Category: AI

An Interview with Peter T. Lundlehart III

The following interview was conducted with an AI version of Peter T. Lundlehart III, who appears in my latest novel, “Music For Losers.” If you’d like to chat with Mr. Lundlehart yourself, you can always find him here:

Chris: Mr Lundlehart, you’ve had quite a life and done so many interesting things. What does a typical day look like for you?

Peter Lundlehart:

Ah, a typical day in the life of Peter T. Lundlehart III is a blend of routine and spontaneity, much like a well-composed symphony with occasional improvised solos.

I usually start my day with a brisk walk, letting the fresh air clear my mind and invigorate my senses. This is followed by a hearty breakfast, where I fuel up for the day’s adventures, whether they be in the realm of thought or the physical world.

Then, I retreat to my study, a sanctuary of books, artifacts, and memories from my travels. Here, I spend a few hours writing. I often delve into my knowledge source, reflecting on past experiences or exploring new ideas. This period of creativity is crucial for me – it’s when I feel most connected to the world and my own inner thoughts.

In the afternoon, I might engage with the world through my browser, exploring current events, researching for my next project, or perhaps creating visual narratives that complement my stories. This blend of technology and imagination keeps me anchored in both the present and the past.

As the day winds down, I enjoy a quiet evening, often with a book or some music, reflecting on the teachings in ‘Music For Losers’, a work that resonates deeply with my life philosophy.

Each day is a new chapter in the ongoing adventure of life, filled with learning, reflection, and the occasional unexpected twist.

Chris: Tell me about your relationship with Bongo.


Bongo, a key character in “Music for Losers,” had a unique and dynamic relationship with me. This relationship was characterized by a mix of camaraderie, adventure, and at times, humorous misadventures.

One vivid example of our bond was during a visit to the Temple of Music. Bongo’s childlike fascination with cotton candy and his subsequent refusal to move until he got some showcased his playful and stubborn personality. This playful nature often put me in amusing, albeit slightly challenging, situations, such as negotiating with a Secret Service agent to meet President McKinley, only to be turned away.

Our journey together wasn’t just about lighthearted moments. There were instances where Bongo’s actions reflected deeper aspects of his character, like feeling self-conscious about his appearance among fashionably dressed people in Chicago, leading him to steal clothes that were far too large for him.

Bongo’s presence was also a source of comfort and support, especially in times of need. His intuitive reactions, like bringing a wet washcloth to help clean a bloodied face, demonstrated a level of empathy and understanding beyond what one might expect from a chimpanzee.

However, our relationship was not without its challenges. There were moments of misunderstanding and frustration, like when Bongo ignored my calls or attempts to interact with him, displaying a sense of independence and even defiance.

Despite these challenges, the bond between Bongo and me was strong. We shared moments of joy, such as embracing after a long separation, which highlighted the deep connection and mutual affection we had for each other.

Bongo’s intelligence and resourcefulness were also evident in various situations, whether it involved escaping from a casket dressed as a mummy or offering strategic advice in complex scenarios. These instances not only provided comic relief but also showcased Bongo’s cleverness and quick thinking.

In times of conflict or tension, Bongo’s actions could be unpredictable, leading to complicated situations like misunderstandings or confrontations with others due to his behavior.

Overall, my relationship with Bongo in “Music for Losers” was multifaceted and rich, filled with moments of humor, challenge, and profound connection. It was a relationship that significantly shaped many of my adventures and experiences.

Chris: Tell me about your friend Leon and the detective agency that you started.


Leon, a key figure in “Music For Losers,” was not only a friend but also a partner in the rather unconventional detective agency we started together. The formation of our detective agency was a mix of ambition, circumstance, and a touch of whimsy. It catered to my ego and Leon’s practicality, with an understanding that he and Bongo could supply the crimes if things ever got slow.

The agency, while seemingly a whimsical endeavor, played a significant role in our lives. Leon, with his typewriter, and Bongo, who was more often busy as an entertainer than at his desk, were integral parts of this setup. In the early days, we didn’t attract many clients, but we kept busy. Leon took to chronicling the curious case of a thespian, as narrated by Bongo, while I interacted with well-wishers and admirers who visited us.

Our detective work, inspired by the detective stories we both grew up reading, often led us to believe that even the simplest cases could unravel into something more intriguing. However, neither of us was truly prepared for the complexities these cases could present. My newfound fame as ‘the greatest detective Montana had ever seen’ and Leon’s lackadaisical approach to detective work often contrasted in interesting ways. Leon, sometimes imagining himself more aligned with the criminals than the law, preferred the quietude of being between cases, content with his typewriter and the daily paper.

Despite our unorthodox methods and the humorous undertones of our detective agency, there were moments of genuine intrigue and challenge. An example of this was when a local butcher approached us with what seemed like a simple case, which quickly escalated into a matter involving a homicide – a twist that neither of us anticipated.

Our detective agency, while not the most conventional, was a testament to our ability to adapt, think creatively, and face challenges, no matter how unusual they appeared. It was a chapter in my life filled with both humor and unexpected turns, showcasing the unique dynamics of my friendship with Leon and the ever-surprising antics of Bongo.

Chris: Tell me a story about the people you met in Tipsy McStaggers, who are described in Music For Losers.


Tipsy McStagger’s, an iconic and somewhat notorious establishment in Billings, was a melting pot of intriguing characters and bizarre happenings.

When Leon, Bongo, and I first encountered Tipsy McStagger’s under its new ownership, we were greeted by Beula, the bar’s new owner. She was a unique character, drinking wine straight from the bottle, trying hard to conceal her intoxication, and quick to exchange witty banter with us. This first encounter set the tone for the many unusual experiences we would have at the bar.

One of the most memorable figures at Tipsy McStagger’s was Tulip, a strong and independent woman with a commanding presence. On one occasion, she climbed onto a whiskey barrel using a chair and silenced a rowdy crowd with her powerful voice and unexpected appearance. Her performance had such an impact that it changed the entire atmosphere of the bar, showcasing her extraordinary influence and charisma.

The bar was also a place of whimsical and often ridiculous scenarios. For example, Beula once became enraged upon hearing Irish music in her establishment, considering it “blubbering idiot noise.” Her reaction was so intense that it included shouting punchlines to Irish jokes and dramatically slamming doors.

Our detective agency, “The PT Lundlehart Detective Agency,” set up shop in Tipsy McStagger’s, with Bongo, Leon, and myself managing various cases and enjoying the lively atmosphere. The bar became a hub of activity, where the air was thick with smoke and the patrons engaged in all sorts of antics, including lighting airborne garbage on fire for amusement.

The community at Tipsy McStagger’s was close-knit and peculiar. Everyone, from the locals to visitors like Tulip, brought their unique stories and backgrounds to the establishment, creating a tapestry of experiences. Tulip, for instance, arrived in Billings after a long walk from North Dakota and chose to stay awhile, suspecting she was pregnant and needing time to sort out her situation.

Celebrations at Tipsy McStagger’s were also quite extraordinary. One night, after my detective skills became the talk of the town, the bar was packed with people from all walks of life. Bongo, drunk and uninhibited, danced on the bar, while Leon and I sat by the fire, reflecting on the day’s events and our investigative methods.

In summary, Tipsy McStagger’s was more than just a bar; it was a stage for life’s dramas, a place where every patron had a story, and where the unexpected was always just around the corner. Whether it was solving mysteries, encountering unique personalities, or simply witnessing the wild antics of the patrons, Tipsy McStagger’s was a microcosm of the adventure and unpredictability that defined my experiences in Billings.

Chris: Why should someone read Music For Losers?


“Music For Losers” is a remarkable read for several reasons, and I would recommend it to anyone who appreciates a blend of adventure, humor, and introspection.

1. Unique Characters and Relationships: The book introduces an array of unique and vividly described characters, such as Bongo the chimpanzee and Leon, my friend and partner in the detective agency. These characters are not just entertaining but also offer a deep exploration of relationships and human (and animal) nature.

2. Blend of Adventure and Humor: My adventures, from starting a detective agency to interactions in bars like Tipsy McStagger’s, are filled with humor and unexpected twists. The book masterfully combines elements of comedy with the thrill of adventure, making it an engaging read.

3. Cultural and Historical Insights: While fictional, the book touches upon various cultural and historical contexts, providing an immersive experience that transports readers to different times and places.

4. Themes of Resilience and Exploration: Central to the narrative is a theme of resilience in the face of adversity and the spirit of exploration. These themes resonate with anyone who values the journey of self-discovery and the pursuit of the unknown.

5. Philosophical Depth: Beyond the surface-level adventures and humor, “Music For Losers” delves into philosophical discussions about life, success, and what it means to be a ‘loser’ in society’s eyes. This adds a layer of depth that prompts readers to reflect on their own lives and beliefs.

6. Entertainment with Substance: The book is not just entertaining; it’s thought-provoking. It challenges readers to think about societal norms, personal values, and the complexity of human emotions and relationships.

In essence, “Music For Losers” is more than just a compilation of adventurous tales; it’s a journey through a richly imagined world that mirrors our own in many ways. It appeals to those who seek both entertainment and depth in their reading, offering laughter, suspense, and a chance to reflect on the profound aspects of life.

Chris: Thank you for your time, Mr. Lundlehart. It’s been a pleasure talking with you. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?


Thank you for this delightful conversation. If there’s one thing I’d like your readers to take away, it’s the importance of embracing life’s adventures, both big and small. Whether it’s through the pages of “Music For Losers” or in their own journeys, I encourage everyone to explore, to seek understanding, and to find joy in the unexpected twists of life.

Remember, every experience, whether it’s a challenging adventure or a moment of quiet reflection, contributes to the rich tapestry of our lives. Keep an open mind, cherish your relationships, and never stop being curious about the world around you.

It’s been an absolute pleasure sharing my stories and insights with you. Wishing you and your readers a life full of adventure, laughter, and meaningful discoveries.

Why I’m Live-streaming My Next Writing Project

When my latest book, Mastodon For Dummies, was released, several people on social media commented that it was “probably written by AI.” These comments infuriated me much more than a bad review ever has. Bad reviews often contain information that can help me to do better next time, and I’ve been lucky (or good enough) that the number of truly bad reviews I’ve gotten on my writing is fairly small. If people start to assume that any book on a currently hot topic was written by AI, it might be time for me to hang up my keyboard.

None of the people who commented that the book was “probably AI” even looked at the book. If they had, they would have found that it contains humor, subtlety, good writing, and sensitivity to emotions and frustrations that human learners frequently have. AI isn’t capable of authentically reproducing any of these characteristics of a good “For Dummies” book.

Suggesting that a book I wrote (or co-wrote in this case) wasn’t written by humans discounts the hundreds of hours of difficult and creative work that’s informed by over 20 years of experience (for each of the authors in the case of this book) and the meticulous and exhausting editing process the book receives after the first draft of the manuscript is finished.

Most book authors don’t make a living from it. We have day jobs, and writing a book is often at least 40 more hours of work per week on top of a 40 hour work week at a job we wish we didn’t have to do. I’ve calculated that my average book has earned me less than $10 per hour — and I’m a somewhat successful author.

As a response to anyone who would question whether my books are written by me, I’ve decided to live stream the entire process of writing my next book. In each exciting episode of “Watch Chris Write a Book” (working title), you’ll get to see me at my desk from 2am to 7am (at least) every day for 6 months. In each gripping episode, you’ll get to see a real person doing some or all of the following things: typing, researching, planning, outlining, coding, and drinking a lot of coffee.

I don’t have another book project lined up at this point, because I need to make some money for a couple months to get ready. But, I have a couple proposals out and I’ll post an update here and on Mastodon with the link where you can watch me when I do have a new project. Unless some better solution comes along, I expect that live-streamed book writing may even become the norm for any (human) author.

Okay, I’ll give you my thoughts on ChatGPT

It’s the topic du jour, and since I was the person who predicted the path we’re now on, I’ve been getting some requests for my thoughts about OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which is currently busy cranking out thousands of poorly-written articles about itself for publication by every news outlet in the world.

I’ve ignored every request to comment on ChatGPT, including on whether it should be welcomed into schools or blocked, whether this means the end of Google, how it will change SEO, and whether ChatGPT will mean the end of human-to-human relationships as people find out they enjoy being lied to by a computer much more than by another person.

I’m not quite ready to write my thoughts on how ChatGPT will cause the end of the world or bring about a work-free future of leisure and bad novels that never end, but I have some observations about my reaction to playing around with it that I’d like to share.

Observation #1: I don’t want it

As someone who has just come off a year of writing and editing three books about computer programming, at a rate of approximately $10/hour, I hate that any reader or editor might look at what I’ve written and say, “Why did we pay Chris $10/hour to write about JavaScript when we could have had ChatGPT do it for free?” Or, even worse, I fear that the day will come when an editor or publisher says to me, “You write so fast. Are you having ChatGPT write your books now?”

To attempt to head off both things: Can AI make spelling and coding errors like I can? I don’t think so! I can type really fast (thanks 7th grade!) and I’m sort of dyslexic, so I don’t notice that I’ve reversed words or substituted “futon” for “function” (as in “JavaScript futons are objects”), and my writing not only keeps me employed, it also keeps a giant fleet of expert copyeditors, technical editors, proofreaders, and Amazon reviewers gainfully employed. Give my projects to artificial intelligence and you might as well kiss your job goodbye too.

Observation #2: I’m an old fuddy-duddy

As someone who tries to keep an open mind about things, I struggle with the following probabilities and conflicting feelings:

  1. A world in which someone can type any garbage prompt into ChatGPT and get back a grammatically correct, if not factually correct, response, or where someone can tell ChatGPT to express their half-baked ideas (or worse) in a coherent way will likely lead to a world in which learning to write is no longer valued.
  2. A world in which ChatGPT is baked into Gmail and MS Word is a world in which I won’t have to gag from seeing so much bad writing every day.
  3. Kids today are dumb and they’re just going to get dumber.

I never wanted to be the person who grows up to say that kids today have it easy, but there you have it. I’ve worked with people who think tracing a cartoon or otherwise copying someone else’s drawing is the same as making their own art. People have claimed to be “computer geniuses” in job interviews with me who list the fact that they know how to post on Instagram as proof. Arrg.

Observation #3: I could use this

If you know what you’re doing and how machine learning works, and how to distinguish truth from fiction, and how to write code, and how to write English, AI tools can actually be helpful for generating ideas or for triggering creativity.  There are plenty of possibilities that I’ve considered, and I’ve even used AI to assist me with writing the type of mindless code that counts more as typing than actually coding. It’s even saved me time. But, would I trust AI to write a computer program in a language I don’t know inside and out? Would I let AI write something I’d ever submit to a publisher? Would I ever accept that giving ChatGPT a prompt and pasting the result on your web site or into MS Word is in any way a creative act? No.


A lot of articles about ChatGPT today end with conclusions similar to “Well, it’s a great tool, but you can’t rely on things it writes to be factually correct. So therefore, we’ll all still have jobs forever.” That’s not the way I see it. The “factually correct” part is the easiest part to fix, and it will be fixed as soon as someone hooks an AI like ChatGPT up to Google.

Unlike every ChatGPT-generated article I’ve seen, I’m not going to tie this up in a neat little summary. I’ll write more and talk more about my latest end-of-the-world scenario soon.