Side Kick, Slide Kick

Some time in 1998 or 1999, before I started collecting Hot Wheels, I passed by a toy store and saw a Hot Wheels 30th Anniversary Side Kick (in metallic purple) for sale. I really wanted to buy it (because it reminded me of my childhood) but decided not to as its box was in such horrible shape.

Some time in 2001, I was able to buy a Side Kick in mint packaging. I’ve posted another picture of it below because a side view does not do it justice.

If I was asked to choose only one Hot Wheels model, I would choose the Side Kick. To me, it is the perfect example of what Hot Wheels means to me: a cool car (a wedge car!) that’s not a copy of an existing car. It also has added play value because pulling the exhaust pipes at the back brings out the driver’s seat on the side. I love the exposed engine, the rear louvers, and the hidden headlamps.

I’m sad to say that my Side Kick has a plastic base (but a metal body), unlike its previous incarnations with metal bases and bodies. Ever since I bought this 2001 model, I’d been waiting for another one, but it seems that this was the last one released as a mainline model. (The eight versions released after this one were not mainline models.)

I was a little disappointed when I saw this Slide Kick recently because it seems to me that it is intended as a replacement to the Side Kick. Gone are the exposed engine, the rear louvers, and the hidden headlamps. The Side Kick’s driver can only see what’s in front and what’s on the right, but the Slide Kick’s driver can only see what’s on the right (unless the seat is out). I bought it nevertheless because it is a first casting.


“Does it come in black?”

In the movie “Batman Begins” (2005), after Bruce Wayne first test drives the desert-camouflage-colored Tumbler with Lucius Fox, Lucius asks Bruce, “So what do you think?” Bruce replies, “Does it come in black?”

I have so many mainline Hot Wheels Batmobiles that they no longer fit in the box I have for them. I haven’t blogged about many of them, so I’ve selected a few that aren’t black. All of them are from 2019.
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ACM ICPC Philippines Southern Luzon Invitational Programming Contest 2018

For the sixth time in a row, I was a problem setter and judge for an ACM ICPC programming contest held in Ateneo de Naga University.  Last October 7, 2018, twelve teams participated and their performances are shown below.  I guess the low number of participants is due to the two-year absence of new undergraduate students (from 2016 to 2017) due to the addition of two years of senior high school in the Philippine educational system.

I contributed two problems:  Problem C: “Symbolic System” (based on the symbolic system described on page 102 of Wolfram’s “A New Kind of Science”) and Problem E: “Fibonacci Ones digit” (based on Rossi D’Souza’s “Where did/do mathematical concepts come from?” in For the Learning of Mathematics, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 25-27).  Only two teams attempted problem C; only one team attempted problem E; all three failed to solve the problems.

Official cash tickets

A few months ago, I found these four 5-peso “Official Cash Tickets” on a street in Naga City (in Camarines Sur). It was the first time I knew of their existence. I did not know what they were for. But after looking at a few websites (such as “Philatelic Philippines“), it seems to me that these are receipts issued by an Office of the Provincial Treasurer for small amounts such as those involving permits for street vendors and the use of public bathrooms. (The National Printing Office website states that “Cash Ticket Php 1.00” (“2.00,” “5.00,” “10.00”) is Accountable Form Number 55-C (55-D, 55-E, 55-F).)

The backs of the tickets are stamped with the words “LUIS [B.?] DE LA [CRUZ?]” and “NAGA MEPO.” It seems that “NAGA MEPO” stands for “City Government of Naga City Market Enterprise and Promotions Office.” There is also some handwriting on the back. Given that the front of the ticket states that it is “not valid unless stamped on back with name of municipality and date,” my guess is that the written text is “Jan 29.”

Plymouth Prowler

Before I saw this Fast Lane Plymouth Prowler, I had never before seen a scale model of a Prowler. I don’t find the Prowler particularly beautiful or ugly; the only reason I bought this model is because I don’t think I’ll be able to find another Prowler in the near future.  (The scale model is actually purple even though my picture below makes it seem to be blue.)

The body seems to be made of metal. The plastic base has the text “NO. 6045 SCALE 1:64,” “MADE IN CHINA,” and “(C) CHRYSLER GROUP 2011” embossed and the text “055899” and “1801 8 EH” printed in white.

The company that made the Prowler has had many names: Chrysler (1925-1998), DaimlerChrysler (1998-2007), Chrysler LLC (2007-2009), and Chrysler Group LLC (2009-2014). It is currently called Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Prowlers made from 1997 to 2000 are called Plymouth Prowlers and those made from 2001 to 2002 are called Chrysler Prowlers. I’m calling this model a “Plymouth Prowler.”

The Mick’s Model Auto World website shows a different Fast Lane 6045: a green “Plymouth Prowler” which the site claims has a copyright year of 2003 and a scale of 1:55.

Lamborghini Countach

The only supercar scale model that I had when I was a child was a black Lamborghini Countach with a red interior and an opening engine cover. Its scale was around 1:64. I don’t remember what toy brand it was; it probably didn’t have the brand name on it. I wanted to take a picture of it for this blog post, but for some reason I couldn’t find it.

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