Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fucked up in Calgary

I once had a post about how desperate and clueless I was in Brit"SHIT" Columbia. Now I am almost in the same situation with only a mere difference and this time in Calgary. If this job of mine for whatever reason ends, I have no idea how long it will take to get another one. The recent interview that I was optimist about didn't get me anything, I was informed after three weeks. I only had the chance to apply for another one ever since and there is not a big possibility to get that. So for sure Calgary could be as shitty as Coquitlam and the entire province of Brit"SHIT" Columbia, the province that the British has shit on it in a way that it smells even more than 140 years. And truly speaking if you read the history of this province and the current situation of it, you'll see it has absolutely nothing! But I"m not going to discuss that here because or center of focus tonight is Calgary and maybe later Alberta
Alberta has been known for years for its valuable agriculture and oil and the other industries which are fed by these two major ones and Calgary in turn has been the headquarters of many major energy companies for that matter.
When I came to this city years ago it used to be a cold and lonely town with a population of around 950,000. Now because of these fake jobs in Oil Sands the population has grown to around 1,100,000 and for that matter all sorts of problems have emerged: unreasonable rents, traffic, expensive food and other essentials, shortage of medical services, wide cultural diversity which in turn creates other issues and so many more that I am not aware of them. 
If these fake, unstable and non-essential Oil Sands-related jobs are gone, the City will be on his knees as well as all the foreigners who have come to this part of the world for their dream of their life and Calgary will become another Detroit from a different perspective.
With Obama strongly opposing to XL Pipeline, I can't say where we are going. Everyone says the pipeline will eventually starts to be put but this is another speculation like others. It's like a students who does not have sources and do not spend enough time on his studies and keeps saying that he will eventually pass the tests! How is he supposed to pass if no effort is put into it?
The City has changed quite a lot and is no more the city that I was looking for a long settlement but the fact is other cities and provinces of Canada are not doing much better. There is this fact that the Microbe mentioned once: Canada is actually Gohnada. I apologize if this is offensive to many. Goh in Persian means shit so literally translating it gives us the country which does not even have shit! And it is true. If it was not for all the problems in the word, I am certain that none of these people, mostly from Middle East would ever step on this soil. I can see Indians and Chinese and Eastern Europeans here for good reasons but not the people of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and similar countries because they always had the basics and more. The first group never had. The fucking Mumbling Guy told me once that they had to wake up early morning every day around 05:00 AM to fill up all their containers to have water for the rest of the day. People of Romania and Bulgaria did not even have electricity for more than a few hours a day. Forget about other essentials in life. Polish people, once Dinosaur told me, drill the center of their coins to use them as washers! Sure life in Canada, even if they work for A&W or Superstore is pleasant for them! This is a lengthy discussion and I probably write more about this but feel free to express yourself without profanity!
(Photo: The head and Encana Tower in Downtown Calgary are new landmarks of this city)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Flashback (23): My Name is Paul

I was once rented an apartment in Guildford neighbourhood of Surrey, most probably one of the nastiest dumps in Canada, after some known neighbourhood in Toronto which is occupied by Blacks, mostly the ghettos. I was not aware how bad it was when I showed up and filled out the application form. I was given the apartment and I moved in. I was all by myself, no friend, no buddy, not even a soul to help me with the few stuff I had. The tenants of that fucked up dump mostly consisted of Arabs, African Blacks, a Afghan family I can remember, drunk low-income Caucasians, some Orientals and it was a total mixture of shit, vomit and diarrhea! 
The entire place consisted of I guess 4 buildings each 4 floors, and I was lucky that no one was living above my head! The building manager was struggling with different problems and once they were gone and this new guy camel Paul. He was a short Caucasian guy who probably had never been in a dump-shit like this before and came as a little surprise to me for someone on British Columbia because you get acquaintance with every disaster in that Province! This guy, not knowing what he was doing put a banner on the office door showing him on a horse with this headline in bold My name is Paul! telling people who he was and how much he liked horse back riding and other amusements, a typical Caucasian but a little slow obviously. Having an ad like that in a community that people has run from famine and drought, massacre and war and hunger and poverty is like doing the most stupid thing. Not to mention that half of the people would not be probably even read that. They would only see someone on a horse and who knows what their interpretation was! For some it could even be their master with the whip on the horse from the time that they had to work on the farms! Who knows!? You have to know that sympathy is the great thing for the people who suffered all their life. So the guy started his job and I remember that I had to interact with him a few times. I guess I wanted to move to another unit and he agreed to give his to me because he was going to move to a bigger one or something like this but I can not quite remember. He invited me to see his place but I didn't care. I just wanted to move out of the current one but i found it rude t reject his offer so I accepted and went in he had a big screen TV and his unit was equipped with a monitoring system which if a door open a siren will go off or messages are sent to a monitoring station. 
Anyways I moved in to his place a little later and somehow I understood that he does not work in the office anymore, one day. And he showed up at my door a few days after that. He wanted to tell me about his monitoring system and also told me that the people had complained about him and it was then decided to kick him out! he said he would go back to Vancouver when he belonged to and some other bullshit like that. He probably would never understand why he was ousted! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mountain Yamnuska (Not Finished)

The Chef contacted me a few months ago and asked me to plan for a hike. I did a search on the net and came up with a little program in Bow Valley Provincial Park to hike Mountain Yamnuska. Every information is available on the net but I would like to add my own experience here in case someone finds it useful. 
We were in the parking lot off Highway 1A where you have to start the hike at about 12:20! It would have been nicer, if we had started earlier. However we had one advantage that is highly recommended: We started in a light mixture of rain and hail which to me is much acceptable compare to a hike in a hot sunny day. The trail are so beautiful and full of wild flowers but the point is not to get lost. We were almost fine for most of the trip but on the way to the first pick and that was were we ended out trip, where the route just got rocky we had difficulty finding the way and consumed excessive energy to get up. I simply looked at one individual going up and followed him but looked like he knew thing and paths that we missed. 
Our entire trip took about 2.5 to 3 hours and we still had an more hour to go to get to the top pick but we decided to leave that for a possible later. 
We took a rest on the top, ate and drank and headed down after taking a few photos. The hike is so beautiful and at the same time could be deadly dangerous. On the way down and I have no idea, we lost the path and instead took a stream! No one was around. We only heard a few from distance and The Chef suggested to find them and ask them about the right way down but their were not around and we just followed the dried stream. The sun was not being covered by the clouds anymore and the damn mosquitoes were out so if you want to go there in a really sunny day do not forget your sun-block and insect replant. I found a nice mesh that you can cover your head in M. E. C. for about $25 but I don't think people would want to use that on hikes. In addition to that hiking shoe is very important. I had my safety boots on and Hodani had a pair of Wal-Mart runners(!) I don't know how he felt because he is very flexible but I have blister on my left foot back! I could have gone up with my New Balance runners but I thought safety boots work better but not obviously! The cheapest pair of hiking shoe that I saw in M. E. C. was about $99 plus tax. If I'm going hiking again, I will definitely buy one which is water-proof too. 
We were back at the parking lot at about 17:30. Considering the time we spend on photography and rests, I can say that we were on the move for about 4 hours and a half, a good exercise and I still have my feet soar but I would definitely go there again to go to the last pick. In terms of food and beverages, I only recommend enough water and some energy providing quick foods. I had made peanut butter-date sandwich which was fantastic but I came short in water. The backpack better be as light as possible the fact that I ignored and hurt me a bit. Overall it is a fun hike and worth trying and that is way I will take it again. 
(Photo: This picture was taken on the way to the top when the rocky path starts. This mountain would actually appear on your right)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Government's Good Plan to Assist the Flood Victims

There are still arguments and allegations more than one month after the flood in Calgary and it will be much longer in High River, I am sure. The thing I like about the Government's, and I think it is the Provincial Government, handling this disaster is the way they paid people to compensate for their losses. The Government did not issue cheques to the claimants. They gave them Debit Cards(!) which is absolutely smart. Considering there are lots of crooks out there, especially among young Canadians, teenagers, university, college and high school, who are desperately looking for such easy cash to spend it on booze and weed, go to the bars and nightclubs at 06:00 PM, coming out totally wasted at 04:00 AM the next day, it should be a total disappointment for them. Now with this so called Debit Card whatever they spend will be shown on the statement and there is no chance in hell to have fun with it!
(Photo: A familiar scene in Calgary in flood days. Everything is now almost back to normal) 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pervez Musharraf's Comment

Many in the West do not know who Pervez Musharraf is, even in the East. I first came to know him in 1999 when he took the power after a coup in Pakistan. It was the headline of the papers in the old country and I clearly remember a photo showing his soldiers climbing up the presidential palace, probably in Islam-Abad.
But what does this have to do with The Other Side of the Globe, here? A few years back when I was resided in British Columbia there was this vegetable store in 100th Ave., Surrey where we used to visit often to get fresh vegetables and fruits. Once I picked up a East Indian or some called South Asian magazine and in there I saw an advertisement about Pervez Musharraf's speech somewhere in Surrey which you could only go by invitation. I was no dying to go but was just curious to see what he had to say. I didn't know how had left the power, was he ousted out like his successor or he had resigned. I don't even know to this date but I know he used to live in London and went back to Pakistan a few weeks ago and I guess he got arrested on several allegations. I asked the Mumbling Guy why someone like Musharraf would go to Pakistan while he knows he would be incarcerated or assassinated just like Binazir Bhutto? And he being an Indian, a true rival said that was the greed for power! And I think he is absolutely right! When I told another colleague who is originally from Pakistan about Musharraf's speech a few years ago in British Columbia and if he would have gone, had he haired this on time. He said he would beat him with his shoe if he had the chance!
So it seems that the retired general is not anybody's favorite. He is hated by Indians and Pakistanis and he is hated by the Pakistani government as well. So what is that I like about him?
In an interview that I watched a few years ago he was talking about fundamentalism, Taliban, Islam and so on and he pointed at a very good fact: He said the former Shah (king) of Iran started modernization and westernization of Iran too early, when the society was not ready. He practically started that almost perhaps more than 50 years ago when people were so stuck to their cultural restrictions and fundamental beliefs and he failed. I don't know what he was talking at the moment which made him to give this example but he was right. Even to this date that many people are turned their faces from Islam in that country, you will find the majority who believe in that religion. That, in fact was not the only mistake of the Shah but we are not discussing this here.
(Photo: The young Musharraf and his wife and the child when he was a low rank officer in Pakistani army. Pakistan is the country, like Turkey, that the Army has a big role  in running the country) 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dinosaur Provincial Park

There had been places in Canada that I wanted to go and Dinosaur Park was one of them until yesterday that I eventually went. Dinosaur Park is an interesting place to see but it could be a bit tiring if you make it a one day trip like we did. There is a camping place but I'm not a big fan of it with people coming and going and making noise and insects sticking to you all the time! Not to mention the luxury of bathrooms! In my view for someone to make the best of this trip is staying overnight in Brooks which is the closest town. We also saw a B&B at the corner of Highway 36 and Road 544 which could be a better place because you do not have to travel long.
Anyways Dinosaur Park is at a road which is dead-end! All around that area is cattle farms and miles and miles of grain fields. If you have a G. P. S. that would definitely help. If you don't make sure you write down everything from a map or you take one because there are not many signs until you really get close to the park. The park is a unique place to see that are not many similar to it in the world. I do not think there are many similar to it in Canada. On your way to Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, you will see a similar land, Horseshoe Canyon,  but for an unknown reason it has not been turned to a park. It of course is not as big as the park and no river goes through it.
Speaking of river I wanted to know if there was a way to cross the river, Red Deer River, and see the other side but I was told in the information center that there was no bridge. We could get to the river's bank by going through Cottonwood Flats Trial but we backed off because of the numerous number of mosquitoes! The insects were actually everywhere but the windy areas and I got bitten a few times and my hands and feet are swollen and very itchy although I had pants and long sleeved jacket on! We were lucky that it was not very hot. Food and beverages are available there but we had our own food. Insects replant and sun screen is recommended and of course you need a cam-corder and good camera with tripod. I'm a photo-guy so I enjoyed as much as I could. The only dark part was the damn trail that I mentioned earlier and no-one I saw going there probably because there were there for the hills and rocks not for the river but that trail is good for bid and wildlife watching. I know we might not go there again but if I go again in a few years I will make sure that I go to the river's bank and I will have a Canoe to cross, of course after notifying the authorities. One thing that I forgot to mention is guided tours that we missed. We were late for registration and it could add something to our fun but we didn't miss big. 
(Photo: The rocks in the park consist of 3% iron. That is because when they formed millions of years ago, the lower layers were rich in Iron and then they were transferred to the top. That is why you see this red-brownish colour on the rocks)

Friday, July 05, 2013

The Second Interview of 2013

I had an interview last week with a Client company. Two people interviewed me, obviously one from H. R. and one from the related department that I would have reported to. It was a sort of interview that the questions are shared between the two and they both take notes for each one. I was confident and made a good start but although the other one most of the time confirming(!) my answers I kind of lost it in the middle and then grabbed a hold later. They seemed not to be impressed but the fella said that he would be in touch and the H. R. person gave me the business card of herself. These are not bad signs but if I was the person of interest, I should have been contacted by know, although I know big companies like this are slow and sceptical in their hiring process. 
I had the same situation a few years back when the interviewer took me to H. R. department after the interview and introduced me to her asking to explain the benefit package to me. There is no doubt in my mind that one of the people he was interviewed after me, was hired. He or she was simply better. 
This new position could change my future completely and I was dreaming(!) about going to this certain area after a few years of working for them but the bubbles seems to be blown! I will give it another week and then will send a message. 

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Canada Day 2013

This year July the 1st was hot as hell. For that matter we stayed the hell out of streets and were indoor most of the day and late evening. 
In the morning we heard choppers circling around the town in low altitude but then in a few hours something like a thunder was heard. With the sky all clear and high temperature I knew it was not mother's nature so I got my camera handy and when the R. C. A. F. jets appeared in the sky and roared over our head I got a snap shot.
The closest Canadian Air Force Base is located in Cold Lake which is around 600 KM north east side of Calgary. If we assume they had been CF-18 Jets, they would have been landed there in their base in less than 20 min. from the time that I pushed the shutter! Cold Lake is where I wanted to go last year for this ultimate race called Race the Base, a competition between the fighter jets and fast cars like Lamborghini and so on but couldn't. I'm just hoping the same event is happening this year so maybe I can go although I know it will be extremely hard.
In the evening we we wanted too see the firework around Centre Street Bridge. So I drove and parked in Downtown in 10th Ave. and we walked but we were late and could only hear the sound of it. That was awkward! 
(Photo: This is all I could get from the fighter jets going so fast above us, I would say the almost broke the sound barrier. I could have been sited in with my camera mounted on the tripod and zooming to the sky and as soon as I had head the thunder, I would have jumped, aimed and clicked but didn't happen because I didn't even know they would come back that way. Breaking sound barrier in war days in the old country always was a way of intimidation by enemy pilots. I don't know if I ever witnessed that because years have passed and even the normal sound of a fighter jet which is flying low is too high but It happened a lot in the cities and towns close to the border, I heard several times on the news, I hope you can see them. They are as small as green peas in this photo but look a lot alike CF-18 when I zoomed)

Monday, July 01, 2013

Eagle Lake

There are thousands of lakes across Canada and each have names. Some of the names are given by the Native people, some by the European settlers. Many of them have no connection by the name given to them! I once was told that Ontario in fact is a Native word meaning the Land of Sparkling and Shining Water! That could be true. The name is used for Lake Ontario as well you know.
Anyways We went to this lake in the east side of Calgary just after Town of Strathmore yesterday, called Eagle Lake. While on the road to the lake we saw a big bird similar to an Eagle sitting on the fence with a corpse of a little animal in its claws! We distributed the poor bird and didn't let him have its snack. So it flew away and sat somewhere else. So was that really an Eagle? I couldn't tell because all of the Eagles I've seen so far either in the Zoos or in Squamish had white head. But I'm no biologist. 
So got to the lake and then drove by the lake and apparently there was nothing by a few guys with their fishing rods and a few others with their small boats. There are houses around the lake but not everywhere. There are barely any tree so it was not very pleasant to F. F. so we took off shortly after.
On the way back I was slowly driving and looking for photography opportunities. There were many beautiful bird around but I only had my digital camera. Then birds' noise caught our attention: one or two small birds were flying around a nest which looked the big bird's the Eagle-like one. Seemed some kind of find was going on. I never knew that the small bird could be a threat to the big ones. The scenario could be this: The big bird caught, killed and ate a small bird, may be a chicken and then the small birds found its nest, with a chicken inside and attacked him! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the tiny bird chasing the big one!
Nevertheless if you are a fisher or someone who enjoys any type of boating then Eagle Lake is a place for you. Rather than that, you won't enjoy that much.
(Photo: I couldn't get a better shot of the birds in the sky. They are very fast and my camera is not good but you can clearly see that the big bird is being chased by the small one)