Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rizal's Shrine and The origin of my name

My cousin, Dr. Yusoff Abdullah shared a picture with me, after he found Rizal's Shrine in his adventures to the Philippines. Yeah, my Shrine...Rizal's Shrine. There is a Shrine for me.!!!!! Well, actually, it's not me. It's a shrine for Dr. JOSÉ PROTACIO RIZAL MERCADO Y ALONSO REALONDA. He died 30 December 1896, Manila, Philippines), patriot, physician and man of letters whose life and literary works were an inspiration to the Philippine nationalist movement. Rizal is a national hero of the Philippines. He was a genius, a linguist who can speak several languages, a physician, a writer and also very good looking and popular among the ladies. He got it all.....and his rebellious demeanor was mostly his charm, which made him a hero and brought the Philippines and the people of the land to fight for freedom from oppressors. He was killed by his oppressors who feared his influence, but instead of making the people of Philippines docile, his death immortalized Jose Rizal and raise and united the people towards independence.

A lot of people knew where his/her name came from. As for me, I had two names. Joey, my nick name that most of my close friends and family call me, and Rizal, my official name on my birth certificate. Though my family always had two versions of the story, the one that I really dislike was that when i was born, I was so small and wrinkled up like a joey(a baby kangaroo). The other version is that my name Rizal came from Dr. Jose Rizal, the national hero. But how did Rizal came to be Joey. Well, since I'm half filipino, half of my family is still in the Philippines. So they gave me the name Joey. Joey, a common nick name for people with the name Jose. And that would make me similar to Dr. Jose Rizal.....I just hope one day, I'll be following his footsteps as well, getting my PhD and be called Dr. Joey Rizal.:)

Shakespeare said that "what is in a name, by which we call a rose. By any other name, wouldn't it smell as sweet." I know that a name really doesn't make a person. But I can't help to wonder how a name shapes a person's character, or is it by mere coincidence. Unlike Dr. Jose Rizal, I'm not a genius, not a linguist, not popular with the ladies and not very good looking. But I can't help to wonder, that I am also very rebellious. Had I've been born in the 1800s, would I have been the man going against the British? Would I be the writer, to state the obvious, unite the people and protest on ideas of equality and human rights. I can't help to wonder. What purpose do I have in life, and am I meant for greater things like Jose Rizal. I just hope that I don't end up dead before making a real impact in society. Everyman quest is to seek immortality. Leaving behind a piece of himself before his life ends. Wonder what my contributions will be ....

Friday, March 28, 2008

Chicago, Illinois

Here I was in the middle of Chicago City, at the Union Station(left). Standing and acting cool in front of the river thats flows to Lake Michigan. I found my way later to the Field's Museum(right), it was said to be the must visit place.

The museum had a couple of interesting artifacts, it was very huge, but an interesting exhibit that caught my attention was the Inside Ancient Egypt. It was said that after researchers in Saqqara, Egypt, excavated two of the original chambers from the tomb of Unis-ankh, son of the Fifth Dynasty ruler Pharaoh Unis. The mastaba (tomb) of Unis-ankh forms the core of a spellbinding exhibit that realistically depicts scenes from Egyptian funeral, religious, and other social practices. I put on my Dr. Indy Rizal hat and tried to decipher the heliographic writings on the walls. When I was younger, I always imagined to be the adventurous historian and archaeologists Dr. Indiana Jones.

After helping out pulling the large slab of stone from the pyramid's and discovering the secret of Unis-ankh and the book of the dead (me imagining again), i found myself hurrying off to search for another dangerous mystery. But I did, take some pictures before that. Here I am taking some pictures, with the Chicago City background. Think you can see Sears Tower behind me, disappearing in the clouds.

My other dangerous mystery was actually my growling stomach. I was told that a must try in Chicago was the famous Deep Dish Stuffed Pizza at Giordano's World Famous Stuffed Pizza.
I walk there and Giordano had already a bunch of people queuing up. I had to stand for about 30 minutes to try the famous pizza.
I had a great meal of cheese, tomatos, mushrooms and a really thick pizza. It was wasn't like amazing, but it was good. Good enough for me to save myself from hunger.:)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

GPS to help me go around

When thinking about going for a vacation, knowing where you are and how to get there can really save you time. So since I'm going to Chicago for a visit, I was thinking about getting a GPS to help me save time from getting lost with my bad sense of direction. So I went to Best Buy to look for this electronic device people call GPS, and I found to my liking, the Magellan Maestro. It was affordable and also had some pretty interfaces and nice features. The Magellan Maestro has about 3 million ++ Points of Interest in its database and contains GPS maps for America and Canada.

After getting the electronic GPS device, I was excited to use it. Immediately I mounted the GPS device into my car. The GPS came with a mounting kit, which has a rubber sucker that would stick the mounter to your windshield. Then you can clip your GPS to the mount, and this will you keep looking forward while driving, at the same time have the GPS help you give directions. The sweet thing about it, the GPS talks to you. It shows you the directions on the GPS and at the same time talks to you and tell you which turn you will be expecting to take. It would say something like, "Right Turn in 0.5 miles".

It was all good, but after a while the rubber sucker doesn't work that well anymore, and the GPS mount keep on falling off. It still gives directions but I've learned that the GPS does not really gives you the most efficient route all the time. I guess technology is no substitute for human intelligence yet. :)

Anyway, will post more about my visit to Chicago later. Over and out.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Brain Teaser

When I started, I thought It was not going to be that hard. And I'll be following the true nature of my heart, and It would be easy. But then, the path seems to be much more difficult that I thought. It's not merely a brain teaser. How do you answer a question like below.....
Basic Chord requires log N steps to lookup a query. Even log N messages, per lookup may be too many for some applications. It seems Chord can be generalized to make longer stride in each hop. The distance to query can be reduced by a factor 1/(1+d) in each lookup hop for various values of d. Derive the generalized complexity of the following: How far each finger should point, How many hops will be required to lookup a query?

I don't know. I'm sure the answer is somewhere, but, it does get tiring trying to make conclusions of what the statement above means, and what possible answers it could have. I won't give up yet, but will try my best to endure it for as long as I can.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Chef Joey....Maybe Not

The most time consuming thing for me is cooking. But if I don't cook I don't eat. And that can be a bad thing. Also, I have to take care of the things I eat, meaning a well balance diet.

But having a good well balance diet, also involves selecting your food carefully and cook a few kinds of meals. But I am too lazy for that, so all I do make sure is that I have some meat, some vegetables and some fruits.

I wish I can just buy food outside. However, I cannot possibly buy food outside every single day because that's going to eat through my pocket really fast. So I have to settle for a little work cooking. So far my cooking quality is really bad, such that the things I cook, I wouldn't want to eat twice. But out of some random occurrence, I think one of my cooking is actually chef quality....or maybe I perasan, or maybe I was just too hungry to even realize the real reality of my cooking quality.

But it looks good at that time, so I decided to take a picture of my masterpiece. Frankly, I have no idea what it was. I was so hungry coming back from class, that I just throw things together. I took the prawns out, cause it would be faster to defrost than meat. I just tumis(simmer) some onions and belacan (prawn paste) , throw in kicap masin, oyster sos, kicap manis, tomatos, chili paste and whatever seems right. I threw in the prawns and after 5 minutes it still looks kinda dull. I went looking in my fridge and saw some vegetables, and thought, this could be good to have some vegetable and fiber. Threw it in as well and after another 5 minutes, i thought it still looked dull. I went looking around my shelves, and saw some tomato paste. Think this would be good to add some color to my cooking. Threw it in my wok, and finally wala..... The end result was the one above. When my rice cooker was done, I tried my masterpiece, and damn it was good. I was thinking (berangan) I could be a chef if it was this good all the time, like in the animated movie ratatouille. But then again, its probably good just because I was hungry.