You’ve Been Playing A Video Game

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 


 

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

 

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

 

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

 


 

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

 

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

 


 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 


 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 


 

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

 


 

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

 

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

 

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

 


 

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

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

 

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Pit Update: February 2018

2018 Feb Update1a

 


News to pen friends and from pen friends.

Being in touch with “Auntie”. Reasons why DS Fandom went downhill during the onset of social media.

A short-list of online locations that became dead-ends for chat on “The Pit” show.

Uplifting commentary from current pen friends for Pit episodes, as well as great love for The Pit’s Q & A. 🙂

The Generation Gap implosion in recent years.

Sam and Maggie Evans as the best father-daughter combination on television. How there is so much to work with via Maggie and Barnabas’ relationship.

Farcical ideas for a Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows convention. (Idle, dry dreams!)

Descriptions of great pen pals that came forward due to The Pit and for far bigger reasons than any fandom involved.

Awesome stuff with Lisa and Melissa, and new ideas for Pit # 18 and # 19.

Wrapping up this show with a familiar song from podcast # 7 for a wonderful reason.

Theme songs for this show: “Doctorin’ the Tardis [12″]” by The Timelords and “Reach For The Sky” by Social Distortion.

Mail art for this podcast cover-image created by a lovely pen pal named Jason.


 

podomatic link here

podbay link here

archive dot org link here

Also available on iTunes

 


 

Lyrics for our pen friends in this project:

Yesterday is history,
And tomorrow’s a mystery,
But being here right now,
It’s just about you and me.

You can run, you can hide,
Just like Bonnie and Clyde,
Reach for the sky,
Ain’t never gonna die.

And I thank the Lord for the love that I have found,
And hold you tight ’cause tomorrow,
May never come!

Reach for the sky ’cause tomorrow,
May never come,
Reach for the sky ’cause tomorrow,
May never come…

 

 

 

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. ❤

Pit Update: December 2017

2017 Dec 1d

 

My personal break away from drug-like social media sites; two in particular. My own upbringing in digesting fiction with the help of others. How people are looking for companionship to enjoy films and television shows with.

Thanking pen pals and explaining what happened to those of you that “ran away screaming”. Living a recorded-life. The detriment of the like-button on the human race.

Troubles in the bad behaviour toward myself as your entertainer (and the rare good). Unceremonious responses to the May 2016 podcast.

News on grassroots for Episode 17. Talk on future Pit episodes 18 and 19. “My Scrapbook Memories of Dark Shadows” by Kathryn Leigh Scott and how it can help all listeners whether or not they know Dark Shadows. Fun stuff!

Upcoming influences to The Pit with: Dark Shadows, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Diablos Café, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir personal marathon and the curiosity of Captain Gregg’s hair. The Addams Family and suggestion of “The Addams Family: An Evilution”, comparisons with The Munsters, as well as back history from that and Bewitched.

Included are the comparisons to various substance abuses, addictions and social media. Another discussion of social network schemes severely disturbing our lives and how the correspondence skills were drained by too much sheltering and the overuse of snark.

Wishing you Happy Holidays, why, and a Very Merry Solstice to Angelique Bouchard.


 

Link to podomatic version

Link to podbay version

Link to archive.org version


 

If you see this in the WP reader and enjoy it please leave a comment. (If you use the “like” I will have no idea who you are or what the deal is. Thanks.)

Pit Update: October 2017

October 2017 Update b

 

For all the pen pals, of course, and chat about why I admire Jonathan Frid, geeking out about Canadian culture. Getting Pit burn-out but how it keeps me going anyway. Social media topics and the reasons it erodes us, especially the younger generation without similar life experiences prior to this technology.

 
How bash-culture took over from other more light-hearted heckling entertainment, as well as how criticizing became more important than deep-thought or enjoyment.

Continuing on new episode creation throughout this year of healing. Why letter-writing is healthier for us, and why the web-log I created became so extensive.

 
Discussion about pairings, particularly Angelique Bouchard and Quentin Collins, and with The Pit series how it can come into being. Focus on Angelique’s needs, how she is a much different villain than Jason McGuire.

 
Information of requirements for further chapters of the marriage novel (Margaret Josette Dupres) and how it previously received what it needed to grow: Josette’s complexity, writing influences and how the chapter process altered with the reincarnation of Sarah, and the “impossibly” happy Barnabas Collins. (More is discussed in the March 2017 podcast for the book.)

 
Finding pen friends who have healthy relationships. How choosing from personal interest is healthier than becoming a “critic”, not everyone needs a ton of conflict or villains. “The Enemy Is Us” this Halloween. I wrap up with one, hopefully harmless, heckling to “The Creation of Eve” episodes on Dark Shadows.


 

archive.org link

podomatic link

podbay link

Downloadable from iTunes, as always…

 

Pit Update: September 2017

2017 September Update

 

Genuine appreciation for pen friends overall, and in a sense that this gratitude may be endless considering the alternative online “prison-camps” we’ve all felt trapped in.

Nothing fancy. Just basic news and me hanging out in my room. Talking about Carolyn and Tony as well as Dr. Hoffman and Prof. Stokes, both on Dark Shadows and in The Pit.

Technical updates on Episode 17, inquiries for chat and correspondence.

Much love for a non fandom related pointer K.L.S. mentioned in an interview. Explanations on the three-year roller coaster of social media versus the calming effect pen, paper and email discussions managed to make in only six months.

Over all some fun rambling, which I know appeals to some new pals.

archive.org link

podomatic link

podbay link

Downloadable from iTunes, as always…

 

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.