Today is accent day

Which accent can you do most convincingly? The next time you order a coffee, use it. Adopt a persona to go with the accent.

See if you can pull the whole thing off without the barista catching on.


Write your story

You are a storyteller. You are writing your life even now. “The protagonist sat at his computer, weary after a day of work, and looking to escape the whole damned thing for a while” or “the hard listlessness of the day wore upon him, and he wandered aimlessly through the discussions of his friends on Facebook, hoping for story that would draw him in” or even “he perused the old posts, hoping to glean some wisdom that may help him in the great quest of his life, or with his present tribulation”.

Write your story, and write it with all your poetry; others may dictate, as I am doing now – but you alone, who sees your heart, shall write.

Fuck Superlatives

“So here we have Hannibal, fighting his way along the Italian peninsula, bringing the greatest empire ever to her knees, and he ends up face-to-face with an army – twice the size of his – on an open field. So Hannibal places his weakest troops in the centre of his battle line and-”

“Wait, did you just call Rome ‘the greatest empire ever’?”


“What bullshit! Britain, Persia, Spain, Russia, Mongolia – you think Rome was greater than all of those?”

“Does it really matter?”

No. No, it doesn’t. But slipping a superlative into your speech just gave you an extra proposition to defend, and now you may never actually get around to describing the magnificent Battle of Cannae.


“Om-nom-nom. This is the most delicious meal I’ve ever eaten – or is it? Maybe the schnitzel from my cousin’s wedding was better. Hmmm …”


“You are one of the most handsome men I know.”

[Aside:] “Who … who beats me?”


Stop using superlatives. Enjoy things as they are.

The Five Colours of Magic

Words are magic.

When you say “pass the salt”, you set in motion a series of events that results in a salt shaker being placed in your hand. When you give a particularly good compliment, the uplifting power of it can endure for years.

Drawing on the system used in Magic: The Gathering, I have codified the five kinds of verbal magic.



Magic that heals, sustains, or in some way increases the joy of others.

Example: compliments


Magic that degrades, hurts, or in some way increases the misery of others.

Example: insults


Magic that is designed to achieve the goals of the user.

Example: requests, orders, demands


Magic that expresses emotion in an unbridled or reflexive way.

Example: yelling, squealing, whooping with joy


Magic that expresses creativity.

Example: stories, songs, jokes


Note that many spells have multiple colours: polite requests are blue-white, road rage is red-black.

This codification allows us to talk about words with increased precision, and compels us to examine the words we use with greater rigour.

Some general rules: 

  • Maximise white spells.
  • Minimise black spells.
  • Be careful with red spells.
  • When using blue spells, mix in some white. If possible, give the white precedence over the blue.
  • Don’t use green magic as camouflage for black spells.