This car isn’t meant to be in the Philippines

(Picture originally uploaded by Trente-deux)
 
 

 

Late last night, while just several kilometers away from home and while cautiously avoiding a number of potholes that seem to appear out of nowhere (every night), I noticed a black car with its hazard lights on coming from my right side view mirror.

The sleek car has a low and wide profile and as it overtook me, I saw that it has this appealing 4 overlapping ring emblem – it was an Audi. Other than being fascinated at the rare sight of one lovely car, I was as well shaking my head (just as much as the bob head on my dashboard did) in disbelief while this Audi attacked the potholes and the uneven asphalt patches.

The Audi’s low profile, and probably the stiff sports suspension, made it act just like a stylus in a phonograph does – it went up and down, left and right as dictated by the bumpy and rough road. I don’t know if its driver cared less, but I was thinking that luxury cars such as this just aren’t meant for the Philippine roads…well, unless, he’s among those who are getting their car maintenance fees from the bottomless taxpayers’ fund. Hmmm.

***

Here’s another reason why an Audi, specifically the TT isn’t for the pinoy and more so to be talked about in Tagalog. Imagine hearing this conversation:

Pare ganda a, ang itim at ang kintab…pwede ba mahipo yan TT mo?
Sige pero wag masyadong diinan ha…bibigay ko yan sa girlfriend ko.

If you didn’t understand this conversation, good for you. If you did, fine. But if you did and you smiled…well, just call it an Audi next time.

 

 

Mood: 4/10 Honks!

Of bad job interview and bad neighbors

 

I woke up today with a hope of a very good day but it just wasn’t meant to be I guess. I was supposed to bring my car to Makati for an exam in one of the companies I’m applying for. And one of the compelling reasons is just about being paranoid about the recent confirmation of an AH1N1 case here in the Philippines. The morning show on TV though answered my dilemma of bring the car or not. It said not – one part of the already confusing Makati streets is close for a celebration. Bad sign number one.

Anticipating worse traffic I was already on a bus by 6:30 am. Just a few minutes later it was jam-packed worse than sardines and worst, the person standing right behind me was coughing as if he’s the only one inside the bus – this is why I really would want to avoid public transport. But then again do I have the choice? A couple of hours and some sore butt later, I was already in Ayala avenue and true indeed, the jeepney terminal has a very long queue of mostly mean looking passengers. Bad sign number two.

Realizing that I still have more than an hour to spare, I decided to walk going to my destination as traffic then was at a crawling phase. Ganito nga sila sa Makati (This is how they are in Makati) – an irritating line of the info commercial which is clearly a plug for a presidential candidate. The nerve. The leather shoes I was wearing making the long (more than 2 km, if I’m not mistaken) walk tiring. The thick polo shirt plus a white t-shirt inside completing the torture.

More than thirty minutes of brisk walk later, I arrived ahead of time; more than enough for me to grab a quick McDonald’s hotcake; and still more than enough for me to get me back to the right elevator inside the PBCom tower. Soon enough, I was among the eTelecare hopefuls waiting in their comfy lobby – while trying to get the feel of who’s the closest competition. Hahaha. By past 10 am, the two part examination took place. I think I can confidently say that I aced it. I was among those few who passed. But wait.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared that the interview will be done past lunch – I was already hungry the moment I finished my exam by 11 because the view of the Krispy Kreme donut shop is right below me from the tower’s 12th floor. We were made to wait back in their lobby but it doesn’t feel cozy this time. My hunger and the strong air-conditioning making the anxiety worse. The interview didn’t happen not until 1 pm.

Good thing that the interview was quick. Bad thing is that my answer in the application sheet seems to have worked against me (although I expected it). I answered the question, “are you willing work on rotation?” with NO. Because I just really can’t especially now that I’m getting serious with my first two MBA subjects. So once again, I heard the ever familiar line, “don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Bad sign number three.

I immediately walked out of the building with only one goal at that moment – grab some Krispy Kreme; and grab I did – I got an assorted dozen to go.

 

***

 

I arrived home by 3 pm and after having consumed 3 donuts while inside the bus. After a few chit chat with my waiting wifey and kid, I felt asleep. By 5 pm I woke up, eager to continue the attack on the Krispy Kreme, but this time with a well deserved hot coffee to go with it. And guess what, it wasn’t meant to be.

Just I was about to lean back on the couch and savor the steaming beverage, my good neighbor called out. He said he noticed that one of my car’s tires is completely flat. I got out, feeling bad about not having finished the coffee in the mug. The moment I saw the tire, I already had a bad gut feel about it. I changed it with the spare tire and headed to the nearest true vulcanizing shop. My hunch was right – its sidewall was intentionally punctured. Damn. Several things were already running inside my head. Bad sign number four.

After leaving the tire shop, I went straight to the Dasma police station to have the incident blottered because this time this isn’t just a mere malicious scratch which I had observed to appear every morning since the day I got into trouble with some of the board members in my intent to unify them. What makes me really feel bad is that it’s been months already after I resigned (trying to stay away from the worsening relationship) and until know some of the people here in our village still would like to make their views heard, sadly, through an unfair and cheap act – puncturing my car’s tire. Although, I have other thoughts why they did it. Hope I’m wrong.

I’ve already seek the help of some of my immediate neighbors and I’m just really hoping that the incident won’t happen again – and that whoever did this will come up and face me instead to talk about whatever they have against me. But until then, I just consider them cowards who would rather poke a defenseless tire. It’s bad, but the truth is, there are just some people who are worse than the poor butt hole.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day. Hopefully, tomorrow, I’ll savor the remaining Krispy Kremes. Hopefully…

 

 Mood: 6/10 Honks!

Memories from the car clutter

 

Yesterday I finally had the time to vacuum the interior of the car. I’ve washed its exterior at least twice in a month but the hectic schedule and the crazy weather prevented me from taking the vacuum cleaner out of the house and into the car. Yesterday, everything was perfect: sun’s up, I woke up early, and nothing more to do but clean.

The interior, in my own standards, was in a total mess. The carpets had all sort of dirts – grass, dust, sand and gravel. On the leather seats were materials that the CSIs would love to have (the only missing are those that would glow under the black light). And in the trash bins were candy wrappers, crumpled toll gate tickets and wet wipes that have gone bone dry just short of being fossilized. It’s weird but over the loud and monotonous buzz of the vacuum cleaner I was reminiscing what we’ve recently been through with our grayish car – and most of the time, Marcus was with us.

 

 

One grumpy clutter monster.

One grumpy clutter monster - won't take a sit at his own seat and loves rearranging the stuff toys.

Mary, our car’s name, has sent us to several domestic destinations already within a month: a couple of places in (and back and forth trips) Batangas, Bacolod and Subic.

 

1. Munting Buhaning, Nasugbu 2. Balulan, Manapla, Neg. Occ. 3. Resort somewhere in Bitin Bay, Laguna 4. Subic Park Hotel

1. Munting Buhaning, Nasugbu 2. Balulan, Manapla, Neg. Occ. 3. Resort somewhere in Bitin Bay, Laguna 4. Subic Park Hotel

Although I wish I could have brought the car with us in Bacolod thru the RORO ferries, it was with us at least until Park N Fly where it stayed and accumulated dust because of the offsite (parked outside the covered area) parking during that time due to the peak vacation season.

Mary also endured the twists and turns and the continually changing lanes of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) due to the ongoing constructions. It likewise muscled its way up and down the undulating road going to Munting Buhangin beach in Nasugbu, Batangas. 

 

I cant resist but grab the cam and take this picture while driving.

I can't resist but grab the cam and take this picture of one portion of the SCTEX while driving.

And the recent long distance trip to Subic was tiring yet at the same time satisfying because of the perfect road conditions of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), the newly opened Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and the Americanized traffic standards of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) free port where I gladly complied and actually loved the “first to stop, first to go” or what I’ve known from training as the “first-at-the-intersection” rule.

Some of the Pictures taken in Subic.

Some of the Pictures taken in Subic.

It took me about 30 minutes just to put everything in order inside Mary. Now, Marcus’ stuff toys are standing upright; and the China-made Tigger is once again back hanging on the ceiling; the old gas station receipts have been removed and accounted for, and the dashboard dials are once again dust-free. The trusty Honda City is once again spic and span. It’s now covered and ready for the next driving days ahead – let me check though if our budget will allow.
 

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

 

 

  

 

 

 

There’s a word for it: Stroboscopic effect

 

I’ve just watched the live Bahrain F1 race and during one of the laps I saw a shot of Felipe Massa’s Ferrari overtaking the Fischicella’s Force India car which is actually one of the exciting moments of the race – watching a red bully battle out with a fighting underdog. The shot also shows something that made me remember what was one of the things that kept me wondering if there’s a word for it; fortunately indeed, it has.

This is called the Stroboscopic Effect which was answered by someone when I posted my query (more than 5 years ago, if I’m not mistaken) in one of the automotive forums that I used to frequent – Autoindustriya.com. Here’s the definition according to Wikipedia: … It also accounts for the “wagon-wheel effect“, so called because in video or motion pictures, spoked wheels on horse-drawn wagons sometimes appear to be turning backwards. In a sense it can be compared to the audial effect called beat.

So there you go, the next time you see a wheel, especially those running fast, and wonder why it is running backwards for moment despite the forward motion, always remember that there’s a word for it. It is called Stroboscopic effect.

***

While finishing this post, I suddenly remembered that my wife mentioned about our baby having this fascination of watching the wheels of the vehicles right beside us every time we take a trip. And it may be because of this the same phenomenon that fascinated me when I was a kid. Even until now, this seemingly forward-reverse movement of the wheels still attracts me like magic shows do – Life’s simple pleasure.

***

I won’t blog about the recent F1 race but instead I’ll direct you to Allen on F1 for the updates. I myself am going to check it out to know why there’s so much controversy with this one part of the Formula 1 car, the diffuser. This is a part that has been blamed by some of the teams, especially the former front runners – Ferrari and McLaren, as the reason why the newest team – Brawn – has dominated the first four races of the 2009 season. Hmmm, interesting, isn’t it?

 

 

Mood: 2/10 Honks!

2009 Honda City

 

After all the speculations, spy shots, automotive forum excitement and anticipation, the new Honda City 2009 was finally introduced this week. Incidentally, this happens to be exactly a year after we bought our 2008 model. When I saw the pictures of the new City, I felt the same excitement I had last year while I was drooling over what then was considered as brand new. Now, somewhere out there I’m sure are thousands of anxious individuals who have spent several sleepless nights already thinking over and over again if this car is indeed a good buy.

Being one of those curious what the fuss is all about, I checked Honda’s website – and the City has indeed evolved a long way from its predecessors. In fact, if not for the emblem at the rear that says it’s a Honda City, this car may be mistaken as anything but a City. And this is where hot discussions and exchange of opinions comes in.

At first look, especially coming from a year-old owner of the 2008 City, it cannot be denied that I appreciate the fact that this new model appears to be sleeker on the outside and more spacious in the inside. Fans of the new Honda Accord who fall short of the budget to acquire it, will likely have some thinking to do now because the resemblance of this car is all over the City and for this same reason that I’m right now daydreaming about it.

But Honda City designers need not put their chin up high just yet. This is because once the 2009 City is viewed on its sides, the feeling of looking at something familiar yet “un-Honda” is there. It’s a shame but it’s as if some designer from Toyota had his hands on this project because the profile of the City shows hints from the 1st generation Vios – especially while looking at the tail light from the sides. And to verify if it’s just me and my untrained eye, I searched and found a discussion on this. Check out paultan.org. I rest my case.

Its an accord...?

It's an accord...?

...no, its a vios...

...no, it's a vios...

At the end of the day, after all has been said and done, two things will be sure: that someone coming right out of the Honda showroom will be another proud owner of the 2009 Honda City; the other, that there will be one envious driver tailing the brand new Honda City wondering when the recession will end and if dreams of salary increases will come true. Ti abi.

***

After a year of having the 2008 Honda City I’ve come to discover and experience more about it – both bad and good:

Bad

  • Some paints have chipped off from the door and trunk edges. And this is not due to bad driving (I swear). I actually saw this just a couple of months after we got it. The service personnel said that they’ll do a re-touch of it once they have the exact car color.
  • Upon closer inspection – normally done if I don’t have anything to do while waiting for wifey – I discovered that some panels do not align perfectly. Well, it’s not a Ferrari in the first place.
  • The left A-pillar does create a blind spot when turning.
  • The underside engine cover/splash guard got snagged after I parked where a big concrete chunk was hidden from view. I can’t believe at first that such thing could happen but after seeing several new cars with the same problem, I wonder if placing that part was a good design idea.
  • That my wife still won’t drive it. It’s not directly related but it’s still among the bad. Hahaha.

Good

  • Suspension is still remarkable. Most people would say that Honda suspension is indeed better than the rest. I couldn’t agree more.
  • Engine purrs silently. When stuck in traffic, I’d just know that I prematurely released the clutch and eventually cut-off the engine if I see that the yellow and red indicator lamps have lit up. This is because of the engine’s low noise in addition to the good interior noise isolation (or insulation).
  • Recently discovered out of curiosity that the rear ash tray can be taken out for cleaning. Good thing no one smokes while inside the car.
  • The “Baby on Board” sticker looks good on it. : )

 

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

 

Pictures credit: Honda website.

Get Ready for the Future

 

It’s already year 2009. Just another year more and lots of things will start to happen. No not according to Nostradamus or any other stargazers. It’s actually from a couple of my favorite entertainment or pastime – TV or movies.

The night before we went for a 2-day vacation in Batangas (where we spent our New Year’s eve), I was in front of the boob tube again, this time watching an Arnold Schwarzenegger film – The Running Man. I know that this is among his first and I know that I missed this one when it was shown in the big screen. Back then, on 1987, I’m hooked with Kung Fu Kids. Shhh.

What I find fascinating about this rerun is the timeline when it is set. It’s year 2017. More so, what is striking is that its intro is so similar to that of Death Race and from that part alone I was even more intrigued – I just got to watch this. Besides, who wouldn’t enjoy watching a futuristic scene wherein America is in chaos (this must be one of Bin Laden’s favorite movie); characters don padded tight-fitting overalls; people enjoying a sadistic live game (I’m sure the Japanese love this too); where the shows’ stage looks like a bit improved versus that of Eat Bulaga; where despite the technology advances cellphones did not exist; where Bens Richards blurt out punch lines after every kill as if some standup trying to elate the crowd. Lastly, who wouldn’t love to watch the governator at its prime?

Of course, in this current state of my Hollywood-clogged mind, I knew from the very start how this movie will end. I’ve seen so much of such plot already that I can predict it just like any other. But this does not mean I didn’t enjoy it because sometimes a lousy rerun can always be appreciated especially if you’re left with nothing but other reruns from other cable channels. Ti abi, this is what happens when there’s too much vacation.

To prove that this Arnold movie got hold of my mind, somehow, I browsed the web for any other futuristic movies/stories that are set on the year 2000. This time at least on 2010 even if I’ve seen one before set on an earlier Y2K period with flying cars already. Its writer, director and especially the production designers must have been so embarrassed by now as it is quite certain that none will come close to what will be on 2010.

Computer and video games:

  • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (2004)
  • Uplink (2001)
  • Street Fighter 2010 (1990)

Film

  • 2010 (1984)
  • Thunderbirds (2004)

TV

  • Knight Rider 2010 (1994)
  • Stargate SG-1 (2001)
  • The Transformers (1986-1987)

     

Even though what authors and production designers have created will fall short of their expectations of what a futuristic setting will be (at least for 5 more years from now), I’m already beaming with excitement to see what might happen next. Wouldn’t it be fun to see flying cars and robots casually moving from all directions? Hmmm. Not until we get to understand the basics of “land” road driving, I guess. But I just can’t wait for the robots to take over our senate and congress. At least these mechanical wonders don’t have greed. I may be wrong though.

 

 

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010

 

***

What would happen if we’ve got flying cars and its drivers doesn’t even know what “Do not tailgate” nor a red traffic light is all about? Go figure.

Tailgate, what?

 

Well, the arrow doesn't say if it's my vehicle's front or rear. Maybe it's my middle.

Hey, that's my car's color. That means I'm go.

I don't even have a brake light, so why not beat the red light as well?

***

Happy New Year!

 

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

Halloween Weekend

 

 

San Vicente, Batangas. We’ve been here since yesterday to spend our Halloween weekend together with wifey’s family – my in-laws. So while the rest lazily settles in front of the TV and watch the movie Robots on DVD, I’m thinking of testing their newly installed internet connection and try to post a blog for the very first time from here.

 

One of the my blog rules dictates that I should not write anything that hundreds or even thousands other bloggers (and even professional writers) will for sure write due to its current popularity or just for the sake of doing so.

 

But then again, there is always an exemption to this rule and one of which that cannot be avoided is Halloween – whether I like it or not. It’s the time of the year that when the grinning plastic (or real) pumpkins, skeletons and scary costumes come out, it’s my cue to panic and think about what gift I should be giving to my wife. Because this is actually when wifey celebrates her birthday – whether she likes it or not, too.

 

It’s a good thing that this year is a lot more different than last year. Back then, wifey and I had to go to Batangas separately because I was still busy at work; we also had no car yet after selling our old Kia Pride; traffic was worse then and I remember arriving by lunch time after leaving work at around 8am – the last two hours of which was spent from Turbina to San Vicente.

 

This year is a lot better. (Though I miss covering the hundreds of microprocessor chips before a cold shutdown. You’ll know what I mean.)

 

***

 

While on our way to Batangas yesterday and while driving at crawl pace in the middle of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), I honked at another drive when he tried to get into my lane without signaling his intention to do so. My wife commented, “Aba, that’s the first honk for today!” I was laughing hard after realizing that she’s actually taking notes of it. Then she added, “I’ve actually started measuring your mood by the number of honks you make.” Ti abi.

 

That short exchange on my driving habit, made me smile. I’m now thinking if it would be a good idea to indicate my mood using “honk” score – 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. Not bad huh?!. Thanks wifey for giving me the idea. Oh by the way, happy 32nd birthday again.

 

***

 

Not to be outdone by others who have given their own scary ghost stories, video captures and even trick or treat experience, I might as well post my own. This one though isn’t fabricated in anyway. This one is real and I captured it on the exact Halloween date – October 31, when I was at the parking lot of SM Dasmarinas just minutes before sunset.

 

I was having our car seat cover replaced with fake (which others will call faux just to make it sound a not so cheap) leather and decided that it would be a good idea to take pictures of it to show how it will be done and to see the improvement right after. After I got my camera from the trunk and aimed it towards the workers I saw what appears to be a couple of ghostly figures inside the car after the pictures came out of the LCD screen. Scroll down to see the pictures….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*LOL* Gotcha. Those are Ace Hardware employees in their Halloween costumes. Kudos to these guys. Waiting for the leather seat to be installed wasn’t boring at all.

 

 

Mood: 5/10 Honks!

 

 

 

 

 

The Rain and the Road

 

I can’t seem to get enough with having memory recalls every time the rain falls. Several days this week have been rainy and each time presents new random memories.

Baptismal…by Rain (Duh!)

Thursday. I commute to work on my motorcycle. Unfortunately, when the time came for me to head back home the sky went dark and the threat of rain soon became a reality – my first time to get caught while on a motorcycle. I was almost soaked by the middle of my trip and the laptop in my backpack forced me to seek shelter. While waiting for the rain to stop, I was unconsciously having flashbacks of days when times like this don’t seem to matter. As long as we’re with our bikes, sunny days and rainy days seem to be just the same. I miss the carefree days when we’d be racing in the rain and bunny-hopping puddles oblivious to the dangers such as riding without a helmet or any other body protection. Back then it was just our bikes and us, no worries. No pain, no gain.

Safety is an alien word.

Safety is an alien word.

 Star Toll way

Friday was another rainy road trip. After dropping by work earlier than usual and then driving to Sto Tomas, Batangas to meet my wife’s brother and his wife – both meeting being urgent and stressful somehow – I decided it’s a perfect time and reason to hit the long road again to relax. Thanks to the scarcity of the road signs and markers in the Star Toll way, I miss the exit to Lipa which was initially our destination. That one made me go straight towards Batangas City as the rest of Star Toll way’s well paved highway made me do 120 KPH with almost no effort at all.
Wet drive in Batangas.

Noon time?

That long and fast drive sent me back to a mixture of memories and imagination. I began to remember Kuala Lumpur’s road wherein Mercedes Benz and compact cars are as ubiquitous as our Jeepneys; I also recalled my dreamlike trip from Wisconsin to Madison which until now I can’t believe I was there for a moment in my life; of course, my playful mind won’t complete the process if I can’t link one experience to a TV show or movie – this time it reminded me of disaster movies. The whole horizon was covered with thin nimbus clouds that it seemed like it wasn’t noon time by then and the surrounding setting was just surreal.
 
Will Maxs chicken taste better here?

Will Max's chicken taste better here?

After lunch and a mall stroll in SM Batangas, we headed back by around 4 PM. The ride back turned out not to be uneventful. We had a near miss accident when some guy placed an improvised spike on the middle of Star Toll way. Good thing that I notice the guy doing something fishy and I remember from some motoring forum threads that this modus operandi is being done by some vulcanizing guys to get customers. I was doing another 100 KPH then, if that punctured our tire I hate to believe it but some funeral homes will for sure profit from that a**hole’s enterprising scheme.

Sta. Rosa Exit

Believe it or not, this is SLEX.

Believe it or not, this is South Luzon Expressway.

That Friday wasn’t made to be SSDD. After dropping Noel and Lani back in Sto. Tomas, we took another route home to Cavite. I’ve had enough of bad roads and I actually won’t mind another long drive as long as I know the way. So we took the Sta. Rosa exit instead of Carmona – this one has been in construction for a couple of months already and even to those familiar with it may seem dangerous especially at night.

Obviously, our public servants are on a drinking spree again.

Segment of Carmona Road. Road repair almost invisible at night. Beware.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Somewhere in the middle of our trip and while tuned in to Magic 89.9’s Friday Magic program, I heard a familiar name greeted by another familiar name. Hahaha. My wife sent an SMS greeting for me over the radio. I always find that sweet and that seems to keep my cool while driving. She’s done that several times actually but at a random interval which surprises me every time.

The last time we passed the Sta. Rosa route was more than a year ago and we had our cute Kia Pride that time. Nothing has changed so far but at least it’s better than keeping my eye open for road under repair signs (or the lack of it) in Carmona. An obvious improvement though is noticeable right after we reached Tagaytay. Now, at least large parts of the road have a dividing line between two lanes. Years ago, one has to drive with wide eyes open and lights in full beam to “survive”. At least, some of our public works officials finally (!) acted upon this problem. I’m just wondering though who (or how many) got into an accident for this to happen. I just hope he’s a politician.

Riding With Journey

 

On my way out from work I noticed that this afternoon’s weather isn’t motorcycle-friendly. The dark clouds dominated the skyline. The rain poured hard. The road is soaked. Times like these I appreciate the fact that I got a car to drive. So I was thinking then, “What would be a great driving music to go along with the wet ride home…?” Lo and behold, some Rock ‘n Roll god guided my discretion, it handed me the CD, Journey: Revelation – its CD 2 slid effortlessly into the disk player.

 

We bought this CD last week and I have played it right after and I’ve been trying to make sense of it since then. But this afternoon’s gloomy weather seemed to have made the setting right enough for me to appreciate it better than before. The cool and humid breeze completed the nostalgia that I was about to go through.

 

All of a sudden the firm steering wheel of the Honda seems to vanish right out of my grip. The illuminated dashboard gauges blurred and faded all the way. The feeling of firmly seated in the driver’s seat and the security of the seat belt went away as well. Surprisingly, during that very moment I cared less at each every minute that the Journey CD continued to play as if trying to give in to an unforeseen force.

 

With each track of the CD playing one after the other, I found myself inside a rather boxy vehicle with both of my hands holding the bar located right on top of my head. I felt the blaring of the 15-inch speakers under my very seat and its heavy bass thumping and the high treble trying to cope up with it while some rock band send spine chilling riffs. The black lights inside made the white shirts around me to glow like some magic tricks thus completing the out-of-this-world sensation. I tried to peek out to check were on earth I’m currently at and I soon realize that the speeding vehicle has its rectangular windows wide open. Another head movement and I saw that its rear door is likewise ajar like those in airplanes with skydivers waiting for the red light to go green. Turning my gaze in front, I saw a long-haired driver carelessly enjoying the music while speeding past sugarcane-filled trucks. So where am I exactly? Well, I’m actually in a Jeepney and I’m in tattered jeans, faded shirt and a pair of scuffed Chuck Taylor shoes. I am in college once again.

Filipinos, buy this!

Filipinos, buy the original please! Photo: music.aol.com

 

And that’s the unavoidable effect this Journey CD has on me. The classic rhythm of the guitars, drums and keyboards blasted me right back to the past. The vocals this time though isn’t from its original vocalist Steve Perry anymore. This time its from Arnel Pineda, a pure Filipino talent who despite his small size relative to the other band members has such powerful voice that if you’ve heard each of the Journey’s songs only once years ago, you’ll for sure say that it still has the same vocalists. 
Arnel’s rendition of most of the original Journey songs is unmistakably that of Steve Perry. And hearing those I would call “melodic shriek” made me sometimes wonder if the myth that tight leather pants do make Rock ‘n Rollers achieve that impossible pitch is true. Go figure.

 

After listening to almost everything over and over again, I’m now concluding that Arnel did a really really good job in his first album with Journey. Except for Open Arms (CD 2 track 9) which in my opinion is a disappointment because I actually don’t know if Arnel tried to impose his own singing style in this song by deviating to what was done by Steve. If he did, well, I just don’t like it. Or maybe I’ll get used to it soon. Whatever. Anyway, before the Pineda fans start throwing thrash emails, I’d like to say that of all the 23 songs in the album (CD1 & 2 combined), this is the only song that I’m having second thoughts listening. Other than this, the rest are just perfect for those who love the classic Rock ‘n Roll feel.

 

My personal favorites in this album are: Never Walk Away, Let It Take You Back, Only The Young and of course, Faithfully. I love this last song a lot that it had me clicking on the disk player’s repeat track button several times while hopelessly trying to sing along with it in the confines of our car and to the ire of the only person inside with me that time – our Wisconsin football team bobhead. Poor guy it’s been bouncing up in down, front and back that I snapped out of my in-the-jeepney-ride nostalgia.

 

 

Tomorrow, it might rain again; I might have to cover bobhead with a hanky this time for my full uninterrupted journey with Journey back to the past.

Bobhead loves videoke singers more than the author. Bad bobhead.

Bobhead loves videoke singers more than the author. Bad bobhead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Death Race: A Film By Filipinos

The other night my beloved wifey and I watched the last full show of the film Death Race (Starring Jason Statham as Jensen Ames) – because Wall-E isn’t showing anymore. And while on my way to meet up with her at the mall, I was thinking of the title which by itself is a no brainer. As it aptly implies, I presume that it’s just all about death and race. No more. No less. But wait…there’s more.

The moment the film started rolling, it immediately captured my attention with some of the words it presented on the silver screen and with some questions running on my mind along with it:

·         2012 in America. Will we be there by this time?

·         Unemployment. Will we be included?

·         Death. Entertainment?

·         Race. Will we be watching another live F1 soon? And when?

My wife, as I expected, started giving her naughty remarks (I always know that it is meant to intentionally annoy me) while I was starting to sink in to the story. But instead of hushing her, I myself made my own mumbled remarks in agreement. And as if those keywords aren’t enough to keep us related to the opening part of the film with its resemblance to our pending future, the opening scene also shows the main character getting laid off from his job in the metal factory. There’s chaos in the line of workers waiting for their turn to get their last pay. At this point, I was beginning to feel uneasy and I was somewhat praying to get over with the factory scene and show the death race itself.

A few frames more, the factory setting ended, thankfully. I did not mind when the succeeding scenes became tragic with Jensen drugged by someone in a ski mask and eventually becoming unconscious just to wake up with police and their hand guns sticking inches away from his face while trying to make sense what he’s doing with a knife in his hand and his dead wife beside him. Needless to say, that landed him in prison.

His role in the prison called Terminal Island became apparent when he was offered to participate in the famous Death Race since his record shows that he was a famous car racer years before. His acceptance of the part will be his way out of the prison facility with the condition that he will win the race. (Sadly, I didn’t catch in the film the reason why he indeed the said career and instead endured working inside the hot metal factory).

So just like any sane man offered to race for freedom, Jensen accepted. And this is where I started to enjoy the film. The main death race had several inmates as drivers and with their own armored, gun-mounted, and extra modified cars. Among them of course is Jensen who had to wear a mask in order to pretend as Frankenstein who was actually the famous death racer who perished in the opening scene but without the fans’ knowledge. The race is viewed online by fans numbering in millions with each paying at least $99 per view while the death racers outrun and “outgun” each other.

While I consider this as a B-movie, I actually applaud whoever was behind it. I’m now beginning to imagine that the people who conceptualized this movie are a team composed of Dana White’s men, ex-FIA officials, troubled American school kids, Twisted Metal (PS1 game) programmers and last but not the least – Filipino drivers.

Why? Because I find this movie a mixture of UFC fighters who are driving F1 cars with trigger-happy American school kids handling the Gatling gun’s remote button. Furthermore, the Filipinos here are divided into two sub-teams. First are those Jeepney drivers who loves to mount anything (such as horse figures, shiny CDs, LEDs, more LEDS, horns, antennas. Just to name a few.) on their jeeps – they are the designers of the Death Race cars. The other Filipinos are those who designed the weapon activation systems – which I wish I’m one of them as sometimes…just sometimes (wink wink), I wish I had those buttons inside my Mary.

Surprising as it may seem, I recommend this movie to let out some steam without doing any harm to the stubborn driver in front of you while stuck in traffic. Road rage alert. Watch out for bald male driver fumbling with the cigarette lighter.