Announcing Operation: Appleseed to benefit Marian Call


Some of you may know of Alaska-based singer-songwriter Marian Call, who makes really great music and has managed to pull off crowd-sourced tours of all 50 US states, most Canadian provinces, and currently is on a similar tour of Europe, as well as a crowd-funded album, Something Fierce, which was released last year but is being re-released on a broader scale next week.

I'm a fan, and Marian is such a great person that she's become a friend as well. And so when I heard that, last weekend while she was preparing to perform in Edinburgh, Scotland, a thief got into a locked basement room and stole her MacBook Pro, I was greatly saddened. Police were summoned, all of that stuff happened. But now she doesn't have a computer — the device she uses to record and mix her music, and run her business. Marian operates on a really tight budget — there's no tour bus involved, no fancy hotels, just cattle-car discount airfares, a Eurorail pass, and a lot of guest rooms and couches graciously provided by fans. So there's no real margin on the end of that shoestring for her to replace the computer.
That's when I had an idea. And while I was having that idea, I heard from Glenn Basden who was having a similar idea. We've since been joined by at least one additional conspirator, and we've decided to crowd-source Marian's replacement computer.

The specs: 15" MacBook Pro 2.3GHz ($1799), 8GB RAM (+$100), 750GB hard drive (+$100), standard display (no extra cost), and AppleCare extended warranty (+$349. Marian drives the Al-Can Highway yearly. It's a rough road) comes to $2348 shipped to her home in Juneau. This is what Marian had (okay, she said hers had 4GB of RAM, but more ram is more better and at $100 for an additional 4GB, it's easy).

This is where you come in. First off, SEND NO MONEY RIGHT NOW. What we'd like to do is get pledges lined up first. So:

– Email us, Jim Crider AND Glenn Basden with your name, and what you're willing to throw in toward Marian's laptop. (FURTHER UPDATED: We're in the close-out phase. If you're interested in helping, throw down to Marian's Tip Jar at her site linked above.)
– We will collect and tally the pledges, with regular updates here. I'll put together some sort of Google sheet with a running tally (minus the names of donors), which will be made public. Marian did that with her Euro Tour budget. Transparency is good.
– Once we have an idea that we're going to make it, we'll send everyone who pledged a way to send money to my (Jim's) PayPal account. There's a way to do this without incurring fees, and we'll make use of that.
– Once the money is there, I will buy the MacBook Pro directly from the store and have it shipped directly to Marian in Juneau. I will post publicly-accessible images of the order confirmation (with personal info blanked out, obviously).
– Marian will be given a list of all donors minus the amount of individual contributions (unless she specifically requests it). It doesn't matter if you give $5 or $500 — just that you thought enough to thank Marian for making great music and sharing it with us.
– 100% of the money raised goes to Marian in the form of the computer, with any overage being donated to Marian's Tip Jar in the name of all donors. Neither Glenn nor I are keeping a single cent. In fact, we've already pledged some of our own money to the effort.
– We cannot offer any incentives other than our gratitude, nor can I say that your contribution will go toward Marian's Donor's Circle. This is an independent effort. Think of it as a fan-sourced Christmas present, or a payout from the Fan-Based Theft Insurance Company of Everywhere.
– Marian is aware of this — we're not being secretive about it (and once this hits her Donor's Circle group list, she'll know all of it anyway!) — but isn't controlling it. Please do not bug her about it — she's touring Europe with limited connectivity (and now, no laptop!) and has way too much on her plate already between tour logistics and relaunching Something Fierce. Any questions, email Glenn and me at the addresses above.
The pledge pool has already started: At least $500 is there already, from Glenn, me, and our other conspirator.
Thank you for your help — and please spread the word!

UPDATE #1, 4:00PM CST 11/7/2012: We're up to $800 pledged already! Thank you, pledgers!

UPDATE #2, 5:45PM CST 11/7/2012: Over $1400 pledges already! You can see the pledge sheet here.

UPDATE #3, 6:45PM CST 11/7/2012: We're at $2000, plus multiple Apple contractor or employee discount offers. Given that, the logical thing to do is to upgrade the hard drive to the 1TB option (+$100 above the 750GB drive, at retail pricing) if we hit the original $2348 goal, with any overage after the discount being given to Marian as promised. Because more storage means Marian can make even more music!

UPDATE #4, 9:10PM CST 11/7/2012: As Marian would say, "YOU GUYS!!!!". We've hit, as I write this, $2628 pledged. As a result, we're looking at a couple of different stretch goal options — which are funded already. Stretch Goal Option 1 and Stretch Goal Option 2 posted on the pledge sheet. We also added a Time Capsule 2TB backup to all options. We're reaching out to Marian to see what she would prefer: the big 15" lump, or the easier-to-tote 13" with backup. But… since she's in Europe and should be asleep at the moment, we've got a bit of a lag. We'll launch Phase 2 (the actual gathering of the moneys) tomorrow once we've heard. All our pledgers will get an email from either Glenn or me outlining the rest of the process. And to ALL of you who contributed, who retweeted, who shared, who offered discounts, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

UPDATE #5, 11:00AM CST 11/8/2012: We've heard from Marian, and the configuration has been tweaked a bit. What she's looking for is now highlighted on the pledge sheet (link above). And it's *less* than the full hot-rod we were going to do (we're guys. We're geeks. Full hot-rod is how we roll). She already has a backup system, so the Time Capsule got dropped, and she says she doesn't need the higher-res screen, so that got dropped. While pledges are indeed still open (we've gotten a couple more this morning), I'll be getting Phase 2 up and running this afternoon, and will send that out to contributors via email. Added bonus: while Marian was aware something was afoot, she was not quite aware of the scale of this effort, and was delightfully shocked. Score one for the good guys: all of YOU! 😀

UPDATE #6, 5:30PM CST 11/8/2012: Phase 2 is underway. We're at 47 contributors, who have pledged a total of $3,043. Payments are coming in. Computer pricing verified, buying methodology also confirmed through our insider. This thing is happening!

UPDATE #7, Midnight CST 11/9/2012: Over $2400 already paid. Corrected the numbers above after discovering Glenn and I had duplicated one donor's info. The peril of having two people updating the sheets while pledges were coming in fast and furious. I expect a surge of contributions overnight my time as the folks in Europe start their day. The spreadsheet is current as of right now. Note that we have enough paid in already to GET THE COMPUTER!!!!

UPDATE #8, 10:45AM CST 11/9/2012: As of right now, $2672.34 is in the kitty, with several of you delightfully crazy folks upping your pledges. And we got a late pledge — and payment — this morning (my time. He's in the Netherlands, so it was probably afternoon his time). We're ALMOST DONE!

UPDATE #9, 5:35PM CST 11/9/2012: As of this writing, we have $2778.35 collected against a total of $3118 pledged, with 5 pledges outstanding. Yes, the pledge total went up thanks to another added pledge today. Hoping we'll get the rest in the next 24-48 hours or so, which will let us make the computer purchase, get the rest to Marian, and post the close-out documents before I "have" to spend next Thursday through Sunday in Austin, working the Formula 1 race weekend. Rough life, but someone has to make sure the drivers know what's going on ahead of them. Oh, so close: If the outstanding pledges come in at their pledged amounts, we'll have a total of $3153.35, with the MacBookPro and $902.35 going to Marian for her SOOPER SEKRIT plan.

UPDATE #10, 10:30PM CST 11/10/2012: We're down to one pledge still outstanding. After the last update, we got more pledges, and payments. Once all the money is in (assuming the last pledge comes in as pledged), we will have $3,324.85 in the kitty against $3,293.00 pledged. And… big news item #1: The MacBookPro has been ordered! Click on the link to be taken to the screen shots of the order confirmation (scrubbed only of addresses and phone numbers). With $2,251.00 committed to the computer, that leaves $1073.85 (presently $973.85) in surplus for Marian's Sooper Sekrit Plans. She'll be sharing that with everyone shortly — note it will likely be relayed through me as she is, obviously, tech-limited at the moment. I'll be sending an update email out to the contributor's list in a little bit. Once the transfer has been made, I'll post a screen shot of that transaction receipt on PayPal. Once more, Glenn and I have to thank all of you for participating in this effort. When we started, I was optimistic that we'd be able to scrounge up enough to replace the computer, and the response has been completely overwhelming. THANK YOU ALL!

UPDATE #11, 3:50PM CST 11/11/2012: I'd hoped to have a formal announcement, but as Scott Barkan has spilled the beans, here goes: Between our surplus, plus the money that folks donated directly to Marian's Tip Jar, we are ALSO funding a replacement computer for guitarist Scott Barkan, who in addition to being Marian's accompanist, has his own music career going. Seems that, unbeknownst to us, Scott's own laptop decided to imitate a brick early on in the European AdventureQuest tour. Given that Scott is such an integral part of Marian's live shows, and is awesome in his own right, we're making it happen for him as well. We've got another Apple insider who graciously offered a discount, and so that's going to happen. But that's not all: what's left after that (and there's a reasonable sum!) will be donated by Marian to SuperHurrMegaBlizzicane Sandy relief. All the accounting will be posted just as soon as it gets sorted. And we've gotten another contributor today. Still one pledge outstanding, but I'm sure that will be sorted shortly. Wow.

UPDATE #12 12:05AM CST 11/12/2012: Briefly, the screen shots of the surplus transfer are now posted. $1,123.85 was sent to Marian's account. This is the money that goes for Scott's computer and for SuperHurrMegaBlizzicanestormard Sandy relief. While we're still looking for one pledge, it will be made up one way or another — there are as of right now 3 folks who have offered to make good on any shortfall. I don't want to invoke that unless necessary, but it's good to know it's there (that MasterCard I charged the computer on? Yeah, it's got an interest rate just shy of the state usury ceiling. No problem if we get all the pledges). This is a zero-margin effort: 100% of what was pledged went where we said it would.