Sunday, September 30, 2012

XL Foods (XL Fools)

There is a long time problem with the beef industry in Canada and most specifically Alberta and apparently it comes from the processors not the producers and this is not the first time but seems now the CFIA is waking up and wants to do something about it. The poor ranchers, I believe, are the ones who suffered the most. Their loss was something around $2 Billion last time. I worked in cattle industry for nearly 4 years and I used to see the  CFIA guys all the time. There were there and they had an office there but I can not tell if they were doing their job! If I refer to my old post, you will see that I have written 1 out of 3000 cattle gets inspected here in Alberta while in France this inspection is 100%. As a Quality expert I know that the smaller the sample, the less trusty the result will be. For a big population of cows in Alberta, for sure the number of inspected ones in every processing plan should be increased in order to obtain the good result. Rather than that sanitation is very important. The main processing plants, as far as I know, including XL Fools and Gargill Fools, use foreign workers, mainly because Caucasians like just to sit back and relax, and those foreigners know nothing about being sanitary and clean. You look around the world and you realize that Africans  and East Indians are the filthiest people and those are the people who form the structure of work force for the food processing plants. And it's obvious that the greedy owners of the plants do not want to hire caring employees who look after the cleanness and sanitation of the plants.
This time, the CFIA wanted to show that they are working and according to the opposition they reacted after 2 weeks and suspended the XL Fools' licence in Brooks, Alberta. This and Cargill are the main producers of beef and as well exporters and both use the majority foreigner workers. Now with XL Fools out of the production circulation, it will be up to Cargill to increase the production to meet the market's demand. What XL Fools is doing at the moment is they are probably doing a major clean up and the CFIA is going to do an audit and let them start the process again. I'm just hoping that they learn this time and take preclusion to prevent this from happening because everyone should know that proactive action works much better and less expensive than the reactive action. It was Mad Cow Disease that cost the industry that much in 2003 and now it is something else which causes E-Coli
(Photo: XL Fools plant in Brooks, east of Calgary, Alberta)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Short Trip to Edmonton

I had a short trip to Edmonton yesterday which was very tiring but overall positive. I was there for the Steel Day and visiting one big manufacturing facility in the industrial district of Edmonton.
It was a bit silly because I had to wake up at 05:00 AM and if it was not because of the Hodani's GPS, I would have been lost and never made it on time! I am not going to name the company that was hosting the event but it was well organized and rather than a few small flaws, the people were very friendly and polite. We spent only an hour and a half in there and at the end there was a Pizza truck that we could get two slices of Pizza but I preferred not to stay in the line. Instead I had a short drive around the Downtown area and walked in Queen Elizabeth Park at the south shore of North Saskatchewan River. I had two other short stops and because I had to return the damn stupid car. It was a very hot and sunny that and UV rate was so high. For that I really suffered.
Then when I returned to Calgary, as soon as reached the intersection of Deerfoot and 64 Ave. I realized the traffic of Fri. afternoon and I said Shit! because I looked at the gauge and I realized that I was burning the last drops of the fuel but I managed to return the car on time without refueling.
(Photo: I took this shot form a very beautiful park but because it was too bright and I was not very familiar with the damn camera, it did not turn out good)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wild Mushrooms

If you are used to hiking you probably have seen wild mushrooms grown in the jungle under trees and everywhere else, depending on where you are. Some of these mushrooms are toxic and not edible of course. Trying to eat them raw or cooked has no consequence less than a painful death. You have to know how to distinguish toxic mushrooms from the good ones. Then you can go and pick mushrooms. F. F. told me once that a colleague, an old East European, possibly a Russian lady once told that they normally go to pick mushroom. Although she never told her where they usually go, she said that they could tell good from bad because where they lived there was basically nothing to eat but wild mushroom and what they would do, in the few mild months of year, was mushroom picking and storing them for winter because the winter was so cold they could not find anything to eat and had to live on mushroom. I don't know what part of Russia or Eastern Europe she comes form but this story is the story of many Eastern European, African and South American, as well as other places who come to Canada. Many get labour jobs and live their life that way, a few make or join gangs and or other illegal activity groups, a few, a very few of them get really easy well-paid jobs. 
But I am going to connect this story to the mushrooms that have been grown increasingly in the small city of Calgary which has recently reach the population of 1,000,000
This new wild mushroom that I am talking about and we are going to decide if its toxic or not is called Calgary Police Service. When I left Calgary in early 2007 the following were the Police Stations that I knew about and existed:
1- Downtown, 6th Ave. The headquarters. Still up and running.
2- MacLeod Tr. South and Heritage Dr. I am not sure if that one still exist. 
3- Possibly few other locations that I never knew about.

Then I came back in early 2011 and realized the following locations are added:

1- The former Nortel Network building in north east Calgary is now a huge CPS yard.
2- Chinook Center Shopping Mall.
3- Beyond Stampede Grounds there is a new and modern building.
4- Market Mall in northwest Calgary which I noticed just yesterday.
5- Who knows where else! 

So someone tells me why the hell a small city which actually in transformation from a town to a city at the moment and its population hardly senses the number of 1 million needs this many police stations!? Who pays these many officers' salary!?  What is the effect of hiring these many police officers and occupying these many buildings on the city? I know when I wanted to write the examination, what the recruiting officer told us, after explaining the usual about the examination, was that there was no guarantee that we would get hired by CPS because the City just has a new topic to discuss about on his next agenda and that was cutting back on the CPS's budget!! None of us did ask the officer why the hell CPS gathered all of us in that room for the exam while they were still not sure about the possibility of hiring more officers!! There is no doubt that when population grows, that requires more enforcement but a proactive plan always works much more effective than a reactive plan. These new projects of Oil Sands have attracted a big number of people to this city and this is something that can not be denied and at the same time stopped but bringing more police force to the scene where many of the newcomers are from a totally different society is not going to do many good. There is absolutely no way to change someone at the age of 30 and over. One someone enter a new society which is different from the one that he was born in and grown up, it will be very hard for him to change himself of herself. He or she is still the same horrible reckless driver, rude person, careless individual. I am not saying that everyone who comes to the city is hypothetically an outlaw but I'm saying that adding a whole arsenal of cops is not going to solve any possible problem and is a waste of money and other resources just like many other spending of the City like the stupid Peace Bridge!
After all I barely see any police officers unless I am in Downtown. There is no doubt that the police pays special attention to the center of the city because of the population and key places but other corners of the city may lack proper and prompt service while does not necessarily implies that we have to have these many locations. 
(Photo: CPS office in Market Mall in northwest Calgary)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Worries Over Nexen Inc.

The recent bid from a state-owned Chinese company to buy the Calgary-based Nexen Inc. has made headlines across the country in the past 2 months. $15.1 Billion is what has been offered for this company which is active in oil production in Canada, the US, Africa and North Sea. CSIS has warned that it could pose a threat to national security. Technology transfer by the foreigners is one of the major concerns. But I think there are enough foreigners in Canadian companies here in Canada that if any of them wants to transfer any proprietary information, they could easily do that. They do not have to spend $15.1 Billion! They would copy everything for free and send it over electronically or in binders!
But I would not feel comfortable if I was a Canadian and I had to work for a company owned by foreigners in my home-town. Constitution of Iran prevents any foreign company owning any major asset including natural resources and in the first glimpse everyone appreciates that but the revenue gained from natural gas, mines, oil, etc is not mainly given to the people or spent for them! So who cares if there is such a clause in the Constitution. But I do not know about Canada's. I know Tim Horton's was purchased by an American company a few years ago but that is totally different. Will wait to see what the decision will be.
(Photo: Nexen's office in Downtown Calgary)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hate My Job

For years and years I have been trying to get a secure job that I also like it but never happened. I worked for two major food processing companies in Canada, in three different locations and while I could keep those jobs, in one I never was given a chance to advance and for that reason I was stock, in the other one I quit after about a month because it was so fucking stupid and i had to do evening shifts and in the remaining one I was kicked out!
As well the other ones that I tried there were not many but I always had an issue. This one which I had barely or better to say I didn't have any issue at all, I was just given an opportunity of having a life-time position with the possibility of advancement but I began to hate it a while back!
My only hope is may be I can sew my ass to the chair and focus on the damn material of ASQ and APEGA so I can pass at least one and the best both to help me get the hell of this hole I am in at the moment.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Saddledome's Retiring Soon

It has been now almost 10 year that I wanted to go and watch a game in Saddledome! I first talked to Andrew F. about that and I was supposed to get the ticket but his then-wife opposed for whatever reason and we never went. Then never was a circumstances which under that I could watch again. I have been inside a few times during Stampede though.
So I decided to go with Farzin this season, 2012-2013 but had not planned for it until a week or longer ago when I heard that the Flames lease with the building is about to expire and at the same time the arena itself is reaching it's retirement and the team is looking for a place to build another one. Ken King indicated that the lease could easily be extended since there is no rush but no word has been given as where the new arena will be.
Having said all that this new dispute between NHL and NHLPA about salary cap has not been resolved yet and there apparently is no plan for further negotiations! It is not clear if the same lockout as 2004-2005 will happen or the two sides may reach an agreement.
So I can not plan for a game still after 10 years! I have to see what the result would be. Whether they decide to start the season or just shut everything down. The fact is the lock out has huge impact on many businesses: Bars, newspapers, restaurants, transportation, you name it but seems if no agreement is reached nobody cares about the money that all those businesses will lose.
(Photo: The Saddledome has been serving the city of Calgary since 1983)

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Running and Jogging

I decided to document my exercises and I started in mid. Aug. I started running after canceled my membership with Talisman. I was a little more than $60 to pay every month plus the cost of gas of course. So I said fuck it especially because it gets really crowded in the winter and that is when you want to be there. I spent the entire winter of 2011 outside and in U of C for skating which cost less and was more effective. I have not decided on going back to U of C for skating yet but want to organize my jogging a little more.
For Sep. I had a good start tehn I felt a bit shaky last Thu. so I have not been out since. This table here is the summerized table and I had to cut a few columns to be able to fit it here and the reason is it's in Word.
I guess I may go tomorrow and then will see how I can improve my running because as it can be seen, I'm stuck at 25 min. It is obvious that heat decrease the perfromance but other factors are invloved. Look at the table and see how the temperature has directly affected the perfromace.
(Photp: This table has lost a few columns before it is put up here but the idea is to be able to see how the temperature and time corrolate with the duration)

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Lake Minnewanka

Lake Minnewanka has been the most attractive to me in Banff National Park and there is more to do. We had bought the tickets in May and finally used them today. We were there at 13:45 and in 5 minutes sat in the boat, in the back! It was a good seat regardless of the noise from the engine because that is where you can stick your head out and also take photos not from behind the glass and breath fresh mountain/lake air.
The surrounding of the lake is very beautiful. The boat goes for half and hour until where you can see there is no more mountain and then turns back.
When we were heading for the National Park in the morning, there was such a heavy traffic that I wanted to go back but then decided not to make a rush decision and continued. The town was really busy too because we spent about an hour in there. Almost the same problem on the way back but I didn't want to fall back so I pushed the pedal and passed almost everyone I could by doing 140 KM at times!
Overall Lake Minnewanka is a very beautiful place to visit and our plan is to go there and this next time we are going to either rent or buy a kind of boat, any kind and go to the end of lake and duck, walk, eat, take photo, may be swim and come back and we are going to do that next summer probably if nothing keeps us back because it was a bit cold especially when we were going back when clouds covered the sun.
(Photo: I lost my Sony digital Camera in Kayban Farms and I have been using my Samsung ever since. This picture shows where the boat turns back. This is where the mountains end as you can see at the end and the end is also the end of the lake where I'm planning to go next summer)