Happy Jack

Mar. 17th, 2011 12:20 am
mortonfox: (face tree)
Did two more after-work geocaches this evening. These were in the town of Bethel, just across the state line. The first one was Happy Jack in Jack King Park. This one was an amusing two-parter. The first part was to find Jack, the smiling tree stump. Jack's exact location is not provided in the geocache info but he's easy to spot. Then, coordinates posted near Jack led to the second part of the cache. The next one, Nature Trail, was a standard walk in the woods. I was amused that the trail blazes on this trail are paw prints.

Finally got a haircut this evening. It's tough doing that this time of the year because the weather got warmer and thus, many people are deciding to get haircuts at the same time. I checked a Supercuts in Bear yesterday but the wait was over an hour and 45 minutes! This evening, my route went past two Supercuts in Wilmington so I stopped at both to inquire. The first one had a 45-minute wait, but at the second one, the wait was less than 15 minutes! That's not bad at all. After that, I had a Spicy Italian sub at Subway in the same strip mall. (Shoppes at Graylyn) Because of the way the coupon was written, I had to order two six-inch subs but it ended up being a footlong. Funny how that happened. :)
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
In this lazy summer, if it were not for geocaching, I wouldn't have gone out anywhere this evening. Shopping would be left undone. Local economies would languish. (Well, not really.) A new geocache provided the perfect excuse. I went to Mills Reservation in Montclair for Old Entrance to Mills. The old entrance is a walk-in entrance flanked by stone walls and stone pillars. It's no longer in use because there is now a new entrance 400 feet down the road with a parking area. The park must cater to the motoring public, after all. Anyway, this was an easy cache with a minimal amount of climbing. (This cache hider is notorious for placing geocaches that require either rock or tree climbing.) I got FTF and signed the first page in the log.

On my way back, I stopped at Micro Center in Paterson. I've been looking for two accessories for the netbook. It doesn't have a built-in CD drive so it would be nice to have an external USB DVD/CD drive. Also, the netbook has bluetooth capability so it would be good to have a bluetooth mouse to free up one of the USB ports. Well, I found both items on sale today. There was a special on the external drive and I came across a bluetooth mouse while rummaging through a pile of mice on the clearance rack. Spent a little more than I'd planned but those were good finds.

I was running a little late after that, so I settled for a spicy Italian footlong dinner from Subway in Paramus Park Mall. The food court was shutting down for the night at the time so I took what I could get.
mortonfox: (morton st)
Just did one geocache this evening but I was curious about the location because it was rather isolated. Even though it was less than 20 miles from home, it took me 50 minutes to get there because there was no direct road and because quite a bit of the drive after leaving I-287 was along winding roads through areas that were mostly woods. Finally, I arrived at the Pow-Wow geocache site. It was by a creek. I climbed down the steep rocky slope from the road and found the geocache after searching for a bit.

After that, I went home a different way so that I could stop at Paramus Park Mall for dinner. Still had a bunch of coupons to use. This time, I got two hot dogs from Nathan's and a 6" sweet onion chicken teriyaki sub from Subway. My order at Subway was for a Fresh Value Meal, which includes a drink and chips. However, the duplicitous fellow behind the counter only handed me the sandwich and drink, hoping that I would just walk away without the chips. I called him on his "oversight" and then he did give me the chips, but I really wish people would be straightforward and not try to get me in some way. That would make it much easier to do business with them. Having to be wary all the time makes it harder to spend money.
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
2008 Toyota Highlander

It was sunny (with some clouds) and 64°F this afternoon so I just had to go out and do something. I went to Pamachapura: Stone From Heaven, an earthcache in Glen Rock. The subject of this earthcache is a huge glacial erratic just outside the town center. To fulfill the requirements of this earthcache, I needed to answer a few questions and estimate the volume of the rock.

On my way back, I happened to see a Subway in downtown Glen Rock so I dropped in and got a $5 spicy Italian footlong.
mortonfox: (chicken fries)
Mount Houvenkopf

It was 36°F this evening. A bit chilly but I went for a quick geocache in Little Falls. It was Cache n' Shop Little Falls. The geocache wasn't actually in the ShopRite parking lot. There was a little path going from the parking lot to a soccer field and the geocache was a bit off that path. No serious obstacles and the hiding spot was fairly typical, so it wasn't a challenge to do, even in the dark.

After that, I went to Subway in Ramsey. I've tried many other Subways and none of them so far stuff as much veggies this neatly into a footlong, so I'll help them through this recession. I noticed that they don't have the chicken pizziola any more. The new item this time is the flatbread, which I have to try one day because I have an email list coupon. (which I accidentally printed out on cardstock, but that's another story) So I had the Spicy Italian footlong instead. (with everything in it, and hot sauce and black pepper. Good for a cold night.)

Anyway, the guy behind the counter asked to see my food photos. I'd been meaning to make a short URL that redirects to my food photoset on Flickr but every time they asked, I forgot to do that later. Well, I remember now and so here it is: http://snipr.com/food
mortonfox: (hump)
Unnecessary Closeup :P

Went out for a geocache in Mahwah this afternoon. I actually headed out a little earlier than I would've otherwise because I had to go to a meeting in the afternoon, and because of that, I caught Geofrog at the cache site. It was the Hopper Slave Cemetery cache near a small cemetery next to Ramapo College. The cache wasn't terribly hard to find, even if it wasn't where we started looking. After that, we chatted a little and "discovered" some travel bugs. Nice to meet a fellow geocacher while out on a quick cache dash. Then I got a chicken pizziola footlong at Subway in Ramsey. Going to keep eating this until the novelty wears off. :)

It appears that I'll be on vacation nearly all of December, starting from the 2nd of the month, if I use all my remaining leave days for this year. I may try to take a day or two off in November to balance it out but if not, no problem. There are usually a bunch of events in December that would be nice to attend. Maybe I'll squeeze a trip to Delaware in the middle of that too.
mortonfox: (chicken fries)

I returned to the service department this afternoon to pick up my car. They only did the brakes and the 90K miles service but didn't do anything about the tire because there was no detectable leak. Strange. Why then did I need to add air to it every other day? I'll wait and see if it gets worse.

Here's a bigger problem though. Someone scratched and dented the loaner car but didn't leave a note. The bad part is they did it to the loaner. It's not that it would've been better on my car but since this is the loaner, the damage has to be fixed, and since it was a hit and run and the offender has not been identified, I have to pay for it. That sucks.

Finally, I got a chicken pizziola footlong from Subway in Ramsey. I hadn't been to Subway in a while so I didn't know about this new $5 footlong.
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
Indian Rock

Yesterday evening, I visited Parking Erratically in Suffern. It is an erratic, apparently a local landmark, in the parking lot of the Indian Rock Shopping Center. The cache owner has archived the geocache for an undisclosed reason. However, I didn't know that until I got there and started reading the online logs on my cell phone. Once I found out, I didn't bother checking the bushes for the cache but I took some pictures of the boulder anyway.

After that, I got a spicy Italian footlong at Subway in Ramsey. I got a Subway Scrabble game piece from the sub wrapper. I think it'll be similar to McDonald's Monopoly in that certain letters that you need to complete the words will be very rare. The Subway Scrabble website was very slow yesterday evening, so they might not have anticipated the rush to enter game piece codes at the start of the game.
mortonfox: (me tira daqui)
Ringwood State Park

This evening's little excursion was to the Skylands Manor section of Ringwood State Park for the Tech Treasure geocache. Starting from Parking Area C, it was just a little walk on the park road to the cache site. It is a bright yellow box, which would be difficult to hide if there weren't a lot of leaves in that spot with which to cover it up. I don't think I've seen a K'nex box as a geocache before. After that, of course, I had a spicy Italian footlong at Subway in Ramsey.

Months after the dental appointment, I still have a dental insurance claim problem, not because I have an insurance problem but because the dentist's office has for the second time sent the claim to the wrong insurance provider. The insurance provider's name and address appear correct on their computer terminal but I think there is a bug in their electronic claim submission system. It would be a waste of time (and not our responsibility) to try to debug this, so I asked them to send in the claim by mail (or fax, if they can get the number) and we'll see how it goes.
mortonfox: (phantom)

Just when you thought it was save to transact... I got a letter from BNY Mellon (stock transfer agent) warning of a data breach. Apparently, their archive service vendor could not account for a box of data backup tapes that they were transporting to an off-site storage facility. It fell off the truck, in a manner of speaking. So for that, they gave me two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance. Anyway, since I was signing up for that, I figured it would be a good time to get my one free annual credit report from each of the credit reporting bureaus. Just finished reading through two of those reports and there's nothing abnormal, not that I'm a big user of credit to begin with.

What's annoying is this is the second data breach for the year. Earlier this year, Certegy Check Services leaked customer data through employee theft. I don't think there was much they could do about that beforehand since that employee was a database administrator. They too gave me credit monitoring and identity theft insurance, as well as bank account monitoring. However, these incidences show that my information really isn't all that secure at the average financial service institution.

Subway in Ramsey has pared down their $5 footlong promo to just 8 subs from their menu. However, that list includes a few subs I like, such as the spicy Italian sub and the tuna sub, so I'd still go for that. Also, they've temporarily removed tomatoes from their selection of veggies because of the tomato scare.

Fort Lee

Jun. 3rd, 2008 03:03 am
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
Palisades Interstate Park

This evening, I went to Fort Lee Historic Park, part of Palisades Interstate Park, to seek the 1776 New Jersey Part 3 The Evacuation of Fort Lee geocache. I'd put off this one for a long time because the Fort Lee area is notorious for traffic delays at rush hour. However, I didn't actually have much of a problem. I drove in from the north via Route 505 and Hudson Terrace because that was the simplest way to go. Parked within 150 feet of the cache site and it was an easy find.

I hadn't been to that park in quite a while. I remember the last time I was there. Back then, everyone was still panicky about a possible terror strike and the National Guard was stationed in the park. I wasn't there for very long when one of them came over and told me to stop loitering because... terrorists loiter in parks with views of major NYC bridges? Anyway, nothing like that happened this evening. Security isn't as tight any more, although the TBTA still has a prohibition against taking photos of the George Washington Bridge.

After that, I went to Subway in Ramsey for an Italian BMT footlong and then to Pathmark for a few grocery items. I linked to BrightKite pages for the two locations. BrightKite is something I signed up for a while ago but hadn't been using. Then recently, I noticed that if I check in at a location and then send photos from my cameraphone using Sprint PictureMail, my check-in log and photos will appear together on the location's page. So each location can tell a story. This would be more interesting to watch if more of the locals joined in but in the meantime, it's a mild distraction.
mortonfox: (gps)
I thought it was going to be a rainy day but most of the afternoon was either sunny or cloudy. It was humid though. I went out to Western NJ, up to the Hackettstown area. I hadn't been to that area in about two years so there were many new geocaches, enough for a return trip or two.

The heavy rain started right when I returned to the parking area of Stephens State Park after finding two geocaches. Perfect timing! Of course, I still tacked on two more geocaches after that -- one during the heavy rain because I was able to park mere feet from it, and another after the rain stopped.

Then I went to Subway at ITC Crossing in Budd Lake for a spicy italian footlong. (It's different on their menu. It says Italian Express.) I tried to check in that location at Brightkite but the only Subway their search returned was in downtown Budd Lake, so I used that instead. It's incorrect but what can one do?

The caches... )
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
Governor Mountain

Another day with good weather. So this evening, I went out to Ringwood to find the Governor Mtn / Monk View geocache. It's on Governor Mountain in the southwest section of Ringwood State Park. I actually was up there five years ago for Governor Mtn/ Cupsaw. Surprisingly, that old cache is still there and still in good condition. Of course, there are geocaches older than that but five years is pretty long.

Anyway, since I'd been on the mountain before, I already knew the correct approach. I parked behind a church on Carletondale Road. I followed a local trail from the corner of the parking lot and that trail quickly joined up with the yellow-blazed trail. Although uphill, this trail is not nearly as steep as the mountain trails in Ramapo Reservation. It went up a bit and leveled off for quite a stretch before going up again towards the south slope of the mountain. I then took a short off-trail hike to the cache site, which was on a gently sloping rock face and found the cache right away. After this evening's adventure, I had a Spicy Italian footlong at Subway in Ramsey.

Consumerist used my photo of a rusty gas pump here. It was an interesting item I saw in Denville while on my way to a geocache in town. Also, NowPublic asked for and used my photos here and here but it'd be difficult to find my contributions. It seems that NowPublic asks for hundreds of photos per story.
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
Ramapo County Reservation

Another geocache, Subway footlong, and grocery shopping evening, almost as though I were following a script! Anyway, the weather was fine so I went to Ramapo County Reservation to seek the Thorny Wasteland geocache. Given the name of the cache and the warnings in the cache description, I expected this one to be quite a challenge, but I didn't have to worry. The most challenging part of it was the uphill bushwhack but the hardest part of it wasn't that long. I went off-trail where the orange trail met the reservoir. The initial part of the bushwhack was steep. However, when I got to the top, I saw a grassy (and thorn-free) plateau and from there onwards, it was actually an easy walk to the cache site.

After that, I went to Subway in Ramsey and got a BBQ Rib Patty footlong. A little birdie -- okay, okay, that was ManInTheWild on Twitter -- warned me that some Subway stores had quietly ceased the $5-footlong promotion, but fortunately, the Ramsey Subway was still doing that.

Next stop was Pathmark in Ramsey, as I had run out of some critical grocery items. I noticed that store-brand frosted flakes were on sale but when I checked out, those scanned at a higher price. I inquired at the courtesy counter and got one box free (store policy for scanning problems) and the other box refunded to the shelf tag price. Nice.
mortonfox: (fox bend)
Rockleigh Woods Sanctuary

Such a mixed bag of weather. The temperature was as high as 72°F. Then it dropped when it started raining in the afternoon. I never know whether to bring a jacket. In the evening, it stopped raining just long enough for me to go and find the Before the Giants: Eagles Edition geocache. It's in Rockleigh Woods Sanctuary in Rockleigh. Starting from the parking area behind the Rockleigh municipal building, it was a 1.2-mile round trip walk through the woods. However, most of the trail was relatively flat. The only notable incline was the last 1000 feet before the cache site. That part was a walk up the ridge alongside this rocky stream.

After that, I went to Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack. I'd just received a Digital TV Converter Box coupon (which looks like a debit card), so I thought I'd go get a converter box at the Target store in the mall. I also took a quick peek at Steve & Barry's in the mall and I noticed that they have size 17 shoes! That's amazing because I rarely see anything over size 14 at the usual stores. I wear size 15 wide myself but maybe 15 wide is 16 or 17 with extra toe room. I'll go and try their largest sizes the next time I need shoes. There's a Subway in the mall, so I got yet another $5 footlong.

Joined the Twit-Out today, so I wasn't on Twitter for a full 24 hours. Twitter had been experiencing periods of slowness and going down for hours at a stretch almost every day with not a word from Twitter about the reasons for the outages, so a bunch of Twitter power users decided to hold a temporary boycott and move the discussion to Friendfeed. I have to admit that I was cynical about it. I thought it wouldn't be any better than the Livejournal "writers' strike" -- worse than that even because on Livejournal, some users pay for service and have economic leverage in making demands, whereas on Twitter, all user accounts are free accounts. But I went along with it anyway because I might as well get some work done on my nascent Friendfeed client in Vim script. (coming from the same nut who wrote a Twitter client in Vim :) )

Well, the Twit-Out turned out to be fun. We had many conversations and I made a bunch of friends on Friendfeed. It appears that the people at Twitter are starting to communicate their problems a little better too. At least, their public admission of failure is a step towards solving Twitter's problems. I'd say let's tough it out and give them time to work out the scalability issues. Livejournal was slow too a number of years ago but it has improved to the point where I rarely see any server lag. Besides, we can hang out at Friendfeed when Twitter's down. :)


May. 17th, 2008 12:55 am
mortonfox: (fox yawn)
BK Big Fish

Rainy day today, so I just went to the post office to check the box and did some errands. Went to Subway in Park Ridge and got a spicy italian footlong. Service is not as good there as it is at Subway in Ramsey but what do I expect for $5? They also didn't have small cups for tap water, unlike my usual Subway.

My Postcrossing activity has gone up quite a bit since they raised the postcards in transit cap. Used to be that I would send out only 2 or 3 cards a week, but this week, I sent out 7 cards! I don't know if I'll keep up this pace but I can't wait for postcards from other Postcrossers to start piling up in my mailbox.

Friday Five )
mortonfox: (morton ave)
Ramapo Reservation

It was a rainy day yesterday but the weather was fine today, so it's funny that I went to Rainy Day Women this evening. This geocache is in Ramapo County Reservation in Mahwah. Like the geocache I did last week in the same park, this too is up the mountain. This one is a little further up the mountain though. Whereas last week's geocache was at the reservoir level, this one is near the first lookout point on the blue trail. Although steeper, this evening's walk was shorter and I was there and back to the parking area in well under an hour. After that, I had a meatball marinara footlong at Subway in Ramsey.

TwitVim development continues. Summize Twitter search provides an API so I used it and made it so that TwitVim displays search results in a Vim window. I also added mappings and extended some existing commands to jump to timelines of other users. A TwitVim user actually suggested this feature and generously provided code for it, but I already had a different implementation in mind so I went with the latter.

I've been geotagging my photos, at least those photos that were taken near cache sites. My camera doesn't have GPS and thus doesn't embed GPS metadata into the JPEG files. So, up until yesterday, I'd been uploading photos to Flickr, Geosnapper, Panoramio, etc, and then adding the location data using the interfaces of those websites. (with the help of some AutoHotkey macros) However, because these photo websites recognize GPS tags in EXIF headers of uploaded images, it is less work to add the information to the image file before uploading. This way, I need only add the information to one place: the image file itself. Wish I'd thought of that earlier! So I started using ExifTool this evening to do that. Flickr and Panoramio accept location data just fine this way. Unfortunately, Geosnapper, for reasons unknown, fails to interpret the GPS tags correctly and comes up with locations that are as much as 10 miles off. I'll have to ask them about this problem some time.


May. 9th, 2008 11:30 pm
mortonfox: (fox yawn)
Chicken Parmesan Footlong Sub

Rained all day today so I didn't go for any geocaches this evening. I'll save the mile-long hikes for better weather. So instead I went grocery shopping. Snagged the last bag of Valutime Frosted Cocoa at Pathmark. They had it on clearance because they're getting rid of that product line. Pity. It was the bulk-packaged generic brand breakfast cereal with the lowest unit price in the supermarket, so in a way, getting rid of it is a price hike. I'll try something else next time.

Then I went to Subway in Ramsey and had a chicken parmesan footlong. Like the marinara meatball footlong, this one is pretty messy. The sauce just drips all over. Chatted with the neighborhood teens who were hanging out in Subway because of the rain. They were big on footlong jokes. :)

Friday Five )

Army 2

May. 7th, 2008 11:41 pm
mortonfox: (fox bend)
FDNY Mural

Two choices for this evening's geocache: one in Ramsey and one in Congers. Based on proximity, the Ramsey cache won but I'll probably go for the one in Congers the next day anyway. So this evening, I went for Army Cache 2. It's in a wedge-shaped wooded area between Wyckoff Avenue and Woodland Avenue. Nothing remarkable yet, but there is already the beginnings of a trail through it.

After that, I went for another $5 footlong at Subway in Ramsey, just down the road from the cache site. This time I was lucky and got a parking space right in front of the restaurant, although my usual parking location really isn't that far down the sidewalk. I got an Italian BMT Footlong. What does BMT stand for? Well... some folks answered the question here, but it reminds me of the BMT section of the NYC subway.

Other updates: Posted K-Meleon macros for Readbag, for Evernote, and for Google Reader. Also added some enhancements to TwitVim that were suggested by users. As always, it's great that there are users willing to help me test the plugin on Vim platforms that I don't use. Given what I know now about Vim scripting, I would like to go back and revise some of my earlier Vim scripts but there's not enough time. Maybe later.
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
Ramapo Reservation

Today, I went to Ramapo Reservation to seek Colubrid Cache. This county park is only a few towns from home and just past the end of Ramsey, so I could go there any time, high gas prices or not. However, all the geocaches there that I haven't done yet are more than a mile from the parking area so I need good weather and a lot of daylight to tackle those after work. This evening was a good time to do one of them. The route for this one was easy. It was a steep walk up to the reservoir level and then a bushwhack along the water's edge to the cache site.

After that, I had a prime rib footlong at Subway in Ramsey, which was a repeat of the previous day's dinner. But why mess with a good thing?

Checking my postal mail, I found a notice saying that I'm a member of yet another class-action lawsuit. (How many of these am I going to get in one year?) This time, it's a bunch of Commerce Bancorp shareholders and pension funds vs. ex-CEO Vernon Hill for alleged breach of fiduciary duty and waste of corporate assets. I don't know if there's that much merit to this lawsuit. Hill neglected to separate his various businesses and keep deals at arm's length but otherwise, he ran a great market-beating regional bank for many years. It's over anyway. The company's been sold and CBH shareholders all have TD stock now.


mortonfox: (Default)
Morton Fox

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