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1  noun  ˈbläg, -ȧg   plural -s
2  intransitive verb   -ed/-ing/-s
: to talk pretentiously and usually inaccurately : lie boastfully

Happy 10th Phooliversary!

This post contains EXCERPTS of a MUCH LONGER POST that I posted for the sustaining Phoole Patreon Platoon, who makes the Phooliverse possible. Do you want to help make the Phooliverse happen, and get full access to my MAD TYPINGS? Yes. Yes you do.

A frame from Jim Henson's 1970 animation 'A Count of Ten'. A disembodied face named Limbo smiles next to the text "10th Phooliversary." A blue oscilloscope squiggle floats in the black background. The Phoole and the Gang flag logo adorns the lower left corner.

The 10th Phooliversary! It's here!

It's actually already happened, really - Phoole & the Gang debuted on 20 June 2013.

But this is the Friday closest to 20 June in 2023!

And it's the 23rd today, which is a Discordian delight. I know it's really just a very specific instance of confirmation bias - once you start thinking that the number 23 is everywhere, you'll see it everywhere, just like the fnords.

A Numbers Game

As devoted Phooligans have seen, I...put a lot of pressure on myself, unnecessarily.

I stress out a lot about occasions, holidays, commemorations, anniversaries.

In 2023, I'm steadily working on reducing the stress in my life that I can reduce.

I can't make Canada not be on fire; I can't make billionaires share resources equitably; I can't undo vast systemic and societal disparities.

I can do these little things, though, and I'm doing them.

  • My sleep quality has been terrible since I can remember, and over the past couple of years it's gotten worse. All the perimenopause forums are full of survivors singing the praises of magnesium - so I now sip one-and-a-half teaspoons of magnesium citrate fully dissolved in 8 ounces of water an hour before bedtime, and boom, QUALITY SLEEP, with BIG BIG DREAMS, all through the night.

  • PUNCHING! I Love Punching Stuff. I punch targets in that Les Mills BodyCombat VR for Meta Quest 2 for a minimum of half an hour a day, for a minimum of five days a week now. That helps with sleep too, and it modifies my mid-life rage, too, while equipping me with some use for the rage at the same time.

  • Silencing my inner critic. That Pete Walker book, I'm telling you, it's something. I'm getting better at cutting it off more quickly. It is really helping me to imagine actually violently confronting the inner critic and shouting at it to get it to leave me alone. I can't believe how much bullshit I've tolerated from it all these years.

  • Reducing self-imposed pressure on myself.

This last thing is why there is a goofy little trivial theme for the 10th Phooliversary - songs about numbers.

At Phooliversaries past, I've let myself get really wound up by the OVERBLOWN HISTRIONIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE OCCASION.

IPhooliversaries have always felt like BIG IMPORTANT OCCASIONS to me, bound up with fears of not honoring the occasion highly enough, raising stakes, piling immense work and deadlines on myself, without ever realizing that none of that really mattered, not in the grand scheme of things.

Not every Phooliversary has to have a special video loop of thousands of moments from past years of the show, edited and synced with emotionally-manipulative soundtracks. In fact, no Phooliversary really needs that, because LESS THAN FIVE PERCENT OF THE AUDIENCE SEES THE SHOW. Most of the audience only hears it. And of that portion of the audience, a further 20 percent doesn't understand English, so time and effort I pour into making a whole damn TV special is largely...wasted.

The Number 2 and The Letter R

As a tiny little girl, one of the only things I was allowed to watch on TV was the Children's Television Workshop program Sesame Street. Some programming from the Children's Television Workshop created educational and companionship programming leveraging commercial TV's most-successful manipulation techniques - faster cuts, strobing animation, music segments, features that made Sesame Street, for example, feel like a parallel to commercial television, but with the aim of teaching basic grammar, math, and social and emotional health.

One of the ways they did this was by having each episode be "sponsored" by a numeral and a letter of the alphabet. "This episode of Sesame Street is brought to you by the letter A and the number 1," for example.

I feel like the 10th Phooliversary's theme, this year, is brought to you by the number 2 and the letter R, because of a message Tor (whose internet alias is 2R, which is how Tor is pronounced in Norwegian) sent me a short while back.

I had mentioned, at the end of The Revenge of the Frik, that it might be our last Star Wars show, because everything is grinding me down. Then, in a separate conversation, I'd jibber-jabbered about going all-out making new video loops for upcoming specials.

Tor said:

If you enjoy it, sure, but if it gives you stress, then don't. People tune in because of you, and not because of your graphics. Most streams have one setup and that's it. You do have a huge backlog of graphics already, so you should just reuse them. Your show should be something for you to relax with at the end of the week and give you a boost into the weekend, and not another thing to get you exhausted. Then, once in a while you can do a special show, like the Star Wars and Halloween shows, and have fun with those. You should keep the things you enjoy about the shows and limit the stuff you don't.

So, in looking at the 10th Phooliversary, and its inherent weight and majesty and potential for destroying me, I made a choice: it would just Small, easy fun.

Themes give me an easy structure to hang the show on, and they give me a good framework for finding music in my library that I love but that I don't always have a great excuse to play. This theme has been particularly fun and freeing.

There are so many songs in my library that have the number one in the title. It was a fun challenge to program a bunch of different smartlists to dig out tunes with numerals, and with numbers spelled out as words, in titles and lyrics - I had a great selection to choose my favorites from, and the whole thing came together in about half an hour. Easy!

And for specialty visuals, I went to...Sesame Street! Why not? I'm definitely featuring Skeewiff's Combo Breaker Remix of the Sesame Street Pinball theme by the Pointer Sisters, so why not just run with that?

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