Tuesday, August 26, 2014



I'm gone until next Tuesday! Send cake!

I think I put more effort into this than anything else this week.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Guest Post: William Kendall

My vacation starts today! WOOO! And William was nice enough to give me a post so I don't have to do any, you know, work. Enjoy his awesome Sharknado post. He actually knows the actors, which I'm impressed about because I always just thought they were dolls the director danced around in front of the camera. Well, you learn something new every day. Now I'm going to go play video games until my eyes bleed. Later!

Washed Up Has-Beens Killed In Bizarre Incident; Studio Scrambles To Find Solution

Los Angeles (AP) The producers of the Sharknado franchise are in crisis mode after their stars, on a

publicity tour in Great Britain, were killed in a most horrific fashion by what some are calling a freak

of nature, others calling poetic justice. Anthony Ferrante and David Latt met reporters for a press

conference at their ramshackle studio The Asylum. “We must confirm the terrible news from Glasgow,”

Ferrante told reporters. “Ian Ziering and Tara Reid have passed away after injuries sustained in a most

unfortunate incident.”

Unfortunate incident would be an understatement. Ziering and Reid co-starred in the first two SyFy

films about killer sharks caught up in tornadoes in Los Angeles and New York. The films with laughable

special effects and no regard for science seemed to have caught on with audiences, for one of two

reasons. Either they have no personal taste, or they like laughing at horribly cheesy films. The pair of

actors, who credited the two films with reviving stalled careers and giving them enough money to pay

off loan sharks, were in Glasgow doing publicity work for the second film. A third Sharknado, previously

announced as Sharknado: Jumping The Shark had already been announced.

The actors were in King’s Park in the southern stretches of the city, speaking with reporters about the

next film, which early word has said will be set in the United Kingdom. “We wanted the Queen to do a

cameo in the film,” Latt told reporters. “But Buckingham Palace sent back what seemed to be a rather

impolite reply telling us to drop dead. I don’t know why, maybe she’s holding out for a bigger part. I

mean who wouldn’t want to do a Sharknado film?”

Witnesses described what happened next, and the incident was caught on film. Ziering and Reid were

speaking about how grateful they were to have paying work again when a flurry of motion converged

on the pair from all sides, low to the ground, a horde of white rabbits, all of whom seemed unconcerned

with the presence of the media. They were later confirmed to be Killer Rabbits, an occasional pestilence

in the British Isles since the time of King Arthur, according to the resident experts on the subject, Monty

Python alumni Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. “Nasty blighters,” Jones said. “What no one realized at the

time we made that film was that the decapitations and bloody gore of the Killer Rabbit scene was real.”

“Mind you, a horde of Killer Rabbits exterminating those two actors isn’t such a bad thing, is it?” Gilliam

chimed in.

Ziering and Reid were viciously and sadistically attacked by the Killer Rabbits, which swarmed all over

them both. Ziering’s head was later found in a nearby fountain with a look of stunned surprise on his

face. Within thirty seconds, it was all over. And for some strange reason, the Killer Rabbits never even

harmed the reporters, simply took their leave of the scene.

Prime Minister Cameron addressed the matter from Ten Downing, speaking to reporters. “Look, if

it was someone who mattered, we might be inclined to announce a culling of the Killer Rabbits, but

we’re talking about Steve Sanders, or whatever the hell his real name was, and an actress who went

overboard with plastic surgery. I ask you, will anyone really miss them?”

Latt and Ferrante were beside themselves. “We’re going to have to rewrite the whole third movie,

recast the leads. Unless we can cobble together shots from the earlier film with some green screen and

dub their voices,” Ferrante said. “Do you think that would work?”

Former co-stars of Beverly Hills 90210 were asked for their comment on the matter. Jason Priestley

sighed in frustration when stopped by reporters. “Look, I haven’t spoken to Ian in years, and I really

want to put those days behind me and concentrate on building my career. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I

have to judge a doughnut contest.”

Shannen Doherty, who has spent years blowing up bridges professionally, did comment on the matter,

but her remarks were so filled with obscene language as to be unfit for publication. In this reporter’s

opinion, she needs therapy.

We leave the last word to Brian Austin Greene. “Wow,” the vacant looking former David Silver said upon

hearing the news. “That’s just awful. I don’t know what to say. Except, well... do you think they’d recast

me for the third Sharknado?”

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Language of Confusion: -Cute-y Pie

Shut up, it’s a good title. Anyway, I think it’s weird that cute shows up as a suffix in so many words when it means, well, cute. So why is that? Well, it turns out that cute isn’t even the origin word here—acute is. Cute is a shortening of it that showed up in the early eighteenth century, and it just meant clever. A century later, it started to mean pretty for some reason (I guess clever is pretty?).

Acute showed up several centuries earlier in the late fourteenth century. Have you ever noticed that in medicine, a disease can be referred to as “acute”? Well, that was its original meaning, an illness that comes and goes quickly. It was the opposite of a chronic disease. It moved into general usage as a word for sharp or irritating in the fifteenth century, and then intense in the eighteenth. Acute comes from the classical Latin (of course) acutus, which has meanings ranging from sharp and quick to keen and cunning. It’s the past participle of acuere, sharpen.

So how about the other words that end in -cute? Execute first showed up in the late fourteenth century, coming from the Old French executer, and before that the Medieval Latin executare and classical Latin execut-, a prefix meaning, well, execute (not in the capital punishment sense but in the do something sense). The -cute is really a coincidence as the Latin word for execute is exequi. The ex- is a prefix meaning out and the -equi comes from sequi-, follow. It should not surprise anyone to learn that that word is where we get sequel from. So, execute is follow out and the -cute suffix is a coincidence.

Persecute is a lot like execute. It showed up in the mid-fifteenth century basically meaning the same thing it does today. It comes from the Middle French persécuter, pursue or torment, and classical Latin persecutus, the past participle of persequi, pursuit. The per means through and again, the sequi part means follow, meaning persecute really means “follow through”.

When prosecute first showed up in the early fifteenthcentury, it meant follow up or pursue. It comes from the classical Latin prosecutus, the past participle of prosequi, continue or follow after. It didn’t start having to do with the law until the late sixteenth century, although it kind of makes sense since prosecuting is following someone with the law. Kind of. Loosely. The prefix pro- means forward, making this word “follow forward”.

Electrocute is funny. First of all, it’s a very recent word, showing up in the late nineteenth century when we started killing people with electricity. It’s just a mix of electro- and execute! Oh, and it’s one hundred percent American English made. We should be so proud.

TL;DR: Cute comes from acute. All other words with the suffix -cute come from the word for sequel.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Week Before

Well, I’m going on vacation next week and am already checked out mentally, so expect this week to be very phoned in. Possibly literally if I end up doing a post on my phone.

Anyway, here’s a picture of a cat snuggling with a stuffed animal.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

More from the Spamfiles

Remember how my computer crashed and I lost, like, sixty spam pics I was going to put up on the Spamfiles? Yeah, I don’t have to worry about that anymore. My current count is about seventy five, which if you’re bad at math is more than what I had. So the spam gods have been good to me. Time to share the wealth, right?

In particular what I want to show you is the latest “trend” in spam I’ve been receiving. Check it out…

The sender’s name is fairly odd, and the subject line is a big old red flag: the enlargement of an organ I don’t possess. The preview of the message contents is the real gem, though. It’s like someone put a sentence through a translator two or three times to drain it of all coherence. Clicking on the message does not yield more spammy nonsense but a broken image (thanks to Google’s spam blockers, of course). Too bad because I’d like to know where some of these sentences are going.

And I just




Oh, look! One for watches!

I’ll be up all night wondering what Jenna and the table found so funny.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Lost in Translation: February

I did the first one of these in January, and now I’m finally getting around to the second month. At this rate, I should etymologize the rest of the months by 2021!

February—the word, not the month—first showed up in the late fourteenth century, although for a century beforehand we used feoveral, from the Old French Feverier. But apparently the French wasn’t good enough for us, so we decided to spell as it is in Latin, which makes sense since the Old French comes from the classical Latin februarius mensis anyway. Now, that februarius mensis actually means “the month of purification”. The word it comes from is februum, which literally means purgation, a word I had not heard before and absolutely adore . But although we didn’t use any version of February before the thirteenth century, we did still have a name for the month: solmonað, pronounced solmonath, which means “mud month” in Old English. Appropriate, isn’t it? PS. That monað is where we get the word month from.

So why did the Romans name the month the way they did? January was named after a god (Janus). February isn’t so certain. There is an old Etruscan god called Februus, and like I said, the word februum means purge, and at that time of year there was a “festival of purification”, i.e. a purge. But it’s not certain if February was named for the god or the festival or what, just that they’re all connected.

Back when I talked about January, I mentioned that the Roman calendar which ours derives from only had ten months, from March to December. February was added around the time Rome was founded before 700 BCE. Originally, February had a mere twenty three days, but then it was made twenty eight in the effort to make a calendar that made a modicum of sense. Of course, it was only three hundred and fifty five days, and added more on a whim, but baby steps. It wasn’t until 46 BCE that Julius Caesar insisted on making a calendar that wasn’t pure stupid.

TL;DR: February was named for mud, then for purification (or purgation). Also, it has twenty eight days because people don’t know how to make calendars.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Something Shiny

As in, a shiny new WIP. I really didn’t intend for it to happen, but once it popped into my head, I just had to start writing it down. It’s the absolute worst time for it. Not only am I taking a break at the end of the month, there’s another project that I have to edit and a third that I should be editing.

But. I have to give into it. It’s too good not to.

I’ve written horror before, once for a NaNoWriMo project, and then again for that side-blog project I did last year. Both were okay I guess, paranormal in nature, word count below 50K so not even novels. This one however I think will be at least 60K. It’s also not a bit paranormal, but one hundred percent psychological: four kids go to an abandoned house to shoot a movie. Only two come back. And that’s all you get.

I haven’t been able to think up a name that’s good enough for it, so for now, it’s just going to be “The WIP”. It also has, shall we say, unusual POVs. One is first person. The second, the major POV for the book, is third person present (it’s actually narrated by the person doing the first person). And the third is first person past, and a completely different narrator, which means a completely different voice is needed. I haven’t nailed it yet, but after the book is down, I’ll separate out the different narrations and edit-edit-edit until they’re night and day.

So that’s what I’m up to when I should be editing, and it’s sooooo much fun. How’s it going with your projects? What do you think about different POV’s?

PS: I know there were some maybes on my request for guest posts. Is anyone still interested? Please let me know.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Random Thoughts

---Things that happen to me. I see an interesting fact. I go, “This would make a great random thought!” I think it’s too much trouble to write it down, so I’ll just “remember” it. I immediately forget it.
---For some reason, I can no longer directly copy urls out of my Google Chrome address bar. It’s been this way ever since the lamentable crash, though I had no trouble with it before that and have no trouble copying out of Firefox. I’ve been on a million websites looking for solutions, and so far, zilch. Apparently this is an issue several people have had over the years, and the only solution I found is NOTHING. It makes doing my etymology posts, which require much copying and pasting, most irritating.
---If you ever hear of some solution to this, please share, because this is driving me crazy. Well, crazier.
---“Bear falls through skylight, eats birthday cupcakes”. That’s what you get for not throwing him a birthday party.
---Plus, there’s also that bear that climbed into someone’s hammock. You sure as hell won’t want to kick him out.
---If you want to give your neighbors’ children a doll as a gift, maybe leaving it on their doorstep with no note like some sort of doppelganger isn’t the best way to go. Just saying, it’s a little creepy.
---Ever see a television commercial and think that somewhere out there, there’s a woman who admitted to needing adult diapers on national television?
---The things that I ponder.
---I’m glad I’m not an actor. If I was, I’d definitely be doing adult diaper commercials.
---Apparently people who can’t understand sarcasm are more likely to suffer dementia. What about people who exclusively use sarcasm? Do we develop some kind of super resistance to it?
---“Humans can fly! Wingsuits on YouTube.” Annnnnnd ignore.
---“Over 90% Of Human DNA May Be Completely Worthless. Do with this what you will, fellow sci-fi writers.
---Man, are these the only random thoughts I could come up with? I really need to start noting down more of the things I stumble across. This is getting embarrassing.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Language of Confusion: Familial III

Okay, this is the last bunch. I don’t think we name any other relatives besides these.

Cousin showed up in the mid twelfth century, from the Old French cosin, which besides meaning cousin, also meant nephew or a relative in general. Further back it’s the classical Latin consobrinus, a weirdly cool looking word that just means cousin. Like uncle and aunt being specific to a particular parent’s side of the family, consobrinus was too, originally just meaning your mother’s sister’s son (and no, I don’t know what the other ones are). Man, they sure were specific in Latin. Also, you can go a bit further into the etymology. Consobrinus is a mix of com- (it switched to n), meaning together, and sobrinus, another Latin word for cousin, again, specific to cousins on the mother’s side (though slightly less specific than mother’s sister’s son). Plus sobrinus comes from soror, sister (as in, sorority). The TL;DR here is: cousin is a combination of the prefix com- and the word sister.

Niece showed up in the early fourteenth century, from the Old French niece/niepce, and classical Latin neptia, which actually means granddaughter. In fact, until the early seventeenth century, we actually used niece to mean granddaughter or another distant female descendent. Interestingly, there was another word used for niece before niece: the Old English nift. That word comes from the Proto Germanic neftiz.

Nephew showed up at the same time as niece, in the early fourteenth century. It also comes from Old French, in this case neveu, grandson, and before that the classical Latin nepotem (if that looks familiar, it’s because it’s the origin word for nepotism). Nepotem means grandson—neptia is actually the feminized version of it—and it also was used more broadly until the seventeenth century. Plus, before we used the Latin version, we used the Old English nefa.

Finally, I’m going to talk about the prefixes grand- and great-, but only as they relate to relatives (ha!). People started using grand to mean someone of an older generation in about the thirteenth century. Anglo French started the trend that would give us grandparent (they started using graund dame for grandmother), but Latin and Greek were doing the same thing, so you can’t really say they invented it. It’s similar with great, although it wasn’t in common use until the early fifteenth century, and it was basically a transliteration of what other languages were using to describe older relatives.

So that’s it for relatives. Did you have fun?

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August Goals

Ugh, I really didn’t get enough done in July, and I don’t even have to look at my list to know that.

July Goals

1. Do something about that query and then send out another set. Not that I’m expecting much…
Did not do this. Honestly, I was feeling too disheartened. After getting so many rejections, I needed a self-esteem break.

2. Finally get to the read aloud of REMEMBER that I meant to do months ago and never did. If I’m not too distracted by something shiny.
Ha-ha! Take that, shiny distractions! I got this done!

3. Work on recreating some of the projects I lost when my computer crapped out on me. Most of them I could care less about, but there are a couple of things I really liked, even if they’re just for me.
This too. Kind of. It’s not like it was a well-defined goal. I guess it’s a win since I can’t technically lose.

All right, let’s see what I’m up to this month…

August Goals

1. Work on REMEMBER notes. I’m only putting “work on” because it is vacation month after all. Plus…well, you’ll see in my next goal.

2. Add 20K to my new WIP. Yes, you read that right. I started another one. The idea was nagging at me and I couldn’t ignore it!


Well, I know I’ll be able to do number three. What about you? What are you guys up to this month?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Second One

I’m pretty sure my mother hates me because she said I had to watch Sharknado 2 with her. I don’t know why she’s so mean.

This movie was the most terrible of all movies, and that’s saying something because I saw the first one. First of all, um, hello? You can’t think of a better name than Sharknado: The Second One? They literally held a contest and that was the one they chose. Let that sink in for a minute. That is how much thought they put into this movie. When given a gigantic pool of names to choose from, they chose the one that represented just how little they cared about it. Anyway! Second, they had to have an increased budget, but apparently it all went towards cameo guest stars (I counted eight) because the sharks still looked made of CGI that would look bad on a Super Nintendo. So we going to do this?

It opens on a plane, where hero-made-of-awesome from the first movie, Finn, (I hate his name and want him to die) is going to New York City with his ex-wife-now-girlfriend Tara Reid. She probably has a name in the movie, but I don’t know what it is. And you know what happens? To this guy who survived the impossible Sharknado but somehow existing from the first one? He looks out the window, where it’s storming outside, and sees a f**king shark. But not before Kelly Osburn appears as a flight attendant to gush all over him for being so damn awesome (seriously, half of this movie is people telling him how great he is).

My mom actually said, “Maybe he’ll look outside and see something on the wing of the plane like William Shatner on that episode of The Twilight Zone.” And no sooner does she say that than that actually happens, although it just crashes into the wing instead of…whatever that gremlin thing was trying to accomplish. Meanwhile, in the flight cabin, the sharks start splattering on the window and one breaks in, isn’t dead somehow, and eats the copilot. And the captain, figuring she’s more important than the plane full of people, tries to save her and he gets killed.

The plane starts falling and even though the cockpit is supposed to be secure, the door flies open and Finn sees there’s no one flying the plane. Because he’s the most heroest hero in all herodom, he makes is way to the front (the plane is still falling!) and takes the wheel. Throttle. Whatever it’s called. Now, entire chunks are being ripped out, but except for the few people who are eaten by the sharks that fall through, not many actually die. Tara Reid of course has to be with Finn, so she crawls to the front and is attacked by a shark. The sky marshal throws her a gun, but the shark just eats her hand. All the while, she keeps screaming this toneless, almost bored “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Aaaaaaaaaaaah.” Even when her hand his eaten she doesn’t do more than raise a decibel.

Anyway, the plane lands and Tara Reid has to go to the hospital to be treated by Doctor Billy Rae Cyrus. But there are other people who have to be saved: Finn’s sister’s family, which includes that guy from Sugar Ray, a girl with stupid hipster glasses, and a boy I assume is supposed to be the quiet, smart type but who really doesn’t do anything in the movie. Mom and hipster girl are off seeing the statue of liberty like some tourists despite being NYC natives, and Sugar Ray and the boy are at a Mets came that’s surprisingly well attended considering that it’s the Mets. Finn calls his sister and tells her the Sharkpocalypse is coming (see how hard that was SyFy? Two frigging seconds that took me!), and she tells him Sugar Ray turned his phone off and has to be rescued from the game with Vivica A. Fox and some guy that gets killed in a few scenes so he doesn’t matter. The game is rained out by sharks and they run to the subway. By the way, tons of product placement here. Every other scene had a big Subway sign somewhere. Once that Jared guy was even there and he went “Eat fresh” for some reason.

They get into a cab driven by the only white, Jewish cab driver in New York (played by Judd Hirsch, because it wasn’t enough for them to wreck what was left of John Heard’s career they had to have his, too). Finn of course wants to throw bombs in the tornados so they all run around and grab weapons and things to make bombs. By the way, Judd Hirsh says there’s no “gun stores” in New York City. Right. Sure.

So they grab their make shift weapons, and meanwhile Matt Lauer and Al Roker are surprisingly chipper as they report that sharks are falling from the sky, and Finn’s sister and hipster girl are running through the city and literally everyone they come in contact with gets eaten by a shark. Or just crushed by the rolling head of the Statue of Liberty. But they get some of those rental bikes and manage to get to the hotel where they planned to meet with the others. Except for poor Judd Hirsch who got eaten by sharks, too.

Meanwhile again, Tara Reid, despite having her hand chewed off, decides to leave the hospital instead of hide in the basement and get doped up on morphine. But she does stop to put on lipstick before she leaves.

Finn and Vivica A. Fox go up to the top floor of that hotel and try slingshotting bombs into the sharknado, which fails, as it should. But it does catch all the sharks on fire so now it’s not just raining sharks (two inches an hour, according to the weather report…I still haven’t figured out WHAT THAT’S SUPPOSED TO MEAN), it’s raining flaming sharks. They start running down the stairs to escape them while the rest of the group is running up the stairs to escape the flood of sharks somehow climbing up them. I…this movie physically hurts me.

Finn of course saves everyone again and Tara Reid rides up in a fire truck. Maybe they mentioned the meet-up spot to her earlier, but I don’t remember it, and anyway, I have no idea how she convinced the fire department to drive her out there.

Next—and I’m not making this up at all—they meet up with the mayor, who literally begs Finn for his help. And after giving everyone a rousing speech, he and Vivica A. Fox go to do some one hundred percent bullsh!t thing that will magically stop the sharknados. Tara Reid, despite having had her hand just ripped off, gets that bland kid to make her a buzz saw arm so she can go after them and save them or whatever. So they do the bullphooey and Vivica A. Fox sacrifices herself to save everyone, not that anyone seems to give a crap, seriously, they don’t even mention her again, and Finn gets launched into the sky where he fights with a chainsaw the mayor gave him. So he’s flying around in the sky and chainsawing sharks and he rides one down and skewers it on the lightning rod on top of the Empire State Building. But he’s not safe yet and he has to climb down and fight more sharks and he reaches inside one and pulls out Tara Reid’s hand, which is still holding a gun.

I mean, frigging hell, that’s even more unlikely than the last movie, when he was swallowed by the same shark that ate that stupid waitress and he chainsawed his way out of it and rescued her. And what does he do but take the ring off the severed hand and propose to Tara Reid, because that’s about as romantic as telling her “I know you wanted to give me a hand, but this was ridiculous” when she was in the hospital. Which he really did. I can see why she divorced him.

This movie…it manages to be more egregious to science and common sense than the last one. But as bad as the last one was, at least it wasn’t constantly talking about how awesome Finn was and he’s the only one who can save everyone. The acting is just as bad, with Finn mistaking screaming for acting and Tara Reid sounding like she’s struggling not to yawn throughout the whole thing. I have to admit, the celebrity cameos were funny, and not so-bad-it’s-good funny, but real funny, and I’m surprised that a production team that doesn’t even manage to choose a decent title put effort into something. Honestly, you can only enjoy this movie if you like awful wrapped in terrible and then sautéed with a thick butter of stupid. Also seasoned with plot holes.

Well, that’s it. The most comprehensive review of Sharknado 2 that you’ll find. On this blog. Enjoy your terrible movie. I suggest bringing alcohol. Lots of alcohol.