Kapanalig Sa Wala - Literally, one who also have faith in nothing, is a play on words and wasn't really intended to mean something. It was made in jest to call the atheist camp when I was still actively debating god in one of the demised public forums out there. I think walang pananalig (faithless) would have proven to be more precise but I think the intended humor will be lost.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Of Spambots

I have added the "Humanizer" mod into the Philippine Atheists forum. From now on, spambots must contribute to the debate: the forum will now require that spambots express an opinion on the existence of god, in short, more human than robot. Soon we will see them categorized into two camps: on one side are believer bots, and on another, the non-believer bots. I am sorry to say agnostics wont be able to join the forum. :D Just kidding! Try it, you may be surprised that your answer may be acceptable.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Lost in Akihabara

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

Of Macs and Men

Whenever we visit Ginza, we always drop by the Apple Store. There, you can check the latest products and try them out. I love the latest notebooks specially the black 13" MacBook with a widescreen aspect ratio. I wish I have a penny for each of the things I want, but here in Tokyo where space is a premium, you can only have one (or two?) of them at a time. I am seriously considering ditching Yuki, my Athlon PC running Win2k, to make space for an Apple computer but I don't have a new home for her yet. I think I should ship her to Laguna but I have taken good care of her that parting with her will not be easy. And besides, she's got choice parts when I built her a good five years ago. She is sexy in the all-aluminum case, with a 500 watt power supply. I have not replaced a single part since I built her and I only re-built her OS once in her first year. Recently, Win2k support has been discontinued such that I have not been getting anymore OS update. This means, her OS is now officially, frozen in time, waiting to be euthanized when no more new software will be compatible out-of-the-box for her to run. Consider the latest digital cameras and mobile phones. The latest of these gadgets are no longer supported directly so I had to use a cheap flash card reader if I need to upload pictures. Going back to Macs, I thought I should get a Mac mini instead so that I can still use the monitor and the keyboard, and ship only Yuki's brain out but I read somewhere Mac minis are no-brainers but the next option is a PowerMac which I think is too costly for my own purposes as most of the time I will only be using her for no-brainer tasks like emailing and browsing porn so it wont really matter that much if I use a mini. Add to that the fact that it's simply too bulky for Tokyo reality. I may decide yet, when Leopard starts shipping.

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...

On Adobo

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.