Hello everyone! A few astute BBS mods figured things out and almost stole my thunder, but my big news is that I'm back at NG, working once more on adding new features to the site.
So who is this Ross guy, anyway? Longtime NG users will remember me as being the person who did the original website programming around here, 6-7 years ago. I helped Tom create the Portal, Grounds Gold, and the BBS, among other things (though they've mostly all been overhauled by the very-capable James since then.) That was a crazy time - working out of Tom's bedroom, coming up with new ideas at 4 AM, and discovering the core of what Newgrounds has become. I'm proud of the work we did back then, and always have been. Newgrounds will forever be Tom's baby, but I like to think that I'm its godparent. (Or maybe its kooky uncle.)
You may be wondering (or not) why I left, and what I've been up to since then. Well, in 2001, the dot-com crash was in full-swing. I got scared about NG's ability to sustain itself and fled to a boring (but secure) job in the pharmaceutical industry. I still worked on the site occasionally in my spare time, but that didn't last long - NG needs full-time care and attention.
Fast-forward four years, and I remembered that analyzing pharmaceutical sales data was not my lifelong goal. My dream, ever since college, was to become a high school teacher. After getting the appropriate certifications, I got a teaching job last year, teaching math and computer programming at a public school in northern New Jersey.
It was fun being a teacher, and I couldn't have asked for a better school or better people alongside whom to teach. However, by the end of the year, I realized that I felt out of place in front of the classroom, and missed being able to write code myself, as opposed to only helping my students write it. Around this same time, Tom mentioned that, if I was available, he could use some extra help over the summer. All it took was working on the site for a short time to realize that this is where I belonged, and Tom welcomed me back.
It's amazing how much can change in just a few years. I'm married now (as of two months ago) and live in New Jersey, and Tom's getting married soon. Instead of being 2-3 of us working out of Tom's bedroom, there are 8-9 of us working (mostly) out of the swanky NG Office, and I get to work alongside some very talented/creative people, and collaborate with an amazing programmer.
Not to mention that the site has grown and evolved in ways I would've never expected. Wait until you see the stuff we've got coming up! It's going to be a lot of fun and I'm excited to have the chance to work on it. I'm glad to be back, and hope you enjoy using the site as much as James and I enjoy programming it!