Monday, December 29, 2008

Simon And Garfunkel - The Only Living Boy In New York 1970 (((Stereo)))

I am loving this song again these days. Scenes in this video are from Garden State, another movie I saw lately I really liked. You know the breakfast scene with the guy dressed as a knight? My sister was great friends with that guy in school. Anyway, listen, and be soothed.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

So, with two small kids, etc, I really don't get a chance to see too many movies. Every once and a while, though...
Last night, I stayed up late and watched one that I wish I could take back.
FAILURE TO LAUNCH - uuuhh, it was terrible! I kept watching it because I kept hoping it would get better. Matthew McConaughey makes good eye candy, but even so, in this role I discovered him to be less appealing than usual. Sarah Jessica Parker plays the female lead and I also was realizing that maybe she is not as good of an actress as I previously thought. She seemed very "Carrie Bradshaw" in this film, even though the character was nothing like Carrie. Maybe Sarah is just locked in now to a type character that she can't break out of, or not enough of an actress to play someone other than herself.
At any rate, I thought at the beginning it was going to be a great romantic comedy, but it fizzles out very shortly after the opening scenes. Then you start wondering haven't I seen this before?, only it was another McConaughey movie in which he plays a noncommital guy who starts to fall for a girl who may or may not be actually tricking him into loving her, after which there is a confrontation and reconciliation, only THAT movie, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, was actually kind of good, and had some real chemistry between the actors, unlike this one, which seemed after a while like an incredibly long game of charades that you wish would just end so you could see who the winner was.
This one I thnk I really have seen before, only I am pretty sure it was on an airplane when I was too cheap, or too distracted, to rent headphones, so I caught everything but the dialogue. It seems pretty funny that in many ways, you can still understand what the movie is about, and what happens, without ever hearing the words. I knew what happened in the movie, but watching it with the dialogue added so much feeling and emotion to the story that I got caught up, all goofy and girly, into their love story. Maybe it's the music, too, that adds emotion to the story and makes us FEEL more than we see. Makes me wonder if people perceived the same difference when we switched to "talkies" during the beginning of film's golden age.
Anyway I wonder, when I watch that movie, about choices. If you were able to choose, like Diane Keaton's character, between a younger, handsome, adoring fan and an "old dog" who had learned some bad tricks, but seemed to be your soulmate, what would you choose? I think this film shows off Diane's dramatic talents - the scene in which Jack Nicholson's character says he is leaving to sleep in his own bed, and the camera flashes to her face, which shows a mature woman trying to compose herself while crumbling inside is priceless. I am not sure I would have handled things the same way as "Erica' did (and god, the sobbing, the endless sobbing when he left was about to make me not like her character anymore), but her acting is believable, the chemistry imaginable, and it allowed for romantic escape, which is why us women watch the movies we do in the first place.
This, because it's too cold to take the sick kids out geocaching, and my husband had a football game to go to. Hopefully I'll be too busy to lose myself in movies soon, but it is nice once and a while to recline and simply rest, and when I do, you better bet it's a chick flick I'll be choosing!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Caches, Con't....
Here are the first few logs on the final in my new series. I came out there today to give two groups of cachers some geocaching pins for completing the series. I had a heads up they were coming because they had already called to report difficulties along the way - two sets of coords were now missing from the micros, and one micro had completely disappeared, which they fixed temporarily for me. One of the teams has not logged their find yet.
Cache Logs
December 27 by Shake-N- Bake (757 found)
Found with the Popeteers. <-----These are the kids of my friends
December 27 by The Popeteers (3847 found) <----This is my friends Rhonda and Mike
This was the end to a wonderful series. We accompanied the Muddy Buddies to the final locale and Mr MB retrieved it. This area is so beautiful. On the way out we ran into Mama and Baby Harding. Thanks for the victory pin!!! This series is soooo much fun!!! We totally loved it. The locations go with each title. This took some hard work to pull off Mama Harding!!! Thanks for the history of this song and some interesting locations. We had as much fun finding the caches as we did trying to guess the next location.
December 24 by djwhitey (362 found)
awesome series thanks so much for it. I particularly liked learning what each day symbolizes. can't wait til twelfth night so I can have my first bite of king cake! took BTFI coin. will drop in the multi I'm about to place. watch out for it! sltftc! - Bug "BeenThereFoundit" BR8HG6:55PM
December 21 by Manofsteel72 (700 found)
FTF! with Manofsteel73. Went out with Manofsteel73 to do this fun series. SL. TFTC
December 21 by Manofsteel73 (1868 found)
FTF! with Manofsteel72. Yahoo. Did this series and got the bonus cache. T-TB. SL. TFTC!
The dual Manofsteels are local FTF hounds, a father and son duo. The son went off to college and we hoped the competition would widen up, but whenever he is home, they are the first off!
Here are some pics of travel bugs I have taken lately at the park with the final.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Christmas Caching Series
It started when I was at work one day. I always think there are lots of geocache possibilities at my job, little containers here and there that are waterproof enough to survive this semi-tropical climate. I very rarely come upon them, though. One day, I was looking for something else when I stumbled on a stash of old Falcon 50 ml conical tubes and had an idea....
It took me a while to find the best places to hide them at, ones that suited their names and yet were discrete. I needed twelve locations.
I painted seven of those tubes hunter green and then placed a Santa sticker on them. I also had three different kind of microcaches - the prescription bottle in camo tape, the black plastic hide-a-key, and one of these babies on the right.
I found out some interesting information about the Twelve Days of Christmas along the way, and made it the story on the cache pages. Here is the excerpts.....
You’ve all probably heard the popular holiday song “Twelve Days of Christmas”. A historical belief on the origin of the song is that it was written during the persecution of Catholics by the Protestants in England during the sixteenth century. Inside the song itself laid clues about the core beliefs of the Catholic Faith. The hidden meaning of the song could be encrypted by those familiar with the faith.
The Twelve Days of Christmas technically begin on Christmas Day. They mark the twelve days between the birth of Christ and the arrival of the Magi, or the Wise Men, with their gifts for the infant on January 6, also known as “Epiphany”. We are hoping this series brings you a little epiphany of your own, and provides you some enjoyment during this magical season.
On each page, I explain the historical meaning for each named item.
Twelve Drummers Drumming” is supposed to be a reference to the Twelve Points of Doctrine in the Apostles Creed.
Eleven Pipers Piping The “pipers piping” is supposed to be a reference to the Eleven Faithful Disciples (this is excluding Judas, who is considered not to be “faithful”).
Ten Lords A’Leaping The Ten Commandments.
Nine Ladies Dancing Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Eight Maids A-Milking the Eight Beatitudes.
Seven Swans a-Swimming the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion
Six Geese A-Laying” is believed to refer to the six days of creation (plus one day of rest!).
Five Golden Rings is believed to refer to the Five Books of the Old Testament.
Four Calling Birds believed to refer to The Four Gospels.
Three French Hens refers to the Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love
Two Turtle Doves refers to Old and the New Testament.
and in each of the microcaches for this series,which are hidden at places you might see these things, have laminated cards with parts of the coordinates for the final, a bonus cache called, you guessed it, A Partridge in a Pear Tree. Here is the full write up for that one (very smiliar to the other cache pages):
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me….

A Partridge in a Pear Tree
This is the bonus cache in the Twelve Days of Christmas series. You’ll have to find at least most of the others in the series to obtain the cords for this find.
Now, the moment you’ve been driving all around town for has arrived. I’ve given you what I like best about geocaching – a nice hike in a beautiful location, culminating in an ammo can in the woods filled with trade items! Enjoy! You might want to stay a while!
You’ve all probably heard the popular holiday song “Twelve Days of Christmas”. A historical belief on the origin of the song is that it was written during the persecution of Catholics by the Protestants in England during the sixteenth century. Inside the song itself laid clues about the core beliefs of the Catholic Faith. The hidden meaning of the song could be encrypted by those familiar with the faith. The term “partridge in a pear tree” is believed to refer to Jesus.
The Twelve Days of Christmas technically begin on Christmas Day. They mark the twelve days between the birth of Christ and the arrival of the Magi, or the Wise Men, with their gifts for the infant on January 6, also known as “Epiphany”. We are hoping this series brings you a little epiphany of your own, and provides you some enjoyment during this magical season.
This cache is hidden near a place where you might a partridge in a “pair tree”.
It may be beneficial to approach the series in a geographical sequence and not necessarily in chronological order.
You might want to come prepared for this one. Bring the kids, bring the dogs, bring a picnic, and the fishing rods. Be prepared to stay a little while – this is part of the present I have for you! Be very aware of surrounding muggles on this cache.It is across the service road, please conceal well when putting it back, and be very discreet. We don’t want to reveal its hiding place to the doggy walking muggles! Also, keep the service road clear. The young men who built all this here use it to get in and out, and the police use it to patrol the park. Oh, and if you see the policeman on the way in, he does turn around when he gets to the back, so be aware and don’t appear overly suspicious! You can bring the cache with you to the nearby gazebo to go through the contents at your leisure. Make sure you make the grab and replace without attracting too much attention. We wouldn't want this one to disappear, it's much too nice of a spot!
Enjoy! Room for trade items!

This ammo can final is in a really beautiful park I found. It has a hiking trail going around man-made ponds with waterfalls and bridges. It is just gorgeous. I found it while tooling around Google Earth looking for businesses to fit my caches (play on the names - for instance, "maids-a-milking" is at the Dairy Queen), and had extra time to check it out over the course of a week. To complete the entire path took me about forty five minutes.
It was difficult to find places in the park to hide two full size caches. The trees are small and there is really no way to take it "off trail" without attracting undue attention.
The ammo can, with a little decorative bird on it, is in a "pair tree". "Two Turtle Doves" is the size of a medium tub wrapped in camo tape with a pair of decorative doves attached to it. I wish I had taken pictures of the caches...but I forgot.
I worked really hard on making cute caches and clever locations, and hope the other local geocachers enjoy the park as much as I did. I would especially be excited if it got a nomination for the next Annual Geocaching Awards for "Best Themed Series".
I got a new travel bug tag and several new geocoins for Christmas, and have a couple more hides up my sleeve this new year. My geocaching goals for 2009 are to reach 1500 finds by March and 2000 by the end of the year, to hide more quality caches, to run a travel bug race with geocoin prizes (for returning my travelers to me), and to get nominated for this next year awards.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Girls Gone Ghost Hunting Video
Check it out, if you have some extra time (full length about 35 minutes long)
Some interesting footage, and Lara did a great job of capturing the mood....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

George Bush Park
This 7800 acre park in west Houston, formerly named Cullen-Barker, has the distinction of being the sixth largest city park in the nation. It covers a vast amount of territory, and offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation, including, naturally, geocaching as one of them.
The park boasts an extraordinary amount of caches hidden in it (at my rough count, about 62). Now, cache to acre, that's not that high of a density, coming out to be about one cache per 125 acres. Part of that reason, I suspect, is that the area lies in a flood plain, making it impossible to get into some areas of the park after a good rain. It might have something to do with accessibility, too, with a good part of it covered in thick forest, or a lack of places to hide, with many acres devoted to soccer fields and a shooting range. It also has an element of danger to it, with feral hogs that roam the land. It would not be wise to be out on the trail alone.
This day, I met up with another geocaching family to tackle a cluster of caches together. We had originally planned on having another family with us, and more kids, but it ended up being just me, and their family of four, plus their dog and one of mine. We met up at a park and grab cache near a large open field used for free flying model airplanes. The other family was about twenty minutes behind me, so Scout and I watched the planes doing kamikaze maneuvers in the field before they showed up and we hunted the cache together. I had kinda looked before and found a likely hiding spot, and might have DNFed if they didn't have their laptop with them, and were able to look up previous logs and notice mention that it was NOT in that likely spot.
After this, we moved the cars to a parking area for an equestrian trail and a hiking trail that led along a grassy pipeline area. We made a decision to just go after every other cache along this way, in which lay about six in a row. It was a great idea in theory, except that we forgot, until we got to the end, about the fact that three of them were a series building to a final cache along the same way, and that one we had skipped had parts of the coordinates in it for the final! It turned out okay, because we gambled that it would be right along the edge of the path, like the others, and we had the last three digits of both the north and the western coordinates, so we were able to find it anyway before turning back around. We even found, slightly by accident, a small cache that held the key in it that we would need to get to open the final - the bit of a trick at the end, when you reach the cache and see you have to hunt the key first. We were fortious that we didn't have to turn back for it after all.
We could see that this area could get quite swampy at times. We found bits of crawfish shells and tracks of wild animals, but not really any deep mud or wet areas, which is amazing, after this week's rain and snow(!). It was probably one of the best times to work this park, when it was too cool for mossies, but warm enough to hike with only one layer on. When I left the house that morning, it was fifty five degrees, and it warmed up about twenty degrees during the four hours we spent exploring the park. The sound of gunfire was continuous during our hike, due to the nearby shooting range. Who knew? I didn't even realize this park had one, nor that it would be so loud, and so well used!
My favorites of this section were the series final, (called "State of Confusion", with the first three containers, decons, titled with the intials for Texas, Idaho, and Maine), and another cache called Badger Poking 101. The latter cache was titled in a teasing reference to one of the HGCS class clowns, that the others like to goade into reactions. In fact, the "badger" itself had his log nominated for our cache awards last year for "Funniest Log" (it's the second log on there, if you have an account and want to read it).
This scene on the right was what it looked like 360 degrees around at the cache site. Try finding your way out of this one without tripping, falling, getting caught up in branches, keeping two dog leashes from getting tangled, guiding two little girls through, and watching out for snakes and muddy patches. It is a little bit of a challenge (though luckily, only like two hundred feet off the trail).
After this, we made our way back ot the parking area, where we watered the dogs and ourselves before heading for the other direction. We saw some beautiful horses, a paint and a black gelding, preparing for their morning ride through the forest trail. Then we hunted two along the paved hiking path, then turned around to catch a cluster on the northern side of the trail. One of them was about four hundred feet in, and a little darker and wetter than the other side. It was supposed to be near traces of an old corral, but all we saw was barbed wire.
The rest of the caches were along the edges of an open area bordered by forest in a large semicircle. We could see the water line along the trees, probably from Hurricane Ike but poossibly from genenral flooding. Check out the dark line along all the vegetation showing how high the waters came in the park. You can see how most of these caches were ammo cans secured high in trees along this forest edge. The girls from this other family were getting tired now, and not too thrilled about going after more caches, but the adults were determined and kept a bright face as we continued far in and around. We kept having this joke about how I was letting "Random Confusion", the husband in this caching family, find all the caches for me. He was walking out in front, doing recon, as "Skyfire" and I kept back with the girls and dogs. At one cache, they joked that he should let me find this one, and I said, "nah, I'll let you", but then I did end up finding it first, because I ended up turning towards the forest sooner. We had a good laugh about this.
We didn't see any wildlife in the park this day, except for some interesting birds. I saw none of the feral hogs rumored to be around here. The girls and I did, though, find this really pretty vine, or plant, growing up inside this tree on the left.
We had a really good day, with the final count, including the two park and grabs we found on the way out of the park, totaling sixteen finds. Afterwards, I was very hungry! Our hike was a good distance covered, and wore out the dogs, but I had no soreness or fatigue after. It was simply invigorating to be out in the forest, exploring nature and getting some exercise, on a nice winter day in Houston with a very lovely family. I ended up leaving three travel bugs and a geocoin in the caches, and traded for twenty yen in one cache (I actually had no trade items, but one of the girls donated for me). I actually wished I had brought more trading swag this day because two of the caches had Andrew Jackson silver dollars in them. From the Badger Poking 101 cache, I picked up a Red Jeep that can now keep my White Jeep company (That's a story for another day).
It was great fun. Now, today I am going to the craft store for materials to put the finishing touches on a fun Christmas series I am putting out. Tell ya about it later...;)!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I'm not usually one to brag, but....
I won a really cool award at work!
It came with a glass trophy and fabulous cash prizes.
Every time people ask me what I got the award for, I am tempted to be a smartass and say "because I am just that cool!"
Truthfully, it was for an idea I implemented last year that inspired the staff at my facility to take extra special care of their animals. Around Christmastime last year, I visited another facility to learn from what they were doing, but they were so excited about my idea that we spent a good deal of time talking about that instead. They took my idea and ran with it, creating the same kind of program at their site, and then another facility took an interest as well. Later in the year, there were presentations on my idea, giving the credit to me.
Not long after, there was a call for nominations for yearly awards, and I received six nominations. In the presentation that the corporate suits gave in front of our staff, they said it was the first time in fifteen years that someone had been nominated for awards from people outside their own facility.
It is the first time I have earned a trophy as a grownup. My parents "brag" cabinet is littered with trophies the four of us earned as children - mine include swim team, softball, writing awards, horse show trophies- but I haven't gotten any since...high school, I suppose.
It felt really good. The thing about trophies, and being recognized, is it makes you feel like you might be really good at something.
If I could choose to be really good at something, then this would be exactly it - to win an award for "the person who embodies the spirit of compassionate care" for animals.
After all, I have devoted my life to serving them. I certainly hope I would be good at it by now!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

It's a two-way street....
Communication can be a tricky thing. What you say is not always what the other person hears. What you think you meant is filtered through your experience and perception. What a person hears is filtered through their perception and experience, and also through the intention they have for the information given them.
I was very frustrated yesterday with a communication breakdown at work. In order to one task of mine, I have to wait for other people to finish their tasks. Usually these tasks are all finished before lunch. About an hour before lunchtime, I was ready to do my task, but the other person (N) wasn't finished yet. It looked like it wouldn't be long, so I went and did some other things, came back, still not done, went to do other things, came back, still not done, etc etc until lunchtime. I had to leave my work sitting out during lunch and come back later.
About a half hour after lunch was finished, I was again waiting, and somebody came up (P) and asked me for something. I would have to go to an entire building altogether to get what he wanted, but luckily I had some close by, and I told him where it was. About five minutes later, it looks like the person I am waiting on is almost done. Meanwhile, another person comes up (J)and asks me for the same thing P asked for, for the same task. I am irritated, and tell him I will get it for him when I finish what I am waiting to do. He starts whining and demanding I go right away to get it for him, when really what I told P to get should have been enough.
I am curt with him. I tell him I have been waiting for two hours to complete MY task, and I am going to do it first before leaving my work to go get something for him. He starts telling me some story about why this work has been taking longer than it should have. I didn't really understand his intention in telling me this until later.
Later on, J tells N I was mad at him for taking so long. N comes to talk to me about it, angry that I told J this. I explain that I wasn't angry with N, but with J for making demands on me. Later, I talk to P about it, because I was concerned N might whine to my boss about me. He does this frequently. P tells me that J was just using me as a way to tell N he was mad at him for taking so long. He tells me N spent two hours on the phone this morning instead of doing his work, and that the guys were mad at him, but couldn't just tell him that, so he used my irritation as a way to make a point.
When I finally gave J what he wanted, he said he didn't need it, that what P had given him was enough to get his job done after all.
I left work very frustrated.
All I can say is, "Thank God It's Friday".

It only took me three times and a stronger hint, but I did finally grab the FTF on this cache before it was published. It still felt a little like cheating, though, but I kept thinking it was my reward for the FTF I should have had on this guy's other cache that he placed after publication.
Imagine a black nano hidden somewhere on this thing...