All posts by Paul Cipywnyk

Subaru Outback Hits 300,000

Our trusty ’98 Subaru Outback hit 300,000 kilometers today, or just over 185,000 miles. As you can see, at nearly 20 years old, we don’t put a lot of mileage on it annually. Never used it for commuting until about six months ago, and that commute is only a couple of klicks.

Our mechanic says he regularly services an Outback with over 500,000 kilometers on it. Doubt if we’ll keep ours that long — while still reliable, it’s becoming increasingly expensive to maintain. And we’d also like a hybrid. . .

Outback 300,000

Good to See Some of my ‘Elders’ Out on the Creek Trails

Happy to see a couple of Byrne Creek Ravine Park trailwalking “elders” out and about now that the snow and ice are gone.

Ran into Dave on the creek trail today, and it was good to chat. He’s 87, and always has a good tale to tell about what it was like growing up in the area. If I recall, he was a boxer in his youth, and he keeps telling me to keep moving!

Saw Ron the other day, too. Ron’s a retired stonemason also pushing 90, if not there already, who had a hand in some of the magnificent greystone work at the University of Saskatchewan where I did a couple of degrees. He speaks with a hint of a lovely Scottish burr, and also has tales to tell.

Good to see you, gentlemen, and hope I’m still walking the ravine 30 years from now!

A Few Cool Birds

Yumi and I took Skytrain and Sea Bus to Lonsdale Quay today and wandered around the North Shore.

There were six or seven of these cool birds patrolling the pier just east of the Quay. We’d never seen them before, and once we got home figured out they were Pigeon Guillemot.

pigeon guillemot

There was also the usual gang of cormorants protecting their turf near the Sea Bus terminal.


And when we got home, we spotted this gorgeous little female Downy Woodpecker just off our balcony.

downy woodpecker

First I shot through the window with my little pocket camera. Then I ran down to my office and grabbed a DSLR. I gently opened the balcony door and she just sat there, a few meters away. I talked to her in low, quiet tones — I find this sometimes seems to reassure birds that you’re not trying to sneak up on them, and sometimes I think it just makes them curious.

Forty or fifty shots later I ran downstairs and grabbed a longer telephoto zoom and took another couple dozen shots. She was still just hanging out, so I ran down again to dig out Big Bertha, my Tamron 150-600 and she was still there when I got back, so I fired off another thirty or forty shots. Thank you for your patience!

Rescuing Tofu’s Bad Rep


I think tofu has an unnecessarily bad rep. You just have to know where to get the good stuff. And there are few places to get the good stuff.

I have never yet found any tofu in a major “western” supermarket that I liked. It’s rubbery. It’s tasteless. It’s ickilly smooth.

Here’s what I look for: It’s bought in an Asian market, preferably Japanese. It’s “momen,” or “momendofu” meaning it has weight and a non-icky, slightly textured consistency.

Once opened, you have to eat it in a day or two. If it lasts longer than that in your fridge, it’s got too many preservatives and who knows what other chemicals in it.

If you can serve it cold, cubed, with only a dash of quality soy sauce and sprinkled with bonito flakes, and it’s yummy — that’s my tofu.

If it’s some weirdness shaped into “hot dogs” or “hamburgers” and saturated with artificial flavours, yuck.