Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stupid System

I once let go after 3 months, the probation period, and then in less than 3 years I got another job with the same company in another city of a different province. Of course these companies have no integrated HR system to prevent them from hiring someone who has already screwed them in a different jurisdiction but I was not expecting to see that you get hired by the same company that asked for your removal in and in the same city with a better salary than your previous job!
That is what to Z. Y.! He now works for the client observing an engineering contractor's work. Whether he will be successful or not is another question but I do not think he is so dumb to repeat the same mistake that caused his job!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Columbia Icefield

Our third destination in Alberta was Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park just one hour from Town of Jasper on Highway 93. Right after Lake Louise you turn right onto Highway 93 which is 20 times less traffic compare to Highway Number 1, obviously because Highway Number 1 connects West to East and Highway 93 is just a recreational road. This road is only for the people who want to go to Jasper National Park, the numerous lakes and summits in Canadian Rockies or eventually to Town of Jasper and Edmonton after that. It is 4 hours from Jasper to Edmonton.
Lots of cyclists on the road and also many motor-homes and RVs and coaches but that was all. It is a little tiring ride unless you stop off and on and the road is one lane each way but because of less traffic it does not cause much trouble.
The road got really scary when we were closing to Icefiled Center. It went so high and then the center was right in front of the glacier. It was a sunny day unlike the first two days. That was why it did not make it as nice. I don't like it when it is too Sunny. We changed our gear in case it's cold and windy up there and after a few minutes we got on a regular bus which took us to the big snow bus station. The good thing was we did not have to sit on a packed bus. But what was a bit disappointing was the distance we traveled on the big snow bus. I was expecting it to be a little more exciting but just after 10 to 15 min, we reached our destination. There are possibly two reasons behind that. First of all the more they travel the more they have to consume fuel and then they will have to increase their price and then the more they go, the more damage they do to the glacier and the environment. But the fact is if I had known it was that far only, I would have driven to the Icefield Center and walked the rest or simply would have found another spot to land! I might do that the next time I go. The next time I will go to Edmonton and then visit Jasper and then will drive down to the glacier somewhere. I can also plan to see another lake or walk to Bow Summit.
We paid a total of $33 and something for this ride and that was because we had bought a package for that, the Gondola and the cruise of Lake Minnewanka. We have not taken the cruise yet. Overall the ride was OK and we were let to be on the glacier for almost 20 min. to walk around and take photos. There were signed here and there which shows where the previous spots of the glacier were. I guess they started recording it in 1905 or so.
(Photo: People are getting on the snow truck to go back to the Icefield Center. Compare the size of the tires to the people to realize how big these trucks are)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Banff's Attractions: Cascade Falls

Everybody who lives in Alberta and everywhere else in Canada knows that Banff is the most popular destination for vacations in this country. I guess it even tops Whistler which I have not been to yet, although I lived closed to it, in Squamish for about a year or so.
For me Banff is not as attractive as everybody else know. I have been to the Hotel, I have seen all the shops and I have taken several photos from every corner of it. This year F. F. wanted to see more we decided to get on the gondola and go on the top of Sulphur Mountain some 1300 m above the sea level. Fortunately we did not have to wait in a line because that is what I hate the most. Rather than that we got a package to see Columbia Ice fields and cruise Lake Minnewanka which saves us a few dollars.
This was my second ride on the gondola and there was lots of changes up there. It was a bit busy at the beginning but then everybody left and we could spend a little quiet time and take a few photos. Lots of information was shared so know I know that the little shelter on the top of Sulphur Mountain actually had been built for the person or persons who did research on Cosmic Rays years ego here in Alberta.
After our ride we had a little lunch and F. F. wanted to go to Cascade Pond but instead I took her to Cascade Falls which was new to both of us. An avalanche quite similar to what we had seen the day before in Lake Louise area had destroyed lots of trees but we went all the way up and took a few photos. There is also a little short runway for small planes right in front of the falls but seems not being used anymore. When we were coming back to the parking lot, we noticed a herd of Whitetail Deers but they saw us and before I set up the camera they went away. Other attempts to take photos from them failed. Our next destination was a hot spring but because it was late we decided to do that later as well as the ice field program and the cruise.
(Photo: Cascade Falls located on Highway No. 1 right where you turn right to go to the overpass which takes you to Banff)

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Damn Tea House

F. F. had wanted to see Lake Louise so we saddled our horses and headed for there today after a breakfast outside. Fortunately because of the day, the roads were not very busy but the lake area was. Tourists from Asia and Britain. We decided t go around the partially frozen late get to the Tea House which was supposed to be not so far away from the lake but we failed. We claimed and claimed and pass all the snow covered and recently avalanche-hit paths and eventually decided to turn around. F. F. was really tired but managed to be a good company. It was me actually who said to go back because we reached a point there was actually no way to and it was getting kind of late. Besides I knew that F. F. was tired but just wanted to follow.

We were supposed to reach the Tea House after almost 2.2 KM hiking and that was after a total of 4 KM walk from the lake but I guess we stopped after 1.5 KM or a little more. There was nobody on the path after the way got covered by snow. I guess we walked the last 3 KM just by ourselves. The weather was very nice but F. F. is just not a person trained or experienced in this kind of hiking. For me it was a piece of cake but another problem was that we almost started out trip at 13:05. If we had started a little earlier, I would have been able probably to convince F. F. to go on regardless of tiredness. For me it was my third trip but I had never gone that high.
(Photos:Top one is taken from the path aside the lake with the Cheteau Hotel seen in the end and below one show the sign after 4 KM of hiking. The Tea House is aparantly less than 2.2 KM and I think we went as far as 1.5 KM and there was still no sign of it. Just broken and bent trees from a recent avalanche! This sign amongts with a few more, neches etc are all new from the last time I had been threr, 2004 or 05, I think)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Unstable Businesses

I always believed that running a business is a very hard thing to do if you want to make good profit, stay competitive and be headache-free! But I do not believe there are many businesses like that. Risks are always involved.
There are many businesses of different kinds available in 17th Ave. SW Calgary but I personally have seen quite many changes. Many of them went out of business. Many of them still running after 10 years. There were two Sex Shops which do not exist anymore. There were also two Blockbusters which they went of business one after another, the second time last year almost the same time as now. Many restaurants have been changes and rarely a few have survived. Most of the survivors are chain restaurants or simply put fast foods including Wendy's, McDonald's, Boston Pizza, etc. It's even harder to survive now because now all around downtown you have to pay for parking. I personally prefer to go somewhere that I do not have to be worried about my car but seems many people do not care. Rather than that unlike Vancouver that you have to pay for parking until 10:00 PM, here the Pay Parking is no longer in effect after 06:00 PM which is very good businesses.
(Photo: This restaurant with a nice name and nice decoration, at least outside got my attention last summer but saw it close just last week! I do not know how long they were in business but should not have been very long because I had not seen it before)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hands Free

This little compartment which is actually the inside door handle of the car, is a good spot to put my mobile phone and talk while driving. I only have to hit the number of the person I like to talk you or if I have an incoming, hit the Answer button. After putting the phone on speaker, it's even better than any hands free or Bluetooth! And don't get surprised over the window crank handle. I ordered the vehicle this way because it's very stupid not to be able to roll up and down the window while you're sitting in there and the engine is turned off!
(Photo: The compartment is big enough even for an iPhone or Blackberry)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker

I had my first experience with the this model of Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker this week. The result was not so bad when I made a Chocolate Ice Cream. F. F. said that it was a bit dry and gave me 8 out of 10! I added 500 ml cream instead of 800 ml and that was whipping cream which should be different from heavy cream, something that I did not find. The problem was after I mixed everything, which was an easy step, I poured the mix into the machine and let it run for 35 min.(!) and at the end it was a soft mixture that I had to put that in the freezer for at least 2 hours! I left it in there for the whole night and the next day. Rather than that I had to keep it's bowl which has a layer of water, in the freezer for hour before mixing the ingredients! So the question is, is that worth going through this much trouble?
(Photo: My little bowl of Chocolate Ice Cream made with Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

No Pain, No Gain

I had my Performance Evaluation Review today. Went Well, I guess. Two attributes were mentioned for me: Hard-working and possession of Good Communication Skills. My hard works which I enjoyed it mostly paid off here. It was also agreed upon to include two of my request in the form and at the end I was suggested to be work on new assignments. One issue only was arisen and that was based on a misunderstanding but could not get that off my record.  
I had once another good review of my work but that one did not help me with keeping the job, much. Both my superior and me were axed shortly after that! That's another story.

Good Example of Bullshit P. Eng.

There was this discussion with one of the Supplier's representatives and also a colleague as well, the other day. The topic was that this Supplier had provided 8 almost identical products to us and they all required a type of test. The test according to him (I never checked any Spec.) was performed on 10% of the area which was supposed to be inspected. The gentleman stated that the 8 items were among more than 180 items which have been manufactured for different customers, for example 16 for customer A, 27 for customer B, etc. He provided the qualifications of the inspectors but the test reports are not available!! When I asked why, his explanation was that the 10% was chosen from the 180 and something unit, meaning ours could be amongst the tested one, could not be!! So how the hell am I going to accept it? I have no idea! A test has been performed, not knowing on what and no report is available but there are good qualified inspectors! And the person is a holder of P. Eng. from APEGA!
Then listen to this: I go to this guy who happen to be an expert on that sort of inspection. He says it does not matter on what units those test have been performed. The reports should be available! I was going to ask him if he had lost his mind or not! Why the hell should I care about the report that it is not indicated it  had been performed on the unit that I had paid for!? What kind of usage does this have for me? Am I supposed to say to the end-user that a 10% test has been performed, and most likely randomly and it could have been performed on the unit which is parked down in Florida or the unit which is going to used by him! I have no idea!?! What kind of education and sanity accepts that? Probably the geniuses of APEGA and AWS or similar!

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Atheist

I had to go to the other corner of the city without driving so I went to the train station. While waiting for the train to come, I noticed this older guy roaming around and watching me. I realized that he was looking for someone to talk to and I didn't mind it. We got on the car and happened to be on the same seat. The guy asked me what time it was and when I said it was around 05:30 PM he said it felt like 02:00 or 03:00. I just nodded. Then he turned toward me and asked how I was doing with my senior relatives, friends or something like that. To cut the crap I said that I had no friends and relative here. It didn't make him stop. He started going on as how the Government was not paying attention to pensioners and welfare receivers and such. And added that if anybody complains the Police will shot him. He said" I'm Canadian and I'm ashamed of who I am now. I'm American and I'm ashamed of my nationality now. I did not wonder that he had dual citizenship. Many people do here. But had never seen a Westerner, a Caucasian who attacks the system like that. He looked mostly like an Eastern European but did not have a heavy accent. At that moment he was so load that many on the car was looking at us and listening. I was just nodding all the time without a word coming out of my mouth. Then I realized that he reached his stop. He said that he or they would not do anything. He would let God avenge him! He was standing in the middle of the isle with his finger pointing at me and yelling: ˵... these atheists!˶ and then walked out of the car. That was the time that I said I'm an atheist too! Two people over the other seat burst in to laughter and there were too sisters in the front seat who smiled. I told them that I had told him the truth. I am an atheist and one of the sister said: and very patient too!
But what really was I supposed to do!? I was already too tired to even make a comment. Besides he either was a maniac or someone who was fed up with the system or had a problem. Was I supposed to tell him to fuck off or punch him in the face, the poor guy. Man!
(Photo: This meaningful sign I it found it about all the religions!)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dairyland Milk

There are lots of talks on daily basis about food in North America, what is healthy, organic and non-organic, etc. Mostly bullshit and lies. I have written about this several times, saying this food is good today and bad tomorrow. But there is this one that I experienced myself and it is quite amazing:
I got to the Overrated Company to get some milk for my cereal and got this 1 L., 1%, Dairyland organic and had some. Awful! Because it's 1% and I did not look at the label. That was around Apr. 20th when I bought it. Then left it in the work's refrigerator for a few days and brought it home, then, left it in the fridge here for a few more days until yesterday which was 18 days after expiry date! I had ran out of coffee cream in the morning so I took the jar out, smelled it. Fine! Added it to my coffee and drank it! What the hell was that!? Milk or whitened water!!? I don't know!
(Photo: The disputed milk with the expiry date clearly readable on the side. Does Dairyland have an answer for it?)

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Crushing Hit

I was leaving the room, at work, yesterday afternoon to do something exactly at the same time that Y. Z. accompanied with his Project Manager was coming towards me. I did the thing quickly and came back and sat at my desk and realized that he had his jacket on and a thing in his hand and left. I had verbally attacked him the other day and already had a bad feeling about what had happened. I wanted to make up to him. May be even going up to him to say I was sorry because he took it all without saying much.
So today his subordinate called and said he wanted to talk. I asked him what had happened and he said Y. Z. no longer worked for the company. He did not give much detail but later on I learnt that apparently he was in a meeting when he was called in and they asked him to hand them their card, escorted him to his room to take his stuff and took him to the nearest exit!
That came as shock to everyone. Apparently the client was not happy with him so instead of complaining to the Project Manager, they went to the top boss, by a direct telephone conversation. He immediately was removed from the position without any notice and in the middle of the day! He had told me that on different occasions he had arguments with the clients representative(s) and once even wanted to punch the guy in the face! I also noticed, at a time, when the client representative calls, he does not pick up and also tells his subordinate not to answer as well. These are not good signs for someone who has just started a work, especially for someone who deals with the client directly. I also explained to him that in almost all cases whatever the client needs should be provided to him because client is the one has has hired us to do this project for him. But he didn't buy it.
Anyhow today everybody was scared because this is the first time something like this happens to an employee in this company and everyone is worried especially with this evaluation on the horizon.
To be Y. Z. was a very nice person, soft-hearted, generous and positive. I bothered him a lot or may be only pulled his leg too much. Told him many things that he almost believed all of them and my intention was not misleading him, it was just fun to tease him. Today I took some pickled vegetable that I wanted to give to him but he was gone. One interesting memory that I have from his is that he once how I could resist my appetite and only eat salad for my lunch. I told him that it had taken time and if he wanted to do that, he could do that but could be done gradually. One day he brought a small bowl of salad and sounded too frustrated after finishing that. He sounded actually like someone had sex and it was too short and with no orgasm! The day right after that he went back to his regular eating! Every time I told him that the situation was not good and people could be laid off any moment in thousands, he would say that he was not worried and he could get a job quickly and easily because he knew many people in town. I hope he is right.
(Photo: Y. Z. is probably not as strong as this guy whose helmet is coming off but the hit has been crushing to him, no doubt about that)

Monday, May 07, 2012

Kuwait's Punishment

This Aug. 2nd it will be 22 years since Iraqis invaded Kuwait and occupied the little country for a few months until the US coalition led forces liberated it. But why I am writing about it and why now is the question. This colleague of my, well we do not work together closely, is a reasonable man whom I like. Always helpful and we get good chats at time. He was in Kuwait shortly after the Iraqis withdrew. I must say that to me, Iraqis invading Kuwait was a good news at the time because Kuwait aided Iraq during its war with Iran both financially and practically. How practical it was? Since Iraq had limited access to Persian Gulf, Kuwait let Iraqi forces use the three major islands of theirs named Bubiyan, Failaka and Warbah.
Anyhow T. M. was in Kuwait shortly after the war was over. I guess he was running a shop during the time that different nationalities were trying to put out more than 400 oil wells which had been set on fire by Iraqi bastards when they were leaving. He brought a small album of a few photos that he had taken himself there. I never felt intimidated or anything during the 8-year war between Iran and Iraq because we never were close to the borders and even when the Battle of Cities started I was amongst a few who did not leave the city in the first attempt. My parents came later and took me to a village where we all were safe because Battle the Cities was exchanging ground-to-ground missiles between major Iranian and Iraqi cities. But looking at these photos, I, just a little, felt the fear of war because these are real photos taken by someone who I know and has been there. It was a totally different feeling. It has been a long time that I also wanted to write about the Imposed War especially when I got back from the old country where I had been after 6.5 years and it was a shock but when there, I didn't have the chance or better to say I was not able to find three friends of mine who directly were involved by being in the fields. I attach two photos here and finish this post.
(Photo(s): Top, an oil well is burning. What you see on the ground is not water, it is oil as well. Bellow: grenades are seen with a bottle of water)

Friday, May 04, 2012

To fool the one

My work has changed a lot since I started a little more than a year ago. It is most of the time no longer like that. The Repulsive Turd, my supervisor who barely can tell the difference between his ass from his elbow, is now easier on me basically because I know how to fool him. I mostly confirm whatever he says, usually by nodding. When he says something which is stupid, absurd and not funny at all, I laugh as load as he does and when he is talking I turn to him and show that I am all ears! I show enthusiasm and smile! Rather than that when it's time to work, I work like a machine and stay more than usual without asking for the overtime pay. I already have been told that I should not be worried about the extension of my contract with the company after it is over. While I can not entirely depend on that, I can say that it is almost done. In the meanwhile I use my time whenever possible to learn, so I can use that in my next career. I have hard exams to come as well which will write about them soon.