Britannia Renewal Meeting Tonight

June 1, 2021

Tonight at 6:00pm, Britannia is holding a Community Conversation tonight to report back on what they’ve heard during Renewal consultations.

There will also be an opportunity to offer your thoughts during small group discussions.

Join at:

The Britannia Renewal project, along with the Safeway site redevelopment, is one of the two major planning concerns for Grandview over the medium term. These meetings are a way for you to stay in touch with decisions that have been, or are close to being, made about a significant community asset and the heart of our district.

Night Music: Who Knows Where The Time Goes?

May 28, 2021

The long-lost and much lamented Sandy Denny. Gosh, we were young then.

Happy Towel Day!

May 25, 2021

To celebrate the wonderful Douglas Adams, May 25th is celebrated as towel day because, as he wrote, a towel is the most important item an interstellar traveler can take with them.

Towel Day | Galactic Hitchhikers

Night Music: Don’t Explain

May 22, 2021

Another Look At Vending Machines

May 21, 2021

The Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution has a fascinating short piece today on the history of vending machines. It focuses on Nathaniel Leverone and his Automatic Canteen Company:

“Importantly, Leverone utilised a new space for vending machines: factories. The Canteen sales pitch involved two steps: first, convince managers that workers needed a snack between meals. Leverone argued that “candy, which had previously been considered as a treat for children, actually constituted a food which was the source of quick energy for hardworking factory employees.”

It was an interesting article by itself, but it reminded me of something I wrote more than a decade ago about an automatic pizza making vending machine. So far as I can tell, his machine is still going.

Image: Street Art #2

May 11, 2021

Food Photographer of the Year 2021

April 28, 2021

The Guardian has an excellent spread on winners in the 2021 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year contest. The overall winner, and one of my favourites, was:

Photographer: Li Huaifeng

I also liked:

Breakfast at Weekly Market by Thong Nguyen
Making Rice Noodles by Abdul Momin

Night Music: If You Go Away

April 18, 2021

Night Music: Autumn Leaves

April 16, 2021

Night Music: Misty Roses

April 14, 2021

Night Music: Smooth

April 12, 2021

Night Music: Harbor Lights

April 6, 2021

Falling Sperm Counts: The End Is Coming

March 28, 2021

I figure this story is either an academic boondoggle or the advance warning of a crisis as important as climate change. Either way, I leave it to you to decide:

It has been reported in the Guardian no less, that some scientists believe we are seeing a catastrophic collapse in reproduction rates due to falling sperm counts. This collapse will lead “most couples … to use assisted reproduction by 2045.”

This news comes from an interview with

“Shanna Swan, professor professor of environmental medicine and public health at Mount Sinai school of medicine in New York City, studying fertility trends. In 2017 she documented how average sperm counts among western men have more than halved in the past 40 years. Count Down is her new book.

Which chemicals are the most worrying for reproductive health and how do they work?
Those that can interfere with or mimic the body’s sex hormones – such as testosterone and oestrogen – because these make reproduction possible. They can make the body think it has enough of a particular hormone and it doesn’t need to make any more, so production goes down.

Phthalates, used to make plastic soft and flexible, are of paramount concern. They are in everybody and we are probably primarily exposed through food as we use soft plastic in food manufacture, processing and packaging. They lower testosteroneand sohave the strongest influences on the male side, for example diminishing sperm count, though they are bad for women, too, shown to decrease libido and increase risk of early puberty, premature ovarian failure, miscarriage and premature birth.

Bisphenol A (BPA), used to harden plastic and found in cash-register receipts and the lining of some canned-food containers, is another. It is oestrogen mimicking and so is a particularly bad actor on the female side, increasing risks of fertility challenges, but likewise it can affect men. Men occupationally exposed to BPA have shown decreased sperm quality, reduced libido and higher rates of erectile dysfunction. Other chemicals of concern include flame retardants and certain pesticides such as atrazine.

How dire is the reproductive crisis? You’ve said we are on course for an infertile world by 2045
It is serious. If you follow the curve from the 2017 sperm-decline meta-analysis, it predicts that by 2045 we will have a median sperm count of zero. It is speculative to extrapolate, but there is also no evidence that it is tapering off. This means that most couples may have to use assisted reproduction.

Remember, of course, she has a book to sell.

Night Music: Refugee

March 20, 2021

Night Music: In Dreams

March 8, 2021

Night Music: Into The Mystic

March 6, 2021

Wise Words

March 6, 2021


February 23, 2021

The Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) is holding its 53rd Annual General Meeting on Monday 1st March at 7:00pm. In our covid-infected world it is, of course, a ZOOM affair and everyone is invited.

Meeting ID: 886 7746 9965 Passcode: 442205

You’re all invited to come, bring your friends and please encourage anyone you think would be a good fit, to run for the Council. GWAC welcomes new Directors and the role need not be daunting – make it yours.

Don’t be put off by the fact I have been invited to make a short speech about the experience of the last Grandview Community Plan and how it could be improved in the future. I will make it as brief as possible and try not to get in the way of the fun!

Hope to see you all there.

Conference on Complete Communities

February 8, 2021

Some may recall I wrote about a very interesting discussion on Vancouver for Renters last month. In the same series of events put on by SFU Public Square, the next event is a discussion entitled “Closer To Home: The Case for Complete Neighbourhoods.” Quoting from their website:

“Many of Vancouver’s early-20th-century neighbourhoods include a mix of housing types, shops, schools, parks and more, allowing many residents’ needs to be met close to home. However, the legacy of planning for most neighbourhoods in Vancouver is one of exclusion and displacement based on income, race, ability and other elements of our identities. Today, many would argue that their neighbourhoods are not ‘complete’.”

This leads to numerous questions, including:

“What do neighbourhoods mean to Vancouverites? 

When is a neighbourhood “complete,” and does a more complete neighbourhood actually benefit residents?  

Can we prevent displacement as we accommodate change? 

What is our best thinking about how to meet diverse needs in our neighbourhoods? 

What has Vancouver missed or erased in the way we have planned and constructed our neighbourhoods in the past century, and what lessons from history can be employed to ensure more liveable neighbourhoods in the future? 

Does strengthening individual neighbourhoods strengthen the city overall? “

Once again, the discussion will be helmed by SFU’s Meg Holden and Andy Yan. They have gathered together a diverse collection of speakers.

This ZOOM conference takes place at 6:30pm on 17th February, and registration is made through the website.

Self-Portraits As Covid Medication

February 3, 2021

The isolation of individuals caused by the covid pandemic and subsequent regulations have forced many of us to re-think our priorities and the ways that we conduct ourselves. In India, a number of photographers have turned to self-portraits to document their solitude. An article in Hyperallergic discusses this phenomenon:

“For some, self-portraits became a coping mechanism to process their emotions during the prolonged quarantine. Many photographers who were used to shooting others were forced to confront their camera shyness and find a new comfort zone as their own muses. “

The article includes some wonderful photography. I was particular taken with these:

Photographer: Urvi Desale
Photographer: Nirali Naik