Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Beautiful Trip to Edmonton

It had been plan to have a trip up to Edmonton this past Fri., almost 10 days ago and finally I made it yesterday and I have to say: That was one of the most beautiful trips I have ever made! We were supposed to be a group of three but one indicated, shortly before the trip that he would be going much earlier because he had to check something else. So I picked up the other guy, a fucking idiot, wimp on my way up. This twat is even worse than The Mumbling Guy and I have to find a nickname for him. However he is a nice guy in many other ways. The drive was fine all the way to Edmonton and we were there according to the schedule. 
The meeting and related visit also went very well and I'm happy that I didn't have to deal with any jerk. Sphinx, that would be the shithead who accompanied me, was quiet most of the time because he's even worse than The Mumbling Guy when the times comes to speak. The first interesting part of the trip appeared at this point. 
The third guy had told us that the client's inspector would join us in the meeting as well but I had no idea who that might be. I heard a few times, during the meeting, the guys named him but I still had no clue. Then we he showed up, in that ridiculous outfit, I immediately fount out who he was! The story goes back to late 2011, early 2012 when we were working with another client and I had seen this guys signature on the bottom of a few reports. From the format of writing and multiple misspellings and grammatical mistakes, I easily could say who this jackass was. This fucking idiot in his mid-50's had a white wide goatee, a kind of headscarf and shabby cloths. We shock hands and he sat and I carried on with my questions from the other guys. Then we were all invited to have a short tour of the shop. He approached me in the hallway and said hello in a foreign language. I paused a little bit and he referred to my official name that was called a few times during conversations a min. ago and shock hands with me again! I greeted him again but pretended that I did not know anything about him and used my line: The situation is very bad, sir! He confirmed and summed up by telling stories. It appeared that from that fucked up company that he used to worked for almost 3 years ago, now he has been contracted to do a few jobs with this company which is of course a much better one but he is a contractor only. We then went to the shop and observed different processes. On the way back to the meeting room again he caught up with me and we continued the same shit about jobs, lay offs and fucked up life of ours! Then I told him that it was not polite to talk in our native language while the others were waiting in the room and we joined them. 
We had another short chat before leaving the premises and I gave him my card and that was the one which had a wrong number on it(!) but he would still be able to contact me, if he wanted to. We then went for a little launch and we had plenty of time and I suggested to have a little stroll around the town and introduced West Edmonton Mall and Muttard Conservatory but the fucking idiot said he preferred to go where there was no admission!! This is a fucking piece of shit who drives a 50K SUV and makes thousands of dollars every months with very little expense! So we headed toward West Edmonton Mall, which in the 80's used to be the biggest shopping mall of the world made by the Iranian Jew family of Ghermezian
Wave Pool in West Edmonton Mall looks fun. We probably should try it at least once.
The snow started falling shortly after we left the fabricator's shop and also we found it hard to find a parking spot because the weekend had already been started. 
We entered and the minute you enter the mall you can see it is an aging shopping center and even the new sparkling stores can not hide the age of the place but it was OK. It was not as crowded as I had expected but maybe because it still was early, around 01:00 PM. The mall has interesting indoor facilities that I have not seen anywhere else, including an ice rink, wave pool, two play gardens and such. The fucking idiot showed signs of tiredness and while was walking like a robot very fast, tried to find the closest exit! We got out of the mall at about 02:00 PM and headed south for home. 
The beauty of the trip doubled here and the weather showed us its nice side. 
Wind was blowing and the road was very slippery and snow was falling. The fucking car was useless and it was wobbling on the road and breaks were not working properly. I never liked fucking Korean cars and this piece of shit Kia was no exemption. The wipers were not cleaning the windshields really well and I had to use the washer which created crystallized ice on the windshield and made it worse. Many cars were seen on the median or at the side of Q. E. II with police, tow truck, ambulance and fire trucks around them. 
I had to slow down to 70 Km in a 110 Km zone at times in order to prevent collisions. The road to Edmonton, was worse. We saw a few more cars in the median and one flipped over at the side and it was similar to this all the way to Red Deer. I, however got out two, three times at rest areas to stretch with Sphinx in the car. 
We stopped in Red Deer for a coffee and continued down Q. E. II to south. The road condition and weather was completely changed after the town of Red Deer making us able to be at the parking lot we met in the morning, at about 18:00 hours or so. 
I had to fill up the car and surprisingly it didn't need more than 49 Liters which is not actually bad for a 650 Km trip.
(Photo, top: Q. E. II shortly after we left Edmonton. Wind blowing and snow falling. Very slippery particularly for the shit car I was driving)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

AWS Issues

Although we barely work with American standards and documents but at many occasions they are the only available and reliable standards. I personally had to refer to different American documents including AWS and ASTM several times and I have found two issues with one specific standard that I would like to complain about:
1-      American standards, in my experience, ASME and AWS which I had referred to few times are written or would be better to say printed in column format! I have no idea why they do that and what benefit it might have. There are two columns in a page and instead of starting from the left side of the line, finishing on right and continuing on the next line they write to the middle of the page and they go to the next line, in this way making a column and then when they hit the bottom to go back up to the first line, leave a little gap and continue what had been left from the bottom of the page and make the second column similar to the first one.
2-      This issue is in regards to AWS A3.0 and it should probably not be even mention here but I am adding this because I want a longer post. There is a glossary provided at the beginning of this document. Different welding terms are presented and defined which is actually very helpful as I never saw such a complete list in CWB documents. There are two issues with this document apart from what was explained above which is applicable to the majority if not all of American technical documents:
a.       Obsolete terms are provided. It is not entirely a bad idea but for someone such as me who intends to limit his readings to only useful material it becomes very difficult to separate those from today’s terminology.
b.      Most of the terms are followed by a figure number which the reader can refer to and see a diagram, a chart or a schema. This also is a fantastic idea as a picture speaks more than thousands of words but the page number(s) is(are) not provided. An example is:
Flash Time: Period of flash welding cycle during which flashing action accrues. See Figure B.51. And no page number is provided. If this definition had been followed by Page 128, it would have been much easier for the reader to manage his or her time. 

Generally I found AWS documents more complete and better explained but comparing to CWB, both institutes suffer serious customer services problems.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Filth

Many years ago I started this book called Roots by Alex Haley, a story of slavery in the US. It's a wonderful book although the late Haley used his imagination in many parts to strengthen the story and of course like many African-Americans he intended to show how great they all are! That's another topic which I may cover later and it's something within most people when they come to North America. As soon as you talk to them they tell you how wonderful their life was, how great their country is and how tasteful and healthy their food is. I wonder why they come to this part of the word, if they had such a wonderful life! Again that's another topic which will be covered later. 
There was a preface to the story by the translator, of course, as I read it in Persian, and he pointed at racism, poverty, filth and other problems in the US. I paid not much attention to that part because I was interested in the story. Furthermore I considered that part of the book as another propaganda by the Islamic Republic. Today after years of living in Canada, which is a different society from the US but might be similar in some ways, I understand what that translator wanted to convey. 
I have to admit that I was quite shocked by the number of homeless, drunkard, low-life foreigners (Orientals, Africans, Latinos, East Indians) that I saw first when I came to Canada but then I shortly remembered this fact that no rich can live without a poor. If there had been no Orientals in Canada, no fast food restaurant could have been operational. If here had not been any Latino and East Indian the food industry, most sections of it, would have been stopped! I don't particularly know what Africans are good for in this society which is way different from the US but obviously they are part of it! The other thing came to me as a shock was the amount of garbage and filth everywhere. The dirtiness still bothers me these days. You see pictures of high-rises shining at night, big malls sparkling in cities with sales associates with warm smiles but behind all these deceiving beauty there are hidden saddening stuff which most of the time beats that beauty. Cities in Canada, as far as I have seen, have limited actions, and budget probably, for cleaning of the neighbourhoods. dump trucks come, I don't know in what fashion in week and take the stuff and that's it. The bylaw for littering, similar to most of the other laws is not enforced and you would be disgusted if you had a walk in the most neighbourhoods of the city, in Calgary for example, most likely Downtown, Northeastern communities and also a few in southeast. For a city which spends millions of dollar on a hideous bridge over Bow River, Peace Bridge it is a shame. They could have used that big chunk of money on sanitary and cleaning of the city so it wouldn't look similar to Mogadishu, Lahore or Bangalore!
(Photo: Paper cups, cigarette and gum boxes and cover and chocolate wraps are mixed with sand that municipality discharges on the road and make displeasing scenes in the city)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Disappointing Winter Days

After a few days of extreme Arctic cold, the weather was changed and we have experienced above 0 degree temperature for the past 10 days and will probably be the same for the next days. We went Ice Skating in Olympic Plaza regardless, two days in a row, last Sun. and Mon. which was good especially on Mon. as it was not crowded and of course to The Olympic Oval as part of the newly registered skating. That was the second session.

Today I went for a walk at around 13:00 in Glenmore Park and 90th Ave. neighbourhood. The weather was very complying to the old and wimp. Just a bit windy. I had a dental procedure yesterday, a tough one which prohibits me from having extreme exercises including running. So it's very unfortunate that I can't go running maybe for the next few days while I went many days in sub-zero temperature days. 
(Photo: Clouds look amazing over thawing Glenmore Reservoir in this afternoon of January)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Workplace Stories (16): When an Idiot is Scammed

I've already written once about this moron who joined us at work a few years back. Today something happened that made one of the most amazing working days of my life! It was lunch time and I was reading. I didn't have anything for lunch and I wasn't hungry. I realized that The Mumbling Guy took his lunch into his office and started eating as usual. Same shit that he does every day! And I was thinking: how could these people have the same thing over and over, every fucking day: Going to the nasty kitchen, put their garbage disgusting food in the fucking disgusting microwave, hear the stupid beep beep, going back to the office and chowing like a horse! That would suck, if I had to do it on daily basis. I then turned back to my book, which by the way is for another certificate and I gave it another break, I realized he was talking at the same time that he was taking the bites. That lasted unusually for about, maybe 6 to 7 minutes. I went back to my studies and forgot about it.
About one and a half hour after that I noticed that he went to The Screamer's office and said something. Then returned to his office. I got out of mine and I caught him in his big Wal-Mart jacket going out of the office. It was obvious that he was not calling the day but I pretended I had thought he was leaving by saying: See you tomorrow. He said that he was not leaving and he would be back with some familiar face(!), the Newlywed's wife! I was thinking what the hell could have happened? Did they have a fight and the girl came to him to seek help?! It would be very embarrassing to do so but you could expect everything from these guys!
He came back after a few minutes with the woman following her and they went to his office and talked. I went back to my own business and then she left after a few minutes and was replaced by The Screamer with the door shut! I wonder what was going on and then the girl showed up again and The Screamer left. This time the woman in the office with the door shut until she was escorted to the door and left and this time The Mumbling Guy pointed at me asking me to go to his office. The problem with these people is they cannot keep something to themselves for even 2 minutes! You tell them something, the whole town is aware in less than an hour! So he told me what had happened:
Apparently someone called this fucking stupid moron from a Government agency, that I would rather name it here, in the early morning waking him the fuck up and telling him that he owes some big cash, over $5000 and he has to make a cheque or draft and give it to someone in the airport or he would be deported!! This fucking fool believes it and goes to a financial institute and requests the draft or whatever that could be considered that much money. Somehow his fucking bitch wife, who seems to have a bigger brain than him suspects the whole story and calls The Mumbling Guy's wife. She in turn calls The Mumbling Guy and he direct everyone to the department's head who happens to be a fucking arrogant jerk! 
I was about to burst into laughter a few times but I controlled myself and just conformed whatever he was telling! He said that he even had asked the Newlywed to turn his cellphone off, take the battery and the SIM card out! Can you imagine someone as stupid as that! He added that the guy and his wife were sitting in the HR and he was worried that he had that big cash in his pocket! I'm usually a guy who enjoys situations such as that and adds more wood to the fire(!) so I agreed with everything he had said and added that he should not let them to spend tonight in their apartment tonight! I said: I would have invited them over, if I had a bigger apartment. I don't even have extra blanket, bed sheet and pillows! He said that he had a guest room and he was considering that! 
And this is the story of a fucking idiot who has a Master's in Engineering and claims that he is a genius! While I was sitting there I realized two grocery bag and a nasty cheap Wal-Mart jacket which appeared to be the woman's! There were a few pieces of vegetables and hygiene items in the bags. I don't know way the fucking idiot decided to do shopping in the middle of this chaos! 
He then told me not to say anything and I left his office. The girl came back again after a few minutes and left with his grocery bags! I have to do a follow up by showing my sympathy tomorrow so I will have another funny story again! 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

American Sniper

I always liked Eastwood movies and enjoyed almost all of the ones that I watched and own many of them on disk. Unforgiven, in my opinion is a masterpiece. In Gran Torino Eastwood performs unbelievably well at that age. His old movies such as The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and the other in that genre are excellent. He made two movies back to back about the Pacific War which I liked them both very much. His Dirty Harry series didn't attract me very much but is OK. The only movie of him that I haven't watched to the end is Firefox. This is a movie that he plays the role of a pilot who is given this mission to go to Soviet Union and steal a newly designed and manufactured jet, MIG-25 code named Firefox by NATO.
The movie was actually for years on my list but regardless of its good start it falls into a series of tedious dialogue that I could not tolerate and left it to watch later but that later has not come yet. When I realized that American Sniper was directed by him, I was a bit surprised because my thought was he was against War in Iraq. Maybe I was wrong and still am. Anyways I went to watched the movie yesterday and I watched it in Ultra AVX which is supposed to have better sound and picture quality. It was fine. No complaints and it is a bit more expensive than the usual plays and I was told the movie had not been provided in regular format. Fine again! It is an OK movie and I have to say that I expected more but that is what it was! I really didn't expect to see the same American shit cliché such as meeting girls at the bar, throwing up after drinking so much alcohol, American wedding which is always shown very fancy with handsome groom and beautiful bride, people rising glasses and all shit that we are tired of. I think Eastwood could have offered more of Chris Kyle by eliminating these nonsense from the movie. The film is based on a book of the same name by Kyle and I saw that during Christmas in Chapters but didn't buy it because I still have unread books in my shelf but now I'm thinking maybe I should buy it and compare it to the movie. Bradley Cooper's performance is OK but is it something worth OSCAR? I'm not sure. I should look at the other nominees performances. The movie is also nominated for the Best Picture award but I'm not sure it's that good. There's no doubt that politics play a big role in an extravagant ceremony such as Academy Awards which is watched by millions around the world. So nominating American Sniper is probably a message to be conveyed that America's decision to start a war in Iraq was justified and what Kyle and his fella soldiers did too. This is fine as well. I am truly thankful to Americans for what they did to the country that imposed a long war of 8 years to my native homeland. Iraqis killed many innocent civilians, used chemical weapons against ground troops and civilians as well and destroyed the country's infrastructure. But does American Sniper is big enough to win OSCAR's Best Picture? I have not seen any of the other nominees and I don't know how good they are but American Sniper is a story of a skillful soldier who does a good job and is a fine movie. That's all. it definitely is not as big as Unforgiven which won as many as 4 major OSCARS
The battle scenes are very real and the other actors are fine. Their role is minimized as the movie revolves around Kyle, most of the time. His wife is the other one who is portrayed a bit but she falls into the same cliche shit that we have seen over and over. 
American Sniper, I originally though, would be a movie that I would enjoy watching over and over on disk and added to my over 350 title collection but as much as I like Clint's movies and the story of Kyle, I'm not sure now if that will be. 
(Photo: Kyle, in baseball cap with his instructor. He has been credited as the most lethal sniper in the US history with 160 confirmed deaths)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fitbit and Skating

I wanted to see how fitbit works during skating so when we went to Olympic Plaza today and shortly skates, I made sure I checked my results on the dashboard. Apparently if I skate the way I usually do and even a bit fast, as it's not possible, it shows less activity and less energy consumption which makes sense. 
We were not sure if we should go there tonight because the thermometer was showing above zero temperature and in cases like that the surface of ice gets slushy. We decided to go eventually because we are going to start our practice in Olympic Oval soon and we need to be ready. It was not very crowded but a good number of people were there. The ice was not slushy as I had though but it had big grooves and scratches, particularly at the side and corners. The Lady was a bit tired as a lock of enough sleep in the past two night and also had a soar muscle so she did not practice more than 15 minutes. I did a little more and enjoyed as long as half and hour with a few stops in between and practice of some other moves such as Bubble and backward. 
(Photo: The decoration in and around Olympic Plaza is different from last year's. It is beautiful and different. Here you see a nice, tall Christmas Tree with a very nice and changing lighting. Calgary Tower is seen in the back and although it's not a high quality and clear image you can see the new illumination of blue on the tower which is actually changing but not shown in this photo, of course but is really beautiful)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Beautiful Winter of Alberta

Real Canadian winter started right after the New Year's Day and it has has been very cold everyday except for a one day break but that has not been held me back from my regular exercises mostly. I purchased a Balaclava from SportChek a few days ago and used it once during my jogging on Bow River Pathway when the temperature had plunged to -18 degrees C, not considering the windchill but I haven't been out to the mountains since my last short hike to Johnston Canyon

A small group was gathered in front of the municipality building to condemn the recent terrorist acts in Paris, France.
Today we went to Olympic Plaza shortly after the noon and it was very pleasant where we practices for about an hour. The temperature in the morning around 10:30 AM when I went for a walk was about -8 degrees C and then went up to -3 degrees C and that helped a good practice. 

A sunny afternoon pushed many Calgarians out of their shelters to enjoy a few minutes of skating in Olympic Plaza, especially because the wind was calm as the three flags indicate.
While leaving we noticed a small crowd gathered in front of the City Hall to remember the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France. Considering the French-Canadians in western Canada are not the majority, it was not a surprise to see a small crowd. 
(Photo, top: Bow River Pathway is cleaned by municipality every time there is a snow. That makes it easier for us joggers to enjoy our exercise all the more!)

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Bowness Park in Winter

I went to Bowness Park for the second time in the past 5 days. It's such wonderful place even in winter. The temperature plunged into -18 Degrees C (not considering windchill) but that didn't stop me from going. A building at the north bank of the river (which is considered another park and I will write about it later) rang a bell and I thought I might had been there some 10 years ago when I used to do lots of cycling around the city but I'm not sure. My main purpose today was visiting the lagoon and practicing some skating but I only managed to to that for around 20 min. 
It was so cold that I could barely tie the skate and when I finally managed to do that, I realized that I need lots of practice. I was OK after 15 min. but the ice, similar to most of the outdoor rinks, was very bumpy and full of cracks. My assumption was that the City runs a Zamboni off and on on the ice but I was wrong!
Bowness Park from Baker Park at Sunset. This was taken on New Years Eve which was not as cold as today
There were three workers using shovel, blower and snow remover, working on the small area that you change your shoes to skates. They were there the entire time and obviously showing working and that was a nuisance(!) but the City has done a nice job making nice pits with fire as well as washroom and relaxing facility which is fully heated. You can walk from the rink to the building because it's floored with think, soft plastic that protects your blade. You can also sit beside the pits and warm up and relax and go back to the rink. 
The City has provided nice facility for people to enjoy themselves during the cold months of winter in Bowness Park and other parks in Calgary including these fire pits that you can sit around and warm up between your skating.
The park and all the surrounding area (which each has been named a different park) is a habitat for different animal. I saw a couple of Owls when I was there on the New Years Eve. They were on the top branches of trees, making Hooo Hooo! I tried to get them on my camera but of course I couldn't! I bet if I had been there early morning, around down, I would have been able to see a few animals. I will pay more visit to the park for photography, jogging and walking and of course skating. 
(Photo, top: Sunset in Bowness and Baker Parks. Baker Park is right across from Bowness Park at the other side of Bow River. The Bridge seen far is Stony Trail Bridge which I'm sure was not constructed if it was me who 10 years ago cycled these trails!)

Thursday, January 01, 2015


Homelessness is a phenomena which is very common in North America, I heard. I have seen it excessively in Vancouver and Calgary. The Federal Government and perhaps the municipal and provincials as well provide funds and services for the people who are considered homeless but I'm not sure what qualifies you to receive those kind of services. I am practically homeless because despite living here for years I never possessed any property and will probably will never posses one but that alone does not qualify me to receive different services that are available to homeless people. I have seen and personally seen people who simply use or abuse the service which in fact should not be available to them. These are the examples I can provide:
- Yahya, and I only name him here because I'm sure there would be no chance for him or a relative or friend of him to read this and his surname is protected, a guy from Afghanistan was a guy I met once. He uses the facility provided to homeless people in Calgary, simply because he was fucking lazy to find himself a job and pull himself together. According to The Chef, as they used to hand out, he was a drunkard. The Chef helped him with some $600 by purchasing him tools so he could work in construction but he blew it up. 
- Once we were walking in Downtown with The Chef as his place is closed to The Rehabilitation Center one Iranian guy approached us. I guess he heard us talking in Persian and walked toward us with a can of Coke in one hand, a cigarette in another and earphones hanging out of his ears. He said because he wanted to keep his Internet service and that was just too much for him he decided to give up his place so he can enjoy the free accommodation and save enough for other expenses! While the short story he narrated for us in the 5 min. walk we had together can not be even 1% true(!) it truly proves that people can make up any story they want and check in to the free motel! What you have to consider here is this free motel or hotel has a very interesting rule that The Chef explained to me and I like it a lot: You enter before a certain time (09:00 PM, I guess) and have to leave very early as well (maybe 06:00 AM). So it really is not a comfortable place but many people sacrifice comfort for money! 
- The Loyal is another Iranian guy that I hang out with a few times and knew him through The Chef as well and he used to spend his time in this kind of facilities and even going to the Food Bank. This guy, whom his story should be said soon is a cheap stingy bastard from Isfahan and worked for the late Zellers(!) and then got a few good positions with good companies as a professional but I'm not going to say his field as this might blow him. He even, I heard, has purchased a house now but that's how he started his life in Calgary. He kept telling me that the system offers these systems and we should use them! 

McDonald's restaurants, particularly the Downtown locations are a hang out for the homeless. Here a native woman or man (looked like a woman to me although I didn't see her or his face) was asleep when I was sitting for a coffee in a McDonald's 
- Another group of homeless people who actually are not homeless and you see a large number of them if you walk in Downtown is Native people. These guys, the majority of them, as far as I know, has their on homes on Reserve lands and travel frequently to the nearby cities and towns and wander around, drink, smoke, fight and get themselves in trouble. I have a few encounters with them which obviously none of them started by me. I have learnt, big, that I should stay as far as possible from them especially because they are in groups which is most of the time the case.
Now do the authorities know about these stuff? My guess is they do for sure but they keep the services up and running. I'm not happy about this because this is my tax money but is there anything we could do about it? Barely any! 
One MP sent me letters and Christmas card  a few weeks back. He/she asked me whether I think the Government is on the right track or not. I prepared a big letter and was going to send it before this past Christmas but then I changed my mind. I though I'd be better going through again and include this issue as well. Not that I hope something will happen soon but maybe this is a beginning. 
(Photo, top: I normally go for my running and jogging in the afternoon. One day before Christmas I did it in the morning and found it very rewarding. This guy was asleep besides a memorial plaque or something similar to that on Bow River Pathway in Downtown. It was pretty cold but I'm sure he's fine in his sleeping bag)