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A night with the barkada

Posted: - Modified: | barkada, friends, philippines, sketches


I’m trying to figure out how to explain to other people what this barkada thing is like, but it’s hard.

I can’t explain how the conversation can flow so fast and funny over water and pizza. (And to think that other people drink alcohol to relax their inhibitions.)

In-jokes that still haven’t grown old, after all these years. New jokes and references. Politically incorrect humor mixed in with ideas and initiatives. Serious thoughts mixed in with crazy antics.

There’s something about critical mass and quick retorts that’s part of the magic of being in person.

It’s amazing being part of a group like this.

Barkada party

Posted: - Modified: | barkada

My mom held a Skype party for my barkada (close group of friends) in
the Philippines. I enjoyed seeing and hearing them this morning.
They’re just as crazy as I remembered. I wish they were here with me!
I haven’t been able to put together such a large, mutually supportive
peer group over here. Maybe someday!

After we caught up, we spent the rest of the time swapping Internet
memes. After seeing the remixed Shining trailer that turned the horror
classic into a feel-good father-and-son movie, I’ve decided to track
down a copy of Stephen King’s novel and to see the movie.
<laugh> After all, I’ve already read the spoilers *and* the

I’m thinking of calling people up and chatting with them, or maybe
starting a food blog with pictures. We’ll see how that turns out. =)

Random Emacs symbol: gnus-category-read – Function: Read the category alist.

Virtual birthdays, real friends

| barkada, friends, party, philippines

(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

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!


Posted: - Modified: | barkada, friends

My best friend from Japan is in the Philippines, and I'm glad to hear
that my mom and my friends are taking good care of him.
Dave Brown made Tokyo worth it for me. He
cheered me up when I felt homesick, gave me hugs and chocolate when I
felt down, and helped me explore the nooks and crannies of that crazy

He's in Manila to take the JITSE, a standard IT examination that'll
give him more qualifications for his work in Japan. I appreciate the
fact that Jerome managed to take time off from his busy schedule
(advocating .NET is a full-time job! =) ) to give Dave JITSE tips and
chat about life, and I'm glad that the rest of my friends made him
feel welcome. =)

“Dave's a nice guy to talk to. I guess I can imagine why he and Sacha
get along,” blogged Marcelle.
Yeah, Dave's awesome. Always smiling, always warm and open. Come to think of it, I don't remember seeing him upset even once.
If you read the friends-locked posts on his Livejournal, you'll know he's a Good Guy.

With few exceptions, my friends generally get along very well with
each other, and I'm glad he fits right in. Too bad Dominique won't get
to meet him, though. They'd get along, too. =) (But then again,
Dominique gets along with everyone…)

I hope Dave has fun on the test, and I hope he enjoys Manila!

I love my life!

| barkada, family, friends, happy

Life takes _very_ good care of me. Also, my mom is psychic. =) This
weekend has been a bit mixed, but the weird thing about it is that
instead of feeling terrible, I feel so _loved._

I checked my mailbox last Friday and saw a note telling me to pick up
a package during office hours. It was past 5 already, so I didn't get
to pick it up until today. Perfect, perfect timing. =) My mom sent me
a wonderful little heart pillow signed by my friends at the Skype
party they held a few weeks ago. She also included a smiley sign,
similarly dedicated. And just because my mom's the kind of
ultrathoughtful mom who anticipates everything, she also sent me a set
of contacts. =)

It was the perfect pick-me-up, and I feel very, very, very much loved.

On one side of the heart:

11 Mar 06: Hey! I'm first to sign here! Best of luck and ganbatte kudasai! =) Carl
Homesick? We're here! => Marcelle
Hi Sacha, hope you're enjoying your stay there. Wish you were here. =) Ranulf
Big heart for a good friend =) Roy
2006.03.11 Heya! We miss you! Enjoy below zero! zakame =)
11 March 206 Sacha dear, WE MISS YOU! Glad that you're a happy domestic goddess… M-x chef-mode! (heart) Clair
Can't really think of anything so… Peppy

And on the other side of the heart:

Dear Sacha! I will also be on the other side to make you happy. Papa
Dearest Sacha, we love you and we are very proud of you. You have a good heart. Keep up the good work. Love you lots, (heart) Mom

I hung the smiley sign on the tackboard in my cubicle. It reads:

\(^^)/ Carl
Enjoy your stay =) Ranulf
Dropped in to say Hi!!! Roy
Hiya! Ki o tsukete! =) Clair
Chocolate and ice cream =) Peppy
Don't segfault! Zak
We love you lots and lots from Mom and Papa

Life will work out. It always does. =)

Skype party

| barkada, friends

Yesterday, my mom threw a Skype party for
me. She invited many of my best friends to our house and set up a
teleconference with me and my friends. Because Skype does three-way
voice chats, my boyfriend also joined from Dumaguete. It was _so_ much
fun talking with everyone!

It seems to always take us an hour to get over technical difficulties
if we're using Windows. We tried three different VOIP programs –
Skype, Gizmo Project and Yahoo Messenger – and none of them worked to
satisfaction. After struggling with audio problems and dealing with
consistent crashes, my mom and I decided to go back to Mac and Linux

I haven't figured out how to get all the webcam stuff working under
Linux (or even if it's possible for me to view their webcam), but
voice worked pretty well.

That was a terrific, terrific way to start my day. =)

Random Japanese sentence:

Happy birthday to Clair!

| barkada

I owe my exciting research opportunities to many people, not the least of whom is a librarian friend of mine who introduced me to the wonders of social bookmarking. I'd _seen_ and other services before, but Clair Ching was the one who really showed me their potential and use.

Ay, Clair. I'd seen her around our high school before, but I hadn't
really known her other than as a friend of a friend. Blogs brought us
together. Protesting the Digital Pinay IT role model search whose
application form included bust measurements, I found that I wasn't
alone. Clair not only coordinated with other outspoken Filipinas, but
also went to press conferences, gathered all the articles and blog
posts related to the controversy, and posted strong opinions on her
blog. The contest's sponsors backed out, and the contest was
cancelled. Hooray!

Since then, she's gone from Linux newbie to PLUG board member, from
shy librarian to happy problogger. Geek _and_ girl to the core (just
ask her about happy socks or dangling earrings!), Clair's just

And she's a fantastic, fantastic friend. She's seen me cry. She's seen
me laugh. She's seen me flail madly in the kitchen trying to figure
out what to do. And she ate the results anyway! Wow.

So here's to Clair:

(animate-string "Happy Birthday, Clair!" 1)