Saturday, June 27, 2015

Disgusting Heat

I'm sitting here at home and this is f**king disgusting, this heat! I went for a walk in the afternoon around 18:30 and it was not this bad but noon time was quiet hot, I'd say around 30 degrees Centigrade. The radio said Las Vegas is 44! Yes 44 degree C! I wonder who would be the loser going there but considering much of activities are indoor, I don't think people mind that!
I went for jogging yesterday by the river and it was not very bad and I did a good 30 min. but silly me took a tumble as soon as I was about to cross the river over the pedestrian Crowchild Tr. bridge, rolled over, jumped up and continued! 
I could not sleep because of the hot weather and when I woke up in the morning I realized that I had screwed up and my ankle was in pain. I guess I'm lucky that I didn't break it but I guess I twisted it a little bit. I used a lotion and wrapped it with one of those bands. Feel better now but I'm pretty much screwed! Don't know when will go back to normal. I have already missed this weekend's hike. So I'm hoping to make it to the next week. 
(Photo: I am using this bunny photo for this post because I don't like writings without a picture although this one is not related to the short story but I took it during one of my walks. There is a good population of bunnies in the city and I have seen them mostly around Downtown area. They seem to be peaceful)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Enemy at the Gates

I watched another movie of few ones that I had downloaded back in 2003 from this sharing Website, Kazza; Enemy at the Gates. It might sound crazy that the movie, in avi format, was recorded on a CD in 30-Nov-2003 and of course  had been downloaded earlier, more than 11 years ago.
I finally asked myself to give it a try a few days ago. Not very impressive movie but OK. The fact is the movie is a combination of two propaganda and exaggeration systems:
1- Hollywood. (The US!)
2- Soviet Union.
The movie is basically the story of a Soviet sniper who in the battle of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) kills quite number of German soldiers and officers and became an aspiration for the people of the city and the resistance forces. The opening scene of the movie, partially reminds me of what I have read several times about Iranian invasions during the devastating 8-year Iran-Iraq War, the usage of human wave. Although this method never worked very well but lack of leadership, training, equipment and weapons made Iranian use this and for that they lost hundreds of thousands of youngsters in the battlefields of war where they practice this method of WWI! The only difference is a brain-washed Iranian volunteer didn't need an officer in the back to shoot at him. Here Islam was stronger than Communism ideology!
Anyways why I said the movie was a result of a Soviet propaganda? Because it is loosely based on a memoir written by the sniper himself, a Vasily Zaytsev. I have not read the book and not even seen it but apparently whatever he has claimed in it, has no other accounts. So in a way he could be another sniper such as American Sniper but we know that it's too late to do an investigation. It has been more than 71 year since Battle of Stalingrad was ended by the German forces surrounding to the Soviets.
So briefly this is the story: Vasily, who is almost a silly village boy is among many soldier that the Soviets have gathered and force them to fight the Germans. At the time Soviets situation was so bad that they had to give a rifle to a soldier and the bullets to the other one, his aid. When the rifle man died, the aid would pick up the rifle and continued his duties. We know at this stage and it's not in the movie that Allies send supply and ammunition to the Soviets through Iran.
I bumped to this Russian gentleman, originally from Volgograd on the Middle Sister trail, last year. We had a nice chat and did part of the trail together but he didn't make it to the summit. I hope he sees this and understands how appreciative I am to him. He showed me the right trail to the summit or I was probably lost or would have wasted hours!
The guy somehow manages to get out of a wave attack alive and shots a few Germans, killing them all with one shot, not wasting a single bullet! This is where the lies begin a I wonder whether this is something put in the movie by the Hollywood guys, which seems a little odd as they always to downgrade their enemies in their movies, or originally in the Zastsev's memoirs. No matter who put that in the story, it seems so unreal. A Political Officer, which was an ordinary position in Soviet armed forced on those days, witnesses this act of bravery and skill and decides to use that as a way of heroism and encourage the citizens to stay and defend. He discusses that with Khrushchev who happened to be one of the commanders at the time of the battle. He later became the Soviet primer. Khrushchev likes the idea and supports the man but then like most of Hollywood movies, a woman emerges in the script to make it more attractive and sexy! I don't know if it is in the actual memories or not but the two soldiers hit it off and make the Political Officer jealous as he is in love of the beauty as well and he decides to ruin the hero's character to avenge him! In the meantime Germans sent a Major to Stalingrad to fight the guy. This guy whom there's no record of him anywhere but in Zaytsev's book enters in to a battle with the Soviet guy and the story is interesting and take you with it but the soundtrack or music is horrible and that was the thing in the movie I disliked the most. The Soviet guy eventually manages to conquer the German sniper and that's about it. Of course I skipped all the detail in order not to spoil the movie for the ones who have not seen it but there's one scene that I like to mention and that's the scene between the lovers! The guy is laying down on the floor with other soldier in a sort of shelter. Everyone is so exhausted and  beat. The girl comes in and they do it while are covered by their winter coats. The scene that the woman, Rachel Weisz, slowly pulls her pants down is very sexy and the whole love making scene between her and Jude Law is amazing and that's what I'm talking about. No matter whether it's a romance (Titanic), a war movie (Enemy at the Gates) or a horror (Fri,, the 13th), there should be a sex scene just to remind you that you have a part of body that should be used in conjunction with a woman's body in order to accomplish an act(!) no matter where you are, even if you are a dirty, stinking, hungry, exhausted soldier in the ruins of Stalingrad
So basically the movie is not about the siege of Stalingrad entirely. It is mostly focused on the sniper. It quiet similar to Patton. Patton is about General George C. Patton and it's named after him. Enemy at the Gates is about Vasily Zaytsev but not named after him. Perhaps they should have named it Soviet Sniper! I would give 3 out of 5 to the movie but it's definitely a multiple-watch. 
(Photo, top: Vasily Zaytsev with his sniper rifle. This gun or one similar to it is kept in a museum in Russia now. The guy was named Hero of the Soviet Union. He died in 15-Dec-1991 just 15 days prior to the official announcement of Soviet Union's dissolution)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Stupid Invention

I read it once that Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world. It's a bit hard to believe because apart from North America, this beverage is not consumed as much anywhere else. At least that's what I've experienced. The three big countries in the world, China, India and Russia are not Coffee drinking nations. It's not a popular drink in Asia at all unless for the people who wants to show that they are Westernized(!) In my recent trip to Iran after more than 6 years, I noticed that coffee shops have become popular among the youngsters because that makes them feel modernized! While drinking alcoholic beverages is prohibited and results in heavy fines, Coffee is the next thing to alcohol that people can drink to show they are from a high class society! 
But Coffee is a favorite beverage in Arab countries and it's consumed completely different. It should be added here that Coffee was originated in Yemen, the county which is in the depth of a civil war now. It's a very beautiful country with a long history and thousands of year and now has become the battlefield of Shia and Sunni, where Iran and Saudi Arabia are behind the opponents of this devastating religious war. The word Coffee is taken from Arabic word Qava ad through decades it has been changed and became Coffee with the pronunciation we hear it on daily bases. 
Speaking of the different ways that Coffee is consumed reminded me of my trip to Damascus in the 90's. Syria was a stable and war-free country at the time under the rule of Hafez Al-Asad. We spent a week in the city and must say that we enjoyed ourselves. At one occasion we were in a cafe where people were playing Backgammon and drinking Coffee. We ordered that too and although years have passed I remember that it was served in tiny small cups, with no cream but lots of sugar. That was not bad for us who had very rare experience with coffee. Coffee was popular drink within Armenian minority at the time in Iran and it was being served in their family parties or similar gatherings. You probably have heard of Turkish Coffee and French Coffee which shows how different every nation drinks this beverage but still it's hard to believe that make it the second most traded commodity in the world! 
I drink at least 2 cups every day myself and depending my whereabouts, I get it from different sources. My favorite was once Tim's Double Double but then I switched to McDonald's and now I get either one with no sugar and has recently started to eliminate cream as well. At home I have a Black&Decker coffee maker that I use at times, mostly weekends. Coffee machine are available in different capacities and shapes and models in the stores. You can by them from $20 to $250 and more. The one which has recently become popular is a single cup machine and I guess Tassimo is one of the leading brands. This, by far is the stupidest invention I've ever seen in food industry in my life anywhere! Imagine you have a few people over or sitting for breakfast with the family and relatives. You ought to make every cup of coffee, each after another and served them one by one! In fact the the time that the last person receives his or her coffee could be 10 or more minutes after the first one! I don't know what the idiot who brought this idea to work, was thinking but I'm sure he or she (most likely a he) was not even thinking of the huge amount of waste this stupid invention creates because in a Capitalist society people only think of money and that's all. Nothing else maters. 
I don't know how popular these machines are within the society and how their markets are but I do know people jump to new things here as soon as they see it. So if you're a sane person with at least a little functioning brain in your skull, you'll never waste your money on such a garbage.
(Photo: Single Cup coffee maker on display in a major retailer)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Turtle Mountain (Crowsnest Pass)

I finally got a chance to reach the first summit of 2015 by going to Crowsnest area in southern Alberta. Although I had driven through Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod on my ways last year, I had never been to Crowsnest municipality district and I have to insist that it is such a beautiful area and I will have other programs for sure. I set my wrist watch as well as my new Fitbit Flex for early morning and my destination was Turtle Mountain where the disaster of Frank Slide occurred in 1903. I left the town when sun started coming up , heading south on Highway # 2 and at the town of Nanton I took Road 533 to west. The little town of Nanton where I had this idea in mind to buy a property in, maybe in a few years from now, is located almost 70 km from the city skirts. I was once thinking of doing my work commute from this town but that distance could be a problem, very tiring. That'd another subject to discuss maybe later.
Road 533 takes you to Cowboy Trail and Chain Lakes Provincial Park but at junction, I turned left and headed south for Highway #3 or Crowsness Pass. Cowboy Trail is such a beautiful road with ranches and wetlands at both sides. At the intersection of Cowboy Trail and Crowsness Pass, I turned right and that is where you see all the small communities one after another. There is Bellevue first and then Blairmore, Colleman and others. I was lucky that I had communicated with a very nice gentleman from Frank Slide Interpretive Center and he had directed me with any detail to the trail head. So at exactly 08:02 hours I had my boots on, the car parked and the gear packed and ready to hit the trail in the town of Blairmore. The trail starts basically in the basically  of 15th Ave. and it has a very rough starts. It is so steep that for the first half an hour or so I was sweating like a pig and I had to take the windbreaker out. The weather was nice and the trail and view were fantastic. I kept sweating a lot until I reached the false summit. I had to take my sunglasses off and clean the lenses or in fact dry them out every 10 minutes or so on the way and I was very tired when I reached there and had this great inclination to head back down because of tiredness but then I looked and I realized that I was not at the summit! I took my map out that confirmed it as well. There was still a challenge to reach the summit. I had to climb down the big rock of false summit and then work my way up from an exposed trail until I reach the highest point. I looked at my watched and I realized that I had wasted too much time and considering the wind was getting stronger, I took my windbreaker out, drank half of the water I had brought with me, fastened all of the straps and started going down the rocks, heading towards the summit. It was not too bad. Government of Alberta has installed monitoring tools on Turtle Mountain to observe any movement and they can be easily seen from false summit. So finding the way to go up would not be so hard. Just follow any way which heads towards to the tools. There's also a helicopter landing platform on the south side of the peak but I didn't go there. I eventually reached the 2210 m. summit of Turtle Mountain at 10:45 hours. 
View to the north from the summit. Frank Slide Interpretive Center is the white building which can be seen on the right side of the photo above the road which is Highway # 3 or Crowsness Pass. The rocky side on the right side of teh photo is where mining community of Frank was buried in 1903 as a result of part of the mountain being collapsed on the top of it. 
You have a very nice 360 degrees from the top and the peak is wide enough even to accept more than 20 hikers but fortunately I was alone for the entire time of the trip. I always like to have a photo on the summit, similar to everyone else and although this is not a fourteen-er, I wanted to try it with my flag which is always folded and in my backpack, particularly because there was nobody else around, the summit was not very windy, not as much as the Middle Sister's and there was enough room to move around. Just one day before my trip I was looking for straps to use them for the Alberta flag I had bought earlier, in fact the previous year but didn't find any and then didn't spend any time to look for it. On the summit there was a flag post with lots of plastic strap attached to it. No flags though. I took two of them and considering I only had a small tripod on me, took a few photos after strapping the flag to my hiking stick but none of them cam out well. At least I have to straps that even if they get damaged, I have an idea as what I need to get. As well it was a little bit of photography practice so for the next summit I know what I would have to do, in case I am by myself again.
After the photography, I finished all of the water in the backpack and I have to add that I didn't eat anything, as usual and when I started heading down, it was almost 11:15 hours meaning that I had spent half an hour on the summit which is very unusual for me. 
Going down is not easy and consists of two stages: Stage 1 you need to get yourself to false summit and that comprises of going down the summit and then scrambling up the rocks and reaching the false summit. The second part of the first stage is a bit hard and challenging and that is the part which make this hike falling in Class 4 category and I enjoyed it very much. Stage 2: getting down the false summit to the trail-head which is bad for the knees as the steepness is too much but the trail, as I said earlier, is very beautiful with lots of photo opportunities. 
On the way back to the trail-head you first need to reach the false summit and for that you need to do a bit of rock climbing and that in fact is very easy and enjoyable but at spots you need both hands and this passage is one of easy ones. 
A storm shows itself coming from west at almost where Crowsnest Mountain is located, the clouds started to filling in and the wind blew when I started Stage 2 of the return hike but that actually made the hike much easier and more enjoyable. There was a cool breath and the weather was so delicious to breath it in! I stopped a lot on the way down but when I finally got back to the car it was almost 13:15 hours. Turtle Mountain's regular return trip is considered 5 hours. It means I did not very badly considering the 900 m. elevation gain, lots of stops on the way up and down and the lengthy stay in the summit. 
I drove around the town for a minute or two but didn't stop anywhere because I had to go back. It gave me an idea of what I would be looking for the next time I was in the area. I drove back the same way I came down and the road was even more scenic! That means I'll be back! 
(Photo, top: Turtle Mountain summit from its false summit. Part of the town of Bellevue can be seen far bellow)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fitbit Replacement

I had troubles with my Fitbit Flex activity tracker for about a month or more. I finally decided to communicate with them with through e-mail and address the issues. I did that last week and the answer was that they would send me a replacement. Good.
It's obvious that they can see that there's no pattern in my exercise and at time I lose recording my activities due to the problems the system has. The other issue was the exercise period confusion! I would go for a walk at 12:05 for about an hour and the system would show my walking at 10:00 AM! So it's now replaced and I set it up. I hope there will be no problem no more. 
(Photo: The replacement device in its pack. It took less than a week to arrive. Thank to Fitbit for that but as you the charger USB adapter is included which I already had. I'd appreciated, Had they sent a wristband as I broke the large one and I know am using the small and is not very comfortable. I guess it's some $20 for a new one which I skip for now. There was no charge for the replacemnt)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Stupid vs. Crazy Stupid

The story of a young woman being stuck by a big pick up truck while trying to stop it after the driver drove off the gas station without paying, was all over the news last week. I didn't want to post anything about it as this is not a news-blog but then felt that I should write something to clear a few things in case someone is interested to know as this would have never happened to a Caucasian or even East Indian fella, had the Centex gas station attendant been from that ethnic group, if I may put it that way.
Here is what the media was reported about the victim: She was a new immigrant from Iran and a  graduate of Chemical Engineering program who had recently moved to the city and been given a position as a Process Engineer within an engineering firm but then shortly after 3 month was laid off. Her husband worked for the same company in a Piping Engineering position, also was recently laid off due to economic downturn and the couple were struggling their newly built life. So she decides to get a job to be order to pay the bills until the market picks up and she goes back to her engineering position: Here are the foolish things this family did:

1- Why on Earth did she have to get a job as a Gas Station Attendant?! There are plenty of jobs in Wal-Mart, Superstore, Safeway, Tim Horton's and such businesses and there's no way they pay less than Centex.

2- Didn't the family have any emergency funds? You know when you go to a new country where you have no family and you just want to start a new life, you need to be prepared. Going to a Capitalist society where your tiny epic ass could be kicked out of work, particularly when you're new and you still don't know your ass from your elbow, could be potentially fatal.

3- The guy didn't pay and drove off and went to the nearby The Home Depot and the woman left the gas station, attended or unattended and went to The Home Depot as well and I don't know what happened and they struck her and drove over her and vanished!! Why the hell would you go after two maniacs, driving a big ass truck, while you barely speak English and are a tiny little foreigner woman?! I hope she was not attempting suicide because if that is what she had in mind, the accused could be let go now! I'm a grown man and a tough one, have been living here in this part of the globe for many years and I don't dare driving on Deadfoot Tr. (Deerfoot Tr.) because of the number of the crazy stupid maniacs who drive their big SUV and pickup trucks on that road. What was she thinking when she approached the Super Duty? I can't think of two thing and they both start with an S: Stupidity and Suicide! It should have been one of them.

I have nothing to say about the accused because there are a lot of them in the society and we all know them. Their life is summarizes in boozing, smoking weed, driving big trucks or old cheap cars with drilled exhaust so they can be noisy, six packs, bars and fucking a stupid asshole of similar or opposite sex. A creature with description as above has no concern for a human being, especially if she's a foreigner. If I had heard that the woman tried to stop the truck and the truck driver drove around her and left, I would have been surprised! And thanks to the justice system of Canada which is probably the greatest in the world. I have previously posted that Canada is the heaven for criminals. Just today I heard that on the news that a Somali abductor who used to operate in Mogadishu area, was captured in Ontario!! Can you believe that? So it means they let everyone in and the ones who are born and raised here also given the opportunity to do as much as they intend to do. The guy was out of jail on bail and was driving a stolen vehicle. I agree that everyone should be given the second chance but for what price? Is is worth ruining a family's life and sacrificing a woman to give a scum a second chance? I personally do not believe that. 
I took this photo in 2006 Calgary International Auto and Truck Show, the only time I have been to the show so far. The this is a F-250 Super Chief Concept. The truck which was driven by the accused killer is similar to this one. 
This tragedy truly proves that having an engineering degree does not prove that you're smart. The fact is people, particularly women study engineering for different reason in countries such as Iran. Among them are: 
1- There are not many jobs available that you can make ends meet. Even with the screwed up and devastated economy of today's Iran, an engineering job would not do much but it's better than nothing. But don't worry! That'll come to Canada soon. In fact it is already here but has not shown itself completely!
2- Women, particularly if they do not have good feature, which was the case in our poor victim, are seen as member of the family who are not productive, especially in small towns. So they try to leave the family as early as possible in order not to impose extra expenses to the breadwinner.
3- Marriage is considered a big deal. People try to get married to wealthy families but if they have no choice in that alley, post-secondary education provides them this opportunity to meet people of their class who have come to the university and their philosophy is that we would do well together. That's the story of this couple as well, without a doubt. 
So you spend four years in a university, you memorize a bunch of formulas and learn to use tables and a calculator and then graduate with a degree. You're the same damn stupid with a degree added to you. Now you can calculate flows and forces but you can't calculate what would happen if I step in front of a big car with two young Caucasian fellas who naturally hate foreigners! What a pity. 
(Photo, top: The accused of striking the Centex gas station attendant in 16th Ave. SW is taken to custody by two officers of CPS. It took them less than 24 hours after the incident to find them)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Rainy Weather Led to Skating

This weekend I missed another hiking/mountaineering opportunity, this time to rainy and cold weather. My plan was to go to Kananaskis and climb up The Wedge, the mountain we had a failed attempt a few weeks ago. My alternative or Plan B was to go up Mt. Lady MacDonald in Canmore but I had to drop both and instead I ended up in Crowchild Twin Arenas for practicing Skating. 
It was almost the same number of people this week as well but surprisingly blue arena, where the public skating takes place, was much colder! I never wear gloves while skating unless it's a very cold winter day and I'm outside but today it was chilly in a way that when I finished exercising and got off the ice, I could not even undo my laces! 
Skating, and I've mentioned earlier, is a tough sport and I believe 1 hour on ice is too much. That's probably why there's unlimited player replacement in hockey! Not to mention the physical challenge the players deal with in addition than to skating. Of course the hockey players have all started skating when they are 3 but the excessive movement in the body armor and helmet on, adds to the fatigue factor, I guess. Most of the people who were there with me, irrespective of their age and the level of skill, didn't spend the whole hour on ice. No matter how good you are at other sports, skating would feel different. 
(Photo: Public Skating started at 04:45 PM today and lasted 1 hour. Barely anyone was in, particularly only two minutes after the drill was started!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Following my visit to Global Mini Skirt Show yesterday, I had another short visit today, this time mainly to pick up lunch tickets that one of our contractors had offered. I went there and found the booth but I was told that the tickets had been given to the joint and I had to go there to pick them up. 
So I and my buddy from work walked to the bar/restaurant called Loungeburger. We were welcomed by the staff and the contractor's representative and since the lounge was full, they directed us to their patio which was not bad. We were shortly approached by beverage waitress. We had a pair of beverage ticket. I ordered what one of the guys that we sat with, had already ordered and was drinking. It was apparently a draft beer, although I have no good experience with that product. My colleague just wanted a drink of water. The beer arrived shortly and then we ordered food. I realized that the menu given to us was different from the restaurant's main menu because I had studied that. It was OK though I ordered Bison Burger with side salad. It is obvious that the contractor wanted to limit the amount each guest spends.
We talked and talked and I finished my beer and there was no sign of the food. I had another beverage ticket and I wanted to save that for tomorrow, not knowing that the lunch event is held for one day only! The three guys who were sitting at our table received their food. So did the guys on the table next to us. I saw the size and content(!) of a salad that one of them had ordered and regretted why I had not ordered the same but I mainly didn't because first these guys at restaurants mostly don't care about washing the ingredients and secondly they use their hands to put the items on the plate and mixing them up. Anyways I guess we waited for some 50 min. or so and my buddy was about to lose his temper and told one of the waitresses that he would leave in 5 minutes if the food does not arrive. I talked to one as well and asked about the possibility of our order being lost but she said that their kitchen was a little bit backed up which I understand.
The food arrived in two minutes after we had that talk and it was OK. I was happy when I read that they use Whole Grain Bun for their burger but the bread was a little fluffy. The patty, if it was really Bison, because I can't say as I had never tried before, tasted good and was not cooked very badly but was not perfect either. It was a thick patty though. Generally I have no complaint. The side salad was small as they usually are at the restaurant so it didn't take me long to finish the meal and I was OK. I waited a few more minutes for my buddy to finish his and we got the hell out of there after thanking the contractor's staff. I would like to go and try the restaurant one more time at least because we were in rush and I could not sit and relax after the meal. Beside they use my favorite bun so that would be a good place for a little meal. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Global Mini Skirt Show (Jun. 9-11)

I spent a few minutes in this ridiculous show called Global Petroleum Show which is held in Calgary every year at this time of the year. I went there only because I was supposed to pick up something from one of the exhibitor's booth which I didn't find it by the way! 
So you go there and and similar to most shows in Calgary it is in Stampede Park and BMO Center. There are an army of people, probably volunteers, some of them, to help you register but you also can register by scanning the bar code on your registration confirmation letter. So basically those people are there for nothing but consuming oxygen! But hey don't forget that there are lost of garbage that they hand to you or you can pick them up such as a leash that you attach your badge and hang it from your neck and other useless stuff which all end up in landfill! What a waste and what a bunch of fucking inconsiderate idiots these people are! Why do you have a badge and why do you have to hang it from your neck similar to a prisoner who poses for a mugshot, I have no clue! 
Then you go in and that actually was my second time and you see all sorts of people but this is how I categorize them: 

1- Unemployed and recently laid off people who have come with the hope that a miracle happens and they get a job. I specifically saw one person who had told me a few weeks ago that he had been laid off. 

2- Retired people and the ones who are bored at home. Since registration is free why the hell not go to the show and collect a few pens, cups, grocery bags and other free garbage from exhibitors and get a junk food and spend the day there? Who cares that you know nothing about oil industry?! 

3- There are people who really believe that going to such a meaningless show particularly at the time that the oil industry is completely screwed up, is such a big deal. These people feel a kind of obligation and would always go no matter what. They are quiet similar to the people who strongly feel obligated to go to each and every event in the city and even further. They never miss Calgary Stampede, Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo and all sorts of boring repetitive annual events that they have been to at least 36 times! These are the people who revolve the wheels of every industry by the money they spend here and there. 

So I walked around and walked around and the dis-organization and chaos of the place stunned me. I finally didn't find that exhibitor although I checked the map, I asked two guys and I checked the electronic screen guide but what I saw the most, and unfortunately I have no photo from, is the women in mini skirts. They were among both exhibitors and attendants. I understand that at times exhibitors try to attract customers but I wasn't expecting to see women in micro skirt! And what's with someone who goes to the show? Unless you're looking for someone, why would you wear a mini or micro skirt with high heels in a technical show?! That's despicable. Anyways I realized that I was tired and it was passed 12:00 so I headed back to the office and let the smart people enjoy their show. The mini skirt part was probably the only attractive part of the show although I'm shy and can't stare at women's legs! 

Monday, June 08, 2015

Fitbit Flex = Piece of Shit

I started having problems with this activity tracking device called Flex from Fitbit more than a month ago but I neither contacted their customer service nor joined a forum to get help. I knew the first one would be useless and the second one would probably not very helpful either. 
The problem was with charging. The damn device would charge but would discharge shortly and without the regular e-mail notification. Now instead of charging every 2 to 3 days I had to charge every day which was a pain in the butt. I lost lots of hours due to that and then yesterday I went for a 25 min. jogging in the morning and when I came back I realized that the piece of crap has not recorded that activity. 
Today was the worst. I simply put Flex Fitbit having problem with battery in a search engine and lots of result was shown indicating I was not the only one having that problem. Then I got home and I realized that the system is not synchronizing! The last time it had synchronized it was shortly before the midnight so I connected that to my PC to charge its damn battery and as well have it close enough for synchronization. Nothing! I e-mailed their customer service and explained the issue briefly. We'll have to see what they say. It's just close to a year that I've purchased it and I guess the size of battery does not allow it for more work. They will most likely replace that, if they wanted to do the right thing. 

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Exercising in a Cold Place

Summer is upon us and officially will start 2 weeks from now but for many the heat has already started its job. The temperature has not gone more than 25 degree Centigrade but I felt it one I was running down at the Bow River Pathway at around 09:30 this morning.
We had a plan to do our Ice Skating exercise so we hit the ice in Crowchild Twin Arenas for the first time in 3 months. The temperature in the blue arena was cold and felt so good when we took shelter from burning sun in the afternoon. There were only as many as 8 people on the ice for the entire time. It felt a bit tough at the beginning because we had not have practiced in 3 months but then it was fun and we were enjoying. I have no idea how much it costs to the communities to have their arena up and running in summer but it should not be cheap. I know they all have funds from municipality but how? I don't know. I know Olympic Oval takes the ice off in summer and puts it back in Aug. That's due to the cost of course. We hope we will be able to go for me practice during this summer as long as the ice is available. 

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Bourgeau Lake

This weekend's climbing/hiking program was kind of screwed again. I have not been able to do a decent, lovely and joyful hike/scramble since I left Utah. The original plan was to go up Mt. Allan in Kananaskis. I read everything and prepared the information and even was ready to print the map but at the last moment I realized that the trail had been closed until June.21 because apparently this is Big Horn Sheep lambing season. Good for them!
I then switched the program to Bourgeau Lake/Mountain in Banff National Park, another hike that I had been wanting to do for a long time. I problems with this one were two, maybe even more: First of all I had to drop The Lady at her work. So by the time I reached the trail-head it was almost 10:30, at least 04:30 hours later than my usual commencement time. Then there's this entry fee to the park. Some $19. I wouldn't mind paying that much but that is good for a day and a half not a short hike up to a lake in between mountains and a solo hike.
Starting late has not always been a problem for me but at times was. In Lost Dutchman State Park I failed to reach to the summit mainly due to late start which caused heat exhaustion. On the other hand I did Middle Sister in the exact same fashion last year although I got lost and was not able to find the trail-head for 1 whole hour at the beginning. of the trip.
Anyways I parked the vehicle and went through a gate which Parks Canada has put to prevent wildlife coming out of the forest and hit the trail at the specified time. The first 55 minutes of the hike is in the forest and there's absolutely nothing exciting about it. You gain a little elevation and you have the chance to listen to singing birds and look at some beautiful tiny flowers. That's all. That's where you reach a bridge and then go back to the forest. There are a few nice waterfalls on the way with the biggest one closer to the lake but unfortunately I don't have a nice shot of them. After almost 2 hours yours a beautiful meadow and the geology of the area changes. I immediately realized that I have reached the lake. It was just less than 10 min. to see the partially frozen lake. 
Chipmunks are the permanent residents of the Rockies. They are familiar with human beings due to their frequent trips of them and they are at times are fed by them which is said is not something right to do. There were three of them around me when I got elevated a bit to have a shot of the lake and surrounding, sniffing the backpack and my boots (like this one) with the hope for a little bit of snack. I didn't give them anything though.
The lake itself and the surrounding is very beautiful. It beats the hell of both Rockbound Lake and Lillian Lake that I did them both last year but its hike is easier than both of them. The benefit of going to Bourgeau Lake is just after 2 hours you have a beautiful area to see and then you can continue from Harvey Pass and go to either or both of Harvey Lake and Mt. Bourgeau. I made excuses of being late and having snow on the path and didn't go. What I did what I tried to circle around and go to the end of the lake but I guess I was not feeling well because I ended up at the exact same spot! Then I thought I had time: Let me get up a bit and have a shot of the whole lake. So I climbed up a bit and the result is seen in the main photo. I guess it was almost 02:00 PM that I started descending. Nothing specific on the way back. Just ran to a young German couple whom I had also met on the way up but we did the last half an hour or so together and chatted. Ideally Bourgeau Lake is not a very impressive hike until you get to the lake itself and it will be a good hike only if you combine it with Mt. Bourgeau's. But it's me. I wanted to get out of the town for the day and get a little exercise and I did. 
(Photo, top: Bourgeau Lake form it's northeastern corner. Harvey Pass, which is not seen easily in this photo, is located above the trees and goes up and to the left to get you to the summit of Mt. Bourgeau which I'm hoping to reach one day, not that's it'll be so far-fetched)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Is BMW i3 a Complete Failure?

I saw BMW i3 in BMW Welt (German for BMW World), which is a free-admission showroom and exhibition in Munich, last year. I was generally excited about the place, going from this corner to the other, taking photographs and reading things. I read many positive points about this electric car including usage of recycled material and polymers to make it light and at the same time safe for the driver and passengers. There was not much about the electric power though until a few days ago I decided to have a look at the BMW Site. I'm seriously thinking of buying a BMW. My first thought was to by a 3 Series, a sedan which you can easily keep it under 40 K. Then when I realized that i3 could be well kept under 45 K, I said: Why not i3? It's nice. It's modern. It's BMW
I checked the available information as well as a few clips on Youtube. The result was quite disappointing and discouraging. Here is why I would not have bought an i3, Had I just decided to purchase a new car:

1- The vehicle has a limited range which can be seen on its console monitor. The cars computer calculates it based on the power left or better to say, available in the battery. That's the first disadvantage. Considering the charge stations are not available in cities. You are very limited to go places with this car. It could be good if you wanted to take your kid to the school or do a little grocery shopping at a local supermarket though. But for many including me who like to go outdoor at least once a week, it would be a disaster. 

2- The available power always could be reduced on the way. It's surprising that BMW has not provided at least, a small battery charger on board. Let's say you are on your way to a family party at the other side of the town and rain is forecasted. Black, thick clouds fill the sky just 5 minutes after you leave home. The vehicle automatically turns the lights on (even mine does that!) and you need to turn on the wipers. It's a Fri. day not and there's the usual traffic and rainy weather adds up and has caused many people who had decided to walk back home or to a nearby bar or restaurant, to drive. The car has to stop every few minutes. All of a sudden the range significantly shrinks and you realize you can't make it to the party unless you plan to leave the car there and ride a cab back home or tow it back to your garage!! That's absolutely a bummer! You would think: Why the hell did I spent almost 50 K on this junk!?

3- BMW has provided this so-called range extender. It's a small combustion engine, something quite similar to motorcycle engine that you pay some $4000 extra to be able drive another 140 km, I guess. That's one of the reasons that they tried to make the vehicle very light, as light as possible, so in case anyone wants to drive it longer distances, an small engine could be mounted on it while in a vehicle such as Prius the system is already there. 

4- I know BMW has tried to be as unique as possible, as always ans wanted to have a different shape car with a different design but the rear doors are really not comfortable enough for adults to get in a get out easily. It's good though, again as I stated earlier, if you're taking your kids to school. If BMW had intended to provide a school bus, I sincerely believe they would have succeeded. Considering the size of primary school kids, let's say grade 1 to 3, an i3 could be a perfect vehicle to take them to and bring them from school. You can fit 4 kids easily in the car and they'd love it! 

5- Price is a problem. Many might decide to buy the car despite all of the problems explained above. I could do that keeping my old car for my road trips and out of the city mountain adventures but then the price would be a problem. If I can buy a luxury 3 Series sedan for less than 50 K, why would I pay more than 50 K for an reliable vehicle which I'm not even sure whether it will take me to the final destination or not? 

6- BMW's market would be very limited. Generally BMW does not have a big market due to its vehicle's high prices but it sells very well because again of it's high price! If BMW sells one 3 Series it gains as much as Toyota selling two Corollas, even more. This one would be different. There would not be much demand for this vehicle in the US and Canada due to cheaper gasoline price, compare to Europe. Middle Eastern countries is another market that the price of gasoline would be a hinder for BMW to expand its market. The oil-rich countries would not mind drive their big SUVs and sedans. Europe would be divided to two parts. Poor countries such as former Soviet block and shity craps like Greece and such and at the other side western Europe. The second part would be the only market that BMW can count on. Would that be enough to make BMW happy? I kind of doubt that! 
(Photo: I took this shot from an i3 in BMW World in Munich last year. I guess you could book a time to ride a vehicle but I didn't take the chance)