My Internet History

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Welcome to RandomCatastrophe.Net. If you are reading this page it’s most likely because you want to know a little bit about this website and what you can expect to find here. Before I begin I want it understood that when I use the first person in this article I am talking about Casey Trowbridge. This is my own history of Internet projects but you can learn about me on a more personal level by reading my biography.

The vast majority of this article is a description of my history on various Internet projects. If you’re not as interested in the past and would prefer to jump straight to the section about the present and future of this site Click Here.

Where It All Began actually sprang from a couple of different websites. Back in 2006 a couple of guys who I would come to call friends: Ric and Steve…err…Karl encouraged me to start a blog and in August of that year, I did exactly that. My original blog was called Casey’s Old Country Corner which was the name of a segment I had on their podcast appropriately named “The Ric and Steve…err…Karl Show. The name “Old Country Corner” stemmed from a comment in a video on Youtube of The Iron Sheik describing his experience at WrestleMania III. I have included that video below for your enjoyment although I must warn you that it contains strong language that may offend some people…maybe lots of people…maybe all the people.

This clip went viral in March of 2006 and as strange as it may be for me to say given the content, I managed to make several friends as a result of seeing this video. So never let it be said that The Iron Sheik cannot unite people. Those friends I made are actually an important part of the story which I will get to shortly.

On the Old Country Corner blog I basically wrote about anything that I found interesting. I would talk about Movies (particularly animated features), TV shows, combat sports and pretty much anything else that I wanted to write about. But a few months later I decided that I would focus the blog more on combat sports, especially Professional Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts. So I asked some of those friends I had made to join the site and write with me. It made sense as a couple of them had blogs of their own so we would just be merging them together.

When they agreed to work with me, it prompted me to decide that a name change was in order. I had ambitions of turning the site into something that could eventually generate revenue, if not for all of us then at least for me. So a new name was in order. The Old Country Corner was slightly amusing if you knew the joke but it was pretty broad and not a clear indicator of what the site would be about. It’s also a name that was attached to me specifically and I thought of us as more of a team of equals and I wanted a name that would reflect that reality. So in July 2007, was born.
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The Combat Hooligans Era

Why did I pick the name Combat Hooligans? I used the word combat because we wrote about combat sports. It started with MMA and Pro Wrestling coverage but we eventually added Boxing which did big numbers for us and even Olympic sports like Judo. The Hooligans part of the name was inspired by the person who would become the closest friend of all those I made from this project. My friend Euan didn’t write as much as some of the rest of us but his stuff was always good and really funny. I describe Euan as fitting most stereotypes one may have of Scottish people and so picked Hooligans as an homage of him. I also felt that it was a word that reflected the type of attitude I thought we could bring to our coverage and would open up interesting merchandising possibilities down the line.

The Old Country Corner site was just a site we had on blogger but was an actual domain we used. I mention this because it both indicated my willingness to invest financially in the project and it also provided us some credibility that we didn’t have before. It wasn’t too far after launching the site that we found ourselves getting invited to sit in on conference calls to promote upcoming boxing events on Showtime. Other interesting opportunities for coverage would soon follow but those are stories for another time and stories best told by others.

From July 2007 until I eventually closed the site at the end of 2008 we grew substantially in terms of the amount of traffic we received. We also had a lot of fun working together. Unfortunately, what we did not do was generate any revenue. The site cost us money every month with most of that cost going towards the purchase of Wrestling, MMA and Boxing pay-per-view events. It was one of those things where I didn’t really know how to make the site profitable and because I was spending so much of my time writing, I never had time to try and figure it out nor did I have anyone to assign to that aspect of the business.

All of that plus a little more was a recipe for burnout and burnout eventually came for all of us. It wasn’t too long before people started to leave the project and it just didn’t feel the same anymore. We all became so close to one another that when one person left, it felt as though the name didn’t work anymore. We were all the Combat Hooligans or none of us were. That’s why in 2009 we left Combat Hooligans behind and started a new website, MMA Blitz.

I am not even going to give MMA Blitz its own section because it doesn’t merit one. I am only mentioning it at all for the sake of accuracy. I will just say that those Hooligans that remained decided that we would focus our coverage specifically on MMA because of all the things we had covered before, it was the thing we were most interested in at the time. Had we gone strictly off of what was bringing us the most traffic it would have ended up a website about Boxing. But the problems remained the same, it didn’t make any money and because it was the first website I did that was on its own server, it cost more than Combat Hooligans to get off the ground. That version really only lasted a year and it was a forgettable year at that.
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Random Catastrophe is Born

At the start of 2010, my dreams of making money writing about combat sports were dead. I was exhausted, my finances were not great to say the least and the subject matter didn’t really hold much appeal for me. The thing that still did appeal to me however was having fun working on something with my friends. So I decided that yet another new website was in order. But this website would look more like the original Old Country Corner blog. I wanted a site where my friends and I could write about anything with the goal of entertaining an audience. It was never about making money, it was about having fun. We actually had a side project during the Combat Hooligans days where we would post about other things that interested us but it died when the main site died.

The name Random Catastrophe was something that just sort of came to me one day. It was a name I liked because it didn’t restrict us to writing about anything in particular, that’s where the Random came from. I was drawn to the word Catastrophe because I figured that if we could write about almost anything (we stayed away from politics and religion) then almost anything could happen and a catastrophe was the most likely outcome.

It started out alright with people posting regularly but eventually things just fell off. It was one of those things where if you didn’t have a passion for writing at all it was never really going to be all that much fun. So eventually, I was the last writer standing as it were and even I didn’t have much I felt like saying. But I had grown rather fond of the name so held on to it just in case I would want to use it again in the future.
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Audiobook Empire is Born

In 2012 something interesting happened to me. I became an avid reader for the first time in my life. This grew over the next year as for a time I worked at the public library doing digital conversion of documents and had plenty of time to listen to Audiobooks. So in 2014 I decided that I didn’t have enough websites (Random Catastrophe was still up and I had another blog to write about my personal life)so I launched Audiobook Empire which was meant to be a website for Audiobook news and reviews. It was my most ambitious Internet project to date
, it included both forums and social media components and I admit that I was hoping that it would eventually generate some revenue. If you’ve gotten this far and the definition of insanity has popped into your head, I can’t say as I blame you.

But three websites would eventually prove to be at least two too many. So Audiobook Empire and my personal blog would all be folded into which would now just be my personal blog. I want to note that Audiobook Empire is alive and well once more. A friend of mine asked me a couple years back if she could use the name and relaunch the site. I gave my consent and she has actually managed to make something out of it. Unlike me, she knows what she’s doing and as of 2021 I have no other affiliation with that website other than that I wish her continued success.
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Talking Audiobooks

The best thing that came from my time working on Audiobook Empire is that I would be interviewed for and eventually be asked to host the Talking Audiobooks podcast. I can honestly say that this was easily the most creatively fulfilling experience I have had on the Internet and that includes Combat Hooligans which was also great fun. Hosting that podcast for the year that I did allowed me to meet some wonderful industry professionals and the show’s producer, Ken Joy, has become a dear friend. The show never attracted the audience we were hoping for and it became too time consuming for so little financial return, so it ended in 2018. However, the archives are still available and I am quite proud of the show I put on and I give my eternal gratitude to Ken for not only giving me the opportunity but also for letting me do the show my way. I lack the technical skill to produce my own podcast but if I ever found a producer I would jump at the chance to return to the format.

When a new episode of Talking Audiobooks would come out, I would do a post for Random Catastrophe. I would go behind the scenes of the episode or give my impressions of the interview that was featured. For awhile, Random Catastrophe was just a vehicle to promote the show with periodic posts about my personal life sprinkled in for good measure.
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The 2021 Reboot

After Talking Audiobooks ended, I didn’t write as much for the website. In fact, I don’t think I wrote a single entry for the year 2020. However, in January 2021, I felt motivated to reboot the website. I wanted a fresh start so I deleted all of the old posts and pages and changed the website theme. This article is actually the first thing I wrote to be featured on the new version of the site.

So what am I hoping to do this time around? Honestly, even though I wanted a fresh start the idea behind the website hasn’t changed. I’m just going to write about things that interest me. My posts might be about the TV shows I’m watching, the books I’m reading or they may be about more personal aspects of my life. They may just contain links to things I find on Youtube that I want to comment on. I would also be interested in having others contribute content to the site like the old days. I have met a lot more people sincethen and perhaps some of them would be interested in having a place where they can write without having to worry about going to the trouble of making their own blog. How often will I post? I will post when I feel like it, so that could be quite often or very rarely depending on my mood and if I think I have something I want to say.

It is highly unlikely that I will discuss politics much on the site. For one thing, I want my posts to feel off-the-cuff as though I were just telling you something that was on my mind. If I were to write about politics that would require me to do research, present facts to back up my arguments and several revisions to make my point clear. It would require a lot of effort on my part for a subject that I don’t enjoy discussing all that much anyway. I would not stop some future writer from making a political post as long as they made it clear that their views did not necessarily reflect my own.

So there you have it. That is an overview of my history of Internet projects as well as a brief explanation of what you might find on this site now and going forward. I hope that you have decided to stick around. My posts may get you thinking, they may make you laugh, they may make you laugh as you think about what an idiot I am and I am fine with any of those outcomes.
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