Monday, August 31, 2015

More on the Fruits

With the damn weather still smoky and even not breathable and irritating for many, we decided to have another trip to Red Lodge U-Pick this past weekend. It was also because we had not picked enough due to shortage of cash. This time the owner, Gary, an old gentleman in his late 60's I would say was there and greeted us warmly. We told him that we already had been there. This time he directed us to the last rows which the branches of the trees were bowing because of the number of the Sour Cherries they each had! I followed the In-process Inspection procedure(!) and checked each and every piece I picked and reduced the waste very close to zero. 
The weather was better than Calgary area. Less smoke and a little breeze. We also picked Raspberries. They're much harder to pick. The bushes or shrubs, whatever is correct is shorter; so you have to kneel and approach the pieces from below. The good thing about Raspberry is if it's been ripened, you can have it in your bucket but only touching it! This has it's bad side too. Ripen Raspberries fall on the ground. If you reach them shortly after they fall and before bugs get to them and they absorb dirt, you cab simply pick them up. 
The Lady is transferring Raspberries to a rectangular shape pallet. We filled two pallets like this with Raspberries. They are given free of charge by the owner but they are just good for taking the fruit home. After reaching home, you would need to use them without much delay otherwise they are get socked to the carton. 
During the 4 hours (or more) that we spent there, we picked worth of more than $140 Sour Cherries and Raspberries. There were other people as well but obviously no one stayed and picked as much as we did. Gary at the end directed us to the back of a barn where Apple threes were. Unfortunately there were mostly damaged by birds and hail maybe. He asked us to pick a bucket for free. Last week I asked myself whether we would go back or not and we did! I might even go next week! I know this is crazy but there are plenty more fruit available to pick and they are awesome!
(Photo: The branches are full of Sour Cheery and they are so beautiful)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Once a Peasant, Always a Peasant

I've taken this idiot with me to hiking two times so far and the only regret I have is not reaching the summit in the second which was actually my own fault although I kept him waiting for almost 2 hours! I made sure I had selected the furthest possible spot for hiking because he was the one who brought his car! I know this guy was from a village and although he has a Master's he still is a moron from a village with the slightest clue about his surroundings! Here are a few great moments with this genius:

1- We were walking up Mount. Coulthard trail where at spots shrubs of Wild Raspberry is grown. I started picking them up and eating tehm. They are so good. This freaking idiot goes: People were probably walking here and threw out Raspberries and their seeds got in to the soil and now these are grown here! 

2- We went further up until we reached the DC-3 Dakota Airplane Crash Site where a small beautiful waterfall exist. He asked me: Where does this water come from?! I explained to him that snow in higher elevations melts in summer and cascades down in the form of a waterfall! He didn't even know that.
I took this picture from the dash while driving back from Crowsnest Pass driving the guy's SUV. The fuel gauge had not moved much since we left home early that morning! 
This hammerhead bought an old SUV for some $8000 almost 3 years ago. This year, a little earlier he decided to sell it so he put it on the market for $7300!! The poor bastard doesn't know that if he can sell this garbage for $3000, he shall consider himself a very lucky one! But hey this what we say: Once a freaking Peasant, always a freaking Peasant. He was born stupid and he probably has never read any book or newspaper in his life. What do I care? I just use him as my chauffeur! 
(Photo, top: Parts of the trail to the DC-3 Dakota plane crash site and Mount. Coulthard is decorated by wild raspberry shrubs, which was referred to by this idiot in one of his great quotas mentioned above!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The " Cursed " Wedge(!)

I had been planning to go back to The Wedge for over 2 weeks in order to reach the summit until I eventually was able to do that on Mon. but the result was a failure again! I woke up in the morning and look out the window and to my surprise it looked cloudy! I had checked the damn forecast in the previous 5 days, 3 times a day at least(!) and it always said sunny. What the hell just happened? I dropped The Lady at work and headed west on Trans-Canada Highway. Then I turned the radio on to see what they say: Wildfires on northwestern state of the US. I was kind of doubtful weather I should go or not and that led to waste of a lot of time. I finally reached the parking lot of Wedge Pond at about 10:40 and started the hike at around 10:50. There was nobody on the trail and it looked different from the two previous hikes. A thick cloud of smokes had covered the entire area which made the hike not very enjoyable as no view was available although I had seen everything previously. 
This small herd of Goat looked like a family to me, was grazing around
It took me 2 hours, give or take, to reach above the three-line and where the trail peters out. From here I had the direction, or better to say the illustrated direction sent to me by Matt Hobbs, based on a request that I had sent him through e-mail. I was fine and determined to go all the way to the summit. I had no water because I wanted to be as light as possible and had the least difficulty to get to the scrambling part. While taking my break, I noticed something was moving from here to there very rapidly. I had not seen a Pika and that was it. It was obvious that the little cute rodent had been greeted and fed by humans before. That's why it was wandering around me. I saw another one too but that one didn't bother. It was not as friendly as a Chipmunk that I had seen in Bourgeau Lake or Ptarmigan Tunnel but was as cute or even cutter. A Pika basically looks a little like a Mouse but is different. It has no long tail but has a furry body and round ears. Unfortunately my camera had a problem in my Floe Lake hike and had not been sent back from its repair in Ontario. For that reason I was not able to take any good photo of the small animal. 
I spent 15 minutes chasing the damn Pika to be able to get a good shot of it and although I was able to do that. it's not worth posting here due to the size of the Pika compare to the surrounding rocks. After that I headed up and followed the route that Hobbs had described in his e-mail. It was a very good scramble and I really enjoyed that. Snow patches were seen here and there but they were not a threat to the scramble. I was able to find the first and second cairns that Soistheman has shown in his map but didn't find the third one. After passing the two cairns and going up the described gully. I kind

There is this stream in The Wedge mountain. The trail crosses it after about half an hour of the hike. This is where I cooled off on the way back to the parking lot. I drank from it and I'm fine!
of headed to the southwest part of the mountain with the hope that I could skip the false summit and get to the real summit through the ridge that Hobbs had described in his message. I was wrong. Just a few meters to the ridge the scramble became very exposed and I lost all of my confidence and headed back down! Climbing down was not bad. Just a few meters before I reach the scrambling-start point I saw a Marmot laying on the rocks and then a small heed of Goat and then I thought to myself that these all animal probably knew that I did not have my good camera on! 
At that time I looked at my watched and realized that it was around 15:00. I had to pick up The Lady from work so I double timed it but it made me tired very soon and my knees started to hurt. Besides I was too hut and sweaty and my throat was parched. I tried to undress above the waste but that didn't help. So I only reduced my speed until I reached the stream in the mountain and was able to cool off a bit by drinking a bit of water and washing my face, neck and headscarf. It didn't take me much to reach the parking lot. I guess I was there at around 16:15 and I still had time to reach The Lady on time but I was not aware of the disaster on eastbound Trans-Canada Highway after Morley! As soon as I left Highway 40 and turned toward east I heard on the radio a fatal crashed had caused the highway to be closed on its eastbound. I have explained a little bit what happened in the yesterday's post. Now do I still want to go to The Wedge to reach it's summit? Maybe. But if I go, I will probably go next year when it's neither damn foggy and and smoky neither hot and burning!
(Photo, top: I captured this Marmot on the way back from the scrambling part with my small sony camera. There's not much can be seen but better than nothing!) 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Bad Day: 24-Aug-2015

I consider yesterday Mon. 24-Aug-2015 a very bad day. I didn't get laid off in that day! I didn't have a serious accident in that day or I didn't have a major loss in the day but it was a bad day because:

1- I had planned for over 2 weeks or so to go up The Wedge in Kananaskis and reach the summit. Well it didn't happen! I got one more hour up and I headed back down! The weather was terrible and I hated myself not being able to do that. More detail in the next post.

2- The price of crude went below $40 and got to $38.24 per barrel. They say it go down deeper. Who knows what is going to happen in 2016 but many believe that it will be a catastrophic year, particularly for Albertans
Took this photo around 19:15 on Bow Valley Trail. Sun is easily visible without any protection for eyes
3- On the way back from my failed attempt to The Wedge I heard on the radio about a fatal crash near Morley. I got myself to Highway No. 1 and that was it. the traffic was backed up so heavily that you would see lines of vehicles as far as your eyes could go! I heard on the radio that a semi-truck had hit a mini-van head on! Apparently it flew over the median and hit the oncoming traffic. An old lady were killed on the way to a hospital and 6 others including childeren and semi's driver and passenger were sent to a hospital. We kept going forward at the speed of 10 Km/h until we reached Morley overpass and then we were directed to Highway 1A and from there we passed Ghost Lake and reached Town of Cochrane. This is a short of maybe 50 Km or so and we did it in 03:30 hours or maybe more! I completely went crazy! By the time I got home I guess it was 21:35 or something! 

4- Wildfires in northwestern US, states of Washington, Idaho and Montana have created a large amount of smoke and then have traveled to southern Alberta. It's as bad as Beijing, Mumbai, Tehran or Ahvaz here now. It's said that the condition remains as is fr the next few days! 
(Photo: Eastbound Trans-Canada Highway after Highway 40 is seen completely gone to a halt after a crash on the side)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Red Lodge Farm

This weekend we had the plan of going to this orchard to pick Sour Cherry, the fruit which is not favoured here in West but surprisingly exists! We had picked them earlier in Surrey and The Saskatoon Farm. Red Lodge U-pick is near town of Bowden in central Alberta. It felt a little too long to reach there but we were able to find the place quite easily. The one problem was when we were almost at Red Lodge Provincial Park on westbound Highway 587, we saw a sign which was directing to the orchard (saying 6 Km) but without stopping, in the corner of my eyes I also saw, below it: Closed! So I was a bit surprised as why it would be closed on a weekend, especially because i had called earlier and the message on the phone indicates nothing about closure. We kept going and when we reached Range Road 31 and I was ready to make a left, I saw the same sign that I had seen in Google Maps with this difference that I was able to read it, on the road. The same Closed was written but on the right it said: Tues! So we figured the sign would be close don Tuesdays! 
We got to the property which is signed and directed nicely and parked and immediately greeted by a gentleman who happens to be the son of the owner. We were given buckets and direction to the field. I was surprised by the amount of Sour Cherries on the trees. Raspberries were not bad either but we wanted to focus on the first kind, first. The problem that we found soon was a large amount of fruits had been damaged by the bugs and birds. We realized that we had to be careful and inspect every single piece before putting it in the basket. 
The Pitting Machine is quite amazing. Someone came up with thoughtful idea!
The weather was nice and sunny but not too hot so we kept going for a while until I realized I did not have enough cash. We had two full buckets and decided to pay and possibly get more cash either from Bowden or Olds. The two buckets worked out to be $35 which was not bad but we were kind of disappointed that we had driven for one hour and not able to pick enough. We decided to go back to go the city and leave the rest for the bees, ants and other bugs, as well as birds and other possible customers! However we would like to check the place out at least one more time and pick enough for the rest of the year. Before leaving the premises we realized that they had a Pitting Machine as well but we didn't use it because it had to be washed and we had to stay another hour or so. 
When we got back to home I spent 2 freaking hours to pit all of them. I had to get rid of at least two handful of them. The plan is to make some fruit-bars and possibly later jam and maybe dried fruit. We'll see. 
(Photo, top: The trees are full of fruit but because they have been left untouched and not picked after ripened, many of them are being eaten by bugs and birds. I hope we can pick at least 4 buckets next week and add to the two buckets of this week minus the bad ones that I had to trow away!)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Evaluation without Evolution!

We have had this really ridiculous performance review once a year for the past 4 years. Mine has been steady the same, let's say B, if we have 4 groups with A being the best. This years it took me 01:15 and mostly agreed with whatever nonsense the sup. said just because I wanted to get over with it because I hardly think it affects anything, most importantly the salary. I've been on a sort of ban for over 6 months or more, simply because I disagreed with a bullshit the sup. and other said. For that reason I didn't expect a B this year but he said he was happy with my performance generally. 
I had mentioned that I'd be taking a course in 2016 and he asked me whether that was mandatory or not?! I said it was, sort of, with the hope that I can get his approval to be paid for that next year. I haven't really studied well for that yet. I have to order a few (to be exact two for the beginning) books to come from the States. Due to the cost of shipping I wanted them to be shipped to my buddy's place down in California and I even got his address but then realized I would not be going although I've had in my plan to go visit him since 2008!
Returning to the main subject he kind of reminded me that I should be avoiding confrontations and asked me if I had any problem with anyone. I was honest and told him about this fucking Hispanic moron that I had an argument with. He silently listened and said nothing.
That was it and all I can get out of that is:

1- He's not too unhappy with me. He even is happy, I would say as that is what he said.
2- There's a fair chance that I can get that course and even get paid for that.
3- There's a fair chance that I might get out of the office for visits.

No other significant thing. One funny thing is I asked him whether he knows anything about the upcoming projects and he said he was not allowed to say anything about that! What a stupid phony! I already know that a project has come and its team is arranged! The meeting reports are out and you can simply read them in the system. I even found one in the recycle bin! He's stupid and pretentious, wants to say that there are things in the organization happening that he's aware of and I'm not! Damn yes there are but not this one! There's nothing about a new project to be hidden! I'm just hopping I can go through and reach myself to the end of 2015 because 2016 might not be much easier! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Damn Fitbit Flex

I finally had to pay for Fitbit wristbands. Something around $30 or a little bit more. I bought a pack of three from SportChek. The original two wristbands both got ripped off after a short time. The first one, which was a large size and fitted me, after probably 6 months and the second one lasted even less than that because obviously it was small for me. I used tape to hold it together(!) until one day it was about to fall off my wrist on a hiking trip and that was then I decided to buy this new pack.
The pack of three comes in three delicious(!) colours but the locking piece is made of very brittle plastic and it broke shortly after I bought the damn thing! I could not believe this but I was lucky that I had kept the one from the original wristband. 
Now that I've been given a new tracking device I feel that it's not working properly. I feel that it shows more activity than what I actually I perform but what the hell!? It's working now and the annoying part is it requires frequent charging, maybe every three days or so! 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hiking Stick

Hiking Stick or as some call it trekking pole (it has other names as well) comes handy in hiking and scrambling. I've even seen people, mostly elderly, to use them in parks. I once considered buying a pair and checked a local sport shop. A simple telescopic pair, I guess it was, cost some $80. Although helpful, I would never spend that much on a pair of plastic/metal rods. The poles also come with a sort of end cap which is designed to be helpful in snowy and icy paths. They easily come off for normal hiking. Still does not interests me to spend that much. 
I've used a wooden stick for a long time. I once found a strong and long branch beside Bow Valley Parkway. I guess it was early last year or so (early in hiking season). I've been using it since. There are a few advantages with that:

1- If you get stricken by lightning, a hiking pole could somehow be dangerous and deadly. While a branch has no issue.
2- If you drop it during your trip or forget it somewhere, you won't lose any bucks. You can simply pick up another one quickly. 
3- It is a good weapon if you have to face an animal or a human-shape animal. For the first one you need to have the guts to use it. The second one barely comes to happening particularly in hiking but you never know!

I guess the above three reasons are good for me to simply carry a wooden stick as a hiking pole. You make your own decision! It is not the fancy stuff which takes you to the summit. It is determination and stamina.
(Photo: Waving to the camera, I was on a walking tour in Kananaskis or to be specific on Highway # 60 back in Apr. where most of the hikes and scrambles are left only to professionals. Parts of the highway was closed. It is an annual seasonal closure.I was there with my buddy, The Chef whom is not seen in the photo. Here I'm holding a stick which I just had found! Good handy equipment!)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Contract Work and Death Row

Capital Punishment was removed from Canadian Criminal Code in 1976. I don't know if Death Row ever existed in the code or not but it does in the States where execution still takes place in the country. Just a few months ago I heard on the radio that Firing Squad might replace Fatal Injection, I guess, it was in Utah! The reason being the poison is very costly and ineffective at times! The concept of Death Row is very disturbing. According to what I've read, a person could be on Death Row for years, waiting for execution on the day it has been determined. I guess other countries have that as well, may be the UK, or maybe I'm wrong.
In comparison Contract Work which is very common in West and then the fucking bastards of the old country learned from them, is quite similar to Death Row! You have a contract for a certain time to do something while you do most likely you'd be kicked out after that. What intensive would you have to focus on your job and do it the best way possible, if you knew, you'd be out at the end?! I had the similar situation with the company that I work for now. When I passed the interview, I received an e-mail asking me to sign a 12-month or so contract. I refused, although I didn't have a good job at the time, and told them that I had been told that my contract would be for 18 months! The guy surprisingly accepted and I sign the damn thing. At the time I didn't care how long it was. I just wanted to get myself out of the shit I was in, not knowing that the new shit is even nastier! Anyways shortly after I joined an employee quit. They hired another person. And he hired an aid. Now it was obvious for me that I would be out as soon as my job was finished. The first person quit and they hired one to replace him. This idiot, whom his story has been told, got kicked out and the aid got promoted to his position and I became the aid! It was all out of luck, otherwise who knows what I would be now! 
Even now I don't have ease of mind, with all the economy messed up and everything but at least I know if I'm kicked out I can take a 4.5 to 5 years experience in my resume as well as a little money that the company is supposed to give m, if I ever get laid off. 
(Photo: I first came to know about this fella Albertan from Red Deer, Ronald Allen Smith, a few years ago when I was listening to a radio show. He has been on Death Row in Montana for over 2 decades now. He is charged with different crimes including murdering two people. I might tell his story later)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Returning to the Ice

This past afternoon we finished our 4th session of Skating in Olympic Oval. It is good to have the chance of practicing and exercising in a cool place where the outside temperature is above 30 degrees C. It is a small group with the majority of the people a little above beginner. This class is held twice a week which is not bad. Our instructor is a little off but overall she's OK. 
The tight skates does not bother me as much as they used to do in level 1 or 2 and I don't get tired as much as when we practice in Crowchild Twin Arenas but that is basically because we stop at times and just listen to her! 45 minutes is nothing, especially if you do not have much movement for probably half of the time. 
(Photo; People practicing speed skating in Olympic Oval in U of C)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Network Addiction

One of the problems that today's society is facing with, and it's not limited to North America, I even noticed that back in the old country when I visited there last year, maybe not to the same level as here, is network addiction. People barely get their electronic devices, mostly cellular phones, away from themselves. It's a part of their body now! I had cellular phone from 1999 to 2014! I cancelled my service last Sep. which sounded odd to many. Some didn't even believed me. thinking I intentionally hide my number from them! Even when I had the cellphone, I never had the luxury that majority people use on daily basis: Caller ID, Voicemail, Texting, etc. It was a basic service. Though I decided to get rid of it for the reasons I have explained a few of them. 
This is one side of the problem. The other side is the idiots who barely make the end's meet and want always have the most updated handset and service! My last handset, which I still have it and used it as a phone book cost $65 only(!) and my plan was as low as $25 a month. Today people buy $300 and up handsets and pay over $70 a month just to keep up with stupidity! 
I once read a short article which indicated about neck problem which has increased significantly recently due to the increased amount of cellphone usage. Good for chiropractors and other specialists in the filed! But who really listens. It has been years that it is said that Soda is not good for you. Does anyone ever cares?! No! 
(Photo: A Nasty-Mart [official name: Wal-Mart] employee with hourly wage of $10 to $11 is playing with her phone while leaving her shift! A fool and her money are soon parted!)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mt. Coulthard

For the second time in the past 3 weeks I selected one of the furthest possible areas that you could go hiking, simply because the same guy whom I took to Plateau Mountain, had showed interest to join! Our last trip, just to trial-head, was around 150 km, one way. This time I made sure we'd go further. I convinced him, indirectly, I would say or I can even say that I lured him to go to Crowsnest Pass area and hike to Dakota DC-3 crash site in Coleman. This was 240 km, one way! and of course the final destination was a mountain, Mt. Coulthard on Alberta-B. C. border. 
With that in mind I have to add that a RCAF DC-3 plane hit the mountains and fell in the woods south of town of Coleman in Alberta in Jan. of 1946. The plane was carrying 7 crew and was on its way from British Columbia to Nova Scotia when the incident occurred and all the poor people died. I don't know much more about the incident but since then the site has been a popular hiking, biking and off-road riding spot for the locals in southern Alberta and eastern British Columbia, not to mention the idiots who might travel some 240 Km to get there! 
Anyways we got ourselves to Crowsnest Pass and the guy said he wanted to get a coffee. He pulled in the packed parking lot and I guess it was some 08:15 hours. I saw a truck parking just next to us and as I was getting out of the car, I saw a guy leaving the truck. I approached him and asked him if he was from around the area. He confirmed and I asked him if he could help us to find the trail-head to the crash site. he agreed and we entered the coffee shop and waited in the line. My buddy came out of the washroom and I explained to him that the gentleman was about to help us to get to the trail-head. Then I whispered to him that we had to buy him a coffee as a sing of appreciation. The idiot first hesitated and then when I insisted, he agreed! We got the coffee and then the guy said he would take us there. We simply followed him and he showed us the road. It was only 4 km until we found a spot near the yellow bridge in the area that we had to park. By the time we started it was almost 08:40 but I didn't mind because we could have roam around without any results, probably for more than half an hour without finding the trail-head! 
Beautiful yellow star-shape flowers cover parts of the area. Not sure about the name!
It was very hot but I managed to go without difficulty. The guy was tired and was complaining about the rocks on the trail! Although a recreation road for ATVs and motorcycles we didn't see anything of anybody until we actually reached where the remaining pieces of the plane are scattered after they crashed 69 years ago. The guy was dead tired and got so happy that he was resting. There is a nice little waterfall nearby as well. So after taking a few photos I suggested the guy to follow the trail up to the top of the waterfall so we could go to the summit of Mt. Coulthard. He first agreed but then yelled from bellow that he would be going back! I didn't care because I wanted to go higher up. 
After a short steep ascent you reach a cirque. There are two summit-like and ranges around at both sides but the main summit and the highest is sitting in the back, in the south. I walked up on the loose rocks and some very faint trails until I guess I reached the ridge after almost 1 hour. From there, which is Alberta-British Columbia border, my assumption is that you have to hike east to get to the actual summit but considering the high wind and the guy whom I had left way below, I decided to head down after taking just a few minutes of break and enjoying the surrounding views. I do not think it was a long way to the summit, maybe half and hour or a little longer but I went down. By the time I reached down and joined my buddy, it was almost 14:00. He had enough rest I assumed so we headed down in the heat of afternoon. There was nothing much going on on the way back except that we saw a few mores ATV and motorcycle riders going up and down the trail but no hiker. The only interesting things on the way back were delicious wild Raspberries that I enjoyed them and a little cute bird we saw. i think it was a Ptarmigan or a Grouse. I'm not sure. 
The path to the crash site and the surrounding mountains. The one seen on right is, I guess, Andy Good Peak. Summit of Mt. Coulthard is behind the one on left
We reached the trail-head at 16:30 and marked our 07:50 hour trip. I enjoyed the trip and even the guy complaining and nagging didn't bother me. I wish I had gone to the summit but it is OK. I guess the hike would have much nice, had it been a nicer weather but not a big deal. I forgot my scarf and I drove the majority of the way back to the city and we reached home at about 20:00! 
(Photo, top: This is taken from the ridge and is aiming north. Crowsnest Mountain is seen at the center. I could not get a better shot considering I only had my small camera on. To my knowledge the main summit should be at my right to east but i could be wrong)

Saturday, August 08, 2015

The Ugly & Fool

There was this idiot piece of shit that I went to Edmonton with once. We were sent there by the company to do a shit job. I didn't mind it. Was go to be away from the damn office for a day even when I had to drive for 300 Km! Then a year after that, yes after a whole year, we hit it off and we decided to go on a few short hiking trips. 
I enjoyed them all because he was being nice and helpful. I even said to him that I would like to go with him because I felt comfortable during the hike, beside him. I don't know what that meant to him. He finally quit the company and left last Dec. He said he would stay in touch so I told him to let me know when he's here so we could go for a few hike. The asshole was here without letting me know. Instead he hung out with other buddy of me whom he always kept our comings and goings a secret! I really didn't understand why he did that but he did it! The other guy was surprised too. The only thing I can think of is that he was offended with a few jokes I had made or something similar. I understand we are from completely different background but I don't think I said something that was offensive. The fact is the guy had been suffering from partial poverty for years. Never had a job paying him very well and the only reason he was working for the company was that his girlfriend had referred him. The girlfriend being a mid-level manager/supervisor of one of our client's, had bumped to him on one of her vacations somewhere in Central America, in one of two countries which has nothing but a few beaches and few palm trees and they had hit it off! The girl helped him to get out of the shit he was in and after that he felt that he owed her a lot. That was the main reason he left and followed the girl without even doing any job search! The girl is ugly and probably years older than him. No one would become her boyfriend if this fool had not been found! The ugly and fool became a good match and you know what is good about it? The name is interchangeable! Either one could be ugly or fool. The girl, although considered to be smart, because she was a mid-level manager/supervisor in a major energy company in the country, was not smart enough not to turn a very good job offer in a foreign country. She indicated that his boyfriend would be out of work for the whole period! What would he do, the poor guy?, she asked! What the fuck is he doing now? It has been 7 months and he's still out of work in the country of his origin! Wouldn't it better, if he was out of work and in a foreign country?! At least he could see places that people can only dream in their life. I guess some people are just born coward and pathetic. You can't change them! The Lady thinks I've given this little issue too much thought! Maybe she's right. I shouldn't give a shit to a pathetic loser who has no perspective in life and no respective for others. The hell with him! After all that could be part of their culture! The last thing I would like to say about this idiot is that he was so concerned about himself and he couldn't stand other enjoy or have something. He thought he was the best and others are nothing. A few times I told him about the plans I had or things I wanted to purchase (for example and camera lens) he mentioned that it would be expensive or asked, as a rhetorical question why I would need it! Every time I told him that was here or there. He would listen in silence and then he would talk about his trips in full excitement! I could easily sense that he was being eating from inside by jealousy! What a scumbag! I hope he remains out of work for a very long painful time!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

A Very Beautiful Storm

We went for a little walk and wanted to buy a few small things from a local supermarket. The weather was felt as it was congested. There were so may clouds in the sky and mo wind had made them stagnant. There was no rain though. So you felt a sense of suffocation with the heat. I guess in the past 3 days of the weekend it the temperature was fluctuating in a narrow range of 28 to 31 degrees C. We were waiting for a little rain all Mon. after to cool off but rather than a few drops we didn't see anything. 
Today more the clouds were seen in the sky so I took my raincoat in the morning. At noon it was clear again so when I went for my usual noon walk I only had my shirt on. On the way back from work and even earlier, the weather got dark again but nothing was coming down. When I reached home and was changing to get ready for our new skating class, the storm hit! 
It was so intense that it felt like being under fire of 50 mill. caliber machine gun or something similar(!) with this difference that 50 mil. cannot fire as fast. It kept going for 15 to 20 min. and then turned to rain. We had to go. So I went and got the car and we hit the road. Ambulances and Fire Engines were whirling everywhere there was a bit of traffic but we managed to reach our destination on time. 
Water level quickly raised in some of the streets, making driving difficult and dangerous at time. It was impossible for passer-byes to even walk! 
I'm sure there were a lot of damages. We saw a Honda with its rear glass smashed. On one of the underpasses a Mercedes had been stopped with its all indicators flashing. Our car magically survived. It actually got cleaned! I guess if we had put the hood up, we could have had the engine cleaned as well! It was still raining when we were going home from Olympic Oval but it was not that bad. 
(Photo, top: Hail in our balcony. Unfortunately I do not have anything else beside them to scale. They were not very big, maybe the size of a Hazelnut, some of them bigger but they hurt a lot when they hit because of the velocity!)

Monday, August 03, 2015

25 Years after Kuwait's Invasion

I have never been able to understand what possibly was going on in the mind of someone such as Saddam Hussein who kept his country in war for almost 15 years. This apparently is not considering the years after he was captured, by the US troops, tried, charged and executed. If we consider the that time, I should say that the country have been involved with in a war for the past 27 years, maybe with a few months of break in between, if we look positively!
This criminal, Saddam, first invaded Iran in 1988, thought he would be able to capture the country in a short time. They were pushed back and then when both nations were ready to end the war, a few criminals who are not much better than Saddam and unlike him are still alive, who had found out that their survival deeply was dependent an continuance of the war, Hashemi Rafsanji for example, refused the ceasefire and the proposed plan of a few neutral countries after 2 years. That resulted in having the war for another 6 years, when finally in 1988 Iranian had to accept the UN 598 Resolution. 
Saddam took a break for about 2 years which in fact was a period of time that he was preparing his troops to invade Kuwait. That happened on the night of 02-Aug-1990. Kuwait in fact was one of many Arab countries who helped Iraq during the 8-year war with Iran. Kuwait poured millions of dollars in to Iraq, let Iraqi forces use there islands of them to lunch attacks against Iranians in Persian Gulf and was behind Iraq for any support they needed. After the war with Iran ended, Saddam decided to thank his Arab brothers and supporter by crossing to their border and capturing their oilfield! 
The US of course was aware of the attack. There's no doubt about that. The Kuwaiti royal family was notified of the invasion a few hours before it took place and they were airlifted outside the small country, to a safe place! Why? Because that gave Americans a reason to come to the region and kick Saddam's butt! They first introduced Desert Shield and then Desert Storm but stopped going to Baghdad to overthrow Saddam. Maybe Bush was too tired or too old for that. Or maybe he wanted to give his son George Bush the honer of capturing and liberating Iraq!  
After Kuwait liberation the US and its allies invaded Iraq again in 2003 and that has been the topic of conversation for years as why they did that. The US's reason was the weapon of mass destruction that they thought they would be a treat for the region and the world in general. Why this has never been justified, I, as someone who spent all those war years in the region and followed the news and event, believe that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Some were used against Iranian troops and ethnic people of Iraq, to be more specific different chemical gases. Some were at the stages of development, for instance the cannons which Farzad Bazof, the Iranian-British journalist of Observer were investigating. Bazoft was hung in Iraq by the direct order of Saddam but the US and other Westerners never cared about Iranians or Kurds being killed by Saddam. The existence of real weapons of mass destruction were ignored for years.
The US troops pulling a MIG 25 out of sand! It was hidden by Iraqis to prevent their destruction during Operation Desert Storm. I wonder if that could be operational ever!
Anyways I remember the Aug. of 1990 clearly. I went to the newsstand every evening of those cold fall days of Tehran to get a copy of Kayhan which was a very popular daily newspaper on those days. As well I was following the news on TV. The news those days were mostly a direct translation from CNN but at times they had a reporter in the region including a time that they showed a border town of Iran which mistakenly and accidental was hit by Allies during the battles of Desert Storm. I was a university student on those years but was not paying much attention to my courses and exams! Perhaps that's why I'm in the shit-hole I am and have barely anyway to get myself out(!) but looking at the others who were much better students than me, I see that their situation is not much better! Anyways that's not the subject here. I remember that I was on a bus to Isfahan with e friend of mine and we were passing a small airport in Tehran-Qom Highway and we saw airplane that at the time we thought they had been flown from Iraq! It was funny and and almost unbelievable that a number of Iraqi jets flew to Iran to evade the US forces attacks and Iran let them in but they were not the ones, I don't believe, we saw in that little air strip in desert because they were civilian planes while the information I got from the web states that MIG and Sukhoi unless the one we saw were Ilyushin because they look civilian although they could be for strategic airlifting. 
The US troops finally left Iraq after Obama was elected president but the country is still in conflict. ISIS or Islamic States has control over parts of the northern Iraq while Iranians are closely watching them. Shia militia and Iraqi Army are defending the capital and other remaining cities and Kurds are as well involved. The continuance of the war is what major powers in the world want. That's how they sell their weapons in return for cheap oil! Iraq today is similar to Vietnam in 60's and 70's. The war seems never ending. The difference is Vietnam had China and Soviet Union to help him to get rid of  Americans. Would Iran play the same role for them to get rid of ISIS?!
(Photo, top: Destroyed Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles on Highway # 8 which connects southern Iraqi city of Basra to Kuwait City, during operation Desert Storm in 1990)

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Farm Day

We turned this first day of Aug. to Farm Day by going to different farms around Highway # 22 or Cowboy Trail in north of Highway # 1. I had visited the road once but this time I was better familiar, as well we had destinations. The only problem this time was that I didn't have my T5 available to me because of what had happened on the way to Floe Lake, the day before.
Our plan was to hit the road in a way to reach the community of Bergen and see Bergen Farmers' Market but the road was longer than what we had expected and we reached there by about 10:45 which was fine. Bergen which has the same name as the Norwegian city in the east part of that country and is be one of the cities that I will visit, hopefully soon, is a very small community close to the Town of Sundre but the farmer's market of it is even smaller! 
The Lady was a little disappointed because there were not more than probably 10 merchants putting up their tents beside Bergen Community Hall. However we bought a jar of non-pasteurized Honey for $10, some Beets, a bag of supposedly Organic Peaches (they tasted good), a small bag of Basil which an old lady said she grew in her garden, a loaf of Bread from the same lady and she claimed she had cooked it and it tasted very good (no sugar) for $5 and I guess that was it. There were cookies, other baked goods, Pork and a few other stuff and for someone who lives in the surrounding area, it's not a bad trip to make but for Calgarians not worth the trip unless it's on their way or they go to one of other attractions of Cowboy Trail. The prices are very high. I guess because these people have their little market, they try to use the best of it but their good are really top quality, I would say, except for the guy who sold the Peaches and Beats to us. The Peaches had those small stickers to them, meaning he had purchased them from somewhere (most likely B. C.) and re-sold them to us. He had Garlic cloves for $2 each! He was very polite and also good at what he was doing. He explained about his produce in a very convincing manner.
This old style scale reminded me of my Grandfather. He used to run a small grocery store in the heart of Tehran Bazzar. He died almost 20 years ago. I had been to his small store which was not as popular in the last years any more but during the War year he was there with my Dad, my uncle and myself helping him distributing essential goods that you only could purchased to a certain level using special Coupons. It was more like of a hobby for him in those year as didn't bring much money to home. It's a very long story and lots of memories which has no place here. 
I almost forgot to say that we also bought a small bag of Green Peas and they look very good but I don't remember the price. Spending only maybe half an hour in that community after more than an hour and so drive was a bit of disappointment so The Lady suggested to check out a few of the farms that we had seen their signs on our way to Bergen. Heading back south on Cowboy Trail, the first farm you see is Solstice Berry Farm at your left. This farm is specialized in Saskatoon Berry and it was quite busy. It is very neat and has a small store. We had tried Saskatoon a few years back in The Saskatoon Farm and while they are good, I really didn't feel like walking in heat to pick a bucket of them. The farm has bagged Saskatoon, syrup, jam, pies and all other sorts of Saskatoon products and surprisingly people were buying. We didn't feel good(!) walking out empty handed so I bought a jar of 250 ml jam for $8. A lady was running the store and she said that their season usually ends in mid. Aug., in case anyone wants to go. The farm has a very nice pond which I bet if they sold admission for swimming, they would make lots of money but at the same time they probably have to get a permit, hire life-guards, there will be a chaos and such. So they probably never thought of that! People usually go nuts for swimming here especially if it's a sunny day with temperature around 28 Degrees C
Saskatoon Berry shrubs (I hope this is the right term to use) in Solstice Farm
Our next destination, which was a much better place, in our opinion was Buckler's Farm just a few kilometers down the road when you're heading south. This farm is a the same side of the road but not fancy like Solstice but the variety is much bigger. In fact Buckler's is a vegetable, herb and fruit garden. We were welcomed by a couple of dogs upon our arrivals. They were constantly barking and when I got out of the vehicle they ran toward me in a little scary manner but that's what farm dogs are supposed to act. They calmed down when their owner called them but had their eyes on us the entire time. We were first directed to a little vegetable patch where they grew Lettuce, Onion, Swiss Chards, Spinach and few other types of vegetables and herbs. The Lady pulled a few Lettuces out and we got a big bag for only $5. Then we followed the owner to Raspberry garden and started picking the berries. They were awesome but we only picked half a bucket which cost $9. Tired from heat and also yesterday's hike, I decided to leave after receiving OK from The Lady
Vegetable patch in Buckler's Farm. You see Lettuce here
We really enjoyed our time and were happy with most of our purchases although some were unexpectedly and unreasonably expensive. For example I forgot to mention that in Bergen Farmers' Market the old lady whom sold a few items to us had Croissants for $5 each! When The Lady asked how much they were. This is how she answered: They are expensive. $5 each! Apparently there are people who pay for that so they keep selling! 
There are other places near and around Cowboy Trail that you can enjoy your time. There are campgrounds, Spas, Provincial Parks (Big Hill Springs Provincial Park), Golf courses, Horse boarding, motels and hotels and other facilities. We may try a few of them later but they are mostly are not in our allies. For instance I've never been a fan of sleeping in campgrounds, playing Golf, going to Spa or similar but if you are there are lots of choices in the area. 
(Photo, top: I couldn't resist this photo. There are lots of Oil Pump Jacks around Cowboy Trail, They apparently suck oil out of the deep soil and bringing money to the companies and land owners)

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Floe Lake

This weekend I decided to go an area that I had not been to. I checked with my buddy, Hope, whom his story will be mostly be told later, and he was not ready to join so I saddled up and left early for Kootenay National Park in eastern British Columbia. The park borders with Banff National Park so it's not very far but at least you have to drive around a little more than 150 to get there. My aim was Floe Lake, a moderate hike which found very beautiful. Although I had it in my direction guide, which I had extracted from Google Maps, the sign I was looking for did not exist(!) and I was about to miss my turn! At the last moment I turn my head back and saw a sign at the other side of the rode indicating Floe Lake! Thanks that the road was not very busy in that time. I turned back and pulled into the parking lot. To my surprise there were as many as 10 vehicles, at least were parked! I am always the first one at a trail-head. That was why I was very surprised. My surprise diminished quickly when I learnt there was a campground at the lake. People had come the previous morning and spent the night. I will have to write about these campgrounds later but since I have not stayed in any, I might have to wait until I sleep one night, at least, at one.
Nevertheless I started my hike at almost 07:35. The trail is a completely different one from everything I have hiked or scrambled so far. It starts in between rows of evergreens and crosses over Kootenay River after 10 minutes, taking you to the other side of the river and you're walking parallel to the river and Highway # 93 for about half an hour or maybe a little more. The first things that catch your eye rather than the beauty of Kootenay River and the trail are hundreds of burnt trees standing leaf-less beside each other. The area suffered a wildfire back in 2003, I read and although wildflowers and other vegetation give a unmatched beauty to the area, you can't close your eyes to this sadness. This would be seen for more than 3/4 of the trail, I would say. In fact after you reach a small waterfall and before you start a major ascend toward the lake, the burnt trees are seen. There was no one on the trail, the way I was going and after an hour or so the upcoming traffic started to come. There were not many of them but they were people who had spent the previous night at the campground. 
Carpets of Firewood flowers and hundreds of burnt trees alongside the trail
I was fine until the major ascent started and I guess I should not have had a quick start. The temperature was going up and I felt a little tired in a way that I had to stay for a drink of water. After I went up a hill and the trail became flat again I knew I had passed the hard part. It was just the matter of how long I should walk to reach the lake. I took my last picture (the one is seen on the top as the major photo of the post) shortly before seeing the lake and then in less than 5 min. I saw the lake. It was around 10:30 or so and I was 30 min. ahead of schedule. The first thing I noticed after seeing the nice colour of the lake and rocks of Floe Peak was a tent. I realized that I have arrived at the campground as well and I took my camera out to take as many picture as I could from all different possible angles. Not so fast buddy! The damn camera didn't turn on! I tried a few more times and simply turning the selector from Off position to On didn't do anything! Disappointed with Canon and its Rebel T5 which has served very well in the past 13 months, I walked down and sat at the shore of Floe Lake. It's a small lake, even smaller than Bourgeau Lake, Rockbound Lake and Crypt Lake, that I have been to so far but it is beautiful. I drank some water and just waited there to see what I can get from the camera! I few more tries didn't do anything until I walked around a little and decided to go back. That was almost 10:55. I tried one more time and I got the date setting on the screen but before doing anything the message faded out and was replaced with Change the Battery Pack message! I didn't understand why and still don't! If there was a problem with the battery why there was no warning message?! 
In ancient Iran, at the time of my grandparents and even my parents Flixweed used to consumed in drinks and for its different benefits. here I doubt many know what even it is. The tiny seed are in the seedpod, the long ones in this photo. This still is not ripened due to the weather here. When ripened you can hold the seedpod in your hand, drag it slowly and open your palm. What is left is the seeds and very thin seedpod which you can blow it way. 
I had no choice but leaving the camera in its bag and start going down the trail. I normally take my small camera with me as well but not this time. So it left a taste of dissatisfaction in my mouth. I didn't get any shot from the lake, there are many objects and scenes that you don't notice them on the way up and you get them on the way back. The light is different because the sun is higher in the sky and the angle is different so I lost at least 20 to 30 good photography opportunity on my descent which, I must insist, was very frustrating. For that reason and heat as well I pushed so hard that I caught up with all of the people that I had seen coming towards me or the ones who had started shortly after my arrival to the lake. It was almost 13: 30 when I reached the parking lot, making my total hike time an equivalent of  almost 06:00 hours including a total break of half an hour. 
Overall Floe Lake is a very nice hike which is definitely recommended. I said that before that I'm not a fan of sleeping outside but if you are the campground is available. Will I go there again? Most probably I will just to take the photos I wanted to take and couldn't but next time I will mix it with another hike in the area. 
(Photo, top: This is shortly before reaching the lake and the last shot I took with my camera. I contacted Canon Canada via e-mail. Hopefully I can get the camera fixed quickly and make it ready for the next trip)