A lot of this blague post was enjoyed early by members of the Phoole Patreon Platoon. You can join it and have early views too! patreon.com/phoole is how.
🎄 Winter holidays bring baggage and expectations, so Phooletide has to be comfortable, easy, a refuge, zero-stress.
☃️ Drop in if you can! 🕯 Don't feel bad if you can't.
🛷 Lurk if you want to. 🦌 Chat if you like.
🎁 No presents required. 🌟Presence enjoyed, but we get it if you just can't!
🎅🥓 Sing along with 'Santa Bacon' if you like.
🎶Phooletide is a refuge if you need it!
Need help signing up at the different platforms and tuning in? Visit the Phoole & the Gang tab at https://phoole.com/faq
Rewind past shows at https://phoole.com/rewind
THIS TIME OF YEAR, amirite?
It's heavy. It's expectations. It's deadlines. It's shame. It's grief. It's regret.
It's a lot.
No matter how I try to dodge the midwinter malaise, it sits right on me, every time.
It might not be it!
It might not be a thing.
I might be grabbing anything that's unhappy in winter and stuffing it into the cognitive-bias-box of Crushing Year-End Hopelessness.
I might, for example, be fifty-two years old, and assigned at birth what society codes "female," and my hormones might be leaving, like coked-out movie stars checking out of an upper-east-side New York City hotel, smashing everything on their way out, making me fundamentally incompatible with humanity, on a cycle that oscillates from monthly to trimesterly and back.
The ungrateful chemical tenants might be disguised as CPTSD flashbacks, you know, to fool the paparazzi. But they made this plan whilst coked to the gills, a flawed and hasty stratagem.
All I know is, I had everything ready to go live for Phoole & the Gang last Friday, but when I sat down to start blagueing about the show, I burst into wracking sobs, and howled, sans intermission, for two continuous hours, and it really spooked the cats.
Then I cancel(l)ed the show, washed my face, soaked it in moisturizer, and laid down to sleep for two days.
When I woke up, I thought I might console myself by undertaking an inventory of my accomplishments this year.
I said to myself, "I finally won my seven-year-long war of attrition against my bosses and got equitable pay for my employees."
But myself wasn't having it. Myself reminded me, "Yep, but your temps are still making less than half what your city employees are making, while doing the same job. You didn't help them at all."
And so on. Every win is buried in an embarrassment. You know. I mean, I hope you don't know, but I know some of you do know.
So, I'm not gonna do that. I won't make a list of wins, or do anything that invites me to fight with me. I'm just going to do small things until the holly-daze endeth and I can maybe be rational again.
Some small things
Daniel Lavery wrote an essay called Mottos of the Queens of Henry VIII that made me genuinely laugh out loud. It might not be as funny to you. It might be one of those "you had to be there" things, and "there" might have been 16th-century England, in the court of Elizabeth I.
I am officially a VR fitness tramp, cheating on games with other games, allied to none of them, devoted to all of them. I now do a little punching with BodyCombat, a little punching and batting with Supernatural, and a little dancing with the brand-new Les Mills XR Dance, and between those I do weight training, not in-headset. Supernatural has workouts with classical music, and I was shocked by how these workouts ignited me emotionally. The recordings are from the best orchestras, with the best soloists, and the best conductors. The music curation is disturbingly high-quality. I'm used to sitting and listening to this music, not being swept away with choreography with it, and it's a truly transcendental experience. I get lost in the music, and then half an hour later I wake up sweating and panting and find I've had my heart rate in the anaerobic zone for the past ten minutes. That's so nice.
Charles Nelson Reilly
Tiffany and I binge certain television programs in certain ways. For a time, whenever we sat down to a meal together at home, Tiffany would pull up an episode of Groucho Marx's game show YOU BET YOUR LIFE on One's Tube (as Mr.B calls it), and we enjoyed every episode, every batch of out-takes, and every adorable awkwardness from George Fenneman from that show over the course of a year or so. When we finished YOU BET YOUR LIFE, Tiffany started us watching every episode of the game show MATCH GAME.
I never saw MATCH GAME before this year. My parents were not the sort to watch game shows, apart from PASSWORD for some reason, until late in my mother's life, when she became dependent on both WHEEL OF FORTUNE and JEOPARDY, of all the diametrically-opposed show combinations possible.
But I did not know how much I loved Charles Nelson Reilly until I joined Tiffany in systematically bingeing every episode of MATCH GAME. I love him. So. Much. I'm sad I didn't realize how much I love him until after he wasn't alive anymore. If anyone nabs him on the ol' Ouija board, please just tell him I love him so much. I want to host an Impossible Salon, and I want him to sit right next to me and comment on everything that happens. I want Charles Nelson Reilly as my fool, basically, so let's get cracking on that AI ReillyBot please, thank you.
You can't punch all the time.
This has been a hard lesson for me.
I want to punch, every day, all the time. I started out punching just for half an hour every day - until I discovered that, if I got up a little bit earlier, I could punch for a whole hour.
But some days, you cannot punch, because you punched too hard the day before, and something hurts, like your neck, or your arm, or your knee, or your entire ribcage, or something annoying like that.
So those days are walking days, and because we live on Earth, in the year 2023, during staggering economic disparity that makes people behave deplorably, I can't just go for a walk outside, even with an N95 respirator mask on, because I'm not good enough at running yet to really run away from villains of murderous or thieving intent, and while I might believe I could thrash anyone with my bare hands, it would be stupid to force myself to find out.
So they are walking-on-the-treadmill days.
And I find it difficult to walk on the treadmill while listening to music. It makes me crazy(-ier) trying to beat-match my feet to the treadmill speed, which doesn't adjust in increments fine enough to match everything I want to listen to. I am aware of how entitled and peevish this makes me sound.
So treadmill-walking days are listening-to-talking days or watching-non-fiction-things days, and lately, they are days for watching episodes of the new (!!!) CONNECTIONS series from James Burke (not Mr.B, who is Jim).
Episode 2 of the series launches directly from wigs into no less august a personage than THE LORD HIGH ADMIRAL SIR CLOUDESLEY SHOVELL.
I love his name so much. CLOUDESLEYYYYYYYY. Yell it! It's FUN TO YELL.
And running into the Lord High Admiral Sir CLOUDESLEYYYYY SHOVELLLLLLL takes us right back to...Phooletide, because it was at Phooletide in 2015 that Hal Ritson introduced AlyOops and I to the Admiral and his eminently-bellowable name.
I look forward to a decompressing and relaxed Phooletide show this Friday, and I hope that you can enjoy it, and if you can't, I hope you can just be, and be okay. Thank you.