Best Fit—Not!

2 08 2014

~ I’ve always looked at challenges as opportunities to learn but I also understand and acknowledge that some things simply suit others better than they do me.


Those Commonly Mispronounced Last Names

21 12 2007

Having worked as a publishing consultant for a Canadian-owned, Random House-affiliate publishing services providing company was the closest that I ever had to working for a call center.   Because we catered to mostly North American clients, we had to speak, well, at least passable American English.  Not having undergone any American accent training, I still felt that my English (and other Anglicized words)-speaking skills are somehow above average. 

I never liked trying to sound American by talking nasally.  I’d sound like someone with speech problems like some people I know.  Hehe.  So, I went into training and since I am not at all an idiot, I learned what I was supposed to learn within the period allotted for the process, far more quickly, I believe.  Our trainers were a bunch of characters.  But then again, trainees—and students for that matter—always make fun of their trainers and teachers. 

The first month was a lot of fun.  Our American department head gave us the permission to take 10-minute breaks in between 60-minute of straight serious work.  Those were on top of our lunch breaks and two 15-minute breaks.  That was pure heaven for smokers like us and for non-smokers who took the same breaks as we did to chat and talk about the “characters” in the office.  Since we were told to speak English at all times then, we did.  So breaks were a bunch of breaks indeed filled with funny anecdotes in English.  There were 9 of us in our batch.  We were supposed to be a part of the first batch of 12 but since the first three—who later became our supervisors—were taken in before the Christmas break and they needed hands on deck (not on the dick, you, you!) then, we were considered the 1 1/2 batch.  Hehe. 

So anyway, the main criterion for the beauty contest—er—for hiring us was our English speaking skills.  Our American department head conducted one on one interviews and if you pass his standards—meaning he understands the way you speak and you get to deliver the answers to his questions the way he wants to hear them—then you’re hired.  So we were super proud to have been hired into a position that promised at least a basic fee of twenty grand, well, not in dollars, but in pesos.  We were also given the chance to earn commissions.  It was a good deal!  I will keep mum about what went on after that in terms of monetary concerns because I don’t want to rouse the sleeping monsters here and there. 

The first day we went live—call potential clients—we got lost.  One of the major problems?  Pronunciation of last names.  Pronouncing places wasn’t much of a problem because somehow, I already knew how to properly most of them, like Tucson/TOO-sahn/in Arizona,  Cayce /KAY • see/ in South Carolina, Des Moines /dih-MOYN/ in Iowa, Leicester /LESS-tur/ in Massachusetts, Reading /RED-ing/ (not like READING from the base verb READ!) in Pennsylvannia and many others. 

Nope, we were not given any help in that department.  What I did was create my own pronunciation guide.  Well, it all boils down to etymology for some.  And if you really can’t pronounce it properly, it’s best to politely ask the owner of the name.  I once looked for a Miss Augusta Something only to find out that he’s a HE.  Some countries don’t go by the usual Filipino convention of names ending with (Mario) O or U for men and A (Maria) for women.  By the way, my parents names are Gregorio and Gregoria.  Talk about soulmates!  LOL. 

My research enabled me to learn some new things and to affirm those that I already knew.  I thought it would be nice to share the fruits of my research here.  How’s that?  Most of them are from Inoglo, and The Budget Fashionista.

I started with author’s names. 

Paulo Coelhopaw-LU ko-wel-YU (my own version based on the IPA guide)

Chuck Palahniukchuhk PALL-uh-nik

Ayn Randine rand

Roland Barthesroll-AH(NG) bart

J.R.R Tolkien“TOLL”-keen

Ivan Illichih-VAHN IH-lich

Jodi PicoultJOE-dee PEE-koe

Marcel Proustmar-SELL proost

Kathy ReichsKA-thee ryks

Jon Scieszkajahn SHESS-kuh

Fyodor Mikhailovich DostoevskyFYOE-dur mih-HY-loe-vich dahs-tuh-YEF-skee

J K Rowling—“rolling

Then artists:

Jan van Eyckyahn fuhn ike



Eugene Delacroixuu-ZHEHN deh-lah-krwah

Edgar DegasED-gar duh-GAH

Claude Monetkload moe-nay

Paul Gauguinpall go-GA

Jean-Auguste Ingreszhahn-o-gust angg

And what last name pronunciation guide would be complete without fashion designers?  So here’s a not-so-complete guide from The Budget Fashionista.  They’re divided into A-G, H-M, and N-Z

Giorgio Armani: Jor-ji-o Ar-ma-nee
Manolo Blahnik: Muh-no-low blah- nick
Andre Courreges: AN-Dre Courreges
Balenciaga: Bal-en-see-AH-gah
Bottega Veneta: Bo-TAY-ga Ve-NE-tah
Roberto Cavalli: RO-ber-to Ka-VA-lee
Chanel: Sha-nel
Chloé: KLO-ee
Comme des Garcons: KUM de Gar-SOHN
Christian Dior: KRE-shtaan DEE-or
Dolce and Gabbana: DOL-chay and Gab-BAH-nah
Ellen Tracy: EL-lin TRAY-see
Salvatore Ferragamo: Sal- va- tor Ferr-A-ga-mo
Gianfranco Ferre: Gee-an-fran-ko Ferr-ay
John Galliano: Gall-lee-a-no
Givenchy: Gee-von-she
Halston: Hall-stun
Hermes: Air-mez
Hugo Boss: He-you-go Bo-s
Imitation of Christ: Em-ma-ta-shun of Cry-st
Marc Jacobs: Ma-rk Jay-kob-s
Betsey Johnson: BET-see JON-sun
Calvin Klein: CAL-vin KLYIN
Donna Karan (DKNY): Don-NAH KA-ran
Michael Kors: My-kal Ko-ors
Karl Lagerfeld: Ka-ral La-ger-fell-d
Helmut Lang: Hell- Mut Lay-ng
Jeanne Lanvin: John La- vin
Ralph Lauren: LORE-in
Nanette Lepore: Na-net LA-pour
Christian Louboutin: KRI-shtaan Lu-bu-TAHN
Louis Vuitton: Lu-wee Vee-tuhhh
Catherine Malandrino: KATH-er-in Mal-an-DREE-no
Alexander McQueen: Al-ex-AHN-der Mac-KWEEN
Isaac Mizrahi: Eye-zak Miz-ra-hee
Issey Miyake: E-say Me-ya-kay
Zac Posen: Zak Poo-zen
Proenza Schouler: pro-en-za skool-er
Emilio Pucci: E-MEE-lee-o POH-chee
Tracy Reese: TRAY- cee Ree-s
Elsa Schiaparelli: EL-sa She-a-pa-REHL-lee
Anna Sui: AN-na SOO-ee
Gianni Versace: Gee-a-nee Verr-sha-chie
Diane Von Furstenberg: DY-an Von FUR-sten-berg
Vera Wang: Veer- ra Way-ng also has an audio pronunciation guide on how designers’ names and brands are pronounced.  Check it out here.  It contains the correct pronunciation guides of Balmain, Byblos, Ermenegildo Zegna, Jean Paul Gaultier, Les Copains, Yves Saint Laurent and many more.

As a largely English-speaking country, I believe that pronouncing these foreign names and last names—English and Anglicized—are not merely about sounding good or whatever but it means giving respect to people from other countries whose names are not that easy for us Filipinos to pronounce.  My name is constantly mispronounced and misspelled either and while I have gotten used to it, it still gets annoying sometimes.  So, I think learning how to pronounce these names properly is a way of giving respect to others.

The People Behind the News: Lessons on Responsibility and Self-Preservation

2 12 2007

As a journalist by scholarship, I feel for the people who were not given the kind of respect that they deserved.  But my highly esteemed mass communication guru said, perhaps the experience is something that we should all learn from—be careful. 

While media people get perks that ordinary citizens like us do not, there are some who use their huge IDs to get into the front seat of every major event in the world.  Some have even (mis)taken the ID for a shield.  I was very thankful that every single detail of the other day’s fiasco was covered.  But amidst all the clamour for the “manhandling” and the cuffing, I think some people deserved what they got. 

Jessica Soho rose to fame after she braved the crossfire in the series of coup d’etat in Cory Aquino’s regime.  Christiaan Amanpour got my respect for covering major turning points in our history by being in the center of all the literally and figuratively hard hitting news.  But there’s a limit to being a journalist.  And in situations where rules of engagement are aspired to be followed to the dot, a plea not to add more to the problem should be heeded.  Had the media people left when they were asked to leave or even just stay in a safer place, things would not have had turned really sour. 

As Spidey’s uncle wisely put it, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  I could not agree more.

Draft–A Stab at Fantasy Fiction

22 10 2007

A solitary figure is leaning against the moss-covered stone wall of the deserted lane leading to edge of the city. It is very late at night and only the moon that seems to be hiding behind the clouds is slightly illuminating the abandoned and muddy road. The dark blue cloak that he is wearing that is flapping in the wind and the heavy robe underneath that saw better times have done nothing to conceal his agitation and irritation. He shifts his weight from one foot to another as he listens anew to the sounds that he earlier picked up. Beneath his robes, his muscles tense as his sword-arm reached for the cold metal hilt of his blade as if it had a mind of its own. His hardened ebon eyes darted carefully from the far end of the road for any sign of movement to the other end and back. He cursed beneath his breath at the vulnerability of his situation. True to character, his patience grew thin.  

“The old fool really has a way of driving me to the edge.  The harlot should be thrown into the pits of hell without any more ado.” 

The note delivered to him earlier in the day was unmistakably from Nèohar. It had not revealed much save that he agreed to meet him in his house.  There was nothing unusual about the letter except that it contained encrypted instructions on which route he should take.  He does not like unfamiliar territories especially those in the outskirts of the city that reminds him of how Nèohar, who was then in the prime of his youth, saved him from the gods of death in the life-forsaken streets of Ìhbian a few decades ago.  The Fates looked at him unkindly.  But Nèohar, ah, Nèohar.   The thought of the old man brought a faint hint of a smile to his hard face that is marred and etched with all the years that saw nothing but bloodshed and betrayal, and to the cynical and piercing eyes that longed to see a new day.  There are very few people that he trusts now.  

“I would not have come if not for the Order… Surely, what had befallen the realm must be much worse than what it already is…” he continues to talk to himself.  Besides, he can never let tragedy strike Nèohar, regardless of how inescapable it is.  Only the old man knows of his even darker past but has continued to look at him with favor.  Casting another cursory look at the alley that he just left, he walked fast to the opposite side of the road and went inside a small passageway looked like any ordinary door.  Darting a quick glance to his right and then to his left, he starts to walk again so fast that his feet did not seem to touch the pavement.    


In his study, Nèohar shivered as a sudden surge of fear hissing with coldness in the dark humid night creeps up his spine.   

“Òhrudin… Òhrudin… please hurry.” he said in a voice that sounded almost like a whimper, as if the warm breeze would deliver the plea to the intended.  He stood up and walked around the room that has seen far too many of these clandestine meetings.  He touched the gold trimmings that adorn the corners of the small chest that sits on his table.  He opened its lid and caressed the rolls of parchment that sat quietly under the velvety linings that hid them from view.  He lifted the miniature strongbox that held far greater treasures than the whole kingdom ever did.  He gently removed his sword from its scabbard and watched as the moon caressed its blade with its light.  He placed it on his table and sat down.  He clasped his hands together, held the box to his chest and waited.  


Òhrudin stepped out of the shadows and took several strides toward Nèohar from behind the heavy curtains near the window.   

“Òhrudin?  Is that you?” Nèohar asked.  

“Hush!  Do not tell me that your eyes begin to fail you, my old friend.” he replied and hugged Nèohar. “We do not have time to spare.  We have to leave at once.  With greed playing its aces, no one is left to be trusted.  Not even me.  But we must depart for…” 

“I know my friend.  But I have to do something first.  In time you will understand.  But for now, do something for me.  I need you to hide this and bring this to the place where things will be made right.  The hands of the great clock are not slowing down and it will not wait for you.  So, leave now.”   

Òhrudin saw something move in the darkness and his hand on its own accord clutched the haft of his sword.  On instinct he had assumed a defensive stance, placing himself between his friend and their hidden foe.  He had crouched in front of Neohar and in one graceful move, unsheathed his finely-crafted sword. He intensely peered into the dark as he tried to sense the other’s presence. He was now sure he saw… no, felt movement at the bushes beside the far end of the road. Had he imagined it? It was so quick… so quiet… but his instinct told him otherwise. In situations such as these, it has always been instinct that has saved him time and again. It was this he trusted. It is this that he leans on to now. He suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder.    

“What must happen must happen.  What I am asking you is far greater than my safety.  So please leave now.  Take that to where it truly belongs so that destiny will freely spread its wings in flight.” Nèohar told him in a tone that the old man never used on him before.   

“But…” Òhrudin tried to reason with Nèohar.

“Do as I had said.  Proceed to where I told you to go… look for him… all will be explained… before it is too late…Farewell…my friend…” 


 The shadow moved with the slight breeze.  Any moment now, the moon would take a quick respite behind the clouds.  Timing was essential.  The assassin couldn’t afford to let the old man gain an upper hand.  Timing was the key.  Surprise would be the greatest advantage.  The shadow slithered up the west wall to scour the place for any sign of movement.  With the silent confidence of someone highly seasoned in the art of war, the assassin stepped quietly from the shadows, in a black robe that would have contrasted starkly with the pale moonlight. Without so much as an inadvertent crunch of the pavement, the assassin made it into the chambers of Nèohar.  And the waiting begins. 


Angered at how fate could be so cruel as to put his dear friend in such a perilous position, Òhrudin stormed out of Nèohar’s study.  Such was fitting for someone like himself but not for one like Nèohar. He wanted to scream and plunge his cold blade deep into the dark of the night.  But he knew that the Order would not be pleased by any reckless move from him.  He clutched the box tightly and stealthily took the route that he earlier used.   


Nèohar was ready.  He held his breath as the shadow shifted almost imperceptibly, tightening up like a predator tensing before the strike, and then coalescing into the menacing shape of a viper.  In the stillness of the night, no more than a strangled cry reverberated in silence as the long dagger was plunged into the exposed side of victim’s neck and wrenched it from side to side without as much as a bat of an eyelash. With ferocity that only a trained assassin could muster, the assailant twisted the neck that heralded a merciless death where only the night was the lone witness.

This is just a teaser.  The actual manuscript is still in the works.

Yadda Yadda

22 10 2007

You know what jumpstarts my otherwise mundane daily routine to make it totally different from my now caffeine-operated robot of a self?  Reading something really good online.  And the extra spice?  When it’s for me. 

I’m not talking about romantic or even semi-romantic stuff.  I’m just talking about e-mails, notes, comments—anything.  I probably don’t get much attention in that department these days save for follow-up for deadlines, questions about agenda, queries about the new concept, etc—nada for the life underneath this gorgeous robot. 

So when I read something so simple yet so finely chiseled, I am blown away and it makes me happy and giddy and more inspired to work.  In the few months that I have reared my head into the blogging neighborhood, I’ve met a few interesting characters—some are very nice and friendly, others are purely vicious and bitchy (typical of us, girls), some are naughty and nice, and some are downright snob.  It’s a free world so there’s nothing to get really hyped up about.  In a world where cliques reign, a non-conformist and sociopath like me, likes to stay away from the maddening crowd and to keep everything under the street—the way the Beast did in the old Beauty and the Beast TV series with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. 

So to all those who have made my day, thank you.  Hope to see you more often, in my inbox, in my blog, in my cosmic path, anywhere.

Working My Arse Off

21 10 2007

I’ve been unusually busy the past few days.  I do manage to go to sleep—the kind where my body just surrenders itself to the bed and then to slumber—at around half past five in the morning, at least for the past few days.  As if programmed by a Wake Up button, my system automatically reboots at around eight in the morning and my arm automatically extends itself so my hand could grab my phone and check the time, which is of course, always a few minutes shy of or a few minutes over eight.  Then I squint and look at my notebook’s screen to see how many new messages have come in while I was catching a few winks.  I can now make out from a 6-meter distance when I have an important message.  Usually if the new messages were folders filled with paperwork, they’re usually already a meter long up my desk but since they’re just in my inbox, I could say that I can measure them by the inches from afar and they’re always around six inches.  So I creep up to my chair and try to force myself to really wake up.  I check the e-mails, answer a few of them.  Ignore the YM messages and write on the whiteboard the things that I need to finish in a few hours.  And then I slump my still tired body to bed. 

I don’t go back to sleep.  My mom would come in after a few minutes to say that if I will eat at all, food’s ready.  And I would grunt in response.  Talk about ugly sounds. 

So I stay where I am until the image of my whiteboard embeds itself into my memory lane.  Just plain work waiting to be finished.  Sigh.  So I wash my face, brush my teeth, gargle oral antiseptic, change into my house clothes and go down to wave at my dad whose door is always open—he’s hardly mobile due to a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) more commonly known as stroke so he’s always in bed—play with the dogs, clean up their mess, check the beetle, stand motionless by the door and stare blankly at nowhere until my mom asks me something, head back to my room, slump back to bed, take a shower, change into a fresh set of clothes and whatever else—not necessarily in that order. 

But I guess I can’t complain.  In November last year, while I was living my own life, my brother, who I haven’t spoken with for over a year because of our personal differences, patched things up with me, or so I thought.  Well, he needed my “help” because he felt something physiologically incorrect in his body and he didn’t want to alarm anybody else so he went to the person that he knows rarely gets “alarmed” over any emergency–ME!  So, I took him to a hospital in Cebu, got him one of the best doctors whose specialization covered his “illness” and so after that, we became “close” again and he went back home with the assurance that he’s ok.  Then came December.  My sister had a general checkup in May and was given a clean bill of health but in July, she felt a lump in her left breast.  In August, she had a fine needle aspiration biopsy and was advised to have a frozen section biopsy because of suggestive mammary carcinoma, or breast cancer.  Typical of us Filipinos, they put it off.  When I learned about it, I went home and almost dragged her by the hair so she could have that biopsy.  True enough, she had breast cancer and after two days, she had a radical mastectomy leaving her breastless, well, at least in the left.  So until April, I accompanied her to her chemotherapy sessions.  The biopsy after the mastectomy was great.  It showed that all cancer cells were removed during the surgery but she had to go through chemo sessions just to be doubly sure that the chances of recurrence won’t be that high. 

In March, my boyfriend of over five years and I broke up in a very life-draining way.  I suspended the mourning period until my sister was not with me in Cebu because I believed that I could mope and cry my heart out in due time.  And that’s what I did for a whole month from April to May.  Then I packed my things and headed back home to “forget” and to start anew.  And then my sister, who’s a nurse based in NY, announced that she’s coming home for a short short visit.  And since no one at home cared enough to clean up the house, I did most of the scrubbing and whatnots on all fours, contacted carpenters, plumbers, etc to fix everything that needed fixing.  July came and so did my sister.  Then they left. 

Needless to say, the freelancer moi gave up a lot of projects from November up to around July this year.  So I started to contact my old clients and checked if work was available.  I also placed bids in some freelancer haven of a website to get new projects.  Work started to come in slowly in August and September and now, God is good, I’m swamped.  So yeah, I’ve been really busy that I couldn’t even find time to flirt that much anymore.  Jeez!  The only time I get to touch myself even, is when I take a bath or after I pee!  But like any other woman, I don’t really feel that lacking. 

So yeah, I don’t make sense anymore.  But I needed to write something to keep me sane.  there you go.

I am lazy.

9 10 2007

Just when I have tons of things to do, I’ve opted to play games, watch TV, read blogs, read a book and so many other things rather than finishing up what I’m supposed to finish in the first place.  Sigh…such is indolence. 

Let’s all sleep tonight!