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Planes, Trains & Automobiles (Part One: Planes)

Geoff Headphones

“Can you help a friend of mind with a proper backup routine for his PC do you think?” asked a neighbour of mine a few weeks ago.

“Sure” I say, and so he puts me touch with the guy, a local businessman downtown who runs a recycling products company.

I go down and see him and advise that he gets himself an external hard disk that he can simply hook up to the USB port. I write a short script for him that backups all his vital data, so that all he has to do is plug it in, power it on, and double click on an icon. I also do it for the second PC that he’s got in his office. Sorted.

“That’s quite simple” he says. “Could you set it up to run on the computers I’ve got down my factory as well?” he asks. “Of course”, I say, thinking that his factory is in the industrial area of Charleston a few blocks down.

But not quite. No. Turns out that his factory is 150 miles North West of Charleston in the hick town of Batesburg.

“So I’ll pick you up on Friday then” he says.

“Bollocks”, I think – as 150 miles away means a three hour car journey probably. I suddenly don’t want to go. Until – that is, he says:

“Ok, I’ll come get you Friday morning, we’ll drive to the airport, and fly up in my plane”.

YAY! And so we do.

He makes this journey several times a week – and rather than the hassle of driving to the site, we instead nip down to non commerical wing of Charleston airport, jump into his private twin-prop plane, and fly for 25 minutes 6,000 feet above the South Carolinan land to ‘pop in’ and visit his factory. You know, like you do.

With no in-flight movie, of even a packet of nuts we instead make all the usual gags along the lines of “We hope you’ve enjoyed travelling with us, as much as we’ve enjoyed taking you for a ride”, as well as going through the entire list of funny air traffic controller quotes.

And I get a chance to practise my phonetic alphabet again, as we take in some stunning views of Charleston high up in the sky on a perfect clear day with blues skies and no clouds, it’s beautiful.

I wish all the jobs I get to go on were like this. It makes a change from home where I used to go to work by tube.

Next time : Talking of which, for Part 2, I really am taking the train. Amtrak to be precise, up the east coast of America to go to New York for a few days.

iPod Forever – Geoff the online beggar tops out on Google, beating the other Geoff

50 penceIt seems that there may be no getting away from certain things that I’ve done, even though it all seems like such a long time ago now.

Thanks to Pete for initially alerting me to this, but also to Sean for sending in the MP3 clip which you can now play here.

On Virgin Radio back in the UK, there is ‘The Geoff Show‘ on weekday evenings, and the presenter got into a conversation about what happens when you type ‘Geoff’ into Google as he was trying to find himself … turns out, he found ME instead!

Google GeoffPlay -> Geoff talks about Geoff on Virgin Radio [1m 56s, MP3 clip – 1.8Mb]

And I didn’t realise, but yes – if you just type ‘Geoff’ into (Not !), I am the first hit!

21 responses to “Planes, Trains & Automobiles (Part One: Planes)”

  1. Chucker says:

    As you may racall (from my blog) I did a 9,000 mile, 30-day Amtrak journey last year. I AM an unofficial authority on our national passenger rail service.

    Unlike the UK and Europe, our rail right-of-way falls to a far down 2nd place after freight priorities. This means shunting aside/parking for long freight trains and that means delays. LOTS of delays especially heading south from Charleston and north up to NYC. Be prepared to be late and sit back and relax!

    Service around the rest of the US is not bad!

  2. tami says:

    Loved the “Geoff” blog. And to think they called you an “online beggar”. Jealous they are!!! Good thing you did the iPod blog cause if you didnt I wouldn’t have met ya and all your great pals!

  3. Sellassie says:

    Lovin’ that photo of you in the plane, Geoff, looks like some sort of ‘evil’ pose 🙂

  4. TowerBlockTina says:

    You jammy so and so! Your life is full of ‘ups and downs’lately, feeling down with NTL and now youv’e been up in the private plane. Did you have a safety routine, and life-jacket under the seat?

  5. TowerBlockTina says:

    P.S. Do you pay someone at Google to make you first, or does it just happen?

  6. I’m very envious of you! Ever since my first flight (aged about 23, on a BAe146, about 100-seats) I’ve wanted to fly on a *smaller* plane. One day I’d like to fly in a helicopter.

    From walking/cycling Englishman to flying in a private jet! What is the world coming to?

  7. Ross says:

    External hard disk???, I would have thought you would have been backing up onto an “audio tape”. By the looks of their computer systems, they are not yet even on Windows yet…. 🙂

  8. Geoff — I presume it was 6,000 *feet* above the South Carolinan land,
    as 6,000 miles would be like, well, in orbit!



  9. geofftech says:

    #7 – My goodness! That picture – i *think* is the guy that i was with on Friday, but he looks about 20 years younger! Shall I offer to update their website too do ya think?

    Actually, I almost told them about this: – a totally free online backup service.

    Miles -> Feet, corrected! Oops!

  10. Geoff says:

    Geoff I’m catching up with you. Last time I checked I’m now number 6….

  11. Amy says:

    Very exciting!

  12. David - Lightwater says:

    Geoff, you look a little evil in that picture. But cool plane flight.

    Cool that you are taking Amtrak. I took it from NY to DC. They have powerpoints on all the trains, and Penn Station is underground. So cool! Good for your laptop! Shame the cell reception is bad on that route otherwise you could surf! See if you can get the Acela from DC.

  13. geofftech says:


    They have power points on the train? not that i could see! i’ve got 6 hours worth of batteries across two batteries on my laptop, and after they died I was forced to read my book! goddamit.

    it only ran 35 minutes late in the end. came into Penn station, yes. will look out for powerpoints on the way back tho’ – duh!

    back in the UK, certain mainline commuter routes (e.g Brighton to London) have got wireless on board now. how long before Amtrak catches up and does that? or at least have local wirless nodes at stations, so you could write a bunch of emails off line, and then when you stop at a station for a few minutes, you go online and do a send/recieve.

    right, i’ll stop being geeky now, and crack on with ye big Apple!

  14. Kirk says:

    Of the 931 links for Kirk (not including the omitted results, I can’t be arsed to go through 46,000,000), I’m not one of them.

    Just a load of star trek idiots, a photographer called John Kirk and some religious guy called Kirk Cameron.

    How depressing.

  15. jj says:

    congrats on the #1 google spot, i guess.

    you know, Stewart is #1 if you search for “whapadang.” though i’m not sure why anyone would search for that.

    are you planning on visiting an Apple Store?

  16. geofftech says:

    * NEW YORK DAY 2 *

    Haven’t seen the Apple store yet! I’m sure i’ll get the urge to go in if I see it though. I wanted to go in B&H (Photograhphics, Video, Audio megastore) yesterday but it was closed for Yom Kippur – they be Jewish!

    Apart from that New York is pretty much how I remember it was last time. Oh, and have been on the subway lots checking things out for a potential record attempt …

  17. Julia says:

    have you noticed how the New York subway map makes Manhatten look like flacid pe**is?

  18. Glad you’re trying amtrak. A friend and I spent 6 weeks travelling round the states by train on a rail pass (unlimited travel for 45 days for 300 bucks but that was a while ago). Fantastic. Even if one train did run 24 hours late … even the Silverlink is never that bad.

  19. I’ve only traveled the4 Amtrack Coast Starlight and was ready to get off after the 24th hour! I hear it is much more comfortable if you get a cabin.

  20. Starkey says:

    It’s always a pleasure to read your web-diary*, Geoff. It’s a mine of interesting little facts and thoughts on life. I hope that all is well over there, anyway. All is well here in Bath, although the weather is pretty toilet.

    It may be of interest to you to know that a few “Zone 1″ers and I are attempting the Full Tube Challenge for Children In Need next month. Our team name is “Team Needing Help” and we believe that with our seventeen-and-three-quarter-hour route, the record is in the bag. I’m just about to look at your “Preparing for the Challenge” page for a few tips about stuff to bring, food, lavatories, and so on.

    Sadly, it’s now 2:23am, which means that it’s bed time. Cheerio!

    Sir Starkey

    *I’m not sure that I like the word “blog” very much.

  21. Ciaran Byrne says:

    All I get when google my name is some paddy moaning about Irish cliches. Typcial Irish, only happy when they’re fighting or drinking.

    Anyway… Goeff, any chance of getting you mate to paint his plane up in Luftwaffe colours and bomb the French, just for old times sake? They really get on my nipple ends.

    Oh, and don’t moan about the AMTRAK train service. I reckon that lately, Transport for London have been attending the NTL School of Competence and Customer Service. The other night I arrived approx. one and half hours late for work thanks to them bollock jugglers. Signal failure they reckoned was the cause. I reckon it was brain failure on their part.

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