Category Archives: Geocaching

Mundane Monday: CITO Events

This past weekend was Earth Day in the United States. There were marches in support of science in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, which I agreed with and supported, but didn’t end up going to. I am an introvert and don’t like crowds.

I did something more mundane, which was to go to CITO events. “CITO” means “Cache In, Trash Out,” and these are geocaching events in which cachers look for trash instead of geocaches, and pick it up and take it out of the park. Frequent CITO-ers carry trash grabbers, poles with a handle and button on one end and two pincers on the other, which close when you press the button. Having one of these means you don’t actually have to touch the trash with your hands, which can be a good thing. I bought my husband a really crappy one last year. It broke at our first event. We tried to fix it at subsequent events, but it never worked properly and we finally ended up throwing it in one of the trash bags. I bought him a new one this year that seems to be working better!

SchwanLakePark
Schwan Lake Park, Santa Cruz

We went to two events, one each day of the weekend. One was in Santa Cruz and one was in the Baylands Reserve near the Googleplex. As you can see, neither of them ended up having a lot of trash to pick up, but they were gorgeous walks in beautiful weather. The wildflowers are out and you can see them blooming, in contrast to the bright blue sky.

IMG_8678
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Mountain View

And then, I used this online bio generator to make a satirical “artist bio” for my landscape photography for Mundane Monday. I thought the bio was surprisingly accurate (or at least amusing. And I learned some new words!) Plug in your own information and see what you get :-). For the Mundane Monday Challenge #106.

Karen Allendoerfer (°1965, Providence, United States) is a photographer who mainly works with the iPhone. With Plato’s allegory of the cave in mind, her photos references post-colonial theory as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern and the left-wing democratic movement as a form of resistance against the logic of the capitalist market system.

Her photos demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the early part of the twenty-first century. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves. By choosing mainly formal solutions, she makes work that deals with the documentation of events and the question of how they can be presented. The work tries to express this with the help of physics and technology, but not by telling a story or creating a metaphor.

Her works are characterised by the use of everyday objects in an atmosphere of middleclass mentality in which recognition plays an important role. By taking daily life as subject matter while commenting on the everyday aesthetic of middle class values, she investigates the dynamics of landscape, including the manipulation of its effects and the limits of spectacle based on our assumptions of what landscape means to us. Rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the realms of our imagination.

Her works establish a link between the landscape’s reality and that imagined by its conceiver. These works focus on concrete questions that determine our existence. By demonstrating the omnipresent lingering of a ‘corporate world’, she tries to develop forms that do not follow logical criteria, but are based only on subjective associations and formal parallels, which incite the viewer to make new personal associations.

Her works are an investigation into representations of (seemingly) concrete ages and situations as well as depictions and ideas that can only be realized in photography. By exploring the concept of landscape in a nostalgic way, she often creates work using creative game tactics, but these are never permissive. Play is a serious matter: during the game, different rules apply than in everyday life and even everyday objects undergo transubstantiation.

Her works are based on formal associations which open a unique poetic vein. Multilayered images arise in which the fragility and instability of our seemingly certain reality is questioned. Karen Allendoerfer currently lives and works in Mountain View.

Thursday Doors: Mission Blue

On alternating Wednesdays, I drive up the Peninsula to teach a class at a middle school in Brisbane CA. Brisbane is a small town, pronounced Briz-bane (not “BRIZ-bin” like its namesake) just south of SFO airport. In spite of my having gone to graduate school at Stanford in the 1990s, I had never heard of it until I started teaching there this time around.

Continue reading Thursday Doors: Mission Blue

Muddy Mundane Monday: Heartbreak Hill

My husband and I have gone geocaching together often enough that a theme is emerging. Usually the theme has to do with him suggesting something that I consider a little crazy, and after some negotiation, my going along with it in modified form and taking a lot of pictures. It was true for the events described in my published geocaching stories, “Bobbing for Bob,” and “Gentle Icelandic Sheep.” And it was true this past weekend in Yuba City.

Continue reading Muddy Mundane Monday: Heartbreak Hill

Thursday Doors: Painted Ladies

Most people seem to know these houses because they were in a show that I never watched. I found out about them through geocaching. My family and I went into San Francisco for New Year’s Day and one of our first stops was this virtual geocache.

Continue reading Thursday Doors: Painted Ladies

Thursday Doors: Patchen

Today we drove into the Santa Cruz mountains in search of some geocaches and California history. There used to be a train through the mountains from Silicon Valley to Santa Cruz, and towns along the train line made their money from selling lumber.

Continue reading Thursday Doors: Patchen

A Writers’ Eye View

Last weekend my husband and I went to a Christmas party given by a local geocacher in Hayward, over in the East Bay. It was a fun party: lots of good food and conversation, and a contest. Every year this person puts out a series of puzzle caches on the first of the month, and at the end of the year, prizes for Fastest Solver and Fastest Finder for all 12 caches are given out at this party.

Continue reading A Writers’ Eye View

Mundane Monday: Rock Wall

A sculpture on the campus of Stanford University. Constructed of sandstone from university buildings destroyed in the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes
Photo credit: Stone River, tripod.andygoldsworthy.com

While out hiking or geocaching, especially in Massachusetts but also in California, you end up seeing a lot of rock walls. But this particular mundane-looking wall is part of a larger sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy called Stone River on the Stanford Campus.

The sculpture wasn’t here yet while I was attending graduate school; it was built in 2002. It is made of sandstone bricks from campus buildings damaged in the earthquakes of 1906 and 1989, among others. The local sandstone is known for its color and the pinkish hue it reflects, especially at sunset. Continue reading Mundane Monday: Rock Wall