Dictionary of Awesome: Botryoidal

Botryoidal (BOT-ree-oid-el)

– shaped like a bunch of grapes

I just love that there is a word for something as specific as this. I’m not sure how often I’ll encounter something that I can describe as being botryoidal, but you can be sure I’ll have a word for it when I do!

Dictionary of Awesome

My family is often described as being pretty linguistically gifted. My dad has an impressive vocabulary, and from a young age it was a source of pride for me to have him chime in with “Good word!” while I was talking. I grew up to appreciate especially eloquent or intriguing words, though it wasn’t always easy to work them into conversation.


“Clever wordplay! I like it very much! You must be related to me.” “Only by marriage.”

The trouble was that I often ended up forgetting most of the words I got praise for, making the process of learning them sort of meaningless. Thus, in an attempt to help me remember them, I present to you my Dictionary of Awesome! We’ll start with a few of my old favourites:


Abominable (ah-BOM-ah-nah-ble)

– Unequivocally detestable; loathsome.

– Thoroughly unpleasant or disagreeable

Abscond (ab-SKOND)

– To leave hurriedly and secretly, typically to avoid detection or arrest.

Acquiesce (ak-wee-ES)

– To consent or comply passively, or without protest.

Aesthetic (es-THET-ik)

– Of or concerning the appreciation of beauty or good taste. 

Affinity (ah-FIN-i-tee)

– A natural attraction, liking, or feeling of kinship.

– An inherent similarity between persons or things.

– A relationship or resemblance in structure between species that suggests a common origin.

Alexithymia (ah-lek-sah-THI-mee-ah)

– An inability to describe emotions in a verbal manner

Amalgamate (ah-MAL-gah-mate)

– To combine into a unified or integrated whole; unite.

Anemone (ah-NEM-ah-nee)

– A type of flowering plant.

Annihilate (ah-NI-ah-late)

– To destroy completely; to reduce to nonexistence.

Apocalypse (ah-POK-ah-lips)

– The imminent destruction of the world and the salvation of the righteous.

– Great or total devastation; doom.

Apricity (AP-ris-i-tee)

– The warmth of the sun in the winter.

Archipelago (ar-kah-PEL-ah-go)

– A large group of islands.

– A sea, such as the Aegean, containing a large number of scattered islands

Audacity (auh-DAS-i-tee)

– Fearlessly daring, bold or heedlessness of restraints.

Autodidact (aw-toh-DI-dakt)

– A self-taught person.

Bauble (BAU-ble)

– A showy, usually cheap, ornament; trinket.

Bereft (bi-REFT)

– Deprived of something; lacking something needed or expected.

Betwixt (bi-TWIKST)

– Between.

Cacophony (kah-KOF-ah-nee)

– Jarring, discordant sound; dissonance.

– The use of harsh or discordant sounds in literary composition

Cantankerous (kan-TANG-ker-es)

– Ill-tempered and quarrelsome; disagreeable.

Cataclysmic (kat-ah-KLIZ-mik)

– Severely destructive

Caustic (KOS-tik)

– Capable of burning, corroding, dissolving, or eating away by chemical action.

Charisma (kah-RIZ-mah)

– A rare personal quality; personal magnetism or charm.

Clandestine (klan-DESD-tine)

– Done in secret; needing to be concealed.

Conglomerate (kon-GLOM-ah-rat)

– A corporation made up of a number of different companies that operate in diversified fields.

– A collected mass; a cluster.

Conundrum (kah-NUN-drum)

– A paradoxical, insoluble, or difficult problem; a dilemma

Copious (KOH-pee-es)

– Yielding or containing plenty; large in quantity; abundant.

Cornucopia (kor-nah-KO-pee-ah)

– A goat’s horn overflowing with fruit, flowers, and grain, signifying prosperity.

– An overflowing store; an abundance

Corpulent (KOR-pyah-lent)

– Excessively fat

Couth (kooth)

– Refinement; sophistication

Debacle (di-BAH-kel)

– A sudden, disastrous collapse, downfall, or defeat; a rout.

– A total, often ludicrous failure.

Dodecahedron (doh-dek-ah-HEE-dren)

– Any polyhedron having twelve plane faces.

Epiphany (i-PIF-ah-nee)

– A sudden realization

Gargantuan (gar-GAN-choo-en)

– Of immense size, volume, or capacity; gigantic 

Hyperbole (hi-PUR-bah-lee)

– A deliberate exaggeration of speech or writing used for effect.

Impervious (im-PUR-vee-es)

– Incapable of being penetrated.

– Incapable of being affected

Insatiable (in-SA-sha-ble)

– Impossible to satiate or satisfy

Panache (pah-NASH)

– Style

– A bunch of feathers or a plume, especially on a helmet

Peculiar (pi-KYOOL-yer)

– Unusual or eccentric; odd.

Soliloquy (sah-LIL-ah-kwee)

– A dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character talks to himself or herself or reveals his or her thoughts without addressing a listener; a specific speech or piece of writing in this form of discourse.

– The act of speaking to oneself

Suave (SWAV)

– Smoothly agreeable and courteous with a degree of sophistication

Usurp (yoo-SURP)

– To seize and hold by force and without legal authority.

– To take over or occupy.

Feel free to comment with your favourite words!

TIL He’s Not An Asshole, He’s Just An Introvert

Does it sometimes feel like your boyfriend doesn’t want to talk to you?

Does he seem annoyed when you ask him a lot of questions about his day?

Does it sometimes feel like he just wants to be left alone?


… or, he might just be an introvert.

An introvert??

While most people have heard the terms “introvert” and extrovert”, it seems that many only know how to identify the latter. Introverts often get mislabelled as “moody” or “anti-social”, when the fact is that, when cared for correctly, they’re neither. The trick is that they’re likely to become moody, and may seem anti-social, if you try to treat them like an extrovert– Your spending the weekend at home alone? That’s awful! Turn on the radio! Invite a friend over! 

When extroversion is all you’ve known, it can be hard to imagine that anyone could actually enjoy being alone, so we tend to assume that introverts seek solitude because they’re angry or anti-social. However, as is explained in an absolutely fantastic comic I recently read, this is far from the case:


Once you identify someone as an introvert and understand what separates them from extroverts, it can completely change the way you interact with them (and often, for the better). For example, most introverts aren’t likely to be incredibly fond of idle chit-chat. They’re happy to talk when they have something to say, but they don’t feel the need to talk just for the sake of talking. DON’T TAKE THEIR SILENCE AS A SIGN OF ANGER.


As an extrovert, it’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that when someone is especially quiet, it means that they’re upset about something. This leads to peppering them with questions about what’s wrong, which only irritates them. Accept that an introvert will likely only talk when they have something relevant to say– silence is not necessarily a sign that something is wrong.

Knowing these sorts of differences can make any relationship run smoother. If you think you may be dating an introvert, consider treating the following as a general guide to interaction:

#12 is probably the cause of more relationship and marital troubles than anyone realizes.


Now, if there are any introverts reading this and thinking, “Ah, if only [insert name of extrovert] knew this”, I highly encourage you to show it to them. This knowledge has drastically change the way I view the actions of the introverts in my life, and I try very hard to respect that we respond to things differently (#12, damn it!). HOWEVER, relationships of any kind are a two-way street. So, introverts of the world, here’s YOUR guide to interacting with your extroverted acquaintances:

Just thinking about #2, #8, and #9 make me feel like a kid in a candy store.


Honestly, you have no idea how much this knowledge will benefit your relationships, be they romantic or otherwise. Suddenly, you’re not panicking over why he got annoyed when you peppered him with questions about his day after work. Now you understand why he’s not keen to hit the club all night with you and your swarm of friends. Now you can finally see that he’s not an asshole, he’s just an introvert!

One Pound of Fat

Whenever I put on a few pounds over the holidays, this comes to mind. I have no idea who wrote it- I think it was emailed to me in a chain letter before the days of Facebook. It’s called, “One Pound”:

“Hello, do you know me? If you don’t, you should. I’m a pound of fat, And I’m the HAPPIEST pound of fat that you would ever want to meet. Want to know why? It’s because no one ever wants to lose me; I’m ONLY 1 POUND after all!

Everyone wants to lose 3 pounds, 5 pounds, or 15 pounds, but never only 1.
So, I just stick around and happily keep you fat.
Then I add to myself, ever so slyly, so that you never seem to notice it.
That is, until I’ve grown to 10, 20, 30 or even more pounds.

Yes, it’s FUN being ONLY 1 POUND OF FAT, left to do as I please.
So, when you weigh in, keep right on saying, “Oh, I only lost one pound.”
For you see, if you do this, you’ll encourage others to keep me around because they’ll think I’m not worth losing.
And, I love being around you – your Arms, your Legs, your Chin, your Hips, your Belly and every part of you.
After all, I’m ONLY ONE POUND OF FAT!!! “

Why You Don’t Deserve A Tip

I’ve seen a number of blogs and posts lately about the various types of customers that servers hate. There’s even a Facebook Page dedicated to the pet peeves of bar and restaurant staff. Having worked front-of-house in bars or restaurants from the ages 14 until 22, I get it. I’ve seen every type of shitty customer mentioned in those “Why Servers Hate You” posts, and yes, I hated each and every one of them.  I highly recommend that every person work a service industry job for a while, if only long enough for them to learn how not to be an asshole when they’re back on the consumer side of the counter.

However, just because you work in an industry where tipping is often customary, that does not make you entitled to receive a tip. You must actually do your job, and you must do it well. I worked very hard as a server, and I earned all the tips I got. I expect you to do the same. If you can’t handle the stress, and you can’t manipulate a bad situation to work in your benefit, then perhaps serving isn’t for you. It’s certainly not for everyone. So, from a former server, to the tip-entitled generation, here’s Why You Don’t Deserve A Tip: 


You’re not an Ethiopian child in a commercial with a Sarah McLaughlin soundtrack. There is a great deal of acting involved in serving, and if you can’t leave your problems at the door and muster a smile, then you shouldn’t be here. If it’s a tragedy, tell your boss you can’t maintain composure enough to work. If he won’t accept that, he’s not the kind of manager you want to work for. If it’s not a tragedy, you need to suck it up.


Don’t just read me what the menu says, I can do that myself. You should have tried most of the items on the menu and be able to say what they taste like, how spicy/sweet/etc. they are, and what alterations or accompaniments you recommend (a great chance to upsell!). A really great server knows everything about the restaurant– all the ingredients and cooking methods, the rarely-used bar stock, and even things about the company history, building and local attractions. Most servers will have to outsource to the kitchen staff or management for information like this, and that’s okay. However, if you have to go to the back to confirm what type of salad dressing you have, then you need to reconsider your employment.


Within 5 minutes or less (and that’s generous), you need to greet your new tables. Longer than that, and they get fidgety. But hey, sometimes shit hits that fan and your section gets really slammed. It sucks, but sometimes it happens. Say it with me servers: “Hey guys, I’ll be right with you!” It only takes a second to swing by, put a hand on the table, smile, make eye-contact, and say that phrase.  It’s actually best done while you’ve got your hands full. That way they know you’re aware of them, and they can see that you’re busy, not texting your friends from the break-room. Typically, this phrase will get you a response of “Oh, no worries!” and will actually grant you a little extra time. When you return, apologize, and start your usual welcome spiel.


This is especially true if my glass is empty, or I have some sort of request. If you have nothing to do, do not stand around and chit-chat unless you have already swung by every table and checked to see if they need anything. You’re still working. Do your job before you socialize. When you walk, walk briskly. Look like you’re awake, perhaps even energetic! And hey, if your section is calm and another is busy, would it kill you to clear some plates for your coworkers? Maybe fill a water or two?


Don’t walk around with your head in the sand! Always be scanning your section, in case someone is trying to get your attention. If a guests’ eyes are wandering around the room instead of looking at their companions, there’s a good chance they’re looking for you. If you’re busy, just catch their eye, smile, and nod. Then at least they know you’re aware that they need something, and will be with them as soon as you can.


When something goes wrong, you will inevitably be the messenger that gets shot over it. Accept that ignorant customers blaming you for things that are out of your control is just part of the package. Learn to apologize gracefully and sincerely, regardless of fault. Don’t try to point fingers at the kitchen or the hostess, even when they’re to blame. You just look immature. If you can’t handle customer complaints gracefully, maybe you should be in the kitchen. 

 If you avoid all the above things, you’ll probably do well as a server. As a customer, I’ll usually give 20% or higher for great service (or if my table was a hassle), 15% for average-good service, 10% for sub-par, and it goes down from there. You don’t get tips just for putting on the name tag– you get tips for doing a good job. If you’re a server who gets shitty tips as often as you complain about getting shitty tips, perhaps it’s a sign that you’re a shitty server…