Knock, knock!

Contrary to my goal, again, I’m failing in my goal to fill my need to write more posts and Marcus has a lot to do with it. For wifey and me, parenting lately has been a lot crazier than before. Don’t get me wrong, despite nerve-wracking moments with an active 3-year old we seem to spend more enjoyable times as we witness his rapid development and antics that come along with it. Nowadays, our one and only boy….

…has become more articulate than ever. Other than saying our names clearer, he can now say Manny Pacquiao.

…can recognize Toyotas and Pajeros and other car brands. He can just spot Hondas before. (When he was more than a year old, he screams whenever he sees wheels.)

…has transitioned from nursery rhymes to more mature music. He used to just like GTO from the movie RV and lately he surprised me when he showed to me that he can dance to Top Gun’s Danger Zone and Mighty Wings. He also goes ballistic when he hears Party Anthem and Moves Like Jagger.

…continues to impress us with his pace in learning to use cellphones, computers and home theater. (Thankfully, he has not figured out why his favorite cartoon show doesn’t appear however he press the TV’s channel button. Yes, I locked it.)

…seems to start understanding that littering trash will result to flood and that whenever he sees some of the Sendong video footage, he’ll look for his clothes and tell us to donate them. (This one makes us feel so proud.)

Well, this is just a knock knock and I have to cut this short because sooner or later, he’ll be up and ready again to keep our day busy…and stressful…and fun. Parenting is exciting, isn’t it?

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Thankful to be home.)

Advertisements

Christmas 2011 Greetings from Marcuscanblog.com

Happy are those who will still celebrate without anything for they will
do it just like how it was first celebrated — pure and simple.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

From,
Marcus…and his dad and mom.

There is Beauty in Trash Talk

The recent typhoon Mina (international name Nanmadol) has exposed once again the ever stinky truth our country has to face—waste management. In Baguio, several people, including innocent children, perished when heap of trash buried them after heavy rainfall triggered a landslide.

Sadly, this isn’t the first incident here in the Philippines wherein piles of garbage has caused death or injury. Several years ago the infamous Payatas tragedy took the lives of more than 200 people living near this open dumpsite. It was a wakeup call for those who survived and it sent an alarm to the government officials who acted, however late, to address this problem. Since then open dumpsites were outlawed. Or so we thought.

Now that this unfortunate news is all over the headlines, people begin to ask the same old questions. Who should be blamed for all these? The ordinary Juan De La Cruzes who on their way home would toss their fast food packaging anywhere they feel like it? The government officials who fail to implement the law? Or should this be again considered as an act of God—a reason that has been so overused by people who would try to cover their own insensitivities, carelessness or incompetence.

But while we try to find answers, for the nth time, to these seemingly hopeless questions, it is nice to know that there are still others whose minds are open and who still continue to seek solutions. For example, there is the beautiful and famous Anne Curtis Smith who openly declared on twitter (@annecurtissmith) her intent to use her popularity in an attempt to revive or improve the waste management awareness campaign. How far it will go, I don’t know but with her appeal and capability to influence others, I would like to believe that her advocacy will improve the way most of us take care of our environment. I’m keeping my fingers crossed because I really wouldn’t want to see this happen again.

For now, indulge me. I can’t let this moment pass without letting the world know that I had a short discussion with this lovely actress.

Seconds of fame brought by mere mention of my name by Anne Curtis Smith.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Happy kind of sleepy.)

English is an Egg-citing Language

Ernie Zarate’s book once again came handy. I still consider his Malictionary, which has been inside my blue laptop sling bag for quite a while, as a practical reference (and entertainment) to most frequently (ab)used English words.

While figuring out what to do this afternoon, one of the words in this small yellow paperback led to me to open our thick dictionary to see if this architect-turned-broadcaster’s pronunciation guide is correct for the English words starting with ‘ex.’

In his book that was published in 2005, Mr. Zarate wrote that even some broadcasters have repeatedly mispronounced the word exercise (during the past Balikatan exercises) by saying it as ‘EGS uhr sighs’—he made his own easy pronunciation guide for the benefit of his readers. The book also states that it is common for most Filipinos to do the same thing with words ‘exciting’ and ‘except’—that is, pronouncing ‘ex’ as ‘EGS.’

Pronouncing the letter “x” as “gz” or “gs” may be alright if the accent was on the second, third or fourth syllable as in “exalt or exaltation (ig ZOLT, igzol TEI shun) or as in “examine or examination” (ig ZAH min, ig zah mi NEI shun)”, Mr. Zarate explains. But his explanation wasn’t completely absorbed by the soft stuff inside my head.

Our Merriam-Webster dictionary then comes to the rescue. After flipping back and forth through its pages where the ‘ex’ words are, I eventually recognized the pattern. I discovered that if the ‘ex’ is followed by a vowel or a silent ‘h’, it is then likelythat either ‘ig’ or ‘eg’ applies such as in the following words: exact (ig’ zakt), exam (ig’ zam), executive (ig ze k(y)u tiv), exist (ig zist), exit (eg zit), exile (eg zil), exotic (ig za tik), and exuberant (ig zu be rant).

Meanwhile, most ‘ex’ words followed by a consonant use either ‘ik’ or ‘ek’ such as that in excel, exciting, exclusive, and excuse. At this point, it is already clear that the famous noodle commercial that introduced the word EGG-citing is catchy but wrong thus should never be used in normal and, especially, in formal conversations.

However, as this is just my general observation, it apparently still pays to continue reading and learning from reliable sources and not just believe anything that popular media feed us. This is also to say that writing English is one, articulating or pronouncing it is another.

***

Incidentally, a couple of hours after learning all about these things, I was called by two separate call center companies. I’ll be in for an interview tomorrow somewhere in Laguna.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Phone calls from HR personnel are always egg-citing.)

Outsourcing in the Business Process Outsourcing industry

It cannot be denied that outsourcing has become the key to the survival and competitiveness of most businesses. In my quest to be part of the call center industry, I discovered yesterday that even the business process outsourcing providers have resorted to such practice–outsourcing.

One of the tweets I marked as favorite, a couple of weeks ago, was from a job posting company. The tweet states, ”Call center agents with high salary. Accepting fresh grads!–People Solutions.” Upon clicking its link, a more detailed and attractive proposal comes up: “We are offering a salary package of PhP 20000 to PhP 30000 to applicants who will successfully pass our one-day hiring process.” Despite having some doubts on the veracity of the salary package, I sent my resume nevertheless–any bum would be compelled to try anyway. Less than a week later I received an SMS. They want to interview me.

The appointment date came but my excitement ebbed as soon as I reached the venue. Having applied in two different call centers in the past, I was expecting to find another setting with carpeted floor, cozy and professional-looking reception area, and well-dressed customer service agents frequenting the free coffee machine. Sadly, on the contrary, I arrived at a building that looks anything but corporate – unless cost-cutting measures have made monobloc chairs an acceptable fixture in BPO offices.

It’s a good thing, however, that the disposition of the account manager who faced us somehow made up for the bland appearance of their headquarters. Interestingly, we (applicants) soon learned from her that after the brief orientation and group discussion, hiring personnel from different call center companies will soon come over to interview us further.

It became clear that People Solutions is after all outsourced by other BPOs to recruit potential agents like us. The young and bubbly personnel explained that she holds four accounts but stressed that they are not a recruitment agency which charges a fee to any of its applicants. At least.

In the evening, I was on my way to being hired by a second company. Unlike Convergys, I passed the initial interview, quiz, typing test, and the Versant. After about eight hours inside the cybermall, I finally reached the final interviewer who seems to make me so aware that the position, customer service representative, I am applying for is an entry level job which could make my past work experience and education meaningless.

Sensing her disbelief that someone with 15 years of diverse experience in the semiconductor industry, not to mention having recently completed an MBA study, will apply for such job, I explained to her my reasons and long term plans in the call center industry–that the requirements of most BPOs for team leads have changed, that the fundamentals of the business start with CSR/TSR, that I am envisioning myself stepping up in the near future, etcetera. But quite frankly, in the back of my mind, my courage to be firm with my answers is due to the fact that I’m still thinking about the Php 20000 to Php 30000 salary offer as seen from the JobsDB.com ad. Minutes later, the thought bubble bursts big time.

The Teleperformance personnel was shocked when I told her about my expected salary. She said that I’ll be disappointed to know that I can only receive half of it and that the signing bonus indicated on the job posting doesn’t apply to them. I was floored.

Sensing my frustration, she advised me to reconsider the offer and be back within a month or else I have to re-do the whole process again which means staying there for another eight hours along with other CSR hopefuls. Let’s see. So close yet so far.

***
Mood: 3/10 Honks! (I’m expecting another call tonight.)

I Survived My First 5K Run

I was among the NatGeo Earth Day runners who flocked to The Fort, Taguig during the wee hours of Sunday morning. Light-headed, due to lack of sleep, and filled with anxiety, I was overwhelmed by the view of thousands of people mostly wearing either gray or yellow Earth Day Run shirts. Each color signifies registered race distance: gray is for 10K and up, yellow is for 3K and 5K.

Excited and determined to join my first ever official 5K event, I found myself in the middle of yellow runners getting ready and warming up along with the stretching exercises led by the race host—one of them is weatherman/celebrity Kim Atienza. And in the same manner as the 21K and 10K races were started, the 5K countdown came.

As soon as the big bright red digital timer hits 0:00:00, a chorus of “go” from the eager crowd and with the accompanying fireworks display (with the sun already peeking out of the horizon), runners begin crossing the start line on the 7th avenue. The cadence each pair of running shoes make, and the huffs and puffs of runners around me were infectious—somehow intimidating but most times encouraging. Every sight of the distance markers (1-km increment) and water stations also made me to keep on running.

Less than 40 minutes later, the finish line becomes visible after the last turn on the 9th avenue. (I realized that it must be every runner’s happiest moment to see the capital letters F, I, N, I, S, H up ahead while trying to summon whatever strength is left.) Handing over the race bar code capped the race for me. Thank you lord for good health, treadmill and a sneaky and supportive wife—everything made me survive my first official 5K run.

***

Based on the figures from natgeorun.com, there were a total of 8,337 finishers in all four (4) races. 2782 finished the 5K race and I was the 1039th placer with an official time of 41 minutes. Not bad.

***

Trivia: April 10, 1996, or exactly 15 years ago, I was rigging TCP equipment with wifey.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (I’ll definitely participate in more 5Ks.)

Will Burn Calories and Gas

About 10 hours from now will be a day about burning calories and gas. Weeks on the treadmill and just a day on the road (to pace myself) will prove its worth during tomorrow’s NatGeo Earth Day run. It will be my first official 5K and I am already excited to see how it will end up. Of course, I’d like to see myself finish in less than an hour—as my wife indicated on the online form when she secretly registered me for this race.

Immediately after I burn calories in The Fort, Taguig, I will be on my way back south to join my wife, kiddo and my in-laws for our annual summer outing which was scheduled just last week during their town fiesta celebration. It was supposed to happen next month but for several reasons they decided to have it tomorrow instead. And this is the reason I have to get back home in Cavite alone from a week of vacation in Batangas so that I can get my NatGeo race kit, be with hundreds of runners tomorrow, and then drive around 100 kilometers back to meet everyone at the resort. Burn baby, burn. Wish me luck.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (I cannot recall the last time I was home alone. Silence.)