Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who's the boss?

From a conversation I had with my husband last Friday:

Me: "I was talking to Joe* today, and he mentioned . . ."
Hubby: "You mean your boss Joe?"
Me: "No, I mean my client Joe."

How is it that after two and a half years, he still doesn't get that I am my boss?

* names have been changed to protect the innocent

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Opinions, please . . .

If you were attending a conference and had to choose between multiple sessions that were of equal interest to you, would you choose one that promised to be in 3D?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The plumber theory

Before a meeting the other day, I was discussing with my client's intern the amount of changes he'd had to make to a piece he was asked to copy edit. We were joking that the person who wrote the piece (notice I didn't say "writer") must live by the credo "why say in one word what you can say in 20" when another colleague wandered over.

He was smirking as he sat down at the conference table. "Your conversation reminded me of something I call 'the plumber theory'," he said. When we asked him what that meant, he explained it like this:
"The first thing any plumber does upon entering your house is badmouth the work of the previous plumber. This same thing can be applied to all professions--you'll probably never hear somebody say, 'Wow, the guy who did this before me really knew what he was doing!'"
I know I'm guilty of this . . . how 'bout you?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More from my bookshelf

I inherited a copy of The Gregg Reference Manual, Tenth Edition from my friend Carina last year. I don't use it too often, but it has served its purpose a few times. Most recently, my hubby was reading one of our local entertainment rags and thought he found a typo in one of the ads. Knowing how I live for that kind of thing, he pointed it out to me, asking, "Should this be 'capitol' or 'capital'?" (to put it in context for you, the ad mentioned something about "the capitol city")

I was fairly sure I knew the answer ("capital"), but just to be sure I hauled out good ol' Gregg. Within seconds, thanks to the easily-navigable index, I found the entry I was looking for: capital-capitol-Capitol, and the answer was at my fingertips in a jiffy. The ad should have read "capital city," as "capitol" refers to a building, not a city.

I have used several other style manuals, some of which have been quite difficult to use. Others simply have not had enough detail to answer my questions. But so far, Gregg hasn't disappointed.

So . . . anybody want to share their favorite style manual or reference book?

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Welcome to Thesaurus Phone!"

I worked onsite with my agency client yesterday (truth be told, I'm there most days--they are keeping me nice and busy!!). At one point during the day, the account services director came up to me and said she was looking for a synonym for "substitution," but wasn't satisfied with the choices offered by Word's thesaurus. I pondered her request for a moment before offering up "in lieu of."

"That's exactly what I was looking for!" she exclaimed, and practically skipped back to her desk.

This got me thinking: even in a world of readily-available Internet service and billions of free/cheap iPhone apps, I bet there are still people out there who would call a pay-per-use service if they could ask a live person for advice about synonyms, antonyms and the like.

This could be one of those million-dollar ideas . . . so if anybody can think of a way to implement it, let me know. I expect a cut of the action for coming up with the idea, but I don't want to be the one on the receiving end of those calls . . . I hate talking on the phone.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hot for what?

I'm not sure how I feel about this . . .

Browse Inside this book
Get this for your site

I'm a fan of books about words, but this seems a little . . . uh . . . smutty. Maybe I'm being a bit of a prude. What do you think? Wordplay or wordporn?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

From Amie's bookshelf

Several years ago at a seminar, I heard about a book titled Aha! 10 Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit and Find Your Great Ideas. I mentioned it to one of my more creative friends, and at the next gift-giving holiday received a copy from her.

As you might expect, the book is full of "mini workshop" exercises designed to help the reader enhance his or her creativity. I completed exactly two of them before I shelved the book. I didn't even make it to the 10 strategies, which aren't presented until Part 2 of the volume.

It's not a bad book--I suspect I just don't have the patience to work on enhancing my creativity. Or perhaps I just don't want to get all introspective about what might be holding me back from being as creative as I can be. Or possibly it's some combination of the two.

Whatever the reason, it has collected dust on the bookshelf in my office until today, when I was casting about the room for inspiration for this post. And now that it has served its purpose, it will go back to the shelf until the day I find myself in need of a creative booster shot. Hopefully when that day comes I'll be mentally in the right place to learn the lessons I know are contained within its pages.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


The other night, quite out of the blue, one of my friends said, "if you can regurgitate something, why can't you gurgitate it?" This led us to discuss a few other "words" that lose their meaning when you remove the "re-" prefix, the funniest of which (after "gurgitate") was "peat" (as in, "I already peated it once, don't make me repeat it.").

I have since thought up a few more:
  • lease/release
  • quire/require
  • main/remain
  • duce/reduce
  • tard/retard (not in the really un-PC way, but the "to impede" way)
  • linquish/relinquish
  • buke/rebuke

I think I'm going to try a few of these out in normal conversation, just to see the reactions I get. Now if you'll excuse me, I think it's time to gurgitate my breakfast . . .