Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Of Glee, its similarities to Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and the 2010 Satria Neo M-Line

So. Glee has become a supposed international phenomenon. Critics seem to love it and the fans, like the Trekkies from Star Trek, have called themselves 'Gleeks'. The series features numerous song covers sung on-screen by the characters and the musical segments typically take the form of performances, as opposed to the characters singing spontaneously, as the intention is for the series to remain reality-based. Or so the show's producers say. But let me tell you that Glee is nothing new to people here in Malaysia, or India for that matter.

It is like watching a Hindi or Tamil movie from Bollywood, India. People in those movies break into song and dance in the middle of something. Just like Glee. There, we get Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Madhuri Dixit and a brimful of Asha on the '45. These actors and actresses act in movies that have song and dance every 20 minutes or so. In Glee, we have four to five songs, where the same thing happens. People break into song and dance for no apparent reason whatsoever. Or just to look good while dancing and singing like part of an MTV music video. The only difference is that Glee is in English and not Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, Telugu or any other Indian movie made out there nowadays.

Of course the comedy and the witty dialog would keep you anchored to your telly and watch the movie but the truth is, you're watching an Indian movie being played out in English. Even I find it quite entertaining actually. BUT there is nothing for you to think that Glee is a super cool television program that is totally innovative and unique. It is a Hindi/Tamil/Telugu etc movie adapted for television and then to English. Actually if you wanted to watch people singing, go to a concert, open up YouTube or go to your local pub.

Imagine Glee without the song and dance, would you bother watching it? Imagine watching the hit Hindi movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai without the song and dance. So you tell me how cool is that then? There. I've said it. It is actually the same thing. So all you Gleeks out there should just borrow or buy some Indian movies and you can get the same high in a different language.

So in the words of Mr “Everything Comes From India” from the BBC series 'Goodness Gracious Me', Glee is Indian (as is Mona Lisa, Leonardo DaVinci, the Queen, etc). There. I've gotten it off of my chest. Now let's talk about cars again.

The Proton Satria Neo is one car which really does not fit me. My good friend recently got one for his wife to use, which is all very fine as the wife is petite. Unlike yours truly who keeps hiting his head everytime he enters the car. I even hit my head trying to adjust the seat. I really forgot about how low the roof of this car was as the only time I actually sat in a Satrio Neo was at the launching and if I remembered properly I hit my head then too.

And yes. That sunshade is utterly useless as it blocks the view completely if you are taller than 5foot 7inches and drive in a proper, straight up position.

Anyway, since I've already complained about this fact before in one of my very first articles (do browse through my earlier stuff and see if you can find it) I'll move on to something different about the Satria Neo aside from the iffy build quality of the car my friend bought. Which was a noisy air-condition blower that goes 'RRRRRRRRRR' if you set it more than one-thirds of the blower speed (lucky being a Proton it was still cold at the speed) and that the seat won't ratchet. Which is really rubbish since the Satria Neo has been around for around four years. Warranty claim will be made on both issues at the 1000km service.

But the main gripe of this article and in true journalistic (or artistic) license I shall harp about the problem of the Satria Neo when you have to use the car at night.

As you can see, the main meter cluster is very nice to look at at night. So is the radio and air-condition controls.

But as soon as you look at the gear gate, you go 'Ahhhh, it has an old world glow to it' it was from a bakelite cased radio that is backlit by a reddish, yellowish glow from a time long forgotten. The 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Or at the very best, a meter cluster that is lighted from from the 1970s that makes the fonts look blurry and dull.

Basically what I am stating here is that the gear gate is lighted up really badly. It looks like something from days long gone. It does not even properly match the glow from the radio and air conditioned controls. Why is it so hard for this car manufacturer to get even a simple thing like this right? The picture on this does not show the difference as much as I wanted to. But if you have the chance of sitting in a Satria Neo when its dark, you should try looking at the gear gate area when its lighted up.

The great thing was this fact was pointed out by my friend. Basically his statement summed up the car. “The car isn't that bad with the faults that I've found (the blower, the faulty driver's seat and that ugly glow) as the car only cost RM51,000. ” he said. But then just a second later he added “Actually no. It's actually bad, very bad.”

Yes. The Satria Neo M-Line looks good, handles very well (great chassis – you should try it) and now with the IAFM module does not have that stupid torque dip. But again, it is let down by impracticality (for taller people), iffy quality and that retro-when-its-not -supposed-to-be back lit gear gate.

Oh yeah. My friend got the car about 3 weeks ago. This was the car on the first day of ownership. New 17inch rims replaced the stock 16inch rims and tires.

After the second week the car now has a full R3 styled bodykit and does not even look like this anymore. Sometimes my friends really surprise the heck out of me. I may post pictures of it soon in full drag.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Two Articles of Mine on CarThrottle.Com For Your Reading Pleasure

I've got two new articles of mine on Click here to read about Lady Gaga, Too Much Money and Mad Cars and here to read about Why I am not too keen on  Hybrid and Electric Cars. Of course I have written about this on myautoblog before, but this is an expanded and a little more detailed article than before. Enjoy.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Racing with the Proton Saga -

Hello. Today I have decided to showcase our venerable and not so good to drive 1st Malaysian car on I somehow believe that if I write stuff like this and the previous piece on the time attack at Sepang people elsewhere will find out more about us in this part of the world. Click here to read about it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

C'était un Rendez-vous ("It Was A Date")

A minor masterpiece in my opinion. And again in my opinion would never be repeated. We let the Wikipedia explanation of the short film tell you guys a bit about it. I think such a movie would and could never again be shot in any city street like the way it was shot. No stunt doubles, just pure madness (up to a level that is). Click here to view the film.

"The film shows an eight-minute drive through Paris in the early hours of the morning (05:30hrs), accompanied by sounds of a high-reving engine, gear changes and squealing tires. It starts in a tunnel of the Paris Périphérique at Porte Dauphine, with an onboard view from an unseen car exiting up on a ramp (and from there following this route) to Avenue Foch. Well-known landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe, Opéra Garnier, and Place de la Concorde with its obelisk are passed, as well as the Champs-Élysées. Pedestrians are passed, pigeons sitting on the streets are scattered, red lights are ignored, one-way streets are driven up the wrong way, center lines are crossed, the car drives on the sidewalk to avoid a garbage truck. The car is never seen as the camera seems to be attached below the front bumper (judging from the relative positions of other cars, the visible headlight beam and the final shot when the car is parked in front of a curb on Montmartre, with the famous Sacré Cœur Basilica behind, and out of shot). Here, the driver gets out and embraces a young blonde woman as bells ring in the background, with the famous backdrop of Paris. Shot in a single take, it is an example of cinéma-vérité. The length of the film was limited by the short capacity of the 1000 foot 35mm film reel, and filmed from a (supposedly) gyro-stabilised camera mounted on the bumper of a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9. A photo has surfaced that seems to reveal an Eclair cam-flex 35mm camera with a wide angle lens, and a typical "speed rail" hard mount - no gyros - on a Mercedes. This model, which could reach a top speed of 235 km/h (146 mph), was only available with a 3-speed automatic transmission. Yet, one can hear gear changes up into 5th, as well as heel-and-toe down-shifting with a high-revving engine indicating speeds of well over 200 km/h. Calculations made by several independent groups showed that the car never exceeded 140 km/h (85 mph). Lelouch himself claimed that the top speed achieved was over 200 km/h, somewhere between 230 km/h and 240 km/h. It is suggested that the soundtrack was dubbed with the sound of Lelouch's Ferrari 275GTB, which has a corresponding number of gears and a V-12 sound that is quite distinct from that of any V8, including the 6.9 liter V8 of the alleged Mercedes camera car.
A making-of-the-rendezvous documentary indicates that Lelouch himself was the driver, that the car driven was the Mercedes, although the sound track is from a Ferrari. One observer was posted, with a walkie talkie, close to the Louvre palace at the only blind junction (archway) to assist the driver, however Lelouch has revealed that the radios failed, and if the assistant had tried to warn him of a pedestrian the message would not have been received.
In 2002 Spirit Level Film and Lelouch restored and re-mastered Rendezvous from the original 35 mm negative and released it on DVD.

Comments attributed to Lelouch indicate that he acknowledges the moral outrage over his method of shooting this film as valid. He also states that he was prepared to take the risks in making the film, but that he however was also ready to drop it if he came across any unexpected risk (pedestrian, hurdle, etc.)."

Anyway it was 1976, long ago...but it was bloody marvelous!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Old vs. New Part II: 1990 Mercedes Benz 200E W124

Hello again and welcome to Part II of the Old versus New article. Previously I wrote about the newly facelifted Proton Persona SE Elegance. It is an affordable Malaysian made car which I think is a good car to drive. Albeit with a compromised driving position. The car I drove was fresh out of Proton's car lot and was quite a decent drive. Surprisingly it also felt well screwed together. Cheap, but well put together.This car is something that I would recommend to a person who wants a sprightly drive yet is still looking for this at the lower end of the car buying spectrum.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Two Families in Malaysia Are Using The Most Pathetic Mini MPV in the World!!!!

Remember me writing about the Chana Era CV6? I never thought I'd see people actually buying the darn thing and driving it on Malaysian roads. Why would they even buy this abomination is beyond me, and beyond most of you readers out there too.

I managed to capture one of them in the photo above sometime last month. Look how obscenely narrow it is. I apologize for not taking a photo up close as I was actually amazed someone actually bought one and forgot to whip out my camera phone.

 I forgot about it, but then sometime last week I saw another one on the North South Highway somewhere near Pedas-Linggi. A man was driving it with his wife. He didn't have a paper bag over his head as I would have if I were driving it.

I then remembered about the photo I took, and I remembered that the car in the photo was driven by a lady. And it had curtains in it. It looked like some love and TLC had been put into that car. The question is why ever for?

It is sooooooo narrow that it does not look one bit proportioned. It looks like one of those reef the one pictured below. Tall and narrow, able to squeeze between coral. The Chana? Tall and Narrow, easier to topple over when taking evasive action.
-The Chana CV8 MPV ...Really.

I suppose it is cheap at RM40K or thereabouts. You get a 1.3liter MPV with twin sliding doors, extremely hard plastic everywhere, signal and wiper stalks from a 1970s Bedford truck and the added bonus of being extremely fishy looking. Anyway, I am unpleased to report to you guys that there are two registered Chana CV8s prowling the streets of Malaysia. Oh, the Horror. The Horror.

If you spot one, do take out your cameraphone and send me a copy of this 'mini Alphard' *cough*cough*bleargh!!!!*. I'd love to print it out and burn it.