Homeless in Vancouver: Lite-Brite nite

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      On any given night Vancouver’s skyline, as seen from the south side of False Creek, is nothing more to the eye than points of light against the darkness. It’s no great stretch to compare it to a giant Lite-Brite picture.

      When kids didn’t sit around staring at computer screens

      A Hasbro Lite-Brite box, circa 1967.

      The original Hasbro Lite-Brite toy was a thin tray containing a light bulb and covered with a sheet of hole-punched black card or plastic. You could create simple pictures made of glowing coloured dots by sticking different coloured translucent pegs in the holes.

      Oh, you can laugh. But that was high-tech fun back in the day. And I’d still take it over Farmville. In fact, I think another, bigger, social media game, King’s Candy Crush Saga, borrows some of its visual mojo from Lite-Brite.

      There are now several digital variations of Lite-Brite: flash-based web games and apps to run on tablets. All kind of silly if you ask me because, well, computer displays essentially are pictures made of glowing coloured dots and Lite-Brite pictures just look like really low resolution bitmaps.

      If you need to see Lite-Brite pictures, look very closely at your phone.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      If last night’s skyline resembled any sort of Lite-Brite picture, it would have to be the modern versions—either digital or the hand-held kind with LED back-lighting.

      The original Lite-Brite used a hot incandescent light bulb, so the pictures were guaranteed to be warmer than the one I saw outside last night, which was forecast to dip down to the freezing level—0°C.

      I don’t know if it did. I was snug as a bug in a rug, or the proverbial homeless person in a covered parkade—which ever is snugger.

      Either way, fall just got serious. Last night marked an inevitable turning point in the weather. From now until well into May, rain and cloud will mean “warmer” and clear skies will mean “cold”.

      Brrr-ing it on I say! 

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer. Follow Stanley on Twitter at @sqwabb.




      Nov 10, 2014 at 6:18pm

      ...thank you for reminding me about my favourite toy from 40+ years ago! Excellent article!