One Second Romance

This is the story of a guy. He likes to travel. His interests are movies, mechanical engineering and archery.
One evening whilst he was walking towards his boarding gate on an airport, he walked past a girl and her family. She was sitting on a bench reading a magazine. As he was approaching them, she suddenly looked up and their eyes met. Both smiled instinctively at each other. It was as if time had slowed. Then, as quickly as it had begun, it was over. He kept walking and she went back to reading her magazine. He looked back a few steps further, but she was still reading her magazine.
It was a first for this guy. He had never felt this way before, this one second of romance. He had never seen her before. He didn’t know what nationality she was, where she came from or where she was going. Then the nice feelings he had had started fading away. Was she smiling at him or something she read? Was she smiling at something she remembered? He didn’t know and it was annoying him.
But he will never forget her smile or her beautiful red-orange hair.

Imaginary Farm

Agatha and Marjory were minding their own business tending to the animals when they saw Henrietta walking towards them.
“Good day to you, Henrietta!” said Marjory politely.
“Good day, fellow farmwomen! What a lovely day to be tending to the animals!” replied Henrietta.
“Indeed. I do hope that the field over yonder did not tire you out too much?” asked Agatha.
“Not at all! I started at the time when the rooster’s head was at the well and finished when it was over the fence. Poor thing has been all over the place!” explained Henrietta.
“Well, if you two would kindly excuse me, the sustenance will not sustain itself!”
Marjory and Agatha bowed their heads in agreement and continued on their merry way up and over the fence.
“Alright, Agatha. Time to paint the homestead’s roof!”
“My, my! We have strange jobs to complete today!” exclaimed Agatha.
“Indeed! Luckily we are only depictions of somebody’s imagination. Someone who apparently likes to use old words.” said Marjory.
With that they both went back to work painting the roof of a building, which sits on a farm, which doesn’t even exist.
FIN

Four Litres for Everyone

Today I would like to talk about the three big German automobile manufacturers. This excludes Volkswagen, but also doesn’t as Audi is owned by them. The problem I have with them is the fact that their new performance V8s, respectively from Rennsport, AMG and the M-Division, are almost the same.

Audi was the first to introduce their engine a few years ago in the RS6, RS7 and S8. AMG introduced theirs in the AMG GT as a replacement to the brilliance of the M156 and M159 engines. The M156 is my favourite engine and I would put it in an older Merc if I could.

Anyway, these manufacturers used to have diversity in their performance engines by having big 5.0L V10s, 6.2L V8s and 4.2L V8s – all naturally aspirated. These are brilliant engines. I actually have been in an RS5 doing lots of revs on a very short piece of road.

Now we will have three executive saloons with the same displacement engines. Not to mention that this is from the three biggest competing manufacturers. Now I understand the reason behind it all. The respective regions have their own emissions regulations and so forth, thus manufacturers are trying to get as much power as they can out of smaller engines. Heck! Volvo is saying they want 400+KW out of four-pot engines!

I am for saving the planet and all that, but these are cars – things that make people like me very happy. My mother just rolls her eyes and smiles when I put my foot down in our 3.0L V6 Pajero. It is not the best sounding car in the world (it sounds like a hair-dryer at low speeds), but hearing the engine work at high revs makes me happy. Having these smaller engine cars will be better.

My question is just, won’t it be boring?

Drake’s Review

So a few months ago, I bought the Nathan Drake Collection on the Playstation 4. It is essentially the first three Uncharted games remastered and sold for the price of one. Now, I have played the first two so far and a bit of the third one. The graphics are okay in Drake’s Fortune, except that when aiming, Nathan holds the firearm at an angle, yet the bullet still manages to hit its target. This annoyed me a lot. Luckily, it was fixed in Among Thieves.

The stories of Drake’s Fortune and Among Thieves were pretty good. The goblin zombies and Shambhala-enhanced warriors were really unnecessary and honestly quite cliché. If it was just normal people, then the game would have been better. It needed to be supernatural enemies. I hate that in videogames. The Uncharted series is such a good exploration series and I feel they ruined it in a few ways.

Firstly, the positives. I like Nathan Drake and Sullivan for that matter. The supporting characters such as Chloe and Alena are brilliant as well. The romance between Nathan and Alena is well written and the voice acting is up to par. The facial expressions are nicely done and movement in cut-scenes are quite good.

Now the negative and, oh boy, there are a bunch. Firstly, why the heck did Naughty Dog think it was smart to put in this many combat zones in a game about solving ancient mysteries? Seriously! There were like two actual puzzles to solve in Among Thieves and the rest was sneaking and shooting. I looked forward to the bits where I actually had to open Nathan’s journal and solve the puzzles. The good thing about Uncharted is that the textures don’t really give away the answers. You actually have to look around for the answers. That went a bit off the point, but anyway.

Secondly, the movement of Nathan Drake has the same problems as Edward Kenway had in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. You want him to do that and go that way, but instead he goes and jumps off a cliff or let go of a pipe. It is really annoying. I felt it was worse in Among Thieves than it was in Drake’s Fortune. In the twenty-odd percent that I have played Drake’s Deception, it seems to have improved significantly, as did the shooting mechanics. And the graphics.

Thirdly, I believe that, since the Middle-East is involved, there will be ‘undead’ mummies that I have to shoot at some point. I include this prediction in my list of problems because I assume it will probably happen.

With all this negativity, you would probably be wondering why I even bother to play it any further. The reason is, I actually like it. Yes there is too much emphasis on combat and too little on puzzles, but I enjoy the story. Plus Nathan Drake can be quite a badass sometimes.

So would I recommend the Uncharted series to anyone? Yes, I would.

Why?

Because it is actually worth the money. Looking at you, No Man’s Sky…

The Return of Italian Passion

(hopefully anyway)

So a few months back we caught sight of a new car. A car that looked visually striking – not to mention beautiful – and we heard that it will be Ferrari inspired. This got me very excited. In my mind, the image of a practical, everyday-use Ferrari that isn’t a Ferrari FF or made sense. Having a two-door coupé with lots of space or a family sedan with an Italian engine note sounded like the perfect everyday car.

This car premiered in June 2015, almost a year ago, and the first few cars have already been produced. A few months ago, a launch-type event was held for it and a well-known car YouTuber, Shmee150, was among the first to drive it (lucky bastard).

The car in question? The new Alfa Romeo Guilia Quadrifoglio Verde, or Giulia QV for short. Quite a mouthful.  This car, in my opinion, is one of those cars that you cannot believe actually exists. It is pretty from every angle, the interior is beautiful, the noise is awesome and it’s an everyday sedan with a Ferrari-‘inspired’ heart. This may well be the best looking car I have ever seen, even prettier than the Mercedes SLS or Pagani Huayra (which are two of my favourite cars). Alfas of old displayed this type of motoring passion and thus produced cars that spoke to you. Ferrari sort of still has this, but lost most of it when they decided to sell caps and after-shave. The little passion Lamborghini has left is locked away in an Audi vault, but luckily some of it escapes and makes its way into a car. Maserati still has most of their passion, but they keep trying to pump most of it into their awesome-sounding V8s. Alfa Romeo lost theirs slightly and tried to get it back with the 4C (which backfired) and now it seems like they are gaining it back.

Now, specs. The car will come with different engines, including a diesel and a two-litre petrol, but the one I am most interested in is the full Clover Leaf, the Quadrifoglio. This version will have a 2.9L Bi-Turbo V6, ‘inspired’ by Ferrari, 375KW (503BHP) and 606NM (447 lb-ft) of torque. The thing that makes this even better is that all of this power is going to the rear wheels! Some markets will get all-wheel-drive, but the RWD should be a lot of fun. There are two gearbox options, a 6-speed manual with a clever upshift mechanism and an 8-speed ZF automatic. Unfortunately, only the left-hand-drive version will get the manual (America…), so us South Africans will be stuck with a boring old, fast-shifting, efficient and overall better auto ‘box.

You might have noticed that I kept saying ‘inspired’ by Ferrari. Well this is because the engine isn’t from Ferrari themselves, but rather the fact that former Ferrari engineers worked on it. Ferrari were actually the ones who insisted that Alfa use “inspired” because they are afraid the car will backfire and the brand’s name would be shamed. This has happened before with Deadmau5’s ‘Purrari’ 458 Italia…

All in all, I do honestly believe that this is one of the most beautiful modern cars – along with the Mercedes AMG GT S of course – on the road. Well, it will be in 2017 anyway. It has a better noise than an M3 and more power than a stock C63, but the same as the C63S. The only problem with it might be the price. Most of the reviews I read or watched said that this car would be around £60,000 (R1.35m). That is a lot of money.

Alfa Romeo as a car company has always tried to elicit an emotional response when it comes to their automobiles. They try to build a car that speaks to your soul and that makes you slightly excited with their curved lines, beautiful performance engines and overall striking look. With this ‘talking to the soul’ stuff comes the problem of reliability, especially with Alfa Romeos – most notably in the form of the GTV6. This car is striking to look at – its engines one of the best and its overall performance made it one of the most sought-after cars when it was produced. Only to let the owner stand on the hard shoulder of the road with steam coming out of the bonnet. Luckily many of them had Monaco to look out over whilst waiting for a tow truck. Despite this, people like Jeremy Clarkson owned a GTV6 and admitted that even though that car had cost him lots of money on repairs and tows, he still regrets ever selling it.

The Giulia is a beautiful automobile and, from all the reviews I’ve read, quite a driver’s car. Let’s just hope that Alfa knows how to market it…