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

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”


Period of Transition


I’m still working on new material, but I’m also reveling in the joy of letter-writing once more. It’s home to me and much of this web-log shows that very easily. The entries are often as though I am writing letters to the known and unknown people reading it.

I’m putting together another retrospective for June of 2017. It’s turning out to be very long. I’m not really worried about that because there are some podcasts out there I have listened to over the years that can reach up to 2-3 hours in length. This one I am creating shouldn’t be that long, but I’m not worried about the length because, from what I’ve gathered, a lot of people online like to waste time which means they have plenty of time to spend on something worth listening to, even if they have to pause and come back later to hear it.

Meanwhile I’m viewing the First Year of Dark Shadows. My husband and I were still in the Bill Malloy area for Memorial Day Weekend. In the earlier part that still shows Bill Malloy alive, Carolyn Stoddard meets Burke Devlin at The Collinsport Inn coffee shop to see Burke reading a book. I made a joke that, since Burke Devlin’s initial story is based on an Alexander Dumas tale, that he was reading “The Count of Monte Cristo”.

As it turned out the book Burke Devlin was reading was:

Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo!


I sure burst out laughing. I had to explain a bit of why, and how my joke was spot-on, to my sweetheart.

I believe the writers might have wanted to educate the audience about what they were viewing. If that sunk in with anyone, who knows?

On my own I am going through the introduction of Laura Murdoch Collins. It’s an absolute gas! The metaphors are so blatant they have her hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, and people are lighting matches and staring into them intently.

For my Laura time period viewing there is a lot of soapy silliness. Burke getting a big smooch from Carolyn and then wandering over to the Morgan cottage to try the same thing with Laura. Roger bursting in with a shotgun and staking some claim while Laura complains they are behaving like they did ten years ago.

I don’t why but I really like this Laura Collins! She’s got horrible intentions, I know, I know. But she isn’t blustering around with a rifle and screaming at people. She was also averse to Burke’s wooing and rightly so. The dude’s already courting another blonde in the family. Gross!

But then we have this lovely morning with Victoria Winters and Mrs. Collins. Something about it is pleasant and agreeable.

Victoria and Laura2

Miss Winters tells David’s mother how she finds David to be sensitive and more intelligent than most children. Laura’s motherly appeal looks genuine. I know… it’s probably nothing near that, I know, but the sense of, well… warmth, without exactly meaning to make a pun of these things, is right there. (happy smile)

And I got some goodies about Laura being in a sanatorium holding on to the locket Roger gave her on their wedding night, which is a family heirloom and contains a lock of David’s baby hair. Many significant details of the outside world to get her through her time of mental duress.

Plenty of lovely scenes at the Evans Cottage which is absolutely wonderful considering how much I care about Sam and Maggie, scary painting possessing Sam or not. ❤

Also various empty moments witnessing a telephone ringing in a vacant room as Sheriff Patterson desperately dials numbers from a phone booth. Funniest bit was Roger and Burke going machismo at each other in The Blue Whale as Sam gets to be the intimate audience to the whole male-posturing scenario, which Carolyn later interrupts in her breezy way. Sam ends the evening to leave by saying, “I think I’ve filled my quota…” No kidding, Pop! XD

But for the serious, the upcoming podcast will break down what’s up with me, going through a few more old episodes of The Pit and various means of putting it together, similar to the last retrospective but with more details as the episodes increased in length.

Moreover, the understanding that my addressing the internet and 21st century gadgets creating flawed faculties in society at large has always been important. All the arguing over the years at me to share my very hard work without feedback was extremely nonsensical, while encouraging depletion of social skills and wherewithal.

There are so many things that have happened that I did not condone and, in good conscious, I never can approve of. If society at large is regressing into laziness and grade school mentality, while many still harness the angst of adolescence and adulthood, there is nothing to encourage about that. It is like training people to become autistic and we have enough work to do with people who are already born autistic. A brother of mine has autism and is low-functioning. He was born that way. It is not a condition that is easy to handle or care for. It is a full and overtime job. I do not wish this disability for anyone and I am against allowing others to sink into such a state by environment.

Whatever disabilities one might have should not exist as an excuse but a challenge. One might consider me disabled because I do not drive. However, I live with that challenge on a daily basis and am extremely grateful when I receive the help of transportation that I cannot provide for myself.

Has anyone questioned if I was given the proper guidance and instruction to reach that form of “independence”? Do drivers recall how very much it takes to gain that freedom so many adhere as a duty instead? Many people are involved in that privilege for an individual to become a licensed driver. No one person becomes a motorist on their own. It takes community and several exhausting hoops to jump through.

Attempting to become a driver myself taught me something very important, indeed.

Independence is very often an illusion. Human beings are dependent on each other.

There is no getting around this obvious fact of our lives.


Margaret Josette Dupres: Chapter 42


Here is the installment I talked about during the January Update 2017 podcast. It involves getting little Sarah’s schooling started as well as child Caleb really meeting her for the first time. Characters included are the parents, Barnabas and Maggie, Roger Collins, David Collins, Angelique, Quentin and Wadsworth. I hope you enjoy and I’d love to know what you liked.


Please hit the link above if you would like to read it.

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 link Continue reading

Episode 2: Chamber Pots & Coffee Cups, Q &A

Yep! We are continuing on with the comprehension questions. Now if I only wanted to test your comprehension skills I would have done like I did at the high-school: give you inquiries with multiple choices to circle. Please forgive me if I would appreciate your thoughts on these episodes. For many a fic-writer I have unfortunately learned it is, “my story, my glory”.

Oh? Then? Write your own original material and be done with it if that is how you feel? I certainly have about my own original material, but even then? Why bother sharing it if there is to be no discussion whatsoever?

cheese shop

“Well, I’m sorry… but I’m going to have to shoot you.”

As Cleese expresses when he shoots Palin’s character in the audio version of Monty Python’s Cheese Shop sketch: “What a senseless waste of human life!”

And now? Onto the questions for The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, episode 2: Chamber Pots & Coffee Cups:

Episode 2

The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, Episode Two: Chamber Pots & Coffee Cups

(Just if you would like to have some practice, you know. Complete sentences, please.)

1) Milligan & Hecubus explain everything that happens in Dark Shadows as we skip along, so this episode, as with #3, are a weave-in to the original show. Did you find all the catch-up material adequate?

2) Then we relive Victoria’s return from 1795, with the household cracking more jokes. And suddenly Julia Hoffman IS a doctor! (Rather than a historian.) Thoughts on that?

3) Ah yes, the chamber pot issue. Later Victoria recalls seeing George from “The Time Machine” as she came back. Hopefully that music cue was familiar. How’d ya dig it?

4) Oh dear, Wadsworth and Dr. Hoffman aren’t getting along. She likely sees him as competition to healing Barnabas’ troubles. (And considering Dr. Lang, I don’t blame her!) How did you enjoy this scene? (Especially with Peter Bradford’s cameo? LOL)

5) Now the coffee cups part. Maggie & Sam? They seem to be somewhat aloof as to caffeine and what it does. How did you enjoy this scene?

6) Ah, and now we blend the darkness back in as Barnabas reaches his “staring window”. Wadsworth pointing out changes Barnabas could make to how he treats people. What did you pick up there?

7) Carolyn and Julia, now we’re getting some healing done. Pretty good scene with some humour. How did you take to it?

8) Sam and Maggie reach The Old House. There is actually some geographical teaching involved in this scene. Can you tell where? Also we have Wadsworth giving Maggie Evans the earrings now (rather than Willie doing it.)

9) Last but not least, yes… Roger answers the phone and Miss Cleo is on it. Enjoyment on that? Also the Annette Hanshaw song. I felt it was pretty obvious by this point who Barnabas was shooting for.

And here is where it is best to relay your responses (in complete sentences, por favor).

Episode 2 in text…

But honestly? After all of this time? I have actually held this product in my hands…

miss cleo tarot deck

If you cannot at least review with, “WTF?! MISS CLEO?” Something is seriously wrong. 😛


Episode One: Parapsychology (How to review The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows)

Good Lord, I am now creating comprehension questions for my series. It’s like I’m an underpaid teacher all over again. Well considering I’ve paid through the nose to create this bloody thing, the least I can get is commentary to the episodes in order to keep going, otherwise we’re going Grassroots with the series and I will send the new episodes to the people who have commented the most.

But what of Daryl’s teaching practices? Public school system? Yep, I was in it and I knew it sucked. Then I became a teacher and saw… yes, it still sucks. And wow, look at all the administrative politics involved too!

We had a different classroom, one where we didn’t know which students had already read what. The text books were as boring and crappy as I remembered when I was going to school. So as a teacher? What did I do? I changed it.

James Burke and Schwepps

As James Burke explains in the last episode of Connections, “I’m not saying give everyone a computer and tell them ‘Help yourself’. Where would you even start? Ask yourself if there is anything in your life that you want changed. That’s where you start.” 

As a teacher I brought in material I knew high school kids would enjoy and also worked in themes: Marxism (as in Groucho, etc. Not Karl), Morbidity, which stretched to articles in the zine Morbid Curiosity as well as other bits by L.M. Montgomery that I could find. I went into Pirates, which I’d studied heavily, and we enjoyed The Buccaneer with Yul Brynner as Jean Lafitte. We studied The Beat Generation and what the Beatnik movement did. I typed up and brought in my Aunt’s own program as I knew her writing was spot on. The result?

“Daryl is different. She gives stories to her classroom I actually want to read!”

So perhaps this is necessary for The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows. In order to understand how to comment on the material? I suppose comprehension questions are in order. If I get nothing but numbers again I doubt I’ll keep doing this, well, unless Helena enjoys going over the material once more and answering the questions.

So this might take two windows to do, but I have a feeling a number of you out there do have that capability. So let us start with episode one. Read the scenes (or listen) and answer the questions with your own personal reflections in the review or comment boxes. Here we go:

Text of Episode One

The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, Episode One: Parapsychology

  • How did you enjoy Wadsworth and Roger’s entrance to The Old House? Some amusing bits happen there.
  • As Barnabas enters Collinwood did you enjoy the joke Victoria made about Roger? How about the kitchen? Did it slowly dawn on you who was creating the mess?
  • Barnabas returns home to find Wadsworth in Josette’s room. Any startling discoveries there? Fun bits?
  • Carolyn, Burke and the parapsychologists from “Poltergeist”. Out of place in time but still, any amusement for this part? Also we see who has been causing the trouble in the kitchen. Can I get an “Ah-hahaha!” for that? 🙂
  • Barnabas meets Maggie again at the coffee shop, likely wondering how he got up the courage to go. (This is post-kidnapped Maggie, after all.) Any fun stuff there? (By the way, I made up Mildred Mayhem.) Considering Wadsworth was played by Tim Curry there are little Rocky Horror jokes laced throughout my show.
  • The ride home with Wadsworth, goofy stuff occurs, of course but the moral of what Wadsworth expresses in Maggie’s looks? How did that strike you?
  • Ah, and then finding Roger outside the house to explain all that’s been going on. Well, here comes Wadsworth again with an explanation to ease their minds. And of course the outro song. How was that for enjoyment?

And here is the link for the audio:

Episode One: Parapsychology

Again, if this works, I’ll keep posting more comprehension questions. Don’t worry. I’m not your usual teacher. Frankly, I’m fed up with public education and think we all should be getting something much better considering all the problems and money that goes into it.


Dark Shadows: The Need For Empathy


I urge caution, ladies and gentlemen. This is a serious topic.

So one night when I was about to relax with my paramour… I found these disturbing posts on tumblr:

dork shadows-

Don’t you hate it when?

When you kill your uncle because your fiancee runs away with him, marry your fiancee’s maid who turns out to be a vengeful witch that banged you in Martinique, fail to kill said witch, get your mother and sister killed, get yourself cursed for eternity, become the town strangler, cause your lover’s death, and spend the next hundred years stuck inside box until a conman from Brooklyn tries to rob you?

All right. Let’s say this is mostly true, but did we need to express it with such a vulgar word as “banged”? Nah, I don’t think so…

Next we have:

dork shadows-

My Favorite part about Josette/Barnabas:

Is that 60% of it was fanfiction in his head. He was all, “we had this great love, but fate kept us apart. She died because my love for her was too great and her for me. We are meant to be.”

But naw, man. In reality, she found out he was a vampire and jumped off a friggin’ cliff to get away from him. And then her ghost spent half its screentime hating on him. Such great love. 

—Someone said here on tumblr a while back that when Ghost Josette warns Julia and Willie of Barnabas being in peril, she isn’t really sobbing. She’s laughing her ass off that Barnabas gets in all these predicaments without even trying. lol

Now let’s see… I went to because I was fed up with Sam Evans death and could find nothing solving everything. Well, there I was taking Collinsport into my own jurisdiction to prevent his death by fanfiction and since I was doing that, I knew I had to solve the rest of the crap I was as fed up with. It was nearly as much as my own chiselling of the ghost of Caleb Collins is also pissed off about.

This is the reason I waited so damn long before questioning why no one was voicing commentary about what I was doing. I figured it would take some people a bloody long time to come back and look for a relief story, and it was why I was so effing irritated that there had been a large audience all along that refused to voice their enjoyment.

But what caused that silence? Internet laziness, yes… disbelief at the humour, perhaps? Moreover, these excessively negative and vocal opinions I’ve found about who Barnabas Collins does love and whom he should love. By this time our race might be wise enough to understand that “should love” is an oxymoron. As I’ve written before in analyzing his character, Barnabas prefers youthful ladies of a soft, gregarious nature. And people of this nature are not rewarded anywhere near enough for it, which would help everyone extraordinarily.

Read the invalidation to Barnabas and Josette above and tell me this isn’t clear-cut proof of what the shy people I was looking for were keeping away from all along. Like I’ve posted in a previous entry, it’s been a 40-Year-Wait to get a relief series. And blog posts with this arrogance perpetuate vile digs at Dark Shadows that induce these splits, when everyone could agree to disagree. But no, we have had the “you-are-wrong” mentality more often than not. This does not promote cooperation or inspire creativity in empathetic types.

Empathy is an important emotional skill. We have talents within the analytical, but do not observe the skills of helpful emotions such as empathy which is more complex and vital to moral support and problem solving. People who are the best at using empathy do not give detached advice of “This is what I would do,” because being detached from the situation, rather than in it, does not ground them to the situation nearly enough. People who are best at using empathy ask more questions, become very close to how the troubled person is feeling and above all are acute listeners. (Harpo Marx was one of these types.)


Harpo Speaks

I stress these troubles because even though this is “merely entertainment” and a fandom, the most unique of its kind, no doubt, it has both given marvellous joy but also caused great suffering to real people. There are bossy types in this fandom who have harmed the empathetic types when the latter are the ones we should be praising. And in the long-run, (not prior to the 1795 story line of Dark Shadows), Barnabas Collins is also one of these empathetic types.

This fandom has troubles, troubles we all may have been vaguely aware of but many shrugged off. (Remember what occurs when we shrug-off the charismatic power-hungry leaders. I don’t believe I need to name them.)

These harsh observations are fine examples of much that I’ve seen troubling this fandom. But why analyze these dork shadows posts? Just fulfilling First Amendment Rights, yes? That would be all well and good minus adoring Sesame Street. There appears to be some misalignment of Sesame Street and its purpose. (Let’s quote, shall we?)

Sesame Street was conceived in 1966 during discussions between television producer Joan Ganz Cooney and Carnegie Foundation vice president Lloyd Morrisett. Their goal was to create a children’s television show that would “master the addictive qualities of television and do something good with them”.

Is this the kind of ideal such as the harsh posts above endorse?

As author Malcolm Gladwell has stated, “Sesame Street was built around a single, breakthrough insight: that if you can hold the attention of children, you can educate them”. The creators of Sesame Street and their researchers formulated both cognitive and affective goals for the show. Initially, they focused on cognitive goals, while addressing affective goals indirectly, in the belief that doing so would increase children’s self-esteem and feelings of competency.

Self- esteem, feelings of competency. Is this what the “Don’t You Hate It When?” or the post demeaning Barnabas/Josette appreciates?

Not that I can see.

I notice that dork shadows prefers to use characters of Sesame Street, particularly The Count, to poke fun at Barnabas Collins and other characters who love him. I do not wish to harm the feelings of this creative and witty person, but considering the two of us love both fandoms, I would ask for a change of heart. I have little hope that may happen, but I ask for it all the same. I know I behaved badly from intense anger one night, but that was after finding out about all of the bullying and rough regard in this fandom, as well as coming into deep contact with all of the characters hurts as well as the hurt of those I was looking for. Seeing more remarks of this type on tumblr without searching for them wasn’t good in the short-term. (Perhaps it might be in the long-term.)

Sesame Street is about education.

Education is what I am doing.

How do I accomplish this? Look for ways gate-crashing extras can lead the family of Collinwood out of the madness. As Wadsworth explains to Willie Loomis in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, Episode 14:

“You know you haven’t been treated very well. And you likely got the idea that it was both normal and natural.”

“Oh,” Willie asks, “Isn’t it, though?”

“I suppose in some regards,” Wadsworth admits, “But my point is… do we really want that?”


Many might read this in the general terms of, “Of course, to be abused is wrong and many Dark Shadows characters, Willie Loomis especially, have suffered so much of that.”

My readers and listeners? That’s not what I’m aiming for. I’m aiming for you to hear or read that conversation and understand that you likely have been treated very bad and got the idea it was normal and natural in your own life. If you have, I’d like that to change and I want to promote your ability and confidence to change it. Humour is also a wonderful method that promotes the memory. What better to remember than how to change for self-improvement?

Dark Shadows is a long-standing fandom. I saw the characters needing to be healed. Then I got even more involved and looked at all of the evidence and data of what had occurred as I lived through much of my own misery to understand what was going on. The characters aren’t the only ones who need healing. Many of the fans need it too.

So a multi-fandom? Makes even more sense for the fans. Compare this behaviour to other fandoms. I did this about people harping on Barnabas’ one-night-stand with Angelique and compared it to the even more widely adored Captain James. T. Kirk who’s slept around far, far more! If one grew up in the 1950s and later on watched Dark Shadows I can understand. However, it is currently 60 years afterward from those 1950’s morays one grew up with; the world has changed significantly. Why not the Dark Shadows fandom, too?

I still await The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows to get heckled beyond my husband, but because the darn thing is so humourous to come in and make fun of a humourous show is pretty much overkill. ^_^

But “Margaret Josette Dupres”? A deep, romantic novel about Barnabas & Josette finally reaching each other to wed and live together after so much hardship? Serious stuff and the trolls have come out. My knowledge of fanfiction is it is stories based from canon-value to anything-goes. Apparently not in this fandom until recently from what I combed through for half a decade and beyond. I must wonder why others are so threatened. Don’t you have your stories of Julia/Barnabas or Angelique/Barnabas by the truckloads? In any case, this is an easier story to troll because trolling it attempts to afflict hurt and foul intentions on the romantic types and those who are deeply empathetic.

Haven’t you all had people in your life that helped you because they empathized with you and loved you, perhaps non-romantically? These are the types to admire and praise constructively. It promotes improvement. Applauding the negative, however supposedly comedic, does not promote improvement or the hopes to better ourselves. Why have all of the feistier types in the fandom ruled-out so many stories of non-Julia, or non-Angelique pairings with Barnabas for decades? Haven’t all of those stories given you any relief? (I’d expect some do.)

I once received word, as if in a tired sigh, “I suppose Barnabas is allowed his one happy ending.”

Allowed? Hmm… Well, for Margaret Josette Dupres and The Pit of Ultimate Shadows purpose, it’s not the first time it’s happened.

For me? I’m not just trying to give Barnabas Collins a happy ending. I’m trying to give everyone a happy ending. Good grief! That’s some hard work!

But… wait… Barnabas with Julia or perhaps with Angelique… isn’t his happy ending after all?

Ah, I thought not. *wink*

I believe it’s time to enrich our lives with the help of these empathetic types, but first we must allow them to speak, uninterrupted and unafraid.


Amy and Barnabas