THE GHOST OF A CHRISTMAS LONG PAST...
Meh, I was hoping to get to the anime club today, but I forgot that it's exam season for University of Ottawa students, and the last meeting of the semester was last
weekend, not this one. I probably should have checked the website
first instead of assuming that all of the meetings would be two weeks apart. Though I think I may be coming down with a cold, so maybe it's better that I not go anywhere today.
That's enough off-topic whining for today. Well, this entry anyway.
This picture is easy to date, since the long-defunct Montreal-based film development chain Direct Film helpfully printed "12 1978" on the back of the photo, so this would have been taken at my first preschool Christmas pageant in December 1978, when I was only 4 years old.
This picture is also fairly self-explanatory. We're all teapots, presumably singing "I'm a little teapot short and stout." I'm not too sure what that has to do with Christmas, but the tinsel garland, paper "bells" and angels in the background reveals this to be a Christmas pageant. I'm the one in front, towards the left, wearing the green teapot.
I wasn't sure what the design on my own "teapot" was supposed to be. Initially, I thought they might be little teddy bears, looking, to my eyes, almost like "Pooky", Garfield's teddy bear (though Garfield
had only started in newspapers half-a-year before and wouldn't make it to the Montreal Gazette
until sometime in 1982). Or maybe super-pudgy cartoon reindeer. But, zooming in on the details closely, they're just brownish-red "flowers".
What's the deal with the pants I'm wearing? Rainbow-scotch? Back in the 1970s, I guess everyone liked to dress like they're color-blind.
The detail's too small to show up on even my scanner, but I'm pretty sure the shoes I'm wearing were dappled with Sesame Street
characters, with Oscar the Grouch on the toes and other Muppet characters along the soles.
I like that the boy who is behind me in the background is wearing a shirt with a pointy collar that looks like it came straight out of Han Solo's wardrobe.
If you think that I look noticably younger than the rest of the class, that's because I was. The cut-off day for getting into Quebec schools is October 1st
and my birthday is October 2nd
. But I was smart for my age, so my parents got me into preschool in 1978 with kids born from October 1973 through to September 1974 with the general idea that it would be possible for me to start Kindergarted in 1979, but the now-defunct Lakeshore School Board wouldn't bend, so I had to go to preschool for a second year in 1979, by which time I was about the oldest kid in my year.
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, THERE HAVEN'T BEEN ENOUGH PHOTOGRAPHS ON HERE LATELY...
Okay, there have been.
But let's look at some more, this time sans a Christmas theme (not that I won't post another Christmas pic today).
I have an album of panoramic photo collages
, but, up until now, there have only been two because, as far as I could remember, there were only two times in history that I swivelled in one spot and took photos in rapid succession in order to reassemble them into one super-panorama, when I was in the stands of the 2002 Canadian Grand Prix of Formula One
and when I was in the parking lot of South Keys Mall on a birthday trip to Ottawa, also in 2002
On Thursday night, I remembered a third time I had done such a thing, to provide a backdrop for the computer animation assignment that became "More than Meets the Eye"
. For some reason, it never occurred to me to assemble the photos I took back then into one big picture until this week.
Here it is, with the text hyperlinked to the full-sized version for Google Image Search purposes.A panoramic collage of shots of Aylmer street in Montreal's Milton Park neighbourhood (a.k.a. "The McGill Ghetto") I took from the balcony of the apartment I was staying in part time in the Residences Prince-Arthur building at 495 Prince-Arthur W. in the autumn of 2001. These photos were taken for the backdrop of a computer animation project I did in 2002, but this assemblage of the photos is brand new. By the way, this is just down the road from Molson Stadium, where the Alouettes play.
Also, for those of you who want to see a picture of me a little more recent than the ones I've been posting the past week, my mother took this photo on Wednesday morning.
I wish she'd have taken the photo at a little greater resolution than 640 x 480 pixels, as though she were still using the old digital camera we had from 1997.
And, with the dumpings of snow Ottawa got this week, winter seems here to stay. Here are a couple of photos one of my parents took in the backyard.
THE GHOST OF A CHRISTMAS LONG PAST...
Another "Christmas morning" shot, this time taken with a Polaroid camera, hence the lower quality of the image. Since it's so small, I had to scan it at 450 dpi to get an image size roughly equivalent to the other photos, which I scan at 300 dpi1
I'm seen here playing with my new toy, a high-tech-looking (by 1979 standards) electronic "cash register", a cool toy for a budding young capitalist to play with. I remember liking it, especially since it had an LED display like the calculators of the time, but I also remember being a tad disappointed with it, as there was a spindle for a roll of paper and a reservoir for some blue ink, accesories which my mother never bought for me. I wanted to print out my own receipts, because the idea of being able to print things out at home, no matter how mundane what you're printing is, seemed really neat to me at the time. This was, of course, a couple of years before most homes had even just dot-matrix printers. (Though my father would eventually get this remote terminal device that didn't have a monitor, just a printer, so he could play electonic Dungeons & Dragons
on some sort of primitive internal computer network at Bell.)
Strangely, I also remember playing with a old-fashioned style Fisher-Price toy cash register (the one with the big red, yellow, and blue plastic "coins"), but that must have been either at kindergarten or at one of my friends' houses.
None of the other presents in the shot seem to have been for me. I'm pretty sure the tricycle was for my then two-year old sister. I don't know who got the shape-sorting thing. And the still-wrapped trapezoidal toy that is almost certainly a Fisher-Price activity centre thingamabob (you know, one of those things with a different item on each side?).
I'm not sure what that big red thing next to me was. Did my parents do the "Santa's sack" thing that year, because it certainly was never a regular thing at our house for "Santa" to leave his "bag" there. (We got presents, but the big ones were just put under the tree and my parents never claimed that those ones were from Santa Claus, just the small ones we got in our stockings.)1 Not that Blogger displays them at 300 dpi, as it shrinks them down to a maximum size of 1024 pixels a side. But, if, for whatever reason, you wish to see the pictures at 300 dpi, I've started a "The Ghost of a Christmas Long Past" album in my Fotopic.net gallery.
MYSTERIES OF THE UNEX-PLANE-D
So much plane-related news over the past couple of days. I spent most of yesterday evening riveted by the spectacle of a mostly intact Southwest Airlines 737-300 slowly getting covered by snow while sitting in an intersection
at the northwestern tip of Chicago's Midway Airport. It was almost an exact rerun of another "plane skids off runway through fence into street" incident I remember watching in March 2000
: same airline (Southwest Airlines), same kind of plane (Boeing 737-300), different airport (Burbank International Airport) but similar circumstances (older airport on a relative "postage stamp" of land with short runways "hemmed-in" by residential and commercial development). It's not an exact rerun, since Burbank
has its runways in a cross pattern while Midway
's runways form an "X", meaning the plane in the Burbank incident just ended up in the middle of a road, not an intersection where there's more of a chance that the plane would hit a vehicle, and snow visibility and runway icing wouldn't have been a factor in a runway overshoot crash in Burbank, California, obviously, but, still, the incidents are similar enough to be remarkable.
There was also a crash of an Iranian military transport C-130 into an apartment building in Tehran
, killing at least 116 people including at least 24 people on the ground. And the shooting of
Looney McCrazyGoNutsUniversity Rigoberto Alpizar, a manic-depressive man, by federal Air Marshals on a boarding ramp at Miami International Airport
after getting off an American Airlines flight from Cartagena, Colombia. He may or may not have claimed that he had a bomb
(but it's always easy to second guess people who have to make split second decisions where lack of action may have deadly consequences).
The aviation-related incident that I was really wondering about, though, was something that may or may not have happened off the New Brunswick coast on Wednesday morning
"Canadian search-and-rescue officials said reports that a plane crashed in New Brunswick, near the Maine border, are ``false.''
``We have no indication of any crash,'' said Lucie Vignola, a spokeswoman for Transport Canada in Ottawa. She said search and rescue operations in Halifax have been shut down, as all military planes are accounted for and no civilian planes were reported missing. She said a Hercules plane was conducting low-flying exercises, which could have been confused for a plane in trouble.
Rescue planes searched the Bay of Fundy where the plane reportedly went down and found no wreckage, a Fisheries and Oceans department official said in a recorded message.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that a four- engine aircraft crashed, citing eyewitnesses and local radio stations. The report was based on a single claim of a small aircraft in distress, the official said.
``At this point, we're unaware that any aircraft has crashed at all,'' National Defense Department spokesman 2nd Lt. Adam Thompson said."
See, I got up early (like just after 9 a.m., which is an ungodly hour for me) on Wednesday because I overheard my mother mentioning a plane crash in New Brunswick and tuned in to CBC Newsworld and CTV NewsNet, who were all over this story like French Canadian girls at a Backstreet Boys concert for about an hour or so before "they" declared it to be nothing and the story disappeared as quickly as Chumbawumba's popularity did at the beginning of 1998.
So, it led me to wonder: was it really nothing? Or was it something that "they" didn't want "us" to see? Maybe it was nothing but people thinking a low-flying Hercules plane was in trouble, or maybe... it could have been a crash of something "above top secret" like, say, a hypersonic (above Mach 5) jet like the "Aurora"
, since, if it was hypersonic, that would explain the "explosion" the eyewitnesses claimed to hav seen (not really an explosion, it's just that the "stagnant" air that doesn't flow around the plane would ignite as part of the normal flying process). Or maybe some other "black project" even more top secret than that, like, maybe, something suborbital, perhaps with a skin that's a giant LCD screen, projecting what's on the other side of the plane to give it pseudo-invisibility (the same general concept as the Ford Thunderbird in the James Bond movie Die Another Day
or Major Motoko Kusanagi's "thermo-optic camouflage" from the Ghost in the Shell
manga/anime franchise). Something manufactured by Lockheed's "Skunk Works"
and launched out of Groom Lake, Nevada
(popularly known as "Area 51"
) or Dugway Proving Grounds
in Utah. Something that would only be visible to people on the ground if something went seriously, seriously wrong. And, as for the absence of wreckage, if something did go catastrophically wrong, it could be that the plane was guided towards a remote area near the American border where some sort of super-secret underwater recovery vessel was dispatched.
This all is purely idle speculation based on popular rumours seen on things like speculative documentaries on Discovery (and by the time any "leaked" information about that sort of thing makes it to the Discovery Channel, it's probably very obsolete "old news" as far as the people who work on the technological vanguard "black ops" projects are concerned). I doubt anything like that happened and am just spouting conspiratorial bullshit to tease my few readers (so, USAF, please don't come and visit my house with the syringes full of Sodium Pentothal or whatever substance works even better than that), but I still find it very mysterious that the news about the "crash", even if it was unreliable, had pretty much evaporated by the time that the lunchtime newscasts had rolled around, almost as if they were told to stop reporting on it (yes, I know the shooting of the suspect at Miami International Airport dominated the news on both sides of the border that evening, but that was several hours after the crash story vanished from the news).
THE GHOST OF A CHRISTMAS LONG PAST...
I have another pageant picture today. This time, I think I'm supposed to be one of the Three Kings and/or Wise Men. My mother did her best to make my red dressing gown look regal, using gold Christmas tinsel garland.
I'm really not sure what that thing in between my hands is supposed to be. Is it a box containing the "gold", or is it a chestplate or what? I think the "crown" is card with more gold tinsel garland and cotton balls glued to the lower edge to make a fur-lined rim.
That bookshelf in the background is currently being used to house my manga collection, which takes up four-and-a-half of the five shelves. You can see the stereo turntable we had, which my father brought over from England and had to buy an adaptor to use, and I seem to remember that, often, the 110 volt current wasn't amplified enough by the adaptor so the 220 volt turntable would often play records slow. You can also see, next to the bookshelf on the other side, an 8-track player, and, on top of the bookshelf is a rack of 8-track cassettes (which we still have). My father got rid of both the turntable and 8-track player in 1985, when he bought a whole set of stereo components from Radio Shack, but we still used the speakers as a set of secondary kitchen speakers until we renovated our Pincourt house in 1997.EDIT (December 13th):
I've found photographic confirmation that this photo was from the Christmas pageant in 1978, not 1979 or 1980 as I was speculating below. Unfortunately, I can't change the title of the photo here without reposting it.END OF EDIT.
I honestly don't remember if this photo is from December 1979 (my second Christmans in preschool) or December 1980 (when I was in Kindergarten). Remember that this was back in the days before excessive political correctness when they could get away with Christian-themed pageants in elementary schools, which means it could have been done in Kindergarten, and, as you've already seen, I was an angel in 1979 and I don't think I could have had two roles.
THE GHOST OF A CHRISTMAS LONG PAST...
I'm feeling pretty sleepy today, so I'll just do one that requires little write up as it's not like I remember anything.
This time we're going back in time a few more years before the previous photos. This is me 30 whole Christmases ago in 1975, when I was barely 1 years old, visiting relatives in Northampton.
I have no idea what that present was, sorry.
I don't remember the drum either, actually, though that may not have been for me.
I'm not sure what it says on that bottle in the background. I re-scanned just that tiny little part at 900 dpi (dots per inch) to get a better look, and the label seems to say "WARNI- ADVOCA-". "Warning, Advocates"? That doesn't make any sense! And the picture on the bottle looks kind of like... French clowns.
If you're wondering what the deal with the paper crowns is, those are amongst the contents of a British "Christmas Cracker"
along with the strip with the fireworks and the cheap little trinkets and the intentionally awful jokes. I think the crown is supposed to ostensibly represent "Christ the King".
THE GHOST OF A CHRISTMAS LONG PAST...
My mother actually bought a carton of Egg Nog today! Woo-hoo!
Today I have a shot of me that I believe was taken on Boxing Day in 1980 (as I'm wearing a different shirt from the ones I wore sitting under the tree), with my presents, which I will itemize since I know you all really care to know what they are:
There's the orginal Mattel Hot Wheels "Scorcher Chamber" set from 1980. This was a set with a special kind of Hot Wheels with a car, painted in Evel Knievel-esque colours, that had a friction "motor", where you pulled it back to wind up the internal spring and it would drive under its own power for 20 to 30 seconds or go and drive around the insides of a clear plastic "bowl". I think the challenge was to knock down all 4 "flags" to win.
There are several other normal Hot Wheels cars, including the Porsche 911 (one of my all-time favourite Hot Wheels when I was a kid) and a Greyhound Bus.
The yellowish rectangle is probably one of those self-contained pocket games from Tomy. I forget which one it was, but it was probably one of those with a wind-up timer that made an annoying buzz.
The stuffed toy with the blue raincoat and yellow hat is obviously Paddington Bear
, my favourite stuffed toy of all, at least until I got a Garfield a couple of years later.
There's a Lego set. I forget which one that was, but the black background indicates that it probably was one of the space sets. There's another one behind it... could that been one of the Shell-branded service station sets?
There's something from Fisher-Price. Another, lesser, picture taken that Christmas reveals that one of my brothers got a Fisher-Price fire-engine set, but that one appears to be something else, like a van with a camper.
The tub was chocolate ice cream from the long-defunct Steinberg's supermarket chain, though it was probably empty and my mother was using it to store something, probably crayons or maybe Lego. God, Steinberg's went out of business around 1991 due to an internal family squabble and I still miss it. I can't even find the logo anywhere online, so I had to make an approximation of the Steinberg's logo from memory using Photoshop
The house is the old townhouse we lived in on Elgin Crescent (though the front faced Alton Drive) in Beaconsfield before we moved to Pincourt.
BRIAN BOITANO STEPHEN HARPER DO?
(He'd make a plan and he'd follow through, that's what Stephen Harper'd do!)
Oh boy! The first TV campaign spots are up at the Conservative Party of Canada website
. I like how they have a couple of French-language ads trying to present themselves as an alternative to the Bloc Québecois de Losers for Quebecers disgusted with the Liberals. I don't know how well that's going to work, and I hope that future French language ads will mention specifics, but I hope this indicates that the Conservative Party isn't just considering Quebec to be one giant 75-seat write-off, because I hate how federalists, provincially and federally, treat the supposed near sweep of the Bloc Québecois de Losers outside of the West Island, the Eastern Townships, and the Outaouais, as an inevitability (and are also acting like a sweep by the Parti Québecois de Losers is a foregone conclusion *a couple of years in advance*, as though absolutely nothing can be done between now and then to stop the momentum, not that I have a lot of confidence that Jean Charest will grow a pair and stand up to the separatist true-believers, the unions, and the language hard-liners). "Federalists can vote for the Bloc too!"
my ass, Gilles "Loser-Boy" Duceppe. (And I love how separatists are such mollycoddled, spineless pussies that they can get all up in arms about the lamest insults
. "Loser" isn't exactly the first word I'd use to insult separatists, but I definitely tip my chapeau
to Pierre Pettigrew for managing to touch a nerve with the most G-rated and TV-friendly of all slurs. Though I disagree with Pettigrew that ALL former PQ leaders are losers. Pierre Marc Johnson is now officially "not a loser".
But let's look at one of the Conservatives TV ads, "Crime". Needless to say, it would be easier for me to "look" at these commercials if they actually had downloadable, re-sizable Quicktime ones and not just tiny Flash ads about the size of a Chiclet on the side of the page, meaning I have to double-size the screencaps myself in Photoshop, and, since Photoshop can't really add resolution that isn't already there, it results in blurry screencaps.
The ad opens with the reporter on a mock interview show pointing at a screen and telling Stephen Harper to "Look at this". Which journalism school did this reporterette
attend? Because I really want to go there. Pointing at a screen and saying "Look at this" is within the range of effort I can tolerate exerting. Almost without breaking a sweat, even!
We cut to a screen with
a stock "grandmother" actress straight out of Central Casting
a typical "woman on the street" expressing
sincere concerns. (And here's a personal bugaboo of mine: the screen has a large black rectangle where the Sony logo should be, and a smaller black rectangle where it would say the model name of the monitor (i.e. "Trinitron"). This bothers me when they do it in movies and TV shows, and it bothers me here too. I guess they do that so that there's no unintentional "product placement", to appease the Naomi Klein "No Logo" crowd I guess, but black rectangles where there should be a logo are actually far more of a distraction than the logo ever would be. If you can't show the logo of the company that made the monitor, put a Conservative logo there.)
"I'm sick and tired of seeing drug dealers and gang members back on the street. Criminals get deported but don't leave. What would Mr. Harper do?"
Is that supposed to be a run-down street? Looks fairly upper middle-class to me. I can't speak for every middle-class street in Canada, but I can't say I've particularly noticed an overabundance of stereotypical drug dealers and stereotypical gang members on middle-class streets in either Montreal or Ottawa over the past few years. Or stereotypical pimps, like "Alabaster Jones", the Snoop-voiced pimp from the OKC (Oklahoma City) on the fifth-season King of the Hill
episode, "Ho yeah!" I'm reminded, a bit, of the Saturday Night Live "Old Glory Robot Insurance" ad
(with Law and Order
's Sam Waterston scaring old people about robot attacks to get them to buy insurance. "Robots are everywhere, and they eat old people's medicine for fuel."), because, while crime is, undoubtably, always a real concern, I'm not too fond of when people overplay the fear of crime for political gain.
Also, I shouldn't have to point out that drug dealers would get off the street instantly and gangs would lose most of their financing if drugs were legalized, since there is a demand that isn't going away anytime soon, so, when you put the "supply" in the hand of the bad guys, that's when you get nonsense like the ongoing spate of violence in certain areas of Toronto
. Certainly, if you legalize at least the softer drugs, like marijuana, you'd drastically cut the money going into the hands of the violent thugs. Legalization is the capitalist thing to do.
Cut back to Harper.
"We've got to put people who play by the rules first, not the ones who break them. We'll ensure minimum prison terms for serious crimes, we'll end house arrest, and we'll make sure deported criminals actually leave this country."
Fine with me, excluding my position on drugs as outlined above (and as long as the definition of "serious crimes" only includes crimes where there are actual victims, not certain kinds of "thought crimes" where you're made a criminal for saying distasteful things about certain groups or looking at or reading fictional accounts of distasteful acts).
But let's look at some of the other things in this scene that are really important. Like why does the reporterette's coffee mug have the handle facing to the right? Did she put it on the table and rotate it 180 degrees? Why would she do that? And, before anyone points out that she might be left-handed, from her perspective, the handle would be clear on the other
side of the cup, in a position that would be completely unnatural for anyone of either "manual orientation" to have put it. I know having both handles face right is probably a subliminal message, but it's pretty damn distracting for those of us who have a tendency to notice small details.
And I'm not "finger gesture" guy, but I presume that Stephen Harper, by repeatedly hitting the fingers of his left hand with the index finger of his right hand, is gesturing that he's serious and tough. Either that, or he's trying to start a small fire with his fingers.
The ad ends with a bunch of people walking towards a nondescript (though isn't "nondescript" in and of itself a description? That's a paradox for ya!) institution-type building for no discernable reason, though I presume they're voting and they're not being rounded up by the New World Order to be sent to the concentration camp under Denver International Airport. A signboard, of the sort that you usually see at the side of the road with a message like "NOW BACK AT TIM HORTON'S: BANANA CREAM DONUTS" (why don't they bring them back? Banana cream is the absolute best flavour!) saying "STAND UP FOR CANADA!" Fine with me. Except for the "standing up" part. I prefer "sitting down for Canada". At my computer. And blogging sporadically about politics. Every once in a while. Between about 99 posts about Japanese cartoons and slightly amusing links I found on the Internet.
And that two note guitar chord "theme", if you can call it that, isn't going to get very grating very quickly. No sir. Especially not when it's repeated at least twice in the span of 30 seconds. And they'll repeat these ads ad infinitum between now and the end of January.
Aside from the couple of serious points I made, this "deconstruction" was all in the spirit of good fun, and taking mild shots at your own side every once in a while. And they managed to incorporate a variation of "What would Stephen Harper do?", which almost seems like a parody of the song "What would Brian Boitano do?" from the South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut
movie, which itself was a parody of the "What would Jesus do?" catchphrase that was all the rage with Christian t-shirt clothiers and bracelet manufacturers in the late 1990s."When Stephen Harper built the pyramids, he beat up Kublai Khan, because Stephen Harper doesn't take shit from an-y-bod-y!"
HMM... BLOGSPOT IS DOWN.
Though, weirdly, Blogger, the site where we write the posts that appear at Blogspot, is still up as I write this (8 p.m.), so I can write 'em, I just can't see 'em.
THE GHOST OF A CHRISTMAS LONG PAST...
Oh, what the hell? I didn't plan this out in advance as a ongoing Christmas feature, but, going through the photo album I used for a biography project in Grade 8 (when I was less than half of the age that I am now, so it's an artifact in and of itself), I have at least a week's worth of material (and I could probably find more if I go through that box I mentioned yesterday).
This is me as an angel in some sort of Christmas pageant.
I almost wanted to say that this was me as a six-year old boy in Ms. Steiner's Kindergarten class at Beacon Hill elementary in Beaconsfield, but then I noticed the stained-glass window in the background, so it's probably a church, which means that it must be a year or two earlier, when I was at preschool at Beaconsfield United Church (1978-79 and 1979-80), and I was only four or five years old.
There's not nearly as much besides me to comment on in this frame, but, from a photo appreciation standpoint, I do like all those parents crouching in the background with cameras. That was a detail I had never really noticed in this photo until I scanned it just now. And this photo is so old that some of those cameras probably still have the flashbulb strip things that were common accessories for cameras when I was a little boy, before most cameras had the built-in flash.
WHO DO YOU LOOK LIKE?
If you were to ask me, I would tell you that I think that I look like a chubbier version of Rushmore
's Jason Schwartzman
, at least for the well-formed nose and thick eyebrows. Also, I used to do this thing in the mirror that would make me look kind of like a young Peter Jennings from some angles. Some people also claim, after looking at some of the pictures of me in my "self-pic" gallery
, that I look kind of a small bit like Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson). I suppose I know what they're getting at, but I've never seen a resemblance myself.
Resemblance is usually somewhat of an opinion, though.
What happens if technology is brought into the equation? If a computer analyzed my face, who would it think that I look like?
A company named Inbaltech has developed new facial recognition software that they are going to make available to the general public at a website called MyHeritage.com
, which intentds to be some sort of international database of faces which may be used for such purposes as to identify relatives you didn't know you had, or just to find your doppelganger, like Guy Incognito, Homer's exact double in the Simpsons
episode "Marge's Fear of Flying".
To demonstrate this software, they've assembled a database of 2400 of the world's celebrities and you can upload a photo and their computer will use its algorithms to try and match you with a famous face
So I uploaded this photobooth portrait I took in 2001
(the same picture I use for my profile pic). My eyes were open a bit too wide as I was overcompensating for the flash, but, otherwise, it's about the best likeness that I have, and it's a picture of me looking straight forward, which is the computer's preference.
It takes a couple of minutes for the computer to scan the image, but I got my matches quick enough.
So, without further ado, here's the MyHeritage.com's computer's celebrity matches for my face, from bottom to top:41% resemblance: Harry Potter
star Daniel Radcliffe
(his eyebrows are very close), recent James Bond Pierce Brosnan
(maybe the overall balance of the facial structure).42% resemblance:
Brosnan's co-star from Die Another Day
's Storm, Halle Berry
(uhh... I really don't see it; must, again, be overall "balance").43% resemblance:
Georgia (the former Soviet republic) president, Mikhail Saakashvili
(well, I am half-Slavic).44% resemblance:
Anglo-Indian novelist and fatwa target, Salman Rushdie
(the eyes and eyebrows, I guess).48% resemblance:
German-language novelist and existentialist, Franz Kafka
(yes, okay, I'm getting a "Whose Who" of historical figures with thick eyebrows).49% resemblance:
Fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini
(Oh, geez, anyone that hates me or this blog will have a field day with that
Indian Muslim poet, Allama Iqbal
(hmm... the second Indian, but I am someone who subscribes to the anthropological line of thought that all Caucasians have their roots in the Indian subcontinent if you go back 40 or 50 thousand years.)53% resemblance: Murdered
French actress Marie Trintignant
(hmm... yeah, if you took someone with my general face, added long hair, and made her pretty, she'd look like her; kind of freaky, actually.)
And the number one celebrity who looks like me, according to the MyHeritage.com's computer's facial recognition algorithm?54% resemblance:
Italian football (as in soccer) referee Pierluigi Collina
(from the pictures I found using Google image search, he seems to have rather wide eyes too, though my eyes usually aren't open nearly as wide as they are in the picture I used, so I'm not sure if I'd get the same result for a different picture.)
Hat tip to F*ckin' Otaku forum poster Pisces Star
for the link.
THE GHOST OF A CHRISTMAS LONG PAST...
My brother Nick brought his girlfriend over from Toronto for the weekend (and last night we all had dinner, along with my parents and my sister and her fiance, at the Fortune Express Chinese (Cantonese) restaurant on Hazeldean road in Kanata, and it was lovely, especially the spring rolls and the General Tao chicken and the beef, which I think was orange beef, though I'm not 100% sure. And it's the sort of Chinese restaurant that actual Chinese people eat at, so you know it's great.).
Anyhow, my mother actually dug up some old photos from the box that I've been having trouble finding (most of the old photos I've put here or in my Fotopic album were from this one album of my life that I assembled for a grade 8 project), and, since Christmas is coming soon, I thought I'd post one appropriate for the season.
That's me and Santa Claus a few days before Christmas in 1980. I can't believe that I used to wear fire-engine red boots.
This photo was taken in Yvon's (Marché Yvon), a corner store (the corner of Beaconsfield and Lakeview boulevards in the western part of Beaurepaire village in Beaconsfield) which was like a Mecca for candy when I was a little kid (or, at least, the selection seemed slightly better than at Provi-Soir). It's not around anymore; not that a big conglomerate put it out of business or anything, just a similar dépanneur
(convenience store) opened in newly-built larger quarters right next door. It changed hands and was run by someone else for a few years, but, since about the late 1990s, it's been a dojo for some karate school.
What I find fascinating is looking at the soft drinks in the background, in glass bottles in both the 750 ml and the prone-to-exploding 1.5 L sizes. And six packs of Coke in the cardboard carrying cases! And there's some mysterious concoction called "Snow White". I don't remember any soft drinks called "Snow White", but I suspected it was a brand of cream soda and Google confirms my hunch, but all of the links seem to be expired eBay auctions so I can't link to a good picture.
This photo definitely benefitted from the invention of Adobe Photoshop, since I was able to bring down the over exposure on my face a lot, so I no longer look like Casper the Friendly Ghost like I did in the original photo I scanned.