January 30, 2010

Cleaning Bird Boxes at Burnaby Lake

A call for volunteers appeared in the local papers to help clean out bird boxes at Burnaby Lake Regional Park for the spring nesting season, so Yumi and I drove over this Saturday morning to check out what the Burnaby Lake Park Association was up to.

Led by the irrepressibly passionate and knowledgeable Joe Sadowski, the 30-40 folks who showed up were divided into three or four teams and spread out to do some housecleaning. Despite the overcast, drizzly conditions, people's spirits ran high.









And a lovely Wood Duck couple, perhaps looking to move
in to the newly cleaned housing :-)

Posted by Paul at 09:09 PM

January 23, 2010

Rainbow on Vancouver’s North Shore

On the way home from shopping on the north shore, we saw this rainbow. I grabbed a few quick shots from the side of the road near the Cargill grain terminal with my pocket camera, but unfortunately the rainbow began to dissipate before I could find another vantage point. It must have looked magnificent from further south, say Burnaby Mountain!


Posted by Paul at 05:34 PM

January 21, 2010

Upcoming Burnaby Board of Trade Environmental Sustainability Forum

As a member of the Burnaby Board of Trade Environmental Sustainability Committee, I have been asked to forward this invitation to people in my business network.


January 21, 2010

On behalf of the Burnaby Board of Trade, I would like to personally invite you to attend the BBOT's inaugural Environmental Sustainability Forum for Business on Wednesday, February 3, 2010. This event will showcase a distinguished panel of speakers who will discuss strategies for reducing your environmental footprint and the economic benefits of sustainability.

The objective of this forum is to create an open dialogue within the local business community to explore the business case of going green. The panel includes:

Facilitator: Coro Strandberg, Principal of Strandberg Consulting and author of the Small and Medium-Sized Business Environmental Roadmap for Industry Canada

Event Details
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
5:30 pm Registration
6:30 pm Panel Presentation
Electronic Arts Canada, Ltd.
4334 Sanderson Way, Burnaby BC
$30.00 + GST
To register, please RSVP to 604.412.0100 or email admin@bbot.ca by Friday, January 29, 2010.

Posted by Paul at 03:44 PM

January 20, 2010

Word Press Founder Mullenweg on Work

Ran across this great article on Inc. about Matt Mullenweg, founder of Word Press, on how he works and runs a virtual company.

I really like this quotation in the article:

People write a lot of comments on my blog, and I actually read and manually approve every comment before it gets posted. I think the broken-windows theory -- that a broken window or graffiti in a neighborhood begets more of the same -- applies online. One bad comment engenders 10 more. I'll happily approve a comment from someone who completely disagrees with everything I believe in, but if I get a positive comment with a curse word in it, I'll edit it out. My blog is like my living room. If someone was acting out in my house, I'd ask that person to leave.

I think that's a great approach, and I wish some major media outlets would get their monitors (do they even have monitors?) to follow it. When comments deteriorate into slanging matches, I'm gone.

Posted by Paul at 09:59 AM

January 19, 2010

Clearing the Decks for the Olympics?

All the newspaper and flyer boxes have disappeared from Edmonds Skytrain Station. Is it part of security measures for the Olympics? Beautification? A move to curb litter? I don't miss them, just curious. The mailbox is still there. . .


Posted by Paul at 02:35 PM

January 18, 2010

Wrestling Yellow Fish at Edmonds Skytrain

Several years ago, Byrne Creek Streamkeepers marked rain drains (aka storm drains) around Edmonds Skytrain Station (among other areas) in southeast Burnaby with yellow fish to remind the public that nothing other than rain should go down these drains because they lead directly to fish habitat.

The other day I met my wife at the station and took some shots of an apparent, ahem, pissing match. Excuse my language, but it really reminds me of territorial scent marking by canines and other beasties :-).


You can clearly see the cute original fish painted over by, to my eye, the rather blimp-like, mean-looking latecomer. From Translink? Why mark already marked drains?

Posted by Paul at 07:26 PM

January 13, 2010

Cumulative Effects of Watching TV a Killer

From an article in today's Vancouver Sun, sourced from Agence France-Presse:

"Relax in front of the TV much? Be warned, each hour you spend there boosts chances of a premature death by 11 per cent..."

So, math wizards, how many hours does it take to ensure death by TV?

Later on the article makes a bit more sense:

"... an hour of television time a day delivers an 11-per cent higher risk of early death..."

But even this is ridiculous. What about an hour a day of sitting and reading? An hour a day of sitting at a desk and working? An hour a day of any sedentary activity? Why only TV?

Hm, and then the article slips back into weirdness yet again:

"People who watch television four hours a day see their increased rate of death from any cause by 46 per cent, and from cardiovascular disease it soars by 80 per cent." [And no, I did not miss any words in that quotation.]

Huh? People who watch television see their increased rate of death..? I thought they saw various programs :-).

ADD:  And as an editing colleague points out, isn't the "risk of death from any cause" already 100%?

Posted by Paul at 11:08 AM

January 12, 2010

My Stream of Dreams ‘Measurable Results’

As with many non-profits, the Stream of Dreams Murals Society struggles with how to provide "measurable results" to potential funders. The fact that we have taught 100,000+ schoolchildren about their local watersheds -- how they function, and how to protect them -- and that those kids have painted over 100,000 Dreamfish that have been installed as schoolyard murals, never seems to be enough.

As president of the society's board of directors for several years, I write reports for each board meeting. Those reports have varied in length, and just for fun I graphed them the other day.

So, with tongue firmly in cheek, here are my measurable results:


As you can see, my productivity has increased sharply to start 2010!

Posted by Paul at 03:24 PM

January 11, 2010

National Post dumps ‘The’ with Ukraine, Kiev finally becomes Kyiv

As one who has supported the usage of "Ukraine" alone, I am pleased to note that in today's National Post, "senior editors have ruled that 'the Ukraine' is verboten. And the country's capital is now to be given as Kyiv, not 'Kiev.'"

Posted by Paul at 08:26 AM

January 05, 2010

Collapse of Soviet Union Put Danube, Dnieper Rivers on Diverging Courses

A sobering article in the Washington Post. While many countries have come together to clean up and revitalize the Danube, there has been little progress on the environmental devastation to Ukraine's Dnieper perpetrated under the communist regime.

Posted by Paul at 07:46 PM

January 03, 2010

iPod Navigator

For a couple of months now I've been trying to catch this gizmo on sale at Canadian Tire. It plugs into the cigarette lighter on a vehicle to power an iPod, and it also transmits music from an iPod using a selectable FM band. (Our faithful and stalwart '98 Subaru Outback has no aux input for its stereo. . .) Such devices are often in the $40-70 range, but this no-name brand has been available at Canadian Tire for under $20 off and on, but has always been sold out when I get to a store.

Well, I finally found one during Boxing Week sales at a CT for $14.95. It's pretty flimsy, and it sticks out so far that I cannot put the vehicle in park without removing it, but hey, it works! When I finally saw one, I turned it over and over, wondering at its cheap appearance, and a fellow came along and said, "Hey, works great, I've got three of them!"

I just realized that I badly dated myself - does anyone call them cigarette lighters anymore? I believe the politically correct term now is auxiliary power outlets.

Posted by Paul at 08:23 PM