August 31, 2004

Busy Summer Sees Blog Wither

Yikes, this blog has gone from near-daily posts to only nine so far in the month of August, and several of those have been rather short.

If I do have any "fans" out there, don't worry because in a way this is a good sign, for we've been very busy with work this summer. July and August both entered the list of top-ten earning months for our little company since we started it in February 2000.

It's nice to feel wanted, however we're back in the old home business dilema -- when you have plenty of free time you have little free cash flow, and when you're making money, you have no free time.

We have prevailed upon our major clients for a one-week camping vacation this autumn, and while we need the break, I also feel guilty as a few smaller clients are quite dependent upon our specialty of on-demand, fast-turnaround translation and editing.

I need a clone, or another translator-editor team I can trust to work to same-day in/out deadlines on occasion, using a variety of different style guides.

That's the other home business dilema -- at what point are you regularly earning enough to subcontract work out? Some months the hours pile up like crazy, however other months we've got plenty of time for streamkeeping activities and other volunteer work.

Well, the queue still has several items stacked up, so enough ruminating. Back to work.

Posted by Paul at 08:34 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2004

Warming Fraser River Threatens Salmon Runs

Global TV in British Columbia led off its 6:00 p.m. news today with a story about unusually high water temperatures in the Fraser River threatening salmon runs of millions of fish.

Researchers are already finding dying salmon. They cannot cope with the stress imposed by temperatures reaching 21 and 22C in Fraser tributaries, and are succumbing to diseases and parasites that they would normally shake off.

This could have a major economic and environmental impact.

I've been seeing water temperatures of up to 20C in Byrne Creek, where I volunteer with a streamkeeper group. We've had hot periods with no rain for periods of up to three or nearly four weeks this summer.

Posted by Paul at 07:53 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2004

Multiple National Connections Save Olympics

I'm a Canadian of Ukrainian descent who lived in Japan for 14 years and who has a Japanese wife.

This combo is making for an interesting 2004 Olympics experience! Canada has not been doing well, to put it mildly, but Japan and Ukraine are ripping along.

I'd rank my loyalty priorities Canada -- Japan -- Ukraine, so while Canada flounders, I gain some satisfaction from my adopted country Japan, and the country of my ancestors, Ukraine.

Posted by Paul at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2004

Netting, Moving Fish in Byrne Creek

It's time to clean out the sediment pond upstream of the Byrne Creek spawning/rearing habitat, and before that can be done, all the fish have to be trapped and moved out.

Chris and Yota from City of Burnaby Environmental Services and Pete from Envirowest brought drag nets, and nearly a dozen streamkeeper volunteers brought hand nets and buckets.

First nets were placed upstream and downstream to keep fish from entering the pond. Then drag nets were pulled through by hand, and trapped fish were transferred to buckets.


Those buckets were taken downstream, where streamkeepers counted, identified, measured, and released the fish.

It was arduous, yet enjoyable work under the hot sun. We netted and transferred for over four hours. We moved about 400 fish today!

Posted by Paul at 08:04 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2004

Japanese Homestay Kids Help in Byrne Creek

Ten kids from Japan visiting Canada on three-week homestays volunteered to pull invasive plants in Byrne Creek yesterday.

Streamkeepers gave them the option of either painting yellow fish next to storm drains or pulling invasive plants, and to our surprise they chose the dirtier job.

There was a bit of miscommunication, as several of them showed up in shorts and thongs or sandals, however they still worked hard pulling English Ivy. The rest with long pants and running shoes helped remove Japanese Knotweed.

After working for about an hour and a half, we took them to the Fraser Foreshore Park for a picnic. It was great fun.

Posted by Paul at 08:06 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2004

Fascinating Air Photo of Lower Mainland

We picked up a 20 x 20" air photo poster of the lower mainland at IKEA Coquitlam yesterday. We'd seen the shot before in larger sizes, but even in the smaller poster one can easily make out Burns Bog and Byrne Creek Ravine.

You can immerse yourself in the poster, tracing the mighty Fraser River, picking out the border between the U.S. and Canada, marveling at the swirling sediment flow into the Gulf of Georgia....

It makes you appreciate how beautiful Earth is -- and what a huge impact humans have had upon it. It's hard to believe that the vast checkerboard expanse of urban sprawl was all forest as little as 150 years ago....

It's a great conversation piece, and we're going to frame it and hang it on a wall in our townhouse.

Posted by Paul at 08:44 PM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2004

Home Renos Underway Again

When we bought this townhouse nearly three years ago, it was in pretty good shape, so all we did was repaint the interior, replace 90% of the lighting fixtures with energy savers, and install new, more appealing and functional, kitchen and bathroom taps and faucets.

Over the years there were additional little projects now and then like adding a few cupboards, putting in a new laundry sink, running Ethernet for our computer network, and installing security bars in the basement window.

It appears that projectitis is infecting us again, as Yumi is coming up with new ideas.

Last week it was new drawer and cabinet pulls for the kitchen and bathrooms. I had to admit the cheap plastic pulls were pretty tacky, however after installing new gold and silver metal pulls, suddenly the cupboards looked even less appealing than they had before. They're very plain and getting worn.

So today we took down the trim mouldings from around the tops and bottoms of the kitchen cabinets, and cleaned and sanded them. They are an ugly prosthetic pink to match the ugly porcine-coloured countertop.

The trim will be redone in black, and so will the wood trim on the square boxed lighting fixture smack in the center of the kitchen ceiling. That will give us a black on white effect that should complement some of the Japanese interior design touches in the living room.

That leaves the unsightly fleshy Formica countertop. Our budget still doesn't allow for granite at the moment, so we're debating painting it or tiling it. We might just paint it -- some sources say that's doable, while others say don't try it. In our case, if the paint doesn't last, that's OK, as we're becoming steadily more averse to what's there now, and if necessary will replace a deteriorating paint job with nicer Formica.

It never ceases to amaze me how little changes beget larger changes :-).

Posted by Paul at 07:39 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2004

Midori Finally Lays Some Eggs

We came home tonight to find our red-eared slider turtle Midori had finally laid some eggs. She was nearly a month late from her usual schedule.

She laid 14 large ones and three or four small duds. She'd been in considerable discomfort for some time, so we were glad that she was producing.

She likely has more to go, as she usually lays around 40 each summer.

She ravenously gobbled down a good serving of pink salmon that we'd baked the other night, and then immediately fell asleep in a fresh change of nice, warm water.

Posted by Paul at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2004

Crucial Rain a Mixed Blessing for Byrne Creek

It's been so hot and dry for so long that being woken up by the sound of rain early this morning had me sighing with relief -- at least until I got down to Byrne Creek later in the day.

I reached the bottom of the Brynlor Dr. stairs in the ravine at 11:15 in a steady drizzle to find the creek looking like someone had dumped a couple of boxes of detergent into it. Soapy brown water and piles of suds all along the ravine.


I arrived at the Sediment Pond in the spawning/rearing habitat at 11:45. It was still overcast, and spitting. The water temperature at the lower end was 18C and about the same at the upper end, while the air temp was 17C. I was surprised that the temps were still that high -- even after four or five hours of rain I guess the water coming in was still picking up road/land heat.

Heading back up the ravine the water temperature at the footbridge just above Southridge Dr. at 12:40 was 17.5C, and the air temp was 16.5C. The water was still very brown and soapy though the rain had stopped nearly an hour earlier. It was still too dirty to be able to see fish, but I did spot a huge crayfish.

It's unfortunate that in an urban setting, rain can be both a blessing and a curse for a creek. All the oil, antifreeze and car washing soap that accumulates on roads and in parking lots during long, hot, dry spells, is all flushed into the creek in one concentrated dose.

Posted by Paul at 07:51 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2004

Birthday Brings Chris Isaak CDs

I received a couple of Chris Isaak CDs for my birthday from my wife Yumi the other day.

Speak of the Devil, and Always Got Tonight.

He has an infectious style. It's old, it's new, it's danceable. It's surf, it's rock, it's country, it's blues....

Yumi knows how much I enjoy the TV show, it's such a goofy mess of music and misadventure. That's how I first learned of the group, and it's been growing on me ever since.

I used to be such a music fanatic.... It's strange, and sometimes sad, how one's life changes. I buy perhaps four or five CDs a year now, when I used to buy several dozen LPs per year in my youth.

What have I been missing?

Posted by Paul at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)