Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Photos by Punky and Russell

The boys are getting the hang of taking pictures with my digital camera. I merely turn on the LCD viewfinder, and the boys begin snapping away. Some of the pictures are pretty good. Others are not.

On a typical day, I am pummelled regularly by Russell and Punky

Russell's close-up shot of Punky and me

I'd say this is way too close

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Day at Six Flags Marine World, 2007 Edition

We've run out of things to do within a 2 hour radius of our house, so during Russell's recent spring break, we had to recycle activities from 2006. One of these was a half-day visit to Six Flags Marine World (now called Discovery Kingdom). It's one of those part-zoo, part thrill ride amusement parks. Since the boys are scared of anything beyond a go-cart, we went with mostly the animal-based sections of the part. In a nutshell, the animal displays were nothing special, the kiddie rides barely adequate, and the food was terrible. We won't be going back.

Punky gets a close-up view of an Asian elephant

Tweety Bird tries to calm a frightened Punky

Russell was not afraid to touch this stingray

Something in the aquarium makes the Brewster Boys scream with excitement

Punky views the elephants before konking out for the day

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tax Day, 2007 Edition

I finally finished our income tax filing this past Sunday. In the 20-plus years since I began filing tax returns, I've noticed the tax code getting more and more complex to the point where I could hardly understand the instructions. So I finally broke down last year and purchased Intuit's TurboTax. It was a fairly painless process although a single typo (a couple of transposed digits) took me a couple of nights to find.

One difference between this year and last is that I filed electronically for the first time on Sunday at 1AM. I'm glad that I filed a couple of days early, because apparently the e-filing servers at Intuit were so overload on Monday and Tuesday that many people could not file their 2006 tax returns on time.

From CNET News:

Intuit confirmed on Tuesday evening that a deluge of last-minute filing had overloaded the electronic filing system used in its popular TurboTax software.

"Intuit is working with the IRS and has notified them that throughput on our electronic filing system was not what we expected, resulting in a system slowdown," the company said in a note on its Web site. "We encourage customers to continue trying to e-file as we continue to work on the issue."

The note claimed that TurboTax customers should "rest assured that their returns will be accepted as timely filed."
Back to blogging soon!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Photography by Punky

For the first time ever, Punky took the camera from me and started taking pictures. As you can see from the photos below, Punky needs to get some practice with holding the camera still. He seems to have potential, though, perhaps as an avant-garde photographer.

His first shot of me; Perhaps the strange coloring means I am possessed by the devil

A slightly off-center Russell hams it up for the camera

This is our rocking chair, with the office area in the background; I wonder if there's any significance to Punky's selection of the subject?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Day at the Oakland Zoo, 2007 Edition

Throughout the week, the boys pestered us to take them to the zoo. So on Saturday, we relented and spent the afternoon at the Oakland Zoo. It's not a particularly good zoo, but it is close by and a visit requires little planning or preparation. In addition to seeing the animals, we visited the small amusement park next to the zoo for a train ride and the minicar ride.

Jenny and the boys at the entrance to the Oakland Zoo

Russell spies some lions in the distance

Punky points out the elephants

Punky gazes at the elephant enclosure

Russell is happy to be on the train ride

Punky throttles Russell for the aisle seat

Going through the tunnel
Russell and Punky - "Get us off this ride!"

At home again, Punky asks, "When are we going back to the zoo?"