Thursday, March 6, 2008

"My childhood was a nightmare, and that's why I love geocaching"

Part of the fun of WeekNIGHT caching on Wednesday was trying out some attention-grabbing blog post headlines like this one. That's why there are quotes around it. My childhood was not a nightmare, and I like geocaching for several reasons, but this is not one of them.

On the way to the WeekNIGHT I called the Pre-Caching Hotline. Bus of Bus&Betty answered, and he directed me to meet them and topgear at COMPANION CACHE, another top quality Mutsley&Crew cache. The three of them were kind enough to wait for me at the side of the road while I went to look for the cache on my own. On to a couple other caches before meeting the other Weeknighters at Potawatom Park in Oakdale for a couple Bobcam caches.

The highlight of the evening was free food! sir "enemy of mathematics" zman had a coupon for 50 free wings and some drinks at BW3. (I jest -- zman is no enemy of mathematics; he actually has been involved with a math camp for girls. But he does like to give me a hard time about my math-themed signature items.)

Besides headlines, I was trying out a theory that my wife, a media professor, and I have been working out. It is commonly believed that most, if not all, social networks on the internet -- Facebook, myspace, games like World of Warcraft -- in fact isolate people instead of bringing them closer.

Geocaching may be a unique counterexample to this commonly held belief. First of all, even though geocaching is an outdoor activity, it is indeed an internet social networking site. Even if you are only entering logs or reading the logs of others, you are socializing with others on the internet. But geocaching may be unique in that it encourages actual human contact, whether it's an event cache or a chance meeting at a traditional.

It makes me wonder how my childhood (oh, such a nightmare) would have been different, if the internet had been widespread in the late 70s or early 80s. The internet allows people to form groups based on interests rather than geography alone, and, perils of the internet aside, it may allow young people to find their niche sooner. I know it took me a while.

Who else was at the WeekNIGHT? Besides those I mentioned earlier, MN_Cavepeople, minnesotabrad, TheCollector, Oneied Cooky, two_of_hearts, XZQ&Dad, and broken tooth. minnesotabrad told me about the improving firmware on the Garmin Colorado, and Bus told me about his foray into programming a Whereigo game. Twin Cities cachers on the cutting edge.

Speaking of which. In other news: King Boreas' century cache Challenge of a Century: Geocoins has been archived, apparently from the central office. Don't know what I think about this. My first reaction was that all caches should be archived then, because they require the purchase of a GPSr (I know, it's not necessary, etc., etc.). I have nowhere near 100 active, purchased geocoins, and I really didn't mind that I was not able to log this cache. I would be interested to hear arguments in favor of this decision. I'm sure I could go find them on the Groundspeak forums. KB pushes the cache hiding envelope in certain ways, and it's only natural that his caches are litmus tests for Groundspeak's evolving regulations.

Headed to Cannon Falls/Northfield with Bunganator and Millah this morning to grab some puzzle caches by dgauss. Not the real Gauss, who is too busy being dead to be a geocacher, but a Carleton Gauss, whose puzzles and hides I really like. (How could I not?) Plus, he has the whole countryside at his disposal, and at least for the few that we found, he makes very good use of it.


Sir_Zman said...

Hi all, Sir_ZMan here. As First Bass said, I am not an enemy of mathematics, the only thing I said was that I didn't think that discussing complex polynomials was the best approach to winning the attention of our British (thus sexy sounding) waitress...but who knows, maybe she is into that sort of thing.

firstbass said...

As MN_Cavepeople said, if she is British and working in a BW3 in the Twin Cities metro, she must be working on her thesis.

Math PhD perhaps? It WAS complicated dividing up 50 wings among all those people...

Thanks again for the free food, zman!