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…

Saturday, October 20, 2018


I swear to god, Peaches has what looks like a long, thin skin tag in her ear.
It looks like an eyestalk, except thankfully I’ve never actually seen an eyeball in there.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Language of Confusion: Treats

We did the tricks, now it’s time for the treats.

Treat itself showed up in the fourteenth century, as a verb before it was a noun. It actually didn’t even mean treat in the sense we know it as but as negotiate, or bargain—you know, like would be related to treaty. It wasn’t until the seventeenth century that it was something special that you gave someone, and who knows why that was. But the word comes from the Old French traitier, deal with or act towards, which is thought to be related to tract. But not like a tract of land, which is something completely different. Instead it was related to a tract that meant treatise, and is thought to be related to the classical Latin tractatus, treatment, and tractare, to treat. Man, this was a weird journey.

Candy first showed up in the late thirteenth century specifically meaning crystallized sugar. It comes from the Old French çucre candi, sugar candy. So where does candy come from? It’s one of the rare words English stole from Arabic, where it’s qandi, from the Persian qand, meaning cane sugar. And that one’s thought to be from the Sanskrit khanda, piece of sugar. So the word for candy comes from somewhere in the Middle East/Africa and we should thank them for that.

Sweet comes from the Old English swete, which means, well, sweet. It comes from the Proto Germanic swotja, which is traced all the way back to the Proto Indo European swad-, sweet or pleasant. I’m not even a little surprised that we can trace this word so far back.

And now for my personal favorite, chocolate. It showed up in the seventeenth century from the Mexican Spanish chocolate, which I’m assuming just means chocolate. Why am I specifying that it’s Mexican in origin? Well, because chocolate is American (like, the continent). It comes from the Nahuatl chocola-tl/cacahua-tl, which refers to chocolate and cocoa beans, with the a-tl part meaning water. It’s origins beyond there are murky, although it might be related to the word xocalia, which means “to make something bitter”, and chocolate in its natural state is supposed to be very bitter. But then you add sugar and it becomes just the best thing ever.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Scary Games

I love the Halloween season! Everything’s spooky. It just feels so on brand for me. Now, I don’t have as many games to share with you this year, but I do have a few I thought were unsettling in very different ways.

The first one is called Escape from the Haunted Room and… yeah, that’s what you’re supposed to do. There are a few puzzles, but I didn’t have any trouble figuring them out. Mostly it was just creepy. There are some jump scares, especially at the end, but the real scare is the atmosphere. It always feels like there’s something in the corner of your eye and then when you look, it’s gone.

Next is 33, which is very different, and someone even described it more as “interactive art” than a game, something I agree with. You’re in a room, and in order to get money to buy things, you have to kill others. In this case, the horror is in what you’re doing.

In that vein is also Presentable Liberty, where you play someone who is locked in a room during a plague and only receives occasional correspondence from a few people, including one who really, really doesn’t want to let you out. You can play some mini-games to pass the time between letters, which slowly reveal the plot to you. Again, it’s less of a game and more along the lines of a visual novel, but it’s very creepy. Especially when the opportunity to escape comes up… Now, this one actually costs money, but you can pay whatever you choose and it is worth kicking a few bucks to them.

So I guess that’s all for this year. Anything spooky come your way?

Saturday, October 13, 2018


October is the scariest month for several reasons, including that it’s when all the giant spiders take up residence outside where I live.
What I really hate is when they’re there one day and then they’re gone. WHERE ARE THEY HIDING???

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Secret Origins: October

It’s been seven months since the last installation of this, all so I could do this in October. It’s not even really that spooky. Well, maybe if you’re spooked by the tenth month being named for the number eight. That’s always bothered me. But is probably not relevant.

The word October came about in the eleventh century, so it’s pretty old. It comes from the classical Latin October mensis, eighth month, because back then the Romans had the New Year in March so October really used to be the eighth month. Octo- of course means eight, and the -ber is thought to come from -bris, a suffix.

But like many of these month names, October wasn’t always October. It replaced the Old English winterfylleþ (pronounced win-ter-fyl-eth), which refers to the winter full moon because the Anglo Saxons considered October the beginning of winter. These days, Winterfylleth is better known as a black metal band from England. So its legacy lives on.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, October 9, 2018


It’s the scariest month of the year, so I suppose it’s appropriate that this should happen this month. It’s been years since I’ve had anything at the point where it needs beta readers. And though this sort of thing ramps up my anxiety levels to eleven, it must be done.

Do you want to read a book and give feedback on it? Are you good with female driven YA Fantasy (it’s not medieval fantasy either; closer to future fantasy)? Then by all means, shoot me an email. I could use the assistance.

I’m looking for everything. Any problems you may find, whether it’s the fact that I keep accidentally inserting double spaces into places or issues with overall story coherence.

If you’re interested, you can email me here. Or just leave a comment that I can reply to, because that’s what I do anyway. I’ll try not to scream. Much.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

True Horror

This happened a few months ago when I was using the ice tea maker and it was so horrifying that I immediately knew it would be a perfect Halloween story.

The worst part is that it’s not the first time I’ve found something in the ice tea maker (although last time it was a different one). I’m just glad I found it before I made the ice tea this time.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Language of Confusion: Tricks

It is Halloween season after all.

Trick showed up in the early fifteenth century meaning a cheat or mean ruse. You know, a trick. It comes from the Old North French trique, which is trick with a Q even though it comes from trickier where they just use a K. Whatever. Before that it was the Old French trichier, also trick, but earlier is unsure. It might be from the Vulgar Latin triccare and classical Latin tricae, which means tricks or troubles. That certainly makes sense, but the one thing you should be learning from these etymology posts is that word origins rarely make sense.

Hoax showed up in 1796, yes, a specific year, and it’s thought to come from hocus—you know, like hocus-pocus. Not the movie. Do not start in about the movie. That phrase, which was a “magical formula used in conjuring”, showed up in the early seventeenth century. It’s origin is uncertain, but there’s a possibility that it’s from a Latin phrase said in mass, “Hoc est corpus meum”, or “This is my body”. But it’s also just as likely to have a completely different origin.

Prank showed up in the mid sixteenth century, and it’s of uncertain origin. In other words, they don’t actually know where it came from. There was actually another prank that meant decorate or dress up, which is from the Middle Low German prank, display. But like hoax, there’s no conclusive decision on whether or not they’re actually related. This could just be another one of those random things.

Spoof showed up in 1889 meaning hoax or deception, although it existed in 1884 as spouf. Apparently an old British comedian named Arthur Roberts used it as the name of a game he invented. Later, in 1914, it started to mean parody or satirize, and then in 1958 it became a “satirical skit”.

Geez, most of these words seem relatively new. Did people just not prank each other back in the middle ages?


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

October Goals

It’s Halloween month! That almost makes up for all the horrible things happening in the world right now. Well, maybe almost is too strong a work. A very tiny bit. It cushions the blow. Is it possible to be stabbed softly? That.

All right, what was I supposed to be doing?

September Goals
1. Prepare my WIP (and myself) for beta reads. I cannot believe this is happening.
It’s as ready as it’s going to get…

2. Work on the notes for my new idea.
Yep, I did do this. I think there’s a bit more work to do before I can begin writing it though. I want to make sure I know how it goes from beginning to middle to end.

3. Update my etymology page. It’s been at least three months since the last one.
It’s up to date as to a few weeks ago. I know you were all worried.

And now for what I should be doing now…

October Goals
1. Start with the beta reads. And as a corollary, don’t have a panic attack from the beta reads.

2. Figure out if I’m ready to start a new WIP.

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

So hopefully, that’s what I’ll be doing this month. What about you? What do you want to do this month?