Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Congratulations to Traci & Cole for finding Dinosaur #30!

Traci posted another synopsis of the hunt on her blog, but since it's not nearly as long as her previous post, I will post it here:

Yesterday I caught my second dinosaur. It was an unexpected find: When the first clue to the dino’s whereabouts was posted on Tuesday, May 31, I was out of town, three hours east back home in Angels Camp. In fact, I’m at my friend Barbara’s bon voyage party when my mother, who has recently become as fascinated by dinosaur hunting as I am, calls and in an excited voice tells me, “I know you’re here, but there’s another clue posted and I figured it out! It’s at 333 Fremont Street! It’s an empty lot; there was supposed to be a big building project there a few years ago but it was abandoned! 333 Fremont Street!”

I text my friends in the Bay Area, hoping that one of them would capitalize on my mother’s genius, but both of them say they’re busy that day, and I give up hope of finding a second dinosaur. Instead, I play Settlers of Catan, eat, drink, be merry, and let all thoughts of dinosaur hunting go.

Yesterday, however, I come back to San Francisco, and I’m supposed to meet Cole for a movie at the Landmark Theatre Embarcadero Center. I’m in a skirt and heels. I have none of the proper attire or equipment for dinosaur hunting except for my wits, my phone, and whatever pens or scraps of paper I can dig out of my purse. Still, I hike from the Embarcadero BART station down Fremont Street hoping to find that vacant lot.

I call my mom: “Where’s this thing supposed to be? There are like three different construction projects going on on Fremont Street!”

She repeats the address to me and I hike another block down Fremont to Harrison Street, where, as she had said, there’s an enormous vacant lot, and attached to the chain link fence, a clue:

There are three sheets of laminated hot-pink paper: One with a grid of letters, one with what seems like a key to a code, and one with the date of the day that the first clue had been posted, 5/31/2011. I snap photos with my camera phone and scribble down the grid and the key on the back of a crossword and a stray bookmark, and while I send them to Cole and my mother, I head back down Fremont to a café where I can sit and puzzle the thing out while waiting for Cole.

I call my mom, who’s at work, and because she can’t receive images through text messages, proceed to recite everything to her: “The fourth row is jester, dog, see-saw, dog, yodel, dog, Peter Pan!” But she’s at work and after half an hour of Googling can’t help me figure it out.

Let’s fast-forward a few hours: I wrack my brains for an hour and a half trying to figure out how to decode the grid. Cole is late to the movies so we miss the showing. We dejectedly head back home, where we look up all sorts of ciphers and codes on the internet, where we find information that should be helpful, but isn’t. The ten alphabets on the key seem to shift one letter every time, making it seem like a Caesar cipher, and the whole array like atabula recta. But why the numbers? Were we supposed to turn the grid into a series of numbers, which we could also have to decode?

Fast forward again: We’ve eaten dinner. We’ve eaten dessert. We’ve watched the Giants play ten innings against the Cardinals. We’ve seen them come from behind twice. And then Cole asks me what was written on the third piece of paper.

“Just the date,” I say. “5/31/2011. That’s the day the first clue was posted.”

“Maybe the top row is five,” he says, pointing, “and then the second row is three…”

“Maybe…” I say. But while he decodes in rows, I begin decoding in columns. There are, after all, seven columns, and seven numbers in that date. The first column, which I suspect corresponds to the alphabet on row five of the key, doesn’t give me any Xs or Qs, so I have hope. The second, which corresponds to row three, doesn’t either. A Z shows up in the third, row one, and I start to feel like maybe we’re never going to figure this clue out, but I persevere, because if this isn’t it then I’m going to make damn sure it isn’t. By the fourth column, row two on the key, I’ve spelled “HOPE” across the top line and I know I’m on to something. “It’s in columns!” I tell Cole. “Do the last two! They’re both on row one!”

While I finish the fourth column and the fifth, Cole quickly decodes the last letters and reads them off to me, and here’s what we get:


Nearby? We’re in the Outer Sunset, as close to the beach as you can get, and Zeno Place, we discover, is around the corner from Fremont and Folsom, all the way back across the city, near the bay. But we’ve spent hours trying to figure out this puzzle. And at ten o’clock, as the Giants head into the top of the 11th inning against St. Louis, we grab the dog and the camera, hop in the car, and head out in search of that elusive dinosaur.

We get to Zeno Place half an hour later there it is. The dino sticker and the plastic-wrapped package we were sure someone would get before us.

Everyone, meet Hutch the Heavy Dinosaur.  He's a triceratops!

We have to thank my mother, who gave us the location of the second clue, the internet, and AdamD for doing such an amazing job arranging the dino hunt. We’re making a concession, however: Although we love dinosaur hunting and solving puzzles, we’ve got to bow out for the next ten rounds. There are only 70 dinosaurs left now and we want other people to share the thrill of dinosaur hunting! (Please don’t leave one un-hunted for a week, though, because then we might not be able to help ourselves!) Go get 'em, world! There's dinos to be hunted!

Friday, May 27, 2011

CLUE #25 (25, 26, 27, 28 & 29 acutally) - FOUND!

Congratulations to Traci and Cole for finding the last of the dinosaur paintings hidden in this hunt!

(click to read)
Traci wrote an awesome description of the hunt on her blog, which you can read by clicking on the picture above. They are standing in front of the final location, a newspaper rack re-purposed as a "Dinomatic Dinosaur Painting Dispenser":

Still haven't heard from the folks who found the other four paintings. If you completed the hunt, or stumbled upon a free painting by accident, I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


-Tomorrow I will be hiding five (5) dinosaur paintings at the end point.
-If you complete the hunt, please only take one (1) painting. 
-Have you already found a dinosaur(s) painting? Maybe let someone else complete this hunt, or tell a friend to go do it!
-Tomorrow's hunt is in San Francisco, and will probably be the only SF hunt for the next six weeks (during this time I will be hiding paintings in the East Bay, and elsewhere...)
-Wear comfortable shoes.


Since my wife is due to have a baby any moment, and I probably won't be hiding any dinosaurs in San Francisco for the next six weeks (Hello, East Bay!) I'll be hiding FIVE paintings at the final location of tomorrow hunt. Please, if you participate and make it to the end, only take ONE painting.

When tomorrow? If everything goes as planned, EARLY! 8AM! If I run into any technical glitches (or if my wife goes into labor tonight)... a little later.

I'll leave you with this:

Thursday, May 19, 2011



Congratulations to Kelly Nabours for finding another dinosaur painting!

Here's a breakdown of the hunt from Kelly:

So, sent the clue through a binary-text converter.  We got a paragraph describing a public rooftop.  Corrissa did a google search, and voila, that entire paragraph is online discussing the rooftop patio at 150 California St.

So, showed up there.  I did show up around noon, and there were quite a few people eating their lunches.  So, trying to look nonchalant, searched for quite some time, not seeing anything.  Our illustrious artist, with his mad ninja skills, managed to see me searching while remaining unobserved. 
I finally noticed the dinosaur sticker on the base of one of the tables. (I was actually sitting at this table when he arrived, and decided I needed to leave, otherwise he probably wouldn't check the table for the next clue)

Looking under the table, taped to the underside was a manila envelope with another clue!  This one a crossword puzzle.

I didn't bring a pen, and had some slight difficulty.  Nonetheless, trying to keep it in my head, went out searching for the next spot. Quickly got to the corner of Sacramento and Davis to look for the Dinosaur Painting Underneath the Shoe Shoe Stand. (It mentioned the answer to #5 twice, it took me a little bit to realize this was 5-across and then 5-down.).  So finally finding the Shoe Shine Stand marked with Sweet Memory signs.

This nice fellow was running the stand, and there beneath it was this well-wrapped package.  I couldn't get it open, so brought it back to the office for scissors.  And there we are.

Friday, May 13, 2011


*Blogger went down yesterday and erased this post with it. I'm re-adding it, as the painting has still not been recovered*

Congratulations to Casey Caston for findind Dinosaur #23, hidden beneath the pinball machine at Dinosaurs, the banh mi sandwich shop in the Castro!

A big thank you to Chris Nguyen (the owner of Dinosaurs) for letting me stop by and hide a dinosaur painting in his shop!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Congratulations to Alec Adams and Elijah Stoll for finding Dinosaur #22!

Clicking on the above link takes you to my regular blog (http://www.xadamdx.com for the uninitiated) which may have lost some folks. However, if you scrolled down, you would see that the text on one of the flyers had been changed:

I figured since I was going to be down in San Jose, playing a show with my band, I could use the opportunity to hide a dinosaur painting outside of my usual surroundings. Homestead Lanes is a little bit of a time warp, a suburban bowling alley that with a snack bar, video game arcade, and recently, a sports bar that allows all ages shows!
At the front door, there was a dino-sticker with a chalk arrow pointing back out into the parking lot. This led to more arrows, and after a bit of wandering around, the hunters came upon this in an alley:

This bit of information, when decoded, led the hunters to a person inside the show. When told a specific password, they were presented with a key:

Over in the Arcade area there is a set of lockers (different from the lockers over by the bathroom where the above pictures were taken), and inside locker 13, DINOSAUR!

So Excited!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Was Framed!

Hit up Sylvia over at City Picture Frames if you want to get the dinosaur YOU found framed! It's not free, but as a fellow dinosaur hunter she should be able to give you a discount!

Monday, May 2, 2011

CLUE #21 (Take Two!) - FOUND!

Congratulations to Evan for finding Dinosaur #21!

Here's a recap of  the experience from Evan's perspective:

IKEA is a reallly weird place. And ultra confusing to navigate.

I almost didn't want to go. But. DINO.

So. After I get off work.

Started past the giant chair (was a bit worried that there wasn't such lush foliage around it) and up the escalator and into the store. Started following the arrows, looking in all the little rooms, and getting mesmerized by a robot chair sitting machine designed to make your new chair feel old. No dino. Just solutions for modern living...

After I looked through all the rooms (or was that all? it is really confusing in there!) I started walking backwards along the arrows until i got to the escalator again, and found the shortcut to the kids section. This place was even more full-up with objects, only brighter and with more clutter. I walked over to the rooms and started checking drawers, closets, organizing solutions for modern children. Found a green monster cape in the closet of a blue room, and saw the bed named KURA --- -- - DinoDAR blasting, ducked down and saw the most adorable Stegosaurus hiding underneath the bed!

He blended right in with my bag.

A few minutes later, another dinohunter showed up. I think I ruined her day - she was SO close to beating me, especially considering how lost I was until the final moment. She had wandered the night before - 2 HOURS! Andd it took me quite a long time to find my way out. But I made it!

Looking forward to more close dinohunts. Thanks XADAMDX!