antioch 277 – sacred harp in Latin?

When I started putting Latin puns in my changelist descriptions, I realized that I had to channel those energies elsewhere.

Maybe I should translate something, I thought. Thing is, my Latin was never great, and is now next to nonexistent — Latin->English was always a struggle. On the other hand, English->Latin always felt more accessible, and I had some great (easy) source texts at my disposal — shape note songs.

Why are they easy? The texts are old, so most of the words exist. The texts are short, so I’ll actually finish. Moreover, they’re Protestant texts, so I’ll have some satisfaction of creating something original, vs putting English that had been translated from Latin back into (less elegant) Latin.

This song has three verses and the chorus after each verse; I’ll shorthand “Glory, Hallelujah” with “..”; google translate says that is “gloria alleluia” and I’ll take its word for it.

1: Scio redemptorem vivere [indirect statement!], ..
Quam solatium haec verbum est, ..

Chorus: Acclamate, adorate, ..
Surrectus est, inventus est, .. [a little loose here]

2: Vivit ut amore benedicat, .. [subjunctive of purpose]
Vivit ut in caelo placeat, .. [again!]

3. Vivit ut demones opprimat, .. [this line scans poorly]
Vivit nec non me inspirat, ..

I’m sure there are mistakes; feel free to let me know. I’ll also take requests, so that I may not (hah) spew dead languages at unsuspecting coworkers.


I’ve been musing about my name as it relates to the vagaries of sound, meaning, and probability.

Here are some explanations of each picture / caption.

“What people hear in loud parties”: The image is ‘blue glue’, and while no one hears both, they often hear one or the other. I guess Lou is a man’s name / I might be overenunciating the ‘l’ — but it is hard to enunciate a liquid!. Honorable mention for this image position is Blues Clues — people also hear ‘Clu’ a lot.

“What Chinese people guess”: It’s not so bad to be named ‘beautiful jade,’ so I assume a lot of girls with Lu4 get this character, making it a safe guess.

A quick note on Chinese words in English: You go from character to pinyin (“spelling,” roughly) (with tones) to pinyin (no tones) to American pronunciation. Each step is _non-injective_: several characters that go to the same pinyin (with tones), four pinyin (with tones) per pinyin (no tones), so on and so forth. Using a concrete example, ‘beautiful jade,’ 璐, goes to Lu4, goes to Lu, goes to “lu” (the pronunciation) — but as do many other pinyin. You lose a ton of information, but people deal by making good guesses — my name just isn’t one of the common guesses.

“What confused Americans think”: Lucy Liu, the actress / visual artist. This one illustrates two confusions: that Lu must actually be my surname, and that Lu must be short for _something_. It also highlights the paucity of Asian women in media, though Liu’s stardom is to be celebrated.

I don’t mean ‘confused’ as ignorant — Americans with far better Chinese than mine have been intrigued by this last-name first-name, especially as “Liu”, an extremely common as a last name, is pronounced in English in the same way as Lu. Lv (like ‘lune’ in French) and Lu are also more common as surnames, and are pronounced the same way in English — this is that relentless loss of information I was talking about earlier. Probability says you’re making a good guess, but for me, it is incorrect.

As for Lu <= Lucy — If my name were Lucy, wouldn’t I introduce myself as Lucy? I’d actually get a sibilant to enunciate.

“What Americans with kids think”: Cindy Lou Who. I had an aftercare (school ends at 2:30, adult jobs end at 5…) teacher, Sue Sette, who called me this. I remember her and those times fondly.

“What numerics people think”: Lower-Upper (LU) factorization — ok, so ninth graders learn this too, more or less, just without the name. Linear Algebra was an important course for me because it taught me new ways to think about information.

“Another acceptable girl-name guess”: Dew. Like Rocio.

“What I am in Connecticut”: My name is homophonic with ‘deer’ in Chinese. There are a lot of deer in CT, and Ellen also came up with this in high school in CT.

“What I am in Portland / England”: The Portland Loo is a great convenience — free public toilets that are not useful for sleeping in / drug deals and are cleaned by a human: it’s like the opposite of “why we can’t have nice things” — “a reasonable thing that Portland (so sadly, not Seattle-we) manages to have”.

“What my name actually means”: Road.

I love my name. It’s not gendered in ANY conceivable way; it is an aspirational name, but an aspiration made concrete: it’s not some nebulous ‘hope’, but a path, paved and drained: I’d toyed with Lucy but it didn’t fit, and now I’m glad I stayed the course.


I used to be a champ at both falling asleep AND waking up[1], but lately I seem to have lost the ability to fall asleep. Road noise, unpredictable nighttime temperature, mind noise, whatever — after another day cut short due to sleeping badly, I decided to do something about it. Continue reading

Sunday morning

“Oh how bleary the day,” she thought. “At least I slept through a lot of it.”

She rolled out of her soft padded cave, rubbing her face in the softblanket one more time for good measure. Into the entryway, she extended and reached up for the canister of coffee beans to the right, and the filters, to the left.

“Whshdhshshsh” went the faucet, for six cups worth. “Fwwwwp fwwwwp fwwwwp” went the grinder. “Pwap pwap pwap” she persuaded the grounds into the filter.

Now, time for the oatmeal, made by an unmeasured swipe of oats and whoosh of water, plus three prods at the microwave for 1:30.

The coffee was finishing, and as she poured her cup, the oatmeal was nearly done too, ready for flavoring. “These green beans will do. Also, I am the best at pipelining.”

She ate the oatmeal and drank the coffee, and on top of it, a good measure of water. Mildly she sniffed at the prospect of the day and listened to the twittering of the birds. Nope, there was nothing to do but plomp back in, back with the softblanket and other downy friends. There she could pretend to be a soft quadruped in peace.

[comment: “it’s like the metamorphosis, but more apathetic and fewer legs. also she is only pretending to be soft and furry; she is not particularly furry.”]

more newcomer thoughts on biking

If someone tries to attack me at the top of a hill that I’ve just climbed, not only do I have to get off the bike (clumsy, if you’ve ever seen me try to get on or off a bike), but I also will also sprint at decreased capacity because I’ve just been working oppositional muscles, and the ridiculous helmet will be bobbing in my face. I am not a triathlete.

Basically, I don’t think I like it when my transport time is a time of increased alarm. It’s supposed to be a break.

(also how do I know if there will be a place to lock it? In Redmond I could just lock it against any sapling as a formality.)

One like and one dislike

I dislike:

Overzealous automatic soap dispensers. When was the last time you wasted soap because you left the soap running? Never! Once in a while you get a really well-tuned automatic soap dispenser that gives you a reasonable blob of foam, and then doesn’t bother you for the rest of your hand washing, but most of them see a pair of hands and keep squirting and squirting and squirting.

I like:

Round things! Dopey large dogs, sheep, round hills (gasworks: A+), neatly trimmed shrubs — all make me grin.

I think it’s because I think they’d be fun to pet.

bonus like:

Jumbo eggs. They’re so much bigger than regular eggs (thanks, cubic relation!) and most have a double yolk. More luck and more cluck and eggs are delicious, etc. etc.


You know how some people wear a tiny purse and carry a larger handbag / briefcase?

I usually carry one large tote bag (magicbag [*]).

Today, I realized that I was tired of larger items (laptop, gym clothes) in magicbag crushing or eating the other items (phone, wallet, sunglasses).

And I realized —

I needed L1 cache.

[*] magicbag is magic because it is of many colors, and at least one of them is bound to match my outfit. The alternative is to have a neutral-colored bag, but then you’re in danger of looking like you’re perpetually stage crew of some production (a my coat is black too).

[**] magicbag is always Le Sportsac, which i like because it can carry a lot, but has little mass on its own. The tradeoff is that there’s not a ton of structure, and things like sunglasses get eaten (groping through the entire bag is O(n)). Compare to a highly structured leather bag, which weights 1lb on its own but gives O(1) access to your junk.