What happened when all those dot-coms went bust? The techies who ran them buried their collectible Star Trek plates out in the wilderness before the Franklin Mint repo men could take them back. But does a techie use a treasure map marked with an X to find his booty months later, after he's made it to manager at Starbucks and can afford to make another payment on the Federation Plate Set #3? No, he uses global-positioning systems and online maps to keep track of his hoards. It is the 21st century, after all.
The techies quickly discovered that this sort of high-tech treasure hunting is fun and exciting, and they dubbed it "geocaching." Now these brainy hide-and-seekers stash little caches of nifty things all over the nation and band together online to leave lists of coordinates and maps to their hidden public-domain treasures. Then, their friends go in search of the goods, and once something's found, they get to make a note of it online and in their blogs!
This Friday, Saturday and Sunday (April 8 through 10), Meramec State Park (three miles south of Sullivan, Missouri, on Highway 185; 573-468-6072) hosts the Midwest Open Geocaching Adventure. Advanced geocachers will hobnob, trade tips and participate in a series of individual, team and couples competitions. Novices and those who haven't registered for the events by April 6 (online at www.geostl.com) can try their luck with the 30 caches hidden throughout the park for recreational searching. The first person to lose his or her car keys will be roundly mocked by all. -- Paul Friswold
A Time to Plant
A time to learn
Maybe Martha Stewart's release from prison has inspired you, and this year, you're going to have a garden. But you don't know the first thing about gardening, let alone how to protect the environment while you do it. So go to the $25 SmartGarden Earth-Friendly Gardening Practices event from 7 to 8 p.m. at Whole Foods Market (1601 South Brentwood Boulevard, Brentwood; call 314-968-7744 or visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com to register). There, garden writer and College of the Ozarks grad Patsy Hobson teaches you about organic gardening, and after the event, the Horticulture Gardening Institute's online gardening program can further assist you on your cabbage-patch quest (or whatever). Visit www.gardeninginstitute.com for more on the online class -- and good luck! -- Alison Sieloff
Vintage Base Ball
A sport for you (and Conan O'Brien)
We can tell: You're all broken up about the fall of the great empire that is the old Busch Stadium, and you can't help but think that this whole "new stadium" hoopla is just a ploy to sell out this entire season. What happened to the good old days of baseball, back when suspenders were de rigueur and size didn't matter? Back when "baseball" was two words and the fielders didn't wear gloves? You want to quit looking to the future of the sport and instead get back to the sport itself -- and so does the Vintage Base Ball Association (VBBA). The group is hosting its tenth annual convention in St. Louis this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, April 9 and 10), so join in the old-fashioned fun! On Saturday attend a variety of free programs all day, including "How to Organize a Vintage Base Ball Club" from 10 to 10:30 a.m. (at the Missouri History Museum, Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue); Sunday's highlight is the "All Clubs" match at 1 p.m. at Lafayette Park (Park and Mississippi avenues). For more information about these and the other events, visit www.vbba05.org or call 314-607-4352. -- Alison Sieloff
Watch, Don't Run
All right, we admit it. We forgot to train for the Spirit of Saint Louis Marathon (www.stlouismarathon.com). We won't be running, or even walking, the 26.2 miles. Join us instead in the fine sport of spectatorship, as we cheer the many thousands of disciplined athletes who depart in waves from the Soldiers Memorial starting line at 13th and Chestnut streets beginning at 7 a.m. Sure, we could lie and say we'll walk a mile or two to see the "Art + Sole" milemarkers, but we're just gonna drive the course tomorrow to check them out. -- Paul Friswold