Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for December, 2006

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Last night I headed uptown to meet Kenneth for a couple of drinks (at the poorly named ‘The Pump’), and I stopped off along the way to take some Christmas-type photos in the Eaton Centre.  If you haven’t been in there yet this year, you’re in for a treat.  Their Christmas tree is one of the prettiest I’ve seen.

So I came in this morning to upload a few pictures from my camera, and it turns out that I need to install the Canon software, which seems strange. I’m willing to bet that it has something to do with the super cheap USB cable I’m using to connect or something.

Anyways, instead of a shot of the interior of the Eaton Centre, you get a shot of some Christmas lights in my office that I uploaded last week.  This is the first photo I took with the camera…

Mmmm, lighty

I came into the office this morning to find a bottle of booze and some chocolate on my desk.  I guess Santa is doing his gift-dropping in shifts this year.  I’m not complaining though.

I have completed 35% of my Christmas shopping.  That is all.

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Thecamera Weekendcamera Roundupcamera

I’ve basically spent three days playing with my new camera, which has meant putting up with everyone around me mocking my purchase (it’s just envy) and Danielle getting sick of me taking photos of everything I come across.  She must feel like she’s walking a beagle that has to stop and smell everything he passes.

Still, I’ve taken a ton of shots, and I think I’m getting pretty proficient with it.  I’ll post some shots this week.  In the meantime, here’s how the weekend turned out.

Friday: I took some photos, went to clean up the new church space (and took photos of the space and the cleaning) and then we had a going-away party for Par (again, with more pictures).  We just ordered pizza, drank beer and watched a movie.

Saturday: Par moved out, Ethan moved in and I finally raked up the leaves in our yard and patio (before they turned into a frozen mass).  We also did some planning for our awesome New Year’s Party (be there or be square) and I took more photos.

Saturday night, Danielle and I met up with Kristie and Karim to go see The Holiday at the Paramount.  It’s a good thing the movie was free.  It was terrible.  Cameron Diaz didn’t bother acting, as usual, but even the other more qualified actors were mailing it in.  The script was abysmal and the plot crawled.  Don’t even rent it.  Even worse, we went to see it to get into the Christmas spirit (since it’s 20 degrees in Toronto, that’s tough) and it wasn’t even a Christmas movie.  Did I mention it was terrible?

To get the foul taste out of our mouths, we went back to K&K’s and played UNO (with special Harry Potter cards, for some reason) and Kristie treated us all to mulled cider which was both Christmasy and delicious.

Sunday: Breakfast and a trip to MEC (for Danielle, not me) followed by the first of my Christmas shopping and more photos.  In the evening, we had a Christmas dinner party at the church (where I took LOTS of pictures) so now I’m REALLY in the Christmas spirit.

This week will consist of taking photos, buying Christmas presents and spending time with friends (who I will take pictures of), so if you want to hang out, let me know.

I have completed 12% of my Christmas shopping.  That is all.

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Christmas Comes Early!

So you’ve been missing photos on here AND you’re getting sick of me pining for a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT SLR Camera? Well, have I got news for you. Over lunch, I headed to Aden camera on Yonge and got myself a deal. I’m now the proud father of an 8mp digital SLR camera.

That means that my gallery will soon come alive again with fresh photos, and that you (my friends) can get sick of me taking photos of all of you at every opportunity possible. If you’re vain, that’s good. If you’re not, get used to it.

I learned a little lesson from naming my car too early, so I’m going to give it some time before this camera gets a name.  I want to get to know her personality first.

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Here’s What Happened While the Lights Were Out

On tuesday night we had a going-away poker party for Matthew (our soon-to-be ex roommate), and he won a sizable pot… and we didn’t even let him win!  Sweet, sweet karma.

Later that night, we found that our friendly ground floor mouse (who’s now under our sink and making quite a mess, but avoiding my traps) is now taking trips to the second floor.  We’ve got some mouse poison out after realizing that my attempts to squash him with a canoe paddle on Matt’s behalf were fruitless.

Hopefully, our house will be vermin-free before we host a kick-ass New Year’s Party.  Yes, we’re hosting a New Year’s Party.  Come one, come all.  BYOB and show up around 10pm.  If you’re not dressed classy (cocktail attire… not tuxes, but no jeans) then you’ll be joining the mouse under the sink.

For those of you who missed seeing the wonderful Manhunt graphic, there was a game this week (and it started at 9pm instead of 10pm), but I had to miss it thanks to an unpleasant head cold (which is still kicking around). Instead I cuddled up under a blanket and watched ‘The Office’, but I wish I could’ve played since it was so ridiculously warm last night.

This weekend will be chock full of moving, New Year’s Party Planning and Christmas shopping, so I’ll be back on monday poorly rested and more ill than today.

I have STILL completed 0% of my Christmas shopping, but all that will change this weekend (I hope).  That is all.

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So… THAT Happened

I guess I won the game of Hide-And-Go-Seek we’ve been playing for the last few days. No matter how hard you tried, you just couldn’t find me.

In reality, my web host had to shut down my account thanks to the acts of some comment-spammers. After being spam-bombed, my site overloaded the CPU capacity of the server and all hell broke loose. In the meantime, I haven’t had access to my sites or my email… so I’ve been going insane.

Now things are back to the way they should be… except that you won’t be able to post comments for a few days while I (read: Steve) upgrade my comment security to keep this from happening again.

Although I’m generally unimpressed with how my host handled this outage, the guy who finally came to my rescue today is my hero and his service and professionalism are VERY appreciated. Thanks, Matt.

UPDATE: Thanks to Steve, we now have commenty goodness back up and running.  You’ll have to jump through a hoop or two to post, but it’s better to have some security than a few days with no blog at all.

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Death to All Electronics

So in keeping with my recent ability to kill technology simply by owning it (first my Volvo, then my camera) we have the latest casualty.  Last night my monitor decided to get hazy with a light shade of blue overlapping the screen.  Every once in a while it would flicker white and yellow.  After 6 years, I fear my monitor is giving up the ghost which means that sometime soon I’ll have to drop a few hundred bucks on a new one.  On the plus side, a flatscreen will free up some much needed space on my desk.

So, what does one do with a still functioning monitor?  Does anyone out there want a still working but slightly haunted 17″ monitor?  Is there a place I can take it to be recycled?  I don’t just want to put it out at the curb where it’ll take up space eternally in some landfill in Michigan.

Grief specialists say that focussing on death is unhealthy and that when you think about death, you should also think about new life to give the cycle of life and death some healthy perspective.  Okay, fair enough.  Let’s give it a try.  Thanks to my annual ‘performance bonus’ (it’s like a Christmas bonus, only it’s directly linked to how hard I worked this year), I’m going to have enough money this week to buy my much coveted Canon camera.  Hmmm.

The responsible thing would be to hold on to the money for a while and let it grow in a high interest savings account, but those who know me best know that I don’t always go for the responsible fiscal decision.  Will Dave buy his camera?  Should Dave buy his camera?  What do YOU think?

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Is it Monday Already?

I guess that means it’s time for the weekend round-up.  First, I’ll begin with the bad news… we didn’t get a tree… yet.  Hopefully this weekend it will happen, but I’m not holding out against hope.

Friday: Danielle, Jared and I watched So I Married An Axe Murderer (one of Mike Myers’ greatest contributions to the world of film).  Jared and I had both seen it (many times), so it was great to relive the memories of such a quotable movie.  Sadly, it was Danielle’s first time and she was far from impressed… not because it wasn’t a good movie, but because in the last 13 years we’ve grown sick of Mike Myers’ antics (the ones that got him famous).  So sad.  HEED! PANTS! NOW!

Saturday: Window shopping at the Eaton’s Centre in December.  Shudder.  I looked at a lot of things, but bought none.  On the plus side, I know have a pretty good idea of what I’m buying almost everyone on my list.  Almost.

On my return from the Eaton’s Centre, Jared had set up his Nintendo 64 in the living room, and that meant we had to play some Mario Golf and some GoldenEye (which I suck at).  Par woke up from his eternal hibernation slumber and played for a while too.

Saturday ended with Danielle and I driving around the ENTIRE core of Downtown TO (Yonge to Dufferin, and Queen to St. Clair) looking for an ethnic restaurant (Ethiopian, Somalian or the like) that was open and serving food after 10pm.  Needless to say, those are hard to find so we ended up at an ‘Italian’ restaurant on St.Clair.  This place had killer Tartufo and Gnocchi and another patron (with a large group) took well over 7 million photographs while we were there.  Each with a flash.

Sunday: Deciding to make the most of a gorgeous December day, Danielle and I headed to Tommy Thompson Park at the foot of the Leslie Spit.  I’d never been down there before and I was blown away at how there could be such remote wilderness in the heart of the city.  It was absolutely stunning.  I spent most of the time complaining about not having a camera to photograph it all, so I’ll have to go back once I’ve begged, borrowed and stolen to afford my Canon Digital Rebel.

Afterwards, I watched most of a great documentary on Bravo about the life, career and music of Chuck Berry called Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock’n’Roll.  It was a great insight into his life and the evolution of Rock and Roll and RnB in the 60s.  Countless celebrities (including a semi-lucid Keith Richards) give testimonials and the whole film is punctuated with live performances.

The day ended with a trip to church, where I left my briefcase (complete with Moleskine notebooks and my day-timer) in the sanctuary.  I’m hoping to get it back in the next few days.

I have completed 0% of my Christmas shopping, and between time getting short and shopping crowds getting larger and more rabid, I’d better get hopping.  That is all.

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O Tannenbaum

Last night’s game of Manhunt was surprisingly awesome.  I thought the skin-searing windchill would make playing a fun game on the wind tunnel streets downtown sheer agony, but I showed up to play anyways.  It turns out that just running a little bit now and then will really keep you toasty and warm.  I also learned that if you’re chasing someone quite closely and they suddenly jump over something, you should just jump too.  And that’s the story of how I ran into an office chair.  Still, I tagged the chair “it”, so it wasn’t all a loss.

My first foray into selling something on Craigslist is also going swimmingly.  I think I wrote a pretty clever ad (you be the judge) and I think it’s paying off.  I’ve gotten a few emails, and frankly that’s more interest than I thought it would muster.  If all goes well, our hallway will be clear of obstruction shortly… just in time for the Pembroke Castle Christmas Tree to arrive this weekend.

Yes, the Castle will be sporting a live Christmas tree (assuming we can find a decent one in our price range… or that we can borrow a saw) and hopefully we can find the means to decorate it nicely.  Then, in the New Year, we can strip the branches for kindling and saw up the trunk for firewood.

Two calendar items to keep your eyes open for…

  1. A poker game next week (Wednesday, December 13th) as part of the goodbye festivities for Par.  Buy-ins are $5 and half the pot goes to charity.
  2. Some sort of Christmas get-together complete with snacks, a fire in the fireplace, a tree (hopefully) and some great music.  More to come…

Have a great weekend, and don’t get stampeded by the crowds whilst Christmas shopping.

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