Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for March, 2006

Let the Games…. BEGIN!

The first camping weekend of 2006 is booked. It’s a canoe trip in June that Jon is putting together, and apparently everything is coming together nicely. The last I heard, all we needed was a vehicle with a trailer hitch to haul the canoes. For those of you who have ‘canoe-tripped’ before, you’ll understand that means that there are A LOT of canoes coming.

I guess I should start thinking about May 24, although instead of piling into a Provincial Park with the hordes of car campers, maybe a road trip is in order… Montreal, maybe?

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Season’s Greetings!

The mark of a new season came around 5:30 yesterday… the 2006 Spring/Summer Mountain Equipment Co-op Catalogue showed up at my front door. Within minutes, I was curled up with it in one hand, and a highlighter in the other. At first, I was surprised at how little I actually wanted to get, but then I realized that most of the stuff I wanted in there, I already have. I guess that means that my camping gear warehouse is just about complete.

All I really need now is a better set of pots/pans, a 4-man tent (the Wanderer), a canoe (I’m working on this one as we speak), a light-duty sleeping bag, long-range VHF or FRS radios, some more Orikaso serving-ware (this stuff is FREAKING AWESOME!), some more caribineers and rope, and another good-sized tarp. Still, I’ve got a ridiculous amount of gear, and I can’t wait to use it again.

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Rating Films: My Opinion Matters More Than Yours

I’m kidding, of course… but I still share my opinion to keep you from wasting your hard-earned dollars on bad films… and then you can waste them on camping equipment, vanity iPods, or regrettable roadtrips to wasteland cities. Still, thanks to Karim and Steve, it’s come to my attention that I need to give a little more context around my X/10 ratings that I give to the films I review here.

You see, my two roomates are movie junkies. Between the two of them, it feels like we have thousands of DVD’s in our house. That means that whenever I want to see a movie, I just wander through their collections to find something that strikes my fancy. Matt usually picks up most new releases the day they come out on DVD, and Jared tends to collect quirkier and harder to find movies.

Thanks to the convenience of all these movies, I can’t recall the last time I paid to see a movie in theatres. I find it hard to justify paying $12 to see a crap movie (they’re pretty crap these days), so I just wait for movies to show up in our hallowed halls. I think this really skews some of my ratings… I mean, when you see a movie for free, your expectations are FAR lower, right?

Speaking of low expectations, it’s trailer season for this summer’s blockbuster movies. I have a feeling I’m not going to be seeing many movies this summer.

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Seven is Heaven!

Fishy

It’s that time of the week, so put on your reading glasses and sit back with a coffee to enjoy the finest online art mag money can’t buy… Silent Talkie!

Also, some of you have requested a direct link to my article each week, so here it is. That being said, I’ll be sorely disappointed if you don’t read the whole thing… and even MORE disappointed if you don’t submit. Seriously. I’ll egg your house. You’ve been warned.

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Observations From a Leaf Game

Kenneth scored Ben, Matt and me tickets for last night’s Leaf game (which they actually won, despite all the predictions I heard… and made), and although I love watching a hockey game, I was more interested in what was going on around me in the stands. We didn’t get what you would call ‘good tickets’, you see. We had four random seats WAAAAAAAAY up in the nosebleeds. I mean, the only way you could be higher up would be if you were sitting in the pressbox. So we could all hang out together, we just hiked up the to the ‘standing room only’ seats at the top of the arena.

For the first two periods, we stood in one section where I was shocked at how fickle the fans were. The Leafs would get a breakaway and all the people in front of us would cheer like it was their own kid streaking towards the net, and if the shot didn’t go in, that’s when the taunts and cheers of “You suck!” would ring out. That’s nothing new. Those are what we here in Southern Ontario call ‘Leafs Fans’. 🙂 No, what really surprised me was the LOUD cursing. Even with kids around. I mean, not even the odd lower tier swear word… we’re talking combinations that would make a Teamster blush. Brutal.

For the third period we moved over to Ben and Kenneth’s section which was chock full of rowdy drunks. In contrast, these guys geniunely cheered on the Leafs and were VERY courteous to the other fans around them; which surprised me, given the condition they were in. I didn’t hear a single swear word, and they encouraged the whole section to cheer and shout. They threw high-fives around when the Leafs scored, and booed loudly at calls that didn’t go the Leafs’ way.

Sadly, it turned out that the loudest and most fun guys were all from ‘out west’. Two guys from Calgary on a hockey road trip for a week, and Kenneth (who’s from Winnipeg). Ben was in there too, but I’m sure I could make an argument that New Liskard is barely Ontario (I kid, of course).

So, if you’re taking your kid to a Leafs game and you’re up in the cheap seats… look for someone in a Jets or Flames jersey, and make sure he’s good and drunk. You’ll have a great time, and you won’t have to spend half the game with your palms over your kid’s ears.

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Good Times

We had some visitors to the hallowed halls of Pembroke Castle last night. Ryan and Heidi made a brief visit after living and working in Germany for the last five months. They’re briefly visiting Southern Ontario to collect their far flung belongings from various friends and family, tossing everything in a truck and driving clear across the heartland of America to begin a new life in San Francisco… better known as the home of Rice-A-Roni.

Ryan scored a sweet job down there effectively getting paid good money to draw spaceships (he draws them REALLY well), and Heidi is telecommuting to her job here in Toronto. They’ll be livng the American dream… sort of. They likely won’t own firearms.

It was great to see them again, and although I’m sad to see them go so soon, it’s nice to think that at least they’re a little closer to home. If they’re reading this, I hope you guys sing “We’re going back to Cali, Cali, Cali…” all the way west. Bon voyage!

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So Much Furniture…

So we successfully moved one cube truck’s worth of furniture and a van full of boxes from Pickering to Shawville and unloaded them both. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there’s another WHOLE truckload waiting in Pickering for another weekend. Yikes.

Some highlights of the weekend include the satisfaction of packing the truck so well that nothing moved after 5 hours of driving on road surfaces of sketchy quality, driving the empty truck home at high(ish) speeds, and watching Shari win her first Roll Up the Rim (a cookie). We also had a family dinner (with my dad’s twin brother sitting in for my dad) of small town Chinese food, and I got to enjoy a glass of 14 year old Single Malt Scotch by the woodstove. Life is pretty sweet.

Highlights aside, I’m pretty sore and awfully tired, but I think that I’ll live to pack another day. If anyone’s interested in helping out next time, a few extra hands would be more than appreciated (mostly with home-cooked meals and a weekend in a scenic home in the country).

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Community

It is a gloriously sunny morning here in Pickering. Today we’re moving Dave’s family to the Ottawa Valley. Before meeting Dave I knew nothing of this place. And when I learned that Dave was eighth generation Canadian, I was in disbelief. Now that I’ve been to visit a few times, I’m starting to believe. The history is incredible, the cemetaries are ancient, the people love and know the land as if the whole valley is their backyard. But the thing that has amazed me the most is the strong and intimate community that comes with generations of living and dying on the same soil. Last night I slept under the most incredible quilt with names of family and friends embroidered into every square. Dave knew how they were connected. He knew who was still alive. It was amazing. No one is overlooked, no one is ignored, everyone belongs.

The life we live in the city is such an unusual and modern one. So many people are anonymous. So many people suffer from isolation. My roomate works for a men’s homeless shelter downtown, and many of them have no family or friends to come and take care of their needs. How unnatural and tragic.

I envy the community found in Dave’s history! I haven’t ever known it. My mother was born in Bolivia, my father in England. My family is scattered across the world. I don’t know where I belong geographically. Isn’t that true for most of us?

I’m thankful for church: it offers us community, an oasis in the midst of the urban landscape full of unrecognizable faces. We were created for community and my prayer is that Toronto can become a series of small communities where it becomes impossible for someone to fall through the cracks. I heard a man speak the other night about poverty in the city and he encouraged us to get to know the names of the homeless we pass every day. I think that is an incredible beginning.

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