Long ago, the site newgrounds that, I used to goto a lot, but have been checking again now and then, held a contest to promote the site at your college. And I did so. Sadly the page the showed the contest winners no longer exists because of so much that’s changed in the last 15+ years. But do have access to this photo of me as Pico from the game Pico’s School.

I got second place in the contest but you know what, after seeing what the guy that got first place did, I was totally ok with that because I think he deserved it. He made large costume of a character/user known as Strawberry Clock, of the Clock Crew. I remember he posted about how it was very hot in the costume and during that day someone gave him some water, which likely saved him.

Now it’s time for me to be a narcissist. I remember the prizes for the contest was a shirt, 10 stickers, and for 1st place $500. Second got $300 and third, $200. I remember Tom telling me that because of how crazy on photos I went he decided to also give me $500. The site newgrounds, along with this contest is likely the start of the chain reaction of me becoming a photographer.

I wasn’t exactly a happy kid, and one thing I did in high school, I remember would watch a local morning news show and the site of the day they promoted was newgrounds. It talked about all these flash movies and games other users would upload and at the time I was just learning how to use flash. After high school I signed up and would check out new content all the time, and a few times even uploaded my own crappy works. Then posting on the message board it really felt like the first time I could truly express myself.

Then I started going to Moorpark, was gifted a little point and shoot camera for my birthday and just took photos of everything that interested me, even in the slightest fashion. Then I stupidly dropped it and the shutter button came off. So after that I had to use a paper clip to start taking photos and the camera eventually died completely. Took it some place to get it fixed and the guy said it would be more cost effective if I just bought a new camera, and recommended some stores. Went to a now former Hooper location and was looking for another like mine that could use compact flash cards. The guy at the store said the only canons which use that from of media are the SLRs and put a Rebel XT in my hands. It felt completely right and said there, “I’m going to buy this.” That 500, along with some other money I had helped buy the camera.

And because I had what I thought of as this totally amazing camera (and still is a good camera), I went even more crazy and would just get everything I felt I needed too. I would go on some trips to local major events with some friends, like Chinese New Year and made this weird slide show. The journalism teacher saw it and said, “you might be useful for my class.” Then in 2007 I got to do my first convention, Anime Expo, and I had a press pass for it. I eventually met Tom at Comic Con in 2009, and even got an invite to a newgrounds after party in the area. I also remember telling him and a few other people there that I made my own version of Duck Hunt in Flash 3, which at the time didn’t have action scripting. And the only thing I can think of that was more advanced with that version was Pico’s School, made by him. I mean, it had health bars.

I also became an activist, protesting scientology, marching for black lives, and going to pride events to show support for the queer community. And I like to document my adventures so when others years on see my photos, they have some idea of what we were like, the fun with had, and the issues we fight for and against. And now recently, my sister gave me this hydro flask, and decided, I want to put a sticker on it. Before I mentioned how prize winners of the promotion contest got 10 stickers and I gave out some to buddies of mine. This is the second sticker I actually put on something myself. Took me long enough. I finally found something new I felt was worthy of such an honor.

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