Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hiatus (Hopefully Brief)

Hey guys just letting you know that I probably won't be around much this week. There's some stuff going on with my family and things are really tough right now.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to make any blog visits this week, maybe not next week either. I wrote Thursday and Saturday's post before all this happened, so at least that's there, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to write any posts for the upcoming weeks. Yeah, it's that bad.

Please bear with me until I can get going again. I hope it won't be long.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


The trouble with Twitter (besides them, you know, canceling Tweetdeck) is that you never know if when you follow someone, they’re going to end up DMing you with an ad for their book. Or for you to follow them on Facebook.

I’m not even kidding. I tweeted that and ten seconds later I got a DM with that message. It’s like they’re taunting me.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Language of Confusion: Official

Liz mentioned a couple of weeks ago wondering where the word staple came from, so of course I wondered two and now here we go, looking at all the basic office supplies.

Pen—like for writing, not animals—showed up in the late thirteenth century from the Old French pene, a quill. It comes from the classical Latin penna, feather, and even further back the Proto Indo European pet-na-, which is related to pet-, or fly. Basically, since we used bird feathers as pens, the word for feather morphed into pen.

Now, you might be thinking that pencil is related. They’re at least close, right? Ha ha, no. Not even a little. Pencil showed up in the early fourteenth century meaning an artist’s brush made of camel hair, coming from the Old French pincel, artist’s paintbrush and classical Latin penicillus, paint brush, or peniculus, brush. Oh, and apparently that peniculus comes from the Latin word penis, which means exactly what you think it means. It also means tail. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

Paper showed up in the mid fourteenth century from the Anglo French paper and Old French papier. That word comes from the classical Latin papyrus, (from the Greek papyros) which you might recognize as a store or an annoying font. It’s also the plant that paper was originally made from way back in ancient Egypt, where it was first invented.

And now for the word that started this crazy journey. Staple showed up in the late thirteenth century, more than a century before the other definition of staple. However, staple originally just meant a piece of metal with pointed ends, and not the thing that you used on paper until 1895. The metal staple comes from the Old English stapol, a tree trunk or post, and before that the Proto Germanic stapulaz/stap- and Proto Indo European stebh, the origin word for staff. The other staple comes from the Anglo French estaple and Old French also estaple, a stall or market. That word is most definitely Germanic in origin as many old Germanic languages use a variant of staple to mean market, but the details are unknown. And it’s probably related to the other staple. Maybe. Possibly.

Yeah, sorry about that. It’s kind of a non-answer. This was really a weird week etymology wise.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

From The Spamfiles

It’s been something like two months since I’ve had one of these! To anybody who’s new to this whole thing, The Spamfiles is where I keep track of all the weird, stupid, and downright perplexing spam messages I get. Case in point…

So am I going to get any explanation as to how you’ve been probing around my stomach? Because I’m way more interested in that.

By a “similar” surname, they mean different in every possible way.

Your life is at stake! These bomb emojis are going to kill you!

And now for all you bear blinding enthusiasts, here’s the flashlight for you!

Justified ball moves currently in my brain cage!!!

And now for all you Twitter users out there, here’s a way to grow your followers naturally, without the use of pesticides or fertilizers.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


My mom really loves getting new purses. Like, insanely so. Personally, I don’t see the appeal, but whatever.

It was not the small.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Language of Confusion: Gardens

We’re looking at the word garden today, although not just the word garden or it would be a short post. We’re also looking at regard and wondering why the hell the suffix -gard is so different from the prefix gard-. Because these are the kinds of things that bother me.

Garden showed up in the late thirteenth century as a noun and then in the late sixteenth century as a verb. It comes from the Old North French gardin, which is basically a garden, but also an orchard or “palace grounds”. That word comes from the Vulgar Latin phrase hortus gardinus, enclosed garden—and for the record, it’s hortus that means garden in classical Latin and no one’s sure about a lot of Vulgar Latin, so who the hell knows where gardinus came from. And it should also be noted that the word yard is actually related to it, too. It comes from the Old English geard, which just means yard. Before that it was the Proto Germanic gardaz, which happens to be another descendant of hortus gardinus.

Now for regard. I’m sure this won’t be stupid or confusing in any way. It showed up in the mid fourteenth century meaning consider, which is pretty close to the definition we have today, coming from the Middle French regarder, to look at, and Old French regarder (it’s a different language so it’s a different word!), take notice of. The re- prefix is just intensive here and garder is just look or heed. And oh yeah, it’s related to guard. And ward. But not garden.

TL;DR: We’re totally using the wrong word for garden. And yard.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Death Of Tweetdeck

Well, I guess it’s not technically dead. They were all “Oh it’s still online so it’s not like it’s really gone! Ha ha—wait, why are you all leaving?” Like we don’t know that they canceled the desktop version of Tweetdeck because they don’t get any ad revenue from it.

Twitter has made some really annoying changes over the years. The worst part is they aren’t awful. Yes, that makes sense, shut up. The changes they’ve made aren’t anything that would make someone quit. But they do make it a lot suckier to use. Case in point: stop calling Favorites Likes damn it this isn’t Facebook. And like dropping the desktop version of Tweetdeck. Yeah, it’s lame as hell, but you’re not going to quit and trash all of your followers for it.

But I really liked being able to access Twitter without having to go through my browser. I especially liked the fact that it presented your lists in easy to read columns where you could keep your important/interesting follows separate from the ones that are basically spambots. Overall, I liked the convenience and presentation of Tweetdeck more than Twitter itself. So obviously I’m going to find something to replace it rather than use the damn browser version. Seriously, Twitter must think I’m stupid.

And that’s how I found Janetter. It’s basically another Tweetdeck, but…well, it’s not a perfect one. Here, let me break it down for you:

---Can hit enter to tweet again. The fact that you couldn’t do that on Tweetdeck really bugged me.
---Has little wavy lines to show when you’ve caught up to tweets that you’ve already read.
---Still calls Favorites Favorites. Honestly, this may be the clincher.

---The settings aren’t very intuitive, so they can be hard to figure out.
---Does not show favorites or RTs : (. Unless there’s some way to do it through the settings that I can’t figure out (see above).
---Can’t click on a tweet and see all the responses to it. Kind of annoying that you see a response and can’t figure out what it’s for without going to Twitter.
---Interface is a bit jerky, and it can be slow at displaying new Tweets.

So that’s it. In all, it’s an acceptable substitute. Plus we have Favorites. I really, really like that.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


After something like ten years, the bulb in my bedroom lamp burned out. So I got a new one. It…went about as well as you can expect for me.

I swear, it’s so bright that it turns night into day for the whole neighborhood.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Language of Confusion: -Plete

Back to words! Yay!

I’ve always wondered about complete. As it turns out, it showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French complet, full, and classical Latin completus, which means…complete. Ah, how I missed words that haven’t changed meaning at all over the centuries. Anyway, completus is the past participle of the verb complere, to complete, generally referring to filling up the number of something (like completing a legion by filling it up with soldiers). It’s a mix of the prefix com-, which is just intensive here, and plere, fill or fulfill. Plere can be traced the Proto Indo European ple-, which might be related to pele-, to fill. Or it might not because even though that makes sense sometimes words are stupid.

Deplete showed up in 1807, yes, an exact year! Well, depletion actually showed up a hundred and fifty years earlier in the mid seventeenth century. It comes from the Late Latin depletionem, which means blood-letting. Really! That word in turn comes from the classical Latin deplere, to empty. The de- part means off or away and plere, fill. So it’s fill away, or take away—deplete. Like when you drain someone’s blood to remove a disease. Boy, am I glad we don’t do that anymore.

Finally today, we’re looking at replete. It showed up in the late fourteenth century like complete did, coming from the Old French replet, filled up and classical Latin repletus, full. So it has pretty much the same history as complete, just with a different prefix. Repletus comes from replere, refill, which makes sense since re- means again. I’m not sure how it got from refilling something to being overfull of something. Especially since it happened somewhere between the Latin tenses of the word. I can kind of see it but still…


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A-to-Z Challenge: Reflections

Well, April is over and we are back to “normal” blogging. I had a lot of fun with it of course, but man, did it get exhausting. There were some days I was so wiped that had to force myself just to respond to comments. I’d still do it again, though.

There were a lot of great blogs out there with a lot of great posts. Beautiful pictures, interesting stories, words I had never heard of. I’m just sorry that I didn’t have the time to comment on all the cool posts. If I skipped you, sorry! It’s not you, it’s me, I swear!

Anyway, I don’t have any real comments on how to improve it. My only complaint has nothing to do with the Challenge itself. It’s about Google+ and how much I absolutely loathe it. It’s the worst, most unintuitive system I’ve ever come across and that includes Windows 8. And unfortunately, a lot of people have their blogs connected through Google+, which means increasing frustration as I tried to figure out how to get to their Challenge posts when Google+ keeps trying to get me to sign in no I will not, leave me alone with your crappy excuse of a social network, Google.

Um. Okay. Got a bit carried away there.

So what about you? Did you have fun during April, whether or not you participated in the Challenge? Or do you just want to burn down Google+ and its incessant badgering to get you to join?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Secret Origins: One

It’s been a while since we’ve done zero and I figured since we’ve just had a month of words, why not a number?

One is an ancient number, perhaps the oldest recorded one. A bone found in the Congo from twenty thousand years ago has notches that indicate counting by ones. One itself has had some interesting forms over the centuries. The Greeks actually used α'. Seriously, an alpha with a quote mark. It was also a curvy Arabic line, the Roman Numeral I, a single dot for the Mayans, a — in Chinese, and a kind of squished N in Hebrew. Most of those make sense as they’re just single lines or dots, and apparently Greek numbers used to be just the letters of their alphabet with a quote mark at the end (their 2 for example is β').

The 1 that we use however is first recorded India in the fourth century CE, but had actually been in use for quite a while before that. It moved through the Arabic world, which changed and modified all of the Indian number symbols. One was a — in ancient India, but a 1 in Arabic, and believe me, it’s the least changed. You’ll see when we eventually get to the other numbers. Anyway, from there the numeral system spread across northern Africa, entering Europe by way of Spain.

Now for the word. One showed up in the early thirteenth century from the Old English an, one or single, and is also the origin for an. And a for that matter. The article, not the letter (yes, they’re really separate things). Seriously. Anyway! Before Old English, it was the Proto Germanic ainaz and earlier, the Proto Indo European oi-no-, one or unique. So because one is single, it is one. Okay. Sure.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May Goals

Well, with the Challenge over, it’s time to get back to my regular posts, which means that it’s time to look at my goals for this month. But first, let’s look at how I did last month…

April Goals
1. The Challenge! Visit at least five new blogs every day. At least finding new ones won’t be a problem!
I did the Challenge! I overestimate how many blogs I’d have time to visit though. I usually got to at least one new one every day. Sometimes it’s best to set ambitious goals even if you know you won’t make it.

2. The pattern is done, so do some actual writing this time, dammit!
Ha ha! I actually did it! I was able to write! And I was sooooooo happy!

3. Spring Cleaning. Yeah, I’m making this a goal. Might as well have an easy one :P.
Well, it was seventy degrees out at the beginning of the month! Then it snowed. Then it rained. Then it was seventy degrees out again. Spring Cleaning was a little more erratic than I expected.

Not bad! At least there were no huge disasters.

May Goals
1. Look at revisions for old projects and see what needs to be done.

2. Come up with a plan for what I want to write next. In addition to the revising, I should look at doing something brand new.

3.  Update the Etymology page on the blog. It’s been a while…

So that’s my May. What are you up to?