Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Brave's Brave Move!

I've written about The Brave, my first landlord and almost a friend. He helped me a lot when I came to Canada but misled me as well. He was a mess at the time. Out of work, his wife had left her with two kids and other problems. Today he's a different man. Almost done with his divorce and married again. He's been remarried for nearly 8 years now(!) and has two kids, one boy and one girl from his Oriental wife! It makes sense. The guy didn't want to stay single for the rest of his life and remarried. Many men do that. It's understandable so far. What surprised me was his move to a new house, almost 2.5 times the price of the house that I was staying with him, 3 times bigger and in a much nicer neighbourhood! He says the house worth some $850,000 and the newly issued city assessment (appraisal) shows its value over $1,000,000! The second part must just be exaggeration but I saw the house and it well worth the value he says he has to pay. 
He told me several years ago that he had brought some money from his native motherland but I still find it hard to believe that he was approved for such an extravagant mortgage while still paying back the loan he has for the old house, has a big family to feed and I hardly know about his job, if he has any! I want to say it's a brave move but I also would like to add that it's very risky especially the way he treats that woman! I don't know why him and his former wife were separated but what guarantee does he have that this one will not?! 
The kids are small now, one of them less than a year, I guess. When they grow and a little easier to manage, the woman might not have the same interest in The Brave considering the treatment she receives from him and their age difference. There are many more to it but I rather not to go deep especially because I hope that will never happen but again, he gambles his life and gambles big! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

HMV is Following a&b Sound's Steps

I went to an HMV store a few weeks ago and bought two Coldplay CDs: A Rush of Blood to The Head, an old one and Mylo Xloto a newer album. I had bought the first one in a case of 2 and in live format, both years ago, I don't remember when and where. One of them was all the videos of the album. It was stolen from my car in summer of 2015. In the store the guy told me that I had to renew my reward card called Pure which I had gotten probably in 2014 or so. I refused. Spending $20 on two CDs seemed extravagant for someone like me who has been out of work for over a year! The only reason I bought those two albums is the reward I had received earlier for my volunteer work.
Just a little while after I refused to pay for the renewal of Pure reward card it was announced that HMV is going out of business and they soon will close all of their stores across the country! Strange that now where do we turn to buy our favorite movies and musics!? It reminded me of a&b Sound which was a much better store than HMV and although many might not remember, was closed a few years ago. I had bought a few fantastic items from them that a number still are in my collection and a few others were stolen among others in that summer night of 2015.
The now useless reward card of HMV called Pure. I have to read what's written about it but I don't care. I have lost bigger things in life. A reward card is a drop in that ocean!
Anyways I checked a store last weekend and everything was 20% off but I didn't buy anything. First because the amount of discount was low for a store which is soon closing. Secondly because fining your favorite music and films takes time. I might check them later at another location but the question remains; Why? I'm not a businessman but I wonder why these businesses struggle. They hire a number of guys and pay them almost minimum wage. They sell the music and movies of the companies which already made millions, mostly and their cost is noting but the lease they have to pay for their location. I've been to all of HMV locations in Calgary and I've purchased items from most of them but feel bad for the young fellas who work there for minimum wage and pat-time. Now they don't even have that. Just like Future Shop which was closed in 2013, I guess.
(Photo: An HMV location in Downtown Calgary. This place is always packed around noon because of all the offices around. They normally hire a number of guys for Christmas and even security guys. I've purchased a number of items from them but now they're closing)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Basic Officer Training Qualification: Sandbag Lifting

I spend some time in the building gymnasiumBasic Officer Training Qualification Test, if, I repeat if, I get the call from CAF. I recently bought two 18 Kg bags of play sand in order to practice the sand bag lift exercise of the qualification. In this exercise two 20 Kg sandbags are put on the floor within the distance of 1.25 m. The participant has to lift each bag to the height of 1 m., leave it (or better to say drop it) and then moves (or better to say leaps sideways) to the next one and does the same. He or she has to repeat that 30 times and be able to finish in 03:30 min., maximum.
as well as outdoors with the hope that I can prepare myself for the
I called The Chef once to come and help me. Unfortunately I had not been able to get durable bags and used tot bags! I put the plastic 18 Kg. bags in the tots and The Chef timed me. I just did that as a test to see how I can handle it. According to The Chef I finished the practice in about 02:20 min. or so but I know I can't trust his record keeping! Besides each bag was only 18 Kg meaning that I was lifting a total of less than 4 Kg each time I did both side but the result was somehow satisfying showing that I was not very weak. I, now, have to get a pair of durable bags and practice more with 20 Kg ones. I bought two weight belts years ago in British Columbia. Each belt has 8 small sand bags in order to be able to decrease or increase its weight. I can add 6 of them to each side to make them each equal to 20 Kg but as indicated earlier it's hard to find the damn bags!
Another issue is repeated lifting of sandbags is not the only exercise in the qualification test. There are three more and each seems as hard. The question is would I be able to finish all within the standard time as each comes after another?!
The Chef then decided to give the exercise a try and although he's much older than me and had not warmed himself up, went really well up until the 13th lift and then stopped! I know that would be a problem for him despite his strength but everyone has to know his or her limits. He was down the entire evening after that! We went to his place and he attacked the Rotisserie Chicken we had bought and then said that he had too much and too fast! He usually starts drinking before the food so Alcohol has its effect but this time he brought the booze after we ate and it was like drinking water! He also likes to play his traditional local music the entire time we spend at the dinner table but this time he didn't even has his player on the table! I realized that he was tired and I assume that was because of the lifting he had done! Eventually I suggested to leave early so he could go to sleep! I don't know if he did or not but he certainly welcomed my message and saw me off his door!
Then a weeks after that I purchased garbage bags from The Home Depot and make the 18 Kg sandbags heavier by adding the little belt sandbags and went to the gymnasium. At first one of them felt heavier but I said I have to do it. I timed myself and the result was 01:33 min.!!! How could that be. I had been practicing the exercise without the bags for some time and the result was the same. How did I do that while I had 20 Kg more weight on me and one of them was heavier??!
So now what I have to do is to balance the bags and try the exercise again. I hope I can find someone reliable to time me at least once before I head to the training center.
I was good the whole evening after that but I guess this is what is called warm body! Maybe not here but in the old country. Basically what it means is that after the exercise your body is still warm and if you don't threat it with respect (Hot shower, water, good meal, enough rest) it will act against you later. After the exercise I just had a little water, put my cloths on and went to The Chef's. Over there we talked for a bit and then we went to The Brave's to check on the status of the home. I did a little of snow shoveling and then we headed for a coffee to a local McDonald's. So here I was after almost 2 hours, had no rest and had nothing but a bite, a little water and a small coffee! Then we did some grocery shopping and went home and started cooking. Or better to say I did most of it. The Chef helped but he was busy with his drinking! The cooking took probably more than an hour and half and I was mostly on my feet! The dinner was not bad. I made some Zucchini and separately we had Spaghetti. The latter got a little runny(!) because I used, as The Chef likes, Tomato, instead of Tomato Paste and the Tomatoes had not been dissolved in the mixture of Onion, Garlic, Chili Pepper, Ground Beef and Spices but overall it didn't taste bad. I had enough of that but instead of having a Protein based food, I had mostly Carbohydrate based food although I had selected 100% Whole Wheat Spaghetti. After the dinner I sat for a little while and it was almost 23:00. The Chef was not able to keep his eyes open. I said goodbye and left. The next morning I felt like a dead corpse and even after a shower and breakfast I was acting almost all over and I felt heavy on the left side of chest which is not a good sign. I decided to rest and then I told myself that a good massage would be really helpful but didn't have that available to me!
(Photo: This basically shows how the exercise is down. You lift the sang bag up to 1 m. height and then drop it then jump sideways to the other one which is 1.25 m. away and do the same. You have to do this 30 time in the limited time mentioned above. This young lady, and I hope she doesn't mind that I'm using her photo, seems to start to struggle. Her neck veins are up and she has biting her lips. I hope she has made it, for whatever purpose it was)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Bad Day in Banff National Park

After months of staying home and mostly doing nothing and wasting time, this past Fri. I decided to have a hike in Banff National Park. Bad Mistake! That's how it started and continued! The first mistake was selecting the hour. I normally leave home at about 05:30 AM and that's on weekends when most of the people are sleeping. This time I left at around 06:30 when many were going to work or simply hitting Highway # 1 for any reason including skiing! By the time I got my coffee and entered the highway it was past 07:00 and lots of traffic and stupid, careless drivers on the road(!) including a bastard who pushed me toward Stony Trail and cost me at least 15 min. especially because of slippery roads and the stupid not-updated GPS! The road was not bad but then another problem showed its nasty face: I needed to go to bathroom very badly after the coffee! Coffee always does it for me and it has always been a step in my hiking trips! I have to go to bathroom after or during drinking my morning coffee! Finally I decided to go McDonald's in Canmore and for that reason I took Three Sisters Parkway. Just shortly before reaching the destination, the damn GPS started to act crazily and I simply ignored it and got myself to the desired spot and relieved myself! 
Having the new Discovery Pass, I didn't have to stop at the park gate and simply went through, although I strongly believe that Federal Government has made a big mistake issuing that annual pass. It results in nothing rather than more damage to the environment and more wildlife getting killed on the highways.
The Discovery Pass or Parks Canada 2017 free access pass. It's said that almost a million has ordered that so far!
The 5 Km. road to Lake Minnewanka where I wanted to have my hike was covered completely by snow but a plower/sander was working and I was fine.  Happily there were not many people basically because snow had been predicted for the area while the temperature was not very low. My next mistake appeared here and that was not having a good jacket on! I don't think with the amount of snow on the ground, I would have a good chance to reach my point of interest, Aylmer Lookout, Had I worn a good jacket! I just spend about 15 to 20 min. there, took a few photographs (which wouldn't turn very nice!) and left. I should have a much better planning for my trip the next time I'm going or it would be the same disaster!
(Photo, top: Parks Canada chair on the shore of Lake Minnewanka. Parks Canada actually sells these chair for $299 [for kids] and $399 [for adults] through its shopping website. I wonder who pays that much for a chair which Park Canada declares has been designed ergonomically and all its related earning would be spent on national parks)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Forth Time Being The Best!

This month I was waiting for the message to come and tell us volunteers to do for Feb. There was no message until the 9th which is very unusual. So I contacted the manager and he replied back the next day and said that he had been too busy to send the instructive message out. When it came I realized that I had been selected as the one who has contributed the most and I had been recognized for that for the 4th time and the 3rd consecutive month! 
While this is very encouraging and pleasing at the same time, the fact that the other participants are busy with their career and personal life should not be overlooked! I have no job and no personal life at the moment(!) and in the months of Dec. and Jan. which people are busy with Christmas, New Year and vacations I dedicated the most with Jan. being the highest in number of contributions. I'm pretty sure that if other participants or better to say volunteers cared as much as I do, the result would be different but at the same time I believe that I have been doing a good job and deserve the recognition award, the money which I'm expecting its forth one to come soon. 

Thursday, February 09, 2017

A Lair Has Short Memory

The other day I was in a supermarket for a snack and I was reading ingredients of a number of popular ones. All full of disgusting chemicals and preservatives which I've written about previously. This Triscuit I like a little because it has less shit compare to other products. However I checked one particular flavour for the amount of sugar and realized that it says it doesn't have any. Zero grams! Good! Then when I looked at the ingredients part sugar is seen there. One might say that the amount of sugar is so low that it's insignificant enough to be mentioned but what if someone has problem with the least amount of sugar? I'm not diabetic but I like to see what I'm eating. Besides many types of starch foods (or for a fact all of them!) turn to sugar in body. Pasta, potato, rice, etc. So you always have to watch the amount of sugar you're taking. Whether these guys are liars or simply made a mistake, I must say I'd classify them under the second group. A big company must double check its product box before sending it out. Millions read and rely on that. 
I have something else for another producer and I will write about it later after I report them to Industry Canada or a similar authority. 
(Photo: The nutrition and ingredient section of a type of Triscuit product shows 0 g. sugar while it is seen as one of ingredients!)

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Extreme but Beautiful Cold

This year we are experiencing the true winter of Alberta! It got really cold again in the past few days and today around noon I decided to take a walk beside Bow River. I don't know whether it was extreme cold, laziness or what that made me go back to the car only after 30 min.!
In the evening though I told to myself that I should get out. Sitting at the damn table and doing just a little is not good. Besides I exercise at the gymnasium every other day. Then I should walk or jog every other days of the week. I got out and that was not too bad. only -23 ℃!
An Overpass on Memorial and Downtown in the background. Although sunny and beautiful but it was brutally cold. You can tell by looking at the smoke coming up from the high-rises. For some though this is a time for some jogging fun. I've become lazy and haven't done that for a while or maybe focusing on another type of exercise!
 I guess I was able to walk for nearly 1.5 hour because first there was no wind and then I had some food and they were being consumed and providing me with energy in comparison with the noon's walk that I had barely had anything but my small breakfast. 
I told myself: Today I'm someone who's afraid of walking in the cold. Tomorrow, what would be that I'm afraid to do!?
(Photo, top: I rode the train just for one station on my way back and had the chance to take a photo from the electronic board to prove how cold it is!)

Monday, February 06, 2017

Bad Pills

There was lots about the people who died from drug overdose in Dec., many in British Columbia which is notorious for its drug users! I personally saw a jackass near Gateway Station in Surrey who took out a needle and was going to inject shit into himself last summer! I guess in Alberta we have the same story maybe not with that intensity. 
With that being said I met The Chef last weekend near a Canadian Tire. He wanted to buy a few things. He had a problem with The Brave's home, I don't know he did it unintentionally while he was drunk or not, but a pipe blew and the basement got flooded. So he was there on time and I noticed that he was unusually tired and couldn't even speak! He also went on the poor cashier who was a Filipino woman. He's normally very nice to people, smiles, greets, etc. He returned the Canadian Tire money with such a displeasure! Then on the way back to the house and when I noticed her red eyes I asked her if he had drunken any alcohol or if he have had a good sleep last night. The answers were negative and positive respectively! I believed him because he seemed tired not drunk! 
I let him have a nap in the car while we were going to The Brave's to check the status of the house. After that we headed to a supermarket to buy grocery to make dinner and when we got home he told me that he had taken two pills that a so-called friend bastard of him had sold to him! I should have known! He said he was so upset about his inability to function normally that he wanted to shot himself in the head! He then said that the cure to that was alcohol. He poured himself a glass of Vodka and Pepsi that he normally prepares and keeps! He seemed fine after 2 glasses! I  of course didn't drink any being sick of Gout but he seemed cured! I told him that it was a very risky gamble and if he does that again I'd report that bastard to the police, although I don't know where he is. Anyways the rest of the night went by peacefully. He prepared 4 Trouts in the oven and I enjoyed 2 of them. No incident or anything!
(Photos: Four grilled trouts might not look very pretty but they tasted very good. The black items on the top are tomatoes, mostly. It was excellent)

Friday, February 03, 2017

Failure After Failure!

I received another message from a provincial government in regards to a position that I had applied back in December of last year: Denied! I was hopeful about this one because they needed a number of people and as well I think I did well in the assignment they sent to me. Apparently I was wrong!
Now the only position left is the CAF's which I'm supposed to start in March but even that one is not guaranteed until I pass all the training stages which I think there will be at least four stages!

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Founder

I had not been to a movie for a long time and I decided to see what's available in theaters. Rather than usual Hollywood trash which is produced on monthly bases the only movie that caught my eyes was this new one called The Founder. This is the story of establishment and growth of the biggest chain restaurant in the world, McDonald's
Surprisingly The Chef wanted to go to a movie for the first time in his life in Canada(!) and asked me what was on. He added that he wanted to get away from his stressful life now that he's on the verge of losing his house less than 2 years after he and his fool friend(!) bough it! 
We went to Sunridge cinema which is not located in a nice neighbourhood of the city because The Chef himself doesn't not live in a nice neighbourhood of the city(!) but that was alright. I had not been to Sunridge because I knew what I should have expected but being close to The Chef's and considering how he looks, I decided to go there despite The Chef's request to go to Chinook!
McDonald's brothers, both wearing glasses with the milk shake machine. The other guy could be Kroc, the salesman for the machine but I didn't find any information where the photo was found. In the movie only one of the brothers wear glasses. The bold one, here on left, doesn't. They eventually sell their company to Kroc for $1.5 million (each).
There were as many as 10 people(!) in that specific theater! That, I had expected because people usually don't get entertained by watching the story of how a business is developed! The movie is good. I liked the old style cars and the way they show people in the 40's. Michael Keaton has the main role and that is the guy who basically is responsible for McDonald's today's growth and success, not the original McDonald's brothers who opened the first restaurant in San Bernardino, California in 1945. One interesting message that the movie sends to its audience is what is behind every success and there's only one thing: Persistence! This is shown in a scene where the milk shake machine salesperson Ray Kroc is frustrated of several unsuccessful attempt on his road trip and is staying in a hotel. In there he is listening to a sort of course on vinyl and there he gets the message. He's absolutely right. You could be a very talented man, you could be the most educated, etc., etc. but the only thing that helps you to get the thing you want is persistence. A good example of that is myself. I have good education and I don't think I'm a guy who lacks talent but I don't have much persistence when it comes to what I need. That has kept me behind, for years. Every time there's an opportunity I say what the hell! If I don't get it, there'll be another one soon but that is not always the case especially when you get old!
The movie is almost an hour and half long and at parts discusses the legal issues which might sound boring to some but in general is good and I recommend that. I even consider buying the DVD when it's released. It's nice to see the US when it was in its glorious years of development and growth. At least 3.5 out of 5 for the movie. By the way one of the McDonald's brothers in the movie is the guy who portraits a barber in Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino
(Photo: This picture shows one of the first McDonald's restaurants in the movie)