Jump to content

The Rat

+Premium Members
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by The Rat

  1. Milestones do have the advantage of providing an opportunity or occasion for a geocacher to do something particularly memorable. Sometimes you know in advance that there is that special 5/5 cache you want to get with a bunch of best friends, or the resurrected cache in the spot you proposed to your fiancee, or where your child surprised you by putting a message in the cache that you were about to become a grandparent and you can time your finds so that specific cache becomes a milestone. That cache shows up in your stats all the time reminding you of that special day with fond memories. I see that as the significance of milestones. Just finding 1000 or 10,000 or any other particular number is meaningless by itself, IMO. The same goes for the number of hides, but the really nice, long, complimentary logs are special for a CO, and I did get a little thrill when I learned that my caches had over 300 favorite points.
  2. Good point, but the reviewer should be aware of the rules. I know that out here many parks and open space preserves allow grazing on public lands that are open for geocaching and some private landowners with cattle have public trails on them. Stanford University, for one. I have no idea what the rules are at the English farm, but one cannot assume there was a rule violation there.
  3. I agree with most of what has been said. A good log is the best reward and I'd be opposed to official milestones for COs. Favorite points are marginally useful, but often misleading. I give out my favorite points sparingly, but I do think they are a feature worth keeping and I enjoy when people give my caches a favorite point. I do think that COs are often underappreciated, especially the ones that do extra good quality caches. I tried to create a challenge cache that rewarded CO's with a lot of finds on their caches, but Groundspeak doesn't allow that. We don't need more caches, but we do need more good quality caches. My best advice is on a good quality cache not to log the TFTC on your smart phone and instead wait until you can get home and type up a nice long log that praises the quality of the cache or tells a funny story about it or posts a picture of the big smile when you found it.
  4. Yeah, I was going to post that link, too, although I'm not so sure it qualifies as "amusing." I was once attacked by a wildcat in Rancho San Antonio Park. Appropriately enough it was on the Wildcat Loop. I was actually running, not geocaching, although I do geocache there and have a cache in that park. I expected it to run off as I came running pretty fast downhill at it, but instead it jumped me. I was in the right spot in my stride and just planted my leading foot squarely on its forehead and pushed it away. I didn't even get scratched. That park is full of both caches and wildlife: turkeys, quail, bunny rabbits and jack rabbits, coyotes, wildcats, deer, rattlesnakes, hornets, owls, spiders, banana slugs, even mountain lions on occasion.
  5. Held for Ransom by Russell Atkinson http://www.amazon.com/Ransom-Cliff-Knowles-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B005WCUSOY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1382464795&sr=8-2&keywords=Russell+Atkinson Fatal Dose by Russell Atkinson http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Cliff-Knowles-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00F70SZXW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1382464795&sr=8-3&keywords=Russell+Atkinson Neither of which are Geocaching novels. Held for Ransom takes place in the 1990s before geocaching existed. Fatal Dose is not a geocaching novel, but the main character, Cliff Knowles, is still a geocacher. It has a good geocaching scene in it with a few other references to geocaching.
  6. I can't say about August per se, but I just posted a couple of interesting graphs on the Google+ Geocaching Community that actually show an increase in geocaching activity from about 2011, but increasing through 2012 and probably 2013, although I don't have 2013 in the graph. This is true both for active cachers (whose numbers of finds increased) and for those who have not logged a find for 5 or 6 years, then started caching again around 2011. One observer speculated that smart phones and the plethora of apps for geocaching is responsible, and I think that's one likely explanation. Other possible explanations are marketing efforts or other innovations by Groundspeak, like the 31 days of caching thing or website changes. I haven't heard any explanations from dedicated cachers whose numbers went up, but I have talked to a few people who started caching again after years of dormancy, and they each had an unconnected explanation like they suddenly started dating a geocacher or they went on a vacation to an interesting place, etc.
  7. We had one that went unsolved for ages until local puzzlers proved that it was not solvable within geocaching guidelines (because they placed caches all around the posted coordinates until the only space left within two miles was on a private golf course green). When they notified the reviewer, that reviewer contacted the CO who admitted that there really was no cache. He had made the puzzle unsolvable thinking he would drive everyone nuts and it wouldn't be discovered. The reviewer was livid and the CO was never trusted again so his caches were no longer approved. He eventually moved to a different area and only hid regular caches.
  8. I really appreciate the support I've gotten from the geocaching community (of which I am a part) for Cached Out, and for mentioning my newest book, Fatal Dose, here but I want to let people know that Fatal Dose is not a geocaching novel per se, the way Cached Out is. Both are murder mysteries featuring the same main character, Cliff Knowles, a retired FBI agent and geocacher. In Cached Out geocaching is a big part of the plot line, whereas in Fatal Dose there is a good geocaching scene and the sport turns up in a few other places, but the book is more of a legal/medical thriller with geocaching incidental to it. If you are really looking for a geocaching novel, start with Cached Out. If you like the style and Cliff Knowles character, then by all means, go for Fatal Dose. There's also a first book in the series, Held for Ransom, but that takes place in the 1990s, pre-geocaching. Several geocachers at the recent EarthCache Mega in Utah, where I was selling autographed copies of my books, bought that one just to get the history of the character or because they enjoyed the style (or so they said).
  9. What a sweetie you are. I am working on a sequel, although the geocaching content will be lighter. Don't expect anything for at least six months. For the answer to that, see my blog: OnWords
  10. Cached Out is scheduled for a free promotion this weekend on Amazon (Kindle version only).
  11. The Rat

    Deleting logs

    I agree completely that this kind of information is important to convey to others who might look for a cache. I've only had one log deleted -- and that was on a find -- because I said something similar, of a negative nature that I thought was important for the safety of future cachers. The CO did send me an explanation by email (after several days) basically saying caching should be fun and my log was a downer so he deleted my find, and told me to write something nice. I didn't think it it deserved something nice, so instead I put the cache on a bookmark list with a nasty title and re-logged my find pointing out that I have done so and that the owner can't delete the bookmark list. I also posted on local forums that I've done so. He left my log and could do nothing about the bookmark list. The log fell off the cache page quickly with future finders, but the bookmark list didn't. So you can fight fire with fire and make it a lot worse for the CO than if he'd left your log. I recommend it.
  12. The Toronto tree-climber in the article wasn't geocaching. The real issue is common sense, not obscure rules like this. What about caches on private property placed without the owner's permission? There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of caches around here hidden in parking lots (LPCs, for example) or parks without the knowledge of the property owner, and therefore, unless there is a posted geocaching policy such as some parks have, the cache has been placed without the owner's permission in violation of GC.com rules and may be a form of trespassing. Just because a parking lot is publicly accessible doesn't make it public property. Many business owners want their lots to be used only by customers or only during certain hours. I see putting caches there as OK, but only if good judgment is used. As an example, I know of one large lot that had two geocaches in it, about 600 feet apart. The front part was used as customer parking for some small businesses like tax preparers, etc. The cache there was attached to the chain link fence separating the lot from the neighboring property, which was a vacant lot. The cache was right at the property line and accessible from the public sidewalk. The other one was first placed back behind the movie theater in the rear part of the property right near the electrical control box, actually behind the building. There were signs posted in that section of the lot indicating the lot was for customers of the theater during theater hours only. After a bunch of geocachers went for that one in the early morning when the theater was closed, the property manager came out and removed the cache. The CO replaced it once and the property manager removed it again. The CO then moved it to a lamp post in the middle of the movie parking portion of the lot. I got chased off by the manager when I went to retrieve it there. The CO moved the cache to a totally new area after that. When I later complained about the original placements I was rebuffed by a fellow geocacher as being unreasonable and hypocritical because LPCs are common and I've found the other cache in the same lot. He thought the second placement at least was OK. To me that's like comparing apples to rotten oranges. Where the property manager has made clear he doesn't want geocachers nosing around a "public" lot a cache shouldn't be placed there, and even if that hasn't happened, areas where the public doesn't normally go, like loading docks, utility connections, etc. should be off limits. Caches in such locations are reasonable if they are placed where the public is welcome at all hours and the cache can be retrieved without looking suspicious or threatening, but not otherwise.
  13. I am rather surprised at the vehemence on this topic, which I think is misplaced. First, let me say that I respect park rules and encourage others to do so, but I don't see it as the CO's duty to patrol/police that. I'll give you an example. I was participating in a puzzle/geocaching contest where points were awarded by the CO based on rank in finding, i.e. FTF gets the most, 2TF the next most, etc. I solved the puzzle the evening it came out, which was around 9 or 10 pm. The cache page gave the park hours, which were closed at sunset. I checked the coordinates on Google Earth and saw that the cache was about 100 feet outside the park. I checked three other maps, including the official park map and all four showed it to be outside the park. I drove there that evening and entered the area from a path that connected to a public street. There was no sign indicating it was a park entrance or otherwise restricting access. I never passed into or through the park although the cache could be accessed by going through the park. I found the cache, signed the log as FTF and then went home and logged online, mentioning that the park hours comment was a red herring (which I thought it was) and that the cache is accessible from a public street without entering the park. The CO later said the rangers had told him all that area was part of the park so he disallowed my points in the contest. He didn't delete my log, but he basically screwed me for the contest. As CO he had total control of the points, but it soured me totally on his caches and my relationship with other geocachers participating in the contest. Park hours are not a serious offense, and I say, leave it to the rangers or police to monitor that. Geocachers constantly break park rules, often unintentionally, such as leaving the trail, to get caches. Do you delete a log when a geocacher says they took a wrong turn and ended up bushwhacking? To me it's equivalent to the park hours question -- not the CO's job. From the title, I thought this was about serious illegality, like vandalism. That's worthy of discussion, and I think the real problem is cache owners who camouflage their caches to look like sprinklers, padlocks, pest traps, etc. They think they're being clever, and too many geocachers reward this kind of thing with favorite points, but to me it just promotes geocachers fiddling with (which becomes breaking) such stuff not only at that cache location, but elsewhere. I've seen cachers get rousted by police and security guards while searching for such caches and I personally have broken real sprinklers unintentionally when the CO hint suggested it was in something wet and round, etc. Now I just take a DNF and post a disapproving log on stuff like that. I think that kind of cache is what brings geocachers into disrepute. Then of course there's the problem of geocachers taking the good swag and leaving nothing, or inferior stuff. It may not technically be a crime, but it borders on theft.
  14. Of course logging a find just because you've solved the puzzle is bogus. It's not a find. You should delete the log. However, you can also discourage this behavior, thus taking the onus off yourself for being the "bad guy", by putting a coordinates checker on the cache page. Certitudes and geochecker are two options for that. Certitudes has the advantage of (or disadvantage according to some) of listing the solvers' geocaching names so that anyone can see who solved it and in what order. The person in this case who wants to claim a find may be satisfied with getting the recognition there without having to log the find, or at least may not take it quite so bad if her log is deleted as long as she can see her name up on the certitudes log.
  15. The Switched at Birth episode wasn't too far off in its treatment of geocaching, but obviously not written by a real geocacher. When the geocachers found the cache, they traded swag but didn't sign the log sheet. They also searched only a few feet from muggles in a rather obnoxious, obtrusive way (under a bench where someone was reading). Still, they described it fairly accurately and made it sound like a fun activity. I wouldn't be surprised if the lead character Daphne continues to go geocaching with the hunky guy.
  16. Outstanding effort! Kudos to you both.
  17. I got multiple offers, so thank you everyone. I'll be contacting you each individually, but I'm posting this to let folks know I don't need any more offers of help.
  18. I'm looking for someone who is willing to start a Travel Bug in Canada, preferably in Ontario. If you're willing to help, please contact me through my GC.com profile email link and send me your mailing address. Thanks in advance.
  19. From what I understand, 70% of the electricity generated in the States comes from burning coal and natural gas. I live in California. My provider is PG&E. 0% of their electricity comes from coal. That's right zero. 60% comes from renewable or clean sources: wind, geothermal, solar, hydroelectric, nuclear, and biomass. I charge my car during nighttime when the percentage is even higher. The 40% that is fossil fuel is natural gas, which burns much, much cleaner than coal or fuel oil, and those burn much cleaner that the exhaust from gasoline-powered cars. The wind blows strongest at night when demand is low; I pretty much geocache on wind power. Bicycles are good, too, though.
  20. And mine: Electricaching: Geocaching in an environmentally responsible way
  21. The Rat = Russell Atkinson. In addition, my main hobby is codes and ciphers, so the idea of a sneaky animal that gets into hidden places seemed appropriate. I already had that NOM (nom-de-plume) in the American Cryptogram Association.
  22. I'm glad you liked it. If you want to use the puzzles from the book, go for it. I have no problem with that. I'll confirm by private email.
  23. Sometimes you know it's really missing and sometimes you don't. Don't despair if yours drops off the radar for a while. I've had some totally disappear (the site where its host cache was got bulldozed for construction. The cache and TB are no doubt in a landfill) and other times go missing for months but then show up. I just had one go missing for 5 months and then the holder found it among her stuff and started it on its way again. She was an experienced geocacher (9000+ finds) but just forgot she had won it in a raffle at an event.
  24. I agree that there is no magic rule, but it is still a valid question. The answer depends a lot on your own intentions with the cache -- how hard do you want it to be? Is it part of a larger series or contest? etc. Where I live puzzlers are dense (i.e. in the demographic sense, not IQ) and very smart, so if I put out what I think is a fairly easy 3* puzzle and it isn't solved within a week I know it is harder than I thought, so I will usually modify the cache page or put in a puzzle hint. I've even cut that to three days, especially if I see from certitudes that there have been no attempts. Around here that means many people have tried to solve it but no one has even come up with a remotely possible set of coordinates or even partial coordinates. I will even suspect that I made a mistake in the puzzle, and may re-solve it to be sure, or ask someone else who's not a geocacher to solve it (e.g. for ciphers, I may ask one of my fellow ACA members to solve it). If I want it to be a 5* I won't post a hint, or may first post only a very cryptic one.
  25. Yes, hints that actually give misinformation is worse than no hint at all, especially if it is clear that the CO was not trying to be cute or present a double meaning. I recently spent 45 minutes looking for a Level 1 difficulty TB hotel where the hint said "six feet from concrete." I DNF'ed. Later I found out it was 6 inches from concrete. I had only looked at locations that were approximately six feet from concrete. I don't know if the CO doesn't know the difference between inches and feet or didn't know the word "within". I don't mind clever clues with double meanings, especially for puzzles where you are expecting to be required to think of possible meanings, but not for caches of this sort. I also think clues like "chin high" are fine. Sure it could be the chin of a short person or tall person, but at least you know you aren't looking at anything below three feet or above six five or so, and if you have any idea of the CO (e.g. male, female) you can probably narrow it down to a foot or so of height. I don't expect hints to be spoilers, but I hate it when they are labeled as spoilers and then don't give you enough information, or give you wrong information. I sometimes put a cache on my list for the day only because it is labeled as having a spoiler hint (e.g. I only have a half hour in a distant city before I need to get back to an event or flight, etc.) Then I get there and DNF because the "spoiler" is useless. If you're going to post a spoiler, make it a spoiler.
  • Create New...