Plumbing the Depths of the Thesaurus

This week’s Theme Thursday is: soft

Sometimes I see the weekly theme word and think “yeah baby! I know just what to write about.”

Sometimes I go. “meh.”

This week is a meh week.

Soft. What can one say about soft? Pillows, babies, marshmallows, fat ladies, feathers, skin, hair, blah blah blah.

So then I try my bag of tricks, Google the word. Check the dictionary. Check the thesaurus.

Soft. Synonyms: Yielding, squashy (didn’t know that was a word, but it is), spongy, supple, pliable, elastic, malleable, flexible.

Now really? Soft = Flexible?

I don’t think so.

The list goes on: bendable, ductile, limp

What in the sam hell is ductile? Per the dictionary “Malleable enough to be worked, readily shaped, readily influenced.”

That gets us a long, long way from soft. To me soft is a tactile experience not someone susceptible to being pushed around. I guess the main definition of soft has evolved to being too easily influenced.

Not sure I like that.

Soft is one of those words that by saying it you feel it. Soooo sooooft. What you do think of? Your pillow? Your pet? Your favorite broke in pair of jeans?

Yeah. Me too. What I don’t think of is ductile.

Image from T-shirt guru.

My Heart is in Southern NM

And I’m wearin’ it around my neck.

About a month or so ago, the internet burst forth with the story of mega-corporation Urban Outfitters (who I won’t link to) stealing Esty artist Stevie K‘s wonderfully successful “The World/United States of Love” line of jewelry.

The concept is simple yet beautiful silver pendants depicting states and countries with a tiny heart inside. Stevie makes the pendants out of precious metal clay and sells them through her tru.che Etsy store. This beautiful concept was successful enough, Stevie was able to quit her job and pursue art full time.

Since I’m no stranger to having my creative work ripped off on a much smaller scale, I was of course incensed by this blatant abuse of an artist making her way in the world with her creative work.

So I decided to support Stevie’s work the best way I could. I went to her online store and bought this:

It just arrived today.

Lovely, isn’t it? In the posting for the New Mexico pendant, the heart was placed over toward the eastern side of the state, somewhere around Portales. Well, Portales is a fine town but it’s not where my heart is at. I asked Stevie if she could move the heart more toward the center of the state, and she obliged.

My heart is in Las Cruces where my real heart resides thanks to my two beautiful godkids. I will wear this necklace with pride both for where I come from and in support of independent artists everywhere.

I notice that Stevie has put her store on pause while she catches up on orders. Apparently I’m not the only one who wanted to support an independent artist who had her ideas ripped off.

But she’ll be back. If you want to show your love of where you’re from, keep an eye on Stevie’s store.

A Bobby Pin and a Bout of Curiosity

The Boss of my Boss, we’ll call him Big Boss, sits right next door to me at work. I get along great with him and respect him immensely. I’ve been at this gig for a year now, and as you spend time in close quarters with someone, you begin to take note of some things.

A few weeks back, someone stopped by my office, asking “hey, have you seen Big Boss this afternoon?”

I replied “Yeah, I saw him walk by about a half hour ago. He was carrying his briefcase, so I suspect he’s gone for the day.”

The guy said thanks and walked on.

But I paused for a bit, pondering the question: “Wait, who carries a briefcase these days?”

The answer is: Big Boss. He carries a briefcase.

Big Boss is a bit of an old fashioned guy. He’s very professional and I get the sense he would have fit in nicely in the 1980’s era IBM culture. Remember those days? Everyone in my business school talked in quiet and earnest tones about IBM’s required dress code. As quoted from Wikipedia: “A dark (or gray) suit, white shirt, and a ‘sincere’ tie.”

That would be Big Boss. Sincere. Ok, he doesn’t wear a suit every day, but he does often enough. Most days are dark slacks, and a crisp pressed white shirt. His clothes are nice but not fancy. His taste is conservative, but cost conscious.

He wears no sideburns, preferring to keep his hair nice and short, cut to the ears.

He drives a Volvo. It’s a top of the line model but with bare bones features. The base model of the best model. See? Cost conscious, yet nice.

He and his wife and two kids (a boy and a girl, naturally) live in a modest home in a decent neighborhood. It’s a really nice middle class place, but nothing too fancy.

He can make a PowerPoint presentation deck of slides like no body’s business. He can get his point across with an economy of words. He’s an excellent negotiator and never gets rattled. He always knows what he needs to achieve and then he achieves it.

He has the utmost and complete respect of his upper management. When I interviewed, the Vice President of the group told me she considers him to be indispensible. She could not go on enough about what a great leader and person he is.

His office is decorated mostly with awards and trophies from his upwardly mobile career. He has one bit of whimsy, a ballpark giveaway from when the Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series in 2001. He’s from Arizona, Phoenix to be exact. Not Scottsdale. Not Tempe. Phoenix. Just plain Phoenix.

The guy is, by most accounts, unremarkable. And yet, he’s utterly remarkable as a manager of our team.

And he carries that damn briefcase. What’s in that briefcase!?!? It’s not his laptop, that would be too heavy. Plus, he has a separate roller bag for his laptop and computer gear.

It’s not files, we’re a “green” company and thus required to rarely print things out. If I need his approval, I’m to attach the document to an email and he’ll give me approval back electronically. So he’s not pouring over contract files or spreadsheets tucked into his briefcase.

He has been trying to diet lately and he brings in a few cans of Slimfast each day. Maybe those go in the solid old fashioned leather briefcase with the handle and the closer tabs that go “plick!” when you slide the button over.

Ok. So Slimfast. And what else? He keeps his mobile phone in a holster on his belt. His wallet in his back pocket. His files on his computer and his pens in his shirt pocket.


I have to know. Now I’m obsessed about it.

Photo by user name Mattox and used royalty free from stock.xchng.

The Fish Of The Babbling

About a month ago, much to my dismay, my very valued and crucial employee handling business in the Latin American region offered her resignation. She’d found a job at another company where she could make a lot more money. She’s a great employee and it was a super opportunity for her career.

In her absence, I’m recruiting for the role, but that always takes a very long time. So while I search for a suitable replacement, I’m also doing the job. This means now I get a LOT of emails in both Spanish and Portugese. BabelFish and Google Translate have become my closest work friends.

But you know that old saying “something is lost in translation”?

Yup. Since I have a weird sense of humor, I’m actually enjoying sorting out what these oddball translated phrases actually mean.

Here are a few of the greatest hits I’ve seen over the past two weeks:

“The gentility has requested immediate attention to this request”

Um. The gentility? Really? What is this, an Oscar Wilde novel?

This was translated from Portuguese and I’ve now seen this same usage of “gentility” crop up a lot. It must simply be how the language handles the notion of management.

Which might also explain this one:

“Waiting on response from God before proceeding”

Whoa! God? It might be awhile to get an answer from that guy. I bet he’s way behind on his email. Maybe he has an assistant we can call?

I believe this implies approval from the very top officer of the company. Now that’s an honorific!

Or, it’s better explained by:

“On taking drugs the equipment in this situation?”

Ah. That’s it. My computer is on drugs. Yup. And waiting for God to respond in a genteel way.

We never did actually figure this one out. Someone on my team thinks this is a question about how are you using the equipment…and perhaps that term “using” which can mean taking drugs, got confused in the context.


But when it comes to equipment, there is also this advice:

“To remember when arriving at the visited country, extinguishing and to ignite the equipment”

And also please remember to extinguish fully before reigniting. Because reigniting an already ignited device might equal “ouch”.

Especially if you:

“Reset in the heat of the moment”

Best to wait for the heat to pass before resetting or even reigniting.

And by far, my favorite closing sentiment:

“Thanks so much already”

You’re welcome by now.

Image by Jakub Krechowicz and used royalty free from stock.xchng.

Happy Pop’s Day

Here’s my Pops and me. I was three months old.

Nice white socks. What my dad lacked in fashion sense, he made up for in being cantankerous.

Or something like that.

I think everyone born from about 1950 to about 1970 has a photo similar to this.

Sitting on the couch with dad. A cultural necessity.

Photo from a family album, likely taken by my mom and subject to the Creative Commons license seen in the right hand column of this page.