The Handy Manny and Guido in me

Our transfer to Batangas has made me do more things on my own. The first few weeks I got myself pretty busy. I became the real Handy Manny, I can be seen with tools that where never out of the toolbox for so long. I got drill, screwdrivers, hammer, and ladder as my usual companion—they don’t talk though unlike in the cartoon show. There were fixtures to caulk, frames to hang, curtain rods to install. All these I did even on weekdays just before or after I report to night shift.  I was a regular at the hardware stores.

Then there’s our car to take care of. I realized that I actually have an answer to wifey’s question: “Do you miss Cavite?” I used to say “no” without any hesitation but now I seem to wish I am still close to Honda Cars Cavite. The car dealership wasn’t perfect but it was home for our Honda City for almost six years. There’s a Honda dealer here in Batangas but I decided against availing its services after talking to one of its service advisors. He doesn’t not show good customer service, he gave a pricey quote, and he spelled spark in spark plug with a ‘u’. Yes, I get easily turned off by price and wrong spelling.

Soon I found myself under the hood of the Honda City, this time I become Guido. After eight years, I am taking over the car’s preventive maintenance. I discovered that the task wasn’t easy. I had to familiarize myself with the car and had to read its manual more thoroughly for the first time after I almost loosen the wrong nut thinking it was the oil drain plug. The design of the City’s engine also made it harder to access its eight spark plugs as these are deeply seated unlike the ones in our Kia Pride (duh). I almost quit changing the four spark plugs located behind the engine block. That week I went to work showing everyone a dirty finger, fingers to be exact. I will wear gloves when changing oil next time.

I need my own lift.

But other maintenance jobs are better left to the experts and the better equipped. Yesterday, I watched a car parts store’s mechanic figure out how to change the car’s gear oil. He later conceded that they do not have the tool to drain the oil. It was about an hour and a half wasted. With my temper running low, I drove a few meters to a Caltex gas station where I found someone in greasy overall uniform who did the job in barely 30 minutes. I gave him a tip.

While our routine has normalized, there are still lots of things waiting to be done. For one there are still boxes in our other room with its contents waiting to be transferred to their proper cabinets and shelves which are yet to be made (hint: budget). Others need to be disposed. Then there’s also our parking space that we plan to have cemented. Who knows I could do less messy and faster oil change when I don’t have to worry about the jack stand sinking into the loose soil.

***

Car talk

Marcus and I stayed very late last night. He played Roblux, I watched TV. I landed on a channel that shows Formula E and watched it for the very first time. I learned that Formula E is similar to Formula One except that the cars are electric but just as fast. Since there is no fossil fuel to pump, the driver transfers to a fully-charged car on scheduled pit stops. Marcus was right to remark that the Formula E cars sound like those in Star Wars. How soon would mankind be driving 100% gas-free cars? Tesla is  around so the answer should be sooner than we expect it.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Regular Sunday: no more fiesta, no more outing.)

Down Pothole Lane

I need Tacrine. Only about a couple of weeks of continuous rain brought about by typhoons Jolina, Kiko, and Labuyo, the once paved roads began—expectedly—to break apart. Roads that I have witnessed being layered with asphalt for months wherein every time I get stuck in traffic as a wait my turn to get past the construction team and their heavy equipment have made me wonder if these DPWH projects are now for real. These past few days I got my answer, a rather sad answer.

And yes, now I think that I need Tacrine. Why? What is Tacrine?

On top of recent controversies in the Formula world like secret Pirelli tire testing, an anti-doping body recently exposes that there are F1 drivers they suspect as taking Tacrine. According to them, Tacrine is a performance-enhancing drug that allows the race drivers to have an almost perfect memory of the twist and turns of any circuit.

Anyone who watches Formula One events would know how precise most drivers maneuver their way through race courses. Their ability to maximize apex speed while avoiding smashing—weather, track, tire, and Romain Grosjean—into barrier walls and utilize chicanes is just remarkable. Interestingly, however, other than days spent on track testing and impeccable driving skill, the anti-doping body thinks that Tacrine is also at work. But whether this suspicion is correct or not, I now find that this must be the solution to my problem—remembering the location of all potholes to and from my way to work like the back of my hand.

Now where can I get one? I badly need some to preserve my sanity and my car’s suspension system.

 ***

Mood: 4/10 Honks! (Sweaty, sleepy, annoyed.)

Lotus’ Victory and Lego F1

The recently concluded F1 race in Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi was one for the books. Supposedly the third man on the grid after qualifying session, the young German driver, Sebastian Vettel, got disqualified and relegated to starting the race from the pits after allegedly failing to finish his run without the required amount of fuel for post-qualifying sample test. Despite this embarrassing snafu, whether by him or his team’s judgment, he charged his way from the back of the pack to reclaiming the 3rd spot in the podium. Just ahead by one spot, Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was able to stay consistent as before by driving strategically with the goal of closing the points gap with the German who is also the top contender for the driver’s championship.

Meanwhile, the winner of the race goes to the man who talks slow but drives fast – Kimi Raikkonen. The Finnish who drives for Lotus made history by bringing back pride to the team that has last seen first place victory way back in the late ‘80s. And not surprisingly, the sight of this heartthrob, who by the way returned to F1 just this year after a stint in the world of Rally racing, on topmost spot of the podium has made women screaming his name, and one of which I heard just a sofa apart from where I was seated. Yes, wifey was among his happy fans.

***

Another fan who in spite of his young age and probably shallow understanding of what this F1 sport is all about also had a blast last Sunday. Our 4-year old son finally had the chance to get his hands busy in assembling his first F1 Ferrari Lego that we got from Shell.  Marcus who has been engrossed since a couple of years ago to building blocks (especially Lego) has been kept occupied by his Duplo set but lately keeps on asking for the much smaller Lego bricks. And so thanks to the timely Shell promo (that will end on my birthday), at least he gets to have his starter kits.

His first F1 Ferrari Lego. Still complete. Sticker intact. For now.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Back to school for Marcus after a 5-day off. Just back to reality for me and wifey.)

A Familiar Logo

This afternoon I was once again in the waves of ennui, surfing the internet trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my Sunday while feeling guilty of having to skip mass again and while also waiting for my wife to come home.

Emails checked. Multiply.com updates checked. Friendster.com scanned–not much friends here. Favorites list scanned back and forth. Lurked forums done. Emails rechecked again for the nth time in just a couple of hours. Thankfully I’m free from mouse to keyboard ratio recording or I could be sending red signals to the ergonomics guru of our company.

Not really knowing how to bail out of my PC’s chair which is getting butt-hot while I move the mouse aimlessly, I suddenly realized I was looking at Formula1.com’s interview with the recent winner of the Canadian grand prix, Robert Kubica. Having watched this race’s replay I must admit that it was one of the most exciting I’ve seen so far this year. It’s one for the books of fame and for the books of unfortunate events which by the way F1 races will always be I guess. Even Michael Schumacher has his own share of fame and shame.

In this race Lewis Hamilton rear-ended Kimi while on their way out of the pit lane that brings the conspiracy theorists like me raise an eyebrow out of suspicion. Hmm. Robert Kubica of course wasn’t one hypocrite not to accept the fact that he felt more hope when these two leading drivers crashed. It was not only his day to win but it was his day to lead the drivers’ championship with 42 points. His consistency during the past races eventually paid off and June 08, 2008 became the day for him to be in the middle of the two drivers in the podium for the first time. It was the day BMW claimed the most coveted win of every races. It’s the day their sponsors have been waiting for. Wait, something looks familiar in the picture. Ah, our company’s logo.

I’ve got used to seeing Mclarens, Ferraris, and Renault exchanging top positions for years that it took me until now to realize that right beside BMW’s logo is Intel’s. It may have something to do with the fact that Intel’s Philippine site is closing this year that I forgot to cheer my heart out when the whole BMW team was cheering and savoring the huge champagne during the awarding ceremony.

BMW and Intel’s win may have been late to be fully relished especially for us working for the latter but as they always say, “A win is a win.” Now I don’t know if I’d be celebrating next time if BMW takes the 1-2 position once again. Hopefully yes.

Go BMW. Go Intel. Greetings coming from a Ferrari fan.

***

bmw poster

When we had our pictures taken in front of the team’s mall display back on April 2007 in Suria KLCC I never thought the BMW guys behind have any chances of winning a 1-2. Now, I stand corrected.