RWET, Assignment 2: Storm Warnings
I was excited to get to the point of learning mashups – goes back to Hartford’s point about juxtapositions being at the heart of poetry.
When I was going through the mashup exercises, I was reminded of this time senior year when my friends pulled a super nerdy prank on me. We were in AP English together and they asked me to help analyze this Adrienne Rich poem. Except, it wasn’t really an Adrienne Rich poem – they’d taken her poem Storm Warnings and simply switched out some of the words and altered the syntax (like I said, super nerdy prank). I figured it out, because I loved that particular poem and immediately realized the similarities.
Thinking about that incident and the intense storm we had the other night gave me the idea to do a mash up of Rich’s storm warnings and the National Weather Service’s storm warning from yesterday. I’ve always had a weird fascination with the language they use when writing storm warnings – in some ways it’s the typical dry language you’d expect from a government agency, but there’s also a sense of care and occasionally the flare of the dramatic. If you ever want to look up past storm warnings, there’s a great site that archives them: https://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/request/gis/watchwarn.phtml as well as one from NOAA: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/watch/ww0030.html
Here are the two source texts:
The glass has been falling all the afternoon,
And knowing better than the instrument
What winds are walking overhead, what zone
Of grey unrest is moving across the land,
I leave the book upon a pillowed chair
And walk from window to closed window, watching
Boughs strain against the sky
And think again, as often when the air
Moves inward toward a silent core of waiting,
How with a single purpose time has traveled
By secret currents of the undiscerned
Into this polar realm. Weather abroad
And weather in the heart alike come on
Regardless of prediction.
Between foreseeing and averting change
Lies all the mastery of elements
Which clocks and weatherglasses cannot alter.
Time in the hand is not control of time,
Nor shattered fragments of an instrument
A proof against the wind; the wind will rise,
We can only close the shutters.
I draw the curtains as the sky goes black
And set a match to candles sheathed in glass
Against the keyhole draught, the insistent whine
Of weather through the unsealed aperture.
This is our sole defense against the season;
These are the things we have learned to do
Who live in troubled regions.
URGENT – IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 30
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
740 PM EST WED FEB 24 2016
THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF
NORTHEASTERN NEW JERSEY
SOUTHERN NEW YORK
* EFFECTIVE THIS WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND THURSDAY MORNING FROM 740 PM
UNTIL 200 AM EST.
* PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE…
SCATTERED DAMAGING WINDS LIKELY WITH ISOLATED SIGNIFICANT GUSTS
TO 75 MPH POSSIBLE
A TORNADO OR TWO POSSIBLE
SUMMARY…A LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS…SOME OF WHICH COULD CONTAIN
DAMAGING SURFACE WINDS AND POSSIBLY A TORNADO…WILL MOVE FROM WEST
TO EAST ACROSS NORTHERN NEW JERSEY…THE NYC AREA…AND PARTS OF
CONNECTICUT LATER TONIGHT.
THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 90
STATUTE MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 10 MILES EAST OF
POUGHKEEPSIE NEW YORK TO 35 MILES SOUTH OF ISLIP NEW YORK. FOR A
COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH OUTLINE
UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU0).
REMEMBER…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE
FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND OCCASIONALLY
DO PRODUCE TORNADOES.
OTHER WATCH INFORMATION…CONTINUE…WW 27…WW 28…WW 29…
AVIATION…A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL SURFACE AND ALOFT
TO 1 INCH. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE WIND GUSTS TO 65 KNOTS.
A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO 400. MEAN STORM MOTION
After doing the mashup exercises, I decided to try out the glitch, mashup and replacer code – altering them so they used argv instead of hardcoding the texts.
Playing around with the glitch_argv.py code, altering the number of characters and lines:
rrents of the undiRM PREDICT
like come on
By secretPORTIONS OF
Lies A TORN
WS STORM PREDICTION
WhiN CENTER HA
unrest is mTHUNDERSTOR
Into thD SIGNIFICAN
when the air
MNDS LIKELY WITH
There’s a lot in here that’s interesting…”By secretPortions OF /change lies A TORN / utters” might be my favorite.
While playing around, I thought about whether or not I liked the disjuncture of the all capitals – I decided that I liked is a visual and decided to preserve the style.
Some more fiddling with length of characters and the number of lines produced:
This is our sole defense EASTERN NEW JERSEY
the wind will rise,
DO PRODUCE TORNADOES.
Next I tried the mashup code, switching it to argv
SEVERE WATCH instrument OK and CONDITIONS
alike LOOKOUT the DAMAGING season;
LATER AND EST time, black By glass
LISTEN Time CENTER
1 TO Nor
this an against Time do
AREA…AND black time, TO MOVE averting
POSSIBLY land, is And INCLUDE…
27…WW our NEW prediction.
glass WEDNESDAY THE OF FEW defense been
and LATER APPROXIMATELY 400. AND
I had some difficulty changing the replacer.py to argv. This was the code I wrote:
But it only put out one word on each line.
So I hardcoded the texts into a copy of replacer.py:
The glass SEVERE been falling all the afternoon,
THE knowing better than the instrument
What winds are walking overhead, what IS
Of grey TO is moving across the land,
I leave the book AND a pillowed chair
And THUNDERSTORM from window to closed window, watching
LATER strain against the sky
And think again, as often when the THE
Moves inward SEVERE a silent core of waiting,
How WEST a single purpose time has traveled
By secret currents of CONDITIONS undiscerned
Into this MILES realm. Weather abroad
And weaYORK.r in YORK. heart alike come on
Regardless AND prediction.
Between foreseeing DO averting change
30 all the mastery of elements
Which clocks MILES weatherglasses cannot alter.
Time in the hand is YORK control of time,
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS shattered fragments of an instrument
A proof CONTAIN the wind; the wind will rise,
We can only close the MAXIMUM
I draw the curtains as the JERSEY goes black
And set a match to candles sheathed in SEVERE
Against the keyhole draught, the insistent 27…WW
Of weather through the unsealed BROADCAST
This is our sole LINE against the season;
FOR are the things we have learned to do
Who live in OF regions.
This doesn’t have as much variation as the first two, of which I think I prefer the first the best.
*Another application I want to test is to take tweets from Trump and Bernie supporters – or sentences from Trump and Bernie speeches – and have them go every other line, so it appeared like a dialogue. Always intrigued by the findings that social media, twitter in particular creates silo’d communities that continue to grow insular. It’s even apparent in the way users self-identify – “if you don’t like what I say, don’t follow” “no liberals wanted”, etc. I’m not a big twitter user, but it’s common to see people I follow on facebook make comments like, “if you don’t like my politics then unfriend me” or “I’m unfriending any of my friends who believe X”. I don’t judge these people’s choices, but I wonder how helpful it is to cast out people who hold different views rather than engaging them in meaningful conversation to try and understand their perspective and vice versa. So, at some point I’d like to put these people in conversation who would probably not come across each other in the twittersphere.