Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gordon Ramsay's Turkey Meal

Everyone, I guess, knows Gordon Ramsay and his obnoxious behavior on TV shows such as Hell's Kitchen. There was another show, that I had not seen before, yesterday by a company called One Potato, Two Potato which in it Gordon and his family were making different meals. 
I watched that for probably up to two hours. The fact that he makes excellent food is undeniable but he consumes too much Sugar, Oil and Butter. He never uses, or at least I never noticed in 10 to 15 meals that he made, Whole Grain or Whole Wheat Flour and he has an excellent kitchen with top of the line equipment which is very hard to get. Gordon Ramsay when he's making food with either of his 3 daughters or his Mom or his soul son, is very different from Gordon Ramsay who swears the hell of the poor people who make stupid mistakes in his kitchen!
Anyways this week we decided to make his Turkey dinner so we got ourselves a medium-size Turkey and other ingredients according to him. I did the preliminary preparation yesterday and let the bird rest in the refrigerator for a day. Here is the list of ingredients in case someone is interested:

1- One medium Turkey.
2- Butter. (1 block of 454 g. Unsalted).
3- Olive Oil. (You figure out how much you will need during preparation).
4- Garlic (3 cloves).
5- Salt.
6- Pepper.
7- Lemon (2 medium or bigger size depending the size of your Turkey).
8- Onion (2 Mediums or large depending the size of your Turkey).
9- Bay Leaves (2 - 3 leaves).
10- Parsley (a handful, preferably ⅓ of a bunch).
11- Bacon (4 to 5 strips).

The ingredients: In this picture you see the medium or maybe the small Turkey after being mostly thawed.  Bay leaves are missing and I forgot to add them! I used ⅔ of the butter you see here and it is a slab of 454 g Unsalted Butter. Gordon uses lemon or orange in almost every meal he makes! That little burgundy spot you see on the turkey is apparently a pop-up device. It pops up when the turkey is fully cooked, The Lady, told me that but she said that to me after I had taken it out! So you could use it! Don't forget onions and bacon that you also don't see them in this photograph. I would use two large onions instead of two medium ones, depending on the size of your turkey.
Instruction:

1- Crush Garlic, and chop Parsley.
2- Mix Butter, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper and add them all to Parsley and Garlic.
3- Grind the zest of the Lemons.
4- Add the juice of Lemons.
5- Mix them all and set aside.
6- Halve the onions and Lemons. (leave the skin of the Onions on).
7- Loosen the skin with fingers and then stuff the bird with Onions, Bay Leaves and Lemons.
8- Slide the paste mix underneath the skin and rub the rest on it.
9- Add some Olive Oil on the top.
10- Put it in the oven over 220 ̊ C for 10 minutes.
11- Take the bird out and bath it.
12- Put the strips of Bacon on the breast.
13- Turn the oven to 180 ̊ C and cook for 2.5 hours or half an hour per kilogram.
14- Bath every so often, if you could.

Paste:After you mix the ingredients, of course excluding the turkey and onions, you will have a paste like this picture. The problem with that would be the squeezed lemon juice. It does not mix with the rest as well as the oil but at the end I pour it over the turkey. I don't think Gordon had this problem!
Ready to go: The turkey before starting its journey in the oven. I did not get good access to the under skin part of the turkey, mainly because, I think, it had not been thawed completely in the core. That is why a fresh turkey is preferred. You can get under the skin easily and apply the paste the way Gordon explains. You cab also see the neck.
The result was awesome, delicious, moist, fully cooked Turkey. I turned the oven off after exactly 2.5 hours and let the bird be inside for another 1 hour. By the time we were ready to eat the meal, it had been cooled down enough. We started from the bacon strips which were so crispy and tasty. Then we got the legs, each for one of us. That was enough meat for the day. Turkey is a very rich meat and we were full after that without having any side items. The rest will be kept in the refrigerator and freezer for the next coming days that we are in the mode of this kind of meat. They are going to be excellent in Turkey Sandwich and also Green Salad with Turkey Chunks.
(Photo, top: The Turkey has been taken out of the oven and ready to be served)

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Nightmare in Kananaskis: Baldy Pass

I wanted to try Mountain Baldy again today so I saddled up and headed toward Kananaskis through Highway No. 1 again. It has been a couple of stupid days in Calgary. Temperature went up to 9 ̊ C and we had to leave the window open to be able to sleep, at least for the most of the night. With that Chinook happening I though it would be easier to run up the mountain and come back down but I was dead wrong! I started at exactly 11:00 AM and simply followed the footsteps from the trail-head where the sign is erected. The first 15 minutes of the hike is annoying because you are walking in the forest but parallel to Highway No. 40 and the annoying noise from the speeding cars is in your ears. Then you turn toward east deeper in the forest and it becomes better but the real trouble appear just after a few minutes of hike: Deep soft snow. If you do not have a good pair of Snowshoes, forget about the hike. I started going deep in to the snow and you know how annoying and frustrating that can be, right after I turned in to the east. Fortunately someone or maybe two had taken the route before me so I had a bit of guidance and stomped snow to follow! The trail goes besides and at time from the inside a stream or gully and I continuously skidded and slipped! This was going on until I reached a cairn at a some sort of junction which at my left was a ridge leading to Mountain Baldy, at my right was a trail leading to another peak which I don't know what it is called and in front of me was a valley of evergreen threes. 
I decided to go right because to me for whatever reason it seemed that the right peak is much easier to reach compare to Mountain Baldy that I had to have lots of walk on the ridge and close to the edges. The trail here is very easily detectable and has been marked by footsteps, especially because there was not much snow at the beginning, and also several cairns. I realized that the weather was changing and that actually was in the forecast. Strong wind started and that blew snow in to my eyes and head. I immediately equipped myself with a hat and glasses and carried on. It was not very bad for a few minutes but then I lost the trials or it had been buried under so much snow that I could not find it and got stuck in deep snow. Snow was almost to my waist but I wanted to go so I managed to pass the first barrier but then more snow and deeper this time appeared in front of me and that was the time I decided to turn back. I descended back to the first cairn and decided to take my chances at the other side, where the ridge would have taken me to Mountain Baldy. I claimed up a bit and the wind was getting stronger and more clouds were coming in so I decided not to take the risk and came back. 
The return was 10 times worse than the ascend! I guess it was mainly because that the snow was softer I was tired. I was cursing and going! I twisted my ankle a few times but I was lucky enough not to break it. I reached the parking lot eventually at 15:15 hours, almost and went home. 
(Photo: Mountain Lorette, at the other side of Highway No. 40, is seen here from Baldy Pass on the way back. From here to parking lot is only about 15 minutes)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Disappointing Party

This years Christmas Party, unlike what I had though, was held but the obvious differences were very visible. But let me start from the damn stupid cab company. I wanted to be sure that we will have a cab on time at our door steps so I called 4 days in advance and booked the cab, let's say Wed. noon. On Thu. when I was going home at about 17:10 hours my telephone rang and automatic message notified me that my cab had arrived!! Can you imagine something as stupid as that!? So I talked to the Paki and he agreed to leave. I would have not paid a dime, had he asked any money. 
So I called a day in advance and surprisingly it came only after 5 minutes! For that reason we arrived at least 10 minutes early which was fine. A few people were there and I found someone to talk to while we were drinking something. Before that I realized that the people had been directed to a different room which while it was nice, it was much smaller than the previous years. Understanding the number of guests would be less, that was OK. I decided to get a myself something stronger. So I went to the bar. Surprisingly I realized that Jack was not there! The guy gave me something similar, in his own opinion but after one try I decided to go with a different Whiskey, a different brand, which tasted better to me. I guess I had a few of them. Then it came to dinner time and checked out the buffet by staying in a short line and it didn't look so bad but when I had my first round I find myself in no position to go for the second trip and just limited myself to the desert and that was the end of it. To me the difference between the quality of the meal in this year and the last year's was very obvious. The next few hours was spent on chats with people, watching dancers and that was all. We decided to leave early, compare to the ones who had come way after us and we did. 
(Photo: I tried to get a shot from the ceiling which was illuminated by the D. J. guys nicely but does not seem to be very appealing!)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Communication Towers

There was a program on the radio once I was driving a few month ago which they were discussing the tele-communication towers and their rapid growth around the city. Of course not their growth but grow in their numbers. People were complaining how ugly they are and how cellular phone companies go around the laws to be able to plant more in and around the city. According to a some sort of city by-law or any other jurisdictional regulations, communication towers should not be taller than X meters. So the companies started ordering theirs in X-.5 meter and planting them everywhere they needed! That actually is a very good example as how laws work in Canada. There are thousands of different regulations for everything but because there is always a way to get around it or alter it, most of them of broken. Rather than that there is not much enforcement so no one cares to follow. 
(Photo: I found this tower in a small manufacturing facility and when I talked to the owner of the shop and asked him if he receives rent for that he confirmed and added that he wished they had put up more of this on his property!)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Heart Mountain's 2nd Attempt Failed!

I went to Heart Mountain again today with the intent to hike it all the way up. It was a sunny and not very cold day. Only -14 ̊ C! It was almost 12:15 PM by the time I got there and just seeing a few vehicle parked gave me this hope that the trail is open and people are hiking but I was apparently wrong. Shortly after my start at 12:24 PM I saw a group of fellas with rock climbing equipment and first though they had been to Heart but I was wrong they had been probably to the Creek to practice. 
So when I hit the trial I realized that I am the only one who, to that moment, has attempted to go up. It was not really a good start because although it was not very cold there was too much snow. At first I was in up to my ankle and not wearing boots, gaiters, warm pants and socks was a bit disturbing but the higher I got the better I felt. At the same time the weather was more pleasant because the sun was shining and warming me but then skidding and sliding started and the snow got deeper. I had my spike devices right from when I left the parking lot but heavy snowfall hides the rocks and spikes and crampons are shit on them. Then I started looking for a stick to not only help me on my way up but also I could measure the depth of snow and find my way. For the next hour it was not bad. I mainly stayed on the trail but whenever I got off it, I was up to my knees in the snow. Then I had a few meters of climbing using my hands and then I lost the trail and got tired and lazy! But the main issue was my feet which was so cold and heavy of ice and snow! I turned back and headed down after that. I certainly went higher this time and I believe I only had half an hour or so to reach the top but because of the cold in my feet I decided to descend. 
(Photo: Lac Des Arcs from the trail of Heart Mountain in a beautiful December day)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Flashback (28): Chicken Shit(!)

There was this tiny guy at work whom I had to deal with at times. An asshole! I barely saw him working but he was highly regarded and was sent to a supplier premises once in another continent. I personally didn't have any major issue but not receiving a response from him when I called but that was OK. These guys, Caucasians, generally don't like foreigners and on the top of that when it comes to questioning. We had another Caucasian who sat in the same room as mine for a while and I'm not sure whether I have a post about him or not but he was an old-timer, in his late 60s, I would say. So one day we were sitting and doing our daily things and the tiny guy, whom I would call him Chicken Shit based on what the old timer named him later,  showed up and started arguing with the old guy. I was a bit surprised because first of all the old guy could be his father. I expected him have respect for someone as old as him. Second of all he could simply call him to another room and tell him about his problem instead of yelling at him. in front of everyone. Anyways the guy quit I guess more than a year ago. Then last week I somehow learnt about his salary and that was a  surprise to me as well. I expected him to be well paid but I was not impressed. He selected a long and funny title for himself, probably to impress others as well as feeling good about himself. I'm not saying that he was a fool but he pretended more than he really was I guess. He now works where that I think his title fits better. I know his salary is higher. If we consider the regular annual raise for every year that he worked his salary today would be even less than mine! But I guess he's happy now that he doesn't work with us, have a better salary and does what he likes. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mountain Baldy (Not Finished)

It seems that every mountain I want to scramble, I should try it at least twice! I went to Highway No. 40 in Kananaskis Country to hike Mountain Baldy. I checked with the information centre and the gentleman over there guided me through although I had obtained information from the web. I parked in the parking lot and simply started going up after crossing the road but was not able to find the damn trail. There was no one around and I walked in snow for about 1.5 to 2 hours with the hope that I may find the trail but it didn't happen. I went up quite high but the forest still didn't finish. The hill was very steep and I had a hard time going up there was too much snow on the ground. All you could see around you were animals' footprints and at times their poop! After going up for a while I guess it was 14:30 or so that I decided to descend. Coming down was even worse and there were points that I was in the snow up to my knees! 
When I finally reached the road I found the trial-head to Baldy Pass which if you followed and go south at a T-junction, according to the material found on the web, would talk you to the top. However another source says you should get the trail where a Falling Rock sign is on the road and go up from there. I checked that one as well and seems that could be a short-cut but I am not sure whether any of them are safe in a weather like this but I will check at least one, once later.
(Photo: This is supposed to be Mountain Baldy if you are reaching from the south side. This is taken from Baldy Pass parking lot)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stuck!

It's unbelievable the weather here. That's what it is! It's 2 ̊ C now, at least 16 ̊ C warmer than yesterday! Imagine the difference if I went jogging today instead of yesterday.
Anyway this happened after I came home from my exercise and finished my dinner. I had made pasta with mushroom. I had some potato chips of different flavour and I was about to relax. F. F. called and said that she had to stay an extra shift asked me bring her some food. I put some of the pasta in a lunch box and ran down. I tried to get the car out of the spot but couldn't! I big bump has been made at the side of many od the streets as the vehicles pass by. In order to park on the street you will have to go over the bump to be able to park parallel to the curb and close enough. Then it becomes a problem coming out because you will have to 
drive over the bump to get to the main, centre side of the street. There are people who don't even bother trying that and just leave the car there. I drove back and forth a few times and then the car suddenly jumped over the bump, turned more than 110-120 ̊  and stopped at the other side of the street. I made sure that I would not try that when people were driving by because it was very likely that I would hit someone. So I thought that was it but obviously I was wrong! The snow was deep, may be 2 in. and it was sticky around the tire and hard everywhere else! I made a mixture of melting-frozen snow, a hard slush around the tire and was just skidding! There was no one to help. I remembered that I saw a shovel leaned against the wall when leaving the building. I grabbed that and tried to clear around the damn right tire but the car had sunken in the snow and it was deep. Beside that he damn shovel is made of fucking plastic and can do nothing to a big frozen slab of ice in a -14 ̊  C weather! So I grabbed it from the other end and started hitting the ice around the tire to break it and make a narrow path for it. I got tired after a few impacts but it worked. I took a break and took a photo(!) and sat behind the wheal. I had tried going back and forth at least 6-7 times and it had not worked. This time I turned all the way toward the street and after 2 try the car jumped out of the damn hole and I drove away! I never thought that even having Michelin X-Ice could not be helpful all the time although I had paid over $650 for 2 pair of it but the fact is that I would have never been able to drive, if I had not purchased them. I still think they should be much better than this! 
(Photos: The top photo shows the battlefield after I left and the bottom one was taken after I broke the ice with the shovel and was ready to go and get the car out)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Permanent Cold with a bit of Relief

There's nothing to write about these days. It was so cold the entire weekend that I couldn't even go for my regular jogging! Today was actually the first day. It was -14 ̊ C and almost -23 ̊ C considering the wind-chill but I didn't mind that. I ran with a good speed for about 21 minutes. It's supposed to be better better this weekend in Kananaskis so I'm planning a hike. Hopefully everything goes well and I can enjoy.  I don't know if opportunities will ever come. We either move out of the province or I don't know what's going to happen in a few months! I've been trying to get another job but all the effort has led to interviews and interviews only. I'm doing a certificate which will be the subject of a separate post next year. I'm hoping that helps my career because it really seems fucked up! 
(Photo: Bow River pathway at 8th Ave., SW. Tried to show the amount of snow on the ground but I don't think I was very successful. It was a very good exercise)

Friday, December 06, 2013

Arctic Cold

I just came back home. I had dressed to be able to jog but it was impossible although I had done it the day before in a less cold temperature. It's almost -26 degrees C and will be colder when the wind starts blowing in an hour or two. The extreme cold started Mon. and apparently will be our guest here for a few more days, maybe the entire next week. 
The damn pair of gloves that I bought from SportChek, the Columbia ones are almost useless! I made another mistake and had my runner on! I'm lucky that my foot fingers are not frozen now! There is a warning for this evening that the temperature will close to -39 degrees C, considering the wind-chill and people have been asked not to go out if they don't have to. There is a concern for frostbite. I walked almost 8 blocks to get the vehicle from F. F. and my eyes was watery at the end! This is really not good because after sitting at the damn desk for almost 7 hours I needed exercise but I guess I can't do much.
(Photo: We had a short visit of a shop yesterday around 15:00. People were working in the yard while it was almost -22 degrees C, not considering the wind-chill!)

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

A Beautiful Blizzard in Calgary

A very lovely blizzard started yesterday morning in Calgary. It was snowing exactly parallel to the ground! By evening it was so much snow on the grounds that vehicles got stuck. I was a lucky one because I had purchased 2 pairs of Michelin X-Ice a few weeks before that. Otherwise there would have been no chance in hell to be able to drive around. Nevertheless I got stuck once and lost the control of the vehicle. I was about to hit a parked one but missed it! I drove back and forth a few times and the engine got turned off by itself(!) at least 3 times until I was able to get myself out of that mess! Earlier in the evening I tried to go for my usual jogging but changed my mind due to the strong wind. It's -13 degrees C and considering the windchill it's almost -19 degrees C. I stayed inside tonight as well. I will see how it looks tomorrow. The entire week looks the same. I'm just hoping that I will be able to do a hike this weekend because there will be no snow in the mountain but it will be arctic cold. I will only have to resolve the problem with the damn vehicle which requires oil change. F. F. needs it as well to go to work. I'll see.
(Photo: It was so cold that the windshield would get frost from inside after a few minutes of sitting. The exhale hits the extreme cold windshield and ice crystallizes! You have to brush it off to be able to see!)

Monday, December 02, 2013

Flashback (27): Pablo Scobar

It's Pablo Scobar's 20th death anniversary. Not that I'm mourning! I neither mourn or celebrate but I know he was an asshole like many that we also have them in the old country ruining millions of people lives. I remember when his death was on the news, years before my immigration. When I came here I was in RBC's main branch in 3rd Street and 8 Ave., SW talking to a Hispanic lady about my accounts. It must have been 2003 or around those years. I, somehow, and don't recall how found out that she was from Columbia. I guess she told me that herself. In response, and that the time I didn't know it would not be a very bad answer although I had known of Scobar, I told her that I had a friend from Columbia. " His name is Pablo Scobar " I added! She obviously didn't like that and affected deeply the way she provided the service. Fortunately she was not the one that I had to go to frequently so I didn't care. I didn't mean anything and I just wanted to joke but obviously that was not a funny joke to her! 
Scobar was a real criminal but still after year there are people who know him as a hero! I guess there's no limitation for stupidity. He might have given out a few dollars here and there but by spreading drugs he has destroyed millions of life. Not the mention the people who got killed here and there. Drug smuggling have not been stopped but the very sad fact is people do not see the picture, the stupid people who know a criminal as a hero just because he handed them a buck! 
(Photo: I found this interesting picture of Scobar and his wife on the web. It goes back to early 1980s)

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Deep in the Hole

I was looking at the NHL results yesterday and Calgary seemed to be one to the last deep in the bottom of the standing table! A few key figures of the team have left in the past few years and all new guys are ruining it now. Iginla joined the Penguins last year. Kiprusoff got retired and possibly left for home. Phaneuf, way before the two joined the Leafs and I guess he's a Captain there now. 
Nevertheless I had a glimpsed at the Sportsnet last night before going to sleep and realized that the Flames had beaten the Kings 2-1! The highlights were shown and it was quite interesting. In the last minute of the 3rd period Calgary had an random shot towards L. A.'s net just to get the puck away, I guess. The Kings' goalie, Scrivens fell somehow(!), maybe tripped, I don't know how to say it and gave the Calgary guys to take a chance. By the time the Flames guys got the control of the puck in presence of a few Kings' guy, he was back in the net, almost, but that didn't help and Cammalleri, while laying on the ice, passed it on to Jones and and that was it! Beautiful Goal!  
(Photo: Calgary Flames has a new goaltender, Ramo. He is from Finland, just like the previous long-served goalie, Kiprusoff. He managed to help Calgary last night to win over the Kings in California)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Prairie Mountain

I finally hiked Prairie Mountain after 2 failed attempts! It was not because I physically failed! I was not able to find the trail. This time I did and finish it in an hour and half. Prairie Mountain in Highway 66 is an easy hike. That is why it should be done in winter to have a challenge added to it. You first claim up the road and then the first half an hour is just walking in woods. Then it becomes a bit steep and that is where you need your traction device. I stopped for a second and put the ones that had been given to me by the employer last year when I went to the site. I also bought a better pair from MEC and had them in my pack but didn't have to use it. You walk up for half and hour or a bit more, depending on your speed and the last 15 to 20 minutes is a vast area which is not very steep and takes you to where the cairn is. This area is not wooded but you see a few trees here and there. When I enter this part of the hike, I saw an animal from distance. on that height and the shape of it told me that it must be a Cougar. It could be a Wolf, Fox or Lynx but I do not think they come up that high in the mountain. Besides I don't think there are Wolves and Foxes in Kananaskis. I know Lynx is seen in Banff National Park. Unfortunately I didn't have a pair of binoculars or a good camera with a zoom lens on me and the photo I took doesn't show anything so I'm not posting it. The weather was pleasant and I didn't even had my windbreaker on! I only had a sweater and a jersey on the top. No tuque, scarf, gloves or mitts! 
I took a few photos and headed down. Descending was bit harder because the trail was covered in snow and I had to be careful. The problem with the traction devices is if you have them on and there is no snow, there is very likely that you slip on steep ice. The traction devices are good for site when the ground is frozen but not so good for steep hills, especially when there is ice or rocks. The plastic part of that on the sole makes it very slippery. For that matter I slipped and hit the ground two times! Fortunately there was no injury. For the last part I almost turned to a runner and made it back to the car in almost an hour. In general hiking Prairie Mountain is recommended in winter and no extra gear is required. Just have everything in your pack in case you need them. I didn't even have water or any snack. Very easy hike which does not require extra energy. 
(Photo: View of the mountains on the Southwest side of Prairie Mountain. The highest one which is almost in the centre of the picture is Mountain Glasgow. It looks like it is more challenging compare to Prairie Mountain, without a doubt)

Friday, November 29, 2013

The 12th is about to Finish

There are less than 5 hours to this day. 12 years ago this year I came to Canada. Time flies by. I have so many hard days and I'm sure so many more, even harder are ahead of me but will I go back to the old country? Maybe one day when I'm retired or even before that. It depends to many factors. What will be the situation in there? What will be my situation in here. What will be my family, friends and relatives situation here and there? In general the future does not seem very bright, either here or there. Ageing will be a problem which will appear in different shapes and forms. Place of living too. I have to work harder to get what I want in life. Year ago when I just graduated from the university, I wanted a job and got it fast and although I changed it a few times, I was never seek of a job as much as I am now. Then I decided to leave the country. I started shortly after the graduation and I tired scholarship once but it eventually took me 6 years to be able to get here and that was the start of a new challenge. And although I have accomplished a few things that I had planned, I still have plenty to do before I am physically and mentally not able to. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Dr. Sleep

I bought The Shining DVD Set although I had downloaded the movie years ago, last week. I wanted a better quality. In fact it is one of my all time favourites and the set provides an extra disk which different people talk about this unforgettable piece of art. I also watched in old country years ago but with low picture and sound quality. There are still parts of the movie that I don't understand them. I guess that is the case with everyone who watches it, no matter how may time. The movie, as everyone know is based on Stephen King's novel of the same name but it has been changed in a way that King doesn't like it. He also showed his displeasure to Kubrick but I don't think it had any affect on him since he had purchased all the right of the book. 
I was doing a little search in the web about the movie and I realised that King has recently written a sequel to The Shining, called Doctor Sleep and now it is available in the stores. I guess everyone is waiting to see the movie, most likely with Danny Lloyd in his late 30s, I assume. Kubrick passed in 1999 and I remember watching Oscar of 2000 and there was tribute to him. So now the question is who would make the movie, if it was planned to be made, ever?! I'm not sure whether I should buy the book or just wait for the film because I just don't want to purchase it and put it in the bookshelf before finishing it like the other book
(Photo: Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance between takes in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. The new Stephen King's book, Dr. Sleep is about this character years after his struggles in Overlook Hotel)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Here but I'm Gone


How did I get so far gone?
Where do I belong?
And where in the world did I ever go wrong?

If I took the time to replace
What my mind erased
I still feel as if I'm here but I'm gone
...

The few above lines are selected from a very beautiful song of Eric Clapton called Here but I'm Gone. I'm not sure but it could be me singing the song about my life! I don't know who has written it but should not be hard to find for the interested people.
(Photo: Clapton is recognized as the third in the 100 best guitar players of all time by Rolling Stone after Jimmy Hendrix and before Jimmy Page. He plays the song I originally found along with Jeff Beck. I don't know the 4th person and I have no idea how the ranking works but they are all fantastic and I enjoy listening to them)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Flashback (26): The Pretender

I worked with this guy back to B. C. time for a short time. He seemed nice and simple but slow. He very soon became my fan and used to bug (you read call!) me almost every night. He tried to prove himself to me a religious and restricted man. I don't know why. At the same time when he was spending time with another buddy/colleagues of us, more specifically a former San Francisco Police, as he claimed, would insist to accompany him to a strip bar! A fucking stupid two-faced coward like many who come from that specific part of the word. R. K. is another example who I have lost connection with for a very long time now and will never see him, I'm sure. A married man with two kids from a religious family with religion symbols hanging in his living room and talking about building mosques and quoting religious leaders in his e-mails, slept with a girl once, that I know, and regularly searched for women on the net! Even introduced a website to me years ago! This one unlike the pretender didn't even hide his dual life from me but for sure did it from his wife, kids and possibly a few of the friends. 
So now at times I remember the time I spent with this guy. He ended up working for Air Canada as a loader once, I guess but then gave it up and was engaged in other activities. I guess he was receiving support from his father because I once met him in a fucking nasty office which he was sharing with a Punjabi guy in Surrey, where he lived. He said that he was doing accounting and booking stuff. You can imagine what kind of people were his customers! Nevertheless he was fine. Last time I saw him he was probably 30 pounds heavier which proved he was doing fine. he might have been married with kids by now!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Iron Ring

I attended the Iron Ring Ceremony yesterday or perhaps I should say I intended to. They had insisted several times that no one should be late. So I was there around 12:30 PM. I went to the north building, the same place I wrote the NPPE but I was directed to the south building. Soon I realized that I was very early, just like a few others and we had all to wait for about an hour. Fortunately the distribution of Iron Rings started way before the actual ceremony. People lined up based on their first letter of the family name. I hate lines so waited a few minutes and when I stood in mine, I only had to tolerate a minute or so. I was handed a small sealed envelope with my name, my title and the size of my ring printed on it. The lady insisted to try the ring on and notify one of the APEGA fellas of any concern. I went to a corner and opened the envelope. The ring and a small card was in there. I immediately after wearing the ring, realized it was too big for me. Nevertheless I put it on, on the designated finger, put the envelope in my pocket and walked to the exchange line. The exchange line was much worse than the first lines so I turned back and that was when I learnt that I was not wearing the ring! Crap! I said! I started looking on the floor. It was really busy and it would have been very embarrassing to go to one of the booths and tell them that I had lost the damn ring. I looked more and more and found nothing! I thought at the time that if anyone had found it, he or she would have turned it in. It's a shiny sparkling ring and easily seen on the floor. After a few minutes of running around, with a blushed face, I could feel it(!), I gave up and decided to go and tell the guys. I said I have paid $20 and that was the only reason I came. I will pay another $20 but I don't know what their reaction would be. I reached the pocket that I had put the envelope in and it was there! Apparently the ring had slipped of my finger when I sliding the envelope in and that was because of it's extra large size. It was a relief. 
I, then, looked at the exchange line and it didn't seem to be much better. I didn't mind waiting a few more minutes although one of the ladies constantly was saying that after 01:30 PM the doors would be closed. I knew they would not leave anyone without a ring and soon I realized that they had other booth open so I waited 2 minutes and exchanges mine with another which was 2 sizes smaller! It felt good. 
only a few minutes was left. I went in and noticed 3, maybe 4 lines. I guess it was for the people who wanted their rings to be worn by someone from APEGA, I guess a family member who was a professional or an official. The rest were sitting. I told myself: If I stay since I don't know how long this circus will be going on, I might be trapped for at least an hour. I better get the fuck out of this nuthouse. So I left! I don't know if people would be served any lunch but I'm sure that at least something was served but I didn't care. I got what I had wanted! To me the whole concept of Engineering and Professional Engineer is nothing but a business. After all carelessness and awkwardness that I have seen at work in past few years, I have no intention to believe in these stuff. How could you be a Professional Engineer without being able to write a short e-mail without grammatical errors!? How could you be an Professional Engineer and have no clue of basics of Engineering? How could you be a Professional Engineer and have no ethics?! These are and many other are the things that I have seen over and over and made me completely disappointed with practise of Engineering but did it simply because I wanted to say that I could too and I have nothing less than you guys who think you are better than others simply because you have a degree!
(Photo: Quebec Bridge wreckage which collapsed in 1907. I heard that the very first Iron Rings were made out of the remaining of the bridge as a result of wrong Engineering calculation but it sounds a myth! but it was after the disaster that the practise of Engineering became regulated. Has it any affect rather than making business, I'm not quite sure. It might have but not to the necessary limit)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Biggest Conspiracy of all Time

It was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy the 35th President of the US yesterday. I read that a ceremony was held for the first time in Dallas, TX this year. I watched a kind of movie/documentary in yesterday afternoon called The Kennedys, partially. I had known a bit about him and what happened in the years before his assassination but I didn't know he had an issue and she left him. That was very disturbing to see someone who is under so much pressure, instead of getting support from his family, has to assign part of his brain to the new issue. He was with his aids discussing the Cuban Missile Crisis and in between talking to this and that he had to ask the operator to try his wife's in Virginia, I guess and there was no answer. 
Oliver Stone described what really happened in 1963 and who really was behind the assassination but there are still assholes who want to fool themselves and others by saying Oswald did it by himself! Lots of books have been published and many articles are available on the web. I have not had time and motivation to read majority of them but believe in Stone has said in JFK
This story is a bit similar to the killings of authors and opposition leaders in the old country almost 15 years ago. No one has been ever charged officially but a wise person knows that all of them has been killed by the direct order of the dictator and his aids.
(Photo: Kennedy and his wife in the backseat and the governor of Texas in the middle just shortly before shots are fired in 22 Nov. 1963, three years after he took office)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Warning for Co-op Shoppers

I've already written about The Company of Over-rated Pirates and how unreasonable most of their goods are. I try to stay as far as possible but at times we have to go there because it is close. 
A few days ago we went for a little shopping. We wanted chicken and I used to get a whole chicken and cut them up but F. F. suggested to have chicken pieces such as drums, thighs, breasts, etc because that becomes almost the same price and you do not have that much cutting and cleaning. So we got a pack of legs which seemed OK. All I though I would have to do was taking the skins off, wash them and pack them. 
The package comes in two rows. When I remove the first one, I realised that they had packed the lower layer in a way that lots of fat and skin is actually hiding beneath the meat. In this way these fucking cheaters scam you for up to 100 g of shit or maybe a bit more on every pack you buy. If I had seen the garbage on the above row, I would have made a decision either to buy or skip because I could see how honestly they had been packed because many people have no issue with skin and fat of chicken but in this sway the only thing comes to my mind is scamming the customers. I may have to check with the manager to see whether that's his idea of the meat department guy did that just simply because he or she was so fucking lazy to cut the big pieces of fat off. 
(Photo: You can clearly see the worst part of a chicken here in this photo that has been left by the meat guy. There is nothing but skin and pure disgusting animal fat in this section. Not to mention the skin and other parts which cannot be seen in this photo)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Another Telephone Interview

I had a telephone interview couple of weeks ago. I was sitting in the office and the telephone rang. It was a lady from the H. R. of a big company, quite as big as the past two, I would say. 
We had a little chat. I answered the questions. If I got the position, I would be on the site(s) for half a time, travelling not stationed. I was clear. Salary-wise didn't seem to be significant but what if there is no choices. I'm currently studying for a certificate which I mentioned that in the interview and could help to get the job. At the same time if I get the job, that will boost the certificate to a higher level. But these are all hypothesis until I really get the job. She said she would forward my resume to the hiring manager and I would most likely hear from them by the end of Nov.
If I can get the job after we receive the year-end bonus, which no one knows if it will ever be handed to us, that would be a good slap to the face of these guys but I'm not leaving unless my salary is at least $1000 more every month. I think there should be a good reason and motivation to make someone move. We'll see. I'll post if I ever get the second call by the end of the month. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Heart Mountain (Not Finished)

It was very cold this morning and wind was blowing. I wanted to have a hike regardless of that so left the City around 11:10 or so. I needed to pay some gasoline so pull over to an Esso station. By mistake put my card in a Diesel pump and realized that in the last minute! Eventually got $20 and headed west on No.1 toward Canmore. My intention was to hike Heat Mountain across from Lac Des Arcs which seems to be a fairly easy scramble but maybe not in snowy weather. I was able to find the trial head this time easily and start ascending but time was my enemy! I had to be back to the City to pick up F. F. so starting at almost a quarter to 1 was a very bad idea. I went up and the weather was not as bad as they were talking about it on the radio. There was no footprint so I just hiked up toward the top which could be barely seen in the foggy surroundings. According to the information the trial is supposed to be made of lose rocks, or in other word scree. I didn't experience much after hour and 45 minutes hike. I then decided to descend because I for sure didn't want to be late. It was a very light exercise but now at least I know where to start my next scramble. I will have 4 challenges which I'm hoping to finish them by the end of the year. Heart Mountain is one as well as the one I missed last Sun., the one I spent more than 5 hours on and didn't finish and another one which when the time comes up, I will write about it. 
(Photo: Heart Mountain as seen from the south side of Highway No. 1. The trial starts just a few meters from where I took this photo. I only went up half of the way)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

We bought this little machine quite a while ago with the hope that we can make our ice cream and frozen yogurt at home to stay away with full of sugar and additive ice creams, I would say mostly, in the market. 
Regardless of the two times that I made Chocolate Ice Cream and F. F. didn't like it, the machine was just sitting in the storage room and occupying space. 
F. F. decided top to take it out a few days ago to make some Frozen Yogurt for us. I guess she referred to some eyepiece clips from Youtube instead of going to the manual! The result was good. We had Raspberry Frozen Yogurt which had been sweetened using a little Brown Sugar and garnished with Raspberries and Blackberries. She made another package later, this time using Bananas but the result was not as significant as the previous one. 
(Photo: The Raspberry Frozen Yogurt was awesome. I forgot to say that a little bit of Vanilla Extract, maybe half of a tea spoon is also required  We also added some walnut peieces which made it even better)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dark Side of the Moon: 40th Anniversary (1973-2013)

We are about to finish year 2013 but I almost forgot about one of the most magnificent albums of the all time: Dark Side of The Moon by Pink Floyd. The British band released that in March of 1973 and in addition to be one of the most commercially successful albums in the history of music, it was in top selling albums lists for years. 
I bought it hear, I guess in 2003 but don't remember where, possibly from one of the stores in Downtown. I had a tape cassette, an original, in the old country which I can not recall how I obtained it because it has been years ago but I remember I used to listen to Brain Damage almost every day. This album, like other works of Pink Floyd, has barely anything close to it. I ordered their Live in Pompeii DVD back in 2005 and I still enjoy that especially the songs Echos and Echos Part II
It is amazing that the music that this band created 40 years ago hardly comes by these years.
(Photo: Pink Floyd members from left: Rick Right (deceased), Roger Waters, Nick Mason and David Gilmour. The other founding member, Syd Barrett is not seen in the photo as he had left or had been asked to leave the band at the time) 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Prairie Creek Trial

It has been a long time since I wanted to hike up Prairie Mountain and that is not because it is a special hike. I wanted to do that because it is in a different area than Canmore and Banff. Besides that considering the weather, it should be fairly easy. So I woke up at about 07:30 yesterday and look at the window. I had known the weather and seeing it kept me back from going. But bu 10:30 I realized I would have not been able to stay at home for a whole day. So I grabbed my gear and headed for Kananaskis Country in Bragg Creek area after buying a few liters of gasoline.The road was not as bad as I had thought. Was even better than the City streets. i don't know whether it was because that it had snowed less or there were more plows. I saw one going the opposite direction on Highway No. 8
I reached the Elbow Falls area around 11:45 and I was confident this time that I would find the trial head easily and go up with no difficulty as this was my second time I was there. The temperature was something around -12 degrees C but I had enough on, with no tuque and no gloves or mitts. I had everything in my backpack though. It was not snowing but the ground had anywhere from 2 to 5 cm of snow. The trial had been walked on so I did not have to exert too much energy by stomping on the snow especially when I was going up. There were a few vehicles parked but didn't see anyone around. I realized after a few minutes, maybe half an hour or so, that I was going down instead of going up. I thought perhaps I am getting close to the main trial but when I saw a guy with his dog and asked him if that trial was leading me to Prairie Mountain, his answer was a simple now! Apparently that was a loop which later on I learnt it was called Prairie Creek Trial and it's trial head is just a few meters from Prairie Mountain trial head! 
I though that would not be a good idea to go back and find the trial head especially because I was not aware of it's location at the time. At the same time the guy told me that the trial length was 12 Km and I would probably be able to go back to the road, Highway 66, before it gets dark. I didn't want to take the risk so I decided to make it a 4-hour round trip. 
I continued on the trial and I must say, its a very easy one. The fact that I was doing it in the cold winter and snow was on the ground made it a bit challenging. This trial would be child's play if I did it in summer or fall and only running make it worth trying. I saw a few other people who were well equipped with poles, Spikes, tuque and other requirement but I only had to put my gloves on on the way back as it was getting a bit cold. At the end of my going round after a sign which was read Prairie Link, the trial got a bit uphill and I guess it was leading to one of the mountains close by but I had to go back after 2 hours to be able to get to the vehicle because it gets dark. When the time reached a certain hour that I had been already on the trial for more than 3 hours I felt both tired and hungry, something barely had happened to me on more strenuous hikes such as Grotto Mountain. I did not have any water on me but i had two bars: An Elevate Me and a Nature Valley was home at about 17:00. I assume it would be an easy walk or hike, whatever you like to call it, in summer, good for kids and elderly. Looking at the information available on the Web, now I know what my mistake was and I'm hoping that I will be able to make it to Prairie Mountain one day soon.
(Photo: Winter view in Prairie Mountain Creek)

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Workplace Stories (9): The Cheapskate

With people coming and going to this shithole that I have had to call my workplace in past 2 years and a half, once we had this guy of South Asian origin who joined us and started to work. He was a nice and OK guy but seemed not fit. I realized that he was a kind of the guy who wanted to do what he liked to do not what he had to do. I didn't know much about him at the beginning because was not working with or for him but then I realized that he was quite qualified and experienced, may be just not as much as he thought he was. The thing that I learnt about him later and changed my opinion about him was that he was a fucking cheapskate like majority of South Asian. Do not accuse me of being racists or doing stereotyping because it is true. 
He had obtained a few different certificates in his line of work, years ago and never renewed them after! The guy earns probably more than, I don't know, but at least $150,000 annually but intends not to pay, for example, $80 to renew his certificate! What a fucking cheapskate, in my opinion. When I told him that I had paid around $800 for an ASQ CQE Premier, his eyes were about to pop out! These fucking animals do everything to gain money but when it comes to spend a little, it feels to them that they are going to give parts of their body! 
Another time I asked him a few questions about a certain topic. Instead of introducing useful material to me, he directed me to a shity British website which provides some information on the topic for free but the terminology they use is completely different from the North American's so it's very confusing and not informative and instructional at all! 
regardless of all the above he gave me a Bridge Cam Gauge for free and to this date I have not understood why he ever did that. I am aware that he had received it for free but still someone like him would not have given it away as easy as that!
(Photo: A Bridge Cam Gauge made by G. A. L. company in the US. For the information of those who might not know this gauge or gage as is written on it and both are correct, is used to do welding inspections and mine, the one that the Cheapskate gave to me, is not this brand. Hope G. A. L. does not mind me using their patented tool's photo)

Friday, November 08, 2013

Moong Split Bean Soup

Small bags of Moong Split Bean were on sale a few weeks back in a major supermarket so we got, I guess, two. There were sitting in one of the kitchens cabinet until last night that I decided to make a meal out of them. I looked in to the available recipes on the web, knowing it's an East Indian ingredient and found a few meals; picked the easiest one: Moong Split Bean Soup. I like East Indian food but it has its own issues. First of all they eat all of the vegetables in cooked format of course combined with lots of rice and white bread they call differently such a Naan and Ruti. Second of all everything is made with lots and lots of oil and that is not vegetable oil; it's kind thick butter they call it Ghee. I know there are many crooks out these days and sell every kind of garbage mixed together as vegetable oil but you still can get vegetable oil out there. The third problem with East Indian food is the amount of White Blanched Rice that they eat that is worse than anything else. In addition to all above, the amount of pepper they use has caused different types of Cancer in the country such as stomach and throat.
There was this guy as a colleague of us (I will tell his story later on) whom I asked him about East Indian food once and added as a compliment that I had thought East Indian food was a healthy one knowing they do not consume much meat aseptically meat. He completely denied the fact and stresses that many people in the community and country suffer from different diseases related to over-consumption of Animal-sourced Fats, Rice, Bread and other similar food. 
Regardless of all the stated facts I decided to make the soup and simply replaced a few of the ingredients I believed were not good for health. So here we go:

Ingredients: 
1- 2 Bay Leaves.
2- 1 cup Moong Split Bean.
3- 8 cups Water.
4- 1 table spoon Ginger (paste or grated).
5- 1 tea spoon Cumin Seed (or powder).
6- 1 tea spoon Turmeric
7- 1 medium Tomato, chopped.
8- 1 table spoon Cinnamon, powdered.
9- 1 dried Chili Pepper
10- 2 table spoon Vegetable Oil, preferably real Olive Oil
11- A desirable amount of cut vegetables of different kinds. 
12- Salt.

Instruction:
Wash the beans and set aside. Add Cinnamon, Bay Leaves and Salt to the Water and bring them to boil. Add the beans, lower to medium heat and cook until the beans are soft and tender a bit but not completely because you will have another stage of the cooking later on.  While the beans are being cooked at 1 table spoon of oil to a pan, heat it up and add Cumin, Chilies and Ginger, fry briefly and make a type of thick sauce/seasoning and set aside on low heat. Then add Turmeric and another table spoon of Oil to the boiling mixture, add the sauce/seasoning and finally add the chopped Tomato and cut Vegetables. I used a combination of Bell Pepper, Zucchini, White Mushroom, Celery and Carrot and the result was good. Cook the soup for about 15 minutes or until desire tenderness is reached. Add a bit of salt at the end if you like. If you want it less hot replace the Chili Pepper with Black Pepper and reduce the amount as well. 
This soup is good, considering the bad ingredients are replaced with less harmful ones, because you do not have to add any meat or fake commercial Chicken Stock or Broth to it to make it tasty. I tried it just by itself and I have got to say: It's really filling. 
(Photo: My plate of Moong Split Bean Soup. I sued orange Bell Pepper but using a green one could changed the look of the meal because I have also used carrot, the same colour. And I like to serve my soups in large, wide a bit deep plates because they lose their temperature faster and be ready to enjoy quicker)

Thursday, November 07, 2013

The Induction Ceremony

I had been invited to the Induction Ceremony of the Association of the Professional Engineers so we went last night. We were there around 18:05, I think and after registration we got a drink and sat. They gave us a booklet with the name, position and education of all the inductees. It was interesting to know who does what or what education he or she has. There were people from known companies such as Shell and AMEC while there were other ones form unknown companies. Everybody was given a Lapel Pin and a Statement of Oath. I had been expecting to get a very nicely designed pin, not that I wanted to wear it everywhere and everyday but I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. After everyone was called to the podium and photos were taken we all rose and read through the oath. 
Then there was a old lady who gave a little speech and it was about significant work that some professionals, in any career, might perform. Then we went for buffet. The invitation indicated a light buffet but it was a full meal: Chicken, Roast Beef, salads, everything. F. F. was hungry so she got happy. So was my buddy whom I found in the middle of the ceremony and joined us. I was not that much hungry but enjoyed the food. We sat for a while and communicated with other fellas before we left. I also happened to see one of the guys who used to work for our company. A very quiet guy with a terrible English but a nice gentleman who had worked hard to get to this stage. He works now for an authority. He seemed happy. Overall it was a good night. I guess we left sometimes around 20:30 or so.
(Photo: This is the pin given to everyone who is either registered as a professional Engineer or Geo-scientist. In my opinion they could easily make this pin much nicer to look by simply adding to its length and using a better font, maybe. I don't think that is something that anyone would want to wear not only because now there are too many people who have this title also because it's not something special in appearance. I thank the Association for this and the entire ceremony, especially the drink and food, though! Maybe I let them know as a suggestion)

Sunday, November 03, 2013

A Bad Sign

A couple of weeks ago we were going to the apartment and a pile of stuff caught our attention. I had a look, ignored it then and went in. Same thing happened the day after that and then eventually after 3 days, F. F. got curious as what it meant. Looking closely you could find different things in the stuff: Books, a pair of boots, a snowboard, other stuff in bags. It was clear to me that someone had been kicked out as a result of a break-up! I told F. F. what I had though it was and I guess I was right. I don't know the couple but had seen a young Caucasian girl going and coming to that unit a few times. She actually was the second resident of the unit. The previous one I guess was kicked out because of late rents. I guess they even didn't pay for a month or two. One days after that we saw a few more being piled up and just in a week everything was gone meaning the relationship was officially over. But was the girl a bad breaker upper as Elaine explains in Seinfeld, I'm not sure. We never heard any noise. It was a bad sign when I saw it and I immediately knew what it meant.
(Note: A photo of the stuff is available but I'm not looking for a trouble with the neighbours. So we forget about that!)

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Workplace Stories (8): Newlywed, Nearly Dead(!)

There's this guy at work whom we bother a lot but just for fun only and he doesn't mind it. He comes to us to have a little chat usually at the end of the working day and we fill him with horrible stories about the situation of the company and how everyone might lose his job soon, which in a way is true! He and everyone else has been waiting for the annual raise as well as the year end bonus. It is too late to get the first one because we have passed two paydays without having it happened but people are still optimist. But really what else is available to hang on to! Just an empty hope, I would call it! 
The guy has gotten married recently and is nervous. He changes his shirt every day and tries to look neat and professional because well his wife is looking at him as a successful role model have achieved almost everything in Canada! The other day I asked him whether people of his faith ever pray. And his answer was they would every morning, if they are very religious. I told him he'd better start praying! He said he would pray to become a millionaire! I said, in reply, he'd better start praying that he will have a job in two month or more! I added: This guy (pointing at my body who is originally from the same country as he is) has saved enough money that he would be able to stay unemployed for a very long time. Besides he is well qualified and would be able to get a job in two months, max.! I have my ticket and I will jump on the plane and will go back home. What are you going to do?! You're newly wed! And my buddy added: Newlywed, nearly dead! And we burst into laughter, both of us. He was holding his head between his hands and bowed it! It was hilarious. He's a very simple and impressionable guy who believes almost everything he hears. I have had convinced many other in the company but I'm well known now. Although I'm still able to sell my bullshit but it's hard to happen! But this guy, as soon as he hears something, he listens with wide open mouth and eyes! Regardless of his innocence that you can easily see in him after spending a little time, there is also this silliness in him which make him immature and amateur! We were heading back to the office once about 7 or 8 months ago, I guess 3 or 4 of us, we were on Elbow Dr. where those huge mansions are located. He goes: I will buy one of these one day! He in a sense is a bit similar to Ali G. The difference is Ali G. found his way through and now works for one of the biggest municipalities of Canada with most likely a very good salary. He had dreams like that but it's more likely that he can get something close to these dream! 
(Photo: One of the streets in Elbow Dr. neighbourhood. I took this photo last May)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Poor Hispanic Cargill Guy

I worked for Cargill for quite of a time. Working for that company and being me who is known as Troublemaker you bump to people who work there or used to work there once in a while, depending where you are going and when. 
It was just a few minutes after I boarded the plane to Toronto and before sitting, I was putting one of my stuff in the overhead bag that I heard someone talking to me in Spanish! The fuselage was dead quite because everyone was on his or her seat and I guess I with may be a few more people were the only one who were only on their feet. I immediately recognized him by his face: He was one of the Cargill guys. Everyone was now looking at me to probably see my reaction or response and I answered him back in English because I don't speak Spanish! He kept going in Spanish switching back to English and vice verse and I was answering in English until I finished playing with the thing and sat down. I think people thought that I either was Hispanic but didn't want to speak Spanish or any other reason! I can't read their mind but it was clear that they were all surprised a bit. Just a little bit. 
I guess it was during our conversation in the plane or may be after landing in Toronto that I asked him if he was going to see any family or friend in there and he said that he was going back home, to El Salvador. When I approached him and looked at him from a closer distance I realized that he looked much older now. It has been more than 7 years now that I quiet Cargill. When I was shaking his hand I also realized that he could not have a good grip on my hand. Many of the guys who work hard jobs in plants such as Cragill they face permanent problems like that which will never go away. I had a similar issue with my right hand but I guess I am an exemption because after a while I became a master in that job, the job only less than of a handful of the guys were able to do that and that is the problem because you get used to it and it becomes easy and you don't want to leave because you like what you are doing and you know not many people are able to do that and your life goes on. I was in that stage that one day didn't show up and went to another company which led to my resignation from Cargill. Many other people do that and many didn't. I bumped to another guy a few months ago who still is working for Cargill. He said that both of his knees were fucked up and the physician had told him that he had to walk to help the knees get better. I feel bad for these guys, all especially the El Salvador and the African. I hope there are times that at least their pain eases of. 


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (18): The Costs

I always wondered why people in Canada visit Toilet Mexico several time during their life while have never left the province of their origin or at the most visit a few neighbouring cities and that will be it. Travels inside Canada barely happens in compare to the number of the time people travel to Toilet Mexico and other shity Central American shitholes. There are several reasons for this, I learnt later on:

1- Travelling to Toilet Mexico is very cheap compare to travelling inside Canada especially with this All Inclusive packages. Most of people don't care about what they are going to eat as they visit fast food garbage places such as Tim Horton's and McDonald's on daily basis so being fed by Mexicans is not a concern for them. Imagine going somewhere that you can not even brush your teeth with the water! Forget about drinking it! But who cares? They buzz up until they can not even stand on their feet when they go there! Who drinks water!? 

2- There are not many places in Canada, even in hot months of summer that people can go and show their tits, legs, buttocks or six abs. Toilet Mexico provides that opportunity for exhibitionists! 

Just giving a hint as how mach was spent on the trip, I present the following:

1- Parking for the car at the airport: $70. 2
2- Dinner at local restaurants: $129.79
3- Snack, grocery items and breakfast: $82.34
4- Gasoline: $195.69 (We had a $100 gift card but a few of the record seems to be missing. We travelled over 2000 km!)
You add the cost of flight, car rental and hotels and you will realise what is one of the reasons why people expose themselves to contaminated water, Hepatitis B, violence by drug dealers and other risks and go to Toilet Mexico, a place so pathetic that you can not even drink a glass of water with ease, instead of different places in Canada!!
(Photo: Terra Nova National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fiddlehead

Living in North America gives you this opportunity to try things that you have never come across in your life. We were in a supermarket a few months ago and saw this strange but nice looking vegetable which later learnt is called Fiddlehead. Apparently this vegetable is grown in Atlantic Canada not the province that we have visited but Nova Scotia and also captivated in parts of Asia. We got a handful of them and simply cooked it or better to say steamed cooked it and served it as a side item with chicken breast. The result was satisfactory. It tastes a bit similar to another popular, easily accessible and less expensive vegetable that I have forgotten now because I tasted it early in summer or late spring and it was just a little amount. Price vise it is expensive mainly because of the distance it travels to reach us here in Alberta and also the limited amount and season it is cultivated. I never saw that in the supermarket after that maybe because of its limited customers or limited supply. Worth trying and like every other vegetable it has health benefits but I mostly prefer to have raw vegetable and I'm not sure whether this could be eaten raw. It certainly is not as had as Asparagus that we tried few of them raw on the field. I don't know the origin of this kind of vegetable but know as fact that Asparagus had not been cultivated in Alberta until a certain time. 
(Photo: A handful of cooked Fiddleheads waiting to cool off and added to the main dish)

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Pants

I bought a pair of pants from one of the Hacoupian's retailers more than, at least, 14 years ago and wore it probably not more than 5 or 6 times after purchased and then stored it in the wardrobe. A few months ago I tried it on and didn't fit! I had a major issue in the waist area, originated bu love handles! Then I tried it again last Fri. to see how it looks due to my, kind of torn pants and it worked! I means my diet has been working and I have to keep up with that. I have started a low carbohydrate diet which mean no White Rice at all (unless it is whole grain and happily you can not get it here, I hope!), less Bread and only Whole Wheat and very rarely, no Pasta and no Potato and less Cake and Biscuit of any kind. I still have a long journey to completely get rid of ring of fat around my waste but I'm getting better week after another. 
(Photo: Beans are good replacements for rice, bread and even meat but it's hard to make them tasty. East Indian food contains lots of different beans but they destroy it by adding lots of butter and other types of animal fat. As well beans have benefits if consumed raw and in sprout shape. Baked beans has low nutritional values and canned beans have disadvantages. I never touch them but you see different types of them here in the supermarkets mixed with meats, broth and sauce. I don't know how popular they are)

Friday, October 18, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (17): Where Did We Stay?

We stayed in total of four hotels during our week road trip to Newfoundland & Labrador:

a- Night 1 and 2, Capital Hotel, St. John's.
b- Night 3, Bridgeway Hotel, Placentia.
c- Night 4, Harbour Lights Inn, Twillingte.
d- Night 5, 6 and 7, Holiday Inn Express, Deer Lake.

a- Capital Hotel is not to far from the airport. Yet not far from the Downtown, considering the size of the city. Rather than that, it is located on a street with all the restaurants around it. So we had no issue finding something to eat. It has a restaurant on the main floor which serve different meals but we never tried it. The place has nothing to offer in terms of view and it is not very clean. I remember that cigarette buts were everywhere in front of the main entrance. Yet it is an expensive place in my criteria. I find it hard to believe that unless you pay a big chunk of money in Canada, you will not have a nice place to spend your night in.

b- Bridgeway Hotel, as its website indicates, is a new place. Only 2 levels and may be not more than 10 rooms. The owner, I believe, has tried his or her best to bring comfort to the place in this little town. The staff are very friendly and helpful. They helped us to find two places that we had in our plan to visit as well as a local restaurant. The cost of the room comes with a breakfast and you simply go down, open the fridge and get whatever you want. The hotel is basically on the main road in Placentia which could be a bit noisy in the evening but by the time we get to the night, the problem goes away. You have a view of the water and that is not bad. What can you expect in a small town? I guess there is another hotel in the town and that is the one which we had our dinner at. It's bigger but I don't know about their quality. The appliances and furniture there were all new and you have free wireless Internet access.

c- Our forth night stay was a bit of adventure which I have written about it in a separate post. This place was even smaller than the previous one with older furniture and low pressure shower but they had a good breakfast. At least I liked it! They serve you fresh fried egg and they have this magnificent home made muffins and local spreed. I guess I had 4, maybe 5 muffins with my coffee as well as the eggs. The staff are friendly and helpful. They had left the main door open for us so we could get in without a trouble late night. This again must have been an old house turned to the hotel and I guess is open only during summer and early fall.
(Photo: Breakfast, part of it only(!) in Harbour Lights Inn, Twillingate)

d- I am generally not comfortable when I have to sleep anywhere rather than my own bed but if I have to with adjustments, I will be able to get a few hours of sleep. Holiday Inn had been always known to me as a high quality hotel, above average, close to luxury but the first experience brought doubts to my mind. This hotel is a new one in the town and many things were still looked like they had been just purchased but there were so many issues: The damn mattresses were both useless. With a big hole on each when lying down you felt that you had slipped and fall into a very small hole, almost the size of your body! The hotel is built on a lot adjacent to Highway No.1 but that is not the main source of noise! The breakfast was just awful! There is precooked egg which is called rolled egg in fast food restaurants and is disgusting. Bread was just average quality in the country which is one of the biggest producer of wheat and other grains. Muffins where the worst I have ever had; even McDonald's muffins are ten times better! Coffee is tolerable and there is nothing else but Kraft jam and so on. Of course the hotel has no restaurant and people are encouraged to go to Deer Lake Motel for a meal as well as the other local food joints, mostly fast food restaurants. The type of tissue available in the room proves the lowest quality available in Canada, I'm saying without  shadow of doubt! You just use the tissue buy rubbing it to your hands and it comes off like foam when you are washing your hands! I wanted to make a local call from my room and when I reached the last four digits, the telephone started beeping! I told the problem to the front desk but she just offered dialling the number for me without sending anyone to investigate! The elevators, made by ThyssenKrupp making unbelievable noise when going up and down, even worst than our residence, although it only has been a few months since they have been installed. The only thing I liked about the hotel, rather than its tidiness was paintings of an N. L. artist named Allan Loder, from Clarenville. He has pictured the fishing communities of the province in such a beautiful way. I saw a few of his work priced around $300. If I had owned a house and plenty of money, I would have bought myself at lest one!
(Photo, top: The Holiday Inn in Deer Lake. The building is new and nice but the mattresses, probably the most important thing for the passengers, were disgusting which prevented us from a good sleep. If I'm in Deer Lake area again, I will make sure to stay away unless they do something to their mattresses and breakfast!)