Thanks to Geocaching … another new hobby … Pathtags

Whilst looking at Geocoins.com, for inspiration for a giveaway for my towns Centennial Celebrations, I saw a link to another site called Pathtags.com.

? “Huh, better check that out”. Oh crap, I’m hooked. Quarter sized pieces of metal that you may sometimes find in geocaches, but are primarily designed for fun and then traded with thousands of others all over the world for tags of theirs.

My Centennial contribution:

Craigmyle Centennial

Craigmyle Centennial

Iron tag, coated in a black nickel, then etched and enameled in intricate detail. The outcome for my first tag looks pretty good.

I’ve now gone on to design several others and have traded/bought over 270 tags from countries like the U.S., the Netherlands, Scotland, Portugal, Germany and Australia.

The community of people are some of the most helpful, inspiring and honest, I have experienced anywhere online.

There are pathtag clubs such as JMC (Japanese Manhole Cover) Quarterly. A Bottle Cap club. Country Flags.

Canada flag pathtag, with some snow on top.

Canada flag pathtag, with some snow on top.

Culvers Root Beer bottle cap pathtag

Culver’s Root Beer bottle cap pathtag

Actual manhole cover in Mito City, Japan

Actual manhole cover in Mito City, Japan

All you have to do is, go to the website above, join for free (always free, no membership fees ever), and take a look at the gallery of tags designed. You’ll be amazed at the beauty and whimsy of what folks can transform into little pieces of metal art.

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Reaching the Stars

Going to the Calgary Expo in Calgary, Ab for 5 out of the last 6 years, I have had the luck to meet some of my favorite actors who turned out to be awesome people !

I want to hear from you folks, stories of your meeting your favorite actor or other well known personality.

I will start this post off with two of my most memorable meetings.

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Doug Jones as Abe Sapien, Silver Surfer and Pan.

Doug Jones, character actor often only seen in costume, in movies like Hellboy (Abe Sapian), Pans Labyrinth (Pan) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (Silver Surfer). I knew who he was and was quite excited to meet him, so I walked up to his table and started looking at the photographs he had for sale. I could not decide which one to buy to have him autograph, so I asked him which movie he enjoyed working on the most. He thought for only a short time and replied Pans Labyrinth ! I asked him why that one, and we chatted amicably for 20 minutes or so, as there was no one waiting behind. I picked the picture of himself as Pan and asked if he could autograph it for me. He was quite touched as to why I picked it so he signed it like this: To Ed – Making the Wise Choice. As I was about to leave, he called me back saying he would love a picture with his wisest fan. I never did get a copy myself, but it was quite an honor that he wanted one for himself.

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Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee.

Sean Astin

Sean Astin, most well known for his roles as Rudy Ruettiger in the film Rudy and as Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. As a huge LOTR fan, I was quite excited to be able to meet him. I had purchased a beautiful leather bound, parchment paper filled book embossed with The Lord of the Rings Trilogy; just so he could sign it. As I waited in the very long line of fans, I noted how he would take the time to chat with each one of us. I paid for my autograph and walked up to stand in front of him. Mr. Astin took one look at me, squinted and remarked that he knows me from somewhere. You are that fellow who has been stalking me !! I replied that I just have that stalker look, but that he was not my type. He laughed out loud and I handed him my autograph book. He whistled, turning the book over in his hands, gently opening the book and then placed it under the table. Leaning forward, he asked me what I wanted him to sign. HA HA he belts out, gets the book out exclaiming how lovely it was. He wanted to sign on the first page; so any other LOTR cast that signs it must sign after me, he said. A two handed handshake later and I wandered off beaming like a kid walking out of a candy store carting a precious cache of goodies.

There you go, those are my more cherished meetings, and now I look forward to reading about yours !

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Calgary Expo April 16-19, 2015

I look forward to the Calgary Expo every year. Having only missed one in the last 6 years I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of actors and actresses from some of my favorite films. Films like Serenity, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Star Trek and the like.

My two favorites so far have to be Sean Astin from LOTR and Doug Jones from Hellboy. Great fellows who really know how to make a fan feel appreciated.

I have also had the pleasure to meet some of the best artists in the field. Both big names working on big titles (Joe Quesada) and new artists hoping to make a name for themselves at one of if not THE biggest Comic and Entertainment Expos in Canada.

The Calgary Expo runs this April from the 16th – 19th at the Stampede Park.

So far this year, big names like Stephen Amell from Arrow, Stan Lee (nuff said), Norman Reedus from the Walking Dead and Ming Na-Wen from Marvelès Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be at the Expo. So if Oliver Queen, Daryl Dixon or Melinda May are personal favorites of yours, come on out to the best show in Western Canada and maybe I will see you there !!

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Collecting Comics Isn’t Just for Kids You Know !

It’s true. I’ve collected comics for over 25 years and have enjoyed reading them all. Of course that isn’t the only reason I collect them.

Growing up, I had access to comics my Grandmother would get for me at the thrift shop. They had no covers on them and they were ones that a 3-4 year old nowadays wouldn’t be allowed to read. Men-of-War, Tales from the Crypt, Haunted, and the like.

I loved them ! The pictures kept me entertained and they made me curious about the words. So, I learned. I learned to read, well, by reading comic books.

Nowadays, I still read, but I collect to eventually sell. My best sale to date …. a set of 4 comics bought for less than $10, sold 15 years later for over $70. Like stocks, buy low sell high. You have to do your homework, know what is popular and where to sell them while optimizing your return (ROI).

While I agree comics aren’t a perfect substitute for books (not digital or e- or audio) they can help a reluctant child WANT to read. For the adult, a very legitimate investment, when done right.

Redcoat West

A creative outlet for aspiring artists/writers.

Jetsons 17

Who doesn’t remember the Jetsons? comic or television?

 

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Mason Relic Making a Comeback !!

I know, I know. You are just as excited as myself aren’t you? Well it is true, Camogames is bringing back the Mason Relic Airsoft game, held at the Claybank Historical Site south of Moosejaw, Saskatchewan. After two years of intense … shall we call it, harassment, Al “Camogames” Benesocky has decided to honor us with another installment of Airsoft mayhem and “warrior” bonding. 27832_399889047045_718987045_4785127_420857_n Two years have passed since the 2012 Mason Relic game and I have come to miss playing, the people, the rush, the exercise (that’s right, you heard me!) and the Claybank site. Keep an eye out here, and as soon as it becomes all official like, you will hear it here. Links will be posted and huzzahs will reverberate throughout cyberspace. A little much? Well, don’t knock the good vibes until you have played in a large airsoft game with a shite load of awesome folks. DSC_0020And here we go !!

UPDATE:  The date has been set for August 1 & 2 of 2015. Now called Operation: BlackGold it will be held in Alberta close to the town of Pigeon Lake.

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Geocache Containers … from the awesome to the downright nasty.

While cache containers seem to generally include the mundane seal tight food containers or water tight mini sized screw tops, there is an amazing array of imaginative and downright crafty containers out there. All just waiting for you to try to find them, hiding and lurking in the most unlikely places.

I recently purchased two downright nasty containers that when placed in appropriate spots would stump the most intrepid cacher.

The nasty, soft and squishy chewing gum cache container. Also comes with a magnet so you can attach it under a metal table or bench. (insert evil laugh here.)

geocache_fake_chewing_gum_500geowyrm__48942.1384667774.386.513


This one is just rude. A seemingly innocuous bottle cap.

geocache_bottle_cap_G_symbol_500geowyrm__99724.1384663225.386.513


The artistically beautiful containers may not be the hardest to spot, but are a real pleasure to find.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

log cache container


Ranging from simple containers to crypteks to elaborate puzzle boxes and cleverly hidden treasure troves, geocache containers are only limited by your imagination. Experience new sights you may never have seen if not for traipsing around looking for bedeviling geocache delights.

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GeoCaching Milestone !!

While my having found 150 caches is quite an achievement for me, it pales in comparison to some of my peers stats. A cousin who got me knee deep into geocaching has close to 1500 finds.

I have hidden 11 caches of my own now ranging from “quick park and grabs” to “where the heck is it?”.

Even better, geocachers from my area got together at the local pub for a Beer and Wing night get-together. While the average age of the group was somewhat north of my own age, the group was an interesting group of folk with wily imaginations and a curiosity belying their years. With nicknames ranging from MrDressUp to Just Ducky, this group all shared an almost childlike curiousity for finding the hidden. So much fun !!!

My hobby’s do seem to include/come with unique groups of people attached to them, I wonder ……… ?

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Another Hobby?

Geocaching … never knew a lick about it until; I was weed whipping one day at our local ball diamonds and found a shiny little container hanging from the bottom of the chain link fence. ??? I opened it up and read a little about geocaching on the log sheets inside.

Well, I had to check it out didn’t I ?

Here is what it is: Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. There are 2,489,662 active geocaches and over 6 million geocachers worldwide.

I’ve met some cool people, have hid a few geocaches of my own, seen some great places that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise and just enjoy using my brain to find some of these very well hidden and unique geocache containers.

Here is a PDF brochure for you to peruse, and a few other links to whet your appetite.

A GeoCaching Guide for first timers: GeoCaching 101

My favorite way of finding caches in an area I’m going to: Geocaching Maps

Geocaching Apps for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone are here.

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Kick Harder !!!!!

I believe I was a yellow belt by this time and we were doing some kumite training. Sensei noted that I wasn’t putting much force/energy/focus into my front kick and he called a halt to training. Everyone gathered in a circle around myself and Sensei. He went on to explain why focus and energy in all our moves was important. He pointed out that I lacked this and thus decided to make a training example of me. We squared off with the intention of examining my mae geri. I was still having problems with it so he started giving me some vocal encouragement … “Kick Harder” … “KICK HARDER” …. I did.   He dropped like a stone to his knees, probably thinking in some small part of his still functioning brain.  “lift your kick too“.

I was turned and knelt until he had regained his composure (and dignity). Oh I was so scared, but he didn’t berate me, just gave me the hairy eyeball.

Well, next class he had a surprise for the class. He was an Iaido practitioner as well and had brought his katana to class to show us. He wanted to demonstrate something for us and needed a volunteer. He thoughfully looked around the room (seeking me out purposefully it turns out) and when his eyes lit on me, his smile grew big and crafty, “YOU, front and center”.

Uh oh, I don’t think he forgot about the previous class and the pain I caused him. I took my place in front of him and within a heartbeat he covered the several feet between us with a blood curdling/bladder weakening KIAI !!!! Sword describing a deadly arc towards my foolish young head … then he started laughing quite heartily with the rest of the class joining in.

Moral:  Kick Harder !!!!! and higher.

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Airsoft Masks, Very Intimidating !!!

Made by Onimaru, these masks are custom designed by you. They come with customizable straps, padding and polycarbonate eyepieces that meet Z87.1 and Mil-PRF -31013 specs. I am wondering though about holes for respirating and all that goes along with that (moisture, muffled voice, etc.).

I don’t have one myself yet, but am feverishly trying to come up with a few awesome ideas. I might even send them a picture of me and have them put that on the mask, huh, huh? Cool idea eh? uh, anyone? no?, oh.

You can take a look at the one below painted in a flectarn pattern and let your imagination run wild.

Onimaru Flectarn Mask

 

 

 

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