There are certain songs that are forever going to be accompanied by nostalgia for me. For the rest of my life – Chris Brown’s “With You” is one of them. It hit the top of the charts over a year ago…maybe even two? Anyway, “With You” brings back memories of high school, and makes me pine for a “younger me.”
I know I sound like a grandma when I type that out, but its true! The Pryanka of two years ago was much more carefree and innocent…sometimes, I find myself missing that. I was so focused on my AP classes, my homework, my social studies outlines, my SAT scores, my SAT II scores…I was oblivious to the party scene, drinking, staying up late with friends all night in PERSON. My entire social life consisted of my equally as nerdy best friends.
And then there was the Internet.
I’ve gotten so much from there, from my Internet life. My e-personality, so to speak, has had many admirers, fans, and close friends over the years. It all started with Neopets, a game that I’ve been playing since ~2000 now. Heck, maybe even earlier than that…I was in 3rd or 4th grade when I began. Never did I expect my minor obsession to lead to such great things! I can honestly say that without Neopets, NONE of this online progression would have happened. After being unfairly iced, a “neo”friend of mine directed me to a site – http://www.slopdog.com – hinting that it had helped her get to her feet. I was skeptical but the site’s name was so amusing I had to go visit it at least once. I registered on what was obviously a cheating forum with my neopets username and then posted on the “Introductions” thread, exclaiming that I was riazah on neopets, had been unfairly iced before, and told to come here and check out the site.
I checked the link back a day later to see over 40 replies welcoming me to the site and yelling at me to get my username changed. NOW. And so Pryanka the n00b was born ;P That’s the first time I registered for anything even remotely forum related. I must have been 14, about to turn 15, at that time.
I signed up and slinked my way over to the Neopets discussion. For several months, this was the sole subsection of the forum that ignited my attention. I began to follow threads on site discussion, hungrily absorbing new information about Neopets that I hadn’t even known about! To think, I didn’t even know what a transmogrification potion was before Slopdog. Or the Secret Laboratory Ray….
Damn. Anyway, I now had enough posts to view the (25+ posts members only) section – NEOPETS TRADING.
I was skeptical once more…you weren’t allowed to give pets to people and get something in return! At this point, my total bank account on neopets was ~100k. I had no painted pets yet. Damn. My luck changed when somebody on Neopets discussion informed the site that they were quitting and the first 10 people to post on her thread would get 1 million neopoints each. Her username – viralremix – is forever embedded in my memory. At that time I was so incredulous that one user could even HAVE 10 million neopets that she became my idol. At that time, with about 1,000 more posts than me, she was a “Top Dog” member. I asked her what that rank meant and she told me it was a rank one had to apply for. She was also premium – wow, people paid money to this site? That was pretty cool!
I used the neopoints she gave me to buy myself the secret lab map and thus attained my first ever painted pet. It was a camo kougra named cute_fighter91. ❤ I still miss him.
At this point, I frequented Neopets and Neopets Trading every day. I was a religious follower and was fascinated by the amount of elite accounts that traded hands every day. I was tranfixed by the middlemen and middlewomen of Slopdog. Dealers who had batches of 100+ lab accounts to sell, buyers who wanted to buy massive amounts of neopoints. I saw viralremix, a top dog and now a middlewomen too, mediate trades that consisted of upwards of 25 million neopoints transferring accounts. I was amazed, and began to think that perhaps my dream of owning a Krawk would be possible after all. Draiks were too expensive, I just wanted a Krawk. So to figure out how to do this, I watched people trading and tried to figure out how I could trade my way to a Krawk. I had a lovely main account and awesome neohome – I had poured about two hundred thousand neopoints into it at this point, a huge sum for me and the times.
I still think back to unambitious and innocent Pryanka – I sort of miss her! But I was just as determined and methodical then as I am now. I worked upwards with the sole purpose of getting that krawk. I had several side accounts – when I noticed I could put in a little bit of time and effort to build them up, I could sell them for a decent profit. I began selling off my extra painted pets too, courtesy of the lab ray I now had, and I got really REALLY lucky once and zapped myself a Faerie Poogle. Poogles were all the rage back then, and there had been a dry spell of several years where no new ones had been released. I traded one pet for another, working my way higher and higher. AND THEN. And then I got a Krawk ❤
Site's purpose complete, I was all set to go on my way with my new poogle and lab ray but I had gotten somewhat attached to the site. I liked watching the trades and some of the members were even starting to recognize me. I had several of them on MSN – Trades were conducted offsite, of course.
Then for whatever reason, I entered the world of Junk Pile. That was where all of the off-topic posts and conversations were held. And as crazy busy as it was, I LOVED IT. Like, absolutely loved it. It was a venue for me to talk to tons of other people and have nonsensical discussions about all the random stuff we could come up with. Post count did not increase in Spamsville, but I didn't care. I met all the active regulars and before I knew it, I was one of them. I was a Slopdoggian for life xP
And then, here comes life-changing discovery number two.
Graphic Design. Photoshop.
Believe it or not, I was unfamiliar with both until ~10th grade. I had seen people making awesome forum signatures for others, but never thought twice about them. But then I saw that a lot of the tutorials under the graphic design section seemed pretty easy to follow. Now I wanted Photoshop! And Senpai, a member I'd met early in my Slopdog journey – was there to help me out. Slopdog loved nurturing interest. I had only to mention how cool graphic design was and before long, I was talking to all the different graphic artists on the site, learning how to do things and reading their tutorials. I now had Photoshop CS2 and I was making signatures of my own, albeit crappy.
Now money-minded me tried to take my new interest and spin some money out of it. So I did what any reasonable neopets lover would do – I began making and selling images for Neopets.
Provide me with a premade userlookup – I would change the graphics around to whatever you wanted.
I made little banners, avatars, and signatures. I made threads look prettier and more organized. I designed layouts for adoption agencies, neopets selling websites, even other petsites.
Looking back, I still sucked, but my personality and ability to make friends made amends. And the level of "good" wasn't all that high either. The stuff I look back at now and scoff at was top-of-the-line several years ago. Crazy how far the field has come since I've been working in it.
But back to the making friends part – I had seriously risen up the ranks now. Not literally – yet – but I was definitely known. I was going to leave a mark. With over 75+ successful neopets trades under my belt, I was a trusted trader – I would always go second in a trade, preventing any chance of being scammed. I could tell the person I had to get off now and would send the neopoints to them in a week and they wouldn't bat an eyelash. I had also become friends with some pretty amazing people because I was active in graphic design, neopets, and the junk pile. These are people I still interact with and maintain good and close friendships with –
viralremix – Remember her from way back when? Yeah she was a moderator at this point
Senpai – Super moderator now 🙂 And my graphic design mentor ❤
KTRoo – Moderator & one of my closest online friends even now
^ All three of them would hold administrator positions before my time on the forum was over.
Diet Drew – Super Moderator
Nny – Graphic design and photography guru ❤ And yes, she's still amazing
Oh gosh, the list goes on and on. Because I was active in so many busy areas, my own post count was getting to be pretty high as well. Again, before my time on this site was over, I would be top poster, with Senpai a close second. I'm not kidding when I say I poured my heart and soul onto this site.
I was getting better and better at graphic design all this time. I began writing my own tutorials and surprisingly, people were asking ME for help now. Oh, the tables were turning, and I was becoming one of the established members of the site myself. I was now a middlewomen in Neopets trades, had an ever-expanding MSN Buddy List, and was vying for a spot on the Graphics Team. I obtained that too, adding "GFX Dog" to my list of userbars, the other one being "Slop Dog" (the rank given to normal members) and "Middleman"
Soon after obtaining that rank, I realized I met the requirements for Top Dog and had made innumerable contributions to the site. I had a large rep power, was really well-known, and was friends with everybody who had power, and then tons more who didn't. The forum loved me. And I loved the forum.
I applied for and received the Top Dog Rank. I was ecstatic! I had a little mentee of my own. Jacob (Or Danger, as he now goes by) had discovered Graphic Design too, and he had taken to treating me as his mentor. I taught him all that I knew, and he thrived. He reminded me of myself ❤
He was super talented too, and very soon, I was forced to admit that the work he was making was up to par, if not better, than mind. I loved it! I had taught him the techniques that he was now perfecting. We both loved the pen tool, and wrote a huge and comprehensive tutorial together.
Never did I think there would be a day when I could google for a pen tool tutorial and find OURS posted on several different websites.
Including the one Dan owned. Heh, funny how fate works, hmm?
But yeah, I was bordering on close to 200 trades on Neo, I had tons of friends, was loved by all the current staff, and soon, I was actually offered a position to be a moderator myself. I accepted and the crowds rejoiced 😛 No really, I had a congratulations thread that ran to over 20 pages long.
Hell, you wonder why I miss those days? I loved Slop Dog. LOVED IT.
So yeah, all that before my 2nd anniversary on the site 😛 Youngest (forum-age) member on the moderation team and second-youngest (age) moderator. There was a 14 year old programming wiz who had the power to approve/moderate the programming section of the site.
It was an exhilarating rise, and an unforgettable experience. I joined other forums after Slop Dog shut down, and each time, had members who I didn't even know asking me if I was THE Pryanka from Slop Dog. Celebrity status, almost <3.
Let me tell you, when somebody asks you that, you tend to glow with pride inside 🙂
But nowhere else felt like home after that. I joined GamingGutter, DarkZtar, Neofreaks, Tainted Arc….nothing comes close.
I miss that forum, but thank it for what it made me. I would never have had the patience, social skills, boldness, confidence when it comes to talking to others in positions of power, or knowledge of Photoshop that I do now. And those all comprise an invaluable and priceless skill set to me.
So thanks Slop Dog. I miss you, and I always will.
Yep, all that inspired by Chris Brown 🙂