February 25, 2011

There’s No Shame in Reading Manuals

I was taking a few shots of cat 'n wife cuddling in my office this evening, when I realized that I really needed to re-read my Nikon D300 manual. That's no slight to Nikon, or to technical writers. These modern semi-pro DSLRs are so powerful and feature-laden that there's no way one can learn to fully utilize all their features on one's own, or with a single skim of the manual. Or at least not unless you're a pro who uses all those features regularly day in and day out. I use my D300 a lot, but there's still the odd option or setting that I forget about.


Posted by Paul at 09:11 PM

February 23, 2011

My Nikon D300 is Spotless Again

I took my Nikon D300 DSLR in for cleaning at the Richmond service centre for Nikon Canada yesterday. The sensor had developed a couple of distinct spots that I was loath to try to remove with my limited gear and experience. For $50 they turned my camera around in 24 hours, clean and ready to roll again.

A lovely, full-frame shot of--nothing. Yay!

I pointed the camera into the dull sky outside the service centre and snapped this shot
to confirm that the irritating blemishes were indeed gone.


In the photo below, you can see the previous spots at the left edge just
below centre, and at the right edge just above centre in this cropped shot.


This is one "weakness" of DSLRs-when you change lenses, there is always the possibility that dust may settle on the imaging sensor. Though I used the D300's cleaning function several times, it couldn't get rid of them, and I wasn't going to take any chances with accessing and cleaning the sensor myself.

Posted by Paul at 07:57 PM

Starving Eagles ‘Fall Out of Sky’ as Salmon Runs Collapse

This is so sad. I'd heard that eagles were flocking to municipal dumps and landfills the last couple of months, trying to survive on garbage, as chum salmon runs disappeared last autumn and winter on Canada's west coast. Now apparently some eagles are so starved they are literally dropping out of the sky, according to a Globe & Mail article by Mark Hume.

This is a horrific example of what happens when nature's food chain is compromised. While we can't point a finger at any specific cause for the collapse of chum salmon runs, you can bet your bottom dollar that human interference has got at least something to do with it, be it overfishing, destruction of habitat, anthropogenic climate change, or some combination of the above.

Posted by Paul at 07:39 PM

February 22, 2011

Burnaby Museum, Shadbolt Centre ‘Fishing for Stories’

Fishing for stories ...

Have you been involved in the fishing industry? We are looking for commercial fishers, shoreworkers, fisheries workers, and people who have been involved in the preservation of streams and fish stock.

Share your stories and memories at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts on Thursday, March 3 at 1 :00 pm. The Curator from the Burnaby Village Museum and a facilitator from the urban ink theatre company will be on hand to collect your stories, and to weave some of the tales into a play about fishing that will take place at the Shadbolt Centre on Saturday, March 5 at 8:00 pm.

Collecting stories about people's experiences with the fishing industry helps to preserve information about this important British Columbia industry, and the unique ways it relates to Burnaby and the people who live here. It doesn't matter if your involvement has been in Burnaby or somewhere else...we would like to hear from you.

The conversations begin at 1:00 on Wednesday, March 3 and will likely last two or three hours, depending on the number of participants. Participants will be invited to return on Friday between 1:00 and 4:00 if they have a special object or memento they would like to contribute to an art installation about the fishing industry. They are invited to attend the performance of the "Women in Fish" play on Saturday, March 5 at 8:00 pm, free of charge.

If you would like to attend the discussion on March 3, please contact Lisa Codd, Curator at the Burnaby Village Museum by March 1. She can be reached at lisa.codd@burnaby.ca or by phone at 604-297-4542.

Posted by Paul at 10:55 AM

February 21, 2011

Could Earth be ‘Unrecognizable’ in 40 Years?

Some sobering research has been making the media rounds today. Here's Salon's take on it:

Scientists warn that Earth could be "unrecognizable" by 2050

Combined effect of surging population and depleting resources could cause an ecological catastrophe within 40 years. . .

The scariest line from the article is:

According to the World Wildlife Fund's Jason Clay: [To feed everyone] we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000.

Posted by Paul at 04:50 PM

February 20, 2011

Vancouver Waterfront Walk

Though I felt a bit under the weather--achy late yesterday and a tad feverish this morning--we decided to head into downtown Vancouver and put a few miles under our shoe leather. Nothing like fresh air and exercise to clarify if one is actually ill, or not!

We walked Robson St., which is always fun, and followed it all the way to Denman, stopping in at Hon's to fortify ourselves with potstickers and noodles in soup, and then along the shore to Stanley Park.

We love the Lost Lagoon area.








I doubt if processed white bread is good for raccoons. . .

Sez Paul, while chawing down on some fresh, home-made
French bread, washing it all down with a nice glass of red
wine. . .





Savouring cups of coffee and latte after a long walk

OK, Yumi insisted that I look cute, too, so I should include the following foto:


I think that's wife talk.. Smile

Posted by Paul at 09:42 PM

February 19, 2011

Excellent Byrne Creek Field Trip with BCIT Students

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Rob, Joan, their streamkeeper mascot Toby, and I accompanied Robert Laird and a group of BCIT students from the Sustainable Resource Management (or was it Fish, Wildlife and Recreation?) program on a tour of Byrne Creek this morning. It was a lovely day to be out and about, and with our combined knowledge we had a fascinating walk. Between Joan's depth on the history of the watershed and streamkeeping efforts over the last decade, Rob's insights into geology, and Robert L's breadth of knowledge about creeks and riparian zones, biology and botany etc. it was a very educational walk. Dunno how much the students retained from the mass of information thrown at them today, but I learned a lot!


As streamkeepers, we are very appreciative of being included in such events to provide local knowledge and experience. And it's always fun to tag along and hear new perspectives on the watershed we volunteer in.

Posted by Paul at 08:40 PM

Hey, I’m ‘Blog of the Week’ at the Burnaby Now!

If you're reading this, it may well be thanks to the @BurnabyNOW_News "Blog of the Week" column written by  by Burnaby Now reporter @JenniferMoreau : http://bit.ly/hyZFAa

Thanks, Jennifer!

Posted by Paul at 08:21 PM

February 16, 2011

The Pipes of Byrne Creek

I heard the skirl of bagpipes on my ravine loop of Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby this afternoon. It was quite lovely to hear on the cool forest trail as a light rain began to fall. All that was needed was a mist and the clash of steel.

I thought it might be our friend Joe, a piper whom I've run across practicing out in the park on occasion, but it was another fellow. I introduced myself and we had a little chat. Said he was getting back into the pipes after a 30-year absence, but he sounded pretty good to me!

He noticed the "Think Salmon" button on my cap, and said he hoped he wasn't bothering the fish : -). I gave him a Byrne Creek Streamkeepers brochure. . .

Posted by Paul at 03:26 PM

Environmental Innovation Forum–March 2–Burnaby Board of Trade

The Burnaby Board of Trade is holding an Environmental Innovation Forum on March 2 from 5:30p at the Electronic Arts campus in Burnaby. This looks like an excellent event, and I'm not saying that just because I sit on the BBOT's Environmental Sustainability Committee : - ). Here's the lineup:

The panel includes:
Chris Corps, BSc MRICS, Asset Strategics Ltd.
Allen Langdon, VP, Sustainability for Retail Council of Canada
T.J. Galda, Chair, Electronic Arts Green Team
Member, Globe Foundation
Plus additional Panel Members TBA

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

The last BBOT environmental forum held at EA was a huge success, so don't miss this one!

Posted by Paul at 12:27 PM

February 13, 2011

White Rock Still Pretty on Grey Day



The pier


Bald eagle




Hey, wait for me!


Ah, together again : - )

Posted by Paul at 07:11 PM

Water for Life Benefit Concert in Burnaby


Join us on April 7 at 7:30 pm for the Water for Life Benefit Concert, a very special event at the Michael J Fox theatre in Burnaby, British Columbia.

A wonderful mix of inspirational stories, stunning images, film clips and music, the show features internationally renowned river conservationist, writer and speaker, Mark Angelo, who also chairs the Rivers Institute at BCIT. In addition, the program features the wonderful folk-pop music of Holly Arntzen, Kevin Wright and the Dream Band along with 160 youth singers from Brentwood Park Elementary School.

The evening will be a celebration of water, rivers and the natural world while also advocating the need to be good water stewards wherever we might live. The live show will be filmed for Global TV to be aired as a prime time special on June 25. Tickets for the live event are available through Ticketmaster at 1-855-985-5000 (charge by phone) or through the Ticketmaster website. Tickets are $35 plus fees.

Posted by Paul at 11:42 AM

February 12, 2011

2010 Olympic Flame Re-Lighting 1st Anniversary

Yumi met me in downtown Vancouver today. I was at an Editors' Association of Canada workshop on editing narrative, which I greatly enjoyed. We found each other around 4:30p and headed over to see the re-lit Olympic flame, celebrating the 1-year anniversary of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Brought back some great memories!




Posted by Paul at 06:18 PM

February 11, 2011

Let’s Hear it for Plain English!

Singing for plain English

Found this via the Editors' Association of Canada mail list, which pointed to an
excellent post on the Writing Matters blog.

Posted by Paul at 04:23 PM

February 09, 2011

Sea to Sky Jaunt

A lovely sunny day enticed me up the Sea to Sky from Vancouver to Whistler.


Scene from a viewpoint along the highway


Chopper passing by some peaks


Shannon Creek downstream of Shannon Falls


The pier at Porteau Cove


Grazing gulls


A group of Barrow's Goldeneyes


Heron at the end of the pier

Posted by Paul at 08:21 PM

February 08, 2011

Byrne Creek Signs of Spring 2011

A Byrne Creek Ravine Park ramble revealed signs of spring today, though technically it's still winter.


For all you allergy sufferers : - )




Moss overgrows sandbags at Byrne Creek footbridge


A pileated woodpecker. Love these flashy birds!


Sunset approaches as kids and parents play in Taylor Park


A view of mountains on the north shore as seen from New Westminster

Posted by Paul at 08:00 PM

February 05, 2011

Burnaby Lake Birds On a Winter’s Day








Posted by Paul at 09:38 PM

February 04, 2011

The King’s Speech

A gorgeous, moving, inspiring film.

Perhaps I shouldn't say any more : - ).

I am by no means a monarchist, though I am a history buff. But I loved this movie.

Splendidly acted, with immersive cinematography.

There are not very many films that I'd like to view again, but this is one. I'd go again tomorrow.

Posted by Paul at 11:17 PM

The Future of Publishing

This is a lovely little video - - be sure to watch all the way to the end, or else it doesn't work.

Posted by Paul at 01:35 PM

Invasive Plant Workshops in Burnaby

Cut It Out
Invasive plant workshop series

Space is limited, so please register early. Cost: $5.00 per person, per workshop.
Register using WebReg at burnaby.ca/webreg
Burnaby Village Museum & Carousel | 6501 Deer Lake Avenue
Discovery Room | 10am-12noon
For more information, call 604-294-7690 or email invasiveplants@burnaby.ca

Invasive plants in Burnaby
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Presented by:
Greater Vancouver Invasive Plant Council
Learn to recognize local invaders in your garden and discover solutions to manage them using the latest tools and techniques. Barcode: 244473

Invasive plant removal and control
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Presented by: Evergreen
Learn techniques for removing and controlling invasive plants in your garden. Basic plant ecology, best timing for treatment and safety considerations are covered. Barcode: 244474

Garden without invasives
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Presented by: TLC, The Land Conservancy of BC
Learn to develop a sustainable urban garden that doesn't threaten surrounding natural areas.
Barcode: 244475


Information courtesy City of Burnaby poster

Posted by Paul at 11:23 AM

February 02, 2011

So Canadians Fear Rabid, U.S.-Style Debate, Eh?

Ran across this on my Twitter feed tonight.

"@acoyne people like you should get cancer and die, no one will care and Canada will be a better place without corporate whores like you"

Sickening and unconscionable, no matter what your politics, or what your cause.


BTW, acoyne is Andrew Coyne, the national editor for Maclean's, Canada's weekly newsmagazine, and a regular CBC commentator.

While I certainly don't always agree with Coyne, I respect his intelligence, his knowledge, and his right to speak his mind.

Posted by Paul at 10:17 PM

Stupid Mode = 1

Stupid Mode = 1. (1 meaning ON, 0 meaning OFF). Apparently that's a real Linux command option for an operating-system configuration file that controls communications with overly complicated modem negotiations.  Note that I am not a Linux guru, and I haven't independently verified this, but it sure sounds like the irreverent Linux approach to technology and freedom : - ).
I like it. I see endless applications in politics & life :-). New, needlessly complicated tax rules? I shall simply set Stupid Mode = 1.

Federal and provincial environment authorities fail to enforce pollution laws? Stupid Mode = 1, triggering an automatic barrage of letters to ministers, letters to MLAs, letters to MPs, letters to the editor. . . : - ).

I could go on. And on. And on. But I think I need give no additional examples of the beauty of

Stupid Mode = 1

Posted by Paul at 09:45 PM

National Post Story Compromised

Here's  great example of how words can be confused, and how just a few letters can make a huge difference in meaning. As an editor, I dread -- and, I have to admit -- get a kick out of encountering slips like this.

From the front page of yesterday's National Post (Feb. 1) in a story about Canada's growing Muslim population:

"The current number of Muslims -- 940,000 -- compromises 2.8% of the Canadian population."

And as a sensitive, multicultural guy, I am not going to comment further on this one! :-)

Yes, I'm sure the writer meant "comprises," but someone screwed up somewhere in the writing-editing process.

Posted by Paul at 02:59 PM

February 01, 2011

Sundog From Taylor Park in Burnaby

I can't remember the last time I've seen  sundogs, but I saw the phenomenon from Taylor Park in Burnaby just before sunset today. I grew up in Saskatchewan, and I recall spectacular sundogs, usually most prominent in winter, I believe.


You can see the faint sundog near the left edge of the photo.

Taken with my teeny Canon SD780IS.

Posted by Paul at 11:23 PM