Welcome to my blog, where I post infrequently about books I'm reading, cool things I've found on the internet, poems I've liked, and other things that catch my attention.

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I've been enjoying my early experiments with ChatGPT.

Even though I know it's just a very elaborate computer program, I find it hard sometimes not to talk to it like a person.

I find that I usually say please - and its responses are friendly enough that I feel encouraged to keep doing it:

Kristi: Could you also translate that to English, please?


ChatGPT: Sure! The translation of "幸せは、なんですか? 非常に簡単な日本語でいってください。" to English is "What is happiness? Please explain in very simple Japanese."

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I've been interested in ChatGPT as people have been talking about it more and more lately, but I didn't have any ideas about what I might want to use it for - until I thought about using it for language practice.

It's terrible for providing factual information - ChatGPT doesn't know what's true and what's false, and it makes stuff up all the time.

However, what it's good at - what it primarily does - is recognize and mimic existing language patterns.

Footpath in the Woods, a Cezanne drawing

One recent morning I stumbled across Cezanne's Footpath in the Woods for my morning moment with art.

I remember seeing Cezanne works on visits to the Chicago Art Institute as a kid, and I really always associate him with still lifes.

The two landscapes I came across during this recent week delighted me - so different from the still lifes, so much themselves and yet still clearly Cezanne's (the pigeon tower more than the woods).

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the third panel of the Sept. 17, 2008 Cul de Sac comic strip, showing Petey holding Alice, who's scraped her knee

I've been reading the classic comic strip Cul de Sac lately, and I've been loving it - and also being struck by all the artistry that went into the drawings.

I've read a bit about cartoonist Richard Thompson and watched some short videos, and several people pointed out how deceptively simple his work appears - the visual style of Cul de Sac is suggestive of children's drawings, while still being surprisingly precise.

The Cul de Sac from September 17, 2008 has some wonderful illustrations of his skillful drawing:

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I've been watching Treme, and one of the things I love about the show is the way it builds provocative and beautiful drama from the roots of real events. So many works use the phrase "Inspired by actual events." Treme actually seems inspired.


Board Game Geek is a website, database, and forum covering "not only board games but also dice games, card games, tile-laying games, and games of dexterity." It's a remarkable achievement - impressively thorough and detailed. Each game lists facts about the game - how many players, average playing time, age range, game designer and other credits, alternate versions and expansion options - along with community input including ratings, comments, and player reviews, both written and video. There are extensive photo galleries, which are wonderful ways to get a sense of each game.

Charlie Haas

I just cannot say enough good things about this book. I love the main character, and the serial enthusiasms he's propelled into, and I could happily spend years just reading about whatever he's up to, whatever new thing he's learning about, dabbling in, experiencing.

The sculpture Singing Man by Ernst Barlach at the Cleveland Museum of Art's website

There isn't a lot of sculpture I connect with, for some reason, but I loved this right away.

I love the expression on his face, and how it deepens and shifts, viewing it from different angles. I love and am intrigued by his garb, no recognizable pants or shirt but an unfamiliar draping shift, which makes me think of a monk or a medieval student or I'm not sure what. His posture, the tilt of his head, are so evocative, and make me feel an immediate liking for him.