The Social Dilemma – documentary

Once upon a time I would have loved to simply have people in fiction and music interests to talk to…

But, the reality of this world took over.

This movie is not the whole story, it is a starting point.

Here it is on youtube for one month:

I watched it again this way and got the chills because there is a scene where they show programmers going through and deleting lines of code to make their products safer, which is basically the type of platforms I found for my June show this year. (I came across at least ten.) All that need be done is remove some lines of code, and the big sites could be like the little sites. (Or heck, how the big sites were over ten years ago!)

take care,

Daryl

Letter to an old friend

Hello readers and listeners,

 

I just got in touch with an old pen friend I’ve had since the 1990’s and I realized some of how I explained my news might benefit you all. Here is what I’d like to share:

 


 

I don’t know anyone who’s caught the virus yet, unless they have it and don’t know it…

 

On this topic, yes, I have many doubts about all reporting that is going on, including for Covid-19. I have spent this last decade watching a rather large “pandemic” in what social network companies and their designs have been doing to society at large. I’m very grateful there is now a non-profit organization, The Center for Humane Technology, that is also very concerned about that and they consist of people who began to notice what was happening around the same time I did. (2011-2014)

 

I’ve learned a lot from their podcast, “Your Undivided Attention”, in the last year or so and it is a relief to know and learn about all the different designs used to manipulate the behaviour of so many people. The new shows are a bit too gloomy, but starting from the beginning with each step is something I highly recommend to those who are interested. Not many people I know have any interest. It’s rather scary to see. However, I joined in an online chat during an interview with a co-founder of the organization, and there were quite a few people who admitted that, like me, when they explain the organization, humanetech.com, to friends it is like the friends never hear a word they say. So I know that my experience occurs with other people.

 

I hope none of that sounded like a conspiracy theory. It’s actually all very straightforward when one learns ”the ropes”. Learning through their website and shows has helped me to understand a great deal about the 20th century designs that gave me much anxiety during my whole life, too, and that is also a relief. I knew a little bit from studying entertainment so much but I had not considered how deeply information technology is rooted in entertainment designs to catch the attention in order to sell advertisement revenue. I was wise to focus on slice-of-life and fluff entertainment beginning in my 20’s.

 

Anyway, for all of that, I am not surprised, nor have much faith, in much reporting. I believe our newspaper is “fair enough” but there is always something to catch, like an oddly worded article in May. That one gave the impression there might be a garlic shortage on the way after the very poor idea was out that there was a meat shortage when the facts were clear that it wasn’t as a big a problem as the “news” was making it out to be. I kept waiting for a subscriber to write to the newspaper and ask, “Oh, how dumb do you think we are?”

 

Oh! And my Mum was great when I was last on the telephone with her a couple weeks ago as she pointed out, “Even the weather reports make it out like the world is ending now!” Because wherever she is looking provides eye catching material of some weather disaster that is not her local forecast which is what she is trying to find. I told her, “Yes, it’s to get your attention and sell more advertising.”

 

I follow whatever rules for mask wearing and shopping, all the distancing on walks, but I find the terror-reporting extremely unhelpful. It makes it out like we are constantly living in a soap-opera show. (As I continue to resolve a fifty year old one!)

 

[more personal “how we are” news omitted]

 

I am still doing The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows show. Considering all I mentioned earlier about human behaviour changing it makes a lot of sense I slowed down so much. Everything did with the tech distractions. So there are more podcasts of me simply talking and learning what was happening to us, as a race, than radio dramas. Of the radio play fiction I have Episode 20 and 21 more or less done, not released yet, and am working on Episode 22. I had to return to pen pals to get enough discussion for the shows. Simply sharing online to get enough discussion has not worked for years.

 

So please recognize that letter-writing and lengthy correspondence is a most important skill! We can see how horribly society decays without enough of us able to do it.

 

However I do feel like all my interest in the spooky, Halloween, stories, vampires, ghosts and so forth has paid off magnificently. Barely anyone I’ve encountered could understand Barnabas Collins and Josette duPres. For me it was easy to understand. Our versions of Dracula kept changing to reflect ourselves, (even in the hilarious “Love At First Bite”). Many humans don’t like having to kill other creatures to live, we prefer harmony, and reluctant vampires reflect that. We, like Barnabas Collins, reach for a divine entity of love and life, rather than lust, and that would be someone like Josette duPres.

 

Great to hear you enjoying yourself with some fresh air…

 

…I am trying to remember birthdays again. It’s a great reason to reach out when one hasn’t in a while. Holiday cards can get monotonous, but birthdays are mostly different from one another. I have an account signed up with “The Birthday Alarm” which is an almost twenty year old email set up that reminds you of birthdays you entered. It still works.

 

Oh dear! Now this is three pages. I shall send it off and look forward to hearing from you again. And very glad you’re are still there and well! (And suspicious of “the news”. That is also very healthy!)

 

Take care,

 

Daryl

(June 2020) “I Got The Memo”

2020 June Update1

 

Another oceanside chat for people who enjoy them. Apparently quite a few people enjoy them!

I get started talking about a pen friend and a phone friend, good stuff and various reasons things in communications have been clogged.

General pep-talk about the current upbringing in kids to the previous upbringing I experienced with pretty crappy distractions that weren’t as bad as now, but still pretty bad.

I make it very clear here that I never wanted a parasocial relationship with my listeners. I wanted a social one. And? I still do!

However much the technology changed to alter anyone’s sociability? It didn’t change mine!

Why letter writing is very, very, important, even now. How the friends I’ve finally made in this have rewarded me with great company. (The whole reason I began this series.)

A little study time with a DS episode, a wee, wee bit of Magda… and then: “*Spoiler*”: The phases of Quentin Collins, very basic: 1969; Evil Ghost (dead), 1897; Playboy (alive), Killed (dead), Zombie (dead/alive), Not Zombie (alive), Werewolf Curse (still alive), Magic Portrait takes curse and then he is immortal (indefinitely alive). Then fun chat about Kitty Soames.

More on the topic of the non-canon romance, Julia/Barnabas phenomenon. Very calmly expressed. As well as my experience with healthy rejections and unhealthy reactions over the years. (A little more Jo March too.)

Sprinkled in this are thoughts on a new “hero” of mine: Tim Wu. (I’m just not sure where all I mention him, pardon.)

I wrap up with sober thoughts over more concentration on maintaining the help, pulling away from commercial sites, and focusing more on personal life, correspondence and friendship.


 

podomatic link here

podbay link here 

archive dot org link here

Also available on iTunes

In Recovery (And Going Slowly)

Recovery from what, you may ask? Oh, the commercialism overriding our social lives. Baby-toy tricks to confuse us out of more direct communication. Shock at who was and is more susceptible to the distractions and compulsion to go along with those.

 

This has happened before. At about the turn of the century, if anyone remembers, a lot of us began to notice that email was becoming far less reliable. Those real life friends, who seemed so reasonable and down-to-earth in other regards, began compulsively sending email forwards. Jokes, cookie recipes with bogus expense stories to go with them, someone in need will be helped if we all forward this letter to ten people, or the more straight forward chain-letter that threatened bad luck if you didn’t forward it to twenty people.

 

We saw that behaviour and for many of us email became far less reliable at keeping in touch with our friends. The thought struck us that if certain people got caught up in that kind of racket and not real keeping in touch, well? Maybe they weren’t our kind of people after all. (This is why I like some video games. It’s a nice, honest method of getting rid of nervous energy and wasting time.)

 

That was when several of us looked for pen pals on paper again. Of course this version with the commercial social sites I’d say was about a hundred times worse than what happened with the overuse of email forwarding about 20 years ago. (The introduction of the Tamagotchi was also rather mild in comparison to the checking of our mobile devices in recent years.)

 
Otherwise we’re still enjoying new and renewed friendships. I keep chatting with Seamus about old Pit episodes, as well as plans for new ones. (DS 640-650 or so is a pain to list in sequence!) I do still have chapter plans and creations for the marriage novel, but it all lays in wait for enough chat on private channels, just like Pit episodes. I can only nudge out-of-the-closet fans and friends so far and no farther.

 

And I do notice stats for those who are addicted to being OH-fended. I’m hoping the stats for the more fun stuff becomes more even, or overrides the hopped up on hype addicts. (To me that’s what thrill rides at amusement parks are for, folks.) New pals and even someone in my physical life is interested in The Pit. Feels so much better to live out of the broom-closet with these companions. Much better indeed.

 

Pardon to any pals reading this who I haven’t gotten back to sooner. I’m going to keep working on everything at a human pace, as well as keep cosy and relaxed when possible.

 

Peace.

Don’t Ask The Source

Gather around this web journal and don’t ask the writer what it means.

Don’t email, don’t call, don’t write a letter. Don’t be direct.

Remain as you are. Remain beholden to third parties and commercial companies.

Hate the overlords that provide your communication and continue to worship their creations of twitter, tumblr, instagram, facebook, and even pinterest. Dismiss your device creators but keep your dependence on their inventions.

Don’t lengthen your attention to understand these words. Continue to shrink your comprehension to the size of a tiny fish bowl.

Revel in your lack of choice and maintain your subservience.

Ask no inquiries of the woman behind the microphone.

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Continue to smoke cigars, play poker and smash windows on your Pleasure Island. Allow yourself to feel you are breaking all the rules of authority while you are converted into a donkey that is pulling its commercial carts.

Don’t ask your parents or guardians where you came from. Ask Mommy-Internet. Don’t ask another human being for directions. Ask Google instead.

Remain a cog in the machine. Let go of your free-will, and “like” all things presented on the conveyor belt in your cattle-troughs.

Wonder not at the answers for they are spread before you in an automatic stream, complete with rewards and “highs” to keep you hooked.

Don’t engage in conversation with anyone except through these addictive business models.

Don’t ask the source. It’s not “safe”. (And worse than that, it makes no money.)

Allow new, “easy” communication systems to own you and your thoughts, to replace your learning and memorization skills, rely on the approval of controlled masses to decide how you feel and what you think.

Reliability is not dependent on an original source; it depends upon gossip with third party sources who had nothing to do with its creation.

Ask me nothing.

Serve your commercial leaders with your attention. Serve them with your loyalty. Serve them with your trust.

You are not being fooled.

“Just Judgey People?”

Remember a while back this month where I got a pen friend’s question of:

 

 “What do people run away from if they ‘sleuth’ you? Just judgey people?”

 

I wasn’t sure what to tell her, but I came up with my response today:

 

You asked about the “sleuthing”. I’d say you’re accurate in the judgey people thought. It’s very “make stuff up” while skimming and misreading. These people see online stuff as gospel without actually fully digesting the information. They don’t ask a source and rely on third-party gossip that also is likely not articulate.

 
On the odd occurrence of “wising up” they are likely then too embarrassed to admit it. So I’ll have a rant somewhere some third party will repeatedly view and just focus on that as the “true” person.

 
But it makes me want to tell them, “Gee! I’m sorry. I didn’t know that having deep concern over the clear damage this technology is doing to people’s brains was somehow offensive.”

 

Hence my utter and absolute joy at being with pen pals again! ❤

 

There is also some fandom politics trouble with fans gas-lighting each other for at least twenty years that a non-canon romance was canon. Boy! That got bad. They even inflicted it on the kids. I’ve discovered group-think is extremely damaging.

 
You ever wonder whatever happened to appreciating certain things for being cheesy or corny? I do. Feels like the whole world is a big soap-opera these days.

 
Anyway, I’m glad you don’t do the hopped-up scandal-sleuthing. It’s about the worst habit I can think of. Really bad for the mind and soul. The people doing it are really messed-up by the social networks that make their platforms highly addictive and don’t play fair. (Google gets approval from me for dumping their version this month. 🙂  ) [I expressed interest in platforms without like-buttons.] “Like” buttons are highly addictive. They cause dopamine highs.

 


 

Then I let her know some of the greatest listeners I have ended up not knowing much, if any, Dark Shadows, minus maybe the film. It’s because they aren’t swayed by any group-think or fandom politics. It’s true. Also that the characters they do know along the way makes it more inclusive. ^_^

 

That’s been the best thing really. A slow dawning to each chatty listener of,

“Ohhh, wait. I know THIS character! Oh my gosh!”

 

Often in “The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows”, you’ll recognize someone slowly. This is kind of funny, actually, because it’s similar to what happened when they were pulling Frankenstein monster moves from the original Frankenstein story as my husband and I watched Dark Shadows. We’d see Adam doing certain things and we’d shake our heads, “Aw, crap! Here we go!”

 

8675309a
Or even 1897. Cackling woman upstairs? Oh, it’s Jenny Collins? I could’a swore that was Mr. Rochester’s koo-koo wife from “Jane Eyre”! Oh, wait… it basically IS. Hee hee hee hee…

 


But yeah, the whole people getting messed-up is pretty sad. A few old friends are back and they tend to be the ones who noticed for years, ”Sheez! People get crazy on that social media. They aren’t like that in person. Not even at the bar!”

 
Well, what can we expect? Criticizing gets trendy, there are like-buttons giving dopamine highs (rewards) for foul language and name-calling, or saying cruel things. What’ll it lead to? A lot of training to be an outright maniac, jack-ass, and rude mo-fo.

 

And we’re raising the kids on this, eh?

 

I used to truly believe growing up in the 1980’s was awful.

 

I have since had quite the change of heart.

Why Bashing Doesn’t Work

Now that much of the online hokum due to bizarro fans I never wanted to deal with has been relieved by pen pals who give a darn, I’m finding simple reflections in things I dearly missed. A breeze, a delightful flower, the simple odour of pines, the feel of paper and a cosy outfit.

And I have to giggle at statistical weirdness. I swear to Zeus, people straggle through, find The Pit script, skip the lot, go straight to the last episode and likely are as baffled as when they started. We’re on 16, it’s a cliffhanger, there is NO wrap up currently to this show! Doi!

I’ve lived through a lotta weird decades, but this one has to be the stupidest I’ve encountered. I’ve heard the 1950’s were pretty dumb from people who lived during it, baring a few beatniks, I guess. I’m trying to imagine it in comparison to these 2010’s. There was sure a ton of products to dazzle, wanting people to lavishly spend like crazy after WWII and keep the money flowing which would maintain our removal from what happened during The Great Depression (hence we have planned obsolescence and stuff that breaks more often so we have to re buy it). But the depth of dopiness doesn’t feel like it was quite so rampant as it is now.

Maybe it was the Establishment vibe that made the 1950’s run differently. This 2010’s decade is flopping all over the place. It dares to be different except you are only allowed to be different through the New Establishment of constantly being connected online. Rather than being shunned for not upholding the status-quo of online connection? You just go unseen and more or less wiped from people’s own memories. It’s a bit like the disappearance of Tony Peterson on Dark Shadows. Things with him and Carolyn were fine, he just kinda didn’t show up anymore.

I have had some good chats with fed-up companions who only briefly tried Facebook. Sudden contact with so many people they hadn’t heard from in decades, and weren’t really that close to at all, “Now they’re all up in my business! Wanting me to look at crap, wanting me to click things that don’t pertain to either of us. After three months? I was done! Bleh!”

Another nice lady was good enough to express a two-day yuck of even trying to understand the point of the social network. “I kept looking and I just had to get as far away as I could!” she explained, in a physical gesture of removing herself from the table where we were having our dinner.

I really do remember when television did some crappy things to people. They’d get all into a favourite movie airing after a hard day at work and someone would need a lift by car. The joy sank out of their grasp as they went to deal with it. We know it’s the honourable thing to do to help a person in need, but that needy person is now tainted with the association of missing out on the company of fictional characters that warm the heart more than living people do. That was the old world.

This new world is scattered with indecision, distraction, and abundance of overwhelming choices far worse than cable or satellite television could provide. It’s also indoctrinated with a TV-screen version of friendship, hygienic connection to people we once knew or have never met in person. It is so hygienic and sporadic that it stifles the flow of natural mood, aggravates the senses, removes facial recognition and tone of voice, all while the eyes are constantly staring at artificial light. “Relaxing” reading is done by tablet, again we’re staring at artificial light. (My own preference is for the paper-screen e reader, by the way.)

Rather than seeing a person you know and starting up a conversation, lights and boxes pop out. Jingles and alarming noises zing in the air. What could be gleaned easier in person is covered entirely with gadgetry.  Then? Paranoia sets in, “How honest is this person being with me?”

How are you to know, eh?

The wealth of human details are cut away from the conversation. Even a personal thing like handwriting doesn’t show in prefabricated textual lettering. Tech wizards always claim that these things will improve with more tinkering. Really? After social media do you think we’re going to trust what tech wizards tell us?

Reminds me of a favourite line in The Golden Girls when Rose confesses they didn’t have a television set in her household because someone felt, “It hadn’t been perfected yet.”

I used to believe my childhood and teen years were so horrendous, and in light of the severe ostracising and constant discouragement to do anything productive, while also being picked-on for not being productive (?????) it is true. However, I’m reconsidering some of the basics like yelling matches and getting fisticuffs with other kids, sometimes out of anger, sometimes from self-defence. I’m not sure this current generation has that much of that. And all that energy and loneliness just wells up inside them so there is this need to bash and be insulting to get it out because it is the only option that’s left! I used to wonder why outdoor sports and competition was considered “healthy”. I think I know now.

But then why get all bent out of shape about Dark Shadows? I’m concerned some of these younger fans don’t understand the format. (And honestly? I’m not too sure the elder fans understand it either.)

I knew other soap-operas. I was very aware of the format going in. Eastenders was probably my favourite. It just got nice and dull, and sometimes I couldn’t understand what the people were even saying anyway. (It confused my sister when she walked in. She knew more British comedy. She was waiting for Eastenders to get funny and… it wasn’t really getting funny. Very perplexing!)

To me soap-operas and their characters were very disposable. I expected Dark Shadows to be nothing more than that. It’s spooky and spooky is my thing. It’s based on old-books which are also my thing. So it’ll be somewhat higher grade but we’ll get some cheesiness from it being so old. We even giggled a ton upon Dr. Woodard’s death with Sam finding him, and his deep and meaningful close-up, staring straight into the camera lens, “Those eyes… what were the last thing they saw to be looking like that?” We kept laughing. We played it again and again and again, “Those eyes… what were the last thing they saw to be looking like that?” Woo! Going for an award, Mr. Ford!

Then there was humour, real humour coming right from Roger Collins about the séance, Carolyn & Buzz making fun of Jason, The Caretaker just on his own with his comical Edward Gorey woefulness. My goodness! This is incredibly entertaining! I didn’t expect that! I can’t binge on this however much I want to. I gotta re-watch that disk! Made for TV movies like “The Beast” (1996)? That was disposable. But this soap-opera isn’t. How the heck did that happen?

So in that light I can see the appeal. But we, as humans, have the need for closure. Loose ends bug us. A good story degrading irritates us. If we get a tear in our sleeve we want to fix it, or replace the whole shirt. That’s why I went searching five years for a relief-series before starting my own. Someone must have created a relief-series by the 21st Century, right?

Sadly most people go for the band-aid manoeuvre. And considering the bumper-sticker length of attention spans these days? That’s about all most people can do at all. It’s applicable to listeners who get angry at my podcast intros. They don’t want the whole picture. They want it in bite sizes. Molly-coddled and babied for years now? What is the result?

“Waaaaaaa!!! Mommy Internet isn’t giving me what I want! Waaaaaaaaaaa!!! This person is trying to make me think! Waaaaaaaa!!! I don’t like thinking! I just want to make fun of Barnabas Collins being sad! Waaaaaaaa!!!”

They want something to scoff at because they’re mostly trained to do nothing but scoff. Rushing around in a hurry for no reason while they long for these olden days and “simpler times”. (You’ll find it in old books, my dears. It isn’t necessarily online.)

I’m speculating the creation of a stigma for this stupidity. We actually had that with the hipper crowds in the 1990’s. Too much television = moron. Books were approved of, but be wary of the author. If it was an easy read or a very popular author you might as well be watching television. The more obscure it was the cooler you looked. Hoopy froods got uppity if someone read things to them, “What? You think I’m too ignorant not to be able to read it myself?!”

This should explain to you why I don’t care about popularity and I have retaliated against online rudeness with some of my own. Growing up we were made to feel the pain of being an idiot. It was the days of Sophia Petrillo Unbound, my friends. But as she likes to say, “It wasn’t pretty,” which means I’ve also got a ton of patience for better people who really do want to learn and be educated.

Curiously, I see some of that stigma might have morphed into this need to be very randomly insulting and rude. Once upon a time that snootiness truly was meant to encourage self-improvement in a twisted way. Like Sophia would tell Rose, “Quit bein’ an idiot!”

I’m not sure how this mutated into the encouragement to be dim-witted and nasty, as this decade is showing, but that appears to be what’s happened. Cruel=Funny=Cool. A sense of “belonging” by shared hates? Doesn’t work. We tried it with the third “Anne of Green Gables” mini-series Kevin Sullivan put out in 2000. We rallied around online to bitch and moan over how non-canon it was. I made a few friends via email. The friendships themselves were short-lived. Why didn’t those friendships last?

We never discussed what we enjoyed about the original book series.

We were angry at Sullivan for taking our beloved characters through disasters that didn’t occur in the books and not giving us the old joys his production crews had managed closely enough to the books with the first two installments. We wanted enjoyment but as one irritated fan said, “This was more like Lara Croft of Green Gables.”

I still chuckle heartily at her hilarious description. But… those friendships didn’t last.

We didn’t share with each other what we did love. We were too fixated on what we hated. No seeds were planted, we cited nothing to grow from, there were no blossoms we were bringing to life. There was nothing to nurture towards each other.

We had only banded together to frown at the dirt.

Pit Update: June 2017 And Retrospective

2017 June Update 1d

 

Talk about social media addiction with its ensuing paranoia. Continual gratitude to pen pals and describing their beautiful influence in my life. (I welcome more!)

Why and how constructive praise is important. The fun of watching First Year Dark Shadows. A little chat over 16 & 17 – Retrospective for episodes 8, 9, 10, and both parts of 11. Fair delving into characters from The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, The Addams Family, The Munsters, and Bewitched in The Pit; particularly Captain Gregg’s stormy weather – story building as well as technical aspects.

The fleshing out of Caleb Collins as based on evidence from the original Dark Shadows program and historical research in the Victorian time period.

Discussion on the marriage novel, “Margaret Josette Dupres” and delving into why the sharing of further chapters are (currently) suspended.

Welcome To The 21st Century – What A Disappointment.

https://thepitofultimatedarkshadows.wordpress.com/

archive.org link

podomatic link

podbay link

Downloadable from iTunes, as always…


 

Background music for this podcast:

“Neightbourhood” – Space (1996)

“Beds Are Burning” – Midnight Oil (1987)

“Warblings At Eve” – “A Victorian Parlour Evening” (written in 1858)

“Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others” – The Smiths (1986)

Episode 17: Intro With Lisa Weyenberg

intro17e

 Pink Floyd and The Bee Gees sing us into a major list of thank yous.

Lisa’s Interview: Her watching Dark Shadows since the age of five and beyond throughout the years. Kathleen Resch’s Concordances for Dark Shadows, and fanzines: “Inside The Old House”, “World of Dark Shadows”, “Wyndcliff Watch”, “The Music Box”, “Shadows of The Night” and how they were obtained.


When the fanwork shifted away from the original Dark Shadows program. Discussion of Lisa’s Dark Shadows fanwork, which is also relief for the characters. Reincarnation for Josette and fans of that romance with Barnabas being tongue-tied. Sharing our creation techniques. Important relevance for Kitty Soames. Reasons why Lisa’s work is not readily available online.


Other fandoms in The Pit and more. Personal reflections on the Harry Potter series, and the peer pressure to enjoy that entertainment as well as others. The fun of Lisa’s visit with us. Going through “Teen Screen” magazines. (Sorry, I keep calling it “Teen Scene”. The magazine is really called “Teen Screen”.)


All the things Lisa and I have in common in both creation and entertainment.


Summary of upcoming Episode 17 in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows.


At the tail end of this podcast there is a lecture. It’s not a rant, it is a lecture. It’s not for the haters, it’s for “nice guys” who have actually done far more harm than good. For those of you who either hate me or love me, feel free to turn the podcast off when I say the word “Farewell”.


And for all involved: understand that you have no obligation to listen to this or anything I’ve created. You have freedom of choice, and that is, and what has always been, precisely what the Internet is all about. Period.

archive.org link to Episode 17 Intro

podbay.fm link to Episode 17 Intro

podomatic link to Episode 17 Intro

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.