Weight Conscious

I bet that among the dreaded moments for most people ending their vacation is when it is time to pack up. Whether that be from the separation anxiety that comes along with it or just the thought of finding stuffs and figuring out which one goes where back inside the bags. There are others of course who worry about having excess baggage because of the new items that they have accumulated over time such as due to impulsive shopping or, for lucky ones like me, stuffs received as gifts or hand-me-downs from people from tate. But nevertheless how these things were acquired all of these could get someone in trouble at any airport’s check-in counter. And I’m not letting this extra stress happen to me especially that I’m traveling with my ever restless 4-year old.

So yesterday after buying some pasalubong for folks back in Luzon, and suddenly remembering that other than the box of BongBong’s delicacies I just got is an additional big Samsonite luggage (this is among my freebies and majority of its content also hand-me-downs) at home, I rushed to the mall’s Handyman store and purchased the cheapest analog luggage scale available.

This early morning, after packing almost all of our stuffs, I got to test the scale and I think that it’s probably picking up close to the exact weight. I also discovered that this one has a 39-inch tape measure that could come handy in checking waistlines overall dimensions of luggage that anyone plans to hand carry. The luggage scale can weigh up to 34 kilograms (75 lbs.) and costs only P325 (approx. $8).

***

Part of making sure that Marcus’ stuffs are intact is the tedious task of checking that his new Lego bricks (from my sis), not Duplos which means these are smaller, are all accounted for. And I’m now giving myself a pat on the back for sticking to my decision not to open his other Ninjago kit while we are still here in Bacolod.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks!(I can smell breakfast. I’m expecting more excess weight.)

Of Dead Batteries And Good Samaritans

Ever had one of those problems wherein you search the internet and the only solution you’ll find is one that seems absurd? Well, I got one lately. This is about the mysterious case of our Honda City which happened right after its battery got totally drained at the NAIA 3′s parking lot. Inexplicably, the car’s driver side window stopped its automatic function even after the battery has been fully charged. I tried moving it up and down thinking that it has gotten stuck due to being left idle for more than half a month but the futile exercise didn’t solve the problem. The following day, I also opened the door panel in an attempt to see the window mechanism but I was prevented by the Honda’s complicated door design plus the thought that I’d do more harm than good.

Frustrated, defeated, and embarrassed by the fact that this is supposed to be one simple problem normally solved by a WD40, I googled for an answer before going to bed. As expected, Google presented me with various answers but only one caught my attention. About.com’s Honda Power Window and Locks Fix Fix was the most brief–it only suggests 3 quick steps:

  1. Switch off Ignition
  2. Set intermittent wiper set to middle position
  3. Switch ignition back on

Even if the website mentions that this process is meant to reset the MCU, I was doubtful that it will work so I slept that night with just one question, “How can an intermittent wiper be connected to the window?” Even so, the solution proved its worth the very next day. Just after doing the abovementioned procedure, I was shaking my head in disbelief when the automatic window came back to life like some mechanical Lazarus. I tested and then re-tested the window and yes, the ridiculous solution does work.

***

My recent experience at the NAIA 3 parking, although I expected the battery being drain after leaving the car at the parking lot for weeks, gave me some important lessons:

  1. Park the car in a position wherein jumpstarting would be easier. For example, do not park facing the wall since this will require you to push it all the way back so it faces the “battery source” car especially if the jumpstart cable is short. Good thing I parked mine this way, else it would have been a longer night for the three of us.
  2. After jumpstarting the car, it is best to leave it idling or drive for an hour before totally shutting off the engine. I learned about this the hard way, when I turned the engine off just more than ten minutes since Albert Sebastian (who I soon learned is a reporter of Radyo ng Bayan DZRB) assisted me at the airport’s parking lot. Good thing, the crew of McDonald’s where I stopped pushed my car to a nearby Total gas station where another total stranger by the name of Jet didn’t hesitate to help me jumpstart my car again.
  3. Take note of Motolite’s 24-hour delivery number just in case you need further help – like a completely dead battery. Motolite’s Anytime, Anywhere Delivery number is (02)3706686.
  4. Last but not the least, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Some may reject you but others ever willing to help will be there soon.

 ***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (I will need to find a helmet for Marcus. He had his first fall from his new bike this afternoon.)

Amazing Race Pampanga

They say that watching TV has its subliminal effect. I may have to agree this time as what we’ve done a day after the Balloon fest is somewhat similar to the recently concluded Amazing Race Asia Season 2. No, there’s no running involved, no Henry-Trinidad arguments and definitely there are neither clues nor roadblocks to beat. But it’s just that there’s money to be budgeted like being the last team on a non-elimination round plus the fact that my two-weeks of  re-gym made me somewhat near Marc Nelson’s six- pack abs — okay, is a joke.

Swagman.jpg

But quite frankly, the reason why I’m trying to control our first meal that morning of February 11, both budget and volume, is because we’ve been planning on checking out Everybody’s Café. So after Angeles we went to San Fernando where the main restaurant is located. We got the idea of going to this famous Pampanga restaurant from a show on the Food Network channel (if my memory serves me right). The host of the show ate frog legs in this resto and that perked up my interest to try this exotic food.

Almost an hour away from Angeles, San Fernando city is surprisingly developed than I expected it to be—the presence of several major car dealerships reaffirms this observation. A couple of minutes after entering the city and spending a few more time asking for directions, we located our main objective but to my dismay is not the one we saw on TV.  My wife later mentioned that it located in Angeles which is the branch store. To save the day and our grumbling stomach we proceeded nonetheless.

From the outside, the place looks just like any ancestral house. With only one SUV parked that day, a newcomer wouldn’t even think that inside is a restaurant if not for the large sign hanging on the right portion of the entrance. Upon stepping inside, the sight of the food display gave me a hint that we are in the right place and at this point I already started to check every food tray for something looking weird, with long legs and webbed feet, and that resembles those we see in ponds–frogs. But there were none.

Good thing the old lady at the counter sensed my craving for exotic kapampangan delicacies. She politely offered buro with mustard leaves, fried hito (catfish) and to my delight, fried camaro (crickets). We also ordered Tapang Kalabaw–this became my instant favorite since I had one at SM Clark’s Cabalen.

Once the foods are served, I was surprised that we had little hesitation to dig on everything in front of us. The camaro tasted just like small shrimps if not for its hollow stomach and dark brown color. And the buro and mustard leaf combination made me remember my late lola‘s preparation when taking the nganga (leaves and lime chewed usually by elders). Overall, we enjoyed the weird lunch. Spent: P500+

Everybody outline

Upon finishing our kapampangan meal, we still had time to check out San Fernando’s malls which we unintentionally discovered when we took a wrong turn while looking for the resto. So with full stomach we found window shopping a good way to burn calories—I wonder how much calories did the fried crickets deposited in me. After grabbing some items, we decided it’s time we head back to Manila. Spent: P1000+

It was just around 1:30 PM when we left San Fernando. NLEX traffic was smooth. We only got stuck starting in Cubao and the area before Ayala and we realized we still had time to kill. To the delight of my wife, I agreed to drop by Glorietta Center in Makati. Besides, our car already badly needs a wash.

Inside Glorietta, the temporary stalls located in one part of the mall made us realize that renovation is ongoing to repair the site affected by the December 2007 blast. That uneasy feeling to avoid this mall subsided quickly once we reached Glorietta 4 wherein our quest for local foods continued as I decided to take my snack from Taco Ilocano—Ilocano-style empanada. Right after another calorie pile-up, we went to watch the movie The Eye in one of G4’s cinema. It’s been quite some time since we last watched a film in this mall. Spent: P1500+

By around 6 PM we were already on our way back home but the thickening traffic gave us another reason to make our final stop at SM Mall of Asia.

When we got out of the elevator from the parking lot, all the food we took a couple of hours ago seem to just disappear out of our bellies—we were hungry once more. So we combed the place and found ourselves facing the Manila bay at the rear portion of the mall. Right in front of us we noticed something new in the vicinity—SM by the Bay.

We excitedly crossed the bridge to check it out and it was as if all of a sudden we were transported to another country somewhere in Asia but the Philippines. Whoever thought of this idea deserves more than just a pat on the back. It was packed with people, it is clean, it’s enticing, romantic and more importantly, the choice of places to eat is overwhelming. Almost an hour later of picking which is which, we eventually settled in Aling Tonya’s restaurant. We ordered calamares, sinigang na isda and, last but never the least, San Mig lights beer. What a wonderful way to cap the Balloonfest. Spent: P800+.

So there goes another trip with my lovely wife, another well-deserved outing for the two of us. Looking forward to the next road trip and good food to deal with. And by the way, I need another set of coin banks.

 

Car-less Guy’s Random Thoughts

“An empty mind is a devil’s workshop” — Anonymous

Frankly, having without a car made me a bit uneasy especially now that the Christmas season is coming in fast. I miss going to the malls with my wife not worrying if we’re going to squeeze our butts in just to get seated in the jeepney for being the last two to get in. I miss the gift-buying activity not wondering how and where we’d place all the shopping bags. I miss going home late coming from a good movie. I miss getting stuck in traffic with me on the wheel and not having to think if my nose has clogged due to smog, smoke and dust whichever comes first or all of it combined. I miss waking up a bit late and not worrying that I’ll miss the bus to work. I miss the freedom a car gives me.

To shake off self pity I tried keeping my mind busy while being a passenger on a bus, in a jeepney or a friend’s car. With defensive driving out of my worries, my thoughts have wandered more. I became observant of other things I can’t see or think of while behind the wheel. I became more keen with what is outside the vehicle’s window. During these unproductive moments random thoughts settle in my head.

Why would charity parties intended to benefit the hungry street children are in lavish settings with overpriced food and normally attended by botoxed personalities. Can’t these people just give right away to charity? Or do they really need the TV and photo coverage to make it happen?

Why does a billboard going to Tagaytay show Inteligent Auto Paint Shop. Does its owner have good explanation behind the name? Is it humor, a play on words, an honest mistake, or an uninteligent slip?

Why would management of Coolmaster Airconditioing Expert allow its employees to be packed out in the open at the back of a wobbly pickup truck under a high noon heat. (We were on our way to a Christmas party and the sight of it drained away my holiday mood.)

Why would an official municipal vehicle with the words Responsableng Taong Bayan (responsible people of the community) illegally park along  Muntinlupa‘s road.

Why is it when majority is anticipating to travel by air during this Christmas season is also when Discovery Channel and National Geographic show programs such as Air Crash Investigation and Air Disasters. Either people from these shows hate Christmas travel or own a stock in the shipping industry. Out of curiosity searched Wikipedia and the result? December is not the highest among the statistics. At least not among the top three. (Data were extracted and tabulated using excel’s countif formula and sorted from lowest to highest.) Whew!

aircraft20incidents_zpsg6ujg5xr

Lastly, I don’t get it why the brandy I’ve been drinking since I bought it has kept me awake. I guess it’s about time I check the fine print on its label. I’d be damned if it contains caffeine. But then again my subconscious must be working on something else and wants me to stay up late. Something I should be thinking more with Christmas day only three days to go.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone especially to you wifey. I really miss you!!

Pride No More

kia_zpszq5rl2e1
Our pride, our Kia Pride.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” – Anonymous

“The power to surprise.” – Kia

Today we have to let go of our pride. Well at least just our 1998 GTX Kia Pride, anyway. After having it for 3 years, 10 months and 27 days we decided to let go of it for  reasons I hope I could write about it soon. Fingers crossed. Like any old car owner, we had our own share of ups and downs with it. It was a driving guinea pig for me and my wife.

Here are some of the things we both experienced and learned from our blue jalopy:

  1. We’ve had a couple of encounters with the “third” kind–the tricycles. The second one was the bloodiest and needless to say costliest. We’ve learned a couple of lessons from that experience. Lesson 1: check, check, & check before making a turn. Lesson 2: Power steering makes sense. Lesson 3: Professional drivers must accompany student drivers all the time. If it weren’t for this mistake, we could have claimed insurance. Lesson 4: Tricycles doesn’t have shatter proof windshields or seat belts even. Lesson 5: Have a decent clothing even on short trips. At least you look good while in the Emergency Room.
  2. I realized I need not have a Subaru, Citroen or a Ford Focus and neither should I be somewhere in a dirt nor a snow track to experience rally. I got that adrenaline rush with my wife on the wheel and just somewhere in Alabang when she banked hard at high speed. That one scared the sh*t out of me.
  3. My wife learned that Kia Prides are 4X4‘s in disguise when she made the front wheels climb up a parking wheel stop and if it weren’t for the tree in front of it, the rear wheels could have crossed it as well. At this point I’m starting to think she might do well not only in rally driving but 4X4 jungle challenges as well. Hmm.
  4. Anything could happen. Who would have thought that a house door panel will end up on top of a car? Not me but it did. A wooden door being sold just along the road side unfortunately got loose from the workers’ grip and slammed right in front of the passenger’s A pillar. Now, every time I hear the F1 racing’s host say ”…and Hamilton, shuts the door on Alonso…” I have some sort of idea how it feels.
  5. Cheap MP3 players could damage. Please email me for details (cpn05@yahoo.com) as this is a long story. I should have thrown it out the first time it skipped.
  6. And related to number 5, electrical smoke smells nasty and so it really pays to have a fire extinguisher inside your car.
  7. We once played Starksy and Hutch. We witnessed an accident involving a motorcycle rider who went under a dump truck. Upon seeing that there’s no way I can revive the victim, I decided to chase the erring driver. During the high-speed (as I’d like to believe, it makes a good blog post) chase I drove while my wife was on the phone calling the police. Despite the seriousness of the problem at that time, I actually imagined putting up a blinking police light (too much TV?) while initiating the chase. In the end the escaping driver was apprehended. Lesson learned: It does pay to have the police’s contact numbers in your cellphone. You never know when you need one.

Even with those (mis)misadventures, the comfort we had with this car still obviously outnumbered the discomfort, thanks to regular maintenance. We’ve been to places with it, at our own pace, and in our own time. It was even with us during most of our domestic and international travels, at least ust until Park N Fly.

So just this morning, I gave Wild dog its one last car wash with us, cleaned the interiors and readied every thing for the next owner. And a couple of car honks later it signaled its departure from our home. We will miss her.