301 to 325
here's how a non-typical Thursday (25th March) of my life goes:
I leave in the morning to go to the course that I'm on all week at Liverpool Street in London, and the weather is fine and dry. Buy by the time I get out of the tube station at the other end and it's pouring with rain, and in my hurry to get to the course on time I walk off the kerb and straight into a huge puddle and soak my feet. They're very wet!
So I sit barefoot in the course all morning hoping that my socks will dry out, but when they don't I head off to the nearest Marks & Spencers which is just down the road, and when I get there I realise that around the corner is where contributor Jacqui (#211) works.
So I ring her up, just to say hello and she pops out to see me .. and gives me another 50p on behalf of her sisters new daughter Kasia Sosin (301) - her parents being contributors Nicki & Richard Sosin (#34 #35). Nice one! So a 50p that I wasn't even expecting, and all because I risked getting trenchfoot. And spookily enough, it's a very similar photo to the one that I took back a few weeks ago when collecting Jacqui's original contribution.
Talking of which, seconds after the photo (above, right) was taken, a security guard wanders over and tells me that I have to stop taking photos as it's a 'Security Risk'. Er.. ok! I know he's only doing his job, and he was actually quite friendly about it, but it does make you wonder what the world is coming too. Oh, and only after I'd put my camera away and he'd wandered off did I realise that I should have asked him for 50p.
Back home, I get an email from Kirsty (#261) with a news story about the new iPod mini. The release date of them have been put back in the UK, and in fact the rest of the world outside of the US because the demand has been too high! Here's the complete story.
There's one final thing I need to add. I'm at 301 now - out of 500. Minus the 7 reserved contributions which I know I'm getting at the end, that's er .. 192 more people I need. Suddenly that sounds do-able. A few weeks back I was still thinking "I've got to get to 500". Now I'm thinking "Only 192".
Actually maybe a few less - as there are a few 'definites' as well from people that I have yet to catch up with. Trouble is, I have no idea who the rest of those people will be. So here's a little plea. Come on, if you're reading this now - stranger on the internet whoever you are - and you've enjoyed reading around my website for the last few minutes, then why not contribute me 50p! Oh go on. You know you want to really.
It's Frrrrrrriday, the 26th March, and stunningly enough the spell checker on my web-writing software picked on all those 'R's their, and queried it, and suggested to change it to the word "Farr" instead. Farr? What does that mean? Nope, Dictionary.com has never heard of it either. Ah well.
So - I actually collected no real 50p's today, but there are at least six in the pipeline coming because that's the number of people I had in my inbox today saying "I want to donate! What's your address?", so they should all be turning up next week hopefully!
George mails me again with an interesting article - No iPods please, we're Air Lingus, which would go some way to explaining why my girlfriend wasn't allowed to use her personal CD player on board our Nationwide flight to South Africa recently. Daft if you ask me - how can the tiny laser in a CD device affect an aircrafts instruments, let alone the small hard disk mechanics of an iPod? Who knows.
Finally, just to get it off my chest as I'm in 'blog rant mode', then a big big thanks (NOT) to Epsom & Ewell borough council who didn't collect my rubbish last week, sent me a new council tax bill this week, and then today (Friday, bin day, when I only found out this morning as I was leaving for work that they hadn't collected last weeks rubbish) failed to collect TODAY's rubbish as well ! Why?
Well there was a new sticker on my bin that says:
'To ensure the health and safety of our operatives, this bin will not be emptied if the lid is open'
But the point is 1) It wouldn't have been that full if they'd have bothered to collect last weeks rubbish, and 2) I admit the lid wasn't quite closed when I left this morning by about an inch or two, but it was squashed flat when I got back this evening to find my non-collected rubbish again!. So they must have put the sticker on, squashed it flat and then thought 'sod it' anyway just to piss me off. Arseholes.
Morning! And welcome to the weekend. Saturday 27th to be precise.
Some interesting developments yesterday, as off the back of my plea the other day to email in to Radio1 and Radio2's "Website of the day feature", whilst it looks like it's not going to be website of the day, it does still look as if has generated me some 50p's .. but more news on that later in the week.
In the meantime an email from Chris O'Callahan (302) drops into my inbox - a Paypal contribution - as Chris is somewhere in the US. "A fantastic idea!" he says, and he's given me a plug on his website/blog at www.houseofcoc.com where he amusingly writes:
"There's a guy named Geoff (at least i hope his name is Geoff otherwise his site is horribly named) who wants an iPod. And while he could likely afford one, he realized it would be fiscally irresponsible to just go out and buy one, so he's decided to just ask for the money. He only wants 50 pence (Which is about $1 for all of us who drive on the correct side of the road, and about $793.43 Canadian). If you can afford your connection to the internet, you can afford to help him out."
Fantastic! The rest of the website makes entertaining reading too, so it's worth a look. But it got me thinking though - why do we drive on the left in the UK? So I found this website here which explains all.
Sunday 28th March 2004, and the clocks have gone forward in the UK at it's the start of British Summertime, meaning that it should only be one o'clock in the afternoon, but it's actually two. Not that I'm complaining about the nice light evenings that we're now going to have for the next seven months, but I do feel like I have lost an hour somewhere today.
Also today is the annual boat race down on the River Thames between Oxford and Cambridge - it's amazing how those two teams are the same ones to get through to the final year after year. I'm going down later, will take my camera and thus some photos, and who knows? Might pick up the odd 50p or two as well ...
I did already get some 50p's via my inbox today though! That nice man at PalmAddict, - contributor Sam McLoughlin (#274) has put my 'plea' on his website again, and also PayPal'd me through some contributions this morning, in the from of:
Lyndsey Dyson (303) [left] who's the deputy editor at PalmAddict, and chooses the current UK No. 1 single "Yeah" by Usher as her song choice. Andrew Wolstenholme (304) [right] one of the original founders of PalmAddict is also in on the act, and chooses the club classic "You got the love" by Candi Staton. Sam points out that this track was used in the last ever episode (sob!) of Sex and the City last week.
Jason McLoughlin (305) is Sam's brother, and has been persuaded to contribute - and he picks David Gray's "Please forgive me". Finally, there is a nomination from a mystery PalmAddict reader (306), who wanted to remain anonymous and didn't pick a tune either! Sam promises me though that it's a genuine contribution and apologises for the lack of name. Ok, fair enough! I'm still accepting it.
So thank you all guys.. very kind of you all. And that's four in one email - I like that! If only I could have a few more emails like that before the end of the day.
The boat race was fun, it was a bit nippy though, and I paid £5 for a glass of Pimms which I thought was ever so slightly pricey! Oh, and Cambridge won in highly disputed circumstance as Oxford were in the lead but then Cambridge hit them twice with their paddles. Oars. Sticky things. You know what I mean. I'm not a boat person.
And was my inbox flooded with emails when I got home? Yes it was! But only with lots of Nigerian 419 Scam emails, offers of che@p v1agra now! and various other virus containing attachments.
Oh, but there was one PayPal contributed from Mercedes Lopez (307) who describes himself as a 5' 7" hispanic male, currently residing in Tucson, Arizona. Thank you Mercedes! Oh, and he says "Enjoy your 91 cents, thinking of getting myself one too". He is a tungsten PDA owner though with a healthy amount of memory which he's currently using as his MP3 player though. Guess he must have seen be mentioned on PalmAddicts then. Oh and he chooses Chad Kroegers "Hero" as his nominated song.
So what happened Monday 29th March then? Er.. well I got a nice email and photo from a lovely chap called Darren Avern (308) from Leamington Spa, who's promised me that a 50p is in the post "In a unique hand made casing". And when it turns up the next day, it's wrapped in two envelopes and he's cut a 50p shape into a hard piece of vinyl, stuck the 50p in it and then drawn the famous LT roundel onto it!
Darren found my site because of the tube thing, and has thus picked a tube-related song, The Jam's "Down in the tube station at midnight". Thank you Darren! Appreciated.
The photo he provides of himself is inside an old tube carriage which is at the London Transport museum, where he went this year with his girlfriend on February 14th - Valentines Day! Oh, I bet she enjoyed that romantic treat!
Oops! Later, Darren emails me back, and is worried that he does sound a bit geeky, so wants me to point out that he does do normal stuff, and in fact like the odd bit of Rally driving (which is distinctly manly, and un-geeky, right?) and even sent me a picture of him and his wife meeting Colin McRae.
Observant readers amongst you will note that I wrote 'wife' there, as I also got that bit wrong about taking his girlfriend out on valentines day. D'oh! Apologies to you Mrs Avern if you're reading this now...
Also I get an email from Megan Williams, a who calls herself "Another potential donator" and "Sister of an iPod owner" as she has a 40Gb model. So one email reply and bit of cajoling later, they're both sending me 50p's "When they get round to it, due to a combination of general laziness, probable forgetfulness and the task of finding the required items". Well come on Megan (and sister) take this as some encouragement and send me those 50p's!
Interestingly too, they tell me that they found the link to my site at UK-Learning.Net, where this forum here discusses what I'm up to, with a couple of people even thinking that I'm lying about this whole thing and am making up all these contributors. Ermm.. no I'm not - have a look at all the photo evidence yourself! That would be quite a lot of effort to make all that up.
George (#172) continues to scan the 'net for iPod related bits for me, and sent me this mug (ok, not an actual mug, but a picture of one) which do like quite cool. No idea where to buy one though - anyone out there know?
Talking of mugs (apologies for the what isn't honestly a contrived link) several articles appear in todays press about iPod muggings! That's right - as I always thought might happen, people with the distinctive white ear-buds are now being targeted by muggers on the streets and having their iPods stolen.
And the most amazing bit about this story? It's the quote from Apple on the subject, who say: "We refuse to recolour our headphones, as our customers would prefer to be robbed than be seen wearing something less trendy". I kid you not!
Later... was thinking about this, as I've just been for a walk down Regent Street and passed at least 3 people with iPod headphones in. One: if you were a potential mugger and it hadn't occurred to you to identify people as carrying expensive iPods like this, then you know now! i.e. Has the news actually encouraged more of this to happen? Two: We had a chat about this in the office at work, and someone said that they'd met someone who used a crappy old MiniDisc player hidden in their pocket, but then had bought (separately) some iPods white ear buds to use & wear to make it look as if they did have an iPod !
Tuesday 30th March turned out to be the first nice day of the year weather-wise. It was sunny, the temperature got up as high as 16 degrees (wooh!) and I even went to work with just a t-shirt on, and my coat .. and a spring in my step as the nice weather was making me bounce down the street with a spring in my step. Well - either that or it was the new shoes that I'd just bought.
The iPod mugging story from yesterday also got a mention on The Register website - a regular read for those in the I.T. industry, and was pointed out to me by a contributor that wishes to remain nameless. So thanks for letting me know James.
We also found that the iPod mug (above) comes courtesy of a link from the website on iPodHacks - another new iPod website which I'd previously been unaware of. Anywhere, it's not just mugs you can get, but a whole multiplicity of iPod goodies, have a look!
Also on the site, there is an excellent article, entitled Just What Would You Do For An iPod? - which talks about some articles that been appearing on the personal website 'Craigslist' in the US, where a guy needed an imaginary girlfriend to make out to his parents that he was all loved up, so he posted an article offering to buy a girl an iPod if she pretended to be his girly for the evening!
Wednesday 31st March and it's occurred to me that I haven't been collecting any 50p's for the past couple of days! Which is kind of the whole point of the exercise isn't it? So I've been a bit proactive this morning and have fired out several emails to people that I know, and some of whom that I only vaguely know asking if they'd like to contribute. I'm expecting at least two before the end of the day.
Michael (non-contributor) at work emails me, points out that someone has sold themselves as a virtual girlfriend on eBay to raise money, so in the same vein, I've now put up as a 'Buy-it-now' the chance to contribute 50p to me towards my iPod on eBay.
The item is here: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3088768386
I pop out of the office at lunchtime, and as I walk out I immediately bump into Malcolm Carpenter (309) an old colleague (and by that, I don't mean that he's old ... but, now that I think about it, he is getting on a bit!) and we chat, and says (fatally) "So what you been up to?", to which I say "Well you know, collecting the odd 50p or three-hundred" and he smiles, remembers that he said ages ago that he would contribute, and like the decent fella that he is (despite being a West Ham fan) hands over a contribution - cheers Malc! Now go nominate me song!
Back in the office later, it seems that my email plundering has come to some good effect. So stand up and take a bow to the BBC office in Belfast for coming up with three contributions in one hit - although mainly because I refused to do something for a couple of people there this morning who asked me valid work question until they'd contributed, which I think is reasonable,yes?
So Fergus Allen (310), Emma McLaughlin (311) and Glenn Cartmill (312) all kindly contributed, sent me their pics - oh, but have yet to choose a song! C'mon guys... favourite tune nominations please!
Later, they do get back to me with Fergus choosing OMC's "How bizarre", and Emma plumps for Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah", although "It's not a religious song!" she stresses to point out.
Also, they asked the very nice Roland Rodgers [left] who's er.. well actually I'm not sure if he's their boss at all anymore, as he's been there for such a long time now that I think no one really know what he does anymore.
Anyway, Roland's response when asked if he'd like to contribute was "Go buy your own fucking iPod like I had to", so you know - it's swings and roundabouts really.
And another one! Just like that .. out of the blue - one of the managers from next door pops in to ask me to do something, and it occurs to me that whilst Robert has mentioned it before, he's never actually handed over 50p. He was particularly taken though by contribution 221, which was the interest from my Abbey savings account as he's a major shareholder but now he was ready (with some gentle persuasion from me) to commit properly and contribute. So thank you Robert Freeman-Kerr (313) for your 50p, and he chose an absolutely old-crooners classic for his song - Frank Sinatra's "It was a very good year". Cheers Robert!
It's April Fools Day - Thursday 1st April and the first thing I did this morning was of course a little research on why today is 'April Fools' and the reasoning behind it all.
With that in mind, I've been thinking all week that I really should have done something on my website for a laugh. Either make out that I'd suddenly received a deluge of contributions to buy several iPods, or perhaps putting up a front page that said "I've just done the tube in 17 hours and 12 minutes!" was tempting, but in the end .. nothing. Yup! Nothing. Sorry if you were expecting anything, but away from 50p collecting I do try to have a bit of a life, and in the end I found that I had no time to do anything.
Still, the good news is that I haven't been caught out by anything today, and the only gag at work I've seen is where someone has stuck a fake poster on the toilet door making out that there are cameras inside watching you. And so far, six people have come up to me and said "Was that you Geoff?". No it wasn't.
My eBay item has sold! Hurrah .. but when I check I realised that it was from someone I knew - my cousin Phil who I'll be catching up with later to collect his money, and so because that one has sold, I've put up another chance for someone to 'buy in' to the iPod on eBay again.
Ooh, I just got another one! Here I am sitting at work, minding my own business and actually doing some work, when Glenn Clarke (314) from another department drops by as he's collecting signatures for a leaving card of someone in his area that's leaving that some of us know.
I actually don't know the person that's leaving, but somehow get roped into signing the card anyway, and then whilst he's he here I casually ask Glenn if he'd like to give me 50p. "Oh I read about this on your website" he says .. but that was as far as he'd got, but now he would, he does, and he chooses Metallica's "Enter sandman" as his song choice.
So one photo later, I'm 50p richer, but then a sudden sense of guilt swarms over me and I end up putting all the loose change in my other pocket into the envelope for the person that's leaving - which is 46p.
As Glenn leaves, I look up his name/title as I can never remember if his surname has an 'e' on the end of it, and note that his title is now 'Process Integrity Team Leader'. What the hell is that? If you have a better job title, please let me know!
At my 'lunch' hour, I nip out and catch up with my cousin Phil Smith (315) who was the winner of the original eBay auction from yesterday. He tries to (almost successfully) argue that as an iPod costs £249.99 then someone was going to have to give me 49p instead of a whole 50p, so could that person be him? No Phil, it can't! And so I made him give me the whole 50p.
He wouldn't let me take a photo of him either, but maybe I actually endeared myself to him much as my opening greeting to him was "Well you're looking old, fat, and your hair's turned even more grey" (I've haven't seen him for a while...), but he did promise to send me a childhood photograph of himself, which I now eagerly await. Oh, and his tune choice is the Dave Clark Five "Glad all over" as well. Cheers Phil!
Also, I found out today that my site has got the attention of a few forums, and best of all a top-billing plug under the 'weird' section of Zoo Weekly.co.uk
It's the day after April Fools Day - Friday 2nd April, good morning! I had shit-loads of emails last night when I got home, only some of which I was able able to plough through.
A lot of them were though of "I've just seen you site! Give me your address so that I can send you 50p!", to which I did, and now I await the nice postal service to do their bit.
Meanwhile, I've discovered a mention someone's given me on the Crystal Palace Forums Site. Amongst my favourite comments is the guy that writes "I actually thought it was someone selling one for 50p after nicking it, due to their distinctive headphones that has caused Apple so much negative publicity over the past few days.", go have a read for yourself.
I pop out at lunchtime to go and buy my copy of The Matrix - Revolutions, which is out on DVD today. Bit of a con, because you just know that in another six months time, they'll release a box set of all three films, with another bonus disc included, and more DVD extras that weren't available the first time round, and they'll expect you to go out and buy it all over again - no way! Not me. I'm just buying the standard release, thank-you-very-much.
On the way back from the shop, I get a text from non-contributor Stewart, saying that he's down the pub, and an old contractor - Matt - has popped by to say hello and he's up for giving me 50p. So I make a slight detour, and have a quick half of London Pride, and educate Matt Fletcher (316) into the ways of contributing. He does so, finds the whole thing quite amusing, and then chooses a new tune that's out - The Streets "You're fit, but you know it", as his nominated song. Thank you, Matt-hew!
Hello. It's the weekend again - Saturday 3rd April. And I think I've had my first mention in the printed press, rather than just online. My mailbox suddenly starts to get a few emails from people in Italy who say that they've read about me in their MacWorld magazine. I've had a trawl through the online version and I can't find any reference to it - so if anyone else out there in Italy has a copy of MacWorld, could you let me know what it says? Thanks!
George (#172) continues to deluge my inbox, with Mac & iPod related items, and finds on the mac.com website a place where you can send virtual postcards to other people - including a whole load of iPod themed ones. Go to www.mac.com/WebObjects/iCards.woa/ and then click on the card with the infamous iPod silhouette and it'll take you to a whole page with a whole load of designs.
Then, something quite quite brilliant - you have to see this. It's a quicktime movie entitled 'iPod Love', and is extremely funny, and someone has spent a lot of time and effort putting it together and it deserves to be seen. It's "The classic story of a man falling in love with his little music player. Watch the adventures they go on that eventually lead him to a tragic ending.. or does it?". Go see it now!
I got some real 50p's in the post today at home. Last week I got an email from one of my old sister's schoolfriends who I haven't seen for ... well, probably about 15 years or so! So it was nice to hear from Fran Aylward (317) although she's married now, so she must have a different surname, but she doesn't tell me what it is.
Anyway, she kindly says to me "I remember you as an annoying little titch who used to whack us with your scaletrix track.", which I think it's fair enough as I seem to recall that she and my older sister used to gang up and play nasty tricks on me.
Either way, Fran sends me a 50p - not just one actually but two! - in the post today, the other being from her daughter Cara (318) as well in a lovely card - thank you Fran! And their songs choices? Fran chooses Madonna's "Holiday", and for her daughter Cara, it's Bob the Builders "Can we fix it?" - alltogether now .. "Yes we can". I thank you.
Next up is the winner of my second eBay auction - Marco Pinder (319), who is from Reading but currently a student at Plymouth University, and he wants me to plug loads of things about him for me to earn his 50p!
Firstly, he'd like to give a virtual two-fingers up to his housemate Rick Walker (not to be confused with the width-restricted chap, Rik Waller from Pop Idol) who's got a better feedback score than Marco on eBay, so he was keen to 'but' his 0.2% share of iPod, just so that I'd give him some positive feedback (which I did). No worries.
Also, he wants a mention for the two American Football teams that he plays for down in Plymouth - that being the Plymouth Blitz and the Plymouth Admirals - no problem Marco. He also adds that his nominated tune is N.E.R.D's 'She Wants To Move', "As it is a song I have played in my house so much that my housemates have begun to resent me for it - plus that fact that I fancy that Alesha Dixon from Mis-Teeq in the video!". Sounds like a good enough reason to me! So nice one and thank you Marco.
I'm now off out to a Barbeque for the evening, who knows? Might get the odd 50p or two. I'm certainly on the trail tomorrow when there's at least one (maybe five!) that I'm going to get, and I'm also definitely expecting some during the week now as well.
Sunday 4th April 2004. I get six in one go! How? Like this..
It's funny how things work out in ways that you least expect them to. Even if you suspect yourself that that's what you were trying to do all along in the first place. But I'm not sure about this one. Let me explain - back on the previous page, I'd put a blatant plug in for anyone reading this to send an email to a BBC Radio 2 feature that have in the afternoon on the Steve Wright show, which is Miles Mendoza's "Website of the day".
Well, contributor Stacie (#232) did just that and sent an email to Miles telling him about this site, and would he make is his featured website of the day? Well, no he wouldn't he said when he replied to her, and that reply she then forwarded to me, and then I replied back to Miles, and then we got chatting, and before you know it, it turns out that we're both PC 'geeks' and we getting talking about a problem he's having with his computer.
Would I help him fix it? Well, yes I would, but of course it would cost him 50p!
As it turned out though, I was very grateful when it turned out to be more than that this afternoon when I popped round to see him, and spent a pleasant afternoon being computer nerds, and ended up collecting six - count 'em! - six 50p contributions!
So thank you to the Mendoza family, collectively broken down into Miles himself (320), his wife Lynn (321) [taking the photo], and their three gorgeous children Henry (322), George (323) and Ruby (324) [ran off crying, suggesting that she didn't want to be in the photo!] who all contributed - and what do you know, taking me up to the end of this section was Shaun the sheep (325) [in the photo below my hand!], and means I can start a nice new page for 326 which should come in tomorrow! In the meantime, thank you hugely to the Mendoza family!
Oh. And we didn't fix the PC problem. Anyone out their know all there is to know about getting problematic USB2 cards to work? Because we couldn't!
Finally, Miles later emails me though their song selections. And they are:
Miles: "Don't Play That Song" by Aretha Franklyn, Lynne: "Still Fighting it" - Ben Folds, Henry: "Get Down Massive" by the Freestylers, George: "The Show" - Doug E Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew and Ruby: "Theme from Dora The Explorer".
I note that they didn't choose one for Shaun the Sheep, so I'll think I'll pick one myself - Airhead's "Counting Sheep" !
Also, I should mention that they very kindly bought me a present as well - a tube related novel that they'd found in their local second hand bookshop just that morning. It's the published version of a book that first started out as being just online, and it's called '253' - after the number of passengers that are on the train at the time. And it cost them just 50p to buy it for me!
50 pence : iN Da Pod
The contributors are listed here in groups of 25 to make the pages easier to manage and read through. Click on aby button to jump to that group.
Statistics - We collected a whole bunhc of stats and figures abuot the 50p's collected, here they all are ...
iN Da Pod : The Movie - A video we made about the whole thing
50 pence (iN Da Pod) - Hear Geoff 'rap' in this rather silly 50 cent cover/spoof we made
Gold Coin Contributors - Some people went out of their way to help me get more 50's than just their own
The Tunes Chosen - My favourite music out of all the tunes chosen by the contributors
The iParty - After it was complete, I held an iParty an invited as many contributors along as possible.
The iColour Competion - At the iParty, we had the fun iColour competition - getting people to design their own iPods
What I did with the 50p's - As when I bought the iPod I actually used my debit card