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Featured Cacher For March 2008 - Team_J

Team_J of Upstate New York
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What got you interested in caching?
Team_J: dadJ read an article in the Houston Chronicle about geocaching in late 2001, written by a newspaper reporter named Jeremy Irish.

How did you decide on your caching name?
Team_J: Let’s start out with some clarifications. Bill is dadJ, Lissette is momJ, Robert is bobJ, Jonathan is jonJ and Savannah is labJ. Collectively we are known as Team_J. Bill is also sometimes known as Biff.
The name Biff started when Babslover made the mistake of asking me on April Fool’s Day (2003) what my name was. I changed my profile to read that I was lead singer for “Biff and the Beltones”. I remembered that Sesame Street had a character named Biff, the goofy construction worker, hence the avatar.
As many of you know, we used to be called Team sigJ. Since sigJ is also the name of my corporation, I decided to change our geocaching handle a few years back to separate business from pleasure. My first choice replacement name was TFKATS (Team formerly known as Team sigJ), but my wife reminded me of my extreme dislike for all things feline, so we opted for Team_J instead. The true definition of sigJ is a closely guarded secret. Some of you have fallen victim to dadJ’s misdirection on this one. The only truth I will tell is that the J does stand for Jersey, our former home state.
When you cache, what equipment do you use? (PDA, Garmin, Magellan, software)
Team_J: We have three handheld Garmins – Ole Yeller, a first generation Legend that you have to smack around like an old B+W TV set, and a latest generation Legend. We also use an in-car unit that plays DVDs for long trips. It cannot be used for geocaching, but it works well for street level mapping and routing. We have tried using a laptop, but the glare made this impossible. We also have an old Palm IIIx which works though GSAK and cachemate to eliminate carrying paper logs. When we first started out, I used a combination of topo maps, a custom Excel spreadsheet and a paint program to overlay the coordinates on top of the maps, which we then printed into a binder. When the need does arise to print, I have to recommend FinePrint. It is a print driver that allows you to print up to 8 sheets per side of paper, and does double-sided printing as well.

What are your all-time favorite cache(s)?
Team_J: A Bridge Too Far I and II by geowyz. They both made us think, made us laugh and challenged us physically. 4CL is also in our Top 10, but dadJ is the only one of us who did that one. My favorite hide is probably Silent Bell, because nobody was expecting it.

Do you have any special caching adventures you want to tell us about?
Team_J: My first cache was found without a GPS or aerial photos. And like a true newbie I took the container home and “improved” it. When I was done I had doubled the size of the original container.
The time in The Woodlands when I was spotted hiding in the woods as the kids walked home from school was not my finest moment. What I heard from one of the kids was “Cool!! Look at that, there’s a guy hiding in the bushes over there.” I high-tailed it out of there before his parents called the cops.

Have any "Most embarrassing Geo-moment" you would like to share? Details please!
Team_J: Two caches come to mind – one with thigh deep mud disguised as solid ground (GCJQQ3), and the other where the entire family accidently spent the better part of an hour walking through a swamp in the middle of the night trying to get a FTF (GC16ZMX).

What is your favorite type of cache (traditional, multi, puzzle) and why?
Team_J: Puzzles are my current favorite, because I tend to be an armchair cacher, solving the puzzles and then never bothering to go out to find the caches. As for real caches, definitely the ammo can in the woods. Light pole and film can caches have taken most of the fun out of caching for us. The accuracy of Google Earth images have almost eliminated the need for handhelds, so I would have to say I prefer multis to PNGs.
momJ prefers hikes in the woods to get to traditional caches.
The two boys like any cache with schwag (SEE ALSO swag).
labJ just likes being outside.

Summer or Winter caching? Why?
Team_J: Fall. Not too hot, not too cold. The best time of the year to be out caching is when the leaves have just started changing. Winter caching has many drawbacks. It’s cold. If you are not FTF there are footprints. And it is not fun digging through snow at GZ. And did I mention that it’s COLD?!

When a new cache is listed, are you tempted to go for FTF?
Team_J: Yes, depending on weather, time of day (or night) and workload. Thot’s FTF utility rocks.

Tell us about your cache mobile.
Team_J: We have been told by a few auto mechanics that we own the only 2WD Jeep in all of Upstate New York.

What other hobbies do you have?
Team_J: dadJ: making scale models, photography.
momJ: any type of needle craft, scrapbooking.
The boys: Nintendo.
Savannah: Sleeping all day or licking herself.

Do you currently have any caching goals that you are working towards?
Team_J: Getting back out there. We have had some caching setbacks, and are trying to bounce back. The next goal is 1000, but don’t know when/if that will happen.
Also we are planning on setting out a series of caches when the snow melts.

Is it all about the numbers?
Team_J: No. We frequently go out and forget to bring our geocaching equipment. But I believe that we have gotten at least one cache in each state or country we have visited since 2002. So that is the only statistic we currently aim for.

Thanks for this interview. Is there anything you would like to add?
Team_J: How I cheated on The Adventures of 1Geocacher (GCJY6B).
I used to play adventure games like Zork all of the time when I was younger. I was pretty good at them. I was thrilled when Sam posted an adventure game themed cache. I started playing the game, but after I started to find the first few clues were images, I decided to look for an easier solution. So I fired up my data recovery software. The software I use is not available at your local retail software store. It’s the exact same software the federal government uses when they seize computers. Using my multi-thousand dollar toy I pulled all of the JPG images out of the executable for the game, and found the right ones. I jumped in the car from NW Harris County and drove about 60 miles to La Porte trying to get the FTF. When I got there, there were decoys everywhere. As I was cursing Sam and his decoys, JoyRose and Hubby Bull rolled up, overheard me kicking and fussing, and helped me search. I felt (a little) guilty for cheating, so I did not feel real bad when Bull found the cache first. It wasn’t until months later that I found out that they had cheated on this one too, and had allowed a little birdie to point them to the search area.