F**k You And Your H2

F**k You And Your H2 is the home of the official Hummer H2 salute. So…why all the fuss? Well, it breaks down like this:

* The H2 is the ultimate poseur vehicle. It has the chassis of a Chevy Tahoe and a body that looks like the original Hummer; i.e. it’s a Chevy Tahoe in disguise.

* The H2 is a gas guzzler. Because it has a gross vehicle weight rating over 8500 lbs, the US government does not require it to meet federal fuel efficiency regulations. Hummer isn’t even required to publish its fuel economy (owners indicate that they get around 10 mpg for normal use). So while our brothers and sisters are off in the Middle East risking their lives to secure America’s fossil fuel future, H2 drivers are pissing away our “spoils of victory” during each trip to the grocery store.

* The H2 is a polluter. Based on G.M.’s optimistic claim that it gets13 mpg, an H2 will produce 3.4 metric tons of carbon emissions in a typical year, nearly double that of G.M.’s Chevrolet Malibu sedan.

* The H2 is a death machine. You’d better hope that you don’t collide with an H2 in your economy car. You can kiss your ass goodbye thanks to the H2’s massive weight and raised bumpers. Too bad you couldn’t afford an urban assault vehicle of your own. Or could you…?

* The H2 is a tax loophole. Under Bush’s new tax plan, business owners can deduct the entire cost of their $55,000 H2. If you are in the highest tax bracket, that’s a tax savings of nearly $20,000! The government rewards you more savings for buying an H2 than you’d get for buying an electric car.

Gasoline Blues

Fuel prices are rising like crazy. To you and me, that usually means gasoline. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as the the evil cartel called OPEC choking the oil stupply. There are also other factors such as fuel refiners’ capacity, huge demand from China, etc. During times like these, as during the Oil Crisis, there is a great interest in alternative fuels. So what are the alternatives to gasoline?

The first thing that would come to mind is diesel. It got a bad rap before for being unreliable, noisy, and dirty. This is unfortunate since diesel is actually much more efficient than gasoline: It can go further per liter. Consequently, it also produces less greenhouse gases. The new generation of diesel engines are even cleaner. This was accomplished by improving the combustion process and by improving the quality of diesel fuel. The good thing about diesel is that you don’t have to wait, it’s here now. In Europe, 40% of the vehicles are diesel powered.

Then there’s the environmentalists’ wet dream: Bio-diesel. Not only is bio-diesel renewable, it is also much cleaner than dinosaur derived diesel (aren’t they also bio?). Bio-diesel is made from a variety of renewable sources: vegetable oil, rapeseed oil, coconut oil, etc. And you can often just pour them directly into the fuel tanks of most diesel engine vehicles without modifications. They will probably be widely use in 5 to 10 years’ time when awareness spreads and production ramps up. That’s about the same time the US leaves Iraq.

Hybrids are a combination of electric vehicles and gasoline vehicles. When running slowly and in stop-and-go traffic, the electric engine is active. When running at high speeds, where gasoline becomes more efficient, the gasoline engine takes over. The battery is automatically charged during braking and when the gasoline engine is active. There are no hybrid diesels yet but it’s only a matter of time before those come out too. Then you can use bio-diesel in hybrids too. They will probably be in widespread use in 5 to 10 years’ time.

Finally there’s fuel cell technology. It is the environmentalists’ thunderous orgasm. The ultimate in forseeable fuel technology. Fuel cell technology is actually an alternative to batteries as a power source for electric vehicles. Batteries have been lagging badly in terms of energy density and the search for a better energy source has led to it. Fuel cells rely on the reaction of hydrogen from the fuel and oxygen from the air to produce electricity and form water vapor, the byproduct. It is the cleanest and most sustainable fuel. It’s is also the most expensive and least viable at this time. My guess is that we can expect widespread fuel cells only in 15 to 20 years’ time.

So what does this mean to us? If you have a gasoline-powered vehicle: nothing much. Just have to keep your vehicle well maintained and drive as fuel-efficiently as possible. If you have a diesel-powered vehicle: use bio-diesels which are being marketed mainly as additives. And of course: WAIT.

Rainy Road Days

This week was full of rain with the heaviest rains falling yesterday. It rained so hard the SLEX got flooded and a lot of motorists were stranded. Now normally I like rain, it cleanses the earth that humans seem so ready to pollute. And it offers reprieve from the opressive heat of the sun. But when you’re on the road, it also means slooow moving traffic. For what exact reason I don’t know. Perhaps the flood-prone nature of the streets is a major contributor.  Times like these, you actually appreciate the effort of traffic controllers (when they are there). They may not be capable of capable of totally decongesting traffic  but they can at least keep things from getting into a gridlock.

to the traffic controller (and others like him) who stuck it out at his post at F. Ortigas cor J. Vargas despite the heavy rain doing what he can to keep traffic flowing. I know some of these guys have reputations for being corrupt and inept (or both) but that doesn’t mean all of them are and the dedication of some, including this guy, is admirable.
to the impatient driver who was shouting out the window like the idiot that he is because he can’t wait his turn at the intersection.

Knives and Me

The knife was one of the greatest inventions of man. Next to fire, it was probably the next in line. It allowed man to cut up meat, fruits, roots, and leaves for cooking. It allowed him to craft his more advanced weapons: the spear and the bow. In a pinch he can even use it for hunting and self-defense. For the next hundreds of years he carried it, changing in form and function, but always fixed bladed.

A revolution in knives was the invention of the folding pocket knife concept. With its concept, you can now carry a knife without having to carry a bulky sheath. You simply fold it and put it in your pocket. And to make things even better, people started adding various other tools into the pocket knife. Now that is function and convenience all in one and millions of people started carrying pocket knives. I am one of them.

I got my first pocket knife when I was still in grade school. It was a small folder with a 1 inch sheepsfoot blade. It also came with one other tool: a bottle opener. That’s it. But it was marvelous to me… for a time.

Soon I wanted more and it was replaced by another China made pocket knife. It had a 2 inch blade and a few other tools. But still I wanted more: a larger blade and more tools. So I sold it to my brother and bought another knife.

The knife I bought was a red-handled Swiss Army Knife knock-off from China. It had a 2-1/2 inch blade and a few other tools, including one which I now realize was a prying tool. I lost it to the sea when it slipped off my shorts’ waistband while swimming at the beach (yes I was carrying a knife while swimming).

The lost Swiss Army Knife knock-off was replaced by a genuine Victorinox Champ Swiss Army Knife that my dad gave me as a graduation gift. Swiss Army knives are not famous for nothing: This pocket knife was great! I still have it less the red handle covers and it is still providing great service opening bottles and cans in the kitchen.

During college, I switched to a Buck Hunter knock-off from China. Quality was pretty good for a Chinese manufactured good at that time. I gave it away but I’m sure it’s still sharp and functional to this day.

I switched to the Gerber EZ-Out which I still carry on a daily basis. I don’t know if it was made in China, but with everyone outsourcing manufacturing operations to China, it could just well be. I also carried it while swimming and even while diving. Saltwater is not very friendly to steel, even stainless steel, so I got a fixed-blade Gerber River Shorty specifically for water activities. But I still carry it during water activities when the River Shorty is not available.

I also used to carry a Leatherman Wave pocket multi-tool in addition to the EZ-out. But it’s a bit heavy so these days it usually stays in the glove compartment of the car ready for possible auto problems.

Knives have proven useful through the ages and they will continue to do so even in this modern world. I’ll continue carrying them if I can help it.


My friend Jeremy and I were originally actually planning on watching Ghost In The Shell 2. However when we got to the ticket booth, we learned that it has been canceled. So we decided to watch Appleseed instead. It turned out to be a decision I won’t ever regret: This movie is simply awesome! One of the best things about anime is the extreme intensity of the action sequences, live action sequences just can’t compare. The [what seems to be mixed] artwork and CG is beautiful and detailed. The movie has almost everything I could ask for in a movie: weaponry, soldiers (including the hot warrioress Deunan Knute), battlesuit (Landmates), vehicles, and mecha (mobile fortress)! And it actually has a story that could bring shame to more than a few Hollywood movies. If you’re an anime fan, you definitely should not miss this. If you’re not, do try to see it. You might understand what I’m raving about.

Rating: 5/5