December 24, 2008

Snow Sledding in Ron McLean Park

With work off at noon on Dec. 24, Yumi decided she wanted to try tobogganing in Ron McLean Park. The catch was we have no sled or toboggan, but we had a coated sheet of cardboard in the garage, and a piece of rope and a couple of holes later -- voila!

The snow was coming down hard, and it was already knee-deep in the park.

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Yumi getting set on her "sled."

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Heading down the modest hill.

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And slogging back up the hill...

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With my bad back, I took photos, and gave Yumi pushes to boost her speed... No bouncing around for me!

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As people got home from work, more families joined in the fun.

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Heading home into our townhouse complex.

Posted by Paul at 04:14 PM

December 22, 2008

Snow Accumulates in Burnaby

The snow kept coming overnight and there was a fresh accumulation of ten to 15cm this morning, so I went out at 6:45 a.m. to shovel. I cleared the path in front of our section of townhouse units, and the trail to the back gate, but the road can wait for the contractor to show up with his truck! I wonder if people who need to drive to work are making it out...

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Yumi heading off to work.

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You can see the accumulation on our balcony.

The total must be up to around 25-35cm by now with the previous snow. Not much for my Saskatchewan roots, or up the valley toward the mountains, or in the interior, but it's enough to cause huge problems here.

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Choco, our indoor cat, was amused for about 30 seconds...

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Snow doughnut, with icing sugar piling up beneath the hole :-).

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The sun comes up, highlighting the snow.

Posted by Paul at 08:11 AM

December 21, 2008

Clearing Snow in Burnaby

It's snowing again in Burnaby, BC, so it looks like we may have a White Christmas if it doesn't melt. The forecast is for cold weather for a few more days...

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Paul with the shovel.

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Yumi following up with the broom.

Posted by Paul at 12:27 PM

December 20, 2008

Snowy Deer Lake Walk

Deer Lake in Burnaby was covered with ice and snow this weekend. Yumi and I walked the completed trail that now goes all the way around the lake. It was -8C to -10C and I was happy to find that my Nikon DSLR stood up fine to the cold for the hour-long ramble.

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Gulls on the swings at the beach.

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Yumi with ducks congregating in the only open water near the beach.

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A gateway to the new "official" trail on the south shore.

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Yumi edging her way onto the ice. More adventurous, or foolhardy, souls were skating on the lake despite the warning signs saying not to.

Deer Lake has numerous streams running into it that can undermine the ice, and temperatures rarely get cold enough, long enough, for safe skating. Thereby the prohibition...

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Me bundled up on the shore.

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The Shadbolt Centre across the frozen lake.

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Puffed up against the cold.

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Circling the west end of the lake on the boardwalk.

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A hardy heron.

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A semi-frozen stream enters the lake.

Posted by Paul at 05:02 PM

December 19, 2008

Snow Scenes Around Byrne Creek

It was fun crunching through the recent snow taking photos along Byrne Creek this afternoon.

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It's actually a heron, but I like to call this "Two Cranes" :-)

Posted by Paul at 10:56 PM

December 12, 2008

Short Water Videos From CWF

The Canadian Wildlife Federation has a good series of short videos on water. Check them out!

Posted by Paul at 04:36 PM

December 09, 2008

Report Says DFO Not Monitoring Enough Salmon Streams

According to this Globe and Mail article, a new study shows that Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans is not monitoring enough salmon spawning streams to preserve salmon stocks.

Stocks may be even more depressed than previously feared, and without adequate monitoring, Pacific salmon could go down the road toward oblivion as have the Atlantic cod. It also appears that the DFO has a pattern of dropping monitoring of streams that are in trouble, potentially skewing results.

Posted by Paul at 04:23 PM

December 08, 2008

Mapping Multiple Benefits of Marine Ecosystems

Interesting article on a joint project between Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment, the Nature Conservancy, and the World Wildlife Fund to develop software to assist in mapping the economic benefits of marine ecosystems.

I like the following quotation:

"'People tend to look at nature in one of two ways,' added Michael Wright, managing director of the Natural Capital Project. 'We either ignore the values it provides altogether, or we focus only on one specific commercial value, such as fisheries,' he said. 'We see individual pieces, not the whole. As a result, the collective value of nature is diminished. Through this grant we want to develop tools that do not just maximize the fisheries but capture all of the interests that depend on the oceans.'"

Any effort to broaden the way we calculate the "value" of nature is to be applauded.

Posted by Paul at 04:13 PM

Informative News Video on Stormwater Management

The Newshour with Jim Lehrer on PBS had a good video on stormwater management in the northwest US.

It presents the problems with urban runoff and what can be done about it.

What I find interesting is that often Canadians feel that they are miles ahead of Americans when it comes to the environment, when in fact US legislation and *enforcement* put us to shame.

Posted by Paul at 03:36 PM

Steaming Mad at Dell

On November 21 I wrote about how I'd ordered a new notebook computer from Dell, and how the delivery was delayed for weeks. I was never informed about any delay, and my order status page was never updated to reflect any delay.

After complaining by email, I finally received a response from customer service on Nov. 4 that my order would arrive on Nov. 21 instead of the original projected date of Oct. 13.

Well, here it is Dec. 8 and no computer. When I checked my Order Status page for the umpteenth time today, there was a strange error message. I phoned customer service and wasted the usual time on hold, only to be told that due to some internal issue, my order had been canceled.

So why wasn't I informed?!

They have my email, they have my phone number!

The rep said he would transfer me to sales to refresh the order, but I said no thanks. Let it stay canceled. I'll take my money somewhere else...

Posted by Paul at 03:12 PM

December 06, 2008

SE Burnaby Community Policing Open House

Yumi and I dropped by the open house at Burnaby's Southeast Community Police Station today. We know several of the officers stationed there and a few of the volunteers, plus we ran into lots of other folks we know in the community. The RCMP has been doing a great job in the Edmonds area of the city, and is working hard to gain the community's acceptance and assistance. Southeast Burnaby is home to thousands of new immigrants from dozens of nations and ethnic groups, and some of them have no concept of Canadian policing. It's important for such newcomers to feel comfortable in going to the police with any problems or issues they may have concerning safety and crime.

Posted by Paul at 08:06 PM

December 05, 2008

Burnaby Board of Trade Xmas Party

The Burnaby Board of Trade put on a great luncheon at the Diamond Alumni Centre on the beautiful mountain-top campus of Simon Fraser University today. I'd never been to the centre before and enjoyed its spectacular view to the north over Indian Arm and the north shore mountains. Participants were asked to bring an unwrapped gift for Burnaby's Christmas Bureau, and an auction raised additional funds for the worthy cause.

Posted by Paul at 03:00 PM

Western States Face Water Shortages

According to this article, increases in population and climate change are putting even greater pressure on the Colorado River, leading to potentially worse water shortages in the future.

What I found interesting is that there is no mention of fish or other wildlife in the article. Makes you wonder if any species other than humans have been written off already...

The history of our exploitation of water in the west is long and torturous. I recommend the meticulously researched and well-written Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner on this topic.

Posted by Paul at 10:58 AM

December 04, 2008

The Tyee on Fraser Salmon

"All of BC has a stake in better managing once massive salmon runs. Third in a series."

Part of the Exploring the Fate of the Fraser River series in The Tyee.

Posted by Paul at 04:48 PM

December 03, 2008

Kingsway Imperial Neighbourhood Ass'n Party

KINA put on a great year-end party tonight, with at least half of Burnaby City Council in attendance along with what seemed to be all of the top brass of the RCMP in town :-). The Kingsway Imperial Neighbourhood Association is doing a great job of getting businesses and concerned citizens working together to improve the somewhat neglected area in south Burnaby between Metrotown and the Edmonds Town Centre. Kudos to Diane Gillis and her crew for a job well done!

Posted by Paul at 10:50 PM