Category Archives: party

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Merienda madness and my 23rd birthday

Last Saturday (2006.08.12) was my birthday, and every Filipino knows
that birthdays mean lots and lots and lots of food. Things didn’t go
exactly according to plan: they turned out even better! It was the
first time I tried cramming over 15 people into my suite, and it
worked out surprisingly well even though we were constantly washing
mugs and everything.

Plan A was to spend the morning preparing a traditional
merienda of Philippine delicacies. I woke up late and spent the rest of
the morning celebrating my birthday with a virtual party thrown by my
family and friends in the Philippines. That was totally worth it.

Plan B: buy traditional delicacies from a Filipino bakery or something
like that. Except I had *no* idea where to find one of those downtown.
Google wasn’t helpful, either. The one Filipino restaurant I
remembered along Yonge turned out to have closed a while ago. I asked
Joey de Villa, but he couldn’t think of any
off the top of his head. Meep.

Plan C, of course, was to declare cookies and brownies traditional
Filipino treats. ;) As long as the other Filipinos played along, I’d
be home safe! Also, I was totally craving tropical fruits, so it was a
good excuse to splurge on mangoes, pineapples, and other good things.
Richi Plana and I raided Chinatown and
Kensington Market for assorted foodstuff, also picking up ingredients
for champorado and palitaw.

What could be better than that? Plan D: Have your *guests* cook! ;)
That was just amazing. Friends demonstrated their l33t pineapple
carving / brownie making / champorado-from-scratch cooking /
dishwashing skillz. I did actually manage to cook something: palitaw,
one of my favorite Filipino snacks.

Palitaw

Glutinous rice flour, shredded coconut, sugar, sesame seeds

  1. Add boiling water to glutinous rice flour, kneading it into dough. Don’t make it sticky!
  2. Roll the flour into balls and flatten them with your hands into small pancake-like shapes.
  3. Slip the cakes into boiling water.
  4. Scoop the cakes out when they float.
  5. Toast sesame seeds until they turn golden.
  6. Mix shredded coconut, sugar, and sesame seeds on a plate.
  7. Coat both sides of each cake with the mixture.
  8. Enjoy!

Preparing all this food kept me a bit too busy to connect with
everyone, and I wish I had a bit more time to spend with people who
had to leave early. Maybe I’ll figure out a better way to do this next
time…

Anyway, after I made sure everyone had something to eat, I took a
break from the kitchen and got to the main part of the party. I talked
about the past year and how my 22nd year of life was mainly about
learning to live on my own. I then asked them to help me brainstorm
cool things to do in Canada so that I can make the most of my time
here. I also asked for help figuring out what I can do after
graduation, and I got a number of suggestions that I hadn’t considered
before but which seem like pretty good fits. I’ll blog about these later.

I asked for letters instead of gifts, and the letters I got were
really, really, really heartwarming. =) I also received some
absolutely wonderful chocolate, an interesting book, and a beautiful
set of cat-themed dishes. (I’m behind on my thank-you cards and
letters, but I’m looking forward to catching up soon!)

I demoed my strange street-performing-ish hobbies, too. (Thanks,
Kathy, for getting me into that stuff!) Then we headed over to the
Linux Caffe for dinner and more relaxed conversation. I *love* the
Linux Caffe to pieces. It’s so nice knowing and being known by a
place…

Anyway, that was how I spent my birthday. I can’t think of any better
way to celebrate finishing a year and starting a new one than in the
company of such good friends. =)

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Virtual birthdays, real friends

(Backlog: 2006.08.12)

“How many geeks does it take to…” is a standard joke whenever my
barkada (close group of friends) in the Philippines gets together.
Just like last year, they celebrated my actual birthday with a
tele-party. Instead of hanging out at some wireless cafe in Glorietta,
they trooped over to my parents’ new place, bringing flowers for my
mom. (Awwww! After all, she did all the hard work on my zeroth
birthday!)

It took me a while to get my side up and running. I hadn’t figured out
how to set up sound under Ubuntu, so I booted to Microsoft Windows.
Troubleshooting a network connection in a Japanese language operating
system was Not Fun, though. Through trial and error I figured out that
I needed to disable the firewall. Then I realized that the network was
blocking my MAC address because it detected a duplicate registration.
The network had worked under Linux because I’d cloned the MAC address
for my Lifebook onto my Vaio, but I hadn’t set it up under Windows. I
switched back to copy the MAC address and then figured out how to set
the MAC address under Windows (again, still working in Japanese).
Skype kept crashing, too, which was decidedly not fun.

So we decided to go with Yahoo Messenger. My friends set up the
wireless router and got three laptops on the network. It’s a good
thing, too, as we needed all three just to keep up with the chatter!
We set up the webcams and made funny faces at each other. There was
also that interesting bit with the identity musical chairs. Heh.

It was so nice to see and talk to my friends again. I so miss them and
my family. Iba talaga ang barkada. I guess Canadians might know what
it’s like. Still… Maybe it’s just the people I know or the culture
here, but it still doesn’t have quite the same feel as our
hell-or-high-water crazy-as-anything barkadas with gimmicks and dramas
and in-jokes galore. I miss my friends back home, and I love them them
to bits!

Clair and Peppy blogged about the party, too. Check out their stories!

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CookOrDie last Saturday: Decadent Dessert party

I confess: I threw a dessert party just to have an excuse to bake more
brownies.

You see, I’m a social chocolate eater. Knowing it to be one of my
weaknesses, I try not to have chocolate unless I have company. And as
9×13 pans result in a _lot_ of brownies, I absolutely must have
friends over if I’m going to even think of baking.

So I did. Dan Howard, Quinn Fung and Jedediah Smith came over. We had this absolutely
decadent dessert: freshly-baked double-chocolate brownies topped with
French vanilla ice cream and hot fudge bought especially for the occasion.

As a concession to healthy eating, we followed it with pineapple
chunks and loose-leaf green tea. (I’ve graduated to loose-leaf tea!
With a tea ball! Proper.)

Now _that’s_ a terrific way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Proper.

Kelly blogged about brownie sundaes. I _so_ want to have a Sundae Sunday now, complete with whipped cream and a light dusting of chocolate shavings or almond slivers or toasted rice or _something_ equally indulgent…

Life is so much better when you know how to make dessert.

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Graduate House Party

We celebrated Graduate House’s 6th anniversary yesterday with a big
party. Good excuse to wear the red dress my mom gave me. <laugh>

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Random Japanese sentence: ペルシャ猫がテーブルの下で眠っていた。 A Persian cat was sleeping under the table.

Carnivore Night XXXVII: Magdalo at Magdiwang

My sister just sent me another great invitation to another great party. =) She’s an awesome cook and entertainer. Way cool!

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Random Japanese sentence: 私はこの猫の世話をしなければならない。 I have to look after this cat.

Planning an ice cream party

I’d like to hold an ice cream party on Saturday to celebrate the Delta
Kappa Gamma fellowship, spring, and other wonderful things. It’d also
be good to get together and talk about summer plans, particularly as
international students will soon be allowed to work off-campus. I’ve
got my summer all planned already – I’ll be spending it at IBM working
on my research – but it would be good to hang out with other people
and figure out this funny thing called life.

It’ll be a bit of a squeeze (understatement!) to hold this in my
suite. The common room’s probably the best place. I won’t have access
to the fridge, though, so the ice cream will be all melted… Hmm.
What’s the best way for me to go about doing this? I need some
party-planning help.

Oooh, I should plan a halo-halo party for summer, too. It’s so weird
here – their summer starts in _June_…

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Random Japanese sentence: 彼女がドアを開けるやいなや猫が走り出た。 No sooner had she opened the door than a cat ran out.