Time to re-read Utopia

I decided that since one of my reading groups at Good Reads is discussing the definition of the dystopian genre that I should to back and re-read a book from one of my college lit classes: Utopia by St. Thomas Moore. Pack rat that I am I still have my used copy bought at the UCSD bookstore in about 1988 or so.

I think this read may be more interesting because there are at least two distinct highlighting styles from the previous owners of this book (one in black ballpoint, one in orange highlighter) so I will be melding those into my interpretations.

I bought this used copy at the UCSD bookstore in about 1988 and still own it in 2014.

I bought this used copy at the UCSD bookstore in about 1988 and still own it in 2014.

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Learn Point & Shoot Photography

I am really looking forward to some great tips on how to shoot better pictures with something besides a DSLR. The new Pocket Lenses web site. They have tutorials and I am really looking forward to the podcasts since I know Sonny puts out great audio content as well.

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She’s Alive!

Well that was a false alarm. Apparently my spatial recognition skills failed me in the dark the other night as my geocache is just fine. The bush that got massacred was near it but the container was undisturbed.

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Games for sale/trade

I am trying to clear out some old, dusty games that just don’t get played anymore so that I can get some new shinies. Below are all the things I am bringing to Kingdom-Con to sell or swap.

Board/Card Games
(See my Board Game Geek collection page and filter by Trade)
Ascension: Apprentice Edition
Blood Bowl (first edition, 1986)
Building an Elder God
Feudal
Food Fight
Gangs of Mega-City One
Pennant Race (1983)
Rezolution (minis book)
Risk: Plants vs. Zombies
Star Trek: Expeditions
Supremacy (1984)
TAG: Terrorist Attack Game
Times to Remember
Top Gun (1986)
Victory in the Pacific (1980s)
World War II: European Theater of Operations (1985)

* Dystopian Wars v1 rulebook and cards

* A bunch of Star Wars CCG cards from Cipher (1990s I think)

* Axis & Allies miniatures collection (including carrying boxes/bag), see my collection at Miniature Trading

I’ll probably bring along my Boris 2 collector cards since the gamer audience will probably be interested.

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Short-lived first hide

Well that was certainly depressing. You may have seen that I hid my first geocache about a month ago. I was walking my geodog Jackson a couple of nights ago right past GZ and discovered that the bush had been “landscaped” away. It looks like someone took a hatchet to it six inches off the ground and just hacked it away.

I couldn’t find the container in the dark by flashlight so I disabled the listing and I’m going back in daylight to look for it again. This has to be the shortest-lived first hide and quickest death by landscaper ever.

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Wall of Shame: Minor Progress

Well “progress” is debatable but at least I got out some of my Protectorate of Menoth models (Warmachine) and the Ogrun Assault Corps to paint last night. My hobby room is still backed up with boxes so 80% of my time last night was setup and finding tools. I never did find my 30mm back arc marker though. Hopefully I will make noticeable progress every night for the next ten days until Kingdom-Con starts.

image

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Geocaching Milestone: #200

I had a tremendous amount of fun finding my 200th geocache yesterday (12 April 2014): GCTDBJ A Bridge to Nowhere which ended up being a great choice for a milestone.

Below is what I logged at GC.com for this find:

I wanted something special for my 200th find and this one certainly did not disappoint. I parked at a wide spot in the road and had a fun walk in to GZ.

I had fun scrambling over rocks and around bushes to make my way to GZ. The view was awesome and I am really glad that I had gone out of my way to come out here.

I found my #200 milestone at 1420 but spent over 20 minutes in the immediate area just looking around and taking pictures. I was so distracted I forgot to log a discover on the TB.

Major props to the CO for hiding this here, giving it a favorite is a no-brainer. I can’t believe that in eight years this one only has 70 finds, everyone caching in San Diego county (heck even up in Riverside county) should make the trip for this one.

Funny epilogue, I was so giddy making my way out that I made an ill-advised leap from a small rise and totally biffed the landing. I left with a couple of bloody knuckles and a dinged up knee but still couldn’t be happier. (Rated 5 stars with GCVote)

A Bridge to Nowhere GCTDBJ

A Bridge to Nowhere GCTDBJ

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North County Real Estate Mogul

Geocacher düg had his North County Real Estate Mogul series published on Sunday March 23. It consists of 18 traditional caches, six series of three houses each. Each set of houses has clue that combine to reveal the coordinates of a hotel. Finding the six hotels will reveal clues to the location of the final puzzle cache, Advance to Go!

There was a flurry of activity the first three days. Amazingly The Thirsty Ladies group (Trixxster, Silver Horde and The Lost Clan) somehow had the stamina to drive over 130 miles in 13 hours to complete all 25 caches in one day and nab FTF (first to find) on the final puzzle.

I wasn’t able to start my hunt until day two but I have found at least one house per day for five days straight and am having a great time working on the series. I hope to finish up on Sunday. I have two houses, six hotels and the final puzzle left to complete.

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Creative writing via RPG

For some reason I suddenly have a craving to write fantastic fiction and my brain is telling me that the best way to do it is by writing a campaign for a roleplaying game.

This seems like a cheat but it allows me to not have to start from literally nothing. There will be an overall setting with at least some background material. The character generation system helps come up with at least basic character outlines and possibly some detail.

Right now my top three settings are all sci-fi (more or less) but the third is a bit more horror. Stay tuned for the list in future updates, hopefully I can write enough to justify a full post for each.

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Finally hid my first geocache

Last week saw the publication of the first geocache that I have hidden myself, Nearly Caged Quail (GC4XXPG). I kept to my pledge to wait until after at least 100 finds before placing my first (it ended up closer to 140) and I started off with an easy park & grab near home. If conditions are right (i.e. no marine layer) you can catch a nice sunset from ground zero (GZ). I included a few of my signature bottlecaps and a Where’s George tracked dollar bill for the first to find (FTF).

I realized after the fact that I should have put more fun information into the description so I added this image and text today:
“When we first moved into a condo up on this hill in 2000 the south end of Mission Gate Drive was right about at GZ and none of the single-family homes were here. We had a nice area of coastal sage scrub on either side of the road and could see quail families (Callipepla californica) in the brush or even crossing the streets several times each year. Shortly thereafter in 2003 lots of new housing was built and I haven’t seen any quail up here since then.”

California Quail courtesy of the National Park Service

California Quail

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Still enjoying geocaching

I am still having a lot of fun with geocaching. I am up to 147 finds and had a streak of 20 straight days with a find before real life stopped the streak. I also got a First to Find and missed another one by about two minutes. I am looking forward to getting a dedicated GPS receiver some time this year since my phone is sometimes very jumpy and/or inaccurate.

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Good day of ‘caching

I had a pretty good day today geocaching, on my run to Home Depot I found four caches within an hour or so. The last one looked to be really tricky since there was a ton of leaf litter (below) that could not only be hiding the cache but it also made every footstep really loud so I had to be extra careful of muggles. I ended up going around the long way but found it as my 4th of the day. I had to skip another one since a muggle was walking up the street towards me and I would have looked suspicious getting out of my truck there. Go figure, same person walked by just as I was going to grab that last cache so I had to pretend that I was examining the foliage until he passed by.

Lots of leaf litter

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Geocaching Signature Item

I decided that while I generally won’t take anything from a cache I will leave a signature item if the container is large enough. I decided on beer bottle caps since craft beer is one of my other hobbies. I created a small note to include that points the finder to my new page Geocaching. This way they can look for the cap they found on that page and click through to the brewery. Thanks to my friends in the Facebook group I bought 2″x2″x4mm bags and I’m glad I went with 4mm since they are nice and sturdy.

Bottle Cap Note

Finished package with note and bottle cap

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Book Review: Einstein Must Die!

I just finished Einstein Must Die! by Chris Kohout. Really well done, I enjoyed it a lot. It starts in 1910 and has the classic Tesla vs. Edison rivalry. You can read the synopsis and my full review on Goodreads at the link below; I had spoilers that I had to remove for this post. I suggest it for anyone who likes alternate history (reminded me a lot of some Turtledove stuff) or steampunk/dieselpunk.

Disclaimer: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway contest. I was very impressed with this first novel in the new Fate of Nations series. I would consider it part alternate history and part dieselpunk (a bit more advanced technology than steampunk). I liked the characterization, several of the main characters were developed quite nicely. The first part of the book about Tesla really set the stage for him and created some empathy in me for the character.

The mix of different levels of technology was interesting although I had to consciously suspend my disbelief for one particular invention. The Tesla vs. Edison rivalry is in full force here and causes some very interesting plot twists. It’s always interesting to see how politics can influence science and this was a perfect example of that.

I am very much looking forward to the next volume in the series, this one ended with a nice lead-in for whatever happens next.

Einstein Must Die!

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Hobby ADD: Geocaching

I just recently took up Geocaching as yet another hobby (see my stat bar on the right side of the page). It has lots of interesting aspects from searching the web sites for caches to add to my list, traveling to the site and then doing the actual search. I have been doing urban caches near my house lately but want to start going to the mountains, desert etc. to look for the wilderness hides.

Here are some good resources to start with if you are interested:
Geocaching.com – corporate site run by Garmin including optional premium membership
OpenCaching – open source alternative to Geocaching.com
c:geo – great Android app that can download caches from Geocaching.com
GeoLex – The Lexicon of Geocaching, great summary of acronyms that you will see in cache logs and elsewhere

Here’s a cutesy video by Geocaching.com:

A related sport is Munzee, this one doesn’t use physical containers, just labels with QR codes. The only way to log a find is to scan the QR code with your device. I haven’t done any of these yet but want to try a few in the next week or so. This one keeps scores, has level ups etc. since you can’t really cheat like you can with traditional physical caches.

Munzee – 21st Century Scavenger Hunt. Find. Capture. Reward.

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