mortonfox: (face tree)
On Saturday, I went to the Maryland MunzFit event in Sandy Point State Park. Although I've passed by Sandy Point State Park before, I'd never been inside past the fee booths, so I'm glad to report that beach has good views of the Bay Bridge and large ships sneaking up on people.

Although this Munzee event is connected to a series of fitness events, I don't think we actually did anything especially fitness-related but most of us took a walk around the state park to capture 70 event pins that had been deployed for the event. As usual, we started the event by gathering at a spot near the parking lot for a meet and greet. Then we wandered off in smaller groups to look for the event pins. I went with Jeeper32 and ozzy1602. Although most of the walk was along the parking lot edge, the beach, and the fence line, there was also a stretch on a wooded trail and through a picnic grove, which was nice. We successfully found all the event pins, as well as all the other munzees in the park.

All in all, it was a wonderful day even if the weather was a bit warm for autumn. Munzee is a game we can play on our own but sometimes, it's good to do that in a group.

The munzees... )
mortonfox: (me tira daqui)
This is an update to End of a Lifetime from five years ago.

When TextDrive ended, I took up Joyent's offer for five years of Joyent Cloud hosting, which came in the form of a credit balance roughly equal to five years of hosting on a 512MB Joyent SmartMachine. Well, that credit balance finally ran out this month. Joyent's $22/month fee is actually rather steep nowadays for VPS hosting. After investigating a number of VPS providers, I opened a Linode account and set up a lowest-tier node there. It's $5/month for a Linode 1024 and I got the first 4 months free as a signup bonus. Then I moved my websites and domains over. I haven't done that in years, so it took a bit of research to find out how to set everything up but with the wealth of how-to articles and example configurations out there, it's actually easier now than it was the last time. And finally, I shut down and deleted my Joyent Cloud instance so they'll stop billing.

So with Joyent's extension, the TextDrive "lifetime" offer lasted 12 years. Even though it wasn't the lifetime that they originally promised, 12 years of hosting is a decent length of time for the money. Going forward though, I won't consider any more such deals unless they break even within a fairly short time.
mortonfox: (rakket)
This past weekend, I went to FA United 2017 at the Hyatt Regency in Herndon, VA. There was also a pair of Flagstack events on the other side of Washington, DC, so I left the con Sunday afternoon to attend those.

I arrived in the DC area Thursday afternoon, so there was time for a Munzee-capping spree in downtown Washington DC. I took the Metro from Reston Station. I hit the National Mall and saw some sculptures. The boulder with a face on the car makes me think it's time to start paying attention to those "falling rock" signs. I also went to Chinatown for dinner, which was something I didn't get to do on my previous DC trip in April.

As for FAU itself, I treated the con as a relaxacon, just like I did in previous years. It looked like the con had a bit more programming this year than last year but I didn't feel like I had to go to everything. I hit a couple of panels, went to both loot brawls, and walked in the fursuit parade. Also fursuited in short bursts a bunch of times, went to the dance but only on Friday, and played some tabletop games. Also had a lot of couch time. Hey, I had a hotel suite all to myself. Might as well enjoy it!

Then on Sunday, I went to the Flagstack events in Fort Hunt and Alexandria. They posted two events a few miles apart, because apparently, they could deploy more party flags this way. The eight of us met up at a picnic table in a park in Fort Hunt. Then we split up into three cars. From there on, it was a drive around town with everyone capturing as many flags as possible. We went around the Fort Hunt area first to capture the first batch of flags. Then we went to the second event site in Alexandria and then drove around that part of town to get the other bunch of flags. Then we returned to Fort Hunt via a different route to get more flags along the way. The only snag was we had some problems with cell phone reception in Fort Hunt and between Alexandria and Fort Hunt, which is surprising considering how close the area was to DC. Aside from that though, it was a lot of fun, almost like a video game in the real world. And we're already planning another Flagstack event in Laurel this October.
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
One of the prizes you can get for attending a Munzee event is a virtual emerald munzee. Emerald munzees are assigned randomly to emerald gardens, which are groups of hundreds of emerald pins, usually arranged in the shape of a pin icon. Since there were a lot of events in July for Munzee's 6th birthday, new emerald gardens have been popping up all over the world. I noticed that one of those emerald gardens was in Atlantic City, so that's where I went on Saturday.



There it is. Splat, right on the beach! Hope Caesars doesn't mind. :) I also went to Brigantine to capture a nascent munzee garden. I think it's a boat but the shape is unclear now. Unfortunately, it was too rainy for a walk along the beach so I left the area after that.

A number of things happened on Sunday, but the most significant of those was I finally completed my 365-day Munzee capture and deploy streaks and got two more super streak badges! I would not say it's easy because doing anything every single day for a whole year takes some dedication, but it's more doable than a geocaching streak because of the sheer number of munzees out there and the different ways to play the game.

After hitting that milestone, I spent the rest of Sunday in Mount Laurel, Mount Holly, Willingboro, Beverly, and Cinnaminson, the area with so many munzees that even local munzers haven't gotten everything. Since I passed through the downtown part of Mount Holly, I stopped to take a look at the Shinn Curtis Log House, a log cabin that is three centuries old. Funny thing is dinner that evening was also in a 300-year-old building, so South Jersey has a lot of those historic structures.

The munzees... )
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
Saturday's trip was to Haddon Heights, Cherry Hill, Mount Laurel, and Willingboro in South Jersey. This area is pretty much inexhaustible for Munzee because the local Munzers keep deploying more of those. However, I wanted to capture some of the new air mysteries that they have deployed in Mount Laurel and Willingboro. These are fun. Capturing the virtual air mystery scatters some feather munzees in the vicinity. Capturing the feathers in turn scatters some golden feathers.

Sunday's trip was pretty simple. Went down I-95 from Newark to Baltimore, capturing Flagstack flags along the way. Found one geocache at the turnaround spot. Then from Baltimore back to Newark, I captured virtual munzees as well as some of the flags I missed on the way down. What's remarkable is the way Flagstack has grown recently. Just this quick there-and-back trip alone netted 258 flags! There are many more flags along the other roads around Baltimore but I decided to save those for another time. Finished up with a little walk on the James F Hall Trail in Newark for a few more munzees before an early dinner.

The munzees... )
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
On Saturday, it rained on and off throughout the day. So I went to Southern Delaware, in particular Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Georgetown, and Laurel, and focused on virtual Munzees so I wouldn't have to get out in the rain very much. However, I did find two geocaches while it wasn't raining. "THE PINK PANTHER" was in the woods behind Walmart, to the left of the pond in this photo. This was another one of those times when I went into the woods and saw an occupied tent. I'm never really sure what to do in this kind of situation. However, I waved and said hello. The occupant of the tent seemed okay and was probably just wondering what I was looking for. I looked around a bit. It wasn't trivial to locate the micro cache in the woods but I eventually saw it.

Another strange thing that happened was in downtown Milford. At one intersection, I had the green light to take a left turn. I'm glad I waited a moment because an old lady drove across the junction through the red light. I took the left turn and followed her. At the next intersection, she stopped at a green light. (It was like Opposite Day.) I wasn't in a hurry so I waited for her to realize that she could go. A few blocks farther down the road, she made a right into a parking area. Hopefully that was the end of the confusion. The last weird thing that I saw was someone driving in reverse in the middle lane of US-13 in Dover! Thank goodness I wasn't in that lane and it's a good thing that road wasn't busy at that time of the evening.

Saturday's adventure made Sunday's South Jersey trip seem comparatively uneventful. On the way to a bunch of Munzees in Audubon, I took the opportunity to visit Del Buono's Bakery in Haddon Heights. I'd passed by the lion on numerous occasions but never took the time to drop in and look at the other sculptures until Sunday morning. They also had a panda, a dinosaur, an elephant, a pig, a sheep, and King Kong on the roof. The real treat though was inside the bakery. On top of their industrial-sized oven, there was a dragon and the Blues Brothers!

The caches... )

The munzees... )
mortonfox: (morton ave)
Saturday's trip was to Laurel, Maryland, for the DMV Birthday Party Flagstack event. This event was in the late afternoon, so there was plenty of time to capture some Munzees and some flags, and even find 4 geocaches, before it was time to meet up. The only snag was a big rainstorm rolled through the area in the mid-afternoon. I was parked right in front of "Contee Cache" when the storm came in, so I had a good 15 minutes to think about this 4-star difficulty cache while waiting for the rain to slow to a drizzle. Great part is when I finally started looking, I had already read all the logs and narrowed the possibilities down quite a bit, so it took only 3 seconds to spot the cache!

The Flagstack event was really different from other events I'd attended so far. There were only 6 of us and we met in the parking lot of the Laurel Boys and Girls Club. (which used to be, and still looks like, a school building) After some conversation, we got in to DudleyGrunt's car for a whirlwind tour of Flagstack flags around Laurel. In contrast to Munzee, nearly all Flagstack flags are virtual. So all the passengers can capture those on their smartphones while someone drives around. We got nearly all the party flags (which had been deployed for the event), green flags, adventure flags, white flags, oracle flags, a dice flag, and even a number of jumper flags as they popped up around town. There was also one treasure flag, which was the only physical flag of the day. DudleyGrunt parked the car on the side of the road and we all got out to scan the data matrix. Most of those flag types are ones that I typically don't see anywhere else, so I'm glad there's at least one area within daytrip range with enough active Flagstack players to have those.

Sunday's trip was to South Jersey again. This time, I started in Atco and Berlin. One of the Munzee areas was around an abandoned Kmart. Not much was going on in that shopping center but it's perfect for Munzee activity because there's hardly any traffic. After that, I hit the usual hotspots - Woodcrest, Mount Laurel, Westampton, and Willingboro - before getting some groceries at the Asian food market and saladification at Charlie Brown's in Woodbury. Although it's a chain restaurant, this particular location is rather unusual. It is housed in an old-fashioned 18th century inn with all kinds of crazy narrow passageways and split levels. The dining area probably used to be the reading room or some such and still has bookcases on the wall.

The caches... )

The munzees... )
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
Two days in South Jersey because there were still loads and loads of them to capture! However, I did also get the Gotta Cache 'em All geocache in passing. It was a puzzle cache that I solved long ago but I just never went that way until Sunday.

Saturday: Audubon, Cherry Hill Mall, Moorestown Mall, the Giant Tooth, and then I finally finished the Springdale Road set.

Sunday: Blackwood, Marlton, Mt. Holly. Dinner was at Mulan Chinese Restaurant in Voorhees, which had Mulan wall art! It's a surprise because I never expect low-cost Chinese takeout places in South Jersey to have anything beyond the basics.

The munzees... )
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
Saturday was another South Jersey Munzee spree, this time to Washington Township and Mount Laurel. I placed some of my own too at the Cross Keys Shopping Center to see if the local munzers will go get those.

Sunday's trip was to the Munzee 6th Birthday Celebration event at Fuddruckers in Annapolis. There were presents and special Munzee badges, and after the event, everyone went out to capture the special event munzees that were deployed all around the restaurant and nearby retail/hotel complex. It's good to go to an event once in a while, not just for the game bonuses, but also to get to know other munzers in the area.

The munzees... )
mortonfox: (selfie gif)
So once again, I went to Pittsburgh for Anthrocon. I've been to every Anthrocon since the first one, so it's my 21st Anthrocon. This time though, I turned it into an 8-day vacation so I could make some side trips on the way there and on the way home.

Read more... )

The caches... )
mortonfox: (fox sit)
Saturday's trip was to South Jersey, starting in Turnersville and Blackwood, a bit more to the southeast than usual. I decided to finish capturing the Munzees at Gloucester Premium Outlets since I didn't give it much time previously. It's not a terribly remarkable outlet mall, except for one sculpture of kids playing in the south part of the complex. After that, I went to Deptford, Mount Laurel, Burlington, and Florence for a general round-up of new Munzees. Best thing about the day though is I captured 13 mythologicals and 1 nomad, a personal record which will be difficult to beat. These are random and South Jersey does get a lot of them because of the density of Munzees in the area.

Sunday's trip was to Southern Delaware. (Camden, Greenwood, Seaford, Blades, and Laurel) I started off with a few geocaches but then switched to munzee when I ran out. There were some nice places along the way, such as Lofland Park with a view of the river near a hospital in Seaford. However, I thought Nylon Capital was a little sad. It seems this shopping center is pretty much dead now and most of the shopping nowadays is out by US-13 instead of in town. (Also, Seaford has moved past nylon but that's another matter.)

The munzees... )


The caches... )
mortonfox: (face tree)
Saturday's trip was to South Jersey because I knew it would be easy to hit the one million points milestone there. I got that fairly early in the day in Lawnside. After that, I went to the dead Burlington Center Mall. It surprised me how quiet the mall area is now since I remember this mall being moderately busy not so long ago. With no traffic in the parking areas though, it's gradually turning into a Munzee playground. Heavy rain in the afternoon put an end to the day's Munzee spree, but I stopped at the Asian food market in Cherry Hill for some goodies.

On Sunday, I went to Valley Forge National Historical Park. There were a bunch of virtual Munzees around the visitor center and the first stop along the park road but I also went inside to see the exhibits. It was fascinating. They have a number of display cases showing the gaming/entertainment items, cooking utensils, and General Duportail of the Revolutionary War era. It's interesting how some items, e.g. dice, cards, needles, and thimbles, are pretty basic and haven't changed much in over two centuries. There are also recreations of log cabin soldiers' quarters out along the park road. Those also show what the bunk beds and living space might have looked like inside. After that, I hit some Munzee clusters in Fort Washington, Dresher, and North Wales, and found a geocache in Franconia before dinner.

The munzees... )
mortonfox: (create a fursona)
It was a 100% Munzee (well, maybe 99% Munzee and 1% Flagstack) weekend. My geocaching premium membership expired last weekend and I didn't figure it was worth renewing, so I don't have any pocket queries. I peeked at the c:geo app a couple of times but there weren't any new geocaches near where I was capturing munzees. Which seems to fit what I've been noticing. In areas that are dense with munzees, some of the biggest players were geocachers who hid a lot of geocaches a while back but stopped and switched to Munzee. Why? They had their reasons. Montgomery and Bucks County geocachers had better hope the Taxman, owner of over a thousand geocaches, doesn't start Munzeeing!

So Saturday's trip was to South Jersey again, mainly Westampton, Burlington, Riverside, Cherry Hill, Audubon, and Marlton. Since the weather was good, I started clearing out a few areas. Also helped a local Munzer replace a missing motel munzee. Not a complicated process but it did require some messaging back and forth. Then I went around getting the new timeshare, hotel, and motel munzees and a bunch of mythologicals. Lots of points all around. In the evening, I hit the Asian food market in Cherry Hill and finally, I picked a random Chinese restaurant I hadn't been to for dinner. That's the other thing I've been doing: attempting to write Yelp and Google Local reviews for every Chinese place in South Jersey. I'm probably only a small fraction of the way to this goal.

Sunday's trip was down to Sandy Point State Park again to capture around 300 munzees. Nearly all of them were evolution munzees, a special type that changes twice before taking its final form. A wheel munzee, for example, turns into a penny farthing next month and a muscle car the following month. So it may seem like there are a lot of munzees in Sandy Point but some of those were the same ones from my last visit that have since evolved. Along the way there, I also visited the Fallen Heroes Memorial in Centreville. This memorial and park is not along the main drag, so I'd never have found it if not for Munzee. (Just like geocaches, it seems, some Munzees take you to new places and some, well most, are just for the heck of it.)
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
Saturday's trip was to South Jersey, to Mount Laurel, Cherry Hill, and Haddonfield. The main goal was to capture the row of prize wheel munzees behind Centerton Shopping Center since I only needed a few more for the next prize wheel badge. There was a lot more to do as well since this is the area where a number of munzers deploy.

Sunday's trip was to York. I hadn't been to York in quite a while because of the difficulty in getting there. Once you get to Lancaster, US-30 is a divided highway to York, but there just isn't a good way to go from my place to Lancaster. Since I hadn't been there in a long time though, there were some new geocaches around York, such as the one at the Mt Rose I-83 traffic viewing spot. I also took the opportunity to capture some Munzee gardens in the area, such as the Manchester Town Center smiley.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (fox sit)
I had the day off on Monday, so it was a 3-day weekend. Saturday's trip was to Atlantic City and Brigantine, with a stop in Berlin on the way to dinner. The trouble with the casino area in Atlantic City is there's no free parking. Even Harrah's, which isn't in the downtown area, now charges for parking, even though they didn't just a few years ago. So I mostly went for munzees and geocaches off the beaten path. Still, there was a lot to see. I went to the Absecon Lighthouse and the aquarium. Also saw a bench on a fragment of a pier out in the water. I thought that was sad and strange at the same time.

Sunday's trip was somewhat shorter because of the rain. Just a dash down to Sandy Point State Park to capture about 500 munzees and then back again.

Monday's trip was to Dover, Bridgeville, Seaford, and Laurel in Southern Delaware. It was mostly for Munzee but I stopped for a bunch of new geocaches along the way. Horsey Pond was the most scenic area of the day. The weird item of the day was an Angry Birds porta-potty in Seaford. It looked like character merchandising gone wrong.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (create a fursona)
I was going to wait until the end of the month to decide whether to continue my geocaching premium membership (which expires on June 3rd) but after seeing the "new dashboard experience", I went ahead and canceled the auto-renew. What on earth were they thinking? This is a prime example of the school of web design where they think people won't notice that they have removed features if they just put a pretty face on it. Except that this "pretty face" is one of those misguided new-style web designs that convey less information in more space through the use of big fonts and copious whitespace. It's like moving from Lego to Duplo, only not nearly as fun. The worst problem in the new dashboard is it only shows 20 recent logs instead of a month of recent logs. Also, it mixes in friends' recent logs. With the kind of avid geocachers in my geocaching friends list, that guarantees the list won't even cover a day of logs. Maybe not even an hour of logs sometimes!

Anyway, Saturday's trip was to South Jersey again for more munzee and a few geocaches along the way. I went to Riverside, Delanco, Beverly, Burlington, Florence, Mt Holly, and Lumberton, just a big ol' circle on the way to the Asian food market for restocking. There was a good view of the Delaware River in Burlington and a caboose on display in Mt. Holly. I was told that the caboose was being refurbished.

For Sunday's trip, I took a short detour to Havertown, a few miles off the Blue Route. I was surprised there's now a collection of munzees there. Slowly, the game will enter every town. Then I went to Plymouth Township for a mix of geocaches and munzee. It's where I saw a bronze german shepherd and contemplated whether a bird in the bush was worth half a bird in the hand. Then I went to the Gwynedds, North Wales, Colmar, and Ambler. Ambler was pretty good for munzeeing. I parked in the public lot and took a walk around a few blocks, capturing everything. Also found a rare pirate nomad just a bit outside of Ambler. Nomads are a lot harder to find than mythologicals because there are so few of them, so running into one just made my day.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
It was a rainy Saturday, so I went to South Jersey, specifically Sewell, Blackwood, Deptford, Voorhees, Marlton, and Mount Laurel for Munzees only. The strategy of the day was to focus on hotel, motel and timeshare munzees to minimize the number of times I had to step out into the rain.

Sunday's trip was to Lehigh Valley and across the state line there to Pohatcong and Phillipsburg. I actually ran out of munzees there, so there was enough time for a walk along the Tatamy Trail to get a bunch of geocaches, which were apparently video game themed.


The caches... )
mortonfox: (rakket)
Saturday's trip was south to Salisbury for another munzee raid since there were more dense areas in and around the city that I hadn't hit yet. There were also a few geocaches along the way in Camden, Bridgeville, Seaford, and Laurel.

On Sunday, I did a mascot gig at the Lawrenceville Jubilee. Solo gig this time because Damian couldn't make it due to an automotive problem. I wore the raccoon fursuit this time and it was this character's first appearance at the jubilee. It took the crowd a few minutes to warm up to the character and then it was high-fives and hugs everywhere. It was a smaller crowd than in some of the previous years because of the weather but it was still a great crowd. I did five rounds, about once per hour, and only one round was cut short a bit because of rain. Otherwise, the gig went rather well. After that, I still had time for one geocache near Trenton and a bunch of munzees in Mount Laurel.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (selfie gif)
Or more like a Munzee trip with a side of furry con. I'd actually planned to use this trip to get the emerald garden in Anacostia Park in southeast DC, since I'd never captured a virtual emerald garden before, and then get the vast collection of virtuals in and around the National Mall. That's what I did Thursday afternoon. Instead of I-95, I took the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to Anacostia Park. After getting the emerald garden, I took a little walk on the bike path by the Anacostia River for a bunch more munzees. My original plan was to park at Anacostia Metro and take the Metrorail in to the National Mall, but after seeing the somewhat sketchy area, I decided it would be better to park at the hotel and take the Metrorail from there. So that's what I did. It was my first time using the Metrorail and I thought it was fairly modern and impressive. The silver line follows Rt 267 and I-66, and it's a lot faster than traffic on those highways in the late afternoon. Since I wasn't driving, I was able to capture all the virtual munzees along those highways too, at least on the stretch before the train goes underground. I got out at the Smithsonian Metro Station and started walking towards the US Capitol, capturing munzees and even finding a few geocaches along the way. I hit a new one-day record fairly easily with over 6,000 captures and 111K points. Then I took a Lyft to the South Capitol Hill area to find my friend's puzzle geocache, "Roll Call". Had dinner there too because it was a restaurant row area, before returning to the hotel, also via Metrorail.

I did the same thing Friday afternoon, except this time, I walked towards the Washington Monument. Not as many munzees this time - 3,300 captures and 90K points, but I only wanted to get 2nd place on the leaderboard to get the 2nd place badge. (Thursday's munzee run got me the 1st place badge, so I didn't need to do that any more. Yes, it's a weird badge optimization. :) )

Okay, enough about munzee. What about the con? It's my 5th year attending FtM. This time I brought the raccoon and coyote fursuits. I intended to alternate between the two but I wore the raccoon more than the coyote because the latter needed some repair work. There were fewer events/activities of interest this year because they canceled the fursuit parade (replaced by fursuit menagerie + photoshoot) and fursuit games (probably had to make way for floor wars). On the plus side though, the 18+ (i.e. mature/adult) panels on Saturday night were pretty good this year. The lighter schedule allowed more time to hang out, socialize, and get anything I needed done. Just like last year, the convention hotel was the Sheraton in Tysons Corner, within walking distance of a number of restaurants, a Walmart, and the Spring Hill Metro Station, so I was able to leave the car in the hotel garage the whole weekend.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (fox bunny logo)
I needed one geocache this weekend to get the Celebrating 3 million active geocaches souvenir, but I got a few more geocaches along the way. The cache that actually got me the souvenir, "Ava & Alex cache", was a bit of a dubious placement because it's right next to a private driveway. Hopefully it's their property or they have permission. Anyway, my destination on Saturday was Mill Creek Park in Willingboro because there was a nice loop of munzees all along the circular park road. I parked in each parking area and walked back and forth a bit to capture them all. Also took a look at the Futuro House, a must-see oddity in this park.

Sunday's trip was also to South Jersey, but this time to the Mount Laurel Corporate Center, which is packed with munzees for reasons known only to those who deployed them. Although most of the munzees were in the parking lot, there were also a bunch along the walking path around a pond behind the QAD building. Needless to say, Sunday was a good time to go for those because the area was deserted, except for one bird who watched me capture a munzee.

The caches... )

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Morton Fox

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