Category Archives: Society

Changing TV Habits – Less Violence, More Life

Our TV habits have changed over the last year.

For years we were heavily into all the NCISes, Hawaii Five 0s, etc. Haven’t watched any of those for a year or more.

Don’t miss them.

We’ve been watching a lot more nature shows over the last year. Many on TV Japan. Mind-blowing videography and research featuring weeks, months, and years spent observing species of wildlife.

We watch happy/goofy Japanese shows on multi-generational families. Not dramas, real families.

A washi papermaker who is the 13th generation at his craft. . . A potter who is in the seventh generation of trying over and over and over to replicate a long-lost style of pottery.

We watch slow-paced series on travel in Japan that focus on regional and local arts, and crafts, and food. Travel by train, travel by bicycle. . . And always amazing food, lovingly grown, cooked, and presented. . .

We watch “Somewhere Street,” a Japanese show in which a crew visits famous cities around the world and documents major historic and tourist attractions, food, music, nightlife. . .

It’s people. It’s nature. It’s life.

And it’s beautiful.

Yumi landed a Tommy Hilfiger sponsorship for the 2021 John Deere Valentine’s Day Sledding Classic at Ron McLean Park in SE #Burnaby 🙂

She notes that the Hilfiger sponsorship, and the sled, were made possible through a partnership with Value Village and the Burnaby Hospice Society thrift store. . .

yumi sledding ron mclean park burnaby bc

Savoring Le Guin’s Essays, Reviews

Sat down after lunch to read for half an hour and got lost for three hours in Ursula K. Le Guin’s non-fiction collection Words are My Matter: Writings about Life and Books.

A collection you want to read slowly, and savor. . .

One of her best-known quotations, so pertinent to the times we live in:

“I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries – the realists of a larger reality.”—Ursula K. Le Guin

Reconciling Driving with Climate Change

I had some errands to run today, and I have to admit that I took the long route. A very long route. Sigh.


Yes, I know, driving is not environmentally sound. I’ve always loved to drive, and did numerous multi-thousand kilometer trips in my teens and early 20s.

When I lived in Saskatchewan I drove to Toronto and Montreal several times to visit family. Also drove to BC to visit family many times.

Back in the mid-80s I got a degree at Carleton University in Ottawa, and did a year of writing at the University of Victoria. Both those adventures entailed long-distance driving – – in opposite directions from Saskatchewan.

And to be honest, I’d like to do a few more road trips as I approach my silver years.

Yukon trip. . . Cross-Canada trip. . .

We have a hybrid vehicle, but there’s still environmental impact. We have friends who have an electric car that they power with solar panels to a great extent. That would be great, but not in our budget now.

Ever since the “stay home” recommendations came into force in BC we’ve stayed within about a 45-minute radius of home, and limit stops and interactions.

Looking forward to more extended road trips if and when restrictions ease. . .

Zero Sympathy for Vacationing Canucks Stuck Abroad

One of my late Mom’s favorite aphorisms was “if you can’t find anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
She was also a brilliant, hard-working professional, and a community activist on issues ranging from education, to human rights, to racism, to inclusiveness, and fulfilling one’s personal capabilities.
And I suspect she’d be finding it very hard to hold her tongue about Covidiots, and deniers, and community safety abusers.
I’m sorry, but I have zero sympathy for Canadians abroad who are now facing tough, expensive, (finally) mandated and not just recommended regulations upon their return to Canada. Those who are whining on a beach somewhere.

If they had heeded public health advice, they would never have left the country for a vacation.

Taking Time to Think and Learn

In this time of fake news, Covid, societal troubles and tribulations, and rampant social media wildness, I remember the words of Ukraine’s greatest poet, Taras Shevchenko, from some 150 years ago:

Учітеся, брати мої!

Думайте, читайте,

Learn, my brothers,

Think, read. . .

Translation mine.

Don’t just mindlessly click. Read and think.

The great thinkers of centuries ago knew that education was key to confronting rampant poverty, and all its accompanying ailments. Not to mention entrenched social stratification.

And that subjugation and exploitation, be it by empires, countries, or soulless businesses, is evil.

Shevchenko was incarcerated for his words by the Russian Empire.
Not much has changed today, eh?

When a dictatorship fears words, they must carry meaning. . .

People in Ukraine, Russia, and beyond, have been subjugated for centuries, let the flowers blossom.

Please, people, take the time to read, think, and learn.

Robert Burnaby Park Forest Sculptures

We had a blast wandering Robert Burnaby Park in Burnaby, BC, today searching for the forest sculptures created by Vancouver artist Nickie Lewis.

nickie lewis robert burnaby park forest sculptures

UPDATE (2/2): This was not approved by Burnaby Parks. While entertaining, and getting folks out into nature, there are also drawbacks like habitat denigration, erosion, etc.

Apparently the artist was planning to do more of these in other Burnaby parks, including Byrne Creek Ravine Park, where I’ve volunteered as a streamkeeper for over 20 years. Byrne Creek Ravine Park has a very fragile riparian zone, and attracting hundreds of people to trample through it would be disastrous.

When I heard this, I contacted Burnaby Parks, and was assured that they are aware, and have contacted the artist who has agreed to stop these activities.

Yes, I have to admit we enjoyed exploring Robert Burnaby Park, but upon further thought, it’s best to try to maintain what little urban biodiversity that we have left. . .

BC Must Crack Down on Covid Travelers

Our two-person isolating household is getting more Covid recommendation-breaker angry.

Yes, we’re getting out and hiking and rambling, but always just the two of us, with our masks and our sanitizer. And we stay within a near radius.

When Ontario and Quebec have imposed lockdowns and travel bans, why are there apparently skiers from those provinces in Whistler, BC?

How did they get here, if they’re not supposed to travel even within their own provinces?

Hell, all of us in BC are strongly counselled not to travel outside our communities.

We are told we shouldn’t visit elderly relatives who live minutes away. So how are the tourists getting here?

Our political leaders are saying this is beyond their control.
No, it is NOT.

To get to BC you either have to cross an international border, which is supposedly closed, or you have to fly in (which is supposedly tough, but apparently not so much), or you can drive in on very few few cross-provincial highways that would be easy to control.

So what gives?

Unpacking Folk Songs?

From the overanalyzing folk songs files:

I have this Ukrainian folk song running in my head. It’s a humorous song about a cowardly kozak who is attracted to a girl and her aromatic pyrohy/perogies.

But a group of hunters comes along, and carries off the girl and the perogies.

So in the punch line/final stanza the kozak wails: “Oh you horrible enemies, take the girl but bring back the perogies!”

Ha ha ha. . .

I have several recordings of this song ranging from polka bands to an opera-style baritone backed by a small orchestra.

I know, I know, folks have been chortling at this song for centuries, but there is a message to unpack. . .

No idea why this popped into my mind today, but there you go.

Salmonella Killing Pine Siskins – Please Remove Feeders

Yumi found this dead Pine Siskin yesterday. She picked it up using a plastic bag, and buried it.

She found it near the Green townhouse complex on Southridge Dr. in SE Burnaby, not far from Taylor Park Elementary School.

dead pine siskin burnaby bc

It exhibited the symptoms of salmonellosis — emaciated, discharge at mouth, etc. Do not touch birds with bare hands, this can spread to other species.

Please take down your feeders, folks, as more cases of salmonellosis are being reported. Apparently Pine Siskins are particularly vulnerable as they flock to feeders around this time of year.

The advice is to take your feeder down for at least two weeks, and clean up any seeds on the ground.