gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for November 2006

As heard on the PodCacher podcast

November 27, 2006 @ 09:03 By: gordon Category: Geocaching

I fired up my podcast downloader this morning to download the podcasts I listen to, including the PodCacher podcast, a podcast all about geocaching. A couple of weeks ago, I recorded some audio at a handbell practice and then mixed me reading an intro over part of the piece that I was conducting. Well, they used my intro in today’s show.

Sonny and Sandy, also known as iTrex and Foxtail, have also created a PodCacher Treasure Cache. Listeners send in special items and they rotate these items in and out of the cache (GCXA12). In the spring, I sent them one of the Go And Get ‘Em 8 copper geocoins that Darin and I created. It was one of the items they selected, so it’s going to end up in the coffee table book they’re creating depicting the first 100 items.

So far it’s been a very cool Monday. 🙂

Ammo boxes versus Lock ‘n’ Locks

November 25, 2006 @ 21:42 By: gordon Category: Geocaching

notoammoboxes.pngA lot of geocachers feel that an ammo box is the pinacle of perfection in terms of geocaching containers. Basically, they are metal boxes that come in a variety of sizes depending on the type of ammunition they were designed to hold with a mechanism that requires more than strength and dexterity than your average raccoon has to open. Most of them have some sort of gasket that makes them very waterproof when sealed. They are usually already painted in a drab olive colour, meaning they tend to blend in with the vegetation.

On the other hand, Lock ‘n’ Lock containers are plastic containers that come in a variety of sizes, though usually smaller than your typical ammo box. They have locking mechanisms and gaskets that make them very waterproof. While not painted olive green, they can have cammo jobs applied and they’re usually easier to hide than ammo boxes because of their size.

The prices are comparable, so why would you pick one over the other, particularly if size isn’t a big concern? Well, ammo boxes also tend to have all sorts of markings on them describing the type of ammunition they held and some even have warnings about explosives on them, sometimes on bright orange stickers. Responsible geocachers ensure that these markings aren’t visible, but I have come across ammo boxes used as cache containers that have all the markings intact. If they’re found by non-geocachers, they can easily be mistaken for something much more dangerous than the trinkets found in your average geocache. In some cases, people who have stumbled across them have reported them to the police who in turn have deployed their bomb squads to neutralize the danger. This results in the public being unduly scared, the waste of police resources and bad publicity for geocachers.

If cache containers are transparent then it’s very easy to see that the contents do not pose a threat. Even if an ammo box has had all the military markings removed and the words “geocache – not a bomb” (yes, I actually saw that on a cache container), the overall shape is still identifiable as being an ammo box and you can’t see what’s in it without opening it.

What we really need is a Lock ‘n’ Lock-style container that’s made like an ammo box, with a lever-action locking mechanism, lots of space and a gasket to make it waterproof. If the walls are a bit thicker than the average Lock ‘n’ Lock, then it should be just as durable as the metal ammo boxes, though I haven’t had any durability issues with the Lock ‘n’ Lock containers I’ve placed.

Voting Day

November 13, 2006 @ 17:34 By: gordon Category: Current affairs

Today, I headed out at lunch and fulfilled my societal obligation and cast my votes in the municipal elections in Ottawa. The only real uncertainty was how to cast my vote for the ward representative. The incumbent, Shawn Little, chose not to run for re-election, so that left the field open. After perusing the candidates’ websites over the last while and even asking them a couple of questions, I was able to make my decision.

Like many of my friends, I firmly believe that if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain.

One more reason I’m not voting for Larry O’Brien

November 11, 2006 @ 12:10 By: gordon Category: Current affairs

The CBC reported that Bob Chiarelli released a letter from the Province about Ottawa’s light rail project.

Larry O’Brien responded with “I am disappointed but not surprised that the current Mayor would get his good friend Premier McGunity [sic] to send this letter 72 hours before the municipal election.”

You’ve taken hypocrisy to a new level, Larry.

I’d love to ask him it is ok for him to get his friend, John Baird, to interfere in municipal affairs by ignoring the wishes of the current council and the federal government’s funding agreements, and force the incoming council to hold another vote on the matter, but when Chiarelli releases a letter confirming the province’s support for the project, it’s not.

Given this behaviour, I wouldn’t put it past Larry to use similar tactics to bypass council were he to be elected mayor and find himself at loggerheads with the will of council.

Remembrance Day

November 11, 2006 @ 11:41 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

poppy-sm.jpgNovember 11th is the day that we stop to remember the sacrifices made by so many people in order that we might enjoy the peace and freedom we have today.

Thank you doesn’t say enough.

Bad stress indicators

November 06, 2006 @ 23:44 By: gordon Category: General

There is both good stress and bad stress. Good stress is positive, productive energy and a necessary part of life. Bad stress is the negative, destructive energy that should be avoided, yet is often hard to avoid.

Paul Tomblin’s recent blog entry about stress that’s he’s experiencing because of work got me thinking about bad stress and how it manifests itself in me. Ignoring the dangerously excessive levels of stress that I experienced in the last half of 2005, particularly August 2005, which were brought on by everything that could go wrong simultaneously going wrong at work and had physiological manifestations, I’ve noticed that when I’m stressed I tend to acquire Toys. The magnitude of the toy is directly proportional to the magnitude of the stress.

At one particularly stressful point in my life, the “toy” took the form of learning to fly. Learning to fly was something I’d always wanted to do, but I think the impetus was multifold and included having the means (i.e. money) and the time. The actual stressor was probably the single largest stress event I’d experienced to-date at that point in my life: the death of someone close to me.

I’ve learned to distinguish between toy acquisition due to stress and toy acquisition because it’s a toy. The former often involves impulsively looking for something that might make me happy, while the latter is more thought out and not as impulsive. When I catch myself looking to get a new “toy” for no readily explainable reason (i.e. the burning need to buy “something”), I try to stop and figure out what the underlying cause is.

That having been said, I do like new “toys”, so don’t automatically assume that I’m stressed if you see me with a new gadget. 🙂