Sunday, November 18, 2018

Words you might have been mispronouncing or misusing since grade school

This has been in my drafts for a while now, but two nights ago at a bridal shower, a colleague pronounced Versace correctly ("verSACHeh," not "verSACHee") when he referred to Bruno Mars' song "Versace on the Floor" (I swooned) and the friend for whom we were throwing the bridal shower understood what I meant when I said Thames with the correct pronunciation ("tems"). And she even said Thames properly too (swooned again).

So two correctly pronounced words, not the more frequent mispronunciations, actually made me finally publish this post. This is a reminder that a lot of times, simply pronouncing things and using words and phrases right can make you seem like a smarter person. And cause guys like me to swoon.

Most commonly used when referring to toll gates and the fees paid when going past them. And toll-free hotlines. It should be pronounced to rhyme with "coal." Unless katropa mo 'yung gate, it is not pronounced the same as "tall."

Similar to "toll," it is not pronounced like it rhymes with "tall."

Correct pronunciation same as "toll" and "roll." It is not pronounced like it rhymes with "rule," although you might have been taught to pronounce it that way by school teachers who demanded you "bring out one HOOL sheet of paper" during exams.

"CenTENnial," not "cenTEENnial." I hear the mispronunciation a lot when I'm in my hometown in Cavite, because there's a Centennial Road beside which a lot of businesses are now being built. Also when there are centennial anniversaries.

There really is nothing that rhymes with how this word is incorrectly pronounced, which should be an indication why it shouldn't be said that way. It's pronounced like "fur" but add an "m" after.

See above. I hear this a lot in the call center setting. "Ma'am, conFEERM ko lang po ang inyong address for the delivery."

You either pronounce the "e" or you don't, but the "berry" part should not be pronounced like "furry."

Also not pronounced like "furry" but rather exactly like "berry."

Very commonly heard nowadays due to the popularity of intermittent fasting. It's so often mispronounced, though it's just stress on the wrong syllable (inTERmittent), that I actually started to doubt my knowledge of how it should be pronounced (INtermittent).

Treat this word like a multiplication equation. If "regard" is a positive number and "ir" and "less" are negative numbers, then multiplying all three of them will yield a positive number, which isn't the message "regardless," a.k.a. the word you should really be using, is portraying. If you use the word "irregardless," you might as well have used "with regard to."

Not unless
Same as with "irregardless." "Unless" is a negative number and although "not" is a negative word, let's just say that in this equation it is a positive number. Multiplying these two numbers will yield a negative number, which isn't the message you want to be portraying in your use of the term "unless." Adding "not" basically cancels out the intent of your use of "unless."

Fill up
If you mean to fill a pitcher with water, then go ahead and use "fill up" (though some might argue that, one, like with "stand up" the preposition "up" is unnecessary, as there is no other direction you could be going if you're getting up from being seated, and two, there is no such thing as "fill down" anyway). But if you mean to accomplish a form, you should really be saying "fill out." "Fill in" is acceptable too, to mean the filling in of the boxes in a form.

Saturday, November 17, 2018


Getting old has never been what I've dreaded about the coming of my birthday. It's always been the "how will I be greeted?" part. And since I usually try to go on leave from work on my birthday and I don't live with my family anymore, this mostly happens via social media. Several years ago, when Facebook still allowed it, I would change my birthday on my profile to something months away from my actual birthday. This way, when it comes, my connections won't be notified about it. And because I don't allow posting on my wall, people who truly know when my birthday is would message me privately instead.

I firmly believe that how we behave on social media should make sense if that were to be how we behaved in real life. A birthday greeting through private message makes sense, because that's just between the greeter and you. It's more genuine and sincere. A birthday greeting on your Facebook timeline, on the other hand? That, to me, is the equivalent of shouting "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" at you while you're in a crowded room. People who don't even know it's your birthday would then greet you too (the equivalent of commenting on Facebook) and those who probably couldn't care less would smile and applaud (liking or reacting) just so they don't seem unsympathetic. Is there anything wrong with greeting someone on their Facebook timeline? Not really. Maybe it's just not for an introvert like me. Or I just feel like it's too impersonal, like it's only being done to show off that they remembered my birthday. And maybe there's also the thought that, is that it, a few taps on your phone is all I'm gonna get from you on my birthday?

I'm not really a materialistic person when it comes to receiving gifts, for my birthday or otherwise. In fact, I'd rather not receive a gift at all than receive a poorly conceived or improperly given one. I believe in the old adage "It's the thought that counts," and I think part of that should be knowing the recipient well enough to be sure they'll appreciate the gift. I always give a lot of thought to the presents I give people, even the way I give it to them. So when a good friend sent me a large cake at work two years ago (I wasn't able to go on leave then), I actually got mad. Because she and I worked in the same place, she could have just given it to me after work. Or she could have had it delivered to my apartment. I didn't want people to know it was my birthdayshe knew thisbecause I didn't want any obligatory greetings from people. If I'm important enough for you to know my birthday, you'll greet me on my special day without needing Facebook or someone else's greeting me first to remind you. I felt like, man, by putting me under all that stress of having to hide the cake from everyone especially during the time I had to go home, this friend who sent me this cake didn't know me well enough at all.

Maybe I've matured a lot more since that cake incident, because in hindsight I admit it was a little bit neurotic of me how I reacted. Or it could be that my friends and colleagues know me better now. I received five birthday cakes this year, which was the most number of cakes I've ever gotten in celebration of my being born, and I actually appreciated all of them, including how they were given to me (it helped a bit that I knew what was coming for two of those cakessorry, guys, haha). Anyway, thanks to everyone who made my birthday memorable in a positive way this year and here's to more birthdays celebrated with friends, family and loved ones in the future!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Desperately seeking happiness

One of the films I enjoy watching whenever I need a dose of inspiration is Hector and the Search for Happiness. In it, Hector (Simon Pegg) goes to Shanghai, Nepal, Africa and Los Angeles to research happiness. What's amazing about the film is as enviable as the places that Hector visited were, it doesn't just make you want to travel. It gets you excited about the people you're going to meet and the lessons you're going to learn wherever life's road may take you.

One of the many quotable quotes from the movie is this:

How many of us, I wonder, can recall that childhood moment when we experienced happiness as a state of being, that single moment of untarnished joy, that moment when everything in our world, inside and out, was alright? Everything was alright. 
Now, we've become a colony of adults and everything is all wrong, all the time. It's as if we were on a quest to get it back and yet the more we focus on our personal happiness, the more it eludes us. In fact, it's only when we are otherwise engaged—you know, focused, absorbed, inspired, communicating, discovering, learning, dancing, for heaven's sake—that we experience happiness as a byproduct, a side effect. Oh no, we should concern ourselves not so much with the pursuit of happiness but with the happiness of pursuit.

I know reviews of this film aren't all that great, but if you're in as chaotic a place in your life as I am right now, go watch it and maybe you'll find some inspiration too.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

My late 2016 life review

2016 was a terrible, terrible year for mankind. America placed the wrong person in the most powerful seat in the world, and here in the Philippines we failed to elect the most qualified leader our country could have. Current president Duterte might not be performing—or behaving—as most Filipinos would have him perform, but one could argue that Miriam Defensor-Santiago could do so much better at the job. I reckon she might even still be with us today as the presidency would have been her driving force to stay alive.

Santiago wasn't the only famous personality who came to the end of their road in 2016, however. There were Prince, George Michael, David Bowie, Muhammad Ali, Alan Rickman and Carrie Fisher, among others. Less famous but in no way less significant were the people who lost their lives in the various horrific mass shootings worldwide. And much closer to home, there was Mines. (I've written about the passing away of a former colleague, Cyrill Tan, also last year, here.)

Mines was my best friend in college and I considered her my sister. I knew her family and they lovingly let me into their home, for school projects and for when we simply wanted to hang out after church on Sundays. Mines and I shared a lot of interests and had the same view about many things, one of which was an aversion to constant communication. We love that people keep findings ways to bring everyone closer together through technology (not only can you post a video on Facebook of what you're doing right now, you also have the option to Facebook Live it so your friends can watch you in real time!) but when it came to Mines and me texting, our messages to each other could go unanswered for hours, days even, and it wouldn't be a big deal to us.

I guess that kind of attitude towards technology and constant communication comes with age too. More and more I'm preferring face-to-face conversations over texting and sending cards or gifts over writing greetings or posting photo collages on someone's Facebook timeline for their birthday. More and more, too, I'm realizing that special experiences don't always have to be documented, whether to be later posted online or not, which is why I haven't been recording videos as much for my year-end videos anymore (hence the absence of one for 2016). It's the people with whom I'm having these experiences that matter.

I never thought there would come a day when I'd be comfortable living with someone, but I now am. With my partner and a kitten we had rescued, no less, in a more well-ventilated and spacious apartment which I hope would help make me less sickly this year (I've had several bouts of illness last year, two of them resulting in hospital confinement, one in a minor surgery). I've reconciled with a close work friend I had a major spat with, and my college friends and I have been keeping contact more since Mines' passing. I'm also happy to report that the number of times I visited my family last year is a staggering 4, compared to just 1 or even nil in previous years. Because if there's anything that Mines' death has taught me, it's that life is too short and I wouldn't be living it at all if I weren't cultivating the few true relationships I have.

Back when we were still unemployed, Mines and I would sit under the night sky at Glorietta Park in Makati and talk about this "ugly feeling" weighing on us, this sense that something wasn't right, that we could be doing so much more with ourselves. These days I would still sometimes get that ugly feeling, but it no longer has anything to do with unemployment. My best friend has left me, and there will now and forevermore be that void in my heart that only someone as pure and beautiful a human being as Mines could fill. But at least I had enough of those moments with her when I got to cultivate our relationship. In real life, face to face and disconnected from social media. Now go disconnect and cultivate your relationship with your loved ones too.

A photo posted by J. Faller (@leeflailmarch) on