June 27, 2011

OK, 1 More ‘Missing Pet’ Added to this Blog

I'm adding "missing pets" to this blog. I used to have entries for them on my old website that I took down years ago, and am finally transferring those pages here.

Toto the Cat in Aomori Prefecture, Japan.

This entry on my old website was posted around 1995-97???

"Here I am with a *verrrry* relaxed Toto, in Yumi's parents' place. Toto and I were the greatest of pals, though we didn't meet that often. He passed away awhile back, and I still miss him..."


2011 comments: Toto was the most relaxed, laid back cat I ever met, and I've known lots of cats! An unfixed male, he was incredibly cuddly. Yumi and I would visit her parents in Aomori, and we'd hear Toto caterwauling in the hood. . . He'd be putting on a huge display of bunched up muscles and throaty wails. Then Yumi would call out in Japanese, "Toto! Come here!" and just like that he'd be trotting over and rolling over to expose his tummy for a rub, all the while pumping out happy "neowks". . .

My kind of guy - a warrior with a soft side : - )

Yumi and I speak of Toto still, ten or more years after he died. We have shared memories that we will cherish forever.

Posted by Paul at 09:05 PM

Filling in Some Missing Pets

I realized that several pets that had huge impacts on my life are missing from this blog. I had stories and photos about some of them on my ancient static website that I took down years ago, and I'll gradually fill in some of their stories here on this blog.

One that I thought I'd talk about today is Ergie, the one and only dog I've had in my life. Ergie came to mind this evening because I have a friend with a lovely bowser who has got an incurable disease, and she's struggling with the decision of further intervention vs putting her beloved dog down. That is so tough, and it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

Sorry, here's the page about Ergie from my ancient website:


Paul and Ergie at our cabin at Wakaw Lake in 1992.


Ergie was a present from my sister. I'll always remember the day Raissa brought Ergie home. Ergie shivered in the palm of my hand, looked up into my eyes -- and barfed :-)

After that initial trauma, as Ergie grew, she and I had wonderful times together. I fondly recall the warm, trusting pressure of her body wrapped over my shoulders as we'd drive in my car with her nose pointed out the open window.

When I moved to Japan in 1985, my Dad and his wife adopted Ergie and she stole their hearts.

Ergie and I used to "talk" long distance -- she'd always recognize my voice. But as the years went by, she learned that when I'd arrive for visits, but lived out of suitcases, that meant I was only visiting....

She always had a soft spot for me, but dogs are loyal -- and need loyalty in return -- so eventually she relegated me to the second string in her affections, and rightfully so.

Ergie lived a long and pampered life, but eventually age, arthritis, and cataracts took her to the point that Dad was forced to make the painful decision to put her down. When he called me in Tokyo I commiserated with him and supported the move. Then I hung up the phone, took a deep, manly breath, and... my wife Yumi was busy feeding me tissues for a good while.

Thanks, Dad and Maura, for giving Ergie a caring, happy life.

Ergie? I'll always love ya, pup. 

Posted by Paul at 08:34 PM

June 26, 2011

White Rock Walk

It almost seemed like summer for several hours today in the lower mainland of BC! Yumi and I went down to White Rock to walk the promenade and the pier.


Posted by Paul at 07:57 PM

New Glasses with Progressive Lenses

Warning, my posts may be somewhat hallucinatory for a week or two as I get used to my first progressive lenses.

As I sit in front of the monitors and keyboard with the new glasses on, whenever I turn my head I feel like I'm watching an old "this is your mind on drugs" health-class movie, or a flick from the 1960s with Dennis Hopper in it. As I pan my head from side to side to shift from monitor to monitor, I get lovely ripples of distortion. While it will take awhile to "get used to the zones," so far I'm not feeling as woozy as some people warned me I might be.

I got the top end, cutting-edge HD lenses that supposedly offer the widest reading area and least amount of distortion. Wonder what the heck the cheapest ones are like!

These glasses have three zones: near, mid and far, and once I get used to them, I think they'll help with my editing productivity. I can use mid for the monitors, and near for reference books. Just tried it and it works great. I'd been at the point where I had to keep flipping my old glasses off and dragging my nose along a page to look in a dictionary, or a style guide, or a reference book, or whatever....

The other option would have been laser surgery, which the optometrist told me I'd be eligible for even with my major myopia and astigmatism. That would be like being correct for mid-to-far, and then having a pair of reading glasses for closeup work, he said. Still might try that someday, as I do a fair bit of hiking, canoeing, camping, etc. and it would be nice not to have to wear glasses for such activities.

I know lots of folks who rave about laser surgery, but I figured if I'd still have to wear some kind of glasses 40-50+ hours a week working at the computer and reading, I'd try the progressive route first.

Me with my new specs:


And for those who haven't seen me in awhile, that's not a playoff beard, that's a "forgot my razor when I went to a conference in Campbell River over the May long weekend" beard. So far my significant other seems intrigued, so I guess I'll let it go awhile longer. The last time I grew a beard was during summer vacation a couple of years ago, and I was dismayed at how white it came in. I guess now that I have accepted progressives, and am fairly comfortable with my white beard, I'm aging more gracefully : - ).

Posted by Paul at 07:46 PM

June 25, 2011

A Few Smartphone Photos

Though I've had my Acer Liquid E Android smartphone for almost exactly a year, I've rarely used its camera feature because I nearly always carry at minimum my tiny Canon SD780, or other, more advanced, photo gear. But the other day I was in downtown Vancouver for a seminar and got to Canada Place with some time to spare so I tried a few shots. Not bad.



Posted by Paul at 07:24 PM

June 24, 2011

Water for Life Benefit Concert on Global BC TV Sat. 6/25, 7pm

Don't miss this great show that combines the passion of BC and World Rivers Day founder Mark Angelo with the uplifting music of Holly Arntzen, Kevin Wright, and the Dreamband, along with a choir of 160 kids from Burnaby schools.

My wife and I caught this show live at the Michael J Fox Theatre in SE Burnaby, and are looking forward to viewing it again on Global BC TV.

Posted by Paul at 09:05 PM

June 22, 2011

Canada Day Bash in SE Burnaby at Ron McLean Park

Burnaby celebrates Canada Day on July 1 at a couple of locations, and the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers will be part of the SE Burnaby event. This year the bash will be in Ron McLean Park because the usual location at Richmond Park is under construction with the new & improved Eastburn Community Centre and Pool.

Streamkeepers will have our booth set up at the event, and will have bugs from the creek on hand for kids to view and identify. We will also be offering an approximately 1-hour tour of the creek and ravine park starting at 1:00 p.m.

Here's a view of the official City of Burnaby poster and you can download the full-size PDF here:


Posted by Paul at 10:31 PM

June 19, 2011

Taking Turtle to Vet

Our red-eared slider Midori has not been her usual bouncy self this cold, wet spring. Ever since we brought her out of hibernation she's been listless and slow, and not even very interested in food. About a week ago my wife noticed that Midori's legs looked swollen. Sure enough, they did appear puffed up. What to do? This was our first "medical issue" with Midori in 15 years, from Toonie-sized baby to her present soup-bowl size.

We searched for veterinarians with "exotics" and/or reptile experience in the lower mainland of BC, and one promising name that came up was Dr. Hugh Upjohn at the Eagle Ridge Animal & Bird Hospital. I gave them a ring, and got an appointment for 'Dori.

It's a different experience taking a turtle to the vet. I've taken cats and dogs to the vet, but when you show up with a silent,  loaf-sized cardboard box, it piques the interest of other folks in the waiting room.

"What have you got in there?"

"Oh, just a baby komodo dragon, we're trying to get a wedding ring back for someone who got a little too cuddly."

Well, no, I didn't really say that. I said I had a turtle who'd lost her bounce, and that was strange enough.

So you know how you're rather nervous about taking your kid to a new doctor? Same feeling, eh? As I sat in the waiting room, I observed the Eagle Ridge staff, and was reassured by their cheerful, competent demeanour.

And after 'Dori and I were ushered into an examining room, and Dr. Upjohn walked in, I immediately felt comfortable. He obviously knew what he was doing.

Now, examining a turtle is no easy task, because, you know, they "go turtle."

"You want to see my legs, hah! Legs be gone!"

It took the two of us tugging on both ends together to allow Dr. Upjohn to pull her legs out one at a time and examine them. And 'Dori was not a happy patient. In fact, I was surprized at how aggressive she became, hissing and snapping. From the first day we got her, she's always been handled and cuddled, and has always sought human warmth and attention. But she did NOT want to be examined. She'd rarely, if ever, hissed or snapped at home, but she was outside her usual element and very defensive.

Dr. Upjohn took it all in stride. 'Dori was calcium deficient, but her muscles were still strong, so she wasn't in too much trouble. We needed to give her more heat, more broad-spectrum UV light - ideally outside right in the sun, and she needed a diet change.

No more bacon cheddar cheeseburgers (kidding), apparently as pond turtles age, their diets naturally turn more herbivorous, so turtle pellets are not sufficient - 'Dori needs more greens, and other dark-coloured veggies.

She also needed a booster shot of calcium/vitamins, and that was also a sight to see. Dr. Upjohn called in an assistant, and they got 'Dori to bite down on a mini-spatula, the assistant wrapped a towel around 'Dori's head, and then the needle went into a front leg. Like I said before, not a happy turtle : - ).

We were sent home with a vial of liquid calcium supplement and a needleless syringe to administer it orally. I haven't found that too difficult. I load up the syringe with the proper dose and hold it with one hand, and I dangle a shrimp tail in front of 'Dori with the other. As soon the the mouth gapes in anticipation -- down the hatch, and the shrimp tail follows as a reward.

'Dori has already perked up. We're giving her several hours under the broad-spectrum UV lamp every day, and her legs are starting to look better.

Thanks, Dr. Upjohn.

And lots more on the pets in our lives, from 'Dori and Choco, to past pets over the years. Loved and fondly remember them all.. Just click on the "pets" category in the left sidebar..

Posted by Paul at 08:58 PM

June 18, 2011

Ladybug, Bee on Byrne Creek Walk

A couple of nice close-up shots with my tiny Canon SD780 on a Byrne Creek walk today:



Posted by Paul at 06:27 PM

June 12, 2011

Two Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Receive City of Burnaby Awards

As president of the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society, I'm pleased to share that two of our members were recognized at the City of Burnaby Environment Awards today:

Louise Towell received an Environment Award for Communications for her work
as a founder of the Stream of Dreams Murals Society and spreading the word about
the importance of wetlands, creeks, rivers and oceans to the health of the world.
All Drains Lead to Fish Habitat.
Well done Lu and very deserving!


Denis Boko received an Environmental Star award for his work with Kaymar Creek,
for co-founding the Urban Forest Group, and for his work with Byrne Creek.
I'm sure we'll see more great things from Denis in the future!

In the two photos, Lu and Denis are receiving their awards from City of Burnaby
Councillor and Environment Committee chair Dan Johnston.


I'm also pleased that "fellow traveller" Alan C. James,
secretary of the Stoney Creek Environment Committee
also received an Environmental Star award.


Posted by Paul at 07:38 PM

June 11, 2011

Sharing Sunlight: A Recipe for World Peace

My recipe for world peace: cross-cultural, even cross-species sharing of a patch of sunlight. Midori the turtle and Choco the cat show how it's done:


We found them like this near the sliding doors to the balcony
when we got home from a volunteer event today.

Posted by Paul at 09:18 PM

Protocol for Reporting Dead Wild Birds in BC

I got an email from a member of the public who found me through the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers website, and who was concerned about having found 2 dead barred owls in Byrne Creek Ravine Park -- one about a month ago, and one today. So I found the following on the 'net and sent it to her, suggesting she call the number:

The British Columbia Interagency Wild Bird Mortality Investigation Protocol & the 2011 Avian Influenza and
West Nile Virus Surveys

An excerpt from this document, and link to it below:

Guidelines for reporting dead wild birds to Government Agencies

What to report to Wildlife Agencies:
1. Groups of 3 or more dead birds (any species) found in the same geographic location.
2. The following individual dead birds:
a) Species at risk (http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/species/default_e.cfm)
b) Highly susceptible species (swans, ducks)
c) Raptors (eagles, hawks, owls)
d) Water adapted bird species (waterfowl in general, shorebirds, water-associated birds).

These wild bird mortalities should be reported by calling 1-866-431-BIRD (2473). Reports will be recorded, assessed to determine if further investigation is warranted, and if so, guidance will be provided on a case by case basis.


I'm filing this away for future reference. Streamkeepers focus on fish, but are interested in any and all wildlife.

Posted by Paul at 08:37 PM

June 05, 2011

Burnaby Business Excellence Awards 2011–Nominations Deadline June 24

Make sure you get your nominations in for the 12th Annual Burnaby Business Excellence Awards. Deadline is June 24. I sat on the nominations committee for a couple of years and on the selection committee one year (or was it two?), and this is one heck of an annual event, complete with the Hall of Fame and Nominees' Luncheon on Oct. 6, and the amazing Gala Awards banquet on Nov. 2, 2011.


Note that these awards are heavily community oriented, with categories including Burnaby Community Spirit, Not-for-Profit Organization of the Year, and the relatively new Environmental Sustainability category.

Posted by Paul at 08:28 PM

June 03, 2011

2011 Wild Salmon Music Festival

The 2011 Wild Salmon Music Festival looks like a blast! I may take in some of it, as I'll likely be up in the the Lumby area for the summer Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board meeting the same weekend.


Posted by Paul at 07:38 PM