Cucumbers and Thin Clients

...seki a le kama o kukama
Chances are that if you follow a health professional/nutritionist who advocates vegetables and fruits - like lemon cucumbers - as some of the most effective foods that assure weight loss and health, you will most likely end up being thin. Hence a “thin client”.
Today at work I was snacking on lemon cucumbers (picture) and it brought back memories of one of my Dad’s favorites - oka kukama (briny cucumber slices). And became one of mine too.
To the best of my recollection there were no lemon cucumbers in Samoa when I was growing up (even today maybe). There were only the regular tubular ones.  My Dad would pare the skin in stripe pattern and lengthwise (so some skin is left unpeeled), then with a fork scrape the full length (to date I still don’t why...lol) slice it round, then put the slices in a bowl of salted water and let it stand for several minutes.

So at work, this sweet lady brings lemon cucumbers from her garden (Yay, Ooorrrganic!) and shares them with fellow office employees.  And so for someone who had started eating cucumbers as a little boy, I just couldn't wait to savor these fresh organic ones - like in Samoa.  But instead of salt water, as my Dad had done, I just sprinkle salt on the slices and eat them. Fortunately, we have all the kitchen utensils and supplies in our office so I didn't have to wait to get home to pare and eat these saporous kukama ...seki a le 'kama! lol...

And now to a different but real thin client.  The computer!  What? Yes that’s a computer (the small/thin black box above)... had it for a year now.  For many big companies/corporations with hundreds or thousands of employees and with offices world-wide, they already have or will certainly migrate to a thin client computing system, as opposed to the desktop PC system.  I’ve seen some Wal-Mart stores already using thin clients.  Below is a brief description from the Devon IT website - a company that makes thin clients (hardware and software):
a typical thin client setup
A thin client is a stateless, fanless desktop terminal that has no hard drive. All features typically found on the desktop PC, including applications, sensitive data, memory, etc., are stored back in the data center when using a thin client.
A thin client running Remote Desktop Protocols (RDP), like Citrix ICA and Windows Terminal Services, and/or virtualization software, accesses hard drives in the data center stored on servers, blades, etc. Thin clients, software services, and backend hardware make up thin client computing, a virtual desktop computing model.
Thin clients are used as a PC replacement technology to help customers immediately access any virtual desktop or virtualized application. Thin clients provide businesses a cost-effective way to create a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Thin clients are utilized in various industries and enterprises worldwide that all have different requirements but share common goals. The cost, security, manageability, and scalability benefits of thin clients are all reasons that IT personnel are exploring –and switching– to thin clients.
Cost-wise, the price per seat of a thin client deployment has dropped to the point where it is more cost effective than regular PCs. This has been a claim that many in the thin client industry have made in the past, but the fact is that the technology that has been developed within the past year has made it a definitive reality.
So if you work for a big company or corporation, a thin client is coming soon to a desktop near you - if it’s not already there...sans the cucumbers though :)

Note: If you want to save some files “locally” you’d have to use a USB flash/thumb drive, or if on a CD, you need an external CD-ROM drive.


Samoans and Serialmania

At the end of my last - and only - review of Silamanino, I posted this as a postscript:
There’s the problem of inconclusive and incomplete reviews because of the serial and sequential method and approach used in making the movie. Therefore comprehensive analyses are often suspended, delayed and postponed.
So here’s one of those delayed analyses (if you want to get bored).

The above-mentioned review (currently the most popular post in this blog) was for Part 1 - two years ago. Now, there’s Part 6?...  Huh?  Eat your hearts out Rocky (Balboa) and "Hurry Pottah".  At the rate Silamanino sequels are presently being produced and released, we should have Part 100 in five years’ time if not sooner.  Hey Hollywood, stop spending millions and several years to release a sequel. Go film in Samoa. We would be quite content with subtitles and with scenes of lush and paradisal scenery/settings than with special effects and nasal robotic dialogue.  And just use three GoPros and you’ll be spitting out Transformers 6, 7, 8 in no time. The sound does not have to be perfect either, I have the remote to equalize it. Also, use a lot of subplots to fill screen time instead of developing the main storyline.... LOL!  Ok, enough digressing!

Serial films
Ili lau'ulu
The serial films in the US were common before, and up to, the 1950's.  They were often short and used cliffhanger endings as a way to woo viewers back to the next episode. Lone Ranger was one such movie serial.  I remember watching these during the matinees in Samoa at the “village cinema” which was a family’s fale tele (big house), converted to a movie theater by closing all the pola (blinds) and then hang an inner lining of taga popo (copra sacks) - seam-ripped and sewn together - for darkroom effect. Moviegoers go in clean and come out, two hours later, smelling like copra sacks.  And how do they stay cool in there?  Well they used ili lau’ulu (fans made from breadfruit leaves).  Just pick a leaf from the tree under which you’re standing, waiting for the movies to start, pluck the edges in the shape of a fan and voila!

The serial films are called “ata fa’asolo” in Samoan and are often shown before the featured movie.

But the Samoans had their own serialized conception and innovation before serial films. It was the fagogo (nightly storytelling). These fagogo were told serially by the elders to the children during bedtime. Children would often massage or knead the back or legs of a parent or an elderly relative while he/she tells a story.  Each episode ends with a “to be continued” sign-off.

Then with the printed media came the “Tala (Faasolo)” (serial story/drama) in the local newspaper. I remember when it was a common practice for villagers to share and circulate one or two copies of the local newspaper (e.g. Samoa Times) for the "Tala".  Newspapers were only available in town, once a week (Fridays mostly), and so some families would give money to the bus driver to buy a copy, or just find someone who had gone to town to borrow the newspaper from.  A single copy would change hands several times among the villagers before the next issue the following week.  The "Tala" of course became the topic of conversation and village chit-chats ("talk of the village") between series/parts/episodes, especially among the adults.

By the way, I’m glad that matai titles are not serialized, just split. Really! Imagine if titles like Leota or Papali’i and many others were serialized after the mold of Tanumafili le Lua (Tanumafili II). We would have seen/heard of Leota le Luaselau ma le Fa (204), or Papali’i le Valusefuluvalu (88), and when written using the traditional Roman numerals, it would be like a Tupua CLXXXVIII, ........ Aea? (Right?)

The serialmania has moved to films and now we have Silamanino (a near phonetic translation ..ha!), queen of  Samoan serialmania.

The problem with serialized Samoan films now is that they’ve become too cliched. As a result, most aspects of movie-making and storytelling get compromised.  The plots get predictable, the stories dull and repetitive, characters become nondescript as well as the overuse of disjointed subplots which sometimes overtake and overshadow the main story. Subplots, preferably fewer, serve only to advance the main story.  But to the average Samoan viewer these may be too esoteric if not mildly insignificant.  As long as there’s a main story - or many stories - to follow it’s fine.  The more stories to bundle the better, I guess.  One is left to wonder though if there is a possibility that such a craving - for multiple subplots -  is a reflection of the faikakala (nosiness) stigma and is being surreptitiously used by the filmmakers for sales pitching. It could also be for film/story continuity especially with any anticipated offshoots. Again such subtleties may not be a big deal.  Pau a le mea kaulia o le iai o le kala i le “kama ma le keige”. (The most important thing is the story about the “boy and girl”).  And speaking of kama and keige, Silamanino seems to be adding more “boy and girl” pairings.  Is that a sign of an inevitable and gradual move towards the typical soap opera model or a native invention?  Ia make ifo ia e oukou (Y’all make the call.)

The success of Silamanino will likely make the film a pilot and model undertaking in the direction and evolution of Samoan film-making.  Some may wonder if the film will become an avant-garde, or  remain loyal to its older more conservative base. Samoa being somewhat limited in movie themes, storylines and background (so far), I guess the next natural course would be towards the soap genre, at least considering the obsession in soaps (Filipino and American) by the Samoans. My guess is that if Silamanino evolves and takes the path of the modern soap operas, with all the typical soapy salaciousness (hence the avant-garde prognostication), then there’s definitely going to be a shift in audience as well. The Samoan older and more conservative viewers will certainly jump ship (or won’t they?) while the younger viewers may jump aboard.  Ia so’o se mea a (Anything goes!)

Samoans a Sentimental People?
Is it me or does it seem that crying, sobbing, wailing and sorrow have become a regular and consistent element in Samoan films? Tautoga and Tulafale have their share of  weeping crying and sadness because of the stories.  But Silamanino and other Samoan serial films also have a number of sad and emotional moments during which crying and wailing border on an overkill.  I do believe that Samoans, as a people, are sentimental - to a degree - and art certainly imitates life, as the saying goes, but does somberness and dispiritedness have to be utilized to the point where it becomes a distraction and detraction in these films?  Or is this a proof of sponsor (funeral homes and other related services) influence on the story/script (re: previous post)?  Ia kali ifo ia e oukou (Y’all answer that.)

Finally, The Question:
And the main question for/by the Silamanino fans and afficionados now is: “Will Enoka return on Manino’s wedding day?"  More importantly, at the very moment the priest/minister asks the “forever hold your peace” question?  Hmmm... Predictability?  Yes.  But I’m sure most Samoan viewers don’t mind the predictability a bit.  They just want to be entertained, and then ...... Cryyyy!! ..... and then talk about it at church, at the falelalaga (women’s weaving group) and at the vai (pool).... with a lot of “kalofa e” interjections....

Yes. Serialously!   LOL!


I am a Mormon

To most of you (the two or three who follow this blog), the above declaration may already have been an established impression. Sporadically, I have dropped some hints here and there. At other times, I have been precise and unmistakable. Again, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or LDS Church, and less formally “Mormon Church”).  Colloquially, I’m a Mormon.

And you might say, “So what?”  Well, that’s something I hope to answer through this introductory post and other related ones to follow.  Suffice it to say that it’s perfectly natural for most people to share anything that has had a profound and lasting change/effect on them - whether it be a new method to lose weight, grow back hair (yes!), invest money or to achieve happiness (true happiness, that is!).  Such inclination to share certainly underscores the maxim “Sharing is Caring!”

In some regions and parts of the world, Mormonism may still be viewed with suspicion, paranoia, repulsion and/or derision.  In other areas, as in Africa and South America, it is rapidly gaining respect and acceptance. Yet, in the western and mountain states of Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, California, etc., the LDS Church is considered widespread if not standard and mainstream. Hawaii and Alaska also have a lot of Mormons. Oh, and Samoa too.  Incidentally, Samoa was the first country in the world to be covered by LDS stakes (dioceses) in 1974.

I was born and raised (in Samoa) a congregationalist, meaning that I was a member of a church with Protestant leanings and origins. The beliefs in the Trinity and the Bible - as “sola scriptura” - are paramount, like most mainstream Christian churches.  The LDS Church, on the other hand, believes in other books of scripture, in addition to the Bible. (This year 2014, the Old Testament is the text for the Sunday School curriculum.)  As Mormons we believe that the Godhead consists of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost and are three separate personages, as opposed to the “three-in-one” (Triune) doctrine.  Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are anthropomorphic while the Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit.

For as long as I can recall, even when as a little child, I have always believed in God.  And despite the dominance and pervasiveness of the Protestant beliefs in my early upbringing, my convincement and faith in God was intuitive and inborn - not acquired.  For example, as a little boy, climbing a mossy and slippery coconut tree on a rainy day, I would always say a silent prayer in my mind asking for divine guidance, help and protection.  That was at a time during which I had not yet formed any cognitive awareness of such things as religion and/or churches.

Even now, many years later, I still feel that close and inherent connection to God as part of who I essentially am, only that I am now much more aware, knowledgeable and assured - through the help and confirmation of the Spirit - about the true character and nature of God as revealed through the restoration of the gospel.  So my belief in a loving, interested and personal God has never waned, weakened or forsaken - it has only grown stronger, sound and compelling.  I attribute this growth and increase in the profound knowledge of God to my conversion to the LDS Church.

An Evangelical student said that while attending BYU (Brigham Young University), she had come to “appreciate the emphasis Latter-day Saints placed on God’s “nearness to humanity.” [She] began recognizing that in [her] effort to retain God’s transcendence, [she] had sacrificed God’s imminence [sic] — and this realization had a profound effect on [her].”

“Nearness to humanity”, generally,  can be used to somewhat characterize the LDS Church’s beliefs in the close filial relationship of God to man.

The idea and belief, therefore, that God is mysterious, incomprehensible, estranged, indifferent and exclusionary to man (transcendence), is one that I find disturbing and heathenish.  The “flipside” of that (immanence) in which God is believed to be one who is without body, parts or passions, ginormous enough to fill the universe yet small enough to dwell in one’s heart (at the very least not according to the Bible) is equally disjointed, ambiguous and unintelligible. “Knowing the true character of God forms the basis for the faith that leads to salvation.” (Joseph Smith)

As Mormons, we believe that God is literally the Father of our spirits (Hebrews 12:9). We lived with Him as spirit children in the premortal existence.  Physically, we have been formed/created in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27).  He knows me (and you) personally.  He has a plan for us, His children, to come to Earth to live, learn, grow and progress and through the Atonement and ordinances of the gospel, be able to live with Him again becoming “joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).  Some Christians (mainly Orthodox) refer to this eventuality as Theosis though with some significant differences and variations from LDS eschatology.

For me and millions of others, the answers to the three age-old questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? and Where do we go from here? are not mystical, obscure or speculative anymore.  I have found in the LDS teachings and doctrine, clear, sound, reasonable and true information on Heavenly Father’s Plan of Salvation which effectively answers the above questions.

Personally, I have come to believe that if one really and truly loves his/her family (who doesn’t?), then he/she should consider becoming a Mormon.  That may sound bold and pollyannaish, but once you have learned and gained the faith to understand the true meaning of life and God's plan of happiness through the restored gospel, you too will be quite comfortable, as I am, in making the above claim.

You will gain a whole new perspective and understanding of the eternal nature of the family.  Your perception and feelings of gratitude, compassion, association and abiding love for your family would be elevated reaching far beyond this life.  When you learn and believe that families are forever, it puts a whole new, fresh, unique and eternal perspective on your family relationships and associations here in mortality. You will learn that ‘til death do us part” is defamatory and counterintuitive to God’s eternal plan for families and all His children.

If your experience will be anything like mine - and millions others’ - you will not be disappointed.  Your view and knowledge of God, of  faith, hope, love, charity, and of life will be forever changed.  You will be grateful and a lot happier.

Now I’m not saying all Mormons are happier - though they all should be.  It’s like most everything else, that only obedience to the laws and principles that govern a particular pursuit can and will bring the promised results, rewards and blessings.  And so as far as the gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned, the Book of Mormon gives this important formula: “... if there be no righteousness there be no happiness,” (2 Nephi 2:13).  Gaining happiness - true happiness - is a process and, according to Joseph Smith,  is the object and design of man's existence.

Family Time

Though this full moon doesn't quite have the chimerical island effect (from rising over the palm trees and silver lagoon), rising over the faleo’o, even in the good ol’ USA, still comes close.  LOL!!!  Relaxing after a family backyard barbecue.

some of the g/kids "playing" with fire ... and roasting marshmallows in the backyard
... making s'mores on a cool Fall evening, ideal night to sleep in the faleo'o... :)