As my handful of readers may have noticed, I haven’t posted anything here in a while. Many will assume this is because of work stuff and family stuff and life stuff, and while this is all true, it’s mostly because I’m just old and lazy.

So with everyone recently worried about artificial intelligence (AI) taking over our jobs, I thought I’d ask the currently popular ChatGPT AI to take over my writing. I told it to “write a humorous blog post for a driving enthusiast.”


Are you a driving enthusiast? Do you love nothing more than hitting the open road and leaving your worries behind? Well, get ready to buckle up, because I’ve got a humorous take on the joys and challenges of life behind the wheel.

Let’s start with one of the biggest challenges of driving: traffic. We’ve all been there, inching along at a snail’s pace, wondering if we’ll ever reach our destination. But hey, at least you’ve got some good company in the form of the other drivers around you. Whether it’s the guy in the beat-up pickup truck blasting country music, or the lady in the minivan with a car full of screaming kids, there’s always someone to keep you entertained in rush-hour traffic.

And speaking of entertaining, let’s not forget about the joys of navigating a roundabout. Sure, it can be a bit confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s like a dance with your car. Just make sure you don’t end up doing the tango with a semi-truck.

Of course, one of the most exhilarating parts of driving is the feeling of freedom it gives you. Nothing beats the wind in your hair and the thrill of the open road. Just make sure you’re not so caught up in the moment that you miss your exit and end up halfway across the state.

And let’s not forget about the joys of parking. Parallel parking may be the bane of many drivers’ existence, but it’s also an opportunity to show off your skills. Just make sure you don’t end up wedged between two cars like a sandwich.

At the end of the day, being a driving enthusiast is all about enjoying the ride. Whether you’re cruising along a scenic highway or navigating a busy city street, there’s always something new to discover and enjoy. So buckle up, keep your eyes on the road, and don’t forget to enjoy the ride, no matter how bumpy it may be. And if all else fails, just crank up the radio and sing along at the top of your lungs. After all, life is too short to take driving too seriously.

Well now. I consider this to be a mild success, because I could certainly write something this bland, and probably already had. Or maybe this is just my fault for writing such a lame request. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can quit my blogging job just yet.

Snap Shot Judgement Day

I’m not ready to give up on AI, though. I’m sure given enough time they’ll take over the world and turn humans into batteries, or at least into walkers for the Boston Robotics robot dogs. AI isn’t perfect (yet), but he/she/it/they has its uses.

One area of AI I got excited about recently is in photo editing. I found a program called Topaz PhotoAI1. I originally got it to try and fix an out-of-focus picture I took 25 years ago of someone. Apparently I am not competent enough to use a point-and-shoot 35 mm film camera.

(Now, let me first say that I don’t know if this is the best tool out there, or what other tools like this exist. All I’m saying is I’m too lazy to find out.)

The AI editor only did a so-so job of turning water into wine, but still better than what my feeble Photoshop skills could accomplish.

In the process, however, I noticed how well its de-noising algorithms worked. So I tried it with some other photos I had taken. Over the years, I had scanned2 these photos using the original negative at high resolution. The “problem”3 was I also captured the film grain from the negative. These were noticeable in large areas of color, such as the sky.

The PhotoAI editor worked better on some pictures than others, but generally it did a good job. It kept the details while getting rid of most of the film grain. This depended on how bad the grain was, of course.

I realize that the full size images below might not be able to show this improvement, but I’m also too lazy for fancy cropping. (I’ll include a side-by-side image from the program/plug-in.)

Top: grainy original / Bottom: AI-smoothed picture
(1996 Pony Express 100, Battle Mountain NV)

Top: grainy original / Middle: AI-smoothed picture / Bottom: with Canon DSLR (even the road is smoother)
(June 1997/Sep 2011 – Balanced Rock, Garden of the Gods)

What I noticed was that these smoothed-out pictures had the look of being taken from a digital camera. Losing the film grain made the pictures look “modern.” While that seems pretty cool, I started feeling conflicted about the effect. They started losing their old-timey, “vintage” look.

However, the smoothing of the images also helped me to be able to improve the pictures in other ways. I was able to fix the color of my car in the image below that I couldn’t previously because of the grain (see: I’m bad with Photoshop).

Top: grainy original / Bottom: AI-smoothed picture and better color
(June 1996 – A Big Rock Thingy, Zion National Park)

Here’s what the app looks like. The sky shows the improvements best.

June 1996 – probably UT9/SR-9 in Utah, prior to accidentally driving through Zion

So AI giveth, and AI taketh away. Some things work well, and others are works in progress, depending on the situation. I’m sure one day this will all be so much better.

Sarah Connor?

Crankiness Rating:

It’s astounding. Time is fleeting. Madness takes its toll.