the babel machine


Saturday, October 02, 2004

she's a big girl now

Wow, this magic wand works! I've got lots of hair now! Posted by Hello

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when i grow up...

Sam ponders the future. Actually she's wondering when she'll have more hair. Posted by Hello

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baby you can ride tita neng's car

Sam's first car ride as we finally got to bring her home with us. She had to stay for a week at the hospital while undergoing phototherapy. Posted by Hello

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sam's first pic

Sam's very first pic -- and the first time Ellen saw her, a day after the C-section delivery. Posted by Hello

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Friday, October 01, 2004

play those drums

I'd like to share this essay my wife Ellen wrote about her brother Eric. This was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer's Youngblood section on September 16, 2000.

I had no idea back then that I would one day edit the Youngblood online edition, and in fact I had no idea she submitted this essay. That's actually one of my regrets as a writer, that I never attempted to send anything to Youngblood.

I have always been a big fan of my wife's writing, even before we ended up with each other, but she's too humble to believe me whenever I tell her how great she is. I don't even have to say anything. Her words speak for themselves.


Play those drums
By Ellen Quijano-Alarilla

DEAREST baby brother,

Watching you play the drums last night, I couldn't help but think, "Where did this kid come from?"

That's how magical it was, for me, your ever-loyal stage sister, avid supporter and rabid fan. I was looking at a baby brother who had grown up, banging drums and making music, and I realized that what you were doing all along, all of these 24 years, was what you did best: living.

You gifted, special, wonderful child, are the only one among us who truly knows how to live life with passion, to pursue your own interests without thinking of the cost or what you will get in return.

I think it is appropriate that you play the drums now, because you've always followed the beat inside of your own head. (You were a good guitar player, too, but drums suit you better. And you're right: You don't have to carry tons of stuff, just two drumsticks stuffed neatly into your back pocket. Besides, drummers get all the girls!)

And there's more. While Mom and I were waiting for your band to come onstage, she handed me the latest issue of the magazine you are writing for, and I was amazed by how well you write, too.

Now I must apologize. We underestimated you, baby brother. We thought you were being a slacker, but now I understand you were being fiercely independent--not just from your family, but also from conventional thinking, the straight and narrow path that Anna Quindlen says leads to absolutely nowhere.

We thought you were a spoiled brat, an incorrigible baby. But watching you play last night, and watching you with the other band members, I could see how wrong we were. What could be more difficult than living like a clone of every other person on this planet, working at the same job and following the same routine? How spoiled would you become if the world kept sending you slips of paper with the words "last song please" written on it? (I didn't find out who wrote it, I would have slugged him or her.)

We worried about you, gossiped about you (all right, I admit it), prayed for you, sometimes quarreled about you. Most of the quarrels had me defending you against Mom. I gave her all kinds of reasons to justify your actions, from the time you wrote graffiti on the walls of our house ("self-expression") to the time you didn't want to wash dishes ("he's too small to reach the sink").

Now I know we needn't have worried, because it's clear that you're made of better stuff than we are, and that you have more guts in your system than we do. I know, I know, it could be a big sister talking proudly, but seeing you up there, quite literally in a different light, I saw a marvelous creature, totally talented, totally unique, who taught himself to make music, who can write and draw, paint and sketch, make endless Tamiya models, take care of fishes in 75-gallon aquariums and live with four cats (even if one of them is dumber than dumb).

The man you have become is far better than what we hoped you would be, because it is your true self that you have chosen to honor.

So keep on playing those drums and those guitars, and keep on singing your songs. I'll be in the audience, clapping, screaming, giving the evil eye to hecklers. I'll request the songs I know you have in your repertoire and smile at you when I get the chance. I'll tell everyone in the world that you're my brother. I'll hold out the Gatorade, lend you money when you're broke, visit your fishes when they grow a little bit longer and contribute Whiskas to your cat food fund when you need it.

Go, Eric, go! I'll be your ground crew. I'll be in the pit stop. I'll watch from the wings and lead the applause.

Ellen Quijano-Alarilla, 28, works for the marketing communications department of a multinational company in Makati.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 6:16 PM :: 3 Comments:

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we want your blood

Well, your Youngblood online submissions, actually, hehe. OK, let's make it clear: I handle the online edition of Youngblood for, not the print section.

So, if you're a young aspiring Filipino writer, send your masterpiece (from 800 to 1, 200 words) as an RTF attachment or text incorporated in the e-mail to

By the way, the "young" in "Youngblood" was defined years ago by our mother company, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, as people 30 and below, in case you're wondering if you're too old for this gig, hehe. Please also include a brief "About the author" blurb -- you know, your name, age and what you'd like people to know about you.

We're not offering contributor's fees, but hey, it's your chance to share your message with a worldwide audience and see your byline on

All submissions are subject to editorial discretion and we're only posting the best online. Again, keep in mind that your essay will not necessarily be published in the Inquirer's print section.

Then again, you'll never know until you try.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 5:52 PM :: 2 Comments:

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a girl named pixiedusk

Meet Merlinda -- pixiedusk to her LiveJournal posse -- this Friday's YOU Blog Addict and find out how you can be featured next.

You know you want it.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 5:12 PM :: 2 Comments:

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Thursday, September 30, 2004

blogging the rp tech scene

Blogging isn't just fun and games, you know.

Find out why blogging is also a powerful tool for discussing technology and the latest IT developments in the Philippines by reading my Infotech article.

Then go visit the site that Migs Paraz built to find out the latest in the Pinoy Tech Scene.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 10:37 PM :: 2 Comments:

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seeing the light

Hey, check out the new feature story my pal Quay Evano wrote for Global Nation.

So, when are you coming home from Dubai? Inuman na p're!

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 7:16 PM :: 0 Comments:

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

remembering the epistolas

Philosopher, professor and fictionist SV Epistola has passed away, joining his wife Nieves (Mrs. E), who died in 2002.

Both were my teachers. I took Semiotics under SV when I was still a Philo major, and, years later, after I had shifted to Comparative Lit, feminist literary theory (I don't remember the exact CL course title -- Pauline and Paolo were my classmates there so maybe they remember) under Mrs. E.

Yup, I got some flak for being a male feminist -- I actually wrote a piece about that for the very first publication I joined -- but I learned a lot from her class and Mrs. E gave me a 1.0, so I guess I did something right. Don't ask me what grade SV gave me, hehe.

SV was a funny professor. He always had an interesting anecdote to share and at times you could even say he was rambling in class, talking about the crazy things he and his friends did or fond remembrances of his or his barkada's dates. But just when you thought he was going to keep on reminiscing, he would suddenly intone in his deep voice, "Semiotics. Now Charles Sanders Peirce..."

SV also loved talking about Umberto Eco, and it always tickled him to remind us that when someone asked Eco to explain semiotics, he did it by writing a novel. SV was the one who made me a fan of Eco, not just his novels and essays but also his philosophical works, which I tried to finish at the UP Main Library.

He was also always talking about Mrs. E, always proudly telling us what a remarkable woman she was, forming in my mind a very clear picture of how wonderful she was years before I was to verify this for myself. He also divulged that he happily did his share of the housework, quipping that he made a deal that he would cook but that he would never wash the dishes. A true philosopher, he explained that this is because cooking is creative while washing dishes is a mindless activity.

SV was a philosopher, but above all he was a real person.

He and Mrs. E will sorely be missed.

For more memories of SV, go to

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 8:48 PM :: 2 Comments:

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lolo's girl

Sam playing with her Lolo Manny (Ellen's dad), who also dropped by for a visit. Posted by Hello

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lola and sam

Lola Marita (my mom) visited Sam this afternoon. Here's Sam showing off one of her photo albums. Posted by Hello

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not vin diesel

Comic Quest proprietor Vin Simbulan was featured in today's 2bU!

I met Vin in college thanks to Dean Alfar, Raffy Lirag and the other members of their barkada. Of course, I don't suppose Vin was too pleased that even though I started buying some comic books from Comic Quest after that, I still continued patronizing Filbar's, hehe.

Vin and Dean are co-editors of the National Book Award prizewinning grafiction anthology "Siglo: Freedom."

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 2:03 PM :: 4 Comments:

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

more addicts

Thanks to the overwhelming support of cute and cool bloggers like you, YOU Blog Addict will now come out twice a week.

We're featuring a new Blog Addict every Tuesday and Friday, starting today with our featured blogger, Dino Mejia.

That way, I can cut short the waiting time for all the bloggers whose stories are already in the Blog Bank I created, waiting for the day they'll come out in YOU Blog Addict.

To all those who've already e-mailed their answers, please just be patient a little longer. And to those who would like to be featured, please read this Tuesday's Blog Addict feature to find out how you can join the fun.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 7:31 PM :: 2 Comments:

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pc pool shark

In this week's YOU GameTime, we talked to the guy who developed the Bilyar PC game. Meet Ronald Allan C. Asis in this week's GT interview and find out how you could be our next featured gamer or game developer.

We'd particularly love to hear from female gamers and game developers -- prove that it's not only guys who got game, hehe.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 7:24 PM :: 0 Comments:

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you've got gmail

Congratulations to Kristine Joy Carpio, the winner of our YOU Gimme Gmail promo.

Get to know her and read the e-mail message that convinced us to send her the Gmail invite by clicking on this YOU Technogear story.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 7:12 PM :: 0 Comments:

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they must be nuts

In case you were wondering what happened to the old URL of Dean Alfar's Notes from the Peanut Gallery, here's his account:

"Okay, by now you know that Notes from the Peanut Gallery is located at (Indulge my need to placate the spiders here - Dean Francis Alfar, Notes from the Peanut Gallery)). What happened? Apparently, I got too much traffic.Believe it or not."

So there.

Hey Dean, here's some more traffic, hehe.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 1:50 PM :: 0 Comments:

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justice for newsmen

Here are more stories on Chris Misajon and Jose Luis Villanueva, the two young newsmen who recently died due to cell phone-related crimes.

Read about the butcher arrested as a suspect in the killing of Chris Misajon.

And here's a story by Gil Cabacungan that offers a glimpse into the personality of Jose Luis Villanueva.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 11:58 AM :: 0 Comments:

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Monday, September 27, 2004

as shallow and as serious as i want to be

Since blogging, I've met so many Joeys and Jos -- in fact, one Joey (the girl from New York, not the guy here in Manila) joked that I seem to have this thing for Joeys and Jos in New York, hehe (like this Jo in New York -- check out her cool blog. And while you're at it, check out this other Jo's blog.).

Anyway, Joey-the-girl-from-New-York has this interesting post about how her mom and brother are always questioning her tastes, to the point where she has to screen movies or DVDs before she watches these with them.

Here's an excerpt from her post:

"At home, my mom deems that my brother's interests are way more profound and meaningful compared to mine. He's the one who constantly tunes in to The History Channel or CNN, while I'm the one who automatically flips the channel to IFC or MTV 2! My thing will always be inferior to theirs because they're the ones who care about what goes on with the world, while I only care about the world of Hollywood. I don't mind it so much because it's true anyway. Sometimes though, when I come home at 10pm and catch them watching the news, I'd ask, for conversation's sake, what's going on, but they'd just be all, "You should know your current events more." WHUH?! I just got home! So yeah, that irritates me, but I usually just let it slide."

Frankly, I can't understand people who want to impose their tastes or standards on others. We all have the right to be as shallow or as serious as we want to be, without having to justify our choices.

For example, even before I took up Comparative Lit, I enjoyed (well, enjoy might not be the right word but I liked his stuff) reading the works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky (that's the spelling variant I prefer, by the way). The ones I've read anyway, because I don't pretend to have read all his works.

But enjoying Dostoyevsky (man, he always brings to mind Pauline, because back in college we kept making fun of Uma Thurman in "Henry and June," 'coz she wanted Henry to be a Dostah-yev-skee), Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Umberto Eco or J.R.R. Tolkien won't stop me from loving Agatha Christie mysteries, (in particular "Death on the Nile," "Curtain" and the other Hercule Poirot novels), Clive Barker, Dave Barry, Erma Bombeck, William Gibson, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy novels and the Wild Cards series. I like Neil Gaiman's Sandman, but I also like Spider-Man, the X-Men and, heck, Donald Duck.

Sometimes I think it's like people feel pressured to be perceived as deep thinkers, as if it's a sin to enjoy something if they can't pretend it's intellectually stimulating. Believe me, I've heard a lot of intellectual shit and spouted a lot of intellectual shit, since I majored in Philo before shifting to CL. And yet I still enjoy something as mindless as World Wrestling Entertainment -- and I don't need to quote Roland Barthes to justify that.

So if you can't stand a film unless it's dripping with profound insights, deep philosophical thought and artistic imagery, good for you, but don't ruin a shallow movie for someone else who enjoys it.
Read more about what the other Joey has to say -- visit her blog now.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 9:21 PM :: 6 Comments:

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dot baby

Ellen: What's the address of Sesame Street?

Sam: Double you Sesame Street dotcom!

That's Ellen showing off something new Sam learned tonight, after hearing Maria give the URL at the end of Sam's Sesame Street VCD, "Kids' Favorite Songs."

Sometimes Sam just says, "Sesame Street dotcom!"

Kids these days...

(P.S. Late last night -- she didn't go to sleep until almost midnight! -- Sam started saying, "Dubya dubya dubya Sesame Street dotcom." I just hope that's not some sign that Bush is gonna get reelected.)

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 8:52 PM :: 2 Comments:

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mountains and mud

I miss mountain climbing.

I know I'll probably hurt myself because the last mountain I climbed was Banahaw 10 years and about 50 or more pounds ago.

Not that I was a UP Mountaineer or a member of any similar org. My friends Ace and Anthony were the culprits who got me hooked for a time, even though they also weren't UP Mountaineers.

They were, however, NCOs in the UP Special Operations Battalion (SOB, hehe) or the Special Forces -- the cool outfit to join if you didn't want to go through the regular CMT courses. They joined the SF a batch ahead of me, along with other officers such as our other high school friend Marianito and I-didn't-know-him-at-the-time-but-would-one-day-be-my-orgmate-and-fellow-PDI-reporter Alcuin, got to boss me around during training.

Proving that the world is indeed flat, er, I mean, small, years later, fellow SF members Quay and Leo would also become my good friends. I'd meet Quay (Eric Evano in a past life, haha) in UP Tinta and Leo, who was PDI Infotech assistant editor at the time, in 1969. No, we didn't go back in time. I'm talking about the Internet magazine 1969 -- this was before I became a correspondent and later a reporter of PDI.

I envy these people because they finished their SF training. I didn't continue the course because I was, ahem, a born-again at the time and I could no longer attend the Friday night ops, where we pretended the sprawling Diliman campus was Vietnam and conducted war games from around 8 or 9 p.m. to early morning, going home (or sometimes just bringing toiletries and extra clothes so we didn't have to commute) to change before returning to UP Saturday noon for the daytime training.

The thing was that not only were our fellowship's prayer warrior activities moved to Friday evenings (and OK, I admit it, because I also wanted to be home Friday night in time for "Moonlighting," hehe) but also because some church elders found out about the SF training and were aghast. So to my regret, I don't know the sweet taste of muddy socks inside my mouth or the joy of running around Diliman in my underwear, hahaha.

So what the heck was I talking about -- oh right, mountain climbing. I don't have that many climbs under my belt, but they do include Maculot (twice), Makiling (damn limatik!) and Banahaw. Maculot was the most memorable because it was my first climb, while Banahaw was the best because, well, it's Banahaw. You'll know what I mean when you climb it. Somehow, you really do feel closer to God, and I'm talking as someone who was an atheist at the time (obviously, I wasn't a born-again for that long). Those were also the days when I was a smoker, stupidly puffing ciggies while climbing the mountain, though I'm proud to say I never littered. Yup, eco-friendly air polluting smoker, that's me.

My second Maculot climb, however, depressed me by how commercialized the mountain had become. I don't know if things have changed, but the rest stops along the trail had buko stands, for crying out loud!

Anyway, since I'm waxing nostalgic, if you have an unforgettable mountain climbing experience in the Philippines, why not tell me about it and e-mail your story to Keep it short and sweet (not more than 800 words, OK), include pics with captions (e-mail the images as JPEG attachments together with your article) and, if the story's good enough, we'll use it in Global Nation's Philippine Explorer section.

Unfortunately, we can't offer contributor's fees -- repeat, no dinero, nada, zilch -- so this will be a labor of love. But hey, it's your chance to share your masterpiece with a worldwide audience and see your byline on

So, go for it. Meanwhile, I think I'll exercise right now by doing 7 reps with the mouse.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 5:11 PM :: 6 Comments:

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jologs dm

My Friendster friend (and real-life college orgmate) Jolography made me smile today (well, I only saw and approved it today) with his testimonial dissing my D&D DM skills, hahaha!

Here's what he had to say:

"Si Joey, 'alang kwentang DM sa AD&D...hahahahahah! Joke lang. Enjoy kami na asarin ang mga campaigns niya kasi sobrang seryoso siya. Sport naman."

I don't know which is worse -- that I've been exposed as someone who once played and ran an RPG campaign (you know, the pen and paper kind before all these video games made RPGs "cool") or that I might have failed miserably as a DM, hehe. Now that takes me back...

Ikaw talaga, namamatay lang kasi lagi 'yung character mo, hehehe...

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 4:13 PM :: 0 Comments:

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tinga's angels

Sam's Lola Linda and her officemates Tita May (left) and Tita Angie drop by for a visit. They work at Taguig City Hall under Mayor Sigfrido Tinga. Posted by Hello

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 11:45 AM :: 0 Comments:

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cell phone killings

What the hell is wrong with this country? What kind of monsters kill people for the sake of cell phones? Who kill people, period.

Last week, we lost two more fine journalists due to senseless cell phone-related violence: Today newspaper assistant business editor Jose Luis Villanueva and Iloilo TV newscaster Chris Misajon, anchor of GMA Network's "Ratsada."

These atrocities are part of the alarmingly increasing number of crimes being committed for the sake of cell phones. Some of these crimes are committed in broad daylight, by snatchers or holduppers.

Some victims are "lucky" and only lose their cell phones. Others survive the ordeal but suffer minor or major injuries.

Others die.

It's getting to the point where many people are reluctant to use cell phones in public. We talk of the information technology revolution, we talk of making the Philippines an IT hub, yet we can't even walk the streets and use our cell phones and other gadgets without feeling apprehensive. And I'm not only talking about narrow alleys in some seedy parts of the city. I'm talking even places like the Philippine financial district of Makati City in broad daylight.

I never met Jose Luis and Chris in person, but I wish to extend my condolences to their families. And pray for their souls and that no more lives will be lost due to these senseless crimes.

To read more about Chris and the fond memories he has left behind, please visit Ian's blog.

For the latest stories on the investigation into these crimes, please read about the arrest of the suspects in Jose Luis' killing and view the GMA Flash report on the 5 people suspected of being involved in the death of Chris -- just click on the link under the GMA7 TV-Radio section of the homepage.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 9:56 AM :: 2 Comments:

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