Category Archives: Society

Mom’s Tenth

Funny how the stars align now and then. Today is the 10th anniversary of my Mom’s passing. She spent over 30 years in the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan, retiring as Assistant Dean, Student Affairs.

And just now in my email box I see an invitation to a “Millions of Memories” College of Education Alumni Event (I did a B. Ed. there way back when).

Mom would advise me to “do” rather than “stew”, so despite the gray, rainy day, I’m going to go for a long walk before dinner.

A link to an old blog post with Mom’s obit. (Hm, some wonky characters have popped up in there…)

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!

Setting Limits on Volunteer Photography

Just a heads up to folks looking for free, er, “volunteer” photography. I’m full up for free photography.
 
For years I have volunteered for, or provided a much-reduced token rate for, several annual events, including local community organizations, the Editors’ Association of Canada, the DFO Salmonid Enhancement Program, the MS Society, etc. I’ve also provided volunteer coverage for large, less-regular events like the BC Seniors’ Games.
 
I love photography. I enjoy event photography, and if I may say so, I’m good at it.
 
But I’ve reached my limit.
 
In fairness to myself, and to working photographers, I will not take on any more new unpaid assignments. I may continue with the volunteer events I’ve shot in the past, while nudging them toward at least token payment, but nothing new that doesn’t pay.
 
As I pull out of some of these gigs, if you’re an up-and-coming young documentary photog who is looking for some portfolio material, let me know. I may be able to hook you up, and give you a few tips on equipment, vision, attitude, performance, delivery, etc.
 
Some of these groups simply can’t afford to pay a pro, or even a semi-pro, but you should limit your donations of time and expertise to a year or two. Or choose one org or event, and commit to them.
 
After all, you won’t get a plumber to your house at 7 pm on a weekend (common working hours for a photog) for a promise of “credit” or “exposure.”

If ‘CRA’ Calls and Yells at You, Hang Up

Lots of folks have been getting the CRA SCAM phone call. I reported it to the Burnaby RCMP crime prevention folks, and here’s their response:

Thank for the information.  The Canada Revenue Agency Tax Scam is quite prevalent during this time of year.  You did the right thing and it is awesome that you have informed others about it.  Please share this link to a useful video. 

CRA VIDEO - http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html

You can also report this information to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) as they collect data for investigations.  

CAFC - http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm

TAX SCAMS - http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/fraud-escroquerie/types/tax-contribuable/index-eng.htm

Please let us know if you have any other concerns.

US Charging Ahead on Enviro Issues, Canada Stuck in the 50s

I’ve been attending the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference, and as at previous ones, I am yet again in awe of coordinated volunteer – municipal – tribal (in Canada First Nations) – state – federal conservation efforts in the US.

Yes, we like to slag our southern neighbours for many things, but they are way ahead of us on many others.

Canada? We’re doing good here and there, but we suck at coordinated action. And in Canada, for the last decade at least, the burden has increasingly fallen on volunteers, with federal and provincial governments abdicating their responsibilities, and slashing enviro-related staff and funding.

A major hurt is that Canada is still so 20th century. To see the ruling-party hydroelectric dam platform in BC is to read something from the 1950s.

The US is demolishing dams, setting rivers, wildlife and salmon free, unleashing renewable, long-term natural and economic potential along the way.

Here in Canada, our governments still want to pour concrete in pristine rivers and flood massive areas of our most productive farmland and traditional First Nations hunting and fishing territories.

Shame.

Green/Blue initiatives will provide jobs.

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!

Balderdash.

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.

Lovely Day at Alta Vista Park Community Picnic

It was a lovely sunny day today at the Alta Vista Park Community Picnic in south Burnaby. This event has been happening annually for, I believe, over 25 years. Just local folks, mostly women, organizing this small fundraiser to keep the park equipment updated and in good shape.

Volunteers from the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society have been attending this event for around ten years or more. We love this event because it’s NOT an environmental event, it’s truly a local community party, and it’s a great chance to talk to folks about their local watersheds and streams.

Here are a few photos from today:

alta vista park picnic
Local faves Rainshadow perform

alta vista park picnic
City of Burnaby Parks and Rec crafts table

alta vista park picnic
Clowning around…

Homelessness task force
Burnaby Task Force on Homelessness

alta vista park picnic
Hot dogs!

alta vista park picnic
Air guitar contest

alta vista park picnic
Byrne Creek Streamkeepers display

alta vista park picnic
Folks checking out 3D watershed map – cool!