Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dream about the Uncle

One of the people I saw just a day or two before leaving the old country was my second uncle in the hospital. he had been sick with I don't know why and previously to that I had visited him in his daughter's house. He was laying in the bed. Never learnt what his illness was. He died shortly after I came here. Then last year the first uncle passed away. That was the one that I was close with his sons, especially the elder one. We used to spend time together in our childhood and then in high school and university years and even a little after that. There's only one uncle left now and he's the youngest brother of four and youngest in the family. I had a dream about him a few weeks back and I still remember it:
I was back to the old country and was waiting or maybe simply standing in the airport and someone appeared in front of me. I clearly remember that he was the only and the only thing I was able to see. I also recall that the face of the person was my uncle's but his body was small, like midget people. His face was young though. He appeared before me and I was trying to recognize him. In the meanwhile I heard people whispering that it was the uncle(!) without seeing anyone! And eventually I recognized him! That was it. 
So I told Mom about it and she believes it is fine.  For a long time after the dream I wanted to call him but couldn't. I was just ashamed. In the past 12 years that I've been leaving here I have called him once only that was to check if Mom and Farzin had arrived. That was why he was surprised and asked what had happened to make me spend money on a long distance call! The fact is we were never close. Even though my Dad and him were the youngest and closest, they were never very close either. My uncle was a soccer player in his youth years playing for a 1st league team. As well he never really went for education and luckily got his high school diploma and was hired by the Electricity Distribution Co. and stayed there until retirement. He was, as probably is not a gambler but in family and friends only because gambling of any kind is forbidden over there. And a lady man, I guess, until got married. A drinker too. On the opposite hand my father was among the few who went to university and got himself involved with politics which eventually led to being fired from work and that was another hard hit to our family. 
Anyways today the uncle is old and I don't think he is doing most of the things that he used to do many years ago; maybe only gambling. It's understandable that he got surprised of my call but what he or anybody else might not understand is that not many people of our family are left now. They are either dead or dispersed all around the world somewhere. Those years that all the family was getting together in big family parties are over and will never come back. Happiness will probably never come back and I have to visit them all or most maybe for that last time next time I'm going there, if I get a chance. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Workplace Stories (10): Hired from Kijiji

It's been a little more than 3 years know that I've been working for these pieces of stinking shits. I'm expecting a sudden blow any minute of my daily work. If nothing significant happens soon, we'll be mostly out of here in a few months. All of my efforts in the past 7 months have gone useless despite the fact that I had interviews with good, stable firms which would have been turned to permanent employment, I f I had gotten the position. 
Nevertheless that's not the only issue which has been bothering me. The important thing is I'm hanging out with assholes and ignorant fools and barely know their right hands from left hands. I' certain I deserve way more than this but I haven't probably tried hard enough to get out of it. The fact that I have to work with people, a few of them my superiors, who know less than me and have less capabilities than me is very disturbing. The fucking idiots that have been called by one of the contractors Hired from Kijiji! 
I never knew that Kijiji could also be used as a website to advertise yourself when you're out of work until I saw someones ID Card which showed his qualification in a trade a few weeks ago! Apparently some desperate guys they post adds supported by credentials with the hope that they can get a job. That's in my opinion is very unusual in Canada because the majority of people get their jobs and careers through connection, especially the Caucasians as they have a biggest network. So the fact that someone advertising for him in Kijiji shows that he's not only below the normal qualification levels in the job market but also have little or no connection. 
Many in this stinking shit-hole that I work in have found their job through members of family of their community. We even have this fucking asshole who not only has brought his ugly piece of shit wife, but also his retarded son! The result is people who mostly don't even know what they're doing or talking about and this is their first and most likely last jobs in Canada! To give you an example there was this animal dead-brain who was once in a meeting with us. That was a telephone conference with a supplier and at the end he sent us a Minutes of Meeting indicating the discussions and results. I had a look and realized that there were mistakes and missing items. I crossed out the mistakes with read lines, corrected them and added the missing ones. he, instead of changing the document and implementing the corrections, sent the newly changed Minutes of Meeting with the red lines and added items to the supplier! I didn't know what to say! Once I was with this guy who happens to be working in the company for years and I had extremely hard time just to understand what he was saying! The other one's ignorance is so high that she looks for combined words and terms in her native language dictionary. For example Municipal Affairs is looked up! So fucking dumb that doesn't even understand that they couldn't be found in a dictionary a s a combined or one word! Truly true is they are hired from Kijiji: The lowest level of proficiency, knowledge and experience! 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Flashback (29): Jimi Hendrix's Son in White Rock(!)

I've not been a die hard fan of Jimi Hendrix but I guess like a few of his songs. He is known as the best guitar player of the all times by Rolling Stone Magazine. I'm not sure if that is an accredited organization to do such a rating though! 
These celebrities, especially if they are Black, either from Africa, originally or Central America, have numerous wives, mistresses, lovers, groupies, etc. that they often sleep with and at times they are kids as the result! As well there are at times people who pop up and claim that they are their son,  wife or daughter and claim royalty, if that is after they death or want to inherit their property. 
This young, well almost young, possibly in his late 30s, fella that I met, I guess twice, in White Rock, when I used to work and live there, seemed not very successful in that regard. He was an almost Black guy with the features I descried. He had a guitar hanging out from his back, like a rifle, wearing beard, if I remember clearly and a smile, both of the times I met him. He had a long overcoat and I guess, and there are countless guesses here because this story goes back to 2008-2009 and my memory is not very good, I saw him when I was working alongside John. We greeted and he said: I'm Jimi Hendrix's Son! I guess he was introducing him to me because apparently he and John had met previously. 
But why he, a son of a legendary musician should wander around a small forgotten town, close to the US border which people only go there for its beaches, I have no clue. Maybe he was expecting me to ask him to give me an autograph or take a photograph with him. I don't know but I was not going to ask any of those. We had a short chat or better to say they had a short chat and he left. That was it. Of course I never saw him again. I lost my job and then we move out of the little town. 
(Photo: I selected this poster of Jimi which shows how much his fans like him. That actually is funny and interesting!)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Stupidest Monuments Men

I promised myself not to judge a movie by watching it only once. It had happened many times that a movie has not made me very amused but when I watched it for the second or third time, I enjoyed it. That was why I made this decision. 
This time I didn't even need to finish the movie! I was so pissed off after the first one hour that if The Lady had not been besides me, I would have left the movie house! This movie, The Stupidest Monuments Men is so messed and boring that I don't even know how to start! The movie seemed to me like a few separate clips of different events which the editor has tried to arrange them in such an order that they make sense but the chain has been disrupted! The dialogues were so boring, nonsense and stupid! I guess the intention was to make it a bit funny but whether they succeeded or not? I don't think so! The movie has good actors such as Demon, Goodman, Murray and Clooney but they all look dumb and boring! Surprisingly the director is Clooney and that's probably why the movie is so fucked up! 
One extremely dumb scene is where Murray is taking a shower in the officers' tent and a Christmas song is playing on megaphone. That was the moment the disturbing and annoying sound of that silly girl made me almost run out of the theater! Murray was seen sitting on a bench with teary eyes, looking at nowhere! What the fuck the fucking silly director wanted to show here? I don't know! Is the movie about the artifacts that the Nazis were trying to hide or the soldiers who were missing their families and feeling home-sick!? Such a fucking silly scene. I don't know what the fuck the stupid screenwriter was thinking! 
The rest of the movie was these guys going here and there and finding stuff. Another silly scene was when one of them, a British guy finds a statute of Virgin Marry, or as it's said in the movie, Madonna and tries to save it from a bunch of Nazis who were about to seize that as well as a few other stuff. The guy is hiding behind a wall when the soldiers come in and that's when he cock's his pistol. The German officer hears that, takes his gun out of the holster and approaches the wall slowly. The British guy suddenly shoots and in return the Nazi officer does the same but he shoots multiple times. The scene ends with the German officer holding his left arm which is wounded and the British dying! 
The movie was the first one since 2006 that I could not watch and wanted to storm out! I and Ali G. went to watch a stupid movie called Zodiac in Chinook and just 20 minutes to the end I felt that I could not take it anymore. I came out and waited for him. I had the same feeling after only 45 minutes or less but as I said only sat there out of the respect I have for The Lady and she calmly was sitting and watching! At the end I would like to give the movie a rating of 1 out of 5. I had read Rotten Tomatoes' rating which is only 43% but I said I had to see it myself and that was a mistake! If I had trusted Rotten Tomatoes, I would have saved ourselves two tickets, as well as two hours and a few liters of gasoline! Watching this movie is not recommended at all. 
(Photo: Allies soldiers with the artifacts found from Nazis hideouts. There is no doubt that what these soldiers did was a great work but the way it was turned to a movie, I have to say, is a complete failure and true disaster in the history of cinema!)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bait and Trap

I wasted lots of time on Chess a short while ago. I don't believe that it's bad game. I'm just saying that it could be a problem such is gambling and I got that in summer of 2011. That time I could have spent on something much more useful. 
Nowadays I play rarely and not online anymore. At times just against the computer and losing most of the time because I simply just don't want to think it over. I sometimes ask myself why I'm doing this!? 
This one which I played a short while back at level 5, the highest level I've ever played against the computer, shows the moment that my opponent, in white has moved it bishop to the side of the board. This looks like a juicy opportunity to get his knight at the center of the field, which is it's seen is unarmed and unsupported. This however is a bait for a big deadly trap! If I kill the damn knight, its next move would be simply running its rock all the way from the other side of the board and have it sit just next to my king. With the bishop already covering that point there will be no movement and it will be checkmate! I thought it over and didn't take the bait but I don't remember whether I lost or won! 
(Photo: Taken from the monitor, this picture shows the trick of the computer. I possible counterattack probably would be moving the king to the right and future fights or driving the rook to the end. The second one sounds wiser)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Canada's Next Game: Fighting for Gold


It has been mostly a three days of boring stuff. Rather than once that we went to Olympic Plaza for a little practice and was fun and today that I went for jogging, we didn't do anything special but doing some home chores and me watching some Olympics games.
In the last part I got the chance to watch Canadian women fighting against the Swiss. I started watching in the second intermission when the score was 3-1 for Canada. The game was mainly played in Swiss's half and there was not a minute passing that the Canadians didn't have the puck shot at the Swiss net but they were all stopped by their goalie a all-smiling girl called Schelling
I guess the most relaxed player in the game was Canada's goalie at the other side. She only received one serious shot against her net which she stopped using her glove.
Canada scored a goal in the last intermission but the referees called it disallowed after reviewing the videos. I guess it was called an interference although it could be seen clearly in the clips that the Canadian attacker had been pushed toward the net by the Swiss defencewoman but the score remained 3-1 to the end and now Canada will face the US for Gold in Thu. at 10:00 AM which I will not get the chance to watch.
(Photo: This picture selected from YAHOO shows a moment before both the Swiss goalie and the Canadian winger go in to the net, of course after the puck. The goal was later cancelled despite all the celebration by the Canadians)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Canada-Finland @ Sochi

I started watching Canada-Finland almost halfway through the first period while Canada was ahead with one goal only. Then in the second period the game was mostly played in Finland's half but there were not many effective shots on the net. Whatever the Canadians deposited was simply either deflected or grabbed by the Finish goalie.
In the third the Finns show their power and the game played in both half with Finland finally scoring the tie. It was not a significant team or individual effort. The guy switched with his teammate, coming out of Finland's seat and shot from distance. It was deflected by a teammate and passed Price and the game was a tie.
Then the first overtime started and soon after the Canadian deferenceman, Doughty shot and the puke passed the Finish goalie from underneath his left pad!
In general the Canadians were struggling with having an effective shot on the net. Crosby and the other guy who play for Blackhawks were both paralyzed(!) and I don't even remember they ever got a chance to shoot the puck but Canada now has three straight wins and is looking for its next game.
(Photo: This is the moment after the puck passed the Finish goalie, Rask and Canada gained its thrid victory in Sochi 2014 Olympics)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Crossover

I've tried and practically participated in practices and even matches of different sports through my life. The list contains, mainly, Basketball, Wrestling, Cycling, Hiking and even Fencing but I have to admit that Ice Skating has been the most challenging one. 
One reason for sure is that I started many sports when I was much younger. For instance in wrestling which was my favorite and I was good at, I never had any problem feeling tired or hard to understand how to perform. I never practices any of the above in championship but I was always good at them. 
We were practicing crossovers yesterday for the third session and I was really getting to the point that I knew what was going on, what exactly I had to do and how to keep it up and the instructor was giving me tips and in between Boom! I fell and hurt my right thumb. I actually fell two times and generally was OK, stood up and carried on but my thumb is still swollen. 
The problem soon would be that we only have four to five sessions left and after that there will be not much chance to practice. I guess the Oval will be shut its ice and there will be no outside rink. So the only chance we get to practice would be trying Roller Blades. And for that matter I came across an article on the web as how different crossovers are in Ice Skating and Roller Blading. So I don't think we can practice much even if we buy the blades. 
(Photo: A very professional, nice crossover probably by a champion or someone who practices on high levels of the sport is shown in this picture)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Canada Is Doing Well

When Canada won 14 medals, including 7 Golds in the last Olympics, Vancouver 2012, and stood on the top, many took that to consideration on the account of the country being the host of the games. There's no doubt that it was a factor but you cannot deny all the hard work and effort that the athletes and everyone else put into this.
The results show that how Canada has been doing so far. The country is the second in the standing table and has won 4 Golds so far. Both woman and men Hockey teams beat their opponents although the men's team had a shaky start. They beat the Norwegians 3-1. Women conquer the Americans 3-2. So far so good. The host of the games, the Russians are no better than the 7th
(Photo: Canadian Hokey player scores by passing the puck between the legs of the US Team goalie in their first game)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hojam

Stories of Hojam, the man from South-central has been told independently but today I'd like to write a bit more about him as his stories are worth reading like many people that I write about! 
Hojam, according to him, came form Indonesia or Malaysia, I can't recall really well but I guess it was the first one, as a refugee to Canada years ago. He's a lazy fucked up guy from a small town in that part of the old country who after years of living here never had a real job. Or maybe better to put it this way: Never had a job that a guy has balls for! For the first few years he survived based on taxes of people such as me, may be not years but of course at the beginning. Then somehow ended up knowing The Microbe and his partner and started working for them in their business. The reasons he actually worked there were a few, including but not limited to the following, at least to the best of my knowledge:

1- He didn't have to wake up early. So for a fucked up loser, lozy guy such as him, that was a perfect job! 

2- The Microbe let him stay with him without charging him a Penny for rent and lent his old garbage Mercedes so the guy can have a bit of fun. He was pretty generous to people at time. I guess he even paid for a prostitute for him once, but I cannot be sure. 

3- It was only 5 minutes drive to the business so again a fucking lazy guy such as Hojam will be so happy to do the job. He doesn't have to pay for transit or stay in the cold waiting for the bus or train to come and at times he gets the chance to either drive the fucked up Mercedes or the business's Van. I'd like to mention here that The Microbe was a Mercedes-lover, maybe he still is. He had two fucked up old damaged Mercedes that I even drove one of them once. I was such a heavy car that you would feel that you need to push it to move! The other one was just an ornament to show off, sitting on the street, attracting dust and birds' poo! As he was a washed up loser like Hojam, he never enjoyed nice and clean vehicles and had bough that garbage, the running one, according to him, in a police auction in Saskatchewan, most probably in Saskatoon. He was so proud of that and used to say off and on that the car had pullet marks in the back! 

4- He barely spent any money on food when he stayed with The Microbe, even after that. His food was mainly consisted of old, burnt portions of a type of bread that he obtained for free, cheap Hot Dog, the ones which are made of corn starch and slaughterhouse left-overs (...well most of them are made that way! but there are really cheap ones that you can buy, I guess for $2 a pack and survive on that for a week, maybe!) from Superstore or other bargain stores, most often No Name brand, Yogurt Drink that he made himself and at times stolen items that The Microbe had bought form the people he knew! 
Now there are two interesting points here: 
  • Hojam was, and I assume still is, excellent at making Yogurt Drink, a traditional Iranian drink which is also popular in other countries. The closest product to it in the West would be Butter Milk but I found Iranian Yogurt Drink, especially the one that The Lady and Hojam make, more appealing and tastier, especially because the one from The Lady usually contains herbs. 
  • The Microbe had this addiction of buying used items. His love of life was going to Garage Sales on weekend and sweep whatever available. He also loved auctions. We attended one together once and I still have cheap, low quality items I bought from there(!) The other source of purchases for him was not The Shopping Chanel(!) it was the thieves or the thieves' partners who would meet him and enter negotiations about the items they had stolen or their partners had done. Once he called me at work and left a message regarding a pair of boots that someone had brought him! I telephoned him after work which was probably after 6 hours of his original call! He sounded very pissed off and said that the item had been gone in the morning. A few times when I was at Hojam's I realized rotten, outdated or other types of old and bad foods that, I think he said, The Microbe had given him or something similar to that. Soda of different kind was another favorite food(!) of him. I used to see big ass bottles of different brands in his refrigerator which we know they come very cheap and they give good calories to move. 
Anyways Hojam didn't last long in The Microbe's place neither within his business and moved out and settled down in a Lebanese guy's basement, whom he knew through, probably one of the business guys, his co-workers. He and The Microbe had several times and arguments occasionally and that led him to make that decision. But that was not the end of his miseries. Now he had to pay rent but the Lebanese old timer was smart. He would go down in to the basement early morning when Hojam was still sleep and would turn the furnace down! Hojam would then wake up in a few minutes and sit in sadness and awe! You can imagine how frustrating that could be. I happen not to be able to sleep from cold but have never waken up from cold but that should feel the same! I met with him in that basement a few times and it was not actually very bad. He invited a few of us over for dinner and he made this fantastic, well I don't know if I should say because that will reveal his identity, local Salad and that would be always in perfection. We were happy and he seemed not too be very bad but thing got worse later.

I ran into trouble and made a wrong, overall a wrong one, decision and moved out of the Province and he ended up in an Afghan's place which didn't have to pay any rent. That, of course was the time that the guy was on a long trip. Then he decided to have some fun and I guess he made that decision because he had made his mind to leave the country for good. He crossed the border by his vehicle and took a long trip to the States. He didn't tell me much about his trip but I assume that he slept in his car most if not every night that he was there. He crossed into the States from Montana border and that was where, according to him, the border guys held him for 5 hours! One of the interesting things that he told me was that the US border officers made a copy of his telephone book! As well they made a copy of the sketches that he had in his glove box. Hojam is a good mechanic. He had sketches of the body of different vehicles, his designs, that he liked to make to his car one day. They must have though that was a way to hide explosives or smuggle items. He was questioned two times by two different officer and he though that their intention was to double check on him to see if he provides the same answers or not. he drove to Texas and from there to Washington and then New York, Toronto and finally back to Calgary. This is what he told me without giving any detail but what part is true and what part is not, I can't really say. Although he was an honest guy but he, like many others liked to, at times, hide things or twist them.
By the time he was back, he was ready to go to the old country, for the first time after he had sought asylum in Canada and most probably with the intention not to come back. There was a rumor at the time and I'm not sure who told me that, that he had some $20,000 saved from all these years of hard work, not paying rent, not eating food and not buying any cloths and that money had been given to him either by The Microbe or his partner, or maybe both as his wages and even part of it, up front. I don't know how true that is and how much he really had in hand when he was leaving but it's clear that he didn't want to go back empty handed after almost 7 years. He would be embarrassed in front of the entire family, relatives and the the entire town. People look at you differently when you come from abroad, specifically in small towns that people are deprived of the basics of life, forget about entertainment or anything else.
According to The Chef he started buying properties including stores and lots in different cities and towns and investing here and there. At the same time he pretended that his investments went in vein and in fact he lost most of his money! He probably did that for two reasons:

  • No one can expect any help from him.
  • He could buy pity from people so he could beg for more! 
His relationship with The Microbe was not as strong in the last years but kept a good connection, although he pretended he had not done it, with The Microbe's partner from their mutual business, whom I would like to name him here The Fertilizer! The guy apparently laid him off so he could apply for E. I. and then collecting it when was abroad! At the same time he didn't pay the taxes which saved him a lot, I guess. Here again I can really not confirm anything. Although that was the plan but I don't know whether it worked or not because I guess he told me once that the guy who was supposed to apply for E. I. in regular basis, missed it and screwed everything up. But that could be another lies from him. The Chef truly believes that he owns several properties in the old country now, collecting rents and making buildings and all sorts of good businesses! He also believes that the strong relationship between The Fertilizer and Hojam is still in effect. 
I only saw him a few times after I moved back to Calgary then he disappeared and I learnt through The Chef that he had gone back. 
The last part of the story is really interesting: This guy apparently thought that he was a smart cookie so he tried to make more money by buying four used cars and shipping them to the old country. The cars were sent to Dubai so they could be shipped to Bandar-e-Abbas and then anywhere in the country but the trouble started when he was notified that the vehicles could not leave Dubai unless they are disassembles and shipped as spare parts! I guess that is due to the sanctions! This must have been really bad and I don't know how this guy is going to resolve this issue and if he did would there be any profit out of this transaction?! 
The latest news, according to The Chef, is that Hojam has recently asked The Chef's brother to purchase him a ferry ticket to Dubai so he can go and investigate! The Chef has sent green light to his brother to book a seat for him and has guaranteed that he would pay for that but he told me that he didn't feel good about it. Not that he cannot trust Hojam but he didn't find it right for Hojam to ask for the ticket from the brother.
So This is the guy who have been trying hard to earn money in the past 8 years I know him. He has no talent, he's lazy and he's stupid and he always wants to earn money the easiest way but by going around the law or cutting costs, borrowing and ways such as these but that's him, Hojam. He still owes me money, I guess some $700 in account of the rent that I had paid and he stayed on my behalf. I called his number and I heard the message that the he was unavailable so I asked for his number from The Chef and he could not find it or didn't want to give it to me. I, then, e-mailed me and this time gave me a cellular number (I could tell by looking at the area code) meaning that he's doing well. The last number I had from him and he had given it voluntarily was a land-line. He added that he would probably never go back to Canada! I didn't ask for the money but if he shows up, which is not impossible, I will discuss that with him and will probably blackmail him too, if there will be a need. 
Hojam is The Chef's idol! Probably many more's, especially in the old country, in his small town. He keeps saying that the guy used to make $7000 a month! I know he worked as delivery guy 7 days a week but find it hard to believe that he made that much in a month! He was staying in another Afghan guy's place for free in the past months he was here but he never told us how he finds these free places to stay at! His closest friend whom I met once or twice is a drunk, fool, drug addict who has a wife and daughter and used to work in a restaurant as a manager making $3000 a month, according to Hojam and The Chef but then the restaurant's ownership was transferred to another guy and the new owner kicked him out. Neither Hojam nor The Chef ever said why he was kicked out and why he had to do delivery to manage his expenses, not being able to find a similar job in another restaurant after years of working and gaining experience in the industry. The reason for that could be many but I'm going to name them as, to me, being a drunk, addict, fool who probably cheats on his wife with prostitutes, has no value, smokes weed at that age and makes up story to get money from people. His last trick was making this story that his mother had Cancer and asked The Chef to lend him $20,000 or so! The funny thing, maybe not very funny, is Hojam supported him and asked The Chef to provide the money through a Line of Credit. He refused and hasn't seen him after that. The guy never returned the $60 that The Chef had given him to purchase something with! Hojam and the guy are very close seemingly. They even work together so it's obvious that he supports him but to screw his other friend?! That's not acceptable. 
This is a short story of the fucked up people who came to this part of the world to make a better life and as some have no dignity, ethics and morale, they use any possible way to manage their life and make money. In a Capitalism society which freedom is limitless, people who have come from the backgrounds which all sorts of restrictions had been always upon them, find themselves in a paradise that they think should use every second of it to gain what they want: Pleasure. This might mean different things for different individuals. For Hojam it's been always money, no matter how it's earned. For that Fat Fuck friend of his, it's Weed, Alcohol and at times maybe a poor prostitute that he can screw. That's how it is and they can't be changed or corrected. That's why I now if I get the chance I'll get that $700 or at least part of it back from him. Now that I know he does everything to earn money, I also know that there will not be hard to make that $700 that he owes me because for him it doesn't matter how the money is earned. It should simply be earned. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Like Father, Like Son

There was this guy in the old country that we were friends during primary and junior high. Our parents were friends too and we had a very strong friendship. The lad had, most of the time, issues at the school in terms of learning. So the parents decided to send him abroad to save him from ending up like a bum. I'm not sure how they thought he would be able to manage that but they sent him to Turkey where his aunt lived. This fella who was friend of mine had also a brother, the only sibling who had troubles, this one not with learning and school but with his own personal life. The guy was almost 12 years older than us who were at the same age and the reason for that we their parents had him first and the father was in jail for political reasons and when he came out, shortly after his release they had the second son who was my schoolmate and then classmate and friend, finally. Anyways the guy left for Turkey and we were not in touch very much because there was no Internet and E-mail in those days but I used to write him and he used to write back until he was not able to stay in Turkey for visa reasons and ended up in Sweden. I don't know how he did that but my assumption is he made up a story and blamed the war (Iran-Iraq War) and sought asylum in that country and similar to many others he was accepted. I believe that's where he's at the moment.
Anyways this story, with this preface, is mainly about his brother who had problems. I know he was a drinker where drinking could lead to heavy penalties but his sins was not limited to that. He was smoking narcotics too. I guess his was Heroin but I wouldn't know because my knowledge was very limited at the time in account of my youth, even now, but it could have been Opium too because it was popular at the time. He had relationship or maybe relationships with other women. At least I know one of them which was with a married woman whose his husband made a scene in the neighborhood! This was after my friend, his brother had left the old country but we witnessed another beautiful scene a few years before that together, I and my friend: We were playing on the playground and everything was like a normal day while all of a sudden we saw three guys approaching my friend's house. When they passed us we realized they all were carrying a some sort of things which was in fact a cold weapon. I remember clearly that one of them had a small knife in his hand hidden in a way that you could only see it from if you were behind him. The other two had clubs or sticks. I don't know how my friend's brother learnt they were approaching or maybe he had screwed up something and was expecting them (otherwise why would they be there, armed, in the first place!) he appeared at their door with a big long stick similar to and as long as the ones which are used to make ladders! These are the scenes that I clearly have them in my mind after probably more than 30 years because we were just little kids but I don't know how they got separated. I know no fight broke out. I guess the neighbours came out and kind of protected him because after all he was a known troubled person in the neighbourhood and his buddies and neighbours wanted to protect him from being beaten up. I'm sure the police was never called. He survived that time. The other time that I witnessed his trouble was a few years after my friend had left the old country. I remember I was in my room where you could see the whole neighbourhood street and playground including the friend's parents house and my friend's brother apartment (whom I call him S. L. herein after) and heard a vehicle was driving very fast, like a maniac and stopped just a feet a way from the house! I don't remember whether I was looking out of the window at the time or I was sitting at my desk but I was surprised when I saw that. The vehicle was a luxury Mercedes which must have cost a lot at the time and we all learnt later that it belonged to a gentleman that S. L. had affairs with his wife! The so-called wife apparently had an affair with S. L. before her marriage to the wealthy guy, when they both were teenagers or older and the wife also happen to be the sister of our up-stair's neighbour's wife! So you can see how complicated the problem was at the time. I saw him getting out of the vehicle and banging on the door while yelling and cursing, demanding the guy to come out! I guess S. L. was inside but had probably no balls to confront the wealthy guy. First of all because he knew that he was the one who had screwed with his wife and secondly he perhaps thought that he was not able to handle him physically because the husband could be armed and S. L. was struggling with drugs and not in a very good shape. At this moment S. L.'s Mom showed up at the door trying to calm the guy down. He was furious and swearing at S. L. and his Mom who actually was standing before him. I don't know why S. L.'s father didn't come out because he showed up later when the negotiations started but my guess is the cowards thought by sending the poor, old skinny lady they could by mercy from the pissed off guy! Or maybe it was an imbarasment to protect his outlaw son from a furious husband.
Then I saw him going back in to his Mercedes and this time he pretended to drive towards the door! That was crazy and there was a big chance that the lady, S. L.'s mother get hit and hurt really badly! This stupidity was carried on for a few minutes until he was temporarily calmed down by I don't remember who but later the guy, S. L.'s father and our neighbour got together to negotiate the problem! I guess they saved S. L.'s ass that night. I don't clearly remember this part but my father could have acted as a meddle at the time because that was his friend's son. This might have been any year between 1985 and 1987 but that's a wild guess only! 
I almost forgot to mention one interesting part of S. L.'s life, his marriage which ended up in divorce after a few years and having two sons (one of them is the one who is the subject of this post). What I don't remember is either he was divorced when the angry husband attacked his parent's house or not but what I do clearly remember is that his parents didn't like the woman he had chosen for marriage. She was a girl who already had a son from his previous marriage and I truly don't remember what her profession was but I do recall that she looked like a very horny woman and used to disappear for months! When I say disappear I really mean that because I guess the girl used to leave the boys and S. N. and go to her Mom's or maybe her lover(s)! Whether she has a secret lover or not, I don't know but that was most likely the case. The boy from the previous marriage, as far as I remember used to spend most of his time with his Mom and the new family. So all 5 people lived in a small tiny one bedroom apartment. 
I guess eventually years of miserable life and having trouble with different things led the guy to think of leaving the country as well. I guess it was either 1989 or after that when he, I learnt later, paid smugglers and they provided him the opportunity to go to Canada! I guess all 5 of them did! When I first landed here I had his telephone number, again don't remember how I had gotten it but most probably from my Mom who in turn got it from his Mom. So I called him in Ontario a couple of times back in 2002. One time I talked to him and he encouraged me to stay in Alberta and the other time when I called a lady told me, in English that he had been camping. I don't know whether he didn't want to talk to me or was really out but those two times were the only times I called him and in fact I talked to him once only. I got so busy with life later that I even lost his number. 
Years passed and I heard from Mom once that S. L. had moved to the States where his Mom previously had gone. They had relatives there who helped them out. Mom gave me the lady's number and I used to call her occasionally because unlike her son, she was a very nice and helpful lady who helped me and my Mom a lot. Then Mom came here too and they were in touch until Mom had a trip to the old country and when she came back she realized that she had forgotten her telephone book there. I tried to find the number first through the internet, something like White Pages but there was no success. Then I thought I might find her grandsons', S. L.'s boys on the net and through them find the lady and that was where I noticed that the younger one who happens to be 32 now had been arrested by the police on multiple charges! That was when I said: Like Father, Like Son. We all know that here the police barely arrests anyone unless the guy is really miserable and has done many things wrongly. He apparently was released after that and attended the court later or maybe awaiting his trail but the information I accessed could not be the most updated. I also found a blog which clearly names the fella and in that he describes a horrible story, according to him, that has happened to him and that goes back to 2008, almost 5 years before his arrest. In that story the guy explains that he works as a sort of laborour but that is only one side of it. We don't know what he had done, if he ever had done it that made the others treat him like that. 
I eventually found the lady's telephone number and gave it to Mom and insisted not to discuss her grandson's arrest with her but Mom told me that no one answered the call! Apparently the number is no longer in service. I do not know whether the lady has canceled her service or she no longer is OK. The only option left is calling the other son, my childhood friend who lives in Sweden now and find out through him. I haven't done it yet. Bu that would not make any difference on the troubled guy's life! I wonder where S. L. is now. I guess he is somewhere close to his Mom and the other relatives. I hope here, at least, he stays out of trouble, especially at this age! 

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Carburn Park

It was an extremely cold day today but we wanted to get out and do some skating and I suggested a new place: Carburn Park. The Lady was not quite on the same page but accepted. We found it after the second try but happily it didn't waste so much time. It's close to Bow River and it's a curved lagoon with lots of room for tens of people. It was around -22º C and but wind was not blowing to harshly. The low temperature had kept many people away and there were only 4 other people on the ice. I quickly geared up and got on it. The ice was no too bad. Of course there scratches ad grooves but what do you expect. The Lady geared up as well but just after a few minutes she said that she didn't like the ice and added that she wanted to leave. I know she was cold. I was too but not as much as the night that I basically ran away from the ice! I had suggested in the morning to buy a Monkey Hat but she refused.
So I skated a bit and circled around. I didn't even had my gloves on me but I stayed. Overall it's a nice play and very roomy for skating and I'm sure it was easy because of the cold. I bet if it's just a few degrees below the place gets packed with the skaters in that neighbourhood. It's a bit far from our place but worth trying off and on. 
(Photo: Carburn Park skating rink gives plenty of space. In a beautiful but extremely cold of Feb. there were only a handful of people on the ice)

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Reunion with The Chef

It had been a long time, over 5 months or more, since I had hung out with The Chef. I knew something had went down. I kept calling and there was no answer. I said to me: Either he is in trouble or left the country for the old country, something he has been wanting for a long time, after probably more than 25 years living abroad! Just the weekend before I received a call from him eventually and my second guess was correct: He was in trouble! Apparently he and couple of buddies had been to drinking and on the way back to home after midnight someone caught him on Langevine Bridge and beat the shit of him! The neighbourhood is quite a dangerous place as it's where the rehabilitation center is. One person was stabbed to death last year and I guess he was lucky that he could come alive out of this.
(Photo: Langevine Bridge which over Bow River in a cold winter night of 2011. The Rehabilitation Center is seen on the left. regardless of its beauty it could be a death trap or a corner to be ambushed!)

According to him he was so drunk at the time that he could not even see a meter ahead of himself. His buddies had left him, obviously after spending all his money on booze(!) and that was on the bridge where all of a sudden the big beast appeared before him and started beating him with a club or something similar. This was not the first time he had a trouble similar to that but I hope that was the last but seems he never learns the lesson. He has bruises on his head and bellow eyebrow and although he's dark-skinned, you could see them especially the one on the head which is right above the forehead and looks like someone has it him with a Machete or Samurai Sword! I have passed that neighbourhood several times always trying to ignore the poor, ignorant and stupid who hang out there. The people who go there are mostly consist of the Natives, poor Caucasian homeless, African Blacks who found themselves lazy enough to start a new life in the country which gave them the opportunity and of course at times people from other backgrounds! One I and The Chef where going somewhere and this Iranian guy heard us talking and approached with a cigarette in one hand and a can of Pepsi in the other. He said that he had not been able to afford his internet bill and that made him to decide staying in the Rehabilitation Center!! We left him soon with his big dreams and then I know there was another guy, whom I have to say his stories here as well, who stayed in the other center which is a nicer place and is organized like a hotel but of course low quality service. People, according to him, whom I would like to call him Penny-Picker here, share a room. I guess there are four in one room. I will tell his story later but to clarify he works for a major Engineering Contractor, either Worley Parsons or J. V. Driver's, making over, my guess is, $130,000 annually, if not more and has purchased a property just outside Calgary
Anyways he, The Chef, is fine now and we spent a few hours drinking beer and then dinner at his place the weekend before. That was really pleasant especially for me whom had not had any alcohol since Christmas Party, last year. Then again I went to his place last night and we checked out Superstore and but some seafood to cook. We bought two Lobsters and one giant Crab for almost $57. The Chef cooked them, of course with my help and we had them with beer. It brought back memories of years ago where we first did that. I don't remember how much we spent in 2007 but to me it sounded a big expensive to pay that much on three live sea creatures. The Chef wanted to get more and his idea is that we should just eat them by themselves not anything added such as rice or bread but I lowered the number simply because I thought we would have too much but it was not. Every pound of Lobster is sold for $9.98 while Crab is sold for $11.99. The crab is more delicious and I have said that before and probably that is why it is more expensive. To me, unlike The Chef, the better idea is to take the meat out and make a good sub sandwich out of it but he likes it that way, which is also fine with me. We will probably hang out more as long as other restrictions are lift. 
(Photo, Top: The Chef is putting the second Lobster in boiling water)

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Winter is not Finished

It has been extremely cold in the past two days and that came as a surprise to the idiots who saw 12º C weather and higher the week before. They don't know that a few warm days does not necessarily mean that the winter is over. It's a break as a result of Chinook phenomena. They probably also don't know that they live in Alberta and it's supposed to be cold in Jan. otherwise it would not be Canada
Nevertheless I don't know whether it's the affect of the weather or something else that I'm exhausted now. I was exhausted the entire day today, yawing off and on and was trying to keep my eyes open! 
I went for a skating practice last night and it was -21º C! Adding the wind-chill it felt like -30º C! There was not a single soul in Olympic Plaza but I was not able to do my exercise for a long time. I guess I was ready around 21:00 hours and by 21:20 I was ready to leave. It was of course not only the extreme cold. It was the timing as well. I had my dinner and I was a bit heavy as a result of that although I had not had much. 
(Photo: This sculpture is erected at Olympic Plaza as a commemoration to the skaters of 1988 Olympic. I took it last night when it was quiet dead!)

Monday, February 03, 2014

Homemade Bread

I had been wanting to bake some bred for a long time so when I encountered a recipe in the last issue of Impact I decided to do it. Here is the recipe with its modifications by me(!):

  • 3 cups Whole Wheat Flour.
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups warm Water.
  • 1 tablespoon Yeast.
1- Mix everything together in large bowl, cover and keep in the refrigerator overnight. I put it in, it was almost 14:00 hours and then took it out I guess 11:00 hours the next day! 
2- Cover the mix with a tea towel and let stand outside for another hour.
3- When you go back to it and remove the towel, you'll see a disgusting-look liquid which also does not smell very good. Use flour on your palms and mix as well as the bowl itself to be able to make a ball and get it out! At this moment the mix is so sticky and disturbing that you promise yourself that you will never bake any bread while you're cursing! 
4- Use a cooking sheet and put the ball in a container which could shape the ball. 
5- Preheat the oven to 475 º F and bake for 30 minutes.   
6- Turn the oven off and let the bread stand in it for another 30 to 45 minutes.
7- Take it out of the oven and let stand in the room temperature uncovered.
8- Cut to thin slices. 

The bread is so delicious that I could not stop eating. That is amazing with almost everything. I tried with Salsa and Cream Cheese and it was wonderful. I will try it with Butter and Quince Jam and Peanut Butter and Date later on. Pay attention that there's nothing harmful in this bread: No Salt, no Sugar and no damn Fat. Just pure bread. 
(Photo: Homemade Whole Wheat Beard right out of the oven. Although the picture does not look very good but the bread tastes awesome. Next time I will take a nicer photo and will post it with what it's eaten with!)

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Maintaining the Ice

It's very good that The Lady is accompanying me in practices this year so I could have practices and exercises as many as possible, this year. We wanted to try the other outdoor rinks but she insisted to go to Olympic Plaza this afternoon as she was hoping it wouldn't be crowed and ice had been maintained. 
We got there shortly before 14:00 hours and surprisingly the ice seemed maintained. There are a few people there but not as many as made it impossible to practice. So we hit the ice. But shortly after that and while we were warming up we learnt that a little Zamboni was coming out of its nest. It went back and forth for about 15 minutes and then we jumped back on ice. Having not very cold weather and pleasant sunshine with not much wind attracted a good crowed but happily and first off they were mostly beginners so there was not disturbance or crazy skating second off you can not skate more than 1 hour. You simply get exhausted especially if you fall a few times! So the crowd does not stay on the ice for a long time. We stayed up to an hour and then we realized we have had enough. What I realized that the had grooves just shortly, let's say 40 minutes after it had been maintained. I don't know anything about ice management but I realized U of C's doesn't get that much scratched after too many people skate every day. I don't know it's how they maintain the temperature on the surface or what but I've heard that Olympic Oval has one of the best ices and fastest ones in the world. After all we go here and there just for being active and having fun. Speed in not a problem for us but maintaining good ice by the City is. 
(Photo: City of Calgary little Zamboni is maintaining the ice in Olympic Plaza)

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Paths of Glory

I watched Path of Glory, one of Stanley Kubrick's movies, a few days ago. I had bought the DVD a few weeks before that from HMV. This sort of movies are not very easily found and HMV is the only retailer, as far as I know, who carries them in Canada. This is a coincidence that watching the World War I movie is done 100 years after the beginning of the war. The First World War actually started in Sarajevo the town which as the time was part of Austro-Hungarian Empire and then became part of former Yugoslavia. After Balkan Wars it became the most important city of Bosnia-Herzegovina. An assassination triggered the war, it has been always said and that happened on June.28 which will make the anniversary 5 month from now. I'm not going to say the whole history of the Europe before and after the war here as it is available and people can easily reach, if they want. I would like to talk about the movie only.
I had decided not to write about the movies after just watching them once but couldn't resist again! Path of Glory, first of all, is not a war movie. I mean it just does not narrate a story of a conflict or battle the way movies such as Saving Private Ryan or Platoon do. In fact there is a little part of the movie which consists of a battle and that scene in my opinion has not been filmed and directed well. When you're showing a scene of a battle in which a wave of soldiers are invading to take an enemy position, you cannot just show one side in your shots even if your focus is the effort that one side's soldiers are showing. That's what Kubrick has done in the movie. Is there any particular reason for that? I don't see one. Perhaps if there's any, it could only be found after reading Kubrick's interviews or films critics'. For that reason the battle scenes which actually do not comprise a big part of the movie are not attractive to the audience. I bet Kubrick saved lots of time and money by not portraying German Empire's soldiers in the movie! I read it somewhere after watching the movie that Path of Glory is an anti-war movie! I don't know how they concluded that! Is that what really Kubrick or the author of the book, with the same name, wanted to convey to the audience or reader!? I personally did not see any sign of being anti-war in the movie. This could be anti-anything else rather than anti-war! A country is involved in a war with another one for a reason and unless both are agreed upon the preliminary conditions, they will not go to ceasefire, even if the war is unfair and unjustified. So people should fight, I mean the soldiers and in cases volunteers. Should they be tried and executed by firing squad because they, in the eyes of officers only, show cowardice? No! You could say it's a movie which questions the justice system in France in early 1910s but anti-war? I don't think so. Even if that is the message of the movie, it has not been said clearly, I would say. Maybe the author of Papillion also wanted to say the same thing. Although as popular of Path of Glory, maybe even more but they are completely different movies. There is another twist to the movie: The personal conflict between two members, one who has a higher rank, results in the lower-ranked guy to be killed but no further follow up is seen in the story. One other soldier believes that he witnessed the tragedy but there's no action in the movie from the comrade of the supposedly intentionally killed guy. At the time of execution the guy who is alleged of killing is ordered to command the firing squad. He first refuses but since this is an order from his superior officer, he is not able to refuse.
This movie is considered one of the famous ones stared by Kirk Douglas, who surprisingly is still alive! Good for him. I did not see much of an act by him. Nothing significant. Just normal dialogues and he's not the lead role, at least in my opinion, but he argues with his superior officers and criticizes them. So in a way he is! Overall Path of Glory is another questionable movie of Kubrick and as he says A movie should be interesting, not realistic. So the movie is worth watching and a good one of course.
(Photo: The scene in the movie that the French soldiers start their invasion by leaving their trench)