Pictures of My Life Pt. 2

The stories so far have been generally positive, not because life was always great, but because I don’t really want to write about sad things that happened in my childhood. The more recent misadventures at least have some sort of lesson to be learned.

Growing up, my sister and I played on a trampoline a lot. We made up several games and played out several stories. We basically LARPed, except we were children, so it was just called playing pretend. In this photo, we see the trampoline after a tornado yeeted it off a cliff.

This is remarkable only for being one of my earliest photo edits.

I was born in March 1995. Pokemon came out in September 1995. I missed the early years of Pokemon’s cultural explosion due to infancy. In first grade, other children played with the cards, so of course I wanted some. We had no understanding of how to actually play the game, and despite my reading the rules and trying to show others how to play, the norm remained only the HP and damage values mattered and the winner got to take the loser’s card. Trainers and energy cards had no use. It’s little wonder I took more to the trading side of the trading card game. Later a friend let me borrow Pokemon Silver and I was hooked. I trained my Feraligatr to level 100 and nothing else past 32. Years later I went back and beat Red. I stopped playing when it became uncool in third grade, but in sixth grade I stopped caring and had fun again.

This was my computer. It dual booted Ubuntu and Windows XP. I wrote two novellas and played a lot of The Sims 2 on it. You can also see my MP3 player on the desk and a Spongebob mousepad. I’m not sure what the point of a wireless keyboard was except to waste batteries. The paper tacked to the wall is a map for a story I was writing.

I’ve always liked jawbreakers. This is one of the rather big ones, which should be apparent given how it’s almost the size of my hand. I’m pretty sure this is from Albanese Candy Factory. The ones with a stick are better because this quickly becomes a sticky mess with no easy way to hold.

Uplink is a fun hacker-themed computer game. Most of the missions involved using password crackers and file editors while keeping an eye on the tracker. Then you had to go back to the computers you bounced your connection off of to delete the logs so they can’t trace the hacking back to you. Based more on movie tropes than reality.

This was the cover of my binder in eighth grade. The inside was a bunch of pictures I drew with words. They’d be called memes today, but they were on paper and before internet memes really took off.

Marching band started the summer before high school. I played the sousaphone. There’s a lot I could say about it; band was a huge part of my life for a few years. One thing that really sticks out in my mind is the confidence I gained from marching band. Since we were standing somewhat far apart and also outside, we weren’t able to hear each other very well, especially not over our own instruments. So you have to trust yourself to be playing correctly and stick to the drum major’s conducting.

Pictures designed to tag a lot of people were popular on Facebook for awhile. Also, this is about the point in the story when Facebook got popular, so the frequency of photos increased rapidly. This particular picture is pretty kind, so the comments were mostly just appreciation for the compliments. Some of these were definitely used to start drama, though.

This was my inverted version of the above tagging image. I didn’t actually tag people for this one, since they’re all kinda mean. This is the first social media meme I made fun of, I believe.

Penguins were also popular in 2009. You can imagine how some of these would elicit more interesting responses than the first one.

Each year of middle school I did what I think was called Academic Super Bowl. Each subject had its own team. While I was a shoe-in for the math team every year, I’m not sure why I joined some of the others, like history, since I put no effort into learning the material. I always tried to do as much as I could, though, so of course I did.

These were two of my best friends in sixth grade. We were the most skilled with computers, and probably the geekiest students in our grade. This was in the math classroom.

In the winter, marching band ended and pep band began. That is, we played for the basketball team instead of the football team. It was also ran entirely by students, so we got up to many more shenanigans.

We went out for food after the games usually. Steak n Shake was a popular option, being cheap and open late. The clarinet player pictured above was a very close friend for the first couple years of high school. I think she teaches band now.

I saw my first metal concert on September 30, 2009. DragonForce headlined, supported by Sonata Arctica and opened by Taking Dawn. I listened to DragonForce as often as I could at the time, usually just playing their four albums released at the time over and over.

I decided to just make an entirely custom tagging image. I put an image for anyone I could think of a relevant image for.

I’ve always liked exploring and finding shortcuts. One day after school I tried to cut through the woods behind the school and got very lost. This was before phones had maps, so I had to just wander until I was out. This was a very convenient shortcut.

At some point in ninth grade I started drawing on myself a little. Then my friends joined in and soon enough it escalated into a problem. It was fun while it lasted.

This is a picture of my first date. It went fairly well, but it ended via text because I wouldn’t go far enough physically. We never kissed, but I did learn to cuddle. I also was averaging 30,000 text messages per month.

There used to be a store in downtown Valpo called The Buck Stop. Everything was a dollar, and they had some decent items. It usually looked a bit messy, and some of the items seemed to sit on the racks forever. A lot of items were clearly mistakes bought at a discount. They were a great place to buy a soda for fifty cents instead of a few dollars at the Papa John’s down the block.

This is Mewthree. I originally made it in June 2010 and posted it to Facebook. It’s power is maximum.

One of my Key Club friends threw a birthday party in the summer. Pictured is us sitting around some burning furniture. The most exciting part of a bonfire after all is watching the fire consume a piece of furniture. The earlier part of the party was tense for me because my friend was depressed and texting me. Also, there was a bounce house. Originally it was set up for a children’s game, but the teenage party goers turned it into a mosh pit. One guy was wearing large boots, which I suspect played a role in the bounce house deflating. I alternated sending texts to my friend and bouncing.

This is Cat. I named him. Originally he was found in Ogden Dunes with a collar and no claws. We found the original owners, but they didn’t want him anymore, so we kept him. He was remarkably unintelligent, as demonstrated here by his being trapped in a sliding glass door.

I spent a lot of time with Soren and Daniel the summer after ninth grade. We went to the bowling alley a lot since they had an unlimited frames for two hours deal on Fridays. I found a glitch that caused the pins to reset in the middle of each frame, causing chaotic scores. We also had contests like who could throw the ball the fastest, the slowest, and the closest to exactly 10.0. I’m not sure of the units; the screen just said 10.0.

This photo was taken in Target with my sister, her friend, and my mom. Going to Target with my mom and sister was a pretty common activity, especially in the summer. We still do it when we’re all in town at the same time.

Most years we went to the county fair. I collected an odd amount of corporate swag for a child from the expo center. I dreaded seeing and smelling the animals, until high school when I began to like animals. In grade school, the library had a program to get a free wristband to ride the rides. After those years ended, we would wait outside the fairgrounds and ask people leaving for their wristbands. In this picture you can see the cuisine on offer during this annual event with a large food focus.

Cat is long. I liked demonstrating. I also liked doing Spidercat with him.

I picked up trombone in ninth grade on my quest to learn every instrument. It got me a lot of parts in jazz band, usually on bass trombone.

We played a lot of hearts in the summer of 2010. Enough that I shot the sun, a remarkably unlikely event. All of us could keep track of exactly which cards had been played, so nobody’s strategy could rely on superior knowledge of the deck.

I’ve always loved sour candies. This is the first one I noticed had a warning label. It said not to eat more than one at a time, so I tried eating four at once. It was pretty good, though I was disappointed as I had expected something more sour from this candy with a warning label. I’ve noticed most candies with malic or tartaric acid have a warning now, though.

In tenth grade, I was band property. I’m not sure why the term “property” is used, but it basically consisted of volunteering to help with whatever the band needs. This was at the start of the year. I was assigned to distribute hats for two days. The first day was with Andrew. I remember calling him the most boring person I’d ever met. In retrospect, I was probably just too anxious to start a conversation, which would be why I played The Sims 2 for a lot of that day. The second day Daniel was on hat duty with me. We played Risk and Twister, and insisted some freshmen win a game of Twister to receive their hats. My hat is backwards in this picture because I’m being silly.

Part 3

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