Things you too can do with a laptop PC

MANILA: Senior or not, if you can afford to buy but would rather have nothing to do with a laptop PC, look at me, I'm 76, and what I can do now you can learn to do yourself – I'm assuming you have an Internet connection:

(1) Search: You don't know anything about anything? If you can type the word, correct or wrong spelling, Google search will show you the correct spelling as well as quite a number of webpages to read.

(2) Double Display. If you look at the above image, I'm showing you my PC table with 1 Lenovo laptop (right) and 1 ViewSonic external monitor (left). The external monitor is bigger so I can enjoy bigger images, but especially bigger text sizes (I use Word 2013) while I'm writing, so I can type at ease, with an external keyboard, even with my eyes more than 3 feet away from the monitor, me sitting on an executive chair, both feet up. For reading webpage texts, I turn to the laptop, because it has clearer characters. I'm going on in years, enjoying high tech; aren't you green-eyed?

(3) Grammar & Spelling: You don't have to memorize grammar rules anymore: use the word processor! If you don't know right now the correct spelling of a word, so what? "Let me check with my Lenovo laptop." You open Windows 10 and click the icon for Word 2013, type the word according to your spelling, and the app will do nothing (if it's correct) or show you a red line underneath if it's the wrong spelling. What's difficult about that? What's embarrassing? (I just typed that last word with only 1 s and the app corrected me. Embarrass is also 2 s's. Thank you, Word 2013 Autocorrect.)

(4) Meanings: Check the meaning of a word. So I'm on Facebook and I'm reading about it, and I don't know the meaning of goppelganger. What does it mean? TheFreeDictionary tells me that's the wrong spelling; the correct one is doppelganger, which means "either of two people who physically resemble each other very much."

(5) e=mc2: You don't know what e=mc2 means. Open your browser (my favorite is Opera, not Google Chrome), type e=mc2 on top, and press Enter to google it. E is energy released from a bit of matter or mass (m). Energy equals mass (m) times the square of the speed of light (c). That's Albert Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. ("Everything is relative," Einstein seems to be saying. As a creative thinker, I prefer, "Everything is relatives." Relative to this, relative to that!)

(6) Butter and fats: I can't eat pan de sal in the morning without butter. What's wrong with butter? Doctors used to say it's the bad fat that's the problem. Now science has shown that there are no good and bad fats – that is to say, fats are good for your body. Except trans fats, created in the chemists. How do I know all that? I googled it.

(7) Games: You can play games with your PC; there must be thousands of games out there. I'm out of here, because I don't play games.

(8) More & original ideas: You need more ideas. About what? If you can type it, even with a wrong spelling, you can find out about it. If not, search using synonyms or words related to it. When I want to write something new, I visit and read online The New Yorker, WIRED, Fast Company, and New York Books, because they write such enchanting stories, most if not all original.

(9) Facebook: You can visit Facebook many times during the day, and I do. I find this social media very educational and very accommodating. ("Media" has long been accepted, in the 1920s, as singular along with "medium" – I just googled it.) I can post a message, inviting readers to read an essay in any of my numerous blogs; I can read news that people are bothered with or bothering about; I can view images shown by friends, family and acquaintances – I feel I'm not alone even if I am. I also get ideas of topics from Facebook to write about.

(10) History: You want to know historically what happened on such and such a date? For example, your birthday. Type "17 September" (or "September 17") and press Enter. You will learn, as I did, that this was the date in 1787 when the US Constitution was signed. The date is now referred to as "Constitution Day" as well as "Citizenship Day" in the US.

(11) Translations: Translate an Ilocano word to English. I don't know the English of "kilabban" so I google it. I get "rice leftover" from cooked rice, which is the literal meaning. Someday I'll ask an Ilocano old timer what "kilab" means or something.

(12) Weather: What's the weather in Asingan, Pangasinan, where I'm going? Google it.

(13) Organic: What's the name of the province again that is claiming to be 100% organic? The first organic town is Baras, Rizal (Wikipedia). What does "organic town" mean? It's the municipality where all farmers do not apply chemical fertilizers anymore, only organic fertilizers, to enrich the soil to grow the crops.

(14) National Anthem: Check, check, check! What's the national anthem again, "Bayang Magiliw?" No, "Lupang Hinirang" is the title; "Bayang magiliw" is the first line of the first stanza. By the way, if you look at the English and Tagalog versions of the original Spanish "Filipinas" by Julian Felipe, the translations are not faithful to the original. Just look at the Spanish first line: "Tierra adorada." The English translation is, "Land of the morning" Wrong! The word adorada has something to do with adore or love, nothing at all to do with mornings! The Tagalog translation, "Bayang magiliw" is no less guilty of mistranslating. "Giliw" means "beloved" and that is correct – but the translation "Bayang magiliw" is saying it is the land that loves the people, not the people loving the land! Wrong attribution; it's the other way around. They say, "Something is always lost in the translation." This time, it's the translators who are lost.

(15) Email: You can talk many times to some people via email, as I do. What would I do without email?! Email, or electronic mail, is the best thing that happened to correspondence, to letters: no envelope, no stamps, no waiting until the post office opens, no going out of the house, no days of waiting, nothing to lose (except face if you make a mistake).

(16) Blogging: If you're a writer, you're missing out on a great medium for expression: blog. I am a self-taught writer. In the late 70s, I used to submit my articles to the major publications in my Manila, but I got rejected. Rejection is not a good feeling. Then my son Jomar suggested that I blog, and I loved it. You can't be a serious blogger without your own laptop. Then, in 2005, even as I started blogging, I started bragging that "Blogging is the revenge of the unpublished writer." It is. Look at my revenge; I now have published 2020 long essays, as of 05 June 2015, in my blog A Magazine Called Love ( Because of my blogs, I have published 10 books, earning me at least $40,000 (about P2 million), not bad for sitting on my executive chair, typing on an external A4Tech keyboard with a laptop and an external monitor that is LED and 20 inches wide (diagonal), and clicking with an external mouse – I have 2 in fact, as I have trained also my left hand to do mouse clicks. I was 65 when I started blogging. How old am I now? 75 and still blogging everyday freely for the common good. Like this one.

(17) Pinakbet: What's the correct way to cook the Ilocano pinakbet? I'm an FBI, a full-blooded Ilocano with grandfather roots (father side) from Rosario in La Union. My father Lakay Disiong taught me the proper way of cooking pinakbet using the earthen pot with cover, no opening of the cover at any time even while shaking the whole thing to have the bottom vegetables rise to the top. I have seen more than a hundred webpages claiming to know or do the authentic pinakbet, but none of them cook it the right way, as I can see from the images shown: no shrinking. The Ilocano word pinakbet is the shortened word for pinakebbet, which means deliberately shriveled or shrunken. Even shorter: pakbet. One of these days, I'm going to write about how to do the pinakbet right. Actually, I already have the manuscript of a book on how to grow the pinakbet vegetables; it's just looking for a publisher. Pinakbet, anyone?

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