Sunday, December 28, 2014

Interesting Bow River

I went for a run to the Bow River Pathway but it was so damn cold that I decided just to have a few minutes of walk, take a few photographs and go back home. There they are:
Round Ice! This actually was taken yesterday in Fish Creek Provincial Park, of course by the Bow River. It was spinning at the same spot seen in the photo! 
There are a few signs similar to this put up at different locations around Bow River. Each has a question. You can find out more about them at:
A teacher discussing a topic. Very convincing.
Someone drew this funny cartoon showing a middle finger indicating they not caring about defacing city walls!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Not a White Christmas

I went for a walk and run in the morning today and although it had been said that there would be a chance of snow or flurries, I saw mostly a partially cloudy sky by Bow River. I start my walk at Carburn Park at the east side of Deerfoot Trial, went north on Bow River Pathway and went back. I ran a few last minutes of route and went to the other side of the river where there is a fenced off-leash area and I assume it's Sue Higgins Park. At least it's what Google Maps shows! This actually is a very good idea that has been executed by the municipality because at times it's really frustrating dealing with the dogs on the pathways. They come to you and some expect you to pet them and some look for treats. Just today I had to watch at least 4 damn dogs that the idiot owners did not have them on leash.
Anyways the weather was cold and although I had enough on, I wasn't very comfortable but finished my exercise. Workers were working on the ice rink to make it ready, I guess for tomorrow. I also saw city workers in Prince Edward's Island doing the same thing. We haven't started our skating yet and we should or we will not be ready for the time we will have to go to Olympic Oval
(Photo: Bow River and Downtown Calgary in distance from Bow River Pathway at the east bank of the river)

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Nosedive Continues!

The price of Crude Oil continues to go down and subsequently is the gasoline price. Many might like that but many might lose their jobs as a result of that. Nothing has been announced by my employer yet and people are generally stay positive. We'll see in the next few months.
(Photo: A Shell gas station in Calgary shows 87.9 Cents per liter for regular gasoline. That might encourage some to take a trip outside town including me who is looking for a short hike this week, if everything else goes well)

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Finally watched this new movie that almost everyone is making a big deal about and it has been in the news for weeks: Interstellar. First of all Interstellar means something situated or occurring between stars. For someone whose first language is not English, I think, it is important to know what the name of the movie means, first. Second of all this has brought attention and interest because it is a Nolan movie and its lead actor is McConaughey. So what’s the big deal with this British guy, Nolan? He is the director of The Dark Knight series (or trilogy as most like to call it). The movie was a commercial success particularly because of the now deceased Australian actor Heath Ledger and of course the fact that the movie is about a superhero, Batman! Ledger, I guess had been walking on a ledge for too long and eventually carelessness or maybe just bad luck made him fall to his demise. No! That’s not what happened to him, unlike other starts! I don’t think he had a drug or alcohol problem. He was suffering from Insomnia. I had never seen his performance prior to The Dark Knight but I knew he had the lead role also in Brokeback Mountain, a movie about a homosexual cowboy and that has been filmed in Alberta.
Anyways I never liked The Dark Knight. I wanted to watch it when it first came out in 2008 or 2009. I lived in Coquitlam at the time. I didn’t as my roommate didn’t want to and I didn’t want to just go by myself. Then I purchased the DVD a few years after that for $10. I tried to watch the long movie a few times and although I like actions, I never was able to finish it.
The fact is Americans are obsessed with superheroes. There is barely any month passing without a movie about these fictional characters: Superman, Batman, Captain America, you name it! In my opinion too much of something eventually ruins its pleasure. Imagine eating Hamburger every day! How would you feel? I really liked the first Batman movie when it came out first in 1989 (Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton) although I never had the chance to watch it in a movie theater. A bit of other following Batman movies were OK as well but then it became too much to handle and too boring. I thought I had a question about the movie and that was: Why did American who barely liked any foreign movie, liked this one? A good example of that would be Blade Runner. I liked it very much but it was not as big of commercial success as other American movies although it has Ford as its lead role actor. I found the answer very soon: The Dark Knight is about an American fictional character, Batman and it must be a big success and it was.
Let’s go back to Interstellar. Interstellar is a difficult movie to understand if you want to go to its detail. It’s difficult to understand even for the ones whose their native language is English basically because it discusses physics and astronomy matters. I found it tedious for that reason and I could not help looking at my watch every 45 minutes or so. But why did people go to watch Interstellar? Maybe because of the recent McConaughey’s success and also Nolan as the director. Maybe they were expecting something as god as The Dark Knight! I wanted to see what happens at the end because that’s what you want to see when you go to movies and then I had paid a little over $1! It would have been very disappointing to leave, had I left the movie house before it came to its end. The end though was quite disappointing for me: Time travel was the point. Every time Time Travel is introduced I find it confusing and messed up! You see things that you have done and made you to come here and you cannot do anything about that or … I don’t know. It is all confusion. The other problem with Interstellar is lack of enough excitement, something you normally expect in a science-fiction/space movie. Apart from a few scenes, that I liked very much, you don’t see usual challenges that astronauts face in their voyages but that could be because the movie focuses on scientific facts about travels between galaxies for search of new habitable planets. Visual effects are good. I specifically liked the spaceship and the walking robots but the sound sucked in the movie theater that I watched it (Scoriabank Chinook). I guess there was a technical problem and it had nothing to do with the movie. The sounds and music overcame the talking in the entire movie. That made it even harder for me to understand. Actors and actresses performances were all acceptable. I didn’t know Demon had a role until I saw him in the middle of the story but his character is woken up by the other astronauts from a long hyper-sleep has a minor evil role and then kills himself! I like the plot and story except for the time travelling part at the end. Although it might have been the entire purpose of the movie! This is what it is: People of earth are having difficulties on their daily life due to different issues including Dust Bowl and NASA secretly has this plan of sending astronauts to search for habitable planets outside our galaxy, if I’m not mistaken. Cooper, who is said excessively in the movie that is the best pilot NASA ever had, accidentally finds this NASA research and lunch location (maybe not accidentally. The coordination of NASA secret lunch pad and center is somehow given to him through a Morse code which will later, at the end of the movie is revealed that had been sent to them by him! Time travel games) and was offered this great opportunity of being the pilot of a NASA secret mission to the infinity and beyond!
I also wanted to mention this part that Demon appears and I almost forgot. Demon, as I indicated earlier, was visited by other astronauts, Cooper and Hathaway (One character name and one real name!) and woken from his long hyper-sleep. He was on this planet (or maybe a moon, I don’t recall completely. I should watch the movie again) which has 67-hour cold days and 67-hour colder nights and seems to be not much of a desirable place for Earth people to live their life there. In the beginning of the movie when the mission is discussed with Cooper, he is told that there are two plans for the voyage that they should consider: Plan A and Plan B. Here I’m again lost. I didn't quite get it whether they were there to save Demon and there was no Plan B or something else but Demon’s character gets in to a fight with Copper, breaks his Spacesuit helmet and tries to kill him but Cooper somehow (and magically as he is the lead role!) saves himself and goes back to the spaceship. Demon here seems to be trying to get to the main module and somehow makes this mistake of opening a hatch which depressurizes part of the module and kills him. Here the challenge becomes to going back to the travel module because that’s how they travel! Since Copper, again, is the best pilot NASA ever had, he manages to attach to the main module using his skills and help of the robot of trip, the character I liked very much. Here I guess again I was lost because I don’t remember whether the Black guy is in the module or somewhere else but that trip to the cold planet took them a few hours or days at the most but cost the Black fella and people of Earth a good 23 years! This again is part of this time travel thing and going through Black-holes and Wormholes! I guess they cause their trip to be much shorter.
The end of the movie is clear and obvious. Cooper is back (but not to Earth) while his fella astronauts are all gone. He actually is saved and he ages 110-years, I guess. His daughter who happens to become a NASA scientist and helped this journey to accomplish is now on a hospital bed surrounded by her family. They exchange a few words and show signs of affection and she asks him to leave because apparently parents aren't supposed to see their children’s death. And that’s the end of the movie. This last part happens on a sort of space station, similar to what is shown in Elysium, meaning that the mission has been accomplished and people of Earth are saved. This last scene was a bit lame because it was apparent that the director or production designer or whoever in charge of that part had not tried hard enough to create a little more real environment for the people who have left their habitat to have a better life. Or maybe the director wanted to stress that what the audience might have seen in Elysium is what they would get!
I have to watch this movie again to fill the gaps and understand it completely and I will. And yes it is definitely recommended. There is barely any science-fiction/space movie that I refrain from going to although there have been quite a few that I had been very disappointed at the end. One last thing: Interstellar is a rare movie that the audience can expect a sequel to. 
(Photo: Astronauts are walking on the surface pf  one of the planets that is supposed to be a habitable one for human. It turns out shortly after this scene that the plan is not what they thought it would be. The first one whose his spacesuit is a bit different from the other ones is Matt Demon)

Friday, December 12, 2014

I Like the Crude Price a Lot

The price of crude oil is going down on every single day like a big piece of ice melting and going down the drain! There's nothing like that in life that I like better. I will laugh at all the idiots who bought 600K+ homes after only a year and and a half working for these stupid Downtown companies. A society which is based on fake price of not such an important commodity, deserve collapsing. Housing market is going to crash and other industries will suffer as well. No doubt that this City is in a catastrophic situation and needs it. Maybe that's how  people stop from coming here and turning it to a big toilet it is now!
It's said that different factors play in this significant decline in crude price:
1- Saudi Arabia deliberately did not agree to reduce production in the recent OPEC meeting.
2- The US's production has gone up. 
3- There's not much demand in the market. I wonder if it has to do anything with the weather which has not been cold in the past 10 days. 
4- Stronger US dollar.
Good luck losers to get back on track! You're gonna suffer for long enough now! 
(Photo: This chart shows the changes in crude price since Sep. this year which has been mostly downward. This is for West Texas Intermediate which is the benchmark for North America production, Mexican and Canadian price are normally way lower than this)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

German Trip (10): Unknown Soldier Tomb

The tomb was originally erected in front of the former Army Museum in Munich, the building which is the State of Bavaria administrative department, the government similar to the provincial government in Edmonton, for example. I was coming from the other site, on the sidewalk parallel to Franz-Josef-Straus and noted the building and not knowing what it was, wanted to enter because the building with its nice architecture was very welcoming. An old police officer, in full uniform, was coming towards me when I was getting close to the entrance and I noticed that he was looking directly at me. I asked him a question similar to if public access to the building was permitted and he told me, in very fluent English, that it was a government building and not open to the public.
I went around the building and found myself in Hofgarden. It was when I realized the structure in a sunken part, surrounded by thick stone walls. When I went inside, and it seemed to me that no one else was interested in that partially-cloudy day, I saw the tomb. The provided information, curved in the walls was in German but I could understand the WWI era mark by looking at the 1914-1918 writing.
It was a surprise as why a war memorial which commemorates the Great War German soldiers still stood there intact. The shrapnel wounds are still clearly visible on the pillars of the State Government building after more than 70 years. It is remarkable that it survived all the heavy bombing and ground attacks.
The old photos from Nazi Germany era show soldiers guarding the crypt-like memorial just like the way the soldiers are guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa and one of them was shot dead by the radicalized maniac. No soldier is guarding or posing for respect there today but the WWII notes and marks are also added to the memorial plaque which again brings surprise to me. This reminds me of the Japanese authorities a few years ago who had visited the Japanese WWII dead graves or cemetery and had a few remarks in that regard which caused anger and displeasure within the Chinese because by visiting and showing respect to those who lost their life during the WWII, people actually approve their actions, or maybe that’s how I see it.
Hofgarden, as I explained earlier has a nice outside restaurant/cafĂ©, still is in business and it was the fuhrer’s favorite hangout in beautiful summer days of Munich. It was closed due to the weather and also maybe the time of visit or perhaps they were only serving inside when I visited Hofgarden but the tables and seats where positioned quite similar to what you may see in the old photos showing Hitler’s visits at the time. 
(Photo: I couldn't get a good shot but the tomb seems to be similar to what it originally put: A soldier in full gear laying on the floor, in peace) 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

The US Sanctions

The US has economic sanction in Iran and a few other countries for years. I don't care about the other countries but would like to write a few lines about the Iran's. Has it been hard on Iran in the past 30 years and so that the US has started them? Yes. Without a doubt. The country has probably lost billions of dollars to that. No one is actually able to calculate it but it's a lot. This is one example:
A few weeks a buddy of mine contacted my and wanted me to get a quote from an engineering company that he had already found on the Web in regards to an equipment that they are to fabricate after the bid they have won. He explained to me a bit and I e-mailed the guys. They requested a few detailed drawings of the items. My buddy sent a bunch and I asked her to get rid of the logos, any name or in general anything that associates with Iran. He said he did and sent me a few files both in DWG and PDF formats. There were a few times of corrections and a few revisions and after so many e-mail exchanges the guys came back to me with this short e-mail that since the equipment would be installed and operated in Iran, they could not provide any service to us!
I of course didn't mind that and kind of had anticipated that. I just forwarded the message to my buddy. He now says that since most of the calculations had been done, it won't affect their project that much! So I don't know but I guess he could have been smarter and sent clear drawings. I'm not doing anything illegal here and that piece of machinery was nothing but a solid structure sitting somewhere like a platform and he just wanted them to calculate the side forces of wind on the structure but he screwed it up. I hope he will be OK! 
(Photo: This cartoon, I hope it is OK by its artists that I am showing it here, depicts different US sanctions on different nations. Cuba is another country which has been under such sanctions for the past 50 years or so. North Korea and a few others one should also be added to the list)