Sunday, November 22, 2015

What is your geo-name again?



What is your geo-name again? 
By Bert Marshall (BaytownBert)
Southeast Texas Representative Texas Geocaching Association

My geocaching handle is BaytownBert.  It’s confusingly cryptic in that my name is Bert and I live in Baytown, Texas.  Believe it or not one time someone asked me where I lived after we exchanged geo-handles.  To save space on the logbooks, I usually just put BB and the date.

Over the years I’ve observed some really cool names, like Skunkonthefog, FluxVector, and Bigguy In Texas.  I’ve also heard some astoundingly long, bizarre and undecipherable caching names that left me scratching my head in amazement.  It usually goes something like this: “Hi, I’m BaytownBert.”

“Nice to meet you, I’m 382764956thb938rt8743monkeylips-from_Toledo_Texas and I am a newbie to the game.”  I usually refrain from guffawing, but on occasion giggle a little.  My next question is how they plan to sign the log on a nano, but again stop myself.

A geocaching name should be considered not only important, but precious and a player needs to understand that a lot goes along with it.  Take for instance the trail you leave in loggings, hidden caches, event attendance – well you get the picture.  Your logging name is a snapshot of you.  If you do well, people may not notice, but if you do bad, well again it is a historical entity that other cachers will bat around.

“Who hid this one?”

“BaytownBert”

“Ugh, well that means the coords are probably off 40 feet and it needs maintenance…”

“Yea, that and he’s probably writing a scathing log on someone else’s cache as we search for his stupid choice of containers.”

“I hope not, as all his caches are about the worst example of how to play this game.”

“Yea and he’s always ragging on the reviewers saying how awful they are.”

“I bet he doesn’t even bathe…”

This is an extreme example and I do bathe – I promise I do.  You see, you can play this game for a long time gliding under the radar and no one will actually pay you much attention, but the day you hide one is the day where folks will begin to notice you.

Comments you want to read are “Nice hide” not “Needs Maintenance”.  With a total of 300+ hides and events under my belt, it is not uncommon for me to get one to ten NM logs a week.  I’m retired and usually get to them within 48 hours, but even when I worked 12 hour shifts and 60+ hours a week, I did immediate maintenance.

The reason is simple; I did not want my geo-handle to be associated with anything negative.  Now mind you, some folks will find offense at something I did occasionally and that is not what I am talking about here.  What I mean is when your geo-handle is mentioned folks look at each other and nod. 

The next thing out of their mouths should be, “What is the D/T rating,” or “Is there a hint?”

One of my favorite exclamations when I can’t find a cache is an ode to my old caching buddy.  I raise my fist at the sky and shake it while exclaiming, “Curse you AaronBarbee!”  Aaron hid a series of caches in the Baytown area years ago called the Soda Tube Trials.  At each one, you could be killed or injured and I got all of them and paid the painful price on quite a few.

One of his caches was in the middle of a bee hive colony and I went out in a white Mylar suit in the middle of July to replace the missing soda tube with him.  There were thousands of bees around me, as AB stayed back to watch.  I was only stung twice.

Due to this series, Aaron was widely known and in a good way.  Folks came from all over to do his caches.  Since then he’s kind of quit caching, moving into other endeavors, but he left a very positive image of himself to other cachers.

Recently in the Texas Geocaching Association (TXGA.net), we voted 3 people into the Hall of Fame and minted pathtags to commemorate them.  Texas Dreamweaver, HoustonControl, Mrs. Captain Pickard are well known cachers in Texas and deserve the accolades.  These folks have contributed so much to the game that they are examples of how to do it.  Their geo-names are known to many in a very positive way and that is the point of this primer.

Guard your name as it is precious indeed.  Be mindful of how you sign the logs by writing good ones. Come to events and help out, or stage really cool events. Help newbies and do what you can to give back to the game.  Down the road you might find out that you have inspired a goodly number of people to be better players.

One more thing.  Don’t forget to have a lot of fun!

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