Regular readers will have noticed a rather sudden break in the usual rhythm of posts on this journal, not with any warning or hinting. This is for a number of reasons, but I think it best to speak in generalities for now. I doubt that any people out there who write seriously (I might define this at another time) will be that surprised that I write in bursts. Whilst drop-offs in output like that which occurred this week are rare, they happen.
In the days to come, I intend to write a statement that will relate to the reasons for this sudden halt in output. It will not be published here, and will not be made available to the public anywhere. It is intended for the edification of professionals both in social work and mental health, so all I can say at this point is that I will be working on it over the next however many days it takes, and it will bite into the time I spend doing pretty much everything else. I do not like that, but I feel very strongly that I have to do it.
Also worth noting at this point is that after asking the general practitioner I see irregularly, he has prescribed me with Fluoxetine capsules, under the brand name Zactin. This was at my request. I did not specifically ask for that medicine, but that was the one he decided upon after hearing my request and look at the selection of clinical notes that were available to him. I am not happy about this, but considering how things have been recently, I am not exactly sure that I should go without. Of course, I have only been taking them for a week, but unfortunately, times and feelings of crisis never give a rat’s about timetables or the beholder’s need.
In other news, a couple of significant things came to my attention in the last twenty-four hours that reminded me that even in this day and age, ideas and dreams that die are often recycled into new ones.
It will probably come as no surprise to anyone who has read enough of my work or heard me talking that I was, and still am, a big fan of the website called X-Entertainment. I do not know if the claim made by its author that it is the Internet’s oldest nostalgia site is true or not, but considering that the site dates back to 2000 or prior, I see very few compelling reasons to dispute it. But from about 2008 onward, the posting of new content on X-Entertainment can be described as sporadic at best. Which is a real pity, too, given that X-Entertainment‘s articles were a compelling read even when they were not completely hilarious. The administrator of X-Entertainment, and author of the vast majority of its content, is a gentleman of similar age to me who only lets himself be known online by the name of Matt. Whatever else one can accuse Matt of, and to be very honest the content of his site often screams atypical autism of some form, being boring is not amongst it.
Matt wrote months ago on X-Entertainment that he was going to start a new site with new material. His reasoning for this is something I can totally understand. X-Entertainment, he tells readers, has been a lot of fun for him, and he will be keeping it online so that it remains accessible to people who want to read his musings about the male soap opera that is professional wrestling or why this years-old bottle of soft drink is better than that one. He also states that X-Entertainment is a bit like an old car that has run past its use-by date, and has great sentimental value, but is getting to be more costly than it is worth to run. I can totally see where he is coming from in that respect. Maintaining any kind of website is a lot of work, and decisions made early on in the site’s life can have a way of coming back to haunt its maker years later. Hell, if you make clumsy or silly decisions concerning the organisation and delivery of content, your decisions can have you gnashing your teeth in a matter of days, as I have learned through repeating the lesson several times.
Matt‘s new website, which goes by the impeccably silly name of Dinosaur Dracula, is much the same as X-Entertainment, but obviously far more streamlined. Then again, Dinosaur Dracula is only months old, but Matt is a good deal more web design savvy than I will ever be, so maybe he has figured out a way to build a site into years of content without the legacy content ending up a cluttered mess. Stranger things have happened online. Matt also incorporates a lot of his day job into Dinosaur Dracula, resulting in some excellent articles in which he goofs off for a minute or three making crafty projects and taking pictures. I think his workplace are well aware that he writes for and administers a website in his “spare time”, and hope some of the good will involving in allowing him to maintain such with a minor cut-in to his prioritising his work will rub off on them. Who knows? Given that his work appears to revolve around making creative content, anyway, I do not doubt he does get at least the occasional serve of downtime.
As I have already said, Matt and I are pretty similar in terms of age. He is a bit vague about exactly when he was born, but the few specific date and age references he gives put him at somewhere around my sister’s age. That is, born in the early 1980s as opposed to the almost-very-late 1970s. So he tends to write a fair bit about cultural and media things that I find very easy to relate to. One such example, and my favourite from Dinosaur Dracula so far, is his write-up of a Proton Pack toy that was merchandised / licensed from the television series The Real Ghostbusters. I think it is a sign of how pernicious the media’s attempts to reshape our thinking were when a television studio makes an animated cartoon for children based on a mildly adult-oriented comedy for (slightly) more intelligent types, and prefixes the title with “the real”. There is no kind way to put this. That is like making a film where people shoot endless cavalcades of bullets without respect to the finite limitations on ammunition posed by bullets, with nobody ever getting killed, and trying to call it RoboCop (the anything). But I digress. As Matt demonstrates in the video, the toy in question is a bit of a loser from a keeping children occupied point of view. The main toy itself makes an annoying sound not unlike a dentist’s drill with gears that have ground away at least one or two teeth.
The toy PKE meter, however, is where Matt really shines in terms of conveying the sort of plastic useless crap we amused ourselves with when we (meaning he and I, and others of similar culture and age) were children. If you thought the main toy’s sound was annoying, he tells us, and then proceeds to turn the dial on the PKE meter. As he says very aptly, “it’s like violent popcorn”. As I have already commented on his site (which probably gets more reads in an hour than I get all month), Violent Popcorn would be an awesome name for a film, a band, or a story. In fact, Violent Popcorn could be a new ultra-shitty film along similar lines to Microwave Massacre. Yes, there really is a film called Microwave Massacre. Do not ask.
I also gained the opportunity yesterday to partake of a complete episode of Wonder Showzen, the bemusing satire of children’s television that begins with a warning that ends with the admonishment that if you allow an actual child to see this show, you are a bad parent or guardian. The theme of the episode in question is Health. Obviously, finding this episode as a repeat (that is, rerun to you Americans) is not ever going to happen, so it was nice to see this whole episode in context rather than bits and pieces that have been extracted and thrown up on YouChoob. Christoper Meloni‘s rather hilarious cameo/guest appearance notwithstanding, the most memorable part of the episode is represented in the image I have attached to this paragraph. The boy in this picture is Trevor Heins, one of many children who do and say things that will leave you with your jaw hanging open, laughing hysterically, or both.
In this notorious segment, Heins puts on an Adolf Hitler costume and, among other things, asks seemingly random people on the street what is wrong with children today. As a satire of public broadcasting children’s television from the 1970s, it is hilarious. As an exhibition of bad taste, it is… well, obviously quite a lot of objections were raised by various groups. The most well-known example being the Anti-Defamation League, an organisation that, to paraphrase its own words, fights bigotry in all forms but with a particular focus upon anti-Semitism. I completely understand why this sketch upset Jews around the world. But I can also understand exactly where this sketch is coming from, and what it is illustrating. The fact is that although the Beat Kids segment was presented as being a random, impromptu, vox-pop thing, there is no way that any studio on Earth could get insurance to have children wandering out in public dressed and made up to resemble Hitler. Apart from the camera and sound crew, one can bet there were at least a couple of men around to keep an eye on Heins at all times. But in the part of the segment that is represented by the above picture, Heins is asking the man in the cowboy hat which of their two hats represents more oppression. The man in the cowboy hat, oddly enough, states that both hats probably represent an equal amount, it is just that the wearers of hats like Heins‘ were more efficient. Or words to that effect.
As for where I will be going with future content, it is like this. I will continue writing here as much as I can. But I also have a story that I am still working on in spite of the fact that I have not added to it in weeks, and an idea for a statement to be shown to people in the real world concerning my real-world situation. Obviously, with this many tasks and ideas competing with each other for my consciousness, along with the difficult situation I find myself in, things are just going to need to wait their turns. This does not mean that the limited audience I presently have on this journal is going to have to wait months or even weeks for updates. But as any author of any stripe can tell you, words cannot be forced out. They have to be coaxed out, or allowed to flow out on their own, and sometimes real life gets in the way of that steady, even flow.
The basic point here is that although I went away from the keyboard for a longer time than I was expecting, I am still here and still working on content to churn out in a steady stream. Just like the footage of the hot dog factory that Wonder Showzen revolted us with in its first episode, the road from germ of an idea to finished text is a lengthy ride with lots of twists and turns. Some of which really will make you look at the results and say the equivalent of “should I be worried that my poop looks like this?”. But regardless of what comes out of my idea poop chute (I like that phrase, remind me to use it more often), I am still going to go on and pollute the data stream with my own thoughts, feelings, ideals, and ideas.
Because, after all, is it not the ideal of the Internet that we keep in mind, that it makes the dejected and disenfranchised as potentially powerful as the rich and connected? (Ho, ho, ho, you can say as I sign off.)
I think I will chuck “That show sounds depressing and funny all at once” at you instead.
Oh, and also the rather useless sentiment that I hope that whatever is going on in your life gets better. It’s useless because I don’t really know of anything I can do about it in my current situation.
Hardly a useless sentiment. In fact, it is an encouraging one when compared to my very real feeling that many of the people most directly involved in my life feel exactly the opposite. But yes, being unable to do anything gets very frustrating.
Hopefully, as I write a little more extensively in the next few days, I will be able to balance this with some tales of people doing the right thing, or at least trying to. I have no love of the place I am living in (or near), but contrary to the impression I know I must give, there are some okay people within.