Sunday, December 14, 2008

Extreme Cold Weather and Heavy Snowfall in Calgary

Calgarians are enjoying their first heavy snowfall of the season (pardon the facetiousness) and bracing themselves for extremely cold temperatures. The weekend started with temperatures of around -25 degrees (celsius that is) which will further drop down to -30 C (around -22 F). With the wind chill being factored in, it will be around -45 Celsius. Yep.....it's gonna be fun :-#

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Finally, some excitement in Canadian politics!

For a long time, politics in Canada has been dull and frequently overshadowed by American politics. More people tuned into the US presidential campaign of 2008 than the election of last October. But that has changed. Since the possibility of a "coup d'etat" in Ottawa has been on the horizon, the tension on parliament hill has increased and there has been passionate debate among Canadians on both sides of the political spectrum on who is more capable to lead.

I'm not going to go into much detail here as other bloggers are doing a good job of "analyzing" the situation and making predictions about the future government of Canada. I just want to gleefully showcase the entertainment that is being provided to us by our politicians.

Watch and enjoy the mud-slinging (also known as a debate, or question period) that was going on in the House of Commons on December 2nd 2008. Don't forget to comment!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Colorado Avalanche vs Calgary Flames NOV 18 2008

A very good game between the Flames and the Avalanche. In the end, Colorado got their asses whooped by Iginla and company.



Monday, November 10, 2008

The Global Recession and the Future of Alberta Oil Sands

Okay....so the world is going through a man-made economic recession, that's old news. But the effects of the credit crunch are being felt here in Alberta as well, which a lot of folks thought would remain immune to the problems created by the U.S fed. Our Premier, Ed Stelmach is running around Europe trying to convince investors there that the oil sands projects are a great investment in these tough economic times.

While rest of Canada (Ontario and Quebec in particular) is hardest hit, "Wildrose Country" is faring much better. But effects are being felt here as well. Less people will be employed in the oil sands this winter and the labour markets in Calgary and Edmonton have become competitive. And with the price of oil much lower than it was last year, the royalty money that the province will get won't be as huge as previous years.

But this is the right time for Alberta to diversify it's economy and invest in it's public infrastructure. Not only will help people stay employed, but it could prepare us for the future by investing in new technologies and industries. Trying to persuade the tree hugging Europeans to invest in the oil patch is like inviting the pope to a stag party. Instead, the premier should sit down with PM Stephen Harper and discuss a way forward for Alberta as it is the driving engine of the Canadian economy.

Stelmach also missed the regional meeting of the Canadian Premiers, in which there was an agreement about infrastructure investment where Ontario and Quebec were pushing for a high speed rail service between Toronto and Quebec city. I believe that Alberta should also go ahead with it's own plan for a bullet train corridor between Calgary and Edmonton.

The downturn in the economy is a blessing in disguise for Alberta's tar sands and we should use this opportunity to initiate creative plans for the future economic stability of Alberta. Let's not put all our eggs in one basket and consider alternative energy sources such as nuclear power. The government doesn't have to be in a rush to sell the oil, and sell it cheaply. Time for the politicians to get smart and get to work.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Cost of Uncontrolled Migration

Another day, another shooting, and more deaths in Calgary. The crime situation in this city keeps getting worse. Even with more police officers being recruited by the CPS, Calgarians are not getting any respite from the gang violence and drug activity in their neighbourhoods. The gun violence typical of Toronto is rearing it's ugly head in this otherwise safe city.

Speaking of Toronto, I had the chance to visit the city last week, and it really feels like you are in a third-world waterhole. Hog-Town truly has become a city of pigs; and now, all the swines (gang members) from that city are heading to Calgary because of the economic boom here. All the black and asian gangs have extended their franchise and plying their dirty trade here.

As for the restaurant where the shooting happened, it was a chinese establishment in a neighborhood which is mostly ethnic (chinese, filipino and black); and it's a well known fact that the drug trade in Canada has a predominantly asian flavour to it. The politically correct blockheads may ramble on about how you can't pin the blame on certain groups, or that any one neighbourhood can't be singled out, but the fact is that Marlborough is a hotbed of illegal activities and there needs to be more police presence there ALL the time.

Do we really want turf wars and drive-by shootings in this city? Some concerned citizens organized an anti-violence walk recently and sent a clear signal to the folks in city hall that they will not tolerate the city turning into a wild west for drug dealers and pimps, but the decrepit politicians have the same old vapid answer that we need to hire more police officers. I'm not going to pay for any more officers with my tax dollars, because we have enough of them. They just need to do their job instead of fulfilling a quota of handing out traffic tickets.

Let's just hope that the politicians come to their senses and all three levels of government do their part to crack down hard on these thugs before the people take matters into their own hands.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another Black Spot on Cecil

So there was another murder at the infamous Cecil Hotel in downtown Calgary on Sunday. According to the Calgary Sun;

"Cops were called to the notorious watering hole about 1 a.m. where they found a man dead from undisclosed injuries."

Also, according to a police source, "That seems to be the place where you'd have deals with money or drugs."

Is that right Mr.Policeman?


I have never understood why there aren't more officers in the vicinity of the hotel and the adjoining pub. This place is KNOWN to be one of the drug dealing hot spots, and more homicides have occurred near Cecil than any other area. Most people have no idea as to how bad this place is. Just read this tongue-in-cheek review of the place;

"The Cecil is by far the best place in town if you like the smell of stale booze and piss! It is great when you are greeted at the door by a wasted, toothless, homeless Ukrainian. If you show up more than once he will remember your name and greet you with a hug or a $h!t covered hand shake! Be sure to order up a short rye and coke and grab a front row seat for the blues band on stage that has that "who the Fu@K booked us here?" look in their eye! Be sure to wave goodbye to the blood covered crack whore on your way out as she is getting the sh!t kicked out of her by a drunk pimp demanding his 20 bucks so that he can fill his crack pipe. I have heard they are under new management and are offering room discounts to those who are willing to stay for more than 20 minutes"


I would guess the ONLY folks who stay at Cecil are people who are looking to pick up prostitutes or are hopelessly addicted to drugs and cheap booze. You can be guaranteed that your life expectancy will be very short if you are anywhere near that place. In short, this is not the venue to entertain your date.

There are some who think that the hotel should be bought by the city (paid by tax payer dollars) and be restored as a historical building, as it was built in 1910. I personally believe that it should be torn down. Calgarians deserve to enjoy a pleasant weekend walk in the downtown area and the city would be better off without this ugly structure in it's core.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Here's a video of Calgary that I found on You Tube. It's a bit old but gives you a good intro to the oil capital of Canada. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Federal Elections and the Economy

As election campaigns are in full swing in both the U.S and Canada, the economy has become a hot button issue in both countries, specially when the North American markets keep tumbling downhill (Dow Jones down 128 points and the TSX down 186). Even Calgary, with it's hot job market is not immune. Gas prices have gone went up to $1.40/litre before stabilizing at $1.26/litre.

But why am I talking about this, when almost every media outlet is yapping about the economy and the credit disaster in the U.S? Because I'm pissed off! Pissed off at the incompetent government in Alberta which, even with it's overflowing coffers from oil royalty cash, is not doing enough to help thousands of people in this province raise their standards of living.

Calgary is one of the richest cities in North America, but there are over 3000 homeless people. Just today, I learned that the provincial government has given an Australian company the contract to build and maintain schools in Calgary and Edmonton. WHAT??!!

Why the heck are we giving away contracts to foreign companies when we have expertise in this country...in THIS city to build them?? Why is the Alberta Heritage fund not investing in building our educational institutions?

Speaking of the heritage fund, Norway, which produces about the same quantity of oil as Alberta, has about US$200 billions in it's future fund. And how much does "Oilberta" have? a measly US$14 billion. UN-FREAKIN-BELIEVABLE!!!

We have rising crime in Calgary because of all the gangs moving here but the city can't afford to hire 200 police officers that it estimates it needs to fill the shortage. The government in Edmonton is indifferent at best. And the frikin politicians in Ottawa aren't any better.

Calgary being his hometown, Prime Minister Stephen Harper needs to do more to ensure that the city's economy -- which is supporting the whole country -- does not crater. A lot of people from all over Canada and the United States moved to Calgary because of it's quality of life and it being a safe city, but that status is in danger. The folks in charge need to do get their act together and fix the problems here before this city turns into another Los Angeles or Chicago.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Trip to Sylvan Lake, Alberta

Last week, I had to go to the town of Sylvan Lake for work (installing new equipment at a bank).

Sylvan Lake is a summer destination for millions of Canadians, specially wealthy Calgarians. I had time to kill during the software installation, so I went for a walk across town. It's not really a big place (took me about 15 minutes to walk from south end of the town to the north, where the lake is).

It was a chilly day and a weekday, so there weren't that many people at the lake. I had my camera with me, so I took some shots of the trendy places in Sylvan lake. I'm posting them here for the enjoyment of my readers.

Disclaimer: The photos were taken by a very lousy and amateur photographer (me), so if any one of you gets an upset stomach from the bad quality.......well, you have been warned.





Sylvan lake, with Jarvis bay in the distance





The marina and the village of Norglenwold






...unfortunately, there were no bikini babes at the beach






Smuggler's Inn; their seafood is WICKED!!






A very big and assuming lighthouse (NOT)...






beautiful, eh....!






Lakeside water-park





HIT ME! (insert joker sound-effect here...)





The House of Flags (flags of all Canadian provinces)





Sylvan lake's very own - all though a bit small - Clock Tower.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hot Careers in Calgary (and Alberta)

Even though the pace of employment growth in Alberta has slowed somewhat, the province is still the fastest growing job market in Canada. I was researching the Alberta labour market recently and found out that careers in health and retail are very hot these days. Here is a list of the most in-demand occupations in Alberta.


1. Construction Workers

The demand for construction workers will be strong for the foreseeable future. In addition to the the province of B.C, Alberta will have a major shortage of skilled people in all construction trades, specially with British Columbia attracting a lot of tradesmen for the construction of the 2012 Winter Olympics venues.

A significant number of workers are from Europe, and Alberta is competing with other provinces to attract these people for it's booming oil and gas sector. The most common trades -- carpentry, pipe-fitting, welding, drywall, and foundations -- are all still in very high demand and will be for the foreseeable future.

2. Nursing

With a growing population of old people and the provincial government spending more in the health care sector, nurses have become one of the most in-demand employees in Alberta. Alberta has a special recruitment bureau under the province's ministry of health, and they have traveled to the United States and Europe to recruit nurses. A handsome salary and flexible schedules are few of the perks that Alberta offers to it's nurses.

3. Information and Communications Technology

Although the Information Technology sector has seen some shrinkage in the past few years, there are still many opportunities in this area, specially as increasing number of small businesses are implementing and upgrading technologies in their workplace and are in need of experts who can handle the computer networks and telecommunication infrastructure that they have. The IT occupations are expected to grow between 2-5 percent in the next few years.

4. Accountants

With tough new regulation of the financial industry by the government, the need for charterered accountants and compliance experts has increased. Again, the demand is being fueled mostly by oil and gas companies.

5. Protective Services

The Calgary Police Services and the Calgary Fire department have launched a huge recruiting campaign across North America and the U.K, because of a serious shortage of police officers and EMS/paramedic personnel.

6. Power Line Technicians

A journeyman power line technician is one of the highest paying occupations these days. According to one career adviser, even apprentices can earn six figure salaries. As the population grows and more electricity transmission lines are being put in, there is no shortage of work and the prospect is long-term.

7. Truck Drivers

With the rise in transportation of goods and equipment across Alberta, truck drivers are in high demand. From hauling gravel and cement to transporting the famous Alberta beef, trucking is a rapidly growing business in the heart of the new west.

8. Teachers

With an ever increasing student population, the need for teachers and educational instructors will be high for a long time to come.


In addition to the above mentioned jobs, careers in Engineering, Retail, Financial services, Health care, and Sales are emergent. You can get more information at the Employment Alberta site.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Calgary Stampede 2008

Well folks, this year's Stampede has concluded. Even though the weather wasn't too good, with lots of rain and a hail storm, the event was well attended, although the visitor count was not as high as last year. This year, the Stampede's theme was "parlez vous yahoo!", dedicated to Quebec City, the sister city of Calgary, because of it'400th anniversray.

Here are some videos from this year's event. Enjoy!



Stampede Parade 2008



The annual tradition of Stampede breakfast



Quebec band La Bottine



Rides @ the Midway



And of course, the firworks....



Leave a comment and let me know if any one of you guys attended the stampede this year. Cheers!

Friday, July 11, 2008

When will people use their brains...?!

Here's a story that I just found in the local media. A missionary couple from Calgary were attacked by machete wielding gangsters in Kenya. Here's an excerpt:

'In a cell-phone interview with The Canadian Press from his hospital bed in Nairobi, John Bergen described the attack by men who left him for dead and repeatedly raped and beat his wife earlier this week.'
"All of a sudden, right there in the middle of the yard, is about four or five guys that jumped me and knocked me to the ground and started attacking me with clubs and machetes, clobbering me and cutting me and so on, and scars will be on my legs to show it. "I just didn't know how I was going to come out of this alive. They were just real mean."

But the couple have stated that they will NOT be leaving kenya and continue to help the orphans there. A very noble intent no doubt, but I honestly think they are crazy. You can only help people who are civilized and accept your help graciously and with gratitude, not bite the same hand that feeds them. By the way, the night watchmen who were supposed to guard the compund where the Bergens were staying, were sleeping like donkeys when the attack occured.

It's about time that Canadians use reason rather than emotions before going to dangerous countries like kenya for their so-called missions. Africa is in a mess, with anarchy and lawlessness everywhere. You have people leaders fighting for power and dictators like mugabe murdering his own people. There is no reason for us to be caught in-between their tribal warfare.

There have been quite a few incidents of Canadians travelling abroad, getting into trouble and then the government pays for the expenses like medical and transportation costs, and all of that comes from taxpayers money.

Use your brain people, help the needy in your OWN country, and city; there are plenty who need help here. Let others sort out their own problems.




Sunday, July 6, 2008

Yeeeehaaaww...!!!

It's that time of the year folks, The greatest outdoor show on earth, Calgary Stampede 2008 has begun! Wannabe cowboys and cowgirls will be gracing the stampede park. Some of the main attractions at this year's stampede include: The Rodeo (of course), Saddledome concerts (can't wait for James Taylor), the legendary chuck wagon races and the 2008 GrandStand show.

There's tons more info at the Calgary Stampede website. If you live in Calgary or it's surrounding, don't forget to drop by at one of the stampede breakfasts in your neighborhood. There's going to lotsa food, lotsa music and a wagon-full of fun!

And if you're one of the people who are not big stampede fans and don't like crowded places, then leave a comment here about any alternative gatherings you might have, where like minded people can join you. You shouldn't have to dress up as a cowboy or cowgirl to enjoy this festive season!



Cowboys at the stampede corral




The main entrance to the stampede park




Rides at Midway Park



Bareback Riding




Babes on broncos

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Why Calgary is not attractive to migrants anymore

According to CBC News, the flow of people from other provinces to Alberta has slowed down considerably. In-fact, a lot of folks have moved back to their respective provinces. In addition to that, numerous families are transplanting themselves in less expensive places like Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

One of the major reasons for this slowdown is the insanely expensive real estate in Calgary (and Alberta as a whole). Here are some of the comments that people have left on a website relating to Alberta's soon to be bust;

"This Province has seen an amazing boom over the years,
but unless you are getting an amazing amount of money,
it is to the point where it's not affordable to live here anymore.
Not everybody is making it rich from the oil industry.
A lot of people are struggling just to make ends meet"

There is no doubt that the cost of living in Calgary has risen quite a bit, for some folks, disproportionately to their income. The city has done it's part to raise municipal taxes to suck out the last hard-earned dollar from the labourer.

Some people have also complained that us westerners - that is, the folks from the Canadian West - have not been very welcoming and friendly, even though we tout our western hospitality. There is a lot of truth to that as well.

A comment from another reader points to the regional animosity between central and western Canadians;

"Alberta has developed a strong hatred to people who
come from other provinces. I think that they prefer
minorities from third world countries that they can
pay only minimum wages and give all the really menial
jobs to. Canadian from other provinces know how much
their labour is worth. Third world labourers don't.
Do I think they are predjudiced? Yes.
Are Alberta companies really cheap? Absolutely!"


Well I'm not sure if hatred is the right word here, but there sure is a lot of resentment from the past when central Canada had all the goodies and provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan were dirt poor and had slogans like, "The West wants in.."

Since Canada does not have the problem of illegal immigration like the United States, Canadian companies look to these so-called "Third World" countries to provide them with workers in the form of immigrants and refugees. Alberta companies are cheap no doubt, but so are Canadians, who are too selfish to have kids and establish families, and Alberta is the largest offender in this regard, (but that's another topic for a future blog post).

I hope that Calgary does not lose it's status as a city where anything is possible and where folks come to realize their big dreams. And in order for that distinction to be maintained, the large, and ever-increasing divide between the rich and poor will have to be narrowed so all of us, in this Heart of the New West, can live a fulfilling life.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Where's the compassion....?

The media in Calgary has been scuttle butting the story of a recent murder-suicide, where a 34 year old man killed his wife, two young daughters and a female tenant. A public memorial was held today for the whole family including Joshua Lall, the person who took his family's life.

Now there are some folks in this city who can't seem to stomach the idea of "remembering the killer". But let's look at this from a different perspective. These people were victims of the head of the household who was suffering from a mental sickness. What he did was in no way acceptable, but for people to be blatantly antipathetic to Joshua Lall is to be prejudiced and unjust towards a mentally ill person.

We need to respect the families on both sides, that they want to remember and say farewell to their loved ones without focusing on the tragic incident. Folks who are ticked off because they think that a murderer is being celebrated need to just back off and let these people mourn their loss. No one has the right to be judgmental. And if the people who are irritated by this, truly care so much, then they
should volunteer themselves to helping the mentally ill, and I can assure you, there are a lot of people like that in our city.

May the Lall family rest in peace.



image courtesy of CBC news

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The women in Calgary are nuts.....

Yes...indeed they are, specially the younger ones. Why do I say that...? Well read this.

The chicks in Calgary (and Alberta and Canada overall) are complaining that Canadian men do not know how to court them or ask them out for a date. They think that American men are more assertive and confident, not shy about making the first move.

But do Canadian women (specially Calgarian chicks) really appreciate chivalry? The answer to that -- from my experience so far -- is a resounding no.

I have tried meeting women in this city, so have my other buddies, but we can tell that women are intimidated by our confidence and "openness". One has to be a phony to say that they prefer men who come on to them and then shoot down guys who approach them and consider THEM to be worthy of attention!

You'll see women in this city walking around like they are royalty and want guys who they can pu$$y-whip, but when they come across a man who has his sh!t together and is self-assured, they get nervous and will even avoid eye-contact.

A lot of chicks also lack social-skills and the ability to have a decent conversation. The only topic you can talk to them about is what clebrities are doing or what her ex did to her. For the love of Mary, I'm not here for talk therapy!

Try starting a conversation with a woman on the C-Train and you'll understand what I'm talking about. Infact, it's much easier to talk to older women, who are in their 40's and 50's (maybe that's due to the cougar effect)

Regardless, the women in Calgary need to start appreciating the fact that guys here are not going across the border to Montana or Idaho to look for women and still willing to give them a chance. If they miss this opportunity, then this is what their social gatherings will look like....

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Is the job boom in Calgary over..?

It is becoming more and more difficult to get a desirable job in Calgary. Only a couple of years ago, businesses were closing down because they could not find employees and it was almost impossible to hire anyone to for less than $12/hour, but now, it seems like there is a lot more competition in the labour market and that companies have quite a few options when it comes to hiring new people.

The Alberta government encouraged people to move to the province -- most of whom moved to Calgary -- even though there wasn't any cheap accommodation available at the time. A lot of people just got fed up with the situation and left, but those who found a decent job and a place to stay are also facing new problems. Companies which initially hired people with zero skills have more choices now, and folks who for some reason lost their jobs are having a tough time finding new ones.

A big reason for that is the saturation of the labour pool, where more people are competing for the same opportunities. Crazy real estate prices are another reason why companies are relocating to places like Saskatchewan and Winnipeg. It looks like Calgary's reputation of a boom town is not going to last too long.

Saskatoon, here I come..!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Step off the gas!

A lot of folks have been complaining about the recent gas prices in Calgary which are hovering around $1.29/litre (for you Americans who are used to gallons, that's around $3.96/gal). But at the same time, I do not see most people make less use of their automobiles.

We all like to focus on how greedy the oil companies have become and how they are gouging us, but rarely does anyone accept their own bad habits. Yes, there are an increasing number of people using bicycles as their mode of transport, but still, a huge majority is needlessly driving their cars and trucks, (Calgarians for some reason have this love affair with their trucks).

So if the price of gas is too expensive for you, then drive less; stay home on the weekends instead of going to the malls, and spend time with your family in your backyards. Those of you not blessed with a backyard should just take a walk in the park. It can't be any simpler than that.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What's the problem with the Lebanese barbers...?

I have a beef with the Lebanese barbers in Calgary. Everytime I go for a haircut, I am bound to get a lecture on the realities of life and how society is unfair. It's like I'm there for a sermon on human values. I don't mind chatting with the hairstylists - (and they insist on being called that, even though their shop signs say 'barber') - as they are great people, but I would prefer to talk AFTER I have my hairdo taken care of. They stand there, rousing their scissors in the air with fervor, sometimes too close for comfort.

You don't have to tell me that crime in Calgary has increased, I know that traffic is really bad and I KNOW that there are a lot of racist b@$tards in this city who taunt people of other ethnicities, but if you need to vent, then call the Calgary Distress Centre.

It seems to me that these guys need somebody to listen to them about what's happening "back home" or the war that's screwing up their country, or that their kids want to be more western, but seriously, do you think you're gonna get any sympathy by getting in your customers face and decrying the "injustices of society"? All you're doing is agitating us.

I really like the Lebanese folks, but I think I'll be looking for hairstylists of other nationalities, because after all, I'm paying them to tidy up my hair, not mess with my mind. If anyone of you knows good barbers (who don't suffer from verbal diarrhea), let me know.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rain, rain go away....

The weather in Calgary has been really crappy for the past few days. Persistent rain and cooler temperature has dampened the mood for a lot of folks. Looks like the curse from Vancouver has reached cow town. And the fact that the city is slacking off on fixing potholes in some areas isn't helping either. I guess they're waiting for somebody to "drown", that would be a story...

On a positive note, the Lilac Festival went well.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Howdy...!

...And welcome to Calgary... "Heart of The New West". This is the only blog you'll find on the net - last time I checked, there were none - about CowTown. I am going to give you folks the inside scoop on this city, from a citizens perspective. What's hot, what's not, who's making a difference and who's screwing up, all of that and more, you'll find here.

I believe in giving info in a No Bull-crap, No nonsense manner, and y'all can expect me to be very blunt about things that I find messy in this town. So stay tuned, and be part of the THTNW, this is gonna be a thrill ride!

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