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The 96th edition of the Tour de France is on right now and if you’ve never really thought about the race or the insanity that is bike racing but are reading this, then you have no choice.

Think about this:

As I’m writing this post and Dave is drinking beer and eating various types of wurst, Stage Five is in progress. Stage Five doesn’t sound all that impressive, but calling it “Stage riding across Lake Michigan in one day, but on land and in France” just doesn’t roll off the tongue. The length of this stage is 196.5 kms. Go back and reread that number. Seriously. That’s wider than Lake Michigan, which although skinny, is still a GREAT LAKE!

Crazy, right? That’s a lot of biking around. Well, that’s only the 6th longest stage on the Tour. The longest is 224 kms. Seriously.

Oh and not only is that impressive, but they don’t really have breaks. There are two REST DAYS, but other than that, it’s straight on through. Stage Six, which goes tomorrow, is a paltry 181.5kms. Stage Seven is the aforementioned 224kms and yep, that’s Friday. They do this ’til the 26th with TWO DAYS break.

And folks, this isn’t a leisurely ride down the path to pick up the latest US Weekly and some gelato. On the days when the Stages are short, they are only short because it’s a sprint. Full speed ahead. Plus, there are crashes, strategies, crazy fans and the French to deal with.

But also, it’s in France and most of France is covered in F’ING MOUNTAINS.



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Book of Dave To the left is page one of the book that is Dave Duncan. Luckily, this novel is further along than the one Dave is writing. Hooray for being born, Dave!


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Last week I got a very exciting letter from the Canadian government which stated the date and time of my Canadian Citizenship exam.  After living in and around Canada for the better part of the last 11 years, I had a choice to make and I didn’t take it lightly. Not only is it going to be much easier for my taxes, general business-ownership and a future life in Canada, I really do find I feel “Canadian”.  Not being able to vote while living in Canada really bothered me and I know there are loads of arguments about a single vote not mattering, but take that right away and you feel it.

Now I have to study for a test which I’m pretty sure most Canadians would have a hard time with.  Luckily it’s mostly multiple choice with some short answer.  You can see the process and take a few practice tests here.  I didn’t do so well on the first attempt, but on others I’ve done ok, so I know I need to study.

If, nay WHEN, I pass I have to come back for a Citizenship oath.  Part of me feels excitement for it and part of me feels it’s pretty lame. Maybe it’s my US side that favours the excitement as it is an outward display of nationalism which I don’t like to show.

It would be nice to have some family and friends there ready to cheer my allegiance to the Queen (which contrary to our various discussions, Dave, I finally understand… No thanks to you 🙂 ).  They would hand me a little Canadian flag and I could kiss a photo of Sir John A. McDonald and Wayne Gretzky (as I’ve heard is tradition).  But do I really deserve such a celebration?

There will be a lot of people taking the oath with me and some will most likely be refugees or people who fled their ancestral home during a time of strife to come to a land filled with opportunity.  I met a girl and liked the people up here.  They had to endure camps and times of starvation.   I had to wait in line a bit at the border.

To be honest, it will be an honour to share this experience with other new Canadians no matter how they came to be in Canada.  When you get back Dave, we’ll have to debate the relevance of OUR Queen in today’s context and not just her place in OUR history. 🙂


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Keeping up with the news in Canada takes a bit of work when you live in the USA.  Cruising the CBC is the main way I try to keep up with the goings-on back in my new adopted homeland.  But there is really no mention at all of Canada in my daily life in the US.

A big story in Canada won’t even register at all around here, while a big story in the US will be front page in Canadian publications.  Canada is really pretty invisible to the USA mostly because nothing really happens in Canada that affects Americans, at all.

It’s easy to make fun of Americans for not being able to answer random questions on the street but really, why should we care at all? It sucks that Canada has such an annoying and one-sided neighbor.  I don’t have any ideas on how to counteract it.  I do know that becoming more fiercely Canadian will eventually make you even more like a lot of Americans and guess what, that’s not a good thing.

So, what’s my point?  Support the funding of the arts in Canada.


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I got an e-mail the other day from my sister which made me think of Dave in Hawaii. I assume Dave is going to try to go into the ocean at least once, and knowing he’s prone to accidents and getting hurt, he’ll probably be bitten by a shark or a bear or a strange shark-bear combination animal, which was created by mistake.

The e-mail I received contained a story and a photograph.
Here’s the story:

Subject: Read before you look at the pic

Family on holiday in Australia for a week and a half when husband, wife and their 15 year old son decided to go SCUBA diving. The husband is in the navy and has had some SCUBA experience.

His son wanted a pic of his mum and dad in all their gear so got the under water camera on the go. When it came to taking the pic the dad realized that the son look like he was panicking as he took it and gave the “OK” hand sign to see if he was alright.

The son took the pic and swam to the surface and back to the boat as quick as he could so the mum and dad followed to see if he was OK. When they got back to him he was scrambling onto the boat and absolutely packing it.

When the parents asked why he said “there was a shark behind you” and the dad thought he was joking but the skipper of the boat said it was true and that they wouldn’t believe him even if he told them what it was. As soon as they got back to the hotel they put the pic onto the laptop and this is what they saw.

(Try and tell me you wouldn’t have emptied your entire digestive system right at the point you saw it)

Would you have stayed to take the picture??

And then a photo:
Click here.

These stories are awesome. You know there are tonnes of them and they are all around to teach us a lesson. This lesson? Don’t do anything as awesome as SCUBA diving… ever. Better yet? Stay inside and never do anything at all.

I would suggest everyone try SCUBA diving once in their life, even if it’s in a pool or your bathtub. I would suggest it to everyone, except Dave….

Let us all think of Dave and hope he avoids getting eaten by the Shear or Bark or whatever the horrible beast is called. Maybe it’s called Quinton.




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