Chubby White Guy

I met a chubby guy.

One after the other. One day I was in a paint shop, next day in a car registration office, and then couple of days later I see myself at a tire shop. The pattern of where I’ve been at in the past few days shows that this month is definitely car month. More expenses in short. The price I have to pay in maintaining a 10-year old car.

Yesterday I finally replaced my car’s Goodyear Duraplus tires that already breached three years since February this year. I’ve been using the same brand after letting go of the noisy stock Bridgestones as I’ve proven that Goodyear tires are better and tough. In fact, this last set held on until the last thread pattern are almost gone which why it was hard for me to easily trust any other brand.

But here comes the chubby white guy. Up to the last minute I tried to fit another set of Goodyear tires specified for my car. The bad news is that even Goodyear dealers I’ve checked out don’t have the 175/70R13 tire readily available anymore. Fortunately someone recommended a tire shop that gave me an offer that’s hard to dismiss–a discounted Michelin.

Michelin has very good reputation despite the tire brand’s poor performance against the Pirellis at the F1 races years ago. Ask random car guys and most would likely say that Michelin tires are better but pricey. I had the same impression until I contacted someone at Minerva Yokohama tires in Calamba. A Michelin tire at Php 3000 a piece was a steal.

Two weeks ago I discovered my front tires have deteriorated badly, both would fail the coin test, and since then wet roads got me more worried than before. So imagine my relief when my schedule and wallet–wifey’s support included–aligned at last to get all four tires replaced before heavy monsoon rains strike again.

Needless to say, I’m back on safer grounds. The Michelin tires made me feel confident driving once more as the car has the grip it needs to stay in control. It’s also noticeable that there’s lesser road noise which means I can focus better behind the wheel. Only distraction now is the glowing blue seven segment LED display on my USB charger. Dear heavens, I need that voltage stuck at 12.5 volts please. Next stop soon, car battery shop. I need an online job.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Introvert mode off later.)

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My Talkative YI Dashboard Camera

“Keep a safe distance, please. Keep a safe distance, please.” “Caution, car drifting. Caution, vehicle drifting.” That’s neither my wife nor Marcus interfering with my driving, they’re used to it. The demanding voice that repeated itself over and over again at quite close interval emits from my new YI dashboard camera with its ADAS or driving assistance feature.

It was a hassle-free Lazada transaction. I ordered the item Tuesday and it was delivered morning of Thursday, paid COD. The box came with a Chinese manual but I was able to set it up in less than 15 minutes. Not that I understand Chinese but because camera’s menu is in English and control buttons made it so easy to navigate. Only time I needed from the YI Dash cam English manual that wifey found online is its wifi’s default password. It’s 1234567890. You can thank me later.

YI dash cam app.

Stock parts work. Suction mount holds and the camera fits nicely behind my rear view mirror. That’s right, I set it that way just to be compliant with our country’s anti-distracted driving law and besides I could access all of YI dash cam’s settings as well as extract video clips using its wireless connection. A YI dash cam app needs to be downloaded from Google Play or App store to connect to the cam’s wifi. Both our Android and Apple phones connect to the camera in a breeze. The USB-micro USB power cable that came with the package works fine but I find it thin and too long so I replaced it with something better which I already have at home.

Video quality is fair even at night except I noticed that lights appear dispersed and this could be an issue if there’s a need to capture an oncoming vehicles plate number so I hope I won’t have to.

For the price of Php2600 YI dashboard camera is worth it. It’s obviously a whole lot better than what I had since 2015 except for its talkative driving assistance. I have already turned it off the day after.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Back to healthy food.)

My First Lazada Order

Dashboard camera.

I have joined the bandwagon. Years of holding back, leaving all the online buying to wifey, ends today. Out of necessity brought about by the anxiety over my current dashboard camera hanging up on me yesterday, I’m left with no other choice but to take a deep breath and try out Lazada for the very first time.

Wifey never had any major setback with this online store. She has purchased several items that I once joked if she holds a share in Lazada. Of of these items I can count at least one or two that didn’t meet expectations but worked just fine nevertheless. So I’m crossing my fingers that I’d have the same experience in doing my first transaction. Site says my item would be received in 2-5 days. Let’s see.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Created my first Epic account. I can now play Fortnite with Marcus.)

Test Post

Ten years. It doesn’t drive like so but mileage and bodywork confirm it has seen better days. Yup, the car I never thought would be with us past five years is now ten years old and counting.

So today it deserves some sort of pampering. I’ve learned to DIY it in the last two years but today it goes to the nearest car dealership for maintenance. Honda Cars Calamba was surprisingly comfy than the last time I was here. Besides free coffee and free test drive, the place has free Wi-Fi. No big deal but this is when I confirmed what WordPress replied on my desperate tweet–our ISP could indeed be blocking WordPress.com.

I can see the technician is almost done with my car so I’ll have this test post count as this year’s first. Let’s see if my car’s pic would appear.

Just kidding. That’s one of the displays. I got tired after two episodes of Stranger Things and checked out some of the brand new cars. That one is a Civic Type R.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Found a new route with the test drive.)

Father’s Day Weekend

Once in a while it pays to get out of our comfort zone and face the world out there. In my terms, the world outside my boring driving route.

I spared Friday for wifey, to meet up with her former work colleagues. It was a trip to Vikings Luxury Buffet somewhere close to MOA which we had to time right due to the UVVRP. Although hours late for dinner, we ended the night full of reminisced memories, free buffet, and free Starbucks. Thanks guys, especially to the couple who brought stuffs from their 10-year stay in the US.

We left wifey with her friends so we tried the MOA Eye. My first time here but this is Marcus’ first ferris wheel ride.
Red Planet’s lobby has teddy bears. Not free though.
Midnight check in.

Next day, was for Marcus and me. Saturday was supposed to be gun show day but no thanks to my disorganized calendar, we got ourselves booked in Red Planet Hotel Shaw a month earlier than AFAD’s event at SM Megamall.

Not wanting to waste opportunity and gas, we skipped the bigger mall and dropped by Greenhills Shopping Center to get Marcus’ Xbox One controller checked and fixed. 800 pesos later we have a working unit. Seemed worth it.

Still with time to kill on a Father’s Day weekend, we tried finding our way back to Megamall. This is when our luck, or more so mine, would run out. My lack of familiarity with the streets got me entering a one-way zone and got flagged for a traffic violation. It would have been a more costly mistake had it not been for any or all of the following: a really considerate officer, Marcus playing along with my alibi that he’s starving, or my dashcam’s presence that made the officer realize it records whatever he says. Whatever it was, I got away with a lesser fine. We ditched Megamall plans that afternoon.

None today, so must be Tuesday as advised by the officer.

All is not lost however. Thanks to the new Shakey’s as well as Starbucks stores at Caltex SLEX we were able to cap our adventure right. Pizza and Java Chip Frappucino always work for me.

Pizza saved the day.

***

Shorties:

Vikings Luxury Buffet wasn’t what I expected. Located outside of a mall, parking was difficult, coming in on a Friday night made it worse. We lined up for more than 30 minutes before we got our slot. Food wasn’t that remarkable either. It didn’t even matter if I got mine for free. Normally I wouldn’t make a fuss out of it if I’m not paying but I just wouldn’t add this place to my must-visit-again list.

Red Planet Hotel’s experience was much better. Accommodation was worth the price we paid for. At P1500 we got comfy rooms, better ambiance, and friendly staff–from reception to maintenance. It also has parking secured with automated entrance and CCTV. And it has a brand that’s family-friendly than motels that has a logo of a female behind a yellow fan or one that sounds like a female lingerie line that ends with the word secret. If there’s a Red Planet among your options, pick it.

***

Sunday was plain and simple. Despite our close proximity to my parent-in-law’s place, I and Marcus seldom visit them due to not-so-wheelchair friendly route. But this Father’s day I made sure we dropped by. I had to pry Marcus away from his newly bought Spider-Man Xbox 360 game (pre-owned game we bought from Greenhills) and celebrate with everyone else. Did cold turkey on the urge to drink with anyone this year so that I could make myself available to Marcus anytime but this Sunday I asked his permission to have some just for Father’s day. I had two bottles of lights and bananas for finger food which makes me still on track on my sobriety and weight loss goal.

***

Mood: 1/10 Honks! (My second holiday Monday this June.)

Hot Car No More

Can’t recall the last time I saw him sleeping in the car.

This past week I had the hottest car in the neighborhood. I wish figuratively but no. It was really the hottest car. Thanks to bad air-conditioning.

What was temporarily fixed about a year ago eventually broke down. Nothing but Murphy’s Law. The mechanic was honest enough that placing the shim on the car’s aircon compressor wouldn’t last but back then my only concern was that the car would make it to the airport for our December trip. Well, it exceeded expectations.

Actually, more than enough. It made more trips. It made another trip to Park ‘N Fly for our short Bacolod vacation. And it made more to and from Manila while we process Marcus’ genetic testing. I think the gamble to have the short-term fix was worth it.

But two Fridays ago I braved peeking under the boot to check. It was a rattling sound that got my attention early of May. The compressor’s pulley was indeed coming off. It moved more that the magnetic clutch would. That was the start of one week of sweaty drive to work and weekends spent on finding an air-conditioning compressor replacement. Last Saturday I was lucky to finally source out the part somewhere closer than Cavite.

Today, I got the part installed. The car’s dashboard vents are once again blowing cold air. Monday’s drive to work would be with windows up this time. 

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! ( Hot choco while waiting at the car wash.)

Green and Go

So apparently the continuing number of clueless drivers falling victim to the Nuvali trap, plus maybe the accompanying rude honking from those queueing behind, has gotten the attention of whoever are in charge of its traffic management systems. The other night I noticed that they modified the traffic light configuration that would now allow a stress-free drive to the famous Nuvali lake.

Drivers turning left from Nuvali Boulevard to  Evozone Avenue now face a green light instead of the previous red which in effect eliminates countless moments of embarrassment for those stuck confused in the middle of the channelization islands. Good job. Problem solved, yes? Not quite. 

The ‘should I stay or should I go’ dilemma now has new owners. This time the unfortunate drivers are those exiting the Solenad 2 area as they would be looking up at one red light and a green light at the same time at some point of the traffic signal sequence. These lights were once in synced but in an attempt to resolve the original Nuvali trap the traffic admin inadvertently caused another. So how to go about this? That closest light in front of you is your signal. Pay attention to it if you’re the first at the intersection and please be considerate if you are behind one confused guy. Don’t honk if you can help it.

Those red lights spell trouble. This is from the perspective of those coming from Solenade 2.

***

After more than five years of observing people sweat it out in Nuvali, I finally got the chance to run in here. This Friday I found myself in a 3K fun run around the Nuvali lake as our company kicks off its annual sports activities. It was a run against all odds but it was one good run. This event made me realize that I could actually run coming from a night shift and while nursing a leg injury which I got from my last run in February.  If or when my leg improves, I would surely do another post  graveyard shift run soon.

My first Kinesio tape was worth it.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Survived my 2nd Saturday at work.)