Rock Band
ars equitas ad infinitum

I bought a broken microwave. Inside was this:
The HMX Microwave

When it was announced that Harmonix would be donating a microwave for the Child's Play Charity Dinner many commenters (sic) were confused. Why not something that rocks? Is it new? Does it work? Does it come with Hot Pockets? Does it come with whatever they were smoking when they decided to donate it? Why a microwave? What the fuck?

The answers to these questions are as follows 1: Microwaves can rock too, or is that just your knee-jerk Anti-Appliancist agenda speaking? 2: No. 3: We cut the plug off for you so your house won't burn down! 4: Maybe. 5: Due to interstate shipping laws, no. 6: We're getting to that. 7: Watch your mouth.

But why a microwave? Frankly, no one knows. When we moved buildings we bought some new appliances, and some old appliances got the axe. One retired piece was the microwave you see here. It has been with Harmonix since the beginning (maybe longer) and predates our early projects like "The Axe". It was left out on a table near our front desk and people just started signing it. Yous ee this beloved Sharp Model No R-9524 cooked our meals, reheated our leftovers, warmed our hot cocoa, and burned our popcorn for years. It was with us in lean times and in grand. It made our calories palatable so we could sit at our desks and pump out our games.

What you have is not only a museum-quality piece (we can agree to disagree) but a piece of our hearts (and residue from our Lean Cuisines). Also if you look inside his painted on mouth you will find a ton of stuff like signed games, and old games, and cd's, and clothes, and Rock Band merch.

In conclusion - thank you for supportin Child's Play. HMX Microwave will forever be missed by us but we are happy it found a good home with you. We salute you!

Sean Baptiste
Manager of Community Development
Harmonix Music Systems

Subject: Broken Microwave leaves my hot pockets cold
Which is good, because those things are out of control.

When I bid for the umpteenth time through a haze of liquor on the Harmonix microwave for the Child's Play Charity Dinner, many people were confused. Why not throw that money at a sick child directly? Are you high? Is it for the write-off? Can I have whatever you're drinking? Is this some kind of self-aggrandizing bullshit in a nerd olympics you've held by yourself at table 30? What the fuck?

The answers to these questions are as follows: 1. Anonymous charity is bullshit, because people are generally evil, and children are especially evil until they grow into moral competence in the fullness of adulthood (if they develop at all), and if I'm going to end suffering in the world in my lifetime, then some of that money, god damnit, better go to artists that make life about more than just blowing out 18 candles cancer-free. 2. I guess at the time, to use the older version of the term which encompasses being sauced. 3. No. 4. I think the bartender left... 5. Maybe. 6. Watch your mouth.

But why the rock band lot? Frankly, it's because Rock Band has done more for artists, as a vehicle, than the first dog-person who came up the brilliant plan to make string-instruments. It's no secret that artists have their heads up their asses, I can say that with the authority of an artist who's crawled up there to see the human soul. The issue facing the artist is how to provide the delivery mechanism for that highly personal experience inside our own colons and into the rectums of every other living being with the capacity or desire to appreciate it.

Appreciating art is difficult. Sex, the biggest brain-dead self gratifying experience that can involve another person is subject to the vagaries of mood, hydration, and availability, so something considerably more complicated is even more fragile, without the lure of the insatiable neurological reward mechanism that drives the hamsters forward. That lure exists in Beethoven, but as soon as a Stravinsky tries his shit, people froth and twitch all the way out of the gallery. We all know that a chocolate coating will make someone eat moths, ants, or even britney spears, but to take the crucial step of actually putting chocolate on something which was worth eating in the first place is the act of culinary genius which transports mankind out of the realm of comfort food in an uncaring wilderness, and into the dining room, where, pinky extended, the flavor of the pheasant can get its just desserts.

For ages, beyond the biological itches that every planarian can scratch, the greatest and only gifts on offer, were story telling and music. Before people could read or write, or the concept of play acting existed, before slap stick comedy wasn't just a necessary reaction to an increasingly hostile universe, the ability to make noise was the best we had to offer each other. In the time since, we have become increasingly distracted, capable of availing ourselves of numerous shiny objects and pursuits which give us the pleasant memories which form the doldrums of inner turmoil. But, as my demon raping heinous ex-grandmother once said, 'you kids, today, always need noise, don't you' (referring, I think, to music, though, when you're rushing toward hell at terminal velocity, it's hard to know if you're referring to the rushing wind, the music your grandson is listening to, or the anguished sound of billions of the damned crying out to your blackened soul to assume the volcanic throne centered in the lakes of fire, and lead their armies to destroy heaven). While her death is the highest form of justice, she may have had a point, in that I play music when I'm doing other things, for instance, painting (which is basically plagiarism, and the RIAA needs to be informed), or writing, or playing a game, or towing the yoke of mundanity (mendacity!) in the form of chores. Bottom line. I love Bad Religion's Infected, but I didn't know the opening riff was 5 notes.

I thought it was 3.

Picking up the high points of a song, and emphasizing sections while ignoring others, is perfectly acceptable in an abstract sense. After all, if I had to fully consume every piece of art, or for that matter, event, that heaved itself into view, I'd be paralyzed, or else my ability to appreciate as many good things as possible before stepping on the rake that finally got me (slapstick), would be curtailed. Possibly severely. I don't want to overuse adverbs.

But this 'music' thing does demand more, and, if only it had a more forcible entry mechanism into my appreciation chamber (see above), for instance, the kind that Blizzard uses to reap the unholy harvest of broken families and failing educations, which is a methadone equivalent to vampirism, then maybe the master could promise us lives, and we could have a cat. Our salvation depends upon it.

Rock Band did that.

Don't get me wrong. I don't like that we're teaching people to be register monkies. The Man says large fry, and you press the button marked large fry, and then serve the man a large fry, and in return, you have made .42 cents an hour. Repeat until dead inside. But when, instead of a miserable nothingness of some Japanese RPG's alleged 'tactical' combat, or the outrageous lie that is the term 'experience' in a gaming context, you can tap into actual dulcet tones plucked by wringing the heartstrings of your fellow man (or, if it's punk, by not giving a shit so hard that it makes noise), you're not taking a chainsaw to a garden, you're providing the syringe to get the medicine into the patient. Plastic instruments save people *every* day.

And I'm not talking about faith rock Or whatever that ... stuff. Is.

Kid's these days, they don't get it, man, and the old people, they don't get it either. It's up to people like you and me, who are the perfect age, and always will be, to help one another utilize the cold tools of industry to keep the vagina of the human mind healthy. Yes, it is startling when those cold instruments make contact for the first time. And yes, we will occasionally get raped by someone we've trusted (*cough* activision). But in the end, there is no limit to the value of getting an artist's work not just into a house, but into a mind's ear. Eye. Orifice. Plunged directly and repeatedly until chapped.

A real artist won't get any of this. A real artist sees the infinite value of art, makes a quick mental calculation, and then determines that you must pay them infinite dollars. Per viewing. Meanwhile, the rest of us, living in the limbo between reality, and a nice dream about twins, sign pieces of paper not only allowing, but cordially *inviting* lampreys to burrow through our sternums and tap directly into our coronary artery. I don't know about you, I'm assuming you're in the same boat, but for the relatively limited privilege of producing 'art' for corporate masters, and exercising the futility of injecting good design into amorphous widgets to be tabulated on some business degree's spreadsheet, I give up all and any right to it. But that's fine. Because, to get whatever I have to offer into the hands of a python, I have to get inside it.

Because pythons don't have any fucking hands.

In any case. Thank you for making music, despite the best efforts of artists, modernity, and those cock suckers in skull and bones' to turn it into the unmarked and unremarked transactions of an engine of commerce, a living breathing thing which doesn't just offer itself to you, but demands entrance to your recesses.

It's a nice microwave.

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