When narcissism and mauling come together

You might think this sign would not be needed, but apparently it is, because it exists. This particular one is at Robert Burnaby Park.

If you see a bear, do not take a selfie with the bear, because the bear will eat you and post its own selfie on Bear Facebook, featuring your mangled corpse.

The same sign also advises that you should not:

  • approach a bear
  • feed a bear
  • run from a bear
  • chase a bear
  • get close to a bear

Basically, if you spot a bear, immediately teleport away, if possible.

Goldfish cracker, goldfish horror

Found in a bag of nacho cheese Goldfish crackers, officially known as Kick It Up a Nacho flavor:

Yes, it’s a giant blob of nacho cheese stuff that somehow never got broken down. There was actually a second smaller blob as well, but it got sent off to cheese blob heaven before this picture was taken. I’m both intrigued and terrified at the thought of breaking the blob apart to see if anything is inside.

Beavers dam it

I went for a walk tonight along the Brunette River trail to help work off the 15,000 calories of pizza I had ingested earlier and spied for the first time the fur-bearing stick re-arrangers that have been at work at the small artificial pond created back in 2012 as part of a habitat restoration project. Previously the drainage pipe fed into a small pond that continued into another pipe under the trail and into the river. For the restoration, a new stream was created off the pond to the east that travels about half a km or so down before joining into another. At the same time a large concrete barrier was put in place to create a larger, permanent pond. When it rains this pond naturally spills over and the excess goes into the pipe that leads under the trail. In the winter this spillover becomes a reasonably impressive little waterfall.

Recently I’ve noticed twigs and small branches adorning the top of the concrete barrier. They would usually go away, but inevitably reappear a few days later. They were there tonight and for the first time I saw the culprits lazing about in the pond: three beavers.

There may be more than three, but that’s how many were showing themselves. None were active in the construction as I walked by, but their work is evident in the shot below. You can see that even though we are in the midst of a dry spell, there is still a trickle of water flowing over the concrete and the beavers will have none of it (apologies for the naff picture quality. I was afraid the beavers might dive if I got too close, so I wasn’t too fussy on getting the best angle).

Here’s a cropped version that more closely shows the dam builders, contemplating more dam building. The third one is near the water’s edge toward the back.

I wonder if these beavers are related to the ones that managed to derail a 152 car train.

A few pictures from Burnaby Lake, August 4, 2018

I decided to test my post-cold stamina (not really post, since I’m still coughing a bit and such) by going for a walk around Burnaby Lake. It was quite nice, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low to mid-20s, so sweating was kept to a minimum.

The run-like stats were 2:51 hours total time, 9:26/km pace (slower than normal, to be expected) and apparently 836 calories burned.

Upon arriving home I ate an entire cake.

Kidding. We don’t have any cake in the house.

The current resurfacing is now complete according to the official park website. They finished doing the Pavilion trail, so the area from the second boardwalk to the rowing pavilion parking lot is freshly surfaced. There’s a part not far from the bridge at Deer Lake Brook that has a large exposed pipe you normally have to hop over, but they have either removed it or so effectively buried it I didn’t even notice it when walking through the area. I’m hoping they do the Cottonwood Trail next, but it is all a mystery as they only post when actual work is happening, not thrilling teasers like COMING SOON: All those nasty exposed tree roots will soon be buried safely underfoot as we prepare to resurface the Cottonwood Trail.

I took a few pics along the way.

Some English lavender bowing gently in the breeze:

And I finally did a search on these stupid orange-red berries that I have seen growing everywhere my entire life.

These are apparently Rowan trees and the berries, which I always thought were poisonous, are actually more inedible when raw due to containing parasorbic acid, which can cause indigestion or kidney damage (maybe I sleepwalk and eat Rowan berries. This would explain a few things). Cooking the berries turns the parasorbic acid into the friendlier sorbic acid. I’m not planning recipes any time soon, though. More for the birds.

This shot was of a cluster hanging above my head, so I held the phone up as high as I could and shot from below. The shot turned out okay, though there’s a bit of sun bleed in the corner.

Finally, the bridge at Silver Creek is being replaced. Because there is no handy alternate route, they have put in place a temporary bridge next to it that looks like an unfinished prop from a science fiction movie. It felt solid to walk on, but still a little weird, especially with the overhead bits.

Also, since these walks don’t really count as hikes, I’ve boldly added a new category for the blog. Get ready. It’s called…


Yes, I know, it’s brilliantly simple, just like me!

A few random pics from Central Park and Metrotown

Yesterday I bought a new desk fan. This is as exciting as it sounds. The brand name is Vornado, which is a portmanteau of vortex and tornado, which seems a bit redundant as a tornado is a vortex by definition. Then again, calling the fan Tornado would probably not conjure up the right image, either (“Imagine the destructive power of a tornado in your living room, in a convenient, compact form!”) so I guess they made the right call.

Anyway, before acquiring the fan I enjoyed some of this absurd summer weather by strolling about Central Park. A few of the pics I took didn’t turn out well (tip: your iPhone camera will auto-focus on a face, it will not auto-focus on a flower, unless you make that flower the center of your image or tape a picture of a face to it). But a few did.

I like the composition of this one, but the white flowers are a bit fuzzy and blown-out.

This one captures some nice detail in the flower and surrounding leaves.

And then there were the fish in the lower pond. Given how hot it was it’s not surprising some of them were barely moving. I watched one lazily swim toward the edge of the pond and drift until it hit bottom, at which point it bolted backward, like a cat that turned a corner to find a banana on the floor. Here’s a shot of them collectively hoping for cooler temperatures.

Trying to swim somewhere cool. Also, I think those kids in the background are feeding the trout.

And here are some fish demonstrating their fancy camouflage. It’s like “Where’s Waldo?” except wetter and stinkier. The one in the center of the image is the fish that ran aground, as mentioned above.

I left the park and went to Metrotown because I love crowded suburban malls, especially ones with working air conditioning. The Grand Court (which I’d say is more Grand-ish) was having some kind of panda awareness event.

And one more from the escalator. I think the fake pandas on display here actually outnumber the real pandas out there. Actually, I have no idea, but I wanted to say that.

After this I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond, grabbed my fan and left for home (well, I paid for the fan, too). The fan works well, and unlike the previous one, it’s not missing any rubber feet, so it doesn’t need to be propped up on a dish towel.

The one downside is it has a strong “new plastic” smell, being new plastic and all, and that new plastic smell is getting blown constantly into my face. It’s kind of gross. But after a few hours it’s much better and the breeze is otherwise pleasant and welcome.

Summer vacation 2018 Day 0: New Westminster

Summer vacation 2018
How I Learned to Have Fun
No Matter How Many Mosquito Bites I Got
(Which was Roughly a Million)

Day 0 – Saturday, June 30, 2018
New Westminster

Technically this is not actual vacation time, but it is my first of 23 days off, so it sort of counts as something.

I spent most of the day doing exciting vacation-related activities such as laundry, shopping and getting my new glasses, which arrived a week early, hooray.

The sunglasses make me look much cooler than I am and the regular glasses make me look normal, but with everything now in focus, just the way I like it.

That was pretty much the day, so as first vacation days go, it was not the most exciting, but it did leave me reasonably prepared for the actual vacation to come.

Miscellaneous things around New Westminster

A utility box on Columbia Street, cropped to only show the foxy cop illustration on it:

A seagull resting and pondering who to later fly over and poop on, along the boardwalk at Westminster quay. He seems to be saying, “Yeah, it’s gonna be you.” (It did cry fiercely when I later walked by again, but was too lazy to actually get up and do more than that.)

And at the bottom of the stairs on the south side of my condo building, leading to Allen Street, a strange collection of stuff, including personal photographs, that appeared today. There’s no doubt an interesting story behind this, but I’m not sure I want to hear it because the story is also very likely sad/horrifying. I expect all of this to be gone by tomorrow.

The things you find when you need to pee

One of the consequences of having the world’s tiniest bladder is often needing to pee when there is no convenient place to do so.

This happened yesterday as I walked to Lougheed Town Centre. Fortunately, much of the walk is along trails and I diverged off the main route to find an out-of-the-way spot to relieve the aforementioned tiny bladder. After I finished I noticed this a short distance away, just a few steps from a nearby creek. It’s a collection of painted stones, inscribed with positive words and phrases like “Believe”, “Keep your head up!” and “Let your path take flight.” Colorful, unexpected and entirely unexpected.

I also took a shot of this flower bed a few minutes before finding the stones, and rather like the way the perspective makes the flowers appear to go on endlessly. The lone white lily poking out is cute, too. The flower bed is located at Griffin House, a printing business on Cariboo Road. Kudos to the company for the color it adds to the area.

Woodpecker therapy in Central Park

(In which I took some time this afternoon to stroll around Central Park in Burnaby.)

Okay, I can’t really say woodpeckers would offer much in the way of therapy, unless you were looking for the cheapest, most excruciating trepanation possible. But I did see a woodpecker, not up in a tree, but sitting on a fallen one (also known as a log) and it was following script, merrily pecking away at it.

I didn’t want to get too close and scare it off, so the photo is kind of blah (optical zoom is something I definitely miss on typical smartphone cameras), but here ya go:

And at the lower pond, things were ducky. It’s also tough to shoot ducks (with a camera), not because they frighten easily, but because you have to be a worm to get down low enough for a good angle.

I took a photo of some of the fish they have stocked in the same pond, but due to reflection, refraction and the dull colors of the fish, I have not included the photo here. Just imagine a beluga whale majestically breaching or something. Yes, I know whales aren’t fish. But they breach a lot better.

There’s no Waldo hiding in this shot, I just like the interplay of light and shadow. The weird, bleached out color is accurate.

And now flowers!

And a few more on the way out of the park:

Finally, on one of the trails I don’t usually hit I saw this atop a giant tree stump. I don’t know.

Flower (and tree and bird) therapy at Burnaby Lake

I usually have two speeds at Burnaby Lake: fast and faster.

Today, I tried a new speed: not fast. That’s not entirely true, as I did power along for six km to reach the Nature House and Piper Spit along the trail. But once there I took my time to saunter around, enjoy the feel of the sun, watch the birds do bird things and then strolled back out of the park, stopping to take pictures along the way.

In other words, I acted like my alternate universe opposite. Slow, mellow, taking in the sights.

The walk into the park off of Cariboo Road parallels a commercial complex for a few hundred meters, though there are some nice plants and flowers along the fence that divides the two. Just be careful if you try to pick them.

At the Nature House:

Baby ducks, adorable as always:

Duck butt:

Birds on the boardwalk. I want to caption this with something funny, but I don’t know what kinds of funny things birds would say to each other.

This is from the viewpoint looking back toward the boardwalk pictured above. You can see most of the lake from here, the opposite of when I am running around it.

Baby geese. Not as adorable as baby ducks, but pretty cute. Too bad they grow into poopmonsters (seen to the left and right).

I have never seen a turtle in this turtle area. (The area is fenced off, I’m just standing right beside the fence.)

I have added what I think is probably a pretty accurate depiction of a turtle, if one ever actually showed up here.

A lot of the land around the lake is marsh, which tends to be quite soggy. This has a certain effect on trees in the area. I call this The Leaning Tower of Treesa (sorry).

On the way out of the park I didn’t see too much to photograph in the way of flowers, but if you imagine a hundred pictures of thousands of buttercups, it would be a good approximation of what I could have shot (ironically, none are visible in the shot above, one of the few stretches that wasn’t festooned with the things).