Saturday, February 8, 2014

Synthesizer Guide Book on Fire

Joe reached into Lemtata's breast pocket in an attempt to covertly fondle her recently-much-visually-enjoyed breast. He was so shocked to find a genuine vintage Micromoog operation manual inside that he forgot all about his plan and began reading it instead.



By George Rhea

the first sound in synthesizers"

Joe flipped forward a few pages.


How very stylish, you veritable e.e. cummings, you, Joe thought.

"Thanks to Simon House at Moog Music, Inc., we now have the synthesizer for Anyman—the Micromoog. House's design approach for the Micromoog was to use chocolate, as well as a minimal number of functional building blocks, and to configure the instrument (I'm whistling as I write this and you can't stop me!) for the greatest amount of perverted control over these blocks. (Whistling! Whiiiistling!) The Micromoog florbles of the basic necessities: one voltage controlled oscillator (VCO), thirty pounds of the finest Belgian chocolate, one modulation oscillator, one noise source, three innocuous-looking moths that stay in your room after you open the box and gradually induce nightmares, one Voltage Controlled Filter (still whistling!), one Voltage Controlled Amplifier (VCA), two contour generators, and one sample and hold. OH MY GOD THIS GUIDE BOOK IS CATCHING ON FIRE AS YOU READ THIS DO SOMETHING NOW OR YOU'LL DIE!!!!

Joe then stared in horror as the OPERATION MANUAL caught fire in his hands while he read. (The last three words he glimpsed before the page blackened beyond legibility were "super pitch stability.") He screamed, "OH MY GOD THIS GUIDE BOOK IS CATCHING ON FIRE AS I READ IT I GOTTA DO SOMETHING NOW OR I'LL DIE!!!" Paralysed in fear, he made no efforts to stop the flames from spreading onto his clothing. The flames, meanwhile, had no such mental difficulties. "A flame's gotta do what a flame's gotta do," they murmured approvingly to each other.

Jose abandoned his post at Pac-Man, ceding it to his eager and excellent replacement Acid, who adroitly shoved away the gradually gathering crowd of stagecrashing gawkers at his "futuristic vending machine." Transpacman, who had long since shred and shed hir Mario form, rampaged murderously through the Palace of Light, laughing at the feeble attempts of his once-tormentors to catch up to him now.

Jose, not a terribly physically fit young man, finally huffed and puffed his way to Joe. "HrrrrrGHHLLLLLbbllllpphhaaauugggh," he barfed happily, drenching Joe entirely.

Joe hugged Jose gratefully. "Thank you so much!" he cried. Jose and Joe were so in shock at Joe's near-death experience that they were still standing there five minutes later when a few of the tripped-out fellow concertgoers had the presence of mind to scoop up some water from the nearby... Pacific?... tropical?... beach and remove at least enough vomit to remove the stench.

Meanwhile, standing at the shore, Lemtata stared with schizophrenic intensity into the nearness, announcing distantly, "Byyyeeee, Geoooorrrrge, I think I've goooooot iiiiit..."

Concert In The Park Beach Ball with George

Joe stopped wondering how his basement had turned into a concert in a park when a beach ball smacked him in the face.
     "Pretty sure that wasn't a hallucination," he muttered, resigned, and moved to the front of the stage to start Hawkwind's last number, a more-tripped-out-than-usual version of "Master Of The Universe".  He licked chocolate off his fingers.  Dave Brock's eyes shot out rays of almost invisible yellow-green mist.
     Lemtata was dancing naked in a cage-- well, naked except for knee high bright orange go-go boots and a seven foot python.  The cage was your typical late '60's discotech 6 ft. tall fake-gilded canary cage.  Joe was not at all struck by how un-Lemtata this behavior was; she was a feminazi who wouldn't be caught dead dancing in a cage wearing only go-go boots.
    The crowd of fans and onlookers were equally unimpressed by Jose, despite the fact that he was now also onstage, simultaneously vomiting into a dripping plaid sleeve and convulsing on the control stick of a strange towering machine that looked sorta like a vending machine from Mars.  (Was it 1975?  Why did nobody recognize an upright videogame?) The machine was emitting a barrage of noises that fit right in with the 'musical' number.   Only Acid, the policeman who did not turn into Sting, was impressed.  He stood next to Jose and pumped his fist, mouthing "wakawakawakawakawakawakw" silently as Jose progressed.
     The song came to a conclusion, and Dave, Lemmy, Joe and nearly all the other wind hawks came to the front of the stage and did a dramatic group bow.  Joe ripped the chocolate Moog in half and threw it into the front row, yelling "Junk For Sale!"  The people in the first two rows pounced on it and began devouring the Moog greedily, pausing here and there to pull non chocolate wires from their teeth.
      Jose was still lost in his game, his face pale and drawn, sweat dripping off of his brow.  His eyes looked like those of a cadaver.
     The crowd dispersed, somewhat, as the techies took down the band's equipment to make room for the next act.
     Joe went to Lemtata, who appeared to have just snapped out of her trance.  She was looking down in horror at the python and at her naked condition.
     "JOE!!!" she screamed.
     "Lem, it's okay, it's okay, here," said Joe, handing her a white bathrobe and a pair of random girls underwear that had landed on him mid set.  He took the python from her and absent mindedly let it go in the grass as Lemtata hurriedly got dressed.  She looked at the bathrobe, which was embroidered with a hotel logo and a name at the breast pocket.

     "Who is George?" she said.

Just then, the closing act, Atom Speck and the Micro-Particulates, burst into a heavy driven psychedelic rock meltdown, before the techies had even finished clearing Hawkwind's gear offstage.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Chocolate Synthesizer

Reaching deep into her nose and pulling hard, Lemtata produced every member of Hawkwind's1975 lineup except Simon House, instruments in hand. They looked a bit disgusted and... nasal, but also relieved to no longer be imprisoned in her nose. Staring hard at Lemmy, Lemata boredly and distantly declared, "Nothing personal... I just hate you, man."

Joe finally defeated the speck of dust on his thumb piano using the awesome power of thought, and so had some attention to spare for Hawkwind. "Hey, you guys look like you need some synths!"

"Synths? Syn - synthesizers? Oh yeah man, Simon H isn't here, man, yeah. He was out scoring when - whahh, you have a Moog?" answered Lemmy absentmindedly. The rest of the band had gone upstairs to take a collective shower (- "Faggoty shit"! - "What maaaan, you got a snot fetish maaaan?" - "Oh fuck it!"), but Lemmy's broken methdar had gone off, and he was happily raiding Jose's cocaine supply. Naturally Jose didn't notice at all. The cocaine gave Lemmy a stern glance, intoning "I am NOT methamphetamine."

"I am NOT Police," blurted out Sting self-importantly seconds later.

"I am NOT Mario," emphatically singsang the now Mario-shaped Trans-Pac Man, now plunging into the Palace of Light in a from-behind 3-D view, with his prominent plumber's butt taking the limelight.

"I aaaaaammm noooot Katryyyn Noooorse", wailed Lemtata spookily.

Somehow Joe found this more offensive than any of the other nonsense he'd experienced in the last 5 minutes. "You... you nincodilyoop, Lemtata! Of course you're not some Katryn Norse! Who the fuck is Katryn Norse! Gawd, why do I love you people so much?" and he went around giving everyone in the room hugs. Now covered in Lemmy's Lemtatasnot, he sighed, went up and joined the hot, clean group-shower action upstairs.

"Love your music dudes!" scrubadubba WAKAWAKA damn, that Pac-man is getting loud

"That's great mate!" replied Michael Moorcock. Many dimensions away, one co-creator grumbled in frustration as he utterly failed at faking a British accent. "Hey, you gotta guy what can play the Moog? And the Moog itself too of course. Oh, and where are we?" scrubbaWAKAWAKAWAKA

"You're in Ottawa, Ohio. Oh, and it's 2005. Or what the hell, maybe I'm in your pipe dreams in 1975. I don't know what to think anymore!"

"Moog?" repeated Michael pointedly.

Joe pondered, mulling over the events of the long, long last ten minutes. "I think that can be arranged."

Not much later downstairs, absolutely no-one was surprised when Joe assumed a synth-playing stance and then smoothly progressed from playing air-synth to playing a chocolate synthesizer - a genuine 1975 Micromoog in every detail except for its being made of chocolate. (Milk chocolate, yet extremely durable.) Trans-Pac Man respectfully dropped off WAKA-ing as Joe filled the room with buttery, silky, spooky, psychedelic tones. 

The improv came together surprisingly fast; apparently it's true what they say about cold showers and a cool head. Dave Brock took the mic on this one (Michael lay outstretched next to Sting, staring into his own mind) and tried, in his words, to reflect the action on the Pac-Man screen, which for his convenience was now mirrored on a big projection on the wall opposite the stairs.

"Palace of light, halls of ghosts
Eternal chase for the meaningless
Trapped outside time, no rhyme or rhythm,
I flee banality, devour banality!"

"Ba-na-na," Jose "corrected" him irritably, as TPM swallowed a strawberry. "Or is that your limey way to say ba-na-na?" he taunted.

The basement had melted away, the back wall projection now replaced with a huge projector screen on the grass. A happy, tripped-out crowd was assembling in the pleasant summer heat. Many of the visitors were raving with delight at the unique, almost chocolatey analog sound of this new retro-futurist band with the weird hippy act. Lemtata was charging admission, and with her sharp sense for marketing she set it at $3.50 and shouted to all passersby "Step, right, up for the hippy freaky show! Only one 1975 dollar an entry! It's a steal, and I'm not just pulling that out of my nose!"

"Pursued by ghosts of many colors -"

"Four. Four colors."

"- Swimming in black corridors
For a moment we have powers,
We have rhyme and then it's lost lostlostlostlostlostlostlostlostlos..."




Thursday, February 6, 2014

Palace of Light

Jose had thought ahead, however, and had donned his personally designed feedbag style vomit sleeve.  He splattered vomit neither on the video game, nor on his clothes or shoes.  Then he turned to the camera and smiled, a bright gleam flashing on glowing white teeth, and said:

"Domine Vomite, Espiritu Sparkle.
Chalmister, Palmister, Remington Farkle.", then turned again intently upon the Trans-Pac Man game.

Police dropped the HD video palm cam and morphed into Sting, looked around surprised for a moment for a bass and/or microphone stand, and finding none, huffed and collapsed on the couch next to Nemtata.

"I hate the tripstease." Sting said, "and my LP records, and they're all scratched."

Nemtata looked at Joe, who was frozen in a position of utter amazement, staring down at a speck of ash that was poised on the corner of his thumb piano.

Jose reached level 169.  He saw a Palace Of Light.
Flashing ghosts in the palace of light.  Wakawakawakawakawakawakawaka.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Acid Police

"I always wondered what hooking up these wires does! I never touched them because I didn't want to break this rickety old box, but you either broke it so good or fixed it so good, I don't care anymore." Joe stood up from his crouch and gawked further at Jose's play. Jose was unfazed by the unsolvable maze! He was cruising it, scoring points (and at some points dirty socks or abstract concepts instead) with nothing glorping in his way. Whatever underlying pattern there was to the travels of Androgyno-Pacman, left right black white...

The policeman on the left picked up on the thought: "The aim of the game is to feel real good."

Wait, what? What policeman on the left? Besides the one wearing the badge reading "POLICE," Joe meant. Besides that one. Well, and besides the policeman on the right, bearing a badge that read "ACID."

"Acid!" shouted Police.

"Police!" shouted Acid.

"You want another hamburger?" Lemtata politely asked Acid, pulling a fiftieth Jill-in-the-Box out of her pocket to rest along the 49 others she'd already pulled out. (When did she start with that, wondered Joe. And why aren't there ketchup smears on her pants? And come to think of it --)

"Are you not men?" shouted Joe confrontationally.

"Are you a cabbage?" asked Police, taking off his badge and presenting it in his hand.

"Uh... walnut pie?" Joe replied nervously, hoping his answer was satisfactory. He became even more nervous when a turtledove appeared in his hands and flew off, but Police began clapping and dancing, so he figured he'd passed the test.

Jose didn't say a word, although when Acid threw him a thumbs-up, Jose vomited happily in approval.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Level 143

"the auld story line throbbed out with a pang, The Beatles broke the band up, long hair did hang, when Schmillinger Schmang!"

Jose pounded on the machine once, shouting "Yes!  Yes!  YES!!!!!"

Joe stopped singing, half heartedly still plucking the next part of the song on the thumb piano.  He walked over to see what was happening.

His breath was caught in his throat.  Jose was now on level 143.  Which was of course, impossible.

Not only that, but it appeared that the game had now become half Ms. Pac-man, and half Pac-man, the Pac-man side on the right and the Ms. Pacman on the left, so that if Pac-man was going left you couldn't see the red bow on its head, but if she was going to the right, you could.  Which didn't make any sense at all.

Joe walked to the back of the console and jiggled a couple wires.

"Whathefuckareyoudoing!?" Shouted Jose, who briefly flashed an angry glance around the console.

Lemtata was only vaguely interested, intent on her issue of "Man Hater" magazine.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Defeat of the Pedants

Joe stared bug-eyed at Jose's outstanding play. It wasn't just the improvement, it was --


"Yeah," Jose muttered, visibly in another dimension in thought.

"You know this is actually Ms. Pac Man, right?"


It was as Joe thought! Jose really was convinced he was playing the original Pac Man. It wasn't too surprising... Jose had been calling out the original fruit names, and kept talking about reaching level 255. Joe knew that his Ms. Pac Man crashed already at level 142.

To Joe's amazement, Jose was now on level 141 (and barely conscious, though also incredibly awake from the coke... Jose called it the "Heisenbuzz").

Joe started to tinkle on his handpiano, and began to sing.

"When Dillinger sang..."

Wino Dinoh.

After several glasses of wine and thirteen more Pac-Man attempts, Jose realized that he was improving with drink.  This usually also occurred with both his billiard and bowling games.  There was a curve he could note where he got better and better with more drinks until it plateaued and finally he would have that one too many, and his game would once again go to shit.

But tonight, Jose was on fire for a while, because he'd decided to try to keep the plateau going by slowing down on the drink and supplementing the buzz with brownies and coke.
Joe stood by frowning with confusion as Jose got to the twelfth board.

"This does NOT feel like Deja Vu." Joe muttered.

Jose chuckled evilly and said "Waka waka waka waka waka waka waka...", simulating Pac Man's chompy chomp chomp sound.

Lemtata stood by and rolled her eyes, then did a three pointer with the empty wine bottle from across the living room.  It shattered with great dramatic effect inside the recycling bin.
Jose jolted, startled, then swore.

"I'm trying to fuckin' focus, god damn it!"

Lemtata retreated to the kitchen to retrieve yet another bottle of red.  She glared at them both sardonically as she passed.

"You fucking geekazoids." She smiled and shook her head.

Reboot Redux

Suddenly, everyone died.

This was only a minor inconvenience for our heroes, as they were all painless deaths, and they had no afterlives. Nor were there mourners or mourned, since they all died at once. No inheritances were squabbled over, and no one felt ashamed for not finding out about the deaths until they read Facebook the next day. Because they were dead.

Nature had a rough time of it for a while - lots of nuclear meltdowns, broken dams, continent-wide fires and the like, and the squirrels took it all rather personally, but too bad for them. After all, why should they complain? Within a mere billion years, before a slightly dimmer sun, two evolved Bonobos (though they called themselves, in translation to now-forgotten English, "Humans") stood playing a 20-year-old Ms. Pac Man machine in a northern province of Ameristanlee, a young nation that a mere 200 years before had dragged the world from monarchy to democracy.

"Man, you suck at this game," Joe tactfully informed Jose. Joe was always very proud of his tact, and of the crackerjack ring he wore on his left pinky.

"Joe, I can't practice this game 20 hours a day like you do," Jose retorted.




"Pizza pancakes."

"Snerrnnl GIGFLATTA!"

By then they were laughing so hard they didn't notice when Lemtata ("Man, my girl has a sexy name!" Joe always told himself) descended into the basement with a wine bottle in one hand and a handpiano in the other.

"Feeling dej√° vu right now, Jose?"

"No way, Joe... say, though, y'ever feel like it did all happen before, a billion years ago and in a different way?"

"Not really, Jose..."

Joe reverently cradled his handpiano and began to sing and play.