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A Bitchy Cacher Retrospective…Muggles, Haters, and Cops, Oh my.

After a short hiatus from caching I am back at it full tilt. In my little corner of the world winter was extremely brutal and only the most die hards went out caching. My find count was down to one a month and that was fine with me and mine, “better days ahead” we always say. My blog however never slowed down, with better view counts than I have ever seen before. Caching as it would seem, is no longer the super secret society thing it was when we all started out years ago. Today we are going to run down all the changes in our sport, and ask the question; “Is this a good thing or no?”

Remember the good ol’ days when you actually needed a GPS to find a geocache? No more, now any idiot with a smartphone can do it. So it might take them a little longer for them find one, and when these players hide one it is almost never waterproof and the co-ords are almost always off by a mile. Never mind that it is usually these “fly-by-night” types that are responsible for crappy geo-junk all over town. There is a good chance they will give up on it after a short time and there will be other idiots to take their place, (and their crappy hiding spots)

Remember when you had to pay Groundspeak to do paperless caching? No more, now any idiot with a smartphone app can do this. Notice how log entries have gone from a nice written paragraph from a cacher you are familar with, to now it is a “TFTC” tapped from a smartphone from someone with 4 finds you,ve never heard of before? I would almost relish a snide remark from the local “Mr. Know-it-all” in my area rather than just have an acronym or a quick “found it!” log from the generation of texters now joining our sport.

Remember when the muggles were something you avoided like the plague? Now because of the increasing popularity in our sport it’s not such a secret thing anymore. I have had muggles walk right up to me while caching, to tell me where the cache is hidden. I must say it’s not that I don’t appreciate their help, it is that I didn’t ask for it. The “cloak and dagger” aspect of this game was always part of the fun, and now sadly, that’s gone too.

Remember when a geocaching hater was just some troll on the internet? Not anymore, the “anti-geocachers” of this world have become more organized and have actual followers now. I have been trolled by these people before, and almost daily someone looking for a “I hate geocachers” page finds my blog and leaves a comment (comment was blocked by me of course). If they think I am going to help them spread their hatred they are out of their @#$%ing mind. I am never going to comment on an anti caching website so stop asking, and if they think I’m on their side, then they haven’t read my whole blog have they?

Remember when you had to explain yourself to the cops and produce I.D. to them? Not anymore, the police are now educated on our sport, and in one case I heard of on Facebook if they’re called out to a geo location they will actually help you look for it instead of arresting you for suspicious behavior. Too bad, I must say I really enjoyed the frisking “pat down” from the cop who reminded me of Patrick Swayze. No more cheap feels, (sigh) and when the bomb squad shows up they now bring a GPS and steal our swag instead of blowing it up.

Is our sport growing faster than we can keep up with it? Probably, but the temporary phone cachers will come and go. The muggles will learn to leave us alone. The haters will keep hating, and the cops will keep frisking (thank the gods) and the urban geo junk will continue. May I take this opportunity to remind readers to report risky hides to the authorities, and not to leave find logs on caches not worthy of one. The game will change whether we want it to or not, it is how we respond to it that will determine the future of geocaching.

Carry on caching,
Bitchy.

Dear Bitchy Cacher… Leaving a Found Log for a Crappy Cache. (Guest Blogger)

 

Once in a while I like to let my readers have their say, as it turns out, some players in our game have as much to bitch about as I do. A reader who calls himself “Supremely Fat” has written their own rant on the fine art of writing a sarcstic log for caches that just were not worth the time or the effort of the finding. Enjoy!

“The Art of the Short Log on a crappy cache: A Glossary of the Hidden Meanings”– By Supremely Fat
I love writing logs. Let me clarify a little: I love writing logs when the words just seem to flow naturally. The best logs of mine begin in my mind while I’m finding the cache, and the details get filled in when I go home and type them up. Writing logs is easy when you have a memorable experience.

However, many caches I find are average at best, if not poorly conceived. Sometimes the words for these logs flow naturally as well, but unfortunately those words are often unfit for print. So the unremarkable cache ends up getting a short log, usually composed of my favorite stock phrases. Without further ado, I present…

The Art of the Short Log on a crappy cache: A Glossary of the Hidden Meanings

“A little worried”
1. The cache really blended in well with the poison ivy.
2. I was so close to the neighbors’ house I could watch their TV.
3. Seriously, why would you put a cache this close to a police station?
I was a little worried when I saw GZ, thankfully I found it right away.

“Camo”
Your soda can cache only blends in because the rest of GZ is covered with litter too
Well-camo’d container. I’ve seen this before, so I knew just where to look.

“Didn’t feel good” (for use with Notes and DNFs)
I briefly considered looking for this cache, but upon further review decided not to because it looks like dogshit. Which is saying something, because I’ve found caches that literally resemble dogshit and they are much better than yours could possibly be.
Passed by here, but didn’t feel good about the no trespassing signs and decided to move on.

“Don’t think anyone saw me”
1. I think someone saw me
2. I know someone saw me
Lots of muggles out today. Took me a minute, but I don’t think anyone saw me.

“Filling in a calendar day”
This is a crappy cache close to my home location, and while I’m grateful it saved my calendar challenge/streak, I was really hoping it would get archived before I had to resort to finding it.
Had to fill a calendar day, so I stopped here on my way home from work. Quick find.

“Found on my way to/from”
This cache is on the trail leading to a much better cache, and I needed a couple more finds so I could accrue my next favorite point for it.
Found on my way to Amazing Puzzle Cache.

“Glad I found this in the winter”
This cache would have sucked in the summer.
Pretty easy to spot with all the prickers dead, glad I found this in the winter.

“I was in the area”
1. Your cache is slightly more interesting than watching my girlfriend go shopping/waiting for my takeout order to be ready/staking out a dryer at the laundromat…
2. I got pretty drunk after going to the bar/concert downtown and had to sober up a little before driving home, so I went geocaching.
I was in the area tonight and I had to walk right past GZ.

“Knew just where to look”
1. I picked up the lamppost skirt.
2. I reached into the guardrail.
Got within 40 feet, and then I knew just where to look.
see also: didn’t need my GPS

“Needs some attention”
Needs archived, even though it technically meets the guidelines. I really hope you slack on the maintenance or just give up on it.
Easy find, but needs some attention. Everything is a little wet.

“Only had a little daylight” (for use with DNFs)
I’m pissed that I couldn’t find this, and I need an excuse other than my own incompetence.
Only had a little daylight to work with, and my battery was about to give out. I’ll be back.
see also: GPS/phone battery died, you can’t fire me, I quit

“Quick find” (NOTE: this is my personal favorite passive-aggressive log phrase)
The container and placement are identical to approximately 100 other caches you’ve placed.
Quick find in the park this afternoon.
see also: easy find

“Seen this before”
You are not the first person to hang a bison in a storm drain/put a nano in a piece of fake poo/stick a pvc pipe in the ground near a creek. The novelty is wearing off on me, for better or worse.
Could be a tough find, but I’ve seen this type before so it didn’t take me too long.

“TFTC” (Only use in extreme circumstances)
1. I remember nothing about this cache.
2. If I could say less, I would, but I’m not allowed to leave a blank log.
TFTC

“Thankfully”
Now that I’ve found the cache, I will never return to this crap location again. Unless someone puts another cache here.
I was a little worried about the location, but thankfully I made the find in about 4 minutes.

Thanks for your entry “Supremely fat”
All opinions and additions to this rant are welcome in the comments section.
Carry on Cachin’
Bitchy.

A Bitchy Cacher Christmas….

Originally posted on thebitchycacher:

Twas the eve before christmas,
just at the start of the night,
a young cacher was stirring,
turning on a flashlight.

His GPS was hung by the door on
its perch, in hopes that
tonight would be a great time
for a search.

The other cachers were nestled
all snug in their beds, with
dreams of big find counts
dancing round in their heads.

The young cacher donned mitts,
coat and a cap, while other
cachers settled in for their
pre-Christmas nap.

Out on the cold trails the lone
cacher heard chatter, he turned
down the path to see what was
the matter.

Backtracking his trail, he flew
like a flash, jumping a
creekbed without making a
splash.

With the moon shining down on
the new fallen snow, He
discovered a man, dressed in red
head to toe.

“Santa?” he thought, “does he
really exsist? But wait…,
where’s the reindeer…

View original 247 more words

The Next Rant… Geocaching Disputes.

As most of you already know, disputes among geocachers are many. Everything from “Stop hoarding my travel bug!” to “Don’t leave spoilers on my cache page!” There seems to be no end to what players in our game do not agree on. In today’s’ rant we are going to run down some of the more common ones.

First and foremost let’s go to the authority on the sport the almighty “Groundspeak” As much as they say they are here to help, quite frankly they don’t give a rats behind about player squabbles and probably just pass around player complaints like jokes and laugh at them. Don’t bother with these guys, for the most part we are all grown-ups here and we should be able to settle these things ourselves. The only time you should ever involve Groundspeak is if another player has used racist remarks, vulgarities or called you names in correspondence.

Primarily, the thing we need to remember is; not everyone caches like you do. Just because someone has been schlepping your travel bug all over North america (when you specifically ask to have it dropped off) doesn’t mean they need to be reminded of its’ goal. Patience here will save you a whack of aggravation. Keep in mind here, no one ever likes being told what to do, dropping someone a note may be seen as rude or condescending. What you write to others and how they are going to comprehend it, are two very different things. Example; “would you mind dropping my travel bug at the next convenient cache please?” could translate to “Can’t you read a description you idiot?!!” As you can see, perhaps just giving the situation more time is a lot better than receiving back a note from them that reads “I’ll drop it off when I’m damned good and ready to.” Save yourself the aggravation, remind yourself this is a ten dollar trinket you took the risk of losing by just releasing it, and move on.

Spoiler Photos and log entries; Now, The Bitchy Cacher has been on both sides of the issue here, and yes, it is infuriating when another player wants to fight you on the issue rather than just dealing with things respectfully. Try to understand that cache owners want finders of their caches to experience the wonder of discovering their hide without log entries and photos spoiling the fun for the finders. I personally, thought it a stroke of genius when Groundspeak added the ability for cache owners to edit logs and delete pictures on their own. Should you receive a note from a cache owner saying your log was a spoiler and had to be deleted just go back in and leave a “TFTC” All cache owners seem to think their caches are special in some way, telling them otherwise is only going to cause animosity among players in the game. Once again save yourself the aggravation and be the bigger person here. By the same token, if you are on the other side of the coin and asking someone to remove their spoiler remarks of your cache in their log entry, try to remember what I said; what you write to them won’t necessarily be what they read, maybe start your correspondence with a compliment or a friendly salutation first.

The bottom line here is; this is a user based sport, you never know what kind of personality you will be dealing with when you correspond with other players. Are they nice and sympathetic? Are they an arrogant asshole? Just using a “please” and “thank you” does not mean your message to others will not be seen as rude, condescending or arrogant when read over the internet. Always try to be the bigger person here, an apology can go a long way. (Even if this means swallowing some pride)

Carry on Caching…

Bitchy.

Oh, and P.S.

Stop asking me to settle disputes…

The Next Geocaching Rant…Deleting a found log without being an Asshole.

I have had the pleasure recently, of placing 2 new caches. I had decided to make these a little more challenging than most, and placed one hanging over a cliff and one that had a few decoys to it. Only a few finders of theses caches have actually signed the proper log book, so I am left with the dilemma; How big of an asshole do I want to be deleting their found logs?

On the cliff hanger cache, the online log reads; “I didn’t feel like getting dirty retrieving container, so I am logging this one as a find until I can return later, I will bring my kids to retrieve it for me.” I must admit to being really dumbfounded on this one, if you were coming back anyway to sign it, wouldn’t you think you would claim the find then, and not now?

On the decoy cache; “There was no slip of paper in the container so I left a gum wrapper with my signature on it” So, not only did you not understand the idea of decoys (or read the cache description), now “I” have to go out and retrieve the gum wrapper, so some poor animal won’t die from eating plastic.

I have sourced other opinions from cachers who have faced the same dilemma about deleting logs. Some feel very strongly that logs should be deleted. Others don’t want to be an asshole and are afraid of backlash from certain cachers if they do so.

I have allowed non-signers of logs to claim a smiley before, but usually they have a photograph or some proof the logbook was somehow not sign-able. I think I have been kinder than most cache owners. I have seen cache owners delete logs of players who did not sign, but were obviously there and opened the cache box just simply did not have a pen. I really do not want to become one of the assholes I hate. Those players who delete logs because the finder of the cache has physical limitations and could not climb a tree. Where is your compassion asshole? Not everyone has complete physical mobility and it may have been all they could do to just get to the GZ.

For now, I have gone back into the cache descriptions and tried to clarify things a bit. A warning has been placed front and center on the page that the actual physical logbook must be signed in order to claim a find.

The Bitchy Cacher will not have a problem deleting the logs of what I refer to as “numbers whores” players who just seem to like padding their find counts by driving by a cache location and claiming it as a smiley. Thankfully that has not been the case so far.

I am going to end this post with the original dilemma “How do you delete a log without being an asshole?” The answer is you can’t, someone with entitlement issues is always going to see you as one. So when clicking the delete log key ask yourself, “Do I want to be one of the players I hate?” “How big of an infraction was it?” “Was it an obvious cheat?” “Are there extenuating circumstances?” I am going to let the finders of my cache hides have a little grace for now, they don’t seem to be “numbers whores” and don’t have a lot of finds. Perhaps I am just gaining compassion in my old age. Doubt it, but for now I don’t want to be a asshole. There is always tomorrow…

Bitchy.

The Next Rant… The Armchair Cacher.

I have heard from other geocachers recently, about players in our game that basically cheat the game and log finds without actually finding the cache or being at a virtual cache location. I have never experienced this phenomenon myself personally, but it certainly seems reason enough for today’s rant.

From Pierre in Canada;

“Dear Bitchy; I have a geo buddy who recently logged all of my traditional caches in one day (which is impossible, unless you have a teleporter). I am absolutely sure he is wagering I won’t call him on it because we are friends. I am 99% certain he did not find any of my caches, he just padding his find count. I am at a loss for what to do. Do I delete his logs? Do I go and check all my caches for his signature? Is he just testing our friendship? Please advise.”

Dear Pierre,
From an outsider point of view, this is kind of a nasty position to put a friend in. First off, this is no friend. A friend would have at least asked “Do you mind if…?” In my bitchy opinion, yes, he is testing you, he is counting on the fact you probably will put your friendship first and not call him out on it. So, you are left with your original dilemma here, call him out and lose your buddy status with him, or let it slide, and know forever you aided and abetted a cheater. Your call Pierre, but if I were you I would at least let him know, he isn’t fooling anybody, least of all you.

From Mary in South Dakota;

“Dear Bitchy; I recently came across a list of virtual caches that can be done just using information found on the internet and not actually having to go to the cache location. I might be a little new at this, but I find this extremely unethical and immoral. Is this a common practice? What are your thoughts on this? Some of these caches have thousands of finds from all over the world, don’t the cache owners even care they were cheated?

Dear Mary,
Congratulations!!! you are the first, last, and only recipient ever of “The Bitchy Cacher Honesty Award” To answer your question, yes, this is cheating, if geocaching was meant to be done from the comfort of an armchair there would not be terrain ratings on them. I, also have been perplexed by this idea, and no, cache owners of virtuals just don’t seem to care how “finders” got the answers to their questions. (perhaps this is why the virtual cache has been grandfathered by Groundspeak.) Do what you know is right here Mary, actually get up off the couch and go find these if you want a smiley for them. If you feel you are under pressure form other geo-buddies to log them with actually making a find simply say “Thanks, but no thanks, I would actually like to go to these locations one day and log a REAL find”

From Mike in the mid-west;

“Dear Bitchy; A local association had put out a new challenge cache, of a cache-a-day for 3 months, and already after only a month it has several finders of it. Suddenly casual cachers have become die hards and have been struggling to find a new cache every day. I am one of the administrators of the cache listing and have noticed some of the finders have logged caches they claim they did months ago only a few days prior to finding the challenge cache. Without seeming like an asshole , how do I handle this?

Dear Mike;
There is no way to not be an asshole on this one. You and the others in the association are going to have to decide how tight you want to be on this one. Will it cause arguments at social gatherings? Will it cause animosity among others in the group? You may have to decide what is best for all concerned here and delete a few logs. The problem here is trust, you need to run a disclaimer on the cache page description for all to see “We trust you met criteria for your challenge honestly, if we hear from cache owners you did not sign logs you claim to have found, your challenge log will be deleted and your new 3 month challenge will start over again on this day.” It is a shame we can not seem to trust the moral compass of others in our sport, but in a user based game, it should not come as a surprise either.

Carry on caching folks, (honestly)
Bitchy.

The Cachers’ Sixth Sense…” I see stupid people”

It’s summer time and the caching has been easy, travels have taken us to all over the land and there seems to be a prevailing commonality wherever you go…There are “accuracy snobs” everywhere.

Now to be fair to these people, let me say first off, I know co-ords are supposed to be accurate to save wear and tear by cachers to the surroundings and preserve the ecology of this land. I am talking specifically about those cachers who don’t seem to have any “caching sense” at all.

It occurred to me a short while ago, these types of players don’t use the most valuable tools a cacher has, what I have referred to as “geo senses.”

I was out showing off the sport to some friends of ours. I picked out a cache in a tourist area that only had been found once since published, (I was thinking there would be some good swag) The first finder of it claimed the co-rds were off by at least 15 to 20 yards, so knowing this, we headed out for a good hunt. The newbies were gung-ho for a find and started to look for it before we even got close to the cache. “Slow down” I said “this might take a while.” While explaining the art of looking for a cache, I said, ” once the GPS slows to only a few feet away, pocket the device and start letting your common sense kick in, there are only so many places you could hide a small box so look around for a tree of a bush or even a manmade object with a crevice in it.”  So, as it goes, I stood as a marker within a few feet of the cache location and let my friends poke around for a bit. “I see a box!!” my friend claimed, “but I don’t want to touch it.” “It’s ok,” I said, “I’ll get it out.” Our friends were just amazed by the box, the swag, the book, the official geo sticker on the side. So if I can get newbies to “get it” why can’t we get players with 2000 finds to figure it out?

It would seem the “accuracy snobs” of this world want the GPS to count them down to zero, then point a light on the cache hiding spot. I have said it before people, “It’s a searching game, search for it!” Put down the GPS and start thinking like a geocacher. Is it really too much to ask that you have to look for it for more than a minute? Are the co-rds really so far off it worth noting in your log, or telling on the C.O. to the reviewer of the cache? Probably not, but hey if it makes you feel like some sort of “bigshot” for the day , hey, you go right ahead…

One of the reasons this issue deserves a post is sometimes the “well meaning” individuals sometimes cause more harm than good…

On a recent cache outing near my house, a couple of finders of it had noted about a 20 yard discrepancy. So armed with 3 sets of co-ords for what should have been a a very simple find, it wound up being the “3 hour tour” of geocaching. On my first attempt at a find I used the co-ords added by a geo-friend of mine, surely a friend wouldn’t steer me wrong, correct? Nice try, but not near the cache location at all. The second set of co-ords tried were left posted by the local “Mr. know it all” in my area so I pretty much trusted they were right and gave it another go. Still no joy, so I convinced my ego that the cache had been muggled and set out for home. I did not log a “DNF” instead, I read over other logs that had been posted for the cache. One log was very simply put “The name makes sense once you find it! TFTF” Suddenly my cache sense kicked in and I then realized I had not used the co-rds left by the C.O.. Revitalized with what I felt would be the key to finding this one, I once again, darted out the door. On my second try, I counted down the feet until there were no more to be had, placed the GPS in my pocket and stood there looking around the full 360. There it was… a marker in the natural surroundings that matched the cache name, (if you use your imagination) only about 10 yards away. That was it alright , found, signed, and a celebratory picture taken with my smartphone. Marched home triumphantly to log my find feeling very proud of myself that I had not given up too soon.

It can be helpful sometimes when the cache co-rds get updated, but for the caches that are only a few yards off sometimes the “well meaning, do-gooders” have caused more harm than good. Would it kill some of these people to put down the GPS and have a look at their surroundings? Sometimes what they are bitching about is in plain sight if they would just stop glaring into their electronic devices. Give it some thought for a second, just because it did not count you down to zero and then give you an instant find, doesn’t mean it did not credit you with some common sense. A lot less damage to the area can be done by letting your “geo-senses” kick in, rather than ripping apart a landscape.

It would seem sometimes we are more focused on the find than the journey and the enjoyment of the surroundings caching gives us. How are we to expect the next generation of kids who are glued into their smartphone communications to put down the device, when we seem so incredibly reliant on ours? Put down the device people, enjoy, and actually look for it.

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