Friday, December 25, 2015

Simulating Joyce's prose

joycean word-processor
helps you write more like joyce

episode styles
exercise: rewrite episode A in style B

obscure word lists

patterns of interior monologue vs dialogue&c
classes of internal thought (memory, sensation, fantasy)

generate path markers
pick a character, generate a path, generate a monolog
intersect multiple simultaneous paths (ch10)

motifs: figures of speech
eg collect 'fire' sayings and outline a fire-themed episode

speech patterns
extrapolate similar phrases based on sample from Ulysses

train a neural net on each set of authors in oxen [cf]

Matt Schneider suggests ELIZA as a model for Ithaca's q&a, Maybe a (no-graphics-style) text adventure that delivers canned text if you guess the right question?

a simple algorithm could use color to display how cliched each word-combination is, as you read or write.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Text animation

can we enhance ulysses by animating the text?

cf breaking up penelope into short lines??

Matt Schneider suggests ELIZA as a model for Ithaca's q&a,maybe with the question appearing a letter at a time, and the answer flowing back after a pause?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Generating monologs

more than any previous book, ulysses is a compilation of monologs along paths.

it's easy to generate random pseudo-joycean monologs

refining them is an infinite challenge

 one possibility is to time the output to approximate realtime

one approach is to classify the kinds of thoughts each character has at each moment,
and generalise those patterns

create a simplified ulysses where characters' monologs consist entirely of a small fixed set of cliches of each type

compile list of things-to-see with gps positions

choose path and compile sequence of things along path

different characters may have different memories/associations to things
good memories/ bad memories

internal states like hunger, thirst, anxiety, lust,
randomly noticed, or systematically

daily to-do list for each character
tendency to dillydally
monitoring time

financial calculations
budget for self-indulgence

encountering people
names, ages, families and occupations from census
allowing oneself time to socialise
ask about housemates


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Thinking about sex

Each character has a level of libido that varies according to obscure rules: cycles, times of day, stimulation, boredom, flattery...

Each person they meet or think of has some level of attractiveness, accessibility, risk...

(Prostitutes may be attractive and accessible but risky wrt stds. Clergymen may be attractive but inaccessible.)

We see Stephen choosing a semi-random image to fantasize about.

Bloom understands Martha is just an amusing game he'll never really dare to meet.

Drinking lowers standards, increases accessibility.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

WikiData knowledgebase invites anyone to flesh out their mirror of Wikipedia's knowledgebase, eg by adding additional Ulysses characters, and spelling out the links between characters.

Their representation language is still quite limited, and discourages shortcuts like representing a character's spouse as a simple name-string instead of instantiating an entire new fictional-human item.

There's lots of colorful details Joyce introduces to define character, but few of these fit neatly into existing categories: occupation, 'uses', nickname, member of, educated at, significant person...

Ideally we'll be able to extract useful 'views' of the data, down the line.

One tricky thing is differentiating real people from their fictional doubles: is 'Cranly' identical to JF Byrne?

Is Shakespeare 'present in' chapter 9?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Story representation languages

OpenCyc [toplevel]

dbpedia [Person]

wikidata q-numbers

wordnet [person]

babelnet [person]

a problem with these is that they prefer to treat 'stuff' as specialisations of modalities (like TemporallyStuff-likeThing) instead of viceversa, relying on the brain's fondness for abstract linguistic categories (unfortunately infinite)

better to give the gist first without modalities, then elaborate (see emoji below)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Career Ladder story-template

Kim Kardashian Hollywood could be the prototype for a whole class of more-or-less realistic simulation games in which the player tries to reach a goal over an extended period, usually a lifetime.

Fame, prizes, money, power... all these quests share similar frameworks in which fellow humans can be manipulated to move 'upwards'.

We can see the framework in biographies, and represent individual variations using standard properties (cf WikiData)

earliest awareness of goal: saw PERSON via MEDIA



social ladder

gatekeepers to charm

skills to master

dues/bribes to pay

signs of advancement/decline


acceptance/rejection by communities

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Faces and facial expressions

i don't think ulysses spends much effort describing faces.

we'll have to start with generic male and female faces and tweak just the features joyce describes.

standard emotional expressions are also probably available.

where we have a photograph of the original person we can autofill details.

where joyce renamed characters, the names will suggest faces to most readers, and illustrators will be rewarded for secondguessing these.

(here's a very basic mathematical face-generator:


police sketch-artist software must have a serious mathematical representation scheme


Thursday, October 15, 2015


If you can synthesize speech via piano, why not via all the instruments of Sirens?

Joyce reading ALP as a piano:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Using emoji to summarise Ulysses

like using basic english
("Ogden also made a translation of the last four pages of ‘Anna Livia Plurabelle’ into Basic English with Joyce’s assistance. It was published in the journal Psyche in October 1931." cite)

episode one

episode five lotuseaters

episode 12 cyclops

misc1 misc2

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


What 'laws of gossip' does Ulysses embody? (it's complicated)

Can we extract a spreadsheet of variables describing who'll gossip how, to whom, about whom?

Malicious vs sympathetic gossip: Purefoy's pregnancy, Dignam's death and family

Does Joyce ever show a character NOT gossiping when they have a chance to? (exercising discretion) ...Yes, Martin Cunningham has kept Bloom's father's suicide quiet, Stephen almost never gossips... Bloom too?

We glimpse others discussing Bloom's ethnicity, his work history, his marriage, his generosity, the lottery scam, his connection to the freemasons. And especially well-documented is the spread of the false rumor about Throwaway.

Similarly we see Breen's UP postcard making the rounds.

We hear Simon badmouthing Mulligan and others.

Mulligan and Lenehan seem especially unguarded.

Mulligan throws gossip about Stephen back in his face

Stephen 'gossips' about Shakespeare.

The newsmen gossip about Gallaher and Dawson.

Molly's thoughts are full of gossip but we never see her talking to anyone but Poldy. (did she gossip to boylan about poldy???)

Conmee is very discreet-- the Church defines who can gossip how.

People have varied absolute inclinations to pass on gossip. Some tell everything they know at every opportunity.  Some exaggerate what they hear.

Maybe a grid of who's heard which gossip about Bloom?

A model of how Throwaway changes as it spreads

each person needs a grid of who-cares-about-who, and how-well-does-each-know-each, so that gossip can be passed mainly to those who care but don't already know

if you don't already know someone you need to sound them out

useful gossip: un/trustworthiness

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sexual gossip

sexual gossip is one of the primary drivers of finnegans wake's lifecycle: HCE exposed himself to or spied on some nursemaids

imagine color-coding the various sorts of sexual trespass that gossip addresses (exhibitionism, voyeurism, masturbation, impotence, promiscuity, cuckoldry, incest, pedophilia...)

and then tagging occasions in ulysses where anyone commits or gossips about each variant (truthfully, exaggeratedly, or wholecloth fabrication)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Kim Kardashian Hollywood

the goal of KK's highly successful game is to claw your way onto the hollywood A-list by dating famous people, doing scandalous photo shoots, buying the right clothes and makeup, getting the right cosmetic surgery, etc.

so maybe let the young writers of dublin try to climb the social ladder, getting poems and plays published and performed, getting invited to Moore's, meeting Lady Gregory, cultivating a persona, offending others, exploiting peasant culture, renting a tower, going vegetarian, dating Maud Gonne...

read more: [5-important-lessons] [atlantic]

one of the cities KKH supports is dublin:

(Sullivan's is a real Irish microbrewery so this is probably a paid placement but it's not Dublin-based; Pop Clam is imaginary. no grafton street???)


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Puzzle games

Since Joyce described the 12 central episodes as Bloom's "Odyssey" in which he confronts and masters 12 life-challenges, we might look for ways to echo these in classic videogame fashion.

Ideally the 'skills' we have to discover should represent real human virtues, not just stunts.






4 escaping kitchen duties?

5 avoiding drugs, advancing secret affair

6 facing humiliation and death in foreign land?

7 language skills? word puzzles?

8 consumption in moderation (being eaten?)

9 drunk stephen struggles to assemble pieces of elaborate argument

10 shifting paths/ points-of-view = empathic versatility?

11 music as an illusion/ drug? mastering music basics?

12 nationalism as ego

13 flirtation/ seduction: what charms vs what alienates

14 sex vs pregnancy? masturbation, condoms

15 lust and guilt





Monday, August 10, 2015

Ulysses expert system

Could we feed enough questions-with-answers into a knowledgebase to make it seem like a Ulysses expert?

Eg by writing Wikipedia-style articles on every person place and thing, and letting IBM's Watson train on them?

Academic litcrit would produce a lot of hogwash, so it would need to be attributed to individuals. (A Ulysses-expert expert)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Simulating Jesus?

Do we know enough about the state of the middle east ca 30 AD to model any part of the rise of Christianity?

How stories of miracle-workers spread?

Courts and punishments?

Jewish law vs Roman law?

Recorded early conversions?