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Get Lamp Coin #405

Every copy of Get Lamp, the text adventure/interactive fiction documentary by Jason Scott, ships with a uniquely numbered, collectible coin.

Initially I was slightly disappointed to learn that customers would not be able to reserve or choose specific numbers — of course after thinking about it, I realize what a logistical nightmare this would have been. On August 1st Jason posted Shipping Begins in Earnest, and on August 31st he posted that coin number 2,000 had left the building. When shipping 2,000 “anythings” in 30 days, I can’t imagine taking, tracking, and delivering specifically numbered coins to specific customers would be anything less than a major headache. On top of that, the really low numbers were reserved for investors, interviewees, and other groups, so those were already spoken for. Ultimately it would have been a big mess for a small pay off. Most people probably couldn’t care less about what specific number was stamped on their coin.

But I did — I wanted coin #405. If you are a child of the Internet, you may not feel any connection to your area code, but those of us who grew up using modems do (or at least did). Back then, people represented their area codes. Long before 90210 we had 213. One of the first groups of hackers to gain notoriety in the media were the Milwaukee 414s. Back in the day, I remember calling BBSes in 714 (California), 303 (Denver), 404 (Atlanta), and 312 (Chicago) … but 405 was mine. In fact, several years ago, I wrote a tribute to area code 405 for the Cult of the Dead Cow. As you can probably guess, it’s Text File #405.

After receiving coins #331 and #332 (I ordered two copies; one for me, one for Dad), I contacted Jason to find out if he was keeping a database as to which customer received which coin. Fortunately for me, fellow customer Shannon Harris announced in the comments of this post that she (I have assumed all along that Shannon is female) had coin #405. Jason got the two of us connected via e-mail and Shannon was gracious enough to agree to trade coins with me. The rest, as they say, is history.

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10 comments to Get Lamp Coin #405

  • Zeno

    Whenever I go to the mall (ugh) I always see these kiosks selling that hippity-hop gangsta style clothing with lettering such as “Burque 505” on it. The sad thing is that if you ask most people where the cultural identity-via-area code started they’d probably say it began with Ruben Studdard on American Idol (/rolls eyes). It’s nice to know some people out there still remember the more nerdy/subversive truth.

  • Mom

    All I can say is Shannon must be very understanding, gracious, or just as obsessive about something to understand your desire to acquire “405”. He/she should be properly thanked! And good for you!!!

  • You, my dear, win the title of King Dork for the Day

    Hehehe… love it! 808 FTW!

  • Kerry

    I just adore the stuff you bring up and talk about! There’s always such good memories attached to the “old skool” stuff that comes up. Dial up modems…I can still hear the screechy sound in my head that went with our first computers growing up. And I lived on BBS of all kind. Good times!!! :)

  • Two quick things.

    It’s not a logistical/fulfillment issue that I didn’t allow/facilitate coin requests – it was a fairness issue. When people ordered is when they got the next coin number available – pulling numbers out for meaning and personal reasons would be a slippery road with some very hurt feelings in droves, with people snagging numbers away from others and so on.

    I would never have given away Shannon’s personal info if they hadn’t stepped forward, completely coincidentally, and offered up their number.

  • The number of my “Get Lamp” coin – which was randomly pulled out of a box when I bought the DVD at CGE2K10 – is 1455. The year the Gutenberg bible was first published (the year of the War of the Roses started too). W00t!

  • Matt Bailey

    Haha, nice! 360 represent!

  • Rob, since you called BBS’s in 714 (my area code as a child), you might have called my BBS, that is if you liked calling Commodore 64 BBS’s.

    I later moved my BBS to a 286 computer, but I still have my C64 and BBS files. I should look to see if you’re in my user base. For privacy I’ll contact you off blog to ask what your handle was “back in the day” to check. How cool would that be if you actually called my BBS?

    On the “Get Lamp” front, I received coin #2220, but like commenter ubikuberalles, my coin was pulled at random from a giant box when I purchased my DVD at one of Jason’s screenings. I never really paid attention to what numbered coin I was getting, but I was just happy get the DVD and for the fact Jason was nice enough to sign it for me.

  • Shannon Harris (And I'm a HE, not a SHE)

    I definitely understand personal obsessions, and was more than happy to swap coins with Rob. He also gave me a copy of his book, which I finally read over the holiday weekend and recommend as well.

  • Rob

    Thanks for the hookup, Shannon. The book was a small price to pay and a token of my appreciation. Thanks again!