May 22, 2013
Environment Week Events in Burnaby & Public Input Into Enviro Strategy
This in from the City of Burnaby:
Mark your calendars! There are some exciting community events just around the corner!
Environment Week 2013
Sunday, June 2 to Saturday, June 8
Burnaby's annual week of fun-filled environmentally-themed community activities. The main event, Environment Festival, is on Saturday, June 8 at Burnaby City Hall in the outer courtyard. Come on out to learn, participate and enjoy!
Environmental Sustainability Strategy 'Plan-It' Event
9am to 2pm, Saturday, June 8
Burnaby City Hall, in the outer courtyard
Help us create a plan for a greener future! The City of Burnaby wants to hear about your priorities and ideas to protect and enhance the environment in Burnaby as input to the Environmental Sustainability Strategy (ESS).
- Learn about what the City does now!
- Place landmarks on our giant Green Map of the City!
- Take part in other fun events for kids, youth and adults!
- 'Plan-It' is part of the Environment Festival.
- Enjoy food, activities, music, exhibits, and prizes - fun for the whole family!
Call for ESS Community Engagement Volunteers
Submission deadline: May 29
Monday, June 3 to Sunday, June 30
The City of Burnaby is looking for individual volunteers to assist with Environmental Sustainability Strategy (ESS) community engagement events taking place over the month of June 2013.
Check out this great opportunity to help make your City a greener place!
May 21, 2013
Selling a Nikon, Gasp!
I placed one of my old Nikon 35mm film cameras and a Vivitar Series 1 zoom lens for sale on Craig's List Vancouver today:
I've never sold any of my old Nikon gear before, but I'll likely never use any of my film cameras again. This is the one I can part with most easily, as it was the most recent Nikon film camera I bought. I'll hang on to my Nikon F2 for sentimental reasons forever, and am still dithering about my "second body" "backup" Nikkormat FT2. They've sat unused for decades, but they have so many memories attached to them that it's not worth giving them up for the few dollars they'd still command today.
I started out with a Mamiya 500DTL that I bought in NYC around 1970 with money I saved from babysitting. I added to the screw-mount collection in those early years with an ancient Pentax, whose model number I don't even remember, and several lenses.
I sold all those over 30 years ago when I finally got my dream machine of that era, the Nikon F2, along with several top-notch Nikkor lenses: the 24mm/2.8, the 50mm/1.4, the micro 55mm/3.5, and the 80-200 zoom. The F2 in those days would be like a $6,000 D4 today - the pro camera enthusiasts aspired to own.
Anyway, I hope some aspiring young photographer who still has to go through the film, and film developing and printing, process, lands this camera.
May 20, 2013
Reifel Ramble on Victoria Day
The Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary was crowded this holiday Monday, but we still saw lots of birds.
A series of shots of a blackbird chasing away a crow:
Heron in flight
Sandhill cranes in flight
My how puffed up and handsome am I. Hey! I said. . .
May 16, 2013
Holly Arntzen & Kevin Wright Share Their Music
Holly Arntzen & Kevin Wright have this amazing ART program.
ART = Artist Response Team. They go into schools with an environmental/music program that's incredibly uplifting. The combination of their powerful voices and playing, backed up by professional, world-class musicians (the accompanying Dream Band is made up of session musicians who've played on many a gold album), and schools of children, has sent shivers down my spine on more than one occasion.
Years ago I had the wonderful opportunity as a Stream of Dreams board member to be there when some collaboration was arranged between the two groups that resulted in several magical performances.
So I'm (volunteer) working on a couple of streamkeeper/environmental slide shows to present at free community events over the next few weeks. They're all about watersheds, salmon, streamkeeping, and so forth. And it hit me that Holly and Kevin's music would be fantastic to play at such events to engage folks as they gathered, and to rev them up as I started my show.
So I asked ART if I could use a few of their tracks in that context.
Holly's response was wonderfully giving:
For sure Paul, we'd love you to include our music. Please credit Holly Arntzen & Kevin Wright as performers/songwriters. If you have the space, could you include our website: www.ArtistResponseTeam.com.
If I wasn't away on the Skeena tour at that time, I'd come and sing in person for you.
Now, that's dedication. . . and sharing.
Thank you Holly and Kevin.
Tiny Doses of Some Insecticides Fatal for Bees, Aquatic Insects
"May 15, 2013 - Neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects not only on bees but also on freshwater invertebrates. Exposure to low but constant concentrations of these substances -- which are highly soluble in water -- has lethal effects on these aquatic organisms."
One of the insecticides this article addresses is imidacloprid, the active ingredient in Merit. I fought a losing battle several years ago against using Merit in our townhouse complex (less than 20m from Byrne Creek) to combat chaffer beetles (and we had not even had an outbreak!).
Even Bayer's fact sheet for Merit states it is highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates, and says it should not be applied to water, or where surface water is present. It also says it can contaminate groundwater.
I contacted Environment Canada back then with the argument that the application ban should also extend to any ground that drains into a storm drain. They didn't buy it.
May 14, 2013
‘Beautiful Byrne Creek’ Presentation at Burnaby’s Tommy Douglas Library
This year's Environment Week theme is "Nature in the City" so it's a great partnership.
I'll be putting together a snappy PowerPoint of some of our best photos, videos, and maps, to help cover the following points, and more:
- Overview of Burnaby's waterways
- Byrne Creek -- an oasis in the city
- Fish and wildlife in Byrne Creek Ravine Park
- Streamkeepers -- what do they do?
- How can my family and I help keep our creeks healthy?
We'll also have posters, maps, and a display of streamkeeper gear.
Hope to see you there!
May 11, 2013
Jawbone JamBox Portable Speaker Rocks
I've got a couple of presentations coming up, and I want to play some music and some videos. I'm not ensured of having a speaker system to patch into with my laptop, so the other day I bought a Jawbone JamBox at Best Buy Canada. Regular price $159, on sale for $129, plus I had a $5 Best Buy discount coupon. The Jambox runs off of an internal battery for up to 10 hours before requiring recharging, and can connect to a wide array of devices through BlueTooth or a 3.5mm audio cable.
I've tried it out with some YouTube videos and some music, and while it doesn't match the much larger (and much more expensive) Big Jambox, it's still pretty impressive, and way better than the built-in laptop speakers.
I'm amazed how speaker tech has progressed over the years, but I think that especially for the bass end, at some point nothing makes up for physical size. From internal notebook speakers to JamBox is a huge improvement, but play the same tracks through my tower computer and Logitech Z-2300 Extreme THX®-certified 2.1 performance speakers, and the bass and overall clarity and separation is still far ahead. And that's for my 50-year-old ears! : -)
May 07, 2013
Dog Scares Cat, Cat’s Leash Breaks, Yikes!
Whew! Total cat-walking freakout this morning. Our 99.9% indoor cat Choco wanted to graze on the grass, so I put her in the harness and out we went. She then decided she wanted to explore and headed up the walkway in our townhouse complex.
As we got to the end of the row, a door opened and a dog bounded out. I don't think it even saw the cat, but of course Choco tore off back toward our door - - and the snap on the leash broke. I had visions of her disappearing into the ravine behind our place and lost forever as I galumphed after her. But she stopped at our door, then went to ground under a bush.
I slowed and called her, and she immediately came into my arms and a moment later was safe inside. Good kitty!
May 06, 2013
Nikon D300 Starts 5th ‘9,999’ Shutter Cycle
Since I bought my Nikon D300 in August of 2008, I've shot over 40,000 photos with it. I just started a fifth 0001 cycle the other day. Seeing as the shutter is tested to 150,000 cycles, I doubt I'll ever wear it out before the camera is considered obsolete. That's the build quality of a semi-pro camera.
Well, I dunno if it'll ever be "obsolete", it will just be replaced with more capable models. The D300 was discontinued several years ago, and it appears there may never be a "D400." The D7100 now seems to be Nikon's flagship in the DX-format category, and it sounds like a very capable replacement. Perhaps not quite as tank-tough as the D300, but close.
UPDATE: Well, of course it will be obsolete some day. . . Perhaps it already is for those willing and capable of upgrading every year or two. I think what I meant to say was that I'd continue using it until the day it dies. Even in its dotage, it would make a great macro camera, since it can operate just fine with my 30-year-old all-manual 55mm Nikkor Micro lens and extension tubes..
May 05, 2013
Tiny Spider Nabs a Fruit Fly
I noticed a bit of action near the door to my office when I entered a few minutes ago. A tiny spider was chasing a fruit fly, and I was rooting the spider on - we've been invaded by fruit flies the last day or two (one just went merrily skipping across my computer screen as I was typing). Not sure if they're from our worm compost out in the garage, or if they came with some potted plants purchased recently.
That's the tip of my index finger to give some indication of how small
the hunter and prey are.
Burnaby Rhododendron Festival at Deer Lake
It was a gorgeous, warm, sunny day for the Rhododendron Festival at Burnaby's Deer Lake Park today. It felt like summer!
It's a great place to take photos, and the counter on my Nikon D300 cycled back to zero today, the second time that's happened, so I've taken over 20,000 shots with it.
May 04, 2013
Streamkeepers Fill Dumpster at Edmonds Community Clean Sweep
It was a gorgeous sunny morning for a Clean Sweep in SE Burnaby! Byrne Creek Streamkeepers filled one entire dumpster heaping full, with a tire, shopping cart, rebar and other assorted large items leaning against it. Streamkeeper volunteers worked the area around Edmonds Skytrain Station, on both sides of the tracks, nearby streets, and the ravine park. Thanks to all the volunteers!
MLA Raj Chouhan (2nd from left) came by to thank volunteers.
No, we didn't dump the wheelbarrow! It had been filled with lot of
broken glass which we tipped in.
A full dumpster = a job well done!
Volunteers get drinks and hot dogs served up by the Burnaby Firefighters
Charitable Society in the parking lot of Gordon Presbyterian on Edmonds
Street where the community association had its signup area.
May 03, 2013
Wife Gets New ASUS K53 Notebook
Yumi is going back to school - taking accounting classes on weekends which will require her to have a notebook computer. Her desktop was also getting long in the tooth, as her tower was still running Windows XP on 2GB of RAM and a 500GB HD. So today she got an ASUS K53T with Windows 7, 6GB of RAM, a 750GB HD, USB 3, etc. She was not at all excited about the huge interface leap to Windows 8, so we were happy to find a Windows 7 machine on clearance. We got it at Staples for $449, minus a 10% coupon which nearly made up for the sales tax, so it was a good deal.
The plan is to replace the desktop with the new notebook, using her present 19" monitor when she's home, and she can also carry the new machine to class. I am now in the midst of setting up the ASUS. That means deleting unnecessary bloatware, installing MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials), updating Windows 7, and creating a backup image because manufacturers are all too chintzy these days to throw in a recovery DVD for a few cents. Grrr.
I've had a smaller ASUS for a couple of years that I've been happy with, but Yumi's machine is a lot larger, though only a pound or two heavier. I wanted something very portable so got a UL30 with a 13" screen, while Yumi's K53 has a 15.6" screen and the keyboard has a numeric keypad built in - a big plus when you're going to be taking accounting courses.
I will gradually install software and transfer data to the new unit over the weekend.
Honking Spider Sparks Excitement
I came across an intimidating spider in the garage this evening. After taking a deep breath, I caught it in a glass jar, and then Yumi and I transferred it to a square glass case for better photos. Sure hope it's not in my dreams tonight!
After shooting a few photos, we released it outside.
May 02, 2013
Streamkeepers to Participate in Edmonds Clean Sweep, Sat., May 4
Byrne Creek Streamkeepers are taking part in the Edmonds Clean Sweep this coming Saturday morning, May 4. As in past years, we'll have a satellite registration site at the Edmonds Skytrain Station.
Meet in the Edmonds Skytrain Station parking lot at 9:45 a.m. Depending on how many volunteers we have, we'll send a few groups out in the neighbourhood and along the ravine park.
We'll have extra garbage bags and gloves, but if you want to bring a bag and work gloves, that would be great.
If you want to take part in the refreshments at the end of the event, please be at the parking lot of Gordon Presbyterian Church on Edmonds St. (next to the new community centre that's under construction) by 11:45 a.m.
Note that the main registration site is at the church parking lot, if that is more convenient for you.
May 01, 2013
Presenting on Social Media, PR, Traditional Media at Streamkeeper Workshop
I recently received a "speaker information form" from the organizers of SEP Community Workshop 2013, the 12th workshop for British Columbia's streamkeeper/stewardship community since the first one back in 1991. The biennial workshop will also celebrate the 35th Anniversary in 2012 of the Salmonid Enhancement Program run by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, so it should be a great event. It will be held the May long weekend (May 17-19, 2013) on Bowen Island.
Since I'm speaking on public relations, media relations, and social media, how can I not toot my horn on my own blog? : -)
Here's the presentation description and bio that I wrote up for the information form.
Presentation title: Media and Public Relations 101
Presentation description and outcomes:
Get your story out through social media plus traditional newspapers, radio and TV. Get an overview of how Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs and other tools work, how to tailor your message to each medium, and how to develop relationships with journalists. Paul will share examples of how he's helped gain online, print, radio and TV coverage for a local streamkeeper group. Participants will come away with ideas on how to promote their stewardship efforts, educate the public, and influence media, and political policy, through PR, social media, and traditional media.
Please provide us with a brief introduction of yourself:
Paul has degrees in journalism and communication. He has over 25 years of experience writing and editing. He has a unique perspective that combines work at major media corporations with extensive board and executive experience volunteering with business organizations, community groups and environmental NGOs. Paul has volunteered with the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers in Burnaby for over ten years, is a member of the Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board, is a citizen representative on the City of Burnaby Environment Committee, and is active on the Burnaby Board of Trade Environmental Sustainability Committee. Paul was named "News Source of the Year" in 2012 by Burnaby Now reporter Jennifer Moreau.
April 29, 2013
Balefire Says Goodbye to the Black Lion
Though I moved back to Canada from Japan over ten years ago, news like this blog post by a good buddy from my Big Mikan days still move me. Mike/Balefire and I used to tag team to produce the Tokyo PC Users Group newsletter for several years, and he's an excellent writer.
He says goodbye to a favourite pub in this post, a place I got to perhaps once or twice a month or so for a couple of years before I left Japan. I also remember D.B. Cooper's, another bar in the story. Yes, those were some wild and woolly days back when Tokyo seemed to float on wads of 10,000-yen bills, and I was younger and much less wise : -).
April 28, 2013
Alice Lake Spring Stroll
To take the edge off of my increasing wanderlust as spring progresses and the roads and trails call, we headed up to Alice Lake Provincial Park just north of Squamish, BC, today. We had only a few hours, but it was enough to get out of town for a bit, and take a stroll around the lake. From June through September this park is crowded, and sometimes the road is closed when the parking lots fill up. But in April we saw only half a dozen other people on the lake trail.
April 25, 2013
Cherry Blossoms in SE Burnaby
We lost "our" cherry tree recently, one that graced our balcony in our townhouse complex in SE Burnaby, because its roots were causing damage. We still have some along the path in front of our place, though. Today Choco the cat was crying for a walk, and a nibble on the grass. She's an indoor cat, and has the harness routine down pat - she knows if she goes out that she has to wear it. She meows by the door, and then waits patiently as we snap it on.
Today as she meandered around near the front door - - she never goes far - - I took a few shots of the lovely blossoms.
April 24, 2013
Test to Blog after Upgrading to MySQL 5
We (still) have fire!