Friday, June 29, 2007

iPhone Lines - Go Figure

Have you been following the recent hype about the iPhone? If not, today, June 29th, was the official release of Apple's new iPhone. Some people have been waiting in line outside the Apple Stores around the U.S. for days so they can be one of the first ones to own the new toy. Since I'm a gadget freak, I would have loved to own one of these babies, but I already have a Samsung Blackjack so I can't switch now. Plus the monthly rate plans are out of my price range.

As I am not currently working, I should have waited in line outside the store anyways. Some people at the front of the line have reportedly being offered $500 to swap spaces. That's crazy since that's the price of the phone. According to the Apple website, there are still an abundant of inventory available tomorrow.

And, if you look in Craigslist, some new owners are offering to sell their phone at double the retail price! Shocking!

- AV

(Note: Image of iPhone customers taken by Norbert von der Groeben of the Palo Alto Weekly)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Your Blogging Schedule

One top blogger says he spends 20 minutes a day tops writing his own blog. Is that all it takes? Ever since I started blogging last September, I find myself constantly thinking of new topics or taking new pictures to share.

I know it keeps my mind active for material. Boring subjects are deadly as well as taking long breaks from writing to where your audience loses interest and goes elsewhere.

So, how much time do you spend writing your own blog AND surfing to other blogger sites?

I want to thank Lifesinger at Celebrate Life - Daily! for tagging me yesterday. I had to come up with 5 songs that impacted my life. It's my first tag and the hardest. I can't say there are 5 songs that really impacted my life. Sad, huh?

- AV

(Note: Cartoon borrowed from

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Soldier Was Suggested By Jenn

Staff Sgt. Darrell R. Griffin Jr.
Staff Sgt. Darrell R. Griffin Jr.
36 years old from Alhambra, California
2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division
March 21, 2007

"He was a really patriotic young man", said Darrell Griffin Sr. "He said that the people there really needed us and he felt it was the right place to be. He wished we didn’t have to have wars, but since that’s the way mankind is, he felt he was contributing an important part to his country".

SSgt. Griffin lost his life in Balad, Iraq when his unit came under fire as it was returning to base after conducting security operations in the Iraqi capital.

The eldest son of six children, SSgt. Griffin worked as an EMT before joining the California Army National Guard in 1999. He enlisted in the Army two years later, and in July 2001, was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, in Ft. Lewis, Washington. He served with that unit in Iraq from October 2004 to September 2005.

On his second tour of duty, SSgt. Griffin had been awarded the Bronze Star for valor in 2005 when he was credited with saving the lives of three U.S. and two Iraqi Army soldiers injured during battle in Tal Afar. He had also received the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Parachute Badge, and the Meritorious Unit Citation.

"Griff was the type of man you want to have by your side in a fight," Maj. Brent Clemmer, his former company commander, wrote from Iraq. "He was the type of squad leader every young soldier wants to have".

"Darrell was my husband, my Soldier, my gift from God who was also the love of my life and always will be." Said his wife, Diana. "He was also 'a Soldier's Soldier of Strength and Honor' whose commitment to duty, honor and loyalty will be forever remembered by all who know and love him. The news of his death saddens us deeply and we ask for your prayers in our time of grief. Please also continue to keep our Soldiers in your prayers

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bridal Shower Gift

Last week I received an invitation to attend a friend's bridal shower luncheon. Since I have not attended too many showers in my days, do you have any suggestions for gifts?

Come to think of it, my husband and I kind of "eloped" so I never had my own bridal shower. I wouldn't have liked all the attention anyways.

Okay, I my friend is in her mid-20's. We are not close although we belong to a similar organization and see each other at least once a month; however, most of our conversations are about general subjects.

So, what do you give a gal who is non-traditional, non-conservative, non-cooker, non-fancy, ...etc. I'm thinking a gift basket. Can't go wrong, right?

- AV

(Note: Image from

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Highway Robbery

My sister-in-law experienced a scary incident at work last week. As a manager, she hired an out-of-state employee whom I'll call "John".

"John" was scheduled to begin his new job several weeks ago. However, after missing his start date by several days, my sister-in-law received a call from him stating he was on his way, but his car broke down while driving through Vegas and his start date will have to be delayed by another week.

When "John" did finally show up for work, he came in late. By this time, my sister-in-law was fed up, called him into her office, and was ready to fire "John" on the spot. Instead of going through a simple firing process, "John" got extremely irate and started ranting & raving at her. He refused to leave her office even after she called one of her co-workers to come in to try to convince "John" to leave. I'm not sure why she didn't call Security although I'm not sure if her small company even has a Security department.

This is the part that really gets me...when "John" still didn't leave, HR decided to pay this guy LOTS of MONEY to get him out of their hair and hopefully he won't come back to harm anyone at the company in a future date.

I consider this extreme "highway robbery"!!!

- AV

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Whoa Horsey!

I attended a county fair parade this morning and saw these interesting sights. The handlers were trying to get this gigantic balloon under the low hanging city sign and signal lights.

- AV

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Aging With Time

I was on StumbleUpon last night and came across this very curious website of the Golberg family who has been photographing themselves annually since 1976. This is a wonderful way to record family history, but definitely not recommended for those who don't want to see themselves age.

A few years back, I bumped into my cousin whom I haven't seen since we were teenagers. He came by to say 'hi' to me, but I embarrassingly asked him "who are you?". I'm sure he was offended or thought I grew up to be some dimwitted fool. I guess I should be flattered that he recognized me.

First of all, I didn't expect to see him of all people so I was caught off guard. If I would have given myself a few moments to think logically, I would have recognized him. Okay, enough of defending myself. It's already too late. :O

- AV

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wednesday Hero

Lance Cpl. Hatak Yuka Keyu M. Yearby
Lance Cpl. Hatak Yuka Keyu M. Yearby
21 years old from Overbrook, Oklahoma
3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force
May 14, 2006

Hatak Yuka Keyu Martin Yearby was remembered in funeral services as a small town boy who balanced his Choctaw tribal heritage and his military life.

He did traditional American Indian dances with grace, compassion, discipline and free spirit — "the way he lived his life," the Rev. Timm Emmons said Monday.

"He had a desire to be in the military since he was a young boy. And he believed in what he was doing. He was a warrior, and he was a hero and he finished the course."

Yearby was killed by a roadside bomb, along with fellow Lance Cpl. Jose S. MarinDominguez Jr., in the Al Anbar province of Iraq, two months after he arrived in that country.

Friends and family, fellow American Indians, teachers and classmates filed past his open casket for an hour after the funeral while a U.S. Marine Corps honor guard stood at attention.

About 1,000 people attended a funeral service meant to celebrate the life of the 21-year-old newlywed from Overbrook in southern Oklahoma’s Love County.

Those who spoke in the packed Marietta High School auditorium talked of how he loved to hunt, but never came back with anything. He played tricks, won dancing awards at powwows and appeared on a recruiting magazine for Upward Bound because of a headdress he made from a T-shirt.

Nine of his friends stood on stage to remember Yearby. Jake Barber spoke for them, pausing several times to regain his composure.

"Many great words describe Hatak. The only real word you need to say is 'brother'. He will always be known to us as the ace of spades, the most important card in the deck. He touched us so dearly that words cannot explain,".

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Local Art Show

I was at a local art show a few weekends ago and saw this interesting sculpture so I had to take a picture of it.

What do you think?

- AV

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Ramblings

Been under the weather AGAIN the last few days. I think all the stress and lack of enough sleep finally caught up with me and my body is telling me to rest.

So, enough about me...what is everyone doing for Father's Day? Do other countries celebrate Father's Day?
Every year, I always noticed Mother's Day seems to be more "popular" than Father's Day. Why is that? Some restaurants give away red roses to women for Mother's Day, but I never see men getting anything for Father's Day. Should they be receiving ties, wallets, socks, cigars, baseball caps, ..etc.?

- AV

(Note: Image borrowed from

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Hero Was Suggested By Malinda

69-year-old Bert Brady has never stepped foot in Iraq or Afghanistan, yet many soldiers who have know who he is and appreciate what he's done for them. You see, for the past year Mr. Brady has made a trip to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport nearly every morning to welcome home returning American troops. Bert Brady, along with fellow veterans, is a member of the Welcome Home a Hero program. They make sure that every soldier who steps off a plane in Dallas gets a special homecoming.

Brady shows up each day with the goal of making soldiers feel appreciated and proud of their service. He's often joined by veterans of the Vietnam and Korean wars who did not get a warm reception when they returned from battle.

"We are not going to forget them like a lot of Vietnam soldiers have been forgotten," Brady said. "We are not going to forget the soldiers of today."

To read more about Bert Brady, you can go to

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tour of Pier 39

I spent Saturday at the famous San Francisco tourist spot and I thought I would take a few photos to show those of you who have never been there. It was a beautiful Saturday and there were people everywhere. Parking was a killer at $6 per hour with a max of $30 total and all the spaces were filled by noon.

If you're ever in the area, come down here for a visit.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Consulting Work & Other Ramblings

My former company hired my replacement and also hired me back as a consultant to train her. After a few days, I could see she was ready to tear her hair out. I had to feel sorry for her. Anyways, I have flexible hours and I get paid 3 times more than when I was a regular employee.

I had to say that going back to work there after I resigned felt strange. Some thanked me for coming back and I'm sure others thought I was crazy or greedy, but hey, you can't please everyone.

I'm one of those people who have to keep busy all the time otherwise I will go crazy. Too much relaxation drives me crazy.

Thanks to all who asked about my dad after he had his heart attack almost 2 weeks ago. He has been home and is also visiting his doctors regularly for further treatment.

TGIF Everyone!

- AV

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Two Wednesday Heroes

(Note: I was out of town last week so I am including 2 stories this week.)

This Weeks Soldier Was Suggested By Kathy

Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie
Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie
41 years old from Ann-Arbor, Michigan

Specialist Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie is a Iraqi American U.S. Army linguist soldier, from Ann-Arbor, Michigan who was kidnapped on October 23, 2006 in Baghdad and has not been seen since.

al-Taayie joined the Army in 2004 to help not only his country, the United States, but also his birthplace of Iraq and was deployed in 2005. On October 23, 2006 he was visiting his wife in the Karrada Shiite neighborhood in central Baghdad when he and his cousin were kidnapped by a group calling themselves Ahel al-Beit Brigades. His cousin was released shortly after. On November 2, 2006 al-Taayie's uncle received a ransom demand of $250,000 for his return. Along with the ransom came a grainy video that showed a man beaten up who was identified as al-Taayie. No more has been heard from al-Taayie or his captures.

For more information on Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie you can go here


This Weeks Soldiers Were Suggested By Mary Ann

Col. David Sutherland
Col. David Sutherland(Left)
45 Years Old From Toledo, Ohio
Commander, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division

Since being deployed to the Diyala province of Iraq in November 2006, Col. David Sutherland, along with brigade Chaplain Maj. Charlie Fenton, pictured on the right, has made it a point to visit every wounded soldier and say goodbye to each and everyone of his men who've lost their life. Four of his soldiers died on one day in April 2007 and the bad news arrived at his office in waves -- a knock on the door, a note handed in by an aide, heads bowed, knowing glances exchanged. Aides say Sutherland walks to the mortuary affairs tent at his base and embraces the dead bodies of his men. "I hug all my fallen soldiers", said Sutherland. "They are my own".

Diyala province is one of the worst places in Iraq. Public beheadings of Iraqi police, tribal wars, sectarian wars and al-Qaida. "I didn't come here thinking it'd be easy. No one told me, 'You're gonna get 9 hours of sleep a night and you're not gonna lose soldiers'. But I believe this is the place for me."

"As a soldier, I want to be here on the ground," he said. "As an American, I want it to end."

For more information about Col. Sutherland, visit this page.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Cool Web Apps is asking us experts to pick the top 100 web applications currently out there. You can vote for your favorite browsers, mobile apps, blog tools, social networks...etc. It's a treasure trove of sites that I didn't know existed. And it's also fun discovering what new tools are available.

I spent some time surfing through just the Media category and I will definitely be checking out Jumpcut,, and Vuvox. Deadline to vote is June 11th.

What are your favorites?

- AV

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I'm Hired, Sort Of...

After 2 weeks of being out, I returned to see a disturbing message in my email inbox. A well-known company sent me an email stating I was just hired for a position within their company. Okay, I know I'm good, but I never applied or even submitted my resume to them. Wow, I even have an employee number and paperwork to sign! However, if this was all true, I would've missed my first week at work as I was on vacation. :P

To clear up this mystery, I emailed the HR department and informed them of their mistake. I was told another person with the same exact name and similar email address was hired, but they sent the information to me instead. Talk about disturbing. Hmmm, I wonder what would have happened if I had actually reported to work. Hahahaha!

- AV

Saturday, June 02, 2007

I'm Back Finally

After 2 weeks of being out, I'm ready to blog again. I returned last Monday after a week-long trip to the 30th anniversary of Star Wars convention in downtown LA. Since I was volunteering at the convention, it was hard work. Much harder than actually working and earning money, but the people you meet and the experience were priceless! I worked backstage and got to see Seth Green and Matt Senreich creators of "Robot Chicken", Seth MacFarlane creator of the "Family Guy", Charlie Ross of the "One Man Star Wars Trilogy", lots and lots of "Star Wars" & "Indiana Jones" legends such as Lorne Peterson, Phil Tippett, Jon Berg, Dennis Muren, ...etc. and worked with the very cool host Scott Chernoff.

Unfortunately, on the day I was returning from LA, I got a call from my mom saying my dad is having chest pains and is on the way to the hospital in an ambulance. It took us 5 hours to drive home and we drove straight to the hospital in San Francisco. And, I spent the last several days in the hospital while my dad had the stent in his artery replaced as the one that was put in 18 months ago broke which caused is artery to be blocked thus resulting in a mild heart attack. It's not how I wanted my fun week in LA to end, but my dad is back home now and resting.

- AV