Kieran Vogel doesn't like the way his life has turned out, so he's trying something different.
He's letting the Internet run his life for him.
Starting today, the 35-year-old will let cameras capture his every move and air it over the Web for the next six months. Viewers of his Web site will then be able to vote on what he should do next.
"I just want to take my hands off the wheel and let the audience steer," he said. "I'm a failure. I never made more than $6,000 a year. I've never had any success with romance, and to be frank, I don't get along very well with people."
Viewers will vote on what clothes he wears, what he eats, his workout regime, what time he gets up, whom he'll date, and how he wears his hair. Vogel will also answer viewer calls and e-mails several times a day.
"It would be impossible for anyone else to make worse decisions than me. Hopefully when I come out of this, I'll have a girlfriend, a job that pays me enough to live on, and a better life."
His temporary two-bedroom New Jersey home has been outfitted with 32 cameras. Only the bathroom will be off-limits. He has agreed not to leave the apartment for the next six months, but friends, family and other people can visit him if Internet voters allow it.
Vogel's odyssey is part of a bid to win a $500,000 prize package offered by BigString, a New Jersey software company. The firm is trying to generate publicity for a product that creates recallable, erasable e-mail.
Vogel, an aspiring cartoonist and "accomplished kazoo player," says he has many issues to overcome.
He says he is afraid of soup, which he calls a "morass of sickening food residue," swimsuits and redheads. He also says he is both afraid of and attracted to tall, blonde women.
During his stay as an Internet prisoner, Vogel will undergo psychotherapy and receive personal training and life coaching.
"I have all sorts of embarrassment issues that keep me from talking to women, so the audience can pick dates for me and pick what I'll be wearing," he said. "Then they can watch the date, which will take place here, since I can't leave. I'll even be hosting dance parties."
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