Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday Wanderings

I've never been much caught up in the consumer desire for the newest, latest, and greatest.  (I did stop and think about whether to use the Oxford comma there.)  When shopping or choosing what to listen to / read / watch, my only interaction with release date is availability ... which means that if I actually had Netflix, I probably would be buried in five year old television.

I've never understood the lure of the movie theater in terms of seeing something as soon as it is available.  (I was rather irritated by Agents of Shield playing off the Captain America movie on the apparent presumption that anyone following the series would see the movie in the first week.)  Grant that part of it is because I really dislike movie theaters - crammed in the dark with other people, can't kibitz to your neighbors, can't sprawl back in comfort, have to keep your shoes on, no bathroom breaks - and will generally only patronize them as a social exercise or if the movie is visually spectacular in a way that would benefit from theater viewing.  What's the big deal with waiting 3-4 months until it comes out in video or On Demand?

When it comes to books, I know that I should follow the list of new releases to keep a finger on what's hot now, but I somehow can never do it.  For one thing, I hate reading a book that ends with a cliffhanger if I can't immediately pick up the next volume.  I don't do well with enforced waiting, and I am likely to completely forget about aforesaid cliffhanger as a defense mechanism.  For about a decade, I think, my policy was not to read a book in a series unless the entire series was complete (or it was a loose series, wherein the books aren't necessarily directly dependent on each other).

I eventually relaxed my stance on this, but I still simply don't buy hardcovers unless I'm absolutely wild about the author and series.  The last one I purchased, I think, was one of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series.  As with the movies, I don't understand what's so terrible about saving one's pennies and waiting a few months until it reaches paperbacks.  The idea of basing the success of a book on its sales in the first few weeks, to me, makes slightly less sense than reading entrails.

So I spend a lot of time at Half Price Books, picking up whatever looks interesting.  I trawl the backlog of authors I've read in anthologies (or occasionally met in person).  My fiction purchases have very little to do with timeline, with the exception of the fact that when I go to read an author who writes a series, I try to find the oldest book - in the chronology of their world, not the intended read order.  I'm a rebel (and probably a pain) like that.

Similar deal with music, only ... well ... worse.  I've never liked listening to radio, where you have no control over what music you listen to and you're likely to hear the same song ad nauseum.  (It was on at work one day, and I swear I heard "Exes and Ohs" four times. While I actually liked the song, I was bloody sick of it by then.)  So I find new artists by chance encounter, recommendations by friends, Amazon heuristics ("People who bought X also bought ..."), and Pandora.  I listen to snippets, take a chance, buy a CD.

This means I'm often late to the party with an artist, but it's my party, and I'll sing if I want to.

This probably hampers me from a marketing standpoint.  So Flow has been out a few years now and is no longer a new release ... so what?  That doesn't make it less excellent as a novel.  (That goes also for my other releases - shameless plug!  But that's not the point of this post, so I digress.)  The idea of pre-ordering something is foreign to me; I've only done it once, and that was specifically to support a friend's Kickstarter.  So it feels a trifle odd to ask people to do something I wouldn't ...

But doing things in my own time has been a theme of my life (see:  starting harp in my late teens; going to college in my early thirties), and I don't think it's likely to change.  So I will continue to drift through, blissfully unaware of anyone else's timing.  When you're absorbed in something, the only time that matters is now.

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