Sunday, September 23, 2012

Remembering the Singapore F1 Grand Prix 2011

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to watch the 2011 Singapore Formula 1 Grand  Prix with my father. It was one of those times that I will always remember and cherish. It happened almost a full calender year ago, and tonight, as I await the 2012 Singapore GP to start, I've decided to write down the things I still remember about those amazing three days Dad and I spent in Singapore.

  • The F1 cars are really loud. The Porsche Carrera GT cup cars and the lower formula cars were loud, but paled in comparison to the marvelous F1 cars. I tried to listen to one or two F1 cars pass without ear plugs, and it hurt. Then I made the mistake of taking off my ear plugs when about four or five F1 cars were just seconds apart and passing by our section of the grandstand. Amazing sound, big mistake. Even the backmarker F1 cars were really loud.
  • McLaren's cars are shiny. Mirror-like silver paint job. When you look at them at night you can really see the sheen.
  • Most of the drivers enjoy the events taking place before the race. Like the driver's parade. I remember Lewis Hamilton and a few other drivers filming the grandstands as they passed by. Vettel was waving to the crowd. Schumi was lounging at the back of his vintage car. They all seemed to be having fun, or at least enjoying the last few stress and pressure free moments before the race started.
  • The Red Bulls, and some other cars, had this weird drill-like sound whenever they hit the brakes at the turn past our place in the grandstand. Dunno if that was due to traction control (do they even still have traction control?) or if the undercarriage of the car was rubbing against the curbs.
  • Finally, the track crew was amazing. There was one section of the track that needed repair before the race and they managed to do it with no delays to the schedule. Awesome job.
Well, those are some of the memories I had of the 2011 Singapore Grand Prix. The best memories I have are the times Dad and I had a blast watching it live.


Sunday, September 09, 2012

Comfort Zone

A few weeks ago I decided to do something that would move me out of my comfort zone. For those of you not in the know, I hate being out of my comfort zone. For this particular scenario, allow me to describe this comfort zone.

I prefer to be in control. I want to know all the variables and all the scenarios, that way when (if?) something bad happens I will still be able to execute possible back-up plans that could fix things out.

Unfortunately for me, I made a big decision that put me out of this zone. Just two days ago things happened that were not in my comfort zone. Yesterday was more of the same, and to tell you honestly I was slightly freaked out. I couldn't control anything, and I didn't know what to do. It took all of my strength to maintain calm and analyze things in a different way.

It's still a learning experience for me, and I totally hope that I can somehow find a way to turn this new scenario I am facing into a comfort zone. If that happens then that means I have succeeded in the decision I made. If it doesn't, well life goes on.


Monday, September 03, 2012

The City Vehicle

I have just changed my stance on the ideal city vehicle. If I could afford to buy and maintain two cars the ideal daily driver, city vehicle I would choose would be the Suzuki Jimny.

Now the Jimny is still overpriced, in my opinion. The top of the line, automatic transmission variant costs PhP815,000 and that's not including taxes, registration, insurance, etc. The model is relatively old, it hasn't had a facelift in a couple of years. But it's the best choice for a daily driver city car, in my current opinion.

Why? Earlier today a delivery truck and an Avanza taxi got into a fender bender. I was driving home using my mom's 2005 Rav4. We could not get through because the Rav was too wide and both vehicles were taking up too much space on the road. They would not move because, according to the taxi driver, the inspector wasn't there yet to take photos and file a police report.

It was annoying because I could not get through. Other cars managed to get through, and I basically clogged the small gap. Apologies to other motorists. I would have backed up if the cars behind me didn't tailgate. Needless to say I doubt any other cars would have made it through the small gap, except narrow cars.

The Jimny is a narrow vehicle. It would have fit easily with some clever maneuvering.

Take note, though, that I said the Jimny would be an ideal daily driver city car. I will not choose it if I could only afford one car, seeing as how I have a family already and the car is relatively cramped in the second row (specially with me driving it). I have tried to fit at the back of a Jimny with the front seat set-up for my position and there is little to no legroom (a simple test of space I do when I visit car showrooms is I set-up the driver's seat to my comfortable position then I sit behind to see how spacious the back is). But that's because I'm five foot ten.

But as a city car, it's perfect. My wife and I can fit easily. The second row can carry our groceries and other miscellaneous stuff. If flash flooding occurs, it's relatively high enough that we won't have to worry about flooding the inside or the engine. It's got a 1.3L engine that seems like it could give good mileage. And it's got four-wheel drive. The legit four-wheel drive. So in the event that I have to, say, climb over some sidewalks to avoid traffic (like earlier today) it could have tackled that problem easily. Hell, it could even carry my daughter and her nanny should the need arise.

Plus, despite its age, it still looks good in my eyes. The only modifications I'd do to a Jimny would be to maybe add a snorkel (purely aesthetic but would give me the option to try off-roading, also for deeper floods) and replace the mags. That's it.