Substance and Choice

Howdy folks! (Or should I say, “Greetings, programs!”?)

 

I am currently working on Episode 19 in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, “Happy Hour In Hell”. Some of this is slightly altered from what I might have done if I hadn’t found a wonderful audience member who had certain preferences and needs. Hence the desire for feedback of what is enjoyed and what might be creeping someone out. She’s never argued with me about the content of the show, but has mentioned one or two elements making her feel, “not good”. It’s more about her than me and that’s fine. Having good friends in this endeavour sheds light on it and helps greatly.

 

And that leads me to having enough breathing space and a reprieve from the panic to be able to look at the whole of the situation and be concerned for the bystanders. I can’t imagine there is no feeling of personal shock in being swayed to use toxic technology which promised to strengthen our friendships that then managed to derail or obliterate those friendships. And the encouragement to criticize certainly didn’t help!

 

There are any number of reasons we have storytelling in our lives; processing the days events, managing a way to make sense of tragic situations, learning historical data, but a big one I feel we’ve almost entirely lost is the luxury of it. Storytelling was something to do when a hard day of work was finished. Leisure. It was a prize to be earned through patience, something to look forward to. What with all the criticizing happening to so much of it now? One would think we were going from one misery job to another!

 

I’m very aware I have a choice in my entertainment. I learned this distinctly upon going to the theater to see “Alien3” on the first day it was released. I believe I was among many viewers who wanted to walk out of the theater from the beginning when we discovered they’d automatically killed off some of our favourite characters from the previous movie. Years later some of us were very willing to the idea of another instalment in which Ripley awoke from a terrible dream! (I believe a few of us still are.) And so when “Terminator 3” was released I checked the cast, the content, got an idea of the whole purpose in why it was being made and… didn’t see it. I do not feel as if I have missed out whatsoever. (I’ve been curious about the one with Christian Bale, though.)

 

I love the works of L. M. Montgomery, but do I brave a venture in viewing “Anne With An E”? Nope! It contains very little of the original work. If I’m not getting what I enjoy out of an option I disregard the option.

 

This is why I said I didn’t “read” much of the fanfiction for Dark Shadows, I definitely combed it for five years, though. Nothing much like the original show. And definitely not the relief-series I was looking for.

 

Some of the work was good, some was dreadful, but most of it seemed to contain a feeling of hopelessness and somehow wanting to belong in that. I could get that feeling easily from the works of Charles Dickens if I wanted something as such. If I noticed a non-canon pairing like Julia/Barnabas, I regarded it with a “Huh? Hmm… okay, moving on.” I chose for myself.

 

I don’t usually see this kind of decision making in others, I’m afraid. Sure, I came up with a fun title, “The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows”, but people sure didn’t see that! They saw, “Dark Shadows” and that was it! It’s as a friend described to me, that with other shows and films you have hungry fans, of course, but with Dark Shadows? It’s like a bunch of starving people scrambling for table scraps. Still, I was hunting down people who wanted the canon-pairings, Barnabas and Josette being the big one because, well, it is the main romance of the whole thing. I sure didn’t expect to find hostile demands to switch romances! Sheesh!

 

A lot of folks didn’t seem to understand they had a choice at all. Anything Dark Shadows was a must have and Lordie! Dissatisfaction with it was another must, apparently.

 

(It’s sure hard to tell who the heck someone is, or could be, when they’re so damn busy attempting to be like “everyone else”.)

 

Still, the kind people I have managed to find definitely know the value of friendship and quite a few have happy relationships and wedded bliss. I wasn’t sure so many were out there because I was so used to conflict going from the screen to people emulating it in their idea it was what they were “supposed” to do via the exposure. I was more sure it was there in 2010 when the internet improved. People sought what they desired and often found it, cheered talented kids on youtube, made incredible singing recordings together from all over the world. The harmony was happening.

 

Then the dissatisfaction seemed to creep in. Was it from miserable people spreading it around? Smartphones making people stupid? Social media going from useful to addictive? All of the above? The main thing I know is we’ve all been soaking in it and likely need, as Roger says in “Parapsychology”, a month of showers to get over it.

 


 

Back in 2013 when I had fifteen scripts (some rough drafts) and was getting the podcast started, one of my co-workers heard my concern over lack of feedback. She told me, “So many people don’t know how to do constructive-criticism,” and emphasised the word constructive. I think that emphasis was all that was needed. Being constructive is what so many people don’t know how to do, really. Being given a world in which thoughtless narcissism and bashing entertainment is encouraged, why would they?

 

I have a new friend who was saying the same thing about “constructive-criticism”, so I told her I consider the entire idea a hoax now. It’s this fun little catchword to make bashing sound intellectual. Forget it. Now I’m looking for fun-chat, no fancy word needed.

 


 

A few young-adults have told me my “Walls of Text” are “intimidating”. Dear God, shall I offer a sedative before introducing one to a library? Walls of text are pretty much what you get upon opening most books. Not only that but I grew up as someone starving for books and the right books that would keep my attention. Electronics and television flooded my upbringing to degrees I would flee to other places just to have peace and quiet.

 

The current use of the word “intimidating” is worrisome to me. My memory of learning the word was revealing weakness. One is timid. I suppose that makes sense when they are very sheltered. By protecting and over protecting our young we’ve managed to make them helpless. Yes. That old Life, playing tricks on us again, eh?

 

And it’s scary; I spent about twenty to thirty years getting harped on and harassed for being “stupid”. Looks like I’m currently spending many years getting harped on and harassed for being “smart”! The only gratifying thing in this is that many of the people who picked on me for being “too stupid” over the years have now sold their values to toxic technology and gone far dimmer. Being smart isn’t as important to them as once upon a time. (I also got picked on for having trendy interests. Ah, yes. Even going against the status-quo meant something to them too, long ago.)

 


 

Anyway, for anyone checking in to the web-log here, the “Alma Matters (August 2018)” podcast is out and doing good, as well as Episode 17 in The Pit, “A Bio-Exorcist Comes To Collinwood”. (You bet that one does splendidly for stats, no doubt about it!) ^_^

 

I got a chance to do a decent entry, “On The Subject of Victoria Winters” in July that should be helpful to readers for her character variation throughout all Dark Shadows productions.

 

Also if Librivox helpers are checking here I am having some technical troubles with editing a chapter, but it’s coming.

 

So far? ALL the character voices are performed for Episode 19, “Happy Hour In Hell”. Milligan and Hecubus are performed together but every other character is performed separately. They aren’t edited at all yet, but the performing is completed.

 

Grassroots Pit helpers are going through Episode 18, “Braving The Waters”. (Sharing with the honours system online was unreliable for discussion, so I managed a grassroots system now prior to releasing an episode.) Maybe I should call them my “Pit Crew”. 🙂

 

And for people feeling bad? Well, The Bystander Effect has been hurting a lot more people than me these days. For the tech-addicted, I’m fairly sure a ton of my old friends who lost touch are feeling much worse. (And I didn’t lose them because of my show, I lost them due to social media addiction. This is a common problem in friendship now.) I’m grateful for the few who returned and for my new companions, very grateful indeed.

 

Another good idea to keep in mind: When you enjoy your entertainment, enjoy it. I know that “little critic” in your mind likes to jump in and give you a frown when you finish the show. See if you can turn him off. He’s often a glitch in your psyche you’ve been trained to appease for the sake of being exploited by that kind of behaviour.

 

Like finding a shell on the beach to admire: Just admire it. Don’t compare it to other shells for being “better” or “worse”. Simply admiring it might make your day that much brighter than it already is. ❤

Advertisements

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”

Pit Update June 2016

June Update Cover 03

 

Most of this was created Monday 6 June 2016. I felt the need to address a lot of the high stress going on. As well as some healing, personally.

There is also a short rant or two for those who enjoy my rants. (I know there are some who do!) Discussion of why sharing files everywhere and buck-passing didn’t work.

More in-depth explanations of how the attention-spans have diminished over the years in so many people, as well as the problems with social media and how I am combating those and have done.

Updates on Pit construction as well as the marriage novel, including some past observations. Solid addressing of why the output for both have diminished, which may not be for the reasons one would think.

Fun stuff about how I and others create more authentic fanwork by dismissing poor advice and following our intuition about it. I go into a little of what I did with the Sailor Moon fanfiction that I wrote in the late 1990’s.

*Most Important*: How my audience can develop a healthy relationship with me for the good of us both. Too much that has happened promotes paranoia on either side and it would be much better if you follow the advice I give in this podcast about it. (i.e. If you listen to this podcast and write to me please address that you listened. I don’t have time for any more random and inane babbling from listening and trying to address these issues while denying you listened. Thank you!)

And, of course, some consideration for two 50th Anniversaries coming up: Dark Shadows and… The Monkees! Enjoy. ^_^

the-monkees-good-times-cover-art-final-1200x1200

Pit Update 2016 (podomatic link)

Pit Update June 2016 (podbay link)

Pit Update June 1016 (archive.org link)

[And yes, there are tracks behind my voice by Oasis from the album “Standing On The Shoulders of Giants”, which I believe is very fitting! 😛 ]

Pit Update May 2016

 

blue whale with green border

 

For the people out there who want to talk, who want more, who love The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows: This is for you.

Don’t listen thinking, “This will get people moving.” No. It’s for you the listener: The fan, the one who wants to be engaged and interactive. I hope it helps. Good luck.

 

audio links below:

podomatic link

podbay link

archive.org link Continue reading

Now It’s May 2016…

… and my series is over four years old.

If anyone has perused the other blog (the only difference in the URL is the word “the” at the beginning) you likely recognize how long I’ve been working on this project. I managed to find almost all of the dates to both the scripts and the audio uploads.

Meanwhile I am continually haunted by what we’ve become as people. I have fans that love the work but are afraid to discuss what they like or even admit to having listened or read. I suppose I find that bizarre because I’ve already learned what I needed to know about likes, dislikes and personal choice.

We all have been very corroded by the pretense of either a critical attitude or a biting wit. Too often we see this as how to live. The same problem can happen when we consume too much media entertainment that either shows such behaviour or shows constant conflict and riled emotions. That exposure creates a feeling that it’s how life is meant to be lived. I got caught up in that long ago and I learned to change.

How did I do that?

I looked for material that would make me feel better, more relaxed, calm stories that dealt with a structured life like Miss Read’s Fairacre Series or L.M. Montgomery’s many books. And then I went to libraries, bookstores, gutenberg.org and? I found more, and more, and more. The lives are gentle and fun is had. The characters feel very real and they move in the old-fashioned ways we keep missing. There is conflict, usually the weather or something in nature giving the characters trouble. Sometimes it gets risky, a wagon wheel collapses, a bad illness or a death comes. But these things are rather likely in real life. Nothing constant in conflict as some of the stuff advertised to me like “Berkelley Square” or “Downton Abbey”. You see clothing that often portrays a time period where things are more simple and then have the stress roller-coaster from Hell, but like a train wreck you don’t look away. Ugh! Glad I learned how to shut off the machine and return to Fairacre again and again. Reading and listening and sewing. Very meditative and soothing.

I never complained much about entertainment when I got that far. And here I am surrounded by people who do nothing but complain about entertainment. Jonah told me about a video in which a pop star did a tribute to the late David Bowie and underneath were gobs of angry people mouthing off about how terrible it was. Then he told me, “They turned it on of their own volition and sit there complaining about it! Why don’t they go and listen to their f***ing Bowie records if they don’t like this tribute? Or take a guitar to the street corner and play some Bowie song they like?!”

I guess it goes back to that school mentality, being the cool-kid in school means you have to behave like some big-shot who disses on almost everything. I used to watch “friends” swear up a storm about “that stupid band” after a month of complete adoration with their music. It’s so messy. Me? I like The Spice Girls, I went to see them, all five, in concert. I also went to see Robyn Hitchcock perform.  I don’t mind admitting to loving something “un-cool” or “unpopular”. Who do I have to please in personal interests? Myself.

I like a lot of music, and I have a lot of moods and ranges. If I don’t like it I either turn it off or turn to something else.

Facebook doesn’t allow us that choice, does it? We want to keep up with friends but now it’s just link sharing and going through everyone’s clutter of it in a scroll. The personal news has diminished greatly. That’s a horrible thing to do to your friends, you know? Peer pressure of a network, and then peer-pressure of how to feel about entertainment, or anything else. And… you say… you’re busy??? You don’t have time to type out some commentary on what you enjoy but you’re sitting there doing that all day and night? (Anyone remember all those emails we used to forward to each other? I got real sick of that too!)

So yeah, bickering about entertainment. How spoiled can we get? I do believe I have the right to complain about my plight in lacking commentary of enjoyment. From several it’s either, “I’ll get to it,” or being harassed by envious jerks, or the very scary stats showing enjoyment or a thumbs up, which is meaningless for reaction most of the time. And? People lying completely that they haven’t really gotten to the work. They write to me and avoid the subject of the entire reason they know me at all: My entertainment. The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows that they want more of but do everything in their power to keep me from giving to them. (You guys do understand you’ve been making life Hell over here with that, right? And you’ve been driving our mothers crazy, too.)

Anyway, I keep reviewing the work of new friends, or just something I like. Helena’s stories in the world of “Night Court” are excellent. That show is so ingrained I’ve been able to pay attention but only as long as I’m writing my commentary and interacting with it. I guess that comes from social starvation, too. It’s why I offer review-swaps. If I can’t get what I need then the exchange is good to just find something I can focus on and interact with.

You know much of this radio drama’s fun came from us talking to the characters on TV? We’d make a joke and I’d write it down in my notes. Not all of the notes get used but I sure found some delights. Delights you’ve laughed at and never told me.

The silence is haunting, the lying about being a fan of this new show is creepy, the meme and photo sharing in PM’s or on my wall is rather disturbing, the claims over time that this online and tech-addiction is “great” or “fine” is especially horrifying. The need to do nothing but complain about entertainment is devastating.

I love “Dark Shadows” 2012, actually. It gave me the courage to keep going with The Pit, which did come first, lest we forget. As much as you hate that movie (and I really don’t believe you hate it that much,) it helped to inspire The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, but then again, a lot of things did.

logo collage one

Don’t let the worthless mockers, who are just miserable people, bully you into silence. And don’t let advertisers sway you if it’s not your cup of tea. (And for God’s sake, don’t let my temper flaring be the reason you don’t talk to me about it. It’s the silence, confusion, and avoidance that causes the foul temper.)

Choose your entertainment, choose wisely, choose freely, quit being scared to appreciate things and talk about why, and don’t forget to let your entertainer know what you enjoyed. They love to find out.

Even Lara Parker will tell you, when she discovers you’ve gotten a book that she wrote, “Let me know what you liked.” 🙂

What a nice lady.