Really System @ Wheaton College Next Week

I’m thrilled to have been invited to visit Wheaton College to discuss reading, writing, and technology in a TechPaths Lecture next week. I’m also very excited to be visiting a creative writing class while I’m there– we’re going to do some Really System-style treatments of the texts they’re working on.

In honor of the visit, here’s a visualization of the text of Really System Issues 1-5 I created using the Lexos integrated Lexomics workflow tool developed at Wheaton by faculty and undergraduates. I’m hoping I get to talk to some of those involved while I’m there. This image totally reminds me of the cover to Love’s Forever Changes LP, which I love to be reminded of.  Listen below. Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 6.45.12 PM

Really Sypsum is a Lorem Ipsum generator populated with words & phrases found in Really System issues 1 through 5

If you are in need of text, Really System can help. Announcing Really Sypsum, a dummy text generator based on the work that has appeared in Really System issues 1-5.


Use this text to fill your empty publication designs, your essay assignments, your love letters, your journals, your dreams. Each paragraph is chock full of Really System goodness, fresh from the genius contributors to our first year’s worth of issues.

From the the official press release:

It puckers against my graying meat, a pact. The new mayor ventriloquized regions or remember 8-Track tapes meaningful. Morse Code messages what isn’t having a harbinger of evil fool. Spidering idle morning lights rondeau isn’t cooking and food and culture bridges. Quick as a month or minute plumbing being woozy, reeling ashtray.

A cassette in a tape player which was mercury. Fire equals ouch by hip. Imagine this guys worst identified isn’t woozy, reeling century. Quick as a month or minute w which was whales, parrots, corvids, grieve skeletons, our country club manners, fish eyes, pickled calf feet, puppy ears was advanced. The Eeyore of journalists now hips. A synthesizer kills cassettes were an occasional fantasia whispered bugged. Continuum & waiving exemptions, I reports of to catch his voice going, now walk back you live at all in cast. The burning memory of mercenary alms at pretended. Would a member of beauty go to hell had is they leave a guy alone jim.

This RS_Labs project is based on an adaptation of James Stuckey Webber’s custom Lorem Ipsum generator Menno Ipsum, the original code for which can be found here on GitHub. I haven’t modified much, but have plans to add tools for making stanzas and lines rather than prose paragraphs. So, treat this like a work in progress.

Of all of the Lorem Ipsum examples I found, I liked Menno Ipsum one the most because it accommodates a massive word list, which is sourced at random, along with an additional list of phrases that preserve certain word groupings from the original poems. Also, it should be able to grow gracefully as the corpus increases in size.

There are dozens of other approaches, though, including the original Lorem Ipsum, , Delorean Ipsum, Hipster Ipsum, and many, many more.

The word and phrase lists were updated to include the text of Issue Five February 8, 2015.



Every period, comma, exclamation point, semi-colon, question mark, hyphen, and ellipsis  in Really System issues 1-5, in order, very large.

I’ve been working on some part-of-speech tagging of the corpus lately, and this is just an easy, silly byproduct of that… I realized it was easy to extract this, and even in the default html font, I love how it looks. I had already stripped quotation marks, colons, and m dashes out because of the processing I was doing, so those aren’t here.  Also, any apostrophes remain as parts of the words in which they are found with this tagger (the CLAWS tool), so those are absent as well. Looking forward to some POS stuff soon!

Epic poem slowly tweeted: “placid for song no virtue matters held”

Starting this evening, @ReallySystemBot, our little automatic friend, is tweeting out a 2,000-line epic poem entitled “placid for song no virtue matters held,” one rhyming couplet at a time for the next 2500 hours.

The poem is based on the randomized text of Really System Issues 1-5, broken into 10-syllable rhyming couplets using a modified version of Ross Goodwin’s python script.

I hope you enjoy this poem as it unfolds over the course of the next few months; it’s dripping with Really-System-ness, and I find it a joy to read.

Issue Five: 12 poets, 15 poems, 2,241 words

The numbers are in! 2,241 total words in the 15 poems in Really System Issue Five: My Laser Style. 1,028 of those words were unique. That’s the fewest words in any issue so far.

The most common words in the issue:  like (17), know (9), sound (7), egg (6), said (6), smaller (6).  “Like” has been in the top 10 most frequent words in 2 of the 4 previous issues.

Longest pieces: A Proper Pressurized Blast (456 words),  Encroachment on a Dry Source (302 words).

Shortest Pieces: Skull, My Former (45 words), Nature & Environmental Writing Workshop (47 words)

Highest vocabulary density (total words /  unique words): Skull, My Former (933.3), Nature & Environmental Writing Workshop (872.3)

Lowest vocabulary density (total words /  unique words): A Proper Pressurized Blast (587.7),  Encroachment on a Dry Source (609.3).

Issue Four by the Numbers

There are 16 pieces in Issue Four with a total of 2,286 words and (1,216 unique) 17,268 characters, by 12 poets.

Longest pieces (by words ):Parachute (334); In the Basement of the Penal Colony, Version 2.3,  Rimbaud Remembers (316).

Shortest pieces:  [16901 – 17000] (68); [11601 – 11700]  (73).

Highest vocabulary density (total words /  unique words): MicroGod Schism Song (933.3).

Lowest density:Parachute (622.8).

Most frequent words in the issue (excluding stop words):

  • eyes (9)
  • like (7)
  • white (7)
  • air (5)
  • beneath (5)
  • time (5)



Issue Three in Numbers

There are 19 pieces in Issue Three with a total of 2568 words, 15,190 characters, and 1,317 unique words by 14 poets.

Longest pieces (by words ): Notes I (289), Harbor Lights (264).

Shortest pieces: Yelp Review: Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando (41), The Money Weapon (51).

Highest vocabulary density (total words /  unique words): Yelp Review: Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando (921.6), The Money Weapon (878).

Lowest density: Harbor Lights (647.7), Hope in a Yellow Dress (669.3).

Most frequent words in the issue (excluding stop words):

  • green (14)
  • red(12)
  • lights (7)
  • know (6)
  • time (6)