Tuesday, June 30, 2015


I came across this neat dialect quiz on Tumblr. It’s supposed to pinpoint where you’re from based on certain words you use.

This is mine, and yeah, I have to say, it’s pretty damn accurate. I guess that’s what happens when you come from the only state that uses the words “grinder” and “bubbler” to refer to sub sandwiches and water fountains. But I’m curious to know what it says about you guys. Where does your dialect say you’re from?

Saturday, June 27, 2015


I vacuum the house almost every day. But it’s still not enough.

I do have two very fluffy cats, but seriously, from the amount of fur I vacuum up each day, they should be bald.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lost In Translation: March

It’s been a long time since I’ve done the etymology of a month. I haven’t done one since…last August?! Geez, I’ve got to get it together. Or not. It’s my blog. I make the rules.

The word March showed up in the early thirteenth century, which actually puts it a couple of centuries ahead of march with a small m. It was given to us by the Anglo French marche and Old French marz, which of course was taken from the classical Latin Martius mensis, month of Mars, the Roman god of war, whose name you might recognize as a planet. I don’t know why they chose to name it after the god of war, although I find it especially interesting since the beginning of the Roman calendar used to begin in March. I guess wars are a good way to start the new year.

Now, like I said, the word March showed up in the early thirteenth century as it is now. Before the English decided to follow the calendar names used by the rest of Europe, they had another word for the month. It was hreðmonaÞ, which is pronounced “rethmonath”, with the first th pronounced soft, almost like a d and the second like the end of math. So yeah, we used to have another name for March. The monaÞ part obviously means month, but the hreð comes from either the word hreth, which means triumph (like the triumph over winter) or the Anglo-Saxon goddess Hretha.

And that’s March. Kind of an interesting one.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Ideas

It happened again. I have been lured away from one WIP by the seductive beauty of a Shiny New Idea. It is simply irresistible. I have no choice but to go down this path and see if I can’t make my way through it.

In truth, I need this project. Even though I like it, I’ve been struggling to write my horror WIP. I’m not going to abandon it (again) (probably), but I do know that my muse is yammering in my ear about this one and I’d like to keep her happy and hopefully get something publishable out of it. It’s not like I’m on deadline, so I might as well take advantage of it.

Writing is…a complicated beast. I know what works for me, and I know that might not work for other people. I know this is something I have to do. And I plan to enjoy it : ). So you might have to put up with increasingly pointless posts (like this one) while all my creativity is being used up elsewhere. Fair warning.

Happy writing!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Language of Confusion: -Tain-ted Love, Part II

And now you have that song in your heads again. You’re welcome.

Pertain showed up in the early fourteenth century, coming from the Old French partenir, to belong to, and classical Latin pertinere, concern [https://translate.google.com/#la/en/pertinere], reach/stretch, or belong. If you’ll recall from last week, tenere means to hold (and gave us tenet), and per- is through. So, to hold through. Not sure I get that one…Anyway, appertain and pertinent also have the same origin as pertain. The a- on appertain comes from ad-, which means to or completely…which actually makes more sense than pertain. And pertinent comes from pertinentem, the present participle of pertinere that means relates, which also makes more sense in some way.

Entertain is also rated to tenet, although its origin is French with some Latin influence rather than Latin by way of French. It showed up in the late fifteenth century meaning, get this, keep up or maintain. It also meant to keep a person in a certain frame of mind, like how you might say someone wants to betray you is entertaining treasonous thoughts, and since performers would try to make you feel a certain thing…entertain. Anyway, entertain comes from the Middle/Old French entretenir, hold together or support. Which makes even less sense. See, the enter- comes from inter- and means among, so while “hold among” might make sense for the French sense of the world, I have no idea how it got from there to the English definition. I guess if you’re trying to hold someone’s attention…

Maintain showed up fairly early, in the mid thirteenth century, coming from the Anglo French meintenir, sustain, perservere, or keep a wife (really). It comes from a Latin phrase, manu tenere, which literally means “hand hold”. Hm, that wife thing seems a lot more insulting. But if you’re maintaining something, you’re figuratively holding its hand to keep it going, right?

Next is abstain, which really surprised me as being related to the -tain words. It showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French abstenir/astenir, with basically the same meaning we have for it today. It comes from the classical Latin abstinere, which also just means abstain. Ab- means away from, so abstain is to hold away from, which fits it perfectly. See? There had to be at least one that made sense!

Sustain showed up in the early fourteenth century from the Old French sostenir (hold up or endure) and classical Latin sustinere, support or hold up. So we know where the hold comes from, but the sus- comes from sub-, which means under from below. Sustain is to hold something up from below, which makes sense for something that you’re holding up/sustaining.

Well, that’s it for tain- words that are related to tenet/hold. Other words, like certain and attain, aren’t related. Like most words, their spelling is only a coincidence. Perhaps I’ll do all the other not -tain words in another post.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015


I like having Netflix. I really do. But I honestly think its rating system is backwards. I keep selecting movies with four or five stars and end up wanting to stick an ice pick in my brain to stop the stupidity from infecting it. Here is a select

Dead Silence
One of the guys who did Saw was behind this and I had heard good things on Tumblr about it. Those were all lies. It is terrible. It’s about this guy (who we might as well call Bland Whiteman because I sure as hell don’t remember his name) who’s convinced this ventriloquist dummy killed his wife and he goes back to his hometown to prove it, and Donnie Wahlberg is the detective who follows him because he obviously thinks that story is frigging crazy. The acting is poor, the plot nonsensical, and come on, if a dummy is trying to kill you, you set the thing on fire because it’s a dummy and you’re a human. And I really don’t think it’s scary, like at all. I’m not usually scared by horror movies anyway, but this one was especially dull. There are a few jump scares and some mild gore, but none of that is actually frightening.

Secrets in the Walls
Wow, this one was bad. Like, so, so bad. Like, it has a montage in it, that’s how bad and trope-filled it is. Jeri Ryan is a single mother of two girls gets a deal on a mysterious house because that’s always what happens and then really boring ghost stuff starts happening and everyone’s in denial about it even when it’s slapping them in the face, and OMG the acting is so bad, the writing is so bad, the dialogue is sooooooo bad. No one speaks like a person would. I think the script was turned out by a computer that just pulled scenes from other, better movies and then approximated human speech from average word usage.

Of the movies I’ve seen recently, this one is probably the best and that’s kind of sad. These two people, a man and a woman, meet while riding on a bus and then wake up in their home town completely alone. They do the only smart thing done in the movie and try to leave, but the town is surrounded by darkness that’s slowly consuming everything and just to make things interesting there’s a monster lurking out there because…I’m not really sure. It kind of has an explanation, but like most things in this movie it doesn’t really make sense. Like the fact that the main female character is a brunette with an accent, but flashbacks to her childhood show her has a blond girl without one. I feel like that sums up the entirety of the movie: they have explanations, but none of it makes any kind of sense. The romance between the two characters for example. Besides the fact that they have no chemistry at all, you find out something at the end (it’s a spoiler, so I guess I won’t go into details) that makes the two of them ending up together seem like the last thing that would happen.

Come Back to Me
Sometimes you can get away with the thing holding up your plot not being explained. But most of the time you can’t and this is no exception. The basic plot is that this creepy loner moves in across the street from this couple and shortly after, weird things keep happening to the woman. She’s obviously suspicious of the creepy neighbor and tries to figure things out, then she gets pregnant and her husband leaves her because he’s sterile and she goes to visit creepy neighbor’s mother and blah blah blah who cares? I sure don’t. None of these characters have anything resembling a personality and the plot isn’t interesting at all. It’s just like, “Here, this totally impossible thing is happening. What? You want to know how? Ha ha, no.” There was one genuinely good moment, the very end, and not even because the movie was finally over. I’m not going to spoil it—although no, it’s definitely not worth sitting through this mess for—but it was something that was a good twist (as in, not out of nowhere) and even with the non-explanation-y nature of the movie, actually made sense.

San Andreas
A bonus movie that’s actually out in theatres. Although probably not by the time you’re reading this. Because it’s terrible. I only went to see it because I have a friend who has a thing for The Rock and she didn’t want to go alone and I owe her and she apparently hates me. This movie was basically every single action movie ever. They didn’t try anything new, the characters weren’t fully realized, and it was predictable to the point hat I was able to guess what was going to happen right down to the dialogue. The special effects were cool looking, but not to the point that it’s worth buying a ticket. The one thing it has going for it is that the seismology expert they have going as a B story mentions you aren’t supposed to hide in a doorway during an earthquake but take cover under things, which is actually true. So kudos to you, movie, for getting that one right.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been watching this month. What are you up to?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Language of Confusion: -Tain-ted Love, Part I

Yes, another ridiculous title and another two-parter. You wouldn’t believe how many words have -tain them.

Contain showed up in the late thirteenth century from the Old French contein/contenir and classical Latin continere, which is just contain in Latin. It’s a mix of the prefix com-, together, and tenere, hold. So, hold together. And if that’s not enough for you, tenere is also the origin word for tenet. Tenet literally means hold in Latin and means tenet in English because it was used to introduce doctrines (I could not make this stuff up). Anyway, it comes from the Proto Indo European ten, stretch and yes, that is totally a weird change, but the Online Etymology Dictionary says it’s because stretch and hold are connected by the notion of “cause to maintain”. Make of that what you will.

Obtain comes from the same line as contain. It showed up in the early fifteenth century from the Middle French obtenir, obtain, and classical Latin obtinereobtain. Shocking, I know. The ob- prefix means to, so the word is “to hold”. I guess when you obtain something, you’re holding it.

Detain showed up in the early fifteenth century as deteynen (we totally need more Ys as vowels) before it changed to match up with the boring spellings of the other -tain words. It comes from the Old French detenir and classical Latin detinere, which both meant hold off or withhold, somewhat similar to what our detain is. The de- provides the away part and our friend tenere, making it literally holding away from.

The last word we’re looking at today is retain, which showed up in the late fourteenth century as hold back or restrain before morphing into what we know it as. It comes from the Old French retenir and classical Latin retinere, which just means retain. The re- means back in this case, so with tenere it’s hold back.

Whew! That’s part one, and there’s plenty more where this came from. Who knew tenet had such a family?


Tuesday, June 9, 2015


I’ve done this a couple of times before, where I put in random words and phrases in Google and see what auto fills first. Honestly, every time I do this I become more convinced that humanity is doomed.

This one might be understandable. I have no idea what capers are either.

Others are just people who can’t figure out riddles. And need help cleaning up after murders, which in all fairness, can be messy.

Clearly this is just people who need help with their math homework. Or need to figure out why it burns when they pee.

Okay, seriously? How do I live? More confusing: how do I live without you? If you’re looking that up on Google, your problems may run deeper than the internet can solve.

It’s a good thing computers aren’t sentient. They might blackmail us by deciding to publish our search histories.

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Apparently, there’s a new security trend at the ATMs.

So in an effort to keep others from reading your information, they aren’t showing it to you either. Am I the only one who doesn’t get why blank screens are a good idea? Because it seems better to have some idea what you’re doing when you’re digitally playing around with your money. But maybe I'm old fashioned.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Language of Confusion: Rivals

I was looking at the word “rival” the other day and wondering if it was related to the word “arrive” or if it was another one of those inane coincidences that seem to be permeated throughout etymology. I’m sure it won’t be one of those.

Arrive first showed up in the early thirteenth century meaning to reach land at the end of a sea voyage (I guess it was so special it had its own word?) and it wasn’t until the late fourteenth century that people started using it in other ways. It comes from the Anglo French ariver and Old French ariver, with the same arrive at land meaning, and before that, the Vulgar Latin arripare and classical Latin ad ripam, yes, a whole phrase : ). The ad means to and the ripam comes from ripa, shore. Put them both together and you have “to the shore”. Oh, and another version of ripa is riparius, the ancestor of river.

Rival showed up later, in the late sixteenth century from the classical Latin rivalis, which could mean rival or neighbor. It comes from rivus, which means brook. The thought is that it’s based on the competitiveness of neighbors who used the same stream which sounds crazy enough to be true. So all this means that arrive and rival are related, but what about other words with -rive in them, like derive and contrive? Ha, ha. No.

Derive showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French deriver, pour out or originate (like derive from). It comes from the classical Latin derivare, shift away, like you would a stream of water. It comes from a phrase too, de rivo, where de equals from and rivo comes from rivus, stream. So, from a stream. While it might seem logical for rivo and rivus to be related to river and ripa, they aren’t. Like, at all. And now we use it in math and logic.

Contrive is completely not related to anything either. It showed up in the early fourteenth century from the Old French controver, to find out or imagine, and the Late Latin contropare, which means compare. Com- means with and tropus, which means song, I kid you not. It comes from the Greek tropos, figure of speech, which is a lot more appropriate for its other descendant, trope. It doesn’t really make sense, but it went from compare to imagine to contrive because…uh



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June Goals

It’s that time again! It’s been a while since I’ve done it the actual first Tuesday of the month. I don’t know why I feel the need to point that out. I…I might be boring.

So, let’s do this.

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.
Yep, did this. Thankfully, an easy one.

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.
I did, but as always, not as much as I’d like. Sigh…

3. Spring Cleaning! I’m glad it’s finally warm enough to do it.
Also did this, although there’s still so much more to do! I’m still liking it more than winter, though.

Meh. I wish I got more writing done. Stupid life, always getting in the way.

June Goals
1. Try to find more time to write. And, you know. Write.

2. Finish that short story from last month. Well, last last month. Yes, this is a separate goal. I couldn’t think of anything else I’ll be doing this on the weekend, which is technically my free time.

3. Update the etymology page again. It has to be done sometime!

And that’s the plan for June, besides enjoying the nice weather before it gets so hot that I start melting. What do you guys have planned for this month?