Cerebral Gibberish

What's on my mind, might just blow yours.

Duke Gardens

Posted by heymoe on March 23rd, 2008

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Today was such a nice day I decided to get out of the house and visit Duke Gardens for the first time. I guess this could also count as yet another local park I’ve explored as well. Any ways, after taking a wrong turn due to me not writing the direction down correctly, I arrived just to realize that a) A lot of people are spending their Easter afternoon here or b) A lot of people are just spending their afternoon here. There were two parking lots and both were full of course but after making a circuit or two around the lots, I was able to get a parking spot. Parking was listed as costing $2.00/hour with a max of $8.00 but they only charged me $2.00 for two hours which was just the amount of cash I had on me and they don’t take credit cards for parking. There is no charge for visiting the gardens which was nice.

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The gardens are divided into four sections: The Doris Duke Center, The Culberson Asiatic Arboretum, The Terraces and The Blomquest Garden of Native Plants. The Doris Duke Center acts as the welcome center and gift shop as well as a library and classroom space. The Culberson Asiatic Arboretum garden features ~550 species of flora from eastern Asia. The Terraces’ main attraction is, well, the terraces which were full of color from the wide range of flowers and the New Jersey limestone. Last but not least The Blomqueist Garden of Native Plants which features, can you guess, ~900 species and varieties of regional native plants.

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You could see the signs of the drought pretty much everywhere in the gardens especially the south lawn in the Terraces garden which was fenced off and looked really dry but I guess that might just be how that type of grass looks in early spring. A lot of plants and trees were still leafless but I figure in a few more weeks the gardens will really be hopping. Two hours was not enough time for me to explore all 5 miles of paths and trails so I will definitely have to go back. Hopefully next time there will be fewer people wondering around and I’ll have a zoom / macro lens to get up close to the flowers.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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WTF: Credit Card Activation

Posted by heymoe on March 23rd, 2008

I received a replacement card in the mail for one that is getting ready to expire the other day. I had two options to activate the card: 1) Use the card in an ATM machine or 2) Call an 800 number. Since I was not near an ATM machine I decided to use the 800 number method.

The automated system first asked me for the number on the card. OK, no problem with this one since they need to know what they are activating. Then it asked for the expiration date on the card. OK, I can see this being useful as it verifies I have physical access to the card. At this point I was expecting to get prompted for something that in theory I would only know like the PIN but instead the automated system said the card has been activated. So in theory if someone stole my mail they could have activated the card because all the information they needed they had (the card number and the expiration date). Gee I feel secure now.

The only thing I can think of that might have made this secure, sort of, is that they used caller-ID and verified that I called from the registered phone number on the account. If they did do this it would be nice if they said so.

Oh, one last annoying thing about the 800 activation process is that the automated service tried to sell me their Identity Theft Protection service after I activated the card. I promptly selected the option that said no thanks just for the automated voice to ask me are you sure and tried to sell it to me once again. Geess.. No means No!!!

Posted in Gibberish | 2 Comments »

Update: My Movies

Posted by heymoe on March 23rd, 2008

The following movies have been added to my movie collection and there are a lot of them this time around since I’ve been lazy:

BeowulfDeath at a FuneralLegend of the Black ScorpionMr. Magorium's Wonder EmporiumDan in Real LifeNo Country for Old MenBee MovieHitmanAppleseed: Ex MachinaAtonementI Am LegendEnchanted

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Shelley Lake

Posted by heymoe on March 22nd, 2008

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As part of the recent changes at work, we gained Good Friday as a work holiday. So after I was done shopping at Crabtree Valley Mall, I headed to Shelley Lake to continue my exploration of local parks.

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I’ve actually been to Shelley Lake before but that must have been at least 8 years ago and from what I remember from way back when, a lot of things have changed. I don’t remember the path all the way around the lake being paved or at least not as wide as it was. I don’t remember there being a boat house and docks. I’m pretty sure the playground has been updated as well.

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Unlike Lake Johnson, I did not have any problem finding a parking space. Granted that might be due to it being Friday and not everyone having Good Friday off or maybe there was just more parking available. The trail around the lake has markings every quarter mile for a total of 2 miles and took me about an hour to go once around including stops for taking pictures. There are some large wide open fields where people were enjoying different activities like frisbee and soccer or just enjoying the sun. I enjoyed my visit and I’m sure to go back.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Final Countdown, Cello Style

Posted by heymoe on March 8th, 2008

I came across this video in one of the forums I read. I don’t know about you but I really like this version of “The Final Countdown” by Europe.


If you don’t remember or want a refresher on what the original Europe version sounds like, here is a video of a live performance of “The Final Countdown“.



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Get Smart

Posted by heymoe on March 3rd, 2008

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Yesterday I had an opportunity to get a close up look of a 2008 Smart Coupe which is a 2 seat, 3 cylinder vehicle that measures 8.8 feet long and 5.1 feet wide. It gets a gas mileage of 33 City / 41 Highway so with its 8.7 gallon gas tank you can travel ~287 – 356 miles on a tank of gas.

The Smart vehicles went on sale in the US on January 2008 and is part of the Mercedes Car Group. There are three versions of the Smart being sold in the US. Two are coupes and one is a cabriolet convertible. Price wise you’re looking at a starting price of $11,590 for the entry level “pure coupe” to $16,590 for the convertible plus any optional packages. I personally think it is a little pricey for such a small car but it’s still ~$5000 cheaper then the starting price of a Toyota Prius Hybrid.

I did try to get behind the steering wheel but my knees did not quite want to get under the wheel so I guess I won’t be driving one of these home anytime soon but I think it would be fun if I could. Oh Well.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Google: Street View

Posted by heymoe on March 2nd, 2008

Cool, I was looking for direction using Google Maps today and noticed that they added Street Views to the Raleigh area. Of course I had to pull up my home address and sure enough I could see my house from the Street View. It looks like camera van drove around the area last summer between July and August since the picture of my house included the my Sunflowers .

Posted in Home, Internet / Tech | No Comments »

Sick Again

Posted by heymoe on February 24th, 2008

Well I’m sick again for another birthday and I blame Justin 😛 hehe. I was feeling fine Friday but woke up Saturday not quite feeling right and ended the day with a sore throat, slight headache and a chill. Woke up today more or less the same but hopefully it will get better as the day goes on so my birthday is not a total washout. Oh well, life goes on.

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Lake Johnson Park

Posted by heymoe on February 17th, 2008

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It has been awhile since I’ve gone exploring a local park so after my haircut on Saturday I told my GPS to show the a list of parks in the area and Lake Johnson Park was the winner.

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My first impression of the park was not that great due to the limited amount of parking. I circled the lot a couple of times, along with several other cars, hopping that I would get lucky and get a spot. After my third time around the lot I decided to drive to the other side of the lake and see if there was any parking over there, since there was a boardwalk that also went across the lake, and there was. The other parking lot was also small but at least people had the ability to park on the side of the road but luckily I was able to get a parking spot in the lot.

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I decided to head across the boardwalk since there seemed to be more activity on that side of the lake. The boardwalk was well maintained and populated with walkers, joggers and fishers. It also provided a nice view of the lake as you strolled across. On the other side there was a park center which provided a concession stand, restrooms, a nice covered deck with rocking chairs that over looked the lake and boat rentals.

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Wild life wise consisted mainly of ducks, geese and seagulls. I’m sure there are more critters out there and luckily I did not have a run in with anything that could have put me in the hospital like last time, even when I went off the trail to get some pictures.

Other then the limited parking, Lake Johnson Park turned out to be another nice park to explore. Granted I only explored a small bit of the park since the park consist of over 300+ acres of land. The map of the park show a fully paved trail that goes all the way around the east side of the lake and an unpaved trail around the west side. Next time I’ll have to get there earlier and take a stroll around the lake.

More Photos Here (PicLens PicLens Button)

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Update: My Movies

Posted by heymoe on February 17th, 2008

The following movies have been added to my movie collection:

Resident EvilSaw IVMonth Python's: Life of BrianRobin B HoodResident Evil

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