Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tax Day Approaching Again

When you see this form, does it send chills down your spine or make you feel physically sick?

Every year I dread the day when I have to sit down and do my taxes. I usually become fidgety and restless while my husband plugs in the numbers onto Turbotax. It's my job to verify he's entering the numbers correctly. Yeah right, in my state of mind hundreds of miles away.

First of all, I hate math, paperwork, and paying more of my hard earned money towards taxes. Secondly, I rather be blogging or doing something constructive. :P

Well, after 5 hours of staring at the computer screen and pouring over all our old receipts, we finally finished our 2006 taxes, but who knows if it's correct. You can ask 10 accountants a tax question and they will give you 10 different answers.

I don't know why they make doing taxes so difficult or boring. My brother is a tax accountant and I don't know how he can stand doing other peoples' taxes for a living. My hats off to all the tax preparers during this tax season.

- AV

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cute dog gone wild

Here is my dog, doesn't he look cute? I guess this is subjective. As you can see, he's not a morning dog.
And in this photo, it's my precious dog's handy work of my couch this afternoon. He's got strong teeth for a little guy. You can see he's even pulled the heavy couch away from the wall.

- AV

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Visiting new places

I meant to post this last week, but I just got too busy.

I brought my car in for its 60,000 miles maintenace at a shop 25 miles away from home. Why did I go so far? Well, my friend works there so I was able to get some discounts. :) Car maintenance ain't cheap!

Anyways, while waiting for my car, I discovered some neat places around town. There's a Pez Museum, interesting building architectures, and the town's historical society museum right next to the train station. At first glance, I thought there were some "people" waiting inside for the train so I tried the door handle only to discover it was locked. I looked through the window and was taken aback by these creepy mannequins standing around wearing vintage clothing. For an instance there, I thought it was something out of the Twilight Zone. Luckily, I wasn't there at night. :O

- AV

Monday, March 19, 2007

Have you cheated? Will you report other drivers?

How many of you have driven in the carpool lane during rush hour with no passengers?

I know I have and I think some of you have too. :P

There is now pending legislation in California to setup a 800 number hotline for drivers to report other drivers who use the carpool lane illegally. To read the news report, click San Jose Mercury News.

If there is a 800 number, would you report fellow motorists who misuse the carpool lane?

- AV

(Note: Cartoon is by Mark Parisi)

Friday, March 16, 2007

New USPS R2-D2 Mailboxes

Call me crazy, but I woke up in the middle of the night today to go see the installation of the new Postal Service R2-D2 mailbox in San Francisco at 6 AM. These mailboxes are popping up around the U.S. in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the Star Wars movie. There is a rumor that on March 28th, the Postal Service will release a Star Wars stamp; thus, the new drop box promotion. After 3 weeks, these mailboxes will be removed, re-painted back to Postal Service Blue, and placed back into service as regular ho-hum drop boxes.

Let me know if you see one in your neighborhood.

- AV

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Smelling stuffed animals

At a recent visit to the Boston Science Museum, I noticed a few of the nature exhibits included an option of smelling certain animals. I can't remember all of them, but I believe one was a fox display. If you press the button as seen in the picture and get close to the vents, you can get a whiff of how a fox smells in the wild.

This was the first time I have seen such a thing, but apparently, it's in quite a few museums. I wasn't curious enough to breathe in any aromatic smells of a taxidermied animal. I wonder if there is a skunk exhibit out there somewhere to wake up our senses.

- AV

Monday, March 12, 2007

I Hate Flying

After my recent trip, I have to say how much I hate flying. Unfortunately, there isn't another method to get anywhere "quickly". Too bad transporters are not available yet, but I'm not sure I want my molecules dematerialized and re-assembled at my destination.

Anyways, there's the "fair of being late" factor. I always like to arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes beforehand while my husband likes to time it so he gets on the plane right at boarding. Every time we travel together, this gets me into a fit. Although, I have trained him somewhat to arrive 60 minutes ahead.

There's the hassle of waiting in line to take off my shoes, take out my laptop, ...etc. Fortunately for us travelers, the "Shoe Bomber" wasn't the "underwear bomber". I'm not sure how TSA would have handled that one.

Then, there's the passengers. Last year I was on a plane where a passenger freaked out when the door to the plane was closed. He kept repeating he had to get out and eventually the flight attendant let him off leaving all his friends on the plane dumbfounded.

And, on my return trip from Boston a few days ago, a passenger sat in my husband's assigned aisle seat and refused to leave. He said his girlfriend had a bad experience flying and had to be by her side. He insisted that my husband sit in his middle seat instead. No one wants to change from an aisle seat to a middle seat to travel across country. At that point, the flight attendant took over and "made" the guy go back to his original seat which caused the girlfriend to start crying. To make a long story short, the couple was moved to first class to keep them from causing a scene.

Furthermore, the airline misplaced our luggage. An United representative called at 8pm saying someone will leave the bag at our doorstep between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. without disturbing us. Of course, a little after midnight we get a call asking for our address. Apparently, someone misspelled our street name and he couldn't find where to drop it off.

Do you have any travel stories you would like to tell?

- AV

(Note: Image borrowed from

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Boston Photo Report, Part 2

I thought I would bombard you with a few photos I took while in Boston. If the temperature wasn't so cold and if I had more time, I would have taken more. ;P

- AV

Friday, March 09, 2007

Boston Trip Report, Part 1

Just got back from Boston after a week there. It was freezing cold with temperatures dipping below zero if you take wind chill factor into account. This was the coldest weather I have ever experienced in my life, but fortunately, it didn't snow so it was still possible to go outsie.

The slide show has a picture of us taking off from our connecting flight from Chicago O'Hare, going over Lake Michigan, the dilapidated Boston subway station, and empty subway train during a late weeknight.

- AV

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Been extremely busy and I finally have a moment to post something new. Above are pictures of what I did over the weekend. Every year, there is a big sci-fi/comic book/fantasy convention in San Francisco which I attend annually for the past 5 years with friends. Because of the beautiful weather, I'm sure the convention surpassed last year's attendance of 18,000 people.

These conventions are usually all day walking around taking pictures, talking to people, looking at merchandise, ...etc. It's a lot of fun, but always more tiring than working an 8 hour day.

- AV