Letters From the Book of Etiquette

Python helped me to find the poetry within Emily Post’s Etiquette.

First, I ran a script that output a dictionary of words that appear more than 10 times, sorted by how often they appear. I scanned this dictionary and grouped my favorites into lists. I also created a list of lines leading up to ‘rests’ (commas and colons) and periods so that I could control the pacing amidst the randomness. Here is a randomly generated poem from the ‘rest’ list:

greet each other by waving their arms aloft,
the names acquired in her own social life.
and ardor:
silver buffer,
salad which is cold,
that of their intimates,
If because of illness or absence,
part in it, as it is supposed to be bad luck.

I decided to create a series of mini-poems that follow a certain structure. Each starts with the word Dear…

Dear Miss Strange:
The best type of young men pay few,
friends nearby.
Old-fashioned sentiment prefers that it be white,
leg in his finger
written in full,
change that has taken place. In case of a very small funeral
smaller letters than the name.

Dear Mrs. Town:
look for untruth. To
save your efforts for the next fancy dress ball,
people of position are people of position the
ground floor,
is put the salad fork, the meat
writes in something else. If she has any orders or criticisms to make,
advance–whether here or in Europe
is the first requisite in table-manners,

Dear Sir:
because of their distinction and smartness,
people strictly observe this rule.
manner obtrudes upon her, he lifts his hat
first two go up the chancel steps and stand at the top; one on the right,
London is the home
half way when already Mlle.

Dear Mrs. Kindhart (or Martha):
always introduce:
or washing in a little tin basin,
people who deport themselves abominably, who
a crate to cross the ocean,
However, to go back to table setting: A cloth
of gold brocade,
In the world of smart society–in America
In going to inquire for sick people,

Dear Mrs. Brown:
give most of their time to their grown and growing
servant’s right hand;
those at the bridge tables. They all say,
(instead of the fruit knife and fork
Other pet offenses are drumming on the table with one’s fingers,
five o’clock,” “Mrs. Jones will be home

Poetry with Python 001: Cruelty

In Reading & Writing Electronic Text, we’ll be writing Python scripts that take text as input, and output poetry.

I searched Project Gutenberg for ‘Manners’ which led me to two public domain books. First, I found Manners and Rules of Good Society (Or Solecisms To Be Avoided), by a Member of the Aristocracy, 1916. I also found Military Manners and Customs by James Anson Farrer, 1885.

I began trying to figure out what words appear a lot, by only printing lines that contained certain words or character strings using line.find(“____”);

Decontextualizing “cruelty” from Military Manners and Customs produced interesting results: cruelty4.txt

But I wanted to incorporate other words, so I created sets for interesting characters that kept popping up like “scurvy” “men” or “man” and “Chr.” Then I wanted to randomize their order, and realized I had to use list() instead of set() and imported random. I further subdivided the Cruelty set into long and short lines to giv control over the rhythm/pacing. I created an order for the random.choice()’s so that the poem, and I preset the first and last lines to  make it feel more like a composition.

Here’s the Python script: cruelty6_fin.py

Here’s the resulting poem: cruelty6.txt*

*The earlier version at the top is actually my favorite.

Fanlike Activity: Jazzercise

This week’s assignment was to perform a fanlike activity for something that we are not a fan of.

I chose Jazzercise. Jazzercise is group aerobic dance to popular music. I am not a fan of any of those things, but my girlfriend is a jazzercise instructor, and I am a fan of her, so this seemed like a good excuse to see what Jazzercise is all about my participating in a 60-minute session. Otherwise, I would’ve felt very awkward because I was the only male in the room. Also, Jazzercise has a different reputation than when it was founded in 1969, for example here is an example of another aerobics fitness group—Jazzercise’s target market—making fun of “the 80’s fad.” I think there is a lot of potential to make Jazzercise cool again, I also convinced my Fandom classmate Tessa to join in this activity, and here’s some evidence that we were there:


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Pixel Experiments

So much to play with this week! Here are my two favorite experiments.

Bearpocolypse – loops through each pixel in the bear image, compares it to every other pixel, and changes each pixel based on “distance” of the RGB.

source: http://itp.jasonsigal.cc/icm/pixels/bearpocalypse/bear.pde

In Motion Dot-tector – built off of the Learning Processing Motion Sensor, and inspired by something I saw at the Exploratorium as a kid. Ellipse size decreases if there is a lot of motion, and ellipses only show up at pixels where there is motion (a difference between current capture and the most recent capture). This one took a lot of memory to run.

source: http://itp.jasonsigal.cc/icm/pixels/inmotion/inmotion2js.pde

I got caught up in all of the examples and libraries, but wasn’t sure where to take them. I’d like to come back to Pixels to make music out of shapes and/or movement.