Our First Geocaching Event

Tonight, Jon and I attended our first Geocaching Event, Post Hallo”weenie” Roast, and had a blast, though getting to that point was a little rough.

The day started out okay. I had an eye exam this morning and everything checked out fine. I believe my vision has actually improved slightly in the few years since my last exam. I ordered some new lenses and frames, and I should have those by next week. So that was good.  Work wasn’t horrible. I got quite a bit done and used my lunch to start this year’s NaNoWriMo project.  After work, however, anxiety crept up on me and I had a tough time in the two hours we were doing stuff before the event.

Besides my normal social anxiety that was peeking out due to the prospect of meeting new people, I was also feeling road anxious and had a hard time driving with all the people leaving work and going to sporting events. Normally, I can deal. Today was really tough. I think that even though I used this week to do more activity outside, this coming week needs to put me back in the gym, because that has been effective at keeping the high amounts of anxiety at bay.

Things finally eased up when we found two caches near where the event was being held and actually made it to the event itself. The event was a fire and weenie roast hosted by one of the area’s more well known cachers. The place it was held seemed a little scary at first, but it was actually a really cool area. There was a 400 yard walk from the parking lot to the campsite where there was a grill, a firepit, and some stone benches for seating. There was also a huge field to one side, and a hill that I believe lead to a creek on the other. There were two caches in the park, but we opted out of going to them, deciding to go during the day sometime to explore the area more thoroughly.

This reminded me of The Blair Witch Project, but the actual area wasn't as creepy as one might think.
This reminded me of The Blair Witch Project, but the actual area wasn’t as creepy as one might think.

We had just gotten settled, did a few introductions, and were getting ready to roast some hot dogs when a storm started blowing in. We’d seen the lightning in the distance, and it just seemed to be getting closer. There was talk of moving to the event to the host’s house, but after checking the weather, it looked like it would only be a short one. To stay out of the rain, everyone walked back to the parking lot and waited the storm out in their cars.

I have a mild phobia of lightning. I love thunderstorms, but I worry about being outside in one because I don’t want to get struck by lightning. I was more than happy to wait it out in the car, but once we got there, it rained for three minutes and the thunder and lightning were nowhere to be heard or seen. Once the rain let up, everyone headed back to the campsite to eat and enjoy the rest of the evening.

The event gave us the chance to put some faces to names. Everyone was super nice and offered to help us when we were ready to hide our own caches. Semmels (the host) gave all the first timers a bison tube, and later he hooked us up with a few micro containers to hide as well.

Film canisters and bison tubes
Film canisters and bison tubes

We also met North Coast Cacher and discussed how his Wamego Boat Ramp cache has thwarted us several times. We had a good laugh over it, but seriously….we are going to find that one. If the weather holds tomorrow morning, I think we’ll head out there again, despite me saying last time that we were going to give up on it completely. Now it’s just becoming a challenge.

The event also gave us a chance to discover several travel bugs, including one brought by NCC and ones on people’s vehicles. This only confirms that we really need to get one for our car.

Besides talking to people, I got to enjoy a bonfire, something I loved doing as a kid and don’t get to do nearly enough as an adult. I got to eat roasted hot dogs and have a s’more, and Jon and I got to look at the stars for awhile. It was a great night! There are two more events coming up, and I’m definitely less anxious and more excited to attend both of them.

It’s way past my bed time, so my writing projects will have to wait until tomorrow. Hope everyone out there is gearing up for a good weekend!


“Mama” and Movie Etiquette

A couple Tuesdays ago,  I went to see “Mama.”

I enjoyed the movie. It was creepy and had some spooky images. I’m not sure if the most well plotted movie nor do I think much time was spent getting us to really like the characters. But I enjoy the “haunted” quality of Guillermo Del Toro movies. In this one, I appreciated the fact that the “ghost” was subtle at first but eventually had a “reveal.” It’s not every movie where we actually get to see the ghost up close and personal.

The actual theater experience left a little to be desired this time. I think I get spoiled in that I’ve had a lot of good trips to the movies, so when I have one like this, it almost feels like a personal insult. I know it’s not, but seriously…what is wrong with people?

We chose our seats in the middle front part of the theater, not too close to the screen but close enough to get a good view, and pretty far away from anyone else. There were only a few people in the theater, which was awesome. I love being in a non-crowded theater. But just as the movie started, a group of people came in and sat behind us.

A whole theater, and they sat RIGHT behind us.

But okay, it’s cool, sit where you want, it’s a free country. Until the talking started.

Wasn’t there a time when it was considered rude to talk and make loud noises in a theater? Do people not get the fact that when you spend money to watch something, there’s a good chance you want to watch it and not listen to their weird commentary, inappropriate laughter, or…in some cases…strange grunts (not of a sexual kind…I hope).

There was nothing funny about the opening of the movie, yet these people managed to laugh and talk through it. I wondered if they were some of those people who get drunk and go to the movies to make fun of it because they think it’s hilarious (it’s not).

I’m not a confrontational person, so I just told my friends I was moving to the front because I didn’t pay money to listen to that the whole time. All three of us ended up sitting in the second row, and I escaped without a headache from movie screen overload. Moving up made it better, but we could still hear them during the quieter parts of the movie.

The thought occurred to me that maybe I should have moved back a few rows and found something heavy…like a brick…to help quiet things (I have a violent imagination). Of course, we survived the rough movie going experience and enjoyed the movie, but it doesn’t mean that it was okay.

Common courtesy, people. If you’re going to the movies, remember that other people in the theater might actually want to watch the film and not listen to you. If you can’t keep your trap shut, sit far away from others. Or better yet, wait for the DVD and go chat in a coffee shop where that’s welcomed. Because unless you’re in a crowded and fun movie like “The Avengers” where people expect noise or “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” where there’s all sorts of audience participation (also goes for musical movies…please don’t sing out loud when you watch Les Mis), then you’re not cool…you’re just kind of a douche.

Person of Wal-Mart

Today, I went to Wal-Mart.

I hate Wal-Mart. Actually, I hate the Wal-Mart here in Manhattan, KS.

I don’t have a hate-on for the general company of Wal-Mart.  I know they’ve received negative press, but they do have low prices for people who don’t have alot of money. Going to  this Wal-Mart, however, induces annoyance and anxiety.

The anxiety is a personal thing. I deal with social anxiety in general, and while it has improved, it’s still really strong in certain settings.  There always seems to be too many people in Wal-Mart. The aisles feel too small, the lines too long, and the store too big. I know this is something I have to get over and I think at some point, the anxiety will ease up the way it has at Dillons or Aldi.

There’s also the fear that I’m going to end up on “People of Wal-Mart” one of these days (if I’m not there already). Felber told me I’d have to be wearing a weird hat or a visible thong  to make it on that site. While I’m not to that level, I do tend to dress scrubby on weekends (which is when I go to Wal-Mart, if I go at all), and even though 9 out of 10 other shoppers are also dressed scrubby, I feel like I’m the one being looked at (this may also be attributed to my size which seems like a bigger deal when the social anxiety comes out).

Then there are the annoyances. For instance, people who feel the need to stand and socialize in those small aisles, making it impossible for anyone else to get through. Some of those people are polite enough to notice others around them and move out of the way, but most of the time they continue to talk without even bothering to look at anyone else.

Another pet peeve is the people who let their children run wild. Not everyone does this, and I don’t begrudge moms the right to bring their children to the store. What I would expect is that they teach their children how to behave in public. I’ve actually seen some great parenting in Wal-mart. One time I saw a little girl ask if she could have something, and her mother very calmly told her that she could have it but she’d have to use her allowance money because the money she’d brought was for groceries. The little girl, who couldn’t have been more than 5, was so good about it. She didn’t throw a temper tantrum or cry. She actually seemed to think about it before saying, “No, I think I’ll find something better.”

I’ve also had children walk in front of me and say “Excuse me” or “I’m sorry” and I want to shake the parent’s hand.

Unfortunately, I usually see kids running up and down aisles, knocking into other customers, screaming because they don’t get what they want, and pulling stuff off shelves. In most of these cases, the parents are either nowhere to be seen or too busy reading a bottle of shampoo to keep their kids in check. I often think cage rentals might be appropriate at times like that.  Forget the hands…I just want to shake the parents.

The local Wal-mart also irritates me because of the slow and unfriendly customer service.  Even the self checkouts are slow, like the computer system sees the pace that everyone else works at and decides not to push its processing capabilities.

Don’t even get me started on the automotive department. I took my old car to them for oil changes and they always messed things up, charged me more than they quoted (alot more and often for services they originally told me would be no extra charge), and seemed more interested in talking to their co-workers than letting their customers know when their car was done. I haven’t taken my new car to them at all, and I never will if I can help it.

The purpose of today’s trip was to buy new pants, and the mission was accomplished. I found two pairs of decent work pants, though I didn’t actually try them on, because I hated the thought of getting undressed in their dressing rooms. Still haven’t tried them on at home either, but I will. I think I’m more worried about having to return them to Wal-mart than the fact that I won’t have two new pairs of pants if they don’t fit.

I also picked up deodorant, so at least I can be slightly less scrubby on my next trip back. If things work out okay, though, it’ll be another six months before I have to step back into that place, and maybe by then I’ll have more of my social anxiety under control.