Alchemical Thoughts

These days I just prefer books, or I am just watching less television

Posted on: June 24, 2016

I have to say that I do not really watch much live television these days. Now I do not want to sound like one of those hipsters who brag about not owning a television set. I like watching television. The problem is that there are not many shows I find appealing or engaging, and the few that I do I just record on the DVR to watch later. That leads me to the other reason I am watching less television: the fucking, seemingly never ending commercials. It’s bad enough you have to pay for cable, and you still get a ton of advertising. That is the nice thing about the DVR; you can zip right through the ads. These days television is more advertising than content. Now some may say I should cut the cord and stream stuff. But honestly, “watching TV” on my computer is not terribly appealing. Heck, I can barely stand watching YouTube for any long stretch of time, which by the way is starting to get irritating since they started also shoving advertising at the beginning of videos. That’s what your other advertising on the side is for, you twits. We keep the cable mostly for the few channels we do record stuff on the DVR from, and around here, because the cable provider is the only one with the high speed internet, so even if I “cut the cord,” I still have to pay those pirates for my internet so I could do the streaming those cable cutters all go gaga about. Not really cutting the cord that much, huh?

So these days, I find myself turning off the television when I can in favor of a few other options. One option is surfing the web and reading stuff online. I have a big and diverse list of sources I follow. I keep track of them on my RSS reader, which though many have given up on, I still use as it helps me keep track of the stuff I am interested in. Also the feed reader holds on to the stuff until I actually read it. Unlike Twitter or Facebook, something will not disappear into the ether if I miss logging in one day. And if too much stuff piles up on the RSS reader, I can always mark as read, and let it build up again. The other thing I do once in a while is watch YouTube. These days, given I am learning how to read Tarot cards, I use it to find tutorials on that as well as videos from other Tarot users and collectors.

Another option for viewing is getting DVDs from my public library. They do not have a terribly big selection given it is a small rural town library, but I usually manage to find something interesting to watch. I often look for older things I may have enjoyed in the past. For instance, they have the complete run of Hill Street Blues, and it was a real pleasure to watch all of it once more. Television networks and channels just do not write shows like that anymore. I have also discovered other things such as Foyle’s War, which they also have the complete series, and I enjoyed it immensely. So go ahead, explore your local public library for things to watch. You never know what you may find, and it will be commercial free (for the most part. Often you do get trailers for other things from the company that put out the DVD).

Finally, the best option for me is reading books. I get my books from various places. I get some from my local public library. Though I work in an academic library, and I do get a book from my workplace once in a while, when it comes to popular types of reading the public library serves my needs better. As I mentioned, I also get some books from the academic library I work in, mostly heavier nonfiction and academic titles. However, I also use the Interlibrary Loan service (ILL) from my academic library to get titles I may want that neither of my libraries have. I do use Interlibrary Loan for both serious books and more escapist fluff. For instance, I am reading through the Horus Heresy, and I usually get that series via ILL. In addition, I do buy some books as well, especially things that I enjoy and that I know my libraries do not carry as a general rule. I buy my books mostly used, but I do get a new one here or there if I feel a need to have it sooner. Finally, since I am a book reviewer, I also get some galleys from various sources, especially via NetGalley. In the end, I have plenty of reading options, and they are all better than most anything television offers these days. Even the recent trend of shows based on comics books (but without the actual heroes) is just not that appealing when I can go read the source material, which is better anyhow.

Bottom line is reading is just a lot more interesting. I get a lot more out of it in terms of learning and entertainment, and I can find more diversity in terms of content that I would on television. That’s my two cents.

For any of my three readers who may be curious, here is what I am reading these days. I am one of those readers who reads more than one book at a time:

  • Nicholas Pileggi, Casino. For some reason, this is a year I have been a bit more interested in books that gave the basis for films. I will also try to read his Wiseguy, which is the basis of the film Goodfellas.
  • Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire. This is one of those that I was lukewarm about reading. I have seen and enjoyed the film. The book does start kind of slow, so I hope it picks up the pace. I am reading it not so much because I want to see how the film messed it up or not but to add a book to my horror challenge reading list for 2016.
  • Benjamin Law, Gaysia. This is one I am enjoying. Benjamin Law takes us on a tour of Asia to see all its queer fabulousness. So far, the travels reveal moving, sometimes funny, sometimes very serious experiences. I will be reviewing this soon.
  • Aaron McConnell,, The Comic Book Story of Beer. Yes, this is a history of beer in graphic novel format.
  • Rachel Kramer Bussel, Dirty Dates. This is my current erotica reading selection. I have been a bit stuck on this one. It has been slow reading not because it is bad. Far from it, it is very good. The problem is I have had a few setbacks happen in real life. When shit happens in real life, my mood to read erotica just fizzles out, and a book in this area gets put aside in the hopes when things get better I pick it up again. Thing is even when things get back to normal, it takes me a bit to get back on track. However, I do hope to finish it this month, and I will review it then.



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June 2016
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