Instructional Manual (April/May 2018)

aprile 2018 update 2c

 

Basic information for various sites for this series and how to use them to comment on episodes; this is mainly in the direction of the url      https://thepitofultimatedarkshadows.wordpress.com/

Plenty of guidance in how to use these sites. Welcoming if a listener only wants to focus on a single character, fandom or cameo.

Old internet rules for The Pit Crew. What makes me happiest: Commentary. Examples: My reading of Tito’s commentary for “Episode 5: Saving Pop” and Lisa’s commentary for “Episode 15: A Blundering Succubus”. Some examination of Willie and Sarah’s interactions, as well as Maggie merging her memories together.

Discussion of the “Dark Shadows” movie and Lisa’s wonderful reaction to that, and how I altered my offering to introducing more people to the series when it became more easily available. Social media, where it comes from, and how complaining about the people in areas that it comes from is paradoxical to our current social behaviour. (If one hates people on the West Coast, how is it applicable to use the addictive social tools they build to complain about them?)

How critiquing once had socially redeeming value and then degenerated into “bash-culture”, which is, ultimately, bad for your health. Pen pal information for L.W.A. and how Hidden Object and I maintained our friendship. The importance of correspondence. Our natural reactions to light and movement.

My struggle against social media addiction and the rewarding results. Helping a new fan of Dark Shadows and sending DVDs to her of the original series while comparing what she already knew. Consideration of villains and how they blend in to the storytelling. The importance of villains in stories, basic and complicated concepts. News about Auntie, too. How, oddly in this age, letter-writing is managing better than solely using the internet.


podomatic link here

podbay link here

archive dot org link here

Also available on iTunes


 

Lyrics for our pen friends in this project:

Celebrate the pale dawn, celebrate the birdsong,
Celebrate, this is your time,
Although we live in the wreckage and on the faultlines.

And everything we own is not everything we are,
With every word we breathe, we live, we live again.

Celebrate, there is no fear now,
There is no fear now for us to feel.
Celebrate, there is no fear now,
There is no fear now for us to feel,
For us to feel.

 

(The London) Suede “Faultlines”

Advertisements

Some April News

A-a-a-a-a-and it’s none of your darned business, but I’m going to tell you anyway…

 
Hi, everyone! Hopefully more good pen friends than not. (I still welcome the old runaways who I miss!)

 
So nothing is perfect, but if y’all heard the February 2018 update podcast, the better life qualities still stand. I had a traumatic accident pressing a link and feeling drowned by all the social media targeting to my brain that, yes, I left a few posts of my traumatized reactions and managed to finally log out of that beastly creation! (FB) I also got the opportunity to vocally explain to (real-life) friends why it happened, and you know something? They had enough information from me to understand the situation completely. (As opposed to having so much *less* information and making up some random falsehoods about me.)

 
I have also decided that I need more “Kipper” shows in my life. I missed that pup! I still have the cerebral stuff (“Connections”, “Sherlock Holmes”,) and The Pit stuff playing, but living life is also nice!

 
I am loving my pen pals and letters and thank you for keeping me company if I haven’t already told you.

 
I’m editing more of Episode 18 “Braving The Waters” and allowing myself to enjoy that creative endeavour in private. I wish I could share more of the Pit show but the commentary for later episodes is not forth-coming so I have to continue to take care of myself and leave it be. (There is plenty to do in the mean time.)

 
I’m also editing chapters for new audio books which are very important. I’m rusty but it’s very good for me and books are so wonderful for simply making observations of life that help in incredible ways.

 

Example:

 

“And who shall say that inanimate things do not answer to our love of them, and diffuse, between our four walls, a certain gracious spirit of kindliness and welcome?” –Myrtle Reed

Isn’t that splendid?


Another portion is we’re soon finishing up “The Hand of Fear” on Doctor Who and I am way bummed because this is the last set with Sarah Jane Smith!

 
It’s really good, the special effects, anyway. Making jokes about this hand crawling around like Thing versus The Hand of Count Petofi. I think we made a joke of “The Hand of Count Peto-Thing”.) But whoever did the special effects on that was really good for their budget! (No bubble-wrap spray-painted green with that one!) Plus Sarah Jane’s oufit is such a twee like anime type thing! I gotta get some pictures!) And it’s got stars on the front which reminds me of a Dr. Suess story…

 
But with Sarah Jane’s departure that means K-9 should arrive soon, so that cheers me up. (I have hired K-9 to help with The Tardis while Barnabas is on board. Don’t worry, it’ll work!)

 


I’m also seeing stats for the podcast are low so that makes me smile a lot! ^_^

 


Helena mentioned finding Kathryn Leigh Scott’s books about Dark Shadows available through e-reader library means, so give that a run if you enjoy those. (I do and I thought most fans did!)

 
Speaking of which… or witch… I saw something big all about “Bewitched” that I’m itching to get. I could sure use a big volume like that. “The Bewitched Continuum: The Ultimate Linear Guide to the Classic TV Series” by Adam-Michael James. (I get lost with Bewitched more than Dark Shadows because Dark Shadows has compartments and Bewitched just keeps going.)

 


Getting a bit of an itch to get to more of Sarah Collins DuPres’ new life as a kid in “Margaret Josette DuPres”. I don’t know; maybe I was worried about her growing up too fast. But it’s hard to work on that novel without chat about it. If I don’t know quite what previous readers enjoyed or were looking forward to than how am I to contemplate where to take it? I get asked for more but that’s all I get asked for “more”. (Would readers like me to write the word “more” 3,000 times as a chapter?)

 


So yes, I’m still working on creative pursuits, cleaning up the house, doing audio books (while I shake my fist at technical problems) and somehow learning how to live with this new layer of PTSD I gleaned from sharing this project when social media schemes were ruining our social skills. (I already had enough trauma from before so now? More therapy for me… *sigh*)

 
Well, if you enjoy the work so far and have any questions I’m here at the web-log, by email, and Google Plus. (That social media site is so delightfully dull!) 🙂

Feel Free To Ask Questions

Hello there, Pit Crew. It is a new month and I decided I should express something very important about living life as human beings: Asking questions. Honest questions, questions about what you have a curiousity for, or what you are wondering about.

 
I believe we have learned through this tragic Morning-of-the-Internet that using a search engine (or “googling”) our questions doesn’t always lead to the answers we are looking for.

 
I get some very interesting statistical hits of people asking their search engine questions such as,

“Was Maggie Evans the reincarnation of Josette duPres?”

and

“Did Dr. Hoffman ever get Barnabas’ love?”

These are problematic questions to ask a machine, aren’t they? They are questions about fictional humans and oddly enough fictional humans are much closer to real humans than computers are. It might be better to ask a living human these things. I just did that today over the telephone with a person who works at a restaurant. I also got the answer to my question from her.

 
I asked a search engine rather recently, “Where are people having conversations?” And the website list I got showed several articles about how today’s’ youth are rather incapable of being able to have a conversation. So, as it turns out, I had the answer and the computer did not.

 
Conversations take place in the physical world between people, whether it’s on public transportation, places of business, eating establishments, places of worship, community centers, libraries. People also have conversations over the telephone, voice calls, and on the written page between letter-writers. (I’d also add saloons but I don’t frequent them. For all I know bars just serve drinks while people stare into their mobile phone screens. I’m not sure of the answer to that one.)

 


 
I recently purchased my first sheet of Mister Rogers postage stamps and I plan to get more. He’s really made me think about how much quality programming on television I actually had in my life and the effect it had on my upbringing which could have been much worse without shows like “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”. He was pretty darn good at figuring out what kids needed to know and also what questions they might need to ask of themselves, like how they feel about what they experience, or how they feel about their own feelings. If he were alive today and asked me how I felt about him being on a postage stamp my answer would be, “It’s about time!”

 
I have come to realize I am living in a world where many of those younger than I am did not grow up watching Mister Rogers. They grew up in an internet world, supposedly “sheltered from harm”, but in actuality more expected to criticize everything without much life experience, skill, or even the need to criticize it all. There is also the sudden shock of rather explicit content and fairly “hard core” pornography that is a bit too easy to find. (I saw a ton on tumblr and I sure wasn’t looking for it either! It was rather thrown at me in simply placing my cursor on another users’ icon.)

 

As Mister Rogers might say himself? “MERCY!”

Anyway… I wanted to get back to some basic conversation skills now that I have permeated so much social media website toxins out of my system. I felt this needed to be stated with a log entry, too.

 
Do you have questions for me? I am a person, most of you know this having heard recordings of my voice in which I am at first being very patient, and then losing patience, and nearly losing my own mind.

 

That can sound scary, can’t it? It has certainly scared me, but then again watching basic conversation skills degrade in favour of mobile gadget addiction in companions I’d known for decades was also quite terrifying. It is sad that I went more public to share a series to relieve and help fictional characters and now it definitely seems like I am in the role of helping real living humans to work things out, too. For now, yes, I am here for that.

 

Do you have questions about Dark Shadows? Do you have questions about The Addams Family? Do you have questions about The Ghost and Mrs. Muir? Do you have questions about The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows? I can, at least, give answering any of them the old college try. That is what the comment boxes on this wordpress web-log are for. I will try to be patient if the questions sound odd to me, and it will take a little time to find them and answer them when they are asked.

 
So, if there are questions you want to ask in a genuine sense of curiousity, feel free to ask them here or on other log entries. Thank you and you’re welcome.

Just a bit of news…

Hello, everyone.

 
I was going to write up my “Long Road Out of Facebook: Part Two” but I’m putting it off for a little while.

 
If anyone timid was worried about me being a “crazy weirdo”, alas, that came from a ton of the troubles I contended with via social media and fandom politics. I believe Miss Read’s protagonist in her Fairacre series of books was wise to vividly express how entrenched her neighbours could become with making up more diabolical information about her and each other than was true. Humans just have a terrible tendency for that.

 
Be that as it may, I believe some of you want to help. Perhaps it’s only a little, or as Mrs. Rachel Lynde of Avonlea might scoff, “precious little”, but I’d like this log entry to provide helpful pointers now that pen friends and a few good individuals have befriended me in this journey.

 
If you would like to email me… well, I think I’ve advertised that more than necessary. (It’s mainly led to some crude emails from the lost or Losing-it-at-Wyndcliff types as well as a deluge of spam over the years. (((sigh))) Anyway, that option is still available. (It actually used to be my work email, in a sense, and I suppose with The Pit it is again. ❤ )

 
thepitofultimatedarkshadows.wordpress.com is also available if you want to try the discussion questions. The method of using that web log is that the main page shows the episode number and titles under the big collage. Those titles are actually buttons that reach you to each episode. (I put up some video versions in the comments if you wish to skip the first seven intros. I still like the intros, though. I feel they show the calm, though enthusiastic, style of person I was when I began this project.)

 
The questions are merely guidelines to points of interest. Once upon a time people could compartmentalize their personal highlights on their own, but with social media and smartphones taking over the more adept comprehension skills and turning them into mush, it worked for some to have these key questions available. (It’s helped a couple pen pals as well to go there if they lost their print outs. Yay.)

I know people do love to discuss their favourite shows. The Pit is currently my favourite show, otherwise I would have given up on it years ago. So I’m up to listen if you can’t find anyone else to discuss it with. (I venture to believe that if you’ve tried to talk about it with others you might have gotten drawn in to some hostile gossip instead. Bummer, eh?)

 
Oh, what else might the silent masses wish to know? It’s hard to figure out, isn’t it? (I still marvel at so many Aussies being scared of me. What happened to that Crocodile Hunter/Dundee spirit? Or Midnight Oil? They were all about change for the better. The Church? That’s a cool band too…)

 
I’m currently working on Episode 18 while I await my grassroots team to finish up their chat for Episode 17 in our private ways. It’s gotten slower, I’m afraid, but if someone wants to join the grassroots team I’m welcome to that. (I’ll just need some chat for 16 to make sure you’re really up for it.)

 
Episode 18 is plodding along as I’m editing about twice more than I once did since each characters’ lines are done separately. It takes more meticulous effort to make the show better. I’m happy with Bill Malloy’s ghost, and Captain Gregg, but I wish Samantha Stephens was a little smoother. It’s my first try so I won’t be hard on myself. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten in the editing room.

 
Is anyone feeling like a chump because of social network addiction and bad behaviour coming from it? Hey, I made an example of myself to see if I could kick-the-habit. It was not easy at all! You’re not alone. If you prefer the old 20th Century ways, they still exist. You like old TV shows and movies, right? Me too.

 
As for the novel, I miss creating more. I do believe Maggie would like to chip in at the coffee shop as Sarah matures. It’s just hard to know how the town is orbiting with The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows unfinished. That’s another reason it focuses on love so much. It’s centralized on Maggie and Barnabas at The Old House (or Collins House). And there is a lot of stuff around Sarah’s new life that should be fun. Getting past her eleventh birthday will help a lot someday. Not a big party afterward, just a very grateful one.

 
But with that I still await more discussion from a couple folks. Otherwise I’ll have to keep that private too. Not a big deal since I do that with my original characters stories and always did. It’s just disappointing. All that promise of harmony from the dot-com-boom rather fizzled, didn’t it? So whenever the talk for the chapters comes I’ll be up for sharing more.

 
On the phone with a couple people, we’ve discussed how remarkable the depth of Barnabas’ character actually is. It’s very complicated, as is Josette, of course. In this world of simplification it would make sense a lot of people would be upset by complex characters that go in so many phases with multiple facets. There are less complex and simple shows if that’s what a person needs. They aren’t bad places to go. I enjoy the simple, too.

 
Barnabas and Josette have genuine loving qualities and I’m fond of characters which have that. It’s good to know there are at least four moving-picture and sound representations of them to enjoy in the world. A great love doing all it can to overcome great adversity.

 
That’s about all the news here right now. I wait to hear good things from you. I don’t really expect it considering the intensity of trained lurking that’s come into being, but I wait just the same.

 
Until next time, take care.

 

Daryl

Pit Update: February 2018

2018 Feb Update1a

 


News to pen friends and from pen friends.

Being in touch with “Auntie”. Reasons why DS Fandom went downhill during the onset of social media.

A short-list of online locations that became dead-ends for chat on “The Pit” show.

Uplifting commentary from current pen friends for Pit episodes, as well as great love for The Pit’s Q & A. 🙂

The Generation Gap implosion in recent years.

Sam and Maggie Evans as the best father-daughter combination on television. How there is so much to work with via Maggie and Barnabas’ relationship.

Farcical ideas for a Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows convention. (Idle, dry dreams!)

Descriptions of great pen pals that came forward due to The Pit and for far bigger reasons than any fandom involved.

Awesome stuff with Lisa and Melissa, and new ideas for Pit # 18 and # 19.

Wrapping up this show with a familiar song from podcast # 7 for a wonderful reason.

Theme songs for this show: “Doctorin’ the Tardis [12″]” by The Timelords and “Reach For The Sky” by Social Distortion.

Mail art for this podcast cover-image created by a lovely pen pal named Jason.


 

podomatic link here

podbay link here

archive dot org link here

Also available on iTunes

 


 

Lyrics for our pen friends in this project:

Yesterday is history,
And tomorrow’s a mystery,
But being here right now,
It’s just about you and me.

You can run, you can hide,
Just like Bonnie and Clyde,
Reach for the sky,
Ain’t never gonna die.

And I thank the Lord for the love that I have found,
And hold you tight ’cause tomorrow,
May never come!

Reach for the sky ’cause tomorrow,
May never come,
Reach for the sky ’cause tomorrow,
May never come…

 

 

 

The Long Road Out of Facebook: Part One

[Much of this entry has come into being due to an old friendship hopefully renewed by postal mail after it was destroyed by Facebook and brain-hacking. Please bear that in mind.]


Dearest Friend,

Apology accepted! I wanted to hear from you but just not on Facebook was all. We did pretty well on that network until it became the status-quo *to* be on it. This is going to take a long time to explain so I’ll spend a day working on it and trying to devise the best way to explain to you what happened to all of us.

For my part, I take the stance of a wise character I love, “I’m just sorry it happened at all!”

This isn’t the 21st Century we were hoping for, is it?

I don’t consider myself the biggest fan of speculative or science-fiction, but wow. I’m glad I had that training to see so many warning signs so quickly.

The worst result is that each individual became part of a collective of Those To Whom The Rule Does Not Apply:

“Other people are addicted to social media, but not me.”

“Other people are behaving worse than they ever did, but not me.”

“Don’t let *those people* get you down… even though I happen to be one of them and don’t seem to realize that.”

Phew, this gets rather endless… and I recall all of these folks including those confirming to me, “Something IS wrong, and no doubt about it.”

Hence we are all to blame.

However, if anyone requires a villain in this mess then Menlo Park is a nice, fat, juicy one. (HQ of Facebook, and a place that gives off the “ewl” response considering the uppity wealth and snob factor coming out of there.) Yes, they like money. Lots and lots of money!

Facebook became this universe where everything was and from which no one could escape. I kept getting invites to pen pals groups there that never worked. I was trying to find other avenues for pen pals outside of Facebook since 2014. During that time I managed to acquire short-lived email pals who hated Facebook and then would ask me if I wanted to connect with them there. This happened frequently.

Heck, I got invites to various spots on Facebook from a cast member of DS in what I have presumed was the hope that whoever was in charge of those zones would be interested and perhaps they could help me with commentary for The Pit. Various groups and people seemed likely. It’s just that we were all using Facebook so this was, inevitably, all buck-passing.

Many people did the same style of invitations. Even my reaching websites outside of Facebook meant going to their Facebook areas instead of having any real one-to-one conversation beyond an email inviting me to their Facebook group.

One party. One company. One party. One company.

Then came the carbon copies. A pen pal of long ago invited me to Ello. Oh-h-h-h, so hopeful, but it was the same crap. Twitter? Slightly different but more or less the same; Marina Sirtis’ experience with Twitter has been a beacon in my life. Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Disqus, Quora… spam, spam, spam. Then there is tumblr, which hails from New York City, as the PCP version in all of this crack-cocaine and meth-amphetamine. (I’m currently looking at Google Plus as the pot-plantation. People get wacky sometimes but usually just lazy and mellow.)

Once upon a time Facebook worked. The news-feed came and everyone was talking and really talking. This is what the carbon copies kept trying to revive: the real thing. Real thought-sharing, real banter, real people getting to know each other or having conversations like they would in person.

One big problem was the like-button came into being a little while later in 2009. (I recently found an email complaining about this from a friend that was sent during 2011.) So when the carbon copies tried to revive the great chat that suddenly came into being from the news-feed they would always add some form of the like-button (+1, upvotes, hearts, etc.) and in that way the carbon copies could never work.

Somehow we all got caught up in this idea that it had worked once and if we just tried hard enough it would work again. That meagre 25% or less of it working meant we might be getting somewhere, when the truth of the matter is we were all fooling ourselves.

Good things come from Facebook, it’s true. But by the same token good things come from Walmart. I desire as little possible from either.

For myself, I kept ranting on Facebook and other carbon copies for people to email, to telephone, anything. I had to become suicidal before a few friends finally telephoned. It should not have had to take that severe a desire. But that is how beholden to the system so many people became. One cast member really worried about me when it got that bad, but… we all went back to Facebook anyway.

I kept looking outside, going inward, praying for “the crazy” to stop. It wouldn’t. I spoke with music, metaphors, my own suffering I wouldn’t normally tell anyone much less a public platform. All anyone could do, other than like-click, was blame something else: alcohol, the project, “those people”, various things that were only increased and enhanced by the social media madness.

Meanwhile, they wouldn’t tell me what they enjoyed in my work, but they would tell me all about who was on Facebook that they hated, or were pissed at and wanted to make fun of, or having my own listeners avoiding the topic of The Pit show while sending me photos, memes, and giving me bullcrap. High School A-Go-Go.


Kay finally broke out and started visiting. Jonah started telephoning again. Tito began to keep in touch better. As for so many others we shared in common or didn’t? They never got back in touch after several phone calls. Many wildly creative and rebellious types seem lost to us forever.

Then, finally, I made an example of myself. *I* would quit somehow.

I started at the end of 2016 and it took me about a year to get unhooked. Truly. “Falling off the wagon” is usually meant for returning to “the demon liquor”. For me “falling off the wagon” became using Facebook. It was harder than quitting smoking or quitting alcohol.

I shot for one week away, and then adding a day to that week the next time around. I didn’t realize I wasn’t getting farther than a week because I was miscounting the length on the calendar. I had to get a Sharpie to count and potently mark that longer duration on the calendar over and over again. Something in my brain had created a distinct need to get Facebook back into my system. I’ve encountered this problem before and with nicotine especially.

Somewhere in this struggle to get away, Clover and Jonah began visiting and somehow they got back together. Almost every weekend they stay over. One night I asked how it came to be. The answer wasn’t forth coming until I added, “Because there isn’t anyone else to hang out with, huh?”

Clover answered, with a sigh, “Yep!”

In about six months I managed to reach two weeks away from Facebook at a time.

Interpals and other pen pal websites became my “methadone” for want of another word. Even people there were trying to break-free but losing the ability to understand how. On Interpals it was worse due to all the creeps or just people locked into the message system there, going stir-crazy complaining about how horrible the world and the people in it became.

Impostors showed up to follow me on wordpress and I would go to their useless blogs and scream obscenities at them, telling them to go back to Facebook. Doofus people with real web-logging skills would follow mine and I would politely inquire why, never hearing from them after that. I learned how to bump them off the follow-list and remove the like-stamp from my web-log, THANK GOD!

Meetup can be very up and down in solid commitments from people. Plainly put, we all expect the automatic systems to bring us company, but it’s a human being using the personal touch to others on Meetup that really works.

Did you hear the March Update 2017? I mentioned calling an Auntie who once had her own radio show. It was, indeed, her who said, “Yeah… I’m getting more alone than even I like to be.” She also admitted in that phone call, “Yes, social networks can definitely be addictive.” I’ve called her multiple times in the last year. She’s only mentioned Twitter once. (More about her later.)

Then the slow change began. I found some pen pals on the various sites, but they’d either “google” me and run-away-screaming, or get locked into only using the messaging system on those sites. Somehow real letter-writing terrified them even if they’d done it years before. I managed a new pal through L.W.A. even as I’d kept tight hold to Hidden Object who was enduring worse losses than I was via Facebook. I managed a hook-up from something called Geek Girls as well. Only one pen pal but it was a start. PPW finally granted me two long-term buddies who wanted to help with The Pit project and also wanted real correspondence and friendship.

After finding and subscribing to three more pen pal organizations with even better activity, I let the more terrified types, who were afraid to do real letters again, know about these organizations.

Of course, there were pen pals who did the same thing to me as the online crowd had done with The Pit:

  • Heading for the hills.
  • Downloading voraciously and avoiding the topic while still wanting to be pen pals
  • “Googling” me and getting paranoid.
  • Buck-passing to others.
  • Badly attempting to critique and suggest changes to episodes that are four years old, etc.

There is also a trend of “Desperate For DS” types who finally gain access to what I have, overcoming their computer-challenged barriers with my help, and? I never hear from them again either! We paid to have an advertisement put in a letter-writing zine and the same thing occurred. Not one letter, but massive downloads after the issue came out.

Honey, you could do a show about breakfast cereal, put the DS name on it and they wouldn’t care! They would eat it up as long as that shadowy name is bestowed. It is little wonder so many haters and hosers get recognition when they use it.

But, overall the world of real letter-writers maintained a sense of sanity. I even got good, clean, honest rejections for The Pit, with no creepy downloads from their areas later. I needed those honest rejections. Other “rejections” I’d gotten were bonafide lies with the bonus disturbance of online stalking.

The good rejections I got:

“I think I’m the wrong person to send this to. I’ll send it back.” (She didn’t, but whatever…)

“Oh, dear. This involves thinking and I’m retired and ready to just settle down for the simple.” (We still write short letters back and forth. She’s really into gem stones, big dogs and detective novels.)

“So, I listened to your first episode and it’s not really my thing… I didn’t know a lot of the characters and it was really hard for me to keep track of who people were. I did love Shake, Rattle & Roll as the end song. Good choice! And I forget his name, but you did a great impression of The Kids In The Hall guy!” (We also still write to each other.) 🙂

Also there is a fair amount of, “I’m sorry I haven’t gotten to your disk yet!” to which I say, “Keep writing and take your time. They aren’t being created quickly these days.”

With everything though there are just enough now by email and paper post that are happy to keep me company whether or not I run out of episodes, fun suggestions I don’t have to take seriously, and shared interest or just shared comradeship of hating what social networks did to all of us. Our woes are not isolated.


The social network and smartphone take-over touches people who never got an account or device of any kind.

From pen pals I hear about:

Family members, who weren’t all that great before, increasing their hostile and money grubbing attributes.

Educators who don’t answer questions and repeat, “Google it,” like a broken-record.

Kids are taking their parents to work interviews because they really weren’t raised to deal with person-to-person encounters.

People in their teens and twenties will rely on text-messaging rather than making a phone call because, “I don’t like the sound of my voice.”

My middle-brother has confessed to Mum, “Yeah, I’m addicted to Facebook,” just as a statement.

My sister, who does a bit better in life, has established, “I don’t have the time to waste on that thing!”

Mum and I never connected on Facebook for the purpose it would mar our relationship. She isn’t too happy having used it just to discover what my middle-brother is wasting his time posting of degrading content. My older-brother’s failing health and her own needs keep her busy enough.

There’s tons and tons I could tell of who has behaved outside of their norm in extreme ways, but for now I think this general explanation is more than enough. We’re all to blame, and it took an episode of “60 Minutes” (April 2017) to finally allow many of us reassurance of what we knew all along. Hey… “60 Minutes” can do a spot about the problem at this point. Why not? All these computer programmer mortgages have likely been paid by now, right?


Thankfully last Autumn brought something exceptional. I reached to a three-week mark of using Facebook. Just one weekend every three weeks. Even better, I reached that date on the calendar to use it and didn’t. I didn’t want to. I didn’t touch tumblr, I didn’t touch Facebook.

I began feeling like I did in 2013, but with the gift of no anhedonia, no frigidity and no panic. My privacy and contentment at home were more important. Using Facebook would be rewarding any admirers I have that their use of it would get them more of me. That would be me being the enabler I’ve unknowingly been for so many years. And what good would it do to reward people to be that lazy and addicted? None whatever.

Anyway, that’s part one of the long road out of Facebook. The Pit was never the problem. If anything it’s been the saving grace to keep me determined to find out what really was wrong.

The problem was what was happening to people when I was getting my groove back. I wouldn’t have noticed because I wasn’t using social networks much. In between looking for Vincent Price goodies, I was busy making audio books, creating The Pit, watching TV, listening to demos, reading books and learning as I’d always yearned my entire life. In the physical world I wasn’t seeing what was happening in the land of the “Crackberry” or the iPad.

Some fandom stuff made the original readers not type reactions to the old script I had shared, but moreover it was the correspondence skills dwindling, the addictive algorithms of social networks, and the day-to-day challenges being depleted by smartphones which has been what was wrong with everything all of this time.

Yes! For this grief? I left a good job in vision therapy to follow a dream. It was time to resign, but still…

The social media addiction also set off an allergic reaction so that people weren’t getting the social stimulus they needed and they became more and more angry, stalking and trolling writers of all types they didn’t like in a manner that was craving any social interaction even if it was negative. For whatever positive types of people were left, getting hypnotized by happy-buttons and laziness meant they weren’t providing the encouragement to others that they once did.

“Oh, don’t worry. This Nazi idea is just a phase. It’ll pass.” Ahem!

One day, about a year ago, a friend of mine started his shift at his place of employment. Upon his arrival a co-worker told him, “Hey, you missed it. Mark Zuckerberg was in here an hour ago.”

“Oh?” my friend inquired, “Did you ask him how it feels to have destroyed society?”

That made me feel better, I tell ya.


 

I do not believe any old friendships can pick up where they left off. Large groups of people like to pretend nothing happened, or blame someone else to feel better. This isn’t a situation where that is going to work. We claimed to want to keep in touch and suddenly were fighting with each other most of the time, or sending happy stickers and dumb photos to excess. Promoting approval with a thumb in the air will be leaving us with a sour repose; as well it ought to do.

And it was all “free”, right? We didn’t have to pay for a service. We just had to have the right equipment, the wifi, the electricity, and the money to make the monthly payments to have it all and watch our world fall apart on a screen, involving living people this time, rather than fictional characters we had real feelings for.

Try again. We did pay for it: in time, money and in grief. I have yet to hear a single individual boisterously admit that these things have made their lives inordinately better and happier. With a little self-consciousness, they look for a silver-lining though, trying to find the smallest drop of bliss amongst the wreckage. I think that reveals a great deal.


 

Until next time, I hope these instructions have helped you understand the new addictions if you want to quit. I’ll have more to tell later. In the meanwhile I’ve got letters to write, a life to live and spooky families to take care of in a little place called Collinsport, with the help of Cemetery Lane, Schooner Bay, Mockingbird Heights, Morning Glory Circle, and our guests at Hill House.

Pleasant dreams. ❤