Saturday, September 30, 2017

Look Up

One night, after Peaches got out, I kept hearing her meowing but when I looked out the door I couldn’t find her anywhere.

She got off the neighbor’s roof all right, so I wasn’t worried.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Language of Confusion: Working Words

And now, synonyms for work. Because…I don’t know. Pretend I had a reason.

As a noun, work comes from the Old English weorc/worc, which basically just means work. It’s from the Proto Germanic werkan, also work, and before that the Proto Indo European werg-o, to do. The verb of the word has a slightly different origin. It’s actually a mix of two Old English words, wyrcan (cause, achieve, or make) and wircan, which is from a different dialect and can mean operate, function, or set in motion. Both words are from the Proto Germanic werkan, but it’s amusing to see how the words divided and joined back together like that.

Toil showed up in the early fourteenth century as both a noun and a verb, which was actually spelled toilen. The slight difference follows the word back in history, as in Anglo French the verb is toiller, meaning pull or drag, and the noun is toil, from toiler, to agitate. What a difference an L can make. But both words are from the Old French toeillier, drag around or make dirty. Before that they’re thought to be from the classical Latin tudiculare, crush with a hammer. That doesn’t make much sense, but neither does toil now meaning work hard these days.

Labor showed up in the fourteenth century, coming from the Old French laborer and classical Latin laborare, work. Nothing super interesting about this one, although labor did used to mean to plow back in the French. Weird how some uses of the word don’t get passed along.

Job is a relatively late word, not having shown up until the mid seventeenth century. It actually comes from a sixteenth century phrase, “jobbe of worke”, meaning a single task. Before that, no one’s really sure where it came from, although one theory is that it’s from gob. It’s hard to believe that such a common word these days just kind of popped into existence.

As a noun, Employ didn’t show up until the mid seventeenth century, but the verb showed up two centuries earlier meaning to expend or to apply something for some purpose. It comes from the Old French emploiier and classical Latin implicare, which sounds like implicate because it means implicate. It’s actually a mix of the prefix en-, in, and plicare, to fold. To employ is to fold in. And guess what, imply is from the exact same word. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Totally Legit Comments

Last week (Monday, in fact, right before my last spam post was due to go up) I got a spate of comments on my last month of blog posts. There were about fifteen, all from someone named “Koi” with a bunch of Thai letters at the bottom. So yeah. Spam.

I’ve gotten tons of fake comments before, usually in barely comprehensible English. But these were perfectly readable. In fact, they seemed familiar.

Kate might recognize this, as she’s the one who said it first. They were all cribbed from other comments. From the same post even! How lazy is that? A lot of them were generic enough that I would not have recognized them right away. But then there are ones like this:

Podcasts while knitting…sounds an awful lot like Liz. Sure enough, she’s the one who actually said this.

Alex would certainly agree with you, considering he said the exact same thing.

Andrew added a few more words when he made this post. Several of them were like this, just taking pieces of the original. As if I’m not going to notice. Maybe it would have been less suspicious if they didn’t upload all their comments on the exact same day, most on posts that were weeks old.

This isn’t an isolated incident since William mentioned that the same thing happened to him. Any of you had any crazy comments lately? Do you think the spammers really believe we’re not going to notice?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Not A Clue

If you follow me on Twitter, then you may have seen me remark on how my glasses broke. Like, right down the bridge. I don’t have glasses now, I have two half glasses.
Thankfully I now have my new glasses. That I will be keeping far away from fat cats.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Language of Confusion: More Tops

And now more words for top, this time focusing on peaks.

Peak didn’t specifically mean the top of a mountain until the seventeenth century, although it actually a century earlier meaning a pointed top. When it showed up then it was a variant of pike, a long pointy stick, which in turn is from pick, which somehow leads us back to pike again. They’re all related is what I’m getting at. Peak has no further origins, but pick and pike have further histories that I’m sure I’ll get to someday. I know this is a bit of a cop out but oh well :P.

Maybe this one won’t trail off to nowhere. Apex first showed up in the seventeenth century from the classical Latin apex, which means point. Or, you know, apex. It’s thought to be related to the verb apere, to fasten or fix, from the Proto Indo European word ap-, to take or reach. The reason that an apex is the tip of something is because in Latin it was also a word for “the small rod at the top of the flamen’s cap”. It was…fastened onto the tip.

Acme showed up in the mid sixteenth century from the Greek akme, which of course means acme. It can be traced all the way back to the Proto Indo European ak-ma-, where the prefix ak- means be sharp or rise out. No great mysteries here! But it is a fun word to say.

Summit is the earliest of these wrods, having showed up in the fifteenth century. It comes from the Middle French somete and Old French somete. Which, yeah, just means summit, but it’s actually the diminutive of som/sum, the top of a hill. Before that, it was the classical Latin summum, summit, from summus, high, which is related to super, on or over, and yes that’s where super comes from. It’s actually from the Proto Indo European root *uper, which means over, which gave us words like hyper and over, as well as super, summit, and even sum. Man, I should do a post on all the uper words.

Whew. That was quite a wild ride, wasn’t it?


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

From The Spamfiles

It’s been a while. I think. Maybe. Anyway, here it is again!

If Veronica could send email, this is exactly what she would send. Only more desperate.

"We here by today receive this payment". So close to sounding like a real person! Seriously, the first AI to pass the Turing test is going to be a spambot. Just you watch.

There was a period where I was getting at least one of these a day, all with the same message, all with different email addresses. I’m really kind of confused as to what they’re trying to do here. Also, we all know who the real evil bitch is, and it’s the person who ends “You know what” with an exclamation point instead of a question mark.

Ignoring the fact that it says “responde” and the two differing prices…who the hell spends more than eight hundred dollars on a lamp?!?!

How about he take responsibility for his own happiness and not expect a woman to do it for him, hmmm?

Also, I’ve gotten like five spams in the past month all from someone named Melissa. Or Mellissa. Why is every spammer named Melissa all of a sudden?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

I Think She Does It On Purpose

This is a lot of what my birthday is like.

Seriously. Just let me pick out my own clothes.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Language of Confusion: Tops

And now words for things that are above.

The earliest top was probably the noun version, meaning the highest point of something. It started as the Old English top, which means, well, top. And it comes from the Proto Germanic tuppaz, but before that it’s a big old question mark. All the other tops come from it, like the spinning kind of top, to top something off (which showed up at some point between the mid fifteenth and sixteenth centuries), and the adjective (end of the sixteenth century). How disappointingly boring.

The earliest known tip showed up in the thirteenth century and meant to strike or occur suddenly—it might be related to tap), and it’s where we get things like tipping point or tip one’s hand. It’s thought to be related to the Middle Low German tip, which is significant because that’s where the tip that we all know as meaning the end of something. That tip didn’t show up until the fifteenth century and in addition to being Middle Low German is probably Scandinavian in some way. I have to admit, I had no idea that the first tip had that definition. I always wondered why a tip-off was called that.

Above comes from the Middle English above/aboven, which was also pronounced aboun or abow. In any case, the word comes from the Old English abufan, above [], which was originally onbufan. See, that bufan means above or over, and the on unsurprisingly means on (it turns out that there are a lot of words where the on- turned into a-, like asleep and alive). Bufan is actually a mix of be, which means by and ufan, which once again just means above and is from the Proto Germanic ufan- and Proto Indo European upo, under. More on that in a second, but basically above is a nesting doll of words meaning above.

Up comes from the Old English up or uppe, which we all know just means up. It comes from the Proto Germanic upp-, and that’s from upo, too. Since upo could also mean “up from under”, it morphed into over in places and now we have up. And above, apparently.

High comes from the Old English heh or heah, both meaning high but with what I have to call way more sensible spellings. Heh and heah come from the Proto Germanic haukhaz, which is “uncertain in origin” (i.e. they don’t know where it came from). The reason it has the g in there is because it was supposed to have a guttural sound in it, but apparently people stopped saying it that way and never bothered to update the spelling. Fun fact, there used to be another high that meant thought or understanding, but it hasn’t been used since the thirteenth century.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Writing Update

Since this blog was supposedly started to talk about writing, maybe I should talk about it a little?

My writing pace has slowed way down (obvs), because unfortunately I’ve been so tired at the end of the day, mostly mentally, and just want to have some fun and relax. Also I really need to have a show on in the background while I write and my streaming has been terribly choppy lately. I know that’s a stupid thing to complain about as a deterrent for writing but IT’S TRUE.

I like the book I’m writing. It’s getting near the end now. I want to set up for the final confrontation although I haven’t quite figured out how that’s going to happen. I mean, I know what will happen when it does, I’m just not sure how to get to that point. I’ve been really pantsing this one. I’ve already made a bunch of notes of things I need to add in editing. Editing! Oh man, I hate to think what that will be like. This first draft is a steaming hot mess. At the rate I’m going, I’ll be editing for the rest of my life.

I also have ideas about what I might want to write next. Several well-formed ideas that I’m not sure if I want to write, one interesting but barely there idea that will likely never get written, and one, the most likely next candidate, that could be good if I can get it past the idea stage. We’ll see.

So that’s the situation here. What’s your writing like? Any good ideas brewing?

Saturday, September 9, 2017

While I Was Away

Sometimes you just wish you could stay away.

I call those times “2017”.
Haven’t done one of these jokes in a while. Kind of a different reason than usual, too.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Language of Confusion: Merge

Kind of a short one this week. My mind’s not fully back from vacation yet.

Merge showed up in the mid seventeenth century, so not all that long ago in etymology terms. It comes from the classical Latin mergere, which actually means things like immerse, dip in, plunge, or…drown. This is turning out to be my kind of word! It’s thought to come from the Proto Indo European mezg-, which means dip or plunge, where it was rhotacized, which basically means that they shoved an R in there for no particular reason. As to why it means combine these days, it probably is because in the eighteenth century it became a legal term for “absorb an estate, contract, etc. into another”. I guess that’s plunging in?

Emerge showed up in the mid sixteenth century, making it older than merge up there. It comes from the Middle French émerger and classical Latin emergere, rise or bring forth. See, the e comes from ex-, which means out here, while the merge is dip in. So instead of dip in, it’s dip out. Or dip in out? And there’s also emergency, which also comes from emergere. Just with a -ency after it. I guess an emergency is something that rises up suddenly.

Finally, submerge showed up in the seventeenth century from the French submerger and classical Latin submergere, sink. Pretty straight forward here. The sub- means under, so with merge it’s to dip or plunge under. I think this one made more sense than the other two.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September Goals

Well, I’m back. Back doing stuff. Writing. Editing. Working. And it sucks.

So goals or whatever.

August Goals
1. Finish the book! I don’t know how many more words it’s going to be, but I think I’m getting close to the end. The final confrontation is close…
I didn’t finish it, because of course not, but I did get quite a bit done. I’m almost there!

2. Again, start outlining it. There’s a bunch of stuff I need to figure out.
Hey, I actually did this! It’s a miracle! Plus I figured stuff out! WOO!

3. BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not enough cake.

And now, for this month.

September Goals
1. Again, finish the book. It could actually happen this time!

2. Update the etymology page again. I always forget this and then I have a million words to do and it’s a pain.

3. Make some new cross stitch patterns. Shut up! I like it! Don’t you judge me!

So that’s what I have planned. What are you up to this month?

Saturday, September 2, 2017


Back on Tuesday! Technically Monday since I’ll be visiting others but the blog’s not updating until Tuesday!