Thursday, January 18, 2018

3 Months Now

It became 3 months that I have been working for this company yesterday. I've been working hard like a horse and when I usually get home I'm dead tired but I'm lucky that they haven't kicked me out yet! They could have, easily! This is the first stable job that I've kept since I was kicked out from the last good one more than 2 years ago! Waiting to join CAF made me just to do nothing because I was hoping to end my career years there but things didn't work and I ended up leaving last Aug. (for some detail search for stories of CFLRS). I've had and I intend to work hard and keep this job until I get something better or I'll be screwed more than I have been! There's lot to say about this new job but I'm going to save it for later. That's all I'd like to say now. The only thing to add is since I got this job from a recruiting agency, I don't know when I'd become an employee of the company although I think I heard once that it'd 4 months. And one more thing(!): I believe it easily falls under the definition of paycheque-to-pay cheque job(!) and I may explain later how I'm surviving.
(Photo: This was randomly found and selected from the web and shows the difference between the layers of a Capitalist society with this difference that the middle one is about to vanish!)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Entertainment in McDonald's

I was only capable of keeping my promise partially throughout  the week! I went to McDonald's a few times because I didn't want to get stuck in the traffic but I used the 8th Coffee Promotion Card(!), mostly. Today though I woke up, had a shower and shave and realized everyone was still asleep. So decided to go for breakfast instead of waking them up by my noise due to the small size of our place. However my calculation was wrong and I did something stupid which cost me more than usual. I went to a McDonald's location which is mostly a hangout for homeless, drug addicts and hobo in general. Had a coffee and breakfast sandwich without taking my computer with me. Surprisingly the place was quiet and clean! Then went to another location close by, which although is a hang out for the same people as well (no offence to the lovely Indigenous people but that's where they mostly gather and ask for money and I'm not going to say what location is that) but you feel more secure. Big mistake! I went in there with half of my coffee still in the cup and in my winter jacket's pocket and ordered two breakfast sandwiches. Surprisingly, again and for the second surprise of the day, the Egg on Whole Grain Bagel sandwich (I customized that by eliminating the damn Cheese, Butter and I don't know what else!) tasted good and fresh! The other one was a customized sandwich as well. I usually eliminate Cheese, Butter, Sausage Patty and even the White Flour English Muffin! I started my online lesson after I finished the sandwiches and paid not much attention to the surrounding. Then I realized a young couple came in. You could tell from their appearance that they were not normal. The guy, a Caucasian fella in his late 30's, in a baseball cap and jeans said something loudly to the girl and then disappeared. Later on I realized that he was in the washroom. It was OK for a while until I heard a loud animal roar! It sounded such as an animal was being butchered alive! That was a guy in the washroom! Fortunately I didn't have to go in there but the noise was so loud that a couple of  the McDonald's employees, as usual Filipinos, came over and started their investigation! That was one hell of a scene and the guy's shouts was getting louder and more frequent! One guy came from outside to use the bathroom but changed his mind after opening the door and having a look inside! The McDonald's fellas decided to call the police while the supposedly girlfriend of his went inside to check on him but only looked quickly and backed up! The guy in the bathroom, according to McDonald's guys had injected himself with something and the reaction was that! 
I had seen police in that location but I don't know why I had not learnt my lesson! In the meantime I knew that police would not be there soon. The guy eventually came out while suffering, looked like from a stomach pain. I was thinking that we had another show, this one not only with audio but also with video(!), in the lobby but he surprisingly, as the third surprise of the day(!), left the restaurant shortly, of course before the cops arrive. I stayed there a little longer until a group of three Native people showed up at the table next to me, a young man and woman and a kid. They looked fairly normal and I tried not to do anything that triggers the guy, although there were other tables empty and I wondered why he chose the one next to me! The rest of the story is not important. Everything went normal again and that was when I realized my computer was fully charged. I thought I should get the hell out of there before something more serious and dangerous happens!
(Photo: This fella and a girl, who by the way was a very beautiful blue-eyed blonde came shortly after the show was over(!) From the first sight it was obvious that the guy was a drug addict and then they went to the washroom, I guess together, for probably a quickie and then separately to do some drugs after that. When they came out it was clear that the girl, in his mid-20's had sniffed or injected enough and was waiting for the pleasing affects!)

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Saving Money in 2018

I met with The Mumbling Guy for the first time in probably more than 10 months or so. He still is with the same freaking company and he will probably be until he retires. He has bought his second house and now after he has renovated it, he intends to sell it. He's doing well because basically an East Indian with a good salary normally does well. They barely eat out, their food is cheap, they know all of the bargains in and around the city(!), they buy their cloths every time they go to India. They purchase most of their items from a dollar store and many other concepts that I or any average Joe never pay attention to. 
However I have decided to cut on cost so I can save a little bit here and their and focus on more important expenses such as buying a property. 
Ever since I started this new job (which I hope it lasts as long as I have something better) in last Nov., I refrained from going home right after work because I certainly doesn't want to get stuck in the traffic and burn gasoline and run my engine for no reason. I normally go to a local coffee shop and work on my volunteer job or recently the course that I have taken, until the traffic dies down. This cost me nearly $1.7 a day at least, if I only get a coffee because I really don't want to be a freeloader, using their facility and paying nothing. that roughly makes up to $34 a month which is now the cost of nearly 30 Liters of gasoline! I could spent the same amount on fuel but that would just turn to all sorts of harmful gases (probably) and goes to atmosphere, plus it adds to the cost of annual maintenance of the vehicle. In addition to that I used to go for a meal and a beverage with The Chef almost every weekend for the past 4 months or so. That cost at least $13 a week. I started cutting on that last week and this weekend I kept it the same manner. So I'm hoping savings such as the above help me to survive easier until I find a better job. 
(Photo: This might sound a little money and cheap but believe me it works. I have so much expenses that these can only be a little help!)

Friday, January 05, 2018

Faisal Restaurant

I went to Faisal Restaurant in northeastern part of the city this past New Year's Day! The Brave called me and we went together as part of the dinner I owed him. The first time I went there was with him and The Chef. The second time it was me and The Chef. Faisal Restaurant is a Pakistani restaurant with normal things that you should expect from a business like that: run-down building, old and dirty furniture which are assembled in an odd shape, noisy, filthy mats, light bulbs and chandeliers covered in dust so much that the obscure light, customers coming and going for food pick up, waiters running up and down, you name it! In spite of all the above the food is not bad. It actually is good. None of us have gotten sick the past three times we were there. However price-wise it's expensive for what they serve. A dish of Chickpeas which is dipped in traditional Pakistani flavor is sold for a $8.95. This plate probably has half of a can of Chickpea which is sold for, say, $3 and they make the flavoring by adding some herbs and stuff which is practically nothing. So a dish of that kind must have at least 50% profit. I don't eat traditional Pakistani (or in general East Indian) bread mainly because it's made out of White Flour but they sell one for $1.5 (or $.2.5. I have to double-check the receipt I got from them because I remember they have mentioned that in two different rows and different prices). That bread does not even cost ¢40! How much Flour and other stuff they use to make one?! Their Kabob is not bad either. I don't know what they mix with meat but the taste is not bad and they bring it to you in a sizzling plate with raw Onions, which I like. The price of Kabob is $8.95 for a plate and you get two pieces, which easily fill you up, if eaten with Bread, Rice or Chickpea. The funny thing is the slight difference between the price of Chickpea and Kabob, leads to think that most of their Kabob ingredient is probably not meat! They have other dishes including Rice but since I don't eat Rice I have no experience to share.
In a nutshell if none of the disturbing things which were explained above bothers you, I recommend Faisal Restaurant but what is the story behind the word Faisal
There's a picture of a little boy as soon as you pass the restaurant's door frame. It says: Welcome to my restaurant! Apparently the owner has named the restaurant after his little son but the most prominent Faisal was King Faisal Al Saud who ruled Saudi Arabia in the 60's and 70's and was assassinated by his nephew (actually his half-brother's son, although no one cares!) in revenge of the guy's father who had previously been executed on the order of King Faisal
It's said that King Faisal brought Saudi Arabia from a mostly fundamental society to a modern day one by introducing many concepts of life, such as television, which were at the time considered forbidden (or Haram in the language) by religious leader and that eventually led to his death.
Another question for me was then how the hell a Pakistani would call his son Faisal? It's not uncommon for people of that region to use Arabic names but Faisal's usage probably stems from King Faisal's trip to Pakistan in the 60's. Saudi Arabia has always been a supporter of Pakistan, either during the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and after that as a main rival of Iran in the region. Apparently the king suggested that a mosque should be built in Islamabad, the capital of the country and promised aid. Faisal Mosque then was built which for years was the world's largest mosque. The king was then a popular figure in the country. In addition to that there is this old city in Pakistan called Faisalabad. It originally used to be called Lyallpur (which has another story!) but the government of Pakistan changed the name to Faisalabad in honor of King Faisal. So I guess that is how the name Faisal has become popular in Pakistan. There is so much to write about the country and I always wanted to visit there but now it is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world to travel to especially for someone such as me who his origin goes back to a Shia dominant country! They would probably kick me out right at the airport or rain me with questions and if I ever get permission to enter, chances that I come out alive is very slim!
It's important to mention that during Arab-Israeli War of 1973, King Faisal was one of the first leaders who stopped exporting of oil products to Western countries. That was an admirable move although later on all of the freaking coward Arabs became the US's slave and kissed Israel's ass. That is another subject for another post, maybe!
So go to Faisal Restaurant and Faisal Mosque and Faisalabad and enjoy them all, as much as you can. I guess Faisal Restaurant would be the only option for me and that would be when I'm not concerned about money! 
(Photo: King Faisal bin-Adbul Aziz Al Saud the king of Saudi Arabia for 11 years. I wonder if that was the only Saudi king who has been assassinated or there are anyone else. I recently have found a book called The Bin Ladens by Steve Coll. I have to find time to read it. It must be interesting)

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Unfulfilled Plans for the Recognition Award!

This is not a big deal but I was recognized again for my efforts as a volunteer last Nov. and I received the usual gift, which is in cash. I had plans for putting this money away for a few months and then buy something I really like so every time I look at it or I use it, I would remind me of the hard work for months and it would encourage me to work harder.
However having lots of expenses and earning just so little caused me to spent all that money on daily expenses, to be exact gasoline and grocery! In addition to that I have registered for an online course which cost me nearly $2500. The cash gift was a true help. Now the question is how do I balance between work, the online course and the volunteer work? I need them all! Not many hours left during the day particularly that I will have to finish the course by the first week of March.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Thank You Toyota

It's the second day of the new year and temperature has gone up significantly. Many think that is a relief but I actually skidded and slide for the first time today because all of that hard ice and snow has tuned to slush. Nevertheless I'm here to say how amazing my car is and how excellent it performed during the extreme cold. Every morning and afternoon, on the way to work and on the way back to home in -25 ℃ temperature, only one twist of the ignition key and the engine was on!
After 8 years the car, a Toyota, has never given me trouble and I must say that I drive standard the type of car that many are not comfortable with. I hope I can get a good standard car once I need to replace this but it looks like this one is going to last many year. So here I have to say: Thank you Toyota. Keep up the excellent work.
This picture shows my car's thermometer and in fact it normally shows 2 degrees Celsius above the actual temperature!
I have Prius and one another car in mind, in case one day I'm buying a new one but we will see. I once asked a driver, before buying this car in late 2009, who he found the vehicle. He said he only had to change the tire all those years! 
(Photo, top: Kiichiro Toyoda who is credited for turning a loom works factory to what is known today as Toyota Motor Corporation, one of the most successful auto manufacturers of the world. Why the word Toyoda, the family name of the founder has been changed to Toyota, I will have to find out)

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Feeling of Walking in -25 ℃

I went out this morning and it was really cold but it seemed that the extreme cold doesn't stop people from getting out. They go out but not on foot, mostly! They drive! And these days majority of people either drive an SUV or a van! There's barely anyone who drives  sedan unless he's broke or he has a modern sedan with good winter tires on. There are some in between. 
I wasn't out for a long time. I wanted to do a quick shopping and then spent an hour or two near the store in a McDonald's and worked on my volunteer job. 
In the evening though, after hours of sitting at the damn desk I decided to get some Olives for my salad. So I walked to a local grocery store for about 15 min. and bought some. It was not so bad. Then I decided to have a longer walk. That was not bad either. I was out in -25 (without wind-chill) for nearly 45 minutes
This picture is not clear but you can see the Owl almost in the centre
While walking on the sidewalk before getting myself to Bow River Pathway, I was about to pass a pillar and immediately after I passed, and looked at the corner, as this is my usual habit, I was taken aback! There was an Owl just sitting at that corner! It was looking at me and I was looking back while I couldn't get my eyes off its! I then stopped to take a photo of it but I was afraid to get close. If it had been injured or just simply sick of the extreme cold, it could have gouge my eyes out! So I took a photo from distance and the result (as you see here) is not great! 
I continued the walk and saw a few Snow Rabbits which is normal in the city even in other seasons. I wonder how they survive the winter as there's barely anything to eat. There was barely any cars on the roads. Let alone pedestrians! I was fine in trunk and arms and even feet and legs. The only part of my body which was feeling cold was my face. I didn't put my Balaklava on. The walk took between 21:35 and 22:20 which is probably not a very good time in this temperature, for an evening walk but it's not bad. Give it a try tomorrow night because that would be your last chance for a while. The temperature will be going up, according to Environment Canada (that you their forecast in the main photo of the post). I will have a walk again tomorrow and most definitely on Mon. There will even be a chance of jogging or skating on Mon. 
(Photo, top: Environment Canada's website shows tonight's temperature as well as the forecast for the next 4 days)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Is This the Coldest Christmas Ever?!

I'm sitting here at the desk and doing nothing but wasting time, mostly! I decided to have a walk in the afternoon and got around 14:00. It was brutal! I guess I was out for nearly 50 min. and I was about to be frozen. There was barely anyone out. I went to Bow Trail Pathway and there was a girl running(!) and a couple walking! That was it! Then a few more, maybe. The roads was empty too. I guess it was around -17 ℃ but if you consider the damn wind, it's much worse.
My memory is not really good these days but either I don't remember such cold or my brain cells are dying one after another!
Weather Network has a full detail about the local weather including the forecast. Here you only see the latest data.
 I know we are getting old. The Chef who usually does not show signs of weakness, complained about cold last night and even didn't want to go for a 10 min. walk. He refused to get together for the same reason today. It's hard to stay home even if you're with someone. I'm by myself and I can get myself busy but again it's mostly a waste. I need to plan for something for the next Christmas! That's why many people book hotels and tickets months in advance! I have never been on a trip during Christmas time and it never had anything to do with having or not having money. It never occurred to me. besides I hate waiting in long lines of airports. So perhaps if I'm going somewhere next Christmas that I would be driving a reliable car! 
(Photo, top: Bow River and part of Downtown Calgary from Mewata Bridge. I never knew what the steam is. This was taken around 14:35 today with the temperature of what I said above. It's of course colder now)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve Besides the Rivers!

I came back after eating at Five Rivers Restaurant with The Chef. We started going back to the place last week but last week their buffet cost us $10.5 each while this week went up to $13.65! We were told that it was because they had added meat items to the menu! The Chef tried some of those. I didn't. 
I went to a Mark's Warehouse in the west part of the city and came out empty handed because what I was looking for. I later though I had it at home(!) instead took this photo with the pile of snow in the parking lot. The photo also shows the slippery ground. Alberta's winter finally came after a week of disappointment
Anyways it was extremely cold in a way that The Chef wanted to go back home after the dinner. We walked to Apna Punjab grocery store (we didn't but anything and that was because we both were so full that we couldn't even think of any type of food) and then we wanted to go to McDonald's and hang out and have a hot beverage. He first refused but I told him I would drive although it was only 10 min. walk. He them agreed to go. He basically did not have enough on. Not for -17 ℃ cold, of course not considering the wind chill! We hung out there for perhaps 2 hours! 
The roads were quite and uncrowded on the way back but a little bit slippery. And now I'm sitting here and writing these while listening to some music. Such an exiting night!
(Photo, top: Whether Network shows Calgary's temperature around -20 ℃ around 23:00 tonight. It is forecasted that the temperature would not be so different the next coming days)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Long Hiring Process With No Result

I called the company that has interviewed me twice, a few weeks ago and asked about the status of the position. I was told that no decision had been made and there were two more candidates who would be interviewed in the coming weeks. The lady who interviewed me over the phone said that. She also added that there was another position that she thought it would fit my qualifications better. She said she would forward my resume. That was more attractive to me considering it would be in Calgary
I sent an e-mail to her later regarding the position. No response. I then applied for the position directly, mentioning the discussion in the Cover Letter. No response again. I now am disappointed and hopeless. I guess I have to work harder. For that I have registered for a course which I'm taking it online. That is because the classroom version of that would take 2 weeks and I'm not in position to quit my job and attend the course. I'm hoping to finish that as soon as I can and then add it to my resume. I then need to go to another course, either online or in person but in the meantime two other things has come up. The guys that I'm working for, would like to keep me but I need to get certified to be able to use a tool and then I received an e-mail from a Federal Government agency requesting a document. I sent the document to them the very same day and their response the next day was that I would be invited to an interview but they have not mentioned any date. I talked to my buddy, A. F. who works for that agency and he said that it was not unusual for them to not mention the interview date and I would have to wait. I will while I'm working, I'm doing my certificate and I'm working my volunteer job!