About. What's going on. Sunshine plus one. Previously. Cat food again.

self-portrait, with floating heads.

self-portrait, nude, in the box store.

self-portrait, wet, in mouth of whale, with fish.

This web page is the work of
Marc Heiden, 23 years old, who . He lives in Chicago.

My voicemail cries out for you:
(312) 693-0455, 5pm-8am.

Players Workshop (Term 4).
Dizzy for the foreseeable future.

a film by Rick Jacobs appearing at
the Chicago Comedy Film Festival
July 19th at the Biograph Theater.

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

Recent reading:

1 The Winter's Tale
William Shakespeare

Featuring that inexplicable Rosetta Stone of stage directions: Exit, pursued by a bear. When I was in Stratford, there was a gift shop with stuffed bears who had the stage direction on their shirts. I thought to myself, if I had a baby, and I mean a baby in the old bluesman sense, I would buy my baby a Winter's Tale bear. Maybe some day. The essay included with my copy, by Frances Dolan, left me gobsmacked:

These improbabilities, which might be summed up in the notorious stage direction Exit, pursued by a bear (III.3.57), make it hard for some people to take this play seriously. But perhaps what is most unlikely, but also most moving, is not that a bear will turn up out of nowhere and eat you - which is one way of dramatizing the unexpected assaults of daily life - but that the bear does not eat the baby on whom hope depends; not that one is betrayed or aggrieved, but that one goes on.

Aww, that's everything I've ever written, and she did it all in one paragraph. Shakespeare did it all in one bear, for that matter. Well, he was pretty good.

2 Arcadia
Tom Stoppard

My friend Rory requested that I correct the facts in this capsule summary: he had one conversation with one exceptionally smart, clever, beautiful woman about 'Arcadia'. Tom Stoppard is a brilliant author, of course, and I enjoy conversations with smart, clever, beautiful women, and I was a Boy Scout for a brief while, and therefore I'm all about being prepared for anything, so, word, I'm on it.

3 Swamp Thing : The Curse
Alan Moore, Steve Bissette

By the author of Watchmen. Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing is one of those series that comic book kids have always heard was legendary and brilliant, one of the first "smart comics", but was, for some damn reason, always unavailable; while DC kicks out TPB after TPB of various Batman characters dying and then returning with different haircuts, almost all of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol and Alan Moore's pre-Crisis Superman remain unavailable except for occasional single issue reprints. With the industry in the toilet as it is, they are finally reprinting some comics like this in hopes of attracting the Borders crowd. I've read the first collection as well; this is the third. I am pleased to say that both of them live up to the hype. Hot damn.

4 Gravity's Rainbow
Thomas Pynchon

Fantastic, of course. It's about paranoids like 'Ulysses' is about the Irish. And rockets, too. Pretty much the definitive non-physics work about rockets. Intense in parts, incredibly funny too. There are some bits that are maddening because you can't work out what they have to do with anything else, and many other bits that you just have to stop and stare at, awed at what words can do.

Although GR is not really a narrative-based book, I would like to bitch for a moment about how the New York Times book review gives away every major plot development, including exactly what happens on the last page of the book. In literary criticism, it's okay to assume that the reader has read the book. In a review, it is not. People complain about movie trailers giving too much away, but they do this all the time with books. It's fucking irritating, and it's lazy writing.

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

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

occasional updates:
Exploding Dog
Public Enemy
What Jail is Like

Another Room
Pelican Video
Ron Rodent

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

b-side wins again 2001

010508 Anyone who has read this webpage knows how this job has affected me. There are two other people who have the same position I do, though, and anyone who is wondering how it affects them will be interested to know that while Lum is making a career out of it, Hiro came by my desk today and declared that he's taking the police exam this weekend. He's tired of all this, sees the cops having a good time at bars, and has decided to abandon his professional ambitions in hopes of getting a job as a cop on a river patrol boat. Stopping pirates, I asked, and he nodded. He's very serious about it. I wished him luck. He's got a big photo of the Wu-Tang Clan in his cubicle, so I figure he'll do fine.

143. You are on patrol in a mostly residential neighborohood when you see the Wu-Tang Clan. Do you

a) Fuck with them
b) Inspect their beats, especially those belonging to the RZA, for he is the leader
c) Check to see if ODB is with them; if so, arrest him on trumped-up charges
d) Keep patrolling

144. Which of the following is NOT a known Wu-Tang alias?

a) Bobby Digital
b) Big Baby Jesus
c) Rebel INS
d) Will Ferrell

Ah, I never get tired of that stuff. And if you do, you are a dickhead.

To update yesterday's monkey business:

Date: Tue, 8 May 2001 00:51:25 -0700
From: Per Jambeck (jambeck@bioeng.ucsd.edu)
To: Ex Lion Tamer (heiden@enteract.com)
Subject: inopportune floating red hat

Congratulations on fearlessly breaking the story regarding Mr. Tito: if NASA can fake a moon landing, making an organ grinder's monkey look like a businessman should be child's play.

Well-said. I rest my case and send the sincerest congratulations of this webpage to organ-grinders and their monkeys all over the world for this impressive milestone. It's a nice recompense on Russia's part, if you think about it, for firing Laika the space dog up there without a plan to get her back. We've learned the error of our ways, and we're bringing that monkey home.

Next week, the tech crew is coming by to update my computer to something called Workstation 5. If it's anything like Rocky 5, I'm in for a treat. Probably not, though. I'm taking the morning off, because computers are vital to what I do here, supposedly, and then I have to attend what they call a 'brown-bag lunch' to learn about the capabilities of Rocky 5, which doesn't bode well, because wasn't that the one where Rocky couldn't fight any more and trained the boxer who turned into a bad guy? Better off with Workstation 4, I think, where pre-Mr Tito Russia gets its ass symbolically kicked by American pluck and integrated capabilities. Anyway, sure, I'll bring a brown-bag to the tech crew's presentation, but it ain't going to be no lunch, yo. Only thing I consume out of brown bags comes in a 40oz size. Wait, that's a lie. Man, there are lies all over that paragraph. How did that happen? I thought I was paying attention. Shit. A lot of it's true, though, so I'd hate to punish those parts by deleting all of it, but the lies are so deeply entwined that they can't be removed without uprooting the entire thing. So it stays. In the future, vigilance.

010507 Today's entry, like most great works of art, is concerned primarily with monkeys.

(news) The end of Mr. Tito's eight-day adventure, which took him to the International Space Station, did not end the public dispute between the Russian and American space agencies over space tourism. Though the two agencies reached a last-minute agreement on the terms for Mr. Tito's ride, recriminations have followed. The NASA administrator, Daniel S. Goldin, has promised to present the Russian space agency with a bill for the hours of work required by extra precautions and the "incredible stress" placed on NASA employees as they tried to ensure that Mr. Tito would not break anything or otherwise endanger the space station.

I've been following this news story for a while and found the entire thing pretty confusing until I realized that Mr Tito is a businessman, not an organ-grinder's monkey. Then it all made sense. Shame about it not being an organ-grinder's monkey, though.

Would that have caused friction between the organ-grinder and his monkey, I wonder, because the monkey had been to space and the organ-grinder had not?

No, but I'd really respect the Russian government, I think, if Mr Tito had been an organ-grinder's monkey instead of a businessman. The US, you know them, they would totally complain about letting the monkey go into space, and if that's what the Russian space program took a stand on, that we don't give a fuck, this organ-grinder's monkey is coming into space and all y'all can kiss our big black ass, I would be a huge fan of theirs, and might go so far as to send them a dollar.

It's a fairly simple scenario. The organ-grinder saves up, because he wants to send his monkey to space. The act isn't making as much as it used to, all these unemployed dot-com types are crowding the organ-grinder plus monkey department, and the organ-grinder feels like he needs something to set them apart: fine, those other guys have organs, and monkeys too, but my monkey has been to space! Back to the dot-com world with the Johnny-come-latelies.

I bet a large part of the cost was created by the organ-grinder's monkey's little red hat floating off his head and into unpredictable places, like the control board. Wait, Mr Tito wasn't actually a monkey. Shit.

I think I have work to do. There are photocopies that need to be made.

What did the organ-grinder do while the monkey was away? I bet he was nervous. Please, he thought. Behave yourself up there in space, Mr Tito! Well, from all accounts, he had nothing to worry about:

In the end, Mr. Tito appears to have been a helpful and well-behaved guest. His crew mates praised his performance and the permanent space station crew welcomed Mr. Tito into the American module and seemed to ignore much of the earthbound fuss over Mr. Tito.

If he isn't a monkey, why do they keep mentioning his name like that? He's obviously a monkey. I bet sometimes the astronauts were working and they needed a wrench or a screwdriver, and Mr Tito learned to associate the sound of the words with the tools in question, just like he knew which dances went with which songs from the organ; and he'd go fetch the tool and come floating back with it, much to the delight of the busy astronauts.

And I bet, of this much I am certain, that when the moon first rose on the horizon, Mr Tito shrieked happily and clapped his paws.

010504, night I am done collating, and now I'm hangin' round.

Faithful reader Kurt Tuohy wrote in with a suggestion for the new address of this webpage and wound up giving me the e-commerce idea I've been waiting for to make instant millions: iWokeUp. Sounds like a new Mac tech device, the computer equivalent of a girl drink at a bar, right? Oh, no, it's far more than that. Ever wonder if it's all a lie? Of course you have. Well, the new iWokeUp can detect if you are living in a virtual reality simulation like the Matrix. It's going to be huge. Who would dare be without one? In this fast-paced business world, you can't take the risk for even one minute the possibility that evil computers have taken over and are deceiving your senses with a stream of illusions. It's bad business practice. We can make the iWokeUp in lots of different neon colors, too. Holy shit, I'm going to be rich!

The collating was okay. I try to avoid talking to people, ever, because they just look at me weird. They're nice people, but very few are capable of higher-order reasoning. Hiro, however, dislikes working here just as much as I do and doesn't mind making people uncomfortable: he announced that his plans for this weekend were to get into a bar fight, and then I played along by interviewing him about various terrible injuries he'd suffered. Lum and the executives squirmed. Then we talked about the Big Lebowski for a while. I've had worse afternoons, to be sure.

010504 Here is another complaint about the behavior of people who are dumb: I mentioned yesterday how there is a pool of executives who are allowed to request my assistance on projects. Hiro and Lum are two employees who have the same job as I do, with their own pools of executives. Lum spends all of her damn time making flash animations of flamenco dancers to celebrate the birthdays of guys on the tech crew, so one of her executives has come over to request Hiro's and my help. Fine, fine, whatever, I get paid for this. But why must it be phrased in terms: "I have a project that involves collating envelopes and stuffing them with papers and business cards, if you're interested." I gave her a blank look. She continued. "Are you interested?" Look, you are not going to extract the words Yes, I am interested! from my mouth. I don't know what cod-business training manual you learned this bit from, but it is not going to increase my productivity if you get me to say that it's something I'm interested in rather than something I'm being compelled to do. I waited long enough to make the moment awkward and said, well, I can't say that I have a personal interest in the art of collation, but if you need help, that's what I'm here for. She told me to come by in a half hour. Maybe there are people who are interested in getting some collating experience, because they're tired of all this PowerPoint work and want to diversify, because all they ever wanted was a chance to collate and here's the shot they've been waiting for.

I will be moving this website soon, and I need some advice from the passive masses. My ISP, Enteract, was bought out by RCN Chicago, who are dedicated to taking good things and turning them into bad ones. Without warning, requests for my page have been getting redirected to www.rcnchicago.com/~heiden instead of the proper enteract address. There's a certain aesthetic to domain names, beyond the service they provide, and rcnchicago is a fucking stupid domain name. I had been planning for a while anyway to move my page over to my own domain, whatjailislike.com, along with the fan page for our old radio show of that name and Mike Saul's page. I don't know what I should name the directory for my page, though. Full sentence, no clear abbreviation. In terms of aesthetics and functionality, what works best?

www.whatjailislike.com/iwokeupinastrangeplace (eek)

Or something else? Comments from friends and strangers greatly appreciated.

And now, instead of writing more, I will go collate envelopes.

010503 It's not very easy to get me to do work. I face away from everyone, I have headphones on at all times, and I am a master of the imperious glare. Whenever given instructions, I recite them back to the requester in a voice that drips with disdain. I'm not trying to be mean, but it happens, you know, it's a self-defense mechanism, like porcupines and quills. There are twelve executives who are allowed to ask me for help on their projects, and seven of them gave up a long time ago; they just get on with things by themselves, and I never hear from them. The other five have all developed their own strategies for dealing with me. One communicates exclusively by email, even though she only sits two cublicles away. The second usually sends other people to ask me, only coming by herself once the project is almost done. The third is perky like a battering ram (and uses email when she isn't). The fourth shuffles up nervously and stands around for a while until I acknowledge him. I don't mind their tactics, you know, they've all got to find ways to deal with things. This is their life. But the fifth drives me nuts. She is a fifty year old woman (anomaly here) who sneaks up, drops off papers with instructions, and then runs away. I'll be typing, and then suddenly out of the corner of my eye I'll see a blur, feel a rush of air, turn and she's already gone. I've also caught her peeking out of her office, waiting for me to get up to go to the bathroom so she can sneak over and drop things off. Yes, it is true that you do not have to be a functional human being to be paid well by corporate America. In fact, it kind of counts against you.

I am leaving at 2:30 today, because a doctor is going to examine my ankle and say, mmm, leave that cast on for another couple weeks and see how it feels. Then he will charge me a fucking lot of money that I could have spent in milkshakes. O, sellouts. O, greedy industry.

A bunch of webpages, including Mike Saul's, had mention today of a prison name generator. For reasons that I can't explain, I never enter my own name into those; I always do the Utah Jazz. I have no idea why. All of the name generators that I've tried have given John Stockton a pretty dirty name. Greg Ostertag is Turd Knocker, which sounds about right.

Back in the day.