CacheCrazy.Com: August 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Don't Let Summer Get Away

Grab your fishing rod, fire up the grill and don't let the last few weeks of summer get away! Join me for some fun in the sun with a weekly special for the next few weeks before we get ready for one of the most beautiful times of the the year, fall. But, the leaves haven't changed yet and there are plenty of warm days ahead. I'm not letting summer go without a fight! Join me in the fun and games and some good eats too.......

Welcome to the CacheCrazy.Com Summer Time Fun online magazine. 

  • ·         Have a first aid kit at all times
Stock it up for summer and look for kid-tough bandages that will stay put even when they're wet. Antibiotic ointment, eye wash, tweezers and ace bandages are also a must have.

  • ·         First aid training 
Some community centers and schools offer basic first aid training for school-aged kids with tips on fire safety and prevention, general first aid and administering CPR (older children). You should also know the basics of splinting, how to perform the Heimlich maneuver and how to stop or reduce bleeding. 

  • ·         Bug repellent 
It's this simple--if you don't get bit, you won't itch! Look for DEET-free products to keep biting bugs away. Try Swy Flotter from Kiss My Face. Or, if DEET free isn’t your concern, go with the highest level available (but don’t get it in your eyes, ouch!).

  • ·         EpiPen
This little pen can be a lifesaver if you have family members who have severe reactions to bee stings or have allergies to foods, like peanuts and egg. A good stand by to the pen is Benadryl. Never leave home without it.

  • ·         Sunscreen
Look for waterproof and sweat-proof UVA/UVB sunblocks for your kids to take with them to camp, or for spending a day at the beach or local pool. You are never too old for sunscreen and it may save you from a sleepless night.

  • ·         Drink lots of water

Dehydration can take you down quick, cause a headache in kids and over an extended period of time, lead to death. Keep flavor pouches with you to add to bottled water, the kids will be asking for it and please give it freely.
  • ·         Heat stroke

It can hit you fast, one minute your are just damn hot and the next your on your way to the hospital. Stay in the shade when you can and if there is a heat index warning, stay indoors. That geocache can wait for another day.


Some scenes from a recent fishing trip of two die hard fisher women.
Well it's not exactly a whopper...
Phoon casting
To Andie, it's a trophy 
Reaching in for more than fish
Cleaning up after others seems to be part of the day, everyday.....

We didn't catch a lot of fish but we sure did have a lot of fun!

Don't miss next week's articles

The World Famous Chicago Style Hotdog!
Click here for an instructional video
You don't have to be in Chicago to have one but you will need a connection to get the poppy seed hotdog buns, I have mine. At first I thought it sounded gross until I took a bite and it has been "love" ever since. Make one for yourself or surprise your friends with some. 

Have fun and don't let the summer get away from you!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY ~ Italian Wedding Soup

It's never too hot to make a meal of Italian Wedding soup, a loaf of pane bread and stick of butter, that's living guys, live it up and enjoy!

I was bummed out when I found out that Italian Wedding Soup has NOTHING to do with a wedding at all! In fact, it’s not even really Italian! Madona Mia, in my mind I envisioned Italian chefs preparing the minestra maritata ("married soup") for Italian mobsters daughters weddings and if it wasn’t done just right, minga da faccia, they ended up in the soup!

Actually, The prized Italian Wedding soup derives from Spain where they crafted it out of dried Spanish lettuce, broth and any meat that one could find. They “married “the flavors of the meat and greens to make a meal that would sustain the hard working men and women who made their living the hard way, with their muscles and their hands.

Years ago, when I first learned how to cook, I worked for a true Italian master chef at an upscale, 5 star ristorante named, The Library Lounge and Restaurant. He taught me techniques that I still carry with me today. Even though I do not cook as my sole profession, I still love to make the Italian Wedding Soup from the recipe that he taught me and everyone loves when I do. It has a buttery smooth taste and what I call, “plate appeal”. 

Over the holiday’s I decided I would put the finishing touch on our “food fest” with a big pot of his mastery. My wife was shopping for ingredients and was surprised how I could just pull the contents off the top of my head (I mean come on, I’ve only made 10,000 gallons of this stuff in my lifetime). She laughed and wrote down the list:

I do not use a starch in my soup such as Acini di pepe, Ditalini or rice as some cooks do but you can if you wish. I also add some “chopped” chicken to the soup in addition to the beef and pork meatballs to get the true “married” effect of different meats. Finally, I use escarole as my green of choice because it adds flavor unmatched by kale or endive and it cooks up tender and holds together nicely for appearance. Whatever you do, do not add spinach! It will ruin your soup and the leaf resembles “seaweed” in texture when cooked, yuck!

The very basic cooking instructions are:

• In a 3 gallon soup pot bring 2 gallons of water to boil
• Add one chicken breast skinned and split
• Let boil for 40 – 60 minutes
• Mix 1lb of ground beef with ½ lb of ground pork, parmesan cheese, one egg, 2 teaspoons of quality garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of parsley, salt and pepper. Sound familiar? Yes, your making meatballs without the bread crumbs BUT roll these meatballs nice and small. Remember, they will be part of the marriage not the main course.
• Remove your chicken breasts and season broth with some good quality chicken base. Not too much, just enough to complement the natural chicken flavor. You can add a little in the end too if it’s not flavorful enough but too much and it’s game over. You're in the soup!
• Then start to drop your meatballs in the boiling stock. Keep it at a rolling boil by adding them slowly and be careful not to splash. Cook for a short time.
• WASH YOUR ESCAROLE several times in a full sink of cold water. Cut it into 2 inch section 3 inches from the bottom stalk. Add your escarole to the pot and lower the temperature. It’s time to slow things down. 

• Remove the chicken from the bone and start to chop. Not slice or dice, chop your chicken against the grain so some of it shreds while some stays intact but not diced. More like shredded or torn by hand. 
• Cook until the greens are dark and tender. 
• Taste your soup. Too strong? Add more water. Too weak? Add some base. Go back and forth until the pot is exactly the way YOU want it in flavor and in the quantity you want. 
• Then add the chicken and simmer for 30 minutes covered. 
• Let cool before you serve it and if you can resist, wait until the next day to eat it!
Serve in a bowl with a nice balance of greens/balls/chicken and broth. Top with grated Parmesan cheese, break out  loaf of Pane Bread, a stick of butter and 
bon app├ętit!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

TB Hotels or TB Graveyards ~ Guest Post By ~ tufelhundin ~

So I made it out to a distant cache during lunch today.
RT66 Amboy TB Tollbooth popped up as the new temporary home for a TB that I had been watching for awhile. I wanted to go and see this one, to discover it and hold it in my hand. It had a lot of simple life appeal for me. The Filipino Nipa Hut TB. I was dying to see it. When the notification hit my phone on Thursday night, I was determined. I set out a few minutes early for lunch and hit the road. Luckily I was in my wife's fuel efficient Honda to make the trip north on Amboy Road, in Morongo Basin, vice my fuel hungry GeoWagon - Ford F150 4x4. The drive may have been desolate, but it was beautiful. I had full bars for the whole drive. I had scanned the cache page and realized there were almost 14 TBs listed there. Wow! The cache popped up with 27 favorite score. I felt I was going to be in for a treat.

I passed the Mojave Salt Flats. What an amazing sight. I know that I was passing caches left and right, but I was pressed for time and was single-minded in my search for this one trackable. As I approached I saw the Amboy Crater, a dormant cinder cone that has poured forth lava. I had a couple of trackables in hand to do a swap, but once I arrived, I realized that the Amboy TB Tollbooth was more of a River Styx to the TB graveyard. I texted a cache buddy to let him know I had found the prize, but also that there had been a lot of MIA bugs lost here. He and I agreed to rescue them from this cache. So I grabbed the two, SL (signed the log) and I was off to get back to work.
I made the drive back without incident, but I thought about the other TBs for a bit and decided to do something in an effort to cleanup the sad situation I had just found. I began looking up each TB owner through my Android smartphone. I use the c:geo opensource app for geocaching. I found each one and cut and pasted a well drafted email about the situation. I explained we wanted to clean up the caches in the local area to make sure they represented what was actually on the ground and asked if they would mark them as missing, for the time being. If they popped their heads up again someday, then they'd be racking up miles again. I hope it works. I sent out about 10 or 12 of them.

I think local geocaching groups can easily work to communicate with TB owners to keep the radar clear of MIAs. I'm sad to have had to email them. I hope I don't ever lose one. I have yet to deploy. I am still fairly young in the sport, but soon. I hope any Morongo Basin geocachers that read this blog will look up our blog also and join in. Thanks for letting me share.

As George W. Bush would say, "Let's cache!"
~tufelhundin~ Guest Author & geoblogger
illegitimis non carborundum

Visit GZ Marks the Spot: Morongo Basin Geocaching Society

Friday, August 23, 2013

Holding Out For A Hero

I'm usually the first one to defend whichever someone I am talking to is cutting down.  It's traditionally the same dissenting opinion:  pro athletes are a bunch of rich, spoiled crybabies who don't deserve whatever it is they get paid, and in the process, rip off the average sports fan who practically needs to sell of their first-born to go watch them play.  The contracts get bigger and bigger, the players and owners get richer and richer, and ticket prices climb higher and higher.  I understand all of that, and I don't disagree with those who use this as a basis for disliking any given sport.  My stance is that as long as we have a longing for competition in this country, coupled with a free-market society, coupled with an economic model of supply and demand, it's going to exist.  Perhaps they're "overpaid", but we show, time and again, our willingness to "overpay" them, not only at the stadium or arena, but by supporting their advertisers and buying whatever merchandise they're willing to shill.  That "officially licensed" diaper bag you spent $50 on goes to paying your backup punter's contract.

These days, however, it's difficult defending the American sports athlete.  From baseball, to football and hockey.  Heck, if you want to see what's wrong with American sports, look at cycling.  It's central figure was exposed as a cheat and a liar.  Not that I follow cycling, but the whole Lance Armstrong debacle would not entice me to start.    Baseball seems to have a new scandal every week.  PED's are the bane of the sport, and it's going to get worse before it gets better.  Again, as with cycling, the player who is, arguably, one of the best in the game, is once again in the middle of a controversy.  His team doesn't want him.  He's not crazy about his team, either, but A-Rod will continue getting checks from the Yankees because no one else will want to deal with that mess.  They could release him, and he could sue in court for what they owe him.  Unfortunately, there is no precedent for that, and although I'd love to see that happen, it probably won't.  As long as the NFL can sell out games every week, no real progress is going to be made in an issue which WILL ultimately change the landscape of American Football as we know it- concussions.  You know there's a problem when the President of the United States admits he wouldn't let his child play football.  I don't blame him, I wouldn't let mine, either.  Football is a cheating scandal away from going the way of boxing.  Speaking of boxing, who's the heavyweight champion of the world?  Yeah, me neither.  The NHL lockout did damage which is going to require years of repair before things get back to normal.  (See MLB circa 1994).

No random drug test needed.

Throw in invisible girlfriends, deer antler spray, horse ointment and Metta World Peace, and you can probably relate to my reluctance to throw my support behind the athletes and teams I used to love
so much.  Yes, I will probably root for the Yankees in 2013, and the New York Giants, come the fall.  But, it's not the same anymore.  My sports are in a state of disarray, and I'm quickly losing my patience with them.

This state of mind got me thinking-is there an opening for a sport/game/hobby, such as geocaching or Munzee, to find its niche with the American public?  Now, I don't mean to get the whole "geocaching will be ruined if it goes mainstream" argument here, but perhaps it should be, at least, brought to the table.  I don't envision geocaching leagues (cool thought though), nor do I think anyone would EVER pay to watch people go caching.  I think there's an opportunity to present our geocaching, or some activity or sport where the Everyman is the focal point.  I know I'm not the only out there who listens to podcasts on geocaching, or YouTube broadcasts.  I don't think we'd ever see mainstream, as I'm confident memberships would plateau out somewhere before saturation issues became uncontrollable.

This is our playing field!

Last, but not least, geocaching needs a  "face of the sport".  Do we really have one?  No, I'm not talking about Signal.  (See, it is a sport-sports have mascots!)  I'm holding out for a hero.  A geocaching hero.  Someone who is honest, on the level, and has no problem stepping up and being the face of geocaching.

One last thing- I would pay for the luxury of sitting in the comfort of my living room while watching the most seasoned geocachers stumble over a puzzle on a puzzle cache, or wander in circles at a baseball field, hopelessly trying to find an evil hide. In HD.  Charge me $9.99 for two hours of that.  I'd go for it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013



Yes folks I'm back in the saddle once again. Well sort of. I am out of the hospital, but not back to fully caching yet. That will come soon enough. After getting out of the hospital I ran across a story about a father and son team who love to Geocache. I know that some of you may have heard about them on the blog, but here's how it all began. Let me introduce Tony and his son Shadowcacher.


                                            Level One

Geocaching is something you play; for most people it is a game. To my son and me it’s an everyday adventure. For you to understand why I call it an everyday adventure I think I need to explain how it all started. This is how we got to level one, as I call it.

My son was born in the spring of 2000, and I remember being a proud father.  I imagine that the first years were more or less similar to what most parents experience, but with time we started to realize that something wasn't following the “normal” development path of children. One day our son’s day-care asked if we should have a doctor to check up on his hearing, and that’s when we left the well-known path and started a journey that many parents of children with autism spectrum disorder probably will recognize parts of.
As you might understand there was nothing wrong with my sons hearing. One thing lead to another, and by 2005 my son was diagnosed with severe autism spectrum disorder and as intellectually challenged. Asthma, epilepsy and hyperactivity were added to these a little later. As parents we were sent straight out into unknown territory and we got completely lost. Everyone knew a little and more than happily shared their knowledge even if we didn't want it. Later on we understood that a lot of the helping hands we were offered didn't help at all. We read everything we could find, both old and new information, which was another mistake unless you are expert enough to filter out all the old information based on beliefs instead of facts. 

Our son’s disorder turned out to be so severe that we couldn't leave him for even short moments alone, and combined with the fact that his sleeping habits were not compatible with his parents’ made us tired. I've
 never been so tired before, not even during my time in the military. One of the most vivid memories I have from this time in my life is how I was out walking with my son in his stroller at 3:30-4:00 in the morning just so the rest of the family could get some sleep.

When you are tired you start to remove things from your life that require energy. In our case it was friends and social life that was removed first, and the strange thing is that we thought we were doing ourselves and our son a favor. After a few years we had become a family so concentrated on our son and his disability, that we didn’t see that we were missing a lot of things that normal families have and do. In a way we became dysfunctional as a family. We even built a house in the countryside and moved out there for our kids’ sake, without thinking about how we further isolated ourselves from our friends. And so I (my wife has her own story) continued further and further down the spiral. At one time in our life, my son’s sleeping disorder made him wake and scream almost every night between midnight and 4-5 in the morning, forcing me and my wife to take turns to sit with him alternate nights while the other parent got some sleep. As many parents in our situation find, one learns what works and what doesn't work, and in our case we noticed that my son loved to sit in the car and be driven around. There was something about the visual input that made him calmer.  So driving around rapidly became our way to spend the time between work and sleep, and some days I was driving for hours without a destination.

Then came the day when we reached level one. I remember reading a short article on Geocaching on my son’s birthday in 2008. It was on Good Friday, and we were home from work and school. Once it was time to go for a ride to keep my son satisfied, we drove 5 minutes instead of driving around for an hour, got out of the car in a parking place next to our Church, and spent 40 minutes searching for a Geocache. When I now look back at that time I think my son wanted the stimuli from being out and moving around rather than the car trip.
This is where me and my son’s life took a new turn. We broke the downward spiral and started our everyday adventure.
The dark ages were over for this time and in my next post I’ll let you know how me and my son created something worth so much more than the sum of the components.

Let the game begin!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Why Not Wednesday ~ Geocaching Quality Control

I came across Hedge's Ramblinz and decided that his work had a place at CacheCrazy.Com. 

So I asked, he offered and here it is, like it or not - The Other Side Of Geocaching According To Hedge. A series of looking at our sport from a slightly different perspective.


Geocaching Quality Control.

I'm reaching out through the internet and lifting high QuestMaster for all to see. With these words, you become one of my caching heroes.

>>If you hide more than one cache per month, that's probably too many.

We don't need more hides. We need quality hides.
In a better vanished time, people must have actually read the Tips on Hiding Your First Geocache and they must have actually gotten the part about "Ultimately you'll want to place a cache in a place that is unique in some way. The big reward for geocachers, other than finding the cache itself, is the location. A prime camping spot, great viewpoint, unusual location, etc. are all good places to hide a cache". We used to take this business very seriously. We considered it a duty to deliver people to special places that they might not otherwise have known about. We never even considered hiding caches in uninteresting places like a Wal-Mart parking lot because we would have been ashamed to hide such a cache for our fellow geocachers.

That was then... This is now...
The community of geocachers is different. Too many of the new players just don't get it. Where, pray tell, is it written that the object of this game is to write one's name on the greatest number of waypointed stationary? It's a numbers game for many of them and they're just not going to bother with the old way of doing things. It's too much work for one measly point in their game.

Excellence, in their way of thinking, is achieved by aiming at the easiest targets and hitting them. Their precious find count is typically a gauge of their "talent" for picking out the easy ones and enduring the tedium of finding them all. It's all fine and well to play the game this way but it's probably not wise or healthy to brag about about one's degree of anal-retentiveness, which is often the case, whether they will admit it or not. In that better vanished time, fellow geocachers shared stories about the great caches they had found. Today it's more about how many guardrails they have kissed. These folks are the biggest bores that ever were.

I really don't see that this game is going to be getting any better anytime soon. It's too easy for the numbers cachers to populate the list with more than their share of lame hides because typically they have already relieved themselves of any responsibility to provide an interesting location, a decent container, swag, and proper maintenance. The quantity of caches they hide is pretty much all that matters to them. The good caches ultimately get lost in the mix and it follows that anybody who might enjoy a quality cache in the old school tradition just isn't going to give geocaching a second look when they key in their zipcode and see that this is a game of hide and seek the microscrap in parking lots.

I'm fortunate that I discovered geocaching when I did and that I got to play the game before the mass hiders of junk appeared on the scene. With due diligence and a little luck, it's still possible to find a decent cache once in awhile.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Stone Faced and the Billy Goat Tavern

The other day we had the opportunity to visit an interesting Chicago landmark and grab a geocache while we were at it.  The name of the geocache is Stone Faced and for this particular cache you had to go to the Tribune Tower and take a photo of one of the famous features of the building.

(photo wikipedia images)

The Tribune Tower is located on Michigan Ave. World famous WGN broadcasts from the building.

Prior to it's being built in 1925, Colonel McCormick sent correspondents out with the unusual request to bring back rocks and bricks from historic sites throughout the world.  The relics they brought back were incorporated into the outside lower levels of the building, and labeled with their original origins.

And recently added.....

It was interesting to walk around the building and get to touch artifacts from around the world!

Afterwards we walked across the street and had lunch at the Billy Goat Tavern, which is located underneath Michigan Ave. 

The Billy Goat Tavern is known for several things, one of them being "The Cubs Curse."  The original owner of the tavern, William Sianis, brought his goat to Game 4 of the World Series in 1945, when the Cubs were playing a home game against Detroit.  Cubs Owner, Philip Wrigley, allegedly kicked Sianis and his goat out of their box seats because the goat smelled.  In retaliation  Sianis placed a curse on the Cubs, saying they would never win another pennant or play in a World Series.

If you're familiar with the old Saturday Night Live bit where John Belushi screams "Cheezborger, cheezborger, cheezborger!" well, this is the restaurant on which they based their Olympia Cafe.

Yes, I had a cheezborger and when I ordered "fries," I was told "no fries, cheeps."  So I had a cheezborger and cheeps and afterwards went outside and found another geocache - Ziggy vs. The Goat.


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