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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!

Jumble of Things

I have finally joined the ranks of terrible people with wireless headphones (something of a gift to myself for surviving the week). I was getting tired of having to deal with carrying both Lightning and USB-C headphones whenever I went anywhere with the iPad and the iPhone. But! Just because I wanted to retain some sense of dignity, I got a set from Anker rather than Apple. They were even on sale! I’m too self-conscious to actually go outside with them, mind you…

Anyway, what else for the week? Baking, looking at a possible replacement for my car, getting the final lettering proofs for the comic, bashing a LLM into submission, and being a helpful villager in Blood On The Clocktower. Oh, and eating what seemed like five pounds of food from what is reportedly the best place to get pupusas in the city (and is literally just across the road!). Which makes it all sound like a very busy week!

Next week: guests!

Nolly And Letters

No, I didn’t really expect to spend two hours and a half hours on Friday night watching a drama mini-series about Crossroads of all things,https://www.itv.com/watch/nolly/10a1369/10a1369a0001 but that’s what Russell Davies does to you. And I will admit, briefly, briefly afterwards, I thought about buying Network’s frankly insane 97-disc DVD boxset. Don’t worry, I didn’t, but I came close…

How did it get to be February?

Lettering on the comic proceeds at a quick pace, which means I probably need to start on the teeny-tiny website as well as sorting out the cover, plus the pesky question of how to fill two blank pages in order to make sure the ‘two-page’ digital comic layout doesn’t break the flow of at least one of the stories. There is something quite transformative when you see professionally-lettered captions and word balloons on comic art — for the first time, the stories all felt like proper comics and not just some odd fancy in my head. Aiming for a March 1st release — after all, it is new comics day on a Wednesday.