February 28, 2010

Learn About Salmon-Friendly Gardening

From our friends at LEPS, via the PSKF message board:

Make your neighbourhood a better place and start something healthier for you and for salmon, in your backyard!

On Saturday March 13, join Langley Environmental Partners Society from 10am-3pm at the Fraser River Presentation Theatre, 4th floor, 20338- 65 Ave Langley, for the 3rd annual Salmon Friendly Gardens Seminar.

This workshop style seminar will have speakers present practical solutions for:

  • Converting Lawn into a Vegetable Patch ~ Ward Teulon, City Farm Boy
  • Rethinking Weeds as Wild Edibles ~ David Catzel, Glorious Organics
  • Gardening for Wildlife ~ Jude Grass, Birds on the Bay
  • Pesticide Alternatives That Work ~ Martin Harcourt, Mainland Landscaping and Gardening Ltd

Event includes refreshment break. Pre-registration is required, to register email kgreenwood@tol.ca

Why grow a salmon-friendly garden?

Every Langley home is located in the middle of salmon habitat. Each of Langley's twelve watersheds collects runoff from our backyards and directs it into one of our salmon-bearing streams. The Fraser River salmon run - the largest in Canada - depends on these small tributaries for spawning and the healthy development of young fish.

The upshot is that what we put on our gardens ends up in our streams, including pesticides and fertilizers. In addition, the majority of Langley's tap water comes from aquifers, meaning that our drinking water originates directly below our feet. When you consider that 95% of pesticides used on residential yards are considered probable or possible carcinogens by the US Environmental Protection Agency, there's good reason to cut back on the chemicals we use in our gardens.

This worrying evidence doesn't mean that your garden has to go to the bugs. LEPS presents this full-day seminar on how to grow a beautiful, healthy and productive garden without chemicals.

The event also launches the Township of Langley's pilot Grow Healthy ~ Grow Smart Program.

Salmon Saturdays are supported by the Fraser Salmon and Watersheds Program.

Posted by Paul at 09:44 PM

February 25, 2010

Dirty Discharge Passes Through Byrne Creek

At 4:00 p.m. today I noticed that the pond near Choices in the Park just west of the Edmonds Skytrain Station in SE Burnaby was a murky grey-green colour. Not good. Something likely had been dumped in the creek through a drain on a street or in a parking lot. I phoned it in to Environmental Services at the City, and was told it had already been reported and that staff were checking the situation.


This is the pond at 4:00 p.m.


And here it is at 5:00 p.m. The creek flow had cleared
out the "slug" of dirty water.

Didn't have time to check downstream for the possible
impact on fish. Hope to do a creek walk tomorrow.

The concrete structure at the bottom of the photos is a fish ladder to enable fish to get up to the culvert that was put in when the trail was built across the creek.

Posted by Paul at 10:10 PM

February 24, 2010

Burnaby Food Forum March 31, 2010

Join Burnaby Food First for a community forum on the future of food in Burnaby. Local community groups will showcase their successful projects, participants will discuss food issues in Burnaby, and plan for a resilient local food system. A healthy lunch will be provided.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
8:30 - 1:30 Shadbolt Centre
6450 Deer Lake Ave., Burnaby

Everyone is welcome. Please register by March 26 via email:



Posted by Paul at 10:47 AM

February 23, 2010

Dawn, Dusk on BC Ferries

The 7:00 am BC Ferries run from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, and the return 5:00 pm run produced some moody sunrise and sunset photos today.

The dawn run:





And coming home at dusk:





Posted by Paul at 11:31 PM

February 20, 2010

Fun and Games at Richmond OZone, 2010 Olympic Flame

After a beautiful morning in Byrne Creek Ravine doing streamkeeper activities, Yumi and I headed out to the Richmond OZone for 2010 Olympic-related festivities, and ended the day with an evening downtown on the packed streets of Vancouver.


Cherry trees starting to bud in the park next door.


Yumi checking pH in Byrne Creek.

OK, on to Winter Olympic 2010 Festivities!


Flags festoon a mall in Richmond.

There were delays on the Skytrain, so it took awhile to get down
to Richmond, but it was worth it.


Salmon says "O Canada," but I think it would be saying "Oh! Bear!"


Light standard with OZone banner.


Yumi with Year of Rooster lantern at OZone


Paul with Year of Boar lantern at OZone.

I refuse to call it Year of Pig! :-)


Yumi and some kids get their photo taken
with a Japanese super-fan.


Japanese team works on ice sculpture.
I yelled "Ganbare Nihon" at them and got
a happy look of surprise back :-).


The main stage at the OZone. We flaked out on the ground
and listened to some bands.


Outdoor skating oval at the OZone.


OZone banner in Richmond City Hall. There was a cool
display of ice skates through history, and a progression
of Canadian ice-skating uniforms.

The only downer was grabbing a 591ml bottle of Diet Coke
at the lunch stand, only to be charged $3.50 for it.
Highway robbery!


A view of the banners from outside as dusk fell.


The big screen at Richmond City Hall.


Evening falls at the OZone, time to head downtown!


The Birks Building at night.


The famous clock.


Huge Olympics projection on The Bay, with London Drugs in foreground.


Lanterns on Granville.


More illumination on Granville.

The street was full of happy people,
and every block had a different genre
of street music. Yowza!


Robson Square, the epicentre of the action.


Robson Square with the BC Pavilion (Art Gallery) in background.


The Zipline over Robson Square. If you look closely,
those ghostly shapes are lucky riders who made it
past the 4- to 6-hour wait!


And here it is folks, the 2010 Olympic Flame!


And, more importantly :-), moi and my
better half in front of it.

Waaaayyy in front of it :-). At this point in this very
full day, my back was giving out, and there was no way
I was going to stand hours in line to get any closer!


Heading home on the Skytrain at Waterfront Station.
It was packed, but kudos to Translink, police and volunteers
for keeping things moving smoothly. Well done!

Posted by Paul at 10:31 PM

Killing Game Feeds in Facebook – What a Relief

When I looked at my Facebook page this morning, half or more of the posts were automated updates from game applications like Farmville and Mafia Wars. Frankly, I don't care what games my friends are playing, much less what level they are at, or what "support" they need. Grumble, grumble.

Well, it's darn easy to kill such feeds without knocking off your friends (see, I don't even play MW and I'm picking up the lingo). Just hover over the top-right corner of such a post, click on the Hide button that appears, and then choose to hide the app, not your friend.

This is what happens:


Ah, peace at last!

Posted by Paul at 07:20 AM

February 17, 2010

New Fry in Byrne Creek, Signs of Spring

Byrne Creek in southeast Burnaby, BC, is sporting new babies! I spotted two salmon fry in pools in the creek today - not many, but it's a start. There were also lots of other signs of spring.


Hard to ID for sure, but it may be a coho, judging by
orange-ish colour.


This backlit strider was making explosive flashes of light
on the water with every step.





Posted by Paul at 07:26 PM

February 15, 2010

Robins, Fruit at Stewart Heritage Farm

Though it was overcast, I checked out the Stewart Heritage Farm in south Surrey today - it's a great place for birding and nature photos.


Cattails in a marsh


Last autumn's apples


An inquisitive robin.


Who gets a worm!

I got some good shots of waxwings eating berries at the farm last October.

Posted by Paul at 10:05 PM

February 14, 2010

Vancouver 2010 Games Valentine’s Day Photos

Valentine's Day was sunny and clear, a wonderful day to spend checking out 2010 Olympic pavilions in Vancouver.



Russian Sochi pavilion (Science World)


Fun photo at Saskatchewan House


Athlete's Village


Police diver patrol



Posted by Paul at 09:52 PM

February 13, 2010

Sign In? Sign Out?

Confusing choices on my iGoogle home page:


So am I signed in or not?

It's not a huge question, as I've never used Google Chat, but it is an interesting conundrum.

Posted by Paul at 10:01 PM

February 12, 2010

‘Military Gestapo’ Helicopters Circle 2010 Olympic Games

It might be noisy for folks living in downtown Vancouver these days, but I cannot believe anyone could equate the Canadian Forces presence at the 2010 Winter Games to the Gestapo.

I hope the comment that I saw on Twitter was fuelled by frustration and booze, and was a momentary late-night indiscretion, but even then I would find it nearly impossible to excuse.

For those needing a history lesson, the Gestapo were the brainwashed militarists who rounded up and gassed, hacked, drowned, shot, burned, whatever, to death, at the lower range of historically verifiable estimates, 6 million people, and at the upper range 10 million or more.

The Canadian Forces are the descendants of those who fought against the Gestapo and its ilk.

OK? Got that? Canadian Forces *fought against* the Gestapo. Fought against the Nazis. So don't call our first responders and military Nazis.

You can light up again now, or have another beer.

Just lay off the uninformed, slanderous analogies. Please. I'm a Canadian, so I gotta say "please," eh?

Though I'm glad that previous generations of Canucks had the guts to fight the Gestapo and Nazis, so that we, all of us, could have the freedom to even hold this discussion.

Posted by Paul at 11:03 PM

February 11, 2010

First CF Card – 16MB

I found this CF card today - it's the first one I ever had. It was included with our first digital camera, a Kodak DC4800 that we bought back in March 2001, during a trip to Japan. The purchase was spurred by my father-in-law, who insisted we ought to get a digital camera while we were visiting, and who provided some cash to back up his idea :-).

To think that this card would hold just two RAW photo files from my Nikon D300!


I remember when Yumi and I bought the DC4800 in Shinjuku, Tokyo, at a store that no longer exists, we "splurged" on an additional 128MB CF card and a PC Card reader so we could plug CF cards into our notebook computer. Don't recall now how much all that cost, but I think the 3.1MP point-and-shoot, the extra card, and the reader totalled over C$600.

Posted by Paul at 10:40 PM

February 08, 2010

Sunset Near Byrne Ravine Park

Late this afternoon I got out for a loop of Byrne Creek Ravine Park in SE Burnaby, and got a few sunset shots on my way back up the hill.


The view down the hill over the Green development.


Along Byrne Park Drive.



Posted by Paul at 09:27 PM

February 07, 2010

Olympics? Bah, Humbug… Er, Dang But I’m Smiling

I have counted myself among Vancouver 2010 sceptics, but darn it if I don't feel a spring in my step and a smile twitching on my face. We headed downtown today to check out the street scene, see if any pavilions were open, and had a great time. The only pavilion we entered was Northern House, and it was fun. While we don't have tickets to any events - damn hard to find and expensive - I will certainly be checking out more pavilions and other free stuff.


Yumi owns the podium!


Paul goes snowboarding. OK, if I look stupid, I admit I've
never been on a board in my life!


The outdoor skating rink at Robson Square.


With inukshuk at Northern House.


Yumi with muskox.


The "video postcard" at Northern House was a great hit.
You can select videos of northern scenes and activities
and have yourself superimposed upon them.


Feeding an eagle a bit of Japanese crepe on Robson St.

Posted by Paul at 10:39 PM

February 06, 2010

Eagles, Crows on Marine Way

While my wife was picking up some cat food I got some shots of eagles and crows near Marine Way in Burnaby. At one point there were six bald eagles soaring overhead, with some sort of hawk or harrier joining in for a moment. There were also several crows patrolling the parking lot.




Posted by Paul at 06:30 PM

February 05, 2010

Money Collecting Machine


So where can I get one of these? :-)

Posted by Paul at 07:34 PM

February 04, 2010

Burnaby Board Environmental Sustainability Forum for Business

The Burnaby Board of Trade's inaugural Environmental Sustainability Forum for Business last night was a big success, with a stimulating panel of speakers who provided inspiration and examples to help companies get on the road toward reducing their environmental footprints while boosting their bottom lines.

Held at the magnificent Electronic Arts campus in Burnaby, the panel featured Peter Robinson, CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation; TJ Galda, chair of the Electronic Arts Green Team; David Moran, Director of Public Affairs and Communications for Coca-Cola Canada; and Maureen Cureton, Green Business Manager, Vancity. The speakers and ensuing Q & A were ably coordinated by facilitator Coro Strandberg, principal of Strandberg Consulting and author of the Small and Medium-Sized Business Environmental Roadmap for Industry Canada.

The event appeared to be sold out. The auditorium was packed, and the speakers were well received by a responsive and appreciative audience. The panel was a good mix in terms of age and experience, and represented senior corporate management, staff, and NGOs. The overall message was that the green-blue wave is well underway, and companies of all sizes must understand environmental sustainability, and implement it, to hire and retain excellent staff, and develop and maintain optimal relations with their supply chains and customers.

Advice? While you have to have commitment and support from upper management, imbuing an organization with the values of environmental sustainability requires that everyone gets on board. Simply setting up a sustainability team or section will not change behaviour - it will alleviate personal responsibility as staff think "I don't have to do anything, that other group will take care of things."

An interesting resource that was mentioned was the David Suzuki Ambassadors program that provides workshops for businesses "interested in greening their practices." That was another theme that was repeated by several speakers - there are plenty of NGOs out there that businesses can partner with to work together on environmental goals.

Posted by Paul at 10:19 AM

February 03, 2010

Warmest January on Record in Vancouver, Eh?

Well, look what I found outside our door today:


I also did a quick patrol for salmon fry in Byrne Creek in southeast Burnaby. Didn't see any yet, but back in 2005 we spotted fry on Feb. 8, so with this year's warm winter they ought to be popping out of the gravel soon!

Posted by Paul at 02:44 PM

February 02, 2010

BC Artist James Koll Posts New Works to Website

I received an email from BC artist James Koll today about new pieces posted to his website. Coincidentally, the topic of art came up on the Editors' Association of Canada email list recently, with people sharing info about artists whose works they'd bought. I mentioned Koll and his website, and here are a few comments:

"Koll's work is beautiful and, from the photos, exceptionally well crafted. The next time I'm back in B.C. I'll make it a point to see some of his work; I'm in love with it, even via the Internet. A new slant on Internet dating?"

"Thanks so much for sharing this link."

"I like his Burrard Street at Night--lovely."

"Ooo--another great site."

Posted by Paul at 01:37 PM

February 01, 2010

Dell U2410 Monitor

Received the 24" Dell U2410 LCD monitor today that I got for around 33% off the regular price - about C$500 compared to C$750. My first impressions? This is one bright, sharp, gorgeous screen. It's clearly head and shoulders over the 20" Dell 2007FP that I have it paired with on my desk, and it leaves the old 19" Benq FP931 that it replaced in the dust.

The 24" screen with its native 1920 X1200 resolution is impressive, but it's the underlying technology that really makes it shine. It's an IPS monitor, designed for high-end graphics work, and it's colour-calibrated at the factory with sRGB and Adobe RGB presets. No matter how much I fiddle with the settings on the Dell 2007FP, I can't get it to match the U2410's fidelity and clarity. I'm just eyeballing the two screens side by side, but I suspect that even with colour-calibration gear, it would be tough to get the 2007FP looking as good as the U2410.

I'm look forward to developing photos on the new screen, along with having significantly more space for document editing and desktop publishing work.

Posted by Paul at 02:21 PM