Friday, August 29, 2008

The Golden Boy vs. Pac-Man - Part II?!?

The fight's practically old news, really, ever since it came out yesterday so I won't blog about the year's biggest boxing event anymore.



But hopefully, after they both slug it out in the ring to determine if De La Hoya can still bring it to boxing's top pound-for-pound pugilist or if Pacquiao can take on the squared circle's most bankable superstar in the biggest money-drawing match of his stellar career, and regardless if there's an outright victor, or if someone wins via split decision or even if it's a draw; no matter what happens, I want the whole shebang to end with an...

Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao Sing-Off!!!





David Duchovny Rehabbing for Sex Addiction

No big surprise there, really. He's been open about his sex addiction since his days in The X-Files. And considering the sexual content of his new show Californication (which is really, really good and something I highly recommend you watch, even without the sex scenes), this was bound to happen sooner or later.



But I wonder, how do YOU know the difference between being just naturally frisky from being a certifiable sex addict?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

From Cars and Girls to Cars and Girls in Movies!!!

If there's one thing I like more than cars and girls, it's cars and girls in movies!

First, we've got Transporter 3 which is scheduled to be released in November of this year. Now, while the first two movies were quite thin on the plot (People being smuggled into France using shipping containers?! Colombian drug cartel killing the heads of anti-drug organizations with a killer virus?! Puhleeze...), the car chases and the fight scenes were just pure eye candy - fast, sweet and slick, though sometimes too unrealistic. I mean, c'mon, flipping an Audi A8 to do a barrel roll to knock off a ticking bomb from the underside of the car?! Because if Frank Martin can do that, then I figure him to be a much better driver than The Stig.

The babes in the first two movies were also pure eye candy, Shu Qi from the first movie, particularly. Kate Nauta from the second movie, with her lean, almost emaciated figure, emo-heavy eyeliners, and short blonde locks did nothing for me, unfortunately. As for the girl in this third installment of the series, she doesn't look special to me but since we don't get to see her much with this being just a trailer and all, I'll be saving my judgment on her until I see the whole movie.

Because even if this third movie's treatment is as shallow as the first two movies were, I'd still watch it just to see what other possible stunts can an Audi A8 do to top the stunts that were done in the second installment. Good thing, too, that they got Robert Knepper, otherwise known as Prison Break's Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell, to play this movie's principal bad guy since he adds some much-needed depth and character to this otherwise hollow movie.

Still, I figured that, considering the kind of driving Frank Martin
does in the movie, I would've figured he'd be using an Audi S8 instead...



And then come 2009, we've got Fast and Furious coming up on the big screen, with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker reprising their roles from the movie that made them famous. Also returning are their respective paramours in the first movie, the sexy-but-butch-enough-she-can-kick-my-ass Michelle Rodriguez and the always-lovely-and-sexy Jordana Brewster.

Helmed by Justin Lin, the same guy who gave The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift its bright and slick JDM/rice racer look that almost redeemed its inane storyline, this could only mean more automotive eye candy with a more homegrown, American-feel, owing to the setting of the movie taking place stateside. Notice how the opening scene in the trailer, which is very reminiscent to the opening scene of the first movie, instead of a bunch of souped-up black Honda Civics we see a black Buick Regal Grand National instead? Notice how in the trailer we saw more American cars than JDM ones? I even think I saw a Ford RS2000 in there!

As for when exactly in the timeline of the The Fast and the Furious this one falls, no one's really sure yet since there are so many mixed details coming in, with some sources - and Vin Diesel himself - saying that this one takes place right after the first movie while some sources say the movie happens in between the second and third installments.

One thing's for sure, though; this definitely takes place before Tokyo Drift since Han, the Japanese anti-hero who takes Tokyo Drift's protagonist under his wing before he gets killed midway into the movie, appears as the same character, showing how he met Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto, which was only hinted at at the end of Tokyo Drift. Further adding to the timeline confusion is Tyrese Gibson who also said in an interview that he did shoot some scenes for Fast and Furious as his 2 Fast 2 Furious character, Roman Pearce.

In any case, I'll definitely be watching out for this because, hey, I got all of them on DVDs anyway...


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Typical Guy's F1 Mid-Season Report...

Yes, I know. This does seem late since the F1 'circus' just came back after a long summer break via the European Grand Prix held at the new Valencia Street Circuit. Again, it's been a looooooooong weekend with Gloria's Holiday economics, hence the lateness of my reaction to Team USA Basketball's gold medal win at the Beijing Olympics as well as my rant on Solar Sports' (mis)handling of the entire Olympics coverage.

And anyway, I've been writing about F1 for a long time now, first in the F1-dedicated forums at PinoyExchange.com, and perhaps most importantly, since I've written Top Gear Philippines' F1 primer for the past two years already, blogging about F1 seems like a natural progression of things. Also, since a magazine article's submission has to be in a couple of months before the issue sees print, I'll be hard pressed to come up with a mid-season report in June for printing in the August issue - that's like three to four races where anything could happen and render my mid-season report moot and utterly useless.

But let's get back to the topic at hand...

This season, the top teams seem to have been plagued by gremlins, with them making costly errors in their strategies or with their drivers just encountering a bit of bad luck at the most inopportune time like, say, Felipe Massa's dominant run in the Hungarian GP only to suffer an engine failure with just three laps to go.

And with six races left in the calendar, there's still no clear idea on who's going to take the driver's championship trophy this year. Although Lewis Hamilton is on top of the pack with 70 points, Massa, Kimi Räikkönen and Robert Kubica are all within striking distance, with the gap between Hamilton and Massa a mere six points only. As for the constructor's championship, Ferrari is still on top with 121 points with McLaren-Mercedes a close second at 113.


After the mechanical precision with which Michael Schumacher and Ferrari rang up five consecutive Driver's and Constructor's championships, it seems that nothing much has been going the way of Ferrari ever since Schuey decided to hang up his fire-retardant overalls for good. Kimi, though fast and efficient (if he's in the mood), hasn't won a race since the Spanish GP last April. It's either just a "bad patch" as Kimi calls it, or if rumors are to be believed, he just might not have the heart to race in F1 anymore and has lost the motivation to compete after winning the Driver's championship last season. Massa, on the other hand, struggled literally to learn how to drive the F2008 without electronic driver aids like traction control and launch control. After all, this is Massa we're talking about, the human spincycle who has the ability to make a car WITH traction control spin more times than a washing machine. And yet, it seems he's managed to tame his driving style as he looks to be Ferrari's most promising challenger for the world title since he's won more races and secured more pole positions than Kimi.


As for McLaren's 'golden boy,' Lewis appeared to have suffered a drop in form after his stellar performance last season. After winning the Australian GP, he somehow got lost in the glamorous life outside of F1 as Ferrari managed to win the next four GPs until the wet Monaco GP where Hamilton seemed to have finally regained his composure and won the time-constrained race. Unfortunately, that didn't last long as Hamilton committed the biggest blunder of his still-fresh-smelling career when he drove into the back of Kimi while still in the pitlane as they waited for the green light after the safety car came out.


Still, Hamilton seems to have rekindled the same fire and passion that clearly marked his rookie season as he managed to string together two victories in a row (three, probably, if he didn't have a tire problem in Hungary). Heikki Kovalainen, meanwhile has been the perfect foil for Lewis - a driver who's content to stay in the background while Lewis gets all the attention and yet can go fast on a moment's notice if needed, like how he finally won his first GP in Hungary, becoming the 100th driver to win a GP race.


BMW Sauber has also taken the fight to F1's big boys as the team not only secured their first win, they did it in a one-two fashion as F1's first Pole, Robert Kubica, took the win while 'Quick' Nick Heidfeld came in second. Not bad for a team that's only in its third season as a full-fledged constructor. Alright, so they did it because Hamilton took Kimi and himself out with his amazing pitlane blunder but that's beside the point. After all, that happened in lap 19 with 51 laps to go - 51 laps where anything and everything could happen to take either one of them out regardless.


As for the rest of the pack, Toyota, the team with arguably the biggest budget in F1, has undergone a renaissance of sorts as they try to equal or even surpass the level of success they had when the team was run by Mike Gascoyne while former constructor champions and ex-Gascoyne employer, Renault, continue to struggle with an underperforming car and powerplant that just might give Fernando Alonso enough reason to jump ship (if he hasn't yet, that is, if his rumored move to Ferrari by next year prove to be true).

So with just six more races to go and with the championships still up in the air, it's still anyone's game which would make for some exciting racing, particularly with F1's very first night race in Singapore still on schedule. With Spa and Shanghai favoring Ferrari while Monza and Fuji are more suited for McLaren's, and with Singapore still an unknown factor, the championship might just go down the wire with the titles being decided in either the Chinese or Brazilian GPs.

So when you think about it, if you're just about to start watching F1, there's no perfect time to tune in than now.

Cars and Girls...

Although Prefab Sprout's song is a response to Bruce Springsteen's perceived lyrical style that talks about nothing else but, well, cars and girls (clearly, the band has no idea what the "heartland rock" genre is all about), this Typical Guy can't help but agree that nothing indeed hurts much more than the aforementioned subjects - well, at least if you're still single and unattached and have no dependents. But I digress...

So if you were like me and didn't have the time and the opportunity to go attend the recently-held 2nd Philippine International Motor Show, here are some photos concerning both cars AND girls courtesy of an online friend, Femme_666:

Ford





Honda








The always lovely Tracy Abad

Kia



Nissan







Suzuki



Toyota







Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A (Honda) City like no other...

As I mentioned in my most recent blog, regardless of the occasion of Toyota Philippines' 20th anniversary in the country, why launch a limited edition series of a model that was just released roughly a year ago? Because, more often than not, a "limited edition" tag is only bestowed on a car if it's about to reach its maximum lifespan - sort of as a last-ditch effort to squeeze more sales out of a dying model.

And then I found this; images of Honda's Vios-fighter, the brand-spanking-new fifth-generation City.

Now, although the model you see here is the Malaysian version (hence the right-hand drive steering-wheel) I don't see why the Philippines' version would look any different, at least externally. And if you ask me, with the metallic blue color and the gun metal grey-colored grille, I can't help but see Optimus Prime's face in the City.


Whereas the fourth-generation City was a notchback version of the petrol-frugal Jazz hatchback, the new-model City and Jazz are completely different vehicles from one another, save for both models sharing the same powerplants and the same Civic-derived steering wheel. But from what I've heard and read, everything else, from the chassis all the way up inside to the interiors are all unique to their respective models.


From what you can see in the photos, the City's headlamps are the more traditional reflector lenses as opposed to the more expensive projector type ones. Also, the new City has rear disc brakes, much like the new-model Jazz, ditching the previous model's rear drum brakes, improving the car's active safety package.


And so, with both the Jazz and the City riding on entirely separate chassis', gone is the sense of déjà vu one usually felt when shifting between the previous-gen Jazz and City, as we welcome a new sense of wonderment with the release of Honda's 1-2 combo in the subcompact department.






Sweet lookin' ride, if you ask me. And if our local model looks anything like the one in the photos, then I just might place an order soon - if I had the money, that is...

Toyota's Vios gets the "Limited Edition" treatment...


..with the recent release of the Vios XX "Limited Edition" model to celebrate Toyota Philippines' 20th anniversary in the country. As further proof of the car's "exclusivity," only 800 units will be made available to the public and shall be sold only until the end of this year, sort of like Toyota's "Last Quarter Storm."


To differentiate the Vios XX from the run-of-mill models in the street, be on the lookout for the ones that have HID headlamps, turn signal light-equipped mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels and a rear spoiler marked with the 20th Anniversary XX "limited edition" badge. As for the interior, the Vios XX's audio system gets upgraded with a premium six-speaker set-up with an amplifier as well as an iPod interface. And of course, to make things really special, only the Vios XX gets the special Cosmo Red shade (although the standard Grayish Blue Metallic and Medium Silver Metallic colors are still available) as well as an exclusive keychain that only comes with the Vios XX - the perfect accessory to twirl around your finger to "absent-mindedly" show off that you have a special "limited edition" ride.



The Vios XX can be had with a standard automatic transmission for P785,000 while the one with the manual gearbox is available for P750,000.



Now, for a model that's just a year old, setting aside the occasion of Toyota Philippines' 20th anniversary, it got me thinking; why launch a limited edition series roughly just after a year of the model's launch. Hmmm....

And then I found this...

Solar Sports' Olympic coverage SUCKED!!!


And boy, did they SUCK big time! And in more ways than one!

Yes, this Typical Guy knows that countless forums and blogs are already flooded with harsh comments and criticisms regarding Solar Sports godawful coverage of the Beijing Summer Olympics but I feel that I have to add my voice to the growing number of dissatisfied viewers so that the higher-ups in Solar would learn from their godawful mistakes in their Beijing coverage because - and God help us all - Solar holds the rights for the Philippine coverage of the Olympic Games until 2016! Again, God help us all!

Now, let me break things down on where their coverage S
UCKED!

First off, even before the Games started, everyone else except your mom was talking about Michael Phelps' potential to break Mark Spitz' long-standing record of 7 gold medals in a single Olympic Games, but once the swimming events kicked off in the first week, we only got to watch boxing and tae kwon do matches featuring pugilists and fighters no one outside of their country has ever heard of.

Come the second week, and it was still the same sad story. With the then-freshly-minted "Fastest Man in the World," Usain Bolt, running the 100- and 200-meters just 3 short months after he set the new world record in the 100-m, he came out of the blocks fast and sharp and convincingly smashed the world record by setting up a new one that was .03 of a second faster than his "old" one! And then just a few days later, he proceeded to break Michael Johnson's 12-year old record in the 200-m by .02 of a second! And let's not forget the 4x100-m finals where Jamaica - with Bolt on the 3rd leg - also broke the 16-year old world record by .30 of a second! And yet, during one of those races, Solar Sports thought it best to show the synchronized swimming event, an event that's just as enjoyable and exciting to watch as watching wet paint dry!

Well, at least to their credit, Solar Sports was able to broadcast some of the events worth watching as either a delayed telecast or as a replay that spliced together some of the events' heats with the semifinals and the finals which made up for some "enjoyable and exciting" TV viewing, albeit a couple of hours or even a day after the said events' results have been posted online. In such cases, I thank the high heavens for sites like SportsTrick.com and EffNBC.com as they managed to bring the events worth watching on high-definition on your PC monitor.

But the most damning and godawful proof that Solar Sports' Olympic coverage SUCKED BIG TIME is that most of the events they featured - supposedly for the exclusive "All Access" subscribers - could also be seen on Solar's CS Sports free channel! Well, at least the same "All Access" subscribers got to watch the opening and closing ceremonies commercial-free while the hapless others who couldn't fork out the cash to get the service had to make do with the ceremonies that went on commercial break every few minutes. But still, who got the better end of the deal? If you ask me, I'm watching the Games for the GAMES, and NOT for the commercial-free opening and closing ceremonies!

But enough of the sports coverage and let's talk about the godawful hosts and commentators!

Now, I know the Philippines is a basketball-crazy nation so it's not surprising if the hosts can name all of the Redeem Team's players. But if you KNOW you're going to be covering the OLYMPICS, then wouldn't it be wise to do your homework and at least know some of the people you're going to be talking about?! After all, there's already a set schedule to follow for you to read up on the events you'll be covering. Is that so hard?! There's more to your job than making pa-cute and pa-gwapo to the camera and reading off of the teleprompters!

And if you're going to present yourself as such know-it-alls, citing quotes from athletes, like how this athlete said so-and-so about this athlete, then for the love of all that is great and holy, at least KNOW the name of the person you're quoting and don't just say, "The American who took second place..." These athletes have a name and they trained hard to get to where they are so at the very least, know their names. These people are already at the track or at the gym at 6 o' clock in the working, training constantly 4 to 8 hours a day to become the perfect physical specimen. What do you guys do other than waking up late, doing a couple of hours at Gold's Gym and spending the rest of your days drinking your lattes and hanging out with your sosy friends?

So to Jude Turcuato and company, I hope you're all listening and I hope you all learned something from your not-so-exclusive, not-so-well-covered "coverage."

The Redeem Team lives up to their name...


...barely, and while all of America rejoices with them for bringing back the gold after the train crash that was
the Athens Olympics, this Typical Guy can't help but think that, although Team USA won the battle for the gold medal against Spain, 118-107, they may have lost the war for international basketball supremacy.


Because while the original Dream Team practically bulldozed their opponents into the ground in the Barcelona Olympics, the Redeem Team had to go through the eye of the needle to secure the gold medal in Beijing. And for a team that boasts of having the most talented basketball player in the planet in Kobe Bryant and the most versatile player in the NBA in LeBron James, that doesn't say much - particularly if they beat Spain by 37 points in their Group B division game and yet in last Sunday's winner-takes-all game, the Redeem Team only won by 11 points, with Spain even coming as close to just 2 points behind the Redeem Team in the closing minutes of the game itself!

The Associated Press got it right - Team USA was lucky to be better than Spain last Sunday.


From the tip-off, the Redeem Team never had control of the game as Spain led Team USA for much of the first quarter and managed to keep themselves within striking distance of Team USA after they took the lead with wide open shots from the perimeter and hardly any challenges in the shaded area. Fortunately enough for Team USA, the talent and depth of their line-up kept them from going down under Spain's relentless attacks, with the Redeem Team only securing their victory in the last few minutes as Spain decided to prevent Team USA's margin from increasing even further by fouling them.


Still, Spain had Team USA on their toes at several times in the closing minutes of the game, after Rudy (Daboy?) Fernandez cut Team USA's lead to just 2 with less than 8 minutes left in the game before the Redeem Team built their lead up again slightly; that is, until Carlos Jimenez's 3-pointer pulled Spain back, 108-104, with a little more than 2 minutes to go.

That's when the Redeem Team took over, with a 3 from Dwyane Wade off of a pass from LeBron, a drive to the hoop from Kobe, and a 3-point play from Chris Paul with less than a minute to go practically sealed the game for good.



Yes, the Redeem Team did live up to their name by redeeming Team USA's basketball glory in the game that started in a YMCA gym in Springfield, Massacheussets more than a hundred years ago. But with how they almost lost the most important game in their quest for gold with their lack of defensive intensity and hard-to-be-proud-about perimeter shooting, as much as they try to exorcise them, the ghosts of Athens and Japan will still linger for a long, long time...


...and maybe, just maybe, in two years' time, a new ghost from Turkey might haunt them in the FIBA World Championship.