Things That Made Me Smile This Year

Everyone has their best of lists, favorites lists, etc, and frankly I haven’t played enough games or seen enough movies to make a 10 best list; instead this is a buffet (since no one says smorgrasbord anymore) of things that made me smile.

13th Star – Fish

This got a deluxe early release in September of last year, but didn’t have its US release until February of this year, so I’m putting it in. A remerkable album, filled with passion, soul and some cowbell on a couple of tracks. At a lean 55 minutes over 10 tracks, Fish creates some of his best music and insightful lyrics ever. Pretty damn impressive given his solo work and time with Marillion. In light of recent events he blogged about with his throat problems, it’s only all the more impressive.

The Dark Knight

One of the few movies I saw this year-at an IMAX theater no less, it lost none of its excitement or thrills for me as I watched it again on DVD. With such strong performances from Heath Ledger and Gary Oldman, Batman as played by Christian Bale, is overshadowed. The action is nonstop, the music is some of the best I’ve heard in a long time, and well, it had me on the edge of my seat for the whole movie.


Yes, I know this is a summer movie from ’07 but I only saw it this year. Its go for broke raunchiness is tempered by an ending that had me a bit choked up. Michael Cera, a favorite from Arrested Development, Cera has the comedic acting chops to be around for a long, long time.

Secret Millionaire

This one is a bit of a guilty pleasure. Fox’s new reality show, allows a millionaire to pose as someone poor in order to look for people to help. It’s about as shallow and contrived as one can get, but I swear, when they break the checks out at the end, the look on people’s faces is worth the 50 minutes of cringe inducing moments.

World of Warcraft/Wrath of the Lich King

Anyone who’s read my blog,  by now knows my love (indeed obsession, perhaps), for the game. It’s brought me hours of joy, diversion and excitement in ways I could have never imagined. Oh, I know it’s only a video game, but there’s something that happens once you log in…you lose yourself in it the way you do in a great novel or movie. And as much as I loved WoW when I first started playing in April, I have come to adore it even more with the expansion. Brilliant game.

Rusty, Cussedness, ETT

And most everyone else who details the exploits of the nitwits. If I listed everyone I’d have a list as long as Nikita’s problems, so don’t feel excluded.

Death in Common

I still have a smile from this one. The first published appearance of my work as a writer. What’s not to smile about?


And finally no list of things which make me smile would be complete without my cat Odetta. She keeps me going, and is the only anchor I sometimes feel I’ve got to this life. For almost 5 years now, this furry little friend has been my constant companion, and life wouldn’t be the same without her.


So, now you know what made me smile this year,  what about you? What made you smile this year?

A Tale of Two Kitties

What do Polish game developers and my job have in common? They both collided this morning to create one of the worst mornings I’ve had in a long time.  The week was ending on a sour note to begin with. I’d been passed over for a promotion at work, had my schedule changed to something more inconvenient and just generally in a bit of a funk. 

But Rain, what about Polish game developers? I hear you ask. Well today was the release date for a major update for the PC RPG The Witcher. It included a ton of updates, and extra content that they were giving to the original owners of the game (as well as selling in a special edition in stores). Since I was off today (after being asked to switch my shift today for Saturday) I figured I’d get up, start the d/l of the 2 gig update and run errands, while it was being downloaded. The problem is just about every other person who owns the game thought the same thing and there were a lot of problems with the servers. I restarted a stalled d/l for the fourth time in an hour, when I heard this horrendous screeching followed by a thump at my front door. I set my laptop down, opened the door and had a really pissed off, and hackles raised stray run in through my legs quickly followed by his/her attacker. Detta, my cat, is very territorial. One time I was feeding some of the strays, and when I put food out one night she ran out and chased them away. that was the one and only time she ever went out, as she’s an indoor kitty. Well I had a cat fight going on in my living room, with my cat hissing and getting agitated. I went to grab Detta to get her out of harms way when she slipped through my hands and pounced on one of the others. I tried grabbing her again and one of the others began scratching and clawing at me, getting some good ones in on my arms. The other cat, was on it’s back defending itself from my tough gal. I stepped away quickly wondering what the hell I was going to do and an idea came to me. I grabbed my dust buster vacuum and turned it on, and chased the two intruders away from my cat. I scooped her up and got her into the bathroom to lock her in while I got rid of the others. Well, this didn’t sit well with her, as she began scratching at the door, and yowling. I went back to the living room, opened the front door and had to chase each cat out from hiding places. Apparently the vaccum caused a cease fire to find hiding places. It took me almost half an hour to get them out. 

Detta had stopped scratching as fiercely as she had, and I went to let her out when I saw a small pool of blood on the floor, and droplets of blood along the bathtub. I picked her up and saw her belly had blood all over an  area about 3-4 inches. As luck would have it, there’s an animal hospital/veterinary clinic, about a block from my apt. I was able to get her in the pet carrier and took her down there. All this and it was barely 730 AM. 

After waiting almost an hour with an increasingly irritated cat, I finally got in to see the vet, who stitched her up. 225 bucks later I was getting ready to leave when the vet told me I should go see my doctor for the scratches I got from the other cats. I got her home, called my primary care physician and was told to come in immediately. One co payment and a tetanus shot later, I’m finally home, exhausted, sore and feeling like hell.

And the d/l stalled again. 

I think it’s time for a nap.