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L(3)E(1)A(1)R(1)N(2)I(1)N(2)G(2) (and Scrabble)

cc licensed flickr photo shared by red5standingby

A recent interest timesuck addiction um,, interest has been playing Words With Friends… with friends. I’ve been on a lucky streak, and have beaten a few people who are smarter and more educated (people who actually use words like “epistemology” in regular conversation.

But its really not about winning, it’s the joy of playing, challenging your brain.

Who am I kidding? It’s better to win! Give me the X on a TL box sliding down to the TW score.

And maybe I will start using “words” like “QI” “XI”, “NEF”, “AE” in everyday language.

But that’s not the point either.

Here is the word I have been thinking about.

cc licensed flickr photo “M” and
cc licensed flickr photo “O” shared by Leo Reynolds

I can’t remember if I was 7,8,9 when my Mom showed me this word game with the wooden tiles. I just remember the warm times together playing games on the kitchen table. It was in a few years that something happened, I eventually won a game from her (she was not one to give a game away), and then I was winning them regularly.

But it was less about being the winner, then the joint winners, as we played along the guidelines that a combined score of above 500 meant it was a good game on both sides.

Another thing I am finding is that, like photography, most people can sit down and play (click a shutter), but the more you play (take pictures) the better you get just be the act of reflection on what you are doing, experience. Learning by doing.

And you don;t have to have the sharpest and most in depth vocabulary, you just need to know how to make the best of compound words, of knowing something of the letter frequency counts, and most of all, a lot of luck in the draws.

A game of Words with Friends can play out quickly but is asynchronous, when you and your friend bat it back and forth like a tennis ball, but it can also dribble out for weeks. I like both ways of play. I’ve had only 2 people I played for months, but after tweeting something about it, i have a rack of 3 or 4 games going. One player I had no idea who it was, until I connected it with someone who has been responding to some of my tweets this year (with a flair for humor), yet ti was not even until I looked closer at their twitter name, than I realized it was someone I’ve known online for like 10 years.

So thanks M3 O1 M3 for getting me started with this love for word games- in which I am just learning by doing again and again.

Qi ya later, XI!

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I love the camera analogy, practice is the key. That’s what I tell kids about art making in general.

    I want an asynchronous art app that I can use to make digital work with friends. Is there an app for that?

  2. I love Scrabble and especially playing with you because I can be ruthless and won’t hurt your feelings! Guess I’ll have to spring for an iPad so we can keep a long distance game going…

  3. Both you and Boone are way above my Scrabble expertise, as I’ve not played much Scrabble, ever, and next to no “strategy Scrabble” (as opposed to “word mania” Scrabble where I just think up crazy words). But already I feel myself improved, honing my abilities by imitating the much sharper blades in this drawer. ๐Ÿ™‚ Great post, fun stuff, see you all inside the ring for the next round.

  4. Of course ‘mom’ would not be allowed if I were playing, we don’t go in for this mangling of the Queen’s English ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Started playing scrabble with my daughter a bit recently, it’s a great way to spend an evening. But there are scrabble strategies???

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