about the talking fish

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Writer. Wheelman. Occasional DIY mechanic. Walking collection of hang-ups. Hopeless romantic. Old-school. Analog soul in a digital world. I am all of these things and more.

Monday, April 30, 2007

An ode to all that is sordid and cheap

Here we are, as close as we can get
We're in too deep, it cannot be forgotten
It is more than curiosity
Your embrace did amaze me from the very start
Get closer till I hear the rhythm of your heart
You make a hard attack

No matter where, you get always in my hair
And in your lap lies paradise
It's not a matter of resisting
It's just a matter of existing with green eyes

This lust is a hell-machine
Devil's voice and gasoline
And I want you more than anything
This lust is a hell-machine

Get upset when I'm breathing in your pheromones
This desire is a curse and I want it more and more
It's all I'm living for
When I dream it's of you, about your lips and hands
When I wake it's a punishment I know that I deserve
It's tearing on my nerves

No matter where, you get always in my hair
And in your lap lies paradise
It's not a matter of resisting
It's just a matter of existing with green eyes

This lust is a hell-machine
Devil's voice and gasoline
And I want you more than anything
This lust is a hell-machine

No matter where, the feeling's always there
And in your lap lies paradise
It's not a matter of resisting
It's just a matter of existing with green eyes

This lust is a hell-machine
Devil's voice and gasoline
And I want you more than anything
This lust is a hell-machine...

- D'Sound, "Green Eyes"

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A massive attack of boredom.

I used to think that boredom would be the sole preserve of my summer vacations in high school and college. I never would have imagined that even after a year of being employed, I would still find myself utterly bored. Yet that's exactly how I feel right now.

Already I'm exhibiting the signs. I drive aimlessly on weekend afternoons and evenings after work. I'm spending a little too much too frequently. While some of those things I buy are necessities, there are also things I buy that strictly speaking I can do without. I'm plunking down my money on stuff when I should be setting aside my monthly savings cut from my not-so-large salary. And this is me not using my credit cards...

I've become a little scared of what I might do given this same state of boredom and the cash I have on hand. I just might give in to every temptation I've had for the past few months. While I've managed to hold off, there's no guarantee I won't embroil myself in things that might get me in trouble.

This emotional state is an expensive one, as far as I know. That comic strip being forwarded over my office email is true: I have no money and no life.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Over time

I thought I would abhor the thought of overtime. I must admit, even now I'm trying to avoid having it on my plate whenever possible.

But the past couple of days have seen me stay until at least 9 p.m. because our assigned project has gotten itself spectacularly delayed (through no fault of ours).

I was surprised to find it...fun.

Yes, all we'll get is an allowance, and yes, I can imagine getting burnt out after having too much OT. But I find it cool that these late nights are still spent with my great coworkers. That fact makes me dread overtime work a little less.

I even like driving late at night a lot more. I find the time to overshoot my house and keep driving to Sucat and return for the heck of it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

We've come...and gone.

We never got lost while traveling the 175 kilometers going to Subic, Zambales. It's all thanks to Jerry and Donald who proved themselves to be very good navigators. Thanks guys.

If anything, were it not for the distance, the drive was actually pretty relaxing. Off the NLEX and all the way to Subic, the roads were generally smooth and well-maintained. Driving was an easier affair than it is in Manila, despite the challenge of the winding mountain roads we took instead of the Tipo Expressway through Subic Bay. We ran into crawling traffic at Lubao, Pampanga, but nothing else troubled us on the four-and-a-half-hour trip to the venue.

On the three-hour return trip, I had a blast driving with a full load of people and cargo through uphill stretches and overtaking slower traffic at 120 km/h. The whole trip had us returning 16.8 km/L---nowhere close to 28 km/L, but impressive considering the effort my little Jazz had to endure.

Enough about the drive. How was Club Morocco?

Personally I didn't quite enjoy this year's summer outing as much as last year's. Sure, Club Morocco has vastly improved facilities, but the activities and beach were both a little disappointing. There was no battle of the bands this year, and we were unlucky enough to arrive when it was low tide. Ergo, all attempts at trying to swim in the beach were spent wading in thigh-deep seawater and sinking in muddy sand. The ridiculously warm pool water didn't help things much either.

Still, it wasn't all that bad. Food was a little nondescript, but you could never say it was lacking. The outdoor games went a lot more smoothly this time around, and we had a live band performing onstage at beachfront dinner. There was even an open-mic session where a few brave souls sang their hearts out (Gracey, Paolo C. and I not included). PJ and the others drank to their hearts' content, but I called it quits after three bottles of San Mig Light at 11 p.m.

The big attraction though was waking up at 6 a.m. and walking along the beach. It was pretty damn beautiful. I'm going to shut up now and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Check out my Multiply site for more photos. Enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Nervousness before the road trip.

Tomorrow's the big day.

It's the company summer outing and I'm one of the idiots who decided not to join the bus and bring my own transportation going there instead. It's my first time driving to Subic and I am feeling pretty damn nervous.

After buying a couple of road maps and asking friends for directions going to Club Morocco I am still quite unsure of myself. No doubt I have the stamina to stay in the saddle that long, and I've made sure my Jazz will get us there and back (to the tune of a new battery worth PhP2900---there goes my budget for the new head unit). But I'm still pretty scared of losing my way. Even more than having a steady supply of music on the journey, getting lost is my foremost worry.

At any rate it's going to be a real adventure either way. Donald's riding shotgun with me and he's my navigator, and I'm supposed to pick up Jerry at Dinalupihan, Bataan, somewhere along the way to Subic. I'm also dying to know if I can get that phenomenal fuel economy once again, especially after my last fillup today returned a frustrating 10.056 km/L.

Watch this space for photos. Until then, pray for me, my friends, my colleagues, and our safety.

Acceptance: a lesson I learned today

You're probably right, I made a mistake with you. I made the mistake of expecting more from you than what you could give me.

I tried avoiding you. I'll be honest; I was feeling a dizzying cocktail of emotions and not all of them were pleasant. I thought you felt the same way. But as the days wore on, I realized I missed talking with you, no matter how much we don't click at all. I realized the events of the past two months have made us friends, if nothing else, and that you've already shared with me what you will of yourself.

This morning we sat down and talked. I told you about my confused emotional state and how I no longer wanted to be upset. You told me you were upset with me and how my words had shattered you, but now it was gone. We shook hands and made up. We even chatted for a while afterwards. But now I know these chats won't last as long or be as involving as I wanted them to be.

Still, I am glad you're in my life. In your own way, you kept me honest.

Thank you, Jona.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Seeking a definitive diagnosis.

What the hell is wrong with me?

My face hurts. My eyes are red and puffy. My nose runs like a leaking tap. My head has a dull ache. All these point to sinusitis and not enough sleep.

But I'm sure there's something else not on that diagnosis.

My self-control is shot. I'm in a lousy mood. On the road I pick fights with trucks and buses. I am irritable and very cranky. I am amazed by how quickly I can push people away from me. All I can do is sit back and watch idly by as another me acts of its own accord and ransacks everything I built up. I try to find explanations but all I can do is study this other self.

Maybe I'm just in a selfish phase right now. Today, I'm not the listening JM people know. I'm not the one who's generous with time or things. I want things. I want someone to listen for once. I want someone to care. I couldn't care less what your beef is, what your standing is with your previous lovers, what newfangled credit card you have to sell me over the phone. I just don't give a damn. I feel miserable and I want to stew in it. I want to lock myself in my room and play Sugar Free on maximum volume, while singing my heart out and not caring if I wake up and piss off the neighbors.

When will the study end? When will there ever be any acceptable explanations? Is this some sort of condition? Can I even be "treated?"

I now know why Rubik's cubes never appealed to me. I'm already too big of a puzzle to solve by myself.

Unfortunately people don't have the time or patience to help me along.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

"I'm in the coolest driver's high..."

The Barclays summer outing is less than a week away, but I guess I got too excited about the prospect of a long drive to Subic and testing my Jazz's ultimate fuel economy. I also wanted to see if I had it in me to drive for an extended period of time.

So, purely on a whim, this sweltering Sunday afternoon I decided to leave Market! Market! and drive headlong to my dad's hometown of Baliwag, Bulacan...as a dress rehearsal for Subic.

I filled up my gas tank at Petron C5 where I learned my city driving the past week returned a rather pathetic 11.2 km/L. No matter, I thought. I will better this today.

Off I went, overtaking cars on C5 and EDSA on the way to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). This was my first time to use this road after its rehabilitation a few years ago. I paid a rather hefty PhP70 on one-way toll, but it was obvious where your money went. The NLEX is now a smooth, wide traffic-free ribbon of tarmac that's reminiscent of the better US freeways. As not too many people were on the northbound NLEX I cruised at a steady 100 km/h, with a few overtaking spurts.

I got off at the Sta. Rita exit, then navigated the long roads going to Plaridel, Bustos and finally Baliwag town proper. Along the way I overtook a lot of slower traffic and motorcycles, making sure that I kept the L13A3 engine spinning close to its 2800 RPM torque peak---uncharacteristically low-stressed for a Honda.

When I got to the Baliwag glorietta, I turned back and did the same thing going southbound. This time, however, I piled on more pressure on the throttle as I went down NLEX at 120 km/h with more aggressive overtaking at 5000 RPM. I did the same thing on EDSA and C5, leaving other cars in my dust.

I felt good during the four-hour drive. Despite the oppressive heat which my aircon struggled to banish, it felt really good just letting the kilometers roll by with me all by myself. This was me driving just for the fun of it, searching for what L'Arc~en~Ciel call the "driver's high." I was literally just driving my recent problems away.

Pulling up at the Petron station along Dona Soledad Ave., I noticed the fuel needle had barely moved from the "F" position despite my hard driving over 141.8 kilometers. I had a fillup of 93-octane fuel again. Barely a minute after putting the nozzle in, the pump had stopped after 5.06 liters.

Do the math and you'll see my Jazz returned a truly phenomenal 28.024 km/L.

This was better than my wildest dreams. It's easily more than double my city driving figure, and proved that despite my driving style, the Jazz is a supreme champion of fuel economy. It also pointed to the realization that maybe my pathetic city driving economy isn't just a function of my driving: it's also due to the heavy traffic on weeknights and the relative brevity of my daily commute.

While I thoroughly enjoyed today's endeavor, I also realize getting that driver's high is quite expensive. Notwithstanding the PhP140 I plunked down on toll fees, I also spent PhP1100 on the two fillups today---although the last one worth 5.06 liters cost just PhP190.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

My pep talk for you, part deux.

You know, we are in the same boat.

We both think about love more frequently than is healthy. We both know the pain of unrequited love: how it pulls our legs, takes us for a ride and then unceremoniously dumps us on the cold lonely sidewalk with a heart and head that refuse to work in tandem. Oh, how familiar it all seems to us.

We both thought at one point or another that we were wasting time on people whom we felt deserved our affection. Let me tell you: They were not a waste of time, effort or affection. They were learning experiences we didn't really sign up for but ended up taking anyway. I guess I should know, I just came from one.

We are basically a pair of lonely souls. We should not use this fact as an excuse to mope and curse the fates for our failures in love. Instead, we should stop wasting time this way. We should put on a brave face and live our lives as best as we can, for nobody else but ourselves.

You already know by now how I was and still am enamored by how beautiful your mind is, how it seeks to break out with this amazing level of creativity and independence. My only regret is I never asked you out on a date in the five years we had in common. In hindsight, however, perhaps it was for the best.

I am still a little surprised by how you called my belated confession of affection a "pep talk." That was...cute. Certainly a tidy way of putting it, I reckon.

I once wished a couple of years ago that you could continue making me your "constant listening ear" and "personal punching bag"...these were your own words. Regardless of our newfound distance away from each other, this offer still stands. I'll be right here and you know how to find me.

Take care of yourself, Mao. I will miss you.

Friday, April 13, 2007

It just isn't going to happen between you and a girl when/if...

  • You are constantly walking on eggshells trying to strike a conversation with her. "Oops, that might be too invasive...no, that might be the wrong kind of joke to crack." You know the deal.
  • You run into problems so early on just trying to communicate, and when you do it feels so stiff and unnatural.
  • You are so gosh darn scared of offending her and have no idea what exactly might do so.
  • You have no idea how she thinks, even after months of hanging out together.
  • You can't even manage to make her smile or laugh of your own accord.
  • She finds it strange that you send her text messages or emails instead of talking to her directly. Look, it's still the same message, just different media---what does it fucking matter?
  • The sincerity of effort you put into getting to know her isn't reciprocated.
  • You develop a nasty case of cotton-candy syndrome. The whole thing looks delicious until you bite into it, at which point you realize you're just eating air.
  • You have absolutely nothing in common.
  • You begin to think that maybe you really are from Mars and she really is from Venus.
  • She's your colleague.


Ate Neysa was right. This is the last time I'm ever going to woo someone from work. What they say is true: familiarity breeds contempt.

I realize the workplace just isn't the best place to find love. Disastrous results guaranteed! Not even the foreknowledge of this fact mitigates the pain.

Yes, you were right, I made a big mistake with you. Then again, this is probably for the best. I gave it a shot and kept at it until it became clear that it was never going to work anyway. There was no shame in trying, no sense in continuing and no denying that the truth had to come out sometime.

Should I be sorry?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mao bids farewell.

And so we went to Mao's despedida party at Taberna Otso in Quezon City.

Being the typical early bird I am, I got there an hour before anyone familiar showed up. No matter, I had good food and pasta to keep me company. Mao chatted with me for a few minutes. She was leaving for Los Angeles on Friday in hopes of work, most probably for good. She then left to tend to her many guests, most of them high school friends of hers.

Later that evening my blockmates Rachel, Denise, Kate, Catcat, Isa, Zeri and Tantan all piled into the place at the same time. Apparently they met up somewhere, got lost and managed to find their way to the venue. Bottles of beer and a glorious amount of noise and laughter followed.

I'm going to miss Mao. Fiercely independent, very creative and possessing a style that's uniquely hers, she certainly brought a lot of color into LC24, and I'm honored I got to meet her, even just for a short while.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Into the terminal and out of my sight.

Mao surprised us all a couple days ago with an announcement over my college blockmates' e-mail group. She announced a despedida party somewhere close to her house in Quezon City, with the title of her message being, ominously enough, "Leaving on a jet plane."

Apparently she's leaving for the U.S. for work. With that she joins a small but growing list of blockmates who are leaving the country for greener pastures overseas.

So this is how it ends. Will we see each other again? I would love to, but I don't know that for sure. Maybe I'll learn more by driving to the party tomorrow night.

I went back to forums after all...

It's been a while since I exiled myself from all possible forum websites. I thought I could get by with blogging and an unhealthy obsession with Friendster.

I guess I've had a change of heart over this, though. Lately I went back to my old haunt, PinoyExchange.com's The Pitstop forum. I also registered on a couple of forums I've never been to, the Kotse Audio Club (for my little car audio project) and GD United, a spinoff group from the Honda Club of the Philippines made up of GD-series Jazz and City owners.

What can I say? I guess being by my lonesome on the Internet got boring after a while. I figured it would also be good if I tried to start anew, with a new online nickname.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sore in the summertime.

The heat is really getting to me.

Lately my head's started to hurt a little from the uncomfortable heat this summer. After going out, my first impulse is to plop into bed and have a good nap. I was even reluctant to go out this afternoon even if I wanted to, partly because I've been out a lot lately and partly because the heat saps the energy out of me. Even after taking a shower, a few hours later I feel dirty and gritty again.

Whew. I wonder what shape I'll be in at the summer outing.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Let's ride!

Paolo rode shotgun with me today to seek out the Pioneer DEH-P7950UB head unit as he was more knowledgeable with car audio than I was. We were out on a limb going out on Black Saturday, as it's a neither-here-nor-there kind of day: some shops will be open and some won't be.

9:30 a.m. We rolled out of Paolo's house and into the highway. The Holy Week emptiness of Metro Manila's streets beckoned at my Jazz, and proved once and for all that it really is just a small city we're living in.

Our first stop was Makati, where we tried visiting a row of shops Paolo was familiar with. Unfortunately most of them were closed. I did get a PhP12,000 quote and a calling card from one of them, who agreed to send me a text message when they'd have one in stock. Afterward we proceeded to literally get lost while looking for two of the more popular shops we had in mind. When we finally did find the first one, it was closed, and we decided to just call up the other one in Pasig to determine if it was closed also (which it was).

We decided to go to Glorietta, buy my present for my dad, have lunch and look for a pair of retro Jordan sneakers Paolo wanted. It was surreal seeing Glorietta at 10:45 a.m. with 1/8 its normal load of people. We tried another car audio shop at the Fort, but it was also closed and we figured it was pointless going to its sister shop in Alabang, so we retreated to Paolo's house at 1 p.m.

It was then that Paolo's dad Tito Alex chimed in with a suggestion: why not go to Banawe? I had my reservations going to this mecca of surplus car parts. I've heard horror stories of people parking their cars there, only to return to them missing their side mirrors. I figure it would be worth the trip, though, seeing how free-flowing the roads were.

To prep for the trip we swung by the gas station for a fillup, where I garnered a disappointing 11.18 km/L. No matter. We were going to Quezon City this time, and the normally traffic-stricken roads of Sta. Mesa were cooperating very well!

We were amazed when we finally got to Banawe at around 2:30 p.m. None of the shops were closed! People were waving at us with pieces of car window tint. We didn't know which shops to stop at so we ended up making several U-turns along the length of Banawe St. Finally we decided to pull up at a nice place with a security guard watching over the parked cars. I was wary about the less-than-scrupulous hawkers Banawe was fabled for, but the shop we went to had friendly staff. I got a quote for PhP11,500 with free installation, but unfortunately the Pioneer HU wasn't in stock until next week either. I feel I'll be coming back here with Paolo next week though.

After that little adventure we drove serenely along E. Rodriguez Ave., Aurora Blvd., Katipunan Ave. and C5---all normally clogged arteries on weekends---to go back to the Fort by 3:30 p.m. and check out the Nike store there for Paolo's Jordans. He ended up buying them at a cool PhP7,500. It was nice seeing Bonifacio High Street being modeled after the open-air malls of Santa Monica in the US. Weakened by the heat and drowsiness, we were back home by 5 p.m.

Today I drove the most relaxing 98.5 km I've ever driven in city streets. If only everyday traffic was this free-flowing...but that may be asking for too much.

I'm getting excited about the 7950 finally making a home in my dashboard, but when we do make the return trip next week we'll have to contend with the crawl going to Makati or Quezon City once more. Oh well.

Friday, April 06, 2007

It's a "Good" Friday after all.

Closed shops and malls.

No local TV.

Fasting and abstinence.

Unbearable summer heat.



For all the inconveniences of Holy Week, there's one good reason to stay in Manila: the near-total absence of traffic. For a few magic days, driving through the city streets can be a relaxing, calming, dare I say religious experience.

That's good enough for me.

Let's ride!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thbbbbbt again.

I cranked up the Jazz this morning only to find out the Kenwood's CD player refuses to load...again.

Apparently that new head unit can't wait.

Grrrrr. Talk about getting my hopes up.

A night out with the boys

I haven't seen my neighborhood friends Paolo and Jared in a very long time so I jumped at the chance to hang out with them before the brunt of Holy Week comes along.

We all piled into my Jazz and went to Westgate in Alabang, in search of a meal worthy of "The Man Show's" seal of approval. We stopped at Brothers Burger where we decadently wolfed down one-pound burgers and onion rings while chatting over the stuff we all used to talk about. Mm-mmmm. I'm glad Paolo's done with his thesis and defense, and Jared's now in DLSU as well.

After that we all went back to Paolo's place to hang around. Eventually we watched "Talladega Nights" on DVD with beer in hand. Paolo got to show off his own toy, a Fuji S2 digital SLR based on a Nikon body of sorts.

Let's do this again, dudes.

Good sound can wait.

Three things:

1. Apparently my Kenwood's CD player actually still works. It's just very picky with what CDs it'll read.

2. The Sony CDX-GT460US head unit I was considering is overpriced and short on features compared to Pioneer's top-flight model, the DEH-P7950UB.

Like the Sony, it's got aux-in and USB ports (albeit at the back I think), and has the neat party trick of taking over a plugged iPod's controls via a special cable. Apparently it's so popular it's flown off shops' shelves and many places have problems keeping stocks. Damage is PhP11,300 for the HU alone, adding PhP1,500 for the iPod direct-connect cable. When you think about Sony's top-flight HUs costing PhP18,000, you can't help but wonder there must be something wrong with this picture.

3. Spending on good car audio can wait.

I was considering all my options after getting an aftermarket head unit, which frankly can now wait because the Kenwood's still fine. Do I get separates or coaxial speakers? If I did, where do I put the tweeters and midrange drivers? Do I get an amplifier? Where should I put the damn thing?

The speed at which I've become a car audio nut has surprised me.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Monday morning. I was honking along the street linking the Fort to EDSA, listening to "Clubber's Guide to...Trance" when all of a sudden the electronic beat stopped pouring out of my speakers. The silence that ensued was accompanied by odd mechanical clicks and whirrs.


That's it. No more excuses.

I am buying the Sony CDX-GT460US head unit as soon as possible, preferably before April 21 comes around.

I am not wasting any more fuel on the ridiculously long trip to the Kenwood center, at least not in the near future. Sure, there's a three-month warranty on the repair, but it's a drag not having any driving music for a week while it's being repaired yet again. And do I even mention the gas wasted on Saturday morning EDSA traffic?

I have reservations on spending this much over the past three months (the DVD player, the Puma sneakers, the Jazz's tuneup), but I haven't exactly exhausted my 14th-month bonus yet so I think this might be the last major extravagance I'm treating myself to for a while. Besides, with the exception of the Pumas, they've all been necessary purchases.

Now if I can only find a buyer for a cheap, plain-jane CD-playing head unit...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Laro nga ba ito?

Kahit ako'y nahihirapan,
Ika'y aking pilit pinakikinggan
Maski na wala kang hangad
Na kapitan ko ang iyong palad

Nakakatawa ako
Di magawang aminin ang pagsuko
Kahit sabihin mo sa aking mukha
Sa iyo wala na akong pag-asa

Sa iyo ako'y nalilito

Naiiwan akong parang sinto-sinto
Gusto mo ba talaga akong kausapin
Kahit na ang totoo'y dapat mo ako paalisin?

Ano ba talaga'ng gusto mong mangyari?
Tayo'y mag-away o kaya'y magkabati?
Wala na akong laang oras pa
Upang sa laro mo'y makisama

Sa laro mong ito walang nananalo
Nabibiyak lamang kayraming puso
Pagod na ako sa paulit-ulit na paglahok
At maya-mayang pagkain ng alikabok

At the Manila International Auto Show 2007

Bored at home, I was online with Tita Vik and chatting about yesterday's visit to the World Trade Center for the car show there, among other things. On impulse I asked her if she'd mind going there again, as long as I do the driving.

By 2:30 p.m. I was at her front door, and about half an hour later we were at the WTC after slicing through the brunt of EDSA's Sunday traffic.

Tita Vik told me it was a good thing I visited today instead of yesterday because some of the cars, such as this very sexy black Jaguar XK coupe, weren't on display the other day. Apparently it was a clever ploy to keep people coming back.

Curiously there wasn't much aftermarket support in this show. Emperor Motorsports and Rota Wheels had displays of their own, but I was a little disappointed not seeing anyone specializing in audio/ICE setup or even aftermarket suspension systems.

There were a few surprises, though. Hyundai had its high-end Veracruz SUV (its rival to the Lexus RX330/350) displayed close to the entrance, and I was surprised to learn they're actually launching it here. Mercedes-Benz had its boxy Viano van on display, too. As expected, Honda's recently launched CR-V had its own space, but raising eyebrows were Mitsubishi's new Outlander and Endeavor SUVs. Mazda even had the new MX-5 displayed, with the newer power folding hardtop, and there were a LOT of Subaru Imprezas on the floor and out.

As spiffy as the cars were, however, they don't compare to Russ Swift's stunt driving session. Using a team of Subaru Impreza WRXes (GDB type-III), he was first performing 180-degree turns and side spins, parking perfectly into a head-on or parallel slot with inches to spare. Then he showed off his uncanny ability to drive the WRX on two wheels for a short time, with two, three and even four occupants in the car. He was even driving doughnuts and rings around a stationary Forester, with braking and acceleration inputs perfectly judged time and time again.

Before we left we had test-drives of our own at the Ford display outside the exhibition hall. I waited in line to drive the Ranger 3.0 XLT pickup around the simulated off-road course, while Tita Vik picked the Everest 3.0 as she drove the Ranger the day before.

This was my first off-road driving exercise ever so I was a little nervous as I boarded the Ranger. As it turns out, however, fording through water and clambering up loose hills was easier than I thought, thanks to the Ranger's mammoth 380Nm of solid low-down torque and tight locking differentials. All I needed was a light, steady press on the accelerator, and I even found the whole trip comfortable due to good suspension. Tita Vik was quick with the Everest, even managing to catch up to another Ranger driver.

Afterward we had dinner at Grappa's before I drove her home. Overall, definitely not a bad way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. Thanks Hedwig!

Time for a little good old-fashioned rock and roll.

I know that absence might make the heart grow fonder
But is it "out of sight, out of mind" I wonder?
And do you yearn for me when the nights grow cold?
Till death us do part, to have and to hold
I wanna give you my love, my love, my love

But is it just me or am I all on my own again?
You're up at John O'Groat's and I'm down in Land's End
On you I depend...whoo!

I see your face when I close my eyes
And there ain't no place like between your thighs
Don't want a life alone all by myself
To honor and trust, in sickness and health
I wanna give you my love, my love, my love

But is it just me or am I all on my own again?
You're in the Taj Mahal while I'm outside Big Ben
It's driving me 'round the bend

Forever and ever and ever amen!
I wanna give you my love, my love, my love
But is it just me or am I all on my own again?
Is it just me or am I all on my own again?
You're at the Vatican while I'm at the Yemen
And it feels like the end
The end

--- The Darkness, Is It Just Me?