John Pfeiffer, Evil Genius!

I suffer from a particular derangement of the mind by which my head constantly fills up with ideas that—left unexpressed —cause me a not-insignificant amount of emotional turmoil.

Or, to sum it up so that it fits on a T-shirt:
I make things because if I don’t, I get sad.

I am an eccentric and reclusive polymath who has spent his entire adult life plugged directly into the whole of collected human knowledge…which, frankly, has proven to be a far more useful and cost-effective education than any other on offer.

It’s been said that ‘half of being smart is knowing what you’re dumb at’, and as a polymath I’ve taken that to heart.  Not as an admission of my limitations, but more of a to-do list; I don’t not do something because I don’t know how, I endeavor to learn how so I can do it—albeit with varying levels of success. I also absorb information like a sponge, even unintentionally.  Part of the reason I like watching shows like Modern Marvels, How It’s Made, and MythBusters, every chance I get, even if it’s just running in the background while I work.

Ever since I was presented with my first box of LEGO as a child, I have been filled with an insatiable urge to make things.  I have a very strong sense of aesthetics, and an appreciation for the form and function of things… Like the calculated design and solid feel of a good tool or writing implement.

On Language

I have a fondness for obscure words or phrases, especially if they hold some particular meaning for me… Take for instance the Japanese idiom ‘Bakamoichigei’ (場かも一芸 ) roughly meaning ‘Even a fool has one talent.’ which I use as my internet handle. Or the Italian ‘Sprezzatura’, which could most succinctly be explained as ‘practiced nonchalance’…though the OED has seen fit to dryly render it ‘studied carelessness’ which I feel just lacks a certain nuance… Another bit of Japanese I’m rather fond of is ‘Souzou’ (そうぞう / 想像 / 創造 ) which— despite having only one common phonetic spelling ([so][u][zo][u]) and pronunciation —can either mean ‘imagination’ or ‘creativity’ depending on what kanji you write it with.

I have also been known to use science as a verb, and to ‘do science to‘ things.

As of 2017 I have begun to use ‘hashtag’ semi-ironically in everyday conversation…  I fear the usage grows less ironic every time… I blame millennials.


Clever is making things you can’t afford. Genius is making things you can’t buy.

John Pfeiffer, 2013

Any sufficiently advanced Maker should be indistinguishable from a sorcerer.

John Pfeiffer, 2015, corollary to Clarke’s Third Law

I just MAKE COOL THINGS, but picture-taking is thing-making-adjacent… After all, if you don’t take pictures, no one will know you’re making COOL THINGS!

John Pfeiffer, 2016, response to “I’m guessing you take pictures for a living?”

Go back to top