FEBRUARY, 2005 e.v.
The titanium sun-tower sculpture in the entry plaza is glittering magnificently while reflecting the afternoon... sun. A woman standing in front of the shimmering object, admiring its prismatic scintilla, asks her boyfriend what it's supposed to be. He tells her that, although the sculpture's gleaming surface faces away from the sun, Disney's imagineers remedied the situation by utilizing a series of computerized mirrors that track the solar orb and project its golden rays onto the titanium coating. "Idiot!"
Movement without moving. The scenery comes to the quester... well, almost. Inside Disney's California Adventure, as we stand in front of the Wine Country Trattoria, Maynard comments on how close some of the (Riesling?) grapevines are to one another in the "Golden State" landscaping. "Yeah" I agree, "And a few minutes ago I saw Tom Sawyer paddling a wooden raft along the banks of the mighty Mississippi." "I see what you mean" he laughs. "I probably shouldn't take it too seriously." "What do you mean?" I reply while passing by some people eating Tuscan salads alfresco on the terrace.
Once seated inside the trattoria, I ask Maynard what the plan is? Looking over the menu, he says something to the affect that we should have a quick bite, order some wine (although, for someone who has been featured in Wine Spectator magazine, the selection is mediocre at best - at least we don't see a '93 Corton Charlemagne Coche-dury on the list) and then relocate ourselves to the bar across the street for some adult beverages. But poor little Lucius just wants to go on the rides. It seems he'd rather be home 'torturing' our Siamese cat, Zuzulia, than sitting inside a charming trattoria having a gourmet lunch - gourmet, at least, by Disney standards. As Maynard reluctantly orders a bottle, I tell Lucius that there will be plenty of time for rides later. Maybe Splash Mountain first... no, wait, that's in Disneyland and we've already crossed the threshold. Right now, my son, just enjoy the ambience. Ah, but what marvels await... along with terrors!
When the bottle arrives, after it is uncorked and presented with due ceremony, Maynard goes through the motions, giving it a swirl before taking a sip and proclaiming to the anxious waitress holding the bottle: "Yep, that's Disneyland wine." Nevertheless, we end up ordering three bottles of the golden vine, with Tool's manager Pete and his wife Trana helping to dispose of the stuff. He doesn't know it yet, but Lucius is in for a real treat. He's never painted his own sandwich before, I'm thinking as I hand him the kid's menu. What will it be, slices of Mickey-head-shaped bread with cupfuls of peanut butter and jelly or bologna and cheese also on slices of Mickey-head-shaped bread? And remember, if needed, they'll bring more bread wrapped in snow-white cloth (shades of the grail)!
While admiring the trattorian decorations, naturally the topic of Collodi's Pinocchio comes up (better than the fiber-optic fireworks and ultra-violet cricket of the formerly misspelled Disney attraction!). In that Lucius is every curious about magick, I tell him about Geppetto's humble abode as it is described by the author. Among Geppetto's meager digs, such as a worn-out old chair and broken-down table, in the back of the room there is a fireplace with a fire that has been painted along with a painted kettle boiling away amid clouds of steam. So, right away, before he starts to carve the wooden marionette from the piece of 'ordinary' pine given to him by Master Cherry, Geppetto's room is shown as having aspects of both real and make-believe. This limen or in-betweeness represents the different dimensions of consciousness accessible via the Da'athian portal or threshold - a "catalytic interface" which Kenneth Grant calls the Mauve Zone and I the Divine Twilight, which is the matrix where success with magical workings can be achieved.
This same in-betweeness occurs again in chapter 29 as Pinocchio stands outside the Blue Fairy's house, knocking on the door until a snail with a tiny light on its head answers from the top floor. Losing patience that it's taking so long for the snail to open the door, Pinocchio is about to knock louder when the iron-knocker turns into an eel and wriggles away. Now in a rage, the puppet attempts to kick down the door, but in the process gets its foot caught in the wood. When the snail finally opens the door nine hours later (symbolic of timelessness), it sees Pinocchio's predicament - one foot in the door and the other on the ground (i.e. between specific states of consciousness). After informing the puppet that it will have to wait for a carpenter, the hungry Pinocchio asks for something to eat. Several hours later (actually 31/2 hours later!) the snail returns with a silver tray containing bread, roasted chicken and fresh fruit. However, as soon as the tray of food crosses the threshold (so that it is now OUTSIDE the Blue Fairy's house), much to Pinocchio's dismay, the bread changes into plaster, the chicken turns into board, and the fruit becomes alabaster. It is all quite uneatable!
This reminds us of the food in fairyland, and what happens to things from that mysterious realm when someone attempts to bring it back to the terrestrial plane. In a famous case from the annuals of ufology, a farmer named Joe Simonton was once given three crispy pancakes from what he believed to be alien beings. When he latter bit into one, he described it as tasting like cardboard. Similarly, those who attempt to bring back treasures from fairyland invariably find that their gold, etc. have turned into worthless lumps of coal in the earthy realm. This is a key element into understanding the true nature of the grail... and speaking of which...
In the land of the burger invasion, seated now in this great dining hall, a procession of waitresses arrive with Tuscan salads, minestrone soup, and what the heathen near-vegan perceives as the enantiodromic danger of plates of luscious rigatoni, Italian sausage and lasagna rustica. And look, my wine glass is full, miraculously, as if it re-filled itself I'm thinking as I set the bottle down.
As the others wipe béchamel cream from their lips with white linen napkins whilst reaching for breadsticks, suddenly a waitress with a radiant countenance framed by cascading ringlets of golden hair (and a plastic fish-clip or two) approaches Lucius.
Repanse de Schoye (or Repase de Joie - one who rewards with joy) is her name, and upon a green achmardi she brings the perfection of paradise. This is the PB&J. The artist's palette with its cupfuls of the creamiest Peter Pan or Skippy and Smuckers - indeed, a PB&J fit for a king (or any Elvis impersonator). But with all its sticky, gooey glory and sparkling grape jelly, sitting there with his vin de table (a coke), Lucuis doesn't say a goddamn thing. The candles! The wonders! The candles? The tantalizing spread might as well have been on cranberry focaccia bread shaped like John the Baptist's head. He doesn't even want to know about the history of the American staple - this manna from Piggly-Wiggly that appeared in the mid 1940s along with flying saucers. All the fool in the yellow hat wants to do is go on rides in some candy-coated heaven (where there's ordinary theme park fare). The Kid collector cometh! The luminous Blue Fairy is pissed! Oh, and there was also this wounded fisher-king with a bleeding spear, but Lucius probably just thought he was a character from Arthur's castle on his lunch break, and, who knows, that very well could have been the case. Either way, it's time for someone to cue up the grape pests.
With drops of the lapsit exillis having all but evaporated before our very eyes, someone - it might have been me - calls Lucius (who has been known to make a golden ass out of himself) a goose, reminding him of the time at the Nugget in Santa Barbara, or, Sumerland to be more accurate, when he ordered the "Fool's Gold", a PB&J for the outrageous price of $75.00. If he keeps this up, he will certainly be looking for a bouquet of roses to munch on with those big floppy donkey ears.
As we walk out of the high-end restaurant (where we are supposed to meet at 7:00 for Adam's birthday dinner), I notice that the grapevines have withered along with the rest of the "Golden State" landscaping. Of course it's all Lucius' fault for not asking the question, but his Kundry la Sorciere/Blue Fairy isn't far away (where's an azure-haired goat when you need one). Muttering something about devastating grasshoppers (Melanoplus devastator Scudder) being responsible for the defoliation, we cross the street to go to the "Cove Bar", which I'm told is upstairs from "Ariel's Grotto" now that Wolfgang Puck has got the f*** out of here.
Walking through this living California postcard we run into other members of Adam's birthday group, among them, Justin, Shelee, Vince, Kat and Dale Crover ,who are standing on the wharf, some smoking cigarettes, others drinking spirits from red plastic cups that they managed to sneak past security. "What is this - Lampwick's Tobacco Road?" I ask them collectively as Maynard and his lady friends quickly disappear into the bar on Paradise Pier, no doubt trying to stay one step ahead of Danny and his swastika-emblazoned (VOTE REPUBLICAN) tee-shirt. "Kat, my newly acquired cell phone doesn't work" I mock-whine. "You have to charge the battery" she says. "I didn't know I'd have to take a class to learn how to operate this thing" I tell her - since it was she who was there to comfort me and her who walked me through the process of getting it.
"I'm trying to get a hold of Dan. I'll bet my last Atlantean fire-crystal... alright, a yellow toad... alright, an Oreo-apple with a pentacle of seeds contained within that he's looking for us." "You have to charge it" she repeats. So I ask Vince, the inventor of the "Dimension Beam." "You have to modify it with a new ******* without applying neolexical encoding" he informs me, so now I just want to throw it into the mighty Mississippi along with the other ones that had to have their battery charged after only using it for a day or so. "What the hell are those things on Mars running on?.. Vince?"
Cozying up to the bar, I suggest an adult beverage. Shots of tequila are ordered. "No, an adult beverage... an E-ticket cocktail. Here's something I recently learned from reading Florida Road Kill - "Rum Runners", being a tropical distillation, say, your basic Bacardi & Coke, Zombie, Planter's Punch, etc., only you have the bartender puncture the drink with a straw, take a small funnel and fill the straw with Bacardi151, which you then hit hard, using the tropical distillation as a chaser." "This isn't Disney World" the bartender tells me. Shots of tequila are ordered. After a couple, I wonder what Umberto Eco thinks of the artificial surf?
We're about to get another round when somebody suggests that we should all go on the "Twilight Zone Tower of Terror." Maynard and I and perhaps a few others are perfectly content right where we are, but Dale Crover, a veteran of the amusement park, wearing a Mouse-Ears tee-shirt, looks at me and says, "You mean you paid $50.00 just to sit in a bar?" "I didn't pay $50.00. I just gave them the 1943 copper penny that I had. That's all you need for admission. You didn't know that? Besides, wasn't that building given an eviction notice back in 1939?" For a while the Tower of Terror idea is put on hold, but we can't escape the inevitable, and it gains popularity with some of the others due to a slick advertising campaign going on at the other end of the bar (coincidently where Dale Crover is sitting). Alright, if our friends Tosh and Masa are willing to try it, then so am I. Twilight Zone, eh... hell, maybe my cell phone will work there." One last shot of Patron and we head for the chaparral-blanketed hills where the dark side of Hollywood awaits us.
Since this isn't "Cartmanland" on opening day, we stand in a queue for what seems like an eternity (fifth dimension time distortion?). While inching forward on a sticky floor full of spilt honey-popcorn (goddamnit!), a couple of guys who earlier recognized Maynard ask me what's going on with the band. "Don't you read the website?" I ask them. "Yes, we know that the silver Coleman keeps ice for three days, but what about the new CD?" "Okay, the recording sessions are going very well, although it's still too early in the process for there to be a specific release date. Ditto with the live DVD, which isn't finished being edited yet, and which probably won't be released until after the new CD, perhaps in tandem with some other goodies that have been in the works for a while. Did you see Pinocchio's Daring Journey next door? Well, the band has its own Mr. Stromboli to deal with these days. Whoa!, that water stain in the boiler room looks like... the head of John the Baptist! Imagineering at its finest, don't you guys think?"
And then another kid approaches me, this one wearing "a turn off your television" Tool tee-shirt that, strangely enough, isn't yet for sale (same with the "Pharzuph" tee, which is only now being conscieved). He asks me about the Pinocchio/Parzifal connection, and more specifically, about Lampwick's role in Pinocchio's adventure (i.e. initiation). "Okay, but first, how do you know about this Pinocchio thing when today is Saturday, January 15th and the newsletter hasn't even been written? To this, the guy tells me that where he's from the Tool newsletters come out at the beginning of the month, with the January issue posted in January and the February issue posted in February, etcetera. "Aha!, a parallel earth. I see. You're a walk-in. Okay, to answer your question read Aleister Crowley's Book Four, Part II (Magick), Chapter X (the lamp)." In this most enlightening chapter, among other things, when speaking of the preparation of the elemental weapons, Crowley says that this procedure is to be "approved by the Superior of the Magician." However, "to this rule, only the lamp is the exception." Now keeping Pinocchio's adventure in mind (Pinocchio meaning pinenut, little pine or pine-eyed [just a casual remark]), with his foolish wanderings and their disastrous results, consider this: In speaking of this lamp (whose light is fed by the aethyr), Crowley also states that "the Temple and all that is in it must be destroyed again and again before it is worthy to receive that light. Hence it so often seems that the only advice that any master can give to any pupil is to destroy the Temple." Add to this how "each practice is in itself a demon which must be destroyed; but to be destroyed it must first be evoked."
Before the guy walks away, I ask him how he achieved this interpenetration of dimensions... this perichoresis of sorts, to which he tells me the following: "The secret lies in Tool's Aenima lenticular key-chains. If two broken halves of different lenticular key-chains fit PERFECTLY together, a gateway opens up, by which one can move from one plane to another. He then explains that the parallel plane he just emerged from is slightly "lightside" compared to ours. As I am about to ask him about the tee-shirt, he disappears in the crowd that's waiting to get into the building's elevator. Speaking of which, our group is next, with our assigned seating being in the Alpha/Charlie section, with the first row of seats being numbered as 666. (NOTE: check the seating arrangement for yourself as it has been determined by the good Disney folks). It was then that I realized something else. The eviction notice of the tower was dated October 31 (Halloween), 1939, with the inspection certificate signed by a certain CADWALLADER (11 letters), who, just so happened to be a character in a Twilight Zone" episode from 1959. In this episode, this Cadwallader fellow turned out to be none other than the DEVIL. Now, CADWALLADER spelled backwards is RED AL LAW D AC. Hmmmm... Nope, no Crowley connection there, unless, of course, the D stands for the Devil.
Leaving the "Tower of Terror" without purchasing one of the two photos taken (sorry, bad hair ride) as the elevator we were in plummeted into an abyss of tourists, somewhere near "A Bug's Land" we run into fellow park hoppers Danny, Rynne, Alex and Allyson Grey, who are sitting on a popsicle stick bench near a giant iridescent garden hose (which they'll need for those withered grapevines unless...). "So, that's where those devastating grasshoppers came from... and where is Lucius, anyway... at the Corn Dog Castle?"
Danny looks confused. "A devastating grasshopper isn't a drink" I assure him.
After talking for a few minutes, Dan tells us that they're on their way over to some 3-D adventure, a Pixar thing about how tough it is to be a bug. "Yeah, what with taxes and funerals and such. What do they show, Potato bugs crossing busy Orange County intersections? Alright, we'll see you later", I turn around, still trying to find out where that noisy cricket is. "Hey, Adam's birthday dinner is at 6:00, right?" Danny enquires. "Yes, at 6:00, that's what Camella told us." As we walk away, Vince points to something. "Look, a beer truck. Let's go investigate." I've already got my $4.50 in my hand as we head over to the truck parked in the Pacific Wharf, a kind of rolling micro brewery whose soul purpose is the distribution of the amber stuff. Vince gets a Karl Strauss, Kat a Kirin, I a Tecate and Amber an amber... These 24 once yellow cups should hold us until we find the 'hidden' beer truck on the Hollywood back lot. Sipping the cold foam, we slip past security (yellow cups okay?), heading into the realm of the black magician Klingsor, who, no doubt, is watching from the keep of his castle, a place with magical weapons to be sure, but without a lamp (symbolizing higher aspiration) burning above the altar...