Thursday, December 27, 2018

Words I Will Never Know How to Spell

It’s the last Thursday of the year, and as always I’m looking at words in a slightly different fashion. This year: words that I will never know how to spell. Come on, it’s in the post title.

Heads up: having French genes does not make you able to spell French words (I guess linguistics can’t be passed down that way). Also, why the hell is this word so freaking hard to get right?! Seriously, what is with French and letters? “Let’s throw an O in there!” “Shall we pronounce it?” “No, what are you, crazy?”

I think it’s the S and the C in this one that really screw me up. This is why I hate the letter C. It’s so pointless. It’s designed to make you not know how to use it. Is it pronounced? Silent? A K sound? An S? A ch?

I suppose that this might be embarrassing to admit, but I always forget either the L or the F. It’s all those consonants in a row! Sometimes it seems like the F isn’t even vocalized, and I know there’s a linguistic word for that although I can’t think of it off the top of my head and don’t feel like looking it up.

I am just always convinced there’s an A in there somewhere. Secretary uses the same vowel pronunciations but has an A in the end. Why not cemetary? I mean cemetery. I just did it again. Not making this up. I totally spelled it wrong in my post about spelling it wrong as I’m looking at the correct spelling of the word.

I never remember that there are two N’s. Or sometimes I spell it with the two N’s, but only one L. I will never, ever get it right on the first try unless I look it up.

So that’s all I can think of, but what about you? What words do you never get right?

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Reflections 2018

It’s Christmas, but it’s also the last Tuesday of the year and obviously it’s more important for me to stick to my schedule than put up a filler post. I mean, have you met me? Sticking to schedules is what I do.

If this year was any rougher I’d be in court pointing to where it hurt me on a doll. Saying it was better than last year is like saying being stabbed is better than being shot. I’d rather not have either!

Anyway, this is what I had planned for the year:

Resolutions 2018
1. Figure out some way to better keep track of my goals and resolutions. I used to use a sticky note on my desktop, but I hate it looking cluttered…
I went back to the sticky note. I guess it’s not the worst. It does help me remember what I should be doing.

2. Write a new book.
I’m more than halfway done with the first draft, so it’s getting there!

3. Actually finish a book this year!
I didn’t, although not for lack of trying. I worked really hard to get it to the point where it could have beta readers, and there are still a million things I have to do with it!

4. Once again, try to eat better. Cut back on sugar, and whatnot.
Yeah. No.

5. Takeover/destroy the world. Which it’ll be will probably depend on my mood.
It’s probably a good thing for people that I’m too lazy to get off my ass and do this, because it definitely would have been destroy.

6. Find something fun to do in my spare time. I need more fun. We all need more fun.
Meh, kind of. I bought new games to play. That counts.

7. Write something every day. Well, at least this will be easy.
Pretty close to it, yeah.

I guess it was a successful year in terms of writing, but that’s where it ends. What a nightmare 2018 has been. Wake me when the revolution begins because I’m going to go sleep forever.

Have a nice holiday! Or Tuesday, if that’s what you’re celebrating.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Language of Confusion: Baked Goods

This will probably be the last real etymology post of the year. Enjoy it!

Pie showed up in the mid fourteenth century, or maybe even older than that because in the twelfth century there was a thing called a piehus that meant bakery. It comes from the Medieval Latin pie, which was meat or fish enclosed in a pastry instead of delicious baked fruit. It might be related to the Medieval Latin pia, which meant pie or pastry, but you know how words can be weirdly not related at times. It also might be related to pica, which means… magpie. Which was once just called pie in English. So that answers that question that no one thought to ask.

Cookie showed up in the early eighteenth century from Scottish, but back then it meant a plain bun and it’s not actually sure that it’s related to what we know as a cookie. It wasn’t that until 1808, and that was actually taken from the Dutch koekje, little cake, which is from koke, their word for cake. Speaking of which…

Cake showed up in the early thirteenth century meaning flat or thin baked dough and replacing the Old English word for cake, coecel. It comes from the Old Norse kaka and West Germanic kokon- (which is where the above mentioned koke comes from). It was once thought that it was related to the classical Latin coquere, to cook, but they no longer believe that anymore. Don’t ask me why.

Pudding showed up in the fourteenth century meaning, get this, a kind of sausage. We didn’t use it to mean a pudding like we know it until 1670, when it started to mean other foods that were “boiled or steamed in a bag or sack”. Which sounds pretty nasty to me. Pudding might be from the West Germanic pud-, to swell, or the Old French boudin, sausage, but it’s another one that no one is really sure about.

Fun fact, in the sixteenth century brownie meant a “benevolent goblin supposed to haunt old farmhouses in Scotland”. It wasn’t until 1897 that it actually meant a brownie. We don’t have a real explanation as to why, but I’m assuming it’s because it’s brown.

Obviously there’s a lot more besides these, but they’ll have to wait for another time. Go list your favorite delicious baked good in the comments!

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Last Spam

It’s last in the sense that it’s the last spam posts I put up on my Tumblr, but hopefully not the last ever. I’d like to find some way to continue it. Mostly because I have just so much more left on my hard drive and I’d feel really stupid for collecting it if I didn’t at least post it.

Spot the Red Flags!
1. They call me “customer”, when these places always call you by the name on your account.
2. “…your payment information we hold on record” sounds off, like they didn’t quite get the translation right.
3. They forgot to capitalize the name of their company. Even if it was only once, that is suspicious as hell.
4. The most obvious: my Netflix account is not connected to that email address.

If I’m fed up with fake dating, somehow I don’t think your website is going to help me.

The secret to managing your blood sugar: putting spaces between every letter in every sentence.

Honestly, I have the opposite problem. If I tried this stuff I’d go full yeti.

Look at this totally super real new follower I got on Twitter! Not a single thing weird about it, from the series of weird numbers after the name, to the fact that his name is “Gonzalez Jonathan” instead of “Jonathan Gonzalez”, to the fact that he has “sugar baby” as the only words in his profile.

It wouldn’t be spam if there wasn’t at least one cancer widow. Granted, she doesn’t actually say that she has cancer or that she’s a widow, but the spirit is there.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

This Actually Happened

This occurred while I was with my mom helping with all the baking for Thanksgiving. Remember when I told you about the cat she got from my sister?
She cuddled like a baby. It was ridiculous.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Language of Confusion: Fire

Honestly, I might be doing this one because I’m cold. So very cold.

I actually did fire already, but it was one of the first etymology posts I ever did and focused more on the difference between fire and fiery and why they’re stupidly spelled so different. I already explained the spelling thing in my other post, but here’s a refresher: it wasn’t spelled fire until the thirteenth century at the earliest, and before that it was spelled fier. For some reason the spelling changed for that, but not for the adjective version of the word, because words are weird.

Fire comes from the Old English fyr, which was pronounced the same way anyway. Before that it was the Proto Germanic fur and Proto Indo European perjos, from the root paewr, which also means fire, as well as egni-, another word for fire. Yes, they had two. One was for “inanimate” fire, one was for “animate” fire. I’m not really sure how you distinguish them, but that’s why we have the words fire, pyro, and ignite.

Pyro-, as well as related words pyre, pyrite, and others, is from the Greek pyr, fire, which is from paewr-. Ignite showed up in the seventeenth century (ignition showed up a little earlier) from the classical Latin ignitus, the past participle of ignire, to ignite.

But there are other words to look at. Flame has a completely separate origin, coming from the Middle English flaume (noun) and flaumen (verb). The words are from the Anglo French flaume/flaumbe or flaumer/flamber, hence the word flambé, and come from the classical Latin flammula, little flame, from the Proto Indo European bhel-, shine, flash or burn, and origin of words like black and bleach and just so many others. Such as blaze, which comes from the Old English blaese, a flame or blast, from the Proto Germanic blas, which was taken from bhel- also.

Tl;dr: we have a lot of words for fire.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Snap

Maybe you’ve heard about this, maybe you haven’t. Tumblr was dropped from Apple’s app store for the appearance of child porn on their website and as a result they decided to ban all adult content (although in fact this had been brewing for a while, the Apple thing just prompted them to do it sooner). While getting rid of child porn is dear god always a good thing, keep in mind that this website has a TON of users who have been advocating for child abuse and Tumblr has done nothing—nothing—to stop them. People report them all the time and nothing happens! No bans, no deletions. But the second Apple snaps its fingers, uh-oh, better ban all adult content because that will also somehow double their user base. I’m not making that up. They think that’s how it will work. It’s been likened to Thanos’s snap in Infinity Wars due to both how arbitrary it hits people and how ineffective it is in achieving the professed goal.

As someone who has actually been on Tumblr, I know for a fact that there are a huge amount of porn bots. They’re like, half my followers. I don’t really care because I’m not stupid enough to engage them and frankly, they’re spam, and that’s literally what my blog is about. But in Tumblr’s pervious attempt to curb the porn bots and adult content, literally nothing happened to them. But you know what does happen? Click here for an example of the posts that get flagged. Yeah. Not porn. Not adult.

And go take a look at Tumblr’s announcement about what’s no longer going to be allowed after December 17. First of all, female presenting nipples? So does this mean that if the nipples have mustaches, they’re okay? Or is it just an excuse to be able to single out trans people easier? Spoiler alert, it’s the latter. LGBTQA+ people already get flagged for “adult content” all the time so you can bet this so called algorithm is going to screw them over even more, and this is especially bad considering that Tumblr was a major place where they connected and shared with each other. But you know what isn’t banned or restricted on Tumblr at all? White supremacists. You can’t find any boobs and the chronic pain tag is banned, but want to kill all POC? Go right ahead.

For the kids, right?

I’m bummed about this. I generally enjoyed my time on there. It kept me up to date on the freshest of memes. So what’s going to happen to the Spamfiles after December 17. I don’t know, but I don’t think it’ll be on Tumblr anymore. It does occasionally mention sex after all. What a sad way to end the year.

Saturday, December 8, 2018


I must confess: I don’t actually like coffee. I think it’s been twenty years since I last had a cup. But then my mom’s coffee maker broke.
She did order a new one anyway, which was good because the old one didn’t sound quite right. But she at least got to have her morning coffee until it got there.

Oh, and that absolutely was her response when I told her it worked for me. The only difference is that it was by text, not voice, and definitely wasn’t censored. It’s just easier to convey that way in comic form.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Secret Origins: 7

We’re going on seven months since the last time I did one of these. How appropriate.

As a word, seven comes from the Old English seofon, which in spite of the f was pronounced pretty much the same way. It comes from the Proto Germanic sebum and Proto Indo European septm, which also meant seven in spite of the fact that a b and a p are very obviously not a v or an f. No idea why they changed. They just did, and you can see it in words like September, not to mention the replacement of the s with an h in the prefix hepta- (you can thank Greek for that).

As for the numeral, the earliest version is the Brahmi version, which actually looks quite similar to our seven. In Hindu it looked a lot more like a 6 lying on its back, and then the Arabic version is like a v. When the numeral system migrated to Europe, a lot of different places used different versions of numbers, so it could look like a v or y a 7 depending on where you were. Which makes sense. It’s not like they were constantly connected to the internet back then. Places could go years or decades without interacting with each other. Who would have thought to standardize anything?

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

December Goals

What a mess this month was. As anyone who follows me on twitter is aware, I got sick after Thanksgiving. Boy, did that suck. Anyway, back to the goals.

November Goals
1. Keep searching for beta readers.
At least this wasn’t affected by me being sick. Still could use more.

2. Get up to 40K on my new WIP (already at about 18K, so this is certainly possible).
I wasn’t able to meet this goal. I was on track until I got sick. I had to use all my energy to do the stuff I had to do instead of the stuff I wanted to do. It was such a bummer.

3. <shudder> Thanksgiving.
Ugh, I’m so glad this is done.

And that’s it for November. What about December?

December Goals
1. Hopefully get beyond 50K in the WIP.

2. Update my etymology page before it gets out of hand.

3. Ugh, now we have Christmas.

So that’s what I’m planning for the last month of 2018. What are you going to do? Any holiday/end of the year plans?

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Language of Confusion: -Fess

Time to fess up.

Confess showed up in the late fourteenth century (shortened as “fess” in 1840), coming from the Old French confesser, Vulgar Latin confessare, and classical Latin confess-. Now that’s from the verb form of confiteri, to acknowledge, a mix of the prefix com- (together) and fateri, to admit. So it’s “to admit together”? Fateri can also be traced back to the Proto Indo European bha-, to speak or say, which is a part of, like, a bunch of words. So many.

The other fess word is profess, which showed up in the early fourteenth century meaning to take a religious vow. Obviously it’s related to profession, but will get into that later. It’s also related to the Old French profess and before that the Medieval Latin professus, avowed. It’s related to the classical Latin profiteri, which could mean volunteering, profess, profession, acknowledge, or make a public statement of. The pro- is from per-, meaning forth, and with fateri, it would be something like “to admit forth”. Which makes sense for the public statement thing, but not so much the other definitions.

Profession is even older than profess, having shown up in the thirteenth century. Although back then, it meant the “vows taken upon entering a religious order”, coming from the Old French profession and classical Latin professionem. It didn’t mean someone’s occupation until the fifteenth century in the sense of an “occupation one professes to be skilled in”. Saying you have a profession is publically claiming you have skill in something. And professor showed up in the late fourteenth century meaning a teacher of a branch of knowledge, coming from the Old French professeur and classical Latin professor (leave it to French to add extra letters). The etymology dictionary doesn’t specifically say why professor became another word for teacher, but I’d guess that a professor is someone who is professing so much skill at something that they can teach it. Kind of ironic since the one thing I’ve found professors to suck at is teaching.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

From The Spamfiles

It’s the last Tuesday of November and I’m still so wiped out from Thanksgiving. So here’s some spam.

You guys used the wrong fake email address here.

Well, this is sketchy AF. Just the screenshot is enough to give my computer a virus.

Sext is a portmanteau of “sex” and “text”, so can one really get a sext via email? Because that’s not a text. It’s an email. WHY DOES THIS BOTHER ME SO MUCH???

She lost 92 pounds after a tragedy… I mean… is she all right? Maybe someone should check on her, because that doesn’t seem like a good thing.

This can only end with me in a bathtub full of ice missing both kidneys.

The question mark is because it’s asking if the information contained within will prevent a heart attack in seven seconds. And the answer is no.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thanksgiving Week Comics 1

I generally do something special over the week of Thanksgiving to celebrate (i.e. things I don’t have to put a lot of effort into) so here’s a bunch of one panel comics.
Like I’d let her get away with eating all the good stuff. That’s supposed to be my job.

Saturday, November 17, 2018


My sister’s landlord made her give up her cat ( :( ) so she gave it to my mom, who is pretty much the person you can give cats to.
 Most of the time the cats just sleep on the furniture. I mean, they are people after all.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Language of Confusion: Figs

Figure showed up in the thirteenth century, first just meaning a number and then a century later meaning the image of a person, and also the verb form. Although again, initially the verb didn’t mean what we know it as (as in, to figure something out). It used to just to represent, then make a likeness of. It wasn’t until the seventeenth century that it meant “picture in the mind”, and then not until 1833 was it used in math. It comes from the Old French figure, which could mean shape or body, the form of a word, or a symbol. Funny how initially only one of those definitions was used in English. Anyway! Before that, it comes from the classical Latin figura, shape or figure, which is related to figurare, to shape or figure and from the Proto Indo European root dheigh-, form or build. Which is where we get the other words we’re looking at today.

Figment showed up in the early fifteenth century from the classical Latin figmentum, figment or fiction, which is also derived from figura. Also, configure showed up in the late fourteenth century as to form or “to dispose in a certain form” because words are weird. It comes from the classical Latin configurare, to configure, a mix of the prefix con- (with or together) and figurare, to shape. To configure is to shape together. Which means reconfigure is to shape together again. Similarly, transfigure is trans- (across or beyond) + figurare, to shape beyond.

There are a bunch of other words that are descended from dheigh-. Effigy is ex- (out) plus fingere, another word that also means form or shape. Feign, feint, fiction… But not significant. Which is from sign.

We’ll get into those other words another time.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I Voted

This isn’t a political post. I try to stay away from that stuff on my blog as I find it too depressing. This is just a story of an actual thing that happened to me when I went to vote.

Let me set the scene: I went up to the table where they made me show them my license (an evil practice) and sign in. I sign my name, take my license back. And…

Lady: Oh! You used cursive.

Me: It’s just a signature.

L: You never see cursive these days.

Me: That’s because there’s no use for it.

L: Well… what if you have to read it?

Me: I’ve literally never had to do that. Everything is digital these days anyway.

L: But… what if you went to Washington DC? You’d have to read it then.

Me: …I can’t imagine a scenario where I’d actually have to read something in cursive. Like, ever. Even DC has to be digital these days. It’s the only way to survive.

Finally she shut up and gave me my ballot so I could get the hell out of there. Seriously, what is with people clinging to this useless, dead writing system like its ubiquitous and we’re harming ourselves by not using it? I am not exaggerating when I say I’ve never had to read cursive since I was forced to learn it in the third grade. There are people who worship cursive like it’s some sort of deity.

Well, it’s not. It’s illegible, pointless, and obsolete. Deal with it.

And if I’m going to DC, I’m going to be bashing in skulls, not reading.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Language of Confusion: Foul

A relatively short one this week.

Foul showed up in Old English as ful, which means corrupt or impure (sometimes full was spelled that way, just to make things confusing). It comes from the Proto Germanic fulaz, which can be traced to the Proto Indo European pu-, rot or decay. And one theory is that that word is echoic, as in, people would make that sound when smelling something bad, so it became a word.

And do you know what other words come from pu-? Pus, unsurprisingly. It showed up in the late fourteenth century from the classical Latin pus, pus (eye roll). Also related is putrid, which showed up in the early fifteenth century from the Latin putridus, bad or rotten, from the verb putere, to stink.

Filth is also related, being derived from foul. It was fylþ in Old English (meaning it was pronounced the same as filth) and meant dirt, and that word was taken from ful. It’s also an example of what’s called i-mutation, which is when people get lazy with pronouncing the o/u sound and start pronouncing it e/i. So instead of “foulth” we say “filth”.

Laziness! It’s how language evolves!

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

November Goals

Less than two months left in the year. How did this happen? What was I even supposed to do last month?

October Goals
1. Start with the beta reads. And as a corollary, don’t have a panic attack from the beta reads.
I actually didn’t do this because everyone I knew was busy or vanished somewhere into the aether of the internet. The blog-o-sphere isn’t as active as it used to be.

2. Figure out if I’m ready to start a new WIP.
Considering I started it, the answer would have to be yes.

3. Try to distract myself from the beta reading/imminent doom.
Kind of unnecessary.

Seriously, the beta thing was such a bust. There are like three people who owe me reads who are just plain gone. Plus the last time I did this, there was still a lot of those blog events people hosted where you could find a bunch of like-minded people to exchange stories with. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve seen one of those.

The above is kind of feeling like a big old pile of excuses, so let’s just move on to next month:

November Goals
1. Keep searching for beta readers.

2. Get up to 40K on my new WIP (already at about 18K, so this is certainly possible).

3. <shudder> Thanksgiving.

So that’s what I want to do this month. What are you up to? Want to do some beta reading (you can email me here)?

Saturday, November 3, 2018


Seriously, how are these passing inspection? They need to do something about those brakes.
It even woke Veronica up and she’s going a bit deaf in her old age.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Language of Confusion: Atomic

This week’s post is inspired by Liz, who gave me a suggestion to etymologize the word nuclear over a month ago that I’m just now getting around to.

Nuclear showed up in 1841, although it didn’t have to do with physics until 1914. Back in the nineteen hundreds, it just meant related to the nucleus of the cell and it was created by mixing nucleus with the word forming suffix -ar, which means “pertaining to” or “of the nature of” (the word nuclear itself was probably influenced by the French word nucléaire). So the word is pertaining to the nucleus. But what is nucleus?

Nucleus showed up in 1704 meaning, get this, the kernel of a nut and a few years later the head of a comet. It’s directly copies from the classical Latin word nucleus, which literally means a kernel or core and is from nux, which means… a nut. Did cells remind them of nuts or something? And then that got transferred to atomic particles? And now we’re left with a word that I will never be able to read again without thinking “nuclear kind of means ‘nutty’”?

Speaking of atomic, atom showed up in the late fifteenth century, where it was only a hypothetical, indivisible, extremely small body. And they turned out to be right about everything except it being indivisible, so good job, fifteenth century scientists. It comes from the classical Latin atomus, which meant atom or an indivisible amount, and the Greek atomos, indivisible. The a- is a prefix that means not and tomos meant “a cutting”, from temnein, to cut. So it seems that atoms were named for the one thing that they’re not, indivisible.

Next, ion. It was introduced in 1834 and taken from the Greek ion. Which means ion. But that’s from the word ienai, go, from the Proto Indo European ei-, to go, which is one of those word pieces that shows up in a lot of stuff. Ion also forms the back half of electron and proton, the names of which were made up in 1891 and 1920, respectively. Electron is just electric + ion, but proton actually comes from the Greek word proton, from protos, first (it’s where the prefix proto- comes from). A proton was (back then) thought to be made of Hydrogen, the first element, because back in the 1920’s they theorized that it made up all elements. Much like with atom, they turned out to be wrong, but the name stuck because scientists are nothing if not obdurate when it comes to names.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

From The Spamfiles

It’s the day before Halloween, you’d think I’d have something spooky up, but I couldn’t think of anything good so here you go. If you really want something scary, just read a newspaper. I’ve been finding those pretty terrifying lately.

Dirty, filthy things like using a 0 in place of an O.

Charlina Mcdona… great name or greatest name?

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten an email from a cancer widow (or a ‘long time illness’ widow). I love how she misspells her own name.

Apparently general managers are taking care of unsubscribe requests personally.

Certified mail by email! Yes that’s a thing! Shut up.

Got to say, I’m nervous about hang being in quotes. I mean, hang is more commonly used in its figurative sense these days, which is usually what something being in quotes implies. I fear that in this case, the quotes indicate that it is being used in the literal sense, and I’m going to end up hanging from a belt if I reply.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Scary Movie

It’s Halloween season, so that means I’m watching scary movies with my mom. She gets a bit jumpy.

I think I know why she needs me around when she watches movies.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Language of Confusion: Evil

How about we etymologize some evil things, because why not?

Evil itself showed up in Old English as yfel, which was actually pronounced pretty much like evil and was also spelled evel in the Kentish dialect of Old English. It comes from the Proto Germanic ubilaz and Proto Indo European upelo-, which is from the root wap-, bad or evil.

If you want another example of that f-v thing, then you can also look at devil, which was deofol/deoful in Old English. Except that word came to English via a completely different route. It was diabolus in Late Latin and diabolos in Greek, from the word diaballein, which actually meant to slander, attack, or throw across. Seriously, the ballein meant to throw and dia means across. Wow, some words sure do change.

Malevolent showed up in the sixteenth century from the Middle French malivolent and classical Latin malevolentem, which, yeah, is just malevolent. The male part means ill, poorly, or badly (no comment) and the volentem comes from velle, to wish or want. To wish or want bad stuff is pretty malevolent. Similarly, malice showed up in the fourteenth century from the Old French malice. In Latin, it’s malitia, malice, from malus, bad. It just lacks the wishing part.

Wicked showed up in the thirteenth century, although in the twelfth century they had wick, which meant the same thing. It’s thought to be from the Old English wicca, witch, and interestingly enough was a past participle without a verb (that means that wick was also always past tense, too).

You can be wicked but you can’t wick!

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


Mushrooms often pop up around where I live, but this is kind of ridiculous.

I had to point them out because they look like fallen acorns. But nope, they're mushrooms and theyre growing out of the sidewalk. I have a better picture of another set here:

I’m sure what really happened is that the crack was already there and the mushrooms just grew. Although the way the pavement is pushed out… almost as if it’s coming from underneath…