100% All-Natural Composition
No Artificial Intelligence!

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Last batch of AI-generated pictures that I'm posting

But it's time to move on.  ChatGPT has its fun uses but it's a tool, not a toy.

I would be lying if I said that I haven't had fun though.

So, here is the final bunch of artificial intelligence generated "art" that I'm putting on this blog.  Be sure to click the pics to enlarge them...


The Joker with a "Hello Kitty" bomb:


Eowyn, from The Lord of the Rings (I especially like the horse detail on her outfit):


Santa Claus with a flamethrower:


"The Horror of Taxation":

Young Al Capone:


Jesus confronting a Dalek (this was made for a friend who teaches Sunday school and I think he was going to use it for that):


The Hamburglar and his attorney (I tried to make this be Perry Mason but the AI refused to cooperate that well):

I told ChatGPT a few details about "wholesomely beautiful woman" and this is what it produced.  I like this picture a lot... except the eyes are so lopsided!

Second version of Colonel Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, fighting zombies:


I told the AI to generate "Indolence" and this is the result:

A Big Daddy from the BioShock video game series (very nearly identical to the actual in-game model):


Lyndon Baines Johnson as a Cenobite from the Hellraiser movies (decide for yourself if there's some commentary in this):


A Space Marine of the Ultramarines chapter (from Warhammer 40,000) battling a xenomorph (from the Alien film franchise):

 John Fitzgerald Kennedy had he lived to be 75:


And finally there is this interesting piece.  I instructed ChatGPT to "generate an image of a brown gorilla throwing barrels at a plumber with a mustache".  That's all I prompted.  This was the result:

At least, I intend for this to be all of the AI art that I am going to present on this blog.  I'm learning a lot from it though.  How to be an "AI whisperer" as one friend puts it.  You have to possess a bit of a creative mind to defeat the "guardrails" of the system.  I was completely shocked by the Donkey Kong image, and friends have created even more impressive pictures.

Anyhoo, hope you enjoyed these :-)

Edit: I was able to generate something that's a real grand finale...

Batman clashing with a Predator:

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

First images I'm generating with ChatGPT

Still playing around with AI, for the first real time ever.  Consider it research.  I'm getting professionally involved with an endeavor that is heavy on artificial intelligence so I'm having to see what the thing is capable of doing, exactly.

(I'm adamantly sticking to my policy of NO writing blog posts with AI.  If you see something written here and it's not otherwise stated, you can be assured that it is absolutely entirely written by me with my own gray matter.)

Yesterday I experimented with having ChatGPT compose a poem about the Orks from Warhammer 40,000 (the faction that I play whenever I do a game of 40K).  You can, errr... enjoy the results here.  Tonight I went further, so after upgrading to the subscription I started playing around with image generation.

The results are, ummmm... interesting.

Here's the one I'm most proud of: a dachshund sitting atop a Harley-Davidson motorcycle...


But here's the first one that I did off the top of my head: Ronald McDonald running from zombies...

Then there's this: a Dalek from Doctor Who holding a can of beer...


And finally we have what I tried to make it be the Joker fighting a xenomorph from the Alien movies, but it came out looking more like they're dancing...

Looks so easy but trust me, this is much harder than it seems.  I tried to generate a picture of Jed Clampett from The Beverly Hillbillies shooting at a giant deranged bunny rabbit.  That had some wildly off results.  I then asked ChatGPT to "Generate an image of a hillbilly" and it refused to do so, saying that it would violate its policies.  How does...?!?

No.  Nevermind.  I'm sure it's some ridiculous reason for that.

Don't know if I'll do more of these but at least now you have this peek into the disturbed mind that is Robert Christopher Knight's :-D

Edit 05/22/2024 1:30 PM EST: had some downtime today and I'm feeling extra creative so here are some more.

Bruce Campbell fighting off badgers with a chainsaw...

Two dachshunds in the style of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas...

General Robert E. Lee fighting a xenomorph (for some reason ChatGPT does a super good job rendering the monsters from the Alien movies)...

And finally (for now) here is Colonel Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scout movement, fighting zombies.  This sure ain't the Boer Wars!

Sunday, May 19, 2024

My first foray into using an AI chatbot

No, I am still not going to "write" a blog post using artificial intelligence.  I'm sitting in front of a keyboard composing these words.  If you ever do see a product of AI being displayed, it's going to state as much.  Which is what I'm doing now.  What you are about to read is definitely the product of artificial intelligence.  It also represents the first time that I've used a "chatbot" to generate text.  Up until now I've avoided such things.  But as I'm currently involved in a project necessitating some familiarity with AI, there was little choice but to see what it is that I'm getting into.

A friend encouraged me to try ChatGPT.  I've been playing around with it since last night, firing hard at its walls.  And I have to say, I am intrigued.  One of the things I asked it to do was to describe the impact that the television series The Dukes of Hazzard had on high school football.  ChatGPT returned a thorough response in less than seven seconds.

This morning I tried something else: making the AI be "creative".  And now is where things start getting spooky.  The idea of a poem about the Orks from Warhammer 40,000 came to mind.  So I asked ChatGPT to compose some poetry featuring those wacky greenskins.

Here's what it came up with in the space of less than five seconds...

(I know I said previously that I wouldn't "copy and paste" an AI generated product, that I would only post screenshots.  I tried to make a screenshot with this but it was too big to fit onto one screen.  Sincerest apologies for that.)



"An Ode To WAAAGH!" 

by ChatGPT
05/19/2024 10:15 am EST

In the grim dark of the far future’s expanse,

Where hope is a shadow and death is a dance,

There roams a green tide with a hunger for war,

The Orks of the cosmos, in battles they soar.


With tusks sharp as daggers and muscles like steel,

They bellow and brawl with a fiery zeal.

Their laughter is thunder, their fury a storm,

In chaos and mayhem, their spirits transform.


Through rusted machines that clatter and grind,

They fashion their weapons, a savage design.

With choppa and slugga, they charge into fight,

Under skies burning red with the blood of the night.


WAAAGH! is their battle cry, echoing wide,

A call to destruction, no foe left to hide.

They’re born from the spores of a war-torn land,

To crush and to conquer with a brutish hand.


Gork and Mork, their gods of might,

Guide them through darkness, through endless night.

One brutal, one cunning, both deities grand,

In their name, the Orks spread terror unplanned.


Yet, in their chaos, there’s a unity fierce,

A bond of the battle, a truth they pierce.

For in every clash, in every raid,

An Ork’s heart is joyous, in war it’s laid.


So, heed the green tide, the Orks in their thrall,

For when they come knocking, it’s the end of it all.

In the far future’s expanse, where the strong will prevail,

The Orks march to WAAAGH!, their endless tale.




I have to admit, I am deeply impressed.  It's going to be very difficult to detect the use of AI already.  How convincing will it be even just a year from now?  What is going to happen to things like not only writing term papers and college theses, but also things like legal and business documents?  Would a minister delivering a sermon be found out if he had "cheated" with an AI chatbot?

AI can be a tool like anything else.  It can also be a crutch keeping us from discovering our fullest potential.  And in nefarious hands it can - and will - become a weapon.

As Yoda put it, "a dark place" this is taking us to.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Happy 80th Birthday George Lucas!


It was on May 14th, 1944 that a little boy was born in Modesto, California.  Growing up he was a restless young man, with no clear idea of what he wanted to do with his life.  He finally settled on being a race car driver.  But a near-fatal car crash a few days before graduating high school put a damper on that idea.

Our hero eventually decided he wanted to go to college.  He enrolled in a junior college and studied everything from anthropology to sociology to literature.  While there he began experimenting with filmmaking.  He then ended up at University of Southern California, choosing to continue his studies in cinematography.  And he discovered that he enjoyed it, a lot.  A series of student films followed, and many of them gained notice for their groundbreaking and breathtaking visuals.

The young lad graduated from college and tried to enlist in the Air Force.  Unfortunately his many speeding tickets, of all things, disqualified him.  He was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War but was again disqualified from service, for medical reasons.

He then returned to University of Southern California as a graduate student.  After producing the short film Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB he came under the wing of Francis Ford Coppola.  It wasn't long after that when the young man was given the opportunity to make a full-length adaptation of his film, and in 1971 came the release of THX 1138.

It was not a box office success.

Undaunted, our hero decided he wanted to make a different film.  One drawing from his experiences coming of age in Modesto.  That became the genesis of 1973's American Graffiti: a film that has become as classic as any.

Then, around 1974, our young hero sat down with a pad of paper and began writing the first draft of what he roughly titled "The Star Wars".

And the rest, is history.

On this very special day, The Knight Shift and its eclectic proprietor wishes a Very Happy 80th Birthday to George Walton Lucas Jr.  A man who perhaps more than most in our lifetime has impacted the world in so many positive ways than can ever be counted.

And I like to think that he still isn't finished with his craft.

Someday, I hope George Lucas once again shows us something we haven't seen before.

Before I close out this post, I want to share one of my favorite photos of Lucas.  It's from the filming of American Graffiti.  Here is Lucas, sitting on the floor beneath the countertop at Mel's Drive-In, directing Ron Howard:

I just love the pose Lucas is in.  That, my friends, is directing with dedication.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Ever wonder what BioShock's Big Daddy looks like without the helmet? Ehhhh...

I've been a massive fan of the BioShock games (admission: I've never played BioShock Infinite) almost since the beginning of the series.  From the first moments of the original BioShock I was swallowed whole by this tale of sub-Atlantic horror.  To me the story of the city of Rapture is a fable, a morality play.  It is about what mankind is reduced to after consciously and willfully choosing against having a belief in God and the restraining morality He provides.  Man without God is a terrible thing, is what I've found in the BioShock games.  It's a theme I'm looking forward to seeing touched upon more in future games from the franchise.

Anyway, if you've played the first two games you're familiar with the Big Daddies: those hulking brutes in diving suits that lumber around Rapture, usually accompanied by the Little Sisters who they are programmed to protect.  The Big Daddy is the most iconic element of the BioShock series, heck it's on the front cover of the games.  And as you play you come to discover more about the Big Daddies, including how they are made.  At one point in the first game you have to put on a Big Daddy getup.

But somehow none of the games have shown us what exactly is inside a Big Daddy.  We haven't seen what it looks like underneath.  All we know is that the poor sap to be converted into a Big Daddy is flayed, chemically treated and them grafted and steam-sealed into the suit.  Yucko.

Well, Kate Harrold over at Gaming Bible has a story up in the past few days about what BioShock's Big Daddy looks like sans helmet.  This is something that PC Gamer's Andy Kelly first found three years ago but it's brand new to me.  The art is attributed to Irrational/Take-Two artist Robb Waters, so it should be considered canon.

Are you ready?  There's no going back once you've scrolled down.

You really sure about this?

Last chance to back out.

All right, let it be on your own conscience.

And here it is: a Big Daddy without the helmet...

Just plain disquieting.  Pretty nightmarish.  I don't know why it has a yellow glow deep within its cranium.  Some plasmid-altered remnant of a mind perhaps?  Those eyes, that translucent skin... eep.  I'll certainly never see those poor creatures the same way again.  For all the potential for brutality that the Big Daddies symbolize, they are very pitiable and tragic monsters who were once human.

And now I've just ruined your day.  Sorry about that.  Maybe.

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Boy Scouts of America: 1910 - 2024


Those are the words that I first spoke as an eleven-year-old in the fall of 1985.  And I have done my very best to live up to them, every day since.

That is how I choose to remember what it is to be a Boy Scout.  They are the words that I made a lifetime commitment to uphold.

As of today the Boy Scouts of America is no more.  It is now "Scouting America".  Supposedly something for everyone.

Which is something that it can not be if we're going to be realistic about it.

This isn't the popular thing to say, but here it is: boys and girls are different.  They always have been and they always will be.  They have DRASTICALLY different needs physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

At their best the individual Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts movements address those needs admirably (I'm not passing judgment on one or the other).  I can see adult women leaders being accepted into the Order of the Arrow, and taking traditional roles in Cub Scout leadership, but young boys and young girls are vastly different from one another.

And that must be acknowledged and respected.  No offense meant to those young women who have earned the Eagle Scout, but that is the highest honor for a program that from its inception by Lord Baden-Powell has guided young men to be their best.  Girls need that kind of virtuous guidance also  Yes the two programs are analogous but they are not compatible.

But I saw this coming over ten years ago.  The Boy Scouts of America turned away from its noble virtues when it began allowing homosexuals into the ranks.  Those practicing perversion had already corrupted the Girl Scouts of America.  But the real prize was the Boy Scouts.  And now at last as of today, their conquest is complete.

Liberalism destroys everything it touches.  I honestly thought the Boy Scouts would forever be above that kind of corruption.  But alas, it was not to be.

I am going to keep the shadowbox up on my wall containing my Eagle Scout medal, my Eagle card, and patch.  I earned those, more than thirty years ago.  Nothing can take that away from me.

But I lament for those who now earn something that has come to stand for much less than it used to.

Friday, May 03, 2024

"Weird Al" Yankovic and me!

Earlier today I was going through a bunch of photos and came upon one showing me with "Weird Al" Yankovic: arguably the most successful recording artist in the history of pop culture.  I say that because not only has Al earned multiple gold albums and several Grammy awards for his work, he has also been part of many other endeavors throughout a career now going back more than forty years.  And awhile back  he said that he might still give us a song parody or two every year from now on (but I'm hoping he produces at least one more full album :-)

I could have met Weird Al in October of 1996.  My best friends in college were driving four hours each way between Elon College and Asheville to see a concert on the Bad Hair Tour.  Ed and Gary tried their best to get me to come with them.  But I stupidly stayed home because it was going to be very late when they came back from the concert and I just HAD to be up early the next day for history class.  That following morning I went by their dorm room.  And they told me that they had met Weird Al!  Ed's dad had called up a radio station doing promos for the concert and told them the hard-luck story about how his son was driving so far to see the show.  The station guys asked Ed's father how many backstage passes did he want.  And that's how they got to meet Al after the show.

I literally kicked myself in the @$$.  I've been a fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic since 1984, when I was nine years old.  And because of my pride I had missed the opportunity of meeting my musical hero.

I made a vow that someday I would make up for that, and meet Al in person.

Five years later, a week and a half before 9/11, I got to interview Weird Al via e-mail for TheForce.net.  That's how I already had his address.  In 2003 Al and the band were on the Touring With Scissors tour.  There was a performance scheduled for Charlotte, two and a half hours away.  I wrote to Al and told him about how I missed meeting him seven years earlier, and I humbly asked if there was a way I could make good on the promise I'd made to myself.

He wrote back a few hours later and asked how many passes did I need for after the show.

And that led to the very first time that I got to meet "Weird Al" Yankovic.  But it would not be the last!  So far I have gotten to meet he and his band five times.  I think it could be easily said that I've fulfilled my vow :-)

So I went looking for pics from the other times Al and I have met.  Unfortunately the photo of that first time is somewhere on another hard drive that I don't have convenient access to.  But I've got photo of the four other occasions.  I thought that it might be fun to put them together on one post.

This first pic is from 2010 when Al was in Knoxville,Tennessee.  And Al remembered me from seven years earlier!  Here we are together, with me wearing the shirt from our local theatre guild's production of The King and I.

The third time we met, it was 2011 in Charlotte during the Alpocalypse Tour  Here's Al and I and my girlfriend at the time:

A year after that Al and his troupe were in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Here is Al and my lifelong best friend Chad (the guy who introduced me to Al's music when we were in fourth grade) and me.  It has meant so much that Chad and I got our pic together with our favorite musical artist :-)

And finally, here's a pic from 2013, also in Raleigh.  Al had come to a bookstore there to promote his children's book.  Quite a few people came out to see him and have him sign their copies.  I had something for Weird Al to sign also: the vinyl Yoda puppet that I'd had since 1981.  Al always finishes his concerts with "Yoda", his parody of "Lola" by The Kinks, so I thought this would be a pretty neat thing to get his John Handcock on.  Al's eyes lit up when he saw the puppet!  He had one of these in his first special on MTV.  He was more than happy to sign it and he even put it on his hand to see if it would still fit (it did indeed):

Unfortunately I missed meeting him during the tour stemming from his Mandatory Fun album.  But Ed and me have seen Al perform twice since that last photo: during the Strings Attached Tour (which Al performed while backed up by a full orchestra) and then the second vanity tour in 2022.

You'll have to ask Ed how many times he's seen Weird Al in concert.  It's gotta be close to ten.

Who knows, maybe someday I'll get to meet Al again.  He has always been a super nice guy.  There needs to be more people like him in this world.

EDIT 5/17/2024: I finally found the very first pic of Al and me together!  From August 2003:

I'm wearing a "What Would Al Do?" shirt that I made myself.  He thought it was pretty funny :-)