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News/History

I just wanted to share with the audience a few of the ups and downs and strange twists and turns that fate has taken over the years. In roughly chronological order, here are a few of the things that have happened to me because of this site.

Back in 1996, when it was just the duct tape Jesus image, the site began to draw some attention. First, it received a "Worst of the Web" award, which to me was far more amusing than insulting, though by modern standards of weridos doing strange things on the internet it's pretty tame, now. (Just look at YouTube!) Sadly, though Worst of the Web still exists, the comments for my particular site do not.

Soon after that, it drew some attention from Jim and Tim, the duct tape guys. Their site, www.DuctTapeGuys.com wasn't much at the time, but they've gotten pretty expansive over the years. One of them contacted me about the possibility of using the Duct Tape Jesus picture in a calendar. After a little discussion, the word "Jesus" seemed to make them nervous, even though I was using it as a completely silly joke, and the subject was dropped.

Somewhere around this time, I had the inspired weekend that created the rest of the web site. With pictures of angels and more wall-hanging and the life of duct tape to make the whole thing shine, the site really took off. I was ranked somewhere in the top 3 links for the phrase "duct tape" on Yahoo, which was of course the premiere search engine at the time. I may have even been #1, which is kind of rediculous, but that was the web back then.

Certainly the site was popular. It was hosted by the physics department at Oberlin, where I was studying at the time. Server logs showed that my pages were getting far more traffic than the entire rest of the department combined. And then I also started getting emails. Most of the highlights are featured in the intro or in the Comments from the Critics, so I'll keep it short, but when Australian girls were writing to me and saying they wanted to have my babies, I got a sense that maybe I was doing something right.

And then the site got me an honest-to-goodness date, right in my own college town. A girl walked up to me as I was between classes one day and announced that she'd seen me on the web (from the Worst of the Web, no less). She seemed impressed by the site and it got us talking, which led to a date at a coffee shop a few days later. Nothing much happened after that, but it was an auspicious beginning.

The site was also featured (without my knowledge) on an Australian variety show called Recovery, which was something like an MTV program, but also spotlighted fun stuff on the internet. (Maybe a little akin to the more modern Web Junk tv show.) I talked to the show and they did send me a tape, which I've never gotten around to converting from Australian video format. I do know, though, that the clip ends with the phrase "so you see this is how geeks can become heroes."

In the summer of '97 I graduated with a degree in physics, but after looking over the market decided that I liked computers and the internet better. This was 100% attributable to the success of this site. I bounced around a little but eventually landed a job with a design firm as an HTML programmer. Other factors contributed, of course, but I think one of the deciding points was showing them this site and then saying "I know it may be a sign of bad taste, but it certainly shows that I'm creative!"

In 1999 or 2000, as a sort of joke, a friend of mine gave me a Duct Tape-themed page-a-day calendar, which was put out by the Duct Tape Guys. To my complete surprise, one of the November pages contained a blurb and a link to this very site.

Also around that time my friend Eric and I did a whole series of shots for an intended second duct tape series, called the Erg-Man Project. Despite our initial enthusiasm, by the time the shoot was over I sort of ran out of steam. There was a series involving a duct tape stick man who we took around town with us, including him in such strange activities as mini golf and I don't remember what else. In the end I think I decided most of the pictures weren't all that funny, and just let the project slide. I think the original speaks well enough for itself, and at this point there aren't any plans for additions, though I am tempted to re-scan the images for a larger size and better quality.


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