Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for February, 2008

Leaping: Not as Fun as Advertised

I can’t say I recall a memorable February 29th in my life and I’m not sure if that’s a streak I should end today.  It’s a really strange occurrence, and I can’t hide my disappointment that it’s just a regular day even though it’s a rare extra.  It’s not like the extra hour we get with daylight savings time that you feel like you can squander by boiling 20 3-minute eggs.  Nope, it’s just a normal day with a weird number associated with it.

Maybe I can spend today lamenting my 0-5 win/loss record in Roll Up The Rim so far.  At least I can cash in my “Please Try Again” cups for a free medium coffee at Country Style.  Unfortunately, the only Country Style I know of was just shut down for working as a front for illegal drug sales.  Whoops.  I’m not as disappointed as the junkies at Queen and Sherbourne.

A quick search has revealed that there is a Country Style right near me.  Phew.  Also, the druggie coffee shop was a Coffee Time.  My apologies to all the fine folks at Country Style for the mixup.  I guess I just “LEAPED” to conclusions.   Hmmmm.  On that note, let’s all call it a day.


Just Four Big Rooms

I’m more than halfway through my first week at my new job, and what a week it’s been.  Like most new jobs in a new career, much of my time has been evenly divided between reading things that I barely understand and listening to people explain things that I don’t understand at all.  Another small portion is being introduced to people whose names and jobs I forget instantly as I’m introduced to another person whose name and job I will forget shortly afterwards.

All this is very normal, and that’s what I keep telling myself when I start to wonder why I’m even here.  Next week, I’ll have a firmer grasp on what I’m doing, and the week after that I’ll be up and running.  Still, it makes for a pretty tiring and anxious week, and pulling longer hours than I’m used to doesn’t really help.

All this is to say that I’m really looking forward to this weekend where I’ll have a few days to let everything settle.  I’ll be able to take some time to think about my first week and digest everything I’ve read, seen and heard and next week I’ll be able to come in fresh with some new ideas.

One thing that I’m not looking forward to this weekend is that the person that I’ve come to count on to keep me sane and help me formulate those thoughts will be hundreds of kilometres away.  Danielle is off to Montreal to spend a few days with old friends and family.  It will be our first extended absence since our wedding and although I’m really happy that she can connect with some people that she hasn’t been able to in months, I’m not looking forward to the solitude and the lack of immediate feedback on all the stupid little things I worry about from moment to moment.  What can I say?  I’ve become an instant gratification junkie (not to mention instant validation).

Even as she’s reading this, I’m sure she’ll be surprised that I’m not counting down the hours until I have the house to myself and I can do, eat and watch anything I want.  I’m not.  Since getting married, I’ve been really surprised about the amount of freedom (if you want to call it that) that I have.  I had this idea of what being married meant to free time and personal choices, but it’s been quite the opposite of what I expected.  Rather than someone telling me what I can and can’t do, I have a wife who encourages me or dissuades me based on my best interests.

So, if you stop by the house on Boston Avenue this weekend, don’t be surprised if I’m wandering around the house talking to myself as though someone else was there.  That’s exactly what I’ll be doing, because that’s what I’m used to… and that’s just one of the many things I’ll miss.

Hurry home on Sunday, please.  🙂

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Soccer night in Canada was another success.  The Cosmos (as our team is known, apparently) rocked it out for a 5-1 win over some other team.  Our sportsmanship overcame a team that liked to punch, knee and kick their way through the midfield and in the end we proved that you can win by playing fair.

Mind you, sportsmanship doesn’t go all that far.  We found out that in our last game (where we won 9-1) the opposing team awarded us no ‘Spirit Points’.  These points are awarded by the team captains to opposing teams in recognition of fair play and fun.  We did both, but I guess that getting a beatdown like that on the first night of the season tainted their view.

Our game had one spectator (Danielle) who cheered us all to victory.  She had a game just after mine in the same complex, so I stuck around to watch her team squeeze out a well-earned tie despite being shorthanded for the first half and full-strength with no subs for the second half.  The other team had 4 subs.

In totally unrelated news, there are less than 24 hours left to cast your vote to get Toronto on the World Edition of Monopoly.  Just go to the voting site set up by Hasbro and get voting.  Also, pass the word to your friends and family.  It’s annoying that you have to create a login, but you probably don’t have anything better to do.  Honestly.

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Forget Coke, Tab is Where it’s at

Imagine my horror when I found that the PC in my new office is locked down, meaning I can’t install any software that isn’t authorized by my company.  That wouldn’t be a big deal, but they’re still using IE6, which means no tabbed browsing.  I know, I was shocked too.  So how on earth could I surf and research using my beloved Firefox without having browser windows choking up my screen?

Well, thanks to a tip from Joel, I installed Portable Apps on my iPod.  Portable Apps works like a tiny OS that runs as an executable file from any secondary device, be it a USB key, iPod (or any MP3 player) or a secondary hard drive.  Nothing is installed on any specific computer, so you probably won’t get caught for running outside software, although that’s yet to be seen.  It’s linux-based, and the list of available software is impressive to say the least.

I downloaded the install file last night from home to my iPod, but couldn’t install it there because I’m running Ubuntu Linux and not Windows, but when I got in this morning, it only took a few minutes to get up and running. Be warned that if you try to use PA on a pre-XP setup, it might not work.

So far, it’s browsing at least as fast as the IE install on my actual machine, and I’m enjoying all the tabby goodness that is Firefox. I also have access to GAIM (a chat client that works with most instant messengers) and OpenOffice, which is an open-source version of Microsoft Office.

Oh internet, I’m so happy to have you back in my life.  I don’t know what I would have done without you and all your beautiful tabs.

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Day One – Starting Fresh

Ah, the first day on the job.  There’s nothing like having no clue what’s going on around you, where anything is or who to ask for help to remind you that you’re starting something brand new.  Everyone here has been really helpful and friendly and after setting up my phone and PC (and finding that I can’t install Firefox or access any of my old bookmarks), I’m just about ready to actually start working… once I find out what it is I’ll be doing.

I’m actually surprised that I don’t feel more freaked out and overwhelmed.  Fortunately mine is a new position, so I don’t have any big shoes to fill from whoever came first.  Instead, I’ll be the guy breaking new ground and hopefully impressing everyone with my mad skillz, wit and charm.

I’d love to write more, but I’m on my way out for sushi.  I believe that over lunch, my new boss will explain what it is I’ll be doing here.  At least,  I hope that’s the case.  🙂

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Warning: 1980’s References Ahead. You’ve Been Warned

Today is my last day at a job I liked very much and am sad to leave.  That means tying up loose ends, finishing off a few things and packing up all the crap that has adorned my cubicle walls for nearly two years.  It also means one last pilfering trip to the supply cabinet for lined Post-It Notes (the climax of the evolution of Post-It Notes).

I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about an appropriate way to leave the office for the last time, swinging from the melancholic (sneaking out quietly) to the dramatic (faking like I’m quitting in a flurry of profanity and threats).  I think I’m going to go with something more causal.  I’ll get someone to crank “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds while I walk away slowly and then randomly pump my fist in the air.  Hopefully one person will slowly start clapping, and then everyone will join in.  It would be perfect.

Go John Bender, Go!

Now for that glorious weekend between jobs where you have nothing to dread on Monday morning but starting to learn new names and learning the politics and floorplan to your new office.  Hopefully my first day won’t end in a detention with some guy in a polyester suit saying “Don’t mess with the bull, young man. You’ll get the horns”.

Have a great weekend, and don’t waste your Saturday in a library.

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The Short Post

If you’ve already surfed some intarweb this morning, you’ve no doubt seen some stunning photos of last night’s lunar eclipse.  We had clear skies and cold temperatures last night, so it was easily viewed from here, and I caught a few stages of it from the window of the pub where I was celebrating my upcoming departure with my team from work.

Given that it’s taken me two hours to write this so far, it’s going to be a busy day here.  Everyone is trying to wrap up their work with me before I leave.  It’s pretty ridiculous.

I hereby declare that this weekend will be a time of rest, relaxation and sleep.

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The Odds are 9-1 That We’re Awesome

We showed up for our soccer game at 11 last night and met our new teammates.  None of us were wearing matching jerseys and no one had any fancy-looking equipment, but everyone was really nice and joked about how much we were going to suck.  That doubled when the opposing team showed up in their matching Arsenal jerseys and shorts.  We figured we were done for.

After 55 minutes of play and no injuries (not even to me!), the final score was 9-1, although the ref didn’t put all the goals up on the board to keep from embarrassing the losers.  Imagine our surprise when the losers weren’t us!?!

Karim and I were blown away with how lucky we were just signing up and trusting the league to put us on a team.  Everyone on our team is really encouraging and we all pass to a fault.  Even if someone is wide open with the ball, he’ll pass to someone else wide open.  We have no divas or superstars who hog the ball, want the spotlight or scream at teammates, opposing players and the ref.  It’s just a group of guys who like playing soccer and want to have a good time while everyone around them has a good time too.

Despite my worries of how out-of-shape I am, I think I played quite well.  I have a nasty habit of putting an inside spin on the ball when I take shots on goal, and I got burned by it in my only chance last night.  I kicked hard to the inside of the post and was well clear of the goalie, but the spin caught the post and it bounced back out.  If it had been a clear, straight shot it would have been a goal for sure.  Bah.

Still, I’m just happy I had a great time and didn’t suffer any career-ending injuries.  In my book, that’s a good game of soccer.

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