17 May 2010 @ 11:15 AM 

ten years ago on this day, my freshman year of high school had just ended and i had returned home figuring out what i would do with all the new free time i now had. high school was supposed to be bigger and better and more stressful than middle school, but i didn’t feel that at all. but still, i felt like i needed to do something cool with the void of summer. after all, this was the age of the personal website, the age of expressing yourself in ways never seen before; we were now at the forefront of a new age of social networking and web logging.

my friend john cloud had created a website very reminiscent of the modern blog, albeit much, much simpler. though we had all wished he updated more, i still wanted to have something that people loved and wanted to be a part of. i was a sucker for attention, there was no hiding that.

these were the times of angelfire and geocities (in fact, i had an angelfire account), but i had heard and seen from my friends that freeservers was a little better. so in the late afternoon of may 17, 2000, the twisted arena of hippos and rhinos was born. and really, the rest is history.

the first few days i had the website, i was inflicted with a pretty terrible sickness, and accordingly, it halted a lot of the production. some of the sites i thought i was going to create didn’t even make it for years later. but that didn’t matter in the end. there was only one thing that people really cared about in the beginning years: the joke or stupid thought of the day.

i knew there was one way to get people to come visit my website, and that was to update it as often as possible. i figured that having a scheduled daily update would provide enough reason for people to visit. and for some reason, i made a stupid countdown to december 21, 2003 and the backbone for the early days (and arguably, the only day) of the website was done and done.

through all these intermittent years of existance, there has always been one constant: it remains online. this doesn’t mean a whole lot to most people, but to me, and maybe a few others, we can share a lot of good memories and look back at our past lives in great efficiency. we all grew up as the first generation with the ability to have our whole lives chronicled with mere typing on a keyboard. some people have taken advantage of that. and i am very proud to be one of them.

(i know some people think i’m crazy because i treat my website like my baby, but that’s not the point here.)

so if there are any of you out there that at one point in your lives loved this website, or have liked looking back at it to read some good memories, or have always wanted to know what all the hoopla was: we can share this together. i’m going to commemorate the ten year anniversary of the twisted arena of hippos and rhinos by listing some of mine (and some of your) favorite memories. and for anyone that doesn’t know what i’m talking about and want to know, click the links.

so without further ado, let me present to you, ten years in words and pictures:

1. in the beginning – there lay the joke page and only the joke page. and i’ll be the first to say it: it wasn’t really that funny. there was one joke that was an early crowd pleaser, on may 28, 2000, and arguably is the reason why i even continued to update. regardless, the joke page is the reason i had a webpage for the first three years. it was the only thing that was constantly updated, and in the pre-widespread-blogging universe, was the best way i could think of to have my friends visit my website.

2. boardhost, the gateway drug – in an effort to have a way for my visitors to chat with each other, i created a free message board. in its early days, it was a very innocent and efficient way to bring everyone together. there were many fun games i remember playing with people on there, most noticeably “egg no rinses blitz.”

3. digitizing and popularizing – over christmas of 2000, i got my first digital camera. though this isn’t directly related to my website, the possession of a digital camera took my historian-like activities to a new level. also that christmas, i received enough money to buy a .com. previously, i was trying to raise money via a “relocation fund” and had a few select people contribute, and on january 12, 2000, i was a proud owner of hipposandrhinos.com.

4. the infamous (and famous) scandal – this will always be the pinnacle of the website. and if you don’t know what i’m talking about, i will just tell you to click the link. for many of us, this was a moment that changed all of our lives. and it’s something many of us will never forget (like 9/11).

5. milestones – arguably the most read and most enjoyable part of my website’s tenure were the two milestone updates that i had, one for the first anniversary and one for the second. the first update was the most popular and was the 100 most influential events of the year. i had so much fun doing it that the next year i did another countdown about ridiculous things at my high school. and we can all remember that i don’t like to finish countdowns.

6. the apocalypse – for some reason, probably because i’m kind of an idiot, i had a countdown on my website referring to an apocalpyse: the end of the joke page. after i had 1313 jokes, the joke page would be finished. (for some reason i said ‘it would turn golden’. i don’t actually know what that means.) a lot of people celebrated a moment of silence with me as the longest running and oldest thing on my website came to an end. i’d be lying if i said i didn’t miss it sometimes.

7. entering blogging culture – i had stayed away from the ubiquitous blog mainly because i liked to be different. but i enjoyed writing too much and after the joke page was done, i still wanted to keep updating. the blog was short-lived (as most everything was after the joke page), but it still had enough original flair for me and others to enjoy it for a while.

8. music television – obviously, this was the most ridiculous thing to happen to me and probably most people. the website scandal was featured on MTV’s high school stories. i will never forget the day i got a call from a representative of MTV and talked to her for two hours about my story. being on national television will always be such an awesome and interesting experience. and hey, i became an idol to so many random people (some guy cut his sideburns like me), even met someone who saw me on tv, and i got to experience website celebrity life. kinda cool if you ask me.

9. life in pictures – to some, this was their favorite part of my website. i needed something like the joke page that was updated daily so people would visit my site more. i was known for taking hundreds of pictures of nonsense, so i figured i could make a good picture of the day. and it was a success. sometimes i kinda wish i still did this, so you never know, it could come back again sometime.

10. the new forum – one day, i thought my old forum was outdated. truth is, it had been outdated for years. and since me and a lot of my friends were living in many different countries, it was a good way to communicate again. sadly, it was very short-lived, and only like three of us really got to have fun (with haikus).

11. pictures, revisited – in another attempt to revive my website, i brought back the daily pictures, but it didn’t last very long like everything else that happened on the website in the last few years. since i’ve always kinda wanted to bring back the picture of the day, you never know, it could happen again.

12. improving blogging life – when i came to seattle, i was pretty lost. i really moved somewhere that i had very little going for me in all aspects of life. but i was confident that i could make it here somehow. and one way that i got through the beginning was by coding a new section for my website: this blog. and even though i didn’t really update a whole lot, i still have plans to use it every now and then (such as now), and it was quite a feat of website engineering for me.

13. the future – over this next summer, my girlfriend and i are going to circumnavigate the world. we plan on updating everyone on our trip with blog entries and pictures. i think it will be a nice addition to the website that sometimes is constantly forgotten. so come travel with us!

and to all of you that spent all the time to read all of this, if you have any fun memories you’d like to share or just leave a comment about how you at some point in time cherished this website, feel free to do it.

i actually teared up a little bit when i wrote some of this stuff. for some reason this website means a whole lot to me. thanks for letting me share it with you.

Without surfing the rest of my website, what were the first two things I put on my website?


Posted By: Sunil
Last Edit: 17 May 2010 @ 04:01 PM

Tags: , , ,
Categories: General, Life


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