Saturday, September 22, 2012

Too Many Books? Yes!

This is not my actual collection, but it might as well be!
It's no secret that I am a book lover.  Anyone who has gone on my Facebook page has likely seen at least one of my book reviews, and even "non-Facebookers" know that I often have my nose stuck in some sort of literature.  Equally well-known is that, though I usually buy at least a few books a month, I rarely pay full price for them; between yard/garage sales, used bookstores, library sales, thrift stores, and similar places, I almost always get it on the cheap.
Therein lies a problem, though: Since books--as well as CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes, for that matter--are easy for me to acquire for little money, that also makes it not all that difficult to overload on them; unfortunately, it seems, that's just what I've done.  Over the past several months, my collection of entertainment--that is, books, CDs, DVDs, and video tapes--has gotten bigger than it has ever been, so much so that I have continually struggled to make room for all of it.  Sure, I've gotten rid of quite a few items; just today, I donated five or so boxes, mostly of books, to my local library, and I've also been to used bookstores a few times this year, not to mention the yard sale my family and I had this past spring.  Despite that, I still have trouble making room for all of it.
One weakness I've noticed in myself is that I have a tendency to buy items that I don't need.  Rarely do I come home from a day of yard saling empty-handed; I almost always end up buying something, even if I don't really need it.  It's apparently been going on for a while; some books that I bought at least a year ago have sat on my shelf since then, only being even touched when I shift and/or move it to make room for other books.  Online interaction has also played a part in this; plenty of time that could have been spent enjoying a great novel or a wonderful movie has instead been wasted checking Facebook or my personal e-mail for the umpteenth time.  Yet, it would be wrong to gloss over the fact that bulk acquisition has had a great effect on why my collection is as large as it is.
So, what's to be done? Well, first off, I think it's time to lay off the yard sales, thrift stores, and library sales.  Though going to one every so often can be fun, it's a problem when I just have to go to every single one I can.  My bulk orders on eBay should also be kept to a minimum. Used bookstores and other trade-in places such as MovieStop are okay, because I get rid of books or DVDs there in order to get new ones, which isn't the case with those other places.  Not only that, but more of my free time should be spent with a book or movie instead of engaging in ridiculous activities such as looking up pointless information online.  Doing so would probably make me happier, and prevent me from getting into trouble, which we all know is way too easy on the Web.  I'm hoping to make a change for the better; can I get you to help me out with that?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Limited Tastes = Problems?

In 1999, I was introduced to a show called Mork and Mindy, which I am still a fan of to this day.  Everywhere I went, I was telling people, "Na nu, na nu," which got responses ranging from an echo of the Orkan greeting, to laughter, to even, "May the Force be with you!" I couldn't shut up about the show; I had found a new (well, to me, anyway) television program to love, which was great for me...but not for those around my age with whom I associated.  The vast majority of my peers--classmates, coeval church members, fellow Cub Scouts, kids in my neighborhood--had no idea who Mork or Mindy even were, and the few who did didn't like it, save for a Cub Scouting buddy of mine.  That caused me to interact more with adults, because they were largely the only ones who cared; my adoration of that old sci-fi sitcom did little but annoy the kids I hung around.
As time went on, my interests had both the same effect and the exact opposite.  Though some of my anti-popular likes, such as Nintendo GameCube and Scooby-Doo, caused even worse problems, the fact that I was a Pok√©mon fan instantly bonded me and a few other kids.  Prior to me discovering Lizzie McGuire, I avoided almost all popular, current, non-gaming entertainment just because I thought it wasn't worth my time.  Since then, my tastes have continued to expand, which has helped me associate with a broader range of people.
The last bit is funny when you think about it.  On my last post, a good friend left a comment that said, "You will continue to face this same problem as long as you do not find some common interest with people." Yes, the "problem" she was talking about was the issue of my tastes not matching up with others'; however, my interests have broadened so much over the past few years that I can find something to discuss with pretty much anyone.
Here's an example: At my church, I have several people whom I interact with almost every week, and I discuss whatever mutual interest(s) I have with them.  My techie friends and I talk about whatever Apple has just unveiled; me and my book-loving buddies converse about our latest reads; those who like the same shows as I do chat with me about the latest VICTORiOUS or American Idol episodes; fellow bargain hunters share their finds with me, and I share mine with them; and, if I can find anything else that both me and another person like, I'll discuss it with him/her.  That's a far cry from the days when almost everything I said or did was about the same topic.
Frankly, the fact that I can converse with nearly anybody about something he/she likes makes me happier.  It's no wonder I was such a frustrated individual in my younger days; everything that was important to me, no one else cared about at all!  I'm glad those days are over; I have more friends, better interaction with others, and more varied activities as well.  That's what I sorely needed for quite a while; I just hope it doesn't go away.
Any comments?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Overrated = Controversy?

I've mentioned before that I used to be a member of an online forum for fans of the old-school Christian band dc Talk.  Though all of us loved that band, we talked about everything else under the sun as well, including other musical artists/bands, both Christian and mainstream.  A longtime frequent poster, who was known as Jab, once posted that he felt the music of Pink Floyd was overrated, but that Relient K's album Five Score and Seven Years Ago was among his favorites.  That single comment caused a firestorm of responses from just a few people.  One of them wrote, "Jab, your musical tastes are utter CRAP.  Until you hear 'Shine On You, Crazy Diamond,' in all SEVEN of its parts, you have no idea how talented they were, in comparison to someone like Relient K.  Seriously, let's hear Kelly Clarkson try to play 'Money' without sampling it." All of them continually railed against him until an administrator stepped in and said, "I think that right now, this topic should end."
I bring that up for one reason and one reason only: As someone who finds much of what is popular to be overrated, I have faced similar backlash, even when it comes to topics outside the entertainment realm.  Currently, most of what I like--Nickelodeon and Disney Channel productions, reading, yard/garage sales, etc.--is largely unpopular with similar-aged folks, and most of what I cannot stand--anything involving large bodies of water, any piece of entertainment that is or should be rated "R," sports, Halloween, and the like--are nearly universally liked, based on what I hear and see almost everywhere.  When I have expressed my opinions, though, people often respond with harsh criticism; they wonder how anyone could like the latter over the former.
Now, I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion; however, I am, too, and what I don't get is why folks would think that trying to argue with me or cajole me was going to cause my opinion to change.  If I would rather watch VICTORiOUS than go to the local water park, who's to tell me that's wrong?
Some of you probably would say that my dislike for certain entities, particularly beaches, pools, and the like, is very intense, and you'd be right; in fact, I used to feel it was both a phobia and a religious conviction.  At one point, I was so opposed to them that I felt that no one should be involved in them; that was erroneous on my part, though.  After some recent thinking, and realizing that I'm not really afraid of large bodies of water, and that I didn't care for activities involving them even before I could understand what Matthew 5:28 meant, I realized that it's not a conviction nor a phobia; I just despised them, and I still do.
What is it that causes me to feel that way? I originally was planning for a post titled "Beaches, Pools, Water Parks, and Me: The REAL Story," but I don't think I had enough to go on for an entire blog post, so I'll sum up how I feel: Essentially, it's nothing more than the exposed skin that is required when one goes to such a place.  I know that some of you might be thinking, "Well, that's ridiculous!" To you it may be, but to me, that's the way it is.  Others of you may be saying, "Well, if you went on such outings regularly, you'd probably get used to it." Sorry, wrong again.
When I first started middle school, I was shocked by the language the majority of my classmates were using.  Although the shock went away after a while, the fact that it bothered me did not, and I am thankful that I am currently employed at a location where no one uses profanity, which means I am hopefully done with that mess.  Hearing such language is still irksome, and probably always will be to me.
Recent events have also shown that the exposed skin regularly seen at beaches, pools, and water parks is the same way.  Many of you don't know this, but for a few weeks, I tried watching an Australian-produced teen fantasy/dramedy called H2O: Just Add Water, which is about three teenage girls who transform into mermaids whenever they touch water.  There was at least one beach or pool scene in every episode, so swimsuits were on full display.  Though the mermaids' costumes showed less skin than Disney's Ariel, and the content was largely clean--no profanity, romances that were 100% innocent, violence being occasional and never graphic--I ended up giving up on it, most likely because of the exposed skin.  H2O: Just Add Water must be pretty popular; has a 2013 calendar of the show for sale, and I also randomly came across a licensed mermaid costume inspired by the show.  Still, it was just too much for me to handle.  The fact that I don't like being submerged in water only adds to my dislike.
You probably already know why I don't care for sports or Halloween/October, so we don't need to get into that.  Here's my point, though: Whether or not you understand why I feel the way I do about whatever, if you're my friend, there's one thing you should do: Accept it.  Even if you can't comprehend why anyone would adore iCarly but despise the beach, don't debate it; don't try to change me or my opinions; just leave it be.
That may sound easy, but, in the past, it wasn't for some people.  Yes, part of that may have been immaturity on others' parts, but, many times, the adults were just as bad if not worse.  Remember that incident with the "fun" outing that I refused to go on because I knew what it involved? Well, other than me, there were no kids involved in that.  Everyone in that story, even the person who sent me the nasty-gram, was an adult, and other grown-ups acted similarly at other times.  Seriously, did people really think that they could force me to like something I never have?  Even trying to politely refuse didn't work; I would get bombarded with questions like, "How do you know you don't like...?", or, "Why don't you like...?" Why couldn't they just accept a simple no, instead of dragging it out, which didn't help anyone?
The fact is: It doesn't have to be that way anymore.  Some of you reading this may see yourselves in the above words; I would hope that, by this point, you've matured enough to realize the error of your ways.  For those of you who have never been that way, I hope you'll take these words of mine into consideration.  Let me be clear on one fact: I don't want people to stop inviting me to functions; that's not my point here.  What I want is for people to just accept it when I politely refuse; that's all I ask.
In conclusion, let me say this: I didn't want to have to post on this topic again; in fact, if you look at my last two posts, you'll see that they're discussion starters, and end with questions I wanted my readers to answer.  However, my attempt to do something different was foiled by an essential lack of response; the same person, albeit a good friend, was the only one to even bother answering?  True, some frustration with other circumstances, such as a random leak that has caused serious damage to my parents' house, probably made the above weigh heavily on my heart.  Still, this blog doesn't have to be all about me, celebrities, and entertainment; it can start a discussion, but that requires other people.  I'm not about to sit here and talk to myself on here; I do that enough offline.  If I'm left to my own devices, I'll have to talk about what I know, which is going to cause some serious repetition; I don't think any of you want that, do you?

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Odd Lifelong Love

Over the years, many of my interests have come and gone.  Some of what I used to adore--Diff'rent Strokes, The Magic School Bus, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers--I currently detest...and vice versa: American Idol, the Internet, Harry Potter, and even Nickelodeon.  Others, I just became indifferent about.  I never really despised it; my "love" for it just died down after a while, even if I still do like it.  A few even went from being liked, to hated, to liked again.  Although there isn't much one could say I've always liked, there still are a few topics that fall into that category--computers, Garfield, and strange words/advanced vocabulary--but tons of people like those.  However, there is one long-time love of mine that, I admit, is odd, but I still love them, and I probably always will.  What would that be? Calendars.
Why do I love them so much? You know, I really don't know.  I can remember me making them--or, at least, attempting to--on every computer I've ever had, even my Commodore 64, which we gave away just after I turned seven.  I loved making them with all sorts of graphics, fonts, backgrounds, etc., and proceeded to show them off to anyone who would take the time to look at them.  Though I don't make my own calendars as much as I used to--not to say that I don't do it at all anymore--I still am a huge fan of store-bought ones; in fact, I have eight 2012 calendars, and I just purchased my fifth one for 2013 via eBay this morning.  I've had one almost every year for well over a decade, and their topics have ranged from Scooby-Doo to astronomy to Lizzie McGuire to Harry Potter to Jeopardy! to Wallace and Gromit...and that's not even half of them! Whatever the reason, I have always been a fan of calendars.  Most people don't seem to think much of them--they use them to check the date, if at all--but I love them.

What is something that you have loved for a long time that others might find odd?

Friday, September 7, 2012

I HAVE To See This!

Several months ago, I read in the e-magazine Family Fiction that a celluloid adaptation of the modern Christian classic Jerusalem Countdown was coming out soon.  If it ever came to any theaters near me, it must have come and gone quickly, because I never got any wind of it.  The DVD released in April, and I've seen it for sale for about fifteen bucks at local stores ranging from MovieStop to LifeWay, but I think that's a bit much for any movie I'm likely to only watch once.  It did premiere on a channel we get via our digital cable, but it only came on one night, and I was experiencing serious emotional distress at that time, not to mention that I'm not a big fan of watching movies on live television anyway.  The usual avenues I use to rent/borrow movies don't have it available.  Still, despite all that, there's just something about it that appeals to me, to the point where, barring Jesus' return or some sort of serious catastrophe, I just have to see it.
This isn't the first time I've had such a feeling about a movie.  In summer of 2009, Bandslam came out in theaters, but it fizzled out so quickly that almost no one, not even me, got to see it on the big screen.  I was so insistent about seeing it that I literally checked the library's card catalog at least once a day to see when it became available, and I ended up being number two in line.  A random desire to see Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars woke me up to Jennifer Stone, who is currently second only to Victoria Justice when it comes to my favorite celebrities.  Even outside of the realm of motion pictures, I once came across an advertisement for a Christian romance novel called Sweet Caroline, like the old Neil Diamond track, and sought it for quite a while; I was quite happy to find it at my local used bookstore.
All of those were positive experiences, but, sometimes, such feelings end up causing me to get burned.  About a year or so ago, I saw a VHS copy of the old-school music flick Satisfaction, which starred Justine Bateman (Family Ties) and Liam Neeson (Batman Begins, Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace).  It was one someone had donated to the library, so I couldn't buy or rent it, but, after seeing it, I just had to watch the film.  Just before last New Year's, I finally did, and it was easily among the worst films I've ever had the displeasure of sitting through.  Though the performances were great, everything else about it was just terrible.  Such an experience has made me more careful; now, before watching, reading, or playing something I have such a desire for, I have to make sure: Is it even something I should be exposing myself to? If my sources say no, then I'll skip it and move on to something else.
So, here is my question to you:
Have you ever seen or heard about something and felt that you had to get your hands on it as soon as possible? 
Were you able to do so?
Did it meet your expectations?