Okay, I wont deny it. Yes, I’m a miserable bastard. Even my own Dad has told me this on one occasion and rightly so, for it is most certainly true.
Generally I dislike pretty much everything, I enter into things expecting disappointment. I’m a natural pessimist, I guess because I really dislike the feeling of disappointment and so going in with extremely low expectations makes it far less likely I’ll be disappointed (or it will at least take the sting off).
I rarely watch new films nowadays. Why? Because I will be inevitably disappointed. I have a pretty eclectic taste in films and can’t really pin-point what it is about a film I find enjoyable but I know what it is I don’t like. I don’t like so called ‘blockbusters’ most of the time, since generally the idea there seems to be to tie together as many cliques and special effects as possible with just enough narrative to justify calling it a film. Once you’ve seen one set of flashy explosions and special effects you’ve seen them all. Sometimes, I do find those kind’s of films amusing when they bring something new to the table, or a also contain a particular brand of wit I enjoy but this seems to rarely be the case.
I rarely leave the house. There is very little I’m interested in actually doing outside that doesn’t require my own method of transport beyond merely walking to get there. There are places I enjoy going to but don’t because it’s either to difficult or expensive or just takes too damn long, by which time if changed my mind or become interested in something else.
It’s not even really about the money, though I am quite miserly and dislike what essentially amounts to gambling on the entertainment industry in the hopes I might get a payoff of enjoyment when I know the odds are not in my favour.
Consequently, I tend to play it safe, sticking to things I know and own because I have a reliable source of entertainment there at (after the initial investment) essentially zero cost which appeals to the miser in me as well as placating my fear of disappointment. This generally restricts me to reading – something I enjoy immensely, writing, roleplaying, watching films and TV I have already seen before, listening to music, programming, designing electronics hardware and playing computer games.
That’s not to say I don’t like trying new things is just that when I do, I like to do a proper assessment rather than just dive in only to find out I’ve wasted a bunch of my time and money. I consume media having never seen them before based on whether I have enjoyed other products by the same creator in the same genre, whether they are related (sequel/prequel) to things I have enjoyed before, whether I find the concept intriguing enough to take a gamble, whether the cost is low enough to justify such a gamble, whether or not there are already things I’m enjoying that will keep me occupied enough not to need yet another new toy right this instant, opinions from people with proven similar tastes as me on said media when they’ve consumed it and reviews from critics as well as the standard marketing material in the form of trailers, etc that are provided.
That might sound like a lot of work but really it amounts to maybe 30 minutes in total at the very most, usually I can make a snap judgement pretty quickly and then I just happen to change my decision later as new data becomes available and I happen to come in contact with it. It isn’t as if I sit down and exhaustively calculate whether or not I will enjoy something, rather I make a quick judgement on readily available information to me as to whether I’m interested enough at first glance to investigate further, after which (if I am) I then look for some extra info.
Most things don’t get past that initial first check because I have pretty exacting standards and wildly differing standards for exactly interests me. Most actions films like, say, Transformers 2, have very little information about the quality of the actual film instead giving short snippets of action sequences many of which just aren’t entertaining enough for me to want to invest my time in, considering I’m not much of a generic action film fan.
The last film I paid to see at the cinema was Watchmen, I believe and I only did that because of information I received on various news feeds I read, the fact that I like the comics (which I read based on recommendations from friends and based on my own research into comics since I wanted to see if there were any I might enjoy since I’m generally not a comic book fan but wanted to try something relatively new) and that the trailers and associated marketing material appealed to me, as they didn’t all seem to be portraying just another generic action film. Some material made me reticent to see it, such as finding out the ending was different to the comic, which I found somewhat unnecessary, but I felt that the information I’d gathered, plus the fact I could go see it with friends who wanted to see it as well meant that I’d give it a go. I was glad I did as I enjoyed it very much and have preordered it on bluray.
Musically, I like to try new things quite often, mostly because it’s very easy to do so at basically a zero cost in both effort and time (since I can do stuff at the same time as listening to music) via services such as last.fm and spotify. Occasionally I’ll come across music not available but from a band that sound interesting based on how similar they are to stuff I already like and reviews, etc and I might gamble downloading the mp3’s via amazon or occasionally buying an album if it’s cheap enough or I’m intrigued enough.
Books are very easy for me to ‘gamble’ on, they have an extremely low entrance point, since they need no other equipment to use, just my eyes and hands. They are portable and can be enjoyed pretty much anywhere. I also like reading because I like getting inspiration for my own writing and ideas elsewhere. Books generally inspire me, so intriguing me isn’t that hard, I essentially like books by virtue of them being books so, yeah, low entry barrier there. Saying that, there is an awful lot of books out there I will never read and for most of the reasons I’ve stated for other forms of media, being bad marketing material (cover art, blurb) and bad reviews or me simply not being aware of their existence.
So yes, I’m a miserably, miserly bastard because I do anything without weighing it up against several factors, some subconsciously, some consciously. I really do want to enjoy things, but I have such high standards for what qualifies as enjoyable and such a dislike for the feeling of disappointment that I rarely do anything new at all.