Saturday, December 30, 2017

Spam Bingo, The Final

Ha, remember this? It was almost exactly a year ago that I posted my Spam Bingo post. It was going pretty good for a few months, but as I’ve mentioned before my spam has been surprisingly sparse lately. Anyway, let’s see how it looks!
Yep, I did manage to get everything, even the last two holdouts (foreign person asking for money and someone you can easily google—which I’ve gotten several of in the past month, BTW). Frankly, it wasn’t a very hard challenge. Although I bet it would be in 2018. Where has all the spam gone?!

Happy New Year, guys! I’d say let it be better than 2017, but the bar is so low that it’s almost meaningless. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Words That Make Me Irrationally Angry

Last word post of the year! So you’re going to hear me complain about words that bug me. In ascending order from “Meh” to “Sorry I keep stabbing you but you keep using that word.”

1. Pleaded
This isn’t one hundred percent of the time, and really it only bugs me that pled exists and no one uses it. I like pled. The person pled guilty to the crime. They pled for their life. Why do we need pleaded? Why does this bug me so much?

2. Numerals instead of spelling out numbers
I can’t remember what I was reading, just that it began a sentence with a 2 and I was like, no, that will not do. I tend to spell out numbers most of the time, but I usually don’t mind when people use numerals in their writing. Still, sometimes I see it and I just dislike the look of it, especially when it’s a smaller number. Like, just type out seven. It’s not that many more clicks.

3. Alright
While this one won’t send me into a rage, I just don’t like it. Every time I look at it I go “Ugh!” It’s literally displeasing to my eye, the same as seeing someone wearing socks with sandals or fanny packs. Yes, I know there’s nothing inherently wrong with it. I use already and altogether all the time. But alright…it’s one bridge too far.

4. Till as short for until
Til I can tolerate, and ‘til is perfectly acceptable. But damn it, till is what you do with soil and I won’t hear otherwise.

5. Guesstimate
The fact that this word isn’t showing up with a red jagged line under it in Word is sending me into a blinding rage. I may kill someone because of it and damn it, that won’t be on my conscious. Using it around me is taking your life in your hands. Guess and estimate are perfectly capable of doing the job!!!

Any words/usages that drive you crazy?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Reflections 2017

I think this year can be best summed up by one word: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH. On one hand none of my relatives died. On the other, republicans are damn sure trying to turn the world into an unending nightmare. So. You know. Things are still pretty bad.

Anyway, let’s see what I was supposed to do this year.

Resolutions 2017
1. Finish the first draft of my new WIP and hopefully start editing it.
Sigh, I really wish I did this. Maybe if I wasn’t so tired. And, you know, constantly terrified about losing my health care.

2. Come up with an idea for a new story that I probably won’t have time to write but still want anyway.
I actually have been toying with a new idea lately. I really like it, and also hope that I continue to really like it.

4. Build a rocket ship and move to Mars because I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.
Of all the things I didn’t do, this is the one I regret the most. I wish I was anywhere but here.

5. Find a new project to work on in my spare time. You know, something easy that I can work on when I’m too tired to write.
I never really found anything new that I wanted to work on. Not that I haven’t been too tired to write…

6. Try to eat better.
Probably not as much as I should.

7. Keep on blogging!
Why am I so excited for this. Stop being so enthusiastic. There is nothing warranting it. Stop it.

Yeah, this was a pretty depressing post. Sorry. I hope you have a happy new year and it’s nothing like 2017.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Last To Know

No one ever tells me anything.
I suppose I should be glad I found out sometime before the day itself.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Language of Confusion: Seasonal Things

Just a quick one today since I’m sure you all have stuff to do now that the holiday is almost here. And speaking of holiday…

Holiday showed up in the sixteenth century, although earlier it existed as haliday. It comes from the Old English haligdaeg, which is a mix of halig, holy and daeg, day. Fun fact of the day, holy (of course) comes from halig, which comes from the Proto Indo European kailo-, whole or uninjured…the origin word for health.

Eggnog obviously is egg + nog, although as just one word it showed up in 1775. Nog showed up about a century earlier meaning a strong type of beer brewed in Norfolk. Funny how they named the drink after it.

You know, like a song. Which I’ve always wondered why it’s called carol and if it’s related to the name. Ha ha, no. Not at all. It showed up in the fourteenth century meaning either a joyful song or to dance in a ring. It’s from the Old French carole/caroler, but before that is unknown. It might be from the Medieval Latin choraula, a dance to the flute, from the classical Latin choraules, flute player or piper, which in turn is from the Greek khoraules, from khoros, or chorus.

Noel showed up in the late fourteenth century as nowel, which I think makes way more sense spelling-wise. It’s a variant of nael, from the classical Latin natalis dies, birthday. Which…yeah, that’s what it’s supposed to be, isn’t it?

Yule comes from the Old English geol/geola, which are other words for Christmas (although geola could refer to a period of time including December and January). It might be related to joy and jolly, but probably not.

That’s it for etymology this year! I’m still posting next week and I’m sure it will be word-related, but it’s probably going to be something different. We’ll see!

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tis The Season (To Be Impossible)

It’s almost the end of the year! That means it’s time to slack off even more than usual!

There’s a game/torture device called the Impossible Quiz (as well as two sequels) and this year, just in time for the holiday, the creator put out a new Quiz, and this one is Christmas themed.

Now, being called impossible, it’s not supposed to be easy. Or even make sense. There are time limits on some questions that straight up end the game if you fail, oh, and others you’re not supposed to answer by clicking one of the four answers given but do something else entirely.

It’s extremely frustrating. Which is good preparation for having to spend time with your family. Go enjoy it and try not to break your computer.

Happy Nondescript Winter Holiday!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Stupid Ideas

It looked so easy. Just sign into another Google account with the click of the button instead of going through the trouble of signing out. My excitement over this lasted about five seconds.

I use my google account for pretty much just email and blogging, so I really can’t see how this is useful. Is there something I’m missing?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Language of Confusion: Other Lows

Now for other things kind of related to things going down.


Trip showed up in the late fourteenth century meaning skip, dance, caper (how often do you hear that word) or basically step lightly. So pretty different from what we know it as. It didn’t mean to fall over something until a century later and there’s nothing about how it managed to go from one to almost the complete opposite, but it’s from the Old French triper, jump/dance around or to strike with the feet. I guess it must have just gone back to the other Old French definition (although to strike something with your foot isn’t necessarily to trip over it).

Fall showed up in the thirteenth century, coming from the Old English feallan, which is just fall. It’s from the Proto Germanic fallan and the Proto Indo European pol-, to fall. And of course the reason that autumn is also called fall is because in the mid sixteenth century people used to say “fall of leaves”. Then, as always, they got lazy.

Slip showed up in the early fourteenth century in the sense that one would “slip away” from something, while the slip and fall sense didn’t come until the mid fourteenth century. It’s believed to be related to the Middle Low German slippen, glide or slide, from the Proto Germanic slipan and Proto Indo European sleib and its root word (s)lei-, which means…slimy, sticky, or slippery. And is where slime comes from. Oh and because things weren’t weird enough, while a woman’s slip is probably related (because it’s something that’s easy to slip in and out of it’s related to slip away), the slip that’s in pink slip is not.

Drop comes from the Old English dropian (the verb to drop) and dropa (the noun drop). Originally, they had to do with liquid, like dropa was a drop of liquid, not a fall, and dropian was to fall in drops like rain. It wasn’t until later that it took on the meaning of anything dropping down. At least I can at least see the logic in that progression. The words come from the Proto Germanic drupon and Proto Indo European dhreu and…that’s it, it looks like.

Sink showed up in the early fifteenth century as a noun meaning a cesspool (or place where sewage collected) and as a verb sometime before that. It comes from the Old English sincan, to sink, Proto Germanic senkwan, and Proto Indo European sengw-, also to sink. Now as for the reason that we clean dishes in a sink and it is no longer a cesspool, it’s because in the late fifteenth century it came to mean a drain for carrying water, and then it became a “shallow basin” with a pipe to drain dirty water, and then calling it a sink in general just stuck I guess.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

From The Spamfiles

Yeah, another spam post. What can I say, it’s the end of the year and I’m running out of steam. Also spam. I used to get scads of spam every day and now it’s usually only once a week. I appreciate the effort of spam blocking but man, it makes it difficult to come up with amusing posts.

Nothing really special about this, just the usual cancer widow needs help with her millions of dollars. But at the end it says “PLZ REPLLY TO MY PRIVATE EMAILBOX BACK” and frankly that’s just hilarious, like she suddenly morphed into a fourteen year old texting on their phone.

About time someone gave me two million dollars for no reason.

Welcome to arnazon!

It’s only been four years. I’m sure the email is still relevant.

When your neighbor emails you, it’s always as “your neighbor”. Otherwise how would you know who it was? Also I love that ASAP is in quotes, and that they put periods after every letter except the P. Maybe it stands for something besides as soon as possible.

Now I’m going to be up all night wondering what A.S.A.P stands for. As soon as P? As serious as P? Artistic Soul Always P?

Saturday, December 9, 2017


A true story.
My mom seems to create entertaining situations. Of course I usually end up getting yelled at.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Language of Confusion: Lows

First we did highs and middles, and now it’s time for the lows.

Bottom comes from the Old English botm (or bodan), ground (and also ground). I guess that makes sense since the ground is usually the bottom of things. Anyway, before that it was the Proto Germanic buthm, which might be from the Proto Indo European bhudhno-, which means bottom. The ground was the bottom, and then the bottom was the ground.

Low showed up in the late thirteenth century, although earlier it appeared as just lah. Weirdly enough, this word isn’t found in Old English, so it’s thought to be from the Old Norse lagr, and before that the Proto Indo European legh-, lie down or lay. That does make sense, although it’s strange that it skipped right over Old English like that. Fun fact, the low that’s a synonym for moo is not related at all, and it actually does have an Old English equivalent.

Down is actually the shortened form of the Old English ofdune, which is a combination of the words of (just of, big surprise) and dune (down). Dune (which is where dune comes from, by the way) comes from dun, which is a hill or mountain. So because things roll down a hill, we have down. Also down as in feathers is totally unrelated because of course it is.

Under is from the Old English under, which means…under. No big surprises here. Before that it was the Proto Germanic under- and Proto Indo European ndher, also under. So I guess we have a winner for least changed word.

Finally today, beneath. It comes from the Old English bineoþan, which looks fancy but is just beneath. It’s a combination of be- (which means by here) and neoþan, which is related to niþera, lowest or under, and the origin word for nether. Niþera can actually be traced to the Proto Germanic nitheraz and Proto Indo European ni-, below or down. Funny how we don’t use nether anymore when we can trace it further back.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December Goals

Holy crap it’s December already. Oh god, that means I have to get my mother a Christmas present. This is not going to be a fun month.

Anyway, goals.

November Goals
1. Sigh. Write in the book. Let’s see how badly I’ll fail it this month.
Well, I did write in it. I finished the outline (kind of). I just haven’t figured out how to get to the final confrontation.

2. Thanksgiving. Ugh, did anyone feel a foreboding chill just now?
It was weirdly not bad, mostly because it was very small so I didn’t have to deal with most of my relatives. Quite a relief.

3. Go through some old projects and notes and see if anything’s worth salvaging.
Didn’t do this, but I’m just pleased that I managed to write SOMETHING last month.

So, this month.

December Goals
1. Update etymology page. I think it’s been a few months and those words add up.

2. Hopefully write something.

3. Christmas. Yeesh.

It’s the last month of the year! What are you going to do?

Saturday, December 2, 2017


I usually write my blog posts for the upcoming week on Thursday, so this is what happened on Thanksgiving…

I mean. It’s not like Friday doesn’t exist for a reason.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Secret Origins: 5

It’s been several months since I’ve done one of these, so why not?

The word five comes from the Old English fif, Proto Germanic fimfe, and Proto Indo European penkwe, all of which mean five. Weird development, right? Penkwe to five, how the hell does that work? Plus it’s the origin of all the five words, like penta- and quint. And words you might not think of, like fist (five fingers in one, I guess), finger (they think), punch (although only the kind you drink, which is a way more interesting story) and Parcheesi. So now you all know that.

The numeral actually started out looking like a curly, backwards four. Then it got even more curly, then was just a circle in Arabic, from which it went to medieval Europe, where it looks like an upside down five. Weird, but it makes way more sense than the word’s origins.

I…guess that’s it? Not a very big one today. Pretty fascinating, though.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Moms and Technology 4

Yes, one more for the road because I don’t want to come up with an original post. This one actually took place the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, while I was baking a cheesecake. I was answering texts while trying not to get cream cheese all over my phone.

Her: How do you put page numbers and a header into a Word document?

Me: Just add page numbers and then type in your header.

Her: No I need them to be on opposite sides.

Me (never heard that before): WHAT?

Her: It’s APA format!

I had no idea. I had to go look it up, and let me say it’s ridiculously complicated. Seriously, APA, what’s so horrible about having a header and a page number on the same side? And boy am I glad I’m not in school anymore.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Moms and Technology 3

Remember the power outage I mentioned? It affected most of the state, including my mom’s house, so she was pretty bummed that she couldn’t watch her DVDs of Friends.

Me: I can bring over my laptop and you can watch it on that.

Her: Yeah, bring it, but we’ll just watch it on Netflix.

Me: I…We can’t watch it on Netflix. There’s no internet.

Her: I know. But it’s Netflix.

Me: …You can’t watch Netflix without the internet.

Her: You can’t? Why?

Me: Because you need the internet to access it like you do any website and you have no internet!

Her: Really?

Me: No power means no modem which means no internet!

Her: …Are you sure?

Me: Yes!


Her: Are you sure you can’t watch Netflix on your laptop?

I start sobbing.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Moms and Technology 2

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s more actual conversations that I’ve had with my mother.

Her: I can’t get my wireless printer to print.

I go down there, find it’s not connected to the internet. I can’t access it through her computer, so I try connecting it directly through her internet cable, which means I had to unplug her from her modem. That didn’t work so I plugged her back into the modem and figured out how to re-sign in her printer to her wireless network. Lo and behold, it starts printing and I leave her to it.

Five minutes later…

Her: It stopped printing! Right in the middle of a page!

Me: Okay…wait. It’s still connected to the internet.

Her: Stupid thing!

Then she hands me the blue cord that was supposed to be connecting her computer to the modem.

Her: This is useless, right? Because it stopped working right around the time I took it out of my computer.

I couldn’t even talk. I just reconnected it and set up everything again and she swore she’d never touch any wires again. I just. Why did she think I put it back. What did she think her desktop computer was getting the internet from. Why. Why why why.

After that I had to go lie down for a while.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Moms and Technology 1

It’s Thanksgiving week! I have too much to do so here’s a bunch of actual conversations I’ve had with my mom.

Her: I can’t find my paper. I know I saved it on Chrome but all that’s here is a blank page.

Me: Okay, did you save it on Google Drive?

Her: What’s Google Drive? How do I find it?

Me: Just go to the nine dots in the corner and click on it. It should be there.

Her: Okay, the paper’s not there. Can you go to my computer at home and check for it on there?

Me: …Fine.

So I get there and turn it on and…

Her: Never mind. I found it.

Saturday, November 18, 2017


I got a new router to help with my internet issues and…yeah, they’re mostly solved, although there’s still the occasional blip. Anyway, here’s what actually happened the day it arrived.
I politely told them no thank you, but I swear, if disappointment could be distilled into its purest essence, it would be that moment.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Language of Confusion: Eating Birds

Thanksgiving is a week away! So why not etymologize delicious birds that we like to eat?

This made more sense in my head.

Turkey showed up in the mid sixteenth century—at least, in regards to the bid that we now call turkey that is North American in origin. Before that, the name turkey was applied to a completely different species, the guinea fowl, which is from Africa. Those birds happened to be exported through the country of Turkey, so people started calling them that, but then when American turkey got introduced to Europe in the sixteenth century, people were like, well, clearly we have to call this bird from a different continent than Turkey turkey. It just makes sense.

Chicken comes from the Old English cicen, which meant a bird, but originally specifically meant a young bird. You know, like we use chick for today. It comes from the Proto Germanic kiukinam, from keuk-, which was a word for the sound a bird makes (and is possibly the origin of cock). That means it’s like “cluck”, so a chicken is… a clucken.

The bird duck comes from the Old English duce (pronounced duke), which is obviously just duck and is thought to be from the Old English word ducan, the origin word for the verb duck. But that isn’t sure, and it does seem kind of weird that ducks would duck. The previous word for duck was ened, and that word comes from the Proto Indo European aneti-, which is where a lot of other Indo European language derive their word for duck from. But not us anymore.

Goose comes from the Old English gos, which is a much more simplified spelling if you ask me. It comes from the Proto Germanic gans and Proto Indo European ghans-, which is actually thought to be another word taken from the sound the bird makes. And the reason the plural is geese is because of something called i-mutation, which means that people get lazy in their speaking and start pronouncing oo sounds like ee. And for some reason that became a popular way to pluralize things.

Pheasant showed up in the late thirteenth century (although it appeared a century earlier as a last name). It comes from the classical Latin phasianus, pheasant, from the Greek phasianos, also pheasant. Apparently it was named after a river called Phasis (now called Rion in Georgia) where there were a lot of the birds. And the T at the end just showed up because people said the word wrong because that’s ninety percent of etymology.

Plato and His Dialogues

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

From The Spamfiles

I just…really don’t feel like coming up with a post idea.

They give me the angry emoji in the subject line, but then a smiley emoticon in the message (which is in quotes for some reason BTW). Very inconsistent tone.

Sure, this makes sense. Presidents contact me all the time.

It’s from the Olivia Cake Designs branch of Bank of America.

This is…I don’t know what this is. They’re threatening me with photos. Are they, like, cursed or something?

What they do is within ambient of the law. I have to admit, I’ve never heard ambient used that way and have no idea what it’s supposed to mean. I even looked it up in the dictionary to see if there was some obscure definition I was unaware of, but nope. Not a clue what the hell that’s supposed to mean. Yet the rest of the spam is surprisingly well written.

Amazon wants me to see their pic. How naughty.

Honestly I’m a little disappointed in the quantity of spam I’ve been receiving lately. Some days I don’t get any at all, let alone one worthy of being posted. So if you get anything funny be sure to send it my way.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


I hate power outages.
It was horrible. I mean, I still had my handhelds but come on! I was in the middle of a game!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Language of Confusion: -Trude

I saw the word obtrusive the other day and I figured it was a good word to etymologize.

Obtrusive first showed up in the mid seventeenth century from the classical Latin obstrus-, but obtrude first showed up a century earlier. Its Latin origin is the word obtrudere, thrust into, press upon, or even presume. The ob- means in front of or toward, while trudere is thrust or shove. I guess something that’s obtrusive is shoved in your way. Trudere is also from the Proto Indo European treud-, which means press, push, or squeeze and is the origin word for threat. Which actually sounds like it has a more interesting origin than obtrude.

Intrusive has a kind of different, kind of similar origin. It showed up earlier, in the fifteenth century, from intrus-. Not much different so far. Intrude showed up in the early fifteenth century as a church word that meant to take possession of part of a church that doesn’t belong to you. Wow, specific. It wasn’t until the mid sixteenth century that it started to mean what we use it as. In any case, it’s either from intrusion (which showed up in the late fourteenth century) or directly from the classical Latin intrudere, to thrust. The in- means in (shocking!) and the trudere is the thrust, so thrust in. Which is pretty intrusive. Plus there’s also extrude, which means to thrust out, the ex- of course, being the out part.

Finally today, we’re looking at protrude. It showed up in the early seventeenth century (and protrusion not until the middle of the century), initially meaning thrust forward before it meant something that sticks out. It’s from the classical Latin protrudere, which means protrude or push, the pro- meaning forward and the trudere… well, you know. Thrust forward. I guess something that’s protruding is being pushed (or thrust) out?


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November Goals

Ooh, this is going to be a bad one, I can tell. October was a tough month. It seemed like there was constantly something going on, I wasn’t sleeping well and tired all the time, and, oh yeah, it finished off with a power outage that meant I couldn’t use my electronics. Because it’s not like I need those!

It was a frustrating month and I’m glad to see it gone.

October Goals
1. Write in my WIP! Please actually finish it this time!
I’m sad/frustrated to say that I didn’t work on it at all. I couldn’t figure out anything I wanted to write so rather than push it, I ignored it for a month in hopes that I would feel better about it later. I guess that’s kind of true.

2. Halloween spooky stuff, yay!
At least I did this!

3. Rake the pine needles. Yes, it’s that time of year again.
Okay, I did it, but I’ve only barely started. But this one’s not my fault. The first have of the month was so warm that the pine needles weren’t dropping, which means I can’t exactly rake them. So I’m going to have to finish this one this month, too.

Man, October sucked.

November Goals
1. Sigh. Write in the book. Let’s see how badly I’ll fail it this month.

2. Thanksgiving. Ugh, did anyone feel a foreboding chill just now?

3. Go through some old projects and notes and see if anything’s worth salvaging.

What are you up to this month? Are you hoping it’s better than October, too?

Saturday, November 4, 2017


It’s possible that I eat too fast.
I’m pretty sure it was chocolate. Like ninety five percent.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Language of Confusion: Middles

I did highs and I was going to do lows next, but then Liz reminded me that middles exist. Yeah, she does a lot of prompting for this blog.

Middle comes from the Old English middel, which of course means middle and… is it just me or does the spelling make way more sense? Anyway, it comes from the West Germanic middila, Proto Germanic medjaz, and Proto Indo European medhyo-, which again, means middle, and is the origin of a hell of a lot of words with mid and med in them, like medium and medieval and some without, like milieu and Mesopotamia. What a weirdly eclectic word. And speaking of medium…

Medium showed up in the late sixteenth century and comes from the classical Latin medium, which means half. Or, you know, middle. After it showed up as middle, it somehow got turned into “intermediate agency” or “channel of communication”. Maybe like a metaphorical halfway point? I don’t know. And like I said, medium is also from medhyo-.

You’d expect this one to be related to middle, and it is. It’s also from Old English, where it means with or by means of, and it’s traced back to medjaz and medhyo. Midst is also related, having shown up in the fifteenth century from the Middle English middes. Not much else to say here.

Center showed up in the late fourteenth century meaning the middle of a circle or a point around which things revolve. It’s from the Old French centre and classical Latin centrum, center, which originally meant the fixed point of a drafting compass. Did you ever use one of those in math class? Boy, were they tedious. Anyway, like most things, Latin stole the word from the Greek kentron, which could mean center as well as a sharp point (like in a compass!). And that word is traced to the Proto Indo European kent-, to prick. No snickering. Okay, some snickering. Fun fact of the day, the –er ending of center is older than the –re ending!

Half comes from the Old English half/halb/healf (depends on which dialect), which just meant half, but could also mean side or part instead of equal halves. It’s from the Proto Germanic halbaz, something divided, and might be related to the Proto Indo European skel-, to cut, but that isn’t certain. Funny how it used to mean only part of something!

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Short and Spooky

This was Liz’s idea, prompted from last week’s mention of two-sentence short stories. These ones are written by yours truly.

My Two-Sentence Short Stories
Last night, I was alone in the house and so I double checked to make sure everything was locked up tight. Then when I was in bed trying to sleep, I heard the window next to me sliding open.

The doctors wouldn’t believe me when I told them there were spiders in my skull. They changed their minds when I drilled a hole in my head and they came pouring out.

After hours of scratching, I clawed my way out of my grave. But everyone ran away when they saw the decomposing flesh falling off my body.

That’s what I came up with! Can you think of a good two-sentence short story? And to finish off Halloween month, here’s a puzzle game where you dip a pumpkin in inks in an attempt to create a certain pattern. It’s super cute and fairly easy, although the higher levels will take some thinking to figure out. The only real drawback is that there’s only sixteen levels.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Language of Confusion: More Death Related Words

Because sometimes I can’t think of pithy titles.

Assassin showed up in the mid sixteenth century, coming to English via French and Italian but originally from Arabic, where it was hashishiyyin. That word actually meant “hashish users”, because apparently during the Crusades there was a sect of people who got high on hashish and murdered the opposition. Not really assassinate, though, so it’s weird that we gave it a different connotation. Fun fact, Middle English actually had it as the word hassais, which in terms of pronunciation is definitely closer to the original Arabic.

Slaughter is really just laughter with an S on the front. Anyway, it showed up in the fourteenth century as a word that could mean the killing of cattle/sheep for food or the killing of a person. It comes from the Scandinavian word slahtr, which is close to the Old Norse slatr, butchering meat. That’s from the Proto Germanic slukhtis, which is related to sla, the origin word for slay, from the Proto Indo European slak-, to strike. Well, it’s hard to kill something without striking it. Hard, but not impossible.

Injury showed up in the late fourteenth century, while just injure showed up in the mid fifteenth century. It’s from the Anglo French injurie, wrongful action, and related to the OldFrench injuriier, damage or offend, and before that the classical Latin [] iniuria, which could mean injury as well as a wrong or injustice. It’s made up of the prefix in-, opposite of, and iurius comes from ius, right (like a right, not the direction :P). An injury is an opposite of a right… right?

Maim showed up in the fourteenth century from the Old French mahaignier, wound, mutilate, cripple, or disarm. So pretty much what we use it as today. It’s thought to be from the Vulgar Latin  mahanare, but it’s not certain and anywhere else it may be from (like related to mad) is even more speculative.

Attack is the most recent of these words, having not shown up until the seventeenth century. It’s from the French (that’s modern French) attaquer, which in turn is from Florentine Italian (a dialect spoke specifically in Florence) attaccare battaglia, join battle. It’s actually related to the word attach, but weirdly enough not with the affix definition we use with it, which is from somewhere else entirely.

Words are very confusing sometimes. A lot of the time.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Scary Stories

Subtitle, that you can, but probably shouldn’t, tell in the dark.

I’ve discovered several new short stories of the pants-crapping variety. And what else can I do but share them with you?

By one of my favorite writers. Ninety nine percent of his work is the kind of stuff that grosses you out. This story is not, and it’s also way more horrifying.

Honestly, I thought the first part was the best and a creepier story on its own. But feel free to check out the rest and see for yourself.

It’s actually a poem, and a surprisingly good one at that. Really well done.

It reminds me a lot of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Finally, be sure to check out these two sentence horror stories. I can’t really talk more about them since that would give everything away. I mean, they are only two sentences after all.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Spider Size

I hate spiders. They have too many legs and are gross.
Maybe this is a lazy comic. Maybe it’s just an excuse to copy and paste the same image over and over again. But it’s also true.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Language of Confusion: More Deaths

First of all, the Online Etymology Dictionary updated its website and it’s awesome. Second of all, more death related words!

Drown showed up in the fourteenth century. It’s thought to be from the Old English druncnian, swallowed up by water, and possibly related to druncen, which means drunk (as in intoxicated) and drincan, to drink. And yes, that’s the origin word for drink, which is where drench comes from.

Starve comes from the Old English steorfan, which actually means to die, believe it or not, coming from the Proto Germanic sterban, to be stiff. It didn’t mean die from hunger until the sixteenth century, where “starve from hunger” was a phrase for several centuries. I guess they eventually dropped the last part, which makes sense. We have plenty of words for die but no other one specifically related to dying from a lack of food.

Bludgeon, a word I don’t get to use nearly enough, showed up in the 1730s with no real known origin. Some think it might be from the Dutch blusden, but they aren’t really sure. I posit that someone said it by accident once and it was so fun to say that everyone picked up on it.

Poison showed up in the thirteenth century as a noun and a century later as a verb. It’s from the Old French poison/puison, which was a drink, usually medical but sometimes also in the magic potion sense. Before that it was the classical Latin potionem, medicine, which, I mean, yeah, obviously that’s where potion is from. Anyway, potionem comes from potare, to water or to drink, which is from the Proto Indo European root word poi-, the origin of a weird number of words that you wouldn’t expect. Like, you’ve got imbibe on that list, and beer, and also symposium. And finally, fun fact of the day: in Old English the word for poison was ator!

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Scary Movies 2017

More Halloween spooktacular fun! This week: movies.

Hell House LLC
This is pretty standard found footage fare, but it does manage to bring with it some genuinely creepy moments. A group of people are documenting their creation of a Halloween house, which happens to take place in a notorious hotel. Creepy stuff starts happening, obviously. There’s nothing new here, but I liked it and would suggest giving it a try if you’re having a scary movie night.

The Void
This movie is pretty bad in terms of story, characters, acting, and pretty much everything else. Its one shining asset is the amazing special effects used to create the monsters. I would recommend this only because it’s watchable enough to endure so you can enjoy some really cool monsters. If you like eighties horror movies, this will be right up your alley.

Mr. Jones
Okay, if I’m being honest, I put this movie on the list because I have no idea what the hell it was about and I’m hoping that if someone else watches it, they’ll be able to figure it out. If it had more focus, it might have actually been good. The basic plot is that a couple discovers that a man living out in the woods is a mysterious artist who sends creepy figures to random people, something which is never really explained. Which…yeah, “never really explained” sums up most of the movie. You get some hints and some speculation, but not nearly enough. I’m not someone who needs every little thing explained in great detail, but something would have been nice. So skip it unless you want to see some creepy imagery.

Dark Skies
Probably the movie here that I most enjoyed. It’s a typical alien abduction story, this time involving a whole family, and it has some of the usual horror movie tropes, i.e. the dad refusing to accept that it’s true after everyone else has. But it’s still enjoyable and genuinely creepy at times, and everything about it felt well done. Definitely try it out.

I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House
This Netflix original is about the caregiver of an elderly writer, but it’s also about the writer’s most famous novel, about a ghost that might very well live in the house. It’s, well, atmospheric. I guess that’s the best thing I can say about it. I liked it, but it’s probably not something I’d watch again, and I have to say I doubt a lot of people would enjoy it. If you want a gothic ghost story in the modern era, this is definitely it.

Saturday, October 14, 2017


Sometimes my mom makes me go walking with her. One time I found a really neat looking feather. Another time…

It ended up just being a statue, but it was hard to tell unless you were really close. And I never did find whatever it was that ran across the road.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Language of Confusion: Feelings of Worry

These feelings certainly feel appropriate for Halloween season. At least to me.

Worry used a lot as a noun these days, but it didn’t appear as one until 1804. Before that it was just a verb, coming from the Old English wyrgan, which actually means to strangle. It comes from the Proto Germanic wurgjan and Proto Indo European wer-, turn or bend, a word that’s the origin of a ton of other words. Just so many.

One of my least favorite words, anxiety showed up in the early-mid sixteenth century from the classical Latin anxietatem, anxiety. Anxious didn’t show up until a century later, coming from the Latin anxius, worried, which is related to angere, writhe, and anguere, snake. Um, the verb snake, not the reptile. Although I think that’s where the name for the reptile comes from. Anyway, the word can be further traced back to the Proto Indo European angh-, which is where we get anger, and also angst. Speaking of which...

Angst is a very young word, having shown up in 1944. It started as a term in psychology that came from the German word angst, which just means anxiety. And as I said, it can be traced to angh-.

Nervous showed up in the fifteenth century, where it meant “affecting the sinews”, which apparently can mean a tendon or asource of power (I’ve heard that word but I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen it used). Of course it’s related to nerve, coming from the classical Latin nervosus and nervus, which means sinew. That word seems to be popping up a lot here.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Scary Games

Because it’s that time of year again.

You Find Yourself In A Room
Not so much scary as it is psychological, this game is a text based adventure, where you type in words and the game responds almost like a story. Except in this case the game hates you. There are a few puzzles, but they are very simple. Mostly it’s just typing “look” and the game yelling at you. Anyway, it’s a fun, if weird, way to pass the time. Be warned, there is some swearing in this.

Don’t Escape
In a twist on the escape the room genre, in these three games you want to be locked in as securely as possible. They’re a mix of time management and point-and-click, and manage to be both tense and enjoyable. Go check them out when you have some time.

Deep Sleep
I’ve actually mentioned this game and its sequel before, but now the third and final game is out and you can play through the entire series. They are very atmospheric games, Lovecraftian almost. You know, without the racism.

You doing anything Halloween-y this month? Anything scary you want to share?