Sunday, August 26, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Akihabara is a district of Tokyo. It is the unofficial geek Mecca to the technology religious. I will never be lost in its streets. I guess I know its streets very well now. I have bought a lot of stuffs from there, including the used 14" CRT monitor for Hiroko, the first and cheap PC I built here to help me fight boredom in my serviced apartment. In Akihabara you'll find all kinds of things and merchandise and services that target the otaku. There were lots of people and there are girls dressed in different costumes called cosplay in Japanese. (Another place where cosplay is common is at Yoyogi Park in Harajuku.). Anyway, I went to Akihabara today straight from work around 3pm. It was very hot this afternoon but there were many people as usual, including the gaijins carrying big Laox paper bags filled with shopping merchandise as if it's the only store out there. I had to check at Tsukumo on what is the latest and hottest gadgets if I want to build a new PC. Based on what are now abundantly available, it looks like super-cooling your PC is now a necessary part of any new PC as a big portion of the 1st floor is dedicated to all kinds of schemes to cool the CPU, the case, the memory, the video card, etc. I was surprised at myself because nothing that I saw appealed to me. I usually get excited at seeing new motherboards and new peripherals but today I didn't have the urge to buy anything yet. I was kind of hoping I would be able to find a cable that will convert VGA or DVI into D4 for my TV but I was not so eager to look for it as well, and maybe I already saw it but I suddenly became uninterested. I went next to Yodobashi Akiba, maybe I can take a peek at the latest iMac released just last Monday. It was sexy. I would like to have one. Again I started to think about having Yuki exiled to Laguna to make some room in the 4.5 tatami room where I have my stuffs. Oh, I wish things will be so much simpler than getting caught in a desire for something I don't need at all. But who could not be tempted, 24" of beautiful pixel real-estate enough for an xemacs and many X terminals to be visible at the same time! No, I wont get lost in Akihabara, but I easily lose the sense of time, as I drift from store to store not just gawking but most of the time able to touch and feel and play around with the latest geek toys.
Each time I visit Akihabara, I had had to buy something, anything, before I can really go home. And if I didn't set out to buy anything in particular, I usually ended up buying something I didn't have immediate need for but still related to electronics. One time, I was so desperate I just picked up a Philips screwdriver just so I could start for home. Today I bought a cheap but cute red camera bag. It was 7:30pm and I was starving already so I had to really get going. I think it's a steal with it being a practical thing to buy.
Picture above is the Akihabara JR station on the side where Akihabara UDX building is located.
(This post is copied from another blog I am thinking of shutting down. 12.24.2007)
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
The truth is, for a year now, I had been itching to give Yuki a make-over. I have not built a new PC for over five years and new technologies have been around and old ones that she was built upon have been obsoleted. I need to to be able to feel the new hardware whenever I click the mouse or save a file. But Yuki has been performing well. She has been hit by a few worms before that I had to remove manually and she always came out less and less prone to infection with every OS updates, maybe because the worm-making industry had shifted its effort to XP a few years ago. Since she has continued to give good service, I intend to reward her by not upgrading any of her parts and OS until they're really broken. I reckon I can still get good service for a few more years without breakage but Apple is really dishing out good arguments for it. The only complaint I have for Yuki is that she is a little bit noisy, with her three fans. (She has five but I disabled the two.) Well, let's wait a few more months then...
One casual moment, my manager told me about his mother who likes to cook chicken avocado which he said is a Filipino dish but surprisingly there's no avocado in it. I was a bit puzzled because I never heard of such a dish before so I asked him more questions. Finally, I figured out he was talking about chicken adobo so I explained to him what is adobo. I explained to him (I could be wrong) that adobo is a Filipino dish, the main characteristic of which is that it has vinegar in it. It doesn't matter what kind of vinegar, as long as it has vinegar. That not all Filipino dishes with vinegar are called adobo while no adobo has no vinegar. No vinegar, you don't have adobo. (This is not the fact it seems.) But there are many ways of making an adobo, and none of them are more adobo than the others. For example, in eastern parts of Laguna, there is a very common but different kind of adobo - cooked with coconut milk - while I have never encountered it elsewhere, it seems like it's quite well-known in the whole country. On our part, we call it, adobo sa gata (adobo on coconut milk), and it's usually chicken.
Based on the above, it now seems that the word adobo is a generic term, and based on the above-cited Wikipedia article, is in fact, Spanish in origin, which means marinate. Not a surprise of course given that the Philippines was under Spanish rule and cultural influence for over three hundred years. So adobo means different things to different Pinoys, and non-Pinoys for that matter. There is a standard-carinderia adobo and sub-culture adobo cooked in a non-conformist kitchen. Arguably, today's adobo is not the same as yesterday's adobo since ingredients also change over time. Whereas now we use commercial vinegar, my grandparents used vinegar from Balian (Pangil, Laguna) which also implies that tomorrow's adobo will be different still. At any given time, there will be an adobo dogma and adobo heresy. There is traditional adobo and fusion adobo. I bet that if adobo ever attains international recognition (doubtful), in the same way that pizza or chopsuey did, it will be a relative adobo to the culture it finds itself into. Indian adobo will be spicy, while Japanese adobo will definitely have mirin in it. Perhaps a Korean adobo will have a hint of kimchi and a Saudi pork adobo, though a valid theory, is less likely to exist in practice at all, the idea itself considered absurd/heretical by the gastronomical orthodoxy held by the zealots but nonetheless merits serious attention that holding the concept in public discourse must be punishable by public decapitation. Yet all of these variations are adobo in their own right taken in their respectively proper context. As long as adobo cannot be reduced to mathematical and mechanical means, adobo will continue to be a concept with different meanings and different degrees of having the quality of adobo-ness taken from different vantage points.
Pictured above is a mean pork Adobo with hard-boiled egg, Tokyo, circa 2007 CE.