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Friday, 28 December 2012

Puzzled Over Puzzles

So we get it; these are supposed to be difficult.

We're OK with difficult, and frankly, having the GeoChecker site sure can help with the "trial & error" approach, which is much better than the "trail in error" approach.

But some of these puzzles just don't make sense, and we don't even know where to start.  Some are just a photo of a Geocacher, or seemingly random list of places. We've searched the photo for hidden numbers, or we've scoured the clues for mathematical symmetry, and just come up stumped, because there doesn't seem to be a place to start.

We've tried to read through the Discussion Forums to get a nudge in the right direction for some of these more obscure puzzles but can't seem to get any traction there either.

I'm guessing we're left with two options - PaF or email the CO.

Any advice out there?

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Logging is Blogging - How to Not Shoot Yourself in the Foot

After five months in the geocaching community on GroundSpeak's site, but also on other sites, blogs, forums, and on-line resources, I've noticed a similar trend that I've seen in many other on-line communities in my 25 years of participating to electronic communities.

There exists a certain percentage of geocachers who don't realise (or perhaps, simply don't care?) that the content they post in logs is a representation of themselves to the world. And sometimes, the representation is quite unflattering.

It is simply a fact of life today that how you represent yourself online is going to affect your "real" life. The two have become intrinsically intertwined (for better or worse), and can impact your employment or your personal life. Sure, some are extreme examples, and one could argue "How could a geocaching log entry impact my real life?

Well, negative comments have far more "sticking power" than positive comments, and rarely result in a constructive movement forward of the topic at hand. Imagine you've just flamed (intentionally or not) a CO in a log entry. Months later, while caching, you bump into someone else on the trail or at an event who happened to have read your log entry. You introduce yourself, and instantly they've framed a judgment about you. Likely not a flattering one. You can extend the scenario in many directions from here, but I'll tell you directly; I've seen this happen in other social media scenarios, and not end well for the author of the comments.

So, in an effort to help coach those who may be new to this idea, I've presented three simple but important tips I've learned over the years about interacting online and building a positive social media image for yourself, modified for application to our geocaching logs.

1.  Don't Log Angry. If you've just had an unpleasant or frustrating experience while out caching, don't log it right away. allows you to backdate log entries - so take advantage of that feature. Type out your feelings in a text file, then save it on your computer and go do something else. Something you enjoy, that relaxes you.  Come back to it a day later. Give yourself time to relax, and likely, things won't seem such a big deal.

2. Measure Twice, Cut Once. Great advice for carpenters, and the advice also applies to the online world.  As in suggestion #1 above, don't hit the "submit" button for your log posting right away. Re-read it. Check for grammar and spelling. Have a spouse, friend, or other proof-read your log entries for you. Any of these methods will give you the opportunity to re-consider content that may negatively reflect on you once posted.

3. Use Honey, Not Vinegar. Make sure your comments are rational, reasonable, and worded humbly. If you feel that a cache or something the CO has done endangers others, or simply displayed poor judgment, then phrase your feedback in a way that "offers feedback in a spirit of humble exploration rather than declaration, dialogue rather than monologue, curiosity rather than certainty." - Tony Schwartz. Certainly you've heard that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar? If you haven't heard it before, you've heard it now.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Caching with Monkeys and a Piggy

Whenever Team LANMonkey goes caching anywhere dog friendly, our Golden, "Piggy" comes with. Although he'd much rather run, swim, and just about do anything but help us sniff out a cache, he sure does enjoy himself.

It doesn't seem to matter where we are, he always seems to find something interesting to pose with. And if there isn't something interesting to pose with, he just works hard at looking good, and makes a great centerpiece for the photos we take of some of the beautiful locations where we cache.

So, caching can certainly be a full family affair with the LANMonkey crew; monkeys and a Piggy, enjoying this fun new hobby. So if you're caching, and you see some other cachers who call their Golden "Piggy" say hi - he's really friendly!

Monday, 8 October 2012

200 and Turkey

This long weekend Mrs. LANMonkey and I found our 200th cache. We enjoyed a great walk around Tynehead park in Surrey.
Highly recommended as a pleasant walk and lots of moderate effort caching.

Then on our way to Thanksgiving Dinner the next afternoon we picked up a few more in the Coquitlam / Mary Hill area. And then enjoyed a really nice family evening with an outstanding turkey dinner prepared by Mrs. LANMonkey's sister.

All in all, quite the weekend!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Nailing the Niggling Ones...

This cannot be a unique experience... Having an "easy find" cache that after multiple visits to GZ you still can't find? And all the while, other cachers continue to log the find with "quick find, TFTC" and you just stew more about where on Earth it could be...

Well, we slayed a personal tormentor tonight. One of those niggling easy caches that you just couldn't seem able to find... And it was easy. And that just makes us shake our heads further!

Anyhow, now it's found.
Nameless Park in Cloverdale is behind us, and we move on.

So what was your most frustrating cache?

Where Do You Gear Up?

Being relatively new to the geocaching community, Mrs. LANMonkey & I weren't sure where to start, and certainly struggled a bit until we read through the site "getting started" sections. That was a big help.

So slowly, by trial and error, we've been piecing together our "caching kit" we take with us each time we go out, and I'll talk about our kit itself in an upcoming post.

But the other question we had was "we want to start hiding some caches - where do we get the gear?"

So again, to the rescue, there's tons of online shopping options. But we kind of like the "personal" touch - at least while we're still getting our feet wet here. So I searched to see what stores there were in the Greater Vancouver area. Honestly, the site wasn't terribly intuitive for figuring that out, until by way of checking phone numbers & URLs I narrowed it down to WorldCaching.

I reached out to the purveyor there, and was welcomed to visit their store (by appointment only). And I must say, while it wasn't an extensive or expensive shopping adventure, the amount of information shared, and number of our questions patiently answered were fantastic.

So, if you live in the GVRD, need caching supplies, please check out WorldCaching! They come with the LANMonkey "seal of approval."

That all said, I'd really like to learn from you other cachers where you get your supplies, and what recommendations you have. So feel free to add your comments and let us all know who gets YOUR seal of approval, and why?

The Willows Series Instructions

Good Morning World!

As our first blog post, we'll include our detailed instructions for our first "series" of geocaches we are placing around the Lower Mainland of beautiful British Columbia.

So I'll get right into it...

The series is called "the Willow Series" therefore each cache will have something to do with "Willows."  I'm guessing that was self-explanatory, but we've certainly noticed that some cache series aren't quite that obvious..

The first hide (the aptly named "Willow Series #1") is in Vancouver, and as of now, holds the first clue to the over-all puzzle (check the inside lid of the cache container).

The object is to collect all of the clues, solve each of them, then combine them to determine the "magic phrase." Once you have the magic phrase, you'll know what to do with it by applying instructions found in one of the caches, and that will lead you to the final cache of the series.

Note, that there WILL be some travelling required with this series - we wouldn't want to make it too quick and easy!

Locations that will be included in this puzzle series are:
Vancouver, Langley, Surrey... and more!