Living or otherwise

When I was just a kid, on November 1 of each year, I was at home helping my mom or dad with the annual ritual of “visiting the dead people.” During that time, my cousins and I played with the melted candle wax on the tomb of my lolo (dad’s father) and uncle (dad’s brother). (They died when I was very little, so I don’t have any memories of them.) We turn the melted candle wax into a ball. At the end of the visit, we will compare what we got. The one with the biggest candle ball “wins.” Sometimes, some of us go to the other tombs (even though we don’t know the relatives of the person in the tomb) to get some of their melted candle wax. Sometimes, some of us prefer those with different colors. At the end of the visit, I never “win.” They always have the biggest candle wax ball. For me, this play is the highlight of the visit.

Then I turned to high school. Visiting now has a meaning for me. Now, we are visiting Lolo (mom’s father). I considered him my best friend when I was young. The family was there, reliving the life of the most incredible man. This is a sort of family reunion because some of my Lolo’s relatives visit every year. His family is not from around, actually, so we only got to see them once in a while. That time, the whole visit was the highlight of the visit.

Now that I am working in Metro Manila, sometimes it is not convenient for me to go home this time of year. Sometimes, I am not even in Metro Manila but outside Luzon entirely doing fieldwork. I cannot join my family and relatives for the annual visit. All I can do now is honor our beloved departed’s memories. I know my family and relatives (living or otherwise) understand me.

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Allan’s City of Shadows

Allan just started his novel and blog called City of Shadows. This is a modern fantasy story set in the beautiful city of Baguio.

Baguio City has always been a center for mysticism and a nexus for occult activites. But recently ancient shadow spirits have been unleashed into the city, causing supernatural havoc and destruction. [City of Shadows]

The prologue is already up, and I can’t wait to read the next installment.

I hope I can write something like this too.

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Santa might lose home

If Santa lives on the North Pole, he might lose his home because the Arctic icecap is melting.

Due for publication on November 8, an eight-nation report compiled by 250 scientists says the Arctic is warming almost twice as fast as the rest of the planet due to a buildup of heat-trapping gases and the trend is set to continue.

“We are taking a risk with the global climate,” said Paal Prestrud, vice-chair of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) report, which says emissions of gases from cars, factories and power plants are mostly to blame.

The Arctic icecap has shrunk by 15-20 percent in the past 30 years and the contraction is likely to accelerate, Prestrud said. The Arctic Ocean could be almost ice-free in summer by the end of the century. [Free Internet Press]

This might also pose a problem for low-lying islands and shores, especially in the Philippines. When the polar ice caps melt, the sea level will rise. The Philippines’ 7,107 (or 7,108, depending on high tide or low tide) might be reduced to 100 or lower.

All must act now.

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Save data on corn!

A biodegradable disc is in the works and is made of corn!

The Japanese electronics maker said the Blu-ray optical disc, which can be written once and stores 25 gigabytes of data, is 87 percent natural polymer derived from corn and biodegrades.

“If the starch polymer is incinerated, it will not emit dioxins and any other harmful chemicals,” the company said. [AFP via]

I think this is for the security paranoid but environmentally conscious. They just had to bury the disc.

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Pinoy programmer on world online programming tilt

I joined an inter-school programming contest way back in my college days. Of course, we won.

Pero bilib naman ako sa programmer na ito! He joined an online programming contest and is now in the finals. He is Celsus Kintanar and a native of Zamboanga City. He will represent the country in the semi-finals and championship rounds of the 2004 Top Coder online programming competition in California.

“I am quite happy to have placed the Philippines on the map. Philippine participation in this contest is actually quite low, so yes, this is the first time that our country has been represented. I believe that there are several other talents that are out there – and it would be nice to see them represent our country also,” Kintanar told via e-mail. []

Will there also be a time when I can join a programming tilt like this? The chances are very little to compute.

To Kintanar, good luck.

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Smog is dangerous to your health

And who said only cigarette smoke is dangerous to one’s health?

Ground-level ozone, a common form of air pollution long linked to breathing problems, is being blamed for thousands of premature deaths each year in a new study of 95 urban areas, including Philadelphia.

Researchers found that a short-term increase in ozone pollution – the key ingredient in smog – was associated with a slightly higher death rate, even when the air was cleaner than what is required by federal standards that took effect this year. The finding held true throughout much of the country and for all age groups, though most of those who died were elderly and many had a previous heart or lung illness. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

We should pay attention to something that contributes to premature deaths. Let’s start by paying attention to smoke belching. For motorists, reduce your emissions (but I don’t know how!). For pedestrians, report smoke belchers. Bantay Usok accepts reports on smoke belchers.

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Change of plans

Personal log, November 26, 2004

My schedule for next week was modified again. I was scheduled to do field work at Cebu, but it was postponed. I was expecting a nice change of scenery before having my Christmas break at home sweet La Union. At least I can spend time with my VA friends and help on their numerous projects, like the fan film.

End log.

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