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Archive for September, 2011

Formspring answers 9/27/2011

Now with more singing! (Sorry.)

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Let’s Play Evil Dead (Episode 11)

Lots of shit to do before we tackle the sixth palace…

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Let’s Play Evil Dead (Episode 10)

In which a three-minute episode magically transmogrifies into a twenty-minute episode! Also, I apparently invent not one but TWO new words, only to forget all about them almost immediately after. Groovy!

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Formspring answers 9/20/2011

Another 100-ish questions answered because I love you… set to the tune of Action 52 because I hate you. (Just kidding! Well, just kidding about the hate. Action 52, sadly, is true.) Keep ’em coming! http://formspring.me/docsigma

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Let’s Play Evil Dead (Episode 9)

4th Palace. DONE. Yay!

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Let’s Play Evil Dead (Episode 8)

There’s no time to write a description! We’ve got lots of shit to do!

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Geocaching Containers (Part 2)

Continuing from last week, here are five more types of geocaching containers I’ve found, with descriptions of what makes them good, not so good, etc…

Match Safe

Waterproof matchstick containers can be purchased at sporting goods stores, Wal-Mart, Target… almost anywhere. They are designed to hold matches (and often come with matches already in them), and matches have a tendency to not work when they’re wet – so these things are as waterproof as it comes! They make fantastic containers for micro-caches, far better than 35mm film canisters. They are almost completely waterproof if closed correctly, and their durable exteriors will hold up to the elements. They’re also virtually crush-proof. If you replace the included cheap o-ring with a high quality rubber gasket, the water-fast seal will be pretty much as perfect as it comes. I love finding these containers – I’ve never found one which was wet on the inside.

Lock-n-Lock

The term “Lock-n-Lock” refers to a specific type of plastic container which snaps shut on all four sides. It is not a simple Tupperware-style container, and cheap knockoffs abound. A true, brand-name Lock-n-Lock is considered by many to be “the” container for anything larger than a micro. They are completely waterproof if closed correctly, and virtually crush-proof. They are also transparent, allowing their contents to be seen without the container being opened – which, believe it or not, makes the Bomb Squad less likely to blow up the container if it is found by non-geocachers! In every story I’ve read about a “suspicious” geocache being detonated, it was always the case that it either looked like a pipe bomb (sheesh), or was not transparent. If you can find the space to hide one, these things are great! They can be easily labeled as a geocache with appropriate contact information… and they can hold a lot of swag!

Virtual Cache

A virtual cache… well… isn’t. Allow me to explain. A virtual cache is one where the coordinates lead you to someplace neat/interesting/etc, but there is no physical geocache container and no logbook to sign. In most cases, you “prove” that you visited the virtual cache by taking a picture of yourself (or your GPS) at the cache location, or emailing answers to a set of questions to the cache owner (such as identifying certain words on a nearby plaque, for example). New virtual caches were banned as of 2005, but any pre-existing virtual caches are grandfathered in, and are allowed to continue to exist unless they become archived. Sadly, virtual caches tend to be a favorite target for “armchair cachers”, people who post “Found It” logs to caches they never found, since many virtual caches are maintained by people who are no longer in the game (and therefore are no longer in a position to delete bogus logs). If reviewers notice this happening on a virtual cache, it is archived swiftly – and permanently.

Fake Bolt

Hooboy, these things are devious. Talk about hiding in plain sight! A fake bolt looks just like a real bolt. The top part of the bolt is magnetized, allowing it to be attached to any ferromagnetic surface. The top unscrews, revealing that the body of the bolt is hollow, containing a rolled-up log scroll – and, hopefully, a small metal tool which helps to extract the log. (If the tool is missing, I hope you brought tweezers!) These definitely count as a nano cache, and of course they cannot hold any swag. You can find these on road signs, benches, pretty much anywhere, and non-geocachers never even notice them. They’re also extremely easy to hide – which, arguably, is both a good thing and a bad thing?

Tupperware Container

This covers two types of containers: real, honest-to-goodness Tupperware brand containers, and cheap grocery store knock-offs such as GladWare. It might go without saying that the cheap knockoffs make for poor geocaching containers – after all, they are designed to be disposable, so they wear out very quickly, and provide a poor seal. However, even genuine Tupperware is a bad choice for a geocaching container, believe it or not. While it forms a fairly airtight seal under normal usage, this goes right out the window when the elements become involved – Tupperware warps under heat and cold, and even the tiniest bit of warping will make that seal go away. Also, Tupperware isn’t exactly flimsy, but it is not crushproof by any stretch of the imagination. For a Tupperware-style container designed to withstand the elements and keep water out, a Lock-n-Lock can’t be beat.

 

And that’s it for this week’s update! Next week, I’ll look at five more geocaching container types I have found: Bottle Preform, Cigar Tube, Fake Electrical Plate, Fake Rock, and Fake Sprinkler. Until then, happy caching!

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Let’s Play Evil Dead (Episode 7)

We find the raft, defeat the evil Reubenok (yes, he totally has a name!), and go on our merry way. Yes!

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Formspring answers 9/13/2011

Another batch of 100-or-so questions, spanning a bit over a week (I think?). And for your viewing pleasure… a bunch of terrible games! Yippee! Keep the questions coming, I love ’em! http://formspring.me/docsigma

 

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Geocaching Containers (Part 1)

A week or so ago, I compiled a list of the different types of geocaching containers I’ve found so far, sorted by how frequently I’ve found them. As promised, I am now going to explain what these container types are, as well as giving information on their various pros and cons. I will do about five per week, starting from the top, and when those are all done I will also explain a couple of geocaching container types I somehow haven’t found yet.

Nano: Magnetic Blinker

Often called “blinkers”, “blinkies”, “Mr. Magneto”, or “okay where the HELL is it”, the traditional nano is about the size of your pinky finger from the tip to the very first knuckle. Yes, it is a legitimate geocache container, despite being almost unbelievably small. The base of the container contains a strong magnet, allowing it to be attached to almost any metallic surface. The top of the container unscrews, revealing a tiny, rolled-up logbook scroll which can hold about 30 sets of initials per side. The original nano was created by a geocacher named Joani, who designed it by modifying a small blinking LED safety light (hence the “blinkie” nickname). One of the advantages and disadvantages of nanos is that they can be hidden pretty much anywhere. While this is great for an urban situation where a larger container type could not be feasibly hidden at all, it can be quite frustrating to go for a mile-long hike in the woods only to find a nano waiting for you. Also, the tiny log scroll can be extremely difficult to remove without tweezers, but at least the container is mostly waterproof, since the screw design includes a rubber gasket. Nanos can be amazingly difficult to find, even in the cases where they are hidden in plain sight, since it’s easy to not notice them.

Magnetic Key Holder

Magnetic key holders, which are traditionally used as a “hide-a-key” to hide a spare/emergency key at a house or in a car, are ubiquitous geocache containers in urban and suburban settings. They are inexpensive, extremely easy to hide, and in some cases are even large enough to hold a very small amount of swag. It is their very ubiquity, though, which makes many cachers despise key holders – if your GPS is pointing you towards a bench or a roadside guard rail, it is extremely likely that you will find a magnetic key holder there, and you can probably find it without much searching or thought. Another issue with magnetic key holders is that even the very best ones are not even remotely waterproof – if the thing is hidden in such a way as to be exposed to the elements, the first rainstorm will leave future finders with a soggy mess of a logbook. This can be somewhat ameliorated by placing the log inside a plastic baggie (such as a dime bag) inside the container, but this is not a perfect solution. Ideally, magnetic key holders should be placed in such a way as to be at least somewhat sheltered from the elements.

35mm Film Canister

It’s quite difficult to find a geocacher who will admit to enjoying 35mm film canisters! They are pretty much “the” micro-cache container, and can be found absolutely everywhere. The most common place to find them is underneath lamp skirts. Those big square bases of lamp posts… did you know that 99% of the time, they are not bolted down and can be lifted straight up? It is extremely common to hide geocaches here – they are called LPCs, or Lamp Post Caches. People who hide and/or seek LPCs are commonly called “skirt lifters”. Anyway, 35mm film canisters are the most common containers for LPCs, but they can also be found pretty much anywhere else. Sometimes they will even be magnetized by having magnets hot-glued to them, allowing them to be hidden quite creatively in some cases. 35mm film canisters can even hold small amounts of swag, including “micro” geocoins and Pathtags. Plus, 35mm film canisters are pretty much free – it’s easy and cheap (or free!) to get your hands on massive amounts of them. However, they are not waterproof AT ALL. Well, at least the traditional black/grey ones are not – the less common clear/white ones are a bit more water-resistant, but not by much.

Bison Tube

What the rest of the world calls “those little metal tubes you put on your keychain to hold pills”, geocachers refer to as Bison Tubes. The name comes from the main company which manufactures them, Bison Designs. Bison Tubes are ideal micro-cache containers, as they are made of non-oxidizing metal (no rust!) and are pretty much 100% waterproof! They are too small to hold any swag, though. Bison Tubes have a loop at the end, allowing them to be permanently “lashed” to a place such as a fence or a tree, which can also help prevent them from getting lost. Bison Tubes are commonly hidden in bushes – sometimes way, way inside of bushes – and since they are available in green and even camo coloring, they can be extremely tricky to find. Bison Tubes are waterproof as long as their rubber gasket does not fail – which can happen, and will happen after a year or so, but the gasket is easy and cheap to replace. They are available in a wide variety of sizes, lengths, and colors, and are fairly inexpensive, especially if purchased in bulk.


Custom Container

This is sort of a catch-all category, by its very nature. Many geocachers love to make their own containers, and some of them are downright awesome. Some of them, on the other hand… not so much. I’ll give a couple of examples which cover the entire spectrum. I found a cache with my father, in the woods near my home. It took us about a half hour to find it, even though we had looked at it several times. It was a little resin turtle, on the ground, staring up at us and… smiling. It was so cute, and clever, and creative! I loved that cache. As for the one I found which was made out of a chewing gum container… yeah, that one will probably not last very long!

 

And that’s it for this week’s entry. Next week (give or take), I’ll tackle five more geocache container types: Match Safe, Lock-n-Lock, Virtual Cache, Fake Bolt, and Tupperware Container. Thanks for reading!

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