Thursday, October 29, 2015

Three Weeks Later

Three weeks has passed so far and I have applied for 11 positions with receiving two responses only. I've written about the first one and just a few days back I received an e-mail from a well-known company in the city which had posted a position in Abu-Dhabi indicating that they had decided to go with another candidate! I never wanted to work in that area of the world but it's not a time to have many choices available. I should be a little more active in career searching but the problem is there just simply not many positions available or if there are, they are mostly filled quickly by Canadians who are introduced by their friends, family members and relatives. I. on contrary, do not have many people in my circle. 
The other disappointing news is Shell has just announced that they had cancelled one of their projects due to lack of pipeline to transport the crude, indicating rail transportation is not economical in this case. Moving would not be easy, that's another problem. Although I hate Calgary now due to its increasing population, noise, expensive services, etc but moving would not be easy. Too much to freaking handle! 
(Photo: The small town of Peace River in northwestern Alberta felt the hardest after Shell announced the cancellation of Carmon Creek project. Photo courtesy Roe Report)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hike to Bull Creek Hills (Kananaskis)

The Hope was very determined to do another hike with me but he is afraid of ice and snow and early rising! So we sat together to check the available trips. Due to the ridiculous winter so far we were able to do many hikes but eventually he suggested to go to southern Kananaskis and do Bull Creek Hills. We met at our rendezvous point at about 07:10 and headed south. Bull Creek Hills are close to where I had a hike with my other buddy a few months ago. It is located in Highway 541. It is far away so by the time we pulled in to a road side parking spot, put our gears on and walked to the trail-head, it was almost 09:40! 
The trail goes into the forest and The Hope following a book that he had just bought from MEC took us to to so-called view points just to cover the entire trip that we had read earlier. The first one was supposed to give us a good view of Holy Cross Mountain but due to low fog we barely saw anything! Then we turned back and went up the trail and got ourselves to another viewpoint which was supposed to give us a look at a so-called peninsula. I guess that was a piece of land surrounded by Highwood River but nothing impressive. We continued on a ridge to north from there after a short break and I guess it was almost 12:00 at the time. The Hope felt that we had done such a great deal of work out and found himself worthy of eating an Egg Salad Sandwich which he had already made! I just had a few gulps of Kefir drink which The Lady has made busy herself with recently. I will write about that in a different post. Walking up the trail toward north it took us to the first two hill and then to the highest one which from there you can get a 360 view of the surrounding area. From the top if you look north you can easily sea Downtown Calgary skyline! 
Looking west now the fog is gone and sun is up. Holy Cross Mountain must be one of these ones seen in the photo
We just took a few photos from there and then headed east to make a look to get ourselves to Highway 541 again. There was a little of route finding required at the time but The Hope had just purchased a mobile app which I guess cost him some $30 and helped us very well although we knew that we had to walk east and then south. There was another hill, the forth one and after that our trip started losing its elevation. The Hope is a good hiking partner but first of all he stops too frequently. Second of all he feels he has to eat every two hours although this time he only stopped once. I guess his mind is a little too occupied with unemployment and other things because he forgot his hiking pole once when we where on the top of the highest hill and when we were heading down, he realized that and hiked up and got it! Then when were heading down he stopped to use the bushes and then followed me after a few minutes(!), at the time I looked back and I saw him walking down without his hiking pole and I thought he had put it in his backpack but he suddenly said that he had forgotten it up top! I guess we had descended too far down that made him to forget about the pole! We finally got ourselves to Highway 541 where the big tall Kananaskis Country sign besides the three flags are located. From there we had almost 45 min. walk to west to get to the car. I guess it was 17:15 when we reached the car. It was a good exercise, walking long routes and we got some 700 m. of elevation. The views were nice and we got tired. It's not a challenging hike and requires no technical knowledge or special equipment but gives you a good workout and requires a good route finding. 
(Photo: This is taken from the highest of the three [or four] Bull Creek hills looking north. Calgary's downtown high rises can be easily seen on the center of photo)

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Little Practice

I went for a little Ice Skating practice to Crowchild Twin Arenas yesterday afternoon. To my surprise it was busier than ever! Normally we are there 10 minutes ahead of time to put our skates on and get ready and even after 10 min. barely anyone gets on ice. Yesterday while I was getting ready there were already as many as 10 people on the ice, mostly kids! It's a bad weather now and no outdoor rink and people like skating so they come to a public rink which barely cost them anything. 
I didn't feel very confident the whole time one reason being when I'm in Olympic Oval I'm practicing beside the people who are mostly way worse than me. in Crowchild I'm with guys who have been doing it for years or kids at ages of 10 or 11 who skate like professional hockey players! At the same time I had not been on the ice for almost a month and a half and sadly I had not tightened my skates! So all of them put together made not a very confident practice but overall was not bad. The Lady didn't come but would have been much better, had I have her beside me because she's excellent at practicing. I barely even was able to practice my backward which I had become very good at the end of August when we finished out third course at Olympic Oval. Need more practice and maybe I should get both of our skates sharpen. 
(Photo: The entrance to Crowchild Twin Arenas in west Calgary. It was a nasty dry, sunny stupid fall afternoon. No rain, no snow, freaking dry and nasty wind!)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Back to Mobile Phone

After more than a year I finally was forced to switch back to mobile phone. The landline we had was fine but on different occasions things happened that The Lady was really not happy with that. We checked a few service providers and eventually we went to the cheapest one: Wind. I still have the other mobile which is used by The Lady and I have been with them since 2006 but the handset is old and she's looking for a new one but is not easy for her to chose one. I got this telephone handset by Alkatel which I like so far. I paid $114 with taxes and everything but it is good. I really didn't want to spend this much on a handset but when I first got a Chinese copy of Nokia C2, I realized that it was a piece of shit just after one day! The bastards have copied the phone and eliminated some of the features and are selling it for some $50! The next least expensive in the market was a flip phone from LG for approximately $100. So The Lady told me to get this One Touch phone from Alkatel and I did and so far everything is good but still does not have some of the features that I am used to in my Nokia C2! I had a very durable Alkatel back in the old country and at the time mobile phones would be considered something fancy and people at work were impressed. I was able to do some telephone banking via this phone which was not available to my colleague when I work for that silly ridiculous company, SAIPA. My service is a basic and costs some $25 a month. No downloading, no Internet, no apps, no bullish. I leave it to others to enjoy these kind of services and make the service providers rich. I only talk and barely! And rarely text!
(Photo: Alkatel One Touch is considered an Android OS phone and looks nice. I have all of the apps you see on the screen but am have disabled them all)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Is EI Helpful or not?

I received this letter from Service Canada just a few days back indicting that I would not be eligible for EI until March next year! This was, according to them, due to the money the company has deposited into my account as a final pay! So I am on my own for the next 5 months! Nov., Dec. and Jan. are not hiring months unless you want to work temporary part-time, Christmas related jobs in retail and delivery. I just had a call yesterday in response to a delivery job I had applied from one of the major delivery companies in the continent. They wanted me to sign a contract up until 24th of Dec. for a part time job of 5 hours a day, I guess 5 or 6 days a week and the job would start before noon and finish in the afternoon! I really don't know who would want to do that. Not simply because it is a part-time temporary position. Because the timing sucks! Students cannot do that. The one who have full-time but underpaid jobs can't do that. The only person who could do that would be someone who lives in a household of 4 or 5 and has no source of income and is not worried for his rent and other expenses and trying to make a few hundred bucks to the end of the year! It's really getting tougher day by day. 
(Photo: Service Canada section has shrunk significantly compare to the last time I was there. Generally all sections of the Government have faced the same. The Government has slashed so many jobs making it harder for people to make ends meet. It's not the same country that I came to and will be more changes!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Memory of the Devastating War


I asked my friends and relatives whether they had any memory from the first days of the devastating 8-year Iran-Iraq War on its 35th anniversary which was less than a month ago and all of those silly buggers only got a few answers:

1) A friend whom I used to be a classmate with on grade 5 and grade 7 and then we both went to the same engineering school but did different programs said that he did not remember much and those days were no truly the days he would have wanted to remember. Fair enough. 

2) The other friend that we also went to the same engineering school but were on different majors responded as well. I remember that we also studied for an Physics-Electricity course and we both failed! He now is in California and doing well of course after several ups and down. He mentioned that he did not remember anything and that day was not a special day for him. OK.

3) Mom wrote me about the first horrible months of the war which also brought bad memories to my mind. I hope she had not been upset very much when she was writing those down. She wrote that the silly, maniac Khomeini said, after knowing that Iraqi plane jets had bombed border villages and killed poor people, and she quoted: These guys came and dropped a few rocks!!! This bastard devastated everything by insisting on war and encouraging people to continue. To him it did not matter how many would have killed. His words must have been followed. She also wrote that my brother's health started deteriorating right on those days in a way that now he is under the care of specialist even after 35 years. Not much improvement. 

4) And finally one of my cousins, M. R., to make it specific for myself, the male one, replied. He also referred to the same stupid quota of the murderer Khomeini. I always though when people said that they were mocking him but that was true he was that careless, selfish, cruel and stupid and that's why the country is in the situation that it is now! 
(Photo: School kids are killed after Iraqi planes bombed Dezful. Apparently lack of social media on those days made what the Iraqi did legible! People were complaining why the US was killing civilians in Iraq. Well that was pay back time for Iraqis and still is. No doubt they are paying for what they had done to Iranians, Kurds, Shia and Kuwaitis)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Defeated!

The Conservatives lost many seats in the Parliament and Harper soon has to step down as the Prime Minister after almost a decade. He was elected though but the Liberals won the majority and even for the first time they won two seats in Calgary
NDP was devastated completely. They lost many seats and were dropped to the third meaning they are not the official opposition party. We have to see what changes would come, when Trudeau takes over.
(Photo: Country's map does really not show that the Liberals have a majority because the first glance tells you that they have won the three northern territories which have no population but then you see they have won all of Newfoundland which again is not a populated area but won the other Atlantic provinces, Southern Ontario which a very populated area and also its eastern part. Still does not show a majority particularly because you the north part of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec in favour of NDP! But the fact is the fact and an undeniable one!)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Voted

Although legally a citizen for year but voted for the first time today in Federal Election. We went to our local voting place and happily it was not crowded and there was no line although people are coming. It took us less than 10 minutes to finish it. 
I don't know whether I will be sworn at or mocked but I hope the Conservatives win. Just simply look at the other parties: Mulcair!!! He is against all the main industries in Alberta so who would care for this beard hog! And Trudeau!!! He's just a joke! What makes you a good politician? Simply because your father was a Prime Minister once?! Grow up! Stop nonsense! Get a hair cut first and then stop bringing kids to this world! Is this 60's or 70's to you think, you hammerhead?! 
You idiots are are so self-centered and think about your $250,000+ salaries and family fun. You are against Bill C-24 which by the way is not strong enough to protect this country from maniacs who turn it to another Syria or Iraq, the first chance they got. 
Let wait to see who wins the election. 
(Photo: We received a card similar to this after we registered online for voting. This and our ID was the only thing we needed for voting)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Safety in Hiking and Travel

This is what I read just a few day ago:
Three people have been accused of killing a Canadian backpacker and a yoga instructor in San Francisco.
Sean Michael Angold, Morrison Haze Lampley and Lila Scott Alligood committed the murders with a stolen gun, say authorities.They were arrested in Oregon and are heading back to California, where they are expected to be charged.Backpacker Audrey Carey, 23, from Quebec, was found dead in Golden Gate Park in early October.
She was on her first solo backpacking trip and had been travelling in California for a week when she was robbed and killed.Yoga teacher Steve Carter was shot multiple times two days later on a trail 20 miles (32 km) north of the city. Carter was out hiking with his dog, who was also shot but is expected to survive.
The three suspects were arrested at a homeless shelter in Portland, Oregon, after being tracked through the navigation system of Carter's stolen car, detective said. They could appear in court on Tuesday.Marin County sheriff's lieutenant Doug Pittman said they had no fixed abode and seemed to be "living off the radar".

I have done many hikes or better to say most of the hikes by myself including one in a very quite area, the Buckskin Gulch hike in Utah and had this plan for the next summer to do a number of hikes in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, all by myself. Although I have to cancel my trip, most likely but I always thought the US and all western and northern European countries are safe for traveling, scrambling and hiking and in fact Government of Canada Travel Advisory confirms that but looks like I have to be careful.
(Photo: Lone hikers normally do not have a photo of themselves walking in wilderness although with today's technology they can. All these new Canon cameras and maybe other brands as well could be used with a remote control. Mine is old and cannot have it. Nevertheless it becomes very tiring and time consuming if you want a shot for yourselves. This one I took it from my buddy when we were up on Plateau Mountain)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hike to Bow Hut

I and The Hope eventually got a chance to do a hike together due to be out of work, both of us! He's OK because the amount of money he makes is way more than a regular salary. I'm not so much but we had been wanting to do that in the past 4 months or so and finally did it. The goal was to reach a little lake in Icefield Parkway area, near Bow Lake, called Iceberg Lake although there's not much information available about it and if you put it in a search engine, you would see the result of a similar lake in Glacier National Park in Montana. Nevertheless we set up everything and he was supposed to pick me up at one of the LRT stations at 07:00 and he showed up almost 10 min. late. I normally like to start very early but didn't want to force him on the first trip together. Then after a few kilometers drive his car sent a signal to the front panel indicating that it just switched to reserve fuel thank indicating the gasoline level was low. So we had to pull into the Husky gas station in Dead Man's Flat and purchase fuel. Then there were a few construction spots and seep limits. Finally when we got to Castle Mountain Junction we took the wrong exit and all these delays causes us to reach the trail-head more than 45 minutes later than what we had planned and start our hike at 09:55 instead of 09:00! 
My downloaded information was not bad but we took the wrong trail 2 times and one of them wasted at least 20 minutes of our time. The trail was quiet as it was a weekday but there were two or three couples with their kids who were heading to Bow Hut
Bow Glacier taken from the bowl. Bow Hut would be on the right after an easy ascent
We stopped many times for photos and maybe once of twice to reduce or increase the layers until we finally reached the bowl below Bow Glacier. From there we hiked up and reached ourselves to the hut. We took a break at the hut for maybe 15 minute and headed up to see if we were able to get ourselves to the lake. It was cold and wind was blowing. The Hope suggested to stop right below where the final ascent to the lake would have started and stated that it was too cold and too late to carry on the hike to the lake. In addition to that we were not well-equipped. I lent him my anti-slip soles and made him able to get up that far but the snow was deep and he didn't want to go further up. We spent as many as 20 minutes and then headed down back to the car. The descent was long and tiring and when we reached Bow Lake where we had parked in the morning, it was almost dark. It was not a very challenging hike but losing the way, deep snow and frequent stops for photography made us very tired. We didn't reach out goal but it was OK. We gained good elevation and walked good hours. 
(Photo, top: Bow Lake from a few meters above Bow Hut)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The First Response

I had a message on the phone today from lady with British Accent in regards to the position as Quality Assurance Manager that I had applied a few days back. I was quite positive that at least I would get an interview but she said that the company was looking for someone with a specific mining process expertise and experience and they were very specific about that. It is gone but at least a good start. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Unusually Warm

It has been warmer than usual in the past two days or so. I remember just last weekend when I went to Brow-Lowery Provincial Park and how cold it was even at noon. It is now some 24 ÂșC which I find it disgusting for this time of the year. Hiking would probably not a bad area but I checked around and there is either rain or snow! Besides after being fucked that hard, I don't think anyone would want to hike although I have done jogging, weightlifting and walking because they have all been free. For hiking I need gasoline and that has gone up to ¢115.9 since last weekend that I purchased!
Nevertheless we have this unconfirmed plan to do a hike together finally with The Hope for one of the coming days. We'll see.
(Photo: I took this photo from Downtown Calgary form the high part of the city around 4th St. A thick and oddly-shaped covered the area. No rain or snow though) 

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Lost Sleep Over It

You heard that expression which goes: I won't lose sleep over it? Well I actually did. I couldn't sleep much last night. It was all going on in my head as how this happened and which bastard did that. The Lady says that I should not think about that any more and shall only focus on job searching and studies for an upcoming courses. 
I got together with The Hope today. He's a buddy of mine from the old country. We worked for the same company for a short period of time. He's out of work as well but his situation is different. His income is high because of the line of work he's in and seems that he doesn't give much shit. He's been out of work since May this year I guess but has been back to the old country once and is planning to visit a family member in Down Under in about a month. While sitting at a cafe and talking I realized there was a guy staring at me. I didn't know him and he looked a bit similar to Afghan people, although at times it's next to impossible to indicate who's from where here. He approached us and I greeted him and added that I had good Afghan friends. He indicates that he was not from there and it appeared that he was our countrymen! He was out of work as well and according to him for over 6 months! It's hard to believe that someone with a family of four could survive without a job for that long and pay his mortgage as well but that's what he said he's been doing since he lost his job!
I also finished the application for E. I. and the company indicated that they had submitted my Record of Employment electronically so soon I shall be receiving the first letter from Service Canada. That's all for this shity life now. 
(Photo; I slept only a few hours last night. Couldn't get over what just had happened)

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Chopped off!

This post probably makes many happy. Today shortly after lunch I was told to leave the company. All those maggots and assholes who barely know their right hand from left now are laughing behind my back but that's my fault. You cannot fight with someone if he or she has the support from the manager. I guess it was planned right after I had an argument with the supervisor. He was yelling and using profanity and I opposed to the nonsense he was saying without searing back of course but it happened! The detail is not important. The bastard East Indian most likely knew, the fucking Mumbling Guy and the supervisor knew too but it's no important any more. I have to figure out what to do. That's all. 

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Brown-Lowery Provincial Park

This past weekend I had this plan to a park which had been found on the map long time ago but never was given the chance to be discovered: Brown-Lowery Provincial Park some 35 Km from the city limits. I woke up very early at around 05:30 not knowing that the real fall of Alberta is not really easy to deal with particularly in the early morning! I guess it was around °C but felt much colder. I drove all the way to Spruce Meadows Tr. but still was very dark(!) so I decided to check a local McDonald's for a coffee. The place was like most of the McDonald's: A garbage dump. A fucking stupid Oriental guy was walking with broom and mop and when he saw me decided to help with my order. He leaned his stuff against the ice cream cone machine(!) and intended to come to take my order! Fortunately there was a girl who jumped in and got me the coffee, not that she was much cleaner than the guy or something but what the hell can I expect? It's freaking McDonald's'! 
Anyways I couldn't sit in that depressing environment any longer so I left with 3/4 of my cup still full and headed toward the park. Since I had written down everything in detail on a piece of paper, I didn't have any difficulty finding the place but surprisingly similar to one of the other trips there was not even one single sign until I reached the park. 
This is a very small park and is signed very well. There is a map at almost every intersection which is very good. It is separated from the nearby ranches and other private properties by fence and one can walk around in about 2.5 hours to see everything. I first went to this spot called Eagle View on the map but not much was visible due to fog. Alberta Parks website indicates different types of species could be seen in the park but I doubt that since animals have no intention to trap themselves in a very small area. I only heard a few birds and a Squirrel and that was it and I was done in about 2 hours. At one time I thought I was lost and went the same part of trail two times but soon realized I was right so went back and got myself to the parking lot. There was nobody around the entire time and because of the wet condition and muddy ground I fell two times! The place might be nice to visit in spring and summer when all the flowers come out. I might check next year and I would like to see why it is called Brown-Lowery! It could be names of the people who donated the lot of established the park. 
(Photo: A trail in the park is carpeted with fall fallen leaves)

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Overstaffed

One of the issues you frequently face with, if you work in a public workplace in the old country, and that is seen in the country I was born and raised in, not sure whether it is a problem in the neighbouring countries or not, is over-staffing. I've been to the places where I saw workers sleeping under machinery or in the locker. I saw that almost every time we were in Paxan. I and my buddy spent a few months in that company, would go once a week maybe, to interview people and collect date for a final project we had for our degree. While this is not the subject of this post, now years after what we accomplished, I can see many flaws in what we did. 
Nevertheless I never imagined that I would see the same problem here where productivity is emphasized upon a lot and due to high wages, it is almost insane to have a worker or employee who contributes nothing and only consumes oxygen and occupies space(!) but I have seen that here as well. Perhaps not to the same level as what is considered normal in the old country but here it depends where you are looking at.
There are restrict safety rules in work places and many companies use unionized workers. If any injury even minor happens, the company has to keep the employee and put him or her on light duties until he or she is recovered and able to go back to regular duties. That would automatically add extra staff to the system. At the same time there are places that use low wage employees and because they earn good in their business, adding one or more extra would not hurt them. So you at times see overstaffed places which leads to chaos because there's usually no supervision and management or if there is, it's just formality. A good example of that is McDonald's and Tim Horton's. There's barely any of these two locations that you go and you don't see people doing nothing while there are many undone jobs left: Overflowing trash cans, delayed orders, wrong orders, beeping cooking or heating machines, dirty tables and there are people who are doing nothing and wandering around and there are others who show themselves busy while their existence make no difference in the business. 
Big companies have the same problem. There has been news of companies which all of a sudden decide to get rid of a bunch of mid-level managers. So what was that the people doing when they were hired? Nothing?! 
(Photo: Public and general service companies such as ATCO, Enmax, City of Calgary and such are amongst the ones which always are overstaffed. They have most of the times, high-paid employees with least amount of work! Here, I don't want to name this company, you see as many as 5 employees hanging out at the sidewalk while the same number are working on the street! Must be a hell of a job and the company must be doing really well which could keep these many employees on while the others are getting kicked out on daily basis!)

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Bill C-24

Bill C-24 which became a law in June of this year has become a hot topic of discussion between the parties for the upcoming October federal election. This law which also is called Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act allows the Federal Government to revoke Canadian citizenship from people convicted of act of terrorism, treason and espionage provided they are also citizens of a second country.
While this is not bad but I guess it's not enough to keep Canada safe from the freaks who look at each and every way to harm the country and its people.
One good example of that is this guy who has just been released from Guantanamo Bay, Omar Khadr. He was fighting with Al-Qauda against Americans in Afghanistan and got wounded during a firefight. He was captured, treated for his wounds and then transferred to and kept in Guantanamo Bay for years for killing an American soldier.
The charges were ridiculous because I don't think you can put someone on trail and sentence him because he was fighting with you, although he was never tried and was kept there without much activity. But that's not the point. The point is Khadr is born in Canada and is citizen of no other country! The thing that shocked me a little was the reaction of British and other Caucasian Canadians who have other country's citizenship. Many of them were opposing to this law. Both of the leaders of NDP and Liberal are against this law. I don't know whether they would be able to do anything, if they have the majority government. I think once a bill is turned to a law it cannot be taken out but I'm not sure. I don't know much or better to say anything about the Parliament and the way bills are turned to laws in Canada. I believe if you wanted to find the root cause of this problem that would be opening the doors and let everyone in.
Omar Khadr spent years in Guantanamo and he is now a free man. Has he changed or is he the same man of 2000's?
That's what Canada has been doing for the past 20 years or so and in the recent years it has been increased. Every years more than 200,000 people come to the country, What percentage of them value Canadian culture and belief? 1%, 2%?! If he's Irish, British or even German, at least they have something in common but 1% is nothing! All those weirdos from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Somali, Afghanistan, Sudan, you name it they don't care about Hockey Night in Canada or Parliament Hill or Thanksgiving. What they care about is their Al-Jazeera, Long beard and train of kids they produce. They cannot find themselves within Canadian society. Some took it easily. Some, particularly the young, take it seriously. They take an offence and they stand against the country they grew up in. They become Khadr or many other unnamed men who have joined ISIS (or whatever is called now) or are thinking of joining them. You need Bill C-24 and even something more stronger than that. I hope it's not too late because I want to live in peaceful society and that's why I'm here not to grow beard and put my head on the floor and my ass in the air. 
(Photo, top: This clown, I think it would be an insult for the clowns, with the stinking beard and Pathan/Taliban stupid hat was a Canadian Idol contestant who then turned terrorist. I guess he participated to make fun of the show and I think he was acquitted later)