Friday, October 3, 2008

Our expensive new hobby

Last weekend, I did something painful. Here's a transcript:

Me: You can't go to church this evening. [It was Saturday, time for Vigil.]
Chris: Why?
Me: I need you to do something right now. If you don't, we'll never do it.
Chris: What is it?
Me: I need you to sell the Game Cube games.

No more Game Cube, and its place will not be filled by a Wii. The Game Cube will be recycled as soon as I can figure out where electronics recycling in this city is. Right now, it's useless without its games. And that was the point.

So what predicated this shocking development in our household? Why, a trip to REI did! Chris needed some shoes that wouldn't cause him to go careening down a ravine, so off into deepest Dallas ... okay, North Dallas, about 10 miles from our house ... to get some trail running shoes. But that wasn't all we got. Chris had become fascinated by geocaching (some of you are standing up and cheering now), a strange, outdoorsy game involving a GPS system. So after securing some trail runners, we ventured downstairs (two level store with a rock climbing wall in the center--woot!) to the electronics section ... and found out just how cheap GPS systems aren't.

As we were being up-sold into a more expensive model (one that wouldn't crap out in the middle of a forest), I thought to myself, "Wow, this makes getting a Wii look cheap!" Then the wheels began turning. The GPS would be a one-time cost, but between buying new games and new equipment, plus hours that could be well-spent doing things other than sitting on one's rumpus, geocaching seemed like a better use of our time.

Okay, so what's geocaching? Here's a good explanation. Basically, there's treasure at the end of the coordinates that people post, and you can trade out something for something in the cache. Fun for the kids, right? Apparently fun for grown-ups too.

Chris is in charge of geocaching. I've appointed myself Prime Minister of Waymarking. I became obsessed with the virtual cache on, which is when you seek a particular landmark instead of a little box with stuff. But then I found out that virtual caches had been grandfathered out, meaning no more could be added. That got me all pouty, and I ended up at It's less scavenger hunt-y, but it's still a great way to see hidden things where you live. Case in point? I didn't know that Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie & Clyde) and Mickey Mantle were buried here in Dallas.

And that's our expensive new hobby. I recommend it. :)

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