How did you get into domino-toppling? That's a question I am asked very often. If you're a domino-builder, I'm sure you can already guess the answer to that, otherwise it might not be that obvious. Like almost every other domino-builder, it was Domino Day that triggered my interested in this hobby. When I watched Domino Day 1999 (which I remember only very distantly today), I was instantly fascinated. I liked the shapes and the colors that the dominoes formed. Still, I never would have set up a domino if it wasn't for my best friend back then.
He had wanted some dominoes for Christmas - "Domino Express" dominoes - and when he got them, he started building right away and finally brought them over to my place once. That was on some day in the beginning of 1999. I was enthusiastic again at once, although we had only 80 dominoes, ridiculously few compared to what I do today. Our first projects weren't exactly masterpieces, but we constantly improved.
When the next Christmas arrived - the one before the new millenium - we both wished for more dominoes. We ended up with slightly more than 1,000 of them, a stack of "Domino Express" boxes that almost reached the ceiling.
During that time, I would often plan domino projects that I could well imagine being set up, but were actually impossible to realise for me. (Yes, I tended to thinking big already back then.) I just didn't have enough dominoes for them. The best example is a project with the theme "Crime". We had saved two days for building it and cleaned the space: We moved the table, two armchairs, the couch and the rug to another room, completely blocking that room for everybody. So the preparations were huge, and so was our excitment.
And then, when we had finished about 10% of the planned project, we noticed that we were out of dominoes. "You definitely need to be a bit crazy for domino-building" - I completely agree to that, but I used to kick >a little bit< over the traces there.
For beginners, those "Domino Express" pieces were okay, or actually pretty suitable because you get a very good dexterity building with them, which is a skill a domino-builder should have. But now we really wanted to do a step forward and looked for better alternatives to "Domino Express". And that's how the next chapter of my domino story began. On Ebay, we found a seller who offered a whopping 500 dominoes. (I was astonished back then. "How can you sell so many dominoes all at once?") My collection of dominoes grew bigger and bigger very fast, and of course I would set them up again and again. I surpassed my personal several times... read more here.
My enthusiasm for domino seemed to become like ten times more intense with each project. I so wanted to join Domino Day once, which back then actually wasn't possible since I wasn't 18 years old yet. (Today I am and still can't join Domino Day because it doesn't exist anymore.)
Every year when November was approaching, I was looking forward to Domino Day. Without an internet connection (yes, there was a time when the internet wasn't a part of everyday life), I basically bought every TV magazine known to mankind. I wanted to read everything related to domino. My forementioned friend usually visited me on Domino Day, and on one occasion we set up a project that in my eyes was the first one that could actually be called remarkable.
There is still a VHS tape of that project, alongside with other weird creations of mine. I might digitialise that videotape sometime.
A few years later, my collection grew by another 3,000 dominoes, meaning the total count was 7,000 now. With that amount, I could finally build actual themed projects like I had imagined them years earlier. And what else could my first theme be if not "Pirates of the Caribbean" which later became the topic of the first TPT as well. It was in the year 2004 that this project was build, and I have to admit it didn't really turn out the way I had imagined it. (Thinking too big was still an issue.) It did look presentable though.
My friend and I always used the living room for our projects. With the size they had by now, they completely blocked the room. (I want to thank my parents on this occasion for always being very patient and supportive.) On my next birthday, in 2006, I received 3,000 new dominoes, adding up to the 7,000 I had before. Around 2006 and 2007, a new possibility opened up for me: connecting to the World Wide Web...