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Shout Out to Trick Shop Magic December 26, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Blogroll, Education, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Recreation, Resources, Somebody Else's Stuff.
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If you’re one of the regular North County Cachers you already know I enjoy entertaining with a little close-up magic.  I call it preparation for my retirement career, post-geek.  It is hard to imagine a hobby more geeky than the crap I already do for a living but I guarantee you I have found it.

You can see me in blurry action, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uhq5ocUOMQY

or here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8iObbMqVa0

Both of these tricks were performed for the launch of the “52 Pick Up: Throwing Down the Deck” mass Geocache launch during the summer of 2008.  I did another 4 or 5, too for the kids and over 150 adults in attendance.  If you haven’t gone after this prize, there are 52 Geocaches hidden around North San Diego County, each named after a card and containing a clue to the location of The Joker.  13 of us teamed up to create this awesome puzzle, modeled after a similar bunch in Northern California.  The card tricks just seemed to fit the event.

More below the fold… (more…)

Found GC1HV6R “DDT#7 You Down With LPC?”? No? Read on… December 5, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Cool Caches, Education, Geocaching, Strategy and Tactics.
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I’ve hidden a series of caches called “Don’t Do This!”, highlighting some of the foibles we’ve all seen and are guilty of while Geocaching.  Included are a front yard cache, a rock in a pile of rocks, etc.  You get the gist.  The idea is to have safe and kid friendly caches out there showing off how hides can be both annoying and a lot of fun at the same time.  In addition, I provide links to some really neat area caches that deserve a little showing off for their uniqueness, challenge or just the view.

I’m a sarcastic jerk about it, but who can turn down the Frown-O-Meter(tm)?

The Least Painful of the Frowns

The most important bit is where you are supposed to actually FIND these caches.  One of them hasn’t been so easy to track down.

GC1HV6R is called “Don’t Do This! #7, You Down With LPC?” Take a guess what’s being lambasted with this one.  Where your average LPC is a 15 second find, this one hasn’t logged a hit since June 15, 2009, when I replaced it after its hiding place was removed.  Now I really tried hard to make this camouflage impenetrable but I think the letters L-P-C are throwing some folks off.  In case you came here for a hint…

…It’s in the palm.  3 feet up.  Look with your hands, not your eyes and stay in the quadrant closest to the lamp post that gives this cache its name.  It will take you a minute or two, but when you find it you will understand why it has generated so many DNFs.

And when you log the smiley ask yourself when was the last time you logged a 4.5 star LPC.  Never.

Don’t Forget the Red Balloons! December 5, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Blogroll, Family, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere.
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Groundspeak is participating in the DARPA Challenge to locate 10 red weather balloons that will only be visible for 7 hours today (until 4pm PST or so).  Their warroom blog is here, at http://www.10balloonies.com/.  I don’t know about you, but I will be looking up while out caching today.  Help them out and communicate your finds to them at the warroom!

Cache Spotlight: GCM5R6 “Tongue Wagger” August 24, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cool Caches, Forums, Geocaching, Somebody Else's Stuff.
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I find fun stuff on the forums.  If you’re looking for some adventure, those New Yorkers really know how to lay down a cache.

I’d love to give this one a shot, but since I’m in that area only in November it might not be a good idea then.  Summertime for this one seems to be the best.

Enjoy those logs and pics.  Some good caching is up there.

Calaveras Trail Mapping August 24, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Geocaching, Recreation.
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While out on a pass through Calaveras park this weekend I ran across some hikers who had no GPS and were relying on their innate sense of direction to get out.  The problem as I saw it was that they had been hiking for over 5 hours with inadequate water and they were at least 3 miles from where they parked.  It was now 1:30pm, in August.  Not good.

I pulled out a handy trail map picture I had built myself and showed them the path lines they wanted, including a few nice rabbit trails that cut big yardage off the hike back.  They had never seen anything like that for Calaveras, though I naturally thought everyone had one of those in their back pocket.

Since you don’t have one, I’ve decided to create it for you from the available imagery.  My first pass is of the greater Calaveras area, something with which you can get a high resolution view of the general area.  As you may know, Calaveras is BIG for a small piece of land, so it naturally encompasses a few areas that are only peripherally “Calaveras”.  This is what the first image is trying to do: show you the big picture.  For the record, Calaveras is primarily on the right half of the image and yes I am aware I could just get pretty color shots from Google Earth.  The color photos don’t bring out the trail map in as much contrast, though, which is really the point.

Over time I will create some crops of the original the show a single 8.5″*11″ Calaveras only trail map, a little more detail with a double-sided version, and some more explanation of just what’s on the left side of the big image already here.  Print, laminate, go hike.  Sweet.

You can track it down on my Resources Tab (at the top) or you can click this link directly for the big file:

Greater Calaveras Overhead Hi-Res

Greater Calaveras Overhead Hi-Res

Happy Caching, Hiking or whatever it is you do on the trail!

Crappy Hiders Beware: The Bill is Coming August 21, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Silly, Somebody Else's Stuff.
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I think I am going to start treating horrible hides that lead to DNFs like this guy, sending them a bill for the time.  His hourly rate is a bit low but I think I can modify this quote ever so slightly to work:

My time on this planet is valuable to me. But more importantly, my time is valuable to you. In our attention economy, my presence in your café helps your company in a number of ways. For example, it attracts other customers to you because they see that your brand is popular – especially so with an ABC1 male (or however you’d define me these days.) And it means I’m not spending time with your competitors. My attention and time in your café ultimately helps your bottom line and market position.

Let’s see, replace café with “Geocache Site”, company with “Geocaching Profile” and customers with “Cachers”.  Done.

So the next time I hike 3 miles up a mountain to DNF a micro in a bush, this memo is going out.  😉

Most Aggressive Cache Evar August 21, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Geocaching, My Finds.
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Ok, most aggressive cache in my limited experience playing this game.  That little counter on the right doesn’t read 6,000 or anything, but when it does I’ll revise this post to remove that clarification.  But I digress…

Our local Geocaching Godfather, Kawikaturn, is generally known for a few things here in North San Diego County:

  1. Coordinates that actually get you to GZ
  2. Caches with a nice off-road flavor, usually with a not too strenuous walk from parking, but a walk nonetheless
  3. Recurring themes of eBay (oh, man do I know all about that), motocross and family friendliness in the placement
  4. Et Cetera, Et Cetera.

Kawikaturn’s just a generally nice guy and he’s got more ammo cans spread over the hiking trails of Carlsbad than I can count.  This is why an urban, aggressive hide is so out of character for him.

An urban hide with no cover to search and sign.  At a Wal-Mart.  Right in front of the darned entrance.  This particular Wal-Mart is right next to the pizza joint where we normally have our local gatherings.  I think it means this is an initiation; perhaps you can’t come in unless you’ve signed that log?  This is just a new side of Kawikaturn I haven’t seen before.  The man knows how to get down, that’s for sure.

Enter: GC1WGE2 – Not on the wal CA, here in Oceanside, CA only if you think you’ve got the guts for it.  At the time of this post there have only been 9 finds.  I say make it 90 by the end of the summer!

Tip ‘o the hat to Calipers for reminding me to hunt this one down.

Shameless Football Pool Plug August 20, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.
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If you enjoy a low-rent office football pool and you know me personally, read on.  Otherwise, just curse me for the shill I am…

I and a few acquaintances manage to operate a proper handicapper’s football pool every year.  I manage the setup and the others handle the day to day operation of the thing.  Bottom line: we like to have our friends and family involved (mostly to take their money).

If you’ve played in a “pick the most winners each week” pool at work a handicapping pool will be familiar.  The big difference is you need to beat the spread in this pool against every game, every week.  No fantasy football, no endless stats (unless you want that sort of thing).  Just picking winners every week.

Last year the entry fee was $80 for the year, which works out to just over $4 per week.  You can’t beat that with a stick.  If you’re interested send a note to freefootball at cox dot net with the following:

– Who you are (and how I know you)
– That you are interested in playing
– Contact information (first last name, email, phone, and a postal address if you like getting paid should you win)

Browse around the website at http://members.cox.net/freefootball and you can see how we roll.

Another Frustrated Newcomer August 20, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Forums, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Strategy and Tactics.
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Newcomer?  New player?  I can’t say N00b because they sorta-kinda stopped playing and then started again.  But on the forums I ran across this thread, which I would direct the newer cachers to view and take home some good advice from the commentators.  The player and a muggle audience went 0-for-6 on a hunt and the experience is just turning him/her off to the game.  Here’s some of the good highlights in the comments (Advice for the new player):

  • Pick easy ones at first, nothing more than 1-2 stars of difficulty
  • Read the last 5 logs to see if it has been found recently or if others have had trouble finding it
  • If you’re using the iPhone, TomTom or Garmin Roadmate (a “car-focused” GPS) to cache, do some reading and make sure your GPS is “talking the same language” as Groundspeak.  A note in the forums asking for a quick FAQ link or spot of advice will do nicely.
  • Remember, the GPS doesn’t get you right to the cache.  It gets you pretty darned close, which could be 30′ away.
  • Employ patience.  You have no idea what you’re looking for yet.  After you find a few it will be easier.
  • Enjoy yourself.  If an outing with the family isn’t enough fun and the smiley is the only reason you’re playing, do a rethink.
  • Read that last one again.
  • Corollary to enjoying yourself: Log the DNF!  Truly, this is your best source of a.) information to make the find and b.) finding a friend who can help (and who you might help)

It’s a good thread.  I love lurking in the forums.

Open Thread Time: Volume 1 August 19, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Open Thread.
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This blog format is not particularly helpful for discussions or back and forth.  Hence: the open thread.  Drop your questions, complaints and discussion in the comments here.

Happy Caching!

Geocaching Videos on YouTube August 19, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere.
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Somebody on one of the Geocaching.com forums clued me into the most video-riffic channel by cacher Headhardhat.  You need to be logged in to Groundspeak for that link to work.  You can find his YouTube channel and I am told it is an excellent set of videos by Headhardhat, so get cracking.

No warranties, I haven’t reviewed them yet, but since there was talk about setting up a little “how to hide” and “how to find” video shoot here in North County I figured it was worth a look-see.

This Woman is Retarded August 18, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in In the News/Blogosphere, Science.
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My apologies up front for this post.  As you may know I’m an avid skeptic, amateur magician, professional geek and general fighter of bad science everywhere in addition to finding mint tins in my spare moments.  From time to time that will come out in my writing.  It’s why I regularly read Phil Plait, James Randi, PZ Myers, Paul Offitt, Orac, Ben Goldacre and Richard Dawkins, and that’s just the top shelf stuff.  You should see what I pull out for a challenging read (the other side, mostly).

So again- bear with me as we go below the fold, unless stupid people scare you.  They just anger me… (more…)

Back. Promise. August 17, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Family, Geocaching, Recreation.
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It has been too long.  Too, too long.  I missed the last two local events (trust me, that really does suck) and I have been getting grief from fellow cachers about my prior post something like a month ago and several bits of reality have conspired to keep me both from the trail and this blog.  First off, this is my house:

My House, Sort Of

My House, Sort Of

Normally I would do all that fancy crop, zoom and highlight but you can see by the fence and distinct lack of a roof that really this is not so much a house as a pile of crap masquerading as a meth lab.  Or something.  It’s looked like this since March.  No- let me rephrase that…

…we didn’t have the official “this is probably a condemned property” fence until 3 weeks ago, and some of the roof was still there (and the meth lab is a new addition brought in from other sources) but you get the picture.  This is a problem.  Don’t worry, we’re pouring concrete this week so it should rapidly improve from “meth lab” to something just below “public nuisance” in just a few weeks.  The tent we’ve been living out of in the field near 76 and Canyon is weathering well.  “Crazy Mike” says hi, and “wharrgarble!”.  He’s got an accent, don’t you know.

Meanwhile, I actually made a few (22) finds yesterday, some with great pics I want to share.  Somebody has been busy dropping little mint tins while I’ve been out of pocket.  I like it.  I also heard Dougandsuzy, Waterlassie and Kawikaturn were all out of town on the road this weekend.  I gotta get me some of that weekend out of town caching.  Sounds fun.

All Quiet on the Western Front July 20, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.
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Sorry folks, the summer is here and guess what…

…the surf was better than the caching last week!  I know, I know, sacrilege.  But hey, when the hills and trails are in the high 90s while the beach is 75 and sunny with a breeze and chest high sets I don’t think there’s much to talk about.

Call it a survival mechanism.  I don’t like dying of heatstroke.  In the mean time, a whole mess of new caches have been published around the house.  My existing caches are getting lots of summertime traffic, which is s a good thing, and it sure makes all those maintenance trips worth it.  I’ll get out again this week if the weather cools off.

I’m out.  Seattle Wednesday-Thursday, Albany Friday, reunion on Saturday.  Maybe I can get a little caching done in Seattle and Albany.

Fire at Groundspeak Data Center July 4, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Forums, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere.
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I finally got back on this AM.  Looks like there was a fire near/in the same building as the Groundspeak data center.  That link will take you to the forums where status notes are posted.

I would expect some delays in the PQ and notifications features while all the backlog is processed.  Find logging is a bit slow, too.

Update: here’s a more full-featured news article. Happy Independence Day!

Geocaching and Groundspeak Down for Me July 3, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Geocaching.com.
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I can’t navigate to either geocaching.com or groundspeak.com.  NSLOOKUP won’t resolve the name, either, so it looks like the intertoobs have just “forgotten” about us.

Is it just me?  At home I’m on Cox San Diego.  You?

Poll: Geocaching Education Topics for Meet and Greet July 3, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Events, Geocaching.
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Let’s assume you are inclined to come to our infrequent Geocaching meet and greet events in North San Diego County.  What kind of educational topics might you be interested in seeing presented?

Weigh in, you might obligate one of us to do some homework!

North County Cachers Summer Meet-N-Greet July 3, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Events, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Recreation.
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There’s been a little conversation brewing for a while on the NCC Yahoo! group regarding a summer meet and greet at our usual hangout.  You can read all about it, here.

The call for a proper “breakout” session or two around route planning, hiding techniques and so forth is out there.  Depending on interest level, I’d be willing to step up and deliver a talk or two.  Why don’t you head on over to the Yahoo! group and register your interest so Peg can give me a shout out to prepare for a nice presentation?

I will toss up a poll and see if I can’t get some real interest going.  We’d love to have a whack of people up for a midweek gathering.  C’mon, you know you wanna!

Buzzbo’s First Hunt June 28, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Somebody Else's Stuff.
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I’ve still got a few muggle friends who haven’t played the game yet.  One of whom is an old old friend of my wife, known to me for about 10 years now.  Scratch that- he HAS played the game and I can no longer refer to him as “my muggle friend”.

He is now buzzbo(remember, these profile links don’t work unless you have a free Geocaching.com account)

Buzzbo pinged me a half dozen times before his first hunt, looking for some pointers.

  • What kind of caches should I look for?  Big ones.  Regular, Large; but definitely NOT micro sized.
  • Where should I look?  Locally, something in the Terrain 1-2 range.
  • Anything I should pay attention to?  Read the last 5 logs.  If there’s trouble ahead, it will be in the logs.
  • What other inside advice will help make this fun?  Bring the kids.  If they aren’t having fun, neither are you.  And they WILL have fun.

Buzzbo fired off a video of the first hunt.  Let’s see how he did…

Three for three; not too shabby!  The kids had fun, which is a key performance indicator- find or no find.  We have an ammo can for #1, which appears to have been some trouble for the kids (I don’t blame them, wearing a cast during summer is NOT fun).  I’m not a big fan of front yard hides but buzzbo tells me permission to pass was well documented.  The trouble opening the pill bottle for #2 was a little surprising, given that none of my “childproof” medicine bottles are anything of the sort.  All that goodness aside, #3 was the kicker.

The third cache was a hide I wouldn’t have touched because the last few logs are chock full of frustration and DNFs.  Buzzbo went after it anyway and came up with the smiley.  The best part: the last 3 DNFs were from >2000 find cachers.  That right there is a cup full of win!  🙂

As if this wasn’t enough, buzzbo managed his first three smileys using a Garmin roadmate or TomTom.  These aren’t the easiest devices to use for an offroad hunt (fragile, hard to find the pointer) and still the clan managed to avoid the dreaded DNF.

Nice work, buzzbo.  Thanks for the shout out and the great pics.  I’ll have to get a little crush event planned for your neighborhood.

A Tale of Two Plates June 20, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Forums, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Recreation, Somebody Else's Stuff.
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I was trolling the GC.com forums and ran across the gem below.  You can see the original right here:

Not So Successful

Not So Successful

It seems Team Black Cat has an eye for the epic fail.  I immediately wondered aloud about how many muggle vehicles are sporting an unintentional Geocaching abbreviation.  Probably lots, which makes this super fun, but not so impressive.

Then I thought about my good friend the king of FTF bogarting (and I celebrate his selfishness), dougandsuzy:

dougandsuzy is in the house

dougandsuzy is in the house

Yes, that’s real, and that plate has been seen at over 2,000 finds. 

Got any others out there?  Shoot em over…

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.

More Gratuitous GSAK Tidbits June 14, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Resources, Software.
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I’ve explained in several other posts how I use various tools to prepare my GPX Pocket Queries before a run outside.  I’ve got a system and it works for me but if you really prefer to stick with one tool GSAK can do all the fancy stuff in the world…

…with macros.

If you’ve ever used a macro in any other program you know they can both save enormous amounts of time while, if complex, being a pain in the rear to build.  The GSAK forums save a lot of this pain by hosting a comprehensive library of macros for you to choose from, already built and ready to go.  You’ll find them here:

GSAK Forums Home

Scroll down to the “Macro Library” section to find the list of macros available (goes on for days) and how to acquire them.  If you’re trying to narrow down all the caches you  and your buddies have in common or just flag your letterbox finds in Colorado from last month, its probably there.  If I see what I need on the list, I might just change my habits.

Shameless Plug for Good Pie June 12, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Family, In the News/Blogosphere, Recreation, Somebody Else's Stuff.
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Any time I’m in the greater Denver area (as I am now) I have to stop in at Protos Pizzeria Napoletana.  If not because of the fact that the proprietor and I are related, then certainly because I get to see things like this:

Is that Nacho Libre at the Bar?

Is that Nacho Libre at the Bar?

Sorry about the craptastic photo quality from my kindergarten camera phone, but is that Nacho Libre?  He did go for the Atomica, if that means something.  Unfortunately my sister who owns the place (Pam Proto) is on her way to MY house while I patronize hers.  This “my second home is in row 6, port side window seat” thing makes for some interesting scheduling oddities.

Now I Get It June 11, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere, Mobile Caching, Software.
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I’ve asked in various places and posts why the quality of Geocaching hides and seekers seems to be going down.  Then I read this gem.

So if people are only just now finding out about Geocaching because there’s an iPhone app, what’s going to happen when they start buying the newly discounted $99 iPhones?

We’re screwed.

More Thieving Hilarity June 11, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching.
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Check this report out I got from WordPress:

Top Posts

Free GSAK Key For the Taking 176 views

It gets hit about 10 times per day now.  You people are depressing.  It’s only 25 bucks.  Just send him the money.  It’s worth it.  Trust me.