Non-Crackly Spoilercast (October 2018)

2018 October Non-Crackly

 

After a few words of wisdom via Osheen Nevoy, a bit of personal news which includes Michaelmas and how we celebrate September 29th each year. Updates about upcoming episodes in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows: 18, 19, and some discussion about the rough draft completion of episode 20.

 
Understanding The Addams Family, Barnabas and Maggie growing as a couple, comparisons between characters in fun spooky and drama spooky, how Chris Jennings will be handled, working with Captain Gregg, needing help with Amy, David and upcoming ghosts, how I’m keeping Tony Peterson in the show.

 
Thoughts and theories about Josette duPres’ character as a reincarnation. It’s still a mystery overall but *what* a mystery! ^_^ (Touching on a few other stories entailing reincarnation.)

 
Focusing on the Tom Baker era of Doctor Who, how we’ve been enjoying that, how far we’ve gotten re-watching it, as well as factors in the culmination of my ideas to include The Doctor back in 2013.

 
Current considerations of how older fans of Dark Shadows might react badly to Halloween and the possibilities of why; essentially another generation gap between younger fans and elder fans. (Fellow Goths: If you don’t understand your parents? This just might help a little bit.)

 

 


 

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Crackly Spoilercast (September 2018)

crackly spoilercast september 2018 cropped

 

If you listen to old vinyl records this probably won’t bother you. I cleaned it up the best that I could, so this is a good example of my technical problems! Basic updates with how I’m looking at the social media concerns versus the human requirements included.

 
Touching on +The Reluctant Vampire+ component with Barnabas and going further with that topic. More discussion of what’s coming up in Pit Episode 19 “Happy Hour In Hell” as well as how it correlates with the original series, so there are some parallels between the original DS and The Pit to keep in mind. Plenty of keeping up with the other shows, including The Kids In The Hall, and Bewitched. Delving into Angelique’s troubles and how they work.

 
Relating where Endora is going with her understanding of Angelique. Bringing in The Jennings, Bill Malloy and Elizabeth Stoddard, more Carolyn and Carolyn (Stoddard and Muir). Mixing up components between The Ghost and Mrs. Muir with Dark Shadows between various characters as well as Captain Gregg and Sarah for episode 20 in The Pit. Plenty of jumping through hoops between characters. (Y’all know how fast my brain works by this time, right?)

 
The toxicity of discussion via social media versus the correspondence skills with pen friends and how many people, who were also looking for pen pals, were suffering from what has been happening this decade. How so much ties in with The Beatnik movement against “planned obsolescence” along with the mid 20th century changes happening after World War II. Canon pairings and non-canon pairings preferences in fanwork including a new discovery for Jo March in “Little Women” from an old friend.

 


 

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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. ❤

Alma Matters (August 2018)

2018 August Alma2c

 

Personal updates which include working on future Pit episodes.
Why good manners are necessary and criticizing is bad for morale. Concerns about reliance on the internet, particularly those raised on it.

Reasons why The Reluctant Vampire is an important reflection of humanity, now more than ever.

How being exposed to the negative is contagious and why humans require more care.

Pep talk for pen pals who kept in touch, also for pen pals and listeners who became “elusive”.

Bewitched, Ghost and Mrs. Muir viewing; “To Twitch or Not To Twitch”, and “Monkey Puzzle Tree” episodes.

Plans for other podcasts as well as new Pit episodes, along with how we’re keeping The Addams Family into the fold.

Requests for help with “Margaret Josette duPres” podcast(s).

Why being honest with yourself is the best policy.

Theme song for this podcast: “Alma Matters” by Morrissey, as his wordplay on “Alma Mater” equates to “nurturing mother of studies”. Aye! She definitely matters over so much worry about popularity and competition. We currently have the world that we have due to our yearning to understand.


 

You see to someone, somewhere, oh yeah
Alma matters
In mind, body and soul
In part, and in whole
Because to someone, somewhere, oh yeah
Alma matters
In mind, body and soul
In part, and in whole

 


 

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On The Subject of Victoria Winters

This has been coming up rather frequently with new friends in my endeavour so I wanted to relay what I am sharing with them in recent letters.

 
I can see how many fans would look at Victoria Winters as the likely marriage partner for Barnabas on the grounds that Barnabas longed for her and often. For some elder fans that longing could have really stuck, as well as the strong person Victoria showed herself to be from The First Year of Dark Shadows.

 
I also expected that, in the 1960’s soap-opera, this relationship would develop naturally into a romance. As I continued to view the program, it was hedging in that direction via Barnabas’ bite on Victoria that had an hypnotic effect. Then she sees someone, who to her, is Peter Bradford from her time-travel period into the 1790’s. It then turns out to be some schmoe named Jeff Clark instead.

 
After many, many, many episodes Jeff Clark discovers that he is INDEED Peter Bradford. Victoria and Jeff finally get married, supernatural weirdness happens to Jeff to take him back to the 1790’s (along with wacky stuff of him being involved in Eve’s previous life filling up some prior episodes).

 
Victoria then endlessly bemoans the loss of her husband. Barnabas proposes marriage to her quite a few times and with that she declines, at first politely but in stronger terms with each successive proposal. (Yes, the actresses changed but I rather doubt the writers would have gone in another direction with Victoria if her role was still portrayed by the original actress.)

 
I was also extremely touched that when Victoria returned to the past to find Peter again, Barnabas went back as well to help the both of them through the struggle. It showed he loved her in a very selfless way, which was part of his own personal growth. (And then FINALLY one couple could live happily ever after on this bloody show!)

 


 
Now there are other productions of Dark Shadows. In the original I found evidence, as many others did, that Maggie Evans was the reincarnation of Josette duPres, Barnabas’ long-lost love.
Newer versions switch the reincarnation of Josette duPres to be Victoria Winters.

 
This is known as condensing.

 
Other productions of Dark Shadows are much shorter.

 
One good example of condensing a story is taking the book Anne of Green Gables and making it into a film as was done in 1934. The film was 78 minutes in length and didn’t provide an enormous amount that was in the book for the sake of time. Rachel Lynde and Mrs. Barry, Diana Barry’s mother, became a single character. Other components of the original story were changed for a faster pace, as well.

 
With the Revival of Dark Shadows in the early 1990’s, Victoria Winters is the reincarnation of Josette duPres. (Maggie Evans gets the shocking role of being Roger’s cheap affair girl. Ewl…)

 
In the unaired 2004 WB pilot, that many more of us have been able to watch, Victoria Winters is shown to be that reincarnation of Josette duPres yet again. (And there is no untoward version of Maggie Evans in our midst. Thank you!)

 
For the Dark Shadows motion picture that was released in 2012, there is a merge where Maggie Evans changes her name to Victoria Winters for the sake of covering up a tragic past, and for which I was very grateful! Again, she is the reincarnation of Josette duPres.

 
(Yes, I mentioned the movie. If you have just suffered a heart-attack because of this please dial 911 on your telephone to get some help and, after you recover, seek a good therapist. Some of us aren’t so sensitive to entertainment we don’t like. We simply turn it off.)

 
There is also “House of Dark Shadows”, released in 1970, giving Maggie Evans the role as the reincarnation of Josette duPres once again. Although it was definitely more horror than romance however much some enjoy the photos to get a sense of romance from it. (I am included in this fun, if startling, group of people.) Barnabas maintained his sense of villainy throughout much of it, which was an original intention on the television show that changed when the audience got hot for the guy.

 
So the pattern just keeps coming up to the point I stroke my chin when viewing “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992) or even “Love At First Bite” (1979).

 
In any case, the big reason in the switch from Maggie Evans to Victoria Winters to merging the two characters is condensing a very long story into a much shorter one. And I am grateful I have reached the sanity, along with others, to be able to actually have these conversations as we might have had ten years ago.

 
In The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows we are focusing on the original 1960’s characters from Dark Shadows. Within that show Victoria Winters briefly agreed to marry Barnabas Collins and changed her mind upon seeing her own long-lost love from 1795. Later Victoria was determinedly devoted to Peter (Jeff). His disappearance led her to almost jumping off of Widows Hill to die and be with him again. (Much repeating of Professor Stokes words on the topic echoing throughout these episodes.)

 
This is why I often express that I ask the characters what they want and do my best to provide that. Our 1960’s Victoria Winters didn’t reciprocate Barnabas’ romantic affection minus a very brief spell. I can see the allure of it and I’m also grateful that it exists.

 
However, with Victoria Winters of the 1960’s program I saw a lot more unveiling in her own personal needs, choices and desires. It’s just that Barnabas Collins wasn’t one of them. Believe it or not I have even heard long complaints when Barnabas pines for Victoria to which I respond, “Cut the guy a break. He’s in love. It does that stuff to a person.”

 
So, in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, that is why it is not a Victoria/Barnabas story. I know many fans cling to that for the 1960’s original. Part of it might be those long ago memories that faded and are now coming back in finally re-watching the series. Emotions linger, for humans they can be memory keepers. Another part might be due to the newer productions of Dark Shadows that are more geared toward Victoria Winters with Barnabas Collins, whether she has changed her name or hasn’t.

 
With this in mind I felt it was important to finally write up a log entry about it. Hopefully it will help those who read it.

 
Take care,

 

Daryl

 

Back On The Road (June 2018)

June 2018c

 

 

Wadsworth once expressed, “Very well. I know who did it. And furthermore I’m going to tell you how it was all done.” That will be how this podcast attempts to wrap up so many of the problems many of us are enduring via social media and bash culture.

First I start with more celebratory tales of continual audio drama creation. 18 “Braving The Waters” completion, the rough draft fun with 19 “Happy Hour In Hell”, as well as potential scenes for episode 20. More “Bewitched” characters coming into this show as well as more Gomez Addams. The importance of the grassroots team and how it works.

Welcoming new listeners and pen pals for being incredibly helpful. One particular social media platform showing its time-wasting aspects. (One platform I will not name. Sorry if this is confusing but I don’t want to advertise it by saying which one.) Discussing how wonderful and important pen pals are.

More about the Barnabas/Maggie fans and their large recent growth. Offers of creating better online spaces for us. The huge mess of trying to use a social network to inquire if a podcast for the marriage novel would be of interest. How discussion for the novel is necessary and fun, as well as a recent review.

Focusing on chat for Season Two in The Pit. A few theories in the trouble for talking about episodes since the beginning. (Avoiding the topic? I might have figured out why it happened.) Explanation of how bash-culture grew from proliferation of very advanced technology being made too easy. (Saramonster, MST3K, and DS Annotations lovers? This is for you!) Apologies to overseas listeners for Yankees obsession with scandal, I hope this helps!

Plans for continuing forward, enjoying life, and working through all of this together. Peace.


 

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You’ve Been Playing A Video Game

You’ve been playing a video game and I’m sorry to learn it, but it beats not knowing. Everything coming clear means a great many embarrassments come into being. My worry now is watching tons of people playing pretend to manage with things they are ashamed to admit to doing, or having lost control of themselves and not being able to face it. They pretend. Pretend nothing changed, pretend everything is fine, pretend we are the people we have always been and no one and nothing influenced us to be anything worse.

 

Subscribers make sense to me. You get a sense of someone interested with a subscription. “Followers” sounds extremely shady to me, like a stalker; someone is following you around. Or having “followers” like a religious cult-leader. Yuck-O…

 

Friend can be a pivotal word. One needs to engage for a long time to earn that title and personal behaviour changes the out come as time moves along. Using a button which requests friendship is one of the sickest ventures I can recall ever going along with. This is a video game manoeuvrer. Just as a like-click is or some other method of relaying emotion or feelings with a button press. You’ve taken a video game controller to your loved ones and been amassing points from them and towards them with this method. This is why what is known as social media is so anti-social. Machine elements and scoring was given to you and some of you may have never even played a video game before or you had and decided you weren’t fond of them.

 

Humans generally require more complex attention and interaction. Narratives work for many of us as it shows behaviour that is somewhat natural minus certain outlandish parts that we understand are to make a story more interesting. This is why in most storytelling we have something called, “suspension of disbelief”. Another facet of enjoying fiction that I’m not too sure we’re being taught about these days.

 

Telephone calls work, even conversations by text that are fluid enough, letters work also when the structure is learned. Face to face socializing is the most direct method of communication. Without it we don’t learn very much. There is a saying, “Teaching by example isn’t the best way, it is the only way.”

 

Video games can be very fun and rewarding when what you are involved in is a complete fiction, just as board games can be. The reality is you are playing but the games themselves are a diversion from real life, something to enjoy and you sometimes have competition with fictional characters. Video games are safe when the world is fictional. Or perhaps it’s a flash-card game to improve one’s mathematics, language, or music reading skills. We have a lot of games in vision-therapy based on personal improvement alone.

 

What we have been experiencing with the rise of “social” networking is something that is extremely close to a video game. The tragedy is that it has involved real people with real lives. That’s why it is so unhealthy and had been destroying so many of our relationships. We knew something was “off” but it is addictive and occasionally useful so we keep using it. One thing that is natural about all of this is we humans often do things that are bad for us.

 

I’m grateful pinterest dispensed with their “like” button. I’m hoping other networks will follow that suit but I have my doubts. It is truly horrifying to see so many reasonable humans turn into image sharing robots in order to find out how many “likes” or points they will gain from it in a network group, but that is the big degradation to human personality that has taken place.

 


 

Now the question is: how do we find our way to a more healthy form of living again? Moreover, how do we deal with being taken advantage of and behaving badly? For myself, and other letter-writers, it’s so much easier than for others. I observe my own behaviour and try to apologize when necessary. I make efforts to find alternatives to stop my own madness. That’s why my embarrassment for using a social network after I log out goes down. I have come to realize that my more limited use is nothing near the continual excess of so very many more people than I can comprehend.

 

Actual video games, by computer or otherwise, not associated with any other person or connected to any network, has been a great form of “methadone” against desiring using “social” media. I’ve made that suggestion to pen friends, and even those I would never anticipate wanting to play them have admitted it’s a great idea. Even Klondike with a card deck on the screen. So that is a good first step.

 

Letter-writing for communication, even just by email, has also been helpful. If one has no pen pals, one can journal to themselves. Victoria Winters even wrote letters and mailed them to herself at the foundling home as a child. Talking on the telephone has also been a boon to me, especially the calls with better reception.

 


 

But as for the uncertainty? That might take something I can’t provide. Owning up to mistakes has been at a major low for some time now. Which brings more clarity for why Barnabas-haters became so prevalent. After his villainous tendencies wear off on Dark Shadows, he is often kicking himself for his wrongs and owning up to his mistakes where and when he can. In a world of encouraged narcissism this style of character, one that accounts for his errors, is not one that would be well-loved. I’d say there is no time like the present to start loving him and thinking of how he handles things to help you with owning-up.

 

So that’s one suggestion. There might be a therapy group near you to help “social” network users to go through the steps of recognizing what our mistakes have been. It’s often easier to take big steps if a group is involved, as humans do look for large groups to guide them, which is why a lot of this networking stuff grabbed us: so many others were doing it, and we were looking for our others.

 


 

What I see right now is that pretense, though. It’s a bit chilling but at least I know what it is and why it’s there. What one doesn’t understand is difficult to see, and very often we want a “simpler” explanation for it, so? We make one up! And if we find out we were wrong about it? We simplify that by pretending we never said it. Tough thing to do in this new world where almost everything is being recorded for documentation, isn’t it?

 

And this is likely why I terrify people; I understand this world because I intentionally lived in it with recordings and writing things down. I reflected on my words and the words of others since I was at least six years old. I also had people getting snooty about letters that I wrote when I was in my teens, none of which said anything horrible at all.

 

But that pretense, pretending nothing bad happened, is a rough path, my friends. It’s like trying to delete the obvious because it doesn’t suit your lifestyle. The more you try to do it, the more other things will arise that you have to pretend also don’t exist or didn’t happen. Similar with lying. One lie often leads to another until it’s a cascade and you get caught out.

 

This is why when I said “The Kinks” in my February 2018 Pit Update and discovered the band was really The Who, I went to two locations to put in a typed correction. (This web log and podomatic.) Did anyone catch that? I was quick about it! I suppose I could re-edit the track and release it without “The Kinks” but mistakes are a sad fact of life. And why bother editing more audio with an audience who barely listens or pretends not to be a listener? (Not all of you, of course, but a large number.) I made another mistake last June, I believe about The Addams Family and The Munsters airing dates. G’ah! But again, who really is paying any attention?

 

And yet, that’s how extreme the pretense has gotten. Coming to me to help with an error means you would have to (((gasp))) admit you are a listener of the show. That avoidance started so many years ago and you’re STILL trying to cover it up so… you can’t say anything.

 

You see? When you don’t own up the problem just gets bigger and bigger and bigger until you trap yourself. So all I can advise on that score is asking yourself, “What happened?” Try to remember how it started. Look for ways it might have made sense as to why you pretended something to begin with. Make observations.

 

I’m actually hoping that someone can own up because there are hundreds of others you just might relieve as it probably happened in the same way to them as well. Wouldn’t that be nice? Helping others to feel better? That’s one of the reasons accountability is such a wonderful thing. There was even a character made  out of it called Jiminy Cricket.

 


 

One scarier aspect of all of this is I didn’t realize, since I wasn’t on the “social” networks much, is we all were socializing with a video game system. I was engaged in a lot of activities, but one of the many things I was stuck to in 2013 was, in fact, a video game called Animal Crossing.

 

That particular game only has a monetary point system, really. You get fun stuff from that, but Animal Crossing has a knack for being a fictional world which navigates a great deal like real life. It’s enticing with cute animals for your neighbours who have recognizable patterns of behaviour that don’t repeat with others too often. Sending letters and receiving them with gifts can happen. There is a mailman, Pete, there is a mayor (who is usually asleep), a town hall, fishing, a museum, clothing store, a general store, cafe, bus to a city and back, and with internet access you can experience the Animal Crossing towns of others. I actually spoke with a microphone and speaker to many strangers who were quite nice and fascinating to talk to.

 

The structure of that video game was far more social than social networks have been for years. The passage of time plays an important role as well since there is gardening involved, day and night, seasons, holidays, special events, and extremely convincing conversation to where, although these are cartoon style animals, the chat feels as if one is in a real town with real individuals. Even if you wrote your neighbours an incomprehensible letter they would notice that it was incomprehensible. In comparison it feels far more like real life than social networks do, as if those networks are a less advanced and poorly engineered video game.

 

I was sated for comfort with Animal Crossing during a time so many others were being swayed into using a style of video game which encouraged less use of skills in the art of conversation than my cartoon birds, bears and cats were achieving in a fictional world that had been manufactured for Nintendo.

 

That’s what’s scary. I didn’t question a lack of comments for The Pit in most of 2013 because, not knowing about the traffic graph, I presumed no one had bothered with the textual version yet, or those who did decided it wasn’t their cup of tea. I had no idea people online were losing something that the “neighbours” in my Animal Crossing town had an automatic ability to do with programming which was that sophisticated. Video games were bringing forth fictional characters that could be more human than humans themselves.

 

It’s little wonder what is happening to us now echoes so many speculative and science-fiction stories. When I get a message with a lewd request I think, “What is this? ‘Logan’s Run?”

 

And this is also why some of us were taught those stories in school: to prepare us. I first read “The War of The Worlds” radio script in my 6th grade text book. (I got a cassette copy a year or two later.) Don’t believe everything you hear on the radio, folks! Similar stunts are done with television and now? “Don’t believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” – Douglas Adams.

 

My Mum mentioned social media reminded her of “The Game” episode on Star Trek: The Next Generation. My friend, Melissa, was reminded of “Invasion of The Body Snatchers”. With the fandom politics trying to assimilate fans to a non-canon pairing? I’ve been reminded of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. And of course with the gas-lighting I heard and read on multiple levels, being told so much that obviously is untrue in real life and fiction? “1984” by George Orwell. Right now science-fiction and reality are blending too close for my own comfort!

 

It shows me how much I have come to truly admire Doctor Julia Hoffman. It isn’t likely she was pushed into becoming a doctor due to parental or peer-pressure. Against the expectations of her time period she became a doctor for herself. Another reason I appreciate Helena, Tiffany and Cassie writing on this web log to me about their longing for the Julia/Barnabas pairing, which is a healthy one in words to the effect of, “I enjoy it for me. It’s not for everyone.” This is what choice is all about and the freedom of that choice. Being different. That’s my own personal love for Doctor Hoffman. ❤

 


 

But for owning up to mistakes? I’m not sure what to advise. Perhaps you might go through old records, messages you’ve sent in a format that no one will distract you from them? Take steps into the last five years of what you’ve been saying or doing. Stop worrying about what everyone else is saying and concern yourself with yourself. That’s one thing this idea of constantly being “connected” ruined for us: Me-Time. Who wouldn’t go crazy starving for that?

 


 

Barnabas Collins was once dearly loved and one reason why is because he was sensitive, self-deprecating, loved his family and friends, turned from villain to anti-hero and then became the hero. A most progressive character. So progressive I can’t think of another that tops him. Like other vampires that came after him, he was aware of his curse, dreading the need to be a life that feeds off of other lives.

 

If that sounds familiar it ought to, because that is what we are. You don’t see cats in a state of remorse over a bird they’ve hunted down. It’s humans who have that remorse. We are the vampires feeding off of animals, but in other ways we also feed off of each other.

 

Why make a social network addictive? Money. Why make tasty food that isn’t nutritious for our fellow man? Profit. Why produce and sell movies interlaced with violence and spite? To catch viewers attention and increase the cash flow.

 


 

So if anyone has felt like a vampire enjoying The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows and hiding that you do? Barnabas Collins is the perfect role-model I can advise. Perhaps we can learn to love him again and not despise him so much. He does enough despising of himself on the show as it is.

Until next time? Play a video game, don’t let a video game play you. Turn off your smartphone, and log-out of your “social” network. Then find a really good game of solitaire and enjoy yourself. 🙂