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Geocaching game makes geeks sane and fit

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You have a serious problem. You're overly fascinated by technology -- addicted even. Yet you know in your gut it's cripplingly unhealthy, sitting alone in front of a monitor hour after hour while your muscles atrophy and your social skills deteriorate.

When you're not working you're playing, but here again D&D warps your mind, placing you within a constellation of inane, manufactured personas, while its sedentary nature undermines any semblance of physical conditioning you might once have achieved.

You become restless, irritable, angry. To blow off steam you fire up your favourite FPS and let the gobbets fly, while in a diabolical irony underscored by the hyper-muscular characters on your monitor, your arse steadily grows wider than your shoulders. Day by day, bit by bit, you're castrating yourself, and you can't make it stop.

As you approach full-blown, end-stage technology dependence, you no longer notice that virtually every physical challenge has been eliminated from your life. You're pear-shaped, pale, uncoordinated, sickeningly juvenile or even effeminate, and utterly disgusting to chicks, the vast majority of which, you know, loathe men whom they can beat up.

You've reached a crisis at which you can either start hacking military networks to bring some real risk into your pathetic life, or follow in the blood-soaked footsteps of Klebold and Harris, or do something sane and healthy with those electronic toys you love so dearly.

The answer is geocaching. It's a game using GPS (no need to ditch your techno-addiction), in which participants exercise their minds and bodies in the open air whilst hunting for caches of goodies left in remote places by others.

The geocaching Web site lists the general locations of hundreds of caches, and offers tips for beginners and a discussion forum. Caches generally contain such items as "maps, books, software, hardware, CD's, videos, pictures, money, jewellery, tickets, antiques, tools, games," and the like. They also contain a log book. When one finds a cache, one is expected to remove an item, leave an item, and make an entry in the log book.

The game can be physically challenging, and actually risky.

"The location of a cache demonstrates the founder's skill and possibly even daring. A cache located on the side of a rocky cliff accessible only by rock climbing equipment may be hard to find. An underwater cache may only be accessed by scuba. Other caches may require long difficult hiking, orienteering, and special equipment to get to," the geocaching Web site explains.

Urbanites can play as well. "Caches may be located in cities both above and below ground, inside and outside buildings....A small logbook in an urban environment may be quite challenging to find even with GPS. That little logbook may have a hundred dollar bill in it or a map to greater treasure. It could even contain clues or riddles to solve that may lead to other caches."

Most thankfully, you can actually get killed in a relatively manly fashion while geocaching, by walking off the edge of a cliff whilst peering assiduously at your GPS screen, getting hopelessly lost and dying of exposure, drowning in an icy river, or even being mauled by large carnivores -- or beaten to death by street toughs when a cache is located in the wrong part of a violent city.

Yeah, you're gonna get laid all right. Finally. ®

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