This isn’t the Aunt who had her own radio show, by the way. This is another Auntie. As this conversation goes we delve back and forth between personal news and the bigger issues, one of which is the drought along the West Coast, water-rationing, and my project difficulties, of course. Looks like conversation on my work isn’t the only shortage around.
DARYL: But water is obviously (laughing) quite important in most of our lives!
AUNT: Yes it is!
DARYL: So rationing is a strange phenomenon some people can’t get their heads around.
AUNT: Ah, yes. Hmm… well I have to tell you I haven’t listened to your episodes in a while but I mean to. With my set up now I can’t play it loud enough to hear it very well. Where I live there is a lot of noise between the people we share our walls and the folks living on the upper story. [She describes the building she lives in that houses four units.]
DARYL: Do you have headphones?
AUNT: Oh, yeah, but I need batteries for this player. (laughs) I don’t like headphones but I can use them, I just have to get batteries for that. Anyway, I DO think you’re very talented and it’s wonderful, you know. Your mother-in-law and I are going to listen to it together when she visits. We’re planning on that.
DARYL: Oh, good! I was wondering if I should send you more. I only have thirteen episodes uploaded online. I’m working on episode fifteen. I already have fourteen finished but that one isn’t uploaded online because I can’t deal with the lack of discussion on the others.
AUNT: Ah, so you’re waiting for more discussion to come. Okay, I’ll try to do better.
DARYL: Great! I was really surprised because I figured you were a shoe-in as you enjoyed my librivox work so much. I thought, “I gotta get the chat from her!” and then I thought, “Okay, now what’s happening?” This work is over three years old now.
AUNT: I know. I wrote you something before Christmas about the first two.
DARYL: Yes. I actually shared a bit of what you wrote to me and mostly what I got out of that was people remembering Postum! (sad laughter)
AUNT: Ah, well it was part of Americana at the time, just like we used to have Log Cabin syrup and it came in a metal log cabin can. Too bad we didn’t save some of them, right? Ha-ha… That was different, too. Even though my mother used to make syrup with brown sugar and water, she’d make her own syrup sometimes when we didn’t have any. Anyway, I’ve been hearing about the drought on The West Coast. It’s scary when you think about it.
DARYL: It really is, and people just kinda toss it off.
AUNT: Plus out there supplies so much of the food all over the country as well as a few other countries, too.
DARYL: Yes, there was that bit about the rice farmers out there getting paid not to grow it so they could use their water supply. I just thought, “I would rather have water than rice.” (laughing)
AUNT: We take it for granted and waste water. We shouldn’t take it for granted but we do. You know, we turn on the water to brush our teeth and sometimes we just let it run… Or we run the water to get it hot for bathing.
DARYL: That’s true. What I’ve learned to do both in public restrooms and at home, most of the soap is liquid soap anyway. I don’t even turn on the water. I take the liquid soap, rub it on my hands and then wash it off. So I’ll rub that in and then turn on the water to wash it off. And I have all kinds of techniques I’ve learned over the years to conserve.
AUNT: That’s good. I remember my mom and my brother would save the water and use it outside on the plants.
DARYL: Yeah! I remember my husband told me how he grew up with a bucket in the bathtub so he’d run the water to get it hot, fill up the bucket and place it outside the tub and then take his shower. I said, “Man! That’s really workin’ hard! That’s amazing!”
AUNT: It’s a good idea. That way you can water your garden or else everything will die in it if there isn’t enough water to go around.
DARYL: And you don’t waste it since you’re trying to get the water warm anyway. So you fill that up to get the water warm and then take you take your shower.
AUNT: My father always worried that the septic tank would over flow. Of course, now we have sewers. That was always such a terrible worry all those years. We’d worry about that if we used too much water. My husband worried about it, too. If you don’t have sewers and your own septic you tend to worry about things like that. Back in our old place we had a septic tank and leaching fields. Sometimes he’d say, “Don’t use the water” and we’d have to lay-off for a while. So when we moved he said, “When we get a house it has to have a sewage system. We can’t have a septic tank. It’s too nerve-wracking.”
DARYL: I’ll bet!
AUNT: So, what do you guys watch on TV now? I know you’re all into this Dark Shadows. I’d like to see more of it. I think it would enhance my experience with what you’re doing.
DARYL: Well I could probably send you some DVDs of a nice 101 set that I like. But, for the most part, watchin’ a soap opera? Even if it’s supernatural and different? Being exposed to it can really get ya aggravated and snotty. That’s what I’ve noticed with a majority of the fans I’ve had to interact with. They just… they hate the protagonist, most of these people, they absolutely hate the protagonist, for whatever reason. They treat him like he’s just a regular old man chasing after young women. And I’m thinking, “He’s a vampire! Dracula did the same thing!” (laughing)
DARYL: However, my husband watches quite a bit of TV. But since I’m stuck in this thing I can’t watch any new shows or movies anymore. I can only watch the film “Clue”, Dark Shadows, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, The Addams Family, The Munsters, everything that I’m involving in it, that’s all that I can focus on.
AUNT: Oh, wow!
DARYL: Because my Muse has throttled me. I try to do something else and I can’t do it. So, that’s why I’m desperate. My Muse is a very harsh mistress.
AUNT: I wish we had some way to contact you with someone who is in the business. You know, you have such a talent. You should be working for some of them doing this kind of creative stuff.
DARYL: I agree! But it’s like I told my neighbour, she was taking me back from the market today, and I said, “I know the answers to all my problems, the difficulty is I don’t actually own the solutions. This is like if I needed a supplement for magnesium or potassium and I couldn’t find it at any stores.” That’s what’s happening. There’s no way I can obtain the solutions.
AUNT: Yes, yes, yes, you don’t have access.
DARYL: And as with a lot of people they tell themselves, “Well I’m depressed therefore my problem of depression is solved.” No it’s not. You know what the problem is, you haven’t solved it yet. You know, that’s the terrible thing about right now. So many people say, “Well I have this diagnosis so I’m going to let that be the excuse for everything wrong that I do rather than solving it.”
AUNT: (laughing) Mmm-hmm!
DARYL: It’s awful! (sad laughter, and sighs) Yeah, I’ve been makin’ a lot of people angry since they’re used to so much bickering anyway. So I went looking for other people, and other people are a little better but I’m still not getting the chat on the work. And a lot of that is due to the internet leaning people into a lot of like-clicks and sharing memes, which are basically greeting-card photo-files. People don’t talk that much anymore. I had to let my audience know, “Hey, I need X,Y, & Z to keep sharing it. Otherwise I’m going to keep making it on my own. I spent my life-savings and am doing the hardest work of my life and I need more than numbers. I have to find the right people to share it with who can talk to me about what they’re picking up on with this show I’m creating.” I have hundreds, even thousands of listeners right now.
AUNT: (surprise) Do you really?
DARYL: Yes, I do. I got it to multiple different websites and I get downloads every single day.
DARYL: So, you figure all they’d have to do is say they liked or laughed at A, B, C, or X, Y, and Z, this and this and this, just a little summary of what they enjoyed per episode and they’re not doin’ it. It’s crazy. And I’ve said, Hey, if it’s being scared of fandom politics with some of these soap opera fans? It’s like William Shatner said on Saturday Night Live,
“It’s just a TV show, dammit! It’s just a TV show!”
Nobody’s gonna come and get’cha. Ya gotta nurture the talent. I can’t get paid. In fact I’ve paid my life-savings to create this to make it easy for people to get. I’ve sent people CDs and I have one radio station airing it, I might get another one soon.
AUNT: Well that sounds good!
DARYL: It sounds good, but, yeah, if people aren’t talkin’ there’s somethin’ wrong. It’s because the internet’s made a lot of them these robotic Eloi, like in “The Time Machine” from the 1960s where Weena’s drowning, and the rest of the Eloi, all her friends, are just staring at her drown, they’re not helping her at all? It’s like that.
They’re just watchin’ her drown and going, “Well, this is amusing.” And then George is like, “Why doesn’t somebody help her?!” And he gets his jacket off and rushes in!
AUNT: (knowing laugh) Yeah.
DARYL: That’s what’s happened. Everybody just shares files and they stare at the horror and they like-click it and that’s it! I’m like, “You guys? (laughing) Ya gotta wake up.” These machines were not created so you could just be a robot. It’s so you can communicate.
AUNT: Well maybe that’s why it’s so successful. People want to do that and are lazy, generally.
DARYL: YEAH! They forgot how to talk. Like in the 1990’s a lot of people were talking because most of it was text and now people are all dazzled with, “Ohhhh, look at the pretty pictures!” And I’m like, “I’m so tired of the pretty pictures.” (laughing) We gotta be better than this. Plus, this is what kills me, the influence of human empathy and intelligence created all of these wonderful inventions and now it’s being given to a lot of docile primates.
AUNT: Ah! (laughing)
DARYL: A bunch of people who can’t appreciate it, some are spoiled or whatever and just go, “Oooo, the pretty pictures!” and they’re all dazzled and I’m saying, “We got this technology because people were smart and communicative and that’s why we have all this and now we’ve all regressed into a kind of lemur.” It drives me nuts!
AUNT: Right. Well, it’s true, though. Yeah… Very true. It’s a shame, huh?
DARYL: And that’s what I want to change with this thing. I notice some of the people who can talk to me? They can’t comment so well because they’re still fragmented by the technology. They like Star Trek, they like Kirk and Spock Star Trek, they like Picard and Data The Next Generation Star Trek, that kind of thing? And those were very uplifting “let’s make ourselves better” programs. The new Star Trek movies aren’t really like that. It’s more about conflict. I said, “You know what this is? It’s the new Star Trek. It’s showing how to make things better.”
AUNT: Oh, okay!
DARYL: Even though there is no Star Trek in my program, the essence is the same, let’s improve our lives.
AUNT: That’s good, yes!
DARYL: And because it melds so many shows it’s like the same thing, where The Enterprise is going to multiple different worlds and there are all these different species. I’ve got the soap-opera but I’ve also got The Ghost & Mrs. Muir and The Addams Family, etc. They’re all meeting! So it is like Star Trek because it’s all these different cultures and universes melding!
AUNT: Yes, yes. That’s fun. That’s right!
DARYL: (laughing) So, I told two people who are giving out these postcards that I had made, I said, “Hit the Star Trek conventions! Please, hit the Star Trek conventions! That’s the people who are going to understand this!” Yes, the new Star Trek isn’t really Star Trek, my project is the new Star Trek. And that’s another reason it’s been so hard to get people active with it because most of the people who do fanwork with just the soap-opera, they’re more about conflict than morality plays and that’s what I’m doing is a morality play.
AUNT: (cheerful) Okay!
DARYL: Anyway, I just thought I’d call you to find out if I could send you some more CDs because I don’t have enough to occupy myself and focus on. I did the voice-acting today for one character for my fifteenth episode just to keep going because I can’t do anything else. But I have managed to get started on the cleaning. But I wanted to see how you were doing and to make more disks for you.
AUNT: Oh, sure that would be great. I gotta get busy and work on the others. I listen more than once, you know.
DARYL: Yeah, I actually listened to them for over a year, the old copies, and that’s when I knew I had something good. I listened to them repeatedly, and the lines were so good like in the film Clue and on the other shows. I realized, “I’ve got gold.” I have to find a way to nurture the talent, but a lot of people online, they just like-click it and that’s not good enough. (laughing) I gotta find out what was enjoyed.
DARYL: And it drives me crazy because people will talk about entertainment they enjoyed to a third-party. If the person who created it asked them, “Hey, will you tell me what you liked?” they’re not as willing to do that unless they’re super-famous. What usually happens is, “Hey, I like this so much, I want to tell a friend about it!” and I’m asking, “Hey, whatever you’re telling a friend about what you enjoyed about this, tell me. That’s what I want to know.”
DARYL: I don’t want a lot of praise. For me it’s a journey. These aren’t any of my characters minus a precious two I added. I just want to know that third-party chat. That’s what’s driving me crazy. Other people are talking, but they’re not talking to me.
AUNT: Yes, I can understand your plight, yes.
DARYL: And I figured you would, ‘cause you’re really sharp! (laughing)
AUNT: (giggling) Well, I don’t know if I am or not, but with this I’m gonna try.
Then we discussed the wedding my husband and I had and how much she loved how we went about it, as well as visiting the tea shop we’d had our reception at and enjoying their sandwich plates and so forth. I mentioned how we visited a gift shop nearby that had a player piano recently. (This is major as we rarely get out to enjoy things.) It played the “University of Maine, Stein Song” I knew from Rudy Vallee and managed to sing most if it in my best impression of him. A few boys were totally amused and one smiled, “Good singing!”
So, until next time my gentle readers who have to deal with my drunken angst…