Bits and Bites, Wednesday October 7th, 2009

Good morning, and a lovely one at that. The stars were all twinkling brightly during my early run today, and the air was crispy cool. This has been the perfect fall so far, at least to me. What more could you ask for than crispy leaves, warm cider and roasted chestnuts and the smell of wood smoke lingering on the breeze….

First up today, I want to direct you to a wonderful little video I found recently, and the man who produced it, Doug Pyper. Doug Pyper is a gifted commercial photographer, writer and all around creative genius. I discovered first his blog, which led me to his commercial website, his companion gallery,  and in turn, a video posted on Youtube  that had been removed. As someone who is against the majority of run of the river projects being built in BC by IPP’s, I was immediately intrigued, and contacted Doug to find out more. Doug immediately sent me a copy to view myself, and I spent some time with the kids watching this unconventionally artistic production.

 ‘Vanishing Rainbows’ is a haunting, visual feast for anyone who loves the raw beauty left in this province,and the value of our natural, clean rivers and streams – and it is far from your standard documentary type shoot. By combining still shots, video and music, Doug has created what I suspect will become part of the legacy of Mick and Gabriella “Storm” Grabowsky.

 Mick and Storm and horse ranchers, and the sole inhabitants of Glacier Creek Valley.

 They have lived in the valley for years, and to them it is more than just a home, it is a way of life lost to most of us in the modern world. The stunning Glacier Creek runs right through their property, and is as crucial to their ability to live as the air we all breathe. Unfortunately, Mick and Storm live right downstream from a planned independant power project being built by Axor– a project that plans to dam, divert and run the creek through several large pipes and tunnels, effectively cutting them off and putting an end to their way of life forever.

  While this project may be news to some of you, it has been foremost in the minds and hearts of those who are fighting to protect British Columbia’s most precious creeks and rivers, and Glacier creek is listed on the list of BC’s most endangered rivers. Most recently, the project was stalled by their inability to provide a detailed plan for how they intend to protect the fish that inhabit and spawn in this creek, but the company expects to forge ahead within a short time. The BC government still has this project listed as ‘ under review’.

I spent the first 18 years of my life living just north of Prince George. I still recall fond memories of fishing and playing in various streams and rivers in the area, many of which have since been altered, polluted or otherwise tainted. In some ways, we are all responsible for those travesties, but this is different. Glacier Creek is not just a beautiful recreational creek, it is a life source for Mick and Storm Grabowsky and one of the few water sources in BC that remains pristine and untouched. I don’t make often make recommendations, but I strongly urge you to check out Dougs sites, and contact him to see a copy of that video. It might just open your eyes, your heart and your mind, and inspire you to help Save our Rivers too…

( Many of you may not be aware of the extent that these Run of the River IPP’s are planned for the entire province. Check out this blog post I did earlier this year that contains a map of proposed and current projects, as well as links to other information regarding IPP’s: https://lailayuile.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/province-of-bc-criss-crossed-by-independent-power-projects/)

As a writer who often must do a lot of research, I am the first to admit that I rely heavily on my computer. With a click and some taps, a world of knowledge is right before me. However, when I grew up, computers where just becoming mainstream. I recall our schools computer lab, filled with Apple computers, and computer class consisted of learning to program the game Hangman successfully. How times have changed… now schools are often built with wireless connections, laptops often take the place of writing notes, and kids are forgetting what it means to practice good handwriting. That why I found this viewpoint written by Robert Smol,titled ” Time to get computers out of the classrooms“, so compelling, and I agree wholeheartedly. Long gone are the days when kids filled libraries, busy searching books and doing research, and Robert argues that the growing reliance on computers has inadvertently created a generation with a lack of writing and research skills, among others.

Ask a high school student today to find information in their own textbook or in a newspaper that is not online and you are likely to encounter blank stares and painful groans.For today’s students, the web has bred a sense of information entitlement where they expect the correct information to somehow come to them rather than the other way around.

In other words, a “Wikipedification” of research is going on that is blurring both the value and the accuracy of what these students are turning up.In practical terms, this means that the “hits” that come up first — which are all too often variations on the same theme — are taken as authoritative sources, without any real consideration as to where the original material comes from and what it is based on.

As a result, I will often find students basing their academic research on blogs or rants in discussion forums instead of on more reliable academic sources largely because personal blogs and discussion forums are simple to understand and easier to read.

As a blogger, I would be appalled to find a highschool student citing me in a mid-term paper!Not because I am inaccurate – I try to confirm everything and cite credible sources- but because a highschool student shouldn’t be taking my word for it, they should be determining what is true and correct firsthand. Robert makes a good point, that can be easily translated into a host of other arenas. One of my biggest beefs are cashiers and bank tellers who have no ability to count back change, or do simple math on the spot. Woe is the customer who gives a cashier a large bill, but then comes up with the extra few coins to make the total after the cashier has rung it through, because unfortunately, most become so confused at how much they should give you for change, that it creates a delay at the checkout. We have become so used to technology doing the “dirty work” that doing anything manually is becoming a lost art. For myself, I remain blackberry free, and the only thing I take with me on a job is my cellphone, camera, notepad and pen. Yes, I still actually take notes….and I can add on the spot. What do you think ?

( oddly enough, this CKNW headline showed up in my mail as I was writing this- case in point…)

CKNW Breaking News…
BC Ferries says computer problems have resulted in manual processing of tickets at both the Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals, resulting in sailing delays.
Sent at 7:08am:

Finally, Thanksgiving is coming this weekend, and while this can be a warm and loving family occasion for some… for others? Not so much. For those of you who find you need to fill a prescription for Valium before attending a family holiday,check out this link for one mans Thanksgiving Survival Guide…. ( warning: he uses the “F” word several times, so don’t look if that is going to bunch your underwear) Feel free to share your Thanksgiving memories – good or bad!

That’s it  for today- hope you enjoyed!

5 Comments on “Bits and Bites, Wednesday October 7th, 2009

  1. Laila,

    Thanks for your kind words regarding my video production “Vanishing Rainbows'” but moreso thanks for your in-depth coverage of the proposed Glacier/Howser project here in the West Kootenay.
    I believe it provided your readers with the bigger picture with regard to all these so-called run-of-river projects which are indeed large industrial corporately owned initiatives…..not at all in the interest of British Columbians. The hours of selfless work that you put into your excellent blog is commendable. You are a gem!

    Doug Pyper

  2. I too had the good fortune of meeting Doug online. We should pay considerable attention to those who spend their time in the wilderness, not just talking about it. The artistic eye of a photographer qualifies him even more to define the beauty of British Columbia’s rural areas. Too many have stopped respecting the wonder of nature and become willing to despoil this irreplaceable asset to make power to power American air conditioners and pool heaters.

  3. No thanks needed Doug, the story of Mick and Storm is one that needs to be told, again and again, because there are going to be many more people just like them fighting against the corporations who want their water.

    I sometimes feel overwhelmed, because there are so many really important issues that need to be ” out there” , but the list is so long, and I feel like I should be doing more! Campbell has just done so damn much harm to this province and only a very small portion of it gets into the mainstream media. Not everyone reads the Tyee and many more have never even heard of it! ( that shocked me, but yes its true)

    We need a legion of bloggers who get enough readers that combined, we can get the word out there. I was really excited to see so much of that kind of blogging during the election, but a lot of it petered off immediately after.

    I have a few ideas floating around right now, some feature ideas to highlight the real people who are dealing with the real consequences of Liberal driven agendas and cuts. Mick and Storm will have just been the start. They are truly, really beautiful people, and their eyes reveal stories and memories that should be put down to paper for posterity.

    Norman,very well said! I almost hate going home to PG, because the horrific results of the Pine Beetles hunger is pretty heartbreaking to me. Great swaths of land covered in grey sticks- the stark remains et behind after the needles finally fell off. Toss in some rivers so fouled with effluent and rivers tampered by power projects… well. All I can say is we need a legion more of men and women like Doug who can show the rest of us why its so important to keep fighting. That is what Dougs dvd did for me, it gave me a not so subtle reminder of the need to keep these issues out there, so we don’t all just forget.

  4. Laila – It is great to see you on this story. As a local I have been fighting the Glacier/Howser travesty on the internet and on the ground for a few years now. It was unfortunate that you, perhaps due to lack of awareness of it, didn’t post links to what is perhaps the largest online source of information and documentation regarding Mick and Storm and their ongoing struggles with the facist combination of government and industry that wants nothing less than the removal of themselves and their horses from the valley.

    Mick and Strom’s troubles didn’t begin with the AXOR/Purcell Green (for the color of money) Power application for a Rape of the River project. They have had to endure endless battles with forestry, fish and game and almost any minsitry that can claiim any jurisdiction over their locality and their activities during the almost twenty years since they PURCHASED the property they are trying to stay on. The same agencies that permit forest companies to not only clearcut, but also leave all kinds of waste (steel cables, broken down equipment, fuel cans, hydraulic fluid and rotting cold decks of never loaded and hauled logs) littered all over the countryside has even harassed them for the horse droppings their horses leave on forest land when they and their horses traverse these publicly owned lands. It would be more appropriate for the Grabowskys to bill the Forest Ministry for fertilizer, delivered on site to help the land rejuvenate from the years of mining and logging pillage that have occurred in the Glacier Creek valley. I myself logged in this valley in the 1980’s and know whereof I speak.

    Photos, letters, legal documents and more can be found at:

    WaterWalk or the Blog that is integrated with the website.

    The website and blog is a goldmine of information for anyone interested in the saga of Mick and Storm and the AXOR IPP project. Currently the site is undergoing ongoing re-organization to make things easier to navigate and find specific items. However it is not “down for repair” as every effort is being made to maintain access to the content there during the renovations.

    There is also a lot of information regarding Eloise Charet and her ongoing efforts to protect Canadian’s (or humanity’s) natural right to clean water!

  5. Hiya koot!! Nice to see you back, as always!

    Yes, I addes Eloise to the blogroll today, and if anyone out there has links they would like to share, just email me at lailayuile@live.com.

    I heard from Mick and Storm yesterday, and I’m really going to try hard to get up there sometime. Perhaps I’ll swing by your way too, Koot! I’d really like to take a look at this site firsthand.