Monday, July 21, 2014

Fishing at Eagle Lake June 12

I have not posted for awhile, as I have been gardening, tutoring and experimenting with watering systems for growing tomatoes. On July 12, it was free fishing in Alberta without a license. Camilla, the wife of my cousin Chris Lee wanted to go fishing. I asked my good friend Doug Grey if he would take us fishing in his boat.  So we went to Eagle Lake which is a one hour drive east of Calgary. Eagle Lake has a nice campground, swimming area, boat launch , picnic area and a general store and even mini-golf.  We put the boat in the water around 10:00 am and fished until 4:00 pm . Using a fish finder to locate the fish we trolled using "Rattling rapella" fish lures.  We managed to catch 10 pike but released most back into the lake and just kept a couple to eat for supper. Doug filleted out the two fish.   I wore my Chinese straw rice paddie hat that I brought back from China much to Doug's chagrin.   The coolie hat is the ideal hat to wear on a hot summer's day because it acts like an umbrella and provides a complete shadow that covers your shoulders and so there is no sunburn or heat stroke.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Spawning Jewel Cichlids

April 18, Good Friday, and there is a snow blizzard outside when it should be a nice spring day. I go into my greenhouse and I am tending to my bedding plants, house plants and tropical fish. I notice that my two jewel cichlids are removing debris from a rock slab in the community tank. About an hour later, I look into the community tank and witness the female jewel cichlid  laying her eggs on the slab and the male cichlid would circle behind the female to fertilize the eggs. In the space of an hour their were a couple of hundred eggs laid in a concentric circle. I went and videotaped the spawning of the two cichlids.  This latch batch of eggs will be the 6th batch of fry to be hatched since January. I have to find another tank to place the female cichlid to give her a rest and prevent her from reproducing eggs. As long as the female is with the male, she will continue to be a prolific breeder but the problem is I have no room to raise the offspring.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chinese Genealogy: Finding Your Roots

Chinese Genealogy

The New Penguin English Dictionary defines genealogy  as 1 (a) the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or from older forms. (b) an account of this. 2 The study of family pedigrees.

One of the best websites to consult in one’s introduction to Chinese genealogy is written by Al Chinn in his House of Chinn website.  (

Al Chinn states the two fold purpose of his Genealogy site is as follows:

A word of explanation about this website, it contains two sections. The first section is about Chinese genealogy and should be useful to those who are looking for their Chinese roots. It contains background information explaining about Chinese genealogy, the use of special terms and terminologies, and some historical information about Chinese names, a brief description about migration overseas by your ancestors and how to initiate the search for your family history in China.

The second section pertains to the Chinn (Chen) () clan and should be of interest to those who share my surname. It touches on some historical information about the origin of the clan name, the State of Chen (陳國), Yingchuan Hall (穎川堂), the Chen Dynasty (陳朝), the southward exodus from the homeland in Henan Province (河南省) and later settlements in southern Guangdong Province (廣東省). It should be remembered that the majority of the present-day descendants of the Chinese immigrants who went overseas originated from Guangdong Province (廣東省) mainly from the Pearl River Delta Region (珠江三角洲) not far from Hong Kong (香港), and also from southern Fujian Province (福建省), mainly from the Xiamen (Amoy) (夏門) area. I hope your visit will be an enjoyable one.

(Al Chinn   October 10, 2007)

Al Chinn’s website has an introductory genealogy book for sale You Are Royalty: A Guide to Your Chinese Ancestor.   In the preface, he states “It is my sincere hope that this book will be of value to budding family historians who are primarily involved in the investigation of their Chinese ancestors. It should be helpful to non-ethnic Chinese who originally had Chinese ancestry, and also to English educated ethnic Chinese who have little or no Chinese cultural heritage.

Mr. Chinn offers for sale introductory root search booklets for the following surnames: Li, Wang, Zhang, Liu, Chen, Yang, Zhao, Huang, Zhou, Wu, Zhu, He, Peng, Tan, Lu, Lan, Cen.

According to Chinn, family names can be derived from the following sources:

·         Decreed by a sovereign

·         Dynasty name

·         Title name

·         Honorary name

·         Family name

·         Generation name

·         Official post name

·         Skill or occupations

·         Social name

·         Clan name

·         Feoff name

·         Political name

·         Place name

·         Direction name

The Calgary Lees’ Association in Calgary who have been in existence in Calgary for over 100 years has a generational chart that traces their direct lineage to Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism.  Lao Tzu’s family name was Li and he was known as Li Er .

Li Er was the 17th generational descendent of Li Lizhen a court official during the Spring and Autumn Period (722-481 BC).  Li Lizhen adopted the name of a plum a tree fruit called Muzi which became the Chinese Character for the surname Li.

Below is the generational chart of the Calgary Lees’ Association from Lao Tzu (500 BC)  to the various Lee clans in Guangdong province that include the counties of Toi-san, Hoi-ping, Yin-ping, Hok-san and Sun-wui. (20th Century A.D.) There is also a photograph of current Calgary Lees' Association members who are descendants of Li Er.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

JUICE 4 U : Juice Bar In The Dragon City Mall

Located inside the Dragon City Mall on Centre Street in the Calgary Chinatown Core is one of the best juice and beverage bars of the all the Bubble Tea Shops in Calgary.  Although the selection is limited in comparison to the other Bubble Tea Shops, the beverage bar excels in terms of using natural ingredients and the drinks are the original creations of the health conscious proprietor Yan.
The beverages include: Gourmet Coffee, Green Tea Smoothies, and Fresh Bubble Teas. Juice 4  U also offers a choice of two light snacks----rolled crepes and waffles---that are made from scratch and baked before your eyes on the crepe maker or the waffle iron.  I sampled one of Yan's latest green smoothie creations that was a combination of papaya, mango, pineapple, kale and spinach that has no artificial sweeteners. The green colored beverage has a smooth texture, a bouquet of fresh fruit and vegetable flavors that tantalizes one's palate and quenches the thirst. This is the best smoothie, I have ever experienced.  The price range for beverages are between $3.95 and $5.50.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Walking Tour of Chinatown Calgary

Last June all of Chinatown was flooded in Calgary's worst flood. You can look at my postings last year that show the damage. Today is April 5, Saturday and it is only two months away from the anniversary of the flood.  Some businesses along Center street in the Canton Block have not returned such as the Gee Gong noodle house and a new contemporary art studio has taken over part of the space. Calgary's Chinatown is small in comparison to the Chinatown in Vancouver and Toronto. Chinatown Calgary is three square blocks at base of the Centre Street Bridge on the Southside of the Bow River in Calgary's downtown core. One can walk around each block in a systematic fashion and complete a tour of Chinatown in a leisurely stroll that would be completed in an hour. One could end the tour by having lunch in Chinatown and then visiting Sien Lok Park and sit and enjoy nature on the benches that surround the Return to Golden Mountain monument that is a 15 ton granite rock that was brought from Hoiping China and sculpted into a story that portrays the hardships encountered by the first Chinese pioneers during the gold rush to the Fraser Valley and the building of the railroad.
I decided to walk around Chinatown and see how the community has recovered.  The actual number of residents who live in Chinatown is just over 1300 people who comprise of Senior citizens who live in the different retirement apartments.  The people who own the businesses live in the suburbs. There are 100,000 Asians who comprise 10% of Calgary's population. There are many businesses that serve the Asian community for their shopping needs in terms of Oriental foods and goods. From the centre street bridge north of the Bow River to 16th. Ave. North there are Chinese supermarkets, restaurants , herbalists and acupuncture.   In Marlborough in  southeast Calgary there is the Pacific Plaza Mall. Also in southeast Calgary in the Forest Lawn 17th avenue known as International avenue that has over 400 businesses that service the Asian community. Finally, in the northeast community of Harvest Hills is the TNT supermarket, the T-Pot in a giant shopping center that service the large Asian community in this area.  The old Chinatown in the downtown core has been in existence for over 100 years and in reality the Asians have extended beyond that small enclave and is now mainstream in every quadrant of the city. I have created a 30 minute video in which I simply walk around the three blocks of the old core in downtown Chinatown.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Juno Awards : Tegan and Sara: Let's Get Physical

I am sitting at my computer watching the Juno Awards and the first award for best single goes to Tegan and Sara Quinn. Back in the 1990's, I developed the broadcasting program at Crescent Heights High School and two twin girls named Tegan and Sara attended my broadcasting classes as grade 10 and grade 11 broadcasting students. I remember these two girls because they were identical twins and difficult to tell apart when they were separate.  Sara was a little lighter in build and Tegan was a little chubbier in her facial features.  Both girls has full length hair that descended below their waste. They loved wearing baggy blue jeans, loose fitting flannel shirts and big belts with chains attached.  One day Tegan brought an acoustic guitar into the classroom and began strumming and Sara began to sing to the melody. I asked them who wrote the song and Tegan said she made up the melody and Sara made up the lyrics. It was something they did for fun.  Both girls were typical adolescents with mood swings and crushes on different boys.  These two girls were free spirits who at the time did not know what they would do in life, they just lived for the weekend with their group of friends.  I cannot remember the name of their first song that they sang for me but what I remembered was that their voices harmonized beautifully and they sang their lyrics with emotion.   The two girls prided themselves on writing their own original music and did not like doing cover songs.  I told the two girls that they should start going to coffee shops that have an open mic and start playing at coffee shops.  The girls asked me "What if the people at the coffee shops refuse to let us play?"  I told them to keep going to different coffee shops and offer to play for free and give them a short sample of what you play and if they refuse come back next week and keep bothering them until they finally agree to let you play. The whole broadcasting class that these girls attended for two years were all a bunch of free spirits and I gave them freedom to create because this was a locally developed course that I had created at the school that had developed into a full time program in three years.  One day the two girls came to see me and were so exited because they were now performing in coffee shops and you have to remember they were only grade 10 students.  In Grade 12 they won a battle of the bands contest in Calgary and ended up opening as an act with Sara MacGlauchan  at Lilith Fair and their career as musicians was on its way.  About five years later, Tegan and Sara were doing the University Campus's and I saw them perform at McKewan Hall at the U. of C. campus and saw them afterwards as they were selling their CD's.  Sara and Tegan were thrilled to see me and they had not changed a bit, they were still those two enthusiastic performers.  Watching them accept their Juno Award tonight, I can see they have remained the same--Sara is the spokesperson and Tegan lets Sara take the lead.  Tegan and Sara always prided themselves in saying that they were not main stream performers but with their original music today they have kept redefining themselves and now they are main stream but Tegan and Sara it does not matter, you are still the same little girls I used to teach. I am so proud of you for following a dream and finding success.

March Snow Fall In Spring

Today is Sunday March 30 and it is still snowing. Last week on Saturday, March 22 it was snowing and temperature was dropping to around  minus 9 Celcius when I went out to my greenhouse around 4 pm in the afternoon to discover my breaker had blown because of a short circuit in my greenhouse. One of my power bars connecting the fish tanks with electricity had blown and fused one of the electrical plugs to the power bar that caused the breaker to blow. I went downstairs to the breaker box and found that breaker had been tripped but it would not reset. The breaker was broken. For over an hour I tried to reset the breaker with no success. I finally phoned a friend who came over and rewired a wire into an empty breaker.  In two hours the temperature in the greenhouse had dropped to 2 Celcius.  With the breaker fixed and reset, the furnace in the greenhouse kicked in and the temperature rose to 10 degrees above Celcius.  I was fortunate not to have lost all the tropical fish, a the orchids, fig trees, house plants and bedding plants to the cold.  The next day, I had someone come and change the default breaker to avoid a future short in the box.  I took  a short video of the greenhouse to take inventory of what was saved in the greenhouse.  As you can see although it is still winter outside, spring has begun in the greenhouse and the fig trees are beginning to leaf out.