Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Bourne Legacy: A Complete Waste

If you're going to catch the new Bourne movie, I know it's a bit late, don't waste your time and money. We watched it last time and it was complete disappointed. Same old story, same scenes of chasing and shooting and bad actors and actresses!
This time they were trying to add something new to the story and that was a kind of pill that these so called agent had to take and it made them kind of addicted and dependent!
Then there was a scene of a drone which almost convinced me that these multi-million unmanned birds are nothing but pieces of shit! May be that is why Iran easily stole and landed one of them! The guy who has the major role is the same gut who plays in The Hurt Locker. He was not so bad in that movie but here his performance was in the shadow of Demon's in the previous parts!
Overall it was a very weak movie. I guess because they wanted to make it cheap, they had decided to make part of it in The Philippines. So part of the story, or better to say the last part of the story happens in that country and all of a sudden after a very fake and ridiculous long chase scene in Manila, the movie ends! Here is actually the best part because you do not have to see the failure any more and then the good theme of Bourne movie starts. Do not, I repeat do not waste you money and time on this movie. It gets 1.5 out of 5!
(Photo: I am using a photo of Moby here because his song is actually the only good thing in the movie!)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Black Bean Tortilla Pie

Black Bean is one of the ingredients of Mexican and Cowboy food. Taste wise is not very different from other similar beans and it also is the same shape but smaller. I wanted to make something out of it so I made a Black Bean Tortilla Pie and quite honestly I came out really good.
This food is very filling and one slice of it could be enough for most of the people's lunch or dinner. The point is it should not be eaten late nigh, like most of the foods because it would not let you sleep. There will be an entire battle in the stomach!
Here is what is needed:
1- A medium Onion (of any kind you like, white, red, yellow).
2- A medium Green Pepper.
3- Four to five Green Onions.
4- Three to four Cloves of Garlic, depending on how much you normally take.
5- One cup Corn.
6- One to one and a half cup Black Bean depending on how filling you want to make it.
7- One teaspoon Black Pepper.
8- One Teaspoon Cumin.
9- Three to four Tortillas.
10- One cup Cheddar Cheese.
11- One tablespoon Olive Oil.
Chop onion and green pepper and mix them together in a frying pan with a olive oil heating in it. Add a little of salt, cumin and black pepper and let under tender. Boil your corns in a pot and cook your black beans in pressure cooker. at the same time. Mince garlic cloves and chop green onions and add them to the mix and then on the top a little more of salt, black pepper and cumin. Mix and a fry a little more over medium heat until a little more tender, everything. Add black beans and then cut the kernels from the cob and add those ones as well. Mix slowly but thoroughly.
Put your first tortilla on a pan which is oiled so it would not stick. Add a whole layer of your mix on the top of tortilla and then grate cheese on the top of it the way cheese covers the mix completely. The thickness of the mix layer and cheese depend on you. Either put another tortilla on the top as the lid. If more mix is left, make another layer.
And the last step is to putting the tortilla pie in a the oven while it is put on 400 degree Fahrenheit and keeping it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then take it out and cut it like a Pizza and let it be for a few minutes until gets a little cold and enjoy!
(Photo: the picture did not come out really well but the food is great if everything is followed correctly)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Star Trek's Effect

William Shatner was talking in an documentary about Star Trek and its effect on different industries. I didn't watch the entire show but what they were trying to say was all those advanced technology apparatuses that they showed in late 1960s and early 1970s gradually evolved through years and now we see them in the market and use some of them on daily basis.
They show people who basically by watching an episode, they said, they would go and worked on the idea. They received tons of letters from physicians and other health professionals in regards to what Scotty did off and inboard Enterprise.
The question is why none of the inventions ever started anywhere else rather than the US? I remember clearly when I was a little boy Star Trek was shown on a channel called International Channel and it was in Black & White and I watched it a few time on our RTI TV set. It was all before the riot/revolution which is not the point and that is why I don't remember a lot. I was a little boy at the time, may be 5 or 6 but how about all the grown-ups, the university students, the engineers and other technical people? Why didn't ever any invention come out from those guys or from any other country around?
(Photo: The main characters of original Star Trek including Captain Kirk played by William Shatner sitting on the big armchair. He was the one that we boys impersonated the most! Spock was the second favorite character)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kayben Farms

Today we took our second trip to the Saskatoon Farm, this time for the Sour Cherries. And we were late because apparently the other people from the same origin as us(!) had emptied most of the branches. Nevertheless we picked a full bucket.
Then we went to Kayben Farm, not too far away from this one, at the other side of Highway No. 2 with everything different.
F. F. liked Kayben Farm better because that is where we could pick her favorite fresh vegetables. She picked cucumbers, green beans, zucchinis and squashes. The price was reasonable.
Before that we went to the other side of the farm for Black Current. This little fruit which is even smaller than Saskatoon Berry which we picked for the first time as a new fruit, is even smaller than that and has a completely different taste. It's taste interesting. First the bite gives you a taste and then when you start chewing it another more permanent taste comes up. But it's picking was much harder, I guess because a plenty of them had been picked and the branches were not too dense. I wanted to pick a whole bucket but it was too hot and F. F. was tired and wanted to go to the vegetable garden.
This farm also has strawberries to pick but we were told at the end to check the website before going again to make sure anything was available.

B. C. Road trip (9): Where Did We Stay?

Places of stay could be a big challenge in a trip and could turn everything upside down. We generally stayed in good, not excellent hotels and had a few places but it could have been much better, if we have had organized. One reason that I didn't book any hotel in advance was that we did not what we wanted to do on each day. It pretty much depends on the situation. How well you slept last night, how busy the place that you are going to, is. If there is long line, there is no way that I go. So we pretty much stayed day by day. The other thing was that our first stay would be in the weekdays so we did not have to be worried about rented out rooms. The only time we felt a bit of pressure was the time that we got close the long weekend of B. C. Day.
Anyway here is where we stayed and pros and cones:
Nigh One - Kamloops EconoLodge - Quiet place, no breakfast, close to fast food and Highway No. 1 and easy to go everywhere in the town, big issue with the damn bed making noise when tossing and turning. Not recommended for the people who might have problem with a noisy bed. Cost $101.67 to be exact.
Night Two - Port Coquitlam POCO Inn & Suites - We were given a room in the back which was not facing a major road. For that reason it was quiet. Clean and nice with a good bathroom and other things available, no breakfast and 10 minutes drive to a major shopping centre but far away from Vancouver and other places that you might want to see in Lower Mainland, mostly. Cost $133.38.
Night Three to Six - Coquitem BestWestern Chelsea Inn - I guess it was Chelsea Inn first then the owners decided to go under BestWestern umbrella somehow, there were a few problems with this hotel but it became a base for us because of two advantages:
1- Close to Highway No. 1.
2- Breakfast. It was OK.
3- Quiet for sleeping.
4- Internet access in the lobbey.
There problems were:
1- Damaged head shower which not get fixed until the day we left although we told the reception people.
2- The little refrigerator kept most of the things frozen instead of cold. Might not be an issue for me but was for us because we had fruit and salad. We didn't even bother telling the hotel staff.
3- We were in the third floor and if someone walked in the room above, we could here it. This issue emerged once or twice only because we spent most of our time outside. Four night stay cost us $443.52 or $110.88 per night. Parking not bad but you might have ended up parking outside and in the morning when you wanted to go out the car felt like oven before you take your  Thanksgiving turkey out!
Night Seven - Surrey Compass Point - Nice and clean place. Nice King size bed and luxury restaurant we never went to. We found this place the second night but we didn't go to because the available rooms were facing King George Highway with lots of traffic until late night and the other one back of the building where all the air conditioning or similar machines make annoying noises all day long. That night we got a room on sixth floor in the back at the north eastern side of the building which was quiet and we had a good rest. Cost $139.03, the most expensive one during the trip. The hotel has a very friendly and helpful receptionist and they speak good English because I have talked to idiots who barely understand a word. What Compass Point dishonored himself with was the local telephones that we had. The cheapskates charge us $0.35 for every local call we made even the ones that the other side of the line didn't pick up! While everywhere else they did not charge us a single penny. I made phone calls both from the EconoLogde and BestWestern and cost nothing. These guys better think twice before handing a bill to their customers, if they want them back. Parking is around the building for free but we had to display a ticket on the dash issued by the reception which was fine.
There were a few places that we checked but decided not to get a room for a reason. I name a few of them here:
1- BestWestern Downtown Vancouver a little expensive for us plus they charge some extra $15 to $20 for parking! I was gonna burst in to laughter when the lady receptionist told me that but just left.
2- There are four hotels at the corner of Capilano Road and Marine Dr. in North Vancouver just right after Petro-Canada gas station and we tried them all and decided not to get any of them due to the following:
Available rooms were all facing the road and we knew we could not sleep all night long. There was a Comfort Inn and we asked to see the available room. It was one in the back. F. F. used the opportunity and used the bathroom and that was where we realized that the flush did not work! Then I opened the window to see what's in the back and saw a shopping cart and I said Oh my goodness we will have company in the middle of the night from the homeless of the neighbourhood! I don't know what kind of fucking management that is which does not check in and around the rooms at least once in two days.
In Grouse Inn there were two East European girls as receptionist and very polite but when she was showing us the room we realized that one asshole has put all his dirty cloths on the railing and I said what a nice guests they got there. The room smelled like a skunk! I'm just exaggerating! Then we went to the adjacent Travelodge. We had a bad experience with the franchise but said let's give it another try and that was the last one in that corner. There was an Oriental woman with ugly cloths, something like an underwear that men where and a very loose pants, dirty hair which looked like that had not been washed in the past 3 or 4 days. She showed so much passion in her work and was trying to encourage us to get a room but I barely understood what she was trying to say and looking at her made me so discouraged to spend the night there. Rather than that all the two rooms that she showed us were ugly, small and not likable plus noisy.
So by reading above you can see that we are not people who accept to stay in any place easily but that's how we are. We don't accept any dump! Next time if I'm going somewhere I'll be more organized and careful about the places to stay.
(Photo: POCO Inn & Suites lobby in Port Coquitlam. I guess I was here once when Hodani visited me and he had to spend a night there)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

B. C. Road Trip (8): The Butchard Gardens

I would like to start this post with this sentence that The Butchard Gardens is a big rip off! If you want to stay away from being robbed, then don't go to that place. Everything that you want to see could be seen free of charge someplace else.
When we got there there were two cars ahead of us in the line to the gate. As soon as I stopped a girl ran toward us and said that she could help us. We didn't even get the chance to see what the admission fee was. My credit card was charged even before I see how much I was going to pay!
We then parked and entered the gardens. Soon I found out that these gardens actually had been a limestone quarry and then owner, who apparently had been much wiser than me, had turned it to different gardens with the help of gardeners from around the world and Canada and made even more money that he or she used to through the stone business!
The place was so busy which at times you had to wait for the other to go away to take a photo or simply get by. There is absolutely nothing new in this place but I cannot deny that the place is very well-made, tidy and organized. It has a big gift shop and two cafes and a restaurants. We wanted to get something for our lunch so walked back and forth a few times between the three eating places and eventually ended up with small sandwiches and little bit of salad!
In total this visit cost the two of us almost $95 and we left with nothing new in mind and half-full stomachs. We are just lucky that the food did not make us sick!
(Photo: This is what is called Italian Garden in that place but as you see there is nothing but a row of regular flowers that you can see in any neighbourhood and a grassed area! But these people know how to empty your pocket so they have a little ice cream and gelato shop in the building you see in the photo and you can by certain scoop twice or three times than the normal market price! That is the Italian Garden!)

Monday, August 13, 2012

B. C. Road Trip (7): Victoria Butterfly Gardens

Victoria Butterfly Gardens which actually is not located in Victoria, like Greater Vancouver Zoo which is not in Vancouver, is located in at least half an hour drive from the city. As well, there are not gardens as the title suggest. There actually is one small building and it is amazing how people make money out of it. Nonetheless I enjoyed my time over there but they could have made it much more pleasant.
This places as the name says it all is a live butterfly show like what I saw in Calgary Zoo but a little vaster. I don't know how but they also gathered a bunch of other animals and display them as well. There were two flamingos, a small bird with a long beck, two dozen small birds which in the first glance they look like pheasants but they are not. F. F. asked one of the crew and the answer was that they would not grow more than that. Then there were two kind of turtles and I guess one of them is not called turtle but is from the same family of course. There were frogs, lizards and so on but the most amazing one was a chameleon. The poor animal had little room to move around, just like the turtles.
Pardon my language but these idiots has assigned a big room as video room and another one as the gift shop but did not give enough room to these poor animals to be able to move around a bit. It's understandable that the gift shop makes money but what's the f**king point for a huge room for watching video!? Nobody is there to watch the butterflies, flowers and other sorts of creatures on the screen. In fact if anyone wants to watch them on a monitor, they will not travel to these so called gardens so that is a very bad idea having a video room. another thing is like many places in Canada, there is a little or no supervision. You could simply get in without even paying but I guess that old belief that no one gets in without paying still stays.
I guess if you want to see the beautiful flowers and plants, as well as all the animals and butterflies of course you will need some 2 hour especially because many people drop their anchors in the cafe and roam around the gift shop to spend a few more bucks but it really depends on you how to cop with the humid and hot weather that they have prepared for the butterflies, plants and animals.
Overall we had a good time in there and compare to the other places that we have been to, and one major one is left to be said, it was not a big rip off and it's recommended. I have to add that because we docked at a bay close to Victoria, it was only a few minutes drive for us to get to this place. If you get to the Vancouver Island and find yourself anywhere else rather than Swartz Bay you might want think twice before going especially if you have no kids and no Passion for animals and plants like I do.
(Photo: I took this photo from a butterfly while it was eating banana. It was amazing to watch them eat like that. I guess if we had some fruit juice dripped on hands from the fruit that we normally keep in the car we could attract some of them and take nicer photos of beautiful butterflies while sitting on our hands. We didn't go back to our vehicle to do that. May be you will)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

B. C. Road Trip (6): Whistler

Whistler was one of the places which there are lots of talks about it and many know it as one of the best B. C., spots to visit but I found it completely disappointing and I was not impressed at all. Whistler is B. C.'s Banff version. It is a spot for high-end shopping, live cheap music, fast food and restaurants and having casual sex. Rather than that there is barely anything new that you could do that you're not able to do anywhere else. So if you're going for something new to Whistler, You won't find it. You can eat, shop and sex the same way anywhere else. You don't have to go to Whistler all the way! When we got there I noticed a big screen and the people who were watching Olympics! What a loser you should be to drive all the way to Whistler to watch fucking Olympic games!
Nevertheless there are outdoor activities that you could do and again those are things that you find them anywhere else. The only new thing was the chair lifts for mountain bikers. It perhaps is a ski lift that is used for biker during non-winter months. That probably is one of the action that if you have a good bike and enough protective gear, you might want to try. The gondola and zip lock are available like any other place and over priced as well.
All we did was we just had a walk in the village and then got the free buss to Lost Lake. It was an only 10 minutes drive. Then walked around the like for a few minutes, took a few photos and walked back to the village. It would be very nice if we had our swim suit with out because we could have had a plunge. There are hundreds if not thousands of lakes all around Canada and they are all the same: A hole which is filled up with snow-melted water with ever green trees all around it. There are only a few of them which might be a bit different from another. So if I show you photos of Alice Lake, Lost Lake, Buntzen Lake and others and ask you which is which you won't be able to tell. Overall Banff is a much better place to enjoy compare to Whistler and I don't care that they spend millions of dollars of tax payers and borrowed money to build Sea to Sky Highway. It still can not compete with Banff. Even Banff is too boring for me after a few visits. If I want to spend my time this or next summer and after, I would definitely spend my time somewhere else rather than Bnaff. Some people tend to do certain things over and over again. I'm not one.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

B. C. Road Trip (5): B. C. Ferries

I wanted to go to Parksvile in Vancouver Island to see the sand sculpture show so I decided to get a ferry ticket from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo because it is only half an hour drive from that city to where the show is running.
I picked up the phone in our hotel and dial B. C. Ferries number and it was an automated system. I realized that there was no ticket available for those days I wanted to go to the Island and I realized that was because of the long weekend. So I said to myself that I would get a ticket from Tsawwassan to Victoria and then would take the remaining of Highway Number 1 to Nanaimo and rest of the story. So I booked the ticket for myself and the system charged me some $17. I also wanted to be safe than sorry so I booked the returned ticker from the same route, with the same cost.
We woke up early and had our breakfast in the hotel (I will tell about the hotels we stayed in in a separate post at the end) and headed toward Delta for Tsawwassan but I guess once I took a wrong exit or missed mine and ended up in Surrey and then White Rock instead of Delta! But I asked a bus driver about the right route and managed to get ourselves there on time.
That was our first time in a ferry terminal and everything was new. I saw the long line and I turned the engine off. At the gate I was told that rather than that $17 that I had paid I would be paying more so my bill went up to some $90 one way trip! I understand that ferry has lots of cost and I really liked the organization, tidiness and promptness of the service but still didn't seem right to pay that much. Happily I do not have to cross those straits every often.
Anyways we went in and it was very busy day for the ferries, as I said. We parked the vehicle on deck 4 and claimed up the stairs. You could stay on the sun deck, inside or at the sides of the vessel and enjoy the scenery. Again there was a huge crowed of Orientals on the ship, mostly Chinese and a few Filipinos taking photos of everything moved and was still! Docking was as organized as leaving and we were on our own to go wherever we wanted.
In the evening, on the way back to Tsawwassan I realized two things: First of all booking the return ticket was a big mistake because everybody was staying. It was a long weekend! So I wasted some $17 there for nothing. Our ticket was booked for 09:00 PM but we arrived one hour early to take the 08:00 PM departure and there were barely any vehicle, may be one fifth of the number on the way to the Island. Second of all I understood why the Ferry tickets seem unreasonably expensive. The vessel left the Island while was not even half capacity full. So They have to keep the ticket price to that level in order to be in business, I guess. I remember in either 2008 or 2009 B. C. Ferries got rid of 12 mid-level managers, as a result of high cost. I wonder what else they did. The vessel we were on on the way back to the mainland was different. It had may be two restaurants and cafes and a gift shop but surprisingly there was somewhat annoying shake in the back of the vessel close to where the propellers are which could be even sensed in the gift shop!
The trip took almost an hour and a half, almost as our time going to the Island. So by the time we got to the hotel in Coquitlam it was passed 11:00 PM.
(Photo: This picture may not be very clear but shows Mont. Baker in State of Washington from inboard a B. C. Ferries while leaving Vancouver Island from Swartz Bay) 

Friday, August 10, 2012

B. C. Road Trip (4): Grouse Montain

I had previously been to Grouse Mountain once in 2006 but did not complete it! This time F. F. suggested to walk up the mountain instead of getting on the gondola like I had done with others. So we started and I got a bit surprised by the number of the people on the path but it was a very good experience and exercise for both of us. I was soaking in sweat by the time I reached up there!
We rested for a bit and then walked up to where the Lumber Jack show was playing, something that I had missed the first time. It was just the beginning so we enjoyed the entire show. It was very funny and interesting.
After we walked up to the Birds of Prey show. It was repeated for so I just sat still. Then F. F. said let's finish it and walk up to the pick and see the Wind Turbine closely. There is a chair lift over there that you can use and I guess it costs $15 but we hiked up, ignoring the big red sign which read hiking is not recommended or something like that. There we found ourselves in front of a Wind Turbine. This is new as well as the Zip Locks that could take you to the other side of the mountain. F. F. first wanted to do that but then changed her mind. You also could get into an built-in elevator in the Wind Turbine and go higher and see all around from that point but I did not think it worth $15. We then simply walked back and got on the gondola back to the parking lot. Overall it was a very good day.
(The wind Turbine on the top of Grouse Mountain. One of the employees over there said that 25% of their electricity produced by that but I doubted that because it barely moved the entire time we were there. Even if it does not produce that much electricity, it brings enough revenue to Grouse Mountain that they can buy as much electricity as they want!)

Thursday, August 09, 2012

B. C. Road Trip (3): Capilano Bridge

Capilano Bridge in North Vancouver, I think, is one of the places that people want to visit the most. It actually is not something very extraordinary but not too bad at the same time, a suspension bridge over a long and deep hole which it is said is as tall as Statue of Liberty.
We got there in the morning and it was quiet busy. It was a paid parking in front of the entrance across from the street but if you don't mind walking for a few minutes, you actually can drive up a few meter and park on the street for free as long as you want.
As I said it was a very busy morning but we tried to use the best of it. There is a section called Cliff Walk that we had to wait to be let in for that section. Lots of Oriental people and all very excited were there. At noon we decided to have lunch outside although there is a cafe in there. When we came back in the afternoon more than three quarter of the crowed were gone. We did everything again and took sole photos on the bridge.
Like many other places of interest in B. C. this suspension bridge is overpriced but you would want to go to respond to your curiosity. It was also said that the place is privately owned.
(Photo: Capilano Suspension Bridge from its east side when it is busy. The bridge has the capability to withstand all the people who cover it completely)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

B. C. Road Trip (2): B. C. Wildlife Park

The first place we visited in British Columbia was B. C. Wildlife Park in Kamloops. The park is somehow in between Alberta border and the Lower Mainland. So for us who stayed the night before in Kamloops was a planned visit.
B. C. Wildlife Park really worth the money and time spent on. We had previously visited Vancouver Zoo, Vancouver Aquarium and Calgary Zoo and still there were things that we enjoyed. The good thing about the park and in another way the bad thing about it (the disadvantage for the park) is it is far away from the major cities so you never see the crowd you normally see in the above places. We really enjoyed our time and the shows although it was a very hot day. The other interesting thing about the park is that there is a path that you can take and it leads you to a small waterfall and then you can go up the hills. Most of the animals kept in the park are the ones who either had been injured or lost their parents and there was a little chance that they could survive.
if you're checking the website of the park, don't be fooled by it. The park itself is amazing. I'm saying this because many people go by the website. If the company has a nice website, people will buy its products. If the hotel has a luxury website, people will rent rooms, etc. B. C. Wildlife Park's website might not be seem so great but the park itself is.
Kamloops must have other places of interests but because our time was limited we did not spend it anywhere else. We did not even go to its lake but one should have a good time in the city.
(Photo: A Hawk after finishing its show seems tired. The young lady is going to take it for some treat and a drip of water soon)

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

B. C. Road Trip (1): The Route

We came back from our B. C. road trip Sun. after the mid night, I guess it was close to 01:00 AM. I was dead tired! I truly believe that the amount of time I was behind the wheel driving to and from B. C. equals to the entire time that I had ever driven a vehicle in my entire time!
We obviously took Highway No.1 in both direction. After leaving Alberta, I guess it was after Golden that we had this sign telling us to adjust our time. We did not have a problem with the dark because we were going toward sun. We had a few small stops including Golden and Revelstoke and a major one at Salmon Arm. Each of these places are similar but could be stayed at if anyone feels tired.
Salmon Arm's waterfront is nice but not busy. I guess it's because it's not close to a major city. White Rock had same sort of waterfront with the only difference that it has beaches too but it gets really busy because it's close to Surrey, Vancouver and other major cities of Lower Mainland. The interesting thing about the Salmon Arm's waterfront parking is that if you're staying not more than 1 hour, like we did, you won't have to pay!
Then we decided to spend our night in Kamloops because we had heard of B. C. Wildlife Park and we wanted to see it the day after. So we got a room in Econo Lodge which was clean and quiet but the damn bed was a piece of garbage.
We did not have any long stop after Kamloops. Just drove to Surrey to find a place to spend the night because we had left Kamloops late, some time around 04:30 PM I guess and that was because we wanted to spend as much time possible in the Park.
We checked a few places in Surrey but did not find anywhere quiet and comfortable. Eventually went to POCO Inn, in Port Coquitlam which was not bad and charge us some $133 for a night with no damn breakfast.
So there we were in Lower Mainland or Fraser Valley and ready to discover but I tell you something about a road trip like that. Always watch for the damn eighteen-wheelers. Most of them drive carelessly. I guess it's because their job is so boring and tiring and they try to make it as short as possible. In one occasion on our way back from Golden to Lake Luise it was so damn dark that you could not even see 15 meters ahead of you and I was trying to be very careful. There was this damn huge eighteen-wheeler who was so close that I had to push the accelerator pedal to get away from him. Then after a few try he used his high beams so I found no option to use the first opportunity to keep right and let the wild, off-leash driver go! Rather than that there was not any other problem on the road.
(Photo: This beautiful big house, may be mansion is sitting at Salmon Arm's beach)