Wednesday, June 17, 2015

[Ulysses emoji update]

If you try to translate Ulysses into emoji you run into various serious problems:
  • different platforms support slightly different subsets, with slightly different representations, and the results of copying between them are often unpredictable
  • searching for the best symbol is slow and clumsy, so you'll probably have to compile your own exhaustive cheatsheets
  • they're optimised for Japanese teen culture, and you ought to master those meanings before redefining them
  • they have no grammar (like 'A said B thinks C will do X') and hacking one together from repurposed bits is tedious [terrible attempt] [fragments]
  • symbols acquire many meanings and context doesn't help disambiguate very well
  • if the Japanese teens have standard sexual euphemisms i haven't found their glossary yet
On the other hand, the challenge is enriching, and can produce unexpected insights as you reduce events and details to their broader themes...


plurals could be a plus sign, or even a number (x2)

1st/2nd/3rd person could be a number or icon or icon-with-number

past/present/future could be arrows??

in general, you want to 'bracket' modal events and introduce them with an indicator of the modality: A thinks, B dreamt, C will try

there's plenty of variant brackets that could indicate modalities too:

( ) thinks
[ ]
{ } imagines
⸨ ⸩ says
❨ ❩
❪ ❫
⸦ ⸧
❬ ❭
❮ ❯ future
❰ ❱
❴ ❵
❲ ❳
⦗ ⦘
⁅ ⁆
〈 〉

Saturday, June 6, 2015

[Ulysses emoji?]

Updated thoughts on an emoji translation of Ulysses, after roughing out the first few pages:

There's still less than 1000 emoji 'words', but creative workarounds can fill the gaps, and searching for these is a good (and usually fun) literary exercise. Don't expect the translations to be readable without paraphrases.

For example:

Milky Way
bento box
tear-off calendar

is a pretty eloquent summary of Joyce's intent-- neatly packing the whole universe into 18 compartments like a bento lunchbox, one for each hour of a single day.

performing arts

turns out to be useful as a verb meaning 'acts like'.

The closest thing to 'Ireland' is another island nation:


There's no symbol for 'mirror' yet, but we can recycle

optical disc

(For Caliban not seeing his reflection my best-so-far is losing his cellphone reception)

The Japanese roots of

folded hands

make it an ambiguous mix of prayer and thanks and respect, the latter intensified as

person bowing deeply

The only 'body' of water is

water wave

For buying and selling, is it cheating to use this:

currency exchange

Or for "beastly dead", the chilling:

meat on bone

 We need to disambiguate mothers, aunts, etc beyond

older woman

 I'm looking forward to using

roasted sweet potato

 as Bloom's potato, and

Father Christmas

as Father Conmee, and maybe

as "parallax", and


 for statues.

I haven't spotted anything naughtier than

women with bunny ears

so all kinds of sexual euphemisms need to be assigned (the Japanese must have suggestions).

For convenience, major characters probably need dedicated emoji.

imp [Buck Mulligan]
or horse face [Mulligan 'equine']
person frowning [Stephen???]

other stuff (clothes, buildings, vehicles, sports, etc)

[i'm stumped for now how to embed emoji in blogger posts. i tried two custom fonts, but may have missed a step. what's especially frustrating is they display fine in blogger's editor...
ps: hacked workaround using open images]

The practical vocabulary of emoji, formalised as unicode, seems to be growing more expressive by daily leaps and bounds.

It's not just coincidental that more and more joycean motifs are getting their own icons-- we all share the same motivations, as Finnegans Wake tries to prove.

online resources tend to be sorted by nerdy categories, not literary ones. so i've started these category pages, struggling not to overlook anything:


old notes:

special/farfetched: potato"🍠" , macintosh, Boylan "👲" , tower"🗼" , sing "🎤" , masturbate "😉" , curses/profanity,

¨ roasted sweet potato

missing: tobacco "🚬" , ad, coffin "💀", grave, library, bookstore "📚" , soap, story, wordplay

random possibilities:

Mulligan's fry "🍳"
hovering man: macintosh?
school: Deasy's, Belvedere, etc
santa: "🎅" Conmee
bowing: asking favor?
satchel: "🎒" schoolchildren, Nestor
ear: eavesdropping, attention, audience
2 men: Mulligan linking SD
boy: "👦" Patsy
haircut: self-grooming?
circus tent: Mirus bazaar
happy raised hand: greets?
restroom: jakes, greenhouse "🚽"
womans clothes, handbag, dress: "👜" "👗"
OK face: "🙆" Lenehan?
no-good face: "🙅" Tisdall Farrell? blind stripling? sailor?
princess: "👸" cavalcade?
person frowning: Simon?? Menton, Cyclops, Corny?
old man: "👴" AE? sailor?
girl: "👧" Gerty, Dilly
dancer: "💃" maybe storytellers?
two women: Katey&Boody, midwives, Sirens?
woman's boots: "👢" Bella,
high heels: "👠" highclass ladies
bunny girl: "👯" prostitutes
man&woman: "👫" (whole range of mostly imaginary relationships?)
kiss: "💏" ditto physical
woman: "👩" Molly, Miss Dunne, Martha Clifford, Mina, Lydia
older woman: "👵" milkwoman, May, Josie?
ebook "📖"
audio clip
video clip
pedestrian "🚶"
praying "🙏"
bath "🛀"
tram "🚃"


is there any way to use these as variations on the theme?

(Hades' organ is the heart)

open book
performing arts [fiction]
milky way [macrocosm]
tear-off calendar [microcosm]
splashing sweat [trials]
(Greek flag)

sun with face [sunny day]
clock face eight-thirty
European castle [tower]
imp [Buck Mulligan]
kimono [yellow silk dressinggown]
jeans [pants]
haircut [shave]
speech balloon [monolog patter]
smirking face [mocker]
dancer [performing/miming]
performing arts [pretending to be characters]
folded hands (prayer) [priest]
man [Stephen]
person frowning
unamused face
slightly frowning face
horse face [Mulligan 'equine']
performing arts [pretends to be]
performing arts [pretends to be]
folded hands (prayer) [priest]
performing arts [pretends to be]
musical score [conductor]
performing arts [pretends to be]
microphone [barker]
circus tent [girly show]
performing arts [pretends to be]
face with medical mask [doctor]
kissing face with smiling eyes [also 'whistling']
folded hands (prayer) [also 'thanks']
older man ['old chap']
vibration mode [switch off (current)]


[these are notes in progress, erring on the side of verbosity]

"Ulysses" title emoji:
blue book, UP!, book, theatre-masks, galaxy, bento box, day-calendar, man, sweat, Greek flag?, story, all-around? microcosm/macrocosm

paraphrase: it's a blue-covered book, a play, all-encompassing, fitted into one day, one man's trials, Greek in origin

 �� blue book (1st ed blue cover, obscene)
up (Ulysses/Penelope, Breen's postcard)
open book
performing arts (fiction)
milky way (macrocosm)
�� bento box (squeezed into)
tear-off calendar (microcosm)
man (Odysseus/Bloom)
splashing sweat (trials)
 �� open lock (solves puzzles)

(Greek flag)

p3 emoji:
sun, Gemini, 8:30, castle, top, Japan, imp, kimono, jeans, haircut, steaming bowl, knife, optical disc, speechbubble, smirk, dancer, performance, prayer-thanks, man, sleepy, frownie, horse face, performance, soldier, performance, sheetmusic, performance, mic, circus, performance, medical, whistle, soon, ship, whistle, link, mouth, gem, prayer-thanks, old man, phone-off

on a sunny June morning atop a castle on an island nation
an imp in a kimono and jeans
giving himself a haircut with a steaming bowl and knife and mirror
talked in smirking prayers
like a dancing actor
to a frowning man;
the horse-faced imp
playing soldier, conductor, girly-show barker, doctor
he whistles, waits, and a boat whistles back
his mouth has a gem
'thanks old man'
set current to 'off'

sun with face (sunny day)
sun in Gemini (June)
 �� new moon symbol
 �� new moon with face
clock face eight-thirty
European castle (Tower)
top (of castle)
Japan (Ireland)
imp (Buck Mulligan)
kimono (yellow silk dressinggown)
jeans (pants, implied not mentioned)
haircut (shave)
steaming bowl (lather)
hocho (razor)
 �� optical disc (mirror) 
speech balloon (monolog-patter)
smirking face (arch-mocker)
dancer (performing/miming)
performing arts (pretending to be characters)
folded hands (prayer/priest)
man (Stephen)
sleepy face 
person frowning
unamused face
slightly frowning face
imp (Mulligan)
horse face (Mulligan 'equine')
performing arts (pretends to be)
performing arts (pretends to be)
folded hands (prayer/priest, again)
performing arts (pretends to be)
musical score (conductor)
performing arts (pretends to be)
microphone (barker)
circus tent (girly show)
performing arts (pretends to be)
face with medical mask (doctor)
kissing face with smiling eyes (whistles)
 �� soon with rightwards arrow above  (waits for reply)
kissing face with smiling eyes (whistling back)
 �� link symbol (apparent link)
 �� gem stone (gold tooth)
folded hands (prayer/thanks)
older man (old chap)
 �� mobile phone off  (switch off current)


p4 emoji: eyes, moneybag, smile, pointing finger, stuck-out tongue, goat, Greece, poundnote, friendship, help, hospitality, stranger, education, Britain, knife, night, leopard, pistol, fear, swimmer

paraphrase: he looks, he's rich, he smiles and points and sticks out tongue, he's a goat; with a pound they can go to Greece, they have a guest who was educated in Britain, he grimaces at 'knife-man', at night while sleeping, a ghost leopard, a gun, fear, swimmer

money bag (wealthy patron) 
white smiling face
white right pointing backhand index
face with stuck-out tongue and tightly-closed eyes
goat (buck)
🇬🇷 Greek flag
two men holding hands (SD and BM)
sos (SD asks help)
hotel (hospitality)
bust in silhouette, guest account (Haines)
graduation cap (Oxford manner)
British flag
grimacing face (sneers at SD)
hocho (Kinch)

speech_balloon (SD)
night with stars
sleeping symbol
ghost (dream)
leopard (black panther)
face screaming in fear
swimmer (Mulligan)
flexed biceps (brave?)


p5 emoji: shit, nose, sweat, scroll, flag, face-massage, litter, palette, face-wind, honey, mother, closed book, open book, scroll, alphabet, ship, eyes, aunt, kill, mother, prayer, collision, imp, okay, actor, sleeping, ghost, mother

paraphrase: 'shit' nose-scroll-flag face-massage litter palette, wind, sea sweet mother, teach original book-scroll, aunt thinks killed mother begging prayer, SD sinister but okay actor; mother dream ghost

pile of poo (Scutter)
splashing sweat (work, temperature, nerves, snot?)
scroll (rag)
waving white flag (rag)
face massage 
put litter in its place
artist palette (artcolour)
wind blowing face
 �� water wave (sea)
honey pot (sweet)
older woman (mother)
closed book
  open book
scroll (original text)
abcd (teach)
older woman (aunt)
hammer (attack, kill dead)
older woman (mother)
skull (dead)
can indicate sorrow or regret; can indicate pleading, person with folded hands (prayer, request)
collision symbol
imp (sinister)
👌 lovely
🎭 mummer
sleeping symbol
older woman (mother)

missing: rag/cloth

p6 emoji: frown, wave, stew, sweat, medical, broken heart, halo, imp, registered, hooked arrow, shoe, vote, question, pants, free; clapping princess 100% congrats, thumbs down exx cancelled, left-lens, joker, deep respect; speech medical alien-hospital, SD alien when mask removed,


person frowning (SD)
 �� water wave (bay)
 �� pot of food, stew
splashing sweat (bile)
face with medical mask
broken heart

smiling face with halo
 ® registered sign (my)
 ↩ leftwards arrow with hook (lends?)
 �� mans shoe (breeks)

offers, asks
black_square_button (vote yes or no?)
 ❓ black question mark ornament
 �� jeans, pants
 🆓 squared free

praises looks (BM praises SD)
clapping hands sign
like a princess
 💯 hundred points symbol
 ㊗ circled ideograph congratulation

SD refuses offer
 👎 thumbs down sign
 🔕 bell with cancellation stroke

wrong color, grey not black
 🔍 left-pointing magnifying glass (critical inspection?)
black_joker (disrespectful?)
 🙇 person bowing deeply

face with medical mask
extraterrestrial alien  (looney bin)

said you are
person frowning

take off mask
 ⬅ leftwards black arrow (reverse)
performing arts "��" (mimicry motif? put on mask)

extraterrestrial alien (gpi)

 �� person raising both hands in celebration
 �� optical disc (signal mirror)
�� globe with meridians

person frowning
 �� optical disc (mirror)
 �� dog face

mirror is cracked
 �� optical disc (mirror)
collision symbol
face massage (servant)
 �� dog face (homely)

woman with bunny ears
 �� face with no good gesture
 �� squared ng
 �� thumbs down sign

japanese_goblin (Caliban)
 �� optical disc (mirror)
 �� antenna with bars
 �� chart with downwards trend 
 �� face with no good gesture
 �� squared ng
 �� thumbs down sign
angry face

p7 emoji:


 �� optical disc  (mirror)
collision symbol
face massage

symbol of
 ⬅ leftwards black arrow (reverse)
performing arts "��" (mimicry motif? put on mask)

japan (Ireland)

two men holding hands
smiling face with open mouth and cold sweat

more spirit:
dancer (storyteller? flirt?)
bride with veil
sparkling heart = joy?
glowing star

 �� hundred points symbol

fearful face
 ✒ black nib

 ⬅ leftwards black arrow (reverse)
performing arts "��" (mimicry motif? put on mask)
japan (Ireland)

 �� currency exchange (haggles? sells?)
bust in silhouette, guest account 

bust in silhouette, guest account
older man
money bag (Guinnesses? ReubenJ?)
 �� currency exchange (haggles? sells?)
 �� monkey

two men holding hands
japan (Ireland)
dancer (Hellenise)

person with blond hair
person with blond hair
�� house with garden
�� school
performing arts "��" (mimicry motif? put on mask)
face with stuck-out tongue and tightly-closed eyes

�� ox
fearful face

person bowing deeply
face with ok gesture

�� spouting whale

missing: castration??

p8 emoji:


anguished face

in the past
  smirking face
older woman
 �� meat on bone (beastly dead)

flushed face
can indicate sorrow or regret; can indicate pleading, person with folded hands
older woman

  smirking face
can indicate sorrow or regret; can indicate pleading, person with folded hands
older woman
 �� thumbs down sign

  smirking face
can indicate sorrow or regret; can indicate pleading, person with folded hands 
 ⭕ heavy large circle (targeting problem?)
anguished face