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      After the recent release of “Alice: Madness Returns,” I  picked up a copy. With each copy, console gamers also got a free download of  the original “American McGee’s Alice.” Before playing the new Alice, I had to  go back and beat the original again. While many things were just as I had  remembered, I’m glad […]
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      One of my favorite games of all time is Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2. When I heard they were making a new one, I was super excited, but also somewhat skeptical. So a few months ago, I picked up a copy of Donkey Kong Country Returns to try out the new game. My fiancee also joined […]
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       (Warning: some spoilers) When they decided to turn this Canadian comic into a movie, I’m not sure they were aware of what a cult smash hit this would be. Topping the charts for Blu-rays on the first day it was released on home video, it’s also been on several top ten lists. It appeals to […]
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Skittles’ Story

DSCF1806My own cat’s story is just as surprising. I originally had my eye on a small long-haired kitten at the shelter, but she got adopted by a very nice lady at the shelter before I had a chance to adopt her (the kitten, I am told, grew into a serious lap and neck cat). I chose a slightly older tortoiseshell kitten named Stacy.

DSCF2616Shortly after I re-named her Skittles and brought her home with me, there was an FIP epidemic at the kitten wing in the shelter. The majority of the cats in Skittles’ litter passed away because of being in such close quarters with a highly contagious disease. Luckily Skittles was only a carrier for the disease and she never developed symptoms for it. If she had remained in the shelter, which as an older kitten was likely, she almost certainly would have died. I knew I had made the right decision. Just like with Matilda, we had saved the stray from Barker Field simply by giving her a loving home.

I can’t remember when I knew I had picked the perfect cat for me. I enjoyed her playfulness, her cat-like penchant for hiding in things like boxes, plants, and blankets. I loved her cuddliness, how she would sleep by me at night, purring loudly, or try to curl up in my lap when I sat in bed. I loved how she got kind of pudgy and started calling her my squishy muffin.

DSCF2671Last year, when she was only middle-aged in cat years, her kidneys started failing. It was not improbable given her unknown genetics, but it caused my fattie to slowly lose weight, lose the healthy sheen to her fur and the elasticity to her skin, and her energy to decline. The vet gave my parents some medicine, pills to keep up her appetite, and fluid to inject into her several times a week.  Few families would do that much for a seriously sick cat.  I was away at college, so sadly I couldn’t really do much to help, except on vacations. In March, her condition severely declined, and I went home to say goodbye to my kitty. That was the saddest day of my life.

Skittles' final resting place in our Kitty Garden.

My mom says animals like to do this to us, to cause us to cry, but it’s our own fault for caring so much. So to all those people who say they don’t want an animal because they can’t handle the pain of losing them, I say what a bunch of sissies! Why do anything if you’ll be sad when it’s done? That’s like saying why make friends because you might lose them, or why date someone because they might leave.

The more strongly you feel about something, the more you know what is really meaningful, what matters to you, what is worth getting up for in the morning. Just because you’re sad doesn’t mean the experience wasn’t worth it. I still miss her, but I have no regrets about choosing Skittles, and I am looking forward to the next cat who chooses me. I might have had more time with another cat, and I might not have had to be so sad so soon. But she would have died in the shelter, and I loved the time we did have. I’m glad I got to spend 9 years with my squishy, purring, loving, playful Skittles.


Matilda’s Story

Dad's checking this foster kitty for fleas.

Dad's checking this foster kitty for fleas.

Animals were just a part of my everyday life growing up. We always had cats, dogs, and hamsters, in a mixture of family, individual, and foster pets. I never imagined some people grew up without having animals all over the house; I felt kind of sorry for them, because they missed out on so much.

When I was in second grade, I got to choose my first pet. I picked out a little dwarf hamster (Hamsteina—how creative). She made the drive with us when we moved from Michigan to South Carolina, and was the first in a series of hamsters and the beginning of a kid’s obsession with rodents.

What an ugly mutt!

What an ugly mutt!

In 2000, my sister and I got to choose our first big pets. We had proven our responsibility, so our parents took us to local shelters and pet stores to find the right cat for me and the right dog for her. There was one pet store we visited where an employee was walking a Heinz 57 terrier mix puppy outside. I didn’t end up finding a cat there, but my mom asked about the puppy she had seen.

The puppy was from a local pound that euthanizes animals after usually only 3 days. This dog was given a few more days at the pet store because they thought she was adoptable, but her time was up and she was going back to the shelter that day. My mom called my sister to come and see the energetic little puppy, and with just a little time spent petting the scruffy mutt, she fell in love and decided to bring her home.

My sister and her puppy Matilda at the beach!

My sister and her puppy Matilda at the beach!

So my sister didn’t exactly get the lap dog she originally was looking for (although she does call Matilda her “Poopsie” and insist on putting her on her lap sometimes), the unwanted Ridgeland puppy found a loving home at the last minute. She is completely overprotective of her mom (my sister) and enjoys car rides to the beach every week, beating up her younger brother Eugene, and chasing after any kind of ball (we call her the Brazilian Soccer Terrier).

It’s hard to imagine she might never have made it out of that shelter, and now she is living in the lap of luxury. What a lucky dog!

Mak Ur Own Lolcats

xkcd "In ur reality"

xkcd "In ur reality"

Wanna learn how to create your own lolcats? These simple steps will soon have you on your way to participating in the cutest internet meme of the day.

Step 1: Buy a cat.

Yes, the best way to get those crazy pictures is to have your model on hand at all times. Aside from being conveniently located next to many hilarious props, like window blinds and computers, they are also known for being quite camera shy. The best lolpics will be spontaneous and come out of nowhere, like Ceiling Cat, so it helps to have a cat on you at all times. You probably have one stalking you more often than you think anyway.

Also, keep in mind, cats aren’t the only animals that can be photographed, captioned, and posted.

Step 2: Buy a camera.

A camera phone, a webcam, or a video camera work as well. Anything with the word ‘cam’ in it. Don’t forget to pretend like you’re not interested in your cat at all when you’ve got that camera out. “Young male engineers will be familiar with this game, as they often use this same technique to attract the attention of ladies.”

Step 3: Get in touch with your inner lol.

Do your research. Here are some sites to get you started: the original, cute pics of animals, and the wiki.

Step 4: I can has caption?

Lolcat’s Razor Theory states that every lolpic has a simple explanation. Did your cat jump into a box and slide halfway across the floor? She totally meant to do that. Fall into his water bowl? He was fishing. Walk in to find your cat surrounded by paper towel shreds? The paper towels must have been fighting again.

Once you have your description, make sure it’s grammatically correct in lolspeak. Fluency in lolspeak does not develop overnight, so I’ve found this handy translator.

Using these 4 simple steps, here are some of the lolcats I’ve made as examples. Nao u 2 can has lolcats!