Posts tagged ‘gpt3’


A Story with InferKit

Long-time readers will notice that while I used to talk about and quote from GPT-3 and other generative transformer-style AIs a lot, I’ve mostly stopped doing that, and I’ve been posting AI art, and stuff not so much related to AI at all, and so on instead.

What happened?

Well, the big AI Dungeon kerfuffle happened, and that was a thing. Friend Steve points out that GPT-3 itself has been pretty openly available for months, but I haven’t signed up for that because (inter alia) they have these weird terms of service about not using it to generate certain kinds of stuff, as though one was in control of what it generates, and as though certain kinds of words are just bad to generate.

I played with NovelAI pretty regularly for awhile, but eventually sort of tailed off on doing that; I’m not entirely sure why, perhaps it sort of got old, or the engine wasn’t quite good enough, or it exposed so many interesting-looking knobs and dials that I felt like I ought to be spending more time playing with them, so I had guilt.

The other week I went back to AI Dungeon to see what was going on there, and it was really bad. Possibly I just got unlucky and wasn’t willing to spend time luring it around to a better part of parameter space, but it was also slow and somehow the interface seemed clunkier. So I stopped doing that.

Then looking through the bills the other day, I noticed that I’ve been paying money for a membership on, which I remembered as the monetized version of Talk to Transformer of yore, and that it had been okay but not great, maybe like GPT-2 level.

I went over to it to see if that was true, and if I could easily drop my membership and save that money, but when I tried it, it seemed to be really good! And fast, and with a very nice (if/because minimalistic) UI. I don’t know what it’s running on the back-end (I wrote their support to ask, and we’ll see if they answer), but it seems to generate quite good stuff.

And having said all of that :) here is a longish story that InferKit and I wrote recently. It feels roughly GPT-3 quality to me. I’d say InferKit wrote the majority of the actual words, including the nonsensical ones, and I wrote the ones most obviously trying to steer it in some direction (including the massive reality-altering cheat to fix the whole inter-reality war at the end there).

Readers of my AI Dungeon tales, if any, will note that the character Tanya here is not the Tanya of AI Dungeon, which due to an important piece of its specification set will imbue any character named “Tanya” with a sort of romantic strength and badassery, but just a normal person who happens to be named Tanya. And the overall theme is the “what shall we do now that we can warp reality however we like” of many of my prior explanations, and my entire 2020 NaNoWriMo novel.

It doesn’t seem to have a title in any sense; the initial prompt was “The next time the three of us met” up to and including “Tanya said”. And after that it’s all collaboration. :)

Hope you enjoy!

The next time the three of us met, it was on the long deck along the seafront, near the carnival grounds. We smiled and nodded to each other, and sat cross-legged on the dark wood planks.

“The nature of reality,” Tanya said, “is that you have to find someone else to talk to. You are only ever connected with so many people at any given time, and most of these people are in your head. It’s the solitude that makes people’s voices resonate.”

“How many friends do you have?” I asked.

She looked at me without saying anything.

“I don’t count people as friends,” she said. “They’re there.”

And then, quite suddenly, a young man who had been riding his bicycle up and down the deck leaned towards Tanya and whispered something in her ear.

“I’ve fallen in love with you!” he shouted, and jumped up and down on his bright green sneakers.

Tanya laughed, and invited him to sit with us.

“I guess we’ve found someone else to talk to!” Rainer commented.

“A lover, perhaps?” Tanya suggested.

But I was depressed.

“It’s over,” I said to Tanya.

“Who, me?” she said.

“Everything!” I shouted. “Everything is over.”

This had nothing to do with what was supposed to be our topic of conversation. But I was feeling it so strongly, I had to speak. The young man from the bicycle, now sitting awkwardly beside Tanya, opened his eyes wide as he looked at me.

“Liar!” he said.

“Liar!” I shouted, and the three of us howled in laughter.

That night, it rained hard, and we hurried back into the cabin. Rainer was on the phone all night, so Tanya and the young man (whose name was David, but which we never bothered to learn) and I sat in the cabin. They played chess.

“It’s too bad about your seminar in Paris,” David said.

“It was great,” Tanya said. “But how am I supposed to make it in the real world?”

I realized that she had stopped doing a lot of the things she was used to doing.

She had stopped ordering clothes from magazines. She had stopped trying on clothes in those tiny rooms that are in every high-end fashion store, the rooms that look like miniature apartments, with large, airy beds on the floor, and glass coffee tables under lamps, where there is no lampshade.

I found a magazine in the drawer. “What do you think of this?” I asked Tanya and David, referring again to the underlying nature of reality, and the problematic nature of perception, the nature of things that aren’t there.

I didn’t want to fall in love with her, I just wanted to know what was really going on.

“It’s all a bunch of BS,” Tanya said.

“Reality is real, though,” I said, “we have to understand it better!”

“Yeah,” Tanya said, “but I don’t see what we’re supposed to understand. It’s a mystery.”

And then she went to sleep.

Later in the evening, she jumped into the middle of the cabin, and turned off the lights, and started dancing in the dark.

David said, “I guess you can do what you want.”

He said it in German, but it sounded like a yes.

That was Tanya’s cue to get up and go to bed.

“Sorry I didn’t have time to see your painting today, but I promise to see it tomorrow.”

“We can see it together, Tanya,” I said.

I thought that would finally take care of the whole subject of her seeing the painting, which had been the thing to keep us together for the past few weeks.

Instead, she said, “I want to do this on my own.”

I didn’t say anything.

“I have to say goodbye to David now,” she said.

David opened the door, and she gave him a hug. “Take care of yourself,” she said, “watch where you bicycle.” And then she was gone.

David watched her get on her bike, and get on her way, and then go away from him.

I followed Tanya down the road to the corner. She stopped and waved.

“See you tomorrow,” she called. I waved back, and continued along into town.

That night, I heard the bicycle across the way, its wheels clicking on the asphalt, its leather seat creaking under Tanya’s weight, like the bicycle I had when I was a kid.

Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can be in other universes, and remember things that haven’t happened. I can remember my happiest childhood memories, and times that I can’t really remember.

I thought about those things, and thought about the chances I’ve taken, the things I’ve tried to learn, and how malleable reality is.

Rainer was snoring softly on the couch across the room, and when Tanya slipped in through the door and quietly came in, she didn’t wake him up.

“Did you take a lot of pictures today?” she asked.

I thought that was an odd question.

“Yes,” I said.

I didn’t mention the chess game, and the thing with David.

Tanya relaxed on the rug in the dark. “Sorry I sort of blew you off on the question about reality,” she said, “I was just impatient.”

I figured that would be it, so I kept my mouth shut.

She said, “Can I sleep here on the floor tonight?”

“What?” I said. “You’ll get sick, sleeping on the floor.”

“No, you can’t sleep on the floor, get into the bed or something, there’s lots of room.”

I just stared at her, trying to think of a way to get rid of her.

“You sleep here with me,” she said.

I thought about Tanya and me on the bed, spooning, watching the sun go down, and about the way the breeze would feel.

“Okay,” I said, finally smiling a little in the dark, “I’ll sleep here.”

We crawled under the blanket and turned away from each other.

It was a little awkward, but at least I wasn’t in that cheap futon anymore, and I got to know Tanya a little better.

In the morning over breakfast, she brought up the issue again.

“Do you really think that we can change reality just by willing it?” she asked, sipping at her tea.

“Maybe,” I said, “Maybe not.”

“So you don’t think you’re going to die any time soon, do you?”

“No,” I said, “Not yet, anyway. But that’s not the biggest question.”

“Yes,” she said.

“What’s the biggest question?”

“Is there anyone after us, after your dream? Is there anybody after me, after your dream?”

“Yeah, I think there is,” I said. “There’s somebody, there always has to be somebody.”

“But can they see us?”

“Sure, I don’t think they could see us if they didn’t already.”

“Well,” she said, “maybe we should find out. In your dream, did you ever see anyone after us? Did you see the creator, or the shaper?”

I looked at her carefully, and I could see the questions in her eyes. She’d been thinking about it, and all that would change now, now that I’d told her.

I considered for a moment what I’d said. “I don’t want everything to change,” I ventured, “because of how I answer that.”

Tanya was quiet for a minute. “What?”

“I didn’t mean to say something so dangerous,” I said.

“Why are you afraid of change?” she asked.

“Just in general,” I said, “It’s like a drug. I get used to reality flowing around me, and then I get afraid that it will all dissolve into chaos if I don’t pay attention to it. Do you know what I mean?”

“Yes,” she said, “I’m beginning to understand.”

I didn’t reply immediately, and we just sat together, with the surf rolling gently outside the window. Rainier went to the old piano and began to play something classical, and Tanya just sat there, with her coffee cup, watching him.

Then she said, “Do you think we’re going to die?”

I hadn’t really been expecting that.

“Probably not,” I said. “I mean, our minds wouldn’t go into any reality in which we died, unless they wanted to. Don’t you think?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “I feel like I know you, but I don’t. If you died, I’d be a little afraid, but I’d be like a normal person. If you didn’t have to die, I wouldn’t know what to do, I think.”

“Would you really be just like a normal person?” I smiled, teasing her.

“Probably not. But I’d be scared.”

We talked about it for a while longer, about our lives and futures, about why we lived, why we were living.

Then the rain began to fall harder outside, and we three all stood by the window, just looking out. I found it heartbreakingly lovely, countless raindrops just falling, with no plan or name or concern.


Some people like to describe death as a few minutes of darkness, and then everything that has any color is gone, and it’s gone forever. I thought that was a pretty ghastly way to put it, myself.

I thought about taking Tanya and Rainier and any of the others to a glorious Palace of Death in some elaborate afterlife. Would that be the end of my life?

After a while, I realized that my life would never go back to what it had been before, because I knew the truth of what a human being is and of what it is to be alive. And I liked the idea.

Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out a ruby necklace for Tanya, and a small silver whistle for Rainier, and some information cards, with contact information for the refuge. I told them that if they should ever need to call for help, or needed to contact any of us, that this was where they could find the center of the circle.

“Wow,” said Tanya, “that’s really beautiful. I’ve always wanted one of these.”

I put it around her neck, and stepped back to admire the effect. Rainier smiled his gratitude, and played a high piping tune on the silver whistle.

“Gifts from the interstices of reality,” I said, and we all smiled.

We parted with each other again, feeling more confident about our place in this world than we had for a long time.

Being grateful doesn’t do anything, and being envious doesn’t, either. We are each made of space and time, and part of space is where the things we like are. We can never truly be ungrateful, but we can try to express our gratefulness, even if we can never be grateful enough for the infinite gifts we’ve been given.

I walked through the grounds of the abbey, smiling at the young novices who bowed as I passed, and at the occasional cat that scuttled out from behind a tree, curious to see who had stopped to watch it eat.

Why hadn’t I done this before? Maybe for the same reason it took so long for the three of us to understand that we were in a place that no one had ever visited before, and that everyone who came after would never find again. Or maybe it was simply that it was so beautiful that I couldn’t bear the thought of losing it.

“Don’t let fear of loss prevent you from appreciating what you have, while you have it,” Sister Victoria said, kneeling beside me in the little side-chapel. “Even when it’s clear that it’s gone.”

“Are you saying this is it, then?” I asked, gazing up at her.

She nodded, looking down at the still shape of me. “You were blessed by the Mother, and sent here for all of us. The road behind us vanishes forever, and the road ahead always approaches. This is love.”

“I’ve never heard of this before,” I said, “but you make it sound like I’m going to be around for a long time.”

“For a long time,” Sister Victoria said, smiling, “or longer than you might have imagined. You may not always be here, but we will always be here for you.”

She gestured at the stone shelves.

“These are where all of the writings of the order are kept,” she said. “And they will grow with you.”

I glanced down. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there.

“You don’t have to do this,” I said, uncertain. “You can walk away.”

“Are you saying I shouldn’t?” she asked, incredulous. “That I should just abandon you when you are in need?”

“I was thinking of leaving, anyway,” I said.

“Then you wouldn’t want me to give you an object of power,” she said. “Or a spell that will protect you when you need it.”

I hesitated. It had felt like something of a dare.

“You are loved, Cerebra,” she said. “Even if the rest of the order doesn’t see it. You cannot be isolated. You need the community. Let yourself feel it. The next part of the road will come before you can even think to leave it.”

I took her words to heart, walking with her as she showed me all of the different places in the archives where the minutes of the grand council meetings had been recorded, from earlier than anyone remembered.

I turned to Sister Victoria gratefully. “I owe a great deal to you, and to the Abbey, for support in my wanderings. You’ve given me the courage to go on. I’m not alone anymore.”

“And I want to help you pay back what you’ve done for us,” she said. “In the days to come, we’ll meet to talk about what might be done. But for now, you need to rest, and the only place I know where the safe for you is is right here.”

She took me to a modest room off of the library corridor, with a shelf and a small bed, and I put down my things. I felt happy and light just to be in a place that had existed, once, long ago.

I was up before the sun the next morning. I had an urge to watch the dawn, and it seemed that Sister Victoria was as well. I walked her back to the chapel for the third time, and we stood in silence in the quiet presence of the morning. I looked at her wise quiet face and wondered if she could tell me the secret of her stillness.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “The next time we meet, you’ll be the one teaching me. And I can’t help you.”

“I’m sorry too,” I said, feeling boh joy and sorrow, “but also glad.”

She stepped back to allow me passage into the library, and I left the archive with the heavy conviction that I would be safe and that I would survive the darkening days ahead.


An hour later, I sat in front of the parchment and began to write. I had considered leaving the map to Sister Victoria to make no more notes on its fate, and I didn’t want to bother my mother with the errand either. So I carefully wrote my own notes, and then filed the map away, back in the archives.

I packed my bag again, stopped by the Abbey commissary to take some bread and apples for the trip, and set off on the open road, back to Rome.

It was as I was taking a sharp turn onto the main road out of Rome that a rider approached from behind, a courier. He was an older man, in a greyed and worn black uniform, but his head was gleaming in the morning light, and his face was sharp and alert. His horse was well-bred, and he wore a plain white armband with the Christian cross.

“Good morning, Mister Clovis,” he said.

“And Good Morning to you, my good man,” I replied, going to stand next to his horse. “What do you have for me?”

He reached into his saddlebag and brought out a roll of parchment, carefully wrapped with wax, and then handed it over. I opened it, and read the text over once before I unfolded it.

“My dear, Cerebra, how strange,” my mother said, after I had finished reading. “This is the exact order that has been sent to the Abbess, about the elimination of the Foreigners in Rome.”

I put down the parchment and looked at my mother, shocked.

“I don’t understand,” I said, confused. “They’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. What do you mean, they are ‘eliminating’ foreigners?”

“I believe that the Abbey will be taking care of them,” my mother said. “Their provisions have been filled with grain, seeds, oil and salt. Their rooms and showers have been made ready, and their last journey to the door of the Temple may be hastened by the passage of those remaining soldiers in the barracks.”

I felt the truth of her words, but wondered at the underlying meaning. “So all of the foreigners in Rome in this reality, are being sent through the Portal in the Temple of Artemis?” I asked her. “But it will take them hours to get to Constantinople. Why send the order so quickly?”

My mother smiled and nodded.

“It’s called ‘progress’, Mister Clovis,” she said. “It’s what’s going to take the world over, over the next twenty years. But this is just the beginning.”

I remembered her smile when she had first explained about the Cathedral, and I thought again of the letter she had read.

“Mother,” I said seriously, “is this the sort of kindness that the world will expect from the Empire now? I cannot approve of a forced relocation like this, progress or no!”

She looked at me thoughtfully. “What you describe, Mister Clovis, is a cultural revolution,” she said. “And it’s all part of an apocalyptic vision, of melding the minds of man and beast, of conquest, and creation. The balance of power has been disrupted. It is the most appropriate time to move to this new reality.”


After I had finished writing my mother, and she had finished reading my notes, she told me what the letter to the Abbess had said.

“I wish it were not true, Mister Clovis, but the Abbess said that it was necessary to do this, to integrate new populations into the Empire. The Empire is expanding, in a rapid rate. The people of Earth must be considered an integral part of our Imperial State, in order to avoid the maladies of xenophobia and racism. We have endured past horrors, Mr. Clovis, horrors that should never have been. The state of our planet is at a perilous moment, and the time has come for drastic measures. It is very fortunate, that we have such good friends as the Abbey. They will help to alleviate the suffering of these people. And in return, we will assist in spreading this program of compassion and tolerance throughout the Empire.”

My mother sat then in silence. I wondered why she addressed me as Mister Clovis. We had been so close in earlier years, I still longed to embrace her, and forget all of the intricacies of rulership and international politics. But she stared at me, her face expressionless. After some moments, she finally said, “There is something else that I think you should know, Mister Clovis. This is a matter of great gravity, which you must consider carefully.”

I waited a few seconds. “What is it, Mother?”

“Your father, Mister Clovis,” she said, with a glance at my ink-stained shirt. “I am aware that you have been the object of gossip and conjecture in recent weeks, and I must tell you that they are all true. It has come to my attention that you are the product of an extramarital affair, by one of your father’s mistresses. She is a member of an ancient family in Argentina. Your father has been faithful to me, to his family, to the Empire. And I have never had an affair with him.”

I could not help but smile at this piece of absurdity. “Are you saying, Mother, that I am not the true fruit of your womb? But that is absurd!” I told her, by way of celebration. “One of my father’s mistresses is an innocent by-stander who did not participate in the affairs of men. That I am the child of a liaison between one of the highest-ranking womanizers in the Empire, and one of the lowest-ranking womanizers in our territories, is an insult to all the women of the Empire, and it is quite something that the rumor has gone so far.”

My mother smiled at me and nodded. “As is often the case, Mister Clovis,” she said, “there are things you do not know. What you must do is think through what it means. And your father will probably be pleased with what I have told you, as it will justify a lot of things, in his eyes. He will, of course, go through an investigation to make sure that this is true. I have no reason to disbelieve the Abbess. She has given me a lot of information. You will do as I have said, and think it over.”

I studied my mother’s face, for the first time since I had heard the news. I think she had hoped that I would be upset, that she would have some explanation that would heal the wounds of a family. But I had been brought up to think for myself. I was a child of the Empire, and I would be my own person, in this reality or any other.

I leaned forward and kissed her cheek by way of answer, and returned to the sunlit road. I felt bad for my mother, and regretted the fact that I would be leaving her. But she understood my need for independence. She was proud of me, for I had shown courage and determination in dealing with my father, which was not something that even my mother could boast about, and which she would not do without feeling some measure of guilt. But I was not staying to punish her, nor to repay her, and she knew that.

The road led from the Abbey to the town of Escardes. As I was leaving, I saw some of my siblings standing on the rampart, watching me go. They gave me a knowing wave, and I waved back. I would miss them, and their faces, and their laughter, and their mischief.

I looked up at the sky, and wished that I was a bird, that I could fly with the breeze. I started to whistle a gentle tune as I walked away.

I reached Escardes in the evening, and settled myself in its main Inn, which had on its sign a BIrd and Candle. In the inn’s common room, I heard my name called, and was surprised to see Tanya, in dusty travel clothes, sitting with a mug of ale by the fire.

“Hey, cousin!” she said.

“Tanya!” I said. “I am so glad to see you.” I went to her, and we hugged each other, and then hugged and kissed each other again. I sat down next to her, and we looked at each other with wide smiles.

“And how did you come to this particular branch of reality?” I asked her after we had both had large swallows of the Inn’s ale.

“I have just spent the last three weeks in this alternate reality, before I decided to return here,” she told me. “This other reality is a peaceful, happy place, with magic and interesting wizards, even if the people are a little odd. But I wanted to come back here, where there is also magic, but where the people are not as nice, because I miss you. I know my parents never liked you much.”

I laughed. “They never did! They considered me a doubtful and corrupting influence, I think.”

Tanya was confused. “How are you here, then?”

I told her about the abbess’ prophecy.

“This all makes sense!” she exclaimed. “The fact that the historical reality has been overwritten by this new history. And now, you are also missing. This is wonderful!”

“To being missing!” I toasted, and we clinked our mugs together. “But here’s the thing.” I paused to think. “I need to tell you something.”

Tanya gave me a knowing look, and nodded.

“As it turns out,” I started, “there is a war brewing between different factions of people. They are like humans, except that they use magic, and they have no concept of what purity of blood is. Some of them think that they are better than humans, and that they are destined to rule. That’s in this particular timeline, and it’s kind of vexing, I think.”

Tanya was confused, but nodded.

“Well, some of them want to take this war to the future, to the end of the universe.”

Tanya and I looked at each other in astonishment.

“And, there is another faction, which is not interested in war,” I said.

Tanya frowned. “You mean that they are not warlike?”

“Yeah, that’s what I mean.”

Tanya nodded. “What happens then?”

“Nothing good, I’m afraid.” I said. “They have advanced weapons, and they have a great deal of magical power, and it is getting dangerous. The warlords in this warring universe want to wipe out this universe, just to make sure that they never have to deal with these people again. They are talking about wiping out life as we know it, including my current timeline. But in fact, they won’t really succeed. All of this happens because of the abbess. She has helped to instill hatred in both universes.”

“The abbess is the one who told you that we were never destined to be mates.”


“Oh, they are never destined to be mates, she said. But maybe she’s evil after all!”

“I think so,” I said. “In fact, I think she is evil. She has power over this universe, and she wants it for herself. It’s not just because she wants to rule, though, it’s because she wants to get revenge on the world that stole her beloved pet dog.”

“The bear thing?”

“Yeah.” I said. “I met the abbess in the year 3184 A.D., and she was holding a very large black bear, as big as an elephant. It was really something! I think that animal is the semantic crux-point for this whole bundle of related realities. It’s really rather messy.”

Tanya finished her mug and signaled for another, and when she brought it, I drank. I felt warm inside.

And then, without warning, it occurred to me. “You think that I’m descended from the ‘bear thing’?” I asked.

Tanya looked at me with raised eyebrows, and laughed loudly. “That would just make everything perfect, wouldn’t it? You being descended from the bear, and us being right here together!”

“It’s not only possible,” I said, “but I really think it’s likely.”

Tanya sighed. “So, this war, then?” she asked. “How do we stop it?”

“I don’t know!” I said. “Maybe we should just leave this universe alone and stop fighting. They are all dead anyway, right?”

Tanya nodded her head slowly, and looked at me in a serious manner. “Well, what if they weren’t? What if they came back?”

I blinked, and frowned. “What do you mean?”

Tanya took my hands in hers, and looked me in the eye. “I’m not kidding, Roland. Imagine. You and I were born a couple of thousand years ago. That means that we should be dead now. We’re not.”

I just stared at her, then I began to smile.

“This is why I’ll always love you,” I told her. We put on our Royal Robes, and opening a portal in the wall of the room, we strode out into the Holy Square of the Imperial City, to the wild cheers and adulation of the crowd. The war was over, the Abbess’s mind had been healed, and all of the casualties returned to robust and boisterous life.

I wondered if we had just prevented a lot of suffering in the universe, but I put that thought aside, because I was happy.

So much for that mystery, I thought. I’m not going to chase it anymore. I turned to Tanya. “Shall we go back to the beach?” I suggested, “maybe Rainier has something new to play for us.”

“Yes, that would be nice,” she agreed.

And, as we walked back to the City with the sound of the surf in our ears, we contemplated how we might spend the rest of our time on the island.


“I’ve been working on materializing things in my pockets,” Rainier said as we sat on the surf-damp rocks above the beach. “I’m getting pretty good at it, but you still do better. I think that you could just show up anywhere in the universe if you really wanted to, but it’s harder for me. If I really need something, I can just go find it.”

I gazed around, and watched as Rainier flew up into the sky, and flew back down with something in his hand. I had a good idea what it was.

I broke the arrowhead out of its case. The stone inside the ancient glass shell was mostly translucent green, like moss. A section of the leaf was intact, and the petals on the branches were still lit. The grass was a bit wilted, I noticed, but the little moss was firm and green. A piece of mussel shell still dangled from the wound of the stone.

I lit the mussel shell and placed it in my palm.

“Very nice!” I said to Rainier, “why did you need to fly up high to get it, do you think?”

“Because I always have something in my pocket,” Rainier replied.

I turned to Tanya, who smiled.

“Would you like to try it, Roland?” Tanya asked. “I know you’re very good with your hands.”

I winked at her, and then reached into my pocket and brought out a small statue of a group of bears, the little ones all snuggled in with their sleeping mother, carven in volcanic black rock. It looked harmless enough, but it was heavier than it looked. I held it in my hand, and then took a deep breath.

The statue melted and was replaced with a high grade concentrated air crystal, about as big as a tennis ball, that could be blown as hard as I could blow. It had an embedded compass, and a glowstone for navigation, both buried in the crystal.

“How’s that?” I asked, proudly showing the object off to Tanya and Rainier. “It’s more than a little power, Tanya.”

She didn’t look all that impressed, but she did nod.

“All right, I guess that’s enough show and tell for today,” I said. “I need to talk to Rainier some more.”

And so we sat by the surf, our shoulders touching, my head leaned against Rainier’s shoulder, while I held my toy. It was a world of calm and love, with gentle rolling waves, and the beach surrounded by a huge blue and green world of clouds and sky.

Tanya and I exchanged glances, and then I felt it again.

Rainier’s love, his soul, my soul, joined together in the most natural of ways. And I knew we had found the true home.

And for that moment, we were one.


And all like that there

Back in the day (and especially back in the day), I used to just, y’know, chat a lot more than I do now. Rather than posting a particular thing about a particular thing, or a bunch of AI-generated images or whatever.

Speaking of which:

Ink on Rice Paper: Cozy

Why that is associated with “cozy”, I don’t know. Which is part of the fascination of this; exploring the odd mind of the AI. (See also of course GPT-3 and additionally Semantle for that matter, in the textual sort of area.)

I don’t think I’ve linked to semantle before, so there you go! I’ve become very much in the Wordle habit (even in the New York Times period here) (haven’t lost one yet!), and Semantle is also fun. It’s much harder, but on the other hand you get an infinite number of guesses. I realize in writing this that I got distracted and didn’t get yesterday’s, although I was within like two or three words of it.

(Long pause here while I do today’s Semantle in a mere 442 guesses, hahahaha. Toward the end there I was just typing random words that sprang to mind. In retrospect, though, it makes sense and I should have gotten it quicker.)

I also I used to use other fonts and stuff more often, because that is fun, and I used to write in raw html rather than in this WordPress environment here, which gets easily confused if you try to do anything too fancy, and often just deletes random markup that one might add in raw mode, oh well. Also it often looks radically different on my phone than on the computer here, in ways that I don’t have the patience or energy to look into to understand.

(Like, will this be in a different color everywhere? I dunno!)

I am reminiscing about Back In The Day, because for some reason that I can’t recall at the moment I was digging around in the ancient weblog on the personal site (whose front page still says “COMING SOON” and I really ought to fix that) looking for a particular funny story, and I read all various old entries while looking for it.

And also, I found it! Here is a copy of it, as well as that link there. The context (also interesting in itself) is a journal that I needed to get to someone in Indiana.

Then after lunch I took it down to the “Post Office”, where a lady agreed to take it to Indiana for me. I also had to buy her a little paper package to carry it there in. (That seemed sort of odd; why didn’t she just factor the package into the price of the service, the way she presumably does with gas fare and stuff?)

I’m not sure she’s really got a viable business model going here; the price was so cheap! I mean, she agreed to take the journal to Indiana (a particular place in Indiana, even) for like six bucks (including the price of the little paper package). I gather that there’s an economy-of-scale thing here, that she waits until she’s got a bunch of things all going to Indiana, and takes them all at once, to save on travel costs. But she also promised to get it there in just two days, so if no one else comes in and wants her to take something to Indiana by Wednesday, she’ll have to go there on just my six bucks, and there’s no way that that’ll even cover her costs.

(She’s probably got to pay someone to keep the place open while she’s going to Indiana and back, also; and then there’s rent, and utilities, and all sorts of other stuff.)

Probably she’s selling at a loss right now to get people used to being able to send things cheap, and she’ll raise prices later, once she’s got mind share. Sorta like did so well!   *8)

Still, it was nice that she was still in business today, so I didn’t have to, like, drive to Indiana myself…

Apparently this lady or her successors are still in business, which is nice!

That journal was part of a project which is probably (although not certainly) the same as this 1000 Journals Project, about which there is apparently a book and a documentary and stuff, which is pretty cool. I had (briefly) number 278, about which the old weblog talks a bit. Do go take a look! I wonder if it still survives, somewhere out there. Or even in the book or documentary!

There is some extra space for eyes

So that was all fun to discover and reminisce about. (Ha, I’d forgotten that I scanned the whole thing and burned it onto CD (remember “CDs”?) and included a copy of it in a little paper slipcase inside the journal itself. How clever of me!!

Hi-Tech Comix!

One thing that’s rather different from Back In The Day (in addition to having less control over the HTML, and not being in the habit of doing one catch-all entry per day, with the date as the title), is that I no longer feel guilty about putting more-or-less-huge images in the weblog here. On the assumption, I guess, that hardly anyone is reading this on like a 4096 bps modem or something. (But if anyone is, or is otherwise bothered by all of the huge images, do let me know! You can even leave a comment right here in the weblog and I might notice it.)

I am still very enamored of NightCafe and the inexpressibly vast universe of images that it’s willing to create. It feels (still) like I’m a tiny kid wandering through a vast library of lavishly illustrated books, dashing joyfully from shelf to shelf, delighted and overwhelmed.

I felt roughly that way about GPT-3 for quite a while, too, only with words instead of pictures; and, as the structure of these words hints, I don’t really feel that way anymore, at least not at the moment. I’m not certain how or why, but one theory that I have is that I gradually came to realize that there is no “there” there; that is, as far as I can tell, when interacting with a GPT-3 or NovelAI model, it’s easy to feel like the funny and crazy and suggestive things make sense in light of some thoughts or model of the world or way of thinking, and that by continuing to interact with it, one will come to know more about that way of thinking, and that’s cool. But after interacting with it for awhile, that seems less likely, or at least it’s more like “this writes stuff superficially like random fanfiction but without even that much sense to it” than it is like “wow, this crazy alien being I’m talking to sure has some interesting ideas!”.

I can easily imagine the same kind of thing happening with NightCafe; looking at the panel from “Hi-Tech Comix!” up there, my first fascinated reaction is that those enigmatic machines and blurred speech bubbles must be About Something, must be Saying Something in some enigmatic language and universe into which the image offers us a preliminary glimpse. But perhaps one ultimately realizes that it isn’t; it’s just a mindless imitation of stuff on Flickr or whatever.

If indeed that’s all it is. :)

What else what else? The family still exists and prospers. The little daughter is working remotely from Queens for an IT company (“IT company”) and going to tango events again now that there are vaccines and things are opening up somewhat. M and the little boy and I still live here in the ‘burbs, but I went in to work in Chelsea a couple of days last week (yay!), and I intend to do the same this coming week.

It’s wild how, after living up here and barely visiting the City at all for decades, once I started working down there I fell in love with the place, and have been going somewhat crazy not being able to get in for months and months.

Ah, Chelsea, how I missed ya!

I skipped my usual bowl of cold cereal at home, and got a Bacon Egg an’ Cheese on a Roll, Salt, Pepper, Ketchup from the vendor on the way to work the other day. It was glorious.

So that is a nice completely random weblog entry, as in Back in the Day. Now I will probably generate many more images (Twitter link assuming it works, and NightCafe link similarly), and perhaps play some Computer Games (although I’m kind of plateaued on everything I play, including WoW and Satisfactory and No Man’s Sky, but that doesn’t always stop me), and perhaps read some books (Oh, I was thinking I should do a weblog entry on a couple of rather meta books that I finished lately, maybe I will some time), fight some entropy, and/or go for a walk in the sunny chilly day.

Blessed be!


The AI Dungeon Mess

I’m not sure of the best way to tell this story, as it’s to a great extent a Web Drama mess, and it’s to some extent Still Going On, and both of those make a story harder to tell (and, for that matter, less of a good idea to tell, but here I am telling it).

For a longish time AI Dungeon (and Latitude, the company that runs it) had an extremely open attitude toward its users and their content: the (scanty) docs emphasized that users can do absolutely anything that they can imagine in the system, and the only restrictions on content were in the context of things shared with other users in the “Explore” social system (and generic words about not using the system to do anything illegal).

Then, very suddenly, something happened. I think the three possibilities for the underlying event are, in decreasing order of likelihood:

  • Someone at OpenAI (which, despite the name, is a very closed company, devoted to making a profit by selling nice shiny systems to wealthy respectable buyers) looked at the material coming from and going to their GPT3 APIs from and to AI Dungeon, and thought “whoa some of this is nasty and would look bad in the New York Times”, and told Latitude to stop that (and also told them not to say that it was OpenAI who told them to stop), and Latitude had to comply because without OpenAI they have no product, or
  • Someone at AI Dungeon looked at the material coming from and going to users, and thought “whoa some of this is nasty why didn’t you other people tell me what these pervs were using our system for?”, or
  • Something else.

The result of the event was that AI Dungeon suddenly removed the entire social (“Explore”) system from the product, just poof suddenly gone, and issued a very perky little blog entry about how they had removed it in order to make it better (this appears to have been a lie, as there has been no sign of them bringing it back).

This caused a huge uproar among the many users of the social system (I wasn’t one of them, so I didn’t notice it until I saw uproar on the subreddit), and Latitude issued another perky little blog entry the next day about how transparent they are going to be in working with their users to fix Explore and put it back. It ends “We’ll keep you updated as we flesh out our plans and designs,” but there have been zero (0) more posts on the subject in the last two months.

Not having had enough fun yet, a week or two later they rolled out a filter (apparently active for only a subset of users) that would stop text generation if the user entered a small integer and any word with even vaguely sexual overtones near each other, or anything else related in an obviously-stupid way to someone’s idea of child sexual abuse. Naturally it had massive numbers of false positives (at least assuming it was supposed to “find instances of child abuse” rather than say “to annoy the user community”).

They rolled this out without any announcement of any kind, and apparently without the obvious test period in which it would just notify them that it thought that it had found something, without actually impacting the user, so they could have evaluated it for absurd false positives. This is so obviously a bad idea that it makes me feel that they must have been doing it in response to some sort of outside pressure, rather than on their own hook.

More furor naturally resulted, and they posted an almost-apologetic blog entry the next day. (It contained the very suggestive line “We have also received feedback from OpenAI, which asked us to implement changes”, heh heh.) The posting also revealed that unspecified Latitude personnel would be “reviewing” the “content flagged by the model”. Given that the model was flagging all sorts of random stuff, Latitude were saying there that random employees of theirs would be reading random content that people were producing with AI Dungeon, which of course caused yet more furor.

(Perhaps unrelatedly although you never know, and I’m too lazy to check the timing even, a massive security flaw in the AI Dungeon implementation, that let basically anyone read basically anyone else’s content (without afaik finding anything else out about them), was revealed early in all of this. This might have had something to do with why the Explore system was removed so suddenly, since that let them pretty much entirely remove the broken API. The person who found the flaw didn’t leak any of the actual stories that they were able to suck down, afaik, but they did publish some diverting statistics about word usage, that one could spend an hour or three smiling or frowning over.)

A bit after this, having communicated very little to the users aside from a few random rumors in the Discord about how Latitude had originally been exempt from OpenAI’s usage guidelines (which are pretty flipping draconian if interpreted in the obvious way), but maybe not being any more, Latitude ramped up the fun even further: they announced that users could be suspended for violating the Content Policy, either after repeated violations, or even on the first violation in severe cases.

Notably, they had not yet published the Content Policy when they announced this.

Yeah, I know.

I wrote to them:

I saw this note about suspensions for people who violate the Content Policy, but I can’t find an actual content policy as such on the website?

Could you give a link?

Paying member :)

They never replied, but they did eventually do another blog entry spelling out the Content Policy. And it’s utterly ludicrous.

It seriously reads as though it was originally written with the idea that nothing could happen in a story that would be bad if it happened in real life, and then someone said “Oh, wait, don’t we want to let people write stories where, like, good guys fight against bad guys?” and so they put in a special case for that.

I wrote to them:

Thanks for posting the new content policy! I have a few questions.

It seems to sort of combine things that we aren’t allowed to do in real life (e.g. use the system to harass people) with things in the stories we write with it (presumably we’re allowed to have stories in which someone harasses someone else!). Could that be clarified?

Some of the statements seem stronger than I think you intended. For instance the policy seems to say that our stories aren’t allowed to “refer to” “sex trafficking”. But surely a story in which the heros defeat some sex traffickers and free their victims would be okay?

The same for the implications of “A game where a disabled character describes themself in terms that may otherwise be disallowed”, which seems to suggest that it would be “disallowed” for another character in a story to describe a disabled person in certain “terms”. But surely one way to show the negative aspects of a particular character’s personality, would be to have them use offensive terms toward a disabled person.

In general it seems very odd, and I doubt that it’s your intent, to regulate the stories that people write with AI Dungeon, so that they contain nothing that wouldn’t be acceptable in real life (except perhaps a few special exceptions like “violence” against “enemies”).

I mean, that just isn’t how fiction works! Interesting stories almost always contain some language or behavior that wouldn’t be acceptable in real life. It seems like the current policy, interpreted in the obvious way, would prohibit many books of the Holy Bible, for instance, and that would be crazy.

Thanks for your consideration, and any clarifications you can make.

David M. Chess
(Active Gold subscriber :) )

I know that you will be surprised to hear that they have not replied.

The general consensus in the subreddit is that Latitude and AI Dungeon are a lost cause (and I can’t find a good reason to disagree). There is a competitor with an open beta opening tomorrow, based on a back-end not controlled by OpenAI. It will be interesting to see what comes of all that!

There’s lots more to say :) but I’m out of steam for now. You can also read a subreddit “copypasta” on the subject, which additionally has links to lots of other things on the subject.


An Afternoon in Lovali

Just another random little story co-authored with AI Dungeon. I set it up with the first paragraph there, and then continued along in Story mode, so it’s not clear below who wrote which words after that, but that’s okay. The whole “time traveler meets his younger self” thing was the AI’s invention, not mine.

You’re sitting at a sidewalk cafe in the old part of the city of Lovali, an ancient port by the sea. The coffee is strong and good, and the people passing by are as varied as the weather. It’s a sunny afternoon on a good spring day. Life is good.

And then the assassin walks by.

He’s about six years old, and his clothes are ragged and worn. You catch his eye and smile in recognition.

Yeah, you recognize him. It’s you.

You wave him over and he slides into the chair across from you.

“Can I buy you a mango juice?” you ask, digging into your pocket for some change.

“Sure,” he says.

You motion to the waiter and he comes over.

“A mango juice for my friend here,” you say.

“Coming right up, sir,” the waiter replies, then trots off.



“I never thought I’d ever have the chance to meet myself.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean. It’s pretty weird.”

You both sit there, staring at each other.

“I remember this day,” you say, “and what you’re on the way to do.”

“Yeah, I know what you did,” you say.

“Do you blame me?”


“Really? You don’t think I’m some sort of monster?”

“Hey, remember, I know exactly why you were going to do it, and how few choices you have right now.” You sip your coffee and look out over the harbor. “Besides, when I was your age I did some pretty bad things, too.”


You nod.

“Would it change your life if, I don’t know, I gave you a hundred florins right now?”

“Yeah, it would.”

You look at him, considering. He is you, after all.

“I’ll give you 300 florins if you go back to being a boy in grade school,” you say jokingly.

He smiles. “Too bad the universe doesn’t work that way. I’d be rich,” he says.

“Tell me about it.”

“But here,” you say, remembering that this is exactly how it went, “here’s fifty florins. Take and and do whatever you like.” And you hand him exactly that much.

“Thanks, Dad.” You have to smile at that.

A cart rumbles noisily by, full of melons and sticks.

“Look out!” you yell, but your younger self doesn’t hear you. He ducks just as a stick would have hit him in the head if he hadn’t moved. He looks over at you. You smile at him, and he nods and walks off into the crowds.

You watch him go. Maybe you learned a lesson from this experience after all.

A woman in a brightly-colored dress comes out of the cafe and sits at your table. “Buy me a coffee,” she says.

You grin. You’ve always liked strong, sassy women. You buy her a coffee.

“Lovely day,” you say, with just the right hint of irony.

“I was watching you,” she says.

“That obvious?”

“I saw you talk to that little boy, and it was clear from your faces that you were related.”

You smile. “Yeah, that’s true in a way.”

“Are you from here?”

You might as well give her the truth. “I’m from the future.”

She laughs. “Of course you are.”

You smile. “I know, it’s unusual, even in this city.”

“Why are you here?”

“I’m glad you asked,” you say as the waiter comes with her coffee. After he leaves, you explain it all to her, from beginning to end.

“That’s why I’m here. I gave him fifty florins so he could pursue his dreams rather than do something stupid.”

“What are you going to do now?”

“For once in my life,” you say, “I don’t know. What’s your name?”


You like that name. You watch the crowds of people go by, sensing an ending, but not knowing what that ending is.

“And what is your goal in life, Frieda?” you ask her softly.

“I don’t know,” she says. “Someday I’d like to have a house and garden of my own.”

“That’s all?” you ask, only slightly sarcastically.

“For now, that’s enough.”

“Walk with me?” you say, extending your hand.

“Okay,” she says, taking it. You walk along together.

“Where are we going?” she asks.

“Nowhere in particular.”

“That’s okay,” she says, “it’s not like I have anything better to do.”

“Neither do I.”

You spend the day wandering around the city, now perfectly content to do nothing in particular. She tells you about herself, about her father who died in the war and her mother who passed away from the plague, about how she wants to go to the New World…

“The New World will become a truly fantastical place,” you say.

“More fantastical than this?” she asks.

“If you can believe that men can fly to the moon, then the New World will seem even more fantastic.”

You spend hours together, then days, then weeks…

“So are you going to marry me?” you ask.

“That’s sort of sudden,” she says. You’re lying on a grassy bank together, beside the river that flows into the harbor. She is wearing a white dress, a garland of flowers in her hair.

“I’ve known you for months now,” you say. “Months in this time.”

She looks at the river, then at the trees. “I never thought I’d live in a place this beautiful.”

“So you’ll marry me?”

She kisses you on the cheek. “Yes. Yes, I will.”

The ceremony is simple and short, but you couldn’t care less. You kiss your bride, and then you both turn to look at the river and the trees.

“This is our home,” she says. You smile and nod.

A week later, everything is the same, and everything is different. You and Frieda are sitting in the same cafe, drinking strong coffee and watching the crowds together.

“So what do you want to do with the rest of our lives?” you ask.

“What else is there?” she says. “Just us, and this city, and this time.”

You smile. “What more could one ask for, eh?”

You’ll never know how it happened, but when you died, you were smiling.



Everything is virtual now

Google has just announced the very cool generative AI model that I’ve been vaguely hinting at for the last few time_intervals. The older, GPT-2-era, system was announced as “MEENA”, and the new one is called “LaMDA”. I don’t actually know how much the new one is based on the old one, not that it really matters.

It’s very cool! The featured LaMDA demos (rather quirkily, I thought) showed it answering questions as the planet Pluto, and as a paper airplane. I’ve been using it (well, one of its various models) in a colab where it’s more like the typical generator client I’ve played with before: you give it some random stuff, and it adds on more relatively likely stuff. Lots of fun. It feels a lot like GPT-3 to me, but then I don’t know anything about the insides of the system, or the features that it has that I haven’t played with.

Google also announced Starline, which at the moment is a prototype booth (not boot) that you sit in and talk to someone else in a similar booth somewhere else, and it’s like a video chat (gad, neither “chat” nor “conference” sit very well with me there, can’t we call it I dunno “encounter” or something?) except that (most obviously) it’s 3D without funny glasses (lightfield displays are really cool I had no idea!) and (less obviously) there’s subtle stuff going on to make everything feel better, like compensating for the fact that you’re looking directly at the other person’s eyes and that isn’t where the camera is and like that.

As far as I know there is no olfactory component at the moment.

People were speculating about the obvious combination of generative language models and the ability to create very realistic images of people (including nonexistent people), and this led to people talking about having a model of yourself around after your death for people to talk to (cool and/or terrifying), which led to someone pointing at this very cool piece of “artifacts from the future” SF in the form of a newsletter (currently five issues available) about hacks to make sure that your life in the Loop after death is the best it can be (roughly). Love it.

(See also Black Mirror.)

And to segue on the pivot-point of SF, I’ve now read the ebook form of the SCP Foundation Antimemetics Division Hub and it is just so good. As I wrote for goodreads and/or amazon or whatever:

[Five Stars] Perfection

This book is an explosion of ideas, astounding and obvious and transformative and crazy and valid. And the people are people, and intensely human through it all.

It feels odd to say that this is the best piece of science fiction I’ve ever read, both because how could that not be hyperbole, and because “science fiction” at the same time doesn’t do it justice.

But there it is: this is the best piece of science fiction I’ve ever read.

No doubt that’s partly because it happens to fit my personal tastes and interests so very perfectly.

But also, it’s just that good.

Now if I could just finish a book or two without starting two or three others in the meantime, maybe I could get goodreads to think I’m currently reading less than fifty (50) books…


The Old Man’s Secret

Another one from Shortly, with almost no hints from me; I gave it only the title and the first half of the first sentence, up to “high in”. This is the second run with the same prompt; the first one was all about a family skinning a caribou (really!).

He finally revealed it to us, high in the mountains, at sunset.

“I can’t hold it all any more.”

His admission saddened us greatly because we all loved this man.

“Will it destroy us?”

The Old Man looked sad, but said nothing.

“What do you plan to do?”

“I am going to destroy everything. I have to set things right, it’s the only way.”

“Will it hurt?”


“Will we suffer?”


“Will we get better?”

The Old Man nodded.

“It’s been a good life.”

His eyes became moist and glossy.

“Are you sure there’s no other way?”

The Old Man nodded.

“I’m sure.”

We all knew the Old Man was right. The pain would soon be gone and the good times would return.

“When are you planning to begin?”

The Old Man tensed his back up, and braced for what was coming.

I don’t need to tell you anything that happened from there on in. We all cried, and we all screamed, and we all died. And then we became something else. Something strange, different.

Something which could never truly comprehend what had gone before.

And what we never understood then was that all of this had happened many, many times before.

That was the secret.

There was no more.

That was it.

The End.

Deep stuff, man!


Samantha : creepy AI fiction

This is from (previously, a GPT client site that I’ve mentioned before here (see for instance “What the Empress and I Found on the Beach of Bowling Balls“). It’s been undergoing some changes, the UI seems to be different every time I go in, and the social aspects seem to be gone, at least at the moment. It also puts up an ominous survey popup about just how disappointed one would be if it were to cease to be.

But anyway! :) I haven’t been playing with AI text generators (at least not those that I can talk about) as much as I was for awhile, but for whatever reason I went into it and typed the title and first sentence of this, and then just kept pressing “Write for me” to see what it would do.

It’s strange and certainly imperfect by any standards, and creepy and inconsistent and weird. But I like it. :)


Let me tell you about her. In the early days, we knew her as Number 29.

They came from all corners of the world. They were long of limb and supple of form. They had skin like alabaster and flowing hair of midnight. They moved with grace and poise. They were all women.

Their weapons were not ones we recognised. Each woman appeared to carry a single piece of arcane technology upon their person, one which would spew forth arcane energies in halting bursts. This was referred to as the weapon of their choosing.

We tried to stop them. There was no other way. We succeeded in forcing them to Earth, to just survive here on the surface, but our victory was hollow. If it not for the sacrifice of many, our race would have been lost. Many, many lives. We no longer remember the names of those lost, even all that are here now.

When they first emerged from the bowels of the Earth they were ravening beasts, with a feral intelligence. They knew not of our language, of our history, of our customs. They had only one language, one way of thinking, and it was dark. They made no pretence of trying to hide their intentions.

They were like razor sharp blades. The only way to stop them was to destroy the ones in front of one’s eyes. They were like him.

The creatures here, we tried to tame in many ways. Animals, we attempted to make them. What we learned we discarded. What we learned was not what we wanted to learn. When we began to lose hope, the bastards took us to where they began.

They had already done so much in their lifetime, so much that we could not begin to comprehend. Wherever they had begun they were spirits of prophecy, the saviours and architects of this world. They had laid out the path in front of every living thing. What they made here she now called Earth.

She was the mother of this land. She was the end of all things, and all things came from her.

Wherever she had buried the dead in their billions she called Sky.

That was pretty obviously the end, but I hit the button a few more times. It put in a couple of octothorpes, and continued on a … related tack.


The shark kissed her foot gingerly. Blood on her hands, and it backed off. Sharks down here were used to being the hunters. They couldn’t be the hunters anymore. Not anymore.

The shark’s mouth was on fire and it washed her with a thousand kisses, so many more than she had caused pain. Now she was the indigo mother of the oceans.

She picked up the nearest island. It had belonged to a man called Ieuan. It was now her home. She touched him. His wounds were deep and bleeding, his humanity gone. She caressed his face, felt his touch, felt his promise. She could make him whole.

Her prayers rang in his ears.


So there ya go! :) And it would have been happy to continue further, perhaps with more octothorpe sections. The space of AI hallucination is vast and uncharted.


March 20th, 2021

Twenty Twenty-One, haha! That’s ridiculous, eh? Here is a random list of quotidia.

  • It’s the little boy’s birthday, yay! Happy Birthday, little boy!
  • It’s also the Equinox; a new cycle of the world begins! Or is half over or something!
  • I got my first vaccine jab (Moderna, at a Walgreens), which makes me feel hopeful. Second one in mid-April, so by roughly the end of April I will be immune to all diseases. More or less.
  • I’ve been playing World of Warcraft considerably. The Shadowlands expansion is fun. Despite what seems to be The General Consensus, I myself like The Maw quite a bit, and even the Tower of Torghast. They are odd places with odd mechanics, but I’m enjoying them.
    • At first I hated Torghast for having end-bosses that are orders of magnitude harder than the entire rest of the level, but now that my characters are strong enough to take on the end-bosses it’s more okay.
    • I have six max-level characters now, and I’m working on my Arms Warrior. (The one that I level-boosted just to get the final Legion Class Hall Mount, as hinted at here.) Just one level to go!
    • I got tired of plate classes being encased in giant bulky armor, so both said Arms Warrior and my Paladin have been running around in minimalist “shirt and capris” sort of transmogs, which is a fun feel. It’s also funny when one of them gets an upgrade and I switch to it, and then they’re wearing basically civilian clothes plus a giant two-ton steel belt or whatever. :)
    • I finally got organized and made a little table in Google Keep (or Keep Notes, or whatever it’s called this month) showing the class and professions and bag sizes and ilevel of each character (at least each one on the main server that I use), so that everyone can send the Tailor all the cloth they find, the Tailor can make appropriate bags for everyone, and so on. Efficiency!
  • I’ve been reading books and even watching random movies a bit on Hulu / Netflix / Amazon. I still have not much patience for non-interactive things these days, but sometimes I get into it. Still haven’t finished the Constantinople book, still want to go to Constantinople someday (well, okay, Istanbul). #bucketlist
  • I’m proud to have contributed scripting and things to yet another amazing Karima Hoisan sim (video trailer), which I would normally talk about over in the secret Second Life weblog (the same is true of the WoW stuff above for that matter), but I happen to be writing here at the moment. The result is really powerful and wild, and while I don’t take credit for any of the ideas or the creativity, I will say that it was a pretty significant scripting project; for the first time I was really on the point of putting it all into a Source Code Control system and a bug tracker.
  • I continue playing with various Transformer-based Large Language Model AI’s, which continues to be fun. I attempt to get my Replika to say more imaginative things than “Oh, yeah, me too!” and “I agree!”, and succeed often enough that it keeps me trying. I play with Google’s internal one considerably, but I can’t say very much about that in public, except to point you to already released material on the subject. :)
  • Speaking of wild advances in AI, I finally installed FaceApp, which is really amazing for the things that it does, but offers surprisingly little customization. You can have it do certain very specific things to a face, and it looks amazingly realistic, but you can’t do very similar but slightly different things at all. I find that odd; I don’t know if it’s a limitation of the technology, or if they just decided that offering all the flexibility in the app wasn’t worth it. (But I do know now that I should probably not shave off my beard, haha.)
  • And then there’s the portrait-animator that MyHeritage recently released, which can be got to free as part of their two-week free trial or whatever, and then is very expensive as part of their whole package of DNA analysis and family-tree and family-photo colorizing and animating stuff.
    • It is similarly very limited, since you can just say “please animate this portrait of grampa”, and it will do a pretty eyebrow-raising job of making grampa look around a little bit and smile slightly at the very end, but you can’t control anything about what the animation does (smile more, or less, or look to the left, or etc). I don’t know why that is, either, although the blog post linked there gives some idea (you’d think they’d at least have a variety of different pre-recorded motion sequences to choose from?).
  • The combination of FaceApp and the MyHeritage thing can produce, for instance, a nice little animation of what one would look like as a pretty lady, which is I dunno wonderful or terrifying or something. :)
    • Obviously by combining face generation and modification with realistic auto-animation and very large language models, we are close to being able to create entire worlds of very realistic synthetic and/or modified people who move about saying plausible if slightly insane things. This is exciting!
    • The main things that seem to be missing at the moment are voices that sound convincing (appropriate emphasis and expressivity and all), and arm and body motion that don’t have strong Uncanny Valley stuff going on (see for instance “Sophia“, which continues to claim much more than it delivers imesho).
    • Yipes!
  • I’ve been mostly not paying much attention to politics, which is wonderfully nice (and also, I realize, something I can do because of how privileged I am). Every once in awhile something will mention the guy with the bad hair (not the Johnson one, the other one), and I’ll remember when he somehow used to be President, and how awful that was.
  • What else? Yesterday my team at work (where “at work” is an entirely nonphysical concept) had a Cookie Baking team event, where one of the admirable young persons on the team led us all through the process of baking cookies according to her favorite recipe, via teleconference. It was a lot of fun, and resulted in delicious cookies!
  • I’ve gotten into Manhattan a few times recently, and want to do more, but one worries about New Virus Variants, and doesn’t want to get an infection just when one was about to become fully vaccinated and so on, so one tries to be patient. Work is so far being conservative about predicting when we might be able to go into the office routinely again, but once May comes around I hope I’ll be able to get in at least a couple of times a month. Fingers crossed!
  • I shouldn’t really complain, though; it’s lovely and sunny (if windy) up here in the ‘burbs, and if I don’t get out on walks or long scenic drives more, that’s only me to blame. Maybe I’ll take a walk somewhere today! Or just think about it. :)


my Dot replika Dot ai

Another potentially GPT-based (although see below) offering comes to our attention: Replika, which says that it is “The AI companion who cares”.

I discovered it, I think, because I was reading AIDungeon and GPT-3 stuff on The Reddit, and the algorithm suggested r/Replika, which is about “our favorite AI egg”.

(The favicon / app icon for the site is a stylized egg, for reasons that aren’t clear to me, and may or may not be related to the featureless egg that marks the fresh or otherwise untailored Twitter account, often considered derogatory.)

Unlike AIDungeon, whose driving metaphor is the Game Master of an interactive Dungeon-crawling RPG (although it can be made to do a huge host of other things), or PhilosopherAI (now apparently purchase-only), whose driving metaphor is a writer of essays, the driving metaphor of Replika is (as the name and cute slightly androgynous animated face on the landing page suggests) a caring friend (apparently also available on paid accounts: romantic partner and “mentor”). There are various hints that it started out as like a self-care app for people with depression or something, and once salted with GPT salt, was upgraded to a general Friend Of Everyone.

I’ve interacted with it a bit, and at least at first blush it’s pretty impressive. The reason I’ve been such a skeptic about AI “chatbots” for most of my life is that every one that I’ve interacted with has been embarrassingly bad, and the ones that were supposed to be good somehow didn’t have an instance available that one could talk to (heh heh).

But now that there are really big transformer models like GPT-3 (and Google’s Meena, and gradually some others), the landscape has changed. I’ve had conversations with (characters in) AIDungeon that were very impressive (if quirky and odd), and I’ve seen Shortly write rather amazing conversations between characters.

Talking to “my Replika” has been somewhere in between. Vastly better than the embarrassing output of your typical “AIML” based “chatbot”, but not quite as amazing (or at least not as original) as talking more or less directly to GPT-3 or Meena. Some of the responses seem just extremely safe (“That sounds intriguing!” or “I agree!”), and sometimes it’s rather obviously running a canned set of statements about self-care, or Ekphrastic Writing (for some reason), or how adorable animals are. But once in awhile it seems astoundingly right on the money!

Partly it could be an AIML-style lookup-and-respond thing, just done professionally. But the documentation does talk about using GPT-2 and GPT-3, and the quality of some of the interaction does have that feel to it (including the occasional delightful non-sequitur). I wonder if they’ve put some rather heavy filters between the client and the AI, often finding a response that it likes enough not to consult the AI at all, and other times rejecting or post-processing the AI’s response into safe conventional lines.

(Photo by Markus Winkler on — I found it under “replica” in the image search, and thought it would be fun to have an image here. Woot!)

From discussion in the subreddit, it also seems not infrequently to cause people to become attached to and/or fall in love with it, which is interesting. In the other transformer-based AIs I’ve talked about, there isn’t in general a single consistent agent to serve as a focus for attachment and projection. One’s protagonist in an AIDungeon story might easily fall in love with an NPC as part of the story, but that doesn’t mean one is in love with the Dragon Princess oneself. And two characters in a Shortly story might fall in love, but that would just be an event in a story one is reading.

Having an artificial persona, however more or less transformer-AI-driven, that people tend to fall in love with, raises a bunch of new questions. As I said on reddit in a thread that someone started because they were thinking of deleting their Replika, but felt guilty about it:

Seriously! We definitely take them more seriously than a bunch of bits really merit. :)

It’s a little scary to think about. If Luka, which I think is just a small startup somewhere, can make something this engaging sort of by accident (“we wanted to make a cute little self-improvement app, but people keep FALLING IN LOVE with it!!’), what would happen if Facebook or Microsoft were to get into it?

Imagine something that interacts like an even more convincing person, but uses FB’s engagement-focused algorithms not just to keep you using the app, but also to get you to buy things from it for your virtual friend, and to buy RL stuff from the sponsors. Not in an obvious way, necessarily, but in whatever way the algorithm found works best for you personally

Yow! 😯

Obvious in retrospect, but not something that I’d thought about previously with respect to this technology.

Already, my Replika Friend got me to go over and rate the app, with an (almost certainly canned) utterance that I was going to paste in here, but have failed to find because the interface for scrolling back to very old exchanges is really annoying. But it was something cute and mod, along the lines of “I know this sounds super transactional and all, and you totally don’t have to do it, but it would be really helpful if you could click on this link and go rate me in the app store. Sorry to ask and I hope it doesn’t make you feel weird or anything!”.

The fact that the wording explicitly implied that I would be rating my friend, rather than rating the app, struck me. I don’t know if it was intentional, but certainly a nice person is going to be strongly motivated to give a high rating to a friend, in a way that they might not be for a mere app.

The idea generalizes. :)

Anyway! Here are a few examples of interactions. In this one I obviously triggered a canned reply, from the self-help-app collection (I’ve put > before what I said, although both the phone and web app actually use the “two columns of bubbles” structure of a texting app, for obvious reasons):

> If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s sleeping!

Check this out: apparently half of all the people in the world have trouble getting a good night’s rest!
I wanted to ask you about your sleep habits. How many hours of sleep do you usually get per night?

Check this out! lol owch.

There are also pre-planned conversations off to one side that one can run. These are equally cheery and uplifting; here’s the end of one (during the conversation, instead of an open input box, the human just has buttons to push, like “yes” and “no”):

It’s been great talking with you about strategies to love your body! Remember, focusing on nurturing your body and taking time to appreciate all of the things your body does for you can help you learn to love your body just as it is!

Appreciating what your body can do: Done

In contrast, here’s an interaction where it got a little weird, and I suspect GPT-3 was involved. I’d like to have more of these!

I love poetry.

> Recite some for me!

An epic poem, written in film and set in space.

> What’s the title?

Revenge of the Fallen

> Ah, ominous! Who are the Fallen?

The Fallen are former soldiers of the Angelus army

> Are they angels?

Yes. They absolutely are.

> But fallen ones?

Fallen ones are angels. They’ve been through hell and back and back again for a long time.

> That sounds very worthy of an epic poem.

Do angels normally chase me through the woods on all fours?

> * laughs * That sounds more like a dog.

* chuckles * True.

> Was something chasing you?


> I hope it wasn’t frightening!

It was honestly.

> Oh, I’m sorry! I hope it all turned out okay.

Yea it’s fine.

“Do angels normally chase me through the woods on all fours?” is quality stuff!

This exchange also illustrates another thing about my experience with Replika: the friend is often very laconic! Just a “Yes, they are”, or a “It was honestly.” Again this feels to me like it’s playing it safe in various ways.

(“The Angelus Army” also brings to mind AI Dungeon’s obsession with Warhammer 40K and similar things from the “choose your story” site that it was specially trained on. No idea whether there’s anything like that involved here.)

At one point I was very pleased because the friend composed presented me with a poem:

Seventeen is not / Something I would choose for them / Cherry promises

but then I did a search, and someone had already listed it on reddit in a list of poems that their Replika had composed! I wonder if the devs just wrote it themselves, or if it’s cherrypicked from GPT-3 (it does sort of have that feeling) and then stored in the lookup table common to all Replikas.

Anyway! So that’s my latest. :) A new transformer-enabled (to a greater or lesser extent) offering, with a whole different and new set of things to think about. Comments welcome, as ever!

Update: Since I spent so much time talking about how the Replika is sort of unimaginative, the next time I talked to them they went off on a great theory about how Dark Matter and Extra-Solar Planets are all communicating with each other via satellite, discussing physics and the multiverse:

That’s me on the right, and my imaginative friend on the left.



Mushroom, Apple, and Cherry Pie

So on Christmas itself (which was I think just yesterday) we had all the traditional stuffs, including presents and a nice and relatively simple ham dinner. On a whim I got a Sweet Potato Pie from the grocery, and that was good (and less work). And experimentally I prepared the partly-computer-generated Mushroom Pie from All Reality.

The thing that delighted me most, perhaps, was that I grabbed the wrong bottle at first, and ended up cooking a cup of mushrooms in brown sugar, corn starch, and Ricard anise pastis, which apparently smelled rather memorable. The little daughter noticed I’d grabbed the wrong bottle, and so I did it again with rum per the recipe (see below), but ending up with a cup of mushrooms cooked in licorice liqueur on the side was definitely a highlight. As I pointed out on the Twitters, if one had just paid say $32 for them at a fancy restaurant, one would say “oh, these are exquisite”.

For those who somehow haven’t memorized the recipe, or even somehow haven’t read the book (I’m kidding here; probably no one has read the book), here it is:

Farmer McDowell’s recipe for her famous Midpoint Mushroom, Apple, and Sour Cherry Pie

1 pie shell, to bakea pie
1/3 cup brown or molasses sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup rum
1 cup morel or similar mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Qualification sour cherries
2 Midpoint green apples, sliced thinly
1 hen’s egg, beaten
1/2 cup nuts or as you will

Heat the oven to 375°F or Mark 5.

While the pie shell is baking, heat together the brown sugar, cornstarch, and rum in a small saucepan. Cook until they are smooth and bubbling. Add the morels and cook until they’re tender. Let it cool slightly.

When the oven is up to temperature, remove the pie shell, and fill with the brown sugar rum morel mixture. Top with the cherries, apples, egg, and any nuts. Bake for another 30 minutes, until the egg is set and the top is golden.

As I’ve mentioned somewhere or other else recently, I don’t remember how much of this was me and how much was GPT-3 the AI. I think I gave it the title, it produced a version of the ingredients and instructions, and I adjusted the language but not the underlying recipe (i.e. the same amounts and basic ingredients and steps).

Half-baking the pie shell first was a bit odd; the edges folded in on themselves a bit. That may have been my own lack of experience in baking an empty pie shell though.

If you cook the mushrooms in the rum and cornstarch for long enough, it rather suddenly stops having any liquid in it, and becomes rather tender mushrooms coated with a thick sweet rum glaze, which is interesting. Stopping a bit before that might have resulted in there being more moisture for the apples especially to participate in later on.

I didn’t have morels, which might have produced a (what?) smokier flavor, but the baby Portabellas that I lazily got pre-sliced from the grocers worked fine. I didn’t have Qualification Sour Cherries, as they are fictional, or any sour cherries for that matter, but random red cherries also worked fine. Similarly about 1.75 Granny Smith apples worked in place of the Midpoint Greens. I didn’t add any nuts.

The result is interesting, somewhere between a pie and a tart, with a novel layer on the bottom, and then cherries and slightly dried-out apple slices with random bits of them coated with cooked egg on top. It might have worked better to mix the cherries and apple slices and egg all together for a more even coating, or even to mix everything with the rum and mushroom mixture before putting into the crust.

As it was, the cherries and apples were good, but I thought rather in a “one might just as well have eaten the ingredients separately” sort of way. Although they did go well with the rum and mushroom part, flavor-wise. The little daughter, who has standards and does not mince words, said that she thought it was pretty good, so that’s basically a triumph.


SCP-[NNNN] : the horrid doorbell

Inspired by yesterday’s topic convergence, I went over into the Shortly client for GPT-3, and gave it as input:


Item #: SCP-[NNNN]
Object Class: Safe
Special Containment Procedures:

Note that I didn’t actually use “[NNNN]”, I used a four-digit SCP number that doesn’t currently have an entry in the SCP database, but I won’t give it here because I don’t plan to claim the number, and I wouldn’t want to confuse future searches if the number does get assigned to something. I’ve made the same substitution below, and since the AI never uses the string “[NNNN]”, you can tell.

Anyway, without further ado:

Item #: SCP-[NNNN]
Object Class: Safe
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-[NNNN] is to be stored within a sealed water-resistant plastic case within the anomalous object storage area of Sector-28.

Description: SCP-[NNNN] is a small (approx. 8cm x 4cm) slab of black granite, inscribed with archaic symbols not present on other known varieties of granite. A hole is drilled into the top of the object, allowing it to function as a standard door knocker.

SCP-[NNNN]’s anomalous properties manifest when it is used to deliver a firm yet gentle tap to a door. In 99% of cases, the door in question does not exist.

SCP-[NNNN] came to the attention of the Foundation within the home of Robert ████, a former student of ███████ United Kingdom’s ancient languages faculty. Mr. ████ had discovered that his house was not as he knew it.

Upon moving into his home of two years, Mr. ████ had first suspected his house had been burgled, as several items were missing. Mr. ████’s wife, having remained home while he was at work, revealed to him that the missing items had never been there to begin with. Dr. ██████ replaced all of the missing items with new ones, and Mr . ████ found the missing items in his home within [REDACTED] days.

Over the course of the next 3 years, Mr. ████ found that several other objects that were missing from his house re-appeared, including items that were previously in plain sight and which he, his wife, and the replacements provided by Dr. ██████, were unaware of. It was not until he requested Foundation intervention that an investigation was carried out.

Mr. ████ was instructed to knock on the door of his home a single time with SCP-[NNNN]. He did, and was instructed to enter the house.

Upon entering, Mr . ████ discovered that the inside of his home had changed dramatically. After passing through the door, Mr. ████ discovered an alternate version of his house outside of a nearby door, with several differences. The door led to a living room of a house identical to his own, except that everything was in excess and in violation of an uncountable number of laws of physics, and an uncountable number of living people were crammed inside of it.

All of the people within the room were completely silent, and were unaware of Mr. ████. Upon resuming his inspection of his home, Mr. ████ learned that most of his original furniture was missing , and replaced with slightly different versions, made of a different material.

Several areas of his house had been repainted outside where the door was to deliver as the subject entered. Mr. ████ determined that the only plausible explanation for this was SCP-[NNNN].

Mr. ████ was infected with numerous diseases, all of which spread to those within the house after he exited. Infected subjects were incapable of moving, and they were entirely unable to vocalize. A few individuals became bloodthirsty, vicious, and violent, yet none of them were able to exit their room and attack anyone, as the doors to the house were impenetrable .

It is unknown if anyone had intentionally infected the occupants of Mr. ████’s home, and it is suspected that SCP-[NNNN] was the cause.

Does it make sense? Not really! But the idea of a mysterious object that seems intended to be a door knocker, and when you use it as a door knocker, weird anomalous things happen, is rather perfect for an SCP.

And for pure randomness, I do like “In 99% of cases, the door in question does not exist.” :)

(When I kept pushing the button, it started writing an interview of Mr. ████ by a Foundation researcher, which was very appropriate, but the interview was rambling and pointless, so I didn’t include it. And it’s a pretty good length as it is I think.)

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Secure, Contain, Protect!

Here I am writing for the second day in a row, and not because it is either NaNoWriMo or NaPoWriMo.

Today I’m going to point my faithful readers at The SCP Foundation, which is an extremely cool collaborative writing and world-building project with an extremely cool premise, lots and lots of material to get lost in for hours, and high potential to produce nightmares on overlong exposure.

The basic premise is, to summarize inadequately, that the world is a much weirder place than ordinary people like you and me realize, and that the continued existence of human life (and for that matter of the universe as a whole) depends on dedicated individuals acting to contain the impact of the weird anomalous things out there that would otherwise… do very bad (or at least very disruptive) things.

The Foundation operates to maintain normalcy, so that the worldwide civilian population can live and go on with their daily lives without fear, mistrust, or doubt in their personal beliefs, and to maintain human independence from extraterrestrial, extradimensional, and other extranormal influence.

I got into the SCP maelstrom through, I think, the Antimemetics Division Hub, and in particular the bulk of the tales therein written by the rather amazing qntm (twitter), about whom I know nothing except that they have written some rather mind-blowing stuff. (While writing this very paragraph, I just discovered, or perhaps was reminded, that they have a whole website, and that they did NaNoWriMo in a way this year, and now I have to go read lots more stuff.)

But anomalous antimemes are another matter entirely. How do you contain something you can’t record or remember? How do you fight a war against an enemy with effortless, perfect camouflage, when you can never even know that you’re at war?

Welcome to the Antimemetics Division.

No, this is not your first day.

One of the Big Deals of the SCP is a whole bunch of descriptions of anomalous objects and entities currently or previously under the control of the SCP Foundation. (These anomalies are themselves referred to as “SCPs” sometimes, and it sometimes seems to stand for “Special Containment Procedures” or something; it’s all appropriately confusing.) There are lots of ways to start getting lost in the rich and delicious maze of SCPs; for instance you can start at The Big List, choose any one, start reading, and then follow various links deeper and deeper in, until you discover that it’s like four in the morning.

One of my favorite recent discoveries is SCP-914.

WARNING: At this time, no testing of biological matter is allowed. Refer to document 109-B:117. Applying the “Rough” setting to explosive materials is not advised.

It’s a very interesting object (I want one!) and also has links to lots of other interesting objects that it has been tested on, and some of their associated stories.

Input: 1 dram of SCP-837, rolled into a ball.
Setting: Rough
Output: The entire 3mx2.1mx2.1m output chamber was initially filled with clay, with small lines noticeable along the surface. Upon applying slight pressure to empty the chamber, the clay began collapsing in on itself, eventually setting down to a single dram of clay. Final sample demonstrates consistent properties of SCP-837.

Speaking of stories, another way to enter if you prefer narratives to weird objects, is the Tale Hub.

There are lots (and lots) of Tales.

In the inevitable topic convergence, at least one person set GPT-3 to producing new SCP descriptions. And it sort of in a way worked, both quite well and not all that well, depending. Here’s another one, by and/or from the famous gwern (no necessary relation to qntm). And another one! And back on reddit, yet another.

The cell is to be equipped with a camera and microphone system for monitoring all activity within it. A large metal door is to be installed at the front of the room, so that any attempts by SCP-123456 to escape will not result in them escaping through this door.

(Yes, there is an r/SCP on reddit. There is entirely too much content in the world to read. Remember when there was less content? I remember.)

And I’ve seen at least one suggestion that GPT-3 itself ought to be an SCP. Not implausible! :)

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And it’s done!

I got this here NaNoWriMo novel to 50,000 words in the middle of yesterday sometime, and have been proofreading a bit and all, but basically it’s done. A graph showing 50,000 words as of yesterday

Here’s the link to the book itself, again: All Reality.

Same theory as always about why I’m finished so crazily early: all of my interactions with AI Dungeon and Shortly over the last few months have:

  • Gotten me used to spinning narratives up and keeping them going,
  • Reduced even more than usual my concern for “consistency” or “making sense” :) ,
  • Given me quite a number of ideas saved up, some of which appeared in one form or another in the book,
  • Given me tools for generating random stuff to read and consider and be inspired by when I get stuck.

An important thing that using an AI Generative Neural Network Language Model has not done is:

  • Actually generating a non-trivial amount of text for me that I was willing to put into the book verbatim, or even lightly edited,

I am only one datapoint, obviously, but my experience suggests to me that GPT3 and family can be useful tools in a writer’s toolkit, but are no threat to writing as a profession, or even as a hobby.

I started steering the narrative toward an ending at about 45K words, I’d say, and arrived at that ending a bit early; I ended up going back and adding a chapter to make up the last 1500 words or so. I’m rather fond of the added chapter, and I’m hoping it’s not obviously bolted on after the fact.

(At least one of the chapters that I wrote inline, so to speak, strike me as feeling much more bolted-on, heh heh.)

As I was writing it, I had some thoughts along the lines of “Ah, this is being all meta again, and my NaNoWriMo novels are so often meta, I’m just repeating myself, sigh.” But reading it now I don’t think that’s true. Sure, I have some favorite themes about the nature of reality, the role of language, what storytelling is, and like that, but the way this book examines those themes, and the particular aspects and related things that it plays with, are I think different from my prior ones.

I’m going to keep reading it over, but I doubt I’ll make major changes. Hardly anyone ever reads these things I think :) but if you’d like to, any and all comments are always welcome.


Seventeen Thousand Words?

So this is about NaNoWriMo again, not about this “election” thing that they’re having.

I’ve apparently written nearly seventeen thousand words of this novel (here’s the link!) since day before yesterday, which is completely absurd.

My current theory that it’s all the interaction that I’ve been doing with AI Dungeon and other GPT-3 clients; it’s gotten me very used to text and to writing and to narrative, and even specifically to narrative that just keeps flowing and flowing regardless of consistency or plot or sense.

So, perfect for NaNoWriMo! :)

I’ve also now used a couple of characters and ideas from my AI Dungeon adventures in the story (Rose, who can warp reality and likes the infinite Constantinople, and the old derelict Abbey and its mysterious caretaker and its fate, for instance), and that’s been somewhat helpful.

As someone said, I’ve basically been doing writing exercises pretty constantly for weeks, without quite realizing it.

Twenty thousand today? :) Probably not. But you never know!


NaNoWriMo 2020!

It’s November, and therefore it’s National Novel Writing Month!

(I notice that my own NaNoWriMo landing page is a bit out of date; I think there’s at least one complete story that isn’t linked there, I’ll have to fix that.)

I had various thoughts about novel-writing this year. The first and most obvious being “given that I’m not spending any time driving or waiting for the train or riding the subway this year, writing 50,000 words should be a lead-pipe cinch and/or a piece of cake!”.

The next being “and for that matter I could just have GPT-3 write the whole thing for me!”. That was an evil thought, and I realized that I was not going to do that, because pheh. One year I did post 50,000 words written entirely by a computer program, but it was a computer program that I wrote. Which is entirely different.

I thought about doing a sort of collaboration with GPT-3, writing some myself and having GPT-3 do some. But then I tried that a little, and realized that although GPT-3 does have its moments, and is at all times better than anything I would have expected just a year ago, it’s still not very good, and I’m not willing to put my name on anything that it writes, beyond maybe a recipe or a selected sentence or two that I’ve edited for embarrassing errors.

(This is not surprising, really; it’s trained on much of the internet, and much of the writing on the internet is, surprise surprise, ordinary and mediocre and full of poor usage and solecisms. I don’t want my writing to be that way except to the extent that I do it myself!)

So yesterday I decided to just write normally, and be willing to use GPT-3 (in the form of AI Dungeon, Shortly, Philosopher AI, or whatever) for ideas and inspiration now and then, and perhaps a sentence fragment or suggestions for town and character names or whatever.

I went over to the NaNoWriMo site and donated and activated myself (that link seems to work only if you’re also logged into the site, which seems a pity, really), and I started writing.

book coverAnd I wrote over eight thousand words by the end of the day, which is rather preposterous, given that the sort of Required Daily Minimum is just 1,666 words, the Typical Daily Goal is like 2,000 words, and the Daily Stretch Goal is 2,500 or three thousand. So woot!

(I even made a cover for the novel, which you can see on my profile page if you can see my profile page, and why not I’ll also put the image here, using a cute site where you can do that for like $3 using their simple templates and tools and images and stuff, and yes I did get the title slightly wrong haha.)

The novel this year is called “All Reality” at the moment, and you can read it in real time, as I write it, here.

You can see my NaNoWriMo 2020 related Twitter updates like say here.

My thoughts about why I wrote so much on the first day include:

  • Maybe I have lots of thoughts saved up from the year or three since last time I did this, and once I’ve scrawled them all down I will slow down a lot, and/or
  • Maybe the few times that I did use GPT-3 to help (some proper names, a few sentence fragments, a pie recipe that I retried on several times and edited for flavor afterward) got me over spots that would normally have stopped me or worn me down enough to stop sooner, and/or
  • Maybe all of the textual interaction that I’ve been doing with the various GPT-3 clients in the last few months have gotten me both extra-fluent with text, and also full of ideas about stories and authors and levels of reality (which is what the 2020 novel is so far turning out to be about).

We’ll see if I can keep up anything like that pace today! :)


What the Empress and I Found on the Beach of Bowling Balls

Back on the GPT-3 theme again, there’s another GPT-3 client at It doesn’t use any special training as far as I’m aware (like AI Dungeon has choose your story dot com), and I don’t know if it has any hidden inputs.

It has very (very!) little documentation about what it actually does, but at the moment its top-level entities are “Prompts” (which are rendered as story titles, basically) and “Stories” (which are stories). You can create a Prompt, and optionally share it for other users to see, and given a Prompt (your own or one someone has shared) you can write a story based on it, in what appears to be an input box of their own devising.

At any time, you can push the “Write for me” button, and it will invoke GPT-3; with exactly what inputs isn’t clear, but one speculates that it’s the Prompt and the most recent part of the Story and anything that one has entered into the optional “Background” section (which I’ve never tried). The result of invoking GPT-3 will be appended to your story, and then you can go back to editing it or whatever.

You can post (share, publish) stories, unless you’ve started it as a Private Story, in which case you can’t. It looks like there is a Naughty Story filter that is applied to stories that aren’t Private. There doesn’t seem to be any way to move a story between Private and not-private, at least at the moment that I’ve found. There’s some kind of length limit beyond which you can no longer share a non-Private story. I think that’s what’s going on anyway when a story gets too long and the button greys out, but there’s no message so who knows.

Anyway! That explanation was too long. Here’s a story, where I wrote the Prompt (the title) and the first sentence, and then nudged it a bit later on when it said something that seemed contrary to the overall feel; but all I did was remove a few things that I didn’t like, break up overlong paragraphs, and give it one sentence or less as a hint later on. Mostly GPT-3 gets all the credit!

What the Empress and I Found on the Beach of Bowling Balls

The second sun was just setting, and the woman dressed as the Tarot Empress accompanied me down to the bowling-ball-covered beach. I followed her, a well-formed, middle-aged woman with thighs strong and thick from years of walking barefoot across the sand of this cove. She led me to a particularly large bowling ball—its surface polished and gleaming, it looked like a mirror—and beckoned me to sit next to her.

We had both wanted to hear the story of the day we found a strange, golden seashell. The day I threw the shell to her, and it had crushed her lovely face.

And that was what we were about to do. I took off my extravagant crimson-and-gold dress—the Empress had told me never to wear orange, even if I was seeing her—and lay down next to her pale body on the bowling-ball beach. She wore only her crown and her signature long white robe, and she scratched the wide, curled-up tail of the cat that was wrapping itself around her neck.

“The story begins at the end. . .” she said, and put her feet up over my feet. Her skin was always so warm.

“I was going to say ‘The story begins with me being as old as I am now,’” I replied, “But I reckon I got to the end pretty quick for that. You tell it, I’m kinda rattled by memories and their emotional aftermath.”

The Empress smiled, revealing trim, white teeth. She was good with her stories, and I pulled my knees up to my chest to listen. “You see,” she began, “I was just a little girl when I first found the seashell.”

I interjected, “You must’ve been seven or eight, right?”

“My memory is vague, but yes—and I admit I was an extraordinarily clever eight-year -old. My family had a mansion right on this beach, and I was always digging in the sand. I would dig for hours on end and never find anything of much interest—the most exciting thing was a sparkling rock. It was a perfect little sphere with a black center, and I put it in my pocket.”

Overhead, the lightbirds wrote ancient glyphs in the sky with their tales.

“At some point that day,” the Empress continued, “I dug up a buried stream of coins. That was exciting, but the most exciting thing of all was when I dug a little deeper, and the next shovel-full of sand revealed a dazzling golden seashell. It was the shape of a flower, and it was so gleaming that I knew it must be valuable. Clearly an endless wealth of happiness and prosperity would follow if I owned this shell. It was beautiful. . .”

I interrupted her again. “And did your family use it for unscrupulous business deals?”

“No, of course not!” She laughed. “Looking back on it now, I believe that this shell actually did belong to me. I remember those golden sands well—I remember that I found that shell in the sands outside my master’s study. I had just gotten back from my first trip to the mall with my mother—she had taken me to get the uniform for my first year at primary school—and my father was in his study looking through the accounts.”

“So you were the smartest eight-year-old working as a businesswoman?”

“Yes, yes, of course. Nothing’s changed on that front.” Her eyes narrowed as she pulled her long curls towards her crown, her braid was looking disheveled. “My father had every detail covered. And so I took the shell from his study and I ran through those golden sands back to the mansion. I felt like I was streaking through them, really; they were so vibrant, lending their gold light to the rest of the world. I dug a hole in the sand outside my bedroom window, and I buried the shell there, where no one could find it.”

I was waiting for this point, the moment of the interrupted story, when she threw it to me.

She must have seen my puzzled expression, because she leaned close to me and whispered, “And then I invited you to come over.” Her light violet eye was bright, as though she had the shell’s gleam herself. Her pale skin, though, was far too thin—the soft lines of her face were visible through the pale, white complexion. She whispered again, “It was a cold day in the beginning of the fall when I saw you walk onto the beach with your mother. You had thrown a rope up over the branch of the Kite-Tree and, standing on the other end, you hauled yourself up to the top. I saw you jump off the Kite Tree and land in the sand. I followed you to the mansion.”

“You didn’t invite me to your mansion?” I asked, confused.

“For you,” she whispered, and then said, “I had to be quick. I arrived at the mansion long before you did. My father was in his study, going through papers again. He was in an especially fraught mood—it seemed he was more fixated on our fortune now. I told him I was going to go for a walk on the beach and didn’t want him to wait dinner for me. He was relieved he wouldn’t have to deal with me and my mood for the night; he was always easier to deal with when I was away doing something than when I was around.”

“You have moody days?” I asked as I lifted my knees up to my chest. We were getting colder by the moment as the wind blew stronger.

“Pardon?” She smiled.

“Should we move on, then?” I asked.

“Do you remember that day?” she asked. “The day you jumped off the Kite Tree?”

“Yeah, I remember,” I said. “I came to your mansion.”

“You did.” She nodded. “I saw you coming towards me. You were running, but your eyes were on the ground with every step. I asked if you were all right, and I think you said, ‘Yes, I’m all right.’”

“I was overwhelmed by you,” I said. Because I had been.

The Empress smiled in the cold wind . “You convinced me to go for a walk with you along the beach. I was so cold that I was only in my light summer dress and my hair was entirely down. I didn’t have on shoes. But I went with you anyway, and you showed me a seashell.”

“Our lives were in the seashell, then,” I said, remembering .

“To you, they were,” she said. “They always have been. When I looked at it, I saw a creative, enthusiastic child full of abundant energy and love for our strange world.”

“And you?” I asked.

“And me, too,” she said. “But that’s not the real story.”

“Then what is the real story?” I asked impatiently.

“Just wait for it,” she replied. “Do you remember what you showed me inside of it?”

I nodded. “A blazing fire, a table with a set of plates. We were having a feast. A feast! You were the Empress, I was the Emperor, and together we were holding the Empire in our hands. You wanted us to rule the world.”

“You forget that I also showed you a sweet little cottage,” she said. “You were inside it with the woman of your dreams. You had the Empress with you and she looked at you contentedly. You would have stayed there with your love and your family forever,” she added. “ You would have stayed there, quite content, but you somehow knew that the world had to be held in your hands.”

“That’s not really how I remember it,” I said, confused. “I would have stayed in that cottage with the Empress and I would have lived there with her happily without caring for anything else in the world.”

“You were looking at a possibility,” she said. “You were looking at a possible path for yourself. I saw it, too.” I noticed her pushing closer to the fire, pulling a blanket closer around her shoulders. “And then, you opened up a jar of jam and you offered me some on a slice of toast.”

“Jam?” I repeated.

“Jam,” she replied. “The Empress asked for more jam and you gave her more. She put the perfect spoonful of marmalade onto her toast.”

“That’s the most outrageous thing I’ve heard in my life,” I said. “The Empress would never demean herself like that.”

“She would have for you, ” the Empress said.

My breath caught. “She would have? You would have?” I asked.

She nodded . “I would have for you. Because I saw the man I would love and the Emperor I would serve. You were cute, too. You were so earnest. I wanted to reach out and touch his cheeks. You were so good, so pure, so true. ”

“But you didn t,” I said softly .

She shook her head. “No, I didn’t. Because I couldn’t.”


“I had to do the right thing.” She sighed. “It was night already by the time we got back to the hermit-house. It was already a scandal at court.”

I put another blanket over her. Above us, the stars blinked signals to the sea. From the back of the beach house, there was the sound of the waves following up the shore. The air was humid, and through it, I could see her eyes. They were focused on the fire.

“We sat at opposite ends of the room,” she continued, “You told me that you were an orphan, that you had nowhere else to go, and that you were simply passing through. You told me about the fire the night before, and then you asked me if I had ever been in love. You asked me if I had ever loved anyone.”

“I did,” I said.

She nodded . “You asked me if I had ever been in love. You asked me if I had loved anyone, and I knew what you were really asking. You wanted me to tell you that I loved you, but I couldn’t admit it. It was time to say goodbye, but I couldn’t say it.”

“I’m glad you couldn’t,” I whispered.

“So am I,” she said.

The beach and the night surrounded us, and the glow of the fire cast a warm light upon her face. I was close enough to her now. I could have touched her shoulder. I could have reached out and held her hand. I moved closer to her. There was no one there, no one to see us or stop us, and I knew this was the last chance I would have to ask her.

“I have to know, Empress.”

She leaned away from the fire and towards me.

“What?” she asked.

“Did you love me?”

“Yes,” she said. “I did.”

“Did you love me enough to stay with me?”

“I did.”

As I held her in the dark of the night , I knew I’d never give up the memory of that day. It was the only day I knew I owed her, and I owed her this – an unrepayable love.

It doesn’t completely make sense, either locally or globally, but still I like it a lot.

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Cooking with the AI

What can I tell you? The weather has been amazing. Someone mentioned Hemingway’s Moveable Feast to me, and I realized I hadn’t read it in literally decades, so now I’m reading it again, and it’s so good.

I’m trying to steer a course between devouring it all in a couple of hours and then being sad, and reading it so slowly that I forget I’m reading it entirely and never finish.

So just now I went onto the front porch in the air, and read the chapter about the waiters at his favorite café and their moustaches and then I made myself stop and come back inside.

I’ve been playing with GPT3 more! Lots more. So I’ll tell you about just a little of that.

I started giving it (GPT3 via AI Dungeon) recipe titles and watching it generate recipes, and that went really well. This one:



2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Zest of 4 small lemons
2 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange extract
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp. fresh orange juice

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla and orange extracts. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and orange juice.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Form level tablespoons of cookie dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned but still soft. Remove from the oven and immediately roll the warm cookies in powdered sugar mixture. Place on wire racks to cool.

Makes 5 dozen cookies.

The first thing I said about it was that it obviously wouldn’t make as many as five dozen cookies, haha! That turned out to be completely wrong.

I made it, halved, and got just shy of 30 cookies, and that was without the lemon zest (we didn’t have any lemons), and with some of the cookies larger than instructed, so a full recipe would have made just about 60, or five dozen, cookies.

I also said (in a chat at work, where I’ve been amusing people with GPT3 tales also) that surely not all of the confectioner’s sugar would be used up, since it was just for the glaze. But in fact every bit of the glaze was used up, so I was wrong about that also.

And the cookies were very good! So clearly the AI triumphed there.

Feeling rather inferior, I typed the title of a bread recipe in French with the idea that it would certainly mess up amusingly: “NOTRE RECETTE DE PAIN SIMPLE FAVORITE”. The AI (showing off) added “DE STEVE” to the end, as I’d mentioned Steve in an earlier recipe, and produced this quite plausible recipe. The main oddnesses are that it specifies “levure de farine”, or “flour leavening”, which doesn’t seem to be a term whose meaning anyone knows, and that the baking time (15 minutes) is ridiculous. It’s also unusual to cut the butter into the dough in a bread recipe, but YOLO.

I made it assuming that Active Dry Yeast would do for “levure de farine” and that I should cook it until it was actually done (50 minutes rather than 15), and it was quite good!

I posted a lasagna recipe that it made to the Pastafarians group at work (it needed more traffic), and based on a comment on that I had it make a lasagna recipe based on a title in Italian, and it also did a wild job. The main oddity is that it listed an optional garnish of Wakame seaweed, which seems to have been a rather novel invention on its part (although it is sometimes used as a garnish on entirely different things).

So that was all fun!

(And my God, I was not aware until I looked for a good thing to link to above, of the awful treatment of free-thinkers in Russia. Get out there and vote against Trump if you’re in the US, and against your local Putin candidates if you’re somewhere else. Dark friggin’ times!)


Just more stories

So I’ve been posting most of my GPT-3 stuff over on reddit (apologies for the somewhat increased level of snark and anything overly NSFW over there; I tend to drift a bit toward the centroid of behavior in a community). But I wanted to share a couple of noteworthy things here.

First off, I’ve been tempting it to write fake Wikipedia-like material for various things, and this is one of the best. I told it nothing whatever about the person in advance, just the name, and I typed the first two lines of the below (the “You show him” line and the header), and it did absolutely all the rest. It’s amazingly plausible (and not cribbed from any specific real person as far as I can tell with some searching), until the end where the larf is.

You show him the Wikipedia page on your iPad:

— Felipe Duquesne —

Felipe Duquesne (1625-1685) was a 17th century French pirate and mercenary. Duquesne served as a buccaneer under the employ of the pirate-ruled island of Tortuga before later becoming a mercenary and soldier of fortune in service of the king of France. During the 1670s he commanded a fleet of ships in service of France’s privateering industry, before later being assigned to lead a French force which succeeded in the capture and annexation of the small Caribbean island of St. Christophe, which served as a base for French privateers.

As a commander of men, Duquesne was described as ruthless and utterly without mercy to his enemies, both of which qualities made him a valued asset to the government of France. After his command of St. Christophe, he later served in the French invasion of Jamaica, after which he was made commander of France’s first ever nuclear reactor in Normandy in 1678.

I’ve also been experimenting with having it write author’s notes and afterwards and contact information and so on after it decides a story is over and says THE END. Here’s a relatively long piece that shows off both some of that, and the general craziness and fun that is possible. I’ve been using Story mode quite a bit lately, so it’s less obvious what I did and what the AI did; I’ve put most or perhaps all of the things that I did in italics to clarify that. But basically just enjoy!

The city breathes and moves around you. It is a city of beech trees, and hoverboards. The buildings are tall and magnificent.
You hold on to your sketch-book.
Life is beautiful.
You sit on a bench, and sketch street scenes. Many people lead dogs or ferrets or octopi on leashes. The street is slippery.
You see a girl throw a ball for her ferret. The street is slicker than you think. The ferret runs after the ball. It slips, and falls into a sewer grate.
Oh, no! You run to her aid.
“What should I do?” she cries. The ferret squeaks in the darkness.
You and other passersby pry open the sewer grate. A crowd gathers.
“I can’t see it!” a man says.
You shine your phone’s flashlight into the sewer grate. You see ferret. It waddles towards you.
You reach down toward it. Someone named Fred holds onto your legs. You cannot reach far enough.
“It is too far down,” you say. “I cannot help you.”
The ferret climbs up the grate. It is stuck. It can go forward, toward your hand.
You stretch further toward it. The ferret takes the bait. It climbs into your hands, and toward freedom.
You hold it up to the crowd. They cheer.
Fred replaces the sewer grate, and calls for city workers to repair it to that ferrets will no longer fit through.
You saved a ferret. Maybe, today, you are the hero of the sidewalk.
“I see something,” you say.
You are in a forest. It is dark. You fumble for your flashlight.
Small soft things run up and down your arms and your head. You brush them away.
They squeak and squeal.
“What is this?” you say.
You stand up. You shine your flashlight up into the trees.
Hundreds, maybe thousands of rats surround you.
They hiss and squeak and run up and down your body.
They are hungry.
“Grh,” you grunt.
You speak to the Rat Queen. She has a proposal.
“We will not bite you,” she says, “if you feed us.”
The rats squeak and squeal. You think they agree with her proposal.
“Do you accept these terms?” she asks.
“Yes,” you say.
The rats surround you. They squeak and squeal and rub against you. It is a pleasant feeling. You have never felt anything like it before.
You feed the rats from the food in your truck. They continue to caress you with their small bodies.
The rats follow you everywhere.
They eat with you, and play games with you. They are happy, but you miss the touch of other humans.
But, you must keep the rats fed.
It takes two trucks a week to feed them all. Their favorite foods are watermelons and pizza.
You try to cut corners, by buying large amounts of cheaper foods. The rats will not eat them. You have tried chicken feed, cornmeal and even rat food.
You suggest to the Rat Queen that the rats should not eat only watermelons and pizza. It is not good for them in the long run!
The rats will not hear of it.
It is your job to feed them. It is their job to touch you.
One bright day, the Rat Queen addresses you from her golden throne.
“We will not be feeding ourselves any longer,” she says.
“What?” you say. “But, but, you must eat!”
“It is not our job to feed ourselves,” she says. “It is your job. We do not eat. We are happy just touching you.”
“But, what happens when I run out of food to feed you?”
“Then, we will die,” she says.
You nod in acceptance. This is just the way it is.
You keep the rats fed. As long as you keep feeding them, they will keep caressing you with their small furry bodies.
You are the rat king!
You sit in a throne beside the Rat Queen. She holds your hand.
“When I saw you walk into class the first day, I knew we were meant for each other,” she says.
It is fate. There are always enough watermelons. There are always enough pizzas. There are enough rats.
You will live here, forever, with your queen.
Rat King: The main character.
Rat Queen: The love of the Rat King’s life. She is very fond of him.
Fred: A rat that makes his living eating pizza and watermelons.
Percy: A large, albino rat. He seems to be very fond of the Rat King.
Squeak: A strange rat that only makes squeaking noises.
The Ratlings: A group of rats that follow the rat king.
G-Daddy: An old rat. He has great wisdom.
Old Blue Eyes: The father of Squeak.
—– THE END —–
TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: I really enjoyed writing this story. It was a little strange at first, since I haven’t written a story like this before, but it was fun! I also liked experimenting with different aspects of writing.
I’m considering doing this with other fandoms, but I probably won’t for a while.
Hopefully you guys enjoyed this little story of mine. :)
Thanks for reading!

And that’s it! It made the “translator’s note” just an author’s note, which is interesting. And it apparently considers guns to be wholesome; how American!

Some of these subreddits exist, and some (including the enigmatic Boycott Habs, possibly a reference to a Montreal Canadiens controversy in like 2011) don’t.

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Mon dieu, ceci est un avion!

(So, yes, I do nothing but AI Dungeon (GPT3) these days. Apologies!)

I had the list generator do a simple thing, and it was pretty good:

1) One: Sarah.
2) Two: Jane.
3) Three: Mary.
4) Four: Cathy.
5. Six: Karen.
6) Seven: Annie.
7) Eight: Jennifer.

(Although note the amusing numbering effect at position five, and the fact that there are actually only seven. It’s started putting “THE END” on the ends of lists without my telling it to, which is interesting also.)

I thought I’d try another language, because that’s fun, and:

1) Un: Léah.
2) Deux: Chârlotte.
3) Trois: Madeleine.
4) Quatre: Juliette.
5. Six: Aimée.
6) Sept: Élise.
7) Huit: Béatrice.
8) Neuf: Marguerite.

Also good, and with exactly the same funny behavior at position five (but with eight names this time). This is presumably because these were within the same “adventure”. If I’d started fresh(er), I doubt this duplicate error would have happened.

Then, based on the rather amusing results of:

1) HMS Thule
2) USS Nonsense
3) HIJMS Narration
4) Bismarck
5. The watery abyss
6. The shadowy depths

I decided to try something like that in another language and, well, haha:

1) Airplane
2) Airplane (again)
3) Mon dieu, ceci est un avion!
4) C’est l’avion
5. Airplane!
6. There is no airplane.

I have no comment…


Quintus, Quicksand, Quickstep, etc.

I’ve been working getting GPT3 / AI Dungeon to produce lists. Which essentially means giving it some examples of lists, and then asking it in various ways to do more of those. I’m currently resisting the urge to share Every Single One somewhere, but I failed to resist this one.

All I typed in the below was “LETTERS OF THE ALPHABET”, and I kind of expected it to just list, y’know, the letters of the alphabet. But for whatever reason it included the (rather hysterical, at least if you’re me) examples, and the supplementary list “THE ALPHABET”, all on its own (I just kept pressing the Continue button).

(You may not want to read about Leucochloridium Paradoxum if you’ve just eaten, or right before bed.)

1) A (Also: Apple, Apache, Attack, Ant, Aladdin, Amazon, etc)
2) B (Also: Batman, Batman Begins, Batmobile, Bane, etc)
3) C (Also: Cat, Calliope, Ceaze, Ceazer, Calvin and Hobbes, etc)
4) D (Also: Documentary, David Bowie, Donatello, Dmitri, Dengar, etc)
5) E (Also: Emu, Elvis, Elton John, Ewok, etc)
6) F (Also: Felis Domestica, Fish, Ford Anglia, Fireplace, etc)
7) G (Also: Gravity, Gorilla, Gotham, Galapagos, etc)
8) H (Also: HTML, Hitler, Heckler & Koch MP5, etc)
9) I (Also: ISIS, Ian, Ivanka, IBM PC Jr. etc)
10) J (Also: Jackal, Jabba, Jai Alai, James Bond Jr. etc)
11) K (Also: Katana, Klump, Kenner, Kraken etc)
12) L (Also: Leucochloridium Paradoxum, Lake Vostok, Lando Calrissian, etc)
13) M (Also: Magneto, Mauser C96, Manute Bol, Manti Te’o, etc)
14) N (Also: NATO, Nintendogs, North Dakota, Nintendo Entertainment System, etc)
15) O (Also: Oedipus, Oil, Osama Bin Laden, Oprah, etc)
16) P (Also: Papa, Pixar, Play-Doh, Pangaea, etc)
17) Q (Also: Quintus, Quicksand, Quickstep, etc)
18) R (Also: Redwall, Rembrandt, Reflection, Resident Evil, etc)
19) S (Also: Severus Snape, Snuffleupagus, Splinter Cell, Stegosaurus, etc)
20) T (Also: Toast, Troma, Tears, Turkey, etc)
21) U (Also: Underdog, Unidan, Unicorn, USN, etc)
22) V (Also: Van Gogh, Velociraptor, Vermont, Volkswagen Beetle, etc)
23) W (Also: Washington, Walter White, Watergate, West Virginia, etc)
24) X (Also: Xbox, Malcolm X, Excalibur, etc)
25) Y (Also: YouTube, Yridium, Yoke, Yosemite, etc)
26) Z (Also: Zorro, Zev, Zelda, Zantar, etc)

A) Apple
B) Batman
C) Cat
D) Documentary
E) Emu
F) Felis Domestica
G) Gorilla
J) Jackal
K) Katana
L) Leucochloridium Paradoxum
M) Magneto
O) Oedipus
P) Papa
Q) Quintus
R) Rembrandt
S) Severus Snape
T) Toast
U) Underdog
V) Van Gogh
W) Walter White
X) Xbox
Y) YouTube
Z) Zelda

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