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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…)

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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!

GC1YK0Y – San Luis Rey Puzzle December 29, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Spotlight, Cool Caches, Philosophy.
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Once in a while I take a second look at a cache I liked.  In this case, I want to take a look at one I think you’ll all like.  It’s not huge or particularly friendly to trading but I think the owner could easily pull that off given the condition of GZ.  We all could hide more ammo cans, to be sure, but that’s not what’s important with this one.

GC1YK0Y – San Luis Rey Puzzle (Oceanside, CA- N33° 14.752 W117° 17.981) has the mechanics of a good Multi/Puzzle cache working and I am surprised more folks haven’t discovered it.  PumpkinPony should hide more like this. (more…)

They Get Better With Age, Folks June 16, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Philosophy, Snark.
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I thought I had already heard, seen and done all the craziest numbers running Geocaching stunts in the world.  And then I read this Geocaching Forum thread:

Do you archive your older caches that have slowed down just so you can place a new one in the area?
That’s not the craziest, however, as several readers have hinted they do just that.  They call it “refreshing the game”.  Once a Geocache has been found by the 8-10 people the owner cares about, out comes another.  With all these caches being built to archive I am certain the quality of the hide and swag must be incredible.  Awesome, even.
The first response is dead on the freakin’ money, folks:
No, If I own a real old cache it has historical value and I wanted people to see what I brought them there for. I don’t hide caches so people can increase their number.

If I archive a cache in the area I don’t place a new one there because one of two things has happened.
1. What I wanted to show off no longer exist or is significantly different to where I don’t think it is interesting any more
2. I am too far away to maintain the cache

-webscouter
Listen to that one.  He knows of what he speaks.  Around these parts we have honor attached to the oldest caches.  I have a PQ specifically for the oldest hides and I have two caches on my bucket list of note: Groundspeak HQ and Geocache #1.
That’s it for me, I’m on my way to the Mile High City for a few days of work and they’re closing the door to the plane.  Maybe I’ll get off my rear and drop you all another quickie in the AM.

Follow-Up to a Questionable Hide April 27, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Philosophy.
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About a month or two ago a new hide popped up in the area.  It was in a clearly marked “off limits” area but because other caches had been placed in the vicinity I believe the owner was under the impression a new placement would be just fine.  This is unfortunate as in my area we have seen “no trespassing” signs sprout up all around Geocaches.  No matter how off road a cache looks, development tends to encroach.  Such is life in Southern California.

A few folks piped up about this problem location and I was one of them, receiving a memo of irritation from the owner.  I responded rather verbosely and I thought the note important enough to share with you here.  I don’t plan on sharing the original memo from the hider unless that becomes necessary.  Let’s just say the owner was mildly upset with my position, which was “archive this cache”, and he/she was inclined to stop playing.  I respect his/her anger but don’t want the hider to give up on things.

My response, in 4 parts, was intended to help future hides and was a direct response to a comment by the owner concerning the  “I am your worst nightmare” section of my Geocaching profile.  All that, below the fold.  If you find it useful, please copy and use it in your own “counseling sessions”: (more…)

I Need Geocaching Advice April 2, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Philosophy.
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Before you say “Duh!” (I’m looking at you, Doug) I must say I’m serious.  I really need help.

It’s the new “Virtual Caching” phenomenon that has taken hold.  Some people call it “Armchair Caching“, but what I am talking about is taking it to new heights of absurdity.  I mentioned it briefly in my post about log checking.  There are a number of Geocacher(s) in the area who have logged dozens if not hundreds of finds on Geocaching.com that simply never happened.  The finds are provably impossible to have logged, ranging the following scenarios:

  • Caches that were home for maintenance for weeks before and after the find was logged
  • Caches that were completely destroyed months before the find was logged
  • Caches logged from multiple continents on the same day
  • Puzzles and multi-caches whose solutions were impossible to obtain due to errata or missing waypoints
  • Caches that were clearly archived
  • Caches both archived and located in areas clearly off-limits or inaccessible
  • “I was standing here all day and nobody came by” situations

Other than deleting the logs, what can one do?  I have explained the problems with this behavior in my log checking post and I need a solution.  Well, I WANT a solution, mainly because it degrades the quality of caches.  I couldn’t care less about the cachers’ find counts or “cheating”.

Any ideas?  Comment away…

Interview With Marko Ramius: The Reviewer (part 2) March 31, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Philosophy, Reviews.
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The Setup

In the first article on Re-Introducing the 3rd Player: The Reviewer I just covered a few basics. This time around I have a bona-fide Reviewer who was kind enough to indulge me a few questions on your behalf. So here you have it, 20 questions with your local reviewer, Marko Ramius.

Well, local if you’re in San Diego/Orange County. 😉

The Questions

Marko, thanks for agreeing to participate here, the folks should get a kick out of it. The general populace only sees your name at the top/bottom of a cache log under “Marko Ramius, Published”. The first question on their mind is “Who is Marko Ramius?”

(more…)

Geocache Placement Update March 28, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Geocaching, Philosophy.
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I finally figured out how to place a cache in somebody’s front yard safely and creatively.  I’ve also done my homework on a different missing cache in my “Don’t Do This!” series, the annoying mystery cache.

Oh man this is good stuff, since I have been percolating on these two for about 4 months.  The mystery cache was just waiting for me to actually complete some puzzle hides so I knew a little about what I spoke.  (I am notoriously bad at those hides)  I completed negotiations with the property owner yesterday on the front yard hide and you kids are going to dig what I have on offer.  I have one final call to make to work out the details (it could still fall through) but I am confident we’re just talking about some description details.

You probably think I’m worse than a nutcase for fixating on this, publishing it even, but it is a serious problem.  People shouldn’t put caches on private property; front yards in particular.  Now there are a bevy of exceptions to that rule but nobody ever seems to find the exception, they just break the rule and the discussion around this is legend.  Because the challenge is so great the chances of me pulling off a good hide have been slim to none.

This time, I have the property owner cooking it up with me and loving every minute of it.  It’s got safe and close parking, it’s not visible from the owner’s house, it clearly IS the front yard, the neighbors can’t see, container will be pretty decent sized, super kid friendly, if the owner sees you he will throw you hints…and so forth.  Brilliant.

Problem is, it will be a D-4/T-1.5, maybe even a D-4.5 with the wicked camouflage me and the owner have cooked up.

Sucks to be you.

Some Good Background for the Newbies March 24, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Blogroll, Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere, Philosophy, Somebody Else's Stuff, Strategy and Tactics.
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And the oldies, too.  Drat19 has some handy thoughts on cache hiding, some of which are just plain good advice no matter how long you’ve been at it.  Try these two for some good reading:

I’m here for you… 😉

Be Careful Out There March 20, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere, Philosophy, Somebody Else's Stuff, Uncategorized.
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I recently admonished a disbelieving fellow cacher about the need to be careful where one places a hide, lest hider and seeker alike attract the attention of busybodies, worrywarts and overreactive public servants.  You know, the armed ones.  Heck, it’s in part why I wrote the last note on patience for new Geocachers.  Not everyone believes me that bad things can happen.  These are people who were around shortly after I landed in handcuffs doing perfectly safe and family friendly Geocaching!  Some freakin’ friends.

So just in case you think I just pull all my info out of the gossip gutter thread on the Geocaching.com forums (or that perhaps I was exaggerating in any small way) I want you to take a peek at the first 3 or 4 interesting bits I came across when I Googled “geocache jail”.  All of these were in the first 60 results for me.  The rest of my rants will make more sense after you read them.

If you’ve seen my “Don’t Do This!” series, you may have noticed I haven’t included a “Cache hidden in someone’s front yard” episode.  I just can’t figure out how to pull that one off without getting shot.  Given these tales I hope you’ll understand why.

Why You Should Wait Before Placing Your First Hide March 18, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Philosophy.
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I read in one of the forums and how-to guides on Geocaching way back when that you should wait until you have at least 20 finds before placing your first hide.  This was to give the new player time to experience good and bad techniques, camouflage, locations and terrain.  The thought was (or so I infer) the community will see higher quality caches as a result.

Sadly, that advice is not easy to track down anymore, nor is it widely followed.  At least in the North San Diego County area we have recently seen a rash of new cachers placing their first hides after just a handful of finds, sometimes as little as 1 or none!  They all generally suffer from some of the same problems with location, detail and longevity.  Those are the reasons you should wait a bit before placing your first hide.  Details on that, below the fold.

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To log check or not to log check March 15, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Geocaching, Philosophy.
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I do, log check that is.  This is the practice of checking the signatures on paper with the online logs, deleting those that don’t have a signature to match.  It’s not popular and most people would rather be like the local granddaddy of Geocaching Kawikaturn and say “I’m not the rules keeper, it’s their karma if they want to log a find they really didn’t find.”  I absolutely respect that since it is a LOT of work to police your logs, particularly if you have a lot of cache hides.

I see a problem though, at least for my hides: maintenance.

(more…)