Thursday, June 27, 2013

Geocaching Limericks

Some limericks I wrote about geocaching, just cause:

Last night I went out in the fog
Sniffing out caches like a dog
At ground zero? a muggle!
This will now be a struggle
To sign my cache name on the log

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who, in the woods, hid a large bucket
He posted online
for others to find
I wonder where on earth he stuck it?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cafe Giraffe!

I think its fair to say that amongst my family the favourite animal is the giraffe.  They are basically deformed clown horses, and who doesn't love a deformed clown?

During our visit last week to the North Carolina Zoo, we took some time to feed the giraffes.

Apparently giraffes eat 75lbs of vegetation a day, which is about 2 Zekes, or 4 Abigails. Since we only had only one of each of those, we resigned ourselves to providing them a snack of conveniently provided leaves.

If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it (if you don't get the chance, I still recommend it, but you likely won't get the same sense of satisfaction.

These are a few pics from the experience. We'll start with a nice shot of a giraffe stalking its prey...
 The zoo keeper feeding the gangly beast.
Zeke fed the giraffes a few leaves.  He was surprisingly brave about the whole thing (he tends to be skittish around such things.. first time he touched a horse he cried).  He probably would have stayed all day and fed them if he could.  Abigail, on the other hand, cried her head off when she saw the giraffes up close - not a fan (yet!)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

NC Zoo

Last weekend my wife and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary, so we decided to celebrate it in one of the most fitting places possible for a couple who are raising a brace of yard apes... the zoo.

The Zoo is 2.5 hours away, so we made a day of it. We left early, spent the day (well, a toddler day - 10am to nap time at 2pm) walking around the African and Asian section of the zoo.

When we got there we put Zeke in charge of the map, then we headed off.

Here are some shots from the day, starting with the king of the jungle, and ending with a large floppy nasal-beast.

Auto Awesome'd Chimpanzees:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Guard Rail Caching: Toddler Edition

Do you know the difference between me and Zeke?
Zeke makes this look good.
Context is everything.

The standard guard rail cache is typically not very exciting.  Although some very notable exceptions exist, normally these caches do not provide a great deal of challenge.  The very definition of mundane.

On the way home from the Zoo today we decided to do some geocaching.  We loaded up the closest cache and headed over to GZ.  When we got there we discovered it was... tata! a shiny guard rail.

Since we already made the trip, I figured we might as well go get the cache.  So Zeke donned his shades, and we crossed the road to the target guard rail.

A few minutes later we had found the cache and signed the log, and another bonding moment between a father/son caching team.  That is nothing but fantastic - even if it did happen at a mundane guard rail cache.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

GoogleServe 2013: Helping Hands

Every spring Google encourages all Googlers to help improve our communities by spending a day working at a local organization.  This year the Lenoir office spent the day helping to improve a local low-cost health clinic called Helping Hands.

A lot of jobs were performed:  painting, cleaning up vines growing along the side of the building, assisting in disposal of old medication, and replacing some ceiling tiles damaged during a recent storm.

In the morning I pulled some paint duty and slung some pigmentation onto the walls (and a little onto myself).    After lunch I helped dispose of some old medication.  This is done by removing the pills from the packaging, throwing out the containers, and sending the pills to a disposal service.  This is the only time where I got to "pop pills" at work.   (These off-sites are becoming fun as the last one involved me leaving in the back of a police car).

It is a great way to spend a day. I'll leave you with some more scenes from GoogleServe 2013: Helping Hands Edition:

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

A Cautionary Tale

This is a very interesting cautionary tale about the dangers of hiking in the woods unprepared.  It is by the 404 podcast.  It is not about geocaching, but I bet there is not a serious geocacher out there who the lessons in this story do not apply to at some point in time.

If you are not a geocacher, this is still an interesting tale of a pair of city slickers alone in the woods at night.

Some of the lessons I learned (and not covered in the podcast) are:
  • Bring extra batteries.  I always carry two sets of batteries for all my devices. In the grand scheme of things, a few extra AA and AAA batteries are light.  I don't even notice them. My water bottle is 2x heavier than any batteries I carry. Heck the pack itself is probably 2x heavier.
  • If you have the option, grab a trail map.  If not, take a photo of one.
  • Never leave the trail unless you have a good reason, and always return to it as soon as you can.
  • Record your route.  They would have had a lot fewer problems getting back to the trail if they had recorded their route.
  • Bring a dedicated GPSr. So many smart phones lose a lot of their usefulness when signal goes away  - compasses on the iPhone for example (at least in this case).  Dedicated GPSrs are rugged, batteries last a lot longer, and are much more easily replaceable.
  • Not sure if taking photos with flash is the best way to conserve battery :)
  • Sticking his flashlight in his hat was questionable move.  Luckily he didn't drop it.  Keep things you cannot lose attached to you (in your pack secured so its not going to drop off your shoulder accidentally), or on a securely attached lanyard.  While you are at it, bring more than one flashlight (and ensure you have enough extra batteries for both)
  • Bring a real magnetic compass, and KNOW both how to use it, and which direction safety is located.
  • Tell people where you are going, and when you are expected back.
  • Bring extra food and water.
There are, of course, many other survival techniques. This just covers the mistakes this couple made.  I would also bring a knife, and a way to make fire, for starters. 

Hope you found this interesting (at least), and, if you hike, or go into the woods for any reason (say finding tupperware containers....) you've learned some things that will ensure you get back out alive and well.

Do you have other survival techniques?  If so drop them in the comments below.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Zeke's Cache

This is Cachey, the stuffed puppy.

He is Zeke's latest adoption from a geocache.

When I was in Lakeland, Florida last weekend for GeoWoodstock XI, I hung out with some caching friends from Massachusetts.  We were looking for some caches to do after we ate supper.  It was around then leftyfb pulled up the listing for Zeke's Cache.

It was close by, so we (leftyfb, deviousdragen, and myself) decided to grab it, in honour of my son, Zeke aka Tonka Tyke.

Inside the cache, a 30cal ammo can,  lived a stuffed puppy.  I don't know how long he was living in there, but I decided to take him home and give him to Zeke as a souvenir.

The puppy sat in my geo-bag for almost a week before I went through all my stuff and discovered him waiting for me.

I told Zeke about the cache that was named after him, and gave him the puppy.  He was very excited to get it, and is currently sleeping with it now.

So that is the story of Cachey the geo-puppy.  Now you know the rest of the story.