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. ❤

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Working on Lisa’s Interview and Episodes on CD

Hello everyone from various corners from the world! Well, I’m still here. I’m editing Lisa’s interview and that is super cozy and enjoyable, although cutting the superfluous sentence fragments, the “ums”, the “y’knows”, extra “ands, buts, and sos” that we don’t need should have always been the height of my problems. I enjoy the work but unfortunately there is always that dreadful reminder of the garbage labels that have been tossed at me; “writer” and that’s it, “podcaster” and that’s it. My pal Lynn picked up a better term when she heard me use “entertainer” and as a nut-shell sum-up of me that is likely best.

I got in touch with another podcaster I’d asked for help from back in 2013 via email. Leaving the carbon copy of previous emails she remembered who I was,  nodded approvingly at one of the pointers she gave in her podcast that I appreciated, which was doing things you enjoy or believe in with other people, and let me know how busy she presently is with her podcast as well as librivox books she does readings for. Wow! Didn’t know she was on the team, so to speak. Glad to hear it.

I dread returning to Facebook. It’s just so much hopelessness and a sea of confusion. I know there are many out there who use it sparingly and wisely but that’s never been what I’ve seen over all. Then there is Google Plus in which I get notifications of image after image after image being posted to the point I wonder if any of the posters or visitors remember why they even are interested in what those images represent.

One of my pen friends, that I’m still in touch with, got back into Facebook, caved-in, really and wrote this:

“Would love to hear about your 2-week abstinence plan for Facebook. So far it’s been pretty boring. I text anyone who I want to talk to.  ______ has coined the phrase ‘facebook religion’ after a day of discussing how everyone posts these religious sayings but you know [they] aren’t even slightly religious. I sometimes wonder how people have so much time to re-post stuff. Let alone, why they re-post so much. It’s as if they have ceased to have original thoughts. Which is sad because they are highly intelligent people in person.”

No kidding!

Another pen pal I chatted with had some sage things to say in regards to my quandaries, but I will stress he isn’t one for censoring himself. I told him:

“I do not understand the attraction of spending all day posting and sharing memes one doesn’t believe in. Is it like a video game for people who hate video games?”

He replied:

“It’s a c**k hobby. I prefer to actually DO things… Some people aren’t used to bold honesty.  I say it like it is. There just isn’t any other way to be for me. I think the things I watched/listened to the past several years gave me the push to be honest and not two-faced. Plus noticing how p***ified my surrounding people are just makes me want to oust them by doing better things… Better to be proactive and do instead of talk. That’s why a lot of channels/projects START and don’t PICK UP. Because there’s a lot of talk about videos they wanna do and not actually doing it.”

A third pen pal had this to express when I proposed it was the deeper thoughts I have that people can’t handle:

“I think that’s exactly why people are afraid of you, and really tend to pass people who require them to think outside the box, more deeply and have conversations of real substance as crazy. Most people can’t comprehend much anymore than sharing things on Facebook, memes that they agree with but in reality would never live up to. I think there are people who post things that have meaning to them and positive things.  That’s one thing I can understand. But what I find annoying is how girls will put up relationships quotes, and such. It’s like they base that meme of a relationship for what a relationship should be like… or they are trying to send a message to their mate to be more like the quote. (lol) Either way it’s a lack of communication.

I do think they would rather annihilate what you say than face it. It’s much easier and gives them time to save face and go back to their bubble. Requiring them to think is literally like stomping on their dreams and creating a nightmare in their minds that what they are thinking isn’t really true at all, and of course they can’t have that. (Lol)”

Well said and very true.

Pen pals have made the biggest impact for improving my life and the lives of others. I’m happy I returned to engaging in that realm further. So many were pushing more internet and more social media. Now we all have to admit the gains were low and foibles were high for promoting this project in such a fashion. Of course those that encouraged the social media are often the types who can’t stand admitting to errors. How one’s life is to improve without making mistakes is a strange concept to me. Many of the things I learned happened through watching the blunders of others both in real-life and in fiction. Nagging someone just prolongs a problem rather than solving it.

The good news is that with the enthusiasm of pen pals I am in the process of revising older episodes in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows for the CD mailings. Episodes 1 through 5 have more sound effects and added music that was missing. Also the compact disk version of the episodes provides a format that is completely disengaged from the internet and all its impending interruptions. Listeners can focus on the audio drama without having to worry about pinging notifications coming from elsewhere, or getting it to their mp3 player, etc. A couple do confess to listening on boring road trips. Traffic jams become almost non-existent as the adventures of what the characters are doing soaks in. Also the new CD’s have separate tracks per scene which makes it much easier for people to find their place if they left off somewhere.

I’ve also tweaked with some of the voice performances. Maybe somewhere along the way Carolyn Stoddard shan’t sound so much like she is on helium!

So if any of my readers have gotten the CD versions that have massive tracks? I offer an exchange. I can replace your old CD episodes for these better, newer ones and I know just what to do with the old copies. I shan’t divulge that here, though.  😉

Lisa’s interview should be done soon. The talk is wonderful and she has long-term study and Dark Shadows goodies she’s been ordering and collecting for decades. It should be a wondrous earful and infused with plenty of nostalgia for old fans.  Then I have to prepare and perform the additions to a podcast for that.

Episode 17 in The Pit is still before me wanting one more scene for the sake of its current brevity. If listeners have my email address I’d love to workshop something new. I keep thinking we need more Willie… but then again, who doesn’t need more Willie? ❤

As for Facebook, again, I’m not looking forward to returning. If I could remove the damn notifications of those pesky like-clicks it would be better. I actually miss response comments because the programming there is more about wasting time with like-clicks or what someone else “liked” somewhere else that had nothing to do with you. Bleh…

Then one meme falls in your face…. And then another one… And before you know it your perception of what a simple colour is changes, and your mental processes loop into oblivion as you vaguely wonder why the dishes have piled up so high and still aren’t cleaned yet. “Ahhh, another day is shot,” you think, “and I didn’t do diddly-squat.” But something in the human spirit needs a regular dose of going nowhere fast.

So scroll while you can, and use the passing rare real update about that rare real friend as ink-blot tests of your recovering sanity, and may all your social media goals be blissfully pointless.

Abstinence: How To Do It And Why

I had my Facebook day yesterday. It started well. Then the drama came, the gossip, the signs work was in progress only to fall asunder to the overblown insecurities of mankind.

Still, I do my best to stick to what I created as a two-week abstinence plan. This plan only works if I mark it on a physical calendar. It didn’t work if I just tried to count the days and remember. Two-weeks seems to be the key to become more grounded again even as I struggle to face what has happened to us with this world of bumper-sticker images, like-clicks for both approval and conforming to masses, and the deluge of inflaming unimportant things.

The Pit Update For November 2016 podcast reveals a much calmer person in me. This was created by the consistent use of that two-week abstinence plan from Facebook. One Friday every two-weeks and with errands to run, so that I’m not using it all day either.

I feel there is hope. This log was not invented for the creation of glorious photos, though I’m sure most who look through it are seeking solely those. It was created for studious observances and also to keep myself sane.

Have any of you noticed becoming too excited and your temper riled much more often than it once was and on almost any whim? This is created by a lack of true engagement with people. The version you see more often than not in this day and age is a video-game creation of socializing. It doesn’t give you vocal inflections, tactile pats on the back, handshakes, hugs, or the visual expression of another human. What you see of other humans are fragments, mostly still photos of them smiling. The truth in human expressions is that they move and flow. In real life smiles form in motion, they don’t hold their shape constantly. We are receiving echos and tiny portions of each other in the belief we are having hearty human relationships, when in essence we are only getting crumbs.

Living on junk-food or fast-food gives the impression that you are fed because your stomach feels full. If the food is not giving you the nutrients you need you are still hungry, but unable to put the nutrients anywhere as you just filled yourself with junk. Human relationships work in the same way. If you aren’t getting proper human interaction, as is healthy for living, but are tricked into believing that you are? You are starved and begin behaving just as crazy as one going through famine. The only difference is famine sufferers are aware food is lacking, whereas with junk-food and social media we are given the false notion that our human needs are being met when they are not. It is living a contradiction and that creates insanity.

Social media makes it too easy to show pleasure due to happy buttons such as like-clicks, up-votes, +1’s, little hearts on tumblr and cute stickers. Your ability to express insight and what gives you joy is eliminated by these easy-to-use buttons and choices. Your emotional understanding in the positive atrophies by this use. Life isn’t so much of a joy anymore, it’s merely a click, or an excess of clicks from other people. It makes me wonder what would happen if we only had thumbs-down buttons. I don’t desire that, but I wonder about it. Would the ability to hate shrink, the way the ability to love has with happy-buttons, by the use of only having down-votes and -1’s? Who’s to say?

The main thing I know is in the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s there were “bad vibes” online but they didn’t show up so very frequently. Not that many people were using the internet anyway, and it was never on an expanded version of a portable telephone. We looked for newsgroups and pen friends and told of our particular interests to find who we may be akin to. And also we had to sit in chairs to use it. At the end of the day?

You turned it off.

What happens when we are constantly hooked up to the internet and carry it around with us everywhere? When we never have a solitary moment except to be interrupted with a beep or a notification popping at you?

Well, as the old joke goes:

“You’re soaking in it!”

Did that make you laugh? Maybe just a little. Humour is recognizing the awful truth with a little blurb attached at times.

 


If anyone is asking if I got into the online-entertainment racket just to observe the waste and trouble going on in the world? The answer is no, I didn’t. I got into it to get the reflective responses of what the characters were doing and learning along the way. What I got instead was social media, the advice to use it, and having to engage with an audience that avoided discussion of my creation, as well as ego-driven types who could spend all their time telling me what I was all about and should do in negative ways when I’d never met them before in my life, as well as watching how people were spending their time in gossiping, ranting, posting repeats, throwing links and images around like candy spewing from a pinata, and that was what was left to me.

Occasionally, and very occasionally, someone would post commentary on Episode One in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows and EVERYONE would celebrate as if the problem was solved or would be solved, “You see there, Daryl! Look! It’s finally happening.”

Do you have any idea how damned many times that false alarm flashed before all of us? Fifty times? One hundred times? Have we lost count? I have.

But the claims of “being busy” kept coming in. Yeah. I spent a few years mostly on Facebook. I could see pretty easily what all y’all were so “busy” doing. Wasting-time for the most part, but with the periodic crisis, or rare revelation, or the visit to a restaurant in which we get to view what was on your plate. Gosh, pretty busy all right. Busy with nothing for the most part. Gotcha. How long did it take to keep creating all that “busy” news and posting it? How long did it take to write out paragraphs of excuses about why “people” weren’t doing what they naturally used to do?

Tingler got through fourteen episodes in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, reported his enjoyment of it, and had fun doing it in twenty days. He was busy with things in his own life, yes. Being on Facebook was not one of them.

The intense reaction of “I am not addicted!” has been screamed at me many times. It’s one of the first signs that someone is addicted. Now? It’s being admitted more and more often that social media is addictive and people are admitting to being addicted to it. It is not a joyful admittance either like, “I love watching movies. I’m addicted to them!” Nope, it’s being said as a sad fact one wishes they could change. (Even some of my relatives are saying it, a few of which I am not fond of. Wow.)


“What can I do?” one may ask. Well you can write to me about how I accomplished the two-week abstinence plan if you would like to, if you’re not too terrified to write to me or can remember how to write an email or letter. I got into this to help fictional characters. Helping people, real or fictional, is obviously something ingrained in who I am, but it does come at a cost: good behaviour, gratitude and trust.

The other thing you can do? Learn to observe carefully. I did and that is what has made me who I am today. And if you want a fun way to learn how to observe?

Sherlock Holmes.

Not the new versions of him, not the flashy ones, the old versions of him:

the-complete-sherlock-holmes-sherlock-holmes-books

The books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Or the wonderful rendition as closely based on the books as possible:

holmes-with-magnifying-glass

 as performed by Jeremy Brett

And that is where you start.

Is The Nightmare Over Yet?

Not sure…

However, scroll down this blog for the latest interview with Osheen Nevoy if you want the new podcast. Very good and worth time for Dark Shadows fans.

Right now I’m going over the four performances I’ve done in the last two years for Dr. “Hawkeye” Pierce. Splicing them together has been grueling and continues to be, just to try and get a single scene as close to the best I can get.

Going forward in this scary life, that I have often related to be a “Science-Fiction Nightmare Made Real” as Jonah and others agree with me, the friends have finally come. And, like my adopted children, I love every single one of you and I have no desire to ever give any of you up.

Each one of you managed to approach me or reciprocate my approach to you individually. If I can manage more than the amount of characters I adore who are in this collage, I believe my heart is just as full to encompass my feelings for you.

logo-collage-five

You matter.

 Human beings rely on each other. Human babies, in all of their helplessness, undoubtedly prove that.  (It’s one of the many, many, many reasons my husband and I decided, responsibly, never to procreate. We don’t drive. How are we going to take care of our children if we aren’t capable of driving?)

I want to assure all of my new friends that I care about you deeply beyond this project. When I listen to my thank you to Lisa in my latest podcast it drives home the point of exactly why I did all of this: I had no one to share it with. The answer? Go online. Unfortunately, by this time, going online meant becoming a narcissist. HUH? I ADORE these characters and knew with their varied communities they could help each other. I wanted to celebrate the characters, not me.

I worked hard to get all the correct and expensive equipment that I felt most people were also obtaining. Whoops. No, they were downgrading themselves to going online with only a smartphone or an iPad and that was that. I had no idea. So in my Intro To Episode 12 ? I wondered, as Ripley wondered in the film Aliens:

did IQs just drop sharply while I was away ALIENS

Sadly, the answer is… yes. Yes they did. And these people did it of their own volition. They allowed themselves to believe it was “every man for himself” and the internet was just a place to get porn or some other low-level entertainment, or to come to the internet to feel they finally had a say in how upset they were about their own lives by getting familiar with strangers and attacking them.

Is this the kind of thing most of us want to deal with when we fire up our machines and go online? I doubt it.

Long ago I was in a creative home movie. The camera faded out of black and there we all were eating dinner. My uncle turned to the camera and said:

“Oh, hi. You know, it’s nice when the family gets together on Sunday for dinner… and… enjoys their company with each other. And in this country? It’s one of the many rights that we have…”

Good so far, then he turns to my mum and says, “Oh, by the way, mother, will you pass me the gun?”

She nods, passes him the prop-gun, that just happens to be laying on our dinner table, and he says, “Thank you.”

Next my uncle looks down on it and turns to the camera, saying, “But you know? There is another right we enjoy in this country: It’s called THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY! And I don’t know why you’re coming into my home– I don’t even KNOW YOU! It really pisses me off, man!”

Then he pulls the trigger of the prop-gun and shoots the camera.

It was funny at the time, but I think I am finding a whole new meaning in that skit we did when I was less than ten years old. 😉 We got hoodwinked into believing we had to post it all online.

No. We don’t.

That’s why I am letting you know now that what many of you have been doing by emailing each other, calling each other on the telephone and writing paper letters to each other is time much better spent. The block function on a lot of websites is very important. It means you refuse to deal with someone you would rather not hear about for whatever reason. You have preferred ways of spending your time. I have even encouraged people who dislike me and what I am doing to block me. I don’t want to deal with them. If they don’t want to see what I’m doing? Great! I said in the beginning and I still say, “25 people are all I was looking for.”

Community is what I want, what my series is about, and what I feel many of you want. We’re getting close. Don’t let complaining people deter you from your goals. Also: never believe that if you hear about me discussing another beloved friend that you don’t matter. You DO matter. I talk about you with them, too! Why? Because I care about all of you. It’s the natural course of discussion. You don’t sit there worshiping the friend you’re speaking with. You shoot the breeze, and the breeze happens to encompass all the other friends you have; Easy peasy.

Facebook was originally created for college students to: 1) shoot the breeze together and 2) help each other study. I have severe doubts it will ever be remotely close to that kind of human expression ever again. This is why new versions of it don’t work either. However, it’s still usable for little things, all the while the previous forms of communication are still extremely important: letter writing, phone calls, emails, text messages, as long as it’s all personal and personable. The nightmare can be over, it can be, but not for everyone, only to those of us who stick to our guns and make sure we mainly pay attention to what is important to us. I am part of that importance but I recognize I’m not the main importance.

The loss is upon us. I was on the phone with Jonah again last night and he agreed that he’s suffered friendship losses, and that the creative source is what he needs to focus on and our understanding of maintaining that focus is the most important consideration. The new “flood” has come, many have drowned, they may never come back, but we have each other. Perhaps this was all a Providential test to see which of us is, internally, the strongest. I let him know I had this same discussion with a cashier the last time my husband and I went music shopping. The cashier also confessed to major friendship loss via social networks. The cycle is never ending in this discussion.

As for me? I want to keep going. I’ve got the next scene of Episode 16 with Hawkeye to complete, come Hell or High-water. When I get past that I’m hoping all the editing runs for more scenes go much faster and more smoothly than this one has for years.

Dear dad who the hell is Julia Hoffman.gif

I was often so lost in the confusion of why no one was speaking with me until Melissa came along and posted her commentary to the first episode in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows.

Melissas first Pit review.jpg

I reached out and asked Melissa, “How did you do that?”

She said, casually, “There was a comment box. I expressed what I enjoyed, naturally.”

And that’s when I knew I had every right to be completely baffled by the behaviour of discussion-avoidance all of these years. Melissa did the discussion automatically and expressed, “It’s natural.” I always knew it was, it always was to me about entertainment, but I was argued with about that for three years. (Might you have been one of the many people arguing with me about that? I’ve told you to stop feeling guilty about it. Do I have to tell you again?)

Is the Nightmare over yet? Only if we allow ourselves to withdraw from it. Other forms of communication are not only possible, they’ve been with us much longer. Paper letters, email, phone calls. Social networks are secondary. Maybe a lot of great things happened due to them, but when one starts relying on them solely? You’re lost.

I’ve always looked at podcasting the same as broadcasting except with a Tivo function: you can rewind and replay it whenever you like. Once upon a time it was only magnetic strips in cassette cartridges we recorded that allowed that. It’s not that way anymore.

So what is there to choose? Really communicating on a one-to-one basis, or scrolling through a newsfeed and like-clicking your life away?

I know which way I’m choosing. 🙂

At Last! Working On Episode 16

(((deep breath)))

 

Yes… last night I opened a bottle of wine and got cracking. I have the bland version of Episode 16 melded together with all the voices. Since I started doing all the voices separately it’s taken a whole lot longer to splice together a proper episode of The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows. I’m really pleased with the opening, even though I think a misty, weepy Hecubus is kind of doofus, but the point is that our boys are disappointed in not getting a polite Angelique yet.

Feels good though to get back to work. I’ve been in a lot of pain for the last week from an injury and audio work was out of the question. I didn’t have the title announced for the episode so I did that first and I did it loudly and very determined sounding. The actual episode title kind of came out a little British or a little Barnabas, I’m not sure which, ha ha!

Fighting the Facebook addiction is hard. I’m sure I did some dumb-ass crap last night, but hopefully everyone over there knows I drink, I get stressed out, I get wildly-creative in bizarre ways, and Facebook gives me the jitters anyway.

Oh, guess what, everyone! My husband and I watched… a MOVIE! I haven’t watched a film other than “Clue” for years. (And oddly, I miss watching “Clue”, which is great considering it’s part of my job. Yay!) However, I did have to take breaks because my focus is poor for something not intensely Pit related. But I did it! And I think I was able to do it because there is a *sliver* of the previous movie in The Pit. You know in Episode 8: A Long Awaited Trip To The Passion-Pit, where I dedicate it to Tony & Carolyn, “’Cause they’re so hawt right now!”? That is so obviously quoting Mugatu from “Zoolander”. So, we watched “Zoolander 2”. Got all the way through it. Busted our guts over Neil deGrasse Tyson being in there and his lines!

Zoolander 2

So I went to youtube and found where someone had taken his clips. Sooooo damn funny! I remember throwing it all over the place on Facebook last night. Ah… weird network, weird stress, weird joke. But so hilarious. But I swear some really idiotic people are online these days. There was this long, stupid argument under the youtube video that had nothing to do with the clip. None of the other commentators seemed at all aware the clip was from “Zoolander 2” either. I’m starting to re-learn how to ignore stuff like that, but it’s so prevalent now. I find it disturbing.

I’ve also come to accept that a lot of the fans of my work are fairly empty-headed. The lack of conversational skills is just remarkably ludicrous. I’m not sure these people were always that way, either. I think the new technology sets people into a regressive state of intelligence. It’s too easy for almost anyone to use, so people get lazier and lazier until they practically become illiterate. (Makes one wonder why fan-fiction is so popular now. It’s reading, you know?) So I’ve decided to just call the dopey people poking me with like-clicks and saying incomprehensible things my groupies. Sets my mind to rest to look at it in that light.

SO! Ya-da-ya-da-ya-da. Life sucks with the tech addictions and losing peeps, but here we are in a relatively nice place, and relatively nice life. It’s so nice shutting off Facebook and just sitting outside, smelling the nature, listening to the birds and crickets. And music!

Actually I had to add a crickets sound effect to the first scene of Episode 16. The boys went on so long I ran out of “My Name Is Victoria Winters” music! Plus I think it was the old version I had rather than the cleaner one from the Dark Shadows music collection. I just said, “Oh, who cares? So a record pop is in there. Big deal.”

I listened to a lot of the rest of it today while I was walking to get me and my sweetie some sandwiches. That’s when I noticed that although the episode is currently about 55 minutes, there are soooooo many long silences between all the characters lines that I’m going to have to shave a lot of seconds off in between. And that shall make it shorter. Hurray!

I feel so bad for Maggie, though. She’s really pissed off. As Josette, but not with all the goodies in memory yet, she is also acclimating to two or three previous life-times? She gets to be reminded what Angelique did to her as regards to Jeremiah. NOT a happy girl. So not happy. I was worried the angry growling wouldn’t sound enough like her, but it does.

When I got home and listened to more on the porch, I noticed almost all the voice work is great (Hawkeye is always a tender point, mind you.) , but I’m not happy with Wadsworth’s lines. He’s repeating a lot of things from “Clue” as far as what he says in his lines, but it doesn’t sound like how he says it in the film. I think I’m going to have to do some of his voice-work over again. However I sure got a big smile on my face when he brings himself to quoting, from hearing it via Elizabeth Stoddard, the words of Bill Malloy. Really made me smile, and also Sam Evans stepping in to say it was good to hear Bill quoted. Very heart-warming.

Willie meets sarah again

Willie’s lines are deeply remarkable to me. I’m glad I worked on this episode in the writing so long. I really had time to research everyone quite thoroughly to make sure it all blended well with their known pasts. I might have to raise the pitch on Sarah’s voice, but overall it’s quite nice.

Another thing I noticed was that I seem to give Julia a very, very slight English leaning. This is good because when she is opposite Hawkeye the pitch is so similar to his that her having that vague English lilt separates them more evenly.

Of course, I’ve got the irritation that a large percentage of my struggles have been due to this Julia/Barnabas nonsense. As I’ve said before, it never occurred to me to put them together as a romantic pair. She had a crush, but a strong woman like that could obviously get over it, whether she’s doing great acts of heroism or not. Plus it’s nice to find out that much of that was Grayson Hall being bored and adding her longing looks at Barnabas as something interesting to add to her character.

troi riker

Hell, Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis did that to each other for Riker and Troi! The difference is there was a romantic relationship between Riker and Troi. The two actors, as Sirtis has explained on Mission Log, wouldn’t allow the relationship to die. It was a mutual consideration Frakes and Sirtis put together. And as it happens, Riker & Troi came back into being a romantic couple with “Star Trek: Insurrection.” (One of my favourites.) Whereas with Grayson Hall it was one-sided.

I didn’t know there was so very much Julia/Barnabas stuff going on, nor that it was such a big barrier between me and my fans; them being afraid to speak up for Maggie/Barnabas for fear of getting attacked. (((rolls eyes))) We’re all behind keyboards and screens. Say whatever the Hell you want to, drunk or sober. All the a—holes do it! Why let them get away with it? Say something about what you enjoy, people. Gonna make me quote Auntie Mame in a minute…

But as I watched Dark Shadows, along with dozens of other shows, to create The Pit, I could see a relationship for Dr. Hoffman with a lot of potential: Her and Professor Stokes. And you can tell in The Pit that it’s going down that direction. Mrs. Johnson has already told her buddy, Sophia Petrillo, that the guy is a dreamboat. And frankly, he is! ❤

julia and eliot forever

I’m very much looking forward to working with them as a couple, and I’ve been dying to do it for years. Barnabas makes Maggie laugh. Eliot can get Julia to laugh, and happily. Never saw that with her and Barnabas. She often seemed to laugh with a sneer at Barnabas, or scoff, just irritable with the guy. Plus I’ve been in Barnabas/Maggie Land so long it would be hellza nice to concentrate on another couple, as well as Tony & Carolyn for Episode 17!

Carolyn and Tony

It’s stuff I’d like to talk about in a podcast, too. Gosh, Carolyn & Tony? Even the demo of their drive-in movie date would propel me on walks to work. I was so excited for them. I just felt like, “Yes! This is working and they’re so awesome!” It really started to lift my Anhedonia. I was starting to feel again. And they were the first couple I was worried about. (The Anhedonia truly lifted with the song for Sarah in Episode 10, though. The thrill of listening to music came back, thank God! And Sarah Collins. ❤ )

Victoria picked Peter and that made sense so I just ran with it. Maggie as the reincarnation of Josette was obvious and I was sick of Barnabas whining and Maggie not settling with anyone. I used to lean toward Willie/Maggie but I watched her more and saw she wasn’t digging Willie in that way either. It was a little disappointing but I respected her take on the situation. (Especially after seeing James Hall as Willie… Keeeeeeee—riste! Sleeeeeeeeeeeaze-buckets, man! Ugh! Talk about nayyyyyyy-stayyyyy! Boy did I want Burke to wail on him. Sadly, by the time he did, it was John Karlen as Willie. Poopycakes!)

So Willie? Who would suit him? Well there IS this peripheral character, very peripheral, but he’s staying at Wyndcliff so damn long. A nurse could handle him and love it. I noticed her on DS Annotations when Dr. Hoffman said, “Thank you, Miss Jackson…” and the word bubble came up, “That’s Janet… unless you’re nasty!” Inspiration time! And I definitely picture her as that actress and not the previous one for Nurse Jackson. (Though it was kinda neat because the previous actress was briefly in “Ghostbusters”.)

Then we get to Hoffman/Stokes. It’s so exciting and fun. Plus I’ve met more people who absolutely adore Thayer David, possibly even more than I do! Really something. (People calling him “ugly” are shallow. Never heard so much grade-school nonsense in my life.) I didn’t think pairing them up would be such a massive production, but they deserve it, as well as each other. Two intellectuals staying up nights together having a drink and musing over occult tomes and treatment protocols, along with dashing delights at each other. What bliss! Definitely my cup of tea. Really looking forward to that.

And the other couples, too. Willie & Cora (the first name I came up with for Nurse Jackson). A lot of Willie lovers can just pretend they are her. I do myself sometimes. (Yes, I rather Mary Sue myself with Willie Loomis, ha ha!) Then Elizabeth and her long-lost love. That brings so much intrigue. B-u-t… Angelique/Quentin. It’s a long, long, long way off but it scares me. It truly scares me. They’re so vicious! I’ve pictured it easily enough. It gets rather violent! (Okay, there goes the ice-cream man. His music lightens my mood.) I keep picturing Roger as a bachelor, I’m afraid. Kinda like Sam and Wadsworth remaining widowers who are faithful to their late wives memories. I used to dream of redeeming Laura somehow for Roger, but I think that’s a lost cause. Now that I get to know her better she seems hopeless. (I adore the 2012 movie Laura, though.)

Ah, couples, couples, couples, and we’re nowhere near Valentine’s Day.

Oh, good. I did put in the echoes for Caleb’s laughter. Really good scene between him and Maggie. There is a lot of supernatural commonality, as well as a release from shyness. Maggie could be shy, but not often now. She knows too much. And Caleb was a recluse that finally snapped.

As for me, I keep praying the world comes back into one of more reason. When I look over some websites it appears as though there are a lot of people who are fed-up with being recluses themselves, or just sick of creating gatherings where no one shows up because members are aloofly clicking buttons and being thoughtless. The timidity is quite ridiculous and all that does is allow the loonies and haters to run the show. Just ridiculous. Much like the waste of human life because people are too busy looking at their screens while they drive. (((shudder)))

But for those who are my silent listeners, either feeling bad or feeling defensive that I’ve pointed out how obnoxious the behavior is… well, I’m a fairly forgiving sort of person, you know. I get tempers like most people, but as Automne Archer related in her interview, sometimes you shake the bottle too much and then it’s going to burst. You have to let the person calm down on their own. You can’t force them to calm down.

And I’m loving the letters, and emails. I really am. So for all who correspond with me, and don’t hide that they’re reading or listening, it makes such a big difference. I still drink, but these last few weeks it’s been a great deal less than I got used to in the last three years. Always remember when you keep in touch you make a big difference. Really. You do. ❤

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! 😛 ]

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.

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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.