Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Don't Do Spiders.

I found a few moments while running around Cincinnati to stop by and attempt my sisters cache. After attempting the cache - I decided I like caching in the winter here a WHOLE heck of lot more!

Her cache was under a big log.... and when I lifted it up....

I had a greeter.

Actually... I had more than one.

It wasn't just the pill bugs. I examined the log more while figuring out if I really wanted to reach for the cache - I counted 4 more nicely camouflaged Wolf Spiders on the log as I thought.

I CAN do this I thought.

Then I looked down at the cache.

I quickly turned toward the car - and never looked back!

Light Painting With Newlyweds

Light writing last time was so much fun... It had to be done again!

Light Painting with Newlyweds!

Light Painting with Newlyweds!

Light Painting w/Newlyweds!Light Painting w/Newlyweds!

Congratulations B. & T. !

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back on American Soil

Garden Wedding Wedding

Dear Bahamas,

I would first like to thank you for welcoming me to your country. I was extremely happy to make it through customs and receive the first stamp in my fresh passport! I would also like to thank you for making my best friend's wedding dreams come true. You provided her with the turquoise water and beach location she desired. It was a picture perfect paradise wedding! We were all thankful that you decided to keep 10am Friday morning rain free.

Doesn't she look BEAUTIFUL!?

There are however, a couple problems I noticed while visiting Nassau. One being the heat - the other being the humidity. Actually, I'm from Arizona - so I guess I can't complain about the heat. But seriously, what is up with that HUMIDITY!?

I seriously feared for my life on a daily basis. I started to believe that death by drowning (in my own sweat) was a real possibility.

So, I'll be back - just as soon as you ditch the humidity!!

Erika Jean

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My First Virtual Cache

Cadillac Ranch
Virtual (cache)
A virtual cache is a cache that exists in a form of a location. Virtual caches have no cache container; the reward for these caches is the location itself and sharing information about your visit.
I've seen this place in pictures and have always wanted to go. I was excited to find there was also a geocache there. I got even more excited when I found out it was a virtual cache! It was quickly added onto my road trip to-do list!

There were a lot of people there snapping shots but as the wind kicked up and lighting became visible in the distance people started to scatter - which always makes picture taking a little easier. I'm not a fan of having random people in my shots!

Cadillac Ranch

To prove we actually visited the location, we had to find out which set of tires didn't spin... This is the cache - but I'm not going to tell you which one it is ;-)

Cadillac Ranch

The spray paint was caked on! I'm sad I didn't bring any :-(

Cadillac Ranch

Here is a shot of me in a Cadillac! I was pleased that this cache was my first virtual. Yey!

Cadillac Ranch

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Arch!

I am happy to report that I made it safely to Cincinnati!

Monday's trip was okay. We had to deal with a lot of clouds and torrential downpour the first half of the day. Luckily we lucked out just as we made it to the St. Louis Arch. It made for a little crowd and a quick in and out photo opportunity.

Me at the Arch.
Erika & The Arch

Hunter at the Arch.
Hunter & The Arch

We took a ton of pictures...
Hunter Shooting

...but finally made it to the top! I love how everyone leans to look out the tiny windows!
Leaning and Looking

I had planned a cache here - but it was going to take way to much time. So I opted for this benchmark of the St. Louis Court House instead.

View of the Court House

It can get a little dizzy looking dirctly down! I love how you can see where the Arch meets the ground!
Looking down

So much fun!

Glad I got to pay this landmark a visit. I only took pictures as went by last year.

May 7th, 2008
As I Drive

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dandelion on Steroids

I'm in a Missouri hotel feeding my Internet addiction. This is my favorite picture today!

Dandelion on Steroids

I took this picture shortly after grabbing a cache off Rt. 66. I don't think this Dandelion is actually a Dandelion. Anyone know what it is? It was taken Oklahoma (can you believe I couldn't find my Oklahoma! CD to blast in the car once we hit the state?! I know. So sad. Hunter would have LOVED it!)

Maybe the flower starts out as one of these?

If so... I still have no idea what it is. I'm guessing a weed of some sort? Lol.

Blog Contest

Don't get all excited. I'm not holding one ... not right now anyway.

Though, I do have one brewing in this beautiful brain of mine.

What am going to tell you is HOW to hold a blog contest. Or at least things to keep in mind / the way I do it. This blog post idea stems from what I think qualifies as an unfair win by someone in a blog contest I recently entered. I had to write a post and link back - which has now been deleted because I don't want those fools getting any links from ME. Anyway, a blog contest is a great way to increase readers to your blog - hopefully ones that will come back! I also like them because I tend to find good blogs to read myself - because I usually pay a visit back to anyone that enters my contest.

Blog Contest How To:

Give something away.
I recommend some thing that people want. Lets face it. No one is going to want that white elephant gift you received last Christmas. Save it for the garage sale - and when it doesn't sell... throw it away or give it to charity!

Now there are certain ways to get items to give away. Some people use the money they get from advertising on their blogs to fund their contests, and some just pull the money out of their own pockets. Another good way to get something to give away is by talking a company to give you a product to review/give away... or offer advertising in exchange for something to give away. Which is what I did for this previous contest.

It is also important to take a snap shot of what you are giving away - that way people know what they are getting themselves it to - plus it will make people want it more.

Tie It In
Now this isn't mandatory but I like to tie my contests into my blog some how. It just seems to make more sense. For example the swag bag giveaway tied into my blog nicely because at the time I was constantly writing geocaching posts and a lot of geocachers were coming to my blog. The Best Buy contest celebrated a milestone on my blog (sort of). Again this isn't mandatory for a contest, but it just goes with the flow if you have a reason or explanation for giving something away.

Decide Who is Eligible
Can people outside your country win? Meaning - are you willing to ship whatever you are giving away internationally? Is this the type of contest where anyone can enter? Or do you have to be a blogger, or member? These are the kinds of questions you need to ask yourself and make clear in your blog post. Clarifying will keep everyone happy - no one likes put effort into entering a contest hoping they are eligible, but not knowing for sure. Personally, I don't care if you are a blogger or not - and I will ship to anywhere. I tend to state that somewhere on the contest some people are not discouraged.

Decide who is not Eligible
Awarding prizes to family and blog contributors, in my opinion is in poor taste. This is a problem I actually ran into in a contest I recently entered. Sure the person had nothing to do with the contest - but in a subjective contest, I can not help but feel favoritism played a part. The person who held the contest read her entry with previous knowledge about the person - as she was a contributor to the SAME blog that was holding the contest. Even if the decision was a random draw I probably still would have been upset. My point is, it wasn't about who should have won (it certainly wasn't me), but more about who shouldn't have won. It's just shady.

So moral of the story make clear in your contest that no family or contributors are eligible. I always do this on my contest posts so my readers don't feel like they are being cheated. It lets people know upfront that you are holding a fair contest.

This step and the next can be done in any way you would like. I just want to stress how important it is to be CLEAR with your instructions. I personally like to have one way to enter the contest, and then ways to earn EXTRA entries. Entry could be as simple as having people who wish to enter leave a comment. Leaving a comment is something anyone can do (depending on your comment settings). If you want them to visit another site first and come back and comment with a certain word or something they saw that is fine to - again anyone can comment so you won't be limiting yourself.

Enter Example:

To enter your name in the drawing you MUST:

*Leave a comment to this post telling me what you would do with this SWAG bag. Yes it is that simple!

Additional Entries
After someone enters the contest, I usually then give them the opportunity for additional entries. Again, these can be done however you like - just be clear. Usually I like to give at least 3 ways people can earn extra entries. You can have them twitter a link back to you, have them link to you on their blog, have them subscribe to your blog ... or whatever else you can think of! I usually like to think of things that you can double check - I always make it a point to make sure people actually DO what they say. I also have people comment to tell me they did these things - otherwise you won't know!

Additional Entries Example:
To earn extra entries in the drawing you can do any or all of the following:
Please be sure to leave a separate comment for each of these the entries to count.

*Twitter about this contest. You must link back to my blog and mention a contest in the tweet.
To make it easy you can use the following if you would like:
"Check it out @airrikajswan is holding a blog contest! #geocaching Hurry! It Ends April 23rd."

*Subscribe to this blog, and tell me what method of subscribing you chose. If you are already a subscriber please tell me the method of subscribing you use - and you will earn this extra entry as well.

*Blog about this contest on your blog! You must link back to my blog and mention a contest in the post.

Make a deadline for you contest and clearly state the date. You will also want to make a time cut off as well. Midnight in Arizona is not the same as midnight in Ohio. If possible specify time zone. It wouldn't be fair to give someone on the west coast a few more hours to get those entries in! Oh yeah. Adhere to your deadline!

Picking a Winner
Picking a winner is the most important part. In your contest rules, please state HOW the winner will be determined. Random by far is the best in my opinion. More people are willing to enter a contest with a random winner - if I was being judged on my writing or answer to a question I would be WAY more hesitant on entering something. However there is no shame in that kind of contest - just make it clear that you will be judging and selecting. In my book - it is important to document the picking of the winner if you are doing a random drawing. If you are using some type of random generator on the internet - you can take a screen shot. This again proves, the best way that you can, a fair contest. If you are picking out of a hat - you could take a picture or make a video.

WHEN is just as important as how. In your contest announcement, be sure to say WHEN the winner will be picked and announced. You also should state if the winner will be announced on the blog - or contacted by e-mail. I always opt for a winner announcement post, followed by an e-mail to the person if they don't end up seeing the post in a day or so ;-) An announcement shows your readers that you actually are giving something away to someone! If you don't announce a winner - I'm assuming you are keeping the goods and just wanted blog traffic >:-(

Make your contest post a sticky post. Meaning it is at the top of your blog until the contest is over. In Blogger it is as simple as changing the post date after posting it. Making the contest a sticky post will allow people to see it right away when coming to your blog. Be sure to put a notice on the post so people will read new posts below.

Sticky Example:


I hope that was informative in some way!
The End.

_____________________________________ This is a scheduled post. Originally written 6/9/09

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Big Switch.

This has nothing to do with The Big Switch - other than The Big Switch is tomorrow.

My random thoughts and frustration with late night television...

I used to hate Conan, However in the past couple years - he has really grown on me. I love him on the Tonight Show.

Jimmy Fallon is okay, but he sucks on Late Night.

This is the only good thing I've seen on his show so far.

Hopefully he gets better. As for right now... it's just not funny.

I know they are different networks - but I would have LOVED to see Jimmy Kimmel or Craig Ferguson take the Late Night spot. Then I wouldn't have to go through the effort of changing the channel.

Oh yeah. Carson Daily blows in general. I know he's made it more of a music thing than a late night show - I just can't stand it.

Friday Flashback

Sophomore Year!


Thanks to soccer and softball in high school - I had a nice tan going in this picture! Oh yeah, I was a hell of a lot skinnier too. I really hate my eyebrows though. I have a feeling this is before I knew what to do with them. Okay, I lie... I still am not sure I know what to do with them!

Here are some more pictures. I don't know when they are from - elementary school at some point...


I love the random ladder prop. You know it's just so natural to come across a paint speckled ladder and pose with it. Good thing it's just a prop. Mom would have killed me if I got that pink paint all over my spiffy outfit. Did the guys get blue speckled paint on their ladders? Did I just say spiffy?


Yey! It's the "I don't want to smile" face! I'm totally rocking the pink floral shirt. I made my mom do my hair like this all the time. Actually if she would do it for me now, I would let her - but she refuses.

More school pictures I've posted before:
First Grade
Elementary School (no idea what grade)
Fourth Grade
Senior year

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rooooaadd Trip!

What started out as a lonely drive to Ohio and back is becoming quite the road trip!

Saturday night I leave for New Mexico to pick up my Tucson friend Hunter. He left yesterday to visit his grandparents there. We will leave from New Mexico early in the morning Sunday headed for Columbus where his other grandparents live.

Of course we will be geocaching on the way. However, he hasn't geocached before - and we have a time limit...So I'm only setting my sights on one cache in each sate. I do have more than one planned in each, just in case I don't find one! I'm not going to tell you what caches I have planned... because I need something to blog about! So you will just have to wait and see!

On the way we will be stopping in Indianapolis to see my friend Jessica. I can't wait to see her! I'm bummed it will only be for a little bit :-/ But I am happy to have the chance to see her!!

After I drop Hunter off in Columbus, I'm headed to Cincinnati. The GOAL is to be there late Monday night. We'll see. I have until Tuesday evening to get there - but it would be nice to get there Monday and have a second or two to catch my breath before heading off to the Bahamas Wednesday morning!!

My Best Friend is getting MARRIED! So exciting... and the reason for the Bahamas.

When we return from the Bahamas I have two days to visit my friends, hang out with my dad, geocache and get my hair cut! I'm thinking Its going to be just above my shoulders. As short as I can, but long enough to cover my tattoo when my hair is down. Anyway. Those two days are going to be hectic. I just know it.

The Friday and Saturday before I leave are wedding receptions (a formal, and informal one). Super excited - but not going to lie... I have to give a little maid of honor speech and I'm nervous about it. She is my best friend and I have a lot to say... but I know I will start crying ... so I better keep it short and sweet.

No. I haven't written anything. Yet.

Sunday I leave to come back to AZ...and guess who is coming with me!? Theresa! She is a fellow blogger and geocacher (and Ohioan).... so I hope to get a lot of caches with her on the way back to AZ. Then some more when she is here! I'm very excited to meet her and have her drive back with me!

I think I'm going to dub this trip "The Internet Friend Road Trip / Tiffany's Wedding Extravaganza" I met Hunter on Flickr and Theresa on (Twitter or her blog I cant remember). I also I hope to meet the Kyle (TheKman) for a geocache or two while in Cincinnati!

I will try to blog when I have Internet access... IF I have Internet access. If you don't her from me while I'm gone... I'll be back in action on the 1st! Be prepared for PICTURES !

Death Cab For Cutie

This guy made this awesome video. I love it. I'm a sucker for stop motion... and Death Cab For Cutie.

Death Cab for Cutie - Little Bribes from Ross Ching on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

There's a Booger in the Sugar, No There'snot

Sick. I've been sick. since Sunday night. Sleepingalldaydizzycoughingsomuchblowingmynoseabazilliontimessick. So sick I occasionally forget how to use the space bar. Please forgive me and my sickness.

I have enough energy to get a bagel though... so I'm off to Brueggers. The best bagel place on the face of the planet.

Yey for having an appetite today!