Category: Life

  • Clone Wars Watchlist

    If I had to summarize my last decade in the cheesiest way possible, it would be with the phrase “growing together”: I met Andrle just a bit over 10 years ago. All of my major life events since then have been our major life events: engagement, marriage, birth of a child, new jobs, many moves… We’ve made mistakes along the way and learned so much together, crafting a new family in a new-but-familiar city with our amazing little dude.

    I can’t decide on pictures, but here are a few highlights (and lowlights) that characterize our 2010s:


    On a clear starry night by the shores of Lake Vermillion in northern Minnesota I proposed to Andrle and she said yes! We started planning our wedding and finding our first home together.


    We were married in April in Westport, MA and moved into our first apartment together in Cambridge. I officially became a dog owner for the first time.


    A year of travel as a married couple! Cancun with friends, DC for a family 4th of July, Albuquerque, visiting family in WA (little knowing how familiar it would soon be), our first car, road trips to Merrifield fall festival and elsewhere.


    The year defined by Andrle’s pregnancy with little Theo arriving in October! I also completed my masters degree after many part-time years (we also moved to Watertown and attended a cousin’s wedding the same weekend).


    As Theo grew we made the huge decision to move cross-country to Vancouver, WA as I switched to working remotely with regular travel back to Cambridge. The remote work let me spend a lot more time at home but the travel requirements were difficult.


    We bought and moved into our newly built home, regularly hosting west coast family as I continued to travel back east and Theo continued to grow as his storytelling became even more expressive. Near the end of the year we all went vegan! ?


    For the first time in over 10 years I found a new job, so we sold our home and moved to Seattle. This brought us all closer to family, ended my regular travel, and gave me a fun new project to work on.


    We bought a condo and moved a bit down the road, settling into a Seattle routine as Theo somehow grew into a little boy. The new service I was working on at work launched. We switched to a car-free lifestyle.


    This was our toughest year by far. At the age of 15 our dear Mr. Darcy got more and more sick and we had to make the difficult and painful decision to say goodbye. Both of my grandmothers passed away. Our condo flooded three times (!) due to a sprinkler system flaw. On a happier note Theo started preschool and started adapting to being away from home. With that routine we got a car again.


    Another year of transitions as we able to sell our condo and find a townhome a bit up the hill, Theo started Kindergarten at our local public school, and I was promoted to a senior engineering position.

    Growing Together

    What have we learned over the past 10 years? We’ve definitely figured out moving and IKEA assembly, and how to move on without too much regret after realizing that a particular home doesn’t work for us. I’ve learned to be a better listener. The Star Trek that helped us meet was regular viewing material. We now know exactly how little sleep we can survive on. We’ve both figured out our parenting style, and learned that every kid is different and ours is an amazing creative bundle of his own thoughts and emotions.

    I can’t wait to see how he grows up. Here’s to the next ten years of learning and change (though maybe a bit less of a whirlwind)!

  • Sunspot

    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.

  • The Muppets Meet Murderbot

    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]

    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.

  • Fox Ferocity

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

  • Groomed Pike

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

    I love this little gentleman.

  • The Kale Wanter

    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.