Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson

From being a child and watching Farrah chase down the bad guys in her bikini while her golden hair flipped around to waiting to watch the world premiere of Michael Jackson's Thriller in the days when MTV actually played music. These where some of many good memories I had growing up.
Today both, the stunningly beautiful angel and the king of pop music died only hours apart.

Most of the nation knew that Farrah Fawcett was battling cancer for the last year and that she was gravely ill but the news of Jackson dying suddenly of a heart attack was right out shocking.

Both careers of these two loved and sometime hated celebrates were not with out scandal. From drug abuse to plastic surgery addiction to accusations of child molestation, these two who lived very separate lives were never out of the news. But what can't be denied about them both was that they were two very talented people and both will be missed by millions.

May the two of you both Rest In Peace.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a (GPS) to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container (usually a tupperware or ammo-box) containing a logbook and "treasure," usually toys or trinkets of little value.

Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica. There are over 820,000 active geocaches in the world right now.


I first was introduced to this "geocaching" hobby by my friend Todd in San Francisco. He told me how he and his son would hike all over to find these hidden boxes using his GPS.

These boxes ranged in size of a small film canister to a toaster sized metal box. Some boxes had small "treasures" in them which could be taken as long as you left something equal or greater in value. What is in all the boxes is a log sheet which you would sign your name to. Then when all is done, you would re-hide the box in the same location you found it and you would log it in as "found" on geocaching. com, the home site for this scavenger hunting game.


Now that I was back home in Connecticut I decided to give this game a try. I looked on the geocaching site and I found that there were hundreds of caches hidden in Connecticut and some right in my home town.

I quickly fired up the geocaching app on my iPhone, kidnapped my little nephew for company and set out to find my very first cache on my own. It was an easy one. The GPS on my iPhone took me right to the place I needed to be. It was "The Old Stone Church" (the oldest stone church in the country, built in 1774) that was right down the street from my house.

A clue that was given to where the box was hidden read "under the old stone". That was about all we had to go on. We knew we were in the right area because out GPS told us so. I knew that there was a good 15-20 feet radius that the GPS could be off, so with my nephew's help, we started looking under every "old stone" we could find.

After a good 45 minutes I was getting discouraged. Sammy, my 3 year old nephew, was bored and it was starting to drizzle out.

"I failed", I thought to myself. As I walked toward the parking lot defeated, I looked up at the church door and I noticed the sign above it said "Old Stone Church". I then looked down and noticed the stairs leading to the door were made out of the same brown stone as the church itself. In one last ditch effort I walked over to the stairs and looked around them. There it was, tucked neatly behind a crack in the stone stairs. It was a small film canister. I quickly opened it and inside was a scrolled up piece of paper which I took out. On it was a bunch of names of the people who found it before me. I signed my name, along with Sammy's. I them returned the canister back to it's hiding place and off we went with anticipation of finding our next cache.

The next day I set my sights in another local hidden cache. This one was in the old cemetery that was a few blocks from my house. Now this cemetery is a typical old New England graveyard with stones dating back to the first settlers of this country. As I walked through the old cemetery, my GPS brought me to a wooded area that was right smack in the middle of the boneyard. The clue that was given with this hunt was "hidden 4 feet up". After a few minutes I found that the bark on one of the old giant elm trees was false. I pulled it away and there was my second find in two days. Like the first, I signed the scroll and returned the canister. I thought to myself that this is easy and yet fun. I love it.


"This is easy and yet fun." Those are the words I used when I told my friend Chris about this geocaching hobby I was now involved with. I convinced him to bring his seven year old son along and join me at "Sleeping Giant State Park" to find a cache hidden there.

I had no problems with Chris bring his small child, after all, how hard could this one be? I found the first two caches quickly and I didn't even break a sweat. So on a sunny, Sunday afternoon we set out to find the cache on the Sleeping Giant.

The GPS took us to an old rock wall hidden in the woods on Sleeping Giant. The clue was "about 3 feet up from ground level." That was easy enough. So after almost an HOUR, Chris found a small canister hidden in this massive old wall. We opened it and in it was coordinates leading to the "real cache box".
I punched in the numbers in my GPS and it set us a path on a map on the iphone. I figured it was up the path, maybe a quarter mile or so. It was nice and sunny out and we had all day so I thought a nice hike through the woods would be fun.

As we scaled rocky vertical paths and walked along cliffs that would send us plummeting hundreds of feet straight down with one slip of the foot, I feared the wrath of Chris' wife if I returned without one or both of her family members. Sweating fro the beating sun, dirty and out of breath we finally found our destination a couple hours later.

Hidden within a pile of rocks and boulders was a toaster sized metal box. We quickly opened it and in it was all sorts of treasures, from match box cars to coins. After signing the scroll, we told James, Chris' son, that he could pick anything he wanted out of the box.
After looking through the numerous treasures, James chose a stick with a point. Kind of like a stick you would stab a vampire with. James figured that we were deep in the woods of Sleeping Giant and the sun was going down and you never knew when bear or lion would jump out and then we would all be thankful he chose the one thing in the box that would save all our lives.
So with Chris and James and his pointy stick, I returned the box and we headed out back to the car. We beat the Sleeping Giant!

I would soon learn that geocaching could be very easy, with finds that were nearly in plain sight and then there was the hard, like the one we found hidden a good 30 feet, deep down in a rocky pit where the only way in was through a hidden cave.

In our short time in playing this game we had scraps, cuts and bruises... and we almost lost Chris when he tumbled down a jagged rocky slop, causing some really cool looking cuts.

This geocaching hobby is addicting. It's the challenge of finding what is hidden from you. It's the mystery of the hunt and the satisfaction of the find.
My suggestion to you if you decide to try geocaching is to map it out before you leave. Try not to do it alone. Bring a cell phone. Bring gloves, water and some snack food. Have fun. This is a web site where you could learn all about geocaching and how to get involved. Seriously, it's great fun so check it out!

Here are some pics from out geocaching adventures so far.

Rick, James and Mike with the "Pit" cache find!

This is a typical "canister cache". It usually contains a log book or scroll to sign.

Chris and his son James coming out of the cave that leads to the "Pit".

Huge find on "The Sleeping Giant".

The "Lizard Rock" clue.

Coordinates that led to the cache location.