September 25, 2007

Intuit Comes Through on WillExert Problem

Awhile back I wrote about my frustrations with Intuit's WillExpert program, and came to some harsh conclusions. In all fairness, I must update that judgment. I gave the program one more shot today, still couldn't get it to print, and then grasped the final straw -- a call to tech support.

I hate calling in for support because I usually end spending hours on the phone. My negative feelings were bolstered when the automated call system told me that Intuit no longer provided telephone support for WillExpert and that I should email my problem in.

What the heck, I did just that, and was pleasantly surprised to receive a response in a few hours with instructions that solved the problem. Thanks!

Posted by Paul at 06:58 PM

September 24, 2007

Cool, Green Grasshopper

Yumi found this cool grasshopper on a plant.

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Posted by Paul at 05:37 PM

September 22, 2007

Alta Vista Picnic, Gas, Dirt in Drains

The Byrne Creek Streamkeepers had their booth up at the Alta Vista Park community picnic again this year. It's a great event, and the organizers do an amazing job. It's always fun, and like last year, we brought bugs from the creek for kids to check out.

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Streamkeeper Eleanor supervises the bug activity.

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The rock climbing contraption is always popular.

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As is the annual appearance of a Burnaby firefighters ladder truck.

At events like these, streamkeepers try to educate the public about their local creeks and watersheds. People are often amazed to learn that drains on streets and in parking lots lead directly to local creeks with no filtration. That means nothing except rain should go down those drains!

It was then my turn to be amazed when a person came up to me and told me there was a vehicle parked across the street from the park leaking gasoline directly into a rain drain! I have cropped this photo so as not to cause embarrassment, but this is exactly the type of problem streamkeepers fight.

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If you see something like this happening, call the Burnaby 24-hour hotline at 604-294-7200.

On the way home after the event, Yumi and I were also surprised to see trucks spreading dirt from a construction site along Royal Oak. This is illegal, and should be reported to the city.

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Remember, everything that gets washed down a drain on a street or parking lot goes directly into a creek!

Posted by Paul at 05:49 PM

September 14, 2007

SalmonTrain Kickoff

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This morning the SalmonTrain was officially launched at Gilmore Station on the Skytrain Millennium Line. What's a SalmonTrain? It's a commuter train car covered with Stream of Dreams Murals Society (SDMS) Dreamfish, with an urban creek running down its floor with tips on maintaining healthy watersheds. Conceived by Louise Towell, a co-founder of SDMS, and implemented with the hard work of the Rivershed Society of BC and corporate partners Translink, 3M, and Lamar Advertising, the Stream of Dreams® SalmonTrain Mural in Motion is a vibrant means of educating the public about the importance of clean water in our creeks and streams.

As president of the charitable SDMS, I was proud and amazed at the results of nearly a year of hard work by all the partners. Here are some photos I took of the event, and the SalmonTrain.

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The SalmonTrain poster at Gilmore Station.

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Fin Donnelly, founder and executive director of RSBC, chairs the event.

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Louise Towell, co-founder of SMDS, speaks.

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Dan Johnson, Burnaby City councillor.

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Partners pose in front of the Gilmore Station poster.

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The SalmonTrain arriving at the station.

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Louise and Joan Carne, SDMS co-founders.

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The partners in front of the train.

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A closer look at the exterior.

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The urban stream inside the train.

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An incredibly lifelike storm drain on the floor.

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A closeup of Dreamfish in the floor stream.

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The message? All street drains lead to fish habitat.

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A ceiling poster, also called a "Michaelangelo."

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Another ceiling poster.

So the message is, all rain drains (storm drains) connect directly to local creeks and streams. Why does this message need to get out? Ironically, as my wife Yumi and I walked home from Edmonds Skytrain Station after the event, we came across what was likely paint coming down Powerhouse Creek that leads to Byrne Creek. Somebody was washing out painting equipment into a storm drain, so we called the city in on it. There are still a lot of people to teach!

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Update: Lots of stuff on You Tube

Salmon Train Launch -- Fin Donnelly, Louise Towell and Dan Johnson

Interviews:

Translink's Drew Snider

SDMS co-founder Joan Carne

Posted by Paul at 07:56 PM

September 08, 2007

Lynn Peak Teaches Fitness Lesson

Lynn Peak on the north shore of Vancouver taught me a lesson today -- I'm not in very good shape! I tend to think that my three or four rambles a week around Byrne Creek keep my legs pretty strong, but a three-and-a-half hour hike up and down the Lynn Peak trail told me something else...

It took us just over two hours to the 921-meter top of Lynn Peak from the parking lot near the new water treatment plant that is under construction. By the time we were 3/4 of the way up, I knew my legs would be sore going down. I was packing more stuff and more water than I usually do on my Byrne Creek rambles, and the spare tire wasn't helping much either :-).

The view from the top was amazing, but the slog back down was tough -- I have a bad back and am paranoid about bouncing too much, or sliding and landing on my butt (which I did once despite my care anyway). Keeping my legs under strict control all the way down proved my muscles and stamina need some work!

So I've added a new "hiking" category to this blog, and aim to get out there on the longer, tougher trails more often to rid myself of those extra pounds and build up my legs.

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The lower mainland from Lynn Peak.

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Another view with Burrard Inlet in the foreground.

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Yumi at the top.

Posted by Paul at 08:16 PM

September 07, 2007

Red-Tailed Hawk Near Byrne Creek

We were happy to see a red-tailed hawk near Byrne Creek this afternoon, for we haven't seen many raptors in the area this summer.

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Posted by Paul at 07:09 PM

September 06, 2007

Nature Illuminated at Deer Lake

My wife Yumi was interviewed about her animal lanterns that are part of the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers display at the Night of Lights lantern festival in Burnaby. Originally I posted the story and photo here with full and repeated attribution to the Newsleader because their website does not have direct links to individual stories. On second thought, I am removing that copyright material. To find the story, go to the Newsleader website and click on the "Arts" link in the top navigation bar. It should be there for at least a week or two.

Posted by Paul at 11:37 PM

September 05, 2007

Great Info on wikiHow

I just ran across a site called wikiHow "The How-to Manual That You Can Edit."

It has several entries related to streamkeeping and stormwater management.

Here is an entry on creating a rain garden.

And another one on how to
reduce stormwater runoff at your home
.

Looks like there are plenty of other goodies, too.

Posted by Paul at 07:39 PM

Embedding Google Maps

Google Maps can be easily embedded on other websites. Here I'm testing it out with a map of Byrne Creek Ravine Park, where we do a lot of streamkeeping work.


View Larger Map

The odd thing is, no matter how I adjust the map, and copy and paste the new HTML, I keep getting the original map I searched for. I've deleted my cache, and no joy.

Hey, shutting down Firefox and re-starting it finally shows me the new map! What gives? Hm. It's not an image, so the cache should have nothing to do with it. It's a line of HTML code, but why wouldn't Firefox read the changed code?

Hey, again, the map is still live, so you can play with right from my blog! Cool!

Posted by Paul at 06:34 PM

September 01, 2007

Garbage Blights Burnaby's Foreshore Park, Glenlyon Development

An early afternoon stroll along Fraser Foreshore Park in Burnaby provided lots to see along the river and in ponds; however, the beauty was blighted by plenty of garbage dumped on the outskirts of Glenlyon Business Park in the vicinity of the lower reaches of Byrne Creek near where it empties into the Fraser.

First the good...

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A view of the north arm of the Fraser from the park.

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A small tugboat passing behind a log boom.

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It's hard to believe summer is ending.

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There were dozens of small frogs in the pond near Byrne Creek.

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A bright red dragonfly.

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An acrobatic chickadee.

And the bad, and the ugly...

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I do not understand how some people can be so senseless and uncaring. I also do not understand how the tenants of the business park can drive by this crap every day and not ask the developer or the city to clean it up. At least two of these sites have smashed TVs, one of them several, and CRTs and accompanying electronics contain metals that are harmful to humans, other animals, and the environment.

I know that several of the tenants in the business park have security guards, and I've also seen mobile units patrolling the roads. As good corporate citizens, they might consider having their guards keep an eye out for dumpers and send license plates in to police.

Posted by Paul at 05:27 PM