Paul Dinin dropped out of high school his senior year to make gobs of money working with computers. Later, Paul helped launch Consumption Junction, a site renowned for its collection of graphically shocking videos, a position that has allowed him to travel the world. He's survived Katrina, shot grenade launchers, fallen into canals, and thrown parties for Philippine Orphans. Welcome to the world of Paul Dinin.
Tell me about your senior year of high school.
I was a pretty bad student near the end of the year and I had been impeached from the class presidency because my grades were poor and I had a couple of weapons violations. I got an offer to go work for this company in Atlanta. They offered me an inordinate amount of money for a seventeen year old, so I decided to drop out of school. I rented one of those fat Elvis body suits and, on my last day of school, got all my teachers to sign me out as, "The king is leaving the building."
The big newspaper in Atlanta, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, picked up the story because I was throwing a Happy Dropping Out Party at my house with a couple hundred kids. Someone ran in and started screaming, "Hey, there's some woman outside who says she's with the Atlanta Journal Constitution. She's taking people's names and stuff." I went outside and, sure enough, there was a husky woman with a notepad writing down people's names. She heard about me from everyone else at the party and decided to write this article about me dropping out of school. A week after I dropped out, to the pleasure of most of the staff and administration, there was a huge front page article with a picture of me saying, "High School Student Drops Out to Make a Ton of Money." They started calling me the next Bill Gates. It was pretty ridiculous, especially since the fall out of the whole thing was about ten months later.
They were paying me a lot of money, but it was all cash. They'd hand me a few thousand dollars every week. Even at seventeen I knew that that there was something wrong with that. I assumed it might be drugs. One day, my boss called me into his office. He was Irish. He said, "Paul, you and I need to think of a way to supplement our incomes." I'm thinking, "It's going to be drugs." And he says, "Do you know anybody who smokes weed?" I'm seventeen at the time, so I say, "Of course I know people who smoke weed." He says, "Great. I just bought sixty pounds and need you to sell it to your friends." At that point, I didn't really want to be a drug dealer and figured that the hassle of working eight hours a day only to be paid in drugs that you had to work another eight hours to sell didn't make any sense.
I left, and at a good time too because a month after I left I saw my boss's face in the paper under the headline, "Bicycle boy bank robbers captured." They'd peddle into banks on bicycles with a fake bomb, rob the place, and then peddle out through all the back alleys, hop in a getaway car, and head out. They were pretty good at it. They hit eighteen or nineteen banks in the southeast and the company I was working for was just a way for them to launder the money.
What was your actual job?
I was doing network engineering. Stuff that's lame sounding today, but, at the time, was very impressive and made people say, "Oh, you must be really smart to connect computers together."
How long did you have an interest in computers?
I'd been screwing around with computers since I'd been fourteen. I went through a punk rock phase around fourteen, did the Mohawk and all that goofy stuff, and my parents ended up putting me in a mental institute for a few days where they told me I wasn't crazy as much as I was an asshole. When I left there, I went to live with my mother and stepfather. I wasn't allowed to talk to any of my druggy friends, so I sat in front of the computer and screwed around all day.
How'd the company find out about you?
It was a friend of a friend kind of thing.
You were class president?
Briefly. I ran on a joke campaign and ended up winning. I went in front of the school and told them, "I probably won't do anything, and you probably don't even know me, but that's okay. Instead of electing one of these other people and watching them do a bad job of getting nothing accomplished, you should elect me- someone who's a professional at getting nothing accomplished." The next year, they impeached me because they caught me with what they called a weapons violation. I used to walk around with this orange Pez gun. I suppose it looked like a gun, except it was bright orange, made of plastic, and said Pez on the side of it in huge letters. It shot Pez around six inches. Whenever I got freaked out in the middle of a test, I'd start screaming and firing the gun into my mouth. One day, they grabbed me, searched my stuff, found the Pez gun, and decided to call it a class 3 weapon. That got me impeached.
If a gun that shoots Pez is class 3, what's class 2?
I never looked into it. The exact term they used, I think, was a class 3 look a like weapon. I don't know where that falls inline with shotgun, but I imagine that, to this day, in the department of education lockup where they keep all the shit that they've confiscated from kids they have my Pez gun sitting next to a flame thrower and a bazooka.
And when'd you get involved with Consumption Junction?
A friend of mine started it in 1999 and I started helping. It was a fun hobby that we had; we enjoyed sending fucked up pictures and trying to out-gross each other. The site started getting popular, Howard Stern talked about it, and then we all quit our jobs and made a business out of it. It's still going today, God bless.
What were you doing between leaving the job with the bank robbers and doing Consumption Junction?
Mostly cocaine and pure grain alcohol. Worked my way to the bottom of the bottle for a little bit. I was living out in Woodstock, Georgia, truly in the middle of nowhere. I was working odd jobs. I had pretty much blown all the money I made working for the bank robbers. I was working at a company in Atlanta, which is where I met the other Consumption Junction guys.
You eventually got a GED. What inspired you to get that?
I had a Saturday with nothing to do and figured it was worth a try. It's a real joke. It's very easy. I remember going in and the instructor saying, "You probably won't be able to do this all today. Each section takes three hours." I was done with the whole thing in an hour and a half. I recommend all sixteen-year-olds to take it and get the whole thing done with.
When did you start traveling abroad?
I started traveling because of Consumption Junction. We'd go to conventions all around the world. They'd usually be held in fun places like Amsterdam, Berlin, Europe, Asia, and South America.
How do you find out about what there is to do in the places that you visit?
Taxi drivers are absolutely the first person to talk to, especially in third world countries, assuming you don't know someone who lives there. Taxi drivers often speak English and know whatever shit you want to get into. The hotel staff is not allowed to tell you about any of it, even if they do know.
Tell me about falling into a canal in Amsterdam.
The canal thing is a story that haunts me to this day, even this exact second. I was in Amsterdam for a convention. It was me and about forty other people at the old cinema bar in the red light district. We were all drinking pretty heavily. I had been drinking, pretty much, all day. I foolishly got into a Jägermeister shooting contest with five different people at the same time. I was going five for one with everyone else. It's tough to say what happened after a certain point, but what I'm told happened was that I flipped out, jumped through one of the windows of the bar, was play fighting with a buddy of mine, and then I was going head first into a canal. The canals in Amsterdam are basically sewage. It's a river of a thousand years of Dutch turds. I went in and I remember feeling a moment of sobriety going, "Oh, shit, I'm floating and that's no good."
They pulled me out of the canal, got me on the side, and, apparently, it's a big deal when someone falls into the canal. You'd think it happens a lot with all the intoxicated revelry that goes on there, but it's a really big deal. They blocked off the street, brought an ambulance and the police. I'm laying on the ground and the cops are talking to me. You know it's hard to get arrested in a town if you can legally snort coke off the tits of seventeen-year-old hookers. One of the ways to get arrested is to look a cop in the face, give him the finger, scream,"Fuck the police!" and do a reverse swan dive back into the canal.
They pulled me out again and this time they handcuffed me and put me in the ambulance so I could be taken to a hospital to be checked for hepatitis A through Z. I was hauled off to jail, which I assume is pretty nice in Amsterdam. The Netherlands have pretty swanky jails, from what I've heard. A friend of mine jumped in and filled a bunch of paper work saying that I would leave the country immediately and if I came back I would go to jail and that he would go to jail with me. They tried to find me a cab. Not too many cabbies were interested in having a guy covered in sewage and feces in their cab. They finally paid some guy three hundred euros to take me back to my hotel.
I don't remember getting back into the hotel, but I kicked through the door of my room and one of my friends was mid-coitus with a lady friend. To his credit, he broke it off and helped me out. We got the clothes off of me and threw me into bed where I passed out in a pile of sewage. Some time during the night, some of my so called friends came by and stuck M&Ms in my butt crack and put joints in my asshole and let them burn down. My sphincter hasn't been the same since that night.
The next morning I woke up, went into the bathroom, and ran a Brillo pad against myself trying to get the filth off. I got vomit and diarrhea all over the place. I left the hotel for the day, came back, and the manager stopped me and said, "I've seen a lot of stuff, but I've never seen a room that looked like that in my entire twenty-year career of managing hotels in Amsterdam." They had to bring in the crime scene cleaning unit- the dudes in the masks- to hose down the room because it was a toxic waste dump. A real public hazard.
Tell me about shooting rocket launchers in Cambodia.
I heard that you could shoot crazy guns in Cambodia. I hoped into a cab and said to the driver, "I want to shoot guns. Big guns." He said, "Oh, you want to shoot the big guns? I'll call you tomorrow." The next day, he calls, and says to come down stairs. We drove about three hours out into the middle of the forest. We're in the middle of nowhere in Cambodia, which in itself is nowhere. We pull up to this gate with a uniformed guard with an M16. We go inside, I sit down at a table, and they offer me a beer, which is very nice. A guy comes over and starts waving a gun in my face very absentmindedly. He popped a clip out to show me that the gun was loaded. I don't know why, but he told me he was the safety inspector. After I proved to them that I was an honest gun enthusiast and wasn't there to cause problems, he handed me a menu. The front side was all M16s, AK47s, Colt 45s, and when I flipped the menu over, that's when it got more exciting. It had M60s, hand grenades, a grenade launcher, and a B40 rocket launcher.
I got a few thousand bullets of all the various machine guns and threw about nine hand grenades. If you're looking for the most exciting time for your money, the hand grenades were only about thirty bucks apiece. You never know the thrill until you throw the pin on a thirty-year-old hand grenade. To the credit of US manufactured military ordinance, I still have both of my arms.
The rocket launcher is really just a big long tube. They stick a rocket in the front of it and they tell you, "For the love of God, don't point it down," which is tough to do because the rocket is pretty heavy. I shot it and found myself engulfed in a cloud of gunpowder. It shot off into the target and it was the most satisfying ka-boom you'd ever hear in your life. It was amazing. Then they tried to sell me a cow to shoot at. They wanted five hundred bucks for the cow, but I didn't have any more money at that point and there's already plenty of stains on my Karmic rug and I didn't need that one too.
Tell me about throwing a pool party for Philippine orphans.
One of my offices is in Manila, so I'm over there pretty regularly. There's a street of bars in Makati City, which is in Manila. They're all crazy strip club bars that are a real blast to go to. I went to the bars so often that all the little homeless kids, pregnant women, and Mongoloids with legs blown off and missing faces who would hang around in the streets asking foreigners for money knew me by name. I'd get out of a cab, start walking down the street, and all I'd hear is, "Sir Paul! Sir Paul! You want to buy gum now?" I never bought any gum from them, but I always gave them money. When I'd stumble out of the bars drunk at four or five in the morning, I'd take them all to McDonalds and buy everyone a Happy Meal or whatever they wanted to eat.
One night, I was in a bar drinking, tied one off pretty hard, and I came out and apparently promised a pool party for everybody. My friend and I were staying in the nicest hotel in the Philippines, the Shangri La. They had a really nice pool up top. The next day, we had about a hundred and sixty greasy faced, dirt nosed, Philippine orphans, street urchins, pregnant women, and Mongoloids come up to the pool. We got them all pizzas, Cokes, hamburgers, sandwiches, and threw them a pool party, to the absolute disgust of all of the Japanese business men sitting around the pool trying to relax.
You were in New Orleans during Katrina?
That was some crazy Lord of the Flies shit. We threw a Consumption Junction party in New Orleans. Everyone arrived about two days before Katrina hit. By the time I was getting on the plane, the reports were that Katrina was going to go off into the gulf and it was the last we'd hear of it. When I landed, the reports were that it was coming right for us and that everyone should get out. Everyone in the party had come in and, at this point, it was too late to get out because they closed all the airports and cancelled all the flights. We decided to ride it out thinking, "What's the worst that could happen?"
Foolishly, instead of buying supplies, I bought a couple thousand dollars of booze and ten pounds of cooked bacon. I figured that would get us through the storm. The next two days were pretty hellish. Everyone was drinking heavily and having sex with everyone else. I've trashed many a hotel room in my time, but the damage to these rooms was a level that Mötley Crüe would be proud of. There were entire mattress missing. There was no running water, air conditioning, or power. We were stuck in a hermetically sealed hotel room on the twentieth floor. People were crapping on top of crap until it went above the rim and at that point we designated one room as the toilette room. Everyone was sweating their asses off in rooms with no air circulation. It was all this nasty, stale air on the twentieth floor. We didn't have any food, so we started kicking the doors down to other rooms and raided their mini bars, which was a bad idea because we'd drink more. Every time we wanted to get out of the hotel we had to walk down pitch black steps, tripping over people on the way. It was an ugly scene.
At some point we abandoned the hotel and split up into groups. It was me and a couple buddies of mine. We were pushing our bags around the French Quarters and it was obscenely hot and none of us had showered in days. I'm started walking up to a smaller hotels and saying, "Listen: I need to get a room. I don't care what it costs. I'll give you a thousand dollars for a dirty room. I just need to get out of the streets." No one would take us in, so I did the only thing I knew how to do. I went to the one bar that was open and started buying warm drinks for everybody and starting up conversations. I met this one guy who lived in New Orleans and he took us back to his place and let me crash on his floor. He was living in the ghetto. All of New Orleans, except for the French Quarter, is pretty much a ghetto.
I'm hanging out in the ghetto and there's people running by pushing entire racks of clothes from Wall Mart, or people saying, "Hey, man, have you hit the Exxon up the street yet?" "No, I haven't gotten around to it yet, thanks." Around eight O'Clock, the guy whose house it was said that it was time for us to go inside, which is an indicator of how bad the neighbor hood was- when the guy who lives there thinks eight is the time to go in. I slept on the floor and heard the occasional gun shot go off. The next day, we hopped in a car and drove out to Lafayette where we managed to rent a car and drive to Houston.
It was definitely my first war zone experience. I tried to steal a car at one point, but didn't know how. It looks easier in the movies. One of my friends fell down in a bar and started going into heat stroke because all we had to drink for days was booze. We had to drag him to the local police precinct. We're sitting there while the police are reviving him and my other friend is passed out outside the police station. Some woman ran into the station and says, "They're looting my house right now!" The cop looks at her and says, "Sorry, nothing I can do about it. Only life threatening stuff at this point." It was a crazy experience, but, on the bright side, the guy who went into heat stroke who I pulled into the precinct was a Navy Officer, so I got a nice commendation for saving the life of an officer. What it didn't mention was that I had initially put his life in jeopardy by feeding him gallons of booze over three days in sweltering heat.
Tell me about PAPS.
I have a friend named Andrew Wright who's very territorial about his friends. When I moved to New York and started hanging out with some of his friends, he was visibly upset by it. When anybody had sex with a girl he had a secret crush on it, he'd get visibly upset by it. He's one of the cutest little guys in the world and to see him upset is one of my great pleasures in life.
One weekend, while he was out of town, our mutual friends Parker , Alan , and I decided we could ultimately infuriate Andrew if we became best friends while he was gone. The idea snowballed into forming an organization called PAP- Parker Alan Paul. Eventually, we added another friend, Sean , making it PAPS. PAPS is an organization chartered for the sole purpose of excluding Andrew Wright. We all took him off our Myspace pages, make references to PAPS, tell him we can't tell him what it's about, and really go out of our way to exclude him from what we're doing because it infuriates him. You're welcome to join if you like. Everybody in New York is welcome to be part of PAPS, as long as they're not Andrew Wright.
Are there any projects that you're involved in that you'd like to mention?
We just finished shooting a pilot for Consumption Junction. We shot it on 40th Street a couple of months ago. It looks really excellent and I'm very pleased with the results. It's everything that Consumption Junction is. It's debauchery, booze, big fat black strippers, forced homosexuality, and all sorts of great stuff. It's a combination of Consumption Junction video clips and my co-host Brian McCarthy doing these truth or dare segments. I either show videos of crazy things happening or Brian brings in people from the crowd and either gets them to admit to something crazy that they've done or have them do something crazy onstage for us.
I bought Adolfhitler.com a few months ago. I've been thinking about what I want to do with it. Originally, I was going to donate it to a big Jewish Organization and take a big tax right off on it. I contact a lot of these organizations and they all told me that I have to own it for two years before I can take a tax write off on it. I can donate it, but I can't take a tax right off on it. So, me being the Jew that I am, I wasn't going to donate it without getting something for it. I've got to hold on to this domain for two years and I'm trying to decide what to do with it.
Initially, I was thinking I'd put my face on the front page with some text that says, "Hi, my name is Paul. I'm a Jew. I own Adolfhitler.com. Why don't you go mortgage your trailer park, come up with a hundred thousand dollars, and wire it to me." I thought that might be a bit risky. What I'm thinking is that Hitler was a struggling artist with a lot of fucked up political ideas and a penchant for rambling. If he were alive today, he'd definitely have a blog. I'm going to start writing Hitler's blog as though he were a struggling artist in Green Point. I could see Hitler living in a lot with six other dudes, being a video artist, and really struggling with it. Mostly, he'll write like a fifteen-year-old girl, with lots of LOLs and ROFLs.
Visit Myspace to join PAPS.