Thursday, January 1, 2015

Top Eleven: Things I Blogged About In 2014

Another year of writing, complaining, and commending down, hopefully many more to go.

Each year I've done this blog (read: last year) I've done a year end "wrap-up" where I scour through my archives and attempt to locate the eleven articles that mean the most to me.  Maybe they're connected to an important memory, maybe they were extremely emotional to write, or maybe I just had fun writing them.

And yes, there will also be a "bottom eleven" coming as well.

But for now, let's look back at the articles I'm the most proud of from the past year.

The last time I can remember being in a newspaper, I was in the Boy Scouts of America.  I had sold the most popcorn in my entire pack.  It's not necessarily something I'm dramatically proud of, but my picture was a pretty good size.  Sure, it was a staged photo of me walking down a street, but hey, I was in the paper.

But having this article published, as I wrote it, was a great moment for me.  The fact that people then responded to it through email and word of mouth in a positive way let me feel a genuine sense of pride.  People read what I had to say, understood it, and enjoyed it.  People who were well-read and educated gave me encouragement and said they agreed with me.  It could easily be my best moment.
Number 10:   Welcome To Night Vale

If I had to pick my favorite thing I discovered in the past year, the podcast Welcome To Night Vale would be near the top of that list.  The sense of humor, the drama, and the pacing all make me want to be a better writer and storyteller, and going back and listening again has helped me figure out some structure problems that some of my earlier posts suffered from.

 Number 9:  Ask Erik: Episode 50

I just like this article.  I was able to share some personal stuff, be clever, and tell a few jokes at the same time.  Looking back through all the articles I wrote, I'm really tempted to bring Ask Erik back.

 If my response to Bill Green got the most "professional" responses, this one got the most "social" responses, with people telling me how much fun they had reading it and how often they shared it with other people.  Even looking back at it now, there's about a dozen jokes I feel I could've used that would be just as good as the ones I put down.

Number 7:  The Cat Posts

Out of everything I wrote in the past year, these three posts (grouped as one for the sake of this list) are three of the most personal.  Anybody who has ever lost a pet knows how devastating it is to be left in such an emotional state.  The sense of helplessness because you believe that a small, delicate member of the family is hoping you'll make it all better can take hold deep inside you and refuse to let go if you let it.  With Yami I found myself constantly questioning my actions for a couple of weeks afterwards.  "Was it something I did that made him sick?  Did he eat something that caused a sickness that caused the growth?  What if I had taken him to the vet sooner when he first started to get the sniffles?  Should I have recognized it wasn't a cold like he had gotten so many times before?"

Going down that road leads only to sorrow and madness and guilt you don't deserve.

Number 6:  The Evolution Of Man Post

Looking back at some of these Ask Eriks, I keep feeling like I need to get back into doing them on a semi-regular basis.  This is one I actually really liked doing, if only because I really, really enjoyed the research I had to invest to make sure I got my facts right.  I also really think I was able to explain things in my own voice, and while I would've loved to go deeper into certain details, it also was educational in my learning about how to cut information that just padded out the article and was unnecessary to answer the question on hand.

Number 5:  The Dead or Alive movie review (Part One and Part Two)

Sometimes my posts wind up surprising me.  I'll go into a project expecting to be completely blown away, just to have my expectations be at such high levels that there's no chance of anything ever meeting them, or I'll go into a project fully expecting it to be as enjoyable as having my organs surgically removed while I'm awake so they can be sorted into alphabetical order, just to find myself going "okay, it wasn't that bad..."

Then there's the Dead Or Alive movie, which might be the most fun I've had watching a movie without three comedians making jokes through the whole thing this whole year.  If I had to pick the five best movies I saw this year, you'd probably have Guardians of the Galaxy, The Impossible, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Monsters, and....then I'd be sorely tempted to slide Dead or Alive into that last spot if only because so few movies have me smiling so hugely that the top of my head threatens to fall off. 

Number 4:  I Still Say Luigi Is Better Than Mario

I still think Luigi is better than Mario.  However I'm mostly putting this because I love the reply the post got.  I never knew some people were so passionate about Mario (that's a lie, I fully knew people loved the character).  However, that single reply alone has me working on another "Luigi rocks, Mario sucks" post.

Number 3: Cosmos

I'm still just excited this show did as well as it did.  The fact that a program about learning, science, and understanding the basics of how and why the universe is what it is can be such a hit on basic cable gives me a bit of hope for the future in a world where reality television about people that, quite frankly, nobody should care at all about seems to be the norm.

Number 2:  My Top Eleven Of 2013

Because even the Emmys are allowed to have the Emmys nominated in the following year.

Number 1:  My Halloween Wrap-Up

Actually, I'm rather proud of my entire Halloween Month, but the fact that someone was able to point me out to the Terrorvision episode that terrified me when I was young made the whole thing worthwhile.

So that's my top eleven of 2014 (again, in no particular order).  I'm going to set up a New Year's Resolution here:  I vow to do better with posts.  There are certain months where I didn't post more into the double digits that month, and while I'm not sure the sudden disappearance of this blog would affect anybody else, it still means a lot to me to be able to get my thoughts, ideas, and opinions down in a digital format.

There are some things I enjoyed writing about but didn't think deserved to be on this list.  My look back at some of my favorite video games and animated series, my video game pitch based off a game entirely focused no driving vehicles through mud, watching some really bizarre Japanese movies, there were lots of little things that I look back at with fondness.

Of course, there's also things I look back at and wish I had never done, experienced, or talked about.  That'll be tomorrow's Bottom Eleven list.

I'm dreading that trip down memory lane.

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