Talking about my geek viewing habits got me thinking about other habits of the geek, at least from my own perspective and how it affects the geek life.
One aspect touched on in having to watch every episode of something, even if you don’t like it, is the completion factor. When the geek finds something, you have to have it all. You can’t just dip in – you have to find everything you missed and try to see it in the right order. For example, the first episodes of the Battlestar Galactica I saw were at the beginning of the first full season and I only discovered that there was an introductory mini-series when I realised how awesome it was. So I had to see the mini-series, even though I was already on the journey that the mini-series initiated.
The completion factor is a very important part of the comic book collector – how many times have you heard about fans of Spider-Man who have to have every comic book in the various Spider-Man series, who buys the book even though they might hate a particular storyline/creator just because they don’t want to ruin their collection? Why would people spend money on things they hate? Because they’re a geek.
There are variations on this – when you find a comic book creator you like, you may need to buy all of their comics, even if it’s a fill-in issue of Ghost Rider (in this case, a Warren Ellis-written comic); or you can buy all the merchandise associated with a certain character (I don’t do this – I never understand those guys, say in Comics Should Be Good’s Shelf Porn series, who have lots of action figures of the same character); or you can be a Star Trek fan and find yourself buying all the different versions of the DVDs that Paramount think they can get away with.
The collecting and compiling gene is an important part of the geek make-up. I recall doing one of those career tests (when I was deciding I didn’t want to be a scientist any more) that are supposed to be able to work out what job area you should be doing; a lot of my answers suggested librarian/database type. It’s part of you that has to put your DVDs into alphabetical order (after trying out a TV/film split, or by genre), or working out how to sort through your longboxes of comics – do you go by publisher or character or (in my case) by creator? And then you have to have spreadsheets documenting all of this so that you can quickly reference everything – I have a spreadsheet of my comics in alphabetical order, with the name of writer, artist, the type of series and the publisher. I also have spreadsheets listing my DVDs and books. Just because.
Another factor is the collecting things that you believe define you, to reflect how you see yourself and how you think others see you. This can be t-shirts or bags or a phone skins or any piece of merchandise that can be seen in public (the collection is not to be displayed to the world, only to people worthy of seeing – those who can appreciate it, or close family members who understand the obsession. The most perfect object should be something that only someone in the know will understand – I want to buy the Genca Pura Olive Oil t-shirt from Last Exit To Nowhere because only people who love The Godfather will get the reference, a tenet that particular t-shirt company is based on.
Another geek habit is writing a blog on your geek habits in an obsessive daily manner. But that’s a post for another time …