It’s the end of the decade as I know it (and I feel fine)

Today is my birthday. As is tradition, I will not be doing anything noteworthy to celebrate. This blog post is pretty much it!

This particular birthday is a milestone in a couple of ways, one of them in a reflective sense, the other a little more morbid1Which I will address as a footnote: I have officially outlived my dad, who died at the age of 58.

I’m turning 59, which means this is the last year I will fit into that 50-59 bracket. Next year, I will officially be Old. You know how surveys always divide age groups up? I am basically at the tail end of the second-to-last group now, after that, I’ll be lumped into that amorphous group of people that spans from 60 to whatever you get to. This group is apparently a demographic that does everything the same, so it is not further subdivided. Apparently I will eat, shop, and entertain myself at 100 in the exact same way as I will at 60. I can’t wait to start listening to country music in earnest.

I don’t feel old, though. In fact, after spending all of my 50s running regularly (barring injury/snow) I feel pretty decent2The weather could be better, though. They predict only a high of 16C today and a chance of showers. Decent for running, less so for basking in the final days of summer.

And that’s really all I have to say. Here, then, is the Bitmoji version of me eating a birthday cake:

Clowning around (with appropriately terrifying results)

Using DiffusionBee on my Mac, I entered a photo of myself using the Image to Image feature, then entered the prompt Dressed as clown.

It produced this nightmare-inducing result:

Available to traumatize guests at your next birthday party

Original photo as reference:

I got a fancy cap in the process, along with a dress shirt (?), and it made the background more overgrown.

I will experiment more, but maybe with fewer clown prompts. Or more. I haven’t decided yet.

AI interprets my fuzzy college ID photo from 1990

Using the tool found here (story on it from Engadget here), I input my blurry college ID photo from 1990 (we barely had color photos back then) and here’s a before and after shot. While it clearly has trouble with glasses, I think the AI made my lips look sexier than reality, so I can’t really complain about the results.

Before: Blurry. After: Come hither.

I like that it didn’t know what to do with some of the artifacts, so it enhanced those as well. This stuff is probably going to be freaky good in a few more years.

Party like it’s 1994

I found my 1994 driver’s license. It recalls that all-too brief era when I both had hair and a beard with no gray hair in it. The hair and beard are both pretty much gone now, but their memory lives on in this tiny, blurry photo in which you can still clearly see that I look half-asleep for some reason. I remember the blue hoodie like an old friend.

(I attempted to clean up the image a bit in Affinity Photo–it actually looks a good bit better now, believe it or not.)

February shmebruary

This month started out with a fizzle, but is ending on a mostly better note, or series of notes:

  • My weight is down. Yay.
  • I am exercising again. Also yay.
  • I think I’m sleeping better in general.
  • My writing is…well, more on that below.
  • Work is [redacted]

On the poop side of things, my writing has gained no traction at all, whether it be fiction or this blog. I fell way behind on my usual one-post-per-day average, just as I did last month, and despite a few posts today, I will still come up short, unless I post ten haikus or something. I’m pretty sure I won’t do that.

I have also fallen behind on my modest reading goal this year. To meet it, I need to read a book every two weeks. To date I have read three this year, so I’m one behind. This is due to a combination of wanting to veg out during my commute and often not getting a seat because the [redacted for adult language] SkyTrain car will be standing room only at 6:30 in the [redacted] morning. It’s insane. I get on at the fourth stop on the Expo line. After my stop, Sapperton, there are 16 more. I’m pretty sure it’s SRO by the second station, Lougheed. It’s silly. Does everyone work in downtown Vancouver? Yes. Yes, they do.

For the writing, I’m not sure what to say. I think about it, sometimes I start, but nothing much happens. The latest book on writing (I’ve read oodles of them now) has the author assert there is no such thing as writer’s block and technically that’s true. Unless you are in a coma or otherwise physically incapable, you can always write if you have some time. So it’s not that I can’t write, I just don’t. And I’m not entirely sure why, because I’ve read some of my stuff recently and while I’m not trying to toot my horn (heh heh), I quite like some of it and think I should write more.

And maybe I will. Soon. I do actually have some additional thoughts on this and will spill them out of my head in another post.

(I’m not talking about work on a public blog. You’ll need the key to my heart diary to find out more about that.)

Me, 50 years ago

I can’t really articulate how much it bothers me that I have photos that were taken of me from half a century ago, except that I’m happy to still be around and embarrassed by them. I’ve recently scanned in a pair from 1967. There’s no date beyond the year so I would have been between two and three years old.

The first photo is an outdoor shot of me and my brother Rick standing in the front yard of our house on Trunk Road in glorious Duncan, BC.

Me  with my brother Rick, 1967

You know, it may not be my brother at all, but the size and hair seem to fit.

Mostly I can’t figure out what sort of hat I am wearing. It looks like a motorcycle helmet made out of fluff. I seem mildly embarrassed by it. How ironic that in years to come I would willingly subject myself to far greater fashion crimes.

This next photo is a rare color one from the same year.

Me chilling on the couch, 1967

I seem much happier here and why not? I’m not wearing the fluff helmet, I’m snuggled in comfy jammies with the little feet built-in and I’ve…got my bottle?

Yes, that is clearly a baby bottle in my lap but as you can also see I am clearly not a baby in the photo. I have teeth and everything. This led me to wonder at what age you stop bottle-feeding your kids and I found a Time article that suggests the bottle should be taken away between 12 and 18 months. Clearly, this did not happen here, unless I was just keeping the bottle warm for the younger sibling I never knew I had. Mind you, the same study said that late bottle feeding increases the risk of obesity and I was one skinny ass kid.

But maybe I kept thin by ingesting all the second-hand smoke floating around. Every adult back then had lit cigarettes in their mouths, in their hands or in an ashtray.

I have no idea who is knitting next to me but that posture surely can’t be good for the back. Also, rad red pants.

Finally, I think my mom took this photo. The clue is the blurry digit in the top-right corner. As a photographer, my mom had two specialties: including her fingers as subjects, and lopping off the tops of people’s heads. I was too short here, thus my head was spared.

Some things I wish I’d learned when I was a miniature version of me

Or “if I had a time machine and could only change my own history, here are a few things I’d work on.”

  • learn to swim (without the tragicomic results that occurred when I attempted this as an adult)
  • learn a second language (without the tragicomic results that occurred when I attempted this as an adult)
  • learn a musical instrument (I kind of did this in school but my guitar-playing is close to my swimming, just without the risk of drowning)
  • learn sign language (because it would feel like using a secret code to people who don’t know it, plus it looks cool)
  • learn to be ambidextrous instead of mostly ambidextrous (just to make things generally easier)
  • learn to square dance (haha, no)
  • learn to overcome my addiction to making lists (who am I kidding?)