Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Death Waltz

Have you ever heard of the “Faerie’s Aire and Death Waltz”, AKA “UN Owen Was Her?”? It’s basically a piece of music written for the piano that would be impossible for one person to perform (unless they had a lot of extra fingers). But thanks to the magic of computers, it can be played. It’s the most beautifully insane insanely beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

Take a look at the sheet music for it, and tell me it’s not mind blowing. John Stump, who arranged it, did it as a parody. He had been in the music business since 1967 and arranged the piece sometime before his death in 2006, when his family found it.

Think about how much effort he must have put into making it sound so amazing without being able to play it. Every single note had to be played in his head and translated onto paper. Now go look at your WIP and sob a little as you wonder if you’ll ever be that good at your own craft. That’s what I did.

Well, that’s the right note to leave things on. Later, gators!

Saturday, September 27, 2014


My feelings towards ads range from mild dislike to outright hatred, depending on whether or not I’m forced to watch them—I will refuse to buy a product with an intrusive ad campaign out of spite. God help you if your stupid ad pops up on my screen when I’m trying to watch something. And targeted ads—ugh! (Hm, I’ve been using that word a lot this week…oh well, it fits) Lately, I’ve been trying to watch shows online and I get those ASPCA ads with the sad looking animals. Damn it, I’m trying to watch the Nostalgia Critic to laugh. You’re ruining everything!

So I clicked on that little blue triangle in the corner of the ad to try and figure out how I could make those stop popping up and making me cry. It took me to AdSense Help, and from there, I clicked on “Ad Settings”. Turns out, they make some…suppositions about you based on the sites you visit.

Apparently I’m a guy. And I like bike riding. I had no idea. Good thing Google is around to tell me.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Language of Confusion: Noted

Notes are important! Like, ninety percent of what I do is making notes on things to change in my WIP. So it’s time to find out where that word comes from!

Ugh. Even I find that segue to be badly done.

The verb version of note, which I do all the time, showed up in the early thirteenth century. Like most words, it comes from Old French, in this case noter, which meant pretty much the same thing, just like the classical Latin version, notare/nota. It wasn’t until a century later that it also meant writing something down. Before that, it was just making a mental note, which kind of makes sense since back then not many people knew how to write. But we can’t forget the other kind of note, the one that’s used in music. That also comes from that Latin word nota, meaning both notes come from the same place.

There are other words with note in them, too. Denote showed up in the late sixteenth century. It comes from the Middle French dénoter and classical Latin denotare, which also means note because words are dumb in all languages. The notare of course comes from the notare that gave us note, while the de- means completely. So you’re not just taking note of it, you’re really taking note.

Next we have connote. It showed up in the late seventeenth century, coming from the Medieval Latin word connotare, mark along with. The word connotation actually showed up earlier, in the early sixteenth century, from the Medieval Latin connotationem. It’s a mix of the prefix com-, together, and notare, making the word “to mark along with”. It was a word commonly used in Latin logic (don’t ask me how, I’m just passing along what I read).

The final word we’re going to look at is annotate. It showed up in the early eighteenth century, although annotation showed up three centuries earlier. Annote also used to be a word—in fact, it showed up at the same time as annotation, but that particular word disappeared. It comes from the classical Latin annotare, another word for note. The prefix comes from ad-, which just means to. So it means to note. Or to to note.

TL; DR: Every word with note in it is just another flavor of note.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


My blog is officially four years and one week old today. It has left its screaming, tantrum-y toddlerhood and moved on to its screaming, tantrum-y pre-school years. About a month ago, when I remembered my blogiversary was coming up, I thought up a bunch of things that I should say for it. But I never wrote it down so, yeah, I guess that’s not going to happen.

As I say every year (seriously, I looked back on my past blogiversaries), I’ve learned a lot from blogging, and most of it is how to be a better writer. When I look back at the things I’ve written pre-2010 (along with some of the things post-2010), I shudder. Not a weak, goose-walked-over-my-grave shudder, but the kind you get when you smell something awful and think you’re going to puke.

That visual is brought to you by the thing my cat was playing with last night.

Anyway! Blogging has made me happy, and I’ve also made a lot of good friends. Some of you have been here from way back in 2010! And of course, the others who came along later on, but are now permanent members of my blog roll : ).

If the internet would disappear tomorrow, you can’t imagine how bummed I would be. Well, maybe you can. To anyone who thinks that the internet and social media isn’t a valuable tool, I say you haven’t been using it right.

We may not have ever met face-to-face, but you guys are still my friends, and I thank you for checking back here Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays week after week, year after year. And after blogging for four years, I can safely say the only thing that will stop me is the heat death of the universe.

See you next time!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Going Postal II, Part the Last

We did the best and the most popular, so it’s time to finish the week with the one with the highest comments-to-views ratio. This is basically your pick, so don’t blame me for this one :P.

---Time for some Random Thoughts! It’s been far too long since I’ve shared with you the insanity that runs through my head.
---While visiting some website, the words “This is where I leave you” appeared across the top of the tab, just for a second. I wish I had the time to get a screen cap. What a quiet message, yet fraught with longing.
---Yesterday I read about caterpillars that look like leaves, so naturally last night I dreamed that every tree I came across was full of them.
---One week of camping without any electronics can reset your biological clock, helping you sleep at night. However, doing so requires camping outside for one week without electronics. You can see the problem there.
---Richard Matheson wrote I AM LEGEND, the novel that got turned into that Will Smith movie that ruined the ending. Matheson’s son Chris is the creator of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Let that sink in for a minute.
---America has five percent of the world’s population, yet it produces one quarter of the world’s garbage.
---The embassies of Slovak and Slovenia exchange wrongly addressed mail once a month.
---There is actually a musical of the book/movie AMERICAN PSYCHO. I’m not sure how to feel about that. Confused? Confused.
---A flight from Denver to Baltimore was diverted to another airport for security reasons. Said security reasons that two people complained about an R rated movie they couldn’t shut off being shown to their two young children. No, there’s no way those movie-complaining terrorist parents will win.
---The “Cobra Effect” is when the solution to a problem actually makes the problem worse. I assume it’s named after COBRA from G.I. Joe. Those guys couldn’t do anything right.
---“Ancient Daddy Longlegs Had Four Eyes, Not Two.” And will haunt your nightmares for eternity.
---A missing boy was found playing in a claw machine. Not with it. Inside of it.

Still freaked out about those leave-caterpillars. And the daddy longlegs. And also kind of the American Psycho musical. That just seems off.

See you next week! Original content, I promise! Hey, I got to get a new pool going for next year.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Going Postal II, Part 2

Yep, still doing this. And since it’s Thursday, I’m going to repost an etymology post from January, which somehow got 151 views (there’s another one from last November where I got over 800 views, but that has to be a glitch of some sort). Anyway, let’s learn about the word ply! Again!

Language of Confusion: Ply-ers (Originally posted January 30, 2014)

Yes, I’m doing the word ply this week. I like what I did with the title, because not only is plyers a homophone for pliers, a real word, the suffix -er means a person/thing that has to do with something, like laborer to labor. Get it? Funny, right? Hello? Guys?

Ply has three main definitions, work with or at (ply a trade), bend or fold, and a layer of something. The first two showed up in the late fourteenth century and are closely related, although in kind of a weird way. “Work with” ply is actually short for another word, applien, which was really used in English at one time. And yes, it sounds a lot like apply, but applien doesn’t come from apply, except in the sense that they both come from the classical Latin plicare, fold, and also where the other ply comes from. The third ply showed up in the mid sixteenth century, coming from the Middle French pli, a fold, and Old French ploi, layer. It also comes from plicare because of that whole fold/bend thing.

Note that this is not something that seems like apples. That would be appley. Apply showed up in the latefourteenth century, coming from the Old French aploiier, same meaning, and the classical Latin applicare, to connect. Plicare, fold, is the root word here, with the prefix a- (or ad-), meaning to or towards. Apply has a lot of different meanings today. You apply for a job. You apply ointment to the affected area. But originally, it meant to put yourself at work towards a task, and a figurative definition of being in contact (i.e. ointment to skin). Interestingly enough, job apply only showed up in the eighteen fifties, although it’s quite similar to the original definition of apply. Well, I think it’s interesting.

Showed up in the late fourteenth century, where it meant enfold or entangle. Seriously. It comes from the Old French emplier and classical Latin implicare, involve. The enfold definition makes sense since plicare means fold and in- means, well, in. Like apply, it just went off in a completely new direction. Latin meant enfolding in the figurative sense, so enfolding in an event (or whatever) would be involving. English kind of took it from there.

Reply showed up in the late fourteenth century with the same definition. It comes from the Old French replier, and Late Latin replicare. The re- prefix means back, and with plicare, to fold, it means to fold back again. Like all the other words here, its meaning comes from the figurative use of the word.

Comply showed up in the early fourteenth century, where it meant fulfill or carry out, like one would an order (at least getting to the definition of agreement makes sense from there). Comply was compli in Old French (same definition) and in Vulgar Latin it was complire and classical Latin complere. Notice there’s not a plicare in there? That’s because although comply may have been influenced by ply, it actually comes from complete. Despite what it looks like, it’s not a ply word! It’s actually made up by the prefix com-, with or together, and plere, fulfill.

Supply just happens to be in the same boat as comply. It’s not from plicare but plere, being a combination of sub- (from below) and plere, fulfill. To fulfill from below. I’m going to guess that’s figurative. Oh, and it showed up in the fourteenth century.

TL;DR: There are two origin words for -ply words because we dropped the c from one of them.


I really wonder what it was that made this post so popular. It’s not that it’s bad, but its view count is certainly much higher than average. Any guesses as to why? Or is this another weird glitch?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Going Postal II, Part 1

Today’s my blogiversary! I think. I’m like ninety percent sure. Anyway, I’m going to celebrate like I did last year: by reposting! Because there’s no better way to celebrate your blog’s longevity than by not blogging. And first up is the post that I think was my best one from the past year, even if it doesn’t have a terrible amount of views or comments. It’s actually from last September, after I did the repost thing for the first time.

The Z is for Zombie (Originally posted 9/24/2013 [http://jeoneil.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-z-is-for-zombie.html])

Well, I finally got around to watching World War Z last weekend, so spoilers ahoy if you haven’t seen it yet but still want to. It has already been reviewed by more articulate people than I (who also saw the movie when it actually came out, thus making the reviews actually useful), so I’m not going to go into much depth about it. Suffice to say it was a very standard action film with characters that weren’t realized enough to be compelling and despite being a zombie movie, wasn’t really scary. Honestly, reading the news about its troubled production was way more entertaining than the resulting film.

The real point I want to get into is how it was a very poor adaptation of the book, like adaptation in name only. The book is about societal collapse and eventually, its reconstruction. It’s accepted that the zombie plague can’t be cured, can’t be prevented, and is always fatal. Conventional methods of warfare are ineffective. Ruthless, amoral methods end up being the only way to survive, from cannibalism to using humans as zombie bait.

The movie shows none of that, except maybe the plague being incurable. Zombies are unstoppable excepting headshots, like in the book, but there is never any modification of tactics beyond that “infect yourself with a curable disease and then the zombies won’t want you” thing. Even though I would think that the rotting undead wouldn’t be that picky. Seeing as they’re dead.

But that’s beside the point. The movie is weak. The societal upheaval is replaced with a man searching for clues about the disease so he can reunite with his family. Granted, the original framing of WORLD WAR Z had no main character (except maybe the guy conducting the interviews), but still. They could have come up with something better than the weaksauce every-action-movie-ever plot they had. They didn’t try to make a WORLD WAR Z movie (or they tried and failed…miserably). They made a zombie movie with World War Z as its title.

Finally, I would like to point out that just because this movie of a book was bad doesn’t mean all book-movies are bad, even the ones that are bad adaptations. The original version of Blade Runner is hardly the adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? but most consider it a good movie in its own right. So if you’re not going to make a good adaptation, at least try to make a good movie.

Why is this my best? I’m not sure. I just think I nailed it on the head here. Not that World War Z was particularly difficult to find fault in. My only regret is that I could have gone into more detail about what made it fail as a movie, which I think is the greater sin than it simply being a poor adaptation. So what do you think about bad movies and bad adaptations of books?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Last Tuesday

Okay, so if you saw my tweet Tuesday, you might have seen that I was feeling sick, sick enough to shut down my computer at not even seven o’clock (I also didn’t visit any blogs that day...sorry if I missed you!). I couldn’t concentrate because of the throbbing infection building in my ear.

It went something like this...

The screaming pain was from my left eardrum rupturing (the same thing happened to my mom with her ear infection, although hers was even worse!). After it peaked at eight, it really was almost gone by nine, but man, not fun, not fun at all. My doctor checked my ears out and gave me an antibiotic. In her words, my ears were a mess”. She has to recheck them next week to make sure they’re healing properly. No worries, though. I should be fine.

I don’t get sick often, but when I do, I get sick hard.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Easy to Confuse

As I am rather time-crunched right now and want to do something easy, here are more words that are easy to confuse.

I can’t remember where I saw these confused, but I know I did stop to yell at the whatever I was reading (I want to say something on the internet, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised). To whoever it was who erred: wander is to meander, to drift. Wonder is thinking, marveling at how someone could mistake the two words (like I should be one to judge :P).

Darn homophones. It took years for me to remember how to distinguish the two. Bored can be shortened to bore, but board can’t be shortened to boar. Well, it can, but I’m pretty sure boars and boards aren’t related. The boarder/border thing is even more confusing! I wonder why board- plus -er equals a renter? I’m sure there’s some weird explanation for it. I’ll have to etymologize it sometime. As to how to tell them apart…okay, I admit, I have to double check to make sure I’m using them right.

The w is important! Remember, wring is always a verb. Ring only sometimes is. If you want to talk to someone, you ring them on the phone. Add that w and you’ll end up choking them, and you might not want to do that.

Hay/hey (suggested by Hillary)
I’ve only seen these confused a couple of times, usually people using “hey” as something horses eat. I only wish I was talented enough to draw a horse eating a greeting, because that would be a hilarious way to end this. Anyway, just remember, “hay” goes into the mouth, and “hey” comes out of it.

The ee and ea digraphs are the worst. Different letters should not sound the same! No wonder it’s easy to try to heel a person of their illness or be unable to walk due to a pain in your heal. I have no good way to keep these separate in my mind. I guess I’m lucky I don’t have to use them much. Any ideas?

PS. This post is number 777, plus I have 77 followers. But Im still putting up another on Saturday. I hope you appreciate what I do for you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September Goals

None is going to be “be on time”, that’s for sure. Or “be productive”. Ugh, September. Just ugh.

Let’s see how I did last 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.
I did a few things, but not nearly as much as I should have. The end of the month, before the vacation, I mean, was somewhat unpleasant (although nothing compared to the beginning of September).

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!
Not quite 20K, but not bad at all. I’d call this a win.

Well, obviously.

Kind of meh. And now, September…

September Goals

1. Work on REMEMBER notes. I’d really prefer getting them all done, but…it’s not going to happen and no amount of goading myself will help, so I might as well be realistic and promise myself to do something.

2. Add 10K to the new WIP. Only ten because I really want to make some headway on those notes, and I figure it will be better not to over commit.

3. Work on making the stick figure comics a regular part of the blog. Honestly, I’m surprised how many people seem to enjoy them. I probably won’t be able to think of something funny every week, but maybe every other.

Ugh, September. UGHHHHH.

What are your goals for this month? Anything cool going on with you guys?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Stick Figures 3: Helping Out

This is an honest to god actual account of something that happened over my vacation, when my mom asked me to help her get the music she downloaded onto her iPad.

I'm not even kidding, two frigging hours.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014