Alma Matters (August 2018)

2018 August Alma2c

 

Personal updates which include working on future Pit episodes.
Why good manners are necessary and criticizing is bad for morale. Concerns about reliance on the internet, particularly those raised on it.

Reasons why The Reluctant Vampire is an important reflection of humanity, now more than ever.

How being exposed to the negative is contagious and why humans require more care.

Pep talk for pen pals who kept in touch, also for pen pals and listeners who became “elusive”.

Bewitched, Ghost and Mrs. Muir viewing; “To Twitch or Not To Twitch”, and “Monkey Puzzle Tree” episodes.

Plans for other podcasts as well as new Pit episodes, along with how we’re keeping The Addams Family into the fold.

Requests for help with “Margaret Josette duPres” podcast(s).

Why being honest with yourself is the best policy.

Theme song for this podcast: “Alma Matters” by Morrissey, as his wordplay on “Alma Mater” equates to “nurturing mother of studies”. Aye! She definitely matters over so much worry about popularity and competition. We currently have the world that we have due to our yearning to understand.


 

You see to someone, somewhere, oh yeah
Alma matters
In mind, body and soul
In part, and in whole
Because to someone, somewhere, oh yeah
Alma matters
In mind, body and soul
In part, and in whole

 


 

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Downloadable from iTunes, as always…

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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. 🙂

 

Margaret Josette Dupres: Chapter 43

–LINK TO CHAPTER 43: Love In The Half-Moon–

[Adult Content Included]

Love In The Half-Moon Chapter 43

As I work on another May Update podcast and retrospective, in the year 2017, tonight’s offering is for those who await more in the romance of our beloved couple, Barnabas and Maggie (Josette).

This chapter finds a calmer pair as they have learned to live in a world where so many desires are granted, their child continues to grow, and their love blossoms with the same exquisite wonder many readers have journeyed before.

As good book lovers understand, music is a staple in the forming of storytelling and currently my playlist to inspire this novel is approximately 300 selections strong. For this chapter I’ve gravitated in shuffle from Artesia and Narsilion, but mainly I’d like to stress the comfort in a new artist I’ve discovered: Ludovico Einaudi. He composes classical music in our modern times and I listened to a great deal of his soothing structure while this chapter fed out from my skills.


For our couple comes many meditations in present and past experiences, as well as the understanding that their lives have ceased to behold the constant worry they once knew. The desperation is lowered but the adoration for each other is still high. Mainly it is only the two of them, but the end of the chapter includes our beloved butler, Wadsworth, and his old employee, Willie Loomis.

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


(Post Script: New pen pals might want to dismiss this for now. It’s a long way down the road from the radio drama. Thanks.)

Pit Update January 2017

2017-jan-update

 

Explaining the long wait for Episode 17. In this you can hear my laryngitis.  In between rambles we have various details of events planned for Episode 17 and how channeling Beetlejuice affects me.

Studying with friends; Osheen and Lisa mentioned the most. Personal reflections and sad apologies to “Everyone”: fans, cast members, social network users. Possible reasons why the new technology is driving us all koo-koo. (Also some comparisons to Star Trek.)

Lots of fun insights about various characters and the deeper lesson Barnabas Collins teaches us from his own personal behaviour: Accountability.

Further updates with the marriage novel side-project, as well as the supernatural elements, including reincarnation.

Various interruptions were left in the update to allow a more human feeling.

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Also available on iTunes

Margaret Josette Dupres, Chapter 41

 

josettes ghost and barnabas on portico

 

-LINK TO CHAPTER FORTY-ONE-

Some of this has adult content but most of it doesn’t. I didn’t anticipate it to go there but… you know… this couple.  (Very likely that portion will go over most readers heads.) Pardon that it gets wordy. Barnabas and I asked Edgar Allan Poe for a little help. 😉  I listened to a lot of music by Adrian Von Ziegler while writing this. (Also available on bandcamp, like Nave Artificial I mentioned for the previous chapter.)

For this we have the delving into Episode 70 of Dark Shadows written by Art Wallace. As said on this blog, Josette is not an under-developed character, if anything she is over-developed into a plethora of facets. Her ghost is one of these facets and what with Josette’s Ghost manifesting on Dark Shadows during times Maggie Evans has been asleep (or as near to asleep in her activities as makes no difference) we can see how astral projection comes into play. As Episode 70 is Pre-Barnabas Dark Shadows, I hope you delight in the catch-up time our couple shares here. To me their love is a continuous dance, and one I could never invent, only help to heal.

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

(Same author’s notes are in bold before the chapter begins.)

hug and ghost

chapter 41 MJD

I couldn’t decide which image was appropriate to celebrate this one, so I’m using three that I created for this entry. ❤

Margaret Josette Dupres, Chapter 40

MJD Chapter 40 image

 

-LINK TO CHAPTER FORTY-

Chapter 40 of “Margaret Josette Dupres (A Novel)”. Little Sarah, just over two years old, is growing and her parents do their best to take care of her in all the love they can provide. However, Sarah is about to re-live a time in her previous life (during 1795) that is very emotional, as her acting it out will be for Barnabas & Maggie. Please hit the link above if you would like to read it.

(Author’s notes are in bold before and after.)

Dark Shadows: The Beginning for Daryl Wor

My first introduction to Dark Shadows began in the early 1990’s when my friend’s mother purchased a VHS copy of an anniversary montage. (Anyone remember “The Wherehouse”? It was from there.)  Of course, my friend and I, in our teens, were almost completely confused. There was a very l-e-n-g-t-h-y interval, in which, Barnabas was getting ready to bite someone. And as Jonathan Frid expressed later, “By the time he finally got to a neck the police would have been called and taken this character away.”

No kidding, eh?

663-dark-shadows-barnabas-popular

In all this weirdness I asked, “Who IS this guy?”

And my friend’s mother laughed, “The local WIENER!”

After that I went back to my own bizarre and tragic life that included plenty of laughter but likely, more abuse than is healthy for anyone.

Then I went on to continue trying to write my own 3 volume book of supernatural fiction.

The story entailed a young girl who had a beautiful life with a Canadian (Nova Scotia, blue-nose) lad born in 1877, almost exactly one hundred years before she was. Many delectable characters came along the way, but after all the wonderful times they shared he eventually was taken from her by mysterious means. And yes, he is a vampire. Afterwards she goes crazy wondering what happened to her beloved and not getting any answers from anyone after much social neglect. So, rather than crying and listening to The Smiths, she takes their car and goes on a violent crusade to destroy every jerk and vampire that can’t tell her what the hell happened to this man she loved.

I mention this because, though I had almost no clue what Dark Shadows was about, it later revealed similar aspects to my own story. The lover’s name began with a B, (as does the nickname of my husband), he had a younger sister he loved dearly (though closer in age range than Barnabas and Sarah) and a passionate love was lost after this union had been so wonderfully healing to her abusive life in a foster home.

After some time wreaking her havoc she comes to an old house, vacated in all its neglect and has a battle with an entity that seems to grow with however much she fights it. The more she battles it, the more it grows from her energy and eventually turns out to be The Grim Reaper himself. And not only does he love her and wishes to wed her in all this otherworldly splendour, the reason he loves her is because he was watching her and her paramour through their killings, and he was in love with their marriage as they focused on mercy killings. It made his personal work, along with the other Banshees under his guidance, so much easier.

As time went on and I worked on the book and I adored it. It also started farcically, as like The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows. Sadly things happened that made it preventable to continue.

Meanwhile there was an enormous amount of peer pressure to “like” and to read the Harry Potter series. I did my best, even to getting the U.K. versions and struggling to get through the first two. By the time I got to the third? I was hooked. Kept getting the new versions through Amazon.co.uk and enjoying them… FINALLY.

Then I got through the fifth volume and was pretty much disgusted at what I saw. After I finished it, I wanted to throw the book out the window, and I distinctly remember voicing, “Damn it! If I wanted a spooky soap opera, I’d be watching DARK SHADOWS!

A light bulb went on. What with this new Netflix thing? I thought, “Yes! Perhaps I will!” (So? J.K. Rowling has a place to thank in all of this.)

I contacted my boyfriend/fiance, now husband, and asked if we could start watching Dark Shadows. He said, “Yes,” and so this saga begins…

{To be continued in a later blog post…}