Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Comeback

I was driving in the city a few days ago. It was dry and warm. I was going home. At a moment I looked into the mirror and I saw an old black Ford Mustang. The way it was being driven and scenes of movie Death Sentence immediately caused me to believe that it was probably crooks who were in the vehicle. So I'm driving and these guys are behind me and unusually close but not doing anything stupid. I turn my signal on and stop for traffic to go so I can make a left turn. These guys are stopped as well but apparently they intended to go straight. For a second I get a chance to turn as there is no upcoming traffic but I lose the engine! It goes off! The guy behind me honks his horn and I quickly turn the key and pull it out and jump out of the vehicle! I walk toward them while shouting What the Fuck is your problem!? At the same time I hear one of them is saying get out guys! get out! Encouraging them to come out and face me. The driver was a young Caucasian - of course - fella in his late 20s, late 30s. I didn't see the guy beside him but the one in the back - who jumped out and yelled back was in his late 40s, early 50s, I would say. Just by looking at him, having a glance you could easily say that he probably has had some history with law. I really don't remember what he was yelling back or maybe I didn't even hear that at the time because we were both yelling loudly but I heard that say: Go back to your country! This is line I believe there's hardly any comeback for it! He said that with a bit of profanity and then his buddies called him back. I went in and he return to theirs. I started the engine and turned left while I was looking in the mirror to be certain I was not being followed! On the way back I recalled that episode of Seinfeld where Gorge is teased by one of his colleagues in a meeting and everyone laughs at him. He gets really upset and think what he should have said and eventually thinks of something but his friends don't like it. He's know upset with them and the rest of the story! 
Of course there was no laughing here but I think, as I said, there's really no comeback for Go back to your country! How about: What are you going' to do then? Or I'm goin' to take you with me, asshole! Or This is my country now you fucking idiot! But I didn't say any of those. I think I said something like You fucking redneck or similar did that or other nonsense. I really don't remember what I said because I just was being careful that if the guys attack make the emergency call. I should have not gotten out of the vehicle in the first place and made that scene but I really had a very bad day that day and was looking for something to get myself released. That little hunk of horn ticked me off and you know the rest. In the old country that would definitely ended up with a fight and traffic jam and maybe eventually police but I don't think there's anybody that stupid who make a big deal out of this and attacks other in bright daylight in Downtown because the police could be on the scene in less than 5 minutes! I never wanted to have a fist fight or anything. I just wanted to scare them a bit and as I said vent off! Nevertheless it was wrong and I should avoid that kind of behaviour. That was not the first time but I will try to make it the last time. 
(Photo: Jason Alexander as George Costanza in Seinfeld season 8 episode 13, the comeback. A colleague makes fun of the way he eats shrimp and he then tries to find a good line to smoke the guy!)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Olympic Plaza

Olympic Plaza in Downtown Calgary was one of the first attractive places that I noticed them in Canada probably because close to the LRT rail and everyone easily sees it because you travel to Downtown a lot when you first come to any city in Canada for different business purposes. But it took me more than 10 years to be able to actually use it for its main purpose: Ice Skating! 
We decided to have regular skating practice between the sessions that we attend the U of C course so yesterday and also last Sun. we practiced in Olympic Plaza. There used to be even a train station by that name but the developments in the Downtown area have made many changes which eventually led to removal of the platform. 
The ice in Olympic Plaza is rough and cannot be even compared with the U of C's which has World standards and sometimes it get busy but it was quite fine in the past two days we were there. The Lady complaint about the texture of the ice and she's right. We will feel the difference and probably have difficulty when we go back to Olympic Oval but still it is OK and also fun to go. I wonder how often Zamboni set the ice but seems like it's not done very often. After all it's a free skating rink but still it is expected from the municipality to do something about it. We will try the other rinks in and around the city and I will write about them.
(Photo: Also it's not a picture but Olympic Plaza, the central library (on left) and the old municipality building can be see here)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Poor, Silly but Nice Fellow

I met M. P. after almost a year and a half, last night. I had been ignoring him for a few months but then I thought I should have gotten back to him. I was simply bored and needed someone to hang out with. He showed up at the location, late, as usual in an old, used Honda Civic that he said he had purchased for around $5000 but wanted to sell because he simply assumes it was too much for him!
We sat and I realized after a few minutes of talk that he was collecting E. I.! Not that made me very surprised but I expected him to have a position. He's young and fresh. Then he said something that made me really shocked and brought tears into my eyes. His Dad had passed away. I remember the time that I was on the phone with him and I don't recall whether it was me who called or him had called but he said that he had to leave the town but didn't tell me what for. I met his Dad once and talked to on the phone maybe once or twice. Very nice gentleman. I helped him with the gardening once years ago. It would have been 2006; something M. P. said that he never liked to help his Dad with. 
Nevertheless he was the same cool and calm guy I always knew. He said he had been living in Canada for almost 14 years, a few years more than me. I don't believe he has matured much during all these years. When I first met him and that was 2002, I saw a young guy, full of life and energy and someone who still needed to grow. He was the exact same guy even after 12 years! Acting the same childish manner, laughing hysterically and saying silly things that you don't expect from someone at his age. But he is a very nice fellow. No lying, no deceiving, at least to his buddies and no cheating. He will probably never grow but I guess he's happy the way he is but he is not blind to what has happened to his life. Mine is quite similar to him in some manners. I lost my Dad when I was only 18 and was about to start my Engineering. Had I have my father besides me all these past year, I would not have been in such a mess I'm now. I most probably would have not made some of bad mistakes I made in my life that have kept me so far back. He had his father all these years with him and this is where he is now. Had he not have his supporting family, he would have probably been on the street or maybe dead by now! But you could see that from a different angle: Perhaps if he had not received this much support, especially financially from his family, he would have been matured by now.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Stamp Collecting

I went to a local post office to send a couple of letters last week and came across these nice stamps. Canada's stamps are most of the time very nice. I used to collect stamps for awhile and that was probably more than 20 years ago! But over the old country it was mostly the used stamps. Local stamps barely came in nice pictures, the foreigners were mostly used but I liked them. The albums must still be somewhere in my parent's house, more specifically in the storage room among many other personal belongings, books, video tapes, magazines, etc. The Little Mouse (barely the translation of a good friend's nickname!) was a big contributor to my collection. Mrs. Bank was so. She now resides in Orange Country but I have lost her phone number. I hope she or a relative of her reads this and get us connected again. Great lady. I should go back and get all of my stuff from there one day again, if they are not so perished that deserve to be thrown out.
(Photo: There are sets of NHL stamps but Canada Post for all 7 Canadian teams. This one is not a good scan but the real stamps are pretty nice. I might get another set for another team) 

Friday, January 17, 2014

One Tough Sport

I and The Lady went for skating to U of C yesterday. The very same place I had a course 2 years ago. It was fun. Everything came back to me quickly but I, as repeated over and over, need lots of practice. It's about all of the sports but this one is tougher. The problem with this, that I have not experienced with any other is your foot is under constant pressure. You have tie your skates really tight and that is what causes the pain. Falling has not been a problem for me but she fell once and injured her hand a bit. Nothing serious though. She liked the entire practice. I did too. I'm just hoping that I get chances to practice. As I regularly exercise I didn't think this first practice makes me tired or my muscles sore but it did and I was sweating like a pig but was not a big deal. I just have to change my pants to something more comfortable and get enough practice.
(Photo: People seem to be enjoying themselves on the ice in Prince's Island Lagoon in a sunny day of winter. I have skated here and I have to say it's not very good but better than going all the way to U of C and paying if you just want to enjoy and practice. The damn municipality has not opened it this year, blaming the June flood!! I took this picture in early 2011)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Shopping after the Holidays

We went to a Canadian Retarded Store at about 06:30 PM yesterday and it was like a cemetery! Obviously most of the people have spent so much that it will take up to June to some of them to pay that shit off! Some live in debt continuously! I did that too for a while! I have to admit that was stupid! I could have paid the damn statement off and put an end to it. Instead I paid a bit every month. I don't even know how and when I paid that off as it was 2005-2006. That credit card does not even exit. At least I don't have it. It was a Citibank credit card and that was a first credit card that I received apart from my own bank and its story will come later but I had it from 2003 to 2011. In that year they transferred the account to CIBC and I cancelled it shortly after I received it. It was being funny at the time of usage. I just got rid of it after a few months.
Speaking of constant debtor reminded me of this guy at work who is not a bad guy but is slow. He purchased a luxury just before Christmas and now he's debt has come to the good level that consists of bank loan for the residence, car loan, student and probably credit card loan(s)! I'm going to call him the Debtor here, just like the other two colleague of mine whom I have talked about them earlier, the Mumbling Guy and the Screamer. I might have stories about him later because he's just not stupid and Debtor (or maybe the Deadbeat!) but a fucking lair and I will tell that into his face the first chance I get. Just like the way I said something unpleasant to an asshole the 2nd day of the year when some had gone back to work. That could be another post but first I have to find a nickname for this asshole and simply calling him an asshole would not be OK. I need something special. The other thing I may do soon is taping this fucking lairs because there's not one or two of them. That would be awesome taping these assholes and they playing that later in front of their colleagues. That will be really embarrassing and lots of fun. I have to figure out what type of taping device is available to me and how I should use it. Then there will be nice posts, maybe even with clips! 
Anyway I went off the road. We entered the damn store and it was dead. Only a few guys. The clerks were playing with their balls or pretending they were busy. The females, I can't tell what they were doing. Would be too inappropriate! We wanted to get a pair of Skates and of course the accessories such as Helmet and there was nobody in sport section but 1 of 2 at the most and the bastard kept ignoring us. Finally I gave him a good piece of my mouth and he behaved a bit but just being an easy store with not many customers made us able to find what we wanted. At least this is what we think at the moment. The Lady should try them on and practice to see how she feels but it was so easy to find what you need. It would be much better if those lazy bastards helped us but didn't happen but I guess that's how they work, maybe. When it's very busy they pretend they're helping the others and when it's not very busy they are not just simply available! This actually came to me as a surprise because normally people are helpful if they're not surrounded by many customers but I don't know about these ones! It's fine now. It was important to me to have an easy shopping and I got that. For the same reason I like to do all of my shopping during the week unless it is absolutely necessary. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Moose Mountain with Moose at the End!

This last weekend I decided to hike Moose Mountain so I headed towards Bragg Creek area. My only fault in this trip was timing. I had to drop The Lady at work so by the time I got there it was almost 12:10. Unlike the other trips I found the parking lot easily although the damn sign of Paddy's Flat was broken. I found it first by knowing how long it was from the Information Center and then by looking at the sign at the opposing direction!
The other issue was that where I parked was just way away from the actual trail-head! But I learnt later that the gate to the Access Road is closed the winter. Only in summer the hike becomes so pleasant and popular to wimps and pussy's because first of all there is no cold, ice, snow and wind and second of all the gate is open so they drive up the road and do the majority of the hike driving their fucking vehicles, the stupid!
Anyways I parked at the lot and as I said the gate to the road was locked but there is a kind of gate in the forest with a nice, shiny and informative sign which tells you that it heads toward Moose Mountain. I took that trail and went up and while it was an easy one, the only issue was soft snow at times which made it hard to walk on. After almost hour and half or maybe longer I realized a crossing sign and I saw the same road that I had seen in the lot. The trail continued at the other side of the road but a small sign read Sulfur Spring. There is also another sign which has the whole map to the area but the paint is skinned off so you can't see much. I had made a mistake and I realized that I had forgotten my printed information so decided to just take the road. The road was easy and there was a guy running up with his dog. Rather than him, who was an asshole whom even replied back when I said Hi to him (I hope he reads this) there was a couple, as big asshole as the dog man and two whores with a fat fuck old-timer who all had wrapped themselves in all sorts of gloves, toques and jackets and were holding poles, looked like coming down from a very successful ascend to the Himalayas!  
After a few minutes the road became two branches and I just followed the dog man's footprints which led me to a bulldozer which was cleaning the road. This road is apparently a service road for Shell as well as Fire Lookout so I think they keep it clean all the time. The amount of snow was too much here and the wind was blowing. I carried on and didn't have any issues. I realized several different trail at the side of the road which were all marked with clear new sign but didn't try any because of the amount of the snow and not leading to my final destination. A few of the sign were almost invisible due to the amount of snow! Finally I saw a long mast which I first though was the Fire Lookout and that was were the wind got stronger. I changed my toque with a warmer hat and kept going. Wind was blowing snow to my face and it felt that a bunch of needles hit your face at the time. That was were I realized that I had just arrived at the trail-head. That was where I saw the sign! It was ridiculous! I was struggling in cold, snow and wind for almost 3 hours or maybe more and I just was at the trail-head. I saw a big facility there with Shell sign all around. According to the information it was a facility for collecting natural gas. I recognized two Water Bath Heaters. There was nobody in the rooms. They are just for equipment I guess. I later realized that the trail-head, as the sign points at, is where is considered across from Parallel Parking signs. There was too much snow there and did not seem anyone had recently gone that way. I walked around for a few minutes and I guess I saw the actual Moose Mountain summit. I saw the mast and the Fire Lookout building but that was out of read at that time of the day. I would have faced dark, had I started the hike toward the summit. I took a few photos and headed down from there. On the way back to the parking lot just after a few minutes I realized a guy coming down on ski! We exchanged a few words and he slid down. I was tired but I kept going. Getting close to the edge I realized that there were other facilities in the valley with operating flares. It was getting dark but I kept walking and it was almost 17: 10 that I reached the vehicle. It was a good exercise but the adventure was not finished! Just after 2 minutes of driving I realized a vehicle stopped with his indicators both blinking or flashing. It was dusk so I slowed down and tried to see what was going on. I saw two big creatures standing in the middle of the road! I first though they were cows because stock is very frequent in Highway 66 but looked closely and saw two Moose! One smaller, probably the baby! Unfortunately they went to the forest as soon as I parked! I jumped out and got the camera from the truck and followed them. I took a short clip and one or two photos but they didn't appear very clear! So I told myself that there is no hike to Moose Mountain without seeing a Moose!
(Photo: Shell Facility close to the trail-head. Moose Mountain is the second summit form right)

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Vantage Pointe

We were shown a unit in Vantage Pointe the other day. Vantage Pointe and the entire Co-oP property including its parking lot and Liquor Store didn't even exist when I first came to Calgary. That was the third time we intended to rent a place in that building. We decided not to and this time I told myself that I should writing about this.
The building is nice and of course the unit we wanted would have been quite. I do not think there would have been any noise from the street but the plans are so stupid!
It is a small unit probably around 700 ft² and the made it 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom! Who the hell needs 2 bathrooms in a small apartment?! The second bedroom is really ridiculous. You probably can fit a single bed and a drawer and that would be it. The kitchen is so freaking small which it would be good for dickheads who just stick something into the microwave to thaw or heat up and then get it down! Even the stacked-up washer and dryer is in the kitchen. If it was in the bathroom or adjacent to it you could wash the cloths while eating in the little dining room, having a get together in the living room or watching television but in this case you have the sound of washer or dryer added o it. 
I had seen the similar plan in another apartment earlier. in fact the exact same plan maybe a bit bigger. K. M.'s apartment in 28th Ave. is quite similar. The unique stupidity of his is that his unit is at a corner so he gets no view of nowhere. He barely sees even the streets! There is not even a good spot for your TV unless you hang it on the wall but even that would make you watch it from a very close distance. K. M. had put it on the fireplace that last time I was there, I guess! 
Anyways there would be no way for me to waste my money either on buying or renting such a place. I know many people do. It just worth not that much but at the same time I know it's tough to get a descent place in Calgary nowadays if you're renting. Buying is a whole different story. You will have to deal with so much other shit such as mortgage and loan approval, damn interest rate, property tax, insurance and so on. Beside who knows what the hell will happen the next few years. Most importantly who the hell wants to spend the rest of his life in freezer Calgary!? I'm getting really board now. I have to make a move in 2014 or I might be forced to do so. I've already have a plan. I must think of a plan b for that!
(Photo: Vantage Pointe building in Downtown Calgary from Co-op parking lot at its west side) 

Sunday, January 05, 2014

N. L. Road Trip (19): Persian Hogweed (Golpar)

We had seen this type of plant in other provinces but when I came across it in Gros Morne National Park I decided to pick a few stems. I told F. F. it was Golpar or Persian Hogweed, an amazing herb which is used for pickling as well as cooking. She first doubted that but when she smelled one, she agreed what it was. As I said it's amazing in pickling as well if you have Pomegranate seeds in a bowl just sprinkle some Golpar and a little salt on the top and mix and then enjoy. Also Baked Potato is very tasty when a little Golpar and a dash of Olive Oil is added. 

Here in the second photo it is clearly seen how it will look like when the stems and other parts are removed. This is how it is added to your pickling jar. To add to food it should be finely ground. Always keep it in the box or jar with closed lid and away from direct light, cool and dry.
(Photo, Top: Persian Hogweed plants beside the road in Gros Morne National Park)

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Winter Limitations

Unless you're a drinker who likes to hang out in the bars or a coffee maniac who loves to spend hours in a cafe, a shopaholic who goes to a mall at 11:00 AM and comes out, with many bags as 06:00 PM, or a wealthy person who doesn't mind spending on winter sport equipment, there is not much you can do in the long winter of here, which every year is about 8 months, at least. I'm none of the above but like to be active. The past two bad experiences in hiking made me think yesterday morning that I should not try it again especially with the recent heavy snowfalls. In addition to that if you really want to gear up, your cost for a simple hike or walk in winter would not be less than $300, I believe. Nevertheless it seems that doesn't bother many here. I went to MEC the other day to check on a few items and the line was so long that I made that as an excuse to buy something. I checked Snowshoes, Gaiters, Hiking Poles and other similar stuff and then walk out empty handed.
Then in the afternoon I said: I'm tired of Bow River, Elbow River, Glenmore and other surrounding paths and parks; Let's go to Nosehill. I went there and lucky me I had brought everything from Gloves, Tuque and Earmuff so I was able to walk for about an hour and 15 minutes, maybe. Jogging would not have been very pleasant. I had wanted to hike Moose Mountain in the morning but the same reason that I presented above, prevented me from going. After walking I said gain to myself: If I want to survive through the damn winter I will have to buy some stuff, at least a pair of Gaiters. Moose Mountain, according to what I have read, is the fire look out for part of Kananaskis. So there should be trails or roads available and open in winter. It's a very popular hike in summer and that's why I want to do that in winter to avoid the crowds or wimps! After thinking enough I eventually decided to limit myself only to a pair of Gaiter and forget about Snowshoe, Hiking Poles and Ice Ax. Hopefully I can sucessfully finish a hike next weekend. 
(Photo: Looks like this picture is taken in a Prairies in a cold morning of winter but this in fact is Nosehill Environmental Park in the afternoon of a chilly winter. You can see Cross Country tracks)

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Cross Country Skiing in the City!

I used this opportunity in the afternoon of today, the first day of 2014, to have a walk in Glenmore Park, beside its the reservoir. Nice, sunny and warm day and although I started my walk at around 12:25 PM there were not many people in the park. I started from Heritage Park and then crossed Glenmore Tr. and went close to the dam, the damn dam! There was too much snow but it was plowed to the side so there was not a problem. Anywhere else it would have been a nightmare just like last Fri. in Baldy Pass. I tried! The wise way was the way a few guys where following: Doing Cross Country Skiing! Good exercise and fun too! I wish I had a pair of those or at least Snowshoes. I'm bored with just walking, jogging or hiking!
(Photo: Cross Country Skiing beside the frozen Glenmore Reservoir. There is too much snow and you can't go without those things. I tried! This guys are smart walking besides the bank as you don't know whether the ice will break or not)