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Fallout From the “Midland Incident” January 30, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Forums, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere.
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Approximately 3 weeks ago there was a bomb scare related to a lamppost hide in Midland, TX.  This was the second incident in Midland in a year and I wrote about this in my other post Another Bomb Scare for Geocaching.  I commented on the newspaper site and mentioned at the time in the blog there were many possible problems with this.

I even remarked briefly (albeit obtusely) about my own experience landing in handcuffs while Geocaching.  The same thing and much worse appears to have happened in this case.  I stumbled across this on the Geocaching Forums: (more…)

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Don’t Do This! #1,325,988: “WTF Were You Thinking?!” January 30, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, For the Newbies, Forums, Geocaching, Geocaching.com.
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Epic Geocaching fail here.  I stumbled upon this thread in the forums regarding a highway hide in MO.  Then somebody helpfully posted a link to the cache in question, GC237WQ: The River #2.  Here we pause so you can get caught up on the story.

Finished yet?  Good!

Three things popped out at me reading this thread and the cache logs: (more…)

Geocaching Manners and Good Taste: Get Some! January 27, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Education, Geocaching, Philosophy.
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Folks, there has been a disturbing trend in North San Diego County Geocaches of late: the repeated leave-behinds of inappropriate swag.  It isn’t genocide or anything but it’s still a big problem.  The reasons are several.

  1. If new Geocachers run across this kind of swag and assume it is just an accepted part of the game it may turn them off to playing entirely.
  2. Experienced Geocachers and reviewers are likely to complain and flag the caches for archival as a rules violation.  This is already a risk to some of our most treasured local hides.  Caches with hundreds of finds and on every “must do” bookmark list in the county are starting to see tasteless swag, advertising, vandalized log books and religious tracts deposited.
  3. Cache owners may reconsider the amount of work it takes to maintain a decent hide.  To the hours invested creating a good puzzle or creative hide, additional hours in replacement and checkups, now we add additional hours of “rules policing”.

In all of these cases the number and quality of Geocachers and hides are likely to decline.  We as a community then become marked as just another (well organized) group of professional litterers.  (more…)

Follow-Up to the Toughest LPC Ever January 26, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Cache Spotlight, Geocaching, Geocaching.com.
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My LPC hide does it again (4.5/1.5 – GC1HV6R).  This is why you should hide caches- for the chuckles…

January 25 by bushclimber (39 found)
Look for this, but thank it my have been removed. Will go back again, when the parking lot and business are not being used.
January 12 by Road2Ruin (3571 found)Second strike. Grr….

What we have here is the duality of nature.  On the first hand, the angry n00b who has no idea what he is looking for but assumes if his master sleuthing can’t suss it out in 5 minutes the cache “my have been removed”.  That will mean something to me after 300-400 more finds, and liberal applications of liquor.  Be persistent, new guy.  It WILL pay off.

On the other hand, the grizzled veteran (ok, I don’t know about grizzled but I assume after 3,000 finds you have a little road-wear on your hikers) who THINKS she knows what she is looking for but has been hopelessly duped as I zigged where they expected me to zag.

The difference is, the veteran is now calling and writing anyone with a find and a clue.  She will be aimed back at this one in a few days or weeks and post a glorious log announcing the defeat of this unholy testament to cache hiding evil.  The other one, not so much, I expect.

I did give everyone an instruction manual on how to find it, you just have to do the homework.

Dave “drat19” Has Good Ideas, Too January 18, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Cache Spotlight, Cool Caches, Education, Geocaching, Philosophy.
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If you know me well you know I value the opion of the folks on the ground, out there doing as opposed to postulating.  To that end some thoughts from a fellow cacher with experience almost always carries more weight than a few notes from Groundspeak.  There is a surprising volume of cachers with good ideas online.

drat19 is one of them.

I like his open letter and basic philosophy on placing hides.  They have access to a whole lot more offroad forest than we do here in the north county, but the problems are the same.  As we come into a period of wet and wooly January weather I wonder how many recent hides are going to last the week, let alone the month.  Pay heed and do the area a favor…

Before you hide, do your homework and plan out something that will last.  A crappy hide is neat for about 10 minutes, or until it is destroyed/muggled/caught up in a bomb scare.  A good one keeps on giving for years, and we need more like that.

As I hop on a plane today I leave you with this fine example: Hill Of The Skull, GC1D5.  328 finds and counting, with only 6 DNFs!

Another As Usual Travel Week January 17, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.
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Well, sort of.  I’m in Utah for a few days this week.  That right there is one more to check off the list if I can nab a few finds.  Based on the map of the area (Provo) I don’t think this is going to be a problem.

Some of you locals already know the kind of caches I will find in abundance in Utah.  Can you run a Pocket Query for a specific type of hide?

/sarcasm

News Flash: It’s Cold in January January 13, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.
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And I’m in Boston/Cambridge.  Here’s how cold it is: there is a cache 650′ from my hotel entrance and I can’t get it.  It’s not that I can’t get TO it.  I just can’t bear to walk the 2 blocks in 20 degree or less weather.

Folks, when I can’t get to a cache within .12mi, that’s just too cold.  This is why I left Buffalo.

Another Bomb Scare – Update January 8, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere.
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Not moments after publishing the last one did I find other mentions of the story.  I’m sure the WPT ID will be all over the forums so you’ll have to go there to gawk and leer.

The cache in question is Archived and it lasted a whole month.  It apparently is not the first time the area has seen a Geocache as a bomb threat.  That’s too bad.  Here’s the other stories:

  • CBS 7 News – the cacher “may face charges”.
  • PermianBasin360 – they at least get a slightly better description of Geocaching and sound advice at the end

Folks, I don’t enjoy calling attention to these things but they are instructive.  If you’re going to place and hide Geocaches some common sense has to be in order.  A little muggle strewn action with my cloak of invisibility is fun sometimes but think about the muggles for just a minute.  They’re not blind and we all (muggles and players) act stupid.  This kind of thing is going to happen.  It will never go away but we need to do a better job minimizing it.

Do we need to rehash “the incident” in 2008, the Don’t Do This! series or any of 10 other bomb scares?

No?  Good.  On with ye.

And Happy, Safe Caching!

Another Bomb Scare for Geocaching: Midland, TX January 8, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Forums, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere.
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I saw this newspaper link on the forums. (link opens to the newspaper site).   Somebody dropped an LPC in a shopping center and it was called in as a suspicious package.  Some of the comments on the article concerned me, so I wrote in…

Kinzua Kid

To the tens of thousands of families who who enjoy Geocaching as a game, a way to see the great expanses of the globe from a new perspective or as purposeful exercise this kind of scare is a tragedy.  It puts the activity in a terrible light that doesn’t at all reflect Geocaching’s true character.

At this moment there are over 900,000 Geocaches hidden around the globe, a great many in country or places that will take your breath away.  A good hike or side trip with the kids to learn more about historical monuments, see the natural view or just test your puzzle solving skills outdoors against other players is a good thing.  It gets people outside together, using their brains, exercising their bodies, cleaning up as they go, learning more about their local geography/geology…

…and it’s free.  Anyone with a GPS can join in.  For the price of movie tickets for 4 a whole family can enjoy the hunt for “treasure” together for years on end.

Geocaching is a good, clean and cheap outdoor activity that benefits the whole community and it is always supposed to be kid friendly.  In this case the scare could have entirely been avoided with a little more forethought and communication.  It is unfortunate but the Geocaching community will have to endure a little more rigor over this.

In my area (Southern California) it is not uncommon for law enforcement, park services or other land management officials to be consulted and informed about Geocaching by the players.  As players we all want to avoid these misunderstandings and I am sure by now the Midland police have been in contact with the Groundspeak/Geocaching contacts to find ways to avoid a third incident.

A lamp post skirt cache bomb threat is not the best introduction to the game but I do hope it will not tar all of the local Geocachers with a negative stigma.

I think I’m being hopeful on that last one, but one has to hope.  If you want to see the comments on the Geocaching forums, click here.

GCVote – Reading My Mind January 5, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Resources, Reviews, Software, Statistics.
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It’s tough to keep up with all the software and tool development in the Geocaching world as it happens so quickly.  I missed out on version 3.0 of CacheStats, for example and who knows how many revs behind I am on GSAK.  Plenty, I suppose.  But that’s not what this note is about.

I’ve been thinking about building a cache rating database to give the new folks something to look at before going out on their second or third search (or first, for that matter).  I was going to start by collating some opinions from like minded folks on their favorite caches and initially publish a list.  Next, after I moved the blog to a proper server I was thinking about firing up a simple database for these sorts of things to give the good local color a little more exposure.

I don’t need to do that now.  It’s already been done, with GCVote.

(more…)

Geocaching.com Appears to be Down January 1, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Geocaching.com.
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So no, it’s not you.  Started about 6:30pm PST with Internal Server 500 errors.

That’s never good.  Check your recent cache logs when it comes back up.

Happy New Year! January 1, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.
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I’m going Geocaching.  See you on the trail!