Friday, January 25, 2013

Spending More Time Doing What I Love

I did a little count today, and found out that, among the 240 DVDs, VHS tapes, and Blu-Rays in my collection, 160 of them are ones that I have watched less than half of, if any part of them at all.  That amounts to two-thirds of my collection that I have yet to watch.  Even more to the point, there are numerous books on my shelves, most of which I have yet to read.  That's got to change; what kind of entertainment fan would I be if I'm not spending time with what media I have?
Frankly, though, I've been that way before; when I was a kid, I wanted to have a massive Beanie Baby collection, but was unwilling to work for them.  I simply wanted them handed to me, and whined and complained because I only got them as birthday and Christmas gifts, which was my own fault.  Now, it seems, I'm doing essentially the same thing: spending more time and effort figuring out how to amass more media--library sales, thrift stores, yard/garage sales, trade-ins, eBay, discounts, coupons, etc.--instead of actually using my time to consume the media that I already have.  Though I have read some books and watched some movies lately, it hasn't been as many as I could have.  The chronic distraction of Facebook only makes matters worse.
So, here is my plan for the rest of the year, which was inspired by my resolution for 2013:
  • Spend less time looking for "deals" online, poking around endlessly on Facebook, or doing other non-constructive tasks.
  • Spend more of my spare time doing what I love: reading books, watching movies and TV shows, and reviewing whatever I've just read or watched online.
I want to make two things clear: First off, I refuse to let entertainment interfere with social interaction.  I don't like missing a social event I'm invited to; if I do, it's usually because I'm sick, I can't get there, etc., not because I want to stay at home and watch Nickelodeon.  Second off, why do I keep doing the reviews? I can answer that in one word: You. Whether you're a Facebook friend, or just a random Internet user, I know that people such as yourself have enjoyed reading my reviews pretty much since I started posting them a few years ago.  Not only that, but it helps keep me out of trouble; my long-time Facebook friends have probably seen where I've made some controversial posts that got me in hot water with quite a few folks.  I've learned from my mistakes, and I've found that if I have something worthwhile to fill my spare time with--such as entertainment--then I won't be led astray.  I know most people my age don't have near as much spare time as I do; most coeval Americans' time is filled up with work, school, relationships, and/or kids, and not only do I not have the latter three, but I only work two days a week.  That, combined with the fact that I don't drive, leaves much of the week for me to do whatever I home.  Though Zuckerberg's website may beckon, there are far better uses of my time than going on there endlessly.  It's up to me to use my spare time doing what I love; if I waste it, I can't get it back.
All right, I'm done; there are DVDs to be watched, and books to be read.  Look on Siobhan's Entertainment Reviews if you want to see my thoughts on them.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Power of Entertainment

It was Saturday, September 22, 2012.  My mom and I had a deal that if I cleaned my room, she would take me to a library sale the next city over, and I was eagerly awaiting her arrival home from work so that I could go.  After I'd finished tidying up my pad, I began walking to a yard sale about a mile away, only to stumble upon another one on the way.  The one I found by accident wasn't really that great of a sale; not only did they have few items that would even remotely interest me, but a mother and her teenage daughter were squabbling the whole time I was there.  Still, a double-DVD set caught my eye, and I bought it despite the bickering that was going on at the sale.  When I got it home, I wasn't 100% sure that I'd like it, but I ripped the episodes to an iOS-compatible format nonetheless.  On Wednesday, December 26, I watched the first one on Danielle (my iPod Touch, that is) and was completely gobsmacked at how good it was.  In years past, I had despised and mocked shows like that one, but, since my horizons have broadened in recent years, I not only watched it, but loved it.
The DVD set in question was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward: The Day of Awakening, and it opened up my eyes to what I had been missing for years.  Spider-Man 2 had made me a fan of superhero movies, and reading comic-book-inspired-novels had quickly followed, but I had no idea that Saturday morning cartoons about superheroes could be that enjoyable, but, in this case, they were.
When I was younger, I made fun of superhero-versus-super-villain animated shows; I was once at a friends' house when he was watching some on Cartoon Network, and I jokingly rooted for the bad guys.  My friend said, "You should root for da good guys; you know de're gonna win!" I quickly retorted with, "Then, what's the point of watching?" Another friend I made later on said Power Rangers was "boring, 'cause they always win!" and criticized Batman Beyond by saying, "I don't understand that show," after seeing one scene from the middle of an episode.
Until recently, I felt the same way, but actually giving such shows a chance has seriously changed my mind.  It's really no surprise, though; I'm a sucker for entertainment, as long as it's family-friendly, so Saturday morning cartoons are right up my alley.  Frankly, I feel bad for being as hesitant as I was to try them out; maybe there are other kinds of entertainment that I have yet to try, but I would very much enjoy.  (Any suggestions?)
I'm not going to make this an insanely long post, but there is a point I want to make: Entertainment has power, whether for good or for ill.  Apparently, Christians are realizing that fact, which is why they are making movies that teach, such as Courageous, on which my church is currently doing a class.  Sure, the Kendricks' latest movie has its funny moments, but at its core are some very important lessons.  In a way, Courageous is edutainment, but differently than Bill Nye the Science Guy or Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?.  Rather than helping you get a good grade on a test, the Kendricks' movies help you live a better life, and that's definitely worth applauding.
Even secular entertainment has its positive points.  For all the morally bankrupt movies out there--which I won't name so that no one reading this will seek them out--there are plenty of films that are well-made and teach important lessons, such as any of the Star Wars flicks as well as pretty much anything by Pixar.  The same could be said about music, television, and books; though there's plenty of garbage in each of those formats, you can also find right many that are the exact opposite of that, if you know where to look.
All right, I'm off; I've got some superhero shows to watch.  Any comments?