Category Archives: Business

Small Sockeye This Year?

I bought our first wild sockeye of the season at Save-On Foods in Burnaby, BC, today.

It was small, weighing in at 0.686 kg, or about 1.5 lbs. Of course that’s sans head and guts, but it still appeared undersized. All of the sockeye at Save-On looked small. Certainly way smaller than the pinks I fished on the Fraser last year.

Come to think of it, the fish looked not much bigger than a coho jack — a male coho salmon that returns to spawn a year early.

According to the DFO Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Guide, a sockeye “usually weighs between 2.2 kg and 3.1 kg, but can reach 6.3 kg.”

UPDATE: I’ve been looking into this online, Googling and reading academic papers, and have come to the conclusion that while small, this fish was likely not an outlier.

Most research and reporting on fish sizes and weights presents “average” ranges, and it’s hard to find information about what the usual minimum weights are. However I did find the following on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada government website:

“Commercially caught sockeye range in weight from 2 to 9 pounds and are graded according to size: 2-4 lbs., 4-6 lbs., and 6-9 lbs.”

So I guess that 1.5-pound dressed fish was not an outlier.

Shocked to See Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby Milky for 2nd Day

I was shocked to see that Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby, BC, was running milky for the second day in a row. You can see my photos from yesterday below in an earlier post.

This is the third day in a week that someone has been discharging something into the creek. Volunteer streamkeepers haven’t seen any dead or distressed fish, but this amount of sediment occurring so frequently cannot be good for life in the creek.

The City of Burnaby has been swift to respond, sending out staff to try to backtrack the sources of these illegal discharges. Of course staff cannot say much while investigations are ongoing, but I hope they are successful.

While a fine or two would be great to make perpetrators sit up and take notice, I am generally not gunning for punitive measures. Education and outreach are key in the long run.

UPDATE: As of late afternoon, City staff had traced the source to a broken line on private property that was seeping and carrying silt into a drain.  As is often the case, it was unintentional, and will be fixed.

UPDATE 2: As of 6:30 pm, I received a report from another volunteer streamkeeper that a “deluge” of water was passing through Griffith’s Pond, and that she had contacted the City of Burnaby, and had been told there was a watermain break somewhere upstream. How many hits can this poor creek take in a day, much less in a week?

Here’s what Griffith’s Pond near Edmonds Skytrain Station looked like as of 7:00 pm tonight:

still milky byrne creek

New Battery Rejuvenates Cell Phone

I began noticing a few months ago that the battery in my Samsung SIII smartphone was not lasting nearly as long as it did when new. I was getting barely a few hours out of a charge.

I was in Toronto in early June for several conferences, and was using my phone more than I usually do to keep in touch with local relatives and friends, read my email, check Twitter and Facebook, etc. At home I do many of these things from my office computer, so hadn’t noticed as much how weak the phone battery was getting.

I had an hour to kill over lunch one day, and tried four or five cell phone retail outlets in downtown Toronto, and none of them had a battery for the SIII. It’s not that old, but old enough in the rapid model turnover of the cell phone world that none of them could be bothered to stock batteries for it.

I returned home, and put up with the shorter and shorter battery time, until the last day or two the battery wouldn’t take hardly any charge at all. I could leave the phone plugged in overnight, and have less than a quarter bar of battery power in the morning.

About a week ago I ordered a new battery from an online battery shop, but yesterday and today, I could not get more than a minute or two out of a charge. So I searched for battery specialty shops in Burnaby, and came up with Battery World on Boundary Road. I called them, and they had four SIII batteries on hand.

So I drove over this afternoon and bought one. Staff encouraged me to pop the non-Samsung branded battery into my phone and make sure it fitted properly and powered up. It’s nice to see a full bar of power on the screen again, and it’ll also be nice to have a backup battery when the one I ordered online arrives.

The new generic battery also has a tish more  capacity than a stock Samsung battery at 2,300 vs 2,100 MaH, but I haven’t had the opportunity yet to see if that realizes more uptime per charge. That’s only around a 10% increase, so I doubt if I’ll notice a difference.

It’s amazing how one becomes addicted to technology. If I leave the house without the cell phone, or if I’m out of juice, I feel naked. And I’m not a power user by any means. I might make and receive half a dozen to a dozen calls on my cell per week, and about the same number of texts. I am using it more for email and GPS location finding than I used to.

Oh, yes, I’d also like to thank Samsung for making batteries easy to change. Just pop the back cover off the phone by sticking a fingernail in the slot, and there you go — easy access to the battery, SIM, and microSD memory.

Paul’s Photo Tips – Tip 2 – Read the Manual

Learn Your Camera – Read the Manual

This is obvious to me, but it seems few people read manuals for anything.

Do you know what every button on your camera does? What all those menu items are?

I strongly encourage folks to read their manuals, and follow along and practice changing settings on the camera. Don’t worry that you may “screw something up.” More than likely there’s a single menu item to return everything to default settings.

Manufacturers put hours and hours into developing manuals. I occasionally get work editing manuals translated from, say, Japanese to English (I’m a freelance editor with some connections in Japan).  I know how thorough and detailed the process is for developing manuals that are accurate, readable, and understandable.

I try to skim my camera manuals every year or two, and always find stuff I’ve forgotten, or have never tried. You might be surprised by features available on your camera that you may have not known existed! I keep the manuals out in a prominent spot in a bookshelf in my office, and delve into them from time to time.

If you find the manufacturer’s manual dry, publishers like RockyNook offer books on how to use, and get the most out of, popular camera models.

Of course digital cameras also come with software, and that software also has a manual. Yes, I’m going to advise reading that manual, too!

But I’m not going to get into the software side now.

Have fun reading!

What? You threw out your manual?

Go to your camera maker’s website and download it (they’re nearly always free to download even if you haven’t registered your camera).

Sediment Enters Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby

Somebody was being naughty today, allowing sediment to flow into Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby.

Vigilant streamkeepers reported the ugly looking and potentially fish-killing pollution to the City of Burnaby. Thanks to the volunteers who keep “eyes on the creek” and immediately notify the City of any problems. And thanks to City staff who responded quickly.

It was obvious which storm pipe the sediment came from, as can be seen in the photos below.

Sediment in Byrne Creek in Burnaby, BC
If you were a fish, amphibian, aquatic insect, or any other animal, do you think you’d like to be swimming in that?

Source of sediment entering Byrne Creek in BurnabyHere you can clearly see that the sediment entered the creek through this storm outlet.

Sediment in Byrne CreekAnother view. The flow here in the upper portion of the creek on a dry day is so slow that this “slug” of sediment was barely moving. It’ll take a rain to flush it out of the creek.

Edmonds City Fair & Car Show 2014 Great Fun Despite Rain

I was asked to be the event photographer for yesterday’s Edmonds City Fair & Car Show in SE Burnaby. It was a great event, with lots of activities for all ages. While it drizzled intermittently, with a real soaking for the last half hour or so, people had lots of fun, and stuck it out to the end with great spirit.

I focused on people and not so much the vehicles on display. You can view my Flickr album here.

Edmonds City Fair 2014

 

Initial Contacts with Insurance & Restoration Companies are Reassuring

As I posted a few days ago, we had a water line break on our top floor, and water cascaded down through the living room ceiling, and through walls all the way to the basement.

It’s been a tiring week.

However, I’ve been pleased with my initial contacts with the insurance company, The Dominion, and the restoration firm they recommended, Barclay Restorations.

While no work has been done yet, aside from assessing damage and placing several large commercial fans here and there to dry things out, everyone that I’ve had contact with has been prompt, professional and courteous.

Both the adjuster from the insurance company,  and a couple of fellows who came at different times from Barclay, have been on time, and if they were running late, they phoned to let me know.

Tomorrow a few guys are coming by to check how the drying is coming along (it will be a relief to get all those fans shut down), and pull out some lino in the basement that has to go. They will also likely make a few exploratory cuts in walls if their meters detect any residual moisture.

It will be a lengthy process–I’ve been warned it could take several weeks from getting everything estimated and approved, and the work done.

But I feel we are in good hands.

Why Does Canada Post Hate Me? Why?

Canada Post has done it to me yet again. I was expecting an ExpressPost package today and tracking it online. Everything was looking good. As of 9:41 “Item out for delivery.” By mid afternoon I thought I should check again. There was a new entry on the tracking page at 14:09 “Attempted delivery. Notice card left indicating where item can be picked up.”

I was home all day!

They do this to me regularly, only this time, there is also no notice card to be found anywhere. Not in our post box, not on the community cork board, not at the front gate, not on our door. I’ve done the rounds three times over the afternoon and early evening.

So I’ve “opened a ticket” online with my issue. See where that goes, eh?

And no, I wasn’t in the shower, or on the phone, or taking out the garbage at 14:09. I know exactly where I was and what I was doing. I was reading a book in the living room, five meters from the front door, waiting for a project manager from a restoration company to arrive between 14:15 and 14:30 to assess our recent water damage.

I certainly would have heard the doorbell, or a knock, and I had a portable phone beside me, expecting the gate signal to ring.

When Rivers Rebel

There’s been a spate of articles recently about the Fraser River, climate change, and the potential economic impacts on BC’s lower mainland.

We dam them, dike them, divert them, dredge them, suck them near dry, build on them, pollute them. . .

And then we’re aghast when rivers get pissed off and try to break their shackles now and then.

We wouldn’t need billions of dollars to shore up dikes if we didn’t build our cities on flood plains, marshes, and bogs.

But hey, are those articles perhaps looking at things backwards? By traditional measures of GDP, all the work that will need to be done to shore up those seawalls and dikes is going to be a major boost to the economy, isn’t it?

We’ll just borrow more against future generations to keep the pyramid scheme going.