Tag Archives: Goals

Goofing Around (In Video Games) Sucks

In my last post I mentioned that I 100%ed Super Mario 64. This is a heavily nostalgic game for me and countless others and while it hasn’t aged magnificently over the years it still remains a classic. It retains its charm and is still an enjoyable game to play if you can look past the shitty grafix from the late 90s. But I realized something upon completing the game that I didn’t realize before: Mario 64 is a really short game. Surely part of this is due to me having played it before, but I don’t think this has much to do with why it feels so short. It’s been so long since I played Mario 64 to completion I had almost forgotten where most of the stars were and had to “rediscover them” even if I had a vague hint of a memory where the star was. (I still remember the Turok master cheat code though: nthgthdgdcrtdtrk. Looks like something out of a Lovecraft story.) So while the game was easier than it was when I first played it, it wasn’t just a feat in repetition; I really had to discover the game all over again.

I found myself wondering how, as a kid, I was able to pour so much time into this game as I did. I was able to knock out all 120 stars within a week as an adult, and even if I had played the game before, I assume a new player could still beat the game quickly. It’s just not a long or complicated game. How did my childhood-self find this game so massive and consuming that I could literally play it for hours after school, day-after-day for months on end? Bowser had his ass kicked and I had all 120 stars, so what was I doing endlessly playing the game?

Outside of a few other minor things (being a bored kid, no internet, etc.), I assume it was because I dicked around in the game. I should explain that a bit more. This means that outside of the actual game-dictated challenges I would find other bullshit challenges to set for myself. It was total immersion in the world where you’re just playing around and having fun with the game itself. Grabbing the stars is what you’re supposed to do but dicking around is ignoring what you’re supposed to do to do random bullshit. Somehow kid-me excelled at this while adult-me is pretty terrible at it.

Bob-omb Battlefield

The first level, the iconic Bob-omb Battlefield, had a turtle whose shell you could ride like a skateboard. It was fun as hell to grab his shell and challenge yourself to do stupid shit with it: could you surf up to the top of the mountain without hitting anything and losing his shell? Could you use the shell to race Koopa the Quick? You could also grab the Wing Cap, jump into cannons, and fly around for the hell of it. Each level offered so much to do but only if you’re creative enough to play around with the game. This was even better if you had friends to play with. You could all take turns having races to the top of the Bob-omb mountain, or see who could get Baby Penguin to his mom is the fastest time possible (or who could drop him off the cliff in the most cruel/hilarious way). Your imagination was the only limit to the fun you could have in Mario 64 as well as any other game.

Shell surfin’. I crashed a few seconds after this attempting to make it to the top of the mountain.

Something changed because now I don’t have the time or patience to fuck around in video games. I don’t know if it’s adulthood itself or aspects of adulthood like having a job and a tighter schedule that changed things, but I find myself being very “goal oriented” when I play video games. It does take all the fun out of them too. I view the game as just that: a game. Games are now just a big and sometimes complex puzzle: you figure out what you need to do to achieve a goal and you do that. Find key, go to the next room. Kill enemies, get to the end of the level. Find enough moons to fight Bowser. Etc. It’s basic problem solving now: discover problem, research the problem, conquer the problem. Complete the quest and beat the game. And then onto the next game. It’s depressing.

Flyin’.

As I was writing this post, the word playing popped into my head. Dicking around in video games, as I’ve been explaining it, sounds a lot like playing. Kids will grab toys and play with them not for a purpose but just because. I even looked up the definition of the word play and guess what it is?

Engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.”

-The Damn Dictionary

So, fuck, it’s not that adult-me is overly goal-oriented or that kid-me was better at making up random shit to do, kid me was better at playing while adult me fucking sucks at it. Making this even worse is that when adult-me is “playing” video games, I’m probably not actually playing them. I’m always chasing a set of goals or in-game challenges and am not playing for the pure enjoyment or recreation of it. Or my personal enjoyment and recreation while playing a video game is in beating the game and not playing the game. Holy fuck, I didn’t think there’d be an epiphany in this post, but there it is. Kid-me played video games and adult-me beats video games.

This entire post reflects back on the last post about 100%ing Nintendo games. In that post I argued that Nintendo is kinda badass by not giving you any real rewards for going above-and-beyond in your video gaming duties. They rely on your own self-motivation to accomplish all of the extra bullshit you need to 100% one of their games. They’re going to give you the shit to do but not reward you for it. This post is sort of the same thing: to properly play a video game you also need to go outside of what the game itself gives you for goals/accomplishments and find your own way towards fun. This is the essence of playing — doing something for your own enjoyment with zero practical reason to motivate you — and is a huge reason why I enjoyed video games and could pour hours into them as a kid. I was playing and not simply trying to chase goals. As adult gamers we might become overly “goal-oriented” and miss the whole reason for playing a game: to have fun! But to have fun you need to be creative and do something for the sake of doing it, just like 100% video games entails. So the next time I play a video game I’m going to try to sit back, relax, and actually enjoy the experience instead of checking off a list of items that the game wants me to do. Being an adult is kinda shitty in case you didn’t know that yet.

100%ing Nintendo Games Sucks

“Thanks for playing Super Mario 64! This is the end of the game, but not the end of the fun.”

-Yoshi

I said in this post how Nintendo games have a deep and rich history of having “collectible” items that tempt the dedicated/addicted/completionist player to obsessively play the game until they find everything there is to find. This is always after the main game/quest has been beaten and is always optional to do. For me this started with Super Mario 64 with its 120 total collectible stars (with only 70 needed to complete the game) and seemed to hit its absurd peak with Wind Waker’s picture figurine quest. Famously, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild turned it up even more by giving you its own picture quest (Hyrule Compendium: 350+ entries), beating all 120 shrines, and — heaven forbid — getting all the Korok seeds (of which there are 900 of!) which is probably the worst and most anticlimactic completionist quest in any video game ever.

You have to admit this is really cute.

The “problem” with these 100% quests is that they occur after beating the game where there is no real incentive for doing them. Nintendo doesn’t wave shiny rewards, fancy weapons, new endings, or even shitty achievement badges in front of you. Even if Nintendo has started to plop “rewards” into their games for 100% completion, they’re pretty shitty.

Let’s give some examples of these “rewards.” Mario Odyssey puts a hat on top of Peach’s Castle and gives you a firework display! Breath of the Wild’s shrine completion quest gives you Link’s classical tunic (which doesn’t offer anything unique and is a bitch to upgrade). BotW’s compendium gives you…uh…idk? Pride? And the Korok seeds? Fuck that: you are rewarded with literally a piece of shit for finding each seed. It has no use or purpose and is, well, a piece of shit.

Yay. 999 moons.

No one can plead ignorance of these shitty rewards because it’s 2019. The internet exists. Before any sane person actually attempts any 100% challenge they’ve certainly researched what they were about to get themselves into. They’re undertaking the quest all on their own knowing well there is no actual reward. But there is some reward because people still 100% these games: the reward is accomplishing something you’ve set out to do, with zero outside influence or persuasion, with no rewards or shiny things dangled in front of you. Nintendo 100% completions are something to note because, outside of there being shitty “rewards,” there is nothing to actually motivate you. You know that you’re doing something for zero reward outside of your own fulfillment, you do it, and that’s the end of the story. You get a star next to your save file. You get a speech by Cappy. You get a shitty suit of armor. You get a golden piece of poop. You get a gold-colored sail. Or a fucking hat on top of a castle. Nintendo 100% completions are kinda admirable in a way because of how anticlimactic they are and how people still chase after them.

100%ing Mario 64 was one of the highlights of my childhood (yeah, no joke). I’ve kept that memory and accomplishment with me over the past 20 years! I’ve also sort of 100%’d Goldeneye but this achievement is tarnished by cheating. That game was fucking difficult to 100%. (Go check the par time for the Facility level to unlock the cheat: 2 minutes on the hardest difficulty. Fuck you.) But the Mario 64 100% was 100% legit and 11 or 12-year-old me pulled that shit off with no guide, no cheats, no internet, or anything. It was pure dedication and skill, a genuine display of video gaming prowess, even if there wasn’t much else to do after school.

Today I 100%’d Mario 64 on a PC emulator and was looking forward to the moment greatly. This was what 12-year-old me experienced years ago as my first 100% Nintendo completion, so how would it hold up? It was even worse than I remembered! The last star I got was the infernal Rainbow Ride 100-coin star: the level branches like a tree and has no obvious route that is better to find coins on (outside of the group of blue coins that is). If you fuck up and fall you need to start over. There is no saving mid-level in the game. Making this even more fitting is, while I don’t remember certainly, I’m confident this was the last star I got back in the late 90s as well. It’s such a bullshit star to get that I know 12-year-old me also procrastinated the star as long as possible.

Once you get the 120th star, you’ve beaten the game 100%. There isn’t anything left to do. What surprised me was how nothing actually happened in the game to signal the Grand Feat: no notifications popped up, no music played, and the unknowing player wouldn’t even realize that they’ve just found every star in the game. Nothing obvious changes at all. Since I’ve done this before I knew where to go: outside the castle and near the pond is a cannon that is now accessible. You naturally shoot yourself to the top of the castle (there’s nowhere else to shoot Mario to) and find a very low-polygon Yoshi. You talk to him and he says some uplifting shit and jumps of the castle. I screencapped some of the moment, grabbed the wing cap, triple-jumped off the castle, and flew around the castle. And that was it: game complete. Mission Accomplished! You’ve won.

“Hey, Yoshi! So, uh, is this it? Not that I’m complaining or anything, but it was a lot of work to get all of these 120 stars…”

So now what? As a kid I would make up shit to do and just dick around in the game, playing for hours and hours doing nothing, but as a goal-oriented adult my goal was to get 120 stars. I did that and I’m done with the game. It’s nice to see Nintendo being consistent with the existential crises that arise anytime you 100% one of their games. You get no reward outside of the pride of accomplishing it, and while that’s good because you only have yourself to motivate you, it still is a hollow sort of victory. What’s surprising is how Nintendo has even improved the rewards over the past few decades as Mario 64 gave you almost no pat-on-the-back for completing the game. It was pretty shitty and I’m surprised my 12-year-old self kept the pride of 100%ing the game in his mind as long as he did.

So as stupid as 100%ing Nintendo games is as there is no reward, you gotta give Nintendo credit. They don’t give a fuck if you want to complete their games or not: that’s up for you to decide. They’re not going to give you a reward or a participation trophy to plop on your xXxGamerDood69xXx profile so your friends can see. No, Nintendo gives you jack shit to show for it except pride in accomplishing something without being forced to do it. It’s fucking free will. While it sucks, it’s kinda badass in the way. Like Nintendo, the friendly kiddy video game company, is trying to teach you some deep life lesson about goals, rewards, achievements, and enjoying life.

My Post on Watermelons Sucks

…and Purposefully Writing a Popular Post

Sometimes as a blogger you write a post (or posts) that you’re really proud of. Personally, I’m fond of my recent 4th of July post (the banner image is amazing…) as well as a few others. There are also a few posts that you don’t really think are that good, especially in retrospect. Usually the posts I make about daylight savings time, calendars, or other shit are kinda lame and boring; I understand why these posts aren’t that popular. Sometimes I find myself writing posts such as those just to post something. They’re posts I’m not that into and know they’re not going to be popular, but since they fit in well with the theme of this blog there isn’t a reason to not post them.

I’ve noticed a strange thing checking my WordPress user feedback data over the past few months that I never would’ve expected; somehow my post on picking out watermelons is continually the most (or one of the most) read posts week after week and month after month. At first I thought it might just be a fluke as if people in the world somehow decided to look up information about watermelons and stumbled upon my post. I even thought it might be a summer thing where, naturally, people might Google watermelons more than they would in December. This didn’t seem to be right and after a couple of months I just accepted it: my watermelon post is somehow my most popular post.

Here’s an example of the screen I’m talking about. As you can see, it is ranked second after my stupid post about Apex Legends, but it’s still up there. Making this even more pronounced is the fact that the Apex post is relatively new as it was written in March 2019. The goddamn watermelon post was written two damn years ago! In third place is the Little Mermaid post which might still be experiencing a boost from it being a recent topic on social media. I expect that to be completely forgotten in a few months though. So why is the watermelon post so popular and why does that suck?

As hinted at earlier, us bloggers have certain favorite posts that we’re proud of and other posts that we’re not so proud of. I think this is true of any artist; the musician has songs they like and the painter has artwork they like. One theme that seems to come up when you hear about artists with options of their own work is that they seem to consistently misjudge what is popular and what isn’t popular. Artists like works of theirs that the general population doesn’t while the general population likes things the artist themself isn’t fond of. It’s a well-known example that the band Black Sabbath recorded the song Paranoid as a quick-and-easy album filler song; the song has with time become one of their most popular songs. Kurt Cobain famously said that Smells Like Teen Spirit was just a Pixies rip-off song.

I suppose that’s how I feel about The Watermelon Post (although I don’t mean to imply it’s a masterpiece like the examples above). I went back and reread it to see if there was any sort of magic behind the post: I couldn’t find a damn thing special about it. I recall that I did have fun writing such a stupid post and I ran with it’s subject matter in a ridiculous way, but I don’t think that qualifies as “magic” at all. Maybe my lack of giving a shit slightly altered the tone of the post and made it fun and light-hearted? Maybe it hit that magical middle-ground of being both fun and informative? In the grand scheme of how I feel about my blog posts I’d put The Watermelon Post in the middle of my writings: I don’t hate it but I don’t think it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever written. To me it’s kinda a mid-tier, meh, so-so sort of post. Just like the example with musicians, it’s a post that I didn’t expect to be popular but somehow is.

I don’t know if there’s any sort of lesson to gleam from this fact or not; for the most part I find it amusing and fucking stupid. It’s hilarious to spend hours making a “good” post only for it to receive lukewarm reception whereas a quick “throw-away” post can find long-term success. If anything I guess it cements the fact that you can’t really write something good on purpose seeing as you are not the intended audience. While the blogger can have a fairly good idea of what will be successful we are not our own audience so there is some disconnect that occurs. You can’t totally get out of your head as a writer/artist to see how your art will be received. You can’t be sure what will be successful and what will fall flat on its face. If anything this somewhat stresses being passive about your work. As a throwback to my last post on publishing ebooks, if you get your hopes up too high about a project you risk disappointment if it fails to meet your lofty expectations. Conversely, you could have a project that you’re not really into turn into a huge hit for some unforeseen reasons. At the end of the day you need to just keep writing, blogging, making music, or whatever the fuck it is that you do. Because while you think you’re making a shitty Watermelon Post the world might actually find something of worth that you overlooked. It’s this inability to judge how your work is from an outside perspective that really sucks.

Facebook Sucks: Anonymity and the Futility of Chasing “Likes”

Note: This is another “chapter” from my “upcoming ebook” on why Facebook Sucks. It seemed like it would fit well enough here so here ya go. Once again it is pretty rambly but whatever.

I’m a huge fan of the social media website Reddit. If you really want to check it out here’s the link (You lazy fucks. Google it yourself). They also have an app if you’re one of those people. Others on Reddit say the app is kinda shitty so do what you want. The thing I really like about Reddit after the dedicated subreddits for any and everything is the fact that it’s a semi-anonymous site and they pull it off beautifully. You might think that being fully-anonymous or non-anonymous would win out on any pro/con analysis but I don’t think this is true. Let me elaborate.

The shitty website called 4chan is totally anonymous: you post stuff and no one knows it’s you. This is nice in a way because you can be your unabashed self. If you discovered as a teen that you really like hentai and furry-porn, you can indulge your hearts (or any other body parts) content on 4chan and no one will judge you for it. Sure people might judge the graphic tentacle monster and underage anime girl you posted, but they can’t judge you as an individual person with an identity. They can’t say “Did you see what Jimmy posted the other day? Holy Fuck he’s strange.” You’re simply free to post and comment whatever you want. Obviously this comes with the downside that when people are free in anonymity they can say some really hateful, racist, homophobic, and other -phobic ideas (LINK NOT SAFE FOR WORK!!). 4chan isn’t a website for the faint-of-heart.

Facebook, on the other hand, has the opposite problem where you have no anonymity. Sure there are some people with fake profiles, but I think for the most we are ourselves on Facebook. Since your Facebook profile is a representation and projection of your real self you have to worry about your “internet self-image” or some shit like that that sounds really stupid when you write it out. If you are the aforementioned furry-porn enthusiast you might not be able to represent that facet of yourself to you boss, grandma, pastor, wife, mother, or whoever else you’re friends with. You’re restricted in what you can be open about and this restriction is a huge downside with any form of social media. In our normal IRL selves we already have this restriction so extending it to social media doesn’t help any form of self-expression.

The upside to not being anonymous is the fact that you can have a “record” of your social media exploits, i.e. how many “likes” and “shares” you get and (usually) other people can see this. Sites like 4chan have no way to track your “progress” because you’re anonymous. This is where Reddit really shines with its semi-anonymity: you are a person with a username, although this isn’t connected to your IRL self at all. You can collect “points” (in the form of something called “karma”) and see how popular your comments and posts are by how many “upvotes” you’ve gotten. In short you and others get to see a “record” of what your profile has accomplished, how popular you are, and some redditors on their respective subreddits are nearly famous in the quality content they create. Reddit lets you be a person that is free to act however you want but also gives you an identity to work with all without the worry of committing a “social media faux pas” of posting furry/tentacle porn on your Facebook page.

People on Reddit joke about “fake internet points” aka “karma” and they’re totally right with the terminology. It doesn’t make any sense to accumulate “karma,” “likes,” or “shares” at all (or whatever form the “fake internet points” take on your favorite website), and in all objectivity these things are totally fucking pointless. But for some reason knowing your shitpost on r/WallStreetBets has gotten 5,000 upvotes makes you feel like you’re progressing as a socially-adept human or something. I really think Facebook would be much more addictive and potent if they had a “total reaction and share” counter for your posts so you have one or two really quick and concrete numbers to see how popular you are with your Hot Facebook Opinions and Influencing Posts. Then the whole point of Facebook then would really be to shitpost your way to more Internet Points and you’d have a counter for it.

What I’m trying to get to in a roundabout way is how chasing these fake internet points is a hollow sort of pursuit and one that doesn’t fulfill you in any meaningful way. In a way everything is kinda pointless and chasing money, degrees, fancy cars, sexual partners or anything is really the same level of pointlessness (in the grand scheme of the universe) as anything else. Probably everyone as an edgy teenager has had this extremely nihilistic outlook but quickly abandons it because of the inability to actually function in life when you think that everything is, in the end, pointless. Eventually you reach a point where you know that everything is pointless but you need to do something in your life because you can’t just not exist to spite the universe. Mostly because the universe doesn’t give a fuck about you.

So what makes farming for Facebook “likes” less fulfilling than actual IRL progress? For me it is the amount of self-fulfillment you get out of actually doing something difficult. As stated, Facebook is like a lazy-man’s form of social interaction and social interaction that is as easy as typing shit on a screen isn’t going to be as satisfying as actual interaction. Consider talking to a romantic interest: it’s really easy to just send a creepy Facebook message and slide into those DMs, but it’s immensely difficult to actually talk to them. So when you actually do go out of your way to talk like a real person does, you feel so much better for it. You feel like you’ve accomplished something. Actually interacting with people is almost always more satisfying than “interacting” on social media even if it is something trivial.

Another thing I noticed is that getting “likes” or “shares” is a pursuit on its own. Getting a college degree is the final product of years of hard work and I think we like to think of farming internet points as a “final goal” but really those are like the “years of hard work” with the caveat that it doesn’t actually have a final goal. What I’m trying to say is that farming Facebook “likes” has no end: you’re always chasing the next accomplish in getting “likes” and other forms of social media approval. There will never be a point to where you’ve “succeeded” at having “likes” on Facebook. You’re never finished chasing the social media approval of others.

What happens is you get addicted and accustomed to the upward climbing views/shares/likes/upvotes on your posts and you start to think that this is like a rule or a law or something. You might think that you’re just that cool of a person and people really like you. You naturally want these numbers to continually grow forever so when they don’t — when you post something that isn’t quite a popular as the rest — you feel like a failure. Did you do something wrong? Do people not like you anymore? Are you socially not part of “the cool crowd?” You might even put more effort into carefully crafting the next Successful Post and if that’s successful, congrats, you’ve temporarily saved your mood. If that fails, well, you just feel like a fucking failure.

The YouTube channel Veritasium recently had a great video explaining this phenomena in terms of YouTube burnout. In short he argues that as the YouTube algorithm changes, popular YouTubers find that they aren’t popular anymore. This is totally outside their control and while they have been making quality content non-stop have taken to blaming themselves for the lack of “quality” or “getting away from their roots” or something that is their fault. While the problem of chasing Facebook approval isn’t at the mercy of an algorithm (as much) like YouTube the main points are still the same; people get used to increasing approval and popularity and when it wanes people feel like shit and blame themselves. This is true in almost any pursuit but the fact that this can happen so quickly in regards to social media approval is scary. Like athlete or a writer might take years and decades to really “peak” while you could find a “social media approval” peak in a month or two. Then you can repeat the cycle over and over as you never learn your lesson.

The problem with “likes” being your pursuit is that it is too easy to let the growing approval get into your head. There’s nothing to moderate the addiction. When you get this mindset — consciously or unconsciously — you will never be satisfied. If you had a wildly successful post you will crave the next successful post and do everything you can to top the last one. This is true with everything, but the accessibility of this in terms of Facebook “likes” is especially dangerous to the average person. We get corrupted by the idea that we might be the next big YouTuber or influencer that we put much more time, effort, and energy into something that will eventually, certainly let us down and is in the end pretty fucking pointless. They are just Fake Internet Points as Redditors jokingly call them.

The New Year Sucks Part Two: The Nostalgia of New Beginnings

Back when I was younger (and stupider) I always found myself sitting around on December 31st with either a piece of paper or a Google doc writing and reminiscing on how the year went and reflecting on all of the shit that had happened. This would inevitably run into dreaming about The New Year and wondering what the next 365 days would bring. I have suspicion that many — if not most — of us do this and while I never really told anyone about this habit or asked others if they do it, I’m sure I’m not alone.

On a very superficial level many people like to party and celebrate the new year, which as you can probably tell from my first post I think is stupid because it’s so arbitrary. I’d be all up for having a celebration at the solstices or equinoxes (like dancing around a campfire on the first day of spring or some shit) but outside of pagans, witches, and astronomers (maybe?) no one actually does this. If anything the news just blurts out something like “It’s the first day of summer, and the weather is nice!” while maybe mentioning that it’s the longest day of the year. Ya know, by the way. But The New Year is a big circle jerk of partying, drinking, kissing, and watching some fucking ball in New York “fall”. This is if you have an “ideal” life; if you’re single, miserable, and/or depressed the holidays in general just make you want to kill yourself or hide in a closet for a month. After any intense year-end partying I just can’t help but ask myself “Okay. So…now what?” The whole thing feels pointless and hollow. Like at the end of the day you wake up in The New Year: Day One with the worst hangover you’ve ever had and smelling like expired pizza and sweat. Happy New Year!

Failed Goals

People also like to use The New Year as a start for various goals and self-improvement plans they set for themselves. These are usually referred to as “New Year’s Resolutions” and have a horrible failure rate. At the very least this should prevent people from starting any goals on New Year’s Day; why start a goal if it will have a 55% chance of success after only a month! Like if you set two resolutions for yourself, only one will succeed on average; if you start a diet and stop drinking for New Years you’ll either be eating a doughnut or drinking a six-pack on February 1st. Maybe even both. The rate of success also becomes worse with time. After two years only 19% still followed their resolutions — higher than I would’ve guessed — but still dismal. If you started a diet you most likely would’ve fucked up between a month and two years. It was a good run but in the end you still failed at your goal.

I attribute these failure to various things, but the most obvious reason I can think of is that New Year’s Day is a terrible time to try the typical shit people like to set for their resolutions. Think dieting, losing weight, exercising, starting (and maintaining) a hobby, being a “better person,” and whatever else. This is mostly because New Years occurs near the start/middle of winter and immediately after the holidays. How is this not setting up for instant failure?

Let’s say you want to exercise like maybe run a marathon or something by summer. Well, January 1st is likely cold and shitty so why would you want to force yourself outside to run when it won’t get warmer for another two months? You might be able to get out and run a mile or so, but this isn’t the situation that actually favors sticking with it. Even if you keep with the goal of training for a marathon, running a few miles every few days isn’t going to help much in the long run. It makes more sense to wait until the season improves a bit and then hitting running in a hard but sustainable way.

What about dieting? You just came from stuffing your fat face all holiday season and a week later you’re all of a sudden going to eat vegetables and fruit? Cut your calories in half in a day? It could work but it seems like the worst time ever to start an actual diet that you can stick with.

What about not drinking? The holiday season has probably been so stressful that you’ve been hang onto reality bottle by bottle but then have to cut the cord right immediately after? Good luck…especially when your first day sober is you waking up after a YOLO-final-New Year-drinking-party with a terrible hangover and craving another shot of vodka just to make the headaches, spinning, and the shaking stop for awhile.

Any sort of these motivational, self-improvement goals also have one primary thing in common: motivation. You can’t just do your goal: it takes drive, dedication, hard work, and persistence. Once again, the cold darkness that is early January isn’t conductive for any of this especially in regards to some goal you set for yourself in a make-or-break attempt to make progress. You’re putting it all on the line with a hard start date at a time where your motivation is likely total shit and waning. Pile on multiple goals and you’re left grasping for any sort of willpower you can find. And January isn’t helping any of it.

Then again maybe all of this is just a problem for me.

The Nostalgia of it All

In the end, all of this hating on the practical downsides to resolutions are nothing with the whole naive “starting over” aspect of it all. Remember when I was talking about my little journal entries on December 31st? And how every year I’d reflect on things and while I wouldn’t set hard resolutions I would try to pick a direction for the year: how to improve on things, what large ideas and goals to keep in mind, what sort of person I should be, so-on-and-so-forth, etc. It always seems so nostalgic to sit and write and dream about a whole new 365 days where you can start over and I still find myself wanting to do such a thing.

The truth is I recently went back and read some of these entries and they’re cringeworthy at best and depressing at worst. Any sort of lofty goal I’ve had like “helping the family achieve their goals,” “investing more in ETFs,” “do something with my life,” or “day-trade cryptocurrencies” have fallen totally flat on their fucking faces in the course of just a few months. Is this my fault or the fault of the entire idea of “starting over?” I don’t know, although it could be both.

Everything seems so clear from the year-ending perspective. You can see how the year has been, what your mistakes were, and what you could’ve changed. You realize how you didn’t spend the summer outdoors enough, or you didn’t garden as much as you wanted, or whatever and you regret it. But this is all in hindsight and in the actual moment you “screwed up” you never had that hindsight perspective and clarity. When you could’ve been outside gardening or biking you decided instead to sit inside and play video games, but that was your reality and you made the best choice you could at the time. It’s only by looking back you’ve seen how you “screwed up.”

Looking forward also offers this messed up vision, but this time it’s based on vague hopes for the year. While hindsight is 20/20 the future is always rosy, dream-like, and successful. Even if you fucked up in 2018, 2019 will surely be different because, well, it’s in the future and you can construct as rosy of a picture of your year as you want. Even if you end up filing for bankruptcy or losing a loved one in 2019, you don’t know this on January 1st so obviously 2019 will be a landmark year of happiness and success for you. In short, no one realizes how much of a challenge the next 365 days will be and we always imagine the best possible outcome.

Hency my newfound hatred for looking backwards/forwards during the New Year. When you look back you seen how much a struggle it has been and see all your mistakes in perfect hindsight clarity. When you look forward you see a clean slate that will probably end up as much as a struggle as the last year where you make the same stupid hindsight-obvious mistakes that you always end up making. When I’d read my past entries regarding The New Year, I always see this nostalgic vision I put forward into the past and the hope I put into the future; it never seems to arrive. Each New Year is just as bittersweet as the last — if not more — because it’s the same shit all over as it’s always been. Determination, hope, mistakes, reflection, regret. Then determination, hope, mistakes, reflecti……….

The New Year Fucking Sucks.

Giving Up Sucks: Blogging

First off let me say that I really don’t like blogging about blogging. It seems like a really cheap and easy way to get people to read your stuff, because obviously people who blog are interested in blogging so would like to read a blog about blogs. Yeah. And I also don’t like writing about “success” or “being successful” because I’m not successful so why should I be spouting shit about success when I know nothing about it? It’s like listening to financial advice from a poor person or dieting tips from someone who’s obese or anorexic. But here we are anyways. I guess what I’m trying to say is that on the path to success (which I think I’m on I guess) there’s about a million difficulties you run into and if that’s causing me so much frustration and anguish I might as well write about them. Other people are probably dealing with some of the same struggles and feelings. This is called Everything Sucks and being successful is probably the hardest thing ever, so it fits I suppose.

This post is about a blog and failure and how I suppose it’s nice to quit sometimes. This obviously don’t feel good which is why it Sucks. I started a blog in February that was about electric cars. I had purchased one about a year ago and since there are tons of misconceptions about the things I thought blogging would be a great way to enlighten the masses about how great they are. I really like my electric car because of a ton of reasons and I wanted to get that information out into the world.

I was enthusiastic about the blog; it had focus, a narrow topic, and seemingly tons of things to write about. I’ve said before Everything Sucks is a mess because it has no real “tight theme” which apparently blogs are supposed to have so I felt excited about finally have a good blog idea. You read articles about how to really blog and they usually suggested those few things. I set to work on it immediately. I made a post every two days, made sure the design looked acceptable, and even made a Facebook page for the blog. Hell, I even advertised for the blog! It took about a week for the page to have over 100 “likes” and I felt good. Things were moving along nicely.

And then I didn’t write as much for it. It wasn’t for lack of motivation either; I just couldn’t think about topics to write about. When it came down to it an electric car is nearly the same as a gas car and there’s only so much writing you can do about how efficient and cheap they are to operate. One of my premises — namely the one about having a ton to write about — was wrong apparently. There wasn’t much to write about.

You end up with two choices. You can either give up, accept failure, and move on or keep trying to make progress. It’s a choice we all make in regards to nearly anything: a difficult job, relationships, careers, and goals. This choice is made more difficult by the often-heard adage about success: it’s all due to persistence. The people who are successful don’t give up at the first sign of difficulty and if you give it you feel like shit. You’re a failure. You’re [insert goal here] is an automatic failure if you stop working on it.

What did I do? I gave up on it. Do I feel like shit? Sort of, just because it was wasted time. But strangely I don’t feel too bad about it. Even though we’re conditioned to feel like failures sometimes it’s best to realize when you don’t have a way forward and try something else. You can keep banging your head into a wall trying to make progress but sometimes that wall isn’t going to give and you need to move on. Accepting this is probably the hardest part.

I think of what Hunter S. Thompson said in a letter to his friend asking for advice:

“We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It’s not the fireman who has changed, but you. Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.”

He gives the perspective of a child who wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. Everyone wants to be something cool like that, either a firefighter or a veterinarian or an astronaut. None of us actually become these things but we don’t feel like we failed out dreams because we eventually outgrow them, or rather see the goals from a different angle, as Thompson puts it. It’s this ever-changing growth in ourselves and our ever-changing perspective on life that forces us to also make ever-changing choices regarding our goals and dreams. It’s simply not set in stone: you have to constantly figure out what it is you need to do.

I guess it’s with that perspective that I gave up on my blog. I had a good run for a few months and for once I hit it hard with tons of motivation and little procrastination: two of my biggest flaws. Eventually I found that there wasn’t much to write about and that maybe my idea wasn’t that good. I felt terrible about this at first because I had wasted so much time on the blog and I obviously felt like a failure for “giving up” but fact is fact. With my ever-changing perspective on the state and future of the blog I was able to realize that my time would be better spent elsewhere. I still learned a bunch of lessons and those won’t disappear either. So don’t feel like you’re a failure because you had to give something up. Obviously try to make progress because persistence does seem to be key, but realize when something has run its course and don’t be afraid to move on to new adventures (like trying to sell goddamn t-shirts)!

Selling T-Shirts Sucks (and Update 2.0)

This blog was started with an actual idea and a central theme: Everything Sucks. I started a shitty personal blog a few years ago just to get into blogging without any idea of what to do with it and as you can guess it was a fucking mess.

After a near meltdown a few months ago I decided to work on this blog in a dedicated manner: Everything Sucks 2.0 if you will. If you check the posts I’ve been tossing up one, two, or even three posts a week and I’ve been keeping the tempo for awhile. I feel proud of myself because I’m finally doing what I believe is the key to success: hard work and practice. Even if I don’t think the post is perfect I won’t let that stop me. It’s all about progress and success. The fun fact is I don’t know what “successful” means in the case of blogging.

I guess I’d like followers or people to read the site because duh, but besides that? I don’t really know. Let’s say I had 10,000 people who read this blog. Then what? I have no idea. Sitting back and being comfortable sounds silly as there’s always something that can be done. I still don’t know the answer to this because there’s never been a “plan”, but I’ve always thought it’d be cool to sell shirts. That’s right. T-shirts. Not as a get-rich-quick scheme or some overarching plot to make a brand for myself, but just because shirts. It’d be cool to know that others have a shirt that says “Everything Sucks” on it. It’d make me laugh. It sounds really trivial and stupid but why not?!

I finally sat my ass down and created a shirt after dreading the impending failure for a few weeks. I set a price of $15 per shirt and a goal of 20 shirts. I shared it on Facebook and and purchased myself a shirt because that’d be cool. I checked it today. Guess how many shirts I’ve sold? One. And that to myself!

Well fuck. This reaffirms what I believe success and goals are: it’s throwing yourself at something over and over until something works and weathering failure after failure. Things never work on the first, second, third, or even the 75th try; they only work when you blindly toss yourself at something over and over again you find that magical formula. I never really expected to sell any shirts the first time but once you finally decide on a course of action you get your hopes up a bit. Failure Sucks but it isn’t game-breaking although it sure doesn’t feel good.

I shouldn’t be so hard on myself though because I got off my ass and tried it. No one can fault you for that. I did think of making a t-shirt “business” on Facebook to spam ads targeted locally. Maybe shirts that are themed off my hometown? Hell, I might be able to sell tons of t-shirts that way. This initial experiment might be the beginning of something new.

If you want to buy a shirt, feel free to click right here. I’m pretty proud of them and they’re available in like 5 or so colors (but not grey 😡 ). But if not it’s no big deal because I wasn’t expecting to sell any in the first place. Selling T-shirts Sucks.