Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for July, 2005

Weekend, the Long

Summer is looking up. The temperature and humidity have dropped down to a level I like to call ‘functional’, I still have a solid four months of cottage time left (with two weekends actually on the books), and a surprise weekend next weekend… more on that next week.

Tonight I’m headed to the cottage for a weekend of chilling with a bit of work mixed in for good measure. It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been out of the city, so it’s about time I walked barefoot in long grass, and sat somewhere where I can’t hear a car.

Here are some random thoughts…

  • Shuttles? Who cares, really?
  • Has anyone else lost track of how many people have been arrested in the London subway bombings? It’s like someone new is being arrested every 7 or 8 minutes. I hope this hasn’t turned into a witch hunt.
  • Canadian Defence Minister Bill Graham needs to find something new and important to start caring about.

So that’s all she wrote folks. More next week. Have a great long weekend.

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… And in Other News…

So I sit down at my desk this morning, unwrap my bagel, and open my browser window to CBC.ca, as is my normal routine. That’s when my entire world turned upside down. I read the following headline about 4 times before it sunk in…
“IRA declares end to armed campaign”
Wow. I mean… wow. You can read the details of the deal from CBC here, or from Retuers here.

There are a few things I was sure I would never see in my lifetime… the Leafs winning the Cup, a funny episode of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ and peace in Northern Ireland… the latter feeling like the longest of the longshots. Today, it feels like anything can happen. If the IRA can cease hostilities, that means that a whole new world of possibilities is open to us. Now, when I claim that the US is so far gone as a police state, that nothing short of a revolution or war will bring back civil liberties, someone can shut me down by saying “Yeah Dave, but look what happened in Northern Ireland.”. Touche.

Seriously though, this is a huge deal. Thousands of people have died over the last few decades in the name of Nationalism (which technically died sometime in the last century). If people want to keep fighting for a government that represents their religious and political desires, more power to ’em. Just keep the fighting to strong words (and the occaisonal drunken fistfight… these ARE the Irish, after all) and the world will be a much happier place.

With all that’s been going on the in UK lately, it’s a smart move by an organization that’s been working hard for over a decade to ‘legitimize’ itself politically. Also, given the crackdowns in security, changes in terrorism laws, and the increase in military & police powers, spending and enrollment, it’s a good time for them to get out of the bombing game. I wonder if some of the other political terrorist groups who see themselves as ‘honourable soldiers’ will follow suit. Groups like ETA in Spain and all those little fringe groups in Greece who set off pipe bombs in empty streets. I hope so.

Man, can you imagine being at a U2 show tonight?

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Really Wasteful ‘Spam’

I get tonnes of garbage email… just like you do. It’s just a matter of filtering it as best you can, and deleting it when it gets through. Really, the only thing that’s wasted is your time (and I have enough that deleting emails is just an inconvenience). At home, my apartment doesn’t really get that much junkmail, so I tend not to think too much about it. Sure, there are flyers, but they tend to be for Canadian Tire, Future Shop, and No Frills which means that I actually read them. The REAL waste, is here in my office.

I’m not sure how many of you have access to an office Fax machine, but we have one here that we have to check regularly. It’s a private number that’s (theoretically) used only internally in my company, and yet every day we get a half dozen junk faxes. Faxes selling office furniture, computer training, and timeshare vacation packages. They come in and there’s no way to filter or stop them… they just get printed out on crisp and clean printer paper and are thrown in the recycling bin.

A few months ago, I started collecting all our one-sided recycling to make pads with the extra paper. Now, with very little need for a lot of notepads, I’m being crushed under the weight of a lot of paper that would normally be tossed out. What a waste.

I remember back when I first moved to Waterloo, you could bring a stack of recyclable paper (printed one-sided, of course) in to Kinko’s and for $1 they’d cut the stack and glue the top edges to make you a bunch of REAL notepads. I really wish they still did that… even if it cost a bit more money.

Does anyone need a scratch pad?

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A Step Up

Overnight, my work laptop was replaced with a pretty sweet desktop setup. I now have a rather restricted but fast PC with a flatscreen monitor that’s very easy on the eyes. Lately I’ve been concerned that the time is slowly approaching where I can no longer avoid wearing glasses, but I think that this monitor will help keep that date a little further in the future.

Not that there’s anything wrong with glasses. I actually like how glasses look on most people and on me… it’s more that I’m not used to wearing them, and I’m not looking forward to the transition period. Maybe I’ll just get prescription sunglasses so I can look like a rockstar at work… or Roy Orbison. Hmm. Maybe I won’t do that after all.

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Unionize the Oompah Loompahs

My sunday didn’t really start until the evening, when I met up with Shari-Anne, Logan and Amanda for some delicious (albeit pricy) gelato. I guess that put us in the mood for sweets and we found ourselves in the Rainbow theatre watching ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. It’s a really good movie, but don’t pay the big bucks to see it in a super-theatre. It’s worth seeing it in a cheaper theatre (the sound and effects don’t really need the price boost), and Johnny Depp is just as freaky on a smaller screen. After all, that’s why we really watch these movies, isn’t it? So we can be surprised again at just how weird he can be.

Some high points for me… when the guy in the row in front of us (a grown adult male) rocked out to all the Oompah Loompah songs… and I mean ‘rocked out’. He was dancing in his seat. Awesome.
I’ve always found the Oompah Loompah characters a little disconcerting, but this movie casted ‘them’ in the most likeable way yet. Still, their employment situation seems a little on the sketchy side, but I’ll leave that to the labour board.

The rest of the weekend had its share of high and low points… I played some poker, eat Ethiopian food, enjoyed a late-night walk on the Lakeshore, slept a bit, cleaned a bit, and read a bit. It was a pretty laid back weekend overall, and I’m glad… since my next two weekends will likely be anything but ‘laid-back’.

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The Phone of the Future

My company has an employee rewards program that works sort of like Air Miles. A job well-done is rewarded with a little memo and from time to time, you get some points that go into an account in your name. There’s a catalogue of hundreds of items you can browse, and if you can redeem your accumulated points to get some non-company related swag.

Last week, I redeemed a few years’ worth of points to pick up a VERY cool cordless phone package. Our phone at home is a little weak and is constantly picking up interference from neighbours, TVs, aliens, and the government so I wanted something a little stronger. This phone has 2 handsets, a built-in digital answering machine, speakerphone (on both handsets and both bases), teleconferencing and paging.

I just read through the manual, and I’ve found the best use for the two handsets. Let’s say Matt’s in his room sending Dave Matthews anonymous MASH emails from his computer and I’m in the living room watching TV. In the event that a Steven Seagal movie should come on TV (somehing Matt would definitely want to know about) I COULD go to the physical effort and strain of yelling down the hall to him… at great personal risk to my voice, lungs, and ears. Yelling is dangerous, and could lead to poor relations with our neighbours. Instead, I could just page the other handset and we could discuss the matter over the phone. Even cooler, during our conversation, if a REAL call should come in, we would be paged (kind of like call waiting). Our inter-apartment efficiency will almost triple (note that ‘efficiency’ and ‘laziness’ are interchangeable).

Mind you, none of this changes the fact that I still don’t own a Volvo wagon. Still, it eases that pain. Gotta go… I’ve got some phone calls to make.

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So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehn, Goodnight…

… to Jay, and Lis… who today will catch a flight. Doo doodle loot doot doo doot doo, doot doodle loot doot doo…

For the next year or so, camping trips just won’t be the same. Who will teach us to render our socks? Who will supply us with Igloo building expertise? Who will insist on cooking dehydrated brussel sprouts in a rich and creamy butter sauce? Well, to be honest, hopefully no one for the latter, but Jay will certainly be missed.

You can be sure that each time we’re in the great outdoors until your return, we’ll hoist a Nalgene to your safety and good health (but not the yellow Nalgene… it stays in the tent). God speed, good health, and return safely from your adventures. In the meantime, keep us updated on everything that happens.

Bon voyage!

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Lucid? No. Entertaining? Yes.

Now that the temperature has cooled somewhat, I’m finally catching up on my sleep (even though I’ve been pushing some late nights recently). I’ve got some pretty brutal sleep habits, but one thing I can always count on is that when I’m really tired, and really comfortable, I have some crazy dreams. They’re vivid and memorable, which doesn’t always happen for me.

Last night was a DOOZY. It started innocently enough with my hair growing to my shoulders, but to keep it out of my face, I gelled it back… straight back… on a 90 degree angle to my neck. After getting lots of compliments in public, I decided to twist it into a cone shape that looked like a spike coming off the back of my head. I was the coolest.

Then, I watched a movie about doctors and though to myself “It can’t be THAT hard” so I went to a hospital and got a job as a doctor (by filling out a one-page form… like how one gets a job at a fast-food joint). I was a good doctor and I treated many patients (mostly with high fives). After my shift, I ate some dinner in a park of some sort and then I went swimming… for a really long time. I just kept on swimming.

I bought a new guitar, and a car and went on tour to promote the album I haven’t recorded yet. Since most bars or clubs wouldn’t let me play, I played at malls and fast food restaurants. When money got short (this is the weird part… it has a little too much continuity), I would work a shift or two at a hospital, dishing out my ‘high-five’ remedies. That last bit played out like a musical montage in a movie. Weird.

For anyone out there who believes in interpreting dreams, good luck with this one. It was pretty entertaining, although I was getting a little worried about how long I was swimming. I rationalized that I wasn’t getting tired because my hair was more streamlined than usual. I love sleepy logic.

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