Oct 072014
 

On the latest UK Geocaching Podcast (released tonight!) we discuss a suggestion from Bingo The Bounty Hunter.

The suggestion was to give Cache Owners the ability to give a “like” or “favourite” for cache logs that they consider to be “good”.

Although we discussed this in the show I can’t stop thinking about it. I think it’s a great idea. Those Geocachers that make the effort, recognise how much effort goes into hiding a geocache and give a great log could get “karma” from the CO. The content of the log would be up to the CO’s judgement, it could be a good or funny story, a long description of how the finder got on with the adventure, or it could be a cacher offering constructive advice on how to improve the hide (yes, it does happen!)

The big thing for me is that COs would only be able to “like” or “favourite” a log. No “Dislike” or marking down of a log that they don’t like.

Have a listen to the show when it’s released, we would really like to hear what you guys think of this idea.

Oct 052014
 

I was finally in the middle of updating my iPad to iOS 8 last night. I am still not sure it was a good idea, time will tell.

I was settled in at the computer to watch the re-scheduled GeoSnippits Reboot Podcast, giving Miss Amy some hassle on Facebook when, somehow, it was decided that Mark (Oh Beep!) and I would be guesting on the show. Quite how it happened I am not really sure, but, the show started and then a few minutes in we were on air!

Mildly nervous at this point – I had only been “on air” once when Mark and I (at 20 seconds notice) decided to record episode 3 of the Chasing Smilies Podcast live. Oh yeah, we started a new podcast! Chasing Smilies is all (well, mostly) about Geocaching, but it’s a show for the grown ups. We don’t worry about the occasional expletive and if things go a little awry, meh. Recording gets done, chop the start and the finish, add some music and away we go.

So, back to GSRP. IT WAS A BLAST! Mark had to disappear early but I was there until the end of the recording. Thanks Mr Andy and Miss Amy for allowing me to be part of your awesome show!

Oct 042014
 

Krista (aka Muminator) originally posted this after being challenged by Washknight. I thought I would get in on the fun and have a go too. Many people will already know most of this through my podcast, but, some don’t…

1. When and how did you first get into geocaching?

It was 2005. I was bored one lunchtime at work and was surfing the web. I saw a report about this new “craze” about hidden boxes. I looked at the website, signed up and then promptly forgot about it until November 2008 when my wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I asked for a GPSr. She bought me the one I wanted, a Garmin eTrex Venture HC and I immediately spent a few days NOT finding any caches until my first find on 03 January 2009. I have been hooked ever since!

2. Do you remember your first find?

Yes, it was called “Shark Of The Gillies” by The Luptons. I think I logged two DNFs before managing to find it. I went with the dogs the first time and they were a nightmare, just wanting to walk rather than follow me in circles. Things haven’t changed and it’s very rare for me to take them caching when I go.

3. What device(s) do you use for locating caches?

I have a Garmin GPSMap 62s (my fortieth birthday present from my parents!) and my iPhone 4s. I tried caching with my Android phone (an HTC of some form – I can’t remember) but it was reaaaaally bad at accuracy.

4. Where do you live and what is your local area like for geocaching? (density / quality / setting etc)

I live in Fareham, Hampshire and I am very lucky for the density and setting. Within a couple of miles of home we have some beautiful walking in the Meon Valley and beyond and the density is so high that I can’t move more than about a thousand feet for about 10 miles without passing a cache. Quality? Well, I think we have our fair share of crap caches but some stunning ones too.

5. What has been your most memorable geocache to date, and why?

That’s easy. Glenfinnan View. It’s at a viewpoint just outside Fort William. My wife was reluctant to climb but I insisted, knowing what the view is. It’s the “Harry Potter” Bridge:

Not my photo...

Glenfinnan View

My log on the cache was entitled “JK Rowling injured my ankle”…

6. List 3 essential things you take on a geocaching adventure excluding GPS, pen and swaps.

Patience, decent boots and scratch/bite cream…

7. Other than geocaches and their contents, What is the weirdest thing you have discovered whilst out caching?

That Fareham has a cricket club. I never knew!

8. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is I am obsessed by numbers and 10 is I am all about the experience and the quality of each individual cache. Where do you put yourself?

About a 6. I love the statistics, but my find rates clearly state that I am not a numbers runner. I have just over 1000 finds in 5 years at the time of writing.

9. Describe one incident that best demonstrates the level of your geocaching obsession.

Starting a SECOND podcast about Geocaching sums it all up…

10. Have you picked up any caching injuries along the way?

See question 5. I also fell over a bramble during the summer and injured my wrist. Scratches and scrapes are nothing unusual.

11. What annoys you most about other geocachers?

Not putting the cache back where it’s supposed to be.

12. What is the dumbest thing you have done whilst out caching?

What, like leaving the GPSr at home or going caching with no caches on the GPSr and no battery in my phone? Nope, not done those. Ever. What???

13. What do your non caching family and friends think of your hobby?

It varies from coming with me to it’s cool to it’s nerdy to “what the hell???”

14. What is your default excuse you give to muggles who ask what you are up to or if you need help?

I must be quite scary to look at when I am caching as I have never been asked. I get a few funny looks but people generally just keep walking.

15. What is your current geocaching goal, if you have one?

To get off my lazy butt and go find some caches!

16. Do you have a nemesis cache that despite multiple attempts you have been unable to find?

Jacob’s Moving Cache #1. I have been out for it three times and missed it each time. As I write I believe it’s back in Dorset having been to North Wales and back.

17. What 3 words or phrases best sum up what geocaching means to you.

Fun, Exercise, expensive!

18. What prompted you to start blogging about geocaching?

I don’t blog much about caching, most of it goes to the two podcasts, but I may well blog some more about it. I forget how much I enjoy writing.

19. Which of your own blog entries are you most proud of?

See question 18.

20. Which other geocaching blogs do you enjoy reading?

Generally, I don’t read other blogs, it’s really bad isn’t it! Please suggest some to me that I can add to my feed reader. Is there a “catalogue” or listing of Geocaching Blogs? Perhaps we should start one…

Aug 252014
 

I went for the cake.

I came home with one of these:

This is not the cake

This is not the cake

Learning curve was not as vertical as I thought it would be. Some quirks (mouse scrolls the other way round) some frustration (had to install Java and Flash(!)), otherwise no major issues.

Except, No Geocaching Swiss Army Knife! I am actually considering rebuilding my laptop to Windows from the recently installed Linux Mint just so I can run GSAK. Yes, it’s that important to me.

Aug 232014
 

I have said on many occasions that I dislike urban Geocaching. I would much rather be out in the sticks with a scenic view, mud, cows and farmers with shotguns than I would be in an urban location.

Gosport was always my “goto” dislike place. The caches always seemed to be a little pointless. “There’s no cache here so I will place one” type of thing. Attached to a dog poop bin in the middle of a random street. I have come to the conclusion that it’s not Gosport, but nearly every urban geocaching location that I dislike.

I think that part of the issue is that the urban caches tend to attract the “trying-it-out” squad (TIOs). They’ve found the Intro Geocaching App on the app store and downloaded it as a way to get the kids out of the house on a sunny summer’s day. Without any guidance to etiquette they stumble along, find this plastic box, sign the logbook and take all the swag. The cache then gets left out in the open rather than re-hidden. Here’s an example:

Cache Hiding - A lost art form?

Cache Hiding – A lost art form?

This was a cache that I found this morning. It was sat right in the open, I hadn’t approached the cache at this point but stopped to take the photo. Obviously I re-hid it lots better than this but left a note for the cache owner asking if they could check and re-hide properly.

Am I being unfair to the TIOs? Possibly. It’s entirely possible that the cache was found by muggle children who play in the area, investigated and then abandoned where it lay. But, the contents were still in place and dry, suggesting either that the kids carefully put the lid back on, or it wasn’t re-hidden.

It’s not just about re-hiding the cache though. Two of the eight caches we went for this morning were DNFs due to muggle activity. I was splashing around in a stream looking for a cache and a family (as is their right of course) bimbled along and started picking blackberries. Bloody inconsiderate if you ask me! The second one was just a bench hide with a D4 due to DNFs. I was unable to get to the cache as there was a woman sat there playing with her mobile phone while her dog took itself off for some exercise. Again, not her fault. Why was this a D4 though? The CO stated that he had upped the difficulty rating because some cachers had logged DNFs. I looked back through the logs and, guess what? Yep, they were TIOs. The cache looked to be a simple magnetic nano under the bench.

I will not say that I hate urban caching. It has its place, just like any aspect of Geocaching. I enjoy being able to grab a find whilst out and about and can accept that what I wrote above is what I am likely to encounter. I would much rather be out in the countryside enjoying views like this though:

View on the Dorset Drive By

View From the Dorset Drive By

Jul 302014
 

I got to thinking the other day about the extremity of certain words and phrases. I can’t remember what the trigger was, I suspect something as banal as “I hate the rain”. In this particular context I was thinking about “hate”, “dislike”, “don’t like” etc.

I can’t say that I “hate” many things. There are certainly no individuals I “hate”. Here’s a few:

  • Paedophiles.

Nope. Can’t, off the top of my head, think of any more.

I can say that I “dislike” some things, but still no individuals. Easier examples:

  • Coffee.
  • Liver
  • Ignorant BMW/Audi/insert make here drivers who think they’re better than everyone else.
  • None committal posts on Facebook. “Ooh, that wasn’t good…” with no explanation.

Then there are things that I “don’t like”. Bear with me here. Let’s remove the contraction. Things that I “do not like”. These are not necessarily things that I dislike. They are, maybe, things that do not actively interest me but I have nothing against them (as with “dislike”).

  • Football.
  • Hip Hop.
  • Lazy grammar and spelling on the internet.

See the difference?

Then there’s the things that I really couldn’t give a monkeys about.

  • Many Facebook status updates. “Dinner was lovely”, “Tired”, “waah waah waah etc”.
  • Gaza/Israel or Russia/Ukraine. If they wanna bomb the crap out of each other, let ‘em.

Is it just me that is sad enough to examine words this much? I mean, I am a computer engineer, not a scholar/graduate/philosopher. Should I be worrying about more important things? Does thinking about things like this (which happens far too often) mean that I am not keeping my brain active enough? Or is it too active?

Jul 302014
 

A Brain dump. You know, the kind of dump where you forget about something for six months and then remember? When you suddenly think “holy crap, where the hell did that time go?” Yeah, that kind of dump.

I think you can probably figure out that brain dump. So much has happened in six months that I don’t really know where to start. So:

1. Geocaching

When I wrote the “Kicking Off The Geocaching Year” I was at 790 ish finds. As I write this today I am at 925 finds. This includes 10 Lab Cache finds that I completed at the Kent Mega in May.

It has been a great six months. 127 finds so far in 2014, 1 Mega Event, seven Podcasts (one per month), and hopefully a crate of Cornish Rattler won. LJ bet me that he would find one more cache than me in July 2014. So far I have 37 finds for the month. I finish early today (30 July) and tomorrow so am hoping to find a few more before the end of the month…

2. Pushbike or Motorbike Sir?

I have been out on the pushbike once this year. Caching with LJ before recording one of the shows. Really must do more.

I have, however, changed the chain and sprockets on my motorbike, serviced, MoT tested and taxed the bike. I hadn’t realised how much I had missed the ride.

We also bought Rach a trike that she can ride on her car licence. That’s in bits at the moment as the main universal joint conecting the engine to the rear axle snapped on the middle lane of the M5 at about 70 mph, 30 minutes after we picked it up…

3. Smoke, Sir?

No thanks! I gave up. Well, I gave up the analogues anyway. I haven’t had a cigarette since 08 April 2014. I have been vaping (e-cigarette) since then. So much choice of vaping device, batteries (mod), tanks (atomisers), juice (e-liquids). I am currently using a iTaste SVD with Kayfun Lite + clone and 11mg Braveheart from Alba Vapours.

I have no intention of going back to the analogues and hope to stop vaping sometime in January 2015 – just get Christmas out of the way.

4. Whoosh. What was that? Your life mate

It really does feel as if I have missed something along the line here somewhere, but I can’t figure what it is. To quote the great one:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

So, this weekend I have an extra day off and two weeks booked at the end of August. I fully intend to make the best of it!

Jan 052014
 

As most will know, the weather in the UK hasn’t exactly been kind over the last few weeks, rain and wind damaging people and property.

In all that time I had no inclination to get out Geocaching! What with woodturning, work and Christmas, I was either too tired to head out or just really couldn’t be bothered to battle the inclement weather.

There’s always an exception and today was that day.

Timeline of the afternoon of 05 January 2014:

1530 I am sat at the PC, editing the newsletter for Portsmouth and Southampton Mini Owners’ Club, ready for release to the members before the meet tonight.
1532 Notification email arrives showing a new cache has been published.
1532 Read the email and realise it’s “Captain Cache” and is 2.2 miles from home.
1533 *In a whiney begging voice* “Rach, a new cache has been published up the A32, can I go for it?” “Yes” comes the reply. Literally 45 seconds later, caching bag in hand I am getting in the car.
1540 Arrives at parking for GZ. Jump out of the car and walk down. I am only using the iPhone for this and am a little nervous of the coordinates*.
1544 Awe crap, there’s people coming. Put the phone away, tie the shoe laces that were thrown on so quick they weren’t done up.
1544 *Voice from behind me* “Are you looking too?” I smile and respond affirmative. “Thought so, the second shoe lace tying gave it away”.
1547 Signing the log, having luckily gone the right way and found the cache, I introduce myself and the other cachers turn out to be Issi Noho, a name I have seen on lots of logs but the first time we have met.
1600 Having said goodbyes and headed our separate ways, I am now at home, calming from the excitement of the hunt** and putting the kettle on.

1700 I have published the Mini Club’s newsletter, updated my caching stats (via GSAK!) and am now writing this post.

Thanks to the CO (The Harley Rebels) for the cache. They’ve only been caching 4 months and have found almost as many caches as I did in my first YEAR!

28 minutes from publication to being back home in the dry. 15 minutes from publication to FTF – hat has to be a personal best for me!

* Coordinate nervousness – when you are hunting a new cache by a fairly new cacher, you haven’t found any of their caches previously and you’re not sure if the coords are accurate or not.
** Yes, it can be an adrenaline rush when going for FTF and it can take up to an hour for me to properly calm down after the event!

Nov 292013
 

Monday 25 November, midday, my house.

Bumbling around the internet (and Facebook) doing nothing in particular, I received a message from SurfaBoy (LJ – my co-host on the podcast) asking what time we would be recording the show. After some to and fro we decided that we would go find some geocaches before recording. The decision was to go and walk the Botley (PMO) series of caches, a walk of around 2.5 miles and 12 caches to find.

Now, we are becoming well known for wearing the non-too-subtle clothing whilst out caching and today was no different. I wore my usual harlequin chef’s trousers. LJ was a little more subtle:

1482822_661001753944030_247216909_n

Classy huh!

The series was great fun, we got to shout at a train. Unfortunately I can’t embed the video from Instagram so you’ll have to click through and find it on our instagram page. In the meantime, here#s a photo of the traintracks running up to Botley station:

1455891_661009810609891_1389515039_n

Right at the end of the series the previous 4 cachers had logged “did not find” on the cache, for various reasons – too many muggles, dark, needed to pick nose etc. This photo is our proof that we found the cache:

1455139_661104737267065_1454770082_n

It wasn’t supposed to look that scary, but LJ’s “Instagramming” of the photo makes me look even worse than normal!

A great fun little series that saw me hit a milestone – my 700th cache find. Not a massive amount by any means but I can honestly say that I have enjoyed finding (nearly) every one of those 700 caches!