Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gen. Schwarzkopf Passed Away

I just realized last night that General Norman Schwarzkopf had passed away on Dec. 27th. This weblog by no means is a news blog but I could not ignore this.
I became familiar with the General right after the war ended in Kuwait in 1992 when I still lived in the old country. I became familiar through his book, It Doesn't Take A Hero. Then I waned to know if what had been translated is true. So I bought the book shortly after coming to Canada and read parts of it. I really enjoyed how the General tells his life's story from the time that he was a child and his father had to leave for Europe, to the time that he was in the process of joining the US Army and the difficulties and struggles.
His father, Norman Sr. was sent to Iran shortly after the Second World War and that is the favorite part of the book when he describes the old Tehran to you.
I have not unfortunately finished the book yet but whatever I have read has been interesting very much and it's highly recommended. It's one of those book which never gets old. Schwarzkopf was 78.
(Photo: Schwarzkopf with his family in Tehran, his two sister, Mom and Dad. There is a Persian carpet on the floor and a Persian rug on the wall. As well a hand-crafted table cloth from Isfahan on the coffee table as well as other Iranian handicrafts. Schwarzkopf was between 11 and 13 at the time, I guess)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fatal Cold

The temperature has remained in the range of -25 to -20 degrees Celsius in the last 5 days of so in Calgary. I went for me usual running the day before and also before that but today I didn't dare! I guess I had inhaled quite big amount of freezing air into my warm lungs and made them sensitive to cold. I felt like I was going down with a cold today in the morning.
Instead I decided to have a little walk in Shaw Millennium Park and Confederation Park to test my newly purchased Sony Cybershot DSC-W560 which we had bought this morning. I was so cold that I could not feel my fingers for a while!
I came back home around 08:50 PM and we decided just to have salad for dinner with a little bread and cheese. That was not helpful! I still feel cold. So what I did was I put two pants and two running jackets on and put the heat on as well!
It is also in the forecast that the temperature remains the same for the rest of the week. I do not recall I ever experiences such a brutal and long winter cold.
(Photo: An ice sculpture in Confederation Park. There is beautiful lighting in there but I could not see all because I was about to get frozen. I will probably post photos later. The new camera is not so bad, I guess. Worth the price)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Are Oil Sands Projects Screwed?


The activities on Oil Sands projects in Alberta has attracted many people to this province in the past 5 years or more. As well have kept many people active around the globe. Manufacturers and service providers from Korea to the UK and from the US to all industrial provinces of Canada are benefiting form these projects but seems lack of proper transportation media has significant affect on the projects.
The XL Keystone Pipeline which is planned to take the crude from Alberta to Texas has not been approved. At the same time there was another one on the schedule which was supposed to take Alberta's oil to the coasts of British Columbia and that one, the Gateway Pipeline is in holding pattern as well simply because B. C. wants more than Alberta is offering (levy, etc) and Alberta is not giving that much away.
So the current situation in oil industry of Canada is pretty much similar to Iran's! That country faces sanctions that not only prevents the oil industry from investing and renewal but also does not let them to export as much as normally is done.
I even heard the oil sand recently has been sold for $45 a barrel while the conventional oil is around $90 a barrel. I don't know how transporting goods could affect the price of an item this much! It could be possibly because of not being able to meet delivery date deadlines.
I also noticed the day before that the price of gasoline has gone down significantly and below $1 for every litre and that I can say happened for the first time since summer of 2010, as far back as I remember. While the temperature is too low now, currently around -17 °C and considering windchill it feels around -24 °C (I was out walking for about 20 minutes!) and snowfall has caused issues in many European countries, it is not known why the price of oil has gone so low.
So this is another reason that no one is immune to the economy here in Canada. I feel bad for the dickheads who just after a year and a half working bought houses for $650,000 and up and have to pay mortgage for the next 35 to 40 years. In a way I don't feel bad for them because that's what is going to happen to suckers! How guarantees a job for 35 years here in Canada? Wal-Mart may be does that!
(Photo: Two maps here the one on the left shows the Gateway Pipeline which goes through northern Alberta and British Columbia and the one on the right, the XL Keystone which is supposed to take the oil of Alberta to the south coast of the US to feed the refineries)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Seven Wonders

You probably know about the Seven Wonders of the Word. I do not know them by heart but I guess only one of them exists now. It’s easy to find it on the Internet. Then in the past few years the Modern 7 World Wonders have emerged just to make people entertained and then every country individually started having its own 7 wonders.
I was in one of the Canada’s 7 wonders today. I had seen him previously but I never knew that was one of the wonders so I was surprised when I faced it. That was my East Indian colleague who took me to lunch! It’s passed 10:00 PM and I still cannot believe that. He had told me that we were going and he asked me when I wanted to go. I left it to him to decide so we went to an Indian restaurant. I was really hungry so I helped myself very well. That was rare from someone who had told me earlier that about purchasing a pair of boot from Wal-Mart for $3. I asked me how someone who does not even want to spend his own money for himself would by me a lunch for $15 but did not find any answer for that! I will have to do that for him, most probably in 2013.
(Photo: The great pyramid of Giza, which I don't know which one it is(!), apparently is the only wonder left from the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. It has been only 2010 that I thought of having a trip but just shortly after my decision the country erupted and to this date has not seen peace yet)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Party 2012

It was a bit hard to get to the hotel where the 2012 Christmas party had been held. I started calling the damn cab company at about 04:15 PM and had no success until 06:10 PM that I decided to stop dialing. Then we went down and got the engine started. A taxi cab showed at the door before I have the engine warmed up. So I got out and I asked if he was waiting for someone and apparently he was just dropping his buddy, the day shift guy and had just taken over. So we got lucky and were there not too late. For that, I'm hopping Checker has a valid answer! How is it possible that I tried their number for over an hour without one single successful connection while their drivers were driving freely around the town! I would be ashamed and reevaluate my entire system.
Anyway this year's party felt better to me. I did not have to put up with the assholes that I see them on daily basis in the office. Most of them were not there. The food was good and drinks were flowing! In fact I drank too much. This time after a few glasses of red and white wine I tried Whiskey on rocks and it was very good before the dinner because my stomach was empty and I felt overjoyed and relaxed! I tired it several more times after the dinner and was not bad. The bartender once gave me a shot of Bourbon and that was awful and I told her that. So she switched back to my regular! We danced a bit and chatted and unlike last year we left at around 11:40 PM. I got lucky that I did not throw up because after we got home I felt really bad in my stomach and could not sleep for a few hours! My mouth was dried because of too much alcohol I had drunk, I guess! But I managed top control a major flow of puke!
(Photo: The main entrance of the hotel where the party was held)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Camp Life (7): Laundry Room

The life in the camp has been established in a way that everyone could feel at home and has everything available including laundry. I never used the machines because I didn't want to go through the hassle of hauling my dirty cloths bag to the room and everything. Besides I never stayed very long over there.
The problem with the laundry is it is very noisy and it's main door is never shut, like this photo up here. My cell was at least 5 to 6 doors away from the laundry room but I still could hear the zippers and buttons hitting the tub's surfaces! Not to mention the other noises and my cells door was shut of course. Imagine how miserable it could be to the guy who just stays next to the laundry room and the one nest to him/her. I guess if we consider all the other problems at the camp, this one is probably not a major one. When it comes to money, people will put up everything.
(Photo: There is a laundry room in every level of each wing but the main floor, I guess because I only lived in the second and third floor when I was there. They have brand new big machines)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Camp Life (6): Working in Cold

I had heard stories of the temperature going down in northern Canada while people had to work. This time I got the chance to experience it just during the walking. I admit that I did not have much on but the guys who were actually working are covered pretty well. I had a pair of jeans and nothing but a briefs underneath. On the trunk I had a pullover and a regular winter jacket on the top and I had my hard hat and other safety gears on me. If the wind is not blowing, there will be not much problem. When the wind blows then that could be a son of a bitch because it works like a knife on your skin. On one occasion I had to put a Monkey Hat or as some call it here a Balaclava (Not Baklava!) Then you will be fine. Otherwise no work will be done and the whole work should be shut down for 4 months or so!
(Photo: Outside temperature reads -28 °C. This was taken at 09:54 AM and did not have a significant change during the day) 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The 11th Year

Today marks my 11th year in Canada. There has been bad and good moments, like everyone else but one thing that I wanted to specifically address here in today's post is how many times I have moved so far. The list bellow show the places that I have lived so far:
1- North East Part of Calgary.
2- Downtown Calgary in the vicinity of 17th Ave. SW and 17h A. St.
3- In the neighbourhood of Hubalta Road in South East part of Calgary.
4- In the area of Queensland Dr. of Calgary in South East.
5- Around Chinook Shopping Mall in Calgary, just a few minutes walk.
6- In Coquitlam, British Columbia. That was a big jump!
7- In Squamish, British Columbia, another big jump but not as big as the previous one!
8- Back to Coquitlam, British Columbia for a very short time, may be a month or a little longer.
9- In Surrey, British Columbia.
10- Moved to White Rock, British Columbia.
11- Went Back to Surrey in the same province again!
12- Took a big leap and went back to Calgary lives for a week or so in 4th Ave. Northeast, Just a few minutes drive from Downtown.
13- Went up to the Northeast part of Calgary again and stayed around 2 months, I guess.
14- Returned to Downtown Calgary around 26th Ave.
15- And now I am here!
One would have gone crazy, if had not been as strong as I am but I admit that this much moving cost me many things. Not recommended!
(Photo: There is no celebration or any other ceremony and this cake is not here. I just like the photo and thought it was not a bad idea to use it here. Thanks to however that has taken it. May be I will have a celebration in the coming years if life shows me a better face)

Sleepless After Late Exercise


I heard many years ago that late physical activities, for instance sport activities or even sex prevents the people from sleeping. I never had such problem until recent days. The day before I went for my running and it was almost 18:30 and few degrees below zero. I was fine during the entire time but when the sleeping time came, my difficulty emerged.
Of course the state of mind is very important too, as well as what is eaten and when but this lack of sleep with all involved factors comes to me at times. I once wanted to try something to help me sleep but have not thought about that seriously.
(Photo: This is Memorial Dr. in Calgary at the north bank of Bow River in last weekend when I went for running. No problem with sleeping since an early afternoon time had been selected. I did not go today due to the issue explained above)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Automatic Computer

 
I guess there are features if set, your computer would automatically start and runs a program. I have never had one. I was asleep just a few nights back and it was passed midnight. I woke up hearing someone was talking in the living room. I guess it was 03:30 AM or something. I though F. F. was watching something on the computer but at that time of the morning!? No! She was asleep. So I went to the living room and I realized it was a clip of Seinfeld that I probably had watched it earlier last nigh and was minimized! I just do not understand how it had been started!
I stopped the clip, minimized the page and put the computer to sleep or turned it off and went back to the bed! I have not found the answer to why the computer started by itself and why the clip ran!
(Photo: The main characters of Seinfeld show. I found this nice cartoon on the net and I am hoping its artist does not mind me using it here. There are so much to write about this show. The only thing I would like to say is to me this is the greatest that has ever been made and I am big fan)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Animals in Winter

We all know that the wildlife get closer to the towns and cities in the winter for food. I experienced one last year in GlenmorePark. Last weakened I went to Nosehill and it was very cold, less than -10 °C and I wanted to have my normal jugging. I realized that it was a little late, not because it was getting dark; I was to pick up F. F. So I started walking up the hills. Just after a few minutes I noticed movement up over the hill. There were a few animals standing there. When I got a bit closer they looked like White Tailed Deer to me. I wanted to take a photo and this time I had my Samsung digital camera on me. This was my last resort because I had lost the Sony which had been with me for over 5 years, but I realized that the batteries were dead! I stated running because I was running out of time and I guess that caused the damn camera falling off my pocket and I lost the second camera in the past 6 months!
Anyways I got as close as I could because shortly after I started running up, they noticed and took steps back. I used my mobile phone and took a few photos. The best one can be seen below! Nothing is clear. You only can see three brown spots! Those are the hungry and cold animals!
(Photo: This could be a chalenge for someone to find the deers in this photo!)  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Risking Without Thinking


There is no doubt that in every business there is an inherent risk. At times I think to myself whether there is a secure job that the person actually can have ease of mind and live in peace!? May be years ago when the world was not in such mess and population was not this big. I can not recall anyone from my family, from both mother's and father's side, ever having any job problem until my generation. Even when I was graduated it was not so hard to find a job that you wanted to stay, regardless of the fact that the salary was barely satisfactory. Now the good jobs are scarce and the stable businesses are not seen easily.
A few month back I noticed this new coffee shop in Downtown on my way back home from work. The minute I saw it I realized that it was a bad step taken. A Tim Horton's is just 2 minutes walking distance from it and there is adjacent Mac's which everyone know that supplies coffee as well. Not to mention 17th Ave. where there are tons of coffee shops. From the independent ones that I saw it last Sat. had opened in place of an old Convenience Store ran by Chinese to McDonald's, Tim Horton's again, Wave Coffee, etc. So what were you guys thinking when you opened this place!? Have you had your brain with you when you decided to open up this new business!?
In addition to that the location is on a one way street were there is barely any parking spot available or the if it is available either is occupied by the locals or its  a paid parking spot. So rather than locals, who I believe have already made themselves with the other similar businesses in the neighbourhood, would anyone else go there for a relaxed time with a cup of Joe?
I guess the same story applies to the other one which you see a photo of this on the right. For years there was this old store at this corner. At least I remember 10 years of it! Now they have opened this new Analog Coffee Shop in there and quite surprisingly there were people in there but these businesses always send invitations to family members and friends to have the place occupied and at times packed for the first few days and even weeks just to attract customer and then if it is successful they go by the flow. Otherwise they shut it down. coffee shops here in Canada, some of them as I have seen, they are hang out place. So the people who don't want to get together regularly in a bar and drink alcohol as much, they gather in coffee shops, even for meetings and once a cafe is recognized in that way, it remains in the business. So may be that is why some of them come up with this idea of opening a new coffee shop. I used to spend a lot of time in Tim Horton's and even now I go to McDonald's whenever I get a chance to read my book because there I am away from movies and Internet! But still if it was me who wanted to open up a new business, I would try to bring something new to the neighbourhood. Something that people actually want to see differently from the other restaurants and businesses because if it is not unique it will end up like the one at the left!
(Photo: The coffee shop for sale which only survived a few weeks and on right the new one opened at one busy corner of 17th Ave. SW)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Clear and Present Danger

I watched a good movie on DVD after a while finally last week. One of Tom Clancy`s, Clear and Present Danger. Tom Clancy`s stories about a C. I. A. agent could be compared with Jason Bourne series. In the fist ones Jack Ryan is the character but unlike Bourne he's not the guy who has forced to fight against unethical C. I. A. guys. He is a C. I. A. hero who at the end even questions the President and testifies in front of the Senate. In fact I bought two movies: The Bourne Ultimatum and the the one made based on Clancy's novel with Harrison Ford.
You can not compare Ford and Demon because they play different roles in the two movies. Ford as Ryan is a PH. D. holder who is a director in C. I. A. while Demon as Bourne is a field operative. The style of the actors are also different and that could be because of their timing. Ford has played major roles in many movies and most if not all are commercially successful. I can not even imagine who much money he has made so far. I have only seen Demon as the first character in as Jason Bourne. His act in Saving Private Ryan was good too. I can conclude this way that both of the movies are recommended but they have different texture. I guess while Bourne movies are trying to show how dirty C. I. A. could get (we all know that!), Ryan's movie try to show the C. I. A.'s supremacy to the extent that they even are able to question the President. I guess in JFK, the C. I. A. didn't bother questioning him. They just got rid of him!
(Photo: A scene of the movie. Unlike this shot the movie is not an action/war movie full of fake explosions and torn apart bodies. It's a good movie!)

Friday, November 09, 2012

Freezing Fog

 
Alberta`s weather has different phenomenas at different times of the year. From the hail storms of the summer to the freezing fogs of fall. It is supposed to be fall now but snow is everywhere and the temperature has fallen to -12 °C. More snow is in the forecast and the weekend will be colder.
Last weekend we had a little ride in the Calgary and the visibility was very limited in the northeastern part of the city. This gives the area a mysterious situation.
(Photo: This shows the intersection of Memorial Dr. and 36 St. NE. Marlborough Mall is supposed to be seen from here but only it sign appears)

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Camp Life (5): The Cells


The life in the camps resemble concentration camps, labour camps or Gulags, whichever you want to name it. Many might night be familiar with the last term. I am going to provide a little explanation here. Gulag in a Russian acronym for Chief Administration of Corrective Labour Camps and Colonies or in case there are Russian readers: Гла́вное управле́ние исправи́тельно-трудовы́х лагере́й и коло́ний! Those labour camps where spreaded all across the former Soviet Union for almost 30 years. It is said that almost 1 millions were died as of the hard condition of those camps which were all closed in 1960.
Whether this these camp and the other similar camps will reach that death tool or not is a different question but the death of people would not be as a result of excessive hard labour, cold temperature and lack of food. It would be because of excessive smoking, old food contaminated with all sorts of preservatives and chemicals and obesity and it gradually kills the majority of the people who work there, lets say in the next 30 years!
Every building of the camp has three levels and every level has single rooms at both sides of course. These are small room with one single bed, a facet and sink, a wardroob, a small table and a small flat TV attached to the wall. At one side of you is a toilet and shower that you sahre with the next door guy and it works in this way that when you are using the bathroom/tiolet you luck his door from inside and when he or she is suing it, your is locked. The amount of noise is irritating but because it is not continious, it is not a bif problem.
On the other side you share a wall, avery thick one with your neighbour and in fact there is a very thick layer of drywall and cover is what separates your two beds! I had issues with both of the wall-to-wall neighbours. The first asshole would receive a telephone call every morning at 04:30 AM and we would be both up. Then he would put the damn TV on! He left after a week, I guess. The other fucker was a big quiet compare to the first one during the night and morning but talked a lot on the phone or with his friends very loudly. Basically people spend a little time in the rooms because just the feeling might make you sick. Some bring their laptops so can get busy in the room. The Internet service in the room is free compare to the 1 or two computers in the camp that you have to pay $6 an hour to use them! I don't believe anyone ever uses them. TV has good channels for the people are really into TV watching. I watched different programs while in there. Entertaining. The shower is so small that even for someone as small as me (only 5' 7" and very fat) is not comfortable to take a shower but I had to do that almost every day.
The entire building, I am nore sure if it is wood frame or what because it is only three levels, but is not sound proof. So when people are walking in their coridor you think that someone is going to step right in shortly! For all the above reasons sleepness is a big problem in the camp. Everyone I talked to said that he had not a good sleep the night before. When I got back to the town I calculated that I owed myself as many as 33 hours of sleep. For that reason I went to bed almost at 09:00 PM and sometimes sooner for the first week after my return!
(Photo: Inside the cell where the bed is. You can also see the table and window. The bedsheet is changed every week buy the housekeeping staff. It is highly recomanded to take your bed sheet, blanket and pillow case)

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Camp Life (4): Unbelievable Amount of Waste

One of the significant features of Western society, more specifically Canadian society is the amount of waste that you see on daily bases on almost every aspect of life. It was almost the same in the old country when I used to live there. I don`t know about now that people are mostly struggling for the end`s meat. One of the very popular ones that I actually heard it once with my own ears from one retarded was the car vomited” and they use it when they fill up the tank so much that gasoline actually pumps out of the gas and spills all over. The price of gasoline in the country which is one of the top 5 exporters of oil and gas products was very cheap. It is not that much now. Also it was amazing that how much bread people waste on daily basis, at least in the city that I was born and grew up. There were peddlers who practically bought those wasted, old bread from you and would sell it to farmers(!) I heard once. Strange flow of material! You spend millions of dollar to prepare the base food, bread and after years and years you still don’t know how to make it so a huge part of it is impossible to consume after a day of two. So you mostly dump them or feed your animals with it, that are going to be slaughtered for your food soon! Strange cycle here as well. I know that to date people still do not know how make healthy bread that can be kept for a few days.
With this preface we go back to Canada when recycling systems were introduced years ago but people still don`t feel that they must use them. As I explained in a previous post, food is free and available to a very unlimited certain to the Site crew. That causes a huge waste. In fact with the amount of food that people waste at a Site camp a country as big as Bangladesh`s population could be fed. I remember that once I was in the kitchen and this administrative old lady came and started cleaning up the refrigerator. By cleaning up I mean bags of food which were going to the big trash can: Pizza slices, tuna sandwiches, pieces of fruit, lasagna, chicken pieces, etc. There were actually food in there that could still be eaten but she did not care and got rid of all. Some I bet had been picked up the same morning! There was no room in the tall can anymore after that.
And then we move on and check the papers. There is a lot of paperwork in these projects, both at the Site and the offices. Every day we had pile of paper that would directly go to either garbage cans or recycling bins. Those were papers that people had printed and simply didn`t bother to go to the printer to take them! Why the hell would you print something that you don`t need. The printer once was out of order during my short stay at the site, simply because it was being overused for the paper that mostly would go to the garbage. And there was nobody to stop this! Nobody simply cared!
Another big waste at the Site is fuel. Fuel for trucks and buses and fuel for keeping the camp warm. The heating system continuously works without being regulated. So no matter if the temperature is as low is -5 °C or 10°C the same energy is consumed, people simply open the windows and door to let the hot air go!
Ford SUV. Buses are mostly 1/4 full when they go back and forth.
So I really don`t know how these projects are going to be profitable. But as one of the fellas told once this is people who pay for everything through the shares they buy and all other ways! May be the Project owner is just fine!
(Photo: Camp buildings in a partially cloudy afternoon. All these buildings have separate single cells that their temperature could be regulated individually. I will have another post about the cells soon)

Friday, November 02, 2012

1 to 1:63 Ratio

1 to 1.63 is the debt ratio in Canada now. It means for every dollar that people make, on average, they spend $1.63. It is more than 1.5 times. Too much but not me! It is said that when the economy collapsed in the US in 2008 the ratio was 1 to 1.70. We are close.
I don`t know what the role of Government would be here. Is this enough just to broadcast it once in a year in a TV news show like CBC which is barely watched by anyone? The Government is elected and appointed by people to govern them. That, I believe is the role of the Government. At least it is said in the Western democracy. The Government of Canada keeps saying that they have strong banking system. May be. May be not. What strong banking system it is that they give loan to someone after a year and half working to buy a $650,000 house! I do not know that system as strong. I know that system as unwise. There is no doubt that the greedy banks think of the money that they can make out of these guys but when the market collapses that houses value will go as low as $100,000 or less.
There was this Oriental guy who worked with us back to British Columbia. He told me a bit about what was going with the housing and economy in general a bit.
The government has the power and authority to prevent that from happening here but doesn't see to be doing its job. Just a few days ago the Minister of Immigration announced that around 260,000 more immigrant will enter the country in 2013! What a stupid policy! Where is those guys are going to work? Sure we have so many Fast Food chain restaurants, supermarkets and shopping centres here and all those greedy companies who bring their products from China hire on daily bases. So why don't we hire them all there. Sure someone can has a wonderful life with a $12 an hour salary. So we can conclude that we are on the right path!
(Photo: This little picture has nothing to do with the ratio but resembles the greedy companies that make their items in countries like Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, China and sililar for as low as $5 and sell them here in North America for as high as $120)

Monday, October 29, 2012

XL Fools for Fools


You know what they say: A fool and his money are soon parted. This old saying has no meaning for the fools who worked for XL Fools. It is said that the majority of the workforce of XL Fools Meat Processing Plant in Brooks, Alberta are Africans from torn the part eastern African countries, mostly Muslims. These poor guys fled their countries which were affected by civil war, drought and other problems with the hope that they can find food, peace and shelter here.
They most likely slept in Government provided housings and fed by the Food Banks and the money that the Government paid them on regular basis, at the beginning. Then all of a sudden a fellow countryman of them told them about this magic place that make people able to by cars, apartments and all the luxury that they never even dreamed about before stepping on Canadian soil. So many believed and joined XL Fools and after a while of hard work they decided to have wives and children, Hondas and apartments, like everyone else(!) in Canada not knowing that this is a Capitalist society and the last thing that has value for the owners is the human beings.
I do not know to whom this XL Fools belong to but it should be someone or group of people that they don't care about the plant not operative. They most likely are wise enough not to put all of their eggs in one basket. I remember when I used to work for a similar outfit there was this Caucasian guy who just had joined us. He said that he used to be a waiter and he was so happy that now he finishes around 05:00 PM and would be home soon. He told us about the plant that he used to work for in Edmonton. He said that there were on strike once and then the owner didn't even bother considering their request. The plant was simply shut down and everyone was dispersed!
So these African guys who are said to be crying after hearing that the plant was shut and receiving their Pink Slip had no fucking clue that they are doomed no matter if they are in Africa or Canada. If you are playing, you must know the rules or soon you are going to be a loser. They did not know the game and they did not know the rules. They just look at the others and imitated. That's why they are where they are now!
(Photo: I am not laughing at these poor fools who their life hs turned upside down now but this is he only good picture I found on the net)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Camp Life (3): Great Ideas of the Intellectuals


Camp crew, to the extent that I learnt, mostly comprises of tough Caucasian guys from all over the country. In fact these are the guys whom are called Roughnecks. I barely saw anyone who was as small as I am (5' 7") and these actually are the people who run the projects, practically. Barely anyone form other background was seen. I sat with a few of them, not a planned sitting although I liked to, and talked to them, or better to say they talked to me. Canadians normally do not have a good relationship with non-Caucasian especially in a place like a camp. The smaller people who are supposed to be the intellectual team of the project, are placed in the site office and those are mostly the guys who are physically not capable of doing Roughneck tasks.
I had a little chat with a guy from P. E. I. at dinner table once. Very nice gentleman, in his late 40s and early 50s, I would say. I felt really bad for him that at this age he has to travel more than 5000 KM (ground distance) to make it to work while there are people here from the other sides of globe who simply make more than what he does at ages half of him without travelling more than 10 KM daily. But that is the nature of life. The good thing is he does not have to pay for air fare and also the tax that the foreigner guy pays is going to be spent on places like his hometown and elsewhere.
I really didn't like the assholes of the office that I was staying at, except for a few guys. One of the morons who in fact is a very nice guy but a true hammerhead, was from somewhere in Far East. We were talking about different projects and I explained to him how the equipment are lined up in the project that he is not part of. He seemed that he was not happy because on this one he feels like he is a key player! So he tried to comment just to prove that he has done so much and he knows a plenty. We have three major machinery, each of them weigh tons and are put in distances as far as 500 meters from each other. Each machinery stand as tall as a three story building at least. This fucking idiot said that why would not we put the last equipment on the top of the second one just to save on cables and other communications as well as conveying systems?! Can you imagine something as stupid as this? I mean think before you spell something out! We want to put something as heavy as hundred of tons and as tall as a four story building on the top of another thing which if not taller and heavier than the base one, is not much smaller! I guess we have to have a foundation as deep as a 10 story high rise and cranes with booms of the same size and capabilities of tons!
There was another guy in the same department and this guy is from one of the Atlantic provinces and from French descent. I happen to find his resume in the system and read that. It was quite a shock to me for someone who has worked in many places and has training of different kinds, not being able to prepare an impressive resume without grammatical mistakes, someone who has born in Canada and now is in his late 40s.
The others were not much better than these two samples. So for me working at site has the benefit of working with people as smart as these ones! Forget it!
(Photo: Imagine instead of using a conveyor to carry a pile of stones in spot 1 to a crusher in spot 2, you put a storage facility on the top of the crusher. Wouldn't that be brilliant?)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Camp Life (2): All You Can Breathe


As I stated in the earlier post about the camp life, people's access to alcohol and drugs is very limited. In fact consumption of either of them is forbidden in the camp and the camp security performs random checks using sniffing dogs to find hidden narcotics. However I believe there still could be people who can hide those stuff from the security. After all the security that I saw over there comprises of African people, mostly from eastern Arab-affected Muslim states of eastern Africa who in fact are the most stupid ones, no offence to anyone. In one case we were going to the camp and when we reached the check point, the bar was up and the driver even did not bother swiping the card and simply drove through. The Black guy in the security booth showed that he was concerned and was waiving and going to jump out and stop us but the driver simply ignored him and carried on, parked and we all left the vehicle!
Nevertheless many do not risk bringing drugs and alcohol to the site and just make a fool of themselves using cigarettes. For those who say smoking cigarette is not addiction should come and see this. These people when they are inside the camp, at work or on the bus, barely can control themselves and as soon as the bus stops or they step out of the camp building, they light a cigarette and gather in groups and enjoy tobacco smoking! So when you are walking from the camp to the parking lot in the morning to catch your ride, all you can breathe is cigarette smoke for the first 5 minutes or so! That is disgusting. I guess if the Project owner announces a smoke-free camp, they will lose half of the work force but hey who cares about the people's health and well-being and the environment? What is important is getting the job done so the client can start the production and sell every barrel of crude for around $90. That is what is matter.
(Photo: This picture although not clear shows workers in a sunny day enjoying a smoke in smoking designated areas. This can bee seen as early as 05:00 AM)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Argo


I wanted to see this new movie of Ben Affleck not because I like him as a good actor or director, only because I wanted to see what has been gathered by Americans to narrate one of the important events in the history of Iran, one of many that I personally experienced as a child.
In fact that was the first movie of Affleck that I watched. He, to me, always looked like a grade 3 actor, someone as low as a B Movie star but I didn't mind giving him a few bucks to watch what he directed.
I remember as a child one night my family was walking in front of the US Embassy in Tehran. It was for sure shortly after the embassy was captured by the people who called themselves The Universality Students Followers of the Path of Imam (Khomeini)! As much as this tile sounds stupid, what they did has impacts that today still affects Iranians all around the globe and inside Iran as well. I remember that it was a little cold fall night and we were walking on the sidewalk and there were all these peddlers who were selling books and newspapers. It was just shortly after the Revolution and different parties were still free to express themselves. Of course the Revolutionary Court put them all in prison or send them to fire squad later, in a few months! It was me, my younger brother, my Mom and of course Dad. My Mom now says that she was sick and tired of Dad's Political participation/games but there was not much to do at the time! Dad were always political and eventually got fired from his job for expressing himself and supporting anti-government opposition groups after the Revolution. He even once was called to Evin, one of the most notorious prisons in the world, and was interrogated. That had a very psychological impact on her.
I remember that Dad was always supportive of my studies. If I wanted to buy a book or a magazine who never would think twice. That night, in front of the Embassy of the US, in Tehran, I remember that I saw a little book of a French artist who had cartoons which their titles all had the word CIA in them! For example there was Ambulancia and many more but that is the only that I have in my mind. Dad bought that for me and    then we went home after a few hours of walking around. When I say that that always supported my reading and studying it means that what I know about English language is mainly is because that always encouraged me to study. At times he would sit with me and we would read books in English, translate and discuss it. 
Nevertheless Affleck's Argo starts with a brief history of Iran from the time of the American-British Coup which resulted in overthrown of Dr. Mossadegh's elected government to the Islamic Revolution. The narration is done by a woman which clearly has an Persian accent. The way she narrates the story and condemns the exiled King (Shah) at the end results in justification of the Islamic Revolution! I don't know whose message is that but there so many things behind that 1979 Islamic Revolution and can not simply pointed out in a 5 minutes narration of a movie. The stealing of the Revolution from the people and handing it over to the extremists, the role of the British and many other things. As Oliver Stone says in JFK it is a mystery wrapped in an enigma! 
Then there are scenes in the movie which clearly are untrue and exaggeration  It is made almost the same way that Not Without My Daughter was made. Street executions, truck loads of guerrillas driving around with their fingers on the trigger and looking around, etc. The movie has been probably filmed in Israel with Iranian-Israeli actors and actresses. That's what I can say by simply listening to their conversations. Stupid Affleck forgets to provide caption for most parts of the movie where Iranians talk in between themselves so I have no idea how the American and Canadians audience are supposed to understand the movie. The story is so simple and lacks almost any excitement but only one scene. In general the audience would not be happy to follow the story. I looked at my watch two times wanting to know when the movie ends possibly because I knew what the end was. I personally knew that the Canadian Embassy in Tehran helped 6 Americans to escape by issuing Canadian passport for them. I also knew that for that reason the Canadian Embassy remained closed until 1988 but never knew anything about the science-fiction called Argo. The movie would be exciting if Operation Eagle Claw was part of it but then it should have been called The Hostages, 444 Days or something like that. Overall It's a poor movie, with weak direction and low-quality play. I do not know why a Canadian or American would want to see this. They are not mostly political people, especially the young. They don't even care what is happening in their own country. Forget about a country at the other side of globe! I would not recommend the movie at all. I would not by the DVD and I would give it 1 out of 5
(Photo: A popular photo from American hostages in the American Embassy in Tehran. A marine and an African-American. The African-Americans where freed shortly after their arrest among with women employees of the embassy as part of Islamic kindness that Khomeini wanted to show the world. The rest of them were released by Iran after 444 days and that was after the failure of the Operation Eagle Claw. F. F.   said that the six who escaped to the residence of the ambassador of Canada to Iran, would have been released by the Iranians simply if they had been patients and did not have to go through the risk!)

Camp Life (1): Disgusting Eating Habits


One of the most important factors in camp life is food. For the people who have no access to alcohol, drugs and women, mostly, there is nothing amusing more than food and not to forget cigarette for some. Sex, I would say, is practicable for some who can find a girl in the camp or know someone from before but I personally did not notice anyone having sex in the camp although saw a few that seemed they were intimate.
There is plenty of food and is all free in the camp and lots of it going around. The problem is most of it is garbage but North Americans eat it. This is how the food is served:
1- Self-service restaurant: Three quarter meals are saved daily. You scan your card and can stay inside and each as much as you want. I personally did not try that but is possible. There is a salad bar and then drinking fountains and the kitchen where you order the main meal. I saw people who seemed that they had picked more than they could handle. No problem! Just leave it in the try and walk off! Salad is not fresh. It is either frozen or bagged. I tried a pasta-tuna salad and tasted like sand! I never saw avocado because you can not freeze it and then thaw and serve. It turns black and tastes like crayon! That is my easy test to prove the salads are not fresh. The beverages were all plastic bag beverage, like the orange juice in McDonald's. I never tried once but I saw several people who drank soda, milk and orange juice together! What a disgusting animal. Dinner was available of different kind, mostly horrible. Vegetables were the worst! I am someone who enjoys vegetables but tried once over there and spat them all out. Rice was the worst I ever had in my life. It basically is made of cheap Chinese rice mixed with so-called herbs and its like a dough you make to prepare your pie! Meat it not as bad, I mean beef steak and pork pieces including sausages because you can simply freeze meat and then serve it later without having much difference in taste. Meat is disgusting by itself if you eat too much but to me that was the only food that I could enjoy. I easily could say that they were not freshly made meat but I did not want to limit myself to salad. Fish was not bad as well but the only time I tried chicken I did not experience something good. Bread was available for the time the food needed it but mostly white bread that I dislike a lot. Soups, I did not get even close because they all would be can soup. My wife makes the best soups and I never contaminate myself with that can soup garbage.
2- Bag-up Room: There is this room that ready food is picked up for lunch. People have no limit. Everything from sandwiches, pizza, fruit, soup, salad, bread and sweet is available here. Let's analyse them all:
a- Soup: I did not even bother trying.
b- Sandwich: There is cream cheese and cucumber sandwich on whole grain baguette and lettuce and tomato on whole grain toast which are the healthiest. Cold cuts are also available and tried them a few times. Horrible!
c- Fruit: Grapefruits are awesome but those idiots barely eat them. $1.28 each in a supermarket. Orange was the best I had ever had in Canada. Yellow apples and bananas are good. Forget about red and green ones. Not ripe. Cut watermelon was disgusting. Frozen and thawed. Tasted like baby vomit!
d- Other sorts of garbage available for the fans!
3- Snack Room: Coffee and tea as well as muffin and sweet bars are the most available foods in the snack room. You also can find hot soup, of course from can. And that's all. Snack Room is open 24 hours. I enjoyed quite a large amount of pastry.
4- Store: Although huge amount of food is served, consumed and also wasted in the camp, you still see the people who are walking with a bag of chips or other snacks. There is a small store in the camp which sells anything from ice cream to juice, pop, chips and newspaper.
Overall because the food is not fresh (someone told me it's made in Edmonton! Possible!) and contain lots of preservative and other chemicals, if your digestion system is not used to it, you get sick. I had joint, stomach and headaches! Something that had never happened in my whole life after eating my meal! The food remains in your stomach for hours and hours before it leaves. Very hard to digest. I still could feel the food in my stomach hours after and was trying to get it down by drinking glasses of water! One day I had my left arm hurt and I said I would be done but I managed it. I stopped eating breakfast after two days not only because it was holding me back from catching the truck on time but also because it became useless. I did not do any physical work and all the egg, hash brown and other would be accumulated in the body. However the breakfast was healthy. The best bet for someone who does not do anything physical would be going to gym, having a shower and then enjoy a good meal.
(Photo: I intentionally selected this photo for this post. This a healthy juice that I make at time and is a combination of beet, celery and carrot and if available watermelon rind!)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

11 Days of Camp Life


I just came back from a project camp after 11 days, last night. I am so tired as a result of lack of enough sleep and having a cold. The period had advantages and disadvantages but if I am asked to go there, I will most likely say that I would not go for so many reasons. I witnessed a lot and learnt plenty. Felt good and bad but overall disappointed. There are lots of things to say and I will tell them all separately under a different post. Here, I am just going to say how I got there and it was pretty similar to my previous trip, just a bit easier. My flight had been scheduled in the afternoon so I did not have to wake up at 04:00 AM again. And when I got there I simply moved in to my room because everything had been planned and there was no delay or mistake. For that I am thankful to the organizers.
(Photo: This picture shows a pit on the top and a lake/pond on the left bottom and of course the propeller of the airplane. The plane was a bit noisy but not very annoying. That was the first time I was on a propeller plane. We flew over this Project site shortly before landing and I have no idea what site it is but would not be so hard to find out)

Monday, October 08, 2012

The Thanksgiving's Turkey


One of the advantages of living in North America is that you have access to almost everything from food and education to entertainment and news. While not everything is in quality level that you might have been used to, with a little struggle, you, most of the time are able to find what you are looking for. In the meantime despite this variety of everything, North Americans are somehow stuck to their tradition and customs, I would say. For example look at McDonald's: The fast food giant has not changed its menu since when it was established. All they offer is burgers and a few chicken sandwiches, not to mention that I don't eat anything from McDonald's but their coffee. 
Thanksgiving's turkey is one of the meals that must be eaten as a family feast in Thanksgiving Day in the US and Canada and for that reason we added it to our annual menu a few years go. I celebrate Thanksgiving Day because I am thankful, not to what they call it God though, that I have such a wonderful wife, I am healthy almost and at the moment have a job and I'm thankful to the Canadian Constitution and the Canadian Government to start a life here in this country, not that it is a very easy life. In fact it is full of challenges and that is what I like but challenges become pointless when they have to be taken in an unfair situation. 
Anyway the type of turkey that F. F. makes and she basically spent the entire morning on it, and is wonderful    in taste might not be what you want to show on a Thanksgiving table when every member of family and other guests are sitting because it is not a demonstrative whole turkey but at the same time it is the healthiest and most delicious turkey that I have ever had.
As you can see in the photo, we let the turkey thaw first and then cut it to pieces, then we make the deep mixture, which is mixture of onion, garlic, herbs and vegetables, lemon juice and plain yogurt and let them sit for an hour or longer. Then we cover the plates and put them in the oven. It only takes 20 minutes with a normal broiling temperature and turns out wonderful. It is not dry and needs no butter or gravy or artificial canned cranberry sauce. The turkey could be served with mashed potato or any other regular Thanksgiving dinner side dish. We had it with rice and pickled vegetable and I just could not stop eating. So as you can see it's far from traditional North American turkey but it definitely has more taste in it and is way healthier. If you do not want to cook it for your Thanksgiving, try it as your normal daily cooking once and you will fall in love with it. Let me know if you want to know more about the vegetables and herbs used.
(Photo: This is how the pieces of turkey look like after they are taken out of the oven. To me they are even great for sandwich but some might only like the very thin layered processed turkey meat imitation with added preservatives. They can simply go to supermarkets and sandwich bars to get some. No need to go through all the hassle!)

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Flying with Air Canada after 11 Years

I flew to British Columbia yesterday morning and this time via Air Canada. The ticket was booked by the company so I just proceeded. It was a bad start because first there was about half an hour delay and that was because they had to spray the wings to blow the snow and ice away. Then when I sat I realized it was a bit more comfortable compare to Westjet. There was also an entertainment system which looked very interesting. Movies, News, etc. I selected Prometheus and made myself busy with that while I had promised myself to read for my exam. When we landed at Vancouver International Airport, which in fact is located in Richmond, we realized shortly after that, through the pilot that the bridge which connects the fuselage to the terminal is not working! We waited almost half and hour and all those idiots who jump up as soon as the plane lands, had to sit their asses down, embarrassingly! I continued watching the movie until a tow truck came up and towed the plane to another connection point. So I was there at round 08:40 instead of 07:30. I made my my visit with half an hour delay and everything was performed according to the plan. 
The flight back to Calgary had no issue and I watched most of Witness on the way. Unfortunately there was no delay so I could not finish the movie! My drive from Surrey to North Vancouver and then Vancouver and  Richmond was not so bad but it was the Budget map which saved me lots of time and money. After coming off the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, I took the right lane to East Hastings and went all the way to Main St. Then I made a left to Main and went all the way to Marine Drive SW and just over the Arthur Bridge and Airport!
(Photo: Flying back and forth to British Columbia I never had the chance to see Mount Baker in Washington State from the window. This photos shows it from my seat while we were leaving British Columbia and getting distance from sinking sun)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The APEGA Opportunity


I have been trying to go back to APEGA since early this year. I just got lucky that my file had been inactive a little less than 6 years. Otherwise I would have had to re-start everything from beginning. And by everything, I mean everything. Then it was the decision by the board (I don't know what board but not defiantly a cutting board) that should have been made to see if I need to write F. E. (Fundamentals of Engineering) examination or not. Thanks to the board that just gave me the opportunity to become a Professional Engineer just by writing and passing the N. P. P. E.
I have screwed up this exam two times so far. The first time I knew barely anything and I was completely lost. The last time which was more than 7 years ago, I came out of the exam room pretty confident and I was quite sure that I would pass it but APEGA's result showed a fail! 
So it is up to me to write and pass it this time. I have already started but have to make sure that I am increasing the time I'm spending on it.
(Photo: The new logo of APEGA. They have recently removed one G from the acronym and logo. I'm just hoping that they have not removed anything else. I will write more about this organization later)

Monday, October 01, 2012

Couscous Meals

Couscous is a North African which just has been added to my menu recently. It is normally served with vegetables and meat, most specifically lamb but the three times that I have made it so far I have not served it with meat. Like East Indian and Chinese food it has lots of vegetables in it but of course they are all cooked and we know that cooked vegetable is not as good as raw vegetables  i. e. Salads. My daily vegetable consumption is focused on raw, fresh ones which have been combined in different shapes of salads as well as fresh fruit which very hard to come by in Canada but I also added this meal to my listing because it's healthy, delicious and a variety to Persian food that we rarely. I say rarely because Persian food preparation requires skills, patience and good ingredients. We do have the first two but lack the last one. The issue with Persian food is being fattening and source of Cholesterol, Uric Acid and other harmful substances.
Anyway this one here is the third meal that I have made and the most complicated one(!) and I have to say that it takes longer to be prepared to the other two that I had made and in the picture one ingredient is missing  and that is Feta Cheese. I  guess it is add to complete the nutritional value of them. They probably added it to provide Protein but I believe it could be skipped because Lentil does the same without the harmful parts but because I never intend to alter the recipe I keep it here.
So for Couscous Grilled Vegetable-Lentil Salad you will need:
1- 2 cloves Garlic.
2- 3/4 teaspoon Salt.
3- 1/3 cup Olive Oil.
4- 3 table spoon Lemon Juice.
5- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin.
6- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander.
7- 2 medium size Zucchinis.
8- 2 Portobello Mushrooms.
9- 1 sweet Read Pepper.
10- 1 Yellow Pepper.
11- 1/2 cup Lentil.
12- 1 cup Whole Wheat Couscous.
13- 1/3 cup minced fresh coriander (Cilantro)
14- 1/3 cup crumbled Feta Cheese.
This is how you make it:
Finely mince the garlic and rub it to the salt and make a smooth paste. It requires patience. Use a teaspoon or on a plate for that. Combine Oil, Garlic Paste, Coriander and Cumin with Lemon Juice and let them stand. Cut the vegetables to the desired size and brush them with the oil mixture and grill them or fry them until tender. Cook Lentil separately and then bring 1 cup of water to boil, add couscous and cover, remove from heat and let stand until all the water is absorbed. Mince fresh Coriander (Cilantro) and mix the grilled or fried vegetable with Couscous, Lentil, crumbled Feta Cheese and add it to at the end. This salad could be served cold. That's how mostly salads are served but you might want to warm it up and eat.
(Photo: Top, the salad with missing feta cheese but I added later. You could say they are not seen in the photo! Below, min ingredients. Lentil and cheese are not seen here as well as the herbs)



Sunday, September 30, 2012

XL Foods (XL Fools)

There is a long time problem with the beef industry in Canada and most specifically Alberta and apparently it comes from the processors not the producers and this is not the first time but seems now the CFIA is waking up and wants to do something about it. The poor ranchers, I believe, are the ones who suffered the most. Their loss was something around $2 Billion last time. I worked in cattle industry for nearly 4 years and I used to see the  CFIA guys all the time. There were there and they had an office there but I can not tell if they were doing their job! If I refer to my old post, you will see that I have written 1 out of 3000 cattle gets inspected here in Alberta while in France this inspection is 100%. As a Quality expert I know that the smaller the sample, the less trusty the result will be. For a big population of cows in Alberta, for sure the number of inspected ones in every processing plan should be increased in order to obtain the good result. Rather than that sanitation is very important. The main processing plants, as far as I know, including XL Fools and Gargill Fools, use foreign workers, mainly because Caucasians like just to sit back and relax, and those foreigners know nothing about being sanitary and clean. You look around the world and you realize that Africans  and East Indians are the filthiest people and those are the people who form the structure of work force for the food processing plants. And it's obvious that the greedy owners of the plants do not want to hire caring employees who look after the cleanness and sanitation of the plants.
This time, the CFIA wanted to show that they are working and according to the opposition they reacted after 2 weeks and suspended the XL Fools' licence in Brooks, Alberta. This and Cargill are the main producers of beef and as well exporters and both use the majority foreigner workers. Now with XL Fools out of the production circulation, it will be up to Cargill to increase the production to meet the market's demand. What XL Fools is doing at the moment is they are probably doing a major clean up and the CFIA is going to do an audit and let them start the process again. I'm just hoping that they learn this time and take preclusion to prevent this from happening because everyone should know that proactive action works much better and less expensive than the reactive action. It was Mad Cow Disease that cost the industry that much in 2003 and now it is something else which causes E-Coli
(Photo: XL Fools plant in Brooks, east of Calgary, Alberta)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Short Trip to Edmonton

I had a short trip to Edmonton yesterday which was very tiring but overall positive. I was there for the Steel Day and visiting one big manufacturing facility in the industrial district of Edmonton.
It was a bit silly because I had to wake up at 05:00 AM and if it was not because of the Hodani's GPS, I would have been lost and never made it on time! I am not going to name the company that was hosting the event but it was well organized and rather than a few small flaws, the people were very friendly and polite. We spent only an hour and a half in there and at the end there was a Pizza truck that we could get two slices of Pizza but I preferred not to stay in the line. Instead I had a short drive around the Downtown area and walked in Queen Elizabeth Park at the south shore of North Saskatchewan River. I had two other short stops and because I had to return the damn stupid car. It was a very hot and sunny that and UV rate was so high. For that I really suffered.
Then when I returned to Calgary, as soon as reached the intersection of Deerfoot and 64 Ave. I realized the traffic of Fri. afternoon and I said Shit! because I looked at the gauge and I realized that I was burning the last drops of the fuel but I managed to return the car on time without refueling.
(Photo: I took this shot form a very beautiful park but because it was too bright and I was not very familiar with the damn camera, it did not turn out good)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wild Mushrooms


If you are used to hiking you probably have seen wild mushrooms grown in the jungle under trees and everywhere else, depending on where you are. Some of these mushrooms are toxic and not edible of course. Trying to eat them raw or cooked has no consequence less than a painful death. You have to know how to distinguish toxic mushrooms from the good ones. Then you can go and pick mushrooms. F. F. told me once that a colleague, an old East European, possibly a Russian lady once told that they normally go to pick mushroom. Although she never told her where they usually go, she said that they could tell good from bad because where they lived there was basically nothing to eat but wild mushroom and what they would do, in the few mild months of year, was mushroom picking and storing them for winter because the winter was so cold they could not find anything to eat and had to live on mushroom. I don't know what part of Russia or Eastern Europe she comes form but this story is the story of many Eastern European, African and South American, as well as other places who come to Canada. Many get labour jobs and live their life that way, a few make or join gangs and or other illegal activity groups, a few, a very few of them get really easy well-paid jobs. 
But I am going to connect this story to the mushrooms that have been grown increasingly in the small city of Calgary which has recently reach the population of 1,000,000
This new wild mushroom that I am talking about and we are going to decide if its toxic or not is called Calgary Police Service. When I left Calgary in early 2007 the following were the Police Stations that I knew about and existed:
1- Downtown, 6th Ave. The headquarters. Still up and running.
2- MacLeod Tr. South and Heritage Dr. I am not sure if that one still exist. 
3- Possibly few other locations that I never knew about.

Then I came back in early 2011 and realized the following locations are added:

1- The former Nortel Network building in north east Calgary is now a huge CPS yard.
2- Chinook Center Shopping Mall.
3- Beyond Stampede Grounds there is a new and modern building.
4- Market Mall in northwest Calgary which I noticed just yesterday.
5- Who knows where else! 

So someone tells me why the hell a small city which actually in transformation from a town to a city at the moment and its population hardly senses the number of 1 million needs this many police stations!? Who pays these many officers' salary!?  What is the effect of hiring these many police officers and occupying these many buildings on the city? I know when I wanted to write the examination, what the recruiting officer told us, after explaining the usual about the examination, was that there was no guarantee that we would get hired by CPS because the City just has a new topic to discuss about on his next agenda and that was cutting back on the CPS's budget!! None of us did ask the officer why the hell CPS gathered all of us in that room for the exam while they were still not sure about the possibility of hiring more officers!! There is no doubt that when population grows, that requires more enforcement but a proactive plan always works much more effective than a reactive plan. These new projects of Oil Sands have attracted a big number of people to this city and this is something that can not be denied and at the same time stopped but bringing more police force to the scene where many of the newcomers are from a totally different society is not going to do many good. There is absolutely no way to change someone at the age of 30 and over. One someone enter a new society which is different from the one that he was born in and grown up, it will be very hard for him to change himself of herself. He or she is still the same horrible reckless driver, rude person, careless individual. I am not saying that everyone who comes to the city is hypothetically an outlaw but I'm saying that adding a whole arsenal of cops is not going to solve any possible problem and is a waste of money and other resources just like many other spending of the City like the stupid Peace Bridge!
After all I barely see any police officers unless I am in Downtown. There is no doubt that the police pays special attention to the center of the city because of the population and key places but other corners of the city may lack proper and prompt service while does not necessarily implies that we have to have these many locations. 
(Photo: CPS office in Market Mall in northwest Calgary)