OCTOBER 2008, E.V.

Here I am busier than a long-tailed cat covering crap on a marble floor in a room full of freemasons in rocking chairs, (hell, even busier than a pair of jumper cables at an Alabama church picnic!), and there’s all this e-mail about GHWT. Okay, there are a few about other subjects, such as: “Was Maynard in Guanajuato, Mexico in a cosmic envelope last week?”… “Was Crowley an Indigo Child?”… “Was Maynard the Golden Cowboy at El Festival Cervantino?”, but mostly Guitar Hero World Tour this, Guitar Hero World Tour that. All I want to do is watch “Reign of the Gargoyles” again on the sci-fi channel – shit, I wish I had thought of that: Nazis re-animating stone gargoyles during WWII to attack squadrons of B-17 bombers (I knew the Krauts had anti-gravitic flugelrads… but the speedy zigzags of hordes of gargoyles dodging the spray of those .50 caribers!), but now I’ve got all this e-mail to delete… And I’m just about to zap another nasty one when comes news from Activision of “sensitivity issues” with some of the GHWT drum kit controllers. So it begins… those mysterious glitches. I was afraid something like this might happen, knowing certain things, but let me put another cube of ice in my glass of gin… and stir it up a bit… before telling you what I think might be causing this…

Although I personally have no interest in playing GHWT (preferring, instead, to stick to my Korg and Kurzweils), Saturday night (October 25) I nevertheless decided to go with Danny to the private launch party at Best Buy in West Hollywood. And being that it was West Hollywood, as we inched down La Brea in the rumbling orange Murcielago, at red lights, in the crosswalks of nearly every intersection were boisterous mobs dressed up in their Halloween finery. Looking around at the threads, it appeared that his year’s more popular adult costumes were the same as last year’s exercise in banality, including the predictable ‘Girl-That-Went-Missing-In-Aruba’, ‘Evil Jester with a Broccoli Popsicle’, ‘Jesus Pez Dispenser’, and “Vixen Pirate Wench on a Sparkling Wheel-less Bicycle.’ Being that it’s an election year, it was no surprise to see the ‘Lyndon LaRouche Saying Farwell to Martian Colonists in the Shimmering Crystal City of New Schwabenland’ ensemble. It was also no surprise to see, among the dark joviality, some protesters (or counter-protestors) who were probably protesting a noosed Palin effigy, but in West Hollywood there are protesters of everything, including endangered animal crackers. As we neared the Best Buy, finally there was a unique costume: ‘Professional Window Display Designer.’ And, alas, Eric Cartman! Which brings to mind a thought: Am I the only one who thought that, rather than fight, Cartman should have put a hit on Wendy Testaburger, and be done with her once and for all. I mean, what ever happened to cutting-edge comedy?

With our passes and wristbands secured, outside Best Buy, we (reluctantly) walked the “red carpet”, which for some reason was actually black. This would be the kind of thing that would make Danny a tad uncomfortable, but because we were several hours late, and most of those invited to the festivities were now at a nearby sound stage where “Smashing Pumpkins” were performing, it hardly mattered… Still, I had visions of a large Venerian dragon speaking with a cockney lisp over the voder, and of Snarks that were boojums in black Homburgs, and I’m not talking about Halloween costumes here…

Electing to walk to the studio lot rather than be chauffeured in a Prius hybrid (because it was so close – not because it was a Prius), we entered what can only be described as GHWT bliss. Once inside the sound stage, it wasn’t hard to see the reason for all the hoopla… all the fuss and feathers. What’s that? Cho!!! Chicken gumbo! Our first stop was at a complimentary buffet featuring Cajun cuisine in silver chafing dishes heated by sterno fah-yuh: Gumbo, pasta, Louisiana sausage, pistolets, spicy popcorn shrimp, and crab cakes. The inheritance of the saints in light! Everything except fried frogs legs, chee wee, and big black grasshoppers, and I ought to put a ‘conja’ on them for that (you shake some cayenne pepper on them frog legs!) Better than a Boucherie (even at carnaval), and enough to make rapid gastric emptying almost seem like a good thing!

But what was that woman in the polka-dot dress doing there among the partygoers? (Just a Halloween costume, I suppose). I honestly don’t know why some Tool enthusiasts, including their most fanatical fans, seem to be so vehemently opposed to the band’s participation in the game when, instead, they should be rocking in the irised spotlight!

Although we had to wind our way through some demo kiosks where players selected their tattoos from the “Create-a-Rocker” mode while others chose their pickguard finish, next stop was the open bar, with its GHWT-themed drinks. Unable to understand any of these, I opted for a margarita… and then another. It’s not like its “Rock Band.” It’s not like the game is going to prevent some musically inclined individual from picking up a real instrument… one more of those without salt, please… Yes, I’ve heard all the arguments, but, c’mon, folks! Are video sports games to be blamed for no one having beaten ‘Cy’ Young’s 511 career wins, or breaking Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak? Then how do you explain the all-time homerun record? Steroids? Wait a minute, isn’t one of my best friends the keyboard tech for “Smashing Pumpkins!” If anyone harbors concerns about GHWT keeping people from playing actual guitars, drums, etc., then where’s all this same concern that violent video games like “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”, “Killer 7”, and others will keep its players content to merely confine the violence to the screen instead of taking real guns and knives out into the street? Huh, what about that all you naysayers?

Before heading to the side of the stage where Smashing Pumpkins were doing an unusual (nay, bizarre) cover of Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”, I was hoping to catch a glimpse of Tool’s contribution to GHWT – not just the Tool-themed venue, but I was a bit curious to see if, already, certain (hidden) levels had been accessed. Here I’m referring to levels besides the back-stage extravaganza (if there was such a level) and, in particular, to the Etidorhpa-like utopia…(again, assuming there really is such a thing). But as I passed mini-stages with players strumming guitar controllers and pounding faux-drums, beads of sweat on their faces and note gems flashing in their bleary eyes, noticing the multiple screens with their “Rock Meter” and “Star Power” features, I started thinking about another game. An arcade game from the early 1980s called “Polybius.”

I would have to check the September 2003 Tool newsletter, but if memory serves me correctly, the maze-oriented game with complex puzzle elements was believed to be responsible for its players suffering terrible nightmares, seizures, and bouts of amnesia.

Even stranger still, in one Pacific northwest suburb where the extremely popular game was possibly being secretly tested, the owner of the arcade reported government types in dark suits who would, from time to time, collect data such as the scores, notes from the sub-screens, and other records, but NEVER take any money out of the machine. With regards to these alphabet-soup government agency men, whose dress and behavior is reminiscent of the MIB silencers of UFO lore, it’s interesting to note that the game itself was supposedly designed and manufactured by a corporation called “Sinneschlossen” (Sinnesloschen?), which in German means “sense-deleting” or “senseless.” As I suggested back in 2003, “senseless” could be a phonetic pun for “cents less”, thus making it a cryptic allusion to a documented MIB phenomena where the things in the black Homburgs threaten the experiencer of something highly anomalous by placing a coin in the palm of the person’s hand and then make it seemingly disappear into thin air, afterwards claiming that the same thing will happen to the person’s heart if they don’t keep quiet. If not exactly organic robotoids, the black suit types were thought by some to be part of a military intel outfit, such as those who were once rumored to be collecting the initials and scoring information from “Space Invaders” and “Missile Command.” (As a side note, the ancient Greek historian Polybius wrote about “anacyclosis”, meaning internal decay of government or how democracy turns into tyranny.) Of course until someone produces a dead cabinet or Polybius ROM, most people will continue to think the whole thing is just an urban legend. But is it?

Why was I thinking about the dark rumors surrounding the Polybius game? Certainly NOT to suggest that there might be record industry types who secretly monitor GHWT, gathering data from the “Rock Meter” and “Star Power” meters, looking to put together the next super band (or next super prog-metal band). Nor am I in any way suggesting that, if that were indeed the case, with Tool’s contribution to the game, somewhere among the more psychedelic levels of their trademark art, perhaps in the cavernous realms far beneath this “Egyplosis”, the grand sorcerer will utter a certain Word of Power (that is also his/her name), thus radically disrupting any such industry scheme (if such ingenious machinations weren’t simply the product of my own fevered imagination). No, I don’t suppose any counter-measures were needed to be taken by the band. It’s merely a coincidence that the set list is “VICARIOUS” (the meaning should be obvious to those who enjoy GHWT), “PARABOLA” (recall the opening sequence of the video with its record company mutants), and “SCHISM” (no comment necessary). Any ‘mysterious’ glitches, should they occur, are to be expected with a new version of a product like GHWT, right?..

But if such a ‘sorcerer’ (i.e. embedded code of a highly unusual nature) truly exists, how can he/she be found, and thus be prevented from uttering the Word? Might it be that after encountering the bizarrely uniformed security personnel riding mechanical golden ostriches in one of the kaleidoscopic tunnels, one must search for the garden of ******** where patches of grotesque crimson moss are gradually transformed into an eyeless guide with slippery prismatic flesh. Ignore its diarrheaic diatribe. Similarly, don’t listen to the old prospectors tales in Calnogor or elsewhere about the golden rope of cyber-Amargosa. That will only lead you to anti-rainbows and chocolate fountains. Instead, from the thing on a seat of aloe-green velvet, obtain the CrackerJack-like prize knife used to separate the soul from the body… No that’s not right… damn the woman in the polka-dot dress, and the open bar… It’s the two powerful metals – Terrelium and Aquelium that are important. Take it from a person who purchased a treasure map of Kokoweef from the gentleman at the ruins of the Rectilineator, it’s the two powerful metals that are needed to construct a dynamo… just like those in the story…

After hanging out for a while with my friend (who would be leaving after the private launch party to go on tour with Smashing Pumpkins), Danny grabbed his gift (GHWT, a Wii console, and other dreeguilles – actually, as I mentioned a while back, both Danny and his girlfriend are pretty good at GH), and we were chauffeured in a Prius hybrid back to Best Buy (thankfully the lovely in the ‘Devil Grrrl’ costume heard the silent contraption). From there, after a final drink, it was back to my Potemkin Village residence. Remember, I was busier than a Tijuana whore on nickel night in a room full of freemasons in rocking chairs. Oh, one more thing: “No”, GHWT wasn’t “the big thing” (your words) alluded to in earlier posts. I believe that’s still a go. In the meantime, keep on rocking in the irised spotlight!..



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