Saturday, December 31, 2016

Spam Bingo

Here it is, my last comic of the year on the last day of the year! And it’s not really a comic, more like a joke. Spam is still ever present in our lives, and once I said it would be funny if there was Spam Bingo. So here it is.
The rules are simple: every time you get a spam message, you see if it falls into one of these categories. First person to hit them all wins all of the internet points. :P

Thursday, December 29, 2016


The last etymology post of the year! So of course I have to do something different. Today I’m going to highlight contranyms, words that mean both one thing and the complete opposite, because the one thing that you should be learning from these posts is that words are stupid.

Peruse means to read with thoroughness or care, like you would an article a medical journal that you were doing a paper on. It also means to scan or browse, like you would a tabloid while waiting in line at the grocery store. So it’s read carefully and glance at. So are you perusing this list or perusing it?

Yes, dust does have two contradictory meanings. Think about it: you can dust donuts with powdered sugar. And then when you spill it on the table, you can dust up the sugar. You can dust the dust.

This one is kind of funny because it’s only recently that the word has come to mean the opposite. Originally, nonplussed meant to surprise/confuse someone so much they don’t know how to react. However over the past couple of decades in North America, it’s come to mean to not be disturbed by something at all (I grew up thinking that was what it meant because I never heard it in any other context). I guess we’re seeing a word become a contranym right before our eyes, and we still have no idea why.

These days egregious means  extraordinarily bad, like Manos: The Hands of Fate is considered an egregious example of cinema. But! Once upon a time, it used to mean distinguished or outstanding, except people started using it ironically. So whatever you had to say about the change in definitions of nonplussed, people were probably saying it about egregious, and now everyone only uses it that way.

I had never even heard of chuffed before making this list, but it is indeed a contranym as it means both pleased and displeased. This one is all British, with the good chuffed coming from a word that meant “swollen with fat” and the bad one coming from a word that was “rude man”. And both of those words were “chuff”, so they were the same even back then and no one knows where they came from before that.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Reflections 2016

You know what? I don’t want to reflect on 2016. It was terrible. Like, beyond awful. Like, someone waking you up in the middle of the night by smacking you in the head with a hammer. No, wait. That’s not painful enough.

Ugh, this year can go and die.

1. Hopefully carve out time to write a new book!
Well, I started one. It’s only a fourth of the way done, but it’s better than nothing.

2. Keep updating the blog three times a week. I know this seems like an easy one since I’ve been doing that for years, but sometimes it seems like I’m out of time. So no matter what, keep blogging!
I did miss a week once. Because 2016 is just like being thrown off a cliff into a lake of boiling water.

3. Try to finish the horror story I started writing last year. Hopefully I can find the time!
I didn’t do this, because I couldn’t find the motivation to do it. If I don’t have fun writing it, I can’t imagine someone having fun reading it, so it’s probably for the best.

4. Maybe start a progress bar for my goals so I can see how far I’m getting.
Wow, I just straight up didn’t do this. I didn’t even remember it was a goal. Whoops?

5. Do the A-to-Z Challenge again! Which means I better get started on those posts.
Another success. It was definitely one of the more fun parts of the year.

6. Win a hundred million dollars in the lottery so I can just write for the rest of my life. This one might be tough.
I’m really mad that I didn’t make this goal. It’s totally unfair.

7. Read more. Just ‘cause why not?
Yes, I did. It was fun. I do wish that it was even more!

So that was 2016. It was way worse than the pretty font color I picked would indicate. It was like having your skin removed and replaced with a concentrated acid.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

It Might Be Genetic

Christmas is tomorrow! And since it’s on a weekend, my mom will be around to do all the baking. You remember how it turned out when I did it.
Really, it’s surprising that anything survives to be put out for the guests.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Language of Confusion: -Ress

It’s the last etymology post of the year! I mean, because of course I’m doing something special for next week. Um, don’t expect anything super cool. I mean special in the sense that it’s different from the usual etymology posts. Don’t go getting your hopes up.

Anyway! This is for words that end in -ress that aren’t just feminized versions of words (like mistress or actress), and also ones that don’t end in -gress because those are a whole other post by themselves.

Fortress first showed up in the early fourteenth century, coming from the Old French forteresse/forterece, which pretty much means fortress. It comes from the Medieval Latin fortalitia (which is where we got the R in fortress…somehow) and classical Latin fortis, which means strong and of course is the origin word for fort. The -ess part is French, but it actually comes from Latin as well, where it’s -itia. Even suffixes have their origins.

I think distress be one of the words that has an origin that I least expect. It showed up in the late thirteenth century as a noun and a century later as a verb. It comes from the Old French destresse, which is from the Vulgar Latin districtia, from the classical Latin districtus and its verb form distringere. And you’re probably going, wow, that districtus looks a lot like district, but there’s no way they can be related. Yes. Yes they are. That’s the origin word of district, too. Disgringere actually means to draw apart or hinder, with the dis- meaning apart and stringere, draw, the origin word for strain. Really. At least the draw apart kind of makes sense for district but distress? Apparently it’s because of Medieval Latin, where it somehow became compel or coerce. No explanation as to why it changed, though.

Caress is fairly recent, showing up in the mid seventeenth century, coming from the French caresse, which, you know, means caress. It’s from either the verb caresser or the Italian carezza, also just caress because no one’s trying to be original here. The caress words come from the classical Latin carus, expensive. That word can be traced to the Proto Indo European ka-, like or desire. The origin word for many words, including whore. You can’t make this stuff up.

Address showed up in the early fourteenth century as a verb and a century later as a noun. It originally meant guide, aim, or direct, coming from the Old French adrecier, go straight toward, set right, or direct. It’s from the Vulgar Latin addirectiare, straighten, a mix of ad-, to, and the classical Latin directus, direct. And that’s the origin word for dress, too. Apparently it means clothing because it went from “make straight” to “decorate” to “put on clothes”. I…I don’t know. My brain hurts.

Duress showed up in the early fourteenth century from the Old French duress and classical Latin duritia (hardness) and durus (hard), which is where endure comes from. The -ess part comes from the same place as the -ess in fortress. Wow, one without a crazy backstory. Whew.

Tl;dr: -ress words are weird. Like even for words weird.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

'Tis The Season (To Slack Off)

The  holiday season is fast approaching and Im totally busy. Mostly with setting up my new laptop, which for some reason won’t let me scroll in Word which is...kind of an issue.

So heres a Christmas quiz that Liz turned me onto to keep you occupied while I try to figure out how to stop this stupid thing from being stupid. Anyway, have a good end of the year! Once 2016 is dead it can never come back!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Threats Are The Only Thing It Understands

Remember when I talked about how the L key in my computer was only working sporadically? Well, it’s still an issue.

Still getting a new one, though.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Language of Confusion: Feelings of Joy

Happy words! Because…well, joy is mentioned a lot this time of year, I guess. So here we go.

Happy first showed up in the late fourteenth century, where it meant lucky—maybe it changed because if you’re lucky, you’re probably happy. It’s actually a mix of the word hap (more on that in a second) and the suffix -y, which actually means “full of or characterized by” like hearty or funny. So this means that happy means full of hap. But what’s hap? I didn’t even know it was a word! But it is, having shown up in the early thirteenth century meaning chance, fortune, or fate. It comes from the Old Norse happ, good luck, Proto Germanic hap, and Proto Indo European kob-, to suit/fit or succeed. Hap basically means luck (generally good), but it also has a verb version that means to come to pass. Which is what gave us happen. And happenstance. And perhaps.

Joy showed up in the early thirteenth century, coming from the Old French joie, pleasure, and classical Latin gaudia and its singular gaudium, which both just mean joy or pleasure. They come from the verb guadere, rejoice, which can be traced even further back to the Proto Indo European gau, also rejoice. That also might be where gaudy comes from, by the way.

Glad comes from the Old English glaed, which could mean happy, bright,or brilliant (those last two definitions are going seem a lot more significant in a few seconds). Glaed comes from the Proto Germanic glada-, which is from the Proto Indo European ghel-, shine. The origin word for glass, gold, and yellow. So because things are figuratively bright when you’re glad, it comes from the word for shine.

Cheer first showed up in the early thirteenth century meaning, get this, the face, as in expressing emotion. It comes from the Anglo French chere, the face, and Old French chiere, face or expression. Before that it was cara in Late Latin (also face), which probably comes from the Greek kara, which means head or skull. That’s actually from the Proto Indo European root ker-, head or horn—it’s literally the origin word for horn. So because your face is on your head and your expressions are on your face…you get cheer? Is that how it works?

tl;dr: Happy words are weird.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Vocab Test

Several months ago I came across a vocabulary test that I thought was fun but then I saw it on two other blogs before I could post it so I decided to wait a while. And now that it’s almost the end of the year and I can’t think of anything else, here it is!

The rules are pretty basic. You pick a language and then it shows you a word, and you pick from a set of four either the synonym or antonym of the word. It’s easy at first, but as it goes on, it starts throwing more and more obscure words at you. I tried to break them down and piece them together from the roots I’ve learned over years of etymology posts. Of course, considering how weird some of those etymologies are, I could have gotten them completely backwards.

Still, I did pretty well, getting in the 0.01th percentile, with a vocabulary of 30325. Big surprise, right? The reader/writer did super well! Shocking! I’m not actually sure how it was ranked. I guess that’s supposed to be 30325 words. It’s not exactly a scientific test :P.

How’s your vocabulary? Did you do well on the test? Any words that you had never heard of before?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

I Maintain That It Wasn’t My Fault

Another almost true story.

I’m all for reusing containers, but for the love of god, mark them because mashed potatoes really look like cookie dough ice cream and then you’re in for a world of disappointment. Ugh.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Lost In Translation: June

Time for another month! At the rate I’m going, I’ll probably get to July sometime around next July.

June showed up as a word in the early fourteenth century—before that, the mont still existed, but in Old English it was liðe se ærra, which means something like “earlier mildness”. Which honestly makes more sense as a name, but maybe they just wanted something that was faster to spell. When people renamed the month, it could appear as June, Juin, or Iun, because J was originally the Y sound and the symbol came from I, and people were actually still using Iune up until the seventeenth century.

The word June comes from the classical Latin Iunius or Iunius mensis, which is just the month of June. Iunius is probably short for Iunonius, sacred to Juno, the Roman queen of the gods (kind of equivalent to the Greek Hera). So yeah, she got her own month. However there’s also a theory that May and June actually come from “majors” and “juniors”, referring to old and young men, respectively. Because of course they would need entire months dedicated to themselves.

Yeah, I prefer them being named after goddesses. Or the number of times a day you can milk a cow, like May used to be.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December Goals

Well, it’s December. Just one month left of 2016 and then it’s gone and most importantly, it can’t come back.

So let’s see how I did on my November goals.

November Goals
1. Write 10,000 words for new story idea. I don’t know if I’ll get there, but I want to aim high. So when I inevitably fail I can wallow in that much more misery.
I…actually did this. I got ten thousand words. Even though I missed more than a week of writing.

2. Do a bunch of boring adult crap like raking the pine needles and stuff. I hate being an adult.
I did this too. Damn pine needles.

3. Oh god. Thanksgiving is this month. Please, no. Not that. Anything but that.
Hey, it wasn’t terrible! Considering how bad 2016 was, this is the most surprising thing of all.

Wow, successful month. You’d almost not believe the world was going to end.

Anyway, now for this month:

December Goals
1. Do 10,000 more words in the WIP. If I was able to do it last month, I better be able to do it now.

2. Maybe update my blog design. It’s been YEARS.

3. Christmas. AAAAAAAAAAGH.

Okay, so that’s the plan. Let’s see how much it can go awry! So what are you up to this month?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Last Place You Want To Look

Veronica, in her insistence on being with me at all times, will often lie on things that she’s not supposed to. Usually it’s my glasses.

Turns out that really loud purring drowns out the sound of a text coming in. Of course, it’s loud enough to drown out most things…

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Language of Confusion: Ports, Part IV

Fourth week now. Let’s hope we can actually finish it this time.

First, deport showed up in the late fifteenth century meaning…to behave. I can’t even wrap my head around that. The other deport, like you would a person, didn’t show up until the mid seventeenth century! And they actually have slightly different origins. That weird deport comes from the Old French deporter, which could mean behave or things like be patient, amuse, delay, treat kindly, and take sexual pleasure with. Seriously, what the hell. Like the other -port words it comes from the classical Latin portare, carry, and the de- prefix means from or off. No, that makes no sense. It makes less than no sense. The other deport—the one we still use—came to us from Modern French, where it was déporter, carry off (or, you know, deport), and before that the classical Latin deportare, transport. Now I want to take the other deport and yell at it, “See?! This is how an etymology is supposed to go!!”

Ahem. Speaking of transport, it showed up in the late fourteenth century coming from the Old French transporter and classical Latin transportare, which is just transport. The trans- part means across, so it’s carry across. It’s nice to read something that doesn’t make me want to scramble my brains with an ice pick. Deport. PS., teleport didn’t show up until 1940 and is actually tele- (far off) plus transport. I’m assuming sci-fi has something to do with that.

Support showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French supporter and classical Latin (I’m sure you can guess it) supportare, or support. Support’s original definition was things like hold up or sustain, and it’s a mix of the prefix sub-, up from under, and portare, carry. So it’s to carry up from under, which makes sense. I think.

Finally today, we’re going to do some quick etymologies of the final port words. Passport is from the sixteenth century, coming from the Middle French passeport, authorization to pass through a port. It’s literally pass + the ship port. Next, purport showed up in the early fifteenth century from the Anglo French purport and Old French porport/purporter, contents, or convey. That’s a combination of pur-, which is basically por- or pro- and means forth, and porter, which of course comes from portare. Purport is to carry forth. Lastly there’s comport, which showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French comporter, endure or behave. It’s from the Latin comportare, which could mean things like transport or bring together. That last one makes sense since com- means together, so it’s carry together. Not that we use comport much these days…

TL;DR: If you ever want to etymologize the word port for your blog, it’s going to take way longer than you think.