Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Oscar Is Becoming Ridiculous

I usually do not follow the Oscars especially now that I have no TV but it automatically gets followed because at the time it becomes all the newspapers and Internet web-site's headline. The most stupid thing that caught my eyes this year was selection of the dumb and ridiculous movie named Argo as the best picture! Hollywood is getting further and further from its good days on daily basis. The days that excellent movies such as Alien, Total Recall, JFK, Goodfellas, etc were being made seem so far. Nowadays are the days of stupid time-wasting movies like Argo! What a meaningless joke and Ben Affleck what a phony!
I wrote about the movie shortly after I watched it and that was mainly because I live in Tehran for years. I remember those days vaguely but what I know is what was shown in the movie is miles and miles away from the facts. Besides the movie has no are presented in it. Not a significant role, not a very impressive direction, the story sucks and lacks any excitement and cinematography is something around average as someone is filming using a handy-cam!
So why this film is being given the main award could be sending a renewal message to the Americans and the World that Iran and Iranians did that and they are evil and what we have been saying in the last 30 and more year is correct. We have restrict Iran. We have to confine Iran. We have to condemn Iran and in general we have to do everything negative to Iran!
(Photo: This picture taken shortly after the invasion of the university students shows the American diplomats and employees in the US Embassy in Tehran)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

We had a chance to see Inglewood Bird Sanctuary today shortly before noon. It is a quite place at the far end side of Downtown Calgary. There is no admission but as usual donations are welcomed. It's basically a park like others which at different seasons become the home of different birds. So basically all of the birds that you might see at the other corners of the city, could be seen here as well: Canada Goose, different types of Ducks, Raven, you name it. But there are other types that the Sanctuary claims that could be seen there, depending on the months you are going but we only saw 3 and one of them on different occasions got to close and that was Black-capped Chickadee. The other two were far up and I couldn't tell what they were.
Anyways we will go again when it will all be green to see if we can find any other species. F. F. tried to get one of the tiny beautiful birds on her palm by extending her arm! The little birdy sat on her palm for a second and that I think was because it expected to find food there but there was nothing! I bet if she had something, the bird would stay longer! I tried to get a shot but it happened as I said in a second!
The weather was not bad but as usual the wind was blowing in to our ears. It's a nice place to spend an hour or more specially if you like photography and nature and own a good telephoto lens.
(Photo: The little beautiful Black-capped Chickadee sat on a branch for a sec. and I quickly took this shot)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Very Long and Chilly Winter

I still go for my jogging whenever I got a chance but not very regularly. This winter for reasons unknown feels longer and much colder. I had a good jog by Bow River today which took more than 22 min. but yesterday when I went to Nose Hill, it was so windy, foggy and cold that just after going up I walked a bit and headed down right after that. May be it feels longer and colder simply because I have other struggles at life and F. F. nags about the weather too! But I think it's more than that. May be I'm getting older! I have to keep up the exercises or I will be overweight and sick. I started putting on a new pair of pants which is not really comfortable. I actually wear that now because it reminds me of my size and forces me to watch I eat more than ever. For someone like me who spend between 5 and 6 hours at the desk most of the days of a week, a planned and regular exercise is a must. It was not bad going to Talisman every other day but the cost is too high: Gasoline, membership, time on the road, etc. No I simply go to one of the parks of paths and run and soon I will be adding other movements too. You have to use the best of it with the minimum cost possible.
(Photo: I took a shot of this nest when was walking back down the hills of Nose Hill yesterday. Here it is calm and cool because this little number of trees are in a valley-like passage but up the it was so windy and cold!)

Monday, February 18, 2013

In Unity There Is Strength

I was reading this part of the study material for the N. P. P. E. and in the Labour Law chapter, I came across this short story of a Wal-Mart which was going to be unionized and never became!
Apparently what happened was a local union tried to be the Wal-Mart employee's representative and the company immediately announce its closure. This happened in a town in Ontario. While it is against the law for the owner(s) of a business to shut down the operations in case the employees attempt to associate, the company denied any relation between the decsion and the union's representation, claimed poor market and not being profitable! Who believes this bullshit!? I never do! If Wal-Mart does not exist in Canada, a huge population of this country would go hungry and naked! How could a Wal-Mart be not profitable!? These days everywhere you go there is a Wal-Mart, even small towns! These guys sell everything and most of the the cheapest you can get in Canada and many of them the lowest quality. But hey that works for majority of people and they can live their lives. So don't give me this crap that the store was not having a good business!
The strange thing is as soon as the union guys see that happened, they all freaked out and stop their representation at the other locations. The problem with these guys is that they are not working together. What kind of silly union it is that they are afraid of a store closure! Why would you call yourselves a union while there's no unity in between you!? If all of the unions in one province get together and all in one specific day start the process of representation of the Wal-Mart stores all in the province what can the company do!? Close all the stores and go out of business?! There are so much more behind this Wal-Mart story like other big companies but that does not mean that they are untouchable. I have rarely seen any unity between the people of Canada since I moved here. One good example though was the fight with HST in B. C. but I guess they had a good leader. May be lack of leadership is what the unions are suffering the most.

Poor Judgement and Insufficient Punishment

There was this in the news again a week or so ago about people of East Indian, more specifically Punjabis, have caused a domestic issue again. The problem was an old man who had beaten his niece with the help of his kids simply because the girl had refused an arranged marriage. This sort of marriage is very popular in countries like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and so.
The funny part is the way this family, especially the beater was treated by the advanced judgment system of Canada. The judge sentence the old man to 90 days in jail and then being educated in gender equality! This was funnier than many jokes that I had heard when I read it!
How can you educate somebody at age of 60 and over on such a difficult topic as gender equality!? It appears that this old pad is a leader in his community meaning that many people in his family can not even drink a glass of water without his permission, that's what leadership means in a Punjabi community and the judge think he can be educated at this age to forget what had been told to him for decades and generation and generation. The jail part is not actually bad and I believe the guy will dislike every minute of it but will there be any change in him after he is released? I doubt that.
The fact is Canada loves these guys. These are the people who actually run big parts of Canadian economy by performing any job assigned to them with minimum wage. So the judge should be careful not to harm the big companies by making their workers unable to work for a long time!
(Photo: The Punjabi old man after leaving a Calgary court when he was sentenced to 90 days in prison and reeducated in gender equality(!))

Friday, February 15, 2013

McDonald's Baked Pie

One of the issues here with the food industry is the amount of crap, sorry, chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavours and so on that the producers put in the food. It affects everything from fruit and vegetable to packed snacks and meat or poultry.
May items go passed their expiry date and still do not have much difference. However I noticed something last week that it came as a surprise to me. I was at a McDonald's for a coffee and got myself a baked pie as well. They come 2 for $1.29 but I only got one because I really do not like them. I just wanted to try this new flavor chocolate-raspberry. Anyways I got one and looked at the label on the cartoon: Good until 04:04 PM today! It was really shocked! How could it be good only for the next 3 hours!? Is that preservative and all other harmful stuff-free or what?
(Photo: Hot baked pie is available at McDonald's a pair for $1.29 and it's McDonald's food!)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dallas at Calgary: A Fun Night

We went to an NHL game for the first time last night. As I earlier posted, It had been such a long time that I wanted to do that and then with the lock out it was postponed for the third time until last night. How it happened is interesting: I went to one of the guys to talk to him about some issue at work and happened to realize that he was talking to someone else about the NHL tickets he had. He wanted to sell them but the guy was not sure if he could go. I asked him to let me know if he didn't want it and he said that he had another pair that he would sell them if I was interested. I said to myself what would be easier than this?! Especially because he was going $20 below the official price. I was not sure if The Lady would like it but when I called her she welcomed the idea.
Anyways we left home at about 06:40 PM because the game was supposed to be started at 07:30 PM. I drove and parked a few blocks away the entrance from BMO Centre and we walked. The place was already packed and for us who had not been there during an NHL game it was interesting. Everyone was there: From a 3-year-old kid to a 70 year old man. We found our seats with the help of security guy and I was not able to do that without his or somebody else's help. Surprisingly and contrary to what we had expected it was not a very bad seat. We were right on the top of Dallas' net so we saw the first 3 scores of Calgary in the first period.
The game as I had seen several times on TV started with the national anthems and then as I said Calgary scored three times in the first period. During the first break people rushed to the washrooms and food stands! There were long lines in front of every eatery and both men and women's washrooms. The second period when Calgary was at our side we got more into the game and the time just flew by. The last period was when that Dallas tried to catch up with Calgary and they had at least 10 more shots on the Flames net. They got as close as 4-6 and then they pulled out their goalie in 01:50 min. to the end but it cost them another score and they eventually lost 4-7. Kiprusoff was not playing due to an injury and at the beginning when the Stars accepted three goal I though they would be an easy win for the Flames because Dallas just had beaten Edmonton 4-1 the night before. So they were tired from the last night's game. Overall it was a lot of fun but I did not expect Dallas to lose with this score. When I checked the overall Western Conference standing I realized that Dallas is at the 8th place and Calgary at 12th! but I guess sometimes you could beat a strong team in your home!
(Photo: I took this photo from where I was sitting and it does not show much but this is one of the Dallas' attacks on Calgary in the second period)

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The Green Light Fact

I had this course in the university called Transportation Planning or something like that and that was among optional courses. I thought by choosing that course I would get a good mark and help my grand average.  The instructor, I assume a Ph. D. holder if I'm not mistaken had been recently moved from California, without a doubt Los Angeles. The course was basically a combination of facts and then would turn to mostly using tables to do calculations and solve traffic problems.
It sounded interesting and I remember even once we went on the street and did a collection for one of the units of so. And the end regardless of I had thought I ended up screwing the final and passed with the skin of my teeth!
I don't remember what happened clearly but I guess the instructor was supposed to consider one of our practical works or something like that and he didn't. So instead of helping me it dragged me lower in grand average total!
But why this story came to my mind today is because I was jogging last night and on the way back to home I realized that a Black guy just caught up with me and passed. he was thinner, lighter and younger than me and I could not reach him. There were at least three light on our way. He beat them all and continued! While I barely made the first one, had to stop at the second and third ones and he was gone! It reminded me of the fact that the instuctor once explained years ago: If you are driving with a certain speed (he mentioned that but I cannot recall) on a major road with light, you will be able to pass all the green lights, 6 or 7 in a row. of course there is more detail to this but that is all I remember. The Black runner had a steady speed and smoothly passed 3 green lights easily.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Olive Garden

We went to the only location of Olive Garden in Calgary in early Dec. but I'm writing about it today. We had wanted to try this restaurant long time ago but never had the chance until the date especially because we had heard rumors of long waiting. Fortunately when we got there we did not have to wait and was seated immediately and requested to be moved to booth right after that. It is always more convenient for me. F. F. had checked so we knew that there was deal with Salad and soup. So we each order foods as well as the soup and salad. The salad was good and the soup was some sort similar to Chili. I had Eggplant Parmesan and I do not recall what F. F. was having but seems satisfactory. When we asked for the second salad which was part of the deal (I guess unlimited salad and soup or something like that) the waitress did not seem to be very happy about that. I guess people do not order that much salad but she brought it in a few minutes. Most of the waitresses were teenagers, mostly girls and that is obviously because the restaurant wants to save a few bucks on every hour or its employees. The atmosphere was quite alright and it was not as crowded as we expected. There were enough diners that you could call it a good night for the business. Would I want to go there again or not? In my case I would say no because it is far away from my place and the food is not as special as worthy of spending that much time on the road with the possibility of facing a line. One reason that there was not a line possibly could be the cold weather but I do not know.If you are close and not a good cook, you would want to try it at least once or go regularly depending on your budget. Our total cost, if I can remember was something around $35 but that was due to the limited time deal.
(Photo: Olive Garden restaurant in Northeast Calgary where Memorial Dr. ends and you turn left. The intersection could be seen at the left lower corner of the photo with Petro Canada gas station sign visible clearly)

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Unwell Businesses

I have seen the most bizarre business decisions here in Canada in the last few years. There was this Futureshop in McLeod Tr. in Calgary which was always busy, may be as busy that the store owner expected. I bought my laptop from there in early 2007 and then it was gone!
Then just few months ago in 2012 or may be late 2011 they opened a new one just a few block south but I went there today to see what they got and it was closed done! The store was a brand new building with a big parking lot at the side in a commercial neighbourhood that I expected them doing really well!
The other story is my application for a credit card. I currently have 3 from two different financial organizations and just wanted to get another one from a major credit company. I received this in the mail just this week that the bank regretted to say that they could not give me a new card! The next day I called my bank just to ask a question about one of the cards and the person at the other side of the line said that I was eligible to have my credit limit to be increased! I told her what just had happened and her answer was that the cards or credits are considered separately. It was also a few months back that I received a letter from another credit company stating that they would increase my credit limit! So I really do not understand this! I am good enough to have a credit increase but not good enough to have another card! And I am good customer that now I have a total credit limit of over $20,000 but if I apply for a new card I can not get it. In fact this is a second time in the last 6 months that the financial organizations turn me down. I know what the problem I will most likely fix it but but their business interactions are just insane!