Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for the 'Guest Blogger' Category

It’s Not Apathy, It’s Just That I Don’t Care

We’re a little over a week away from the Canadian federal election and I’m struggling to invest the time necessary to analyze party platforms and care about this election. No, I’m not all tied up in the US election, but I’m just having trouble believing that my vote makes a difference. This isn’t one of those “The system is broken” or “I don’t care about politics” posts, it’s just, this is my third federal vote while living in Toronto Centre (the previous full election and a by-election earlier this year) and all I’ve seen is one party’s candidates easily walk away with the seat. You may as well paint the entire riding red, as the Liberal’s will win the seat easily. I was hoping for a little more competition after Bill Graham retired, but Bob Rae won by an even larger margin during the by-election.

When Dalton and I were heading to vote in the by-election in March, we ran into some NDP canvassers. When they noticed the voter registration card in my hand, they asked who we were voting for. I joked that it doesn’t matter since the Liberals will win handily. I was trying not to laugh when they insisted that their candidate had a real chance and they mentioned some people thinking that Toronto Centre would be a close race between the Liberals and the NDP. Trying not to seem rude, I wished them luck in their campaign and went to vote. Although, I did laugh a little when I saw the results with 59% of the votes going to Rae and the NDP candidate finishing nearly 11,000 votes behind him and only 113 ahead of the Green Party candidate.

Anyways, hopefully you’re lucky enough to live in a contested riding, so watching the English Language Debate tonight (or the French Language Debate last night if you’re so inclined) will actually mean something. Even if the result in your riding won’t be close, get out there and vote. Parties receive federal funding in the next election based upon votes received, so a vote for a losing candidate means a couple extra bucks for their campaign next time around. Plus, it’s always fun scanning through the names of the lesser parties. Who actually votes for a party entitled the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada?


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Canada counts, right?

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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The plane in Spain lands mainly on the … runway?

Well, Dave is off to to Spain, so I guess this is how we start off ‘guest blogger fun time’! I figure I’ll start off with as weak of a post as possible and then we will crescendo. That’s right. We’ll get louder as we go. By the end of this we’ll be typing in ALL CAPS!

I laboured for literally minutes on end thinking of a topic to post about and then I realized “Hey, today is the day I can register for the Canadian Do Not Call List.” If you go here then you too can register your phone number. Apparently companies have 31 days to remove you from their list of people to annoy. If all goes well this could save me whatever I’m currently spending on call display to avoid picking up the phone when telemarketers phone the house.

If I accidentally pick up the phone and it is a telemarketer on the other end I try to dispatch them without lying and without being rude. This has probably cost me a few hours of my life that I’ll never get back. I have heard various strategies for getting out of such calls. One guy I work with goes with the old “I’m going to berate you and make you feel small until you either cry or hang up.” Another goes with “I’m going to talk non-nonsensical words to make you think I’m crazy.”

My current strategy lacks any flare, so I suppose I could try something new out for the next 31 days.

Any suggestions?


Update (9:43AM): Apparently their site has crashed under the weight of all the people scrambling to register. You will have to be patient and try again later.

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Hmm. I am kinda a day short on guest contributions, so instead of a post you can just check this out.

Patrick Moore plays the xylophone.

If you wanna write something just leave a comment in this thread and let me know. I will let you know where you can email your post to.


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The Coming Google-net

Apparently, Google has a master plan to eat up all the dark fiber optic wire out there and run it in conjunction with a bunch of Google-made mobile data centers in order to corner advertising dollars for corporations and create an uber-google internet. I’m still working out HOW it would work, but when I do, I’m thinking I should get on board. Either by learning how to build and run a data center or by earning a ton of money and then buying some ever growing Google stock. either way, I’m going to go draw a logo and think it over.



The Wedding Synopsis

What follows is my perspective on the events of Saturday, October 13: the wedding between Dave and Danielle.

It was about ten a.m. when a sound disturbed my slumber in Dave’s cottage. I knew it couldn’t be Dave, nor Steve. Maybe Karim? He told me he gets up at 5 a.m. every day. But it was not Karim. It was, in fact, Dave’s brother, Graham. Graham was on a mission of sorts. A toilet needed to be retrieved. He had spent the night at Dave’s parents’ place, whose septic system had coincidentally ceased to function that day. Now where could that portable toilet be?

Graham opens my door.

“Hey, how’s it going Graham?” I call out, rather bleary-eyed. I’m still in my sleeping bag, which, incidentally, is on my favourite bed in Dave’s cottage, known affectionately as the Dead Baby Bed (though a baby has never died in it; I believe it was Kristie who suggested one probably had, and so this name continues in the cottage lore).

“I’m looking for a toilet. I think …” He hovers over me.

“Yup, it’s right there, right by your head.” I look over, and sure enough, I’m not only sleeping on the Dead Baby Bed, but adjacent to the septic toilet. I suddenly become very awake, hand Graham the portable toilet, and wonder what else is going on.

I head downstairs, and Karim is gleefully reading a pictorial book on the Gospels, created in 1895. Karim is particularly excited that it refers to Palestine.

“Palestine, it’s a country!” We are all pleased at this discovery.

Dave heads down soon after, grinning about our showering predicament. The original plan was for us to shower at his parents’ place the morning of the wedding. But now that the septic system was shot, we had to find an alternative source for cleanliness. One option was to head to Aunt Gertrude (or Hilda? or Thelma? I forget). I had other ideas.

“Guys, we need to head to Pine Lodge.” When in doubt, go for the hotel; that’s my philosophy. But we wouldn’t decide right away.

Sustenance was paramount.

By 10:45 a.m., we were on the road in my Protege 5, rocking Highway 148 with soothing beats from the Chemical Brothers. There were occasional showers outside. Would it stop raining for the wedding? Time would tell. With a track like the Sunshine Underground, I contentedly surmised that it didn’t really matter. We had the happiness inside.

We headed into a town called Quyon. I think that’s how it’s spelled. On the side of a highway, we spotted our greasy-spoon destiny: Garage – Restaurant. Yeah, that was the name of it. Plenty of bacon, sausage, eggs and coffee were consumed. It was a notable prelude to the forthcoming excellence.

We rolled into Pine Lodge at around 1 p.m. This was a two-star hotel which had apparently shut down for the season; it was also the site of the previous night’s rehearsal dinner. I was nervous about whether this would work. But Dave had confidence. He conveyed his story with passion: that he was getting married in two hours, that we needed to shower, that he was from Shawville. Oh, what a story! The woman who ran the place cracked a smile and took sympathy on our situation. She arranged to open up a “suite” for us along with two showers, fresh towels. We were so grateful. In about an hour, we were all cleaned up, and looking sharp. We picked up some flowers and then headed to the church in Shawville. The clouds were beginning to part and we saw some blue sky … it was beautiful.

At around 3:10 p.m., to the Rocky theme played with gusto on the organ, Dave opened the back doors with both hands. As if in slow motion, one could sense the audience turn backwards, wondering what was going on, eyes opening wide with wonder. The music reached its crescendo, and Dave prepared for the oncoming bliss, throwing fake (and dare I say, epic) punches in the air, down the aisle. Karim, Steve and I followed in succession, cheering him on. We met at the stage, giving Dave a few celebratory punches in jest, and then the show proceeded.

I won’t go into detail on the ceremony part. There was a great sermon by Dan. Some legendary vows. Lots of kissing. Two rings. Marriage. Celebration! I gave a thumbs-up during the signing of the registrar. What began over a year ago as a blind date of sorts — a meeting I concocted between Dave and Danielle — was now official. It was a good feeling. So good, in fact, that I must’ve been in some post-wedding daze. I forgot where I was supposed to go.

I got lost on the way to the wedding party photo session, but good prevailed, Graham found me (for the second time that day), and I made it in time for the pictures (phew!). We took a bunch of shots around Dave’s cottage and at the local golf course.

The reception featured some exquisite food, plenty of drinks, stellar speeches ;), dancing till like 1:30 a.m. (Marty was awesome with the tunes and Louis rocked the MCing!). Dave and Danielle would kiss if folks either got a 20 in crokinole or sung a love song. The wedding party sang Bryan Adams’ Everything I Do I Do It For You. I was getting emotional at that point; what a song. When Danielle tossed the garter, I managed to catch it. I wonder what this means …

At around 2 a.m., Dave and Danielle departed for their hotel for the night and then subsequent honeymoon out in the sun. All the happiness to them!

I still do not know the situation on Dave’s parents’ septic system. Surely that was a historic breakdown, but I don’t think we would have had it any other way.

And so the journey continues … together.



The Uninvited

It’s the easiest part for anyone planning a wedding, the cuts. Although you won’t be able to cut everyone you want to, you will cut a lot, and some of those cuts will hurt. But what better way to send a statement to someone than to not invite them to your wedding. You get to tell them “Sorry, you annoy me so much that I do not want you around on the most meaningful day of my life” without actually saying a word. And if you’re lucky not only will they not be at your wedding, you will not see or hear from them again.

Of course Dave isn’t the luckiest person in the world. . .

-Your Mom-

Actually, this was contributed by Noel.


Blogs can be wonderful things. I’ve been of that opinion since even before I started my own blog. Many things are necessary to maintain a high quality of posts and a loyal readership which a good blog needs. Unlike other bloggers, I was not able to do that.

But now, even if I did want to resume any kind of regular writing, creative or otherwise, I couldn’t do it on my blog. “The Menno Melange” has been usurped since I began my missionary position, or as my wife prefers to call it, our voluntary service assignment.

Still, every now and then I come up with what I think are great ideas for new blogs. Now some may say that the blog fad has passed and I may as well be coming up with cool new designs for my Lite-Brite. That may be the case, but entertain my suggestions, knowing that they will almost certainly never the see the lite of day.

So-called Christians on TV
Church-going folk don’t really get a fair shake in the media. Christian characters on TV shows are generally portrayed as backwards, narrow-minded and hopelessly out of touch with reality, and that’s just on Micheal Coren Live. So I thought, what if someone took it farther? I could write a blog from the perspective of a person who thinks that those characters professing faith in God on TV shows aren’t Christian enough. My alter-ego could write about the hypocrisy of Angela from The Office or about the theological inconsistencies of The Simpsons‘ Ned Flanders. I would also write it as though this “blogger” understands the characters in these shows to be real people. I think that’d be a nice touch.

Menno Scripts
Along a similar line, I think it would be fun to try to write scripts for ongoing TV shows. Rather than going through the procedure of submitting it to the real writers only to have it rejected, I think it would be fun to post those scripts on a blog. For example, if Corner Gas can use Oscar & Emma’s interaction with Ukranians as part one episode’s plot, then why not Mennonites, they have Mennonites in Saskatchewan. I would naturally take momentum from any positive feedback to keep writing about Mennonites in other TV shows. This would likely fail though, since I don’t watch enough current TV to write about shows people care about, and Mennonites are really all that funny to write or read about.

The Church Office
Who doesn’t love The Office? Setting aside any UK vs. US version arguments, the show’s popularity has to do with its ability to resonate with our own office work experiences and/or fears. Change a few details and characters and it’s almost any office in the world. Having worked in a church office however, I think that there is a serious amount of comedic content that is going untouched. Imagine, instead of a paper retailer, a mega-church (don’t we all love to make fun of them). It could have three or four pastors with unnecessarily long titles, one that has no filter and says too much, one that is ultra-sensitive and says too little, one is disenchanted about the ministry, one that is doing inappropriate things in their persona life, all of them fighting amongst themselves to climb higher up the totem pole, a church secretary that talks too much, various parishioners that come in regularly to complain about stuff, staff/committee meetings that go too long, etc. The rest writes itself.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these ideas, and if you like them, I’ve got some great ICQ skins I’d like you to have a look at.



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