October 23, 2010

Metropolis Express Fundraising for Stream of Dreams

All aboard to save salmon!

The Stream of Dreams Murals Society is taking part in a charity event at Metropolis at Metrotown in which donations to ride the Metropolis Express train go to several charities. Today was the Stream of Dreams "challenge day" - - one day to try to raise as much $$ as possible to potentially receive a bonus donation from Metropolis.

Stream of Dreams founders Louise and Joan were out, along with a fantastic crew from the Byrne Creek Secondary Leos. Kids got to colour small foil fish that were attached to the train to create a "salmon run."

In addition, local elementary schools were encouraged to join another Stream of Dreams-sponsored competition to win blank Dreamfish to do an environmental education and community art project at their school.

Thank you Metropolis at Metrotown, and Byrne Creek Leos!











Posted by Paul at 05:25 PM

October 18, 2010

Condon Applies 7 Rules for Sustainable Communities to BC’s Lower Mainland

The Tyee today published the last article in a series by Patrick Condon, based on his book Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities: Design Strategies for the Post Carbon World. If you're too cheap to buy the book : - ), or don't have the time to read it, you should at least peruse the Tyee series. This is stimulating, solid material that's a must read for anyone interested in a liveable Lower Mainland. Highly recommended for politicians at all government levels, transit officials, city planners, engineers, environmentalists and concerned citizens - which ought to encompass all of us.

Condon is a professor at the University of British Columbia and holds the James Taylor Chair in Landscape and Liveable Environments. I had the pleasure to be a citizen representative on a planning charrette for the Kingsway corridor through Burnaby, BC, organized by the Sustainability by Design folks at UBC a few years back. It was a thought-provoking exercise that engaged City planners, engineers, academics, students and citizens in a sharing, respectful process.

The Burnaby Kingsway corridor plan was part of a larger study that also looked at a "node" in Langley, BC, and an "edge" in east Ladner, BC., and resulted in the publication Sustainability by Design: A Vision for a Region of 4 Million. I have always found Condon to be well-spoken and lucid with quiet, persuasive, rational arguments.

Too bad too many such studies appear to end up filed away in municipality, regional, and provincial filing cabinets, never, or rarely, to be referred to again.

If you care about your community, please read and share!

Posted by Paul at 02:18 PM

October 14, 2010

The W/web, I/internet, N/net Progression

A recent thread on the Japan-based Society of Writers, Editors and Translators mail list was discussing the transition of "Web" to "web." A few folks were surprised to see the Chicago Manual of Style making the transition to lower case for "web" in its latest edition, though Chicago retains caps for Internet and World Wide Web.

I just checked my (published in 1996) Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age and was surprised to see all W/web references in upper case, though Wired was always cutting edge when it came to lower-casing and combining words (what's the term for that? Y'know, the two words, hyphenated word, one word progression? Linkage? Something fancier?).

Mind you this was very early in the W/web years. Here's one of many references in the 1996 Wired guide:

Web: Call it the Web, the World Wide Web, or W3, this is the place your money, phone calls, and email may soon live.


World Wide Web: A graphics-intensive environment running on top of the Internet, the Web brought hypertext home (literally). Conceived in 1989, the Web took off in 1993 with the NCSA's first GUI browser, Mosaic. Today there are many browsers, and many more people who experience the Internet primarily through the Web.

Funny how fast technology and language changes these days!

Ah, I just found this online article on Wired no longer capping I/internet, W/web, and N/net, dating to 2004:


Posted by Paul at 05:17 PM

October 13, 2010

Sony MDR-XB300 ‘Extra Bass’ Headphones

Picked up a set of these headphones at NCIX today for C$29.95 from a regular price of C$69.95. I've just plugged them into my iPod, and whoa, talk about a huge difference from those tinny standard earbuds. There certainly is a lot more bass, and distinctly better overall sound quality. They're nice and comfy, too, with thickly padded ear cushions.

Now I have even more incentive to spend time on the stationary bike in the gym :-). Nothing like AC/DC, ZZ Top, Guns and Roses, the Stones, Led Zep and Buddy Guy et al for driving a workout.

Posted by Paul at 03:03 PM

October 12, 2010

Vancouver Philharmonic Season Starts Oct. 23!

The VPO is one of the best musical performance deals in the lower mainland.

A message from a friend who plays in the orchestra:

Please join us for the first concert of our 2010/2011 concert series, which promises to be just fabulous. 

We will open with Beethoven's Egmont Overture, followed by a highlight of the evening, a trumpet concerto by Hummel.  We are thrilled to welcome Ed Lewis, who will dazzle us with his brilliant playing.  He has also volunteered to talk about the piece before he performs it.  It will be interesting and educational, but above all, it will be entertaining.

In the second half, we will perform one of our favourite symphonies: Sibelius Symphony #2.  This is one of the most richly textured, melodic and thematic pieces an orchestra gets to play.  Every movement is wonderful in its own right, and it will all lead inexorably to the compelling end.

We hope you will be able to join us.
Here are all the details:
Saturday, October 23, 2010 - 8 pm
Shaughnessy Heights United Church

1550 West 33rd, Vancouver, BC

Ludwig van Beethoven          Egmont Overture
Johan Hummel                       Concerto for Trumpet
(Ed Lewis, soloist)
Jean Sibelius                        Symphony No.2

Tickets (suggested donation): $15 adults, $10 seniors/students
To reserve your tickets, please email vpotickets@yahoo.ca
Visit our website: www.vanphil.ca <http://www.vanphil.ca/>

Posted by Paul at 09:17 PM

Dog Signs Go Up for Byrne Creek

Spawning salmon are expected back in SE Burnaby's Byrne Creek any day now, so Byrne Creek Streamkeepers posted several posters along the most-walked portion of the creek trail today to remind dogs to keep their owners out of the creek :-).

Salmon usually start arriving in the creek in mid-October, and spawners can show up as late as mid-December. They lay their eggs in pits they dig in the gravel, and cover them, and these redds need to remain undisturbed until April-May to ensure the eggs hatch and eventually swim free as fry.

As I was putting the posters up today, two joggers with dogs stopped to chat about the fish, with one whooping a "woo-hoo, the salmon are coming back!" It's great to get that kind of positive feedback from the community.




Credits: "Scream" and "Dog Paw" are by my wife, Yumi Kosaka, while the "Band-Aid" fish are by Maho Hayashi.

Posted by Paul at 10:02 AM

October 09, 2010

Adams River Sockeye Run – Day 2

The Adams River sockeye salmon spawning run is in a dominant fourth year, and after a relatively quiet visit on Friday, Yumi and I went back on Saturday for more viewing. The Adams River Salmon Society's Salute to the Sockeye event draws a lot of people on weekends!


The Adams River attracts chinook in addition to sockeye.
You can see how massive they are, with my size 12 shoe
next to one.


This time we wandered down to Shuswap Lake on the cloudy,
moody Saturday morning.


The shores of the lake were covered with expired salmon.
It looks wasteful, but each carcass carries a crucial load of
nutrients with it.


A sockeye moves past a spawned out cousin.


A biology lesson in the main event area.


Vehicles pouring into the grounds late Saturday morning.
The event draws folks from around the world.

After lunch in Kamloops, we hit the road homeward. We decided
take the slower 5A south to Merritt through the ranch country.






Posted by Paul at 04:37 PM

October 08, 2010

Adams River Sockeye Run – Day 1

The Adams River sockeye salmon spawning run is in a dominant year, as happens every four years. Yumi and I headed up to the Shuswap to take in a dominant run for the third time since we moved to BC. The event keeps growing and the Adams River Salmon Society's Salute to the Sockeye keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Yumi and I were glad that she had a Friday off so we could attend when the crowds were a bit thinner! :-) We drove from Burnaby up the canyon on the No. 1 to take in the autumn scenery:


Thompson River


Canadian Northern last spike


Kamploops Lake from the highway lookout


Yumi on the hill above the lookout

We arrived at Roderick Haig-Brown Park early in the afternoon
and spent hours wandering the trails. While the sockeye were not
quite "bank-to-bank" as we've seen them in other dominant years,
it was still a moving, beautiful sight to witness.


Viewing platform over the Adams River


A bridge on the loop trail


A male and female sockeye pair off


A female sockeye flips sideways to dig in the cobble with her tail


Closer view of these gorgeous fish


It's amazing to watch the sockeye congregate


Fins highlighted as the sun begins to set


This sockeye's journey is done

Posted by Paul at 04:07 PM

October 07, 2010

Congrats to Finalists in BBOT Business Excellence Awards

The Burnaby Board of Trade hosted a wonderful Hall of Fame luncheon today in which the finalists in the association's 11th Annual Business Excellence Awards were announced, and Global TV BC was named to the BBOT Hall of Fame.

As past president of the Edmonds Business & Community Association, I was happy to see several Edmonds-area finalists:

In the category for Burnaby Community Spirit:

  • CIBC Highgate - Acorn and Kingsway
  • The Mulberry Retirement Residence

In the category for Small Business of the Year

  • Fairhall, Zhang and Associates


Posted by Paul at 04:18 PM

October 06, 2010

Byrne Creek Fall Colors

A ramble along Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby, BC:








Posted by Paul at 05:30 PM

Tap Water Map App from Metro Vancouver

This is a great example of using tech to help people become more environmentally sustainable in their behaviour:

Metro Vancouver has developed a free new iPhone app, Tap Map, that's now available for free at iTunes.  Tap Map helps people find the closest source of Metro Vancouver tap water. 

Thanks to the municipalities within the Metro Vancouver region we already have the locations of over 550 public drinking fountains between West Vancouver and Langley.  We're already talking to restaurant and business associations about having their members offer to refill anyone's water bottle with no obligation to buy anything.

If you think that people who read your Blog would be interested in Tap Map, and/or asking their favourite restaurants and other establishments to opt in, please tell them about it.

BTW, free apps for Androids and Blackberries will be available later this month.

For more information on Metro Vancouver's Tap Water Campaign, please check out our Tap Water pages.

Posted by Paul at 03:24 PM

Great Health Advice for Pregnant Women

A screen shot from my iGoogle news page this morning:


Headline 1: 'Light Drinking Said OK for Pregnant Women'

Headline 2: 'A Drink or Two During Pregnancy? Not So Fast'

So which one do you believe?

My main concern when I saw this was that most folks won't read much past the headline, and that the word will start spreading that "light drinking during pregnancy is OK." That's problematic, because most people are clueless as to how "light drinking" is defined, and how quickly/easily one surpasses that level. There are way too many FAS kids. Whether or not that can be pinned solely on over-consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, why take the chance?

Posted by Paul at 08:42 AM