Well, it’s Thanksgiving week here in the US and honestly, I’m expecting it to be a very unpleasant one. So I’m partially unplugging this week in hopes of saving my sanity. And because pictures of cats always cheer me up, I’m putting up pictures of my cat Peaches for posts this week.
Here she is, totally broken on the couch after an exhausting day. She actually blends in with it surprisingly well.
One of the cats (Peaches, the orange one) got out of the house one day. Thankfully, she was back in a few hours, yelling at the front door to be let in. She just brought something with her…
I’d like to point out that this happened in the morning, not typical hamburger time. And if someone threw it out the night before…wouldn’t another animal have gotten it already? There are tons of raccoons and possums and other animals that should have devoured it. But no. Peaches found it, brought it home to show me, and then proceeded to eat it in front of me.
Sometimes I really have no ideas on what to etymologize. So I pick some random word and try to find some theme to build around it. This time I saw kind of a square so I’m like…shapes? Have I done that before? And it turns out no, I have not. So here we go!
Square first showed up in the mid thirteenth century, but only as a tool. You know, for measuring right angles...which makes me wonder what they used to make sure the right angle of the tool was in fact a right angle. Imagine that the first one that they used to measure out squares was off by just a little. For centuries, every right angle could have been eighty nine degrees. But I digress. Square the shape actually didn’t come around until the fourteenth century and actually came from the tool. Wow. Anyway, square comes from the Old Frenchesquire/esquarre, and before that the Vulgar Latin exquadra and exquadrare. Those words are a mix of the classical Latin prefix ex-, out, and quadrare, which means to square. Gee, I never would have guessed. And quadrare is actually the origin word for quadrant, too because of course it is.
Circle showed up in the early fourteenth century actually meaning the shape this time. It comes from the Old French cercle, which means circle or hoop, and the classical Latin circulus, ring. And because they have rings in them is why a circus is a circus.
Sphere showed up in the mid fifteenth century from the Middle Englishspere. A sphere back then was literally space; like, they thought that the earth was surrounded by a hollow sphere made up of outer space. I guess it made sense to them. Spere comes from the Anglo Frenchespiere and Old French espere, and before that the classical Latin sphaera, sphere. And once again, the Romans took the word from Greek, where it is sphaira, also sphere. Before that, no one knows. Maybe they made it up when they came up with that ridiculous Earth-in-a-space-sphere idea.
Finally, cone, which has a fairly simple origin. It showed up in the mid sixteenth century from the Middle French cone and classical Latin conus, a cone or helmet peak. That also comes from Greek, where it’s konos, again, cone, and possibly before that the Proto Indo European ko, to sharpen. You know, since cones are sharp. Oh, and I’m not doing triangle. I’m assuming you know what tri + angle adds up to.
TL;DR: The Greeks named the shapes. And all squares could be off. Shut up, it might be true. Go measure all of them and prove it’s not.
What can I say? I like to watch movies. Mostly scary this time, because of course last month was October.
TL;DR: Woman finds a weird story book and reads it to her young son. Weird things start happening, adding to the stress of raising her hyperactive son. And then it gets worse.
I’m definitely ambivalent on this one. The horror is pretty good and I thought the characterization of Amelia, the overwhelmed single mom, was great, but yeah, it definitely has problems. I actually liked the ending, but I can see why other people don’t; in some ways, it’s a non-ending and you’re left with the feeling of not being sure what the hell happened, and not in a good way. Give it a watch if you’re in the mood for a very creepy first half, but you might end up being disappointed in the rest. Unless you’re really into symbolism.
TL;DR: Three roommates obtain a supposedly haunted mirror in order to prove that the supernatural exists. Things…don’t go well.
This movie was okay, though personally, I think Oculus did the whole haunted mirror thing better. I didn’t mind it, but it really didn’t leave much of an impression on me, like to the point that I don’t really have much to say about it. Still, it’s perfectly watchable and you might even like it.
TL;DR: Family goes out for a vacation at their country and when they wake up in the middle of the night to find their son is gone, they realize that someone is out there hunting them.
I would give this a solid seventy percent. It didn’t take any chances or do anything new, but it still managed to have a fairly interesting story. Probably the worst fault is that the end feels a little obvious. I also felt like there wasn’t enough explanation as to the motivations of the villains.
TL;DR: Videographer Aaron takes a job filming a dying man named Josef, who seems a little off. Then he seems really off.
I definitely liked this one, but I found myself constantly asking why Aaron was going along with what Josef wanted, especially as time went on and it became obvious that Josef wasn’t who he claimed to be. This is also a found footage movie, which is totally overdone but actually works here to enhance the creepiness. So if you can ignore Aaron’s questionable choices, then yes, watch it.
TL;DR: Three roommates, Finn, Callie, and Jasper, discover that their dead neighbor has a camera that takes a picture of their apartment…one day in the future.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. At first, I was so annoyed with the tropes that were appearing, especially involving Callie, only for those tropes to be turned completely on their heads. This was a brilliant picture and I definitely recommend checking out this twist on a time travel story. The ending was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.
April! It’s a month, right? So why is it April? And why is April a name? All this, and more, tonight, on Still Writing! Or right now. You know. Whenever is convenient for you.
April first started being called April in the early fourteenth century, where it was aueril (although I think that u was pronounced like a v because letters are dumb). It comes from the Old Frenchavril and classical LatinAprilis, both of which are obviously just April. There are a few theories as to where the Romans (who made the calendar) came up with April. Some think that they took it from the EtruscanApru, which in turn was taken from the Greek Aphrodite. But it also may be from the Latin aperire, to open, like the buds of flowers. Maybe.
Now, while April wasn’t the first name that English called that particular month. Before the 1300s, it was Eastermonað, which looks like “Easter Month” for a reason, namely that’s what it literally translates to. Easter actually comes from the proto Germanicaustron, which meant dawn and was a goddess of fertility and spring. Which would at least fit with the buds of flowers thing from April.
So, because April is the first real month of spring, it has a spring related origin. I guess this one wasn’t much of a mystery. As for the name, it actually started being given to babies in the 1940s and it is just from the month. Seriously, people started naming their children after a month of the year. Obviously we need to start naming kids after other months. Why not February? Sure, it’ll ruin the lives of the first people it’s given to. But then a celebrity will give it to their kid and everyone’ll start using it.
October is over. Time to get back to etymology with even
less of a theme. Today’s word/suffix is: firm. I mean, obviously. Read the title.
Firm showed up as a verb in the early fourteenth century and an adjective in the late fourteenth century—the noun didn’t show up until
about four hundred years after that. Interestingly, the verb first appeared as fermen and the adjective as ferm, although both had pretty much the
same meanings as today. Ferm comes from the Old Frenchferm (we’re so original) and the
classical Latinfirmus, which is just firm,
while fermen comes from the Old French fermer
and classical Latin firmare, to strengthen. Another funny thing
is that the noun firm actually came to us by way of German firma, company, and
Italian firma, signature.
Apparently, the Late Latin idea of confirming by signature passed on to Italian as signature, which
then I guess went to German as a business because…businesses had signatures?
Whatever. That firm also comes from the Latin firmare, which can be traced all
the way back to the Proto Indo Europeandher, hold or support.
Confirm first showed up in the middle of the thirteenth century, making it older than firm. It was originally confirmyn, to ratify, and comes from the Old French confermer, which basically means confirm,
and classical Latin confirmare, also
confirm. Yeah, not a lot of changing with the -firm words. The prefix com- is just used as an intensifier here, which is probably why this word’s meanings
are so close to firm.
Affirm showed up at about the same time as firm, the early fourteenth century.
It comes from the Old French afermier,
affirm, and classical Latin affirmare,
which could mean affirm or to
strengthen or steady. Which is also pretty much the same thing as firm.
Seriously, can we have some variety here? The prefix comes from ad-, to,
so the word is just…to firm. No frigging creativity here.
Finally, infirm. It showed up in the late fourteenth century meaning weak or unsound—so the opposite of firm. It comes from the classical
Latin infirmus, weak,
with the prefix in- meaning “opposite of” here. Which is exactly what I just said. No big mysteries this week, huh?
TL;DR: Firm and all its offshoots are void of originality.
Wow, is it November already? Of course, I think I’ve been saying that every month since January. It just really feels like time is flying by. Anyway, let’s see what I was supposed to be up to last month…
1. Celebrate Halloween as much as humanly possible. I figure with eight hours reserved to sleep each night, I can get a lot of fun in.
I think we can all agree that this was a total success.
2. Tackle some of the books on my TBR list. I know that I don’t usually make reading a goal, but that list is getting ridiculous.
Not nearly enough, but yeah, I did get some of them off : ).
3. I don’t know…WRITE SOMETHING. It would be nice!
Even more not nearly enough! I miss having free time to write…
So I did okay, mostly because I set goals that I knew it was possible for me to reach. It’s important to strive to exceed expectations, but it’s also important not to set yourself up to fail.
Now, for this month.
1. Keep writing! I’ve been so busy doing other stuff that it’s important that I don’t give up.
2. Work on my special secret project. Can’t tell you more about this one yet…
3. Prepare for the nightmare known as Thanksgiving. <shudder>
These are my November plans. What are you guys up to this month?