Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for the 'Guest Blogger' Category

Tyranny Loves Company

Dave Duncan is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.

It’s amazing what brainwashing can do, just ask me to play a game of solitaire. Once I find the red queen, I’m open to the power of suggestion.

Now that I’ve got the obligatory, obscure old movie references out of the way, I can get down to business. I was asked to write a post on the occasion of Dave’s 31st birthday. But since I’m known to be terribly apathetic, I’ll just leave you with this:

Happy Birthday Dave and may the Ides of March continue to be kinder to you than it was to Julius Caesar. Sic semper tyrannis!


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10 Haikus I Wrote About You

Dave loves his cottage
Noma moonrays light the path
A place of relief

Driving in the heat
Engine will shortly explode
Suffer for the cause

Who can run faster?
Cheating speedsters in the blocks
Olympics?  Not quite

Molskine in his hand
Forty thousand feet of land
Norway Bay beach sand

He’s injury prone
Dave once hurt himself sleeping
At least he can laugh

Camping all year round
Is where Dave would rather be
Paddling away

He knows she’s perfect
They are happy together
She’s perfect for him

Glorious fall day
Shower in a strange venue
Forever in love

Dave has his birthday
Celebration is a must
Older and wiser

What will happen next?

Happy Birthday Dave.




This post is completely unauthorized by Dave. We hope he won’t take it down. It is, after all, his birthday weekend. And so we have taken over his blog, just to give him some rest from all his excellent writing. Happy birthday Dave!

I have known Dave since the rebirth of my existence in Waterloo.  Dave is, in one word, awesome. But let us not bloat his ego too much. I should mention that his uncanny wit baffles me to this day, and has been a source of much amusement throughout the years. I never know exactly when Dave is being serious, and I would imagine that is part of his charm. I’m sure his wife thinks so 🙂

I was recently pondering who, among everyone I know, typifies a Canadian worthy of remembrance, and I can think of no better example than Dave Duncan. He will continually be straddling the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, writing about what he’s learned along the way, shedding humorous anecdotes on his experiences, and trying, one summer at a time, to get that Shawville cottage in tip-top shape!

I wish Dave a legendary birthday and much happiness in the year ahead!


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Tales from a commute … and more!

I was driving to work, slightly in a daze, and at around 8:30 a.m. (already 15 minutes late), while listening to CBC Radio, my blahs went to hahs. The amusing words of host Tom Allen were as follows: “You are listening to Music and Compan… OH! I mean CBC Radio 2!” For any classical music geeks who’ve listened to Tom’s show for years, Music and Company was iconic, and so, to hear him screw up (perhaps on purpose?) before he had to play some folk song to meet CBC’s new Radio 2 line-up (instead of what could have been Vivaldi’s Gloria in D Major, which — incidentally for any unmarried folks — is THE opening to walk down the aisle to) was, simply, delightful.

Such delight has been tempered somewhat by the work email I just received with this subject line: “Adding Humour to Your Life – RESCHEDULED”. My life is so The Office.

In any event, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Turkey season has arrived once again. I am really looking forward to this long weekend, a chance to relax and unwind, hang out with my bro Doug, and contemplate all the things to be thankful for. Like this awesome Web site.

Let’s back-track a little to the events of last weekend. Did anyone do Nuit Blanche? Normally I’ve always taken in the Queen West stretch of this now-annual arts thing (which takes place all over the downtown region), but this time around, I started close to Bloor and St. George, saw piles of zombies (some on bicycle! yeahhh), checked out all the revelry around U of T, walked through Queen’s Park — a forest truly lit up by the sounds of all these strangers — and was awe-struck by how friendly and fun everyone was. Who would’ve thought a towering canvas of plastic bottles in blue hue could be so breathtaking?

Onto a slightly more serious note, for all the Canadians reading this, don’t forget to vote this coming Tuesday! In the meantime, have a super weekend …


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Allez Les Rouges

After last week’s contribution, I figured that I’d stick with another patriotic subject. Although this subject was mentioned only in passing by Dave about six weeks ago, I figured that it needed a full post.

The Canadian Men’s Soccer Team has not qualified for a World Cup since 1986, where they were eliminated from group play without having scored a goal. Since then, it’s been frustrating loss after frustrating loss leaving the Canucks on the outside looking in. Whether it’s a lack of skill, extremely poor officiating or incredibly bad luck, Canada has failed to be represented on soccer’s biggest stage in over 20 years. A frustrating time for those of us who were too young to watch that campaign in 1986. Sure there was the Gold Cup win in 2000, but I’m not sure how many people realize that Canada was once champion of CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) or could identify Carlo Corazzin and Craig Forrest as national heroes.

This time around was supposed to be different. Canada was supposed to qualify for 2010 in South Africa. They had a talent level previously unseen in Canadian history with players representing large clubs in England, Spain, and Germany. Unfortunately, it’s never that easy for Canadian soccer. After easily dispatching St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Canada was drawn into an incredibly tough group with Mexico, Honduras and Jamaica, where only the top two teams advance. I know what you’re thinking, “It shouldn’t be that bad. Second place should be attainable. After Mexico, the Canadians should be able to beat everyone else.” Well, unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. The group really features the strongest teams in CONCACAF aside from the United States. But like any good Canadian, optimism reigned. These teams had never seen the talent of Julian De Guzman and Dwayne DeRosario.

We should’ve known something was up when one of the most promising Canadian talents in Jonathan De Guzman acquired Dutch citizenship and offered to ply his trade in Orange rather than red and white. It was all downhill from there. It started off with an embarrassing 1-1 draw with Jamaica before a raucous crowd in Toronto. I say embarrassing not because Canada was outplayed by Jamaica (which they weren’t), or because Jamaican ex-pats in Toronto outcheered the Canadian home support (for the first time in a while in Toronto, this wasn’t true) but because of a miscue on a corner kick where an innocuous kick by Toronto-born Andy Williams wound up in the back of the Canadian net. Whether it was a misplay by goalkeeper Pat Onstad or if he was fouled on the play, it really doesn’t matter as Canada was unable to recover and settled for the 1-1 draw.

Although there was this set back, there was still hope. Canada carried the play against Jamaica and this set them up really well for the next match against Honduras in Montreal. Unfortunately, this would be as good as it got. Canada lost 2-1 to Honduras and then went on to lose 2-1 in Mexico where the score line indicated a much closer game than what actually happened.
So as we stand at the halfway point, we have Mexico with 9 points, Honduras with 6 and Canada and Jamaica with 1 point each.

As you can see, Canada isn’t out of it yet. If they can win out, they still have a chance to finish second. But this means winning in Honduras on Saturday while missing two players to suspension (De Rosario and Adrian Serioux) while their best player, Julian De Guzman, watches from the sidelines with an injury. It’s still possible but even if it does happen, there’s still beating a much superior Mexican team in Edmonton (although they’ll have already clinched a spot and have nothing to play for) and beating a tightly-knit Jamaican squad on their island. While not impossible, it’s definitely daunting and there’s no room for error.

So if you’re finding yourself with nothing to do at 9:30 pm on Saturday night, flick over to Sportsnet and cheer on the boys in red. They’ll need all the support they can get.

Oh yeah, and if my last post didn’t scare you off, get out and vote on Tuesday. Despite what I said, your voice needs to be heard and voting is the easiest way to do that. Unless of course you end up dating a cabinet minister and he leaves sensitive documents lying around the house.


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Eagle + Beaver = awesomeness

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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When you get an email advertising that you will be provided with a free breakfast what do you imagine?

The words ‘free breakfast’ without the modifier ‘continental’ would typically lead me to believe there would be eggs involved somehow.

As it turns out, the free breakfast which I skipped my bowl of Cheerios for was pastries and fruit. I have no complaints about the fruit. The fruit was delicious and who has the time to cut up fruit into nice bite-sized pieces when you’re still trying to wake up? I don’t think I’d risk using a sharp knife prior to 10:00am on a weekday.

Pastries. Apparently danishes and muffins count as breakfast now. (I agree with whoever said that the word ‘muffin’ was invented so people wouldn’t feel guilty about eating cake for breakfast). I was not the only person who was disappointed. I didn’t complain to anyone around because it was still the best free breakfast I’ve had this week. Nevertheless, if you are going to serve a free continental breakfast please state up front that it is a continental breakfast.

So now it’s nearing lunch and I’ve already eaten enough calories for two meals (did I mention the danish?) and I didn’t even enjoy it because the expectations were set too high.

There really is no such thing as a free breakfast.


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A free all-night contemporary art thing

The timing of Dave and Danielle’s Spain trip is quite exemplary, and such timing only became noticeable to me just now, because it would appear Master Duncan desires to be as far away as possible from the first anniversary of the Stuff that happened. Yes, it is indeed a year since Nuit Blanche, which means a year since Dave’s memorable jock-strap galavanting down Queen Street covered in various shades of Parkdale corner-store (presumably toxic) marker only to be reunited with his bride-to-be at a Pizza Pizza at some unfortunate hour of the dawn, trading stories on what this rite of passage really means. For Karim, Steve, Jared et al., of course it meant piles of laughter.

So this Saturday is Nuit Blanche 2008! I think I will actually be driving all the way from Cambridge for this worthy pilgrimmage downtown. Will I see you there? Hopefully!

Governments may cancel arts funding, politicians may continue to challenge notions of truth, we may wonder who to trust in this age of economic uncertainty, but at the end of the day, and into the night, what I think remains constant is that artists — especially in Toronto — enliven the city with creativity that surely speaks to humanity’s sense of community and wonderment at what is achievable when we work together to create beautiful things.


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