Driven By Boredom Turns 17

I had something planned for today but it didn’t work out. Such is life. But the site turns 17 today and I told you guys I was going to do a post so here it is. I figured I could tell you a story about the history of Driven By Boredom.

Before Driven By Boredom was a website it was a motto. I hated being bored and have always needed to be doing something with my spare time. When I was 14 I started a music magazine and when I was 15 I started a record label and then I started taking photos of punk bands for the label and the magazine and punk rock was my entire life. Around my senior year in high school my partner in the magazine and label quit and I didn’t have something to consume my life with anymore. But around that time I also started fucking around with web design.

It was the late 90’s and I had been on the internet since 1992 or something like that. I was a kiddie hacker and for that era I was fairly knowledgeable when it came to tech but it wasn’t until my sophomore or junior when I started my first Geocities site. By the time I was a senior I knew basic HTML and had made a couple little websites and would check the hit counters every day and was blown away when a handful of people would check out my site in a given week.

I went to Penn State University in 1999 and realized immediately I had made a huge mistake. I wanted to run a record label for a living so I was a business major but before I even took my first class I said fuck it and became a photography major. Punk rock was all about DIY and I figured if I was a photo major I could take it easy and figure out the music shit in my free time. The problem was Penn State had no punk scene.

I quickly became good friends with my Penn State roommate but outside of him and a couple other people I didn’t really have any friends. I was a punk kid and I didn’t drunk and I didn’t exactly fit in at a giant party school in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. I spent a lot of time talking to my friends online and meeting new people on the internet, but one day I decided to ride the Loop Bus around campus on a Friday night and it changed my life forever.

The Loop Bus was a free bus that drove around campus from about the time classes started until bars closed at night. During the day it was a way for people to get to class or to get downtown but on Friday and Saturday night it became a way for people to get to bars and parties without having to drive a car.  It was affectionately called “The Drunk Bus” and it was always a complete fucking shit show.

So one night I am with my roommate and a few people and we are trying to figure out what we should do. We didn’t know of any parties and it was way too fucking cold to do much anyway, so I had this idea that we should just ride the drunk bus around. For some inexplicable reason I grabbed this stuffed animal monkey that a girlfriend had given me and we rode around the bus. Before one loop around campus was over I had been approached by a half dozen girls wanting to talk about my monkey and suddenly I had an idea.

The next weekend I went back on the bus. I was by myself this time but I had the monkey and a camera. If anyone talked to me about the monkey I would take their photo with it. I spent a few hours Friday and Saturday taking photos and on Sunday I dropped the film off to get developed. On Monday I picked up the film and started working on a website. A few days later “The Loop Monkey” was born.

Almost instantly the site became a hit. Hundreds of people were visiting the site every day to look for their photos and the photos of their friends. The school newspaper even did a front page story on me. I was getting stopped five times a day by people wanting to talk to me. The problem was that I hated that. I quickly realized I was not cut out for being famous, even on that micro level. I would have someone try and talk to me at 8am and I would kinda blow them off and by the time I got home from class they would have written some post about how awful I was on my message board. The head of the bus company found out about me and had the bus drivers kick me off after one lap around campus. It became a whole thing. I decided to quit and a few months after it started the Loop Monkey was no more.

I wanted to drop out of school but my parents convinced me to give it one more year. The problem was that by the time they convinced me to go back all the dorms were filled up. I got stuck in temporary housing in a study hall with seven other roommates. I had just broken up with my first serious girlfriend (she cheated on me with my first girlfriend and a random dude the day before I left for college!) and I was depressed as hell. My old roommate and his friends moved off campus together so I spent a lot of time in my room.

I started all these dumb projects to keep myself entertained. I was doing photography still and I was making really terrible electronic music with early EDM programs like ACID and Fruity Loops. I didn’t even like electronic music but it was fun to do. I had some terrible site on I started making these really absurd videos with my roomates where we would lip sync to 80’s pop songs and record these mini music videos using the super early webcam I owned. I started making prank listings on eBay just to entertain myself and my friends.

When I say friends I am of course talking about my friends back home, but I was also talking about my new online friends. There was a scene of people popping up making these websites about their lives. Blog wasn’t a word back then and LiveJournal wasn’t really popular yet. It was mostly just nerds in their parents basement making these sites that were a collection of everything they thought was cool on the internet and nonsense about their lives. The sites were called Everything/Nothing because they were about everything and nothing at all. E/N was also used to talk shit about the sites saying they meant everything to the author but nothing to everyone else.

At some point I got sick of having to email my photos and videos to people and decided I needed to start my own E/N site. YouTube didn’t exist back then and there weren’t many options for sharing photos with people. I wanted to put all my dumb projects in one place so that everyone could see them. I didn’t want to use Geocities or Tripod or any of the other hosting sites back then because I wanted to host all my own content. Fortunately I had friends in the E/N scene running their own servers and I got some space on a friend’s server and bought my first domain name. I bought because this was going to be central home for all the projects that I created when I was trying not to lose my mind from boredom.

Building the site took months. I did a lot of the HTML by hand but I also used a program called Microsoft Front page. Everyone at Penn State got a bunch of the Microsoft Office type products and Front Page was the web design program. I wasn’t great at it, but I built a separate page for all of my projects. I built a webcam portal into the main page that would refresh every 30 seconds with a new photo if I was online. I built a journal into the site so I could tell people when there would be new updates to the different sections. And most importantly I built a links page.

These days there’s way too much shit on the internet, but back then finding quality content was hard and the way you would do it was by going to a site like mine to find out about other cool sites. I went on mIRC and asked all the webmasters I knew if they would link me and I got a couple girls I knew to pose topless with popular websites written on their skin. I knew how to get people naked and topless fan signs were a prized internet currency back then. By the time Driven By Boredom was ready to launch I had a dozen sites ready to tell everyone about me.

On March 1st, 2001, Driven By Boredom launched…..

If you want to read the rest of the story check out The History Of Driven By Boredom over on Medium

Here’s now some random old DBB related shit to make this post look prettier.

Driven By Boredom

Driven By Boredom

Driven By Boredom

Driven By Boredom

Driven By Boredom

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