Saturday, May 30, 2015


Me at the store grocery shopping.

For crying out loud. There's plenty of room.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Language of Confusion: Crisis Point

Sometimes I think up really good titles and I just have to use them.

Crisis first showed up in the early fifteenth century, coming from the Greek word krisis, which meant the turning point in a disease or, literally, judgment. Specific, huh? It came to us by way of the Latin crisis because they just couldn’t have K for the K sound. Seriously, can we just go back to the K? Anyway, krisis comes from krinein, separate or judge, and before that it was the Proto Indo European krei-, distinguish or sieve. Apparently, in the early seventeenth century, people stopped using it for the disease meaning and started just being a turning point in general. No word as to how it got from judgment to there, though.

There are some other words we’re going to look at today, and it might seem a bit weird. The first is concern. Really! It showed up in the early fifteenth century meaning perceive or distinguish (hmm, distinguish…that seems familiar) as well as to refer to. It came from the Middle French concerner and Medieval Latin concernere, touch or belong to. That’s the figurative use of the Late Latin word concernere, sift like in a sieve—now I know I’ve heard that word before. That’s because concernere is a mix of the classical Latin prefix com-, with, which means to sift, but also to see or perceive and is related to krinein. I guess distinguishing something is separating it, like you separate stuff through a sieve, and when you’re distinguishing it, you’re referring to it in particular…it almost makes sense.

Finally, we also have discern. It showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French discerner, distinguish (there it is again!) and the classical Latin discernere, which just means discern. Dis- means off or away, so the word is “separate off”. It’s like really separating something out. And unlike the other words, its definition stuck with it.

TL;DR: Crisis is almost pure Greek, -cern is totes Roman Latin, but they originally meant the same thing (distinguish/sift). Which really has little to do with how we use them today.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Just Do It vs. Know Your Limits

Wow! An actual post about writing! You might start to think that this blog is about writing or something.

I always hear people warn that you have to know your limits or else you’ll end up stressed and overworked. Always try to push further, but beware of straining yourself, physically or mentally because then you won’t get anything done at all. Then on the other side I hear people bitching at you to get over yourself and just do it.

It’s hard to know what to follow.

One of the most interesting things about writing is that the process is so different for every person. For some people “Just do it” will push them to do what they’ve been putting off. For others, me included, it will paralyze their ability to write because all they (and by they I mean I) can think about is how they have to do it. Others hear “Know your limits” and can get in the habit of calling it a day because that one paragraph was super tough to write.

The point I’m trying to make? Neither one is right. Or maybe both are, but only as much as you can make them work. You have to figure out what’s right for you and don’t stress yourself when you can’t just do it, or you have no idea of your limits.

But that’s my opinion. Feel free to ignore it.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Language of Confusion: The Tributes, Part II

Okay, now for the words that end in tribute. None of them better have nothing to do with the word or I swear, I will burn this language down to the ground.

Shut up. It doesn’t have to make sense.

Contribute showed up in the early sixteenth century, fairly late, but contribution showed up earlier in the late fourteenth century. The first comes from the classical Latin contributus, while the second comes from contributionem (by way of the Old French contribution), and both those words come (obviously) from contribuere, or contribute (also obviously). If you remember last week, tribuere means allot, assign, or attribute. The com- means together, making this word something like “allot together”. I guess a contribution is allotting a bunch of money together…

Distribute showed up in the early fifteenth century, and like contribute, the noun, distribution, showed up a little earlier. Their origin history is pretty much exactly the same as above, just replace con- with dis-. Their classical Latin forms, distributus and distributionem, come from distribuere, which just means distribute. Funny how last week there were so many changes but here there are hardly any. In this case, dis- means individually, so this word is “to assign individually”. I guess it’s a way of saying each individual is assigned something. Maybe.

Next, attribute. It showed up in the late fourteenth century, coming from the classical Latin attributus and attribuere…or attribute (shocking!). Attribuere also had other more literal meanings, like assign to and bestow, which makes sense since the prefix comes from ad-, which means to. Added with the assign meaning from tribuere, attribute is something “assigned to” something else.

The last word on the list is retribution. It showed up in the late fourteenth century meaning repayment, coming from the Old French retribution and classical Latin retributionem. I’m sure you can guess where that word comes from. Retribuere translates to “return”, which is where the repayment sense came from, with re- being back plus tribuere as assign—to assign back. Its meaning change came about because of Christian theology, which, in the sixteenth century used “day of retribution” to mean a time of “divine reward or punishment”. Eventually, the reward part got dropped, and we were left with retribution as we know it today.

All right, English language. You get to live. This time.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

From the Spamfiles

If you’re new to this whole thing, the Spamfiles is my sideblog on Tumblr where I collect all the insane, ridiculous spam I receive in my email. You might call it clutter. I call it comedy gold.

There’s a reason I don’t do comedy.

 A patch for PE. I wish they had those when I was in school. I hated gym class.

Okay, this. I can’t imagine the person who would believe that some woman wants to give away all her money to some random person she emailed over the internet. Who would believe that’s a thing? (Which just makes me think that there must be someone who falls for it, otherwise I wouldn’t be getting so many of these…)

 A popular variation of the above is the daughter left unable to access her money after the death of her parents, usually because of the interference of an evil relative, although that’s not the case here. Instead this woman, who links to an article about a real event as if that’s proof, just can’t get access to her father’s bank account even though she’s his next of kin. My favorite part is that she’s gone through my “remarkable profile” and writing me with “pains, tears and sorrow”.

I keep getting emails from this Doctor Maxman, but I’m beginning to think that he isn’t a real doctor.

Finally, I’d like to share with you something that popped up when I was watching TV on my laptop (it’s actually my old lap top, too…sigh…I still miss you!). Anyway, my email account has been temporary suspended due to infections on my computer, which I just love. I wonder who would answer if I called that number and if they’d be surprised that I didn’t just close out the pop up and ignore it because my email is obviously fine.

Okay, I’m all spammed out for now. Anyone else have any amusing spam stories to share?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Why I Hate Change

This is an actual true story. No embellishments. I think you're going to have to click on it to properly see the ending.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Language of Confusion: The Tributes, Part I

There are a surprising amount of words related to tribute, hence the “Part I” in the title. This week will be the words that begin with trib-.

Tribe first showed up in the mid thirteenth century, referring specifically to the ancient Hebrew tribes rather than groups of people in general. It came from the Old French tribu and classical Latin tribus, which means three and referred to the three ethnic divisions of Rome and later on the 30+ political divisions. So because some guys translated a word from the Bible as tribe and some other guys divided the ethnicities of Rome into three groups, we have the word tribe now.

We also have tribute, which I’m sure will be in no way convoluted. It showed up in the mid fourteenth century, so a century after tribe, meaning money or something else valuable given from one ruler to another in order to keep them from attacking you—basically, it was like protection money paid to the mob. It comes from the Anglo French tribute and Old French tribute, and before that, the classical Latin tributum, taxes. That word comes from the verb tribuere, grant or allot, and descended from tribus.

Next we’re going to look at tribune and tribunal. The former came first, in the late fourteenth century, coming from the title of a Roman official, tribunus, and of course it’s related to tribus, haven’t you learned anything? Tribunal showed up a little later, in the early fifteenth century from the Old French tribunal and classical Latin…tribunal. Wow, not trying at all. Anyway, it literally translates to platform, because that was the seat for the magistrates (AKA the tribunus).

Tributary, which is what we call a body of water combining with a bigger body of water, didn’t get that meaning until the early nineteenth century. Before that, it just meant a person or country or whatever that pays tribute to someone else, a meaning it had when it showed up in the late fourteenth century. It came from the classical Latin tributarius, paying money or forced labor, which comes from tributum, which you may remember from two paragraphs ago as meaning taxes.

Finally, you may know the word tribulation and be thinking how it well fit with the others since tribulations certainly feel like something you have to pay. Ha ha, no. Not related. Like, at all. Tribulation showed up in the early thirteenth century from the Old French tribulacion and the Ecclesiastical Latin (which is a variety of Late Latin used in churches, because they just had to have their own language for church) tribulationem, distress or affliction. Apparently the Christians back then took the classical Latin word tribulare, to press, in a metaphoric sense. It comes from the word tribulum, which means thistle or threshing sledge. The tri- comes from terere, grind or waste (and the origin of throw, by the way), while the -bulum is stuck on the end to signify that it was a tool. Un-freaking-believable. It’s a coincidence. It totally fits but it’s a complete coincidence. What the hell, words? What. The. Hell.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May Goals

First of all: it’s my 888th post! Whoo! I’m just in love with that perfect number.

Here are my monthly goals, a week late because I did my A-to-Z reflections post last week. Which you all obviously know. I mean, I doubt there’s anyone here reading this post who hasn’t read last week’s. Although I guess my new followers from the Challenge haven’t seen my monthly goal posts (Ha!) before. I do monthly posts where I list my goals. There. Now you know.

April Goals
1. Write a short story. I actually have an idea for one. Not sure what will happen with it, but it’s writing.
I did write part of one. I was still pretty busy, so it’s not done yet. I also did some writing on my horror WIP. I just wish I had time to do more!

2. Figure out how to fix all the damage. Again, I hate having to make this a goal, but I have a feeling it’s going to be occupying my thoughts a lot this month…
For those unaware, there was some water damage from the horrible winter storms from January to March. They left some nasty stains on the ceiling! I was able to paint over the damage, which is good, but one of the door frames is swollen so the front door doesn’t close properly. I’m not quite sure what to do about that.

3. A-to-Z Challenge! Yay! My posts are all ready, but I have to be sure to visit new blogs every day, as well as all my usuals. Expect a lot of late comments from me.
Yep, did this. I wish I could have visited more : ).

Not bad. Could be better, though.

May Goals
1. Update my site. That includes remembering to update my Monthly Goal list! I also need to start writing down my goals on a post-it or something so I see them every day and remember what I need to do.

2. Keep writing my WIP. I don’t know how much I’ll get done since there’s only one day I really have time to write, and even that’s not that much. At least four thousand words would be nice.

3. Spring Cleaning! I’m glad it’s finally warm enough to do it.

Okay, so this is what I’ll be up to this month. What are your plans for May?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother’s Day

Since Mother’s Day is tomorrow, I thought I’d show you why my mother is the meanest person alive.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Language of Confusion: -Clude

Back to etymology Thursdays! Time for some more big posts. Today we’re going to look at words that end in -clude.

Include showed up in the early fifteenth century, coming from the classical Latin includere, which basically means include, but also things like enclose and shut in. The prefix in- means in (no! really?), while -cludere comes from claudere, which means shut, the origin word, appropriately enough, for close. Antonym exclude showed up earlier, in the mid fourteenthcentury, and obviously it comes from excludere, or exclude. The ex- prefix means out, so instead of “shut in” we have “shut out”.

Next is conclude, which showed up earlier still in the earlyfourteenth century meaning the end of an argument before just meaning the end. It’s Latin version is concludere, which can mean conclusion, deduce, or enclose. The prefix con- means together, so this word is literally shut together. I’m not sure I see the logic in this one…

Preclude showed up more recently than the others, in the early seventeenth century. It comes from the classical Latin praecludere, close, shut off, or impede. The prae- is just pre-, before, so the word is “shut before”, which kind of makes sense. To preclude something is basically excluding it in advance.

Finally today, we look at seclude. It showed up in the midfifteenth century from the Latin secludere, to shut out or confine. Se- isn’t really a prefix, but rather a “word forming element” (it’s part of the word secret, for example), coming from sed-, meaning apart or without. So “to shut up apart” actually makes sense for seclude.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A-to-Z 2015 Reflections


Another April bites the dust. The Challenge is over and once again I completed it with twenty six days of etymology. I think my favorite day was X, just because of how perfect it was to do the letter and not a word starting with X because man, those are hard to find.

I had fun this year. I met some new people, I read all the cool things that you guys came up with for your posts. I didn’t get to as many blogs as I wanted, but sometimes I was just so tired that it was a struggle to pay my regular visits.

One thing that I think could be improved on following Challenges is finding blogs with topics you like. There were like a thousand blogs in the sign-up list, and while you can add tags as to what kind of blog you have, I think it’s too broad to be helpful, especially if a Challenge theme is only a small fraction of what the overall blog is like. Does that make sense? I was just thinking that maybe it would be better to have groups that you can sign up for, like for history lovers (yo!), photography, movies, etc., and you visit everyone in your group at least one day or something. It wouldn’t be mandatory, and you can sign up for as many groups as you want.

Anyway. Just my thoughts. Welcome to my blog, new followers and old. I usually have a random topic on Tuesdays, etymology on Thursdays, and a stick figure comic on Saturdays. So yeah. Have fun with that.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The End of the Challenge

I may or may not have completely forgotten that I'm supposed to make posts on this blog now that the Challenge is over and all my pre-written posts have been used up.

Happy May!