Category: 1Personal

Probiotics and cold symptoms

By , 26 October 2008 18:38

Although my focus is on composting, the microbial liquid I use to make bokashi is also a probiotic beverage imported into Canada as a food item. There are many good things to say about the use of probiotics and a member of my delicious network has over 87 links to scientific studies about their benefit to human health.

Earlier this week I felt a cold coming on. I was sneezing and achy and had this I-know-I’m-getting-cold feeling. And a cold was the last thing I needed. So, I drank 250ml 125ml of Vita Biosa, bundled up and went to bed. In the morning, my symptoms had not worsened and I made it through the day feeling pretty good. That night, I drank another 250mls 125mls of Vita Biosa and in the morning my cold symptoms were gone.

I know that anecdotal evidence can’t be relied on to prove effectiveness but then I found this:

A study by the Australian Institute of Sport found endurance runners given a probiotic supplement suffered less severe flu and cold symptoms than other athletes.

Their illness also generally lasted only half the time of those not taking the supplement, lead researcher Dr David Pyne said.

The volunteers were given the probiotic for four weeks and then later given a placebo capsule containing harmless starch for a further four weeks.

The supplement did not affect the athletes’ performance but it significantly shortened and softened the symptoms of the illness.

While taking placebo capsules, seven runners reported respiratory illness such as sore throat, coughs, runny nose, chest congestion and sneezing, lasting a total of 72 days.

But while on probiotics, only three runners reported illness lasting a total of 30 days. Source

I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing this. It looks like I came out ahead. I’ll start taking the liquid in smaller doses on a regular basis.


It could have been a lot worse #2

By , 17 September 2008 06:31

I did not like the way the situation looked.

A scruffy man was talking to a young oriental woman on the road side of a car while I was cycling by.  I turned around, rode up to them and asked "Do you know each other?" The woman clearly said "No." To be sure, I asked again.

The guy was upset – as if I had insulted him – and told me to mind my own business. So I said  "You are standing on the street, talking to a woman in front of the door of a car. It looks like she is trying to get into her car and you are stopping her from doing that." He then started to tell me his story and the woman gave him a dollar. It turns out she had just arrived and was getting ready to shop. She did say "Thanks" to me a few times and wanted to stick around to see how things ended, but I encouraged her to leave.

The fellow continued to act as if I had insulted him and threatened that he would call the police on me! I rode away.

Notice to panhandlers: The road is not your space. Let us choose whether or not to help you when you are on the sidewalk. As much as I don’t like restricting your right to make a living, when you approach us out of our comfort zone, it is threatening no matter how benign and honest your intentions are.

That’s why I stopped and turned around.


It could have been a lot worse [#1]


What's my line?

By , 3 September 2008 20:23

Today at the Riley Park Farmers Market I met two interesting people. I cannot replay entire conversations for you but they did give me permission to take their picture. So look at the picture and try to imagine what is special/different/unique about these people:








Auschwitz survivor







Railroad engineer [drives trains for CN!]


Bonus photo:

Jane Doe






Wearing nice sunglasses [that’s all]


Twitter for 2008-08-31

By , 31 August 2008 23:59
  • What a great way to start the morning: Miles Davis – So What – Live #
  • Canning tomatoes [making salsa] with my brother today. #

I had a great time participating with my brother and his wife doing this.

  • Coring, scoring, and blanching tomatoes #

Salsa - Paul skinning tomatoes

Salsa - skinning tomatoes

Salsa - Paul chopping jalepenos

Salsa - Callayna Peppers

Salsa - Callayna Cilantro

  • Waaaaay to many tomatoes ready for this recipe. Onions too. Soup? #
  • All ingredients ready to go. A break for lunch, then we begin. #
  • Uh-oh. Timing off. Have to be done by 3pm. Looking iffy. #

Salsa - Many pots, one cook, small stove

  • Everything on the boil. Apt. is like a steam bath. Bro’s schedule freed. No time pressure. #

Salsa - Al cooking it up

  • First batch done. Starting second run now. #

Salsa - Paul checking headspace


Salsa - Paul lidding the salsa

  • The smoke alarm was not a welcome interruption. #
  • Final bath. Having the not enough to go into the last jar taste test with corn chips. Good flavour & bite. Done. I’m outta here. #

Salsa - Fruits of our labour

Salsa - Taste test

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Before and After photos

By , 5 August 2008 10:10

Vancouver’s changing landscape:

The Vancouver Molson Indy winners circle in August 2004*


and in August 2008

VanIndy Winners Circle 2008


Olympic Village construction in November 2007

10 cranes Olympic Village - 11nov08

and in August 2008

11 cranes Olympic Village - 04Aug08


Guerrilla Gardening in September 2005

Car Barn Garden - 25Sep05

and in August 2008:

Car Barn Garden - 04Aug08


*photo by Andrastia [with permission]

To my 50 or so RSS subscribers: Who are you?

By , 5 August 2008 09:35

I really want to know.

At least half a dozen are places like Urban Vancouver where my feed gets distributed including my own subscriptions to Feedburner and FeedBlitz to make sure everything is working. That means 48 subscribers are real people.

From conversations in real life and online, I know that at least two regular readers include Rebecca and Kiera and my own records keep track of who is linking to me

But who else is reading my feed, seeing my Twitter musings, watching my Flickr photos and delicious bookmarks, checking on my business activities – friends, acquaintances, competitors? It would be nice to know.

Many pundits say that a blog is a conversation and sometimes I’m not very conversational. I don’t like re-inventing the wheel either, so despite the interest I have for composting and urban sustainability, I don’t blog news about this unless I feel it affects me or my community directly. I commend people who do blog about their passion and expertise.

Here’s the deal: if I’m on your blogroll, I’ll add you to mine. How to let me know? Leave a comment to this post. Simple. If you want to be private about it, that’s okay. Send me an email

And there’s more! For every person who comments on this post between now and August 10, 2008 I will donate $1.00 to City Farmer – Canada’s Office of Urban Agriculture. Need a topic to comment on? Wish me a Happy Birthday!:-) Letting me know how long you have been reading my blog and why you like it would be good and don’t forget to include a link.

Have a great day! I know I will.



Organic, local Food Co-Op starting. Join today!

By , 30 June 2008 08:50

I’ve been a member Neighbors Organics Weekly Buying Clubs for a while and was disappointed to see them cease operations a few months ago.

So were a lot of other people who convinced owner Grant Watson to keep it going and here is the next step:


Member Drive to Restart NOWBC Operations

Please show your support by July 21st

Hi Everyone,

Neighbors Organics Weekly Buying Clubs is moving forward with plans to re-start operations, please help us get the co-op started so that we can start selling great organic food again! So far 14 people have filled out the online survey. We need 50 people to take action by July 21 so we can move to the next step. And we need you to tell your friends.

Help us revive NOWBC as a Co-op and start sourcing delicious, local organic food again by doing any or all of the following:

1. SUPPORT THE CO-OP SET-UP: We need a minimum of 50 people who want to be members to send a cheque for $20 to NOWBC to help with consulting fees. Cheques will not be cashed until we have enough to actually proceed. There are funders who will augment this if we show that there is support among our members and potential members. Make cheque payable to NOWBC, put "Co-op Share" in the memo and mail to:

NOWBC c/o Grant Watson 102-5698 Aberdeen St Vancouver, BC V5R 4M6

2. COMPLETE THE ONLINE SURVEY: We need to have at least 150 people fill out our survey. Whether you are ready to sign up to be a member yet or not, please fill out our survey. This helps us decide what the terms of association of the co-op will be.

3. TELL YOUR FRIENDS: Tell your friends and give them the opportunity to sign up and/or fill out our survey too. Feel free to forward this notice! Help us build a strong local food distribution network.If you are new to NOWBC, please see our web site ( to find out who we are! In short though, NOWBC is a source of local organic food, at co-op prices, structured so that members can order exactly what they want from our suppliers each week (and not what they don’t!).

NOWBC Re-Structuring Details

Here is the NOWBC good news–we now have sources for start-up money and some advisors ready and waiting to help us revive NOWBC as a co-op. But here’s the deal: in order for us to actually GET the funding to setup the resources we need to get going, we have to show we have PEOPLE who want to buy food through NOWBC by having at least 50 people commit with seed money. Cheques received by NOWBC will be collected until we have at least 50. Then we will work with a co-op expert to build a business plan and by-laws. You then be invited to join, and funders will be invited to help with seed money. They have already expressed interest, but need to see a solid plan.

With sufficient sale of shares and outside funding, we can move forward–form the co-op, source some food, set up the infrastructure, hire staff and provide our members great food again! We don’t need a huge amount of startup money, but we do need enough people making a commitment to buy food through NOWBC to make it viable. Lets believe in ourselves and

Thank you for your time and interest!
Revitalization Committee: Joanna, Ross, Cabot and Grant
Neighbours Organic Weekly Buying Clubs


Please share this with all your friends and neighbours.

My tags visualized

By , 14 June 2008 22:14

"Wordle is a toy for generating "word clouds" from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like."


Here are my tags as seen in Wordle:



I'll be at the Vancouver Farmers Market this summer

By , 30 May 2008 13:58

It is official. I have 16 days at the Vancouver Farmers Market this year. Eight days each at Kitsilano & Riley Park. You can see a schedule on the right, but for the record, here are the days:

  • June 1 – Kitsilano
  • June 11 – Riley Park
  • June 15 – Kitsilano
  • June 25 – Riley Park
  • July 9 – Riley Park
  • July 20 – Kitsilano
  • July 23 – Riley Park
  • Aug 3 – Kitsilano
  • Aug 6 – Riley Park
  • Aug 20 – Riley Park
  • Aug 24 – Kitsilano
  • Sept 3 – Riley Park
  • Sept 17 – Riley Park
  • Sept 28 – Kitsilano
  • Oct 12 – Kitsilano
  • Oct 26 – Kitsilano

    This is a whole new marketing dynamic. Previous years, I parked my bicycle outside

    Bokashi Bike

    the market area, displayed my bokashi kits and arranged to meet with people later in the week. The inner cynic in me says that officials at YLFMS – who are all great people – let me have a booth to keep me from going there on the days that I’m not inside. I don’t mind at all!

    In the past month, I have acquired a tent for my booth, a banner, folding tables, decorative items for displaying my wares, new printed materials, arranged Car Co-op vehicle use etc. The biggest challenge is trying to determine  how much stock to bring. I don’t want to run out before the final bell goes. This week, I’m bringing it all!

    I already have commitments for orders this Sunday. That’s a nice feeling.

    So watch this space for updates. I can’t live blog my first day, but I’ll try to make notes as I go along and post it in the evening along with some pictures.

    One more thing: Letting me know in advance that you are coming to purchase my products on the market days would be greatly appreciated. That way, I can hold items aside for you until you arrive.

  • -30-

    If you are in the Vancouver network on Facebook you can join the Farmers Market group page here and their fan page here.

    I also have a fan page on Facebook: Great Day Bokashi

    Guerilla Gardener news from Vancouver, the UK and in the land of Oz

    By , 29 May 2008 15:50

    This is a post about a news article about Guerilla gardeners that showed up in the Asian Pacific Post a few weeks ago. I mentioned it in some Twitter posts when I found that they had used some of my images without my permission. This has been corrected.

    The same article appeared yesterday in the Sydney Morning Herald. It is ephemera of the news cycle that I find interesting. The story is a filler that editors can add when they need more content. The Asian Pacific Post added a local angle which they were not required to do but I’m glad they did. I’m surprised the Sydney Morning Herald could not do the same [from their own publication!]


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