All posts by Paul Cipywnyk

I used to be a car guy – Vancouver Auto Show beckons

In the days of my youth (sorry, no Led Zep here : -), I used to be a car nut. I did all my own servicing until solid state and computertronics put much of that out of reach for backyard mechanics.

I bought, drove, and sold nearly a dozen used vehicles between age 16 and 25 or so…

An AMC or two (anyone remember those? Think Hornets and Matadors — relatively smaller cars for that era with punchy V-8s : -), a couple of Euro Ford Capris both 4- and 6-bangers…

A rusting-out Jaguar saloon… A Pontiac Grand Am with a 400-4 V-8 and RTS that I drove across Canada and back once, if not twice. A superb highway cruiser…  A couple of trucks and vans (yes, the van was soon accessorized with big speakers and shag carpet, blush….)

Then I didn’t own a vehicle at all for the 14+ years I lived in Tokyo. We rented for weekend trips a few times, and drove my wife’s family vehicles when we visited up north in Aomori prefecture.

And when I returned to Canada, I matured into a so-called “environmental activist.”

So I/we have had one vehicle for the last 18 years, a solid, rather staid ’98 Subaru Outback.

But I feel myself wanting to go to the Vancouver Auto Show. I can check out the fantasy vehicles, the sports cars, the super trucks, and then bring home a few brochures on hybrids.

At this point in my life, I listen to my wife a lot. Wife wants a hybrid when we get our next ride. I won’t argue with that.

But I also want a truck for camping, fishing, canoeing, photography journeys, etc. A midsize one. A Tacoma would be nice…

Byrne Creek Runs Milky Green

I put in two calls to the City of Burnaby today. The first was about a house construction site where dirt was not being properly managed, creating a situation in which silt would likely flow into Byrne Creek.

Then about half an hour later on my walk, I saw that the creek was running milky green. I traced the source to the stormwater line that drains Edmonds St. above Kingsway, and then joins the pipe that runs along 18th Ave and that empties into the creek on 18th just upstream from Edmonds Skytrain Station.

sediment from house construction
Mud building up on Hedley from house construction

mud from house construction
Sites are supposed to be managed so this does not happen, or at least immediately cleaned up. This is just a few meters from a storm drain that goes directly into Byrne Creek, where volunteer streamkeepers have been seeing coho salmon and chum salmon fry hatching out over the last few weeks.

milky green flow in Byrne Creek
The fish ladder at Griffiths pond

milky green flow in Byrne Creek
The sediment/substance appeared to be coming from the 18th Ave. stormwater pipe.

Folks, nothing should go down street and parking lot drains except rain.

Chum Fry Hatching Out in Byrne Ck, Heron Greets Them

I patrolled Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby, BC, today looking for salmon fry. I spotted coho a couple of weeks ago, and today there were schools of wee chum salmon out and about.

It’s great to see them! Now we know that both coho and chum salmon successfully spawned in this urban creek, and that their progeny are appearing.

chum fry byrne creek burnaby
Shot from the upstream side of the Meadow Ave. bridge

chum fry byrne creek burnaby
A few meters d/s of the wooden footbridge in the ravine.
My wife has since pointed out that these are likely a mix of coho and chum, since several have orange tails and large parr marks.

chum fry Byrne Creek Burnaby

heron byrne creek burnaby
As I entered the spawning habitat this heron spooked from the overflow pond, and landed in a tree overlooking the sediment pond

heron byrne creek burnaby
I’m certain it’s been chowing down on chum fry! But that’s nature…

heron byrne creek burnaby
Giving me the “get out and leave me alone” look

Why Delete Email?

I often come across folks who seem to delete nearly every email after they’ve read it. I’m not talking spam here, I’m talking about all email they receive.

I do not understand why people do this. My email archive is a treasure trove dating back to the mid-1990s. Family, business, volunteer work… It’s all there.

But it takes up so much disk space!


In over 20 years of archiving nearly all non-spam messages, my Thunderbird master email directory and all sub-directories total a measly 7 GB.  I’ll leave you to figure out what a minuscule portion that is of my main 3 TB hard drive. Or, say, a modest slice of a 500 GB hard drive on a notebook.

Email is just text folks, and text is compact.

I have delved into my email archive many times to great effect.

You claim this, I claim that? I can provide you with a copy of our email trail. When did we agree to X? I can tell you it was July 21, 2005.

When did message board Y die? I can tell you that I was getting daily updates from it until Nov. 5, 2009.

But it’s such a mess!

I’ll hit you with another big Balderdash.

Search. Use search.

Folders. Use folders to file messages into.

Filters. Use filters to do filing automagically.

Computers are supposed to make our lives simpler, and they can, if we are willing to learn.

For many years, I’ve kept double archives, because I’ve set up my email in a way that all my addresses route through Gmail first, and are then forwarded to my host.

Gmail’s search is awesome. Gmail has tons of space, and if you run out, adding more is cheap.

Burnaby Fraser Foreshore Park Birding

I enjoyed a birding tour in Fraser Foreshore Park in SE Burnaby, BC, this morning, led by George Clulow. I’ve taken a number of tours with George, who has a wealth of knowledge. The tour was part of a series organized by Burnaby Parks.

Burnaby Fraser Foreshore Park
The mighty Fraser’s north arm as viewed from Fraser Foreshore Park

happy Paul
Selfie at the start of the tour

sandhill cranes in flight
One of the highlights was hearing and spotting several sandhill cranes in flight

George answers lots of questions!

Burnaby Fraser Foreshore Park viewpoint
Checking out the viewpoint east of Byrne Rd.

Burnaby Fraser Foreshore clouds

Fraser River reflections

beaver burnaby fraser foreshore park
It was fun to see a beaver!

It was a good morning, and George always emails a list of all the birds seen or heard.