Cerebral Gibberish

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Skydiving: I’m Alive!

Posted by heymoe on 14th July 2008

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Almost 3 months after our first attempt, Casey and I successfully jumped from a perfectly good airplane and landed safely.

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This time around the weather was great other then it being hot (in the 90s). We also had a larger cheering section in the form of Casey and Lindsay’s parents, Casey’s sister, aunt and uncle. My attempts to talk our other friends, who shall be unnamed (you know who you are 🙂 hehe), to come out and watch failed.

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Our jump was scheduled for 12pm (noon) but we did not actually get into the air until about 1:10pm. As a refresher, both Casey and I went through the level 1 tandem jump class again and about 10 minutes later we were called into the prep room to get geared up. 20 minutes after that it was time to board the plane, a CASA 212 Aviocar.

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Casey and I along with our tandem jump masters (Dave was mine, I’m not sure who Casey’s was) were the first to board the plane since we are going to be the last to leave the plane. The plane was packed with other jumper and everyone was in good spirits and excited. At around 6000 feet, our jump masters started to double check our harnesses and connecting us to their harness / parachute. Casey actually had to get up and sit in his jump master’s lap due to the tight quarters. As we climbed in altitude, the temperature was going down and made me wish it felt that good on the ground.

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Once we were at altitude and over the drop zone the pilot turned on the green light and the other jumpers started to exit the plane. When it was our turn we made our way to the rear of the plane which was awkward due to Dave being shorter then me. I kept reaching out with my right hand to help keep my balance but Dave kept making me put my arm down for some reason. I was able to hold onto the static line cable with my left hand which I guess was OK. Casey, his jump master and his videographer were the first to leave the plane and then Dave and I moved into position. Once in position I once again reached up for a handle on the ceiling to balance myself but had my hand swatted again but I think I know why that time. Looking down at the ground below seemed unrear and before I knew it my arms were crossed and my head was back as we exited the plane doing a back-flip, or at least I think it was a back flip.

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During the free-fall I don’t really remember to much visually, most likely due to the adrenaline rush and concentrating what we were told to do in class. The lack of any visual reference that we are used to on the ground (IE: driving by stationary objects in a car) seemed to cancel out the fact that we were falling at 120MPH. The only real sign of speed was the sound of the wind going by which was quite loud. I remember making sure I had my body arched and arms crossed as instructed until Dave tapped me on my shoulder letting me know it was time to un-cross my arms and hold them in front of me. We performed some left and right turns but I don’t know how many degrees we turned. After that I got tapped on the shoulders again letting me know it was time to re-cross my arms and prepare for the parachute deployment.

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Once the parachute deployed everything went silent and things started to slow down to a more relaxed pace. Dave did the post deployment checks and loosened up the straps on my harness some to try and make things a little more comfortable. He then handed me the parachute controls and we did a practice landing flare and then did some left and right turns. We also did a double turn to demonstrate how the turns get faster the longer you hold it. Dave pointed out where the landing site was and we even saw Casey in the distance below us and the jump plane coming in for a landing. At this point my arms started to get numb so Dave said to put my arms down. I think there was a strap or two still too tight and and was cutting off circulation, oh well.. it happens. Any ways, as we got closer to the ground I could see the cheering squad waving and taking pictures. Our butt first landing was uneventful and it was nice get disconnected and having the blood flowing again.

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After that Casey and I posed for some pictures with our jump masters and then walked back to the cheering squad and posed for even more pictures. We got out of our jump gear and got our logbooks filled out and signed as well as our first jump certificate. We all then headed out to grab some late lunch.

Now the question is should I go for the certification or is one jump enough for me? The experience was great but I kind of wish I remember I remember more of the free fall portion and for that I think more jumps will be required. In theory I could do the level 2 jump and not have to worry about maintaining currency from a training point of view. After level 2 you’ll have to schedule you jumps so that you don’t exceed 30 days or more between. If you do you’ll end of spending more money in the long term since you will most likely have to repeat previous levels before you’re allowed to move on to the next. Hopefully Casey will be interest in getting certified so we and do it together, if not I’ll most likely do it any ways. I highly recommend everyone jump at least once.

Note: Casey is under the white, yellow and blue parachute and I’m under the black and blue one. I also want to thank Casey’s uncle Dayle for taking the pictures of Casey and I making our way back down to Terra Firma.

: ::Update:: :
Lindsay has posted some pictures of Casey’s jump and posted an entry on their blog.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Happy Soggy 4th of July

Posted by heymoe on 5th July 2008

Fireworks

Well so far the only fireworks I’ve seen this 4th of July weekend are from Mother Nature. I headed down to the Raleigh fairgrounds in hopes of setting up the camera and make attempts at capturing the fireworks action but that pretty much failed more or less from the beginning.

I knew going down to the fairgrounds was going to be a mess with traffic and cars everywhere so figured I would take the motorcycle out so I can easily find a parking space up close. I check the weather about an hour before heading out and everything looked good then but I should have checked it before I left. A little over halfway to the fairgrounds it started to sprinkle and I could see lighting in the distance. When I was almost to the fairgrounds, maybe two exits away, I hit traffic and the rain was really coming down. At this point I figured the fireworks were canceled so I worked my way out of the traffic and stopped by a bar for a drink near the apartment I used to live in during college. I figured I would hold up in the bar until the rain stopped.

As luck would have it, shortly after getting my drink I got a call from the security company for my work informing me that the alarm was triggered. We being the good employee I am I figured I should head to the office, which was on the way home any ways, and make sure everything was OK. So I finished my drink which by that time the rain looked like it died down to a sprinkle again and head out. Once on the road again Mother Nature figured I was not wet enough and sent a tropical down pour my way. Of course when the down pour hit everyone on the road turned stupid and started to flash their emergency lights but instead of moving into the right lanes so other people who know how to drive in the rain could get by, they just formed a line across all lanes pacing each other blocking in everyone behind them. GRRrrrr.. I hate stupid drivers.

By time I got to the office I was soaked to the bone. My shoes were full of water and my leather motorcycle jacket must have weighted another 10 pounds. Luckily my camera and lens were still nice and dry in my backpack.

After spending about 30 minutes at the office verifying everything was secure (It looked like it was a false alarm), I got on the motorcycle and headed home. At this points I was looking forward to getting out of my wet cloths and relax to a movie or something. Well that plan pretty much we out the door as I turned into my neighborhood. The storm that I’ve been fighting my way through pretty much since I left the house knocked out power to my whole neighborhood. So after everything I’ve gone though just to see some fireworks, my 4th of July ended in the dark.

Any ways, the fairgrounds fireworks were rescheduled to the 5th and this time I’m just staying home. As of right now it looks like it was a good decision since it has been raining pretty much all evening. Actually, checking the local news site it looks like the fireworks at the fairground did go off tonight but they started an hour early so I would have missed them any ways. Oh well. Maybe next year I’ll get to try and photography fireworks. Yeah!

Posted in Events, Photography, Transportation, Work | No Comments »

Animazement 2008 – Update

Posted by heymoe on 29th May 2008

Animazement 2008

I think I have finally fully recovered from this past weekend and what a weekend it was. Animazement pulled in a new attendance record of 5,374 this year which I believe is a 19% increase from the previous year. I would like to congradulate all the staff and guests that made this year such a success.

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The weather this year was just about as perfect as one could hope for. With the exception of some early morning rain on one day, it was sunny and cool which allowed for the attendees mingle outside in the lawn and take part in large games of duck-duck-goose and red-rover. I think this year was the first time in the eight years that Animazement has been held at the Sheraton Imperial that the lawn was utilized to such an extent. Previous year it was either to hot and muggy or wet / rainy to stay outside. Reading the forums, it sounds like a lot of the attendees really enjoyed using the lawn this year and are hoping for something similar next year.

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Speaking of next year, Animazement will be moving to the Raleigh Convention Center (RCC) due to outgrowing the available space at the Sheraton Imperial. The RCC is several times larger then the Sheraton Imperial so it should take Animazement awhile to grow out of it. None the less, next year is going to be a very interesting and exciting time.

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This year one of my jobs was being one of the convention’s photographers which was really great. I did not have my camera last year and it really sucked not being able to photograph all the cosplayers in their elaborate costumes. I did a lot of indoor flash photography, which I think I still need more practice at. I got to experiment with using the manual settings of the camera for long exposure during the dances including the use of rear curtain flash sync to stop the motion of the dancers before the long exposure ended. I was also a video camera operator during some of the panels which was something new for me to do as well.

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I missed watching the Cosplay contest this year since I was taking photos of the groups before then went on stage so that the judges could use them to help them decided on the winners. It did sound like there were some really good ones this year so I hope to be able to see them at some point. Animazement also appeared in the local Herald-Sun newspaper on Monday. You can also read the article online (Registration required to read the whole thing: See my previous post about Mailinator).

Even though I only got around 3 hours of sleep each night, seeing how much fun all the attendees were having and even having some of them come up to members of the staff and thanking them for all their hard work to make it such an enjoyable event seem to make it all worth while. I look forward to helping out next year. See you all there!

Links to more photos in my gallery:
General (PicLens PicLens Button)
Cosplay Contest (PicLens PicLens Button)
Craftsmanship Contest (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Animazement 2008

Posted by heymoe on 22nd May 2008

Animazement 2008

Just a reminder that Animazement 2008 starts tomorrow. So if you like Anime or interested in Japanese culture, check it out this weekend. For more information on the schedule, pricing, etc.. check out their web site. I’ll be there pretty much all weekend helping out and taking pictures so stay tuned for my post-convention update. C’yas.

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Artsplosure 2008

Posted by heymoe on 21st May 2008

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Last Saturday I made a trip downtown for Artsplosure 2008 which is an annual arts festival that features a wide variety of arts, crafts, music, food and activities for grownups and kids alike. The weather on Saturday was absolutely brilliant with clear skies and temperatures that did not make me wish I wore shorts.

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This year marked the festival’s 29th year and to me the festival was very organized and planned out. There were two stages for the live music so while one band was playing on one stage the other was being prepared for the next band so that there was very little dead air between the bands. The different arts and crafts were more or less grouped together so if you wanted to see stuff related to pottery, you did not have to wonder around the whole venue.

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There were a lot of activities for the kids to take part in including face / hair painting, bubbles, butterflies, large chessboard, etc. There was a large caterpillar structure that the kids could crawl under and every so often when there were enough kids inside the caterpillar they would all lift it up and move it around the park with their legs representing the many legs of a caterpillar. It was very creative and neat to watch.

The typical fair style food vendors were there to feed and hydrate the masses. I could not pass up buying some honey coated cinnamon almonds and walnuts. Those things are just ohhhhh so good. As a bonus I also got a “free” bottle of water with the nuts which was nice.

Over all I had a really great time and will plan on going again next year.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Wine, Skydiving and Barbers: Oh My!

Posted by heymoe on 20th April 2008

Phew! The weekend is over.. Finally.. Saturday was the annual Uncork the Fun wine festival in Cary and since I forgot to buy tickets advance, I got up early so I could get there when the gates open to beat the lines. Getting their early also had the benefit of not having to deal with the lines at each of the wineries’ tents which allowed me to take my time while sampling their selections without feeling rushed by the line of people behind you. This year several wineries put out wines made wholly from strawberries or as a blend with traditional wine grapes. The strawberry concoctions typically ranged from semi-sweet to OMG sweet. I bought one of these concoctions that had a semi-sweet to sweet start and finished with an interesting “kick” that caught my attention vs. the others I sampled. Any ways, sometime between getting there and around 1pm, when I took a break for lunch, I started to feel really “happy” after all the tasting and Casey has the voice mail to prove it 🙂 hehe..

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At around 2:30pm I decided I tasted all that I could and it was getting crowded so I hit the road and headed to Carolina Sky Sports in Franklinton NC. to check out their facilities and to get more information on jumping out of an airplane. Getting there was pretty easy and the drive down Highway 56 was scenic. Being that this is the first drop zone I’ve been to, I have no reference on how good or bad it is compared to others but I liked what I saw and everyone I talked to were really nice and were more then happy to answer any questions I had.

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There was a large observation deck out back and I was able to take some photos of some skydivers making their way back to Terra Firma. Well, after talking and watching for a bit, I decided I really wanted to jump from an airplane so I went and asked about scheduling a jump. They told me that due to the 4 straight weekends of rain they had a back log of people already scheduled but they did have spots for one or two people tomorrow (Sunday). At this point I gave Casey a call again, this time not so “happy”, to see if he was up for a jump and he was, so I scheduled us for the 2pm class and headed home.

To end my Saturday I watched Sweeney Todd on DVD. I was not sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it. I thought Johnny Depp and Helena Carter did a great job playing Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett as was their singing.

On Sunday, Casey, Lindsay and I met up at Carolina Sky Sports for our 2pm class and the first line of business was to watch a short video explaining the dangers of skydiving. It was hosted by a guy who looked like he was a member of ZZ Top which was amusing. Next we had to sign away our ability to sue pretty much anyone that we, our family, our next of kin, etc could sue in the case we are injured or die from skydiving. Then we paid for the jump and moved to the training room were an instructor ran through the gear used and the process of the first Tandem jump. During this time we could hear a down pour of rain going on which caused a weather delay for the three groups ahead of us which means our jump also got pushed back. The weather delay was lifted not long after we got out of training and the weather was looking good… so we thought. When the third group was on their way up, Casey and I were called into to staging room where we were given a jump suite to squeeze into. Lindsay came in and took pictures of Casey and I in our jump suites and we all chatted with the other two guys and their family who were in our group. Our jump masters came in about 20 mins later after completing their jump with the previous group and attached the tandem harness to Casey and I. So at this point we were ready to go but another storm front moved in and we were grounded. We waited for a while hopping for it to clear but when it got to be around 6pm it was decided to call it a day so Casey, Lindsay and I spent 4 hours at Carolina Sky Sports and all we had to show for it was a rain check to try again later.

Weather 1, Skydiving 0.

We all agreed that the next time we make our attempt that we would try to talk two other friends to jump with us or at least have them come out and be our cheering squad as we fall from the sky (hopefully cheering for our safe decent 🙂 hehe). Lindsay has update their blog with her account of our skydiving adventure including the pictures she took so check them out.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Super Bowl XLII

Posted by heymoe on 4th February 2008

I’m not a football expert and I mainly watch the Super Bowl for the commercials but it would seem to me that the inability of the Patriots’ defense to fend of the blitz plays by the Giants prevented the Patriots from winning and going 19-0. Or at least it played a big part of them loosing. Oh well.

For the most part, I was disappointed with the commercials this year. Here is the list of the ones I did enjoy and why or just view them all here or here:


Audi – Godfather: 1st Quarter
I liked this one not only for the Godfather spoof but also because I own an Audi and the R8 is just so HOT! gimmie!

Diet Pepsi – What Is Love: 1st Quarter
I mainly liked how this one started by looking like it was part of the game and ending with the “Stop It!”

Bridgestone – Squirrel: 1st Quarter
It was cute to see how the different animals screamed and for spoofing the Bud Light commercials of years past.

Doritos – Mouse Trap: 2nd Quarter
The way this one ended was unexpected in a good way and just made me laugh

Pepsi – Justin Timberlake: 2nd Quarter
A mailbox post to the crotch is a sure fire way to get a laugh.

Coca-Cola – Balloons: 3rd Quarter
Stewie vs. Underdog, what’s not to like.

Vitamin Water – Horse Race: 3rd Quarter
Just seeing Shaq as a jockey was enough to make me laugh.

Bridgestone – Headlights: 3rd Quarter
At first I thought it was going to be the typical car headlight commercial but then they threw in Alice Cooper and Richard Simmons for laughs.

Well I guess overall this Super Bowl was nothing special for me. I’m sure I could have spent 3+ hours doing something else maybe even something productive. I did enjoy the episode of House that aired after the game.

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Motorsports Expo 2008

Posted by heymoe on 6th January 2008

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I took a trip over to the fairgrounds today to check out the Motorsports Expo at Dorton Arena. This event raises money to send Wake county youths to summer camp. There was a lot going on especially for the kids. They had several blow-up play area and other activities like a NASCAR simulator. Of course then there were the cars and drag bikes for everyone to look at up close. I was hopping there were going to be more cars but I guess I need to go to an actually car show for that. As a bonus they were handing out free samples of Slim Jims most likely fresh from the Garner plant which I’m sure will make Justin happy. hehe. Any ways, I had a good time and it was for a good cause plus I was able to wonder around the flea market afterwards.

More Photos Here

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Happy New Year: 2008

Posted by heymoe on 1st January 2008

Happy New Year: 2008


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Merry Christmas

Posted by heymoe on 25th December 2007

Merry XMas


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