Verve "Space and Time" (Urban Hymns).
slap these on and scream at the wall. can't go wrong with Bowie ("Strangers When We Meet" comes to mind too), really anything by Portishead, there are probably even a few applicables from the Pixies.
think I'm missing some? go to the "critics" page down below and use the form to tell me what great love songs, sincere or whacked, that I missed. I'll put them up here.
onwards: for those of you in the champaign area, don't forget to attend the world's greatest circus, Potted Meat at the Channing-Murray Foundation, Oregon and Mathews (I think), 9pm, $3. it will make you happy. if it does not, then there's something wrong with you. either way, it's a useful barometer as to whether or not you're OK.
another note for those of you in the area: Schnucks (a local grocery store) microwave popcorn is not only the cheapest brand that you can find, but it is also, bar none, the most delicious microwave popcorn I have ever consumed. seriously. better than Act II, Orville, or any of those other brands. the only drawback to it is that it doesn't come with a rant from Paul Newman on the side (and I do recommend looking for Newman's Own popcorn because his rant on the box is a masterpiece). still, as I well know, having more than a few of them, you can't eat a rant. so buy Schnucks. with a name like that...
and for those of you who like a bit of great music now and then, Very Secretary (see the links page) just released their first CD on Mud Records. mad cool indeed, in finer record stores hopefully nationwide.
getting a bit warmer in here now. I'll play this game again soon, though. 'til the end!
February 9, 1998 proving once again that I have absoutely no intention of stopping or even slowing down my reckless manic lifestyle, I vacuumed my apartment and then bought some new shirts on saturday. the champaign police department didn't even try to stop me. in other bat-shit crazy news, not having any stamps is preventing me from signing a lease for next year. classes seem to be going along fine without me. none save Shakespeare prove particularly engaging, although each has its moments. I thought I smelled dog poop in the theatre today. really pungent poop. blah, blah, blah. okay.
a fair amount has been done in various forms of things over the last week. for whatever reason, I haven't felt like going near this web thing and updating it. I'm still streets ahead of just about anyone else though. yay me. went on a bloody rampage again, my version of which involves donating insane amounts of it. the madness finally came to an end on friday when I realized that I'd somehow wandered into an ROTC blood drive and was asked very sternly which branch of service I was from. having the incredibly stupid sense of humor that I do, I signed the Air Force attendance sheet because I had glasses on at the time. (get it? wheepers.) no bad health save a slab of dizziness incurred. so that others may avoid my mistakes, let me make it known right now that the refreshments at ROTC blood drives suck donkey balls in comparison to the ones at the Red Cross.
I hit upon a plan to stave off my 20th birthday for awhile. I plan on donating my drivers license to a fund for needy freshmen who want to get into bars. I'll take their license in return and be 18 again. then, in two years, I can do it all over again if I like. neat, huh? yes, virginia, I am a fucking genius!
I'm slowly starting to update the links page - fixing broken links, tweaking design, adding, subtracting, etc. not done yet. it's not especially enthralling work. what a big onerous beast. but then, no one ever said that life wasn't a neverending onslaught of torture.
Potted Meat show this friday, february 13th - 9pm at the Channing-Murray Foundation. come see. one way or another, it will make you happy.
I wish "coercion" was my middle name. that, or "savings".
big calendar clearance sales, cheese, the Verve, collapsible housing, the way of the samurai.
congealed chunks of superglue, salt-less corn chips, attendance taken before the bell.
February 1, 1998 I was baking and watching cartoons this morning. what a good day. the WB may be many things (most of them negative) during the nighttime hours, but damn does it have some cool stuff on sunday mornings. I was kind of underwhelmed by the Men In Black cartoon - it wasn't bad, just thoroughly lacking. the Batman and Superman cartoons were both very cool, and Animaniacs never treat you bad. after all this, despite my oft-stated disinterest in the first movie, I have been filled with the burning desire to create and write a weekly "Scream" cartoon series. can you even begin to conceive of how cool that would be? pointless body counts into the hundreds, rapidly revolving doors of suspects in and out (each of whom is eventually revealed to be one of the killers), hip metatextual irony in bright primary colors. please, mr. craven, let me do it. please!
for the first time in my multi-year (doesn't that sound more impressive than it is?) career, I have received a web award. after I got over the initial wave of panic ("sweet jesus, someone's been reading this?!?"), I moved on from my "Omega Man of the World Wide Web" visions and went on with my life. I'm not all that keen on displaying web awards - it just seems kind of, I don't know, egotistical in a "some guy in Iowa who never leaves the house" sort of way rather than the tasty Jack Nicholson (or Boris from "Goldeneye" - woohoo!) way. still, it's up on the critics page, so go ahead and check it out (it's worth looking at their page for some of the really rather scary sites they have there - as well as for the sheer irony of a page that critiques other web pages being as massively dorky as theirs is), the January 30th "www.bigweenie.com Wurst of the Web" award for "stream of college-ness coherency".
pointing out that this site appears incoherent to the average person ranks right up there with other incisive jabs like "there's a lot of porno on the internet" and "this site uses a lot of Times New Roman". but, "college-ness"? geez. they probably didn't mean as badly as I'm taking it, but man, when you go to a college like this one, you don't wanna be associated with it or be thought of as a product of it. "those words...hurt." but yeah! rock on with your bad self, sir. a few people who read this site for the first time recently have sent me mail and confirmed that some of the target audience (the intelligent, the obscure, the unconventional, the upside-down people of the world) actually do get this site, so I'm feeling a bit better about the whole thing by now.
began a half-assed search for housing next year, became mired deep in preparations for the next Potted Meat show on february 13th. classes are still OK. not particularly interested or aware of any of them save the Shakespeare class, which despite my professor's rather clearly-expressed dislike of my apathetic study habits and scholarly opinions continues to be rather fun.
naps have been tasting like heaven lately.
a little too wet. mostly good. still have that odd property of not tasting exceptionally good at first but becoming increasingly addictive (others have confirmed this). wish I'd used bigger chocolate chips.
a bit too dry. chocolate levels perfect, though. non-linear shapes win big points.
December 18, 1997 lost like this presents:
1997: A Year of Stuff, Things, and Other Miscellaneous Crap
Emotion of the Year: Contempt
Only the hippest knew the new sound and carried it with them wherever they went. Apathy? That's so 1994. Confused rage? Oh, please, I left that in the pocket of my old flannel shirts. No, this was the year of contempt. There was so much to look around that made you want to sneer but evoked no other clear, sensible reaction. Hanson, for example. Their existence (and the nauseating rapidity with which the news media embraced them - youth is not an excuse for mediocrity. whatever happened to practicing until you were ready?) was obviously an affront to anyone with a functioning mind, but what could you do about it? Seethe.
Overexposed News Story of the Year: The Budget Deficit
On and on they went. "Not enough money", they said. "Financial collapse imminent". Yeah, yeah, yeah. WHAT ABOUT DIANA, YOU PIGFUCKERS?!? SHE DIED! AND SHE DID CHARITY WORK SOMETIMES!!! This "money" thing is all that people talk about. Well, fuck that shit. When was the last time you saw "money" do a kind thing like appearing in a photograph with a poor person like Diana did? This money, it has no heart. Why should it receive attention that could have been otherwise given to a tragic, underreported incident like whatever the fuck it was that happened to Diana? She slipped in the bathtub or something, right?
NASA Conspiracy of the Year: Mars
They claim that they sent a "probe" to Mars and it took photos of the terrain there. What no one seems to notice is that these "photos" are quite a lot like much of the Adam West movie "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" (go ahead and look it up on the IMDB)! And people believe in this silly "Mars" myth! Get with it, people, "Mars" is a figment of Adam West's warped imagination. Can't NASA come up with a better lie to mask the existence of Planet X and its devious schemes just outside of the Earth's gravitational field? Standards are indeed slipping.
Food Item of the Year: Cookies
A cruel mistress indeed. Buy them in plastic containers from your local grocer's bakery, snatch up mass produced versions of them, even bake them yourselves. These grinning little ghouls retain their alluring power in whatever form they take. They psychically slap me from across the room, across time and space. "That drink of water was fine, but doesn't it need something else? Doesn't it...lack a certain something? A follow-up?" They linger in your mouth. They are small enough to be eaten in a bite or two, never quite large enough to satisfy you permanently...until it's too late, your stomach is full, and your sugar high has crashed like Kevin Costner's career as soon as "The Postman" is released. They always disappear in the end. But they're a few steps away...at all times...always one step too many, though...
Murder/Suicide Pact of the Year: the Notorious B.I.G. and Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Two people from very different backgrounds, brought together only by their obsession with ending hunger. Could there have been a love more poetic? Sadly, the world was not yet ready. When the world coldly rejected the musical consummation of their love, published under the name "Emerson, Lake, and Palmer", the tragic pair could take the cruelty and the misunderstanding no longer. When, people? How many more must die?
Record of the Year: The Length that a Human Being Can Hold His or Her Breath For
All of this air will be gone someday, you know. Ever look up? What's holding it in? Nothing!
Walking Nipple of the Year: Tom Beach
Few walking nipples in human history have done more to promote visibility of nipples than our award winner, Tom Beach. Tom is a brooding, enigmatic and eternally effervescent nipple. He walks amongst human beings spreading intrigue and IMDB credits. Keep up the good work, Tom!
there you go. the product of thirty minutes of hyper sleep-deprived meandering, er, reflections upon a year gone by. seriously? 1997: a pretty good year. as far as spaces in time go. lot of stuff created. lot more left to do. never relaxed. effortlessly justified incomprehensibility and dodged a rainstorm of bumpers. let's keep rocking and rolling, huh? awright, awright.
I'll be checking email over break. let's see a movie together, y'all. even if you're a complete stranger. let's go see second city. give me a cookie. please. just one more!
this page is respectfully dedicated to the memory of Red Skelton who, in 1963, got up out of bed and successfully dressed himself approximately 364 times. we miss you, Red.
December 13, 1997 the radio and the mangojam pages have been updated - check them out.
today we slap on the 'R' rating, drop our pants and relieve all that theatrical tension that's been building for weeks now. 8 pm, Gregory Hall Theatre (112), $3. we did a brilliant job chalking the quad sidewalks, I think. "Potted Meat + Spicy Clamato: Sketch and Improv Comedy. 'We lead such bleak and tragic lives. Oh, won't somebody bring me some water?' - another satisfied customer!" I don't know exactly why I've been hyping this show so heavily on this here page because, as far as I know, the only people who read it are non-UIUCers. but so it goes. if I stopped doing things because they didn't make sense, then I'd be a very inactive person.
classes are over, finito, endo, no moreo, etc. I'll miss three out of the four. I actually had a dream that professor bordua from the one I won't miss did something nice for me, and I ran home to change my web page so that he wouldn't read me saying that he was a senile drooling old bat, but I was too late. for some reason, however, I think he thought it was funny. but the dream shifted right afterwards, so I'm not sure. "wack shit", I feel like solemnly intoing all of a sudden.
christmas looks to be good for movies. as a die-hard Titanic junkie and a Kate Winslet fan, I'm really looking forward to "Jackie Brown". "Amistad" has been getting surprisingly good reviews. the idea of "Scream 2" bores the shit out of me, but were it and its prequel not so chokingly overrated, I might feel differently. who knows. "Tomorrow Never Dies" is can't-miss fun because either it'll be good or it'll be terrible in a funny way. there's no inbetween with those Bond movies. oh, and that boat movie on december 19th, I wanna see that too, maybe.
ramen (like an old friend), cookies (a cruel mistress), sounding like Damon Albarn, rocking out with impunity, smooveness.
not being able to use all the milk before its expiration date, large video chains, poor time management.
December 9, 1997 discounting today, since all such strife has been concluded as of this writing, there are only three days of classes left here at Mr. Illiniwek's Chicken Shack. school-related stress continues to be conspicuously absent from my life, so the only real effect that this oncoming closure has had upon me is that I now have more time to dopily smile at all the snow outside. I wrote and handed in my final big monster paper of the semester yesterday and it was a truly loathsome piece of work, utterly uninspired in every way, but it did at least feaure more or less complete sentences and really that's all that counts.
the real estate company has already begun showing my apartment to prospective renters for next august, sometimes when I'm not even here. this irritates me. once again, though, I chose to be mature about it and have even decided to help the real estate agents out by leaving the little eyeballs from my halloween costume all over the place. they give the place a nice, home-y sort of feeling.
my life has improved immeasurably since I bought christmas lights on saturday night, for the record.
Potted Meat show this Saturday. it is, as all the hipsters say, the "bomb". trust me, this one is going to be very good. why would I lie to you? you can have five minutes free, and I'm only $3.99 a minute thereafter. have you given any thought to going into business for yourself? do you have unresolved feelings about someone in your past? do you have skin? see? I'm that good. I am the king of all psychics. roar. radio show went well this morning. I performed my first primitive vinyl mixing attempt on the air and a new high point of my broadcast career was reached when my shameless begging for cookies between songs was rewarded with actual cookies from a listener. thank you, lovely listener! as for the rest of you, well, you've got an entire week before the next time I'll be in need of cookies, so that's fair warning I think.
spongy bread, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, hand-eye coordination, portable wilderness, running water (hi, rob).
envelopes, the crap that collects on stoves underneath the burners, having been awake for a couple days straight and needing to hang on just one more to take a quiz.
December 1, 1997 this marks the second anniversary of the first appearance of a web page bearing my name. the first edition of "Outside the Asylum with Marc Heiden" appeared on the sunday night following thanksgiving of my freshman year. it was actually completed on the wednesday prior, but I had problems uploading it and could not finish before my RA kicked me out at 5 pm (leaving me to wander the streets of champaign for several hours, singing "Free As A Bird" to myself and waiting for a train). the first page predated frames, java, tables, and all that stuff that companies would have you believe is the future of the web. it did, however, have a bit of what the web should be about: rampant self-promot, er, creative content. the monkeys were there and so was the old flying pig (now retired). the ewok was as pissed off as ever. no backgrounds and about a third of it didn't actually work. it didn't even say "fuck" anywhere. man, we were primitive back then!
so, two years later, there is this. it is me and you are thee and we are all together. this thanksgiving was fairly tranquil in comparison to, well, other thanksgivings. (those who should know what I mean, do. for the rest of you, I have only the word "ninjas".) my mother decided to have dinner at a restaurant where I had a portabella mushroom, one of the two non-chicken entrees on the bloody menu, and I didn't much like it. the restaurant was infested with old people, and it made me feel dirty all over. because old people do that. there was, at least, corn bread in the bread basket. the rest of the vacation was predominantly concerned with cutting an accidental swathe of seizures wherever we went and watching "Dune" and having violent reactions to "Dune". Rory and I had a planning session for the final play in the Trilogy and Elton John unwittingly played right into our hands...
radio show tonight, the second airing of my very own show. 90.1 FM. don't stop the radioactivity. Potted Meat show on december 13th is shaping up to be really good. do not miss. now go put some clothes on.
non-empty fridge, being able to get out of bed in the morning, newly broken-in shoes.
exorbitant power bills, $17.99 for a single CD (hello, Borders) and they're the only ones who have it in stock.
November 22, 1997 I just read a report on Reuters that Michael Hutchence, lead singer of INXS, was found dead in a hotel room of either a drug overdose or hanging. not a crippling blow to the world of art, but what the hell? sometimes, people make no sense to me. "sometimes", nothing. people pretty much never make sense to me.
the second incarnation of my beard met with its inevitable demise last night. although it looked alright, the entire effect was just too much like Paul McCartney's beard in "Let It Be". there wasn't anything specific wrong with it, but it just wasn't happening. so it goes. my face, which had grown irritated at the beard's presence and demanded salves, does not miss it much. although I cannot help but feel like a pathetic hairless creature every time I look in the mirror. that will pass.
trying to slog through a sociology research project involving doing a bunch of interviews - the interviews are half done, but I hate having to do papers where certain aspects (i.e. people's attendance at the interviews) are beyond my control. I'm hoping to be done in time to leave champaign on tuesday morning directly following the debut of Radioactive Monsters Over London, my radio show on WEFT 90.1 FM. and for all you limeys out there, that's not just a title, it's a threat! no, I love britain. thank you for Blur and all that.
Seamus, kick-ass english 342 teacher at large, is having the class over for dinner at his house this weekend. how cool is that?
in the last bit of big news, I am now launching a surprise offensive in the never-ending legal battle over the Cradle (my car). I have contracted the services of a lawyer and am going to, well, increase the amount of money that I'm looking for. substantially. because I'm tired of this crap and if there's anything that I learned from watching "The Untouchables" a few hundred times as a child, it's that you have to "take the battle to him!" and kick the bad guy's ass. this is because bad guys generally refuse to kick their own asses. how rude.
tape delay, books, swing, veterans of the Hollywood Squares Wars.
that which is frozen in chunks, blisters on your feet (instead of in a scream at the end of "Helter Skelter").
November 17, 1997 this is pre-destined to be a somewhat half-assed update because I am to leave for Chicago in a few minutes - more treatments on my increasingly-problematic back are scheduled bright and early tomorrow morning. there are people who have neat new pages that are worth checking out, but you're just going to have to guess who they are because I don't have time to hack away at the links page. my life has been so darn busy ever since I was exposed to that industrial sewage and became the gigantic green scaled defender of the environment.
my final show as a substitute DJ on WEFT happened last night/this morning. "final show?", you ask? "what group of people did you insult this time what wound up getting you thrown off the air?" well, in a three-hour span Henry and I managed to offend middle-aged people, grieving pet owners, men, homeless people, women, and other DJs across the country, but rather than remove us from the air they granted us OUR OWN SHOW! monday nights/tuesday mornings from 2-6am, the FM frequency band is mine. I call it. 90.1 is the number you need to know. everything else...is all fodder for the MINDFUCK!
(there was this one point during the show last night where I wanted to say "mindfuck" and started to but managed to slur it at the last moment. hampering my expression. fascists!)
November 13, 1997 what goes on: I disappeared for awhile earlier this week. it was getting hot in here, the fire was coming down from all sides, so I had to drive up to chicago for back treatment (my back does not possess the enduring strength of, say, Smoove B's). it was discovered that, amongst other things, my left shoulder is (for whatever reason) naturally lower than my right. finally, the answer to a question that I've had for my entire life: why do priests go into spastic fits when they see me and scream something about asymmetrical forms of demons?
for the record, I was told my authorities that I am most like Scary Spice. just so you know.
Potted Meat's first show for this semester kicked all ass that was available for kicking. we sold out the Channing-Murray foundation and (shh!) violated fire codes by fitting dozens more people in there anyways. we've begun rehearsing for our next show, december 13th, to be performed with the improv group Spicy Clamato. I have several parts in this show, including a lead bit as a quad preacher who goes hollywood, and I may even have a couple skits of my own in the show. if it sounds like too much fun to be imagined, it is. it is only a matter of time before some big green monster steps on us.
what else? I am utterly and completely uninspired tonight. my fingers are clumsy. they can barely get an entire word out without egregious typos. the indirect cause for this (beyond my sheer incompetence), however, is a very good thing - it snows gently and uninterrupted outside. the more snow there is to fill the gaps in champagn's crumbling facade, the better.
god loves all of god's children, but god loves god's children who have web pages and update them regularly the most.
the sleep button, snow with the lights off, 36 miles to go, remote access answering machines.
having nothing to say but lots of unstructured time in which to reflect upon it.
November 6, 1997 the wonderful promise of snow on monday morning has turned into the bland actuality of drizzling rain for the last few days. as it turns out, el nino is a predictable and crappy creative force in the weather world. the temperature leveled off, though, which means that the big bastard (the gigantic heater in my apartment) has been relaxing lately. it operates strangely - it will be silent for a long period of time until the temperature dips to a certain point, at which a sound like something falling outside kicks in and then after a couple seconds a low rumble (and, if the lights are off, a blue glow around the floor) starts and heat seeps in. it's actually quite nice when sleeping in on long cold mornings.
who says I never talk about anything but myself? I talk about inanimate objects and meteorological events too.
I register for my spring semester classes tomorrow. how depressing. the bright side is that I get to take a couple fun classes in my desperate attempt to avoid early graduation. speaking of registering, check out this website to find out (from official sources) Which Spice Girl You Are Most Like, courtesy of the divine Svetlana. my results to be revealed at a later date...
first Potted Meat show this saturday at 8 pm at the channing-murray foundation. to get ready for the show, I gave blood today. nice not to be hampered by those annoying vital fluids. finally, I will realize my dream of performing on the same stage as no empathy, rottweiler, loud lucy, tracy bonham, the clowns, and other people who now that I think about it have had little impact upon my life. oh, wait, dave johnson's band (back when they were the one up downstairs, well before acquiring extreme secretarial qualities, but also preceding said one's assault by the malevolent force known only as the crooner). so this is a cool thing once again. even though I'm still on neophyte status for this show and don't have any writing or major characters, I do have featured dance spot at the beginning. $3! portion of the proceeds go to charity! humor! whimsy! come see.
everything else you can find in your local grocer's freezer aisle.
A&E, big ass frosted brown donut-like things that don't have holes, unitarian churches, posting flyers for controversial events on campus.
closing the refreshment stand, small town car dealerships, kiosk politics, senile ramblings that one is to be tested on.
November 3, 1997 the script called for me to play the fool on the 30th and so it was played - I updated the page that day but completely forgot to upload it. hey, it was real to me. so it goes.
Halloween was alright. this campus isn't much for creativity - the main difference between it and any other day was that maybe a quarter of the bar hoppers were drinking in half-assed vampire outfits and angel dresses instead of khakis and skirts. having failed to find an Oscar the Grouch costume, I gave in to my art-twit side and constructed The Negation of the Self, a conceptual piece that had me dressed in a faceless mask, skintight black outfit and carrying a jar of eyeballs. as you can probably imagine, I left a swathe of enlightened drunks in my path.
what else? I'm doing the late night shift on WEFT again tonight on short notice, subbing for the soul show but with permission to "play whatever you want". requests? email me before 1 am or call at (217) 359-9338. first Potted Meat show of the year on this saturday (the 8th), featuring me in a limited capacity but a good time nonetheless. football game protest also this saturday, into the mouth of sloth itself at memorial stadium on the UIUC campus.
they repainted my kitchen cabinets today. whitewashed everything. will white supremacy ever leave me alone?!? although they did change the kitchen lightbulb, and I really appreciated that. but still! down with white!
"Beetlebum" (Blur), Just Right cereal, grocery shopping late at night, MP3s, the first snow of the year.
mistakenly writing a paper when I didn't have to (even if it wasn't overly difficult), puny humans who think they have any sway over Hulk's emotional state.
October 28, 1997 important: this just in, at 0100 hrs on 10.29.97:
NEW SMOOVE B COLUMN IN THIS WEEK'S ONION! finally! meaning in our lives! fuck yeah!
and now, back to the previously written october 28th update.
today in a fit of neurotic combatativeness I decided to disprove the time-old adage "a watched pot doesn't boil" and stood in front of my stove and watched as a pot of water went from cold to boiling. this is incontrovertible proof that either a) reality is a lie or b) I am a magic man. with the boiling water I made a casserole for dinner, my first real cooking venture (since everything else is usually "just add water/milk" sorts of food) and I am muy proud of it. I kick all ass. if you dispute that you are a petty rotten person and let's see your damn casserole, you bitchy little philistine. I even have leftovers. whee.
new South Park tomorrow night, start looking for a cable-equipped TV now.
I know this will shock many who've been following this page for awhile, but I saw the new Boyle / Hodge / McDonald / McGregor film "A Life Less Ordinary" and really liked it. I don't feel like going into detail at the moment, but it was quite nice to see a movie that so effortlessly and completely defies genre (the "romantic comedy" ad campaign is just one facet of it) and has no qualms about (and indeed enjoys) confusing dim people. great chemistry between the leads, fine soundtrack, and no reason not to see it unless you're dumb in which case you probably haven't made it this far anyway, having given up on "surfing the web" in favor of getting a beer or something similarly "fun".
I'm kind of cranky today.
the temperature right now, ceasing eating Jays, avoiding the accent issue altogether.
humans who misunderstand noble visitors, professors who retire one semester too late.
October 25, 1997 I had been putting off updating this page until I had something to say about whether my program proposal went through or not. well, I can officially say now that I have nothing to say because four more proposals for the timeslot apparently came in and those have to be considered too while me (and the prog-rock guy) lie in wait. nothing much else has happened over the last few days. I talked briefly to the opposition lawyer folk and nothing progressed. trial sometime after the new year probably. I find it quite annoying to read stories about people getting $2,000,000 settlements over coffee spills when all I want is $3,600 over the bumper falling off another guy's car in the middle of the highway and almost killing me. not the entire legal system is concerned with frivolity, just the corners of it that I'm not in.
mad-hype site of the day: levitating frogs, courtesy of the good mr. JC Dwyer. it's a science project (complete with quicktime movies) concerned with using magnetic fields to get frogs to levitate. seriously. check it out.
UIUC homecoming this weekend, the theme unjustly co-opted from "the Empire Strikes Back". how many evil projects must those poor movies be associated with? wasn't ronald reagan's multi-billion dollar descent into nuclear senility enough of an affront? nothing to be done. packs of cheerleaders are roving about, attempting to instill school spirit in you with sledgehammers. I Shall Not Be Moved.
cereal, two hours left to sleep, multitasking, grey weather, acting again.
grease, nonmotion, nostalgia for times I didn't enjoy while I was there.
October 21, 1997 unexpected success has fallen into my lap. on sheer whim I auditioned for a sketch comedy troupe on campus last night and I'm in! they're a popular group called "Potted Meat" (I think there's a webpage somewhere, but I don't have the address) and most importantly they're dedicated to keeping me off the streets which is the best thing for everyone, I think.
tonight, as you may remember, the prog rock guy gets his tryout in the WEFT timeslot that we're both competing for. mm. yeah, well...
I called the lawyers at Mordini & Schwartz, Inc, to see what the heck is up with the court battle over the Cradle yesterday. shockingly enough, they didn't return my call. gee whiz. (for those of you just tuning in, the Cradle is my car. it was damaged earlier this year when the bumper fell off a car ahead of me on I-57 and tore up the underside of my car, locking up my steering and almost sending me off a bridge. the driver's insurance company declared this to be MY fault and denied payment - thus, I've had to sue the guy, and Mordini & Schwartz are his lawyers. this has been a really protracted battle, it's nowhere near trial yet, and was/is now/ever shall be really fucking stupid)
man, just writing about that whole thing puts me in a bad mood. I think I'll go do some hard drugs to pick me up.
"Under Pressure", taking tuesdays off, placebos, cereal, underwater footage.
slightly spoiled vegetables that ruin the entire bowl of ramen, midnight sales without pizza, eardrops, mcdonald's commercials.
October 19, 1997 on Friday I thought I might like to go to the show, so I did - the David Bowie concert in chicago at the aragon ballroom. amazing show, great setlist, and though I failed to get back to Bowie's hotel room I was entranced anyway. the man is a genius writer and performer, and shows that being over 50 is no excuse for being irrelevant (see: Rolling Stones).
quick survey: the green strip on the side, is it too glaring? it looks fine on my screen but apparently is too bright on others. let me know.
so having finished paper/midterm season and having return to my cozy little den, I am sitting here enduring indigestion from this really bad dehydrated broccoli-and-cheese in-a-pouch thing and watching TV. for the first time in eons, "the Simpsons" hasn't been preempted by crappy baseball playoffs. I really don't think "King of the Hill" is all that funny. perhaps it's the fact that I am surrounded by white trash for hundreds of miles around, but I'm just not all that keen on seeing them in situations other than ones where big rocks are dropped on their heads. the show isn't bad, but in romanticizing "down-home Texas life" it quite often takes an anti-intellectual stance which I have no patience for cos it's crap. the characters are portrayed fairly inconsistently but not in the clever self-conscious way that "the Simpsons" does.
what does the next week hold? it's a nice feeling not knowing.
rice, clean dishes, "beemer blue", checker patterns, vegan dinners.
wet socks, leather as a status symbol, the gas that often accompanies vegan dinners.
October 17, 1997
my extended silence as of late shouldn't be a cause of concern to anyone (and I say that because I'm sure people are losing sleep over it). it's nothing permanent, just the arrival and departure of the one week of the entire semester where I have actual work to do. a bother when it's here, but it's gone now and so is the horse it rode in on.
radio show went very well (we got a request! from someone we didn't know!), now it's the prog rock guy's turn to prove that eighteen minute keyboard solos are more important than people who sing with british accents. there'll be a decision on who gets the slot on thursday night, I guess. in the meantime, David Bowie concert means I will be up in chicago for a portion of this weekend. much as I'm looking forward to the show, the thought of that ^$%# drive back and forth fills me with, well, non-digestible plastics.
October 11, 1997 today was inconvenient. I was supposed to zip over to the radio station by 8 am to engineer a public affairs show, but my car had disappeared. upon further investigation, it was found out that Andy's Towing (slogan: "each of our workers is capable of at least half of an entire thought") had seized it, allegedly for the Cradle's placement in the parking spot next to where it should have been. this was news to me, but as I have no recourse until the real estate office opens on monday I had no choice but to surrender $75 to the mouth of bloated hick greed. worsening things, I wrote a nasty letter to the guy who had me towed but realized several hours later than I'd put it on the wrong car and probably confused some innocent guy.
having had time to reflect upon the situation, I have calmed down somewhat and decided not to do anything immature or foolish. that would just make things unnecessarily worse. instead, I plan on urinating into a paper cup and pouring it into the guy's engine vents.
what else? well, the FM frequency is mine again tomorrow (sunday) night from 2am to 5am. so stay off or else I'll have someone give you dirty looks. not long afterwards, I will be receiving a tryout in the tuesday midnight-2am slot as that timeslot's regular host. I am in direct competition for this with some other guy, who gets a tryout next week at the same time and the programming committee will then choose between us. UK freeform (me) or obscure prog rock (him)? you decide.
anti-Columbus day rally on monday at noon on the quad at UIUC! look for a rather...um, unique, risque, and possibly career-defining appearance by yours truly. ooh la la.
rollerblades, my recently-resurrected first CD player, orchestral backing, mountains tumbling to the sea.
bands that involve themselves in any way with frats, post-carrot indigestion, second-floor apartments.
October 9, 1997 hello again. where I been? self-absorption: a play in one act.
marc: I'm too depressed to go on.
all: (smiling) not you, marc!
all: (privately) boy, he's getting derivative.
all: (privately) yeah, just not what he used to be.
marc: yeah, even me. I think I just need to sleep it off, though, for a couple days, or weeks, or something.
all: well gee whiz, what's got you down?
marc: for one thing, microsoft somehow got hold of the david bowie song "Heroes" and are now using it in commercials.
all: (shaking heads) it's just a song, lighten up.
marc: eh, yeah, but it's also more or less the only sincere emotion I've ever had. also my stomach's upset.
all: you need to eat more healthy food, silly!
marc: my diet is actually fine, believe it or not. besides, how would you know what I've been eating?
all: ha ha, we know you marc!
marc: oh, ok, whatever.
all: heh heh! so, got any kinky sex stories for us?
marc: I'm too depressed to go on.
listening to soul music in the morning, big floppy disks (5.25), squeezable margarine, grey skies and cool weather.
sociology 231, sleeping with contacts on, "you think too much", ignorance.
October 5, 1997 I am dangerously close to becoming a casualty in the war against Psychic Talk USA. "I don't wanna be a soldier mama I don't wanna die", etc. how much more of this can I be expected to take? I just wanna watch some videos. even the sound of car horns is lovely. there's a point between energy and exhaustion, you probably know it well, and I'm doing time.
the Vonnegut signing on Friday night was extremely ace. in reward for being a daredevil, I acquired a pre-signed copy of his latest book and towered over those who bought it before the signing in fear. life on the literary edge, I tell you. Second City doesn't do improvisation on friday nights - remember that and you will avoid making a mistake that others already have.
what's up this week? pledge drive time at WEFT. I'll be on phones tuesday night, give us a call eh? support the arts and all that. play your cards right and you may find yourself with a free tshirt. next monday is the grand columbus day anti-chief illiniwek rally, come on out and let it shine.
when, oh when, will it ever get cold?
ramen (surprise), animation, butterknives as antennae, navy blue, late night mashed potatoes.
overweight white males in their mid-thirties, giving up after three rings, wind shear, commercials from local churches especially the one where the little jerk runs away and leaves his teddy bear out in the rain when he comes back home, neither of which I would never have done.
October 2, 1997 today I successfully rid myself of some of that nasty excess blood at the red cross. I really vastly prefer the community blood service people, though. the red cross people are too friendly and they seem genuinely hurt if you get your own food at the food table. it's all very creepy. still, at least the blood's gone. also today I spontaneously combusted. or at least I thought I did. I later discovered that it was a guy on TV who did it, not me.
my debut on WEFT went great. we overcame an early technical problem and extended supervision to eventually find something of a demented rhythm and produce what we were told was some pretty durned decent radio. further seizures of the fm band to come? stay tuned! the fcc has not yet ruled it out.
hey, go update/create your own home page, whoever you are. come on. it's not that hard. I need entertainment. bad shit could happen. so do it.
ach. I sort of want ice cream. I may never get enough sleep. cookies are good. the "pure moods" commercial is on and it makes me feel like powdered sugar. so much time left until the release of a life less ordinary. I tell you, having lots of small, minor reasons to live is just as effective as one big one. I'll be out of C-U this weekend for hijinks with Rory and Kurt Vonnegut. aww, yeah. go buy Timequake. but pick up Cat's Cradle if you haven't already. and Hocus Pocus, too. and...
black olives, Brujeria, cold, "movies that no one else wants to make", truth in tea leaves.
the surreal mess that passes as hick morality, indie cred, research busywork.
September 30, 1997 hey! big news! it's important to me, at least: tonight marks my return to radio after almost three years! given the, ahm, unique state of WMCP when I left it, some would say that tonight is my radio debut. but I don't rate that at all cos Rory (my once and future radio collaborator) says that he heard that someone did actually hear us once when we were doing dramatic readings in latin. so there. now that semantics are over with, I'd like to issue a formal warning to everyone to vacate the frequency 90.1 fm come midnight tonight because I call it. it's mine until 2 am. fair's fair, darnit. I'm substituting on the hardcore metal show (you know me...I'm all, um, distorted and stuff...) so if you're in the C-U area and don't mind the noise that kids these days are listening to, turn on your radio and tune in! we'll take care of the dropping out part.
my little brother is very sorry about the chain letter thing. actually, truth be told I suspect that he feels no remorse and will be killing you all shortly.
not to enter a complaining mode, but my mailbox is stuck. and no one at the landlord's office seems overly concerned. god, if my psychic hadn't assured me that this was all for the best, I don't know what I'd do. go straight out of my mind, I guess. voting on the $68 athletic fee thing ended today - if you're a UIUC student and you didn't vote, you're a fool. he who would surrender any of his liberties does not deserve to have them and all that. yeah. you go, girl! I think there's a blood drive over at the union this week, and if so that's cause to celebrate. come on, people, drain yourselves. time to separate the vampires from the pasty-faced suburbanite wannabes!
why, just look at all the good it's done for me.
baked (not fried), "What About Bob?", finishing classes at 10:30am, free wood chips, karmic justice.
wankers who eat five slices of pizza at the midnight sale and cause all the pizza to be gone by the time real fans show up, places that require the actual coupon for the discount, senile quiz writers.
September 29, 1997 apologies to all who received an idiotic chain letter from my little brother (who is currently using the firstname.lastname@example.org address). I had nothing to do with it. his account access has been temporarily revoked. should you a) seek good luck b) worry about your love life/size of your organs or c) desire to express solidarity with other "children of the 80's", those of you who were victimized by his little episode hereby have my permission to spam the little bugger. dig? ok.
I had a good day today. I'm not sure what was so good about it, but it was nice. I outmanuevered Canon and IBM tech support and fixed my new printer by myself this morning, missing a class in the process which means I'm less of a person now. in pointlessly distant news, it appears as though I'll be taking a class over the summer in the first session (from may 15 to june 15). UIUC students - take action today and tomorrow, vote against the proposed $68 athletic fee in the student union or at the illini orange. democracy is ace and the concept that the bullshit racist (down with the chief!) football program has a single thing to do with a quality education is ridiculous. let memorial stadium rot, we can turn it into a playground when the walls are finished crumbling down.
Kurt Vonnegut in Chicago on friday october third! take notice! make travel plans now! in tangentially related news, the movie "Footloose" is on TV right now and it's just great. I think we should be allowed to dance, damn it. who's with me? and, finally, I ended my 24-hour fast in protest of death a few minutes ago. it was a rousing success - I haven't seen a dead person all day. next up - fasting to protest entropy! who's with me?
update: just as soon as I finished uploading this page, I discovered that Roy Lichtenstein died today. was my anti-death fast the only thing keeping him alive? how many more will die because of my consumption of food? crap.
cool wind through my window, free pizza at Record Service at the midnight sales, all-night grocery stores
violent dusty wind while walking outside, 2-for-1 sales on deceptively old bread, rice-a-roni that keeps burning.
September 27, 1997 yesterday I didn't feel well. today, however, I'm at peak performance. so far. although I just yawned, so I don't know. I had a bowl of Lucky Charms this morning. they have apparently introduced a new innovation: "swirled" colours on the marshmallows. man, the things those wacky underpaid starving malaysian factory workers come up with! neverending fonts of inspiration. I think I'll probably have something else next time, though.
words from Kurt Vonnegut, courtesy of Svetlana:
(excerpt from an NPR interview) "You remember the mathematician who said that a group of monkeys locked in a room with typewriters would eventually write the works of Shakespeare?" (at this point all of the cognoscenti who listen to NPR nod sagely) "Well the World Wide Web proves that to be false."
this web page alone is incontrovertible proof, I think.
this morning I awoke early (well, before noon) and purchased David Bowie tickets for october 17th in chicago. rah! I played in a vampire live-action game last night. strangely enough, my entire recollection of the event is indistinguishable from an episode of "Jim's Journal", from the art to the words. so if you're wondering exactly what I did last night, look it up in your local bookstore under "Jim". today, I'm not sure. if I can find the armanents, something definitely needs to be done about the currently rampaging greek system down here. several thousand cave men and women in mating season is not a pretty sight.
q-tips, John Cusack, movies with a 90-minute running time, inexpensive chinese vegetable dishes.
people who refuse to evolve, the short shelf life of the average banana.
September 26, 1997 I was walking to class today (wipe that surprised look off your face) down Armory Street (named after, yes, the huge armory that resides on that street, and if you stand there very quiet some nights you can almost hear the ghosts of drunk hicks running around in there looking for their shotguns to protect their moonshine with) today when I noticed that someone had carved "down with the man" in the sidewalk in front of a church. I wondered first if that was necessarily the most effective way to communicate with The Man, and then it occured to me that perhaps concrete itself is The Man, that there's another side to it that we're either not noticing or not perceiving because it doesn't want us to, because in urban settings it is truly all-pervasive and urbanization is swallowing the entire globe at a very rapid rate. run to Antarctica, now! but then, supposedly there are aliens underneath all of that ice, and one hundred years of hollywood cinema have taught me, if nothing else, to fear aliens. and then, in another moment, I completely forgot that entire train of thought because it was early in the morning and I'm rather dumb if you catch me before noon or so (the only reason I remembered it is because I walked by the same carving on the way home).
wednesday I joined in on an anti-Chief Illiniwek meeting being held by the PAR/PRC (I forget the address of their web page, otherwise I'd link to it and look like a clever little multimedia monkey) and we all agreed that we were right and the College Republicans are now and ever shall be wrong. it was a rather well-organized meeting, actually. wednesdays at 7:30 pm at the Illinois Disciples Foundation on Springfield and Wright, if you're a CU-located type. not much else has happened over the last couple of days. I tried in vain to find plain black sweatpants but was treated like a freak for not wanting to plaster illini logos all over my legs. who knows, maybe they had a point. Tom and I were going to riot at a bookstore's stereotyping of plastic-americans, a much abused group, but then we didn't, because we suck.
in an effort to boost my ratings, I am hereby announcing that I will be existing live, without tape delay, all of saturday the 27th of september. you never know what might happen! this is the real thing, folks!
sleeping on my couch, cheese sandwiches, air circulation, the rise and fall of Marv Albert, motion.
conversations about alcohol, capitalism on the internet, "finding the sex in every scene".
September 23, 1997 have you ever tried to imagine an actual conversation occuring with answers and questions from Jeopardy?
Terrence: What is a bikini?
Phillip: Well, the United States conducted their first atomic detonation in that atoll.
Terrence: Oh, okay. Let's go get wasted.
I don't know why every single time I write a new page it ends up being finished some time after 2 am and I do a hasty job polishing it off and uploading it. antipathy from a certain deity, perhaps. a few minor things have been fixed and added here and on the feature and link pages. no one notices these things except me, I think. you know, every single teenager/young adult ever featured on MTV is a blithering idiot. the link-adventurous are advised that a handful of other web types updated their pages today. the entertainment doesn't end here, folks!
not much was done today. a violent debate between two ends of my schizophrenia over rain and the value of grad school led to me skipping class and going back to sleep. Henry and Tom surveyed the security points of various campus locales for anti-Chief protests to come at a later date while I stalked trustees around the Union and gave them the evil eye. as for the rest of the night, who knows? who cares? temperature decline ("pressure drop, oh pressure...") continues, which is good. what to do, what to do?
important notes: firstly, the new and possibly final Kurt Vonnegut novel was released yesterday. the man remains the best writer alive and you would do well to pick up a copy unless he is coming to a bookstore within a 300 mile radius of you, in which case you are expected to go meet him. October 3rd in Chicago he will be as will Rory and I. secondly, Chuck is not well. please do not email him with provocative thoughts and comments because he has been alerted that his spleen may, in fact, burst. so please be careful.
sunflower seeds, sodium, midnight sales with pizza from Bjork and Stereolab, Matt Pinfield.
petty attempts by academia to get me out of bed before 9 am, unadorned salads from Blimpie.
September 22, 1997 down by the seaside, ten smiles in a row. but the dirty dishes remain... so the new page is done. like it? I hope. it's been a rather relaxed creation, actually, although no schoolwork has been done since I began work on it. I guess I can't entirely blame the web page for that. after a trip to Perkins in order to find some ice cream to alleviate nasty stomach hissing, I sit here following my nightly routine typing away and watching late night TV. it occurs to me that I never find myself in bar brawls anymore. I want to be the thin, crazy guy who comes leaping down from the bar with a maniacal look on his face and tackles a few people. the fact that I hate bars might be at least partly responsible, but that's no excuse. life is so unfair. why do the networks choose to subject me to endless psychic phone talk commercials? plenty of good, decent people are up late trying to find worthwhile entertainment. ah, the chocolate-covered injustice of it all. hello to the new entity, goodbye to Outside the Asylum, you did well, I'll miss you, cha cha boom. updates arriving soon, so open your eyes every once in awhile. and don't forget to update your own page. dammit. raves: Coolio, ice cream, WEFT 90.1 FM, weather cooling off. distastes: soup with chicken in it that doesn't admit that in big letters on the front.
September 21, 1997 static from nothingness
(from inception to finished product and all of the staring off into space inbetween: the days and times of some guy, namely me, trying to put together a web page)
The last update was in February, I think. I don't remember precisely. Either way, restlessness had set in and I decided that it was time to change everything again. Generally, I sit there and reload the first page of my homepage until I'm good and sick of it - until the minor flaws become glaring and dwarf whatever good bits may be there, and then I can't stand to look at it again until the entire thing's been redone. A bit extreme, but effective. It was particularly easy this time because I'm now viewing everything with my new laptop (sold the old computer to my mother and used the proceeds to buy young Marvn of Wales Jr.) which does 800x600 resolution (as opposed to the old one's 1024x768), and I realized that the page didn't look particularly good if you didn't have the exact same setup that I did when I designed it. Things didn't fit like they were meant to, and the font I used for the menu logos kind of grates after awhile. Add that to my growing belief that frames have been played out, and it was time for a change. So...
September 10th I was watching TV and Mariah Carey's "Honey" video came on and induced vomiting, so I turned it off (actually, I probably just switched it to VH-1) and began going through all the HTML files for the old page, first backing them up to disk for history's sake and then deleting about half of them. I went through the rest of them and started editing them. Usually at this point I leave the pages more or less the same and concentrate on finding all the hidden jokes and deciding which ones just aren't funny anymore. This time, though, I just deleted everything. It was time to make an entirely new page - despite its compatibility flaws, the last version of Outside the Asylum had gone pretty much as far as it could go. Besides, you have to stop those version numbers somewhere. "Outside the Asylum with Marc Heiden 14.1" was bound to not be very good. I considered "Asylum '97", but a) Microsoft jokes are lame and b) there are getting to be far too many pages out there with "Asylum" in the title (I even found another "Outside the Asylum", though it was a downright normal page). Thus, a New Thing was born. Once nearly everything was deleted, I threw up a skeleton menu of links between pages to make bouncing back and forth simple and then left it alone.
It's a fine line between clever and stupid, really." - Spinal Tap
September 14th The new design finally struck me. I try not to think about it directly - usually, something just occurs to me during class or when I'm watching a movie, but never when I'm trying to come up with it. I knew I wanted to do something fairly minimalist this time, and I wanted to get away from cluttered background textures that made the words a pain to read (and my page generally lives and dies by the words, well, those and the frog picture). I had started experimenting with the TABLE tag last time out, so I started making everything into a table and began slapping together the background textures, smoothing things out and making sweet love by the fire. Instead of the pseudo-pretentious rambling that ends up as the finished products, I should release the temporary paragraphs that I write to fill space. Those get downright weird sometimes.
The "November Rain" video is on right now. It's my favorite video of all time. It just cracks me up. The wedding cake falls on her head at the end and that's how she dies, I think. Either way, it's just great.
September 15th Still screwing around. Most of the work at this point consists of struggling to come up with variations on the design theme. Graphic design isn't my strength, but I think it turned out OK. No words yet. I think it was tonight that I wound up sitting through two hours of VH-1's "Behind the Music" while I did web coding. The respective sagas of Milli Vanilli and Boy George may have indirectly influenced certain areas of this page - don't say I didn't warn you.
"I'll Be Missing You" is the #3 video of the 90's? MY ASS! A touching tribute to the Notorious BIG by a bunch of people who cared about him so much that they didn't even bother to write a new song?!?! I'm going to have to disagree with MTV on this one. "Sabotage" as the #2 video, though, that I can't disagree with. Not that I'm a Beastie Boys fan, but it's a great video. They should let Beavis talk along with it - that improves it substantially. If "Song #2" is the #1 video, I'll be unusually pleased. My hopes are not high, though, since they're generally not referred to as "an influential trio from Seattle".
September 16th Most of the backgrounds are finished. Today's viewing is a biopic of Marilyn Monroe starring Mira Sorvino. What effect this has upon the work done, I'm not sure. I decided to make "home" the main page and put an intro page before everything else to explain compatibility - I knew already that I didn't have the attention span to recode everything for non-table browsers, so it was more or less a disclaimer for primitives who were wondering why it looked strange. It was also a good place to used the cow picture. Originally the entire background was going to be alternating black and white lines with subliminal messages all over the place and only one or two lines of readable text, but it ended up being more interesting in concept than execution. Once the basic design was done, I started the slow writing process. I decided to keep a few of the pictures - the screaming heads, the ever-popular frog, and the bio page picture, which I just couldn't bear to let go of. It's so...accurate! At this point I'm rather pleased with the way it looks.
September 17-19th This is when the unpleasant bit begins - I start getting sick of looking at the new pages before they're even completed and wonder if it's worth going on with. Kind of like struggling with suicide, except not really. Updating the links, finding new ones, rewriting old stuff, designing a couple new pages (like the archives page). Most of the work consist of pushing text back and forth, adding and subtracting line breaks, and other equally earth-shaking stuff. I've ended up not ditching everything from the last page - the MangoJam page, for example, which I forgot about until the last minute, just got a slight rewrite. The credits page was new, so it stayed similar. Octavio Julio Soldavilla Y Rodriguez got his sorry ass kicked out of here, but you never know when he may pop up again. The bio page is fairly similar too, although I cut it down a bit cos it was getting out of control earlier. A tendency of mine when doing this sort of thing is emerging again - the witty bits get these dark, moody background/text combinations and the bitter, sarcastic stuff gets the bright, happy ones. I'm always doing that, moreso this time out than before. Several hundred music videos later...
September 20th It comes together into what you see here now. This is when it becomes entertaining again - I can run around and start hiding jokes and erasing the test paragraphs. The majority of the work consists of finding spaces where I could put something strange, and the non sequitur follows naturally and often instantly. Heh. There's an oxymoron calling for you on line 1, sir. A lot more screwing around with different fonts and font colors this time around - last time I made logos with Paint Shop Pro, but this was much easier. I probably would have finished it today (viewing: "Back To The Future III") but I ended up having dinner at the Peking Garden courtesy of the Pattee family and then working at WEFT (Radio Champaign 90.1 FM) until 4:30am and then chatting with tow companies about getting people out of my parking spot.
September 21st The page is done. All that remains is to tweak a few things and write the "home" page text once I've come up with a name. Candidates are still floating around as I write this: "the Holy Bible" (courtesy of Rory Leahy), "Morality, Truth, and God", "Star Wars Master Edition", "Yes, You Can Have a Dollar", "Not Inside the Nuthouse", "The Heiden Family Home Page", and "Poop". Haven't chosen yet, but I should have by the time you read this. And the winner is...?
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.
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.