I have to apologize to everyone.  Unfortunately, I am going to delay the race one more day.  It is being done to make sure everything is thoroughly done, and to help out several (okay, a bit more than several) racers.  Let me explain and hopefully I won’t have any squishy, red, sphere-shaped food thrown at me for doing it.  There are 74 racers currently in my apartment ready to go.  We’ve had a few delays for some people who have shipped their entries, including a misunderstanding between USPS and my apartment office regarding whether I live here or now.  Hmmm….

So what other things popped up.  First, I’d like to thank everyone for the many thanks I’ve been receiving.  I’d like to return that by thanking everyone for their efforts in helping make this as painless as possible.  The few bruises I have accumulated are already disappearing.  Now for the bruises:

1. Due to how my complex handles mail, I had to put my mail on hold while out of town.  This wouldn’t be much of a problem if it hadn’t been for the mail apparently staying on hold until today, even after it was supposed to resume service Monday.  This caused almost a dozen TB’s to arrive today.  While one or two late racers aren’t a big deal in starting the race, with that many I wanted to make sure they were in there to begin with.

2.Some of the Info Cards attached to bugs needed some repairs.  Either the laminate didn’t stay sealed, or had a small hole that would allow moisture to corrupt the tag.  A side note for many who read this is that when laminating something, leave a little bit of blank trim on one side for a hole punch.  Putting a hole punch through the paper part of the tag causes the two sides to split and expose the paper.  So for those that needed to be redone, I created tags and switched them out.  I found while doing this that I had to reinforce each tag because the laminating machine I have has thin laminate.  This all worked out to about 2 hours across about 15-20 items.  But, now they should be good and sealed so the tags will hopefully last much longer.

3. I’m sure many have seen the contestants page.  Whether you have or not, you will notice that I coded it with a graphic displaying several pieces of information.  This graphic does not work without an image on the profile.  So, for those who did not get a photo of your TB before shipping it, I will take some time tonight to get photos of EVERY TB.  Once I have done photographed, sorted, and prepared the images, I will go ahead and ship them out so that anyone who wants to add them can.

4. The banner at the top of the blog is a default image.  Since we are in a race, the image of the car in the tunnel seemed kind of cool.  But, those who know me also know that I enjoy photography.  So as I type, all 74 TB’s that have arrived are spread out on my coffee table posing for a group photo.   Translate this into a new, race specific banner.

5. My one concern is making sure that we don’t have racers sitting here for two months.  I’d really like to see everyone gone within one month.  But to do that, I need to make sure that there is some information in the cache and that cachers will actually read it.  So, tonight I am also going to be preparing and information sheet for the cache, alongside preparing the cache page itself.  Based on the number of cachers I am aware of in the area, minus the few area cachers who have entered the race (thus are unable to grab ANYTHING from this cache), I’m figuring on asking/limiting cachers to at least one TB grabbed and no more than three.  Hopefully, this should help ensure that TB’s are dispersed quickly.

6. Last of all, while I have a few spots picked out for placing the starting cache, I do need to go out and make sure that they will work for the extra large ammo can, place the cache, grab coordinates, and get the cache submitted.  This takes some time and is harder to do efficiently at night in the cold.  I will be going out tomorrow afternoon when I get home to do this.

So hopefully, everyone understands the delay and realizes that this is being done to try and make this go smoothly, both for myself and for all of you who entered.

It didn’t help that I had a mound of homework, quizzes, extra credit, and tests to grade and get into the system by midnight last night so that report cards can be sent home Friday.  While I got some done over vacation, I still had work left to finish.

Oh yeah.  I promised an announcement today about the Prize Pool.  Though I also promised to announce it when the race started.  Hmm…what to do?

How about I provide part of the announcement.  I’m sure I’m going to here something about this one from a few people concerned over the effort I’m putting into this, but I have decided to donate a second unactivated coin.  Originally, I planned on keeping both copies of this particular coin, but then I thought that this would make a nice addition to the prize pool.  Take a look:

Nebraskache 2008 coin

This is an official Nebraskache 2008 coin.  The photo is of a landmark found in Western Nebraska that is famous for being an important landmark for travelers during the hectic period of Westward Expansion.  But, notice the gold trim around the edge.  This has the added bonus of being a limited edition MEMBER’S ONLY coin.  The only people able to order this version were members of Nebraskache.  I purchased two of them, with plans to release one.  But I liked this idea better.  A nice addition to anyone’s collection.

So, with that, I sign off to finish working on things tonight so that I can go out and set the cache quickly after work.  Then, we can REALLY get this puppy started.