What do you do when nothing goes your way?
For example, let’s say you spent 8 years on a PhD thesis that ultimately failed, then I guess you would be massively disappointed. The psychological effects of this un-achievement on you would be extremely interesting: What have I done with my life? Who is to blame? Can I do anything right?
However, as someone who has had this incredibly specific situation happen to him, I can happily report that none of these questions are really bothering me. The only thing that really keeps going through my mind is “Thank god that’s over!”
Believe it or not but it feels good to not care about anything ‘important’ for the first time in maybe forever. I feel like I’m living on a whim and can do whatever I want whenever without the burden of submitting that damn thesis again on my mind.
Sure, of course it would have been better to be moving on with that doctorate and becoming an eccentric yet respected member of an English department in (most likely) some rural area, getting paid and having a clear path in life.
But that didn’t and isn’t going to ever happen, so after a few months of recuperation I think it’s time to make some new goals. Not responsible financial goals or potential career opportunities but new achievements that I have dubbed: the Quests of a Directionless Loser!
I plan to embark on the four quests I’m about to describe for the foreseeable future and I urge anyone reading this who is currently leading a life of similar despair to take up their own cause and kamikaze it right into the ground. It might make you feel better.
Quest #1 – Exercise for all the wrong reasons.
You know what always looks cool to me… training montages!
Whether it’s Floyd Mayweather, Brock Lesnar, Rocky or Footloose, there is nothing cooler than videos set to badass music showing someone training for a big event.
Rocky and Drago are training here obviously because they are going to box each other, but the video of them training is maybe (dare I say) actually better than the fight (and the fight was pretty damn awesome, so that’s high praise).
What I’m going to do is reverse the whole process and train for the next few months just so that I can film myself in a training montage video.
I’ll run, bike, lift weights, skip rope, stretch, shadow box, lift heavy crates in the street, whatever it takes to find just the right activities that I can do that will make me look the coolest in a video of my own production. If you stay tuned long enough, you will see that video right here!
Maybe I’ll get into better shape, maybe not, but if I’ve learned one thing while unsuccessfully working on that PhD it’s that hard work and dedication don’t mean anything, so if the actual results I’m looking for are just the record of attempting to get results and not actual results, then maybe in some backwards way I might get some kind of positive result. Make sense??
Quest #2 – Play a game for the points, not the victory!
In the examination of my PhD I was merely a few points away from marginally passing, which is funny (sad) because there are probably tons of academic doctors out there today who passed with a near perfect score. Dr. Loser was this close to being considered at their level without needing as high a score. Burn on them!
Unlike a video game though, I don’t have an infinite number of chances to keep attempting that PhD, so I’ll never get that score that I needed to pass. What I can do though is transfer those unfulfilled feelings onto something I can do as many times as I want… Angry Birds!
Although it may no longer be the hippest iOS game to be playing in 2014, I am still a massive fan of the Angry Birds franchise. Recently I’ve been reviewing the state of my level completion in the various iterations of the game and there are still a few that I need to finish, in particular the final level of the Angry Birds Star Wars game (based on the original trilogy, not Angry Birds Star Wars II based on the prequel movies). I’d been intentionally sitting on those levels since I didn’t want to ruin my enjoyment while still caught up in all the PhD drama and now that that’s all out of the way I can finally destroy that Pig Darth Vader and his crazy half-finished Death Star.
For those unaware, the object of your basic Angry Birds game is to shoot birds from a catapult into little areas full of structures and these creepy little pig characters. If you knock over all the pig characters then you will beat the level and get at least 1 out of a 3 possible stars. The more structures you knock down and destroy in the process determines the higher your score. Each level has a mysteriously arbitrary score you must exceed in order to gain a new star, so sometimes it can be very frustrating as you blindly push forward trying to destroy more things in hopes of earning one more star.
However, after you’ve crossed that limit and earned those 3-stars you can still go even higher! There is no cap to the score you can achieve. So lots of game nerds push it for the international glory of having the highest possible score as tracked online through the iOS Game Center or websites such as AngryBirdsNest.
I know I can get 3-stars on every level, so my goal with this final level on Angry Birds Star Wars is to try and get the highest scores in the world on each individual level.
I will watch every tutorial video on Youtube and scour all the tip blogs online until my name is solidified somewhere online as having the highest legitimate score on some of these damn levels!
For every Michael Jordan and Bill Russell there is a Kobe Bryant or Wilt Chamberlain, and now a Dr. Loser. Winning doesn’t just have to be for the thrill of victory, getting the most points can mean something too!
Quest #3 – Subjectively rank the things that you cherish in life.
You know how easy it is to make lists of your favourite movies or TV shows. Anyone can do that, it’s rookie stuff. However, listing your favourite albums is the true test of a geek loser’s powers.
Maybe you’d find it simple enough to rank your favourite songs or musicians, but listing your favourite albums takes patience. It requires more than just memory or a quick Youtube search, reviewing the greatest full length albums of all time requires long sessions of listening, re-listening, comparing, contemplating, balancing, dancing, math, throwing things, air-drumming… I don’t know, but I figure it’s hard because it’s the one list that’s eluded and confused me for so long now!
Well, that will stand as an obstacle no longer… I will rank my Top 30 Favourite Albums of All-Time!
There are so many odd factors to take into account. If there is one incredible song but the rest are only good-to-average, how does that rank? Does the album produce a flow that tells some kind of aural story, or is it just a collection of great songs, and does this matter? Where does this album fall into the history of music, the chronology of the artist, the era when you discovered it? And don’t forget the artwork, this matters too!
Since probably in about 20 years the term ‘album’ will not even be used to describe music anymore, this is my chance solidify my status as an ageing and grumpy old jerk who thinks he knows better than that stupid younger generation.
Quest #4 – Watch TV based on quantity not quality.
Hey look, there are few joys left in life for me and watching great TV is about as good as it gets right now.
So why scale that back, or why even be more selective? I think I should watch more than ever! I want to watch TV until my eyes bleed like some kind of stooge in a Greek myth getting his comeuppance, I want my ass to be so sore from sitting in one place that it will envy the butt of some pretty boy prison newbie, and I want my head to ache from as much radiation and discombobulation as a nuclear power plant employee trying to hold things together during a meltdown.
Of course I will keep up with my regular slate of TV shows, and then add in marathons of shows that I’ve been trying to catch up on like Revenge and Justified, or have been recommended to me like House of Cards and Peaky Blinders, or that I seriously need to watch again like Avatar the Last Airbender and Star Wars Clone Wars. And that’s not including all the wrestling I can always easily watch.
Hell, if I actually find the time to write this blog then I know that I’m doing something wrong!
So stay tuned friends, I will “try” to keep you regularly updated on my progress towards completing these quests.
Or, much like with the way I worked on my thesis, I might have to just procrastinate until it all just falls apart. Since these are all the things I did instead of studying for the past 8 years, what does that mean I could now be doing instead of these quests: academic study?
One thing I do know for sure, if you thought this stuff is stupid crazy then my next blog post is going to blow your mind!