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Bugs—we know them when we see them, right?

Like most beetles faced with a camera, this one stands its ground.

I overslept a good hour and a half on Monday (Victoria Day), so when shafts of morning sunlight finally found their way into my parkade sleeping spot at 8 a.m. I was still there. And standing beside my sleeping bag, I waited patiently until one long finger of dusty light just managed to touch the tips of my scruffy Doc Martins.

As I waited, I also followed the slow progress of a tiny black dot as it slowly crossed the concrete expanse of the parkade, moving more or less perpendicular to the light.

On close examination the dot appeared to be a basic sort of very small beetle. At least it looked to me like a beetle. It had a hard body and wing cases of iridescent green, plus pincer-like mandibles and six translucent chitinous limbs which glowed orange in the strong backlight.

As with most beetle-like insects, this one did not flee the proximity of my camera. It stood perfectly still while I photographed it from very close up using my WG-3’s 1 cm focus mode.

I expect that unlike some other insects which are quick to flee danger, lumbering beetles may be hardwired to stand and trust their heavy armour for defence. Either that or they recognize a special kinship with my tough little, armoured Pentax WG-3 camera.

It’s really unfortunate that I cannot identify the exact kind of beetle that I saw Monday morning—I always try but I’m certainly no entomologist. And given how confusing and contrary the naming and defining of animals can be (taxonomy), It’s entirely possibly that I’m assuming too much to even say that it was a beetle. Read more…

They grow up so quickly don’t they?

Overhead view of the colourful birthday announcement written in chalk on the pavement of Tupper Street.

There was word on the street yesterday (May 19) of an important birthday in the Cambie Village area. Which is to say that news of the milestone was actually written on the pavement of Tupper Street between 21st and 22nd Avenue, in huge pink, green and blue letters for all to see:

“Henry is 2”.

Obviously we have to chalk up this written announcement to the proud parents, I think, rather than to Henry himself. After all, it’s unlikely that a tyke just entering the terrible twos would either be so literate or have such legible penmanship.

Personally, I would’ve just eaten the chalk when I was that age.

Oops! This was supposed to be all about celebrating this sweet little kid’s birthday and there I go again, making it all about me. My bad. Sorry everyone. Sorry Henry. Click the image to enlarge it.

Twenty-six more photographs of Alder Street

My blog is already littered with countless still photos of the downtown Vancouver skyline as seen from one rather sweet spot on Alder Street, located on the north side of West Broadway Avenue.

Some of these photos show the sunrise reflecting off the downtown skyscrapers first thing in the morning; others capture the lights of the skyline after the sun goes down and some photos even contrive to show dawn and dusk together.

But until now, none of these photos has moved.

The above YouTube video is a little 26-frame time-lapse I threw together of the view downtown, looking north from Alder Street and West Broadway Avenue. The photos were taken with my 16 megapixel Pentax WG-3 point-and-shoot camera, sans tripod, from May 5, 2017 to May 16, 2017, between the hours of about 7 a.m. and 12 midnight. I’ve padded the sequence with fading steps to buffer the choppiness caused by the lack of a tripod.

I began taking the photos with no particular plan and I stopped when I had the bare minimum number needed for a sequence because, frankly, I was tired of matching them together.

It didn’t help that I began taking the photographs with seven steps of zoom—a zoom setting which the WG-3 would not perfectly match photo-to-photo. This necessitated a lot more scaling and tedious playing around than I anticipated.

For this time-lapse, I did all of the image manipulation, scaling, frame dissolves and titling as sequentially numbered layers in the open source image editing program GIMP. I used the “export-layers.py” plug-in to export the finished layers to individual JPEG images with 92 percent compression.

I then imported the JPEG images into Windows Movie Maker, which, up until January, 2017, was free to download from Microsoft as part of the Windows Essentials bundle. In Movie Maker I gave each image frame a duration of 0.13 seconds and saved the entirety to an MP4 video file for High Definition Display.

In the future I’ll try a long-duration time-lapse with no zoom and, if not with a tripod, at least with a methodology, for example—taking one un-zoomed photo from the same spot every day at 4 p.m. and letting nature change the lighting over the course of a year.

And I think I’ll add the titling in the video editor, rather than in GIMP and maybe even throw in some music. Nothing’s too good for my audience!

The messy aftermath of a close election

The front of the Elections B.C. district electoral office for the riding of Vancouver-Quilchena, located in the Vancouver-Fairview riding.

The 41st British Columbia general election, held two days ago on May 9th, was a very close thing. Only the B.C. NDP’s razor-thin, nine-vote victory in the Vancouver Island riding of Courtenay-Comox  stands in the way of the incumbent B.C. Liberals forming their fifth straight majority government and  the Liberals have formally requested a recount of the Courtenay-Comox vote.

A party needs 44 seats in the B.C. Legislature to hold a majority. For the time being, the B.C. Liberals are one shy; having been elected to 43 seats, while the B.C. NDP hold 41 seats and the B.C. Green Party holds down 3 seats.

The absolute final results of the B.C. election will have to wait for the Courtenay-Comox recount as well, potentially, as the counting of absentee ballots—a process which Elections B.C. plans to complete by May 24. Read more…

May the 4th was with us all right!

The beautiful view looking north from Alder St. and West Broadway Ave. at 7:47 a.m.

Thursday May the 4th in Vancouver certainly hasn’t been as warm as a typical day on the planet of Ryloth but it’s been spectacularly summery for our specific time and location, out here in the “uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy”, as at least one of the guidebooks would have it.

Strange thing to find on the street and a strange thing to lose there. The morning sun shines on a lost and found sign in the 100 block of West Broadway.

The day turned out to be mostly sunny and with temperatures over 20° Celsius, as was forecast earlier in the week. Predictably, Fairview residents could be heard toward the afternoon complaining about the heat—the same residents who will likely pine for the snows of December come July.

Just before 8 a.m. the charmingly mismatched awnings of the 1400 block of West Broadway are ready to shelter the coming waves of pedestrians.

It’s still warm now at 6 p.m. but steel-grey clouds are piling up in the eastern sky, so we may even get the thunderstorm predicted by forecasters (though I’m mot holding my breath).

Oh, in case anyone cane to read this modest little post expecting something related to Star Wars I’m sorry to disappoint. The last time there was anything like that in this blog was a long time ago in post far, far away—on March 5, 2015 to be specific. Click the images to enlarge them.

Late addition taken mid-afternoon and looking north from the south seawall.

After another near-overdose

Paramedics stand outside with a young man they found unconscious in a West Broadway McDonald’s restroom.

Paramedics responded quickly to a 9-1-1 call by staff of the McDonald’s in the 1400 block of West Broadway Avenue and, as a result, a young man did not have the chance to succumb to a possible opioid overdose.

At maybe 6:10 p.m. today (May 2) a restaurant customer announced that an unresponsive person was tying up the Men’s washroom—no one responded verbally to repeated knocking on the locked door but breathing could be heard from within.

When staff unlocked the door they found a stark scene—a dark-haired, puffy-faced young man, dressed in scruffy black denim and leather and sprawled unconscious on the tile floor of the brightly-lit, one-person washroom. Glinting in the light on top of a cardboard box standing upright on the floor in one of two handled cloth carrier bags was a little Stericup—a small metal pan, which comes in safe injection kits and is used to mix and heat an opioid drug preparatory to injecting it.

Restaurant staff didn’t hesitate to call 9-1-1. This was not not the first overdose, or near-overdose, that staff have seen at this McDonald’s; it was more like their sixth in less than 12 months.

Emergency response was quick I’m happy to say. Two Vancouver Fire and Rescue responded on foot from fire hall no. 4, located just on the other side of the 1400 block on 10th Avenue, beating by a few minutes, the two B.C. Ambulance Service paramedics that showed up by 6:15 p.m. (at which point the Fire and Rescue guys packed up and returned to their fire hall).

I cannot say whether either Fire and Rescue or paramedics needed to administered naloxone to the young man (naloxone being the drug used by first line responders to halt and reverse opioid overdoses).

All I can say is that by 6:18 p.m. the paramedics had escorted the young man outside the restaurant, clearly groggy and shaky on his feet but conscious and able to walk under his own power.

After the paramedics left him there and when I last saw him, he was unsteadily boarding an eastbound transit bus. Click the image to enlarge it.