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Friday, April 24, 2009

My first time…

"I’ll try anything and everything at least once, and if I like it I’ll do it again.”

Such is my philosophy in life, most especially when it comes to food. And today, I got to try something for the very first time, and I’m very happy about it.

I remember, as a kid, playing with an insect that we (my cousins and myself) called “suksok lupa” (earth borer). It’s about an inch long (though, according to Wikipedia it can grow up to 2 inches long), primarily brown-colored, and very powerful.

Young as I was at the time, I remember not being able to keep one in my hand no matter how tightly I held on to it. It somehow always manages to dig its way out of my hand. It has these powerful forelimbs which it uses as sort of anchors to pull its body through tight spaces (in this case, my clenched hand).

I never bothered finding out what it’s really called, and so I grew up knowing the insect by the name we called it (“suksok lupa”).

Today, at the office, my boss asked us one by one if we eat insects. Thinking that he just had an altercation with someone, I just smiled at him and took him for joking.

Turns out, he was serious. He brought out his baon (packed lunch) and showed us the dead bugs with tomatoes and onions, all turned brown with soy sauce. Adobong Kamaru, he said it was called. My mind, however, was yelling “Suksok lupa!”

I’ve heard so much about insects being served on the dining table just as I’ve seen so many videos about it (especially on documentaries and on Fear Factor). But contrary to the usual reaction that many people get with this sort of thing, I always find myself wanting very much to try it, with my mouth watering.

“This is my chance!” I thought to myself.

Excited, I asked him if I can taste it. “That’s why I brought it,” he said “I wanted you guys to taste it.”

I suppose he wanted to assure us that it’s safe, he picked up a couple with his fingers, put them in his mouth and chewed.

Without a moment’s thought, I followed.

Most of you probably won’t believe me but it was Y-U-M-M-Y! It’s WONDERFUL!!! It tasted like kilawin, actually (to me, at least).

For the purpose of blogging about it, I did a quick research on the proper name of the bug.

Using “kamaru” as the keyword in my search (on Google), at first, didn’t get me anything pertaining to the insect. I didn’t try “suksok lupa” as I was sure it’s not going to do me any good (well, I tried it just now and I was right). And so, I added the word “Kapampangan” and… voila!

Mole Cricket… that’s how they’re called in English (if you’ll ask me, I think they look more like tiny lobsters than crickets).

This experience surely has changed the way I look at and think of these bugs…

As they say in Kapampangan…

Subukan mu at ng kanyaman! (“Try it, it’s delicious!”)

Note: If you want to try it, this is the styro that the yummy treat came in... hope the contact information is legible.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An Interesting Addition To My Book Collection

I saw this gem at a garage sale in Sanchez Mira when we went there during the Lenten break. I fell in love with it the moment I set my eyes on it… well, it’s really more like love at first sniff than love at first sight… how I LOVE the smell of moth balls and old paper!

I have already lost count how many times I’ve scanned the book from cover to cover in search for the book’s year of publication, but I can find none. The only indication/approximation I can get of the book’s age is from the dedication written on it which is dated November 16, 1917. Taking that date as the basis for the book’s age, that makes this book the second oldest book I own (the oldest one being “The Hornet’s Nest” by E. P. Roe).

Although it is considerably worn, particularly the cover, the inside pages are still in very good condition... and the illustrations, oh… so lovely! SO Beautiful! They’re done by J. Finnemore, G. H. Thompson, and Archibald Webb, by the way.

The book measures 8 inches by 10 inches and has 328 pages (including the front matters).

Anyway, if anyone out there has any knowledge about the true age of this book (as well as the person whose name appears on the hand-written dedication), please come forward.

Thank you very much.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Great Addition to my Collection :P

Got this right after our trip to Manila Ocean Park... better yet, I got this for free! Woopteedoo!

Andadasi… andadasi…

Manila Ocean Park… we finally got the chance to go there… courtesy of my brother who’s currently into rearing salt-water fish. Well, like what I’ve been hearing so much about the place, it was pretty small, small enough that you can walk through the entire exhibit in less than 15 minutes. But then again, the sights were pretty amazing… big fishies, small fishies, light-emitting fishies, a giant crab, eels, and a whole bunch of other stuff from under the sea (and other bodies of water).

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Conf*cker Worm

I’ve been reading about the Conficker/DownAdUP Worm over the past few days on Yahoo News. However, due to some articles saying that “some” experts don’t consider it as too much of a threat, I didn’t worry much about it.

I read a couple of articles about it again last Wednesday morning (April 1) and decided to check and see if my computer at the office has been infected. And it was (and probably still is I cannot say with finality as of this very moment)!

How did I find out? Well, as mentioned in the articles, I wouldn’t be able to access any of the Antivirus companies’ websites (particularly those concerning Conficker) and Microsoft’s updates and that’s exactly what happened. Every time I clicked on a link on Google’s search results that’s supposed to take me to an Antivirus Company’s website, I’d get redirected to another website (which looks like a sort of “dummy” of the real website as it has the root URL of the real website on its header, i.e., “”).

I was starting to feel uneasy about the infection as the Conficker Worm may possibly used to steal data (most alarmingly, passwords and other sensitive/personal information), or so they say.

One of the articles also mentioned that the Worm blocks any link or program that has the word “Conficker” in its filename (or something like that). Therefore, one would need to ask someone whose computer is not infected by the worm to send him/her the removal tool(s) through email. In addition, the article also mentioned that one would need to change the removal tool’s filename to be able to run it. (!)

Out of desperation, I continued my search (on Google) and (quite luckily) got through to which had links for the removal tools. All the download links worked except for the Windows updater.

Since I was unable to get through to the Microsoft website, I continued to search the web for Microsoft’s KB921883 patch (Note: KB921883 is for Windows XP SP2, check the required patch for other versions of Windows).

During my search, I started to feel that the worm is very much like a criminal mastermind/crooked politician who covers up his/her tracks and takes every measure to prevent him/herself from getting caught. Why, you ask? Well, it seems that I couldn’t get to any website that has download links for the patch (even the mirrored ones). But, then again, it might just be the proxy server in our office.

Anyway, after having gotten nothing, I went to our IT department and asked if they had that particular patch, and luckily they did.

And so, I installed the patch and ran all the removal tools I had. And for good measure, I downloaded Symantec’s DownAdUP removal tool and had it run through my files. But then, a few seconds into the scan, the removal tool quit prematurely giving me no warnings whatsoever.

Naturally, I tried it again… and it happened again. I tried rebooting my PC in Safe Mode but it wouldn’t… it just kept restarting over and over. By that time, I started to think that there must be something seriously wrong with my PC.

And so, I called up our IT people and asked them to see what’s wrong.

The findings were grim… it was found that my PC’s got a lot of corrupted system files and it had to be reformatted and have Windows reinstalled. However, I don’t think Conficker had anything to do with that as we’ve experienced a few power outages before and I’ve also done a few hard reboots due to my PC freezing while doing some heavy operation.

Not all is lost, though… I still have all my files and my PC’s now in tip top shape.

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