Throwing a Pigskin

How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?… Yeah… Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we would’ve been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind.

-Uncle Rico, Napoleon Dynamite

I was never really good at football. By that I mean my mom was a little protective and I never got to play. I really don’t mind, football is a dangerous sport anyways.

This blog post isn’t about football though, this blog post is about regret and denial.

I know, I know. Maxwell you said this wasn’t going to be a lifestyle blog. Maxwell I thought you were going to do more music reviews. Maxwell, why don’t you talk about games or math or something.

I am going to live in denial a little bit and say that this post is really a character analysis more than it is a lifestyle commentary, although you can expect it to devolve into some form of rant. The character I am partially analyzing is Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite.

Image result for uncle rico

If you haven’t seen Napoleon Dynamite shame on you I understand. It is a strange movie where it doesn’t really feel like there is a solid plot and every character is a caricature of an actual human.

Uncle Rico is the uncle to the main character Napoleon. That’s about it. He really doesn’t have much going for him. He is the caricature of regret and denial.

Although a grown man, Uncle Rico constantly references high school and how his coach didn’t put him in during state football championships. Most of his screen time is taken up by watching him record himself throwing footballs, aimlessly.

One of the scenes depicts him trying to use a (fake) time machine, so he can go back in time and correct the mistakes of the past.

His character is the epitome of denial, spending all of his present time wallowing, believing he should have earned something that is now long gone and out of reach.

Do not be like Uncle Rico.

If you don’t play football, you are halfway there.

I’m just kidding though, everyone probably has dealt with denial or regret. Everyone’s life is littered with mistakes, good days, bad days, alright days and so on and so forth. It is easy to get bogged down by a bad day and then caught up in a fond memory and think that you were so much better off then. The fact is you are selecting data and creating bad math.

And here is where I start talking about math.

First off, as humans we have an innate ability to see patterns and analyze things. I don’t mean we do it well, honestly we are pretty terrible at it. Optical illusions play on our brain’s desire to see patterns, and people still assume that 939578991 is more random than 123456789.

Now here is what you need to know about life and then about statistics.

No matter how hard you try you are going to have a bad day, if your life is amazing and awesome in every way you are still going to have bad moments, and still going to have regrets about your life.

On the flipside though, no matter how terrible and depressing your life is you are still going to at least have a couple of good moments.

The fact is that no matter how much you don’t like statistics, your life is a scatterplot. The ultimate goal in life is to be an upward trending scatterplot, kind of like the one below.

scatter plot showing strong positive linear correlation

The Y-axis would be your overall self-satisfaction.
The X-axis is time (how classic).
The line not only is the average but what you believe the satisfaction you should be getting out of your day is.

People that get too stuck in the past have a graph that looks like this.

Notice that it putters out.

If you get too attached to a memory and find yourself saying that those were the glory days, that you no longer can be as good as you were, that you PEAKED, then this is probably what your life is like. You never actually get back to that level of self-satisfaction because you are now comparing your entire life to a single event.

The best way to remedy this is by first coming to the realization that you did not in fact peak. If you are life-ing properly you should peak when you die.

You are going to have good memories and they will define you.
You are going to have bad memories and they will define you.
The important part is that they aren’t unreachable.

If you live your life saying that you can never reach the pit that is your worst memory, then the rug could slip out from under and you could make the same mistake.

If you live your life saying that you can never reach the heaven that is your best memory, then I guarantee right now that you never will.

Your good memories should be motivation for how great your life can be. You should stop at nothing to the consistently reach the level of satisfaction of those memories. You can never relive those memories but you can make new memories that are just as great if not better.

Your bad memories should be there to motivate you to do better. Realistically, no matter how motivated or talented or happy or complete you are there will always be a bad day every now and then. The point of your bad memories is to minimize these bad days and the problems that they cause. You can’t fix them because they have passed, but you can learn from them.

All in all, the past is the past and we can’t ever reach it again, so use it as a lesson and then move on. The only part your present self can effect is your future self, and the only part your future self can thank is your past self.

Maximum Endeavors Reached

When I made this blog it was during a time where my school life was winding down and summer was beginning. So during Summer I was capable of releasing pretty decent content weekly and then stream video games. With all of that time I was also able to expand the endeavors I could do. Here is the semi-sweet news:

I don’t have enough time to expand, for now.

When the school year started I took all of my weekly goals down a heavy notch. And then I failed to accomplish all of them. So I tried harder, and I still failed.

Without a doubt though I have gotten more efficient. I am planning out my weeks exceedingly well, I am getting closer at accomplishing my weekly goals, and I am getting my studies finished faster. Beyond that my life is getting way more active, I am participating in events all over campus and hanging out with a lot more people.

So the problem isn’t that I am shirking my weekly goals to play videogames (trust me, I would be playing Metroid: Samus Returns right now if that were the case). The problem is that my life has gotten much busier, which is why I haven’t been able to stream or become more active in my endeavors.

The good news is that more content will be coming in the weeks to come. Here is my reasoning:

  1. Next week is Xylo-A-Day’s Zelda theme week. If you don’t know, that means that every day starting Sunday I am going to posting a Zelda themed video every day for an entire week. It will be awesome so you should check it out.
  2. These next two weeks are just particularly stressful on my life, I have a major test coming up and some career opportunities I need to go for, so a lot of my focus is on that. Also theme week recording.
  3. I am only going to be more efficient at time management. Two weeks of experience in getting things done will only prove to help me get things done faster.
  4. Hopefully after this is all over then I will probably be able to start a new endeavor, which will be really refreshing to start something new.
  5. Oh did I say that theme week is next week.

All in all I don’t really know what else to say, when I made this blog I just said that it would be documentation for my life and at the very least I intend to keep that promise.

My life is only getting better and so hopefully the content of the blog will be able to reflect that progression.

Smash Mouth and Metroid

Sometime around 2004 my brother and I were playing Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.

To de-rail the conversation if you aren’t familiar: the Metroid series follows the exploits of intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran. It was a 2d action shooting platformer game that has a large map and elaborate tunnel systems. In 2002 Metroid Prime was released on Gamecube, shifting the 2d platformer into the third dimension.

So it is sometime around 2004 and I’m still a young boy. My brother decided that the sound track to Metroid Prime 2 wasn’t amazing enough, so he played Smash Mouth in the background while he played the game. The reason I remember this is because this was the first time I ever thought of playing a game with different music in the background. And thus begins my weird trail of associations.

Every now and then my friends and I will be chilling in the living room and we will be talking about a game or talking about some music and one will remind me of the other. It usually doesn’t make sense either. This will then be followed by a guessing game that I make my friends reluctantly play (am I a great friend or what?).

To name some of them:

Metroid Prime and Smash Mouth. As the title says anytime I listen to Smash Mouth I won’t deny that I have an itch to play Metroid. Same works in reverse, Metroid is way more fun to play when you are blasting All-Star in the background. Safe to say this Friday when Metroid: Samus Returns is released, I’ll probably be playing it to the tune of Walkin’ on the Sun.

Killing Floor and Comedy. Killing Floor is a wave based monster survival game. It involves gore and lots and lots of monsters. It is also grotesque and a little frightening. In contrast it is very rewarding to shred through armies of the bloodthirsty while also listening to Demetri Martin talk about sweater vests.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band + Magical Mystery Tour. By far one of my favorite games, Twilight Princess is an installment in the Legend of Zelda series. It follows Link (or whatever you want to name the hero) as he has to defeat the forces of evil and also transform into a wolf. This one is the simplest explanation, I liked the Beatles and one Christmas I got Twilight Princess and two Beatles CD’s. I have vivid memories of being stuck for hours trying to figure out how to thaw Zora’s domain while also listening to Your Mother Should Know.

I can’t think of any more off the top of my head right now, but if I remember a really good one I’ll probably update this post.