June 30, 2004

Moving to Firefox?

I installed Mozilla Firefox 0.9.1 today. I'd been meaning to try out the browser for awhile, and the latest rash of MS Internet Explorer flaws was the final straw.

I'm writing this in Firefox, and it looks like a winner. It imported all of my IE and Netscape bookmarks, and it looks clean and fast.

I'd been gradually shifting from IE to Netscape, and love the tabbed windows in Mozilla/Netscape browsers.

I deleted Mozilla 1.4, which was several versions old anyway, and will now play mostly with Firefox.

Posted by Paul at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2004

Skewed Canadian Election Results

There is something very wrong with an electoral system in which a party that wins 15.7% of the popular vote ends up with 19 seats, and a party that wins 12.4% of the popular vote gets 54 seats.

We're talking the NDP and the Bloc, and I don't support either party, however if I were an NDP supporter, I'd be outraged at this result.

It's also disquieting that the Green Party won 4.3% of the popular vote and didn't get a single seat. That means that the votes of nearly 1 in 20 Canadians were completely ignored.

The "first past the post" system has a long tradition in Canada, but I think we need to take a serious look at it.

Posted by Paul at 07:27 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2004

Do Something Now!

((((DO SOMETHING!) SMALL) USEFUL) NOW!)

I'm not a programmer, but even I could figure out that statement.

I picked it up off the NewsScan email list, and it was about the death of Bob Bemer, who helped invent the widely used ASCII coding system.

What simplicity and clarity!

Posted by Paul at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2004

Water Temps Rising in Byrne Creek

Water temperatures rose in Byrne Creek over the last two hot, sunny days. We did the same spots again today, and added two more. All the water temperatures were 1 - 2C higher today than on June 20.

Thinking our new thermometer may be wonky, I tested it against an aquarium thermometer at various temps between 10 - 30C and they were within 1/2 a degree of each other. I was also careful to leave the thermometer in the water for at least 5 minutes at each spot.

Today, water temps ranged from a low of 15.5C at the bottom of the stairs into the ravine from Brynlor Dr., to a high of 19.5C in the overflow pond! I guess that makes sense, as that's the most stagnant water in the system.

Streamkeepers conducted a tour of the watershed this evening, and I took the opportunity to check the temperature in the sediment pond again, and found it had risen from 17C to 18C from 12:50 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. That's getting pretty high for salmonids.

Posted by Paul at 09:45 PM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2004

Collecting Water Temp Data

Yumi and I got an armoured streamkeeper thermometer at Dynamic Aqua-Supply the other day, and tried it out on our walk around Byrne Creek ravine today.

It was yet another hot, cloudless day in the lower mainland, and I was surprized that the water temperatures were almost exactly the same from Griffiths Pond near Edmonds Skytrain station, to the Sediment Pond just above the artificial spawning and rearing habitat near Marine Way.

Three of four water readings were 15C, and one at the bottom of the stairs from Brynlor Dr. into the ravine was 14.5C. Not harmful, but getting warm for salmonids.

I found it interesting that the water temperatures were so close, though reading depths varied from 16cm (in creek areas) to 75cm (in the Sediment Pond). Just for fun, I also took two readings at the same depth in the Sediment Pond, one on the sunny side, and one on the shady side, and they were exactly the same.

All water readings were taken with the thermometer just above, but not touching the bottom.

Air temperatures in the shade varied from 20C - 22C, and direct sunlight was 25C.

Looking forward to accumulating more data :-).

Posted by Paul at 07:23 PM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2004

Streamkeepers Plant Native Vegetation with Canada Lands

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers helped landscaping contractors plant new native vegetation at the northeast corner of Glenlyon Business Park in south Burnaby this morning.

We met at 8:45 a.m. and it was already scorching hot. The project supervisors set out the plants, and we all got to work -- over a dozen streamkeepers, and four or five landscapers. In two hours, we had all of the several hundred plants in the ground, and watered!

I was soaked -- in sweat.

I would like to mention that the wheelbarrow and spade that Yumi and I brought today, are donations to streamkeeping efforts from G. Barry Morris, my Mom's husband :-). Thanks, Barry! They've come in handy two weekends in a row already.

And thanks to Larry Morgan from Canada Lands Company for coordinating the event. Larry has been doing an incredible job as a developer who listens to local input.

We may be doing more planting with Canada Lands in the future.

Posted by Paul at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2004

Garter Snake Lunches on Slug

Yumi and I were doing our regular walk around Byrne Creek ravine late this morning when we heard a rustling just off the trail that parallels Brynlor Dr.

Peering into the bush, we spotted a small black and yellow garter snake, about 30-35cm long. Its mouth was wide open and it was in the process of swallowing something.

Eventually we managed to make out that it was scarfing down a banana slug! Ugh!

Yumi pulled out her camera to attempt a shot, however the motion scared the snake and it disappeared into the underbrush.

It was the first time we'd seen a garter snake eating something in the wild, and it was a memorable menu item :-).

Posted by Paul at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2004

Upgrading to Fedora Core 2

I upgraded my Red Hat 9 box to Fedora Core 2 last night. Everything appeared to go well, aside from a looooong, 2-3 hour install.

The speed was perhaps related to the old machine -- I use an ancient Dell PIII 450 with 256MB of RAM for my Linux machine.

I don't use my Linux box much, as I need MS products for work, however today I am posting this using Mozilla 1.6 on my Fedora machine, if anyone cares :-).

Posted by Paul at 07:58 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2004

Federal Party Leaders' Debate - Platforms

It's been fun watching the scrapping going on, however to get beyond the blather, I suggest reading the parties' platforms. In alphabetical order:

Conservative Party Platform

Green Party Platform

Liberal Party Platform

New Democratic Party Platform

There aren't any Bloc candidates in our riding here in B.C., so I'm skipping that one. In addition, I don't understand why a party committed to separating a province from Canada is included in a *national* election debate....

Totally weird, eh?

Posted by Paul at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2004

Cheerful Laughter Amidst Tragedy of New Denver

Continuing our trip homeward, we left Nakusp around noon on June 8 and headed for New Denver. We wanted to visit the Nikkei Memorial Internment Centre there.

The few buildings are the only existing remnants of all the internment camps that held some 22,000 Japanese-Canadians during WWII -- a shameful stain on Canada's history, as over 70% of the internees were Canadian citizens. They were uprooted from B.C., and then after the war ended they were not allowed to return home, but had to move east of the Rocky Mountains.

As we walked into the site, we could hear a happy male voice laughing and chattering away. We entered the reception area, and the man behind the voice looked familiar. My wife Yumi exclaimed, "I've seen you on TV!"

It was "Nobby" Hayashi, former bat boy for the famed pre-war Japanese-Canadian Asahi baseball team, and we'd seen him in a documentary video that was produced when the team was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame recently. Better late than never....

We toured the centre, and as we moved from building to building, my anger and sadness grew at what had transpired in a so-called democracy, and at the blatant racism. It was shocking to hear cheerful women's voices calling to each other in Japanese as we walked around the site, and to turn a corner to see beaming, beautiful, elderly faces in a place that to me seemed to hold such sadness.

I had many questions for Mr. Hayashi. He said there were only about 20 Japanese left in New Denver, all that remained of a handful of tubercular and family-less internees who were allowed to stay on in the town when the other 2,000 or so internees were forced to move east when the camp closed.

They must all be in their 70s to 90s.

I didn't ask what will happen when they're all gone.

I sat in the beautiful gardens created for the centre among the ghost-filled buildings, and pondered people's inhumanity toward other human beings.

NewDenver_Nikkei_Internment_Centre.jpg

Yumi entering the building in which we found Nobby Hayashi manning the counter.

Posted by Paul at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

Friendly, Beautiful Nakusp

I'm still catching up on our trip home from Calgary to Burnaby last week.

After crossing Arrow Lake on June 8, we continued south to the charming town of Nakusp and its friendly residents. Everywhere we went, people chatted with us, and we met several former Burnabarians who had moved to this interior town to enjoy a slower pace of life.

We walked the lovely lakefront and saw hawks and osprey soaring overhead, and enjoyed the jam-packed local museum.

Unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit the hot springs, but I suspect we'll be back sooner than later.

Nakusp_Lakeside.jpg

Posted by Paul at 08:36 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2004

Crossing Arrow Lake, Shelter Bay to Galena Bay

We woke up to a cacophonous chorus of irritatingly cheerful birds, squirrels and chipmunks around 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 8, at Blanket Creek Provincial Park. The auditory assault on our peaceful campground prompted us to hit the road early.

We were on our second day of driving home to Burnaby from an Editors' Association of Canada conference in Calgary.

We planned to catch the 9:00 a.m. ferry across Arrow Lake from Shelter Bay to Galena Bay, and arrived at the landing only to find it was half an hour late.

As the sun's intensity increased, we slathered on the sunscreen. At last we drove onto the small ferry, and were on our way.

I love ferries, large and small. It's great being on the water, binoculars and camera at hand. The 20-minute crossing was all too short.

ArrowLakeFerry.jpg

Looking north up Arrow Lake from the ferry.

Posted by Paul at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

Blanket Creek

We stayed at Blanket Creek Provincial Park on Monday, June 7. It's about 25km south of Revelstoke on Highway 23. We'd never been down that road, and were impressed by the beautiful scenery.

Of the 64 sites, only half a dozen or so were occupied, so we looked forward to a quiet evening.

It's a beautiful little park on the shores of the Arrow Lake reservoir. We walked down to the water, and did the 2km nature trail. There were piles of deer scat all along the trail, however we didn't encounter any deer.

We'd certainly camp there again if the occasion arises.

ArrowLake_from_BlanketCreekPark.jpg

It's hard to believe that paddlewheelers used to ply these waters in days gone by.

Posted by Paul at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2004

Free Writing at EAC Session

We arrived home in Burnaby last night after a couple of days camping on the road back from the Editors' Association of Canada conference in Calgary last weekend.

I'll post a few entries over the next day or two about our travels, however first I'd like to share a free-writing excercise from the conference. We were asked to write "to" a thing, keeping our pens moving non-stop as soon as they hit the paper. I chose computers.

To computers: You seduced me with your power, the magic of green or yellow characters dancing across a screen. You let me combine work with play, and even let a bit of that adolescent hot-rodder continue to express himself into middle age with gigahertz instead of horsepower, graphics cards instead of mag wheels, oodles of RAM instead of Edelbrock intake manifolds. You have made me dependent upon you to put a roof over my head and keep it there. Without you, my business would die. You make me uncomfortable because while initially you empowered me, I am now almost totally dependent upon you. That's why I'm eagerly looking forward to spending three days camping on my way home, far out of WiFi and cell phone range, isolated from email and clients. Three days of freedom before I am bathed in the glow of your screen again, mesmerized.

Posted by Paul at 06:26 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2004

Editors' Association Conference - Report 2

The Editors' Association of Canada annual conference continued today on the SAIT campus in Calgary.

I attended several useful sessions in the afternoon, followed by the annual general meeting, which was run efficiently, yet with humour.

As with any non-profit association, there were calls for volunteers, however as this is my first year in the group, I kept my head down. I already volunteer with the Stream of Dreams Murals Society and the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers, which is enough. :-)

We just got back from a great banquet, which was enlivened, or disrupted, depending on one's point of view, by the sixth game in the Stanley Cup finals. Unfortunately, Calgary lost in double overtime, so there was no point in heading downtown after the banquet....

We enjoyed interesting conversations with many people, and look forward to a couple more sessions before the conference winds up tomorrow afternoon.

Posted by Paul at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

Editors' Association Conference - Report 1

We went to the opening reception for the Editors' Association of Canada annual conference yesterday evening on the SAIT campus in Calgary.

It was my first conference, and it was interesting to start putting faces to some of the names that appear from all over the country on the association mailing list.

My wife and I met many friendly and vocal people.

This morning Alberta Lieutenant-Governor Lois Hole gave a rousing keynote address on the importance of public education and libraries. It was an inspirational speech, ending with her saying she looked forward to the day when teachers and librarians were rewarded as well as hockey players. :-)

(Editors were later assured there would be a TV in a corner of the room with the volume off during tonight's banquet, which coincides with game 6 -- Go Flames!)

The first session I attended today was "Can Editing be Taught" with a panel made up of Kathy Garnsworthy, Maureen Nicholson, Frances Peck, Rosemary Shipton and Ruth Wilson.

It was entertaining and informative, with the conclusion being "yes and no." Some skills can be taught -- the craft side of the profession, however others may be innate -- the art side.

I look forward to more sessions this afternoon.

Posted by Paul at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2004

Camping Near Revelstoke

Last night we camped at Martha Creek Provincial Park, a small campground with 25 sites on Lake Revelstoke.

It was a pretty little campground, and we saw what were either snowshoe hares or some introduced rabbits, and, to our delight, a weasel that bounced through the grass looking for prey.

When we walked down to the boat launch, we were surprized to see a huge trout beneath the dock, and schools of fry and fingerlings along the shore.

It was our first night camping this year, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We really like being out in nature and having a little fire and watching the stars appear as it grows dark.

Today we spotted white-tailed deer, mountain goats, mountain sheep, a black bear, several hawks, and other assorted wildlife as we drove along the Trans-Canada.

We were driving from Burnaby to the annual Editors' Association of Canada conference which is being held in Calgary this year.

Yesterday, we stopped at a roadside rest near Sicamous where we'd seen eagles on another trip three or four years ago. The parking lot was deserted, and as we scanned the gorgeous view of Shuswap Lake, and the skies above, we were rewarded with the sight of a pair of bald eagles, and then a pair of what appeared to be osprey, soaring above.

Posted by Paul at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2004

Stream of Dreams Wins Environmental Award!

Louise Towell and Joan Carne, the founders of the Stream of Dreams Murals Society, won the 2004 Canadian Environmental Award for Environmental Learning last night.

The award comes with $5,000, and you can read about it at the Canadian Geographic's website here: Community Awards Winnners 2004.

Congratulations and thanks for all your hard work, and thank you to all the volunteers who have helped make Stream of Dreams grow over the last five years.

Posted by Paul at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

Interviewed by CBC French TV

I was interviewed by CBC French TV yesterday about the relationship between the Stream of Dreams Murals Society and the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers.

Joan Carne and Louise Towell, the founders and operators of Stream of Dreams were one of three finalists in the 2004 Canadian Environment Awards for Environmental Learning, and the award was to be presented that evening at a gala near Calgary.

The reporter, cameraman, and I spent about half an hour down in the habitat, and about 20 minutes of blathering on my part was whittled down to three 4-second sound bites in the actual news item.

It was great fun!

Posted by Paul at 04:29 PM | Comments (0)