Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for March, 2004

My Request to the Federal Gov’t

My birthday was the only day that always fell during March Break, which meant that I was never in school on the 15th of March. I got used to having the day off. When I was in University, my birthday was just another excuse to cut class, and while on co-op, I never had to work on my birthday. This year was the first time since I started Kindergarten that my birthday fell on a weekday where my presence was required somewhere for school or work obligations, so I took it as a holiday. Personally, I don’t think anyone should have to work on their birthday. I’d go so far as to say it’s a violation of our basic Human Rights…okay, that’s going a little far. Let’s just say it sucks.
Here’s my plan. Listen up, HRDC… I think that Canadians should get their birthday as a statutory Federal holiday. If it falls on a weekend or previously existing statutory holiday, you get a floater day that you can take at any time. As Canadians, we get shafted on holidays, so I’m just doing my part to help ease the tension of us working stiffs. A petition will be sent around shortly. Please sign it, and enclose a blank check made out to me in recognition of my great idea.

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Not Around

I’m out of the office today. I’m taking the Ides of March as a religious holiday… actually, it’s my birthday, and I don’t think anyone should work on their birthday, so I’m doing nothing today.
See you tomorrow.

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Recess… and Other Things Overheard on the Subway

Today marks the unofficial beginning to March Break for most School Districts in Ontario, and that means that parents everywhere are taking off early to beat the ‘rush’ to Florida… or wherever. That means that the rest of us have an easier commute for a few days.
Today, I overheard two older men (in their 50s at least… well, they’re older than me) talking about March Break and how great it would be to have a week off with pay, like last summer’s blackout. Damn them for giving me ideas. I’ve already sent a letter to my MP… a Liberal… who probably couldn’t care less coughembroiledinathesponsorshipscandalcough.
Anyways, two women who were also eavesdropping on this conversation got off the subway at my stop and I followed them up the escalator, where they took the conversation a different way.
“Forget a week off… just give us recess back. Put a bell in every office, and at a certain time, the bell rings and we all go outside to play.”
“Wouldn’t the coffee shops get overloaded?”
“Nah, we’d be too busy playing hopscotch, skipping rope, or smoking.”
What an intriguing thought… what if big business was run more like an elementary school… gold stars for jobs well done, your name on the board when you talk out of turn, and everyone goes home at 3:30. Just don’t talk about your co-workers behind their backs, or you’ll have to fight it out behind the portables after work.

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I’m An Old, Old Man

When I was in University, I bought a futon… and I realized that I had never even thought about having to buy a bed before. A bed was one of those things your parents supplied. Now, here I am in my mid-twenties… looking around for beds. Real beds, not futons. I’m researching which ones will be best for my lumbar, my circulation and will hold up for a long time. I’m old. So very, very old. What’s next? Researching walkers?
For the longest time (from my early childhood well into my mid-teens), I dreamed of sleeping in a hammock all the time… maybe it’s time to live that dream. It’ll be like the Swiss Family Robinson… only without all the treehouses, and animals, and pirates. Okay, maybe pirates, but that’s it.

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The Age-Old Question…

Is it appropriate to eat breakfast for dinner? The answer is yes… yes, it is.
Last night, after a long day at the office, I tucked into a fine dinner of scrambled eggs and sausage rounds, with a few homemade buns and some coffee. Man, was it good.
Not being a morning guy, the only times I get to eat a meal like this for breakfast is on weekends or vacation. I will never bother to get up early enough to fry up a breakfast before trudging off to work, even if all that grease and caffeine would ease me into my day.
Cereal is a little different. Cereal has two functions. It’s a breakfast food, or it’s a snack. It can’t be anything else. If you’re eating it at mealtime, it’s only because you aren’t hungry enough to have something else, in which case it isn’t really a meal, now is it? Unless of course you eat 6 bowls of it, but that would just be sad. More so if it was All Bran, and you’ve just done irreversible damage to your colon.
Anyways, for those purists who say that eating breakfast for dinner is unnatural, I say “Leave me alone” and “What are you doing in my kitchen? Get out!”. I like the unnatural. It gives me that same feeling of power and individuality I get when I eat dessert first.
I should make an omelette tonight.

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I Was Right

So, on friday afternoon, the temperature here in Toronto was a balmy 18.1 degrees celsius when I was leaving the office, and everyone I spoke to was giddy with the approach of spring. Of course, being a know-it-all, I told all those people that something like this always happens in early March, but that after a few days, we’d be back below zero. Well, here we are at -2 and snowy. If anyone I work with is reading this (and I hope they aren’t, because I haven’t given them this URL), I demand that you tell me, and everyone around me, that I was right. Then, you must bring me a donut as a peace offering.
Last night, as Jen and I drove back to TO from Port Rowan, it was like driving from fall into winter. We had rain, then sleet, then snow. It was like some horrible gameshow… “What kind of precipitation will we drive through next?!?!”.

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Winter Camping Activities

Of course there’s the snowshoeing and sitting around… but winter camping means keeping busy, and camping with the guys means doing stupid things. Honestly, does this surprise anyone?
1) SnowBall Wars: Like the old videogame ‘Tank Wars’, we headed out to the lake and stood in a big circle. We took turns hucking snowballs at each other and to keep from getting hit, you had to plant your feet in the snow and dodge shots by shifting your weight.
2) Packing snow on the Igloo: Not so much of a game… until I railed Deyo with a shovelful of snow.
3) Dutch Slingshot: Really, it’s just normal slingshot, but you’re shooting empty Heineken cans filled with water. Next time, I won’t bring rocks that are so big… and I won’t put the cans so far away. Brian had a knack for this game (hitting his second shot EVERY TIME), but I killed the two cans. Brian, that makes me the better man.
At one point, there was a discussion about how we could safely fill the igloo with propane and blow it to kingdom come, but cooler heads prevailed… and we put it off to next year. Now THAT would make for some great video.

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Why Go Winter Camping At All?

This is a question I’ve heard a lot over the last few weeks, and the answer is quite simple… it’s just one more way for me to flaunt man’s contempt for nature. Seriously… nature is all show-offy… constantly thinking it’s better than us by drenching us with rain, burying us in snow, and cooking us with intense heat. Well, when you’re winter camping, you turn the tables.
Well, not really. More fun than giving nature the finger, winter camping is about pushing your own limits and reminding yourself of the things you take for granted. When you walk from your house to your car, or from your apartment to the bus, you don’t really know what cold is… but when you’re subjected to it all the time… while eating, and sleeping… you realize how great it is to have a warm home. While I’m out there, I’m constantly reminded of two things.
1) How tough were the pioneering Canadians who survived winters here with little more than a shack to live in?
2) I would freeze to the sidewalk and die if I was homeless in Canada.
Another great thing about winter camping, is the closeness with nature. In the snow, you can make out fresh tracks and see a lot of wildlife that would normally be hidden by leaves and bushes. Just this past weekend, we had a pair of Chickadees playing tag around our campsite, lighting in trees and bushes just feet away from where we were sitting.
One of my primary reasons for going winter camping is much more simple though… as a Canadian, I have faced the fact that we are a cold nation. Almost half of our year is spent in winter weather, and we can choose to do one of three things… avoid it by hibernating indoors, run from it by visiting someplace warm, or embrace it and enjoy it. I vote for the latter.
All you need to do is get outside and stay active to be warm. Go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or build a snow fort. If you keep moving, you’ll stay plenty warm. Just don’t eat the yellow snow.

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