It Is Just Sad

Today’s society is so screwed up, twisted, and uncaring that it is really sad that a person that would consider themselves a ‘Good Samaritan’ has to second guess everything they do because you never know when it will end up biting you in the butt.

The other night my buddy and I were out trying to snag a few geocaches out of boredom and we found ourselves in a less than safe and pleasant part of town. Not a big deal, I generally can hold my own so to speak but as we were leaving, a woman approached my truck smiling and waving. She was probably in her 40’s or 50’s and dressed semi ‘dressy’. She was rambling about her car, some guys telling her something about her car, Christians and Jesus. She stopped telling me random things and just looked at me. Now this is one of my pet peeves. I can’t stand when someone tells me random things and assumes I know what they want or are talking about. So I ask her kindly, “So, what can I do for you ma’am?”

She basically wanted me to jump start her car. Easy-peasy as far as I am concerned however her car is located on the other side of the parking lot and near a tree line of the nearby woods. I cannot as a man leave this woman out here at night but my overwhelming concern was that this was a set-up. Call it what you will but my ghetto wisdom is pretty sharp, having been raised in one for part of my life.

I hated to pawn off the labor but I looked at my buddy while we were idling across the parking lot to her car and asked him if he minded doing the ‘jumping’ part while I kept my eyes on the wood-line and parking lot all the while watching our backs and keeping my hand on my pistol (which was now in my waist-band.) She could not see that I was carrying due to my position on the other side of the truck. He had ABSOLUTELY no problem with that idea considering his ‘Spidey Sense’ was going nuts as well.

I felt kind of bad because this woman kept talking to us, calling us her angels and such and trying to carry on a conversation while we were assisting her however, I had to keep breaking eye contact with her to scan our surroundings. Did I mention that part of my suspicion arose because she sounded more than kind of inebriated?

We quickly got her car started and she kept mentioning how it started before when someone else had jumped her car off but it had ‘died’ again soon afterwards. I told her that we would stay until she was able to get moving along her way to which she replied. “See, I can tell you is a Christian.”

I love helping people and I also love the warm feeling that comes from helping others. It was nice being able to help this woman in a time of need. It is just sad that people have to feel like they are in a trap, or about to be swindled every time they are asked for help.

Another 100 Moment

While out geocaching the other night, I reached the 100 ‘found’ mark. We, Jonathan and I, are trying to close out the Clayton/Zebulon areas and work our way back to Raleigh. There are only a handful in the Knightdale area I have left to log, being the 2 behind the Target shopping center, 3 behind the library, and a handful that are off on some back roads. We’re both off Monday so maybe we can plan to kill those off during the day.

We are also trying to come up with a ‘team name’ so we don’t have to waste two spaces on the log when we both sign it. Any suggestions?

On a different note, I’m once again behind on my PhotoChallenge shots. I need to snag my Silk and Shoe shots. I know what I want to get but need to obtain the items. Anyone have a pair of pink ballerina shoes? How about a silk belt? Oh well. I’ve got all the ones I need from that point to present. I need to stop being lazy and just make them happen.

Here’s that Zen thing I owe you all…

bee

– Jason

So I’m up late again…

More like up early. It’s my weekend to get up at 0200 and apply security patches on the systems at work. I generally do this at least once a month. The other times I’m up this early its for production issues and isn’t as fun because it isn’t planned.

I’m also applying firmware updates to my Blade servers which takes about 15-20 minutes a piece since there are 3 to apply to each blade so this is dragging out longer than normal. Usually an hour or two and I can crash again for a bit before the normal work day. Today… I’ll probably just go shower in a bit and head in early. No sense in sleeping for an hour only to wake up irritable. 🙂

Ok, well I’m finally done. and in only 3.5 hours. The sad thing is I ran out of time. I still have about 7 blades to update but I will have to do those on the next rotation. Oh well. I tried.

On a different note: I snagged about 30 Geocaches (spelled that way just for you Jon!) over the course of the last week. I’m now up to 56 or so. Look out Jonathan here I come! Now I just need to fly to N.O. to get the ones he snagged from down there!

Oh well, more to come later, right now I need to get moving I guess to make the most of my day.

Your moment of Monday Zen…

 

IMG_4962-1

– Jason

GeoCaching

I’ve put it off long enough and it is time for me to shake the laziness and finally find a ‘round TUIT’. I will now go into more depth about GeoCaching.

GeoCaching is a modern day ‘Treasure Hunt’ system run by the very people that do the hunting. What I mean is, anyone can search and anyone can hide these little ‘treasures’ assuming you follow the few basic rules and own a GPS system. This is great fun for people and families of all age ranges and is virtually free entertainment minus the initial purchase of a GPS system and gas money.

Coordinates and locations to these locations can be found at GeoCaching.com. To give you an idea of size of this WORLDWIDE phenomenon and what it holds for those interested I’ve mapped out about 600+ within 25-30 miles of my home alone, most of which are in Raleigh but are also in the surrounding towns and cities. As of now I’ve only located 11 but finding time to do it seems to be the biggest challenge.

Most of the ones I’ve found so far are small (Micro) Caches only containing log books/rolls. BYOP (Bring your own Pen/Pencil) types of caches. There have been several with containers containing odds and ends including marbles/stamps/toys/etc. The key to this ‘Treasure Hunt’ is that if you take something with you, leave something of equal or greater value behind for someone else. There are GeoCoins and GeoBugs which are have a little more specific agendas but the aforementioned rule is the general basic.

So while learning the process of downloading the cache locations to my GPS I noticed that the default icon is wiped and a generic (?) stood as the icon. My OCD kicked in and I had to once again fix it. The .gpx files that I was using as the medium to transfer the files to my Magellan are merely XML files and that made it a lot easier to fix the issue. I spent some time searching through the texts and found the common threads of two keys that seem to reference the icon used. I then wrote a Powershell script to read the file and change all of the (?) references to the (Traditional Cache) references and viola! OCD appeased, all is good. Basically if the first part of this paragraph made no sense here’s the skinny: On your GPS there is an icon that shows the location of a cache. The export from the website for some reason only gave it a generic symbol (a question mark)~(?). This means something else so I wanted to fix all of them so they had the little shoebox symbol as they were supposed to. Instead of looking into the (code, if you will) and changing the same line twice for every cache loaded (i.e. 1200 lines to change for the 600 I snagged) I wrote a script to change all of the references to (?) to the (shoebox). (i.e. I changed all the “A’s” to “B’’s” and “C’s” to “D’s”) No not literally!

If that confused you then skip it and continue, its not important. If you did understand it and have the same issues then the script I wrote is posted below. In all reality you only need to do this if you don’t have a membership and are forced to use the .loc files to build your own GPX files. It’s almost worth the membership in order to get all of that info in the original GPX files.

This sport can be addictive but you must find a balance or you’ll drive yourself nuts!

I realize now that I jumped around the subject and rambled almost incoherently so if you have any other questions, feel free to post them or ask.

And now… for your moment of Zen:

clowds

 

 

The code below is to replace all ‘Other’ references to ‘Traditional Cache’ in GPX files.

$fileIn = “C:\GPS\export.gpx”
$fileOut = “C:\GPS\fixed_export.gpx”
$defaultType1 = “<type>Geocache\|Other</type>”
$tradType1 = “<type>Geocache|Traditional Cache</type>”
$defaultType2 = “<groundspeak:type>Other</groundspeak:type>”
$tradType2 = “<groundspeak:type>Traditional Cache</groundspeak:type>”

(Get-Content $fileIn) | ForEach-Object {$_ -replace $defaultType1, $tradType1} | Set-Content $fileIn
(Get-Content $fileIn) | ForEach-Object {$_ -replace $defaultType2, $tradType2} | Set-Content $fileOut

 

– Jason

GeoCaching

So I’m kind of liking this GeoCaching thing. You’ll have to excuse how I capitalize it. It may not be the ‘correct’ way but my OCD makes me do it. Ok, either way this has become quite addictive and works well with photography. You can use the camera as a ‘cover’ for rummaging around off to the side of parking lots or in the woods.

I bought a handheld GPS because my automobile one was not granular enough to get me off of the beaten path in which most of these things are. It was also not geared to measure in ‘feet’ even in pedestrian mode. I bought the Magellan Triton 500 which is MSRP’d at much higher than I wanted to pay but REI had a deal starting May 1st that dropped the price to only 20 or so dollars more than what I was going to pay for a much lesser model. I did not want to drive all the way back to REI the next day so I sweet talked and negotiated the sales person/manager into letting be buy it a day early at the sales price. I did buy a membership to REI but the benefits in owning a membership would have encouraged me to do that anyways. Either way I saved 50-70$ on a nice GPS.

I’ve been using GSAK for the caching but its been a very time consuming experience. If you buy an annual membership to geocaching.com you can download cache points in bulk and better data files at that but I’m not so sure I want to do that just yet. Currently I go to the geocaching page and do a search based on my zip code. Once the results are displayed I download them 20 at a time to a .loc file. The issue I had with these files is it considers every ‘way point’ a generic location. Being OCD again, I didn’t want question marks displaying as my nodes on the GPS but the actual geocache icons and changing them one at a time would be tedious when you are talking about hundreds of nodes or more. Since the .loc file is merely xml (text) I wrote a powershell script to convert all of the ‘default’ icons to ‘Traditional’ so they displayed correctly in the GPS. I will post the code in a bit.

I know it may be backwards but I’ll write a post specifically for GeoCaching soon.

And now, for your moment of Zen…

boobear

 

– Jason