Raptors Season Preview Party

Contributor: Khristian Padua

Not just any normal Sunday but the Sunday before the highly anticipated Raptors 2014/2015 season starts. Hundreds of passionate fans showed up an hour before the doors opened including my self to catch a glimpse of the event which is about to occur . This act of eagerness plus everyone wearing Red , Black , or White Raptors gear shows how hungry are amazing city of Toronto is for a winner ! Not only were the beautiful people of Toronto who came in all ages and ethnicities covered in Raptors attire but all around the Air Canada Center , buildings & walls were filled of Raptors murals & advertisements . Toronto as a city has morphed into a dynamic, excited & proud culture ready to embrace that next level of success after that brilliant year in which our Raptors broke many records .

My mentor and friend Vernon Chang & I started the evening by lining up to meet the Raptors Brazilian rookie Bruno Caboclo. Bruno is a very tall but sweet guy . As I shook his hand he had a smile that showcased that he was very excited but at the same time a little bit overwhelmed with all the attention. Which is totally understandable for a 19 year old whose life took an unexpected positive change being a draft pic to the NBA after being fairly new to the game of Basketball. As he adapts I believe he will be a steal for the organization. When it was Vernon’s turn Bruno shook his hand and happily told Vern ‘ Hey I like your style ! ‘ even though his English is broken.This is quite the compliment to Vernon’s style and overall persona , we were both very happy that Bruno had such a nice first impression .

Before we headed into the presentation we were offered our free food and drinks as a welcome gift to the organizations supportive and passionate season ticket holders such as Vernon. Our plates came with a burrito , mixed rice , poutine , banana bread and a chilled beer to wash it all down . After settling in our seats of the Air Canada Center out came Toronto radio hosts Tim & Sid mic’d up on the nice set up of a mega screen big screen TV , a leather couch & chairs. They started by introducing and thanking the fans for coming out while doing hilarious skits praising Raptors GM Masai Ujiri. Very funny start to the presentation . Next came serious business as Masai Ujiri gave his expectations to the upcoming season and his thoughts on the overall situation of Toronto and the amount of success we achieved last season . One thing he consistently pointed out in his rants was that our fan base was bar none the best fan base in the NBA which i can personally agree & say I am proud of being apart of . Our strong fan base is going to be the 16th man game in game out for the Raptors. After Tim and Sid picked apart Masai’s brain asking analytic and dynamic questions for the crowd the fans were given an opportunity to ask the Boss-man Masai questions about the upcoming season.

Next came out former Raptors Mugsy Bogues who talked about his experience playing for the organization and his love for the city . One thing that stood out in his time given in the presentation was his desire to back up Vince Carter’s jersey potentially being raised into the rafters, the crowd was a mix of positive and negative feedback. Personally speaking I agree with Mugsy and I believe that Vince Carter put Toronto on the map and he deserves the credit where it’s due.

Grand finale of this presentation showcased our beloved stars of the Toronto Raptors. Our captain Demar Derozan , our leader on the floor and general Kyle Lowry & our promising third year big man Jonas Valanciunas. Within this segment including interview style questions with a few laughs in between as all their personalities are different but all click together. They emphasized there thankfulness for the Raptors outstanding support and fan-base and included their personal thoughts on last season and what they expect out of themselves this upcoming season.

All in all the event was an amazing experience and made me this much eager for the season to start. This year is our year and I believe with the additions of certain players are bench is deep enough to take our team to the next level and progress to a long play-off run with potential to compete with any team within the N.B.A night in and night out. One thing that stands us out compared to other teams is our core returning and everyone understanding their roles and contributing to one goal , winning. With the support of a city, country and overall culture change as Kyle Lowry said throughout the presentation ” We fight together as brothers, we go to war together ” we are ready , we the north !

The contributions of Khristian Padua, in the preparation of this BLOG is gratefully acknowledged.kd1

kd2

kd3

Mayoral Election – Toronto

After a long year of debate and campaigning, the wait is FINALLY over! It’s election day in Toronto. It’s the BIG 3 (John Tory; Doug Ford & Olivia Chow) election race. Who are you going to vote for? Honestly, past stats showed the young generation showed a low participation rate, it’s important that our younger counterparts do our job and vote!

We are very fortunate to live in a country that our voice can be heard & we have the freedom to submit our vote! Make it count!

Every vote counts in this election! Tonight, a new mayor will be unveiled! Whoever it is, let’s make a better city and make it a better place to live!

Go Vote Now!

vote1

vote2

2014 Ford Fusion SE 1.5L – Sneak Preview

Well…after an amazing experience test driving the 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid during my Vancouver trip a few weeks ago, I wanted to test drive some more cars back home in Toronto. My buddy’s wedding is happening this Sunday in Hamilton (Congrats Sean), so I have decided to make this a special “MoVernie on the MOVE” mini road trip with the 2014 Ford Fusion.

Special thank you to Ford Canada for providing me with yet another amazing vehicle to test drive. This 2014 Ford Fusion SE 1.5L is full of goodies, a long list of luxury features options that are found in this ride. I got this “Sunset” (Fire Orangey/Red) body paint fusion with 18″ big black rims. It sure looks DOPE! There are a variety of engine choices in the Fusion family. I got an 1.5L EcoBoost engine that pumps out 180hp. Those are impressive numbers. I will let you know it’s performance and handling later in my MoVernie Auto Review.

Give me a week and I will let you know my findings and driving experience with this Ford Fusion. Stay tuned for my “MoVernie Auto Review” very soon.

For the time being, here are some photos of the sneak preview of this Ford Fusion SE 1.5L.

68 788

39434

987878

photo 1 (15)

photo 4 (19)

photo 4 (23)

photo 5 (13)

rttrt5

Untitled9

2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid: MoVernie Auto Review

This was my third time travelling to Vancouver. In the past two visits, either my friends drove me around the city or I took the Sky Train to sightsee this beautiful west coast Canadian city. So…for my third visit, I had decided to experience this city by getting a car and drove around the city. I wanted to learn and experience this city from a different angle. With a car, I got to drive around the city and suburbs much more at ease.

Lincoln/Ford Canada had kindly provided me with this gorgeous 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. The moment when I saw it’s exterior, I was in love! The alpine white body paint contrasted nicely with the big black retractable panoramic sunroof. It gave this car a futuristic, modern and sleek look. Looking at this car from the front, side and rear, there was no flaw in the entire design. Every angle was beautiful. In the front, it comes with the signature Lincoln dual grills, the LED lights gave this car “LIFE” when the engine was on. The rear end was more angular and the rear glass stretches from the roofline all the way to the rear end of the trunk. I got to say, there isn’t many models in the market that have such an unique design. I think Audi A7 is the closest car that resembles something similar to the MKZ.

4343434

photo 1 (24)

To be honest, I am a very stylish guy and the first thing that I look for is the exterior design. The Lincoln designer could have went with a more traditional boring way and finished the rear end of the car with a typical sedan trunk. Instead, they decided to stretch the roofline that reaches all the way to the back of the rear end, giving the MKZ a more unique hatchback feel. And I think Lincoln designer did an excellent job with it and it was a worth-while risk, taking a more creative, out-of-the-box approach.

The MKZ not only had an amazing exterior styling but the interior design was also impressive. There were whole lots of goodies and high-tech features that were found in this vehicle. First off, digital bright dashboard that had all the gauges to communicate to the driver. In particular, gauges to show the driver the usage of the battery motor and the fuel consumption. Back up camera was extremely useful as I parked in tight spaces around Vancouver parking spots. Vancouver is a city that rains a lot but luckily, during my stay, it was all sunny. I love sunroof and MKZ has an extremely large retractable panoramic sunroof that covers lots of areas. In many other car models that carry a panoramic sunroof, not many of them can open the roof up. For MKZ, the entire glass opened and stretched all the way to back so the rear passengers could also get a piece of the sunlight and fresh air. That was my favourite feature of them all. Other luxury features included leather seats, seat warmers, seat coolers and navigation system. Let me tell you, when I am not familiar with the Vancouver areas, the navigation system was my saviour. It was so easy to use, you can either use the touch screen or you can use your voice to activate the navigation (which ever method suits you more).
I am sure you have seen many other car models where there are tons of buttons at the centre console and you couldn’t really figure what each button is all about? Fear no more, Lincoln has decided to allow you to control the volume of the stereo and the control of the ventilation by having you swipe along a grid with a tip of your finger. Imagine you use your index finger, swipe from left to right on a thin metal grid and the volume of the radio turned louder. Same as controlling the ventilation. Although it took me a while to get the hang of it as I sometimes over swipe the gird and blast the music too loud. But after a few tries, my finger got a hang of it.

photo 1 (28)

7878

Speaking of audio, MKZ has one of the best stereo system in the business. Bass was top notched. It doesn’t matter which seat you took, you could hear the surround sound.

This was my very first time driving a hybrid so I didn’t know what to expect. I heard rumours that driving a hybrid is boring, they lack power or they just not as fun as a regular engine. After I drove this MKZ around, I can tell you that, the rumours were false. This MKZ had very good pickup and acceleration. Obviously, we can’t expect it to go on the fly in split seconds like a sports car, but the power and acceleration were quite quick the moment you needed to make a lane change.

This vehicle was powered by a 2.3L EcoBoost Engine, that produces 188hp. Most of the time though, if I maintained the car at a constant speed, the engine didn’t even have to kick in. The car could impressively reach up to highway speed all with a use of an electric motor. Gas prices were relatively higher in Vancouver than Toronto, so saving the environment by burning less fossil fuel while saving my wallet with awesome mileage made me super happy!

Another feature that impressed me is the push-button shift that was located on the left side of the centre console. Unlike a conventional vehicle where you have a stick shift on the centre console or near the steering wheel, all the shift buttons were located on the left side of the centre console that were easy to see by my driver’s eye view. To start the engine, I didn’t even need to slot the key fob anywhere, as long as I am carrying the fob around me, the car sensed the key and when I pressed the brake, and began to select my shift button, the engine is on and I am ready to get to my next destination.

Did I mentioned this car also have a SYNC system that sync my Smartphone with the car? Once I synced the phone, I could talk to my friends while having both of my hands on the steering wheel, that’s a nice safety feature! The remote trunk release could open and close itself. Imagine you are full of grocery bags? You will appreciate this feature a lot.

Although this vehicle is great, there were two minor things that I think Lincoln can improve on. One common thing that drivers need to get use to is how quiet the hybrid engine is. Since the key fob doesn’t need to be slotted anywhere within the car, it’s quite possible that you may be absent mind and left the car while the engine is still on. It’s that quiet! It would be great if Lincoln could have some alarm on the key fob to signal to the driver that the car engine is still on if the key fob senses the driver is moving farther and farther away from the vehicle while the engine is on. Another minor item was the long retractable panoramic sunroof, if you stretched it all the way out, 1/3 of the sunroof could actually block the view of the rear window, which you may not be able to see the vehicles behind you. Most often, my work-around was to push the sunroof up a bit, sacrificing the entire sunroof from being fully opened, instead, I ensure the tip of the sunroof isn’t blocking my rear view window.

Other than these two minor suggestions, I really enjoyed the Lincoln MKZ. One of my reasons visiting Vancouver was to attend my buddy’s wedding. The moment I arrived with the MKZ in style, a crowd of 10+ friends crowded around and wanted to check out this luxurious ride. They all couldn’t believe that this MKZ was made by Lincoln. They all thought Lincoln was always a grandpa’s ride and old school and all the boring stuff. But the moment they saw this sleek, modern and high-tech MKZ, they were blown away.

In recent years, I know Lincoln has been working very hard to erase the old school image from potential customers and wanted to attract the young professionals and I think they are moving in the right direction and are doing an excellent job in developing great products that can compete with other competitors such as BMW, Audi, Acura, Cadillac, Lexus and other luxurious brand on the market. The moment when I returned this MKZ back into the parking lot, I saw a beautiful, sculpted cherry red Lincoln Cross-Over SUV called “MKC”. I can’t wait to give that ride a spin and I think Lincoln has finally hit all the right notes with all these exciting and fun models to the market. Not going to lie, I missed the MKZ already and I plan to request another MKZ to drive around in Toronto.

Until next time, check out which ride MoVernie is going to be on the MOVE with! Stay tuned! And MoVernie is outta here!

455445454545

photo 2 (21)

Express Fashion Pre-TIFF Event

Last night, I got invited to an exclusive fashion event that was a great kick off to a Pre-TIFF party. More fitting were displays of womenswear and menswear of Express Clothing lines that showcased the various fashion style and combination that are perfect for people goers who are attending TIFF Events.

Express is the official sponsor for TIFF 2014.

2323

3232

12323

232323

2322322323

2323232332

232323232323

photo 2 (10)

photo 2 (15)

photo 3 (5)

photo 3 (10)

photo 3 (12)

photo 4 (3)

photo 4 (8)

photo 5 (2)

photo 5 (4)

Untitled