Friday, November 30, 2012

Gotta Read, Watch, and Listen To 'Em All!

Pretty much everyone of my generation remembers the insanely popular media franchise known as Pokémon, which started as a set of Game Boy RPGs, but spun off into everything from a collectable card game to a television show to movies to even other-genre video games, such as pinball and puzzle titles.  The whole point of the game was expressed in its four-word tagline: Gotta catch 'em all! The original game boasted 151 different species, but, with all the sequels and remakes that have been released since, the number of "pocket monsters" that one can catch is currently over four times that.  Though some people still play the games, the video game and its related media were at its peak popularity back around Y2K, when kids everywhere stopped at nothing to make sure they had every single "pocket monster," both in digital and card form.
Though I haven't touched a Pokémon game in years, the games' premise is a good parallel to an endless quest I've been on for a while.  It's no secret that I'm an entertainment lover; I specialize in Christian and/or family-friendly media, and spend much of my spare time involved in it.  When I'm bargain hunting, which I do fairly frequently, books, CDs, DVDs, and video tapes that fall into that category are usually all that I buy.  Even gifts to others fall into that category; for Christmas in 2010, I bought books for my sister and brother-in-law, and both of their kids, and my mom got a DVD.  Still, I seek out Christian and/or family-friendly entertainment wherever I can find it.  The number of "pocket monsters" in each Game Boy RPG was no more than a few hundred or so, which meant that, after you'd "caught 'em all," what was there to do? However, the amount of media that fits my tastes is pretty much endless; often, I end up finding books, movies, and albums that I didn't even know existed.
You may wonder: Why do I feel that I have to read, watch, or listen to all the media I can? The main reason is that, as a library employee, entertainment is what I do.  Though many of you reading this may think of a library as nothing but a bunch of old books, it's more than just that.  Libraries these days also have DVDs, music CDs, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers, and sometimes other media, and much of it, including right many of the books, falls into the entertainment category.  True, some of it is "edutainment," which means it is both educational and entertaining, but, to me, edutainment is still entertainment.  Ever since I started volunteering at my local library in 2009, I have felt that working at such a place is my calling; still, in order to successfully work with media, I have to know about it.  Even on Facebook, my friends have "liked" or left positive comments on my reviews.  It wouldn't be possible to use my media knowledge to help others out if I didn't experience and research it like I do.
Now, I know what some of you might be thinking: Isn't someone stockpiling media just like the "rich fool" Jesus spoke of: "Eat, drink, and be merry"? I really don't think so; at least in my case.  Not only is it work-related, but I'll be the first to tell you that I am not a hoarder.  Unless I'm buying a gift for someone else, I almost never buy a book or movie that I have no intention of reading or watching.  I say "almost never" because it has happened a time or two; just last year, I bought Valerie Bertinelli's autobiography Losing It as a joke, and soon wondered why I even purchased it.  Still, if I get it for myself, I pretty much always plan on doing something with it, not just selling it ASAP or letting it collect dust.  More to the point, whenever I am done with a book, CD, DVD, video tape, etc., I get rid of it one way or another.  I've donated countless items to thrift stores and libraries in my area, and I also frequent used bookstores and other trade-in places, such as MovieStop.  Plus, everyone in my neighborhood knows that, when I have a yard sale, there will be plenty of books available.
Here is my final point: In the late nineties, I was known in my neighborhood as "the king of board games," because I had quite a few, including some that were out of print.  Just like my media collection, most of it was bought used, but my friends and I still had a blast playing everything from Monopoly to Clue to Knockout to even Wallace and Gromit: Going Crackers.  Very few people outside of my family have seen my bedroom, but, if you were to see it, you'd likely be gobsmacked at how much media is packed into such a small space, as well as how much entertainment-themed memorabilia is on my walls and desktop.  Some people might call me "the king of books" or "the king of entertainment," but I'm sure that there are plenty of people who have much more literature and/or other media than I may ever have.  That's completely fine; I'm not jealous of them, nor am I in competition with anyone to have more of, well...anything.  I'm buying books, music, movies, and such according to my preferences, not to please or outdo anyone else.  You get that...right?

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