Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

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The Greatest Day of my Life

Three years isn’t really a long time, relatively speaking.  Since I’m nearly 33 years old, that’s only 1/11 of my life so far, and yet some of the biggest changes in my life have happened since October 13, 2007.  On this day three years ago, Danielle and I stood in front of family and friends on a beautiful fall day in a church in Shawville, Quebec and declared our love for one another by exchanging rings and committing our live to one another.  To this day, I maintain that asking Danielle to marry me is the best decision I’ve ever made in my life, and I’ve made some pretty good decisions.

Hand in Hand

Three years; hand in hand

Since that day, we’ve traveled extensively (Hawaii, Spain and Germany, with countless trips to Montreal and the Ottawa Valley), we’ve been camping with friends and on our own and we’ve had a lot of laughs together.  We’ve bought our dream house and adopted an awesome dog, all things that Danielle had to convince me of at the time and all things that I was supremely glad she did.

In our more humdrum moments, we’ve made meals and cleaned the house together, cuddled while we watch TV and hung out in our backyard or on the front porch of the cottage, and even though I knew I never would, it’s reassuring that I haven’t gotten sick of spending time with her and I hope the feeling is mutual.  About once a year, I lose her to a conference and that’s the hardest week of my year.  I miss having her around all the time, giving me advice and sharing her challenges and hopes.

In the past three years, I’ve learned that our differences in perspective and personality only serve to make us stronger as a couple and that we can continue to challenge one another to be better spouses and people with each day we spend together.  If anything, I’m surprised that we’ve only been married for three years and known each other for just over four because it’s felt like a lifetime (in the good way; only in the good way).

Porch photo of Dave and Danielle

Each year on our anniversary, I’m reminded of the immense support we received from family and friends when we got married.  Although we’d only known each other for eight months when I proposed, it was as evident to everyone as it was to me how perfectly matched we were.  That our wedding was such a great celebration is a testament to that support, and I would like to thank you all for getting our marriage off to such a great start.

That day passed by so quickly, much of it is a blur, but specific moments still do (and always will) stand out in my mind.  Like the moment Danielle first appeared in the aisle of the church in her gorgeous wedding gown with a huge grin on her face, or how comforting it was when I took her hand and it was trembling with nerves like mine was.  I’ll never forget how excited she was to cut our cake and to mash it into my face (I think there’s still icing in my beard today) and how much fun we had on the busiest day of our lives.  I vividly remember (and it comes back to me often) when we were done signing our wedding register and were waiting for our witnesses to sign, she gave my hand a quick squeeze and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek.

It’s comforting to know that after three years, Danielle still gets a big grin on her face when she sees me across a room, and would still love any excuse to mash cake into my face.  It just confirms what I’ve always known; I married the perfect girl for me.

So on our third anniversary, I’m thankful for the time we’ve already had together and I look forward to many years celebrating the best decision of my life, the best day of my life and the event that changed my life forever, and for the better.  I have the best wife in the world, and if you’ve spent any time with me, you know that I don’t just say that once a year.  I couldn’t be more proud of Danielle, our marriage or what we’ve accomplished as a couple.

Danielle, I love you more each day and with each passing year I grow more excited for what our future together has in store for us.  Happy anniversary, mon bijou.  X


The Good Eatin’ Guide

I hope you’ve eaten breakfast, because today we’re going to take a quick look at some hidden gems for dining here in Toronto.  Let’s start with one that Danielle and I finally tried last night.

Champion Shawarma – Pape, just north of Danforth (just outside Pape station)
I’ve walked past this place more than a few times and seen the counter with all their fresh-looking fixin’s staring back at me.  It also smelled delicious.  Well, last night we gave in and grabbed dinner there.  Mmmm.

As a Montrealer, Danielle is a bit more of a pro when it comes to shish taouk (as it’s called there).  Not being limited by the same bylaws that made the street dog the quick meal of choice in Toronto, shawarma is huge there, so she’s the pro… and she was impressed.  The pita were huge, heavily loaded with both meat and fixin’s and the meat was far from greasy.  They were also VERY reasonably priced.  It’s too bad that it’s on my way home.  I’ll be eating there nearly every day now.

George’s BBQ – Dundas and Pembroke, just west of Sherbourne
I’ve mentioned George’s before.  It’s just steps away from my old house and was a frequent food contributor in my life as a Duke at Pembroke Castle.  Sure, there’s no place to sit inside and you’ll be rubbing elbows with strippers, crack dealers and their customers while you place your order at the counter, but the food is delicious.

You can also look forward to the colourful employees telling stories that vary from PG-13 discussions of cars to X-Rated descriptions of the previous night’s customers.  Also, they’re open until 3am.  I recommend their homemade burgers, or their quarter chicken special.  I hope you like fries, because they heap them up like crazy.

La’Zeez Shawarma – Gerrard, just west of Jarvis (beside “Hooker Harvey’s”)
Honestly, I only know of these places in the Hood because I use to live there.  Danielle and I ended up here by complete accident during last year’s Gay Pride Parade.  I would want to compare the food to Champion side-by-side, but I’m pretty sure they are comparable… and good!  La’Zeez used much more spice and hot sauce though, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Dangerous Dan’s – Queen and Broadview
This place has a special place in my heart… right next to the  obstruction that will no doubt cause the heart attack that will kill me.  The food here is actually nothing special, it’s the environment and the portion sizes.  It’s always a good time, but it’s rarely a great meal.

The Amazing Mystic Muffin – Jarvis and Richmond
I found this place after reading this review on Torontoist.  I figured it couldn’t be nearly as good as they raved, so I visited one day for lunch.  It’s not as good as it Torontoist made it sound… it’s better.   Few Torontoians find themselves in the Jarvis and Richmond area during AMM’s serving hours, but if you do, make the trip.  You won’t regret it.

Chopin Restaurant – 165 Roncesvalles (6.5 short blocks north of Queen)
Although this is a great restaurant, it is really only getting a mention because I felt the above list was a little too East-Toronto-centric.  That’s probably only because everything that’s cool is east of Yonge Street (sorry Karim).  For a full review of Chopin, you can see what I said about it back in the spring.

Feel free to add your favourite lesser-known restaurants in the comments and I’ll try to check them all out.


Best of the Blog – Day Four

Good day, and welcome to Day Four. You’re almost there… just a few more hours and you’ll be free for the weekend! Congratulations. Just think of all the freedom that awaits you in that great big world outside of you place of work. There are walks to be taken, restaurants to be eaten at, naps to be had… the possiblities are nearly endless.

Well, just for your perfect friday… I’ve saved the best for last. Personally, I think this is the best post that’s ever been posted in here (feel free to disagree in the comments), and every time I read it, I still giggle a little more. Not that I read it once a week or anything.

Anyways, it’s about my chocolate bar preferences and it’s simply called “Eatmore” (Jan.18, 2005).

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Best of the Blog – Day Three

What better way to celebrate early August than by reading a post about Groundhog Day? I mean, you could sit on a patio with a cold drink and some good friends… but since you’re reading this at work, that’s not really an option, now is it? Just keep in mind that as you’re reading this… I’m likely on my porch with a cold drink. Sorry, but it’s true.

If you can’t enjoy this post for its artistic merits, you can at least enjoy the reference to Gobbler’s Knob. No giggling, please. And without further ado, I give you “Rodentia Forecasterus” (Feb.02, 2006).

Oh, and before I forget… soccer… tonight… as always. Enjoy!

Every week!

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Best of the Blog – Day Two

Yes, that’s right… this pathetic clip show just keeps going. At least I’m giving you a glimpse of my former ‘glory posts’ rather than just taunting you with hints of how I might be enjoying my glorious vacation in the Ottawa Valley.

If you’ve been reading this for any period of time, you’ve no doubt gotten used to my rants and pet peeves. I’d say that’s about 80% of my writing with posts about my cottage or camping making up the rest. Today’s ‘Best of’ post is probably one of my best rants about urban umbrella toters… or UUTs as I will call them from now on… after coining a term like ‘urban umbrella toters’, you’ve just gotta slip it into conversation as often as possible.

Happy wednesday, and enjoy “Up in the Atmosphere” (Aug.31, 2005).

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Best of the Blog – Day One

While I’m on vacation this week, I likely won’t be popping in here to post, so I’ll be linking to some of my best posts over the last two and a half years of writing in here. Writing a post nearly every weekday for that long has meant an awful lot of filler posts, but once in a while I manage to birth one of signifigance (nice imagery, eh? That’s what writers do).

Shortly before the last Canadian Federal Election, I posted my predictions (which were wrong, but funny) and managed to slip in a few little tidbits of Canadiana. I hope you enjoy reading “Let the Games Begin” (Nov.22, 2005).

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Two Years… So Many Memories

I’m posting this in absentia, as I’m hosting a little weekend up at my cottage for a few friends. Still… today is a milestone that I just had to mark. Today is the second anniversary of the AchtungDavey blog!

Can you believe it’s been two whole years since I started writing this dreck? I mean, c’mon… how long can someone post an average of one entry every workday? Apparently for pretty long, actually… for at least two years.

In that time, I’ve been through fads, injuries, heartbreak and travel… I’ve eaten giant hamburgers, and eavesdropped in elevators and subway cars. I’d like to say I did all these things for you, the loyal reader, but truth be told, I don’t even know who most of you are, and as such… I don’t really care. 🙂

I kid, of course. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the past couple of years as much as I have, and will continue to enjoy my rants and raves in the future.

So, although I’m not in the province, nor even remotely close to a computer with internet connection capabilities, know that I’m reading and celebrating with you, dear reader… I’m just far more relaxed, and enjoying myself. As a matter of fact, odds are that I’m sitting in front of the woodstove at this very moment with a homemade quilt over my shoulders, a fine tawny port in one hand and a copy of “The Old Man and the Sea” in the other. I may or may not have a number of freshly baked pastries within arms reach, but that’s neither here nor there. I’ll be celebrating with you… sitting there at your bleak desk in your cookie cutter cubicle… a tepid cup of coffee off your right hand, and a stack of TPS reports (sans cover sheet) at your left.

It’s the crazy digressions and constant belittling that keep you folks coming back, isn’t it? Thanks for reading!


The Best Eats

I read a sports article today (I know… I’m surprised too) that included the writers’ “pantheons” of dining. I’ve never even compiled a list like this on my own, but now’s as good a time as any.

I’m a huge fan of food, so I think I can consider myself a bit of an authority on the subject. I will account for varying tastes, so make your counterarguments clear and concise. Feel free to add your own lists in the comments. Here they are in no particular order…
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