By now you pretty much know that I'm quite obsessed with Top Gear's Polar Hilux.
Well I've been doing a lot of car watching when I'm outside and I'm sort of worried that putting those huge and wide wheels on a stock Hilux will make it almost undriveable on Manila's crowded streets.
Why? It might get too wide. Yes there are Expeditions here, and the occasional H2s and H3s, you can even throw in a Navigator or three once in a while. All those vehicles are wide. And annoying, since most of the people who own them let drivers drive them. And these drivers tend to be jackasses who think they own the road. I'm not surprised why, since those cars are damn expensive and only politicians or rich jackasses buy them.
I don't want to be thrown into the same category as those jackasses. So I guess one big compromise I'd have to make if I do get the funding to buy a Hilux and set it up is to not make the wheels and fender flares as wide as the Top Gear's Hilux.
Next problem? Safety. Not airbag safety. Kidnap / carnap safety. Having a very unique looking vehicle might end up as a beacon to criminals.
On the bright side I don't actually have a Hilux or money to buy a Hilux. So all I can do is dream.
If you've been reading my blog lately you will know that I'm currently obsessing on pick-ups. Specifically, the Nissan Navarra. Well, there's another pick-up I like, and it's the Toyota Hilux.
The reason I like the Hilux is because it's a Toyota. Toyotas in the Philippines have a reputation of being reliable vehicles, and they usually offer quality service and the parts are easy to find if you choose not to have your Toyota worked on by Toyota service centers. Although if you ask me, that reputation is more based on the past and has not been reinforced lately. But that's for another post.
Let's start with the Hilux. There are three episodes of Top Gear (UK obviously since they were the original Top Gear - sorta like how CSI is the original hence no need for CSI: Las Vegas) that convinced me that the Hilux is a good pick-up. First is the episode where they tried everything they could to destroy an old Hilux yet it kept running after whatever horrors they exposed it to. Some examples of the "tortures" they did? They burned it and even left it on top of a building that was imploded. And yet it still ran.
The second episode I was not able to watch, but they sent a fleet of modified Hiluxes (?) to the magnetic North Pole. The choice of the vehicle was a very big validation of how good Toyota pick-ups are. The last episode I actually saw was when they sent a modified Hilux once used for the polar expedition to that volcano in Iceland.
Just take a look at that pick-up. Aesthetically it looks great. Plus with the performance mods they surely put it I'm pretty sure that's one bad-ass pick-up.
So if I had the cash to do it, I'd buy a Hilux and have it modded to be similar to the "Polar Hilux" the Top Gear folks used. But if I didn't have the money for mods, the Nissan Navarra would be my choice.
If I were to mod a Hilux, where would I start? Exterior aesthetics. I'd put fender flares similar to but smaller than the Polar Hilux. I wouldn't lift the suspension, but I would add bigger and wider rims. It's not like I go off-roading so let's just say that I want the Hilux to look good. I wouldn't add extra fog lamps (since there are now enforced laws in the Philippines banning fog lamps) but I might add bullbars. And maybe snorkel systems.
For the performance mods, I'd just probably fit it with better brakes and suspension. That's it. Pick-ups are not meant to be driven fast so I don't need to modify the engine. Maybe I'll add an improved exhaust system for a little extra power and torque for hauling stuff.
As for the interior, I'd improve the audio and speakers. Maybe replace the front seats with Recaros.
Let us not forget the actual meaning of Christmas, the "day that Christ our savior was born." I do not mean that in a sarcastic way, but the reason why I italicized that is because no one really knows when Jesus Christ was born.
This year's Christmas is extra special for me, seeing as how I am now a proud father. While it's still true that I'm not quite as excited for Christmas personally, I am really excited for Martina. I can't even believe I bought her some nice gifts!
Gifts! This, coming from someone who only likes to spend for himself. I don't even spend as much for my wife. But with the arrival of our baby there has been a small change within me. I'm actually becoming more generous now.
This is actually not something I wasn't expecting. I knew something would change inside of me with all these new and wonderful things happening to me. I just wasn't expecting them to happen so soon.
So here's to a wonderful 2010, and I am looking forward to 2011.
Quite ironic since I just saw the Family Guy episode where Santa is really sick because everyone got greedy. But I'm not expecting these to arrive on my doorstep anytime soon so I'll just write them down. Nothing wrong with that, no? So here's five things I'd really want but I realistically can't get as of now.
1. Nissan Navarra 4x4 Automatic Transmission. Yes I want a pick-up truck. And I want the best available. If not the Navarra then I want a Toyota Hilux set-up similar to the one Top Gear used to go to the North Pole and to go to that volcano in Iceland. Either of the two.
2. Either a Dean Black Bolt ML or a Dean Dave Mustaine VMNT "Rust in Peace" electric guitar. Not both, either. I'm not trying to be too greedy here. To go with the guitar I'd also like a Marshall Vintage Modern 2266C amp. Some nice Monster cables, a Boss BF-3 Flanger (I already own a Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion anyway), and the classic Korg G3 effects pad used by the late great Dimebag Darrell. Oh and a Jim Dunlop Crybaby Wah Wah Pedal.
3. A house & lot in a nice area. As always.
4. One of the new 3D LED TVs I keep seeing. They look awesome.
5. A home gym set. Free weights, a rack for squats, a bench. Or if not that, then a TRX system for working out.
Well that's it. Merry Christmas everyone. Let's not be too greedy.
Last December 2, 2010 my wife gave birth to our first child. She's Martina Dominique, and she was born 21 inches long and 3204 grams heavy. The following is a running diary on what happened to me on the day she was born. The times you see here are precise since I was logging notes on my Motorola Milestone XT720 android phone.
0045 - My wife wakes me up because her water broke. This was a big surprise as she had just visited her OB the day before (Dec. 1 in the morning) and she was told her due date was Dec. 8. The weird thing was my wife did not want me to bring her bag of clothes to the hospital. So we go down from our condo, get a cab, and head off to Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed).
0109 - My wife enters MakatiMed's delivery room at the 5th floor. I start fixing her admission papers. We go for the small private room. Sadly it won't be ready until morning.
0122 - And the waiting begins...
0234 - ... And it goes on...
0300 - ... And on. At around this point (I forgot what time specifically.) A nurse from the DR (Delivery Room) goes out, tells me my wife instructed me to go home and rest. So I go home, pack her things, fix some stuff, but I can't sleep. I'm too excited, worried, nervous, amped up, whatever.
0645 - Around this time I head back to the hospital with her bag of clothes and I return to the DR and continue waiting.
0718 - After checking with the nurses, my wife's still at 1 - 2 cm opening. Our small private room is still not ready.
0954 - 3 - 4 cm opening, but still no room.
1135 - My wife has had an epidural, but unfortunately our baby's head is still too high up for her to go out. My dad arrived around 1100 or so, I really can't remember. I remember speaking with her OB, Dr. Capistrano, and she tells my dad and I that it will still be a long time before my wife gives birth so we should go out and eat first. My dad and I head off to Floating Island Restaurant (one of the highlights of MakatiMed, the food is almost always good) and I order a katsudon that I can't finish. I don't know if it's because I'm nervous or because I made the wrong order.
1300 - I meet up with Ferds, who decided to visit and offer support and company. My wife's at 9cm opening. It was around this time that I was really fatigued due to lack of sleep. I accompanied Ferds for lunch at Burger King, but I just bought a hot machiatto drink from Seattle's Best before following Ferds. It was also around this time that we finally get our small private room. Room 550 at the old wing.
1423 - Baby out. We see Martina Dominique for the first time inside an incubator (for transfer purposes from the DR to the nursery). The five people who see her are myself, Ferds, my father, my father-in-law, and my mother-in-law.
Well that's it. 14 hours or so of fatigue and anxiety all melt away when I see my daughter. It is an experience I do not wish to forget. Special thanks to Ferds who showed up even when he didn't have to, to my father for bringing a camera with fully charged batteries (inside joke) and to the nurses, doctors, and staff of MakatiMed who made our stay there a very pleasant one.
The jackpot for the Philippines Grand Lotto has gotten to around PhP640M. That's roughly USD12M. Lots of people have been queuing up and placing their bets. All hoping to win that money and improve their way of life.
You can include me in that group. Unfortunately I really doubt I'd win that. The odds are against me (imagine how many six-digit combinations you can come up with using the numbers 1 - 55). I most likely don't deserve to win it because of many different, illogical reasons. Like the fact that in my head I've already spent the money on a lot of things that will help me improve my life. Or maybe God doesn't think I should win it since I'm already blessed with a decent paying job.
But whatever happens, whoever wins that jackpot will be one lucky person.
* * *
It is now time to focus on a pick-up truck. Yes, a pick-up truck. This is now the option my folks are considering as their next vehicle.
I have no problems with a pick-up. In fact I'm rather curious how it feels to drive one. I do know that after having discussions about pick-ups with my friends who've had the experience of driving in them, I can expect a few minor mods to the vehicles.
Like making sure the tires on the pickups can provide decent grip not only in dry weather but also during wet weather. I've heard of a story from my friend who said he could not move his pick-up up a ramp heading into a mall parking area because it was raining and the ground was wet. He had to ask his date to drive it up while he bounced around the back just so he could add extra weight so the tires would grip. Or maybe it's because that was a 4x2 and the rear was empty hence no traction.
Then it would also be important to make sure the headlights are bright enough. But not blinding to oncoming traffic.
And of course one must purchase the necessary anti-theft gear for the pick-up.
* * *
Well I guess that's all I have in mind right now.
I'd write more but I'm just borrowing my wife's netbook.
I've been playing basketball with my officemates every Thursday for the past 4 weeks or so. And despite some scary setbacks (an officemate broke both forearm bones during a basketball related accident) I have continued to soldier on.
In fact, you could say I've been bitten by the basketball bug.
It started out with me thinking I could still play. This continued on for a few weeks. But then I saw video evidence that I actually suck. Bad. But I did not quit. I just started going back to the basics.
What makes this weekly basketball game exciting for me is that I have some officemates who want to learn the game and are very enthusiastic about playing. This rubbed off on me, and now I too am enthusiastic to re-learn what skills I had during my "youth."
This is not without some problems. But these problems can be solved relatively easier.
1. I'm out of shape. But the weekly playing has my body slowly adapting back to having a (relatively) active lifestyle.
2. I'm old. Yes, I'm still only 30 years old, but I wasn't exactly active the past five or six years of my life. So now my body recovers longer from fatigue, and I'm not as flexible as before. I also have to take things easy as I could encounter some serious heart problems if I force myself too much. Remember the late great Pete Maravich passed away because of a heart attack during a pick-up basketball game. I do not want the same thing to happen to me.
3. I need goggles. My eyesight is so bad I cannot play anymore without my glasses. Unfortunately being one of the only few "bigs" in the office, I have to play down low. This poses a problem as one bad pass could shatter my glasses and blind me. I hope this doesn't happen. My officemate has offered me some playing prescription glasses. I just hope I can afford them. Plus I need to have my eyes checked since its been about four or five years since I last had them checked. I'm pretty sure my eyes have gotten worse.
4. I need basketball shoes. These past few weeks I've been playing with my adidas rubber shoes. I'm not sure if they're tennis shoes or cross trainers, but I definitely need my own pair of basketball shoes. Just because basketball shoes are built for basketball. And using my shoes now I feel I'm not getting the cushioning I need.
That's it. Four problems that I can solve either with time or with money. No problem. I just hope I can keep this weekly ritual up so that I have at least one activity that can keep me healthy.
You've seen what I've done before. List down vehicles I'd want to own. Well now it's a bit different. This time I'm listing down cars I can afford right now. Well not totally afford but assuming that one of my folks' cars are sold and I can use the money as down payment. Why am I assuming this? Because I'd rather pay extra for a car that I will primarily use rather than let my folks get a really small car (ex. Suzuki Celerio or Hyundai i10).
This is the list I came up with. This list is from most wanted to least. I am basing the cost of each vehicle on the October 2010 Buyer's Guide of C! Magazine.
1. Ford Fiesta 1.6L 5-dr Trend Powershift. Yes, surprisingly this is my first choice. It's a hatchback and it's relatively small but I think it has the most bang for the buck. It's a totally new design, it looks nice, and it's got a 1.6L engine, so power is definitely not lacking. The only difference between this and the top-of-the-line Fiesta is that this has only 1 airbag. My biggest concern here is how spacious this is.
2. Honda Jazz 1.3L (A/T). Yes it seems underpowered, but if it's just a city car this would also do well. This is more spacious than the Fiesta, I'm guessing, plus its a Honda so reliability is not an issue. However this is more expensive than the Fiesta.
3. Toyota Yaris(A/T). Top of the line Yaris is the same price as the Ford Fiesta I like. The deciding factor here would be the space. And I still like the Honda Jazz more than this, just because the Jazz seems more spacious.
4. Honda City 1.3S (A/T). Also a pretty expensive option, but looks-wise very nice. The reason the Honda City is 4th is that it is not a hatchback. Right now I prefer hatchbacks, mainly because I think hatchbacks are more spacious.
5. Toyota Vios 1.3E (A/T). Same reasons with the Honda City, although this is cheaper. The only reason the City is ahead of the Vios is because the City looks better.
Wild cards: Hyundai Accent GL(M/T) & Kia Rio 1.4 Sedan (A/T). Two Korean wild cards. The Accent's advantage being that it's a diesel, while the Rio has the automatic transmission advantage. I've been inside both cars (lots of taxis using these two cars) and I like the way they look inside too. It is kinda cramped, but who can complain? The diesel intrigues me, because of how much torque it has. Plus it has been a while since I last drove a stick shift.
That I am not in the situation of the lady I saw walking down the street? Trying to earn a living selling sampaguita necklaces and peanuts everyday. Rain or shine. Sick or well. Good times or bad. Risking one's health (and to a lesser extent one's life) just to make enough to feed oneself and other dependent people. Not able to enjoy the things in life that I take for granted.
That I have a "home" to come home to. That I have electricity, running water, clean water, wifi, an HD ready TV with cable, a PS3, a laptop, a nice phone, and food?
That I have a lovely wife bearing my soon-to-be born daughter? A wife who will always be there for me and who puts up with my pissy attitude and my constant mood swings.
Yes. Yes, I am thankful. I may not show it all the time but I do remember what I have and for that I am thankful.
There are many more things to be thankful for. So many things that I'd rather not write it down, or else it might make this entry a long and boring and sentimental post.
Just know that I am thankful.
But that does not mean I am satisfied. I want to better my life. I want to improve the situation my family and I are in. I want more.
But I will always be thankful. I always have to remember to be thankful.
Anything's possible with proper budgeting. Right now I just don't know how to do that.
Sure I split my salary into personal and family, with different but set amounts. But that doesn't really help that much.
I get by every month without a deficit, true, but I also don't end up with any savings for myself. Don't get me wrong, my wife and I manage to save for us, but to save for me is a bit of a stretch. Perhaps it's time I took some cost-saving measures that I used to do.
I should start bringing packed lunch from home again. Because this wouldn't tap into money for me since this would be part of the money for the household. Either that or I should start buying from cheaper alternatives.
Plus I should always be vigilant and make sure that I do not do any sudden splurging. And I should always keep myself disciplined with respect to my personal expenses.
I've changed. A lot. In fact, I'm proud to say that I have done my absolute best to improve the way I think. I have forced myself to stop thinking negatively, and I have forced myself to be nicer to people around me.
I am not a finished product. Far from it, of course. I know, it takes time to be a better person. It doesn't just happen overnight. You have to be consistent in what you do to improve yourself.
I do revert back to my old ways every now and again. People slip. People fall down. I still pick myself up. If this was the old me I would have just stayed down and started acting like my old self. And yet I don't. Sure it may take a while for me to get back up, but I always force myself to do so.
So it really is starting to annoy the hell out of me when all people see around me are my negatives. Isn't it enough that I've been trying to improve? That I've been pleasant? No. It's never enough.
I've changed. If you can't even acknowledge the fact that I am a better person now, screw you. I know that the reason people still want me to change is to imrpove myself. But can't they even give me credit where credit is due?
If you can't even acknowledge that I've improved but you still want more, then screw you. I'm not your goddamned lapdog. I need positive reinforcement. You guys can't even give that to me. Then I guess it's just me all alone again.
It's been almost seven years since I last had Kinalas. Kinalas is a noodle soup dish I tasted in Naga City. The most basic way I can describe it is mami noodles and meat in a broth and thick sauce that looks like palabok sauce. Spring onions and toasted garlic is added as a garnish.
Oh, and there is a meat free kinalas called luglug. It's just the noodles, broth, sauce and garnishes.
I honestly have no idea how it is made. If you ask me, the secret's in the sauce. That marvelous sauce.
Kinalas is comfort food for me. It is warm, filling, and tasty. I can eat it on a rainy day, or I can eat it on a hot day. I can eat it as a snack, or as a meal. I usually eat kinalas with one hard-boiled egg.
What makes eating kinalas in Naga City even better is that the broth and sauce is bottomless. Yes, bottomless. You can have as much sauce and broth as you want. There are times when I order kinalas and immediately ask for extra broth and sauce. Then I slurp up all the soup and sauce and pour in a new batch. Perfect.
An even better combination I have is kinlas with egg, toasted siopao, and Royal Tru-Orange (local orange soda). This is the combo I usually have when I dine alone. I take my sweet time enjoying everything I am eating.
It's just too bad that I don't know any place in Metro Manila that serves kinalas. Even worse is the fact that I never bothered to learn how to cook it so I can cook it for myself.
My current dream project car would be the VW Kombi, also known as the Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter.
Why that car? Well, for starters it looks nice. Then it's also big enough to fit a good number of people. Maybe 5 - 8 adults, depending on what seats I put in. It's spacious and it's a classic.
I would probably do a resto-mod on it. Part restoration, part modification. I'd keep the nice looking exterior but I'd do some modernizing of the more important parts of the car. That way I can keep the classic look but still have nice modern touches that would balance the car. I'm not a sucker for restored cars anyway.
For the exterior, I'd keep the look just the way it is. Maybe change the rims and go for more modern ones. Or maybe try and get banana-type rime (did I get the term right?). Plus I'd do a nice two-tone paint job, maybe blue and white or something similarly cheerful. I wouldn't put dark window tint, but most probably add the clear tint that helps keep the heat out inside. Plus for the headlights it would be nice if I could either use bright halogens (maybe 70 watts or higher) or maybe customized HID projector headlamps. In yellow light. I'd also probably add a rear windshield wiper just so I can improve visibility when it rains.
On the inside I'd probably try more modern seats. Maybe use more ergonomic seats for the driver and passenger seats. Of course if possible I'd also use more comfortable bench seats. Maybe limit it to two rows with both able to fold to add more space inside. Sort of similar to the interior of a 1993 Toyota Lite Ace. I'd also probably try to put better interior lights, maybe LED bulbs for night use. I'd also add a good sound system. No need for subwoofers but I'd like to have a sound system that actually sounds good, plus I'd like the stereo to have auxilliary input for mp3 players, aside from a 6-disc CD changer. No DVDs or LCDs inside. I just want a good sound system.
As for the "performance" part of the car, I'd most likely try to have the engine overhauled, cleaned, blueprinted, the works. The reason for this is so that I can fit in an aircon for the van. Plus I'd probably go for an improved alternator. Then I'd probably try to improve the suspension set-up to a more modern, safer set-up. I'd also try and replace the brakes with all-wheel disc brakes to help improve stopping power. This is also in relation to the fix-up I mentioned with the engine. I'd like this resto-mod Kombi to be able to overtake on highways and have a cruising speed of around 90kph easy, anyway. Plus I also want it to be able to slow down or stop when it has to.
Although I can afford a VW Kombi right now, I can honestly say that I would not be able to afford any of the mods I had planned. Plus I don't think it would be practical to buy a project car for a first car. However this does not mean that I can't dream about owning one. For now.
Plus who knows? Maybe next time a Kombi won't be my dream project car. But whatever my dream project car will be, these mods will almost always be part of that dream.
As I was walking home last night from Greenbelt, the rain started getting stronger. It was so strong that my jacket soon could not hold back the rain. Long story short, I got home totally wet. And it got me thinking.
I need a car.
Sure walking has it's merits. If you saw the traffic around Makati last night you'd wonder why I even thought of needing a car when walking got me where I wanted to go faster. But at least inside a car you don't get drenched in the rain. You don't get to dip your feet in really deep puddles of water. You don't have to worry about moronic car drivers who won't even let you through even if you're walking on the pedestrian lane.
Since I've got a wife and a kid on the way, I decided the best bet for a first time car (brand new, of course) would have to fall under the following categories. First it has to be spacious, it has to be able to fit my wife and I, plus our soon-to-arrive baby, a baby seat, a yaya (nanny is the loose translation) and whatever baby gear has to be brought along. Second, it has to be economical. No gas guzzlers, no fancy high-performance vehicle (for now). Finally it has to be under a million. Why? Because it'll most likely fit whatever budget I'll have.
What about second hand cars, you ask? Sure I've given it thought. But for now since this is just purely speculative, I'd rather go for brand new cars.
So based on those categories I thought of, the following cars were ones I'd considered. In no particular order...
1. Toyota Innova Diesel. It's big and spacious. It's tall so no problem with flooding. It's diesel, so I'm hoping it'll have good fuel consumption figures. Plus it's a Toyota, which means (used to mean?) it's reliable.
2. Chevrolet Cruze. Really? Chevrolet? Yes. I've seen it, it looks good. It looks spacious. It's a car. Despite the fact that Chevy isn't really a "major" competitor in the Philippines, and despite the fact that I have no idea about this car's reliability or costs this car intrigues me.
3. Suzuki APV. Much like the Innova, it's big, spacious, and tall. Unlike the Innova, this one has a 1.6L engine which supposedly gives it good fuel efficiency but makes it a bit underpowered for family out-of-town road trips.
4. Honda Jazz. Yes, it's a "small" car. But have you been inside one? It is roomy. The seats can fold in many different combinations to fit all sorts of luggage. Plus it also looks good too. I'd say this is one of the dark horses in my picks.
5. Suzuki SX4 Crossover. Yes, another Suzuki. This car just looks good. I've been reading online reviews of this car that says that it doesn't handle well or corner well. I doubt I'd need exceptional handling and cornering on a car that I plan on using to shuttle my family around.
6. Toyota Avanza. In my opinion this is a less spacious version of the APV. Plus this seems to be the vehicle of choice for taxi drivers. So if I were image conscious (which I am, to some extent) I'd probably consider this the least.
Well there it is. Six vehicles I've considered. Oh and I also based these choices from C! Magazine's pricelist. If I had to choose now what I'd get?
Quick post. Ran into a TV show pitting the Subaru STi against the Mitsubishi Evolution.
I've always been a fan of these two. But always switching sides, depending on what age I was and what I knew of the cars.
When I was in high school and early college, I was an Evo boy. Mostly because of Gran Turismo 2, but it was the car for me. That was the car I wanted.
A few years on and I became an STi fan, and I've been on that side since then.
I just like that the STi is a very unique car. It uses a boxer-engine, not your typical engine layout. The engine sounds angry, even on idle. I've heard a few during stop light stops and wow. Talk about rumble.
Even though according to reviews the Evo is still the better handling car, I will still side by the STi. Even though the latest STi is a hatchback, I still side by it.
I don't know why, I just do.
But my ultimate dream STi is the 2004 model. It's the best looking STi ever, if you ask me. Just take a look at it:
It's become an increasing trend for a lot of younger employees in different fields of work to resign from good jobs because they say they are 'burned out.'
How come the older employees, guys who've been doing this for ten, twenty years straight, don't get burned out? How come they still come to work and bring their A-game day in and day out, without ever complaining about it?
I think the reason behind this is that younger people are more spoiled, less motivated, and generally are lazier than the older folk. Yes, you can include me here.
I've been battling this feeling of being 'burned out' since 2006. I started working in 2004. That's just bullshit, working for only 2 years and feeling burnt out is not burn out.
I think burn out is just getting lazy with what you do. Must have something to do with shorter attention spans and feelings of entitlement. I notice fewer people wanting to work hard just to get their goals. It's all about taking shortcuts and get rich quick schemes.
And yes, you can include me in that list. But there is one small difference.
I've been making an effort to get rid of these feelings of burn out. Because there is no such thing as burning out because of work. None.
I now realize how important it is to have my own vehicle.
It's been a couple of months since I got married and moved out of the house, and only now do I realize how dependent I was on our car. During the time I stayed home I had access to a vehicle anytime I wanted. I could go where I wanted to go anytime, as long as the car had gas.
Now it's more of a hassle to borrow the car. I have to plan ahead, schedule when I can use the car, and then pick it up. Yes, small price to pay just so I can gain mobility. What's the major hassle? The fact that I don't have as easy an access to the car as I used to.
What about commuting? Yes I can commute. But it's been so long since I was regularly commuting that I find it a bit of a chore to actually start squeezing myself against others. I can still commute anytime I want, it's just that it's more convenient to have a car of my own.
Bottom line? Time to start saving for a vehicle.
It would have to fit my salary. Most likely second-hand. It has to be reliable, and it has to have been sold locally. I do not want to own those converted right-hand drive cars. Nor do I want to own a second hand car that wasn't sold here because it would be hard to come across parts for a 'unique' car.
Right now I've got a few ideas for an ideal car. The Toyota Echo Verso, Nissan Terrano, and the Suzuki Vitara.
Here we go! Formation lap before the start of the race. We've got Vettel, Mark Webber, and Fernando Alonso at the top three. Vettel's had this nasty habit of cutting of the 2nd position driver in his few previous starts. Most of which end up to his disadvantage as he always ends up losing places. And here we go...
Steve Slater (one of the commentators for Star Sports) loves saying, "Let's savor the sound of the engines" if he has nothing to say.
Five red lights!
No Vettel swerving, and an excellent start! Alonso overtakes Webber and takes 2nd. Wheel-to-wheel action as they start the race.
The four top cars, all Ferraris and Red Bulls, are leaving the rest of the competition behind.
Renault rookie Vitaly Petrov is 5th? Wow.
Blown engine for Algersuarri (did I get the name right?). One car down.
Where's Schumi? 13th? Sigh.
How would Ayrton Senna fare in today's Formula 1 world? I wish I could answer that.
Not much action anymore. Just cars going round and finding their pace.
Where's Kimi? WRC? Sigh. (Note: I know where Kimi is. Just wishful thinking.)
Button seems to be going slow, just dropped behind Schumi. Didn't see why.
Wow, Vettel is flying. See what happens if you concentrate on going straight at the start of the race rather than trying to cut others off?
Twelve laps in and Vettel has a 9 second lead on Alonso.
I'm ending this here. Why? I think it's going to be useless to try and do a live blog style blog when I can't even hear what the commentator is saying because the audio mixing has the car's engine louder than commentary.
EDIT: AFTER POSTING THIS BLOG FOR THE FIRST TIME, CHAOS ENSUES. A FRONT WING FLIES OFF, THE SAFETY CAR COMES OUT, CARS DIVE INTO THE PIT, A RENAULT LEAVING HIS PIT BUMPS INTO A FORCE INDIA ENTERING HIS PIT, AND NICO ROSBERGS RIGHT REAR TIRES FLIES OFF (BECAUSE SOMEONE DIDN'T SCREW IT ON PROPERLY?) AS HE WAS LEAVING THE PIT LANE.
SO HERE WE GO. MORE RANDOM THOUGHTS. MORAL OF THE STORY? DON'T PUBLISH THE POST UNTIL AFTER THE RACE - YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN.
Webber's now in the lead with Vettel 2nd. However, Webber has not gone to the pits yet. Vettel managed to his pitstop in during the safety car sessions.
Right now at lap 22 we've got Webber, Vettel, Alonso at the top 3.
Has Michael Schumacher really lost a second or so due to age? Or is his car just not that competitive?
Webber is just hitting fastest lap after fastest lap.
10 second stop go penalty for car 11 for causing a collision in the pit lane.
Car 11 belongs to Robert Kubica of Renault.
What happened to Lewis Hamilton? He just parked the car. Mechanical failure? (Lap 25)
Uh oh, Vettel's got an incident under investigation. If he gets penalized this will be to Alonso's advantage.
I cannot wait for Gran Tusimo 5. Watching this race is getting me all excited for that game.
And Vettel gets a drive through penalty for exceedig the 10 car length distance between him and the safety car. I did not know they had a rule like that.
Is it me or is Vettel always up to some bone headed antic during every race that jeopardizes his chance for victory?
Vettel does the drive through penalty and he is pissed, waving his hands around as he drives through. Not a bad deal though, he still comes out 3rd and just loses a place.
Webber, Alonso, Vettel, Massa with Webber having a dominant 17+ second lead over 2nd place Alonso.
And once again the race gets 'boring' with a sense of normalcy coming in.
But it seems Webber is about to pit in!
Is it me or is Sebastian Vettel catching up to Alonso? (Lap 42)
Barrichello is in 5th, but he hasn't gone to the pits yet.
Barrichello has gone 50 laps on his original set of tires. No pitting as of yet. I hope this gamble pays off.
Multitasking while watching the race. Blogging, researching Red Dead Redemption, and surfing.
Ooh scary slip for Vettel on the 53rd lap.
Somethings going on with Vettel. He's suddenly very sloppy. Like he's out of focus or something.
Schumi's up to 10th place at lap 61. Mostly due to retirements, if you ask me. Either he's really lost his touch or he just needs this entire season to get back to optimal F1 shape. Either way I hope he gets a more competitive car. I'd love to see him go wheel-to-wheel against the likes of Hamilton, Vettel, and Alonso.
Speaking of Schumi, it's Schumacher vs Barrichello for 10th place! Former teammates, this will be a good battle.
Barrichello manages to overtake Schumi at the start/finish straight despite the fact that Schumi was trying to shove Rubens to the wall! Good move, Rubens! Spot on!
Lap 68 and a notice appears saying the incident involving cars 3 and 9 will be investigated after the race. I'm not sure who those are, maybe Schumi and Barrichello?
Checked formula1.com and yes, Car 3 is for Schumi and Car 9 is for Barrichello.
Webber wins! Alonso 2nd, Vettel 3rd.
Exciting race, and I'm glad I was able to post a live blog of it.
I just realized that I have no toolbox of my own, even if I've moved out of the house. While I am not a true handyman, I do fancy myself as having a decent amount of common sense and technical savvy to fix simple household problems.
While I do have basic tools, they are scattered everywhere. Yes I do have the standard flathead and philips screwdrivers. I also have a smaller set of screwdrivers (although one philips screwdriver is defective) and measuring tape. And I also have a 'hex key set' (more commonly known as allen wrenches?). But that's it.
Maybe it's time I got myself a toolbox. My father has a toolbox at home and it's really amazing because it does keep all the tools in one easily accessible place.
Well aside from the tools I have (screwdrivers, allen wrenches, tape measure) what else should I get? I think I need to get the following:
Needlenose pliers. Nothing beats having a pair of pliers around the house, just to help with those things that need some extra grip. Or those hard to reach places that need that needlenose touch.
Vice grip. For those items that needlenose pliers cannot handle, a vice grip would be the better solution. Plus it could be a good substitue for a wrench.
Standard hammer and some small supply of nails.
Sets of screws for the screwdrivers.
Duct tape. Duct tape can fix anything.
Electrical tape for those emergency wiring situations.
And that's it I guess. Simple tools for simple household problems.
Send Okafor and Paul (rumor has it that any team who wants CP3 has to get Okafor's contract too) to Orlando for Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson.
Vince can still draw fans if he plays inspired, and Jameer could be a fine replacement for CP3. Plus both those guys contracts expire in 2 years, so the Hornets will have the cap space to keep Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton.
I've played by the rules, and I've 'forgiven but not forgotten'. I've become a good trooper, I've become a sociable person, I've done everything they've asked with as little complaining as possible. In other words, I've gone corporate.
You read that right. I am now a good employee. Always comes to work early, rarely takes vacation leaves or sick leaves, doesn't rock the boat, does what is asked, and never complains about the big stuff.
Hell, that's my philosophy at work anyway. You get paid to do your job, and to follow the rules the management implemented. You don't go to work to get the special treatment, so if you don't like management policies and decisions, then just leave work. Don't become a poison, don't influence your otherwise 'innocent' officemates, don't give them the truth that comes from blue-tinted glasses. Just don't. That's what a job is all about.
But here comes the sad truth. The course I took sent me to a career that doesn't pay well in this country I live in. Yes I make enough to pay most bills, but I still mooch of my folks in one way or another. I can get by with my salary and my wife's salary, but it's not enough for us to do the things we want to do. It's just enough. I don't mind making enough, but surely I was not raised by my folks to settle for enough.
Yes, I honestly and wholeheartedly regret choosing this course. I should've chosen either a management course or medicine. Why? Both those courses could've gotten me paid well in this country. Both those courses could have gotten me the things I really want, and would have gotten me the lifestyle I've been dreaming of living.
Which brings me to another harsh reality. This career of mine supposedly pays well in other countries. Pays more than enough to actually get the things I want in life, and more. Sad to say, I may just be forced to relocate. Not for me, but for my wife and soon-to-arrive child.
It sucks. I never had any plans to leave this country. Sure, every time I travel abroad I end up wishing I could live there, wherever it was I was at at the time. But then I realize that would just make me a stranger in a strange land. Racism or no, equality or not, I'd be a Filipino immigrant working in a country where I honestly do not belong.
Don't get me wrong, the world is small now, and in almost any country in the world you will see different races living there, citizens of that country. Some might even be natural born citizens since they were born in that country already, with only their roots coming from another country.
I don't care if I go to, say, Australia to live and work there and I end up becoming a citizen. So what? I'm not white. I'm not an aborigine. I. AM. A. FILIPINO. I should live in the Philippines. I should die in the Philippines.
And yet, the harsh reality is I have no choice. I have to go work somewhere else. Because it would be selfish of me to just think of myself. And this infuriates me. I shouldn't be forced to go somewhere else just to get good money and secure a good future for my family. Why can't I do it in this country?
Why not? Take a look around this country and you will see why not. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class slowly drift down to become poor. Sure there are exceptions, but they are very few.
The 'smart ones' go abroad and save, become dual citizens, get good education for their children. Then they go back here and start investing. I guess I'm going to end up like that - whether I like it or not.
And I don't like it. Not one bit. People have never stopped to ask me why I don't want to leave this country. And my reason for not wanting to leave is simple.
My 30th birthday is coming up in a few days. Eight to be exact. And as usual I've got a list of things I'd like to have for my birthday. Although I doubt anyone would give me these things, I'd still make me a nice wishlist. So here we go.
1. My own house and lot. Somewhere accessible, doesn't flood, safe & secure, termite free. All the usual stuff. Doesn't have to be big, but it should be at least 3 bedrooms, 2 toilet & bath, 2 car garage, maid's quarters, and it has to have a nice kitchen.
2. My own car. It doesn't even have to be a brand new car. Right now I'll be very happy with a 2nd hand Nissan Terrano or one of the older Suzuki Vitaras. But since this is a wishlist, I'd really, really like to have the new Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X MR (with the dual clutch automatic transmission gizmo) or the Subaru Impreza WRX STi.
3. A Dean Dimebag ML tribute guitar. Any variant, just as long as it has the Floyd Rose tremolo system. Plus a Marshall Amplifier, no need to be powerful, just for personal use. And a Korg G3, yes, the same effects pad Dimebag Darrell used. Oh and a Crybaby Wah Pedal.
4. Jeans. Levis 501s or 569s. As long as it fits and it's loose. Nothing beats a good pair of jeans.
5. A new laptop. Not that this laptop is obsolete or anything, but I'd like to have one of them Intel Core i7s with a really powerful video card. Maybe an Alienware laptop or something similar, the customizable, really expensive laptops.
6. New sneakers. Either Kobe Vs or even Onitsuka Tigers. Don't ask me how I know about the latter. I just do.
7. Beanbag. So I can loung in comfort while playing with my PS3.
Well those are what I can think of so far. I think if memory serves me correct that the top 3 choices I have here are the same things I've been putting in all my wishlists.
First encounter with the flash flood in my area, and I found the route that will get me home with the least amount of flooding I have to walk through. It is a longer route, no doubt, but at least I don't have to wade through knee deep water.
I have to exit the rear of my office building, and head to Makati Cinema Square. I cut through the 'mall' and cross Pasong Tamo, where I can either ride a jeepney to Mantrade, or just walk.
If I choose to walk, I have to walk to Waltermart, turn right at Pasay Road (because Pasong Tamo will be flooded, no doubt) and take the back road, parallel to Pasong Tamo. I think it's Estacion St. Then I just walk there until I reach the building behind my building and just cut across.
I just did this a few minutes ago and it was pretty successful. Of course, I still had to wade through some partially flooded gutters. But they were at worst ankle deep or less. My pants naturally absorbed the water and they reached shin high in wetness, but not bad. It would have been worse if I waded through deeper water.
It's a little past the middle of June and I haven't blogged anything. Not really good news if I want to greatly increase my number of posts this year from last year's.
Actually I've posted almost double what I did last year. But still, it's not enough.
So here are some ramblings...
I've deleted my multiply account. Why? I feel like I've got too many accounts floating around the internet, and I'd rather keep it to a manageable number of accounts. Plus I haven't even used my multiply account in ages so it was the logical choice to go. Besides, my friendster account was the first to go.
As for my facebook account, I have mixed feelings about deleting it and keeping it. According to my friend Karl, I can actually adjust who can view what in my facebook page. I'm just too lazy to do it. Oh well.
Work-related is fine, learning a new game engine called Unity. It seems like a pretty simple engine with no need to export the assets. Seems good so far.
Anyway that's about it for now. Hopefully I'll be able to post something with more substance sooner rather than later.
1. Fernando Alonso is effin' quick. He started last but started overtaking like crazy and started moving up real fast.
2. The new safety car, I forget the name, that Merc gullwing, looks real sweet. Wouldn't mind owning one of those.
3. Webber is too fast for Vettel this race, as the former has kept the pace and has continually made the latter eat the former's dust. Despite the fact that there has been three, count them, three safety car sessions.
4. Vettel's overtaking maneuver on Kubica at the start of the race was just amazing.
5. They supposedly raised some kerbs, so I've been seeing a lot of the cars that can't make the turn just go straight over the chicanes instead of taking them. So much for trying to prevent drivers from cutting the chicane.
6. Alonso's up to sixth place as I write. What a drive.
7. I'm not sure if it's more exciting or less exciting because they removed in-race refueling, but I still enjoy watching these cars race around.
8. Monaco's streets are really, really narrow. There are a few places a driver can overtake, but you'd still need watermelon sized cojones to actually do the overtaking maneuver.
9. Kubica's good. 2nd in qualifying driving a Renault? Where'd that come from?
10. Wouldn't it be cool if "Whipslash" (the antagonist played by Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2) just came out and started destroying F1 cars as they passed by, just like in Iron Man 2?
11. Trouble for a Lotus car, I think. Did a pit stop and didn't move anymore. Was it Bruno Senna's car?
12. Vettel, Kubica, Massa battle for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th going on. Now we've got some excitement!
13. I think Michael Schumacher can still win a race this year. But I think he has lost a little in terms of performance. He's not as fast as he was in his prime, and that's quite natural seeing as how he's forty years old. Aside from the car not being on par with the Red Bulls and Ferraris and McLarens.
14. Looks like Webber will win this race. Good for him. And I mean that - I'm not being sarcastic.
Here's my ideal computer setup for my dream house.
I'd have a 22" full HD LCD monitor, a good keyboard, a gaming mouse and a gaming mouse pad, and a Logitech controller (the one that looks like a Playstation Analog Controller).
Now, the gaming mouse and mousepad will serve two purposes: gaming and 3D. Gaming because I do like games, and 3D because I've always been curious how a very sensitive mouse will perform when doing any 3D task.
I'd then have all those components connected to a switcher. Why? Because I'd have two different CPUs.
One CPU will be for internet surfing and will have a relatively slow processor. Maybe just one big hard drive, and a decent video card. Like I said, this will be the CPU that I use to surf the net. Since it won't be as fast as the other CPU the power supply won't be as high, thus helping me by lessening my power consumption.
The other CPU will be the more powerful one. The one using the super fast and super strong processor and a very fast video card. It would have at least two hard drives. This would be the one I would use to do 3D and play games with. I'd still surf the net with this, but I would only use this to do really CPU intensive processes.
I'd get this eventually, if I work hard and save for it. I've already got two cases for both CPUs. I already have the keyboard.
Lately I haven't been waking up as often in the condo. Used to be that I would wake up two or three times a night, just because I haven't gotten used to this place. But now it seems I've pretty much adjusted.
I also don't wake up as early as before. I can now fall sound asleep and wake up late when I want to. Or at least it's late for me.
I still wake up at night nowadays. But mostly because of this awful heat. And I wake up because my pillow is soaked with sweat. Not just moist with sweat, but soaked.
I guess that's one of the big cons of living in this condominium. It's not as cool as my house. I can sleep at my house with only an electric fan on and I wouldn't be as sweaty as I am here. I can't even think of turning on the air-conditioner because Meralco has raised the rates of electricity.
So I guess I have to soldier on with the sweaty nights. Another new thing to adjust to.
Meralco, our power company, increased their rates this month. Our bill doubled, despite similar consumption.
It's a bit of a stretch, because it eats a considerable portion of our monthly budget. Yet at the same time I can look at this in a positive light. This will teach us how to save and be more conservative with our power consumption.
This has been nagging me for quite some time now. Since I got married actually.
See, I don't consider myself to have many good friends. And the people I invited to my wedding were people I really wanted to see. These were people whom I consider my good friends.
I invited them months ahead of my wedding date so they could free up their schedules or let me know if they won't be able to attend. I'd understand if they were busy or if they had no more leaves left.
But here's the thing. Some people said they'd make it. And they didn't. Last minute text messages saying they were at work, or out of town for an emergency. Now I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. At least the latter excuse. But the former? Goddammit, I let you know months ahead of my wedding date and you can't make it because you have work?
As for the out of town emergency, fine. I won't really know if you were out of town, right? So I guess that's that.
What frustrates me most are these two people. They've been "friends" of mine for years. And on my special day they can't make time to attend? Fine. I guess that shows how much they valued our friendship.
What I felt was the slap in the face was that after they sent their apologies they never contacted me again. Never.
Then there's another friend of mine. He said weeks before the wedding that he might not make it to the ceremony, but that he'll do his best to make it to the reception. No problem, as long as he makes it. He shows up in to the ceremony and the reception. Now that is a friend.
I realized a lot about my friends that day. I saw the people I'd go to war with (figuratively speaking, of course) and I saw the ones I'd brush off. Yes, I know I should not dwell on those things and just let things slide.
But revenge is a dish best served cold. And I never, ever forget.
8:02pm Watching Man vs Food on Discovery Travel & Living... Tonight the host is in Austin, Texas.
8:03pm HUGE donuts! Round Rock Donuts? 2lbs or more.
8:04pm The donut manager can pick out the holes so effin' quick. Then they fry the mofos.
8:06pm Okay. Now I"M craving donuts. Ice cream to the rescue!
8:10pm Got the last batch of ice cream from the freezer and I'm sharing it with wifey now. Show's back from commercial and now they've got barbecue. Ribs, sausages, and briskets.
8:11pm Open pit for the barbecue?!? I want to go there. The meat looks so damn tender and good.
8:14pm The ice cream is finished and my wife and I are now hungry. You cannot find barbecue of this caliber in the Philippines unless you make it yourself.
8:16pm Tonight's challenge is the Don Juan Taco Challenge at Juan in a Million restaurant. What the heck are breakfast tacos?
8:19pm So that's what a Don Juan Taco looks like. Good lord. Carbo overload.
8:23pm Adam Richman is good. How that guy can eat so much food and not be as big as a piano is a mystery to me. SUDDEN COMMERCIAL BREAK?!? NO F*CKING WAY!!!
8:25pm He shouldn't have stopped eating. Bad move to take a break even though there's no time limit. He's full now. He's up to five tacos in 2 hours. He should have wolfed it down. And he doesn't finish the challenge.
8:27pm So Richman doesn't get the men's record (8 tacos) but the owner's son creates a celebrity category and puts Richman in the wall of fame. Not a bad outcome.
So that's my first attempt at liveblogging. Maybe I'll try this again with a more important TV show, like an F1 race or a basketball game.