Saturday, November 17, 2018


My sister’s landlord made her give up her cat ( :( ) so she gave it to my mom, who is pretty much the person you can give cats to.
 Most of the time the cats just sleep on the furniture. I mean, they are people after all.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Language of Confusion: Figs

Figure showed up in the thirteenth century, first just meaning a number and then a century later meaning the image of a person, and also the verb form. Although again, initially the verb didn’t mean what we know it as (as in, to figure something out). It used to just to represent, then make a likeness of. It wasn’t until the seventeenth century that it meant “picture in the mind”, and then not until 1833 was it used in math. It comes from the Old French figure, which could mean shape or body, the form of a word, or a symbol. Funny how initially only one of those definitions was used in English. Anyway! Before that, it comes from the classical Latin figura, shape or figure, which is related to figurare, to shape or figure and from the Proto Indo European root dheigh-, form or build. Which is where we get the other words we’re looking at today.

Figment showed up in the early fifteenth century from the classical Latin figmentum, figment or fiction, which is also derived from figura. Also, configure showed up in the late fourteenth century as to form or “to dispose in a certain form” because words are weird. It comes from the classical Latin configurare, to configure, a mix of the prefix con- (with or together) and figurare, to shape. To configure is to shape together. Which means reconfigure is to shape together again. Similarly, transfigure is trans- (across or beyond) + figurare, to shape beyond.

There are a bunch of other words that are descended from dheigh-. Effigy is ex- (out) plus fingere, another word that also means form or shape. Feign, feint, fiction… But not significant. Which is from sign.

We’ll get into those other words another time.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I Voted

This isn’t a political post. I try to stay away from that stuff on my blog as I find it too depressing. This is just a story of an actual thing that happened to me when I went to vote.

Let me set the scene: I went up to the table where they made me show them my license (an evil practice) and sign in. I sign my name, take my license back. And…

Lady: Oh! You used cursive.

Me: It’s just a signature.

L: You never see cursive these days.

Me: That’s because there’s no use for it.

L: Well… what if you have to read it?

Me: I’ve literally never had to do that. Everything is digital these days anyway.

L: But… what if you went to Washington DC? You’d have to read it then.

Me: …I can’t imagine a scenario where I’d actually have to read something in cursive. Like, ever. Even DC has to be digital these days. It’s the only way to survive.

Finally she shut up and gave me my ballot so I could get the hell out of there. Seriously, what is with people clinging to this useless, dead writing system like its ubiquitous and we’re harming ourselves by not using it? I am not exaggerating when I say I’ve never had to read cursive since I was forced to learn it in the third grade. There are people who worship cursive like it’s some sort of deity.

Well, it’s not. It’s illegible, pointless, and obsolete. Deal with it.

And if I’m going to DC, I’m going to be bashing in skulls, not reading.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Language of Confusion: Foul

A relatively short one this week.

Foul showed up in Old English as ful, which means corrupt or impure (sometimes full was spelled that way, just to make things confusing). It comes from the Proto Germanic fulaz, which can be traced to the Proto Indo European pu-, rot or decay. And one theory is that that word is echoic, as in, people would make that sound when smelling something bad, so it became a word.

And do you know what other words come from pu-? Pus, unsurprisingly. It showed up in the late fourteenth century from the classical Latin pus, pus (eye roll). Also related is putrid, which showed up in the early fifteenth century from the Latin putridus, bad or rotten, from the verb putere, to stink.

Filth is also related, being derived from foul. It was fylรพ in Old English (meaning it was pronounced the same as filth) and meant dirt, and that word was taken from ful. It’s also an example of what’s called i-mutation, which is when people get lazy with pronouncing the o/u sound and start pronouncing it e/i. So instead of “foulth” we say “filth”.

Laziness! It’s how language evolves!

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

November Goals

Less than two months left in the year. How did this happen? What was I even supposed to do last month?

October Goals
1. Start with the beta reads. And as a corollary, don’t have a panic attack from the beta reads.
I actually didn’t do this because everyone I knew was busy or vanished somewhere into the aether of the internet. The blog-o-sphere isn’t as active as it used to be.

2. Figure out if I’m ready to start a new WIP.
Considering I started it, the answer would have to be yes.

3. Try to distract myself from the beta reading/imminent doom.
Kind of unnecessary.

Seriously, the beta thing was such a bust. There are like three people who owe me reads who are just plain gone. Plus the last time I did this, there was still a lot of those blog events people hosted where you could find a bunch of like-minded people to exchange stories with. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve seen one of those.

The above is kind of feeling like a big old pile of excuses, so let’s just move on to next month:

November Goals
1. Keep searching for beta readers.

2. Get up to 40K on my new WIP (already at about 18K, so this is certainly possible).

3. <shudder> Thanksgiving.

So that’s what I want to do this month. What are you up to? Want to do some beta reading (you can email me here)?

Saturday, November 3, 2018


Seriously, how are these passing inspection? They need to do something about those brakes.
It even woke Veronica up and she’s going a bit deaf in her old age.