• Last night Seattle was treated to the side effects of a level 5 geomagnetic storm. It’s so rare for the Northern Lights to be visible this far south, even through all the Seattle city glow!

    We let kiddo try to stay up but it wasn’t getting dark enough fast enough, so he dozed upstairs in our bed while we waited. About an hour later I woke him up and we went up to our roof deck and marveled at nature and the power of the sun. There were definitely a few other folks out on their decks to enjoy the light show.

    I mostly just let my phone (iPhone 15 Pro) select its own settings, which seemed to be mostly prefer a 3 second exposure. It was actually able to pick up the colors of the ionized oxygen and nitrogen better than the naked eye!


  • Why?

    I first tried watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars several years ago when my son was a baby. I’d watch on my phone while holding him. At the time I was feeling more completionist, so I watched them in order starting with the movie and then the first two seasons or so before I kinda lost interest.

    The last few years of new Disney+ Star Wars content, starting with The Mandalorian but especially the animated The Bad Batch, resparked my interest in filling in some canon details; however I didn’t have as much time that I wanted to dedicate to catching up on all the seasons. I heard in The Incomparable member Slack Discord about Jane Ritt’s and Alessandra Morgan’s watchlist and followed that accelerated path, starting over with some Season 1.

    Their list doesn’t include the more recent “final season” and jumps around to key episodes with some restored in-universe chronological order. It also skips some of the more kid-oriented episodes featuring Jar-Jar or younglings or similar which I think are part of what made the show generally less interesting to me the first time I tried.

    My Approach

    Now that my kid is old enough, and my wife is enjoying Ahsoka, we wanted a quick catch up for them this summer, before the school year started. I removed some of the big storylines I didn’t enjoy as much; I also wanted to skip a few episodes that I knew would be too intense or scary (at least knowing my kid). I reduced their list to my favorite story arcs with a few that are more optional; I also added in a reordered Season 7. This yields 54 episodes total, or 31 on my even shorter favorites list.

    I think the one big weakness of my list is that cutting for efficiency and connection to other properties means some supporting villains show up later in the list with little-to-no introduction. Perhaps even worse, Padmé barely is present at all despite being a major character of the prequel trilogy. There may be a few arcs that could be added back to fix that.

    The descriptions in the table may be ever so slightly spoilery if you want to go in cold.

    My List

    Episode NumbersDescriptionSuper Favorite?
    1×02-03Intro to the war, mostly set in spaceNo
    1×05Intro to clones who are important later No
    1×13-14Jedi Prime Directive kinda story; protecting a villageNo
    1×15Intro to important character in Bad Batch; ice monstersYes
    1×19-21War battle; some background for a Rebels characterNo
    2×17Basically a Kurosawa where Jedi defend villageYes
    3×01Important clones training flashbackNo
    2×10Important Rex episodeYes
    3×04Ahsoka and Chuchi adventure No
    3×05-06More MandaloreNo
    4×15-18Obi-Wan undercoverYes
    3×15-17Weird force stuff with Anakin destiny; optionalNo
    5×02-05Really good asymmetric warfare with Ahsoka; setup for RebelsYes
    6×01-04Clone trooper story; set up for Bad Batch; tragedy of Order 66Yes
    6×10Filling in some mysteries from Episode IINo
    5×14-16More Mandalore; awesome lightsaber duel; Darth Maul/Savage Oppress story might not make sense with earlier skipped episodesYes
    5×17-20Really good detective story with Ahsoka; key for her in later showsYes
    7×05-08Ahsoka story; introduces some Bad Batch guest charactersNo
    7×01-04Intro to Bad Batch; Kinda need to know that Echo was presumed dead in an earlier episode not on my listYes
    7×09-12The epic ending on Mandalore; contemporaneous with Episode IIIYes

  • A small Yorkshire Terrier lies in a pet bed on a green upholstered chair in a sunny living room.

    I wish I could nap like Pike naps.

  • For the last year and a half or so Andrle and I have been having a ton of fun as part of an online book club put together by my friend Tanya. Unlike most book clubs where you all read the same thing, we all just share things we love that we’ve been reading.

    One recommendation that kept coming up was The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, and I’m glad we finally ran with it and started reading them. We’ve been bingeing the last few weeks and they’re really, really great. Highly recommend (even though I’m only on Book 4.)

    Unsurprisingly another thing I’ve been reading about and thinking about a lot is the advent of Large Language Models, particularly as manifested by ChatGPT. My past work life as an NLP practitioner has me a mix of curious, envious, and highly suspicious of what these are and how they’re being used. In the short term I don’t mind using them as a toy that I can play with for the purpose of a joke, which is what this post is about.

    A recurring topic in this book club is how we might have the Muppets interpret a particular book, or how we might recast a movie with Muppets (but keep one human actor). This provides a lot of fun discussions, especially since I grew up regularly watching the classic Muppet movies on VHS recorded off of TV, and I really like musicals.

    That all brings me to some prompt iterating that I did to get ChatGPT to write the painfully cliché finale to a Muppet musical featuring Murderbot. (Apologies to both Henson and Wells.)

    Verse 1 (Murderbot):
    I used to be a killing machine,
    A rogue cyborg, feared and mean,
    But then I met the Muppets and Kermit,
    And learned what friendship truly meant.

    Verse 2 (Kermit):
    I'm just a simple frog, it's true,
    But I believe in friendship too,
    And when I met Murderbot, I knew,
    Together we could do something new.

    Chorus (All):
    We don't need to kill no more,
    Our friends are all we're fighting for,
    With Murderbot and Kermit side by side,
    We'll show the world what we stand for.

    Verse 3 (Murderbot):
    I never wanted to be a tool,
    But that's all humans see in me, it's cruel,
    I used to dream of breaking free,
    From their endless schemes and greed.

    Verse 4 (Kermit):
    It's true, I'm always happy-go-lucky,
    But I've been through some tough times that were quite yucky,
    But now with Murderbot and the gang,
    I know our friendship will never hang.

    Chorus (All):
    We don't need to kill no more,
    Our friends are all we're fighting for,
    With Murderbot and Kermit side by side,
    We'll show the world what we stand for.

    The past is gone, the future bright,
    With friends like these, we'll win the fight,
    Our love and trust will guide us through,
    Together we'll see this journey through.

    Chorus (All):
    We don't need to kill no more,
    Our friends are all we're fighting for,
    With Murderbot and Kermit side by side,
    We'll show the world what we stand for.

    So let's raise our voices high,
    And let the world hear our battle cry,
    With Muppets and Murderbot side by side,
    We'll change the world and turn the tide.
    OpenAI. (2023, Mar. 16) [Iterative prompt conversation starting with “This Muppet movie is about a rogue cyborg traveling to different space stations and learning the power of friendship from the Muppets” and “I need some lyrics for the big finals. The music is big broadway style number about how the rogue cyborg doesn’t need to kill bad guys anymore because it has friends.” and then encouraging more dialogue between Kermit and Murderbot] https://chat.openai.com/

    Yes, I looked up recommendations on how to properly cite ChatGPT output.

    Overall the result was mildly amusing. I couldn’t get it to capture Murderbot’s signature style, presumably because while information about the novellas are in its model training, not enough text from the novellas are in there.

    I’m still not sure what useful things I could do with this kind of tool, but in the meantime, I can make it make silly songs.

  • Pike playing with a toy almost as big as he is.

  • Tiny freshly groomed Yorkie sits on a teal couch wearing a monstera bow tie

    I love this little gentleman.

  • A small black and brown Yorkie stands on a cream rug in front of a brown cupboard begging for the bunch of lacinato kale in hand in the foreground.

  • An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.

    A blue and white USB puck mouse sitting on beige carpet

  • Seattle skyline at night with Space Needle in center, with Christmas lights on top

    We were wandering the neighborhood to see light displays and ended up at Kerry Park’s iconic view.

  • Small Yorkshire Terrier stands on kitchen floor begging.

    Pike has learned to beg for chopped broccoli and kale so now any use of the cutting board summons him.