So it's actually still Tuesday 4th May 2004, and I have quite a few things to talk about. If you've only been following on these pages the progress of this 50p iN Da Pod story, then now might be the time for you to realise that this really is second to my more major obsession of trying to get round the London Underground system in the fastest time possible to set a new world record.
So if you thought I was a bit sad before (and I've been getting a few derogatory comments in my guestbook recently), then now you can really take the piss!
So assuming that you're up to speed on the tube thing, here's the deal. I spent all of Wednesday 5th May travelling about on the Underground system. To do this I started at Amersham station which is quite a way out of London and at the top left hand corner of the tube map.
Prior to this, at the weekend, I had received an email from a girl called Phillipa, who'd seen the mention of me on the MSN Money page, emailed me, mentioned that she'd read about the tube thing and that she actually lived in Amersham, and so could she have my address please so that she could post me some 50p's. Coincidence or what!
"Or..." I said, emailing her back, "I'm actually going to be in Amersham on Tuesday evening" (I stayed overnight in a B&B), "So we could meet up in person for a photo!".
Now I can hear you all screaming at me now saying "Bloody hell Geoff, so now you're meeting up with 16 year old girls you've met on the internet", and I admit that it was a bit dodgey, mainly from Philippa's point of view, so I email her saying "You have told your parents about this haven't you?".
Well she had - and in fact, not only had she told her parents, but when she explained the tube thing to her mum as well, her mother starts saying things like "Well does he want to stay here then overnight?". Seriously!
Anyway, so we meet at Amersham station, and she officially gives me 50p from herself - Philippa Parry (396), her friend Megan Masterson (397), and Megan's cat Lucy (398). We chat for a bit and I take our photo, she shows me where the nearest takeaway food establishment is, and then it starts to rain, and she runs off home.
Oh, and her tune choices. Well Philippa herself has Maroon 5's "Not coming home", Megan chooses the party classic "Love shack" by the B-52's, and Lucy the cat is having the Eels and "Mental" chosen for her. She almost had Mystikal's "Shake ur ass" instead, but they "Weren't too sure if that was the right message for a cat...". Hmm - good point!.
So this was my first official big 'Make an effort to go somewhere and meet someone' occasion, even though I admit I was going there already! Ah well.
So Wednesday then - tube thing - you know that by now, and I don't get home again until midday on Thursday feeling somewhat fatigued, and hence no updates until ...
Friday 7th May where I have lots of emails stacking up for me to get through!
Karl-Thomas Musselman (399) PayPal's me three lots of 50p's in one go, and he writes me a beautiful email which says:
"I ran across your website earlier this week but was spurred to donate today after reading those comments in your guestbook by those challenging your fundraising method. So for Yas (400) and Anonymous (401) I donate two extra 50p's as well as my own.
And to them I would like to say this:
"Sometimes in life, the journey is more important than the destination. The hundreds of stories that make up this journey are worth more than the cost of the iPod."
Karl is a first year student at the University of Texas, Austin, and also send me some pictures of his journeys on the tube when he was in London, along with what I assume is a photo of himself, where he appears to be eating a cream eclair? Cheese roll? Hmm.. try and work it out for yourself!
For a song, he chooses Will Young's "You and I" for himself, and admits: "British Pop Idol? Yeah, so I feel just a tad silly. But doesn't it feel nice to be importing something to America instead of the other way around?"
He also has his own webpages www.musselmanforamerica.com as well which are worth a look! What can I say? Thank you Karl. Thank you, thank you, thank you! (Ok Geoff, enough crawling now..)
Next in my inbox is an email from Ben French (402), who sends me 50p from him, and 50p from his girlfriend Sian Williams (403).
Ben lives in Brighton, and is a fellow Spurs fan and as we're having a 'difficult time' at the moment (a nicer of way of saying that we're playing like shit at the moment), he felt for me!
However, as I type this up (actually on Saturday 8th May), we're currently winning 1-0 against Blackburn, although anything could happen in the next 45 minutes.
What else? Oh yeah, Ben is actually not a fan of the iPod, being a Creative Zen owner instead, and Sian reckons that I'm "A nutter with a vision", which I'm happy to agree with! As their songs, Ben picks Stiltskin's "Inside", and Sian had the Rolling Stones "Paint it back". Thank you both very much guys!
Ben promises me a photo to follow, but until then insists that I up a photo of a much loved ex-Spurs player Steffan Freund, who's nickname too was "nutter"!
It's Saturday the 8th of May, and something that I arranged to do during the week was to catch up with and have a spot of lunch with contributor Chris Green (#300), who had never ever quite got round to sending me a photo of himself before when he officially took me to the 60% mark, so when he told me that he was up in my neck of the woods, it seemed rude not to make an effort to catch up with him.
We would have had a better photo of Chris holding up a piece of paper saying "I'm number 300", but after taking just the one photo, my camera's batteries decided to give up on me, and I was unable to take any more piccies - doh! Anyway, nice to meet you in person Chris!
On with some new contributors for today then, and first up is a strangely mysterious 50p contribution from someone who really doesn't want to reveal their name, as their eMail display name comes through as 'Myste*RI*ous' when they first emailed me last week.
They say that they are an iPod owner though, but what I can't work out from their writing style is if they're male or female! See what you think, as they said:
"I love your site, and wish to contribute 50p (i am also an iPod owner and think u very much deserve to enjoy its beauty. the only problem is im not sure how to get it to you, because like you, i have had 'issues' with the post service". And they then go on to tell me of their own trials and tribulations with the Royal Mail that they've had recently!
So, "RI" .. thanks for your 50p! And they choose Katie Melua's "Crawling up the hill" as their song.
And that's it! That's all I know about this person! Does anyone, anywhere out there, might know who they are???
Becky Harris (405) is someone that sent me 50p during the week, and I'm only just catching up with myself now.
Becky easily wins the prize for the sub-competition that I'm running on this site for "Most creative and colourful way of sending me a 50p", (not really, ok?) as it comes on two piece of a rubbery-foam material, blue and purple, stuck together with a picture of Arthur the Aardvark on the front. I've attempted (badly) to take photos of both sides and photoshop/merge them together which is why the picture looks a bit funny.
Anyway, she writes - "I bet you've never had an aardvark before". Indeed I haven't! And I've never had a picture of one sent to me before either, oh .. ho ho ho, that's a crap joke by the way.
Interestingly, Becky doesn't choose a song either. Instead (get this - and I can't believe that it took until number 405 for someone to think of it!) she wants to be able to choose what my iPod is called itself! And she chooses the name 'Trevor' !
Ok Becky, I shall call my iPod 'Trevor' when I eventually get it - and thank you...!
Next are the 50p contributions from the '118' runners picture mentioned on the previous page, yes it's two girls both named Helen (406) (407), and the spooky part about that being is that my sister (Contributor #94) is also called Helen with the same surname as me, so we have the first occurrence of a duplicate-named contributor. Cool.
Anyway, 'Melons and Hels' (I've lost track of which is which already) sent me a load of pictures of themselves, and are currently studying at Loughborough University doing Computing and Management and currently in the middle of their exams.
Helen chooses as her song Chris Rea's "Driving home for Christmas" (I didn't dare ask why!) whilst Helen chooses The Darkness's "I believe in thing called love".
Oh, and they win the award for "Most difficult envelope to open", as they'd use industrial strength yellow-coloured electrical insulation tape to seal down their envelope, and it took me a good few minutes to open the damn thing !!
And that's pretty much Saturday, well - except that most of those turned up during the week but today is the first chance that I've had to write about them.
And one more final, final thing is to mention briefly - but i'll write it up properly tomorrow - is that I got eight (eight!) contributions from Giovanni Ripolidi who saw me in the Italian MacWorld magazine that I appeared in a few weeks ago, along with £4 of contributions - (408) to (415) from himself and seven of his friends & colleagues! Top man! But I'll write it up properly tomorrow ...
Sunday 9th of May ... and I must get round to writing up about a very nice chap by the name of Giovanni Ripoldi (408) who was another Italian that saw the 'feature' on me MacWorld Italia a couple of months ago.
We've been chatting away on email for a bit, and he's been promising to send me a 50p, and possibly some from his friends & colleagues. Well this week - he comes up trumps big time, as he sends me £4 in the mail. That's right - eight! contributions all in one go - top man! And on top of that, he went to the effort of physically posting me a copy of the MacWorld magazine to for me to have - thank you Giovanni!
So, the contributions are from: Himself (408), Nadia Mambrini (409), Franco Maimone (410), Danja Nebuloni (411), Daniela R (412), ALberto B (414), La Tina (415) and an anonymous contributor! (416).
And now I'm just hoping that I've read Gionvanni's handwriting properly and that I haven't mis-spelt anything there! So thank you all very much, thanks for the magazine which I can now practise my Italian on, and you still need to send me some song nominations guys!
The observant amongst you will have noticed that I 'missed' out number 413 in that list their, but that's because it had already been reserved a couple of pages back by Alix Stevenson.
This afternoon, contributor Phil (#104) pops round for a chat, and a cup of tea, and to eventually pass onto me 50p, which his cat Beryl (417) wanted to donate when she saw all the other cats that had been getting on board with the iPod fund. Spot the 50p piece resting on her paw in the picture!
In fact - cats are becoming quite popular here, aren't they? I might have to go and create a specific page, just as gallery for all the cats or something silly, as they've certainly prooved to be a puuurrrrfect way of giving me 50p! And I make no apologies for that over-used terrible pun! Phil, er.. I mean Beryl chooses from the Cats original soundtrack the song "Memory". Nice.
Late Sunday, and I get an email pop into my inbox which I had been wondering if I'd ever get. Not because it was from a specific person, but because throughout the whole of this 50p-collecting-story I've always been wondering if I'd find anyone that would 'trump' Rick (#175) for a most unusual location to donate from. Well, I think that moment may have now happened.
Step forward Richard Hesketh (418) who sends me an email from the Ekofisk Oil Rig in the North Sea. And no I'm not kidding!
Richard tell me that he's a 'Biostratigrapher' (whatever the hell that is), although he goes on to say that "When offshore I'm referred to as a Wellsite Micropalaeontologist. This basically means that I look at microfossils within the rock cuttings during drilling and tell the geologists precisely what age strata we are drilling through." - so now you know!
"I would send you a picture of me holding up 50p (or 6 Norwegian Krone) but there is a rule that says cameras are outlawed as the flash can trigger detectors which make other alarm systems go off, but I hope to be able to send you an actual picture of me at a later date"
And he attaches the two pictures (above) showing where in the North Sea he is, and a picture of the rig presumably taken from a helicopter. Brilliant! Trouble is, that's going to really affect my country statistics! Do I put it down as Richard being from the UK, or Norway ?? And he chooses the Rolling Stones, "Paint it black" as his song.
(Also, can I just say that when you run Richard's surname 'Hesketh' through the spellchecker, it suggests the word 'Cheese' as a replacement, and I just found that very amusing...)
Talking of songs, I've spent most of the day today loading up my CD collection into iTunes, making AAC's out of them, and at the same time starting the arduous task of putting in all of the songs that people have chosen as their nominated tunes, and marking them up with their contributor names and numbers. Here ->
And whilst still talking about songs, I must just give a plug to my song of the moment which I'm completely loving to death - it's the new Keane single "Everybody changes", which went into the UK singles chart at No. 4 today, and you can listen to a clip of it here. Go listen to it, it's sooooperb!
As it happens, some people have been asking me recently "Aside from the 500 iPod contributor songs, what music are you going to have on your iPod Geoff?", (well ok, about two people have asked me that if I'm honest), and in case you're wondering "So is Keane the sort of music that you like then Geoff", you'll be interested (!) to know that I'm currently working on a feature based on my favourite music and what will be going onto the iPod when I get it - mainly so that I'll still have something to write about here, as I think I'm going to miss not having any 50p's to talk about and update on a daily basis!
Monday 10th May- and you know what I just realised? I've been doing this for exactly six months now. After being given my first two 50p's the day before, It was on Monday 10th November 2003, that I first woke up with the thought of "Must ask people for 50p's in my head", and Shaun Bevan (#3) a colleague at work was the first nice man to just hand over 50p - no questions asked! Top man.
Little did I have any idea back then what I'd started, or the people that I would meet along the way, or the things that I would learn. It's been a lot of a fun, and yet it's still quite not over! I'm at 419 today (see below), plus 9 reserved people equals 428 which is now just 72 people left to get!
I say I'm at 419, because ambassador to the 50p cause Janet (#63) was out at the weekend and sent me an email today saying that she'd got 50p of off her friend Karen Taylor (419) whilst out at a mutual friends birthday. I ask Janet if she can provide me with some information about Karen (as she's now gone on holiday), and she helpfully comes back with:
"She's a friend from an old place I used to work at, but she now works for Marie Stopes and goes galavanting round the world educating people about sexual health - hence she's in Albania at present. She lives in Leyton and came to Spain with us a couple of weeks ago, along with 12 other old work chums - she brought pretty much the entire contents of her kitchen to bake fairy cakes for one of the girls 30th birthday while we were out there, and very nice they were too - I was on icing duty but kept getting told off because it was too sloppy :o)"
So there! Don't say I don't like to tell you a thing or two about my lovely contributors.
Tuesday 11th May . . . and I get just one contribution in the email, which is nice having a breather as it's allowed me to catch up on some of my e-correspondence and not spend 24 hours glued to my monitor (I lose valuable girlfriend points when I do that too much), so the one person today to give me 50p is Brian Meacham (420) who says - "I've been reading your webpages for a while now, and so on behalf of my fiancée (Aimee) and I who just got engaged (and are both happy iPod owners), I've sent 50p via PayPal from Cambridge, Massachusetts to you. I'm glad I got in under the wire - looks like you won't have any trouble finishing the project."
He has his own blogsite too, at www.doubleperf.com/blog/ from where I nabbed this picture. Nice one.. and congrats on getting engaged guys!
I think you should create an iTunes/iMix wedding platlist which you should send out to guests as part of your wedding invitation! Ah, whatever... they also pick the tune "Pick Up the Change" by Jeff Tweedy, which I assume is some cheesy pun on me picking up people's 50p's! Heh... nice one, and thank you both!
Wednesday 12th May, and to everyone that tells me that I should perhaps buy my iPod online and perhaps get it cheaper, I found this strange story of a person who bought an MP3 player online, and got sent a Smith & Wesson gun instead!
Anyway, just a few more tube bits to wrap up, and then I promise that I'll stop harping on about it ('cause even I'm starting to get a bit bored of it now..), but I just have to mention that contributor Paul (#27) sends me in the mail a lovely picture that he got his 4 year old son George to draw for me. Thank you!
Then, finally, today at work another tube challenger and reserved contributor Paul Webb (496) turns up and my workplace and gives me a call.
It turns out that he too was attempting the tube record yesterday... the day when a Central Line train de-railed and the tube system generally fell apart, to the point where poor old Paul gave up trying at about 3pm in the afternoon. I know how you feel mate, and I did genuinely feel for you.
So he comes and finds me this morning, and the lovely man that he is, he gives me his promised 50p and we have a chat, and then he goes off home to Manchester. Have a safe journey home mate .. let's hope your train doesn't de-rail!
Finally, I get one 'real' contributor today from Eiran Cooper (421) who sent me a PayPal'd 50p, and a nice email which read: "Just spent about an hour on your site this morning, it's great! I thought 'This is just about crazy enough to work on me!'", and he gladly gives me 50p. Thanks Eiran! He also nominates a bit of metal classic - Metallica's "Fade to Black" from the album "Ride The Lightning". Eiran adds "I noticed a distinct lack of metal which will never do!".
So yes, this would be another moment to confess that my musical tastes are somewhat, umm.. shall we say 'poppy' and on the lighter side, but I have promised to put on ALL contributors song choices on the iPod, and so that is what I will do, including Metallica which I probably won't like that much (Sorry Eiran!)
Anyway, I'm guessing that he's a law student at the University of Aberdeen as he gives me a link for a picture of him which takes me to their website. Thanks Eiran!
Thursday 13th May, and I have a couple of things to report on. Firstly is the how much my 50p collection weighs. That's right - weighs!
It's all Helen's (#407) fault, who for some reason decides that this is a sensible sort of thing to ask, and of course never being one to doubt the sanity of doing something, it seemed perfectly reasonable to me to try and answer her question by placing them on scales.
However, this presented a problem because even with all the 50p's I've got so far in the olive jar that I'm collecting them in, they weren't heavy enough to make an impression on my set of bathroom scales.
Popping down to the kitchen and getting my digital scales for measuring stuff for cooking was also then no good, as it's weighed too much and gave me 'ERR' on the digital display.
So in the end, I had to break things down and measure things separately.
So - the olive jar, empty by itself, weights 406 grams.
A single 50 pence piece weighs 8 grams. Actually probably slightly more than that, because when I put 25 of them onto the scales at once, it gave me 201 grams. But you get the idea.
So five hundred 50 pence pieces, would weigh in at 4 Kilograms, oh plus the jar - call it four and a half! I did actually try placing all the 50p's that I had on the scales in one go ... and they all fell off.
Helen asked me to put this all up on site - duly done - and also mentioned that I missed out the lovely picture of the crab that she sent me last week along with her original email. I'm still not completely sure of why they have a crab fetish, but I'm happy to post it up here for them. Happy now Helen?
Also, an interesting conundrum here at work today. (and a real one, as opposed to say a Countdown Conundrum) in about how and where I'm going to get my iPod from when I get all the money.
I've failed so far (with no thanks to John Lewis) to find a shop that will let me buy it in their song and (1) Pay for it all in 50p's, and (2) Allow me to video record the event so that I can put it here on the website.
So it was interesting when a guy at work Adam Davey (currently a non-contributor) told me that he might sell me a new 40Gb for less than it's normal price!
Why? Well because he bought a 40Gb one new a few months ago new. Then he managed to drop it and break it (silly man!), and so claimed on his insurance to get a new one. However, his insurance company didn't give him the out and out cash - they just bought him a brand new 40Gb iPod!
, and what he's said to me is that I could use me £250 to buy the 40Gb model off of him, and then when he/his mate goes to the US in a few weeks time he's happy to get a 20Gb (cheaper) model at (even cheaper) US prices!
So I could give me all my 50p pieces, and get a 40Gb in return? Whadda ya all think?
Friday 14th May - and what's the last thing in the world that you would expect me to talk about here? Come on, what's the most unlikely non-50p connected thing that I could summon up from the deepest weirdest point of my mind and offer as a talking point?
That's right! Fairy Liquid dish washing detergent. That's quite obscure isn't it? And I really want to comment on it, because whilst shopping in my local Sainsbury's last night, it made me laugh when I noticed that someone has lined up about three different types/colours of this popular UK brand of washing up liquid.
I noticed that they'd missed out a few other 'flavours' though, so whilst my girlfriend ran off to the the end of the aisle in embarrassment (don't know why - there was no one else around), I lined up all the variations that you could buy, and took this nice photo of them.
And what's the point? I mean.. they all do the same don't they?
Each different coloured one has a different smell, which you can detect if you slip the red cap and have a quick sniff, but I find that when you're actually washing up with the damn stuff, you don't actually really notice it.
I can't actually remember what all the different variants were, but it was something like: Original (No smell), Lemon Zest, Apple Orchard, Purple Mist, Summer Breeze, Tango & Melon and Lime. Seriously.
I don't know why I felt the need to mention this, but the more I thought about it and the more obscure I realised it was, the more I felt I should bring it to your attention. Perhaps if you've seen any other type of Fairy in your local supermarket you could let me know.
Oh, and no 50p's so far today...
do find this though on eBay:
Someone a while back (auction is closed now), put up for sale an Air Guitar, as in .. nothing! And people bid for it! The picture is of an empty guitar case, and at the bottom of the descriptive text it even says "Case not included". And yet people bid for it, and it sold for $9.25. It's here:
I get a 50p today! That was lucky for you, otherwise I was going to have to go back down Sainos tonight and discuss the virtues of different varieties of paper kitchen-towel or whatever took my fancy.
Oh yeah - the 50p. Ok, will it comes via contributor Alix (#413) who today gets in touch so say that she has been sent 50p from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and that they ask of you "What will do with this 50p?". Seriously! As Alix explains:
I received the enclosed cardboard/50p combo through the post, and as soon as I had read the question on the cardboard - I just knew the answer!
Please consider this a donation from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and plug their website at http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw/general/
Obviously, I have made a proper donation to them, so they are definitely not out of pocket! In reality, I think they expect people to then send it back to with an extra donation.
Does make you wonder what sort of return you could have got if you had sent everyone 50p and then asked them to send it back with a donation!?
I wondered what sort of song would be appropriate, and then I remembered "Everybody Wants To Be A Cat" sang by Thomas O'Malley, the Alley Cat from Disney's The Aristocats.
And she therefore includes a picture of Harvey (422) her "Big Gay Cat" with the 50p in view... Brilliant! Thank you Alix.
So - has anyone else had a letter from the IFAW with 50p in it? If you did, would you like to send it to me instead?
Or if anyone at the IFAW is reading this now and you've got anymore 50p's to spare, please feel free to send 'em my way!
Saturday 15th May - and I saw some blokes dressed as nun's dancing in my local shopping centre (mall). No really, I did! Look:
It was Saturday, and I was shopping in Kingston, and whilst wandering through the Bentalls shopping centre I spotted these two guys wandering along.
They were dressed in nun's outfits, but had yellow socks and trainers on, and one of them was carrying a large silver briefcase, inside of which was some sort of stereo system as every now and then they'd pump out some sort of cheesy eighties dance tune, and start jigging along to it. They also spoke in Monty Pyhton-esque falsetto voices if anyone engaged in conversation with them.
And the best part? Well there seemed no reason at all for them doing it. They didn't appear to be collecting money for charity, they didn't get in anyone's way or annoy anyone - they were just having some fun - more so when a bunch of teenage girls went up to them and started dancing with them.
It was a bizarre site - and maybe you had to really see it to appreciate it but it just felt like something that I should take a picture of and dutily report, seeing as I've got no 50p contributions to talk about this weekend ... !
Sunday 16th May - Oh dear... have I hit a 'dry spell', and have stalled again? No 50p's at all this weekend, duh. So I promise to try harder this week. I think a trip to a pub in Haringay in North London where I'm promised a couple is due ...
Monday 17th May - Hurrah! I got one. And just when I feared things might be grinding to a halt. Actually, I knew i was getting it because he told me last week that he's posted it to me, so hello and thank you to Ian Friday (423) for sending me a 50p embedded into a piece of cardboard.
But by far the most stunning thing about this contribution was the envelope which it arrived it which automatically wins the "Best envelope I've had a 50p sent to me in" competition (again, I've just invented that) as it's the printout of a scanned in image of a 50p, duplicated many many times - brilliant! Oh, and his tune? Coolio's "Gansters paradise". No problem Ian, nice one.
And then I get another! Out of the blue, sat at work, minding my own business, when contributor Vinny (#5) reminds me we had a football bet (50p) about a score at the weekend which I won and had totally forgotten about.
So when he offered up the money, I instead suggested that he could make it an on-behalf-of contribution from his lovely girly instead? So thank you to Nikki Lennox (424) for contributing even though you didn't know you were until Vinny said so! And she picks as her song Massive Attack's "Unfinished Sympathy". Photo to follow!
And then just one more to round up the day - which is quite exciting because it's a bit like when you find a £5 note in your back pocket, or down the side of the sofa that you'd forgotten about isn't it? Except in this case it's 50p (natch), and it comes courtesy of 'Dave the Dog' (425).
Yes.. Dave, the bleedin' soft toy dog that is owned by contributors Rachel (#1) and Steven (#2).
Now I can hear what your all shouting - "Desperate!" at your monitors, and I'd be inclined to agree, but make no apologies as it's another 50p!
And oh look, Dave takes us to the end of this page which means I can start a fresh one...
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