Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

As 2010 comes to a close, let us all remember the good times, bad times, and lessons we have learned this 2010...

... Learn from mistakes, treasure the good memories, and use the bad memories as motivation to not have them repeat anymore. Let's all have a fantastic 2011.



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Ramblings

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.

Problem solved.

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.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Blog Observations

The year is almost over, and I have managed to increase the number of posts in my blog this year. I tripled the number of my posts.

Most of my posts had substance. Some of them were about cars, and there were some that were very, very personal. But there were very little nonsensical posts.

Come to think of it, I think there were a considerable number of posts in the early years of this blog that were mostly "dumb" posts. But they were still posts.

Take this post. Totally useless. I just want to add some more posts before the end of the year.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Crazy for Pick-Ups

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.

And that's what I would do if I had the money.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas everyone!

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.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Christmas Wishlist

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.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Welcome to the World

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.