Proposed site logo, 2023 edition

Yeah, I’m still mulling the site redesign. I’ll get to it eventually. Probably.

In the meantime, I used Canva and some stock objects and background to make this:

And this:

Both are magical. I didn’t even notice I’d used a Star Trek font in the second one until later.

Also, apparently I have a thing for pickles? How Freudian!

Now, I won’t actually use these for site logos, but part of me really wants to. I will continue to mull what to really do…

Treadmill workout: totally casual

I was focused on other stuff today and skipped the Friday run, intending to catch up by doing a walk in the afternoon or something.

But I got too wrapped up and missed my window. Also, the weather was kind of lousy today–wet and cold, more like winter than spring–and so I found myself mid-evening faced with either a dark ‘n soggy walk, or hitting the treadmill.

I chose the latter, but took a decidedly casual approach, tweaking the speed down from 6.5 to 6.3 and just walking for about half an hour. All of the stats are slightly lower than the last workout, as expected, but I closed my rings and have assuaged the guilt of sitting on my butt for a good part of the day.

We’ll see if my Garmin watch yells at me in the morning for exercising so close to bedtime.


Speed: 6.3
Incline: 0

Pace: 9:39/km
Time: 30:11
Distance: 3.12 km
Calories burned: 218
BPM: 112

The song remains somewhat the same

How did I not notice this until just now, 12 years after R.E.M. retired as a band?

The first song on three consecutive R.E.M. albums includes the word “song” in the title. It can’t be a coincidence! It also can’t mean much other than just being a goofy little thing, so probably not worthy of a Dan Brown novel (what happened to him, anyway?)

  • Finest Worksong (Document, 1987)
  • Pop Song 89 (Green, 1988)
  • Radio Song (Out of Time, 1991)

Did the word “song” appear in any of their other song titles?



Run 765: Spring in the air, not in my feet

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run

First, the weird part: Without planning it in any way, I started today’s run at 11:58 a.m.–the exact same time I started Monday’s run. Freaky.

It was a gorgeous day and I think we may, barring a weird cold front, be firmly into one-layer territory. I probably would have been okay even wearing a regular t-shirt. The sun was nice, I actually sweated!

And speaking of sweating, I can’t say why, exactly, but this run tuckered me out by the end. I was aiming to stay around 150(ish) for BPM and the first half went fine, but by the 8th km my pace drooped to 6:03/km. I didn’t feel bad, nothing felt like it was going to fall off, but I was clearly not gliding along effortlessly. I picked up the pace for the last km and ended with an overall pace of 5:50/km and a BPM of 153, both of which are perfectly cromulent.

These stats also match my last 10K–another weird coincidence–except there, I was superfast at the 8K mark, not super-slow. Maybe dropping the frequency of the runs has left me slightly out of tune. Or it’s somehow spring allergies. Or aliens.

It was a bit busier on the trail, no doubt due to the near-perfect conditions. I did pass three people, too! One was a younger couple running and to be fair to them, they were pretty casual (when I first saw them ahead they were walking). I still felt a tiny ego boost passing them, though. The other person was on a bike (boo) and as I passed, I noted to them that bikes were not allowed on the trail. She responded by laughing because that’s what bike-riding rebels do, I guess.

Shortly after this, I emerged onto the parking lot by the rowing club, which bifurcates1Fancy $10 word! the trail. I paused the run where the trail resumes, to see if she would attempt to continue, but when she emerged into the parking lot, she appeared to amble off toward the rowing club itself. I don’t know if it was a ruse or not, but considering I’d already passed her once, I chose not to stick around.

Then I came home and napped after cleaning up, which I almost never do after a run anymore. I almost feel like going back to nap right now. But I won’t!

I am curious to see how Friday goes, though. The weather looks worse and I may head out earlier as it won’t make much difference.


Run 765
Average pace: 5:50/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 11:58 a.m.
Distance: 10:03 km
Time: 58:32
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 12-13ºC
Humidity: 63%
Wind: low
BPM: 153
Weight: 163.0
Total distance to date: 5695 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: Saucony Peregrine 12 (367 km)

R.E.M. albums ranked, 2023 edition

Check here for the last time I ranked R.E.M.’s 15 album oeuvre, way back in 2013: Ranking R.E.M. albums from 1983 to 2011

It’s now been 12 years (!) since R.E.M. packed it in. Their first album, Murmur, was released 40 years ago (!) when vinyl was more than hip, it was one of only two real formats for buying music (the other was cassette tape–the kind that any tape deck eventually ate).

Here is my re-revised list of R.E.M. albums–from #1 to #15.

First, the chronological list of albums as released:

  • Murmur, 1983
  • Reckoning, 1984
  • Fables of the Reconstruction, 1985
  • Lifes Rich Pageant, 1986
  • Document, 1987
  • Green, 1988
  • Out of Time, 1991
  • Automatic for the People, 1992
  • Monster, 1994
  • New Adventures in Hi-fi, 1996
  • Up, 1998
  • Reveal, 2001
  • Around the Sun, 2004
  • Accelerate, 2008
  • Collapse Into Now, 2011

My 2023 ranking (numbers indicate position relative to the 2013 ranking):

  1. Automatic for the People, 1992 (-)
  2. Lifes Rich Pageant, 1986 (-)
  3. Murmur, 1983 (+2)
  4. Monster, 1994 (-1)
  5. Out of Time, 1991 (+4)
  6. New Adventures in Hi-fi, 1996 (+1)
  7. Green, 1988 (+6)
  8. Reckoning, 1984 (-2)
  9. Fables of the Reconstruction, 1985 (-1)
  10. Collapse Into Now, 2011 (-6)
  11. Up, 1998 (+3)
  12. Document, 1987 (-1)
  13. Accelerate, 2008 (-3)
  14. Reveal, 2001 (-2)
  15. Around the Sun, 2004 (-)


  • Only three albums didn’t change positions, and they are at the extremes: #1, 2 and 15.
  • The gap between #14 (Reveal) and #15 (Around the Sun) is the biggest between any two albums. ATS is easily the worst album R.E.M. put out. It should probably be at #20.
  • The biggest slide is Collapse Into Now, their final album, dropping from #4 all the way to #10. It’s a fine album and a worthy send-off, but it just doesn’t shine as bright as the others ahead of it, in retrospect.
  • Four of the bottom five albums are four of their last five–not a good trend for a long-lived band!
  • Green leaps from #13 to #6. Why? While it may not have been the band’s artistic peak, it captures them in an experimental mood, expanding their sound and–importantly–sounding like they are having a lot of fun while doing it. Especially after Automatic for the People, the band appeared to have sent its collective sense of humour into the universe’s largest black hole.
  • Murmur and Monster, despite being very different albums, are basically interchangeable, ranking-wise.
  • Sometimes I like it when R.E.M. rocks out (Monster), and sometimes less so (Accelerate), although to be fair, the latter is an excellent album to jog to.
  • If the second half of Up (#11) was stronger, it would probably rank near the top five.
  • In hindsight, Document is a good but not great album. I feel like the band was shifting gears and the album catches them midway through. If you think of it as the first half of Green, it makes more sense, in a way.

Also, when you look at the albums in chronological order, you may ask yourself: Did R.E.M. alienate a large part of its fan base with Monster being the follow-up to Automatic for the People? Yes, yes they did! Observe:

  • Monster (which I think is one of their most inventive and creative albums–if you like that feedback-laden, wall of sound approach) was the utter opposite of Automatic. It still sold well, probably propelled at least in part by momentum.
  • New Adventures in Hi-fi probably hit many people as a weird blend of the previous two albums, with loud rockers like on Monster, combined with hushed meditations like on Automatic–and being neither fish nor fowl, it began their first real decline in sales.
  • Up: With Bill Berry (drummer) leaving the band, they began to experiment more openly, using sequencers, drum machines and noodling around with atmospherics, resulting in an album that was part R.E.M. and part whatever-they-were-turning-into.
  • Reveal is a weird one, too. It mixes sunny, Beach Boys-style songs with classic R.E.M. (“Imitation of Life”) and goes fully experimental on other songs, like “Saturn Return”. The production is intricate, and the sound is dense. This is not an album designed to hit the top of the pop charts.
  • Around the Sun: Or “What a band completely uninterested in being a band anymore when they are 3/5ths of the way through a record contract sounds like.” This one managed to put off everyone: the experimentation was replaced by a bunch of limp songs that generated no heat, didn’t sound like classic R.E.M.–or any other version–and featured lyrics by Michael Stipe that were so straightforward they were just bland. An impressively lacklustre outing.
  • The last two albums turned things around, preventing them from destroying their legacy, but it was pretty obvious after Collapse Into Now that they were done.

My 2013 ranking:

  1. Automatic for the People
  2. Lifes Rich Pageant
  3. Monster
  4. Collapse Into Now
  5. Murmur
  6. Reckoning
  7. New Adventures in Hi-fi
  8. Fables of the Reconstruction
  9. Out of Time
  10. Accelerate
  11. Document
  12. Reveal
  13. Green
  14. Up
  15. Around the Sun

Run 764: First Spring (rain) run of 2023

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run. A misty start to spring.

I decided to start the week with a li’l 5K run and after getting to the lake, made the decision to go on a short loop clockwise after seeing multiple people with dogs going counter-clockwise. I was willing to risk unknown dogs vs. known dogs.

It was a good call, as there was only one dog and it was well-behaved. Good boy! (or girl)

Because I was only doing 5K, I didn’t try too hard to stick to 150 BPM and ended up with the exact same BPM as my last run, 153, though my pace was much faster at 5:38/m. I got an award for my fastest 1K, woo (5:25/km, almost like the olden days).

Weather-wise, it was mostly drizzle, and it lasted most of the run, but it wasn’t bad. I wore two layers, but without any real wind, it didn’t feel cold at all.

Overall, I felt zippy and had no issues, so a good start to the week.


Run 764
Average pace: 5:38/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 11:58 a.m.
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 28:21
Weather: Cloudy, light showers
Temp: 8-10ºC
Humidity: 86%
Wind: low
BPM: 153
Weight: 163.5
Total distance to date: 5685 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: Saucony Peregrine 12 (357 km)

Treadmill workout: Lazy and sort of indifferent

Yes, I’m bad. I waited until late evening to complete my rings. I just didn’t feel like going for even a short 15-minute walk. As punishment, I started a 30-minute treadmill workout shortly after 10 p.m.

Unlike recent treadmill excursions, I was rather sluggish tonight. I didn’t feel bad, but I guess I wasn’t feeling it1Or maybe the watch didn’t accurately record the workout, maybe!. At least I didn’t go sliding off the end.


Speed: 6.5
Incline: 0

Pace: 9:35/km
Time: 30:06
Distance: 3.13 km
Calories burned: 227
BPM: 114

Bird art: song sparrow

I normally use “rejected” photos for my bird art, ones that are a little blurry or have some kind of defect, but I usually have good luck with song sparrows. Saturday’s birding did produce some slightly fuzzy photos, so at last I have a song sparrow to add to the collection.

Birding, March 18, 2023 (Reifel Bird Sanctuary and Boundary Bay)

In which I got a slight sunburn!

Where: Reifel Bird Sanctuary, Boundary Bay
Weather: Sunny, 15ºC

The Outing

The weather for today was unusually mild–it got up to 17C in New Westminster and was around 14-15C at peak at Reifel and Boundary Bay, with little of the wind we saw last time. This is actually record-breaking territory, and one of the few exposed part of my body (the back of my neck) actually got a little sunburned. It’s still technically winter!

The sun meant for lots of light, which was a nice change, but also presented issues with shadows we haven’t had to deal with lately. Still, it was a treat to both have bright light and mild temperatures.

There was some work in the waterway being done near the entrance, with heavy equipment and steel plates being inserted into the water, but I can’t find anything about the work on the official site. I am guessing they are reconfiguring the layout of some of these smaller water bodies for some reason. We were going to ask a staff member, but they were busy helping others. A semi-mystery for now!

Boundary Bay was a complete 180º from the last visit–calm and mild. People were on the golf course wearing t-shirts. In March!

Both Reifel and Boundary Bay yielded a few seasonal returns, notably tree swallows. We did not see a Rufous hummingbird at Reifel, despite the official site confirming their presence, much to Nic’s dismay. But we did spot both a marsh and Bewick’s wren (I got a few decent shots of the latter).

We also observed a weird Sandhill crane, who I figured was going through a rebellious teen phase. There were three cranes alongside the southwest trail and one of them was constantly vocalizing. It then split from the others to come up directly onto the trail ahead of us. The others eventually followed. After a few minutes, the surly teen took off and flew around, landing in the large pond west of the trail. It then made its way back and didn’t quite rejoin the others, staying slightly back because it was obviously too cool for its (possible) parents. It finally joined them and we made our way past the gang.

Also, the geese were back and everywhere, honking and blatting as is their way. A lot of them appeared to be paired up for some sweet spring lovin’. Baby poopmonsters inbound!

The Shots

A banded Anna’s hummingbird at a feeder
Immature bald eagle acting totally mature
Black-capped chickadee in a mossy tree
We rarely see birds near the bird blinds, but this time a great blue heron was on a log right on the other side of one blind
Sandhill crane. Not heard: its constant vocalizations. It had a lot to say.
A differently-coloured towhee, standing in a chicken pose
Plane landing at Boundary Bay Airport. Yes, that is heat shimmer, something I wouldn’t expect to see on the second-to-last day of winter.

The Birds (and other critters)

All birds seen at Reifel Bird Sanctuary unless otherwise noted.

Sparrows and sparrow-adjacent:

  • American robin
  • Anna’s hummingbird
  • Bewick’s wren (rare)
  • Blackbird
  • Black-capped chickadee
  • Dark-eyed junco
  • Golden-crowned sparrow
  • Marsh wren (semi-rare)
  • Song sparrow
  • Spotted towhee


  • Bald eagle
  • Northern harrier


  • American coot
  • American wigeon
  • Bufflehead duck
  • Canada goose
  • Gadwall
  • Great blue heron
  • Green-winged teal
  • Hooded merganser
  • Lesser scaup
  • Mallard
  • Northern pintail
  • Northern shoveler
  • Sandhill crane
  • Wood duck


  • Crow
  • Pigeon
  • Seagull


  • Black squirrel
  • Gray squirrel

Climate change hooray: Sunburn in March

silhouette of plants during golden hour
Photo by Billel Moula on

Today, Nic and I went birding at Reifel Bird Sanctuary and Boundary Bay (I’ll have a separate post on the outing soon™) and the weather was unusually nice (it got up to 17C in New Westminster, breaking the old record by two degrees). It was lovely and sunny and even though I wore pants and a jacket, I managed to get a mild sunburn on the one part of me that was exposed–the back of my neck. The last time I got a sunburn in March was never, so hooray for climate change!

Still, I’d rather get burned a little now and be reminded to wear sunblock on future sunny days before it gets summer-like, and the potential burn is much more intense. I just didn’t expect that reminder to happen while it was still officially winter.