Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for February, 2009

Reminder: Books are Not Real Life. Got it?

Right now, I’m reading and enjoying “The Water-Method Man”, which was the first book written by one of my favourite authors, John Irving (“The World According to Garp” and “The Cider House Rules”).  I find his characters VERY engaging, either in spite of, or as a direct result of their many faults.

I think part of his skill as a writer is creating characters who are just enough like you, or someone you know, that you can get inside their head easily and accept them, which also means you accept the more odd and possibly unbelievable parts of who they are.  In the case of this book, I found myself identifying with the main character quite closely, and as he quickly becomes more anxious about life, I find myself doing the same.  It’s all very “The Neverending Story”.

Late last night, I found I couldn’t sleep and curled up with the book under a blanket, reading by a dim lamp in our living room.  I realized just how much the setting resembled “The Neverending Story”, and fully expected The Nothing to swallow up my house. Alas, no Nothing showed up and I eventually got sleepy and went to bed.

I think I need to hurry up and finish this book so I can have my mind all to myself and not have to share it with Fred “Bogus” Thumper anymore.  I think he’s putting me on edge.

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Boy, is my Face Red! Thank You, LinkedIn… for Nuthin’

So I finally signed up for LinkedIn, after realizing that many people I know have their professional profiles on there.  I figured it couldn’t hurt, and I might be able to drum up some freelance writing or editing work on there.

So I searched through my GMail contacts and chose a small group of specific people to invite to my profile.  I doublechecked the list of about 20 people and hit ‘send’.  Bam.  LinkedIn invited everyone in my GMail contact list.  All 269 people I’ve ever sent an email to in my time on GMail.

Let me say that I’m terribly sorry that I became one of those people who sent you an invite to something you don’t care at all about.  I’ve received hundreds of these invites over the years, and hopefully you’ll do what I always did… just delete it and not wish the sender an untimely or nasty death.

Needless to say, my first ‘connection’ experience with the fine folks at LinkedIn doesn’t really fill me with inspiration for any future connections.

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Next on FOX: When Pancakes go Bad

Pancake Tuesday went off without a hitch.  Although Danielle’s mom passed along a tip that we should save the last pancake in the back of a kitchen cupboard for good luck (as Danielle’s Grandmere apparently did every year), we opted instead to store that last pancake in my fat belly, where the mice that sometimes appear in our house can’t get at it.

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around how a pancake would breakdown in the back of a kitchen cupboard, but I’ve never had one lying around long enough to know.  Would it get moldy and stinky like bread, or just kind of fossilize into a hard rubbery puck?  Has anyone out there done any research on the atrophy of pancakes?  Ours might have fared well since they were made from water-mix batter that contained no eggs or milk.

Hmm, so now I’m wondering how a pancake that can possibly sit unrotting at the back of a cupboard for a year is faring in my digestive system.  Thanks Grandmere, now I’m having digestion anxiety.

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Let it Shrove, Let it Shrove, Let it Shrove

As if the return of Roll Up the Rim to Win wasn’t enough to show us all that spring is just over the horizon, today is Shrove Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday).  Aside from being the day that we all get to eat delicious pancakes, it’s also the last day before lent.  Those of you who weren’t raised with lent will know it is as the 40 days when your co-workers are all totally miserable after giving up coffee, cigarettes, sugar, chocoloate or something else they always say they can’t live without.

Lent lasts for 40 days, and ends on Easter, which is usually right around the start of spring.  So all of this is just like a Superbowl pre-show for Spring.  It’s going to get you excited at first until you realize just how far you REALLY are from the main event.  I’m just warning you.

Why despair when today is recognized in Canada as a day you should eat pancakes?!  I mean, seriously, how awesome a tradition is that?  We should be mentioning this to people when we travel abroad.  “Yeah, we all love hockey, our beer is great, and one Tuesday every year, we’re encouraged to eat pancakes”.  Pancake enthusiasts would be emigrating by the boatfull, and pancake enthusiasts are just the type of people this great nation needs in these trying economic times.

On a serious note, I’m considering giving up potato chips for lent this year (a move Danielle will whole-heartedly support), which is akin to most peoople deciding to give up breathing or going to the bathroom.  I haven’t really made up my mind yet.  It’s either chips or cursing, and I’m a pretty big fan of swears, so I’m torn.  I guess it’s chips.  Wish me luck, and enjoy your state-recommended dinner of pancakes.


Rolling? Guaranteed. Winning? Not so Much.

Despite a weekend spent almost entirely in my office (aside from a great visit with my uncle and aunt and some great Italian food), I’m in pretty good spirits this morning.  As I entered my office, I noticed someone holding a familiar-looking cup.  Yes, it’s Roll Up The Rim to Win time at Tim Hortons!

As many of you probably know, I keep detailed stats of my wins and losses, and thanks to a suggestion last year, I’ve made it possible for YOU to participate!  Just download this MS Excel file and fill it in as you go.  If you do decide to take part, be sure to fire me an email to let me know.

Good luck, and may the force be with you.


Don’t Slam the Trunk… or Into it Either

Yesterday I tried to ease the pain of a blinding headache by slamming my head into the lid of my car’s trunk.  I really don’t advise it as a practical form of treatment as I now have TWO splitting headaches and an awesome bump that hurts when I breathe, think, don’t breathe and don’t think.

You see, I was putting my guitar in the trunk (not a euphemism… I was actually putting my guitar in the trunk), and I’m used to the hydraulics (or whatever they’re called) forcing the trunk lid up with a fair amount of force.  I guess, thanks to the cold, that didn’t happen.  So, while I was swinging my guitar case into the trunk, I slammed the top of my head into the edge of the lid.

I dropped everything I was holding and put my hands to my head while my eyes saw stars.  It was blinding pain, and I didn’t care what was going on around me.  When I finally regained some composure and found that I wasn’t bleeding, which I was sure I would be, I focused my attention on my surroundings.

I was paranoid that someone had seen me do this terribly stupid thing and they would forever tell everyone in the neighbourhood that I’m the guy who headbutted his own car.  I guess now that I’ve told this story here, I don’t have to worry about it.  I guess.

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There’s No Line on the Horizon

Due to some deadlines coming together all at once, I’m absolutely buried with work.  It’s at that point where even when you’re not at work, you can think of little else but the big pile on your desk and you dream all night of what you have to do the next day.

However, thanks to a minor screw up at my favourite band’s label, their long-awaited new album is now roaming free and clear on the intarwebs.  I manged to unclog a few pipes last night and give it a listen.  So far, I like it, and each listen shows me something new and I like it even more.  Today, it will serve as the soundtrack to a day of slugging it out in the trenches.

When Charles Dickens wrote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”, he was talking about days like today.

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All the News That’s Fit to PHBBT

Although I’m a news junkie, I’m actually considering giving it up for Lent (which starts next week).  Thanks to overseas political tensions, the usual political hijinx here at home and the ever-present “market instability” stories, it’s getting hard to keep a stiff upper lip amidst all the doom and gloom.

When you add to that the Channel 4 in the U.K. still hasn’t announced if they’re going to pick up a 4th season of The IT Crowd and that the show Fringe won’t have a new episode on TV until mid-April, it’s going to start requiring some effort on my part to keep myself distracted and entertained.  Being lazy has never been so much work.  Stupid recession.

I might just allow myself to listen to the CBC news in the morning and then read it online again at night, rather than keeping up with any and all news stories throughout the day.  I would also miss the BBC news, but a 40 day hiatus might just be what the doctor (or psychoanalyst) ordered.

Maybe I should just force myself to get all my news through comic mediums, like The Daily Show, The Onion, The Rick Mercer Report and FOX News.  I could interpret the nuggets of useful news through the hilarity (or chuckleosity, depending on how good the jokes are).

I think that, on the whole, we give too much credit to the media for what they think about the current state of the world, especially since these are the guys who just one short year ago were saying that the good times would never end, credit was (and would forever be) everywhere, housing prices would never go down and retirement investments were money in the bank.  All this bad news makes for ready-made news stories that they know their audiences will lap up like milk, and I, for one, am sick of being fed spoiled milk.

So, while you’re sweating your retirement, fretting over your home equity and wondering if your job will be around in two months, try also to remember that mankind has been in worse situations and come through fine.  Hug a loved one, go for a drink with friends and buy yourself something nice.  It’s not the end of the world.

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