Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for October, 2008

All Hallow’s Eve

Well, today’s the day when all the ghouls and goblins will be out and about.  I saw a few costumes on the TTC on my way in this morning, but very few in my office.  Few aside from mine.

I didn’t go all out at work this year, mostly because I had no idea if I had any meetings where a complicated costume could be a liability to being taken seriously.  I’m wearing a shirt I got at the Cake concert back in September that says “Cake” in big letters on the front and I’m also wearing a toque with birthday candles jammed in the rolled brim.  I’m a birthday cake.  Awesome.

How about you?  Did you dress up today, or will you be dressing up tonight?

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Jack Layton-o-Lantern? Methinks Not

We bought two pumpkins last night, and some time this evening, they will be put under the knife for some cosmetic surgery that will change their faces forever.  Well, I say forever, but frankly they’ll be lucky to make it through the night with their skulls intact… mostly because I have some unexploded fireworks that I’ve been dying to make explode.

So aside from the sheer joy of scooping the guts out of these bad boys, some thought should probably go into what we’ll carve into them.  I’ve seen some designs for US political figures on the net recently, but that’s a little too politically charged for my taste.  It would have been fun to carve Jack Layton as he’s our MP, but I’m not confident enough in my carving abilities, and I’m pretty sure he’d come out looking more like Bea Arthur.

One thing I thought would be cool is leaving the top off one of the pumpkins and putting a can of denatured alcohol in his head, then lighting it up.  A 2 foot flame would burn out the top for an hour at least, before it would require refilling.  Aside from being a HUGE fire risk, that could look pretty awesome.

Rest assured, whatever design we go with, we’ll have plenty of candy for the kiddies and fireworks for the teenagers.

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“So, are you getting up?”

When I woke up today, it was the kind of day where I wished I was in school and could just bag class.  I looked over at my alarm clock and reasoned with myself over whether I could (or should) turn off the alarm, hit the snooze button or just get up and start my day.  Sadly, I made the responsible adult choice and I’ve been regretting it all day.

I’m sure that once my day is done, I’ll be glad that I didn’t just play hooky.  It’s much harder to pull off once you have a full-time job with voicemail and an email inbox that will overflow if you don’t come in.  Still, it made me miss the good old days.

One big reason I didn’t just roll over and go back to sleep is that Danielle was already up.  That’s one thing I don’t miss about the good old days… not having a wife at home to encourage me to get out of bed when I’m a grouch in the morning.  She even does it with tact.  Rather than reminding me what time it is, or that I’d better hurry if I’m going to get in to the office on time, she always asks the same question… “So, are you getting up?”.

It’s a rhetorical question and is pretty redundant.  Of course I’m getting up, but just by asking she’s reminding me that I don’t really have much of a choice, but that choice is still mine to make.  It’s a good way of dealing with the evil monster that is Morning Dave.

So, each morning I continue to get out of bed pleased that I have made the decision to do so of my own accord.  My destiny is still mine to decide, I just need someone to remind me of that each morning.

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And Now, the News

Ladies and gentlemen, today is awesome news day, courtesy of the CBC.  First up, there’s a huge winter storm headed our way.  Granted, eastern Ontario and all points east of there will get tonnes of snow (up to a foot) while in Toronto we’ll more likely see a few flurries and a lot of sleet, but it’s still nice to know that winter is on its way!

Second, it looks like the housing market in Toronto is ready to slump at the time when Danielle and I are hoping to scrape together some change and start looking at buying a house.  The best part about this article is the ‘experts’ who say the slump will last 18 months are all realtors, who depend on the housing market to feed their families and put gas in their cars.  It’s pretty safe to say that perhaps they don’t have the least biased opinion on how long this will last.  I’m even happier because I’ve been predicting this drop for a few years now, which makes me more awesome than you.

Third, the US launched a military raid into Syria!?!  How is this not insanely big news?  I mean, Syria is a sovereign and independent nation with whom the US is not at war, and they just crossed the border with gunships and blew up a house.  That’s the second time this week it’s been done.  The US also launched an attack from Afghanistan just across the Pakistani border.  It’s like Bush is shoving everyone around him before he runs away from the party.  Pure craziness!

Also, Kim Jong-il is kim jong-ILL (I’m sorry, it had to be said), Ontario is set to ban cellphone and Blackberry use while driving and may include GPS programming and a New Brunswick MP who is basically unknown in the rest of Canada has thrown his hat in the ring and declared he’s running for the leadership of the Liberal party.  Good luck Dominc LeBlanc.

Those are the major headlines, we now return you to your regularly scheduled program, your job.

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The First Day of a Long Week

Let me start by congratulating Ethan and Janette for an awesome wedding and a great reception.  As usual, my table was the rowdiest at the reception which probably says more about me than anyone else.  We had a great time and their reception hall was beautiful with an amazing few over a golf course where we were distracted wtih a lightning show during speeches.  It was beautiful.

I spent some time in the office on Saturday before heading to Danielle’s friends’ birthday party at Spice Route on King Street.  It’s a very chic lounge with awesome food and we had a great time and a handful of funny stories.

Today is going to be a stressful day for me, and it’s probably just the start of a stressful week that won’t ease off next week.  Basically, by the time mid-November rolls around, things will be back to normal for me at work.  That sounds like it’s far away, but it’s only a couple of weeks.  That means it’s time to get started thinking about your Christmas shopping.  Yes, I really did just say that.

Now that I’ve ruined your week too, I’m going to get back to my spreadsheets and financial statements so I can feel my blood pressure go through the roof.  I suggest you do the same.

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Plaaaaaaaaay Ball!

If anyone was watching The National on CBC last night, you were treated to a breath of fresh air.  In the midst of financial market turmoil, rollercoaster stock indicies and doom and gloom financial predictions for the years to come, the CBC chose to air what constitutes ‘soft news’.

Rather than having yet another piece about how all the Canadian parties failed in the last election, or who is going to win in the next US election, they aired an inspiring piece about a baseball league in downtown Toronto that is organized by local homeless shelters whose teams are made up of the homeless or formerly homeless who lived in those shelters.

They play in Moss Park (in my old neighbourhood) on Mondays in-season, and one of the organizers (who works at Seaton House, just up the street from the park) spoke of what it means for someone to end up in a shelter.  By the time they walk in, they’ve lost their posessions, their family and are usually facing some substance abuse problems.  Their self-confidence is entirely non-existant, so it means a lot to catch a fly ball, bat in a winning run, or outrun a tag at second base.

Sure, the calibre of play isn’t exactly Rogers Centre worthy, but few games played on local fields are.  The teams are clearly having fun and feeling good about themselves while doing it.  As an added benefit, former residents who have gotten jobs and moved out still make an effort to come out and play or cheer, which gives current residents hope and lets them hear and see success stories.  All these things combine to boost that confidence that was all but gone when they walked into the shelter.

One player spoke of how just knowing that he had something on one night a week, a night where he would stay out of trouble and not have to much time on his hands, gave his life a little purpose.

Soft news?  Sure.  Fluff?  No, not entirely.  Given what’s going on around the world, it’s nice to know that despite how easily our confidence can be shaken, or even taken away, something remarkably simple can also bring it back.

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Better Late Than Never

Thanks to a series of minor emergencies here in Officeland, today’s post is falling quite late and for that I apologize.  Since this afternoon is scheduled to be rife with more minor emergencies, I’ll probably have to keep this brief, or at least minimize the amount of editing I do on it, so it’ll be rant-like and have less cohesion than normal, which isn’t much either.

At 30 years old, I’m still trying to get my head around the idea of working all the time.  It still feels like it’s a short-term solution to the long-term problem of needing money.  Fortunately I still have 30+ years to shake that feeling and come to terms with living in a world where most of my waking hours are spent doing stuff for someone else.

Recently, a friend tried his hardest to convince me that I should strike out on my own and start a business.  Of course, this friend is self-employed (newly, at that) so he thinks it’s the best course for anyone’s career.  Alas, he’s a designer, which lends itself better to self-employment than my particular line of work.  Frankly, I wouldn’t even know what kind of business I would try to start.  Sure, I’d probably go for something having to do with writing, but when it comes to professional business writing, most of that is handled in-house by corporations, so going freelance wouldn’t be very lucrative.  Journalism and news writing make better money but require more specialized writing skills and experience, of which I have little.

I can’t see anyone paying me freelance money to write blog posts, short stories or poems, unless some big business is looking for a freelance poet laureate.  If they are, please contact me.

So, all that is to say that dealing with other people’s minor emergencies will probably always be part of my job description, but at least it includes dental.

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A Pie in the Face. In the Mouth Area of the Face to be Exact

Given the current weather (cold and windy) and the weather report for this weekend (cold, windy and rainy) I’m settling into my fall frame of mind, which means that my tastes are moving from delicious Spanish food to cravings for fresh-baked bread and pies.  What’s better on a cold and wet fall weekend than staying in the house and making the entire building smell like bread and pies?  Nothing.

So, on Saturday I think I’ll bake up a few loaves of homemade sweet bread that my Grandma taught me to bake (the fluffiest bread on the planet) and a pie or two.  Sadly, even two pies is a bit too much for me and Danielle, so we’re going to have to spend some time with some friends to make sure it all gets eaten.  Stay tuned to your email for personal invites.

I think that making up a vat of Beef Barley Soup might also be in the cards.  Growing up, there were always a few tupperware dishes in the freezer (or sealed Mason jars in the basement) full of the stuff for a day that was too cold and bitter to make anything else.  It’s man’s best defense against the cold of mother nature.  There.  I’ve spilled my secret of loving cold weather.  Awesome homemade food.

If you can’t find your way around a kitchen, fear not.  Here are my other secrets.  Ssshhh… get nice and close to the screen.  They’re so secretive that I’m going to whisper them.  Okay, here goes.  Dress in layers so you can take off a layer if you get warm and start sweating and then add a layer if you feel a chill.  Finally, if you feel like the cold is just dragging on, why not head out into it and get active?  Not only will being active keep you warm, but fresh air will do you a world of good and they say time flies when you’re having fun. What better way to make sure April gets here fast than enjoying winter?

That’s it.  That’s all I’ve got.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to start putting on layers.  I’ve heard a rumour that my office is having a fire drill this morning.  Brrr.


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