This Birthday's On Fire

I have to say that running down to the basement to hit the breaker while your oven spews smoke does tend to cast a little bit of a pall over your birthday. Don’t worry though, everything is fine…well, the oven isn’t, as I believe the smoke came from the logic board and the whole thing is dead to the world (as well as turned off at the breaker). But still, that’s next week’s problem.

Anyway, a good birthday was had by all; pizza slices larger than Maeryn, off-brand Lego sets to help increase the diversity of our eventual Lego city, boardgames, and aside from the oven’s electrical fire, a nice gentle day.

I’ll be honest with myself and suggest you don’t even think about seeing those writer’s notes until May when I have my second round of paternity leave; all that you’ve got to look forward on here for the next two weeks is more pictures from early fatherhood and my ongoing crippling addiction to Lego (if Maeryn doesn’t like building with blocks, I am going to be in trouble)…

Organize All The Things!

I think I may be nesting. In the past week, I’ve cleared out a space in one of the storage rooms to be a tornado storm shelter, bought a safe for important documents, and spent the weekend putting together shelving that has lain in pieces in the furnace room for almost four years (which seems really odd until I factor in Pandemic Time Dilation). I also dug through five years of paperwork to find the title paperwork for my old car, which will be going across the water to live with Myles shortly. So definitely a ‘dad’ weekend. I have also ordered more shelves. Because apparently now everything has to be in tubs.

(Tammy has also seen the extent of the Transformers Problem for the first time in a few years and…yes, I do need to do something there. And I haven’t even considered what to do about the Lego Problem that is waiting in the wings)

Next week! Baby’s First Buggy Trip! Melting GPUs!


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A Little Earlier Than Expected…

Welcome Maeryn!

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Another Round of Apologies

In fairness, I have started. But it has been a crazy week of visitors, a sizeable existential crisis, and birthing classes. At this point, the write-up comes when it comes…hopefully before April…

I will leave you with the ultimate St. Patrick’s Day Comic Relief sketch:

We Apologize For This Break In Transmission

I know I said I’d have writer’s notes up this weekend, but a bunch of things happened this week and I’ll be honest, I completely forgot about them until last night. So maybe next week?

Otherwise, a quiet week of cleaning, getting things ready, watching an ‘exciting’ bank run, and staring quietly into space.

Next week - more positivity! Maybe…

Ship It

This week, I have been mostly obsessed with this documentary:

It’s basically Get Back but with games. Plus Double Fine is small enough, and importantly, weird enough, that it brings back all those good memories of computer companies in the late 90s. Effortlessly cool, funny, and Californian; people who look like they’ve stepped out of The Invisibles and performing wizardry. But, as it was made over the past six years, things are a touch different…plus it has the feeling of recent Grand Designs series — the January 2020 title card bringing severe dread on us, the viewers, shouting “you fools! Remain indoors!” as everybody on the screen goes blindly about their business.

(I don’t think we’re ever going to get over that)

Anyway, go watch! I am trying to cobble together writer’s notes for the comic - hopefully I’ll have something on here in the next fortnight. Otherwise, a fairly quiet week. Not that many of those left…

The Next Stop is Lewknor Turn

Just what is the mystery of Lewknor Turn? Find out in this collection of four unsettling stories, brought to life in script, art, and letters by Ian Pointer, Nicolás Nieto, and Marin.

The Next Stop is Lewknor Turn is now available to one and all for free!

Next week, I’ll add some notes here on how the comic came together, the bits that got cut out, and the darlings killed. But for now, free comic!

Living In The Future

I won’t lie; having spent a large chunk of the weekend reimplementing parts of the ReAct and Toolformers papers on an 11bn parameter large language model, I get where people are coming from. I’m well aware of what happened with ELIZA, and I know enough about how Transformers work1 to know that ‘spicy autocomplete’ is not exactly wrong. And yet, after spending an afternoon wiring up prompts, helper functions and scaffolding code, to see the LLM reach out to the internet, get information, and summarize/report it in service to answering the question asked of it, well, it feels like witchcraft. Over 30 years of programming experience and you basically give a fancy graphics card a few examples and let the matrix calculations do the rest2.

  1. I know how the toys work too! ↩︎

  2. Well, not quite; it still hallucinates a lot of nonsense, so I guess there’s still a few years left of “please write code that actually makes sense” in my career. At least until GPT-4 anyhow… ↩︎

Prius Priors

Reader, I bought a Prius. Which, if I remember correctly, marks me out as a terrible person somehow, but my previous car was a hybrid as well, so I don’t think things have changed all that much. Except for all the new gadgets! My Insight was a 2010 model, so I have spent a lot of this week like somebody in Doctor Who taken to the far future. A camera for reversing! A Bluetooth pairing system! Apple Carplay! Little lights in the wing mirrors to point out a car is in your blind spot! It beeps when it thinks you’re going out of a line! Some radar and camera magic that even takes corners for you! (somewhat disconcerting for the car to suddenly pretend it’s KITT and start moving the wheel)

Anyway, I have been living in the future. Not quite the far future — the Kia EVs that I was looking at last year seem very expensive here in the US at the moment, and I really just needed a car that was a hybrid, wasn’t too old, and had all the safety features we need for the baby. So we went to Carmax and basically picked out a car that I didn’t hate. And one that hopefully doesn’t get caught in a massive hailstorm in its first long trip.

The comic is done. Lettered art, front and back covers, contents page, all of it. Assembled into CBZ and PDF files. The rudimentary website is ready too…all that needs to happen is to flip a few DNS entries and it’s out there. Expect to see it on 1st March. Well, it has to come out on a Wednesday as a New Comic, right?

Our visitors have left after spending a weekend with us. Christie and Evan brought what feels like half a ton of baby clothes and saw the giant teeth at the Cincinnati Museum Centre. There was even magic, courtesy of me remembering I have a WiFi-enabled plug. And Helvetica is now in a sunbeam enjoying her peace and quiet…for now at least!