Saturday, May 18, 2013

Let's Do The News! (May 18, 2013)

(cheers and applause)

JC: So, you would say that this film would have been quite better if it has some sort of pantomime feeling?

JM: Oh yes. Sometimes, this film needs to have an even more darker feel than than the first one and best of all, it needs some originality because this film feels more of a retold rather than having an original storyline.

JC: Okay, I suppose that it needs some originality but hey, sure is nice to see the Sherlock dude being the bad guy in the film. Anyway, let's do the news!

JM: Yeah and it's great news! Underground Toys are ready reveal brand new Doctor Who figures and most of which are based from Series 7. Here it is...


JM: Yep. They're all in 3.75 inches glory. There's the Dalek, Weeping Angel, The Doctor (in his new outfit), there's Clara Oswald for the very first time, new Ice Warrior, and new Cyberman as seen in last week's Nightmare in Silver episode.

JC: Yeah. When you said 3.75 inches, I think this feels like it's been downsized. I mean come on, in the past, those 5-inch figures based on Doctor Who characters are somewhat enjoyable but for this new lineup, take a look...

(audience laughing)

JC: Yep, some downsizing occurred and feels like there's been some sort of cost-cutting issues, I can tell. However, despite those new Series 7 figures looking shoddy than I was expecting, I'm sure those 3.75-inch figures should be enough. Count on it...

RH: Yeah/ And you what else we're expecting?

JC: What is it?

RH: Seems that we're almost at the Series 7 finale of Doctor Who and oh my gosh I'm so scared! Scared to find out The Doctor's full name and that will make everyone's head explode and their pencils...

(audience laughing)

JC: What do you mean, head-exploding?

RH: As in...the Isabella Garcia-Shapiro kind of head exploding way.

(audience laughing)

JC: Hammond? Have you been watching too much P&F just so you can explain everything using those P&F references?

(audience laughing)

RH: Oh wait. Did I just said that? (laughing) Anyway, if you think you braved enough on the finale, I think we might as well forget about what just happened okay? I mean come on out here...

JC: Yeah! Come on out here! Let's survive watching the finale...if it kills me...

(audience laughing)

JC: Now, as you may now, when cars are fully loaded with some high-tech features, sometimes it's good but sometimes it's bad. What's worse is when cars starting to drive by themselves in the future and now, I just heard that a company called Visteon is working on some sort of AI interface that I find it very confusing. I don't know, it's called HABIT.


JC: Human Bayesian Intelligence Technology. What this works is to learn and predict what in-car setting a driver would like, in advance of him even having to ask for them. Here's a clip that sums everything up...

RH: Awkward that...

JC: Yeah, this concept matches your favorite station, your climate control preferences, and so on, this so-called HABIT Cockpit Concept sure knows what you're doing inside the car. It maybe convenient but it's a bit annoying for me, I'm afraid...

(audience laughing)

JC: Now, we heard that Honda is returning to Formula an engine supplier to the McLaren Formula One Team and you know what this means?

JM: Let me guess...does this going to bring back the Prost-Senna memories when this was in effect?

JC: Well, possibly but actually, this is a cause when McLaren is looking for some new engine supplier because of its lackluster performance in past races. Reason why McLaren chose Honda as their engine supplier because Honda worked on their 1.6L turbo engine for Formula One purposes in the next season and in my opinion, if a Honda engine was used in a McLaren Formula One racer...

RH: Oh wait, lemme guess... VTEC KICKED IN, YO!

(audience laughing)

JC: Huh?

RH: Oh sorry. Never mind about that but anyway, I'm glad that Honda's back to supply engines for McLaren Formula One team in the 2015 season. Let's not hope it would be somewhat putting a Saturn V rocket in a pressure cooker...

(audience laughing)

JC: Now, there's more news for bronies worldwide. This time, and I'm not making this up, there's going to be a crossover comic between Transformers and...wait for it...

RH: Wait, let me guess... MLP?

(audience laughing)

JC: (gasp) You were right! Oh no! It's boys' stuff meets girls' stuff, well forget about the whole "girls' stuff" thingy because grown men got into that. Seems that Transformers team up with My Little Pony for some comic book of some sort and what the folks are saying, the cover will see Pinkie Pie dressed as Autobot leader Optimus Prime.

(audience laughing)

JC: No! Seriously! I'm not making this up! Honest! It's going to be showcased at this year's San Diego Botcon this June 27 to 30 at the Town and Country Resort.

RH: And I think this would be a total embarrassment to the public...

(audience laughing)

JC: Thanks, Hammond. And you know what? That's the end of the news. Guess the doof is due...

(audience laughing)

Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness
Ever since J.J. Abrams rebooted the legendary Star Trek franchise in a form of a 2009 movie, trekkies from all over the world were sometimes praised upon the fresh storyline about Captain Kirk (played by Chris Pine), Mr. Spock, and the Enterprise crew in their struggles to survive each other while fulfilling the mission that puts every crew to the test. Now, four years later, Star Trek is back for a sequel that some say, it's darker than the first one. Star Trek Into Darkness maybe disappointing at first but as this film progresses, the plot gets thicker and thicker and thicker until you reach to the end of the film that you will never forget.

What's surprising about this sequel is that the crew is up against a rogue Starfleet operative named John Harrison, played by the Sherlock dude Benedict Cumberbatch, and once again, Captain Kirk and the whole Enterprise crew has been put to the test again because Harrison has the whole crew "locked-on" from his prying eyes and this would be the darkest hour for the Enterprise crew.

We really like Benedict's portrayal of being the bad guy in the movie because his dark aural feel really fits to Benedict's personality. It gives some terror and some spills that the viewers may find it questioning but about this sequel though. It's not bad on the storytelling department but sometimes, some trekkies think that they will prefer the original one better or the classic Star Trek movies, basically The Wrath of Khan because of its dark storyline that excites viewers. This one isn't but the special effects is worth the redeeming for Into Darkness.

The more you enjoy Into Darkness, the more you'll start puzzling what's what for the whole Enterprise crew and their struggling challenges to stop the enemy who was threatening to take them down. It maybe a good film to watch but it doesn't have the pantomime feeling that most trekkies would love to experience. It feels a bit cold, a bit too odd, a bit feels like it lacks originality. Despite all that criticisms I thrown at it, I really want to recommend any trekkie to enjoy this film because it may have a sluggish start but it gets progressive until the pungent aftertaste you'll expect at the end.

Threats from North Korea - A Week in Review (May 18, 2013)

And now, the week in review of what's what at the Korean peninsula...

May 13, 2013

- Washington's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Nimitz is taking part of a two-day joint naval exercises off South Koreas's east coast. This drill will bring climax to the joint military exercises between the US and South Korea, which recently concluded Key Resolve and Foal Eagle drills earlier this year.

- South Korean president Park Geun-hye apologized her former spokesperson Yoon Chang-jung's alleged sexual abuse of an intern during her trip to the USA.

May 14, 2013

- South Korea proposed talks with North Korean on taking out finished goods and raw and subsidiary materials from the Kaesong Complex.

- Washington's top nuclear envoy Glyn Davies said the purpose on his trup was to seek ways to get North Korea back in diplomacy

- One of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's advisors made a surprise visit to North Korea. The purpose of this visit remains unknown for now...

May 15, 2013

- A spokesperson for the North's office in charge of Kaesong complex labeled Seoul's latest proposal for talks a "crafty trick", stating that Pyongyang is cautiously examining whether to resume talks with Seoul.

May 16, 2013

- South Korea on Thursday expressed regret over North Korea's negative response for the proposal of talks.

- The chief of South Korea's main opposition party expressed hope Thursday of visiting North Korea on a mission to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and revive the Kaesong complex.

May 17, 2013

- President Park Geun-Hye called for national unity, saying the country will be able to overcome any crisis if the people come together as one, Park made the remarks in a message marking Buddha's birthday, which this year fell on Friday under the lunar calendar.

- North Korea appointed a new vice defense minister, in what appeared to be an ongoing reshuffle of the communist country's military personnel. Jon Chang-bok, who was promoted to colonel general in 2010, accompanied NoKor leader Kim Jong-un on a field guidance trip to a food processing plant as the first vice minister of People's Armed Forces.

- North Korea could be packing more military might than many expected. The Korea Institute for Defense Analyses found out that North Korea has up to 200 mobile missile launchers...after analyzing data from the US Congress report on Pyongyang's military status.

"Text AP20 to 4545"

On the May 17, 2013 episode of Bubble Gang...

- Volleyball gags

- Mr. Assimo at the drive-thru...

Mr. Assimo

- This guy is fully prepared for anything while dining with a date...

- Let's talk about "gulay rights" because sometimes all vegetables had rights!

Anacleto Ng

Kiko Manalo

- Bubble Gang does Talk 'N TXT UNLITXTALL +UnliTropaCall! Text AP20 to 4545!

Bubble Gang does Talk 'N TXT UNLITXTALL!
- Boy Pickup vs. Boy Basag in Pickup Lines! The ultimate showdown! BLAGAG!

Boy Basag

- A brighter way to enjoy summer is...meeting up with the girls playing volleyball at the beach?

- Tips to enjoy yourself at the beach...

1) Chase with your own shadow

2) Play volleyball by yourself

3) Find someone who got buried in sand, place his cross near his head and pretend to mourn

4) Try walking at the sand. Because it's so hot, be sure to pour mineral water on your footprints

5) Pretend you're drowning and let a lifeguard save you

- An interview with a vampire in a late night sleepover show...

- Basketball players robbing the bank!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Chokoleit, IHAW NA!

Comedian Chokoleit was the guest of May 16, 2013's Banana Nite's IHAW NA segment and during the talk, Chokoleit explained why does some of the roles from past fantaseryes are all aquatic related, how chocolate-y is his career, and something else in store for Chokoleit.

Meanwhile, Chazz is challenging everyone to complete Chazz's facial drawing...while being in a another round of CHAZZ DO IT. However, instead of the'll end up kissing Chazz!

Lexus New IS (GSE30/GSE35/GSE31/AVE30)

2014 Lexus IS

If you are the sort of petrolhead who accidentally sniffed a bottle of solvent for several hours from now, chances are that the only mistake you could have done is mistaken the IS for Infinite Stratos and if by the word Stratos, you would actually mean "Lancia Stratos" but no. IS and Stratos are from a totally different league and the Lexus IS doesn't behave like the Lancia Stratos do. Sorry for this but there will be several bad puns intended because as a man who got stoked for the upcoming Infinite Stratos 2, let's look at the totally unrelated IS that doesn't have to do with it. The main instruction? Keep it simple. Okay then, one simple story coming up...

The brand new Lexus IS is designed from the ground up to become one of the most potent entry-level Lexus sedan ever made to cater the young buyers but in terms of fashion tastes it is a bit too shoddy. A bit predator-ish and when a baby sees one may end up crying uncontrollably. It's available in either a 2.5L V6 engine with the optional 4WD, a 3.5L V6 engine mated with an 8-speed SPDS transmission which is too much for a V6 car, and for the first time ever, a 2.5L 4-cylinder coupled with a 105kW electric motor and some old-fashioned nickel batteries. Yep, there's now a hybrid model on the Lexus IS and to explain why, I went to London...and sadly though I had to pay the congestion charge even though its a hybrid. Heard the news? Hybrids and so-called eco-cars are going to lose their exemption status for the London congestion charge because they're causing too much pollution. Hmmm... Really? I regret Boris Johnson for doing this...

2014 Lexus IS

Anyway, this new IS 300h uses the same engine that I get in the hybrid model of the uber-ugly latest Toyota Crown model. Running on engine alone, it generates about 177PS of power and when both the engine and the 105kW electric motor kicks in, the power output now runs at about 220PS of power. That's about 20 more than the Toyota 86's. And then there's the transmission. The hybrid model comes with the CVT gearbox which gives this car some strange feeling and the same noise you'll be hearing. No matter if its auto or in manual mode where you'll let the paddles do the talking, it's still the same feeling. It's just 6000 revs over and over. Too awkward.

So, for a car with 23.2km/L of fuel consumption, I wonder what kind of redeeming characteristics does the 300h has? To find out, I went to a certain winding road somewhere in Japan...and it's a bit too serious. It's like there's some very clever Japanese businessman underneath it that doesn't translate the word "fun" into Japanese but never mind that because the Japanese don't know what "fun" is. The only feeling I can expect is...just west of weird. It's a bit too Gravity Falls than Gravity Rush and if I was on the IS 350 model, same thing. What bothers me about the IS 350 model is that I now have an 8-speed SPDS gearbox and that's too much to have a V6 car with so many gears.

2014 Lexus IS
2014 Lexus IS interior
There was this F-Sport model applicable for all IS models which features enhanced handling and performance, Adaptive Variable Suspension and Variable Gear Ratio Steering (only on the IS350). To find out, I went to Germany...and as it turns out, it's not half bad at the bends. I kinda agree to the blokes who said that the F-Sport model's steering feel and precision mullered the Europeans but sometimes I don't believe the praise. It's still just "west of weird". It's more Mabel Pines-ish than Age Abeille. Oops...Sorry about that. Did I said this loud, am I?

Anyway, while driving isn't the least of my problems, how about the design flow? Let's go back to the topic. Well for starters, a normal IS isn't quite the better looking than the previous model and if I were to choose between this and the previous model (2005-2012), I would rather chose the previous one instead because the design is well behaved while the new model is as weird as Mabel's braces. Perhaps they should have brought the author of IS or inspire it from the Akatsubaki for looks. Same case on the F-Sport model. Well, surprisingly, I wanna go to China in search for a metaphor for this car but sadly due to diplomatic reasons, no. I can't go to China in search for a metaphor for this car because...that would be racism.

2014 Lexus IS
What about the interior? If looks can be deceiving, how come the new IS's interior kinda resemble of the Lexus LFA's? That's the idea; while the Lexus LFA is one of the best driver's car, it's sold out, so Lexus decided to stay faithful to the original IS, better known to you and me as the Toyota Altezza from the 1998 to 2004, while paying respect to the LFA. There's a similar case too, with the LFA-esque speedo on the F-Sport model, infotainment, and the identical steering wheel. And compared to the previous model, there's very little to worry about with your limbs.

To sum up then, rivals like the BMW 3-Series and the Cadillac ATS are nothing more than being a proper driver's car because they're both well mannered and well behaved to be fun-to-drive machines. The new Lexus IS though, it's just too well-focused to be a proper entry-level saloon car and it's just too well-focused to be ugly even though the Spindle Grille just makes it worse. And with the pricing of 4,200,000 Yen for the IS250 model up to 5,950,000 for the IS350 F-Sport, it's too expensive. You can't use the IS 300h to get through London for free because the eco-car exemption for the congestion charge is gone, the handling is a so-so, it's made by a company that should have known better, and as told, it's just "west of weird". Question is, am I not gonna like this more than the latest Toyota Crown?! I know that's sounds ridiculous but let's leave this case to the professionals.

Available colors: White Pearl Crystal Shine, White Nova Glass Flake, Platinum Silver Metallic, Sonic Titanium, Mercury Grey Mica, Black, Starlight Black Glass Flake, Red Mica Crystal Shine, Exceed Blue Metallic, and Lapis Lazuli Mica.

Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Jaguar F-Type

Five decades ago, Jaguar launched what everyone think of it as the most beautiful car ever made in ages, called the E-Type, and with such heritage made the E-Type the last of its kind because its inspirational beauty is what made it unique. Now, the spirit of the classic E-Type rises again in a new Jag that really harks back to the past rather than being more of a nimble sports car made to make drivers feel alive wherever they are.

2014 Jaguar F-Type

Welcome everyone to the brand new F-Type, the most awaited true-blooded Jaguar ever made since the E-Type and by the looks of it, that's simply marvelous to look at. First impressions wasn't really the best one because judging by the design process for te F-Type, it wasn't quite easy for the people behind this new car to capture the essence of the classic E-Type while bringing a modern twist to the most beautiful car ever made. Question is, why would you want to have another convertible from Jaguar? The best open-top Jaguar I'd ever looked up was the XKR-S Convertible. It has the same 550PS Supercharged V8 engine as the hardtop equivalent but with the top opened. Despite being heavier than the hardtop equivalent, it still behaves just like the same thing, sounds more like an American muscle car because of the angry noise. I find it very enjoyable to have an open top version of one of the most enjoyable Jags ever made but now let's talk about the F-Type.

This is no different than the XKR-S Convertible I'd salivated for it. Look at this design; it's oh so attractive. So attractive to look at, you might think for a second thought, you're encountering someone who look like a very attractive schoolgirl with the body of a 25-year old supermodel with a ginger hair and a very impressive bust size fit for a member of a swim club. Yes, seriously. You know what else is attractive? Another young woman who was a member of a swim club except this time, she's the leader with a very short hair and with glasses.

That's the thing about the F-Type, it wants to be as attractive as one of the sexier cars on the market today such as the SLK, Boxster, or the Z4. Apart from a very attractive exterior comes with the interior that is quite typical to the other Jags of today.

2014 Jaguar F-Type interior

I know it looks typical but good thing it wasn't quite as regular as a cartoon show starring a jay and a raccoon buddy easing out their boredom for fun or some sort of a nonsense cartoon comedy with a boy and a dog out for an adventure in a magical land. Sounds familiar? Oh well, let's see what happens when you unleash the F-Type in its righteous glory...

2014 Jaguar F-Type

This car is epic. By the moment you drive the F-Type, everything you thought about Jaguar is gone and feels like you've been time travelling 5 decades ago to find out how as good as the classic E-Type and this new F-Type is now pledging to becoming one of the best British sports car ever made. You can have either a supercharged V6 petrol or the top of the line 5.0L V8 supercharged engine but whichever engine you choose, it completes the F-Type's personality. It's very light, too, and that's because the body of the F-Type is made out of aluminum so such lightweight work really pays off to create the best handling Jaguar in ages. Even when you set this car on DYNAMIC MODE, the F-Type is just feels oh so right! Not too dynamic, not too mild, just the right stuff! It's well civilized either on the road or on the track! It doesn't matter which asphalt you're on! Oh! Oh! There goes the E-Type flashbacks coming through!

There is one bit of an issue here; although this car tickled my fancy, I'd never know prices never went that high so please sit down because I'm gonna say it, okay? Ahem... It costs 58,520 Pounds for the V6 model while the flagship model, the F-Type V8 S, costs around 79,985 Pounds. That's a lot for a toy but for a car proudly handcrafter by the Brits, this is a must have for any British car enthusiasts. The F-Type really deserved to be one of Britain's bests since the Aston Martin Vanquish, the Lotus Exige S V6, the new Range Rover, the Ariel Atom V8, the BAC Mono, whatever British you mention in the list.

So, what can I say about the F-Type? I don't like it. I don't really like it... I LOVE IT!

Available colors: Ebony Black, Polaris White, Salsa Red, Rhodium Silver Metallic, Lunar Grey Metallic, Stratus Grey Metallic, Indigo Blue Metallic, Ultimate Black Metallic, Satellite Grey Metallic, British Racing Green Metallic, Italian Racing Red Metallic, Firesand Metallic, and Black Amethyst Metallic.

Photo: Jaguar Land Rover

Let's Do The News! (May 16, 2013)

River's Diary

Right, what's the news today you spoiler-laden TARDIS journal?

Gran Turismo 6 announcement

Announced at the 15th anniversary celebration at Silverstone Circuit, the next generation of Gran Turismo gaming is coming soon this late 2013. Gran Turismo 6 promises to be the biggest GT game ever made featuring new driving physics, over 1200 cars, 33 locations with 71 layouts, and so much more. GT6 is coming, are you ready?

Richard Hammond meets Phineas and Ferb!

Richard Hammond in Take Two with Phineas and Ferb

While waiting for the Top Gear boys to make special guests as racing commentators on the upcoming Phineas and Ferb episode at the end of the year, Top Gear's Richard Hammond is the special guest star on Disney XD's Take Two with Phineas and Ferb talk show. On air tomorrow at 5:25PM in the UK, Richard Hammond explains it all to our favorite animated tandem we know as Phineas and Ferb.


2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class announcement

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The next generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class has arrived and this new model combines comfort, performance, and intelligence, all in one clever package. When I said intelligent, this new 2014 S-Class has a technical overload of gadgets and gizmos for infotainment, safety, driving, and so much more. Want one?


Vin Diesel in Manila

In case you missed it, the stars of the upcoming Fast and Furious 6 has landed on Manila for the opening gala held at SM Mall of Asia. Vin Diesel, the action star who played Dom in the film, was also there and this guy really stole the spotlight for the opening premiere of FnF6, in theaters May 24. While you were there, you caught the part where Vin Diesel shouted MAHAL KO KAYO to the audience!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Irvine Dylan's 1st Birthday Party

A couple of days ago, my sisters Elise and Bea, as well as some of our cousins and friends, held a birthday party to Irvine Dylan Dela Rosa, my sister's Elise's baby. I know what you're thinking but I'm the uncle of this newborn baby. Irvine was born since May 3rd of last year and I have to tell you that raising Irvine Dylan's very tough for a family like us having a newborn baby. Well, since his 1st birthday party was held at BF Homeowner's Association, located somewhere in Paranaque, this party was more of a pirate party...almost. Despite being too cloudy in Paranaque, the party's going very well, so here are some of the pics taken by some of our cousins...

Credits goes to my cousin Jeonylle L Cosme.

Let's Do The News! (May 15, 2013)

River's Diary

Right, what's the news today you spoiler-laden TARDIS journal?

Chevrolet borrows Nissan NV200 Vanette for their new business van

2015 Chevrolet City Express
Well, seems that the Nissan NV200 Vanette gets another one of potential car companies to borrow one since Mitsubishi borrowed one for the Delica D3. However, it's Chevrolet's turn to borrow one of these for their new 2015 City Express business van, scheduled for late 2014. No further details for now, but let's consider about Chevrolet's new business van sourced from a Japanese car company.... No wonder this is the first time General Motors collaborate with Nissan for commercial vehicles like this one.... Wonder what's next?


HSV Gen-F range unleashed

2014 Holden HSV GTS
A whole new breed of HSV has been awakened and this time, the new HSV range, from the GTS, the Maloo ute, the R8 Tourer, and the luxurious Senator Signature, are all based on Holden's VF Commodore range (which is coming to the US as the Chevrolet SS, in sedan only).


AS I TOLD: GT 15th anniversary part at Silverstone!

This is a reminded that something big is happening at Silverstone as the Gran Turismo franchise is gearing up for the 15th anniversary celebration with a huge announcement. What could it be? Let's just wait...


Sci-fi thrller drama Orphan Black coming soon to BBC Three



BBC America's hit TV drama, Orphan Black, is coming to the UK very soon to BBC Three. This hit TV drama centers on Sarah Manning (played by Tatiana Maslany) an outsider and orphan whose life changes dramatically after witnessing the suicide of a woman who looks exactly like her. Sarah assumes her identity, her boyfriend and her bank account. But instead of this solving her problems, the street-smart chameleon is thrust headlong into a kaleidoscopic mystery. Sarah quickly finds herself caught in the middle of a deadly conspiracy and must race to find answers about who her doppelganger really is..

The social media's getting a buzz about Orphan Black and this hit and thrilling BBC America original series is getting tons of praise, especially on its official Tumblr page where fans are sharing more about what's what on Sarah Manning and her clones.

15 Years of Gran Turismo

When I was a little boy, about 7 years old to be exact, my father introduced me to a PSOne game which a few years later, got obsessed with it. It's the racing game that redefines the true passion of cars and it has the slogan "The Real Driving Simulator".  I'm talking about the Gran Turismo franchise. First launched in Japan since December 1997 and then worldwide a year after, the Gran Turismo series is one of the most successful Playstation games ever made. Since we're in the party mood about the franchise's 15th year, let's get cracking on a trip down memory lane.

I'll start with this, the original Gran Turismo. The very first one. Despite being launched 15 years ago, the original GT never gets old all the time. It features a huge roster of licensed cars ranging from Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Chevrolet, Aston Martin, Dodge, and TVR. For starters, you have some cash to buy some car but sadly, you can't afford a car from the NEW CAR dealership so for beginners, they chose the USED CAR dealership to buy their first car. Of course, in Gran Turismo tradition, the USED CAR dealership changes occasionally so if there's a car that interests you the most, buy it. If you have spare change, you're tuning it to make it competitive and then you're off to a race but before joining in the big leagues, you must first get a license. Each race requires a certain license like B, A, i-B, i-A, and the Super License and to get one, you must first pass series of challenges. Getting a bronze target maybe enough but true professionals go for the gold. I know, license challenges keeps on getting tougher and tougher but if I  get it right, I had the urge to pass all challenges to get the license.

The biggest memory in your GT life was how to get the car known as the DODGE CONCEPT CAR. So what is it then the DODGE CONCEPT CAR? For beginners, the mysterious Dodge "Concept Car" was called the Dodge Copperhead concept car. Unveiled at the 1997 NAIAS, the Copperhead visions the future of a high-performance roadster. It's powered by a 2.7L V6 engine which produces 220HP and it weights 1295kg.

Since the concept car's unveiling, there has been some outrage from DaimlerChrysler (the former company name before Daimler and Chrysler split themselves years later) because there has been a complaint from another company that they held the rights of the Copperhead name and then instead. They decide to call it "Concept Car" in press kits, scale toys, and other stuff.

Hands up if you remember driving the Dodge Concept Car!

Gran Turismo

Two years later, the Gran Turismo experience expanded in Gran Turismo 2, which I believe that this is undoubtedly the best GT game I have ever played in ages. For an added twist, GT2 has two discs; disc one is called the Arcade Disc where you can race against opponents, time attack, two-player, and so on. Disc Two is called the Simulation Disc where in this disc, you are here to collect over 500 cars, complete license tests, and race in different cups to win new cars. The cars you obtained from Disc Two can be imported for Disc One gameplay.

Gran Turismo 2

Of 500 cars in the game, there has been the inclusion of rally cars (which is new back then), kei cars, and the hybrid car they called the Toyota Prius. One of my favorite cars in the game is none other than the fan-favorite Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak Version because with over 900HP of power and 4WD, you are truly invincible in most races! Other memorable cars include the long-forgotten Venturi, the Vector M12, the Renault Espace F1, the HKS Drag R32, the Daihatsu Midget II truck, and many other cars that made a huge mark in this game. There's also some one-make race series hosted by car manufacturers in GT2's Simulation Disc. Pick the right car for the race and race against equally matched cars! Simple is that.

Oh and here's a little old clip of Jeremy Clarkson playing GT2, solving which is the best British sports car of all time...(too bad he prefer the Mazda MX-5 instead)

Anyway, I love Gran Turismo 2. It has the proper customization that allows me to turn some of the normal production cars into race cars, it has the wide selection of cars, it has the best racetracks to master, it's everything that makes a fanboy like me very happy.

With the introduction of PS2 in 2000, the GT team are on the tight schedule to create a new Gran Turismo game for the PS2 console and a year later, it's a dream come true.

Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec

Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec is the new generation of Gran Turismo gaming for the PS2 console. Armed with the new visuals and physics, this game was a head turner. Apart from the selection of cars from the past series returned, there has been an addition of car such as the Gillet Vertigo, the Pagani Zonda, and the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. However, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII and the bugeyed Subaru "New Age" Impreza WRX STi are the ones that stole the spotlight in GT3 as well as the Escudo from Suzuki which is now rendered in GT3 glory.

Of course, the 900HP Escudo is a savage beast on the rally stage but the wicked twist in GT3 was the Formula GT race cars. They look like Formula One racecars only Gran Turismo-ish! When I managed to take a turn on those, it's so savage on the asphalt! Feels like the Escudo's been dethroned by this breed of racers on GT3! Incredible!

Anyway, Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec was sold over 15 million copies worldwide and with efforts so successful, the team at Polyphony Digital made something that I refer to it as the best Gran Turismo game in the PS2.

Gran Turismo 4

Moments after "GT Concept 2002 TOKYO-GENEVA" and a "GT4 Prologue", Gran Turismo 4 was launched in Japan in late 2004 and then worldwide in 2005 and let me tell you this; this is the best Gran Turismo game since PSOne's GT2. Everything what you thought about GT has changed. It now comes with a selection of real-world race tracks such as Laguna Seca, Infineon Raceway, Twin Ring Motegi, Fuji Speedway, and the dreaded Nurburgring Nordschleife. The Nurburgring?! On Gran Turismo? Yes, indeed and this track packs a lot of challenge for newbies and veterans alike. In career mode, "B-spec Mode", "Driving Missions" and "Photo Mode" are added for more fun. B-Spec Mode is well, let your car do the race by itself and you had to input some commands to your car whether to overtake, go fast, go slowly, and so on, hoping that your car will win the race. It's essential if you're in a 24 Hour Race like in Le Mans or the Nurburgring and you can't handle it on A-Spec alone. Driving Missions are series of challenges where you have to win against series of twisted challenges such as overtaking the opponent, slipstream, 3-lap race, and the dreaded "One-Lap Magic" race where this is in the sort of a "wait and win" situation. Slowest car first and then the fastest (that's you) have to overtake all the opponents and cross the finish line first. I know it wasn't an easy task and it takes practice to win those. The best part in GT4 was taking pictures of your favorite cars whether on selected locations or while on the replay. That sounds cool but for processing it, it will just waste the entire 8MB memory card and you have to resort to some USB external drive to save your pics.

But still, Gran Turismo 4 is probably the best GT game in the PS2 and it has everything I love. From a huge selection of cars, real world locations, challenging races, the addition of ice rallying, this game is a corker! Little trivia though that there was an episode of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson plays GT4 and decides if he can beat his virtual lap record in real life at Laguna Seca but sadly, it's a difficult task.

While the production team were still busy on the next generation Gran Turismo for the PS3 console, 2009 sees the launch of the PSP version of Gran Turismo and while the portable game lacks most of the GT peripherals, it's still not that bad. After clearing certain conditions, you can even listen to your songs saved on your PSP while playing! That's a first. Custom Soundtrack...

Apart from the custom soundtrack feature, there are new cars added on the PSP version such as the Enzo Ferrari, Nissan GT-R Spec V R35, the Bugatti Veyron, the Lamborghini Countach, and the cover car; the Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1. I loved this Corvette so much, I often played with it.

Gran Turismo PSP

Then in 2010, after a double delay that leaves GT fans out cold, the much awaited fifth installment of Gran Turismo is finally here.

With over a thousand cars offered in GT5, players can now buy and collect as many cars as they want! Think of the Godzilla GT-R, Lancer Evo X, a WRX STi 5-door and 4-door, Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari California, Lotus Evora, and even the super cool exotics of 2010 such as the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and the Lexus LFA! There are hybrids also offered here such as the Insight, Prius, Mitsubishi i-MiEV or even the sport hybrid car Honda CR-Z for sure! There are two car tiers in GT5. First off is the Standard tier. Standard tiers are cars from previous Gran Turismo games such as the R33 GTR, Silvia S13, Eunos Roadster, the first and second generation Impreza models, or even the ones from your Gran Turismo PSP game. Geez, that's a lot of Standard Tier cars. Second is the Premium Tier. This tier represents new to the Gran Turismo scene, such as the third-generation Prius, Subaru WRX STi 4-door (GVB), SLS AMG, Lexus LFA, Gallardo, and some to think of it. Premium Tier cars can offer a wide array of features that Standard Tier cars don't, like for instance; a view of the interior, dislocation of the car's body parts, or even take them to a Photo Travel.

In Gran Turismo 5, there are 26 tracks with 71 layouts offered to compete against your rivals. This is going to be a race around the world! From Germany to Italy, from Great Britain to the United States, from Tokyo to Monaco, experiencing a world class race like no other is a huge surprise. What's surprising us is the Top Gear Test Track, courtesy of BBC's Top Gear.

As you progress, you might be able to participate in Special Events; such as the Jeff Gordon NASCAR school, Loeb's Rally Challenge, GT Rally, Grand Tour (from Eiger to Rome) and more.

Two ways to race in Gran Turismo 5; the A-Spec mode is to race by yourself and the B-Spec mode is to race with your hired driver. To initiate B-Spec, create your own hired driver. Keep that your mind that all hired drivers have their own different personality and how it affects the race. A hired driver gain more experience if they keep on racing, either winning or losing, but if its too much, the hired driver's experience may drop. You can retire the hired driver if you want when the driver's past their prime. You can also use your hired driver for online competition called Remote Racing.

The biggest aspect of GT5 is online community. Aside from competing with your friends and rivals from all over the world, you can chat with them, gift them parts, share your created tracks and photos and more.

In 2011, year after GT5 was launched in PS3, the game evolves with a Spec 2 update where for the first time in a year, there has been DLC Cars, tracks, and numerous improvements to keep the longevity going. There has been numerous DLC cars featured such as the 2012 Nissan GT-R, the Mini Countryman, the Lamborghini Aventador, the HSV-010 Honda, the Toyota 86, the Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, and recently, the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray. There has been over 30 DLC cars featured in the game...I think. Well, I'm not good on math but anyway, those new features sure know how to keep GT5 alive and kicking...

So, with everything's come close to the big reveal for the Gran Turismo franchise in the wake of the 15th anniversary, I have to say that I have one of the million people who were part of the franchises' 15-year tenure and let's promise that this announcement for the 15th birthday celebration at Silverstone will be a big one. Let's cross our fingers and say, HAPPY 15th BIRTHDAY, Gran Turismo! WE LOVE CARS!

Mr Bang at the costume shop...

Top stories from the May 14, 2013's Banana Nit's Kandila segment!

- A new zipline in North Cotabato, one of the longest ziplines in Asia! So enjoyable...your man eggs can't handle!

- 3 year old child was discovered a curse that if the child calls someone...they will die!

- DepEd announces special Spanish classes for school teachers...and Dora the Explorer's going to teach them Spanish!

Meanwhile, Mr. Bang is on the costume shop, looking for something to wear on the costume party until some criminal ransacked Mr. Bang!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Let's Do The News! (May 14, 2013)

River's Diary

Right, what's the news today you spoiler-laden TARDIS journal?

2014 Peugeot 308?!

2014 Peugeot 308
Peugeot finally revealed their replacement for the worst-performing 308 hatchback a minute. Still called a 308? What the heck? Well anyway, originally, they supposed to call it 309 much as all the other Peugeots when in full change, number advance at the last digit, but sadly, they stick to the 308 naming. Why? Well, last year, Peugeot announced their new naming scheme to avoid confusion that from now on, all cars will have the number 8 at the end (and 1 for cheap cars for emerging markets).

Anyway, while the new naming scheme is very confusing, this new generation 308 wasn't quite bad at all. In fact, it's getting to be more...redeeming because it now utilizes a brand-new EMP2 chassis that resulted a triple digit weight loss than the previous model. No further details just yet but it will make a world premiere at this fall's Frankfurt Motor Show.

Taiwan threatens Manila...

Well, looks like the Philippines made another enemy of the state and this time, it's Taiwan on the spot ever since a Philippine coastguard fired on a Taiwan fishing boat killing a crew member. This resulted to some angry protests, and for the worst of it, Taiwan deploying naval ships near the PH coastline for some naval drills and freeze hiring of OFWs heading to Taiwan. I know that this is worse but can the Philippines come up with something to deal with this latest issue? I mean, do they have to guts to fix this problem? I'm afraid not. It seems that Philippines now made a lot of enemies in the recent years. Recently, Malaysia is now the Philippines mortal enemy when it comes to the Sabah standoff. Hmmm... Makes me wonder what will the Philippines' next enemy maybe next...

Manila Kingpin kicked Dirty Harry's butt in Manila

Joseph Ejercito Estrada
(photo: Interaksyon)

Just kidding. Just a metaphor because on the recent elections, former PH President Joseph Estrada, nicknamed "Asiong Salonga" for the Manila mayoral race, won the elections and claimed the mayoral seat for Manial, dethroning Alfredo Lim, nicknamed as "Dirty Harry", and this puts to an end to one of the most grueling rivalry of the 2013 elections. If that wasn't enough, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno also won the elections against actor Lou Veloso, who ran with Lim.

So what do you think?

Mercedes-Benz E-Class W212 minor change

Die E-Klasse. In Bestform

It was four years since Mercedes-Benz brought out the incredibly elegant W212 E-Class saloon which was made to satisfy every upperclassmen who think that most money came from trees. Well, that's an urban myth about the money tree but anyway, the W212 E-Class is always the classy one for those who can't afford a flagship S-Class and while it has some of the high-tech gizmos from the S-Class, that makes it a great value. Now, for this minor change, the one thing we're expecting for the 2014 E-Class W212 is its departure...

2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The main departure for the 2014 model is the four separate headlamps which has been the main template for every E-Class generations since the 1995 W210 model. While the departure makes it saddened by E-Class fans like you and me, Mercedes-Benz told that these new one-piece headlamps retain the “four-eyed” look while both the day-time running lights and the dipped beam have partial LED lights as standard while the full LED lights are optional extra. Who cares? Despite those, it still can't resemble the "four-eyed" look and that's not quite enough. Look at it, it's less elegant as the pre-facelifted model but anyway, that's the least of our problems. Let's check out some more...

Initially, the sedan and wagon variant of the E-Class W212 minor change is available for now while the coupe and the cabriolet versions will follow later in the summer so let's deal with the sedan and the wagon for now and depending on which style you're on, you can expect ten gasoline units such as a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine for the E200 and E250 up to the top-spec 4.6L V8 engine for the E500. Or, if you're in the mood for being a Satanist, you might be urged to have some Satan-fueled diesels such as the 2.2L CDi engine for the E300 or the 3.0L CDi engine for the E350. You can also expect diesel-electric hybrids as well but we're not in the mood to talk about those. Let's move on to what other stuff that has changed for the 2014 model...

2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class interior
Well, apart from the engine choices as well as the revised exterior, not to mention the revised interior which makes very appealing to the driver's eye, the 2014 E-Class has made even more intelligent because for this model, it has some of the features you can expect on the next-generation S-Class flagship such as the Collision Prevent Assist warning system that automatically halts the car when it's in near collision and the Attention Assist System which triggers a warning noise if the car senses that the driver's too tired or drowsy. This reminded me of the Crown I've examine a few years ago. When the driver's getting sleepy, this gizmo triggers a noise to wake him up and then avoid a certain oncoming accident. That's very amazing and very clever. What's also clever is the numerous safety features including the system where it can park all by itself! That's amazing for the lazy boys who don't know how to park a car...amateurs...

The price? Well, it starts under 40,430.25 euros for the sedan and 43,643.25 Euros for the wagon. That's a new price to pay but you have to pay a hefty extra for some engine choices, the optional extras, the accessories, so on, so forth. You need to be extra careful where you'll going to spend your savings on.

The verdict? Well, in everyone's honest opinion, despite the loss of the four-piece headlamps, it's still looks rather nice and rather dynamic for an executive sport saloon that competes against the BMW 5-Series and the Audi A6 but as a driver's car, it's still a bit tad old-fashioned. It's becoming too smart to handle in its own right because with all those technical overload, the new E-Class is feeling like a robot that has been set to drive by itself. It's like the future getting lost in the middle of nowhere. Where's it going? I don't know but I'll have to figure it out someday...

Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Monday, May 13, 2013

Seattle's Benihana restaurant

On a Friday night in Seattle, our Uncle Orly and Aunt Menchie, along with cousin Prolan, invited us to eat at some Japanese restaurant located somewhere in Downtown Seattle and it looks like it's going to be a recipe of going out and have fun. Let's find out that Japanese restaurant that gets me going...

Yup, it's this, the Benihana restaurant, located at 1200 Fifth Ave., Seattle, WA 98101. True to its roots, this restaurant serves only the finest Japanese food Washingtonians love to chow down.

No wonder there has been several celebrities visited Seattle just to chow down at this restaurant. Especially the late Pat Morita (who was Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid), comedian Eddie Murphy, legendary wrestler Hulk Hogan, the Seattle Mariners, the New York Yankees, any other famous personalities to name a few.

These are some of the Japanese meals I chowed down at Benihana and I have to say that despite the outrageous pricing because this is a fancy restaurant with some fancy pricing on their meals, they really taste oh so delicious. Even the chef seems to be rather entertaining...

Grandpa, Grandma, and our relatives eating...

Me, my sister Cecille, and my cousin Prolan are also enjoying the meal...

So how can I sum up then? For me, visiting at Seattle's Benihana restaurant makes me want to ask that I always wanted to visit to some fancy restaurants somewhere in Seattle but here, this is one of Seattle's best restaurant in ages. The prices maybe exotic but the Japanese cuisine served is just top notch! Maybe I wanna visit this fancy restaurant again someday...
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